~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Hugh Hewitt asks...

... what modern novels are worth rereading?

Hugh is not a rereader whereas I am a habitual rereader. (A re-rereader? Anyway.) I love to go through old material and experience again the emotions evoked by favorite passages. Therefore, as a rereading fanatic, I'll list only a short list of the works I've read more than twice:

Fiction The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Far and away my favorite book ever. I must've read this one fifteen times. I keep 5 or six copies in the house for easy and frequent loaning to friends. While the plot is unremarkable (a murder on campus, the guilty students band together to evade investigation) the writing is truly gorgeous. Rich and velvety language. If words were food, The Secret History would be warm brownies with milk.

Sci-Fi Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead/Xenocide - Orson Scott Card

Card has opined (and there is much truth in it) that the Morality Tale has one genre left: Science fiction. No one (willingly anyway) reads Everyman anymore, but millions have read the Ender trilogy and been stimulated to ponder the merits of good, evil, and indifference.

Historical Fiction Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet

Deeply engrossing story of the origins of the first gothic cathedral built in England. Epic in scope and pulling together 3 generations of characters, Pillars of the Earth is plausible, fun, and presented in Follet's trademark easy-reading style. It's not Umberto Eco, but if it was, would you reread it?

Other Lord of the Barnyard - Tristan Egolf

I stumbled across this one on the bargain table at Border's and picked up the hardback on a whim. Boy am I glad I did! A real gem of a weird tale. The writing drips with the same emotions felt by the characters. Egolf has captured the dark underbelly of semi-rural Indiana. The best description of this indescribable story appears on the front cover. "Killing the fatted calf and arming the aware in the cornbelt."

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Friday, November 26, 2004

Being "libertarian" means never having to say you're sorry...

... or "Why I am a conservative."


After reading several posts by self-labeled libertarians about why they're not prudish conservatives (though I think they do a great service to some of our mutual goals,) I feel the need to explain why I identify with the conservative movement underway in America.

Here's five reasons why I love conservatives;

1 - Conservatives are unashamedly pro-military. A conservative American intuitively "gets" the purpose behind the good work we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. 50 million world neighbors liberated is a good thing. They see our armed forces as a force for good, not evil.

2 - Conservatives value traditions in a way that other American groups do not. A Marine never carries an umbrella while in uniform. You don't have to explain this to a conservative. Without ridicule, he/she just understands that traditions have value for their own sake. The phrase "traditional values" is a source of contempt among America's Left. To the Right, it's a source of pride.

3 - The mouthpiece of the the conservatives, the Republican Party, is more inclusive of dissenting views than the Democrats or any other fringe independent party. The Democrats have pushed out their center and center-right voices for the last thirty years. Meanwhile the Republicans can still boast high-profile, socially liberal politicians who actively and effectively support the party as a whole.

4 - Only the the conservatives proudly proclaim the truth of American exceptionalism. Currently the world's only super power, conservatives understand that we did not get to where we are by emulating the less successful programs of other countries.

5 - Only the conservatives have the balls (yes, the BALLS) to state that there is absolute evil in this world. While recognizing that the problems now facing the world are often complex, conservatives believe that the solutions can often be simple. Others frequently mistake this view as "simpleminded." It's not.

To me, these modern day libertarians are trying to have it both ways. "I'm not a liberal because I support a strong military in today's global situation. I'm not a conservative because I support gay marriage."

We're a two party system, guys. Pick a side. Please.

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"Intelligence Reform and Political Spin"

From the Washington Times:
"When asked to give his opinion on the Senate bill and an alternative measure proposed by Mr. Hunter that would preserve the current chain of command, Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed the California Republican lawmaker's version. So, too, have the heads of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy. The truth is that the very idea of shifting control of defense intelligence agencies away from the Pentagon (as embodied in the Senate bill) is a proposal to "fix" a nonexistent problem: When Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, chairman and vice chairman of the September 11 commission, testified on Capitol Hill, both acknowledged in response to a question from Mr. Hunter their panel had come across no specific instance of a failure or negligence on the part of a Department of Defense agency."

Look, folks;

Intelligence reform calls for certain tools... a jeweler's hammer, a scalpel, and a powerful microscope. Not a sledge hammer, a broadsword, and the underinformed opinions of partisan, political pundits. ("Opinions of partisan, political pundits?" Sorry. I have this maddening habit of lapsing into alliteration.)

If I was allowed by the DOD to explain why this is true... I would. Blame Karl Rove.



(who signed on the dotted line to not talk about operational intelligence details until the year 2099)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

News thoughts...

James Lileks weighs in on Dan Rather's [pseudo] resignation, concluding that...
"The news was like oil – pumped from select locations, refined by a few big companies. Now it’s water – plentiful, ubiquitous, available in dozens of forms. Bottled, tap, precipitation, dew, spittle, you name it. Oh, but are we really better informed?"
I think he might be onto something. I'm continually amazed that while I read six newspapers a day online, listen to talk radio, and look every day for topics and links for this weblog, my wife subscribes to only the weekend edition of our local paper. Yet she knows as much if not more than I do about current events.

What this means is still up for grabs.

BTW, if you're not reading James' The Bleat, you don't know what you're missing. Star Trek fan? Read him. Film noir fan? Read him. Are you a father? Are you a collector? Just go read him.

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Not as uncommon as you might think...

It puts me in mind of my friend Clark, who battled last minute misinformation and dropped ten pounds in one week in order to join the Navy before his 32nd birthday, the cutoff age for enlistment.
The Lance Cpl.Who Left Wall St.

No one who knew Dimitrios Gavriel, 29, was surprised when he joined the Marines, even though it seemed an unlikely choice for an Ivy League–educated Manhattan research analyst.

Via Powerline:

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Value Voters "myth" proved correct?

Earlier I linked David Brooks in the NYT: "The Values-Vote Myth"

It seems that at the time ( caught up as I was in my anger over many Kerry-voters' dismissal of all Bush-voters as stupid, Christian, gay bashing, rednecks ) I may have agreed too quickly with his analysis of a poorly worded exit poll:

"This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George W. Bush over the top.

This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong."


"Much of the misinterpretation of this election derives from a poorly worded question in the exit polls. When asked about the issue that most influenced their vote, voters were given the option of saying "moral values." That can mean anything -- or nothing. Who doesn't vote on moral values? If you ask an inept question, you get a misleading result."

Mr. Brooks goes on to make a case that the election turned on the issues of terrorism, and Iraq, concluding that "if you think we are safer now, you probably voted for Bush. If you think we are less safe, you probably voted for Kerry. That's policy, not fundamentalism."

And I quickly agreed since that reflects why I myself voted for the President. However, twenty days later, Maggie Gallagher at NRO argues that Mr. Brooks is wrong. I'm still wading through the numbers ( has anyone else quadrupled their knowledge this year of just how polls work? ) but it seems persuasive enough to reconsider my knee-jerk acceptance of Brooks' analysis.

From "The Rise of the Values Voters"

"But what do the voters mean by "moral values?" Here too the [new] Pew poll makes it clear that voters were not at all confused by what they meant.

When voters who chose moral values as their most important issue were asked "what comes to mind when you think about 'moral values,'" 44 percent named specific issues (29 percent said gay marriage, 32 percent said either abortion or stem cells). Eighteen percent said something like "God, the Bible, or religion," and 17 percent said some version of "traditional values" such as "family values," "right versus wrong," living by a "moral code," or a "general decline in morality." About 23 percent gave some response that indicated a reference to the candidates' personal moral qualities. All told, 79 percent of values voters agreed that the phrase referred either to social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, or to traditional values generally, or to religion. (The numbers add up to slightly more than 100 percent because voters could list up to two items.)"

It seems increasingly likely that the President did ride a wave support from those who identify guns, abortion, and gay marriage as primary values.

Watch for updates as I search for cooberating evidence.

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

What animal are you?

This test says I may be a penguin...


...but I might also be a warthog.

I've been pondering this for an hour, and I've come to the conclusion that I am a warthog struggling to be the noble penguin. Take this in whatever way you want.

via: Funtongue

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Ya learn sumpin' new ever day ...

Blogroll added to the left.
Entered into the Ecosystem, alas, still an insignificant microbe.
More links coming soon.

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Blackfive's Exit Strategy For Iraq and Afghanistan

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The Rules of Engagement.

The Sgt Major of my unit gave a similar speech to us in the same Kuwaiti desert.

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Good riddance...

WashingtonPost.com Drops Ted Rall's Cartoons:

"Ted Rall does very interesting work," Feaver said [drooling with delight over the way Rall's latest abortion slams America] . "Some of it is not funny to an awful lot of [stupid] people. We decided at the end of the day that it just did not fit the ["hate America first"] tone we wanted [to openly display] at WashingtonPost.com."

Ted Rall, inspiring hate and encouraging division since 1963.

Hat tip: LGF

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Sears/Kmart Acquires France

The retail industry received another shake-up today as Sears Holding Corp. (NYSE: S), the parent company behind the recent merger of Sears and Kmart, announced the acquisition of embattled European cheesemaker France (NASDAQ: FROG). The buyout deal, estimated at $2.7 billion, will position Sears/Kmart/France as the world's third largest retailer and 15th ranked military power.


"There are a number of strategic moves that this deal opens up," explained Reed. "Now that they are a nuclear power and a member of the UN Security Council, Sears can invoke international sanctions against Wal Mart, and order airstrikes against Bentonville, Arkansas."

More at Iowahawk.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Marine shoots unarmed terrorist in Fallujah...

Anyone who watches the news has seen this video.

My position is simple:

Playing dead is NOT surrendering.

My preliminary analysis is also simple:

Justified. Give him a medal. Of course, I reserve the right to revise my opinion once the full results of the military investigation, currently underway, is released to the public. But given only the information presented in the video, I can see no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of this Marine.

Now, some have criticized journalist Kevin Sites for releasing this video, while others have defended his decision. Me? I think the video is morally neutral. It's a black and white picture. It can be colored in by the anti-war crowd to represent the worst of America's military actions abroad... and can be colored in by those of us who have been in combat as a testiment to the brave young men who are forced by the enemy to make quick, life and death decisions to protect themselves and their comrades.

In the end, though, I think Kevin Sites (who is a blogger by the way, and his blog suggests longtime experience as an imbedded reporter at war) has fulfilled his journalistic duty to release this footage without commentary. This is as it should be. But the cynic in me thinks he did so predicting that others would color in his video with the anti-war message he wanted all along.

Hat tip: Bill, Jeff, Powerline, Glenn

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Adopt-A-Sniper charity...


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Monday, November 15, 2004

Blogging can be easier than it looks...

Why didn't I think of that?

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Graffiti in Fallujah...

From Getty images:

"Caption: FALLUJAH, IRAQ: A US marine from the 3/5 Lima company stands in front of graffiti scribbled on the bridge crossing the Euphrates River in the restive city of Fallujah,14 November 2004, 50 kms west of Baghdad. The bridge became famous after the death of US security officers' charred bodies were hung on display at the end of March 2004."

I can't personally verify that these sentiments acurately reflect the views of the majority of the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment because I've never talked to them. During my seven months in Iraq last year I was only co-located with the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Fifth Marines... Sounds acurate, but I don't know for sure... Y'know... Just throwin' that out there...

(h/t) LGF Justice is served in Fallujah.

UPDATE: This reminds me of driving around Diwaniya with intel guys translating spray-painted slogans on walls around town. Trying to get a feel for the local feeling, the most prominant sentiment translated, roughly, "Take that, Saddam!"

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Post just doesn't get it... again...

Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post writes a piece deconstucting American fascination with this map:

He chooses to conclude with:

"In his Nov. 9 column, John Derbyshire, a right-wing polemicist for the National Review Online, made one of the many little lists of undesirables floating around cyberspace: "the academic deconstructors, the teacher-union multiculturalists, the media guilt-mongers, the love-the-world pacifists, the criminal-lovers and family-breakers, the inventors of bogus rights and destroyers of cherished traditions, the haters of normality and scoffers at restraint, the enterprise-destroying litigators and pain-feelers."

In the flurries of hate rhetoric that followed in the wake of this election, the message of this list -- you are not welcome -- is clear. As is the rancor in an essay, on Slate.com, by novelist Jane Smiley, which proclaimed "red state types" to be virtually "unteachable." The level of descriptive and demonizing detail in these screeds reflects the dark side of our collective demographic self-absorption.

All of these rants show how thoroughly we are caught up in the secessionist/expulsionist fantasy, and how painful it is to realize that perhaps the United States is nothing more than an arbitrary lumping together of people inside a shape on a map. Other national symbols have a comforting ambiguity. The map, however, says one thing, and very clearly: the only truly shared identity a diverse people has is that it lives in this place, confined within these lines. Everything else is up for grabs, and so the contest is on."

Mr. Kennicott, I don't see readers of The National Review holding public "gloating rallies" where they burn this map, but I do see readers of the Washington Post holding "peace rallies" where they burn the flag.

Get your readers to show a little restraint, Mr. Kennicott, and maybe then I'll consider your arguments.

Actions speak louder than words, Sir.

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The Schwarzenegger Presidential Library?


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Troops Occupy All of Fallujah

Via Drudge:

"U.S. officials said they hoped the latest attack would finish off the last pocket of significant resistance in Fallujah. Next was a planned house-to-house clearing operation to find boobytraps, weapons and guerrillas still hiding in the rubble."

Warning: You have to wade through a lot of ominious doom and gloom to find anything resembling good news in this story. It is from the AP, y'know...

UPDATE: Sorry 'bout that... link to story is here.

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Cox and Forkum sums it up neatly.

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Um... I want what they're smoking...

Now available online... The Rapture Index. You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.
Rapture Index of 85 and Below:  Slow prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 85 to 110:     Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 110 to 145:    Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 145:        Fasten your seat belts 
I don't even know how to begin to... I mean... what the... um... huh?

UPDATE: FWI... current Rapture Index is 153 as of 11/8/2004.

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Friday, November 12, 2004

It's fun to smoke marijuana?

Just to prove that this blog isn't all about politics, check out the hidden messages buried within the music of... Queen!

Y'know I'd suspected as much ever since the movie "Wayne's World."

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Lacy's Revenge...

Regarding Scott Peterson's conviction, the Instapundit notes:

My main feeling is disappointment that it's over: For many, many months I've been able to look up at TVs in bars, restaurants, the gym, etc. -- and when the Peterson trial was on, I knew right away that there was no actual news to report. Now I've lost that valuable tool.


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The charmingly tolerant folks at A.N.S.W.E.R., effective as always, managed to detain and harrass a few lost Marines on their way to a Frickin' Veteran's Day parade in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Up from Camp Pendleton and unfamiliar with the area, two USMC Stryker Light Armored Vehicles (sorry, Army drives Strykers) missed their exit and were circling the block and asking directions to the Westwood VA building. They stumbled upon an anti-war rally and were greeted with cries of "Block the tank!" and "Bring the troops home now!" Finally, police had to push protesters out of the street to allow the Marines to... ahem... MoveOn.

"Tanks! They're sending in tanks!"

"Well.. you know... maybe not, real tanks.

Video of the incident is here.

Sorry, guys. Your dreams of firehoses and tear gas continue to go unfulfilled. *giggle* The 60's are over. It's time to face facts.


UPDATE: The conspiracy nuts aren't buying it.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004


Checking out various formats, now. Site's gonna look real weird...

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Veteran's Day...

From NRO:

In his birthday message to Marines this year, the Commandant, Gen. Mike Hagee, related a story about a Marine who had been wounded in Iraq earlier this year. A squad leader, he refused evacuation until he finally passed out from a loss of blood. When he woke up in an Army hospital in Germany, he talked the staff into releasing him. He borrowed some utilities from a Navy corpsman and then talked his way aboard an Air Force transport that was flying back to Iraq. But before boarding the plane, he called his wife to tell her that he was O.K. but that he wouldn't be home because the Marines in his squad needed him. As the old question goes, where do we find such men? The truth is that we find them all the time.


"There is nothing sweeter than to be an old man who has fought for his country."

As they say... read the whole thing.

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My thoughts on Fallujah...

From Bill over at INDC Journal:

Were the months of inaction preceding this week's climactic street battle in Fallujah a conscious part of a larger strategy designed to quell the country's insurgency? A Blackhawk operator serving in Iraq thinks so:

What if the Coalition planners decided to let them set up a "safe" operations center that would, over time, develop such an appeal to all enemies of the coalition, that local insurgents and foreign extremists alike would come running from all parts of Iraq to "consolidate and organize?" Sort of like grabbing a megaphone and shouting "Attention all ye Ba'athists and Islamofascists!!! Safe area in Fallujah!!! Bring your friends!!! Anyone interested in killing children and/or driving car bombs welcome!!!!"

Now, instead of having them spread throughout the country, we have the bulk of them holed up in one "popular" spot. Like a roach motel. Insurgents check in, but they don't check out.

My comments:

Thanks for making my point, Bill. Sheesh I'm tired of the Mainstream media reporting things like, "The Marines' foward progress has ground to a dead halt in what the troops have nicknamed The Mother Of All Sandstorms" and then just leaving that out there, confident the public will translate it into, "hopeless, bloody quagmire."

I was in that sandstorm. Yes it was a bad one. It's true that I was not able to do much. My Humvee just sat there on the side of the road all night. What I learned later was that while OUR column couldn't move, foward scouts reported back the positions of similarly pinned enemy to artillary units parked across the road from me. Trust me, they were gettin' shit done all night... I 've got the (slight) hearing loss to prove it.

Our expertly trained, highly advanced military is in the bussiness of turning lemons into lemonade. And they do it very well.

I'd caution people to not dismiss this pilot's assesment of the situation in Fallujah. It's very plausible.

PS: When I learn to use trackbacks (I'm trying!) I'll use them.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wait up a sec...

Recently from the Belmont Club:

"If Kerry had won, the war would undoubtedly be repudiated in the press everywhere. But now that Bush has won, it has been decided that he won on other issues like gay marriage and abortion."

It's out of control. See here, here, and here. (Video of ABC's Carole Simpson decrying the red states as wishing they could own slaves again. Sheesh.)

Don't believe the successionists for even a second. This election was about war and economy and the people have spoken (some wholeheartedly, some reluctantly) for President Bush.

Update: Don't miss this culumn from David Brooks, who neatly sums up this displacement phenomenom. From the NY Times even!

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Sunday, November 07, 2004

I need (desperately) to relearn me some straight code HTML. I can't get my entries to appear how I want them. Oh, well... this blog thing is a work in process. Right? Right. More tomorrow...

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The choice....

I'll support this Marine,

"Just last week, we lost another nine Marines killed and an equal number of wounded as the result of some ignorant extremists who was able to convince himself that killing himself and as many Americans as possible would send him to paradise where he could finally get his virgins.

Now, their own ignorance and arrogance will be their undoing. They believe that they can hold Fallujah. In fact, they have come from all over to be part of its glorious defense. I cannot describe the atmosphere that exists in the Regiment right now. Of course the men are nervous but I think they are more nervous that we will not be allowed to clean the rats nest out and instead will be forced to continue operating as is. "

before I'll support this one.

"Fahrenheit 9/11 transformed Marine Lance Cpl. Abdul Henderson into an internationally known war protester. Now it could get him in legal trouble.

When asked on screen by director Michael Moore whether he planned to return to fight in Iraq, Henderson said no.

“The question kind of surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting it,” says Henderson, a reservist who saw combat for about two months after the Iraq war began. “But my answer came from the heart.”

Like LCPL Henderson, I don't want to leave my family again and return to Iraq, but unlike him... I will, if recalled to active duty. I signed on the dotted line. So did he. To our Marines surrounding Fallujah - Go get 'em boys.

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New blog to check out...

My old buddy Angel has a new blog too...

I can't tell you how weird it feels to be disagreeing with my friend on his first political post with MY first political post. But... here goes...

Re: The impending attack on Fallujah

  • Okay, I could have told anyone who was willing to listen that this would happen. Once W was back in the White House, we went on the offensive. He's still under the impression that we can win this war with traditional tactics.
The enemy cannot win any kind of war against the U.S. Traditional or otherwise. There is simply no way in hell that they could match us gun for gun, man for man, jet for jet. Guerrilla warfare won't do it either. The very best they can hope for is to weaken our will at home though heinous acts of terrorism (helpfully rebroadcast by the western media.) That is what they have been trying to do in the days leading up to our recent election with the hope of affecting our elections the way they affected Spain's. End result? Didn't work. Turns out that the majority American people support W and his plan.
  • Now, let me just say one thing here: I was against the war. I am still against the war. I was against W. I'm still against W. BUT, now that we're over there, we need to fight the good fight and get our boys out alive.
  • What the administration either doesn't, or doesn't want to understand, is that the insurgents are fighting a different kind of war than we are. They're fighting just like our militia would fight if another country came up on our shores.
The "insurgents" are a distinct minority among Iraqi citizens. "Iraqis consistently say in nationwide polls that the situation in their country is improving. In polls over the course of the summer, for example, more than half of Iraqis said their country was on the right track. The vast majority of Iraqis 72% see the same benefits in democracy as Americans do: the hope for peace, stability and a better life. Most polls show that 75% of Iraqis want to vote for their leaders rather than have clerics appoint them. " This confirms what I've repeated over and over since my return from Iraq: i.e. "I was invited to dinner a hundred times for every instance I was shot at." I am for the war, for the president, and fervently believe in the good work we are doing there. And I've got the pictures of Iraqi childeren we released from political prison to back up that belief. I, too, had my doubts about whether it was worth military involvement. Well, the answer, it turns out, is yes.
  • The "hearts and minds" argument seems to hold weight, in that if you can get the people to like the US enough, they'll turn in the insurgents.

They are doing just that in Fallujah:

"In Fallujah, where Zarqawi himself is thought to be hiding, there are currently negotiations underway, not with Zarqawi, but with the elders and leaders of Fallujah. The very people I stated earlier that were tiring of the foreigner and his thuggish gang. It seems as though either the city elders/leaders can not or will not hand over Zarqawi. But, when we have to act militarily, it can not be said that we did not attempt to stave off the incursion peacefully.

Additionally, by working with the locals, we are gaining valuable intelligence from those evacuating the city. As soon as we get this intelligence, we are acting immediately."
  • What we need is a good spy network. People who can get on the inside. A LOT of people who can get inside, to give us information on who the insurgents are.

We've got that. Intel teams are working their asses off in conjunction with the thousands of Iraqi citizens who have come forward to volunteer information. That's how we found Saddam. That's how I came to be riding along with Army Special Forces in raiding a house suspected of containing incriminating documents. (It did.) Citizen tips.

In conclusion, 25,000 "insurgents" surrounded by a sea of 25,000,000 Iraqi citizens (who support the U.S. presence 3 to 1) don't have a chance... maybe a snowball's chance.

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Friday, November 05, 2004


Testing... testing...

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