Target Centermass

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.

10/12/2006

TX Gov Race: Bell Calls on Kinky to Drop Out

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:36 am

In what can not in any way be considered a high point for the Democrat party in Texas, its gubernatorial candidate is beseeching an independent to bail out of the race in hopes of becoming a viable candidate against the Republican incumbent.

Democratic nominee Chris Bell is trying to persuade independent Kinky Friedman to quit the race for governor, but Mr. Friedman insisted Tuesday that he’s in to stay.

Mr. Bell left a voice mail message on Mr. Friedman’s personal cellphone Tuesday, asking for a meeting at the mystery writer and former bandleader’s ranch near Kerrville, Mr. Friedman said.

Mr. Bell later confirmed he sought a meeting so he could try to talk Mr. Friedman into dropping out of the four-way race, which is in its home stretch. The election is Nov. 7.

“I had hoped to talk to Kinky privately, but now that it’s been reported by the Dallas Morning News, I’m going to ask him publicly: Please join me in defeating Rick Perry,” Mr. Bell said in a statement his campaign issued late Tuesday.

“Kinky and I agree on some very important issues and our supporters all have a lot in common: they want change.”

Mr. Bell credited Mr. Friedman with energizing voters but made it clear he thinks only he has a chance to win.

“Now is the time for us all to unite,” he said. “So I’m asking for Kinky to join me.”

Bell campaign aides said that Mr. Friedman performed poorly in Friday night’s candidate debate and that Friedman supporters have told the Democrat that they’d support him if he could persuade Mr. Friedman to step aside.

Interviewed as he headed to evening campaign events in Dallas, Mr. Bell acknowledged that Mr. Friedman is siphoning votes away from him and Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

“He’s taking from both,” Mr. Bell said. “But he’s taking more from me.”

Mr. Friedman, campaigning in Brownsville, said of Mr. Bell and his advisers: “They’re desperate and scrambling.”

Asked whether he would consider the Democrat’s request to step aside, Mr. Friedman said: “No. You’re kidding … for Chris Bell? What do you take me for?”

[…]

To drop out is unthinkable, he said: “I’d be letting a lot of people down.”

But he took delight in Mr. Bell’s message that the independent is taking a toll. “What can it possibly mean other than that we’re killing him?” Mr. Friedman said. “We’re getting all of the liberals. We’re getting all of the conservatives.”

As I’ve recently shown, the most recent polling does not support Friedman’s assertion that he’s getting all of both liberals and conservatives but does support the notion that Bell and the Democrats need help badly.

For what it’s worth, I thought Bell performed well in the one and only debate last Friday, almost as well as Perry and far outshining the embarrassing representations of our state put forth by Friedmand and Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an independent that has deserted both parties when it seemed opportunistic to do so. It should also be noted that a sudden gift of one cool million dollars may help salvage Bell’s campaign into a somewhat solid second place. Bell had been trailing badly in cash on hand, with only $62,000 compared to Perry’s $9.2 million, Strayhorn’s $5 million and Friedman’s $827,830. Despite the boost, that’s also not to be considered a high point for the Democrats in the Lone Star state.

U.S. Files First Treason Charges in 50 Years

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:04 am

Why, yes, I do question his patriotism.

U.S. prosecutors have filed treason charges against an American citizen for the first time in 50 years.

The Justice Department accuses 28-year-old alleged al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn of treason, which carries a maximum penalty of death. He also is charged with providing material support to a terrorist group.

Prosecutors say Gadahn is a California-born convert to Islam who appears in several al-Qaida propaganda videos. Some of those videos have threatened attacks against the United States and have contained messages from top al-Qaida official Ayman al-Zawahri.

Gadahn is believed to be living in Pakistan and has been sought by the FBI for questioning since May 2004. His parents say he converted in Islam in his late teens in the 1990s and later moved to Pakistan.

Look, it’s going to be a long war between our civilization and our happily and bloodily mired-in-the-past enemies. Not all of their faces will fit the profile. As Gadahn demonstrates, some will even look like they were banished for being too dorky for even the Dungeons and Dragons club.

Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic on the chances that Gadahn will be captured and brought to trial. ‘Tis a shame, as I’m sure it would be an entertaining procedure and quite the media circus.

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.

Mixed Reviews of Iraq Death Toll Study

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:47 pm

655,000, give or take hundreds and hundreds of thousands. Needless to say, but I’m very skeptical.

President Bush says he doesn’t believe it. Some experts have a problem with it. But several others say it seems sound.

Such was the varied reception for a controversial new study that estimated the Iraq war has led to the deaths of nearly 655,000 Iraqis as of July.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad derived that estimate from a door-to-door survey, conducted by doctors, of 1,849 households in Iraq. Taking the number of deaths reported by household residents, they extrapolated to a nationwide figure.

The researchers, reflecting the inherent uncertainties in such extrapolations, said they were 95 percent certain that the real number lay somewhere between 392,979 and 942,636 deaths.

That is quite a range of uncertainty, and does not speak well for any confidence in the work.

Even the smaller figure is almost eight times the estimate some others have derived.

The new study – which attributes roughly 600,000 of the deaths directly to violence and 55,000 more to other war-related causes – was released Wednesday on the Web site of The Lancet, a respected medical journal. But just how good is its conclusions?

“I don’t consider it a credible report,” President Bush said Wednesday.

Neither does Gen. George W. Casey, the top American military commander in Iraq.

“That 650,000 number seems way, way beyond any number that I have seen,” Casey said. “I’ve not seen a number higher than 50,000. And so I don’t give it that much credibility at all.”

And neither does Michael E. O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, which also tracks Iraqi deaths.

“I do not believe the new numbers. I think they’re way off,” he said.

Other research methods on the ground, like body counts, forensic analysis and taking eyewitness reports, have produced numbers only about one-tenth as high, he said. “I have a hard time seeing how all the direct evidence could be that far off … therefore I think the survey data is probably what’s wrong.”

[…]

Donald Berry, chairman of the statistics department at the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said he believes the study was done “in a reasonable way.” But he said the range of uncertainty given for the estimates was much too narrow, because of potential statistical biases in the survey.

While it’s impossible to calculate a better range that accounts for that, he said, it wouldn’t be surprising if the low end dropped about four-fold to 100,000 deaths. A wider range of uncertainty would make the 655,000 figure less meaningful, he said.

Even the latter, somewhat supportive statement recommends even greater uncertainty.

For it’s part, the Iraqi government has politely called the numbers exaggerated.

Meanwhile, LGF questions the timing of what could be a wildly inaccurate political hit masquerading as a study based on the fact that, well, it is right before an election and these same people put out a similarly questioned “study” right before a previous election.

10/9/2006

‘An Army of One’ is out: Service Unveils New Slogan

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:09 pm

The controversial “an Army of one” campaign is now history.

The Army has two words for its new slogan — “Army strong.”

Army Secretary Francis Harvey unveiled the new slogan and television advertisements this morning at the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army. The announcement was punctuated by loud applause and cheers from the mostly Army audience.

“Army strong” replaces “an Army of one.”

Created by Leo Burnett Worldwide, “an Army of one” had been the Army’s recruiting slogan since 2001.

“Army strong” is intended to evoke soldiers’ physical and emotional strength, and the advertisement pushes strength of character and strength of purposes.

The Army plans to roll out the advertisements on November 9.

McCann Erickson of New York took over the Army’s advertising contract in March. Some of the company’s other clients include MasterCard, Black & Decker, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft.

The Army contract is estimated to be worth up to $1.35 billion for up to five years.

Sgt. Hook has the new video and is asking for comments. As one who nevered cared for the previous slogan and felt it ran counter to the teamwork nature of the Army, I think it’s a huge improvement. It emphasizes the right messages and the different kinds of strength possessed while coming across as both inspirational and powerful. I dig the music, too.

By the way, the Army Times article goes on to list all of the campaign slogans the Army has used since becoming an all-volunteer force, and they are as follows:

  • “Today’s Army wants to join you”: 1971-73.
  • “Join the people who’ve joined the Army”: 1973-1979.
  • “This is the Army”: 1979-1981.
  • “Be all you can be”: 1981-2001.
  • “An Army of one”: 2001-2006.
  • “Army strong”: Starts now

Looking at the field, it’s easy to see why “Be all you can be” enjoyed such a long run — the others are pretty weak. Now, though, that slogan may slip into second place.

Quote of the Week, 9 OCT 06

Filed under: — Gunner @ 8:56 pm

The strategist is he who always keeps the objective of the war in sight and the objective of the war is never military and is always political.

—Alfred Thayer Mahan

10/5/2006

Poll: Perry Leads Governor Race amid Voter Hostility

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:01 pm

The lastest polling results in the Texas gubernatorial race have been released and Republican incumbent Rick Perry continues to hold a broad lead in a crowded field.

Nearly two-thirds of Texas voters want one of Gov. Rick Perry’s challengers to beat him in the upcoming election, but none of his opponents has enough support right now to win, a newspaper poll shows.

The statewide poll conducted for The Dallas Morning News found that 38 percent of likely voters back Perry’s re-election in the Nov. 7 election.

It found 18 percent support independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn, 15 percent support Democrat Chris Bell and 14 percent support independent Kinky Friedman.

“There is an anti-Perry vote, and clearly somebody should have been able to beat him. But the anti-Perry vote is split three ways,” said pollster Mickey Blum.

The poll had a 3.5 percent margin of error and showed 14 percent of respondents as undecided. Two key points should be kept in mind when looking at these results. First, a plurality is all that is needed to win so there is no hope for any in the field to force a run-off. Second, the poll did not include Libertarian candidate James Werner, quite probably knocking off some of the undecideds. Because of these two factors, Perry’s 20-point lead over his nearest rival is quite substantial with only 32 days remaining in the campaign.

All of the involved camps immediately tried to spin the results in their favor. First comes the following from the Governor’s campaign:

Perry campaign spokesman Robert Black said the governor will take the election with more than the 38 percent shown by the poll.

“Come Election Day, that number is going to be quite a bit higher because people are going to look at the record,” Black said.

Stating that the governor will take more than the poll shows is merely stating that he will pick up at least some of the undecideds. Barring a dramatic change in the campaign, that seems a very safe minimum bet.

The Bell camp also addressed the poll results.

Bell’s campaign spokeswoman, Heather Guntert, predicted Democrats will back the party’s nominee on Nov. 7. The poll shows he is “vulnerable,” she said.

That’s some pretty sloppy writing there, as I assume Ms. Guntert was referring to Perry as vulnerable. Unfortunately for Ms. Guntert’s cause, Bell’s poll results are probably not too far below his name recognition figures right now. In fact, should Bell not garner 20 percent of the final balloting, the Democrats run the risk of being classified as a minor party under Texas law and be forced to jump through more hoops to get their candidates on future ballots.

Strayhorn’s campaign chimed in on the poll.

Brad McClellan, Strayhorn’s campaign manager, said Strayhorn will win if Perry stays below 40 percent, adding: “People don’t want four more years of the same.”

Again, barring a dramatic development, the numbers don’t add up for this claim. Perry could actually lose ground and still win by a healthy margin.

Finally, a Friedman campaign official threw in the Kinky spin.

Friedman’s campaign said the poll doesn’t reflect Texans who don’t normally vote but will turn out to support Friedman.

“These polls don’t mean much to us, but if Kinky is polling at 14 percent among likely voters, we’re happy,” said spokeswoman Laura Stromberg.

Yes, Kinky will get out some that would not have otherwise voted; likewise, he will draw some from the established parties and possibly be particularly damaging to the Libertarians. That said, his is an entertaining but hopeless candidacy.

Related — Campaign Sites of Declared Candidates:

Rick Perry (R, Incumbent)
Chris Bell (D)
James Werner (L)
Carole Keeton Strayhorn (Ind.)
Richard “Kinky” Friedman (Ind.)

10/4/2006

Al-Qaida’s Narrative of Doubt

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:22 pm

Austin Bay examines a recently released piece of captured intel and shows how it demonstrates growing doubts about success in Iraq, but these are not the kind of doubts that have been repeatedly trumpeted from the mainstream media and Congressman John Murtha (D-IsForDefeat).

Several declassified al-Qaida documents — one discovered after the June 2006 air strike that killed al-Qaida’s Iraqi emir, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — strongly suggest al-Qaida’s leaders fear they are losing the War on Terror.

On Sept. 18, Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq al-Rabi released a letter from al-Qaida commander “Atiyah” (a pseudonym) to Zarqawi. West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center (ctc.usma.edu) has the letter archived online.

The letter features al-Qaida’s usual religious panegyrics, but also contains strong evidence of fear, doubt and impending defeat. It seems five years of continual defeat (and that is what the record is) have shaken the 9-11 certitude of al-Qaida’s senior fanatics.

Let’s establish the broader context of Atiyah’s letter.

Accurate insight into an enemy’s assessment of an ongoing war is immensely valuable to political leaders and military commanders. With notable exceptions, such “mid-conflict” insight is also quite rare.

[…]

That’s why the National Security Agency and other present-day spy shops release captured al-Qaida communications with great reluctance.

They should be less reluctant. Here’s why. Information Age media — swamped with ideological and political Sturm und Drang — are a key battlefield in this war.

In America’s open society, people constantly take public counsel of the fears. Sowing doubt about current leadership is a fundamental opposition tactic in every democratic election.

Thus America’s “narrative of doubt” tends to dominate the global media — with a corrosive effect on America’s ability to wage ideological and political war.

[…]

Which is why the rare glimpse, like Atiyah’s letter to Zarqawi, is truly big news.

“The path is long and difficult,” Atiyah writes, “and the enemy isn’t easy, for he is great and numerous, and he can take quite a bit of punishment, as well.” Atiyah’s assessment seems to be a major change in tune and tone. Previous al-Qaida documents touted the Clinton administration’s withdrawal from Somalia as the template for American action.

Atiyah adds that al-Qaida’s leaders “wish that they had a way to talk to you (Zarqawi) … however, they too are occupied with vicious enemies here (presumably in Pakistan). They are also weak, and we ask God that He strengthen them and mend their fractures.”

[…]

Al-Qaida’s leaders also fear they are losing the war for hearts and minds. Atiyah senses a souring of “the hearts of the people toward us.”

Hat tip to Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette, who earlier provided his thoughts on the captured letter.

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