Jun 28 2008

You have to want to know the truth, and you have to do what’s right

Category: Group-think,Iraq,terrorism,tortureharmonicminer @ 10:25 am

Michael Yon is former special forces soldier turned war journalist, and author of the very important book, Moment of Truth in Iraq.

He has a dispatch up, titled On Joe Galloway, ostensibly about another journalist, but it covers so much ground, and works on so many levels, that I think it’s worth reading in full. It is ostensibly about the use of torture to get intelligence from terrorists and suspects, but it’s really about a great deal more. It’s really about how we make decisions, how we validate our ideas, where we get our ideas, and why we do what’s right. Though he generally supports the aims of the Iraq war, he is no blinkered ideologue. A sampling:

Continue reading “You have to want to know the truth, and you have to do what’s right”

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Jun 25 2008

The Idiots Guide to Saddam, Iraq and the Election of 2008

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:16 am

Offered in the spirit of simplification for people who need that. It really is this simple.

The problem then

Saddam violated his parole agreement (from the 1991 Gulf War resulting from his invasion of Kuwait, and threatened invasion of Saudi Arabia). He kept taking potshots at the sheriff‘s deputies, all the while claiming he was unarmed, yet still making threats, and hanging out with the criminal element. He was known to be engaged in several criminal conspiracies. He was for sure planning to steal a couple of ranches if he could get away with it.

While the politicians dithered (nearly every one of them from every nation was sure Saddam was busting parole left and right, but half of them were on the take) and the district attorney couldn’t decide what the charges might be after the arrest without seeing more evidence, the USA formed a posse because we had probable cause on a weapons charge (besides current witnesses, he had lots of priors… rapsheet as long as your arm) and frisked Saddam and sent him to jail. He turned out not to be so tough, and in fact didn’t have all the ammo he’d advertised.

It was still a righteous bust, because the perp had clearly violated parole any number of times, and had even bigger plans. In the meantime, more witnesses came forward to testify to Saddam’s previous crimes and he was lawfully tried and punished. Some of Saddam’s gang were still around making trouble, and they allied with a gang from out of town to fight a rival gang. (It was pretty much like fighting the Crips and the Bloods and MS13 all at once… think horsethieves, cattle rustlers and cold-blooded killers.) Though it took awhile, the posse finally figured out how to deal with the various gangs, with some help from the local authorities. Some of the gang members were offered immunity to testify against even worse gang-bangers. There are reports that some of the locals took the law into their own hands in rough and ready frontier justice… regrettable, but probably inevitable. Horse thieves have often been hanged without benefit of judge and jury, when caught riding the horse with the original saddle.

Things have settled down some now. The locals are doing better and better at dealing with the gangs, both local and out of town. They’ve requested that the posse stick around long enough to be sure the situation is stabilized.

The problem now

Unfortunately, some sneaky city-slickers have been trying to convince everyone that the posse should come home, even though the locals want the posse to stick around a while, and everyone knows they aren’t quite ready to handle the gangs on their own yet, though that day is definitely coming. These same city-slicker con artists are claiming that the original posse was sent by a lying Sheriff, who didn’t really have probable cause or a search warrant, when everybody thought that Saddam had even more dangerous weapons and even bigger plans for more... which he definitely did. And it’s pretty sure that some of what he had will never be found, due to fast action when he knew the Sheriff was coming.

Dang city-slicker con artists… most of ’em are, no kidding, lawyers and pantywaist scribblers and script readers, who actually think they know something. The only thing they know is how to pull the wool over the eyes of decent folk by lying to them constantly… and offering them bribes of all kinds to keep ’em quiet. Sadly, some otherwise good people take the bribes and look the other way.

Clear eyed, level headed folk aren’t fooled by these guys. There are some decent people who think maybe the arrest was premature (I’m not one of them), but nobody with any sense wants to turn the gangs loose again. I suppose it’s easier for these patent medicine quacks and carpet-baggers to ignore the resulting crime spree and murder rampage because it’ll be somebody else’s kids getting killed in shootouts and ambushes… at first, anyway. What goes around comes around.

And these bunko-frauds claim the moral high-ground (all the while trying to get the public sold on pyramid schemes of all kinds that our kids will be paying for when we’re dead and gone). I’ve seen fake faith-healers in tent revivals with better morals than these guys.

I’m pinning my hopes on more of those guys who were in the posse, coming home on rotation, and setting these swindlers straight… And in the spirit of praying for those who spitefully use us, I’m praying for a little Damascus Road Experience for these snake oil salesmen…. complete with searchlights from heaven and loud voices telling ’em what for.

Don’t be fooled by fancy talk. Vote for the good guys. They’re the ones not lyin’ to ya about what’s goin’ on now, or what’ll happen if they get their way.

UPDATE:  Just to avoid confusion, one of the candidates was kidnapped by another gang some years back.  He knows what’s like to deal with tough times, and crooked hombres, as opposed to just having some for your friends.  Vote for that guy.

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Jun 21 2008

The Incurious Left: If you don’t look, you don’t have to notice.

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 5:40 pm

How long can the fiction be kept up by the Left that the situation in Iraq is more or less the same now as 18 months ago?

Michael Barone

It is beyond doubt now that the surge has been hugely successful, beyond even the hopes of its strongest advocates, like Frederick and Kimberly Kagan. Violence is down enormously, Anbar and Basra and Sadr City have been pacified, Prime Minister Maliki has led successful attempts to pacify Shiites as well as Sunnis, and the Iraqi parliament has passed almost all of the “benchmark” legislation demanded by the Democratic Congress — all of which Barack Obama seems to have barely noticed or noticed not at all. He has not visited Iraq since January 2006 and did not seek a meeting with Gen. David Petraeus when he was in Washington.

As with the Haditha Marines story, and many others, the main stream media gives enormous play to any story that hurts the Bush narrative, and downplays anything that might help it.

But the facts on the ground in Iraq continue to improve, despite the occasional bombing. To the extent that the upcoming election is a referendum on where we go from here on the Iraq war, good news in Iraq hurts the Democrats, which is why those parts of the media who are committed to Obama’s election will continue to give any good news the very minimum of coverage they can, and retain any credibility at all, while any bombing, no matter how rare or isolated, is guaranteed page one material.

McCain pretty much has to get Obama into less moderated debate formats, reducing Obama’s ability to survive on just putting out long canned speeches (which he delivers as well as any actor). The public needs to see Obama trying to respond to tough questions from McCain about why Obama was so wrong about the surge and its effects on Iraqi politics. Obama needs to own up to his opinion, expressed with great certainty in early 2007, that the surge would not, could not work.

It must be tough to be a politician whose hopes for victory depend on bad news for the USA as a whole, or at least on the public not finding out the good news.

So, the questions: how long can Obama and the media keep the American public from finding out

1) How well things are going in Iraq, and the arrow of progress?
2) What happens if we leave prematurely?
3) How wrong Obama was about the surge, and what that means about his vaunted “judgment”?

Some possible good news in this is that the “independent” voters will just start to wake up and look around in a couple of months, and if the good news in Iraq continues, it will be harder and harder to hide it, and Obama’s lack of foresight in the matter.

Prediction: If bad news happens in Iraq, or anything that can be spun that way, expect the major media to trumpet it from every orifice they have. If, on the other hand, things continue as they are, expect the major media to try to paint the election as being about “post-Iraq” issues like the economy, health-care, gas prices, etc.

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Jun 17 2008

Guilty until proven innocent: US Marines

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:02 pm

A look back, and a look forward. The Haditha Marines have mostly been cleared. They behaved professionally and responsibly, doing the best they could in a very difficult situation.

Rep. Jack Murtha (D) is a pig, whose porcine nature is shared by the snuffling press who feed from the same trough of lies and distortions. I donated a little money to the Marines’ defense, as did about a zillion others. I am proud of the fact. Whatever honor Murtha derives from his own military service has been squandered on this debacle. He should spend about a week in sackcloth and ashes in front of the Capitol Building.

And the look forward: no apology will be forthcoming from Murtha or the press. Or, almost worse, there will be a very brief, almost anonymous release from Murtha’s press flacks, and it will get almost no coverage in the media. Perhaps the New York Times will apologize on page 23 just below the used car ads…. but probably not.

Michelle Malkin’s take:

Haditha prosecution goes 0-7. But you won’t see that headline in the same Armageddon-sized font The New York Times used repeatedly when the story first broke.

The Times, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa, and the rest of the anti-war drum-pounders who fueled the smear campaign against the troops two years ago should hang their hands in shame. They won’t, of course. Perpetuating the “cold-blooded Marines” narrative means never having to say you’re sorry.

It means never having to look Lt. Col. Chessani (charges dismissed), Lt. Andrew Grayson (acquitted), Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum (charges dismissed), Capt. Lucas McConnell (charges dismissed), Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt (charges dismissed), Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz (charges dismissed), Sgt. Frank Wuterich (awaiting trial) and their families in the eyes and apologize for the preemptive character assassination they all faced at the hands of the hyperventilating, noose-hanging press.

Read the whole thing. Ask yourself how you’d feel if the accused was your son, or nephew, or brother, or uncle…. or father. And if, God forbid, the accusations turned out to be true (which, it is becoming very clear, is not the case here), would you feel that your loved one had been fairly treated by Murtha and the press? A Marine who had over-reacted under stress would not deserve this treatment.

These guys were character-assassinated by the very best.

I wonder how Murtha is sleeping these days. Does he have some fantasy where he thinks all the accusations were true, but couldn’t be proved? Does he think he has some special bit of insight and secret information? Is he hopelessly partisan, deep in Bush hatred, or just crazy as a loon? Impossible to say.

This would be a good time for decent people to pray for the falsely accused to be able to reassemble their lives.

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Jan 30 2005

The Bear Dances and Sings

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:41 am

CNN and FOX are covering the election in Iraq.

I can only stand in awe of the courage of these determined voters. Their sheer guts and commitment to show up at all should be a lesson to nay-sayers everywhere about what people in this part of the world really want. How many voters would show up in, say, Chicago, in a similar situation? I don’t know… but these Iraqi voters deserve our very highest respect.

CNN’s current online headline is “Iraqis vote amid scattered attacks”. Roughly half the TV coverage from CNN seems to be about the attacks today, but a solid half is about the vote itself.

FOX’s headline is “Iraq’s Historic Vote Begins”. The first paragragh tells of attacks, but also provides context: lots of voters, and many foiled attacks, as well as some successful ones. FOX’s TV coverage is stressing the protection provided by Iraqi forces, police and military, directly around the polling places. FOX has shown many entire families, from elderly to young children (presumably not voting yet…), walking together to polling places… in some cases carrying Iraqi flags, showing thumbs up to the camera, etc.

Both cable networks have provided reasonable coverage on how many Iraqi women are voting, although it seems to have been inadvertent in one CNN report, where the reporter could not be heard over all the women talking in the polling place.

ABCNEWS is carrying a story stressing the attacks, predicting lack of Sunni turnout, stressing how bad the result of a low Sunni turnout will be, etc. Big shock. Little mention of who is providing the election security… mostly Iraqis around the polling places. All attacks listed in GREAT detail.

Another ABC article, IRAQI HISTORY MAY COLOR VIEWS OF ELECTION tries to downplay the importance of a successful election. I consider this to be evidence that the election must be going well in the eyes of the editors.

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