demosthenes

"Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master." -Demosthenes

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) was a Greek orater who made eloquent appeals for his countrymen to unite and preserve their freedom.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Saddam Hussein's campaigns of terror and genocide: the Dujail and Anfal campaigns



Saddam Hussein's death warrants for 148 people - as part of his Dujail campaign - could not be carried out for 48 of the people ... because those 48 people had already died during interrogation.



A mother and child lie dead in the Kurdish town of Halabja ... just two of the 100,000 Kurds murdered by Saddam Hussein's regime


Via The Belmont Club:

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The documents revealed some unbelievably terrifying facts about the Dujail massacre; can you imagine that when orders were given to execute the 148 "convicts" the prison authorities executed only 96 of them. Why? Because the remaining 48 "convicts" had already passed away during "interrogation"!! What kind of interrogation was that killed one third of the suspects?!

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See much more on the trial of Saddam Hussein at the excellent Iraq the Model blog.



Photos memorialize the victims of the Dujail massacre at the Dujail Free Prisoners' Association. Photo via the San Francisco Chronicle.


More on the Dujail Massacre is available from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile this is what American teachers are talking about.

Via the Denver Post and Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE 3-3-06: Some excellent background on Saddam Hussein's incredible genocidal campaign against the Kurds is available from Michael Totten:

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The hardest thing to see was the cell used to hold children before they were murdered. My translator Alan read some of the messages carved into the wall.

“I was ten years old. But they changed my age to 18 for execution.”

“Dear Mom and Dad. I am going to be executed by the Baath. I will not see you again.”

10,725 people were killed in this one building alone.

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Saddam Hussein's regime murdered 100,000 Kurds during the Anfal campaign


Indeed, "during the Anfal campaign from February to September 1988, Iraqi troops swept through the highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan rounding up everyone who remained in government-declared 'prohibited zones.' Some 100,000 Kurds, mostly men and boys, were trucked to remote sites and executed."

Via Human Rights Watch:

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Unfortunately, governmental cowardice and opportunism have stymied past attempts to indict Saddam, as Human Rights Watch learned during its intensive efforts to bring him to justice in the 1990s. At the top of any indictment should be Saddam's 1988 genocidal Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds, described by Jeffrey Goldberg in this week's New Yorker. Named after a Koranic verse justifying pillage of the property of infidels, the Anfal campaign unfolded as the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was winding down. Iraqi Kurds had taken advantage of Saddam's preoccupation with Iran to seize control of parts of mountainous northern Iraq. But as soon as Iraqi troops could be withdrawn from the Iranian front, Saddam shifted them to the north.

Several thousand Kurdish villages were destroyed, forcing residents to live in appalling camps. In at least 40 cases, Iraqi forces under Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, used chemical weapons to kill and chase Kurds from their villages. Then, during the Anfal campaign from February to September 1988, Iraqi troops swept through the highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan rounding up everyone who remained in government-declared "prohibited zones." Some 100,000 Kurds, mostly men and boys, were trucked to remote sites and executed. Only seven are known to have escaped.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Free Speech & the Mohammed Cartoons


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-Thomas Jefferson

All bloggers should apologize to our Muslim friends for any offense (as, indeed, freedom of worship is one of our most fundamental freedoms), but all bloggers should nonetheless staunchly defend the right of all people to exercise freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is our most fundamental freedom - as it is the freedom which protects all the others.

Warning: Below are displayed the cartoons variously knows as the: Muslim cartoons - Mohammed cartoons - Muhammad cartoons - Muhammad drawings - Danish cartoons - forbidden cartoons - cartoons that started protests - etc. - if you don't want to see them, don't look - otherwise, see below:




CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE CARTOONS. Many thanks to Hans Henrik Lichtenberg.

CLICK HERE FOR ANOTHER LINK TO ALL THE CARTOONS. Many thanks to Michelle Malkin.

The link to the above poster is via Andrew Sullivan and The Stranger.

American publications who actually believe in free speech:

1. The New York Sun.

2. The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Also deserving praise for standing-up for free speech:

1. The Editorial Staff of the New York Press.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

President Bush Outlines Iraq Strategy



The Iraq story: how our troops see it


My take: I don't understand why people continue to talk about "strategy for victory in Iraq" or "the war in Iraq." The Coalition forces won the war in Iraq in about 3 weeks. It was one of the swiftest military victories in world history. For the past 2 years we've been dealing with the terrorists and Baath Party dead-enders left over after our victory. Using the logic of the anti-war left, we're still "at war" with Germany and Japan! I mean, we still have troops there. Withdraw immediately from Germany and Japan! Give me a break.

Full text of the President's November 30, 2005 speech on our Iraq strategy:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


President Outlines Strategy for Victory in Iraq
United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland
November 30, 2005

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks, please be seated. Please be seated. Thanks for the warm welcome. It's good to be back at the Naval Academy. I'm pleased to provide a convenient excuse for you to miss class. (Applause.)

This is the first year that every class of midshipmen at this Academy arrived after the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. Each of you has volunteered to wear our nation's uniform in a time of war -- knowing all the risks and dangers that accompany military service. Our citizens are grateful for your devotion to duty -- and America is proud of the men and women of the United States Naval Academy. (Applause.)

I thank Admiral Rempt for his invitation for me to come and give this speech. I appreciate Admiral Mike Mullen. I'm traveling today with a man who's done a fine job as the Secretary of Defense -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (Applause.) Navy aviator, Don Rumsfeld. (Applause.) I'm proud that the Governor of the great state of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, and his wife, Kendel, is with us. Thanks for being here, Governor. (Applause.)

I so appreciate that members of the United States Congress have joined us, starting with the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner of the state of Virginia. (Applause.) Former Secretary of the United States Navy, I might add. (Applause.) Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Pete Hoekstra. (Applause.) From the state of Arizona, Congressman John Shadegg. (Applause.) And from the state of Indiana, Congressman Mike Pence. (Applause.) I'm honored you all came, thanks for being here.

I appreciate the Mayor of the city of Annapolis, Mayor Ellen Moyer, joining us. I want to thank all the state and local officials. I want to thank the faculty members here. Thank you all for letting me come by. (Applause.)

Six months ago, I came here to address the graduating class of 2005. I spoke to them about the importance of their service in the first war of the 21st century -- the global war on terror. I told the class of 2005 that four years at this Academy had prepared them morally, mentally and physically for the challenges ahead. And now they're meeting those challenges as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Some of your former classmates are training with Navy SEAL teams that will storm terrorist safe houses in lightning raids. Others are preparing to lead Marine rifle platoons that will hunt the enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan and the streets of Iraqi cities. Others are training as naval aviators who will fly combat missions over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. Still others are training as sailors and submariners who will deliver the combat power of the United States to the farthest regions of the world -- and deliver compassionate assistance to those suffering from natural disasters. Whatever their chosen mission, every graduate of the class of 2005 is bringing honor to the uniform -- and helping to bring us victory in the war on terror. (Applause.)

In the years ahead, you'll join them in the fight. Your service is needed, because our nation is engaged in a war that is being fought on many fronts -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. This war is going to take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefield. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, and so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.

As we fight the enemy in Iraq, every man and woman who volunteers to defend our nation deserves an unwavering commitment to the mission -- and a clear strategy for victory. A clear strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face. The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists. The rejectionists are by far the largest group. These are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein -- and they reject an Iraq in which they are no longer the dominant group.

Not all Sunnis fall into the rejectionist camp. Of those that do, most are not actively fighting us -- but some give aid and comfort to the enemy. Many Sunnis boycotted the January elections -- yet as democracy takes hold in Iraq, they are recognizing that opting out of the democratic process has hurt their interests. And today, those who advocate violent opposition are being increasingly isolated by Sunnis who choose peaceful participation in the democratic process. Sunnis voted in the recent constitutional referendum in large numbers -- and Sunni coalitions have formed to compete in next month's elections -- or, this month's elections. We believe that, over time, most rejectionists will be persuaded to support a democratic Iraq led by a federal government that is a strong enough government to protect minority rights.

The second group that makes up the enemy in Iraq is smaller, but more determined. It contains former regime loyalists who held positions of power under Saddam Hussein -- people who still harbor dreams of returning to power. These hard-core Saddamists are trying to foment anti-democratic sentiment amongst the larger Sunni community. They lack popular support and therefore cannot stop Iraq's democratic progress. And over time, they can be marginalized and defeated by the Iraqi people and the security forces of a free Iraq.

The third group is the smallest, but the most lethal: the terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda . Many are foreigners who are coming to fight freedom's progress in Iraq. This group includes terrorists from Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and Iran, and Egypt, and Sudan, and Yemen, and Libya, and other countries. Our commanders believe they're responsible for most of the suicide bombings, and the beheadings, and the other atrocities we see on our television.

They're led by a brutal terrorist named Zarqawi -- al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq -- who has pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Their objective is to drive the United States and coalition forces out of Iraq, and use the vacuum that would be created by an American retreat to gain control of that country. They would then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, and overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain. That's their stated objective. That's what their leadership has said.

These terrorists have nothing to offer the Iraqi people. All they have is the capacity and the willingness to kill the innocent and create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will to achieve their stated objectives. They will fail. America's will is strong. And they will fail because the will to power is no match for the universal desire to live in liberty. (Applause.)

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

To achieve victory over such enemies, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy -- how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we're doing to achieve it. So today, we're releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This is an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website -- whitehouse.gov. I urge all Americans to read it.

Our strategy in Iraq has three elements. On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will. On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.

As we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight -- and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.

And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq. In doing all this we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states in helping Iraqis build their future.

In the days ahead, I'll be discussing the various pillars of our strategy in Iraq. Today, I want to speak in depth about one aspect of this strategy that will be critical to victory in Iraq -- and that's the training of Iraqi security forces. To defeat the terrorists and marginalize the Saddamists and rejectionists, Iraqis need strong military and police forces. Iraqi troops bring knowledge and capabilities to the fight that coalition forces cannot.

Iraqis know their people, they know their language, and they know their culture -- and they know who the terrorists are. Iraqi forces are earning the trust of their countrymen -- who are willing to help them in the fight against the enemy. As the Iraqi forces grow in number, they're helping to keep a better hold on the cities taken from the enemy. And as the Iraqi forces grow more capable, they are increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists. Our goal is to train enough Iraqi forces so they can carry the fight -- and this will take time and patience. And it's worth the time, and it's worth the effort -- because Iraqis and Americans share a common enemy, and when that enemy is defeated in Iraq, Americans will be safer here at home. (Applause.)

The training of the Iraqi security forces is an enormous task, and it always hasn't gone smoothly. We all remember the reports of some Iraqi security forces running from the fight more than a year ago. Yet in the past year, Iraqi forces have made real progress. At this time last year, there were only a handful of Iraqi battalions ready for combat. Now, there are over 120 Iraqi Army and Police combat battalions in the fight against the terrorists -- typically comprised of between 350 and 800 Iraqi forces. Of these, about 80 Iraqi battalions are fighting side-by-side with coalition forces, and about 40 others are taking the lead in the fight. Most of these 40 battalions are controlling their own battle space, and conducting their own operations against the terrorists with some coalition support -- and they're helping to turn the tide of this struggle in freedom's favor. America and our troops are proud to stand with the brave Iraqi fighters. (Applause.)

The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year's assault in Fallujah. In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine coalition battalions made up primarily of United States Marines and Army -- with six Iraqi battalions supporting them. The Iraqis fought and sustained casualties. Yet in most situations, the Iraqi role was limited to protecting the flanks of coalition forces, and securing ground that had already been cleared by our troops. This year in TAL Afar, it was a very different story.

The assault was primarily led by Iraqi security forces -- 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support. Many Iraqi units conducted their own anti-terrorist operations and controlled their own battle space -- hunting for enemy fighters and securing neighborhoods block-by-block. To consolidate their military success, Iraqi units stayed behind to help maintain law and order -- and reconstruction projects have been started to improve infrastructure and create jobs and provide hope.

One of the Iraqi soldiers who fought in TAL Afar was a private named Tarek Hazem. This brave Iraqi fighter says, "We're not afraid. We're here to protect our country. All we feel is motivated to kill the terrorists." Iraqi forces not only cleared the city, they held it. And because of the skill and courage of the Iraqi forces, the citizens of TAL Afar were able to vote in October's constitutional referendum.

As Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead in the fight against the terrorists, they're also taking control of more and more Iraqi territory. At this moment, over 30 Iraqi Army battalions have assumed primary control of their own areas of responsibility. In Baghdad, Iraqi battalions have taken over major sectors of the capital -- including some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. Last year, the area around Baghdad's Haifa Street was so thick with terrorists that it earned the nickname "Purple Heart Boulevard." Then Iraqi forces took responsibility for this dangerous neighborhood -- and attacks are now down.

Our coalition has handed over roughly 90 square miles of Baghdad province to Iraqi security forces. Iraqi battalions have taken over responsibility for areas in South-Central Iraq, sectors of Southeast Iraq, sectors of Western Iraq, and sectors of North-Central Iraq. As Iraqi forces take responsibility for more of their own territory, coalition forces can concentrate on training Iraqis and hunting down high-value targets, like the terrorist Zarqawi and his associates.

We're also transferring forward operating bases to Iraqi control. Over a dozen bases in Iraq have been handed over to the Iraqi government -- including Saddam Hussein's former palace in Tikrit, which has served as the coalition headquarters in one of Iraq's most dangerous regions. From many of these bases, the Iraqi security forces are planning and executing operations against the terrorists -- and bringing security and pride to the Iraqi people.

Progress by the Iraqi security forces has come, in part, because we learned from our earlier experiences and made changes in the way we help train Iraqi troops. When our coalition first arrived, we began the process of creating an Iraqi Army to defend the country from external threats, and an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps to help provide the security within Iraq's borders. The civil defense forces did not have sufficient firepower or training -- they proved to be no match for an enemy armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars. So the approach was adjusted. Working with Iraq's leaders, we moved the civil defense forces into the Iraqi Army, we changed the way they're trained and equipped, and we focused the Army's mission on defeating those fighting against a free Iraq, whether internal or external.

Now, all Iraqi Army recruits receive about the same length of basic training as new recruits in the U.S. Army -- a five-week core course, followed by an additional three-to-seven weeks of specialized training. With coalition help, Iraqis have established schools for the Iraqi military services, an Iraqi military academy, a non-commissioned officer academy, a military police school, a bomb disposal school -- and NATO has established an Iraqi Joint Staff College. There's also an increased focus on leadership training, with professional development courses for Iraqi squad leaders and platoon sergeants and warrant officers and sergeants-major. A new generation of Iraqi officers is being trained, leaders who will lead their forces with skill -- so they can defeat the terrorists and secure their freedom.

Similar changes have taken place in the training of the Iraqi police. When our coalition first arrived, Iraqi police recruits spent too much time of their training in classroom lectures -- and they received limited training in the use of small arms. This did not adequately prepare the fight they would face. And so we changed the way the Iraqi police are trained. Now, police recruits spend more of their time outside the classroom with intensive hands-on training in anti-terrorism operations and real-world survival skills.

Iraq has now six basic police academies, and one in Jordan, that together produce over 3,500 new police officers every ten weeks. The Baghdad police academy has simulation models where Iraqis train to stop IED attacks and operate roadblocks. And because Iraqi police are not just facing common criminals, they are getting live-fire training with the AK-47s.

As more and more skilled Iraqi security forces have come online, there's been another important change in the way new Iraqi recruits are trained. When the training effort began, nearly all the trainers came from coalition countries. Today, the vast majority of Iraqi police and army recruits are being taught by Iraqi instructors. By training the trainers, we're helping Iraqis create an institutional capability that will allow the Iraqi forces to continue to develop and grow long after coalition forces have left Iraq.

As the training has improved, so has the quality of the recruits being trained. Even though the terrorists are targeting Iraqi police and army recruits, there is no shortage of Iraqis who are willing to risk their lives to secure the future of a free Iraq.

The efforts to include more Sunnis in the future of Iraq were given a significant boost earlier this year. More than 60 influential Sunni clerics issued a fatwa calling on young Sunnis to join the Iraqi security forces, "for the sake of preserving the souls, property and honor" of the Iraqi people. These religious leaders are helping to make the Iraqi security forces a truly national institution -- one that is able to serve, protect and defend all the Iraqi people.

Some critics dismiss this progress and point to the fact that only one Iraqi battalion has achieved complete independence from the coalition. To achieve complete independence, an Iraqi battalion must do more than fight the enemy on its own -- it must also have the ability to provide its own support elements, including logistics, airlift, intelligence, and command and control through their ministries. Not every Iraqi unit has to meet this level of capability in order for the Iraqi security forces to take the lead in the fight against the enemy. As a matter of fact, there are some battalions from NATO militaries that would not be able to meet this standard. The facts are that Iraqi units are growing more independent and more capable; they are defending their new democracy with courage and determination. They're in the fight today, and they will be in the fight for freedom tomorrow. (Applause.)

We're also helping Iraqis build the institutions they need to support their own forces. For example, a national depot has been established north of Baghdad that is responsible for supplying the logistical needs of the ten divisions of the Iraqi Army. Regional support units and base support units have been created across the country with the mission of supplying their own war fighters. Iraqis now have a small Air Force, that recently conducted its first combat airlift operations -- bringing Iraqi troops to the front in TAL Afar. The new Iraqi Navy is now helping protect the vital ports of Basra and Umm Qasr. An Iraqi military intelligence school has been established to produce skilled Iraqi intelligence analysts and collectors. By taking all these steps, we're helping the Iraqi security forces become self-supporting so they can take the fight to the enemy, and so they can sustain themselves in the fight.

Over the past two and a half years, we've faced some setbacks in standing up a capable Iraqi security force -- and their performance is still uneven in some areas. Yet many of those forces have made real gains over the past year -- and Iraqi soldiers take pride in their progress. An Iraqi first lieutenant named Shoqutt describes the transformation of his unit this way: "I really think we've turned the corner here. At first, the whole country didn't take us seriously. Now things are different. Our guys are hungry to demonstrate their skill and to show the world."

Our troops in Iraq see the gains that Iraqis are making. Lieutenant Colonel Todd Wood of Richmond Hill, Georgia, is training Iraqi forces in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. He says this about the Iraqi units he is working with: "They're pretty much ready to go it on their own ... What they're doing now would have been impossible a year ago ... These guys are patriots, willing to go out knowing the insurgents would like nothing better than to kill them and their families ... They're getting better, and they'll keep getting better."

Our commanders on the ground see the gains the Iraqis are making. General Marty Dempsey is the commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command. Here's what he says about the transformation of the Iraqi security forces: "It's beyond description. They are far better equipped, far better trained" than they once were. The Iraqis, General Dempsey says, are "increasingly in control of their future and their own security _ the Iraqi security forces are regaining control of the country."

As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing and they are taking on tougher and more important missions on their own. As the Iraqi security forces stand up, the confidence of the Iraqi people is growing -- and Iraqis are providing the vital intelligence needed to track down the terrorists. And as the Iraqi security forces stand up, coalition forces can stand down -- and when our mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation. (Applause.)

This is a goal our Iraqi allies share. An Iraqi Army Sergeant named Abbass Abdul Jabar puts it this way: "We have to help the coalition forces as much as we can to give them a chance to go home. These guys have been helping us. [Now] we have to protect our own families." America will help the Iraqis so they can protect their families and secure their free nation. We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission. If our military leaders tell me we need more troops, I will send them.

For example, we have increased our force levels in Iraq to 160,000 -- up from 137,000 -- in preparation for the December elections. My commanders tell me that as Iraqi forces become more capable, the mission of our forces in Iraq will continue to change. We will continue to shift from providing security and conducting operations against the enemy nationwide, to conducting more specialized operations targeted at the most dangerous terrorists. We will increasingly move out of Iraqi cities, reduce the number of bases from which we operate, and conduct fewer patrols and convoys.

As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists. These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington. (Applause.)

Some are calling for a deadline for withdrawal. Many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing our troops are sincere -- but I believe they're sincerely wrong. Pulling our troops out before they've achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory. As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would "discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people."

Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

And as we train Iraqis to take more responsibility in the battle with the terrorists, we're also helping them build a democracy that is worthy of their sacrifice. And in just over two-and-a-half years, the Iraqi people have made incredible progress on the road to lasting freedom. Iraqis have gone from living under the boot of a brutal tyrant, to liberation, free elections, and a democratic constitution -- and in 15 days they will go to the polls to elect a fully constitutional government that will lead them for the next four years.

With each ballot cast, the Iraqi people have sent a clear message to the terrorists: Iraqis will not be intimidated. The Iraqi people will determine the destiny of their country. The future of Iraq belongs to freedom. Despite the costs, the pain, and the danger, Iraqis are showing courage and are moving forward to build a free society and a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East -- and the United States of America will help them succeed. (Applause.)

Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, "stay the course." If by "stay the course," they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by "stay the course," they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban -- a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America -- they are right, as well. If by "stay the course" they mean that we're not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong. As our top commander in Iraq, General Casey, has said, "Our commanders on the ground are continuously adapting and adjusting, not only to what the enemy does, but also to try to out-think the enemy and get ahead of him." Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy. (Applause.)

Victory in Iraq will demand the continued determination and resolve of the American people. It will also demand the strength and personal courage of the men and women who wear our nation's uniform. And as the future officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, you're preparing to join this fight. You do so at a time when there is a vigorous debate about the war in Iraq. I know that for our men and women in uniform, this debate can be unsettling -- when you're risking your life to accomplish a mission, the last thing you want to hear is that mission being questioned in our nation's capital. I want you to know that while there may be a lot of heated rhetoric in Washington, D.C., one thing is not in dispute: The American people stand behind you.

And we should not fear the debate in Washington. It's one of the great strengths of our democracy that we can discuss our differences openly and honestly -- even at times of war. Your service makes that freedom possible. And today, because of the men and women in our military, people are expressing their opinions freely in the streets of Baghdad, as well.

Most Americans want two things in Iraq: They want to see our troops win, and they want to see our troops come home as soon as possible. And those are my goals as well. I will settle for nothing less than complete victory. In World War II, victory came when the Empire of Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri. In Iraq, there will not be a signing ceremony on the deck of a battleship. Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation.

As we make progress toward victory, Iraqis will take more responsibility for their security, and fewer U.S. forces will be needed to complete the mission. America will not abandon Iraq. We will not turn that country over to the terrorists and put the American people at risk. Iraq will be a free nation and a strong ally in the Middle East -- and this will add to the security of the American people.

In the short run, we're going to bring justice to our enemies. In the long run, the best way to ensure the security of our own citizens is to spread the hope of freedom across the broader Middle East. We've seen freedom conquer evil and secure the peace before. In World War II, free nations came together to fight the ideology of fascism, and freedom prevailed -- and today Germany and Japan are democracies and they are allies in securing the peace. In the Cold War, freedom defeated the ideology of communism and led to a democratic movement that freed the nations of Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet domination -- and today these nations are allies in the war on terror.

Today in the Middle East freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair. And like fascism and communism before, the hateful ideologies that use terror will be defeated by the unstoppable power of freedom, and as democracy spreads in the Middle East, these countries will become allies in the cause of peace. (Applause.)

Advancing the cause of freedom and democracy in the Middle East begins with ensuring the success of a free Iraq. Freedom's victory in that country will inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, and spread hope across a troubled region, and lift a terrible threat from the lives of our citizens. By strengthening Iraqi democracy, we will gain a partner in the cause of peace and moderation in the Muslim world, and an ally in the worldwide struggle against -- against the terrorists. Advancing the ideal of democracy and self-government is the mission that created our nation -- and now it is the calling of a new generation of Americans. We will meet the challenge of our time. We will answer history's call with confidence -- because we know that freedom is the destiny of every man, woman and child on this earth. (Applause.)

Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and we've lost some very fine men and women in this war on terror. Many of you know comrades and classmates who left our shores to defend freedom and who did not live to make the journey home. We pray for the military families who mourn the loss of loves ones. We hold them in our hearts -- and we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine.

One of those fallen heroes is a Marine Corporal named Jeff Starr, who was killed fighting the terrorists in Ramadi earlier this year. After he died, a letter was found on his laptop computer. Here's what he wrote, he said, "[I]f you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so they can live the way we live. Not [to] have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators_. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of Corporal Starr and his fallen comrades -- and that is to take up their mantle, carry on their fight, and complete their mission. (Applause.)

We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.

You all are the ones who will help accomplish all this. Our freedom and our way of life are in your hands -- and they're in the best of hands. I want to thank you for your service in the cause of freedom. I want to thank you for wearing the uniform. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END 10:28 A.M. EST

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Additional resources are available here: National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.



National Strategy for Victory in Iraq


Link to the Christian Science Monitor article via Considerettes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bonfire of the Vanities #124



Bonfire of the Vanities #124 - in the grand tradition of, um, setting stuff ablaze. (Photo from The Burning Man Festival 2005 - Black Rock Desert, Nevada).


Welcome to Bonfire of the Vanities #124 - THE place for your most putrid posts from the past week.

As Kevin says: "Who says bloggers are self absorbed? Prove them wrong by mocking yourself!"

Indeed. So - in that spirit - let's set the torch to the virtual kindling...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


First up - from the blog tenderly named Free Money Finance - is the missive, "New-car Smell is Going Away: It's No Good for You." Well, something smells, anyway. Or, as FMF puts it: "I hated this post when I wrote it and wrote it anyway! Besides, who really cares? Put it in the fire!!!!" Indeed, FMF, indeed.

Second to the plate - Gnotalex of Dodgeblogium submits the
"Doozer Knitting Song" - which asks the musical question: "Linen guts?"

Batting third, Two Dogs of Mean Ol' Meany opines "I Mean Head So Bad, It's Criminal?" - with which I suppose we all can relate. Two Dogs merely adds: "Nary a comment. 'Nuff said?"

Batting clean-up, we have Jim "Suldog" Sullivan of Suldog-O-Rama with the plaintiff refrain: "5 Things I'd Like To Do Before I Die." Jim "Suldog" Sullivan adds: "I've actually gone back and forth with myself over whether this is one of my best posts or one of my worst. In any case, it's relatively short."

Batting fifth, we have Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy with the historical epic: "The T-Shirt Wars" - with the footnote: "...you can torch it because I link favorably to a lefty blogger in it, I guess!"

Batting sixth, we have Josh of Peakah's Pub with "What a Difference a Year Makes." Josh candidly admits: "There's nothing worse than rehashing one-year old posts that no one read the first time only because they are a year old... you know what... I don't care! ...I'm narcissistic enough to repost unread posts." Welcome to the blogosphere, young man!

Batting seventh, we have Spirit Fingers of Give me spirit fingers dammit! - the self-proclaimed "Diet Coke of evil, just one calorie, not evil enough" - with "Another year of sexy." Spirit Fingers thankfully records for posterity this pivotal event in world history: "A model parades in front of street children, some of whom are sniffing glue, in the drug-infested 'Barrio Triste' (Sad Neighborhood) in downtown Medellin in Colombia November 7, 2005. The event was organised to entertain the children by a member of a local charity that helps children in Barrio Triste by providing food, clothes and cleaning facilities." Ah, to be young.

Batting eighth, we have Sinner of 7 Deadly Sins with the expose: "Anger: Law Enforcement." Sinner adds the sage advice: "Don't blog angry." But really - is there any other way?

Batting ninth, we have MaryHunter of TMH's Bacon Bits with the query: "Kerry’s 180: Someone Stealing His Thunder?" MaryHunter - who gives us a glimpse at the exciting world of blogging - adds: "This is what happens when you wait until far too late in the day to go up with a blogburst post. No sir, I don't like it." Presumably, MaryHunter does not like green eggs and ham either.

Batting, er, tenth (damned mixed metaphors!) we have Laurence Simon of The IFOC News with a piece of stunning reporting which the mainstream media won't touch: "Rice Says Al-Qaida State Will Help American Security." I, of course, have always maintained that our radical Mormon fundamentalists would make quick work of our radical Muslim fundamentalist problem. And they'd have a nice pot-luck supper for us the very next day! But does anyone listen?

Batting eleventh (ahem), we have Radio Dave of Multiple Mentality with the wistful post: "Sad" - in which our hero "discusses the different levels of geekiness to which he ascribes himself." Awwww - buck up little soldier - we love you dude!... or something.

Batting twelfth (this being the first time these two words were ever uttered together), we have Peace Moonbeam of the aptly named Peace Moonbeam Chronicles with some actual original reporting from Paris, France: "Saving France With Peace Moonbeam". I like this post so much, I'll even skip the snide comments! Peace out! (Sorry - I couldn't help it).

Batting thirteenth (I'm starting to actually like the sound of it), we have Mark A. Rayner of The Skwib with some helpful hints for the lovelorn: "Ask General Kang: I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. How do I know for sure?" Oh, how does one know, Mark ... how does one know? Mark adds: "I don't know. These General Kang advice columns can veer into some pretty strange territory -- like ripping off both Kurt Vonnegut and Star Trek (II, The Wrath of Khan) in the same post." To which I can only add ... it's all good, dude.

Batting fourteenth (weeeeee!), we have Mog of Mind of Mog with an exciting tale ripped right from today's headlines: "Stolen." Mog adds: "Right now this is my worst, most bonfire worthy post, perhaps not for quality of writing, but from the content - getting one's car stolen sucks." Well, that all depends on one's point-of-view, now doesn't it sweetie?...

Batting fifteenth (ok - I'm starting to feel ill now...), we have Elisson of Blog d'Elisson with that Mel Gibson classic: "The Year of Living Penetratedly." Elisson adds: "Part of the joy of getting older: having people Invade your Personal Space ... 'I gave at the orifice.'" Dude - stop your whining and get me those TPS reports.

Batting sweet sixteenth we have Kevin of technogypsy with "Diwali, China and Indian Woman," with this description: "Lust as a part of international relations...and why I sleep in the garage these days." Don't worry, Kev - we've all been there, brother. That's why God made cable. Or, as Sam Kinnison said, if you've been married, you blow the Devil's whole routine: "Aaaaarggghhhhhhh!!!...... oh ....you've been married?....oh crap, ok, come on in....let me take this stuff off..."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Whew! That's it! Thanks to all the bloggers for the crappy entries this week! And - in all seriousness (sorry) - I'm glad to discover a bunch of cool new blogs. The blogosphere: is there anything it can't do?

Please note that this little blog of mine is on blogger because I'm a cheap bastard. Blogger does not do trackbacks. So if you're looking for a trackback ping, don't hold your breath. Or do - and lift one foot while your at it.

Next week, Bonfire of the Vanities #125 will be at Chateau d'If.

Thanks to Kevin of Wizbang.

Peace out! ... and remember: right wing conspiracies can be awful nice.



...and the tradition lives on... (Photo from Lewes Bonfire Night 2005 - Lewes, Sussex County, England).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Free the Banana Joe's Two!!"


Carolina Panthers cheerleaders Angela Keathley and and Renee Thomas were arrested in Tampa after having lesbian sex in the ladies' room at Banana Joe's nightclub, witnesses say, and after Thomas punched a bar patron.


"Our team can whip your team, our girls can lick your girls."


The two cheerleaders were kicked off the team Monday for violating a signed code of conduct, Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said. Via ESPN.

Per Wizbang commenter Faith + 1 (ha):

* * *

You know, if they had just gone into the mensroom to do the nasty they could have avoided the whole problem.

1) The line would have been shorter if it existed at all. Hence, no upset patrons. Most guys would probably just hold it for the opportunity to witness such an event. Hell, they might even be willing to break the "sharing a urinal taboo". Worse case they would have used the sink.

2) Guys would have NOT minded one bit at two hot cheerleaders going at in the mensroom. I highly expect there would have been cheering and it wouldn't have been from the cheer leaders.

3) Instead of punching someone out she most likely would have only needed to high five a few people.

* * *


Hmmm. Maybe these randy Panthers cheerleaders just need a little discipline...



"I eat cheerleaders for breakfast."


More here and here: "Free the Banana Joe's Two!!"

Monday, November 07, 2005

Which historical general are you?



King Edward I

You scored 64 Wisdom, 62 Tactics, 59 Guts, and 55 Ruthlessness!


Or rather, King Edward the Longshanks if you've seen Braveheart. You,
like Edward, are incredibly smart and shrewd, but you win at any
costs.... William Wallace died at his hands after a fierce Scottish
rebellion against his reign. Despite his reputation though, Longshanks
had the best interests of his people at heart. But God help you if you
got on his bad side.



My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 49% on Unorthodox
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 25% on Tactics
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on Guts
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Why Isn't Joe Wilson Being Prosecuted For Lying To Congress?


"To the media, it doesn't matter that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says Wilson lied about what he did and with whom he met while investigating Iraqi attempts to purchase "yellowcake" uranium." - Zell Miller ...Why hasn't Joe Wilson been prosecuted for lying to Congress?



Per Max Boot in the L.A. Times:

* * *

...the one undisputed liar in this whole sordid affair doesn't work for the administration. In his attempts to turn his wife into an antiwar martyr, Joseph C. Wilson IV has retailed more whoppers than Burger King.

The least consequential of these fibs was his denial that it was his wife who got him sent to Niger in February 2002 to check out claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later stated, in a bipartisan report, that evidence indicated it was Mrs. Wilson who "had suggested his name for the trip." By leaking this fact to the news media, Libby and other White House officials were merely setting the record straight — not, as Wilson would have it, punishing his Mata Hari wife.

Much more egregious were the ways in which Wilson misrepresented his findings. In his famous New York Times Op-Ed article (July 6, 2003), Wilson gave the impression that his eight-day jaunt proved that Iraq was not trying to acquire uranium in Africa. Therefore, when administration officials nevertheless cited concerns about Hussein's nuclear ambitions, Wilson claimed that they had "twisted" evidence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." The Senate Intelligence Committee was not kind to this claim either.

The [Sentate] panel's report found that, far from discrediting the Iraq-Niger uranium link, Wilson actually provided fresh details about a 1999 meeting between Niger's prime minister and an Iraqi delegation. Beyond that, he had not supplied new information. According to the panel, intelligence analysts "did not think" that his findings "clarified the story on the reported Iraq-Niger uranium deal." In other words, Wilson had hardly exposed as fraudulent the "16 words" included in the 2003 State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." In fact, the British government, in its own post-invasion review of intelligence, found that this claim was "well founded."

This is not an isolated example. Pretty much all of the claims that the administration doctored evidence about Iraq have been euthanized, not only by the Senate committee but also by the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission. The latest proof that intelligence was not "politicized" comes from an unlikely source — Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, who has been denouncing the hawkish "cabal" supposedly leading us toward "disaster." Yet, in between bouts of trashing the administration, Wilkerson said on Oct. 19 that "the consensus of the intelligence community was overwhelming" that Hussein was building illicit weapons. This view was endorsed by "the French, the Germans, the Brits." The French, of all people, even offered "proof positive" that Hussein was buying aluminum tubes "for centrifuges." Wilkerson also recalled seeing satellite photos "that would lead me to believe that Saddam Hussein, at least on occasion, was … giving us disinformation."

So much for the lies that led to war. What we're left with is the lies that led to the antiwar movement. Good thing for Wilson and his pals that deceiving the press and the public isn't a crime.

* * *


But lying to Congress IS a crime. Why isn't Joe Wilson being prosecuted? And why is the mainstream press ignoring this story?


Joe Wilson: gadfly, self-admitted leftist 1960's hippie, darling of the liberal mainstream media, and serial liar



UPDATE 11-3-05: More at Captain's Quarters, Just One Minute, and from Zell Miller in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:


* * *

It's like a spy thriller. Institutional rivalries and political loyalties have fostered an intelligence officer's resentment against the government. Suddenly, an opportunity appears for the agent to undercut the national leadership. A vital question of intelligence forms the core justification for controversial military actions by the current leaders. If this agent can get in the middle of that question, distort that information and make it public, the agent might foster regime change in the upcoming election.

But the rules on agents are clear. They can't purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail.

* * *

But their spouse can!

The agent realizes her spouse can go out on behalf of the spy agency, can distort information, go public with classified information and use all this spy-agency-sponsored material and credentials to try to pull down the current government, and it is all perfectly legal.


Suppose the spouse adds just one more brilliant, well-aimed lie: claim your foremost political opponent put the spouse up to the trip. As your spouse uses your agency's name to mount attacks, your enemy may fall into your trap. Will your enemy suffer your spouse's lies or take the bait and try to clarify his non-role? If he tells the press he didn't hire your spouse, the press will demand to know, "Then who did?"

Instead of you violating secrecy laws, it is your victim who is guilty because he tried to set the record straight. Heads, you win; tails, he loses.

* * *

No one seems to care that our intelligence agency has crippled our president. Certainly not the media. They are determined to make Wilson a hero. Recall the dozens of times the Washington Post and The New York Times carried his lies on the front page, above the fold. The conclusive story discrediting Wilson was buried 6 feet deep, back by the obituaries.

To the media, it doesn't matter that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says Wilson lied about what he did and with whom he met while investigating Iraqi attempts to purchase "yellowcake" uranium.

To the media, it doesn't matter that the CIA says what Wilson did actually find supported that Iraq was attempting to buy the uranium — a direct contradiction to Wilson's public claims.

To the media, it doesn't matter that he claimed the vice president assigned him to the uranium investigation when we all know now it was his wife.

* * *

We need a Plame rule. Any family member of a CIA agent tapped to help out must live by the same rules regarding information disclosure and domestic political manipulations as those imposed on the agent. If the family member fails to live by those rules, the agent is terminated.

Clearly this will restrict the flexibility of the CIA. But who ever thought that the flexibility given to CIA agents would be misused to destabilize a U.S. president? No one — until Valerie Plame.

* * *


UPDATE 11-6-05: More on Langley's attempted coup d'etat from Victoria Toensing at OpinionJournal.com:

* * *

...the CIA, either purposely or with gross negligence, made a series of decisions that led to Ms. Plame becoming a household name:

• The CIA sent her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger on a sensitive mission regarding WMD. He was to determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake, an essential ingredient for unconventional weapons. However, it was Ms. Plame, not Mr. Wilson, who was the WMD expert. Moreover, Mr. Wilson had no intelligence background, was never a senior person in Niger when he was in the State Department, and was opposed to the administration's Iraq policy. The assignment was given, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at Ms. Plame's suggestion.

• Mr. Wilson was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement, a mandatory act for the rest of us who either carry out any similar CIA assignment or represent CIA clients.

• When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellowcake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.

• Although Mr. Wilson did not have to write even one word for the agency that sent him on the mission at taxpayer's expense, over a year later he was permitted to tell all about this sensitive assignment in the New York Times. For the rest of us, writing about such an assignment would mean we'd have to bring our proposed op-ed before the CIA's Prepublication Review Board and spend countless hours arguing over every word to be published. Congressional oversight committees should want to know who at the CIA permitted the publication of the article, which, it has been reported, did not jibe with the thrust of Mr. Wilson's oral briefing. For starters, if the piece had been properly vetted at the CIA, someone should have known that the agency never briefed the vice president on the trip, as claimed by Mr. Wilson in his op-ed.

• More important than the inaccuracies is that, if the CIA truly, truly, truly had wanted Ms. Plame's identity to be secret, it never would have permitted her spouse to write the op-ed. Did no one at Langley think that her identity could be compromised if her spouse wrote a piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her expertise? The obvious question a sophisticated journalist such as Mr. Novak asked after "Why did the CIA send Wilson?" was "Who is Wilson?" After being told by a still-unnamed administration source that Mr. Wilson's "wife" suggested him for the assignment, Mr. Novak went to Who's Who, which reveals "Valerie Plame" as Mr. Wilson's spouse.

• CIA incompetence did not end there. When Mr. Novak called the agency to verify Ms. Plame's employment, it not only did so, but failed to go beyond the perfunctory request not to publish. Every experienced Washington journalist knows that when the CIA really does not want something public, there are serious requests from the top, usually the director. Only the press office talked to Mr. Novak.

• Although high-ranking Justice Department officials are prohibited from political activity, the CIA had no problem permitting its deep cover or classified employee from making political contributions under the name "Wilson, Valerie E.," information publicly available at the Federal Elections Commission.

The CIA conduct in this matter is either a brilliant covert action against the White House or inept intelligence tradecraft. It is up to Congress to decide which.

* * *


The Victoria Toensing link was via Instapundit.