MartiniPundit

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Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Let’s See if I’m Grasping This

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Your adult child exercised his free will and rights as a citizen and joins the army. He is activated and voluntarily goes to Iraq. He is tragically killed.

So this gives you a free pass to tell the rest of the nation what to do? As Drudge reports:

Anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq, is calling for Bush’s “impeachment,” and for Israel to get out of Palestine! “You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” Sheehan declares.

Sheehan, who is asking for a second meeting with President Bush, says defiantly: “My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don’t owe you a penny…you give my son back and I’ll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we’ll put this war on trial.”

“And now I’m going to use another ‘I’ word – impeachment – because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

Now, she’s entitled to her protest, however seamy her ‘colleagues,’ but what’s this about Israel out of Palestine? What’s this about not paying taxes? And what does she propose to do with the Israelis? Put them in camps?

It’s August, so news is slow. Right now Sheehan has the spotlight, because there’s frankly not that much going on. But it won’t last, and sooner or later, something far more important than a grieving wingnut will occupy the news. (Let’s hope it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson.)

Meanwhile, here’s a notice to the grieving moonbat – I’m sorry you lost your son. Unlike you, I honor his sacrifice and am grateful. But your loss does not give you the right to dictate the policy of the United States. That’s what elections are for. Remember, this is a democracy, not group therapy. Your grief gives you no more rights as a citizen than the rest of us. If you want to dictate policy – run for office.

Oh, and the IRS doesn’t go after tax cheats publicly. But one is forced to wonder did you pay taxes in 2004 already? Most of us do that well before April 15th. So, what are you going to do – make it up by not paying taxes in 2005? 2006? On the other hand, it doesn’t look like you’re gainfully employed, so maybe you don’t owe taxes to pay. Just more empty rhetoric. Go away lady – you’re embarrassing yourself and dishonoring your son.

Update Meanwhile, Kathleen Parker explains why the President can’t come out and meet Sheehan:

He can’t because he’s the president of the United States, because we’re at war, and because every move he makes causes ripples around the world. Ripples that, depending on other circumstances, can get other sons and daughters killed before Joe Trippi can say, “That’s a wrap.”

He can’t because what Sheehan’s anti-war supporters want is neither a hug nor a few words of comfort. They want a confrontation — a wrenching, sobbing, high-noon showdown — soon to be a Democratic political ad and Al Jazeera headline for the foreseeable future.

Sheehan, who opposed the war before her son died, belongs to the movement now. And Bush, regardless of what he personally might wish to do, has responsibilities that far exceed the crowd gathering beyond his Prairie Chapel Ranch.

Once he allows himself to be captured in a video clip or a photograph, recoiling from the agony of a bereaved mother, the world is in greater danger. Democrats might be delighted to freeze that image in political time, but so would insurgents planning their next Baghdad ambush.

Whatever Sheehan hoped for in the beginning of her watch is irrelevant now. She and her cause have been usurped and distorted by the phenomenon of which she is the center. Her healing will have to wait until the next big story breaks and the media circus moves on.

Where is Jaws when you need him?

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Written by martinipundit

August 14, 2005 at 11:56 am

President Bush’s Iraq Speech

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I was unable to listen to the full speech last night, although I did catch the back half. Delivery seemed to me to be standard Bush – not his most rousing but yeomanlike nonetheless. So it wasn’t until the morning that I read the rest – I prefer it that way in any event as one can work with the material better. The full text is here.

In short, the President said what needed to be said. He and the Administration have been far too quiet of late, and have failed to counter the drumbeat of negativity from the Democrats and the MSM. Things are going well in Iraq and in the larger GWOT, but the American people have only heard the bad, the sort of thing that goes on in any war, but not the good which is specific to this one.

In starting by thanking the troops, Bush sends a message that he, as Commander in Chief, has not forgotten them, and that he appreciates what they’re doing. This is good given certain recent statements.

The terrorists who attacked us — and the terrorists we face — murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression — by toppling governments, by driving us out of the region, and by exporting terror.

To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill — in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken.

It is also important to remind people just what we face. This isn’t partisan rancor — that’s bad, but we’re not going to start blowing each other up — this is a war against people who will blow you up for disagreeing with them, and more. They will blow us up because we allow women to drive wearing shorts and a halter top. They will blow us up because we allow freedom of religious expression (or none at all). They will blow us up because we are free, prosperous, successful, and optimistic. They will blow us up because they think we’re weak and decadent.

Our mission in Iraq is clear. We’re hunting down the terrorists. We’re helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We’re advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.

This has always been the mission. Far from lying or misleading us into war, the President has talked about these themes from the very beginning.

Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents, and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.

Indeed, it’s called flypaper, and it’s working. We’re fighting the terrorists there, not here. We’re fighting the terrorists in a place with tens of thousands of the best and toughest hombres in the world. The American military is taking these guys down and training Iraqi security forces to help. Yes, we’ve had some two thousand fatalities, but this is a war. And by historical standards, one that is not very bloody for our troops. We regret the loss of each and every one of them, we regret all those who are wounded and perhaps maimed. But we have been fighting for nearly four years now, and the military losses do not equal those of 9/11. Perspective should be maintained. With every passing month, the better trained and more experienced terrorists are facing terrible attrition.

With every leader caught or killed, someone lesser takes his place. They cannot sustain operations at this level without degrading their ability to virtually nothing.

The terrorists — both foreign and Iraqi — failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our Coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq’s diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large number with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy.

They certainly can use car bombs and IEDs to blow things up, but they cannot make headway in the things that really matter. One, because many of them are not Iraqis, and two, because those that are are merely remnants of Saddam’s regime. These guys didn’t go to Brazil, they stayed. And they’re losing.

In the past year, we have made significant progress. One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people. In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair, and took time on — and took place on time. We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard, and rebuilding while at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made.

We’re improving roads and schools and health clinics. We’re working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity, and water. And together with our allies, we’ll help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.

This the second half of the strategy. In addition to flypaper, there is the beacon. Most of the people of the Middle East live under brutal oppression. They know only what their governments tell them. But the word spreads nevertheless — in Iraq, they had free elections and almost everybody came. (This is unlike the sham election in Iran where almost everybody stayed home.) In Lebanon, in Egypt, in Kuwait, even in Saudi Arabia, that election is reverberating through aftershocks as other nations in the region adjust to the new reality. (It doesn’t hurt that Dr. Rice continues to push the theme hard over there – how it must gall the Islamofascists that she’s a she.)

A free, democratic Iraq is the grenade thrown into the tent of Middle East dictatorship.

Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We made gains in both the number and quality of those forces. Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely, helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf and Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties.

This is a necessity, both to relieve the burden on our own troops, but also to prove Iraqi sovereignty is real and lasting. Nothing says that like an army.

I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer.

The only way to win a battle — and a war — is to see it through. No one ever won a battle by leaving it.

America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity, and returns to strike us again.

This is the lesson of history, and why we must confront terrorism everywhere it exists. This does not always mean militarily (although I would like to see the us take out Iran and Syria), and it does not always mean diplomacy (the likely route for the Saudis). It requires a flexible approach, and an understanding of the end goal. I believe the President has this.

After September the 11th, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult, and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult — and we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America, and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.

All in all, it needed to be said.

Also in the address, the President mentioned a new DoD website — AmericaSupportsYou.mil — as a place for people to go and learn ways to tangibly support the troops.

Written by martinipundit

June 29, 2005 at 9:45 am

Posted in GWOT, Iraq, Politics

Enemies and Other Abstractions

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Rick Moran has an insightful piece over at the American Thinker today.

The remarks of Senator Durbin and other Democrats comparing the United States to Nazi Germany take on a whole new meaning when placed in this context. Since war needs an enemy, the left has decided that our foe should not be the murderous beheaders in Iraq or the piteous killers of innocents in al Quadea. They’ve decided that the enemy is us — our government, our military, and their fellow citizens who are opposing them.

Also, by agitating for trials in American courts for the terrorists being held in Guantanamo and elsewhere, granting them equal rights under the 5th Amendment and giving them all the Constitutional protection that an American citizen would receive, the left furthers its efforts to destroy any rationale for military action. After all, do you go to war against wife beaters or muggers? The very thought of keeping these dangerous men locked up for the rest of their lives draws howls of rage and more Nazi similes.

How about it, those of you on the Left? Any enemies out there who aren’t Americans?

A must read.

Written by martinipundit

June 22, 2005 at 3:50 pm

Reading List for a Serviceman

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A friend asked me to put together a reading list for her brother who is serving in Iraq, and I thought it would be a good idea to share. She tells me he’s interested in history and military subjects, so that’s obviously the focus.

I’ll start with The Face of Battle by John Keegan, the exceptional military historian and instructor at Sandhurst, which looks at three key battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme from the individual’s point of view. Also recommended for a more strategic look is The First World War but in truth, it’s hard to go wrong with any of Keegan’s works.

John Waugh looks at a remarkable group of West Pointers in The Class of 1846 : From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, and Their Brothers. Twenty-two out of fifty-nine members of this class became generals in the Civil War.

Antony Beevor’s two books, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 and The Fall of Berlin 1945 are complementary looks at the great turning point on the Eastern Front in World War II and the last weeks of the Nazi Regime as the Red Army inexorably ground towards Berlin.

Lastly for this group, I’d recommend James Dunnigan’s The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of US Warfare which looks at the history of elite troops and their impact on war.

On a less martial note, it’s hard to go wrong with David McCullough, but I’d especially highlight his recent biography John Adams, an excellent reassessment of the second President of the United States, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and patriot from Massachusetts.

A less known Adams is William, but not because he lacks interest. (I have no idea if he and John are related, although I imagine it’s possible.) This was the first Englishman in Japan, fictionalized by James Clavell in Shogun, but a real person who lived one of the great adventures in history: Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened the East by Giles Milton.

To take a more literary approach, there is the Aubrey-Maturin series of Patrick O’Brian. The great friendship between the Captain and the Doctor spans 21 books and some fifteen years (some we relive more than once) as they fight Napoleon, the War of 1812, Pashas, Beys, Maharajahs, Sultans, Latin American revolutionaries, natives, cannibals, and even worse. O’Brian writes of this lost world of the Royal Navy as if he had lived there himself. The first book is Master and Commander.

I recently finished Stephen King’s Bag of Bones which I enjoyed very much and include for variety. Classic King, with a compelling love story, incredible descriptions of the most ordinary things, and ghosts. Lots of ghosts.

Harry Turtledove has been called the “Master of Alternate History” and he does have a way of taking the tiniest event and changing the course of history with it. One such was changing the Union soldiers who found General Lee’s orders wrapped around three cigars prior to the Battle of Antietam to Confederate soldiers. Lee, not McClellan, wins the battle and the South wins the Civil War. It begins with How Few Remain but continues through seven more novels with two more planned. This world is too like our own for comfort.

Lastly, we can’t forget the greatest war story of all, The Iliad.

Written by martinipundit

March 31, 2005 at 12:44 pm

Posted in General, Iraq

Quagmire Humor

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A friend e-mailed me this picture of some Iraqi children and an unknown American serviceman. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but it is funny in a twisted sort of way. Just the thing for a Monday (except I got it today).

Written by martinipundit

March 29, 2005 at 10:56 am

Posted in GWOT, Iraq

Paul Johnson on Democracy

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It’s been fairly obvious that many on the Left both at home and abroad wished fervently (even if silently) for the recent Iraqi elections to fail. They simply couldn’t abide the idea that George Bush might get the credit. Meanwhile, much of Europe continues to drag their heels even as the President (again) extends the olive branch. Some feel that we should pay more attention to the opinions of the rest of the world but that ROW always seems to boil down to a handful of European nations. Paul Johnson takes a brief look at their record:

France and Germany have remained on the sidelines, greeting America’s costly efforts to bring democracy to the Arab world with a mixture of vicious criticism, sneers and obstructive tactics. But then, neither nation has much of a democratic record.

The Germans have had democracy imposed on them twice by the victorious Allies, each time after a world war Germany started. German democracy is a superficial growth, and if the Socialists there continue to mismanage the economy and impoverish the people, who can say whether freedom in Germany will survive?

The French have had 12 written constitutions since 1789. None has given ordinary French people the feeling that they are really in charge of their affairs. If they have a real grievance they take to the streets and block the roads and ports, knowing from bitter experience that force is more likely to get results than arguments or votes.

The French mirage draws Leftist admiration like the moth is drawn to the flame – with the same results. The French revolution invented mass murder, the Napoleonic revolution invented dictatorship, and don’t even get me started on the Paris Commune poisoned progeny. The cheese is simply not worth that (I’ve switched to Wisconsin).

Johnson gets it too:

As for European intellectuals, who command so much power in the media, universities and opinion-forming circles, they have done everything they possibly could to abuse America’s initiative in Iraq and to prevent the installation of freedom. Some make it clear that they would much prefer Iraq to be run by men like Saddam than by American-backed democrats. Of course, intellectuals pay lip service to free elections but in practice have a profound (if secret) hatred of democracy. They cannot believe that their votes should count for no more than the votes of “uneducated” people who run small businesses, work on farms and in factories and have never read Proust.

Proust. Snooze.

Written by martinipundit

February 22, 2005 at 10:51 am

Posted in Eurofollies, GWOT, History, Iraq

Cats, Cats Everywhere

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Carnival of the Cats #45 is up at Watermark, and appropriately leads off with some Iraqi catblogging.

Written by martinipundit

January 31, 2005 at 8:46 am

Posted in Catblogging, Iraq

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