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Friday, February 24, 2006
So in the least surprising news of the night...

DP World has agreed to delay taking over the US ports for a while to allow time to make people comfortable.

In a few weeks the hysteria will have blown over and the deal will be approved. (And as an added bonus it will have flushed the crackpots, the blowhards, the hacks and the willfully ingnorant into the open.)

Posted by robbernard at 12:47 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Arab port sale imbroglio

The level of ignorance and misinformation floating around in the anti-port-deal arguments simply amazes me. The government is not selling these ports to an Arab company. A British company already handles these ports and that British company is being sold to a company run by the UAE. The government is only involved because it has the right to approve or not approve the sale.

And the Arab company won't be running security at these ports. The British company doesn't handle that now and DP World won't handle it after. Security is handled by the Coast Guard and Customs. This deal is mostly a matter of deciding who it is that hires the union longshoremen.

People argue that some 9/11 attackers were UAE citizens... gee, Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber", was born in London. Does that mean that the commercial aspects of the ports currently being run by the British company is a security risk?

There are some valid arguments to be made in opposition to this deal, but they seem to be in the microscopic minority compared to the spurious arguments being made. Far too many of the arguments against this deal seem like nothing more than hysterical xenophobia.

Posted by robbernard at 1:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Monday, December 19, 2005
Another pearl of Idiocy brought to you by the DDN's Speak Up column

Today's winner:

If Americans extract information from terrorists by torture, would Americans be any different than the terrorists?

--Dayton Daily News: Speak Up

YES WE BLEEPING WOULD! Because we wouldn't be targetting innocent civilians and bleeping beheading our captives! This writer seems to have just absolutely zero comprehension of what the terrorists are.

Posted by robbernard at 2:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, August 11, 2005
A good look inside Iraq

Michael Yon sends back dispatches from Mosul, Iraq. It's the type of stuff you won't hear on the news here at home where they only take notice when good-guys are killed.

The Yarmuk traffic circle is fantastically dangerous. On the first mission I ran in Mosul, we lost two soldiers and an interpreter, all killed by a car bomb. Others were horribly burned, scarred for life. Many of our wounded and killed soldiers got it right here, or in the immediate vicinity. The ISF takes serious losses in this part of town. But it's not entirely one-sided-- the Deuce Four has killed well over 150 terrorists in this neighborhood in the past 10 months. But almost none of those made the news, and those that did had a few key details missing.

Like the time when some ISF were driving and got blasted by an IED, causing numerous casualties and preventing them from recovering the vehicle. The terrorists came out and did their rifle-pumping-in-the-air thing, shooting AKs, dancing around like monkeys. Videos went ‘round the world, making it appear the terrorists were running Mosul, which was pretty much what was being reported at the time.

But that wasn't the whole story. In the Yarmuk neighborhood, only terrorists openly carry AK-47s. The lawyers call this Hostile Intent. The soldiers call this Dead Man Walking.

Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy. They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.

The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down.

--Michael Yon

Posted by robbernard at 12:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, July 28, 2005
Credit where it's due

It took them long enough but American Muslim scholars have issued a fatwah condemning terrorism.

American Muslim scholars who interpret religious law for their community issued an edict Thursday condemning terrorism against civilians in response to the wave of deadly attacks in Britain and other countries.

In the statement, called a fatwa, the 18-member Fiqh Council of North America wrote that people who commit terrorism in the name of Islam were "criminals, not `martyrs.'"

"There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism," the scholars wrote. "Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram — or forbidden."

--Yahoo! News

Posted by robbernard at 11:56 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, July 22, 2005
Ok, let's say you're al Qaeda...

And let's say you carried out yesterday's "bombings"... Why would you go and claim responsibility for it? Doesn't claiming responsibility for a failed bombing just make you look ineffectual?

Posted by robbernard at 10:10 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, July 21, 2005
More explosions in London

4 small explosions in London today, 3 in the Subway and 1 on a bus. It'll be interesting to see what in the world happened here. Did they mean for the explosions to be so small? Did the detonators not explode the real explosives? Was it just some kind of demented prank?

Posted by robbernard at 10:36 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, July 7, 2005
London Mayor Ken Livingstone on the attack
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack," said Mr Livingston.

He then had a message for the terrorists who had organised the explosions.

"I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail."

Posted by robbernard at 10:06 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
I've always figured that any day on which I wake up and the first thing I see on the news isn't news of a new terrorist attack isn't all that bad a day.

Today isn't that type of day. :( My thoughts and prayers are with the British people.

Posted by robbernard at 7:34 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, March 14, 2005
More protests in Lebanon

There are reports of upwards of 1.5 million people protesting in Beirut today against Syria's presence and influence in Lebanon.

Pictures here.

Much more here.

Posted by robbernard at 3:58 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, March 13, 2005
Changing the Middle East

The leader of the "Lebanese intifada", Walid Jumblatt, on what the events in Iraq mean to Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East:

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

--Washington Post

Posted by robbernard at 7:53 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, March 11, 2005
And while I'm giving credit...

I defy you not to admire these men who are choosing to go back into combat even after having lost a leg.

Posted by robbernard at 1:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, March 10, 2005
Have to give Spanish Muslims some credit

They've issued a fatwa against bin Laden.

Spain's Islamic Commission, which groups the nation's Muslim community, said it was issuing a fatwa against Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden,
'We are going to issue a fatwa (religious decree) against Bin Laden this afternoon,' Mansour Escudero, who leads the Federation of Islamic religious entities (Feeri) and co-secretary general of the Spanish governmenmt-created Commission told AFP.

The Commission invited Spanish-based imams to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers, when the whole country will be remembering the 191 people who were killed in the train blasts and the 1,900 injured a year ago.

The attacks have been blamed on mainly Moroccan Islamic extremists loyal to Bin Laden.

'We have called on imams to make a formal declaration condemning terrorism and for a special prayer for all the victims of terrorism,' Escudero said.


Finally someone's heeding the call for Western Muslims clerics to make it clear that they reject terrorism.

Posted by robbernard at 4:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, March 7, 2005
3 weeks in...

...and there are still between 150,000 and 250,000 protestors on the streets of Lebanon after Syria said they would pull their troops back, but not all the way out of Lebanon.

Posted by robbernard at 4:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

How am I supposed to come up with stuff to blog about when Reynolds is already saying everything that needs to be said about the Giuliana Sgrena situation?

The car carrying the recently freed hostage/reporter for an Italian communist paper was shot at by US troops as it approached the Baghdad Airport. US troops say the car was travelling towards the checkpoint at speed and ignored their warnings so they had to open fire. Sgrena claims... a lot of things. They were driving haphazardly enough that just before they had almost lost control of the car... they weren't speeding towards a checkpoint... there was no checkpoint... all she remembers is fire... they were shot at by a tank... they were specifically targeted because the US didn't like that Italy had paid the ransom...

Her claims that they weren't speeding towards a checkpoint and that they were purposefully targeted are... quite worthy of doubt to say the least. Not that that will stop the anti-Americans from using the incident to get people worked up.

Posted by robbernard at 4:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, March 3, 2005
Saudis tell Syria to get out of Lebanon
Saudi Arabia has taken a firm stance with Syria, telling its president to begin fully removing his troops from Lebanon in accordance with a United Nations resolution, or Saudi-Syrian relations will suffer.

A Saudi official said Crown Prince Abdullah delivered the warning Thursday during a meeting in Riyadh with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


Posted by robbernard at 5:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

I don't see how you can look at what's going on in Lebanon and not feel happy for these people and good about what they're doing. They are throwing off their yokes and making a stand for their right to self-determination and self-governance.

Posted by robbernard at 3:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 28, 2005
Pro-Syrian Lebanese government resigns
The Lebanese government abruptly resigned Monday during a stormy parliamentary debate, prompting a tremendous roar from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Beirut's Martyrs Square.

The demonstrators, awash in a sea of red, white and green Lebanese flags, had demanded the pro-Syrian government's resignation -- and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon -- since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a Lebanese opposition figure called for popular protests in Beirut to continue until Syria leaves.

"The battle is long, and this is the first step, this is the battle for freedom, sovereignty and independence," Ghattas Khouri told a cheering protest in central Beirut, according to Reuters.


I think you'd have to call this good news.

Posted by robbernard at 1:51 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
I'd like to thank Syria and Iran

It really makes it easier to take on the axis of evil when they go ahead and actually team up and form an axis.

Posted by robbernard at 1:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Explosion in Iran

As time goes by the explanation gets more and more innocuous. First it was a missile strike, then it was the fuel tank off an airplane, now it's "construction". By tomorrow I expect it'll be "it must have been that... bean... we ate."

Posted by robbernard at 1:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 14, 2005

You mean we're spying on Iran?!

We'd damn well better be.

Posted by robbernard at 11:36 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Woolsey: The terrorists think we're cowards
The increased frequency with which Middle Eastern terrorists target Americans and U.S. installations is due in part to the terrorists' continued perception that America acts cowardly when under attack, according to former Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey.
With President Jimmy Carter trying to negotiate the hostages' release in 1979 and 1980, the reaction of the average American was to "tie yellow ribbons around trees," Woolsey said. A few years later, when Hezbollah terrorists blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Americans "ran," he added.

Throughout the 1980s, as Americans like Leon Klinghoffer on the cruise ship Achille Lauro were killed and others were kidnapped in Lebanon, "what did the Americans do? They sent the lawyers," Woolsey said.
The Japanese, like al Qaeda, attacked the United States {to start WWII} in part because they considered the U.S. cowardly and unlikely to react forcefully. "Based on what we were doing in the 1920s and 1930s ... the Japanese in the 1940s thought pretty much the same thing about us, because our behavior had certain parallels," to the more recent period, Woolsey said.

"I think you have to admit that [al Qaeda] had some basis for the assessment that I've just described, just as the Japanese had some basis for the assessment that they made of us in the beginning of the 1940s."

Woolsey said he believes the conflict with Islamism and Baathism is neither a recent nor a short-term phenomenon. "What's new is not the war. What's new is not our being attacked. What's new is we noticed. We finally decided after 9-11 that we would be at war too." He added that the U.S. must "stay awake" in order to prevent future attacks.


We have noticed and our job now is to destroy the enemy and not bow to those who still think sending lawyers is the answer.

Posted by robbernard at 12:12 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 7, 2005
Israel & Palestinians to declare truce
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders will declare a formal end to more than four years of fighting at Tuesday's Mideast summit, both sides said Monday. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators finalized the agreement during last-minute preparations Monday.

--ABC News

Posted by robbernard at 12:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, February 4, 2005
"Democracy in Iraq is looking now... like a gestated baby demanding to be born"
"You don't suppose that cowboy could have been right all along, do you?"

That horrified question is lodging mischievously in scores of millions of brains around the world. Few people are saying it out loud, but it is on the tips of tongues.

The degree to which the Iraqi elections have changed things is simply stunning. A week ago, the worldwide consensus was that the insurgents were on the move, had the initiative. The American side needed a new strategy. Military leaders and other American officials said that publicly, for quotation. They couldn't get in trouble for saying it, because it was so obvious.

Now that seems like an era ago. Now the insurgents are sucking wind, or worse.

True, they might be back. Nevertheless, democracy in Iraq is looking now not like a gleam in some naive zealot's eye, but like a gestated baby demanding to be born.
For some people, this is all disorienting, simply because they have always assumed that Bush is bad guy. For them, the invasion was about Halliburton, vengeance, getting re-elected or oil, whatever he said. To see some of the stuff he said being borne out makes no sense, because, they think, he didn't even mean it.
But that election in Iraq Sunday! My goodness. It had to scare some non-democrats in the Mideast who could use a good scare. And it had to inspire others who pine for democracy.

Sure, this is just another stage in a long, long process. Still, the thought won't go away: Maybe the cowboy knew something.

--Martin Gottlieb - Dayton Daily News

Posted by robbernard at 12:54 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, January 30, 2005
Excuse me while I shamelessly paraphrase a bit from my favorite author...

"...Liberals have been expecting the imminent descent of Iraq into civil war for years."

"But it keeps not descending."

"So far, so good."

Posted by robbernard at 1:01 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, January 29, 2005
I don't think anybody could say it better

From an American soldier in Iraq:

It is now dusk in Baquba, a city that lies thirty-five miles Northeast of Baghdad, along the edge of the Sunni Triangle. The streets are quiet. Vehicular traffic has been banned today, a curfew is due to come into effect soon after dark. Mothers hurry home from the markets. Children scurry to keep up with them. Election posters cling to the walls and streetlights. The city is filled with expectations. The vast majority of the people realize what is at stake here. They are ready to cast their ballots tomorrow, to elect representatives who will govern them and craft a new constitution for their nation. They are eager to write a new chapter in the history of their country. Meanwhile, the enemies of freedom lurk in the dark alleyways of this city. Domestic and foreign terrorists lie in wait. They fear not only the outcome of the vote, but the very process itself. They want to halt the inexorable march of freedom. They may try to disrupt the voting. No matter what happens tomorrow, they are doomed to failure in the long run. The elections will take place, the citizens of Baquba will cast their ballots. The transformation of Iraq is about to commence. Still, this is not the end of the beginning; nor the beginning of the end; it is the beginning of the beginning. Sunday will mark the first step on the long road to political and moral recovery in Iraq – and in the region. When the sun rises, the people will speak.

--The Corner

Posted by robbernard at 4:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, January 28, 2005
Good news

Experts seem to have ruled out the prospect of an "unkillable zombie Bin Laden". :)

Posted by robbernard at 12:34 PM in Media , War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Oh the horror!
The United Nations official charged with election assistance yesterday threw a barb at American troops in Iraq,accusing them of conducting an "overenthusiastic" campaign to promote this weekend’s Iraqi election.

The chief of the U.N. Electoral Assistance Division, Carina Perelli, was asked in a press conference about reports that American troops helped Iraqi officials distribute information on the electoral process to Iraqi citizens, and encouraged them to participate in Sunday’s vote.

Ms. Perelli said that U.N. officials spent time "asking, begging military commanders precisely not to do that," but the time has not been well-spent. The Americans were "overenthusiastic in trying to help out with these elections," she said. "We have basically been saying they should try to minimize their participation because this is an Iraqi process."

--The New York Sun

What the hell are they thinking?! Helping educate people on how their election will be run? We can't have any of that!!!

It's just more of the same old damned if you do, damned if you don't. If the military hadn't helped educate people about the elections the UN would just be complaining that Iraqi's weren't being educated about the elections.

Posted by robbernard at 4:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, January 24, 2005
Just as valid as the pessimistic opinions that always seem to find their way into print...
"I don't just see light at the end of the tunnel, I see light at the start and throughout the tunnel," says [Mohammed Hanash] Abbas, 41, in a typically upbeat remark. His partner [Attallah] Zeidan, 39, agrees.

"We must live like other people," Zeidan says. "Let a million of us die. That's the price of freedom. Have you heard of any society that gained freedom without sacrifices?"

--AP News -

Posted by robbernard at 5:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, January 21, 2005
Most Iraqis say they will vote
An overwhelming majority of Iraqis continue to say they intend to vote on Jan. 30 even as insurgents press attacks aimed at rendering the elections a failure, according to a new public opinion survey.

The poll, conducted in late December and early January for the International Republican Institute, found 80 percent of respondents saying they were likely to vote, a rate that has held roughly steady for months.

--Washington Post

Assuming all the bombings in Iraq are meant to dissuade people from voting, it doesn't seem to be a very sound strategy. If the bad guys are going to try to blow you up whether it's election day or not then election day seems to be just another day as far as the threat level goes; so why not just go out and vote?

Posted by robbernard at 2:25 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Insurgant confesses that the insurgants have gotten aid from Syria and Iran

The confession of the head of the Army of Muhammad in Iraq, aired on Al-Fayhaa TV and translated by the good folks at MEMRI:

Interrogator: "What is your name?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "Colonel Muayed Yassin 'Aziz 'Abd Al-Razaq Al-Nasseri, commander of the Army of Muhammad, one of the resistance factions in Iraq. The Army of Muhammad was founded by Saddam Hussein after the fall of the regime, on April 9, 2003. At first, Yasser Al-Shab'awi was put in charge, until his capture in July 2003. Then Sa'd Hammad Hisham was in charge until December 2003. Then I was put in charge from January 2004 until now. The Army of Muhammad has some 800 armed fighters."
Interrogator: "Did you get support from the countries of the region?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "Yes, sir... Many factions of the resistance are receiving aid from the neighboring countries. We in the Army of Muhammad - the fighting has been going on for almost two years now, and there must be aid, and this aid came from the neighboring countries. We got aid primarily from Iran. The truth is that Iran has played a significant role in supporting the Army of Muhammad and many factions of the resistance. I have some units, especially in southern Iraq, which receive Iranian aid in the form of arms and equipment."

Interrogator: "You're referring to units of the Army of Muhammad?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "Yes. They received money and weapons."

'[Fighters] Met Personally with Iranian Leader Khamenei… They Even Got Car Bombs'

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "As for other factions of the resistance, I have reliable information regarding the National Islamic resistance, which is one of the factions of resistance, led by Colonel 'Asi Al Hadithi. He sent a delegation to Iran from among the people of the faction, including General Halaf and General Khdayyer. They were sent to Iran in April or May and met with Iranian intelligence and with a number of Iranian leaders and even with Khamenei."

Interrogator: "You mean they personally met with Khamenei?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "According to my information, they met with him personally, and they were given one million dollars and two cars full of weapons. They still have a very close relationship with Iran. They receive money, cars, weapons, and many things. According to my information, they even got car bombs."

'Cooperation with Syria Began in October 2003… Later, Saddam Hussein Himself Authorized Me to Go to Syria'

Muayed Al-Nasseri "In addition, as I've told you, Syria… Cooperation with Syria began in October 2003, when a Syrian intelligence officer contacted me. S'ad Hamad Hisham and later Saddam Hussein himself authorized me to go to Syria. So I was sent to Syria. I crossed the border illegally. Then I went to Damascus and met with an intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel 'Abu Naji' through a mediator called 'Abu Saud.' I raised the issues that preoccupied Saddam Hussein and the leadership. There were four issues: First, the issue of the media; second, political support in international forums; [third], aid in the form of weapons, and [fourth], material aid, whether it is considered a debt or is taken from the frozen Iraqi funds in Syria."

'The Syrian Government is Fully Aware of this, and the Syrian Intelligence Cooperates Fully'

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "Through the Ba'th party - the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party operates in Syria with complete freedom. It maintains its relations and organizes the Ba'th members outside Iraq. The Syrian government is fully aware of this, and the Syrian intelligence cooperates fully, as well as the Ba'th Party, in Syria.


Posted by robbernard at 1:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Some tidbits from P.J. O'Rourke
Fascists do bad things just to be bad. "I'm the baddest dude in Baghdad," Saddam Hussein was saying, "the baddest cat in the Middle East. I'm way bad." This was way stupid. But fascists are stupid. Consider Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. He didn't have any. How stupid does that make Saddam? All he had to do was say to UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, "Look under my bed. Look in the special spider hole I'm keeping for emergencies." And Saddam Hussein could have gone on dictatoring away until Donald Rumsfeld is elected head of the World Council of Churches. ... [Terrorism] is terrifying, hence its name.... But as frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. When someone detonates a suicide bomb, that person does not have career prospects. And no matter how horrific the terrorist attack, it's conducted by losers. Winners don't need to hijack airplanes. Winners have an air force.

--P.J. O'Rourke - Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism

Posted by robbernard at 1:42 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, January 14, 2005
What would we do without Wright-Patt? :)
A US plan to develop a bad breath bomb and a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other has been revealed in newly declassified documents.

New Scientist's web site reports that the documents show the Pentagon considered a range of non-lethal chemical weapons aimed at disrupting enemy discipline and morale.

The "sex bomb" idea would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale, it states.

Also considered were concoctions that would be irresistible to wasps or angry rats to render enemy bases uninhabitable.

And there was the bad breath bomb idea - a weapon that caused "severe and lasting halitosis" to make it easier to sniff out spies.

Other ideas dating back to 1994 from the US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Ohio included making soldiers' skin react painfully to sunlight.

Posted by robbernard at 12:52 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Losing the battle for the hearts and minds of tsunami survivors

I figure this qualifies as good news as it's the terrorists who are doing the losing.

THE spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah says he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Aceh's tsunami survivors because of the humanitarian assistance from Australian and US military forces.

A spokesman for Abu Bakar Bashir said the Indonesian cleric, who is on trial for terrorism, regarded the relief operations by Australian and US military personnel as a dangerous development, overshadowing the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).

"We are suspicious of the presence of foreign soldiers and their show of force and the minimum publicity given to assistance from Arab states," said Fauzan Al Anshari, a spokesman for Bashir's militant Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia group.

"It's dangerous, this idea by Acehnese that US and Australian forces are their guardian angels - more popular than the TNI."

Posted by robbernard at 2:36 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Get out the grains of salt

Reports indicate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may have been captured. Take it with the afore-mentioned sodium chloride.

Posted by robbernard at 5:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, December 27, 2004
The military still supports the war
Despite a year of ferocious combat, mounting casualties and frequent deployments, support for the war in Iraq remains very high among the active-duty military, according to a Military Times Poll.

Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60% remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.

But the men and women in uniform are under no illusions about how long they will be fighting in Iraq; nearly half say they expect to be there more than five years.

In addition, 87%% say they're satisfied with their jobs and, if given the choice today, only 25% say they'd leave the service.

Compared with last year, the percentages for support for the war and job satisfaction remain essentially unchanged. - Poll shows troops in support of war

Posted by robbernard at 10:44 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, December 20, 2004
Uparmored humvees

Powerline reports that the uproar over the lack of uparmored humvees may not be all it's made out to be, at least in regards to the unit that the soldier who asked the infamous question of Secretary Rumsfeld was in.

Of the 800+ vehicles in the 278 ACR, only 20 weren't "uparmored" and those 20 were scheduled to be upgraded (and were upgraded) within 24 hours of when the question was asked according to Major General Stephen Speakes.

Posted by robbernard at 2:12 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Donald Rumsfeld's been taking quite a beating recently. I have to say, I wouldn't be at all opposed to his leaving. At this juncture though I don't think his departure is really politically feasible.

Now don't take this to be playing politics with defense. I don't mean that his departure would reflect badly on President Bush or help the Democrats or anything like that. I do though think that his leaving right now could affect the next SecDef's ability to do the job. The attacks are going to continue to escalate in Iraq and I think it's advisable for Rumsfeld to stay on until early next year so that we can at least get over that hump. Then I'd fully support dumping Rumsfeld and bringing in a new guy to manage the operations in post-election Iraq.

Posted by robbernard at 1:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, December 16, 2004
GPS system could be disabled in the event of a terrorist attack
President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology, the White House said Wednesday.

Any shutdown of the network inside the United States would come under only the most remarkable circumstances, said a Bush administration official who spoke to a small group of reporters at the White House on condition of anonymity.
The president also instructed the Defense Department to develop plans to disable, in certain areas, an enemy's access to the U.S. navigational satellites and to similar systems operated by others. The European Union (news - web sites) is developing a $4.8 billion program, called Galileo.

The military increasingly uses GPS technology to move troops across large areas and direct bombs and missiles. Any government-ordered shutdown or jamming of the GPS satellites would be done in ways to limit disruptions to navigation and related systems outside the affected area, the White House said.

"This is not something you would do lightly," said James A. Lewis, director of technology policy for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's clearly a big deal. You have to give them credit for being so open about what they're going to do."

--Yahoo News

Nice to see that they're thinking ahead.

Posted by robbernard at 1:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, December 9, 2004
An open letter to a deserter

From Citizen Smash.

Posted by robbernard at 12:10 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, November 22, 2004
Date set for Iraqi elections
Iraq's Electoral Commission on Sunday set national elections for Jan. 30, and a spokesman said ballots would be cast nationwide, including in areas now wracked by violence. ... Iraqis will go to the polls to choose a national assembly, which will among other things draft a permanent constitution. The vote is seen as a major step toward building democracy after years of rule by Saddam Hussein. ... Sunday was the first time a date for national elections was set; the commission was charged with choosing a date before the end of January.

"Having elections in Iraq are very important, and having them in time is also so important for the Iraqi people to have more security in Iraq," said Salama al-Khafaji, a Shiite member of the interim Iraqi National Assembly.

Iraqi voters will choose representatives for a 275-member national assembly, provincial councils and the national council for Kurdistan. Ayar said that 122 political parties out of 195 applications were accepted and registered for the elections.

--ABC News

Posted by robbernard at 1:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, November 19, 2004
The Ba'th party seems to be setting up shop in France
With the defeat of the Saddam Hussein regime on April 9, 2003, the Ba'th ruling party was outlawed and a committee for the de-Ba'thification of Iraq was established. [1] However, the Ba'th's propaganda machine appears to have found a new abode in Paris, France, whence threats to the U.S. are issued regularly in three languages - English, French, and Spanish. Not surprisingly, the Ba'thist propagandists use the word "resistance" (in French, "la resistance") to underscore the association with the struggle against the Nazi occupation of France during WWII.

The resurrection of the Ba'th Party on French soil was further strengthened by France's proposal that representatives of "la resistance" should participate in any future conference that will be convened to discuss the future of Iraq. This position was clearly stated by Michel Barnier, the French Foreign Minister, in an interview with the French TV station " France Inter." In the interview, Mr. Barnier called for a political process in Iraq that would include "a number of groups and people who have today opted for the path of resistance through the use of weapons."


Gee, imagine that...

Posted by robbernard at 2:58 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Not exactly the French participation in Iraq we were looking for

Frenchmen are dying alongside on the other side of our troops in Iraq.

Posted by robbernard at 11:47 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, November 15, 2004
An astounding number

The battle in Fallujah was supposed to be the worst possible conditions for our military to fight in. Urban combat. Street-to-street, door-to-door. As things stand now, the enemy is said to be "broken" and 1,000-2,000 insurgents have been killed to the coaltion's 44. That's a ratio of between 22:1 and 45:1. I think that number says a lot about the abilities of our military. They took what are widely seen to be the worst possible conditions for a traditional military battle and crushed the enemy.

Posted by robbernard at 12:55 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, November 5, 2004
Scott Speicher's remains may have been found in Iraq
First Coast News has learned a body has been found in Iraq and DNA testing is underway.

Multiple sources tell First Coast News Captain Scott Speicher's family has been notified.

They will not disclose the details of why they believe these are his remains only to say they have reason to feel confident these are his remains.

Test results are expected within weeks.
[Speicher was believed to have died in a plane crash in the first Gulf War. --ed]

First Coast News has learned the human remains, thought to be Speichers, were not found at the crash site.

The remains being tested were found in another part of Iraq.

After the initial discovery of the crash site, in an unprecedented move, the Pentagon changed Speicher's status from Killed in Action, to Missing in Action, and then later, Missing Captured.

The president even included Speicher and the fact that he was still in Iraq in a speech he gave to the nation.

Shortly into the second Gulf War, the initials M.S.S were found in a Baghdad prison.

Sources are now telling First Coast News they have information that indicates Speicher was captured after the crash and held as a prisoner for some time before he died.

However, DNA tests performed on the materials used to make the markings failed to confirm those initials found in a cell were made by Michael Scott Speicher.

His friends and family were not discouraged saying they knew the wall had been painted over several times and other things found in other prison cells supported their theory that Scott had been held at that prison.

--First Coast News

Posted by robbernard at 2:58 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, November 4, 2004
Reports indicate that Arafat is dead
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat died in the Percy military hospital near Paris, Proche Orient Info, a French newspaper that covers the Middle East reported Thursday evening.

Radio Monte-Carlo also reported on Thursday evening that Yasser Arafat is clinically dead.

Proche Orient reported that doctors decided to take Arafat off the artificial respirator.

The commanders of the Palestinian security forces have been summoned to an urgent meeting in Ramallah Thursday night following reports that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was in critical condition.

--Jerusalem Post

Of course other reports indicate he isn't.

Posted by robbernard at 11:45 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, October 31, 2004
bin Laden: If your state votes for Kerry we won't consider you an enemy

From the good folks at MEMRI:

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."


Someone care to explain how that can be interpreted as Osama fearing that Kerry will be tougher on al Qaeda?

Friday, October 29, 2004
Good news from Iraq
Iraq’s principal Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has informed the interim Iraqi government of his “full support” for elections scheduled for January.

“The grand ayatollah’s message is that elections should be held as scheduled and that he will advise the faithful to take active part,” Sistani’s spokesman Ahmad Safi told Arab News yesterday.
Sistani’s support comes as a major boost to plans for the election that is designed to choose a constituent assembly to finalize a draft constitution that will then be submitted to the people in a referendum.

--Arab News

Posted by robbernard at 1:51 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, October 8, 2004

Jonah Goldberg has a good column up on the myriad reasons the Iraq war was justified.

The notion that the invasion of Iraq was justified - and justifiable - solely on the WMD threat is a canard. It's true, the administration did emphasize the WMD issue. But it's also true that the press consistently demanded "one reason" - in Tim Russert's words - to go to war. The WMD case was simply the most compelling one to make. Every allied intelligence agency - including France's and Germany's - was convinced Saddam had WMDs. As were all of the various competing agencies in our own defense-intelligence complex.
But that doesn't mean that Bush didn't offer numerous other rationales before and after the war. In major speeches he touted the importance of democratizing the Middle East. Administration officials pointed out that Saddam was the only world leader to applaud 9/11, and that he was a major source of funding for suicide bombers in Israel. They argued that removing Saddam would have a positive impact on the peace process. President Bush made a masterful case to the United Nations that, in the post-9/11 world, the world body could not afford to let a dictator - one who had gassed his own people and invaded a neighbor - flout its countless resolutions with impunity.
We don't buy cars for a single reason. (Oh, it's blue! I'll take it!) Why should we launch a preemptive war for a single reason?

Of course Bush has emphasized other rationales now that we know there were no WMDs. What else is he going to do? Should he say, "Oops," and leave Iraq to disintegrate into civil war, which will plunge the region into chaos? Or should he emphasize the other - completely legitimate and consistent - rationales for this war? If we had found WMDs, Bush would still be fighting to democratize Iraq. That we haven't found them makes that task all the more important.

The fact is that all wars have complex and changing justifications. The bloodiest war in our nation's history was begun as an effort to preserve the American union. The motives behind the Civil War are endlessly debated, but this much is beyond dispute: As the war dragged on - and as a chorus of naysayers bitterly denounced Lincoln's determination - the president resolved to make freedom and individual rights central struggles of the conflict.

Those who scold President Bush for breaking "the rules" - for changing the way he makes his case for a just war - must also explain how Lincoln was wrong. They must explain how the Cold War, begun as an exercise in Realpolitik, did a disservice to those whom it eventually freed from tyranny. I, for one, will be delighted if one day we can see the Iraq war in this grand American tradition of "changing rationales" after the fighting began.

--Jonah Goldberg

There were many reasons a war to remove Saddam was justified. Discovering there were no WMD does not make the war retroactively unjustified. EVERYONE thought Iraq had WMD going in and there was no way that notion could ever be sufficiently disproved while Saddam was in power.

Posted by robbernard at 1:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Something to keep an eye on

Scott Wheeler of reports that:

Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.
They detail the Iraqi regime's purchase of five kilograms of mustard gas on Aug. 21, 2000 and three vials of malignant pustule, another term for anthrax, on Sept. 6, 2000. The purchase order for the mustard gas includes gas masks, filters and rubber gloves. The order for the anthrax includes sterilization and decontamination equipment. (See Saddam's Possession of Mustard Gas)

The documents show that Iraqi intelligence received the mustard gas and anthrax from "Saddam's company," which Tefft said was probably a reference to Saddam General Establishment, "a complex of factories involved with, amongst other things, precision optics, missile, and artillery fabrication."
The senior government official and source of the Iraqi intelligence memos, explained that the reason the documents have not been made public before now is that the government has "thousands and thousands of documents waiting to be translated.

"It is unlikely they even know this exists," the source added.

The government official also explained that the motivation for leaking the documents, "is strictly national security and helping with the war on terrorism by focusing this country's attention on facts and away from political posturing.

"This is too important to let it get caught up in the political process," the source told

Prove 'em wrong if you can.

Posted by robbernard at 12:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
You'll hear Kerry boast about an individual soldier who supports him once in a while...

...but this is something to keep in mind: Troops in survey back Bush 4-to-1 over Kerry.

Posted by robbernard at 12:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Kerry: Won't send more troops to Iraq even if they're needed.
Siegel: What do you do if you ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff what they need to achieve their mission in Iraq and they say, "We need a lot more troops"? Do you escalate the troop levels, or do you plan for a quick or a constant exit instead?

Kerry: You have to support our troops, and you have to do what's necessary to try to make this mission successful, but they have not asked for that. I have to wait until I'm president and sit down with them and see where we are.

Siegel: But you yourself have pointed out that Gen. Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff, said there should be hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq, and you say he was fired for saying that. What if you get now the "real story," as you would say, the Army speaking candidly--

Kerry: I'll have to make a decision when I get there as to what the probabilities are. I can't hypothesize as to what I am going to find on Jan. 20--whether I'm going to find a Lebanon or whether I'm going to find a country that's moving towards an election. That depends on what the president does now.


I think the leadership has been arrogant and disastrous.

Siegel: But should either you or whoever is president next year consider the possibility of an increase in troops? Is that even a consideration, or should it be completely off the table?

Kerry: I do not intend to increase troops. I intend to get the process in place that I described, and I believe as a new president, with new credibility, with a fresh start, that I have the ability to be able to change the dynamics on the ground.

--Best of the Web

Where's that nuance when you need it?

Saturday, September 11, 2004
Remembering September 11th

I was at work. Someone came in at about 9 saying to the guy in the cubicle next to him, "Hey, did you hear about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center?" My first thought was "Wow, how bad a pilot do you have to be to hit a big building like that." In my mind the plane was a Cessna. It wasn't. No work really got done that day. Everybody was trying to figure out what was going on. The news sites on the web were swamped. You simply couldn't get through. Then CNN put up the low bandwidth version and we learned that two planes had struck. Then a tower had collapsed. Then the other. I went up to the lunch room briefly; they had set up a television. I saw the smoke coming from the Pentagon. None of it was real though, not yet. It hadn't sunk in. It wouldn't sink in until I got home. The TV was on all night. I first saw the video of the collapses at about 5:30. The words "HOLY CRAP!!!" went through my mind. It still hadn't really hit me though. Then I was flipping through the channels and I came to MTV. They weren't on the air. They're based in Manhattan. They had other things on their mind. For some weird reason that's when it really hit me. I don't know why it was then, it really seems so trivial, MTV not being on the air, but that's when the whole situation went from being simply pictures on a cathode ray tube to being real. That's when the human tragedy of it all sunk in. That's when I cried.

I don't claim to have been anywhere near the most affected... nobody I know died there... only one person I know was even in the vicinity... I'm probably not even in the top half... but everyone was affected. Everyone. And it's important that everyone remember what happened that day, what it meant, what we've learned.

I hope everyone can remember and honor those that died that day, especially those who gave their lives so that others might live.

I hope we've all learned a thing or two about what we're up against... that people want to kill us... that people want to end our way of life... that these people have no qualms about harming the innocent… that these people's hatred drives them to do the inconceivable... that these people must be fought with every ounce of our determination and that our determination must not falter until the job is done.

I hope we never forget.

Posted by robbernard at 12:01 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, August 24, 2004
The story we must tell

Orson Scott Card has yet another excellent article.

Here's the story we need to tell:

Every action of Al-Qaeda is part of Osama's cynical plan to become the Caliph of Islam. He is persuading young Muslim men to kill themselves in order to further his own climb to absolute power over all Muslims, and then (he hopes) over the whole world.

These young Muslim men, Osama says, are "martyrs," but every Muslim knows that martyrs are killed by the enemy, not self-murdered in order to kill innocents.

Because they believe Osama's teachings, these young men cut themselves off from a lifetime of service to God, a lifetime of fathering children who would grow up to serve God. Instead they die in service of Osama's ambition.

They are, in effect, suffering the same fate as the eunuchs who served as loyal slaves in the court of the Sultan in Istanbul. Cut off from the hope of having families of their own, their lives were spent in the service of Sultans who claimed to be religious leaders but were really nothing more than vicious exploiters and oppressors of the Muslim people.

It is a cruel trick that Osama plays on these brave young men. He takes their faith in God and their willingness to die in the service of Islam, and he twists their beliefs so that instead of serving God and following the Koran, they give up their own families and defy God in order to make themselves eunuchs in Osama's future palace.

The same can be said of the Palestinian suicide bombers, only they are eunuchs for Yasser Arafat, whose ambitions are as small as his mind: They are dying so that Yasser can be dictator of Palestine. At least you have to give Osama credit for grandiosity.

Why do you think Iran is not just developing nuclear weapons, but proclaiming that they are doing so? Because the ayatollahs are jealous of Osama and want to do something to take the leadership of radical Islam back from him. They also encourage and train young men to kill themselves in order to murder non-Muslims -- all in the service of their own ambition.

But ultimately, all these self-murdering "heroes" are not martyrs at all, they are victims of the trickery of ambitious, selfish, ruthless men.

That is the story that we must tell, over and over again. And, unlike the vile stories they tell about American motives, this story has the great advantage of being obviously and relentlessly true.

Telling this story is not enough, of course. We must also show that we are relentless in our pursuit of these ruthless enemies of civilization, and that we will allow them no shelter. The combination of our true story and their endless series of defeats will, eventually, be this:

They will no longer be able to persuade young Muslim men to become eunuchs in the service of their ambition.

--Orson Scott Card - Civilization Watch

Posted by robbernard at 4:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, August 4, 2004
Naeem Noor Khan may not be the best known al Qaeda operative caught...

But they certainly seem to be squeezing some very useful information out of him.

At least one of 12 suspects held on suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities in Britain was arrested as a result of intelligence gathered from the arrest of a Pakistani computer expert, Pakistani intelligence officials tell CNN.

They said during an interrogation of Naeem Noor Khan -- described as an al Qaeda computer expert -- he told them there was a terror network in Britain and he frequently relayed messages from Pakistan to its leader, an important al Qaeda operative.


CNN is now saying that "suspected al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan "contacted" at least one person in the U.S. in recent months". This new info could be from Khan, or it could be totally unrelated.

Posted by robbernard at 2:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, July 30, 2004
"I will defend America every time"

President Bush in Springfield, MO today:

We have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. America's future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy.

BUSH: This will not happen on my watch.

The world changed on a terrible September morning. And since that day, we've changed the world.

Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base for Al Qaida, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Today, Afghanistan is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror, a place where many young girls go to school for the first time. And as a result of our actions, America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit point for terrorists. Today, Pakistani forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists and America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government has taken the fight to Al Qaida and America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear message, the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America.

BUSH: He was defying the world. He was firing weapons at American pilots and forcing the world's sanctions. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He had harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world's most vulnerable region.

I took those threats seriously. After September the 11th, we had to look at the threats in a new light. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must deal with threats before they fully materialize.

The September the 11th commission concluded that our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. After September the 11th, we cannot fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant, who hated America, who had ties to terror, had weapons of mass destruction and might use those weapons or share his deadly capability with terrorists was not a threat.

We looked at the intelligence. We saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat.

We went to the United Nations, which unanimously demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs or face serious consequences. After 12 years of defiance, he refused to comply with the demands of the free world.

When he continued to deceive the weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make: to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant, or remember the lessons of September the 11th and defend our country.

BUSH: Given that choice, I will defend America every time.

When it comes to fighting the threats of our world and making America safer and promoting the peace, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back.

It's nice to have a President in the post-9/11 world willing to see and deal with threats before they harm us and not one that is willing to wait for the attack followed by a "swift and certain response."

Friday, July 23, 2004
"They were wrong about World War II, wrong about the Cold War and they're wrong again today"

A very good ad from Move America Forward. They describe themselves as "a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to supporting America’s efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces."

Posted by robbernard at 1:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, July 22, 2004
You want to know why you don't give in to terrorist demands to save one life?

Because shit like this results.

Posted by robbernard at 2:27 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The head of a US man kidnapped and killed in Saudi Arabia has been found in a police raid, Saudi officials say.

The head of Paul Johnson was discovered in a refrigerator during a police raid on an apartment in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the interior ministry said.

Johnson was abducted by an al-Qaeda cell on 12 June. Photographs of his beheading were published on an Islamist website six days later.

His family had appealed for more news about the whereabouts of his body.


Posted by robbernard at 1:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"Thank God"

Israeli UN ambassador Dan Gillerman after the UN voted against Israel's defensive wall 150-6: "Mr President, allow me to start with a vote of thanks. Thank God that the fate of Israel and of the Jewish people is not decided in this hall."

Posted by robbernard at 1:05 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, July 18, 2004
Someone slipped up at the times

Somehow they let a relatively positive story from Iraq get through.

Gradually, ever so imperceptibly, the ground is beginning to shift.

The legions of American soldiers who not so long ago erected checkpoints and roared across the capital, guns pointed out of their Humvees, have diminished.

In their place, Iraqi officers are manning checkpoints and swooping down on suspected criminal gangs. Led by their American counterparts, Iraqi soldiers are combing through palm groves in search of weapons caches. One vanguard unit of the new Iraqi Army, known as the Iraqi Intervention Force, is allowed to patrol the streets without Americans.

More and more, the public face of security here is Iraqi.
The change is part of a calibrated American strategy to win confidence among ordinary Iraqis essentially by not being so visible.

That strategy is also evident in the actions of American civilian leaders here. The American ambassador, John D. Negroponte, has kept a conspicuously low profile. No longer are there near-daily news briefings in English by an American overseer or military officer. Instead there are addresses to the news media, often in a mixture of Arabic and English, by newly appointed Iraqi officials.

--New York Times

In your standard piece in say the Washington Post or the L.A. Times that retreat of US personnel from the spotlight would be portrayed as a failure; as proof that our strategy in Iraq hadn't worked. Never mind that it IS our strategy in Iraq.

Posted by robbernard at 2:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
9/11 commision claims Iran helped al Qaeda
In its report due next week, the September 11 commission will disclose new evidence suggesting Iranian government officials may have helped facilitate the terror attacks by providing Al Qaeda members with safe passage and “clean” passports as they traveled from Osama bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan through Iran, NEWSWEEK has learned.

Citing a recently discovered December 2001 memo buried in the files of the National Security Agency, the commission report states that Iranian border inspectors were instructed not to place stamps in the passports of Al Qaeda fighters from Saudi Arabia who were traveling from bin Laden’s camps through Iran, according to U.S. officials and commission sources familiar with the report.

The commission report does not address which Al Qaeda members specifically benefited from the clean passport policy. It also emphasizes that the panel has found no evidence suggesting that Iranian government officials had advance knowledge of bin Laden’s plans to attack the World Trade Towers and Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001.

But, citing the NSA memo, the report discloses for the first time that eight to ten of the so-called “muscle hijackers” on September 11 are believed to have traveled through Iran between October 2000 and February 2001—the same period of time that Iranian border guards were facilitating the movement of extremist jihadis entering and exiting the Afghan training camps.


Predictably I've seen some rehashing the old canard of "why are we only going after Iraq and not Iran and North Korea", indignantly crying "Iran has WMD programs and was helping al Qaeda, not Iraq! Why didn't we attack them?!?!?!?!"

Firstly I find it highly dubious that the Left that opposed removing Saddam after 12 or so years of sanctions and clear evidence that he wasn't living up to his part of the agreement would, if confronted with evidence of an Iranian weapons program and evidence that Iran aided al Qaeda, be all fine and dandy with invading and removing Iran's government. There would have been cries of "let's give sanctions a shot!" Because of course sanctions have worked so well against Saddam, and North Korea, and Cuba. (This is what, year 41 of the sanctions against Cuba working wonders?)

We went to war with Iraq because we had come to the end of the line on options with them. We had imposed sanctions and they were being circumvented by a corrupt oil-for-food program. We imposed no fly zones and our planes were being shot at regularly. We had tried restoring inspections but Saddam simply jerked around with them at every turn. Saddam refused to provide the cooperation that was required. He was bickering about when U2s could fly over and whether rockets that clearly violated the terms of the agreement really did and whether they'd be destroyed. We now know that he had ongoing WMD-related activities that he was not allowed to have. This was not a man being deterred by our efforts.

The Left complains that President Bush is too simplistic and then they turn right around and complain that he doesn't impose the exact same sanctions/punishments/retribution in every circumstance out that even remotely similar. North Korea can still be negotiated with given the help of China. Iran has a large movement of its own that given time could overthrow the government without any help from us at all. Iraq had none of these things. There was nobody to keep Iraq in line. There was no negotiating with Saddam, he had long ago shown himself to be a dishonest negotiating partner. There was no movement within non-Kurdish Iraq that could have overthrown the government that was oppressing them so thoroughly. That is why we attacked Iraq and not Nation X, Y, or Z. They all may be well-deserving of a good ass whoopin' but we don't use that as our first course of action. We tried dealing with Iraq peacefully. If he had come out after the Gulf War and fully disclosed his weapons programs and fully complied with all UN resolutions and given up his imperialistic goals we never would have had to invade Iraq. If he hadn't stymied our efforts to enforce the peace at every turn we would not have had to invade Iraq. In the end we ran out of peaceable options with Iraq and we had to do what we did. We haven't reached that point with the other countries yet. You'd think that a party that prides itself on the "nuance" of its candidate would be able to see the logic of treating different situations differently.

It's easy to call your opponents simplistic warmongers when you oversimplify their rationale for waging war to the ridiculously simplistic.

Posted by robbernard at 3:01 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Iran: It's the US & Israel that are beheading people in Iraq
Eschewing terrorism as a "loathsome, horrible phenomenon," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei accused the United States and Israel on Tuesday of being responsible for kidnappings and beheadings of foreign nationals in Iraq.

"We seriously suspect the agents of the Americans and Israelis in conducting such horrendous terrorist moves and cannot believe that the people who kidnap Philippine's nationals, for instance, or behead U.S nationals are Muslims," Khamenei said - as quoted by Iran's official news service, the Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA), on Tuesday.



I'd be really curious to know what they think America's rationale would be for kidnapping and beheading citizens of our allies and demanding that they pull their troops out.

Meanwhile an associate of Osama bin Laden turns himself in to the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Posted by robbernard at 2:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"Why al Qaeda is Fleeing Iraq"
Al Qaeda operations in Iraq have encountered unexpected problems. Iraqis have become increasingly hostile to al Qaeda's suicide bombing campaign. Religious leaders, which al Qaeda expects to get support from, have been openly denouncing these bombings. Iraqis, aware that they are more likely, than American soldiers, to be victims of these attacks, are providing more information on where the al Qaeda members are hiding out. Most of the al Qaeda in Iraq are foreigners, and easy for Iraqis to detect. As a result of this, many of the al Qaeda men have moved back to Fallujah, which has become a terrorist sanctuary. The interim government is trying to convince the tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah to back a military operation in the city to clear out the various al Qaeda, criminal and Baath Party gangs. But the gangs of Fallujah are quick to threaten any local leader that shows signs of supporting the government. While the Fallujah leadership is intimidated, many residents of Fallujah are not, and are providing information to the coalition, which has led to attacks, with smart bombs or coalition and Iraqi troops, on buildings used by al Qaeda, or other gangs, as headquarters.

Al Qaeda has found the atmosphere even more hostile elsewhere in Iraq, and many of the terrorists have returned home. This is especially true of those who came from Saudi Arabia (and other Gulf nations, particularly Yemen) and Syria. Few, if any, al Qaeda came from Iran, which is Shia Moslem. Al Qaeda is dominated by Sunni Moslems who are often violently anti-Shia. While the hundreds of returning al Qaeda veterans are still determined to achieve al Qaeda's goals of world domination, they are also more realistic. Fanaticism was not sufficient to chase the foreigners from Iraq, and the Arab media's sensational, and largely false, reporting of the impact of al Qaeda's attacks contributed to the disillusionment.

--Strategy Page (via Instapundit)

Wait, I thought the Iraqis hated us with the passion of a thousand suns and would do rise up in civil war to overthrow the puppet interim government...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the key to success in Iraq isn't in killing every terrorist, it isn't in crushing dissent, it isn't in pulling out. It is in ensuring that the Iraqis know that it is their country. It is in ensuring that they realize they have a part to play. It is in giving them the ability to fight back against those who would repress them, those who would kill them. The Iraqis must know that it is THEIR Iraq they are fighting for and it appears they’re getting the message.

President Bush knows this too. The Left complains that President Bush doesn't have a plan to win in Iraq. This IS his plan to win in Iraq.

The June 30th transfer of sovereignty is an essential commitment of our strategy. Iraqis are proud people who resent foreign control of their affairs, just as we would. After decades under the tyrant, they are also reluctant to trust authority. By keeping our promise on June 30th, the coalition will demonstrate that we have no interest in occupation. And full sovereignty will give Iraqis a direct interest in the success of their own government. Iraqis will know that when they build a school or repair a bridge, they're not working for the Coalition Provisional Authority, they are working for themselves. And when they patrol the streets of Baghdad, or engage radical militias, they will be fighting for their own country.
Coalition forces and the Iraqi people have the same enemies -- the terrorists, illegal militia, and Saddam loyalists who stand between the Iraqi people and their future as a free nation. Working as allies, we will defend Iraq and defeat these enemies.

America will provide forces and support necessary for achieving these goals.

--White House

Posted by robbernard at 1:41 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, July 8, 2004
You know, it's odd...

The administration releases information that terrorists are plotting to attack the United States before the November election. This is based on information resulting from the arrest of terror suspects in Europe. Osama and al-Zawahiri are said to be directing them.

The response from the Left? They're "crying wolf", "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" and "This is nothing new - they've already been spouting this sort of crap".

Back in August 2001 the President's Daily Briefing pointed out that for quite some time bin Laden had wanted to attack inside the US. This apparently is based on no new information. No action is taken because there's nothing actionable.

The left's reaction to this? "Bush knew!", "Do these people need somebody to tell them to do something?", "The idiot hears that... and then takes a month off? That's criminally irresponsible!", "george, it's called terrorism 'cause you dont know when & where its occurs. bush should be impeached and convicted for gross negligence" and "All Bu$h had to do at his Aug 7th Press Briefing was to tell the American people that we had serious concerns about a possible al Qaeda attack".

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Posted by robbernard at 7:47 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
No pressure put on intelligence analysts

The unanimous report by the [bipartisan Senate] panel will say there is no evidence that intelligence officials were subjected to pressure to reach particular conclusions about Iraq. That issue had been an early focus of Democrats, but none of the more than 200 intelligence officials interviewed by the panel made such a claim, and the Democrats have recently focused criticism on the question of whether the intelligence was misused.

--The New York Times

So, how can the Left skew this? Perhaps "Bush should have pressured them to reach the right conclusion" or "Bush's reliance on the CIA is a symbol of his incompetence" or, most likely, "Bush pressured the analysts to lie!!!! (Bush is like Hitler!)"

Posted by robbernard at 5:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Truth? We don't need no stinkin' truth!

Surprise, surprise. The revelation that Iraq did in fact seek uranium from Niger isn't enough for the Left as Brian Griffin demonstrates.

Bush not "lying" is seen as a victory, but the fact that he had to rely on bullshit evidence that his own people did not know or verify and still have not verified is to all other observers a sign that Bush was incompetent, and was grasping at straws to try and justify his war.

One of three possibilities exist: Bush lied, is and was an idiot, or was incompetent. He could be all three, but I will not go that far. At least not today.

--Cincy Blog

Did he completely miss the part where it said the claims regarding Iraq seeking uranium from Niger were true? President Bush said that the British had learned that Iraq was looking to obtain uranium in Niger. The independent investigation in Britain has determined that the claim is in fact true. Repeating a claim from the British that turns out to be completely true is now an example of being either a liar, incompetent, or an idiot? It was not "bullshit evidence", THE CLAIM WAS TRUE! He took a claim from an ally, a claim that, again, turned out to be factually and in all other ways correct and repeated it. That is not lying. That is not incompetence. That is not idiocy. That is justified trust. There might be a case for incompetence if it weren't for the fact that IT WAS COMPLETELY TRUE!

Nothing will satisfy Brian. President Bush could save a baby from a burning building and he'd just complain that he should have stopped the fire from starting in the first place.

Posted by robbernard at 12:51 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, July 7, 2004
Iraq DID seek uranium from Niger
A UK government inquiry into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq is expected to conclude that Britain's spies were correct to say that Saddam Hussein's regime sought to buy uranium from Niger.

The inquiry by Lord Butler, which was delivered to the printers on Wednesday and is expected to be released on July 14, has examined the intelligence that underpinned the UK government's claims about the threat from Iraq.
People with knowledge of the report said Lord Butler has concluded that this claim was reasonable and consistent with the intelligence.

President George W. Bush referred to the Niger claim in his state of the union address last year. But officials were forced into a climbdown when it was revealed that the only primary intelligence material the US possessed were documents later shown to be forgeries.

The Bush administration has since distanced itself from all suggestions that Iraq sought to buy uranium. The UK government has remained adamant that negotiations over sales did take place and that the fake documents were not part of the intelligence material it had gathered to underpin its claim.

The Financial Times revealed last week that a key part of the UK's intelligence on the uranium came from a European intelligence service that undertook a three-year surveillance of an alleged clandestine uranium-smuggling operation of which Iraq was a part.

Intelligence officials have now confirmed that the results of this operation formed an important part of the conclusions of British intelligence. The same information was passed to the US but US officials did not incorporate it in their assessment.

--Financial Times

This of course means that the evidence behind the statement "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." from the President Bush's State of the Union Address is completely true.

I'm sure this will get just as much coverage in the news as the brouhaha over the infamous 16 words got in the first place. Yeah right.

Posted by robbernard at 9:41 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Iranian intelligence officers caught in Iraq with explosives
American and Iraqi joint patrols, along with U.S. Special Operations (search) teams, captured two men with explosives in Baghdad on Monday who identified themselves as Iranian (search) intelligence officers, FOX News has confirmed. ... The Defense officials also confirmed to FOX News that in recent days there has been significant success in tracking down "known bad guys" based on information from local citizens. While those captured aren't from the list of former regime members or from terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's (search) network, they are "active" bombers and organizers of recent violence.

The arrest of the two Iranians suspected of attempting to carry out a vehicle bombing has focused new attention on how Tehran is trying to protect its interests in the country it fought for eight years in a devastating war.

So far, Iran is believed to have used money, not guns, to influence Iraq — particularly by spreading wealth among Shiite political factions — while avoiding a direct confrontation with its longtime rival the United States.

It's going to be hard for the insurgents to keep what support they have when they've got foreign members of al Qaeda and the Iranian government blowing up Iraqis. The Iraqi people aren't exactly big fans of being killed by Iranians.

Posted by robbernard at 12:32 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, July 6, 2004
President's Iraq policy isolating nation

Oh, the "President" here is Jacques Chirac.

Under the headline "Splendid isolation", France's Le Monde says the Iraq issue is confronting President Jacques Chirac with "a highly difficult diplomatic equation".

The president, it says, has to work out a way of "maintaining his opposition to the war without appearing to be shamefully nostalgic for Saddam Hussein".

His dilemma is "how not to oppose the reconstruction of a 'sovereign' Iraq without reneging on his original position".

As a result, at the Nato summit in Istanbul "France found itself isolated in its refusal to accede to America's requests and in its blunt criticism of George W. Bush's public pronouncements."

--BBC NEWS (via Instapundit)

Posted by robbernard at 12:42 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, July 2, 2004
More WMD found in Iraq
Terrorists may have been close to obtaining munitions containing the deadly nerve agent cyclosarin that Polish soldiers recovered last month in Iraq, the head of Poland's military intelligence said Friday.

Polish troops had been searching for munitions as part of their regular mission in south-central Iraq when they were told by an informant in May that terrorists had made a bid to buy the chemical weapons, which date back to Saddam Hussein's war with Iran in the 1980s, Gen. Marek Dukaczewski told reporters in Warsaw.

"We were mortified by the information that terrorists were looking for these warheads and offered $5,000 apiece," Dukaczewski said. "An attack with such weapons would be hard to imagine. All of our activity was accelerated at appropriating these warheads."

Dukaczewski refused to give any further details about the terrorists or the sellers of the munitions, saying only that his troops thwarted terrorists by purchasing the 17 rockets for a Soviet-era launcher and two mortar rounds containing the nerve agent for an undisclosed sum June 23.
The warheads all contained cyclosarin, multinational force commander Polish Gen. Mieczyslaw Bieniek said.

"Laboratory tests showed the presence in them of cyclosarin, a very toxic gas, five times stronger than sarin and five times more durable," Bieniek told Poland's TVN24...

"If these warheads, which were still usable, were used on a military base like Camp Babylon, they would have caused unforeseeable damage."

--Seattle Post-Intelligencer

This is worse than simply finding WMD in Iraq. Poland here actually had to buy these WMD on the black market before the terrorists could. Read that again. Poland bought Iraqi WMD off the Iraqi black market before terrorists could.

Posted by robbernard at 5:59 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Did Bush lie?

Not according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. They blame the belief in Iraqi WMD on a "Global Intel Failure".

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that a worldwide intelligence failure led to the belief that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the war, the panel's chairman said Thursday.
[Sen. Pat] Roberts said various Iraqi military officials thought other Iraqi officials controlled weapons of mass destruction, and that there was evidence that Iraq was poised to become the "Grand Central Station" of a trade in such weapons.

"These conclusions literally beg for changes within the intelligence community," he said. "What we had was a worldwide intelligence failure."
And Roberts suggested that even Saddam himself believed his regime had weapons of mass destruction.

"People who had the WMD and all of that either kept it, sold it, hid it, so on and so forth," Roberts said. "Saddam, I think, still thinks today that he had it."
Furthermore Roberts said, "When we talk to some of the military generals of the Iraqi Republican Guard, one general will say, 'I thought General So-and-so had it.' You talk to General So-and-so, and he says, 'I thought he had it.' Saddam thought he had it as well."

Posted by robbernard at 11:14 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11

Dave Kopel has an excellent piece exposing 56 problems with Moore's film.

The first two:

2000 Election Night
Deceits 1-2

Fahrenheit 911 begins on election night 2000. We are first shown the Al Gore rocking on stage with famous musicians and a high-spirited crowd. The conspicuous sign on stage reads “Florida Victory.” Moore creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida.

Actually, the rally took place in the early hours of election day, before polls had even opened. Gore did campaign in Florida on election day, but went home to Tennessee to await the results. The “Florida Victory” sign reflected Gore’s hopes, not any actual election results. (“Gore Campaigns Into Election Day,” Associated Press, Nov. 7, 2000.)

The film shows CBS and CNN calling Florida for Al Gore. According to the narrator, “Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy….All of a sudden the other networks said, ‘Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.’”

We then see NBC anchor Tom Brokaw stating, “All of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was our mistake.”

Moore thus creates the false impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida.

In fact, the networks which called Florida for Gore did so early in the evening—before polls had even closed in the Florida panhandle, which is part of the Central Time Zone. NBC called Florida for Gore at 7:49:40 p.m., Eastern Time. This was 10 minutes before polls closed in the Florida panhandle. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for Gore. And at 7:52 p.m., Fox called Florida for Gore. Moore never lets the audience know that Fox was among the networks which made the error of calling Florida for Gore prematurely. Then at 8:02 p.m., ABC called Florida for Gore. Only ABC had waited until the Florida polls were closed.

The premature calls probably cost Bush thousands of votes from the conservative panhandle, as discouraged last-minute voters heard that their state had already been decided, and many voters who were waiting in line left the polling place. In Florida, as elsewhere, voters who have arrived at the polling place before closing time often end up voting after closing time, because of long lines.

At 10:00 p.m., which network took the lead in retracting the premature Florida result? The first retracting network was CBS, not Fox.

Over four hours later, at 2:16 a.m., Fox projected Bush as the Florida winner, as did all the other networks by 2:20 a.m.

CBS had taken the lead in making the erroneous call for Gore, and had taken the lead in retracting that call. At 3:59 a.m., CBS also took the lead in retracting the Florida call for Bush. All the other networks, including Fox, followed the CBS lead within eight minutes. That the networks arrived at similar conclusions within a short period of time is not surprising, since they were all using the same data from the Voter News Service. (Linda Mason, Kathleen Francovic & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, “CBS News Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations” (CBS News, Jan. 2001), pp. 12-25.)

Moore’s editing technique of the election night segment is typical of his style: all the video clips are real clips, and nothing he says is, formally speaking, false. But notice how he says, “Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy…” The impression created is that the Fox call of Florida for Bush came soon after the CBS/CNN calls of Florida for Gore, and that Fox caused the other networks to change (“All of a sudden the other networks said, ‘Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.’”)

This is the essence of the Moore technique: cleverly blending half-truths to deceive the viewer.

--Dave Kopel

Thanks to Not Todd for the heads up.

Thursday, July 1, 2004
"More Distortions From Michael Moore"

Newsweek has an article on the distortions of Fahrenheit 9/11

[F]or all the reasonable points he makes, on more than a few occasions in the movie Moore twists and bends the available facts and makes glaring omissions in ways that end up clouding the serious political debate he wants to provoke.
The use of innuendo is rife through... critical passages of “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
The innuendo is greatest, of course, in Moore’s dealings with the matter of the departing Saudis flown out of the United States in the days after the September 11 terror attacks. Much has already been written about these flights, especially the film’s implication that figures with possible knowledge of the terrorist attacks were allowed to leave the country without adequate FBI screening—a notion that has been essentially rejected by the 9/11 commission. The 9/11 commission found that the FBI screened the Saudi passengers, ran their names through federal databases, interviewed 30 of them and asked many of them “detailed questions." “Nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country,” the commission stated. New information about a flight from Tampa, Florida late on Sept. 13 seems mostly a red herring: The flight didn’t take any Saudis out of the United States. It was a domestic flight to Lexington, Kentucky that took place after the Tampa airport had already reopened....

It is true that there are still some in the FBI who had questions about the flights-and wish more care had been taken to examine the passengers. But the film’s basic point—that the flights represented perhaps the supreme example of the Saudi government’s influence in the Bush White House-is almost impossible to defend. Why? Because while the film claims—correctly—that the “White House” approved the flights, it fails to note who exactly in the White House did so. It wasn’t the president, or the vice president or anybody else supposedly corrupted by Saudi oil money. It was Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism czar who was a holdover from the Clinton administration and who has since turned into a fierce Bush critic. Clarke has publicly testified that he gave the greenlight—conditioned on FBI clearance.


Wednesday, June 30, 2004
A convergence of two posts

An interesting convergence between two posts from yesterday, one with a link tearing apart the Washington Post's Baghdad chief, the other talking about Iraqi reactions to Paul Bremer's farewell speech to Iraq.

The Baghdad chief had a piece in the Washington Post today saying that the speech never happened. Bold is mine.

When he left Iraq on Monday after surrendering authority to an interim government, it was with a somber air of exhaustion. There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people, no celebratory airport sendoff. Instead of a festive handover ceremony on Wednesday, the date set for the transfer, an improvised event occupied five minutes on a Monday morning.

--Washington Post

Lebanon's Daily Star confirms there was a speech.

Truly a great day for the Washington Post’s journalistic integrity.

Hat tip to Tim Blair.


The LA Times also blows it.

L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country — almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year.

--LA Times


The text of Bremer's farewell speech:

The future of Iraq belongs to you, the Iraqi people. We and your other friends will help, but we can only help. You must do the real work.

The Iraq your children and their children inherit will depend on your actions in the months and years ahead. You Iraqis must now take responsibility for your future of hope. You can create that future of hope by standing fast against those who kill your police and soldiers, who kill your women and children, who wreck Iraq's pipelines and power lines, and then claim to be your champions.

You can create that future of hope by supporting your government and the elections they are pledged to bring you. You can create that future of hope in a thousand different ways by sharing through your words and deeds a personal commitment to a stable and peaceful Iraq.

You, Iraq's Kurds and Arabs, Shi'a and Sunni, Turkomen and Christian, you are more like each other than you are different from one another. You have a shared vision of how a united Iraq can, again, be a beacon of hope to the region. You have a shared hatred of the violence inflicted on you by those who abhor your vision. And you have a shared love of this wonderful, rich land.

Let no one pit you against each other. For when Iraqis fight Iraqis, only Iraqis suffer.

I leave Iraq gladdened by what has been accomplished and confident that your future is full of hope. A piece of my heart will always remain here in the beautiful land between the two rivers with its fertile valleys, it's majestic mountains and its wonderful people.

--CNN (Hat tip Tim Blair)

Posted by robbernard at 5:57 PM in Media , War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
"I’m beginning to believe"

Iraq the model has a great post on the reaction of some Iraqis to the handover of sovereignty and Paul Bremer's departing speech.

I was deeply moved by this great man’s words but I couldn’t prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed She’at and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, “So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?” My friend smiled, still touched and said, “Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him.”

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”


Posted by robbernard at 6:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Tearing apart the Post

Marine Corps reservist and participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Eric Johnson has an article totally eviscerating the Washington Post's Baghdad chief.

It's quite the damning indictment of the Post's operations in Iraq. Check it out.

Posted by robbernard at 4:36 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, June 28, 2004
If reports are true...

R.I.P. Matt Maupin and thank you.

More from WCPO.

Posted by robbernard at 6:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"Let Freedom Reign!"

Reuters has the letter that informed President Bush that Iraq was sovereign.

Mr President,
    Iraq is sovereign. Letter
was passed from Bremer at
10:26 AM Iraq time -

President Bush then wrote "Let Freedom Reign!" on it.

Posted by robbernard at 4:51 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Newsday on Fahrenheit

Newsday has a take on the limited view presented in the film. Most noteworthy IMO is this section:

Moore suggests Bush's conflict of interest was manifest shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks when the White House "approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis" who, fearing reprisals, were flown out of the United States. Embellishing the well-known scenario, Moore interviews a retired FBI agent who says authorities should have first questioned the bin Ladens.

But the bin Ladens were questioned. The commission investigating the attacks reported in April that the FBI interviewed 30 passengers: "Nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks."


Yes, that would be something in Moore's film that's *surprise!!* not true.

Happy Iraqi Sovereignty day!

The handover of sovereignty has been moved up 2 days to today. Fox News reports it has already happened.

Meanwhile the Washington Post shows fairly widespread support among the Iraqi people for the new government.

"68 percent of Iraqis have confidence in their new leaders. The numbers are in stark contrast to widespread disillusionment with the previous Iraqi Governing Council, which was made up of 25 members picked by the United States and which served as the Iraqi partner to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. Only 28 percent of Iraqis backed the council when it was dissolved last month, according to a similar poll in May.
But 73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet. These impressive showings indicate that the new leaders have support spanning ethnic and religious groups, U.S. officials said.
Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will "make things better" for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.
[P]ublic confidence in the new police and army has reached new highs, the poll shows. Seventy percent of Iraqis polled supported the new army, and 82 percent supported the police."

--Washington Post

Posted by robbernard at 3:09 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, June 27, 2004
Iraq seeking uranium from Niger?

Gregory Djerejian brings news of a Financial Times piece saying that while some documents may have been forged, human and electronic intelligence from before those documents became public showed that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Niger.

Posted by robbernard at 9:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Fahrenheit 9/11

Just like Columbine, it's a long series of self-contradictory arguments many of which are or border on conspiracy theories. President Bush wanted to invade Iraq after 9/11! He only invaded Afghanistan because it was obvious al Qaeda was being harbored there! No, we invaded Afghanistan simply so we could set up a natural gas pipeline! As with Columbine he's just throwing reasons up against the wall hoping that something will stick.

He jokes about people thinking that the Wal-Mart in their town might be the target of a terrorist attack. Of course that's silly, it's not like a couple weeks ago people were arrested for planning to blow up a shopping mall in the Midwest. That's just crazy talk!!!

The assumption going into every point made seems to be that the vilest of motives and reasoning possible can of course be assigned to President Bush. A name is blacked out in personal documents released? It couldn't possibly be to protect the privacy of the person who's name was blocked out! It's obviously a nefarious scheme to hide from people that the person whose name is blacked out is connected with the bin Laden family. And never mind that there's nothing wrong with having associations with that family. GEORGE BUSH IS EEEEEEEEEEEVIL!!!!!!

It distorts the Dickens out of the real world. You walk out under the impression that every person in America thinks President Bush is an evil, money-grubbing, power-hunger monster and that not one person in the military thinks liberating Iraq was the right thing to do. If you went solely on this film you would think that Saddam was the most beloved of all rulers, that he treated his people fairly and humanely and no harm ever came to them until that evil George Bush showed up.

It does have its heart wrenching moments, but even with those you can sense Moore trying to shoehorn them into the case he's trying to make. They're good reminders of the sacrifices people make, but then Moore feels the need to start throwing around opinions presented as fact like "the war in Iraq is immoral".

All that being said, it really is a very well-made little propaganda film. There probably hasn't been a better propaganda movie made in 70 years or so. Those who come in wanting to believe that President Bush is the source of all that's wrong in America will have no problem coming out believing every word of it, believing that "Truth" is the limited and flawed worldview presented in this film.

To close this out I'm going to point you back to Christopher Hitchens who rebutted the film so well. It really is a film that cries out for a good fisking.

Saturday, June 26, 2004
Some perspective

A good piece from Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun.

When some claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war because Iraq never threatened America, it could be recalled that in 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt went to war with Germany, which never attacked America. Japan did.

From 1941-1945, 450,000 American lives were lost -- an average of 112,500 per year.

President Harry Truman concluded the war against Japan ... and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked America as al-Qaida did, but from 1950-1953, 55,000 U.S. lives were lost, an average of 18,334 per year.
John Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked. President Lyndon Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost -- an average of 5,800 per year.

When he was president, Bill Clinton went to war in Kosovo, without UN or French consent. Serbia never attacked America. Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked the West on multiple occasions.

In the two years since 9/11, Bush has liberated two countries. Crushed the Taliban. Crippled al-Qaida. Put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but it took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound -- a 51-day operation.

We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time that it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose law firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida.

From this perspective, President Bush as commander-in-chief is doing a great job, with military morale high.

Some people just don't see all the facts.

--Toronto Sun - Peter Worthington

Posted by robbernard at 4:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, June 24, 2004
This however I think you'd have to be expecting...

~70 dead in bombings in Iraq, mostly Iraqi security forces. Of course the terrorists and insurgents are going to step up their attacks just before Iraqis take sovereignty. Next Wednesday they lose the excuse of "The United States is the occupier".

Posted by robbernard at 10:30 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
How we beat al-Sadr

Good piece over at the Washington Times.

Posted by robbernard at 12:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Zarqawi threatens Iraqi PM Allawi

"As for you Allawi, the supposedly democratically elected prime minister, we have prepared something very special for you," the voice on the tape said.

"We have prepared a special poison for you and a sharp sword and we have filled a glass for you and we have filled a glass with death especially for you.

"You don't even know how you have repeatedly escaped from our many attempts, but we promise you we will continue the match with you until the end," the voice said.

Not that we really needed the note, I think it could pretty much be assumed that the terrorists would want the new PM of a sovereign Iraq dead.

I do like Allawi's response though:

Allawi shrugged off the threat after reading a transcription of the tape.

His spokesman, Georgis Sada, told CNN that Allawi smiled and said: "Zarqawi is not the enemy of Iyad Allawi only, but he is the enemy of all Iraqis."

Allawi... said Zarqawi must know that conditions will change for insurgents after Iraq achieves sovereignty.

He said the Iraqis know how to defend themselves and their country, and that Iraq's march to democracy will succeed. But he acknowledged it will anger the insurgency.

Posted by robbernard at 9:51 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Thoughts on an Iraq-bin Laden connection (circa 1999)

FrontPage magazine has a roundup of more than 15 articles from 1999 that speak of a relationship between Saddam's Iraq and bin Laden.

Posted by robbernard at 9:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
President Bush and the families of the fallen and missing heroes in Iraq

Because if I don't mention it people will keep saying President Bush doesn't care about casualties and their families...

Maupins meet with President Bush

The parents of Spc. Matt Maupin, the Clermont County soldier held captive in Iraq, were aboard Air Force One for a private meeting with President Bush before he left for Washington Monday night.

Carolyn and Keith Maupin "were very comforted by what the president had to say to them," said Maj. Mark Magalski, the Army family assistance officer who has aided the Maupin family since the 20-year-old Army reservist was taken captive by Iraqi insurgents in a convoy assault on April 9.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

Families of slain military men say Bush shed tears with them

Some of the families who met privately with President Bush during his visit to MacDill Air Force Base said he shared their grief and shed tears with them.

Donna Ginther, the widow of Navy Petty Officer Ron Ginther who was killed by mortar fire in Iraq last month, told The Ledger for a story Thursday that she expressed to Bush her fears of raising her 9-year-old daughter without a father.

"When I told him that, he pressed his forehead against mine and said, `You can do it, and we'll all help you through it,'" she said. Bush met with Ginther and nine families of slain servicemen after his Wednesday speech to troops at MacDill.

--AP/Gainesville Sun

And from back in May...

President Meets With Captive Soldier's Family

President George W. Bush made two public appearances in Greater Cincinnati Tuesday, but he also made one very private stop.

The president reportedly met with the family of Matt Maupin, a soldier from Batavia who is being held hostage in Iraq, WLWT Eyewitness News 5's Jonathan Hawgood reported.

A source close to the Maupin family told WLWT that the visit was heartfelt and emotional. The exact location of the meeting was not revealed.


Operation Tiger Claw

Protest Warrior has a great page up detailing one High School student's effort to make his beliefs heard at school. It's a pretty entertaining read, go check it out.

Though I will disagree with Bryan, the student, in that I don't think "Operation Tiger Claw" was a failure. He may not have gotten the posters that were taken down put back up, but I think he certainly got his message out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
South Korean hostage killed

Hostage Kim Sun-il beheaded.

Can we dispense now with the idea that the beheadings of Berg and Johnson were simply because of Abu Ghraib? South Korea had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib yet their hostage got the same barbarous treatment. Abu Ghraib was merely a convenient excuse these barbarians don't need some great wrong perpetrated on them to commit such uncivilized behavior.

Posted by robbernard at 4:21 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, June 21, 2004
Hitchens on Fahrenheit 9/11

Some great stuff from Christopher Hitchens.

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations.... But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair.... A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.
[In] spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all.
Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet.... By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

--Slate - Unfairenheit 9/11 - The lies of Michael Moore. By Christopher Hitchens

The entire things good, go read it.

Saddam a WMD
When asked to comment on the American political debate surrounding WMDs not being found in Iraq, [new Iraqi president Ghazi al- Yawer] said that wasn't the real issue.

"After all, the real issue is, 'Was (Saddam) a destabilizing factor in the area?' Definitely he was," Yawer said. "He was a weapon of mass destruction by himself."

Yawer said he was opposed to "military interference" in Iraq at the outset of coalition operations to get rid of Saddam, but soon became a believer.

"Every time I look at it, I find out (that) without a military interference we wouldn't have got rid of Saddam," he said. "The major good thing is we got rid of the most vicious regime that established a dynasty of villains in Iraq."

--DefenseLINK News (Hat tip Hobbs)

Posted by robbernard at 2:31 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, June 20, 2004

A commenter going by "DenVilda" saw fit to disagree with my post of a few days ago debunking the idea that a letter President Bush sent Congress claimed that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This comment just cried out for a good tearing apart. What follows is my own comment:

Ooooh, I love it when people on the left expose what just how wrong they can be while still being sanctimonious.

Where to start... where to start... well, let's try the beginning. (Keep in mind I reserve the right to mock the spelling and grammar of those who spew ad hominem attacks and so forth.)

I've just read one of your blog entries and you've already demonstrated two failins: 1) you cannot comprehend long sentences and 2) see things that are not there.

I love it; he's complaining about my failings yet exposes a failing of his own in misspelling "failings". He then moves on to accuse me of not being able to comprehend long sentences when it appears he can't properly write them. He either needs a "you" in his second point or his first "you" should be outside of his first point.

Moving on...

Since you cannot comprehend long sentences, I'll break it down for you:

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that...acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against...nations...who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Now did Iraq participate in the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Not according to George Bush, so the letter he sent to Congress in March of 2003 clearly contradicts his later statements.

No, Iraq did not participate in the attacks of 9/11. This however is where you, sir, are seeing things that aren't there. This does not say that attacking Iraq is a part of the effort to "take the necessary actions against...nations...who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." What it says is that the attack on Iraq is consistent with continuing to take those actions. And if you had bothered to read further in my post, or had the integrity to admit a fact counter to your viewpoint into your mind, you would have seen that "consistent" does not mean "a part of", it means "compatible with".

"consistent with the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions" does not mean the same thing as "a part of the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions" it is akin to "compatible with the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions".

This phrase was in the resolution passed by Congress, do you really think that Congress would have authorized force on Iraq only if they were part of the 9/11 attacks? Congress did not authorize force as payback for 9/11; they authorized it because of continued flouting of UN resolutions. The idea that they tied attacking Iraq to Iraq having been part of 9/11 is absurd and I challenge anybody out there to provide me with proof that Congress meant for Iraq to be attacked only if President Bush had proof that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 attacks.

Now let's get to the part about you seeing things that aren't there.

You write, "Now that section above simply says that using force is compatible with the War on Terror, not that invading Iraq was a part of going after those responsible for 9/11."

There is no official, legal, or authorized War on Terror. That is a cheap, incoherent, phrase the Bush Cultists use to draw various groups, nations, persons, and organizations together to give the Iraqi war a false moral clarity.

Are you suggesting that there is not a fight being waged against those who wage terror against the US? Whether an official war has been declared or not (something, by the way, that you can’t do against a group that isn’t leading a nation) there is most certainly a series of battles being fought against those who are waging a battle against the United States and our allies using terror as their weapon. That is what the “War on Terror” is and to suggest that just because it is not a fight between nations that it can’t be called a “War on Terror” is linguistic hair-splitting at the best and a complete lack of comprehension of the situation we are in at the worst.
I also need to mention that your political philosophy really needs some sharpening as well. Those against the war are not on the Left, unless you consider Brent Scowcroft, Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, Srdja Trifkovic, Thomas Fleming, Sam Francis, Tucker Carlson etc on the Left. The supporters of this war -- like the mother Teresa-hating Marxist, Christopher Hitchens -- are Neocons, people who have broad and sundry influences but are not on the right, unless you consider "hard Wilsonians," and Trotskyites part of the Right.

Again, you're seeing something that isn't there. (Unless, of course, I've got an alternate language version of this site just for uncomprehending ignoramuses that I haven't bothered to inform myself of yet.) Not once in this post did I say that everyone against this war was on the Left. (Though oddly enough, with your “those against the war are not on the Left” you do say that none of the people against the war are on the Left, which is just blatantly untrue.) There are certainly those Isolationists and others on the right and in the middle who want nothing to do with Iraq. They however do not seem to be the ones misinterpreting this document and dreaming up lies about President Bush. For those that do however I will likewise criticize them, as I did USA Today for their shoddy journalism.

BTW, you're also an ingorant windbag.

For a guy who made so many claims about my post that simply aren’t true I don’t know that you should be throwing around the charge of “ignorant”. And windbag or not, at least I know how to spell “ignorant”.

Posted by robbernard at 3:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Unfortunate program teaser overheard yesterday on 610 WTVN, the same day that Paul Johnson was beheaded by al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia: "Who knew executions could be fun?!"

Posted by robbernard at 8:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Russia: Iraq planned terrorist attacks against US

"I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received ... information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations," Putin said.


1: Saddam's Iraq certainly had ties to terror.
2: Evidence shows Iraq did have certain ties to al Qaeda.
3: The Bush administration has never said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
4: It now appears that Iraq had its own plans for terror.
5: Saddam had WMD in the past and was never able or willing to account for what happened to them or his ability to make them.

1, 4 and 5 above are enough to justify this war for me. Forget about al Qaeda at all, you cannot have a rogue nation seeking WMD with close ties to terror.

Posted by robbernard at 6:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, June 14, 2004
Somali native in Columbus charged with plotting to blow up a mall

A Somali native living in Ohio has been charged with plotting with other al-Qaida operatives to blow up a Columbus-area shopping mall, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

The four-count indictment, returned by a Columbus grand jury, charges that Nuradin Abdi, 32, conspired with admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris and others to detonate a bomb at the unidentified shopping mall after he obtained military-style training in Ethiopia.

--Dayton Daily News

Faris is the Columbus-based truck driver who had admitted to plotting to cut the cables of the Brookly Bridge. He is now serving a 20 year federal sentence.

Don't be thinking that just because you don't live on the coasts you're safe from terrorism.

Posted by robbernard at 4:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, June 11, 2004
New Iraqi government takes over oil
Iraqi officials declared Tuesday that the interim government has assumed full control of the country's oil industry ahead of the June 30 handover of sovereignty from the U.S.-led occupation administration.

"Today the most important natural resource has been returned to Iraqis to serve all Iraqis," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said. "I'm pleased to announce that full sovereignty and full control on oil industry has been handed over to the oil ministry today and to the new Iraqi government as of today."
"We are totally now in control, there are no more advisers," Ghadbhan said. "We are running the show, the oil policies will be implemented 100 percent by Iraqis."
A force has been established solely for the protection of the oil infrastructure, made up of about 14,000 guards.

--Yahoo! News

But shhhhhh! We can't let news like this get out. Everybody knows that this was just a war for oil and that we're stealing it all and giving it to Halliburton.

Posted by robbernard at 12:49 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Banned Iraqi weapons parts and equipment that could be used to make WMD found in Jordan and Rotterdam.

Yup, Iraq was fully complying with UN resolutions... riiiiiiight....

Posted by robbernard at 2:59 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Tuesday, June 1, 2004
"Every war with fascism is our business"

A very interesting interview with Marek Edelman, the last surviving military leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Edelman: And do you know any war where nobody dies? I don't. Alas, it's in man's make-up; there's a fatal flow there that makes him kill, for pleasure or over some silly beliefs.

Interviewer: So this war is one over some silly beliefs?

Edelman: Now, now. Who started killing people? Americans didn't invade a wonderful democratic Iraq. There was a dictatorship there, torture, terror.

Interviewer: But there are people who say it's not our business.

Edelman: And whose business is it? Every war with fascism is our business. In 1939 there were also many people who said that the war in Poland was not their war, and what happened? Great nations fell because politicians listened to those who were saying that it's not worth dying for Gdansk [Danzig]. If only we'd intervened militarily after Hitler re-entered Rhineland we probably would not have had the war and the Holocaust.

Interviewer: Many people do understand that, but they don't understand why the Americans have to go to the other side of the world and fight over Iraq now.

Edelman: And why did they go to Europe then? Who defeated Hitler and saved Europe from fascism? The French? No, the Americans did. We thanked them then because they saved us. Today we criticise them because they're saving somebody else.

--Chrenkoff (Hat tip Hobbs)

There's plenty more to the interview and it's very much worth reading. Go read the rest.

Posted by robbernard at 12:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the interim president of Iraq

Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar

Dr. Ibrahim Jaafar and Dr. Rowsch Shaways are Brahimi's choice for the vice-presidential positions. The more powerful position of prime minister goes to Iyad Allawi.

Can we now lay to rest the meme of "It's ________ before June 30th and we still don't know who we're handing Iraq over to"?

Posted by robbernard at 5:07 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, May 27, 2004
Link between Iraq and 9/11?
We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that "secular" Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix. But John Ashcroft's press conference yesterday reminds us that the terror threat remains, and it seems especially irresponsible for journalists not to be open to new evidence. If the CIA was wrong about WMD, couldn't it have also missed Saddam's terror links?

One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.

It is possible that the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir listed on the Fedayeen rosters is a different man from the Iraqi of the same name with the proven al Qaeda connections. His identity awaits confirmation by al Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody or perhaps by other captured documents. But our sources tell us there is no questioning the authenticity of the three Fedayeen rosters. The chain of control is impeccable. The documents were captured by the U.S. military and have been in U.S. hands ever since.
In his new book, "The Connection," Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard puts together all of the many strands of intriguing evidence that the two did do business together. There's no single "smoking gun," but there sure is a lot of smoke.

The reason to care goes beyond the prewar justification for toppling Saddam and relates directly to our current security. U.S. officials believe that American civilian Nicholas Berg was beheaded in Iraq recently by Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who is closely linked to al Qaeda and was given high-level medical treatment and sanctuary by Saddam's government. The Baathists killing U.S. soldiers are clearly working with al Qaeda now; Saddam's files might show us how they linked up in the first place.

--OpinionJournal (Coverage at NewsMax) (Hat-tip)

Posted by robbernard at 11:47 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
No tie between al Qaeda and Iraq before the war?
During the 1990s, Zarqawi trained under bin Laden in Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taliban, he fled to northwestern Iraq and worked with poisons for use in potential attacks, officials say.

During the summer of 2002, he underwent nasal surgery at a Baghdad hospital, officials say. They mistakenly originally thought, however, that Zarqawi had his leg amputated due to an injury.

In late 2002, officials say, Zarqawi began establishing sleeper cells in Baghdad and acquiring weapons from Iraqi intelligence officials.

--ABC News (Hat tip Hobbs)

Posted by robbernard at 11:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"al-Sadr is not one of us"

An example of Iraqis rejecting their enemy, they type of thing that must happen for the terror and violence in Iraq to end.

It was unclear which side was responsible for causing the minor damage to the Imam Ali mosque, but a high-ranking cleric accused Sadr’s militia of deliberately attacking the revered shrine.

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Mehri, the Kuwaiti representative of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, said the Sadr militia fired a mortar shell at the dome of the shrine but missed it and hit a wall instead.

Ayatollah Mehri called the attack "a cowardly act" and said Sadr loyalists should not use the shrine for storing their weapons and as a sanctuary.

"We want to tell the world, and America, that Muqtada al-Sadr is not one of us, and this is a conspiracy against Shiites so that we don’t get any [political] rights," Ayatollah Mehri said, referring to Shiite demands for greater political representation in the new Iraq.
Ayatollah Mehri said the Sadr militia was "trying to agitate world opinion against the coalition" by claiming that coalition forces attacked the shrine. He said the militia include Saddam loyalists.

--The Scotsman (via Instapundit)

Posted by robbernard at 5:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, May 24, 2004
President Bush's speech

Full text is here. I liked it. (I'll pause while you gasp.... done? Ok.) Was it perfect, no. He could have been more at ease. (Though for a serious speech like this I wouldn't want him too at ease.) I kind of wonder whether the speech might not have achieved its purpose better had it been from the Oval Office and spoken straight to the camera rather to the audience. All things considered though he got his point across quite well.

The less important points. Sovereignty by 7/30, elections by the end of '05. Sovereign leaders should be announced in the next week. Abu-Ghraib to be razed, with the new government's permission. (Yeah, like they're going to want to keep it around...) Won't decrease troop levels. Willing to increase troop levels if needed.

The most important part of the speech though is the plan for extinguishing the opposition. This isn't a fight that will be won by American generals sending American troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This isn't a fight that will be won by American generals sending Iraqi troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This is a fight that will be won by Iraqi generals sending Iraqi troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This is a fight that will be won by helping the Iraqi government secure the country.

This is not a situation to be quelled with more troops, it's not to be avoided with less troops. It is a situation that will be solved by THEIR troops, and THEIR leaders, and THEIR people. We will help however we can, but it is imperative that Iraqi people know that they are fighting for themselves, not for the United States of America.

Iraqis will know that when they build a school or repair a bridge, they're not working for the Coalition Provisional Authority, they are working for themselves. And when they patrol the streets of Baghdad, or engage radical militias, they will be fighting for their own country.
Working as allies, we will defend Iraq and defeat these enemies.

America will provide forces and support necessary for achieving these goals.

That is the important aspect of this speech. The defeat of the Baathists and terrorists in Iraq cannot be accomplished by an occupying force. It can be, must be, and will be accomplished by the Iraqi people themselves. We will supply them with everything we can to ensure they are able to defeat the enemy but in the end it will be the Iraqis' own resolve that will secure their freedom from violence and tyranny.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Iraqi good news roundup

Lots of stuff over at Chrenkoff, check it out. (via Instapundit)

Posted by robbernard at 12:07 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
The danger of Iraq

George Neumayr has a good piece over at The American Spectator explaining how dangerous Iraq was before the war.

Monday's news confirms what Kay reported to an indifferent Congress: "We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq. And now we know that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities. I think it shows that Iraq was a very dangerous place. The country had the technology, the ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups passing through the country -- and no central control."

The Democrats seized upon elements of Kay's report to advance their claim that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was less dangerous than assumed. But Kay was trying to explain to them that Iraq was more dangerous than even Bush's pre-war picture allowed: "I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war."

Bush's pre-war point holds up: terrorists were operating in Iraq, and they did have access to Saddam Hussein's powder keg. The constant claim that the war in Iraq is irrelevant to the war on terrorism is impossible to sustain when U.S. forces keep capturing terrorists Hussein harbored. Just like the antiwar Democrats refused to acknowledge Central America as a link in the Communist chain, so they deny that Iraq under Hussein was a link in the chain of Islamic terror.

--The American Spectator

Posted by robbernard at 7:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The immoral argument against the war

Michael Totten takes on a Paul Savoy piece in The Nation.

Since innocents always die in war, he explicitly states freedom is not worth fighting for under any circumstances because the death of some innocents is morally worse than slavery for everybody.
He fails, at this point in the piece anyway, to take into account that Saddam Hussein killed more Iraqis by orders of magnitude than the U.S. has or ever will.... He apparently thinks - he must think on some level - that it’s morally better if a lot of people die by someone else’s hand than if a few die by ours. This is nothing if not an abrogation of responsibility and a total lack of regard for the well-being of the people in question. The same rationale would tell us to let Slobodan Milosovic put the Muslim population of Europe to the sword. The same rationale excuses our (and everyone else’s) refusal to stop the past genocide in Rwanda and the current one in Sudan. It’s a great and terrible shrug. The post-Holocaust notion of “Never Again” doesn’t even enter in the equation. Did anyone who said “never again” mean a tyrant has to be exactly as bad as Hitler to be worth stopping? No.... In his view, genocide can only be resisted by the victims. Never by a well-armed third party.

--Michael J. Totten: The (Im)moral Case Against the War

Plenty more there, check it out.

Posted by robbernard at 3:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Following up

Further tests have confirmed what the field test showed, that there were 3-4 liters of Sarin in the shell exploded yesterday.

Posted by robbernard at 3:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, May 17, 2004
WMD found in Iraq

What appears to be a Sarin gas shell exploded with little effect today and a Mustard gas shell was found 10 days ago.

Citizen Smash has a good roundup, including the always entertaining Democratic Undergound conspiracy theories.

The same day the president of the Iraqi governing council is killed AND the stock market tanks, we find WMD!!!! WOW! what a surprise! Gotta get those war approval ratings up!


Of course we've known for months that Iraq was in material breach of UN resolutions. Go read the Kay Report from last October again. It lays out how they'd found just about everything short of actual stockpiles.

To make Brian happy. (Yeah right, like that'll happen...)

Why we went to war when we did.

And I covered his "blood lust" stuff in the comments here.

Posted by robbernard at 4:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, May 14, 2004
Who killed Nick Berg

More insanity from the Democratic Underground.

They have a poll: Who killed Nick Berg.

"People working for the U.S. Government": 73%
"People working for Al Qaeda": 27%

(Hat tip to ML)

Posted by robbernard at 5:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Media Bias
The other day, while taking a break by the Al-Hamra Hotel pool, fringed with the usual cast of tattooed defence contractors, I was accosted by an American magazine journalist of serious accomplishment and impeccable liberal credentials.

She had been disturbed by my argument that Iraqis were better off than they had been under Saddam and I was now — there was no choice about this — going to have to justify my bizarre and dangerous views.
But then she came to the point. Not only had she ‘known’ the Iraq war would fail but she considered it essential that it did so because this would ensure that the ‘evil’ George W. Bush would no longer be running her country. Her editors back on the East Coast were giggling, she said, over what a disaster Iraq had turned out to be. ‘Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out.’ Startled by her candour, I asked whether thousands more dead Iraqis would be a good thing.

She nodded and mumbled something about Bush needing to go. By this logic, I ventured, another September 11 on, say, September 11 would be perfect for pushing up John Kerry’s poll numbers. ‘Well, that’s different — that would be Americans,’ she said, haltingly. ‘I guess I’m a bit of an isolationist.’ That’s one way of putting it.

--The Spectator (via Instapundit)
And people wonder how anybody could think the media has a liberal bias....

Posted by robbernard at 7:28 PM in Media , War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
The CIA/Americans/Whites/Bush killed Nick Berg

More insane conspiracy theories from the loonies at the Democratic Underground.

Yep. It had to be those terraists who hate freedom and gas puppies!

And they just happen to cover themselves from head to toe.

And they just happen to wrap towels over their ski masks like they wanted to be hired as extras for The Return of the Mummy.

And they just happen to have a US-issued orange jumpsuit on hand.

And they just happen to pick up the most innocent, non-military, non-defense contractor guy they can find -- a guy who had just been detained in US prison for two weeks and who was released only after his parents filed suit.

And they just happen to film his execution using the most out of focus and blurry video camera imaginable.

And they just happen to use the newest Microsoft WMV codecs for their video.

And they just happen to release this video on their website (play that over in your head a few times) and then they just happen to get all the major news outlets to release it as legitimate "breaking news" before any Western intelligence can confirm it as such.

And this video release just happens to serve as the most potent possible counter-propaganda to the video images of US-run prison abuse at the best possible time for Bush apologists.

Just look at the picture and try not to be such Gomers about it:


It's kind of hard to nail down...

..the physical way they stand and hold themselves (I know that sounds vague), their hand gestures are very white...Arabs tend to be very expressive with their hands, these guys simply hang them at their sides...The way that they hold their weapons is VERY 'western' IMHO...

They are definitely not ARABS doing this....

The whole thing looks like setup....The one guy (on the rightside of the screen) was very fidgety and nervous...almost anxious...he kept looking to his right to see if the fella in the middle was done reading....If he spoke the language wouldn't he know when his 'leader' was done...

The more I think about it, the more this just doesn't sit right....


These people make the Art Bell folks look good.

Posted by robbernard at 9:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Generation X (Or Y) in Iraq

NRO has an interesting piece on nonmilitary twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings working in Iraq. Just to nitpick though, I think many of the twenty-somethings they mention in the article are actually Generation Y, not X as the title of the article implies.

Posted by robbernard at 9:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Those who abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib should and will face justice, but I find it hard to get too worked up about stacking prisoners in pyramids and simulating sexual acts when the other side is decapitating American civilians on video.

After some effort I've seen the video and words really can't describe it. It's the most horrendous and sickening thing I've seen. Evil exists in this world. If it is something we think we can choose to fight then we're already losing the fight because the ability to choose to fight it implies that we can also choose to ignore it. It is essential that we know that Evil MUST be fought. There is no moral equivalence here. What these monsters do on a daily basis is far worse than what we as a nation, a culture, and a civilization do in worst moments. There must be no mistaking who is fighting the good fight here.

May God bless and watch over Nick Berg's soul.

(The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has links to mirrors of the video.)

Posted by robbernard at 5:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, May 9, 2004
Escaped hostage Thomas Hamill: "President Bush has made me proud to be an American."
COSBY: Would you go back to Iraq?

HAMILL: Yes, I would go back. I don't have a problem. You know what it's like. There’s nothing that's being hidden. I've got to make a little peace with my wife and my kids over this. I don't want any problems with them in the future; I don't want my kids worrying about this. It was different when I went over there. They really weren't worried. But since this has happened, I don't want to affect their lives.

COSBY: What would you like to say to President Bush? Do you think you'll get a chance to meet him?

HAMILL: That was the main reason I went over there. President Bush has made me proud to be an American. We're making a stand and we're doing the right thing.

COSBY: What do you want to say to all the other folks? Of course, you know there's a few others still being held there.

HAMILL: I'm praying for the families ... The ones that are going over, these soldiers, if there any hostages in the future that they can resist and they can pray and they can come home like I did. (via Matt Margolis)

Posted by robbernard at 7:59 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, May 6, 2004
Goldberg on staying in Iraq
"Good Lord! You sliced that man open from his neck to his belly! You've cut out his heart! You're sucking out his blood, you ghoul!" These are just some of the things you might say if you stumbled on a surgeon conducting a heart transplant.

Of course, you wouldn't actually say it because you'd see the men and women in their gowns and masks, along with all the medical doodads including "the machine that goes 'ping'" — as they say in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

But the important thing to keep in mind is that in a major operation — on a person or a nation — the patient is the most vulnerable, and looks the most horrible, halfway into the procedure, not at the beginning or the end. And if, in your horror, you screamed, "Stop what you're doing right now!" you'd be saying you want the patient to die.

--National Review Online

Posted by robbernard at 12:23 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Quote of the [yester]day
I'm thinking that there's something the matter with you Mr. Rall.

There's something the matter with you.

--Bill O'Reilly

The best way to fight Ted Rall is to give him 10 minutes on national television.

Posted by robbernard at 11:58 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, May 3, 2004
Once again from the files marked "Ted Rall's a blooming idiot"

Pat Tillman: Idiot and sap.

From Andrew Sullivan: "But I'm particularly struck by how someone like Tillman would offend Ralls so much. Tillman was a true patriot, a quiet hero, an American to his core: of course Ralls had to smear him. Tillman represents all that the far left hates about America, and fears might be true."

Posted by robbernard at 4:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Saturday, May 1, 2004
Does fighting back create terrorists?

King of Fools takes on the idea that by fighting back against the terrorists we're just creating more.

An analogy: When it rains down here in Southeast Texas, piles of red earth magically appear in most lawns. A closer look reveals a few small ants scurrying around the vicinity of the mound. If the mound is disturbed (either intentionally or on accident), the situation changes immediately. Fire ants pour out of the earth and swarm the surrounding area. They ruthlessly attack every blade of grass and any insect or animal or human they come across.

The act of disturbing the mound did not "create more ants". It exposed the ants which already existed. Exposure is the first step toward elimination, and elimination works. Case in point: the number of terror attacks against Israeli civilians has dropped significantly since Israel has "taken the gloves off".

--King of Fools

Posted by robbernard at 3:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, April 30, 2004
Couple comments

First the apparent torture.

It should be investigated. If it's true then those who took part in it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. This is not something we will stand for and those few responsible, again assuming it's true, will be held accountable.

Secondly, Nightline.

So much of whether it's right or wrong depends on context and tone that I don't think it can be properly judged beforehand, so I won't.

Posted by robbernard at 6:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Iraqi army/militia/vigilantes taking on al-Sadr's army
In a deadly expression of feelings that until now were kept quiet, a group representing local residents is said to have killed at least five militiamen in the last four days.

The murders are the first sign of organised Iraqi opposition to Sadr’s presence and come amid simmering discontent at the havoc their lawless presence has wreaked.

The group calls itself the Thulfiqar Army, after a twin-bladed sword said to be used by the Shiite martyr Imam Ali, to whom Najaf’s vast central mosque is dedicated.

Residents say leaflets bearing that name have been circulated in the city in the last week, urging Sadr’s al-Mahdi army to leave immediately or face imminent death.

"I haven’t seen the leaflets myself, but I heard about it when I was down there two days ago," said Ahmed Abbas, a carpenter from Najaf who visited Baghdad yesterday.

"It has got some of the Mahdi guys quite worried, I tell you. They are banding together more, when normally you would see them happily walking on the streets alone. I think their commanders have ordered them to do that."

As is the case with most fledgling resistance groups, further details are sketchy. Nobody knows yet who is really behind the group, if the deaths of Mahdi men are its handiwork or, indeed, if it really exists.

--The Scotsman (via Instapundit)

Posted by robbernard at 3:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
A plea for help from a Marine in Iraq
It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people. Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. ... I am asking for your support. Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth. Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth.... No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer. Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success. You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty. Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side. Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.

--FrontPage (via Instapundit)

Posted by robbernard at 3:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Pat Tillman "got what was coming to him"

A truly astounding article.

Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense."

-- The Daily Collegian

Everything else aside, that last sentence is the biggest problem with this guy's thought process. For some unfathomable reason this guy doesn't think that the fight against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is self defense.

To the Daily Collegian's credit they have a counter-point article.



UMass president Jack Wilson issued a statement saying Rene Gonzalez' comments in The Daily Collegian "are a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."
While recognizing Gonzalez' right to free speech, Wilson said the student owes Tillman a "debt of gratitude," and said he should apologize to Tillman's friends and family.

The state Senate on Thursday approved a resolution of condemnation, with one member, Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, calling Gonzalez a "nitwit."

Jared Nokes, president of the Student Government Association, also issued a statement condemning Gonzalez' column.
In a response to the controversy generated by the column, the paper's editorial board ran a letter to readers in Thursday's edition saying Gonzalez's views do not reflect The Collegian's opinion.

Posted by robbernard at 3:44 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Sure, the BBC's unbiased... /sarcasm

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler takes apart a BBC story in which US forces are accused of shooting ambulances in Fallujah.

Posted by robbernard at 3:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, April 26, 2004
5 myths of the Iraq war

Victor Davis Hanson over at NRO debunks 5 myths being perpetuated about the Iraq war. (via Boortz)

They 5 myths: America turned off its allies; Democracy cannot be implemented by force; Lies got us into this war; Profit-making led to this war; Israel has caused the United States untold headaches in the Arab world by its intransigent policies.

Posted by robbernard at 3:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Finally getting around to this

US soldiers are re-enlisting in numbers that exceed the Pentagon's goals.

You know, it's odd... from everything you hear in the media you'd think that every soldier over there wanted to get out of the service as fast as they could.

Posted by robbernard at 3:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, April 23, 2004
Thank You
Posted by robbernard at 6:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Nice to finally see some help from the clerics

Responding to yesterday's bombing in Riyadh which killed 10 and has been claimed by a group linked to al Qaeda:

"God has promised wrath, damnation, painful torture and an eternity burning in hell for he who deliberately kills a Muslim... Unjustly killing a Muslim is the gravest crime which cannot be atoned," said the kingdom's highest religious authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh.

"I tell all Muslims that this act is a sin, it is one of the greatest sins," he said in a statement. "Aiding, calling for, or facilitating the murder of a Muslim is tantamount to involvement in murder and all who do so will be thrown by God into the flames of hell, for so dear is the sanctity of Muslim blood."

It's so nice to see a cleric take a stand against terrorism that for now I'll just ignore the part where he's only upset about Muslim blood being spilled.

Posted by robbernard at 2:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
What happens with the House of Reps if a terrorist wipes them out?

The House is looking at legislation that will lay out what happens if a terrorist attack manages to kill a great number of its members. The current legislation looks to require special elections within 45 days if 100 or more of the 435 Representatives are killed. (Yahoo! News)

This seems reasonable to me, but I worry about what would happen if a great deal more than 100 were killed. If something like 400, or even all 435 of them were killed might it not be a good idea to have a system of backups in place? Whether it be successors chosen by the Reps or appointed by each state's Governor it seems a good idea to me to that kind of system in place. They're planning for a moderate-to-large tragedy here, but while they're at it I think they should include the worst tragedy in their planning and I worry that their current plan wouldn't work for the worst of the worst.

If a nuke went off in DC I'd like to know that we won't be without a House of Representatives for 45 days.

Posted by robbernard at 2:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, April 19, 2004
On the death of Hamas' leader

Abdelaziz Rantissi, leader of Hamas for the past month, was killed Saturday. The Palestinians are now vowing a "volcano of revenge".

I'm sorry but... wait, scratch that, I'm not the least bit sorry. This was not some great Palestinian leader. This was not the Palestinian head of state. This was not a man striving for peace in the Middle East. This was the leader of a vicious terrorist organization. This was the Israelis' bin Laden, or if you figure they got their bin Laden last month then their Ayman al-Zawahiri.

If they were killing leaders of the PLO left and right it might be different. The members of Hamas are not statesmen. They are not peace loving people. They are not interested in living side-by-side with the Israelis; they want nothing less than the elimination of Israel. Hamas is not the good guy in this situation. It is a terrorist organization and I have no problem with what happened.

Posted by robbernard at 6:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, April 15, 2004
Nice to see
European politicians have ruled out negotiations with Osama bin Laden after a tape that the CIA says is likely to be the al Qaeda leader offered a truce to European nations if they pulled troops out of Muslim countries.

"It is completely unthinkable that we could start negotiations with bin Laden. Everyone understands that," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters.

European Commission President Romano Prodi said there could be no negotiating under a "terrorist threat."

It goes on to give similar reactions from European heads of state, but I note that nowhere is Spain mentioned.

Posted by robbernard at 3:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
More questioning of Clarke's book
Washington lawyer Frank Duggan, until last year the chairman of the National Mediation Board, offers a sharp critique of former White House counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke's new book, "Against All Enemies."

"This is a crock," says Mr. Duggan, who served on the 1989 to 1990 Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism.

Mr. Clarke, who thrust himself into the spotlight with his March 24 testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by saying President Bush did not take the terrorism threat seriously, recalls in his book his role in the aftermath of the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.

"We met with the families. We heard their stories, and we put pictures of their fallen children on our desks," Mr. Clarke writes of the December 1988 bombing. "The town [of Lockerbie] had opened its hearts to the families of all of the victims. Lockerbie had donated stones for a cairn, a Scottish memorial rock pile, one rock for every victim. Joined by my colleague Randy Beers, we drove to the cemetery and selected a site for the cairn."

"He is a phony," Mr. Duggan says. "I know something about this, and no family member ever dealt with Clarke. We dealt with Randy Beers long after the cairn was built. The NSC staffer assigned to the Pan Am families was Richard Canas.

"Clark and Beers never 'selected the site' — I did, and attached my site drawings to the legislation the families were proposing to erect the cairn," Mr. Duggan tells Inside the Beltway.

The counsel adds: "The Pan Am 103 cairn in Arlington Cemetery is not a 'rock pile,' but a monument of 270 large stones, carefully cut so they fit together to memorialize each of the victims. He obviously never even saw a photo of the cairn, nor did he have photos of the victims' children on his desk."

--Inside the Beltway

Posted by robbernard at 3:36 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
I should mention this

This is the memo that set up the seperation between the CIA and the FBI. It is written by one Jamie S. Gorelick. Jamie S. Gorelick is a commissioner on the 9/11 Commission. Someone care to explain how the person that wrote that memo is investigating intelligence failures and not being investigated for them?

Posted by robbernard at 2:21 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"They should be ashamed"
Bush's tough talk - and the action it's backed up with - will do much to convince the enemy of the futility of their attacks. That may prompt some to give up.

The enemies of freedom have surely taken heart from the language of some folks right here in America - folks who are intent on attacking the president and his efforts in Iraq.

Last night, for instance, reporters questioning Bush couldn't have been more hostile.

Why won't Bush admit failure? Why did he get it so wrong in Iraq? Wasn't he responsible for 9/11? Isn't Iraq another Vietnam?

They should be ashamed.

Bush's answer was 100 percent correct, by the way, about the comparison to Vietnam, which comes courtesy of Sen. Ted Kennedy, on behalf of the John Kerry-for-President campaign.

"The analogy is false," he said. And it "sends the wrong message to our troops and . . . to the enemy."

No matter.

Nothing will shake this president.

Not the terrorists.

Nor his reckless critics at home.

And hallelujah for that.

--New York Post Editorial


Tuesday, April 13, 2004
New Miss USA plans to use position to defend Iraq decision
A Republican, [newly crowned Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey] told Reuters she would use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said.

--Yahoo! News (via Joshua Claybourn's Domain)

Posted by robbernard at 8:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, April 12, 2004
Tony Blair on Iraq
We are locked in a historic struggle in Iraq. On its outcome hangs more than the fate of the Iraqi people. Were we to fail, which we will not, it is more than 'the power of America' that would be defeated. The hope of freedom and religious tolerance in Iraq would be snuffed out. Dictators would rejoice; fanatics and terrorists would be triumphant. Every nascent strand of moderate Arab opinion, knowing full well that the future should not belong to fundamentalist religion, would be set back in bitter disappointment.

The terrorists prey on ethnic or religious discord....

Of course they use Iraq. It is vital to them. As each attack brings about American attempts to restore order, so they then characterise it as American brutality. As each piece of chaos menaces the very path toward peace and democracy along which most Iraqis want to travel, they use it to try to make the coalition lose heart, and bring about the retreat that is the fanatics' victory.

They know it is a historic struggle. They know their victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain. It would defeat civilisation and democracy everywhere. They know it, but do we? The truth is, faced with this struggle, on which our own fate hangs, a significant part of Western opinion is sitting back, if not half-hoping we fail, certainly replete with schadenfreude at the difficulty we find.

So what exactly is the nature of the battle inside Iraq itself? This is not a 'civil war', though the purpose of the terrorism is undoubtedly to try to provoke one. The current upsurge in violence has not spread throughout Iraq. Much of Iraq is unaffected and most Iraqis reject it. The insurgents are former Saddam sympathisers, angry that their status as 'boss' has been removed, terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda and, most recently, followers of the Shia cleric, Muqtada-al-Sadr.

There you have it. On the one side, outside terrorists, an extremist who has created his own militia, and remnants of a brutal dictatorship which murdered hundreds of thousands of its own people and enslaved the rest. On the other side, people of immense courage and humanity who dare to believe that basic human rights and liberty are not alien to Arab and Middle Eastern culture, but are their salvation.

--The Observer (via Sullivan)

Posted by robbernard at 12:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, April 11, 2004
Iran and Hezbollah aiding outlaw cleric al-Sadr?

So says the NY Post.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah are secretly providing outlawed Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr with money, training and logistical support for his violent campaign against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, The Post has learned.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials said last night there is evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the security services loyal to Iran's hard-line religious leader Ayatollah al Khameini, have funneled as much as $80 million into Shiite charities established by al-Sadr's influential family that have been diverted to fund his fanatic al-Mahdi militia.

Intelligence sources also said operatives from the Lebanese Hezbollah, a Shiite terror group created by Iran, have trained 800 to 1,200 al-Mahdi fighters in guerrilla warfare and terrorist techniques at three camps in Iran near the Iraq border.

Al-Sadr's group is also believed to have been recently provided with 800 satellite phones and new radio broadcasting equipment by diplomats at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, sources told The Post.

--New York Post

Posted by robbernard at 11:19 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, April 10, 2004
Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladensince 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bringthe fighting to America."

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladentold followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told [deleted text] serviceat the same time that Bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative'saccess to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Laden's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that BinLaden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate theoperation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning hisown U.S. attack.

Ressam says Bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he preparesoperations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

AI Qaeda members — including same who are U.S. citizens — have resided in and traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains asupport structure that could aid attacks.

Two Al Qaeda members found guiltyin the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine sourcesaid in 1998 that a Bin Laden cell in New Yorkwas recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We havenot been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns ofsuspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations forhijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance offederal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May sayingthat a group or Bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

So we've got a memo which says that a guy we knew wanted to attack here wanted to attack here, that they wanted to hijack planes so they could trade the hostages and that they might be looking to attack federal buildings.

Someone care to point out how a memo full of threats that didn't come to pass is proof that President Bush was lax on terrorism before 9/11?

Posted by robbernard at 7:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, April 9, 2004
A great letter on Andrew Sullivan's page

From a Marine writing home...

Things have been busy here. You know I can't say much about it. However, I do know two things. One, POTUS has given us the green light to do whatever we needed to do to win this thing so we have that going for us. Two, and my opinion only, this battle is going to have far reaching effects on not only the war here in Iraq but in the overall war on terrorism. We have to be very precise in our application of combat power. We cannot kill a lot of innocent folks (though they are few and far between in Fallujah). There will be no shock and awe. There will be plenty of bloodshed at the lowest levels. This battle is the Marine Corps' Belleau Wood for this war. 2/1 and 1/5 will be leading the way. We have to find a way to kill the bad guys only. The Fallujahans are fired up and ready for a fight (or so they think). A lot of terrorists and foreign fighters are holed up in Fallujah. It has been a sanctuary for them. If they have not left town they are going to die. I'm hoping they stay and fight.

This way we won't have to track them down one by one.

This battle is going to be talked about for a long time. The Marine Corps will either reaffirm its place in history as one of the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying. The Marines are fired up. I'm nervous for them though because I know how much is riding on this fight (the war in Iraq, the view of the war at home, the length of the war on terror and the reputation of the Marine Corps to name a few). However, every time I've been nervous during my career about the outcome of events when young Marines were involved they have ALWAYS exceeded my expectations. I'm praying this is one of those times.

--Daily Dish

This is a fight that had to happen. These are enemies that must be destroyed if we are to have a peaceful Iraq. Fallujah cannot remain a haven for terrorists, foreign fighters and Baathists. Sadr cannot rule his own territory, have his own army, be free to advocate violence and kill his enemies. These are not people who can be negotiated with; these are not people we can appease. This is not a battle of choice; this is a battle of necessity. This is a battle that must be fought to ensure a free Iraq, an Iraq that is not a threat to the rest of the world.

We either surrender the country to the enemy or we defeat them. Some in this country hope for the former (Thankfully not many, but they do exist.), some would just rather that than see our soldiers die. There are a lot of brave men and women over there working to ensure the latter and for that I offer my heartfelt gratitude for their bravery and dedication. I pray that as few of them as possible must give their lives ensure victory and a free and safe Iraq.

Posted by robbernard at 12:56 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, April 2, 2004

Kos of Daily Kos on the recent mutilation deaths of civilian contractors in Iraq:

I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

--Daily Kos

Instapundit has a post with plenty of links to just about every take on the subject.

--Update -- (Somehow different from an addendum, I think it has to do with time...)
Weapons of Mass Discussion points out that Jane Mitakides, who is running against Mike Turner for US Congress in the 3rd District (That'd basically be Dayton and points south and east for the less numerically inclined.), is a prominent advertiser on Daily Kos.

I hope that Jane has the sense to sever her campaigns relationship with Kos. Mainstream Democrats aren't really like least not the few sane Democrats I know. There are a few hamster Democrats I know who would stand up and cheer this sort of thing. I think that is just disgusting.


Posted by robbernard at 4:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, April 1, 2004
Good stuff from Lileks

John Kerry quotes are in italics.

I mean, there are countless numbers of things that we could be doing to enhance the world's view of us and to minimize the kind of anger and ... almost recruitment that has taken place in terrorist organizations as a result of the way the administration has behaved.

...We stopped pretending we would ratify Kyoto. We only spent $15 billion on AIDS in Africa. We did not take dictation from Paris. If we had done these things, it would minimize the world’s anger.

Is the world angry at Russia, which spends nothing on AIDS and rebuffed Kyoto? Is the world angry at China, which got a pass on Kyoto and spends nothing on AIDS for other countries?

Is the world angry at North Korea for killings its people? Angry at Iran for smothering that vibrant nation with corrupt and thuggish mullocracy? Angry at Syria for occupying Lebanon? Angry at Saudi Arabia for its denial of women’s rights? Angry at Russia for corrupt elections? Is the world angry at China for threatening Taiwan, or angry at France for joining the Chinese in joint military exercises that threatened the island on the eve of an election? Is the world angry at Zimbabwe for stealing land and starving people? Is the world angry at Pakistan for selling nuclear secrets? Is the world angry at Libya for having an NBC program?

Is the world angry at the thugs of Fallujah?

Is the world angry at anyone besides America and Israel?

But even if you admit that the world is angry at America - so angry that the poorest of them can’t wait to come here and stake a claim – you have to stand in awe at the sheer political idiocy of Kerry’s conclusion. Boiled down:

There are countless numbers of things that we could be do minimize the kind of anger and ... almost recruitment that has taken place in terrorist organizations as a result of the way the administration has behaved.

By toppling the fascists in Baghdad without French seal of approval, we have encouraged recruitment in terrorist organizations. It’s not the invasion that ticked off the Man in the Arab Street, it’s the lack of a 17th UN resolution on Iraq. Right now in a café in Beirut an educated man, a chemist by trade, schooled in the ways of the West, is reading an article about how the US will only spent $15 billion on AIDS and probably won’t reduce its carbon emissions to 1817 levels, and he throws down the paper in disgust: bastards! I must join Al Qaeda, move to Iraq and kill the contractors who are upgrading their outmoded infrastructure!

--James Lileks

Posted by robbernard at 3:53 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Iraq's connection to Osama

The Washington Times has obtained an Iraqi Intelligence Service document from 1993 that lists Osama bin Laden as a "collaborator". Could be fake, but an official says it appears authentic.

We have obtained a document discovered in Iraq from the files of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). The report provides new evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The 1993 document, in Arabic, bears the logo of the Iraqi intelligence agency and is labeled "top secret" on each of its 20 pages.

The report is a list of IIS agents who are described as "collaborators."

On page 14, the report states that among the collaborators is "the Saudi Osama bin Laden."

The document states that bin Laden is a "Saudi businessman and is in charge of the Saudi opposition in Afghanistan."

"And he is in good relationship with our section in Syria," the document states, under the signature "Jabar."

The document was obtained by the Iraqi National Congress and first disclosed on the CBS program "60 Minutes" by INC leader Ahmed Chalabi.

A U.S. official said the document appears authentic.

--Washington Times (via HobbsOnline and Powerline)

Posted by robbernard at 12:50 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, March 19, 2004
Because it probably should be noted

In all the 24 hour coverage it seems to have gotten lost that the death toll from the bombing of the Mount Lebanon hotel on Wednesday was revised down to 7 from 27.

Posted by robbernard at 2:27 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
How the Iraqis feel about the war

The BBC has a new poll of Iraqis.

Seventy per cent of people said that things were going well or quite well in their lives, while only 29% felt things were bad.

And 56% said that things were better now than they were before the war.
In the poll of Iraqis, nearly 80% favoured a unified state with a central government in Baghdad; only 14% opted for a system of regional governments combined with a federal authority.
About 15% say foreign forces should leave Iraq now, but many more say they should stay until an Iraqi government is in place or security is restored.

Looking back, more Iraqis think the invasion was right than wrong, although 41% felt that the invasion "humiliated Iraq".


Posted by robbernard at 10:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Al Qaeda's plans to change Spain's government

CNN has a story on how they thought attacking Spain would change the government and seperate Spain from the allies. And it seems to have worked.

A document published months before national elections reveals al Qaeda planned to separate Spain from its allies by carrying out terror attacks.

A December posting on an Internet message board used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers and obtained by CNN, spells out a plan to topple the pro-U.S. government.

"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says.

"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."

That prediction came to fruition in elections Sunday, with the Socialists unseating the Popular Party three days after near-simultaneous bombings of four trains killed 200 and shocked the nation.

Posted by robbernard at 9:57 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, March 14, 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with the biggest terrorist win yet in the War on Terror

I give you Spain.

The terrorists have successfully effected a favorable change by killing civilians. The people of Spain have elected a government that will pull the troops out of Iraq. They have done this not because of the goals in Iraq but because they took the wrong lesson from the 3/11 terrorist bombing. They have decided not that they must redouble their efforts in the War on Terror, but rather that if they pull out of Iraq maybe the terrorists will leave them alone. They have decided that if they give in to the terrorists they will be left alone comfortably in the middle. They have been targeted and they have been scared and they have decided to leave the fighting to others.

I tell you now, the fight against those who believe that terrorists can be appeased or who think they must shy away from confrontation because they themselves might be targeted is just as important as the actual capturing or killing of terrorists. The middle ground of appeasement and fear is the most reprehensible place in the fight against terror. It claims to oppose the one side while doing everything it can to obstruct the efforts of the other.

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if, only, by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube...

--Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged

Posted by robbernard at 7:28 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Ohio Patriot Plan Update

Steve Lynch, who originally brought the Ohio Patriot Plan to everybody's attention with his letter to Blackfive, left an update on the status of the Ohio Patriot plan. He had this to say:

Thanks for getting the word out. Earlier this week, I met with the sponsor, Rep Ujvagi,, and he was very impressed with the number of e-mails he's received from Ohioans serving around the world.

FYI, the Ohio Patriot Plan now has a bill no. (House Bill 426.). Testimony in favor of the bill is scheduled for March 23rd at 1500 - I'll be there to testify. Once it gets out of the house, it still needs Ohio Senate approval. One Ohio state senator to contact is Senator Robert Gardner from Madison, Ohio. His e-mail is

If you'd like to hear a news report on the Plan, here it is.

I'll keep providing updates. Thanks again.

Steve Lynch

Posted by robbernard at 3:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, March 11, 2004
A sad day in the War on Terror

At least 190 dead in Madrid where 10 bombs went off on trains and in train stations. The Spanish at first blamed Basque separatists, but since a van with Arabic tapes has been found and a group has claimed responsibility in the name of al Qaeda. My heart goes out to the people of Spain.

The War on Terror isn’t over, and it won’t be ended simply by capturing Osama. Today it was Spain, tomorrow it could be any country that’s helping defend civilization in the War on Terror.

--Update --
Sky new has the al Qaeda letter.

An email to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on a European city since the second world war.

It also warned that a "big attack" on the US was "90% ready".

"The death squad (of the Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades) succeeded in penetrating the crusader European depths and striking one of the pillars of the crusader alliance - Spain - with a painful blow," the email said.

"We bring the good news to Muslims of the world that the expected 'Winds of Black Death' strike against America is now in its final stage...90 percent (ready) and God willing near," the letter said.

Bari Atwan, the newspaper's editor, told Sky News he was certain the claim was authentic.

--Sky News

Posted by robbernard at 4:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Colin Powell on Hannity & Colmes

If you didn't catch it you can see the video at Fox News' site. The format's different but I think it's comparable to Blair's speech last week. It's a clear, articulate defense of and case for what we have done in Iraq and what we will do in the future. He lays out that we used the best information available at the time and that President Bush's critics came to the same conclusions with the same information.

Posted by robbernard at 3:08 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
John Kerry v.2002 on the Iraq war

In October 2002 the Senate debated whether to authorize President Bush to use force to disarm Saddam and enforce UN resolutions regarding disarmament. With the Iraq war being such an important issue in the upcoming election and John Kerry being the presumptive Democrat candidate for president I thought it might be good to back through the Congressional Record and actually see what he thought back then and not just go by what he now says he thought back then.

First off, for those who say President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the country as to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, let's look at what John Kerry believed about the threat posed by Saddam.

[Saddam] has continually failed to meet the obligations imposed by the international community on Iraq at the end of the Persian Gulf the Iraqi regime provide credible proof war to declare and destroy its weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems and to forego the development of nuclear weapons. during the 7 years of weapons inspections, the Iraqi regime repeatedly frustrated the work of the UNSCOM--Special Commission--inspectors, culminating in 1998 in their ouster. Even during the period of inspections, Iraq never fully accounted for major gaps and inconsistencies in declarations provided to the inspectors of its pre-gulf war WMD programs, nor did the Iraqi regime provide credible proof that it had completely destroyed its weapons stockpiles and production infrastructure.

It is clear that in the 4 years since the UNSCOM inspectors were forced out, Saddam Hussein has continued his quest for weapons of mass destruction. According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer restriction imposed by the United Nations in the ceasefire resolution. Although Iraq's chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 years. Evidence suggests that it has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. Intelligence reports show that Iraq has invested more heavily in its biological weapons programs over the 4 years, with the result that all key aspects of this program--R&D, production and weaponization--are active. Most elements of the program are larger and more advanced than they were before the gulf war. Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland. Since inspectors left, the Iraqi regime has energized its missile program, probably now consisting of a few dozen Scud-type missiles with ranges of 650 to 900 kilometers that could hit Israel, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region. In addition, Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs, capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents, which could threaten Iraq's neighbors as well as American forces in the Persian Gulf.

Prior to the gulf war, Iraq had an advance nuclear weapons development program. Although UNSCOM and IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors learned much about Iraq's efforts in this area, Iraq has failed to provide complete information on all aspects of its program. Iraq has maintained its nuclear scientists and technicians as well as sufficient dual-use manufacturing capability to support a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. Iraqi defectors who once worked for Iraq's nuclear weapons establishment have reportedly told American officials that acquiring nuclear weapons is a top priority for Saddam Hussein's regime.

According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop nuclear weapons. The more difficult question to answer is when Iraq could actually achieve this goal. That depends on is its ability to acquire weapons-grade fissile material. If Iraq could acquire this material from abroad, the CIA estimates that it could have a nuclear weapon within 1 year.

Absent a foreign supplier, it might be longer. There is no question that Saddam Hussein represents a threat.
And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally, as well as purposely, allow those weapons to slide off to one group or other in a region where weapons are the currency of trade? How do we leave that to chance?
The Iraqi regime's record over the decade leaves little doubt that Saddam Hussein wants to retain his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and, obviously, as we have said, grow it. These weapons represent an unacceptable threat.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10172)(S10173)

Let me just pull out a couple sentences there.

"According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons."

This first sentence would seem to contradict the current memes that President Bush cherry-picked data and misled Congress and the people. John Kerry's belief that Saddam had WMD and was seeking nuclear weapons didn't come in some White House briefing or the like. It was a CIA report. And with "all U.S. intelligence experts agree" it hardly seems that the CIA reports were brimming with doubt about nuclear weapons as we've been led to believe since then.

And the sentence that summarizes his stance then:

"There is no question that Saddam Hussein represents a threat."

Now tell me, does this sound like a man presented with vague, cherry-picked data that might or might not prove that Saddam was dangerous?

He lays out the same basic ideas that Colin Powell brought to the UN and yet somehow the Bush administration, that believes the same thing as Kerry, is lying and misleading and cherry-picking.

Now let’s move on to what Senator Kerry thought he was voting for when he voted for the authorization to use force. He has since said "I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations."

I want to underscore that this administration began this debate with a resolution that granted exceedingly broad authority to the President to use force. I regret that some in the Congress rushed so quickly to support it. I would have opposed it. It gave the President the authority to use force not only to enforce all of the U.N. resolutions as a cause of war, but also to produce regime change in Iraq, and to restore international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region. It made no mention of the President's efforts at the United Nations or the need to build multilateral support for whatever course of action we ultimately would take.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10173)

Here we see that Kerry didn't go into this vote blind. If he voted to authorize more than he thought he did, it certainly wasn't because he just didn't think about the breadth of authorization being discussed.

The revised White House text, which we will vote on, limits the grant of authority to the President to the use of force only with respect to Iraq. It does not empower him to use force throughout the Persian Gulf region. It authorizes the President to use Armed Forces to defend the ``national security'' of the United States--a power most of us believe he already has under the Constitution as Commander in Chief. And it empowers him to enforce all ``relevant'' Security Council resolutions related to Iraq. None of those resolutions or, for that matter, any of the other Security Council resolutions demanding Iraqi compliance with its international obligations, calls for a regime change.

In recent days, the administration has gone further. They are defining what ``relevant'' U.N. Security Council resolutions mean. When Secretary Powell testified before our committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, on September 26, he was asked what specific U.N. Security Council resolutions the United States would go to war to enforce. His response was clear: the resolutions dealing with weapons of mass destruction and the disarmament of Iraq. In fact, when asked about compliance with other U.N. resolutions which do not deal with weapons of mass destruction, the Secretary said:

The President has not linked authority to go to war to any of those elements.
I would have preferred that the President agree to the approach drafted by Senators Biden and Lugar... It would require the President, before exercising the authority granted in the resolution, to send a determination to Congress that the United States tried to seek a new Security Council resolution or that the threat posed by Iraq's WMD is so great he must act absent a new resolution--a power, incidentally, that the President of the United States always has.

I believe this approach would have provided greater clarity to the American people about the reason for going to war and the specific grant of authority. I think it would have been a better way to do this. But it does not change the bottom line of what we are voting for.

The administration, unwisely, in my view, rejected the Biden-Lugar approach. But, perhaps as a nod to the sponsors, it did agree to a determination requirement on the status of its efforts at the United Nations. That is now embodied in the White House text.
If the President arbitrarily walks away from this course of action--without good cause or reason--the legitimacy of any subsequent action by the United States against Iraq will be challenged by the American people and the international community. And I would vigorously oppose the President doing so.

When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10173) (S10174)

Now the word “threat” appears there 4 times, but always in reference to the threat of Saddam Hussein. Not once does the word “threaten” appear. He makes it clear that he’d oppose the President if he arbitrarily walked away (and let’s keep in mind that when diplomacy did finally end France was threatening to veto any resolution stronger than “we’ll think about war again in 6 months”), but he makes it quite clear that he is voting to give President Bush the authority to use force, not just threaten its use.

The administration must continue its efforts to build support at the United Nations for a new, unfettered, unconditional weapons inspection regime. If we can eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction through inspections, whenever, wherever, and however we want them, including in palaces--and I am highly skeptical, given the full record, given their past practices, that we can necessarily achieve that--then we have an obligation to try that as the first course of action before we expend American lives in any further effort.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10174)

Now here let’s remember that Iraq did not cooperate fully with inspectors. They haggled over when U2s could fly over and whether they'd destroy missiles. They dragged their feet and were not at all proactive in their disarmament.

It is clear the Senate is about to give the President the authority he has requested sometime in the next days. Whether the President will have to use that authority depends ultimately on Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein has a choice: He can continue to defy the international community, or he can fulfill his longstanding obligations to disarm. He is the person who has brought the world to this brink of confrontation.

He is the dictator who can end the stalemate simply by following the terms of the agreement which left him in power.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10175)

Here Kerry was right. Hussein could have ended the whole ordeal if he had proactively disarmed. Instead he offered a little cooperation at first, and then when things started to get serious he offered a little more cooperation. At no point did they fully cooperate and in the end France et al seemed content with this noncompliance. They refused to entertain the thought that there should be any limit at all on the amount of time Saddam would be given to stymie inspectors, leaving President Bush no choice but to walk away when it was evident that the cooperation that was needed to disarm Iraq, both from within Iraq and from the Security Council, would never come.

Senator Kerry can make the argument that President Bush pulled out too soon. (I've made my case as to why holding out longer would have done no good.) He cannot however honestly say that he didn't think Iraq was a threat. He cannot say that President Bush misled him on the threat Iraq posed. He cannot say that he voted to "threaten to use force", he talked only of authorizing the actual use of force, never once even giving the impression that President Bush was only allowed to threaten and would have to come back to Congress to actually be allowed to use it.

He knew at the time that it was a bill authorizing actual force and not just threats and he knew that Iraq posed a threat.

He was right at the time to vote for the resolution. He was right to believe that Iraq posed a threat. Now however it is an election year and suddenly he needs to make President Bush look bad. Now he claims he was lied to by President Bush about the threat Saddam posed. His very own words above disprove that. He knew, just like everybody else that Saddam posed a threat. He said "all U.S. intelligence experts" agreed that Iraq was trying to gain nuclear weapons. They may have been wrong, but if so then the intelligence was wrong. As much as Kerry wants to smear President Bush, intelligence experts providing the President and Congress with wrong information is not the same as the President cherry-picking evidence and lying to and misleading Congress and the American people. Kerry left no doubt. The evidence was "clear", all the experts agreed. It is disgraceful that Kerry is now trying to turn this into some grand scheme and lie from President Bush when he himself was convinced by the same reports, the same evidence.

Today he is trying to weasel out of his record and to deny what he knew. He has been constant in wanting multilateral support (though considering that we had the help and support of at least 34 countries, perhaps what he actually wanted was omnilateral support), but his positions on the use of force authorization and the threat posed by Saddam are pure examples of flip-flopping of the most politically expedient kind. He held certain beliefs. Now that the exact opposite can help him he not only says he believes the opposite but is trying to rewrite history in such a manner as to make people believe he never held his original beliefs at all.

Monday, March 8, 2004
"They do not represent me"

Debra Burlingame, who lost her brother on 9/11 takes issue with those that raised a ruckus over President Bush's ad.

It is one thing for individual family members to invoke the memory of all 3,000 victims as they take to the microphone or podium to show respect for our collective loss. It is another for them to attempt to stifle the debate over the future direction of our country by declaring that the images of 9/11 should be off-limits in the presidential race, and to do so under the rubric of "The Families of Sept. 11." They do not represent me. Nor do they represent those Americans who feel that Sept. 11 was a defining moment in the history of our country and who want to know how the current or future occupant of the Oval Office views the lessons of that day.
Whatever these 9/11 families may think of the president's foreign policy or the war in Iraq, I ask them to reconsider the language and tone of their statements. We should not tolerate or condone remarks such as those of the 9/11 relative who, so offended by the campaign ads, said that he "would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush." The insult was picked up and posted on Al-Jazeera's Web site. In view of the sacrifice our troops have made on our behalf, this insensitivity to them and their families suggests a level of self-indulgence and ingratitude that shocks the conscience.
Ms. Burlingame, a life-long Democrat, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame, III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.


Good news from Iraq

Iraq has a signed interim constitution. (The text is here.)

Additionally, things seems to be going better for our troops. In the past 12 days only 1 of our 100,000+ troops in Iraq has died. While every death is tragic, it's a far cry from the "two or three a day" leading up to the election that some had been warning of.

There was a period of time after the war where casualties were pretty rare and unorganized. Then they got some organization and they started using IEDs and whatnot. Recently things seem to have fallen back to unorganized. 1 IED death in the past 19 days and enemy attacks on houses and empty hotels would seem to indicate a dropoff in enemy activity and organization and would seem to bode well for our troops.

I can only hope the trend continues and things keep getting better (both for our troops and for the Iraqi citizens) as Iraqis continue to see how much better off they are than they were under Saddam and that their enemy isn't the United States but those waging war on the ability of Iraqis to be a free people.

Posted by robbernard at 2:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, March 5, 2004
Blair on Terror

Blair knocks it out of the ballpark. (Or cricket field or whatever they'd use over there.)

But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.

The characterisation of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live.

Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, its way of living.

If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.

This is true also of our security.

The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalisation is to the world's economy.

It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed.

But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it. . . .

The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people.

But what galvanised me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3000.

But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000 they would have rejoiced in it.

The purpose was to cause such hatred between Moslems and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it. . . .

This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favour playing it long.

Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivete and at worst dereliction.

--BBC (via Instapundit and Harry's Place)

Posted by robbernard at 2:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, March 4, 2004
Refuting the idea that we invaded Iraq for their oil...

Haliburton may be totally ripping off the US government, they may be overcharging us for gas or doing half the work for twice the price or whatever, but that isn't the same as us taking Iraq's oil. It may be unethical, immoral, or illegal, but it's not stealing Iraq's oil or taking some of their profits.

The oil production is actually now up to prewar levels and a lot of money is going into Iraq's coffers.

Iraq's oil industry has undergone a remarkable turnaround and is now producing and exporting almost as much crude oil as it did before the war, according to officials with the American-led occupation and the Iraqi oil ministry.

A month before the April 1 deadline set by Iraq and American officials for restoring the industry to prewar levels, the country is producing 2.3 million to 2.5 million barrels a day, compared with 2.8 million barrels a day before the war.

With additional production increases expected, oil exports this year could add $14 billion to Iraq's threadbare budget, compared with a little more than $5 billion last year, said a senior official with the Coalition Provisional Authority, the occupation government.

--NY Times

If you've got a link showing that Haliburton, another company, or the US government is getting a percentage of the actual oil profits please let me know. (And this doesn't include links to Halliburton overcharging for gas or getting a whole bunch of contracts to rebuild infrastructure or build military bases. Only the actual distribution of profits from pumped oil that should be going to Iraq.)

Posted by robbernard at 7:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Guess what... We Americans are Nazis

Or at least so says a nation that actually has concentration camps.

North Korea is teaching teaching "The Diary of Anne Frank" in a way that doesn't at all jive with the original intent.

Here, they teach that today's Nazis are the Americans – and that today's Hitler is George W. Bush. And, to hammer that home, whenever North Korean students refer to President Bush, or to other Americans, they're taught to call them “Nazis,” or “warmongers."

“As long as the warmonger Bush and the Nazi Americans live, who are worse than Hitler's fascists, world peace will be impossible to achieve,” says another student.

--CBS News (via BOTW)

Posted by robbernard at 4:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The Ohio Patriot Plan

Blackfive has information on the Ohio Patriot plan, legislation introduced in Columbus that would protect reserve and national guard members on active duty outside the state. Word is that it may die in committee though, so Blackfive suggests contacting Representative Peter Ujvagi and expressing your support.

Posted by robbernard at 6:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 23, 2004
Orson Scott Card on the war on terror
There are two fantasy versions of the history of the campaign in Iraq.

One fantasy version is: We invaded Iraq because they sponsored Al-Qaeda's attack on the World Trade Center.
Today there is an interconnected network of terrorists... All of these terrorist groups have declared war against America, and many of them have killed Americans. The insistence that we either should or can go after only one of these groups is a specious one.

I'm especially amused when presidential candidates claim that President Bush "lost his focus" and should have kept after Al-Qaeda.

Whenever you hear such a claim you are listening to a dolt or a deceiver, because he either should know or does know that there was and is no possibility of dismantling Al-Qaeda without removing the governments that eagerly support terrorists and giving a little spine to the governments that are too frightened not to shelter them.

The second fantasy version is: We invaded Iraq because we were told that they had or were about to have extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction, and now that all turns out to be lies.

First, no one has introduced any evidence of lies. There have been some pieces of seeming evidence that turned out not to be reliable, but the conclusion that Saddam had WMDs was universally held. At no point in the discussion in the U.N. did anyone raise the serious possibility that Saddam did not have at least some of the weapons, and programs to acquire the others. Our failure (so far) to find them surprised everybody.
What no one could have known was the degree to which Iraqi scientists, like German scientists under the Nazis half a century before, had deliberately slowed down their work to keep these weapons out of Saddam's hands.

Nor does anyone know what happened to the chemical-weapon stockpiles that we know Saddam had -- since he did order their deployment and authorize their use in combat against us, which means he thought he had them. Even these have not been found, and it strains credulity to think they never existed.
[A]s I wrote at the time and repeat now, even if not a single WMD is ever found, the campaign in Iraq was morally and legally justified by any rational standard of international law and fundamental national rights.
[I]f you give it even a moment's thought, the behavior of the U.N. is not an argument against the legitimacy of the American war against terrorism, it's an argument against the legitimacy of the United Nations as the arbiter of which wars are permissible.

I can promise you right now that if China ever invades Taiwan, the Security Council, in which China holds a veto, will not sanction American military intervention to save our ally from being swallowed up by imperialist China as ruthlessly as they swallowed Tibet.

Would that make it "wrong" for us to take military action against naked aggression by the Chinese dictatorship against a people who have made it clear they do not wish to be a part of the Chinese Communist empire?

No. This myth that we need U.N. approval or a war is "illegal" is only a temporary club designed to beat the Bush administration with.
There is only one Democratic candidate I know of who is openly pledged to support our just and necessary war against terror-loving governments: Joseph Lieberman.
All the others seem determined to surrender at the first opportunity, laying us and Israel -- and the rest of the world -- bare to perpetual blackmail by evil murderers like the ruling Ayatollahs of Iran and the Ba'athists of Syria.

--War Watch

I couldn't say it better.

Posted by robbernard at 5:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Oil-for-food money used to finance foreign anti-sanctions organizations

So says The Guardian.

Posted by robbernard at 1:00 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, February 13, 2004
The American soldier: winning wars with more than just weapons
"Thousands of Iranians have visited the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala since the war ended. Many have expressed surprise at the respectful and helpful behavior of the U.S. soldiers they met along the way.

Leila Araki, waiting in the back of a Renault sedan as her husband peddled shoes, recalled that her mother-in-law somehow lost her money on the road to Karbala. She said a U.S. soldier reached into his pocket and handed her taxi
fare back to Najaf.

"This is something quite contrary to what we have been told about Americans," aid Araki, 31, who was told of Americans flashing thumbs-up and saying, "Good, Iranians."

"They were really surprised. I would never be this respected and well-treated even in my country, by my countrymen."

Esmaeil Omrani told of a relative with asthma struggling to breathe in the dust of Najaf. A young American in full battle dress advised him to switch inhalants, then gave the pilgrim his own, plus an extra for the road. "Everybody liked them," Omrani said.

Hossein Amiri related a similar story from a thirsty relative given water by a U.S. soldier outside Najaf when the city was closed by a car bombing.

"Between our countries, there might be problems at the top," said Amiri, 48, a civil servant. "There is no problem at the bottom."

--Washington Post via Porphyrogenitus

THIS is how you win the war after the war, and in the case of Iran, the war you hope doesn't have to happen. You come in, you make sure they know that you want to help and you treat people better than the people you've beaten. You challenge the assumptions their leaders had and have been throwing at them. Above all just treat the people like people.

Posted by robbernard at 12:00 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Who are the terrorists rooting for in the election?

Cox & Forkum takes a stab at it, and it's not Bush.

Monday, February 9, 2004
Mohammed Ismail Agha's thoughts on Gitmo

Mohammed Ismail Agha, 15 years old and recently released from a 14 month stay at Guantanamo Bay is speaking up about his experience:

"They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons."

Mohammed, an unemployed Afghan farmer, found the surroundings in Cuba at first baffling. After he settled in, however, he was left to enjoy stimulating school work, good food and prayer.

"At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later the Americans were so nice to me. They gave me good food with fruit and water for ablutions and prayer," he said yesterday in Naw Zad, a remote market town in southern Afghanistan close to his home village and 300 miles south-west of Kabul, the capital.

He said that the American soldiers taught him and his fellow child captives - aged 15 and 13 - to write and speak a little English. They supplied them with books in their native Pashto language. When the three boys left last week for Afghanistan, the soldiers looking after them gave them a send-off dinner and urged them to continue their studies.

"They even took photographs of us all together before we left," he said. Mohammed, however, said he would have to disappoint his captors by not returning to his studies. "I am too poor for that. I will have to look for work," he said.


And this from Faiz Mohammed, release in October 2002 after 8 months in detention:

"They treated us well. We had enough food. I didn't mind [being detained] because they took my old clothes and gave me new clothes," said the farmer, who was partially deaf.


Posted by robbernard at 4:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
10 questions not asked of President Bush

Greg Mitchell has a column listing 10 questions Russert didn’t ask Bush on Meet the Press. Here’s my attempt to answer, refute or just mock some them.

1. When Bush said flatly that he was "not surprised" by the level of resistance the U.S. has met in Iraq after the war, Russert did not ask: If that's true, why then did the U.S. not prepare much better for what would follow?

How would you better prepare for it? How would being better prepared for it differ from what happened?
3. As a follow-up: Mr. President, What do you think of Tenet's comment that he never thought Iraq was an "imminent" threat? Or Colin Powell's remark earlier this week that he could not have justified the war if he knew the threat of weapons of mass destruction was not real?

On the first, I think he'd reply that he didn't think it was imminent either, as he said in the SOTU.

“Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.” --SOTU

On the second, just because we haven't found large stockpiles doesn't mean the threat of WMD wasn't real.

4. When Bush flatly asserted "We're doing a very good job of dismantling Al-Quada," Russert did not challenge this notion at all.

Geez, maybe that's because it's true. We may not have caught Osama yet, but a very large number of Al-Qaeda members have been caught or killed.

"McClellan said 'some two-thirds' of al Qaeda leaders have been killed or detained."--CNN

5. Bush said one reason we had to go to war was because Saddam could have developed nuclear weapons "over time." Russert did not ask him to cite any fresh evidence that the Iraqi nuclear program was in any state to do this any time in the foreseeable future.

From the Kay report:

"With regard to Iraq's nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. These officials assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point. Some indicated a resumption after Iraq was free of sanctions. At least one senior Iraqi official believed that by 2000 Saddam had run out of patience with waiting for sanctions to end and wanted to restart the nuclear program. The Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), beginning around 1999, expanded its laboratories and research activities and increased its overall funding levels. This expansion may have been in initial preparation for renewed nuclear weapons research, although documentary evidence of this has not been found, and this is the subject of continuing investigation by ISG." – Kay Report

6. When Bush denied that he had launched a "pre-emptive" war because, after all, he went to the United Nations first, Russert did not ask: How did that make the invasion any less "pre-emptive?"

What actually makes it less preemptive is the fact that is wasn’t a new war, simply the resumption of the 1991 war.
7. Bush claimed that we went to war because efforts at "containing" Saddam Hussein had failed. Russert did not ask for evidence that Hussein had not, in fact, been contained by sanctions, especially in light of no WMDs being found in Iraq.

8. Bush also repeatedly asserted that the United Nations had failed at "disarming Saddam Hussein peacefully" or that its efforts were "not working." Russert did not ask: How can you say this when, on the verge of war, U.N. inspectors were on the ground in Iraq and reporting that there appeared to be no WMDs there -- which, in fact, has been proven correct?

All the UN’s efforts did not keep Saddam from continuing his programs that were banned by UN resolutions.

More from the Kay report:

Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:

– A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to U.N. monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW (chemical biological weapons) research.

– A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW (bioweapons) agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N.

– Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

– New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the U.N.

– Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation.

– A line of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

– Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N.

– Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 km – well beyond the 150-km range limit imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

– Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-km range ballistic missiles – probably the No Dong – 300-km range anti-ship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment.

Iraq was continuing to develop a variety of UAV platforms and maintained two UAV programs that were working in parallel, one at Ibn Fernas and one at al-Rashid Air Force Base.

ISG has discovered evidence of two primary cruise missile programs. The first appears to have been successfully implemented, whereas the second had not yet reached maturity at the time of OIF.

3. In the chemical and biological weapons area we have confidence that there were at a minimum clandestine ongoing research and development activities that were embedded in the Iraqi Intelligence Service. While we have much yet to learn about the exact work programs and capabilities of these activities, it is already apparent that these undeclared activities would have at a minimum facilitated chemical and biological weapons activities and provided a technically trained cadre.

--Kay Report

All of these activities were banned by UN resolutions, and none were prevented by UN inspections. Every one of them was ended by the coalition's invasion.
9. When Bush, responding to the "AWOL" controversy, twice chastened critics for downgrading the National Guard, Russert did not ask him to name a critic who was doing that (as opposed to questioning Bush's specific record with the Guard).

You want a name? Ok. John Kerry.

“’I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard,’ Mr. Kerry said. ‘Those are choices people make.’” --New York Times

Sunday, February 8, 2004
John Kerry on the threat posed by Iraq
"It appears that with the deadline for exile come and gone, Saddam Hussein has chosen to make military force the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism".

--Boston Globe - 3/20/03

“I think Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that’s why I voted to hold him accountable and to make certain that we disarm him. I think we need to …”

--“All Things Considered” - 3/19/03

“[Kerry] said the Bush administration has taken too long to make its case for military action, ‘but nonetheless I am glad we’ve reached this moment in our diplomacy.’ Kerry added: ‘Convincing evidence of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction should trigger, I believe, a final ultimatum from the United Nations for a full, complete, immediate disarmament of those weapons by Iraq. Over the next hours, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to fully examine the evidence offered by the secretary for a complete and close reading. But, on its face, the evidence against Saddam Hussein appears real and compelling.’”

--Boston Globe - 2/6/03

“If You Don’t Believe Saddam Hussein Is A Threat With Nuclear Weapons, Then You Shouldn’t Vote For Me.”

--LA Times - 1/31/03

“[W]e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. He miscalculated an eight-year war with Iran. He miscalculated the invasion of Kuwait. He miscalculated America’s response to that act of naked aggression. He miscalculated the result of setting oil rigs on fire. He miscalculated the impact of sending scuds into Israel and trying to assassinate an American President. He miscalculated his own military strength. He miscalculated the Arab world’s response to his misconduct. And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm.”

--Speech at George Washington University - 1/23/03

“Mr. Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran and potential 2004 presidential contender, said Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction posed ‘a real and grave threat’ to the United States.”

--Washington Times - 10/10/02

“It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world.”

--Congressional Record - 10/9/02

“Americans need to really understand the gravity and legitimacy of what is happening with Saddam Hussein. He has been given every opportunity in the world to comply. The president does not control the schedule of UNSCOM. The president did not withdraw the UNSCOM inspectors. And the president did not, obviously, cut a deal with Saddam Hussein to do this at this moment. Saddam Hussein has not complied. Saddam Hussein is pursuing a program to build weapons of mass destruction.”

--Press Conference - 12/16/98

Damn Kerry and his misleading ways!!!

Come on people, everybody in Washington and just about every government worldwide thought Saddam had WMD and was up to no good. If Bush was trumping up the intelligence than so was pretty much every other person not being paid out of Saddam's coffers.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
- Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

--Nathan Colvin in Cincy Blog's comments

TOM DASCHLE, on the war resolution, back in 2002:

Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the threat of Iraq's weapons programs "may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored."

Dick Gephardt:

"I believe we have an obligation to protect the United States by preventing him from getting these weapons and either using them himself or passing them or their components on to terrorists who share his destructive intent," said Gephardt, who helped draft the measure.


Yeah, any lack of WMD in Iraq is obviously because the Bush administration lied about the intelligence, even though every one of these democrats developed these opinions using the same intelligence.

Friday, February 6, 2004
And I quote...
We know he was developing the delivery systems, ballistic missiles that the United Nations had prohibited. We know Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction, because he hid all those activities from the world until the last day of his regime. And Saddam Hussein had something else -- he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against innocent Iraqi citizens. Knowing what I knew then, and knowing what I know today, America did the right thing in Iraq.

We had a choice: either take the word of a madman, or take action to defend the American people. Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time. September the 11th, 2001 was a lesson for America, a lesson I will never forget, and a lesson this nation must never forget. We cannot wait to confront the threats of the world, the threats of terror networks and terror states, until those threats arrive in our own cities. I made a pledge to this country; I will not stand by and hope for the best while dangers gather. I will not take risks with the lives and security of the American people. I will protect and defend this country by taking the fight to the enemy.
If some politicians in Washington had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. All of the Security Council resolutions and condemnations would still be issued and still be ignored, scraps of paper amounting to nothing. Other regimes and terror networks, had we not acted, would have concluded that America backs down when things get tough. Saddam would still have his weapons capabilities, and life would sure be different for the Iraqi people. The secret police would still be making arrests in the middle of the night. Prisons and torture chambers would still be filled with victims. More innocent Iraqis would have been sent to mass graves. Because we acted, Iraq's nightmare is over. Their country, our country and the entire world are better off because the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone, and gone forever.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Ricin letter to the White House intercepted in November
The U.S. Secret Service intercepted a letter addressed to the White House in November that contained a vial of the toxin ricin, but never revealed the incident publicly and delayed telling the FBI and other agencies, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

The letter, signed by "Fallen Angel" and containing complaints about trucking regulations, was nearly identical to one discovered Oct. 15 at a Greenville, S.C., mail-sorting facility. It was accompanied by a metal vial that contained powdered ricin, sources said.
[T]he existence of a similar letter sent to the White House was not disclosed until yesterday, and then only by law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified by name.

Six sources in law enforcement and public health said the Secret Service did not immediately inform the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or other agencies about the White House letter when it was discovered. Three of those sources said the delay lasted "weeks," while a fourth recalled a lag of about nine days. Several said the delay was long enough that anyone exposed to the ricin would have begun to show symptoms.

"We did not get involved in any reasonable amount of time," one law enforcement official said. "The whole thing was kept under wraps on a national security basis."

--Washington Post

Posted by robbernard at 12:56 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 3, 2004
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's mail tests positive for ricin
Preliminary tests on a white, powdery substance found in the mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist indicate the presence of the deadly substance ricin, a Homeland Security official said Monday. ... Capitol police said there was nothing overtly suspicious about the envelope -- except for the powdery substance that fell out. Sgt. Contricia Sellers-Ford said there was nothing threatening or otherwise noteworthy about the letter inside the envelope.

She said the envelope was "clipped," meaning it was run through a machine that irradiates all the mail that comes to Capitol Hill -- standard procedure ever since the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Authorities stressed the ricin results were preliminary and that field tests often prove unreliable. They also pointed out that though ricin is an effective weapon against a single person, it is difficult to use against large numbers of people at once.

Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that comes from castor beans, used to make castor oil. It can be inhaled, ingested or injected.

There is no known antidote, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One milligram of ricin, a dose the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult.

If inhaled, ricin can cause death in 36 to 48 hours from failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

Injected ricin immediately kills the muscles and lymph nodes near the site of the injection. Failure of the major organs and death usually follows, the CDC said.


Posted by robbernard at 12:14 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Some interesting maps

Fundrace has some interesting maps outlining the geographic patterns of presidential fundraising. President Bush seems to by far have the most national pattern of fundraising.

(via RealPolitik)

Posted by robbernard at 11:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
"Don't you know there's a war on?"
    Listening to all the aspiring commanders in chief (except for Joe Lieberman), I don't hear any campaign promises related to winning the war on terrorism. They make a few obligatory references to getting Osama bin Laden rather than wasting our time with Saddam Hussein, and then they get on to their real campaign message, which is the conventional, peacetime Democratic argument to tax the rich and give the proceeds to their likely voters. I am tempted to respond to these candidates with the snappy WWII-era retort to complainers: "Don't you know there's a war on?"
    Of course domestic life and politics goes on today as it did during 1941-1945. But it is striking that the challengers for president have virtually nothing to say about the central event of our time. If they think President Bush is fighting the war badly (and they could do a better job), they should be shouting both their criticism and their better plan from the rooftops.
I don't get the feeling that any of them (again, except for Mr. Lieberman) sit up at night worrying how they will protect America from the terrorist threat if they get elected president.
    Rather, I get the sense that, as [witer Raoul de Roussy de Salles] described too many Americans 60 years ago at the beginning of WWII, today's candidates for commander in chief still think the war is optional. They still think they can select "how much war they would accept." They let the confusion of the situation "serve as an excuse for recommending a policy of aloofness."

--Washington Times

Posted by robbernard at 3:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
It's been a good week for Blair

He won his vote yesterday and today the Hutton report basically clears Downing Street and criticizes the BBC, who's Chairman stepped down today.

  • Editorial system at BBC was defective in allowing Mr Gilligan's report to go to air without editors seeing a script
  • BBC management failed to make an examination of Mr Gilligan's notes of the interview with Dr Kelly

  • There was a defect in the BBC's management system relating to the way complaints were investigated
  • BBC governors failed to investigate Mr Gilligan's actions properly
  • The Prime Minister's desire to have as compelling a dossier as possible may have subconsciously influenced the JIC to make the language of the dossier stronger than they would otherwise have done
  • The JIC and its chairman, John Scarlett, were concerned to ensure that the contents of the dossier were consistent with the intelligence available to the JIC
  • The dossier could be said to be "sexed up" if this term is taken to mean it was drafted to make the case against Saddam as strong as intelligence permitted
  • But in the context of Mr Gilligan's report, "sexed up" would be understood to mean the dossier was embellished with items of intelligence known or believed to be false or unreliable. This allegation is unfounded
  • --BBC NEWS: Key points: The Hutton report

    Posted by robbernard at 1:47 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, January 27, 2004
    Call me whatever you want, just don't call me Saddam
    Being named after the Iraqi president meant respect and power, but that was before the dictator was overthrown and pulled out of a spider hole.

    Now the nation's thousands of Saddams are queuing up to change their once illustrious moniker to something more in tune with the times.

    More than 300 are in the process of changing their names, and each day several forlorn-looking Saddams visit Baghdad's directorate of citizenship, where deed polls are granted. Many more are too scared to own up in public and have quietly adopted a new identity.

    "It's the most depressing thing in the world to be called Saddam Hussein," said Saddam Hussein Karim as he completed the final paperwork for his name change.
    Saddam Hadi said: "It is just plain embarrassing. Whenever I think of the name Saddam I see a dirty old man living in a hole.

    "I'm sure that's what people think when they say my name - that's why I need a new one."

    Yassen Taher al-Yassery, the citizenship director, said: "I once knew someone called Zbaal. It means rubbish in Arabic. That's what the name Saddam means to us now."

    --Telegraph (via Tim Blair)

    Posted by robbernard at 11:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, January 24, 2004
    Reposting my own comment

    Responding to a comment (On this post) to the effect of "Sure Bush had the same info as Clinton, but Clinton didn't use it to go to war":

    No body tried to use this intelligence before to go to war, but likewise nobody had to face this intelligence in the light of 9/11 either.

    The intelligence said Iraq had WMD under Clinton as well as Bush, but under the Clinton administration there was a sense of security that isn't present after 9/11. 9/11 emphasized that there are people out there who want to kill us and when they try it isn't going to be in the form of an army massing at our border, it's going to be one guy in a downtown somewhere. In a world where we recognize that that threat exists you have to look at enemy nations with a severe hatred of you, a history of whimsical decision making, and (according to your intelligence) WMD differently than you did before.

    Sure Clinton didn't start a war based on that intelligence, but he didn't seriously face the threat of Al-Qaeda either. Things change. In this case it wasn't the intelligence that changed but rather the perceived threat if the intelligence was right.

    Friday, January 23, 2004
    Some interesting numbers

    Troop figures from the Korean War and Iraq.

    Korea: 303,000 US - 39,474 Foreign - 339,474 Total - 88% US

    Iraq: 130,000 US - 21,350 Foreign - 151,350 Total - 86% US

    --The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: U.S. Coalitions - Now With Less Unilateralism

    The "unilateral war" has a higher percentage of non-US troops than the UN-led Korean war did.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, January 20, 2004
    Ya wanna see biased reporting?

    Check it out.

    232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004

    501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far

    0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945

    0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed

    0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq

    100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003

    13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President

    10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest

    2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House

    --The Independent

    It goes on like that for quite a bit. Not even an attempt to include a good number.

    (I'd also point out that while 0 may be the number of Americans killed after the Nazis surrendered, it's also currently the number of Americans killed after the Baathists surrendered.)

    It's also the number of terrorist attacks on US (or British for that matter) soil.

    And then there's -2: the change in the number of countries trying to obtain WMD.

    And -2 again for the change in the number of governments harboring terrorists.

    And one more time for the change in the number of Saddam's evil sons still alive.

    49: the number of nations that supported the war in Iraq.

    48,000,000+: the number of humans liberated from brutal, totalitarian governments.

    5: how many fewer military funerals/memorials Bush has attended than Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton combined.

    Thursday, January 15, 2004
    Wesley Clark v1.0 on Iraq
    [I]t was a signal warning about Saddam Hussein: he is not only malevolent and violent, but also unpredictable. He retains his chemical and biological warfare capabilities and is actively pursuing nuclear capabilities. Were he to acquire such capabilities, we and our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks. Saddam might use such weapons as a deterrent while launching attacks against Israel or his neighbors, he might threaten American forces in the region, he might strike directly against Israel, or Israel, weighing the possibilities of nuclear blackmail or aggression, might feel compelled to strike Iraq first.
    In addition, Saddam Hussein’s current retention of chemical and biological weapons and their respective delivery systems violates the UN resolutions themselves, which carry the weight of international law.

    Our President has emphasized the urgency of eliminating these weapons and weapons programs. I strongly support his efforts to encourage the United Nations to act on this problem. And in taking this to the United Nations, the President’s clear determination to act if the United Nations can’t provides strong leverage undergirding further diplomatic efforts.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2004
    Oh no! That dastardly President Bush started planning to remove Saddam as soon as he took office!

    I now offer you further proof of O'Neil's damning claims from a super-secret, nationally televised presidential debate held on 10/11/00.

    BUSH: The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it’s unraveling, let’s put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don’t know whether he’s developing weapons of mass destruction. He better not be or there’s going to be a consequence, should I be the president.

    Q: You could get him out of there?

    BUSH: I’d like to, of course. But it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.

    Q: You feel that as a failure of the Clinton administration?

    BUSH: I do.

    We've been tricked! If Bush wanted to remove Saddam he should have told us so before we elected him, not kept it a secret until 27 days before we voted for him!

    Oh great, now I've got sarcasm all over the place. This will take forever to clean up...

    Tuesday, January 6, 2004
    OSC on the war and November's election

    Some really great stuff from Orson Scott Card on the war on terror and the upcoming election.

    Our enemy at this time is the enemy of all of civilization, as surely as during World War II or during the Cold War. We are in the right, and when our soldiers die, they die not just to protect Americans, but to protect all human beings who love peace and freedom; and when they kill, it is for that same national motive.
    It is easy to charge America with imperialistic motives, but any rational assessment of our behavior as a nation in the past century, when we clearly stood astride the world as an economic and military colossus, would show that we behaved with historically unprecedented restraint.
    Germany, once conquered by us in a far bloodier war than the one we waged in Iraq, should know that being conquered by Americans is the best thing that ever happened to them in their painful history. France, whose own soldiers and government melted away once they were outmaneuvered by Hitler's military, owes its freedom -- both from Nazism and Communism -- to American troops and nuclear weapons that sheltered them in their surly resentment. It was not America that ended the greatness of France -- that was something the French accomplished for themselves -- but it was America that preserved the freedom and independence of France.

    Above all nations on this planet, France and Germany should recognize a war of liberation when they see it. It is to their shame, not ours, that they do not.
    [I]n 2004, we will be making the ultimate decision about whether or not to win the decisive victory. The first campaign will take place entirely on American soil, as we must choose between the current administration, which shows every sign of intending to pursue victory, and the Democratic Party, which so far seems grimly determined to nominate candidates that will undo all our gains so far and leave us permanently exposed to enemies that are emboldened by American weakness.
    This election, more than any other in recent memory, will give us the chance to decide, with greater clarity than in most elections, what the future of our nation and the world will be.
    The burden of decision has been placed on this generation of American voters, who have inherited a nation made great by the actions of their forebears. Now we will decide whether America will remain great and good, or wither away like so many other nations that have lacked the will to make the national and personal sacrifices that greatness and goodness require.

    --War Watch - The Ornery American

    Friday, December 19, 2003
    George Bush: Liberator of Baghdad

    Saudi daily Arab News columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed:

    "The jubilation in Baghdad put the Arab media to shame. America, for this brief moment at least… is a liberator and not an occupier. I can't help being smug, since what I saw gave me back some confidence in the possibility of justice in this world. I had almost lost hope. It took George Bush to give me that back. I don't agree with him on many things, and while many Americans share my stand, I'll give the man his due. He will go down in Arab history as the liberator of Baghdad, even if the whole mission in Iraq comes to nothing more than this.

    "… The reality we have to face is the fact that it took Americans to relieve Baghdad of its dictator. Arab impotence recorded a new low. I might sound naive but I would like to ask where the 'freedom fighters,' 'the resistance,' 'the strugglers for the freedom of Iraq' were when that man ran amok. Having delivered Saddam, the Americans will have to deliver Iraq. Shouldn't we now be wise enough to give them at least a chance, if not a real helping hand?


    Posted by robbernard at 4:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    That's what you get when you terrorize the entire population of a country

    Saddam's daughter doesn't think he can get a fair trial in Iraq. Imagine that, the people in the country you brutalized for decades don't like you. There's a surprise.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:57 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, December 16, 2003
    And now for Congressman McDermott's Saddam quote
    "I'm sure they could have found him a long time ago if they wanted to." ... "I've been surprised they waited, but then I thought, well, politically, it probably doesn't make much sense to find him just yet," he said.

    "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing that it happened on this particular day," he continued.
    State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance quickly launched a statement condemning McDermott's earlier statements. "Once again McDermott has embarrassed this state with his irresponsible ranting."
    --Seattle Times

    What can you say about this? It pretty much criticizes itself.

    Monday, December 15, 2003
    Extreme-anti-war roundup

    Andrew Sullivan has a good roundup of the extreme-anti-war response to the capture of Saddam. (The posts labeled "Galloway Award Nominee", all 11 or so of them.)

    Because it's not good to go too long without a reminder

    We didn't go to war in Iraq because they had WMD, we went to war in Iraq because Saddam and the Iraqi government were ignoring and disobeying UN resolutions that were part of the agreement that got us to stop kicking their butts the first time.

    Sunday, December 14, 2003
    To call this great news is an understatement

    Saddam Hussein captured near Tikrit.

    Bush's statement can be seen at Fox News.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, December 12, 2003
    On the Halliburton dealie...
    The Pentagon audit has raised questions about whether a subsidiary of Halliburton overcharged the U.S. government $61 million for gasoline imported from Kuwait to Iraq.

    The Pentagon said Thursday a routine review turned up the potential overcharge by subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, which was awarded a no-bid contract in March to rebuild Iraq's oil industry.

    But there is no allegation that Halliburton unduly profited from the overpriced gas.

    The audit questions if Halliburton paid above-market rates to a Kuwaiti subcontractor when it paid $2.27 per gallon for the gas. Another supplier bought gas at $1.18 per gallon from Turkey.

    The response from the left?

    Some of the Democratic presidential candidates have said the awarding of several no-bid contracts to Halliburton appears to be a political payoff to a firm whose executives were Bush campaign donors.

    Rep. Dick Gephardt said the administration's "policy in Iraq of putting the corporate special interests first is unacceptable." And retired Gen. Wesley Clark said Bush is "more concerned about the success of Halliburton than having a success strategy in Iraq."

    Never mind that there's no proof whatsoever that any political operative had anything to do with the awarding of contracts or that anybody is supporting Halliburton overcharging the government.

    "I appreciate the Pentagon looking out after the taxpayers money. They felt like there was an overcharge issue, they put the issue right out there on the table for everybody to see, and they're doing good work," Bush said.

    "We're going to make sure that as we spend the money in Iraq, it's spent well and spent wisely. Their investigation will lay the facts out for everybody to see, and if there's an overcharge, like we think there is, we expect that money to be repaid," he said.

    Of course Halliburton shouldn't overcharge the government but a) it doesn't look like they profited from it and b) the administration isn't standing by them. Attacking the administration over this is simply political opportunism. The left has developed this phony idea that the administration's oil friends are profiting from Bush & Cheney being in office and no facts or lack of proof is going to make them think differently.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003
    Imagine that

    The people being barred from bidding on contracts in Iraq are against barring countries from bidding on contracts.

    Of course the people that did everything they could to oppose the coalition are going to be left out later. If they don't like it they're more than welcome to help us with the military and security aspects of restoring Iraq and then we can talk about contracts.

    Anti-Terror rallies in Iraq

    Iraq the Model and Healing Iraq cover them.

    after 2 hours, the crowd was so big, I couldn't guess the number, but it seemed like the whole Iraq was there, men, women, children, young and elderly of different socio-economic levels, cheering the same slogans in different languages(Arabic, Kurdish, Turkomen, Assyrian). They looked very happy and free, despite the risks of being targeted.
    No body seemed to be afraid, in fact today I felt safer than ever.


    The rallies today proved to be a major success. I didn't expect anything even close to this. It was probably the largest demonstration in Baghdad for months. It wasn't just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba'ath and Saddam.

    --Healing Iraq

    Healing Iraq also has pictures up.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, December 9, 2003
    Anti-terror rallies in Iraq tomorrow
    I just got word today that the anti-terror rallies are confirmed on Dec 10th. The Anti-terror Popular Committee is organizing them together with the ministry of interior and political parties from the GC. They are to be held all over Iraq

    --Healing Iraq

    Posted by robbernard at 6:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, December 5, 2003
    You think America's bad?

    When was the last time we executed a 10-year-old because he wouldn't bribe a soldier and shot 80 of the people who showed up to protest it? This all happened in Iran today.

    Then to top it all off it appears the hospital has been ordered not to treat protestors and that "security forces went to the hospital and killed people in their rooms".

    Posted by robbernard at 2:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, December 3, 2003
    New stuff from Orson Scott Card
    And the most vile part of this campaign against Bush is that the Terrorist War is being used as a tool to try to defeat him -- which means that if Bush does not win, we will certainly lose the war.

    Indeed, the anti-Bush campaign threatens to undermine our war effort, give encouragement to our enemies, and cost American lives during the long year of campaigning that lies ahead of us.
    Am I saying that critics of the war aren't patriotic?

    Not at all -- I'm a critic of some aspects of the war. What I'm saying is that those who try to paint the bleakest, most anti-American, and most anti-Bush picture of the war, whose purpose is not criticism but deception in order to gain temporary political advantage, those people are indeed not patriotic. They have placed their own or their party's political gain ahead of the national struggle to destroy the power base of the terrorists who attacked Americans abroad and on American soil.

    Patriots place their loyalty to their country in time of war ahead of their personal and party ambitions. And they can wrap themselves in the flag and say they "support our troops" all they like -- but it doesn't change the fact that their program is to promote our defeat at the hands of our enemies for their temporary political advantage.
    The goal of our troops in Iraq is not to protect themselves so completely that none of our soldiers die.

    The goal of our troops is to destroy the enemy, some of whom you do not find except when they emerge to attack our forces and, yes, sometimes inflict casualties.

    Our national media are covering this war as if we were "losing the peace" -- even though we are not at peace and we are not losing.

    --War Watch - November 16, 2003

    And then there's another article...

    But how often before have the national media been so totally committed to advancing the cause of the most extremist wing of one of the parties? What will happen to America if a deceived electorate hands over its safety and its liberty to a party committed to ignoring both national security and the principle of majority rule?

    I hope we don't have to find out.

    I hope that when the nominating conventions are over next summer, the Democrats will have chosen none of the current slate of candidates, so that in this crucial time in our history, the American people will have two rational choices, not just one, for the Presidency.

    --War Watch - November 23, 2003

    Sunday, November 30, 2003

    The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler fisks Senator Clinton's Bush bashing from Iraq.

    "We Have Bred Monsters"
    On November 30, 2003, Dr. Muhammad Talal Al-Rasheed, columnist for the English language daily The Saudi Gazette, wrote an article titled "Senseless Violence, Senseless Death." The article is in reaction to the murder of Saudi Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed of Hail by 'Islamists' in Algeria.
    "We have bred monsters. We alone are responsible for it. I have written as much before my personal tragedy and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. We are the problem and not America or the penguins of the North Pole or those who live in caves in Afghanistan. We are it, and those who cannot see this are the ones to blame.

    "Castrated as we are, we look to America. Why? Because they went into Iraq and made a difference. Better or worse is another point. Once America has demonstrated its willingness to do something, the moral imperative is that it should not stop at the first station along the road. The majority of us are sick and tired of this carnage and President Bush, wrong on just about everything else, is right on this one. Does he have the (courage) to finish the job? I wonder. "


    Posted by robbernard at 7:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, November 22, 2003
    Afghan poll
    Some 83 percent of the Afghans surveyed said they feel safer than they did three years ago, when the hard-line Taliban regime was in power. More than three-quarters of those questioned said Afghanistan (news - web sites) will be safer still in another year.

    --Yahoo! News

    Posted by robbernard at 11:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, November 21, 2003
    Lileks and Salam Pax

    Lileks isn't at all pleased by a letter from blogger Salam Pax printed in the Guardian.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:31 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, November 20, 2003
    A terrible tragedy in Turkey...

    And not only is it Bush's fault, but apparently the more wacko of the lefties think America's the one doing the bombing to get back at Turkey and the terrorists are only "mythical".

    Thursday, November 13, 2003
    Maybe things don't even need to get better in Iraq to take the issue away from the Dems

    The conventional wisdom says that if things don't get better in Iraq it'll be the big issue against Bush in next year's election. Maybe the administration just needs to be realistic.

    I've found it difficult to write about Iraq for the last few days because, in a sense, there seems little to say. A good part of what I've written on the subject in recent months has been intended to challenge the attitude of denial that has characterized so many public pronouncements on the state of the war --- the sort of militant up-is-downism, for instance, which was on display when the president said the recent wave of attacks was a sign of how good things were going.

    Now, though, that denial (or at least one aspect of it) seems to be evaporating rapidly. And there's little to push back against. The CIA report on the situation in Iraq, which got so much play on Wednesday after its existence was revealed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, was apparently even more bleak than the article suggested. And if you read the article, you know that's gotta mean it was pretty damn bleak.

    --Talking Points Memo

    The quagmire that was D-Day

    Or not. It's a good read over at Right Wing News.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003
    BOTW on what Clark thinks justifies war
    In a speech at the University of Iowa College of Law, on September 19th, Clark had declared that chief among America's mistakes was that it had gone to war in Iraq without "the mantle of authority" bestowed by United Nations approval. But hadn't the Kosovo war also been conducted without the endorsement of the U.N. Security Council? Yes, Clark allowed, and in that regard the Kosovo war was "technically illegal." He went on, "The Russians and the Chinese said they would both veto it. There was never a chance that it would be authorized."

    That situation did not seem entirely dissimilar from the prewar maneuverings regarding Iraq, when France and Germany said that they would oppose any Security Council resolution authorizing an immediate war; Bush bypassed the U.N. and resorted to an alliance with Prime Minister Tony Blair's Britain and sundry lesser members of the "coalition of the willing." But there was one more important difference, Clark said: the war against Serbia was waged to stop the imminent threat of ethnic cleansing in the disputed province of Kosovo; the war in Iraq, he said, was waged under false pretenses.

    Got that? It was OK to wage an "illegal" war in Kosovo because of an "imminent threat" not to America or its allies but to the civilian population there--as if Saddam Hussein didn't pose an imminent threat to Iraqis.

    --Best of the Web

    Monday, November 10, 2003
    Correction duely noted

    Last week I wrote about how wrong Harley Sorensen's latest article at was.

    This week he offers a correction. A rather left-handed correction, but a correction nonetheless.

    When you stick your neck out as often as I do, every once in a while you'll get your head chopped off.

    I wouldn't say this week's "clarification" of last week's column rises to the level of a head-in-the-basket case, but I'd be happier if I didn't have to write it.

    Last week's column did something I would have thought impossible: It falsely maligned the Bush administration.

    An administration starring a serial liar and a supporting cast of persistent prevaricators, obdurate obfuscators and downright double-talkers is hard to bum rap, but somehow I managed to do it.

    -- "Shooting myself in the foot" -

    As wrong as he may have been and as much as he bashes the administration while doing it I have to give him credit for standing up and correcting himself.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:10 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, November 9, 2003
    On imminent threats

    Josh Marshall has a bunch of quotes that he says prove that the administration made the case that Iraq is an imminent threat.

    Andrew Sullivan counters:

    [T]o my mind, he comes up completely empty. No administration official used that term. None. The best Marshall can come up with are reporters' off-the-cuff formulations in questions to Ari Fleischer which evinced the response "yes."
    So we have no administration reference to an "imminent threat" and a chief spokesman saying that the threat could be as much as years away and, at the least, months. We have the president himself saying explicitly that "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late."
    --Andrew Sullivan

    On imminent threats

    Josh Marshall has a bunch of quotes that he says prove that the administration made the case that Iraq is an imminent threat.

    Andrew Sullivan counters:

    [T]o my mind, he comes up completely empty. No administration official used that term. None. The best Marshall can come up with are reporters' off-the-cuff formulations in questions to Ari Fleischer which evinced the response "yes."
    So we have no administration reference to an "imminent threat" and a chief spokesman saying that the threat could be as much as years away and, at the least, months. We have the president himself saying explicitly that "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late."
    --Andrew Sullivan

    Tuesday, November 4, 2003

    Or so says Harley Sorensen of the

    Common sense tells us we're being lied to again.

    If you follow the news even loosely, you know that American soldiers and Marines are killed and wounded on a daily basis in Iraq. Just offhand, the number of wounded appears to be three times the number killed. So, roughly -- very roughly -- one can estimate about 1,000 troops wounded in Iraq. It could be twice that, or more. I think it's a lot more.
    But, judging from press reports, none of these wounded ever dies. Maybe I don't know where to look, but I haven't been able to find one single report of a soldier who died later of his or her injuries.

    Not one. Isn't that curious?
    If you go to the Department of Defense news Web site, you can find the names of newly killed GIs: 46 reported in the month of October. A few of those casualties died before October. No explanation is given for the delay in reporting.

    I was unable to find any listings that said someone died recently from injuries or wounds suffered some time ago.
    President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $87 billion to run his war in Iraq, and apparently he's going to get it. But that money is just a small portion of the cost of his war.
    The broken bodies and shattered lives of our GIs add immeasurably to that cost.

    But our government doesn't want us to know about that. We've gradually become a secret society. The military news blackout is not a new phenomenon.

    --"The wounded who never die " -

    Ooooh, the military's imposed a "blackout" and is trying to keep the number of wounded in Iraq a secret. Nobody must ever know!

    There's a problem with this idea. He links to the web site You go to the bottom of that page and what do you find under "Current Information"? A link titled "OIF Casualty Update". And if you click on that? Why, it's a pdf listing that super secret exact number of wounded in Iraq as of 10AM yesterday at 2176. (1836 WIA, 340 non-hostile) That's 217.6% higher than Sorensen's "very rough" estimate of 1000.

    Those that had been evacuated and then die don't get reported by the DOD? How about Spc. Craig S. Ivory or Lt. Col. Paul W. Kimbrough or Spc. Jarrett B. Thompson or Pfc. David M. Kirchhoff or Spc. Zeferino E. Colunga? Those are the deaths reported after evacuation since August 1 by the very same DOD web site Sorensen linked.

    This isn't exactly Pulitzer Prize winning reporting on Sorensen's part. He gets his understanding of how our wounded are treated from a letter from a soldier, he quickly peruses the DOD news website, and gives up after one phone call and one e-mail go unanswered by a military spokesperson. Hell, I probably did more research for this post than he did for his column. This is plain and simple crappy reporting. This shouldn't be a column on the site of a major newspaper; this shouldn't even be a blog post.

    If the DOD really is trying to hide this stuff from the public and a guy sitting in his kitchen at 3 in the morning in Ohio can find it all then it's really time for the DOD to reconsider its conspiracy procedures, before you know it we'll be able to find pictures of the aliens they've got hidden in Roswell.

    Just for a little background on military medical evacuation, this from Lawrence Kaplan of The New Republic:

    Horrifying as it is, the number [of wounded] contains a silver lining as well. The wounded have been maimed. But they have also been saved. During the Second World War, on in every three casualties died. During the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf wars, the figure declined to one in four. In the present conflict, that number has nearly been halved, to one in eight.
    In a war where nothing else has proceeded according to plan, the medical-evacuation system has worked exactly as intended.
    Among those who die on the battlefield, roughly half die within 30 minutes of being wounded. By contrast, if an injured soldier makes it to even a field hospital, the likelihood he or she will survive improves exponentially.

    --Lawrence Kaplan

    So to sum up: Harley Sorensen and his latest column are full of crap.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:21 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, November 3, 2003

    The Center for Public Integrity says "yes". Slate says their study is full of it.

    The conclusion of the report, "Windfalls of War," is that a clear quid pro quo exists between government procurement and campaign contributions to George W. Bush. Charles Lewis, the group's executive director, released a statement arguing that the report reveals "a stench of political favoritism and cronyism surrounding the contracting process in both Iraq and Afghanistan."

    There's just one problem: The CPI has no evidence to support its allegations.


    Thursday, October 30, 2003

    Thomas Friedman has a must read piece in the NY Times on how Iraq is not Vietnam.

    What to do? The first thing is to understand who these people are. There is this notion being peddled by Europeans, the Arab press and the antiwar left that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." These attackers are the Iraqi Vietcong.

    Hogwash. The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge — a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.

    Have you noticed that these bombers never say what their political agenda is or whom they represent? They don't want Iraqis to know who they really are. A vast majority of Iraqis would reject them, because these bombers either want to restore Baathism or install bin Ladenism.

    --NY Times

    Posted by robbernard at 1:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    'Liberation is at hand. Liberation-- the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions,' Clark wrote in a London Times column (4/10/03). 'Already the scent of victory is in the air.' Though he had been critical of Pentagon tactics, Clark was exuberant about the results of 'a lean plan, using only about a third of the ground combat power of the Gulf War. If the alternative to attacking in March with the equivalent of four divisions was to wait until late April to attack with five, they certainly made the right call.'
    "The campaign in Iraq illustrates the continuing progress of military technology and tactics, but if there is a single overriding lesson it must be this: American military power, especially when buttressed by Britain's, is virtually unchallengeable today. Take us on? Don't try! And that's not hubris, it's just plain fact."

    Here's another fast-accelerating meme: the president led the American public to believe that the post-war reconstruction of Iraq would be easy, he never anticipated these problems, and can only blame himself for not lowering expectations. The one true aspect of this seems to me to be the gratuitous symbolism of the USS Lincoln landing and that hubristic banner: 'Mission Accomplished.' I think I've been proved right about the over-reach there. But rhetorically, it's fair for the White House to point out that the president did indeed warn about the post-war.

    He goes on to give quotes to illustrate it.

    On the "Mission Accomplished" banner, personally I don't see what the big honkin' deal is. The crew wanted a banner saying their mission was accomplished. The White House provided the banner. So what? There mission was accomplished. They were on their way home. So now we need to attack Bush because he said the crew put it up when the truth is simply that the crew wanted it put up? There are plenty of things you can criticize Bush about, but about not being sure of the origins of one particular banner at one particular photo-op? I mean, come on...

    Wednesday, October 29, 2003

    An interview with Gen. Wesley Clark appears in the November issue of Maxim Magazine. A couple of his answers caught my attention.

    Any skeletons in your closet?
    No, no, I did not inhale.

    Is he aware that "not inhaling" was in fact one of the skeletons in Clinton's closet? I was pretty young then but even I remember the uproar when Clinton weasled out of the drug question by saying he didn't inhale. I doubt he's actually saying that he tried pot but didn't inhale, he's probably just trying to be cute, but it's a kinda boneheaded way to be cute.

    Any revolutionary ideas? A $2 gas tax? Privatize Social Security? Buy Canada?
    In the 19th century, we were motivated by manifest destiny. In the 20th century, it was the idea that it was our duty to contain the spread of Communism and keep open the door for freedom. Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals. The question is this: Where can we, with all our wealth and capabilities, lead mankind?

    Let me repeat one of those sentences for you... "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals." Ok, one more time just so we're all on the same page: "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals."

    No substantial challenge to American ideals? Is he serious?! 2 years ago 3,000+ people died because religious fanatics didn't like our ideals. Terrorists blew up more than 30 people in a single day this week because they don't like our ideals. Countries are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction because the don't like our ideals. Call me crazy but I call that a pretty bleepin' substantial challenge to our American ideals.

    People are trying to kill Americans and those who share our ideals every single day. Every day is a battle in the war between our ideals theirs. They would destroy everything that opposes their brand of Islam and because we hold ideals that say you can live free and believe whatever you want to believe they challenge us. The same freedom that allows groups of wackos to protest on the Mall in Washington is why they challenge us.

    Our ideals are challenged every minute of every day one of the top candidates for the Democrat nomination for President says "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals." Like hell there isn't. And just think, this is the guy the Dems are hoping will bring them credibility on national security.

    Monday, October 27, 2003

    They're attacking the Red Cross now.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, October 25, 2003

    Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy is on a trip to Iraq and is blogging while over there.

    Ever since we landed in Baghdad yesterday, I've been amazed at the morale of our troops. I talked to one soldier who said even though we haven't found the weapons of mass destruction, he's convinced that we are in Iraq for the right reasons. He felt that the conditions that the people of Iraq were facing under Hussein were so bad, that even being here just to help them free their country was reason enough. I've got a lot of reservations about the run up to the war in Iraq. Poor intelligence, lack of a coherent message from the Administration and a faulty plan for winning the peace are all problems, but seeing our work with my own eyes has been helpful. We're doing a lot of good over here.


    Friday, October 24, 2003
    The terrorists hope to gain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons -- the means to match their hatred. So we're confronting outlaw regimes that aid terrorists, that pursue weapons of mass destruction, and that defy the demands of the world. America, Australia, and other nations acted in Iraq to remove a grave and gathering danger, instead of wishing and waiting while tragedy drew closer. (Hear, hear.)

    Since the liberation of Iraq, we have discovered Saddam's clandestine network of biological laboratories, the design work on prohibited long-range missiles, his elaborate campaign to hide illegal weapons programs. Saddam Hussein spent years frustrating U.N. inspections, for a simple reason -- because he was violating U.N. demands. And in the end, rather than surrender his programs and abandon his lies, he chose defiance, and his own undoing.

    Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power? Surely not the dissidents who would be in his prisons, or end up in his mass graves. Surely not the men and women who would fill Saddam's torture chambers and rape rooms. Surely not the families of the victims he murdered with poison gas. Surely not anyone who cares about human rights and democracy and stability in the Middle East. Today, Saddam's regime is gone, and no one... should mourn its passing.
    In the months leading up to our action in Iraq, Australia and America went to the United Nations. We are committed to multilateral institutions because global threats require a global response. We're committed to collective security, and collective security requires more than solemn discussions and sternly worded pronouncements -- it requires collective will. If the resolutions of the world are to be more than ink on paper, they must be enforced. If the institutions of the world are to be more than debating societies, they must eventually act. (Hear, hear.) If the world promises serious consequences for the defiance of the lawless, then serious consequences must follow. (Hear, hear.)

    Because we enforced Resolution 1441, and used force in Iraq as a last resort, there is one more free nation in the world -- and all free nations are more secure.

    --White House


    Realpolitik has a good post in which Democrat Senators Biden and Feinstein defend the Patriot act.

    Thursday, October 23, 2003

    The Iraqi governing council isn't pleased about it either.

    A top Iraqi official attending an international conference on raising funds to rebuild Iraq warned Thursday that France and Germany's limited donations would not be forgotten.

    Ayad Allawi, the current head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed governing council, said he hoped German and French officials would reconsider their decision not to boost their contributions beyond funds already pledged through the European Union.

    "As far as Germany and France are concerned, really, this was a regrettable position they had," Allawi said. "I don't think the Iraqis are going to forget easily that in the hour of need, those countries wanted to neglect Iraq."

    You can complain all you want about the US being a rogue nation, or we didn't need to go to war when we did, or Iraq needs to pay us back, or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact the Iraq does need help rebuilding right now.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    The "Rumsfeld Memo". It's not like he said we were losing or criticized the State Department or anything.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    I assume by now that you know all about the guy that left the box cutters, bleach, and clay on the airplanes. Now people are calling him a hero, and saying he certainly shouldn't be prosecuted, he's doing a necessary service, blah, blah, blah... This guy isn't a hero, he's a world class idiot. We do need to know whether the security at airports actually works, but this is an idiotic and dangerous way to go about it. Besides I think most people knew beforehand that it was still possible to sneak things through. If you want to prove that you can get things through security you get it through security and then somehow document that you got it through security. You don't then take it on the airplane and hide it in the bathroom. We can't have every screwball trying to prove something leaving mystery packages on airplanes. This guy should be, and has been, charged, and that's good. There are good and noble ways to question how our government is protecting us and this was in no way one of them.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, October 20, 2003
    I never understood why there has to be only one reason to go to war. I preferred the "checklist"... approach. There were lots of good reasons to topple Saddam. And while it makes sense to emphasize some over others, they all added up to a list of benefits to making the right decision. ... I doubt Saddam had anything to do with planning 9/11 and frankly I don't give a damn. The lesson of the 3,000 dead was that we're going to take our responsibilities seriously again. And that means cleaning up unfinished business and telling the rest of the world we are serious. Nobody — nobody — has made a remotely persuasive case for why it would have been good to keep Saddam in power. Nobody dares make the case that Saddam and his regime didn't deserve everything they got — because that would be like arguing you shouldn't fix the shot brakes on your car because your last accident was the result of bald tires. ... Regardless, the gripes we hear today are the predictable complaints of people who grew pretty comfortable in the shadow of a sleeping giant. The giant was rudely awoken. And if the resultant harsh light of day is unpleasant or inconvenient to you, too frick'n bad. The United States is taking care of business and we've got nothing to apologize for.

    --Goldberg File

    Posted by robbernard at 4:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    When it comes to the future of Iraq, there's not just one Democratic Party; there are three.
    Saddam Hussein would be jubilant in Pelosi's Iraq. He has long argued that America is a decadent country that will buckle at the first sign of trouble. If the Pelosi Democrats had won yesterday's vote, the Saddam Doctrine would be enshrined in every terrorist cave and dictator's palace around the world: kill some Americans and watch the empire buckle.
    The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East. They may have read memos from the Democratic pollsters on the unpopularity of the $87 billion plan, but they don't seem to have read about the Versailles Treaty and what happens when strong nations impose punitive burdens on proud ones.
    The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future.

    --NY Times

    Friday, October 17, 2003

    "Americans are losing the victory in Europe"

    "We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease."

    Jessica's Well has posted a couple articles from a 1946 Life magazine that are quite similar to some today's Iraq reporting.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    It seems to me this is quite possibly the stupidest reason to oppose a bill I've ever seen. And it's all over the place among the Dems. It's especially asinine when viewed in conjunction with the other favorite: "We can't spend more money, we're running a deficit!"

    So they both want to spend $87 Billion here at home and not spend a penny more than we are now... assuming of course that they really mean what they say and aren't just objecting for the sake of objecting... which is actually a fairly big assumption.

    We're not rebuilding Iraq just because we think it's a cool idea, we're doing it because it's important for our national security. Better schools, a cleaner environment, or more money being poured into a particular group of voters doesn't help us if we've got dirty bombs blowing up in Manhattan or a Smallpox epidemic in the District of Columbia. We're rebuilding Iraq because it's an important part of making Iraq a country that doesn't want to blow us up.

    Thursday, October 16, 2003

    Check it out.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Oh, wait...

    Well at least there was lots of dissent and it was not nearly unanimous...

    Oh, wait...

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003
    At any rate, the idea that the party that has downplayed every success in Iraq, completely distorted the SOTU so that the actual speech has little or no connection to the DNC talking points, lied about the Kay report, lied about their stance before and after the war (and for good fun- tune into the Democrat debates, where you can see them switch positions real-time), lied about pre-emption, then lied about the 'imminent' threat claim, lied about yellowcake, lied about being bogged down during the war, lied about how long or how easy this Bush claimed this would be, and lied about what is going on after the war, all so that they can attempt to diminish the current administration so that they can re-take the White House next year, the idea that this party is now going to claim Republicans 'politicized' the war is enough to make me sick.

    --John Cole


    A study came out about a week and a half ago.

    Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation, the study was conducted from June through September. It surveyed 3,334 Americans who receive their news from a single media source. Each was questioned about whether he held any of the following three beliefs, characterized by the center as "egregious misperceptions":

    -Saddam Hussein has been directly linked with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    -Weapons of mass destruction have already been found in Iraq.

    -World opinion favored the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
    Sixty percent of all respondents believed in at least one of the statements. But there were clear differences in perceptions among devotees of the various media outlets.

    Twenty-three percent of those who get their news from NPR or PBS believed in at least one of the mistaken claims. In contrast, 80 percent of Fox News viewers held at least one of the three incorrect beliefs.

    Among broadcast network viewers there also were differences. Seventy-one percent of those who relied on CBS for news held a false impression, as did 61 percent of ABC's audience and 55 percent of NBC viewers. Fifty-five percent of CNN viewers and 47 percent of Americans who rely on the print media as their primary source of information also held at least one misperception.


    The entire study can be found here.

    Now, what does this study show?

    Does it show that Fox News viewers are dumber than NPR viewers? No.

    Does it show that Fox News viewers are more gullible than NPR viewers? No.

    Does it show that Fox News viewers are more likely to be ill-informed or have misperceptions about the war? No.

    What this study shows is that Fox News viewers are more likely to hold those 3 particular misperceptions. It says nothing about anything else. It doesn't show that Fox News is any more likely to mislead their viewers than any other network.

    The study included only pro-war misperceptions. They didn't include anything like "The US acted unilaterally in Iraq" or "UN resolutions required inspectors to prove that Iraq had WMDs" or "Bush said that Iraq was an 'imminent threat' to the US". Ask the viewers of any of a number of other networks these questions and I imagine you'll find that every network fosters its own set of misperceptions.

    Pipa suggests that "it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions." I'd suggest that support for the war would be greater if fewer members of the public had misperceptions like those I listed above.

    There is a thing or two to be drawn from this study, but not as much as most seem to think.

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    Electricity is now back to prewar levels. Factories are producing more thanks to the electricity and "In terms of security, women and families can feel safe shopping after dark."(USA Today)

    It's not all good though. "'Now the children will not leave the house,' says Lamia Younis, a mother of four. 'They just sit at home all day watching satellite TV.'"(Again, USA Today)

    Geez, 6 months and we're already turning them into couch potatoes.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    [David Kay] says he's "amazed" the media thinks his search has failed.

    Did journalists actually read his report, which lists startling new evidence of Saddam's weapons?

    Says Kay: "This is information (that), if it had been available last year, would have been headline news." He's now certain "we're going to find remarkable things" in the future, too.
    [B]ut what did the ISG actually find?

    Answer: Plenty, including "significant information" that the Iraqi Intelligence Service after 1996 worked on biological and chemical weapons, and set up "a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus". These could be "activated quickly to surge the production of BW (biological weapons) agents".

    Says Kay: "This network was never declared to the (United Nations) and was previously unknown." His report even shows a picture of lab equipment found hidden in a mosque.
    IRAQI witnesses agreed Saddam had wanted to make many more biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons the second the UN took its eye off him.

    "When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons . . . he responded it would take six months for mustard," Kay says.
    THE pattern of Saddam's deception and evil intent is absolutely clear.

    But UN inspectors, Kay suggests, would have battled to find anything in Iraq, and once they'd given up, Saddam was free to spread a new technology of death beyond his borders.

    "We have found people, technical information and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation."

    Which is precisely the reason the Coalition leaders gave for going to war.

    Read the full report, and you'll see why the headlines last week should have read "Iraq war justified". So why were you told the opposite?

    -- The Herald Sun

    That's why we went to war.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, October 9, 2003

    J. David Chadwick had a chance to ask Secretary Rumsfeld the following question:

    JDC -- Mr. Secretary, I'm [J. David Chadwick]. My question is, considering that we still have troops in every area that we have conducted operations during the Clinton administration, why is this operation in Iraq viewed negatively in the press as a Vietnam- style quagmire?

    Check out Rumsfeld's answer.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, October 8, 2003

    The crazies who claim to have clones a human are saying now they're growing new arms for an Iraqi boy. Riiiiiiiight.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, October 7, 2003

    I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't include a blog post with a Simpsons reference.

    A reader sums up one way in which the anti-war left is still fighting the war - by trying to create a new narrative of the pre-war. Of course, the analogy is from the Simpsons. The argument about the war is a little like Apu's citizenship exam (my reader paraphrases from memory):

    Exam Giver: 'What was the cause of the Civil War?'
    Apu: 'The split between abolitionists and secessionists had come to a head in in The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 when...'
    Exam Giver: 'Just say slavery.'
    Apu: 'Slavery it is, sir!'

    'What was the reason given for the war against Saddam?'
    'Well, the previous Gulf War's truce required Saddam to give up all WMD research and development and weapons, and U.N. Resolutions ... '
    'Just say we said he was on the brink of killing us with nukes!'
    'Weapons it is, sir!'

    So we get the baldfaced untruth that the war was because Iraq posed an 'imminent' threat. It wasn't. Or that it was about a causal link between Saddam and 9/11. It wasn't. Or that it was based in intellgience from Niger. It wasn't. Technically, the war was a continuation of the last one, and was fully supported by umpteen U.N. resolutions, including a 15-0 Security Council vote to force Saddam to comply.
    -- Andrew Sullivan

    Posted by robbernard at 2:25 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    According to Elton John anyway.

    "Americans are always asking why the rest of the world hates them," John said after singing his first song, "Tiny Dancer." "Well, the reason is Dennis Miller."

    "You've all gone mental if you liked that," John said, before looking at the floor and shaking his head in disgust.

    -- Las Vegas Sun

    Posted by robbernard at 2:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, October 6, 2003

    The toy drive for Iraqi children started by Chief Wiggles now has a name (Operation Give) and it's own web site.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:54 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, October 5, 2003

    I'd just like to take a sec and point out that I did in fact address the question of why we went to war when we did in the post entitled "WHY DID WE GO TO WAR WHEN WE DID?"

    To quote myself:

    The only way we ever would have had the whole world on our side is if Saddam had actually used his weapons. If France and others had their way inspections would have continued indefinitely. In a world where WMDs are as attainable as they are we can't afford to wait until the threat is "imminent" and Bush laid that out leading up to the war.
    The threat was not imminent, but it was still a threat. France et al were completely unwilling to do anything firmly. There was no "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then it's ok." There was only "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then we can get back together and discuss it further." We attacked when we did because it appeared those opposing our timetable weren't opposing when we were doing it, but that we were doing it at all. Might it have been better if we had waited for a better postwar plan? Sure, but that's 20-20 hindsight talking. There was not a single person, either pro or anti, talking before the war about the postwar plan.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, October 4, 2003

    His comic today is all about how we can't possibly know whether our soldiers are killing the prisoners at our "concentration camp" (aka Gitmo) because the Red Cross, families, and lawyers can't get in. He then follows that up with the statement that "We know they're being abused". That's an odd statement see as we don't even know if they're being killed.

    And then there's the pesky fact that the Red Cross actually has visited Gitmo.

    Of course I'm putting far too much effort into showing that Rall's an idiot.

    Posted by robbernard at 8:59 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Polish troops in Iraq have found four French-built advanced anti-aircraft missiles which were built this year, a Polish Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters Friday.

    France strongly denied having sold any such missiles to Iraq for nearly two decades, and said it was impossible that its newest missiles should turn up in Iraq.

    "Polish troops discovered an ammunition depot on Sept. 29 near the region of Hilla and there were four French-made Roland-type missiles," Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak said.

    "It is not the first time Polish troops found ammunition in Iraq but to our surprise these missiles were produced in 2003."

    -- Reuters

    Again, can't know the full truth, but it's yet another reason why letting France dictate the terms of us attacking Iraq might not be the brightest move.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Cincy Blog would like to know.

    First off a little backup from Andrew Sullivan.

    The administration claimed that Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had hidden materials from the United Nations, was hiding a continued program for weapons of mass destruction, and that we should act before the threat was imminent. The argument was that it was impossible to restrain Saddam Hussein unless he were removed from power and disarmed. The war was legally based on the premise that Saddam had clearly violated U.N. resolutions, was in open breach of such resolutions and was continuing to conceal his programs with the intent of restarting them in earnest once sanctions were lifted. Having read the report carefully, I'd say that the administration is vindicated in every single respect of that argument. This war wasn't just moral; it wasn't just prudent; it was justified on the very terms the administration laid out. And we don't know the half of it yet.

    -- Andrew Sullivan

    Now I'm not convinced that Saddam didn't have actual, physical, ready to kill millions, WMDs. There are reports everywhere that Saddam was shipping WMDs out all over the place. Kay himself has actually confirmed the dates and routes of some of these shipments, but says he can't confirm it was actually WMDs being shipped. But as I've said the physical WMDs aren't the end-all and be-all of war justification. We went to war because Saddam was blatantly disobeying UN resolutions. This report shows that Saddam was disobeying UN resolutions.

    The only way we ever would have had the whole world on our side is if Saddam had actually used his weapons. If France and others had their way inspections would have continued indefinitely. In a world where WMDs are as attainable as they are we can't afford to wait until the threat is "imminent" and Bush laid that out leading up to the war.

    From the State of the Union Address:

    Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq.
    Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons -- not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.
    Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes.
    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

    -- White House

    The threat was not imminent, but it was still a threat. France et al were completely unwilling to do anything firmly. There was no "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then it's ok." There was only "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then we can get back together and discuss it further." We attacked when we did because it appeared those opposing our timetable weren't opposing when we were doing it, but that we were doing it at all. Might it have been better if we had waited for a better postwar plan? Sure, but that's 20-20 hindsight talking. There was not a single person, either pro or anti, talking before the war about the postwar plan.

    And as for this...

    Now of course we know there were no weapons, just plans for weapons. There are "plans" for weapons at UC. Why don't we invade Clifton? Those evil Bearcats are a threat to my Redhawks, damn it!

    -- Cincy Blog

    The reason you don't invade Clifton is because UC didn't invade Oxford 12 years ago, lose, and promise to get rid of those plans in order to get Miami to stop shooting.

    Though come to think of it that invading Oxford thing isn't such a bad idea... let me make a few calls. :)

    Posted by robbernard at 12:22 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, October 3, 2003
    EVIDENCE DISCLOSED Some of the evidence of Iraqi weapons programs disclosed by CIA weapons inspector David Kay during congressional committee testimony Thursday:

    A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment that was subject to U.N. monitoring and was suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research.

    A prison laboratory complex that possibly was used to test biological weapons agents on humans. Kay said his investigations have shown that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were ordered not to declare the facility to the U.N.

    Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in the home of an Iraqi scientist. One of the strains can be used to produce biological weapons.

    New research on biological weapons-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin -- none of which were declared to the U.N.

    Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have helped Iraq resume uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation.

    -- CNN

    I would point out that these programs alone constituted a breach of UN resolutions.


    3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

    -- U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441(via State Department)(emphasis added)

    We invaded Iraq because they we thought they weren't living up to their end of the UN resolutions. These finds, without a single WMD find, prove that they weren't.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, October 2, 2003

    Kuwaiti security authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle $60 million worth of chemical weapons and biological warheads from Iraq to an unnamed European country, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Wednesday.
    The pro-Government Al-Siyassah, quoting an unnamed security source, said the suspects had been watched by security since they arrived in Kuwait and were arrested "in due time." It did not say when or how the smugglers entered Kuwait or when they were arrested.

    -- Kuwait foils smuggling of chemicals from Iraq :

    Is it true? Only time will tell.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, September 25, 2003

    Soldier Blogger Chief Wiggles has started up a toy drive for Iraqi children.

    From his site:

    Some no no toys:

    Any guns of any kind
    No violent action hereos
    No violent toys
    No barbie dolls or dolls skantily dressed
    No toys that shoot something, no projectiles
    No water guns
    Lets just keep it simple, simple toys, just the basics, these kids have
    Some other items that are nice are pencils, pens, paper to draw and color on.

    Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, brushes, combs, etc.

    Nice stuffed animals, other items.

    Just use your good judgement, and if you are unsure, contact a local muslim group for help.

    Here is the mailing address to send items to:

    Chief Wiggles
    CPA-C2, Debriefer
    APO AE 09335

    As the Chief has said, ALL toys will be distributed to the children, unless they are inappropriate.

    There are more suggestions in the comments section of the post.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, September 24, 2003

    Via Yahoo! News, 62% in Bagdhad think ousting Saddam was worth the hardships, 67% think things will be better in 5 years than before the war. 47% think they're currently worse off though while 33% think they're currently better off.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Boortz posted an interesting questionnaire for some of the more far-out lefties.

    'Bush's Illegal War' Questionnaire
    Please answer as many of the following questions as you can, and as many with a straight face as possible. Please answer quickly as you already have all of the answers. 1. Since George W. Bush is evil, and thought by some to be far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein, could you please list the instances you are aware of where George W. Bush has ordered the murder, torture and rape of American citizens, like yourself, who oppose his presidency. 2. Could you list any sites of mass graves of American citizens ordered to be killed by the Bush administration? 3. Further, could you please list the instances you are aware of when George W. Bush has ordered the murder of members of his own family. 4. Do you feel that Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons he was specifically forbidden to have by the UN; for example, the Scud missiles he fired into Kuwait during the first two weeks of the war? 5. How do you think Saddam was able to fire weapons that he didn't have? 6. Are inspectors inspectors, or are inspectors detectives? 7. How many more months would you have given Saddam Hussein to comply with the 17 UN resolutions, passed over 12 years? 8. If you owned an apartment building, for how many months would you allow a tenant to defy you to kick him out for not paying the rent he owes? 9. If the UN, and the previous administration, were convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and used that as a basis for their actions against Iraq, how do those reasons evaporate when applied by the Bush administration? 10. If the Bush administration, led by the evil GWB, lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to go to war, why haven't we found any WMD secretly planted by the Bush administration?

    11. If you feel it would be too difficult to plant WMD in Iraq, because there are too many people watching, such that no one can do anything sneaky in Iraq, then why can't we find Saddam?

    12. Do you disagree with the statement..."The weapons of mass destruction used in the 9/11 attacks were box-cutters"?

    13. Do you think finding an airplane fuselage in a terrorist training camp in northern Iraq means terrorists were practicing hijackings? If not, for what purpose do you think they were using the airplane?

    14. Knowing what little you may know about spy satellites, what do you think Iraq was hiding using the tunnel-digging equipment they bought from the French some 5 years ago?

    15. Why do you think Iraq had a 'Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams' headed by Hussein's Vice-President, and son, Qusay?

    16. The fact that Iraq trained experts to foil UN weapons inspectors is documented not just by U.S. intelligence organizations, but by those of many other countries. Why do you think Iraq needed to use these tactics, if George W. Bush is lying?

    17. In 1995, Iraq admitted it had biological weapons. They declared they had, for example, 8500 liters of anthrax. Where did they all go? If Iraq destroyed them, why would there be any need for more UN resolutions after that?

    18. When do you think Iraq abandoned their existing Weapons of Mass Destruction program? What do you think was their motivation for abandoning it- the 17th time the UN said 'pretty please', or the fact that it was spending too much money that could used for social programs to improve the lives of Iraqi citizens?

    19. Do you think the bio-weapons lab vehicles found in Iraq were being used as lunch wagons, or as mobile auto detail trucks?

    20. If a terrorist organization attacked America tomorrow by spraying anthrax over a large city, would you blame George W. Bush for not doing enough?

    21. Would Hillary?

    22. How many minutes after the attack do you think it would take for Hillary to appear on CNN?

    23. If an illegal U.S. president declares an illegal war, wouldn't the two cancel each other out?

    Bonus Question: Do you think O.J. killed Ron and Nicole, or was he the victim of a massive conspiracy to plant evidence by many separate divisions of the LAPD?

    -- Nealz Nuze

    Posted by robbernard at 4:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, September 15, 2003

    Some pretty strong stuff on how the media acquiesced to Saddam.

    Terror, totalitarian states, and their ways are nothing new to me, but I felt from the start that this was in a category by itself, with the possible exception in the present world of North Korea. I felt that that was the central truth that has to be told about this place. It was also the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents here. Why? Because they judged that the only way they could keep themselves in play here was to pretend that it was okay.

    There were correspondents who thought it appropriate to seek the approbation of the people who governed their lives. This was the ministry of information, and particularly the director of the ministry. By taking him out for long candlelit dinners, plying him with sweet cakes, plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars. Senior members of the information ministry took hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from these television correspondents who then behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror.

    In one case, a correspondent actually went to the Internet Center at the Al-Rashid Hotel and printed out copies of his and other people's stories -- mine included -- specifically in order to be able to show the difference between himself and the others. He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state. He was with a major American newspaper.

    -- Editor & Publisher

    Posted by robbernard at 3:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, September 11, 2003

    A reminder of how the world reacted to 9/11. (via Left of the Middle)

    Posted by robbernard at 6:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Now I am resigned, in advance, to the loss of an American city by a nuclear weapon. The End of the World now looks like a comic-book premise, a Heston-movie conceit. We feared it would all be gone in a day, our world upended like an Etch-A-Sketch. What we never considered was a long, slow war, a conflict that burned and sputtered, skittered from one spot on the map to the other. The old wars were simple: the other side had accents, uniforms, nations, cruel habits and urbane sneers. The old wars took years. The old wars were in black and white. The old wars were monophonic, scored by Max Steiner, released by Warner Brothers, and the only proof they really happened at all was the small battered box in the back of Dad’s sock drawer, the box that held some oddly colored metal bars. The next war would be horrible, total, and short.

    Two years ago today I was convinced that every presumption I had about the future was wrong. This war, I feared, would be horrible, total, and long.

    -- The Bleat

    Posted by robbernard at 6:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, September 8, 2003
    U.S. DEFENSE AND Security sources tell NEWSWEEK that high-ranking former Saddam aides have told U.S. interrogators that Saddam believed the only assault President George W. Bush would ever launch against Iraq was the kind of low-risk bombing campaign that the Clinton administration used in the former Yugoslavia. Saddam was also confident that France and Germany would pressure the Americans to retreat from this course, leaving Iraq shaken but Saddam still in power. Even after American divisions assembled on Iraq’s borders, Saddam, recalling the first gulf war, thought U.S. ground forces would only go after suspected unconventional weapons sites, Scud missile launchers and military bases. ... Some U.S. officials even think Iraqi defectors who surfaced before the war saying Saddam was still making WMD were double agents dispatched by Saddam to spread disinformation to deter his enemies.

    -- Newsweek/MSNBC

    Let it never be said that Saddam had the slightest clue what the Bush admin was thinking.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Some are taking the tack that the $87 billion requested for Iraq could be better spent by doing things like doubling the education budget, or increasing the EPA's budget, or helping artists.

    It could also be used to buy about 87 billion Soft Taco Supremes. (Which would provide every person in America with ~316 tacos.) But that doesn't mean it's a good idea... though I gotta admit, the idea of 87 billion tacos is awfully tempting...

    Anyway, the point is that talk like this presumes that giving more money to schools, or the EPA, or whatever is more important than insuring that terrorists don't kill us. I don't know, I happen to think that doing the State's job of funding schools is a bit less important than ensuring that a Government doesn't form in Iraq that would help people kill us. I guess I'm just weird that way.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, September 7, 2003

    Ahmed Qurei, "pragmatist", nominated for the job.

    Let me just make this clear again. There won't be peace in the Middle East until there is a Palestinian leader able and willing to crack down on the terrorists and whom Israel allows and aids in doing so.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    It's interesting. Bush asks for $87 billion and people complain. If he didn't they'd say he was abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan. He want's to cut taxes to help the economy and he gets blasted. If he didn't they'd say he didn't care about the plight of the average American.

    And yet with all the complaining nobody is putting forth better plans for handling Iraq from here on out or how to help the economy.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, August 21, 2003

    ...I'm not taking Israel's side either. There won't be peace in Israel until both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have the cajones to work together to eliminate the militants. Israel should have brought the Palestinians in on killing the Hamas leaders.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    You know, it's really hard to take the Palestinian militants seriously when they go and quit the cease-fire because Israel retaliated after the militants broke the cease-fire. They've got a funny definition of keeping the cease-fire if it allows for suicide bombings of city busses.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, August 19, 2003

    Reports say 10 dead, 32 wounded.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:07 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, August 8, 2003

    Well, "hate America" is really too strong, but he certainly seems to be against the Iraq war. A far cry from the days when he was steadfastly on the side of the Allies in WWII.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, August 1, 2003

    (via BOTW)

    Posted by robbernard at 6:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, July 23, 2003

    Just a reminder, if we were really targeting Uday and Qusay simply because they were Saddam's sons then there are 3 other kids we could go after. We were targeting them because they were high-ranking government officials, thus the "Now other nations can kill the Bush daughters" complaint I've been hearing doesn't hold up. They're college students.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, July 22, 2003

    They're dead.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Before the start of the war.

    You are about to make history...

    We're invading not to conquer and subjugate the people. We're invading to evict a dictator, and we're invading to protect women and children - our families - back home. Remember who you are because these are going to be the most memorable days of your lives.

    --Lt. Colonel B.P. McCoy (via National Geographic Explorer)

    Posted by robbernard at 11:06 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, July 18, 2003
    "If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive," he said. "But if our critics are wrong ... and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive."


    "there is no more dangerous theory in international politics than that we need to balance the power of America with other competitive powers."


    Posted by robbernard at 6:45 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, July 17, 2003

    Mark Steyn over at The Spectator has a very funny piece on all this anti-war-bush-lied stuff. Make sure to check it out.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Check it out.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:46 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    "Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says President Bush hasn't matched tough rhetoric with strong actions..."

    Huh? He went in and freakin' wiped out the government of Iraq. Is Kerry suggesting he wanted something even stronger... a nuke maybe?

    Of course not, he's just taking pot shots at Bush.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    From a top secret document from the Iraqi intelligence services via Al-Hayat:

    "Following on our secret letter No. (3870) of 1/19/2003. In the event of the downfall of the Iraqi leadership in the hands of the American, British, and Zionist forces, God forbid, it is incumbent on all the members of the agencies listed above to act in accordance with the instructions listed below:"

    1. "Looting and burning of all state agencies connected with our directorates and other [government agencies]"

    2. "Changing residence from time to time"

    3. "Destroying power generating stations"

    4. "Destroying water installations"

    5. "Mobilizing of dependable elements and bringing them into mosques"

    6. "Joining the religious centers in Najaf"

    7. "Joining the nationalist and Islamic parties and groupings"

    8. "Cutting off internal and external communications"

    9. "Purchasing stolen weapons from citizens"

    10. "Establishing close ties with those who are returning from outside the country"

    11. "Assassination of imams and preachers of mosques."

    -- via MEMRI

    Posted by robbernard at 10:08 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, July 3, 2003

    Some liberal bloggers and other pundits/politicians have been complaining about Bush's "Bring it on" quote and telling us what they think the soldiers think. I thought it'd be nice to know what an actual soldier thinks so I sent an e-mail off to fellow blogger L.T. Smash, an actual soldier in Iraq.

    L.T.'s response posted on his site:

    Rob writes, asking what I think about these recent remarks by President Bush:

    Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice. There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on.

    George W. Bush is President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He is our leader. He sets the tone for every man and woman in uniform. If the President says we are a bunch of bad-asses, then that is the attitude we will adopt. It sure beats the heck out of the alternative.

    Meanwhile, President Bush is taking some heat for these remarks, being accused of using “shoot-from-the-hip lines,” with some urging him to bring the troops home “as soon as possible.”

    His response: “We're not leaving until we accomplish the task.”

    How refreshing.

    --LT SMASH

    Posted by robbernard at 7:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, June 26, 2003


    Posted by robbernard at 5:10 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    1. Would you concede that Iraq had WMD before Gulf War I?
    2. Would you concede that a large number of these weapons were unaccounted for when the inspectors left in '98?
    3. What do you suggest Iraq did with those weapons? Do you really think Iraq destroyed them and just decided not to show us just to be petulant?

    Just because we haven't found the weapons (yet) doesn't mean they didn't exist. You can argue that they were shipped off to Syria, or you can argue that they were destroyed and Saddam was just to stupid or egotistical to show us, but I don't think you can argue that they didn't exist in the first place.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:46 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, June 12, 2003

    Hamas continues to carry aout attacks in Jerusalem. I think it's important for the peace process to remember that there is a difference between Hamas and the Palestinians. Isreal needs to work with the Palestinian leaders to root out Hamas and not take unilateral action. For the peace process to work I think it's important that the Palestinian leaders be involved in knocking down Hamas. The Palestinians need to be willing to help defeat Hamas, and Israel needs to give them the chance.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:04 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    And it's coming from the Palestinian Authority daily of all places.

    "I am still convinced that there are many dynamic opportunities for promoting liberal ideas in our countries, following the spectacular collapse of [all] the other political trends such as nationalism, socialism, and Islam. There is no doubt that these political streams will grasp at any straw before being swept away by the trend opposing them – that is, the trend of revival, realism, and belief in knowledge, rationality, and balanced judgment." ... "Over many decades, these political trends have not managed to realize a single one of their ideas such as [Arab] unity, democracy, freedom, or social justice. Moreover, they have proven that when in power, they turn into a hedonistic [social] echelon, leading a life of comfort and luxury, and suppressing the people in inconceivable ways."

    "Who could believe the stories about what had been going on in Iraq for decades – about the mass graves, the cold-blooded slaughter of anyone who let himself be seduced into criticizing the regime or [anyone] lagging behind in enthusiastic support of every move it made?"
    "We [the Arabs] are in need of a revival of enlightenment, away from the revolutionary [ideas]... for which our peoples paid a high price. Only a few decades ago, we were the equals of many peoples: in human growth, in social justice, and in welfare achievements. Now they have all surpassed us."

    "We are at the bottom of [the global] scale in our ability to assist our people, and we head [the global] scale in human rights violations, and in every area – as referred to by United Nations reports and the UNDP report on Arab human growth. And it is my wish that this report would be known by all the people, so we all know what these revolutionaries have done..."

    "We are still distant from the information revolution, and only the liberal trend can bring such a revolution about. The parties of the past are afraid of information, because they deal in general slogans and discuss purely theoretical problems. They do not believe in information, numbers, or statistics... they are hostile to the information revolution, to technology, and to communication with the other... They are hostile to mutual cultural [cooperation]; they refuse to benefit from the huge technological advances and they refuse to absorb the lessons of the astounding developments in our world..."

    "Only the liberal trend can fight the idea [that some element] has a monopoly over truth, can revise old ideas, and can advance in confidence, stage by stage, without the skipping [of stages] for which the people pay the price in the form of barbarism and savagery... We will not enter the stage of revival and enlightenment as long as we do not shake up the conventions and as long as we do not thoroughly investigate our convictions. This was the way towards the Renaissance in Europe, and we have no other."

    --Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), May 28, 2003.(via the good folks at MEMRI:)

    Posted by robbernard at 3:11 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    LT SMASH (whose name I admire for its subtle Simpsons reference) has a good piece on understanding Americans for the foreigners who are realizing that we're the most powerful nation in the world.

    The bullet points:
    Americans revere their Constitution.
    Americans believe in free-market capitalism.
    Americans reserve the right of self-defense.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:03 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, May 30, 2003

    Sean Penn's taken out an ad in the NY Times defending his trip to Baghdad.

    The full text is at Penn's site. It's quite wordy so assuming you don't feel like wading through a few thousand words of Penn's ramblings Yahoo sums it up pretty well.

    At the end Penn exhorts us to take part in the democratic process and vote. I will, every time I vote against people like Penn by not seing his movies.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, May 11, 2003

    Just be aware that a group of lower-ranking government employees from Washington did pretty much the exact same thing. For future complaining please at least come up with a rant that either excuses or chastises them.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:57 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    From The Seattle Times

    Posted by robbernard at 12:34 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, April 25, 2003

    You can pick up your very own deck of Iraqi 'Most-Wanted' cards here. They're by the same company that supplied the cards to the troops.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:57 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, April 24, 2003

    For real this time. How was this guy only the eight of spades? He was the freakin' deputy prime minister.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:01 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003
    A coalition of lawyers and human rights groups yesterday unveiled a bid to use the UN's new International Criminal Court as a tool to restrain American military power.

    In a move Washington said vindicated U.S. claims that the court would be used for political purposes, the rights activists are working to compile war crimes cases against the United States and its chief ally in Iraq, Britain.
    But the fact that Britain is a member has given the rights activists a springboard for a case that argues U.S. air raids that killed civilians were war crimes.

    "The U.S. used bombers that took off from England ... and from Diego Garcia, also U.K. territory," said Mr. Ratner, referring to a British Indian Ocean island possession.

    Britain, as an ICC member, could be prosecuted on a much wider array of activities that resulted in civilian deaths, the activists said.

    Both U.S. and British officials have repeatedly said their forces make maximum efforts to avoid civilian casualties and never target civilians, which would violate the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
    Mr. Shiner said the activists' case will probe the coalition's use, or suspected use, of cluster bombs, depleted uranium ammunition and fuel-air explosives.

    These weapons are unauthorized, he claimed, because they "can't distinguish between civilian or military" targets.
    The Bush administration official said: "This is a baseless accusation and we'll treat it as such."

    --NATIONAL POST (via Bill Herbert)

    Posted by robbernard at 1:06 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, April 14, 2003

    We went into Iraq not because we had proof that they still had WMDs. We went in because they refused to prove in any way that they didn't. I'm not saying they didn't have WMDs, but that it's theoretically possible that they destroyed them and then took the most boneheaded position possible, or maybe that they moved them out of the country. My point is that finding WMDs within the borders of Iraq is not the end-all and be-all of whether what we did in Iraq was right. We went in because Saddam refused to account for the weapons he had. The burden of proof was on them.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Prime Minister John Howard wants to reform the United Nations, saying the presence of France as a permanent member of the Security Council "distorts" the council.

    He wants Japan, a South American country and India to be represented on the Security Council. France was there only because it was a global power at the end of World War II, he said.

    Asking France or any other permanent member of the Security Council to voluntarily surrender their seat was "a major undertaking", he conceded.


    Mr Howard offered a compromise, which he said would make the UN more representative of the modern world - three levels of Security Council members, the permanent members, the rotating members and a new group of permanent members that had no veto. It would be "a far better expression of world opinion", he said.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:47 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Good stuff from Cold Fury.

    I’d just like to get this all in early to help out the antiwar extremists a bit in advance:

    -Syria has never attacked the US directly, so we have no reason to be harassing them.

    -Shrub just wants to loot the treasure of Damascus for his E-ville™ corporate pals.

    -There is no proof that Syria has weapons of mass destruction.

    -Regime change here in America is what we really need.

    -If we attack Syria, it will turn out to be a Vietnam-like quagmire that we can’t possibly win, with millions of civilian casualties.

    -Taking forceful and effective action to end Syria’s support for terrorism will be an unconscionable distraction from the War on Terror.

    -Look how awfully the whole thing in Iraq has turned out.

    -Shrub is a cowboy.

    -The brutal Syrian summer/winter/spring/fall will be too harsh for our troops to operate effectively in.

    -Ending Syria’s support for terrorism will be too expensive. Our economy will suffer.

    -The Syrian military is made up almost entirely of elite units that will bravely fight to the last drop of unjustly-shed blood they possess.

    -The Syrian dictator Assad is not so bad. And hey, we supported the contras, soooo.…

    -Doing anything about Syria will inflame the Arab street against us and create bazillions of new Al Qaeda members eager to launch new terror attacks against US targets. Speaking of which, there is no credible evidence of a connection between Syria and Osama.

    -At least Assad was elected. Not so with our Commander In Thief, the Resident of the US, President-select Shrub.


    -And last but not least, it’s all about oooiiiiilll!!!

    There. You can all drop your NYT subscriptions now. No need to thank me, I’m happy to help out here.
    --Cold Fury

    Posted by robbernard at 9:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    BAGHDAD, 13 April 2003 — Iraqi Muslims came to the aid of Baghdad’s tiny Jewish community yesterday, chasing out looters trying to sack its cultural center in the heart of the capital.

    “At 3:00 a.m., I saw two men, one with a beard, on the roof of the Jewish community house and I cried out to my friend, ‘Hossam, bring the Kalashnikovs!” said Hassam Kassam, 21.

    Neither Hassan nor Hossam, who is the guard at the center, was armed at the time but the threat worked in scaring off the intruders. Two hours later, the looters returned again and Hassan Kassem used the trick once more.

    The center is located in a freshly painted white house on a lane off Rashid Street in Baghdad’s old town. Two days ago, amid rampant looting in the capital, neighbors removed the sign reading “Special Committee for the Religious Affairs of Ezra Menahem Daniel” to make the premises less conspicuous.


    Posted by robbernard at 9:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, April 13, 2003

    We didn't go into Iraq because they had WMDs, we went in because they MIGHT have WMDs.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, April 10, 2003
    A-10 PICS has some pretty cool pics of how many hits an A-10 can take and still make it home. (via Boortz)

    Posted by robbernard at 8:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    With Iraq out it seems we have an open slot in the Axis of Evil. Will Syria step up?

    Posted by robbernard at 8:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, April 9, 2003

    In images showed live across the Arab world, Iraqis danced in the streets, waving rifles, palm fronds and flags, and defaced posters of the longtime Iraqi president.

    American troops moving through the Iraqi capital drew instant crowds. One unit was swarmed by cheering Iraqis, with women lifting their babies for the soldiers to kiss. Young men shouted, "Bush No. 1, Bush No. 1."

    It should really get interesting when the rest of the Arab world sees that it's possible to be both free and Muslim. I can't help but think that if some other regimes don't change their ways they might be in trouble.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, April 8, 2003
    Nobel peace prize laureate Elie Wiesel said the war on Iraq is justified and blamed unnamed European countries for failing to prevent it through pressuring President Saddam Hussein.

    "If some European countries put as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as on (US President George W.) Bush, there would have been no war," he told a press conference in Montreal.

    "Saddam Hussein had to be disarmed (and) there were no other means," said the Nazi concentration camp survivor and author who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1986 for his message "of peace, atonement and human dignity."
    He added: "You can accuse me of being naive, but I think in all conscience that this war was necessary."

    --Elie Wiesel (via Instapundit)

    Posted by robbernard at 7:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    "It's as if a bad Saturday Night Live skit is playing in Baghdad."

    I happen to think it's a pretty darn good SNL skit.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, April 7, 2003

    As of last night, the airport is once again receiving flights but it remains a risky business to fly here. The first incoming flight, organised by the CIA, was welcomed with desultory bursts of anti-aircraft fire. Half-a-dozen Iraqi artillery shells have hit over the past 24 hours.

    But things are changing and, as the days pass, minds are changing too.

    A captured Iraqi colonel being held in one of the hangars listened in astonishment as his information minister praised Republican Guard soldiers for recapturing the airport.

    He looked at his captors and, as he realised that what he had heard was palpably untrue, his eye filled with tears. Turning to a translator, he asked: "How long have they been lying like this?"

    --ThisisLondon (via Realpolitik)

    Posted by robbernard at 10:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    U.S. forces near Baghdad found a weapons cache of around 20 medium-range missiles equipped with potent chemical weapons, the U.S. news station National Public Radio reported on Monday.

    NPR, which attributed the report to a top official with the 1st Marine Division, said the rockets, BM-21 missiles, were equipped with sarin and mustard gas and were "ready to fire." It quoted the source as saying new U.S. intelligence data showed the chemicals were "not just trace elements."

    --Washington Post

    Posted by robbernard at 4:46 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, April 3, 2003
    Martin Savidge of CNN, embedded with the 1st Marine battalion, was talking with 4 young Marines near his foxhole this morning live on CNN. He had been telling the story of how well the Marines had been looking out for and taking care of him since the war started. He went on to tell about the many hardships the Marines had endured since the war began and how they all look after one another.

    He turned to the four and said he had cleared it with their commanders and they could use his video phone to call home.

    The 19 year old Marine next to him asked Martin if he would allow his platoon sergeant to use his call to call his pregnant wife back home whom he had not been able to talk to in three months. A stunned Savidge who was visibly moved by the request shook his head and the young Marine ran off to get the sergeant.

    Savidge recovered after a few seconds and turned back to the three young Marines still sitting with him and asked which one of them would like to call home first, the Marine closest to him responded with out a moments hesitation "Sir, if is all the same to you we would like to call the parents of a buddy of ours, Lance Cpl Brian Buesing of Cedar Key, Florida who was killed on 3-23-03 near Nasiriya to see how they are doing."

    At that Martin Savidge totally broke down and was unable to speak. All he could get out before signing off was "Where do they get young men like this?"

    --BOTW/L.T. Smash

    Posted by robbernard at 9:38 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Quite heroic for a supply clerk.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:26 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    "I object to war because I believe that it is impossible to achieve peace through violence."

    What the hell did this guy expect? They're the freakin' Marines!

    Posted by robbernard at 9:21 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, April 2, 2003

    A good story from Newsday about an Iraqi soldier surrendering:

    The soldier covered his face and wept.
    It was a deep, sudden sobbing he couldn't control. His shoulders heaved. Tears wet the frayed cuffs of his green Iraqi army sweater.
    He cried because he was alive. He cried because his family may think he's dead. He cried for his country. He cried because -- for him -- the war was over.
    "I'm so sorry. Excuse me. I just can't stop," wept the soldier who fled Saddam Hussein's army and was taken Monday into the hands of U.S.-allied Iraqi Kurdish fighters. "Could this terrible time be over soon? Please, tell me."
    "I can say now what I always felt: Saddam led to this war," Ali said. "We don't want to fight America. We don't want to fight for Saddam. We just want an end to all this."
    Ali agreed. No one dares to speak out against Saddam while Baath party forces still have footholds, he said.
    "The people know that any uprising against Saddam now would mean terrible things to them and their family. They force them to chant `Down with America,' but not everyone means it. Saddam's people are afraid for the future."
    That's when he started to cry. Moments later came the thud of a U.S. bomb hitting the ridge just across the river. (via The Greatest Jeneration)

    Posted by robbernard at 2:28 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    A despicable desecration of cemetary in Etaples, France where the men who lost their lives in WWI and WWII are buried. Roughly translated it reads "Dig up your dead, it's polluting our soil" and "Saddam will win and make your blood run" and "Death to Yankees."

    Thanks to The Greatest Jeneration for the pic.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, April 1, 2003

    Good news.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Posted by robbernard at 6:53 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    They didn't find any actual weapons at the suspected chemical weapons plant. Just for the record. I'm still quite certain they'll find some eventually.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:43 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Where most outside the US see a war being started in Iraq, perhaps unnecessarily, things look different from within the US itself. Having suffered an assault more murderous - and certainly more despicable - than the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, it no longer has the luxury of beginning this new world war, but only the implacable resolve to prosecute it to the end. Peace has already disappeared from the US political horizon. War is no longer a "last resort" once it has been flagrantly initiated by hostile action.
    If al Qaeda were mere criminals, rather than avatars of a world-wide radical Islamist onslaught against the existing global order, then the US action against Iraq might indeed be considered an over-reaction.

    If, on the contrary, following in the wake of Nazism and Soviet Communism, Islamism (the totalitarian perversion of Islam) is a coherent planetary threat to secular liberal civilization, this time crossing Nazi-style suicidal fanaticism with Soviet-style megadeath weaponry, then those substantially obstructing the US in this struggle are indeed "with the terrorists". Few seriously doubt that Iraq is a determined enemy of the US and a deceitful terrorist state, one manifestly obsessed with procuring weapons of mass destruction. Its alignment in the already ongoing world conflict is therefore beyond serious dispute.

    The solution, for most of the world, is to shelter behind the illusion that the world is still at peace. This, even while the flames of Islamist terror - characterized above all by the indiscriminate murder of civilians - spread across the planet, fanned by international cowardice, irresolution and even complicity. After a decade of Clintonian appeasement, culminating in the Manhattan atrocity, the US has had enough of this.

    --Shanghai Star(via Realpolitik)

    Posted by robbernard at 6:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, March 25, 2003

    I'd hate to see how Chris Matthews would react if the war were really going badly.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, March 24, 2003

    Again, from Boortz.

    A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head.
    -- UPI

    Posted by robbernard at 8:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    A good quote Boortz has up on his site.

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse.... A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their own free choice—is often the means of their regeneration.

    -- John Stuart Mill

    Posted by robbernard at 8:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, March 23, 2003

    Something being constitutional doesn't automatically make it patriotic. When you're asked whether what you're doing is patriotic you're going to need to go further than just saying that you've read the first amendment. Patriotism is defined as "love of and devotion to one's country." You need to show that by protesting you're showing your devotion to your country, not simply that you're allowed to do it.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, March 20, 2003

    A flock? A gaggle? A crazy?

    Posted by robbernard at 5:59 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    I like the name.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, March 19, 2003
    Posted by robbernard at 10:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    If we're looking for the biggest surprise dawn pretty much works.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:01 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The list of nations in the coalition according to the State Department: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:09 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    This handy anti-war movement glossary is provided by Juan Gato by way of Right Wing News.

    Nuance: Opposition to United States policy. Often expressed in simplistic terms.
    Peace: The complete lack of action from the United States no matter how many must suffer or die.
    Dissent: Wearing costumes.
    Crushing of Dissent/McCarthyism: Publicly disagreeing with someone more noble. Publicly pointing out flaws in the arguments of those more noble.
    Censorship: Only appearing on TV 5 times a week instead of the full 7.
    Days of Action: Movie where Tom Cruise met Nicole Kidman.
    Facts: Things that get in the way of Truth.
    Truth: Something that must be believed regardless of facts. Example: 5,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. Did not actually happen, but the US wanted to kill that many and more so that means it is truth.
    Racism: Thinking non-whites shouldn't have to live under oppressive, murderous tyrants.
    Solidarity: Public nudity to tell those who would be stoned for public nudity that, hey, we care because we're naked.
    Multilateral: Doing what the French want.
    Unilateral: Going forward without the support of the New York Times.
    Oil: When it ain't the Jews, it's this.
    Militant: Anyone who kills a member of the oppressive power structure.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, March 18, 2003

    Rall has a new column up on why we shouldn't support the troops. Complete with his typical anti-American rants.

    We find ourselves facing the paradox of the "good German" of the '30s. We're ruled by an evil, non-elected warlord who ignores both domestic opposition and international condemnation. We don't want the soldiers fighting his unjustified wars of expansion to win--but we don't want them to lose either.

    I really don't want to link him but... _

    Posted by robbernard at 11:23 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Once upon a time, there was a small tight knit community of neighbors, a "village", if you like. This village was too small to have an independent police force, so it chose instead to police itself; neighbors helping neighbors...holding one another to account for their actions when disputes arose. It was an imperfect system, but it was all the little village had with which to work.

    As in all villages, there were some noisome neighbors. Some simply played their music too loud at night, and some were much, much worse.

    Within one house lived an intemperate man, prone to outbursts of threats and violence. He was well known in the village as a "bad man". Worse yet, it was well known that this "bad man" terrorized his own family within his home. Accountings of rape, torture, and even murder of his own family members were well known and documented. Worst of all, and what made his neighbors of the village continually uneasy, was that this brute was known to possess a personal cache of hand grenades, assault rifles, and rocket launchers.

    When the "bad man" broke into his brother-in-law's house to steal his possessions twelve years ago, the village community was outraged, formed a posse, and kicked the "bad man" out of his brother-in-law's house after he refused to leave. When events turned, and things looked to the "bad man" that he might be evicted from his own house, he agreed to behave, and even allowed community members to inspect his home, to show that he had disposed of his dangerous weapons. The "bad man" chuckled to himself, knowing that his trusting neighbors would never find his best hiding places for his most intimidating weapons. Just the same, the "bad man" agreed to have a fence erected around his house and yard, to assure his neighbors that he wouldn't easily break into or threaten another home any time soon.

    An so it was for the next twelve years that the "bad man" was locked-up in his home. The village noted over time that some of his other neighboring relatives would come and go, bringing the "bad man" things he needed to remain a bully, if only in his own home. There were rumors that other shady characters, from outside the village, were also coming and going from this "bad man's" house. The members of the village would periodically scold the "bad man" for his blatant disregard of the promise he had made, which only garnered derision and scorn in return from the "bad man". The village was ashamed of it's own timidity, for it knew this "bad man" had never stopped raping and beating his own family in the confines of his own home, but the community of neighbors rationalized their cowardice and fear with the thought that at least this "bad man" wasn't doing it to them.

    One neighbor suggested finally, after 12 years, that enough was enough. He proposed to the village community that the "bad man" would, this time, have to turn over all of his grenades, rifles, and rocket launchers immediately...or face another village posse. The village community agreed unanimously to this proposal...and gave the "bad man" the ultimatum. The "bad man" wavered at this seeming community unanimity, and appeared to concede. After all, his neighbors couldn't find his secret weapons caches the last time, and he had made many more since. And the "bad man" also knew that eventually his neighbors would tire of the ordeal, out of frustration, or timidity...and things would once again return to a status quo. The "bad man" rationalized, "They keep trying to tell me what to do, and I keep doing as I please, and they don't do anything about it anyway, because they're weak."

    The "bad man" miscalculated though. The neighbor that led the posse 12 years ago wasn't letting up this time around. In fact, it was reminding it's fellow community members of the commitment they had all agreed to, and the consequences of that commitment. Now the members of the village were very uneasy. They wanted to trust the "bad man", and believe him; and besides, what could the "bad man" do if he was locked up in his own house; while his neighbors searched yet again for weapons that were secreted away? Maybe he'd continue to beat his children, rape his daughters, murder his uncles...sure, those things might continue, but he wouldn't be able to hurt any other families, would he? And what about those mysterious midnight visitors to the "bad man's" house? Nobody had proven that the "bad man" might give these outsiders any of his weapons to vandalize or terrorize the neighborhood on their own terms. Where was the proof of such allegations? Surely even the "bad man" wouldn't do such a thing.

    But once again, the leader of the last village posse insisted that the "bad man" comply with the stated will of the village. Some of the "bad man's" neighbors, who were indirectly related to the "bad man", objected. Sure, their relative was a no-good so-and-so, and a liar, and a bad family man...but they wouldn't evict him from his own house. Others petitioned for more time, to allow the "bad man" to comply with the will of the community, because, well, he'd never done so before...but, maybe this time he would...eventually. Besides, what kind of a threat did this "bad man" really pose to them?

    Most of the villagers did not like being reminded of their commitments. They chose to shift the focus of their attention upon the posse leader instead, claiming it was he who was the bully...the "new bad man". The posse leader and his closest friends relented, allowing for more time. The "bad man" couldn't believe his good fortune. Here he was, safely in his home, abusing his family as he pleased, gloating over his secret weapons cache, and laughing at the village idiots that now perceived him as the lesser threat to the community than the posse leader himself. The "bad man" laughed and laughed at his good fortune.

    But wait. This time, this time, the posse leader was serious. Deadly serious. This time the posse leader and his closest friends were going to evict the "bad man"; free his family; and take away his dangerous weapons whether or not the majority of the village went along. The village community was outraged at this vigilantism. But now the "bad man" was truly afraid. The posse leader hated doing this sort of thing (he had been called upon to do it many times before; to evict other "bad man"...and many people always got hurt, or worse, in the process). Some neighbors refused to go. Others refused to support any eviction efforts, and others still vowed to brand the posse leaders and his friends as dangerous and irresponsible, just like the "bad man" himself. What would become of the village? Who would clean up the house and yard afterwards? Would a nice man move in to the house and help the "bad man's" family back on their feet? Would the "bad man's" neighboring relatives and their associated shady outsiders try to exact revenge upon the small posse and it's family members?

    The tale has no happy ending, because in the end, good people will be hurt. This story also has no sure answers, because no one can precisely predict future events. But if we learn anything from this story, it's that bad men and bad neighbors will always threaten the village as a whole, and it's people within, if good men and good neighbors just stand by and watch, and debate, and do nothing. We may also learn that neighbors may be deemed as good or bad not by what they say; or what they promise; or what they look like. Just men know that good men and bad men are determined by what they do...and sometimes by what they won't do.

    And some day, the village will either decide to live up to it's self-policing commitments, or it will need to hire some full-time sheriff to police the bad men of the village.


    Posted by robbernard at 11:13 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food . . . on one occasion, I saw Qusay [President Saddam Hussein’s youngest son] personally supervise these murders.

    --The Times of London

    Posted by robbernard at 10:28 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, March 17, 2003

    AP News Alert via the Washington Post

    Posted by robbernard at 3:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Posted by robbernard at 2:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, March 16, 2003

    Apparently so.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    First there's the piece by one of the 1990 human shields

    From the moment of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2 until my release a month and a half later, I saw what it was like to live under Saddam Hussein's rule. It was terrible. When a society suffers a loss of civil order, which is what happens in any invasion, little is stable, and the weak are especially vulnerable. But what the Iraqi Army and secret police did was more than violent; it was cruel. On the second day of the invasion, I saw a woman minutes after she had been raped by a member of the Republican Guard. I saw stores and homes robbed. I saw Iraqi tanks shooting at civilians fleeing the country in a small motorboat, and anti-aircraft cannons firing into a residential neighborhood.

    In all of these acts of violence, there was one malevolent constant: those who opposed Saddam Hussein could expect torture and execution. Still, I was aided by numerous Arabs who were willing to risk their lives. I am deeply grateful to them. "Human shields" say they are risking their lives to help the people of Iraq — but their actions can accomplish only the opposite.

    And then there's Bob Herbert's piece of liberal claptrap about how those who support the war are either simple-minded people who don't know that innocent's will be killed in an attack on Iraq, or blood-thirsty savages that just don't give a damn.

    They seemed like very nice people, the men and women, some with children, who dropped by to see the Liberty Bell, which is housed in a one-story shedlike pavilion with large windows in the roof.

    My mind wandering, I imagined the visitors as casualties of war. I glanced up at the sunlight streaming through the roof and could visualize an incoming warhead, a missile that perhaps had strayed off course and was heading toward us. It wasn't hard to imagine the damage. The pavilion and everyone in it would be obliterated.

    1. If you were in a situation where "warheads" (yeah, he didn't choose that term for maximum shock value, did he?) were liable to be veering off course maybe it wouldn't be a very bright idea to be out in all your touristy glory.
    This is the fate soon to be visited upon a certain number of innocent Iraqi civilians (no one knows how many)...

    Absolutely as few as is possible while still removing the threat to our nation and the constant threat to the Iraqi civilian population itself.
    ...if the president goes ahead with the war he has pursued so relentlessly.

    And thank God he has.
    We should outlaw the term collateral damage. Above all else, the damage done by the weapons of war is to the flesh, muscle, bone and psyches of real people, some of them children. If we're willing to inflict such terrible damage, we should acknowledge it and not hide behind euphemisms.

    It would be helpful if he'd provide another option. "Obliteration-of-flesh-muscle-bone-and-psyche-of-innocent-little-baby" doesn't exactly roll off the tounge. Collateral damage is exactly what it would be; neccessary suffering for the greater good.
    I interviewed a number of people in the vicinity of Independence Mall about their views of a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. No one I spoke with was particularly well informed. But what struck me about those in favor of invading Iraq was the cavalier way in which they talked about it. Their message, essentially, was: "Saddam's a bad guy. It's time for him to go."

    Maybe the best way to get people's inner thoughts on a complicated issue like the war isn't to go around interviewing tourists visiting the Liberty Bell.
    I got no sense that they thought of war as a horrible experience. No one mentioned the inevitable carnage. No one spoke as if they understood that war is always hideous, even if it's sometimes necessary.

    Like it is this time.
    The children in Iraq are already in sorrowful shape. The last thing in the world they need is another war. More than half the population of Iraq is under the age of 18, and those youngsters are living in an environment that has been poisoned by the Iran-Iraq war, the first gulf war and long years of debilitating sanctions.

    What the children of Iraq need now IS another war. The sanctions aren't responsible for the troubles of the Iraqi population, Saddam is. The best thing for these people is the removal of Saddam.
    One out of every eight Iraqi children dies before the age of 5. One-fourth are born underweight. One-fourth of those who should be in school are not. One-fourth do not have access to safe water.

    And after this war every one of those numbers will be lower.
    This generational catastrophe is the fault of Saddam Hussein, no question. But those who favor war should at least realize that the terrain to be invaded by the most fearsome military machine in history is populated mostly by children who are already suffering.

    Which would be why we'd be liberating them.
    The American military has significantly improved the accuracy of its weapons, and the U.S. has gone to great lengths to develop war plans designed to minimize civilian casualties. But war, as anyone who has been in the military knows, is about killing people.

    Well actually it's about winning. If that can be accomplished without killing so much the better.
    Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already made it clear that the U.S. is planning to deliver what he calls a "shock" to the Iraqi system.

    That shock reportedly will be delivered by 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours. The children of Iraq won't be the targets, but that is what their country will face if America attacks.

    Yes, they'll face an attack designed to kill as few innocent people as possible and convince the opposing military to surrender as soon as possible. How horrible. Would Herbert prefer that we drop one bomb a day forever?
    (On Tuesday the Air Force tested the country's largest nonnuclear bomb, the 21,000-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast, gleefully nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs.")

    Yes, a bomb that may save many more lives than it takes. The purpose of this bomb is to scare the bejeezus out of the enemy and get them to surrender instead of us having to actually kill them. How dare we.
    After the war will come the humanitarian crisis. There will be the dead to bury and the sick and wounded to tend to. And hundreds of thousands of refugees.

    Two-thirds of Iraq's 24 million people are entirely dependent on government food rations, and the remaining 8 million are dependent to some degree. U.N. officials have said plans by the United States to feed the population after the war are inadequate, and food supplies could run out in a matter of weeks.

    No mention of course that the reason for the lack of food in Iraq is that Saddam is taking the money from the oil he's allowed to sell and putting towards rebuilding his lavish palaces instead of feeding the people. Remove Saddam and we'll only have to worry about feeding them until they can pay for the food themselves with all the oil they have.
    Carol Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, told me: "The area we're very concerned about is water and sanitation. There's very little ground water in Iraq. At least half the water has to be treated. So if the major power facilities and water treatment plants were knocked out, there would be very significant consequences, and the children would generally be the most vulnerable."

    Which would be why I'm sure the military will do everything possible to limit the damage to water treatment plants.
    Most Americans will watch this war from the comfort of their living rooms, well out of harm's way.

    And if we don't go forward they could be dying in the comfort of their living rooms in ten years. We're not doing this because we think it will be a larf, we're doing this because if we don't Saddam will keep his weapons and some day there's a very great chance they will find their way to these shores.
    These are a few of the items they might consider as they make up their minds on whether an invasion is a good idea, or whether a search for a better alternative is still in order.

    These are items to be considered as we decide how to fight the war, not if we should fight the war.

    Ok, that turned out a bit longer than I expected.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    Enough of the righteous indignation when you find out people don't support you. You have a right to your opinion but at the same time we have the right to call you an idiot and speak out against you ourselves. It's a two-way street my friends.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, March 13, 2003

    You'll have trouble finding it anywhere in the media, but yesterday Cincinnati's Fountain Square was packed with people supporting our troops. Some estimates have said that 4,000-5,000 people showed up (The linked story says just 2,000.) Headline News said 400 last night... Liberal bias? Shoddy reporting? I'm not sure.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:49 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, March 12, 2003

    I have some doubts as to it's authenticity, but this pic that's supposed to have been taken at Randoph Air Force Base in Texas is still pretty cool.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, March 7, 2003

    The Russians still think we're getting what little cooperation we're receiving because the inspections are working when in truth it's the threat of military force that is the real reason for the increase cooperation. Remove the threat of force as the weasels would have us do and you'd get no cooperation whatsoever.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, March 6, 2003

    Local restauranteur Jeff Ruby has banned all French products from his 5 restaurants until "a significant change has been made by France showing their support of the U.S." Kudos to Jeff. And for the record I do think this is different than the boycott of downtown Cincinnati. I think the grievances in this case are much more concrete. If the French manufacturers don't like it they can go to their government and tell them to shape up. If downtown businessmen give up they can't exactly go to the police and tell them to not be racist.

    (Thanks to Spiced Sass for the link.)

    Posted by robbernard at 11:16 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, March 5, 2003

    "I think we can stop this war."
    "He has to listen, these are the American people speaking."
    "Billions of dollars are being taken out of our schools for war."
    "I think a good example of a war that's good is the Cuban revolution."
    "Young people are under attack here."

    From Hannity and Colmes. These protesters really are delusional.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    **Insert surrender monkey joke here**

    Posted by robbernard at 3:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, March 3, 2003

    Robert Fisk has a piece in the Toronto Star on how Khalid Shaikh Mohammed wasn't really captured and how the US government is just lying to us. The biggest problem with his argument however probably is the big picture just to the side of the article actually showing Mohammed after he was captured.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, February 28, 2003

    From Yahoo: Russia ready to veto U.S.-British resolution on Iraq to protect `international stability'.

    This bugs me. For ages the biggest complaint from the left and the international community regarding American foreign policy has been that the US cares only for stability and ignores the moral issues; that we prop up petty dictators just to keep things from changing. Now all of a sudden we're willing to sacrifice stability to do the right thing and we're still being seen as the bad guy.

    Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:09 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, February 27, 2003

    The Washington Post takes on their readers who think they're too eager for war.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, February 26, 2003

    a) Saddam is a delusional liar who actually believes he won the Gulf War.

    b) What they heck was Boeing thinking with their Joint Strike Fighter design? It looked like a bleepin' frog.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    He's got a piece on opinionjournal today about why containment won't work. It's a shame he's not a natural-born American.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:41 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The Christian Science Monitor carries an unsigned op-ed piece from a former Iraqi who is now a US citizen.

    Will you also demonstrate and demand "peaceful" actions to cure the abysmal human rights violations of the Iraqi people under the rule of Saddam Hussein?

    Or, will you simply forget about us Iraqis once you discredit George W. Bush?

    Will you demand that the United Nations send human rights inspectors to Iraq? Or are you only interested in weapons of "mass destruction" inspections, not of "mass torture" practices?

    Will you also insist that such human rights inspectors be given time to discover Hussein's secret prisons and coercion as you do for the weapons inspectors? Or will you simply accept a "clean bill of health" if you can't find the thousands of buried corpses?
    Will you vigorously demand an international tribunal to indict Hussein's regime for crimes against humanity? Or will you simply dismiss him as "another" dictator of a "sovereign" country?

    Will you question why Hussein builds lavish palaces while his people are suffering? Or will you simply blame it all on UN sanctions and US "hegemony?"
    Will you hear the cries of Iraqis executed in acid tanks in Baghdad? the Iraqi women raped in front of their husbands and fathers to extract confessions? Or of children tortured in front of their parents? Or of families billed for the bullets used to execute military "deserters" in front of their own homes?

    No. I suspect that most of you will simply retire to your cappucino cafes to brainstorm the next hot topic to protest, and that you will simply forget about us Iraqis, once you succeed in discrediting President Bush.

    Please, prove me wrong.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, February 24, 2003

    Robert Fisk plays a prominent role in Lee Harris' great column on Good American Hypocrisy.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    From Best of the Web:

    "The time has come for us to end the sanctions against Iraq, because those sanctions punish the people of Iraq for having Saddam Hussein as their leader. These sanctions have been instrumental in causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children."--Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio), The Progressive, November 2002

    "Saddam Hussein should be removed from power. . . . I think the way that you do it is continue to use sanctions which thwart his efforts to grow."--presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, "Meet the Press," Feb. 23, 2003

    Posted by robbernard at 2:09 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, February 21, 2003

    Orson Scott Card weighs in on the hypocrisy of the anti-war folks, why Bush scares the Left, and the McCarthy-like tactics of the Left.

    In other words, our war against Iraq from 1991 never ended. Certainly that is Iraq's declared position -- they consider themselves at war with us, and have been shooting at us since 1991.
    So the question of what Iraq has done to us is easy to answer.
    But when Sarandon and Garafolo ask that question, it is pure politics -- and pure hypocrisy. Not only do they know the answer, they also don't even believe in the question.
    Nither Sarandon or Garafolo really thinks that we have to wait for an evil tyrant to attack America directly before we have a responsibility to take action -- including military action -- to stop them.
    Why do I know this? Because neither of them said a single, solitary word against Bill Clinton when he bombed Serbia.
    Sarandon and Garafolo are not anti-war. They are merely anti-Bush, and are invoking our collective fake memories of the "noble" anti-war movement of the sixties as a stick to beat him with.
    Why? Because George W. Bush is the most frightening President the Left could imagine, domestically or abroad.

    He frightens them because he is actually a moderate, a centrist. He wants to serve all the people, not just narrow special interests. He actually believes in egalitarian, non-racist policies; he really means it when he talks about "compassionate conservatism."

    Just as Clinton de-fanged the Right by coopting all their economic policies, so Bush de-fangs the Left by embracing their populist goals (though not their methods).
    They call him stupid, though clearly he is not. They call him a fascist, a racist, a fanatic -- precisely because he is none of those things. They pound at us with lies and name-calling about him and his policies, because they are terrified that people will realize that by and large his policies are good and decent ones that are likely to work pretty well.
    What the American Left doesn't seem to realize is that they are behaving exactly like Joseph McCarthy and the red-baiting fanatics of the early 1950s. They fling monstrous charges against decent people, hoping to rouse the anger of the people. And for a time they gain political advantage by doing so.
    --The Ornery American

    (Oh, and once again, if you haven't already go check out
    Ender's Game

    Posted by robbernard at 9:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Others have become aware of the sinister side of what some say they naïvely interpreted as a kind of extraordinary war protest. "I think the Iraqi government is potentially putting us in a dangerous position," said a young Australian who said he had decided to leave.
    --NY Times

    Posted by robbernard at 4:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    At least Cincinnati won't be opposing the war.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    This argument has been tossed around quite a bit since 9/11, but I don't think anyone's ever taken the time to refute it. Terror isn't the goal of the terrorists, it's the means to achieve their goal. There's nothing wrong with being afraid. There's nothing wrong about changing our habits. The terrorists are trying to kill us and destroy our country, they're not trying to keep small planes trailing signs from flying over stadiums or have us focus terror investigations on Arabs. Changing our lives to take sensible security precautions hurts the terrorists' cause.

    Some argue why should we be told to be prepared now when during WWII the people were being encouraged to go about their normal lives. Quite simply, there were plenty of things around in WWII to remind people they were at war. This is a very different war. There are no air raid sirens. No rationing. No constant bombing. This is a war that can quite easily slip away from the public's conscious mind. When people had constant reminders of the terror they didn't need to be reminded to be vigilant. When the biggest inconvenience is the price of gas going up to $1.75 a gallon it's a different story. People need to be reminded every once in a while that they're practically on the front lines of a war. Of course people should be free to go shopping, or go to a ballgame, but it's simply not too much to ask that we change our lives in little ways. These changes hurt the terrorists, they don't lead to the terrorists' victory.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:31 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, February 20, 2003

    New Europe isn't exactly pleased with Chirac's recent "they missed an opportunity to shut up" tirade.

    "When [Chirac] reproached the candidate countries for not having discussed their attitudes with the others to a minimal extent at least, he forgot that it was mainly France and Germany who, since the very beginning, have taken a negative stance on a possible use of force against Iraq and on Turkey's request for ... military aid without asking about positions of other countries.
    Narodna Obroda

    Poland Chirac allowed himself to say things which should not have been said... Poland can make its own sovereign decisions about its views. EU membership must not deprive us of this right. Loyalty towards Paris should not mean subordination. Loyalty brings obligations on both sides.

    And my favorite...

    All right, Monsieur Chirac. Perhaps we are poor. Perhaps we were not raised properly. We do not know about fine wine and the various directions of avant-garde art. But we do not repay those who have helped us and who continue to help us with ingratitude.
    Neatkariga Rita Avize

    Posted by robbernard at 1:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The British Tabloid The Sun is distributing a special edition of their paper Paris. The front page is entirely in French and translates to the following:

    Greetings to the citizens of Paris from The Sun newspaper, which is read by ten million people every day.

    We think your President, Jacques Chirac, is a disgrace to Europe by constantly threatening to veto military action to enforce the will of the United Nations against Iraq.

    We think it is all the more hypocritical because the world knows that eventually President Chirac will agree to support the UN, America and Great Britain.

    British people feel M Chirac, who in the UK is nicknamed the 'worm', is arrogantly strutting about trying to make France seem more important in the world than it really is.

    The truth is that all the world - including France - recognises that Saddam Hussein must be dealt with. But only the French President seems determined to frustrate the will of the international community.

    When Saddam Hussein has gone, people in Britain and the rest of Europe will look at France and ask themselves whether France is much of an ally any more. People will ask themselves why anyone should bother with what France and its leader say.

    We also think in Britain that you in France have forgotten how much you owe to other nations, particularly America and Britain, for coming to your aid in two world wars.

    You were glad enough to welcome the Americans when Hitler ruled France.

    But now you sneer at the American people and their president, and forget how the war cemeteries of France are packed with American and British soldiers and sailors and airmen who laid down their lives so France could be free.

    Today, the Americans - backed by other European nations braver than France - are preparing again to rid the world of a tyrant.

    On behalf of our ten million readers, we say to you today:

    Are you not ashamed of your president?

    Right on.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, February 19, 2003
    All people have to be prepared. If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time.

    --James Earl Jones

    Posted by robbernard at 4:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    While the major Arab countries, headed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria... invest faithful efforts towards resolving [the crisis] through peaceful means - and to persuade the American administration not to close the door on diplomatic efforts - the Iraqi regime continues its policy of arrogance and empty obstinacy and does all it can to thwart these efforts. The Iraqi regime is like someone galloping, with a driving force that is unclear, on the path of annihilation, while dragging the region yet again into a destructive war.

    While regional and international forces act to open a window of hope to diplomatic efforts, the Iraqi regime misses opportunity after opportunity by continuing its policy of statements of pseudo-heroism ungrounded in objective foundations or realistic considerations. It has reached the point where I can almost say that the Iraqi people and its well-being are not a consideration for the Iraqi leadership, which excels in games, maneuvers, and even in arrogance over the powers genuinely striving to defend Iraq ... from maltreatment by a leadership that cannot read reality.
    A peaceful solution to the crisis is still possible, but the main obstacle is the leadership that was cast upon the Iraqi people and the entire Arab region."

    The Iraqi leadership is characterized by great pride combined with total ignorance. When these two traits are joined, they cause the [kind of] disasters and crises that Saddam Hussein's regime has brought upon us time after time.
    --Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram(Translation by MEMRI)

    The Arabs have done everything they can to avoid war and Saddam has just ignored every opportunity available, and it looks like the Arabs are just about fed up with him, regardless of all the protestors who seem to think the Arabs are going along with us only because we're forcing them to. The Arabs have seen what France refuses to see: that the root of the problem is not Bush or a lack of inspectors, but the unwillingness of the Iraqi regime to comply in any way with International mandates.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, February 18, 2003
    Anti-war protesters blocked lanes on State Route 520 in Seattle during the morning commute Tuesday. State troopers arrested several people and have cleared the scene.

    Protesters set up a pyramid structure with three poles in the eastbound lanes of 520 at Montlake and appeared to be trying to put up a banner on the structure before it was taken down by troopers.

    Troopers made eight arrests, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.

    Officers removed the pole-structure, banner and towed away a car to get traffic moving again.

    The incident slowed the flow of traffic across the Highway 520 floating bridge during the latter part of the morning commute, on the day following a three-day weekend for many workers.

    A group of three or four dozen other demonstrators watched the demonstration and shouted anti-war slogans.

    What isn't mentioned is that that traffic backup led to an accident that killed a 30 year old mother trying to get to work. When informed of the death one of the protestors said "sometimes, people have to die for a cause. This death could prevent hundreds and thousands more."

    Posted by robbernard at 4:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, February 17, 2003

    French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union.

    "It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

    Chirac was angered when EU candidates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined pro-U.S. EU members such as Britain, Spain and Italy last month in a letter supporting Washington's line on Iraq against the more dovish stance of France and Germany.


    Say whatever you will Mr. Chirac, but if being a part of the European Union means being treated like children and having to kowtow to France's opinion maybe it's the European Union that's the problem, not the upstart countries in the East.

    Posted by robbernard at 8:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Offered a choice of three reasons to best explain why they opposed going to war, 76 percent of the anti-war camp said they "dislike they way the United States is behaving in the crisis". Just nine percent said the were mainly against military action because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not a threat to international security and 13 percent chose to explain their view by saying the crisis did not affect France's interests. --Reuters
    Posted by robbernard at 8:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Blair wants the anti-war protestors to read an e-mail sent to him by an Iraqi exile.

    “Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years; are you willing to allow him to kill another million?” Ms Kashi was born in Kuwait after her parents sought refuge from Saddam’s persecution. The family had to flee to Britain when Saddam had the Kuwaitis deport Iraqi men to Baghdad. On the border he had those returning killed. She stated: “We were lucky. We made it safely to Britain. My father was lucky — his brother was caught trying to escape, and tortured. So here I am, 19 years later, never having set foot in the country of my parents.”
    "Why is it now — at the very time that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this e-mail — that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America’s policy in Iraq?

    "Do not use the Iraqi people as a pawn in your game for moral superiority — when you allow a monster like Saddam to rule for 30 years without so much as protesting against his rule.” She added: “Of course, it would be ideal if an invasion could be undertaken, not by, the Americans, but by, say, the Nelson Mandela International Peace Force. That’s not on offer. The Iraqi people cannot wait until such a force materialises."

    Posted by robbernard at 1:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    I've been doing a lot of movie watching while I've been snowed in and I've come up with a very brief list of movies (or parts of movies) that should be watched before we inevitably find ourselves engaged in a war with Iraq.

    The Sum of All Fears -- Especially relevant to today's situation, and in my opinion the best Clancy movie since Red October. (Never was much of a fan of Ford as Ryan.)

    Saving Private Ryan (The first 30 minutes) -- The last two hours or so sucked, but every once in a while you need a reminder that war is hell. Feel free to turn it off when Hanks gets his new orders.

    We Were Soldiers -- Takes the best part of Saving Private Ryan and expands it out over 2 hours. It's a good reminder of not only the bravery of those on the front lines in war, but also highlights the pain of those at home and reminds us that regardless of what you think of the reasoning behind the war our troops deserve our support. (Regardless of what idiots like Clay Evans say.)

    Donnie Darko -- Ok, this one has absolutely nothing to do with war, but it’s probably THE most overlooked movie of the past 2 years. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you could stand Vanilla Sky or Mulholland Drive you should be ok with this one. Think of those two movies with dashes of Magnolia and American Beauty.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:01 AM in Movies , War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, February 16, 2003

    Check out this concise military history of France.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:24 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, February 14, 2003
    The threat of force must remain. Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life as a soldier and as a diplomat. But it must be a resort. --Powell before the UNSC
    Posted by robbernard at 4:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, February 13, 2003

    Not only are they blocking defense planning for Turkey, but now Belgium thinks they can try anyone they want for war crimes committed anywhere.

    Israeli officials reacted with outrage today to a decision by Belgium's highest court that Belgium could try Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for war crimes once he leaves office.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign minister, lashed out at the decision as "an affront to truth, justice, and the right of the state of Israel to defend itself against terrorism."
    At issue is a 1993 Belgian law allowing the courts "universal jurisdiction" over crimes against humanity or war crimes. The court's ruling on Wednesday accorded high officials immunity, but implied that they could be pursued once they left office. The ruling overturned a lower court's decision last year that accused people had to be present in Belgium to be investigated.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, February 12, 2003
    PARIS - This evening, in what is easily the most stunning development in America's war on terror, Boy Scouts from Troop 320 of Manchester, Md. staged a daring preemptive strike on France.

    Details are sketchy but the lightening fast operation, lasting all of 5 hours, stunned France and the world. "Our troop hit the ground at just after noon and we raised Ol' Glory before dinner." said beaming Troop Leader Alex Ledsinger adding "We didn't even have all 15 of the boys with us. The Stevens boys couldn't make the trip due to conduct problems at school this year."


    Privately the Boy Scouts themselves expressed surprise at the events. "We were supposed to meet the French President, or whatever they call it, and take our picture with him and he was all like waving his arms in the air and begging for mercy." according to Josh Perlman, 13, adding "It was weird but our Troop Leader told us to just go with it."

    --Blogs of War

    Posted by robbernard at 1:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    ... that the highest profile muslim I can come up with that is speaking out against terrorism is the Imman on last night's episode of 24.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, February 11, 2003

    If you really are alive we would appreciate a video message or at least some kind of proof of life photo instead of the audio diatribes.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    ... oh, you mean this tape?

    Posted by robbernard at 3:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The Washington Times has a good piece on public opinion towards France and Germany.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Brian Griffin doesn't like my take on the Talking Points Memo.

    I think Rob analysis is a bit to knee-jerk "themism." Calling Josh a "blame America first" follower is just ignorant. His opinions are very thoughtful and that of a moderate democrat.

    Whether he's a blame-America-first follower or not, this particular post of his was an example of it. The French, Germans, and Belgians are taking positions that are against our national interest and Marshall tries to blame the Bush admin for the widening gap in relations.

    Additionally, how is it "blame America first" when you point out where the Bush Administration is going through the world with blinders on, even though he made policy statements during the campaign that he just gave up on?
    I don't agree that Bush "just gave up on" strengthening alliances. You can only go so far in strengthening alliances when other countries take positions that go directly against your national interests and the interests of the world at large. A majority of countries support us in this war, it's France, Germany, and the rest that are bucking the worldwide trend. Shouldn't France, Germany and the others be making some effort of their own to strengthen our alliances?
    Saying that policy must change because of 9/11 is a convenient excuse allowing Bush to not have to admit that his policies would have been bad without 9/11.
    Convenient? Yes. Wrong? No. Of course his current policies would have been bad without 9/11. Just like the policy of fire-bombing Tokyo would have been bad without Pearl Harbor. The fact of the matter is that we live in a world where 9/11 occurred and of course the Administration's policies are going to change because of it. I'd love to live in a world where Latin America could be a priority for us (and there's no reason to believe that without 9/11 it wouldn't have been), but that isn't the world we live in now.

    --On a side note, one of these days I'm really going to have to get around to saying something about Cincinnati's racial troubles so that Brian and I have something to agree on. :)

    Posted by robbernard at 2:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, February 10, 2003
    Iraq said Monday that it would allow the United Nations to use American U-2 spy planes for aerial surveillance without conditions -- but shortly after, Saddam said coalition forces patrolling the "no-fly" zones should not launch raids on Iraq during the U-2 surveillance flights.

    Posted by robbernard at 8:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Stephen Green and Jen think we should abandon NATO and set up a new arrangement. Why would we do such a thing?

    Perhaps France's last minute veto of the NATO plan to protect Turkey have something to do with it? They were joined in this foolishness by Belgium and Germany. Three of Nineteen NATO members imposing their will. Hey, isn't that damn near unilateralism?
    Should we pull all our funding from NATO and set up an organization of countries that "get it"? Damned Right we should.

    --American RealPolitik

    I have to disagree here. I don't see why we should have to get rid of NATO. 3 out of 19 member countries are making a fuss. I don't see why we don't just kick their ungrateful asses out of NATO and let in the European countries that are clamoring to get in. It's not NATO that's failed; it's France, Belgium, and Germany. If they don't like it I fail to see why they (not we) should remain a part of NATO.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    From Talking Points Memo:

    "As commander-in-chief, I will rebuild our military and strengthen our alliances,"
    Bush campaign stump speech, 2000.

    "Saudis Plan to End US Presence,"
    February 9th, 2003, New York Times.

    Right, after we take out Iraq and in an effort to become more democratic.

    "NATO Allies Trade Barbs Over Iraq: Rumsfeld: Critics Are Undermining Alliance's Strength,"
    February 9th, 2003, Washington Post.

    "Shifting Loyalties: Seoul Looks to New Alliances,"
    January 26th, 2003, New York Times.

    Hmmmm, seems to me it's Seoul and the critics who are at fault here, not the Bush team.

    "Latin America On Back Burner; Bush's Priorities Have Shifted Since 2000 Campaign,"
    December 23rd, 2002 Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

    Ya think?! If priorities hadn't shifted after 9/11 I'd be worried. Of course we're less concerned with Latin America. We've got other people threatening to blow us up. If that isn't a good enough reason I don't know what is.

    All in all just more blame-America-first claptrap.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, February 6, 2003
    In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 601 adult Americans who watched Powell's speech or heard about what he said, 57 percent said they favored military action against Saddam, 15 percent said they were opposed and 26 percent were unsure.

    Before the speech, 50 percent of respondents favored military action, 22 percent were against it and 28 percent were unsure.

    The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


    Posted by robbernard at 11:20 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    You mean Iraq is disagreeing with what Powell said?

    Iraq on Thursday called Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites)'s speech to the Security Council a "typical American show complete with stunts and special effects."

    Posted by robbernard at 12:02 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, February 5, 2003

    1st Officer: "Remove."
    2nd Officer: "Remove."
    1st: "The expression."
    2nd: "The expression, I got it."
    1st: "Nerve agents."
    2nd: "Nerve agents."
    1st: "Wherever it comes up."
    2nd: "Wherever it comes up."
    1st: "In the wireless instructions."
    2nd: "In the instructions."
    1st: "Wireless."
    2nd: "Wireless."

    The transmission telling them to stop talking about their nerve agents because it might be intercepted being intercepted... mmmmm that's good irony.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    I think it's safe to say the administration is presenting ample evidence.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:21 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, February 4, 2003

    Robert Wright's piece in today's NY Times starts off on the right track, but then veers into what you might expect from a piece on Iraq in the Times.

    But an honest liberal has to admit that Mr. Bush's unilateralist belligerence lit a fire under the Security Council, giving the United Nations a prominence it has rarely enjoyed in its 57-year history. In fact, there remains a slim chance that the president could, however paradoxically, emerge as a historic figure in the United Nations' evolution toward enduring significance. But only if administration hawks make an admission of their own: that working through the United Nations could get them everything they profess to want. That means not just disarmament, but regime change and the introduction of democracy.

    Both the United Nations' champions and its critics sometimes indulge a gauzy conception of its founding mission. The idea wasn't to bring world peace through love and understanding. The main idea was that powerful nations would spot troublemakers and pound them into submission (hence bringing "collective security," in polite language).

    That I can agree with. Bush has given the UN a chance to show that it can actually stand up and do the job it was meant to do, but he goes on...

    If President Bush starts a war without explicit Security Council sanction, and before weapons inspectors have caught Iraq red-handed, he will have undone any good he did for the United Nations in November. The lesson learned — by, say, a North Korean dictator — will be that if you let weapons inspectors in, America may attack you anyway, even if they don't find much of anything. But if the president works through the Security Council and unseats Saddam Hussein without war, this could be a watershed in the history of the United Nations.

    If "Bush starts a war without explicit Security Council sanction," it won't be America that's doing harm to the UN's reputation; it will be the UN itself. The proof is there that Iraq is not complying, we already know that even if the Doves Dead Pigeons... (Even a dove will fight back so that term won't work...) don't want to admit it. It is up to the UN now to step up and go along with this war (assuming nothing radical comes out of Baghdad) or it will be their own fault that they have lost their significance.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, January 31, 2003

    Recieved this in my inbox:

    The US Congress has authorized the President of the US to go to war
    against Iraq. Please consider this an urgent request.

    UN Petition for Peace: Stand for Peace. Islam is not the Enemy. War is
    NOT the Answer. Today we are at a point of imbalance in the world and are moving toward
    what may be the beginning of a THIRD WORLD WAR. If you are against this possibility, the UN is gathering signatures in an effort to avoid a tragic world event.

    It's just another Internet chain letter, but surprise, surprise, the first 23 names are from France.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    I'm at war with your country not for personal reasons but because you have killed so many innocents, so many children. ... My fate is in Allah's hands. ... I leave you to judge. --Convicted terrorist Richard Reid

    ...Ok, so his solution to the problem of us killing innocents and children is to light his shoes and blow up hundreds of innocents.... Yeahhhhh... riiiiiiight.... Just a reminder of how illogical they are.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:23 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, January 30, 2003

    From a Chicago Tribune column by Don Wycliff where he's arguing that Bush didn't make the case for why Iraq is a threat to us:

    As I listened to the president speak that sentence about "one vial, one canister, one crate" that could "bring a day of horror like none we have ever known," my mind went back to one of the hit movies of last summer, "The Sum of All Fears."

    Based on the Tom Clancy novel of that name, the movie depicted a terrorist group's successful effort to acquire and smuggle into the U.S. a nuclear bomb, which is detonated in Baltimore and devastates that city.

    Interestingly, the nuke in that instance was not of Iraqi manufacture, or North Korean or any other rogue nation's. It was made in Israel, with fissile material supplied by the United States.

    --Don Wycliff - Chicago Tribune

    BOTW points out that in the book the terrorists were Arabs, not the neo-Nazis of the movie.

    The bigger point though is that Wycliff actually seems to believe that just because Baltimore was blown up in a movie with an Israeli warhead that somehow precludes Iraq exporting weapons of mass destruction in real life. How he manages to get from Point A to Point B I have no idea.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:19 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The Wall Street Journal carries a letter from the leaders of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Britain, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic today in which they affirm their support for President Bush.

    Europe has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Indeed, they are the first victims of Iraq's current brutal regime. Our goal is to safeguard world peace and security by ensuring that this regime gives up its weapons of mass destruction. Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat. Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world.
    The U.N. Charter charges the Security Council with the task of preserving international peace and security. To do so, the Security Council must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions. We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate those resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result. We are confident that the Security Council will face up to its responsibilities.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:01 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    There's been a lot of talk about how France is only opposing the war because of their oil interests. I suspect the real reason could very well be beret exports. Just think how much France stands to lose in beret exports alone if Saddam is removed!

    Posted by robbernard at 2:12 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, January 29, 2003

    This sounds like it's from The Onion, but it's not. Iraq to chair U.N. disarmament conference.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, January 28, 2003

    An interview with a member of an Air Force rescue team that was shot down over Afghanistan has made its way onto the web. Apparently the Air Force has confirmed its authenticity.

    A sample:

    For the next thirteen hours, there were sporadic firefights from about 300 meters away. All of the close fighting was done because we had neutralized all close enemies. The mountaintop had three different peaks. We held the two highest ones. About 300 meters to our south, southeast was the third hilltop where the enemy was coming up. At one point Controller told me that the enemy was trying to reinforce with seventy guys. I was not clear if he was talking about seventy friendly or enemy. I then asked if the seventy guys coming up this way were not my friends. He said "Roger". I said I wanted to make sure that was clear. I tried to keep that between the PL and myself because it would have destroyed the other guys' morale. I think the PL let the team know so they could be ready. We never did see the seventy enemies.

    Check out the rest. (via BOTW.)

    Posted by robbernard at 5:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    January 28, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein has ordered official death certificates sent to Iraqi scientists' families as a chilling warning against aiding U.N. inspectors, The Post has learned. Word of the death certificates containing prominent scientists' names has reached Iraqi exile groups.

    "The message is, they will die a terrible death if they cooperate - and the death will be legally listed as an accident or result of an illness," said one exile.

    Iraqi scientists have refused to speak to U.N. weapons inspectors without government minders present.

    From the NY Post via BOTW.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    A WHAT IF...

    What if Germany had been ordered to disarm in the years prior to WWII? What if Hitler had ignored the world community at every turn?

    Wait a minute, both of those happened, so let's move on to #3.

    What if the world had risen up and put Hitler in his place before he had a chance to wreak havoc across Europe?

    Hitler hadn't done anything to us at that point. Simply not followed the will of the international community. Would the world not have undeniably been a better place?

    The question is not what has Saddam done to us, it is what WILL Saddam do to us. We owe it to humanity to learn from the mistakes of the 20th century and put an end to the Iraqi threat. Hitler could have been turned back by a resolute international community at numerous points but wasn't. Of course Saddam may not be the next incarnation of Nazi Germany, but can we afford to take the chance?

    Posted by robbernard at 3:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, January 27, 2003

    It's not about whether the inspectors find anything, it's about whether Iraq is cooperating.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:30 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, January 25, 2003

    He's at his best when he's mocking the French.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:41 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    According to the United Nations, one man approached the hotel's security gate with a metal instrument before Iraqi guards wrestled him to the ground. He was found to have three knives, the United Nations said.

    About 40 minutes later, another Iraqi man stopped a U.N. vehicle outside the headquarters, pleading "Save me! Save me!" in Arabic, according to the United Nations.

    The man, apparently unarmed, forced his way into the driver's seat of the stopped vehicle. As an Iraqi guard struggled to pull him out, a U.N. inspector watched from the passenger seat.

    Iraqi officials took both men into custody.

    Does anybody out there actually believe these guys will still be alive when we finally get a chance to go in and liberate the country?

    Posted by robbernard at 7:30 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, January 24, 2003

    From The Sun:

    Today, in just five years as Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder has stained the German flag, sabotaged German integrity and pulled the plug on the German economy.

    He is the joke of European politics, a vain man clinging to power at any price. That price is paid at home by 4million jobless Germans.

    It is also paid abroad as Germany’s painfully restored image is destroyed.

    Schroeder, 58, sold his soul by clinging to power in a coalition with Greens. In return, he was forced to reject military action, even against a tyrant denounced by the UN.

    Schroeder is a vain philanderer who sues anyone brave enough to suggest he dyes his hair or betrays his fourth wife.

    He is so desperate for support that he has signed up to a shabby alliance with crooked French President Jacques Chirac.

    The two men are playing a dangerous game for control of the EU.

    And the greatest casualty looks like being euro-lover Tony Blair.

    The Odd Couple have ganged up to carve up Europe and elbow Britain aside. Against Mr Blair’s wishes, they want a Franco-German Czar to run the expanded 25-member EU.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Oooh, the Germans are mad at us. I'm so scared! Oooh, the Germans!

    Rummy's ticked off the French and Germans.

    "I find this comment on 'old Europe' deeply irritating. Old Europe is resilient and capable of bouncing back," French Finance Minister Francis Mer said.

    Wait, so they're upset with Rumsfeld's "old Europe" comment, but they're not denying the label "old europe"?

    In an editorial, Bild reminded Rumsfeld of his German roots and the ideals of the French Revolution which inspired the United States' constitution.

    1: So they're fighting the term "old Europe" with examples of several hundred year old history?
    2: Date the French Revolution began:July, 1789.
    Date the Constitution was signed: September 17, 1787.
    I'm thinking they're getting their inspirations backwards.

    French media quoted French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie as saying: "We are no longer in prehistoric times when whoever had the biggest club would try to knock the other guy out so he could steal his mammoth skin."

    True enough, but keep in mind that back then the French would have been the guys handing over their mammoth skins voluntarily and whimpering "Don't hurt us!".

    "Does Washington want to risk a rift in the North Atlantic alliance over Iraq, which could lead to a division of Europe into countries that follow 'modern' America and an 'old' and 'problematic' faction that no longer wants to?" the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung asked.

    No, they want "old Europe" to get it's act together and get their asses into the modern age.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:35 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, January 23, 2003

    Condoleezza Rice clearly shows what it means to voluntarily disarm.

    There is no mystery to voluntary disarmament. Countries that decide to disarm lead inspectors to weapons and production sites, answer questions before they are asked, state publicly and often the intention to disarm and urge their citizens to cooperate. The world knows from examples set by South Africa, Ukraine and Kazakhstan what it looks like when a government decides that it will cooperatively give up its weapons of mass destruction. The critical common elements of these efforts include a high-level political commitment to disarm, national initiatives to dismantle weapons programs, and full cooperation and transparency. --NY Times
    Posted by robbernard at 1:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, January 21, 2003
    On Monday, the foreign minister indicated that France was ready to take a leading role in attempting to slow U.S. and British war plans. As a permanent member of the United Nations, France can veto any resolution that would authorize military action. De Villepin said there was no evidence so far that justified military action, and he didn’t rule out the possibility of a French veto if the United States sought a second resolution authorizing military action. “In the event of second resolution ... we will not associate ourselves with military intervention that is not supported by the international community,” he said. “Using force like that would only be a last resort assuming all other possibilities are exhausted.” --MSNBC

    Well that settles it, we'll just have to take an extra 15 seconds to get France to surrender before we can get this thing done.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, January 20, 2003

    So, they say we can't fight Iraq because they've done nothing wrong, but they see no problem taking on the likes of Starbucks and Citicorp? Yeah, these anti-war protestors are comepletely rational people.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:54 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, January 17, 2003

    "U.N. weapons inspectors were checking Friday to see if empty chemical warheads found Thursday were mentioned in last month's 12,000-page Iraqi declaration to the United Nations."

    Shouldn't it be up to Iraq to prove that they were in the declaration? Would just a page number be too much to ask for?

    Posted by robbernard at 10:32 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, January 16, 2003

    If you needed any more proof that what Illinois' Governor Ryan did was wrong, Ted Rall calls it "a case study of principled integrity triumphing over personal and political flaws." If that isn't a damning comment I don't know what is.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    CBS is planning a miniseries depicting a young Hitler, which has led to protests from Jewish leaders, complaining that it could "humanize" Hitler. I personally don't see the problem with humanizing Hitler. Hitler wasn't some supernatural force; he was simply a man who did terrible things.

    It's pretty much universally accepted that Hitler was quite possibly the most evil man ever, but I think we are doing a great disservice to future generations if we pass on only this monolithic, evil version of him. Far too much emphasis is put on what a great job was done in destroying him and sympathy for his victims, and not enough on how his existence can teach us in the future. By setting him up as evil incarnate we are setting the bar entirely too high for the recognition of future evil. As evil as anyone may be, people can point to his good points and say "He's no Hitler." I think it needs pointed out that Hitler did in fact do some good things. *insert standard Volkswagon and autobahn examples here* This isn't to say that these good things in anyway compensate for the atrocities he committed, but for comparison with future and present examples of evil *cough* *Saddam* *cough* it's important that we retain a true measure of how Hitler appeared in his day to measure future evil against.

    By casting Hitler in an entirely evil light I believe we are failing to learn the true lessons of the tragedy and we turn Hitler into a fairy tale wicked witch instead of a living, breathing example of the evil that can exist in this world.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Hmmm, let's see... They have chemical warheads, and they have mustard gas that still hasn't been destroyed. Yeah, that doesn't seem good.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003

    Orson Scott Card (my favorite author BTW, if you haven't read Ender's Game you really should) has a piece up on why we won’t invade North Korea.

    “Why are we preparing to invade Iraq, which has no nukes yet, when we’re using diplomacy with North Korea, which actually has them?”

    Of course, you can take that as a self-answering question. Let’s see – which is safer to invade, the country that almost has nukes, or the country that already has them?

    But the real answer is much more complicated.

    First, let’s keep in mind what we’re actually trying to accomplish in Iraq. We aren’t preparing to invade because Saddam Hussein’s been a bad boy, or because we want to have an America colony in Mesopotamia. It’s not a punishment, it’s not retribution.

    It’s prevention.

    You can’t fight a war to prevent something that’s already happened. Preventive war to keep North Korea from getting nukes is impossible.
    Foreign policy is conducted in the real world. In the real world, madmen like Saddam Hussein respond only to credible military force – and sometimes not even then. For the safety of our friends and allies in the region (notably Israel, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait), and to protect the First World’s vital oil supplies from domination by a ruthless enemy, it is reasonable to strike that enemy before he wreaks devastation again.

    In that same real world, however, there are opponents whom it is simply too dangerous to fight, unless you are forced into it. If China or Russia attacked us, of course we would defend ourselves. But we would have to be insane to provoke either of them into war.

    Ok, that's all I'm going to quote, go check out the rest yourself.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:55 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, January 10, 2003

    Eventually we're going to kick Iraq's ass and there'll be a new government installed and it won't be a dictator set up by the US, and the people will be happy, and we won't have hijacked their oil. I can't wait to see the faces of the anti-war people then.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:43 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, January 6, 2003

    I could come up with better policy decisions for the Axis of Evil with two mentally deficient monkeys.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:28 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, January 3, 2003

    First things first, I'm not opposed to reinstating the draft... if it's necessary. By no measure however is it in any way necessary. We have the best-trained armed forces out there and best of all they all want to be there. We're not going and conscripting the poor and the helpless to be cannon fodder here, we're taking people who want to serve they're country and putting them to the best possible use. If the people in our military don't want to be there they can simply not join up, nobody's forcing them too. If they do that and we suddenly have a shortage of people to fight, THEN we can talk about reinstating the draft.

    Of course Rangle's reasoning behind wanting the draft has nothing to do with making the military better, it's about scaring the bejeezus out of people. It's about making people so afraid that they or a loved one could die that they'll put their own well being above what is best for their country and their world. He wants all of us to face the possibility of death should we have to go to war. It's simply idiotic. By that reasoning, why don't we, when we officially start a war, just pay for the bad guys' transport to New York so that innocent Americans can be put in harms way? It would serve the exact same purpose.

    As much as he might want to wrap the idea in patriotism, this idea is simply insipid. There are innumerable ways for some people to better serve their country than to actively serve in the military, and our goal should be to put each person to best use. For some that IS being in the military. For some that is building weapons for the military. For many it's simply producing the things needed to keep our everyday lives going. Everybody serves our country in a different way, and as long as they are that is all we can ask.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, December 25, 2002
    Osama Got Run Over By

    Osama Got Run Over By A Reindeer.

    Funny stuff.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, December 23, 2002

    Isn't downing a US plane something you'd want to deny, considering that if you're stupid enough to let this escalate to war you're going to get your asses handed to you on a silver platter?

    Posted by robbernard at 9:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, December 22, 2002

    Bill Deore has a nice comic on the argument that missile defense is a waste of money.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, December 18, 2002

    Kind of anyway.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:57 PM in Movies , War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, December 17, 2002

    Limited Missile Defense by 2004. The 2 big arguments against this have always struck me as particularly ridiculous.

    The first says that if we have a shield other countries will be forced to build more missiles. How are we any worse off with the shield then without it? Without it they can kill millions with one bomb. With it they can kill millions with hundreds of bombs. It won't protect us absolutely, but it will protect us from the one or two held by those who, because they are small or have no actual country, cannot be deterred by the threat of retaliation. A nation big enough to have thousands of nukes is also big enough to be worried about retaliation. It's the small people who don't give a damn that you need to worry about, and that's what this protects against.

    The second argument against it is that chances are if we're hit by a nuke it won't be a missile, but a suitcase type nuke. So what? Protecting against the one doesn't preclude protecting against the other. This argument just seems to totally ignore the fact that though the suitcase type is more likely there is still the threat of missiles and to protect against the one and not the other is just short-sighted and likely merely a rationalization for somebody who believes in the first reason.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:28 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, December 16, 2002

    Thursday, December 12, 2002

    The good news: Iraq got rid of some VX gas.
    The bad news: They gave it to Al-Qaeda.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:30 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, December 11, 2002

    Personally I have no problem with North Korea having fewer scuds.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Here's a pretty amazing windows media video of an AC-130 in Afghanistan. Thanks to Boortz for the link.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, December 10, 2002

    Uhoh, the celebrities don't seem to like the possibility of a war with Iraq. They're sending a letter to President Bush stating their displeasure with a possible war.

    Personally I'm getting rather tired of all the anti-war sentiment out there that seems simply to be for the sake of opposing those for the war, regardless of whether war is actually called for. They all seem to totally ignore the arguments for a justified war and focus instead on how innocent people might get killed. Well I've got news for them, it's war. People die in war. People will die in this war. But it's not our fault. We are not the aggressors here. Saddam is the one who has flaunted the rules of civilization at every turn and it will be his fault if this comes to war.

    I realize exactly how much an on-line petition is worth, but I've taken the liberty of forming a petition to show support for a justified Iraqi war in hopes of at least partially counteracting the rabid anti-war, pro-Saddam sentiments out there.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:46 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, December 9, 2002

    They actually think we'll be LESS likely to bomb Iraq if we know crazy Canadian anti-war/pro-Saddam protestors might get killed too? Riiiiiiight...

    Posted by robbernard at 8:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    A hilarious piece over at OpinionJournal about messing with the anti-war protesters.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:55 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    The Students are taking to the streets in Iran.

    More than 10,000 people defied riot police to gather outside Teheran university in a show of support for reformist students and a sign of a wider dissatisfaction with the regime.

    This was by far the largest coming together of ordinary people in Teheran since student protests began a month ago, although in these difficult times it had to be a demonstration pretending not to demonstrate as police kept people moving along the pavements.

    When groups began chanting slogans such as "Political prisoners must be freed" the riot police would draw their batons, forcing protesters to scatter down side streets.


    Among the crowd were many plain-clothes security agents who bundled dozens of people into police cars and videotaped faces in the crowd. At one point a security agent was surrounded by a catcalling crowd and defended himself with a can of pepper spray.

    As he hurried down the street followed by jeers, the crowd began to chant, "Thank you, police!" to the regular police, who stood by and did not overtly harass people. The officers smiled back. One of them helped an injured old man out of the fray.

    Throughout the afternoon men and women beaten by riot police could be seen limping away, supported by friends.

    One old woman wearing a chador said that she had tried to help a man who had been beaten and got sprayed with pepper spray as a result. "I had a son in the war," she said. "He is disabled now. These fascists should be ashamed of themselves! They cannot win with force!"

    Posted by robbernard at 12:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, December 7, 2002

    Iraq has lied about it's weapons program. They realize we found chemical weapons there last week, right?

    Posted by robbernard at 6:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, December 5, 2002

    They've found mustard gas in Iraq.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Isn't it a little redundant to announce a national branch of an already international terrorist organization?

    Posted by robbernard at 10:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, December 4, 2002

    Thomas Friedman points out that what is going on in Iran today "is a combination of Martin Luther and Tiananmen Square"

    To put it another way, what's going on in Iran today is precisely the war of ideas within Islam that is the most important war of all. We can kill Osama bin Laden and all his acolytes, but others will spring up in their place. The only ones who can delegitimize and root out these forces in any sustained way are Muslim societies themselves. And that will happen only when more Muslim societies undergo, from within, their own struggle for democracy and religious reform. Only the disenchanted citizens of the Soviet bloc could kill Marx; only Muslims fed up that their faith is being dominated by anti-modernists can kill bin Ladenism and its offshoots.

    He then goes on to talk about the main symbol of this movement, Hashem Aghajari, who was sentenced to death for questioning the supremacy of the clerics.

    Said Aghajari:

    "Just as people at the dawn of Islam conversed with the Prophet, we have the right to do this today," he said. "Just as they interpreted what was conveyed [to them] at historical junctures, we must do the same. We cannot say: `Because this is the past we must accept it without question.' . . . This is not logical. For years, young people were afraid to open a Koran. They said, `We must go ask the mullahs what the Koran says.' Then came Shariati, and he told the young people that those ideas were bankrupt. [He said] you could understand the Koran using your own methods. . . . The religious leaders taught that if you understand the Koran on your own, you have committed a crime. They feared that their racket would cease to exist if young people learned [the Koran] on their own."

    Could Aghajari be the next Martin Luther?

    Posted by robbernard at 5:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, December 3, 2002

    News today on Saddam's torture tactics, which include rape, torture, and killings.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:37 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Cal Thomas has a piece on how moderate Muslim leaders need to step up and police their own ranks.

    The theological battle must be taken to the Muslim world.

    The president should consider calling for "moderate" Muslims to clean up their own house. Such demands are being made by Roman Catholic laity on their hierarchy in the wake of priests alleged to have sexually abused children. The president should ask Muslim political and theological leaders to go after their own, if they are, indeed, misrepresenting "true" Islam. We should not have to clean up after the mess they have made.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Iraq thinks Bush is a "bad man". No duh.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, December 2, 2002

    As wrong as he might be, I have to give the author of “9-11, The Big Lie" credit for either guts, or stupidity. It takes one or the other to start the US press tour for your "the US military planned 9/11" book in New York.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, November 30, 2002

    In a war as diffuse and spread out as the current war on terrorism is there really such a thing as an assassination? When there's no defined fronts what exactly is the difference between an assassination and killed in action? When soldiers aimed at officers in WWII it wasn't assassination it was disrupting enemy operations. As long as their "generals" don't come within 10,000 miles of the battle field I see no problem with taking the battle field to them.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:04 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, November 27, 2002

    The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard has a great, common sense response to a father's question about why his son was killed in the al Qaeda Bali attack.

    Some highlights:

    You asked me: "Why did [my] son die?" I don't have a perfect answer to that but I will do my best.

    He died at the hands of a murderous group of Islamic fanatics who despise the liberal democratic, open life of Western nations, such as Australia. He died because there are people in the world who believe that indiscriminate violent murder is a justifiable political instrument.


    I agree fully with you that Australia did the right thing with its intervention on behalf of East Timor. You will be aware that Osama bin Laden has twice identified that very act of Australia's as a reason for hostility to our country from his terror network. That surely does not mean that we were wrong to intervene in East Timor.


    You are right in saying that boys of your son's age are always the ones to go to war. It has sadly ever been thus. That is why peaceful resolution of differences should always be sought.

    Ignoring terrorism, however, will not make it disappear.

    History is strewn with examples of countries not taking a stand on something in the hope that the problem would go away, only to find that, at an infinitely greater cost, that challenge must ultimately be confronted.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, November 26, 2002

    That's something you don't hear very often, especially from someone who voted for Gore.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, November 25, 2002

    Egypt apparently sees Hamas as an alternative to the Palistinian Authority. I thought the point of finding someone other than Arafat to work with was to find someone who'd listen to common sense and reason, and could control the bombings. While I'll admit Hamas does the latter they come nowhere near the former.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Andrew Sullivan has a good deconstruction of the supposed new Osama letter.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Sunday, November 24, 2002
    This is the real war aim -- or it should be, if we're to have any chance of winning this thing: We have to change the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims, too many of whom are at best indifferent to great evil. "Changing" isn't the same as "winning the hearts and minds," which is multiculti codespeak for pre-emptively surrendering and agreeing not to disagree with them. For over a year now, nothing has been asked of Muslims, at home or abroad: you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you'll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.
    As things stand, there are only three countries that are serious about the "war on terror": America, Britain and Australia. And, even within that shrunken rump of the West, there are fierce divisions: Australia's sissy press makes The Toronto Star look like, well, the National Post; it's doubtful whether Tony Blair speaks for more than 30% of his parliamentary party; and President Bush's resoluteness doesn't extend to his Secretary of State or even, during Ramadan, to himself. The longer this already too long period of phony war continues, the more likely it is that even these stalwarts will decay and Canadianize. I worry about the thin line on which our civilization depends. This last year has been too quiet. Next Ramadan, when the traditional calls for a bombing pause are issued, let's hope there's some bombing to pause.
    Mark Steyn with a good piece that touches on just about everything radical Islam and terrorist related.
    Posted by robbernard at 2:09 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, November 22, 2002

    A disturbing article by Michelle Malkin on Middle Eastern illegal aliens points out that there are over 115,000 people from the Middle East here illegally.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:36 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, November 21, 2002

    A totally repugnant article comparing America to the Nazis. Sometimes you just have to wonder what kind of whacked out world view these people come from that it's actually possible to think like that.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:43 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    FBI officials are upset that the FBI isn't "more aggressive and single-minded in hunting terrorists" Do we really want them to be all that single-minded? There are still other crimes that the FBI should be handling, aren't there?

    Posted by robbernard at 10:41 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    No blood for oil!

    No, really. David Isby over at the Washington Times explains how and why the possible war in Iraq has more to do with weapons of mass destruction than oil prices.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, November 19, 2002

    The government is reviewing all aid to the Arab world. It would be nice if a more strategic way could be found to give aid so the Arab people can see how much we help them.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:14 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, November 18, 2002
    Let me get this straight...

    Saddam can't afford to feed his own people because of our dastardly embargo, but he can afford to pay Muammar Gaddafi $3.5 billion? Yeah, all the deaths from starvation are obviously America's fault.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    You've got evil, imperialist mail!

    Somebody hacked into Saddam's e-mail box.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Don't diss my prophet part 3

    Kudos to Human Rights Watch on their condemnation of Prof. Aghajari's death sentence.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, November 15, 2002

    The Iraquis might just try to decieve the inspectors?! You've got to be kidding, they'd never do something like that, would they?!

    Posted by robbernard at 3:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Thursday, November 14, 2002
    "Don't diss our prophet" followup

    I mentioned last week an Iranian Scholar sentenced to death for supposedly insulting Muhammad. Said scholar is now refusing his appeal and daring the government to kill him.

    In his letter, Aghajari said, "I should have died when I lost my leg defending my country (during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war) but I've lived two decades more ... If the death verdict is true, let them carry it out, and if it is wrong, then judiciary needs to work on its shortcomings," Nikbakht told a news conference in Tehran.

    Now that's what I call guts.

    On the plus side, university students are taking to the streets and President Khatami says the sentence "never should have been issued at all."

    Posted by robbernard at 2:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    The Iraqi Letter

    Andrew Sullivan has the best response to the Iraqi letter to the UN that I've seen so far...

    Whatever else it is, it surely isn't the product of a serious government with actual policies and actual members. It's the note that might be wriiten by a psychopath - full of inane self-grandeur, stupid threats, excessive Unabomber-style rhetoric and any number of Nazi-like references to the "Zionist entity."

    The letter really does read like it was written by a ranting lunatic.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:19 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Seems out of place at the Times

    This piece(Registration required) by Amir Taheri does a good job of explaining just how delusional Saddam is, at least in regards to his role as the Arabic Leader. How it managed to make it in the NY Times I don't know.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Lafif Lakhdhar is making sense

    Great, an Arabic journalist who seems to possess some common sense finally makes it onto the radar and it's only because his common sense views have gotten him fired from the London-based Al-Hayat(Owned by Saudi Prince Khaled bin Sultan).

    A couple of the best paragraphs:

    "Turkey is today in its best situation. When Ataturk declared secularism in 1924 and abolished the caliphate, Turkey was only 4% literate; today, 95% of Turks are literate. Turkey will become a truly civilized and truly democratic country by joining the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, we have not left barbarity behind us. We are barbarians. Saddam Hussein declares that he won [the elections] by 100% - that is, no one died that day, no one had the flu that day [and was unable to vote]. This is a scandal. You must shake off this dirt..."


    ...[H]ost Sami Hadad accused Lakhdhar of wanting women to go out naked into the street, or in bikinis. In response, Lakhdhar said: "Women in the world do not go out into the street naked. I want the Muslim woman to be like the Chinese woman, the Indian woman, the Senegalese, the European, American and Russian women. Why do we act with racism against ourselves and claim that this is appropriate for them but not for us? I was recently in Egypt and students told me that I promote secularism, and that secularism is very good for Europe, but not for us. I told them that this is self-racism..."

    I think the part about self-racism is quite telling. You generally only hear of the resistance to secularism in terms of it being against Allah's will and that if they "abandoned" Islam they'd go to hell. The idea that some don't seem to see a problem with European secularism at the very least raises some interesting questions about the real basis for the widespread support for Islam in the Middle East. Is it simply the hard-line governments keeping the people in line, or as Lakhdar suggests is it self-racism, or is it perhaps something else?

    Thanks of course to Posted by robbernard at 11:11 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, November 13, 2002
    Do we really need to pay for it?

    Geez, you think that in California there'd be plenty of people who'd be willing to heckle our troops free of charge. Couldn't they just invade UC Berkeley? I imagine they'd get pretty much the same thing.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:04 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Tuesday, November 12, 2002
    Oh goody!

    We still have a chance to kill bin Laden!

    Posted by robbernard at 10:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Well, geez...

    As long as they voted on it I guess we can't possibly oppose Iraq now. You know, since they played the democracy card and all.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:55 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Well, that's not good.

    A member of the Pakistani pro-Taliban, pro-al Qaeda party was elected to the Pakistani parliament.

    Even though it's not a good thing I think de Borchgrave goes a little far in suggesting that Pakistan isn't an ally. There's the view of the common people, and the view of the government, and as long as the government agrees with us that's really all we can ask. We can't expect to control peoples minds. All we can really ask is that they don't openly support the bad guys.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, November 11, 2002
    Happy Veteran's Day

    Why not take a moment to thank a member of our armed forces?

    Posted by robbernard at 12:21 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Nothing quite says "rational anti-war stance" like...

    blatant anti-semitism.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, November 8, 2002
    More protest on Yemen blast

    Now Amnesty International is busting our chops. Nevermind them plotting this little thing we call 9/11, something by the way that Reuters still won't say Al Qaeda did. To this day they're saying "Washington blames Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network for the September 11 attacks" as if Osama's confession weren't enough.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:10 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Oooh, the Saudis are mad at us!

    I'm sorry, but I don't think the Saudi's have any right to lecture us on law and order. We're the McDonalds of law and order. "Billions and Billions Served."When we want lessons in religious extremism we'll give them a call, till then...

    Posted by robbernard at 10:26 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Don't really feel like coming up with a header for this one.

    Victor Davis Hanson has a good column up over at NRO on the death of anti-americanism. Though while I can see American anti-Americanism on the decline as a whole I think it needs to be pointed out that theres plenty of foreign anti-Americanism to go around still.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:15 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Wednesday, November 6, 2002
    Good news

    With only a few billion dollars, a spy in the military to steal the plans, and several gigawatts of energy you can now evaporate your own artillery shells in mid-flight.

    Posted by robbernard at 9:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, November 4, 2002
    Oh goody

    The Saudis will cooperate fully with an attack on Iraq, they just won't help us at all. They've got a funny idea of cooperation over there.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:39 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Saturday, November 2, 2002
    Here's something you don't see very often.

    The father of a suicide bomber speaks out. And it's actually against terrorism, not for it.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Damn Jews...

    Always making trouble for the Germans by getting killed and whatnot. Apparantly getting a street named after them is just the last straw.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:57 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Friday, November 1, 2002

    Guess we just can't attack Iraq now. We don't want to go to hell.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Good point...

    Diana West makes a good point regarding all the "we can't identify the Muslim sniper as Muslim" sentiment. I can accept some editorializing that not all Muslims are bad, but some Muslims do bad things and to hide that fact is simply intellectually dishonest.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    From the "Ted Rall's a blooming idiot" file...

    If good ole Ted weren't actually serious this could be funny. It reads like a satire of conspiracy theories. I'd rebut a few of his points, but he really has none. He's just casting aspersions about left and right.

    You know, if he started out thinking like this I bet the story of how he first got syndicated would be fairly interesting. I just can't imagine that conversation.

    Posted by robbernard at 11:34 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    Nice to see them take on the bad guys

    So many "human rights groups" seem to spend far too much time criticizing minor things like are the gitmo detainees being forced to eat bagels or not that it's nice to see them actually get something right once in a while. So I'd like to applaud Human Rights Watch on getting this one right.

    Posted by robbernard at 10:49 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East


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