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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Switch It Up: Suicide Attacks Aren't Working

Captain Ed brings us a report from The London Times that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has decided that he can't match US troops in Iraq using the "martyr's" tactics. Suicide attacks aren't working. So, he is "switching up" his tactics. He's building a mini army in Iraq.

THE leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is attempting to set up his own mini-army and move away from individual suicide attacks to a more organised resistance movement, according to US intelligence sources.

Faced with a shortage of foreign fighters willing to undertake suicide missions, Zarqawi wants to turn his group into a more traditional force mounting co-ordinated guerrilla raids on coalition targets.

Al-Qaeda is sending training and planning experts to help to set up the force and infiltrate members into Iraq with the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the sources said.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser, said this weekend that the majority of American and British troops would have left by the end of next year. “By the middle of 2008 there will be no foreign soldiers in the country,” he predicted.

In a video posted yesterday on an Islamist website, Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, claimed that 800 “martyrdom operations” in three years had “broken the back of America in Iraq”.

The change of strategy will make it easier for Zarqawi to link up with Iraqi insurgents and evade the allied special operations teams trying to track him down.

Zarqawi came close to capture two weeks ago, Defense News, the international news weekly, reported yesterday. An American raid on a terrorist safe house in Yusifiya, 20 miles southwest of Baghdad, was aimed at capturing one of his lieutenants, but when five men at the house were interrogated, it emerged that Zarqawi had been in a house close by.

If Zarqawi thinks this will present problems for us, he should rethink that idea. Guerilla fighting is something our troops are quite adept at, and have been for some time. The British during the Revolutionary War couldn't handle the militias assembled that fought using guerilla tactics. They knew the lay of the land. We've been in Iraq since 2003--three years for us to adapt to fighting over there. His switrch shows that he now knows that his cowardly attacks aren't working. And he already knows that confronting and engaging our forces head-on is assured suicide; this is why he switched from guerilla tactics to suicide attacks.

And where have those attacks gotten him. He is doing more damage to Iraqi civilians, thereby hurting his own cause, and it's showing itself every time he engages the Iraqi security forces. They're not running. They're standing and fighting, even against tactics such as suicide bombers. In short, folks, his strategy is failing and this switch shows it.While Zarqawi may be the best al Qaeda leader at gaining financial support (as reported by Richard Miniter last week on the Tuesday edition of Dennis Prager's show) and in recruiting (the majority of his recruits coming from Syria and Iran, also reported by Mr. Miniter then), he is severely lacking in any strong signs of progress. And he's gaining no help from the antiwar crowd here at home.

The call has come, once again, for the withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. It's coming from the antiwar nutters, who have no clue what they're talking about when it comes to war and strategy, and it's also arising from the Democrat party again. Many candidates for the House are basically campaigning on a "bring the troops home," "retreat and defeat" strategy. Anyone who has studied terrorism in the Middle East since the rise of the Islamofascists in the 1979 Iranian revolution knows that retreat only invites further violence. To pull out now, with Iraq still assembling their government, and beginning day-to-day operations, would only bring the downfall of a government we have helped establish.

I agree with the Iraqi NSA: By 2008, no foreign fighters should be in Iraq. I contend we should be out sooner. the end of 2006 is a nice starting point, but pulling out too quickly would be a death knell for Iraq. We do it methodically, until we're sure they can stand on their own. This is the walking phase of their adolescence; when we leave, they'd better be able to run.

But we can't do that if Zarqawi is still there. He's changing his tactics, painfully aware that sacrificing his men in idiotic suicide bombings isn't the smartest thing to do. (This should show people what exactly we're dealing with over there, now.) While able to change his tactics, it took him this long to figure out that blowing his men up was rather retarded. Who'd a thunk it, right? DUH! A good commander knows that losing more men than he can afford is a losing effort. This, apparently, just dawned on Zarqawi. Needless to say, he sin't the master genius his supporters--here and abroad--have proclaimed him to be. He can be tripped up like anyone else can. We did. He's not winning this fight. He knows he's losing, and he knows that he has to change something.

This change won't be something we're unprepared for. However, we may see a rise in the death toll. So, everybody brace for that to be blazened across our front pages and TVs every night. But bear in mind that our soldiers know what they're doing. They know the risks, and they understand that freedom doesn't come free. The same goes for the Iraqis over there. And that is something the anitwar people should be paying attention to.

We didn't want this war. It was delivered to our doorstep; etched in blood for all the world to see. The world has responded, and rather than simply stepping on the nest and letting the survivors scurry away, we decided to follow them, and run them to ground. bin Laden is essentially grounded (if he's still sucking oxygen), and so is Zarqawi. He has two neighboring countries friendly to him, but only as long as it's feasible for them to do so. The moment he becomes a liability, it will be like bin Laden and Sudan all over again. So, he has a predicament. This is his answer.

Our answer's a bit more straight forward. We are coming. We will find you. And no one cares whether you come out of the encounter breathing or not. But we will get you; it's only a matter of time. Oh, and I suggest not staying somewhere too long. He's had two close calls with our spec-ops guys. Third time's a charm, and will relish the images of either his worthless, lifeless body, or the humiliation of being caught by US troops. If he lives, I hope he likes rice pilaf and that five-by-five cell at Gitmo.

Publius II

Open Topic Sunday ... Grilling The Minds

Welcome to another Open Topic Sunday, and this Sunday we're switching things up a little. This Sunday (and hopefully subsequent ones to follow) we are "grilling the minds" of the bloggers here. This is real simple. I have composed a series of questions and each of us will answer them. There is no time constraint (DUH! We're not on the radio here, or iPodding this), and there is no "length" constraint. But the answer will be no longer than one paragraph from each of us. This is also why I've tried to limit the questions.

The questions will deal with topics of the week gone by. It's sort of an intra-site talking heads show, only without the smug host. There's nothing smug about this idea. Marcie and I have done collaborative blogs before. Our collaborative columns appear on the first of every month on Common Conservative. (Tomorrow is the first, and the new column will be up there.) Doing things together isn't hard with either of us. With Sabrina added to the mix, that's a bit different and slightly trickier. But it doesn't change the professionalism of the participants. We will address each issue accordingly, and we won't chastise one another. We offer, at times, differing views on things.

So, if you enjoyed past endeavors like this, sit back and relax.

Iran has announced that they want to share nuclear technology with Sudan. Sudan is a nation that this past week had sanctions slapped on four key people in the regime, and all for their participation in human rights abuses. Sudan's record on human rights is as open as Rwanda's and Zimbabwe's are now. The IAEA has also stated that Iran isn't being cooperative in regard to their nuclear programs. Thoughts, ladies?

Personally speaking, this move by Iran does make me a little nervous. But my apprehension doesn't come from their desire, but rather the world's refusal to see what is going on. We have the UN twiddling it's thumbs, and the IAEA reporting that they're not cooperating, as you pointed out, Thomas. So, what do we do? While pundits spin that Iran is between a rock and a hard place, I contend it's the US that is in that position. No one seems to see what we do, or our allies do. Remember, France was one of the first nations to come out, and state they believed Iran was working towards nuclear weapons. But the UN is essentially defanged thanks to the complicity of Russia and China--two nations who have deep, deep business dealings with Iran. I have no clue as to what our next step should be.

I share Sabrina's feelings regarding Iran. They are working their way towards the ends they believe they need. Those ends, of course, being the possession of nuclear weapons. Now none of us can state, for certain, that Iran's prospects on this issue are peaceful only. We can cite chapter and verse of Ahmadinejad's record showing that he has the intention to use nuclear weapons against other nations. He has cited, with glaring specificity, that Israel will be target number one when they complete their nuclear ambitions. With that in mind, the world must realize that Iran is a growing threat. Their regional threat is growing even more with their announcement of wanting to share that technology with a known human rights abuser.

OK, you both have put together excellent points. But here's my take on this. Iran is not complying with the IAEA or the UN. So what do we do? We could slap sanctions on them, but Russia and China don't want that. I agree with Sabrina that the heat is more on us, and less on Iran right now. What this will eventually come down to is whether or not we have the intestinal fortitude to take out their nuclear facilities. We can't ask Israel to do this. That strike would end up being a suicide mission; their planes won't make it back. This fiasco will have to be cleaned up by us, and that's a risky proposition as it is. Iran has proclaimed that if we hit their nuke sites, they'll "unleash" 40,000 suicide martyrs to strike us and our interests abroad. I disagree with the people who toss aside the comparisons between Ahmadinejad and Hitler. Both had similar goals (though Hitler wanted the world and Iran simply wants its empire restored before embarking on the mission to make a worldwide caliphate). We can't simply turn a blind eye to this, nor can we allow the world to do so.

1 May, rallies are scheduled around the nation in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dalla, and Chicago in favor of illegal aliens in the United States; mostly Hispanic, though others have announced their plan to march with the illegals in solidarity. They are calling for a boycott of their jobs--the precious jobs the government claims they have--and a boycott of shopping. At all. Any such. We've not discussed this at length. We have touched on it. I'd like some feedback.

As I live in Chicago, I don't see the immigration problems that Marcie and Thomas see. It's not as prevalent. I stand on the side of the law, and the law states that these people--those here illegally--are breaking the law. They should be held to account for that crime, and deported if possible. I know the idea of immediate deportation for all of them is virtually impossible. But there has got to be some way to "normalize" these people. And I did see that some Muslim groups are going to join them. That is irrelevant in my eyes for the simple fact that if any Muslims are here illegally, they, too, are breaking the law. As I said at the beginning, this issue for me revolves around the law, and the fact that these people are breaking it.

I think we will all agree that for the three of us (and a great deal of people around the nation) this is a simple issue on the face of it. These people are, indeed, here illegally, which means they broke the law to get here. I think we also agree that there must be some sort of accountability for them. Like Iran, we cannot turn a blind eye to this, and serious reform must be done to our immigration policy. I stand by the fact that, for our own security, a wall must be built on our southern borders. To date, no confirmed entry of al Qaeda people through our southern border has occurred. I know that statement is a point of contention with many people, but what I stated is the truth. All of the incursions supposedly made by al Qaeda through the southern borders is speculation alone. But we must get a handle on this, and soon.

I could not agree more with the ladies. I've got the idea for normalization of these people, and it carries a heavy weight with it. We order them to register with the government, hand them counterfeit-proof ID cards showing their status here in the country--whether it is a guest worker, a student, or otherwise--and the ID must be with them at all times. If it's asked for, it must be produced. For children, parents will obviously be in charge of their children's cards. But they must register. ANYONE who is located by law enforcement that doesn't have a card, it's instant deportation, and that deportation should be a cost passed onto the relevant government. The "fee" for the deportation can be pulled from any sort of financial aid provided by the government. But, yes, Marcie is correct: WE must get this situation under control. BUT before anything is done internally, we must have the frontline defense of a wall. We're not becoming isolationists in doing this; we are protecting our nation from illegal incursions (which applies to aliens and military forces; the Mexican military has operated in the US before). If this ticks off Vincente Fox, oh well. Like I care. Fox is just as corrupt as his predecessors, so I really feel nothing for a man who believes he can flout our laws--encouraging that breaking of ther law. And he can say what he wants, but the Uited States belongs to us. NO AREA of it belongs to Mexico. Push that envelope, and watch the US push back.

Late last week (21 April, to be exact) the CIA announced it was firing Mary McCarthy for leaking classified government secrets. Now there is contention as to whether or not the CIA prisons are real. The EU says no, but the administration hasn't confirmed or denied it. She passed this information onto Dana Priest of the Washington Post. I'd like to know: A) Should Mary McCarthy be charged, and will she be charged? B) Should Dana Priest be charged, will she , and if not, why? C) What steps should the CIA take to eliminate this internal threat?

Mary McCarthy should be charged. To that there should be no argument because she knew what she was doing. She knew the information she was passing on was designated as "classified," and she knows the rules regarding such materials. The question regarding Dana Priest is predicated on whether or not the CIA prison story is true; the EU states they have found no evidence of such prisons. Someone can't be prosecuted for peddling a phony story. As for what the CIA should do, I have no idea. I never worked for the CIA. I worked out of Justice, but even there we had materials that weren't to be released except to the appropriate people. I think the CIA is doing a decent job of finding the leakers, I just wish they would hurry the process along. As long as they have people like Ms. McCarthy working for them--people who have no problem with telling people without a need to know about things they shouldn't know about--the CIA will be working at less than optimal performance. These people present as much a threat to our war efforts as al Qaeda does.

Of course Mary McCarthy should be charged. She broke the law. She told a reporter about a supposedly classified operation in progress. While it is not directly giving the information to our enemies, it is a serious crime nonetheless. Dana Priest should be charged, as well. While I do respect Sabrina's opinion, it changes nothing. When Dana Priest was handed this information, she believed it to be a classied operation, and she still did the story. The Washington Post still published it. Their crime is not nearly as grave as Mary McCarthy's but it is not an excusable offense. The CIA should continue with the steps they have taken thus far, and expand their search. It should include ANY and ALL CIA employees. There are no exceptions to who the leakers could be, and no chances can be taken.

If it were up to me, I would have already tossed Mary McCarthy's butt in jail. There is no excuse, on God's green earth, that she can offer in her defense. She doesn't have the authority to choose what will be and won't be declassified. And Marcie is correct when it comes to Dana Priest, but she backed off. Her crime is no less damaging than McCarthy's. If the WaPo or Priest even try to defend their actions, that defense should be destroyed. They know that our enemies pay attention to our news, or did the Newsweek Flushed Koran story slip their feeble minds? If it did, they may want to remember it. It caused a helluva uproar half a world away, and had Muslims here in the US demanding answers. McCarthy's crime and Priest's crime are virtually one in the same. They both revealed classified material. The CIA, on the other hand, has had a lot of problems since the politicos in DC held their infamous Church Committee hearings back in the seventies, which served to defang the CIA. While I concede that the CIA had it's problems (private little wars, gun and drug running), they are a key cog in the war machine of this nation, and we need them frosty. What should they do to hunt down further leakers, and stop up those pipes? Three words, people: WHATEVER IT TAKES.

"United 93" came out this past Friday. Reviews were interesting of it, to say the least. Many papers (including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Arizona Republic, and Washington Post) were extremely respectful of the film, it's content, and public sentiment about it. Most reported that 10% of the opening box-office weekend take would go to the United Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania; for a much more proper memorial to be made than the pitiful excuse first offered. I want thoughts on the movie. A) How will it do? B) Will you go see it? C) How powerful of a movie will this be for moviegoers? D) Some in the media claim it's too soon for it's release. Do you agree?

I saw the preview in the theater. It was the quietest moment I have ever endured in a theater. I think the movie will do well, and I predict a total box office take of around $100 million; possibly a little more. I do want to go see it if for nothing else than to remind myself of what forty people did on that day. Not only did they save countless thousands of lives on the ground, but they stood up and fought back. We are a nation born of combativeness, and they embodied it. The movie, if it is as good and accurate as reviewers claim it is, will be an extremely powerful movie. I am happy to see that some of the money generated this weekend will go to the memorial. I think I share the ire of a nation that found out that the initial concept would have seemed more of a tribute to the terrorists than to the heroes of that flight. I disagree that it is "too soon" for this movie to come out. I think it is right on time. Right now, there is waning support for the war, as a whole. People need this to be reminded of why we're fighting; why we decided we had to fight in the first place. And, I expect the MSM to either ignore the movie completely, or we will have some nuts, like CNN's Jack Cafferty, ripping it to shreds; an attempt to revise history, and question the authenticity of the movie.

Thomas and I have seen the movie twice now. We saw it at an advance screening, and we paid to see it Friday night. The movie will do fine at the box office, and I concur with Sabrina's box office assessment. I agree because this movie is heavy and emotional. Twice seeing it already and I was crying at the end both times. The emotions it brings back from that day are unavoidable. It is powerful in the same sense that The Passion Of The Christ was. Will we see groups going out to see it like they did for The Passion? Possibly. If word of mouth gets around fast enough, we could see that. And if that happens, both of our predictions for the box office take are dead. As I stated in my posts earlier this week about United 93 this movie is long overdue, in terms of it's release. People started forgetting about 9/11 by 2003/2004. And that day should never be forgotten.

That is true, we did see it twice, and if I get my way (though I doubt there will be much argument) it will be seen again. Box Office Mojo has it tracked, as of 10:30 this morning, at around $11 million, trailing RV by $5 million. If their take for the weekend can reach $13 or $14 million, it has a chance to reach the bar set by the girls. I'd go off on a limb and state the take at a much higher amount because I believe EVERYONE in America should see this movie, but I don't think it has the drive that the Passion had. For The Passion, Mel Gibson was fighting against Holly-weird insiders who said the movie would flop, and he was fighting against a host of Leftist mongrels that wanted the movie to fail. It didn't because of the deep-rooted Christain faith of the nation. Just because we have politicians and media people who have lost their morals doesn't mean the country has. But I do agree with how powerful this movie is. Sabrina stated that during the trailer, she was in a silent theater. That is exactly how the theater was, both times, when we saw the movie. And Marcie did cry, but so were a lot of other people in the theater. And because of the reaction of the moviegoers I can say, with certainty, that this movie isn't too early. I agree that this is about the right time to do it. I would have preferred it a bit earlier than now, but 2006 will be the year we were reminded of the worst attack on America since 1941.

Michael Hiltzik, former "blogger" on the LA Times website recently made a "boo-boo." He was caught utilizing pseudonyms in the comments section of his site, and other non-affiliated websites. The LA Times revealed that their Code of Ethics dictates that pseudonyms aren't allowed. The blog was suspended, as was Michael Hiltzik. Some in the blogosphere have argued that he should simply be kept; a constant reminder of the ideological bend the paper has. Agree? Disagree? Irrelevant altogether?

I'll be honest. I rarely read the LA Times unless a blogger picks up on something from the paper. I had never heard of Michael Hiltzik until Thomas eviscerated him, twice. He claims he is a blogger. Goodie for him, but I doubt it based on the pieces he has written that were highlighted by others like Hugh Hewitt and Patrick Frey. What I can't believe is that the Times actually abided by their own code, and held him accountable for violating that code. That is a surprise from any media source when they do decide to act like responsible adults, rather than children who cry "It's not my fault."As for his suspension, does anyone ever really care? It's not like he's an important member of the media.

I hit the LA Times site a couple times a day, as our schedule dictates, but I rarely read his pieces. To me, he is boring, ill-informed, and his analysis lacks any solid ground. He has always used speculation and innuendo rather than facts, and the facts he does cite have a tendency to not be as exact as the facts truly are. His suspension, while welcomed because of his violations, is completely irrelevant as long as that paper refuses to acknowledge it's deep-seeded ideological bias.

OK. I'm with Hewitt on this. I wasn't originally. I wanted him fired for what he did. But, after removing the initial reaction from the equation (one laced with emotion rather than logic), I can't say I see a reason to be rid of him. I mean, unless you count the fact that he's a terrible writer. Marcie is correct in stating he's boring. He's worse than boring. He's stereo instructions set on 33 1/3 speed. He's a printer that has smeared ink popping out of the machine. If I were as bad a writer as he was, we would still be hovering around 100 hits. What's worse than his style is the fact that he has a bias and refuses to admit it. In the interview with Hugh Hewitt, he was very offended by the questions he was asked regarding that bias. Hugh's right. As long as the paper continues it's ideological bias, suspending him and the site is a bit hypocritical.

The Bunny ;)

Mistress Pundit

Publius II

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Announcement! We Are Officially Members Of The 101st "Fighting Keyboardists."

The request was sent to Captain Ed this afternoon, and we are now members of the coalition of the "Keebees." This is not something that any of us take lightly. Nor was it a decision that was easy to reach. I spoke with both Marcie and Sabrina, and they agreed (finally) to join the alliance made by Captain Ed, Frank at IMAO and Derek of Freedom Dogs.

This is an honor and a privilege, and we are happy to serve in anyway possible. We will do so with the same professionalism (and sarcasm) as our readers have grown to know, and like.

As for the links to the other "dreadnoughts" in the "Keebees" armada, we will be adding those links over the next couple of weeks. Time is short right now, but there will be new links up tomorrow afternoon. The media links will be removed, as they need no further "pimping" from anyone. As an industry, they are failing miserably. We do not prop up failures, nor do we "prop" anything up. Those wishing to stand do so on their own at first, and with friends later. That is what we have done here.

As for the graphic displaying the proud symbol of the "Keebees,' we are working on that, as well. We are hoping to have it up in our sidebar soon. (At least sooner than what it took for us to figure out how to link within a post as the professional bloggers do rather thans imply cutting and pasting an address.) But, I'm no Einstein when it comes to computer code. This will be trial and error until I figure it out.

As for tomorrow, in addition to the links, we hope to put a new spin on our Open Topic Sunday posts. We're going to try something new, and we're going to keep it at the top of the page all day. Tomorrow, if we can get Sabrina on the phone and the 'Net, we will be running a Q&A session here. I'll prepare the questions tonight, and I'd like the ladies' opinions on the record with mine. One full post, and our thoughts altogether. It's nothing really all that bold. We have done this before in collaborative posts, but it would be kinda cool to see us all deal with the same topics at once.

After that's done, we're free to post what we wish, so be sure to scroll down past the Q&A session to see any further posts.

Publius II

John McCain: An Inept Fool On Any Ticket

(Hat-Tip: Captain Ed Morrissey.)

Let me start by stating that we dislike John McCain. We make no bones about this. Senator John McCain, in our humble opinion, has been an embarressment to the state of Arizona for a long time. He has also been a blemish in the Senate that seems to not comprehend when it is time to stop, and shut up. Of course his actions are nearly identical to the cadre of career loafers sitting in Congress right now. He loves the microphone. He kisses the camera, and because of both, the MSM loves to fawn over him.

Remember that the mental midgets in the MSM made him the maverick he mimics today.

But through Captain Ed, and Mark Tapscott, we have learned of a more grave misgiving than ever when it comes to this doddering and dithering senator. The following comes from the Don Imus Show:

"He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."

This seals the deal. Not only do we not want him ANYWHERE near the Oval Office, but we would like to see him thoroughly and handily defeated in 2010.

Thomas and I respect the Constitution more than anything else in the world (except maybe each other), and we ardently stand in its defense each and every day some moron questions it. That goes double for Senator McCain. He would rather see clean government than the First Amendment.

FYI, Senator McCain, "government" will NEVER be clean. It is not the money that corrupts absolutely in politics. It is the power, and with Senator McCain, we are looking at a powerful senator. We are also looking at a solid liar. This man tries to pawn himself off as a "Reagan Conservative."

And I am sure every time he says that, President Reagan rolls over in his grave.

He is nowhere near the caliber of man that President Reagan was, and could only hope to all that is holy that he might be 1/32nd as great a man. But he is not. He has made his fair share of mistakes, which has thoroughly irritated the base. As a tip to Hugh Hewitt, and his theory about the GOP, Senator John McCain represents one of the problems that voters have, and they are turned off by his antics. This is one of those times right now.

Do not misunderstand us. We apprecitate Hugh's insight when it comes to taking the steps necessary to ensure the Democrats keep losing. BUT, the cause would be better served by replacing the more-often-than-not-off-the-reservation moderates with conservatives. People whom the voters will trust, and accept. Not everyone can be pleased all the time, and while we do agree with Hugh that there is plenty of room under the tent for moderates, people like John McCain are not moderates.

They remind me of liberal Republicans of the past that were tossed out a while back. That time has come for John McCain. ANY ELECTED representative that proclaims that he is willing to sacrifice my rights--Thomas', Sabrina's, ANYONE'S--is not one that I want in office any longer. His campaign finance reform was a disaster from the word "go." A Titanic-sized disaster that the president not only signed into law, but a twacked Supreme Court upheld. It was a dark day for our freedom of speech when the Supreme Court found no problem with the CFR law in McConnell. We did. We were incredibly incensed.

My rights are not for sale. They also are not for opportunistic politicians to be toying with. When Hugh started bringing up the fact that "6 out of 10" times, Senator Mccain "gets it right," we sat back and thought about it. We cannot get over it. The passage of CFR, the creation of the Gang of 14 (which created extra-Constitutional powers to a select few in the Senate when it comes to judicial nominees), and now this quote has seled it for us.

He does not get reelected in 2010 in Arizona. We will fight tooth-and-nail, doing our best, to make sure he is defeated. Even if it means having to go the Lincoln Chafee route, and contributing to the Democrat, we want this man out of office.

And he does not EVER make it into the Oval Office. The only time we EVER want to see this man behind the president's desk is if he pays his two bits, and it part of a tour group. If, by some miracle (going off the current political situation) a Republican is elected in 2008 (and God help us if one is not), then I would freeze John McCain out completely. If I were the president, I would make it plainly clear that I would not deal with him or speak with him. He has hurt the party long enough, and if he is elected in 2008 as president, he will have the ability to inflict possible irrevocable harm to the party.

The Bunny ;)

Spec-Ops On The Prowl: Target--Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

In the military, there are soldiers, and then there are the elite. The elite--the best of the best--are chosen to members of the Spec-Ops community. Among these warriros are US Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force, Marine Force Recon, and Army Rangers. But the honor of hunting down the most wanted man in Iraq has fallen to the likes of Army Delta, and SEAL Team Six (also known by their operational code of DEVGRU). Michelle Malkin was tipped off to this operation by AJ Strata. The news originates from The Marine Corps Times.

Just nine days before al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi released his latest video, a special operations raid killed five of his men, captured five others and apparently came within a couple of city blocks of nabbing Zarqawi himself.

Then, the day Zarqawi’s video debuted, special ops forces killed 12 more of his troops in a second raid in the same town.

The raids in Yusufiyah, 20 miles southwest of Baghdad in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, were the latest battles in a small, vicious war being waged largely in the shadows of the wider counterinsurgency effort.

It is a war fought by a secretive organization called Task Force 145, made up of some of the most elite U.S. troops, including Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. They have one goal: hunting down Zarqawi, Iraq’s most wanted man, and destroying his al-Qaida in Iraq organization.

Zarqawi’s escape in Yusufiyah was not the first time special ops troops have nearly had him. In early 2005, they came so close they could see the Jordanian’s panicked face as he fled.

first of the two Yusufiyah raids began at 2:15 a.m. April 16 when SEAL Team 6 operators and Army Rangers approached a terrorist safe house, a U.S. special operations source said.

A U.S. Central Command news release said “coalition forces” — the usual shorthand for Task Force 145 elements — were “searching for a wanted al-Qaida associate.”

When the U.S. troops arrived, the enemy opened fire with small arms. In the fight that followed, the special ops troops killed five terrorists, three of whom wore suicide belts, according to Central Command. “Two of the suicide bombers were killed before either could detonate his vest, and the third detonated his body bomb, killing only himself and injuring no one else,” the news release said.

A woman in the house also was killed. Three other women and a child were wounded and were medically evacuated to the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

U.S. forces detained five other occupants, one of whom was wounded. One of the five was later confirmed as “the wanted al-Qaida terrorist for whom the troops were searching,” according to Central Command.

“The terrorist, whose name is currently being withheld, was involved in the planning and execution of improvised explosive device attacks and allegedly was associated with al-Qaida foreign fighter operations,” the command said. The other four suspects are being “assessed for knowledge of and involvement in terrorist activity,” the news release said.

Yusufiyah is Zarqawi country. Indeed, intelligence later suggested the terrorist kingpin “was probably 1,000 meters away” at the time of the raid, a special operations source said.

In addition to the suicide vests, U.S. forces recovered four AK-series assault rifles, a pistol and several grenades. In an indication of the intensity of the close-quarters, indoor battle, “one grenade was found with the pin pulled, but not yet expended, in the hand of a dead terrorist,” according to Central Command.

Among items recovered from the safe house, the special operations source said, was a video showing Zarqawi at various times in “black pajamas with New Balance running shoes on.”

The source said the video seized in Yusufiyah was the same one released April 25.

One section of the video shows Zarqawi firing an M249 squad automatic weapon outside, and another depicts him sitting inside next to an M4 assault rifle.

In the video, Zarqawi mocks President Bush, and makes clear his fierce opposition to attempts to establish democracy in Iraq.

Produced by al-Qaida in Iraq’s “Media Committee,” the video reflects “Zarqawi’s number one thing … the information campaign,” said the special ops source.

But on the same day that video was released, “coalition forces” killed 12 other fighters at another Yusufiyah safe house “associated with foreign terrorists,” according to Central Command.

The special operations source confirmed that this was another TF 145 raid. The news release said “multiple intelligence sources” led troops to the safe house. As they approached, a man ran out brandishing what Central Command described as “a shoulder-fired rocket,” which he was attempting to launch when the operators shot and killed him.

More fighters appeared and exchanged fire with the special ops troops, who were supported by helicopter machine-gun fire. The U.S. fire killed another four terrorists outside the safe house.

When those inside continued to fire, the special operators called in an airstrike that destroyed the building. A search of the rubble revealed the bodies of seven men and a woman. Each man wore webbing holding two loaded magazines and two grenades.

“The troops also discovered suicide notes on one of the terrorists [and] body bombs,” Central Command said.
U.S. forces believed two “wanted terrorists” were operating from the safe house. At press time, Central Command was still trying to identify those killed.

The job of hunting Zarqawi and rolling up his al-Qaida in Iraq network falls to Task Force 145, which is made up of the most elite U.S. and British special operations forces, and whose headquarters is in Balad.

The U.S. forces are drawn from units under Joint Special Operations Command at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. These include the military’s two “direct action” special mission units — the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, known as Delta Force, and the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, sometimes known by its cover name, Naval Special Warfare Development Group; the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and 75th Ranger Regiment; and the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron.

After Saddam Hussein’s fall, the first order of business for the JSOC forces was capturing or killing the 55 individuals on the “deck of cards” that depicted the regime’s senior officials. Delta’s C Squadron was at the heart of the task force that captured Saddam in December 2003.

The emergence of Zarqawi and his al-Qaida in Iraq group as a major threat to Iraq’s stability then gave JSOC a new priority. As the war in Iraq has ground on, and with Zarqawi still on the loose, the JSOC force in Iraq has grown steadily and undergone several name changes. TF 121 and TF 626 were two previous incarnations.

TF 145 is divided into four subordinate task forces in Iraq:

• Task Force West, organized around a SEAL Team 6 squadron with Rangers in support.
• Task Force Central, organized around a Delta squadron with Rangers in support.
• Task Force North, organized around a Ranger battalion combined with a small Delta element.
• Task Force Black, organized around a British Special Air Service “saber squadron,” with British paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group in support.

Although Army Lt. Gen. Stan McChrystal, JSOC commander, spends much of his time in Iraq, his job there is to coordinate with Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of Central Command, and other senior leaders. The man in charge of TF 145 is the Delta Force commander, a colonel Military Times agreed not to name.

Each TF 145 element operates largely autonomously.

The O-5 commander of each task force can authorize a raid without seeking TF 145 approval.

This freedom, combined with the amount of intelligence generated on missions, creates a furious operational tempo for the TF 145 elements, which average well over a mission per day.

From 6 at night to 10 the next morning, “We’re going balls to the wall, doing hits all over the place,” the special operations source said.

I'll let readers head to the site of the report to read the rest. But needless to say, while the Left proclaims that we've "forgotten" about bin Laden and his cronies, the boots on the ground haven't. They're still looking. They're still hunting. And with TWO close calls with Zarqawi already, it's only a matter of time before he is nabbed by our troops. His luck will run out (seemingly as quickly as his men are; shame about that, don't you think?)

The fox is being tailed by the hounds, and all of his buddies that fight in his stead are getting smoked quicker than Zarqawi knows what to do about it. His video may show him to be "bold" or "brash," as some media outlets reported, but based on the reports from this strike force, he's running scared; never quite knowing if where he rests may be a hotbed very soon, or if someone in the town will tip off coalition forces to his presence.

Now, who is the terrorists here? Zarqawi is supposed to be the meanest, nastiest thing to crawl out of the desert since bin Laden. But he's acting more like Saddam Hussein, running and hiding from town to town before being run to ground in Tikrit. Where will we find the terrorists who is afraid of US forces? Who knows, but one thing is certain: When we do find him, it won't be pleasent, and we're not coddling him. He's coming back to America one of two ways.

--Either alive, in shackles, or

--Dead in an itty, bitty, ditty bag.

Personally, I prefer dead. Dead men tell no tales. Dead men haunt no dreams. And dead men never pose another threat. Yeah, death is pretty final, and I'd love to see us usher him on his way to his eternal reward. I'm not bloodthirsty. I just want our enemy defeated, and death is the easiest way to ensure that defeat.

Publius II

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Democrat Mistake Is A GOP Gain

I know that Thomas ranted a bit today regarding the problems the GOP base is facing this year. A lacking spine is among the gripes, as well as the immigration fiasco from earlier this week. However, for all the problems our party has, the Democrats have more. They have candidates coming up for the mid-terms that stand by two solid platform ideas, and these ideas are going to get them crushed at the ballot box. They are:

--End the war in Iraq and bring the troops home.

--Impeach the president.

Now impeachment talk has died down a bit, and it is likely due to the fact that the country dislikes such talk. That is as evident now as it was with President Clinton, and the GOP then playing "gotcha" politics. As we have extolled here, it was wrong and foolish for the GOP to press forward with that move against President Clinton. While impeachment in the House was almost certain, and did come to pass, the Senate refused to remove him. A wasted effort, indeed, as the GOP was unable to rid the Oval Office of the liar to begin with. And I am sure the GOP base breathed a collective sigh of relief when removal did not occur. Can anyone imagine was sort of fubar presidency Gore would have brought with him?

The "bring the troops home" rhgetoric is liable to kill the Democrats this year if it continues. Indeed, Hugh Hewitt points out the following statement made by Kweisi Mfume in the WaPo:

Kweisi Mfume has said Congress must force the president's hand through the appropriations process and establish a plan for withdrawal. "If we can set a date certain for an Iraqi constitution and a date certain for establishment of an Iraqi government, which we did, I think we ought to be able to set a date certain for withdrawal" in concert with increased international participation, he said.

The Democrats do not understand that in making such a promise and making it public, the attacks on our troops and Iraqi forces will dwindle. The enemy will go into hiding and bide their time until we leave. And when we do, it will be a replay of Saigon all over again. This cannot be allowed to happen. The terrorists in Iraq will almost certainly gain even more help from Iran and Syria in bringing down the new government there. And the blame will lie at our feet for being so bold and impetuous as to adhere to such a foolish call for withdrawal. The WaPo puts it succinctly for everyone:

"[W]herever Democratic loyalists gather, there are five words sure to prompt applause for a Senate candidate:

End the war in Iraq."

If it is true that this is to be their platform for 2006, it is a grave miscalculation on their part, and it is likely to be the battle cry that fuels the GOP base out to the polls in November. The people of this nation do not like it when the military is played with. Games are not on the agenda of the military, but defending the nation is. That is what they are doing right now in Iraq.

The war in Vietnam turned unpopular thanks to the efforts of the antiwar, fringe Left. They turned the nation against the war, demoralized it and the troops, and withdrew from Vietnam which allowed the Communists to sweep in, and remove what was left of the government there. Thus far, the Left has tried to do the same this time around. The difference is that the people of the nation are not getting the news from just the MSM, like they did in Vietnam. There are bloggers--mil-bloggers and regular bloggers alike--that are passing on the good news out of Iraq and Afghanistan. These same people are appearing on TV, and printing columns in newspapers, and in essence combatting the lies of the MSM, and the antiwar movement.

And Hugh is correct. This is a fight for the GOP this year, and it must be met head-on. The GOP cannot shrink away from the arguments that we did what we had to do. That goes for Afghanistan and Iraq. We had to remove Saddam. Both nations are better off without their despotic rulers in place. And the US is safer because of it. But there are a few among the GOP that still seem to think they know better than the White House and the Pentagon. Among them are people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Arlen Specter is threatening to hold up NSA funds until he is satisfied that they can tie the president's hands regarding his terrorist surveillance program. Olympia Snowe and Mike DeWine have also jumped on that bandwagon, and speaking of DeWine, he nearly blew his foot off with this statement:

"Rumsfeld has made some very serious mistakes," DeWine declared, repeating his verdict for emphasis. "Very serious mistakes. I think history will judge him very harshly."

Personally speaking, and I know that Thomas believes this as well, Mike DeWine is becoming part of the problem in the Senate. Maybe he longs for the fawning press coverage that John McCain gets, or wishes the headlines that Arlen Specter makes. Regardless of the "why," he is becoming a problem. Hugh supports his reelection. We, on the other hand, do not. We would prefer that a solid conservative beat him in the primary; one that can defeat a Democrat challenger. If that is not possible, only then will we give grudging support of Mike DeWine. And this is not the only reason we dislike him. We look at his inclusion with the Gang of 14 as unforgivable; it directly violates their oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution. That deal was an end-run around the powers of the president and the Senate when it comes to judicial nominees.

This is a major problem that the GOP seems to be overlooking. The president is the commander-in-chief during a time of war, and we are at war. The buck stops with him. Not with McCain, Graham, Specter, DeWine, Snowe, Hagel, or any other wobbly GOP representative that thinks they know better. Instead of butting heads with the administration, they need to show their support for it, and the agenda of the president. If they do not, then I see no reason to support them, and would encourage others in the GOP base to find a more suitable candidate to replace those up for reelection.

The Bunny ;)

A Base That Is Thoroughly Unhappy

Anyone who has been paying attention to the GOP lately knows the base isn't happy. As a matter of fact, as John Hinderaker points out some of us are pretty p****d. He has a letter from a friend of his (reprinted by John with that friend's permission) on PowerLine today. Actually, it was posted yesterday, but with the Denial Of Service attack launched this morning against the blogosphere, I was unable to find this until now. (Emphasis below is mine)

Ken, I hope you saw the Rasmussen poll...


....not too good for the team...40% support FORCIBLE deportation of illegal immigrants!!! (I doubt that is the true level of support --- but it IS a proxy for support of enforcing EMPLOYMENT laws stringently --- and AGAINST amnesty.)a decent third party candidate in '08 and you guys are TOAST....of course, it cuts against the Dems, too...but do you really want to risk it, Ken?

guys like me are REALLY pissed!!...loyal conservatives, supporters of the GOP and GWB....we feel DEEPLY betrayed over the immigration issue --- and INSULTED by the dishonesty and arrogance of the political and media elite...

...I, for one, am FULLY prepared to do whatever I can to punish those in the GOP responsible for this travesty...including, without limitation, McCain, Lindsey Graham, Martinez, Kyl, Frist (who may be coming around, it appears), Hagel and Specter (who doesn't care) and, if it were possible, GWB....

...better start to straighten up and fly right!!

Best regards.

Between Captain Ed's "Not One Dime" campaign, Glenn Reynolds leading a charge with "PorkBusters," and the bloggers who are actively involved in the political spectrum (such as those who gathered to vet the new House Majority Leader) the GOP had better wake the hell up. Hugh Hewitt has pointed out in his new book "Painting the Map Red" the GOP has some serious problems right now. The above letter cites one issue in particular that has a lot of people hopping mad. That's illegal immigration. But we can add the fiscal irresponsibility of Congress to that list, too.

The GOP needs to understand where the base is right now. I'm not nearly as "plugged in" as other people are in the blogosphere, but I do speak with a lot of people throughout the day. Guess what some staunch Republicans have to say about the mid-term elections this year?

They're not going out to vote.

They're as fed up as they can be with the GOP, and it's obvious disregard for the people who sent them to Washington; trusting them to listen to their constitutents when it came to serious matters. Now, there are a lot of us who would support the deportation of these illegals from our nation. I'm one of them. But I side on the idea that these people have broken the law, and they should be sent home. It's the only punishment applicable to the crime. But, this is an election year, and at the risk of raising the anger of these illegals (Honestly, I could give a rip about them), the politicians in DC are acting like dhimmis; not wanting to rock the boat, and they'd rather play nice.

That's all well and good, but what will their reaction be on 1 May when the illegals are holding protests around the nation, and threatening to shut down cities like Phoenix, LA, Chicago, and New York? Will they stand up then and declare that enough is enough? Will they step forward and condemn the actions of criminals in this nation? Or will they hide in their offices, and refuse to take calls and e-mails from angry CITIZENS? I'm guessing it will be the latter. Later int he day, it's almost assured that they will venture out to talk shows--be they radio or TV--and tell the nation how much they "feel our pain," and that they're doing everything they can to tend to the issue.

It's not flying with the base any more. No one buys the talking points. No one is listening to the excuses. And that's because there is no excuse for this. There is no excuse on the face of the planet that can be plausible when it comes to allowing law-breakers to stay in this nation, uaccountable for their crimes.

A couple weeks ago, we stated that this was our fault. We let this happen. Instead of heeding the warning from 20 years ago with the Reagan amnesty, we let this fester and forment into another problem; a problem in which the illegals are now demanding amnesty and normalization. The problem is that it's not our fault. And by that I mean it's not the fault of citizens. Citizens do not enforce the laws, or the borders. The government does. This is their mess, and their best idea to clean it up is to let bygones be bygones.

Now, do they have the audacity to criticize their base for wanting adherence to the laws? Do they have the guts to polish off what support is left for them. I, for one, am planning on going out to pound the pavement for John Kyl this election year. But if this is the attitude that the GOP has towards the people who gave them what they asked for--who gave them their majority control--then you reap what you sow, and a few people might be out of a job come 8 November.

Publius II

Around The Blogosphere In Less Than Five Minutes

This will be a quick round-up for the day as many blogs are down. Michelle Malkin has the information. It seems as though a number of sites (listed below) have been hack-attacked. After some quick checks, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs confirms that it was an attack on Hosting Matters, which runs many of the big dogs in the blogosphere, including his own.

UPDATE at 4/28/06 8:43:47 am:

Although LGF is also at Hosting Matters, we were moved to a different network after experiencing a similar attack. (That’s why we’re still up.)

UPDATE at 4/28/06 8:48:17 am:

I may have spoken too soon; some parts of the LGF system are beginning to act a bit flaky.

UPDATE at 4/28/06 9:27:25 am:

The attack reportedly originates in Saudi Arabia.

Did we do something to offend the cyberjihadis out there? Maybe. Take a look at the list of sites (compiled by Michelle) that are having problems:

Instapundit (***Glenn is posting on his back-up site here***)
Power Line
Captain's Quarters
Pundit Guy
Chuck Simmins
Small Dead Animals
Hugh Hewitt
Mountaineer Musings
Say Uncle
Counterterrorism Blog
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Castle Arggh! - John Donovan
She Who Will Be Obeyed - Beth Donovan

I should note that I'm interested in the targets chosen. In addition to the blog sites, Wikipedia is also down. Though I would like to correct Michelle's list. I've been to Captain Ed's site already today, and it seems to be just fine. However, it could be acting sort of flaky like Charles' site. Radioblogger and Hugh Hewitt's site are linked, in a way, because Duane is Hugh's technical producer for his show, and regularly posts up transcripts of interviews. IMAO and Mountaineer Musings are also linked in a way because Frank and Sarah were married late last year. And John and Beth Donovan are obviously connected. But there's no reason for this attack. Almost everyone on this list are sites Marcie and I read daily, and none of them have posted anything out of the ordinary that would have made them targets for this sort of cyberattack. I'll keep an eye on this throughout the day and post updates as they become available.

UPDATE: IMAO is back up and running, and Mary Katherine Ham--guest-blogger extraordinaire--is over at Wizbang.
(11:06 a.m. AZ time)

UPDATE II: Radioblogger is back up, and so is Instapundit. Hewitt and the legal minds at Powerline are still down. (11:20 a.m. AZ time)

UPDATE III: Add Michael Totten and Ticklish Ears to the list of sites down. (11:26 a.m. AZ Time)

UPDATE IV: The guys at PowerLine are back up and running (with nary a word about the Denial of Service; better things to address today) and Hugh is still down, though a page is now in it's place stating that you've reached the page in error, and that page no longer exists. Doubt that, but I'm sure Hugh is busily chewing on someone's backside to get his site back up. (12:23 a.m. AZ time)

UPDATE V: Hugh is back up and running, and according to Michelle, most that are connected to Hosting Matters are, as well. She adds this little note from Stacy at Hosting Matters, which describes the attack late this morning: (12:56 a.m. AZ Time)

Today, 11:46 AM This morning at approximately 10:00 AM Eastern time, we noted a sudden abnormal surge in traffic to the network.

Shortly thereafter, our upstreams confirmed that one of the servers within the network was the target of a massive DOS attack.

We worked with the NOC and the upstreams to further identify the target and steps were taken to isolate that target from the rest of the network.

Recovery on all segments except that target segment is complete. The target of the attack will not be brought back online and will be removed from the main network in the event they are the target of future attacks, so as not to negatively impact other clients.

We are currently working to address clients who may be on that same segment of the network to bring them back online.

Stacy - Hosting Matters, Inc.

The second musing of the day comes from Captain Ed. He, along with Frank of IMAO and Derek of Freedom Dogs have an interesting idea.

It's called the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. And it's a slap in the face of the Left. For far too long, the Left has come after us using the "chickenhawk" argument. That being that if we didn't serve in the military then we should shut up. This is a preposterously retarded argument. I don't have to put on the uniform to know what war is like, or have respect for our troops. And, of course, many on the Left, enjoying the anonymity of the Internet, are "chat-room warriors;" they lie that they served to end debate.

So, these three excellent bloggers hit on an idea. Why not turn the argument around on them? We did the same thing after the Dan Rather debacle when the MSM referred to the blogosphere as a buunch of pajama-clad muckrakers just out to stir up problems. Voila, the pajamahadeen were born. And just like that, we're turning it back on them again; taking away one of their stupidest, insulting retorts to date. As Captain Ed explains:

Our friends on the port side of the blogosphere have had quite a time tossing around funny little nicknames for those of us who support the war on terror and use our blogs to express our convictions about it. We've seen the names here at CQ in the comments section -- the term "chickenhawk" has appeared more than once, and others in the blogosphere have assigned us to a unit called the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

I've thought about that for a while, wondering what exactly about both epithets appear so fascinating to left-wing bloggers. As a middle-aged grandfather supporting a chronically ill wife, I have few options for doing my part in the war on terror. After 9/11, I spent weeks looking into different options for service while trying to balance my family obligations. Our family found out just three weeks after the attack that the Little Admiral would soon join us, and the implications of terrorism and war weighed heavily on my mind. I resolved to use the skills I had -- writing -- to make the case for fighting a forward strategy against terrorists. Eventually that led me to this blog, but in the interim I argued for a continued muscular offensive against the Islamofascists that had murdered thousands of our fellow Americans.

Is that the same as military service? Of course not. The men and women of the military do the real fighting, and we salute them and support them by supporting their mission. Milbloggers give us the best of both worlds by not only defending our nation and fighting (and beating) terrorists around the globe, but also by reporting on the fight first hand. There is honor in engaging in public debate for policies which we believe are in our nation's best interest as well. For many of us, we know that without presenting our arguments in the national forum, many in the media and the public will quickly overpower the debate and threaten the policies we feel give us the best long-term opportunity to defeat terrorism and the states that fund and shelter them.

Many on the left disagree, however, and often they provide challenging arguments and valuable perspectives on policy and the manner in which it gets implemented. However, many more do little but make ad hominem attacks on those with whom they disagree. They spend a great deal of effort labeling people rather than providing rational arguments on policy, and even the labels they select don't provide much more than amusement.

That's why Frank J of IMAO, Derek Brigham of Freedom Dogs, and I have decided to create -- for real -- the 101st Fighting Keyboardists and adopt the chicken hawk as our mascot. First of all, the term "fighting keyboardist" describes our efforts pretty well, and we think the pseudo-military terminology is pretty danged amusing. Derek himself designed the logo.

And why the chicken hawk? When we looked into it, it turns out that the chicken hawk is a pretty impressive predator. It's the largest of its family. This species vigorously defends its territory, getting even more aggressive when the conditions get harshest. It adapts to all climates. Most impressively, it feeds on chickens, mice, and rats.
Make of that what you will.

Frank, Derek, and I invite you to join the 101st Fighting Keyboardists (motto: We Eat Chickens For Lunch). I'm starting a blogroll and will post the code for other members to display on their blogs. We welcome all of those who feel they qualify for the unit, but especially those who have a sense of humor as well as a sense of purpose. This way, the next time someone refers to you as a chicken hawk for your blogging, you can remind them that as a member of the 101, your talons are your best weapon and that feeding time is near!

When Marcie gets home, I'm going to talk to her about this. The center-right blogosphere is as dominating a force as talk/radio is for conservatives. It's time to send a message to the portside bloggers that this argument is not only patently ridiculous, but ranks right up there for the "Idiotarian of the Year" award. What answer does the Left have for the milbloggers who serve, or outstanding bloggers like Bill Roggio and Michael Yon who embed themselves--at their own expense--to cover the Iraq Phase of the GWOT? Do they call them "chickenhawks," too? Simply because they blog?

I seem to recall a certain veteran whose response to the contractors killed, beaten, and hung in Fallujah was "screw Them." That's Markos Zuniga, owner, operator, and unhinged moonbat of Daily Kos. Markos put on the uniform and served. Does he have a right to his opinions? Sure he does. He served. But it doesn't excuse his side of making nasty ad hominem attacks, and it doesn't give them sole ownership rights to determine who is and isn't a chickenhawk.

I support the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. Whatever it takes to not only win the war abroad, but also at home. We can do more from here, and be a greater asset to the overall war effort than to be over there, in the way, and not doing much good. If you're interested in joining, drop Captain Ed a line at: Captain@captainsquartersblog.com

Publius II

HOO-YAH! A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words ...

... but the man known as "Iron Mike" needs only two. The following comes from Varifrank. "Iron Mike" shows the insurgents what this war is about, and how tough our soldiers are over in Iraq. (Please, use the link to head over to Varifrank's site, and see this picture.)

"What Burghardt saw too late was another wire leading between his legs to a third such cannon shell. A distant terrorist, probably watching through binoculars, triggered it by remote control. The explosion hurled Sargeant Burghardt’s body 10 feet into the air. His limp frame came smashing down, face first, on the roadway.

As fellow soldiers rushed toward the limp body of Sargeant Burghardt, whom they knew as “Iron Mike,” he was awake. While still in the air, he had thought “I don’t believe they got me” and was already feeling “ticked off they were able to do it.”

After hitting the ground, Burghardt was unable to feel anything from the waist down. “I was lying there thinking I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad,” Burghardt remembered, “and for him to see me like that.”

Around his body, his fellow soldiers looked down at his shredded uniform. After the gigantic explosion, they were amazed he still had legs and was clearly alive. They quickly began cutting off what remained of his pants.

“I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down,” the Sargeant remembered. “Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, ‘Good, I’m in business.”

Medics arrived with a stretcher, but Burghardt had other ideas.“I decided to walk to the helicopter,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher.”

And he wanted to send a message to the cowardly terrorist still probably watching from afar. He stood, then raised a one-fingered salute of defiance toward this bomb and all insurgents.

That picture will replace the one on our desktop as soon as I get home. That is a picture that should resonante with anyone who has family serving abroad. And for "Iron Mike?" Well, as Varifrank puts it, there is a truckload of cold beer waiting for him at home.

Good job guys!

The Bunny ;)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

United 93 Moonbat: Cole Smithey's Inept Review

Back again, and as I can find nothing else to comment on right now that is not already under heavy coverage, I have decided to take on Cole Smithey. I posted earlier the op-ed from David Beamer--father of Todd Beamer--who wrote an eloquent piece today praising "United 93," from a historical point of view, and from the point of view as a victim's family member. His overall point is that we should never forget what happened that day, and that this movie is long overdue.

Cole Smithey wrote this review of "United 93." It is posted below with my commentary within it. I am not kind to this man, and no one should be. His review is full of speculation and talking points, and little real intelligence.

"United 93" is an odd film by any standard. Filmmaker Paul Greengrass (notable for his terrific 2002 docudrama "Bloody Sunday" about the 1972 British Army massacre of 27 civilians in Northern Ireland) wrote and directed what is a disturbingly prosaic piece of dramatic conjecture about one of the most puzzling events of 9/11. As a fictionalized docudrama, "United 93" punctures all suspension-of-disbelief because of the intrinsic absurdness that the mightiest military power on earth couldn’t scramble a dozen squads of F-16 fighter planes to perform aerial escorts for the "11 commercial airliners" believed to be hijacked on 9/11. Greengrass disguises art as journalism by matter-of-factly declaring that United 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at the "heroic" hands of its passengers in spite of the fact that the now famous "crash site" produced not one human corpse or even a single drop of blood.

A docudrama? A fictionalized one, at that? (A Note here: Thomas has informed me that this is considered a docudrama. The reasoning behind this is we still do not know the extent of what occurred on United 93. This film can only speculate. However, he agrees that to state this is "fictionalized" is utterly foolish, and is the first step anyone needs in understanding where Mr. Smithey is coming from.) That implies that the realities the film are based on never occurred. Indeed they did, as almost 3000 souls could attest to were they alive today. And making such a statement is a slap in the face of every America who sat glued to their TVs watching the events unfold that day, and those at Ground Zero living it. Fictionalized docudrama my ass. Yes, details must have a level of artisitc license, and many things are going to be brought up by the families taking those phone calls that morning, but to toss that away and declare the movie fictionalized is not just ignorant, it is wholly unprofessional. And as for his statement regarding the crash site, I would like to know what scientific fields this fool thinks he knows of to make such broad-sweeping statements without any fact involved. No blood at the crash scene? Of course not, numb-nuts, the plane crashed. It burned up. The forensic evidence gathered from the site was slim at best. I am sure Mr. Smithey believes that something sinister happened to the plane, or that United 93 never was in the air that morning. But this opening paragraph shows the utter ignorance of a movie reviewer.

A somber prologue introduces four young Muslim men praying inside their hotel room in the wee hours on the morning of September 11, 2001. The scene divulges a subtly racist undercurrent that plays out during the film with the thinly concealed hubris that America’s Neocons have benefited from under the guise of false patriotism since 9/11.

Racist undercurrent? Excuse me but 9/11 was not perpetrated by white men, black men, Oriental men, or Hispanics. It was carried out by nineteen idealistic men with the intent of hurting this nation, and taking out it's leadership. Those men did pray before their mission, and I see no racism in showing that. The director is trying to show people that while Todd Beamer and his associates on Flight 93 were heading off to work that day, driving into work or flying there, so were the terrorists. It was another day for them, but a much more important day than it was for any America. That day those men were going to become martyrs in their war--their jihad--against America. By the end of the day, those men had accomplsihed their goals, and some forty passengers on Flight 93 became heroes. And it is nice to see that his apparent bias is seething in this paragraph as he accuses those in favor of the war of being racist. We are not. We have our enemy. It is not every Muslim in the world, but rather those who believe in the ideology of blood, fire, and martyrdom for some imagined slight in the past.

In the film’s production notes, Greengrass gives his mission statement: "There are lots of ways to find meaning in the events of 9/11. Television can convey events as they happen. A reporter can write history’s rough first draft. Historians can widen the time frame and give us context…Filmmakers have a part to play, too, and I believe that sometimes, if you look clearly and unflinchingly at a single event, you can find in its shape something much larger than the event itself—the DNA of our times."

"Sometimes" is the key word that absolves Greengrass of his self-imposed responsibility for mapping out any DNA of falsification or rampant government and corporate corruption that permeates every dust particle left behind in the wake of 9/11.

While I will grant Mr. Smithey a level of leeway when it comes to the response after 9/11 (the Red Cross has faced it's investigation for the mismanagement of funds) I will not excuse his assertion that any of the records have been falsified. The official report is available to anyone who chooses to read it. It was our fault that the intelligence and warning systems in place failed. It was mismanagement on the government's part that led to that. However, I question the idea that things were falsified. Does he knot think that the 9/11 Commission would have brought that to the public's attention were it true? I seem to think so. The Commission had little problem finding blame on the current administration, and a major problem going back any further into history than 2001.

In practice, the filmmaker leverages the contrasting estimable talents of Ken Loach’s devote director of photography Barry Akroyd ("Raining Stones") with three editors—Clare Douglas ("Bloody Sunday"), Christopher Rouse ("The Bourne Supremacy"), and Richard Pearson ("Men In Black II"). His "clear and unflinching" gaze at the "single event" diverts in telling ways from recorded facts. Greengrass gets a performance windfall from Ben Sliney the actual FAA Operations Manager on duty at Herndon, Virginia on 9/11, playing himself with the hard-bitten charisma that comes from years of experience.

However, Greengrass still can’t help nudging out dramatic truth when he has Sliney give the order for a "national ground stop" for all air traffic in the country, when, in fact, it was FAA head Jane Garvey who gave that order.

Incorrect. Talk about distorting the truth, as this piece in the USA Today points out. Sliney did give the order for a ground stop. That order came at 9:45 a.m. EST. Here it is from that piece:

"OK, let's get them on the ground!" Sliney booms.

Within seconds, specialists pass the order on to facilities across the country. For the first time in history, the government has ordered every commercial and private plane from the sky.

9:45 a.m.: 3,949 planes

A misunderstanding
In Washington, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and her deputy, Monte Belger, have been moving back and forth between a secret operations center and their offices.

Throughout the morning, staffers have kept Garvey and Belger apprised of Sliney's decisions.

Now, they tell them of the order to clear the skies. With little discussion, the FAA leaders approve.

Minutes later, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta calls from a bunker beneath the White House, where he has joined Vice President Cheney. Belger explains that the FAA plans to land each plane at the closest airport, regardless of its destination.

Mineta concurs. FAA staffers, following the conversation over the speakerphone with Belger, pump their fists. Then the conversation sours.

Mineta asks exactly what the order means.

Belger says pilots will retain some discretion. All the FAA deputy means is that under long-standing aviation regulations, pilots always have some discretion in the event of an emergency aboard their aircraft. But the secretary assumes the FAA is not being tough enough. "F—- pilot discretion," Mineta says. "Monte, bring down all the planes."

Sliney made that call. He was at the FAA Headquarters in Herndon. He was the lead guy in the room, and it was his call to make. Jane Garvey concurred after being told of Sliney's decision. Mr. Smithey would be better served by following the truth rather than making up phony allegations.

The cell phone/air phone calls are an area of tacit fiction that the auteur fudges with discreet but significant treatment. The actual recorded calls from the "passengers" of United 93 are suspiciously vague and calculated. The calls were never more than a couple of sentences long and share a symmetrical brand of abstract logic that rings false in the context of a hijacked aircraft.

The cell phone calls were to loved ones when all hell broke loose ont he plane. And only at that time did the passengers of Flight 93 find out about the other attacks. The cell phone calls were a key piece in that morning because it set the path for those people. They knew after hearing the news from their families that there would be no surviving that flight. It was that news that reinforced their resolve to do what they needed to do.

Transcripts of the "calls" reads like answers from a sixth grader cheating on a test he doesn’t know the questions to.

What did Mr. Smithey expect, answers as long, drawn out, and boring as a John Kerry speech? Or maybe he was looking for something more nuanced, say another Ward Churchill reminder of the "little Eichmans" that died that day. His review reads more a like a beginner's study of filmmaking rather than a veteran moview reviewer. Of course this is typical, and so is his response, especially in light of other reviews that I have read of his on the RottenTomatoes archives. It is more BDS from the Left.

"It’s bad news. I need you to be happy."

"Ted, what can I do? What can I tell the pilot?"

"We’ve been hijacked. He had an Islamic book."

"It’s getting very bad on the plane… the plane is making jerky movements."

These examples taken, from the 9/11 Commission’s Report as referenced in writer/director Dylan Avery’s persuasive documentary "9/11 Loose Change," are telling for their clipped structure and ridiculously short length. They don't convey any of the mile-a-minute patter that a panicked person would use to call for immediate help in a hijack situation.

Interesting that he would note "Loose Change" in this piece. After watching the Vent piece by Michelle Malkin, and seeing clips of "Loose Change," it is obvious that Mr. Avery suffers from some loose screws as he tries to weave a conspiratorial account of 9/11, including comparisons of explosions, and tricks of light and shadow; much like the ones from 9/11 footage showing a demon's face in the smoke rising from the Trade Towers.

Greengrass fudges the notable call in which a "passenger" introduces himself to his own mother using his first and last name. The director’s "clear" gaze doesn’t extend to quoting the "actual" air phone dialogue, perhaps because he couldn’t compensate for its inherent falseness. He does however include the caller asking his mother if she believes him when he tells her the plane has been hijacked.

Ultimately, "United 93" is a regurgitation of suspicious media-fueled speculation about events on an airplane that we know very little about. This is a movie that does more to discourage raising questions about what really happened to flight 93 than it does to encourage debate over the bastion of lies that have been fed to the American people.

The "bastion of lies?" Does he mean the lies that no one on the Left seems able to produce without them being thoroughly refuted, rooted and reinforced in fact? Please. Whereas we may have the occasional gripe with the president over some things, I harldy qualify the events of 9/11 a lie. That is unless Mr. Smithey believes this was all one giant conspiracy to deceive the American public and steal Middle Eastern oil. Which, given his review of Michael Moore's farsical claptrap it would not surprise me if he is a part of the tin-foil moonbat crowd. He is obviously, in this review, a barking moonbat at that.

It is an interesting footnote that United flight 93 was not scheduled to fly on 9/11, and that the plane (tail number N5IUA) was spotted by United Airline’s employee David Friedman on April 10, 2003 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and that the plane is listed as still valid with the FAA. Dylan Avery provided essential information used in this article in his documentary "9/11 Loose Change."

And again, Mr. Smithey fudges the truth again. A quick check of technical information regarding Flight 93 shows that he has presented another piece of false information. That being the tail number to the plane. The tail number is not "N5IUA" as he alleges, but rather "N591UA." A Google search of the tail number turns up a single conspiracy site out of France. An AOL search returns more conspiracy theory sites that link to one another. Yahoo returns nothing bu a "check your spelling" error message.

If this is the best the detractors of the movie have to offer, then they have a lot of problems. There is nothing they can present to change what really happened that day. The film is re-created from witnesses on the ground in the control rooms and the family members. And that is something that Mr. Smithey, and his conspiracy-laden moonbats cannot handle. This is why they have embarked on a mission to revise the history of that day. Their problem is that the facts do not support their allegations.

The Bunny ;)

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