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...that's where I am, in a sense. Trav'lin' about and posting via PDA.
But note that new blog ad to the right. Click through and you'll find a great DVD at a great price. (So buy one for your local Senator, too.)
Granted, it's nothing as sexy as accusing Marines of a massacre, but Jack Murtha is not above giving veiled threats to the Pentagon when it suits his purpose:
Murtha said he is convinced the Pentagon has been leaking information about the possibility that Pelosi would use large military planes to make her look bad. But he said, "They're making a mistake when they leak it because she decides on allocations for them,'' referring to the Pentagon budget.
The WSJ Opinion Page has an interesting look at the history of Mz Clinton's position/s on Iraq through her Senate career... Good heavens! Looks like a "I was all for it before I was against it... " Just nice to see what we all know in a larger forum...
October 10, 2002. Mrs. Clinton addresses the Senate on the use-of-force resolution. "The facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt," she declares, citing Saddam's record of using chemical weapons, the invasion of Kuwait, and his history of deceiving U.N. weapons inspectors. "As a result, President Clinton, with the British and others, ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets," she continues, adding that Saddam "has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members."
All the way through to
January 27, 2007. On the campaign trail in Iowa, Mrs. Clinton demands that President Bush "extricate our country from this before he leaves office." And she promises that, if elected, she will end the war quickly.
But I liked this part best:
All politicians change their minds about something at some point, but what's troubling about Mrs. Clinton's record on Iraq is that it tends to follow, rather than lead, public opinion. When the war was first debated, and she couldn't easily walk away from her husband's record against Saddam, she was a solid, even eloquent, hawk. Then for a time she laid low and avoided the antiwar excesses of John Kerry and others.
But now that the war has proven to be difficult, and her fellow Democrats are outflanking her on the antiwar left, she is steadily, even rapidly, moving in their direction. So in the space of merely 14 months and as the Presidential campaign begins in earnest, Mrs. Clinton has gone from advocating a new plan to "win" the Iraq war, with "honor," to vocally opposing President Bush's new strategy to try to do precisely that. And, oh, yes, she now wants the "surge" to be in Afghanistan instead of Iraq.
The question we'd ask is whether this is the kind of stalwart drift that Mrs. Clinton would bring to the Oval Office?
I think we know the answer...
Read the whole thing HERE
And don't miss Daniel Henninger's "Snake Eater" in WSJ Wonder Land
This is a story of can-do in a no-can-do world, a story of how a Marine officer in Iraq, a small network-design company in California, a nonprofit troop-support group, a blogger and other undeterrable folk designed a handheld insurgent-identification device, built it, shipped it and deployed it in Anbar province. They did this in 30 days, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. Compared to standard operating procedure for Iraq, this is a nanosecond.
Iraqi forces on Thursday detained a senior Health Ministry official accused in alleged corruption and infiltration of the ministry that has funnelled millions of dollars to Shiite militiamen blamed for much of the recent sectarian violence in the capital, the U.S. military said.
The raid was the latest action in a crackdown on al-Sadr's militia, coming a day after the chief U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said a security sweep to stop the rampant attacks in the capital was under way.
The military statement did not name the official, but a ministry spokesman said earlier that U.S. and Iraqi forces had seized deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamili, a supporter of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, from his first-floor office in northern Baghdad.
The detainee was implicated in the deaths of several ministry officials, including the director-general in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, the military said.
He reportedly orchestrated several kickback schemes related to inflated contracts for equipment and services, with millions of dollars allegedly funnelled to the Mahdi Army militia that is loyal to al-Sadr, according to the statement.
The official also was suspected of providing large-scale employment of militia members who used Health Ministry facilities and services for "sectarian kidnapping and murder," the military said.
Joint U.S.-Iraqi forces stormed the Health Ministry compound early Thursday, causing all the employees to flee, spokesman Qassim Yahya said.
Baghdad's streets have been electric with tension as U.S. officials confirmed the new security operation was under way. U.S. armour rushed through streets and Iraqi armoured personnel carriers guarded bridges and major intersections.
New coils of barbed-wire and blast barriers marked checkpoints that caused traffic bottlenecks. U.S. Apache helicopters were in the air over parts of the city where they hadn't been seen before.
Caldwell said Wednesday, that the much-awaited Baghdad security operation was finally underway but would be implemented gradually.
MNF-I press release here.
Will the "Baghdad security operation" be reported as anything other than "increasing violence"? We'll know soon enough. But it may be difficult to tell when operations kick into high gear, as even though rarely reported, operations throughout the country have never ceased.
More news from the past two days in Iraq - see if you can identify the one story that represents the only sort that would continue if the U.S. were to withdraw:
All stories via MNF-I:
BAGHDAD– Coalition Forces killed an estimated 13 terrorists during an air strike Thursday morning targeting a senior foreign fighter facilitator northeast of Amiriya.BUILDING HOUSING SUSPECTED TERRORISTS HIT IN AIR STRIKE NEAR ARAB JABOUR
Intelligence reports indicated an individual associated with foreign fighter facilitation was in the targeted area.
During the operation, Coalition Forces detained five suspected terrorists and found a cache including armor piercing ammunition.
Information gained from the target area led Coalition Forces to two suspected foreign fighter safe houses where suspected terrorists were assembled.
Coalition Forces observed the structures to confirm intelligence reports and engaged with precision guided munitions and rotary wing close air support, killing an estimated 13 terrorists.
BAGHDAD – Coalition Forces conducted an air strike Wednesday targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq-related vehicle-borne improvised explosives devices network near Arab Jabour.Partnered Clearing Operations – Coalition and Iraqi Forces team up in Adhamiyah
Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for a large and devastating number of VBIED attacks in the Baghdad area. They are also responsible for IED and sniper attacks conducted against the Iraqi people and Iraqi and Coalition Forces.
As Coalition Forces approached the targeted building they came under intense enemy fire. Ground forces assessed seven suspected terrorists were in the targeted building. Coalition Forces determined the targets too hostile for ground troops and called for air support. Two precision guided munitions were dropped destroying the targeted building and an associated structure.
BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces and their Multi-National Division - Baghdad partners teamed up Feb. 6 to clear neighborhoods in northeast Baghdad of insurgent activity.SUSPECTED SENIOR IED CELL LEADER DETAINED, TERRORIST SAFEHOUSE DESTROYED IN WEST TAJI
The raids conducted by Iraqi Army Soldiers from the 1st Brigade 9th Iraqi Army Division and three battalions from 2nd Inf. Div. resulted in detaining 20 suspected terrorists, several side arms and anti-Iraqi propaganda documents.
“Today’s clearing operations were precision strikes aimed at known or suspected terrorist hideouts and weapons cache sites,” said Col. Steve Townsend, commander of 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained two suspected terrorists believed to have ties to an al-Qaida improvised explosive device cell during a raid Wednesday morning in West Taji.IA captures leader of bombing cell
Intelligence reports indicated one of the detainees has significant ties to a local IED cell and had connections to recent anti-Coalition Forces activities.
Ground forces entered the targeted building and detained the two suspected terrorists without incident. Upon searching the house, ground forces found evidence of explosives material hidden inside the building and buried around the exterior. They also found several weapons and materials commonly used to make IEDs.
In order to prevent the residence from being used for future sanctuary to terrorists, ground forces destroyed the building with strategically-placed charges. Before placing the charges, Ground forces escorted two women and nine children outside the house and to a neighbor’s home in order to ensure their safety.
BAGHDAD – Soldiers of the 4th Iraqi Army Division removed another bomber from the streets of Iraq after capturing the suspected leader of an improvised explosive device cell during operations with Coalition advisers Feb. 6 near Taji, north of Baghdad. The suspect is believed responsible for coordinating and carrying out IED attacks against Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces convoys in the area.IA Captures foreign fighter facilitator
The man is alleged to have carried out an IED attack against a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in September which resulted in the death of one U.S. Soldier. He is also implicated in a more recent IED strike that killed three U.S. Soldiers Jan. 27.
The suspect is also believed to be involved in the abduction of innocent Iraqi civilians and using his residence as a place to interrogate and execute them.
There was minimal damage done to the objective. There were no Iraqi civilians, Iraqi forces or Coalition Forces casualties.
BAGHDAD – Soldiers of the 7th Iraqi Army Division captured a suspected foreign fighter facilitator during operations with Coalition advisers Feb. 6 in the Al Qaim region, near the Syrian border.Iraqi Soldiers, U.S. troops find weapons cache near Abu Ghuraib
The suspect is alleged to be gathering information about Iraqi Forces and Coalition Forces operations and providing it to foreign fighters. The man is also suspected of harboring foreign fighters in Iraq while they carry out insurgent activities in the area.
Minimal damage was done to the objective. No Iraqi civilian, Iraqi forces or Coalition Forces were casualties.
CAMP TAJI, Iraq—Iraqi Army troops and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers discovered a weapons cache in an industrial area north of Abu Ghuraib Feb. 3.Insurgent mortar fire kills three Iraqi children, wounds 12 others north
Iraqi troops with the 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were performing a joint patrol when the cache was discovered.
The find yielded 250 81mm mortar rounds, 100 120mm mortar rounds and one 81mm mortar tube.
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Insurgent forces fired three 120mm mortar rounds into the village of Mzerat, Iraq, killing three children and wounding 12 other residents.(Note: this is part of a series. Previous entry here.)
The attack occurred at approximately 9:45 a.m., 10 miles north of Baghdad. Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers responded to the incident, to provide medical aid to the injured.
Shortly after arriving on the scene to investigate, Soldiers with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment confirmed that the rounds were fired by insurgents operating in the area.
Coalition forces secured the area and provided medical aid to the injured. The incident is under investigation, in the hope of apprehending the terrorists responsible for the attack.
Via NewsBusters; New York Times Baghdad reporter John Burns talks Iraq with Tim Russert:
He's on dangerous ground - another Times reporter was recently publicly humiliated after committing a lesser thought crime.
The past month was not a good one for my morale, as an individual. Some of my friends and contemporaries [I enlisted 22 years ago and later got a commission] are starting to put in their paperwork to retire, and it has me down. And though I can't blame them, I don't like it one bit.
Most of them stayed on a bit longer than they had anticipated - I remember how, years ago, many talked about leaving the second they had their "20 year letter" in hand. But in the past few years we knew we were going to deploy (and most of us did) to either Afghanistan or Iraq, so some of those plans were put on hold. When my unit returned from Afghanistan, I expected several people to leave - but they didn't. However, it has been a while now, and thoughts of retirement have surfaced again. As my unit doesn't look like it will go again until late '08 or sometime in '09, there isn't the same feeling of immediacy in people who have 22, 24 years in - and have already pushed back retirement once before.
I will probably leave only when told I am too old and not useful enough anymore. So I suddenly feel much more alone when it comes to my peer group. The junior officers we have are shockingly good - they will fill up the ranks my contemporaries leave quite admirably. Frankly, they may turn out better as a group than we did, for they have been through the crucible of combat earlier in their careers. But they are not the people I went through everything with - from the goofy training stories to the places we ended up serving together in OEF.
I know this isn't a unique situation, but it seems like it came on all at once - or perhaps I had been engaging in a fair amount of denial. I am not sure what to do.
Earlier today I heard on the news that a CH-46 went down in Iraq and everything stopped as I searched the news for details. My first trip out to Iraq, I flew in 46’s flying CASEVAC and it’s a small community, if you do it long enough, you get know everybody. With 7 deaths in the crash, it wasn’t likely a troop transport run which means was probably a CASEVAC mission.
Word’s not out yet with names or the unit the aircraft belongs to and that won’t happen till the families notified. I’m selfish, hoping that I don’t know any of the dead, saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do. This one hits way too close to home, it could have me a dozen times over. Six crashes in 18 days, it's troubling news to myself and other corpsman who I work with. We're all part of the Marine aviation community and chances are, we will be heading back out there again before too long.
Cross posted at Doc in the Box
That exchange b/w Reid and McCain was...interesting.
Reid is wrong on the "they'll lie to McCain because he's important" bit. But he IS right when he says that "those that talk to me tell me something different."
I've tried to make this point before: people will talk to those they are already inclined to agree with.
When a Sean Hannity goes to Iraq and talks to troops, he can truthfully say that all those soldiers he talked to believe and support the mission. When a Pelosi and Kerry visit Iraq, they can probably truthfully say the same thing. (it's inverse rather). I mean, there ARE troops that object to the war and see no conflict b/w opposing the mission and supporting the troops (though the logical gymnastics one must go through to get to that position leave something to be desired).
It's the same reason why for every "Troops Still Believe in Mission" news story you see, you will see a similar "Troops See Mission as Hopeless." Just depends on whom you are talking to on any given day.
The issue of course is whose statements are more representative of the whole?
The streets became nearly deserted well before nightfall, a surprising sign of fear among a population that has lived through wars for much of the past 25 years.
You know what stands out to me in this video clip? The empty room.
I wish I could hear the rest of Reid's comments. I know what the troops think, I'd like to hear what he had to say about it.
But given the empty chairs, that tree fell in a very distant forest.
Update: Well, boo effing hoo.
There's a broadening bipartisan "uprising" to ditch the longer workweek among both lawmakers and staff, especially in the Senate, said a top Democratic Senate aide.By the way, if I'm absent a while here it's because I've got some actual long days ahead preparing to take part in this surge thing you may have heard about.
"It's a grind," said Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who enjoys one of the easiest commutes to the Capitol from his home in Northern Virginia. "It's a lot more stringent than people originally thought it would be."
A visibly annoyed Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., agreed: "I just told (Reid) I won't be back by 4:30" for the vote Monday, "even though I'm catching a 1:55 flight."