I just finished reading a couple of first-hand accounts of the battle in Fallujah. Embedded reporters wrote them.
It was a brutal nasty dangerous battle. Although the troop’s goal was to try to preserve the city, they also didn’t waste blood on it. If they took fire from a building, they brought in amour and demolished the building. The allowed the enemy no sanctuary.
The goal to preserve the city was a secondary goal, the first goal was to minimize U.S. casualties, the second goal was to rid the city of the enemy, and lastly they wanted to do as little damage as possible.
They lost the last goal. The city is in ruin. Perhaps that’s as it should be. It will be an example to others that let terrorist flourish in their midst.
If, once Fallujah is completely secure, we no flood the city with reconstruction money; the damage may be soon forgotten.
Even though we decimated the enemy, I weep our casualties. Things are replaceable people are not.
Rush frequently says the job of the military is to kill people and break things. In Fallujah, they did just that.
StrategyPage.com has an excellent analysis of how the U.S. took Fallujah. Here's a snippet, but I recommend you read the whole thing.
The anti-government gunmen had been hammered for weeks by JDAM smart bombs directed at buildings they had taken over for living quarters. Taking over buildings was quite common. Sometimes the owners of the home cooperated, sometimes they were just kicked out. The gunmen preferred seizing a house in a residential neighborhood, believing that the Americans would be reluctant to bomb where there were a lot of civilians. The newly introduced 500 pound JDAM quickly destroyed that notion, and several hundred gunmen as well. Numbers are still being compiled on how many gunmen were killed in Fallujah before November 8th, either by JDAMs, or attacks by AC-130 gunships or AH-64 helicopters. There were often several attacks a night in the weeks before November 8th. This was not only to kill hostile gunmen, but also to disrupt the defensive plans for the city. The gunmen were getting pretty paranoid about all those attacks. Some innocent Fallujans were killed by the gunmen, who were quick to finger anyone as an informer. But a lot of the targeting information came from electronic and video surveillance. A couple of dozen guys moving into a building for the night left visual signs that could be captured and correctly interpreted. Tapping into telephones, and even the use of commercial walkie-talkies by the gunmen, also provided clues as to where some of these guys were going to bunk down, and often die, that night.
Fallujah was a battle won by better intelligence, as well as speed and superior training and leadership. The payoff was a huge amount of additional intelligence in the form of prisoner interrogations, captured documents and equipment. Moreover, the rapid, and one-sided nature of the battle, was a major blow to the Sunni Arab myth that they were winning their war to restore a Sunni Arab dictatorship in the country.
StrategyPage.com has an article about the Navy using the Boeing 737 to replace the old P3 Orion sub chaser.
Boeing is building seven B-737 aircraft modified to serve as the navy’s replacement for the P-3 maritime reconnaissance aircraft. These seven MMA (Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft) will be used for testing and development before mass production of about a hundred MMAs begins before the end of the decade.
Although the B-737 MMA is a two engine jet, compared to the four engine turboprop P-3, it is a more capable plane. The MMA has 23 percent more floor space than the P-3, and is larger (118 foot wingspan, versus 100 foot) and heavier (83 tons versus 61). Most other characteristics are the same. Both can stay in the air about ten hours per sortie. Speed is different. Cruise speed for the MMA is 910 kilometers an hour, versus 590 for the P-3. This makes it possible for the MMA to get to a patrol area faster, which is a major advantage when chasing down subs spotted by sonar arrays or satellites. However, the P-3 can carry more weapons (9 tons, versus 5.6.) This is less of a factor as the weapons (torpedoes, missiles, mines, sonobouys) are, pound for pound, more effective today and continuing that trend. Both carry the same size crew, of 10-11 pilots and equipment operators. Both aircraft carry search radar and various other sensors. The 737 has, like the P-3. been equipped with bomb hard points on the wings for torpedoes or missiles.
The B-737 is a more modern design, and has been used successfully since the 1960s by commercial aviation. Navy aviators are confident that it will be as reliable as the P-3 (which was based on the Electra civilian airliner that first flew in 1954, although only 170 were built, plus 600 P-3s. About 40 Electras are still in service). The Boeing 737 first flew in 1965, and over 5,000 have been built. The MMA will be the first 737 designed with a bomb bay and four wing racks for weapons.
Flying is a bit nerve racking. Tonight, at the Detroit airport, it was cold and wet. Ever present in my mind was the thought of ice. When the air passes over the wing, it accelerates in speed. This speed increases causes a loss in air pressure, which in turn, caused the air temperature to also go down. The air pressure loss on the top of the wing is what makes airplanes capable of flight.
The lower air temperature, however, means that ice will form on the wing, even though the surrounding temperature is not at freezing.
As the plane taxied to the runway, we paused just short of the runway. Then we started taxiing again. As we did, I observed that we passed, what appeared to be de-icing trucks. I would have felt better if they had hosed down our plane. But we passed on unsprayed.
Then we were at the end of the runway. The pilot locked the brakes while he brought the engines up to full power. Time stood still while I pondered: was the air cold enough to freeze the water on the wings or would this takeoff be like any other?
He released the brakes and we started to roll. Did I have seconds to live or years? All I could do was watch the wing as the aircraft gained speed. It was dark so I could not see if the moisture on the wing was turning to ice.
Shortly the nose came up and the DC-9 flew off the runway just as it had done thousands of times before. I briefly surveyed my fellow passengers. They all appeared oblivious to how close we all came to dying.
Life went on.
I'm back from Michigan. A nice trip, although I lost three days at work, but my goal is to make them up this week.
Unfortunately, for blogging, I'm on a three-day away mission this week. I'll be leaving Wednesday for North Jersey and plan to return late Saturday afternoon.
This is the flu season and you may not have gotten a flu shot - what with the shortage and all. One of the biggest things you can do is to wash your hands. Here are the CDC's guidelines and hand washing.
The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, or from contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste.
What happens if you do not wash your hands frequently?
You pick up germs from other sources and then you infect yourself when you
● Touch your eyes
● Or your nose
● Or your mouth.
One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with the cold virus.
You can also spread germs directly to others or onto surfaces that other people touch. And before you know it, everybody around you is getting sick.
The important thing to remember is that, in addition to colds, some pretty serious diseases -- like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea -- can easily be prevented if people make a habit of washing their hands.
When should you wash your hands?
You should wash your hands often. Probably more often than you do now because you can't see germs with the naked eye or smell them, so you do not really know where they are hiding.
It is especially important to wash your hands
● Before, during, and after you prepare food
● Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom
● After handling animals or animal waste
● When your hands are dirty, and
● More frequently when someone in your home is sick.
What is the correct way to wash your hands?
● First wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap. Place the bar soap on a rack and allow it to drain.
● Next rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
● Continue for 10 - 15 seconds or about the length of a little tune. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
● Rinse well and dry your hands.
It is estimated that one out of three people do not wash their hands after using the restroom. So these tips are also important when you are out in public.
Washing your hands regularly can certainly save a lot on medical bills. Because it costs less than a penny, you could say that this penny's worth of prevention can save you a $50 visit to the doctor.
I had a small epiphany this morning in church. The bible passage they read this morning was Exodus 3:1-6. It reads as follows:
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up."
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am."
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
I used to wonder about God tell Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. During the recent Operation Iraqi Freedom, we learned that it is very in insulting to hit someone with your shoe. We saw pictures of Iraqi’s hitting pictures of Saddam Hussein with their shoes.
I wonder if that insult goes back thousands of years to biblical times? Perhaps God was telling Moses to remove his sandals because it would be insulting to God for Moses to put his shoes on holy ground.
Powerline has a reader (New York bond trader) send in his experience in dealing with some of the principals in the Ukrainian deal. His summary:
I'm sure Yuschenko isn't a choir-boy. And I realize that the people of Eastern Ukraine have legitimate aspirations to be full participants in Ukrainian society in spite of their felt closeness to Russia. However, the scale of corruption in the Yanukovych campaign must be very great if it is so smackingly obvious even to a humble bond trader sitting in New York.
The Carnival of Recipes is up. Get into the kitchen and get cooking. I'm feeling hungry already.
I admit that I have been rather blindsided on this situation in the Ukraine. I know something’s going on there, but I don’t have a clue as to what or who the players are. Now I’ve run across this article in Chronicles Magazine that seems to take a fairly even handed approach and makes me feel a little better informed. There’s a little of “they’re at it again,” but it IS informative.
...neither the winner of the presidential election in the Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, nor his Western-supported ultranationalist rival Viktor Yushchenko, are "democrats" or "reformers" in any accepted sense...< /blockquote >Posted by Ted on 11/27/04 10:10 AM | Link
These are Phlox. My mother gave the seeds to the Vorlon wife, she planted them and this is the result. These are wild Phlox not the domesticated ones. They grow much taller and bloom earlier for a shorter period. They usually grow so tall they fall over. But they are still an attractive flower.
Strategypage.com has an excellent analysis of why we have such a conflict with Isalm.
Finally, we have the Moslem clergy. These men are the major source of hatred for the West in the Moslem world. The reason is simple. Most Moslems, especially young ones, when exposed to Western culture, begin to question their faith. Islam (which means “submission”) demands blind acceptance of Islamic religious practices and beliefs. Moslems believe that Islam is the final stage of the religion that originated with the Jews and was modified by the followers of Jesus. Islam is the end of the road, and there is no room for change. While there are many Islamic clerics and religious scholars who have worked out ways to adapt Islam to modern science and culture, these fellows are not the problem. The Islamic conservatives recoil at any contact with the West, realizing that the Islam they know and practice cannot survive those encounters. Meanwhile, most Westerners are mystified by all the hatred directed at them. Many Westerners blame the hatred on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But that’s just a side show. The Islamic conservatives hate what the West stands for. Freedom, especially in thought, is not what conservative Islam is all about.
We had Thanksgiving today rather than Thursday. We all met at my sister’s place. So it was my sister, her husband and one daughter, my brother, his wife one daughter and one son, my parents and the Vorlon wife.
In spite of severe political differences, we had to disagreements. I was on my good behavior for a change.
Somewhat to my surprise and some disappointment, my brother appears to be a Microsoft hater. But remaining on my rare good behavior, I rose not to the bait and let it pass.
Blogging has been very light, although I have had some access to a PC. Even though it only has dial-up access, I could have posted, but my father has been on my case every time I sit down to the PC.
All in all, it has not been bad. I worry about being away from the office. I feel like there are things I should be doing that I’m not. But I guess that’s what people go through when they’re a business owner.
I'm off to Michigan to visit with my family for the Thanksgiving Holidays. Blogging will be light - although I do have my Friday Flowerblogger staged and ready to post on Friday.
If you'd like to send something to our brave men and women in harms way, here are several web sites with information on how you can do that.
StrategyPage.com has news about the upgrades to the versatile A-10.
The U.S. Air Force is beginning it’s A-10 upgrade, that will convert most of the current A-10A aircraft to A-10Cs (the A-10B was a two seat version produced in small quantities). Most of the changes will not be visible, and many will be in the cockpit. The pilots will now have color LCDs, new instruments and a new joystick with enough buttons on it to allow the pilot to control just about everything without having to fiddle with any other controls. This is called HOTAS (Hands-On Throttle And Stick). The A-10C will be able to use JDAM (GPS guided) smart bombs, as well as many current, and future, missiles. This makes the A-10 even more versatile. The air force has been trying to dump the A-10 for some two decades now. But the army combat troops like it, as do the air force pilots who fly it and, most importantly, so does the media. The A-10C will be the most versatile combat warplane the air force operates. The A-10 is the only warplane that can get down low (the better to figure what is really going on), and deliver effective firepower (via the 30mm automatic cannon). The A-10C will also be able to drop smart bombs from higher altitudes, making it able to deal with just about any combat support mission that comes up. In addition, the A-10 is designed to operate from crude airbase facilities and, in general, take a lot of punishment and keep going.
One could make a case that Clinton is responsible for Bush’s victories.
Pretend for a moment that during the Lewinski scandal, Clinton resigned. That would put Al Gore in office as President. That means that Gore runs in 2000 as an incumbent instead of an heir apparent.
That extra oomph is likely to result in enough additional votes that Gore easily carries Florida and wins the election.
But Clinton refused to resign and the Democrats backed him fully. But look what all this loyalty to Clinton has got them. Since Clinton took office, the Democrats have steadily lost ground. With each election cycle, they lose more governorships, more congressional seats and in the recent election Bush not only won the Presidency, but also added to Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House.
In the most recent election, every single candidate that Clinton campaigned for lost.
I don’t know why Democrats continue to glorify Clinton when he continues to drag the party downhill.
The evil Karl Rove and George Bush have a goal: to make the Republicans the majority party for the next generation.
One Marine sacrifices his life for others.
Peralta, 25, as platoon scout, wasn't even assigned to the assault team that entered the insurgent safe house in northern Fallujah, Marines said. Despite an assignment that would have allowed him to avoid such dangerous duty, he regularly asked squad leaders if he could join their assault teams, they said.
One of the first Marines to enter the house, Peralta was wounded in the face by rifle fire from a room near the entry door, said Lance Cpl. Adam Morrison, 20, of Tacoma, who was in the house when Peralta was first wounded.
Moments later, an insurgent rolled a fragmentation grenade into the area where a wounded Peralta and the other Marines were seeking cover.
As Morrison and another Marine scrambled to escape the blast, pounding against a locked door, Peralta grabbed the grenade and cradled it into his body, Morrison said. While one Marine was badly wounded by shrapnel from the blast, the Marines said they believe more lives would have been lost if not for Peralta's selfless act.
"He saved half my fire team," said Cpl. Brannon Dyer, 27, of Blairsville, Ga. The Marines said such a sacrifice would be perfectly in character for Peralta, a Mexico native who lived in San Diego and gained U.S. citizenship after joining the Marines.
A Powerline reader has an interesting take on the scuffle in Santiago with American and Chilean security forces.
Judging from your comments, I don't think you guys realize the seriousness of what happened in Chile. Let me put it into perspective: the president has been marked for death by hundreds of terrorist groups; he is in a foreign country, one where there have been near contintuous riots against America and against him, personally, over the Iraq War; as he's walking into a banquet hall, the local police intentionally cut him off from his security detail.
If the first thought that popped into your mind when you heard about that was not "assassination," then your mind is still laboring in a pre-9/11 world.
It's entirely possible that rather than "rescuing" his detained Secret Service detail, Bush in fact saved his own life. If there was a plan, if this wasn't just a random act of rudeness by the Chilean police (why would they do that?), then Bush's quick thinking may have forced the would-be attackers to abort the operation.
This little incident needs a thorough and complete investigation by Chile, as well as by the CIA. The incident the next day -- where the Bush team demanded everyone at the next banquet pass through metal detectors -- shows that they had the same thought I did (and we all should have had); the fact that Chile refused, even to the point of scuttling the party, is troubling, to say the least.
There are a lot of people out there who want to see George W. Bush dead; alas, there are a lot of heads of state who would not shed a tear. In this day and age, when armed local cops intentionally cut the president off from his security detail, that should be taken as no less a violent act that when an anti-aircraft missile battery "paints" an American plane with fire-control radar.
Micheal Barone notes that although Kerry got more votes that Al Gore, Bush got a LOT more votes in 2004 than he did in 2000.
With the absentee votes in California and Washington finally counted, it appears that overall turnout was up 12 percent. John Kerry's popular vote was also 12 percent above Al Gore's. But the popular vote for Bush was up a stunning 20 percent. Before the election, some liberal commentators were claiming that Bush would win no votes he hadn't won in 2000. Not quite: He won 10 million more.
Bush's popular vote was up 23 percent in the 13 battleground states that decided the election. Kerry's paid-worker, union-led turnout drives in central cities nearly matched that--his vote was up 21 percent over Gore's in the battlegrounds. But that wasn't enough to outdo the Bush volunteer efforts in the make-or-break states of Florida and Ohio. Elsewhere Bush had a bigger edge. His popular vote was up 21 percent in safe Bush states and 16 percent in safe Kerry states, compared with 12 and 5 percent for Kerry. The Bush organization literally reshaped the electorate. The 2000 exit poll showed an electorate that was 39 percent Democratic and 35 percent Republican. The 2004 exit poll, which was tilted toward Democrats, found a dead heat: 37 percent to 37 percent. That means that Republican turnout was up 19 percent and Democratic turnout up only 7 percent. This is the most Republican electorate America has had since random-sample polling was invented.
A Marine writes of what he saw in Fallujah.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.
The second example comes from 3/1. Cpl Mitchell is a squad leader. He was wounded as his squad was clearing a house when some enemy threw pineapple grenades down on top of them. As he was getting triaged, the doctor told him that he had been shot through the arm. Cpl Mitchell told the doctor that he had actually been shot "a couple of days ago" and had given himself self aide on the wound. When the doctor got on him about not coming off the line, he firmly told the doctor that he was a squad leader and did not have time to get treated as his men were still fighting. There are a number of Marines who have been wounded multiple times but refuse to leave their fellow Marines.
The Vorlon wife has an uncle, in his 80’s that appears to be near the end of his life. This weekend his brother flew up from Florida to visit him and the brother and his female friend stayed with us. The two brothers are quite different. The one that is ill never married and was quiet and rather reclusive. The brother from Florida has the gift of gab. He is much more outgoing and easily engages everyone he meets in conversation.
We spent most of today at the nursing home where they are giving him Hospice car. He doesn’t appear to be suffering. Although he’s not in a coma, he appears to be sleeping and is uncommunicative. He has a living will and has stipulated not extraordinary measure be taken. The doctors had wanted to install a feeding tube, he not eating, but his living will has that crossed off.
Now it’s just a matter of time.
This is a picture of the Vorlon wife’s azaleas. They’re a very pretty shade of pink. I know they’re out of season, but natural flowers are very hard to come by this time of year. Besides, at this time of year I’d much rather look forward to spring than winter and its associated nasty weather.
So dear reader, disregard the coming cold weather. Instead, concentrate on the promise to come after. It’ll be worth the wait and ever the more appreciated.
Besides, isn’t that what cameras are for? To capture moments to later relive and enjoy. I rather liken it to putting up jams and jellies during the summer so that one can enjoy the fruits of summer all winter long. That’s what I intend to do here.
I belong to a BNI networking group. One of our members is an attorney. He has put together a checklist for firing an employee. As an employer in today’s world, you have to be careful, when you terminate an employee. Done improperly, you can leave yourself open to a lawsuit. If you’d like to download his checklist, here is the link.
I saw a snippet on Fox News tonight about the Clinton Presidential Library opening. They discussed how Clinton never acknowledged he did anything wrong. He considers himself a victim of those rascally Republicans. Their conclusion, now remember these were pundits not reporters, was Clinton was fooling himself.
While I agree with them to a point, I also consider a different angle. Had he acknowledged how badly he acted, I think it would have been difficult for him to continue. But by framing his situation as a victim and feeling that he was assaulted by bad people, he kept his cool and carried on.
From time-to-time, we all face challenges. How we respond to those challenges depends on how we frame them in our minds. I will give the devil, Clinton, his due. I don’t consider some of the things he did as moral, but I somewhat admire his ability to frame the situation in his own mind so that he could continue.
On the same vein, I also admire con men. What they do is wrong. But I admire their ability to live on just their wits alone.
I wish I had more of that ability in myself.
It seems Saddam was a little cleverer than we gave him credit for. This tidbit in the World Tribune indicates that he set up terrorist cells well ahead of time.
Insurgents captured in Fallujah have told Iraqi military interrogators that most of those fighting in Fallujah were former security officers for the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The insurgents said Saddam organized special operations units, starting in 2001, to counter any foreign invasion in Iraq. Most of those units, the insurgents said, are still active in the Sunni Triangle.
Officials said the Sunni insurgency was being directed from Syria. They said Saddam loyalists were receiving funding and orders from senior aides of the former Saddam regime based in Damascus, including ex-Vice President Izzet Ibrahim Al Douri.
"The battle for Fallujah has become the test for Saddam loyalists," an Iraqi official said. "Fallujah was the center of the terrorism and the symbol of the terrorists."
Officials said the Iraqi resistance appears to have changed tactics and no longer seeks a head-on clash with the U.S. military for the control of major cities. Instead, Saddam loyalists and foreign volunteers have launched attacks on police stations and other facilities meant to intimidate security forces and seize weapons and material.
"This ultimately is not going to be won in the kinetic sense — in battle," U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "It's going to be won in having Iraqis taking ownership and investing their own personal sweat and blood." Iraq's interim government has been bracing for an insurgency throughout the Sunni Triangle.
I think this later part is as true as can be. We cannot win this for the Iraqi’s. Ultimately, they’re going to have to take on the burden themselves. I know I’ve worried about their hunger for true freedom before. I’m not done worrying.
Our marvelous troops have done a magnificent job in Fallujah. Now the test will come for the ING. Can the keep Fallujah clean?
On that, we are going to have to wait and see.
I got some disappointing news today. The last few times I took Dasher-1 to be refueled the attendant had great difficulty filling the tank. The nozzle from the pump would shut off – even when the tank was empty. The last time, I couldn’t put more than half a tank in.
It was just too aggravating so I took it to the Honda dealership today.
They couldn’t fix it as they’ll have to order the parts, but it’s going to be VERY expensive. It has something to do with the emissions system and a valve on the fuel tank. To fix it they have to remove the fuel tank. To remove the fuel tank, they have to remove the rear suspension. The car will be off the street for more than a day. It’s a lot of labor.
Well I held a little pity party for myself for about 30 minutes and then scheduled to have the work done.
Since I’m flying out to Michigan over the Thanksgiving holidays, I’ll drop Dasher-1 off at the dealership and then pick it up upon my return.
I was streaming Rush last night and he had a couple of callers who professed to being black. There were on fire about the way Condoleezza Rice was being portrayed by many of the political cartoonists. One man said,
Basically, I'm an inner city young black male from Indianapolis, and I'm going to tell you, you know, I don't totally agree with Bush and Condoleezza Rice, but I would say that I would debate Condoleezza Rice on the issues, and I would respect her doctorate. I respect her experience, and you know what? I think its crap that these guys will resort to these tactics when 30 years of breaking out cartoons, these racially motivated cartoons.
Where I come from, I'm from, like I said, from the inner city, raised in the projects 20 years of my life. I had to make some adjustments, and because I tried to make some adjustments. I was ridiculed. I was turned off. There was a documentary being filmed somewhere here in Chicago, and I stepped up to the mike to give my opinion on something, and because of the way I spoke, Rush, they would not take me! They would not. Do you understand what I'm saying?
We had a member of our Toastmasters club that happened to be black. He was a good speaker with a lot of enthusiasm and got better in his tenure with us. His only problem was, he would drop the g’s from his ‘ing words. We brought that to his attention and he improved. He also confided with us, that when he went back to some of his friends, they complained that he didn’t sound right.
Here was a man, trying to improve himself, and his friend didn’t like it. He was leaving them behind.
I would maintain the Democrats don’t want an articulate black person. They want to portray a victim not a hero. With one victim, they try to imply that ALL are victims.
While I would acknowledge there are some victims, I’m an advocate for hero’s.
The Belmont Club highlights Lance Cpl. Jeramy Airles, recently killed in Fallujah.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jeramy Ailes, 22, of Gilroy was killed Monday in Al-Fallujah by small arms fire. "They had finished mopping up in Fallujah and they went back to double-check on some insurgents. From what we gathered, somebody playing possum jumped up and shot him,'' said his father, Joel Ailes, who learned of his death Monday evening. "It's extremely hard."
... His first time in Iraq, Jeramy Ailes gave $10 to each child he came across because he knew it would feed their families for 30 days. This time, he asked his family to mail as many soccer balls as they could. His family sent 300 balls, and Jeramy Ailes' platoon handed them out to children.
Joel Ailes warmly remembered the last conversation he had with his son last month, in which Jeramy Ailes recounted how he had come across a large man walking with a 12-year-old girl carrying a huge bale of straw on her back. His son, who spoke and read Arabic, exchanged words with the man. And, for the next seven miles, his son carried the girl on his back and the man carried the bales of straw. "That was my son," Joel Ailes said.
Powerline has a post this morning about happenings in North Korea. It is a little intriguing.
The most prevalent flyer is called the "sixteen lies" of tyrant Kim and his tyrant father and it takes apart the fundamental myths and propaganda regarding the cult of the Kims and outlines the failings of the regime. Another flyer is based on the thesis that Kim Jong-il killed his father (perhaps some propaganda in and of itself but a brilliant move given the traditions of the Korean culture.) Here is hoping things happen in twos and in Iran and North Korea justice will be done, and done soon, and done of, by, and for the people there with a little help from friends.
Could North Korea suddenly take a turn for the better? Sometimes things seem darkest just before success breaks out.
And sometimes things are darkest just before complete disaster.
StrategyPage.com has an excellent take on Saddam's end days.
Interrogations of Saddam Hussein, and examination of the tons of Iraqi government documents have revealed more details of how Saddam ruled Iraq, and misjudged American concern over Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, and support of terrorism. Saddam stayed in power via combination of paranoia, and a shrewd use of terror and rewards. He was always in fear of assassination, a fear that was confirmed by over a dozen serious attempts to kill him. Saddam safeguarded himself by constantly moving around, and letting very few people know where he was. He used his intelligence agencies and secret police to constantly look for disloyalty, and swiftly punish any they found (either real or suspected.) Offenders could lose a limb, or other body part (like their tongue, ear or an eye), or be jailed for months or years. Executions were frequent, and the next of kin were often kept in the dark, to prolong the terror effect. But Saddam knew how to reward loyalty as well, especially with family members or fellow Sunni Arabs. Investigators believe Saddam stole $21 billion via scams like smuggling and stealing from the oil-for-food program. He used that money to keep his followers happy. Most Iraqis learned that it was best to say nothing bad about Saddam, and do whatever he asked (as he would usually give a generous reward for any service.) Saddam was also an astute manipulator of the media, and knew how to put on a good show. Many Iraqis found it convenient to believe his proclamations, like the one where he said Iraq had won the 1991 Gulf War.
But the strain eventually caught up with Saddam, and by the late 1990s he was increasingly withdrawn, and dependent on his two eldest sons to take care of his security. It was understood that one of those two sons would succeed him, but in typical fashion, Saddam never made it clear which one it would be. Saddam was also very inept when it came to predicting the reaction of foreign governments. He pretended he still had a chemical and biological weapons program because he feared an Iranian invasion otherwise. Iranians hated Saddam because of the 1980s war with Iraq, but were not interested in another one. Saddam also misunderstood the impact of September 11, 2001 on the United States, and, until the end, did not believe American troops would invade Iraq. He thought, at worst, there would be another extended bombing campaign. He also believed that the rest of the Arab world would come to his aid if American troops did invade. Saddam still considers himself the president of Iraq, and capable to maneuvering himself back into power.
My sister sent me this and I thought I'd pass it on. It's a cute story with a message. I'm sucker for these kinds of stories.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second, she placed eggs, and in the last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile.
Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
An article in the Times Online describes what it was like for Fallujah residents under the Mujahidin.
Such is the fear that the heavily armed militants held over Fallujah that many of the residents who emerged from the ruins welcomed the US marines, despite the massive destruction their firepower had inflicted on their city.
A man in his sixties, half-naked and his underwear stained with blood from shrapnel wounds from a US munition, cursed the insurgents as he greeted the advancing marines on Saturday night.
"I wish the Americans had come here the very first day and not waited eight months," he said, trembling. Nearby, a mosque courtyard had been used as a weapons store by the militants.
Another elderly man, who did not want his name used for fear the rebels would one day return and restore their draconian rule, said he was detained by the militants last Tuesday and held for four days before being freed. He described how he had then sought refuge in a friend's house where they had huddled together clutching Korans in silent prayer for their lives as the massive US bombardment put the insurgents to flight.
"It was horrible," he told an AFP reporter."We suffered from the bombings. Innocent people died or were wounded by the bombings.
"But we were happy you did what you did because Fallujah had been suffocated by the Mujahidin. Anyone considered suspicious would be slaughtered. We would see unknown corpses around the city all the time."
The same story of arbitrary executions was told by another resident, found by US troops cowering in his home with his brother and his family.
"They would wear black masks, carry rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs, and search streets and alleys," said Iyad Assam, 24. "I would hear stories, about how they executed five men one day and seven another for collaborating with the Americans. They made checkpoints on the roads. They put announcements on walls banning music and telling women to wear the veil from head to toe."
It was not just pedlars of alcohol or Western videos and women deemed improperly dressed who faced the militants' wrath. Even residents who regard themselves as observant Muslims lived in fear because they did not share the puritan brand of Sunni Islam that the insurgents enforced.
One devotee of a Sufi sect, followers of a mystical form of worship deemed herectical by the hardliners, told how he and other members of his order had lived in terror inside their homes for fear of retribution.
"It was a very hard life. We couldn't move. We could not work," said the man sporting the white robe and skullcap prescribed by his faith. "If they had any issue with a person, they would kill him or throw him in jail."
A marine writes from Fallujah
This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does.
This is one most don't hear:
A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives.
The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag.
But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares.
This is the story everyone hears:
A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face.
The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"
The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing.
And now, another Marine has the possibility of being burned at the stake for protecting the life of his brethren. His family now wrings their hands in grief, tears streaming down their face. Brother, should I have been in your boots, i too would have done the same.
For those of you who don't know, we Marines, Band of Brothers, Jarheads, Leathernecks, etc., do not fight because we think it is right, or think
it is wrong. We are here for the man to our left, and the man to our right. We choose to give our lives so that the man or woman next to us can go home and see their husbands, wives, children, friends and families.
For those of you who sit on your couches in front of your television, and choose to condemn this man's actions, I have but one thing to say to you. Get out of your recliner, lace up my boots, pick up a rifle, leave your family behind and join me. See what I've seen, walk where I have walked. To those of you who support us, my sincerest gratitude. You keep us alive.
I am a Marine currently doing his second tour in Iraq. These are my opinions and mine alone. They do not represent those of the Marine Corps or of the US military, or any other.
Look at the picture on the right. It's the same photo only I converted it to black and white and darkened in the beard area. This picture could have been taken 60 years ago.
For me, it is the eyes of a soldier that's had to kill people before they killed him. It's the eyes of a soldier that has seen death and will have those images in his mind for the rest of his life.
Thank God we have men like this. But they pay a heavy price.
I posted my first entry as a guest blogger at Business Opportunities Weblog last night. I hope Dane is not disappointed as my style is quite a bit different from his. There’s also the thought that he might cut my pay – scary.
I actually found composing the blog entry a bit useful. It helped me to get my mind around something that has been in the back of my mind for some time. Perhaps as the week wears on, I’ll get more inspiration. We’ll see.
I noticed two things.
1) Dane’s a LOT more organized than I am. He’s done a lot of work classifying his blog entries by different types. I just post.
2) He’s using Movable Type 3.xx. The new version of MT has a little prettier User Interface, but it is drastically slower in posting entries. I wonder if Dane is using the MySql database.
Chrenkoff lists much of the good news from Afghanistan. You'll need some time to go through it, there is a lot to read. Just keep scrolling.
A local radio station, Sunny 104.5 FM, has started playing Christmas music 24/7. If you live in the Philadelphia area and like Christmas music, give a listen.
By the way, there are only 39 days left until Christmas.
Another blogger that runs a business opportunity blog is going to be away for a week and he has asked for volunteers to guest blog for him. I volunteered. Now I just have to find something intellgent to say.
This morning I was watching a program called Pet Keeping with Marc Marrone. He described in new breed of cat called American Curls. It seems these kitties originated from a stray cat in 1981. As you can see from the picture, their ears naturally curl back.
Cute little buggers, aren't they?
My Palm Pilot appeared dead for a time today. I could not power it up. I finally did a cold reboot and it came back. However, it came back empty.
I was gripped with a brief moment of impending doom. I have come to rely on it so much that an empty Palm Pilot was not something I wanted to see. I broke into a cold sweat.
Once I had my Palm back up and running, I synchronized it with my PC. Almost everything came back as before. It took a little more work, and then I got my time sheet program back with all its data intact.
It now appears that the only thing I lost was my time from Friday afternoon (which I can recreate) and my notes from this morning’s sermon.
Whew! From this experience, let me offer three words of advice: Backup, backup, backup.
The Vorlon wife and I went to see “The Incredibles” tonight. It was quite enjoyable. I think I’ve seen almost all of Pixar’s films.
Yes, it was hokey as all get out. It is animation. But I was struck by its wholesomeness. There was actually an intact family unit. There was the father, the mother, a daughter, a son, and an infant of undetermined gender. Is it just me or does it strike you as strange that the only intact family we see is a fictional one in animation?
There are the obligatory fantastic scenes for this type of movie. There are scenes where characters defy the laws of physics, but the dialog and relationships seemed ever so – human. The father in his job, the stay-at-home wife, the sibling rivalry, it all seems so natural. At the same time, the family stuck together like glue.
One line really stood out for me. In the scene, the mother is instructing her two children how they should do whatever they can to protect themselves.
"I expect you to trust me. These people will try to kill you, so don't give them that chance. Doubt is a luxury we can't afford anymore."
Although I expected all the good characters to survive the encountered, I knew the movie was not going to pull any punches.
I recommend you see it.
Iraq entered my consciousness tonight as it does many times. I wondered can some form of democracy take root in Iraq.
American style democracy took root from Christian principles.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Notice the multiple references to God in “…Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…” and “…endowed by their Creator…”
I am no expert on Islam, but from what I observe, I don’t see Islam generating the same thoughts that all men are created equal and all rights flow from God, not from man.
Although I think the Greeks toyed with democracy, but it seems to have failed. It has been the U.S. that has really brought representative democracy to the modern world and then exported it to other nations. Most of those other nations were also Christian at the time. Japan was not.
I suspect you could argue that England, France, Germany and much of “old” Europe are no long “Christian” nations. Whether the U.S. is, still a Christian nature is a debatable point.
Turkey appears to be an Islamic democracy and I guess it works.
I see Iraq as at a turning point. Are the Iraqi’s now ready to make the sacrifices to be free and democratic? Right now, I see that coin in a very slow motion. I see it poised in mid-air slowly flipping end-over-end.
In a sense, Afghanistan was easier. We already had in indigenous force in the field. We just had to multiply their effectiveness and we quickly defeated the Taliban. In Iraq, we had no such constituency. We have removed the horrifically repressive government and told the Iraqi’s, “Now you are free.”
I fear the shock may be too great for them. For over 30 years, the Iraqi’s have survived by being meek slaves to Saddam’s thugs. For 30 years the Iraqi’s have been told, “Resistance is futile.” Now we are asking them to be slaves no longer, but to be men. We are asking them to fight for their freedom and a new Iraq.
Can we change that mindset from one of resignation to one of determination? I don’t know. It is my prayer that we can. I view our success or failure in Iraq as crucial to our success or failure to our war against Islamic Fascism.
We simply cannot afford to fail.
I believe that we are making progress in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Despite the ravings of pundits and uninformed ambulance chasers, this fight doesn't' hinge on oil or payback. It isn't about religion or race. And it damn sure is not about any innate desire to rule the world. These people will succeed or fail on their own merits. The task is daunting. You can release a person from bondage. You can remove a tyrant from power. You can create the conditions for liberty. But, you cannot simply grant or proclaim freedom. Freedom without honest action is a whisper in a storm just as change without vision and purpose is the illusion of progress. For ages, these people were literally beaten to the point of submission by oppression, censure, murder, torture, and rape - regardless of age or gender. I have asked myself why they let it happen. The only answer I can fathom is that evil flourished because good people refused to pay the price required to oppose it. Sure, it's easy now to pontificate and blame the poor and down trodden for their collective indifference, but forgive my sarcasm - I think we owe them more than a couple of days to realize that their hopes and dreams have a chance to grow and one day flourish. No amount of rhetoric and no pressing agenda will change the fact that time is required to help heal these people and that ancient grievances require redress. Make no mistake: I'm no crusader -I do what I do because I am a professional soldier. For me it's been simple: protect the innocent, punish the deserving, accomplish my mission and bring my men home, period. As Sting said "Poets, Priests, and Politicians have words to thank for their positions." For a soldier it is black and white: deeds not words. If you need words to better illustrate, the Latin mottos of two Infantry Regiments I have served in will suffice: "Sua Sponte" and "NeDesit Virtus": Of their own accord and Let Valor not fail. Or in true cowboy fashion: Saddle your own horse, cull your own herd, and bury your own dead.
The threat we face is like nothing we've seen before. I've been in the streets with this enemy, fought him face to face, and have been lucky enough to kill him and come out alive. I have seen what he is capable of doing and the zeal with which he will do it. This threat won't fit neatly into "the box" or be governed by any paradigm. It is a cancer within our collective body as the human race. We are all threatened by this evil, and evil it is. This enemy has twisted and distorted things both sacred and profane to guideas well as justify its means and its stated end. Nothing is beyond the realm of the possible when it comes to the depths to which it will sink, the horror it is willing to commit, or the suffering it is willing to inflict. This enemy has no concept of mercy nor does it recognize combatants. Innocence is not a factor. You need only look at the headlines of the day to confirm that children, teachers, and doctors are murdered everyday by these villains. What makes them evil? I submit that it is not the act that earns them the epithet of evil - it is the intent to commit and the pride they draw from the act. These animals revel in the post act announcements that they are responsible. They feel vindicated by the proclamations that they perpetrated these horrors in the name of God and that having committed the seacts some how elevates them. Make no mistake; this enemy is formidable but by no means invincible. To defeat this cancer requires the one thing that civilized people all over the world possess in absolute abundance - The will. The will to be free can only be surrendered by the person that has it - it cannot be murdered, raped, tortured, or stolen. It's not about being a martyr or a saint; it's about being a decent human being. And, the unvarnished truth is that the killing and the horror will continue until those with the will to endure prevail.
I’m a little frustrated about the lack of information out of Iraq and more importantly the ongoing battle for Fallujah. There’s a lot of activity outside of Fallujah. It turns out this was expected. In an article in the November 7th issue of the Seattle Times, a U.S. diplomat predicted just this sort of action.
"There will be horrific events outside Fallujah," said a senior U.S. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I would never tell you that violence in Sunni areas won't get worse when you open up a battle."
He added that officials expect that period to last "not many weeks."
"You will have a shortish period when everybody will say the whole country's falling apart but they (the insurgents) will not be able to maintain that tempo."
The battle for Fallujah reminds me somewhat of the battle for Iwo Jima. Although Iwo Jima was not urban fighting, it’s the same kind of combat. StrategyPage.com makes the point better than I.
American troops encountered this a lot while fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, particularly when fighting in towns and cities of the Philippines. The situation is different, of course, in Iraq. The Iraqi fighters are poorly trained compared to the World War II Japanese, and much more poorly equipped. American night vision equipment and UAVs provide a tremendous edge, which is why some 25 Iraqi gunmen die for each American death. Very few civilians have been encountered in Fallujah. Those that claim to be civilians are given a "residue test" to see if their hands have fired a gun or handled explosives recently. Very few young men in Fallujah come away clean.
In the battle for Iwo Jima the Marines suffered 26,000 casaulties against the 22,000 Japanese defending the island. It was literally hell on earth.
Four miles long, shaped like a pork chop, covering eight square miles, Iwo had no front lines, no rear, every inch a battleground. "We were confronted with defenses being built for years," explained Captain Haynes, who later commanded the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions. "There were complex, subterranean levels, some two stories down. From these the defenders could approach the enemy on the surface virtually anywhere through warrens, spider holes, caves, and crevices.
"At great cost, you'd take a hill to find then the same enemy suddenly on your flank or rear. The Japanese were not on Iwo Jima. They were in it!" Colonel Thomas M. Fields (USMC Ret), the University of Maryland's memorable public affairs officer, has already revisited the ankle-deep black sand around Mount Suribachi. "I'd known combat in the Solomons with its sly ambushes and jungle firefights," said the former Captain, "but Iwo was another kind of war. On Iwo by the 8th day, only two officers of my second battalion (26th Marines, 5th Marine Division) were standing ... We had one prisoner -- unconscious, his clothes blown off."
As one who stands and waits, all I can do is pray that God watches over our noble warriors.
One Blogger makes the claim that Bush had no plan for Iraq. Much as I hate to concede anything about the Bush administration, I have to admit when my opponent has a valid point. Here's an excerpt.
For example Fallujah. When the Fallujah matter came to a head earlier this year, there should of been a Plan to consult. They see contractors lynched, well ok troops pull up the Plan, flip to section "Fallujah", sub heading "what to do if people getting lynched", quickly check out the bullet-points, and VWALAH they know what to do. Did this happen? No. Instead they had to wing-it and call audibles and try to think up what to do on the fly. What's up with that?
Another example Sadr. Where was section of Plan "what to do if local retard cleric uprising secrely backed by Iran"? Nowhere that's where. So are commanders had to improvise. Um lol how stupid is that?
The Vorlon Wife has brought inside many of the plants she had outside for the summer. This is her Hibiscus. Shortly after she brought it in, it flowered. The flowers don’t last much more than a day, but we enjoy them while we can. I’m surprised how nicely this photo turned out.
It turns out James Carville, major democratic strategiest, exhibited prescience 12 days before the election. At a party he said,
“If we can’t win this damn election,” the advisor to the Kerry campaign said, “with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55% of the country believing we’re heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates, and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs — if we can’t win this one, then we can’t win s**t! And we need to completely rethink the Democratic Party.”
Well, he was proven right. Much as I'd love for the Democrats to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, I don't truct the Republicans enough to let them do that.
What I'm seeing from the Democrats is not productive. What I'm seeing is this feeding frenzy on "The Election was Stolen" mantra. Perhaps they just need to heal and then they can think rationally. But so far, they appear to have gone off their rocker.
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!
Yes, let the joyous news be spread The wicked Old Witch at last id dead!
'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone
In a one-bedroom house made of
Plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
With presents to give,
And to see just who
in this home did live.
I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see.
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking on the mantle,
Just boots filled with sand.
On the wall there hung pictures
Of far distant lands.
With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds.
A sobering thought
Just came through my mind.
For this house was different.
It was dark and so dreary.
I'd found the home of a soldier;
Once, I could see clearly.
I had heard stories about them,
I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall
And pushed open the door.
And there he lay, sleeping,
Curled up on the floor
In this one-bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured
A United States soldier.
Was this the hero
Of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
His floor for a bed?
His head was clean shaven,
His weathered face, tan.
I understood this was more
Than a mere mortal man.
For I realized the families
That I saw on this night
Owed their lives to these soldiers
Who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
On a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers
Like this one lying here.
I couldn't help but wonder
How many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve
In a land far from home.
That very thought
Brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees,
And I started to cry.
The soldier awakened,
And I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry.
This life is my choice;
"I fight for freedom.
I ask for no more.
My life is .... my God,
My Country and my Corps."
With that he rolled over
And drifted to sleep.
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still
And both of us shivered
From the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket,
The one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier
From his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt
Of gray and black,
With an eagle and Army patch
Embroidered on back.
And 'though it barely fit me,
I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment,
I was U. S. Army deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him,
On that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.
Then, the soldier rolled over.
With a voice clean and pure,
He whispered, "Carry on, Santa,
It's Christmas Day. All is secure."
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas, my friend,
And to all a good night."
A recent study by the John F Kenndy School of Government has found that it's not poverty that breeds terrorism.
Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.
Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.
Though his study didn't explore the reasons behind the trends he researched, Abadie said it could be that autocratic nations' tight control and repressive practices keep terrorist activities in check, while nations making the transition to more open, democratic governments - such as currently taking place in Iraq and Russia - may be politically unstable, which makes them more vulnerable.
"When you go from an autocratic regime and make the transition to democracy, you may expect a temporary increase in terrorism," Abadie said.
I've felt for a long time we simply cannot afford to fail in Iraq.
I’m here to contend that Bush’s 51% to 48% victory is really greater. Bush’s adversaries outspent him and the legacy media was greatly against him.
The legacy media never hounded Kerry enough to force him to sign the Form 180. The Form 180 would have released all Kerry’s military records.
I conclude that Kerry refused to sign the form 180 because it contained IED’s that would have blown his candidacy out of the water.
I figure the legacy media’s active campaigning for Kerry and the money difference likely made a 5% difference. That means, in a level playing field, Bush would have won 56% to 44%.
That’s a landslide and a mandate!
Chrenkoff has a thought provoking report on the Dutch reaction to van Gogh's murder.
It seems that Holland is finally waking up:"Even the most liberal society is illiberal when it is a question of survival. The Dutch see those who dream of Europe under a revived caliphate as a threat to their way of life. The prospect of Islamist imams imposing sharia law on Dutch cities amounts, they feel, to a new Nazi occupation."
(Hat tip: Tim Blair) Sadly, every country needs to experience their own S11 to truly comprehend the danger. For the United States it was two airliners smashing into two skyscrapers; but it doesn't have to be as spectacular and as bloody. For the Dutch it was an artist who was dragged off his bicycle, had his throat slashed and an Islamofascist manifesto pinned to his body with two knives.
Sure, the wake-up call doesn't always work. Spain had its Madrid tragedy, but it was so easy to talk yourself out of it; after all, that's what happens when you keep bad company and do silly things like invading Middle Eastern countries. Since both the Spanish left and the Spanish-based jihadis share the common view of the Iraqi war as illegitimate and unnecessary, Madrid could be interpreted as a graphic reminder of a need to change an unpopular policy rather than a declaration of war.
The difference in Holland was that Theo van Gogh was murdered not because of what Holland does (participation in the war on terror, involvement in Iraq) but because of what Holland is - a liberal Western democracy that is incompatible with demands of theocracy. Van Gogh, who through his work campaigned against mistreatment of women by Islamic fundamentalists, was in that respect the very embodiment of the liberal, tolerant, secular spirit of post-Enlightenment Europe, of which, in turn, Holland was a famous exemplar.
And so, it seems, the good people of Holland are now getting the message: the United States, Iraq or Israel are merely convenient symbols. What it comes down to is who you are - and that, in the end, is non-negotiable.
Happy birthday to the U.S. Marines. The corp is 229 years old today. Older that the United States itself.
There is no better friend nor worse enemy than a U.S. Marine.
Semper Fidelis Marines!
Someone has done an interesting comparison between the states as to how charitable their citizens are. Here are the ten states with the most generous citizens. Notice they are mostly “red” states.
1 - Mississippi
2 - Arkansas
3 - Oklahoma
4 - Louisiana
5 - Alabama
6 - Tennessee
7 - South Dakota
8 - Utah
9 - South Carolina
10 – Idaho
Here are the ten states with the LEST generous citizens. Notice that these are mostly “blue” states.
41 – Pennsylvania
42 – Michigan
43 – Colorado
44 – Connecticut
45 – Minnesota
46 – Wisconsin
47 – New Jersey
48 – Rhode Island
49 – Massachusetts
50 – New Hampshire
I notice that Kerry’s home state is almost dead last.
The Belmont Club continues it fine reporting on the battle in Fallujah.
"If everything goes as planned we will take full control of the city in the next 48 hours," the officer said, on condition of anonymity. The officer said the troops would still need up to a week to make the north-east corner of Falluja safe "and at least 10 days to clear the city". "For now we are clearing pockets of resistance."
Back in World War 2, this would have been described as the "end of organized resistance" and the start of "mop-up operations". Historically mop-up operations on Pacific Islands could last for weeks and months. It won't be easy. There are probably many tons of unexploded ordnance lying around, undetonated IEDs and more than a few bypassed tunnels and bolt-holes with holdouts in them. US troops are still probably going to suffer casualties in the coming days cleaning that mess up.
Blackfive has a letter from a Marine in the thick of it.
They are hiding in houses that are heavily fortified and we just destroy the house with a tank shot or a bomb or missile.
There is no negotiating or surrender for those guys. If we see the position and positively ID them as bad guys, we strike. When they run, we call it maneuver and we strike them too. Why? Yesterday the muj attacked an ambulance carrying our wounded. The attackers were hunted down and killed without quarter. These guys want to be martyrs...we're helping.
From The Australian...
THE green video screen in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle is the ultimate in reality television and that is how we watched the battle of Fallujah unfold as our 30-tonne steel beast advanced into the district of Jolan, a rebel bastion, in the small hours of yesterday.
Outside, in the bomb-blasted streets, up to 5000 diehard insurgents were out to kill. Inside, on a screen accurate enough to show rats scavenging on the rubbish piles, the battle between luminous green tanks and luminous green gunmen seemed almost abstract.
Only the shock of the explosions and the occasional back blast of dust when a gunner opened fire reminded us we were in the midst of the most desperate urban battle since the fall of Baghdad. That, and the shrapnel that went right through my arm later in the morning.
At 2am our column of about 20 tanks and Bradleys of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, rolled in, not knowing whether the guerillas had died, fled or were waiting further back with more booby traps or even the cyanide gas they had boasted of possessing.
Progress was a mere crawl as the drivers spotted huge IEDs -- improvised explosive devices -- that can blow a Bradley in half. The gunners fired into them, triggering a series of massive explosions.
"There were too many IEDs to count," said Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Rainey, the cavalry battalion commander who rode into battle with his men.
Watching the green screen was nerve-racking. With buildings wrecked and streets churned up, there were potential booby traps everywhere. Then, as the column lumbered down a main road, the guerillas appeared.
They emerged from gates, alleyways and rooftops, alone or in small groups. Wherever they faced an armoured vehicle, they died where they stood.
The resistance was determined, but hardly the apocalyptic showdown the guerillas had pledged. They had threatened to throw hundreds of suicide bombers at the Americans. But in the darkness they were at a disadvantage, stumbling blind while the US gunners could see clearly.
It was only 29° when I went jogging at 05:30. It looks like the Vorlon wife’s flowers are done.
The Belmont Club has another excellent analysis of the action in Fallujah. I expect the Jihadists never conceived it would be this bad for them.
An Agence France Press report describes the terrible closed loop of networked firepower. For the first time in a major battle, guided artillery is being used quantity. In addition to the now familiar JDAMs, or GPS guided bombs, there are now GPS guided shells. Space based positioning satellites, laser range finding, robotics and networked computing are now as much a part of infantry combat as the boot heel. […]
Though the enemy is to be frank, very brave, news reports them falling back everywhere.
The enemy withdrawals have sometimes been explained by suggesting that the enemy is suckering in US forces into a trap. But this is impossible. Their backs are to the river and the Marines are across that. Every retrograde movement compresses the enemy into a smaller area and forces them to leave behind prepared positions painstakingly stockpiled with food, batteries and ammo. Running backward with wounded, they can't carry much ammunition and won't find any unless a prepared position is already available. And how does anyone stand fast in the face of the otherworldly violence of the American onslaught?
Small bands of gunmen -- fewer than 20 -- were engaging U.S. troops, then falling back in the face of overwhelming fire from American tanks, 20mm cannons and heavy machine guns, said Time magazine reporter Michael Ware, embedded with troops. Ware reported that there appeared to be no civilians in the area he was in. On one thoroughfare in the city, U.S. troops traded fire with gunmen holed up in a row of houses about 100 yards away. An American gunner on an armored vehicle let loose with his machine gun, grinding the upper part of a small building to rubble.
This is a description of platoon-sized enemy units attempting to hold back the Martians. The bravado of Al Jazeera has this completely wrong. If classical history were still widely taught, these scenes would be instantly recognizable as a rout that terrible disintegration of ranks as the foe closes in before and behind.
There can be no joy in war: it is always repulsive in actual detail, but if we are not left with the facts, then the world is deprived even of the doleful experience of the battlefield. The jihadi dream was a fraud. September 11 opened the door, not to Paradise but the portal to Hell and the jihadi nightmare will continue for as long as they are nourished on illusion and false encouragement. We are not their permanent enemies; that foe is within their breast.
Perhaps it would benefical to have enough escape to so they could tell others just how badly the battle went for them.
StrategyPage.com as this to add.
There's no doubt who is going to win this battle, what is in question is the number of American casualties. Historically, going back to World War II, American troops have excelled at urban warfare, often killing 20-30 enemy troops for every American soldier. The American advantage has been firepower and numbers, but today there is also better intelligence and training. It's a dangerous game, for mistakes get people killed, and that's what the anti-government forces want for their propaganda campaign in favor of establishing a new Sunni Arab dictatorship in Iraq. However, the urban battles in Iraq so far have followed the historical pattern, with far greater enemy casualties and fighting which ended in days. No one paid much attention as the Sadr gangs were systematically cleaned out of several Iraqi cities over the last few months. But people are paying attention now, but Fallujah is unlikely to demonstrate anything new.
The Belmont Club has an excellent update on the battle in Fallujah and just how badly the enemy is faring. As George Patton said, "The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his." That's exactly what the marines are doing.
"I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees. "Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons." A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given. "Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."
... The insurgents, not understanding the capabilities of the LRAS, crept along rooftops and poked their heads out of windows. Even when they were more than a mile away, the soldiers of Phantom Troop had their eyes on them. Lt Jack Farley, a US Marines officer, sauntered over to compare notes with the Phantoms. "You guys get to do all the fun stuff," he said. "It's like a video game. We've taken small arms fire here all day. It just sounds like popcorn going off."
This engagement is all the more chilling because it probably happened at night. Five enemy soldiers died simply because they could not comprehend how destruction could flow from an observer a mile away networked to mortars that could fire for effect without ranging. All over Fallujah virtual teams of snipers and fire-control observers are jockeying for lines of sight to deal death to the enemy. For many jihadis that one peek over a sill could be their last.
An NYT article with an accompanying photo essay illustrates the high level of skill which some of the enemy display. It's not that the enemy is dumb, just that the US is that much better. A sequence of photos shows US troops observing targets from a rooftop to call in fires. Right after the Americans scoot off, enemy mortars land on the roof, too late to hurt their tormentors. It is a perfect illustration of the lethality of information and essentially futile enemy attempts to negate it. As the battle progresses, enemy snipers, mortarmen and machinegunners -- who are desperately trying to deny Americans their lethal targeting information -- will be picked off or run low on ammunition. The combat, already lopsided to start with, will grow more unequal. If it sounds unfair, it is meant to be.
The battle for Fallujah illustrates the relative strengths and weaknesses of both sides. The enemy, whatever his faults, is not obviously short on courage or resourcefulness and America can expect to encounter the same tenacity anywhere he is met. But against these strengths, enemy inherited not only the weakness of a poor technological base but a fundamentally flawed concept of American determination. They wrongly assumed, as Osama often claimed, that Americans were too morally weak to fight. They believed they could use physical remoteness and terrorist tactics to wage "asymmetrical warfare" on an American force geared to fight conventional battles -- the army of Desert Storm. Both these assumptions have proved poor bets. There are now tens of thousands of Americans with a good understanding of the Middle East; there are many systems now coming online which are designed to fight the terrorist enemy. They are going to get snowed under by the same tidal wave that buried the Imperial Japanese Army and the Wehrmacht in World War 2.
Thinking Muslim and Arab leaders probably recognize the handwriting on the wall, but like the peace factions in wartime Germany and Japan, are still reluctant to step forward. This is tragic, because like the unequal struggle in Fallujah, once the US gains the strategic upper hand its advantages will progressively mount and a hideous, irresistible annihilation of enemy forces will unfold, until despair brings an enemy statesman forward; not too late for his society, but too tardy to save the wasted lives of their young men.
Alert readers will note a new link I put on the right side of my blog. It’s called “Does God Love You?” I stole it from Family Radio. It’s taken from a track they print and print out. I thought it might be good to post on my web site. If you’re interested, just click on the link and read it. If you’re not interested, ignore it.
I thought I would off this bit of advice to the Demcrats on someone they should easily remember.
“…never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”
--Richard Nixon, In his farewell address August 9, 1974
The recent campaign against Bush seemed mainly composed of hate. Look what it bought them. Had they listen to Nixon, they might have fared better.
StrategyPage.com has this roundup of some very innovative solutions to protecting our troops that are in harm's way.
Rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) are the typical weapons of choice when insurgents decide to attack trucks and armored vehicles. RPGs are cheap, simple to operate, and if used properly can inflict significant damage on Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles. Unarmed and armored Hummers are especially vulnerable, since the various armor kits for the Hummer are designed to protect occupants from small arms and machine gun fire, not anti-tank grenades.
One quick fix to protect the Hummer is a unique airbag system developed by a small California company that deploys a "curtain" down outside the side of the vehicle being attacked. Four bags are needed to protect all quadrants and are held in place with simple Velcro straps. A small radar detects the incoming RPG or RPGs and inflates the airbag with a carbon dioxide gas cartridge. The RPG is literally "caught" by the airbag like a pillow and slowed enough so the nose-mounted fuse doesn't detonate the warhead. Instead, the RPG ends up collapsing upon itself, shredding the secondary self-destruct fuse and looking like a stomped-on beer can. Currently, the airbag and cartridge have to be replaced after one use, but the designers are working on a reusable airbag that can simply be rolled up and put back into place.
Cost for the system is expected to run between $5,000 to $7,000 dollars and weighs around 50 pounds. The Army is in the process of awarding a contract with the goal of getting systems to Iraq within 6 months, at a initial product rate of 25 systems per month. Other systems are being refined for use on canvass-topped vehicles and the Stryker. The system has the potential to replace both the current Stryker "RPG" fence standoff metal framework as well as reactive armor systems and has the twin advantages of being lighter and less expensive than reactive armor. It's also safer around infantry than reactive armor. Multiple tests of the airbag system have been run using RPGs, with one test managing slow down an RPG enough to stop it relatively intact – forcing a stop to the tests until range safety could come out and blow it up in place.
Over the longer term, the Army is looking towards electronically "charged" armor protection. The protection scheme would be composed of an outside armored plate, a spaced gap, and an inner charged plate. Shaped charges are essentially hot streams of metal traveling at (very) rapid speed to penetrate armor. A shaped charge from an RPG or other antitank weapon would detonate, penetrate the outer armor plate, and the hot metal stream would make contact with the charged inner plate, forming an electrical circuit that ends up splattering the metal across the inner plate rather than breaking through into the hull of the vehicle.
Charged armor is a better solution than reactive armor, as it is both lighter than reactive and also non-threatening to nearby infantry. At least two manufacturers have successfully demonstrated charged armor solutions, one retrofitting a Bradley AFV with a large capacitor to charge the inner hull plate. One manufacturer has demonstrated that the Bradley charged armor can take multiple RPG hits onto the same section of the hull without penetration and was willing to show a short demonstration film to those of the proper security clearance. In theory, charged armor should work equally well against weapons with larger shaped charge warheads, but the manufacturer would not comment on any tests done in that area. Ideally, charged armor would be an integrated solution as a part of a hybrid-electric vehicle. Power would be available from the vehicle to charge the armor for protection and installing the equipment would not require an expensive rebuild from the ground up. – Doug Mohney
Chrenkoff has his bi-weekly roundup of the good news from Iraq. Be prepared to read, it's a long list of good things happening.
I hurt. Yesterday’s raking has taken its toll on my body. I went to bed tired. Judging from the way I feel, someone dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night, let multiple cars run me over and they put me back into bed.
I’d really love to take a nap right now, but there are other things I really need to do.
There is no rest for the weary.
Wow! Is that a shocker or what? From the IsraelInsider:
"We know he has a blood disease that is depressing his immune system. We know that he has suddenly dropped considerable weight -- possibly as much as one-third of all his body weight. We know that he is suffering intermittent mental dysfunction. What does this sound like?"
Earlier, John Loftus told John Batchelor on ABC radio on October 26 that Arafat is dying from AIDS. Loftus said the CIA has known this about Arafat for quite awhile and that as a result the US has encouraged Sharon not to take Arafat out because the US has known Arafat was about done. It was deemed better to have Arafat discredited as a homosexual.
I read this on Glenn Reynolds' site and it resonated with me. I think it is not too bad of a model.
To translate it into UNIX system administration terms (Randy's fundamental metaphor for just about everything), the post-modern, politically correct atheists were like people who had suddenly found themselves in charge of a big and unfathomably complex computer system (viz. society) with no documentation or instructions of any kind, and so whose only way to keep the thing running was to invent and enforce certain rules with a kind of neo-Puritanical rigor, because they were at a loss to deal with any deviations from what they saw as the norm. Where as people who were wired into a church were like UNIX system administrators who, while they might not understand everything, at least had some documentation, some FAQ's and How-to's and README files, providing some guidance on what to do when things got out of whack. They were, in other words, capable of displaying adaptability.
The Vorlon wife and I raked the yard of leaves today. I’m beat and I’m sure she feels beat as well. I caught her sitting down once and urged her to continue without a break. The problem with taking breaks is, once you sit down, rigor mortis sets in. Then you can’t get moving again.
Well the yard is done. I feel like taking a nap, but I’ll just grab some caffeine and keep on going.
I am dreading the loses we will take in the battle for Fallujah, but it is a battle we cannot avoid. StrategyPage.com has a good analysis of what we can expect for the coming conflict.
Fighting in Fallujah will be a war of surprise and ambush. Whoever first figures out what the other side is up to will have an edge. The smart money is on the Americans. For while the "insurgents" have received lots of positive press for their unequal struggle, they have by far gotten the worst of it. In thousands of little battles, the anti-government forces are almost always defeated. Most of the time they just flee, but all too often they are killed or captured. Coalition intelligence officers know who they are fighting, and how they fight. This information is rapidly passed around and refined. The anti-government forces are a loose coalition of Sunni Arabs who want Saddam, the Baath Party or Sunni religious leaders running the country. Most of these men are Iraqis, with a minority (less than five percent) of foreigners who came to Iraq with more eagerness than combat experience. Many of the fighters are there for a paycheck, others are caught up in the excitement of it all. Few are professional soldiers. Enthusiasm without discipline and training just gets you killed in combat. Fallujah will see dozens of Americans killed, but the death toll on the other side will be much higher. We know that because this battle has been fought many times before. Not many surprises, although some intrepid reporters will try to invent a few.
May God hold those brave valorous marines in the palm of his hand.
A local radio station, Sunny 104.5 FM, has started playing Christmas music on weekends. If you live in the Philadelphia area and like Christmas music, give a listen.
By the way, there are only 48 days left until Christmas.
The season is getting late and there are few flowers left. Here are the Vorlon wife’s mums. They’re later than the store bought ones, but they still look nice.
Pretty soon I’ll be down to either recycling other pictures taken during the summer or pictures of the Vorlon wife’s African Violets.
It appears that for all practical purposes Arafat is dead. It warms my heart to hear this monster breathing his last. I hope my expectation of his existent in the afterlife is an accurate one.
Unfortunately the legacy he built will live on after him. Many people will suffer and die. I expect a struggle for control of the Palestinian people that could turn very ugly. Perhaps even a civil war.
There is a chance a moderate would rise to power. But my opinion is, that when it becomes a struggle between a moderate and a murderer, the murderer wins.
There are a lot of actual and would-be murderers in Palestine.
The Carnival of the Recipes is up. Get yourself into the kitchen and get cooking!
I have little patience for people that claim they will leave the country because their candidate lost. I liken them to spoiled children that throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way. Instead of staying and fighting for what they believe in, they run away to such their thumb and hide in their blankey. I’m pleased to see them leave.
They aren’t real Americans. Real Americans don’t run away from a fight. Real Americans have a spine they stand up for what they believe in, even when they lose. They compete with others in the arena of ideas.
By compete I don’t mean name-calling or using simple campaign slogans. By competing in the arena of ideas I mean debating based on logic, reality, and human nature.
Those that want to go to Canada are wimpy spoiled children. That’s trying the eat your cake and have it too. If they really wanted to make a statement they should move to France, like Pierre Salinger did.
StragtegyPage.com has another excellent analysis of Iraq and what the Iraqi leaders are facing.
The Sunni Arab terror campaign against Iraqis and foreigners continues, with the government hesitating on going after Sunni strongholds like Fallujah. The roads into Fallujah, which lies astride the main highway to Jordan, have been now closed by U.S. and Iraqi forces. An attack seems imminent. Iraqi president Allawi knows that an attack on Fallujah, and other Sunni cities, would be seen as the start of a civil war between Iraqi Sunni Arabs, and the rest of the population (the 80 percent who are Shia Arabs, Sunni Kurds and Christians.) Allawi knows that the Sunni Arabs cannot regain power, not as long as United States troops are there to back the majority. But too many Sunni Arab factions are unwilling to accept the non-Sunni majority running the country. Many of these diehards are Baath party officials, some of them want Saddam back in power. Others support a religious dictatorship, led by Sunni Arab clerics. Some are foreigners, Sunnis from neighboring countries who do not want to see Kurds or Shia Arabs take control of a "Sunni" country. The Sunnis are aware that this is evil, that the Sunni Arabs have no inherent right to rule the Arab world. So you only hear the "Sunnis are superior" line in Mosques, or coffee shops. The Arab media pushes the more palatable (to Western ears) line that the fighting in Iraq is from a spontaneous "Arab resistance" to the "foreign occupation." Most Iraqis consider this just another Sunni scam to steal Iraq's oil wealth for themselves, as they have done for the last few decades.
Allawi knows that if he can get Sunni leaders to turn against the Sunni gunmen and terrorists, a civil war can be avoided. If the civil war cannot be avoided, the Sunnis will lose. But this will leave in its wake even more resentment and desire for revenge from the Sunni Arabs. The neighboring Sunni Arab countries will also be more hostile, and Iraq will find itself looking more to Shia Iran for alliances. The problem with that is Iran's current government, dominated by a Shia Islamic conservative minority, will want to use Iraq for more political and religious mischief in the Persian Gulf.
Allawi is also under pressure from many Kurds and Shia Arabs to simply flatten Fallujah, and any other Sunni city that harbors terrorists, and give the Sunni's a taste of what they have been giving out for many decades. There is hardly a Kurdish or Shia Arab family that does not have a member who was killed, imprisoned or mutilated by a Sunni Arab thug working for Saddam, the Sunni Arabs in general. There's a lot of hate and desperation out there. The Kurds and Shia Arabs hate the Sunni Arabs, and the Sunni Arabs are desperate to avoid paying for their past atrocities. As much as Allawi would like to calm the calls for revenge, he may have to purge them with fire.
Of the Democrats loss, one Blogger notes:
The Democratic Party--my party--has finally become nothing more than the party of cognitive dissonance. That is why, like Zell Miller and a large fraction of usually Democratic middle America, I backed the other side on this one.
Mainstream media bragged of being able to boost the Dems by 15 percent (do you remember Newsweek saying that?). The "blogosphere" has been crowing that MSM failed to do so (for which the blogs also claim responsibility), but I don't agree. I think the MSM actually succeeded in bringing the Dems a 10 to 15 point boost in the election (and maybe more). Before the media spin machine started systematically slamming Bush 18 months ago, he was favored at around 66% in the polls. 66% minus 15% is...well...the 51% margin Bush was re-elected by. Thing is, even the thinly veiled support of most major media outlets wasn't enough to put Kerry in the White House. The Democratic party has completely, utterly, undeniably marginalized itself. The Dems no longer have a national party. All it takes is one look at the electoral map to illustrate that. The so-called "Purple Map" may make them feel better, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. A party that can only win in the Northeast and Left Coast is not a national party anymore. A party that manages to lose by 3 percent even with a huge boost from blatantly partisan favorable media coverage is on its deathbed politically.
There are somber times in our near future – Fallujah. Currently the Marines are preparing the battlefield. UAVs circle over the city 24/7. Every night AC-130 gun ships come over and take out all the previously identified targets.
Eventually the Marines and their armor will be going into the city to physically take possession of it. We will lose some very brave valorous people, but I see no viable alternative.
This is a battle we thought we had avoided last year during the invasion. It turns out the battle was not avoided, but merely postponed.
I hope the Marines take as long as necessary to prepare the battlefield. The longer they take, the easier their job will be. But the clock is also ticking. We need Fallujah clean in time for the elections in January. That means we have less than three months to complete the task.
Then, we cannot repeat errors made in Vietnam. In Vietnam we took territory and then abandoned it. This time we must take and keep Fallujah. The keeping part will be up to the ING. I hope they are up to the task.
As far as I can tell, they’ve done well in Samara. There is reason to hope they will be successful in Fallujah.
I am pleased to see I’m not the only one who thinks we will have better relations with our European “allies” in Bush’s second term. I think the Europeans have been waiting for this election. They believed all the press that Bush was hated by the American people.
Now they’re in shock. But it will pass. Eventually they will realize they cannot wait four more years for a new President.
No one can, legitimately, say that Bush was selected, not elected. Bush has a clear majority and he gained seats in both the house and the senate. That hasn’t happened since the 1940’s.
The world is going to have to deal with George W. Bush.
Did you see Bush’s news conference today? The Texakan swagger is back. I loved his statement, “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style… I really didn't come here to hold the office just to say, gosh, it was fun to serve. I came here to get some things done, and we are doing it.”
Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
The EPA reports that between 1970 and 2003,
U.S. population grew by 39%
Energy consumption increased 45%
Vehicle miles traveled increased 155%
Gross domestic product increased 176%
Total emissions of the six principal air pollutants DROPPED by 51%
Austin Bay, a Colonel in the Army Reserve, has a post on StrategyPage.com on the election. Bay’s writings are always worth reading.
The re-election of George W. Bush bodes well for peace in 2020. A John Kerry victory would have cost us an additional two years of blood, toil, sweat, and tears -—the two years it would take the Kerry Administration to discover that the Bush Administration’s strategy in the War on Terror is the right one.
In the first column I wrote after returning from Iraq, I said: “If there is one mistake I think we’ve made in fighting this war, it’s been the way we’ve soft-pedaled the ideological dimensions. This really is a fight for the future, between our free, open political system and the unholy alliance of despots and Islamo-fascists whose very existence depends on denying liberty. “
The Afghan people made the case that this is a war the pits liberty against tyranny as they dodged mortar rounds while waiting in line to vote in last month’s Afghan presidential election. Unfortunately, the US and European media largely ignored that demonstration of mass courage.
Liberty (the right to responsibly pursue happiness) is the creative source of American wealth and power. For all but a handful of American citizens, the "futures" presented by the planet's Osama Bin Ladens pale utterly when compared with the opportunity to pursue "the American Dream." Certainly, examples of American excess and silliness abound, but examples of American success and largesse are even more abundant. Extending political and economic opportunity into the world's hard corners, by curbing the power of corrupt autocracies, are the strategic goals of America's War on Terror.
We at Carnival Cruise Lines didn't forget that a lot of entertainers had promised to leave the country if George W. Bush became President. With that in mind, we have a Special Offer for those who still want to keep their promise!
Attention: Would Alec Baldwin, Rosie O'Donnell, Ed Asner, Whoppi Goldberg, Cher, Phil Donahue, Rob Reiner, Barbara Streisand, Jane Fonda, Pierre Salinger, and anyone else who made that promise, please dispose of all US assets and report to Florida for the sailing of the Funship Cruise, "Elation," which has been commissioned to take you to your new vacation homes in Afghanistan.
You may opt to be dropped off in Somalia or Iraq. The Florida Supreme Court will sponsor a Farewell Parade in your honor through Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties prior to your cruise.
Please pack for an extended stay...at least four more years
Note: Since you advocate strict gun control, you may not bring any.
Staffing your voyage is Bill Clinton as captain, Al Gore as cruise director, Monica Lewinsky as recreation director, Ted Kennedy as lifeguard and emergency procedures director, and Ex-Congressman Gary Condit as intern coordinator.
If you have any questions about making arrangements for your homes, friends and loved ones, please direct your comments to Senator Hillary Clinton. Her village can raise your children while you're gone, and she can watch over all your money and your furnishings until you return.
Is this a great country or what!
I know I said I wasn't going to gloat and it's a cheap shot, but I recieved this and could not resist passing it on.
I presume you’ve seen a map of how the country voted broken down by state. The red states went Republican and the blue states when Democrat. This map shows the same breakdown only by country. This map, from USA Today, shows the Democrats are even more marginal than previously thought.
A Blogger spent last night at NBC doing a blow-by-blow of the election. Here's a snippet of his experience.
Early in the day, a very young woman who was working as an assistant producer leaned over to me and whispered, "Are you the conservative?" I said Yes. "Don't tell anyone," she whispered, "but I'm on your side." I asked whether it is tough to be a conservative at NBC. She said that she tries not to talk about it, but every once in a while a co-worker gets wind of the fact that she is a Republican. The universal response, she said, was "You should be working at Fox."
Which tends to confirm what you always thought about the networks. If you're a Republican, the only home for you is at Fox. Here at ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN? It's Democrats Only.
Of course there is no bias at the MSM.
I take back all my previous posts about Bush losing. What a surprise! Both the IEM and TradeSports.com were wrong. I guess even markets can be wrong.
OK. I'm getting out of my sackcloth and washing off the ashes. Did you ever feel like a huge huge weight had been lifted from your shoulders? Well, I do this morning.
No gloating. The people on the other side of this war are still are friends and neighbors. We are still one country.
However, anyone that said they would move out of the country if Bush won? I'll help them move if they also promise to renounce their citizenship.
I'm sure all the talk show hosts will gloat, with the exception of Hannity. I expect him not to gloat. He is really a gracious guy.
I’m done for the night and am going to bed. I need to be up at 05:00 tomorrow to go jogging. I have voted and there is nothing more I can do to influence the outcome. All I can do is to agonize of the what I cannot control.
The sleep is better for my psyche.
I stopped downstairs to watch Fox News with the Vorlon wife for a bit. They had Susan Estrich on. She’s a Democratic strategist. She has a mouth and voice that looks and sounds almost exactly like Carol Channing.
It was rather a weird interview. She had a very strained expression on her face, as if she was under a lot of stress. There seemed to be a lot of strange body mannerisms, even for Susan.
Brit Hume introduced her as a Democratic strategist and general know-it-all. Perhaps she took offense to that. I am sure Brit meant no insult. In fact, Brit must have picked up on the same vibes I did as he told her that when he called her a general know-it-all, he meant no put-down.
I was just bizarre.
The Vorlon wife has decided to torment herself and watch the election returns. Since I’m pretty well convinced my man will lose and I don’t particularly like watching train wrecks, I’m not watching. I’m reading a few of the bloggers that are live Blogging the returns, but that’s about it. I will go to bed early, consigned to the worst.
However, should I awake in the morning and find that God once again reached down into human affairs and Bush is elected, I take back all my previous posts from today.
I think it’s time to consider what would a Kerry presidency would look like? I see it as Carter reloaded. I have long considered Carter one of the most ineffectual presidents of the 20th century.
It will be a tepid presidency. Kerry has done well by criticizing every error Bush ever made. That will make him mindful to not make any mistakes himself.
My experience is that people who never make mistakes never accomplish anything.
On the domestic front, a Republican majority in one or both house will stop any Kerry initiatives cold – not that I see anything creative from a Kerry Presidency. I see Kerry as mired to the old ways. A man that writes his speeches longhand instead of on a computer is a man stuck in the past.
With his worry about not making mistakes, I would expect him to micromanage Iraq. That’s exactly the mistake Johnson made in Vietnam. I also expect him to not do well in Iraq. I think he will see Iraq through the lens of Vietnam and make many of the same mistakes.
There is a chance Kerry will feel compelled to re-institute the draft. I suspect many military people, under a Kerry Presidency, will not renew their enlistments. It appears we will need more troops in the future not fewer. The rock and the hard place may meet.
Kerry will also be stuck with half of his party wanting our of Iraq as soon as possible. Kerry really has no constituency. All Kerry really is, is not Bush. I don’t call that a position of strength. After he is elected all the enthusiasm for him will evaporate. I would not be surprised to see the press even turn against him.
Say what you will about Bush, but he was a leader and he led. Kerry is going to be another one of those finger-in-the-wind politicians.
2008 could be an interesting year.
It looks like Bush will lose. Now, matters are worse – much worse.
I have voted. On Tuesday I have a one-mile loop that I jog on. I cover that loop three times. That makes three miles. Part of my loop goes right past the polling station. On each loop I could see them getting things set up. On my third pass it looked like they were in business. I doubled back and asked if they were open for business and then said yes.
So I voted. I was number 12 to vote at 6:03 am.
I inquired about early-bird discounts like two votes for the price of one. Sadly there were no early-bird discounts. They didn’t even offer coffee or doughnuts.
When I came back I woke the Vorlon Wife. I told her the polls had opened and she should get out there and vote.
UPDATE: The Vorlon wife has now voted too.
It looks like the Marines will very shortly be engaging the enemy in Fallujah. Some will die. My prayers are with these brave valorous young men. I am continually amazed that America finds such people to defend her.
May God hold them in the hollow of his hand.
Just in case you weren’t sure, I’m voting for Bush tomorrow. I’ll stop by the polls about 07:30 tomorrow morning. The polling place is only about two blocks from my house.
I plan to not stay up late to watch the election returns. I have enough stress in my life. I’ll check Drudge when I get up Wednesday morning to see what he has.
Karol, being the right thinking woman she is, is also voting for Bush.
StrategyPage.com has a column on military use of robots.
The military has found a battlefield use for household robots. The Roomba cleaning robot (basically a self-propelled vacuum cleaner that can figure out how to get around a room and clean the floor in the process) has been a great commercial success, and is into it’s third generation. So the U.S. Army has asked Roomba’s manufacturer, iRobot, Inc, to create a robotic battlefield truck by 2010. Not satisfied with that schedule, iRobot has teamed with John Deere & Co., to put Roomba, GPS, and other existing technology, on Deere’s jeep like Gator vehicle (which American infantry and Special Forces love) to produce R-Gator. The new vehicle will be able to make its own way across the battlefield, freeing up troops, and saving lives as well. Making supply runs in a combat zone is a dangerous activity. Having a vehicle that can do it without a human driver will be much appreciated by the combat troops. The R-Gator could also be used for patrolling, by itself, thus sparing more troops from some dangerous work.
The U.S. Army has been working on robotic vehicles for several decades. But their approach has always been artificial vision, which has proven difficult to perfect. The iRobot technology uses simpler sensors, and this approach has proved much more practical and reliable. While the great outdoors is a far more complex place than a room in need of vacuuming, iRobot engineers feel that they can get a working R-Gator into action within two years. They have good reason to be confident, for there are already robot sentry vehicles in use that patrol outdoors, although usually along a fence line or along paths inside a area in need of heavy security. But simpler sensors have worked there, and the R-Gator is not a huge jump ahead.
Finally the election end is at hand. I don’t know how it will come out. I am prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. Should Kerry win the congressional Republican majorities will keep him from doing really stupid things. I rather think the gridlock is a good thing in government.
My larger worry is the war against Islamic Fascists. I don’t believe Kerry believes anything about this war. He is just mouthing things he thinks people want to hear.
I would not be surprised to see a lot of military people not renew their enlistment. Many are not thrilled about serving under a Kerry presidency.
If I was an Israeli, I’d be really worried about a Kerry presidency. Kerry seems to be ready to sell the Israelis down the river for a Palestinian “promise” of peace.
It appears the Kerry may not have been honorably discharged from the Navy. Thomas Lipscomb has the details. There are definitely some questions that should be answered.
I was watching Fox & Friends this morning while having breakfast. They brought General Wesley Clark (Ret) on. He is campaigning for Kerry. After listening to Clark I decided I am happier he is campaigning for Kerry and not Bush. The man makes no sense at all.
One blogger has invited people to predict the election’s outcome. With 304 predictions in since the final presidential debate, the prediction averages are 51.9% say Bush will win. While 46.5% say Kerry will win.
If you’ve got a prediction go to the site and make your own feelings known.