Target Centermass

2/20/2007

Murtha! Murtha! Murtha!

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:58 pm

With apologies to the Brady Bunch for the headline, here’s a link dump about pro-retreat Congressman John Murtha (D-IsForDefeat) and his plans to control (read undermine) our military efforts in Iraq. Oh yeah, there’s a little thrown in along the way about Nancy Pelosi and the bulk of the Congressional Democrats.

Not the ‘Real Vote’

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D-Pa.) has a message for anyone who spent the week following the House of Representatives’ marathon debate on Iraq: You’ve been distracted by a sideshow. “We have to be careful that people don’t think this is the vote,” the 74-year-old congressman said of the House’s 246-182 decision in favor of a resolution disapproving of President Bush’s troop surge. “The real vote will come on the legislation we’re putting together.” That would be Mr. Murtha’s plan to “stop the surge” and “force a redeployment” of U.S. forces from Iraq while ducking the responsibility that should come with such a radical step.

[…]

Mr. Murtha has a different idea. He would stop the surge by crudely hamstringing the ability of military commanders to deploy troops. In an interview carried Thursday by the Web site MoveCongress.org, Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to “stop the surge.” So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill — an action Congress is clearly empowered to take — rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. “What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with,” he said.

Mr. Murtha’s cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq.

Unparalleled Perfidy

The party of John Murtha shamelessly seeks to defund and defeat U.S. troops on the battlefield and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Congress the terrorists wanted is doing their bidding.

There’s a reason the founders of this country designated a single commander in chief and placed the responsibility to wage war in the hands of the president. We saw recently the futility of having 100 commanders in chief when the Senate tried to pass a resolution of disapproval of the war in Iraq and couldn’t agree on the terms of our surrender.

Now it’s the House of Representatives’ turn, led by Rep. John Murtha, who believes the fine young men and women we send to defeat terror and our sworn enemies are cold-blooded killers. While the House works on its own nonbinding resolution, Murtha has bigger plans and considers such a resolution only a prelude to the real battle in March over appropriations for the war.

[…]

As we’ve noted on several occasions, Democratic talk of “redeployment” has encouraged terrorist groups around the world.

Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said before the 2006 vote: “Americans should vote Democratic,” adding that “it is time the American people support those who want to take them out of the Iraqi mud.” The statement could have come from Murtha, Kerry, Hillary or any number of Democrats.

We find it scary that the Democratic and terrorist game plans are indistinguishable.

Hat tip to the above goes to Chap, who throws his own pondering into the mix.

My pondering is as follows: is Murtha’s legislation regarding training, rotations and equipment going to apply to the Afghan theater? You know, the campaign the Dems supposedly support. I don’t see how he’d be able to separate the two without setting himself up for a constitutionally-backed debacle. He may be able to affect funding policy, but it’s highly unlikely that he could do so only in a particular theater without blatantly overstepping the established role of the president as commander in chief.

But wait, there’s much, much more.

War Power Game: The coming constiutional crisis

There is a straightforward way for Congress to end a war: Cut off its entire funding. Congress has the power of the purse, the most important lever of legislative influence in the Anglo-American tradition. But House Democrats don’t want to wield this power because they’re afraid it will expose them to charges of defunding the troops. So they are resorting to an unconstitutional expedient instead.

[…]

Murtha repeatedly says in the webcast that his proposals are meant to “protect” the troops. But he is frank about the not-so-ulterior motive of keeping more troops from heading to Iraq, explaining that “they won’t be able to do the work.” Because his provisions can be sold as guaranteeing the readiness and quality-of-life of the troops, Murtha believes that they “will be very hard to find fault with.”

Only if one ignores our constitutional scheme. The president, not Congress, is the commander in chief. Congress was never meant to, nor is it suited to, direct tactical military decisions, as Murtha seeks to do with his restrictions.

Arguably, his maneuver will be the most blatant congressional intrusion on the president’s war-making powers in the nation’s history. Congress choked off the Vietnam War in the 1970s, but only after U.S. ground troops were mostly already out of the country and chiefly as a matter of cutting off aid to South Vietnam.

Just as disturbing is Murtha’s cynical reliance on failure in Iraq as a political strategy.

Hat tip to Blackfive, who calls it a must-read. I agree, if only for the disheartening notion later on in the column about what political fallout may result from this constitutional end-around.

Novak: Murtha in Command

After 16 undistinguished terms in Congress, Rep. John P. Murtha at long last felt his moment had arrived. He could not keep quiet the secret Democratic strategy that he had forged for the promised “second step” against President Bush’s Iraq policy (after the “first step” of a nonbinding resolution of disapproval). In an interview last Thursday with the antiwar Web site MoveCongress.org, he revealed plans to put conditions on funding of U.S. troops. His message: I am running this show.

Indeed he is. Murtha and his ally House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were humiliated last Nov. 16 when the Democratic caucus overwhelmingly voted against Murtha as majority leader. Three months later, Murtha has shaped party policy that would cripple Bush’s Iraq troop surge by placing conditions on funding. That represents the most daring congressional attempt to micromanage ongoing armed hostilities since the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War challenged President Abraham Lincoln.

Peters: Cowards Give up on GIs – & Give in to Evil

PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It’s not “just politics.” It’s treason.

And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn’t “supporting our troops.”

The “nonbinding resolution” telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.

The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq’s Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias.

The message Congress just sent to them all was, “Hold on, we’ll stop the surge, we’re going to leave – and you can slaughter the innocent with our blessing.”

We’ve reached a low point in the history of our government when a substantial number of legislators would welcome an American defeat in Iraq for domestic political advantage.

[…]

And a word about those troops: It’s going to come as a shock to the massive egos in Congress, but this resolution won’t hurt morale – for the simple reason that our men and women in uniform have such low expectations of our politicians that they’ll shrug this off as business as usual.

This resolution has teeth, though: It’s going to bite our combat commanders. By undermining their credibility and shaking the trust of their Iraqi counterparts, it makes it far tougher to build the alliances that might give Iraq a chance.

If you were an Iraqi, would you be willing to trust Americans and risk your life after the United States Congress voted to abandon you?

Emphasis in original. Ralph Peters is perhaps my favorite columnist and, as I’ve repeatedly said, I’m always happy to link to his incisive efforts.

Steyn: Why the Iraq war is turning into America’s defeat

The Middle East is a crazy place and a tough nut to crack, but the myth of the unbeatable Islamist insurgent is merely a lazy and more neurotic update of the myth of the unbeatable communist guerrilla, which delusion led to so much pre-emptive surrender in the ’70s. Nevertheless, in the capital city of the most powerful nation on the planet, the political class spent last week trying to craft a bipartisan defeat strategy, and they might yet pull it off. Consider this extraordinary report from the Washington Post:

“Democratic leaders have rallied around a strategy that would fully fund the president’s $100 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but would limit his ability to use the money. . . . The plan is aimed at tamping down calls from the Democrats’ liberal wing for Congress to simply end funding for the war.

“The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment. . . . The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat.”

So “the Murtha plan” is to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don’t have to share the blame for the defeat. But of course he’s a great American! He’s a patriot! He supports the troops! He doesn’t support them in the mission, but he’d like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years. As John Kerry wondered during Vietnam, how do you ask a soldier to be the last man to die for a mistake? By nominally “fully funding” a war you don’t believe in but “limiting his ability to use the money.” Or as the endearingly honest anti-war group MoveCongress.org put it, in an e-mail preview of an exclusive interview with the wise old Murtha:

“Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the president’s foreign and national security policy.”

“Undermining”? Why not? To the Slow-Bleed Democrats, it’s the Republicans’ war. To an increasing number of what my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls the White-Flag Republicans, it’s Bush’s war. To everyone else on the planet, it’s America’s war. And it will be America’s defeat.

Whew! When these columns and editorials are taken as a whole, that’s an awful lot of sudden double-takes by the media at the efforts of Murtha. Well, maybe not so sudden for Peters and Steyn at least.

It’s also a lot of words that should inspire a great deal of anger in the reader. Hey, why not relax a bit from the news and opinions with a look at the comics section. Flopping Aces brings the related editorial cartoons. Yeah, they don’t look too highly on Murtha and the Dems either. Hat tip to Hyscience.

11/20/2006

Rangel Renews Call for Draft

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:35 pm

During my election night thoughts a few weeks ago, I pondered how the Democrats would lead congress. One point I specifically made was to challenge Congressman Charles Rangel to once again bring forth his legislation calling for a reinstatement of the draft. Well, apparently he intends to do just that.

The incoming Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said yesterday that he will push to renew the military draft, as lawmakers in both parties sharpened their criticisms of the situation in Iraq and struggled for consensus and solutions.

[…]

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) has long advocated returning to the draft, but his efforts drew little attention during the 12 years that House Democrats were in the minority. Starting in January, however, he will chair the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Yesterday he said “you bet your life” he will renew his drive for a draft.

“I will be introducing that bill as soon as we start the new session,” Rangel said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He portrayed the draft, suspended since 1973, as a means of spreading military obligations more equitably and prompting political leaders to think twice before starting wars.

“There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” said Rangel, a Korean War veteran. “If we’re going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can’t do that without a draft.”

Rangel has drawn modest support for his draft proposal in recent years and it has been unclear whether its prospects might improve in the 110th Congress.

Let’s make one small matter clear before we get to the heart of the issue. The WaPo folks are practically redefining the term “modest” when describing support for earlier versions of Rangel’s legislation. “Scant” or “pathetic” would have been far better terms. In fact, when the Democrats raised the spectre of a possible draft during the 2004 presidential campaign, the Republican leadership craftily brought Rangel’s legislation to the floor for a vote. The result? A 402-2 shellacking against, including a “nay” from Rangel, who then whined that the Republicans were merely playing politics.

Well, if the Republicans were playing politics by actually voting on legislation submitted by Rangel, then what was the point of the legislation? As Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee makes evident, the Rangel’s motivation is all disgusting politics and class-dividing garbage.

Lets be very, very clear: Charles Rangel doesn’t give a damn about the “equitably” of service in our nation’s military, which to date, is over-represented by soldiers who are more rural, wealthy, and better educated than their peers. He instead clings to often disproven lies that the military is disproportionately made up of minorities and the poor.

Rangel willingly lies, but lies with a purpose.

[…]

Rangel’s tactics are particularly loathsome in that he seeks to use our all-volunteer military as the whipping boy for his anti-war politics. He would attempt to pit draft-age Americans and their family members against those who honorably joined the military of their own volition.

I entirely agree. When I first blogged about the vote on Rangel’s legislation [see link above], I condemned the man for his willingness to politicize the military by proposing the draft legislation with no regard whatsoever for the bests interests of the military but instead based solely upon his own class-based and anti-military motives. Indeed, I contend that any of our elected federal officials should be despised for any military-related legislation put forth whose true intent is not meant to add to either the lethality, effectiveness, medical welfare or financial security of our fighting forces or to designate where said forces can ply their trade.

Gateway Pundit, meanwhile, is also sick of Rangel’s class-warfare draft motivation but is focusing his attention elsewhere — specifically, on the mainstream media that is continuing to carry Rangel’s tripe unquestioned.

Obviously, after the number of times that this story has been told and retold over the last 24 hours the media has no intention of correcting Rangel’s assertions that our soldiers come from “low income families”. Here’s the truth[…]

Blackfive‘s Matt responds to Rangel with some constructive criticism, as follows:

If I was Charlie Rangel *cough, cough*, I wouldn’t be playing the draft straw man in front of the world. It was already voted down by a margin of close to 400 against (including Rangel). This is a pure media play…why?…not really sure.

What Charlie Rangel should say is that anyone who supports the war, but doesn’t support troops with increased pay, bonuses, health care, veterans benefits, etc. is hypocritical. And while we’re at it, let’s stand up the 7th Light and a Marine Division and see what happens before the draft needs to be invoked.

I’ve said it before…I would activate everybody (Reserves, NG, Retired, IRR) with the message that you’re in for the duration of the war plus six months. Instead of a draft, this would get most people to understand what is at stake and that we are committed to victory. It’s a WWII mentality, rather than a “police action” mentality.

Fine in thought and intent, and it certainly passes my intended-for-the-military’s-betterment smell test, but alas! I don’t see it as quite feasible … yet. Someday soon it may be so, and our situation against the global Islamist enemy would certainly justify it in my eyes, but unfortunately the American public is generally not aware of the danger. Perhaps someday, which is true to my oft-stated beliefs that nothing should ever be taken off the table for military consideration. That goes also for the draft, as there may again come a day when the need for numbers is so pressing that conscription is actually needed. That said, I am disgusted by Rangel’s toying with the military and am interested in how hard he’ll actually push his legislation. The facts and numbers, as well as the desires of both the military and the American public, are most assuredly not on his side. I hope he is fervent in his endeavour, as it would be entertaining watching his fellow Dems squirm.

11/15/2006

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:48 pm

Tired of being beaten over the head with accounts of counts and stories of American military and Iraqi civilian deaths, blogger Chuck Simmins of America’s North Shore Journal has decided to do a little counting of his own.

In recent months, American losses in Iraq and the toll taken on civilians have been in the news. No one seems to be keeping track of the deaths of our enemies. So, I will.

I have created a page called Terrorist Death Watch on which I will be tracking the losses taken by our terrorist enemies. I began the count as of November 1, 2006, to pick a date.

[…]

Is this especially bloodthirsty? I don’t think so since so many of the old media have chosen to run as an on-going feature a listing of our losses in the War on Terror. One of the reasons that so many Americans see the War in negative terms is that the media is only presenting one side of the story.

I agree that the Terrorist Death Watch is not bloodthirsty; indeed, it is merely a collection of data from press releases that the press has decided the public doesn’t need to dwell on or even see, as is more often the case. I would say it is certainly less ghoulish than the media’s constant focus on our own sacrifices while ignoring practically anything being accomplished.

Hat tip to Argghhh!!!

11/14/2006

Good Reads o’ the Day

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:56 pm

Tonight I just have a little link dump for y’all of the blogging and articles that caught my eye.

Ace: Time Magazine Deliberately Distorted Lebanon Reportage To Bash Israel [emphasis in original]

They didn’t just have the photographer’s word on this — they had the photographic proof! And yet they refused to run the picture at all!

And re-wrote the photo caption — the man-at-the-scene report by the photographer — to triply propagandize for Hezbollah and Lebanon, knowing their caption was 100% false.

If heads don’t roll over this, I don’t know what to say.

Go and read — it’s pretty damning. It’s bad enough that the supposed gatekeepers of information are so biased in what they report and how they report. I agree with Ace that it’s borderline criminal when they outright and intentionally lie to their readers.

Is Heroism ‘Unfit to Print’? [again, emphasis in original]

The nation’s highest honor for combat valor was awarded posthumously to a U.S. Marine from upstate New York on Friday – and The New York Times didn’t notice.

It was a shameful act of neglect, though not surprising in the least.

[…]

It was only the second MOH awarded in the Iraq war, and it was major news everywhere – especially in New York.

But . . . not a word in the Times.

[…]

The Times wasn’t talking yesterday, so let us hazard a guess.

Perhaps, to the Times, Jason Dunham was just another dead Marine – a victim, a statistic, another young life “wasted” in the battle for Iraq.

Or perhaps a heroic Marine doesn’t fit in with the paper’s notion of U.S. soldiers in Iraq?

Hat tip to Cold Fury‘s Sithmonkey, who chimes in with some very good thoughts on the matter. As I stated before, the info gatekeepers in the mainstream media have been absolutely despicable in their coverage of our military and its efforts. I’ll again quote Power Line‘s Paul Mirengoff, who blogged the following:

Have you ever read a history of war that focused almost entirely on casualty figures (with an occasional torture story and grieving parent thrown in), to the exclusion of any real discussion of tactics, operations, and actual battles? I haven’t. But that’s what our self-proclaimed “rough drafters” of history are serving up with respect to Iraq.

Little or no in-depth coverage of tactics, operations, and battles. Sadly, add heroes to Paul’s listing.

Watching the beginning of the end

Over the last year, I have left little hints to regular readers of something that has been bouncing around my head – the coming nuclear war in the Muslim world. I’m not the only one that has been thinking of it over the last year, Charles Krauthammer has as well. Before you go, “Yea, let them nuke it out…” remember that they have the balance of the world’s supply of energy.

With the NORKs making their little nuke go boom, as sure as the sun is a fusion reactor, know that at best the core of Shia Islam (Iran) is at best 2-5 years behind. The Sunni powers will not let this stand. I would hope that many of you understand the 30-years war and what that was all about. Now picture if the Catholic and Protestant powers had nukes. Well, they were progressive minded people compared to the Jim Jones like cult that is running Iran right now. Though they really want to go Persian Empire on everyone, the Iranian issues is more religious than political. That is where the danger lies. Politicians understand negotiation and compromise. They understand give and take. Religious fundamentalists don’t. They were binary before binary existed.

I won’t say that this is CDR Salamander‘s most rose-colored effort, but it certainly is worth your time. Some things possibly just over the horizon ain’t all that pretty. To ignore the tremblings of the volcano is a mistake made by too many in the past.

“Let the bloody wogs sort themselves out” [yet again, emphasis in original]

That might’ve been an unexceptional sentiment in the corridors of Whitehall a century ago, but it’s hardly the sentiment that has traditionally been that of the Democratic party. The times, I guess, are a’changin’.

The current Democratic party line is that they will push for troop reductions in Iraq “as a way of prodding along the paralyzed Iraqi government”. Considering that the Democrats have spent the last two years telling us that iraq was a total write-off anyway, that we never should’ve invaded in the first place, and our policy there was doomed from the start, forgive me if I harbor some reservations about the truth of that reasoning.

In point of fact, the Democratic Party’s leadership simply wants out of Iraq. That’s what they repeatedly told us every day prior to last Tuesday, so I presume that, rather than post-election pontifications, constitutes the Democrat’s real policy, and the reasons for implementing it.

Additionally, I wonder what will happen, and what the Democrats’ policy prescription will be if, in the wake of a pullout, the situation in Iraq goes completely down the toilet.

QandO‘s Dale Franks goes on to look at how another Democrat-supported early withdrawal — a combatus interruptus, if your will — played out a little over three decades ago. The Democrats have often tried to paint the Iraqi theater as another Viet Nam; now apparently may be their opportunity to turn it into such.

Abandoning Iraq [finally, emphasis added]

Regardless of its final composition, and regardless of other pressing issues or its mandate, the leading item of business for the new U.S. Congress will be Iraq.

It didn’t matter who won control of each house — the fix was already in. Look at the composition of the Baker-Hamilton commission, which the outgoing Congress had already appointed to “find a way out of Iraq” — a bipartisan commission, representing the foreign-policy opponents of President Bush in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Soon it will formally report.

James Baker, secretary of state under President Bush’s father, was the man who, in 1989, secured an American exit from Lebanon by effectively surrendering the country to Assad’s Syria. Lee Hamilton, former Democrat chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, joined him in stacking the Commission’s study groups with men and women representing the pre-9/11 foreign policy consensus, which could be summarized in the phrase, “stability through disengagement”. On the Baker-Hamilton plan, Congress will take the war in Iraq out of President Bush’s hands, as Congress took the Vietnam War out of President Nixon’s. Iraq will then be delivered into the hands of Iran’s ayatollahs.

But we can also expect Nancy Pelosi’s victorious Democrats in the new Congress to do everything in their power to recreate the Watergate environment, both for their own electoral prospects in 2008, and “to make an example of” the lame duck currently in the White House. The mainstream media will oblige them, with 24/7 coverage of whatever they allege.

In deposing the regime of Saddam Hussein — now sentenced to hang with the enthusiastic approval of the overwhelming majority of his countrymen, though Iraq itself is first sentenced to endure a ludicrous appeals process — the United States accomplished something well within her military means, in a few weeks of “shock and awe”.

But in trying to build a secular democracy over the ruin of Saddam’s regime, the Americans tried something they had not the stomach for. From the outset, they imposed upon themselves restrictions that would make that fight unwinnable. As in Vietnam, they adopted a purely defensive posture.

So far as President Bush can be blamed, it should be for showing insufficient ruthlessness in a task that could not be accomplished by half-measures. Alternatively, for failing to grasp that America was psychologically unprepared for real war, not only by the memory of Vietnam, but by the grim advance of “liberal” decadence in domestic life over the generation since.

To a degree, I agree with David Warren in this. I have often stated that our primary problem in Iraq since the invasion and overthrow has been that our success was too surgical in nature. Simply put, our enemies — and the Arab world as a whole — were not bloodily shown a great military might and strength of will but merely a technological and tactical wonder. Tactics can be countered and technology can be blunted, given time (and especially given the friendly propaganda machine our enemies have found in “our” media). To prevent this, the tactical and technological edge must be employed ruthlessly to achieve lasting effect. It was Alfred Thayer Mahan that put forth the following:

War, once declared, must be waged offensively, aggressively. The enemy must not be fended off, but smitten down.

Failure to do so allows the enemy to shift toward a war of attrition and will. In this case, Mr. Warren may be correct and I may have been tragically wrong — after the wake-up of 9/11 to the growing danger of our radical expansionist Islamist foes, I expected a little more of an iron nature from the American public. I did not anticipate the actual hostility of the media (see this great piece [part 1 and part 2] by Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette for an example of some of the media’s venomous passion), nor did I expect so many would work to separate our efforts in Iraq from our efforts against the Islamists while at the same time ignoring the shifting of focus of our Islamist enemies to Iraq. If Warren is indeed correct, I pity the civilization — or lack thereof — that we in the West may be leaving our progeny.

Okay, maybe I should’ve cut out that last link for a post of it’s own. Hat tip to Wretchard at the Belmont Club, an unsurprising source for something so provacative.

10/26/2006

More about CNN’s Terrorist Sniper Video

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:35 pm

I called CNN’s willingness to show a propaganda snuff film, filled with the deeds of our enemies on the ground and co-starring our brave troops as victims, “simply disgusting” and a “new but unsurprising low” as I reached the following conclusion:

Okay, it is clear that “our” media is not on our side in our current engagements, whether it be through their willingness to present enemy propaganda unquestioned or their refusal to present stories of our progress.

As it turns out, I may have given CNN too much credit. At question now is not their willingness to be a conduit for the propaganda efforts of our enemies, but rather their actual efforts and desire to do so. Apparently, CNN was the initiator of this contact that resulted in the hideous broadcasting, all in the name of giving a fair shake to our enemies [hat tip to LGF].

According to CNN, the video was provided after a producer for CNN sent the group an email asking about its activities.

“I think the American public would be interested in exactly what the email contained, at least from the CNN side of things,” says a producer for a rival news network, who was made aware of the video’s existence before it aired. “My understanding is that email sent by CNN could not be construed any other way than as supportive of the Islamic militants’ position in Iraq. There are people inside CNN who are disgusted by their colleagues’ activities in Iraq and here in the United States in covering the war.”

Attempts to get a copy of the email were unsuccessful. But one CNN source familiar with the techniques employed by network producers to get the Islamic extremist perspective says that it’s common for producers to use Iraqi or Muslim contract employees to get information and access to the terrorists, and they do so by claiming sympathy or support for what the terrorists are doing.

“Anti-Americanism pays off for us over there, no doubt about it,” says the CNN employee. “Questions were raised about this video and the way we got it. Once it was confirmed that it was real, the next question was how did we get it. And the answer was, we promised to give the terrorists a fair shake. I know that we are saying there was soul-searching here about running the tape. But I didn’t see much of that. There were somber people here, but there was also a segment of people on staff, once the tape had run and created a firestorm, that celebrated. They thought they were so courageous.”

I thought their broadcast was simply disgusting?!! I’m at an effin’ loss for words now. Imagine Edward R. Murrow seeking out and conveying Nazi propaganda during the London Blitz. Imagine a western media source signing on for an enemy ride-along program in a Panzer. If that last example sounds ridiculous, please understand that the BBC now has a reporter venturing forth with the Taliban … while British troops are engaged in bloody conflict with same Taliban.

“Our” media — when slanting the news just isn’t working fast enough, they’re willing to hunt down our enemies and force good publicity upon them. Alternative slogan: “Our” media — speaking “truth” to power that actually protects their ability to speak on behalf of the terrorist bastards who would behead them were these so-called journalists not such useful tools.

10/20/2006

CNN Video Shows Terrorist Snipers’ Work in Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:27 am

In a new but unsurprising low for “our” media, CNN has decided to bring our enemies’ propaganda directly to the public in the form of a snuff film with American troops as the victims. This is disgusting but, as I said, unsurprising. OpFor‘s John Noonan points out the obvious [emphasis in original]:

CNN, by their own admission, understands that this video’s purpose is to serve as a propaganda tool for the insurgency, yet they still chose to give it a national TV audience. That type of advertising usually costs millions.

Matt at Blackfive responds with some viewpoints of American military personnel and veterans through a published email and a wealth of comments. Key among these are the words of commenter SGT Torgersen:

It basically comes down to two things: 1) many in the MSM, maybe even most, long ago bought into the idea that war is NEVER necessary, especially long-term warfare like the kind required to win the GWOT, and 2) anything that happens on Bush’s watch must be portrayed as negatively as possible because the MSM is determined to write the “history” of this Administration as negatively as possible.

[…]

From the Left’s point of view, the GWOT has become 100% politicized. They have divorced themselves utterly from the seriousness and gravity of the situation, at least in terms of realizing that there is an Islamist enemy out there determined to kill ALL of us, not just Republicans and conservatives, and they treat Iraq coverage like it’s a game: score points against the “enemy” whenever possible, regardless of how it helps or hinders Coalition forces.

I’d suggest reading them all while keeping in mind that many of the commenters could have very well found themselves in the same position as the video’s victims.

Meanwhile, Chad Evans at In the Bullpen, one of the best sites for information on such matters because of Chad’s willingness to delve for enemy propaganda on Islamist web sites, brings forth some questions on CNN’s examination and understanding of the video before publication. Basically, he convincingly demonstrates their compliant choice to unquestionably carry the water for our enemies:

It’s clearly propoganda, to which CNN agrees, but I do believe we have the right to see what is going on inside Iraq. Why then are there no CNN front-page reports showing the blood-splattered streets holding children’s blood? Where are the beheaded bodies of Iraqi policemen or soldiers shown side-by-side the constant flood of recruits as Iraqis enlist to fight against the very terrorist group CNN provided a forum for?

There are no time-stamps on any of the clips spliced together by the Islamic Army of Iraq, and that’s by design. We are led to believe these attacks happened within a mere days of each other, but a perusal of the video hosted by CNN tells me that isn’t the case. At least one of those is over two years old. In two years that’s all the Islamic Army of Iraq could come up with? CNN though doesn’t bother telling you that, perhaps because they simply don’t know.

CNN could have easily turned the Islamic Army of Iraq propoganda against them, highlighting the fact snipers in Iraq have killed far more innocent Iraqi civilians than anyone else. During a Shia religious ceremony one month ago, insurgent snipers shot women as they traveled. Kids have been sniped at schools.

Okay, it is clear that “our” media is not on our side in our current engagements, whether it be through their willingness to present enemy propaganda unquestioned or their refusal to present stories of our progress. Long ago and often since, I predicted that our enemies were aiming for a victory based upon the model of the Tet offensive, a victory not of a military nature but of a shaping of public perception.

By practically any historical combat standards, so far October ’06 has been a month of extremely low casualties. Now, again unsurprisingly, the whispers of Tet have crept into the language of the media. However, the media won’t present any numerical contrast to conflicts of the past because that would demonstrate that our losses, while each and every one a tragedy, are small in comparison and would show that all coverage to date has deprived the public of any historical perspective. Yes, October ’06 has been bloody for Americans by the standards of the Iraqi theater, but don’t expect the media to even provide context while they speak of Tet. They will not tell you that the number of Americans killed in action (1,536) in the less than six months of the Tet offensive, including the entirety of the siege of Khe Sanh, were well more than half the total Americans in the three and a half years of the Iraqi campaign. They also will not tell you that the estimated enemy losses in Tet range from 25,000 to 45,000 dead. In fact, the key thing they will not tell you is why Tet, a huge and dramatic American military victory that essentially ended the Viet Cong as a cohesive force and turned the Viet Nam war into an invasion from the north rather than an insurgency, is now viewed as a defeat — “our” media presented it as such to the American public and sadly closed the deal.

No, this is not Tet II, but the media may yet turn it into such. Please don’t be surprised that the terrorists have kicked up their efforts immediately prior to the mid-term U.S. elections, as they have a lot hanging on the November congressional election results. Also, don’t be amazed that CNN and the bulk of the mainstream media are willing to assist our enemies in an attempt for an October surprise.

Disgusting. Simply disgusting and irresponsible.

10/11/2006

Army Plans to Maintain Current Troop Levels in Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:44 pm

This is a beautiful example of an entirely accurate but extremely misleading headline.

The Army is making plans to keep its current troop levels in Iraq through 2010 if they’re needed, the Army’s chief of staff said Wednesday.

But Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker cautioned against putting too much emphasis on the Army’s plans, saying that conditions in Iraq would dictate force levels. He said it would be easier to pull troops “off the table” or shorten their tours in Iraq rather than to add more forces later on.

“This is the way you’d expect us to operate,” Schoomaker said, speaking to reporters. “This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better; it’s just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine (so) that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot.”

The general’s remarks came as sectarian violence in Iraq between Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias showed no signs of relenting. U.S. casualties have risen sharply while domestic political support for the war continues to slide.

There are currently about 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with the overwhelming majority from the Army. Schoomaker said Army troop rotation plans for 2008-2010 call for keeping the current level of 15 combat brigades in the country.

But the general said that in order to sustain current levels, the Army would have to continue to rely on the National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld slammed the notion that Schoomaker’s remarks meant U.S. troops would be in Iraq in 2010.

“Schoomaker did not, of course, say anything like that, and it’s unfortunate that stories go out mischaracterizing what people say,” he said at a Pentagon press conference.

Of course we are planning for such a stay at such a level. Actually, I’m quite certain numbers are being crunched for increased and decreased deployments as well.

Unfortunately, not too much can be done about the headline, and that’s just about all that people will see. Luckily, that is one of the better headlines to be found above this story when compared to other versions. Currently, above this version of a similarly-hedged article is the following decisive but completely erroneous heading:

Army: Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2010

Jeez, that is only close to the content of the story in that the Army and 2010 were involved.

9/21/2006

A Must Read: ‘You’ll Never Know What We Did’

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:55 pm

Often times I have bemoaned the coverage of our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq by our media. I’ve repeatedly pointed out the wealth of words for every setback, the ignoring or twisting of any success, the near void that is the coverage of our heroes and the harsh brass trumpeting of our villains and their misdeeds.

I’m man enough to admit that I have also overlooked an important piece of our efforts — the contractors. Callimachus at Done with Mirrors has a personal tie to the scene and brings us an up-close-and-personally-bitter look at this unreported story.

My friend, Kat, worked in and around Iraq for roughly two years, for a U.S.-based contractor doing reconstruction work there.

I’ve picked up bits and pieces of her story as she’s written to me from abroad, but recently she’s been back in a place with regular Internet access and some time on her hands, and I finally got to ask her some questions and she got to write some full answers. We’ve talked a lot about her experience over there, and the more I read the more I wanted to tell it. She gave me permission to distill down some of her letters and our chats into a post.

Reconstruction is the eternally under-reported third leg of the Iraq story (the other two are overthrow of Saddam and removal of his threat, and establishing a stable Iraqi popular control of the country). It was part of what we went in there to do, and its success or failure is part of the full measure of success or failure of our entire operation.

Yet on this important story, our media blew it. Who can name a single contractor who did work in Iraq, besides the one that begins with “H” and maybe Blackwater USA? How many people can describe accurately the relationship between Halliburton and KBR? How many faces of Iraq contractors did you ever see in the news, except the ones who got kidnapped and beheaded? How many were the subject of news stories, or were quoted in any of them?

With that intro, Callimachus essentially hands the reigns over to his contractor friend. At times, it’s a tale only an accountant would love. At others, when the job description fades and the emotion seeps in, it becomes a personal tale that must be read but you’ll probably never find in newsprint. Here’s a little tidbit:

I know that in comparative numbers there really won’t be enough of us coming back from Iraq to confront or challenge the MSM. Even if we all gathered together in Washington for a week to bitch and moan about it, we still couldn’t assure that we were covered. We know you’ll never know what we did.

So what many of us are left with is a really nasty taste in our mouths. It’s hurt me almost as much to be telling this as it has been to live through it, and I know I’m not alone in my feelings. I feel so very sorry for and protective of the soldiers and marines who protected me. They’re all my little brothers now, and I feel the same towards the inexperienced Iraqi soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way for me.

Okay, one more:

Beyond a couple of poorly received White House briefings that went all but completely ignored, I never saw a thing mentioned about the massive reconstruction projects underway in Iraq. There were no fact-filled and hard-hitting stories on those jobs. By and large, the US and European publics are completely clueless about the rebuilding process and the complexities that have been involved in it. Because the press ignored it completely.

Instead they waited like vultures for the first monetary discrepancies to hit, under Halliburton of course. Because of Dick Cheney, it’s what everybody on the left was wanting to hear, and nothing else mattered. The press lept on that with full claws fully extended, never paying a moment’s notice to the realities of large-scale construction projects.

[…]

Within weeks of my arrival in Iraq, I knew exactly what would happen to US public opinion if media coverage continued as it was at the time.

Seriously, go read it already. Hat tip to Gates of Vienna.

9/11/2006

9/11: Five Years On

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:45 pm

As I’ve stated repeatedly, Ralph Peters is one of my favorite columnists and writers, dating back to my introduction to his fiction in 1993. In his latest column, Mr. Peters looks optimistically at our progress since the atrocity that was the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on America.

The biggest story since 9/11 is that there hasn’t been an other 9/11. According to our hysterical media culture, everything’s always going wrong. The truth is that we’ve gotten the big things right.

On this fifth anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of thousands of Americans by Islamist fanatics, it’s tempting to settle for grand rhetoric honoring our dead and damning our enemies. But the greatest tribute to those lost on that September morning is what we’ve since achieved.

In this vile political season, with those on the left suggesting that our president’s a worse threat to civilization than Islamist terror, the rest of us should just review what’s happened – and what hasn’t[.]

Mr. Peters’ keystone argument is that we haven’t been hit again on our home front by the murderous Islamist bastards. While this is true, I’ll be the first to admit that this is a rather “iffy” point. First, in some of the few plans we’ve known of meant to strike us here, luck has played a role in their prevention. Second, we have been aided by the terrorists’ apparent post-9/11 love for the long ball, as we are still extremely open prey for a great number of assaults of lesser nature throughout our homeland. Third, this whole keystone rides upon a razor’s edge — one mistake and it’s all gone, while all of the other progress may remain valid but then ignored.

Still, Mr. Peters makes and supports his arguments for progress. I’ll turn them into mere bullet points and leave it to y’all to read the whole column for Mr. Peters’ explanations.

  • Islamist fanatics have not been able to stage a single additional attack on our homeland.
  • Al Qaeda is badly crippled.
  • Terrorists no longer operate in freedom.
  • Our enemies fear our military again.
  • Iraq has become al Qaeda’s Vietnam.
  • We’ve achieved new levels of domestic security without compromising civil liberties.
  • America is much stronger today than we were five years ago.

Mr. Peters then sums up his five-year-later thoughts quite rationally.

Does that mean everything’s perfect? Of course not. As noted above, some terrorists will manage to hit us again. But if attempt No. 500 succeeds, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth stopping the other 499. Yet, after the next attack, we’ll hear no end of trash-talk about how the War on Terror “failed.”

The truth is that we’re winning. Hands down. We just can’t afford to revert to yesteryear’s weakness and indecision.

What should we worry about? Plenty. First, the unscrupulous nature of those in the media who always discover a dark cloud in the brightest silver lining. They’re terror’s cheerleaders. Second, the rabid partisanship infecting our political system – when “getting Bush” is more important than protecting our country, something’s wrong.

A third concern is the Internet’s empowerment of fanatics, conspiracy-theorists and all of the really good haters – on both extremes of the political spectrum. If there’s one thing all responsible citizens, conservative, centrist or liberal, should agree on, it’s that all extremism is un-American.

On a related note, the White House has released its own detailed report of progress over the last five years since that terrible day when radical Islamists succeeded in bringing terror to our shores.

9/6/2006

Bush Puts 9/11 Suspects in Gitmo, Congress on the Spot

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:44 pm

President Bush gave what seems to be an important speech today that may prove to be a key turning point in our nation’s policy against Islamist terrorists.

Just a few days shy of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, President Bush invoked the shock of that day, and the fears it unleashed, to drop some eye-opening news Wednesday: 14 of the world’s most vile suspected terrorists have been transferred from secret CIA prisons abroad to Guatanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a midday White House speech, the president acknowledged for the first time the existence of the CIA prisons, where the 14 suspects, including the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 plot, had been held. He said that under tough questioning, the suspects had given up information that helped stop several, mostly familiar, plots — from a plan to fly jetliners into London’s Heathrow Airport to one to blow up the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. And he said the suspects were being transferred so they could be tried under the administration’s proposed military tribunal system, to be created by legislation he sent to Congress Wednesday and hoped lawmakers would approve this month.

The speech was largely in part political theater, the opening act of the Republicans’ fall strategy of flexing their anti-terrorism muscles. It cast doubt on any and all who question Bush’s strategy, including the Supreme Court. Even so, there was much in Bush’s remarks on which all sides could agree: There should be clear guidelines for the treatment and questioning of detainees. If U.S. interrogators abide by those guidelines, they shouldn’t have to worry about being sued by terror suspects or prosecuted. And, most certainly, it is time to try suspected terrorists who plotted against the nation and bring them to justice.

The hard part, as it has been always been, is finding a way to balance the need to protect the nation against terrorists without compromising its values. How can information be extracted from terror suspects without endangering American troops who become prisoners? How can terror suspects be put on trial fairly without giving them access to classified information that might reveal confidential informants?

These are difficult questions over which well-intentioned people disagree. Sadly, many of the Bush administration’s policies on the treatment of prisoners, and its proposals to prosecute them, have hurt America’s image abroad and been of dubious legality — a fact now cemented in law.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down the administration’s controversial system of military commissions, asserting that they violated U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions for dealing with prisoners of war. The problem, the court found, was not just the tribunals but Bush’s insistence that he could go it alone, without the checks and balances the Constitution prescribes. If Bush wants to keep the commissions, the justices said, he’ll have to fix those problems and persuade Congress to go along.

Of course, bringing the most notorious al-Qaeda prisoners to Guantanamo is designed to pressure Congress into approving the administration’s hard-line approach. But, at the same time, the administration is at least grudgingly expressing a new willingness to work with Congress to devise a new system.

Dr. Rusty has the full transcript.

Captain Ed has some excellent analysis, including the following:

So why reveal the program now and transfer the detainees from the CIA to the DoD? For one thing, the CIA apparently feels that these plotters have been tapped out in terms of operational intelligence. Also, with the Hamdan decision, he cannot set up secret military commissions to try them. The court tasked Congress with establishing the tribunals for all non-POWs in custody — POWs don’t get trials or courts-martial except for crimes they commit while in custody — and Bush has to wait on Congress to act.

He obviously does not want to wait long. He has already promulgated some rules of evidence and procedure to Congress, and the Hill has found much with which they disagree.

Meanwhile, Ace live-blogged it and quickly seized on the true intent of the speech.

Wants Congress To Repudiate Supreme Court Decision On Granting Geneva Protections For Terrorists: Congress must list the “specific, recognizable offenses” that will invoke a War Crimes prosecution against interrogators.

Nice. Make Congress specifically say what is illegal — and, by their omission, what is legal.

Congress dare not make belly-slapping illegal.

Put up or shut up.

Still, one must wonder just how much pressure Congress, and especially its democrat members, will actually endure if the media feels no need to press the issue. Already, the media seems to be congealing on a different aspect of the story, as the following headlines show:

Question: if a gauntlet is thrown down and there’s no one around except those that refuse to hear it, does it really make a soundbite?

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