Topic: The Long War

Nate Beeler cartoon on Iraq

Michael Ramirez cartoon on Iraq

Barack Obama ends the Iraq War

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Today he made it official, cutting and running exactly as promised and predicted. No big deal. Carry on.

Obama ends Iraq War


What's on TV tonight? Pass me my Bud Light, bro.

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10/22 Update: Smart power.

Another Stuxnet-like virus on the loose

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Remember Stuxnet, the exotic and sophisticated computer virus apparently designed to ruin Iran's secret nuclear fuel centrifuges? Looks like somebody borrowed some of the Stuxnet code, created a new superbug, and set it loose.

The mysterious Stuxnet worm -- perhaps the most powerful ever created -- managed to infiltrate computer systems in Iran and do damage to that nation's nuclear research program. The new worm, dubbed Duqu, has no such targeted purpose. But it shares so much code with the original Stuxnet that researchers at Symantec Corp. say it must either have been created by the same group that authored Stuxnet, or by a group that somehow managed to obtain Stuxnet's source code. Either way, Duqu's authors are brilliant, and mean business, said Symantec's Vikrum Thakur.


"There is a common trait among the (computers) being attacked," he said. "They involve industrial command and control systems."

Symantec speculates that Duqu is merely gathering intelligence as a precursor to a future industrial-strength attack on infrastructure computers.

Act of Valor trailer

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I have two words to describe how this movie's going to perform at the box office.


Enormous. Hit.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.


Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.

Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.

We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.

He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.

Although Jon's office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 - North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.


'MOM,' asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. 'What was that explosion?'

Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. 'The other tower just went down.' 'Oh my God,' her son said. 'I love you.'

Then the phone went dead.

That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr's parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.

Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor's north face, bearing down on their western refuge.

At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. 'This looks really, really bad,' he said. 'I know,' said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.

'This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.' Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. 'Are you OK, yes or no?' she demanded. 'We're on the 92nd floor in a room we can't get out of,' McGinnis said. 'Who's with you?" she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends - Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. 'I love you,' he said. 'Take care of Caitlin.'

McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. 'Don't lose your cool,' she urged. 'You guys are so tough, you're resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.' 'You don't understand,' McGinnis said. 'There are people jumping from the floors above us.'

It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. 'Don't hang up,' she pleaded. 'I got to get down on the floor,' McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.

It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in "A Widow's Wish":

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander's voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne's husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.


"He said 'I love you and tell the kids I love them,' " she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. "Most wives will never get that opportunity," she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. "I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I'm wearing it."

Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.

He played soccer in college, and coached his children's soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. "He was a great dad," she said. "I feel very fortunate."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour
By Collins, Daniel
Publication: Futures
Date: Saturday, December 1 2001


When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC's north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.

Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Tea Party terrorists, illustrated

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Do I understand you correctly, Mr. Vice President and assorted progressive hand-wringers?

Clearly nonviolent practitioner(s) of the Religion of Peace Tea Party terrorists
Clearly nonviolent practitioner(s) of the Religion of Peace Tea Party terrorists
Clearly nonviolent practitioner(s) of the Religion of Peace Tea Party terrorists
Clearly nonviolent practitioner(s) of the Religion of Peace Tea Party terrorists
Clearly nonviolent practitioner(s) of the Religion of Peace Tea Party terrorists

"The Rock" in Afghanistan, 2009-10

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Video from the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment -- aka "The Rock" -- during Operation Enduring Freedom X:


Does anybody think these troops deserve to have their pensions gutted?

This is not the corporate world

To hear the politically correct Left tell it, there are no muslim terrorists, merely non-specific "extremists" who aren't really muslims.

Venn diagram of muslims, terrorists, and terror sympathizers


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July 23 Update: According to many news reports, the bomber/shooter is not a muslim. Accusations of "extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalism" abound. Color me skeptical. Extreme? Yup. Right-wing? Maybe, but we'll see. Christian? No way.

Anyone who behaves as this man did is not following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The killer may think he's a Christian, but no rational reading of Jesus' teachings would lead to that conclusion. A person can sincerely think he's a kumquat, too.

Is a ban on mosques in our future?

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This post by DrewM over at Ace of Spades HQ has really stirred up a hornets' nest in the comments. Drew slammed Herman Cain for a remark about banning mosques, and that kicked off the brawl. It makes me wonder what circumstances, if any, would convince a majority of Americans to support a ban on mosques ... or even the internment of all Muslims in America.

Don't automatically think "Oh, that'll never happen." After all, Americans of Japanese descent were interned during World War II.

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4:00 UPDATE: Imagine this federal response:

Be it resolved that the following Amendment to the Constitution be adopted:


Article I

The social/political/ideological system known around the world as Islam is not recognized in the United States as a religion.

The practice of Islam is therefore not protected under the 1st Amendment as to freedom of religion and speech.

Article II

As representatives of Islam around the world have declared war, and committed acts of war, against the United States and its democratic allies around the world, Islam is hereby declared an enemy of the United States and its practice within the United States is now prohibited.

Article III

Immediately upon passage of this Amendment all Mosques, schools and Muslim places of worship and religious training are to be closed, converted to other uses, or destroyed. Proceeds from sales of such properties may be distributed to congregations of said places but full disclosure of all proceeds shall be made to an appropriate agency as determined by Congress. No compensation is to be offered by Federal or State agencies for losses on such properties however Federal funding is to be available for the demolishing of said structures if other disposition cannot be made.

The preaching of Islam in Mosques, Schools, and other venues is prohibited. The subject of Islam may be taught in a post high school academic environment provided that instruction include discussion of Islam's history of violence, conquest, and its ongoing war on democratic and other non-Islamic values.

The preaching or advocating of Islamic ideals of world domination, destruction of America and democratic institutions, jihad against Judaism, Christianity and other religions, and advocating the implementation of Sharia law shall in all cases be punishable by fines, imprisonment, deportation, and death as prescribed by Congress. Violent expressions of these and other Muslim goals, or the material support of those both in the United States and around the world who seek to advance these Islamic goals shall be punishable by death.

Muslims will be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States.

Article IV

Nothing in this amendment shall be construed as authorizing the discrimination against, of violence upon, nor repudiation of the individual rights of those Americans professing to be Muslim. The individual right of conscience is sacrosanct and the practice of Islam within the privacy of home and self is strictly protected to the extent that such individuals do not violate the prohibitions described in Article III.

Like it or not, this approach would avoid First Amendment obstacles.

Hooah, Leroy!

An "ancient" tribute to American troops

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Ancient in Internet terms, that is. The original blog post was written in French, but the blog itself vanished years ago. A snapshot is still available quand vous parlez Francais, but the translated text will still move you if you don't.

Hooah.

Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, will receive the Medal of Honor early next month for heroism in Afghanistan in 2008. Hooah, Ranger Petry!

How to debate Barack Obama

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GOP candidates, are you paying attention to how Benjamin Netanyahu utterly demolished the President?

First, let the president talk, and talk, and talk. (And talk.)


Second, look right at him when responding.

Next, speak from specifics, using facts and especially history.

Finally, express core truths bluntly -- especially the harshest ones.

Obama got Osama?

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Technically true.

Obama got Osama

So although the newly departed Mr. bin Laden and friends abuse our side's corpses and broadcast beheadings of civilians, we can't release photographs of UbL's corpse, because it will definitely incite violence from practitioners of a nonviolent religion, to which UbL doesn't belong because he was evil, but we buried him with honor in accordance with its tenets.

But releasing those photographs from Abu Ghraib a few years ago, well, that was totally different.

Got it. Makes perfect sense.

Islamic Rage Boy

New TSA logo

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TSA logo

Flat out evil

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If this CNN report is accurate, then the military's got at least one ideal candidate for the death penalty.


Murder merits swift punishment. Next issue: why didn't any officers stop this?

Mark Steyn: "You will have to kill us all"

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It was a helluva speech, starting at the 8:00 mark. The audio's tinny, but you forget that after a few minutes. Background here, if you're curious.

Lucky the Dog needs your help

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This e-mail from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International just hit my inbox. If Jason must leave Lucky behind, the Iraqi government will shoot or poison her.

Lucky the DogGreetings from Iraq,


I am TSgt. Jason Krivda - Lucky the dog calls me Dad.

Many of you have already donated to help rescue Lucky - and I cannot express how grateful I am for your generous support. But, we need everyone's help to save Lucky. Lucky means so much to me and my unit here in Iraq - she is our protector, our only source of comfort, and a member of our family. Please, if you haven't already donated - donate now to bring Lucky home.

We've posted three videos of Lucky on spcai.org so you can see Lucky's silly antics. They show Lucky doing her everyday activities - playing with us, after our morning run, and in the office protecting us. I hope you enjoy them.

After watching the videos, I hope you will donate as much as you can to help us bring our lovable, deserving dog home. Could you please forward the video link to your friends and family and encourage them to help Lucky too?

I could not bear to leave Lucky behind, but I can only get her home with your help and we don't have much time left. Please help us save her right now.

God Bless America,

Jason Krivda
U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant


Please donate whatever you can afford. Lucky and other dogs like her not only boost our troops' morale and keep them company; sometimes they save their lives.

Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.

He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.

Although Jon's office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 - North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.


'MOM,' asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. 'What was that explosion?'

Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. 'The other tower just went down.' 'Oh my God,' her son said. 'I love you.'

Then the phone went dead.

That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr's parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.

Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor's north face, bearing down on their western refuge.

At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. 'This looks really, really bad,' he said. 'I know,' said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.

'This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.' Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. 'Are you OK, yes or no?' she demanded. 'We're on the 92nd floor in a room we can't get out of,' McGinnis said. 'Who's with you?" she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends - Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. 'I love you,' he said. 'Take care of Caitlin.'

McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. 'Don't lose your cool,' she urged. 'You guys are so tough, you're resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.' 'You don't understand,' McGinnis said. 'There are people jumping from the floors above us.'

It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. 'Don't hang up,' she pleaded. 'I got to get down on the floor,' McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.

It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in "A Widow's Wish":

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander's voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne's husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.


"He said 'I love you and tell the kids I love them,' " she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. "Most wives will never get that opportunity," she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. "I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I'm wearing it."

Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.

He played soccer in college, and coached his children's soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. "He was a great dad," she said. "I feel very fortunate."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour
By Collins, Daniel
Publication: Futures
Date: Saturday, December 1 2001


When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC's north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.

Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.


Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.

Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.

We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

In a stunning reversal of her long-cherished belief that the federal government knows best about everything, and certainly not due to any panic over the impending loss of her seat in the House of Representatives (you sexist racist hate-filled warmonger), Representative Betty Sutton (D-OH) finally ended her silence on the Cordoba House Park 51 Ground Zero Debris Field Mosque, according to The Plain Dealer:

Ground Zero mosque"This is a sensitive issue, especially for those most directly affected by the attack at Ground Zero, and I trust that those in the area are in the best position to find a solution," Copley Township Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton said on Tuesday.


...

[Challenger Tom] Ganley said "Obama and liberal leaders" have "acted in a way that is insensitive to families and friends of those victims we lost almost nine years ago." He said he supports New York Gov. David Patterson's effort to move the proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center to another location.

Ganley followed up on his Facebook page:

I am opposed to the mosque being built near the WTC memorial, though when asked by the Plain Dealer, my opponent will not say yes or no.

I guess Tom Ganley just doesn't understand how busy Betty is. She's got too much on her plate to respond to an issue that highlights her party's incoherence and incompetence in matters of national security and common decency. Ganley has yet to learn that in the world of our Washington ruling class, all matters are best decided by bureaucrats and czars in DC unless it would embarrass a Democrat incumbent to take a position. In such rare cases, these matters become Local Issues™.

I wonder if Betty agrees with Speaker Nancy Pelosi that opponents of the Hamasque should be investigated? Perhaps people like these should be the first ones to be called to testify at the next Democrat Party show trial:


"Never Forget" is just a slogan when there's an election to be won, y'know.

Who hacked the Taliban?

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If it turns out that the U.S. military brought down the Taliban's web presence, then I'm gonna be one very happy camper. Regardless, this is great. More, please.

Tick tock, Betty. Do you really have no objection to President Obama's $400,000,000 stimulus package for Hamas out of taxpayer funds?

Betty Sutton as Waldo


Not even one little peep of protest?

Look, Congresswoman Sutton, I know you're not exactly renowned for your fiscal discipline, but can you at least muster an objection to giving a $400,000,000 terrorist stimulus package to Hamas?

The United States will contribute $400 million in development aid to the Palestinian territories and work with Israel to loosen its embargo on Gaza, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

Surely there are better things to do with taxpayer money:

Let me get this straight. Our economy has cratered. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent. The national debt is expected to exceed our gross national product by next year. And we're giving $400,000,000 to our mortal enemies in Gaza?


$400,000,000 to the Hamas-led death cult allied with Iran and Syria? $400,000,000 to the people who celebrated the destruction of the twin towers? $400,000,000 to rain thousands more rockets upon Israeli women and children?

The Right, the Left and everyone in between needs to raise hell. This. Cannot. Happen.

Consider it a throwaway gesture of self-preservation goodwill towards your bitter, gun- and Bible-clinging constituents in an election year. Your radical progressive "populist" base will forgive you for throwing a bone to those nutty right-wing kooks who hold to the quaint notion that we shouldn't fund terrorism man-caused disasters with their money.

--

12:20 PM Update: Welcome, Sutton staffers! Nice to see you're awake.

Video: "Inside The Green Berets"

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Although National Geographic shot this footage in 2006, it still resonates:

Thank you, Kyu Chay and Fattah Karimi, for your sacrifice. You are not forgotten.

Identifying the threat is the first step

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Allen West calls Islam what it is.


It's a violent philosophical/political system with religious trappings. If you want to stop the jihad, there are two choices: submit, or tear the whole belief system up by the roots. "Radical Islam" and "Fundamentalist Islam" are both redundant terms. Islam itself is the problem.

Hat tip: iOwnTheWorld

DefenseTech thinks it's now time for pre-emptive cyber attacks on jihadist networks. Gosh, what an original idea.

Facepalm

Obama's West Point speech on Afghanistan

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This is a visualization of the 100 most frequently-used words in tonight's speech. Click to enlarge:

Visualization of Obama's Afghanistan speech

The Weekly Standard has the transcript.

Video: The horrors of Guantanamo Bay

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Video: The Way We Get By

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This documentary premieres on PBS on Veteran's Day. Set your DVR.

Don't miss it!

Bush never went to Dover [Updated]

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Barack Obama went to Dover AFB to meet the caskets of fallen troops returning from Afghanistan.

Obama at Dover AFB

Ah, such a refreshing difference! Golly, it's so wonderful to have Professor Hopenchange in charge now. As we all know, a single photo op on the tarmac far outweighs whatever the heck George W. Bush was doing for eight years. Let's see, what exactly did he do? Oh, now I remember:

President Bush has met hundreds of families of fallen soldiers, but he has yet to attend a servicemember's funeral, he said Tuesday.


"Because which funeral do you go to? In my judgment, I think if I go to one I should go to all. How do you honor one person but not another?" he said.

The appropriate way to express his appreciation to the family members of fallen troops is to meet with them in private, he said.

What a jerk Bush was. The nerve of that guy, meeting with the bereaved in private instead of using them to score political points!

Meanwhile, our living troops in Afghanistan wait for the reinforcements they need. I'm sure Obama will get around to making a decision one of these months. Probably.

--

10/30 Update: Yep ... plastic banana look-how-much-I-care photo op.

My kind of foreign policy

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When it comes to American foreign policy, we should stick to twenty basic principles, implemented in four easy steps.

Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.

He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.

Although Jon's office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 - North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.

'MOM,' asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. 'What was that explosion?'

Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. 'The other tower just went down.' 'Oh my God,' her son said. 'I love you.'

Then the phone went dead.

That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr's parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.

Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor's north face, bearing down on their western refuge.

At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. 'This looks really, really bad,' he said. 'I know,' said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.

'This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.' Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. 'Are you OK, yes or no?' she demanded. 'We're on the 92nd floor in a room we can't get out of,' McGinnis said. 'Who's with you?" she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends - Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. 'I love you,' he said. 'Take care of Caitlin.'

McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. 'Don't lose your cool,' she urged. 'You guys are so tough, you're resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.' 'You don't understand,' McGinnis said. 'There are people jumping from the floors above us.'

It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. 'Don't hang up,' she pleaded. 'I got to get down on the floor,' McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.

It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in "A Widow's Wish":

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander's voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne's husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.

"He said 'I love you and tell the kids I love them,' " she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. "Most wives will never get that opportunity," she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. "I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I'm wearing it."

Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.

He played soccer in college, and coached his children's soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. "He was a great dad," she said. "I feel very fortunate."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour By Collins, Daniel Publication: Futures Date: Saturday, December 1 2001

When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC's north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.

Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.

Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

Ready for a prime example of Barack Obama's incredible narcissism and utter military ineptitude? Read Bob Woodward's account of a briefing in Afghanistan conducted by deployed Marines for Obama's National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones:

Jones was carrying out directions from President Obama, who said recently, "My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops."

...

During the briefing, (Brig. Gen. Lawrence) Nicholson had told Jones that he was "a little light," more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. "We don't have enough force to go everywhere," Nicholson said.

But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. "At a table much like this," Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, "the president's principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan." The principals -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair -- made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson's Marines.

Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, "oops," we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.

"They then said, 'If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,' " Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.

Now suppose you're the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?

Jones let the question hang in the air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted room. Nicholson and the colonels said nothing.

Well, Jones went on, after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have "a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment." Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to WTF -- which in the military and elsewhere means "What the [expletive]?"

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

That's right, campers. It's all about Obama: his feelings, his reputation, his political future, his comfort. Don't pester him with requests for reinforcements. Sasha and Malia have to make do with the allowance Daddy gives them; you can do the same with what he's already given you. Run along now, and accomplish your mission without any politically uncomfortable casualties, OK? The Redistributor-in-Chief has to get back to socializing the health care system.

Jules Crittenden's bluntly-worded assessment follows, after the jump.

Iran: Enemy Number 1

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Iran: Enemy Number 1

Osama's right to remain silent

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It's been said that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Unfortunately, President Obama's loosey-goosey "living Constitution" apparently has a brand new iron-clad principle: Miranda rights for terrorists.

Obama's wussified seal

Seal by Rusty

This isn't just Obama's fault, either. Thank you, John McCain.

The Muslim World loves us now, right?

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This is a speech delivered today at the American Enterprise Institute in which former Vice President Cheney defended the Bush Administration's actions and policies during the War on Terror in the years after 9/11. Cheney carefully and completely refuted allegations of torturing terrorist detainees, and he eviscerated Barack Obama's foolish defense policies, naïve defense decisions, and nakedly opportunistic demonization of the outgoing President.

If you prefer, you can watch the whole thing on AEI's site.

Once the White House posts the video of Obama's speech on the same subjects today, I'll add it below so you can compare and contrast each man's honesty, seriousness, motivations, wisdom, and statesmanship ... or lack thereof.

Transcripts: Cheney's speech; Obama's speech

Update:
Here ya go ...

More ads like this one, please.

Hat tip: Brutally Honest

Video: Dear Mr. Obama

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A veteran explains his upcoming vote in November:

Thank you, Joe.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, who was 32 when he died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.

Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

The chairman of the history department at Kent State University just got himself canned. He allowed his department's resident jihad booster, Professor Julio Pino, to take six weeks of leave to attend a conference ... in the Persian Gulf.

That's a good start. Now KSU needs to fire Julio.

Some background:

  1. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  2. The Smoking Gun Points to Julio Pino
  3. Kent State and Jihad-Gate
  4. Julio Pino: Islam's Most Effeminate Jihadist
  5. Klansman teaching History at Kent State
  6. Julio Pino: A Genocidal Racist without Moral Authority
  7. Pino 911
  8. Rate My Terrorist Professor Dot Com

Laura Bush panders to islamist culture?

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Sure looks like pandering to me, what with that abaya.

Laura Bush wearing an abaya

I might be wrong ... but I doubt it.

How not to fund a war

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SisyphusMy good friend and co-blogger Too Short and I got into an argument yesterday over whether President George W. Bush's administration will go down as one of the worst in American history. Among other things, Too Short objected strenuously to the income tax cuts that President Bush shoved through Congress a few years back. Evaluating the alternative takes some mental heavy lifting, so get ready to push uphill against the big-government mindset.


To my buddy's way of thinking, income tax cuts for "the rich" are a Bad Thing™ in a time of war, and we Americans should follow our grandparents' example during World War II and "sacrifice for the war effort" ... translated as "pay more taxes." Now I don't recall Too Short advocating a revival of programs like rationing and price controls and the WPA, which all went together with the 1930s-1940s package. Then again I might have just missed it when he said it. He wouldn't be the first to substitute wishful thinking for free market realities.

Squeezing blood from a stoneI argued that income tax cuts in wartime are not inherently a Bad Thing™. When taxes in general are excessively high, economic activity tails off as people lose their incentive to work, save, and invest. Next, government revenues shrink because the total amount of money available for taxation has shriveled. The big government advocate instinctively responds by raising taxes, which deepens the downward spiral (the Laffer Curve illustrates the general concept nicely).


If you're a government official trying to fund a wartime military machine, having no tax revenue is truly a Bad Thing™. A logical government in that situation lowers tax rates to stimulate the economy and raise tax revenues. Now it can buy guns and butter and F-22 Raptors. Pretty straightforward stuff so far, right?

My compadre Too Short retorted that I wasn't figuring in federal payroll taxes, which tend to hammer the poor. It was a point well taken since so far I was only talking about income tax cuts. I couldn't puncture his counterclaim because I didn't have the necessary data at my fingertips, so I asked for a temporary ceasefire.

I went looking for ammunition, and to my surprise I found that I was far more right than I realized.

The Tax Foundation pored over the dry, dusty tax and spending data collected by all levels of American government between 1991-2004, and they found that for every $1.00 of taxes that the poorest Americans forked over, they got $8.21 back.

There's more:

While the U.S. tax system is progressive, the distribution of government spending makes the overall fiscal system more progressive than is apparent from tax distributions alone. Using a microdata model we estimate the distribution of federal, state and local taxes and spending between 1991 and 2004. We find households in the lowest quintile of income received roughly $8.21 in federal, state and local government spending for every dollar of taxes paid in 2004, while households in the middle quintile received $1.30, and households in the top quintile received $0.41. Overall, tax payments exceeded government spending received for the top two quintiles of income, resulting in a net fiscal transfer of between $1.031 trillion and $1.527 trillion between quintiles. Both taxes and spending appear to have large distributional effects on households, and these effects have grown since 1991. The results suggest tax distributions alone are an inadequate measure of progressivity, and policymakers should examine both tax and spending distributions when judging the overall fairness of policy toward income groups.

Did you catch that? Yes, payroll taxes hit poorer people harder than they hit rich people. But when you account for all federal, state and local taxes and government spending on entitlements, my pal Too Short's idea of "increasing our sacrifices" via higher taxes on "the rich" just doesn't cut it. The folks at the lower end of the income scale more than make up for their payroll tax losses, and the folks higher up the line get royally hosed.

Remember that those dastardly "rich people" that our leftist friends love to hate are the very ones who risk their capital to create businesses, conduct research on new technology, and hire the rest of us. Without "the rich" we don't produce the best bullets and boots and cell phones. Without "the rich" our economy loses its advantage over the rest of the world.

Look at how we punish success:

Tax burdens and entitlement windfalls

Let that sink in for a moment. Does that seem like a wise idea in peacetime? How much less so in the middle of fighting a war!

Now look at it another way. Focus on the blue bars below:

Entitlements minus taxes

Don't repeat my initial mistake by looking at tax rates alone. You'll miss the big picture. Always, always, always figure in government spending when you're trying to figure out how to pay for a war. Our steeply progressive tax-and-spend system takes money from America's most productive people and showers it on the least productive. While you can make a good argument for keeping some parts of the social safety net, we're way beyond the point of absurdity now.

Here's a slightly more detailed summary of the report:

While many studies answer the question of who pays taxes in America, the question of who gets the most government spending is often overlooked. Just as some Americans bear a larger portion of the nation's tax burden than others, some Americans also receive a larger share of the nation's government spending.

This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive 2007 Tax Foundation study of federal, state and local taxes and government spending. The results show that when we consider the distribution of government spending as well as taxes, it provides a dramatically altered view of how U.S. fiscal policy affects Americans at different income levels than is apparent from the distribution of tax burdens alone.

Overall, we find that America's lowest-earning one-fifth of households received roughly $8.21 in government spending for each dollar of taxes paid in 2004. Households with middle-incomes received $1.30 per tax dollar, and America's highest-earning households received $0.41. Government spending targeted at the lowest-earning 60 percent of U.S. households is larger than what they paid in federal, state and local taxes. In 2004, between $1.03 trillion and $1.53 trillion was redistributed downward from the two highest income quintiles to the three lowest income quintiles through government taxes and spending policy.

These findings suggest tax distributions alone do not tell Americans how much the nation's fiscal system is helping or hurting low-income households. To answer that, we must look beyond tax burdens to government spending as well. Lawmakers who ignore the distribution of government spending risk making policy judgments based on an incorrect set of facts about the United States fiscal system.

In my buddy Too Short's defense, he joined me in criticizing runaway federal spending that makes drunken sailors look frugal. Reasonable folks are tired of creeping socialism, and we expect to see some real spending cuts before 2009's over. And I'm not talking about the Washington version of "cuts."

So what's the bottom line? Income tax cuts are still a good idea, and so are cuts in entitlement spending. If we do both, the economy will surge forward and government revenue will increase along with it. That translates into much more money available for the military. Seventy-year-old notions of "sacrifice" will punish the most productive Americans and further erode our military readiness.

Sorry, old buddy. You lose this round.

More info:
Tax Foundation report and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions

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Update: TooShort's response

A great ad from Mitt Romney's campaign

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I'm still backing Fred Thompson, but this is exactly what America needs to be reminded of:

Ballsy clarity, Mitt. Right up there with these:

Medal of Honor: LT Michael Murphy, USN

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Medal of Honor


10/22/07 UPDATE: Full citation posted!

A Navy SEAL will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor on October 22. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy is the third man to receive America's highest military award for valor in the War on Terror.

U.S. Navy press release:

murphy.jpgMurphy was the officer-in-charge of the SEAL element, which was tasked with locating a high- level Taliban militia leader to provide intelligence for a follow-on mission to capture or destroy the local leadership and disrupt enemy activity. However local Taliban sympathizers discovered the SEAL unit and immediately revealed their position to Taliban fighters. The element was besieged on a mountaintop by scores of enemy fighters. The firefight that ensued pushed the element farther into enemy territory and left all four SEALs wounded.


The SEALs fought the enemy fearlessly despite being at a tactical disadvantage and outnumbered more than four to one. Understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his men, Murphy, already wounded, deliberately and unhesitatingly moved from cover into the open where he took and returned fire while transmitting a call for help for his beleaguered teammates. Shot through the back while radioing for help, Murphy completed his transmission while returning fire. The call ultimately led to the rescue of one severely wounded team member, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, and the recovery of the remains of Murphy and Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson.

Eight more SEALs and eight Army "Nightstalker" special operations personnel comprising the initial reinforcement also lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down before they could engage the enemy. The entire battle, the culmination of Operation Redwing, resulted in the worst single day loss of life for Naval Special Warfare personnel since World War II.

The sole surviving SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, wrote a book about the battle after he departed the Navy this summer. In his book Luttrell credited all three of his teammates for their heroism, including Murphy's sacrificial act that eventually led to his rescue.

Please, when you discuss this good news with friends and family, remember the following:


  1. LT Murphy will receive the medal, not "win" it. Recipients consider it disrespectful to be called "winners."

  2. Even though the President awards the medal in the name of Congress, it's not the "Congressional Medal of Honor" or the "CMH." It's simply the Medal of Honor. Much of the confusion probably stems from the name of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society; it's a Congressionally-chartered society, not a society for recipients of a Congressional medal. The official name of the award is the Medal of Honor.

  3. Try not to confuse the Medal of Honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Gold Medal, neither of which are military awards for valor.

  4. Take time to learn about recipients of the next-highest award for valor in combat. Click on the "Uncommon Valor" logo in the upper right corner of this page and familiarize yourself with other heroes of this war (especially LT Murphy's teammates, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and lone survivor Marcus Luttrell).

Thank you, Lieutenant Murphy, for your valor and sacrifice.

Why the jihadis hate us: Exhibit A

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I give you this year's Folsom Street Fair, held in San Francisco and sponsored by the Miller Brewing Company. Be warned ... clicking the image below will take you to a citizen photojournalist's site that documents the blatant and unrestrained sex acts that took place in public and in full view of children and on-duty uniformed police. This is not safe for work, and frankly not safe for a full stomach:

Folsom Street Fair

While our troops go in harm's way to advance America's security and bring liberty to millions, these homegrown fringe nuts engage in public sexual bacchanals on the streets of San Francisco and hand our sworn enemies a precious P.R. gift. Is it any wonder that jihadist savages draw new recruits with propaganda that says only shari'a law can prevent flamboyant drag queens and aggressive leather fetishists from running rampant on their own streets? "This is what America stands for", say Ayman Zawahiri and Muqtada al-Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah. Their recruits need only see photographs like these for words like "liberty" and "freedom" to sound like synonyms for "license" and "debauchery."

I worry that we Americans have lost our collective moral spine. The Folsom Street Fair should make us hang our heads in shame. Can we no longer see the difference between right and wrong? If events like these continue they will end up causing more attacks on all of us. Don't the Folsom Street crazies understand that the jihadis would kill them all if given the chance?

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin. I'm done drinking Miller Genuine Draft. Pass me some Thirsty Dog.

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Update:

 

Palomino! Palomino!

Sherrod Brown votes to tuck tail and run

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Yesterday our junior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops in Iraq. Here's the amendment he voted for (with my emphasis added):

SAFE REDEPLOYMENT OF UNITED STATES TROOPS FROM IRAQ.

(a) Transition of Mission.--The President shall promptly transition the mission of the United States Armed Forces in Iraq to the limited and temporary purposes set forth in subsection (d).

(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment From Iraq.--The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of members of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq who are not essential to the limited and temporary purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall be carried out in a manner that protects the safety and security of United States troops.

(c) Use of Funds.--No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after June 30, 2008.

(d) Exception for Limited and Temporary Purposes.--The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the following limited and temporary purposes:

(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and affiliated international terrorist organizations.

(2) To provide security for United States Government personnel and infrastructure.

(3) To provide training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces who have not been involved in sectarian violence or in attacks upon the United States Armed Forces, provided that such training does not involve members of the United States Armed Forces taking part in combat operations or being embedded with Iraqi forces.

(4) To provide training, equipment, or other materiel to members of the United States Armed Forces to ensure, maintain, or improve their safety and security.

Is this what Ohio's voters want from their junior senator?

Video: Dennis Kucinich interview on Syrian TV

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I'm sure this deranged little gnome thinks he's doing something admirable, but just watch this clip.

If Dennis Kucinich was actually seeking to give aid and comfort to America's enemies, how would his actions be any different from the above? Answer: they wouldn't be.

Here's the transcript.

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Update: Some representative quotes, with my emphasis added.

The fact of the matter is we are all being weakened by continuing a war that's based on a lie. This war was based on lies. Iraq didn't have the weapons of mass destruction. It wasn't connected to 9/11. It had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda's role in 9/11. What are we there for? So I have stood up repeatedly and said: "Look, stop the war." Once the war started: "Here's the plan to get out and stop funding the war." And so we've had many opportunities now and I think it's very clear that we now have to focus on a peace plan, reach out to the world community, and that can only happen with those of us who are involved in the process meeting with people to see if there is an interest. And I'll tell you, President Assad, today, indicated a very strong interest in playing a role to help bring about stability in Iraq, and the fact of the matter is - whether the Bush administration wants to admit it or not - that President Assad is actually helping by providing a sanctuary in which Iraqi refugees can come. This is a great humanitarian crisis that's been created by this war. And Syria is one of the few countries in the world who has opened its arms to the Iraqi refugees, who have come here, with only the clothes on their back, and are looking for a way to survive. It is an extraordinary gesture on the part of the Syrian government that they would provide an opportunity for people to save their lives. And so this is something that I think needs to be recognized. And it also shows that here is a man, President Assad, who should be respected and appreciated for the role that he has played. And so it is important for the United States to take that gesture as a sign, a very powerful demonstration, of the willingness to try to achieve peace. And I think we need to move forward with that understanding.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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2,996 banner

As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, who was 32 when he died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.

Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family-man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

But this July was worse than last July!

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Benjamin Disraeli is reputed to have said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." A prescient man, that Ben.

General Petraeus' execution of the troop surge in Iraq appears to be reducing U.S. deaths from hostile action. This angers the Left because it doesn't fit their "all is lost" narrative. So what's a poor Lefty to do? Why, skip past the damned lies and head right for the statistics, of course! Take a look at some of the left's statistical sleight-of-hand:

I [sic] afraid you're reading the data incorrectly.


In fact, the chart you link to shows more Americans have died every month this year than in the same month in '06.

What looks like a big drop in September is because September 07 is only through the first 9 days . . . adding the 9 more who died today brings September '07's total to 42 in the first 10 days of the month.

American deaths are clearly rising rather than falling as you conclude . . .

Oh dear. He's right. Almost every month this year was worse than the same month last year:

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
2006 42 46 26 65 57 57 38 58
2007 78 71 71 96 120 93 67 56
 

But wait a moment. Two can play that game. I like the surge, and I want to "acc ... sennnnnn ... chu-ate the positive". I'll look back all the way to 2003 when we invaded Iraq, and then I'll compare the months I want (in red below) with this year's deaths (in blue) to minimize the deaths in 2007:

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
2003 0 0 58 50 8 18 28 16
2004 39 12 35 126 62 37 44 55
2005 54 42 31 46 67 69 45 75
2006 42 46 26 65 57 57 38 58
2007 78 71 71 96 120 93 67 56

 

Much better. This statistical stuff is fun!

But come to think of it, my lefty counterparts can just turn the tables on me like so (their favorite months in green and this year's deaths in yellow):

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
2003 0 0 58 50 8 18 28 16
2004 39 12 35 126 62 37 44 55
2005 54 42 31 46 67 69 45 75
2006 42 46 26 65 57 57 38 58
2007 78 71 71 96 120 93 67 56

 

Are you beginning to see the problems with this little game? I've studied statistics enough to spot B.S. even when it's offered on a silver platter.

The Left's fancy figures don't really tell us anything worthwhile. When we compare August '07 to August '06, and July '07 to July '06, things look bad at first. But that's not a meaningful way to look at the data. We only compare data from the same month in successive years if we're trying to spot seasonal patterns. Think of a hotel comparing this year's spring break occupancy with last year's spring break and you'll see what I'm driving at. I don't think the seasonal approach applies here, unless our jihadist enemy migrates to cooler climes in the summer.

Our lefty pals also choose to completely ignore September through December of 2006. Now maybe I just don't get The New Democratic Math, but I don't understand why combat deaths in the last third of 2006 don't fit into the picture they're painting here. I thought we were all supposed to rend our clothes and gnash our teeth over the uselessness of every death in Chimpy Bushitlerburton's Neocon Killbot Adventure©. Silly me. I guess we can ignore the troops who died from September to December whenever liberals have some politically advantageous statistical cherry-picking to do.

Let's get serious. The troop surge reached its peak in mid-June of this year, and from May through the end of August the number of American troops killed by hostile action has been dropping steadily.

Iraq casualties

A halfway competent person looking at American combat death statistics would identify the start of a given strategy and track the trends in deaths by hostile action from that date forward. When a significant shift in strategy takes place, the halfway competent person would flag that point in time and track any changes in the trends. If combat deaths are high and growing during Strategy A, but drop after switching to Strategy B, then something worth examining has happened.

Of course a shift in strategy isn't the only variable in play here. As any statistician knows, correlation isn't always proof of causation. War is horribly messy and complex and often irrational. But we need to look for what else might have changed in Iraq from around June of '07 onward. Something (or maybe several somethings) caused American deaths to drop, and it happened right about the time that the troop surge reached its peak. Was it mere coincidence? I don't have the kind of superhuman faith required to believe that. If we can't find some other good explanation, then we have to conclude that the troop surge likely had something to do with the drop in combat deaths.

Unless we're so committed to the "all is lost" narrative that we prove Disraeli right.

If you'd like to hear from the front-line troops in Iraq, go browse the listings at MilBlogging.com and decide for yourself whether General Petraeus is telling the truth.

Also be sure to read the work of independent journalists embedded with the guys out on the bleeding edge: Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, Michael J. Totten, Bill Ardolino, Austin Bay, JD Johannes, and Pat Dollard. These guys are out in the thick of it, and they're not beholden to the Bush administration or to anybody else but the thousands of donors who fund their work.

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UPDATE: Yon on Petraeus

Since the troop surge to Iraq reached full strength on June 15th, look what's happened to U.S. military deaths due to hostile action through the end of August. Click on the graph to see the full statistics:

Iraq casualties

The site that tracks these deaths, Iraq Coalition Casualties, can hardly be accused of sloppy methodology or pro-war bias.

Boy, it must suck to be an anti-Petraeus lefty when you have to explain results like these.

Here are three questions I just posed to my U.S. Representative and both of my U.S. Senators:

  1. Will you condemn MoveOn.org's full-page ad slandering General David Petraeus as "General Betray Us" and claiming that he is "cooking the books for the White House"? See http://pol.moveon.org/petraeus.html
  2. Are America and political Islam (a.k.a. "sharia") at war? If so, should America seek to achieve anything more than dismantling al Qaeda and capturing/killing Osama bin Laden?
  3. Should America forcibly crush and discredit political Islam (a.k.a. "sharia") while preserving individual Muslims' right to worship peacefully? If so, how? If not, what will the consequences be for America?

I submitted each question simultaneously to Representative Betty Sutton, Senator George Voinovich, and Senator Sherrod Brown via their web sites. It'll be interesting to read their responses ... assuming that they reply, of course. Betty Sutton's not exactly a paragon of virtue when it comes to answering questions (especially the last two). George Voinovich has a habit of ignoring uncomfortable inquiries as well.

Sherrod Brown's a different story though; for all my strong disagreements with him on practically every possible issue, he's extremely responsive. When he was my Representative his office responded promptly to every question I submitted through his web site, even though my stance was clearly conservative. My hat's off to Senator Brown and his staff, and I'm confident that he'll reply promptly this time too.

The race is on. Tune in for updates.

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Update 1: I have a hunch that Ohio's junior Senator will be reluctant to condemn today's slander, since MoveOn.org spent $25,899 to help elect Senator Brown.

Update 2: Perhaps we should ask different questions. Good point. Who is the anonymous Senator working with MoveOn.org?

Update 3: Whoa. I've been digging through MoveOn.org's finances for the 2006 election cycle, and there are some eye-popping numbers to discuss. Stay tuned for a big post.

Update 4: Here ya go. Follow the money.

Update 5: Senator Brown replied. Sort of.

Watch General Petraeus testify live online

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C-SPAN has streaming video of General David Petraeus' testimony before Congress today.

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UPDATE: The Tank is liveblogging the circus.

Progress on CENTCOM online news?

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On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after helping U.S. Central Command improve its news distribution from the war zone, I sent the following e-mail to CENTCOM's Public Affairs Office:

Your CENTCOM podcast feed at ...


[link shortened]

... is broken. You've been uploading new podcasts all the way through 31 AUG 07, but the podcast feed has nothing new after 26 JAN 07. Just go look at ...

[link shortened]

... and you'll see. Please fix this ASAP. CENTCOM needs this podcast to function if America is to win the information war against the jihadis.

Incidentally, the following feeds are also woefully outdated (perhaps dead?):

[link shortened]

[link shortened]

Yesterday afternoon, CENTCOM replied:

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I have contacted our web masters and you should see something new within the next couple of days. Thanks again for your support.


V/R
Master Sgt. S. Crumes
Public Affairs Operations NCO
US Central Command
(813) 827-6761
DSN 312-651-6761
Cell [snipped]
Fax 813-827-2211
parkersy@centcom.mil
www.centcom.mil

CENTCOM's three dead feeds disappeared this morning, but the two good ones remained. That leads me to believe that somebody's working on the problem. Unfortunately CENTCOM's entire site dropped offline this afternoon. I'll be watching to see what happens.

With General Petraeus' progress report on Iraq almost upon us, it's time to revisit the propaganda war (and our military's lack of success therein).

Last year Tom Blumer wondered why CENTCOM's news releases weren't showing up in key places online. I suggested solutions and followed up on Tom's excellent work. Since then, CENTCOM has taken some steps to put out some news feeds and make them available online, but their publicity effort's still woefully lacking.

Enough dilly-dallying. I dug around CENTCOM's site, found 5 feeds, and did their public affairs work for them ... and it took me all of 45 minutes.

Those five feeds are now hooked into several search engines and feed-publicizing web services, so whenever CENTCOM posts a new item, everyone will know. Google Blog Search, My Yahoo, Technorati, Bloglines, Apple's iTunes, Syndic8, FeedBlitz ... it's all covered. You can even subscribe to any feed by e-mail, if you want.

Here are the five feeds:

US CENTCOM News

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

US CENTCOM Audio News

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

US CENTCOM Press Releases

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

US CENTCOM Video News

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

US CENTCOM Photo Feed

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Please spread the word far and wide. I'm only one voice.

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9/6 Update: If you don't know what a "feed" is (nor why you should care) here's a one-page answer.

This is just silly:Coast Guard laser tag training exercise

The U.S. Coast Guard will fire lasers -- not live ammunition -- at its own boats this morning in a sort of war-games training demonstration on Lake Erie.

...

Coast Guard personnel on the defender boat will be armed with machine guns and rifles loaded with blank ammunition and fitted with laser beam emitters.

The attack boat will have laser sensors on board that will reveal if it has been "hit" by the weapons aboard the defending boat.

The Coast Guard late last year dropped its proposal to conduct training exercises with machine guns loaded with live ammunition in 34 zones in the Great Lakes, including four in Lake Erie.

Rear Adm. John E. Crowley Jr. called that plan unsatisfactory after widespread complaints about safety and potential damage to the environment.

U.S. environmental groups and the Canadian Foreign Affairs minister said they were concerned that the bullets, which could dump some 7,000 pounds of lead compounds a year in the lakes, could be a health hazard to humans and wildlife.

Puh-leeze. This is just another example of the Coast Guard's tendency to kowtow to environmentalist wackos. Trust me on this. I spent 2 1/2 years at USCG Headquarters in the office that oversees vessel traffic management in major ports. Ever since the Exxon Valdez spill, the environmentalist movement has been the 400-lb. gorilla in the room when it comes to the Coast Guard's marine safety missions.

Has anyone demonstrated that the ammunition expended in true live fire exercises would actually cause the horrible environmental damage alleged? I'd love to see it, but I won't hold my breath. These days all it takes to spook the federal government is an alarmist press release about impending environmental doom. Gathering facts is so tedious and dull, especially when you can use sexy computer models and glitzy ad campaigns instead.

Further, which is more important: preventing expended ammunition from entering the water, or preventing waterborne terrorists from attacking our northern shores? Those nice jihadist fellows would love to blow up a tanker or ore carrier, and given an opportunity they'd light off a dirty bomb near a major coastal city too. I invite the assorted Gaia-worshippers to consider the environmental damage attacks like these would cause (since the human death toll probably matters much less to them). Isn't prevention of a true disaster worth the cost of small amounts of expended ammunition entering the lake?

One of the opponents of the original live fire training sees the foolishness in this laser tag exercise:

Dan Thomas, president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, one of the groups that had criticized the initial plan, had a mixed reaction to today's planned demonstration.

"It sounds reasonable at first, but there's also no substitution for the real thing," Thomas said by telephone from his Chicago office. "Our group is not opposed to them using live ammunition, but we want them to be better at communicating to all interested parties when it is going to be conducting its exercises."

Thomas said his group and others have also wanted the training to be done farther out in the lake if live ammunition will be used in the future. Today's demonstration was supposed to take place from three to five miles from Cleveland.

A little more common sense would be nice, but alas, this is the Coast Guard we're talking about.

Two defense questions for Betty Sutton

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While I was in a questioning mood, I threw these into the mix:

I have two detailed questions.

1) Are America and political Islam (a.k.a. "sharia") at war? If so, should America seek to achieve anything more than dismantling al Qaeda and capturing/killing Osama bin Laden?

2) Should America forcibly crush and discredit political Islam (a.k.a. "sharia") while preserving individual Muslims' right to worship peacefully? If so, how? If not, what will the consequences be for America?

How about it, Betty?

Here's a fascinating series that unearths how the 7/7 suicide bombers joined the British jihadi network.

"My Brother The Bomber" Part I
"My Brother The Bomber" Part II
"My Brother The Bomber" Part III

Frightening stuff. It leaves me wondering what the locals are teaching in the mosque in Cleveland.

I knew it was just a matter of time before Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi revived their cut-and-run "strategy" for fighting the Islamists. Here we go again:

In light of the additional evidence since your veto that your plan is not working, it is clear that a course correction in Iraq is needed. That is also the view of a substantial majority of the American people. Rather than respond with a new plan immediately, Administration officials as well as Republican congressional leaders suggest that your flawed Iraq strategy not be revisited until September when General Petraeus is scheduled to provide Congress with a progress report on Iraq. The only step you have proposed in the interim is to divest your National Security Advisor of control over Iraq policy and create a “war czar” position, an act that has only served to create further confusion and concerns about your plans for Iraq.

The American people cannot and should not have to wait until later this year for changes in your flawed Iraq policy. There is an obligation to act now. That is why we intend to again send you legislation that would limit the U.S. mission in Iraq, begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces, and bring the war to a responsible end. These are goals consistent with both the national security of the United States and the will of the American people. We respectfully request that you reconsider your previous opposition to proposals that would accomplish these goals, and work with us to give our troops a strategy worthy of their sacrifice. We look forward to discussing these issues with you when we meet at the White House later today to discuss stability in the Middle East.

I warned you. The American Left cares only for its own power, can't (or won't) look past the next election, has its heart set on military defeat, and is now skating just about as close to treason as they can get without crossing the line. Click the graphic:

The Pessimist's Checklist

I eagerly await the GOP presidential candidates' responses. Especially Fred Thompson's.

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6/15 Update: A hilariously brilliant rebuttal. Thanks for finding this one, Andy.

Harry "Neville Chamberlain" Reid

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Bleg: conservative radio ad project

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Lefty blogger Jerid at Buckeye State Blog reports that a liberal group is putting together some radio ads attacking Senator Voinovich for his recent vote on the war effort in Iraq. The lefties are upset that the esteemed RINO Senator stuck with his party and supported the troops this time, and they're trolling for Ohio liberals to record their voices. Like so:

I'm not keen on defending Voinovich. Not one bit. Defending the troops and crushing the enemy is another matter entirely.

Why don't we in the SOB Alliance try a similar tactic and put together some radio spots of our own, and get some conservative group to fund the ad buy? We have several budding radio talk show hosts among Ohio's conservative bloggers, and we're all writers. We can draft scripts, identify some Radio Voices™, record them, and add some music and sound effects and sound bites.

Whaddaya say?

Columbus man indicted in terror plot

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What is it with islamists in Ohio? Don't they know they'll fit in better if they go north to Dearborn or Hamtramck?

The Royal Marines are pansies

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So say Ralph Peters and John Derbyshire. This isn't the first time that Tony Blair has knuckled under to the degenerates in Tehran. Sadly I have to agree with Peters and Derbyshire. The Royal Marines have become a pale shadow of their forebears, and are now a bunch of weak-kneed sissies.

The good guys get aggressive online

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Our military is finally striking back at the jihadists online.

The U.S. military is quietly expanding capabilities to attack terrorist computer networks, including websites that glorify insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, military officials and experts say.

The move comes as al-Qaeda and other groups fighting in Iraq and elsewhere have expanded their activities on the Internet and increased the sophistication and volume of their videos and messages. Much of the material is designed to raise money and recruit fighters for Iraq.

"You should not let them operate uncontested" on the Internet and elsewhere in cyberspace, said Marine Brig. Gen. John Davis, who heads a military command located at the National Security Agency. The command was established to develop ways to attack computer networks.

...

"Our opponents do a heck of a lot more than just watch us in cyberspace," Davis said. "They are acting in cyberspace. We need to develop options so that we can ... dominate cyberspace."

Cyberattacks can take different forms, including eliminating terrorist websites and creating doubts among insurgents about their networks' security, said Arquilla, who favors an offensive approach he calls a "virtual scorched-earth policy."

Hallelujah! It's about time.

Hat tip: The Tank

Republicans in the Senate are about to vote on a measure that will encourage our enemies and demoralize our troops. Sign here and tell them to ...

Show some spine

Pledge reminder

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Click, pledge, and spread the word.

Content warning: profanity galore.

Hat tip: Hot Air

I've taken the pledge. Will you?

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Thanks to Hugh Hewitt, I've heard about the latest boneheaded idea proposed by our Republican Senators in Washington. They're ginning up a "non-binding" resolution that whines about the pending troop surge into Iraq. Not one dimeIt's no surprise that General Petraeus testified that such legislative grandstanding encourages the enemy and endangers our troops.

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution.

Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

Take the pledge ... and get ready for stormy weather.

The Democrats have been running Congress for a short time now, but they're already living up (down?) to conservative expectations. The Republican Party is reverting to spinelessness, and high-profile Republicans are scampering leftward in a crass effort to win re-election in 2008. When combined with President Bush's inability to persuasively articulate the many good reasons to continue the war on islamism, the near future looks pretty bleak. Although I remain an optimist at heart, I'm also realistic about human nature and the tendency of modern Americans to be short-sighted and self-absorbed.

I just want to get the following predictions on the record. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm confident that I'm right.

Before 2007 ends, I predict all of the following will happen.
  • The Democratic Congress, with the help of feckless Republicans, will pass a "non-binding" resolution opposing the war in Iraq. Period. No qualifications.
  • A few months later, the Democratic Congress will cut off funds for the troop surge in Iraq.
  • Sensing our politicians' weakness, our islamic enemies will step up their attacks on our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The Democratic Congress will abandon all pretense of supporting our troops, and will cut off all funds for the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.
  • Our troops will be forced to leave Iraq and Afghanistan in disgrace.
  • Afghanistan will return to its default state: general lawlessness, with tribal enclaves controlled by warlords.
  • Iraq will descend into an astonishing orgy of inter-tribal and sectarian slaughter, and will come apart at the seams.
    • The Kurds in the north of Iraq will declare their independence. Turkish and Iranian Kurds will try to secede and join the new Kurdistan. Turkey will attack the Kurds to prevent this.
    • The Sunni Triangle will descend into utter lawlessness, making Somalia seem like Disney Land. Either al Qaeda or some other Sunni group will rise from the ashes and set to work plotting international terror attacks, much like Osama bin Laden did in the 1990s in Afghanistan.
    • The Shiite areas of Iraq will assert their independence, but will end up as puppets of the Iranian mullahs. Grand Ayatollah Sistani will be assassinated by Iranian-backed thugs, lest he challenge the Iranian mullahs for authority.
  • The western world's media will blame President Bush and the Republicans for "angering" muslims and "creating" the problem of islamic totalitarianism. The media will ignore twin truths: that western liberalism and political "realists" are to blame for allowing the long-festering cancer of islamism to metastasize after decades of incubation; and that President Bush was actually the first leader to see the danger and try to stop it. Leftist politicians will share the media's delusional worldview.
  • Military re-enlistments will begin a long decline, and senior officers and NCOs will begin retiring in droves.
2008 will see the following:
  • A Democrat will be elected President, proving that the American public still has its collective head in the sand.
  • Thanks to weak-kneed Republican leaders afraid to express conservative principles and policies, Democrats will solidify their hold on Congress and Republicans will return to their comfortable status as the minority party. GOP leaders will be happy because they will again be invited to all of the popular cocktail parties organized by leftist socialites inside the Beltway. 8 ball
  • Democrats will gut the American military.
    • Defense spending will drop below maintenance levels.
    • Research and development will grind to a halt.
    • Military re-enlistments will plummet.
    • Recruiting will wither.
  • American foreign policy and defense strategy will revert to empty posturing and wishful thinking as perfected by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The all-volunteer military will go back to being a hollowed-out and demoralized institution, and will be misused for UN peacekeeping missions in places where America has no compelling national interest.
  • Once the threat of a Republican President appointing conservative judges evaporates, Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Stevens will announce their retirements. Their replacements will be young, doctrinaire leftists who will cement the Supreme Court's suicidal leftward drift for another generation.
Before 2020, we'll see the following events:
  • "Moderate" regimes in the islamic world will collapse from within. Islamists of both Sunni and Shiite varieties will fill the vaccuum. Formerly "moderate" rank-and-file muslims will swing toward radicalism en masse.
  • Iran will go nuclear. In response, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will start nuclear weapons drives of their own.
  • Israel will pre-emptively attack Iran's nuclear facilities, electrical power grid, and command & control infrastructure to prevent a nuclear strike on Israel.
  • The Middle East will immediately explode into regional warfare.
  • Newly-confident islamists will successfully attack at least one major civilian target on American soil, whether by using a nuke, a dirty bomb, or a biological/chemical agent.
  • American military enlistments will skyrocket.
  • Muslim immigration to America will drop to zero. Non-citizen muslims will be deported.
  • American muslims will be interned like Japanese Americans were in WWII.
  • The media will again blame President Bush and Republicans for "angering" muslims, but this time the American public will no longer swallow the lie.
  • Democrats will rely on their only solution to every problem: negotiation. Predictably, it will only encourage the enemy, by revealing the spinelessness of America's Democratic leadership. Attacks will increase in number and severity.
  • Islamic suicide bombers will hit several soft targets across America like malls, stadiums, movie theatres, and schools.
  • The American public will finally realize that islam is bent on our destruction. Americans will toss Democrats and liberal Republicans from office.
  • A very muscular and militant conservative American leadership will rebuild the military, drastically increasing its size and lethality.
  • America will either suspend all financial aid to the UN, or will withdraw from the UN completely.
  • Congress will reinstate the draft. The Army and Marine Corps will expand to incredible size. Within two years, the draftees will be as lethal as the career professionals among our warrior class.
  • America (with possible help from Australia, The United Kingdom, and India) will finally go to all-out declared war against islam (in its radicalized forms) and all regimes based on politicized islam and/or sharia law.
  • America and the West will remind the watching world what utter devastation looks like. The Flattened Cities Club (remember Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki?) will welcome new members like Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Islamabad, Riyadh, Mecca, and Medina.
  • The western world will not bother to rebuild the destroyed societies it leaves behind, lest the inhabitants there forget that islam has been utterly defeated and discredited. Instead, we will make no bones about our need for oil. We will rebuild only the oil extraction and export infrastructure, and protect it to ensure our own stability and safety. The rest of the erstwhile muslim world will be left in its humbled and humiliated state as punishment.
  • The politicized and totalitarian religion of islam as we now know it will cease to be a major influence on world events.
After 2020:

We will have a few short years of peace until the next popular and poisonous ideology begins to grow. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Saddam has been executed

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Just heard it on Fox News Channel. Justice, albeit long delayed, has been done.

Paris Hilton does Iraq

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Thanks to Hugh Hewitt, I found a brutal takedown of the Iraq Study Group's report. John Podhoretz has penned a razor-sharp rebuttal to James Baker and friends.

The nation's capital hasn't seen such concentrated wisdom in one place since Paris Hilton dined alone at the Hooters on Connecticut Avenue.

...

Also in the Support Group: Iran and Syria. Yes, having done their best to destroy the new Iraq, these two tyrannical nations are poised to perform a very, very constructive role in helping to get the new Iraq up on its own two footsies!

James BakerAnd why? Because, see, it's in their interest to do so: "Although Iran sees it in its interest to have the United States bogged down in Iraq, Iran's interests would not be served by a failure of U.S. policy in Iraq that led to chaos and the territorial disintegration of the Iraqi state."

This is why we have commissions, you see. Regular dumb folk might look at the evidence of the past 25 years and think that the last thing Iran wants is a nice, strong and stable Iraq on its border. They might think that a strong and stable authoritarian Iraq might just attack Iran again and cause another 10-year war with deaths of millions. But here's the ISG to set us dumb people straight.

...

The ISG is right. Syria can make a major contribution to Iraq's stability. But oddly enough, it chooses not to! Because until yesterday, it didn't have Paris Hilton - sorry, James Baker - explaining how wonderfully helpful it would be.

...

Now, we dumb people might think that recent history demonstrates Israel will never consent to such a thing, and that Syria knows it full well, and that Syria doesn't actually want the Golan Heights back, and that like Iran, Syria would have more reason to fear a stable and successful Iraq than anything else in the world.

But that's what being stupid gets you. It means you don't understand the incredible value of the James Baker Handy-Dandy Solution to All the World's Ills. It's called "Get Israel." Once Israel is gotten, and gotten good, all the problems in the Middle East will be solved. And the seas will turn to lemonade, and the planets will come in alignment, and Mel Gibson will lie down with Jackie Mason.

That's hot.

Amen, Froggy

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Matt Heidt has a modest proposal for securing Iraq.

Iraq Study Group Report released

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Crush the enemy

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Enough of this:

Iraq Study Group

Crush the enemy.

**UPDATE: Tom's still asking questions, and so am I.**

BizzyBlog's Tom Blumer wonders why Google's and Yahoo's respective news search engines miss almost all of CENTCOM's news, and asks for help figuring it all out. No problemo, Tom: I dug around and found a few relevant facts that might interest you.

I found a link on CENTCOM's home page that offers access to all five of CENTCOM's news feeds. Then I started probing Yahoo and Google to see if the URLs for those feeds turned up anywhere.

Yahoo! NewsI note with some satisfaction that three valid CENTCOM news feeds are available (log-in required) for inclusion on anyone's My Yahoo! page. Of course, you have to log in and drill down to a particular sub-page to search for those feeds, or you have to manually type in the entire URL of a feed to add it yourself. Now, I did this myself over two months ago, but I'm unusual. Want to venture a guess as to how many people have done the same? I'll bet it's a very small number. Most folks have neither the time nor the inclination to decipher the finer points of manually adding news feeds to their My Yahoo! pages.

Newspaper and coffeeFortunately this is one (small) problem that CENTCOM can fix by adding chiclets to its home page and its news pages. Or CENTCOM can do what I did and add one easy-to-click link that lets FeedBurner's web site handle the whole chiclet thing automatically ... for free!

OK, so Yahoo has an obscure way to keep track of CENTCOM's news releases via RSS feeds. That's nice, but I'm nearly certain that nobody uses it. Worse, CENTCOM's feeds apparently aren't included in Yahoo's news site, nor are they available in its news search engine ... which is where the vast majority of Yahoo's news-reading users will go. Yahoo has yet to regularly crawl any blogs or RSS feeds for inclusion in their news search results (although at one time they did so).

Yahoo really doesn't need to do much to add CENTCOM to its search results. After all, Yahoo always has fresh content from my puny blog available in their search results within moments of publication. That's because I have FeedBurner set up to ping Yahoo whenever I post something new. The price? Zipski. It's free. If CENTCOM would just take advantage of a free service like FeedBurner to publish their news feeds, they would get more attention. More importantly, by taking care of the feed updates and pinging ahead of time, CENTCOM would have an easier time persuading Yahoo to add them to the news search engine.

Now on to Google.

Google NewsGoogle's blog search engine actually does include CENTCOM news in its results, but almost nobody would think to look there for news from a major organization like CENTCOM. Since Google already keeps track of RSS feeds from thousands of sites, it should be a snap for them to include CENTCOM's news releases in Google News' search results (note to CENTCOM: FeedBurner pings Google too, so my puny blog's even listed there). Google News includes posts from blogs like RedState, TownHall.com, Power Line, The Jawa Report, and The Huffington Post. Those sites are hardly unbiased. CENTCOM certainly has a stronger claim to being a news source than those blogs do, and if CENTCOM adopts the same approach to Google as outlined above for Yahoo, it shouldn't be long before things improve.

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Update: BizzyBlog and NixGuy keep connecting the dots. And don't forget the enemy's propaganda successes, either. One Oar In The Water pulled on a loose thread and exposed a propaganda lie published by the L.A. Times, in which an American airstrike supposedly killed a slew of Iraqi civilians. How many more stories like that have slipped through? You'd be surprised.

Update 2: Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report asks pointed questions about shady Iraqi stringers reporting "news" of American atrocities. To top off the cavalcade of happy news, Rusty throws in a story about a terrorist instruction manual that explains how to wage jihad by manipulating Google. C'mon, CENTCOM ... get serious.

LA Times spreads Islamist propaganda

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Two days ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that an American airstrike in Ramadi killed 30 Iraqi civilians, including women and children. That's a horrible tale of woe, isn't it? But there's one little detail that's missing from the story: it's a complete fabrication.

John Abizaid is the new George McClellan

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John Abizaid George McClellan
General John Abizaid General George McClellan

Senator McCain just asked the CENTCOM Commander, General John Abizaid, why he opposed sending more American troops to Iraq. Abizaid's reply:

I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the core commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American Troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.

President Bush says that he wants to finish the job in Iraq. Fine. But it's now obvious that refusing to adapt our strategy to defeat the rising sectarian militias would be foolish. At least if we adopt the Democratic cut and run policy, we'll stop losing troops in Iraq. Now, I oppose cutting and running for obvious reasons. But pinning our hopes on the Iraqi military and police forces now, before they're ready, is just another way of ensuring defeat.

We ought to send more troops to Iraq as soon as possible, and their primary mission should be to kill the leaders and members of every militia, jihadist cell, and Baathist insurgent group in Iraq. Wars are won by applying overwhelming force, not by trying to field just enough troops to do the job. Abizaid advocates standing pat with current strategy. He's wrong. President Bush should fire him and find someone who will fight.

Once upon a time, another Republican President faced an unpopular and protracted war, and his top general refused to engage the enemy. Frustrated, the President wrote a letter to the general:

My Dear McClellan:

If you are not using the army, I should like to borrow it for a short while.

Yours respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln eventually fired George McClellan and found two generals who attacked the enemy and won the Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. McClellan retired and ran against Lincoln for President as (what a shock) a Democrat. Thank God that McClellan lost.

Today we need a new Sherman or Grant or Patton. President Bush should find a real fighter who will ignore the media's whining and the Democrats' sniping. John Abizaid is not that man.

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More blogging:
Jeff Emanuel
Dan McLaughlin
"Thomas" (very pessimistic)

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11/16 Update: Rush Limbaugh accurately identifies Abizaid's strategy as "stay the course."

Exposed: The Extremist Agenda

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I know what I'll be doing tonight at 7:00. I'll be watching this.

When conservative Republicans warned the electorate that the Democratic Party would push for a cut and run policy in Iraq, it wasn't enough to keep control of Congress. The Democrats won, and now they and their media buddies are telling anyone who'll listen that they took over because they ran "moderate" candidates whose views reflect those of the majority of Americans (check the poll results here to see what that majority thinks about Iraq).

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Now comes the fulfillment of that conservative prediction:

The Democrats — the incoming majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada; the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan; and the incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware — said a phased redeployment of troops would be their top priority when the new Congress convenes in January, even before an investigation of the conduct of the war.

“We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months,” Mr. Levin said in an appearance on the ABC News program “This Week.” In a telephone interview later, Mr. Levin added, “The point of this is to signal to the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that they are going to have to solve their own problems.”

...

“The people have spoken in a very, very strong way that they don’t buy the administration policy,” Mr. Levin said on ABC. Mr. Reid, in an appearance on CBS, said troop redeployment “should start within the next few months.”

There's more here.

Instead of retreating we ought to increase our troop strength and crush the Islamists. Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman are calling for more troops. That makes sense ... but with the Dems in charge, does anybody want to take bets on Congressional funding of even maintaining troop strength in Iraq (much less increasing it)?

If this mess bothers you like it bothers me, speak up and influence the Republican leadership candidates while you can.

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Update: Oh, crap. President Bush, don't be an idiot.

Yet again we see why our enemies prefer Democrats.

It's frustrating when a smarter blogger beats me to the punch on a topic I've been thinking about, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Dafydd ab Hugh just posted an excellent think piece on the benefits of killing Muqtada al Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army. It's not a short post, but it really made me rethink how we should tackle what's going on in Iraq.

For starters, he sees the forces behind the current bloodletting differently than most western commentators. He doesn't completely buy the "sectarian violence" meme as a catch-all explanation for the increase in deaths in Iraq. He looks at the country as a loose collection of competing tribes (many including both Shiite and Sunni members) engaging in gangland-style violence like we saw in New York some decades back:

I suspect the killing continues because a small but very determined group of people thinks the gang-war is "winnable," and each person sees himself as the victor. It's less like the Civil War and more like the Mafia wars of mid-20th-century New York City: those, too, went on for decades... yet at no time could one say that the Italian population of that city "demanded" such killings.

If the leadership of that small cadre which is carrying out the slaughters were to be removed (by any means necessary), I cannot imagine that the Shia and Sunni residents of Baghdad would pine for the good old days of death squads committing 100 murders a day.

Dafydd then steps into Prime Minister Maliki's shoes and discerns why he hasn't exactly been helpful to us in squashing al Sadr. It's all about al Sadr's 28 votes in the Iraqi parliament:

I believe Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would actually like to see the militias disarmed. Not because he's a good guy; don't mistake my point. Rather, I think Maliki reasons thus:
  1. I am the titular tribal warlord of Iraq.
  2. Yet I control no personal forces: the army and police belong to the state, not me personally; and I control none of the large militias.
  3. Now that I'm on top, it's time to blow the whistle and end the game. If the militias would all just "softly and suddenly vanish away," then there would be nobody who could challenge my military authority (except the infidels, and they don't really care anyway).
  4. But I cannot actually go after the militias... because that would require me to crack down on Moqtada Sadr, and I desperately need his voting bloc to stay in power.

Then, the really brilliant analysis, which predicts the reaction of the rival Shiite militia, the Badr Organization:

I would suggest killing not just Sadr, but the number two and number three guys, all more or less simultaneously (within a few days of each other). This would leave the lower tier people wondering which of them would become the new leader.

...

If Sadr were killed, and if Maliki were clearly not involved, then what would the "28" do? I can't see them allying with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), for they control the Badr Brigades. And they're certainly not going to support a Sunni or a Kurd.

This leaves the Dawa Party as the only other powerful Shiite political party. The head of Dawa is Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and his principal deputy is (ta da!) Nouri al-Maliki. Jaafari cannot be prime minister again; he was the one chucked out last time and is completely unacceptable to SCIRI, to the Sunnis, to the Kurds, and to the secularists.

So the only choice left for the 28 seats currently controlled by Sadr, in the event of his untimely demise, would be to continue supporting Maliki, as they have been doing all along.

Thus, were the Coalition to kill off Sadr, Maliki would still have the 28 votes of Sadr... but no Sadr sticking his hand up Maliki's badonkadonk (eew) to work the PM's mouth. Not only that, but with Mahdi in such distress, Maliki would have the green light to crack down hard on the Badr Brigades... the other Shiite party's militia. After all, Mahdi would be out of commission for a while.

So we would get a "twofer" -- the Mahdi Militia would be bereft of its leadership, leaving it to flop around like a beheaded snake; and the government of Iraq would likely move heavily against the Badr Brigades... and maybe even against the Mahdi Militia, once Maliki is sure of his power base in the absence of Muqtada Sadr.

Sometimes, when a situation has crystalized in a very unuseful position, the best thing we can do is vigorously shake the box: whatever we end up with will probably be better than what we have now.

Dang it, I wish I'd thought of that! I was about to post something along the "shaking the box" line of thinking, but I hadn't even considered the twofer involving the Badr Brigades. I was merely thinking "at this point, what could killing al Sadr hurt?" Since the culture over there respects strength much more than reason and rational argument, I simply figured that killing this loathsome oxygen thief would remind the enemy of our willingness to vaporize them (a good thing in itself). I just didn't take my analysis a step further. I'm glad Dafydd ab Hugh did.

Read the whole thing.

Airport security: PC farce

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Hat tip: Newest SOB Alliance member Connect the Dots. Good find!

Michelle Malkin interviews Mark Steyn

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I won't clutter up this post with my own opinion. Just go watch the interview.

If you haven't bought Mark's latest book, America Alone, do so now.

Two retired Army Major Generals, John Batiste and Paul Eaton, showed up on Capitol Hill again yesterday to grandstand for the cameras and demand that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resign.

Sound familiar? Yep, we've been here before. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee meeting was not an actual Senate committee meeting. Only one Republican showed up, and he wasn't even a Senator. What was Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina doing there, I wonder?

At any rate, allow me to refresh everyone's memory about the deafening chorus of retired generals and admirals calling for Rummy's head. The folks in blue represent the five or six identified gadflies, multiplied by two because I'm feeling generous. The folks in green represent all of the other retired flag officers.

Of course, I'm being unfair. I failed to mention that Generals Batiste and Eaton had retired Colonel T.X. Hammes sitting beside them.

Feel better now, Democrats?

Remembering Damian Meehan

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2,996 banner

As part of of The 2,996 Project, I'm remembering Damian Meehan, who was 32 when he died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan's Irish Inwood in the 1970's, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.

Damian's loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian's freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine's friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight - and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.

On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born - the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian's life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his "gogga-gogga" to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian's bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.

Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent's native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.

Most of all, Damian was a "family-man", in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.

In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian's brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final - we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian's wake at William's Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.

On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann's little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.

Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

Iraqi Army becoming more professional

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In the last week, Iraq's rebuilt army added over 100 new officers and twenty new medics to its ranks. These stories go largely unreported because they seem "trivial" to the mainstream media. But constant additions and improvements move us ever closer to victory in Iraq.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.

I went back to the casualty statistics kept by the Iraq Coalition Casualties site and updated my tracking charts. The statistic I focused on was American military deaths per month during Operation Iraqi Freedom between March '03 and July '06.

First, the raw numbers:

Deaths per month

Victor Davis Hanson looks at President Bush's communication problem concerning the War on Islamism and finds things to be a tangled mess:

The old calculus was first the proverbial horse of defeating and vanquishing utterly the enemy; then the cart of showing magnanimity in rebuilding the country of a contrite loser. Only in that order would the Americans be willing to give millions to the former supporters of once murderous Nazis, Italian fascists, or imperial Japanese who had killed and maimed their sons.

In the Middle East, we reversed the sequence, on the idealistic -- and I think correct -- premise that the Afghan and Iraqi people were captive to their dictators, and that we wished to avoid an all-encompassing conflict along the lines of World War II. In other words, we trusted that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein explained the recent savagery of the Afghans and Iraqis, rather than the innate savagery of the Afghans and Iraqis themselves explaining the creation of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. The result of this confidence, despite the carnage of war, was that democracy was ushered in, the rogues were to be kept out, and peace was supposed to follow from a grateful, liberated people.

But why should it, when the hard hand of American war was not first completely felt -- nor the jihadists utterly vanquished and discredited and any who supported them? Unless there is some element of fear, or at least the suggestion of consequences to come for recalcitrance, why should an Iraqi cease his easy support of Hezbollah, his anti-Semitism, or his cheap support for Islamist terrorists around the block? It would be as if we expected to end slavery outright in the Confederacy around 1862, or rid Germany of Nazis around 1943, or persuade the Japanese fascists to vote in 1944 -- before such ideologies have been utterly defeated and the steep price for those who tolerated them paid in full.

I still think we were right to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, and I continue to support our missions there. My objections, such as they are, concern our failure to hammer the enemy into abject defeat and shame. I believe that the ordinary Iraqi or Afghan is fully capable of living in a democratic system, but I'm also a realist when it comes to human nature. In the Islamic culture of shame and honor we Westerners haven't yet earned enough honor to command their respect, nor have we shamed the Islamists enough to discredit them in the eyes of their coreligionists. That has to change. Soon.

barbed wireSo what Mr. Bush is faced with is this nearly impossible paradox of half war/half peace: at a time when most are getting fed up with abhorrent Middle Eastern jihadists who blow up, hijack, and behead in the name of their religion, he is attempting to convince the same American public and the Western world at large to spend their blood and treasure to help Muslim Afghans, Iraqis, and now Lebanese, who heretofore -- whether out of shared anti-Americanism or psychological satisfaction in seeing the overdog take a hit -- have not been much eager to separate themselves from the rhetoric of radical Islam.

In any case, the administration's problem is not really its (sound) strategy, nor its increasingly improved implementation that we see in Baghdad, but simply an American public that so far understandably cannot easily differentiate millions of brave Iraqis and Afghans, who risk their lives daily to hunt terrorists and ensure reform, from the Islamists of the Muslim Street who broadcast their primordial hatred for Israel and the United States incessantly.

President Bush's task is more difficult than untangling the barbed wire in the photo above. To date he has refused the most direct approach: cutting through the tangles and utterly destroying the whole mess. I suspect that he continues to have faith in Islamic culture's ability to change for the better without being completely humiliated first. Being an astute politician, he also probably realizes that most Americans are still unwilling to throw restraint to the winds and unleash total war ... so far.

I suspect that one more major Islamist attack will abruptly end America's patience, and our historical willingness to inflict breathtaking destruction will reassert itself. I'm nearly at that point already.

On the Right the politicking works out with cynicism and disgust: "These ungrateful and hateful people aren't worth the life of another American soldier or American dollar."

Yet the Bush idealism wins no points from the Left either. Both for partisan purposes, and due to the wages of multiculturalism that oppose any Western effort to bring to the other the good life that they themselves so eagerly embrace, Leftists still harp about no blood for oil and assorted conspiracies in lieu of legitimate analysis and criticism.

Only the far right thinks the effort's misspent. The center right still thinks it's worth it. The left is just plain delusional and operates in its own alternate reality without regard to facts.

What, then, is needed -- aside from crushing the jihadists and securing Afghanistan and Iraq -- is more articulation and explanation. The word "liberal" -- as in promoting liberal values abroad, and reminding the world of the traditions of liberal tolerance -- needs to be employed more often.

Some tough language is also helpful on occasion: any time the free democracies of Iraq or Afghanistan wish to vote to send American troops home, of course we will comply. Likewise, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon are under no compulsion to accept hated American aid or military help. And just as the American public needs reminding that millions of Middle Easterners are currently fighting jihadist terror in Afghanistan and Iraq -- we wish we could say the same about our "allies" in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- so too the Iraqi and Afghan governments should convey to the American people that their support is appreciated, and its continuance deemed vital.

Good luck with all that. Until these cultures see us as the strong horse, we're fighting a needlessly long battle.

How odd that the president must explain the pathologies of the Middle East to such a degree as to warn Americans of our mortal danger, but not to the point of excess so that we feel that there is no hope for such people. He must somehow suggest that jihadism could not imperil us were it not for the "moderates" who tolerate and appease it -- while this is the very same group that we feel duty-bound to offer an alternative other than theocracy or dictatorship. And he must offer a postwar plan of reconstruction to the citizens of the Middle East at a time when many of them do not feel that their romantic jihadists have ever really been defeated at all.

Even the eloquence of a Lincoln or Churchill would find all that difficult.

When dealing with barbarians, words fail indeed ... but total victory persuades. I almost pity the Islamists who succeed in any new major attack on American soil.

Almost.

Islamists nabbed in Ohio

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Can you say "soft target"? AJ Strata ponders the implications.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Questions, questions

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  1. If Israel could only crush Hezbollah by wrecking all of Lebanon's civilian infrastructure, would it still be worth doing?
  2. If a multinational force actually enters southern Lebanon to prevent further conflict, how can we be confident that it will actually attack any Hezbollah fighters moving into its "territory"?
  3. Why can't the American military join in the attack on Hezbollah? Is there anything of great importance to our national interests that we really stand to lose if we strike? Wouldn't the benefits of crushing Hezbollah far outweigh the liabilities?
  4. Would Islamists be deterred if America announced that any Islamist nuke attack on us would result in our destruction of the Kaaba? What about less severe deterrents?
  5. When will our political leaders admit that we're in a War on Islamism, not a "War on Terror"?
  6. Why are Islamist web sites and bulletin boards permitted to exist when America has thousands of hackers who would love to be paid to destroy them?
  7. When will America finally tire of playing diplomatic footisie at the U.N., and abandon that corrupt den of vipers for good?

Blogging over at Hot Air, Allah collects a morose assortment of down-in-the-mouth quotes from conservative hawks disappointed about Iraq. His own take:

Why the despair and why now? Because, I think, of Israel's predicament in Lebanon. Until last month, it could plausibly be argued that most problems in the war on terror (read: most problems in Iraq and Afghanistan) were the result of Bush's mismanagement. Which, for conservatives, is hugely depressing in one way but hugely comforting in another: if your big problem is personnel, the solution is simple enough. All in due time. But if your problem is strategic, that's not so easy. A lot of hawks, me included, have near-blind faith that Jewish genius and resilience will always carry Israel through when it's beset by its enemies, but even the invincible IDF doesn't seem to be making much headway against the jihad.

Add Yoni to the ranks of the Low Morale Brigade.

Look again at the cycle of jihad:

The cycle of jihad

The good guys appear to be neglecting the publicity, recruitment, and training efforts of our enemies. Plus, we're not serious about cutting off state support for jihad (Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia, I'm looking at you). The western world needs to stop worrying about offending the tender sensibilities of the Arab Street™. They're going to hate us more if we become weak and irresolute.

To hell with political correctness and diplomatic kabuki dances. We are in a war. We need to kill more of the enemy, disrupt his recruitment and publicity efforts, openly confront Syria militarily, spend billions to support and grow Iran's domestic opposition movement, and choke off Saudi money flowing to Islamist madrassas.

Update: Manny says "be of good cheer." Amen.

We're halfway there:

The Iraqi army took an important step forward Tuesday by marking the halfway point for division headquarters to take the lead for security operations throughout the country.

The 4th Iraqi Army Division assumed control of their area of responsibility, encompassing regions spanning three of Iraq�s northern provinces, Salahad Din, As Sulaymaniyah and At-Ta�mim provinces.

Its area of responsibility includes the cities of Tikrit, Kirkuk, Bayji and Samarra, as well as the major oil and electrical infrastructure in northern Iraq.

The 4th IA Division is the fifth of 10 Iraqi Army divisions to take control over Iraqi units in their assigned regions. In addition, there have been 25 brigades and 85 battalions assuming operational command and control to date.

Excellent news! Cutting and running now would be a fiasco of epic proportions. Remember this the next time you hear someone moaning about the "quagmire" in Iraq.

Yoni the Blogger relays the news that Israeli reservists who were once snipers in the USSR's Spetsnaz have been called up for deployment into Lebanon. These guys fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya, so I'd hate to be a Hezbollah fighter right about now.

Congrats to Bizzyblog for spotting more photo fraud from Lebanon, this time in the New York Times.

War as the Israeli soldier knows it

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One word: hell.

Israel hacks Hezbollah

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Yoni Tidi reports that Hezbollah's TV and radio broadcasts have been hacked by Israel. Why aren't we this smart about propaganda?

The Cycle of Jihad

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I don't know about you, but I'm getting frustrated with the way the West is fighting the War On Islamism. For a civilization that's in danger of annihilation, we sure aren't fighting with everything we've got. Something's got to change.

The ongoing propagandizing coverage of the Lebanese civilian deaths in Qana have really gotten under my skin this week, and I spent all night fuming and thinking. My typical gut reaction lately has been: "Screw the rest of the world's dainty reservations and P.C. whining. Let's take the gloves off and really hit the Islamists where it hurts." But where exactly is that? And what's the best way to hit them?

In his latest column, Dennis Prager stakes out a position that basically says: "To heck with world opinion." Tony Blankley replies: "World opinion does suck, but we can't ignore it completely." Meanwhile, Frank Gaffney questions the wisdom of trying to hamstring Israel in ways we'd never tolerate if applied to our own military. They're each right, and yet they haven't taken their thinking far enough. We can't just lash out in frustration at the whole screwed-up Muslim world; we've got to intelligently disrupt the Islamists' strategy if we hope to crush their will to fight.

I sketched out this rough diagram to help me frame my thoughts.

The cycle of jihad

This "cycle of jihad" shows what I think their overarching method looks like. To run smoothly, the cycle requires active funding and/or logistics support from one or more nations (represented by the cloud). The boxes outside the cloud indicate the two steps that don't require immediate state support to be successful. The whole thing feeds on itself.

To stop the global jihad we must either completely break a link in the cycle, severely weaken several links, or eliminate the support offered by sympathetic nation states. So what are we doing to disrupt the cycle of jihad, and is it enough to guarantee victory? That's what I'll be writing about in the next few days.

If anybody out there is familiar with things like 4th generation warfare (often called "netcentric warfare") and the concept of the OODA Loop, please chime in with your own blog posts or comments. I don't have all the answers, and I'd like to start a wide-ranging discussion on this. Toss out suggestions, criticism, anything that'll help chip away at this. As a wise man once said:

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. ... So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. ... He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hezbollah's Iwo Jima

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The American Thinker compares Hezbollah's strategy in Lebanon to Imperial Japan's strategy on Iwo Jima:

The pro-Iranian, Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization has turned a number of southern Lebanese hillsides and towns into fortified death-traps. It has spent the better part of the past six years since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon turning several hilltop towns into an Iwo Jima-like maze of fortified bunkers, spider holes, pill-boxes, sniper dens, fields of anti-tank mines and IEDs, and interconnected tunnels.

...

Over whatever time remains before the conflict is forced to end, the IDF will take apart the Hezbollah terrorist-guerrillas that made the ultimate error of remaining in fixed positions. It is Hezbollah that is stoked in the passions and delusions of over-confidence. If Hezbollah takes comfort from fighting in fixed positions, they need only brush up on Napoleon, who said "the army that remains in its forts is beaten." Or perhaps read up on how General Kuribayashi Tadamichi's Japanese force of 21,000 at Iwo Jima was reduced by the United States Marines to just over 120 POWs (an additional 900 wounded were captured).

I'm glad someone else notices the similarities here. I've been thinking along these lines for awhile now.

More Iwo-esque commentary:
Theodisy

Update: Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch.org thinks Hezbollah's on the ropes. Maybe so, if Israel stays focused on crushing the Hezbos where they sit, andif the IDF can do it fast enough to beat the unspoken deadline (defined as "the point when political pressure inevitably weakens the Bush Administration's willingness to delay a ceasefire").

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

If you want photographs proving that Hezbollah fights from within heavily-populated civilian areas, look no further than Australia's Herald Sun. Keep this in mind when you think of the tragedy at Qana, and never forget which side is evil.

Update: Want video proof? Fox News has it (hat tip: Mike's America).

Israel is squandering its opportunity

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International (and American) support for Israel's "air war only" strategy won't last long, especially after the Qana tragedy. It's long past time for the Israeli Army to invade Lebanon with overwhelming force and finish Hezbollah while the opportunity remains.

Update: AP says Israel has swung back toward the harsher end of the retaliation scale:

Israel's Security Cabinet approved widening the ground offensive Tuesday, a participant said, and rejected a cease-fire until an international force is in place in Lebanon. The participant, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said Israel's airstrikes would resume "in full force" after a 48-hour suspension expires in another day.

The ground forces will move deep into southern Lebanon to the Litani River, about 18 miles north of the border, and hold on to the territory for several weeks until a multinational force can deploy there, a senior Israeli government official said Tuesday.

That's better, but still not aggressive enough. Hezbollah will only stop fighting if it's utterly crushed and humiliated. No mercy, folks. War is hell.

Be wary of Hezbollah's propaganda

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WARNING: graphic images ahead.

By now you've heard about the Israeli attack in Qana that killed several children. There's more to the reporting of the story than you think, though. EU Referendum catches Hezbollah's grotesque propaganda games here and here. The mainstream media photographers on-scene in Qana played right along.

Update: More here.

Update 2: Michelle Malkin has a great round-up of past Islamist propaganda. Believe the MSM at your own risk.

Update 3: Rachel Neuwirth points out mainstream media complicity in Hezbollah's propaganda war (hat tip: Discerning Texan).

TigerHawk CardinalPark sees similarities between the Falklands War and Israel's current war to wipe out Hezbollah. Interesting parallels, and surprising. I never thought to compare the two.

Previous:
Hezbollah's Siegfried Line
Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa ... Lebanon?

Moral confusion on the Left

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Amanda Marcotte at the Pandagon blog objects to Israel's tactics in its war on Hezbollah, and laments the "absence" of a more peace-loving viewpoint in the media (and presumably among Americans in general):

The fear of the Wingnutteria whining has turned the mainstream media into the biggest bunch of cowards you ever saw; meanwhile the right wing press is unafraid and this has made them less constrained on the subject of this war.

The mainstream media is most definitely not blindly backing Israel. Take for example CNN correspondent Nic Robertson's gullible participation in a Hezbollah propaganda stunt. No, the MSM is predominantly left-leaning and tends to support the "talk-talk-talk" strategy for warfighting, as advocated by liberals like UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland (who at least condemns Hezbollah, to his credit).

As for the right wing press (whatever that means beyond "Eeeeeevil Fox News") being "less constrained", I have to plead ignorance of exactly what she's complaining about. Is it that conservatives generally support Israel's right to strike back hard against Hezbollah and eliminate that terrorist organization for good? Or is some kook on the right advocating genocide? If so, I'll happily label him a kook of the first order.

The problem with that is when Israel does something so obviously odious as killing innocent civilians and holding them culpable for what an unsanctioned organization does, well, even just straightforward reporting is going to seem critical.

Doesn't the population of a country bear at least some responsibility for what the country does or what it allows to happen inside its borders? A goodly number of liberals seem to think so when the country in question is America. Otherwise why apologize at all?

The Lebanese government was elected by the Lebanese, and it shares some responsibility with the citizens in allowing Hezbollah to rocket Israeli civilians and kidnap Israeli soldiers inside Israel. I don't think it's unreasonable for Israel to hold all of the Lebanese people partly culpable for allowing Hezbollah to start a war. What is it that exempts Lebanese civilians from culpability for their government's behavior, while we're on the hook for America's policies?

And please remember that Hezbollah did start this war. Until this month Israel hasn't occupied a single square inch of Lebanon since 2000. Hezbollah doesn't want to end an occupation; it wants to eliminate Israel. If that doesn't make sense to you, then you're wilfully blind to reality and nothing can persuade you otherwise.

Redraw the borders?

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To reduce violence in the Middle East, Ralph Peters suggests redrawing the map along ethnic and religious lines.

In each case, this hypothetical redrawing of boundaries reflects ethnic affinities and religious communalism � in some cases, both. Of course, if we could wave a magic wand and amend the borders under discussion, we would certainly prefer to do so selectively. Yet, studying the revised map, in contrast to the map illustrating today's boundaries, offers some sense of the great wrongs borders drawn by Frenchmen and Englishmen in the 20th century did to a region struggling to emerge from the humiliations and defeats of the 19th century.

Correcting borders to reflect the will of the people may be impossible. For now. But given time � and the inevitable attendant bloodshed � new and natural borders will emerge. Babylon has fallen more than once.

Middle East map

Middle East map

We could actually do this if not for the existence of the U.N. (motto: "Obstructing peace and common sense since 1945!") and the west's infatuation with political correctness.

Hezbollah's Siegfried Line

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Doug Hanson of The American Thinker follows the IDF's fight to clear what he calls "Hezbollah's Siegfried Line" here and here. If you're unfamiliar with the comparison, just read a little history here.

Previous:
Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa ... Lebanon?

Ralph Peters laments Israel's missed opportunities, and urges its political leaders to get harsh and crush Hezbollah now ... before it's too late:

All Hezbollah has to do to achieve victory is not to lose completely. But for Israel to emerge the acknowledged winner, it has to shatter Hezbollah. Yet Israeli miscalculations have left Hezbollah alive and kicking.

Israel has to pull itself together now, to send in ground troops in sufficient numbers, with fierce resolve to do what must be done: Root out Hezbollah fighters and kill them. This means Israel will suffer painful casualties - more today than if the Israeli Defense Force had gone in full blast at this fight's beginning.

The situation is grave. A perceived Hezbollah win will be a massive victory for terror, as well as a triumph for Iran and Syria. And everybody loves a winner - especially in the Middle East, where Arabs and Persians have been losing so long.

Israel can't afford a Hezbollah win. America can't afford it. Civilization can't afford it. Yet it just might happen.

...

The mess Israel has made of its opportunity to smack down Hezbollah should be a wake-up call to the country's leadership. The IDF looks like a pathetic shadow of the bold military that Ariel Sharon led into Egypt three decades ago. The IDF's intelligence, targeting and planning were all deficient. Technology failed to vanquish flesh and blood. The myth of the IDF's invincibility just shattered.

If Israel can't turn this situation around quickly, the failure will be a turning point in its history. And not for the better.

Faster, please.

Here's a question I asked a week ago: "How long do you suppose we'll have to wait before Iran's favorite Iraqi troublemaker Muqtada al-Sadr starts making aggressive noises in an effort to distract U.S. forces in Iraq?"

According to Q and O, it looks like the answer is: "Not very long at all."

A senior member of Muqtada al-Sadr's Iraqi Shi'ite militia, the Mahdi Army, says the group is forming a squadron of up to 1,500 elite fighters to go to Lebanon.

The plan reflects the potential of the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah to strengthen radical elements in Iraq and neighboring countries and to draw other regional players into the Lebanon conflict.

"We are choosing the men right now," said Abu Mujtaba, who works in the loosely organized following of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "We are preparing the right men for the job."

The "right men for the job", huh? That must mean "men who want to be splattered by the IDF."

... and only then will Islamists think twice about attacking us.

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

Hezbollah in Michigan

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The ever-resourceful Debbie Schlussel continues to expose the activities of Hezbollah in Michigan. Yes, you read that right.

Update: She appeared on Neal Cavuto's show on Thursday, too.

*Updates below*

The more I hear in the news about the battle in southern Lebanon, the more I think back to World War II. I wonder if there are any significant similarities between: 1) Hezbollah's reliance on bunkers and tunnels, and 2) Japan's island-defense strategies between 1943-45?

In the Battle of Tarawa, the Japanese employed their early-WWII strategy of trying to stop the U.S. Marines at the water's edge. That strategy changed at the Battle of Peleliu to a more elastic defense geared toward drawing out the bloodshed and inflicting maximum casualties on the Marines. The Battle of Iwo Jima amplified that effect, and by the time the Battle of Okinawa really got going, the Japanese had refined defensive warfare into a bloody science of attrition.

Now I keep hearing news reports of surprisingly stiff Hezbollah resistance against Israeli incursions in southern Lebanon. On the plus side, Israel enjoys air superiority, and it has also effectively cut off the Hezbollah fighters from resupply and reinforcement, much like our Navy did to each Japanese-held island we chose to invade. Granted, this isn't a full-scale invasion (yet) and the defenders have reportedly chosen to build their bunkers in urban areas, so the parallels to our own WWII Pacific Campaign aren't that strong yet. But I wonder how this battle will develop, and if there might end up being more similarities to 1943-45 than we see so far. If the diplomatic busybodies "international community" actually sits still long enough to let this fight play out, I will be paying very close attention to how Israel ends up rooting out and killing these Islamist fanatics.

Here's hoping we end up with a decisive win for the West and a crushing, humiliating defeat for Islamism.

Update: Great reading on the Pacific War:

Utmost Savagery

Joseph Col Alexand...

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Goodbye, Darkness

William Manchester...

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Update: Even though it's a quote from a story by DEBKA (which is notoriously unreliable), how did I miss this?

Last week, Israel's army chiefs believed they had encountered Hizballah's primary war tactic -- Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare out of hundreds of small bunkers scattered across the country. This week had scarcely begun when a still more formidable impediment was discovered: Hizballah camouflage techniques borrowed from the Japanese in the 1945 Iwo Jima battle. To stop the rockets coming, Israeli special forces must continue to blow up the tunnels and also adopt the methods the US Army's methods for overcoming the Japanese dug in at Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands at the end of World War II. Without regard to losses, they stormed Japanese dug-in positions and camouflaged units, using flame throwers and gasoline to burn the foliage concealing the enemy ...

In the first ten days of the war, therefore, the Israeli air force bombed out empty Hizballah premises in South Beirut and Baalbek, but missed the moving woods and vegetation which concealed the rocket launchers -- which explains why the blitz continued notwithstanding heavy Israeli air force assaults on Hizballah's centers and strongholds.

I'll be watching the news for more reports like this to see if more reliable sources confirm it.

Victor Davis Hanson suspects that our Islamist foes are pushing the civilized West dangerously close to the point of no return:

Yet for all their threats, what the Islamists -- from Hezbollah in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley to the Iranian government in Tehran to the jihadists in Iraq's Sunni Triangle -- don't understand is that they are slowly pushing tired Westerners into a corner. If diplomacy, or aid, or support for democracy, or multiculturalism, or withdrawal from contested lands, does not satisfy radical Islamists, what would?

Perhaps nothing.

What then would be the new Western approach to terrorism? Hard and quick retaliation -- but without our past concern for nation-building, or offering a democratic alternative to theocracy and autocracy, or even worrying about whether other Muslims are unfairly lumped in with Islamists who operate freely in their midst.

Any new policy of retaliation -- in light both of Sept. 11 and the messy efforts to birth democracies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the West Bank -- would be something of an exasperated return to the old cruise-missile payback. Yet in the new world of Iranian nukes and Hezbollah missiles, the West would hit back with something far greater than a cruise missile.

If they are not careful, a Syria or Iran really will earn a conventional war -- not more futile diplomacy or limited responses to terrorism. And history shows that massive attacks from the air are something that the West does well.

I've been thinking along similar lines lately, myself.

Two Iran-related questions

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  1. How long do you suppose we'll have to wait before Iran's favorite Iraqi troublemaker Muqtada al-Sadr starts making aggressive noises in an effort to distract U.S. forces in Iraq?
  2. Other than lobbing missiles, how exactly is Iran going to back up Syria in a war with Israel? After all, there are around 150,000 Coalition troops standing in the way in Iraq. Look at the map. Are the mullahs dumb enough to try marching their troops across northern Iraq to bail out Syria?

Prepping the battlespace in Lebanon

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OPFOR observes that Israel is preparing the battlespace for a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. One of his readers concurs:

I am a faculty member with the US Army Command & General Staff College and your comments are the same ones we have been having with students.

More agreement from DefenseTech and Stratfor, and Mudville Gazette.

Hat tip: Power Line

Another two-front war

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Vinnie at The Jawa Report remarks on the idiocy of Hezbollah and Hamas, who have chosen to fight a two-front war.

For the geographically-challenged, check out this map ...

Middle East map

... excerpted from the fine collection at the University of Texas.

I'm no military strategist and I only served 9 years in the military, so take what I suggest with a pinch of salt. That said, Israel ought to capitalize on its capacity for speed, surprise, and violence of action in defeating its enemies. The principles of close-quarters battle could really make the difference for Israel on a tactical level.

Granted, Israel cannot maintain strategic surprise ("will they attack us?") but it still has tactical surprise ("where/when/how will they attack us?"). That is often more than enough, as in our own invasion of France in WWII. Israel's enemies are ill-equiped, poorly-trained, and cannot defend everything all the time. Israel also has fantastic intelligence resources to call upon that will help it exploit those weaknesses.

The Israeli Defense Force is well-versed in low-intensity urban combat, yet it also retains the ability for deep strikes into a neighboring enemy nation's territory. You can see that already in Lebanon if you look at how the Israeli Air Force continues to destroy bridges, roads, and runways, while the Navy blockades Lebanese ports. This denies Hezbollah the easy resupply they've enjoyed until now.

As for violence of action, does anyone seriously doubt that a nation that routinely targets terrorist leaders for assassination will suddenly lose its nerve when those same terrorist leaders hide behind corrupt Middle Eastern autocracies while lobbing missiles and kidnapping Israeli troops? I thought not.

After Israel eliminates the immediate threats in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, it should issue an ultimatum to Syria: "Immediately return all kidnapped Israeli troops, cease all support of Hezbollah and Hamas, turn over their leaders, and unconditionally repudiate terrorism in all its forms." Naturally, Syria will refuse.

At that point Israel should wreck Syria: destroy its military, decapitate its government, ruin its communications networks, and reduce its critical infrastructure to rubble. Israel can't afford to try an occupation. It hasn't the troops or the resources to pull it off. Just wreck the place, go home, and repeat as needed (Iran, are you listening?).

It'd be one heck of an object lesson for Islamists and their supporting regimes: attack Israel, and you live in darkness. They respect nothing except the will to use overwhelming power. I hope Israel wallops them hard.

Today in Iraq, we officially turned over security responsibility for Muthanna Province to the Iraqi government. Here's the CENTCOM press release that landed in my inbox:

When it comes to protecting its troops, Israel is deadly serious:

Israel last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed.

The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.

It came as Israeli military officials readied a second invasion force for a huge offensive into Gaza.

Hamas's Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding. [Ed: Good luck hiding, fellas.]

But last night's direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes. [Ed: When you democratically elect thugs, don't cry when things get ugly.]

...

Much of Gaza, including two main hospitals, was without power and running water as a UN aid chief warned that the 1.4 million residents of the strip were three days away from a humanitarian crisis. [Ed: That's what you get for putting Hamas in charge. Cause, meet Effect.]

...

Residents complain that sonic booms caused by Israeli jets traumatise children and that shelling confines families to their homes. [Ed: My heart bleeds for you. Really. Yup.]

...

Egypt and the neighbouring Arab states of Jordan and Lebanon fear a war between Israel and the Palestinians could lead to uprisings within their own borders, which house many Palestinian refugees. [Ed: Serves 'em right.]

The only thing that these Islamofascist thugs understand and respect is force. I say Israel ought to apply it. Hard.

Hat tip: VikingSpirit

The myth of harmless old poison gas

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As predicted, liberals have been busily downplaying the news that between 2003 and 2006 our troops in Iraq have found ~500 warheads containing chemical weapons. The typical response to the news goes something like "aw heck, they're old and degraded chemicals that pose no danger to anybody."

Not so fast, my unhinged eager leftist friends. Those of us who prefer thinking to emoting have answers for you.

Jim Geraghty's mustard gas smackdown of Alan Colmes got me thinking. How much would a batch of that nasty stuff degrade between being hidden after the First Gulf War and being unearthed this year? I read the passage of the UN letter quoted by Geraghty ...

Iraq declared that 550 shells filled with mustard had been "lost" shortly after the Gulf War. To date, no evidence of the missing munitions has been found. Iraq claimed that the chemical warfare agents filled into these weapons would be degraded a long time ago and, therefore, there would be no need for their accounting. However, a dozen mustard-filled shells were recovered at a former CW storage facility in the period 1997-1998. The chemical sampling of these munitions, in April 1998, revealed that the mustard was still of the highest quality. After seven years, the purity of mustard ranged between 94 and 97%. Thus, Iraq has to account for these munitions which would be ready for combat use. The resolution of this specific issue would also increase confidence in accepting Iraq�s other declarations on losses of chemical weapons which it has not been possible to verify.

... and then I ran some rough numbers.

Let's be as pessimistic as possible, giving the benefit of every doubt to our friends on the Bush-hating anti-war Left. Assume that the mustard gas started out in 1991 at 100% purity, and degraded to 94% in seven years. That's roughly 0.88% decay per year. Now assume there's an identical batch hidden somewhere else in Iraq, and it has continued to spoil at the same rate from 1991 until 2006. It would now be just under 88% pure.

I don't know about you, but I'm not eager to get a whiff of that stuff, nor to get any of it on my skin. A mere 12% decrease in toxicity isn't enough to bring the warm fuzzies back to my innards.

Here's some more nitty-gritty on mustard gas in case you're interested.

Now, let's dispense with the "harmless Sarin gas" myth. Sarin is a binary agent, meaning that it's made up of two different precursor chemicals. To deploy a binary nerve agent, you first mix the precursors and then scatter the resulting nasty gas around.

Storing a binary agent in its unitary (mixed) form doesn't make much sense because it's quite unstable and degrades quickly. The CIA has estimated that some unitary Sarin made by Iraq before and during the Iran/Iraq War had a shelf life measured in weeks.

The same CIA report indicates that Iraq solved that problem by both improving the purity of its Sarin precursors and storing the precursors separately to eliminate the degradation problem. This report says that binary munitions like Sarin will remain potent until they are destroyed by Coalition forces. Again giving the lefties the benefit of the doubt, let's assume that this is the Coalition of 1991, not the 2003 version. This would maximize the time available to let the hidden Sarin munitions degrade.

But wait a moment. That would only happen if the Iraqis stored it in unitary form ... which the report says they stopped doing. So we can presume that hidden Iraqi Sarin munitions would exist in binary form, and that means no degradation. Well, guess what's already turned up in roadside bombs used against our troops in Iraq? You guessed it: Sarin artillery shells in binary form.

Now look at the key points in the declassified report released by Senator Santorum and Representative Hoekstra:

� Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. [Emphasis added]

� Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq�s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.

� Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq cannot be ruled out.

� The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.

� The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.

� It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.

Remember: binary agents stored as unmixed precursors are engineered specifically for long-term storage with minimal care. Where the first key point above refers to "degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent", the logical way to read that phrase is with "degraded" referring to mustard agent and not referring to Sarin.

Again: unmixed Sarin does not degrade significantly if it's stored properly. Nothing in the declassified report suggests that the Iraqis stored Sarin in its unitary form, nor that they alsways stored Sarin precursors so poorly that the stuff ended up being mixed (and then degrading to useless toxicity). To the contrary, past experience shows that Iraq stored at least some of its Sarin in binary form, and that terrorists have already used binary munitions against us in at least one roadside bombing.

So much for "harmless Sarin."

You can find more detail on Sarin here, here, here, and here.

Report: WMDs found in Iraq

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This afternoon, Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Pete Hoekstra jointly announced that weapons of mass destruction have indeed been found in Iraq (in this case, poison gas). The announcement comes as a result of a just-declassified intelligence summary released today (available here in PDF format).

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Santorum this evening. Radio Blogger caught the audio and posted a transcript.

Information roundups in progress at:
Sister Toldjah
Captain's Quarters
Michelle Malkin
Austin Bay

Update (9:45 PM): Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times four days ago, John Burroughs asked the world to listen to Hans Blix's latest blatherings because ... wait for it ... "His call as chief U.N. weapons inspector prior to the invasion of Iraq for continued inspections instead of military action was vindicated by the later failure to find WMD." Too funny.

Update (6/22/06, 12:38 AM): Hugh Hewitt wonders why the Bush administration withheld this information for so long, and offers two possible explanations.

Abu Musab al-Kablooie

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al-Kablooie One GPS-guided JDAM bomb: $18,000

One F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter/bomber: $95,000,000

One Special Ops warrior with close air support experience: $35,000 - $60,000 (per year)

One atomized terrorist hero: priceless

Adios, Zarqawi. Burn in Hell.

Happy Dance

Honor the fallen

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Click the image below and read the citations with asterisks.

Uncommon Valor

When you find some quiet time this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to offer a prayer of thanks for the selfless service of Nate Bruckenthal.

On April 24th, 2004, Damage Controlman Third Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, USCG died from injuries sustained in the waters off Iraq in a suicide bombing attack by Islamic terrorists. He was the first Coast Guardsman to be killed in action since the Vietnam War. Petty Officer Bruckenthal left behind a wife, Pattie, and their only daughter, Harper (born seven months after her father's death).

From the web site of the Nathan Bruckenthal Memorial Trust:

Bret Stephens suggests a four-part strategy to break Iran's mullahs without launching a military strike:

  • Take the diplomatic offensive.
  • Target the regime's financial interests.
  • Support an independent labor movement.
  • Threaten Iran's gasoline supply.

The details have got me thinking beyond a crushing missile/air strike. Maybe it isn't 100% unavoidable?

Don't miss the reader responses, either.

Convicted 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui has been sentenced to life in prison. The creep had this to say:

Moussaoui, as he was led out of the courtroom after the 15-minute hearing, said: "America, you lost. I won." He clapped his hands as he was escorted away.

And you wonder why Osama bin Laden called America a "weak horse" and a "paper tiger"?

I looked over the casualty statistics kept by the Iraq Coalition Casualties site, and decided to whip up two quick charts. The stats I focused on were the American military deaths per month during Operation Iraqi Freedom between March '03 and March '06.

First, the raw numbers:

Deaths per month

Next, to better follow the trends, here are the trailing averages for 6 months and 12 months:

Deaths per month, trailing averages

I'll crunch more numbers if there's enough demand for it, but for now this will do. People will look at these figures through their own political lenses, so for once I'll refrain from immediately offering my conservative viewpoint. These are the numbers. Make of them what you will.

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FYI (if you're not a stats whiz) ...

6-month trailing average: the average for the most recent six months.

12-month trailing average: the average for the most recent twelve months.

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August 2006 update: revised figures

Cliff May has some direct questions for SecDef Rumsfeld's critics:

The question is not whether Donald Rumsfeld should resign. The question is not even who should replace him. The question is: What goals would a new Secretary of Defense set, and what strategies would he implement to achieve them?

If Rumsfeld's critics believe America's military has met its match on the battlefields of Iraq, they should say so forthrightly. But they should talk, too, about the ramifications of an American defeat in the heart of the Arab Middle East.

...

A separate question � one well worth asking � is whether a Pentagon reshaped by Rumsfeld will be all that it can be; whether it will be capable of employing organized violence more effectively than America's adversaries (which is, after all, the mission).

...

Retired generals should be welcomed into the debate on military transformation. But they can't make much of a contribution until and unless they start asking the right questions.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Build the wall first

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Cox & Forkum cartoon

I've been keeping quiet on the illegal immigration debate, because I know I'm likely to get hot under the collar and write something I'll regret later. Both of my parents are naturalized citizens, as are my uncles and aunts, and as were my grandparents. As a child of legal immigrants, I'm quite anti-illegal-alien in my outlook. That's why I've been biting my tongue. However, I'm also a veteran, and national security is my number one priority. Since the Senate has crafted a disastrous "compromise" on illegal immigration today, there's one thing I simply must put on the record now: America needs to build a wall along the entire Mexican border, and we need to do it as soon as possible.

I approach the problem as a retired Coast Guardsman. The massive influx of illegals is like seawater flooding a ship through a hole in the hull. The top priority is to stop the flooding. Pumping the water out can wait. Drying out the wet spaces belowdecks can wait. Upgrading to a thicker hull can wait. Plug the hole first. Deal with the results afterward.

This is a national security issue, not a race issue or an economic issue. This wouldn't be a "Berlin Wall"; our wall would keep enemies out, not oppressed citizens in. Our border with Mexico is our giant back door, and it's hanging wide open. Locking the front door and putting bars on the windows makes no sense if we leave the back door open. Islamists can slip into our Southwest as easily as anybody else can, and they aren't looking for jobs. No "virtual wall" will do. We need a long, high physical barrier like the one Israel built. Israel's wall drastically reduced the number of terrorist attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, and ours would make it much harder for terrorists to perpetrate a new Beslan massacre in Arizona.

I understand that making our border into a barrier will upset the Mexican government, but I care more about our national security than I care about keeping the Mexicans happy. I understand that illegal immigrants will try to find other ways into the country. Fine; we'll plug those gaps when we find them. We might want to build another wall along some or all of our border with Canada, too, and I'm willing to start near Detroit. But our top priority must be to build a long, high wall between us and Mexico. Every other immigration issue can wait.

Cox & Forkum cartoon

There, I said it.

Update: Hugh Hewitt knows what's most important, too.

Laura Ingraham thumps James Carville

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It's always fun to watch James Carville come out on the losing end of a collision with facts. This time, Laura Ingraham administers the thrashing when the Today Show's David Gregory quizzes Carville and Ingraham about the Bush Administration's honesty on the war in Iraq.

It's time for cyberwar

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I've read through the National Security Strategy for 2006 released last Friday by the White House, and overall it's a hardheaded and realistic approach to dealing with current and future enemies. However, I think they missed something: aggressively conducting cyber warfare against jihadi web sites and bulletin boards.

For years now it's been common knowledge (even in the mainstream media) that the Islamists use web sites and online bulletin boards to coordinate their efforts and recruit new adherents to their cause. They also use encrypted e-mail to transmit commands, coordinate their finances and handle logistics. The jihadis expertly manipulate the media into broadcasting their calls to jihad, their videotaped bombings, and worst of all the beheading of hostages.

Encouraging words, but where's the follow-up?

Continuing a theme he's advanced since 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld noted last month:

We are fighting a battle where the survival of our free way of life is at stake. And the center of gravity of that struggle is not just on the battlefield. It is a test of wills and it will be won or lost with our public and the publics of free nations across the globe. We will need to do all we can to attract supporters to our efforts, to correct the lies being told which so damage our country, and shatter the appeal of the enemy. [emphasis added]

My first reaction to the speech was, "Great! Let's start taking down their websites and bulletin boards and e-mail servers." Based on Secretary Rumsfeld's comments, I figured that there'd be something along those lines in today's new National Security Strategy ... but I don't see it in there.

4/4/2007 Update: Is the behemoth finally waking up? Maybe.

The U.S. Army has finally gotten around to releasing the treasure trove of documents seized from the Saddam Hussein regime and the Taliban during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. You can find them here. There's bound to be some truly stunning information buried in there.

How's your Arabic?

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Updated National Security Strategy

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The White House has released The National Security Strategy for 2006. Pre-emptive war is still a cornerstone, thank God. Read it for yourself; don't let other people tell you what's in it.

The myths of Iraq

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If you're wondering whether the mainstream media has yet begun to report accurately on conditions in Iraq, here's more proof that they haven't.

Eyewitness to tension in Baghdad

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Terrorists dressed as police bombed the Askariya shrine (a major Shi'ite mosque) in the Iraqi city of Samarra today. If you're looking for on-the-ground updates from Baghdad on the reaction to the bombing, go to Iraq The Model.

God willing, this won't degenerate into civil war.

More analysis:
Bill Roggio thinks al-Qaeda has miscalculated again.

Yeah. What he said. Wish I'd thought of it first.

Do you remember that earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described our War on Terror as not just a conventional military conflict, but also as a war of wills? With that in mind, consider this list of principles of politically-correct leftism:

  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West's history of racism and colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But 'oppressed' people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist's point of view, and make concessions.

It all sounds familiar to anybody who's had to sit through a typical lefty professor's rambling political rants, or to anybody who reads The New York Times.

A blogger named Eric S. Raymond came up with this particular list, and he gives a name to the ideology it forms: "suicidalism." He argues in a few recent posts that we in the West have swallowed this weak-willed worldview hook, line, and sinker.

In a fascinating post, Raymond cuts through the fog and diagnoses our society's problem:

Mark Steyn's latest column on Iraq points out the blind insanity of the Democratic Party's cut-and-run "war strategy." Some good bits:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, came out with a big statement on Iraq last week. Did you hear about it? Probably not. Everyone was still raving about his Democrat colleague, Rep. Jack Murtha, whose carefully nuanced position on Iraq is: We're all doomed unless we pull out by next Tuesday! (I quote from memory.)

...

It must be awful lonely being Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Party these days. Every time he switches on the news there's John Kerry sonorously droning out his latest pretzel of a position: Insofar as I understand it, he's not calling for a firm 100 percent fixed date of withdrawal -- like, say, Feb. 4, 2 p.m.; meet at Baghdad bus station with two pieces of carry-on. Don't worry, it's not like flying coach on TWA, you'd be able to change the date without paying a surcharge. But Kerry drones that we need to "set benchmarks" for the "transfer of authority." Actually, the administration's been doing that for two years -- setting dates for the return of sovereignty, for electing a national assembly, for approving a constitution, etc, and meeting all of them. And all during those same two years Kerry and his fellow Democrats have huffed that these dates are far too premature, the Iraqis aren't in a position to take over, hold an election, whatever. The Defeaticrats were against the benchmarks before they were for them.

These sad hollow men may yet get their way -- which is to say they may succeed in persuading the American people that a remarkable victory in the Middle East is in fact a humiliating defeat. ... In a week's time, Iraqis will participate in the most open political contest in the history of the Middle East. They're building the freest society in the region, and the only truly federal system. In three-quarters of the country, life has never been better. There's an economic boom in the Shia south and a tourist boom in the Kurdish north, and, while the only thing going boom in the Sunni Triangle are the suicide bombers, there were fewer of those in November than in the previous seven months.

...

So Bush has chosen to embark on a project every other great power of the last half-millennium has shrunk from: the transformation of the Middle East. You can argue the merits of that, but once it's underway it's preposterous to suggest we need to have it all wrapped up by Jan. 24.

Read Steyn's whole column, then give Good News From The Front a look. And you might want to revisit President Bush's speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, too.

Don't get down about the war. We are winning.

No more underwater jihadis

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Let's say you happen to be an intrepid Warrior of Allah™, and you've been thinking of putting your scuba training to good use by blowing up infidel port facilities. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but the U.S. Coast Guard is ready to cut your dogpaddling jihad short. Witness the Underwater Port Security System.

More anti-terror raids in Cleveland

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This past Saturday, the feds raided a mosque and a CPA's office here in Cleveland:

Good news from Afghanistan, Part 9

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Remember that other country we liberated? The one that disappeared from the media's radar after a successful election? It's still there, and Chrenkoff's got the latest good news.

As the old riddle goes, if a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? Or more importantly, if a country like Afghanistan is getting back on its feet and there's no one to report it, does it actually happen? As far as the people of Afghanistan are concerned, thankfully yes; as far as the rest of the world, all too often the answer is no. That's why it's so important that the stories of Afghans - and those who are helping them - be told.

Bravo, Afghans.

Ordinary Iraqis thrash terrorists

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A gang of Baathist/Islamist thugs tried to punish the citizens of Al Mudiryiah for voting in Sunday's election.

The Clint Squint

You picked the wrong doggone village, fellas. The final score? Villagers: 5, Terrorists: 0. Nice shootin', folks.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Join the Toy Jihad!

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Special Ops CodyMatt Heidt is right. The jihadis in Iraq are getting desperate for any kind of success. But now they've really begun to circle the drain; they've begun making hostage videos of toy soldiers.

razanne.jpgDo the Jihadi Joe action figures who took John Adam "Special Ops Cody" hostage get 72 Barbie dolls if they die for Allah? Silly me, I meant 72 Razanne dolls (see photo to right), not the blonde-haired Western she-devils.

Of course, you can just take the mercenary's shortcut ... for $644.40 you can buy 72 Razannes and have Paradise on Earth (after about 7 business days for shipping and handling). But the company doesn't ship to Belarus, Indonesia, Liberia, Pakistan, Nigeria, or Romania ... so if you're plotting Toy Jihad© there, you'll just have to blow your plastic self up at a Barbie Fashion Show Mall.

Speaking of ridiculous jihadis (yes, yes, I know it's redundant), do you remember Evil Bert appearing with Osama?

Evil Bert

Click on the unaltered (I swear!) picture below for all the background info.

Your Sesame Streets will run with the blood of infidels!

Too funny. I sense a photoshopping contest approaching ...

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UPDATE: Save Elmo!

UPDATE 2: When will it end? Oh, the humanity ...

UPDATE 3: At least we caught Osama, so we've got that goin' for us. Which is nice.

UPDATE 4: The blogosphere gutted this farce in short order. I love this hobby.

UPDATE 5: The geniuses at Democratic Underground took the bait ... hook, line, and sinker.

Attention, Iraq War critics!

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Iraqi quagmire, my foot. The terrorists and naysayers have gotten way too much attention. Here's a reply they deserve.

Iraq's George Washington

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Citizen Z thinks he's identified the "George Washington" of Iraq's brand-new democracy:

How lucky are we, and the Iraqi people, that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is who he is? Consider:
  1. He's the number one religious leader in Iraq.
  2. His followers comprise the 60% Shi'a majority there.
  3. He doesn't want to run the country himself.
  4. He believes in keeping the government separate from the religious order.
  5. He doesn't want to fight a war with the Sunnis.
  6. He believes Iraq's leaders should be elected and he lent his own credibility to the cause of getting out the vote.

Take away any of these characteristics and we could be facing a very different situation in Iraq. So I ask again: How lucky is that? It's on the order of blessed, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, Israpundit has an opinion on "insurgents" and leftists, and links to an NYT article touching on Sistani's surprising forebearance to date.

I'll grant that Sistani's so far been remarkably democratic, but that's about all I'll grant. Personally, I'll defer giving Washingtonian praise to anybody in Iraq until they've got a stable constitutional republic over there. I think they've got a very good shot at it, mind you, and I still support our mission there. I'm just not ready to count chickens yet.

Iraq election coverage

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Friends of Democracy will be rounding up news of the election in Iraq on Sunday. Click on the banner below to get up to speed.

Iraq election news

This post will stay at the top o' the blog through early Sunday evening.

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UPDATE: Give Live in Baghdad a look, too. It's a blog run by Ayad Rahim, a Clevelander who happens to be of Iraqi descent. He's back in Baghdad as of Friday to cover the election.

Bigger Army and Marine Corps needed?

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The Weekly Standard just published a bipartisan open letter urging an increase in the Army and Marine Corps. An excerpt:

The United States military is too small for the responsibilities we are asking it to assume. Those responsibilities are real and important. They are not going away. The United States will not and should not become less engaged in the world in the years to come. But our national security, global peace and stability, and the defense and promotion of freedom in the post-9/11 world require a larger military force than we have today. The administration has unfortunately resisted increasing our ground forces to the size needed to meet today's (and tomorrow's) missions and challenges.

So we write to ask you and your colleagues in the legislative branch to take the steps necessary to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years. There is abundant evidence that the demands of the ongoing missions in the greater Middle East, along with our continuing defense and alliance commitments elsewhere in the world, are close to exhausting current U.S. ground forces. For example, just late last month, Lieutenant General James Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, reported that "overuse" in Iraq and Afghanistan could be
leading to a "broken force." Yet after almost two years in Iraq and almost three years in Afghanistan, it should be evident that our engagement in the greater Middle East is truly, in Condoleezza Rice's term, a "generational commitment." The only way to fulfill the military aspect of this commitment is by increasing the size of the force available to our civilian leadership.

The administration has been reluctant to adapt to this new reality. We understand the dangers of continued federal deficits, and the fiscal difficulty of increasing the number of troops. But the defense of the United States is the first priority of the government. This nation can afford a robust defense posture along with a strong fiscal posture. And we can afford both the necessary number of ground troops and what is needed for transformation of the military.

In sum: We can afford the military we need. As a nation, we are spending a smaller percentage of our GDP on the military than at any time during the Cold War. We do not propose returning to a Cold War-size or shape force structure. We do insist that we act responsibly to create the military we need to fight the war on terror and fulfill our other responsibilities around the world.

Makes sense to me. But hey, what do I know? I was in the Coast Guard.

Passenger jets and missiles don't mix

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Yesterday, we heard about Nicaragua's problems with maintaining control of its shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. Today as I was driving, I heard on WTAM that several communities near Hopkins Airport in Cleveland have complained so bitterly about jet noise that the government has responded with a web site ... where you can track passenger jets. That's right. According to WTAM, you can log on to a web site and make sure passenger jets are at their designated altitudes and in their correct flight corridors.

Now, assuming I heard the radio report correctly, am I the only one who sees a problem here? We've potentially got missing SA-7 surface-to-air missiles floating around on the black market, a new web site reveals location and altitude information for air traffic around a major international airport, and just up the road in the metro Detroit area there's a very large community of Muslims. Heck, we have our own home-grown terrorist fundraiser here in town (and don't tell me he's alone).

Hello? Is anybody home at the Department of Homeland Security?

I'll keep looking for a link to the aircraft tracking web site, which I've not found yet. Boy, I hope I'm mistaken.

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UPDATE (12:02 PM): I just got off the phone with WTAM's news room. I've got good news and I've got bad news. The good news: I heard wrong ... there is no jet tracking web site. The bad news: Hopkins Airport is indeed putting such a web site together (according to WTAM). I've already left phone messages with Marty Flask, the Security Director at Hopkins, and with Laura Farmer (position unknown ... I got her number from the Media Relations Manager, Pat Smith, who didn't answer my question about the web site).

UPDATE (3:21 PM): Andrew Cochran of The Counterterrorism Blog just let me know that the Department of Defense has been chasing down Nicaraguan SAMs for two years already, which wasn't in the original story. That's reassuring, since I suppose that if the terrorists had a workable SAM they'd have used it somewhere by now (in Iraq or Afghanistan if not in America). The idea of the jet-tracking web site still sounds foolhardy, though.

UPDATE (9:16 PM): Just to clear up what might otherwise be murky in my hurried post, the government entity involved here is the airport itself, which is owned and run by the City of Cleveland (except security of course, which falls under the TSA). So far as I can determine, this web site idea is not a state or federal one. The feds ought to take notice of this, in my opinion, if it truly will allow detailed jet tracking online.

UPDATE (9:30 PM): Jeff Quinton has thoughts on a similar-sounding system he's seen before, and I sure hope what Hopkins has got planned is no more detailed than that.

Michelle Malkin asks a great question about Social Security and Homeland Security.

Green card given to 9/11 victim ... in 2005

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Remember when the INS sent visas to two of the dead 9/11 hijackers? Well, the idiots in the federal government have outdone themselves. On January 15th, 2005 the Department of Homeland Security finally got around to issuing a green card to Mr. Eugueni Kniazev. He won't be coming in to pick up his card ... because he died in the 9/11 attacks.

Michelle Malkin has all the details. Unbelievable.

So they say they "support the troops"?

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Every time I argue with some liberal who whines about the war in Iraq, they always feel compelled to mouth platitudes about supporting the troops no matter what. But after hundreds of incidents like this one, I have a reply.

Bull.

I just created my own support-the-troops bumper sticker, which you can have for yourself by clicking on the image below.

Support the troops

Buy two and give one to a liberal relative or friend.

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UPDATE: I knew it would hit a nerve. Check the comments here.

Dirty bomb in Boston?

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Get everything you need to know about the possible dirty bomb threat in Boston at The Counterterrorism Blog.

Hat tip: Powerpundit

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UPDATE: Michelle Malkin's all over it ... especially the illegal immigration angle.

Could this be a head fake? I mean, are the terrorists drawing our attention to Boston while the real target is the Inauguration? Or are they hoping to stretch our security resources thin by forcing us to concentrate on two major cities ... so they can hit a third? Just speculating.

Good News From Iraq, Part Nineteen

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Arthur Chrenkoff isn't being paid by the Bush Administration to round up good news from Iraq ... but he should be.

Eyewitness account of terror attack?

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The Daily Demarche has an apparent eyewitness' account of December's terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia:

Look, Mommy! An Air Marshal!

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Michelle Malkin has more on the ridiculous dress code imposed on undercover Federal Air Marshals. For background, read this.

Don't wear a sport coat when you fly

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Last week Michelle Malkin wrote a column about the Federal Air Marshal dress code, which has the effect of slapping a "kill me" sign on every agent's back:

Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL.

That means collared shirts and sports coats -- even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando.

Today she follows up, because Mr. Quinn's been squealing "foul". He doesn't know who he's messing with. Here are excerpts, but you'll want to read the whole thing to see the documents and e-mails from Air Marshals who back up Malkin's accusations:

Last week, I wrote a column on the idiotic dress code policy instituted by Thomas Quinn, head of the Federal Air Marshals Service. Quinn promptly dispatched his flack, David M. Adams, to the cable networks this week to accuse Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson and me of spreading "patently false" reports and "misinformation."

Can you spell C-Y-A?

In his appearances on both MSNBC and FOX News, Adams denied that a dress code exists ("hype," he sniffed; "totally wrong," he decried)...and then confirmed that the policy does in fact exist (marshals must "dress professionally"). Adams straight-facedly maintained that the code gives marshals "flexibility."

...

Several times during the past week, I have asked Adams to tell me specifically what I got wrong in my column. In a brief conversation with me at the FOX News studio last night, he attacked a watchdog group cited in my column because it is run by an air marshal. Someone in the know. Someone brave enough to speak out and defy the Quinn regime. Someone whose job is protecting the public, not protecting his boss.

Adams dismisses the marshals who object to Quinn's dress code and his other dangerous policies as a "small minority." So, why aren't more speaking out? Gee. Hmmm. Golly. Could it be because Quinn pulls witch-hunt stunts like this against dissenting employees?

Given the climate, it's remarkable that so many marshals have spoken out. I've received scores of e-mails from current and former marshals in support of my column. Unlike these truth-tellers, I cannot be fired by the government for sharing their thoughts. I am removing their e-mail addresses and other identifying data, but otherwise am reprinting their letters as I received them.

The e-mails will anger anybody who's serious about homeland security. Don't miss them.

There's more at Captain's Quarters, where Captain Ed voices the same thought that occurred to me when I first read Malkin's column: as word of this gets out, fewer civilians will wear clothes that match the Air Marshal dress code, which will make the "undercover" Air Marshals even more obvious to hijackers.

I'll close with a verbatim quote from Michelle's post.

"For those who want to take additional action, it might be worth dropping an e-mail to Rep. Howard Coble (howard.coble@mail.house.gov). He is the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees homeland security."

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UPDATE: More from Audrey Hudson in an article on Air Marshals dodging the "suit Nazis." Thanks, Michelle, for the tip.

UPDATE 2: More dress code idiocy.

Chaplain in Iraq needs encouragement

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A chaplain in Mosul, Iraq was in the thick of the recent attacks there that killed several of our soldiers. Here's an excerpt of his thoughts:

I found Betty on a stretcher being tended by nurses. I introduced myself and held her hand. She looked up at me and said, "Chaplain, am I going to be alright?" I said that she was despite the fact that I could see she had a long road to recovery ahead of her. Most of her hair had been singed off. Her face was burnt fairly badly, although it didn't look like the kind of burns that will scar. What I do know is that it was painful enough to hurt just by being in the sun. I prayed with Betty and moved on.

...

After a few tense moments people began to move around again and the business of patching bodies and healing minds continued in earnest. As I stood talking with some other chaplain, an officer approached and not seeing us, yelled, "Is there a chaplain around here?" I turned and asked what I could do. He spoke to us and said that another patient had just been moved to the "expectant" list and would one of us come pray for him. I walked in and found him lying on the bed with a tube in his throat, and no signs of consciousness. There were two nurses tending to him in his final moments. One had a clipboard so I assumed she'd have the information I wanted. I turned to her and asked if she knew his name. Without hesitation the other nurse, with no papers, blurted out his first, middle, and last name. She had obviously taken this one personally. I'll call him Wayne. I placed my hand on his head and light stroked his dark hair. Immediately my mind went to my Grandpa's funeral when I touched his soft grey hair for the last time. And for the second time in as many hours I prayed wondering if it would do any good, but knowing that God is faithful and can do more than I even imagine. When I finished I looked up at the nurse who had known his name. She looked composed but struggling to stay so. I asked, "Are you OK?" and she broke down. I put my arm around her to comfort and encourage her. She said, "I was fine until you asked!" Then she explained that this was the third patient to die on her that day.

...

As SGT Crawford and I walked away at the end of the day I saw another chaplain and a soldier standing among the silent rows of black body bags. The soldier wanted to see his friend one more time. We slowly and as respectfully as possible unzipped the bag to reveal the face of a very young Private First Class. His friend stared for a few seconds then turned away and began to cry.

The last count was 25 dead, and around 45 wounded. Nevertheless, Our cause is just and God is in control even when the crap is a yard deep. I'm where God wants me and wouldn't change that for anything, even if it means death. After all, "to die is gain".

Read the whole thing, and leave an encouraging comment for him and his flock.

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

Good News from Iraq, Part Seventeen

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Arthur Chrenkoff brings you his seventeeth installment of his trademark good news round-up from a place the mainstream media still tries to portray as a hopeless quagmire.

Don't believe their hype:

Even the little things matter

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Ever wondered what a simple gift given in kindness can do? One teddy bear given to a little Iraqi girl saved an American patrol.

Also covered at Marine Corps Moms.

Pearl Harbor Day in perspective

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There's a pithy summary of our relations with Japan since December 7, 1941 posted at Drink This. It's funny how it works out that way ...

Good news from Iraq, Part 16

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As the Iraqi election approaches, bet on the terrorists lashing out in desperate spasms of violence as they see their doom approaching. When the mainstream media begins wailing about quagmires and bodybags, come back to Arthur Chrenkoff's Good News In Iraq series for a reality check.

Remember, today's MSM would have screamed about the Battle of Okinawa right up until V-J Day.

The War in Iraq: the comic book?

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Power Line reports that true stories from the War in Iraq are soon to appear in the pages of Marvel Comics, as penned by Karl Zinsmeister (an excellent author). No shock there, since DC Comics was always the more liberal of the two companies.

Fallujah terrorists in the crosshairs

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TigerHawk has video footage of an airstrike on a bunch of terrorists trying to surround our Marines in Fallujah. If youu're an overzealous Muj in the open, twin 500-pounders sure can ruin your day.

An e-mail from Fallujah

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Lt Col Dave Bellon sent another e-mail to his folks from Fallujah, dated November 19th. It relates some of what he saw in the battle there, and includes some photographs.

Immediately following 3/5's attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley's and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.

There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.

The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.

Read the whole thing at The Green Side.

As always, you can get your Fallujah data dump at The Adventures of Chester, Winds of Change, and here.

Mexico looking for friends in Iran

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Mexico's making diplomatic overtures to the mullahs of Iran, which has me thinking.

Mexico is ready for expanding ties with Iran on all areas, notably in economy and trade, the deputy of Mexico's foreign ministry for economic affairs, Irma Avriana said on Friday.

Speaking to the grand seminar on Irano-Mexican economic relations, Avriana said Iran was an important power in the Middle East and "we believe expanding ties with Iran will be in the interests of every country including Mexcio."

Every country, Ms. Avriana?

I'll be keeping an eye out for a subdued retraction from the quoted deputy or her superiors (they'll want to be low-key about it for obvious reasons). If Mexico backtracks, it'll likely be due to behind-the-scenes pressure from the Bush Administration. If there's no retraction, and no objection from Bush, then consider the following.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2003 we saw our southern border crossed by 266,469 loaded rail containers, 2,600,019 loaded trucks, 88,068,391 personal vehicles, 319,087 buses, and 48,663,773 pedestrians. Keep in mind that those statistics reflect the crossings we know about; there were lots more that we never detected.

Now picture a nuclear Iran that's cozy with Mexico, with thousands of Iranian nationals busily working and living there. How difficult do you suppose it might be for our understaffed Border Patrol to detect a suitcase nuke being smuggled over the border?

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Good news from Iraq, Part 15

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Enjoy Arthur Chrenkoff's fifteenth roundup of positive events from the supposed "quagmire" that the MSM would have you believe is going to swallow us all.

A thwarted assassination attempt?

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Was this incident in Chile ...

AFP/Martin Bernetti

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan

Stringer/Chile/Reuters

... a case of President Bush inadvertently scuttling an assassination attempt against him? A Power Line reader thinks so.

American crimes in Iraq

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Alas, the quagmire that is Iraq threatens to swallow arrogant America whole. Woe is us. We're doomed ... doomed, I say!

Happy to hear a Western kufr who's sorry about his government's foolish adventure in a sovreign country overseas? Rejoice, noble warriors. Now that you're here, my dear Yahoo and Google searchers from the Middle East and Europe (yes I noticed the spike), let's look at what's going on in Iraq.

First, Margaret Hassan. This British interloper claimed to be an aid worker for a charity, and claimed to be a Muslim. But everyone knows she was really a spy for the Mossad, the evil organization responsible for the September 11th attacks, Yasser Arafat's poisoning, and itchy wool sweaters (damned jooooooos). Margaret Hassan got what was coming to her. Praise be to Allah, here's the video.

An American correspondent captured footage of a U.S. Marine shooting someone in a mosque, which is now being broadcast all over the Arab media. What possible reason could there be for shooting a motionless man lying on the ground? Here's the video of the Marine committing unjustified murder, my Middle Eastern friends. Watch it and seethe.

There's also news that the U.S. Marine Corps has re-opened its investigation into the disappearance of Wassef Ali Hassoun, the Marine of Lebanese descent who disappeared earlier this year and appeared in a hostage video, only to return to his unit unharmed. Why a renewed investigation? Some of his personal effects, including his passport and identification card, turned up in Fallujah. Maybe he's a mujahideen in secret? We dhimmis-in-waiting can only hope.

Now, as news finally begins to get past the oppressive John Ashcroft and his Crusaders in the Zionist American Government, we see that the poor residents of Fallujah hate their American oppressors. But then, I'm not surprised, since the mujahideen who ruled Fallujah had made such bold steps toward reestablishing the caliphate. Anybody would be upset to lose such enlightened leaders.

It's now more clear than ever that America should have trusted the United Nations to administer international relations with Iraq. After all, France has been such a wonderful example of multilateral nuance ... we could learn so much from them.

Onward Muslim soldiers! Celebrate your impending victory by watching this raw footage of your jihad's success.

Marine shoots wounded(?) terrorist

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NBC correspondent Kevin Sites, embedded with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, videotaped a Marine on Saturday shooting an apparently wounded and unarmed terrorist in a Fallujah mosque.

On the video, as the camera moved into the mosque during the Saturday incident, a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead.

The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. The video shown by NBC and provided to the network pool was blacked out at that point and did not show the bullet hitting the man. But a rifle shot could be heard.

The blacked out portion of the video tape, provided later to Associated Press Television News and other members of the network pool, showed the bullet striking the man in the upper body, possibly the head. His blood splatters on the wall behind him and his body goes limp.

Sites reported a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.

Here's Sites' description.

The Marine in question stands accused of violating the rules of engagement, and has been removed from the front pending an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Before we all rush to judgment, let's calm down a little bit. This is a combat zone we're talking about, and a very dirty one at that. Keep in mind that our side isn't the bunch that decapitates hostages, targets civilians, fakes white flags, and lures the opposition in with fake wounded. There could very well be a satisfactory explanation tht mitigates what seems (at first glance) to be a war crime. Give the NCIS time.

Not everything, including this ...

Colonel Loan executes a VC prisoner

... is what it seems.

More blogging:
Winds of Change
Wizbang
Right On Red
Blogs of War
Armies of Liberation
InTheBullpen.com
Conservative Revolution
ISOU
Say Anything
The Shape of Days
PoliPundit
Ace of Spades
American Soldier

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UPDATE: More on treatment of enemy wounded in Fallujah, courtesy of The Command Post. Also, see cameraman Kevin Sites' blog.

Good news from Afghanistan, part six

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It may be Monday, but there's reason to smile: Arthur Chrenkoff just posted Part 6 of his Good News From Afghanistan series.

Now that's what I call a round-up

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Winds of Change has the best Battle of Fallujah round-up I've seen yet.

Tonight's last Fallujah round-up

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The Command Post brings you a handy comprehensive briefing on The Battle of Fallujah.

Enjoy Eternity, Yasser

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Arafat's dead. I'm glad. Sue me.

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UPDATE: Rusty diagnoses the cause of death.

Snapshot: Battle of Fallujah overview

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Carnivorous Conservative outdoes himself with this original graphic combining an open-source satellite photo with info from news reports. It's a very informative snapshot of the situation as of 8:30 PM, EST.

And people wonder why I'm a blog junkie?

Hat tip: Chester (who's liveblogging the battle as I suspected he would).

Liveblogging the Battle of Fallujah

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I'm just guessing here, but don't be surprised if Chester and Carnivorous Conservative team up again tonight to cover the latest (and hopefully last) developments in the Battle of Fallujah. They started at about this time last night, so stay tuned ...

Endgame?

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Look at this map from GlobalSecurity.org, then read The Belmont Club's description of what sounds like the endgame in Fallujah.

Remember the Highway of Death?

Fallujah, so far

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Winds of Change has a multi-week roundup on The Battle of Fallujah.

Battle of Fallujah round-up

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Our troops are advancing faster than we'd planned, killing more of the enemy than we'd expected, losing fewer of ours than we'd feared, and might be wrapping up Fallujah more swiftly than we'd dreamed.

To sift through what bits of information manage to leak out of Fallujah, read The Command Post.

If liveblogging with on-the-fly analysis is your bag, then The Adventures of Chester is your one-stop shop.

The Belmont Club pulls some loose threads together to make educated guesses about the unfolding battle.

Want maps and satellite photos? Two words: Carnivorous Conservative.

For your inspiration, Blackfive has video of Marines singing in Fallujah.

And please ... say a prayer today, OK? Froggy Ruminations has an appropriate one.

Kicking ass in Fallujah

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Wretchard at The Belmont Club collects some late-breaking accounts of our troops' exploits in Fallujah. Sounds like the average life expectancy of a Fallujah jihadi is pretty doggone short.

Hat tip: Power Line

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UPDATE: A NY Times article that's a must-read; be sure to check the multimedia links on the right (like this slideshow).

Earth to cops. Come in, cops.

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Why does it take an investigative reporter's questions to spur the FBI to investigate 100 missing propane cylinders?

Good news from Iraq, Part Fourteen

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Arthur Chrenkoff's signature series now has a fourteenth installment. As the media tries to portray Fallujah as a quagmire in the coming days, just remember that they're routinely wrong about the rest of the country too.

Dispatches from Fallujah

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The Green Side posts e-mails from a Marine just outside Fallujah who's girding up to go in. It's compelling reading, and I'll be stopping by frequently while following the coming battle in the news.

An excerpt:

Arafat assumes room temperature

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So says Israeli TV. Good riddance.

A message to islamists

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Too late for terror to derail Bush

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There's just one week to go. Lately there's been speculation about whether a terror attack might occur on American soil before Election Day, and if so, what effect it might have on the outcome of the presidential election. I've been mulling this over and I think it's too late for any attack here to hurt President Bush's chances. At this point an attack can only help him, and I think the terrorists know it. Let me explain.

Calm down

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Don't get so exercised about President Bush's supposed loss of 380 tons of explosives in Iraq. It's not what you think.

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UPDATE: I told you so. Nice try, liberal media.

UPDATE 2: And yet more.

UPDATE 3: And still more.

UPDATE 4: More on the 3rd Infantry Division.

UPDATE 5: This one's for you, Chet.

UPDATE 6: Russian involvement before the war.

UPDATE 7: Power Line delivers the coup de grâce.

Mark Steyn is sick of the election ...

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... but he's hoping he doesn't end up in a Canadian hospital.

Good news from Afghanistan, Part 5

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Arthur Chrenkoff keeps digging up good news from places you might be surprised to find it. He just posted his fifth installment on Afghanistan, so go read it.

Iraqi SWAT

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Backcountry Conservative has an exclusive look at an Iraqi SWAT recruiting poster, and links to a story about the Force Recon Marines training the Iraqis as very effective shock troops.

Iraqi SWAT

The Arabic script translates as "Iraqi SWAT." Go get 'em, fellas.

Good news from Iraq, Part 12

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It's Monday. Feeling kind of groggy? Sluggish? Annoyed? Sick of politics? Fed up with all the news of death, destruction, sorrow, misery and doom?

Arthur Chrenkoff makes a habit of scouring the news from around the world looking for the positive stories that don't make the front page or the six o'clock news. These stories paint a much clearer picture of reality. Iraq is not the mess you think it is. Read Good news from Iraq, Part 12, and be encouraged.

Good morning.

Following up yesterday's flurry of blogging on the bombing at the Taba Hilton Resort in Egypt, The Jawa Report has a Religion of Peace™ round-up and a collection of information on Kenneth Bigley, the British subject beheaded today by followers of guess-which-religion.

Stupid dies as stupid does

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Two young teenagers decide to play "rocket launcher." They rig up a tube and a gasoline-filled bottle to simulate a weapon. Light the fuse, run away, whee, look at the flash, come back again. Dumb enough if you're two kids in an Iowa trailer park risking severe burns, right?

The consequences are stiffer if you're in the Gaza Strip and there are armed Israeli drones patrolling overhead.

Hat tip: The Wandering Mind

Terrorists murder Israelis in the Sinai

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Terrorists have attacked and killed vacationing Israelis in the Egyptian Sinai in or near Taba with car bombs. So far, the front of the Hilton Taba Resort is gone. Stay on top of things with Google News.

UPDATES:

Three explosions in different resorts, and at least 30 dead 36 dead.

10 floors of the hotel have collapsed, and the injury count stands at 114 wounded 120 wounded.

Results of the two smaller blasts at campgrounds in Ras Shitan: 4 dead.

IsraelInsider reports Arabs dancing in the streets in Gaza and Cairo (please explain to me again what we get in exchange for billions in foreign aid to Egypt). Hat tip: LGF

Jamaa Al-Islamiya Al-Alamiya ("World Islamist Group") has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Hat tip: Digger

The Israeli military is on the scene and in command. On Egyptian soil. The IDF is also offering to evacuate any of the 12,000 - 15,000 Israelis in the Sinai who want to go home.

The tourists ignored a September 9th warning. I hope we heed ours.

Other coverage:
The Jawa Report
Backcountry Conservative
The Command Post
Little Green Footballs
Diggers Realm
In The Bullpen
Cardens.net
Darleen's Place

Poland's not leaving Iraq

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Stop hyperventilating, folks.

President Bush, it's long past time to treat our friends like friends. Ease visa restrictions on Poland.

Deterrence

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Bill Whittle of Eject! Eject! Eject! just posted a new essay called Deterrence (Part 1 and Part 2). He rarely posts, but when he puts pixel to screen the distilled thinking is a 200-proof double shot of Mental White Lightning.

Well worth the wait!

Good news from the Islamic world

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Arthur Chrenkoff, that relentlessly cheerful conservative from Down Under, brings us good news from an unlikely place.

Chrenkoff cheer continues

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Time for the eleventh booster shot in the battle to cure Pessimistic News Media-itis: Arthur Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq is back! Also see his most recent Good News from Afghanistan and All in the Same EU-Boat.

Muslim death cultists aren't subhuman

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Again with the beheadings.

Today the Islamists have sawn off the head of Jack Hensley of Marietta, Georgia. Yesterday they sawed off the head of Eugene Armstrong of Hillsdale, Michigan.

I'm not surprised. Hopefully we'll preserve our collective outrage over this, but I suspect this kind of thing's already becoming blasé in our jaded and media-saturated culture. Amid all the outrage expressed in the blogosphere, I've noticed a theme that needs correcting if we're going to keep the right perspective. My blogging brethren often express their fury with epithets like "animals" and "subhuman scum" when they refer to the evil men who saw off captives' heads in the name of a "merciful Allah." It's understandable to use those labels, but it's not right because it lets these evil muslims off the hook for their actions.

We feel anger when we find out about these slaughters precisely because these evil men are more than just animals. They're people, and that means they know better. When a cougar mauls a child, we hunt it down and kill it without much passion because it's a dumb animal with no sense of morality. When men shoot fleeing children in the back or saw off the heads of helpless civilians, they earn our undying enmity because they know they're committing evil.

For you left-leaning readers who feel uncomfortable with arguments based on right and wrong, think of this from a legal perspective. The Model Penal Code (which forms the basis for many states' criminal codes) breaks down most crimes into four categories, asking whether the perpetrator committed the crime negligently, recklessly, knowingly, or purposefully. If a man fires a gun through a flimsy backstop in his backyard and the bullet accidentally kills his neighbor's child, we'll likely prosecute him for negligent homicide. But we hold him less culpable than the man who recklessly fires his gun into the air and kills the child playing in her yard two streets over. Worse still is the man who fires his rifle over a crowd of children, knowing he'll probably kill someone. Worst of all is the man who fires a bullet into a fleeing child's back for the purpose of killing her. Even our legal system emphasizes degrees of culpability and the importance of the perpetrator's state of mind. It's about as close to moral condemnation as our relativistic legal system ever gets.

I think the moral argument and our inherent sense of right and wrong provides the strongest foundation for holding these evil muslims responsible as people who consciously choose to do evil. You might find the legal approach more comfortable. Either way, intentions count for a lot.

From now on, I'm going to try extra hard not to understate the depths that these men have sunk to. I'm not going to call them animals or subhuman scum; these muslim death cultists are evil, and that's why I'll smile when they die violent and painful deaths.

I hope my fellow bloggers will do the same.

Things are looking up

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The most famous recent blog series continues with Arthur Chrenkoff's Good news from Iraq, Part 10. The future of Iraq looks genuinely promising. Read, smile, and be encouraged.

We're still in the fight of our generation

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Three years ago today, the forces of Islamist terror killed thousands of our countrymen. Although the news is relatively quiet and we haven't suffered another major attack, we cannot afford complacency. Instead of just lighting a candle and feeling mopey all day, resolve to do something productive to help crush the enemies of civilization.

You may not wear a uniform today, but you can help. Millions of us together can accomplish great things.

Enemies in our midst

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The Diplomad thinks it's about time to end the charade about Islam being a "religion of peace", and apply to muslims some of the same restrictions that we once applied to communists, Nazis, and KKK members.

During the Cold War we faced such a foe, Soviet Communism; we adopted common sense measures at home to limit the ability of Communists to undermine our nation and way of life. Communists, for example, could not hold certain jobs in government or academia; they were denied security clearances; the CPUSA was treated as the agent of a hostile foreign power and was subject to penetration and surveillance by the FBI. Foreign Communists were ineligible for visas to the US or for citizenship. An infringement on the freedom of Communists? Yes. But given what we now all should know about the extent of Soviet espionage against the USA and the role that the CPUSA played in efforts to undermine America, those measures seem eminently reasonable. We have had similar restrictions on Fascists, Nazis, and KKK members. All justifiable.

Why do we have to treat Islam differently? Why do we all -- starting with the President -- have to recite the mantra of "Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace?" FLASH! Breaking News! It ain't so! Islam as practiced in nearly every country of the world is a totalitarian ideology that openly advocates intolerance, death for non-believers, and relegates women to the status of cattle.

...

Some Muslims, admittedly, have begun to realize -- ever so tepidly -- that their civilization is a sick one. That they must reform it from within and take it away from the hate-mongers. But how long should we wait? How long should we pretend that the problem is NOT Islam, when, in fact, it is, or at least the Islam that has gained currency in the modern world.

I agree with the Diplomad's assessment. We can't afford any more frivolity toward the enemy. Since Islam as a whole refuses to cut out its Islamist parasites, then we have an obligation to enact certain quarantines.

Let's start by closing our borders to everyone from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, and the Sudan. Follow up by rounding up non-refugees from those countries. Send them home, and watch the remaining refugees closely. Infiltrate the mosques, tap the phones of muslim charities and civic organizations, screen 15- to 45-year-old Middle Easterners flying on our airlines the way El Al does, give our pilots guns, prohibit muslims from holding security clearances, and prevent muslim clerics from joining the military or recuiting new jihadis from among the prison population.

That'd be a start. Does anybody want to offer other suggestions for initial measures?

Anticipating the next massacre

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Froggy Ruminations thinks our SWAT/FBI capabilities need some serious upgrades, and immunity from lawsuits to boot. Otherwise, says the former SEAL, we'll have a Beslan massacre here.

J. Tea of Wizbang thinks the Islamists will hit a U.S. hospital soon in an effort to outdo their own spectacular savagery in the Beslan school. Oh, Lord ... I hope he's wrong.

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UPDATE: Dave Kopel writes about Israel and Thailand arming their teachers.

Russian airline profiles Chechens

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Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping relays the news that two women from Chechnya didn't make their scheduled connecting flights:

Pilots of a Russian airline, KrasAir, refused to take off from the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheik when two Chechen women boarded and locked themselves in the lavatory.

The St. Petersburg times reports, however, that the two women simply went to the bathroom after boarding.

Two Chechen women are believed by Russian investigators to have bombed the two airliners downed last week within an hour of each other, killing hundreds. Another woman used the same kind hexogen explosive to carry out a suicide bombing in a Moscow subway last Tuesday.

Chechen women also blew themselves up with suicide bomb belts at the Beslan school massacre last week, and Chechen women wore suicide bomb belts when they took over a Moscow theater in 2002. Hmmm, might there be a pattern here?

America needs to start profiling. I'd rather face ACLU lawyers than a suicide bomber.

Roundup: Beslan school massacre

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I have nothing new or unique to offer on the Beslan school massacre perpetrated by Islamists in Russia, other than my condolences and prayers (for comfort to the victims and neverending torment for the terrorists). Instead, I'll just point you toward the best stuff I've found.

Michelle Malkin gathers key analyses of Russia's 9/11.

So does Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks we should brace ourselves for terror attacks in the months ahead.

Dave Kopel has a suggestion on how to prevent a Beslan massacre here.

Mark Steyn calls it right: No other word for it but slaughter.

Wretchard at The Belmont Club wonders just what Vladimir Putin's supposed to do, exactly?

Charles at Little Green Footballs points out a British muslim cleric who supports kidnapping women and children.

Getty Images has five pages of photographs. Blogs of War has a single photo of the aftermath.

The locals in Beslan caught one of the terrorists, lynched him, and tore him to pieces. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Ossetians seek revenge on the Chechens sometime around November 7th (see the end of this story).

Freefall in progress; crater imminent

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John Kerry's performance on national security (the only issue that matters this time 'round) always left a lot to be desired. Since the Democrat convention, those chickens have been coming home to roost, to the tune of an 18-point drop in the polls on that issue. Or would those be doves instead?

The new poll found that a slight majority of registered voters -- 53 percent -- say Bush is more qualified than Kerry to be commander in chief, while 43 percent say they prefer the Democratic nominee. At the end of the Democratic convention, Kerry enjoyed an eight-point advantage over Bush on that question.

Incidentally, the polls also indicate Bush leading Kerry in honesty and trustworthiness by six points.

Hat tip: Captain's Quarters

Far from a "quagmire"

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If the Republicans were smart, they'd pay Arthur Chrenkoff a king's ransom to compile his Good News From Iraq series for them.

Italian Journalist killed by jihadis?

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AP reports that kidnapped Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni has been murdered by his captors, who apparently mistook Silvio Berlusconi for Jose Zapatero.

An Arab television station said Friday it received a video showing the killing of Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, who was kidnapped by militants who threatened to execute him if Italy did not withdraw troops from Iraq.

The video received by Al-Jazeera appeared to show Baldoni's killing, but the station declined to broadcast the footage out of sensitivity to its viewers, said station spokesman Jihad Ballout.

...

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi condemned the reported killing, but said Italian troops would remain in Iraq.

Am I the only one who thinks Al-Jazeera's spokesman's name is appropriate, considering his employer's record of spreading propaganda masquerading as news?

Afghanistan's improving

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Arthur Chrenkoff sifts the news to bring us another basket of gems in Good news from Afghanistan, Part 3.

Good news from Iraq, Part 8

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Arthur Chrenkoff offers installment number eight in his Good News from Iraq series. Read it, and be encouraged.

DivestTerror.org

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Your pension system might be funding terrorist-sponsoring states. Frank Gaffney has spearheaded a new project called DivestTerror.org which uncovers companies and pension funds that do business with states that sponsor terrorism:

DivestTerror.org is a nationwide campaign aimed at some 400 public companies worldwide that are providing revenues, technology and moral cover to governments that sponsor terrorism. The primary objective of this campaign is to starve terrorists of essential funding and technical support. To illustrate how such a campaign can achieve this objective, please review our synopsis of the South Africa Model of the 1980's that succeeded in ending apartheid.

DivestTerror.org envisions using financial pressure to achieve three types of divestment: 1) Forcing countries that sponsor terror to divest themselves of the material, logistical, intelligence and other support they give enemies of this country; 2) compelling companies to divest activities in terrorist-sponsoring states that fail to sever such ties; and 3) divesting the stocks of companies that persist in aiding and abetting state-sponsors of terror.

It's a sobering thought. The Islamists are using our own money to fund their efforts to kill us. Go browse the site, and start taking action to pressure these folks to dry up the terrorists' lifeline. Hit the scumbags where it hurts!

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

Stop fretting and flatten it

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Moqtada al Sadr is probably holed up with his militia in the Imam Ali Mosque:

Militiamen responded to the American assault in Najaf with rocket-propelled grenades and mortar bombs, firing at times from inside the walls of the Imam Ali Mosque.

He probably thinks he's safe ...

Neener neener!

... but I'd prefer this outcome:

Say goodbye, punk.

Updates to follow.

Najaf 101

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If you're curious about the city where the Marines are wiping the floor with Moqtada al Sadr and his Iranian backers, then GlobalSecurity.org is your one-stop-shop for Najaf.

If you just want maps, try here or here.

Moqtada al Sadr

Shoot him.

According to someone who was there, CNN's report of a minor skirmish that killed 12 "Iraqi insurgents" in Mosul is a wee bit inaccurate.

Hat tip: Bill of INDC Journal

I could barely believe my ears when John Kerry said this at the 2004 UNITY Conference:

I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history.

What on earth is a "more sensitive war"? Does it mean we'll stop killing the people who are trying to kill us? Does it mean we'll put on our best stern look and wave a UN resolution around? This is more clear proof that today's Democrat party cannot be entrusted with our national security.

Two men in Albany, NY have been arrested and charged with plotting to buy a shoulder-fired missile for a third man who they thought was a terrorist. Actually, he was an FBI informant. The feds raided the two men's place of worship and found evidence of a money-laundering operation. What kind of place of worship?

A mosque.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

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UPDATE: More coverage at Backcountry Conservative

I'll bet they aren't Hare Krishnas

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Backcountry Conservative is tracking the arrest of 13 suspected terrorists in England. One eyewitness reported that the arrestees "had been dressed by police in white paper suits and their hands and feet covered with plastic bags before they were driven away." That's called preserving evidence, folks. Ten bucks says these guys weren't mixing martinis.

Good News from Iraq, Part 7

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Arthur Chrenkoff continues his yeoman's work by bringing us the seventh installment in his "Good News from Iraq" series. Good on ya, mate.

Syrian band on Flight 327 identified

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The band appears to be that of Nour Mehana, the "Syrian Wayne Newton." Their story checks out, which is a relief. Still, why'd the feds wait until they were on the plane to do anything?

Anyway, this is good news. Nour Mehana's band might have acted like jerks on the plane, but it appears safe to say they were not casing Northwest Airlines for a suicidal assault, and we can quit worrying about this being a "dry run" or an aborted attack. And if Jacobsen was wondering why one man in a dark suit and sunglasses sat in first class while everyone else flew coach, well, it seems pretty clear that this was the Big Mehana himself.

Which is definitely not the same as saying Jacobsen was wrong to worry. The proven existence of this band confirms one of the last details of her story, and her story confirms some of our worst fears about airline security. The mindset of passengers, of the crew, and even of the law-enforcement personnel (Jacobsen said a flight attendant reassured her husband by pointing out that air marshals were on the flight), and decision makers higher up the ladder was reactive, not proactive.

Now, by that I certainly don't mean that the interceptors should have scrambled or the passengers should have started swinging Chardonnay bottles as soon as the oud player took too long in the john. But evidently no one even engaged these guys in a conversation, and no one, not the flight crew, and not the air marshals, challenged their egregious violations of protocols about congregating near restrooms or standing up in unison as the plane started its descent. Nothing was done to alleviate the terror Jacobsen, and probably a lot of the other passengers, felt.

...

June 29 was no ordinary day in the skies. That day, Department of Homeland Security officials issued an "unusually specific internal warning," urging customs officials to watch out for Pakistanis with physical signs of rough training in the al Qaeda training camps. The warning specifically mentioned Detroit and Los Angeles's LAX airports, the origin and terminus of NWA flight 327.

That means that our air-traffic system was expecting trouble. But rather than land the plane in Las Vegas or Omaha, it was allowed to continue on to Los Angeles without interruption, as if everything were hunky-dory on board. It certainly wasn't. If this had been the real thing, and the musicians had instead been terrorists, nothing was stopping them from taking control of the plane or assembling a bomb in the restroom. Given the information they were working with at the time, almost everyone should have reacted differently than they did.

Jacobsen's fear was quite natural under these circumstances, and she has done us a service by pointing out some egregious shortfalls in our airline security. Danke Schoen, Darling. Let's hope the right people are listening.

Incidentally, the media ought to be embarrassed. The guy who dug this up was Clinton W. Taylor, a lawyer and a Ph.D. student in political science at Stanford. He's also news co-director and an intermittent classic-country DJ for KZSU, Stanford.

Hat tip: LGF

Nukes reportedly found in Iraq

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The Washington Times relays a report of nuclear weapons found hidden in Iraq:

Iraqi security reportedly discovered three missiles carrying nuclear heads concealed in a concrete trench northwest of Baghdad, official sources said Wednesday.

The official daily al-Sabah quoted the sources as saying the missiles were discovered in trenches near the city of Tikrit, the hometown of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

...

The report could not be authenticated by the interior ministry or the national security department, but the paper noted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiar Zibari made a surprise request recently to Mohammed el-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to resume inspections for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

An unnamed Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman says the report is "stupid."

I'll be tracking this via Google News.

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UPDATE: A 1st Infantry Division spokesman says it's not true.

US Olympians breathe a little easier

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American Special Forces (Delta, for sure) will be at the Olympics in Athens, Greece this summer ... and they'll be carrying their own weapons. It's highly unusual for any country to permit armed foreign troops on its soil. Sounds like the Greeks have tacitly admitted the inadequacy of their own security measures.

Hat tip: Drudge

Good News from Iraq, Part 6

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Quagmire in Iraq? Don't drink that Kool-Aid. The indispensable Arthur Chrenkoff has just posted the latest installment of his Good News From Iraq series. There's also Good News From Afghanistan and a Euro News Round-Up. Perspective's a good thing.

Jacobsen disappoints

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I've read the Jacobsen follow-on opinion piece, and there's nothing substantively new there. Frankly, I'm disappointed that this is turning into a subscription hunt (just read the italic print at the bottom of each page, and the intro on the WWS home page). Women's Wall Street made it look like there was something worthwhile coming, but beyond some second-hand e-mail transcripts from pilots and one complaint letter to Congress from a flight attendants' union official, we've got zip.

Where are the 14 Syrians? We don't know.

What band were they supposedly members of? We don't know.

Who booked the band? We don't know.

Did they perform? We don't know.

Where are they now? We don't know.

Why are any Syrians allowed to enter America, much less fly on our jets? We don't know.

Is Norm Mineta's politically correct two-person "bag limit" still in effect? We don't know.

What concrete steps are the TSA and the FAA taking to prevent the need for another Flight 93 passenger revolt? We don't know.

America wants answers.

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UPDATE: John Derbyshire is asking the same questions.

Annie Jacobsen follow-up

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As promised by her editors, Annie Jacobsen, the reporter whose account of a possible hijacking dry run ignited speculation on the Internet over the weekend, has posted a second article. Comments will certainly follow.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

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UPDATE: The WWS editors said "A second article written by Annie Jacobsen about her recent experience on a flight from Detroit to Los Angeles will be posted soon." It's posted, but it's an op-ed. I call it a bait-and-switch. That definitely hurts WWS' and Jacobsen's credibility, which is a shame because this issue needs all the serious attention we can muster.

Cause, meet effect

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First, Islamists kidnapped Angelo de la Cruz, a Filipino man. Next, they demanded that all Filipino troops leave Iraq immediately, or the hostage would be decapitated. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo cowered, tucked tail and ran, and then added a $6 million ransom payment to sweeten the deal.

All this for one man. How surprising that communist rebels in the Philippines have noticed:

Taking advantage of the government�s changed stance against terrorism, the New People�s Army said it would not release the soldiers it captured until the government suspends all military and police operations in the Bicol region.

The word is out. If you're a terrorist and you want easy cash, just kidnap a Filipino. Think about this: the Wahhabi doctrine that motivates Al Qaeda and many related Islamist groups is the official state religion of Saudi Arabia, where the locals hire large numbers of servants and workers from the Philippines. I'm glad I'm not one of the 600,000 Filipinos over there (update your wills, folks).

President Arroyo has preached about the root causes of terrorism being poverty and economic inequality. Well, Gloria, you're about to have lots of opportunities to address those root causes yourself. Lots o' luck with that Abu Sayyaf problem, sweetie.

Hat tip: A Small Victory

Lefties who fail to comment on the Flight 327 elephant in the room: Daily Kos, Atrios, pandagon.net, LiberalOasis, Smirking Chimp, The Washington Monthly, Blog For America, The Drudge Retort ... hmmm, reminds me of a scene ...

ALL IS WELL!!!

OK, enough kicking of expired equines. Michelle Malkin has a skeptic's roundup on the Flight 327 story. Bill from INDC Journal relates his own creepy story. Glenn Reynolds wraps up his coverage with a link to Mrs. Jacobsen's radio interview. And I'm going to call it a night.

Mustn't offend the little dears

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Michelle Malkin reports that The Washington Post has been sitting on the story about Annie Jacobsen witnessing a terrorist dry run ... for a week now. Word has finally gotten out, thanks to the Internet-posted story at Women's Wall Street and thanks to the blogosphere's super-fast propagation of news. So much for protecting Muslim sensitivities, eh, WaPo? What a bunch of lefty loons.

This will be a political football by next week. Any bets on Norm Mineta's job security?

Also check out Thomas Galvin's account of a similar incident he witnessed recently.

Then, remember that we're still looking for these folks:

Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects
Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects Photograph of and link to Amer El-Maati Photograph of and link to Aafia Siddiqui Photograph of and link to Adnan G. El Shukrijumah Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects
Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects Photograph of and link to Fazul Abdullah Mohammed Photograph of and link to Adam Gadahn Photograph of and link to Abderraouf Jdey Photograph of and link to Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects
Graphic of FBI seal and seven Be On the Lookout Suspects

I wonder if any of them have been flying hither & yon recently? Click on any of their ugly mugs to see more info on each scumbag. If you want the HTML code to put this graphic on your site, click here.

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UPDATE: If you'd like to e-mail the WaPo, I'd never object.

In "Terror in the Skies, Again?", a reporter for Womens' Wall Street named Annie Jacobsen relates her terrifying experiences on a cross-country flight with fourteen people who weren't Hindus.

On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest Airlines flight #327 [ed. note: check right side of page 37 on this] from Detroit to Los Angeles with my husband and our young son. Also on our flight were 14 Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20 and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats. [emphasis added]

...

After seeing 14 Middle Eastern men board separately (six together, eight individually) and then act as a group, watching their unusual glances, observing their bizarre bathroom activities, watching them congregate in small groups, knowing that the flight attendants and the pilots were seriously concerned, and now knowing that federal air marshals were on board, I was officially terrified.

...

Suddenly, seven of the men stood up -- in unison -- and walked to the front and back lavatories. One by one, they went into the two lavatories, each spending about four minutes inside. Right in front of us, two men stood up against the emergency exit door, waiting for the lavatory to become available. The men spoke in Arabic among themselves and to the man in the yellow shirt sitting nearby. One of the men took his camera into the lavatory. Another took his cell phone. Again, no one approached the men. Not one of the flight attendants asked them to sit down. I watched as the man in the yellow shirt, still in his seat, reached inside his shirt and pulled out a small red book. He read a few pages, then put the book back inside his shirt. He pulled the book out again, read a page or two more, and put it back. He continued to do this several more times.

...

There were 14 Syrians on NWA flight #327. They were questioned at length by FAM, the FBI and the TSA upon landing in Los Angeles. The 14 Syrians had been hired as musicians to play at a casino in the desert. Adams said they were scrubbed. None had arrest records (in America, I presume), none showed up on the FBI's no fly list or the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List. The men checked out and they were let go. According to Adams, the 14 men traveled on Northwest Airlines flight #327 using one-way tickets. Two days later they were scheduled to fly back on jetBlue from Long Beach, California to New York -- also using one-way tickets. [emphasis added]

These knuckleheads weren't even screened, because there's a federally-imposed limit on how many Arabs an airline can pull aside and search: two per flight. At most, two were pulled aside. The other twelve waltzed aboard untouched, with their precious, fragile feelings intact. None were arrested afterward, either, since they didn't actually hijack the plane.

If this really happened, we've got big trouble. Why didn't the pilot land immediately, with a fully armed F-16 flying in formation on each wing? Why are any Syrians still in our country? Why is this still an issue after 9/11, for Heaven's sake? When will our government's bureaucrats learn that Islamists are deadly serious, and are much more dangerous than ACLU lawyers in mid-hissyfit?

President Bush, if a bunch of Muslims hijacks another plane and does something very bloody, we Americans aren't going to listen to any politically correct excuses for not screening out the passengers who matched the obvious threatening profile. We are going to demand some downright draconian measures, and your job will be in serious jeopardy.

Get on the ball, sir. Yesterday.

More at Instapundit ... and believe me, you definitely ought to check this out.

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt and Leaning To The Right

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UPDATE: Looks like it's confirmed. Michelle Malkin spoke with the air marshal quoted in Jacobsen's article, and he confirmed that things went down as described.

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UPDATE 2: Looks like the Washington Post had this story a week ago, and spiked it.

Iranian intelligence agents have been captured in Baghdad, with bombs in their possession. The mad mullahs just can't resist poking the caged lion, but they don't seem to notice that the cage door is open. Hey, Islamoloons, remember the phrase "Axis of Evil"? Saddam thought we were bluffing, too.

Captain's Quarters has more.

Hat tip: Backcountry Conservative

Oh, the irony

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There are masked men in Iraq making threats against ... Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A group of armed, masked Iraqi men threatened Tuesday to kill Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi if he did not immediately leave the country, accusing him of murdering innocent Iraqis and defiling the Muslim religion.

...

In a videotape sent to the al-Arabiya television station, a group calling itself the "Salvation Movement," questioned how al-Zarqawi could use Islam to justify the killing of innocent civilians, the targeting of government officials and the kidnapping and beheading of foreigners.

"He must leave Iraq immediately, he and his followers and everyone who gives shelter to him and his criminal actions," said a man on the video.

...

In the video, three men, their faces covered with Arab headscarves, were flanked by rocket propelled grenades and an Iraqi flag. The man speaking had a clear Iraqi accent.

"We swear to Allah that we have started preparing ... to capture him and his allies or kill them and present them as gift to our people." the man said. "This is the last warning. If you don't stop, we will do to you what the coalition forces have failed to do."

Time to step back, offer some choice intel, and watch the fireworks.

Is Wassef Ali Hassoun dead or not?

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Now there are claims from the terrorists that Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is alive and has either been released or moved somewhere "safe."

What gives?

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UPDATE: Reports indicate Cpl. Wassoun has reportedly been freed, is in Lebanon, and has called the U.S. Embassy there asking to be picked up.

Jordan steps to the plate

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King Abdullah II of Jordan has offered Jordanian troop support to Iraq:

"If the Iraqis ask us for help directly it will be very difficult for us to say no...Our message to the president or the prime minister [of Iraq] is: Tell us what you want. Tell us how we can help, and you have 110 percent support from us."

Bravo, sir. And please watch your back.

Hat tip: Terrorism Unveiled

You ask why I like the Marines?

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Here are two reasons: they're resourceful, and their families contribute mightily to the war effort.

Marine slaughtered

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As you've probably heard by now, the predictably savage muslims holding Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun have cut off his head. Backcountry Conservative has the roundup. Jeff does a fine job at a task I don't envy.

After the Marines find and kill these vermin, it would be appropriate to find where they stayed in Iraq, leave no stone standing atop another, burn what can't be moved, and then salt the earth.

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UPDATE: Why "militants"? Can't we at least call terrorists what they are?

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UPDATE 2: Backcountry Conservative links to speculation that Corporal Hassoun might have been lured away from his post and into a honey trap.

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UPDATE 3: More news is seeping out ... now there are denials of Hassoun's death, and the military has not confirmed it either.

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UPDATE 4: Now the rumor is he's alive and either "safe" or free.

9/11 Commission: "We're winning."

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The next time you're confronted by some lefty loon spouting off about our response to 9/11 "creating more terrorists", tell them about the following story from NewsMax.com about the 9/11 Commission's ignored bombshell:

The Sept. 11 Commission has found that the Bush administration's war on terror has severely impaired al Qaida's ability to organize another spectacular attack against the U.S. homeland by capturing or killing the deadly terror group's key leaders, drying up their financial resources and severely limiting their ability to "strategize, plan attacks, and dispatch operatives worldwide."

The bombshell finding, buried at the end of the Commission's Staff Statement No. 15, should have been hailed in the press as evidence that we've at least turned the corner in the war on terror - and may indeed have the enemy on the run. Instead, reporters have ignored this particular Commission finding since its release on June 16.

Need I say more?

Hugh Hewitt has posted an open letter from a friend in the Marines to the Islamozoid savages holding Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun. They ought to read it while they're still exchanging oxygen.

Before the current politically correct climate enveloped our culture one of the recruiting slogans of our band of brothers was "The Marine Corps Builds Men." You will soon find out just how true that is. You, on the other hand, are nothing but a bunch of women. If you were men you would show your faces, and take us on in a fair fight. Instead, you are cowards who hide behind masks and decapitate helpless victims. If you truly represented the interest of the Iraqi people you would not be ambushing those who come to your country to repair your power plants, or sabotage the oil pipelines which fuel the Iraqi economy. Your agenda is hate, plain and simple.

When you raise that sword over your head I want you to remember one thing. Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun is not alone as he kneels before you. Every Marine who has ever worn the uniform is there with him, and when you strike him you are striking all of us. If you think the Marines were tough on you when they were cleaning out Fallujah a few weeks ago you haven't seen anything yet. If you want to know what it feels like to have the Wrath of God called down upon you then go ahead and do it. We are not Turkish truck drivers, or Pakistani laborers, or independent contractors hoping to find work in your country. We are the United States Marines, and we will be coming for you.

Matt Maupin has been murdered

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I was out on the road when I heard the news. My fellow Ohioan, Army Specialist Matt Maupin, has been murdered by his captors in Iraq.

Bastards.

Jeff over at Backcountry Conservative is doing a great job of keeping the story alive, despite the apparent indifference of many in the media.

According to emerging reports, a U.S. Marine has been captured by terrorists in Iraq. His name is Wassef Ali Hassoun.

Arab television broadcast videotape Sunday of two men of Pakistani origin taken hostage by militants: a driver for an American company and a blindfolded man in military fatigues described as U.S. Marine lured from his base. Insurgents threatened to behead them both.

...

Corporal Ali

Al-Jazeera said the militants demanded the release of all Iraqis "in occupation jails" or the man would be killed. The group claimed it infiltrated a Marine outpost, lured the man outside and abducted him.

...

Earlier Sunday, the Pakistani driver was shown on a tape broadcast by a different Arab television station, Al-Arabiya. ... Four masked men holding assault rifles across their chests said they would behead the Pakistani within three days unless Americans freed prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and three cities of central Iraq -- Balad, Dujail and Samarra.

...

The [civilian] hostage, who gave his name as Amjad, urged Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to close the Pakistani Embassy in Iraq and to ban Pakistanis from coming to Iraq.

"I'm also Muslim, but despite this they didn't release me," he said, bowing his head. "They are going to cut the head of any person regardless of whether he is a Muslim or not."

Haven't these Islamofascist goons heard of the concept of "no worse enemy"? If that Marine turns up dead, which is pretty likely given recent beheadings in the Middle East, those bastards are going to get an e-ticket straight to Hell, courtesy of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.

USMC

Pray for Corporal Hassoun, and for the Pakistani man the goons grabbed. I suggest asking God to arrange for some good intel to end up in the hands of Delta Force, DEVGRU, or the SAS.

Watch Backcountry Conservative for updates.

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UPDATE: The U.S. military confirms that a Marine has been missing from his unit for a week.

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UPDATE 2: They've murdered him.

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UPDATE 3: ... or maybe not.

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UPDATE 4: OK, now almost certainly not murdered. Perhaps even free and coming home?

You want evidence of Al Qaeda ties?

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I don't know if it's authentic, but an Iranian activist site opposing the mad mullahs has posted a translation of what they claim is a secret memo from Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, the "Supreme Leader" of an Iranian government intelligence organization, pledging Iranian support for Al Qaeda and Hezbollah operations.

Future sessions have been assigned to further discuss the elimination of major obstacles, further implementation and improvements with regards to a higher level of cooperations with Al Qaida Network & Hezbollah towards a specific goal.

The memo's date? 1999.

Any bets on whether our Islamist enemies will try to hit us at home right at the height of election season, hoping to duplicate their success in Spain?

Hat tip: Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Chrenkoff cheer

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Arthur Chrenkoff brings us "Good news from Iraq, Part 4." Amen.

Iran's about to get the horns

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Nobody ever said the mad mullahs were smart. Today they're proving their idiocy by confronting Britain:

Iranian state TV showed eight British sailors blindfolded and seated on the ground Tuesday, as Tehran said it would prosecute them for illegally entering Iran's territorial waters.

The British government said the men were on a "routine mission" in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway that separates Iran and Iraq along their southern border. The Foreign Office summoned Iranian Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi to demand an explanation for the naval officers' arrest.

...

Iran's Arabic language Al-Alam television showed the sailors blindfolded and sitting cross-legged on the ground. Earlier footage showed them sitting silently on chairs and a sofa. Three were in British military uniform; five others wore military trousers and civilian T-shirts.

"They will be prosecuted for illegally entering Iranian territorial waters," Al-Alam television said.

"The vessels were 1,000 meters inside Iranian territorial waters. The crew have also confessed to having entered Iranian waters," the broadcast said. The distance is about a half-mile.

This is what's known as "messing with the bull."

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UPDATE: The morons realized the foolishness of waving a big red sheet in front of a very angry bull. The sailors are free. Iran is returning their boats. I'm sure the rapid backpedaling by the bloodthirsty primitives was due to softspoken diplomatic warm fuzzies delivered by Foreign Ministry spokesmen in striped pants, and not due to the imminent threat of being rapidly converted from walking, talking humans into red smears on the sidewalk.

Should I stay or should I go?

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On Thursday the State Department told Americans in Saudi Arabia to get the heck out of Dodge:

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to defer travel to Saudi Arabia. Private American citizens currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart. On April 14, 2004, due to security concerns, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members and non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia.

Then on Saturday we got this:

Secretary of State Colin Powell says terrorists would earn a victory if American workers leave Saudi Arabia in response to a spate of terrorist attacks, including the murder of hostage Paul Johnson.

...

"If they leave, then the terrorists have won," Powell said, shortly after Islamic militants beheaded Johnson, who worked on Apache attack helicopter systems for Lockheed Martin.

"I don't think either the Saudis, the Americans, or these brave folks who work in Saudi Arabia want the terrorists to win," Powell said.

Uh, which is it?

Hat tip: James Taranto at OpinionJournal

The Religion of Peace™ has done it again.

Al Qaeda militants beheaded an American engineer it had held hostage since last week, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.

The network was quoting its correspondent in Saudi Arabia and gave no further details. Al-qaeda had given the Saudi government a Friday deadline to free jailed militants or it would kill Paul Johnson.

When are we going to realize that we will all face the same end as Daniel Pearl, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, Nick Berg, and Paul Johnson unless we get serious and wipe Islamism and its diehard practitioners from the face of the Earth?

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UPDATE: Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative is tracking the story as it breaks. So far, there are only pictures, not video (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES).

UPDATE 2: AP reports that the terrorist ringleader responsible for Mr. Johnson's death may have assumed room temperature. More from Fox News, which reports that two of his Islamozoid flunkies were killed too. The more, the merrier.

UPDATE 3: The Saudi Embassy offers its words of condolences. That's sweet. How about not letting these scum go free this time? And the next time, and the next, and the next ....

UPDATE 4: The Al Qaeda scumbags responsible for kidnapping Mr. Johnson had help in setting up their roadblock from ... wait for it ... the Saudi government. I'm so shocked. *sigh*

"Pirate sighted. Open fire."

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Pirates are in Indonesia's crosshairs:

Indonesia's naval chief has ordered his commanders to shoot dead armed terrorists or pirates operating in key waterways including the busy Strait of Malacca, which carries a third of world trade. ... "In the future, every thief or terrorist at sea has to be shot dead and this should be publicized by the mass media to teach a lesson," [he] said in a statement.

...

The United States and Singapore have voiced alarm at the risk of pirates linked to terror groups attacking tankers or other vessels in the Strait, and called for tougher security measures.

Wow. Ask and ye shall receive, huh? Let's call for extremist imams in manacles next.

I suspect that my friends in the Coast Guard MSTTs would love to implement this kind of policy, if they could.

Fawaz Damra roundup #1

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Fawaz DamraRemember Fawaz Damra? He's the leader of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, and has been indicted for allegedly concealing his ties to terrorism on his immigration application papers in 1994. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for five years, be fined $5000, lose his citizenship, and be deported.

Here's what went down when his trial began yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Akron.

A jury of eight men and four women was selected.

In order to prevent what Judge James S. Gwin considers unfair prejudice, prosecutors have been barred from mentioning Osama bin Laden or his al-Qaeda terror network. Also off-limits: characterizing Damra as a "radical Islamic militant'' or as one of many "dangerous global jihadists.'' Judge Gwin said he would consider allowing the prosecution to use these terms only if it can prove their relevance. Duh.

Testimony from an FBI agent and an NYPD terrorism expert painted a decidedly unflattering portrait of the supposedly moderate muslim:

Special FBI agent Bradley Beman testified that Damra told him during an October 2003 interview that he was a founder of Afghan Refugee Services, also known as al-Kifah, which means "the struggle" in Arabic. The group supported Afghanistan's fight against the Soviets, Beman said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cherie Krigsman told jurors in her opening statement earlier Tuesday in U.S. District Court that Damra concealed ties to ARS and the Islamic Committee for Palestine, groups the government classifies as terrorist organizations.

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Beman also said that he questioned Damra about a statement he previously made in a speech that the Islamic Committee for Palestine was an active arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Beman said Damra told him that he made the statement only to get the crowd worked up.

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Detective Louis Napoli of the New York City office of the Joint Terrorism Task Force testified that Afghan Refugee Services was housed in the same Brooklyn, New York building as the Al-Farouq mosque, where Damra was previously the imam.

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The prosecution contends that on his application Damra failed to report his arrest in a group fight with security guards at Kennedy International Airport in 1989. An assault charge against Damra was later dismissed.

Damra's lawyers admitted that Damra sympathized with and supported terrorist groups, but they said he was not affiliated with them.

You can watch a brief interview where Damra describes himself as a "peaceful, loving man." Uh ... right, I believe ya, Fawaz.

Paging Theseus ... stat.

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Go read Victor Davis Hanson's latest, "Feeding the Minotaur":

As long as the mythical Athenians were willing to send, every nine years, seven maidens and seven young men down to King Minos's monster in the labyrinth, Athens was left alone by the Cretan fleet. The king rightly figured that harvesting just enough Athenians would remind them of their subservience without leading to open rebellion -- as long as somebody impetuous like a Theseus didn't show up to wreck the arrangement. Ever since the storming of the Tehran embassy in November 1979 we Americans have been paying the same sort of human tribute to grotesque Islamofascists. Over the last 25 years a few hundred of our own were cut down in Lebanon, East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, and New York on a semi-annual basis, even as the rules of the tribute to be paid -- never spoken, but always understood -- were rigorously followed.

...

But then a greedy, over-reaching bin Laden wrecked the agreement on September 11. Or did he?

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True, al Qaeda is now scattered, the Taliban and Saddam gone. But the calculus of a quarter century -- threaten, hit, pause, wait; threaten, hit, pause, wait -- is now entrenched in the minds of Middle Eastern murderers. Indeed, the modus operandi that cynically plays on Western hopes, liberalism, and fair play is gospel now to all sorts of bin Laden epigones -- as we have seen in Madrid, Fallujah, and Najaf.

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Indeed, I think Islamofascism is brilliant in its reading of the postmodern West and precisely for that reason it is dangerous beyond all description -- in the manner that a blood-sucking, stealthy, and nocturnal Dracula was always spookier than a massive, clunky Frankenstein.

Like Hitler's creed, bin Ladenism trumpets contempt for bourgeois Western society. If once we were a "mongrel" race of "cowboys" who could not take casualties against the supermen of the Third Reich, now we are indolent infidels, channel surfers who eat, screw, and talk too much amid worthless gadgetry, godless skyscrapers, and, of course, once again, the conniving Jews.

Like Hitler, bin Ladenism has an agenda: the end of the liberal West. Its supposedly crackpot vision is actually a petrol-rich Middle East free of Jews, Christians, and Westerners, free to rekindle spiritual purity under Sharia. Bin Laden's al Reich is a vast pan-Arabic, Taliban-like caliphate run out of Mecca by new prophets like him, metering out oil to a greedy West in order to purchase the weapons of its destruction; there is, after all, an Israel to be nuked, a Europe to be out-peopled and cowered, and an America to be bombed and terrorized into isolation. This time we are to lose not through blood and iron, but through terror and intimidation: televised beheadings, mass murders, occasional bombings, the disruption of commerce, travel, and the oil supply.

In and of itself, our enemies' ambitions would lead to failure, given the vast economic and military advantages of the West. So to prevent an all out, terrible response to these predictable cycles of killing Westerners, there had to be some finesse to the terrorists' methods. The trick was in preventing some modern Theseus from going into the heart of the Labyrinth to slay the beast and end the nonsense for good.

...

Meanwhile, in Europe, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, we see the same old bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings, the obligatory pause, the faux negotiations, the lies -- and then, of course, the bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings...

No, bin Laden is quite sane -- but lately I have grown more worried that we are not.

Saudis support Bin Laden

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Lest you think the average Saudi-on-the-street is a moderate caught up in a tide of unusual extremism, CNN offers the following news:

Almost half of all Saudis said in a poll conducted last year that they have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric, but fewer than 5 percent thought it was a good idea for bin Laden to rule the Arabian Peninsula.

The poll involved interviews with more than 15,000 Saudis and was overseen by Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi national security consultant.

It was conducted between August and November 2003, after simultaneous suicide attacks in May 2003 when 36 people were killed in Riyadh.

...

The question put to Saudi citizens was "What is your opinion of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric?"

"They like what he said about what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or about America and the Zionist conspiracy. But what he does, that's where you see the huge drop," said Obaid, referring to the bombings that had already begun taking place inside Saudi Arabia at the time the poll was conducted.

What they don't like are terrorist attacks that kill muslims. As for the attacks that kill infidels ... well, there's an awful lot of pointed silence on that issue.

This isn't news if you've been paying attention.

Good news from Iraq, Part III

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Aussie blogger Arthur Chrenkoff has posted "Good news from Iraq, Part III" ... the latest in a wonderful series. Don't forget to revisit Part II and Part I.

Search of Damra's home invalidated

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U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin has just invalidated a search conducted during an FBI raid on Fawaz Damra's home, during which he was arrested.

A terrorist group's manifesto and other items were taken in an illegal search of an Islamic cleric's home and cannot be used at his trial on accusations that he concealed ties to terrorist organizations, a judge has ruled.

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FBI agents searched the home [of Fawaz Mohammed Damra] after the Palestinian-born imam was arrested there. Agents seized a computer, copies of sermons and political speeches, the manifesto of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and stacks of financial records.

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Damra's wife, Nasreen, was instructed to go to the basement during the arrest, apparently because she was upset, and the "uninvited lingering on the premises" by the agents after the arrest meant the search was unreasonable and therefore illegal, Gwin ruled.

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Damra, leader of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, has pleaded innocent to a charge of obtaining U.S. citizenship in 1994 by providing false information. He is accused of having connections with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups and not revealing them when he applied for citizenship.

So far it looks like we've either got a bunch of FBI agents who botched a key anti-terror investigation, or a judge who's stretching the Fourth Amendment all on his own to protect a past (and possibly present) terrorist sympathizer. The trial starts on Tuesday. I'll be watching closely.

FYI, here's the indictment.

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UPDATE: On a positive note, Judge Gwin has denied a defense motion to exclude wiretap evidence against Damra that turned up in the federal investigation of Sami Al-Arian.

It's bad that the terrorists are tipping off the media to their attack plans. It's far worse that the media aren't tipping off the intended targets. You get three guesses to figure out which media outlet this was.

For once, I hope VDH is wrong

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In "The Terrible Arithmatic", Victor Davis Hanson thinks we're in a race to wrap things up right in Iraq before we lose our 1000th KIA:

There is a certain number of Iraqi terrorists that either need to give up, reconsider their militancy, leave the country, or be killed for there to be peace and the emergence of a consensual government. Given the fiery sermons of al Sadr, the cadres of Baathist hold-outs, the horrific assassination of peace-loving Iraqi officials, and the constant bombing of American soldiers, it may well require the latter ultimate fate. We do not know the exact number of enemies that must be eliminated, but only that it will grow exponentially -- along with Iraqi and coalition deaths -- unless we act decisively.

By the same token, there are a limited number of Americans that we can allow to be killed in Iraq before the American people tire of it all -- who nearly three years after watching the bodies freefall from the World Trade Center on 9-11 are forgetting their immediate peril from al Qaedists and the rogue governments that enable such terrorists to operate. At some critical point to come, Americans will no longer see the sacrifice of their precious youth as worth the effort in Iraq to ensure consensual government and our own long-term security -- and at that point they will simply say no mas.

Again, we do not know how many fatalities we as a nation can endure, only that in our present postmodern society the number for good or evil is far lower than was true in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. Our grandfathers rightly accepted that 600 might be lost in a terrible night on Okinawa if such a sacrifice meant freedom from Japanese militarism; we wrongly believe that the present 600 combat dead this past year were either not worth the effort, all preventable, or in no real way connected to the safety of 300 million at home. My rough guess is that once the toll exceeds 1,000 combat dead, the United States will be seriously looking for a rapid exit strategy regardless of the dire circumstances involved.

I hope his hunch proves wrong. One thing's for sure ... when we reach that point, you can bet the partisan media will trumpet the big round number 1,000 and morbidly focus on the "pointlessly squandered" life of Corporal Whoever.

Hat tip: Rantburg

A wedding that wasn't

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That Iraqi "wedding" we bombed near the Syrian border ... wasn't a wedding.

According to Denver Post columnist Reggie Rivers, our soldiers are slaves. Brad Torgersen rides to the rescue.

I think Reggie took one too many hits when he played for the Broncos. Perhaps you could politely suggest he backtrack on his outlandishly absurd and insulting comparison? Try regrivers@msn.com

The weak get punched in the head

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Pacifism in this war only helps the enemy. Don't believe me? Arthur Chrenkoff has translated a Polish-language interview with Marek Edelman, the last living leader of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt of 1943. A few quotes from Edelman:

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.

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Unfortunately there's more hatred in men than love. Those who murder understand only force and nothing else. And the only force that is able to stand against them is the American democracy.

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Do you seriously think that [withdrawing from Iraq] will save [Spain] from further attacks? No. The weak just get punched in the head. Pacifism lost a long time ago.

For more on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, try the Holocaust Survivors Encyclopedia.

Hat tip: Dean's World

The Khobar, Saudi Arabia hostage-t