"My biggest fear about a President Obama was that he has a totally
flawed view of what to do about our two ongoing wars. He was
spectacularly clueless about what to do in Iraq and had we followed his
bad advice we would have lost there. His continual demand that we 'end'
that war is symptomatic of his misunderstanding of the gravity of
having US troops on a battlefield."
"It is just this simple Mr. Wannabe Commander in Chief, and I say
wannabe because while you hold the title you haven't earned it or the
trust of the troops yet...."
"You can't end a war, you either win it or lose it."
Funny, Iraq's not much in the news anymore, is it? I heard Michael Graham interview Ralph Peters yesterday about the media blackout on the demonstrated improvements in Iraq. You can read about it at Peter's recent column in the New York Post. He's got all the news you won't be reading in your newspaper or hearing about on the network news. There's lot of good news over there, there's been a tremendous turnaround in the past eighteen months or so, since the surge in American troops. More reports on Iraq at Michael Graham's blog.
Sissie wrote eloquently about that image and Michael Yon here. Yesterday, Mass was held at this church, St. John's, and both Muslims and Christians attended the mass. Their message:
"Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, 'Come back to Iraq. Come home.' They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. 'Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.” "
"We, the undersigned, call on our national leaders and fellow citizens to resist calls for a premature withdrawal from Iraq and to support America's troops under the new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, as they implement a bold new strategy designed to bring a successful completion to their mission."
Other good links there to support the troops, including Spirit of America, Fisher House, and Soldier's Angels.
Thousands of people are reported to have been killed and many others injured in a poison gas attack on a Kurdish city in northern Iraq. Up to 20 aircraft, said to include Iraqi Migs and Mirages, were seen overhead at around 1100 local time in Halabja. According to experts, the chemicals dropped by the planes may have included mustard gas, the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX and possibly cyanide.
The attack on Halabja, which is about 150 miles (241km) north-east of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, is the latest in the Iran-Iraq war and follows its occupation by Iranian forces. .... Eyewitnesses have told of clouds of smoke billowing upward "white, black and then yellow"', rising as a column about 150 feet (46 metres)in the air.
Most of the wounded, who were taken to hospital in the Iranian capital Tehran, were suffering from mustard gas exposure. Those who escaped death have developed respiratory or visual problems from the cocktail of chemicals dropped on the city. According to some reports, up to 75% of the victims were women and children. The injured survivors seen by reporters showed the classic symptoms of mustard gas poisoning - ugly skin lesions and breathing difficulties.
Figures for the final total of dead range from 3,200 people to 5,000. Between 7,000 and 10,000 are believed to have been injured in the massacre, which became known as "Bloody Friday".
Is Saddam Hussein dead yet? Perhaps, Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald thinks he may be dead already. "MSNBC citing a U.S. military source reports the Iraqi government has asked for Saddam to be turned over to their custody so his sentence of death can be executed by Sunday, before the start of Eid." Please read Crittendon's column, very moving.
UPDATE: I don't know why the execution was carried out on Eid-al-Adha. That seems so unneccesary, a slap in the face to somebody. Contrary to the critics, I doubt that the U.S. government had anything to do with the timing, it was an Iraqui court and judge who decided on the sentence and the timing. A commenter at Gates of Vienna was very angry about the timing, her comment is here.
1. Was it necessary to have a bunch of sadr street thugs carry out the execution in a dungeon looking room? Even the effin insurgents manage to do their executions in nicer environments.... and they wear matching outfits.
2. Killing him on the morning of eid to the chant of 'muqtada muqtada muqtada' was an abomination. When I saw the official execution video, I couldn't understand why they had muted the sound. But after seeing the camera phone footage, it makes sense. Nearly every Iraqi I have spoken with believes this was literally an eid gift to iran, courtesy of his willing puppet maliki.
Dymphna of Gates of Vienna says "I find the American cooperation on the timing of this, whether through ignorance or a wrong-headed (again) policy of hands-off at just the wrong moment, disturbing in the extreme."
Yaron Brooke's lecture tonight at Fanueil Hall in Boston was not for the faint of heart. As mentioned above, Mr. Brooke (the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, bio here) spoke about the failure of the Bush administration's democracy project for the Middle East, what its flaws are, and what strategy should replace it. The Ford Hall Forum and the Objectivist Society put on the event, which was free to the public. There was scant security for the event. I walked in off the street with one man outside Faneuil Hall merely asking me if I was there for the lecture. No screening of any sort, not even a once-over, no checking my pocketbook, no beefy guards. (I can't bring that pocketbook into Gillette Stadium for a football game!) Not too smart, given the topic of discussion and the kind of protestors it would attract. The crowd was approximately 250 people. As soon as Mr. Brooke was introduced, the demonstrators went into action. One thin, scruffy, bespectacled young man in a flannel shirt calmly walked up on the left side of the stage and attempted to put a bib or sign on Brook (I couldn't read the words). At the same time, three or four guys stood up and started singing a song which included the memorable lyrics "100,000 Muslims died, that's like Nazi genocide." They were bad lyricists but quite good singers. (Turns out they were LaRouche "movement" folks, per the first comment below.) Security was called, and the men were hustled/wrestled out the room one by one, shouting that Brook was a fascist/ Zionist/ Nazi and their freedom of speech was being denied. (How idiotic is it to scream about freedom of speech when you're disrupting someone else's speech? What maroons!) I was annoyed to have to listen to them for even two seconds, let along the several minutes it took to get them out of the room. Like I said, not enough security there. Here's my take on what Brook said:
Brook stated that the democracy project in the Middle East is not yielding the results that Bush wanted. Bush's claim that democracy speading in the Middle East would make the U.S. safer appears to be untrue. The Palestinians elected Hamas, Egyptians elected Muslim Brotherhood candidates, Lebanon has elected Hizbollah. The majority of Iraq's ruling council are members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI) with ties to Iran;the Iraqui constitution recognizes Islam as a fundamental basis for its laws; and the party of crazyman cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr has 32 seats in the Parliament. Brook calls this a world-wide ideological movement, an Islamic totalitarianism which seeks to create an Islamic state under sharia law. As a result of the promotion of democratic elections from Bush, Islamic totalitarians have a new purpose and are gaining political power around the world. "What went wrong?"
Brook discounted the usual reasons: not enough troops, didn't secure the borders, poor training of the Iraqui policemen. Brook said it's far more fundamental: In order to defend itself against this lethal threat of Islamic totalitarianism, the U.S. must defeat its enemy totally. We must crush and demoralize the enemy, as we did in WWII. Brook noted that the Allied Forces didn't just defeat Hitler, they ruthlessly bombed Germany. Same with Japan. Our enemies were beaten thoroughly and any thought of continuing the Nazi cause was doomed. Brook says that the inevitable outcome of the aggression of Islamic totalitarianism must be their destruction. Anything less and the U.S. doesn't win. But we aren't doing that.
Brook said that one tactical option for waging such a war is the destruction and demoralization of the enemy, but Bush has never supported that kind of war. Bush's "Forward Strategy of Freedom" assumed that democracy would flower in the Midlde East. The president posed our choice as 1) democratic elections and we will be safe or 2) we will be attacked again as we were on 9/11. Brook pointed out that we are six (?) years into the war, with no end in sight. He said that Bush's idea that liberated Iraquis would embrace American ideals was wishful thinking. Brook characterizes the Middle East culture as based on tribalism, an honor-and-shame society with contempt for reason. Most Muslims in the Middle East, he says, don't like freedom or the United States. Brook asks, "Why was democracy the goal of the war, why wasn't victory the goal?"
Democracy is not synonomous with freedom, since in a democracy, majority rules. The majority puts its wishes above all else. In the Middle East, democratization allows totalitarian Islamists to assert their wishes, which takes away freedom from others. Brook said the U.S. should have decided the makeup of the new Iraqui government, as we did in Japan. Brook also criticized putting our soldiers to work in the reconstruction, building and repair of roads, schools and hospitals while our soldiers were being killed. He criticized impositions on our military to be culturally sensitive, and putting the welfare of Iraquis above the safety of our soldiers.
Brook discussed why our thinking has been so misguided and wrong in this war. He faults Bush's evangelical religious bent, as well as our PC way of thinking. It's become unimagineable to wage a war as we did in WWII. Brooks said "It's illegitimate to crush and demoralize, but it's legitimate to sacrifice U.S. lives to bring democracy to ignorant and hostile Iraquis." (Yikes, them are fighting words!) "Self service to others is good, defending yourself is bad." Our society approves of Mother Teresa, she is deemed moral, but we don't approve of Bill Gates, he is immoral because he became rich. America no longer seems to believe that we have a right to exist and that we should defend OUR freedom. Right about this time, a second group of three or four guys stood up and began singing. Didn't catch those lyrics, but they had great voices, and they were eventually hustled out of the room, with more yelling about Brook being a Nazi/Zionist/fascist. The crowd booed quite a bit at this second interruption. Brook was not bothered, and he commented that they had very good voices.
He quoted Bush, who's said that "We Americans know how to sacrifice for the liberty of others." But Brooks wonders why we would sacrifice for strangers, and he noted that there are consequences of this self-sacrifice (such as an emboldened Iran). Brooks then discussed how the U.S. strategy should shift, so that we are acting in rational self-interest (hence the sponsorship by the Ayn Rand Institute). He said that Saudi Arabia and Iran provide the economic and ideological underpinnings of Islamic totalitarianism. He called for devastating Iran, as we did in Japan, and imposing a new government there. (Yikes, more fighting words!) He said we need to leave Iran in an "unthreatening position." But there's an important precondition for achieving victory: we must know that we are in the right. We need moral confidence. We're engaged in an ideological battle and we need rational self-interest.
His talk was followed by questions and answers. Although the majority of the crowd appaluded Brook, most of the questions were hostile. One man was especially rude: "When you and George Schultz are the only people left standing on a pile of debris after nuclear war has killed everbody else, will George use a lubricant when he f*cks you up the ass?" The moderator chirped "Tony, kill the mike. Next question, please." Another woman said she was glad she came to this lecture since she was able to see a "real, live facist Nazi." Brook was not bothered in the least by these questions, he deftly used them to make his point about Campus Watch, or revisionist history of WWII, or the unreasonableness of "being nice" to people who want to kill you. A skilled lecturer.
I think that covers most of his talk. I walked out of Faneuil Hall and passed by a dozen or so Boston cops. The LaRouche folks who had been kicked out of the lecture had reassembled and were singing in Latin (I think). Who knew the radical anarchists had an excellent chorale group?
"hristians are living a terrified life in Mosul and Baghdad. Several priests have been kidnapped, girls are being raped and murdered and a couple of days ago a fourteen year old boy was crucified in the Christian neighborhood Albasra."
Good Lord. Will the barbarism never cease? Fr. Iskander was kidnapped earlier this week, his captors demanded $350,000 in ransom and that his church apologize for the Pope's recent remarks at Regensburg. This past Wednesday, his body was found outside of Mosul, "His arms and legs had been severed and arranged around his head, which rested on his chest."
I'm speechless on that one. Pray for all those famillies.
Moving this up, got a special request here. Please send stuff NOW so it arrives before July 4th!
We have a request from Fr. Marc Bishop, Marine chaplain from Billerica, MA stationed in Iraq. He's requested the following items for the troops at his base: 4th of July decorations (no fireworks), Nerf balls, frisbees, whiffle balls and bats, ring toss, any outdoor games, Granola bars and snacks, powdered drink mix (Gatorade or Tang), current movies on DVD.
CARLSON: Don’t you think we ought to wait until the investigation is done and we know what really happened before you start calling for defense officials to resign?
HOOPER: Well, first of all, I think it’s pretty clear what happened. There have been no reports refuting the allegations of a massacre that I’ve seen.
CARLSON: Now we don’t know what happened. The military has not commented publicly on this, as you’re fully aware. It could be that the stories we have seen in the press are either inaccurate or at best incomplete.
Don’t you think, like the rest of the country, you ought to slow down, take a deep breath and find out what happened before you start weighing in, in ignorance?
HOOPER: I think there have been enough eyewitness reports — really bone-chilling reports of what happened, and even from soldiers who were involved in the incident or in the clean-up of the incident to determine that something happened there. And this is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
CARLSON: What do you mean, something happened there? That’s good enough for you? You’re a — you’re a public policy organization and “something happened” is good enough for you to just weigh in and call for someone’s resignation? Please.
HOOPER: First of all, we’re Americans. We’re concerned about America’s image in the world. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the — all the things that have happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and different places in the Muslim world. These harm our nation’s image and interests. We’re concerned about it, and we don’t want it to continue.
CARLSON: But you’re assuming that American soldiers killed these people in cold blood. You don’t know that, but you’re implying it. Does that help America’s image abroad? I don’t think so.
HOOPER: We — we protect the reputation of our armed forces by holding them and their commanders to the highest standards possible.
CARLSON: Right, and those standards include knowing the facts before passing judgment.Those standards, I think, apply to all of us, even CAIR.
"This current campaign by the US is an interesting one. I'm not at all sure that it will matter much in terms of actually reaching any of those we're trying to persuade. But at least it represents that someone on our side is thinking a little outside the box. And it's true that in honor/shame cultures, looking ridiculous is one of the worst things that can happen to a leader such as Zarqawi, who clearly prides himself on appearing to be the meannest, baddest man around."
Along these line, a NRO column last November discussed the irreverent genius of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as evidenced in their movie Team American: World Police and the South Park episode Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants:
"Parker’s and Stone’s special gift is to see the pompous, the absurd, and the self-important through the eyes of the young and to caricature these with Chaplinesque comic sensibility. The Middle East — where there is plenty of pomposity, absurdity, and self-importance — is a place where satire and ridicule can be particularly powerful weapons, especially with young people."
"In World War II our most talented writers, directors, and actors helped the war effort. This time around we might similarly challenge young, creative Americans who understand the streets of the Middle East, the humor of the young there, and what forms of ridicule could really work against the Baathists, the Shiite theocrats in Tehran, al Qaeda, and the Wahhabis."
The Al Qaeda blooper video seems to fit the bill. Whoever put together that video, more please!
Posting this again, because the soldiers need our support.
Father Marc, a young priest from St. Mary's Parish in Chelmsford, was sent to Iraq this past January to serve as chaplain for a Marine batallion. He's requesting care packages for his soldiers. The following items would be appreciated: shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, Mach 3 razors and blades, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, foot powder, sunscreen, insect repellant, new-ish DVDs, magazines, eye-glass cleaner, eye drops, Tic-Tac mints, Slim Jims, Pringle potato chips. Religious cards and medals also welcome.
If you can help, please send a care package to:
Lt. Marc J. Bishop, Chaplain
1st BN 25th MAR H&S CO., Unit 72195
FPO AE 09509-2195
You have to complete a customs declaration form. If you've been wanting to support the troops, here's a very direct way. Thanks!
Michelle Malkin has a great entry on Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi stringer photographer for AP, who was detained by US military this week. Mr. Hussein's photos indicate a very cozy relationship with the terrorists, who allow him almost unbelievable access. How did Hussein happen to be so close when an Iraqui election worker was executed in a busy Baghdad street in November 2004? This photo, BTW, won a Pulitzer Prize. Other photographers and journalists have stated that AP photos provided by Hussein and other Iraqi stringers appear to be staged. The photos Malkin has posted certainly look staged. AP has staunchly defended Hussein.
This continuing controversy points out how naive the Western press is, at best. At worst, it shows that the Western press is complicit in aiding the terrorists and harming US efforts. Could it be that AP and the NY Times don't realize that the terrorists are waging a propaganda war, and they're helping?
How amazing that our soldiers put their lives on the line to rescue people who hate them. The freed hostages (one British, two Canadians) have not thanked the men who saved them. (The fourth hostage was discovered several weeks ago ago outside of Bahgdad, in a beheaded state.) Some Christian Peacemakers they are.
"The three peace activists freed by an SAS-led coalition force after being held hostage in Iraq for four months refused to co-operate fully with an intelligence unit sent to debrief them, a security source claimed yesterday. The claim has infuriated those searching for other hostages."
Another member of the Christian Peacemaker Team, who is planning to go to Iraq this summer said:
"We make clear that if we are kidnapped we do not want there to be force or any form of violence used to release us."
Perhaps that can be arranged. God bless the soldiers.
I saw this over at IWF. It's a spot-on essay by Sharon Tosi Moore, a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, published at The American Thinker. She compares how boys and girls fight in the schoolyard (directly vs subversively), and makes an analogy to the Global War on Terror. In a nutshell, the U.S./allied forces fight like boys and the terrorists fight like girls. If your junior high school memories are intact, you'll likely find this an apt analogy. Simple but insightful concept, methinks.