Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Light Is Better Here

The problem with this approach is that the "core issues" identified by Secretary Rice are not, in fact, the core issues. There is actually only one core issue: the fact that most Palestinians do not accept Israel's right to exist or the right of Jews to live in the region, and therefore support those who are constantly trying to kill them. But for the Palestinians' genocidal dreams, all other "issues" would have been resolved many years ago.

The Bush administration, like administrations before it, is now in the position of the man in the old joke who, late at night, is inspecting the ground around a street light. Another man comes by and asks what he is doing; he says that he is looking for his lost watch. The man asks, "Is this where you dropped it?" The first man answers "No, I dropped it over there, but the light is better here."

And More Chirping

Members of the military line the path to the stage as President George W. Bush appeared Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. An estimated 4,000 troops heard the President say "…History will say, it was when you were called upon, you served, and the service you rendered was absolutely necessary to defeat an enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home..." (White House photo by Eric Draper)
Sadly, this very important news today from Kuwait is being buried by the mainstream news. You could imagine the headlines if the news from Iraq was not favorable. What a shame.

Surging To A Fait Accompli

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The upshot is that the next president, Democrat or Republican, is likely to be handed a fait accompli that could well render moot his or her own elaborate withdrawal plans, especially the ones being considered by the two leading Democratic contenders, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Bush may have the upper hand now. The president touted the surge's success on Saturday, and he reiterated that "long-term success will require active U.S. engagement that outlasts my presidency." The "enduring relationship" he is building with Iraq, Bush added, "will have diplomatic, economic and security components--similar to relationships we have with Kuwait and other nations in this region and around the world." Some of those relationships have now lasted decades. And as in Japan, Germany, Korea and Kuwait, they include a substantial troop presence. Far away in the Persian Gulf, Bush is creating facts on the ground that the next president may not be able to ignore.

And Chirping

The Interior Ministry announced Friday that al-Qaeda in Iraq has been successfully penetrated by means of a recently formed government security apparatus and is virtually an "open book," confirming that the sectarian sedition in the country was at the end of its rope.

If the Iraqi government has penetrated AQI, doesn't that mean something for their ability to fight terror and to stand on their own two feet? Isn't a free and stable Iraq the victory we have awaited, and doesn't this suggest that we're coming close to achieving it? Doesn't the joint military operations conducted in Iraq this week tend to confirm this Interior Ministry statement?

The silence is becoming deafening.

Crickets Chirping

Those who claim that the surge strategy in Iraq has paid no dividends because it hasn't met Congressional benchmarks may wish to skip to the next post. The Iraqi National Assembly has passed one of the two most critical benchmarks that the American government had pressed for Baghdad to adopt, the de-Baathification reform that will allow Sunnis to once again enter government jobs:

This looks like progress to me. It's progress that wouldn't have come without lowering the violence and removing the provocations and depredations of al-Qaeda in Iraq. That wouldn't have happened at all had we not ramped up our efforts and taken a much more aggressive posture against the terrorists -- and the Sunnis would not have cooperated if we hadn't signaled so strongly that we intended to beat AQI and stick it out.

I wonder how the anti-war crowd will spin this. My guesses:

1. It's too late -- the sky is already falling!
2. Too many people have died to make freedom worth it.
3. (crickets chirping)

Kick The Can Update

US President George W. Bush arrived in Israel at the start of an eight-day tour of the Middle East at an interesting moment. In the lead-up to his trip, enemy forces, of both the terrorist and state variety, clarified their strategic outlook and the scope of their ambitions. Unfortunately, the president seems not to have noticed.

For the past several weeks, the leaders of the global jihad and their state sponsors in Syria and Iran have escalated their rhetorical and military attacks against Israel and the US. Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and his American lackey Adam Gadahn all issued video and audio appeals on the eve of Bush's trip. Their messages were devoted mainly to the campaigns against US forces in Iraq and against Israel. Bin Laden labeled Iraqi opponents of al-Qaida in Iraq apostates and called for Iraqis to rally around his allied forces. Gadahn called for Bush's assassination.

Utterly Nauseating

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“Not at all,” he replies enthusiastically. “With her it’s too many of the virtues. She’s a perfect example of how the 1960s have mutated into – I hate the term political correctness but I suppose it’s unavoidable. In other words they have changed from people who said they wanted complete freedom of speech on campus, into people who now want to police the campus. She represents that mutation to mere perfection.”

Hitchens is in the familiar, articulate form I recognise from his television appearances, and is being quite unreasonable. I have no intention of stopping him. So he goes on: “And then going from sexual freedom to saying that any unwanted advance is a case for the dean or the rape crisis centre – all of this re-infantilising – ‘put that fag out, don’t drink, or wait for a drink until you’re 21’ – all this is an absolute negation of it but with the same complete sense of rectitude. I find it utterly nauseating.”

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Reason You Didn't Hear About This Was What Again?

-- An A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing
safely landed her "Warthog" at her forward operating base after it
sustained significant damage from enemy fire during a close air support mission
over Baghdad April 7.

Capt. Kim Campbell, deployed from the 75th Fighter Squadron at Pope Air Force
Base, N.C., and her flight leader had just finished supporting ground troops and
were on their way out of the area when her aircraft was hit with enemy fire.
Oh yeah. The Iraq good news blackout. Silly me.


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As I read this, the (Bush) Dept of Justice is asking that the Court hold it to be an individual right, but not strike the DC gun law, instead sending it back down to the trial court to take evidence on everything from how much the District needs the law to whether people can defend themselves without pistols and just what the DC trigger lock law means. THEN maybe it can begin another four year trek to the Supremes. That is, the DoJ REJECTS the DC Circuit position that an absolute, flat, ban on handguns violates the Second Amendment, and contends that it might just be justified, it all depends on the evidence.

There was a saying during my years in DC that the GOP operated on two principles: screw your friends and appease your enemies. Yup.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Creator. Must. Remove. Infestation.

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Greenpeace opposes genetically enhanced (GE) rice. Greenpeace opposes man-made global warming. What to do when a company proposes to sell GE rice that cuts greenhouse gas emissions to Chinese farmers who can then earn greenhouse gas offset credits?

If Only Pakistan Wasn't True

A fanatical suicide ideology (al-Qaeda) propagated through the school system (madrassa) endowed with sympathizers in the local Army (as represented by the retired Major) ready to carry out their program to seize nuclear weapons and rule the world! Not since the days of the Republic Serials have the villains and situations been so outlandish.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Michael Finds The Moderates

I almost thought better of it, but I had to ask: “Have you ever been to Israel, Tom?”

“Yes!” he said, beaming. “It is my country. It is beautiful. I have family there. The first time I went to Israel, after the 1967 war, I was afraid the Jews might eat my flesh. But they were so nice to me in Haifa. They welcomed me into their homes even though I am Palestinian. We hated them, you know, after all that had happened. But I was welcome as a Palestinian. The Jews are good people. Like you.”

For all the hatred in the Middle East, there is also forgiveness, and moderation. Where are the moderate Muslims? ask many Americans. I find the question bizarre. I meet them every day in Iraq, and everywhere else in the Middle East, too. The problem is they have a hard time getting attention in newspapers and magazines that wallow in sensationalism.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Pakistan's Hillary

She was my exact contemporary, and I met her as a child in Pakistan, so let me jump on this bandwagon. I remember her at age eight, arriving in a Mercedes-Benz with daddy's driver, and whisking me off for a ride in the private aeroplane of then-President Ayub Khan (Bhutto père was the rising star in his cabinet). This girl was the most spoiled brat I ever met.
After her father's "martyrdom" Bhutto became, from all reports, much more serious. But I think, also, twisted -- and easily twisted, as the spoiled too easily become when they are confronted with tragedy. She became pure politician. Think of it: she, a libertine in previous life, submitted to an arranged marriage, because she needed a husband to campaign for office. Stood by him in power only because there was no other political option when he proved even greedier than she was.

Romancing The Kaaba

Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.

Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

All In The Name Of Allah

January 7, 2008:  Who runs Iran? No one in particular, it turns
out. Over the past two years, the senior cleric, Ali Khamenei, has tried to
solve the corruption problem by ordering most state owned companies to be
privatized (sold off to investors). Khamenei, who has enormous civil and
religious power, was ignored. How did that happen? It's all about money.


About ten million of Iran's 70 million
people live off the third of the economy that is, technically, owned by the
state. These are properties that were seized from the royal family and royalist
families 25 years ago. These firms are controlled by the clergy and their
Islamic conservative allies. This includes the oil industry, which earns over $80
billion a year. Most of that goes to finance a huge bureaucracy, whose main
goal is to keep the clerics in power.

All in the name of
Allah, of course.

Luckily They're Not Crazier Than Cuckoo Clocks

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WASHINGTON (AP) - In what U.S. officials called a serious provocation, Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, threatening to explode the American vessels.

U.S. forces were on the verge of firing on the Iranian boats in the early Sunday incident, when the boats turned and moved away, a Pentagon official said. "It is the most serious provocation of this sort that we've seen yet," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

There were no injuries but the official said there could have been, because the Iranian boats turned away "literally at the very moment that U.S. forces were preparing to open fire" in self defense.

The official said he didn't have the precise transcript of communications that passed between the two forces, but said the Iranians radioed something like "we're coming at you and you'll explode in a couple minutes."

Because they certainly had this on timed down to the split second. So that there was absolutely, positively no chance that shooting could have broken out. Riiiight.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

On Avoiding Treason

(2008-01-06) — After years of working together informally, The New York Times and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) today publicly announced the launch of a joint effort dubbed ‘Overt Operations, Pakistan Sector’.

The revelation comes on a day when the Times reported that the Bush administration may expand anti-terrorist activities in tribal areas of Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, according to unnamed sources present at a top-secret briefing Friday.

By creating this formal partnership, the CIA hopes to reduce the likelihood that anyone on its staff or in the State Department could be charged with treason for revealing national security secrets to the enemy in time of war.