Sunday, August 28, 2005

How to Support the Iraq War ... in English

Things can change. People can change. Ideas matter and have consequences. The truth can enlighten and indeed set one free. Christopher Hitchens is one such person.

For Hitchens saw the light after 9/11, and he is now perhaps the world's most eloquent spokesman for the good guys in the war with Radical Islam. Check out his latest, great column: "A War to be Proud Of".

Hitchens is a genius who is fluent in the English language. Being from Texas, English is pretty much a second language for me, so I always have my dictionary at the ready when reading Hitchens.

As usual, his latest column provides much ammo for the ideological front in this war. For instance, here is a money quote to have at the ready for any mantra-spewing appeaser:
It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.
Hitchens then provides the tremendous public service of recounting 10 benefits of the Iraq War:
(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.
I must admit, I am partial to #9.

Finally, Hitchens closes with a bit of self-examination:
If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.
If the great Hitchens can ask this question, then what of us? Am I doing enough? Are you? Let's get to it. And may the enemies of our great effort in Iraq have no rest or comfort.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

With thanks to IMAO, who is apparently serving as Sen. Hagel's political director ... and with sincere apologies to clowns everywhere.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Burglars in the Neighborhood ... The Conclusion

Note: This DC exclusive mini-series is inspired by those who contend that Pres. Bush is a “war criminal", that the Iraq War is “illegal”, “unjust”, “the wrong war at the wrong time”, “ill-advised”, etc., but nonetheless claim they “support our troops.” For these people, each difficult mission or day in Iraq is viewed an another opportunity to make another political point.

This series is fictional, but it is based upon current events. Any resemblance between any character herein and/or between current world events is not designed to impugn the patriotism of any Leftist … as we know that every one on the Left loves the military, “supports the troops” and it is completely outlandish to even imply otherwise.

To clarify, the Leftists specifically referenced herein are those who insist upon trumpeting their opposition to the war in Iraq while holding to the nonsensical position that they still "support the troops".

If the inane,insane, and cowardly conduct of the Half-Delegate herein does not represent or fit you, then don't wear it.

For a recap,

Here's Part I, Part II ... and Part III.

And now, the conclusion:

As the Captain and his men headed for the gates to the Neighborhood, their minds recalled the memories of the past, the many difficult months. The Corporal, he thought of his fallen comrades who could not see this day. This day was theirs, too. The Sergeant, he thought of his wife, his baby girl, and his son. There was a deep sense of accomplishment.

Some guilt persisted in certain members of the Force that they had made it and some more worthy than they had not, but they knew their comrades would want them to look ahead with pride, not back with regret.

All of their doubts of their success and the worthiness of their cause seemed to be melting away on this 110 degree day, when suddenly their thoughts were jolted into reality by the sound of the New Yorktimes, still going, still ...

"All of you who fear what comes next, I say, fear not. For now, there are more than half in the land who know that this mission was illegal. It was a waste. Those who died, yes, they died in vain. It was a mission simply for the enrichment of the Supreme Commander and his Jewish friends. My apologies to all in the Neighborhood. Hear me, those who serve MOAM and the Menace ... this was a mistake. Yes, we support the Force, but their mission has been in vain, and I grieve that so many have died needlessly, for no purpose, in pursuit of an illegal aim. At least now it is ending, but it is way too late ... "

The Corporal's heart was racing as the Half-Delegate's words processed in his brain. He still remembered the words of his dying friend, "Tell my wife I died so that she can live in freedom. Tell my son why we were here. And finish the mission." The Half-Delegate's words were the equivalent of urine on the tombstone of this most gallant of men. The Corporal was boiling. He locked and loaded his weapon.

The Sergeant walked disbelieving, and all he could do was pray: "Lord, grant me the courage to change only what I can. Today, keep me in check."

Meanwhile, the Captain made sure that he had a full clip of ammunition, and he loaded it in his sidearm. He, too, prayed for steadiness, for as meticulous a planner as he was, he still didn't know what was ahead on this last day in the Neighborhood.

The Force walked up to the Half-Delegate quietly, and as he stepped down from his New Yorktimes, he turned around in surprise to see the Captain, the Sergeant, and the Corporal standing there about 10 feet away. The rest of what remained of the approximately company-sized unit watched from about 25 yards.

"Good morning, Captain," the Half-Delegate said nervously. "Congratulations. I mean, for the 'mission accomplished' and all. You must be excited to go back to the Land."

The Captain, he said not a word, but started toward the Half-Delegate. He reached to his side. The Corporal couldn't tell if he was reaching for his cargo pocket or for ... his sidearm. Suddenly, the cobwebs cleared in the Corporal's brain, and he thought ... "NO!!" He started toward the Captain, to stop him before it was too late. Then ... thwack. The Sergeant's forearm hit him in the chest, and he stopped.

And then they both watched in stunned silence. For as the Captain approached the Half-Delegate, he reached for something while he was walking ... and the Half-Delegate fell to the ground. He lay in a heap.

And then the Half-Delegate began to sob and to plead for his life: "Captain, please, spare me. I was only ... only speaking for what I thought was best. I don't want to die. I don't want to fight. I am afraid! I don't want to fight! Please, don't make me fight!!"

The Captain was kneeling now, in front of the Half-Delegate. He spoke softly, "Do you see this?," he asked. The Half-Delegate, he nodded but in disbelief. The Captain was holding up a pocket-size copy of the Land's Constitution. Then the Captain said, "Sir, I took an oath to defend this Constitution, against all enemies of the land, whether there or here. Yet you have impugned my integrity and that of my men. You have, whether unwittingly or not, called us the Burglars in this Neighborhood. You are unworthy of the freedom that you have, and you fail to see that you have it ... " The Captain's voice trailed off, as he recalled sending a letter to his fallen lieutenant's parents.

"You have it because we fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean," the Corporal said.

The Captain then took to his feet and the Half-Delegate, he continued to lay there in a heap in the sand. His sobbing was more quiet now, but it continued.

Then the Captain and his men, they left. They headed west, toward the Land.

As he lay on the ground, the Half-Delegate waited for the Force to drop below the horizon, so that it would be safe to get up. And when they were finally gone, he stood on his feet, relieved that his life had been spared.

"You, from the Land," a voice with a foreign accent called to him from behind. The Half-Delegate turned to find one of the remnants of the MOAM's forces. "Yes, sir. I am from the Land, but I have wished you no harm. I have tried to" .... "Shut up," the man ordered, and then two more men appeared with weapons and motioned him to get into a nearby car. Then, the first man blindfolded him, and with that the Half-Delegate was taken away in the car.

And the car drove to the east, and it drove until it disappeared over the horizon.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Two Important Announcements ...

1) Our old friend and fellow Texican Catfish has a great report from his visit to Camp Sheehan. Don't miss it; and

2) On Monday a.m., the conclusion of "Burglars in the Neighborhood" will be posted. I've even thrown in a surprise ending. Don't miss it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I've been invaded ...

by work, children, discipline, etc. But fortunately my income from this blog has not been affected. And there is so much to talk about, like Ms. Cindy Sheehan. Oh, man ... If you are inclined to be sympathetic to her cause or communicate with those who are, please read this (courtesy of Christopher Hitchens) and this. What more need be said?

Well, a few things, but I haven't the time now. Your thoughts?

And ... I am hereby changing my "commitment" to post the conclusion of "Burglars in the Neighborhood" (a timely post indeed, in light of the troop "supporters" that have invaded my state) to the following: I will post on it sometime in the future, and hopefully soon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Signing off for the week ... to return early next week. If I get the tiles repaired during my spacewalk, I shall have the thrilling conclusion to "Burglars in the Neighborhood", a fictional account that explores the absurdity of the "we support the troops, but we loudly oppose the commander-in-chief and undermine the mission at every opportunity" crowd.

I will be checking out Michael Yon on Pundit Review Radio. He will be checking in from Mosul on Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST.

Lots happening in these exciting and important times. Keep the faith and fight the good fight for freedom, in your corner of the world and your sphere of influence.

Hey, I've read the end of the book. The ride is wild, but the good guys win. So, let's go enjoy the ride. See you next week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Innovative. Deadly. Winning: The United States Army

Hey, were you wondering why we haven't seen any jihadis dancing on burning American vehicles lately? Well, I ran across this possible explanation from the incomparable Michael Yon:
In the Yarmuk neighborhood [of Mosul], only terrorists openly carry AK-47s. The lawyers call this Hostile Intent. The soldiers call this Dead Man Walking. Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy. They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down.
Now, if that doesn't warm the cockles of your heart, take two happy pills and call me in the morning. This former Marine says: God bless America and its Army!

Welcome to the front lines ...

Work presses in so the landing of the space shuttle, er the conclusion of "Burglars in the House", will just have to wait.

In the meantime, I came across a couple of fascinating and insightful posts. First, there was Austin Bay's noting the clash of narratives between the West and the Islamic world, and also within Islam itself. Then, I read My Pet Jawa's post asserting the real front in the War on Militant Islam is the propaganda war. And Rusty sounds the alarm that we are not winning this war. Oh, but we can.

So, I've reflected the past couple of days ... While lamenting my inability to be with our troops engaging the enemy, have I been in the battle all along?

Where are the front lines in this battle? And how do we best participate?

Your thoughts?

Me? I'll be here at my post.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Quick Update ...

Jihadis pleading via leaflets in the Sunni Triangle. Where is their man Zarqawi with an inspiring video any way? Success reported in Mosul. A very under-the-radar "Operation Quick Strike" last week along the Euphrates River. Complaints from terrorists of poor leadership.

Of course, there are more fights and plenty of bad guys left, but ... we appear to see momentum here. All of which was lost in the MSM's breathless reporting about the 20 Marines killed last week -- evidently as part of the initial phase of Quick Strike.

The New York Times reports about 5 days after Quick Strike opens -- that it's on. Thanks for the update, folks. But, if they had been reading Belmont Club, they would have known both that it was on and what it meant. Meanwhile, this guy is providing the best combat reporting going right now.

Another benefit of this War on Militant Islam may be the quickening obselescence of the the MSM. Bring it on.

I will be back tomorrow or Wednesday with ... yes, I think ... the exciting conclusion of "Burglars in the Neighborhood".

Friday, August 05, 2005

I've been sitting on this blockbuster all week ...

And now that the crew and passengers of the ill-fated Air France jet that crashed in Toronto are all safe ... I can now reveal what new insight into the jet's harrowing landing during a blinding thunderstorm.

Some people on the ground reported seeing a white object near the cockpit as the plane approached the runway at a high speed. Apparently, the captain had opened the cockpit window, and indeed, enhanced photographs show that he was waving a white handkerchief with his left hand as the plane approached. Thus, the plane was even more difficult to control.

The preliminary finding of Air France's investigation is that the captain was in fact attempting to surrender to the thunderstorm.

See you next week.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Justice of Paul Hackett's Defeat

It has been a strange week filled with grief and irony. In the same week when 20 Marines from Ohio were killed in Iraq, a Marine major -- Paul Hackett -- became the first Iraq War vet to run for Congress in Ohio's 2nd congressional district ... and lose.

Hackett disagrees with the war that took the lives of the Ohio Marines this week.

Yet, he volunteered to serve in Iraq. Furthermore, in his campaign, he said that he supported the President's refusal to set a withdrawal date for American troops. And he also supported completion of the mission in Iraq. He was just against the war in the first place.

Usually, Marines are fairly predictable. They are a pretty conservative bunch, for sure. There are some variations, in particular on domestic issues. But when the nation is in peril and its troops are in harm's way, they speak and act as one.

The nation respects its Marines, and gives them deference. Yet, there are a few bad apples and exceptions. Indeed, there are those whose personal ambition and desires take precedence over their service to Corps and country. There always have been, and there always will be.

And it appears that Paul Hackett may be one of those bad apples. And not because he is a Democrat. The problem with Hackett is simply this: He publicly undermined his commander-in-chief, and by extension his fellow Marines, in a time of war. Furthermore, he is untrustworthy.

Hackett said he opposed the Iraq War. He is certainly free as an American and as a candidate for Congress to believe and say this. But a Marine officer knows that his opinions should be shared only so far as they do not undermine the chain-of-command, particularly in a time of war. If politics conflicts with an officer's duty, politics loses.

Beyond questioning the war itself, though, Hackett said several outrageous things that are over the line for any congressional candidate, much less a Marine. For one thing, he called Pres. Bush a "son-of-a-bitch", and then he refused to apologize. He also said that, in a world where OBL and Zarqawi are on the loose, that Pres. Bush is actually the most dangerous man in the world. This is out of the bounds of both sanity and propriety.

Then, to attempt to steal away with the coveted congressional seat in a conservative district, Hackett campaigned essentially as a supporter of the President, emphasizing the "stay the course" message on Iraq. For some reason, he didn't mention that he is a favorite of the Daily Kossacks, or that he is an ultra-liberal. Was our man Hackett less than forthcoming?

But he can't be all that, right? After all, he volunteered for dangerous duty in Iraq.

Yet, I have to ask: He volunteered for a mission he didn't believe in? Call me a skeptic, but this strikes me as odd. Very odd. It sounds like the actions of a young Navy lieutenant who entered the Navy while opposed to Viet Nam War ... and vowed to become the next JFK. Is this what our man Hackett did? We can't know for sure, but the evidence points that way. None of the fawning MSM appear to have asked Hackett why he felt compelled to volunteer in what he believes to be a colossal mistake.

What to say about one who would use the privilege of military service in a conflict they don't support to create a political billboard? For one thing, it smacks of the dishonest tactics used by ambulance-chasing trial lawyers. But that wouldn't fit our man Hackett, or would it?

A quick story ... I was on active duty when Bill Clinton was elected. We called it "Black Tuesday". It was a dark day that started a decline in our military that lasted until 2000. Like nearly every Marine I knew, I was devastated when Bill Clinton was elected. But we sucked it up, and we shut up. And it wasn't even wartime.

Hackett, though, attacked the commander-in-chief in a way that might lead some to call him an SOB.

Marines stick together, generally to a fault. But there are limits. A story is told of the legendary Marine Chesty Puller. One of Puller's Marines had gone wild on a ship and engaged in an embarrassing spree of misconduct that had harmed the reputation of the Marine unit that was serving alongside sailors.

When the Marine was brought forward for non-judicial punishment, the presiding Navy officer asked Puller if the accused was one of his Marines.

"He's not one of my Marines," Puller replied. And with that, the wayward Marine got the punishment he deserved.

Monday, August 01, 2005

HT to Goomba: Marry me or I die!

Cutter Network News (CNN) Exclusive --

It's the scandal that won't go away.

Just days after the she was fighting him for meatball sandwiches and pile driving Nickie Goomba into the sand on Mooloolaba Beach, Helen Thomas spoke exclusively with CNN about the older man that makes her feel young yet again. And passionate. "The day Nick Goomba is going to run from me, I'll kill myself," she told CNN. "All I need is one more liar, I mean, one more man. You know what I mean." Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does. Plus, I would run him down like a cheetah on the African plain. Marry me, Nicholas Goomba."

Mr. Goomba did not return phone calls seeking a comment. However, a resourceful CNN reporter waited for Goomba to emerge from his cubicle and head out for his daily spaghetti lunch. When approached on the street about his relationship with Ms. Thomas, Goomba angrily barked at reporters, "I did not have relations with that woman, Ms. Thomas. Now, if you will excuse me, I have got to get back to work for the American people."

Burglars in the Neighborhood ... Part III

Note: This DC exclusive mini-series is inspired by those contend that Pres. Bush is a “war criminal, that the Iraq War is “illegal”, “unjust”, “the wrong war at the wrong time”, “ill-advised”, etc., but nonetheless claim they “support our troops.” For these people, each difficult mission or day in Iraq is viewed an another opportunity to make another political point.

This series is fictional, but it is based upon current events. Any resemblance between any character herein and/or between current world events is not designed to impugn the patriotism of any Leftist … as we know that every one on the Left loves the military, “supports the troops” and it is completely outlandish to even imply otherwise.

To clarify, the Leftists specifically referenced are those who insist upon trumpeting their opposition to the war in Iraq while holding to the nonsensical position that they still "support the troops".

If the inane and insane conduct of the Half-Delegate herein does not represent or fit you, then don't wear it.

For a recap ... here's Part I and Part II.

The Captain returned to his men, and the fighting intensified. The operation to rid the neighborhood of the Menace's criminals raged for many months. It was hard work, the but men of the force, they persevered.

The Half-Delegate's messages over his New Yorktimes continued blaring day in ... day out. These messages wore on the Captain's men while emboldening the criminals: "People of the Neighborhood, please understand. Not all of us believe in what the Force is doing here. They are misguided. Their mission, though in the guise of law enforcement, is unlawful. It is a terrible mistake. Please accept our apologies. We are hopeful to convince the Supreme Commander to pull out at the earliest possible date, or at least to set a deadline for such a pullout ... "

Hearing these messages became hard to bear for the members of the Force. They had already found criminals loyal to the Mother of All Menaces (MOAM) upon their arrival. Now, more were pouring into the neighborhood. In fact, the messages on the New Yorktimes could be heard well over the walls of the neighborhood and to the east, where the MOAM's criminals encamped.

Still the Half-Delegate, he would not stop: "All who fear the Captain and his noble men (we all support in the land, you know) should recall that political leaders like myself are hoping that we create a situation just like long ago when we convinced our government to pull out before another illegal mission was finished. Recall that we made that situation much better. And if you fear the Force, just remember that we are here. We support the troops."

One night after chow, the Captain met with his men to discuss their mission and to check their morale. One corporal was angry, for he had lost two friends fighting the MOAM's forces in the neighborhood. "Captain, do we just sit here and take this each day? We are fighting these criminals here with all we have, and it appears that the people of the land, they do not believe in us." The Captain had worried about the effect of the Half-Delegate's constant statements on the New Yorktimes regarding the mission of his men. It seemed to be taking a toll. "Corporal, I understand. Please remember that most of the people, they are behind us. But the Half-Delegate's efforts frankly puzzle me. All members of the land have the right to believe and speak as they wish, though. This separates us from those we are fighting."

The Corporal pondered these words, but he could not accept them. Something was not right. Some other men spoke up and wondered if the messages broadcast via the New Yorktimes were emboldening the criminals, such that the criminals wondered if the Supreme Commander would shrink from the mission. Some of the men wondered now, too, if he would. And then they would be endangered in the Neighborhood and reviled back in the land.

Amidst the heating discussion, a sergeant spoke up. In his heart, he knew that the Half-Delegate had taken liberties in this time of strife that cut to the core of the men he served with. "Sir, we came here to find and fight the Burglars ... in this Neighborhood. But, if the Half-Delegate is right, then we, we are the burglars."

"Exactly," the Corporal said.

"Well, he is wrong," the Captain shot back. "Let's get to it and get it done."

The Captain's men remembered that exchange and, the Half-Delegate's efforts notwithstanding, their professionalism carried them over the coming months. Eventually, they cornered and destroyed the Menace's criminals, and they also eliminated nearly all but a few stragglers of the MOAM's forces that had come from the east to join the fight. Their mission was now finally judged a success, such that the people of the Neighborhood were able to take on the remaining criminals without help from the Force.

The time to return to the land drew near. People in the land began to see that the mission of the force was nearing an end and also that the Menace and his criminals had been neutralized. There was joy in more than half of the land.

One night, the Corporal opened a letter from a woman who had been corresponding with him throughout the mission. She wrote, "I had my doubts about the mission of the Force, though I never shared them with you. Mainly, I wanted you to come home safe. Now that the mission is over, I am glad you are well and that you and the rest of the Force will be home soon. I have come to see the merit of what you and your comrades have been doing. And you have done it well. Thank you for serving." The Corporal was moved. Here was a woman who had doubts about their mission, yet she had steadfastly written and encouraged him. The work of the Force, it was hard. And the Half-Delegate had caused him to doubt on some days. Upon reading her letter, he was thankful. His faith in the people of the land was renewed.

The Captain dropped by the Corporal's tent. "Whatcha reading?," the Captain asked. "Just a note from a friend at home, sir," the corporal responded. "Well, I'm sure you are ready to head home, " the Captain said. The Corporal, he nodded.

"We've got one more thing to do, though," the Captain said, as he turned to head back to his hooch for the night. "We're going to see the Half-Delegate before we get out of here ... one last bit of business."

Next time ... the conclusion.