Prev | List | Random | Next
Speaking of Rock 'n' Roll and bad behavior, here's a must read that you probably haven't...
BAGHDAD, Iraq - On a sunny morning earlier this month, Ray LeMoine and Jeff Neumann borrowed a shiny white GMC pickup from an Army sergeant and took a windows-down drive around the Green Zone, the complex that houses American civilian and military authorities in Baghdad.
With Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" blasting on the stereo, the two 20-somethings cruised the area "just to annoy" the streams of workers and soldiers on the sidewalks and streets. It took them less than five minutes to damage the truck, scraping it along another vehicle while trying to park.
Meet the wild boys of Baghdad, who've been charged by the American-led governing authority to assist Iraqi humanitarian aid groups resume relief efforts and to make sure that aid gets where it's needed.
Back in their office inside the massive convention center that houses many of the authority's offices, LeMoine paced with a snarl on his face and in his voice, his flip-flop sandals slapping against the white-tiled floor. Most of his Iraqi office mates stared at their computer screens, fearful of making eye contact.
He and Neumann had planned to deliver a dozen boxes of donated clothes to an aid group in the poorest slums of this sprawling metropolis. But the driver hadn't shown up. Neither had representatives from the aid group who had promised to accompany them.
"Chill, dude," responded Neumann, the duo's calmer half, who tries to keep a lid on LeMoine's temper. He wore a Boston Red Sox hat backward and a long-sleeved shirt that hid the tattoos that cover his arms from wrist to shoulder.
After a few minutes, they decided to make the delivery without the escort that is often mandatory for coalition employees who travel outside the complex. They would take the truck, whose factory-fresh appearance made it an obvious target for insurgents who set off roadside bombs against what they consider an occupying power.
Such flaunting of the rules is nothing new for these two. Almost nightly, they leave the security of the Green Zone to travel to hotels and residences around Baghdad that house many of the American and foreign journalists and aid workers they have befriended. There, they often party to excess early into the next morning.
"You kind of have to or you go nuts," Neumann said. "When you sit back and get rocketed for a half an hour or when you're in the Green Zone Cafe and three mortars go over ... you need a little relief."
In moments they were off, with two journalists in tow.
"It's going to be a cowboy mission," Neumann says.
Read the whole thing. These guys will be the first to have an Iraq-based movie or TV series about them. It might be called "Yankees Suck".
I hope it has a happy ending.
I wonder what Michele will think of this? (By the way, she's got a rockin' thing for you too.)
And I'm listening to "Freeborn Man" now. The Outlaws. Loud.
True to my word, I'm building entries on the blog and listening to BTO. "Roll on Down the Highway"? you bet. Very loud.
The world's finest highway system, (12,000 kilometers plus, and outside of urban areas no speed limit) starts about 2 miles from my driveway. I will have a hard time readjusting to American traffic.
Here's an offer: name a song in the comments and I'll test drive it and tell you the autobahn speed it leads to. You know what I mean, a song on the radio, you're into the music, it's a fine fine day and the road is yours and before you know it the needle pushes past 90...
When that happens here I don't have to slow down.
Which is also nice if you're in a real hurry, as I was yesterday, taking a dog to the vet's. A dog that had ingested poisonous plants and was exploding violently from both ends.
All's well that ends well though, and below you can see the puppy-sized version of the now-all-better dog that is now much bigger too. But that's one reason there were no entries on the ol' Blog yesterday. But what a beautiful day that was, blue sky and sun, and on the ride home a bug hit the windshield at around 180+ kmh, plus or minus bug speed. The first of the year.
Spring has sprung.
A couple quick things to start your day uptempo:
Almost missed this big response from military readers to the Opinion Journal.
And a few weeks ago I noted in reference to the Firefighters Union declaring support for Kerry that
there's something troublesome about the "firefighters support Kerry" theme that's been floating behind the lines of this story. A Union supports Kerry, but where do the rank and file stand? Among other requirements, being a Democrat in this day and age generally takes a "me first" attitude that just doesn't fit with the mindset of a fireman, anymore than with that of a soldier or a cop.
Kerry stock, meanwhile, plummets, and in response the erstwhile Senator from Massachusetts (who's never met a gas tax hike he didn't like), is crying for relief.
Credit the Bush ads for the 'turnaround'? Hardly. Kerry walks into punches, to the point where it seems he's got to be one of Carl Rove's underlings. Either that or he's got a peanut brain in that Easter Island skull.
I think I'll be blogging to the sounds of BTO today...
Welcome to The Morning Briefing, from Baghdad to Washington and all points in between, this is one reason why Rummy's always ready for the droolers in the pool...
1. President To Let Rice Testify About 9/11
(Washington Post)...Mike Allen and Dan Eggen
President Bush reversed himself yesterday and agreed to permit his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to testify in public and under oath before an independent commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Capitulating on a second point, Bush said he will submit to questions in a private session with all 10 commissioners, backing off his previous demand to meet only with Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chairman Lee H. Hamilton. Bush added a new restriction by saying he will appear only with Vice President Cheney at his side.
2. Bomb Kills Five U.S. Soldiers In Iraq
(New York Times on the Web)...Associated Press
A bomb exploded under a U.S. military vehicle west of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing five soldiers, the military said. At least four people, including one American and possibly other foreign nationals, were killed in a separate attack. Crowds burned and mutilated their bodies.
3. Noncitizen Soldiers Fight For U.S. And A Better Life
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Paul Nussbaum
...Shortly after he sent the letter, Singh, 21, was killed when his armored patrol was ambushed about 65 miles west of Baghdad. A native of India, he was one of hundreds of "green-card soldiers" in Iraq, noncitizens fighting for the United States and for a chance to become Americans. At least 15 noncitizen soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
4. Arrested Development On Iraqi Police Force
(Los Angeles Times)...Mark Magnier and Sonni Efron
...But poor equipment, inadequate training and morale problems all but ensure that the police will not be ready to maintain law and order on their own for the foreseeable future amid an insurgency that continues to target cities, citizens and Iraqi police themselves. As a result, the U.S. military will be needed to provide extensive support long after June 30, Iraqi police and U.S. officials acknowledge.
5. Britain Detains 8 In Alleged Bomb Plot
(Los Angeles Times)...John Daniszewski and Sebastian Rotella
Counter-terrorism police arrested eight men suspected of preparing a major bombing in Britain and seized half a ton of ammonium nitrate, which authorities said could have been used to make a massive fertilizer bomb. The arrests Tuesday sent a ripple of fear through Britain, coming after this month's train bombings in Madrid — blamed on a Moroccan group linked to Al Qaeda — and on the same day that authorities in the Philippines said they had thwarted a major attack there.
6. Most Not Prepared For Attack
(USA Today)...Mimi Hall
Most Americans have not followed the government's advice to prepare for terrorism by stocking food and water, making a plan to contact family members and identifying a "safe room" in their homes, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows.
7. Roadside Bombs Kill 2 U.S. Soldiers In Iraq
(Washington Post)...Sewell Chan
A U.S. soldier and a suicide bomber were killed Tuesday in separate incidents, according to military spokesmen. The soldier, who was not immediately identified, was killed by a roadside bomb that detonated as troops were on morning patrol near Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad, the U.S. military reported. The explosion also wounded one soldier. U.S. officials also said one soldier died and another was injured Monday when a roadside bomb caused their vehicle to veer off a road near Al Asad air base, about 11 miles northwest of Fallujah in western Iraq.
8. Marine Killed In Attack
(Los Angeles Times)...Tony Perry
One Marine was killed and five were wounded Tuesday in three attacks in this Sunni Triangle city west of Baghdad.
9. Iraqi Suicide Bombing Wounds 7 As Number Of Daily Attacks Rises
(New York Times)...Associated Press
A suicide bombing on Tuesday outside the house of a police chief killed the attacker and wounded seven others.
10. Weapons Inspector Testifies On Hill
(Washington Post)...Walter Pincus
The new chief U.S. weapons inspector for Iraq told Congress yesterday that no breakthrough has been made in the search for chemical or biological weapons but said new information supports a theory that Saddam Hussein may have been developing an ability to produce them on short notice.
11. Iraq Rebuilding Plan Reviewed
(Washington Post)...Jackie Spinner and Mary Pat Flaherty
The new inspector general of the U.S.-led interim authority in Iraq reported yesterday that though he is just beginning his own audits of reconstruction spending, he is concerned about the oversight of spending and control of cash.
12. U.S. Undecided On NATO Role In Iraq
The United States is weighing roles for NATO in Iraq but hasn't decided which of several options to support, a senior State Department official said. The ideas under discussion range from NATO taking over command of a multinational division to training peacekeeping and Iraqi forces to improve security in the country as it moves toward recovering its sovereignty on July 1, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Bradtke said.
13. Coalition Says Closed Shiite Weekly Incited Violence
Coalition officials Tuesday defended a decision to close a Shiite weekly that it said was fomenting violence against coalition troops in Iraq.
14. Attacks On Iraqi Police Increase
(USA Today)...Kevin Johnson
...At least 350 officers have been killed and hundreds more wounded since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime last spring. Since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat operations, 284 U.S. service members have died from hostile fire. Rebels have stepped up attacks against Iraqis in recent months. Police, who are often outgunned by insurgents, make easy targets for guerrillas who want to attack Iraqis cooperating with the coalition.
15. Hezbollah, Hamas Offices Reported In Iraq
(Washington Times)...Sharon Behn
The terrorist groups Hamas and Lebanon-based Hezbollah have opened offices in Iraq and are recruiting young men in the cities of Basra and Nasariyah, says the executive director of the American Islamic Congress.
16. Chalabi Poised To Lead Iraq
(Washington Times)...Arnaud de Borchgrave
With only three months to go before L. Paul Bremer trades in his Iraqi proconsul baton for beachwear and a hard-earned vacation, the country's most controversial politician is already well-positioned to become prime minister.
17. January Elections Seen As Essential Move To Restore Legitimacy
(Washington Times)...Agence France-Presse
Ahmed Chalabi, acting president of the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council, said yesterday that it is essential to hold elections in January as scheduled and expressed satisfaction with his talks with a visiting U.N. team.
18. No Clear Favorite For Top U.S. Job In Iraq
(New York Times)...Steven R. Weisman
It is described as the most challenging diplomatic assignment in the world, and the toughest to fill. Three months before sovereignty is restored in Iraq, the Bush administration is still looking for an ambassador to replace L. Paul Bremer III as the chief American political presence in Baghdad.
19. Publicist Hired To Tell Iraqis Of Democracy
(New York Times)...Heather Timmons
The United States-led occupation in Iraq has enlisted a British public relations firm to help promote the establishment of democracy in the country.
20. World In Brief
The U.S.-led occupation authority in Baghdad is failing to meter Iraq's oil production, leaving a door open to smuggling, an international watchdog agency said.
21. Spanish Troops Break Up Violent Protest
Spanish soldiers and Iraqi police broke up a protest by people seeking to join the police force in Najaf.
22. Pentagon Drops Plan To Test Internet Voting
(Washington Post)...Dan Keating
The Pentagon has decided to drop a $22 million pilot plan to test Internet voting for 100,000 American military personnel and civilians living overseas after lingering security concerns, officials said yesterday.
23. Appropriators Press Pentagon Over Restructuring Costs
(National Journal's CongressDaily)...Amy Klamper
Top Senate appropriators called on the Pentagon today to be more forthcoming with the anticipated costs of its plan to sharply revise its overseas basing strategy and with the impact that will have on military construction and the round of base closings in 2005.
24. Report Deepens Doubts On Air Force Tanker Deal With Boeing
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Joseph L. Galloway and Alan Bjerga
A Defense Department inspector general's audit report on the negotiations between the Air Force and the Boeing Co. on a new aerial refueling tanker indicates that investigations into possible criminal conduct have widened, according to officials who are knowledgeable about the report.
25. Tanker Deal Not 'Normal,' But Aircraft Needed, Jumper Says
(Aerospace Daily)...Kathy Gambrell
A deal to lease and buy KC-767 tankers from the Boeing Co. did "depart from the normal procurement procedures," but the goal was to accelerate the acquisition of the tankers, the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. John H. Jumper, told the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee March 30.
26. Dicks: Congress May Need To Legislate Against Tanker Competition
(Defense Daily)...Sharon Weinberger
In another sign of renewed conflict over the Air Force plans to modernize its aging fleet of tankers, a Democratic member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee said yesterday that Congress might have to legislate against allowing a foreign company in the U.S. military market for the lucrative refueling aircraft.
27. Boeing's Stonecipher Expects Approval Of Tanker Deal
Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Harry Stonecipher said he expects the Pentagon to approve a $23.5 billion plan to lease and buy as many as 100 aerial refueling tankers once a probe of a potential conflict of interest is done.
28. A Clash On Classified Documents
(Washington Post)...Dana Priest
The Bush administration's uneven decision-making on which sensitive documents it declassifies has prompted criticism that the White House is selectively releasing information to bolster its foreign policy agenda and respond to political pressure.
29. Former Colleague Disputes Clarke's Terror Accusations
(Washington Times)...Bill Sammon and Stephen Dinan
A former Democratic colleague of Richard A. Clarke yesterday disputed the former White House analyst's accusations that President Bush was not sufficiently focused on terrorism before the September 11 attacks.
30. Navy Probes Crashes Of 4 Jets
(Washington Times)...Guy Taylor
Four Navy fighter jets have crashed during training missions in the United States in the past seven days in what the Navy is investigating as a sudden series of unrelated "mishaps."
31. Lawmakers Split During Hearing On Navy’s Ship Request
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)...Dale Eisman
The shipbuilding industry’s top lobbyist came to a congressional hearing room on Tuesday determined to build momentum for dramatic increases in ship construction budgets.
32. Pakistan Government Cleared In Selling Of Nuclear Material
(Washington Times)...Bill Gertz
A Pakistani network that covertly sold nuclear goods used government aircraft but the Islamabad government was not involved in the transactions, a senior State Department official told Congress yesterday.
33. 'Madrid-Level' Bomb Attack Prevented, Philippines Says
(Los Angeles Times)...Richard C. Paddock
Philippine officials announced Tuesday that they had averted a "Madrid-level" bombing attack on shopping malls and trains here with the arrest of four alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group.
34. Pakistan Backs Off 2d Claim On Al-Qaeda
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Paul Haven, Associated Press
Pakistani officials yesterday again backed off claims that they killed or captured a major al-Qaeda fugitive, saying a man they believed was an intelligence chief for Osama bin Laden's organization was in fact a much less senior local figure.
35. 3rd Day Of Violence Claims 23 Lives In Uzbekistan
(New York Times)...Seth Mydans
As many as 23 people were reported dead on Tuesday in bombings and gun battles in Uzbekistan during a third day of violence in a strategic ally of the United States that borders Afghanistan.
36. Land Grabs Threaten Peace
(Washington Times)...John Zarocostas
Afghanistan could drift into a new conflict if the Karzai government fails to deal with widespread land grabbing and house confiscations by warlords, army commanders, drug dealers and Cabinet ministers, an independent U.N. human rights analyst said yesterday.
37. Russia: Defense Can't Stop Weapon
Russia has designed a ''revolutionary'' weapon that would make the prospective U.S. missile defense useless, Russian news agencies reported. If deployed, the new weapon would take the value of any U.S. missile shield to ''zero,'' the news agencies quoted a Defense Ministry official as saying.
38. Quick Action Urged Against New Ethnic Violence
(Washington Times)...David R. Sands
Renewed violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo could drag down the entire Balkans if the United States and European powers do not act quickly and forcefully, regional leaders said in a series of interviews this week.
39. Haiti: 18 Months To Elections, U.N. Envoy Says
(New York Times)...Warren Hoge
Haiti will need 18 months to hold elections following the departure last month of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and United Nations peacekeepers must be kept there for up to 20 years if the country is going to have guaranteed stability, Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy, Reginald Dumas, said after briefing the Security Council.
40. What A Strong Russia Wants
(Wall Street Journal)...Sergei Lavrov
...An entirely reasonable question should be answered: How can Russia deal with its newfound foreign-policy opportunities? Russia has significantly enhanced her reputation as a responsible player in international affairs over the past four years. This has been achieved through a pragmatic policy, mainly subordinated to the interests of domestic development and oriented toward expanded dialogue and cooperation with the rest of the world. As part of this policy, Russia and the U.S. have become the closest of allies in the fight against international terrorism, while Russia-NATO relations have improved and a strategic partnership with the European Union has developed.
41. International Relations 101
(New York Times)...Robert M. Gates
Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are on the brink of achieving an unanticipated victory, one that could have long-term consequences for the United States.
42. 'Oil For Fraud?': The U.N.'s Response -- (Letter)
(Washington Post)...Edward Mortimer
The Post recommended an investigation into allegations of corruption involving the Iraqi oil- for-food program ["Oil for Fraud?" editorial, March 26]. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan informed the Security Council earlier last week that he is launching just such an independent inquiry. The composition of the investigating body will be announced this week.
43. Difficult Military Duty of Defending Terrorists -- (Letters)
(Wall Street Journal)...John D. Hutson; Miles P. Fischer
Anyone reading your article "Defending the Enemy: Critics of Tribunals Gain Unlikely Allies: Lawyers in Uniform" (March 18) should not be surprised to learn of the audacity and tenacity of military defense counsel. I spent 28 years as a Navy judge advocate so I am well familiar with what they do.
44. The Military Chaplain -- (Letter)
(New York Times)...Lt. Col. Bill Costello, USA
To the Editor: Capt. James Yee ("Military Injustice," editorial, March 24) was never charged with espionage or characterized as traitorous by government officials. He was found guilty on adultery and pornography charges and processed through nonjudicial punishment.
45. Back On The Back Burner
Remember Haiti? One month ago, shortly after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was flown out of the country on a U.S. military aircraft, U.S. Marines began landing in the capital of Port-au-Prince as part of a multinational intervention to stop the spread of anarchy. It was a mission the Bush administration did its best to avoid, following years of neglecting Haiti and months of trying to hand off management of its mounting crisis to others. Thirty days later, the Marines are still there -- 1,900 of them -- but the country and its dire problems have once again vanished from the agendas of administration policymakers.
46. The Balkans Flare Up
(New York Times)...Editorial
As if the world needs a reminder of how hard it is for occupying outsiders to build a nation, Kosovo exploded this month. Five years after a NATO bombing campaign put an end to atrocities by ethnic Serbs against ethnic Albanians there, Albanian mobs burned Serb-owned houses to the ground. It's yet another distressing instance in which victims of ethnic cleansing have resorted to the same horrific type of violence.
47. Don't Forget Afghanistan
(Los Angeles Times)...Editorial
...Unfortunately, Pakistani soldiers botched an anti-terrorist campaign on their side of the border this month, out of ineptness or solidarity with the Taliban. Pakistan's cooperation in the anti-terrorism effort is still woeful. It needs to press harder; the U.S. and other countries need to match money and troops to their rhetoric and stop Afghanistan from backsliding into the depths.
As a service to readers and fellow bloggers The Mudville Gazette presents The Morning Brief, the same compilation of news stories that leaders of the US armed forces get every morning.
Why? So if you run into General Myers in the elevator you'll have something to talk about.
1. 7 Former Communist Countries Join NATO
(Washington Post)...Thomas E. Ricks
President Bush welcomed seven former Communist countries into NATO yesterday, pressing the alliance's boundaries farther into what once was Warsaw Pact territory and emphasizing its post-Cold War rebirth as a partnership aimed increasingly at fighting terrorism in Europe and beyond.
2. Majority Supports Bush On Terrorism
(USA Today)...Richard Benedetto
Most Americans still approve of President Bush's leadership in the war on terrorism, even after a week of accusations that he failed to pay enough attention to intelligence warnings before the Sept. 11 attacks.
3. G.I.'s In Afghanistan On Hunt, But Now For Hearts And Minds
(New York Times)...David Rohde
Standing in a bleak, dust-covered village 15 miles from Pakistan, Lt. Reid Finn, a 24-year-old Louisiana native known as Huck, supervised as his men unloaded a half dozen wooden boxes with American flags on them.
4. Big Pay Luring Military's Elite To Private Jobs
(New York Times)...Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker
Senior American commanders and Pentagon officials are warning of an exodus of the military's most seasoned members of Special Operations to higher-paying civilian security jobs in places like Baghdad and Kabul, just as they are playing an increasingly pivotal role in combating terror and helping conduct nation-building operations worldwide.
5. Chicago, L.A. Towers Were Next Targets
(Washington Times)...Paul Martin
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's purported operations chief, has told U.S. interrogators that the group had been planning attacks on the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago on the heels of the September 11, 2001, terror strikes.
6. 9/11 Panel Wants Rice Under Oath In Any Testimony
(New York Times)...Philip Shenon and Richard W. Stevenson
The chairman and vice chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said on Monday that they would ask Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath in any future questioning because of discrepancies between her statements and those made in sworn testimony by President Bush's former counterterrorism chief.
7. U.S. Soldier Killed Near Baghdad
(Baltimore Sun)...Associated Press
A U.S. soldier was killed in a bomb attack west of Baghdad yesterday, and British troops in the south fired rubber bullets to disperse anti-coalition activists.
NA - Original press release here
8. Rebuilding To Create Thousands Of Jobs
U.S. administrator Paul Bremer said he expects 50,000 Iraqis to be working on U.S.-funded jobs at construction sites across the country by the time Iraq is sovereign June 30. Construction is set to begin in six key sectors: electricity; water resources and public works; security and justice; transportation and communications; buildings, education and health; and oil.
9. Bremer: Full Police Force To Take Year
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Ken Dilanian
In an uncommonly downbeat assessment of Iraq's security challenges, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer told local officials yesterday that it would take at least a year for Iraq to hire, equip and train enough police and border guards to meet its needs.
10. Marines Hunt Smugglers At Iraq-Syria Border
(Los Angeles Times)...Tony Perry
Along hundreds of miles of lonely desert along the Iraq-Syria frontier, U.S. Marines have begun an aggressive effort to block weapons and foreign fighters from flowing into Iraq through one of the world's most notorious smuggling corridors.
11. Securing Iraq's Frontier, Step By Step
(Los Angeles Times)...Kim Murphy
This country's 900-mile border with Iran is now officially closed at all but three remote posts. The mission of the lonely sentinels here: to prevent combatants and weapons from seeping into a nation that already has more than enough of both.
12. Deal To Outfit Iraqi Army Creates A Stir
(Wall Street Journal)...Christopher Cooper
Washington has doled out billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq, but no contract has sown more hard feelings and confusion than a midsize deal to outfit the new Iraqi army.
13. Army Says Troops Killed Two Iraqi Journalists
(Washington Post)...Sewell Chan
The U.S. Army accepted responsibility Monday for the shooting deaths of two Iraqi journalists this month near a roadblock in the capital but said the killings were accidental.
14. Attacks Test Muslim Unity In Iraq
(Washington Post)...Karl Vick
Abdulsattar Abdulraheem, a stringy 72, looked up from the bag of portland cement at his feet. While patching a hole in his driveway, he laid his dusty hands on a metaphor for the common quality Iraqis say will spare them a civil war.
15. Saddam Mum In Interrogations
(Washington Times)...Associated Press
He doesn't have an attorney in the room, but Saddam Hussein apparently is practicing what most lawyers would advise: Don't talk. Diplomatic and military officials say the former Iraqi leader has provided little useful information in interrogations so far — and may even be having fun.
16. Five Penalized By U.N. Chief In Iraq Bombing
(New York Times)...Warren Hoge
Acting on a damning report of United Nations security failures in the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters last August, Secretary General Kofi Annan fired his chief of global security, demoted a second senior official, penalized three staff members and received — but did not accept — the resignation of his own deputy, his spokesman said Monday.
17. U.N. Envoy Sent To Shape Plan For Iraq
(Washington Post)...Robin Wright and Anthony Shadid
A U.N. special envoy heads to Baghdad this week to chart a course for forming a new Iraqi government in just six to eight weeks, amid growing signs that the pivotal players in Iraq's political drama are deeply divided over how to proceed.
18. Senate Panels To Get New Iraq Weapons Report
(New York Times)...Douglas Jehl
The new chief American weapons inspector in Iraq has prepared a classified report on the hunt for illicit weapons there and will brief two Senate committees in closed sessions on Tuesday about his interim findings, Congressional officials say.
19. Rumors Are A Bombardment That Never Stops
(USA Today)...Tom Squitieri
...Fighting the information war on the streets and in the bazaars of Iraq's cities and villages is proving as tough as combating the elusive fighters who attack soldiers. In November, the coalition set up a 50-member rumor-control team in recognition of the importance of the information war. The team monitors rumors on the streets and in cafes, what's published in countless Iraqi newspapers and what appears on television.
20. US Fights Shifting Iraqi Foes
(Christian Science Monitor)...Dan Murphy
...For now, the US military is staying focused on the insurgents. Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the 1st Infantry Division and head of security in and around Baghdad, sees four threats.
21. Pentagon Blasts Air Force Contract For Boeing Tankers
(Wall Street Journal)...Andy Pasztor
The Pentagon's inspector general, lambasting some Air Force acquisition procedures, dealt a potentially crippling blow to Boeing Co.'s controversial plans to quickly provide air-refueling tankers to the military. In a briefing to congressional staffers yesterday, Inspector General Joseph Schmitz and his staff summarized the conclusions of a report that criticizes the Air Force for relying on "an inappropriate procurement strategy" for the tankers, along with failing to use "prudent acquisition procedures," comply fully with five federal statutes and falling short of adequately protecting taxpayers.
22. Pentagon Favors Boeing Deal
The Pentagon's inspector general said there is "no compelling reason" to block an Air Force plan to acquire 100 air refueling tankers from Boeing, despite significant questions about the deal.
23. Rice 9/11 Testimony May Be Released
(Washington Post)...Mike Allen
After resisting for months, White House officials worked yesterday to negotiate a compromise that would allow public release of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the independent commission looking into the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to administration aides.
24. Colleague Of Ex-Official Disputes Part Of Account
(New York Times)...David E. Sanger
A senior national security official who worked alongside Richard A. Clarke on Sept. 11, 2001, is disputing central elements of Mr. Clarke's account of events in the White House Situation Room that day, declaring that it "is a much better screenplay than reality was."
25. Battleground In The Heartland
(Washington Post)...David Maraniss
Voters torn between support of military, concerns about war.
26. Muslim Chaplain Appeals Reprimand
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)...Mike Barber
Army Capt. James Yee, 36, a Muslim chaplain the Army tried but failed to link to a suspected espionage ring at Guantanamo Bay naval station in Cuba, has appealed his reprimand for committing adultery and storing pornography on an Army computer.
27. Navy Jet Crashes Off San Diego
(Los Angeles Times)...Deborah Schoch
A Navy fighter jet experienced engine problems and plunged into the Pacific Ocean on Monday, but the two crew members ejected and were rescued, Navy officials said.
28. Navy Pilot Safe After Jet Crashes In Eastern Tenn.
A Navy F-18 fighter jet on a training mission crashed yesterday, but the pilot ejected and was taken to a hospital with a broken ankle, authorities said. The one-seat plane, based at the Naval Air Station Atlanta, went down about 11 a.m. and hit some trees about 30 miles north of Chattanooga, the Navy said. No one on the ground was injured. The pilot's name was not released.
29. Marine May Be Punished For 'Friendly Fire' Deaths
(Washington Post)...Will Dunham, Reuters
A U.S. Marine Corps general will consider possible disciplinary action against a ground-based Marine air controller faulted in the most deadly U.S. "friendly fire" incident in the Iraq war, officials said yesterday.
30. Officials: U.S. 'Outed' Iran's Spies In 1997
(USA Today)...Barbara Slavin
After a bombing killed 19 U.S. airmen at a barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the Clinton administration struck back by unmasking Iranian intelligence officers around the world, significantly disrupting Iranian-backed terrorism, according to a high-level U.S. official and a former top official who was serving at the time of the operation.
31. Officials Hopeful Of Al-Qaida Leader's Death
(Baltimore Sun)...Associated Press
Intercepted radio conversations indicate al-Qaida's top intelligence chief might have been killed in fighting in Pakistan, intelligence officials said yesterday, but they admitted they cannot produce his body. The radio transmissions disclosed that a man named Abdullah had been killed and that the death caused a great deal of distress among the al-Qaida forces, a Pakistani intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
32. New NATO Nations Should Find Niche Military Capability, Secretary General Says
(Defense Daily)...Ann Roosevelt
The seven new NATO members should develop niche military capabilities to support the alliance’s military forces and missions, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said ahead of White House accession ceremonies yesterday.
33. Iran Says It Stopped Making Uranium-Enrichment Device
Iran announced yesterday that it had stopped building centrifuges for uranium enrichment, a bid to allay suspicions about its nuclear intentions as U.N. inspectors visit the country. Iran suspended uranium enrichment last year under strong international pressure. But it continued to build centrifuges, which are used in enrichment, despite criticism that such activity violated the spirit of its pledge to cease enrichment.
34. 19 Killed In Uzbekistan; Terrorism Blamed
(New York Times)...Seth Mydans
Nineteen people were killed and at least 26 wounded in a series of terrorist incidents in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, the Uzbek prosecutor general said Monday.
35. Taiwan's President Maintains Hard Line
(Washington Post)...Philip P. Pan and David E. Hoffman
President Chen Shui-bian declared Monday that his narrow reelection victory was a mandate from voters to press ahead with an aggressive agenda to develop Taiwan as an "independent, sovereign country" despite the risk of war with China.
36. U.S. To Nearly Double Its Aid To Afghanistan
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is expected to nearly double the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan's reconstruction at a donors conference this week in Berlin.
37. Madrid To Double Afghanistan Contingent
Spain's incoming government, under pressure over its plan to withdraw its troops from Iraq, has agreed to double the country's contingent in Afghanistan to 250 soldiers this summer, an aide to the future defense minister said yesterday.
38. Kerry's Stalling On Base Closures Delays Big Savings
Imagine a $400 billion business that relies increasingly on borrowed money because its revenues have fallen far short of expenses. Yet it isn't allowed to shut down unnecessary plants because of politics. That's the situation the U.S. Department of Defense faces in trying to close military bases that no longer are needed.
39. Kerry Proceeds With Caution
(USA Today)...John M. Shalikashvili
America is at war. And the next president will inherit enormous responsibilities to keep America safe and win the war on terror. He will face key decisions on the size of America's military and how best to rebalance the roles of the active and reserve components.
40.A Dollop Of Deeper American Values
(Washington Post)...Joseph S. Nye Jr.
...After the war in Iraq, I spoke about soft power to a conference co-sponsored by the Army. One of the speakers was Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. When someone in the audience asked Rumsfeld for his opinion on soft power, he replied, "I don't know what it means." That is part of our problem. Some of our leaders don't understand the importance of soft power in our post-Sept. 11 world.
41. Funds To Secure Afghanistan
(Washington Times)...Said Tayeb Jawad
At the donors' conference tomorrow in Berlin, we will present a detailed report on how to secure Afghanistan's future — and the security internal stability brings to the world.
42. Constitutional Tempest In Iraq
(Washington Times)...Bruce Fein
Volcanic. That characterizes a heated symposium I attended in Ankara, Turkey, last week sponsored by the Foreign Policy Institute and Bilkent University to appraise "Iraq on the way to its new Constitution." The attendees included Iraqi participants in the March 8, 2004, interim constitution promulgated by the 25 member Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Other attendees hailed from Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
43. Cooperation, Not Control, Key To Iraqi Democracy
(USA Today)...DeWayne Wickham
Last week, while much of the nation's attention was focused on the swirling debate over how and why the U.S. went to war in Iraq, the Bush administration formally extended America's military dominance of that troubled country.
44. Keep Iraq Above Politics
(Los Angeles Times)...James R. Schlesinger and Thomas R. Pickering
In the coming months, President George W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry will disagree about many critical national security issues, including the timing of the decision to go to war with Iraq and the effectiveness of our efforts since major combat ended.
45. Hearts, Minds And Padlocks
(New York Times)...Editorial
With so many forces trying to prove that America cannot bring stability and democracy to Iraq, it was sad to see the Bush administration's proconsul there, Paul Bremer III, issuing an order that is likely to set back both of those desirable goals.
46. Countdown In Iraq
With only 93 days before the United States is to end its postwar occupation of Iraq, American troops still are immersed in a bloody and inconclusive conflict.
47. Time To Send In The Marines
(Long Island Newsday)...Editorial
One of the most biting arguments against President George W. Bush's obsessive focus on the Iraq war is the resulting dilution of military resources that could have been used to search out and destroy al-Qaida in its Afghan and Pakistani redoubts. That criticism will continue to haunt the Bush White House, but it's not too late to make up for that mistake. That's what the Pentagon is now doing. The timing is right.
(Note: Part One here.) Okay, I was going to leave John Kerry alone for the rest of the evening, but now I must dedicate this comic book to all Pandagon readers...
Okay, Grim offers a post on a grim anniversary, one for worthwhile reflection on Internationalism and US intervention on foreign soil - or lack thereof. He's optimistic, so don't be fooled by the nickname.
For more such, don't forget the MilBlogs page.
Having been forced to dance like Howard Dean's meat puppet through the grueling months of the Democratic campaign (longer than his 'nam tour - ed) John Kerry now wants to pull the strings for others:
"If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do '60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath," Kerry said while campaigning Saturday.
He think he owns her or something?
Really I haven't heard anything that witty from the white skined African American Catholic pro abortion anti-war war hero presidential candidate since he said this earlier this month:
""If the president of the United States can find time to go to a rodeo, he can spend more than one hour before the commission," Kerry said.
And you know he could have said it in French if he wanted too? The guy is just two steps ahead of everyone.
Maybe in November we can tell him where to go.
Just read an e-mail from Pierre Legrand at The Pink Flamingo Bar and Grill, one of the earliest members of the "Friends of MilBlogs" list. He passes on a letter he received from the very good folks at Operation Air Conditioner:
We are working hard to get air conditioners out to our troops in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 and any donation you can make to us would be greatly appreciated. Please even $5, $10 or $20 is fine. We were able to do so much last summer for our troops and I would like to continue but we operate on donations and people just are sick of hearing about the war and have essentially stopped donating all together.
I don't know, Pierre. I've got a list of charity sites that includes Operation AC down the side of this blog. I get roughly 1-2 thousand visitors a day on weekdays, (depending on inbound links) but the respose to a simple request for words of encouragement to the troops a couple posts down has been somewhat underwhelming. Perhaps it's easier to donate a few bucks to charity than to write a few words. For many I'm sure that's true. I will now shamelessly bring out the guilthammer.
Here's an excerpt from a recent e-mail I sent this past week. Having read the above email and the one that prompted my morale posts in the first place, I realize that this really sums up the whole moment in time for me right now:
The Pentagon released results of a morale survey of troops in Iraq earlier this week. No surprise, they weren't overjoyed to be in Baghdad taking shots while trying to restore electricity. In contrast recent Iraqi opinion polls show the citizens consider themselves better off now, have hope for a brighter future, and would like the Army to leave as soon as that electricity is stable.
Meanwhile, a former US President says at a Democratic Party event celebrating the unofficial annointing of the heir apparent, that"I am deeply concerned that our leadership today has been eroded by global doubts about our government's commitment to the basic principles of truth, peace and human rights," Carter said. "We see trust and friendship toward the United States at its lowest point in history."
"Respected human rights leaders no longer see our country as a noble example to be emulated, but as a focus of their almost universal condemnation."
Par for the course in a week that began with "anti-war" protests, moved to attempts to blame the president for 911, and saw anti-Bush demonstrators come to blows with the pro-Bush crowd. With over seven months to go to the elections, flames are being fanned.
This "low troop morale" story is really about the Pentagon taking steps to improve that number, but will of course be used by the folks responsible for the activities above as further evidence that they are in the right.
We are at war and troops are in harms way. Actions by people on the homefront do affect the troops overseas. People are aware of that, but it's becoming background noise, and it should never be ignored.
It may be corny but I guess I'm saying a little WWII-style home front patriotism isn't a bad thing - it did help defeat Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito after all. Funny that we shy away from such behavior now. If that's desirable then I guess that certain Vietnam-era testimony still has it's intended effect.
So give please, those who can.
Gotta shake the blues now. Regroup, recharge, press on.
It's what we do.
Did you know that Greyhawk Manor, the current home of yours truly, sits on top of a wooded hill virtually on the border between Germany and France?
PARIS, March 28 -- President Jacques Chirac and his ruling conservative party suffered a crushing defeat in regional midterm elections Sunday, with the opposition Socialists and their Green and Communist allies seizing control of the vast majority of regional councils. The results represented a sharp rebuke for the government, which has attempted to reform France's costly health care, pension and education systems.
Chirac's party was expected to lose control of a number of regional councils after its poor showing in last week's first round of voting. But the scale of Sunday's defeat immediately prompted speculation that Chirac's prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, could be replaced in a sweeping post-election cabinet reshuffle this week.
"It's not just a defeat," said Alain Duhamel, a veteran political analyst and commentator. "It's a disaster."
All of which explains the guillotine I saw on the back of a westbound truck on the autobahn today.
And there's no word yet on whether the new French aristocracy has endorsed their cousin John for President of the US.
Lets catch up with good John Kerry, who stopped for mass on his way home from skiing, even though it nearly made him late for the vote against Laci and Connor's law:
The last time a major political party put forward a Roman Catholic candidate for President, he had to confront bigotry and suspicion that he would be taking orders from Rome. Forty-four years later, the Democrats are poised to nominate another Catholic—another Senator from Massachusetts whose initials happen to be J.F.K.—
Most folks probably didn't notice the similarities.
"He had me at 'notBush'" said a typical Democratic voter. But for those desiring the false sense of hope that their candidate has a moral compass,
Kerry is a former altar boy who complains when his campaign staff does not leave time in his Sunday schedule for Mass, who takes Communion and describes himself as a "believing and practicing Catholic, married to another believing and practicing Catholic." But just last week he made a rare appearance on the Senate floor to vote against a bill that would make harming a fetus a separate offense during the commission of a crime. The vote put Kerry on the same side as abortion-rights advocates in opposing specific legal rights for the unborn—and against nearly two-thirds of his fellow Senators.
So Kerry wants to be the second Catholic President, pretty much in the same manner of wanting to be the second black president, and although he hasn't yet attacked Bush using gangsta rap he has fired some scriptural rounds into the enemy camp:
Polls consistently show that Americans prefer their leaders to be religious, and in running to unseat the most openly devout President in recent years, Kerry has at times put a pious cast on his own rhetoric. In a speech at a Mississippi church on March 7, he said Bush does not practice the "compassionate conservatism" he preaches, and quoted James 2: 14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"
Kerry's invocation of deeds-based vs. faith-based theology is a great topic for late night seminary debates. Worth noting, in the medieval Catholic Church one could purchase one's way into heaven, in Islam one must perform certain tasks (observe the five pillars) and in perverted versions of Islam one can enter heaven immediately and with great reward for flying planeloads of infidels into buildings full of infidels. In contrast Christianity is a faith-based religion.
But the President has been a man of faith and deeds. Kerry's sound bite, like most scripture quoted without context, depends heavily on a lack of public understanding of the topic. Or perhaps on the vain hope that Christians are poorly educated and easily led...
However, grant that support for most all of Kerry's postions requires a high degree of faith, if you will, since there are certainly no facts to back his assertions, and his proposals would have you suspend belief in anything but miracles.
Absent divine guidance, let's Google that March 7th church speech and see which diocese got the blessed visitation.
JACKSON, Miss -- Aligning himself with the civil rights movement and elements of faith in the fight for equality, Sen. John Kerry on Sunday (Mar 7th) called on members of an African-American church here to march against cynicism and disaffection.
"I don't agree with the hollowness of the politics, nor do you, that tries to divide black from white, rich from poor, Massachusetts from Mississippi," Kerry told a crowd of about 600 at the predominantly black Greater Bethlehem Temple Church.
Obviously it's not in his best interest to divide all rich white folk from poor Jackson urbanites. But as one church member said, "he had me at 'notBush'"
Although civil rights activist Al Sharpton of New York is still in the Democratic race, black voters and elected officials said they want to support a candidate with a better chance at defeating President Bush.
President Clinton was often known as the first black president, Kerry said recently. "I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second."
Democrats historically have relied on the support of African-Americans at the polls, a courtship that often begins in church. But this year, with the election expected to be extremely close, Democrats are saying they can no longer afford to take black votes for granted.
Visiting black churches is an honored rite of the presidential campaign, and Kerry used the occasion Sunday to debut a speech melding policy with religion, springing from the bedrock of civil rights.
Quoting James 2:14, Kerry, a Catholic, said, "We'll be tested to see how much we really remember the words of the Scripture, What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"
And that's apparently one of the themes developed by the Kerry Kult during the ski week in Idaho. No word on whether it occurred to them in a divine flash of inspiration or if, like Kerry's foreign leader support, the idea simply sprang from voices in his head. Whatever the case, Kerry's repeating the theme at black churches around the country, this past weekend in St Louis.
"Today we are told that, after 3 million lost jobs and so many lost hopes, America is now turning a corner," the pending Democratic presidential nominee said. "But those who say that, they're not standing on the corner of Highland Street, where two 15-year-old teenagers were hit in a drive-by shooting last week."
Kerry never mentioned Bush by name, instead aiming his criticism at "our present national leadership." In appealing to worshippers to oppose the devout Christian president, Kerry cited scripture and an African proverb: "When you pray, move your feet."
"The scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry told the congregation at New North Side Baptist Church. "When we look at what is happening in America today, were (sic) are the works of compassion?"
Kerry is Roman Catholic, but his support for abortion rights is at odds with Vatican teachings.
"I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life," Kerry said in an interview with Time posted on the magazine's Web site Sunday.
Kerry says his faith was instilled in him in childhood and that in Vietnam he wore a rosary around his neck when he went into battle. When Kerry got home from the war, he went through what he calls a "period of a little bit of anger and agnosticism, but subsequently, I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking and really came to understand how all those terrible things fit."
That rosary isn't clearly visible in any of the many photos. But what a great scene it will make in the movie version, as our hero dons it and genuflects before initiating divine carnage, bringing full wrath of Old Testiment Yahweh upon his enemy.
Now brace yourselves it's going to get worse:
He is enough of a stickler for Catholic rules to have sought an annulment of his 18-year first marriage before marrying again.
The previous two quoted passages, the 'nam rosary and the annulment, along with the next one, were originally all one amazing paragraph. It had to be cut to be savored and digested. Like a father welcoming the prodigal son, the generous Time editor gives us too much of a feast.
The Boston Globe's revelation last year that his paternal grandparents were born Jewish and converted to Catholicism has triggered "some fascination," he says, and some frustration over not knowing more about his religious heritage. "I wish my parents were alive and I could ask them all the questions," he says.
Well, you'll meet them again in heaven John.
But there are dark clouds gathering, as he doesn't have everyone at notBush.
...this time, the controversy over his religion may develop within the Catholic Church itself. Kerry's positions on some hot-button issues aren't sitting well with members of the church elite. Just listen to a Vatican official, who is an American: "People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem with John Kerry, and a potential scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of his stances, particularly abortion."
And you can read the whole thing to learn more. But suffice to say it's a story of our hero's battle against those "elite" - those Pharisees, if you will. But it's also a story of those who'd look beyond the fact that John Kerry is notBush, those who resist his call to "follow me." Kerry is every bit as Catholic as he is black, as pious as he is heroic, and his protests to the contrary are worthy of scorn, and exemplary of his uncertain positions on everything. Still, he's a matter of obvious concern too, for he is notBush, and for many that's messianic, or at least close enough.
As a service to our readers and fellow bloggers, the Mudville Gazette presents The Morning Briefing, the same compilation of news from around the world that top US militay officials are starting their day with. Links in this section are presented without editorial comment and do not represent an endorsement by this web site, the DoD, any component thereof, etc.
Don Rumsfeld has a copy in the limo on the ride in. Why shouldn't you start your day the same way? We ask only that you, like our SecDef, use this information only for good.
(Well, you could also hat tip this way should you use this info or find it potentially useful.)
By the way if you're a blogger and find an article here you'd like to use as in an entry on your blog, feel free to leave a comment here and use the url entry to link your story.
1. Rice Defends Refusal To Testify
(Washington Post)...Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, at the center of a controversy over her refusal to testify before the Sept. 11 commission, yesterday renewed her determination not to give public testimony and said she could not list anything she wished she had done differently in the months before the 2001 terrorist attacks.
2. President Asked Aide To Explore Iraq Link To 9/11
(New York Times)...Eric Lichtblau
The White House acknowledged Sunday that on the day after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush asked his top counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, to find out whether Iraq was involved.
3. G.I.'s Padlock Baghdad Paper Accused Of Lies
(New York Times)...Jeffrey Gettleman
American soldiers shut down a popular Baghdad newspaper on Sunday and tightened chains across the doors after the occupation authorities accused it of printing lies that incited violence.
4. Shiites Organize To Block U.S. Plan
(Washington Post)...Anthony Shadid
...The clergy's campaign is steeped in the religious symbolism that binds much of the country's Shiite majority, whose political ascendancy is a defining feature of postwar Iraq. It turns on a term -- legitimacy -- that is far easier to deny than to bestow. The campaign signals a willingness to confront U.S. authorities at a moment when time is short, as the American administration prepares to formally end the occupation on June 30 and turn over authority to an interim Iraqi government.
5. Iraq Economy Shakes Off The Shackles Of Saddam
(USA Today)...Paul Wiseman
...Anything goes these days in Baghdad's teeming streets, crowded souks and back alleys. An exhilarating but virtually lawless economy has risen from the ashes of Saddam Hussein's government. Business opportunities are everywhere, but so are corruption and crime.
6. Iraqi Minister Escapes Attack
(Washington Times)...Christopher Torchia, Associated Press
Gunmen opened fire yesterday on a convoy carrying Iraq's minister of public works, killing a driver and a bodyguard and injuring two persons, the U.S.-led coalition said. The minister, Nisreen Berwari, was unharmed.
7. U.S. Soldiers Kill 4 Insurgents In Iraq
U.S. soldiers in the northern city of Mosul shot and killed four rebels suspected of involvement in attacks in the region, the military said Monday. Two American soldiers were wounded in the firefight.
8. U.S. Plan Seeks To Build Civilian-Run Iraqi Army
(Washington Post)...Sewell Chan
U.S. officials are moving rapidly to create a civilian-run Iraqi Defense Ministry that will work in tandem with the American military after the handover of Iraqi sovereignty on June 30 and could form the nucleus of a strategic alliance between the two countries.
9. Iraqis Take Control Of Health Ministry
(Washington Post)...Sewell Chan
U.S. officials turned over control of the Health Ministry to Iraqi officials Sunday, making it the first autonomous ministry of the 25 slated to become so by the formal end of the U.S.-led occupation on June 30.
10. Blast Clues Lead To Dead Ends
(USA Today)...Kevin Johnson
Danger, lack of records in Iraq help foil investigators.
11. U.S. Pitches In For Iraqi Kids
(Washington Times)...Willis Witter
Contributions of clothes and toys from Americans to poor Iraqi children have swamped flights of military mail into Baghdad, forcing officials to scramble for ways to handle an influx of generosity that no one had anticipated.
(Paid reg required)
12. Devil's Advocate Takes Up Brief To Defend Saddam
(London Times)...Charles Bremner
A FRENCH lawyer who has made his name defending tyrants and terrorists claims that he has been engaged to defend Saddam Hussein and will call Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, and other officials to show that the Americans and British were the true criminals in Iraq.
13. Censored Study On Bioterror Doubts U.S. Preparedness
(New York Times)...Judith Miller
Two years after a report on the 2001 anthrax attacks was completed, the Pentagon has released parts of the unclassified document, which concludes that the nation is woefully ill-prepared to detect and respond to a bioterrorist assault.
14. Shifts From Bin Laden Hunt Evoke Questions
(USA Today)...Dave Moniz and Steven Komarow
...The Bush administration says the hunt for bin Laden continued throughout the war in Iraq. Officials say it's wrong to speculate that he would have been captured, or other terrorist attacks prevented, if the Iraq war hadn't happened. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC's This Week, called the example of the Special Forces switch "simplistic."
15. Growing Doubts On Vaccine In Military
(Washington Post)...Marilyn W. Thompson
With each report on the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Airman Jessica Horjus asked a question: If inspectors could find no signs of anthrax, why should the Pentagon risk her health by requiring her to get the anthrax vaccine?
16. Defense Panel Faults Nuclear Plans
(Washington Post)...Walter Pincus
A prestigious Defense Department panel has recommended major changes to the United States' nuclear arsenal, saying the current plans to refurbish the existing weapons stockpile will not protect the nation from new threats from rogue states and terrorist groups.
17. Gitmo Cleric: I'm On Watch List
(New York Daily News)...James Gordon Meek
The former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay probed, and later cleared, for spying and aiding the enemy has been stopped seven times from boarding U.S. airliners, his lawyer said yesterday.
18. Army Spouses Expect Reenlistment Problems
(Washington Post)...Thomas E. Ricks
...Morgan's experience is part of a significant change in Army life brought about by the post-9/11 world: The extended, or repeated, deployments that have characterized the Army since then have intensified the burdens traditionally borne by military families. And most of the spouses who have remained behind are wondering how long the Army can keep it up.
19. Report Details 'Friendly Fire' Casualties In Deadly Battle
(Los Angeles Times)...Hector Becerra, Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell
As many as 10 Marines may have been killed by friendly fire in the midst of the deadliest battle of the Iraq war when a Marine air controller mistakenly cleared Air Force A-10 jets to shoot on U.S. positions, according to a long-awaited military investigation.
20. Cadet Accused Of Rape Allowed Back In Academy
(Miami Herald)...Robert Weller, Associated Press
An Air Force Academy cadet who had been accused of rape and threatened to crash a glider into a dining hall was allowed to remain at the school for several more months, during which he was arrested for sodomizing a woman in a wheelchair and accused of raping another cadet, according to files obtained by The Associated Press.
21. Musharraf Has Rumsfeld's Support In Nuclear Case
(Los Angeles Times)...Chuck Neubauer
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday that there was no reason to believe that Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, was involved in the nuclear black-market network operated by the country's former top atomic scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
22. Conflict Ends In Pakistani Tribal Lands
(Washington Post)...Pamela Constable
A deadly, 12-day confrontation between government troops and Islamic fighters in a remote tribal region reached a peaceful settlement Sunday after the militants released 12 paramilitary fighters and two civilian officials held hostage for more than a week and soldiers began pulling out of the area.
23. New Attacks In Afghanistan Raise Concerns About Security
(New York Times)...Reuters
After President Hamid Karzai formally postponed Afghanistan's presidential and parliamentary elections, from June to September, new violence on Sunday underlined the security concerns behind the delay.
24. Afghans to Seek $4.5 Billion In New Assistance
(Wall Street Journal)...Michael M. Phillips
Afghanistan, faced with mounting violence and public frustration at the slow pace of reconstruction, will ask the U.S., Europe and other donors this week to contribute $4.5 billion in new aid for the coming year.
25. U.S. Seeks Military Access In N. Africa
(Los Angeles Times)...Esther Schrader
Citing evidence that North Africa is increasingly becoming a refuge for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, a top Pentagon official said Friday that the U.S. was stepping up efforts to win military access to small bases from Morocco to Mali and ramping up aerial and maritime surveillance of the region.
26. Troops Offer Hand, And Native Tongue
(Miami Herald)...Michael A.W. Ottey
...Henriquez, born in Haiti, is one of about two dozen men and women of Haitian background serving with the U.S. military here, playing critical roles in the multinational peacekeeping force deployed to quell a bloody February revolt.
27. Israeli Arms, Gear Aid U.S. Troops
(Defense News)...Barbara Opall-Rome
The shroud of secrecy obscuring U.S.-Israel cooperation in special operations was lifted slightly last week to reveal a host of Israeli-developed technologies and weapon systems now or soon to be in use by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
28. Baltic States Mark New Era With NATO
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Michael Tarm, Associated Press
...Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are among seven former Soviet bloc countries formally joining NATO today, and they are realizing a long-denied dream - entering a military alliance by choice instead of by coercion.
29. Prodi Would End Italy's Role In Iraq
Associated Press, Reuters
Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission who also leads Italy's largest opposition coalition, said in a letter published over the weekend that leftists would end Italy's military role in Iraq if elected to power.
30. Keep Bases Here, Germany Implores U.S.
(Miami Herald)...Melissa Eddy, Associated Press
As host to 170,000 American soldiers and dependents, Germany has a lot to lose under Pentagon plans to shift forces out of western Europe, and officials in areas facing a pinch are lobbying heavily for them to stay.
31. Hamas Leader Calls Bush Foe Of Muslims
(New York Times)...Greg Myre
The new Hamas leader, Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, said Sunday that President Bush is the enemy of Muslims and that God has declared war on the United States.
32. U.S., Allies Stingy In Sharing Terror Intelligence
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Dafna Linzer, Associated Press
More than two years after the Bush administration won pledges of support from dozens of countries eager to join the war on terrorism, Washington and its allies still keep a jealous hold on intelligence - snarling the sharing of information needed to shut down al-Qaeda.
33. Air Force Work Renewal Brightens SI's Outlook
(Washington Post)...Anitha Reddy
SI International Inc. won a contract potentially worth $800 million to continue providing communication network support to the Air Force Space Command, removing a major uncertainty that has hung over the stock for months.
34. Tanker Bid Was Tailored To Boeing
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Joseph L. Galloway
The Air Force gave the Boeing Co. five months to rewrite official specifications for 100 aerial refueling tankers so that the company's 767 aircraft would win a $23.5 billion deal, according to e-mails and documents obtained by The Inquirer's Washington Bureau.
35. Expanding The Alliance Of Democracies
(Wall Street Journal (Europe))...R. Nicholas Burns
In ceremonies today in Washington, D.C., U.S. President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell will preside over an event that has been little noted by the European press, but that bears momentous historic significance: the accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia -- the greatest round of enlargement in NATO's 55-year history.
36. An Essential War
(Wall Street Journal)...George P. Shultz
We have struggled with terrorism for a long time. In the Reagan administration, I was a hawk on the subject. I said terrorism is a big problem, a different problem, and we have to take forceful action against it. Fortunately, Ronald Reagan agreed with me, but not many others did. (Don Rumsfeld was an outspoken exception.)
37. The Question We Should Be Asking
(Washington Post)...William Raspberry
...But I can't get past the previous question: Why are we in Iraq?
38. Follow-Up To Kofigate
(New York Times)...William Safire
Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.
39. South Koreans Cuddle Up To The North
(Wall Street Journal)...Danny Gittings
...But why keep American lives at risk in a country in denial about the nature of the enemy? And why is it in our strategic interest to stay, if that cripples our options? If Kim Jong Il were caught peddling plutonium to al Qaeda, President Roh would probably find some excuse to do nothing. A pullback of U.S. forces to Guam, by contrast, would free us from South Korean shackles in responding to such proliferation.
40. An Insulting Waste
..."Don't ask, don't tell" wastes federal resources while impugning the patriotism and wrecking the careers -- at the convenience of the brass -- of Americans who want to serve their country. It is past time to repeal the policy.
41. Bottom-Of-The-Sea Treaty
(Wall Street Journal)...Editorial
...But the treaty's central flaw remains unfixable: It is not in the best interests of the U.S. to have its maritime activities -- military or economic -- subject to the control of a highly politicized U.N. bureaucracy. That was a bad idea in 1982 and it's even worse today, as we fight the war on terror. It's also a terrible precedent, especially as we do more in space.
Fresh from the success of the oil-for-food program the UN now wants more control of the internet. Personally I think Al Gore missed his chance to hand it to them when he invented it, and now it's too late.
Misha, however, is angry. You might not like him when he gets angry.
As a service to our readers, the Mudville Gazette will begin presenting The Morning Briefing, the same compilation of news from around the world that top US militay officials are starting their day with. Links in this section are presented without editorial comment and do not represent an endorsement by this web site, the DoD, any component thereof, etc.
Don Rumsfeld has a copy in the limo on the ride in. Why shouldn't you start your day the same way? We ask only that you, like our SecDef, use this information only for good.
(Well, you could also hat tip this way should you use this info or find it potentially useful.)
Note: Today's entries are actually last Friday's briefing. Those that could not be found online are designated "NA". Thanks and enjoy.
1. Rice Is Agreeable To Return For More Of 9/11 Panel's Queries
(New York Times)...Adam Nagourney and Richard W. Stevenson
Under mounting pressure from Democrats about its response to the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the White House offered Thursday to have Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, answer more questions from the Sept. 11 panel. At the same time, President Bush forcefully denied accusations that he had ignored the severity of the threat from Al Qaeda.
2. Up To 2,000 Marines To Go To Afghanistan From Gulf
(New York Times)...Eric Schmitt
As many as 2,000 marines now aboard ships in the Persian Gulf will be sent to Afghanistan in the coming weeks to reinforce the American-led operation there to combat fighters of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
3. U.S. Officials Fashion Legal Basis To Keep Force In Iraq
(New York Times)...John F. Burns and Thom Shanker
With fewer than 100 days to go before Iraq resumes its sovereignty, American officials say they believe they have found a legal basis for American troops to continue their military control over the security situation in Iraq.
4. In City Seen As Iraqi Success, Extremists Rise
(Philadelphia Inquirer)...Ken Dilanian
...Shiite religious extremists, backed by armed militias, are waging a campaign of intimidation to enforce a strict Islamic code of conduct in Iraq's second-largest city. Neither the Iraqi police nor the British military forces that occupy Basra seem willing or able to stop it.
5. Sudden, Painful Rebirth Unsettles Stagnant Region
(Los Angeles Times)...Megan K. Stack
...The United States has paid for the war and the occupation with a profound anti-American backlash. The fires of jihad have been fueled in the hearts of a new generation of extremist recruits. Sectarian tensions are spilling from Iraq, drawing out tribal, religious and ethnic splits in neighboring countries and raising fears of instability.
6. 3 Troops Killed In Iraq Attacks
(Washington Post)...Sewell Chan
Two U.S. soldiers and a Marine were slain over the past two days in separate attacks, including a fierce firefight in which five insurgents were also killed, the military announced Thursday.
7. U.S. Marines Come Under Fire From Syria Near Border Of Iraq
(Wall Street Journal)...Greg Jaffe and David S. Cloud
U.S. Marines and their helicopters have come under regular fire in recent days from Syria's side of its border with Iraq, and some U.S. officials say the fire sometimes seems to be coming from Syrian border guards.
8. New Iraq Defence Ministry Announced
(London Financial Times)...Nicolas Pelham
The US-led administration in Iraq has announced the re-establishment of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence it dissolved last May, to be manned by civilians. A minister is expected to be appointed next week.
9. Iraqi Police Target Of Guerrilla Attacks
(Washington Times)...Christopher Torchia, Associated Press
At least 350 U.S.-trained Iraqi police officers have been killed in the past year, and rebel attacks one likely to increase before the coalition hands over sovereignty on June 30, U.S. military officials warned .
10. US Soldiers Face Charges Of Prisoner Abuse
(Christian Science Monitor)...Ann Scott Tyson
...The breaches involve only a tiny fraction of the more than 150,000-strong US occupation force, which military ethicists and human rights groups have given generally good marks for their comportment in Iraq. Still, such violations could cause disproportionate damage to the US military's image among Iraqis.
11. At Prison Gate, Iraqi Families Vent
(Christian Science Monitor)...Dan Murphy
Indefinite detentions are within the law, US says, but angry Iraqis liken practice to Hussein's repression.
12. For The Japanese Military, Iraqi Desert Is Now Land Of The Rising Property Price
(Wall Street Journal)...Yochi J. Dreazen
...Both of those armies come from nations Iraqis consider wealthy. To some Arab communities, that could spell easy money as troops new to the region's ways -- especially its formidable bargaining -- scout for land and supplies.
13. Chalabi, Nimble Exile, Searches For Role In Iraq
(New York Times)...Dexter Filkins
...Now, with his credibility under assault in Washington, Mr. Chalabi is reinventing himself, searching for a new political constituency in a country where the people hardly know him — and very few trust him, according to a recent opinion poll. Though he has shown himself to be one of the most energetic of Iraq's new leaders, he is largely bereft of a grass-roots following. Now Mr. Chalabi, who spent the last 45 years outside the country, has begun trying to appeal to Iraqis who bore the brunt of Mr. Hussein's rule.
14. U.S. Still Weighing Troop Roles
(Washington Times)...Rowan Scarborough
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that plans to shift forces in Asia and Europe have not yet reached a point where proposals have been taken to the countries involved.
15. Rumsfeld Says Much Talk Of Iraq Military Options Early On
(Wall Street Journal (wsj.com))...Alex Keto, Dow Jones Newswires
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday there was much talk of exactly what options the U.S. had in regards to Iraq early in the Bush administration, but said this was natural considering that Iraq was shooting at U.S. aircraft.
16. Pentagon Can Hire 2,500 Experts For National Security Needs
(Washington Post)...Stephen Barr
A new Pentagon policy will allow the Defense Department to hire as many as 2,500 experts with state-of-the-art knowledge in fields of critical importance to national security.
17. Retired Brass Urge Delay In Anti-Missile Shield
Forty-nine retired U.S. generals and admirals are urging President Bush to postpone the scheduled launch this year of a multibillion-dollar missile shield and spend the money instead on securing potential terror targets. In a letter to be released at a news conference today, the officers say the complex technology is untested and a poor use of scarce defense dollars.
18. In Army Survey, Troops In Iraq Report Low Morale
(Washington Post)...Thomas E. Ricks
A slim majority of Army soldiers in Iraq -- 52 percent -- reported that their morale was low, and three-fourths of them said they felt poorly led by their officers, according to a survey taken at the end of the summer and released yesterday by the Army.
19. U.S. Army Finds Its Suicide Rate In Iraq Is Higher Than For Other G.I.’s
(New York Times)...Eric Schmitt
A major Army study has found that suicide-prevention teams were left behind when units left their home bases to go to war in Iraq, mental-health workers felt untrained to treat combat stress, and many soldiers seeking help for depression and emotional problems faced significant hurdles getting care.
20. Federal Officials Set Aside Worries Over Desert Tortoise, Rare Plant
(Los Angeles Times)...Louis Sahagun
Reversing an earlier opinion, federal wildlife managers have concluded that expanding tank training at the Army's Ft. Irwin in the Mojave Desert is not likely to jeopardize desert tortoises or the last remnants of a rare plant.
21. Judge Won't Dismiss Guantanamo Spy Case
A U.S. military judge denied a motion Thursday to dismiss the case against a Syrian American airman accused of spying at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
22. U.S. Sent Medically Unfit Soldiers To Fight In Iraq
(Miami Herald)...David Goldstein
To meet the demand for troops in Iraq, the military has been deploying some National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers who aren't fit for combat.
23. Terror Suspect Will Get Day In Court
(Los Angeles Times)...Associated Press
Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks will be able to challenge his detention at the Guantanamo Bay military base in eastern Cuba before the U.S. Supreme Court, his Australian lawyer said today.
24. Bush Defends Response To Threats Of Terrorism
(Washington Post)...Amy Goldstein
President Bush sought Thursday to knock down allegations that the administration was inattentive to the threat posed by al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, saying he would have "used every asset, every resource, every power of this government" to prevent the terrorist hijackings had he been warned of them.
25. Lawmakers Keep Up Fight Against 2005 Base Closures
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)...Dale Eisman
Lawmakers launched a new attempt Thursday to derail plans for additional base closings in 2005, challenging Pentagon claims that the military has too many facilities and arguing that it may need more in the future.
26. Cornyn Wants To Land More Troops In Texas
(San Antonio Express-News)...Gary Martin
As the Pentagon looks to realign its global force structure, Sen. John Cornyn on Thursday urged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to station returning U.S. military troops at Texas military installations.
27. Defense Officials Press Attack On Entitlement Growth
(Newport News Daily Press)...Tom Philpott
A senior Defense official has warned Congress against creating an entitlement-rich military that the nation cannot afford.
28. U.S. Lawmaker Vows To Scrutinize Expensive Aircraft Programs
A key U.S. lawmaker warned the Pentagon that two big-ticket tactical aircraft programs — the F/A-22 Raptor and Joint Strike Fighter — face increased scrutiny by Congress.
29. Lawmakers Approach Rumsfeld
(Hartford Courant)...Michael Remez
Connecticut's Democratic lawmakers wrote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday to express concern about the Navy's decision to delay choosing who will build the next-generation presidential helicopter.
30. Leaders Push Pentagon Memorial
(Washington Times)...Sean Salai
Two Virginia Republican congressmen say they will do whatever it takes — including asking Congress for financial help — to speed up the construction of a memorial honoring those killed in the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
31. Pols Take Heat For Not Avenging Cole Attack
(New York Daily News)...James Gordon Meek
The failure of both the Clinton and Bush administrations to retaliate against Al Qaeda for bombing the destroyer Cole emboldened the terrorists, experts and victims' family members said yesterday.
32. Al Qaeda Urges Musharraf's Overthrow
(Washington Times)...Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press
A tape purportedly recorded by Ayman al-Zawahri, the No. 2 figure in the al Qaeda terror group, called Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf a "traitor" and urged people to overthrow his government.
33. Anti-Al Qaeda Force, Militants Stalemated
(Miami Herald)...Malcolm Garcia
A military offensive to nab a key al Qaeda operative who officials now say was probably never in the area has become a prolonged stalemate between the Pakistani army and militants and could be a major political liability for Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
34. U.S. Base's Transfer On Hold
(Washington Times)...Takehiko Kambayashi
Despite a 1996 agreement that the United States would return a major military facility to Okinawa prefecture within five to seven years, U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and its 1.75-mile-long runway remains in the middle of residential areas of Ginowan, a city in southern Okinawa, taking up 25 percent of its space.
35. Governor Seeks Balance Between Reality And Ideal
(Washington Times)...Takehiko Kambayashi
Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine, first elected in 1998 and re-elected in December 2002, spoke to Washington Times reporter Takehiko Kambayashi about the U.S. military presence in his tropical island prefecture of Japan.
36. Russia Sees U.S., NATO Actions As Reason To Watch Its Back
(Los Angeles Times)...David Holley
Russian Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov warned Thursday that American development of new types of nuclear weapons, armed actions that bypass the U.N. Security Council and anti-Russian attitudes inside NATO could force his nation to adopt tougher defense measures.
(NA Subscription only)
37. Colombia Asks US To Boost Drugs War Manpower
(London Financial Times)...Andy Webb-Vidal
The US appears set to boost the level of its aid to Colombia to help combat its illegal drugs industry and the rebel groups financed by the narcotics trade. The development follows a four-day visit by Alvaro Uribe, Colombian president, to Washington, which ended yesterday.
38. Comanche's Cancellation Brings Layoffs
(Washington Post)...Greg Schneider
Boeing Co. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. have begun laying off workers because of the Army's decision last month to cancel the Comanche stealth helicopter program.
39. Stand Firm
(Wall Street Journal)...John Howard
...Yet in the wake of the indiscriminate slaughter of almost 200 commuters in Madrid, global commentary seems as much focused on the political implications for Western governments as on the perpetrators. It will be doubly tragic if mass murder is rewarded with even the perception that our resolve has weakened.
40. The Wrong War
(New York Times)...Bob Herbert
The most compelling aspects of Richard Clarke's take on the world have less to do with the question of whether the Bush administration could somehow have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks and much more with the administration's folly of responding to the attacks by launching a war on Iraq.
41. 'Wartime President' MIA
(Washington Post)...David Ignatius
...Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's crisp, candid testimony illustrated why so many people once assumed he would someday be president himself. He lauded the committee's work and then explained the difficulties he faced in framing a military response to al Qaeda in the months before Sept. 11. Perhaps most important, he reached out to the families of Sept. 11 victims in the hearing room, speaking of "the pain and the heartbreak and the suffering of the families whose loved ones perished."
42. Sept. 11, Lies And 'Mistakes'
(Washington Post)...Charles Krauthammer
...Clinton was in office eight years, not eight months. As Clarke himself said in a 2002 National Security Council briefing, the Clinton administration never made a plan for dealing with al Qaeda and never left one behind for the Bush administration.
43. Military Is Limited In Fighting Terror
(Long Island Newsday)...Marie Cocco
...The coldest stare might now be better fixed upon the independent 9/11 commission's look at the role of the military in fighting this war on terror that is like no other war. Nothing the military has done so far has brought victory.
44. Army Misfires In 'Spy' Case
(Los Angeles Times)...Editorial
The Army used a megaphone to announce the arrest of Capt. James Yee as a spying suspect last October. It dismissed the criminal case with a whisper last Friday night, its timing designed to minimize the effect of the news. This week, foolishly digging itself a deeper hole, the Army issued a written reprimand to Yee, a Muslim chaplain who ministered to prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
45. Guantanamo Captives In A Legal No-Man's Land
More than two years since the Pentagon opened a Guantánamo Bay prison for terror suspects, the United States still is operating outside an established legal framework or international standards. Since the Supreme Court decided to consider challenges to indefinite detention at Guantánamo, however, the administration has accelerated the release of detainees, finally allowed others to meet with lawyers and announced plans for an administrative panel that would review detainees for release.
46. A President's Job
(Wall Street Journal)...Editorial
Give President Bush's critics credit for versatility. Having spent months assailing him for doing too much after 9/11 -- Iraq, the Patriot Act, the "pre-emption" doctrine -- they have now turned on a dime to allege that he did too little before it. This contradiction is Mr. Bush's opportunity to rise above the ankle biting and explain to the American public what a President is elected to do.
47. The Wrong Target
(New York Times)...Editorial
...The White House is so thin-skinned and defensive, however, that it simply cannot bring itself to join what ought to be a grown-up national conversation of how best to deal with terrorism. Its schoolyard name-calling does no one any good, least of all Mr. Bush, who is made to appear far more interested in undermining Mr. Clarke's credibility than in addressing the heart of his critique.
48. Oil For Fraud?
Mr. Annan owes it to the Iraqis to make this investigation real and thorough. If the United Nations cannot disprove its critics -- and punish wrongdoers, if any -- it will be harder to trust the organization to manage humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the future.
More to come
Daylight savings time has begun for much of the world.
Phil Carter helps expose a returning OIF vet's (National Guard) battle with his employer. An outrage. Those types are seemingly rare these days, but with the bulk of the troops having just returned from the sandbox we could see an upswing in such incidents. Not just MilBlogs, but the entire Blogosphere can help keep that number low. Donald Sensing has more.
And any blogger or reader who has a lead on this sort of story please e-mail me at greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com and you'll have the attention of a large group of MilBloggers (and others) very soon.
Is American troop morale in Iraq low? Not surprisingly the answer is a qualified yes. (Or was, a few months ago. Things are likely on the upswing with Iraqi Freedom II.)
Meanwhile, Iraqi's have hope for the future, thanks to the efforts of those troops.
I received this e-mail earlier this week, before the Pentagon released the results of the study on troop morale in Iraq:
What is all this negative stuff of this campaign doing to our soldiers? As a "once a Marine, always Marine" widow..... I often think of these young kids, serving in some hard times, and hearing words of "betrayal" "illegal war" "miserable failure" all lobbed at mine and your Commander in Chief. I have great respect for what he has done and is doing, I will put that up front.
And when I see him attempt to hide his tears around them...... I just wonder, are they changing their thoughts about him? Being of the age I am, I've never, ever witnessed such venomous hatred directed toward our President. To me, he takes his job as Commander in Chief so personal -- I wonder how the troops are handling all of this?
Maybe... in my dreams, some of your Milbloggers could somehow have a discussion about how this negative campaigning affects our incredible military? It's got to wear on you.....
Love you guys -- stay close -- keep writing.
I'll bounce this to the comments section. Do relentless assaults on the cause they're sacrificing for have a negative impact on American soldiers' morale?
I'm reminded of President Bush's Thanksgiving visit, the joy expressed by the troops at his being there, and the subsequent and still endless attacks from the media, American Democrats, and the world-wide left on the event.
Not to mention the U.S.S. Lincoln event where the Commander-in-Chief announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
Among other things, both events were troop morale-boosting occasions; personal visits by a commander to the people that liberated a nation and now keep the promise of a better tomorrow alive for the people of that nation.
But from the moment they occurred they've been attacked by a group that in times past was called "the loyal opposition".
Now that "loyal opposition" has given frightening indications of how far they may go in taking sides against their own country in the war on terror.
Back to Sherry's e-mail. And the previous entry here. Suppose you could "speak to the troops" suffering low morale in Iraq. What would you say? I offer you the comment section in this post as a place for patriotic statements of support for the troops. Though I usually allow both sides of any issue to be presented in comments here I'll delete any negative posts, attacks on the President, etc. from this one. (If you see such a comment, please don't respond as it will be gone soon.) And if enough of you care enough to leave a few words I'll get them to the attention of the folks who'll benefit the most from them.
Are you happy?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your happiness?
How about your next door neighbors? How happy are they - on your scale?
That last question was admittedly a bit tricky. It's hard to rate such a thing, since "happiness" is relative, (no to mention subjective), and you only know as much about your neighbors as they want you to.
How about this then: Are you more or less happy than the American troops in Iraq?
In this case you'd likely choose "more" with less uncertainty than when considering your neighbors. I can't imagine too many places I'd less rather be than downtown Baghdad, where a small but lethal minority of people, indistinguishable from everyone else in the crowd, wants me dead. Meanwhile my home and loved ones are far away, perhaps they are in Germany even, if I deployed from here. So I've got to worry about them being far from home too.
All in all, a bleak situation. I've got one thing going for me though, and I'll get back to that shortly. But there's not much reason for celebration, is there?
Now how's my morale? I began this discussion referencing happiness intentionally, because I would bet most civilians, when hearing that morale is low among troops in Iraq, think they know what morale means, and erroneously think it means something like "happiness".
Now I'll confess: I can't explain morale to you, anymore than I can explain happiness. But as you read about "low morale" among troops on the ground in Iraq, make sure you understand what's being discussed.
A few points to review from the press release on the topic (we'll leave the WaPo piece to those who prefer that spin):
The survey revealed that the most common combat stressors were seeing dead human bodies, being attacked or ambushed, and knowing someone who was seriously injured or killed. The most common operational stressors were uncertain redeployment date, long deployments, being separated from family and lack of privacy.
Perhaps not surprising but worth noting. I heard the same things first hand from folks coming back; when yesterday's battleground becomes today's campground, you wake up to corpses littering the area. Most people aren't preparred for the view. The negative reaction is part of being human.
The survey was taken at a time when conditions in Iraq were extremely stressful, yet 77 percent of Soldiers reported no stress or low stress. In this environment, 16 percent of Soldiers reported moderate stress and seven percent reported severe stress. Soldiers also reported low to very low morale personally (52 percent) and low to very low unit morale (72 percent).
The "morale" issue is the one the mainstream media (and a few bloggers) will focus on. But note that few soldiers would admit to stress.
Here's an explanation many won't like: That 48% of those surveyed reported something other than low morale is astounding. Many people I know would claim low morale regardless of reality. Why? Because, if you claim morale is not a problem, then no one will consider morale a problem. Then no one will do as much to improve morale. Get it? If your boss asked you "are you earning enough?" what would you answer?
Now lets make this clear: there are very few reasons for morale to be high in Iraq. There is no 'upside' to being far from home in a place where people want to kill you. Couple that with the previous observation and you'll realize what an amazing number that 48% is.
And note the larger number reporting low unit morale. It's the "hey I'm okay but take care of the other guys" attitude. It's the selfless nature of the American soldier.
Here's another fact sure to be unpopular with the doomsayers: the survey was taken last Fall. Almost everyone has missed the significance of that, anticipating a continued decline in morale. The group that was 'in country' at that time was the invasion force, they'd had their tours extended and were facing an uncertain future with no specific return time. They've since been replaced with a group that knows they will be in place for a year; that element of certainty does a lot for morale.
Finally, this statistic is also being used to mis-diagnose the situation by those still clinging to hope for a quagmire:
Twenty-three OIF suicides occurred in Iraq and Kuwait in 2003, yielding a suicide rate of 17.3 per 100,000. To date, only one suicide has occurred in 2004. During the same time period in 2003, the Army experienced 75 suicides worldwide, including those in Iraq and Kuwait. The total Army rate for calendar year 2003 was 12.8. The overall rate for the Army is consistent with previous years; the rate in Iraq is higher than historic rates for the entire Army...
Tragic, to be sure, but the less often repeated statistic is that the number
...is still lower than the rate for young males in the general U.S. population.
The last part doesn't fit the desired worldview of those wishing to depict the Army as a self-destructing entity, thus it is conveniently ignored or dismissed. It also would indicate that 'overwhelming despair' is not the primary emotion motivating of our new generation of heroes.
Make no mistake, we're not discussing a trip to Disney World here, and no one signed up for the sheer personal benefits of twelve months in Baghdad. But this is the first step in the Army's move to improve conditions - an acknowledgement and identification of a problem. This is good, for without that first step there would be no hope for improvement. Sadly, the information will be used for exactly the opposite purpose by many who see the world through 'nam-colored glasses.
And that's a morale buster.
Update: More from Blackfive here.
MilBlogs readers are well aware that John Kerry does not have the support of the US military rank and file. This will become increasingly apparent (and increasingly hard to deny) even as the Senator trots out the few exceptions to the rule that he can find.
Let me begin by saying that during my entire twelve month tour supporting the swift boat division in which you served in An Thoi, as well as the Seawolves (Navy attack helicopters), Strike Attack Boats (STABs) and SEALs in My Tho and Dong Tam, I never once heard reports about, much less witnessed, the sorts of atrocities you have accused American servicemen of committing. What I witnessed were young men, often frightened at the prospect of operating in areas largely controlled by the enemy, who did their jobs as skillfully and honorably as they knew how. While I do not presume to speak for them, and obviously I cannot speak for you, I did not know a single person in Vietnam who did any of the things you described.
That's all you get here. You'll have to follow the links for the rest, and you'll be glad you did
The majority of Americans know Kerry was lying in his testimony before congress in 1971. Though many will insist he was simply repeating the lies of others most know that he's not that gullible a man. (Well, apparently he was tricked by Bush into supporting the Iraq war...) But really, it's long past time for the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts to do one of two things:
1) Admit his testimony was false, explain his motivation for the deception, apologize to those who suffered for his lies
2) Answer this: When, if ever, to the best of your knowledge, did American servicemen abandon the practice of cutting the ears off of enemy dead?
He should have nothing to loose. He's notBush after all, and certainly nothing he can do now will drive away those determined to vote for notBush.
In another ring of the circus that was the recent 911 Commission Hearings, slightly away from the bookseller's table where the spotlight's glare brought beads of sweat to discredited "terrorism expert" Richard Clarke, former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerry asked former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger why former President Bill Clinton didn't lead America in an invasion of Afghanistan near the end of the last millennium (audio available here).
Sandy Berger: I do not believe that this country was ready to invade Afghanistan before Sep 11, notwithstanding the fact we had a President who in 1996 said "This is... this is the challenge of our generation, this is the threat of our generation...
Bob Kerry: I just... I don't... I mean... you... you persuaded the American people that military effort was necessary in Bosnia. You didn't have the House of Representatives with you; you barely had a majority in the Senate. You persuaded the American people that war was necessary to get Slobodan Milosevic to stop uh, his terror uh... in Kosovo...
Berger: Yea, and we also had 19 Democracies in NATO in both of (chuckling) those cases that were standing with us together...
Kerry: But I'm saying, the point is only that, if you... the argument that I find to be most unpersuasive is to say "we couldn't have gotten it done because nobody would have been with us"
Did you catch it? The insight into the thinking of some people on matters of national security? Let me paraphrase, and you can use the comments to tell me if I'm being fair.
Berger: We couldn't invade Afghanistan, America wouldn't have it.
Kerry: But you went to war in Bosnia and Kosovo without initial popular support.
Berger: Yes but we had foreign countries supporting us.
Did I get it right? Yes, America was against it, but it was popular overseas.
Said matter-of-factly, as if no additional explanation was needed. "Well, certainly, but Europe called and we came running. You see, that eliminates all consideration of what the unwashed masses of Americans want. We'll tell them what they want" (Chuckle)
Have I stretched it too far yet? I think not. That mind set is pervasive in today's Democratic Party, and you can hear it echo in Kerry's comments about going to war without allies, and in Jimmy Carter's poisonous attacks on our nation's unbending willingness to defend itself (in spite of Europe's desires to the contrary).
“I think the basic reason was made not in London but in Washington,” he said. “I think that Bush Jr was inclined to finish a war that his father had precipitated against Iraq.
They can't always hide it: "America first" is an acceptable phrase only if preceded by the words "hate" or "blame".
"I am deeply concerned that our leadership today has been eroded by global doubts about our government's commitment to the basic principles of truth, peace and human rights," Carter said. "We see trust and friendship toward the United States at its lowest point in history."
"Respected human rights leaders no longer see our country as a noble example to be emulated, but as a focus of their almost universal condemnation."
Want to name those "respected leaders", Mr. Carter? Could they be Kerry's "foreign leaders" too?
This is why John Kerry must swear repeatedly that he would never betray American interests to foreign powers: because he will.
On March 21 2003, in the early days of the Iraq war, with success as yet uncertain, 48 countries were committed to the coalition.
Along with Congress.
Oh, and the American people.
Something new in a few, in the meantime, an update adds a new angle to this story. (Or scroll to "All is Forgiven")
Jeff Jarvis nails the problem with Richard Clarke's very public "apology" to the surviving family members of 911. I'd have little to add, except to note that in consideration of "all things Clarke" in these hearings and elsewhere, one would do well to remember the man's primary consideration at this time is to sell books.
Sadly, the man's knowledge of past failures may have made a significant contribution to future security. Now clear-headed people dismiss him as a profiteering grandstander, or a man with a mind-consuming grudge against a former employer. That he traded potential good for potential profits of a well-timed sensationalist book (or some future alliances that may arise from that book) speaks volumes about the man's character.
Hopefully the closed door sessions of the hearings will produce some useful information. Not likely, but given the importance of the issues we can hope. Still, the degenerative political nature of the public part of the hearings should leave little doubt in anyone's mind whether the administration was justified in declining to appear.
I first saw the headline over this story I thought it might be another example of unfounded Kerry-bashing. Really, there are abundant legitimate reasons to find the man completely unfit for high office - why stretch the claim for feeble attacks? But on reading the first few paragraphs I realized the authors had a strong case for another example of "the man for all seasons".
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry made a stop at a Catholic church during his Idaho vacation Sunday to attend Mass, loudly arriving 11 minutes late and wearing a ski suit.
According to a report in the American Spectator, a senior staff member in the Kerry Campaign said, "It was just a media-op. We set it up with some reporters that we knew were going to be there."
The Democrat also received Holy Communion during Mass at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, despite the fact he is not a Catholic in good standing, reported LifeSiteNews.com.
Kerry has been roundly criticized for his support of legal abortion while promoting himself as a Catholic. The Massachusetts senator has been praised by the group NARAL Pro-Choice America as having a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record.
Expect hypothetical "President Kerry" to one-up the Clintons at every opportunity. One day "abortion rights" advocates will likely make a case for biblical support for a "woman's right to choose". (That would be revisionist history far exceeding what's being suggested by the "Clinton was tough on terror" crowd.) The schism that follows will produce a church more theologically acceptable to Senator Kerry.
Update: Mike (in comments - thanks Mike) points out that Kerry was able to make it back to DC just in time to cast a vote. And indeed he did, a vote against H.R. 1997 (Laci and Conner's Law) "A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to protect unborn children from assault and murder, and for other purposes".
Senator Kerry must have hurried back so fast that the holy water on his hands could scarce have had time to dry. We must assume he took time to change out of his ski suit, or at least to have brushed the crumbs of the communion wafer onto the Senate floor. We can only guess, because although an incredible amount of media coverage has been given to the trial of Laci's husband (and Connor's father) there has been little if any major media mention of this part of Kerry's week. But given that a roll call appearance by Kerry is an exceptionally rare event one can grant the pool reporters some slack; they may not have recognized the gentleman from Massachusetts.
Reporters were able to catch up with the speedy candidate later in the evening as he joined with numerous other nay voters, two former presidents, and he who almost was in a celebration of hope for the future.
A good time was had by all.
Update: More here. Thoughtful and dead-on-balls accurate. (It's an industry term...)
Make sure you read this before deciding which "bestseller" you're going to invest time and cash in this spring.
Has anyone considered that Clarke now stands to make a tidy cash profit from 911? That his professional failures contributed as much as any American's to the events of that day? Given the information that has come to light he can hardly be accused of "trying to set the record straight." Clearly he has other motives. If not an outright campaign year attack on the administration, then what (besides the personal profit motive) compels this man?
Further, (and this speaks to Clarke's book and much of the current "investigation" into the events leading to 911) to obscure an investigation of this magnitude, to detour (or de-rail) an inquiry of this importance for political gain, seems reprehensible at best and more likely criminal. This is not "politics at its worst" - this is the absolute failure of our system, and it's inexcusable. The pre-911 failures may have been monumental blunders (made by many) but there was no malicious intent on the part of anyone not expecting a reward of 72 virgins.
Can the same be said of our current events?
I'm reminded of the studies of the structural soundness of the World Trade Center. Did builders cut corners? Did Asbestos-phobia lead to the fall of the towers?
No, planes full of fanatics and innocent victims flew into them and gravity did the rest.
But there is much money to be made from the tragedy of September 11, and certainly easier ways to do it than to drill into the sands of Iraq. There is cash and prestige and thence the future rewards brought by that prestige in being the one who convinces a fearful public that more stringently enforced building codes would have saved 3000 lives that momentous day.
And all the better if we can sue the manufacturer of the all-too flammable floor wax used in the men's rooms. But the contribution of that corrosive (and environmentally toxic) substance can only be determined after my very expensive study of its properties. Of course, should the society wish to ignore this line of research, perhaps until after another such event...?
Is there a difference between such profiteers and those who sell their Twin Towers picture books in fine stores everywhere? What separates them from the sidewalk trinket vendors? Perhaps the fact that the sidewalk venders have few better ways to make a living.
And those whose false sense of dignity forbids them to sell items on sidewalks and whose background and training precludes their getting tidy sums for research are left with little alternative but to write books on the topic.
What else can a failed "terrorism expert" do in this day of a near-fully realized Global War on Terror?
Which brings us back to our point. Political capital is capital after all. Political profit is profit. And war profiteering is thriving in the halls of congress today.
Israel Defense Forces paratroopers caught a Palestinian boy aged 14 wearing an explosive belt at the Hawara roadblock, south of Nablus, in the West Bank on Wednesday afternoon.
Abdu told soldiers of his dream of receiving 70 virgins in heaven, which his dispatchers had promised him, and said that he had been tempted by the promise of sexual relations with the virgins. He said that he had been bullied at school for his poor academic performance and that he had wanted "to be a hero."
The most vicious ethnic cleansing you've never heard of is unfolding here in the southeastern fringes of the Sahara Desert. It's a campaign of murder, rape and pillage by Sudan's Arab rulers that has forced 700,000 black African Sudanese to flee their villages.
BAGHDAD - Sheik Nadhim Khalaf, a Sunni Muslim cleric, narrowly escaped when four men opened fire on his car, gunning down his son and brother-in-law. But he says he has ordered his followers not to take revenge, or even to look too hard for the killers, because he fears a civil war.
A series of attacks on Sunni and Shi'ite neighborhood mosques and religious figures this month has killed about a dozen people and prompted clerics of the two Muslim sects to publicly proclaim their solidarity.
Most all of which was hard to hear, with so many trying to out-shout each other
to gain our attention, hoping to convince us to buy their ceramic World Trade Centers, with embedded clocks with a lifetime guarantee.
This might be a great theme song for the Kerry campaign. From his military career up to his "Bring. It. On." theme - this just seems to fit.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Bravely bold Sir Robin
Brought forth from Camelot.
He was not afraid to die,
Oh, brave Sir Robin!
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.
Brave, brave, brave Sir Robin.
He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp.
Or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken!
To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away
And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin.
His head smashed in and his heart cut out,
And his liver removed and his bowls unplugged,
And his nostrils raked and his bottom burnt off,
Robin (interputing): That's...That's, uh... That's enough music for now,
lads. It looks like there's dirty work afoot.
Three headed knight: HALT!!!
Voice over: YES!! It was the dreaded Three Headed Knight, the fiercest
creature for *yards* around!
For second.... after second..., Robin held his own, but the
onslaught proved too much for the brave knight. Scarcely was
his armor damp, when Robin suddenly, dramatically, changed his
Minstrel / Robin:
Brave Sir Robin ran away / No!
Bravely ran away away.... / I didn't!
When Danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled / No!!
Yes brave Sir Robin turned about / I didn't!
And gallantly chickened out..
Bravely bravely bravely bravely / I never did!
Bravely bravely bravely bravely / All lies!
Bravely bravely brave Sir Robin! / I never!
Now it's your turn. While visiting Monty Python's completely useless web site I realized that virtually every quote from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail can be applied as a theme for the Kerry campaign.
This one for instance.
So check out the site, review the lines, and enter your choice in the comments: which Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote best fits the Kerry campaign.?
I've little time for blogging today, but will have something up "for fun" shortly. If you're looking for some serious reflection on today's political world, visit Hugh Hewitt. If Hugh is not among your daily reads via his blog or The Weekly Standard and WorldNet Daily he should be.
Hugh is synthesizing the world of the traditional columns and talk radio with the blogosphere, and will likely introduce more people to our medium than most other folks this year.
Why? Because he's good - a blend of writing and insight you won't find at too many other sites. He's been ahead of the game on calling the shortfalls of the Kerry candidacy, and exposes those failings with an economy of words and an enviable amount of talent and ability.
A disclaimer: Hugh's been a great friend of the MilBlogs, and Mudville in particular, (and the military in general) for which I'm grateful. But I enjoyed his writing and his radio program (which you can listen to online, even in Germany, while blogging) before that relationship began.
My son will graduate from High School this year. Among other things he'll be getting from me is a copy of Hugh's latest book, available through his site. I'll get a copy for myself too.
/long sales pitch. Go visit Hugh.
A Drill Sergeant with a Blog?
Welcome An American Soldier to the MilBlogs ring.
There are now over 60 Blogs in the ring, and I'm aware of that many more that are not members. A voice long silent is now being heard. The stories of past wars have been re-written by historians. The stories of recent conflicts have been told by journalists, many with an agenda. The published first-hand accounts of veterans are edited for one purpose or another.
In that light, MilBlogs are something different. Gutenberg's press in the hands of those who are making history.
As part of my planned "anniversary celebration" last week I was going to provide some 'advice to bloggers'. Of course, my previous host went down for the count, thus cutting the celebration short. I had already scouted a new home, but then had to move a bit faster then I had planned.
Sp here's a lesson for folks looking to start a blog on their own domain:
Choose a good host.
More to come.
The Navy's latest contribution to MilBlogs is Chapomatic, a site so new you can read everything he's posted in very little time. (And you'll be glad you did.)
And once you've visited all the sites linked below, stop by Misha's for this thought provoking entry. He sums things up rather nicely.
Note: A previous entry here, including reports from my corner of the world.
A couple of illuminating comments from Smash's entry on the protests:
There are always freaks at these events, But don't let that blind you to the truth.
Yes, please don't take these people as the norm. There are extremists and morons who don't know how things really are on both sides of the issues. Liberals like me have to deal with people like these, and conservatives have to deal with people such as extremists within the religious right.
Exceptions to the rule? Extremist? Comparable to those on the religious right?
Then visit Michael Totten, who has a collection of photos from anti-war rallies from around the world. (A commenter on Totten's blog dismisses them as "mostly foreign".)
Much to our surprise, as we walked back across the viewing area of Ground Zero, our worst fears were realized, for the protesters were standing in front of Ground Zero, with bullhorns, screaming words of hate and swearing, holding utterly tasteless signs in the shadows of the worst domestic attack of terrorism on American soil.
One of those signs was a "Stop Bush" banner with the 's' in Bush replaced with a swastika.
Not the norm? Out of the mainstream? For humanity, yes; for the left, no. And it should surprise no one that it's impossible to differentiate between the "throngs" in New York and their cousins across the Atlantic (on my current side of the pond, if you will), captured here.
Though there is a subtle difference in the Australian crowds. Which reminds me: Note to British and American socialists: Could you please remember to include Australian PM John Howard in your next "Axis of Evil" signs and banners? Really, your Aussie Komrades are feeling "left" out. Get it? Haha!
But really, visit the links, and after a while you'll realize they're all the same. Books, hate-filed signs, slogans, support of "Palestine", Bush is a Nazi! But fortunately, there's another similarity. Take a close look at the following two pictures and see what the "young socialists" literally "carrying the banners of their cause" have in common.
London (left) and San Fran (also left, but not below)
And while Blackfive found himself almost alone at the Chicago rally, another youngster discovered she was "an Army of One"
Even with the rallies planned well in advance, at least one protester got a little lost.
In Washington, one person found out too late that there would be no protest in that city. A woman in a baseball cap and sunglasses stood in front of the White House with a sign reading, "U.S. Out. U.N. In."
"It's always nice to do a protest with other people," said the woman, Linda Wilscam, 43, of Vernon, Conn. "It feels lonely today, to be honest."
Just wait another 20 years, darlin'.
Update: Via Instapundit, more youngsters reliving the glory days of 'Nam. Well, at least what they heard about 'Nam. Nice try, morons. Guess where those big sticks would be if I was at your protest?
Finally, sorry, I can't resist. From the San Francisco collection, the protestors have endorsed Not Bush for President:
Wouldn't that be a great ice breaker at the next block party?
Here's an interesting post from Tim Blair, on who's writing checks to who in the US Presidential campaign. Boycott celebrities at your leisure.
Oh, by the way, Tim links a site into which you can enter names or zip codes to see who among your friends and neighbors is funding wackos.
Entering the names of our former Presidents revealed only one, a George H.W. Bush, who had contributed - 2k to his son's campaign.
Entering the candidates names brought up a goose egg.
Well, almost. Howard Dean gave 2k to the Bush campaign too.
From the Tallahassee Democrat:
The e-mail seemed believable enough when it arrived last week.
A note attached at the top claimed it was an excerpt from a news account: Donald Rumsfeld firing off innuendoes about Chappaquiddick as Sen. Edward Kennedy pressed him on the Iraq war.
The exchange matched the personalities, after all.
Kennedy, a Democratic senator, has been vocal in his criticism of the Bush administration and the war. And the secretary of defense is known for shooting from the lip when he's angry.
But the story was phony. Never happened. Not like that, anyway.
The e-mail is one of several rumors, half-truths and outright fibs floated over the Internet in a political season marked by strong feelings on war and the economy. Democrats and Republicans both have been targets of hoaxes made easier than ever by the "click-forward" culture.
Fortunately, we've got traditional newspapers all over the internet now, to protect us from this sort of thing. In fact, even as you read this entry you can rest assured that fact checkers for the New York Times and other illustrious organs of truth are busily googling Snopes for verification of the latest "Bush Lied" and "Bush was AWOL!" claims, all to ensure that you get nothing but the truth on these critical issues.
(Likewise, they're looking for connections between various branches of huge multinational corporations, leaving no stone unturned in their tireless quest for truth.)
Long-time visitors to the blogosphere will recognize that "Kennedy all wet" story as a ScrappleFace entry that grew to urban legend status, then was debunked at Snopes. Scott Ott, of course, did not plan that prior to posting. And neither Snopes nor the Democrat reporter implies otherwise. But Snopes (and other such sites) coverage of such stories serves two purposes:
1) De-bunking the myth, and
2) Inspiring people to pass the original story on, in its original form.
(And in this case a third purpose: Snopes became one of ScrappleFace's top referrers. And astute readers will immediately realize the goldmine of possible urban legends that ScrappleFace represents. Axis of Weasels, anyone?)
The Democrat story later notes, in downplaying the significance of internet urban legends, that
The real measure of whether a rumor has changed perceptions is the amount of mainstream media coverage it gets. Media attention means people are hearing and talking about the rumor.
It's the fact-based traditional media that matters, you know. They can visit Snopes and report back to us that
Other anti-Kerry rumors have questioned his military performance in Vietnam, accused him of being rude to subordinates and claimed he once shared a stage with Jane Fonda at an antiwar rally.
Meanwhile, one rumor had President Bush honoring a severely wounded Special Forces soldier by praying over his hospital bed, and another claimed he once called rapper Eminem the "most dangerous threat to American children since polio."
None of them are credible - at best containing only bits of truth, at worst, complete fabrications, according to Snopes.com, a site that investigates urban legends and Internet hoaxes.
You see? Kerry isn't really bad, and Bush isn't really good. It's all Internet hokum.
But none of that matters:
"With the Internet, it makes the spread of that type of information almost viral in nature," said Justin Sayfie, a former spokesman for Gov. Jeb Bush who now runs a political news Web site.
Sayfie is doubtful the rumors will have much effect on the outcome of the election. People don't tend to just accept unsubstantiated reports from the Internet, he said.
Which is a rather funny thing to say… on the internet.
But that's okay, because all kidding aside, there are plenty of folks fact checking the major media too. And so there's a great feedback loop available, and although reporters from the Tallahasee Democrat haven't quite figured it out yet, everyone can google. Wheels within wheels within wheels, everybody fact-checks every one else, and the truth eventually is found. Just choose your source. (And by the way, welcome back Glenn (And thanks). We missed you.)
But is Snopes the ultimate arbiter of truth?
Other anti-Kerry rumors have questioned his military performance in Vietnam, accused him of being rude to subordinates and claimed he once shared a stage with Jane Fonda at an antiwar rally.
False eh? Well, son of a ...
How was your weekend?
I worked swing shifts, and had to avoid one of the gates to Ramstein because of this:
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Demonstrators in cities across the globe plan to hold protests Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Some of the demonstrations are set for U.S. military bases overseas, according to the Installation Management Agency, Europe Region.
At Campbell Barracks — the Heidelberg headquarters for U.S. Army Europe and V Corps — several hundred protesters are expected outside the main gate along Römerstrasse.
Up to 1,000 demonstrators are expected on Kronprinzstrasse in downtown Stuttgart, Germany. The protest is planned to start at 2 p.m. and may last until the evening.
In Landstuhl, Germany, the military expects 5,000 protesters to march from the train station, heading for the west gate at Ramstein Air Base.
Five thousand expected? Well, it is America's largest military installation in Europe. But after-the-fact, this report from the World Socialists indicates turnout was a bit less than anticipated:
In Germany, thousands demonstrated in about 70 cities and towns, with 3,000 attending a rally in Berlin and thousands more gathering outside a US airbase in Ramstein.
When the numbers are vague ("thousands") you know it was a bad day for the bad guys. To be fair, the weather here was miserable, and most of the anti-war crowd aren't as young or spry as they used to be. (Has it really been 35 years since Woodstock?)
USAF Security Forces put the count at 800. German police were less impressed, estimating 700. The population of Kaiserslautern is just over 100,000. The population of the world is just over 6.4 billion.
Speaking of population, according to China's Xinhuanet
Thousands of German protestors held rallies outside American military bases in the country on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq.
In the south-western German city of Landstuhl, several thousands of Germans participated in a march towards the nearby Ramstein airfield, which serves as a logistic center for American troops and their equipment in Iraq.
The protestors demanded the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, in what is part of the world-wide action against US military occupation in Iraq.
In front of the headquarters of the US European Command in Heidelberg, about 90 people rallied to protest Washington's Iraqi policy.
Meanwhile, demonstrations in the size of hundreds of people were also held in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart and many other German cities.
According to reports reaching here, large demonstrations broke out around the world from Australia to Britain to demand US withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
I wonder if this sign would be a big hit in New York?
This shot is from San Francisco, via LGF. You'll find a link there to lots of photos from the premier demonstration town on the left coast.
About which the Chronicle had this to say:
The 87 people arrested at Saturday's war protest were released from county jail by the end of the day after signing a petition promising to return to court, police and sheriff officials said.
Eighty-two were charged with misdemeanors for failing to obey a traffic officer and blocking a roadway. The rest face more serious violations, including two felony charges of aggravated assault and attempting to free a prisoner already in custody, San Francisco Police Deputy Chief Greg Suhr said Sunday.
Which may lead to the conclusion that carrying stupid signs is a protected form of free speech, but yea verily thou had best not jaywalk while doing so. ;) If so, kudos to the SF Police. Maybe a few fines will be levied. Last year,
Those protests cost the city more than $3.5 million in expenses and lost revenues, with most of the costs going to police overtime. Suhr said it was too early to estimate the costs of Saturday's demonstration.
Not quite the smashing success of Al Qaeda's recent "demonstrations" in Spain, but hey, there's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. Bankrupting a city and interfering with its commercial activities can have big impacts, you know.
A bit southward along the coast we arrive at the home of Citizen Smash, whose email prompted this entire entry.
On Saturday, I spent the afternoon observing an anti-war demonstration in San Diego’s Balboa Park. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I’ve never been to such a demonstration before, and only decided to attend this one out of a sense of perverse curiosity.
What I discovered astounded me – one young woman took the stage to speak in favor of supporting the “Iraqi Resistance.” Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring along a handheld memo recorder, so I was able to capture every word of her speech.
Here’s an excerpt:“…The first thing is that we need to support the Resistance of Iraqis in Iraq. (applause) Right. These are people who are risking their lives to get the United States out of their country. And we have to see them as our allies. We have to see them as our main allies.
“Similarly, we have to support resistance in the US military. Soldiers, and you know, anyone – (applause) families who are actually opposing the war, we need to be on their side.
“If you recall, there’s one time in the last 30 years when the US military machine was brought down, during Vietnam, and it was brought down because there was a fierce Resistance in Vietnam, and because the soldiers were refusing to fight…”
Yes, you'll want to read the whole thing. Smash has a three-part entry on his personal coverage of the protests, starting here.
Think about it, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, relating his visit to the protest of the outcome of that war. And Smash demonstrates something those people never will: restraint. I'm not sure I could be as tactful about the whole thing as he is, but when it comes down to it, I guess free speech is what we fight for.
Some folks just use that gift more wisely than others.
In closing, this counterpoint:
Update: Blackfive was surprised to find himself witnessing the demonstrations in Chicago, and he demonstrates why "discretion is the better part of valor." Both Smash and Blackfive have links to more first hand reports.
Udate: Continued here.
As Mayor, I declare this "Why Blogs Matter" day in Mudville.
Mudville is back up and operating, with a new host and great expectations for much improved "up time". (More on that later).
In the meantime, in honor of the first anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I present John Kerry:
"Today marks the one year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is an important day to recognize the courage and enormous skill of the United States military. Our men and women in uniform are the best and the brightest the nation has to offer, and their efforts to defend...
Hey Johnny, stick a sock in it, okay? Nobody invited you. Now get back up that hill and try again!
Here's another in my series of questions I'll ask you if I get to see you:
"Senator, do you know approximately when US Soldiers stopped cutting the ears off of enemy dead?"
Wimpier than Bush, dumber than Quayle, lies more than Nixon, and clumsier than Ford. Nice work, Democrats. At least you all get to prove you really would vote for "anyone other than Bush".
Enough of that clown. Here, in the next post below, in honor of the one-year anniversary of his first appearance, as a way of showing my level of respect to the countless dozens of demonstrators that yesterday braved the odds of catching sniffles to protest the war in Iraq, I present Ooglay Hussein.
OOGLAY'S HUSSEIN'S DIARYWear out your filthy unclean American infidel Great Satan mouse fingers! Listen I am Ooglay Hussein and the son of my glorious Father, may he give a fisted beating to you if you are with the evil georgebush. Once I was beaten by my Father long may he reign and two of his body doubles at the same time!! This was bad for me I will tell you now but by the will of the prophet I survived and became stronger. But still this again you must know:
Here is story of first day of your immoral war, infidel pigdogs! I will stil be adding to this thing because so many things went wrong. I am telling you know by the will of Allah it was not a so good day for me...
Hello I am having trouble sleeping. Can I ask for planes to only be stealthy ones? Also the bomb dropping is too loud. I am angry now at stoopid GeorgeBush because I rote to him a nice letter and sed if he wanted to fight dad then he could meet dad at the bunker and i also said exactly when even though dad said he would kill me if i sent that letter i didn't tell him i sent it.
but GeorgeBush did not show up instead the planes came and george bush is a big coward because my dad could beat him up and show it on al jazeera.
Dad is a hero and one day I will be be a hero too and my older brothers will stop making me do the things they make me do that are not heroic at all so i am telling you!!!
So maybe I will give georgebush one more chance to come debate my dad just like dad sed.
And also if you are so great America why you bombs so loud? I need to sleep now. I will tell you more about the war in baghdad later for now goodby Allah be praised.
Posted by Ooglay Hussein at March 19, 2003 11:40 PM
Ohh hello again i am still Ooglay and it is so very exiting what i am telling you of what i will be doing in baghdad here today by the will of Allah because the sun has come upward and george bush flew away.
Glorious father saddam for whom we will all die i said why does george bush hate us when he is a republican and we have the republican guards and then father saddam who is all wise smacked my face and spoke ill of my mother.
But then he said he was sorry and now here is what is exiting to me. Glorious Father Saddam says I Ooglay will today be allowed to drive in his fathers biggest Mercedes all around Baghdad!
This is wonderful i am not ugly like my two brothers who are older and make me do things that i think have no word for in your english i learned at university in france. I am not ugly like them i am handsome and look just like glorious father saddam and when i drive through baghdad's glorious streets the people cheer me. Allah be praised.
This way i said okay i am not angry you smacked me and he smacked me again then and now i will be driven around in Baghdad to celebrate driving off the aggressor georgebush in our triumphant victory. my brothers will feel some jealousy i am telling you now!
i will take this my laptop computer so i will tell you about baghdad in the e-mails and i am heroic.
We are triumphant!
Also it is a convertable!
Posted by Ooglay Hussein at March 20, 2003 12:16 AM
And Here i am Ooglay Hussein again and now I have finished the hearing of my glorious father who was talking on the TV but I am only having a radio in this car but still i am now more inspired. You Americans are weak and must tremble. Before he went on tv and i went on the car my father kicked me in my hindquarters and then he fell and broke his good glasses and had to wear the ones my mother bless her soul made him get. He said the kicking made me stronger.
And you are not strong you weak americans you are not even talking to me and i said why dont they talk to me and my slave said that you are all asleep. This is why you Americans are weak because you are sleeping in the daylight and we are getting some things ready hear i am telling you now.
And yes the slave i am having with me is a human shield from america and he tells me what you are like and so this is how we know you are divided coountry and we will defeat you!
Your cowrd president flew away when up came the sun and now he is not bombing on us so my glorious father for whom i cant wait to die for is letting me to drive around baghdad in his convertible mercedes.
And I will not let my slave human shield use my laptop computer to talk. I am cruel and when my older brothers do bad things to me i do bad things to my human shield.
I will make him wear the driver hat and drive me around in the convertible. My brother took my hat away and said not to wear it so everyone could see me and know how much i look like my father and so my mother is pure even if she is ugly as a camel. This is what my brother said and his mother is different. But I did not say it, because camels are not ugly. Now my laptop batery is dying!
Posted by Ooglay Hussein at March 20, 2003 12:54 AM
Okay so you know I am Ooglay and I am cheered in the streets of Baghdad! And maybe the smart ones of you say I have new battery, and I do. And here is why: My slave and I broke into the boarded up peasant store and though first the peasant said he could not help I showed him one of my brother's tricks and then he became very helpful, yes!!
So now we are driving near the Ziggurat. It is an ancient ruin and very much not good for anything because hey, it is 5000 years ago that it was built by infidels! But still the Republican Guard are getting ready to dynamite it now and they have some slaves doing the work and then we will kill them and then blow it up the ziggurat! This will be funny because then we will be blaming the Americans and British and all their other allies who are against the world in this unilateral attack with no UN improvements!
And okay now listen because with Allahs blessings this is my favorite part that my slave has called his organization in America and when we blow this up we will have your Protestors make another big parade! And in London too they will do it and the funny thing is to me that my father for whom these peasants are willing to die in flames hates their communisms!
But that is not why now I am laughing but you cant hear that. It is because i got my solid gold cigar lighter in the dash very hot to light my Cigar and then I didn't want to waste the extra hot in it so I jabbed this human shield's back part of his neck but that's not why I laugh! And he made a funny noise and almost wrecked my fathers most beloved mercedes but that is also not why I am laughing.
I am laughing because I said then "see what a fine little human shield you are" - you see I can make english language joke, eh? I am a French University graduate is why I am the smartest of all my fathers sons.
I am hearing some loud kind of noise tha
Posted by Ooglay Hussein at March 20, 2003 02:20 AM
[3/20/2003 1:52:11 AM |
Okay now yes It is Ooglay in Baghdad now okay and I will tell you the things that happened but first I must say more words about my slave who is american human shield. I enjoy him, you know, but Sean Penn the Actor was a better time I think but we had to be better to him outside but in the palace when my glorious father who gave me life turned away then we would enjoy SeanPenn some more. And we made a movie because he is a movie star and if you little funny american soldiers come to take over maybe you will give this movie to the madonna yor singing american tramp singer who will know one thousand tortues in the life hereafter. The funny part he carried me on his back like a pony but didn't laugh. When he ran off we were a long time til the humanshields came. He does not talk on the tv about the good things of my glorious father and this country now so I don't think he will come back?
So the loud noise anyway I thought it was a jet first but it wasn't and I thought I was going to die but guess what I am alive and it wasn't a jet.
They blew up the ziggurat too early and that is what I heard and my ears are ringing so it is good we talk in writing cause maybe I don't hear anything as good as that for a while. Someone said that one of the peasants did it on purpose because the guard was still there and now they are not in good shape. Some are laying now on the ground and yelling and bleeding and kicking. So I think the peasant slaves new we were going to kill them but who knows? But there is no one here to take care of the ones who are kicking because they are no doctors here because georgreBush embargo. Thousands have died like this one I'm standing over looking at him kick and now just twitch. And he is Republican Guard and they are elite and i just walked over where I couldn't see him anymore.
And I went back a little way towhere the car was and it was dirty and I knew my father for whom I would cut off my own left hand would not be happy.
But then I tell you maybe this new humanshield is more better then Seanpenn because he got out of the car and I could see that when the explosion happened it scared him and he wet his pants. I laughed at him and slapped him to make him stronger.
[3/20/2003 2:56:25 AM |
Okay I am Ooglay Hussein and I am knowing that you are not knowing about war, so here I will tell all of you friends of my glorious home country that it is a terrible thing to be relentlessly bombed by the evil georgebush and also we know it is not the american people.
Okay now i had gone from the car but while so my slave got my notebook computer but then before i slapped him he showed me he had made this web site and now i can tell you here about these things. So yes he did all that before i slapped him.
Now we are having a phone in the car so when next it was ringing i thought "oh here is georgebush or tony the jew blair and they want to ask my father to delever a pizza again" But that is what they do on fridays not today so in fact it was my righteous father from whom all blessings flow.
And his anger knew no bounds because the collection of hand blown glass that Chiraq had given to him long ago was destroyed in the raid.
But this is what so help me if he sees this ever he will have my head on a spike was funny.
He had forgotton there was a key he needed on the keyring he gave us and it was to the vault where the missles were and now we really need to get those to Syria Ooglay as if it was my fault he didn't have Blix take them with the ones they took there last week. But my father for whom I wud nail my own tongue to a door said he was not too angry but he would take another toe from my foot if I didn't have the key to the vault in a half hour.
And this was not good because we were supposed to be at the elmentary school with the human shields and Republican Guards at that same time to meet the reporter from CNN Europe.
And oh did i mention the craters in the roads?
By the tears of the prophet i have never had such a day...
[3/20/2003 3:53:37 AM |
Okay am I thinking that maybe now you are knowing I'm between Iraq and a hard place - Haha! this is a big joke i have made for you in your language!
Now here is more jokings in your language: How many Georgebush to put in the litebulbs? Oh please let it be no more then one!!!
Now you see I am not always serius. But for now no more joking! Here is what a situation i am in: I have to get to the hospital to unlock the vault so Uday can be getting to the missles, and if they are the missles i think they might be i want to go away from there real quick just throw the keys, okay?)
Then I have to get to the school where the human shields are playing in the playground with the kids while the CNN Europe people are there filming the danger Georgebush is putting the kids in and make sure none of the stoopit Republican Guards poke their heads out of the school building while this reporting person is there. Or at least bust up the camera.
So tell me why if Ooglay can do all those things he is still going to have to wash his esteemed elder brothers dirty burnoose tonight? These are things that are wrong...
And so my feeble pants wetter of a human shield starts driving slowly around one of last nights craters on the way to the hospital. Now I am thinking it is good i bought for my glorious father for whom i would cut myself up into small pieces and feed myself to a dog I bought him last fathers day the beads to go over the leather seats in this car or else he would kill me for the wetness of the infidel on the leather.
And that (i swear to you by the prophet i nearly died 5 times today) is when the F16 attacked...
[3/20/2003 8:17:45 PM |
See listen now while I reveal the miraculous story of shooting the plane down. It came screaming out of the sky and my most useful humanshield chose to run outside of my car then so never mind him for now. He did not shield me though.
So I am alone in the back seat of the mercedes and the f16 comes diving out of the sky shooting and I know some bullets got in my fathers illustrious car. So it goes i hope he does not let his anger lead to my death by a beating.
But now i think "well they forgot to give me a weapon again" but just then, and this is the part you must have some believing for, by the will of Allah I am holding a Kalishnikov.
And still the f16 is diving and i can't believe they are coming in so low and still shooting and i think my reward of 71 virgins is very close indeed. but i raised my most beloved kali and began to empty the clip. And is this the strangest thing of all that i hit the plane and then it was flaming and smoking and by the will of Allah the plane was destroyed. I know then that Allah is on my side and no virgins for me yet!
Nobody saw this thing and it makes me the greatest hero of the war! And the wreckage of the plane is nowhere to be seen, because the heat was so great it was utterly consumed!
So soon i will get my slave human shield and i wont have time to give him a beating because as it is unless Allah wills otherwise we are now to be late to meet Uday.
So now I know when i find Uday he will say "you son of a pig you are late and if the Frenchmen doesn't get these soon the deal is off!"
And I will be able to swear I was late because of the cursed plane but the best hope is that he will let me choose which bone inside my body he will break.
And then when i found the infidel he had an idea that if he gave Uday some of the drugs he brought from your decadent country that maybe i would avoid that beating after all!
I took his drugs and shoved them in my pocket, and will offer them to Uday but Allah be praised I would never touch the unclean things myself!!
And then I realized we could take a shortcut across the cemetery of the 500000 martyrs. Some may know this is the cemetery that used to be a golf course but when the French reporter said we needed some way to prove the sanctions had killed 500000 Iraqi children we made it look like a cemetery. That was Qusay?s idea and I think maybe that is why my father favors him over some.
But my beloved father, may he live 1000 years and father me 10000 brothers, will perhaps give me another medal for my bravery.
And when I beat my human shield I will use a stick no thicker then my thumb. This shows my mercy. Remember it if I am captured by the infidels you swine.
[3/21/2003 7:16:56 AM |
Okay Here then is some thinking "yes, Ooglay, you are too long taking to do this diary because still you are writing about great things that happened yesterday while now outside it is tiday! Well yes, but that is because so many things are happening in every day and that is because georgebush - I spit when saying your name and then I feel unclean - has a cowboy rush to war!!!! So now I will do some trying to catch up .
Here is a thing you must know, and I myself with all my wisdom do not know if it is true. My slave American humanshield drove swiftly though the cemetery of one half million martyrs, knocking many of the fake tombstones down on their empty graves and thinking gleefully we could blame the tanks and maybe I would be spared a mighty fisted beating this time. But I know this thing is true.
Well then is the ringing of the phone, and still it isn't Friday so I answered and it was Dicks Cheney and here are the things he was saying:
"Where is Qusay"
"I am not knowing where is my exalted brother overfed american pig heart..."
"We killed him with 1000 bombings" Is what he said. And so that is the thing i don't know if is true, even though really it is tomorrow from there when I write this down.
And if it is true then he is now my most exalted brother and Uday is my most exalted living brother and if i say it wrong i will dangle by my heels somewhere cold for some time to learn it better. And Uday will strike with his cane!
But that is not now, now I am going to meet Uday and get him his keys to the missile vault. Drive faster, pig of a human shield!!!
[3/21/2003 7:47:49 AM ]
I am telling you now the things i am remembering mostly about my good brother Qusay, who gave so much to charitable causes! But by the will of Allah I don't think he is dead, though here are things I remember fondly:
When the first of the humanshields came and we said
"what are you doing here little hairy and foul smelling infidel dog?"
"and he said 'i'm going to find myself' and we had no idea what that was, even though we all are well knowing of your english monkey language.
Then i grabbed one arm and Uday grabbed an arm and Qusay started up the chainsaw and cut his legs off then threw them out the window. And this is what Qusay said because always he had that sense of humor about things he said: 'Well, start by looking out there!' And Uday and I hurled him living out the ten story window because we were not hiding in the under-palace then i am telling you.
So that is one thing I remember about Qusay: his sense of humor!!! What will be done with his rotting corpse? I asked my wise brother and he slapped me and said"stupid! He will be found after a bombing run...that is why he came here!!
And I did not need that slapping!
Also he could eat anything but that is not something I want to talk about now. I would rather forget that part of Qusay.
So one last thing I will remember about him is his goodness to animals. Here is how i know because of his goats and sheep! No really, when we were young he had sheep and goats kept at a private oasis that was highly fenced and no one could go in under pain of death! That is how much he loved them and he went every day. My father from whom all sunlight comes said we are descended from a people who would do this as nomads. And Qusay would do this with help from no one long after he married several wives and had many children, Allah be praised! Then when he took over the secret police he was too busy there and I don't know what happened to his goats and sheep.
So also if he is dead i will never be forgetting his kindnesses to animals.
Also for a minute I am realizing if Allah has given Qusay his reward then I am third in line to be ruler, but then I stopped thinking it because we were at the hospital where Uday keeps the missiles.
[4/6/2003 1:31:06 AM]
Okay it has been very busy for Ooglay. Lately the American's are keeping everybody awake very late with not driving their tanks through town. That noise they make not being here actually being 500 kilometers away has everyone on edge.
Also I am busy writing on American internet to encourage glorious filthy pig American war protestors to make parades to support my glorious family against the evil georgesbush who is trying to take our oil. Father Saddam, creator of the Mother of all Battles is telling you protestors his thanks! Do not stop now and the Father of MOAB will give you each some of his oil. And also 10 million Iraqi Dinar.
Now I am having more time and will be writing more about your georgebush cowboy war.
Okay but first some explaining. Someone says "Greyhawk it is Ooglay. Thanks you make me laugh!" Well, no Ooglay is Ooglay. Greyhawk is not. Ooglay meets Greyhawk on ScrappleFaces. Iraqi government blocks Iraqis from having great satan American Home page. So Greyhawk says to Ooglay he wants "Americans to see how Iraqi Baath party Saddam Hussein people really are" and so he will post for Ooglay the diary. Okay? So this is why Greyhawk has his name on it. But he tells me "tell them it is you, Ooglay! Some people think it is made up!!" No, it is Ooglay. Thanks be unto you for this opportunity Mr Hawk. Aso some people write bad things about my glorious father on ScrappleFace and write your Greyhawk name there. You should tell them stop.
Now it is back to my diary. Where was I?
[4/6/2003 4:50:21 AM]
Okay so please to remember I am still telling of the first day of your American aggression.
When I get to the Hospital with my infidel swine humanshield I first put the leash and collar on him. We always do this when we are around Uday. He likes to see the dogs treated like dogs. So "come in to the hospital on your allfours" is what I tell the human shield. His knees are bloody with scabbings and his hands hurt already to where he can not hardly drive the car, but he does what I tell him.
But then I see Hans coming out of the Hospital and he says "You are late! Don't bring him in. Just take your brother the keys!" Then he is going to the cafeteria and I say "Well here, Hans, you pig, you take him for a while" and Hans says "Screw you Ooglay. I'm going to get a porkchop and then get the hell out of here."
I swear by the hump of my camel this is how Hans talks when he is not on TV. He cracks me up!
And that stupid bald headed Swede, the last time he came over to the palace he drank all the good vadkaa and passed out and puked on the good Persian rug. The one from Al-Iskanders day. So that was funny too. He can't hold his liquor.
So I am now having to tie my humanshield to the car bumper and take the keys and go into the hospital basement to find Uday.
And I go to where they store the missiles in the basement and there is waiting at the door is Uday. But also with him is the Russian and the Syrian (I never know their names but I like them not and trust them less. They have a mean streak in them.) who usually don't always work together. So who knows when a war is going what might happen?
But esteemed brother Uday shakes his cane at me saying evil curses regarding my mother and the circumstances of my birth and why am I slow? And I tell him I shot down the F16 and then yes he hits me and says "Dog! I invented that one in '91!" And to this day I have a bruise where he hit me with the cane. But he got his key.
And the Syrian laughed at me a little then but by the will of Allah he will never laugh again some day.
So those three turned to the big doors and began to open the lock and then I notice on the hospital cart is human head. It is Pierre! And he has bullet hole in forehead! And the battery with the crank and wires with aligator clips is nearby. And yes I saw the marks on his ears.
Now I don't know what is going on but Uday and the Syrian and the Russian all had pistols on, and I can't remember if Hans had one or not. But Pierre had really got someone angry I can tell you.
Then Uday is coming out of the vault and he slaps me with open hand and says "Here put that in this bag" and gives me a satchel from inside the vault that usually holds detonators. So I have to put the filthy head in the bag. And I have heard rumors about the diseases Pierre had in life and I hope it is not the will of Allah I get one of those!
Now I have a chance to look in the vault and Uday forgive me but you are a fool! (I did not say this or even think it too hard) There were some red tips, blue tips, and sheesh! Even some green tips still there! No wonder Hans was pissed! This things were supposed to be across the border three weeks ago! And now the Russian and the Syrian are arguing about who is going to do what for moving them into the truck (they would only need one truck, Uday didn't keep too many behind) and I can just see them maybe getting stupid with some of each missile here! No thank you! I need to be at least 2 preferably 5 kilometers away now if you please! And which way is wind blowing? So while they argue and Uday is drawing his pistiol and firing rounds into the floor above to get their attention, Ooglay is running like an Iranian for the door!
So okay, now is Ooglay running like the wind away from the vault with the missiles. Some of each! I can't believe it. We make them in 2 days if we need some. Why did he keep some? I don't know. So I am hurrying into car and starting it up and driving away. And I see Hans in the rear view and he's yelling something but he has a big mouth full of food and I don't like Hans anyhow. Not since I caught him with Arnett. But that you are saying is another story, yes?
So I have to get to the school in big hurry anyway, remember? Is school where humanshields are playing with school kids for CNN Europe reporter to film them. My job will be to kill the reporters if they catch sight of the Fedayeen Saddam using the building as headquarters. Also I have to get the humanshields back into the truck to take them back to the prison. But this is making me think I'm forgetting something.
And the people of Baghdad are all yelling and pointing as I go by. They think I am my glorious Father! This is fine! But no, that is not it, they are pointing behind me but I look in rear-view mirrors and see nothing. Then I go over a bump and Uh-oh! He pops up in the air so I can see him. My stupid humanshield! He was still tied to bumper by leash! He must have been asleep when I hurried out of the hospitol. I drove up to where I could park without worrying about the car getting scratched. Then I go look at him.
He is not dead. He was unconcious. But also he is lots of bleeding. So now I can't put him in car with blood pouring out. So when he doesn't wake up after I am shaking him then I put him in trunk. I will take the infidel to Doctor later, first the school.
And of course whenever you say "School" I think "where's my gun." so I take a little time to put this on. Then I wash my hands from having had to touch him. Then I start driving to Uday Hussein elementary school. Of us all it is Uday who has most schools named for him, including one in Brooklyn NY. We aren't going their today either.
Very strange, I am thinking.
Okay so Ooglay is driving like crazy to get to school and thinking "Hey, I never used to be in this kind of rush to go to school, you know?" Haha. One time Ooglay got an F in school. That was last time I got one or that teacher gave one, you know? I bet American kids would like to have that going for them.
So I am cutting through Shi'ite market and thinking "Hey! This market always nice and good prices and clean and almost a shame it would be to blow this up during war and blame Americans!" But Shi'ites and Kurds are ruining my homeland, I am telling you.
And now be remebering my humanshield in the trunk? Is waking up now I am guessing because I hear the thumping sound from trunk. Also some groan but not very loud to compare to what Qusay could make someone do on the really hot days. So I am yelling "hey, shut up! I am heading right this minute straight to the hospitol for you!"
And if you are soft American reading this, well maybe you think you have bad day if tire goes flat let me tell you about bad day. I am cutting through park to get to school just ahead when suddenly I am hearing that ripping sheet metal sound from first war that means inbound Tommy Hawk! Good thing I was cutting through grassy area cause I can throw door open and roll out like we learned in the class taught by the Russians while car keeps going away. Then I curl into ball as car is heading for crowd but it doesn't get there because "boom" goes missile right into it.
Now I know my glorious Father for whom we fight this victorious war will be angry! He did not give Ooglay the car just to get it blown up by American missile! And will he blame Georgeboosh? Yes, may the flies of a thousand camels plague him for the rest of his days, but it is Ooglay who will take the fisted pounding for this one thank you very much Mr Navy Battleship Missile Boat!
And the worst thing is when I am looking around a little there are no parts of the humanshield big enough to use to embarass the Imperialist American Infidel Dogs!
And curse them all now I have to walk the last half kilometer to school! And I am late!
Okay, so here I am running a little to get to school now. And very late! And I get there and it is tragedy. Here is scene:
Children from childrens prison all trying to be looking happy playing.
Human shields never before near children all stand off to one side looking disgusted because of smell. All humanshields are weak!
CNN Europe reporter and cameraman not paying attention to them, because stoopid Fedayeen soldiers have anti-aircraft missile battery right out in open on playground! This is why Ooglay was to be here, to stop just this thing from its happening. So I have blown up car and no corpse of humanshield and now this! You know Ooglay is getting pounded with many angry fists tonight!
So maybe I can make things a little better. Am drawing gun and walking over to kill reporters when he is looking at me and is hey! Pete! So all is not so bad. I don't have to be killing him unless I want to. But Glorious Father says he is "useful idiot" so then I am thinking okay, better not shoot.
So what about cameraman? This is Ooglays only good break today. He is Russian agent! A blessing from Allah! Too good to be true! They are only giving pointers to the crew for how to be shooting down the American planes.
Okay, now the lateness of the day is comming, and it has been very long of a day I am telling you the pillows in the bed in my Glorious Father's Underpalace are seeming far away still but oh so soft! So quickly we are loading Children on bus for childrens prison and humanshields on bus for hell for all I care. But only after they are driving away in foul cloud of fumes and rattles am I thinking "hey, no car!" And if Ooglay is caught out in Shia neighborhoods tonight maybe day gets very worse very quickly. Will of Allah is not to be pushed too far, yes?
So hey, Pete, Yevgeny, can Ooglay catch ride back to Underpalace?
"No. Only car is crappy little French Renault with no room for you with camera gear in back."
So first I am thinking there will be room if I put three bulletts in your brain pan infidel dog! but then I am remembering Pete is always out for number 1. And when I am reaching for gun I find humanshield drugs in pocket and say "maybe Oogly can make this worth your while?."
So then Ooglay is getting to ride shotgun with Yezgeny holding tight to top of car that day I am telling you!
According to reliable sources, television crews have Osama Bin Laden surrounded:
With U.S. and Pakistani military forces stepping up their search for Osama bin Laden and other top Al Qaeda leaders, U.S. television networks have been quietly maneuvering to get people and equipment into Afghanistan and Pakistan in case the terrorist mastermind is found.Still, while some characterize the massed reporters as “confident” others are raising legitimate concerns over previous failures by America’s news teams to do anything other than retransmit low quality Al Jazeera tapes to viewers eager for any news of "public enemy number one". A recurring complaint surrounds the failure of network intel, as they never seem to be in the right place at the right time. Repeated lapses in this area have forced some network execs into a defensive posture:
In the last couple of weeks, CBS News and ABC News have stationed correspondents and production teams in Kabul, Afghanistan, while an NBC correspondent arrived in recent days and a second CNN correspondent was en route. Fox News Channel said one of its correspondents was expected to arrive next week. ABC, NBC and CNN also have correspondent teams in Pakistan; in addition, CNN anchor Aaron Brown is in Islamabad, the capital, on a long-planned trip.
Predicting where news will happen is a tricky art. Last week, the cable news channels were criticized for being slow to cover the Madrid bombings, which killed 202 people. But this week, the networks reacted quickly to a Baghdad bombing because they already had large staffs in place. "I have no more intelligence than anyone else in the world, but instinctively as journalists, you think something is going on [in the Afghanistan region] and we ought to be in place to cover it," said Chris Cramer, who oversees CNN's international networks.In addition to the “failed intel” complaint, several viewers have speculated that the networks may already have Osama, and are merely waiting for "May sweeps” or the "start of the new fall season" to reveal him to the public, although whether that would be in a sitcom, reality program, or musical variety show is not yet determined.
Of course, increasing numbers of people are voicing concerns about the “cozy relationship” between certain networks and the government of Pakistan; some going so far as to accuse them of supporting a dictator simply to achieve their own ends. While some see the “give and take” as the lesser of two evils, others are quick to characterize the relationship as "suspect":
"We're totally reliant, everyone working this story, on what's coming out of the Pakistani government," Brown said by phone from Islamabad.Adding to executives woes, the growing cost of this media blitz is raising concerns that “Survivor” and “American Idol” may have to lower the total value of their prize packages. Some Hollywood insiders add that falling revenues and money spent on the Osama hunt may have contributed to the demise of the popular programs “Friends” and "Sex in the City" as depleted “war chests” may have been insufficient to retain the services of top-notch talent. If such rumors were found to be true, many top network execs could have a tough time dealing with the likely backlash.
In a stroke of good timing, Brown on Thursday had a long-planned interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who said he believed that troops had cornered a "high-value" target, later identified by other officials as Zawahiri.
From a financial standpoint, the capture of Bin Laden can't come soon enough for some network executives. Last year's Iraq war led to technological advances that have made coverage from remote locations easier and less expensive, but it's still costly.Still, the rising cost of the thus-far fruitless coverage is prompting many a stockholder to speculate aloud on the potential need for an independent investigation into management irregularities and fundamentals of network standards and practices.
It's "too much," said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president for news coverage at CBS News. "I'm dying - it's expensive to keep the team there. There's airfare for five people, equipment, hotel, per diems, cars and drivers, security. It's not in the budget, but we're doing what we have to do."
Senator John Kerry today:
If I am President, never again will parents or husbands or wives of soldiers have to send them body armor instead of photographs and care packages. Last month a young newlywed in Virginia who, as her husband was about to ship out to Iraq, gave him a bulletproof vest for Valentine's Day. I can tell you right now: in a Kerry Administration, no one will be getting body armor as a gift from a loved one; it will come from the Armed Forces of the United States of America. We will supply our troops with everything they need -- and we will reimburse each and every family who has had to buy body armor because this Administration made Valentine's Day part of the procurement process.
Senator Kerry has also had a few things to say about support for our troops now on the ground in Iraq. Among other criticisms, he has asserted that those troops are not receiving the materiel support they need. Just this morning, he again gave the example of body armor, which he said our administration failed to supply. May I remind the Senator that last November, at the President's request, Congress passed an $87 billion supplemental appropriation. This legislation was essential to our ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - providing funding for body armor and other vital equipment; hazard pay; health benefits; ammunition; fuel, and spare parts for our military. The legislation passed overwhelmingly, with a vote in the Senate of 87 to 12. Senator Kerry voted no. I note that yesterday, attempting to clarify the matter, Senator Kerry said, quote, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) It's a true fact. (Laughter.)
And now, he's offering to buy my vote. Actually, there will be three eligible voters (Florida, via absentee ballot) under my roof this year. And this liar, this man of no honor, this traitorous, unprincipled, pompous blowhard, who could have done so much for us over the past two decades, offers us a "Bill of Rights" - only if we vote him in to the highest office in the land?
What "Bill of Rights" do I need, beyond that within the Constitution I've sworn to defend, Senator?
Why don't you introduce your "Bill" on the Senate floor, Senator Kerry? Why must I await its benefits as a reward for my vote?
I refrain from profanity in this blog, Senator. I won't respond in the manner in which you would on your blog. You who recently told a questioner, a voter, a citizen, that it was "none of his business" which foreign leaders wanted you to be President of the United States of America. His country! Is that a sign of the "Bill of Rights" you're preparing for Americans?
Thanks for your many votes over the years, senator. Now I get to vote on you.
I vote "NO".
You've had a bad week...
Your country is at war...
You've referred to an ally of your country as "window dressing" just before that country suffers a terrorist attack that results in a change in its government. Having declared them unimportant, and having declared the terrorist threat overrated, you can now do little but express sympathy. The whole thing, in fact, is way out of your league, as you have no real geo-political savvy.
Speaking of which, you recently claimed that "foreign leaders" want you to be the next president. Actually, a careful reading of your claim shows you said they just don't want George Bush to be president. No one believes you.
Speaking of Bush as President, you are caught referring to him and his administration as "These guys, er, these guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen" and try to back pedal. Your credibility is questioned.
But not as much as it is over the whopper of a fib you spout in Miami (of all places) about your "tough on Castro" position.
If you were John Kerry, what would you do?
He's going on vacation. A well deserved week off should be just the thing.
Sadly, he'll miss St. Paddy's in Boston.
Kerry is Irish, you know.
He's part French, too, but only by marraige.
This picture is from an e-mail making the rounds among military folks.
A group of twenty-somethings were laughing over this one, in part because one of their friends asked "Who's John Kerry?". She knew the other guy (which surprised me) but not him.
More satisfying to me was that all the rest of them knew, and thought their friend deserved mild scorn for not knowing.
To clarify, they got the e-mail from an outside source, not me.
March 16 2004 marks the one year anniversary of The Mudville Gazette. Hope you all can join my "celebration".
As always, thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to another great year.
More to come...
In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, 51% of the voting age population voted.
The turnout was higher than expected. More than 77 percent of the country's 35 million eligible voters cast ballots, compared with 55 percent four years ago. In Madrid, the figure was 80 percent.
Ironic, perhaps, that the terrorist attacks were so highly effective in bringing out the vote. And of those 27 million who voted,
According to official election figures, the Socialists won 43 percent of the vote and 164 seats in the 350-member Chamber of Deputies; the Popular Party won 38 percent of the vote and 148 seats.
Recap: 8 million eligible did not vote, the Popular Party received 10.2 million votes, and the Socialists won 11.6 million votes.
The Socialists were short of the 176 seats to have a majority necessary to form a government, which means it must create a coalition with another party or parties.
Some quotes from among the 33% of eligible Spanish voters who voted Socialist:
``Our prime minister has gotten us into a terrible, completely wrong war,'' Vanessa BellÀon, a 23-year-old preschool teacher with a piercing near her lower lip, said as she voted there for the United Left Party. ``And because of it, I spent yesterday and today going to funerals. I am thinking of a 3-year-old child at my school who no longer has a mother.''
``I certainly did not vote for the Popular Party,'' said a 79-year-old retired carpenter who identified himself only as JuliÀan. ``My daughter's hand was cut off, and she almost lost a part of her leg. Aznar should come here to see that, to see these people. But he did nothing for us, he did nothing for the poor, he is one who brought us to war. I went through the civil war, and the postwar. But this is worse.''
Since the Spanish Civil War was over long before I was born I'll have to take his word for that. (Though it does go against everything I've read or heard.)
Here's an excerpt from a translation of the letter claiming responsibility for the bombings, allegedly by Al Qaeda:
"The Death Brigades penetrated into the European Crusader heartland, and struck a painful blow at one of the foundations of the Crusader coalition. This is part of a settling of old accounts with Crusader Spain, the ally of the U.S., in its war against Islam…
"Where is America, Aznar? Who will protect you? Who will protect Britain? Who will protect Japan, Italy, and other agents? By striking at the Italian forces in Nasiriyya [Iraq], we sent you and America's agents a warning, demanding that you quit the coalition against Islam, but you did not get the message…
"Now we say it clearly, hoping that you [Aznar] will understand it this time. We at the Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades are not sorry for the deaths of so-called civilians. Are they permitted to kill our children, our women, our elderly, and our youth in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and Kashmir, and we are forbidden from killing them? Allah, may he be praised, said: ' Whoever attacks you, attack him in the same way that he attacked you' [Qur'an 2:194].
Memri's analysis is that this statement does not seem to be an authentic Al-Qa'ida document.
This from another Spanish Socialist:
A 26-year-old window frame maker, who identified himself only as David, said he had changed his vote from Popular Party to Socialist because of the bombings and the war in Iraq. ``Maybe the Socialists will get our troops out of Iraq, and Al Qaeda will forget about Spain, so we will be less frightened,'' he said. ``A bit of us died in the train.''
Whether it was their letter or not, Al Qaeda celebrates victory.
No, wait, the socialists. In Spain. They were the big winners.
They are doing the celebrating.
And what percentage of Americans will vote this year?
FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, March 9, 2004) -- The surprise was hard to hide on the faces of more than 200 military spouses March 5 as America’s first lady, Laura Bush, stepped to the podium at Fort Hood’s annual Women’s Conference.
With thunderous applause ringing throughout Fort Hood’s Comanche Chapel, Bush made a speech highlighting the military spouse and thanking those women present for their sacrifices in these times of war.
“Today, we celebrate the spirit of … the elite special forces who don’t wear uniforms or fly Black Hawks or carry weapons,” Bush said. “[Today we celebrate] the sisters who support their loved ones and each other so that America remains a land of freedom.”
Bush, whose surprise visit was kept a secret until nearly the hour of her arrival, said she came to Fort Hood to thank the women who help keep America free.
“I know about having your life turned upside down because the man you love wants to serve the country and I know that many of you make sacrifices to help your spouse fulfill his dreams,” Bush said.
Bush’s visit came as a complete shock to most attendees of the Women’s Conference.
“I wasn’t expecting her,” said Amanda Roybol, who rushed to the gas station next to the Comanche Chapel to buy a disposable camera when she heard Bush would be speaking at the conference. “When she walked in, I just started shaking – I couldn’t believe that she had come.”
“She didn’t even have to speak,” one spouse of a deployed 4th Infantry Division Soldier said. “Just having her here and knowing she supported us and understood the sacrifices we are making was enough.”
Bush also commended those Soldiers currently deployed and deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Our troops are involved in the historic task of building democracies and in the true American spirit, they are building hope one heart at a time.”
A testament to the purpose of the eight-year-old women’s conference, Bush’s remarks served to uplift, enlighten, motivate and strengthen the military spouses in attendance at the two-day event.
With her husband’s 13 – 15 month deployment stretching out ahead of her, Gloria Elder, wife of Fort Hood’s 13th COSCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Elder, said that with support like this, the long days of waiting might be a little less difficult.
“All we ever say is that we’ll take [the deployment] one day at a time,” said Elder. “With support like this, though, it makes those days much easier – that’s for sure.”
Beth Philyaw, new to Fort Hood and a first-time conference attendee, said she was surprised to see Bush and proud to have been able to be part of the unique experience of this year’s Women’s Conference.
“Sometimes, the wives feel left behind with all the Soldiers are doing and it seems like no one notices the sacrifices we are making,” said Philyaw. “[Bush’s visit] here today tells us we are important and appreciated.”
Bush concluded her speech by saying, “All of those who serve in our military deserve our utmost respect and so do those who serve well behind the front lines.”
She remained at the chapel after her speech to express her gratitude personally by shaking hands, signing autographs and posing for pictures with Fort Hood’s military spouses and female Soldiers.
You'll find great comments and additional discussion at Blackfive's on this story. Among other things he makes a wry observation on the personality differences between Mrs. Bush and Ms. Heinz-Kerry, who hands "Asses of Evil" buttons to her hubby's supporters.
But speaking of contrast, you can also contrast the response from those ladies with this:
Bush alienating some military voters who helped him win in 2000
A bipartisan "Battleground" poll of likely voters conducted in September found that Bush's approval rating among relatives of military personnel was only 36 percent. Family members upset by Bush's policy on Iraq are venting through Web sites and public protests.
Military Families Speak Out, an antiwar group of relatives of deployed troops, plans to observe the Iraq war's first anniversary next week with processions outside Dover Air Base in Delaware, where the bodies of dead soldiers are returned, and at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, where wounded soldiers are treated.
"I voted for Bush in 2000, and I'm not going to vote for him again," said Jean Prewitt, a group member from Birmingham, Ala. Her 24-year-old son, Kelley, was in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division when he was killed on April 6 just south of Baghdad. "I just feel deceived. He just kept screaming, screaming, weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction, we've got to get in there. We got in there and now there aren't any."
Democrats sense an opportunity to chip away at what's been a mostly Republican base since the United States turned to an all-volunteer military in 1973. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate from Massachusetts and a decorated Vietnam veteran, touts his military record on the campaign trail.
Do "read the whole thing" - there will be many such bogus claims floated by the Kerry camp this year. I once wrote a series here called "Season of Lies". It had a different theme, but a new season of lies is upon us. In this one military people are depicted as devoted Kerry fans. It might be nice if Kerry's people thought he had a shot at the military vote, because if so the Democrats might not try to block the write-in ballots this year.
But they know they don't have anything near a majority of us - active duty, Guard, Reserves, retired, vets, or family members - know where the hope for America's future is. But Kerry doesn't need military support, he just needs America to believe it's soldiers and their families support him.
And a small few do.
And what would you say to them - those who'd vote Kerry on the mistaken idea that his presidency would benefit military people? How would you explain the reality? It's not a rhetorical question; Sarah's husband just deployed, and she and her fellow spouses are here in Germany dealing with separation from loved one's who are in harm's way:
There were a couple of stragglers at the party last night, and out of the complete blue one of them said, "Do you think Kerry will be elected President?" Now, I know that wives don't have rank, but since this woman's husband way outranks mine, I thought it in good taste to be vague, so I just said, "Well, I don't know," because it's true after all: I don't know what's going to happen. But another wife replied, "God, I hope so." The gist of the conversation was that Kerry would pull the troops out faster than you can shake a stick, and that means everyone's husbands come home, so Kerry's our man.
I wish I had said something. Anything. I was just sorta dumbfounded.
Personally I think she was up against an activist, someone with some time on the "Kicking Ass" blog (Or Kerry's "Asses of Evil" site). And really, she'll be up against this stuff all year. I'm sure she'd appreciate some ideas to help her deal with the issue. (Bear in mind that although it might be her fondest dream she can't just tell these folks where to go. If nothing else perhaps you can spare some encouraging words.)
Here's the entry on her blog. The comment section awaits.
And as the one-year anniversary of the founding of The Mudville Gazette approaches, the entry below this one is one of my answers to those who'd claim the militay is in Kerry's camp. Perhaps another attempt to explain to those who don't understand, a re-post of a humble tribute to military families.
Essays on Spain you don't want to miss.
Golan and Franco Alemán writing at Tim Blair's:
The images and testimonies that we’ve been watching are absolutely heart wrecking. Last night some of the people who were working in the mass morgue that was improvised in a convention center needed medical sedation because they couldn’t cope with what they were watching: dozens of people inside black plastic bags whose mobile phones kept ringing all the time. Several children in a school nearby one of the explosions were waiting for their parents to take them home. Their parents never came.
The Belmont Club: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Rather better, some will say, to face the enemy while some strength remains. Yet there can be no joy even in the most militaristic of hearts for what lies ahead, beside which the horror of the Balkans was but a small foretaste. The battle against Islamofascism will be fought on Europe's borders and Europe's soil.
And The Ichneumon Wasp:
The European left has reacted to news that the suspects in the March 3 Madrid train massacre were Moroccans by blaming the United States, representing it as the vengeance of Al Qaeda which Spain brought upon itself for helping America in Iraq. It was natural that Osama, who remembers the Abassid caliphate well, should recall how the Mongols erected a tower of skulls before every city sacked before sending word ahead that any resistance would suffer the same fate. And so the Spanish victims caused their own deaths by being tardy in submission. The message bearing has been subcontracted to the Left. They know their place.
Michele: Winds of Black Hate
Yet the left keep opposing the war on terror. They oppose our intolerance for radical Muslims. And all their bitter opposition sounds like cheers to to our enemies.
I stand next to these people and I can sense the negativity. They sweat hatred. You can smell it. It smells like sulfur that hangs in the air when a match is been struck. You can feel it, too, like you can feel your hair stand up on the back of your neck when lightning is just about to strike.
On a day when 200 people lay dead, stuffed into black body bags, waiting to be identified by relatives, a group of people stood outside an event where the president was and demanded we pull out of Iraq. They demanded that we understand Islam better. They demanded that we abolish Homeland Security and stop funding the war on terror.
There’s a small padded room in my mind where I imagine the theories of the daft: OMG Bushitler did this, it’s part of a campaign to make us “afraid,” it’ll only get worse. That’s one take, from the foil-chapeau brigade, a decided minority. Then there’s the schadenfreuders: well, Spain supported the war in Iraq. Payback’s a bitch, eh? As if there was some sort of epiphany in the terrorist community: whoa, Spain is assisting the Crusaders now. I know it’s going out on a limb, but I propose adding Spain to the list of Western Christian polyglot democracies to destroy. All in favor, say aye. Of course one can say that the jihadists attacked Spain for its role, but to suggest that Spain earned this atrocity means that the two causes are morally indistinguishable.
To some, they are. To some, the act of "resistance" has such a romantic pull they cannot possibly renounce the use of flamboyant violence - until they find themselves in a train station on an average weekday morning, ears ringing, eyes clouded, looking down at their shirt, wondering why it's so red all of a sudden.
"Isn't it time we made that American sentiment 'Live free or die' into a goddamn ultimatum?"
And the lefty bloggers, silent for days, are beginning to crawl out from under their rocks.
Let's look at them tomorrow. Or perhaps Monday, or just not at all.
MADRID, Spain - Spain's interior minister Saturday announced the arrest of five suspects in the Madrid bombings, including three Moroccans.
The other two suspects had Indian passports, a ministry spokesman said.
The suspects "could be related to Moroccan extremist groups," the minister said. "But we should not rule out anything. Police are still investigating all avenues. This opens an important avenue."
Interior Minister Angel Acebes said at a Madrid news conference Saturday, that three of those taken into custody are Moroccans.
He described the other two as "Hindus." In addition to the five, he said two Spaniards of Hindu origin are also being questioned, but are not expected to be arrested.
This could be "fog of war" type stuff at this point. We shall see.
The first story above notes that
In a show of national unity, massive crowds gathered in Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and even in Spain's Canary Islands off western Africa on Friday night to protest the attack. State TV said nationwide, more than 11 million marched — one-quarter of Spain's 42 million people.
The news came on the eve of national elections, as thousands of demonstrators gathered at the headquarters of the ruling political party. The protesters were accusing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of covering up the investigation of the terrorist attacks.
The demonstrators accuse the Popular Party of covering up evidence linking Islamic extremists, possibly even al Qaeda, to the attacks.
A banner referring to the government as liars stretched above hundreds of signs bearing the single word "Paz," Spanish for peace.
Actually they're "thousands of Spanish Communists" for the most part. It's safe for them in the streets now that the millions of mourners are busy burying the dead.
Opposition members believe Islamic militants targeted Spain because of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. They believe Aznar's government is trying to downplay that possibility to improve its chances in the election.
About 5,000 people protested Saturday outside the ruling party headquarters in Madrid, holding up signs saying "no more cover-up."
One banner read: "Aznar, because of you we all pay."
But this developing news from the same CNN story:
...a man appearing in a videotape claiming to be a military spokesman for Al Qaeda in Europe says the terror group is behind Thursday's bombings that killed 200 people. The tape -- which has not been independently verified -- was delivered to a broadcast station Saturday.
Arrests just as the Communists gather to protest the "cover up". Great timing, comrades.
For what its worth: the lefty bloggers, who've been silent for days, are now crawling out from under their rocks.
More to come, to be sure.
Update from About.com:
Hindú doesn't necessarily mean 'Hindu'
If you're reading today's news out of Spain, you may notice that some of those arrested for the terrorist attacks in Madrid are referred to as hindues. Hindú is one of those words that can be confusing out of context: It can refer to a Hindu or the Hindu religion, but it is also a noun and adjective referring to a person from India regardless of the person's religion.
Hindú, then, is an example of a "fickle friend," a word that sometimes means the same as its English counterpart but often doesn't.
The two presidential candidates have a difference of opinion on lying.
George Bush (On terrorists):
We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause.)
John Kerry (on Republicans):
"Don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding. We're just beginning to fight here. These guys, er, these guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen."
Update: Is this a lie? I suppose it depends on what your definition of the word "is" is.
Fellow MilBlogger Serenity is in the hospital, becoming Bionic.
Yes, a Bionic Blogger.
Thoughts and prayers would surely be appreciated.
Go and wish her well. (Via comments.)
Sen. John Kerry refuses to provide any information to support his assertion earlier this week that he has met with foreign leaders who beseeched him to prevail over President Bush in November's election.
Bob Herbert in the NY Times gives a great portrait of the sort of person who defines "selfless"
Hector Delgado joined the Marines in the spring of 1999. He was at loose ends in his hometown of Selden, N.Y., and hoped the Marines would give his life some "structure and discipline."
"Did it work?" I asked.
Corporal Delgado shifted his upper body in his wheelchair and laughed. "Oh, absolutely," he said. "One hundred percent."
His enlistment was supposed to have been up last March, and his plans were to pursue a career in law enforcement. He'd taken and passed the test for the New York City Police Department and was due to enter the police academy last summer.
But the U.S. went to war with Iraq, and Corporal Delgado's enlistment was extended. "They were pretty much preventing people from getting out," he said. "I was disappointed at first. But I had to sit down and really think about who I was, which was a marine, you know? This was my job."
You caught the wheelchair reference?
Corporal Delgado was in the first wave of troops sent to Iraq and was severely injured in April 2003. He was with a convoy of vehicles, including fuel tankers, that had stopped outside Nasiriya. "All the fuel tankers were staged next to each other," he said. "Everyone was trying to sit in between them to get out of the sun because it was like 105 degrees that day.
"There was a lot of heavy equipment around, shaking the ground. And a tanker trailer really isn't all that sturdy in the sand. I had my friend Corporal Gonzalez sitting to my left, and all of a sudden I just started hearing metal crinkling and everybody yelling: `Get up! Get up!' "
Somehow the supports holding up the tanker that had been shielding Corporal Delgado and others from the fierce desert sun gave way.
"It landed on top of me," Corporal Delgado said. "On top of my waist."
If Corporal Delgado is harboring any bitterness, I couldn't detect it. There were times, he said, when he wished he had died beneath the trailer. But he fought his way through the mental distress, just as he is fighting through the physical pain, and his goal is to one day walk again. He'll be discharged from the Marines soon and hopes to find work helping other disabled veterans.
"That's one way I could repay all the people who are helping me now," he said.
I approach these articles with a wary eye, looking for the poitical angle that often lies beneath the surface or between the lines. I practically held my breath reading this one, given that it's the New York Times, after all. I didn't see it. So I agree with Rich Lowry, kudos to Bob Herbert.
Herbert mentions the Wounded Warrior Project which at a glance appears to be a worthwhile advocacy group. I'll look into them a bit more and may add them to the banner links in my right column. There are several military-related charities listed there. I'm also looking into adding Soldiers Angels to that list.
There's no paypal link on this site, by the way. So those who are so inclined can hit one of those charity banners instead.
And consider this: An American in Europe just recommended his predominantly American readership visit an Australian's website to read a post from some citizens of Spain. The world is smaller and smaller, and is shrinking due to the many benefits of civilization.
And that small and civilized world is united in support of the people of Spain.
I've always been proud to be a small part of the hammer that responds to the attack on America. I hope I can contribute in some small way to the response to yesterday's brutality.
Blessed are the peacemakers. Light candles. Sing lamentations. Tomorrow the rough men ride.
Here in Mudville we don't consider George Bush or John Kerry's military records as "off the table" or "ancient history". We do recognize their current views are much more important, and won't hesitate to reflect and discuss them. In fact, over the next several months the focus here will certainly shift to those aspects of the campaigns. But being a military blog, well, we aren't going to shy away from discussing the military service of those who would seek our votes for the position of Commander-in-Chief.
Likewise, we don't like comment threads on other topics being hijacked for discussion of these issues. Threfore, it's time to present a compilation of entries dealing with these "hot button" issues. Many of these entries have extensive comment threads, with inputs from lots of knowledgeable (or opinionated) people. Many links to other sites (often with opposing views) with even more discussion on the issues can be found in these entries too. You will not likely find a more comprehensive resource for information and opinion on these topics anywhere.
Was Lt Bush AWOL?
Bowling for Voters
...crime (in the military or civilian world) is not a matter of "feelings" or "opinion", and we don't need another president who thinks it is.
Bowling for Voters II
I'll leave the final word on Bush/AWOL to an expert, fellow MilBlogger and retired Air Force Reservist Baldilocks, who chimed in some time ago with what I believe to be one of the finest meme-killing blog posts ever composed.
For another perspective, consider this. For fun sometime, if someone utters such a comment in your hearing, ask if they are saying it because they are stupid or think you are.
McAuliffe stated "Call it AWOL, call it what you will..." Actually no. Once again the frightening implication that in the Democrat mind crime is a matter of opinion. I've had the unenjoyable task of escorting chained prisoners from confinement to trial to prison. Their crimes? Desertion. In (relative) peace time.
AWOL is not an opinion. AWOL is a crime.
And both sides of the issue will be satisfied with her response; the Right because she completely and satisfactorily answers the questions and settles the issue, and the Left because the truth absolutely doesn't matter to them.
It's Not the Economy, Stupid
Every time the left tries to run with the "national security/defense ball, they fumble, and this is no different. It's not the economy, stupid. Get it? Each additional rendition or mutation of this mantra is tantamount to a proclamation of ignorance of all things military. It is a self-defeating statement.
The "Ahhh" Moment
"It only becomes an issue when the guy dresses up in a flight suit, struts around on an arcraft carrier, calls himself a war president, and gets a lot of people killed."
Ahhhh... so the carrier landing, in which the CinC "dressed up in a flight suit and paraded around" is what's got the kollektiv lefty panties in a knot?
"In all honesty, most of us see the president coming as his support for the Guard," said Staff Sgt. Rebekamae Bruns. "I've heard about (Bush's Guard service), but it's not really what's going through our minds."
John Kerry, War Hero
Kerry: "Buck Fush"!
"I left some blood on a battlefield that President Bush never left anywhere."
Veterans Sound off on Kerry
Veterans are deeply divided; while many respect the President, others can't stand John Kerry.
What did you do in the War?
A recent Gallup Poll reveals these numbers:
Americans who think Kerry did his duty for his country in Vietnam: 68% Americans who know what Kerry did in Vietnam: 49%
Americans aware of Kerry's anti-war activities after he returned from Vietnam: 39%
The First Cut is the Deepest
The "stinging piece of heat" Kerry felt in his arm had been caused by a piece of shrapnel, a wound for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. The injury was not serious — Brinkley notes that Kerry went on a regular Swift boat patrol the next day with a bandage on his arm, and the Boston Globe quoted William Schachte, who oversaw the mission and went on to become a rear admiral, as recalling that "It was not a very serious wound at all."
The Second Purple Heart
Kerry felt a piece of hot shrapnel bore into his left leg. With blood running down the deck, the Swift managed to make an otherwise uneventful exit into the Gulf of Thailand, where they rendezvoused with a Coast Guard cutter. The injury Kerry suffered in that action earned his his second Purple Heart.
Brinkley noted that, as in the previous case, "Kerry's wound was not serious enough to require time off from duty."
The Bright and Shining Moment
So Kerry shot and killed the guerrilla. "I don't have a second's question about that, nor does anybody who was with me," he said. "He was running away with a live B-40, and, I thought, poised to turn around and fire it." Asked whether that meant Kerry shot the guerrilla in the back, Kerry said, "No, absolutely not."
Ol' Cut n' Run
According to Snopes, John F Kerry's Vietnam career ended with a bang and a whimper.
Ten Little Brothers, Standing in a Line, One Voted Bush, and Then There Were Nine.
“What can I say?” Kerry said when told that a former crewmate had unpleasant memories of him as his commanding officer. “I’ll take nine out of ten testimonies anytime.”
The same record Mr. Kerry wields as evidence of his leadership abilities is also used by his harshest critics, who question the severity of the injuries he used to get sent home early and the five medals he garnered in five months.
Update to follow. Much more to come, including the "John Kerry Winter Soldier" section.
The Web Log of an American GI in Europe.
Mudville is a place where the sound of rain on canvas doesn't stop, and the ground is more like pudding with the passage of every deuce-and-a-half...
Or the ground frozen solid and you improvise ways to drive a tent stake deep enough...
Or the ground is sand and it covers your cot just enough to notice, unless you're too damn tired to care...
You get here via long plane rides. Planes without windows. Cargo planes, with web seating.
And you don't get to get on the plane unless you work for it.
And "back home" useful idiots of the enemy camp tell lies about you and your country every day.
The colors of this site are red, white, blue, and grey - the colors of the first American Civil War.
The author? No one special, really. But the entry immediately below this one (Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy?) is one of a series that will give you some insight into who I am.
(I'll add that my personal favorite entry is here.)
On my "days off" this site is updated several times a day. Each entry has a comment feature that you can use to respond.
You might enjoy the linked stories in the "Best of Mudville" section in the right hand column. And whether you like anything here or not I encourage you to visit the MilBlogs home page.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your visit.
Will this story develop over the next few days, or stay far below the fold.
In what Secretary-General Kofi Annan called a “first class foul-up,” the United Nations said today it had discovered a black box sent from Rwanda after a 1994 plane crash that unleashed a genocide in the east African nation.
The black box was found in a locked filing cabinet in the UN Peacekeeping Department’s Air Safety Unit, where it was put by aviation experts who apparently believed its ”pristine condition” ruled out the possibility that it came from the downed Falcon 50 aircraft, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York.
The United Nations now intends to send the black box to “a qualified outside body for analysis of its contents” to determine whether it did or didn’t come from the plane that was carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, he added.
The April 6, 1994 crash of the Falcon killed Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, who had been attending a regional summit in Arusha, Tanzania.
The genocide in Rwanda began as news of Habyarimana’s death spread, and by the time it ended more than 500,000 people had been killed.
Annan said he asked UN peacekeeping officials to investigate a report last week in the French newspaper Le Monde which said an investigation into the crash had accused the United Nations of obstruction – because the world body never opened the downed aircraft’s black box which was sent to UN headquarters in New York.
Eckhard said on Thursday that he had denied the existence of a black box and ridiculed the idea after checking with senior UN officials.
Annan, who was in charge of UN peacekeeping in 1994, said he was “incredulous” and “surprised” when he was told that a black box had been found at the United Nations.
“From what I have picked up, it sounds like a real foul-up, first class foul-up,” he said. He did not believe there had been a cover-up.
Reminds me of this recent quote:
United Nations overseers say they were unaware of the systematic skimming of oil-for-food revenues. They were focused on running aid programs and assuring food deliveries, they add.
It's not like they're responsible for the whole world, you know.
A must-read on the developing Oil-for-food scandal here.
Update on the "Iraqi spy" case
Eugene Volokh: She may well have committed various crimes, and being a covert agent of the Iraqi government is hardly good behavior in my book. But is there really any charge that she gave the Iraqis secrets, or even that she had any secrets to give them?
Glenn Reynolds: I think this is media sloppiness. If you read the indictment, you'll see that she's charged with being an "unregistered foreign agent," among other things. I think that reporters read "agent" as "intelligence agent," meaning "spy." But there are all sorts of ways to be a foreign agent without being a spy.
But neither Reynolds or Volokh is agreeing with this:
SUSAN LINDAUER: ‘I did more to stop terrorism in this country than anybody else. I have done good things for this country.’
Malvina Lacey, Lindauer's next-door neighbor: “She lives in a fantasy world.”
E-mail to NRO about her neighbors: Residents of the DC area could recognize Lindauer was likely a lefty by the second paragraph, which states that she is a resident of Takoma Park, MD. Among other things, TP is a nuclear-free zone and I believe it went overwhelmingly for Nader in 2000."
Ain't America great?
From The Washington Post
File this one under: Bureaucracy, the Fate Worse Than Death.
Last month, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, joked about getting a notice from the military that declared him dead. The mix-up arose after he came out of retirement last summer to take the job and was dropped from the retirement payroll; the accounting staff figured he'd expired. Now, we hear, the Army's top man in uniform has encountered trouble with the active payroll, too.
"He may or may not have gotten his pay," an Army spokesman told us yesterday.
Fouled up records? So, can he prove he served? Or was he... AWOL?
President Bush will likely get this straightened out right away. He knows how important good record keeping can be.
This isn't good news by any means, but the headline could win a prize for stating the obvious:
Iraq War Leads To Increase In Journalists KilledThe Iraq war pushed the number of journalists killed on the job last year to 36, up sharply from the 19 killed in 2002, according to a report by an organization that monitors international press freedom.
"It was quite a discouraging year," said Ann Cooper, the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. But 2003 was considerably better than 1994, the worst in the past decade, when 66 newsmen and women were killed.
The CPJ's annual report, "Attacks on the Press," details the state of the press around the world, reporting attacks on individual journalists as well as systematic government interference.
Only 13 of those journalists were actually killed in Iraq. A low number, given the "embedded reporter" concept.
Speaking of embeded reporters, this is baffling:
Citing what it deemed patriotic coverage by the U.S. press during the Iraq invasion, military officials required journalists to report news "with the spirit of capitalism," Mrs. Cooper said.
Is the "spirit of capitalism" bad? How about the "spirit of communism":
While the world was busy watching the fall of Baghdad, 29 journalists in Cuba were sentenced to between 14 and 27 years in prison. "There was a terrible crackdown in Cuba that happened almost opportunistically by Fidel Castro," Mrs. Cooper said.
With 39 journalists in prison in 2003, China was the leading jailer of journalists for the fifth year in a row.
That last bit from CPJ's website.
Lots of great stuff at Michele's, as she is having amazing adventures 'stalking' the President and confronting protest in New York. Start here and then read everything else at her place too.
In researching the (still not completed) series here on John Kerry's Vietnam service I checked out a library copy of Doug Brinkley's biography of John Kerry. I know - amazing that I didn't have to put my name on a waiting list for a military library copy, but I walked in and there it was, untouched on the new release shelf. I found the book unreadable; mostly because the author and his subject continuously attempt to outdo each other in lavishing praise on John Kerry. You can read that much for yourself in the series here in Mudville. Or from this passage:
Before a particularly dangerous raid in Vietnam, Kerry in his journal "noted for posterity that in fact he felt optimistic, in the same sense that a young Winston Churchill did when he fought with Britain's Malakand Field Force in what is now northern Pakistan: 'Bullets—to a philosopher, my dear Mama—are not worth considering. Besides, I am so conceited I do not believe the gods would create so potent a being as myself for so prosaic an ending.'"
That's Kerry consciously admitting his conceit, and arguably in a self-deprecating fashion. Kerry's conflicted flip-flops are fast becoming endearing to his supporters, but could he possibly hold two simultaneous and contradictory opinions of himself?
The remainder of the book, however, reveals Kerry's unsubtle and ingrained self-love, nurtured in the warm glow of unbridled admiration from the author. And thanks to the efforts of Chris Suellentrop at Slate, you don't need to read it.
Now that John Kerry is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, some Slate readers may unwisely be wondering if civic duty demands that they wade through Tour of Duty, Douglas Brinkley's account of Kerry's "Vietnam War odyssey." "Even when he was an eleven-year-old boy, there was a feeling that John Forbes Kerry was touched with destiny," Brinkley writes on Page 19. And even on Page 19, the reader has a feeling that this is going to be a long slog.
The US can not do enough for the people of Spain in this moment of crisis.
THE PRESIDENT: Today I spoke to His Majesty the King of Spain -- Jose Maria Aznar, as well -- about our country's deepest sympathies toward those who lost their life as a result of terrorist bombings in Spain. I told him we weep with the families. We stand strongly with the people of Spain. I appreciate so very much the Spanish government's fight against terror, their resolute stand against terrorist organizations like the ETA. The United States stands with them. Today we ask God's blessings on those who suffer in the -- in the great country of Spain.
(Listen here - Realplayer)
Nothing less then what's expected of a leader in time of crisis, words now and action to follow.
The President's reference to the ETA is an acknowledgement of recent history, not an accusation. The immediate question remains unanswered: Al-Qaeda or homegrown? The local groups are denying responsibility, meanwhile...
An Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds al-Arabi, said it had received a claim of responsibility for the train bombings issued in the name of Al Qaeda.
The five-page e-mail claim, signed by the shadowy Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, was received at the paper's London offices. It said the brigade's `death squad" had penetrated "one of the pillars of the crusade alliance, Spain."
"This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America's ally in its war against Islam," the claim said.
And according to this report, evidence is being accumulated supporting that claim.
Meanwhile, in America, Wall Street displays the enemy's desired reaction to the discovery of a possible (and completely unsurprising) al-Qaeda connection.
The Spanish government initially blamed Basque separatists for the worst terrorist strike in the nation's history. But police later found a van with detonators and an audiotape of Quranic verses near the site, and a London-based Arabic newspaper said it had received a claim of responsibility in the name of al-Qaida. The late-day development caused markets to shudder.
This sort of response to actions of Al-Qaeda is a bugaboo a lot of folks are going to have to get over - the war on terror continues. If you're aware of that fact, then the horror of today's occurrence in Spain is not diminished, but unsurprising and "par for the course" from a ruthless and cowardly enemy worthy of nothing but contempt and swift resolute response.
More response from world leaders here.
No comment yet from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who recently described Spain (and all other nations involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom) as "window dressing" in remarks carried in the Arab media. If this was the work of Al-Qaeda (and that seems increasingly likely) then it would appear his comments failed to sway his reader's opinions.
Details emerge in the case against Susan Lindauer, the American arrested Thursday on charges she acted as an Iraqi spy before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Lindauer worked at Fortune, U.S. News & World Report and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before beginning her career as a political publicist. She worked for then U.S. Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., before joining the office of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun as press secretary in 1996.
Chris Fitzgerald, a spokesman for Wyden, now a senator, said the office had heard Thursday of Lindauer's arrest and expected to issue a statement later in the day.
"She worked for us a short period of time," he said.
Moseley-Braun's current spokesperson, Loretta Kane, said the former senator does not remember Lindauer.
CNN missed the journalistic and congressional connections, referring to her only as a "Maryland resident". They did note this fact:
The charges against Lindauer were included in an expanded indictment in the case against Raed Rokan Al-Anbuge, 28, and Wisam Noman Al-Anbuke, the sons of Iraq's former liaison with United Nations weapons inspectors.
Update: Jonah Goldberg comments in The Corner
I don't think anybody else but her should get tarred with her crimes, but that such a person is socially acceptable -- never mind hirable -- in these circles is really amazing.
Accused spy is cousin of Bush staffer
The woman charged with working for the Iraqi spy agency is a distant cousin of President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, and has held a variety of jobs in journalism and on Capitol Hill.
Susan Lindauer, 41, worked in the press offices of four Democratic members of Congress. She also worked for Fortune magazine, U.S. News & World Report, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Fox News.
Her father, John Lindauer, was the Republican nominee for governor in Alaska in 1998. His campaign unraveled because of charges of campaign finance violations to which he pleaded no contest.
Susan Lindauer is a 1985 Smith College graduate who describes herself as an anti-war activist.
Tucking the salient points (who she is) between paragraphs about who she's related to?
Update 3 (From the very bottom of a lengthy MSNBC report, bold emphasis added): On Jan. 8, 2003, prosecutors said, Lindauer tried to influence U.S. foreign policy by delivering to the home of a U.S. government official a letter in which she conveyed her access to and contacts with members of Saddam’s regime.
Card alerted authorities
The indictment said Lindauer met twice in Baltimore, in June and July, with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a Libyan intelligence representative who was seeking to support resistance groups in postwar Iraq. It said she discussed the need for plans and foreign resources to support those groups.
WSJ.com's Opinion Journal details connections between the media's "some 911 family members", various non-profits fronting for the Democratic party, and Teresa Heinz-Kerry's money.
We sympathize just a little with the failure of the press corps to get to the bottom of this, given how difficult it has become to track groups like Peaceful Tomorrows. One of the entirely predictable consequences of the new campaign finance laws is that political money has diverted into myriad "non-profits" and other creatures of the tax-code, all claiming to be "nonpartisan" and therefore with little obligation to explain where they get their money.
"Sympathize" here is hopefully used with a bit of tongue in cheek, we assume. Far from becomming more difficult, google-savvy bloggers are actually simplifying much of the work of the "professional" journalists.
But the final paragraph raises the key question:
None of this is to say the anti-Bush activists of Peaceful Tomorrows don't have a right to try their hardest to get Mr. Kerry elected this fall. We've also said that we believe Mr. Bush has the right to talk about terrorism--the defining issue of his Presidency. Call us innocent, but we somehow think voters deserve to know more than they do now about all these 9/11 "family" groups. Some might even send them money, and some might switch them off.
Are "family groups" misleading the media? Misrepresenting their motives? If so, why? If not, is "big media" intentionally misrepresenting the groups to their viewers and readers? Again, if so, why?
Here are two possible explanations:
One: An inclination to deceive - "pathological lying".
Two: A fundamental (and justified) fear that what they're doing is wrong. (And by the way, for those who've not caught on, "what they're doing" is using their lost loved ones for political gain.)
Comments are open for discussion of other possibilities.
A Mudville trivia test:
What is this theme song from:
His medal of honor pleased and thrilled
his proud little family group.
While pinning it on some blood was spilled
And so it was planned he'd command...
John Kerry would be the first presidential candidate to visit a war zone since the failed bid of Sen. George S. McGovern, if the presumptive Democratic nominee decides to visit Iraq on a fact-finding trip.
And who just said "Maybe he could hire out of work baathists to protect him from American GI's?" C'mon, who said that? Cause it was just wrong. Who would dare say such a thing?
Hmmm... guess it was me.
A trip by Mr. Kerry also would break his pledge last March that he would stop criticizing U.S. efforts to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein once the shooting started.
When did you stop criticizing America Senator?
"I remember being one of those guys and reading news reports from home," the Vietnam veteran said. "If America is at war, I won't speak a word without measuring how it'll sound to the guys doing the fighting when they're listening to their radios in the desert."
That's the height of hypocrisy, Hanoi John.
While in Vietnam, Mr. McGovern — who won only Mr. Kerry's home state of Massachusetts in the 1972 election he lost overwhelmingly to President Nixon — met in Saigon with Nguyen Van Thieu, who was elected the nation's president in 1967 and won re-election in a rigged contest in 1971.
How dare they sneak that "Kerry's a Massachusetts liberal" lie into a news report! A steath bomb if ever there was one. No wonder Kerry calls the right wing dominated media "...the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen." Or wait, no, that just the generic "Republican critics".
Of course, if Glenn Reynolds is right, Kerry won't go. That possibility is explored in this paragraph:
Mr. Kerry, a four-term senator from Massachusetts, said this week that he is considering a trip to Iraq, although he left open the possibility that he might ask a group of congressional colleagues to conduct a fact-finding mission for him.
"I'd like to see what the latest assessment is of people that I trust, of people whose experience and knowledge is significant, and have the ability to make some judgments about where we are today," Mr. Kerry told reporters in Mississippi. "I think that would be very valuable in the formulation of policy and in my ability to get important updates."
The idea of sending congressional underlings to do his bidding may appeal to the Senator, but the whole thing gives RNC Chair Ed Gillespie an opening to land a wicked right hook that he just can't resist:
"Senator Kerry says he either needs to go himself or send a delegation to learn more about the situation in Iraq so he can form his policy positions, and yet for the past six months, he's been criticizing the president's policy. Now we know his criticism is uninformed," Mr. Gillespie said.
Touché, as they say in France.
In a related story (related through the "visiting foriegn lands to demoralize American troops" link):
Sen. John Kerry should not try to distance himself from Jane Fonda, who "was neither wrong nor unconscionable in what she said and did in North Vietnam," says Tom Hayden, one of Miss Fonda's ex-husbands.
Mr. Hayden, who led the radical Students for a Democratic Society in its most militant protests of the '60s, cites a 2001 "Meet the Press" appearance where Mr. Kerry said that he had committed "atrocities" during his five-month combat tour in Vietnam. Mr. Kerry specifically took "responsibility for shooting in free-fire zones, search-and-destroy missions, and burning villages," Mr. Hayden notes in the latest issue of the Nation.
"The attempted smearing of Kerry through the Fonda 'connection' is a Republican attempt to suppress an honest reopening of our unfinished exploration of the Vietnam era," writes Mr. Hayden, who was a California state legislator for 18 years.
A "2001 "Meet the Press" appearance where Mr. Kerry said that he had committed "atrocities""?
Update: Is this the audio?
"It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk," the Arizona senator told ABC's "Good Morning America" during an interview about illegal steroid use. "They'd have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen."
McCain gained a reputation as a party maverick who appeals to independent voters during his 2000 race against Bush for the Republican nomination. This year, McCain has campaigned for the president and said he would continue to do so.
The Headline: "Sen. McCain Open to Being Kerry's VP"
If you say so.
I say McCain, like the vast majority of Vietnam vets, will vote Bush this year.
Kerry's right -
“What can I say?” Kerry said when told that a former crewmate had unpleasant memories of him as his commanding officer. “I’ll take nine out of ten testimonies anytime.”
But although nine out of ten of his former crew may claim to respect him, that 'nine out of ten' figure probably is a good representation of the percentage of total current and former military people that really wouldn't vote for Kerry under any circumstances for any position of responsibility.
For those who haven't heard, Time has an article on one of Kerry's "Band of Brothers" who has been found after an exhaustive search by author/Kerry worshiper Douglas Brinkley.
When researching Tour of Duty some of these veterans proved extremely difficult to track down. Stephen W. Hatch, a boatswain’s mate who served under Kerry on PCF-44, proved particularly elusive. Eventually I located him in Niagra (sic) Falls, New York and he told me about his admiration for Chuck Berry guitar licks, rose tattoos and John Kerry. As my book went to press the only Swift crewmate I couldn’t locate was Gardner. A quick count in the index of Tour of Duty shows that Gardner’s name appears on a dozen different pages throughout my narrative. He also periodically appeared in Kerry’s war diaries. Still, my various inquiries to the U.S. Naval Historical Center, the Swift Boat Crew Directory and other outstanding reference outlets proved futile.
So it was with a sense of genuine relief when PCF-44’s Jim Wasser telephoned me last week with the news that Gardner had “rung him up out-of-the-blue” to discuss their shared days together in Vietnam. “It was great” Wasser told me. “You know he fought bravely in Vietnam. He is still a brother. I miss him. I would like to see him.” He then hesitated and went on. “But he has developed a strange, negative assessment of Lieutenant Kerry. It shocked me. His memory is dead wrong. He remembers things so differently.… He has some kind of weird grudge against Lieutenant Kerry.”
After spending considerable time tracking Gardner down, Brinkley dismisses him rather quickly:
After interviewing Gardner for over an hour it essentially boils down to one word: politics. A strong supporter of President George W. Bush, Gardner is sickened by the idea of Kerry as president. “Anybody but Kerry,” he says. “I know what a disaster he’d be.” So what brought Gardner out in the open? The answer turns out to be Rush Limbaugh’s talk show.
Stop there. Because no, the answer turns out to be Doug Brinkley. But perhaps the difficult question (or the question Brinkley wouldn't record the answer for) wasn't asked: knowing Kerry, why support Bush? After all, Gardner did not seek out Brinkley, in fact very much the opposite occurred. That this man may now be subject to questions of character and motivation is unfortunate.
Over the next three years Gardner served as gunner on four different Swift boats, each with a different commanding officer.
That would be one year for every month of Kerry's service - Kerry's final month in country was spent "on shore" awaiting orders.
Brinkley went to great efforts to find (and defuse) Garder, and having done so he fails to give us much information from the man, substituting speculation about him. This may be due to Brinkley's reluctance to write or Gardner's reluctance to speak. If the latter, and if Gardner should overcome that reluctance, he must now do so with an established record as "biased". A charge for which he has been dismissed without having much chance to tell his tale. Brinkley tries to make much of Gardner "almost calling" Rush Limbaugh. That impulse alone (even if not acted upon) is worthy of scorn in the eyes of many on the left. "But don't worry" Brinkley implies "we've exposed him for what he is."
Three years duty in Vietnam? He's a hero.
Nine out of ten, Senator. Guaranteed.
Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
President Bush once again, from the Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 2001.
We will immediately declare the Bush policy of unilateralism over and work to rebuild our shattered alliances all across the globe.
GEORGE BUSH’S FOREIGN POLICY HAS UNDERMINED AMERICA’S SECURITY. The Bush Administration has pursued the most reckless foreign policy in modern history, turning its back on a century of American leadership. A President with no experience has implemented a strategy of unilateral and pre-emptive war that threatens to America’s safety and prosperity. In two short years, the Bush Administration has squandered the goodwill of the world, alienated our allies, overextended our troops, and compromised America’s security.
In his first 100 days in office, John Kerry will send a message to the world that the United States has rejoined the community of nations, reaching out to strengthen relationships with NATO, old allies and new partners to create a new global coalition to fight terrorism.
My new favorite commenter is Pete:
Greyhawk. I asked for Kerry's position which you are doing, but in a funny way, all negative implications if not distortions. This is not what I would consider fair discussion, but hey it is your Blog. Why don't you do liar Bush the same way? I take it you are interested in the nation first and foremost. So why not portray Bush as the lying and stealing son-of a-bitch he is. Why would anyone who doesn't get material benefits want him as president again. He has had his shot and he has failed. No dishonor in that failure, but there is great and lasting dishonor to send American girls and boys to get killed and maimed for his falsehoods.
Yes, I know, all bluster no substance. And how about that exploration of new ground - "Bush is a big fat liar!"You can join the discussion with Pete here. Personally I thank him; since Mudville's one year anniversary is all but upon us he's given me the lead in to start re-posting some of the "Best of Mudville" - starting with the first post that ever got any attention beyond the original 12 readers.
Here it is, Pete; welcome to the Hall of Heroes. We take their sacrifice seriously here. (And we've seen your sort before.)
For these people "Asses of Evil" is the height of wit; it is the best they can do. They are clueless as to what it says about their grasp of world politics, because they have no grasp of world politics. They don't know anyone who disagrees with their myopic worldview; such people would be NOCD. They are equally proud of their profanity; they think it's "freedom of speech". It's "mainstream America" in their eyes, and they welcome complaints - they can scream "oppression". I'll predict their response: F#&% Y@*!
In every possible way, this campaign will pander to the lowest possible level. No matter how low your expectations, they will shatter them and keep digging.
Remember Rolling Stone?
By the way, as of this post the entries that Drudge says he was told would be deleted are still there.
An old military expression popped into my head the moment I read the following story. The saying is usually meant to be sarcastic, and goes like this: "Well... ain't that a bitch?"
Which, translated into PG-speak means, well... ain't that a shame? But this guy wasn't PG:
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Abul Abbas, the Palestinian mastermind of the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro passenger ship in which an American tourist was killed, has died in U.S. custody in Iraq, Palestinian and U.S. officials said Tuesday. He was 56.
Abbas' small Palestine Liberation Front commandeered the Italian cruise ship, demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and threw an elderly wheelchair-bound Jewish American tourist, Leon Klinghoffer, overboard after shooting him.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that Abbas died Monday, ``apparently ... of natural causes.'' He said there would be an autopsy.
Now these days "natural causes" in Iraq could mean a number of things. Unfortunately, I think in this case it means the same as in the US.
But not for this guy:
MANASSAS, Va. — Convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad will be executed for his role in the October 2002 killing spree that left 10 people dead in the Washington, D.C., area, a judge ruled Tuesday.
"These offenses are so vile that they were almost beyond comprehension," Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. said in court.
By the way, what's with the "mastermind" crap? Note that both these guys were "masterminds" in the eyes of the media.
Muhammad denied any involvement in the killings Tuesday, telling the judge, "Don't make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America."
"Just like I said at the beginning, I had nothing to do with this, and I'll say again, I had nothing to do with this," Muhammad said.
Defense lawyer Peter Greenspun said Muhammad is not inherently evil.
"I've represented a lot of bad guys," Greenspun said. "I've represented guys that you look them in the eye and see evil. I've spent a lot of time with John Allen Muhammad and that's not him."
"Oh, my bad." Said the judge, "In that case, you're free to go. Please die from natural causes."
Too much death? That and taxes, you know. But hey, according to this guy, we might not make it to April 15 any way.
And maybe you'll get to spend your tax check after all.
(Sorry. Here's one for a laugh.)
More quotes, bold emphasis added.
After all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. (Applause.)
Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. (Applause.)
President Bush again, from the Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 2001.
I'm not tired. Are you?
John Kerry might have been a bit sleepy when he repeatedly used the term "unilateral" in describing our actions in Iraq. He's spoken at length about "squandering good will" and damaging our standing with our allies, but what exactly does he mean? Really, if it's France and Germany, why not name them? Is he embarrassed by them?
Is it Russia?
In fact, Kerry has further defined his opinion, but not for American ears or eyes. Here's a quote from Agence France-Presse, just prior to "Super Tuesday":
Asked about nations who have deployed occupation forces in the war-torn country, Kerry said, “The fact is that those countries are really window dressing to the greatest degree."
I guess that eliminates some of the possibles from the list of unnamed "foreign leader" voices that Kerry's been hearing.
"They weren’t there in the beginning when we went in and are not carrying the cost of this war,” added Kerry, who hopes to seal his party’s presidential nomination in a 10-state schedule of contests on Tuesday.
Though there is this earlier quote from John Edwards, from Fox on Thursday, January 22, 2004:
"As our military leaders say, you have in Iraq swimmers and non-swimmers, that's the term they like to use," Edwards said on New Hampshire Public Radio. "The swimmers are us and to a much smaller extent the British and nobody else. ... Most of these countries are window-dressing. This is not serious."
Maybe our military leaders use that swimmers/non swimmers line, but I haven't heard it. Might be a Navy tag - I can see where it would apply to SEALS. "Operators" or "shooters" would sound more military to me though, John. Keep trying.
I mean, if you and Kerry are going to be picking out new window dressings for the White House and all...
I love using quotes:
It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.
And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. (Applause.)
I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (Applause.)
Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.
Thank you. (Applause.)
President Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 2001
"This administration is running the most arrogant, inept, reckless, ideological foreign policy in the modern history of this country."
John Kerry, repeatedly, 2003-2004
Commenter "Pete", in this post, asks that we focus a bit less on Ol' Cut'n'Run's Vietnam-era cowardice and more on his feeble grasp of the modern day issues. Well Pete, your hero (I know, you don't love Kerry you just hate Bush) has certainly obliged, by coming out of the rather obvious closet as another pro-dictator Democrat.
Kerry Condemns Bush for Failing to Back Aristide
Had he been sitting in the Oval Office last weekend as rebel forces were threatening to enter Port-au-Prince, Senator John Kerry says, he would have sent an international force to protect Haiti's widely disliked elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
"I would have been prepared to send troops immediately, period," Mr. Kerry said on Friday, expressing astonishment that President Bush, who talks of supporting democratically elected leaders, withheld any aid and then helped spirit Mr. Aristide into exile after saying the United States could not protect him.
"Look, Aristide was no picnic, and did a lot of things wrong," Mr. Kerry said. But Washington "had understandings in the region about the right of a democratic regime to ask for help. And we contravened all of that. I think it's a terrible message to the region, democracies, and it's shortsighted."
Aristide bolted, and we helped him leave. Maybe Ol' Cut'n'Run heard a different version? But if Jean-Bertrand (Tish, that's French! Ooo la-la!) - wants back in, what exactly is stopping Ol' Gutless John from flying him right back to Port-au-Prince tomorrow? Surely he can spare the air fare?
All kidding aside, please don't worry Senator (who needs worry lines anyhow?), if the people of Haiti want him back I'm sure they'll get him back. France is there in force, after all.
And does anybody know anything about that "withheld aid" line? Google?
From the same article:
Mr. Kerry is trying a bit of election-season pre-emption of his own, attempting to short-circuit the White House argument that he is too much of a straddler, too indecisive and too captivated by the nuances of foreign policy to defend American interests.
"People will know I'm tough and I'm prepared to do what is necessary to defend the United States of America, and that includes the unilateral deployment of troops if necessary," said Mr. Kerry, who has rarely used the word "unilateral" in the campaign except to describe how Mr. Bush has alienated allies. "But my standard is very different from George Bush's."
But so far, Mr. Kerry has not described that standard in detail. In the interview on his plane, Mr. Kerry said he was reluctant to define how he would act in specific situations — particularly in murky cases like Pakistan — because conditions could change by next year.
Vote Kerry - Tough! Decisive! Nuanced! Boldly leading us beyond the limits of his personal vision!
Yet, signaling how he plans to use the questionable intelligence about Iraq to chip away Mr. Bush's credibility, he added that if he committed troops to battle, he would do it with "full disclosure and full vetting of the intelligence to the American people."
Yikes - we must assume the American people will be sworn to secrecy?
There you go, Pete, Kerry on the issues. And there you have it folks, - the American Democratic party's presidential candidate.
More than a dozen families who lost relatives in the Sept. 11 attacks released a letter Saturday declaring their support for President Bush and his use of images of the destroyed World Trade Center in campaign ads.
Expect a Pew Research poll to follow. Of course, the absolute level of absurdity to which this controversy could sink would be to let only 911 survivors have the right to vote.
Or perhaps this is even more absurd:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told Fox News Channel on Saturday that he personally believed that the ads were inappropriate.
Well, hell. If John Kerry says the ads are inappropriate then they gotta go. One thing for sure: September 11th 2001 won't happen during Kerry's presidency, by golly!
Meanwhile, there's something troublesome about the "firefighters support Kerry" theme that's been floating behind the lines of this story. A Union supports Kerry, but where do the rank and file stand? Among other requirements, being a Democrat in this day and age generally takes a "me first" attitude that just doesn't fit with the mindset of a fireman, anymore than with that of a soldier or a cop.
Has the backlash begun?
Jimmy Boyle, former president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said he came up with the "Open Letter to America" after hearing that the president was being criticized for the ads.
"I don't think he's taking advantage of Sept. 11 and I feel that he's given us the leadership that we need," said Boyle, who said he will be voting for a Republican president for the first time in November.
Really it's becoming tiresome hearing the myth that any specific group supports either candidate. The vast majority of military people support the current president; likewise some do not. It's very likely that a minority of Vietnam veterans think Kerry's their man - probably a larger percentage of any other era's veterans. Maybe an even larger percentage of cops and fireman support the guy - certainly some do.
No surprise, perhaps, that this whole concept of groups supporting presidential candidates like so many lemmings seems to be driven by the one group that personifies such behavior more than any other (well, almost any other) - the media.
This doesn't bother me. And I think I know why: John Kerry's standing among veterans could sink no lower than it already is. Many do love him, but the number of Democrats on Active Duty (and consequently the number of Democrat veterans) has sunk to a remarkable (though unsurprising) statistical low since the end of the draft. The "love of country" that goes beyond slogan chanting and results in actual voluntary service to said country generally leads to Republican-leaning political beliefs.
(To those who would argue otherwise - yes, there are exceptions; and now recall Al Gore trying furiously to block the military absentee votes in Florida.)
Also, contrary to media-fueled and apparently now popularly held opinion, Kerry's military career was at least as pathetic (in the minds of those who know) as it was distinguished (to those who don't care to look past the surface). So the fact that he tried to delay it by a year (if true) is of marginal consequence.
The whole thing smacks of a "Kerry didn't keep his boots shiny" argument - who cares? The man abandoned his command. But the more minor complaints lodged against him, the quicker the electorate will tire of hearing them at all.
Here's the rather incongruous military career of our hero, John Kerry:
He requests a delay in entering the service, it's denied, so he joins. He gets more medals faster than any military man in history, and then quits his command at the first opportunity, abandoning his men in the field in time of war.
What's that you say? He asked for a delay in joining? The bastard!
Of course, this apparent split-personality jives quite nicely with the subsequent life. Failure to get elected on the "war hero" ticket leads to protest of said war, to include rancorous vilification of fellow GI's still in combat.
A subsequent Senatorial career is spent voting down every major defense bill that crosses his desk. He never meets an intel budget for which he wouldn't gleefully shout "nay"! Then suddenly, one dark night, the need for votes outside of Massachusetts arises. Under cover of darkness our hero figuratively sneaks onto the White House lawn and retrieves those long lost medals, earned over that hellish 4-month span.
Hey! Presto! InstaHero is back! And this time he's mad! Give the parents of the new generation of baby killers their money back, Mr. Bush! How dare you send our boys and girls off to commit atrocities on innocent Iraqis without body armor! Have you no shame, Mr. Bush?
In case you've missed the point, here's what appears to be ol' gutless John's dream war:
Troops bogged down in trenches about 600 yards north of the Kuwait border due to lack of armor and air cover, each and every one sporting a brand new his-or-hers Kevlar flak jacket, compliments of taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
With French soldiers right along side.
Sure beats our current quagmire.
So forget that year in Paris crap. It's time to bid adieu to "cut 'n' run" Kerry, kids! The man-for-all-seasons is a war hero this year.
The big verdict this week was in the Martha trial, right?
The Bush administration has abandoned the War on Terror to focus on Iraq's oil fields, right?
3 American Muslims Convicted of Helping Wage Jihad
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 4 — In a victory for the Bush administration's campaign to root out home-grown terrorism, a federal judge convicted three American Muslims on Thursday of conspiring to help a Pakistani group wage "violent jihad" against Indian forces in Kashmir and possibly American troops in Afghanistan.
Ignore for a moment the Times uncharacteristic willingness to admit the terrorists were Muslim, (future post) and credit Ed Driscoll with being first to ask the obvious: Why is this a victory only for the Bush administration?
Is the implication that it's no victory for the American people?
Are we to assume that some other, unnamed administration wouldn't be pursuing such cases with the vigor of John Ashcroft’s Justice Department?
KARLSRUHE, Germany -- Germany's highest court overturned on Thursday the verdict against the only person convicted of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. In ordering a retrial, the court faulted the United States for refusing to allow testimony from a suspected key Al Qaeda captive.
The convicted man, Mounir el-Motassadeq, had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in February 2003 after being found guilty of 3,066 counts of being an accessory to murder and of playing a crucial logistical role for the members of the Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg that produced three of the Sept. 11 pilots.
Of course, besides Martha all the news this week is the "outrage" of the survivors of 911 over the use of imagery in Bush campaign spots.
We are quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. An amazing year, with unprecedented progress for recovery of a war-torn nation and a level of success exceeding most anyone's pre-war expectation.
And yes, people are dying.
If the first paragraph above upsets you, read the following and see if it matches your world view a little better. It's a blast from the past from Alternet, the lefty e-zine that recognized the possibility of a largely successful campaign in Iraq, and referred to such an eventuality as the left's nightmare scenario.
'Bush Wins': The Left's Nightmare Scenario
By Mark LeVine, AlterNet, March 13, 2003
As the American-imposed deadline for Iraqi "disarmament" approaches, the antiwar movement seems to be counting on one of two scenarios to frustrate the plans of the Bush Administration.
The first is an optimistic "We Win" scenario, which would result from massive protests and diplomatic pressure forcing President Bush to postpone an invasion indefinitely. (What has yet to be addressed is what exactly we win if Hussein remains indefinitely in power and the sanctions go on killing Iraqis.) With war seemingly imminent, the movement is being forced to fall back on a second scenario, "Everyone Loses," in which the warnings of a protracted and bloody war that destabilizes the Middle East and increases terrorism bear their bitter fruit.
However unpalatable in terms of destroyed lives and infrastructure, this latter scenario would at least quash the Administration's imperial dreams and force the kind of soul searching of United States' policies that is a major goal of the movement. But this outcome is less likely than many assume, and the antiwar movement would be well advised to plan for a third scenario: "Bush Wins."
In this third scenario, the war is over quickly with relatively low U.S. casualties, some sort of mechanism for transitional rule is put in place, and President Bush and his policies gain unprecedented power and prestige. From my recent conversations with organizers and their latest pronouncements, it is clear that this possibility has yet to be addressed. Waiting much longer could spell disaster for the antiwar movement.
Note the obligatory disclaimer that Hussein is doubleplusbad, and that surely given time he can be peacefully removed from power. Now, of course, thanks to trigger-happy cowboy Bush we'll never know what time frame that might have occurred in, calendar or geologic.
Look again at this passage regarding a "protracted and bloody war that destabilizes the Middle East and increases terrorism": However unpalatable in terms of destroyed lives and infrastructure, this latter scenario would at least quash the Administration's imperial dreams and force the kind of soul searching of United States' policies that is a major goal of the movement.
Opinion of a nut bag from the fringe? Perhaps, if you consider an assistant professor in the History Department at the University of California at Irvine a fringe. Sorry, this is the "mainstream left" - and he's educating America's youth. Read the whole thing, of course. Those kids he's educating have a lot of great ideas for the response from the "movement".
Here's some more insight from Levine; revealing his prescient mastery of the obvious:
The social and political forces unleashed by the end of decades of Hussein's murderous rule will not easily be penned in by a US-sponsored show-democracy; but whether these forces use a reopened public sphere or turn to violence to respond to the likely betrayal depends in good measure on how adroitly the world progressive community can lay fast but deep roots in Iraq.
Sadly he failed to mention just which option said progressives should advocate. I guess we'll never know.
Hi, I'm John Kerry, and when I'm your president I'll make 911 go away.
Hugh Hewitt sums up rather nicely: There are two Americas.
And the silly America is rising up today (as they do each and every day) in righteous outrage and indignation.
The silly America that held candlelight vigils after 911 and then "moved on". The silly America who believe that the threat of terror is exaggerated. The silly America that wants more than anything for 911 to just go away, the silly America that denounces the examination of John Kerry's Senate voting record as "dirty politics" are now outraged that a campaign ad for George Bush includes references to 911. (See round up of blog reaction here.)
Serious America knows: The wolves were at the door. The wolves are at the door. Wish them away, and they won't go.
The best the opposition can offer? Sincere sounding promises that "I will never cede the security of the US to any other nation or organization. " In over two centuries has any candidate for president ever had to make such a guarantee? No, not until John Kerry took the stage.
Ask yourself why.
A slap in in the face of the murders of 3,000 people? Unconscionable? How about this:
That's John Kerry on the war on terror. And he wants to be our president.
'Silly' America? Hugh was being kind.
And I note that the 911/Rick Rescorla post below was re-posted prior to the ridiculous, media-fueled hate frenzy over the Bush ads, and is in no way to be considered a response or reaction to that.
Mrs. Susan Rescorla commented on the entry and has exchanged e-mail with me, and is to the best of my knowledge pleased with the effort to keep her husband's memory alive. More on that topic in a future post.
Update 2: More from Misha and Rush.
Note: Apologies, but necessities of a military life have kept me away from the blog (excepting some quick posts) for a while. (Okay, I confess: I was interrogating Osama Bin Laden, who's been in custody at hangar 18 at Wright- Patt for several months) Now I have about two weeks worth of e-mail to catch up - those who've expected a response will get one soon; sorry you had to wait.
Blogging will resume in earnest (if the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise) later today.
Update: Sorry, I have access to e-mail, but at this time everything I send is being rejected for "unroutable domain". Apologies to all who may have thought I was ignoring them.
An old joke:
A member of a notorious crime family meets his untimely demise, and his surviving brother, the leader of the organization, makes the funeral arrangements with the priest.
"Father" he says, "it would mean a lot to our dear mother if during the services you could mention the fact that my brother was a Saint."
"Well my son," the priest replies, "as much as I'd like to ease your mothers suffering, that would hardly be true..."
"Well, father," the brother interrupts, "I was afraid you might have some reservations, so I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse..."
They discuss terms and reluctantly the priest agrees to the request. The next day at the funeral he begins.
"Friends," he says "we gather today to bid farewell to a man of low moral character. A murderer, a drug dealer, a thief. A liar, a cheat, an unfaithful husband and a failed father. A man who could always be depended on to look out only for himself, without a care for the misery he inflicted on others."
The brother begins to glare at the priest from his front row seat, but he continues with the eulogy. "He was all of these things and worse. In fact, some of you may think he was the lowest of the low, but believe me when I tell you, compared to his brother there, he was a saint."
It's all relative, you see. Short, tall, fat, thin, all in the eye of the beholder. We judge each other by a standard, and usually the standard is us. Each person we look at is taller or shorter or about the same height; thinner or fatter or about the same weight.
So the next time you hear about "John Kerry, war hero" realize that in the minds of most Democrats, few of who even know any war heroes, (or any veterans at all), he is. This is why the folks at Snopes can declare "false" the statement that "John Kerry's medals were obtained under "fishy" circumstances" - and then provide rather overwhelming evidence that the circumstances were extremely fishy indeed.
And now his party will anoint this man their "hero", and send him off to battle for the leadership of the free world. If he is their choice, so be it.
According to Snopes, John F Kerry's Vietnam career ended with a bang and a whimper:
Kerry was injured yet again on 13 March 1969, in an action for which he was awarded both a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart. According to Kerry's Bronze Star citation (signed by Admiral Zumwalt himself):
Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry was serving as an Officer-in-Charge of Inshore Patrol Craft 94, one of five boats conducting a Sealords operation in the Bay Hap River. While exiting the river, a mine detonated under another Inshore Patrol Craft and almost simultaneously, another mine detonated wounding Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry in the right arm. In addition, all units began receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks. When Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned upriver to assist. The man in the water was receiving sniper fire from both banks. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry then directed his boat to return to and assist the other damaged boat to safety. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
According to the Boston Globe, this was the only one of Kerry's three Purple Heart injuries that caused him to miss any days of service:
Kerry had been wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts. Asked about the severity of the wounds, Kerry said that one of them cost him about two days of service, and that the other two did not interrupt his duty. "Walking wounded," as Kerry put it. A shrapnel wound in his left arm gave Kerry pain for years. Kerry declined a request from the Globe to sign a waiver authorizing the release of military documents that are covered under the Privacy Act and that might shed more light on the extent of the treatment Kerry needed as a result of the wounds.
Although there was no hard-and-fast rule, U.S. military procedure generally allowed any serviceman who received three Purple Hearts to request reassignment away from a combat zone, so Kerry talked to Commodore Charles F. Horne, an administrative official and commander of the coastal squadron in which he served. Four days after Kerry took his third hit of shrapnel, Horne forwarded a request on Kerry's behalf to the Navy Bureau of Personnel asking that Kerry be reassigned to "duty as a personal aide in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C." Soon afterwards Kerry was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay to await further orders, and within a month he had been reassigned as a personal aide and flag lieutenant to Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr. with the Military Sea Transportation Service based in Brooklyn, New York.
Kerry served with Admiral Schlech until the end of 1969, when requested an early discharge from the Navy in order to run for a Massachusetts congressional seat. Admiral Schlech approved the request, and on 3 January 1970 Kerry received an honorable discharge, six months early.