Slap Down - Part II

Jack Army Rocks!!!

Slap Down

"Scott Thomas" gets a smackdown from a literary insider....
I think I have a pretty good guess as to who "Scott Thomas" is – not his identity but what sort of person the Thomas-hunters should be looking for -- based mainly on looking at his writing and at the social context of The New Republic from my unique perspective....."Scott Thomas", however, writes exactly like the mid-20s macho MFA student who is lying about an adventurous background.
The analysis is very interesting and as one of the commenters notes, not one I would have ever considered.

The author also rightly observes the following:
It is quite possible that somewhere in Iraq American soldiers have done (or are doing right now) things fully as noxious as what "Scott Thomas" describes. With 160,000 people, mostly young men, many armed, many beyond the eyes of authority, there will be some thuggery and sadism and it is doubtful that superior officers will be devoting any large amount of time and effort to finding or suppressing it. And despite the pleas of the war's apologists, yes, it is certainly relevant that some American troops, some of the time, are behaving badly (just as it should be relevant to the war's detractors that many American troops, much of the time, are engaged in things of lasting benefit to the people of Iraq).
Though I would argue two small points. One, the young men are ALL armed, and none are really outside the eyes of authority. Every unit, platoon, flight, squad, etc has leadership. Whether it is a Field Grade Officer, an LT, or an NCO. As the author implies, 99% of these leaders would not tolerate the actions that "Thomas" describes. Those that would are not leaders....


On the Road....

Not sure if I will be posting....

So, just in case, I offer you the funniest #@(&ing thing I have seen in a long while.

Rednecks ain't got nothin' on the Afghan Army!

Hat Tip: In a round about way to Blackfive


Osama is Just Resting

OK, can we all just face up to the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead????

It has been my belief that he has been dead for some time. Today's video appearance (or lack thereof) is only further proof of such.

I mean, if al Qaeda has to use half-decade old clips, and can't even cobble together a couple of minutes of tape to prove OBL is still alive, it either means he is dead, or in such poor condition that it would be harmful to the morale of the AQ troops out there. (Note to MSM, remember this works both ways, so how about some good news stories already...)

In my humble opinion, OBL isn't hanging out in Waziristan pining for the fjords. This simple truth is that OBL wouldn't 'voom' if you put 4 thousand volts through him.

UPDATE: I'd like to think that great minds think alike, but Captain Ed has me lapped....

Progress in Iraq

Dan at Riehl World View has put together a great video showing one of the many forms of progress in Iraq. Showing that there has been progress in Iraq for a long time....

He made it specifically for politicians. Lets hope they watch.

Hat Tip: Larwyn



As Hugh Hewitt likes to say, I too think that John McCain is "a great American, a lousy senator, and a terrible Republican."

He is not anyone I would have voted for for President, at least in the primaries.

But as of today, he is in my mind the leader of what needs to be a Senate Victory Caucus.

Let his words speak for themselves.
If we leave Iraq prematurely, jihadists around the world will interpret the withdrawal as their great victory against our great power. Their movement thrives in an atmosphere of perceived victory; we saw this in the surge of men and money flowing to al Qaeda following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. If they defeat the United States in Iraq, they will believe that anything is possible, that history is on their side, that they really can bring their terrible rule to lands the world over. Recall the plan laid out in a letter from Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before his death. That plan is to take shape in four stages: establish a caliphate in Iraq, extend the “jihad wave” to the secular countries neighboring Iraq, clash with Israel – none of which shall commence until the completion of stage one: expel the Americans from Iraq. Mr. President, the terrorists are in this war to win it. The question is: Are we?
You can also watch his irritation with defeatists here.


The Big Shift - Follow-up

Bing West is a man who knows a but or two about the turbulent atmosphere of the Anbar region.

His book, No True Glory, is a must read if you want to understand how political vacillations can have serious consequences on the battlefield.

Yesterday I opined about how the U.S. is now turning the tide in Iraq by being the "Strong Horse", and how it would be shame if political weak-knees would let the "Weak Horse" win out.

Over the weekend, West posted his views on the situation at the great site, Small Wars Journal, also endorsing the Strong Horse idea under another name.
"It's conventional wisdom now to say that Anbar improved because the Sunni tribes aligned against al Qaeda. True enough, but an incomplete explanation. With inadequate manpower, the Marines and Army National Guard and active duty soldiers persisted year after year with gritty, relentless patrolling that convinced the tribes the American military was, as one tribal leader said to me, "the strongest tribe". Hence the tribes could turn against al Qaeda, knowing they had the strongest tribe standing behind them."
Directly after that, West asks a devastating question that all in Washington ought to consider:
"But why join "the strongest tribe" if it is migrating back to the [United] States?"
Why indeed? The tribes have risked much to join with our strength, why would they continue to risk reprisal, if they know we will be gone in the near future? If our Congressional representatives continue to talk of precipitous withdrawal, we could well see the tribes abandon us to secure their local safety and hegemony. Political words in Washington could have severe consequences along the Euphrates. Words could undo this surge of progress.

Much work has gone in to making the surge and the "Awakening" a success. But it is quite possible that it could all be undone by careless words of careless people who are acting out of spite, revenge, or fear for their careers.

Why indeed?


The Big Shift

One day, One edition of the New York Times, Two different worlds.....

There is a big shift on concerning Iraq, but depending on which NYT article you read, it may not be the one you were thinking of.

Shift #1:
Sensing a Shift, Reid Will Press for an Iraq Exit

WASHINGTON, July 7 — Democratic voters are not the only ones bitter over their party’s failure to use new Congressional power to force a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Senator Harry Reid, the occasionally obstreperous Democratic leader, is upset as well.

“We haven’t done enough,” said Mr. Reid, a onetime moderate who has evolved into one of the party’s most fervent critics of the war.

That view captures not only Mr. Reid’s sentiment but also the shifting political dynamic on the war, as public frustration remains high, the conflict dominates the presidential campaign landscape and senior Republicans have chosen to break with President Bush even as the administration has urged patience.

Sensing momentum from the new Republican defections, Mr. Reid and other leading Democrats intend to force a series of votes over the next two weeks on proposals to withdraw troops and limit spending. Democrats are increasingly confident they can assemble majority opposition to administration policies.

Shift #2:
Showcase and Chimera in the Desert

SUNNI merchants watched warily from behind neat stacks of fruit and vegetables as Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno walked with a platoon of bodyguards through the Qatana bazaar here one recent afternoon. At last, one leathery-faced trader glanced furtively up and down the narrow, refuse-strewn street to check who might be listening, then broke the silence.

“America good! Al Qaeda bad!” he said in halting English, flashing a thumb’s-up in the direction of America’s second-ranking commander in Iraq.

Until only a few months ago, the Central Street bazaar was enemy territory, watched over by American machine-gunners in sandbagged bunkers on the roof of the governor’s building across the road. Ramadi was Iraq’s most dangerous city, and the area around the building the most deadly place in Ramadi. Now, a pact between local tribal sheiks and American commanders has sent thousands of young Iraqis from Anbar Province into the fight against extremists linked to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The deal has all but ended the fighting in Ramadi and recast the city as a symbol of hope that the tide of the war may yet be reversed to favor the Americans and their Iraqi allies.
Wow. Not that this is anything new, but what a difference. One dispatch filled with news of hope for victory, and one filled with political machinations to encourage defeat.

As has been well documented over the last few months, the Democrats will try their hardest to pass defeatist resolutions before the 'Surge' can have any real effect. Unfortunately they are running out of time, as Shift #2 demonstrates. So it must make Harry Reid happy when he hears more and more milquetoast Republican Senators having second thoughts.

Of course all of this comes right as we are on the precipice of success. Or 'tipping point' if you will. Where I come from that is called "Grasping defeat from the jaws of victory."

But what bothers me the most, is that even if they arenot successful in their attempts, the Dems project the image that the U.S. is a 'weak horse'. This of course is a reference to Osama bin Laden's 2001 staement "...when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse." In 1996 bin Laden also declared a fatwa, in which he said "Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear." The weak horse was the defeat in Vietnam, the withdrawal from Beirut, the withdrawal in Somalia, the lack of response to the USS Cole. The appearance of "impotence and weakness" has severe consequences.

For some time in Iraq, we rode the weak horse, which motivated the insurgency and caused the political turmoil at home. Right now in Iraq, we are starting to ride a Strong Horse. It is the Surge and its devastation of our enemies which have turned the tide.
"...But the change that made all the others possible, American officers say, was the alliance with the sheiks. In Ramadi, 23 tribal leaders approached the Americans and offered to fight the extremists by forming “provincial security battalions,” neighborhood police auxiliaries, and by sending volunteers to the Iraqi Army and police. Across Anbar, the 3,500 policemen in October jumped to 21,500 by June. In Ramadi, where there were fewer than 100 policemen last year, there are now 3,500.

Many recruits, American officers acknowledge, were previously insurgents. There’s a lot of guys wearing blue shirts out there who were shooting at us last year,” Colonel Charlton said.

The trend has spread to other areas where American and Iraqi troops are fighting extremists, including the Sunni district of Amariya in Baghdad, where former insurgents have been given arms and ammunition to fight Al Qaeda-linked groups."
In the region and culture, strength is respected. That may be anathema to the ears of sensitive Senators who don't want to do anything that would jeopardize their "wish is to be carried out of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body feet first", but it is the situation that the military forces fighting the war have to deal with. Nothing could have produced Shift #2 but the employment of strength as called for in the Surge.

Unfortunately, in the deluded myopia that drives Shift #1, the Dems have declared the Surge a failure, and want to take the Strong Horse out behind the barn and shoot it.

Addendum: For a look at another interesting 'Compare & Contrast' for Shift #2, check out downrange milblogger Badger 6.

Addendum II: A second offering from another downrange milblogger, Jack Army, in the form of a letter from an Iraqi citizen, showing how the Iraqi public may only trust the U.S. military to get the job down....

Reuters Reformed?

If you have been a dedicated blog reader over the last year, what would your first reaction to the words Reuters, Israel, and Lebanon?

It is fairly likely, just like me, that your reaction would have been "Faked Photos" and "news manipulation".

So I initially had the same reaction when I stumbled on this Reuters video report from yesterday.

It has all the elements of the typical wire report you might see out of the region, except that it shows Israel in a good light. Color me amazed... I thought there was a moratorium on stories showing that Israel suffered attacks by Hezbollah? Not to mention I thought, according to my reading of the press narratives, it was only Israel that targeted innocents.

Well it is good to see Reuters portray that conflict as more than one-sided, and Israel as a victim once in a while.

I guess we don't need that Fairness Doctrine after all. ;-)

Hat Tip: Larwyn and Hugh Hewitt (I found the video when clicking his link to the Live Earth-Rio flop video...)


Hooray Beer!

I know Father's Day was last month, but my the gift for my first Father's Day showed up recently. This gift is the gift that keeps on giving...better known as "Beer of the Month".

In fact it is really the 'Domestic Microbrew of the Month Club', which "lets you experience today's best, hand-crafted microbrews without having to travel the country to find them."

This month I got Peg Leg Imperial Stout & Clipper City Gold Ale from Clipper City Brewing Company, and The Bitter End Pale Ale & Domaine DuPage French Country Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Company.

I know that I will have fun with these selections. I guess it is a good thing I have increased my running regimen....

To anyone deployed in an area with a restrictive General Order #1, I'll tip one for you....

Happy Marsiversary

One anniversary that I didn't see noted this past week as the the 1oth anniversary of America's return to Mars with the first Mars Rover.

The third generation of Rover is being previewed as well. Lets keep it going....

Of course, since it is Transformers week, there is this alternate ending to the first Rover's life. ;-)


Fred Thompson - Empty Suit?

You know that the left is feeling threatened, when they have already started trying to tear down Fred Thompson. And he isn't even in the race yet....
Thompson Strong on Style, Not Substance
Analysis: With Substance Lacking Fred Thompson's Strength Is His Style

By LIZ SIDOTI Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON Jul 5, 2007 (AP)

Fred Thompson's easygoing, no-nonsense style is clearly his strength and undoubtedly has helped him soar in presidential polls. It may only get him so far.

Sooner or later, the all-but-declared candidate will have to answer the question: What else do you offer?
What?!? Are you kidding?

First can we count how many times in the first 4 lines (Title, Subtitle, 1st & 2nd sentence) does the AP make the point that Fred Thompson is all style and no substance? That's right, 4 times. Talk about being as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Second....Fred, no substance? Once again....are you kidding? At the very least Ms. Sidoti should read his opinion pieces, and listen to his radio podcasts. She should also spend a week listening to conservative talk radio. He usually appears on prominent shows at least one or two times and mixes it up.

In fact Sidoti even undermines the bias of the start of the article by stating:
"He opines on hot topics, from taxes to terrorism, in online columns and on his Web site, usually without being challenged."
OK, if he "opines on hot topics", how can he be devoid of substance??? You may not like his substance, but that does not mean he lacks it. And oooooh, he isn't being challenged! He must be a vacuous empty suit, and not fit to be leader of the free world. Like anyone is challenging Hillary....

Lets give Sidoti another shot to support her point....
"The White House aspirant put his Southern-tinged style on display in Columbia, S.C., last week. He pleased GOP activists with a 30-minute speech peppered with plainspoken points and folksy sayings. They clapped at his applause lines and laughed at his jokes as he commented on hot-button issues from Iraq and immigration to terrorism and taxes and the dispirited state of the GOP."
Once again, "...he commented on hot-button issues from Iraq and immigration to terrorism and taxes and the dispirited state of the GOP." sounds suspiciously like substance to me.

So Ms. Sidoti must have some high-powered political experts with insider information who can offer good reasons why we should believe that Fred has no substance....
Still, for all Thompson's style, he left others wanting to hear more substance.

"I like him a lot, but the jury's still out on him until he tells us more," said Thomas Gilbert, 76, who traveled from Fayetteville, Ga.

His wife, Margaret Gilbert, 73, agreed: "He's a good speaker and said things I think that essentially most Americans agree with, but I really don't know that much about him or what he'd do."
Ahhhh...Tom and Marge. I think I saw them last on Meet the Press....not. And with an average age of 74.5, it is doubtful that they have been reading his stuff on imwithfred.com or listening to his podcasts between games of shuffleboard.

Good job Ms. Sidoti....if Tom and Marge are dissatisfied, I suppose I should be too. Fred has lost my vote! ;-)

Hat Tip: K-Lo

Update: Captain's Quarters highlights another anti-Fred mudslinging attempt by the LA Times


Air Force, Heck Yeah!

"We can't win without the Air Force!"

Heck Yeah!

Michael Yon: An Army of One

"The village was abandoned. All the people were gone. But where....

As we passed through the village, Captain Combs pointed out the nice houses, saying the people had been simple farmers with comfortable homes and lives....

Until al Qaeda came....

I told the Iraqi commander, Captain Baker, that it was important that Americans see this; he took me around the graves and showed more than I wanted to see. He said the people had been murdered by al Qaeda. I made video of him speaking, and of the horrible scene. The heat and stench were crushingly oppressive and broken only by the sounds of shovels as Iraqi soldiers kept digging...."


"As the investigation unfolds more pertinent details, I’ll continue to update the story. But the biggest question rippling across the internet–“Why hasn’t the mainstream media picked this up?” –is something only representatives of mainstream media can answer...."
Main Stream Media reporting: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..............
-"Why report on actual massacres committed by Al Qaeda when you can invent fictitious massacres which undermine, rather than underscore, the seriousness of the war against Al Qaeda?"

-"Yon's story doesn't get attention because it is humiliating. It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., - can’t do squat about such determined use of force...."
Are we surprised?

The 'Diverse' Bombers

A few days ago I asked "It makes you wonder if the Brits really want to win, or whether capitulation will win out..."

Well, apparently multi-culti capitulation has won out.
Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word ‘Muslim’ in connection with the terrorism crisis... The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more ‘consensual’ tone than existed under Tony Blair.
Ah yes, I remember Tony Blair. Such a mean man, what with his harsh accurate statements about terrorists. It was enough to really hurt someone's feelings, which now apparently is illegal in Britain.

Thank goodness that we have Mark Steyn around to point out what these sustpects have in common....


Fairness Doctrine Threat?

While any talk of reviving the Fairness Doctrine by the Congressional majority should be eyed with some trepidation, I think that this instance is a pure politcal ruse with ulterior motives.

Now what could be gained by threatening to enact unpopluar legislation to restrict free speech? How about using it as a foil to achieve what you really want?

For some time now, the Dems have been bellyaching about Clear Channel Communications owning too many radio stations, "scrubbing politically divergent commentary from the air", and also being the willing servant of the Bushitler noise machine.

Thus far their complaints have gotten nowhere as have efforts to place onerous new regulations on the industry, so what is a good liberal to do?

How about offering a bogeyman so distasteful, that less restrictive regulations (e.g. limitations on station ownership) won't look so bad?

I think that this whole Fairness Doctrine exercise was nothing more than preparatory fires to soften up a target to make their actual assault a lot easier. And given the way that milquetoast Republican congress-critters have been in a conciliatory state of mind, I can see them allowing the Dems to pass such a regulatory affront.

Clown Car Terrorism?

Noah Shachtman in the Danger Room points out growing opinion that the latest British almost-car bombings are the equivalent of the Terrorist Special Olympics.
We here at the DANGER ROOM have been taking the London-Glasgow bomb plot pretty seriously. But to security guru Bruce Schneier, the scheme is straight out of the "Terrorist Special Olympics." "Beavis and Butthead in London jihad," proclaims El Reg in one story. "'al-Qaeda' puts on big shoes, red nose, takes custard pie," in another.

The argument -- echoed by lots of folks in the comments here -- is that "the device could not have detonated. Not under any circumstances. You see, the terrorist wannabe clown who built it left out a crucial element: an oxidizer. The device was pure pre-teen boy fantasy."
This very well may be turn out to be the case, but both Noah and I still consider this to be a real threat, despite the incompetence.

I mean if a few amateurs driven by some religiously inspired greivance can get as far as they did without being on the scope of British security, it makes you wonder what a real and serious Jihadi might accomplish with a legitimate car bomb?

Additionally the fact that Britain has professional class Muslims (i.e. not poor oppressed Muslims from some backwater. Anyone seeing a trend here?) cannot be a good sign for the future of that country's multi-cultural, free-for-all immigration experiment. And perhaps would have some lessons for us.

Food for thought...


Who is a Bigger Threat?

Republicans or Terrorists?

According to Hillary Clinton supporters, It's a Tie!
"It doesn’t matter whether they’re Republicans or whether they’re terrorists – she will stand up to defend this country," Christie Vilsack, wife of ex-Gov. Tom, says in her introduction of Hillary Clinton in Des Moines this evening...
Yeah, but does she advocate sending Republicans to Gitmo??

Don't Listen to Me...

...liten to the Generals.

First up, Gen Petraeus appeared with Bill Bennett on his radio this morning.
"...the big comprehensive offensive that we launched in mid-June is on track. It has made progress against al-Qaeda. There have been sacrafices. A number of us said this would get harder before it gets easier. You can't go on the offensive like our soldiers and Marines have with out taking casualties, tragically. There has been quite a bit of progress in a number of different areas..."
Listen to the audio here. (Hat Tip: K-Lo)

Meanwhile Grim at Blackfive posts links to a bloggers roundtable with BGen Wolff (COMMANDER, COALITION MILITARY ASSISTANCE TRAINING TEAM):
GRIM: I noticed -- we were talking earlier about the Washington clock. I noticed yesterday in a document that was really about -- it was really a partisan document issued by the Senate majority leader's office [GRIM: my bad memory -- it was actually from the Democratic Caucus's Senate office] about Republican obstructionism. As sort of a throwaway line at the last part of the document, it said that several hundred soldiers have died in Bush's failed surge policy. Do you feel that it is fair to say that the surge has failed?

GEN. WOLFF: No. Simple answer is no. I mean, I think you have to see how this plays out over time......


Q So these statements have consequences, then, on the battlefield.

GEN. WOLFF: Well, yeah, of course. All of our statements do. And so, I mean, again, you know, our politicians have a responsibility to the American people, and so do we. And we have to recognize that things play out in the media. And there are -- that's just a fact.
Listen to the audio here.

For a lot more of some very interesting interviews with senior military leaders, check out the DoD's Blogger's Roundtable website

Would You Like Some Bias....

...with that news??

I guess we know how the CNN web-editors (or perhaps their summer interns) feel about today's breaking news....

'Skates', huh? Maybe that is a cute attempt at allietration, but it probably fits the true definition of how many at CNN feel about this news. The verb 'to skate' of course is synonymous with the words dodge, bilk, shirk, and evade.

And people wonder why we hold the MSM in the regards we do. Would it be so hard to keep the editorializing to the editorial section, and out of the headlines/stories?

It must have been too hard to come up with a lede like this:

Congrats to the AP for burning those brain cells, although they still manage to imply that Libby leaked CIA secrets.