Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Saddam's Prisoners Recall True Abuse at Abu Ghraib
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

With all the press coverage of the recent goings on at the Abu Ghraib prison, it seems people have lost sight of the abuses that went on in that very same facility when Saddam Hussein was in power. Ibrahim Idrissi, president of the Association for Free Prisoners, is working to document these abuses and make sure they are not forgotten. Idrissi was a political prisioner at Abu Ghraib himself, and gives a very chilling description of just one of the many incidents he witnessed. He says it makes anything the U.S. has done there look like a joke in comparison.

From Lebanon's The Daily Star:

Ibrahim Idrissi has mixed feelings about the recent uproar caused by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib under the US occupation. "As a humanitarian organization, we oppose this," he says. "But these are soldiers who have come to Iraq to fight, not to be prison guards. It was to be expected. Of course, if there are innocent people in there ... it is possible, I guess, that some of them are innocent."

If Idrissi seems a bit callous about the fate of the Iraqis in US-run jails, he has probably earned the right to differ. He recalls a day in 1982, at the General Security prison in Baghdad:

"They called all the prisoners out to the courtyard for what they called a 'celebration.' We all knew what they meant by 'celebration.' All the prisoners were chained to a pipe that ran the length of the courtyard wall. One prisoner, Amer al-Tikriti, was called out. They said if he didn't tell them everything they wanted to know, they would show him torture like he had never seen. He merely told them he would show them patience like they had never seen."

"This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us."

"Amer's wife didn't lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer's throat." There is a moment of silence. Then Idrissi says: "What we have seen about the recent abuse at Abu Ghraib is a joke to us."

Read the rest!

Legal Custody of Saddam Transfered to Iraq
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Iraq now has legal custody of Saddam Hussein, and is preparing to charge him with a variety of crimes commited during his decades in power. It is my hope that this will be an eye-opening event for the rest of the world as to just how much of a ruthless butcher Saddam was, and by the rest of the world, I mean France and Germany. has more:

Iraq on Wednesday officially took legal custody of former dictator Saddam Hussein along with 11 of his top lieutenants. Most Iraqis say they are happy Saddam will face legal proceedings.

Saddam Hussein lost his prisoner of war status Wednesday when he officially became a detainee of the Iraqi criminal justice system. For the time being, however, he will remain in the physical custody of the coalition forces.

The former Iraqi leader and 11 top members of his regime were transferred to the legal custody of Iraq where they will face charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those stemming from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war; the 1988 gassing of Kurds in northern Iraq and the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Read the rest!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

New Iraqi Government Builds Confidence
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Here's an encouraging sign coming from Iraq. The new interim Iraqi government is showing the citizens they mean business with some well-publicized crackdowns on crime, and are making sure the word gets out that they are firmly in charge. This sort of action should build the people's trust in the government and help turn the tide against the terrorists.

From the Boston Globe:

BAGHDAD -- Sa'ad Saddam, a merchant in the Iraqi capital's notorious Thieves Market, normally has nothing polite to say about his country's rulers.

So he was surprised yesterday to find himself hopeful about interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's new Iraqi government -- not because he cared about the symbolic passing of sovereignty, but because he was thrilled to see Iraqi police officers pistol-whipping suspected carjackers near his clothing stand the day before.

"Allawi is a strong, powerful guy," Saddam, 35, raved. To him, the raid on two carjacking and kidnapping rings in the downtown Betaween neighborhood meant that Iraq's new leaders were starting to impose concrete order on the streets. Most Iraqis are withholding judgment on the new government, which officially and unexpectedly took the reigns of power yesterday -- two days before the scheduled transfer; they want to see results, first and foremost in the field of security.

Read the rest!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Iraq Under Self Rule Two Days Early
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

In an apparent attempt to thwart any planned terrorist attacks, the U.S. formally handed control of Iraq over to the interim government today. Smart move in my opinion.

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States handed sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government two days earlier than expected Monday, aiming to forestall guerrilla attacks with a secretive ceremony formally ending 14 months of occupation.

Iraq's outgoing U.S. governor Paul Bremer handed a letter to Iraq leaders sealing the formal transfer of powers before immediately flying out of the country.

The low-key ceremony was over before it was announced and came as a surprise to ordinary Iraqis. Its hurried and furtive nature appeared to reflect fears that guerrillas could stage a spectacular attack on the scheduled date of June 30.

At a second ceremony in the afternoon -- this time broadcast live on Iraqi television -- the government was sworn in and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi urged all Iraqis to stand together against foreign militants wreaking havoc in the country.

"I call on our people to stand united to expel the foreign terrorists who are killing our children and destroying our country," Allawi said, in comments broadcast around the world.

At the earlier ceremony, which formally transferred sovereignty at 10:26 a.m. (0626 GMT), President Ghazi Yawar hailed "a historic day, a happy day, a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to."

Read the rest!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

NATO Pledges Bigger Role in Recovery
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

From Newsday:

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- NATO closed ranks yesterday on a pledge to take a bigger military role in Iraq as the fledgling government in Baghdad braces for the delicate political turnover of sovereignty Wednesday.

Amid extraordinary security, NATO leaders were expected to announce a plan to train and equip Iraq's struggling security forces to deal with lawlessness and terrorism.

Read the rest!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

U.S., EU Offer Strong NATO Aid for Iraq
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm


NEWMARKET-ON-FERGUS, Ireland June 26, 2004 — The United States and the European Union offered strong support for Iraq's urgent request for NATO military help Saturday. "NATO has the capability and I believe the responsibility to help the Iraqi people defeat the terrorist threat that's facing their country," President Bush said.

"I think the bitter differences of the war are over," Bush said at the close of a U.S.-European Union summit. "There is a common interest and a common goal to help the Iraqi people."

Read the rest!

Friday, June 25, 2004

Iraq Survey Chief Says More WMD Found
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm


The head of the U.S. team conducting the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq announced on Thursday that his group has uncovered at least ten more artillery shells filled with banned chemical weapons and is finding new WMD evidence "almost every day."

"We've found ten or twelve Sarin and Mustard rounds," said Charles Duelfer, who replaced David Kay as head of the Iraq survey group earlier this year after Kay concluded that WMDs were unlikely to be found.

Read the rest!

So Bush lied about Iraq having WMD's, did he? First our troops found one Sarin round. Then a Mustard gas round. Now we are up to a dozen of these things, and more are expected to be found. According to Fox News, the Sarin Round found in May contained three to four liters of Sarin. Assuming the rounds recently found are the same size, we could be looking at as much as 48 liters of Sarin & Mustard gas found to date. Since just a teaspoon of Sarin, when properly delivered, can kill thousands of people, 48 liters starts to sound an awful lot like a Weapon of Mass Destruction. How many more of these need to be found before the left admits Bush was right?

Iraq - al Qaeda Link Uncovered by Clinton Administration
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

According to an article in The Washington Times, the links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime were originally uncovered by the Clinton Administration:

The Clinton administration talked about firm evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network years before President Bush made the same statements.

The issue arose again this month after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported there was no "collaborative relationship" between the old Iraqi regime and bin Laden.

Democrats have cited the staff report to accuse Mr. Bush of making inaccurate statements about a linkage. Commission members, including a Democrat and two Republicans, quickly came to the administration's defense by saying there had been such contacts.

In fact, during President Clinton's eight years in office, there were at least two official pronouncements of an alarming alliance between Baghdad and al Qaeda. One came from William S. Cohen, Mr. Clinton's defense secretary. He cited an al Qaeda-Baghdad link to justify the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

Mr. Bush cited the linkage, in part, to justify invading Iraq and ousting Saddam. He said he could not take the risk of Iraq's weapons falling into bin Laden's hands.

Read the rest!

So this information was good intel when Clinton bombed the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, but when Bush uses it to invade Iraq it is suddenly all lies and fabrications? Unbelievable.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

100 Killed in Coordinated Attacks in Iraq
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - About 100 people were killed and several hundred wounded in Iraq Thursday when insurgents launched bloody assaults in five cities to disrupt next week's formal handover to Iraqi rule.

Three U.S. soldiers were among those killed in bold assaults on Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and the mainly Sunni Muslim cities of Baquba, Falluja and Ramadi.

Iraq's third-largest city Mosul was the worst hit, with suicide bombings killing 62 people and wounding 220, said a senior coalition military official.

He said the attacks showed signs of loose coordination between various groups intent on destabilizing Iraq and warned of more bloodshed before and after the June 30 handover of power to Iraqis by the U.S.-led administration.

Read the rest!

Arizona Democrats Attempt to Keep Nader off Ballot
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Could it be that Democrats are so fearful their candidate is going to lose that they feel the need to squeeze Ralph Nader off the ballot to pick up a few extra votes? They claim this is not the case, but read and decide for yourself.

From the Tucson Citizen:

Arizona Democrats have filed a lawsuit challenging the vast majority of signatures on Ralph Nader's nominating petitions gathered in the state.

Party officials expect the challenge to the independent presidential candidate will keep him off the state's November ballot.

The suit, filed by Phoenix lawyer Andy Gordon yesterday in response to scrutiny by Democratic party volunteers, alleges that 15,467 of the 21,512 signatures Nader's campaign collected in Arizona are invalid. That would leave Nader 8,649 shy of what he needs to be listed on the ballot.

Read the rest!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Assasination Threat Made Against Interim Iraqi PM
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

From the Washington Post:

A recording purportedly made by the mastermind of bombings and beheadings in Iraq threatened to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister and fight the Americans "until Islamic rule is back on Earth."

The audio, found Wednesday on an Islamic Web site, is supposedly from Abu Musab Zarqawi, the same Jordanian-born terrorist whose group claimed responsibility for the beheading of American hostage Nicholas Berg and Kim Sun-il, a South Korean whose decapitated body was found Tuesday evening between Baghdad and Fallujah.

Read the rest!

Zarqawi has threatened to fight us "until Islamic rule is back on Earth." Just as I said yesterday, there does not seem to be any place for a free America in a radical Islamic world. Strengthen your resolve people, this is going to get uglier before it gets better.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Losing the War on Terrorism?
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

I constantly hear grumbling from the liberals that the United States is losing the war on terrorism, most recently from a coworker who referenced a recent report from Reuters covering the State Department's revision of the number of international deaths from terrorist activities in 2003. The annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report originally listed the total as 307 deaths, but has been increased to 625.

International terrorism killed 625 people last year, more than double the 307 deaths the Bush administration cited in a faulty report used to argue it is winning the war on terrorism.

The errors in the annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report have embarrassed the administration and dented its claim that Washington is prevailing in the war on terrorism, a key part of President Bush's re-election strategy.

On the surface, I see how this could be construed negatively, but let's look at the bigger picture here, shall we? The very same Reuters article states the 2002 total was 725 deaths. The number of fatalities decreased by a hundred and we are losing the war on terrorism? Also note that every one of these deaths is outside the USA. Not one of these killings took place on American soil, and yet we are losing the war on terrorism?

Just as a comparison, consider the number of homicides in the city of Chicago in 2003. According to an MSNBC report from January, Chicago finished the year with 599 homicides. Just one American city managed to have nearly as many murders on its streets as terrorism claimed in the entire world. In fact, according to the article, this was the first year since 1967 that the total has dropped below 600 for Chicago. Add to that the number of murders elsewhere in the USA during 2003 and you'll find it's not the war on terrorism that we are losing, it's the war on crime.

In my mind, the single biggest indicator that the war on terrorism is at least somewhat successful is the fact that there have been no further attacks within America's borders since September 11, 2001. We've been able to intercept some would-be attackers, we've disrupted some of their cells, and many terrorist leaders have been killed or are on the run. We must not lose our focus in this endeavor because there does not seem to be any place for a free America in a radical Islamic world. We can and will win this war.

Kim Sun-Il Beheaded
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Aljazeera reports South Korean translator Kim Sun-Il was killed after the deadline set by his captors expired.

In a videotape received by Aljazeera, the resistance group Jamat al-Tawhid and Jihad said it was fulfilling a pledge it made yesterday that the 33-old-year South Korean translator Kim Sun-Il would be beheaded if their demands were not met by South Korean government.

The captors threatened on Sunday to kill Kim, who was captured last Thursday near Falluja, in 24 hours if South Korea did not cancel its plan to deploy troops to Iraq.

South Korea rejected the demand and said on Monday it would send forces to Iraq despite an earlier video showing Kim begging for his life.

It is reassuring to see a country other than the USA maintain such a firm resolve in spite of the brutal tactics employed by these inhumane butchers. I don't expect these executions to end anytime soon, so let's hope other countries follow the examples set by the USA and South Korea long enough for us to hunt these terrorists down and eradicate them.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Reaching for the Stars
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

The first commercial space flight occurred this morning, an historic event which should usher in an era I believe is long overdue; the privatization and commercialization of space. Pilot Michael Melvill, 63, became the first civilian pilot to reach space since Yuri Gagarin, and he is the first person ever to pilot a private craft to space. A Reuters report quotes FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation Patti Grace Smith as saying, "The flight today opens a new chapter in history, making space within the reach of ordinary citizens." I think the significance of this event goes far beyond simply making space available to ordinary citizens. This is, in my opinion, the first step in securing our future as a species. As long as humanity is confined to the planet Earth, our chance of survival is reduced to zero on a long enough timeline. Sooner or later, something will render this planet unsuitable to support our kind of life, be it cometary impact along the lines of the so-called "dinosaur killer", the eventual expansion of our sun, or even hordes of alien invaders bent on our destruction. Some are more likely than others obviously, but sooner or later it will happen. The human race needs to secure a foothold where we can in our own solar system to avoid this eventuality. The moon for starters, and later Mars. Then the larger moons of Saturn and Jupiter. If we wait for governments to accomplish this, it may take several decades or even a century, despite President Bush's recent call for a moonbase by 2020. I still think government has a place in space exploration and I heartily applaud the President's vision, but I firmly believe the biggest advances are increasingly going to be made by competition between private firms. Tourism, at least at first, will fuel this drive as companies vie for the dollars of wealthy citizens eager to pony up for a ride into space. As new discoveries are made and technologies improve, science fiction staples such as the space elevator will become reality, and manufacturing in space will become a viable enterprise due to the dramatic decrease in launch cost and danger. This in turn will get us to the point where settling the rest of our solar system is not only feasible, but inevitable. Once we have accomplished that task, our chance of long-term survival increases several fold and we can get down to figuring out how to accomplish our next big task, one I believe is our ultimate desiny: Spreading humanity to the stars.

"Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever." - Konstantine Tsiolkovsky, Russian rocket scientist

British Ships, Sailors Seized By Iran
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Three British naval vessels have been seized by Iran and eight crewmen arrested, Reuters has reported this morning.

"This morning three British vessels with eight crew entered the Islamic Republic of Iran's waters and Iran's naval forces, acting on their legal duty, confiscated the vessels and arrested the crew," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement.

"The crew are under investigation in order to clarify the issue," he added.

Tehran gave no indication of when or whether the British ships and crew might be released.

Read the rest!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Family Vacation

Everything we need for "roughing it" is now packed. For the next 14 days we will resign ourselves to 13" TV, a "limited view" refrigerator, no whirlpool baths, and that wobbly drink holder in the truck. We're "camping". We'll head up to Utah for several days, then over to Yellowstone, and then back down through the North Rim and Navajo country. I will be mostly incommunicado during the trip.

Charles Wilhelm, who I have known and respected for several years, will take care of your yen for news and views. He began contributing to NPI last week, with a glance at the movie Michael Moore Hates America.

I now turn you over to Charles' capable hands.

Do Vstretchi.

Father's Day

There is nothing better than being a Dad - nothing.

I am very thankful to my father. You see, Dad is a Navy man - the quintessential sailor. I always tell people that I grew up with Popeye, which means I can tie a knot (but more importantly, I can UN-tie any knot)and call the weather like nobody's business.

Thank you, Dad.

Even today, he is still showing me how to do something using tools only McGuyver would think of - and he probably taught McGuyver. Dad taught me a lot of things I could not have learned anywhere else. He was out to sea a lot - that taught me things like duty and commitment. He once paddled me and sent me back out to the playground, after a bully sent me running home - he taught me to stand up for myself, nobody else would. He taught me to use my head to solve problems and that has carried me through a number of rough days as I served in the Army. Heck, it carried me through some pretty rough minutes from time to time.

Thank you, Dad.

Dad coached our little league teams, when he was on shore duty. He turned our "banana seat" bikes into awesome bmx racers with a few dollars in accessories, a bit of welding and some spray paint to ugly things up just right. Dad can make anything out of anything and did - a lot!

Thank you, Dad.

I know everything I have ever wanted to forget about working on cars because of Dad.

We'll talk about this one later, but Thanks!

Dad was best man at my wedding.

Thank you, Dad.

The one thing Dad has always made clear is that life isn't supposed to be easy. I watched my dad work hard for everything we had, which was everything we needed - sometimes more.

Thank you, Dad.

I also appreciate my Father-in-Law. He's a hard working man from a long line of those. Like my Dad, he knows some about everything that needs to be done. He is always just a phone call away when you want to check - is it white to positive?

Thank you, Dad.

My Father-in-Law, through gentle but persistent pressure (What are you? Sissy?), got me hunting. After a dozen years in the Army, I wasn't sure how I would feel about that. He helped me with my first rifle. He helped me build my second rifle (with help from my Brother-in-Law). He helped me skin my first elk (with help from my Brother-in-Law). I was able to put 170 lbs of meat in my freezer because of his gentle prodding (What are you? Sissy?).

Thank you, Dad.

When my Father-in-Law isn't busting his rump for one of his kids - or their spouse - he gets a few things done around his own house. He's the first to volunteer help to work on the roof, install the sprinklers, paint the house, build the shed, etc. What's more, he has all the tools.

Thank you, Dad.

My Father-in-Law helped me get re-introduced to God.

Thank you, Dad.

So, you see, I have a great deal to be thankful for on Father's Day. These two men have taught me everything I know about being a Dad. I have a son of my own and another child on the way. I can only hope they see me the way I see my Father and my Father-in-Law.

Thank you.

Now, go call your Dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

CIA Contractor Indictment Helped by Patriot Act

Via Intel Dump

CIA contractor David Passaro was indicted in a NC Federal Court for beating Afghani Abdul Wali over two days of questioning. Passaro faces 40 years in prison if convicted on the four counts facing him - two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Abdul Wali was found dead in his cell on June 21, 2003.

It is interesting to note how the Patriot act is being used to make this indictment possible. If Passaro did what he is accused of, he could have easily been outside of the jurisdiction of federal law without the Patriot Act.

U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney added, "Once again we see evidence that the USA PATRIOT Act is a valuable tool for law enforcement. Not only is it vital to investigating and prosecuting terrorists, but also it is instrumental in protecting the civil liberties of those on U.S. military installations and diplomatic missions overseas, regardless of their nationality."

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 gives the United States jurisdiction in the Passaro case. In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, the PATRIOT Act expanded the law enforcement powers of the United States and eased the challenges of prosecuting crimes and terrorist attacks abroad. Section 804 of the Act, later codified as 18 USC Section 7(9), provides jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against any U.S. national on lands or facilities designated for use by the United States government, such as the Asadabad Base.

Although I wasn't an interrogator, everything I have ever been told as a member of the Intelligence Community has underscored one fundamental - perhaps forgotten these days - point. As soon as you threaten violence or put your hands on a detainee, in order to extract information, you have just killed the credibility of anything the detainee might say.

I am glad to see DOJ doing something about this - even if it is warring with itself in the process. Apathy toward brutal treatment of detainees/prisoners is unacceptable. If Passaro is guilty as accused, he deserves the maximum possible sentence.

Latest Abu Ghraib Video Released

The Command Post has a link to another video documenting torture in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.

"This video was released on June 8th, by the American Enterprise Institute. Present were some of the actual victims, who were able to personally confirm the events and background."


"I recommend you have a barf-bag near the keyboard, and unless you are a medical professional, I’m not joking."

Damning evidence of systemic human rights violations over a long period of time.

Friday, June 18, 2004

One of Those Things

Sad news day, end of the week "punch drunk", who knows....

...but I saw this on Ipse Dixit and had to share it here.

Something That's Always Bothered Me

If the Hotel California hasn't had wine "since 1969," why do they have "pink champagne on ice"?

Why, indeed.

Is the Intifada Finally Over?

There have been strong arguements by respected bloggers to support the idea that the Intifada in Palestine is fizzling out. The consensus seems to have been based upon the success of the defensive barrier Israel erected as a primary reason - perhaps combined with Arafat's enforced isolation in his compound. Whatever the reasons, it appears at least to be true.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz yesterday, Arafat indicated two things I really never thought we would hear from him - if the reports are true anyway.

Arafat was asked, "if he understood that "Israel has to keep being a Jewish state"?

"Definitely," he replied."

Ha'aretz also indicates Arafat is backing away from the single most contentious item of any peace plan to date - the right of return to Israel of up to 4 million Palestinian Arabs. Arafat seems to be conceding that "right of return" for ALL Palestinian Arabs would change the Jewish character of Israel and is not realistic. Arafat does want Israel to take responsibility for the plight of certain Palestinian Arabs.

Honestly, I don't know what this all means. Perhaps Dan Darling can set up a special Winds of Change briefing (if he hasn't already) on this.

If it means what I think it means, then maybe the possibility of peace in Palestine IS possible in my lifetime. How wonderful would that be?

Paul Johnson Beheaded

This is the most frustrating aspect of becoming a "chairborne warrior".

Paul Johnson is the latest victim of the Islamo-fascism, which threatens us all. You must refuse to be blinded by the Leftists who seek to assist in the destruction of the freedom we take for granted. Do something!

Support our soldiers, support our President.

There are a hundred good ways you can get involved. Every small contribution helps. Here are a couple of ways right off the bat!

Spirit of America So many ways to help!
Operation Shoe Fly Put shoes on the feet of Afghani children!
Winds Of Change has an outstanding directory for contributing.
Heck, donate here on NPI - I send packages to soldiers!

If you have other ways to contribute to the good being done in Iraq and Afghanistan - post it in the comments.


The al-Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia was killed in a gunbattle in the al-Mahz area of Riyadh along with 3 other al-Qaeda members.Five Saudi security agents also died in the incident. The gunbattle occurred shortly after Paul's body was found in the same area.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


I was reading on Outside the Beltway how Michael J. Totten applauds Andrew Sullivan's decision not to vote for President Bush's reelection based upon the President's stand on gay marriage.

I applaud Andrew Sullivan for placing his vote based upon an actual issue. I don't support his position and I disagree with statements he made.

"Bush's endorsement of antigay discrimination in the U.S. Constitution itself is a deal-breaker. I can't endorse him this fall. Like many other gay men and women who have supported him, despite serious disagreements, I feel betrayed, abused, attacked."

Statements like these are disingenuous. The fact the President does not agree with changing the definition of marriage doesn't connote discrimination, nor is it fair to say it is ANTI-anything. I find it unfair to consider his desire to put the matter before congress somehow discriminatory or anti-anything. There is nothing discriminatory about wanting to preserve the definition of marriage. It would be just as easy, and just as ridiculous, to call Andrew Sullivan Anti-Marriage.

Andrew Sullivan is playing the victim a bit hard too, in my opinion. I have never met the man and I am trying to disagree respectfully. I have to say though, straight people as a whole worry a lot less about gay or straight than you might think. It should also be noted that the President has never given anyone reason to believe he would support gay marriage. He's always been quite clear on that - so I don't understand the feelings of being "betrayed, abused, attacked."

Voting for John Kerry makes even less sense, if the reason for the change in vote is this one issue. John Kerry doesn't support gay marriage either. He's made that clear in several speeches. The difference is, Kerry can only promise what he will do or not do. He doesn't have to actually DO anything to get your vote. I am not sure I'd find that very reassuring. I heard him totally suck up to a gay interviewer for a show that was intended for a gay audience, but check every answer on the subject he has made before that interview. Against gay marriage.

I do not support changing the definition of marriage, but I am sypathetic to several of the issues I have heard raised to support federally endorsed gay marriage - things like survivorship and deathbed decisions.

I would be much more comfortable with leaving the institution of marriage to the churches and changing any necessary legislation to ensure that benefits are not automatic for anyone. If you can find a church to marry you to someone of the same sex, and some churches do, so be it.

Any of the benefits you want as a life partner to someone else - be it your 90 year old twin sister, your soulmate, your partner or your spouse - should require the same criteria to establish. Civil benefits don't make a marriage. You want to talk about seperating church and state - there is your chance to do it.

I don't fear gay people marrying. While society doesn't benefit in the traditional sense (kids) from a gay union, there are a lot of man-woman marriages these days not benefiting society either.

What I fear is laws being created by judicial fiat, rather than allowing the checks and balances we have been assured by the structure of our government. If only one branch of government is involved, this will be another issue decided upon without allowing the people to be heard.

That's not right.

CPA Heading Home

The Coalition Provisional Authority, after dissolving itself at the acceptance of the new Iraqi government, is heading home. About 200 of the remaining 600 CPA staffers will take on jobs in the planned US Super-embassy in Baghdad. It is reported the CPA had approximately 3000 employees at it's height after being formed in November of 2002.

As you can see, 4 out of 5 newly liberated nations prefer our brand of western imperialism over the other leading brands.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Special Ops

At ease! Listen up!

Sgt. Hook is currently serving in Afghanistan. Sgt. Hook has started a very Special Operation in Afghanistan to "shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet"

There are several ways to help out!

You can send shoes or donate

You can also help spread the word!

Have I made myself fairly clear?

Good! Carry on!

Michael Moore Hates America
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

I have not seen Michael Moore's new movie Fahrenheit 9/11, but a lot of the stuff I'm hearing about it makes me wonder if he not only hates President Bush, but America too. Evidently, I am not the only one. In the spirit of Michael Moore himself, filmmaker Michael Wilson took his camera in hand and traveled across the country on a quest to find out why Moore does what he does. Wilson's film is titled Michael Moore Hates America and, despite the title, is not actually an exercise in Moore-bashing according to Wilson. The film's official site, has this to say:

Contrary to its title, Michael Moore Hates America isn't a hatchet job on the filmmaker. It's a journey across the nation where we meet celebrities, scholars and average folks alike, and we find out whether the American Dream is still alive! In the process, we'll look at Michael Moore’s claims about the country, its people, and our way of life.

I'm not usually one to eagerly anticipate the release of a documentary film, but in this case I'll make the exception. Michael Moore Hates America is one film I can't wait to see, documentary or not.

Shoebomber Found Guilty

Via JunkYardBlog

No big surprise on this, but read the Judge's comments.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.

Read the rest!

The Bully Attacking Iraq

As June 30th approaches, one fact is ominously clear. Al-Qaeda and associates don't want Iraqis to enjoy the freedom promised by the US-led coalition.

The attacks against coalition forces are comparatively understandable from the standpoint of power struggles within Iraq by Iraqis. Saddam loyalists fight against the loss of the privilege bestowed upon them by the Hussein regime. Groups of Iraqis fight each other to establish a pecking order. Then there is plain banditry from non-urban tribes, who are better armed than before and have less to fear from coalition justice than they did from Saddam justice.

But Al-Qaeda is another matter. Al-Qaeda is not just attacking "western imperialists", they are attacking something which threatens their ability to become a world power. They are attacking man's gifts from God - those inalienable rights we hold as the centerpiece of our survival.

The cornerstone of Al-Qaeda doctrine is a fascist quest for world domination. I know the leftists (not to be confused generally with liberals or democrats), with their deep-seated racism, can't see how these "backward, little brown people" could possibly be a threat to the "big white bully" they think America as being - but again the facts are being ignored to justify their twisted ideology.

The stated purpose of jihaddist movements is the eradication of any element of non-Islamic society. This mission is in full swing, as seen by repeated attacks against western governments, liberalizing Islamic governments, Islamic nations which cooperate with western governments and non-Islamic religious institutions across the globe. This explains attacks by Islamo-fascists in France, Thailand, Bali, the Philippines, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia - just to name a few.

Only a few months ago, Iraqi civilians were killed and wounded in attacks on coalition targets by Al-Qaeda and associates. As it becomes evident America and her allies are not what has been taught in "Hate the West 101", Al-Qaeda must now directly attack the success gained by liberation in Iraq. The successes in Iraq, which represent the largest threats to Al-Qaeda are the enablers - self-rule, education, and (oil) revenue.

Self-rule, of course, makes it possible for Iraqis to choose a path, which will be contrary to the oppression which marks Islamo-fascism.

Education makes further enlightened reform possible, not just in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East.

Revenue secures possibilities for the entire population, when combined with self-determination and education.

Attacks on Iraqi officials, oil pipelines, and direct attacks against Iraqi citizens are the actions of the real bully. Al-Qaeda shows strength while steeped in fear of being irrelevant.

Strong world leaders like Tony Blair, George Bush, Aleksander Kwasniewski, John Howard, Junichiro Koizumi and many others, understand we must rise above our quest for comfort and help others in their quest for liberty. Supporting these leaders is your chance to contribute to Al-Qaeda's irrelevance.

In the end, securing the inalienable right to liberty for others is on your shoulders. I say, either help bear the burden or get out of the way of those who will.

Iraq Augmenting Its Air Force

Iraq is in the process of purchasing surveillance and observation aircraft from Jordan. These aircraft will be reportedly used to enhance detection of sabotage attempts against Iraq's pipelines and as a border control tool.

Most of Iraq's current air force is being excavated from several sites in Iraq, where they had been buried to escape destruction by US and UK air forces during and after GW1.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

OIC Gives Support to Iraqi Government

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, consisting of 50-odd Islamic countries gathered in Istanbul to draft a resolution in support of the new Iraqi government. The approved resolution is expected to be submitted in a final declaration on Wednesday.

Holy War in Iraq Feeling the Squeeze

A new letter purported to be by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been posted on known Islamic militant websites. It is a message to Osama bin Laden, complaining about the potential loss of the holy war in Iraq.

"The space of movement is starting to get smaller," it said. "The grip is starting to be tightened on the holy warriors' necks and, with the spread of soldiers and police, the future is becoming frightening."

Another part of the letter talks of 25 suicide operations targeting Shiites, coalition troops, and Iraqi security forces. The letter also indicates time is running out, with a deadline being seen as the elections in early 2005.

"we will have to leave for another land to uphold the (Islamic) banner, or until God chooses us as martyrs,"

The message also apparently seeks to reassure bin Laden that Iraqi militants are in league with his al-Qaida extremists.


It is likely this is the same letter, which was posted in February.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Rise in Trade Deficit Sign of a Blossoming Economy - Mostly

With a million new jobs and people spending like mad for the past few months, it is no surprise that Americans are buying more imported goods today. Our hunger for electronics, automobiles and other imported goods is greater than the amount of goods we are exporting. Combine that spending with our oil consumption, at higher prices right now,and the result is a trade deficit.

The deficit grew 3.8 percent over April - with a record high of $48.3 billion. When you take out imports of oil and automobiles, it was only 0.3 percent higher.

"In and of itself, a trade deficit says very little about the economy," PPI analyst Jenny Bates wrote in a recent report. What matters more is how the U.S. economy puts the capital it is "borrowing" from other countries to use. If it is used to boost U.S. productivity, such deficits can be a positive in the long run, she added.

Others say the growing gap reflects the fact that less U.S.-made goods are being sold overseas, which in the long run is bad news for American workers.

No Media Bias?

We always hear the "crowds danced around the body" and the "anti-American chants from the rooftops" story.

Why does the media focus on that instead of showing us how Iraqis act to rescue the victims?

BlackFive shows us that militia thugs and Baathists are not our main enemy. No, the primary threat is the media.

My Summer Campaign
By John Kerry

Notes to self

Meet with a foreign leader - about anything - soon! (done RWR funeral, whew!)

Stop speeches about jobless recovery - remember to take that stuff off the website.

Stop speeches about bad economy, even about marginal recovery (damn!)

Stop speeches about gas prices (double damn!)

Stop speeches about getting the UN involved in Iraq (what the..?)

Keep the Vietnam thing going - both sides!

SUVs bad, SUVs bad, SUVs bad - learn it, love it, live it.

Fire speech writers and find out who "the family" is - see SUVs.

Drop the Catholic schtick - doesn't go with the abortion votes record.

Gay marriage - hire a "gay marriage" advisor.

Stop saying, "I don't really know, I'll have to get back to you on that in a couple of weeks" (done - just say anything instead)

Blame: "the family", speech writers, secret service agents, Vietnam, Bush, Cheney, unfair questions from republican citizens, the schedule.


Whatever Bush says, wait a day or two and say it louder - then blame Bush for stealing my ideas.

Call all spending increases "cuts" since Bush could always allot more.

Don't actually SAY anything - don't need issues. Dems're gonna vote for me anyway.

US to Turn Saddam Over to Iraqis

On Monday, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Saddam Hussein will be handed over to the new Iraqi government for trial within two weeks.

"The United States has agreed to turn Saddam and other indicted officials in its custody to the Iraqis for trial once a sovereign government sets up a special tribunal capable of conducting a fair trial after June 30."

President Bush Unveils Clinton Portraits at Whitehouse

President Bush entertained the Clinton family, and plugged former President Clinton's memoirs in a Whitehouse ceremony today. The ceremony was to unveil the Clinton portraits to be hung in the Whitehouse.

Bush said that Clinton's rise from humble beginnings in the rural state of Arkansas "took more than charm and intellect. It took hard work and drive and determination and optimism."

"I can tell you more of the story, but it's coming out in fine bookstores all over America," Bush quipped, a reference to Clinton's memoirs, "My Life," which comes out June 22.

"The president, by his generous words to Hillary and me today, has proved once again that in the end, we are held together by this grand system of ours that permits us to debate and struggle and fight for what we believe is right," said Clinton

One Nation, Under God

Great news on Flag Day

In the past hour, the Supreme Court has ruled that Michael Newdow does not have legal authority to sue in a challenge of the use of the words, "one nation under God" in the US Pledge of Allegiance.

While sidestepping the issue of the constitutionality of the phrase, the ruling did overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ban on 10 million school children in 9 Western states from saying the full Pledge of Allegiance.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands - one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Kerry Meets with Foreign Leaders - No, Really!

The rather presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate was able to boost his campaign at Ronald Reagan's funeral. Now he can truthfully say he has met with foreign leaders.

John Kerry had a chance meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh. According to the report, "The two exchanged pleasantries at their brief meeting Friday in the presence of several others."

There was no report of Minister Singh saying, "Man, you gotta beat this guy [Bush]." According to the minister, he is quite happy with the current state of relations with the Bush Administration.

"Recalling his meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell Thursday, the minister said there is "tremendous goodwill" here which "augurs well" for bilateral relations."

Top al-Sadr "Militia" Leader Killed

Developing Story

In clashes between al-Sadr thugs and US Forces in Sadr City on Sunday, Karim Darha - described as a senior militia leader for al-Sadr - was killed.

Baghdad Attacks

A homicide bomber killed 12 Iraqi citizens and wounded 13 more when Iraqi police cars attempted to stop the vehicle the bomber was driving. Most of those killed were police officers.

The Culteral Affairs Officer for the Iraq Ministry of Education was shot in Baghdad today and later died from his wounds in Yarmouk hospital.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

1st AD Receives New Orders

The First Armored Division will end operations in Iraq and head home for Germany by July 15th. It was rumored 1st AD would be replaced by 2nd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division. It appears the "Fit to Fight" soldiers will not be available in the Iraqi theater until fall, however.

Department of Defense officials now say a brigade combat team of the 10th Mountain Division will be deployed to Iraq to replace the "Old Ironsides" soldiers.

South Korea to Deploy Larger Iraq Force

South Korea has committed another 3600 troops to arrive in Iraq in July and August.

Korea already has 500 medical and support soldiers in the Nasariya area. These soldiers and the new contingent will be deployed to Irbil, in the North.

Along with Force Protection, the Korean troops will be engaged in operations to build highways, clear mines, and provide DNA-testing equipment to assist in the identification of remains of those who died during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Poll Polled - Prognosis? Phoney!

Take a look at the simple math behind an LA-Times poll showing Kerry enjoying a 7 point lead over Bush. When you do the math, the numbers don't add up. Furthermore, if you "level the playing field" - a favorite Democrat plea - Kerry is actually trailing by four.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Dutch Extending Iraq Troop Commitment

The Dutch cabinet approved an eight-month extension of the Netherlands' troop commitments in Iraq. The Dutch Cabinet has said the decision was based upon the statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that the coalition forces were critical Iraq's success as an emerging democracy.

The Netherlands provide 1400 soldiers to the multi-national force and have suffered one combet death since being deployed to Iraq in July of last year.

"Super-Embassy" slated for Baghdad

The US Embassy in Baghdad is set be the largest American embassy in the world, after the June 30 handoff of sovereignty in Iraq. There will be more than 900 permanent staff members with staff levels reaching 1500 or more by the end of 2004.

Boston Bobbled

We weren't sure if the candidate was ready for Boston. Now there are questions about whether Boston will be ready for the candidate.

Work on the FleetCenter, home of the Democratic National Convention, is stalled because (get this) union construction workers are standing beside picketing, union police officers, instead of crossing the picket lines. The police officers are picketing because they have been working without a contract for 2 years.

The work never got started on Tuesday, as most subcontractors refused to cross the picket line a cardinal sin of organized labor. Those who did cross were greeted with shouts of ''scab'' and ''shame on you.''

It is ironic, and must be somewhat of an embarrassment to the DNC.

The delayed work at the FleetCenter presents problems for the Democratic Party. Unless the trade unions agree to cross the picket line, the only other alternative would be nonunion workers an unthinkable prospect for a party built on a foundation of organized labor.

Border Patrol Uniforms - Hecho en Mexico

Hat tip: Boats at Bosun's Call

Some US Border Patrol agents are a bit miffed that their uniforms are being manufactured South-of-the-border.

"US Customs and Border Protection officials explained they are trying to get as much as they can for the dollar in contracting with a company that is allowed to subcontract work outside the United States.

The move comes amid a national debate over the outsourcing of US jobs to foreign countries, which is expected to grow more intense as the presidential race shifts into higher gear."

On one hand, with budget restraints and creating jobs in Mexico offering more reasons for Mexican workers to not take the deadly trek across the border this Summer - Hecho en Mexico is not shameful. On the other hand, US manufacturing is only at about 80% of capacity. Those jobs could come in pretty handy at home. The job market has improved greatly in the US, but we're not in tall cotton yet.

I was going to say, I lean toward "Made in USA" on this one, but with people crossing the Sonoran desert in 110 degree weather - and dying - creating more opportunities in Mexico seems a small price to pay.

Farewell, Mr. President

I remember President Reagan urging Mikhail Gorbachov to "tear down this wall". In a physical sense, he was referring to the wall built to keep East German citizens safe from democracy. There was more to this plea, however. Ronald Reagan was urging the Soviet leadership to help stop the headlong rush by both nations towards mutual destruction.

I was stationed in Germany when the wall was being torn down - first by people who were somehow allowed to climb upon it and share a drink at the top with people from the other side. It wasn't long before a few sledge hammers appeared. A day or two later, chains and large trucks pulled small sections down and finally some heavy equipment showed up.

I have a piece of that wall. It was about the size of my hand at one time, but I have shared it with others. I will pass the remaining piece on to my son.

Some day, people will attempt - for their own selfish reasons - to rewrite the history of Ronald Reagan's legacy to us. I hope that I, my son, or one of the people I have shared my piece of the Berlin Wall with, will be there with a physical reminder of what Ronald Reagan gave to the world.

Mr. President, I bid thee Farewell.

God Bless the Reagan Family and God Bless America.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Soldier Deconstructed"

The Questing Cat is a 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) soldier currently deployed in Iraq. He is always a good read!

Here is an excerpt of his latest post:

"Of all the armies in the world, how many vow to defend a piece of paper, rather than a king or queen. The most remarkable thing about US soldiers is how far removed we really are from the political structure. We serve when called, we train when at peace.

The duties we are called upon to perform are varied and in depth. Many times US soldiers have been called to defend the weak, but not necessarily our own. Called to Somalia, Kosovo, Germany. At times the army is a powerful sword to bring about swift political change. At times a shield to defend humanity. And no matter how these things are accomplished it is always the sword which is dulled, or the shield that is dented. The call to duty always weakens the military, always."

Deformed Comment

Juan Cole is a history professor, whereas I am a simple Cowboy. That being said, I don't find Juan Cole all that smart. In his "informed comments" about the political death of the 'neocons', Mr. Cole raises some interesting issues.

He notes an LA Times obituary "...of the neoconservative movement, which has fallen on hard times."

This is simply "Cronkite" - calling a defeat regardless of the facts on the ground.

The Neo-Conservatives, meaning the Jews involved in advising the Bush administration, have not fallen on hard times. They have awakened people to issues, which though unpopular, are essential to the survival of the United States. It was only after the Reagan administration, which ushered neo-conservatism into the American political mainstream, that people started taking the threat of terror-sponsoring states seriously. The neocons introduced an awareness of the folly in our policy of "even-handedness" in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it took an attack on US cities with a death toll of over three thousand to make the lightbulb go on.

Mr. Cole also says, "The other scarey thing about the Neocons is their warmongering. David Wurmser and Scooter Libby would have dragged us into wars with Syria and Iran if they could have. If American supporters of the Likud want to take down Bashar al-Asad, they should get Ariel Sharon to do it with Israeli troops, not put American soldiers at risk for no good reason. Al-Asad is not a threat to the United States, and he is not even a threat to Israel (Israel could be in Damascus tomorrow if it wanted to)."

Mr. Cole doesn't recognize that being in Damascus and controling it are two different things? Doesn't he watch TV? The media are clamoring over the lack of control in Iraq by US forces, which I believe are the overwhelming military presence in the region.

That aside, I disagree with him anyway. Every modern President applies the military aspect of foreign policy based upon contingency planning. His advisors can present hypotheticals and advise him on potential impacts of US involvement in any region in the world. That doesn't mean that the President does anything more than nod and say, "Thank you, Scooter". Furthermore, Israel depends a great deal on American political and popular opinion in any overt campaign to impact the Middle East.

Mr Cole goes on to say, "Richter also notes that the Neocons cry 'anti-semitism' about all this. What a crock. There are many prominent Jewish Americans in the Bush administration who are not philosophically aligned with the neocons and whom I have never seen attacked in the press."

Neocons defines Jews associated with the administration and no others. Just because Mr. Cole feels that "not all those Bush Jews are bad guys" doesn't disabuse anyone of the notion that blaming the neocons (and only the neocons) for the administration's problems is any less anti-semitic.

What caught my eye first was this comment: "Jimmy Carter was a far better president than W. can ever hope to be. Carter made peace between Israel and Egypt. He resolved the Panama Canal issue to everyone's satisfaction, and we've never heard any more about it because there haven't been subsequent problems. He avoided a potentially disastrous US attempt to prevent or roll back the Islamic Revolution in Iran."

If you mean because he is the only (modern?) President to never (successfully) deploy troops abroad then you might be right. Jimmy Carter did not create peace between Egypt and Israel, he got credit for it. Israel and Egypt created the peace. Just as you cannot force democracy on a nation, nor can you remove hatred between people who are intent upon hating each other - the Palestine Arabs are proof of that. They have been offered the most comprehensive plans for peace and autonomy, with framework for cooperation in the future and turn it down everytime. Why? Because they hate.

There have been subsequent problems with that peace, the Egyptian President was murdered by Islamic zealots and Egypt has provided us with some pretty effective terrorists.

"Reagan did not overturn Khomeini, rather he sold him arms. Although Reagan got the Soviets out of Afghanistan, he did it at the cost of creating a radical Islamist international and destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Prior to the Reagan administration helping fighters in Afghanistan, that region contained no radical islamists?

"The vilification of Carter and the hero worship of W. is a sign of how morally warped the American Right really is. Carter's political and economic environment made it impossible for him to be a great president, but he was a damn sight better than W. any day of the week."

Carter isn't villified, he's criticized for short-sightedness. Carter didn't create radical islamic zealots - that was the result of a lack of reform and democracy in the Middle East. The difference is, now we have an administration using 30 years of hindsight and what has become clear is: Where there is freedom and opportunity in the Islamic world - we see little extremism. If we can help create opportunity for people in the Middle East, they will have little need to come to America and kill us.

Maybe Jimmy Carter was the better President - but at what cost?

Third Gitmo Detainee Charged

Australian detainee David Hicks is charged (pdf document) with conspiracy to commit war crimes;
attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy. He will be tried by a military commission, according to DOD sources.

According to the DOD, "Military commission procedures provide for a full and fair trial to include: the presumption of innocence; a requirement for proof of guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt; representation by a military defense counsel free of charge with
the option to retain a civilian defense counsel at no expense to the U.S.
government; an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses; a prohibition
against drawing an adverse inference if an accused chooses not to testify; and an
appeal to a review panel. Military commissions have historically been used to try
violations of the law of armed conflict and related offenses."

Missile Parts Found in Jordan

There are few details to this story, but approximately 20 engines used in Iraqi Al Samoud 2 missiles were found in a Jordanian scrap yard. There was also "other equipment that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction".

This find is the second of it's kind in recent days. Similar items were found in a Rotterdam scrap yard. There has been a request to investigate scrap yards in Turkey.

Finds like this are stark warnings of the importance of securing Iraqi borders, which are even more porous than America's borders.

Dispute with Kurds Resolved

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said the dispute between the Iraqi government and Kurdish leaders has been resolved. This closes a rift, which threatened to see Kurds boycotting participation on the new government.

I believe it important to note that the Iraq government is acting in its own interests and quickly resolving potentially destabilizing problems. The Iraqi leaders are acting with a capability and confidence, which probably comes as a surprise to some who feel democracy is not possible in Iraq.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

US Pulling Troops From Panmunjom

For fifty years, the Joint Security Area (JSA) or "Truce Village" of Panmunjom, which is equally divided by the border between North and South Korea, has been secured by military police of South Korean and the US Army, under United Nations Command auspices By 31 October of this year, South Korea will be providing 93% of the JSA security.

There is a yet finalized plan to remove 12,500 troops from the Korean peninsula altogether. This would represent a 1/3 reduction in US forces in Korea. The US Army also wants to remove soldiers from the many US Army camps north of Seoul and consolidate them in expanded bases south of the capitol city.

South Korea spends a great deal on defense, but this spending will need to be increased significantly to compensate for the reduction in US forces, as South Korea ramps-up and repositions its own forces.

Military and Political Brilliance

Kerry proposes to spend money to increase the Army by 40K. While troop increases are not inherently bad, the idea that we need to throw money at every problem to fix it is. The Bush administration has shown a great deal of fiscal responsibility in this matter by surveying our missions abroad and reassessing the level of need for US forces. This indicates an end to Cold War thinking about force requirements in Europe and Korea, where we wanted to have a strong projection of force regardless of need.

By reducing the number of troops on "static" projection of force missions in Korea and Europe and repositioning them in places where they can be deployed as the need arises, the US will have the rough equivalent (or more) of a new Corps-sized force - even if these forces are spread out among several stateside and overseas locations. This is a brilliant way to foster new military alliances abroad, in places like Poland, while enhancing the size of deployable forces at a relatively low cost.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Gezuntheit 9/11 or Where's Osama?

Via Junk Yard Blog

Where is Michael Moore when you need someone to "Allege and Villify"?

According to a ZDF TV documentary, US officials were approached in 1999 by Kabir Mohabbat, an Afghan-American businessman, to reach a deal between the US officials and the Taliban to deliver Osama bin-Laden.

Mohabbat is reported to have quoted the Taliban foreign minister as saying: "You can have him whenever the Americans are ready. Name us a country and we will extradite him."

Apparently, a secret meeting between between Taliban ministers and U.S. officials in a Frankfurt hotel in November 2000.

Iraq Controls Its Oil

Iraq has assumed control of its oil industry ahead of the June 30 handover of sovereignty.

"Today the most important natural resource has been returned to Iraqis to serve all Iraqis," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said.

"I'm pleased to announce that full sovereignty and full control on oil industry has been handed over to the oil ministry today and to the new Iraqi government as of today."

This was made possible for the first time in recent history because of the so-called imperialist policies of The United States - who attacked Iraq to take away their oil.

President Bush to Meet Iraqi PM

President Bush is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during the upcoming G8 Summit.

Although Prime Minister Allawi will be one of several Mid-East heads of state invited to Sea Island, Georgia, he is the only non-G8 leader to meet one-on-one with the President.

This will mark the first time President Bush and Prime Minister Allawi will have met face to face.

UPDATE: The AP's Scott Lindlaw reports President Bush will be meeting with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer. In Mr. Lindlaw's report, there is no mention of a meeting with PM Allawi.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Crude at Five Week Low

Crude oil futures for July delivery dropped to their lowest price since May 3rd.

"It's finally sunk in that the Saudis are determined to see low prices,'' said Kyle Cooper, an energy analyst with Citigroup Inc. in Houston. ``Between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates there should be quite a few extra barrels on the market."

When gasoline prices don't drop as much as we would like, can we please demand more capacity in refining, instead of just blaming everyone else for the problem? We're at about 94% of the US capacity to refine crude.

The ability to produce more fuel means courting big, evil, oil corporations to want to expand capacity. You can't have cheap fuel and continue the hard-headedness about sticking it to the oil companies. Like it or not, you NEED to give a little - or pay the price.

For those who scream about alternative fuels for vehicles - name one with reasonable cost and efficiency and I am on your side.

Elections Turned Over to Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq

Carina Perelli, head of the UN electoral mission in Iraq, briefs on the process of setting up elections.

Ms. Perelli states, "From now on, this is probably the last time you see my face making an announcement on Iraqi matters regarding Iraqi elections because the independent electoral commission of Iraq will be making these announcements to the Iraqi people, as is their right. The U.N. will assume the role of providing technical assistance to this commission, as we have started already to do it on Monday because the commission was formed on Sunday, the 30th of May, and has already started to work."

The Iraqi people will suffer American imperialism by having to choose, with United Nations assistance, their own leaders in the dreaded "representative government".

Sunday, June 06, 2004


Alaa over at The Mesopotamian has said it better than I ever could.


Dear Mr. President

Calm seas and easy winds do not test a ship’s worthiness, but it is the tempest and the hurricane that show her true metal. Strength is measured by the intensity of stress that can be withstood. And here we see you standing like a mountain towering over the raging elements.

And you know Mr. President when the lion marches into the bush, the wild dogs, the monkeys, the hyenas and all the other beasts of the wild scurry and run and hide at a safe distance, some perched high in the trees, others hiding in holes under the ground, and each will find his favorite refuge. Yet they will start their squeaking, screaming, barking, hissing and generally making a deafening din and clamor, while apprehensively and attentively watching every move and gesture of the King in great trepidation. Some of the monkeys might dare toss some coconut shells perhaps in his direction, but from a very safe remoteness, and some parasites, too small and contemptible to be observed might give him a sting or two; but all that cannot bother the great one much. It is the racket and noise though that can be most annoying. But who dares to come within range, for they all know very well what fate awaits them then.

But the great noble ship sails on and on braving the elements, majestic, white sails and white flags of honor fluttering high in the sky, for she is carrying bounty and prizes to far off lands hungry for the great gifts. May God bless her course and her mission and grant her safe journey and triumphant return. Amen.


Karma vs Dogma

"My dogma got run over by my karma". A bumper sticker with a cute play on words. One of those things that sticks in your head - as it was while I was posting on Crispus.

Lately, I am struck by the level of intolerance from leftists in both speech and writing. Maureen Dowd and Air America, among others, tout themselves as voices of the mainstream liberal message. Listening to Air America is like listening to "Seventh Grade Talk Radio" It's all drama and no reason. You know, "I hate Becky, she's ruining the glee cub and we've just got to get rid of her. Anyone else will do - she's just got to go."

Andrew Greely appears on Common Dreams. He states, "Hating America is the anti-Semitism of the European intelligentsia. It always has been (emphasis mine). Unfortunately, the Bush administration has poured fuel on the flames of that hatred." He goes on to say Europe is justified in hating America. The reasons? Americans saved Europe from itself - twice. We're rich and sometimes loud and arrogant.

Leftists use the word "hate" as if there are different levels of it - you know hate, hater, hatest. They hated us already, always have, but NOW they hate us more.

Europe hates us today because we upset their apple cart in Iraq. They had a good honey pot there, with all that illegal oil coming in at cut rate prices and all of that illegal revenue from selling Iraq military hardware and we messed that up for them. Arrogance is what they call us catching them pickpocketing the Iraqi people and telling lies to the world.

Greely makes the correlation between hating America and anti-semitism, then justifies hating America. With the correlation made, is he justifying anti-semitism? Greely fails to mention anti-semitism is also the anti-semitism of Europe. Europe seems to have their hands full in that regard.

Intolerance - the leftist agenda has no room for cooperation. No give and take. President Bush has gone to lengths over the past three years to please the left with no recognition of his attempts. Further UN resolutions, more diplomacy, begging tiny countries to support us in the UN - still called arrogance. While attempting to pass legislation the Democrats have been screaming about for years - Bush arrogance again.

The leftist agenda is not to promote anything, unless their guy is doing it. They don't want progress, they want credit for progress.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of Democrats out there who pay the price for the leftist agenda. Democrats who were for the New Deal, supported Kennedy and almost like Johnson. Folks who are really looking for progress. They are going to vote Democrat, as they have always done - without realizing hate-filled Marxists are actively hijacking their party.

Here is the new bumper sticker : Democratic Party karma got run over by Leftist dogma.

Celebrate French Independence

June 6, 1944 - D-Day - is a day which marks the beginning of French liberation from the Germans by a coalition of the willing.

Never before have so many thanked so little for so much.

A Day of Honor and Gratitude

Today is a day to honor and give gratitude to those who defended our freedom on far away shores. Yet, it is more than a simple recognition of a war gone by.

D-Day is a turning point in American history. It marks a time when America became duty-bound to promote freedom, rather than simply defend it.

A lot of people are going to spend the next couple of days telling us about the events, which led up to WWII. They'll expound upon how different the world's challenges were from those we face today.

A lot of people will be wrong.

You can watch history repeating itself, if you stop long enough to look. I think A.E. Brain puts it best.

Former President Reagan Dies at 93

(via The Command Post)

Ronald Reagan was a catalyst for freedom to hundreds of millions. He was stalwart in the defense of liberty and the fight for justice. When he left the White House, it signaled the end of an era in America.

God Bless, President Reagan.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Kerry Meets with Veterans

Kerry meets with unidentified veterans.

"You'd be amazed at the number of foreign leaders active duty personnel who are maybe meeting me in restaurants coming up at events around the country, greeting me in ropelines or coming to rallies and telling me man, you've gotta beat this guy how important it is for us to stand up and fight for those who are not able to speak out for themselves right now for obvious reasons," Kerry said.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee added: "But the numbers of active duty people quietly coming and saying we need a change, we need to build a modern military, we need to do the things necessary to protect our troops, we need to have all our allies on the ground in Iraq ... that's what this race is about."

Tongue in cheek, sure, but you'd think the guy would at least change the script a little.

Ally - One in helpful association with another.

Mr. Kerry, all of our allies ARE on the ground in Iraq. When you mean France, Germany and Russia (as opposed to our 33 non-allies in Iraq), you should use the word FORMER before the word Allies.

Top al-Zarqawi Accomplice Captured

Terrorist Umar Baziyani has been in Iraqi police custody for several days. Maybe they'll get some info out of him about the Nick Berg murder.

Iraqi Minister Zebari: Troops Must Stay

Iraq's Foreign Minister is certain the premature removal of coalition troops from Iraq will lead to chaos. Mr. Zebari made it clear that the success of Iraq as an emerging, democratic nation is highly dependent upon the US and UK - led multinational force.

Jobless Recovery Continues

There were 248,000 new jobs in May (was forecasted at 225,000) and April was revised to an increase of 346,000.

In the past five months, 950,000 people have entered the job market. Unemployment is steady at 5.6%.

Yet, the mantra will continue. Learn the mantra, know the mantra, BE the mantra:

It's a jobless recovery.
Corporations are bad.

It's a jobless recovery.
Corporations are bad.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Kerry Absent on Bioterror

John Kerry floated his plan to protect Americans from bioterror. In an interview with the AP, John Kerry made it clear that "You need to prepare your public health facilities. You need to prepare your hospitals and all the immediate first responders."

Kerry also promised to ensure the security of all existing nuclear weapons and materials by the end of his first term if elected.


He also promised to end nuclear weapons programs in nations like North Korea and Iran.


So, prepare the public health facilities for bioterror and give Kerry 4 years to secure nuclear weapons. John Kerry will also demand that DPRK and Iran stop making nukes.


Kerry doesn't seem to realize the Bush administration is already working toward dismantling the nuclear weapons capacities of both DPRK and Iran, in coordination with other diplomatic bodies.

Libya has dismantled its WMD program all-together.

Kerry seems ignorant of an effort forged between the Bush administration and Russian President Putin to secure nuclear material from former Soviet reactors.

Kerry also seems to be ignorant of a piece of legislation that passed (99-0) through the Senate in May to provide $5.6 billion in funds for research, production and stockpiling of vaccines and antidotes for bioterror agents.

Why doesn't Kerry know about this? He wasn't there - that's why there were only 99 votes.

The Kerry campaign complains, "...[The Bush] administration proposed cutting the state and local biopreparedness program by 11 percent, or $105 million, and trimming funding for biodefense countermeasures overall by $49 million."

What he fails to recognize is Clinton spent $2.8 billion on bioterror and Bush is spending $5.6 billion. If the Bush administration found a way to adjust such enormous funding, without impacting the effectiveness of the program, why is that a bad thing?

Only in John Kerry's world can one define grand expenditures toward a program as a "cut". Kerry said the same thing about Veterans' benefits and was wrong there too.

CIA Director George Tenet Resigns

AP Staff Writer Pete Yost reports: Tenet came to the White House to inform Bush about his decision Wednesday night. "He told me he was resigning for personal reasons," Bush said. "I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Constitutional Right to Kill

Today, a US District judge in San Francisco ruled the "partial birth" abortion ban, signed into law in November, unconstitutional.

According to Newsday, Judge Phyllis Hamilton "agreed with abortion rights activists that a woman's right to choose is paramount, and that it is therefore "irrelevant" whether a fetus suffers pain (emphasis mine), as abortion foes contend."

To get an understanding of the partial birth abortion procedure, look here.

In my view, we are watching entitlement in its purest and most sinister form, when a woman's right to choose is of greater value than an innocent life.

We are not talking about a fetus of a few weeks. Partial birth abortions occur, in the vast majority, during a period when the fetus can survive if fully delivered. This means that when it is pulled from the womb, into the birth canal, and it's brain is removed with a suction catheter until the head collapses, the fetus is literally one breath away from being someone's child.

You explain to me how that is ok.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees Terrorists.

(from Instapundit via The Command Post)

The United States has provided UNRWA with $2.5 billion in taxpayer money, some of which is apparently being used to provide protective cover for Arab terror operations in Palestine.

The original story on World Net Daily contains a link to video footage of armed Palestinian Arabs using a UNRWA ambulance as a get-away vehicle. The driver of the vehicle confessed to using his ambulance to "smuggle arms, explosives and terrorists to and from attacks."

UPDATE via The Command Post:

Another UNRWA program has been used as a cover for terrorist activity. This time it was a school.

Rather than praising Israel for uncovering terror activity in the UN run program, the UN representative condemned Israel for causing damage to the school.

My analysis: The UNRWA should be added to the list of countries supporting terror. It is part of the Axis of Evil.

Russia has 2nd Highest Murder Rate

Ivan Sas in Hezavisimaya Gazeta provides statistics showing the number of murders in Russia was nearly 32,000 in 2003. This is 2.3 times the number of murders committed in Russia at the end of the Soviet era (1987).

According to Sas, only the UAR (South Africa) has a higher murder rate among "accomplishing/developing nations".

It is intersting to note the most used murder weapon in a country where guns are outlawed and have been so for a very long time - so no easy access or legacy access to firearms to the general population.

"Чем чаще всего убивают в России?"
(How are murders most often committed in Russia?)

(Answered by a Police Colonel)
"Чаще всего – кухонным ножом. Второе место в рейтинге орудий убийства занимают тяжелые твердые предметы – от лома до табуретки. И только потом идет огнестрельное оружие – с его применением в прошлом году было совершено 2110 убийств"

(Most often - a kitchen knife. Second place in the rating of murder weapons is heavy, hard objects - from scraps to stools. Only after that are "fired" weapons - without only 2110 murders committed by these in the last year.)

(Interesting - murders happen even without guns)

The colonel goes on to say this is less than 7% of the total and most of these "fired" weapons are not "war guns", but "gas powered" (air rifles) weapons, which are allowed in many regions.

UN Special Envoy Brahimi Briefing on Iraqi Elections

Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi today stated elections are not possible before June 30th, 2004. He stated, underscoring remarks already made by President Bush, that elections should occur not later than January 2005. Mr. Brahimi laid out several details regarding elections.

Mr. Brahimi also appealed to the Iraqi people to allow the current transitional government to succeed, as a means to secure long term peace and prosperity for the Iraqi people.

Arizona Wives Are Lesser People

Arizona State Sen. Robert Blendu is being called the man who "single-handedly killed the spousal rape bill."

In The Arizona Republic, Laurie Roberts reveals, "In Arizona, it is still far less of a crime to rape your wife than to rape someone else. Today, Arizona is still the only state that treats the rape of a spouse on a par with littering (emphasis mine). A crime just slightly less serious than arranging a dog fight."

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Timeframe for Coalition Troop Pullout Set

The US and UK have made an addendum to the draft resolution they plan to put before the UN. The new text indicates mandate for the multinational force can be ended at the request of the Iraqi government, anytime between January 2005 - when the next transitional government elections are held - and December 2005, when the elections for the constitutional government are held.

The "no later than" December 2005 text should be all that's needed to finally put the imperialism allegations to rest. I do anticipate even more demands from Russia, Germany, France and China on this resolution.

Presidential 101

Iraq The Model always provides insight you don't get from many other sources.

Today, Mohammed says, "Today comes another powerful strike to terrorism and the neighboring countries, when the process of forming the transitional government went very smoothly and peacefully. there was a competition between two men; Pachachi who seemed to be favored by the Americans (and by me as well) and Al-Yawer who apparently had the approval and support from most of the GC members and other political powers but Pachachi withdrew in the last moment, the move that proves my point that he was the best man for the job."

Imagine, two people passionate about the future of their nation and a common goal - and one steps aside to lessen the potential for political impropriety and popular strife. In my view, Iraq has everything it needs with leaders like this.

I expect some people won't understand - we'll be hearing from them soon.

Iraq's New Government Sworn In

The Iraqi Governing Council was officially dissolved today and the government which will handle Iraqi sovereignty after June 30 was sworn in.

The new government includes President Ghazi al-Yawar, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, and Vice Presidents Ibrahim Jaffari and Roj Nuri Shawis.

A new nation is emerging from a feared regime in Southwest Asia. Regardless of the form of government Iraq chooses in the long term, the first step toward allowing Iraqi citizens to determine who governs them has been taken. I am certain it is not occurring quickly enough for some. Just as certainly, the cost of freedom has been and will continue to be dear.

The most important things are always the hardest to achieve. There is a great excitement in Iraq - a collective "Ok, we can take it from here!" And while there is great faith that Iraq will succeed as a democracy, it has been costly for everyone involved. We can't afford to squander such a golden opportunity.

Little by little we accomplish much.