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April 23 (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would not halt its disputed atomic activities under any circumstances in an interview with Reuters and an Iranian television station on Monday.
Q: ... is Tehran ready to hold direct talks with the United States to resolve those international issues it faces?
A: We have always expressed our readiness for talks ... We are ready to hold talks but under one condition which is the presence of international media and the talks should be broadcast live.
Q: What does Iran exactly want from the United States? What can the United States do to persuade Tehran to hold direct talks?
A: They cannot use the language of threat against a nation ... and use U.N. resolutions as a stick to force us to abandon our nuclear work. It cannot be accepted by any nation. They should act honestly. In that case, the Iranian nation will have no problem (for direct talks) about international issues ... in presence of international media.
Apparently...the Iranian president doesn't accept the legitimacy of anyone but "The International Media"...All done!
Now how to take this analysis to another step?
I linked to milblogger Dave Thul here last week. Vis his blog (Foreign and Domestic) SSG Thul writes from Anbar province. His latest entry is a response to Harry Reid - and a look at progress in Anbar.
He also writes letters to the Minneapolis Star ribune (he's a Minnesota Guardsman - a member of the unit that was extended in Iraq due to the surge).
The second way I know that my fellow soldiers want to stay is that they have been saying so in a petition to Congress. At the AppealForCourage.org website, more than 1,500 service members in less than a month have signed an appeal for redress, the officially authorized method for the military to ask Congress to right a wrong, asking Congress to stop calling for retreat and to support our mission.Full text can be found at his blog.
He's starting to be noticed - and not just here. Over at NRO, W Thomas Smith wrote about SSG Thul today:
“Obviously Appeal for Courage can’t pretend to speak for all servicemembers, and our experiences can’t cover all of Iraq,” Minnesota National Guard Staff Sgt. Dave Thul, currently serving with the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division, tells NRO. “But with the lieutenant in Baghdad and myself in Al Anbar province, we do have the two most volatile areas of Iraq covered. And what I can tell you from Anbar is that this is no longer the ‘wild west’ the media reported on even just six months ago.”If you want to do one small thing today to support guys lake SSg Thul, leave him a quick note of thanks at his blog.
Thul serves as a committee-member with Appeal for Courage, but his primary duty is convoy escort. He frequently travels the roads from the east end of Al Anbar all the way to the Jordanian and Syrian borders.
“While I can't go into specific intelligence, I can tell you that the number of IEDs — by far our biggest threat — have dropped dramatically in the 12 months I’ve been here,” Thul says from his post in Al Asad, Iraq, just north of Ramadi. “Whereas it was once common to find two or three IEDs everyday by my company alone, we now have entire weeks where we have found none.”
Thul says the “the quality” of the insurgents he and his fellow soldiers have encountered, has dropped. “Where we once encountered IEDs that were well hidden and elaborately constructed, we now find most of the IEDs before they can be detonated against us,” he says. “They are hastily emplaced, poorly if at all camouflaged, and some don’t even detonate.”
Thul is also seeing a much greater Iraqi police presence in Anbar, as well as civilians flagging them down to tell them about weapons caches and suspicious men and activity in the area.
“These are the types of things that just aren't being reported back home,” he says. “But to hear the media and some politicians talking, you'd think the war was already lost and that the entire country is burning.”
If you're active duty - sign the appeal for courage. As I noted before, us military type folks are reluctant to do this sort of thing (and arguably service is enough in iteself - another good reason to say thanks to Dave) but if we remain silent then we won't be heard. (The appeal has already outdrawn the months older, highly funded and well organized astroturf campaign appeal for redress)
Cpl. Pat Tillman’s mother and brother, along with former Pvt. Jessica Lynch, are scheduled to testify Tuesday at a congressional hearing that will focus on the initial and inaccurate reports of Tillman’s friendly fire death in Afghanistan and Lynch’s capture and rescue in Iraq.I'd actually like to hear the answers. Those answers should come from the reporters who hyped the stories, of course, but they aren't scheduled to testify. I'm not sure why those with the obvious answers were overlooked in favor of folks who were obviously central to the issue, but made no contribution to the problem.
“Misleading Information from the Battlefield” will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 2157 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
During the hearing, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will examine why inaccurate accounts of those two incidents were disseminated, the sources and motivations for the accounts, and whether the appropriate officials have been held accountable, according to the committee’s Web site.
"Well now - can you tell us who exactly in the Pentagon told you young Ms Lynch was in a guns-blazing fire fight with the Iraqi hordes?"
"And why not?"
"Because I'm not really here - this is just a line of questioning Greyhawk would like to see"
I suspect that at worst, someone in the Army (or the media) is guilty of trying to create a hero in one case, and perhaps trying to protect a hero in the other. Inevitably, those folks fumble when attempting message control - especially when they don't realize that's what they're going to be accused of doing by masters of the art.
Given the near-complete* absense of all those actually involved in this nefarious conspiracy from the hearing room, the inevitable conclusion of these hearings will stand as little more than conspiracy theory, with some delightful sound bites from the "victims" for good measure.
*"Near-complete": The reporters will actually be there, no doubt dutifully reporting for the same newspapers that reported Lynch and Tillman in the first place...All done!
Now how to take this analysis to another step?
Most of us will continue to blog - even as we continue to serve. If the first sounds weak (and I don't believe it is), I can assure you the second is not.
Others might be able to take more dramatic steps.
Some time back Congressmen Jim Moran and John Murtha held a joint "Town Hall" meeting in Moran's district. The event was a planned exercise in "message control" - MoveOn sent e-mails to opponents of the war urging the faithful to attend. Murtha at the time was emphasizing a slightly different bumper sticker sized talking point than those used today: "We've become the enemy."
In an emotional two-hour public forum in Arlington last night on the Iraq war, one of the Bush administration's chief critics, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), renewed his call for an immediate pullout, saying, "We've become the enemy."No doubt it was. Here's what he was claiming had been answered with "rhetoric":
Before a crowd of about 600 people that spilled out of the auditorium and into an overflow room and the street, Murtha accused the Pentagon of ignoring a drop in recruitment levels and tolerating such problems in Iraq as low morale and shortages of body armor and other equipment.
"Instead of taking on the real problems, they face it with rhetoric," he said. " 'Murtha's hurting recruiting,' " the congressman said. "They say, 'You're hurting the effort and hurting the troops.' That's what so frustrating to me."
"Would you join (the military) today?," he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.Facing at least a small threat of potential backlash over his comments, Moran brought Murtha in for a fully programmed "Town Hall" meeting neutralize the threat. First they addressed the issues they wanted to see in the headlines - we are the enemy, not enough armor, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib, troops aren't getting medical care, only poor people join the army - then took questions from the crowd.
"No," replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.
"And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve'," the interviewer continued.
"Exactly right," said Murtha.
Up first - some veterans who'd been brought in from all over the country for the local "Town Hall" crowd. Obviously briefed (at least) on the plan, Moran even acknowledged that the veterans would be first to speak, (without giving their background) then he and Murtha sat back to bask in the glow of praise from political activist/IVAW members John Brunes and Garrett Reppenhagen.
But they were also in for a surprise. Actual local vet Mark Seavey had taken up the "invitation" to appear:
As Moran indicates by his response, that wasn't in the script. Neither was an appearance by Vietnam veteran General Louis C. Wagner - another local:
Don't count on anyone to explain why vets from all over the country are attending your local "rally" either. (Or even that they've come from all over the country.) Any efforts made to counter these organized, scripted events are going to be described in the deep paragraphs in the local paper as acknowledgement of the "sharp divisions" in America today.
Many of those at yesterday's forum were Iraq veterans who support Murtha and detailed their frustration with botched missions and shared flak jackets. But one veteran angrily confronted him.
Said former Army sergeant Mark Seavey, who recently returned from Afghanistan: "I keep hearing you say morale is low, and I resent that. I don't know who you are talking to. Morale . . . is very high."
No one is going to acknowledge the difference between real "grass roots" activism and coordinated political machinery - or the difference between wanting to win a war for civilization and wanting to pick up Senate seats - you can count on that.
So that's what you're up against. But on the other hand - stay quiet and the machine becomes the voice of "unity".
Which approaches another topic deserving of in-depth examination later: military folks by their nature and by rules don't like to get into "political battles" - as long as the debate is framed in those terms we'll avoid it - but that frame itself is another example of effective message control. Here's an example of family members standing up to be counted - and what you can expect from your efforts. As an aside, note that like Jim Moran, Hodes responds to his constituents with preparred takling points that don't directly address their concerns. How can they get away with that? Again - supreme confidence in message control.
Update: If you want to argue these issues and avoid the taint of partisan politics, you might want to point out that it's not the Democrats you're opposing, it's al Qaeda and Moqtada al Sadr. If someone else points out the groups share the same goals, you can even feign shock at the revelation.All done!
Ohh so many years ago...I was a bag boy(we fetched Golf bags from the storage room) at Ellington Ridge Country Club.
Joe Lieberman was a member of the club and a junior Lawyer for the Connecticut Department of Consumer protection...chasing down unscrupulous businesses that took unfair advantage of 'the little guy'.
He always walked. ..had a canvas golf bag...if my memory serves me moderately priced MacGregor golf clubs(probably department store rather than pro-shop models), always treated the bagboys with respect and dignity.
Of all the political Wannabee's and self important pompous windbags at the country club(there were many)...Joe wasn't one of them.
How he got to be a US Senator is beyond me...Mensch is right.
Updated with thoughts-
With all due respect to Vice President Cheney(I am a fan) we need a vice president that can unite the country on foreign policy.
When the sons and daughters of America are in harms way...do the right thing.
*Note to repulican politcos....Connecticut has a republican governor...if Joe is the Vice President...the Senate goes 50-50...
A genuine "Golden Oldie" of the war business that sheds light on "achievements of which all Americans can be justly proud, but about which most of them have little or no knowledge."
A link to which can be found here
People in Baghdad are asking the same questions.
If we look at how the media handles the situation we'll find something like this almost everywhere;
Dozens killed, scores wounded in attacks suggest failure of security measures…
It's as if the speaker here wants to only emphasize the defect in security measures in a way that honestly angers and disgusts me.
When shall they realize, if ever, that we are dealing with brutal crimes against humanity, a genocide against the people of Iraq? Why don't people talk about the cruelty of the crimes and expose the obvious goals of the terrorists behind the crimes?
Isn't it everyone's duty to expose the criminals, describe their sick ways and purposes and alert the world about the danger?
Where are the media when terrorists use chlorine poisonous gas, acids, and ball bearings to kill and hurt more and more civilians in utter disregard to all written and unwritten laws, ethics and values?
I understand it's the duty of the media to practice scrutiny over the work of governments but isn't it equally their duty to expose criminals and their evil deeds?
It's frustrating to see the media turn a blind eye to the nature of the crimes and open fire on an honest endeavor to restore peace to a bleeding nation. I'm sure the terrorists are pleased by the coverage. Why not, when their crimes are being portrayed as successful breakthroughs against the efforts of Iraq and America it's likely motivating them to keep up the killing.
Would it be "hate speech" to expose the terrorists for what they are?
Mensch (Yiddish מענטש; also mentsch, mentsh, mensh, or mench)
1. A German noun meaning a "human".
2. A decent responsible person with admirable characteristics.
3. Joe Lieberman:
Senator Lieberman's Statement on Majority Leader Reid's Comment that the Iraq War is "Lost"
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment that the Iraq War is "lost:"
"This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is 'lost.'
With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.
Al Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.
The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes - abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week's atrocities - or whether we stand united to fight them.
This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism."
SCHUMER(ed Dem Senator): OK. Well, what Harry Reid is saying is this war is lost — in other words, a war where we mainly spend our time policing a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis.
We are not going to solve that problem. And we could stay three months or three years, and as soon as we leave, the Sunnis and Shiites, who have had 100-year enmity against one another, would continue shooting.
The war is not lost. And Harry Reid believes this — we Democrats believe it — if we change our mission and focus it more narrowly on counterterrorism, going after an Al Qaida camp that might arise in Iraq. That would take many fewer troops out of harm's way. That's what we're pushing the president to do.
Okay Senator Schumer...I've got a few questions...
Where Does AlQueda Hide?
Never mind Senator...I know this....in failed States where anarchy reigns...Somalia...the mountain regions on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan....in the Smoke Screen of Sectarian violence in Iraq.
As we both agree that focusing on terrorism is the "main mission"....and we both believe that victory is achievable.......how do we deny the Terrorists a place to hide??
Never mind Senator Schumer...I know the answer to this as well....We have to engage in Nation Building...and you are right...we aren't going to accomplice that in 3 months or 3 years....anymore than "Kosovo" was accomplished in 3 months or 3 years...or the aniciet enmity between the tribes of Europe was solved in 3 months or 3 years.
There is now a nation called the European Union...it was once made up ethnic tribes that had been warring for thousands of years...it took generations to build it...it is now filled with pacifists incapable of war. It took 40 years and a US military presence exceeding 250,000 troops for those 40 years.....but it was a lot cheaper than going back to Europe for yet another one of their "World Wars".
Should we be shifting the burden of Nation Building and Governance onto the Iraqi's as fast as practical Senator Schumer??
Never mind Senator...I know this one as well....Of course...the more the Iraqi's feel a sense of ownership and national pride the better for everyone involved.
You know this as well as I do Senator Schumer?? So what is all this nonsense of "focusing"?All done!
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