~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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, January 31, 2005

Bush statue in Baghdad?

(via Drudge)


January 30, 2005 -- BAGHDAD — The man replacing the mayor of Baghdad — who was assassinated for his pro-American loyalties — says he is not worried about his ties to Washington.

In fact, he'd like to erect a monument to honor President Bush in the middle of the city.

"We will build a statue for Bush," said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. "He is the symbol of freedom."
I don't know what to make of this. The opinions I heard expressed from Baghdad residents varied from "get out" to "I want Iraq to be the 51st state."

But the Mayor? Weird.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Day by Day

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Conspiracy Theory Saturday - Vol. 1 No. 1

In keeping with such long standing traditions as Friday night cat blogging, I hearby announce the addition of a new feature here at KADNINE. Conspiracy Theory Saturday!

That's right! Here at KADNINE I promise to bring you news of of the most interesting "secret" plan that I can find. Sometimes with commentary, sometimes presnted "as is" so you, the reader, can decide for yourself.

First up:

A Very Special Effect
Looking at the latest pictures of pre-election violence in Iraq, this little gem fairly leapt out at me. Look at the pictures carefully, then read the analysis below.

Interpretation: One, this was staged, the particulars of the bomb ensure it will be ineffective and safe from the distance from which it was photographed, but visually spectacular. The people running are most likely also staged. Two, the reporters were invited to see it. Three, they knew it was staged. My only question: who are these photographers - Ali Jasim, Ali Al-Saadi and Khalid Mohammed - really working for?

Color me intrigued. As DRUDGE would say... developing...

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Every time I start to dislike Glenn...

for taking a self-important, "I'm above this left vs. right fracas because I'm a Libertarian" attitude, he has to go and post commentary that eloquently expresses what we here on the right think. Damn you, Professor. Damn you.

Alright, you're still on my 'daily read' list... dammit.

UPDATE: Then again, it could be that he considers himself outside of the 'fight' that he's able to produce such an incomparable product in the first place. My head is spinning...

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Friday, January 28, 2005

More to follow...

about (to my knowledge) Louisville's only pro-iraqi-election rally, consisting of three people, an overpass, and a sincere wish that I'd worn gloves in 36 degree weather.

(h/t:Dawn) Who has promised pictures.

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"I am happier than on my wedding day"

Kinda says it all, doesn't it?
Iraqi Expatriates Begin Voting in U.S.

SOUTHGATE, Mich. -- Joyful tears and frequent applause marked the start of U.S. voting Friday in Iraq's first independent elections in more than 50 years.

Security was tight at the abandoned store-turned-polling place in this Detroit suburb, with guards checking IDs at the parking lot entrance and using metal detectors at the doors. Inside, an oversized, homemade Iraqi flag hung from the ceiling. One poll worker could be seen weeping.

"We feel happy now. This is like America, this voting," said Zoha Yess, 64. "We want fair, good government."

Make sure to stay on top of the election this weekend with on-the-ground reports from Friends of Democracy. Unfiltered news untouched by the spin artists of the American media.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Rather makes good?

The segment on 60 Minutes II that just aired was EXCELLENT. I don't know if it's Dan Rather trying to regain some of his lost credibility, but speaking as a Marine who was over there, tonight's 60 Minutes hit the mark EXACTLY.

The Marine unit featured in the segment, preparing for Sunday's elections, were portrayed in a positive light, in a way that didn't conflict with my own experiences, and with a surprising amount of candor. When a Marine told Rather, "I'm just tired of the crap, (slight pause) sir." He almost barked out the "sir" as an afterthought to disguise the frustration clearly evident in his tone. Rather replied, "No no. Give it to me straight. Tell me what you think." The Marine went on to briefly explain that Americans at home were getting only the negative stories from the media and to stress his belief that, "We're winning."

While never shying away from the tension that truly does exist among our forces in Iraq, never hesitating to explain the very real danger that faces our Marines, the piece still managed to convey the optimism, the competence, the winning attitude that pervaded my own unit during my time in Iraq.

Bravo, CBS. Why couldn't you broadcast segments such as this one before? (Rhetorical question, of course...)

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Iraqi elections just days away

... and these translated Iraqi election broadcasts inspire not just Iraqi citizens, but weary political/military bloggers like myself.

My favorite is the clip where Sunnis, Shi'ias and Kurds, each mob flying banners and screaming, come to the three-way intersection and halt. First the Iraqi kids from all sides embrace, followed by the adults. Good God, let it be so.

I have a lot invested in this week's Iraqi elections. I spent seven months over there in 2003 as a uniformed Marine intel operative and translator. I've seen the Iraqi people up close, known their hospitality, heard their gut wrentching stories of oppression, and with ALL MY BEING I want to do right by them.

The upcoming elections MUST succeed. These commercials boost my spirits beyond belief.

Thanks Dawn

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Carson dies

Johnny Carson, age 79, "passed away peacefully early Sunday morning...He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable." Which is, of course the best way to go.

In my youngest years, the only time I was allowed to stay up late enough to watch the Tonight Show was New Year's Eve and the TV was always tuned into Carson. Power suit guru John T. Molloy ("Dress for Success") urged us to look to Carson for all we needed to know about impeccable business fashion. He was a naval officer during WWII. And...

Aw, hell. I'll never be able to do him justice. I'm emailing Mark Steyn right now to ask him to lend a few words to a great man's memory. He's done it before, ya know...

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

New ruling concerning detainees

via Michelle Malkin:
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that Congress had authorized the president to order the detention of "enemy combatants" for the duration of the war on terror.

The lawsuit by seven of the roughly 550 detainees being held at the U.S. Navy base failed to show valid legal grounds to overturn that power, Leon said. As a result, the proper place to contest their detainment is before military review boards, not federal courts.
I believe this to be the proper thinking. A captured enemy combatant simply does not enjoy the same rights and privileges as American citizens. Period.

That said, our military justice system is seriously flawed and unfair. Unfair to it's military members as well as foreign detainees. For instance, a soldier on leave who is arrested off base for a DUI will first go through the civilian courts before receiving additional punishment from his command, clearly an end run around double jeopardy.

The US civilian court system is not the place to remedy this heavily antiquated system. Congress ordered the current Uniform Code of Military Justice into law in 1950 with major revisions in '68 and '83. It's again time for Congress to make an overhaul.

Under current parameters, our military is hampered in it's efforts to effectively interrogate captured enemies, forced to hand down punishments to it's own members disproportionate to the crime, and ultimately it will be forced to hand off foreign prisoners to allied countries where their rights and safety cannot be garunteed. This is unacceptable.

Appalled by alleged abuses at Gitmo? Write your congressman. Appalled by detainees using the Supreme Court to circumvent interrogation? Write your congressman.

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14 Ted Rall cartoon punchlines in one editoral!

In what is maybe the grossest example of the "hate America first" attitude of today's mainstream opinion writers, Susan Lenfestey of the Star Tribune puts today's inauguration in "perspective..."
As the Republican Congress gets ready to underfund everything from Head Start to veterans' benefits, Speaker Dennis Hastert checks his profile in the mirror.

As Pfc. Francis Obaji, oldest son of an immigrant Nigerian family, is zipped into a body bag for the sad journey home, Laura Bush zips up her Oscar de la Renta gown.

And as his corporate pals slide their millions across the table to dance at his ball, forgetting for a moment the bottom line that forces them to ship jobs overseas, George W. Bush pulls on his snakeskin boots.
(h/t: Powerline)

UPDATE: Seems ABC was onto this meme yesterday. Anything to keep last year's November victory from overshadowing the "real" issues, right?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Kid Rock... vindicated.

Yes, I know it's petty. Yes, I know that Michelle's right. But it's still funny.
"I'm sure Kid Rock is raising a scotch glass to Brett Scallions, lead singer of the band Fuel, who told the young concertgoers:

"Welcome to the greatest ——ing country in the world."

Well, I'm glad he's patriotic and all. But the cursing is simply inexcusable. Many of the attendees were preteen Hilary Duff fans."
Does not knowing who Hillary Duff is make me a "South Park Conservative?"

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I'm a policy groupie...

Where have I been all week? I've been making myself familiar with a few of the think tanks around the country that influence Washington's policy makers. I've never read these publications before and I have to say that wading into these dense writings has left my head spinning a bit. Call it "deep research."

Claremont Institute: - "The Endless Party" - "A More Demanding Curriculum" - "The Deepening Crisis"

The Heritage Foundation: - "The Unacceptable Costs of Raising Payroll Taxes to "Save" Social Security"

Other excellent articles: - "The War Against World War IV" by Norman Podhoretz - "Dreaming Europe in a Wide-Awake World" by Jim Bennet

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Friday, January 14, 2005

The wing-wang debate continues...

and still those darn columnists/activists don't know the difference between officer and enlisted. Once again it appears that those most in favor of permitting gays into the military are not especially familiar with the life of those affected.

Instapundit begins this farce by linking to a column by Deroy Murdock who whines:
Name the greater risk to national security: patriotic military translators who happen to be homosexual or anti-American Islamofascist terrorists who happen to be homicidal. If you picked the latter, thanks for putting U.S. safety first. Alas, the Pentagon disagrees.
Got that? If you do not agree with gays in the military, read no further. This column is for those who already agree with Deroy that the Pentagon has found yet another way to fail in Iraq.
According to new Defense Department data, between fiscal years 1998 and 2003, 20 Arabic- and six Farsi-language experts were booted from the military under President Bill Clinton's 1993 "don't ask/don't tell" policy. These GIs trained at the elite Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. Had they graduated _ assuming 40-hour workweeks and two-week vacations _ they could have dedicated 52,000 man-hours annually to interrogate Arab-speaking bomb builders, interpret intercepted enemy communications or transmit reassuring words to bewildered Baghdad residents.
Right out of the gate Deroy shows off that fact that he knows nothing of military life or the program at DLI besides what he could google from a DOD website.

"40 hour workweeks?" Don't make me laugh. Ask anyone on active duty how many hours he works per week and watch how "40" becomes pitifully low. "Two week vacations?" Every active duty person accrues 30 days paid leave each year, subject to mission priorities.
Just ask former Army Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder. The 22-year-old Eugene, Ore., native spent eight months as an Arabic linguist with the Third Infantry Division in Iraq. As a military intelligence officer, he helped other linguists collect information from captured Iraqis.
An enlisted Sgt is not a "military intelligence officer" unless he is filling the billet of what is usually an officer's position.(In the case for a four-year first term enlistee this is very unlikely.) Deroy confirms his civillian status.
Finkenbinder was honorably discharged last month.
If true, I'm glad his discharge was honorable. However, given Deroy's lack of knowledge on things military, I suspect it was an "administrative" discharge under "honorable conditions," a somewhat less desirable discharge.
Congress should replace "don't ask" with a non-discriminatory policy based on conduct, rather than orientation: Soldiers on duty, gay and straight, must keep their hands to themselves, or face expulsion. Barring such reform, commanders should be allowed to retain soldiers whose value to unit safety and mission outweighs any reservations about their sexuality.
The active duty military environment is not without it's flaws. It is marbled and veined with outmoded and derogatory attitudes towards women, racial minorities and homosexuals. Shady corners of every unit provide homophobes a haven where they feel free to act in ways that would be considered repugnant in other professions.

Our military is simultaneously the best trained, best equipped, most motivated, most successful military in the history of mankind. And during a time of war, you want to change that formula? You want to argue with that success?

By this point, you're probably wondering whether I support openly gay americans in our military. The answer is a resounding yes. But only when the time comes that they will not hinder our success. That time is not yet here.

In the meantime, Deroy, leave the important work of evolving America's military to those who know what the hell they're talking about.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Can you say BAD IDEA?

via: ace

After days of delay, the Indonesian government has finally allowed U.S. Marines to expand their assistance efforts in what is the region hardest hit by the tsnami. Why so long?

In a major compromise, the Marines agreed not to carry guns while on Indonesian soil and for the vast majority of troops to return to ships stationed off the coast after each day's operations.
Just who negotiated that gem of a deal?

US: "Please let us in to save countless numbers of your nation's population! Look! We have food, clean water, road building equipment, medicine... the works!"

THEM: "No. Put down your guns and maybe we'll let you ferry a few aid workers by helicopter."

US: "Done!"

Sigh. And we'll do it, too. 'Cause we're saps.

UPDATE: via: Captain Ed. The Aussies are saps as well.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"He came back different."

Ya think?

Hell, we ALL did. 99.99% of us adjusted just fine.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Kid Rock uninvited to Bush inauguration?

Michelle Malkin (who I agree with most of the time though she is well to the right of my views on most social issues) is joining the protest against rocker Kid Rock's posible upcoming concert:
Many social conservative groups have launched a protest against the White House inauguration committee's decision to invite Kid Rock to perform Jan. 18 at the Washington, D.C., Armory in a concert hosted by Bush daughters Jenna and Barbara.
Michelle then lists a number of conservative groups that have joined the protest, followed by this sentence:
I applaud them. Some "South Park conservative-" types are ridiculing the protesters. "Lighten up," they say.
Unfortunately Michelle provides no links to anyone "ridiculing" these protesters. I'm not saying that it's hard to imagine anyone ridiculing these protesters, I'd just like some quotes, you know?

Meanwhile the original news story admits that Kid Rock would perform as part of a "youth concert" presumably separate from the more formal parts of the ceremony. And that "The music planned for the actual inauguration ceremony will be decidedly more mainstream. It includes performances by the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club, the U.S. Marine Band and mezzo-sopranos Denyce Graves and Susan Graham."

This really sounds like a non-issue to me. If this was the President's first inauguration, then maybe I could see a political reason to cancel the Kid. It certainly would've been an emabarassment to the President's re-election campaign to give the Democrats such a retort to Bush's evangelical roots. (Puts me in mind of Clinton's assinine saxophone exploits and his infamous Rock the Vote MTV apperance in which he admitted that he "would have inhaled" had he done it all over again. The only difference is that Clinton could get away with such gaffes. Bush could not. I think he's learned much from his father's "read my lips" fiascos.)

I say we ought to let the Bush twins (sponsors of the youth concert) have their fun. After all, as MTV's Rock the Vote and Howard Dean's web campaign prove... the youth don't vote anyway.

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Techno vs. Rap

Bill over at INDC Journal assaults our eardrums with this link to a supremely dumb euro-techno-weenie video. It's pretentiousness seems almost comepletely based on the artist's delight in mocking the viewer's desire to understand.

I've long had a hypothysis that compares techo music's popularity in Europe with hip-hop's popularity her in the U.S. Here, even marginally talented rap performer's are rewarded for substandard work because it seems they have "street cred." Do bad techno artists receive a pass in Europe as long as they seem "interestingly abstract and profound?"

It is my opinion that genre popularity makes it difficult to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Journalists give Mailer standing ovation

Loathe as I am to quote Rush Limbaugh (I believe his credibility to be wounded beyond repair) he IS correct in his observation that, "If you go to any school of journalism and randomly ask the students, 'What's the reason you want to be a journalist?' you'll hear the same answer from most if not all of them. 'I want to change the world in a positive way.'"

Case in point:
Journalists Shouldn't Be Cheerleaders-

It’s hardly a shocker that Norman Mailer could show up at a place like Cambridge, Mass., and win big applause with a speech attacking President Bush.


“I’m a newspaperman - these people don’t seem to understand what their role in society is,” said Jack Hart, managing editor of the Portland Oregonian... “It makes me very uncomfortable.”

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Pat Buchanan just might be a moderate.

(Via Wizbang)

As I've said, right wing nutjobs are just as entertaining as lefty moonbats.

Appearently, God hates Sweden, otherwise there wouldn't be a website called "www.godhatessweden.com," right?

Now, I have my differences with many Swedish policies and philosophies but I don't presume to know God's will.

Rapture Index UPDATE: Alas, still at 155.

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Presidential vacations

A word or two about the current criticism that the President was "slow" to get out in front of the cameras in the wake (sorry about the pun) of the tsunami disaster. It is my bitter and partisan opinion that anything the critics say about such a small and inconsequential subject is motivated solely by Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Remember when Bush "rushed" to Florida after four hurricanes ravaged the land? He was accused of getting in the way of relief efforts and hogging the cameras in an attempt to capitalize on the disaster. The President just can't win with these people. Only when he does things SPECTACULARLY well does he get a grudging acknowledgement. ("Well, I had a broken watch, once. It was right TWICE a day.")

I could look around a bit, provide some links that defend the President's timeline of response, but others have done so already (and better than a newbie like myself.) So I'll just sit here and fume over the phenomenom of BDS.


BITTER UPDATE:It has occured to me that the President's policy of ignoring these people afflicted by BDS is probably a wise one. I just don't know how he does it. It will be (as they say) a cold day in hell before I will take his job.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A collection of quotes.

I'll admit it. I sorta hero-worship this guy. Lileks is just plain smarter than I am.

The Evidence:

"They (the vulcans)have statues and chants and monasteries and devout unblinking acolytes who are Very Serious, but no God. It's like Amway with Gregorian Chants."

"[M]orals depend on whether someone's taking notes? Think, fool! Settle these issues now! Post the damn Bleat and watch Judge Judy!"

"[S]ounds cool the first time you hear it, and ends up being the audio equivalent of a wad of tinfoil on a filling.

"I had a vision of Frank from “Blue Velvet” taking hits off the gas mask. Has he gone mad?"

"'Is that rock and roll?' she asked. Yes, my child. Yes it is."

"Sometimes, real American life in black and white looks like a Gieger painting. Big sleek shiny black things moving in the dark:"

All I want in life is to write like Lileks. He's the "Mike" that "everyone wants to be like." At least among politico-cultural nerds like me.

UPDATE:Tanya at Redsugar Muse has her own reasons to read The Bleat.

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Turns out it's THAT Ali...

Ali, formerly of Iraq the Model, explains why he's set up shop on his new blog.

Ali sent me a gracious email agreeing with my sentiments on the war and why it is imperative that Iraq succeed. Frankly, I'm slightly relieved to find out it's him and not a western faker. Ali and his brothers are so pro-America, you'd almost refuse to believe they exist, judging by western media's portrayal of middle eastern attitudes. And Ali's english is much better than my arabic.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

"From there, the fight proceeded along predictable lines."

For my hard core, Sci-Fi geek readers, I give you the Neal Stephenson interview. A sample:

Neal fights William Gibson:
Swathed in black, I climbed to the top of the hall, mesmerized his snipers, sliced a hole in the roof using a plasma cutter, let myself into the catwalks above the stage, and then leapt down upon him from forty feet above. But I had forgotten that he had once studied in the same monastery as I, and knew all of my techniques. He rolled away at the last moment. I struck only the lectern, smashing it to kindling. Snatching up one jagged shard of oak I adopted the Mountain Tiger position just as you would expect. He pulled off his wireless mike and began to whirl it around his head. From there, the fight proceeded along predictable lines.

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Speaking of dressing up this site...


Aishwarya Rai was featured on 60 Minutes last night, proving that CBS does, in fact, have redeemable value. RatherGate vs. AishwaryaGate? I'm calling it a wash. Hey, CBS? Appologies accepted.

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Learning new stuff every day on the HTML front. Mandarin Design is a great resource that I just discovered. (Thanks Michele)Added a Red Cross donation link to the sidebar and am currently updating my blogspot template. Site's gonna look a little wierd over the next few days.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

"Liberal Iraqi" speaks out

New Baghdad blog to check out. Some quick points (there is a full length essay post to be had out of Ali's words, but this is too important to wait...)
Traveling was prohibited especially for government employees since the Iraq-Iran war, and now I can travel again to any country that accepts to give a VISA to Iraqis.
Learning arabic for my MOS in the military, my one teacher from Iraq was allowed in the '80s to travel to the US for school only after providing his sister's name and address as a hostage in order to prevent his defection. After the first Gulf War in 1991, Saddam's government stopped checking in with Ustead's sister and he became a US citizen while I was his student in 2001.

As I've said before, I went to war in Iraq (2003) under the impression that I was making America safer with the added bonus of freeing 25 million oppressed Iraqis. In retrospect, I realize that I went to war to free 25 million Iraqis with the added bonus of making America safer.

While he concedes that he will never know for sure, Ustead believes a US bomb in 1991 destroyed the office records that allowed Saddam to harrass his sister. They still correspond via the internet.

I know that some conservatives have their own selfish motives behind their support for democracy in Iraq, but I believe that the majority of them just want Iraq to succeed and also want to have a friendly democratic government in the ME instead of a brutal mad dictatorship that has ties with terrorist organizations all over the world.

Amen. Like I said, I went to Iraq with a rifle for the sake of US interests but it wasn't long before I was fighting for Iraqis.

So there's no sophisticated ideology that I endorse, I just support freedom of press, freedom of expression, women's freedom, separation of "Church from the state", freedom of religion and limited control by the government over economy. I do, however support strongly international aggressive interference in countries' internal policies to save others from oppression and humiliation.

This man understands (and espouses) the finest characteristics of western society even better than some of us here in the West. Iraq is NOT a quagmire. It is the cradle of civilization, the birthplace of humanity. It's value to the world is beyond comprehension and it is our duty to protect it from despots and dictators.

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More lies from Mr. Jan "stingy" Egeland...

This is UN-believable:
Check out this interview (on the UN's official website) with SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland shows,
Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh. <...> In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. <...> Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh.

Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.
I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded. The first paragraph is quite simply a lie. The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh...

The UN is a sham.
Sometimes I think I should just rename this blog Powerline and provide a redirect, you know? There's a reason they were named "Blog of the Year."

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Hung over?

Hell, I'm still drunk! Whoa. Looks like the wife and I will be hosting the New Year's party next year as well. A smashing success. How was yours?

Yeah... What he said... especially about the Advil.

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