Thursday, May 31, 2007

"If it ain't broke...."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who needs Al-Jazeera when you can just read The New York Times?

Click on the 'toon to be transported to the latest media bias by omission

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal"

Washington Post:
Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's ranch, said Tuesday she's done being the public face of the movement.

"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal," she said.

In what she described as a "resignation letter," Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the Daily Kos blog: "Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

"It's up to you now."

Good luck Mother Sheehan...with trying to be normal and all that; we'll try to go on without you....*sniff*.... Don't let the door hit your fanny on the way out...get along home now, ya hear?

Haha....Daily Kos
and Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Also blogging:
Freedom Eden
Hard Astarboard
Marie's Two Cents
My Republican Blog (Coming Soon)

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"Woodchuck to Grey Squirrel, Come in Grey Squirrel"

Over the weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke to West Point graduates on the consequences of failure. Unbeknownst to the world at large, there was an attempt made against the Vice President. The media which loves to leak classified intell, decided to cover this.....COVER THIS ONE UP, that is! That is why you, the blogreader, come to political blogs: to get the real news the media refuses to tell you! After all as Reagan might not say, "if it's on the internet, it must be true, if not verifiable." Or something like that.

Unnamed sources have secretly leaked the following video proof to Sparks from the Anvil; proof-positive of the attempt on the Vice President. Videos do not lie....

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Tribute Video to Our Fallen Heroes (Updated )

I like this version better. A much cleaner edit; plus, I squeezed in a couple more images that I really wanted to have in the video. I also figured out why the music was getting cut off in photo story 3. I still had to run it through windows movie maker, though, for the title and credits. If anyone has the time to view the update, and if you saw the first version, I'd be curious to know if the changes made any significantly noticeable improvement to you.

Hope everyone has a reflective Memorial Day (along with the obligatory family barbecue).

An 18-months old, leans on the Lima Company Memorial next to her father's name, hospital medic Travis Youngblood, during the unveiling of a monument with the names of all 215 servicemen who served with Lima Company in Iraq.

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Images from the Los Angeles National Cemetery today

"To those who volunteered and extended the hand of liberty to alien peoples"

After seeing one morning client, I drove out to the Los Angeles National Cemetery to pay my respects. I did not have time to stick around for the ceremonies. But captured some photos. Here are just some of them:

Veterans stretching back to the time of the Civil War are buried here. Of note,
Over 100 Buffalo Soldiers are interred at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. These African American soldiers were members of the 9th, 10th, 24th, and 25th Cavalry during the Civil War.

Looking to the south, looming in the background is the Federal Building in Westwood. The National Cemetery sits on the northside of Wilshire Blvd.

I graduated from UCLA. During all that time, that I attended there and lived in Westwood Village and related areas, I never once visited the Cemetery. Although the Gulf War did grab my attention, and I used to listen to Pirate Radio's Shannon in the Morning for Gulf War Updates and patriotic music and soundbytes (including parody songs, poking fun at Saddam), for the most part, I slept through the political world and focused only on my small universe.

This is at the corner of Wilshire and Veteran. The cemetery sits on the westside of Veteran, with UCLA bordering the east. I even lived on Veteran Avenue a couple of times while at UCLA.
The United Spanish War Veterans monument, also known as the Spirit of ’98, is a bright white marble composition of three figures completed in 1950 by sculptor Roger Noble Burnham. The memorial crumbled after a 1971 earthquake. In 1973, sculptor David Wilkens re-created the monument out of concrete and plaster, reinforcing it with rebar. The plaque from the original sculpture survived and was imbedded on the new sculpture.
During my time at UCLA, I used to take pause and stare at this monument whenever I passed by. I think part of my interest had to do with the image of the Veteran of the Spanish-American War. One of the aftermaths of that, was the acquisition of the Philippines. And being a student of the Filipino martial arts, I had a historical interest in the time of the Philippine Insurrection.

We fought fierce Muslims, back then too. The Moros of the southern Philippines remained unconquered during the 500 years that the Spanish occupied the islands. Their fighting spirit was fortified by their religious fanaticism. There are accounts of "Amok" warriors and "Jurimentados" taking six rounds and still having the strength left to continue pressing their attack. This led to the .38 caliber pistol being replaced by the .45-caliber, for more stopping power against a charging Moro with the intent of engaging in close-quarter combat. I've heard many stories on how Marines got the nickname "leathernecks"; but one of the lesser known stories, and one that I have never been able to substantiate, is that the Marines received the nickname, in part, because they were issued leatherneck collars to counter the frequent attempts at beheading Marines with the swish of a wavy-edged kris or kampilan by the Moro warrior.

Moro violence and terrorist guerilla warfare continues to this day, as they've never truly been pacified. We've now been familiar with them as The Moro Liberation Front, which today finds its offsprings in the form of The Abu Sayyaf group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; both of which claim ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Many of the 15,000 warriors who make up the MILF took part in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Perhaps one day, I'll mention about how modern boxing techniques and footwork has its influence from the time when our Marines occupied the Philippines.

The Los Angeles National Cemetery, located across from what is now the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, has grown to more than 114 acres since its late 19th century origins. The first interment dates to a few days prior to the May 22, 1889 dedication of the cemetery. In 1973, the cemetery was transferred from the then-Veterans Administration Medical Center to what was then the National Cemetery System.

The Los Angeles National Cemetery opened as one of 11 facilities operated by the Veterans Administration, on lands shared with national veterans' homes or asylums for disabled soldiers. The Pacific Branch of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established in 1887 on Santa Monica ranch lands donated by Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia B. de Baker. The following year, the site grew by an additional 200 acres; in 1890, 20 more acres were appended for use as a veterans' cemetery. By this time, with more than 1,000 veterans in residence, a new hospital was erected in 1900. It was replaced in 1927 by Wadsworth Hospital, and a second facility, Brentwood Hospital, was also constructed in the 1920s.

Some of the built features are unusual, including an administration building-chapel, 1939-40, and the NCA's only indoor columbarium, 1940-41, both built by the Works Progress Administration in a distinctive Spanish Revival style of stucco and tile. The original gatehouse and entrance gates have been removed.

Two unusual canine burials distinguish Los Angeles National Cemetery, although this practice is prohibited today. Old Bonus, an adopted pet of residents in the soldiers’ home, and Blackout, a war dog wounded in the Pacific during World War II, are both buried here.

I believe that there are 14 Medal of Honor recipients buried here.

Medal of Honor Recipients
Landsman William F. Lukes (Korean Campaign of 1871) U. S. Navy, Company D. Korean Forts, June 9 & 10, 1871 (Section 7, Grave F-19).

Private Charles W. Rundle, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company A, 116th Illinois Infantry. Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 (Section 34, Grave 1-11).

Sergeant George H. Eldridge, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company C, 6th U.S. Calvary. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section 37, Grave B-1).

Sergeant (then Corporal) Luther Kaltenbach, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company F, 12 Iowa Infantry. Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 16, 1864 (Section 43, Grave A-15).

Sergeant First Class (then Sergeant) Chris Carr (medal awarded under name of Christos H. Karaberis), (World War II), U.S. Army, Company L, 337th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division. Guignola, Italy, Oct. 1 & 2, 1944 (Section 275, Grave G-15).

Private Robert H. Von Schlick (China Relief Expedition, Boxer Rebellion) U.S. Army, Infantry, Company C, 9th U.S. Infantry. Tientsin, China, July 13, 1900 (Section 81, Grave G-20).

Corporal Edwin Phoenix, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company E, 4th U.S. Calvary. Red River Texas, Sept. 26-28, 1875 (Section 67, Grave H-22).

Wagoner Griffin Seward, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company G, 8th U.S. Calvary. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory, Oct. 20, 1869 (Section 15, Grave D-10).

Farrier Samuel Porter, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company L, 6th U.S. Calvary. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section 40, Grave E-6).

Sergeant (then Private) Edward Murphy, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company G, 1st U.S. Calvary. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory, Oct. 20, 1869 (Section 44, Grave 1-22).

Corporal Harry Harvey (true name was Harry Huckman), (Civil War) U. S. Army, Company A, 22nd New York Calvary. Waynesboro, Va., March 2, 1865 (Section 60, Grave E-4).

Color Sergeant George McKee, (Civil War), U.S. Army, Company D, 89th New York Infantry. Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865 (Section 1, Grave G-2).

Coxswain Timothy Sullivan, (Civil War) U.S. Navy, USS Louisville. Battles in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, unknown date of action (Section 18, Grave H-2).

Corporal (then Private) James Sweeney, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Vermont Cavalry. Cedar Creek, Va., Oct. 19, 1864 (Section 78, Grave P-3).

I have more photos here.

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Memorial Day Tribute Video to Our Fallen Heroes

05/28/07 02:04 Please check out the updated version of this video.

John and Linda Daily pore over the hundreds of sympathy cards and letters they received after the death of their son Mark in Iraq. The response has filled them with a strange mix of grief, pain, gratitude and awe.
(Wally Skalij / LAT)

Apologies for the quick-edit job on this. I screwed up on retaining credits for the photos. I didn't realize that there is a finite amount of text I can cut-and-paste into the properties, when I saved to file.

This is the first time I used photostory 3, and had some trouble with the music; so I had to discard the song, save and print the photos, then add the music by running it through windows movie maker. Very rushed ending, but it is what it is.

This post will remain at the top until Tuesday.

Major Douglas Zembiec's widow, Pamela, bows over the casket of her husband Wednesday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery before his internment. The couple also have a 1-year-old daughter, Fallyn. Major Zembiec was 34, a highly decorated Marine Corps officer. He was killed while leading a raid on insurgents in Baghdad on May 10th, 2007. He earned the Bronze Star with a V for valor for his actions in Fallujah in 2004. (Photos and details by Rick Loomis/La Times)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Sister Found!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Real Foreign Invaders of Iraq

Ron Paul likes to reference our presence in Iraq as being that of "invaders" and "occupiers". Nevermind that, we are routinely asked to stay (and no...not by Zawahiri) by the government and those who are being terrorized by violent jihadists and insurgents. We remain at their request.

But who are the real invaders here, hmm?
Seventy percent of foreign insurgents arrested in Iraq come from Gulf countries via Syria where they were provided with forged passports, an Iraqi intelligence officer alleged in a published report Wednesday.

"They, according to their own confessions, gather in mosques in the said (Gulf) states to travel to Syria using their passports, taking with them phone numbers of individuals waiting for them there," Brig. Gen. Rashid Fleih, the assistant undersecretary for intelligence of Iraq's Interior Ministry, told Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily in an interview.
Arguably the most important man in Iraq and leader of the Anbar Salvation Front understands who the enemy of the Iraqi people are, and has helped to convince a coalition of Sunni tribes to work together in expelling the true invaders of their country:
Sheikh Abdul Sattar is instrumental in fighting and defeating al Qaeda; the incredibly influential Ramadi man sees al Qaeda as terrorists who seek to destroy his country and who are exploiting and murdering his people, Sunni and Shia alike.
Can someone please inform the Republican Kucinich that al-Qaeda has no business citing America's foreign policy as the casus bellum, when Iraq does not belong to them. It belongs to the people of Iraq.

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200 Spartan Marines Volunteer to Return

A Summer Bloodbath...things will get worse before they get better

With timetables and withdrawal dates, talks of cutting troop funding, and the announcement of a progress report by General Petraeus in September, does this come as any shock to any of you?
Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq

Simon Tisdall
Tuesday May 22, 2007
The Guardian

Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]."

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said.


US officials now say they have firm evidence that Tehran has switched tack as it senses a chance of victory in Iraq. In a parallel development, they say they also have proof that Iran has reversed its previous policy in Afghanistan and is now supporting and supplying the Taliban's campaign against US, British and other Nato forces.

Tehran's strategy to discredit the US surge and foment a decisive congressional revolt against Mr Bush is national in scope and not confined to the Shia south, its traditional sphere of influence, the senior official in Baghdad said. It included stepped-up coordination with Shia militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaish al-Mahdi as well as Syrian-backed Sunni Arab groups and al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, he added. Iran was also expanding contacts across the board with paramilitary forces and political groups, including Kurdish parties such as the PUK, a US ally.


"Iran is perpetuating the cycle of sectarian violence through support for extra-judicial killing and murder cells. They bring Iraqi militia members and insurgent groups into Iran for training and then help infiltrate them back into the country. We have plenty of evidence from a variety of sources. There's no argument about that. That's just a fact," the senior official in Baghdad said.

In trying to force an American retreat, Iran's hardline leadership also hoped to bring about a humiliating political and diplomatic defeat for the US that would reduce Washington's regional influence while increasing Tehran's own.

But if Iran succeeded in "prematurely" driving US and British forces out of Iraq, the likely result would be a "colossal humanitarian disaster" and possible regional war drawing in the Sunni Arab Gulf states, Syria and Turkey, he said.

Great job at telegraphing our intent and projecting our political will of weakness to the enemy, Congress.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr.

From the Torrance DailyBreeze:
Military's search for Torrance soldier ends sadly for family
Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. is mourned at vigil in his father's home.

By Shelly Leachman
Staff Writer

More than 10 days into a massive search for three missing American soldiers that has held the attention of a hopeful nation, the Torrance family of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., 20, learned the worst Wednesday.

Late in the afternoon, Army representatives notified the infantryman’s father, Joseph Anzack Sr., that his son was the dead soldier found earlier in the Euphrates River.

He had been “visually identified by the commander of his unit,” Anzack Sr. told the Daily Breeze. “The mourning started right then.

Speaking by phone Wednesday night, Anzack Sr. said his immediate family and several extended family members held a vigil inside his apartment — a second-story stucco building with a yellow ribbon on the front door — that was led by an Army chaplain.

“We said a prayer for the other two boys, then sat around and talked about Joseph,” he said, “just sharing the love of my son and why we all loved him.”

“I’m not really sure where I’m going to go from here,” Anzack Sr. told the Breeze. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do tomorrow. But I have to keep living. I have to keep my family strong. “His sister, she can’t believe it. His mom, she’s doing OK,” he added. “We lost our son. It’s not fair.”

A former prep football standout who graduated from Torrance’s South High in 2005, Anzack Jr. was on his first tour of duty in Iraq, where he served as a gunner with the Army’s noted 10th Mountain Division. He and two fellow soldiers went missing after their patrol was ambushed south of Baghdad on May 12, leaving four soldiers and an Iraqi aide dead.

Al-Qaida later claimed credit for the attack and the abductions of Anzack Jr., Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich.

Their families and America watched as military forces launched an intensive, exhaustive search involving thousands of troops that spanned desert, farmland and irrigation ditches. News broke early Wednesday that a body in an American uniform had been pulled from the Euphrates River.

When word surfaced that the body bore a tattoo, the Anzacks continued to hold out hope, Anzack Sr. said. Last time he saw his son, he had no tattoos.

“I was really thinking, ‘That’s a different person,’” he said. “Somebody said that God takes you away from the bad stuff. And evidently he took Joe. He didn’t want him going through any more bad stuff.”

The tragic news came exactly one month after a false rumor of Anzack Jr.’s death circulated so widely, via MySpace and word-of-mouth, that his alma mater South High changed its marquee to read: “In Loving Memory - Joseph Anzack - 2005.”

But after American Red Cross workers located him alive and well, the soldier himself dispelled the rumor with a phone call home, relieving family and friends across Torrance.

After the rumor turned out to be just careless gossip, word of Anzack’s real disappearance in mid-May brought the toll of the war in Iraq home to students at South High, according to athletic director Robert Kutsch.

“It’s really opened up a lot of kids’ eyes,” Kutsch said. “It’s somebody who walked the same hallways as them and is gone.”

Denise Mandel’s son, Mike, a 12th-grader this year, played middle linebacker with Anzack two years ago and told the Daily Breeze in April he was a “great mentor.”

After hearing the news Wednesday, Denise said the family was heartbroken.

“This young man had nothing but class,” Mandel said. “He was a wonderful leader on the field, just as he was in life.”

Chris Lee graduated two years ahead of Anzack and the two played together on South High’s varsity football team. Anzack, who played on the defensive line, made the team as a 10th-grader. His enthusiasm made an impression on Lee right away.

“He was so excited to get out there, he forgot his assignment,” Lee said.

Anzack Sr. said his son approached his military duty in much the same fashion, describing Joseph Jr. as “a man who made his own choices, stuck by his choices and gave 100 percent.”

“I was honored to have him serve this country,” he said. “I know he went over there and made a difference.”

“I’m so grateful to have had the relationship that I had with my son. It was an honor to be his father.”

(Maya Alleruzzo / AP)
Prayers for his family and friends.

His myspace page

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"Good news? What good news?!?"

By way of The Strata-Sphere:

In an unprecedented step, a top leader of the pro-US tribal alliance in Anbar Province traveled to Sadr City Tuesday to meet with leaders of the Sadrist current.
Sheikh Hamid al-Hayis, who leads the armed wing of the US-backed movement known as the Anbar Awakening, or the Anbar Salvation Council, held a rare meeting with Sadrist leaders in Baghdad’s Sadr City, the bastion of support for the young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and stronghold of the Mahdi Army.

“This meeting is a message to Iraqi politicians to get rid of their differences and to seek real reconciliation,” Hayis said, according to the AFP.

“We are trying to pressure (the government) to make political changes for the sake of the Iraqi people who are drowning in the blood of their sons,” Hayis added.

“This visit shows that Iraqi tribes are standing side by side and they are the nail in the coffin of the abhorrent sectarianism which has split our country,” said Shi’a Sheikh Malik Sewadi al-Mohammedawi, whom AFP identifies as the head of one of Sadr City’s most influential tribes.

AFP reports that the participants in Tuesday’s meeting called for “improved national security services, for holding internationally monitored provincial council elections, and for ‘calling any killer of Iraqis a terrorist who has to be fought’.”

In a statement issued by the two groups at the end of the discussions also affirmed the unity and sovereignty of Iraq and called for building up the country’s armed forces on a professional and national basis, Radio Sawa Net reports in Arabic.

And from a FA reader comes an opinion piece by Frederick Kagan

The MSM continues to under-report the positive, and highlight the negative.

White flag Democrats surrender on timetable withdrawal deadline.

Army colonel's gamble pays off in Iraq


Untold stories of successes

Things are tough, but never hopeless. Steely-resolve and a positive outlook can move mountains. If our enemies are tough and determined, we simply have to be that much tougher and more determined.

Also blogging:
Marie's Two Cents

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In Search of the Missing Three

05/23/07 09:27- Bad news from Bill Roggio:

Unconfirmed reports circulating that the bodies of all three soldiers have been found

As the search for the three missing U.S. soldiers nears the end of its eleventh, ominous news emerges from Iraq that three bodies have been discovered that may be those of the missing soldiers. Earlier today, an Iraqi police source told the Western media that a body "wearing U.S. military-issued pants" was seen floating in the Euphrates River near Mussayab, about 22 miles south of Mahmudiyah. "Witnesses said the man looked 'Western' and had a tattoo on his left arm. He had gunshot wounds to the head and torso," CNN reported. Major General Caldwell confirmed Iraqi police found the body of a man wearing portions of an Army uniform, and Multinational Forces Iraq is working to identify the body.

Voice of Iraq reported two additional bodies wearing U.S. uniforms have been found in Babil province, also near Mussayab. "They bore signs of torture," according to the report posted at IraqSlogger. "The police handed the bodies to the U.S. army and cordoned off the area," however there has been no confirmation from the U.S. military of the report at this time. In today's briefing, Maj. Gen. Caldwell stated intelligence indicates that two soldiers are still believed to be alive.

The New York Times' Damien Cave is embedded with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Triangle of Death region, and reports that insurgents are now mining the fields and footpaths in an attempt to counter dismounted patrols that are avoiding mined roads in the search for the missing soldiers. U.S. and Iraq troops are taking casualties moving through the farms south of Baghdad. The Triangle of Death region in northern Babil is one of three regions in the Baghdad belts that are the focus of the Baghdad Security Plan, and the search for the U.S. soldiers has focused efforts in the region sooner than expected.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has yet to release a videotape or images of the captured soldiers, which, eleven days after the capture of the soldiers, is unusual. In the past, al Qaeda and allied Salafist groups quickly released video or other media to maximize the propaganda value of its operations. After Ansar al Sunnah killed 6 Marine snipers from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment operating in the Haditha region in the summer of 2005, the terror group issued a video purporting to display the assault, along with captured weapons, dogtags, gear and what is believed to be the body of one of the Marines.

Also, check out "A Deadly Search" from the NYTimes.


From a milblog that Curt posted on a while ago:
Just got back from a long six days in the Zaidon. Our platoon got sent out a few days early so that we could continue to search for the three Army soldiers that were kidnapped. It’s strange, because I know nothing about what is going on with that story. All we know is that they got taken close to where we were about two weeks ago, and that supposedly they are still alive and being kept prisoner. I haven’t seen any news in weeks so I really don’t know any details.

Anyway, we were running patrols in an area around where they were taken for six days hoping to get lucky. Unfortunately we did not. I pray that a miracle happens and that they stay safe.
I have not been home much for TV news, or to read a paper. Curt's the latest I heard on the matter (and that was a couple of days ago). I can only keep hoping and praying for their safe well-being.

This was also of interest, from Jake:
We set up in a house to watch the roads. I was talking to the family, one of the women spoke decent broken English, when one of the guys on watch saw two men run to the intersection, look at the ground, and then sprint off into some fields. We of course assumed that it was someone coming back to finish the job, but we couldn’t tell for sure.

Meanwhile, I continued to talk to the family. We learned a lot from them. One thing that she kept repeating was how happy she was that we were there, and how we bring them safety. She kept thanking us for coming to Iraq and asked us not to leave, that is until she could afford to move to the US. The family was Sunni so its generally rare for them to be so pro-American, but you could tell she was sincere. Well, while we were talking, a car drove by very slowly on the opposite side of their wall. The man of the house stood up cautiously and peeked over the wall. You could tell that he was scared, and when we asked her why, she said that the car was full of insurgents from the southern part of the region. That got the hair on the back of everyone’s neck to stand, things just didn’t seem right. I kept imagining grenades being lobbed over that wall, I knew that they knew we were there, it was just a matter of whether they had the nerve to mess with us. We didn’t stick around to find out, we didn’t want to endanger the family, so we left.
Have a visit to Jake's Life and wish him well.

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Jesse MacBeth: Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Anti-War Left and America's Enemies

Jesse Adam MacBeth, 23, formerly of Phoenix, garnered attention on blogs and in some alternative media after he began claiming in 2005 to have been awarded a Purple Heart for his service, which he said included slaughtering innocents in a Fallujah mosque. His story was contradicted by his discharge form, showing that he was kicked out of the Army after six weeks at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2003 because of his “entry level performance and conduct.”

A complaint unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle charged him with one count of using or possessing a forged or altered military discharge certificate, and one count of making false statements in seeking benefits from the Veteran's Administration.

Apparently transcripts of the Pepperspray Productions video he was featured in by have been made into English and Arabic. Gee, we're apparently creating more terrorists by our presence in Iraq...I wonder why that is? I'm sure it couldn't be because of traitorous scum like this, faking stories of atrocities, tarnishing America's image abroad and fueling the Jihadist movement.

Here's a "false, but accurate" account of Jesse MacBeth's history. His birth surname was "Al-Zaid". Can't blame him for changing that...."MacBeth" just sounds so "ubber tragically cool". In truth, here's a poem in honor of Jesse MacBeth:
Forsaken Honor, Forgotten Shame
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Macbeth 1.7

The liberals found a new Macbeth
To bait the media with claims of death,
And atrocious acts by his own men,
Opportunely vague 'bout where and when.
But liberal bloggers shared with glee,
New proof of our troops' infamy;
Web witches stirred their bitter brew,
Caring not their broth might be untrue.

But liberals heed not lessons learned,
That hollow heroes leave them burned.
So fools rush in, disdaining danger,
And hold on high a phony Ranger,
Exploit a mentally troubled youth,
To extend their version of the truth.
Because our troops they so despise,
They swallowed whole his vicious lies.

So now we witness once again,
The Lefties just can't seem to win,
When it comes to picking warrior heroes,
Liberal heroes often turn out zeroes,
Who wrap themselves up in the flag,
And unlike heroes, boast and brag;
And trot out rows of Purple Hearts,
For scratches on their body parts.

Why must they seek to elevate
Themselves with lies that desecrate
The brave and honorable reputation
Of those who serve, protect our nation?
John Kerry, Murtha and Macbeth,
All share a trait, exploiting death.

In their own selfish quest for fame,
They've forsaken honor, forgotten shame.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th PIR
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

Also blogging:
Michelle Malkin
The Sniper

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Monday, May 21, 2007

"Sometimes, you go to war with the media you have; not the one you wish you had."

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Men before Monuments

“Never be separated from the Americans.”
- Winston Churchill, on the eve of his retirement as prime minister in 1955

In their day, both Churchill and Roosevelt were frequently criticised, often savagely, by their countrymen, including legislators who had little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes reality of the war.

In his quarters at the White House over Christmas 1941, the visiting British Prime Minister was in the tub, dictating to an assistant. Coming out of the bathroom, Churchill dropped his towel, and there was the PM, in all his naked glory, pacing and talking. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. "Come in," Churchill said as he turned to face Franklin D. Roosevelt, who apologized and began to retreat. The Prime Minister stopped him. "You see, Mr. President," he quipped, "I have nothing to hide from you." FDR loved it, and later told his secretary Grace Tully with a chuckle, "You know, Grace, he's pink and white all over." After Churchill returned home from this trip, Roosevelt told him, "It is fun to be in the same decade with you."

The Roosevelt-Churchill connection set the tone for a series of relationships between ensuing American Presidents and British Prime Ministers -- Reagan and Thatcher, Bush and Blair -- who were brought together by common interests and shared values. As the wars of the 21st century take shape, George W. Bush and Tony Blair are working in the shadow and style of the Great Men of World War II.- Jon Meacham
Bush and Blair have one essential point completely in hand: sometimes leaders must project power when public opinion—both elite and mass—is against it. Lesser politicians and the press are prone, in Churchill’s phrase, to spin around with “the alacrity of squirrels.” Without Churchill’s defiance from May 1940 forward—defiance fueled by his prayers that FDR would eventually enter the war—Adolf Hitler might well have struck a deal legitimizing the Third Reich’s early and widespread conquests. And without FDR’s deft maneuvering to nudge Americans toward engaging the evil unfolding in Europe, we could be living in a different—and much more troubled and troubling—world.

“Our friendship is the rock on which I build for the future of the world so long as I am one of the builders.”- Winston Churchill in a letter to Franklin Roosevelt in 1945

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saturday Morning ABC Schoolhouse Rock

Friday, May 18, 2007

Legalized Travesty?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Truther or Truthiness?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Night Movie Classic

Today is the day that Chirac steps down and Sarkozy steps up. attraction to French women has been rekindled. Maybe Sarkozy's pro-business stance will lead to an export of Melissa Theuriau. Oui?

Viva la France!

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The Ogaden File: Operation Holding(Al-Msk)

May 16, 2007
More Evidence of Saddam-al Qaeda Ties
By Ray Robison

An al Qaeda document newly released by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) of the United States Military Academy provides an extraordinary new connection to a previously reported order by Saddam Hussein to support al Qaeda attacks upon US forces in Somalia. It corresponds with other documents that show Saddam Hussein was using Islamic terrorists as proxies to attack US interests. The document was part of a US Army report on al Qaeda in Africa. That study contends that although al Qaeda managed to train other Islamic fighters in Africa, it did the organization no long term good, as it failed to bend the region to al Qaeda doctrine.

The al Qaeda document is entitled The Ogaden File: Operation Holding (Al-Msk). Its' name refers to a tribal region of Ethiopia extending into Somalia (Ogaden) and ‘al-Msk' is an acronym for the Mission to hold Somalia and Kenya. The file is a personal log about a group of al Qaeda terrorists sent to Somalia in 1993 to provide military training to local Islamic militants. Islamic fighters trained by al Qaeda would later kill 18 Army Special Forces soldiers in what has become know as the Battle of Mogadishu which was portrayed in the popular movie Black Hawk Down. The US government confirmed the involvement of al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden in a 1998 indictment against him for the Somali attacks.

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Legislation for Conservative Offsets?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Corruption is, as Corruption Does

Fraud and corruption go hand-in-hand with Philippine elections. The corruption of candidates is often heard about; but what about the corruption of the voters who basically sell their votes?

Complaints of corruption, vote rigging and the killing of candidates and their supporters, rather than policy debates, have dominated the election campaign. The Supreme Court has designated 111 special courts across the country to handle the expected flood of fraud charges.

It is illegal under Philippine election law for political candidates to promise or give cash, materials or favors in exchange for votes. Yet alleged vote-buying is as common to campaigns here as shaking hands and kissing babies.

Opponents of Ernesto Aspillaga, who is seeking reelection to city council in Manila's financial district, say he broke the rules by handing out thousands of panties to female voters in the barrio of West Rembo. The women could choose from dozens of colors, but each pair had the candidate's name across the bottom.
Hmm....if this sort of voter-buying were allowed in the U.S., instead of campaign buttons, George Bush would have had a great gimmick with the panties and "name across the bottom" idea.

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"Super-enabled" bionic athlete?

A year ago in April, I had a post entitled "Crippling the Competition". Now comes this story from the NYTimes, regarding South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius:
Pistorius wants to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. But despite his ascendance, he is facing resistance from track and field’s world governing body, which is seeking to bar him on the grounds that the technology of his prosthetics may give him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.
Thoughts? Mine haven't evolved much from my previous post; along with comments I made in response to challenges posed to me. Questions to ponder:
What should an athlete look like? Where should limits be placed on technology to balance fair play with the right to compete? Would the nature of sport be altered if athletes using artificial limbs could run faster or jump higher than the best athletes using their natural limbs?
An Equalizer or an Edge?

Still, the question persists: Do prosthetic legs simply level the playing field for Pistorius, compensating for his disability, or do they give him an inequitable edge via what some call techno-doping?
This part muddles the matter, as far as consistency of reasoning and questions of fairness:
Track and field’s world governing body, based in Monaco and known by the initials I.A.A.F., has recently prohibited the use of technological aids like springs and wheels, disqualifying Pistorius from events that it sanctions. A final ruling is expected in August.

The International Olympic Committee allows governing bodies to make their own eligibility rules, though it can intervene. Since 2004, for example, transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics.
Do they compete as men or as women? This is getting confusing...might as well disband gender divisions altogether, as well as weight class. I mean, at this point, what's the point?
“With all due respect, we cannot accept something that provides advantages,” said Elio Locatelli of Italy, the director of development for the I.A.A.F., urging Pistorius to concentrate on the Paralympics that will follow the Olympics in Beijing. “It affects the purity of sport. Next will be another device where people can fly with something on their back.”

Others have questioned the governing body’s motivation.

“I pose a question” for the I.A.A.F., said Robert Gailey, an associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Miami Medical School, who has studied amputee runners. “Are they looking at not having an unfair advantage? Or are they discriminating because of the purity of the Olympics, because they don’t want to see a disabled man line up against an able-bodied man for fear that if the person who doesn’t have the perfect body wins, what does that say about the image of man?”

According to Gailey, a prosthetic leg returns only about 80 percent of the energy absorbed in each stride, while a natural leg returns up to 240 percent, providing much more spring.

“There is no science that he has an advantage, only that he is competing at a disadvantage,” Gailey, who has served as an official in disabled sports, said of Pistorius.

Foremost among the I.A.A.F.’s concerns is that Pistorius’s prosthetic limbs may make him taller than he would have been on natural legs and may unfairly lengthen his stride, allowing him to lower his best times by several seconds in the past three years, while most elite sprinters improve by hundredths of a second.
This last paragraph poses quite an interesting dilemma: We are each disadvantaged or advantaged according to our height and weight. I'm not sure if pointing out unfair lengths in his stride is the right argument to be making. In basketball, tall is good; in gymnastics, shorter athletes tend to excel. If Pistorius is allowed artificial devises, regardless of what height advantages it gives him, I think just the nature of being artificial opens up a whole can of worms if he is allowed to compete with those not using artificial enhancements. It just changes the nature of the sport.
I.A.A.F. officials have also expressed concern that Pistorius could topple over, obstructing others or injuring himself and fellow competitors.
I think that's rather lame....competitors sometimes do that anyway. Accidents and injuries are inherent in sports.
Some also fear that, without limits on technological aids, able-bodied runners could begin wearing carbon-fiber plates or other unsuitably springy devices in their shoes.
I've always found rules and regulations to sports to be a subjective, fickle, tricky matter. As it stands, athletes are always using artificial means to gain that 1/100 of a second extra edge over the competition...whether it be in the form of clothing, equipment choice, nutrition, etc.

The rest of the article raises other interesting questions, such as the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Where does it all end?
Among ethicists, Pistorius’s success has spurred talk of “transhumans” and “cyborgs.” Some note that athletes already modify themselves in a number of ways, including baseball sluggers who undergo laser eye surgery to enhance their vision and pitchers who have elbow reconstruction using sturdier ligaments from elsewhere in the body. At least three disabled athletes have competed in the Summer Olympics: George Eyser, an American, won a gold medal in gymnastics while competing on a wooden leg at the 1904 Games in St. Louis; Neroli Fairhall, a paraplegic from New Zealand, competed in archery in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles; and Marla Runyan, a legally blind runner from the United States, competed in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. But Pistorius would be the first amputee to compete in a track event, international officials said.

A sobering question was posed recently on the Web site of the Connecticut-based Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. “Given the arms race nature of competition,” will technological advantages cause “athletes to do something as seemingly radical as having their healthy natural limbs replaced by artificial ones?” wrote George Dvorsky, a member of the institute’s board of directors. “Is it self-mutilation when you’re getting a better limb?”

As far as whether or not Oscar "the Piston" Pistorius should be allowed to compete in what is traditionally a "foot race".....well, I think it would be kind of exciting to see. But I think it changes the nature of the competition. If his artificial carbon-fiber limbs actually puts him on an equal footing with other runners, that's one thing; but if it gives him an artificial advantage, that's something else entirely. Where does it end? What happens when prosthetic limbs become technologically advanced enough to turn you into a bionic man? Now who's feeling disabled?

I have a feeling that Pistorius may end up having his way. After all, it's a "feel good" story. To deny him would be to be mean and heartless; to be made to feel guilty and prejudiced against those with "disabilities". Undoubtedly, he'd be an inspiration for countless others who are physically disabled. But with or without the Olympics, isn't he already that sort of role-model anyway?

I think one difference I have between him and the high school athlete I blogged about last year, is that he is running; whereas, she was wheeling herself against those on two legs (what's to prevent a bicyclist from competing against a track athlete in a track meet, based upon this kind of acceptance?). So I'm a little more open to Pistorius' possibility...

... but with great reservations.

Further reading:
Time Magazine's "Do Disabled Athletes Have an Advantage?"

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

The War About the War: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans

Even as we are seeing results in al-Anbar Province, and now Diyala, we find the war effort hamstrung by defeatist democrats and white flag Republicans back in Washington.

Insurgencies seldom win. The ingredients needed to overcome insurgencies include:
•An understanding of local society;

•Good intelligence about the enemy;

•Establishing security and a rule of law;

•Establishing a long-term commitment.
The first 3 criteria are being met; what about the last one? The new counterinsurgency manual shows that the chances of overcoming an insurgency improves after 10 years. Does America have the intestinal fortitude to win? Do enough of us understand that we have no choice but to push for nothing short of victory in Iraq? For pro-victory Americans, it's a win/lose situation. For the anti-war Americans, it's a lose-lose situation.....damned if we stay; damned if we leave.

If our pro-defeat compatriots are thinking of the solution to Iraq as being a choice between a "bad" and "worse"-case scenario....what they need to be convinced of, is that the worse option is the one that would have us leave prematurely; basically surrendering Iraq over to America's enemies. This would be an amazing accomplishment, more ignoble and embarrassing than anything the French have ever done. We have not "lost"; and Iraq is not a "quagmire", except in our own media-driven impressions and perceptions. Just take a look at this piece by Ann Scott Tyson in The Christian Science Monitor, dated November of 2003:
Just as news footage of Vietnam casualties slowly eroded public backing for that conflict, today's bold headlines on US military deaths in Iraq are revealing a ground truth that is, more swiftly, undercutting domestic support for the Iraq war.

Some polls show that most Americans no longer believe removing Saddam Hussein was worth the loss of US lives; significant majorities now consider the 400-plus US casualties in Iraq "unacceptable."

"We've reached that magic number, and now Americans are asking whether it's worth it or not," says John Zogby of Zogby International, which conducted prewar polls showing that war support would drop below 50 percent if US casualties went into the hundreds.
Within months of our victory in the toppling of Saddam's regime, Iraq was already being chicken-littled as a "quagmire" by the anti-war left and those who care more about a George Bush defeat than they do for an American victory. Every little molehill setback was magnified into a mountain of misfortune; from stolen museum artifacts to Abu Ghraib. If anyone can trace back when that word "quagmire" was first used for Iraq, please let me know.

It is astounding to me, that Americans have not learned all the right lessons from Vietnam and Somalia; that so many of my countrymen are willing to give Osama bin Laden validation in his labeling of America as a "paper tiger".

How many jihadists and insurgents have been sent to their maker? 20 times our number? 50 times? Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been on the losing side of every military engagement; and yet, half of our country (or greater), appears to be ready to "run away" from the killer rabbits who seek martyrdom by planting IEDs and by carbombing innocent civilians and fellow Muslims. They think they are winning (with occasional lapses into sanity) because aside from their religious delusions of grandeur, our very own 5th column media and leaders on The Hill tell them that they are winning; and behave like we are losing.

The surrender monkeys would have us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And I say: "Defeat is not an option".

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Happy Mother's Day!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's a "hole in one"

Richard Perle and Douglass Feith weigh in.

The media reaction has been a bit interesting to watch. As Richard Miniter puts it,
The antagonism of the mainstream media toward former CIA director George Tenet is astonishing. They want to blame him for not talking Bush out of the Iraq war. Why not blame the Congress that voted for it or the U.N. that cooperated?

Other articles not Easter Egged:
Charles Krauthammer
Michael Ledeen
Rich Lowry
Fred Thompson

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Saturday Morning Not-So Funnies

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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