~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Any old excuse to mention Heinlein...

The Sci-Fi convention, Conglomeration, opens here in Louisville in just two weeks. Time to gitcher geek on.

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Crackpots highlighted

Tim Blair notes that Australian skinheads are as clueless as ever.

White Pride Coalition co-founder Terry Davis said the material the man distributed was part of a "recruitment drive" aimed at marshalling forces against multiculturalism.

"I view multiculturalism as an imposed death sentence," he said.
As a principled anti-multiculturalist, I advise Davis to re-watch Romper Stomper... but this time, notice how the skinheads aren't exactly portrayed in a positive light. Davis is a crackpot racist in the same sad vein as the misguided characters portrayed in the movie.

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North Dakota Hospital Adds Meditation Room

The wife brought this article to my attention (Link to LA Times, it was in the C-J but not apparently online.)

On Thursday, the Roman Catholic hospital dedicated a $350,000 solarium and meditation room that may be used for such things as burning sage, cedar or sweetgrass, and for singing or drumming.

Tex Hall, chairman of North Dakota's Three Affiliated Tribes and president of the National Congress of American Indians, said smudging is allowed in Indian Health Service hospitals and clinics on reservations, but generally not outside the reservations.

"I think this is the first of its kind in a privately owned hospital," Hall said of the St. Alexius meditation room. "It's a long time coming and a tremendous step forward for native people. I think we'll see much better healing and recovery."

I don't yet know what I think about this development. Part of me is thrilled that the change was precipitated by a private organization searching out ways to better serve their customer base, rather than compulsory change dictated by some new law. (If the new meditaion room was the result of legislation, I'm certain the Times would have mentioned it. Praised it more likely.)

On the other hand there's this quote from spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association Amy Lee:

"Hospitals are definitely working toward accommodating growing multiculturalism," Lee said.

Now I can't live in all areas of the country at once, but I was under the impression that muliculturalism was on the decline in America, artificially being kept alive by liberal coastal enclaves and press coverage. Perhaps this is more of the same?

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Why they hate us: "Watching America" scans foreign news, so you don't have to

If you've not been checking in with Watching America, well, you should be.

English translation of an article in Al-Ray Al-Aam, a Kuwaiti publication.

Fifty Years of American Racism

The simple truth is that the United States is the one who forced us to hate and oppose it, due to its racist policies toward the Muslim world. The tragedies that we are seeing in the world today are irrefutable evidence of the barbaric nature of both political and military thought in America toward the Muslim world.


Let us now look at the Iraq issue. Complete military occupation: The killing of innocent civilians in Fallujah, Anbar and Baghdad; The use of severe torture on detainees in Iraqi prisons; Savage massacres that are occurring throughout Iraq with a blatant lack of legitimacy from the international community. In a nutshell, the United States has used its military juggernaut to kill and displace millions of people. This represents terrorism at its ugliest by a superpower against a nation, simply because that nation has natural resources!
For a second there I thought I was reading the New York Times or it's satelite paper, the Boston Globe! Many US journalists speak of the "need" to "discuss root causes" but this author espouses, in no uncertain terms, the view of America that many US journalists write only when they let their mask slip. "Root cause" of terrorism? American racism, of course.

The difference is that here, anti-American journalists are tolerated due to our Western tradition of freedom. Would an anti-Muslim journalist be similarly tolerated in the Mid-East?

If the U.S. and its Western allies succeed in their bid to democratize the Islamic world, this would bring the extermination of the last civilizations that have stood against the West and its ideologies.

Please, God, hear my prayer. May the best civilization win. Amen.

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It's not a war commentary, you jerk, it's just a bad movie

Ty Burr pans the movie "Stealth" in the Boston Globe. Earlier this week, conservative talk show host and movie critic Michael Medved panned it as well. But Michael didn't use his review as a soapbox to critique or praise the war in Iraq. And he certainly didn't take pot shots at the intelligence levels of those who might feel differently than he does. Ty Burr:

"Stealth" is a pretty fair military-hardware action movie until you start thinking about it -- at which point it turns incredibly sour in your mouth. I can therefore recommend it to any and all audiences lacking higher brain functions. Sea cucumbers, perhaps. Ones waving American flags.


Am I spoiling the party? Harshing the high-flying flyboy buzz? Tough. For a movie to pretend, in the face of the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children directly or indirectly caused by our presence there, that we can wage war without anyone really getting hurt isn't naive, or wishful thinking, or a jim-dandy way to spend a Saturday night at the movies. It's an obscenity.

Does this guy really think I care whether or not he supports the war in Iraq? In a movie review? I get the impression you believe yourself more suited to the Op/Ed page, Mr. Burr. To paraphrase another movie, Chasing Amy, "Hey, don't get all testy just because you have a problem with your station in life."

(From The Corner)

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Three quick links

- New Michael Yon report.

- New VDH essay. "Reformation?"

- Dawn Patrol rounds up reaction to the new FX series, "Over There."

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why is it that the only ones who want to bring back the draft are liberals?

Could it be because their heyday, their crowning achievement, their day in the sun was during Vietnam? Could it be that they're feeling just wee bit miffed that they're out of power these days?

This commentary in the New York Times is so egregious as to be offensive. And I'm going to fisk it line by line.

The Best Army We Can Buy


THE United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits - a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify.

Ready for it? Our all volunteer military is BAD! It's a "mercenary army!"

Neither the idealism nor the patriotism of those who serve is in question here. The profession of arms is a noble calling, and there is no shame in wage labor.

Whew! That's a relief. For a second there I thought this was a hit piece attacking our "merc army". Of course, if it was a hit piece attacking our "merc army" it would be handy to throw in a line or two about how you don't question the "idealism nor the patriotism" of service members.

But the fact remains that the United States today has a military force that is extraordinarily lean and lethal, even while it is increasingly separated from the civil society on whose behalf it fights. This is worrisome - for reasons that go well beyond unmet recruiting targets.
There's always a "but." Guess it is a hit piece.

One troubling aspect is obvious. By some reckonings, the Pentagon's budget is greater than the military expenditures of all other nations combined. It buys an arsenal of precision weapons for highly trained troops who can lay down a coercive footprint in the world larger and more intimidating than anything history has known.

This a bad thing? I should think that the deterring influence of having the most intimidating military in the world would be... I don't know, comforting? Professor Kennedy finds it "obviously troubling."

Our leaders tell us that our armed forces seek only just goals, and at the end of the day will be understood as exerting a benign influence. Yet that perspective may not come so easily to those on the receiving end of that supposedly beneficent violence.

Oh! So now it becomes clear that it's not the idealism of our service members that he questions, just the idealism of our leaders. And he throws in the frightening qualifier that "prospective" is lost on the poor SOBs we regularly "violate."

But the modern military's disjunction from American society is even more disturbing. Since the time of the ancient Greeks through the American Revolutionary War and well into the 20th century, the obligation to bear arms and the privileges of citizenship have been intimately linked. It was for the sake of that link between service and a full place in society that the founders were so invested in militias and so worried about standing armies, which Samuel Adams warned were "always dangerous to the liberties of the people."

That's right. Modern military types are "disjointed" from society. Those crazed war veterans are the fringe! You know, as opposed to successful businessmen, entertainers, politicians, and other sorts of decent folk. Whose estranged, again? "Standing armies [are] always dangerous to the liberties of the people." A coup d'etat? Is this man worried about a military take-over? He is! I've no doubt that, if it were even remotely plausible, that would just make his decade. He's a freedom fighter, you see. Hey Professor? If you want to fight for freedem, in the mode of Samuel Adams and the rest of the founding fathers, it's fairly easy. Contact your nearest recruiter.

Many African-Americans understood that link in the Civil War, and again in World Wars I and II, when they clamored for combat roles, which they saw as stepping stones to equal rights. From Aristotle's Athens to Machiavelli's Florence to Thomas Jefferson's Virginia and Robert Gould Shaw's Boston and beyond, the tradition of the citizen-soldier has served the indispensable purposes of sustaining civic engagement, protecting individual liberty - and guaranteeing political accountability.

Rule #1 when arguing a liberal position: Invoke the Holy Demographics. Otherwise minorities might start to think of themselves as just plain American instead of "African-Americans" ... right?

The African-Americans I served with weren't black. They were dark green. Not PC, I know. But it preserved the sense of brotherhood.

Rule #2 when arguing a liberal position: Prove That Your Superior Education Trumps All. "From Aristotle's Athens to blah, blah, blah." Pure rhetoric. There's no argument here. No defensible point. Just Kennedy attempting to prove that he reads hard books.

That tradition has now been all but abandoned. A comparison with a prior generation's war illuminates the point. In World War II, the United States put some 16 million men and women into uniform. What's more, it mobilized the economic, social and psychological resources of the society down to the last factory, rail car, classroom and victory garden. World War II was a "total war." Waging it compelled the participation of all citizens and an enormous commitment of society's energies.

Make no mistake: World War II was a "total war." That means the war against Islamic totalitarians is just peanuts. A clever diversion from what ought to be our top priorty, namely... um... Kennedy doesn't say, exactly. But make no mistake: Tradition has been abandoned! "Economic, social and psychological resources" are being squandered. Squandered!

But thanks to something that policymakers and academic experts grandly call the "revolution in military affairs," which has wedded the newest electronic and information technologies to the destructive purposes of the second-oldest profession, we now have an active-duty military establishment that is, proportionate to population, about 4 percent of the size of the force that won World War II. And today's military budget is about 4 percent of gross domestic product, as opposed to nearly 40 percent during World War II.

"We're collectively richer than any civilization ever before in the history of mankind," Kennedy sobs. "The grandiosity of it all! It's just not fair!"

The implications are deeply unsettling: history's most potent military force can now be put into the field by a society that scarcely breaks a sweat when it does so.

This is somehow a BAD thing?

We can now wage war while putting at risk very few of our sons and daughters, none of whom is obliged to serve.

Again, I ask is this a BAD thing?

Modern warfare lays no significant burdens on the larger body of citizens in whose name war is being waged.

Untrue! Flatly, patently, and in all other conceivable ways... WRONG! How dare you so casually dismiss the struggles American families of deployed soldiers go through! How dare you dismiss the prayers, care packages, and other support patriotic Americans give to deployed military members! How dare you, sir?! Just because you aren't overly affected, don't project that indifference onto the rest of us.

This is not a healthy situation. It is, among other things, a standing invitation to the kind of military adventurism that the founders correctly feared was the greatest danger of standing armies - a danger made manifest in their day by the career of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Jefferson described as having "transferred the destinies of the republic from the civil to the military arm."

To recap: Kennedy has at this point compared our modern military with "mercenaries," the "Hessians," and "the army of Napoleon," and not once in a favorable light. I get the impression that he believes mercs, Hessians, and Napoleon were better than our current military.

Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army,"

Ya think?

but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary.

Translation: "our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago" = "substandard"

"drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education" = "we should bring back the draft, at least it was fair"

"mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary" = "war is never the answer, but if we fight anyway, make it bloody. That'll teach us a lesson"

Leaving questions of equity aside, it cannot be wise for a democracy to let such an important function grow so far removed from popular participation and accountability. It makes some supremely important things too easy - like dealing out death and destruction to others, and seeking military solutions on the assumption they will be swifter and more cheaply bought than what could be accomplished by the more vexatious business of diplomacy.

I don't even know where to begin here. I'm stymied. Kennedy seems to be saying that a lean, effective, high tech military is BAD, BAD, BAD because we'd be better off battling out international differences with diplomacy. Is he under the impression that we've disolved the State Department, dispersing them to the winds? Bottom line is this: When diplomacy fails, I want the leanest, meanest, most technologically advanced military in the world to protect my nation. Kennedy lives here, so I guess that includes protecting his arrogant ass, too.

The life of a robust democratic society should be strenuous; it should make demands on its citizens when they are asked to engage with issues of life and death. The "revolution in military affairs" has made obsolete the kind of huge army that fought World War II, but a universal duty to service - perhaps in the form of a lottery, or of compulsory national service with military duty as one option among several - would at least ensure that the civilian and military sectors do not become dangerously separate spheres. War is too important to be left either to the generals or the politicians. It must be the people's business.

"We don't suffer enough!" cries Professor Kennedy.

David Kennedy is a classic example of the punative liberal. He sees injustice in the world and blames America. We're too big, we're too strong, we're too rich, we're too advanced... it's just not fair!

(Via: Blackfive) (See also: Greyhawk)

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Iraq War veteran running for congress

From the johnkerry.com dispatch that I just received:
Send the First Iraq War Veteran to Congress

Next Tuesday -- just five days from now -- Ohio can make history and provide genuine battle-tested leadership in Congress.

In the special election in the state's 2nd Congressional District, Paul Hackett, a proud Marine who bravely volunteered to serve America in Iraq, is running for Congress.

There are many reasons why America needs Paul Hackett in Washington not the least of which is this: At a time when Congress is making crucial decisions about U.S. policy in Iraq and veterans return home to find veterans' programs underfunded, we need the voice of a person who has lived through that experience. He'll be a voice for all our brothers in arms.

Even though I'm certain that his experiences in Iraq would serve Congress well in that no one else in Congress has fought in Iraq, I don't think it's accurate to say, "he'll be a voice for all our brothers in arms."

He doesn't speak for me. From the Washington Post:

Although Mr. Hackett initially opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a pre-emptive war that "set a bad precedent," he now says: "We're there now. My Marines are over there fighting. We can't cut and run ... I want to see what we're doing in Iraq work out."

If I were eligible to vote in Ohio... I would not vote for my fellow Marine, Major Hackett, but rather for Jean Schmidt.

For her part, Miss Schmidt has said that she supported the war from the beginning and that Iraqi troops must be trained to defend their country before the U.S. pulls out.

That philosophical difference is crucial to me. Major Hackett, while I appreciate his service, and appreciate his credentials, does not believe our reasons for invading Iraq were proper and appropriate. I do, and I don't want another congressman half committed to our mission in Iraq.

The "I didn't support the war, but now that we're there we shouldn't leave our boys hanging" view is a valid (and popular) one. I just disagree with it.

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Speaking of "freedom of speech"

On March 20th, 2003 I crossed the berm into Iraq to help finish the job of deposing Hussein. On March 30th, 2003 Peter Arnett went on Iraqi State TV to pump up "Saddam's side of the story." He appeared on the Late Late Show Tuesday night.

[Arnett] told Craig Ferguson on Tuesday night's Late Late Show on CBS that he decided to stay in Baghdad because he presumed the U.S. would win quickly. But "this war is going on much longer than I thought -- it's two years with no end in sight."

It isn't Saddam who gives him his free soapbox. We do. (I'm not saying he should be silenced. Far from it. I'm saying he should be ridiculed. We have free speech just as he does. Peter's an ingrate. And a bore.)

(Via: the corner who, BTW, really doesn't care that much for Geena Davis' new series, Commander in Chief. "Doomed, doomed I say." - Jonah)

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The biggest problem with Christian-bashing is that IT'S LEGAL HERE!

Damnit. What's the use of railing against authority when the Christian culture that spawned that authority assures your right to dissent? I mean, it's just so unsatisfying, you know?

Take this guy, for instance. (Flash music video espousing some vague, secular philosophy that is definately superior to those scary Christian Fundamentalists.) Right on, dude. Way to stick it to the MAN. I hate to say it, but you're not breaking any new ground here, kiddo. Rebellion against the dominant paradigm is the default setting for immature youths (to steal a phrase from Lileks.) I might be more impressed if you moved to Saudi Arabia and took aim at the dominant religion there.

I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the (admitedly talented) creator of this anti-Christian hit piece is frustrated because there will be no crack down. The MAN just doesn't care.

God, I am way too young to be saying this, but I'll say anyway: Get a job, hippie!

UPDATE: marc at hubs and spokes brings this article to my attention. There's still hope for those born with the protections inherrent in our Christian culture but, for some reason, are still unhappy... Move to Canada!

Canadian National Public Radio Broadcasts Call for State Control of Religion, Especially Catholicism

[...]"Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure."

Ahhh, Canada... almost as tolerant as Saudi Arabia.

UPDATE: First read this. Then read this.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Those Christians, they want to strip all the fun out of life

If ever there was a news story to illustrate the dramatic difference between Hawaian and "Mainlander" philosophies, this is that story.

Tom "Pohaku" Stone works to revive
the ancient Hawaiian tradition of
he‘e holua, or lava sledding

[...] Stone, now a 54-year-old community college professor who teaches the ancient Hawaiian sport and gives classes on sled building and riding. "That just became my cultural passion because of the similarities with surfing, but it also became my academic passion."

[...] But missionaries who brought Christianity to Hawaii saw the sport as "a frivolous waste of time," Stone said, and its practice ended in 1825, when the last he'e holua racing event was documented.

"They wanted us to work, stop being happy," Stone said. [Emphasis mine]
Therein lies the rub. Given your 'druthers, would you a) dedicate your life, expend your daily energies to further your own "happiness" in the form of brief thrill rides down a mountain? Or b) dedicate your life, and expend your daily energies to further goals more, um... lofty. The Space Shuttle Discovery launched early yesterday morning. I haven't yet read any reports of "crucial Hawaian input."

Previous rant on Hawaii here.

(Via: Jonah)

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Instapundit interviews Michael Yon

Check it out. I didn't know Michael used to be SF. I just knew that the stories he reports ring true to my veteran ears.

UPDATE: In related news, Jessica "Is it fish or is it chicken?" Simpson is upset that her feel-good, cheer-up-the-troops trip to Iraq wasn't hard hitting enough when it aired on ABC. Jessica? Thank you for donating your time to our troops, but leave the investigative journalism stuff to the pros, umkay?

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Diary, 10

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

April 13, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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Those other "Wind Talkers"

I downloaded these champion livestock auctioneer mp3s a while back (via Waxy, I think) and I just got around to listening. Amazing stuff! At least stop by to check out the 2004 winner, Dan Skeels, and hear how he works "Git'r done" into his patter.

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Ida Rose... nothing gets by her

Balance Sheet has the mp3. I never knew baseball was so... so... dirty!

I guess this ground was covered first by Meatloaf in "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" but this is funny stuff.

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Yeah, everything I've ever said about Western Civilization being butch enough to hack this war on terror?

I take it back. We're doomed.

(Via: SondraK)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Jonah Goldberg On Hoist the Black Flag

Listen Live at 4 PM.

UPDATE: Slow starting show... but worth the last few minutes. I'm now researching "nerd-core" rap. I may be busy for the next coupla hours.

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"Empty Jars'

New report from Michael Yon, the hardest working man in journalism.


We happened to come in from a combat patrol just in time to see the final countdown for the Space Shuttle Discovery. Was great to see the Shuttle go back to space!

Interesting developments in Mosul. Have nabbed some serious terrorists in last few days. I woke up to the sound of a large IED explosion that shook the walls, and the day started from there. IEDs are a daily occurrence here. But apparently as reprisal for capturing the bad guys, there were some attacks on several of the police stations today, but the cops held their ground. Was no chance of getting overrun like the old days. A couple police were wounded but nothing too serious. We brought them more ammunition, and there was even an American General out there with us. (Good way to lose a General, but at least he can see what's going on.)

There is a definite shift in the soldiers here at Deuce Four. They talk more and more about their families and children and getting home; the return draws nearer. I plan to come home with Deuce Four before returning to Iraq.

But for now, we continue here in Mosul while the astronauts circle the earth!...


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Despite inflamatory headline - The NY Times gets it right (for once)

for acknowledging that there are two schools of thought when it comes to recruit training. Here's mine: Abuse of recruits is training when it maninfests in a little yelling. Abuse of recruits is a crime when it manifests in physical assault, and courts-martial are appropriate.

As Recruiting Suffers, Military Reins In Abuses at Boot Camp

The Fort Knox courts-martial have drawn praise and lament from soldiers and veterans. After one of the trainers, Sgt. First Class David H. Price, was demoted in April for telling a recruit to swallow his vomit, dragging another by his ankles and hitting a third with a rolled-up newspaper, one soldier wrote to The Army Times saying that when she was in basic training in 1988, "the drill sergeants were allowed to do a lot of things."

"Now if they look at a recruit the wrong way, they get in trouble," wrote the soldier, Specialist Kirstin Clary. "Back then, it was still the real Army and not a farce."

But others wrote that although they understood the stress of being a drill sergeant, the punishment was fair, or even too light. Maj. John E. Niamtu, retired, wrote that molding recruits should be done "by example, not brutality."

Senior officers and independent experts in military justice agree that the culture of basic training has been transformed since the Vietnam War.

"As recruiting suffers"? Sheesh. But's that's a topic for another post.

Our all volunteer military works. I spent nine months in recruit training at Paris Island, most of the year 1999. (Note: If you want to join up, don't break your ankle, and definately don't do it four times.) I submit to you that the prohabition against physical contact between instuctors and recruits has made boot camp even more arduous. Trust me. Drill Instructors are ingenious at coming up with psychological tactics to replace the physical ones they've been denied. And it's the psychological training that makes all the difference during wartime. Beatings can instill the right mindset for war. But it's not the most effective method.

Those veterans who were trained using physically abusive methods and pine for today's recruits to receive the same need to wake up and experience the future. I salute your service, and say thank you. What I and my fellow service members have accomplished is a direct result of standing on the shoulders of those who served before us. But today's military members are better trained, more motivated, and higher paid, all because of a shift in mindset more suited to our all volunteer forces.

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Bin Laden watch - Four interesting stories

All via the invaluable Dawn Patrol.


The family of Osama bin Laden has asked the Saudi monarchy for permission to change its surname. The on-line newspaper Arabian Business reports that "the relatives of the 'sheikh of terror' no longer want to be recognised as belonging to the bin Laden family and have therefore asked to change the surname on their passports."

- Bin Laden Cocaine Plot Fell Through

Usama bin Laden tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it in the United States, hoping to kill thousands of Americans one year after the Sept. 11 attacks, The Post has learned.

- How Osama bought bomb
Osama bin Laden has spent billions of dollars on the successful purchase and development of nuclear weapons – money his al-Qaida terrorist network earned by directing poppy cultivation in the fields of Afghanistan, right under the noses of U.S. occupation forces, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

- Dear Osama bin Laden ...

"Incendiary" is a book-length letter to Osama bin Laden—and arguably the strangest epistolary novel ever written. The writer is a woman who has lost her husband and son in the explosion at the soccer stadium. By turns grief-stricken, raging and bleakly funny, the letter is her attempt to make him stop the bombing.

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Negative Derb

John Derbyshire is a fantasticly clever conservative, but he is fantasticly short sighted on Iraq.

In his ongoing debate with Rich Lowry he states:

My opinion is that, from the point of view of killing jihadis -- a thing I strongly favor -- Iraq is not that important. It is not even the most jihadi-ridden nation -- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia easily outrank it on that scale. The "flypaper" theory -- that all the jihadis in the world are going to flock to Iraq so we can kill 'em -- is just silly. Ask a Londoner.
The flypaper theory has it's reasoned proponents, Derb. Don't dismiss it out of hand. Disagree, sure. But don't dismiss.

Outside the pale of civilization -- a phrase that, I believe, fairly describes the Muslim Middle East -- things are much more difficult. Sending in 130,000 troops to occupy country X is not a bad idea, I suppose; but then, what do you do about country Y and country Z? See the difficulty?
Again with the demands for short term success! This logic is predicated on a defeatist attitude that states, "Well we can't free every opressed nation at once, so why bother with them one at a time"? We're in this for the long haul. Think big. Dare to dream. Take action and commit to it. The Bush Doctrine is the most drastic departure in foreign policy in a hundred years. A departure necessary to fight the biggest threat facing our civilization. We are fighting for our lives here. The Cold War took how long, again?

He asks Lowry:
So, were you arguing back in 2002 and 2003 that the main reason we ought to invade Iraq was to kill local jihadis more easily? Was that your rationale, or some large compnent of your rationale, for supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom at that time? If it was not -- if, at some point between spring of 2003 and now, you changed your rationale for our presence in Iraq -- how would you go about persuading an impartial observer that your change of rationale was not motivated by blind loyalty to this administration?
And I'll answer for myself. Mistakes have been made, and the plan has changed. Nobody with sense denies that. (Unless they have to deny it in order to avoid giving political ammo to their opponents. I'm not a politician, so I'm free of that constraint.) I believed at the time I crossed the berm into Iraq attached to the Marines of the 1/5 that I was fighting to increase US security, with the added bonus of freeing 25 million Iraqis. Now I believe I was fighting to free the Iraqis, with the added bonus of clearing up questions about WMDs. It's a change in prospective, sure, but not one based on blind loyalty to the Bush administration. It's based upon loyalty to the Iraqi children we freed from Saddam's detention facility in northern Baghdad. It's based on an optimistic belief that we maintain the moral high ground in the fight against terror. I'm younger than you are, Derb. I hope you're still around when this fight ends in about fifty years. May you live long enough to see how a changing plan protects us all. And I mean that warmly and sincerely.

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Van Gogh's murderer gets life without parole

Which is as it should be, the murdering piece of human filth.

Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of life imprisonment without parole for the crime.

Bouyeri, 27, who had confessed to the Nov. 2, 2004, killing, told his Amsterdam trial court on July 12, "I should cut everyone's head off who insults Allah or his prophet." He was forced to attend court today, after refusing to be there voluntarily, to hear Judge Udo Willem Bentinck pass sentence.
I'm deeply conflicted over this sentence, though.

Bouyeri "deliberately aimed at intimidating the Dutch population," Bentinck said, finding that the crime was aggravated by an intention to terrorize.
On the one hand I'm a staunch opponent of the very notion of "hate crimes." How on earth is ever fair to add extra punishment for the subjective perception of "hate"? If I had my way, I'd find Bouyeri guilty of two seperate crimes; murder and criminal intimidation. Forget "aggravating intentions."

On the other hand, if ever anyone deserved extra punishment, it's this man.

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Bad taste is not a criminal offense

Movie producers to remove printable, fake purple heart medals from website.

Following complaints from a congressman, the producers of "Wedding Crashers" on Monday yanked from the movie's Web site a printable Purple Heart advertised as a gimmick to pick up women and get free drinks.

The movie characters _ played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn _ use the medals to pick up women. But advocates for a bill introduced by Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., say it's no joke _ impostors also use the fake medals or fraudulent stories of medals to get ahead in business.
It's a paper heart, people. The proposed bill to protect legitimate medal awardees sounds like a good one. I hope it passes. But it takes a crude joke on a Hollywood website for this to make the news? There's a sad commentary in there somewhere about how the public views our service members.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

In Vino Veritas - a continuing feature of "Booze in the News"

In which I attempt to keep you abreast of the latest developments for the world's second oldest vice.

- Wine may not be cause of better health

BOTTOM LINE: Wine drinkers' better health outcomes may not be primarily due to the wine -- but to their generally healthier lifestyles.
I'm strapping on my running shoes right now... Wait, no. It's 100 degrees outside! Maybe I'll see if that sangria is cold yet.

- Open Source Beer!

Reached for comment, Linux users were quoted saying, "Beer gooooood! Napster baaaaaad!" (NSFW)

Sunday liquor sales?

Oregon? Yes.

Washington? Yes.

Kansas? They're thinking about it.

Kentucky? Who knows.

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I'm no multiculturalist

Mark Steyn's new column in the Australian nails it.

There are too many quotables, so here's just three:

Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard.

Tony Parkinson - The Age's resident voice of sanity - quotes approvingly France's Jean-Francois Revel: "Clearly, a civilisation that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

[A]nyone can be tolerant of the tolerant, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Terrorists target gays, Iran publicly hangs gay teens

Ann Althouse is too saddened for words. More, ummm... proactive thoughts here, here, here, and here.

From the comments over at Ann's:

ploopusgirl said...
The problem with the right is that you all over-generalize everything....

Paul Zrimsek said...
The problem with the right is that you all over-generalize everything. Some sentences are just too good to be true.


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Friday, July 22, 2005

I symapathize with the fears of London's law abiding Muslims

I really do, but shouldn't their top concern be for 'bomb to kill' tactics?

BRITISH Muslims fear police are operating under a "shoot to kill" policy after a man was gunned down at an Underground train station following a second wave of bomb attacks.

Tim Worstall has more on the shooting.

(Via: LGF)

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I don't think so

Hillary Clinton attempted to join the Marines? Highly, highly unlikely. This has the stink of unfounded, internet rumor all over it.

I joined the Corps on an eysight waiver at age 23. If Hillary wanted to join at age 27, she would have had no problems doing the same. I'll do a little research and see if I can confirm, or more likely debunk this one.

(Via: Curmudgeonly and Skeptical)

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Feminists For Life

The L.A. Times on Jane Roberts:

A close friend characterized her as an "extremely, extremely devout Catholic" who had enjoyed her antiabortion advocacy.

The Catholic News Service in Washington, which praised Judge Roberts and cited his government brief in 1990 challenging Roe vs. Wade, also spoke kindly of Jane Roberts.

"She has been active in Feminists for Life, and is a member of the board of governors of the John Carroll Society, a Catholic lay organization that sponsors the annual Washington archdiocesan Red Mass before the opening of the Supreme Court term," the news service said.

It also pointed out that if John Rogers [sic] were to be elevated to the Supreme Court, he would be the fourth Catholic justice on the current court, along with Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia.

Before Jane Roberts joined the board of Feminists for Life, the organization filed amicus briefs on abortion with the Supreme Court. Records show that the group filed briefs supporting the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, a law aimed at limiting the right to abortions, particularly for minors.

I'd never heard of Feminists For Life before yesterday, when Marsha brought it to my attention. K-Lo likes them. That's about all I know. The tone of this L.A. Times article disturbs me just a bit. What is up with their chiding tone? "Well, you know she's Catholic, right?" Why in the hell should that even matter? Sheesh.

UPDATE: Laura Ingrahm is ripping this article on her her radio show, right now. "Whenever a liberal happens to be Catholic, then it's not an issue. Then you're a cool Catholic." Double sheesh.

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The continuing war...

Evacuations in London as another bomb explodes...

New Michael Yon report from Iraq..."The best way to find the battalion commander and sergeant major of Deuce Four is to start shooting at their soldiers; the leaders here will run straight into the line of fire to check their men and rally for the fight." Damned straight.

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As the old saw goes....

God decides that the Human Experiment has run its course and it's come time to end it. He contacts the editors of USA Today, The Wall Street journal, and the New York Times and tells them, "In twenty-four hours I will obliterate Earth."

Headlines the next day:

USA Today: "God to end life on Earth"

WSJ: "God to destroy Earth, Stocks take a dive"

NYT: "World ends! Women and Minorities Hardest Hit"

The cliche is now legendary. I know the staff at the NYT have heard this one, so why do they continue to put out pieces like this one?

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. - Eight years ago, Sister Margaret Rose Smyth had to go out of her way to find illegal immigrants who might need her help, listening for Spanish conversations at the Kmart on the North Fork of Long Island.

In New York, day laborers in the Jackson Heights section of Queens hoped for jobs that pay as little as $60 a day.

Now every day, Sister Margaret, a Roman Catholic nun who is the director of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, typically sees off two early-morning buses filled with laborers seeking work along the Long Island Expressway, giving them business tips and moral support.

By the time her workday ends 12 hours later, she has met with scores of other workers seeking her advice on everything from alcoholism and burial arrangements to documents and wages.

"The housing and construction boom has more people working," Sister Margaret said, noting that now she sees 1,000 immigrants from Mexico and Central America, most of them undocumented, at church each week.


Indeed, the housing boom, with its promise of consistent and better-paying work, has in the last five years attracted undocumented laborers not just to Long Island, but also to hot housing markets across the country - among them the areas around Chicago; Washington; Freehold, N.J.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Jupiter, Fla.

But unlike the agricultural work that traditionally drew immigrant laborers to little-populated areas of the country, construction labor is conspicuously in the heart of the suburbs, with laborers gathering in Home Depot parking lots, outside convenience stores and on street corners...

It goes on and on... I know. Fish, barrel. I understand. But why don't they understand how silly this make the NYT look? They're bravely plowing forward in the face of dropping revinues and I'm baffled, frankly.

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"He or She Is The Wrong Man or Woman For The Court"

If you ever want, I'd be honored to buy you a beer, sir. Good show.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Well, at last we have a name to bandy about

Bush Nominates Roberts for Supreme Court

Time for People for the American Way to start spending that money they raised, you know, just in case the President's nominee was unacceptable.

I'll be watching this closely. Hopefully, the rumor that Bush has nominated an originalist with unquestionable credentials will turn out to be true. We'll soon see.

UPDATE: Fairly comprehensive roundup of reactions at Instapundit (including a link to Volohk's take-down of one of my biggest pet peeves, The Constitution in Exile myth.) Hugh weighs in (He loves the guy.) Again, I say, we'll soon see.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"I am well acquainted with what goes on in basic training as well. And that is a sick, sadistic process all by itself."

He's onto us. While acknowledging the fact that "there are both good and bad people in the military" Bob has hit upon the terrible secret of US military dominance. We're evil... plain and simple.

And don't try any of our prearranged talking points about how we fight to preserve his right to hate us. Won't work. The jig is up. Bob's got us dead to rights.

Bravo, Bob. You've seen through our pathetic screen of "service" and "sacrifice" right to the heart of the matter. Empire. Our nefarious mission is doomed. How could we possibly carry on now that Bob has dragged our true motivations into the harsh light of day?

(Via: Bill)

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Caleb Carr... makin' sense all over the place

Can't say that I enjoy his novels. I don't. But I'll be damned if he hasn't put his finger on why the bad guys attack when they do.

(WSJ continues to block potentially loyal customers with their subscription only policies, unfortunately.)

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I ain't sayin' nothin'... I'm just sayin'

Bubble or no bubble, people sittin' in million dollar homes in NY, Miami, Malibu, or Honolulu might want to think about putting that equity into a nice mansion in Kansas. You know, I'm just throwin' that out there...

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Columbus, Ohio is a strange town.

I go up there once a year for MarCon, the annual science fiction convention. This year wasn't as much fun as usual because of the recent smoking ban, but I'm sure I'll be back. But now they've instituted a assault weapons ban as well? I just don't get Columbus. I guess I don't spend enough time up there to have a handle on what makes them tick...

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Guns, Germs and Steel

I'm watching the PBS series based on the book of the same title by Jared Diamond.

It's very interesting... and very wrong.

Diamond argues that stories of superior Western European culture being responsible for Western dominence in the world today are just that... stories. He argues that there were just as many brave Incas as there were brave Spaniards and the reasons for the Spanish conquest of the New World were due to geographic luck. He argues that Western civilization owes it's prominence to a set of geographic prerequisites that allowed us to develop guns, germs, and steel at an accelerated rate as compared to other parts of the world.

I roundly reject the notion that Western Civ boils down to location, location, location. If our dominating influence in the world is due to geographic happenstance, if our civilization was so casually aquired, if our very way of life was formed by arbitrary circumstance, why in the hell do we fight so hard to preserve that influence, that civilization, that way of life? Hmmm? I mean, if it's all a matter of environmental chance, why bother? Diamond's theory is a defeatist philosophy riddled with loathing for our cultural sucesses. Where's the geographic explanation for why we value freedom? What's the chance-based explanation for why we insist that the rest of the world recognize fundamental human rights?

Culture, not environment, is what spawned our dominent influence. Western culture spawned Vegas and Atlantic City. Not the other way around. Odds had little to do with it.

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

FYI: Rapture Index is 148

I'm still searching for a way to include reatime updates in the sidebar. Until then, I'll keep checking the Rapture Ready website... so you don't have to.

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I ain't been bloggin' much... so here's some neat stuff I found whilst vegging out

- You can't handle the truth! (Via Waxy)

- Armor... It does a body good. (Incredible video, even more incredible backstory)

- Yak Shaving Razor archives: Shortcuts, hacks, how-to, and all around interesting stuff.

- Do you speak American? (Via Boing-Boing... I think.)

- New material on the way? So they say. Angry Alien: Your favorite movies in 30 seconds... re-enacted by bunnies.

- Anagram server: "Statue of Liberty" = Built to Stay Free

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Skinny cow syndrome

The first time I ever saw a skinny cow was in 2003 while I was deployed to Iraq. It had never occured to me that cattle in other parts of the world were any different than those here in America; fat, healthy examples of bovine perfection.

In a dusty, mud brick village south of Baghdad I watched a scared family cut through our stopped convoy line leading one skinny cow, ribs on display, a dozen sheep and goats, four or five geese and ducks, probably all the wealth they had to names, across the road to a watering hole in a nearby field. It was a real eye-opener. It was at that point that I resolved in my heart to do right by these people.

Please keep in mind when you read about "intermittant electricity" and "no running water" in Iraq that this has been the norm in many parts of the country since the 1920's. If there was more reliable electrical service under Saddam, if there was more plentiful water supply under Saddam, it wasn't enough to put any meat on the bones of that cow. She didn't get that skinny in the 14 days since we had crossed the berm.

The scene I witnessed was not significantly different from this one. We have a shot at making a real difference. Please support our efforts in Iraq.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lileks the Minimalist

Go read this Screed. Make of it what you will. I thought it rather profound.

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No ignorance for oil!

Alright, this "We're in the Middle East for oil" crap has simply got to stop.

I'm listening to the late night re-broadcast of Dennis Prager who's guest, Robert Pape, author of "Dying to win : the strategic logic of suicide terrorism" just said that the primary reason for our 140,000 man combat presence in the Arabian Peninsula is easy access to oil.

Let me say that again... Even today, post 9/11, post Madrid, post London last frickin' week, this man still believes we're in the Gulf for oil. It just makes me weep with frustration. Not freedom for Iraqis, not increased US (nay, world) security, just oil. And he feels that we should get our oil from alternate sources and get out of the Gulf to reduce the bloodshed. "No blood for oil" rears it's ugly head again.

Talk about naive.

Dennis advances another theory, namely that a bloodthirsty wing of Islam has visions of re-instating a shari'a caliphate over the entire Mid East, then all muslim countries, then ultimately the world. This explains not only suicide attacks on Americans but also why Al-Qaida targets their fellow muslims in Egypt and even Saudi Arabia where we no longer have a single soldier. Dennis is dismissed almost out of hand. "I don't doubt that Al-Qaida attacks targets for other reasons as well. I just think that we could reduce suicide bomber recruitment by two thirds." replies Professor Pate.

How? Appeasment through withdrawl,though he never comes out and says it.

Professor Pape? Listen to me real close, now. Listening? WE DID NOT GO TO WAR FOR OIL. Not in 1991, not in 2003. WE WENT TO SPREAD FREEDOM AND THEREBY INCREASE OUR OWN SECURITY. The world's oil supply is just that. A world pool from which we all dip. Those geographicaly blessed nations who sit atop large portions of that world supply stand to make a lot of money, true, but the days of American colonialism are over, sir. We're too rich to bother. The economic rewards for dealing fairly with the US far outweigh the few bucks one could make by refusing us as trading partners. Sane, stable governments realize this. Despotic, dictatorial ones do not. By coincidence, dictatorships treat their citizens like crap and tend to breed terrorists who attack the US. This is why we go to war. TO SPREAD FREEDOM AND TO INCREASE OUR SECURITY. To say we went to war in Iraq for oil is as stupid as saying we went to war with Germany for laderhosen or Japan for sushi. Cheap suspenders and raw fish are not good reasons to wage war, Mr Pape. Reducing human suffering in the world and protecting American citizens, however, are good reasons.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Quick links

Morgan Spurlock Watch - Morgan "Master of the Obvious" Spurlock made a name for himself with his pseudo-documentary, "Supersize Me." (Eating nothing but combo meals from MacDonald's every day for a month can make you fat? Get oughtta here! Seriously?) At Spurlock Watch, Radley Balko charts the ways Spurlock uses selective quotes, shoddy research, and outright lies to manipulate data to fit his activist, socialist-leaning world view... and then tries to sell it (capitalism-style) to you. Sound familiar? It should. Michael Moore practically invented the scheme.

Live 8 downloads - .mov files of the performances, broken down by artist and song. Looks pretty comprehensive.

The Gutfeld Drive-Bys - How Greg Gutfeld scored this gig I cannot begin to fathom. He writes for the Huffington Post... and spends his time almost exclusively bashing the Huffington Post... on the Huffington Post!



I was just sitting around, thinking about last week's bombings.

Multi-tasking, I was: sitting AND thinking.

And I started to ask myself how we could explain such horrible events so, you know, none of us look stupid at parties?

Even more important, how can my explanation about these acts help me pick up girls?

Then I read the Huffington Post, and I realized that, unlike Eve Ensler, Deepak Chopra, Jann Wenner and Hooman Majd, I have absolutely no idea how to respond to terror in a totally cool and nonjudgmental way!


So far, I've learned so much from Deepak Chopra! Like, when faced with one act of terror, simply equate it to an act of non-terror!

“Why is killing a person in uniform more acceptable than a person in civilian clothing? Who makes the rules about "civilized vs. uncivilized" killing? Can we begin to question these rules?”

Thanks To Deepak, we can pose such questions! But we can't answer them, because there are no answers! As Chopra explains - no one is right, and no one is wrong!

Read it all.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Iraq - Monday must read

Victor Davis Hanson, NRO's resident military historian has a new essay up. "The Iraqi Wars: Our 15-year conflict with Iraq."

I don't want to steal Hanson's thunder, but I want to note his opening,

Iraq is a blur now... The public can't quite separate Baathists from jihadists, Shiite from Sunni, or one coalition from another. Mostly the confusion arises because we have compressed four separate wars of two decades into some vague continuum.
Pro- and anti-war activists tend to have all the facts straight (we just downplay the ones we don't like.) VDH has done what I didn't think possible. He's written a short, concise, truly neutral analysis of Iraq.

He concludes,

But at least this final war in its ambitious goal to end the cycle is honest, and so will be decisive in the way the other three were not.
We will either win or lose, but we won't be back a fifth time.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

No posting today

I'm taking a day off to play with our new dog, Sugar.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Diary, 9

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

April 16, 2003

*click to enlarge*

*click to enlarge*

Satire aside, please note that the Marines of the 1/5 lost a good man in the battle to take that palace. Gunny Jeffrey E. Bohr. I was about fifteen miles away, considered "non-essential" to that fight due to our "soft skin" vehicles. The tactical advantages our Sig-Int equipment brought to the table were canceled out by the fact a single stray bullet would short that same equipment. Hear this. On 10 April, 2003, for several hours in the dark of night, the 1/5 demonstrated why Saddam never had a chance.

We stayed in the palace for about two weeks, and you can see what our Army accomplished from that position over the course of the next year in the documentary, "Gunner Palace."

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8

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Does terrorism work?

From The Corner's excellent London coverage yesterday:

"I think there are four possible responses to terrorism:

"1. Do what they want.[...]Here, terrorism works.

"2. Do nothing.[...]I say terrorism is working here too.

"3. Kill every last terrorist[...]Does terrorism work here? Beats me.

"4. Make the cost of terrorism to the terrorists much greater than the benefits.[i.e, Nuke Mecca - ed.]Definitely a case of terrorism not working.

"Nobody in the West is willing to do #4, and of the few who are capable of doing #3, most of them don't bother. So, if most countries are generally using only #1 and #2, and #3 is uncommon and a wash anyway, then it's only natural that terrorism, on the whole, works."

I'm severely paraphrasing to encourage you to read the whole post. It's excellent. But I'm disturbed by the lack of a fifth option. Namely the Bush Doctrine. You know, what we're doing right now? Support goverments who police their own? Condemn and fight nations who don't? Yeah, it's expensive. Yeah, it's hard to guage the results (see previous post.) But I believe it's got the highest chance for success. By encouraging sovereign nation states to reform themselves, we defeat terrorism from within by changing the culture that breeds terrorists. From the actions described above, it's the only long term solution to a long term problem. The others are short term... and inadequate.

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The holes inherent in the "flypaper" argument

My heart goes out to the London families ravaged yesterday by the stupid, backward-thinking, totalitarians responible for such atrocities. We're in this together, England. They want to hurl us all backward into a feudal mode of civilization, erasing every bit of the progress we've made over the last 500 years. We won't let that happen.

At Belmont Club, Wretchard (eloquently as always) admits to the guesswork inherent in analyzing Al-Qaida's strength:

My personal subjective judgment is that Islamism has weakened across the board in nearly all of these places even after OIF. If we consider the nearest thing to referendums on Al Qaeda (as a component of the general question) available in the Islamic world -- the Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese elections -- it is safe to assert that they are not ringing endorsements of radical Islamism, but rather reflect its relative decline.
And that is my personal subjective judgment as well. As he points out, there are no hard and fast numbers to definitively prove that Operation Iraqi Freedom has syphoned off valuable resouces from Al-Qaida. Some naysayers flatly state that the lack of hard data negates the "flypaper theory" that says our entering Iraq is drawing the terrorists into Iraq for the slaghter. They say that yesterday's London bombing could be viewed as evidence that our presence in Iraq is fueling attacks, not mitigating them. Well, we measure what we can measure, and draw the simplest conclusions. It's not science, it's an educated guess. Wretchard:

The London attack was as deadly as Al Qaeda could make it. They would have blown up 30 trains if they had the means. Certainly it was not the milk of human kindness that stayed their hand [...] The inevitable question then is 'why could Bin Laden not find the means to attack 30 trains?' The answer it seems to me, must be Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and hundred other places where he is engaged without quarter by US forces.
A reasonable conclusion. The CSI Factor may be at work here. Just as prosecutors across the country are complaining that shows like CSI with pat, perfect, scientifically unasailable endings are prompting juries to demand proof beyond all doubt, not just reasonable doubt, skeptics of our efforts in Iraq are demanding the same level of proof before they lend the full weight of their support.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pray for London

Bombs explode in the London Underground. The Corner's been all over it since ugly-o-clock.

UPDATE: I have no doubt that London can hack this. Evidence is already in that the city is not "burning in fear and panic" as the idiots who orchestrated this attack would have us believe.

Quote of the day goes to Tim Worstall:

Many years ago I was working in The City and there were two events that made travel into work almost impossible.

The first was a series of storms that brought down power lines, blocked train routes and so on. Not surprisingly, the place was empty the next day. Why bother to struggle through?

The other event was an IRA bomb which caused massive damage and loss of life. Trains were disrupted, travel to work the next day was horribly difficult and yet there were more people at work than on a normal day. There was no co-ordination to this, no instructions went out, but it appeared that people were crawling off their sick beds in order to be there at work the next day, thrusting their mewling and pewling infants into the arms of anyone at all so that they could be there.

Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

Fuck you, sunshine.

We’ll not be having that.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Who you callin' a chickenhawk?

Greyhawk has an interesting theory concerning the mindset of those who like to throw around the term "chickenhawk."

They in turn project their motives onto others who support the war but aren't in uniformed service. See, you support the war but don't serve, therefore you are a coward. I, on the other hand, am not a coward because I am not serving because I don't support the war. I am clearly morally superior to you. [Emphasis original]
I'm one of those who enlisted for purely selfish reasons... I saw something in the eyes of the Marines that I'd met, and wanted that something for myself.

It turns out that something is the immense pride that comes from serving ones country. I may not have known exactly what I was getting into at the time I enlisted. I understand it now though. And no one will ever take that pride away from me.

The tactic of calling an American who supports war but doesn't join the military a "chickenhawk" is just that. A tactic. It's an attempt to end the debate early by shaming your opponent, not with superior ideas, but with cheap name-calling. To the countless Americans who supported me and my family during my tour in Iraq, I'd like to say thank you. You are most certainly NOT chickenhawks. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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It's good to be the richest country in the world

How else could we afford to oppose a nameless nominee ?

Sides prepare for a pricey high court campaign

"The Supreme Court battle is here," the People for the American Way pitch said. "We don't know who the nominee will be right now, but we do know that we will need the time, energy, and resources of tens of thousands of Americans to prevent that nominee's Senate confirmation if she or he is so extreme as to warrant opposition."

Um... Does anyone actually believe that PftAW is raising millions of dollars to use just in case the President's nominee is "so extreme as to warrant opposition"?

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live 8... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Mark Steyn weighs in with a blistering piece in the Telegraph.

Let's take it as read that Sir Bob and Sir Bono are exceptionally well informed and articulate on Africa's problems. Why then didn't they get the rest of the guys round for a meeting beforehand with graphs and pie charts and bullet points in bright magic markers, so that Sir Dave and Dame Madonna would understand that Africa's problem is not a lack of "aid". The tragedy of Live8 is that its message was as cobwebbed as its repertoire.
I did notice that none of the performers seemed to be onboard the "free trade and democracy for Africa!" train, but rather the "my liberal guilt is crushing me so let's give more money!" express. Capitalism good, people. Works for rock stars, why not Africa?

There's a lot of scorn to go around, too. Tim Blair has been pointing out the capitalist perks that go with being asked to perform at Live 8. I guess that Joey Ramone and Kid Rock aside, Che t-shirts and Kabbalah simply sell more albums. Where's the revolution-chic in free trade? Who's the romantic figurehead for supply side economics? Rock and roll sells the illusion of dangerous, socialist revolution to those already protected by democratic freedom. Talented performers can thrill us. But talented performers become super stars only when they wrap themselves in quasi-Marxist packaging. That's the business model now, and business is booming.

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My God. How cool is that?

Jay at Wizbang laments that he was actually born American thus preventing him from participating. I have to say I agree with that sentiment.

USS Citizens: New Americans proudly pledge allegiance

Sailing aboard Old Ironsides during its annual turnaround cruise, Juan Quiroz took his oath of allegiance to the United States yesterday - six weeks before he deploys for Iraq.

"It feels great. It's a great honor, especially since I'm being deployed," said Quiroz, a 30-year-old Colombian native and mental health specialist with the Army's Boston-based 883rd Combat Stress Control unit.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

[insert patriotic post here]

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day, everyone.


Paul Darbek loves the firepower. The Rocket's Red Glare

Scott Johnson's partial to Lincoln's speech of 1858. The eternal meaning of Independence Day

Mudville Gazette has the mother of all holiday roundups. 4th of July Dawn Patrol

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Diary, 7

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

May 14, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8... live blogging the performances

I didn't care for Madonna [London feed] all that much. I thought Bob Geldolf's introduction of the woman saved as a child by Live Aid twenty years ago was powerfull stuff. But Madonna had to go and ruin the moment by running up and kissing her on the lips. Those were the same lips that kissed Britany and Christina so how does a kiss mean much anymore when you know just where those lips have been? Cheap publicity stunt, Part X.


I'm a fan of Velvet Revolver [London feed], but what is up with that hat? Black pants, check. No shirt, check. Quasi-soviet cap, um, check? I liked the extended ending with the bird-wing arm posture ala Mick Jagger. Appropriate for a London show. Sounded great.


Sarah McLachlan [Philadelphia feed] is one of my favorite artists. As someone with wisdom once said, "Happy songs don't make sad people happy. Sad songs make sad people happy." I agree. It's the secret to her success. That, and talent. Lots and lots of talent.

Josh Groban? Don't know this guy singing with Sarah... He's good, though.

OK, Sarah's finished. Wow. If this is what she can do with just a piano and a mic, I'm really gonna have to shell out the bucks for her next concert.


Oooh! Jet [Toronto feed] is on right now.

They're pretty good live... I like the way they can sound like 70's punk on one tune, and the Beatles on the next. Oh, and this guy screams in falsetto... with perfect pitch.

Had to turn up the base a bit with the Toronto feed, but I've beeen consistently impressed with the quality of the AOL audio.

OK, signature song comin' up! Are You Gonna Be My Girl! (My volume won't go any higher.)

Nice finish. That's another group on my short list...


Is that Green Day in Philly? It is! God I hate that band! They're real American idiots. But it's nice that they lend their big audience pull to a good cause...


Millions of CSI fans are screaming right now for The Who [London feed.] Who Are You

Kidding. I've loved The Who since childhood when they were only middle-aged. Check out that guitar work! Pete and the gang have still got it! (That "it" being that undefinable "it" that makes great rock. We kids throw around "THAT ROCKS!" way too indescriminately.)

Next up... CSI: Miami! Won't Get Fooled Again. These guys are on fire, though it seems they know from where their money's coming these days...

The audience is clapping along... they love it! I do, too.

Oh. My. God. Great finish. I guess we'll have to wait for CSI: NY.


U2 [Philly feed] Missed it. Too busy watching The Who.

Rob Thomas up next... Just started.

I can see why so many people buy his albums. Matchbox Twenty never hit me in the gut, but Rob's voice is great on this opening song.

OK, this next song is why I won't be swinging by the record store. He needs to stick to the blues... (Of course, he can do whatever he pleases, I just won't be buying his stuff. Bring back ... Hold that thought!


Pink Floyd is on stage in London!

And it was everything that I had hoped for. Now that my dream has been fulfilled, my only hope is for a tour with Roger... alas it'll never happen.


That's the one that I was waiting for. I'm done. Goodnight.

(And I never thought I'd say this... Thank you AOL.)

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Live 8... growing on me

This thing is seriously starting to dominate my afternoon.

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Live 8 Concert...um... Live!

It's being broadcast live on VH1, I hear.

If you're like me and splurge for the cable modem but not the cable TV then you can watch live here at AOL Music. (Surprisingly clear and smooth video feed, top-notch. Good audio, as well.)

I still don't know quite what to think about Live 8 and this new "We don't want your money, we want your voice" gimmick. (No value judgement there, some gimmicks can make a positive difference in the world, and if this one succeeds, then more power to it. But make no mistake, it's a gimmicky campaign.) But I will say that I'm convinced of Geldof's sincerity, his "encyclopedic knowledge of the situation in Africa," (thank you, TalkLeft for the audio of the blogger conference call) and boy, does he put on one hell of a show. It's massive! Concerts in nine cities worldwide, countless name-brand artists, and the professional skill and finesse that went into organizing this production is impressive.

For an Africa awareness campaign, the scale is unprescedented. Let's hope the "gimmick" of shifting focus away from temporary, band-aid solutions (like throwing money at poverty) to the harder task of brain storming long term, permanant solutions (like free trade) takes hold.

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Diary, 8

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

May 4, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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"The fighting goes on, but troop morale continues to be very high."

New Michael Yon report.

(I especially like the two photos in this one. If you want to see the gritty, everyday reality of life in Iraq, see these photos. Iraq: Beautiful sunsets, cradle of civilization... with squalid, bone-crushing poverty.)

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Friday, July 01, 2005

"Roosevelt lied! Robots Died!"

War of the Worlds... Iowahawk-style!

No man brings the funny quite like he does. I'd have more praise but I don't seem to be able to stop laughing long enough.

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Diary, 6

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

April 29, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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This town ain't big enough for the both of us

Susan Paynter update.

Remember her?

Well, a recent state Supreme Court decision may end up closing down her employer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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I'm so jealous

A while ago some friends and I sat around the campfire and discussed the follwing question.

"What performing group, if you could get them back together, would you give anything to see live."

Pink Floyd topped the list. And Reasoned Audacity is living our dream as part of the blogging contingent to Live 8 this weekend. I say again, I am sooooooo jealous that they didn't pick me.

(Via: Dawn Patrol)

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