More 'Grim Milestones', or just Grim Outlooks?

Today Gateway Pundit and NRO's Tank point out the good news in Iraq, the continuing and rapid decline of US troop deaths. Why is it that despite this good news, the MSM can only give us their own grim outlook?

I have opined on this subject before, and would like to point out that the news is even slightly better than it appears. The casualty statistics that have been trumpeted in all the media's "grim milestone" reporting are all inclusive. They include everything to include traffic acidents, heart attacks, and even deaths outside of Iraq.

Take a look at today's reporting which hypes the fact that this year was the "deadliest year".

While all the numbers you will read like those above will say 901 (UPDATED) troops died this year. But in fact, if you look at true "hostile fire" casualties, the number is only 765. That is a 15% difference, which is not insignificant.

As Gateway and The Tank mention, the month of Dec 2007 has seen only 24 (up from earlier) deaths, the lowest since Feb 2004. However, this number does include 10 non-hostile deaths which includes injuries and traffic accidents. So in reality, there were only 14 hostile fire deaths in Dec.

No matter how you cut it the statement that this was the "Deadliest Year Ever", while factually acurate, is a loaded statement and willfully disregards the current ground truth.

Additionally, I have always thought that a better way to look at this 'metric' (if you will) is to look at it as "Hostile Deaths per day".

While the graph looks much the same as the regular monthly metric, the ratio takes some of the ambiguity out of the numbers.

The bottom line of course is that no matter how you look at it, the numbers are down dramatically, and it leads back directly to the change in strategy.

Why is it so hard for the media to recognize this and change their tune? Could it be that they are pursuing an agenda??


Be Afraid

Marc Cooper over at the HuffPo says that Hillary's new campaign message is "Be Afraid".

Of course, she wants us to be afraid of the the big frightening world out there, so that she can be our savior. Or as Instapundit put it, "Mama's gonna make everything all right".

So, since the world is big a scary, with lots of mean people, you would suppose that the get-tough Hillary would confront them head-on, right? Lets see....
"When that person gets into the Oval Office," she [Hillary] said, referring to the next president, "there will be a stack of problems already waiting: a war, another war to resolve..."
Resolve? Resolve?? How about 'win'?

I guess this should be of no surprise. when was the last time you heard a Democrat state that they wanted to win this war? I mean even if your goal is to get out of the war, at least say "Let's win this thing and go home!"

Again it is no surprise that Hillary's official campaign website states:
"And to keep our country safe, we need to start engaging our enemies again. During the Cold War, with missiles pointed at us, we never stopped talking to the Soviet Union. That didn't mean we agreed with them or approved of them. But it did mean we came to understand them -- and that was crucial to confronting the threats they posed."
To wit my first question is, "OK ma'am, which weapon should we engage them with? M-4?, JDAM?, GAU-8 perhaps?"

But seriously....yes we did negotiate with the Soviets, because we knew them to be fairly rational actors. But if one comes to "understand", as Hillary suggests, our current enemies (DPRK, Iran, Al Qaeda) you will find them a mostly irrational bunch. And one can not reliably "engage" an irrational actor, at least if the goal is to "resolve" a problem. The irrational actor will either laugh at you for being a fool, or deceive you to their own ends.

So, yes Hillary, engagement is the key, but sometimes engagement comes in the form of rough men ready to do violence, rather than delicate diplomatic discussions.

UPDATE:  Perhaps we should send Hillary a copy of the new FM 3-0 (Doctrine for Dummies), or its new video compendium available at Blackfive.



If you are already a Dynasty, what comes after that?


Books to win Wars

The other day I had a little fun with my Army brothers concerning Counter-Insurgency. However, I do feel strongly on the subject, especially on how the Air Force has a lot to learn when it comes to our role in such a fight. We are still caught in an Air Supremacy paradigm, and need to do more thinking on how we can be relevant in a 'Small War'

The new edition of Air & Space Power Journal dedicates its current edition to 'Irregular Airpower'. It should make for interesting reading, and is in my queue.

Now speaking of Small Wars.....

The Army is continuing its drive to incorporate Counterinsurgency education at all levels, to include our coalition partners, with its Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy.
"Six years into the Afghan war, the Army has decided its troops on the ground still don't understand well enough how to battle the Taliban insurgency. So since the spring, groups of 60 people have been attending intensive, five-day sessions in plywood classrooms in the corner of a U.S. base here, where they learn to think like a Taliban and counterpunch like a politician.

The academy's principal message: The war that began to oust a regime has evolved into a popularity contest where insurgents and counterinsurgents vie for public support and the right to rule. The implicit critique: Many U.S. and allied soldiers still arrive in the country well-trained to kill, but not to persuade."

To help out this effort, the Small Wars Journal and some others have put together a book drive of sorts to help stock the bookshelves at this Academy.

So, if you really would like to help he U.S. and its allies prevail in its current fight, then go to the SWJ's Amazon wish-list, and buy a book or two for the Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy (books delivered directly to Kabul).


Stay Frosty

Now that I am done with my Air Command and Staff College, I can get back to reading a lot of things that I have piled up in the office. Currently working on Robert Kaplan's 'Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts' (a follow up to one of my favorite books from 2005, 'Imperial Grunts'), along with 'Charlie Wilson's War'.

However, it always seems that new books continue to come out and regenerate the pile of unread books on my shelf....making the Domestic Command Authority none too happy.

One of those new books that I currently have on order from Amazon is the forthcoming 'The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad', which has gotten a glowing review from leading front-line milblogger Badger Six.
"Writing about the military experience in general and combat specifically is a tricky matter. Write too cynically and the piece will make the experience appear to be a nihilistic drive into dark; write too heroically and war is falsely painted as glamorous. The good combat writer portrays both the horror of combat and the nobility of ordinary Soldiers in extraordinary circumstances. Fortunately for the reader author Sean Michael Flynn delivers the goods in The Fighting 69th.


If you read one book this year about American Soldiers on the ground in the Global War on Terrorism, make it this book. An entertaining and informative read, you will meet everyday Americans like Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Slack, Captain Chris Daniels, Sergeant Jay Olmo, and indirectly Captain Sean Michael Flynn. These ordinary men have a remarkable story, one that should be familiar to all Americans."
Read the whole thing....


New Army doctrine admits Air Power is superior!

Apparently the Army has seen the light and has admitted that Air Power is superior in the counter-insurgency fight...
"Whacking bad people is dangerous. It’s also hard. It’s easier and safer to whack the bad people if you do it from the air or the ocean. That’s because the bad people can’t afford the super weapons that do stuff from there. That’s why we have to be nice to the Navy and Air Force; so they will whack bad people with great enthusiasm."
It is good to see that AirLand Battle has returned, with the emphasis on "Air"

If the above quotation seems to be written in an unorthodox manner, then perhaps you need to read the entirety of the new spiffy version of "FM 3-0 Operations" for School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) students.

Big Fat :-)

(H/T: Small Wars Journal)

Enjoy the holidays!!!


The tragedy of Ice and IEDs

Tragically, 32 people have died in the US since Sunday as a result of ice storms in the midwest
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that during the same time frame (Sun-Wed) only 2 US military service members have died in Iraq, and only one of those was due to hostile action.

In fact only 7 troops have been killed thus far in December (only 5 to hostile fire), putting it on pace to be the most casualty-free month since the war began.

I am reluctant to be flip about casualty numbers, since every death is one troop too many, but does anyone honestly think that is 32 troops had died in 3-4 days in Iraq that it would be relegated to the bottom of the stories on the wire?

Of course not....because the well has to be poisoned.


A Green Pig in a Poke

If you have been watching TV in recent weeks, you have probably seen the latest ad from Honda, selling their new hydrogen fueled FCX Clarity.

Now it is a nice shiny well-produced ad, which does a good job at making its point visually ("What if we could replace something harmful with water") , and ends with the tag line "A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

Now forget for the moment that they are mass marketing this to the entire country, even though the car will only be available in limited numbers in Southern California, making it smack of a shakedown payoff to the Green Mafia to avoid further harassment. Focus only on the message...

"A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

Doesn't that sound great?

However in a New York Times website envrionmental column titled "Hydrogen Car Is Here, but Where’s the Hydrogen Economy?" (H/T: Instapundit), another NYT article is quoted as saying:
“Compared with alternatives like plug-in hybrids, the on-board energy supply is quicker to replenish and has a better travel range, 270 miles. Moreover, in Honda’s full-cycle calculation, a fuel-cell vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide output by half compared with a gasoline vehicle."
Now, since we are told that Carbon Dioxide is the main greenhouse gas causing Global Warming, how does this:

"...a fuel-cell vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide output by half compared with a gasoline vehicle."

square with this:

"A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

It sounds to me like Honda is playing fast and loose with the truth to appease their new Green Overlords... or the NYT reporter has got his facts wrong.


Thank the Troops, since NBC will Not

Last night I met my wife and son at TGI Fridays for dinner. Coming directly from base I was still in uniform.

The busboy who dropped off the appetizer looked at me and said "Thank You for your service".

It caught me off guard, since I was trying to keep a pair of 12 month old hands out of the Pot Stickers. It took me a second to realize what he had said. Had I been paying attention, I would have been more gracious. So if you are out there busboy, thank you for your tanks.

For others out there, if you would like to thank the troops, consider sending these videos from Freedom's Watch to everyone you know. Make them viral, since NBC wont show them for being "controversial".

Ace of Spades suggest we boycott NBC...

Hat Tip: Powerline and Freedomswatch.org


Beware of Falling Flags

Apparently the Massachusetts Highway Department wants to remove all of the flags and troop tributes on highway overpasses.

State officials said they are concerned the flags and signs could fall on drivers, causing a crash.

"We can't avert our eyes from a known hazard," said Paiewonsky, who estimated that hundreds of signs have adorned bridges over the state's 9,000 miles of highways.
Hmm... Beware of falling flags?

Perhaps the MHD should be more concerned with preventing any more falling slabs of concrete from killing commuters inside their huge pork-barrel project.
Woman Killed as Slab Falls From Big Dig Tunnel (Jul 06)
Massachusetts vets and families, call your representatives....

Hat Tip: Instapundit


Gaia is Pissed!

After it failed to produce the predicted rash of killer hurricanes this summer, Global Warming has struck back with a vengeance as a rash of killer winter storms hit both the Northwest and Midwest, and is heading for the Northeast.

Global Warming hasn't been this bad since.....errrr....please stand by....we are experiencing technical difficulties with our ideology....


Lost Credibility


Another reminder why it is good practice to check out Michael Ramirez every day...

Quote of the Day

I think this is a good quote of the day...
"Such is the way of the world. Thousands of Sudanese men calling for the execution of a middle-aged schoolma'am over a teddy bear are "good-natured"....and I'm a "flagrantly Islamophobic" hatemonger."
Mark Steyn rocks...


Retro Soviet Space Goodies!

Glenn Reynolds gave us a link to some pretty cool "RETRO-FUTURISTIC ART" like this:

Looking at the examples took me back to my youth and comic books (I still have over 1000 is some long boxes in the closet, including all the original 1980s X-Men and Daredevil issues).

However, seeing this image in the collection took me back to another time in my life:

When I was a young ROTC cadet in the late 80's, I used to love reading the annual Soviet Military Power publications that the DoD put out.

It was a window into a new world that I was just about to enter, and I wanted to learn about the enemy. Like the comic books, I still have some of these SMP issues on my bookshelf. Ok, I am a geek...

But the image above reminded me of the images (actually paintings) that graced the pages of Soviet Military Power. To my young mind, it was something I had never seen before, especially in my liberal hometown.

So, as a postscript to other retro-futuristic art, I offer you.....

Retro-Futuristic Soviet Space Art courtesy of the Defense Intelligence Agency:

by Ronald C. Wittmann, 1987

Soviet Space Station and Shuttle
by Brian W. McMullin, 1986

Soviet Anti-Satellite System
by Ronald C. Wittmann, 1986

Mars Lander
by Brian McMullin, 1986

Space Particle Beam
by Ronald C. Wittmann, 1987

The art that was part of Soviet Military Power offered much more than speculative ideas on Soviet space adventurism....planes, trains, tanks, missiles. I encourage you to go browse the collection.


Imagine A Planet without People

Both K-Lo and Glenn Reynolds were kind enough to point out the article on the lefty moralists who see children as 'selfish' and the ultimate downfall of the planet.

"Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco-friendly"

The girl who is the prime example in this story, Toni, has the following to say:
"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."
To take that lefty line of thinking to it's logical extreme would say that "every person who dies uses less food/water/etc..."

So, I guess it is no wonder that the left loves guys like Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and any other commie dictator. Based on the number of people they have killed, they are enviro-heroes!

Would the left consider mass graves or the Killing Fields to be Carbon Offsets?

Anyone want to bet that our girl Toni has a Che T-Shirt somewhere in her wardrobe?

(H/T to Michelle Malkin for the graphic)

UPDATE: Welcome fellow Instapundit disciples....please feel free to browse around the rest of the site.

UPDATE II: Another thought that had occurred to me, was that this helped explain the disturbing European demographic trends outlined by Mark Steyn in his book "America Alone".

On this story Mark notes: "...it's precisely those groups that profess to care most about the environment - Western Europeans, Canadians, Vermonters, San Franciscans - that are self-liquidating the fastest. If you've ever seen the trash in small Yemeni villages or even in Bedouin encampments, the environment doesn't seem to be a big priority. But they'll be the ones left to man the Greenpeace offices."

Indeed...when all the tree huggers snuff out their own familial existence, the only ones left will be those who care least about the planet. That's another line of great lefty logic. What's that saying about a nose and face and some spite??


Tales from the Bureaucratic Crypt

There is plenty of buzz around the blogosphere about how some wounded vets who have been discharged due to their injuries, are being asked to give portions of their enlistment bonuses back because they hadn't served their full term of enlistment.

For anyone who has served time in the military is probably not surprised by this display of bureaucracy in action. It is practically standard operating procedure. If anyone has forgotten this, I refer you back to the Walter Reed brou-ha-ha from earlier this year.

The bad results of such bureaucracy are usually unintentional, but sadly are hard to combat.

The best observations on this can be read at In From the Cold:
As a retired military officer, I have no doubt that the letter was a mistake. And, I have no reason to believe that the Army isn't trying to rectify the situation.


The military, like the rest of the federal government, operates under personnel and compensation rules that are, at times, obtuse, confusing and even contradictory. Making matters worse, many of these databases can't share information, due to the Privacy Act or technical problems.

Enter Private Fox. Somewhere, an Army finance system showed that Fox was discharged before his tour was up, and that he received a reenlistment bonus. Based on the early release and the amount paid, the "system" determined that Fox must refund part of that money.

Meanwhile, other databases (correctly) identified Fox as a wounded warrior who had to leave the military due to combat-related injuries. If the compensation system could only communicate with the appropriate personnel databases, then Fox wouldn't have received that letter, demanding a refund.
For those of us in the military, this is representative of headaches we face everyday. Luckily, my worst headache is dealing with DTS.


CNN carries Dems water on War

I know that headline is a shock to many of you. So lets look at the details....

CNN gives prominent display to "a report" that pumps up the costs of the wars to include the cost of everything including the kitchen sink....

In fact this "report" is nothing but a propaganda sham by Congressional Democrats.

A couple of really rediculous points stand out clearly. First, the "costs" include the increase in the price of oil, which the Dems squarely blame of the war in Iraq ("The war in Iraq has disrupted world oil markets leading to increased prices", Page 3)

This of course is bunk. There are so many other factors which have driven the cost of oil to its heights. Increased demand, and decreased supplies to start. I guess this means that the Dems have abandoned one of their favorites memes blaming the high prices at the pumps on the evil oil companies.....

The Dems also crow about how costs will climb to $3.5 trillion....10 years from now. Less than 50% of that is attributed to 'Direct Appropriations' (Page 9). Almost a third belongs to some cost called 'Foregone Investment Return". Hmmmm...what is that saying? Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics?

I don't see any mention of all the extra armor that the Dems called for to curry favor for elections. You remember that? We had to have extra armor to 'protect the troops'. As it turns out, it mostly ended up distancing the troops from the Iraqi populace, the exact opposite of what the new winning counter-insurgency strategy calls for.

So maybe if we had spent less on armor, we could have been closer to the Iraqi populace, which might havehelped shorten the war, thus reducing the cost.....who knows, but food for thought.

Anyhow....thanks CNN! What would the Dems do if you weren't around to carry their water and trumpet their partisan talking points?


Evolution of Terrorism

Lets examine the recent history of terrorists on film....

1994 - When terrorists were still from the Middle East....

('True Lies', Islamic terrorists with nukes....)

2002 - Let the "white"-washing begin....

('Sum of All Fears', Islamic terrorists from the original Clancy book magically become Nazis...with nukes...)

2007 - A movie about 'terror' in Vietnam remade for modern times.

('Redacted', look who's terrorizing innocents now, US Troops! Oh, wait, I think John Kerry warned us about this...)

They told me if Bush was re-elected, artists would lose their civil liberties and would fear to express dissent... Ummm...not so much!

The next time someone says that the Bush administration has been crushing all dissent since 9/11, point out to them all the movies that somehow avoided the government censors and made it into distribution.....


Project Valour-IT

Now is the time of year for Soldier's Angels' annual Project Valour-IT Fundraising drive. A friendly competition between teams representing each military service to raise the most funds for this noble cause.

I am a proud member of Team AF. This year's goal is $60,000. (See the widget on the right)

Valour-IT helps provide voice-controlled and adaptive laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field. The experience of MAJ Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops can be to a wounded service member's recovery.

People may not think of the Air Force when it comes to these types of combat wounds, but just this week an AF NCO lost his arm below elbow in an IED explosion.

So please help Team Air Force raise money for the wounded of all the services by contributing generously to Project Valour-IT.

To contribute, please click here, or through the widget to the right.

New Angle on History

Thanks to inspiration from Spook86 over at In From The Cold, I put together the following photo montage:

The coincidence of the angle is most interesting...

I could have also included these as well:

There is nothing of significance to all of this, but again, I find the similar angles compelling....


The Irony of Pancakes

So the news is good today....

1) How the War was Won (Part one)

2) Former Iraqi insurgents kill 18 AQI terrorists

3) Anti-war movies tank at the box office

On that latter subject.....

I strolled into the living room earlier, where my wife was knitting and watching one of the Austin Powers movies that was playing on the cable channel E!

The movie went to break and there was an ad for a show on the channel about Robert Redford's boring and poorly reviewed new film, Lions for Lambs.

The best part? The show was being sponsored by IHOP's new special dish....'Pancake Surrender'.....

You can't make this stuff up.....

"To surrender is the only option" I wonder if IHOP will cater the Democratic National Convention next year?

Mr Redford, what type of syrup would you like with your order of surrender? Ironic Boysenberry, or Pompous Pecan, or Melodramatic Maple?


A Fine Day, Part II

First...the Pats crush yet another opponent!

Second...my beloved Sox clinch a second World Championship in 4 seasons!

As much as was made about some supposed "Curse", methinks that a certain someone is back where he belongs after too many years of haunting the Bronx....

Hey George, how ya like them apples?!?


Whereforartthou Bruce Willis??

It has been two years since I read with great anticipation, Michael Yon's ongoing saga of embededment (Hey, new word!) with the "Deuce Four" in Mosul, Iraq. Better vivid depictions of men and battle cannot be found in any other media source, IMHO.

Upon their return home, I was excited to read that none other than Bruce Willis (an ardent supporter of the military) wanted to turn their story into a major motion picture. Given the dreck that passes for "war films" in present day, that would have been a much welcomed addition.

Alas, two years have passed and doing a brief search I can find no evidence that any "Deuce Four" movie project is on Willis' radar scope.

Instead, I read today that one thing that Willis will be doing is starring in an Oliver Stone picture called 'Pinkville', a 'drama' about My Lai. Yeah...because that's just what we need right now. A rehashing of a decades old anti-war cudgel of the left.

C'mon Bruce. Lets get things in gear! Produce an inspirational military movie (and factual to boot) for a time that needs just such positive inspiration.

Are you that hard up that you must help make an anti-war themed film before you can make a pro-military story of courage?

Or is it that no one in Hollywood wants to join you in that endeavor?

If that is the case Bruce, act like Michael Yon from whom you took your original inspiration. Break out on your own, to get the story told.

UPDATE: Here is some related good news from our friends at OPFOR, a movie (with Harrison Ford) to be based on 'No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah':
"One year after a shotgun blast full of Hollywood anti-war films tank at the BO, we get a nitty-gritty Blackhawk Down style flick that will (presumably) focus on the individual heroism and ultimate nobility of US Marines."


Good War News....from Atlanta

I recently refreshed my Milblogroll (right side), as many of my regular "downrange" reads had rotated home from their respective wartime locations. One of the blogs I found was 'Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure'.

Today Bob posts some good news from the war that he experienced himself firsthand....at the airport in Atlanta.
"...I wasn't prepared for what happened today.

As my flight from Cincinnati to Atlanta was beginning its descent, the flight attendant began her normal spiel about landing and gates, and assistance finding your connecting flights and so on. Then she announced that I was on board and on my way back to Afghanistan after spending two weeks with my family.

The plane erupted into applause. I was stunned."
But it doesn't stop there....
"They formed us into a line upstairs at the USO, probably 200 or more of us, and took us downstairs in two long lines. Soldiers and Marines paired two by two in a long line snaked through the airport towards the Army Personnel Command desk to do our formalities. As we wove through the airport, the throngs of travelers began to applaud.

I wasn't prepared for that, either. Again, I struggled not to lose it. It was like cracking the seal on a warm, freshly shaken coke. All the bubbles rush towards the cap, bringing the contents of the bottle along. That's what it felt like. I managed to keep all my fluids contained; but it was another close call. "
While these stories are not unique, I believe that this is a great demonstration that the public opinion battle over the war is not lost as some might want to claim. I am sure that not all of those applauding support the war in Iraq, and maybe not even the War on Terror, but were merely showing their respect.

But if the public opinion had truly been lost, I don't think we would see such public displays of support, even if the military is highly respected.

Success can breed further success. Staying the course with our current strategy can continue to bring good news, even if it isn't reported widely. If that continues, the next good news story from the war will be the news from home.....


A Fine Day!

Sorry Hugh....maybe next year. Cleveland will have a good young team for a few years....

But for now, it is the Sox who are CHAMPS!

Also, I heard that Brady guy did something today as well....

Red, White, & Blue

With all due respect to Hugh Hewitt.....

Real Men only support the Red, White & Blue.

Go Sox! Go Pats!


Anti-War Films 3 Years Too Late, Part II

In a follow-up to my post below, here is another example of an anti-war film being too late to the game.

This weekend marked the opening of a documentary titled "Meeting Resistance", which appears to delve into the 'root cause' of the insurgency in Iraq. (Trailer here)
"What would you do if your country was invaded? "Meeting Resistance" raises the veil of anonymity surrounding the Iraqi insurgency by meeting face to face with individuals who are passionately engaged in the struggle, and documenting for the very first time, the sentiments experienced and actions taken by a nation's citizens when their homeland is occupied. Voices that have previously not been heard, male and female, speak candidly about their motivations, hopes and goals, revealing a kaleidoscope of human perspectives. Featuring reflective, yet fervent conversations with active insurgents, "Meeting Resistance" is the missing puzzle piece in understanding the Iraq war. Directed by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, this daring, eye-opening film provides unique insight into the personal narratives of people involved in the resistance exploding myth after myth about the war in Iraq and the Iraqis who participate. Through its unprecedented access to these clandestine groups, "Meeting Resistance" focuses the spotlight on the "other side" leaving the viewer with clarity as to why the violence in Iraq continues to this day."

Now, I will say this is an interesting premise, (and will overlook the fact that these US/UK filmmakers apparently had no interest in stopping their sources from killing US and British troops), but it is nothing we don't already know.

Let's see, they went and hung out in a former Husseini/Baathist stronghold, and consider it "eye-opening" that they would fight back against U.S.? That is "daring"!

Unfortunately, fate has thrown these filmmakers a big curve-ball.....

You see the production was filmed in 2003 and 2004, not recently. So the violence is high, but relevance of the testimony in it is now of diminished value. Much like most of the anti-war histrionics that have occured in Washington, the impact of this film was dependant upon continued and increasing violence from the 'resistance'.

It would appear to me that the filmmakers took their time in editing and releasing this documentary because they thought that by 2007 or 2008, it would serve to offer "unique insight" and "clarity" as to why the U.S. had lost the war. But as I said, fate can be a funny thing.

Somewhere along the way to the film's release, the very types of people who they feature as the 'resistance' changed their minds. If you want to see what many Baathist strongholds are actually like today, watch this, and then watch the trailer for the film again. Quite an interesting contrast, no? This film will serve to provide a first hand historical record of what went on between summer 2003 and summer 2006, but its intention to pass judgment on the war through a third party fails, since the pretext of 'resistance' has fallen dramatically. This film would have fit in perfectly in 2005/2006.

Want to take any bets on whether these filmmakers will go back an re-interview their subjects for "Meeting Resistance II: The Awakening"?

Anti-War Films 3 Years Too Late...

As has been noted by others in the blogosphere, this fall brings a cornucopia of Hollywood productions with a decidedly anti-war bent.

However, could it be that these films are really getting to the theater too late to achieve their intended ideological influence? I am inclined to say yes, given the events of the last six months. The minds of the American people, while somewhat sour to a protracted conflict, influenced by daily media emphasis on death rather than balance, have still not turned against the war.

Perhaps even the Hollywood PR talent realizes this too, given that they seem to be trying to sell Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs" as a pro-war film.

I say this based on watching the ads and the trailers, which are crafted to display pride in joining the fight and asking the important questions:
"Do you win the war on terror? Yes or No? This is the quintessential 'Yes or No' question of our time. Yes or No?!"

To me that sounds very much like a challenge from a conservative to a liberal concerning this fight we are in. However, I will bet dollars to doughnuts that Redford's film will be nothing like the ads portray, and that his character will turn out to be the villain....

It is because they know that the tide is turning....


Video of General Sanchez (Ret)

So, you have been watching the news and saw some very select clips of retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and his views on the state of Iraq.

Well, perhaps you should watch the whole thing and see what the press forgot to tell you about....

You gotta love CSPAN....


Hillary v. Adoption?

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit asks: IS HILLARY'S BABY-BOND IDEA ANTI-GAY?

He uses this question to set up the observation from 'Boi from Troy'
"I really did not think about Hillary Clinton’s $5000 Baby Bond proposal until seeing this poll by Daily Kos. . . . But if the Baby Bond is only available to families of newborns–what does that mean to gays and lesbians?"
Boy also notes later in his post:
"So, quite specifically, gay males are the only potential parents who are not eligible for the Baby Bond benefit."
Uh, Hello? What about straight adoptive parents? Under this standard, we would not be eligible either. (And yes, I am an adoptive father of a newborn) And while we are at it, lesbians couples who adopt (versus doing artificial insemination) would be in the same boat.

So, with all due respect to his overall point, I think Boi is being a little over-dramatic about the anti-gay aspect here.

Ultimately, I agree with what I think Boi's ultimate unspoken point was. If such a proposal were to be 'fair', it would include eligibility for parents in all adoptive circumstances (including those adoptions of older children) as long as no benefit has been previously established.

Adoption costs thousands of dollars up front not matter what the parent's orientation. Not allowing them to claim this benefit for their new child is discriminatory to everyone, most of all the child. Because in the end, the benefit belongs to the child, not the parents....


War & Peace

Instapundit points to a great piece by Jules Crittenden about how Hollywood has gone to ground and is producing 'War' movies driven by political agendas, rather than combat events/achievements. Perhaps all these new films should have the up-front disclaimer, "Based on a true war".

He also points out Andrew Sullivan's now-eons old statement that "War focuses issues in ways peace cannot" and calls it "over-optimistic".

Unfortunately, Sullivan is spot on. War did focus the issues for a few months after 9/11. We kicked ass, Afghanistan fell, kumbaya. But since then we have really been back to a state of peace, at least in the eyes of most of the American public.

Since that time we have continued our Global War on Terror, deposed a dictator, and attempted to mid-wife a free democracy. However during all that, it seems we were only in a war, not at war.

Being 'in a war' involves combat action in some far away land that we might catch on cable between celebrity/political scandals. In other words, the war is somewhere else, not in my backyard. That can lead to intellectual laziness, and lack of real commitment.

Being 'at war' is when thousands of people die on your own shores, and one is forced to deal with stark realities that they might otherwise downplay or ridicule.

So Sullivan is precisely right (not that Instapundit is wrong), the 'peace' we are in has failed to focused many like it should, and I hate to think what it would take to re-focus them.

If another 9/11 attack is what it would take, then I can handle Hollywood's intellectual laziness and its back-riding monkey.


Tonight the role of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be played by Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton is currently being interviewed on CNBC concerning his 'Clinton Global Initiative' and other issues.

When asked about his thoughts on Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia, Clinton stated that if he were Ahmadinejad, he would have looked to start a dialog, rather than agitate with his words. Clinton felt that this was a big missed opportunity for Ahmadinejad. Of course this is a classic Clinton emotive answer, squishy and feel-good, and essentially worthless to a serious problem.

It also reflects the failure of those on the left to fully comprehend the seriousness of this issue. It is another disheartening case of 'mirror imaging', where one transposes their own western values and logic onto a person who would never think/act that way. Many did it with the Soviets in the past, and many do it with China and different regions of the Middle East today.

Despite what Clinton might hope, Ahmadinejad would never think to initiate a dialog to bring the West and Iran closer together. This should not be a mystery to anyone. We know what Ahmadinejad thinks because he has told us so. He wants to 'wipe out' Israel, and the last time he spoke at the UN called for the return of the 12th Imam, which in his theology would:
"...usher in an era of Islamic justice and bring about the conversion of the heathen amidst flame and fire. The Mahdi will establish Islam as the global religion and will reign for seven years before bringing about the end of the world."
Does this sound like someone who cares if he missed an opportunity to start a dialog, Bill?


Stuck on 38

Week 1: Patriots 38 - Jets 17

Week 2: Patriots 38 - Chargers 17

Week 3: Patriots 38 - Bills 7

I am still not sure why we signed this Randy Moss guy. What being a malcontent and all....



Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts Part II

Hugh Hewitt spent his entire show today talking with Robert Kaplan about his book "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground".

I can't wait to listen to the whole show on the iPod....

You can listen here:

Robert Kaplan - Hour 1

Robert Kaplan - Hour 2

Robert Kaplan - Hour 3


Clueless Leftists

Thank goodness for clueless leftys, or else life would be so much less fun....

Since the definition of 'liberty' is 'freedom', if you sacrifice the former for the latter.....you end up right back where you started. Doh! Gotta love where the public schools are taking this country.... Maybe if he had paid more attention in American History class....if he was taught it that is...

Of course, as is pointed out by Mark Hemmingway (Hat Tip on the picture), the actual quote that this brainiac is trying to publicize is “Those who would sacrifice liberty for SECURITY deserve neither”, originally attributed to one of those arrogant dead white guys.

As Hemmingway's photo-essay demonstrates, attending a leftist rally can provide more humorous moments than most comedies coming out of Hollywood nowadays....


Is Iraq wasting a Generation??

Today I was reading my regular dose of a favorite sports writer, and his reflections on the stomping provided to the San Diego Chargers by my New England Patriots. He also discussed the ongoing imbroglio around the Patriots attempts to steal defensive signals from their opponent last week. He quoted an email that he had received from a reader, which made a good point, until it went way off the rails.....
"I can't believe how hysterical Peter King sounded on WEEI when talking about Belichick's indiscretion. Talk about getting his skirt up in a bunch. Does this guy realize sports is the toy department of life? Save the righteous indignation for the 9/11 anniversary or the waste of a generation in Iraq."
Wasting a generation? In what conceivable way???? Given that the emailer is from Massachusetts, it is probably a meme he hears repeated in the liberal echo-chamber up there.

While the loss of every life is devastating and regrettable, losing almost 3800 military members is hardly equivalent to wasting a generation.

For comparison, WWII claimed over 400,000 military lives which, even at that high level, was only 0.31% of the national population. In Vietnam, the loss of over 58,000 was only 0.027% of the population at the time. Today, the 3800 losses is but 0.0013% of our nation's population. We are hardly losing a generation. But then again, neither did we really in WWII.

It could be said that in Vietnam the United States lost a generation psychologically. A generation that was self absorbed, and did not choose to serve, internalized the images of death they were served up at 6pm, and moved on with a wounded, fragile, and tortured soul.

On the other hand, the WWII generation had a penchant to serve their country, persevered with a mental toughness, and moved on after the war to earn the label "The Greatest Generation".

If you ask me, there is a greater chance that this generation is serving in Iraq, and re-enlisting to return to Iraq because they believe in the mission, is more likely to emerge to resemble the "Greatest Generation", than the "Wasted Generation" of Vietnam.

"A new greatest generation is emerging -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in the other, less-publicized battlegrounds of the War on Terror.

Focused on the U.S. political cycle, America's press elites are missing the extraordinary story of the 19-through-35 year olds who are winning this war. The detailed history of this new cohort of American and Free World leaders -- the people who will shape the 21st century -- is being written by themselves, chiefly on the Internet, via email or web logs.

This is a battle-honed bunch with exceptional talent and motivation, young people with a mature balance of idealism and realism, youthful cool and professional competence...."