Forwarded by Jack MacKercher
Many still feel that the war on terror is a mistake. Here is an opinion from an unexpected source. It's fascinating that this should come out of Europe. Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publisher Axel Springer AG, wrote the following blistering attack in Die Welt, Germany's largest daily paper, against the timid reaction of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat:
Look at what has been happening in Europe the last couple of weeks. For all practical purposes they won Spain without any effort on their part other than a couple of bombs in public places. Now they are burning Paris and hitting on Holland and Belgium. Better get serious, very, very serious!
“Europe - your family name is appeasement” is a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.
Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.
Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.
Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word “equidistance”, now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush, even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions. No, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.
And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a “Muslim Holiday” in Germany?
I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people actually believe that creating an Official State “Muslim Holiday” will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.
One cannot help but recall Britain’s Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring European “Peace in our time”.
What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by “tolerance” and “accommodation” but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery.
And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.
On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those “arrogant Americans,” as the World Champions of “tolerance,” which even (Germany 's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic so devoid of a moral compass.
For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.
While we criticize the “capitalistic robber barons” of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our four weeks of paid vacation… or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to reach out to terrorist. To understand and forgive
These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.
Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.
God Bless America.
(GLOBAL) TALIBAN TO LAUNCH WAR IN CITIES
By Christina Lamb, Kabul, from The Australian newspaper
Taliban fighters are preparing for a campaign of urban warfare, say Afghan and Western intelligence, and have established cells in the cities of Afghanistan from which to launch a campaign of explosions and suicide bombings.
While military chiefs have been declaring victory in the south of the country and claim to have killed more than 3000 Taliban over the northern summer, diplomats in Kabul warn that security in Afghan cities is deteriorating fast. “This could turn into another Iraq,” one said
Suicide bombs were almost unheard of in Afghanistan until last year, with only five since the fall of the Taliban in December 2001. But this year has already seen 81, which killed or wounded more than 700 people. The report from Afghan intelligence warns that 35 suicide bombers have infiltrated the cities and are planning to launch simultaneous strikes during this week's Eid holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan.
“The Taliban have changed strategy because their other tactics have failed,” said Mark Laity, spokesman for the NATO-led force in Afghanistan. “As a result, we believe they've resorted to the weapons of the weaker party — suicide bombs, hit and runs, IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and mines.”
The main targets are foreigners, particularly NATO convoys, three of which were hit last week in the south. A British soldier was killed in one in Lashkar Gah on Thursday, along with two children.
Until recently, Kabul was an oasis of calm, but the bombings have turned it into a nervous place where drivers try to pull off the roads when they see a military convoy. The appearance of masked police has not reassured local residents in a country where police earn just $90 a month and are thus easily corrupted. Discussions have already begun about creating a green zone, where foreigners could be protected.
Consultants such as Crown Agents and Bearing Point say it is now more difficult to recruit staff to Kabul than Baghdad because of the lack of protection. Some diplomats threaten to withdraw unless they are provided with a fleet of armored vehicles.
It is a shocking turnaround from five years ago when, in stark contrast to Iraq, foreign troops were welcomed by cheering crowds after almost 30 years of civil war. However, Afghans have become disillusioned by deteriorating security.
Hold-ups are once again common on the highways. On a three-hour journey from Jalalabad to Kabul, I had to cross three roadblocks where police had slung concertina wire across the road and were demanding bribes. In Farah province, Taliban won local support after they beheaded a group of highwaymen who the local government had failed to stop.
Taliban militants have also started targeting government officials. A suicide bomber killed Abdul Hakim Taniwal, governor of Paktia province last month. The following day another bomber killed six people at his funeral.
In London, the former chief of the British military said yesterday the country's armed forces risked defeat in operations in Afghanistan due to a lack of clear strategy.
Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, former chief of the defense staff, attacked Britain's military operations in Afghanistan. “I don't believe we have a clear strategy, either in Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said. “Deep down inside me, I worry that the British army could risk operational failure if we're not careful in Afghanistan.”
The Sunday Times, AFP
(GLOBAL) VIET CONG DIDN'T FOLLOW US HOME. AL-QAEDA WILL!
By Dan Gordon. Forwarded by Charlie Spicka 10-2-06
These are excerpts from the longer article linked after the last paragraph::
“It is frightening to see the ghosts of the Vietnam War protest movement haunting the current war in Iraq. “Bring the troops home”… “End the war”… “Stop the carnage”… “Throw the Republican bastards out.” I embraced it the first time around. To do so this time, however, I believe is suicide.
“Unlike the Viet Cong, Islamo Fascist terrorists they killed close to three thousand of us on 9/11. They tried to do the same in the first World Trade Center bombing, same characters, same building. The only problem was the placement of the bomb. They have announced their intent to do it again, only worse. And they are not alone. It is not only Al-Qaeda but the Iranian Islamic revolution and the terrorist organizations they now back.
“And please don’t kid yourself that this is a result of Iraq or Afghanistan or George Bush. The first act of the Iranian revolution was to kidnap an entire embassy full of American hostages. The current President of Iran was one of the hostage takers in his halcyon student days. That was his coming out party, and now he’s the one who not only envisions a world without Zionism but a world without America as well.
“It doesn’t matter how we got there. It doesn’t matter how you think you were lied to. It doesn’t matter if you think there was a connection between Sadam and Al-Qaeda. The only thing that matters now is that both Al-Qaeda and Iran and the terrorist groups they back and inspire believe that Iraq is their decisive battle. They have chosen it as the place where they will defeat America, and unlike the Viet Cong, they will not stay out. They will follow us home.
“Bush opponents like to quote the National Intelligence Assessment which stated that America has been made less safe because its involvement in Iraq has become a recruiting aid for terrorists. That is of course true. But those same people ignore the flip side of that equation, which the National Intelligence Assessment made equally clear. If the Al Qaeda and Iranian backed terrorists win in Iraq they will be further encouraged in their war against us. If they are defeated, then the defeat will go heavy with them; and we will indeed be the beneficiaries.
“To put it in its simplest terms, we can quit the battle field but the battle field will not quit us.
“Whether we like it or not, it is a war with quotation marks around it. Al-Qaeda declared its war against America years before 9/11. 9/11 was simply their Pearl Harbor. To suggest, as some have, that America and its actions in Iraq are the only thing that stands between us and peace with the Islamo terrorists would be like saying that after Pearl Harbor the reason we were at war with Japan was because we engaged the Japanese at Wake Island. The truth is much more uncomfortable. We are at war with Islamist terrorists because they want to kill us. That is not hyperbole, nor is it metaphor. They have announced it as clearly and as plainly as humanly possible. Al-Qaeda has declared we have the following choice: convert to Islam or die.
“Well, the intelligentsia amongst us would have us believe that is just a Karl Rove ploy meant to frighten voters into voting Republican. There also lurks behind the knowing condescension the assumption that no matter what Al-Qaeda or the Ayatollahs might want in their demented fantasies, they can never really accomplish it. Maybe a few thousand die here or there, but the rest of us will still sip our lattes and shine it on. They can’t, after all, cripple America.
“Actually, that’s not the case. Just as the Spanish Civil War was a preview of what European Fascism had in store for the world, so too was the recent Israel/Hezb’allah war a preview of what Islamo Fascism has in store.
“Consider this, right now as you read this, northern Mexico is by and large ruled not by its own government nor its police, nor even it’s military. It is ruled by drug cartels who cut off the heads of policemen and stick them up in American tourists resorts like Rosarita Beach. Like those drug cartels, Hezb’allah makes a good deal of its money, which it uses to finance its terrorists activities, in the drug trade - primarily out of the Beka Valley. Hezb’allah today has hundreds if not thousands of its terrorist operatives already in place in South America. It would be a small matter indeed for Hezb’allah units to collude with the drug cartels now ruling northern Mexico. Then with little more than the rockets already in Iran’s arsenal, with even a modest nuclear warhead (the kind which most estimates believe will be within Iran’s capabilities to produce in no more than a few years) those same Hezb’allah cells could take out the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While a similar unit, operating from southern Canada could just as easily take out the Port of New York and New Jersey.
“Those two acts by themselves would plunge the United States into a depression which would last decades. Such a scenario is not only possible, it is highly probable; especially if the U.S. is defeated in Iraq and the Islamist terrorists believe they are on a roll. And make no mistake about whom it is they want to kill. If you are a Christian, they want to kill you. If you are a Jew they want to kill you. If you are a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Taoist, or a Jain, or a Muslim of a slightly different creed, they want to kill you. If you a gay marriage, gay adoption, gay rights, or gay pride, they want to kill you. If you watch movies and like rock n’ roll, if you read Playboy, or Cosmo, if you wear mini-skirts, or “allow” your daughter, wife or girlfriend to do so, they want to kill you. When they say convert to Islam or die, they mean convert to Islam or they will kill you.
“I know you don’t like that. I know you don’t want to believe that. I know you would like to believe only a cross eyed, red necked, right wing, apocalyptic, bozo hick like George Bush would believe such a thing, but that won’t let you off the hook. However much you don’t want to believe it, however much you would like it to go away, however loudly you whistle in the dark and comfort yourself with the sweet thought of Nancy Pelosi hanging her drapes over Denny Hastert’s fat, dead, humiliated body, it is still true.
“If we quit Iraq they will follow us home. If they are defeated in Iraq, it does not mean the end of them. It does mean, however, that the wind will be knocked out of them. It means they will have suffered a set back that will take them almost as long to overcome as it took us to get over Vietnam. But you say that we’ve already lost in Iraq. If you don’t believe it just watch CNN.
“Well here is the odd truth, which for some reason, absolutely no one seems to realize. Precisely because Iraq is such a mess, the terrorists now believe it is all but inevitable that they will win. They can smell victory. They can taste it. They are ramping up the equivalent of their aircraft carrier landings under the banner “Jihad Accomplished.”
“But for some insane reason, the previous paradigm is reversed. In every other conflict of this type one always hears the sentence “All the Viet Cong have to do, or Hezb’allah has to do, or all the Resistance has to do in order to win is simply survive.” Thus by having outlasted the lumbering oaf, the West will be defeated. Well, guess what? In Iraq of 2006, precisely because they so smell victory, for the first time since World War II, all America has to do in order to win, is not lose.
“Let me say it again, in Iraq, all America has to do in order to win is not lose.
“All America has to do in order to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Iranian backed terrorists is not lose to them. And all we have to do in order to not lose to them is not to leave before the Iraqis can bring the violence to a manageable level. They don’t have to end the violence. They just have to be able to bring it to a manageable level, a level in which they can maintain an elected government and manage their affairs with a minimum of help or indeed presence of U.S. forces. All we have to do to win is not leave until then.
“Why do I believe that this is so? Because it is precisely what the terrorists are telling us. This is their Tet Offensive. This is their attempt to influence our elections. If they can help elect a Congress that will cut off funds for the war, then just as was the case in Vietnam, that is precisely what will happen. And when it happens we will leave. In defeat.
“All we have to do to not lose, is not leave until the Iraqis can manage the violence. Not defeat it… not eliminate it… just manage it.
“If we stay till then, it is the Islamo terrorists who will be gasping for breath. It will be Midway instead of Pearl Harbor.”
Read the full story here. [http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?%20article_id=6000 ]
(GLOBAL) WAR ON TERROR SLIDE SHOW
Forwarded by Dave Benson
This 10-minute slide review should really get your attention.
It is a briefing on the Global War On Terror and is chilling on it's potential impact to western civilization as we know it.
The Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Plans and Policy branch presented it to a gathering at Mississippi State University and the presenter released it for public showing.
Whether or not you support the current Iraq policies of the Bush administration is irrelevant.
What is RELEVANT to western society is the potential impact of the spread of this form of terrorism.
It is imperative that we understand that the threat to our way of life and western society today is potentially far greater than any we have faced in hundreds of years.
CLICK HERE [http://www.keepingapace.com/JCSLongWar.pps ] to start and click left or right button as appropriate to view each slide.
(HEROES) IF I DIE BEFORE YOU WAKE
Forwarded by JayPMarine
Here is a musical tribute in support of all of our men and women called into military action in Iraq and around the world. We keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
Click on [http://www.andiesisle.com/If-I-Die-Before-You-Wake.html ] to listen to this song - sung by Dustan Evans, and written by Dustin Evans, Rick Tiger and David Brainard.
NOTE FROM JUG: I ran the above article several months ago. Recently, I received the following note from one of the co-writers:
Hello, I'm Dave Brainard, one of the writers of “If I Die Before You Wake.”
Thank you for believing in our song and making people aware of it through your website.
We now have a new fully produced version of the song which is being sent out to country radio. Please call your local country stations and request it!! It is also available for download HERE [http://www.giantslayerrecords.com ] - click on Dustin Evans.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Fallen Patriots Fund.
(HEROES) SILVER STAR TO FEMALE SOLDIER
First Woman Since WWII to Win This Medal for Valor in Combat
By Ann Scott Tyson Washington Post Staff Writer 6-17-05
Forwarded by SMSgt Spence Eggleston, USAF (Ret)
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester fought her way through an enemy ambush south of Baghdad, killing three insurgents with her M-4 rifle to save fellow soldiers' lives — and became the first woman since World War II to win the Silver Star medal for valor in combat.
The 23-year-old retail store manager from Bowling Green, Ky., won the award for skillfully leading her team of military police soldiers in a counterattack after about 50 insurgents ambushed a supply convoy they were guarding near Salman Pak on March 20.
The medal, rare for any soldier, underscores the growing role in combat of U.S. female troops in Iraq's guerrilla war, where tens of thousands of American women have served, 36 have been killed and 285 wounded, according to Pentagon figures.
After insurgents hit the convoy with a barrage of fire from machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, Hester “maneuvered her team through the kill zone into a flanking position where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 rounds,” according to the Army citation accompanying the Silver Star.
“She then cleared two trenches with her squad leader where she engaged and eliminated three AIF [anti-Iraqi forces] with her M4 rifle. Her actions saved the lives of numerous convoy members,” the citation stated.
Hester, a varsity softball and basketball player in high school, joined the Army in 2001 and was assigned to the Kentucky National Guard's 617th Military Police Company, based in Richmond, Ky.
A female driver with the unit, Spec. Ashley J. Pullen of Danville, Ky., also won the Bronze Star for her bravery. Pullen laid down fire to suppress insurgents and then “exposed herself to heavy AIF fires in order to provide medical assistance to her critically injured comrades,” saving several lives, her citation said.
Six other soldiers with Hester's unit won awards for defeating the ambush, leaving 27 insurgents dead, six wounded and one captured. They include Hester's squad leader, Staff. Sgt. Timothy F. Nein, who also won the Silver Star.
(HEROES) SMITHSONIAN OPENS WAR EXHIBIT
PRICE OF FREEDOM: AMERICANS AT WAR
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — A new exhibit featuring the U.S. armed forces opened on Veterans Day 2004 at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
A number of Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center attended a special preview of the new exhibit entitled, Price of Freedom: Americans at War. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Meyers was also in attendance.
“I think this exhibit shows people that freedom isn't free,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph L. Bowser, a preview honoree who was injured in Iraq serving with the 293rd Transportation Company - a Reserve unit from Connecticut.
Living history presenters were at the exhibition's opening festival Nov. 13. Some were storytellers portraying characters from early American conflicts while others were veterans of more recent wars sharing their experiences. Among others, Retired Capt. Ronald Radcliffe discussed his experiences as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Lt. Col. Donald Byers, the last Korean War veteran to retire from active duty, recounted his service as a member of a machine gun platoon in Korea.
The Liberty Belles recreated a World War II USO show.
The permanent 18,000 square feet exhibition features military events from 1756 to today - beginning with the French and Indian War and progressing through the military experience from the Revolution through the Global War on Terror. It also includes interactive media experiences and an array of relics, such as battle flags, firearms, swords, uniforms, medals and Soldiers’ equipment.
Of special note are:
- George Washington’s commission from Congress as commander in chief of the Continental Army
- Andrew Jackson’s uniform jacket from the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812
- World War II radiogram alerting the Pacific Fleet: “Air Raid Pearl Harbor. This is no drill.”
(HEROES) SOLDIER'S FUNERAL, TEXAS STYLE
From Vickie Pierce. Forwarded by Dave Benson
What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce about her nephew James' funeral who was serving our country in Iraq:
I'm back, it was certainly a quick trip, but I have to also say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in Texas.
The service itself was impressive with wonderful flowers and sprays, a portrait of James his uniform and boots, his awards and ribbons. There were lots of military brass and an eloquent (though inappropriately longwinded) Baptist preacher.
There were easily 1000 people at the service, filling the church sanctuary as well as the fellowship hall and spilling out into the parking lot. However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service on the way to the cemetery.
We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing and some other emergency vehicles, with Texas Rangers handling traffic. Everyone on the road who was not in the procession, pulled over, got out of their cars and stood silently and respectfully, some put their hands over their hearts, some had small flags.
Shop keepers came outside with their customers and did the same thing. Construction workers stopped their work, got off their equipment and put their hands over their hearts, too. There was no noise whatsoever except a few birds and the quiet hum of cars going slowly up the road.
When we turned off the highway, suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4H club or something, but it continued - for two and a half miles. Hundreds of young people, standing silently on the side of the road with flags.
At one point we passed an elementary school, and all the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder holding flags… kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone. Some held signs of love and support.
Then came teenage girls and younger boys, all holding flags. Then adults. Then families. All standing silently on the side of the road. No one spoke, not even the very young children. The last few turns found people crowded together holding flags or with their hands on their hearts. Some were on horseback.
The military presence - at least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and representatives from every branch of the service, plus the color guard which attended James, and some who served with him - was very impressive and respectful, but the love and pride from this community who had lost one of their own was the most amazing thing I've ever been privileged to witness a small idea of what this was like. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support.
(HEROES) SOMEBODYíS PRAYING FOR ME
Forwarded by Ed Gilley via Bob Quinn, VUMS
This flash presentation of a little girl writing a letter to her soldier Daddy, with music by Ricky Skaggs, is a real grabber. Make sure your speakers are turned on, then click on http://www.armedforcestribute.com/ [http://www.armedforcestribute.com/].
(HEROES) THE RIGHT STUFF IN FALLUJAH
MARINE OFFICER'S LETTER HOME
Nov 22, 2004. Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO. Officer's name withheld.
Just came out of the city and I honestly do not know where to start. I am afraid that whatever I send you will not do sufficient honor to the men who fought and took Fallujah.
Shortly before the attack, Task Force Fallujah was built. It consisted of Regimental Combat Team 1 built around 1st Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 7 built around 7th Marine Regiment. Each Regiment consisted of two Marine Rifle Battalions reinforced and one Army mechanized infantry battalion.
Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) consisted of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd LAR), 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5); 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (2/7). RCT-7 was slightly less weighted but still a formidable force. Cutting a swath around the city was an Army Brigade known as Blackjack. The Marine RCT's were to assault the city while Blackjack kept the enemy off of the backs of the assault force.
The night prior to the actual invasion, we all moved out into the desert just north of the city. It was something to see. You could just feel the intensity in the Marines and Soldiers. It was all business. As the day cleared, the Task Force began striking targets and moving into final attack positions. As the invasion force commenced its movement into attack positions, 3rd LAR led off RCT-1's offensive with an attack up a peninsula formed by the Euphrates River on the west side of the city. Their mission was to secure the Fallujah Hospital and the two bridges leading out of the city. They executed there tasks like clockwork and smashed the enemy resistance holding the bridges.
Simultaneous to all of this, Blackjack sealed the escape routes to the south of the city. As invasion day dawned, the net was around the city and the Marines and Soldiers knew that the enemy that failed to escape was now sealed.
3/5 began the actual attack on the city by taking an apartment complex on the northwest corner of the city. It was key terrain as the elevated positions allowed the command to look down into the attack lanes. The Marines took the apartments quickly and moved to the rooftops and began engaging enemy that were trying to move into their fighting positions.
The scene on the rooftop was surreal. Machine gun teams were running boxes of ammo up 8 flights of stairs in full body armor and carrying up machine guns while snipers engaged enemy shooters. The whole time the enemy was firing mortars and rockets at the apartments. Honest to God, I don't think I saw a single Marine even distracted by the enemy fire. Their squad leaders, and platoon commanders had them prepared and they were executing their assigned tasks.
As mentioned, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry joined the Regiment just prior to the fight. In fact, they started showing up for planning a couple of weeks in advance. There is always a professional rivalry between the Army and the Marine Corps but it was obvious from the outset that these guys were the real deal. They had fought in Najaf and were eager to fight with the Regiment in Fallujah. They are exceptionally well led and supremely confident.
2/7 became our wedge. In short, they worked with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. We were limited in the amount of prep fires that we were allowed to fire on the city prior to the invasion. This was a point of some consternation to the forces actually taking the city. Our compensation was to turn to 2/7 and ask them to slash into the city and create as much turbulence as possible for 3/1 to follow. Because of the political reality, the Marine Corps was also under pressure to “get it done quickly.” For this reason, 2/7 and 3/1 became the penetration force into the city.
Immediately following 3/5's attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley's and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city.
This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis. There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.
I could go on and on about how the city was taken but one of the most amazing aspects to the fighting was that we saw virtually no civilians during the battle. Only after the fighting had passed did a few come out of their homes. They were provided food and water and most were evacuated out of the city. At least 90-95% of the people were gone from the city when we attacked.
I will end with a couple of stories of individual heroism that you may not have heard yet. I was told about both of these incidents shortly after they occurred. No doubt some of the facts will change slightly but I am confident that the meat is correct.
The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety.
The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them “cook off” for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30
The second example comes from 3/1. Cpl Mitchell is a squad leader. He was wounded as his squad was clearing a house when some enemy threw pineapple grenades down on top of them. As he was getting triaged, the doctor told him that he had been shot through the arm. Cpl Mitchell told the doctor that he had actually been shot “a couple of days ago” and had given himself self aide on the wound. When the doctor got on him about not coming off the line, he firmly told the doctor that he was a squad leader and did not have time to get treated as his men were still fighting. There are a number of Marines who have been wounded multiple times but refuse to leave their fellow Marines.
It is incredibly humbling to walk among such men. They fought as hard as any Marines in history and deserve to be remembered as such. The enemy they fought burrowed into houses and fired through mouse holes cut in walls, lured them into houses rigged with explosives and detonated the houses on pursuing Marines, and actually hid behind surrender flags only to engage the Marines with small arms fire once they perceived that the Marines had let their guard down. I know of several instances where near dead enemy rolled grenades out on Marines who were preparing to render them aid. It was a fight to the finish in every sense and the Marines delivered.
I have called the enemy cowards many times in the past because they have never really held their ground and fought but these guys in the city did. We can call them many things but they were not cowards. My whole life I have read about the greatest generation and sat in wonder at their accomplishments. For the first time, as I watch these Marines and Soldiers, I am eager for the future as this is just the beginning for them. Perhaps the most amazing characteristic of all is that the morale of the men is sky high. They hurt for the wounded and the dead but they are eager to continue to attack. Further, not one of them would be comfortable with being called a hero even though they clearly are.
By now the Marines and Soldiers have killed well over a thousand enemy. These were not peasants or rabble. They were reasonably well trained and entirely fanatical. Most of the enemy we have seen have chest rigs full of ammunition and are well armed are willing to fight to the death. The Marines and Soldiers are eager to close with them and the fighting at the end is inevitably close.
I will write you more the next time I come in about what we have found inside the city. All I can say is that even with everything that I knew and expected from the last nine months, the brutality and fanaticism of the enemy surprised me. The beheadings were even more common place than we thought but so were torture and summary executions. Even though it is an exaggeration, it seems as though every block in the northern part of the city has a torture chamber or execution site. There are hundreds of tons of munitions and tens of thousands of weapons that our Regiment alone has recovered. The Marines and Soldiers of the Regiment have also found over 400 IEDs already wired and ready to detonate. No doubt these numbers will grow in the days ahead.
In closing, I want to share with you a vignette about when the Marines secured the Old Bridge this week (the one where the Americans were mutilated and hung on March 31). After the Marines had done all the work and secured the bridge, we walked across to meet up with 3rd LAR on the other side. On the Fallujah side of the bridge where the Americans were hung there is some Arabic writing on the bridge. An interpreter translated it for me as we walked through. It read: “Long Live the Mujahedeen. Fallujah is the Graveyard for Americans and the end of the Marine Corps.”
As I came back across the bridge there was a squad sitting in their Amtrak, smoking and watching the show. The Marines had written their own message below the enemy's. It is not something that Mom would appreciate but it fit the moment to a T. Not far from the vehicle were two dead enemy laying where they died. The Marines were sick of watching the “Dog and Pony show” and wanted to get back to work.
(HEROES) WELCOMED AT EVERY FLIGHT
By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2005
Forwarded by Jerry D. Johnson
BANGOR, Maine - Tired and bleary-eyed, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, based at Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., were finally back on U.S. soil after seven months in Iraq. But they were still miles and hours from their families and the homecoming they longed for.
Their officers told them they would be on the ground for 60 to 90 minutes while their chartered jetliner was refueled, so they disembarked and began walking through the airport corridor to a small waiting room.
Then they heard the applause.
Lining the hall and clapping were dozens of Bangor residents who have set a daunting task for themselves: They want every Marine, soldier, sailor and airman returning through the tiny international airport here to get a hero's welcome.
The airport in this city of 31,000 has a long runway and is the first stop for many overseas military troop flights. Even if the planes arrive in the middle of the night or during a blizzard, the greeters are there. Made up mostly from the generation that served in World War II and Korea, they call themselves the Maine Troop Greeters. They have met every flight bringing troops home from Iraq for nearly two years - more than 1,000 flights and nearly 200,000 troops.
“Here they come. Everybody get ready,” said Joyce Goodwin, 71, her voice full of excitement, undiminished by the hundreds of times she has shown up to embrace the returning troops.
As the Marines came down the corridor, the applause grew louder and was accompanied by handshakes, hugs and a stream of well wishes: “Welcome home.” “Thank you for your service.” “God bless you.” “Thank you for everything.”
Faces brightened. Grouchiness disappeared. Greeters and Marines alike began taking photographs. The Marines were directed down a corridor decorated with American flags and red, white and blue posters to cell phones for free calls to family members. They found a table with cookies and candies. Plates of homemade fudge circulated.
“Welcome home, gunny,” said Al Dall, 74, who served in the Marines during the Korean War, as he thrust his hand at a startled Gunnery Sgt. Edward Parsons, 31, of Shelby, N.C. “This is incredible,” Parsons said. “Now I know I'm really back in the world.”
The greeters line the corridor both as the troops arrive and as they return to their planes to continue their journeys. Kay Lebowitz, 89, has such severe arthritis that she cannot shake hands. So she hugs every Marine and soldier she can. “Many of them tell me they can't wait to see their grandmother,” she said. “That's what I am: a substitute grandmother.”
The greeters also turn out for outbound flights to Iraq, but those are somber occasions. “When the flights are going over, it's heartbreaking,” Lebowitz said. “But when they're coming home, it's heartwarming.”
The core of the Maine Troop Greeters is a dedicated group of about 30 people who have a “telephone tree” to get the word out about impending arrivals. Their numbers swell on weekends when particular brigades are due back, such as local National Guard units. Families with young children join in.
Most of the greeters support the U.S. mission in Iraq, but their purpose is not political. Discussion of politics is banned. The greeters don't want America to repeat what they consider a shameful episode in history: the indifference, even hostility that the public displayed to troops returning from Vietnam.
“I think there's a lot of collective guilt about the '60s,” said greeter Dusty Fisher, 63, a retired high-school history teacher now serving in the state Legislature.
Francis Zelz, 81, who served in the Navy during World War II, said it is a point of pride to respond even when the call comes with only a few minutes notice. “You get a call at 3 a.m. about a flight in 30 minutes and you think about staying in bed,” Zelz said. “Then you realize, no, I can't do that. That wouldn't be right.”
Marine Lt. David Tumanjan, 24, of Boise, Idaho, said the Bangor greeting is both humbling and gratifying. “It shows us that what we did wasn't in vain,” he said.
The greeters say their payoff is seeing the surprise and smiles on the faces of the troops. “Every flight coming home makes it like Christmas Eve,” said Bud Tower, an Air Force veteran, who, at age 58, considers himself “a kid” among the other greeters.
Don Guptill, 71, who served in the Army in Korea, listened as an enlisted Marine, his eyes fixed on the carpet, talked quietly about being wounded three times. As the call came over the loudspeaker to return to the plane, the young Marine, reluctantly, pulled something from his back pocket. It was his Purple Heart.
“He said he was embarrassed to wear it,” Guptill said. “I told him: 'You wear it. You earned it. You wear it for all the guys who didn't make it home.' “
(IRAN) CEASE FIRE SHAKES CORE BELIEFS
By George Friedman, CEO Stratfor Intel
Forwarded by Dave Benson
An extraordinary thing happened in the Middle East this month. An Israeli army faced an Arab army and did not defeat it — did not render it incapable of continued resistance. That was the outcome in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. But it did not happen in 2006. Should this outcome stand, it will represent a geopolitical earthquake in the region — one that fundamentally shifts expectations and behaviors on all sides.
It is not that Hezbollah defeated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It did not. By most measures, it got the worst of the battle. Nevertheless, it has been left standing at the end of the battle. Its forces in the Bekaa Valley and in the Beirut area have been battered, though how severely is not yet clear. Its forces south of the Litani River were badly hurt by the Israeli attack. Nevertheless, the correlation of forces was such that the Israelis should have dealt Hezbollah, at least in southern Lebanon, a devastating blow, such that resistance would have crumbled. IDF did not strike such a blow — so as the cease-fire took effect, Hezbollah continued to resist, continued to inflict casualties on Israeli troops and continued to fire rockets at Israel. Hezbollah has not been rendered incapable of continued resistance, and that is unprecedented.
In the regional equation, there has been an immutable belief: that, at the end of the day, IDF was capable of imposing a unilateral military solution on any Arab force. Israel might have failed to achieve its political goals in its various wars, but it never failed to impose its will on an enemy force. As a result, all neighboring nations and entities understood there were boundaries that could be crossed only if a country was willing to accept a crushing Israeli response. All neighboring countries — Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, prior to the collapses of central authority — understood this and shaped their behavior in view of it. Even when Egypt and Syria initiated war in 1973, it was with an understanding that their war aims had to be limited, that they had to accept the probability of defeat and had to focus on postwar political maneuvers rather than on expectations of victory.
The Egyptians withdrew from conflict and accepted the Sinai as a buffer zone, largely because 1973 convinced them that continued conflict was futile. Jordan, since 1970, has been effectively under the protection of Israel against threats from Syria and internal dangers as well. Syria has not directly challenged the Israelis since 1973, preferring indirect challenges and, not infrequently, accommodation with Israel. The idea of Israel as a regional superpower has been the defining principle.
In this conflict, what Hezbollah has achieved is not so much a defeat of Israel as a demonstration that destruction in detail is not an inevitable outcome of challenging Israel. Hezbollah has showed that it is possible to fight to a point that Israel prefers a cease-fire and political settlement to a military victory followed by political accommodation. Israel might not have lost any particular battle, and a careful analysis of the outcome could prove its course to be reasonable. But the loss of the sense — and historical reality — of the inevitability of Israeli military victory is a far more profound defeat for Israel, as this clears the way for other regional powers to recalculate risks.
Hezbollah meticulously prepared for the war by analyzing Israeli strengths and weaknesses. Israel is casualty-averse by dint of demographics. It therefore resorts to force multipliers such as air power and armor, combined with excellent reconnaissance and tactical intelligence. Israel uses mobility to cut lines of supply and air power to shatter centralized command-and-control, leaving enemy forces disorganized, unbalanced and unsupplied.
Hezbollah sought to deny Israel its major advantages. The group created a network of fortifications in southern Lebanon that did not require its fighters to maneuver and expose themselves to Israeli air power. Hezbollah stocked those bunkers so fighters could conduct extended combat without the need for resupply. It devolved command to the unit level, making it impossible for a decapitation strike by Israel to affect the battlefield. It worked in such a way that, while the general idea of the defense architecture was understood by Israeli military intelligence, the kind of detailed intelligence used — for example, in 1967 — was denied the Israelis. Hezbollah acquired anti-tank weapons from Syria and Iran that prevented Israeli armor from operating without prior infantry clearing of anti-tank teams. And by doing that, the group forced the Israelis to accept casualties in excess of what could, apparently, be tolerated. In short, it forced the Israelis to fight Hezbollah's type of war, rather than the other way around.
Hezbollah then initiated war at the time and place of its choosing. There has been speculation that Israel planned for such a war. That might be the case, but it is self-evident that, if the Israelis wanted this war, they were not expecting it when it happened. The opening of the war was not marked by the capture of two Israeli soldiers. Rather, it was the persistent and intense bombardment of Israel with missiles — including attacks against Israel's third-largest city, Haifa — that compelled the Israelis to fight at a moment when they obviously were unprepared for war, and could not clearly decide either their war aims or strategy. In short, Hezbollah applied a model that was supposed to be Israel's forte: The group prepared meticulously for a war and launched it when the enemy was unprepared for it.
Hezbollah went on the strategic offensive and tactical defensive. It created a situation in which Israeli forces had to move to the operational and tactical offensive at the moment of Hezbollah's highest level of preparedness. Israel could not decline combat, because of the rocket attacks against Haifa, nor was it really ready for war — particularly psychologically. The Israelis fought when Hezbollah chose and where Hezbollah chose. Their goals were complex, where Hezbollah's were simple. Israel wanted to stop the rockets, break Hezbollah, suffer minimal casualties and maintain its image as an irresistible military force. Hezbollah merely wanted to survive the Israeli attack. The very complexity of Israel's war aims, hastily crafted as they were, represented a failure point.
The Foundations of Israeli Strategy
It is important to think through the reasoning that led to Israeli operations. Israel's actions were based on a principle promulgated by Ariel Sharon at the time of his leadership. Sharon argued that Israel must erect a wall between Israelis and Arabs. His reasoning stemmed from circumstances he faced during Israel's occupation of Lebanon: Counterinsurgency operations impose an unnecessary and unbearable cost in the long run, particularly when designed to protect peripheral interests. The losses may be small in number but, over the long term, they pose severe operational and morale challenges to the occupying force.
Therefore, for Sharon, the withdrawal from Lebanon in the 1980s created a paradigm. Israel needed a national security policy that avoided the burden of counterinsurgency operations without first requiring a political settlement. In other words, Israel needed to end counterinsurgency operations by unilaterally ending the occupation and erecting a barrier between Israel and hostile populations.
The important concept in Sharon's thinking was not the notion of impenetrable borders. Rather, the important concept was the idea that Israel could not tolerate counterinsurgency operations because it could not tolerate casualties. Sharon certainly did not mean or think that Israel could not tolerate casualties in the event of a total conventional war, as in 1967 or 1973. There, extreme casualties were both tolerable and required. What he meant was that Israel could tolerate any level of casualties in a war of national survival but, paradoxically, could not tolerate low-level casualties in extended wars that did not directly involve Israel's survival.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was Sharon's protege. Olmert was struggling with the process of disengagement in Gaza and looking toward the same in the West Bank. Lebanon, where Israel learned the costs of long-term occupation, was the last place he wanted to return to in July 2006. In his view, any operation in Lebanon would be tantamount to a return to counterinsurgency warfare and occupation. He did not recognize early on that Hezbollah was not fighting an insurgency, but rather a conventional war of fixed fortifications.
Olmert did a rational cost-benefit analysis. First, if the principle of the Gaza withdrawal was to be followed, the last place the Israelis wanted to be was in Lebanon. Second, though he recognized that the rocket attacks were intolerable in principle, he also knew that, in point of fact, they were relatively ineffective. The number of casualties they were causing, or were likely to cause, would be much lower than those that would be incurred with an invasion and occupation of Lebanon. Olmert, therefore, sought a low-cost solution to the problem of Hezbollah.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz offered an attractive alternative. Advocating what air force officers have advocated since the 1930s, Halutz launched an air campaign designed to destroy Hezbollah. It certainly hurt Hezbollah badly, particularly outside of southern Lebanon, where longer-range rocket launchers were located. However, in the immediate battlefield, limited tactical intelligence and the construction of the bunkers appear to have blunted the air attack. As Israeli troops moved forward across the border, they encountered a well-prepared enemy that undoubtedly was weakened but was not destroyed by the air campaign.
At this point, Olmert had a strategic choice to make. He could mount a multi-divisional invasion of Lebanon, absorb large numbers of casualties and risk being entangled in a new counterinsurgency operation, or he could seek a political settlement. He chose a compromise. After appearing to hesitate, he launched an invasion that seemed to bypass critical Hezbollah positions (isolating them), destroying other positions and then opting for a cease-fire that would transfer responsibility for security to the Lebanese army and a foreign peacekeeping force.
Viewed strictly from the standpoint of cost-benefit analysis, Olmert was probably right. Except that Hezbollah's threat to Israel proper had to be eliminated, Israel had no interests in Lebanon. The cost of destroying Hezbollah's military capability would have been extremely high, since it involved moving into the Bekaa Valley and toward Beirut — let alone close-quarters infantry combat in the south. And even then, over time, Hezbollah would recover. Since the threat could be eliminated only at a high cost and only for a certain period of time, the casualties required made no sense.
This analysis, however, excluded the political and psychological consequences of leaving an enemy army undefeated on the battlefield. Again, do not overrate what Hezbollah did: The group did not conduct offensive operations; it was not able to conduct maneuver combat; it did not challenge the Israeli air force in the air. All it did was survive and, at the end of the war, retain its ability to threaten Israel with such casualties that Israel declined extended combat. Hezbollah did not defeat Israel on the battlefield. The group merely prevented Israel from defeating it. And that outcome marks a political and psychological triumph for Hezbollah and a massive defeat for Israel.
Implications for the Region
Hezbollah has demonstrated that total Arab defeat is not inevitable — and with this demonstration, Israel has lost its tremendous psychological advantage. If an operational and tactical defensive need not end in defeat, then there is no reason to assume that, at some point, an Arab offensive operation need not end in defeat. And if the outcome can be a stalemate, there is no reason to assume that it cannot be a victory. If all things are possible, then taking risks against Israel becomes rational.
The outcome of this war creates two political crises.
In Israel, Olmert's decisions will come under serious attack. However correct his cost-benefit analysis might have been, he will be attacked over the political and psychological outcome. The entire legacy of Ariel Sharon — the doctrine of disengagement — will now come under attack. If Israel is thrown into political turmoil and indecision, the outcome on the battlefield will have been compounded politically.
There is now also a crisis in Lebanon and in the Muslim world. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has emerged as a massive political force. Even in the multi-confessional society, Hezbollah will be a decisive factor. Syria, marginalized in the region for quite a while, becomes more viable as Hezbollah's patron. Meanwhile, countries like Jordan and Egypt must reexamine their own assumptions about Israel. And in the larger Muslim world, Hezbollah's victory represents a victory for Iran and the Shia.
Hezbollah, a Shiite force, has done what others could not do. This will profoundly effect the Shiite position in Iraq — where the Shia, having first experienced the limits of American power, are now seeing the expanding boundaries of Iranian power.
We would expect Hezbollah, Syria and Iran to move rapidly to exploit what advantage this has given them, before it dissipates. This will increase pressures not only for Israel, but also for the United States, which is engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in a vague confrontation with Iran. For the Israelis and the Americans, restabilizing their interests will be difficult.
Now, some would argue that Israel's possession of weapons of mass destruction negates the consequences of regional perception of weakness. That might be the case, but the fact is that Israel's possession of such weapons did not prevent attacks in 1973, nor were those weapons usable in this case. Consider the distances involved: Israeli forces have been fighting 10 miles from the border. And if Damascus were to be struck with the wind blowing the wrong way, northern Israel would be fried as well.
Israel could undertake a nuclear strike against Iran, but the threat posed by Iran is indirect — since it is far away — and would not determine the outcome of any regional encounter. Certainly, the possession of nuclear weapons provides Israel a final line from which to threaten enemies — but by the time that became necessary, the issue already would have shifted massively against Israel. Nuclear weapons have not been used since World War II — in spite of many apparent opportunities to do so — because, as a weapon, the utility is more apparent than real. Possession of nuclear weapons can help guarantee regime survival, but not, by itself, military success.
As it stands, logic holds that, given the tenuous nature of the cease-fire, casus belli on Israel's part can be found and the war reinitiated. Given the mood in Israel, logic would dictate the fall of Olmert, his replacement by a war coalition and an attempt to change the outcome. But logic has not applied to Israeli thinking during this war. We have been consistently surprised by the choices Israel has made, and it is not clear whether this is simply Olmert's problem or one that has become embedded in Israel.
What is clear is that, if the current outcome stands, it will mean there has been a tremendous earthquake in the Middle East. It is cheap and easy to talk about historic events. But when a reality that has dominated a region for 58 years is shattered, it is historic. Perhaps this paves the way to new wars. Perhaps Olmert's restraint opens the door for some sort of stable peace. But from where we sit, he was sufficiently aggressive to increase hostility toward Israel without being sufficiently decisive to achieve a desired military outcome.
Hezbollah and Iran hoped for this outcome, though they did not really expect it. They got it. The question on the table now is what they will do with it.
(IRAQ) HOW TO LOSE A WAR
By Ralph Peters. Forwarded by p38 bob
QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.
Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq - and the region - if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.
Forget that our combat veterans are reenlisting at remarkable rates - knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.
Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies - that's what Americans do.
While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.
Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment - and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter - they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)
America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?
For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?
Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, “Boo!”
You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.
The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq - not one - has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.
There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.
Surrender is never a winning strategy.
Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq - by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.
What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 - a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.
We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.
As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.
If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.
And they won't all be conservatives.
(IRAQ) 9-11 MADE LIBERATION NECESSARY
By British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Saturday, March 6, 2004
No decision I have ever made in politics has been as divisive as the decision to go to war to in Iraq. It remains deeply divisive today. I know a large part of the public want to move on. Rightly they say the government should concentrate on the issues that elected us in 1997: the economy, jobs, living standards, health, education, and crime. I share that view, and we are.
But I know too that the nature of this issue over Iraq, stirring such bitter emotions as it does, can't just be swept away as ill fitting the preoccupations of the man and woman on the street. This is not simply because of the gravity of war; or the continued engagement of British troops and civilians in Iraq; or even because of reflections made on the integrity of the Prime Minister. It is because it was in March 2003 and remains my fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in Britain and round the world is real and existential, and it is the task of leadership to expose it and fight it, whatever the political cost; and that the true danger is not to any single politician's reputation, but to our country if we now ignore this threat or erase it from the agenda in embarrassment at the difficulties it causes.
In truth, the fundamental source of division over Iraq is not over issues of trust or integrity, though some insist on trying to translate it into that. Each week brings a fresh attempt to get a new angle that can prove it was all a gigantic conspiracy. We have had three inquiries, including the one by Lord Hutton conducted over six months, with more openness by government than any such inquiry in history, that have affirmed there was no attempt to falsify intelligence in the dossier of September 2002, but rather that it was indeed an accurate summary of that intelligence.
We have seen one element — intelligence about some WAD being ready for use in 45 minutes — elevated into virtually the one fact that persuaded the nation into war. This intelligence was mentioned by me once in my statement to the House of Commons on 24 September and not mentioned by me again in any debate. It was mentioned by no one in the crucial debate on 18 March 2003. In the period from 24 September to 29 May, the date of the BBC broadcast on it, it was raised twice in almost 40,000 written parliamentary questions in the House of Commons; and not once in almost 5,000 oral questions. Neither was it remotely the basis for the claim that Saddam had strategic as well as battlefield WMD. That was dealt with in a different part of the dossier; and though the Iraq Survey Group have indeed not found stockpiles of weapons, they have uncovered much evidence about Saddam's program to develop long-range strategic missiles in breach of U.N. rules.
It is said we claimed Iraq was an imminent threat to Britain and was preparing to attack us. In fact this is what I said prior to the war on 24 September 2002: “Why now? People ask. I agree I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next he will use his weapons.”
Then, for example, in January 2003 in my press conference I said: “And I tell you honestly what my fear is, my fear is that we wake up one day and we find either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass destruction — and Iraq has done so in the past — and we get sucked into a conflict, with all the devastation that would cause; or alternatively these weapons, which are being traded right round the world at the moment, fall into the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale. Now that is what I have to worry about. And I understand of course why people think it is a very remote threat and it is far away and why does it bother us. Now I simply say to you, it is a matter of time unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons of mass destruction come together, and I regard them as two sides of the same coin.”
The truth is, as was abundantly plain in the motion before the House of Commons on 18 March, we went to war to enforce compliance with U.N. resolutions. Had we believed Iraq was an imminent direct threat to Britain, we would have taken action in September 2002; we would not have gone to the U.N. Instead, we spent October and November in the U.N. negotiating U.N. Resolution 1441. We then spent almost four months trying to implement it.
Actually, it is now apparent from the Survey Group that Iraq was indeed in breach of U.N. Resolution 1441. It did not disclose laboratories and facilities it should have; nor the teams of scientists kept together to retain their WMD, including nuclear expertise; nor its continuing research relevant to CW and BW [chemical and biological weapons]. As Dr Kay, the former head of the ISG [International Survey Group] who is now quoted as a critic of the war, has said: “Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441”. And “I actually think this [Iraq] may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought.”
Then, most recently is the attempt to cast doubt on the attorney general's legal opinion. He said the war was lawful. He published a statement on the legal advice. It is said this opinion is disputed. Of course it is. It was disputed in March 2003. It is today. The lawyers continue to divide over it — with their legal opinions bearing a remarkable similarity to their political view of the war.
But let's be clear. Once this row dies down, another will take its place and then another and then another.
All of it in the end is an elaborate smokescreen to prevent us seeing the real issue: which is not a matter of trust but of judgment.
The real point is that those who disagree with the war disagree fundamentally with the judgment that led to war. What is more, their alternative judgment is both entirely rational and arguable. Kosovo, with ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians, was not a hard decision for most people; nor was Afghanistan after the shock of September 11; nor was Sierra Leone.
Iraq in March 2003 was an immensely difficult judgment. It was divisive because it was difficult. I have never disrespected those who disagreed with the decision. Sure, some were anti-American; some against all wars. But there was a core of sensible people who faced with this decision would have gone the other way, for sensible reasons. Their argument is one I understand totally. It is that Iraq posed no direct, immediate threat to Britain; and that Iraq's WMD, even on our own case, was not serious enough to warrant war, certainly without a specific U.N. resolution mandating military action. And they argue: Saddam could, in any event, be contained.
In other words, they disagreed then and disagree now fundamentally with the characterization of the threat. We were saying this is urgent; we have to act; the opponents of war thought it wasn't. And I accept, incidentally, that however abhorrent and foul the regime and however relevant that was for the reasons I set out before the war, for example in Glasgow in February 2003, regime change alone could not be and was not our justification for war. Our primary purpose was to enforce U.N. resolutions over Iraq and WMD.
Of course the opponents are boosted by the fact that though we know Saddam had WMD, we haven't found the physical evidence of them in the 11 months since the war. But in fact, everyone thought he had them. That was the basis of U.N. Resolution 1441.
It's just worth pointing out that the search is being conducted in a country twice the land mass of the U.K., which David Kay's interim report in October 2003 noted, contains 130 ammunition storage areas, some covering an area of 50 square miles, including some 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets and other ordnance, of which only a small proportion have as yet been searched in the difficult security environment that exists.
But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.
The characterization of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live. Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, and its way of living. If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.
This is true also of our security.
The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalization is to the world's economy.
It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed. But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it.
Let me attempt an explanation of how my own thinking, as a political leader, has evolved during these past few years. Already, before September 11th the world's view of the justification of military action had been changing. The only clear case in international relations for armed intervention had been self-defense, response to aggression. But the notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community, where in certain clear circumstances we do intervene, even though we are not directly threatened. I said this was not just to correct injustice, but also because in an increasingly interdependent world, our self-interest was allied to the interests of others; and seldom did conflict in one region of the world not contaminate another. We acted in Sierra Leone for similar reasons, though frankly even if that country had become run by gangsters and murderers and its democracy crushed, it would have been a long time before it impacted on us. But we were able to act to help them and we did.
So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted into this philosophy, though I could see the horrible injustice done to its people by Saddam.
However, I had started to become concerned about two other phenomena.
The first was the increasing amount of information about Islamic extremism and terrorism that was crossing my desk. Chechnya was blighted by it. So was Kashmir. Afghanistan was its training ground. Some 300 people had been killed in the attacks on the U.S.S Cole and U.S. embassies in East Africa.
The extremism seemed remarkably well financed. It was very active. And it was driven not by a set of negotiable political demands, but by religious fanaticism.
The second was the attempts by states — some of them highly unstable and repressive — to develop nuclear weapons programs, CW and BW materiel and long-range missiles. What is more, it was obvious that there was a considerable network of individuals and companies with expertise in this area, prepared to sell it.
All this was before September 11th. I discussed the issue of WMD with President Bush at our first meeting in Camp David in February 2001. But it's in the nature of things that other issues intervene — I was about to fight for re-election — and though it was raised, it was a troubling specter in the background, not something to arrest our whole attention.
President Bush told me that on September 9th, 2001, he had a meeting about Iraq in the White House when he discussed “smart” sanctions, changes to the sanctions regime. There was no talk of military action.
September 11th was for me a revelation. What had seemed inchoate came together. The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people. But what galvanized me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3,000. But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have rejoiced in it. The purpose was to cause such hatred between Muslims and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it.
When I spoke to the House of Commons on 14 September 2001 I said: “We know, that they [the terrorists] would, if they could, go further and use chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know, also, that there are groups of people, occasionally states, who will trade the technology and capability of such weapons. It is time that this trade was exposed, disrupted, and stamped out. We have been warned by the events of 11 September, and we should act on the warning.”
From September 11th on, I could see the threat plainly. Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon. Here were states whose leadership cared for no one but themselves; were often cruel and tyrannical towards their own people; and who saw WMD as a means of defending themselves against any attempt external or internal to remove them and who, in their chaotic and corrupt state, were in any event porous and irresponsible with neither the will nor capability to prevent terrorists who also hated the West, from exploiting their chaos and corruption.
I became aware of the activities of A.Q, Khan, former Pakistani nuclear scientist, and of an organization developing nuclear weapons technology to sell secretly to states wanting to acquire it. I started to hear of plants to manufacture nuclear weapons equipment in Malaysia, in the Near East and Africa, companies in the Gulf and Europe to finance it; training and know-how provided — all without any or much international action to stop it. It was a murky, dangerous trade, done with much sophistication and it was rapidly shortening the timeframe of countries like North Korea and Iran in acquiring serviceable nuclear weapons capability.
I asked for more intelligence on the issue not just of terrorism but also of WMD. The scale of it became clear. It didn't matter that the Islamic extremists often hated some of these regimes. Their mutual enmity toward the West would in the end triumph over any scruples of that nature, as we see graphically in Iraq today.
We knew that al Qaeda sought the capability to use WMD in their attacks. Bin Laden has called it a “duty” to obtain nuclear weapons. His networks have experimented with chemicals and toxins for use in attacks. He received advice from at least two Pakistani scientists on the design of nuclear weapons. In Afghanistan al Qaeda trained its recruits in the use of poisons and chemicals. An al Qaeda terrorist ran a training camp developing these techniques. Terrorist training manuals giving step-by-step instructions for the manufacture of deadly substances such as botulinum and ricin were widely distributed in Afghanistan and elsewhere and via the Internet. Terrorists in Russia have actually deployed radiological material. The sarin attack on the Tokyo Metro showed how serious an impact even a relatively small attack can have.
The global threat to our security was clear. So was our duty: to act to eliminate it.
First we dealt with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, removing the Taliban that succored them.
But then we had to confront the states with WMD. We had to take a stand. We had to force conformity with international obligations that for years had been breached with the world turning a blind eye. For 12 years Saddam had defied calls to disarm. In 1998, he had effectively driven out the U.N. inspectors and we had bombed his military infrastructure; but we had only weakened him, not removed the threat. Saddam alone had used CW against Iran and against his own people.
We had had an international coalition blessed by the U.N. in Afghanistan. I wanted the same now. President Bush agreed to go the U.N. route. We secured U.N. Resolution 1441. Saddam had one final chance to comply fully. Compliance had to start with a full and honest declaration of WMD programs and activities.
The truth is disarming a country, other than with its consent, is a perilous exercise. On 8 December 2002, Saddam sent his declaration. It was obviously false. The U.N. inspectors were in Iraq, but progress was slow and the vital cooperation of Iraqi scientists withheld. In March we went back to the U.N. to make a final ultimatum. We strove hard for agreement. We very nearly achieved it.
So we came to the point of decision. Prime ministers don't have the luxury of maintaining both sides of the argument. They can see both sides. But ultimately, leadership is about deciding. My view was and is that if the U.N. had come together and delivered a tough ultimatum to Saddam, listing clearly what he had to do, benchmarking it, he may have folded and events set in train that might just and eventually have led to his departure from power.
But the Security Council didn't agree.
Suppose at that point we had backed away. Inspectors would have stayed but only the utterly naive would believe that following such a public climb-down by the U.S. and its partners, Saddam would have cooperated more. He would have strung the inspectors out and returned emboldened to his plans. The will to act on the issue of rogue states and WMD would have been shown to be hollow. The terrorists, watching and analyzing every move in our psychology as they do, would have taken heart. All this without counting the fact that the appalling brutalization of the Iraqi people would have continued unabated and reinforced.
Here is the crux. It is possible that even with all of this, nothing would have happened. Possible that Saddam would change his ambitions; possible he would develop the WMD but never use it; possible that the terrorists would never get their hands on WMD, whether from Iraq or elsewhere. We cannot be certain. Perhaps we would have found different ways of reducing it. Perhaps this Islamic terrorism would ebb of its own accord.
But do we want to take the risk? That is the judgment. And my judgment then and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with states or organizations or individuals proliferating WMD, is one I simply am not prepared to run.
This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favor playing it long. Their worldly-wise cynicism is actually at best naiveté and at worst dereliction.
When they talk, as they do now, of diplomacy coming back into fashion in respect of Iran or North Korea or Libya, do they seriously think that diplomacy alone has brought about this change? Since the war in Iraq, Libya has taken the courageous step of owning up not just to a nuclear weapons program but also to having chemical weapons, which are now being destroyed. Iran is back in the reach of the IAEA. North Korea in talks with China over its WMD. The A.Q. Khan network is being shut down, its trade slowly but surely being eliminated.
Yet it is monstrously premature to think the threat has passed. The risk remains in the balance here and abroad.
These days decisions about it come thick and fast, and while they are not always of the same magnitude they are hardly trivial. Let me give you an example. A short while ago, during the war, we received specific intelligence warning of a major attack on Heathrow. To this day, we don't know if it was correct and we foiled it or if it was wrong. But we received the intelligence. We immediately heightened the police presence. At the time it was much criticized as political hype or an attempt to frighten the public. Actually at each stage we followed rigidly the advice of the police and Security Service.
But sit in my seat. Here is the intelligence. Here is the advice. Do you ignore it? But, of course intelligence is precisely that: intelligence. It is not hard fact. It has its limitations. On each occasion the most careful judgment has to be made taking account of everything we know and the best assessment and advice available. But in making that judgment, would you prefer us to act, even if it turns out to be wrong? Or not to act and hope it's OK? And suppose we don't act and the intelligence turns out to be right, how forgiving will people be?
And to those who think that these things are all disconnected, random acts, disparate threats with no common thread to bind them, look at what is happening in Iraq today. The terrorists pouring into Iraq know full well the importance of destroying not just the nascent progress of Iraq toward stability, prosperity and democracy, but of destroying our confidence, of defeating our will to persevere.
I have no doubt Iraq is better without Saddam; but no doubt either, that as a result of his removal, the dangers of the threat we face will be diminished. That is not to say the terrorists won't redouble their efforts. They will. This war is not ended. It may only be at the end of its first phase. They are in Iraq, murdering innocent Iraqis who want to worship or join a police force that upholds the law not a brutal dictatorship; they carry on killing in Afghanistan. They do it for a reason. The terrorists know that if Iraq and Afghanistan survive their assault, come through their travails, seize the opportunity the future offers, then those countries will stand not just as nations liberated from oppression, but as a lesson to humankind everywhere and a profound antidote to the poison of religious extremism. That is precisely why the terrorists are trying to foment hatred and division in Iraq. They know full well, a stable democratic Iraq, under the sovereign rule of the Iraqi people, is a mortal blow to their fanaticism.
That is why our duty is to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan as stable and democratic nations.
Here is the irony. For all the fighting, this threat cannot be defeated by security means alone. Taking strong action is a necessary but insufficient condition for defeating. Its final defeat is only assured by the triumph of the values of the human spirit.
Which brings me to the final point. It may well be that under international law as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalize and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian catastrophe (though the 300,000 remains in mass graves already found in Iraq might be thought by some to be something of a catastrophe). This may be the law, but should it be?
We know now, if we didn't before, that our own self-interest is ultimately bound up with the fate of other nations. The doctrine of international community is no longer a vision of idealism. It is a practical recognition that just as within a country, citizens who are free, well educated and prosperous tend to be responsible, to feel solidarity with a society in which they have a stake; so do nations that are free, democratic and benefiting from economic progress, tend to be stable and solid partners in the advance of humankind. The best defense of our security lies in the spread of our values.
But we cannot advance these values except within a framework that recognizes their universality. If it is a global threat, it needs a global response, based on global rules.
The essence of a community is common rights and responsibilities. We have obligations in relation to each other. If we are threatened, we have a right to act. And we do not accept in a community that others have a right to oppress and brutalize their people. We value the freedom and dignity of the human race and each individual in it.
Containment will not work in the face of the global threat that confronts us. The terrorists have no intention of being contained. The states that proliferate or acquire WMD illegally are doing so precisely to avoid containment. Emphatically I am not saying that every situation leads to military action. But we surely have a duty and a right to prevent the threat materializing; and we surely have a responsibility to act when a nation's people are subjected to a regime such as Saddam's. Otherwise, we are powerless to fight the aggression and injustice — which over time puts at risk our security and way of life.
Which brings us to how you make the rules and how you decide what is right or wrong in enforcing them. The U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a fine document. But it is strange the United Nations is so reluctant to enforce them.
I understand the worry the international community has over Iraq. It worries that the U.S. and its allies will by sheer force of their military might, do whatever they want, unilaterally and without recourse to any rule-based code or doctrine. But our worry is that if the U.N. — because of a political disagreement in its Councils — is paralyzed, then a threat we believe is real will go unchallenged.
This dilemma is at the heart of many people's anguished indecision over the wisdom of our action in Iraq. It explains the confusion of normal politics that has part of the right liberating a people from oppression and a part of the left disdaining the action that led to it. It is partly why the conspiracy theories or claims of deceit have such purchase. How much simpler to debate those than to analyze and resolve the conundrum of our world's present state.
Britain's role is try to find a way through this: to construct a consensus behind a broad agenda of justice and security and means of enforcing it.
This agenda must be robust in tackling the security threat that this Islamic extremism poses; and fair to all peoples by promoting their human rights, wherever they are. It means tackling poverty in Africa and justice in Palestine as well as being utterly resolute in opposition to terrorism as a way of achieving political goals. It means an entirely different, more just and more modern view of self-interest.
It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st century reality; and giving the U.N. the capability to act effectively as well as debate. It means getting the U.N. to understand that faced with the threats we have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world.
But in the meantime, the threat is there and demands our attention.
That is the struggle which engages us. It is a new type of war. It will rest on intelligence to a greater degree than ever before. It demands a difference attitude to our own interests. It forces us to act even when so many comforts seem unaffected, and the threat so far off, if not illusory. In the end, believe your political leaders or not, as you will. But do so, at least having understood their minds.
(IRAQ) ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT
Monday, 17 Mar 2003
My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.
The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again — because we are not dealing with peaceful men.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.
The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.
The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.
Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the Second World War was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.
In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 — both still in effect — the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.
Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.
Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.
In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals — including journalists and inspectors — should leave Iraq immediately.
Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.
And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”
Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.
Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.
Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services. Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.
Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people — yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.
We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.
The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.
Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations — and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.
As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.
The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.
That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.
Good night, and may God continue to bless America.
(IRAQ) ALL ABOUT OIL
Forwarded by RAdm Stephen Barchet USN ret
By Kenneth R. Timmerman, March 16, 2004
Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight magazine. His book, The French Betrayal of America, is just out.
Many Americans are convinced, even today, that the war in Iraq was all about oil. And they're right — but oil was the key for French President Jacques Chirac, not for the United States.
In documents I obtained during an investigation of the French relationship to Saddam Hussein, the French interest in maintaining Saddam Hussein in power was spelled out in excruciating detail. The price tag: close to $100 billion. That was what French oil companies stood to profit in the first seven years of their exclusive oil arrangements — had Saddam remained in power.
The French claimed their opposition to the US-led war to oust Saddam Hussein was all about policy. The editor of the Paris daily Le Monde, Jean-Marie Colombani, just resuscitated those arguments in an editorial that singled out George W. Bush as “a threat to the very foundation of the historical alliance between the US and Europe,” and called fervently for the election of John F. Kerry. (I guess that F now stands for France.) But Colombani, whose paper's coverage of the war in Iraq was noteworthy for its wanton disregard for the truth, had not a word to say about his country's war for oil. Indeed, the secret deals the French state-owned oil companies negotiated in the 1990s with Saddam Hussein went widely unreported in France.
Almost as soon as the guns went silent after the first Gulf war in 1991, French oil giants Total SA and Elf Aquitaine — who have now merged and expanded to become TotalFinaEl — sought a competitive advantage over their rivals in Iraq by negotiating exclusive production-sharing contracts with Saddam's regime that were intended to give them a stranglehold on Iraq's future oil production for decades to come.
The first of two massive deals was announced in June 1994 by then-Iraqi Oil Minister Safa al-Habobi — a well-known figure whose name had surfaced in numerous procurement schemes in the 1980s in association with the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization, which supervised Saddam's chemical, biological, missile and nuclear-weapons programs. Speaking in Vienna, al-Habobi confirmed that his government was awarding Total SA rights to the future production of the Nahr Umar oil field in southern Iraq, and that Elf was well-placed to be awarded similar terms in the Majnoon oil fields on the border with Iran.
Those two deals, which I detail in The French Betrayal of America, would have been worth an estimated $100 billion over a seven-year period — but were conditioned on the lifting of UN sanctions on Iraq. Simply put, analyst Gerald Hillman told me, the French were saying: “We will help you get the sanctions lifted, and when we do that, you give us this.” The Total contract, a copy of which I obtained, was “very one-sided,” says Hillman. (Hillman, a political economist and a managing partner at Trireme Investments in New York, did a detailed analysis of the contract.)
An ordinary production agreement typically grants the foreign partner a maximum of 50 percent of the gross proceeds of the oil produced at the field they develop. But this deal gave Total 75 percent of the total production. “This is highly unusual,” he said. Indeed, it was extortion. But Saddam willingly agreed: He saw the Total deal, and a similar one with Elf, as the price he had to pay to secure French political support at the United Nations.
Much has been written in recent weeks about the corruption of the UN Oil-for-Food program. Documents uncovered in Iraq's oil ministry and published by the Baghdad daily al Mada list several cronies of French President Chirac among those who had received special oil allocations as a political payoff from Saddam. But the amounts attributed to these individuals — in the tens of millions of barrels, on which they stood to earn between 25 to 40 cents per barrel — pale in comparison to the $100 billion payoff orchestrated by Chirac and Saddam.
No, oil wasn't the only reason France opposed the United States at the United Nations in the lead-up to the war. The megalomania of Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin (who lied to Secretary of State Colin Powell repeatedly and later boasted about it to visiting US congressional delegations) certainly entered into the mix. So did French pride, wounded at the realization that France is no longer the great power it once was. But the French did not merely disagree with the United States over Iraq, as did a certain number of our allies: They actively sought to rally world leaders and public opinion to treat the United States — not Saddam Hussein — as the enemy.
The enormous difference between those two positions — legitimate dissent and active subversion of America's right to self-defense — is why America is right to treat France as a former ally. Under Chirac's stewardship, France has shown the world that it cared more about propping up a murderous dictator than it valued its 225-year alliance with America.
(IRAQ) AMERICA'S GREAT WORK
WE BROUGHT HOPE
By Mike Marshall, Editor Mobile Alabama Register, visiting Iraq and writing about the Alabama National Guard troops there. June 20, 2004
Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO
BAGHDAD - From broadcasts by unabashedly anti-American al Jazeera to unabashedly flag-waving Fox TV, a thousand journalists will attempt to tell the world what happened in Iraq today.
Their accounts, of course, will vary widely, but they'll all have something in common: Every media outlet will begin by telling you about the biggest bombing of the day. No matter their bias, TV stations and newspapers around the world lead off with tragedy, calamity and conflict because that's what the public wants first, that's the market.
While there's no shortage of destruction for journalists to cover here in Iraq, lost in the rubble is this unarguable fact: The United States is doing great work here, work that every American should celebrate.
So for this Sunday morning, I have compiled a short list of those accomplishments. This comes from reports supplied by the Coalition Provisional Authority's public affairs office, as well as my own brief experience here.
More than 32,000 secondary teachers and 3,000 school supervisors have been trained, and 72 million textbooks have been printed, now free of Baathist propaganda. More than 2,500 schools have been rebuilt.
Palm tree nurseries have been planted in 18 different parts of the country so that Iraq might once again dominate the date market.
Baghdad's already horrific drivers are now often chatting on cell phones as they careen down the highway. Even regular telephones had been denied to all but elite government officials.
Iraqis will soon be able to charge it. Visa cards are to make their debut as part of a restructuring of the banking system.
Satellite TV dishes, illegal under Saddam's rule, have sprouted even in villages outside the city.
More than 250 primary health care clinics have been built and more than 30 million doses of children's vaccine have been distributed.
According to the Iraq Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, unemployment is hovering at a seemingly dismal 25 percent. But that compares to 65 percent unemployment before the war.
More than 350 metric tons of high-protein biscuits have nourished children and breastfeeding mothers. Some 575,000 metric tons of wheat have been distributed to Iraqi's poor, preventing the mass humanitarian emergency that typically follows war.
About $100 million has been targeted for the renovation of sewage treatment plants and pumping stations.
From now on, suspected criminals will be provided with a public defender and will appear before a judge within 24 hours. Coerced confessions, common during Saddam's rule, are no longer admissible in court.
A massive advertising campaign is under way to teach Iraqis about the democratic process denied them under Saddam. The overall message being aired on radio and TV stations, including al Jezeera, is that the future of a free and democratic Iraq will depend on the participation of its people.
Town and city councils, nonexistent under Saddam, have been informally elected in 600 communities. The insurgency has threatened those leaders with death, and several have been assassinated, yet the councils continue to meet.
Despite the insurgency's attacks, peak electrical power output is what it was before the war, but that power is much more reliable. Several more power generators are expected to come on line in the next three months. Demand has never been greater, as many Iraqis are purchasing their first air conditioners and big appliances.
The deep-water port of Umm Qasr has been cleared of ships sunk during the Iran-Iraq war. Now 40 freighters per month are off-loading there. Railroad tracks have been repaired so that the cargo can be shipped into the country's interior.
These humanitarian projects are costing U.S. taxpayers $3.3 billion, representing the largest U.S. foreign aid package since the Marshall Plan.
I had a quick conversation yesterday with an Iraqi electrical engineer employed by the Ministry of Electricity, and as she was saying goodbye, she also said this: “Please tell your people that we love that Americans are here, and that all of the educated people in Iraq feel this way.”
She said the challenge will be communicating the truth about the Coalition's good work and intentions to poor Iraqis, especially those living in rural areas. “Please tell your people that we love what you are trying to do here. Most of all, we love that Saddam is gone.”
Iraq faces an uncertain future, but this much is clear: Saddam's regime brought torture chambers, mass graves and appalling repression.
We brought hope.
(IRAQ) BENEVOLENT POWER
Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO
ESSAY: OUR PRESENCE IN IRAQ
By William Goldcamp. Published January 2, 2004
Goldcamp is a diplomatic historian and a former intelligence analyst. Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Any good historian must be frustrated at both the coverage and analysis of the situation in Iraq and the war on terror in general. For its part, the intelligence community has turned its back on history as the foundation of long-term and short-term analysis and embraced political science. Because of this trend, its vision is narrow and blurred.
If reports are accurate, a new study done by the CIA concludes the Iraqis are growing increasingly impatient with the occupation and that the coalition's failure to stop terrorism in the so-called Sunni triangle has convinced those in Iraq who oppose the coalition that they can win. A political scientist might draw such conclusions from the available evidence, but a historian never would. For those conclusions to be valid, the Iraqis would have to be moronic masochists. For more than 30 years, Saddam lived off the blood of his countrymen. Indeed, the trademarks of his regime were mass murder, torture and rape rooms.
The coalition has uncovered mass graves of 300,000 slain men, women and children. Saddam engaged in three disastrous wars. He spent lavishly on himself and his cronies and allowed the country's infrastructure to cascade into ruin. Only the beneficiaries of that hateful regime would willingly acquiesce in its continuation.
It is possible some Iraqis of good will are tired of the occupation. But they're really concerned about whether we, their liberators, have the stomach to help them secure their liberty or whether, if we leave too soon, we will deliver them back to the devil with whom they're painfully familiar. We Americans must once again shoulder the burden of greatness as we did after World War II. We gave our former enemies newfound liberty and raised them from the ashes of their defeat. We accomplished this through long, benevolent occupation of Germany and Japan, until they showed the strength and willingness to govern themselves democratically
As for Western Europe, we rebuilt friend and foe alike to the tune of $1 trillion in today's dollars through the Marshall Plan. As a result, a bulwark against Soviet expansionism was erected. America's self-interested largess shaped, as nothing else could have, today's world — which now faces the threat of religious fascism as the most recent permutation of tyranny. However, there is a real probability success in Iraq will signal the decline, for a century or more, of tyranny's quest to engulf humanity.
Disingenuous and facile people always point to war as the ultimate evil. This position is intellectually bankrupt and is one of the main reasons why tyranny repeatedly reconstitutes itself to threaten liberty. A new University of Chicago study challenges the left's and the religious pacifists' naive contention that containing Saddam's ambitions would have obviated the need to go to war. The study concluded containment would have cost $380 billion, as opposed to $200 billion to drive Saddam from power and rebuild Iraq. It also estimated Saddam would have continued to brutalize his people and would have murdered as many as 200,000 more Iraqis.
The study appears to assume Saddam could have been contained at that cost. This may be overly optimistic. Past efforts to contain Saddam had been ineffective. If we had left Saddam in power again, we would have sent a clear signal to everyone in the neighborhood and to our enemies far and near that we lacked the courage to stand up to his evil and theirs.
In the end, we win the war on terror wherever and however it is fought by killing those who violently oppose us wherever and whenever we can find them. More importantly, we win by making sure our words of resolve are supported by our actions and that the Iraqis and others get the message. The Iraqi people want a future worth having, and they know the only way to secure it is to fight for it. But they must also be sure we will fight at their side to destroy the last vestiges of the tyranny they were forced to endure more than 30 years.
The antiwar and “hate America” far left are fond of trotting out Vietnam as the all-purpose bugbear in foreign policy and national security issues. In fact, the war on terror bears resemblance not to Vietnam but to what was at stake in World War II. It is a global, desperate, utterly necessary conflict.
The Bush administration's actions so far show it is committed to securing clear victory over the tyranny we now face. The Democrat Party's candidates, in the aggregate, are “AWOL.”
The Iraqis have to choose, with our strong support, whether their future will beckon freedom or tyranny. Next November, we will choose what the future of the world will be.
Today there is no alternative to the benevolent exercise of American power for the benefit and liberty of all, as there was none after World War II. Those who claim there is, are ignorant and are whistling past the graveyard.
(IRAQ) BUILDING AN IRAQI AIR FORCE
By Capt. Suzanne Ovel, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFPN) 11/18/2005 — Building a nation's air force from the runway up is never going to be easy, a fact one can see at first glance. Dig a layer deeper, and the issues increase dramatically. For the Coalition Air Force Transition Team — a U.S. Central Command Air Forces think tank of 28 specialists assisting with the development of the Iraqi Air Force — each layer peeled is teeming with revelations.
An early finding was that the Iraqi Air Force couldn't — and shouldn't — be a clone of the U.S. Air Force. Planners must acknowledge the inherent cultural and logistical differences. “I can tell you exactly how to set up an American Air Force, but it might not work for the Iraqis,” team operations officer Lt. Col. Wesley Long said. That doesn't mean the Iraq’s air force won't look at American programs and methods they can apply. The new air force is considering adopting the best practices from throughout the world, including NATO training.
Even so, some logistical aspects are unique to Iraq. For instance, while it's standard in the United States to pay salaries with electronic direct deposits, Iraq simply doesn't have a comparable banking system. Instead, a finance officer must journey to Baghdad to receive cash to dole out monthly payments to Iraqi Airmen, said executive officer Maj. Nathan Brauner.
That's just one tiny peg in the overall institution being developed. The transition team's meatier focus is on the short- and long-term tactical and strategic progress of the Iraqi Air Force. This complex process began with an official mission analysis in August. A team of operations and maintenance experts followed this up with a more comprehensive roadmap for the future.
After sending Central Command teams to evaluate the new air force's progress, the transition team is ready to assess the results and move ahead with more extensive planning. Part of this planning is working with Iraqi leadership to put into realization core U.S. military concepts. “Centralized control, decentralized execution — we go to bed at night praying for that,” Colonel Long said. “Conveying these managerial and institutional practices is the easy par. More difficult is acquiring the aircraft the air force needs to exist.”
The Iraqi Air Force's current inventory consists of 38 aircraft, including three C-130 Hercules and 16 UH-1 Huey helicopter, all donated. Acquiring a new inventory has the service considering a new reconnaissance platform and evaluating which multi-role aircraft would prove most valuable. Unmanned aerial vehicles are also under long-term consideration.
The key for now, though, is ensuring the aircraft's capabilities match the missions expected of Iraq’s air force. While future missions may include air assault, air defense and search and rescue, the service's current intensive focus is its reconnaissance contributions, Colonel Long said. A strong reconnaissance mission for the Iraqi Air Force could be instrumental in halting terrorist assaults, particularly hard-hitting attacks on the country’s infrastructure.
“When the oil pipeline is interdicted, that's Iraqi dollars flowing into the ground,” Colonel Long said. Of the recon mission, he said, “It's not sexy, but it's critical.” Air mobility missions are also vital right now. Every C-130 mission means one less coalition convoy is vulnerable to attack. So as the Iraqi Air Force matures, the transition team will focus on presenting options to the new service, not directing its growth.
The new air force being led from the top by an experienced commander, Maj. Gen. Kamal Al Barzanjy, the colonel said. From Baghdad, he’s both Sunni and Kurdish, and will lead the headquarters staff from Al Muthana Air Base. One of his challenges is growing his service as his nation's government is itself developing. Colonel Byrne said it will be interesting to watch how the Iraqi Air Force evolves under the new government.
In the meantime, the focus is on building a capable force, now at about 360 Airmen Newly-recruited Iraqi pilots and experienced flyers, many over 40 years old, are receiving refresher training. The personal threat to Airmen is excruciatingly high. Many have false job descriptions for their neighbors. The individual Iraqi Airman inspires the team.
“He wants to serve his nation. He wants to make it better for his kid,” Colonel Byrne said. “The Airmen know the importance of succeeding in their mission before they can realize a better future. If Iraq's going to succeed against their own insurgency, they're going to have to have air power to help.”
(IRAQ) CLUELESS IN CRAWFORD
GRIEVING MOTHER CAMPED IN CRAWFORD IS CLUELESS
By Marilyn Duff
Forwarded by FlyBurd
The grieving mother camped on the road outside Bush's home in Texas has company in her grief.
Somewhere in Baghdad or Pakistan, maybe at this moment, a mother swathed in black robes squats on the floor of a hut, watching the elders of her tribe strap a bomb to her handsome teenaged son.
They cinch up the belts and murmur to him of the car he will get to drive at high speed, his future as a hero of Islam, and, of course, the seventeen virgins who await him in “heaven.” She sobs as other women try to comfort her. The boy is her favorite. A golden child, he was with a mop of black curls and eyes that looked up at her when he nursed at her breast, when she taught him to walk and when he offered bunches of desert flowers from his small hands.
Now she can see the fear in his eyes, but because she is a woman in an Islamic country she is powerless to stop the fanatical leaders of Jihad. Her son is to die. She knows it. But she cannot stop it.
It was the same kind of Islamic men who stole four American jetliners full of fathers, mothers and little children and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Here in America we were 'giving peace a chance' that day, we and all those people in the upper floors of the two towers, sipping coffee at their desks and chatting at the water coolers when their world exploded into flames.
The same kind of fanatical Muslim Jihadists who strap bombs to kids, even Downes Syndrome kids, did not care about little children on airliners, or loving dads in business suits whispering goodbye on cell phones in the back rows of jets.
So Cindy Sheehan down there in Texas blames George Bush for her son's death as a soldier in Iraq. But her son was of legal age when he signed his name and enlisted. He made the choice. And though he may have signed up for the benefits the military offers, and which she doubtless approved at the time, he also swore to defend his country.
“His country.” America. The leader of the free world, and now the foremost defender of Western civilization, Democracy, freedom of speech, liberty to worship as we choose, and the pursuit of happiness - no matter how we live our lives. America, the exception to all other countries in the world with our glorious constitution and Bill of Rights. America, the envy of the world.
The men who strap bombs to schoolboys in Iraq know nothing - nothing - of Democracy or civilization.
What Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville should know - what Barbara Streisand, Susan Sarandon and the Dixie Chicks should be mindful of, is that women have the biggest stakes of all in this war. If Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville really wanted to honor her son's memory and add meaning to his heroic sacrifice, she would be using her pulpit to talk to the women swathed in black and squatting in the huts of the Middle East.
She might say to them: “You have the power to stop this insanity. In order to save your remaining children and the future unborn, you must all become secret agents, seditionists, spies, and soldiers in burkhas.
“Turn your hatred of the arrogant Arab males who started this mess into action. Use those black robes to secret the weapons needed to destroy radical leaders.
“Use your jobs - even as lowly street vendors in the markets of your cities - to get information to Coalition Troops about where the next Improvised Explosive Device is planted. or the whereabouts of vicious leaders like Abu al Zarqawi. A hollowed out eggplant makes an excellent hiding place.
“Use your positions as cooks in mountain camps to poison roomsful of Al Qaeda - or maybe even the big man himself.
“Use your knowledge of weapons repositories to blow them up yourselves.
“Use your position as wives to stop a husband who is a leader of Jihad in his bed as he sleeps.
“You who have given life, use whatever you have to stop this insane cult of death.”
The women could do it. But they, unlike Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, would have to be willing to die for their efforts, as they most surely would in the most male dominated and controlled society in the world.
Cindy Sheehan's family members do not support her efforts as she camps out in Crawford, planting crosses in the dust. Her son's grandparents, along with other relatives, have posted an email message saying that she “appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation.”
Her husband, Patrick Sheehan, also disagrees with her. He says, “I know [President Bush] is sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.” He adds, “I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis.”
That, Cindy Sheehan, is freedom. A wife and a husband can disagree, and she can go on doing what she's doing. She won't be beheaded in the town square of Vacaville. And that's what soldiers like your son are dying for in Iraq.
A READER'S COMMENT:
“I am particularly grateful today for Marilyn Duff's article on “Clueless
“I think it is an exceptionally powerful theme that women all over the world could easily pick up and recast in their own words and experiences and help to launch a global campaign to encourage the free thinking and
actions by Muslim women.
“What a wonderful way to change the subject from the so-called anti-war coalition of ultra left-wing extremists!
“This idea has powerhouse potential.”
Robert Frank, Col., USAF (Ret.)
(IRAQ) DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?
Forwarded by Len/Frieda
DO YOU KNOW THAT…
- 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?
- the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
- 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?
- Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 institutes or colleges and four research centers, all currently operating?
- 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?
- the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5- 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
- Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes nine reconnaissance and three U.S. C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and four Bell Jet Rangers?
- Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?
- the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers and five Police Academies that produce over 3500 new officers every eight weeks?
- there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq, including 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities?
- 96% of Iraqi children under the age of five have received the first two series of polio vaccinations?
- 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid-October?
- there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?
- Iraq now has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?
- the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?
- two candidates in the recent Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate?
The above facts are verifiable on the Department of Defense web site.
You probably won’t know this unless you see it on the Internet. Why? Because our liberal U.S. media are not interested in good news… particularly if it reflects positively on the war efforts of the Bush administration.
They prefer to accentuate the negative aspects which undermines world perception of the United States' role in this war, discourages support of the war by the American people, and downplays the heroic efforts of our military personnel who are winning the war.
Why? Strictly for political gain and ultimate control of the executive and legislative branches of our government in coming national elections.
We can only hope that, when the chips are down, the silent majority will again rise to the occasion in the voting booth to thwart the selfish aims and pursuits of these politicians who will do anything possible to return to power… except to tell the truth.
(IRAQ) EMOTIONAL VISIT WITH THE TROOPS
By Christi Ferer - from 1stAdmPAO
When I told friends about my pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, reaction was under whelming at best. Some were blunt. “Why are YOU going there?” They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf.
But the reason seemed clear to me. 200,000 troops have been sent halfway around the world to stabilize the kind of culture that breeds terrorists like those who I believe began World War III on September 11, 2001.
Reaction was so politely negative that I began to doubt my role on the first USO / Tribeca Institute tour into newly occupied Iraq where, on average, a soldier a day is killed.
Besides, with Robert De Niro, Kid Rock, Rebecca and Johns Stamos, Wayne Newton, Gary Senise, Lee Ann Wolmac… who needed me?
Did they really want to hear about my husband, Neil Levin, who went to work as director of New York Port Authority on Sept. 11, and never came home? How would they relate to the two other widows traveling with me - Ginny Bauer, a New Jersey homemaker and the mother of three who lost her husband, David, and former Marine Jon Vigiano who lost his only sons, Jon, a firefighter and Joe, a policeman?
As we were choppered over deserts that looked like bleached bread crumbs, I wondered if I'd feel like a street hawker, passing out Port Authority pins and baseball caps as I said “thank you” to the troops. Would a hug from me mean anything at all in the presence of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and a Victoria Secrets model?
Our arrival at the first “meet and greet” made me weep. Armed with M-16s and saddlebags of water in 120-degree heat, the soldiers swarmed over the stars for photos and autographs.
When it was announced that a trio of 9/11 family members was also in the tent it was as if a psychic cork on emotional dam was popped. Soldiers from every corner of New York, Long Island and Queens rushed toward us to express their condolences. Some wanted to touch us, as if they needed a physical connection to our sorrow and for some living proof for why they were there. One mother of two from Montana told me she signed up because of 9/11. Dozens of others told us the same thing. One young soldier showed me his metal bracelet engraved with the name of a victim he never knew and that awful date none of us will ever forget.
In fact at every encounter with the troops there would be a surge of reservists — firefighters and cops including many who had worked the rubble of Ground Zero, came to exchange a hometown hug. Their glassy eyes still do not allow anyone to penetrate too far inside to the place where their trauma is lodged; the trauma of a devastation far greater than anyone who hadn't been there could even imagine. It's there in me, too. I had forced my way downtown on that awful morning, convinced that I could find Neil beneath the rubble.
What I was not prepared for was to have soldiers show us the World Trade Center memorabilia they'd carried with them into the streets of Baghdad. Others had clearly been holding in stories of personal 9/11 tragedies that had made them enlist.
USO handlers moved us from one corner to the next so everyone could meet us.
One fire brigade plucked the 9/11 group from the crowd, transporting us to their firehouse to call on those who had to stand guard during the Baghdad concert. It was all about touching us and feeling the reason they were in this hell. Back at Saddam Hussein airport Kid Rock turned a “meet and greet” into an impromptu concert in a steamy airport hangar before 5000 troops.
Capt. Vargas from the Bronx tapped me on the back. He enlisted in the Army after some of his wife's best friends were lost at the World Trade Center. When he glimpsed the piece of recovered metal from the Towers that I had been showing to a group of soldiers he grasped for it as if it were the Holy Grail. Then he handed it to Kid Rock who passed the precious metal through the 5000 troops in the audience. They lunged at the opportunity to touch the steel that symbolized what so many of them felt was the purpose of their mission - which puts them at risk every day in the 116 degree heat, not knowing if a sniper was going to strike at anytime.
Looking into that sea of khaki gave me chills even in that blistering heat. To me, those troops were there to avenge the murder of my husband and 3,000 others. When I got to the microphone I told them we had not made this journey for condolences but to thank them and to tell them that the families of 9/11 think of them every day. They lift our hearts. The crowd interrupted me with chants of ” USA, USA, USA.” Many wept.
What happened next left no doubt that the troops drew inspiration from our tragedies. When I was first asked to speak to thousands of troops in Quatar, after Iraq, I wondered if it would feel like a “grief for sale” spectacle.
But this time I was quaking because I was to present the recovered WTC steel to General Tommy Franks. I quivered as I handed him the icy gray block of steel. His great craggy eyes welled up with tears. The sea of khaki fell silent. Then the proud four-star general was unable to hold back the tears which streamed down his face on center stage before 4,000 troops.
As this mighty man turned from the spotlight to regain his composure I comforted him with a hug.
Now, when do I return?
(IRAQ) EVENTS OF JUNE 7, 1981
(IRAQ) EVERY YOUNG AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW THIS
Article forwarded by RAdm Wm Thompson, U.S. Navy (Retired) and former Navy Chief of Information, who adds: Politics aside, this is a description of the future of America. I heartily endorse Mr. Kraft's long and well written article.”
IRAQ WAR - A LAWYER’S PERSPECTIVE
By Raymond Kraft, a writer and lawyer living in Northern California, who adds:
“Please consider passing along copies of this to students in high school, college and university as it contains information about the American past that is very meaningful TODAY - - history about America that very likely is completely unknown by them (and their instructors, too).
“By being denied the facts and truth of our history, they are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to reasoning and thinking through the issues of today. They are prime targets for misinformation campaigns beamed at enlisting them in causes and beliefs that are special interest agenda driven.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sixty-four years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat, and had sunk more than four hundred British ships in their convoys between England and America for food and war materials.
Bushido Japan had overrun most of Asia, beginning in 1928, killing millions of civilians throughout China, and imprisoning millions more as slave labor.
The U.S. was in an isolationist, pacifist, mood, and most Americans and Congress wanted nothing to do with the European war, or the Asian war.
Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, which had not attacked us. It was a dicey thing. We had few allies. France was not an ally, the Vichy government of France aligned with its German occupiers. Germany was not an ally, it was an enemy, and Hitler intended to set up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, it was intent on owning and controlling all of Asia. Japan and Germany had long-term ideas of invading Canada and Mexico, and then the United States over the north and south borders, after they had settled control of Asia and Europe.
America's allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia, and that was about it. There were no other countries of any size or military significance with the will and ability to contribute much or anything to the effort to defeat Hitler's Germany and Japan, and prevent the global dominance of Nazism. And we had to send millions of tons of arms, munitions, and war supplies to Russia, England, and the Canadians, Aussies, Irish, and Scots, because none of them could produce all they needed for themselves.
All of Europe, from Norway to Italy, except Russia in the east, was already under the Nazi heel. America was not prepared for war. America had stood down most of its military after WWI and throughout the depression, at the outbreak of WWII there were army units training with broomsticks over their shoulders because they didn't have guns, and cars with “tank” painted on the doors because they didn't have tanks. And a big chunk of our navy had just
been sunk and damaged at Pearl Harbor.
Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England that was the property of Belgium and was given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by Hitler - actually, Belgium surrendered one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day anyway just to prove they could.
Britain had been holding out for two years already in the face of staggering shipping loses and the near-decimation of its air force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later and turning his attention to Russia, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse in the late summer of 1940.
Russia saved America by putting up a desperate fight for two years until the U.S. got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany. Russia lost something like 24 million people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow, 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a million soldiers. Had Russia surrendered, then, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire campaign against the Brits, then America, and the Nazis would have won that war.
Had Hitler not made that mistake and invaded England in 1940 or 1941, instead, there would have been no England for the U.S. and the Brits to use as a staging ground to prepare an assault on Nazi Europe, England would not have been able to run its North African campaign to help take a little pressure off Russia while America geared up for battle, and today Europe would very probably be run by the Nazis, the Third Reich, and, isolated and without any allies (not even the Brits), the US would very probably have had to cede Asia to the Japanese, who were basically Nazis by another name then, and the world we live in today would be very different and much worse. I say this to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. And we are at another one.
There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has, or wants and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world, unless they are prevented from doing so. France, Germany, and Russia, have been selling them weapons technology at least as recently as 2002, as have North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan, paid for with billions of dollars Saddam Hussein skimmed from the “Oil For Food”
program administered by the UN with the complicity of Kofi Ana and his son.
The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs - they believe that Islam, a radically conservative (definitely not liberal!) form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe, then the world, and that all who do not bow to Allah should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, purge the world of Jews. This is what they say.
There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East - for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation today, but it is not yet known which will win - the Inquisition, or the Reformation.
If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, and the OPEC oil, and the US, European, and Asian economies, the techno-industrial economies, will be at the mercy of OPEC - not an OPEC dominated by the well-educated and rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis.
You want gas in your car? You want heating oil next winter? You want jobs? You want the dollar to be worth anything? You better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.
If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, and live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away, and a moderate and prosperous Middle East will emerge.
We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda, the Islamic terrorist movements. We have to do it somewhere. We cannot do it nowhere. And we cannot do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle now at the time and place of our choosing, in Iraq.
Not in New York, not in London, or Paris, or Berlin, but in Iraq, where we did and are doing two very important things.
(1) We deposed Saddam Hussein. Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11 or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades. Saddam is a terrorist. Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible f or the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians.
(2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq. We have focused the battle. We are killing bad guys there and the ones we get there we won't have to get here, or anywhere else. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an out post for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed.
The Euros could have done this, but they didn't, and they won't. We now know that rather than opposing the rise of the Jihad, the French, Germans, and Russians were selling them arms - we have found more than a million tons of weapons and munitions in Iraq. If Iraq was not a threat to anyone, why did Saddam need a million tons of weapons? And Iraq was paying for French, German, and Russian arms with money skimmed from the UN Oil For Food Program (supervised by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his son) that was supposed to pay for food, medicine, and education, for Iraqi children.
World War II, the war with the German and Japanese Nazis, really began with a “whimper” in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of China. It was a war for fourteen years before America joined it. It officially ended in 1945 - a 17 year war - and was followed by another decade of US occupation in Germany and Japan to get those
countries reconstructed and running on their own again… a 27 year war.
World War II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year's GDP - adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars, WWII cost America more than 400,000 killed in action, and nearly 100,000 still missing in action. [The Iraq war has, so far, cost the US about $160 billion, which is roughly what 9/11 cost New York. It has also cost about 1,800 American lives, which is roughly 1/2 of the 3,000 lives that the Jihad snuffed on 9/11.] But the cost of not fighting and winning WWII would have been unimaginably greater - a world now dominated by German and Japanese Nazism.
Americans have a short attention span, now, conditioned I suppose by 60 minute TV shows and 2-hour movies in which everything comes out okay.
The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. Always has been, and probably always will be.
If we do this thing in Iraq successfully, it is probable that the Reformation will ultimately prevail. Many Muslims in the Middle East hope it will. We will be there to support it. It has begun in some countries, Libya, for instance. And Dubai. And Saudi Arabia. If we fail, the Inquisition will probably prevail, and terrorism from Islam will be with us for all the foreseeable future, because the Inquisition, or Jihad, believes they are called by Allah to kill all the Infidels, and that death in Jihad is glorious.
The bottom line here is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away on its own.
It will not go away if we ignore it.
If the US can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an “England” in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East. The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates. The Iraq war is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. And now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons. Unless we prevent them. Or somebody does.
The Iraq war is expensive, and uncertain, yes. But the consequences of not fighting it and winning it will be horrifically greater. We have four options -
1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.
2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran's progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).
3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East, now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.
4. Or we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and maybe most of the rest of Europe. It will be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier then.
Yes, the Jihadis say that they look forward to an Islamic America. If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today.
We can be defeatist peace-activists as anti-war types seem to be, and concede, surrender, to the Jihad, or we can do whatever it takes to win this war against them.
The history of the world is the history of civilizational clashes, cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win.
Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.
In the 20th century, it was Western democracy vs. communism, and before that Western democracy vs. Nazism, and before that Western democracy vs. German Imperialism. Western democracy won, three times, but it wasn't cheap, fun, nice, easy, or quick. Indeed, the wars against German Imperialism (WWI), zi Imperialism (WWII), and communist imperialism (the 40-year Cold War that included the Vietnam Battle, commonly called the Vietnam War, but
itself a major battle in a larger war) covered almost the entire century.
The first major war of the 21st Century is the war between Western Judeo/Christian Civilization and Wahhabi Islam. It may last a few more years, or most of this century. It will last until the Wahhabi branch of Islam fades away, or gives up its ambitions for regional and global dominance and Jihad, or until Western Civilization gives in to the Jihad.
Senator John Kerry, in the debates and almost daily, makes 3 scary claims:
1. “We went to Iraq without enough troops.”
We went with the troops the U.S. military wanted. We went with the troop levels General Tommy Franks asked for. We deposed Saddam in 30 days with light casualties, much lighter than we expected. The real problem in Iraq is that we are trying to be nice - we are trying to fight minority of the population that is Jihadi, and trying to avoid killing the large majority that is not. We could flatten Fallujah in minutes with a flight of B-52s, or seconds with one nuclear cruise missile - but we don't. We're trying to do brain surgery, not amputate the patient's head. The Jihadis amputate heads.
2. “We went to Iraq with too little planning.”
This is a specious argument. It supposes that if we had just had “the right plan” the war would have been easy, cheap, quick, and clean. That is not an option. It is a guerrilla war against a determined enemy, and no such war ever has been or ever will be easy, cheap, quick, and clean. This is not TV.
3. “We proved ourselves incapable of governing and providing security.”
This, too, is a specious argument. It was never our intention to govern and provide security. It was our intention from the beginning to do just enough to enable the Iraqis to develop a representative government and their own military and police forces to provide their own security, and that is happening. The US and the Brits and other countries there have trained over 100,000 Iraqi police and military, now, and will have trained more than 200,000 by the end of next year. We are in the process of transitioning operational control for security back to Iraq.
It will take time. It will not go without hitches. This is not TV.
Remember, perspective is everything, and America's schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind.
The Cold war lasted from about 1947 at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Forty-two years. Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany.
World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation, and the US still has troops in Germany and Japan. World War II resulted in the death of more than 50 million people, maybe more than 100 million people, depending on which estimates you accept.
The U.S. has taken a little more than 2,000 KIA in Iraq. The U.S. took more than 4,000 Killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism. In WWII the U.S. averaged 2,000 KIA a week for four years. Most of the individual battles of WWII lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far.
But the stakes are at least as high… a world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms. Or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law).
I do not understand why the American Left does not grasp this. They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis. In America, absolutely, but nowhere else. 300,000 Iraqi bodies in mass graves in Iraq are not our problem. The US population is about twelve times that of Iraq, so let's multiply 300,000 by twelve. What would you think if there were 3,600,000 American bodies in mass graves in America because of George Bush? Would you hope for another country to help liberate America?
“Peace Activists” always seem to demonstrate where it's safe, in America. Why don't we see Peace Activist demonstrating in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, in the places in the world that really need peace activism the most?
The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc., but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights,democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc. Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy. If the Jihad wins, it is the death of Liberalism. Everywhere the Jihad wins it is the death of Liberalism.
And American Liberals just don't get it.
(IRAQ) FAREWELL MARINE
Forwarded by Susan Pearce-Rewoldt
A beautiful tribute written in 2004 by a proud mother of a Marine, Sandra Lee Gilcher, to honor her son and his 30 fellow Marines killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq. Produced in 2006 by Julie Sharp - also a proud mother of a Marine.
Turn up your sound click here [http://www.pcsuccess.us/yrg/farewellmarine_final.swf ], and appreciate!
(IRAQ) FOR THOSE WHO WOULD WITHDRAW NOW
KNOW THINE ENEMY
Forwarded by Susan Pierce-Rewoldt
Those who thinks America should stop in the middle of victory and withdraw our troops from Iraq obviously don’t believe that we are threatened by Muslim extremists, despite 9-11.
If you are one of those, you owe it to yourself and to our brave heroes there in your behalf to see what the enemy would do, then fervently pray that we can prevent them from doing it.
The following very well done, brief, pictorial presentation [http://www.windsofchange.net/flashplayer.php?media=alqaeda&w=640&h=480 ] on Al'Qaeda needs no explanation.
(IRAQ) FORCE MULTIPLIERS
By Russ Vaughn
Wikipedia definition: Force multiplier - A military term referring to a factor that dramatically increases (hence multiplies) the combat-effectiveness of a given military force.
In Iraq an IED explodes,
An American soldier dies,
But that blast will grow as the media blow
It up before our eyes.
And trumpet to the watching world,
These fifth column falsifiers,
Like sheep they bleat we face defeat,
Our foe’s force multipliers.
Osama and his minions know,
In combat they can’t beat us;
So they hope and pray will come a day,
Our own media will defeat us.
Ignoring all the good we’ve done,
Liberals focus on the gore,
On losses mounting and body counting,
To prove we’ve lost this war.
They disgraced us once in Vietnam,
So now these leftists feel,
That again they’ll win with media spin,
And make America kneel.
But defeatists aren’t the only ones,
Learned lessons from the past;
Back then we swore we’d lose no more,
This time we’re standing fast.
The Internet’s exposed them,
As elitist media liars;
They stand unclothed and widely loathed,
Our foe’s force multipliers.
Some day when all our troops return,
With Iraq on freedom’s path,
The liberal elite who sought defeat,
May face some Righteous wrath.
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
(IRAQ) GOOD NEWS FOR THE GOOD GUYS
Forwarded by BGen Maralin Coffinger USAF (Ret)
Read a little about a F-16i (Sufa). It is Israel's choice of aircraft to take out the Iranian atomic weapons factory. They have conformal fuel tanks that frees up three underwing hard points for ordinance or other slung supplies. You'll see the beauty of the design when you see a photo of the aircraft with the exterior conformal fuel tanks. We are already delivering two of them per month to Israel. They do not have to wait until they have them all to strike.
Check out this website. It is owned by Israel but it does have a good illustration [http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/f-16i/F-16I.html ] of the F16i toward the bottom
(IRAQ) HOW TO GET HATE MAIL
Cindy Sheehan is now picketing the White House, but the following article still applies. I totally agree with the letter writer’s appraisal of the situation. It isn't surprising that the writer would receive hate response from those who support this wacko Shehann. Only in America! Jug
OPEN LETTER TO CINDY SHEEHAN
Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO
OK, you have gotten your “mad” out there. You've been noticed. You've attracted pity. You've had your say. Now, please, go home and stop embarrassing yourself and shaming your own son's memory.
Don't think, for a single moment, that you have the market cornered on grief and loss. There are countless mothers who have lost loved ones. My son fought in the war, but I never had the President of the United States greet me, but if he had, he wouldn't have remembered my son's name either.
I am a counselor, and I meet with people all the time, who come to me with emotional wounds. It is a natural thing to feel personally wronged when a loved one, particularly a child, is taken, from them… regardless of the cause. They have lost something precious, and they are angry. They want someone, anyone, to “pay.” And you have decided that the one “to pay” you for the loss of your son, Casey, is going to be George Bush. And you are “not leaving Crawford until he's held accountable.”
Congratulations! You have now, single-handedly, shamed your own son's memory. Your son VOLUNTARILY, enlisted in the military armed forces, so that people such as yourself could retain the right to speak their minds, make public fools of themselves, verbally attack the office of the President of the United States, and (essentially) try to hold him hostage. You are just a different type of terrorist yourself, and doing the very thing your son died for: resisting.
War, in case you have never cracked open a history book, is ugly. People die. Had there not been ranks and files of anguished mothers who also lost their sons during the Revolutionary War, you would not be living here in America, enjoying the rights and freedoms you obviously take for granted, and feel you deserve. Freedom is paid for with blood. Had your son died in the Twin Towers on 9-1-1, you would be chaining yourself to a fence in Crawford, Texas, demanding that George Bush go bomb the hell out of some terrorists.
Your anger is really towards your son, because he joined the cause of freedom, of his own free will, and you disagreed with his choice to do so. You had personal goals and dreams for him, and now they cannot happen. His life was cut short, and YOU are feeling ripped off and wronged.
George Bush is not intimidated by you. He is not frightened by you. And quite frankly, he doesn't have the time for you. There are some 300,000,000 people in this country, and he knows precious few of them by name. Get over it. You do NOT speak for the majority of us. You speak for yourself and have, already, embarrassed way too many of us. Pack up your soapbox, and your Jane Fonda want-to-be cause, and go home. Go sit at your son's graveside and apologize to him for shaming him, the cause HE stood for, and his memory you have belittled.
Dr. Barbara Collier
(IRAQ) INFAMOUS DECK OF CARDS
(IRAQ) KILL OR BE KILLED
IT‘S A SAFETY ISSUE - PURE AND SIMPLE
Forwarded by JayPMarine. Author’s name not included.
Our armed forces can't take a “goody two-shoes” liberal approach to war, especially against a rabid foe whose primary intent is to eliminate every American on earth. In reference to the news blurb about the Marine who put two rounds in a wounded insurgent's head in Fallujah, here's a response from an unnamed Marine who has been there in the “RIGHT NOW” mode:
It's a safety issue, pure and simple: After assaulting through a target, put a security round in everybody's head. Sorry al-Reuters, there's no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up “prisoners” and offering them a hot cup of joe, falafel, and a blanket. There's no time to dick around in the target. You clear the space, dump the chumps, and move on.
Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative.
Hey liberals… are you worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to spend one man-minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist. It’s much cheaper to just spend the 2 cents on a 5.56mm FMJ.
By the way, terrorists who chop off civilian's heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses.
UPDATE: Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people understand this concept… but there are some stragglers.
Here is your situation, Marine. You just took fire from unlawful combatants shooting from a religious building, attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you're in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they're not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets) and 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down.
So you run over there, and find some tangos wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is really popular with these kinds of idiots, and taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fire team's lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Also, you don't know who or what is in the next room, and you're already speaking English to each other - and its loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days.
So you know there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist (who was just shooting at you from a mosque) playing possum.
What do you do? You double tap his head, and go to the next room, that's what.
What about the Geneva Conventions and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it? Without even addressing the issues at hand, your first thought should be, “I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” Bear in mind that this is a perpetual mindset, reinforced by experience on a minute-by-minute basis.
Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a sanctuary which is a double No-No on his part.
Third, tactically you are in no position to take “prisoners” because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same. Marines get hurt or die. So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission.
If you are a veteran then everything I have just written is self evident.
If you are not a veteran, then at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow; there is only RIGHT NOW. Have you ever lived in RIGHT NOW for a week? It is not easy, and if you have never lived in RIGHT NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your pie hole about putting Marines in jail for war crimes.
Be advised, I am not talking to my readers, but if this post gets linked up, I want regular folks to get this message loud and clear.
(IRAQ) LIBERAL MISCHARACTERIZATION
By Ger Spaulding, CAPT, USN (Retired)
Forwarded by GTDyer
On 1 May 2006, Liberals had a field day marking the third anniversary of President Bush's landing on USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver what they relish in mischaracterizing as his “Mission Accomplished Speech.”
First, he never said “mission accomplished.” What he said was, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.”
For you uninitiated media twerps and so-called leaders of the Democrat Party, the phrase “major combat operations” means army on army, tank on tank, air force on air force, etc. That's what the phrase has always meant. Bush was exactly correct when he said “major combat operations have ended,” because the Iraqi military had been utterly defeated and — on their own — disbanded and went into hiding among the general population.
He was also correct in saying, “…now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” He was defining the next mission, one in which we are still engaged and one in which we are succeeding dramatically despite the best efforts of the insurgents, the liberal media and the Democrat Party.
Now, about that “Mission Accomplished” sign. Surely you recall that the Lincoln was on her way home from a long deployment at the time the war started, was turned around before reaching port and sent back out on a lengthy, unscheduled second deployment in support of the war.
When the president landed on her deck, she was finally on her way home from that unscheduled second deployment, and was very proud of the fact that she had accomplished the additional mission laid on her, even as Lincoln families had been anticipating the imminent return of their loved ones. And as you know, when they learned the president would be making a speech from the flight deck of their ship, the crew of the Lincoln asked permission to hang that sign to let their families and the world share in their pride.
Every time you idiots politicize the “Mission Accomplished” banner, you denigrate not only the crew of the Abe Lincoln, but every military unit that feels pride in accomplishing its mission on behalf of its country.
Shame on you! Shame on you!
So, here's a message to you liberal media and Democrat leaders: You can take your mischaracterizations and outright lies about what you call the “Mission Accomplished speech” and shove them right up your collective, traitorous asses until you choke on them.
Ger Spaulding, CAPT, U.S. Navy (Retired)
(IRAQ) LIBERMAN'S VISIT
Forwarded by Dave Benson
After his recent trip to Iraq, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) wrote the following article, published in the Wall Street Journal about why our troops should stay in Iraq [http://www.lieberman.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=249384 ].
(IRAQ) MASSIVE WEAPONS CACHE
By Cpl. Benjamin Cossel, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=6462 [http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=6462]
Taji, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 18, 2004) – More than 400 rockets, 7,275 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition and one U.S. Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided Missile were just the tip of the iceberg during a recent weapons cache discovery north of Baghdad.
“We would begin digging in a new area and we just kept finding stuff,” said the 2nd Battalion, 7th Calvary Regiment senior Iraqi National Guard advisor Capt. Mark Leslie, of the First Team’s 39th Brigade Combat Team.
The discovery began with a tip from a reluctant informant. Rumors had circulated within the Iraqi National Guard camp of a citizen who knew where a very large cache of weapons was located, but fear for his life kept him from speaking with Multi-National Forces.
“Once word got back to us, we began trying to get Soldiers with the ING to bring this guy to talk to us. But the gentleman just wasn’t having any of it,” said ING advisor Staff Sgt. Ronald Denton, of 2-7 Cav.’s Headquarters Company.
Known locally as a fair and honest person, the commander of Company D, 307th ING Battalion finally convinced the man to speak with him and to ultimately work with Multi-National Forces to recover the cache.
“Had it not been for the reputation of Lt. Col. Waleed within the community, I really don’t think we would have ever found the cache,” Denton said. After the information was obtained, Company D, 307th ING Battalion and supporting troopers from 2-7 Cavalry gathered up detection equipment and headed to the location.
“The location of the first site put us in the far northern region of 2-7 Cav.’s area of operation,” explained ING advisor Sgt. 1st Class Robert Haney of Company A, 2-7 Cav. “The initial cache discovery was exactly where the informant said it would be. But as we started spreading out, we kept finding more cache sites.”
Fanning out from the original location, Soldiers would eventually discover 12 sites, each within one kilometer of the original. The total amount of items discovered was staggering; 12 SS-30 127-millimeter rockets with launchers, 20 rocket mortars, multiple, varying intensity mortar rounds and other various armaments.
As the Soldiers began loading the discovered items for transport back to Camp Taji, the ING noticed that something just didn’t seem right.
“You’ve really got to attribute the success of this mission to the ING,” said Leslie. “They live in the areas we’re going to, so they know when something looks off. People are more willing to come up to them, talk to them and give them information we would probably not get.
As we were drawing close to moving back to Taji they came up to us and voiced their concerns, and asked that we increase our search area a bit more.” Working off the ING’s suspicion, the Troopers set to increasing their search radius, moving further and further away from the initial site. Soon enough, the search paid off.
“We found what appeared to be another significant cache location just a few kilometers away from the first sight,” said Leslie. “At that point, a quick look at our maps and we realized we were moving outside the 1st Cavalry Division’s AO into areas maintained by the 1st Infantry Division.”
Securing the site for the evening, wheels were set in motion to secure permission to cross AO boundaries. “As soon as we got back to Camp Taji, we started contacting 2nd of the 108th [the command responsible for the area] to get permission to go into their AO,” Leslie said.
Even more then granting permission, 2nd of the 108th, a New York National Guard Infantry Regiment attached to the 1st ID, sent elements to assist in the security and excavation of the site.”
“This is how joint operations are supposed to work,” said Haney. “You request permission, it gets approved and they send Soldiers down to help with the mission. That’s Army teamwork!”
The second day of search operations revealed a much more significant find in terms of items seized as well the five individuals who were detained for later questioning.
“We found so many mortar rounds, it was just unreal,” said Denton. “And the amount of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making material, and the list just goes on.”
Included in the discovery that day was over 150 pounds of PE-4 explosive, the explosive favored by Anti-Iraqi Forces in the construction of Vehicle Borne IEDs that have targeted Multi-National Forces and civilians alike.
Three heavy dump trucks were needed to haul the entire cache contents back to Camp Taji where the units will dispose of it.
“Everything came together like it’s supposed to on this operation,” Leslie said. Everybody worked together in a joint [operation] that should make residents of Camp Taji and Camp Anaconda sleep a little easier knowing we have denied the enemy these tools of destruction.”
(IRAQ) MESSAGE TO MURTHA
Forwarded by Bill Thompson
LAW OFFICE OF CHRISTOPHER J. STARK
1615 S. Ingram Mill Road
Springfield, MO 65804
November 21, 2005
Via Facsimile to: 814.539.6229
Representative John Murtha
P.O. Box 780
Johnstown, PA 15907
During the dark days of the American Revolution the Commanding General, George Washington seemed unable to win any victories. There were wholesale desertions, troops were starving, the fledgling government was sporadic with money, food and ammunition in short supply. Out of this darkness emerged a genuine American Hero. This officer brilliantly led his troops in combat and though seriously, and almost mortally wounded, won victory after victory for the desperate and beleaguered American Continental Army.
After helping to turn the tide of war in the favor of the Americans, this officers fame grew as did his prestige, but his prowess on the battlefield, his courage under fire and indeed all of his life, is forgotten because of one act. His name is now synonymous with a traitor in the dictionary. General Benedict Arnold, like you, and a brilliant military career of courage, honor, and sacrifice.
Like you, in my opinion, he was a traitor to his country and to his oath as an American soldier. It is indeed fitting that you are a member of the same political party as another traitor and seditionist, former Lieutenant John Kerry USN, who betrayed his country, not only on the very floor of the House of Representatives that you now serve, but also, secretly, in the presence of our enemies in Paris, France.
Unlike you, he is a self proclaimed warrior and you earned your decorations, but the pair of you forgot one important thing. The United States of America and indeed the world are at war. We are at war with an implacable enemy. An enemy of racist, bigoted fanatics whose sole goal in life is to destroy the people of the United States of America, their culture and their religion. More American civilians have died on U.S. soil in this war than died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and Desert Storm put together.
We are at war, Representative Murtha, and your actions and conduct give aid and comfort to our enemies. Just in case you have forgotten the definition of treason and sedition, I have attached Webster’s definition as Tabs A and B to this letter.
A wise man once said, There are no former Marines, only dead Marines. He was wrong. You are not a Marine. You have lost the right to use that title. You have dishonored all of those who have fought and died up to the day you stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and demanded that we withdraw immediately. You lied to the press, when you said you did not make that statement. I watched you make that statement. Albeit your Bill, submitted, which I have also read, added a caveat, as soon as practicable. That is pure horseshit and you know it.
Yes, Representative Murtha, you have given aid and comfort to our enemies in a time of war. You have given them hope, which they have fast been losing, due to all of the victories and sacrifice by our sons and daughters on the field of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have been honored by our enemies on the front page of Al Jazeera.
No, Representative Murtha, you are no longer a Marine. Your soul is dead. Your honor is dead, and without a soul or honor, you are nothing.
Be advised, my son is a Marine Officer. He has commanded men in battle through two (2) tours and he is due to return to Iraq on a third tour. If he should be harmed in any way as a result of your actions on the floor of the House this week, I will do everything in my power to see to it that you are driven from office and that you are charged and tried for treason and sedition.
The Marine Officer whose message was read on the House Floor by fellow member of Congress, Jean Schmidt, was right. You are a coward. Marines do not cut and run. Fortunately, your obesity prevents you from wearing your Marine Uniform with even a semblance of pride, but I know your face. If I am in a room when you arrive, you will not enter. If you are in a room, when I arrive, you will leave. It is as simple as that.
LtCol Christopher J. Stark, USAR
(IRAQ) MILITARY LEADERSHIP
By Jim Lacey, NationalReviewOnline May 27, 2005
Jim Lacey is a Washington-based writer focused on international and military issues.
Last month over 1,500 family members who have lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan gathered at Arlington National Cemetery at the behest of an organization called Faces of the Fallen, which has assembled dozens of artists to paint portraits of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the keynote speaker. While his speech managed to strike a few emotional chords, it was what he did after speaking that was remarkable. Hours after his speech concluded General Myers was still standing out in a cold drizzle talking at length to any family member who wanted to have a word with him.
As the man ultimately responsible for ordering the missions that resulted in many of these American deaths, this must have been an incredibly hard thing for him to endure. Still, he never hurried a single person and listened as bereaved family members told him about the child, the spouse, or the sibling they had lost.
It would have been an easy matter for General Myers to claim pressing business and escape as soon as his speech concluded. In fact, he could have ordered a subordinate to represent him at the reception and spared himself the pain of meeting these families. Of course, no real leader would do such a thing. Like General Eisenhower, who felt compelled to go visit the paratroops on the eve of D-Day and meet the men who were expecting to take 90 percent losses, General Myers could not send anyone else to do what must be the most difficult part of his job.
I am reliably informed that General Myers starts each workday with a full briefing on the circumstances of every American casualty in the previous 24 hours. I can think of no more emotionally searing way to begin what are often long, arduous days. This is not something he has to do and I imagine he continues it only because it is a daily reminder that any decision he makes can have a dire consequence for the men and women who make it happen.
During World War II, General George Marshall, the first chairman, did much the same thing. Every day he sent the casualty list to the White House to remind the president that real people died as a result of every order given. General Marshall continued this despite a White House request that the practice be discontinued.
This is a brief but telling glimpse at the character of a single man. The incredible thing is that this pattern reveals itself at every level of the chain of command.
For generations, writers, moviemakers, and singers have made fortunes depicting cold, unfeeling officers who callously send young soldiers out to die while sitting safely in the rear. The stereotype still persists today and there is no more horrendous lie perpetrated about the people who lead our great soldiers into combat.
Please note that I said “lead” and not “send.” The Americans who have entrusted their youth to these leaders deserve to know the character of the men and women in command.
On a recent trip to Iraq I was with a small group of civilians and officers when truck loads of care packages for the soldiers were being unloaded. The boxes were opened for the soldiers to grab what they wanted. Earlier, one of the officers mentioned that he needed to get some razors from the Post Exchange. One of the civilians in our group spotted a shaving kit in a box, grabbed it, and handed it to the officer in need of razors saying, “This will save you a trip.”
Without a pause the officer threw the kit back in the box and replied, “That stuff was sent over for the troops to use, not me.” The civilian mentioned that the officer was also a soldier serving in Iraq and no one would begrudge him the kit. The officer did his best to explain and then finally said, “That is not how it works. Just watch.”
So we stood off to the side and watched. Over the next half hour, while a couple of hundred soldiers took what they wanted from the boxes about two dozen Army and Marine officers came over and looked to see what was in the boxes. Every one of them left empty handed. It was as clear a testament as I could personally imagine that they had internalized the idea that the needs of the soldiers came before their own.
Later that same day I was invited to go on a patrol with some soldiers from the 2nd BDE of the 10th Mountain Division along one of the more dangerous routes in Iraq. The patrol was led by the company commander, who tries to get out on at least one patrol a day with his men.
Remarkably, the brigade commander, Colonel Mark Milley was also going along. Milley, despite an awesome workload and responsibility for over 5,000 soldiers, makes time to go on at least two patrols a week. There are a lot of things Col. Milley could be doing rather than sharing the risks of combat patrols with his soldiers on a regular basis, but he believes that nothing is nearly as important as being seen by his soldiers at the points of real danger.
Also coming along was Brigadier General Anthony Cucolo, who was on a fact-finding tour after spending the previous six months in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division. Colonels and generals carrying rifles out on patrol with infantry squads is a long way from the common perception of senior officers sitting in the rear moving pins on maps, but it is the daily reality in Iraq.
At one point during the night, the patrol pulled up to a checkpoint that was watching a road intersection, a favorite terrorist target. Col Milley was far from happy with what he found. In his professional judgment the soldiers at the checkpoint had made so many mistakes that they were inviting an attack.
In what could be called a well-controlled rage, Col. Milley called the company Commander on his radio, only to discover he was spending the night at another checkpoint some distance away. Col. Milley admitted that it was a bit harder to be mad at the captain when he is out sharing the danger with his men.
Going to the next level of command, the battalion commander, he ordered that the entire checkpoint be replaced in the next 45 minutes and that the leadership currently at the checkpoint be retrained on their duties before they were sent out again. It was past midnight when he gave this order, meaning a lot of sleepless hours for the battalion leadership.
With that done, Col. Milley turned to BG Cucolo and said, “A lot of people are going to be hating me and cursing my name tonight.” As I walked away BG Cucolo commented, “There is a lot more to loving your soldiers than making sure that they always love you.”
That statement brought home something I had already noticed about the military leaders it has been my privilege to know. They truly love the soldiers they lead.
While researching a book about the Iraq war I found it imperative that I try and keep any discussion with commanders away from the subject of the men they lost in combat or I would rapidly lose most of whatever time I had to conduct the interview. When the subject of casualties was broached the interviewees would without exception stare away and start recounting every loss their units had suffered in minute detail. It was plainly visible that every one of these leaders felt each loss deep within their souls.
A trauma nurse said that the hardest thing she did in Iraq was comfort a burly Marine colonel who was sobbing. Someone in the group said he must have been wounded pretty badly. The nurse was puzzled for a minute and replied, “He was not hurt. His Marines were.”
It has been my experience that no commander ever suffers more than when he loses one of the men or women entrusted to his care. That they are able to find the will to carry on despite grievous heartache tells much about the leadership of our Armed Forces. When, as sometimes happens, our commanders fail in combat, it is never because they did not care about their men. Often it is because they cared too much.
For those who have not experienced it, it is almost impossible to explain the depth of feeling that commanders feel for their organizations and the people within them. I have seen infantry commanders who are absolutely fearless in combat break down crying when giving up their commands and moving on to other assignments. I know dozens of officers who have already done one or more tours in Iraq who cannot watch the news because they feel guilty about being safe at home while their comrades are still in danger. I have met dozens of officers who are volunteering for second and third tours in Iraq, simply because young Americans are fighting and dying there and they feel a deep need to be with them.
Those with no familiarity with America's warriors might say they just like fighting and killing. Those people have never spoken to an officer who has been in a hard fight.
They have never heard the cracking voice as he relates the difficulty of looking at people, whether enemy or ally, killed as a result of his orders.
They have never heard the anguish of a leader replaying for the thousandth time the loss of one of his own.
They did not hear an armored company commander answer a question about how he felt about having his soldiers rebuild schools after fighting to seize Baghdad literally days before. He said, “I cannot tell you how great it feels to be able to stop killing and start helping people.”
Such is the overwhelming compassion of those who fight our wars.
(IRAQ) MORE ARMORED HUMVEES
Washington, Dec. 11, 2004 (Army News Service) – An additional 100 up-armored Humvees per month could soon be heading to Iraq, according to Army officials.
Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey is looking to modify the Army’s contract with Armor Holdings, Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., which currently produces 450 per month of the specialty vehicles, known as UAHs. Robert Mecredy, president of Aerospace and Defense Group for Armor Holdings, told Harvey the company may be able to put out as many as 100 more a month, officials said.
“Once I was informed of the additional production capacity, I wanted to ensure those additional vehicles were going directly to our forces in Iraq,” Harvey said.
An up-armored Humvee has steel-plate doors, ballistic-resistant windows and steel plating underneath the vehicle that offers better protection against bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devises. The UAH weighs about 3,000 pounds more than the regular version.
The Army, which provides the UAHs to all U.S. forces in Iraq, aims to have 8,105 of the vehicles in its inventory by March 2005, officials said.
(IRAQ) MORE THAN MANíS BEST FRIEND
By Army Master Sgt. Lek Mateo
56th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
ALI BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — Dogs are known as man's best friend, but to Airmen and Soldiers here, military working dogs are considered a four-legged partner in the war against terrorism.
Security forces Airmen and Soldiers, along with their military working dogs, have partnered together to provide force protection on this sprawling air base that is home to thousands of coalition service members and civilians.
In the eyes of the Air Force, the dogs are considered valuable property, like an F-16 Fighting Falcon, said Tech. Sgt. Terri Frye, 407th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron's kennel master who is deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla. But to her and many of the handlers she works with, their dogs are much more than that. Although the handlers understand that the dogs are Air Force property, they cannot help but become attached to their dogs after years of working with them side by side, she said.
“Your dog is your best friend,” Sergeant Frye said. “And you will always remember the dogs that you have worked with.”
Staff Sgt. Gregory Long, a dog handler here deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, said he has always been around dogs, having grown up on a cattle farm.
Part of the job for Sergeant Long and his 4-year-old German shepherd explosive patrol dog, Doran, is to search vehicles that come onto base.
Although some searches net contraband, Sergeant Long said their mere presence also provides a deterrent to bad guys, especially when they see Doran's sharp fangs. He compared Doran's teeth to 42 bullets that can exert 350 to 400 pounds of pressure per square inch in a bite — enough to break a man's arm. Nevertheless, the two share a close bond.
“Doran is my partner,” Sergeant Long said. “He looks out for me, and I look out for him, and he is a partner that I would trust my life to.”
Here, Sergeant Long has also struck up a partnership with his Army counterparts.
Army Staff Sgt. James Demaree said he thinks it is a good idea to have joint patrols with the Air Force not only because they foster a good working relationship, but also, and more importantly, because the job they perform benefits everyone here.
“The Air Force security forces and their dogs provide a service that helps us ensure that we can have a better level of force protection for our Soldiers and Airmen based here,” Sergeant Demaree said.
The natural instincts a dog possesses contribute tremendously to their arsenal for deterring attacks, Sergeant Demaree said.
“The dog is definitely an important asset,” he said. “He has keen senses like his smell and hearing that are well beyond ours and that definitely make him a combat multiplier.”
(IRAQ) NECESSITY: MOTHER OF INVENTION
From AirBurd. Original source unknown
American soldiers eat match heads in the Iraq desert. “The sulfur in them gets in your system and you sweat it out and it keeps the mosquitoes away,” explained Pfc. Joshua Joe, an artillery forward observer from Buena Park, Calif.
A folding pack of matches comes in every Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), so some soldiers chew up — or lick, depending on their preference — as many as 20 per day. That's just one of the tricks GIs have devised to cope with life in Iraq's hostile environment.
In the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, many soldiers carry tampons to plug bullet holes in case they are shot. They stick Condoms on the muzzles of 50-caliber machine guns to keep out dust, and shoot right through the latex when the time comes to fire.
There are soldier-made port-a-johns: folding metal chairs with a Hole cut in the seat and a toilet seat bolted around the hole. More primitively, the folding shovel used to dig foxholes can be locked in an L shape and the blade used for a seat under one buttocks cheek.
The thigh pocket of desert fatigues is perfect for carrying a flattened roll of toilet paper.
“We do a lot of things to make life a little more comfortable,” said Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Elliott of Cincinnati. “Like making automatic washing machines.” An empty box that held about 20 MREs is lined with a plastic trash bag and filled with water and detergent. Socks, brown T-shirts, underwear and fatigues are loaded in and the top of the bag tied shut. “You stick it in the back of the truck and drive around with it for a couple of days, then take out the clean clothes and rinse them. Dry them by stringing a cord between the radio antennas of two combat vehicles.”
Need to stay awake on an all-night patrol? Many soldiers swear that chewing tobacco or snuff will do the trick. “You can also put the instant coffee that comes in MREs under your lip like Copenhagen and the caffeine will keep you up,” said Sgt. Gabriel Graan of Las Vegas. Some soldiers even mix the coffee and snuff for a double kick.
“Baby anythings are popular,” said one soldier. Baby wipes for bathing… baby powder to prevent chafing… baby salve to cure chafing. Even baby food, because the small containers are easily packed and don't need can openers.
Various items may be used for weight training. A 50-pound tow bar makes a good barbell. A .50-caliber ammunition can weighs 30 pounds and can be held on the chest during sit-ups.
“You're going to lose weight in the desert because of the heat anyway,” said Pvt. Matt St. John, a scout from Lake City, Fla. “You might as well take advantage of the time to work out and come home all rippled up.”
For every problem, there is an innovation. Flea collars on wrists and ankles keep away ticks. Pencil erasers are used to clean communications equipment.
For creative cooks, bouillon cubes and spices are musts, said Sgt. Jason Thompson of McMinnville, Ore. “You can eat any MRE with the right spices. With Starbucks a distant memory, mixing milk shake powder with coffee makes great lattes.”
There is debate on the wisdom of wearing underpants. You can change underwear more often than fatigue trousers, and that promotes cleanliness, some insist. Others say underwear gets all sweaty, and going bare prevents chafing.
Both sides swear by talcum powder. “I had a gunner that used the dust from the ground” when he was out of talcum powder, said one soldier. “I called him 'Dusty.'
(IRAQ) RAID NETS MUNITIONS CACHE
From 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.
Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 18, 2005 (Army News Service) – A cordon and search operation in the north Babil region south of the Iraqi capital uncovered a wide array of weapons, explosives and munitions today.
Continuing their efforts to bring safety and security to the north Babil region with “Operation Triple Play,” Task Force Baghdad Soldiers searched several houses in the area, detaining 10 suspected insurgents. The unit discovered a wide variety of explosives and munitions that included:
19 - 122-millimeter rounds
52 - 60-millimeter rounds
1 - 82-millimeter round
16 - recoilless rifle rounds
50 - artillery fuses
11 - rocket-propelled grenade warheads
40 - anti-personnel mines
160 - pounds of powdered explosive
15 - artillery propellant charges
29 - bags of artillery propellant
170 - ½-kilogram blocks of TNT
24 - CS gas canisters
4 - 55-gallon drums with explosives
2 - rifle grenades
This weapons cache is one of the largest discoveries in recent months, a 1st Cavalry Division spokesman said. An EOD team disposed of the munitions.
“The insurgent is seeing that no place is safe for him to establish his logistics bases,” said Lt. Col. James Hutton, division public affairs officer. “We find more ammunition, equipment and weapons daily. The insurgent is on the run.”
(IRAQ) RULES OF WAR LIMIT MARINES
By Gordon Dillow, Register columnist
Forwarded by Joe Burdick
We call it “the war in Iraq.” But to many of the Marines here, it's not really a war - at least not on their side.
“They are fighting a war,” a Marine from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment tells me - “they” meaning the insurgents lurking “outside the wire” of a Marine forward operating base in the Euphrates River town of Barwanah, in western Al Anbar province. But us? We aren't fighting a war. We're just doing a police action.”
The young Marine is right. While the insurgents here and throughout Iraq battle American Marines and soldiers with deadly weapons of warfare - IEDs (“improvised explosive devices,” or roadside bombs), sniper attacks, mortars, two of which exploded near this forward operating base just the day before - the Marines have to respond under “rules of engagement,” or “ROEs,” that would be familiar to any cop in America.
Are the Marines catching sniper rounds from a cluster of buildings in the city? In a conventional war, that would be reason enough to light up the buildings with suppressive fire. But under the Iraq ROEs, unless the Marines get “P.I.D.” or “positive identification” - eyes on a guy with a rifle, or a muzzle flash, something very localized and specific - they can't fire back.
Do the Marines see four young males fleeing the scene of an IED attack? The Marines can try to chase them down in vehicles or on foot - this while the Marines are carrying 60 or 70 pounds of equipment on their backs - but they can't even fire warning shots from their M-16s, much less lethal ones, to try to make them stop.
Under the rules, if the suspects are running away, if they pose no direct and immediate threat to the Marines, the most the Marines can do is shoot “pyro,” small flares, as a warning - a warning that Marines believe simply leaves the fleeing enemy laughing.
And so on. By tradition and temperament, a Marine infantry company is a blunt instrument, designed to storm a beach or take a building with force and violence that overwhelms the enemy; it's a hammer, not a scalpel. But in the confusing world of urban counterinsurgency warfare, Marine infantrymen here find themselves bound by rules that often seem more appropriate to the streets of an American city than to an actual combat zone.
True, in the rare event of an all-out firefight, a direct confrontation with the enemy, the rules change. When faced with a conventional attack by insurgents, Marines can respond conventionally, with overwhelming firepower. But in routine, day-to-day operations, every single shot fired by Marines here must be documented and reviewed by higher command.
Let me repeat that: Every single shot fired by Marines is reported to and reviewed by higher command - regimental level or above - to make sure that it conformed to the ROEs.
The rules are unquestionably well-intentioned, and in the long and bloody annals of warfare, almost uniquely American. They are designed to minimize Iraqi civilian casualties - and in a conflict that is as much or more political as it is military, at the upper levels of command perhaps the rules make sense.
But to the grunts on the ground, where the wounding and dying is, they are a source of endless frustration. “Seems like you can't even spit around here without getting investigated, “says one young Marine - although of course he didn't actually say “spit.”
“It's absurd,” says a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines. “It makes the bad guys think we're weak.”
Even senior Marine officers, whose job it is to see the big picture, and to enforce the rules of engagement established by higher command, understand only too well how hard it is for a 19- or 20-year-old lance corporal to be shot at or IED'd day after day and not be able to shoot back at enemies who hide behind and among civilians.
“It's a tough, tough thing for them,” says 3/3 battalion commander Lt. Col. Norm Cooling. “I always tell them (the junior Marines) that fighting a counterinsurgency is a lot harder, mentally, intellectually and spiritually, than fighting a conventional war. … The (insurgents) know that they can play by a different set of rules than we can, and they take advantage of it.”
It wasn't always that way. Young Marines on their first tour in Iraq are often astonished - and even a little envious - when I tell them about being with a Marine infantry company in OIF I (Operation Iraqi Freedom I), the initial march up to Baghdad in the spring of 2003. There were rules of engagement then, too, but it was also an actual war - and the basic, unwritten rule of engagement was that for every enemy round that came in, the Marines would send a thousand rounds back.
Did that sometimes cause Iraqi civilian casualties? Yes, unavoidably. But it also saved American lives - and you could argue that in the long run it saved Iraqi lives as well, because it left the enemy either intimidated or dead, and shortened the initial conflict.
But no longer. The Marines here know they are under close scrutiny - by the press, by the politicians and by the often fickle American public. And that knowledge permeates almost everything they do.
For example, I sat in with Marine officers and NCOs planning a night raid to capture a sniper who had been taking potshots at Marines in Barwanah. Aware that a reporter was present, and not sure how their comments might be interpreted, some of the Marines were careful to describe the sniper not as simply “the sniper,” but as “the alleged sniper.”
These are tough, brave men, American warriors. But sitting in that briefing room, it was almost as if the Marines saw the ghost of Johnnie Cochran hovering in the corner, just waiting to sue them for violating the sniper's - that is, the alleged sniper's - civil rights.
Still, while the Marines may gripe about the ROEs, they are Marines - which means they also obey them. Anyone who thinks American troops are running wild in Iraq, recklessly shooting at anything that moves, has probably never been to Iraq. For every charge of excessive force by American troops, such as the allegations about the killings of civilians in Haditha, there are hundreds of unreported and unheralded examples of American Marines and soldiers showing astonishing restraint in their use of force.
Again, in counterinsurgency warfare, where battle is waged not only in the streets but in hearts and minds and TV news broadcasts, perhaps that is sound policy. If the goal is to win over the people, and not just to kill the enemy, perhaps there is no alternative.
But no one should doubt that American Marines and soldiers are paying for their restraint, and for the American concern about civilian casualties. They are paying for it in blood - their own blood.
The day after I spoke with those Marines in Barwanah, an IED hit a Marine 7-ton truck that was on patrol in the town, fortunately causing only minor injuries, and insurgent mortar rounds again landed near the Marines' forward operating base.
The enemy was continuing to wage war.
And the Marines were continuing their police action.
(IRAQ) SADDAM'S CAPTURE: ONE YEAR LATER
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2004 - One year ago U.S. forces found Saddam Hussein hiding in a spider hole near his hometown of Tikrit. The former Iraqi dictator remains imprisoned at an undisclosed location awaiting his trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Saddam is in the physical custody of Multinational Force Iraq officials, although the Iraqi interim government maintains legal custody, according to Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, a DOD spokesman. His status as an enemy prisoner of war ended after an Iraqi judge notified him June 30 that he was facing criminal charges under the Iraqi criminal code.
The former dictator faced an Iraqi investigative judge July 1, and will be tried according to Iraqi law, Shavers said. A panel of Iraqi judges will determine his fate at the Iraqi Special Tribunal, yet to be scheduled.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited Saddam twice since his capture by U.S. troops : Feb. 21 and April 27, Shavers confirmed. Officials say he is receiving appropriate medical care and is in good health.
The upcoming tribunal will bring closure to more than three decades of brutality by the former dictator, who has been linked to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths. Removing him from power was a major objective of Operation Iraqi Freedom, due to the threat he posed not only to the Iraqis, but also to the region and the United States.
One year ago on December 12, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, civilian administrator of the then-Coalition Provisional Authority, uttered three words that brought a close to the manhunt for the former dictator: “We got him.”
U.S. forces captured Saddam, whom they found hiding in a manmade hole in the ground inside a remote hideaway near the village of Adwar on Dec. 13, 2003. About 600 members of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, along with special operations forces, had launched Operation Red Dawn after receiving intelligence that Saddam was in the area. A tip from someone inside the dictator's secret circle led the U.S. forces to him.
Having eluded coalition forces since the war had begun March 19, Saddam surrendered without resistance. No shots were fired during the operation.
He was discovered huddled with a pistol and $750,000 in U.S. currency. Also with him were documents that outlined the structure of Saddam's network and its financial network - information officials said offered valuable insights to coalition troops.
President Bush said on that day the capture marked “the end of the road,” not only for Saddam, but also “for all who bullied and killed in his name.” He said during a televised national address that the capture “was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq” and that it sends a clear message to Baathist holdouts in Iraq. “There will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held,” he said.
Bush assured the Iraqi people that “a dark and painful era in the history of Iraq is finally over. “You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again,” he said. “The former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.”
Shortly after the capture, Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, called Saddam's capture “a huge psychological blow” to the insurgency that he said “will pay dividends over time.”
“We've got a lot of fighting ahead of us,” Abizaid acknowledged. “But this is a big win for the young soldiers that made it happen, and for the young intelligence professionals that are smart enough to put the information together to lead us to the right place.”
During his recent Dec. 7 visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif., President Bush praised the Marines for their role in Saddam's capture. “You drove Saddam Hussein from his palace into a spider hole,” the president told a cheering crowd of Marines and family members, “and now he sits in an Iraqi prison, awaiting justice.”
(IRAQ) SENATE TESTIMONY
By Gen Barry McCaffrey USA (Ret) in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following his June 2005 visits in those countries. Forwarded by Dave Benson Col, USAF (Ret)
While the following article is based on Gen McCaffrey's personal opinion, his background experience and knowledge of warfare together with the information gained through interviews, briefings and visits with the following sources during his trip, makes his commentary very interesting reading:
- Gen George Casey, Commander, MNF-I
- LtGen J. R. Vines, Commander MNC-I
- LtGen Dave Petreaus, Commander, Multinational Security Transition Command
- LtGen Robin Brims, (UK Army), Deputy Commanding General of MNF-I
- Charge d'Affairs James Jeffrey, Embassy, Iraq
- MGen Tim Donovan (USMC), Chief of Staff, MNF-I
- MGen Steve Johnson (USMC), Acting Commanding General, II MEF
- BGen Peter Palmer and BGen John Defreitas - MNF-I
- MGen Rusty Findley (USAF) and Col Bill Hix - MNF-I
- BGen Tom Bostick - Army Corps Engineers. Gulf Region 11
- MGen William Webster, Commanding General, Multi-National Division, Baghdad
- Ambassador Ahraf Oazi and UN Iraq Delegation - Lunch Meeting with Special Representative to the Secretary General of the UN in Iraq
- MGen Robert Heine, Acting Director U.S. Embassy Reconstruction Program
- MGen Hank Stratman, U.S. Embassy
- MGen Eldon Bargewell, Joint Contracting
- Field Visit. US Marine Infantry Battalion, Fallujah
- Field Visit. US Army Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Tikrit
- Iraqi Army Brigade Commander, Fallujah
- U.S. Army Embedded Training Team. Fallujah ISF Army
- USMC Embedded Trainer, Fallujah Police
- U.S. Army Captain. Embedded Training Team, ISF Army
Infantry Battalion, Tikrit
- Iraqi Army Colonel. ISF Training Center, Tikrit
- Iraqi Army Battalion XO, S3, SGM, Tikrit
- Iraqi Army Commando Battalion
- Iraqi Police Emergency Response Unit, Baghdad
- Fifteen U.S. Army Company Grade Officers, U.S. Army combat division
- Junior Enlisted Soldiers, U.S. Army combat Battalion.
- Senior NCOs U.S. Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine
- Senior Leadership, Logistics and Security, U.S. Contractor Teams
U.S. Military Forces in Iraq are superb. Our Army-Marine ground combat units with supporting Air and Naval Power are characterized by quality military leadership, solid discipline, high morale, and enormous individual and unit courage.
Unit effectiveness is as good as we can get. This is the most competent and battle wise force in our nation's history. They are also beautifully cared for by the chain of command — and they know it. (Food, A/C sleeping areas, medical care, mental health care, home leave, phone and e-mail contact with families, personal equipment, individual and unit training, targeted economic incentives in the battle area, visibility of tactical leadership, home station care for their families, access to news information, etc).
The point of the U.S. war effort is to create legitimate and competent Iraqi national, provincial, and municipal governance. We are at a turning point in the coming six months. The momentum is now clearly with the Iraqi Government and the Coalition Security Forces. The Sunnis are coming into the political process. They will vote in December.
Unlike the Balkans—the Iraqis want this to succeed. Foreign fighters are an enormously lethal threat to the Iraqi civilian population, the ISF, and Coalition Forces in that order. However, they will be an increasing political disaster for the insurgency. Over time they are actually adding to the credibility of the emerging Iraqi government. We should expect to see a dwindling number of competent, suicide capable Jihadist. Those who come to Iraq—will be rapidly killed in Iraq. The picture by next summer will be unfavorable to recruiting foreigners to die in Iraq while attacking fellow Arabs.
The initial US/UK OIF intervention took down a criminal regime and left a nation without an operational State. The transitional Bremer-appointed Iraqi government created a weak state of war ring factions.
The January 2005 Iraqi elections created the beginnings of legitimacy and have fostered a supportive political base to create the new Iraqi Security Forces.
The August Iraqi Constitutional Referendum and the December-January election and formation of a new government will build the prototype for the evolution of an effective, law-based Iraqi State with a reliable Security Force.
January thru September 2006 will be the peak period of the insurgency — and the bottom rung of the new Iraq. The positive trend lines following the January 2006 elections (if they continue) will likely permit the withdrawal of substantial US combat forces by late summer of 2006. With 250,000 Iraqi Security Forces successfully operating in support of a government which includes substantial Sunni participation—the energy will start rapidly draining out of the insurgency.
The Iraqi Security Forces a re now a real and hugely significant factor. LtGen Dave Petreaus has done a brilliant job with his supporting trainers.
Some 169,000 Army and Police exist in various stages of readiness. They have uniforms, automatic weapons, body armor, some radios, some armor, light trucks, and battalion-level organization. At least 60,000 are courageous Patriots who are actively fighting. By next summer- 250,000 Iraqi troops and 10 division HQS will be the dominant security factor in Iraq.
However, much remains to be done. There is no maintenance or logistics system. There is no national command and control. Corruption is a threat factor of greater long-range danger than the armed insurgency. The Insurgents have widely infiltrated the ISF. The ISF desperately needs more effective, long-term NCO and Officer training.
Finally, the ISF absolutely must have enough helicopter air mobility (120+ Black Hawk UH 60's) — and a substantial number of armored vehicles to lower casualties and give them a competitive edge over the insurgents they will fight. (2000 up-armor Humvee's, 500 ASV's and 2000 M113A3's with add-on armor package).
Top CENTCOM Vulnerabilities:
1st - Premature drawdown of U.S. ground forces driven by dwindling U.S. domestic political support and the progressive deterioration of Army and Marine manpower. (In particular, the expected melt-down of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve in the coming 36 months)
2nd - Alienation of the U.S. Congress or the American people caused by Iraqi public ingratitude and corruption.
3rd - Political ineptitude of Shia civil leadership that freezes out the Sunnis and creates a civil war during our drawdown.
4th - “The other shoe” - a war with North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, or Cuba that draws away U.S. military forces and political energy.
5th - The loss or constraint of our logistics support bases in Kuwait. Clearly we need constant diplomatic attention and care to this vital ally. If Kuwait became unstable or severely alienated to U.S. Military objectives in the region-then our posture in Iraq would be placed in immediate fatal peril.
6th - Open intervention by Iranian intelligence or military forces to support rogue Shia Iraqi insurgency. (Assassination of Sustani-armed rebellion by Sadr)
7th - Continued under-manning and too rapid turnover in State Department inter-agency representation in Iraq.
8th - Lack of continuity in CENTCOM strategic and operational senior leadership. The CENTCOM military leadership we now have is a collective national treasure.
General Abizaid's value to the War effort based on his credibility to US Military Forces — and ability to communicate and relate to the Iraqi emergent leadership — cannot be overstated.
The combination of a three-star tactical Headquarters (LtGen John Vines is the most experienced and effective operational battle leader we have produced in a generation) - and an in-country four-star strategic commander (Gen George Casey) has improved the situation from the overwhelmed, under-resourced Bremer-Sanchez ad hoc arrangement.
LtGen Dave Petreaus has done a superb job building the ISF. Relationships are everything in this campaign. We need to lock in our senior team for the coming 24 months.
Suggest that the three key US/Coalition military HQS of Casey - Petreaus - Vines need to stop unit rotation and go to individual replacement rotation.
The very senior U.S. military leadership needs their families based in a Kuwait compound with periodic visits authorized. (We did this with General Abrams and his senior leaders during the final phase of Vietnam.)
The Enemy Threat:
The Iraqi Insurgency threat is enormously more complex than Vietnam. There we faced a single opposing ideology; known enemy leaders; a template enemy organizational structure; an external sanctuary which was vital to the insurgency to bring in fighters, ammunition, resources; and relative security in urban areas under Allied/Vietnamese Government control.
Iraq is much tougher. The enemy forces in this struggle are principally Sunni irredentists— but there is also a substantial criminal class determined to murder, rob, kidnap and create chaos.
We also face a small but violent foreign Jihadist terrorist element. These terrorists do not depend on foreign sanctuary. They can arm themselves with the incredible mass of munitions and weapons scattered from one end of Iraq to the other.
Finally, Iraq is encircled by six bordering nations — all of whom harbor ill-will for the struggling democratic Iraqi state.
On the positive side of the ledger:
High Sunni voting turnout and political participation in December will likely set the conditions for the down hill slide of the insurgency.
The insurgency can no longer mass against Coalition forces with units greater than squad level — they all get killed in short order by very aggressive US/UK combat Forces. The insurgents have been forced to principally target the weak links— the Iraqi Police and innocent civilians. This will be a counter-productive strategy in the mid-term. It has been forced on them by the effective counter-insurgency operations and information operations of Coalition forces.
Insurgents now have a reduced capability to attack Coalition forces by direct fire: 80% (+) of the attacks are carried out with standoff weapons or suicide bombings (mortars, rockets, IEDs).
Suicide IED attack is enormously effective. However, it will soon likely become a fragile tool. The Jihadists will begin to run short of human bombs. Most are killed or die while carrying out missions which are marginally effective. This must be a prime enemy vulnerability for Coalition information warfare operations.
We must continue to level with the American people. We still
have a five year fight facing us in Iraq.
The Fallujah Situation:
The city has huge symbolic importance throughout Mid-East.
Unrealistic expectations were raised on how rapidly the Coalition could rebuild.
The City appears to be an angry disaster. Money doesn't rebuild infrastructure - bulldozers and workers and cement do. The Coalition needs an Iraqi/Coalition effort principally executed by military engineers — and thousands of Iraqi workers — to re-build the city. We need a “Pierre L'Enfant” of Fallujah.
Police stations are planned but barely started. The train station is mined and the trains do not function. Roads must be paved. We need to eliminate major signs of U.S. caused war damage, etc.
Coalition Public Diplomacy Policy is a disaster:
The U.S. media is putting the second team in Iraq with some exceptions. Unfortunately, the situation is extremely dangerous for journalists. The working conditions for a reporter are terrible. They cannot travel independently of U.S. military forces without risking abduction or death. In some cases, the press has degraded to reporting based on secondary sources, press briefings which they do not believe, and alarmist video of the aftermath of suicide bombings obtained from Iraqi employees of unknown reliability.
Our unbelievably competent, articulate, objective, and courageous Battalion, Brigade, and Division Commanders are not on TV. These commanders represent an Army-Marine Corps which is rated as the most trusted institution in America by every poll.
We are not aggressively providing support (transportation, security, food, return of film to an upload site, etc) to reporters to allow them to follow the course of the war.
Military leaders on the ground are talking to people they trust instead of talking to all reporters who command the attention of the American people. (We need to educate and support AP, Reuters, Gannet, Hearst, the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc.)
This is the darkness before dawn in the efforts to construct a viable Iraqi state. The enterprise was badly launched — but we are now well organized and beginning to develop successful momentum. The future outcomes are largely a function of the degree to which Iraqi men and women will overcome fear and step forward to seize the leadership opportunity to create a new future.
We face some very difficult days in the coming 2-5 years. In my judgment, if we retain the support of the American people — we can achieve our objectives of creating a law-based Iraqi state which will be an influencing example on the entire region.
A successful outcome would potentially usher in a very dramatically changed environment throughout the Middle East and signal in this region the end of an era of incompetent and corrupt government which fosters frustration and violence on the part of much of the population.
It was an honor and a very encouraging experience to visit CENTCOM Forces in Iraq and Kuwait and see the progress achieved by the bravery and dedication of our military forces.
General McCaffrey is president of his own consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org). He serves as a national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News and writes a column on national security issues for Armed Forces Journal. The Washington Speakers Bureau exclusively represents his speeches. (www.washingtonspeakers.com)
He is also an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. From January 2001 to May 2005, he served as the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies.
(IRAQ) SHEEHAN DISGRACE
LETTER TO A MISGUIDED MOTHER
By Brantley Smith, August 17, 2005
Forwarded by BGen Bob Clement USAF (Ret)
By your actions over the past two weeks it is clear that you missed an important aspect of Civics 101: With rights come responsibilities. You certainly have the right to voice your opinion against the war in Iraq and the President's policies. You even have the right to camp outside the President's home in Crawford and demand he meet with you.
Your status as a mother who has lost a child in the war also gives your words and actions a credibility and a larger audience than otherwise would be the case. Now that your supporters have given you a broad forum from which to be heard, making you a national figure, its time you considered your responsibilities to all of us.
I have a daughter set to deploy to Fallujah in two weeks and I have a serious concern with how your irresponsible and short sighted actions might impact on her. She is, after all, a volunteer, like your son, and she is going in harm's way because she believes it is her responsibility to protect your rights and freedoms.
Well meaning people like you always seem to forget the law of unintended consequences and in your vanity and arrogant self-righteousness never bother to think through what it is you are trying to do versus what you may actually accomplish. I am here to inform you, Ma'am, that you will not change the policy of our government by sitting outside Crawford making a spectacle of yourself in the name of your rights to free speech; what you will do is provide more propaganda for our enemies and cost the lives of even more brave and selfless American warriors.
How long do you think it will be before you become a star on Al Jazeera? For all I know, it may have already happened. One thing is certain, though, and that is that your actions and words will further embolden a ruthless and evil enemy and more American blood will be shed and some of it will be on your hands. I pray that my daughter will not be one of them. If she is, then I will hold you and those like you partly responsible. Yes, my daughter's fate will depend mostly on her own courageous decision to serve, but only the most naive among us can deny the impact our own words and actions here in America have in a world grown smaller by the revolution in communications technology.
I am sure you believe that you are serving some great cause by putting our servicemen and women in more danger and that you can, by your irresponsible exercise of free speech, help end a policy you disagree with. Your emotion may be compelling but the reality is that you will not set in motion any process that will change or undo what has been done. The war will go on because to end it now would dishonor the sacrifice of all of our fellow countrymen who have died in the cause of fighting terrorism. Rational Americans will not allow that. Too much is at stake. Unfortunately, shallow and irrational ones, such as yourself, will continue to put the lives of our sons and daughters in danger by aiding and abetting an enemy who sees propagandizing in the mass media as its main weapon in a war it could otherwise not win standing on its own wretched and evil justification of radical Islam, or by force of arms.
You, Ma'am, have joined forces with an evil you neither understand nor apparently have tried to comprehend. You direct your anger toward our country while the enemy plots to kill and maim the innocent. You make a mockery of responsible free speech while thousands of young men and women fight desperately to preserve your safety. Instead of honoring your son's sacrifice you are inspired to comfort an evil enemy.
You clearly do not understand the challenge we face as a nation and have not tried to put it in historical perspective. It is a sad fact that it is those of your thinking that have led us to where we are today. Decades of appeasement to these haters of everything we hold dear has cost thousands of American lives from Beirut to New York and in dozens of other forgotten places. Remember Lockerbie? The Achille Lauro? The USS Cole? We as a people were dragged into this war, much like December 7th, 1941, and we must fight and win it wherever the enemy hides and against whomever would support him.
Make no mistake about Iraq. It is both a legitimate and crucial campaign in this much larger, global war of radical Islam's making. These people hate us for who we are, not what we have done. We did not bring this on ourselves, as many would have us believe, by our policies and actions abroad. We brought this on ourselves in 1775 when the Founding Fathers embarked on a course of freedom, tolerance, and liberal democratic and social ideals.
These haters of all we hold dear strive to destroy forever a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” that Abraham Lincoln hoped would never “Perish from the earth.” They would replace it with an oppressive world theocracy unlike anything modern history has ever seen for its ruthless disregard for personal freedom and liberty. If more appeasement is your answer for an alternative policy, spare us. We have suffered enough from cowardice and inaction.
An historical analogy screams to be let out here. It is one of two men, both named Chamberlain:
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a school teacher turned soldier in the American Civil War, found himself in the crosshairs of history on a warm July day in 1863 on a small hill in Pennsylvania. Commanding the 20th Maine Regiment on the extreme Union left at Gettysburg he was in a most perilous position. Should he fail to hold against a strong Confederate attack, the Union could be lost. You see, he was serving in an increasingly unpopular war at home against a resurgent enemy, and for a President fighting for his political life. Colonel Chamberlain, stoic but determined, refused to yield. His small regiment held against an onslaught of Confederate attacks, an action many historians believe turned the tide of the war. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The other half of this analogy focuses on Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain in the years preceding World War II. His story is widely known. Through his policy of appeasement and a lack of moral courage, he handed Adolf Hitler much of Europe.
Which side of history have you chosen, Ma'am?
Your son died in the service of freedom and my daughter will go in harm's way to protect and preserve it. Honor their sacrifice, Ma'am, by exercising it responsibly.
I will pray with you and I will grieve with you but I will not stand by silent while you needlessly and arrogantly endanger the life of my daughter and her comrades in arms. Please bless us with your silence and go home.
Proud father of a United States Marine
(IRAQ) SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS
Despite what the extreme liberals in Congress and the media would have us believe… they are outnumbered by millions of patriots in America who appreciate and support our troops today, just as they always have done in perilous times.
Don’t let the naysayers get you down! Their voices are loud but their light is dim.
We thank the makers of this beautiful tribute to our military people and those who PASS IT ALONG [http://www.forest.ws/WeSupportU.htm ].
(IRAQ) TELL IT TO THE TROOPS
By Lt. Gen James T. Conway, USMC
Copywrite 2005, U.S. Naval Institute.
Reprinted from the Naval Institute Proceedings with permission.
Forwarded by Jerry Johnson
General Conway is Director of Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has previously served two combat tours as commanding general, Marine Expeditionary Force.
In July 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War had been joined on a small stream named Bull Run outside Washington, D.C. As the fighting neared its climax, a Confederate staff officer galloped his horse up Henry Hill and hailed Brig. Gen. Thomas Jackson. He shouted above the din of cannon and musketry, “Sir, I fear the battle is lost.”
Jackson, astride his horse near the crest of the ridge watching the advancing Union brigades, looked over his shoulder at his own brigade of Virginians on the reverse slope, lying prone but at the ready. He then turned his gaze on the officer and responded in a low voice, “You may think it, Sir, but you had best not say it to those troops!”
Jackson's words contain sound advice for those who journey to Iraq. If you have any misgivings that the Coalition and Iraqi forces are losing this war against insurgents and terrorists, then you had better not say so in their presence - lest you attract a hostile crowd.
The fact is that they get it. They are closest to the action, they feel the momentum shifts, and they know when they have taken the best the enemy can dish out. They know what victory looks like and smells like - and they know it's only a matter of time. This youngest generation of warriors has been a welcome surprise to those of us who weren't certain they would have the discipline, the spirit, the aggressiveness to go forward when shrapnel filled the air and enemy machine guns were talking.
Indeed, time will show they are worthy successors to a long line of American heroes who have stepped forward and volunteered for duty at a time when our country needed their services most. They have performed magnificently.
If you ask the troops, they will paint for you the big picture. These are well-read young men and women who grasp the importance of establishing a free and hopefully democratic Iraq, geographically situated in the middle of terrorist-producing states that include Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Our people understand that a progressive and prosperous Iraq can help destroy the very roots of the extremist movement in a way that just killing terrorists would never accomplish.
They accept that the eventual form of Iraqi government must be an Iraqi decision and therefore understand that the result may not be a mirror image of our own. However, the troops view with satisfaction the steady drumbeat of successes that have occurred over the past several months: the retaking of Fallujah, successful elections, development of the Transitional National Assembly and a new government set to be elected by mid-December. Finally, they point with justifiable pride to the security conditions they and their Iraqi counterparts have created that have allowed the fledgling government to move forward.
Duty in Iraq is hot, dangerous, dirty work, and some have spent over 24 total months in-theater; but the men and women there will look you squarely in the eye and say with enthusiasm that their morale is just fine - that they are making a difference for millions of people - and that it's worth their sacrifice. Soldiers, Marines and our Special Operations forces will tell you, in plain-spoken terms that they particularly relish the mission to capture or kill foreign fighters who have come into Iraq.
Our troops who were in the ranks during the devastating attacks on 9/11 shared an immediate sense of disillusionment and dismay. The very basis of our National Military Strategy called for U.S. combat forces to engage and defeat our nation's enemies on foreign shores, well before they could reach our homeland. On 9/11, 19 fanatics somehow slipped through our defenses, attacked two of our key cities and killed almost 3,000 of our countrymen. Events of that day made us reexamine our strategy and reconfirm our beliefs. Today the troops are comfortable that they are once again playing a dominant role, overseas, to defend America from terrorist attack.
They believe those violent extremists who might otherwise attack New York, Boston or San Diego are the same foreign fighters they are facing in Iraq. These terrorists are a dangerous and fanatical enemy, but our warriors will tell you they'd much rather deal with them in Iraq than give them the opportunity to attack our unsuspecting and defenseless citizens at home.
And U.S. troops in all sectors will readily comment on the steady and sometimes remarkable change in the quality and capability of Iraqi Security Forces. Since May 2004, they have seen the Iraqi Army grow from one battalion with the courage and determination to fight in Fallujah, to over 88 battalions that are trained, equipped and engaged in counterinsurgency operations.
In spite of the deadly explosions and attempts at intimidation by insurgents, there is no shortage of young Iraqi males seeking to join the armed forces. Quality leadership was previously lacking but officer training is now selective and challenging - focused on the tasks at hand. Our troops see the change. They know well the spirit that competent and aggressive leadership can bring to a combat unit. Iraqi and Coalition battalions now “partner” for combined operations, generating greater competence and teamwork. Teams of Coalition advisers work and live with Iraqi battalions to enhance their combat capabilities as well as provide access to Coalition firepower when it's needed.
A Marine company commander recently wrote his father from Fallujah: “The Iraqi army troops are doing pretty well. They are friendly, brave and happy to be working with us. I think they need heavier weapons and better vehicles to fight the bad guys. However, they are fairly sound in the fundamentals of patrolling, VCPs [vehicle check points] and cordons & searches.”
The Iraqi people also see the change. In a recent poll, over 80 percent said they now have confidence in the Iraqi Security Forces. The number of hotline tips on insurgent activities provided by Iraqi citizens in recent months has soared. And the insurgents see the change. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the No. 1 terrorist in Iraq, said in a 2004 cable to his followers, “With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening .?.?. the problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance to the people of the region .?.?. how can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext after the Americans start withdrawing? This is the democracy, we will have no pretext.”
Our troops are not oblivious to the challenges that Coalition forces will face for some time to come. Major portions of the Iraqi population still need reliable power and a clean water supply. Industry, which will employ young Iraqis and perhaps draw them away from life in a labor pool for insurgents, has not yet matured. The porous borders must be sufficiently sealed to prevent Jihadists from filtering in from neighboring countries. Iraqi police forces have not yet stepped up to the plate in the way they must.
Lastly, there is no shortage of available ammunition and explosives for those who would continue the IED attacks. Though less than a quarter of all attacks succeed, those that do cause casualties are becoming increasingly lethal for our troops. All that said, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines realize that the biggest threat to mission accomplishment does not depend on what the Iraqis do - rather, it's what their fellow Americans do.
As in any democracy, the support of the population is the center of gravity for continuation of war. Our forces in Iraq know this and so does the enemy. The insurgents realize full well the only chance they have of defeating the U.S. military is to weaken the will of the American population - and every facet of their strategic communications effort is focused on that aim. The insurgents maim and kill the less protected Iraqis - but their real target is that portion of American public opinion that is shaped by the news media. They openly cite our premature withdrawals from Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia as a national tendency to cut and run if the cost is too severe - and hope to force a repetition in Iraq.
Our troops write articles, make statements and give interviews in an attempt to steel the will of the American public; yet their most fundamental question is, “Does our country still support us?” They seek only one answer to that question, because they understand failure, forged by premature disengagement, is not truly an option. They realize that a crucial battle in the global war on terrorism, whether it was originally intended that way or not, is being fought in Iraq. Our young warriors understand it is a battle the United States cannot afford to lose.
They get it.
(IRAQ) THE UNTOLD TRUTHS
By Ralph Peters, New York Post, March 7, 2006
… who says he has been privileged to spend the last few weeks with America's men and women in uniform.
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret)
BAGHDAD — Among the many positive stories you aren't being told about Iraq, the media ignored another big one last week: In the wake of the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, it was the Iraqi army that kept the peace in the streets. It's routinely declared a failure by those who yearn for the new Iraq to fail.
But an increasingly capable Iraqi military has been developing while reporters (who never really investigated the issue) wrote it off as hopeless. What actually happened last week, as the prophets of doom in the media prematurely declared civil war? * The Iraqi army deployed over 100,000 soldiers to maintain public order. U.S. Forces remained available as a backup, but Iraqi soldiers controlled the streets. Iraqi forces behaved with discipline and restraint - as the local sectarian outbreaks fizzled, not one civilian had been killed by an Iraqi soldier.
Time and again, Iraqi military officers were able to defuse potential confrontations and frustrate terrorist hopes of igniting a religious war. *Forty-seven battalions drawn from all 10 of Iraq's army divisions took part in an operation that, above all, aimed at reassuring the public. The effort worked - from the luxury districts to the slums, the Iraqis were proud of their army. As a result of its nationwide success, the Iraqi army gained tremendously in confidence. Its morale soared.
After all the lies and exaggerations splashed in your direction, the truth is that we're seeing a new, competent, patriotic military emerge. The media may cling to its image of earlier failures, but last week was a great Iraqi success. This matters. Not only for Iraq's sake, but because standing up a responsible military subordinate to an elected civilian government is the essential development that will allow us to reduce our troop presence in the next few years.
Much remains to do - and much could still go wrong - but I, for one, am more optimistic after this visit to Baghdad.
Let's go deeper and probe into the…rest if the story [http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/64752.htm ].
(IRAQ) TO MARINES, THIS IS WHAT ITíS ALL ABOUT
Forwarded by Jay Setchell, email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
During the most recent major offensive in Fallujah, Marine First Sergeant Kasal sacrificed his own safety to save a room full of his Marines. He ended up taking several AK-47 rounds in the leg. Most of the bones in his lower leg were shattered. He took rounds in the back, which his armor saved him from. He took one round through his butt which passed through both cheeks leaving four holes.
He also took the brunt of a grenade explosion when he jumped on top of a young Marine to cover him from the blast.
Despite his wounds, he still killed the scumbag who did most of the damage to him and his men. He never stopped fighting. While some of his men supported him to walk out of the fire fight, he held his pistol in his right hand just in case it might be needed again.
He has been recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. He already has several Purple Hearts from throughout his career, and he has turned down other awards so that he could stay with his unit.
The next time one of your liberal friends says that they don't think what we are doing in Iraq is worth it, tell them Marine First Sergeant Brad Kasal thinks it is, and that's good enough for you!
(IRAQ) WE ALL GOT THAT S.O.B.
From Thomas Swalm
Received from a hard core fighter type who is a patriot first:
Some grandmother somewhere in America works in a factory soldering wires to a harness that will connect to a little square box containing a little projection camera for an F-16 Heads Up display.
A young man or woman a year removed from high school pulled pins from 500 pound bombs on a hot desert tarmac.
Another kid in America works in a foundry pouring hot aluminum alloys which will eventually find its way to the compressor stage of the F-100 engine that will power an F-16 from a runway.
Someone in America sang in a church choir on Sunday, and on Monday was holding a rivet gun, helping build another warplane, which will help keep us free.
Some group of brave men in the darkness, shined a little laser beam against a building.
Some geeky American, known for his/her math skills wrote a little program that turns numbers into coordinates.
Some young American decided to become a pilot after watching the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels put on a show.
Some American you or I will never meet, had an idea, which became GPS.
Some kid who last year was dancing at a Prom pulled the chocks.
Some kid wiped the canopy that a year ago was wiping car windshields in their summer job at the local car wash back home.
Someone working in a rubber factory had no idea that his or her work product was tucking itself into its bay as the pilot brought up the gear 20 ft off the deck.
Some little American girl who years ago was all about MTV and CDs gave a vector, cleared hot.
Some pilots did their job.
America got that s.o.b.!
Every damn one of us.
All I can say is that before Abu Musab al-Zarqui died, I hope it hurt like hell.
(IRAQ) WE CANNOT LOSE THIS FIGHT
By W. Thomas Smith, Jr, Monday, August 28, 2006, TOWNHALL [http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/WThomasSmithJr/2006/08/28/we_cannot_lose_this_fight ].
Forwarded by p38bob
I know how to fight. Like most American boys, and perhaps a few girls, I learned the very basics of fighting on the playground in elementary school.
I'm not talking about specific fighting techniques, those would come much later: I'm talking about lessons learned about fighting that would shape my, and many others', understanding of fighting whether it be in a schoolyard, an alleyway, a boxing ring, or a battlefield.
The first, perhaps most important, two lessons I learned are that once committed to the fight, you have to see the fight through to its ultimate decision, and you have to win. The two are accomplished by: Fighting with skill and fury. Taking advantage of the opponent's weaknesses. Never permitting the opponent to exploit your own weaknesses. And never wavering when tired, injured, o outmatched.
It sounds simple, and perhaps to some, simple-minded. But it is the only way to consistently win fights. And unfortunately, fighting is sometimes necessary.
Sure, there are some who would argue that in some instances, you should cut your losses and move on. True. There is some value in cutting losses, but usually very little in moving on. Fact is, fighters who regularly win almost never quit in the midst a fight. They don't concede defeat while still engaged. They don't waver or become disoriented when hit with a surprise left hook. Nor do they slow-up or let down their guard when their opponent is on the ropes. Because to do any one of those things means “game over” and rarely ever to the good of the quitter.
QUITTING THE FIGHT IN VIETNAM
Let's look at the Vietnam War as an example of “game over” and without benefit to the quitter:
On April 25, 1975, less than a week before the South Vietnamese capital fell to the Communists, a U.S. military delegation met with North Vietnamese officials in Hanoi to discuss the issue of Americans missing-in-action. At one point during the meeting, U.S. Army Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. turned to his North Vietnamese counterpart and said, “You know, you never beat us on the battlefield.”
The Vietnamese official thought for a moment, then responded. “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”
Now, we could argue all day about whether America's involvement in Vietnam was right or wrong. But that too is irrelevant.
What matters are that we were initially committed to the fight. We ultimately lost the war. The lives of 58,000 Americans were sacrificed without gain. And there are several reasons why (all of which violate the basic schoolyard lessons for winning fights).
We went into the fight with no real intention of seeing the fight through to a decisive end.
We went into the fight with our proverbial hands tied.
Though we often capitalized on the enemy's tactical weaknesses (defeating him time-and-again in pitched battles), we permitted him to exploit our strategic weaknesses (our failure to arrive at a national consensus aimed at winning; and our inability to destroy the enemy's extra-national sanctuaries, his supply lines, and the heart of his command-and-control).
We allowed the American public - most of whom had no grasp of battlefield dynamics much less geo-strategic matters - force the direction of our national war policy.
Then when the going got tough, we cut our losses and pulled out.
The Cold War, of which Vietnam was one of many sub-wars, also is over. Fortunately, our nation survived both.
Over the years, some military analysts have attempted to sugarcoat our ultimate disengagement from the Vietnam War. But by most standards and accounts, we lost. It took our nation and the military nearly a decade to recover from the war, and we will forever be scarred by it.
WHY WE CANNOT QUIT IRAQ
Iraq is another matter entirely. Quitting the fight in that country without successfully completing the mission would shift the balance of power in that region so dramatically it would literally change the world into something far more dark and dangerous than it already is.
In a recent piece for Family Security Matters, Peter Brookes, a Reserve Naval officer and Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow stated several reasons why cutting losses and moving on from Iraq would be disastrous.
Brookes says (and I paraphrase) that leaving Iraq before completing the mission would prove to the terrorists and countries like Iran and Syria “that America is nothing more than a paper tiger;” and that would only embolden the bad guys. He also says Iraq would devolve into something not unlike pre-9/11 Afghanistan, “where terrorists could freely meet, train and conspire to attack the United States like never before.”
Iraq would then fall under Iranian influence, creating what Brookes calls “an arc of instability” stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.
Beyond that, perceived American weakness following a cutting and running from Iraq, would lead to instability worldwide.
Brookes is correct. After all one can only imagine how the likes of saber-rattling, potentially nuclear-armed North Korea, or even nuclear-armed China with its gargantuan army and massive reserve force capability, would perceive the world's preeminent military force if it disengaged from a fight with several thousand car-bombing guerrillas.
So no matter how bad things may appear in Iraq (and when looking at the progress in most of the 18 provinces in that country, things are not as bad as they are being portrayed), failure simply is not an option.
Granted, it's not pretty, but it's the fight we are engaged in, and we simply must win.
I'm reminded of a scene in the 1970's movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, in which Wales (played by Clint Eastwood) is instructing a family of homesteaders about to square-off with band of Comanche Indians. He says, When things look bad, and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean: I mean plumb mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win.
That's just the way it is.
(IRAQ) WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
MARINES RECOUNT DRAMATIC ASSAULT NEAR SYRIAN BORDER
By Steve Fainaru, Washington Post Foreign Service.
Forwarded by Bill Thompson
HUSAYBAH, Iraq — Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Butler shook himself from the rubble of a suicide truck bombing. He staggered to the ledge of his three-story guard tower and stared into a cloud of white smoke. Butler, 21, of Altoona, Pa., was temporarily deafened by the blast, but he recalled what came next with cinematic clarity.
The white smoke parted to reveal a clean red fire engine. It sped past a mural bidding travelers “Goodbye From Free Iraq” and hurtled directly toward Butler, who shot at the fire engine until it exploded about 40 yards away from him. This true-life nightmare occurred on Monday last week. The attack on this remote Marine outpost abutting the Syrian border caused only minor injuries, but it signaled a dramatic change in the methods of the insurgents, who have staged mostly guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks against the U.S. military for two years.
In interviews and in after-action reports, Marines who successfully defended the base that morning described a sophisticated assault that involved 50 to 100 insurgents. The insurgents distracted Marine guards with well-aimed mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, and then launched three successive suicide bombing strikes in an attempt to blow up the base and overrun it.
The fire engine had a driver, a spotter and a bulletproof windshield, and was packed with dozens of propane tanks filled with explosives. The blast rained jagged red shrapnel for more than a minute and unhinged doors and cracked the foundation of buildings well inside the Marine base.
The attack “demonstrates an extremely mature and capable insurgency,” said Maj. John Reed, executive officer for the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, which commands U.S. troops here. “It showed its ability to mass a very complex attack very quickly.”
The attack, along with a similar assault on April 2 against the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in which 44 American soldiers were wounded, presents a new challenge for the U.S. military, which is seeking to wear down the insurgency before transferring security responsibilities to U.S.-trained Iraqi forces. American commanders have expressed optimism that the insurgents, while far from defeated, have been significantly degraded as a fighting force; they said attacks have been less frequent and less effective since Iraq's Jan. 30 elections.
The number of attacks each day in cities such as Baghdad and Mosul has dropped by as much as 50 percent. Until recently, those attacks had largely been with roadside bombs and suicide car bombs aimed at platoons of U.S. military vehicles that conduct hundreds of patrols each day.
U.S. commanders said they interpreted the attack here as a desperate attempt by insurgents to reenergize the conflict. “I think they're losing, so they're looking at the big attacks to gain some momentum back,” said Marine Capt. Frank Diorio, commander of India Company at Camp Gannon, the Marine base near the city of Qaim on the border with Syria. “I give them credit for it; they're looking for a big score. We're going to see a lot more of this. But now we know so we can address it.”
Husaybah is a dusty smuggling hub in the barren reaches of western Iraq, a desert moonscape of dirt and rocks, its visibility frequently obscured by sandstorms. Camp Gannon is situated in the city's northwest corner.
The base's northern perimeter is the Syrian border, marked by a 10-foot-tall barrier of sand bags and razor wire. To the south and east are low-slung concrete houses and unpaved streets, neighborhoods so hostile the Marines cannot venture into the city without being attacked. The austere base is shelled so frequently the Marines never leave their barracks without helmets and armored vests, even when visiting the urinals — mortar tubes hammered into the ground.
The battle here began around 8:15 a.m., shortly after India Company's 2nd Platoon set up for guard duty on the base's eastern perimeter. Four mortar rounds overshot the base and landed about 300 yards inside Syrian territory, said Cpl. Roy Mitros, the senior Marine on guard, who climbed into a tower to register where they landed.
Inside Post 8, a bunker on the southeast corner of the base, Lance Cpl. Joe Lampe, 22, of Lacey Township, N.J., and Cpl. Anthony Fink, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, began to receive reports that other guard positions were taking sporadic fire. Then, at 8:25 a.m., a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into their bunker. Lampe and Fink were unharmed, but the bunker filled with dust from dozens of protective sandbags. “You couldn't see like an inch in front of us,” Lampe said. “It's like it just went 'whoof,' and then it was just dust collapsing all around us.”
Moments later, Lance Cpl. Diego Naranja, 22, of the New York City borough of Queens, radioed from a guard tower just north of Post 8 that he had spotted a white dump truck moving north on a one-lane road the U.S. military calls West End. “But as soon as he called it in, it was like, Blam!” Lampe said. “That's when we got hit by another blast. That one knocked us to the ground.”
Fink said he was convinced that the insurgents concentrated fire on Post 8 as a diversion. “There's no doubt in my mind,” he said. “They knew that was the closest post to them. If they could keep us down, then they could pull the [explosives-laden vehicles] out onto the road.” Naranja said he managed to shoot several rounds at the dump truck but it soon disappeared.
The dump truck reached a fork, and then turned west. It traveled beneath four concrete arches and sped toward the base, located next to the border crossing. The U.S. military closed the border for security reasons before the January elections and has not reopened it. The area is now a ghost town of abandoned customs and insurance houses and a 30-foot concrete mural painted with the Iraqi flag.
The dump truck headed directly toward Butler, who was standing guard under camouflage netting in Tower 2. Butler opened fire, and the truck veered left, ramming a cluster of trucks the Marines had wired together to block access to the base entrance. The dump truck then exploded, sending Butler flying into the tower's ledge as concrete debris rained on him.
Camp Gannon was now under full-scale attack. Mortars and rockets pelted the base from the south and east as most of the Marines, still in bed, scrambled toward the safety of bunkers. About 45 seconds after the dump truck exploded, its purpose became clear: It was to serve as a battering ram to clear the base entrance for the fire engine.
The fire truck had become something of a phantom for India Company. The Marines had heard that insurgents might use one as a suicide bomb. For two months, they had been warned by commanders to be on the lookout for a fire truck, but it had never been seen and some Marines had concluded it wasn't real.
Now, the fire engine was roaring north along the West End. “When I saw it, my heart stopped,” said Lance Cpl. Sebastian Lankiewicz, 20, also of Queens. “It was like I was looking at the Grim Reaper himself coming down freakin' West End.”
The fire engine followed the same route the dump truck had taken, turning left at the fork, going beneath the arches and roaring toward the entrance to the base. Butler, who had staggered to his feet, could hear it before he could see it, the whining diesel engine getting louder behind a cloud of smoke. “It was like a movie,” he said. “It reminded me of 'Lethal Weapon.' The smoke was all there and then he just rolled through it, just like in the movie.” Smoke “just rolled off the windows. I couldn't believe what was happening.”
Suddenly it was upon him, and Butler could see inside the vehicle. “It had two individuals in it,” he said. “They were dressed in all black, and their faces were veiled and covered. I could see the slits of their eyes.” Butler fired approximately 100 rounds at the fire truck. Like the dump truck, it turned left just before reaching the entrance. Butler said he thought the driver was either distracted by the withering fire or was unable to locate the entrance.
The sound of the explosion was “really unexplainable, just the noise and the violence about it,” said Diorio, the company commander. Although the fire engine had failed to penetrate the entrance, “they were basically inside our perimeter,” he said. The blast was so loud, Diorio feared the worst.
Slowly the reports began to filter in over the platoon network.
“Second platoon all accounted for.”
“Third platoon all accounted for.”
“Fourth platoon all accounted for.”
“Thank you, Lord,” Diorio whispered to himself.
“They were definitely close enough to cause a lot of damage,” he said. “It was where they detonated it: It was a miracle. If I had to pick a place for them to detonate a fire truck full of explosives, if I had to pick one, I would have picked that place.”
Welcome to Iraq
The vehicle exploded near the “Welcome to Iraq” mural, which absorbed some of the blast. So did a huge corrugated metal overhang that had provided shade for vehicles waiting in line at the border. It was obliterated, along with a low-slung blue-and-white building that also took some of the blast. Only three Marines were wounded, none seriously. A piece of shrapnel pierced Butler's plastic goggles but did not penetrate the helmet they were attached to.
First Sgt. Don Brazeal, 39, of Riviera Beach, Md., was inside the company command post when the fire truck exploded. He had also feared the worst and rushed out to the base perimeter. “It's kind of a parental instinct that took over,” he said. “A lot of these guys are young enough to be my sons. Right away I had a mental picture that my kids were not in a good way.”
Brazeal arrived at Post 8 to find Fink firing at about a dozen insurgents. They were shielded by a wall on the other side of the road. Brazeal grabbed a rocket launcher and climbed atop a dirt barrier, exposing himself to enemy fire. He fired the rocket at the wall. Fink then did the same. Then the shooting stopped, they said.
For nearly an hour, mortars and RPGs — Marines estimated as many as 30 — pelted the base. The unit summoned F-18 fighter jets and Cobra helicopter gun ships; the Cobras fired machine guns and Hellfire missiles at what an after-action report described as vehicles transporting weapons. The small-arms fire around the base subsided at 9:30 a.m. but continued sporadically for nearly 10 hours.
The Marines said 19 insurgents were killed and 15 were wounded during 24 hours of fighting. An unknown number of civilians were also reported killed.
This week, the city remained tense. The Marines believed they had scored a decisive victory, tempered only by the realization that they faced an adversary perhaps more sophisticated than they had known.
“These guys knew what they were doing,” said Lt. Ronnie Choe, 25, of Los Angeles, the battalion's assistant intelligence officer. “These weren't just random guys who decided: Hey let's do something.”
(IRAQ) WHAT OUR MEDIA DOESNíT TELL US
A LETTER FROM THE FRONT, 11 November 2005
By Lt.Col Eric Wesley
Forwarded by p38bob
I haven’t done as well staying in touch during this deployment. I suppose I am victim of the same thing that I tell journalists. That is, as challenging as this war is to fight, it is, in many ways, an even harder story to tell. But I was speaking last night to the parents of a soldier of mine who was wounded just yesterday. In the course of this discussion – mind you, their son had just been seriously wounded by a roadside bomb – they asked ME how WE were doing; in the midst of their anguish at the news of the insurgents’ drawing blood from their son, they were concerned about ME… about OUR mission… about our calling as a nation!
God Bless this fine family – and yes the honor of their son – for having the noble understanding that what we fight for is far beyond the self serving motivations of many of our critics. After speaking to his wife and his mother and father – and doing my best to describe our progress – “David’s” mother said, “we need to HEAR this… we don’t hear these things on the news!”
The conviction of hearing this “appeal” from the mother of one of my soldiers is what inspires me to write this letter. My gosh, it is the least I could do to honor the sacrifice of a soldier, a wife, a dad… a young man’s mom.
Two days ago, there was a suicide car bomb that exploded on the streets in a small village in my area. This car bomb was driven by a woman. She attempted to target, among other things, one of our coalition patrols. It exploded right in front of a girls’ school as classes were being adjourned. The net outcome: a minor wound to the arm of an American soldier, miraculously none of the Iraqi students were wounded, and she blew herself to smithereens.
This attack is a typical story you hear about in the news, I am sure. And it beats on Americans’ consciences like a steady drip of carnage that seems to achieve little more than more tragedy. And the American citizen asks “why… what are we doing there?” There are nuances to this, and other things about which you don’t hear, that are instructive to what we ARE doing here.
Are we making progress? “Sure,” some critics would say, “the election on 15 October was a success, but the attacks continue… the carnage of useless violence is prevalent.” Are we really making progress?
This car bomb is important to look at for a moment before I answer that. This was by no means the first such attack I have seen. But, at the expense of forcing you to read more of the macabre, I must tell you that as I surveyed this site I was disgusted by the grotesque nature of someone blowing themselves literally to bits – over 100 square meters - and for no tactical end. There was hardly a political “end” to this in that there was not even a morsel of media attention paid to it other than to strike a note of terror into the community. And as I walked around this site I was struck by the fact that there is nothing our soldiers - nothing our nation - has done that could drive someone to do such a thing to their own “gift of life” bestowed by our creator…other than unadulterated evil.
Make no mistake. This was not some frustrated Iraqi tired of American presence. This was a “third country national” import, likely from a middle class community who was recruited from outside Iraq. It was only evil, fostered in the heart of this “martyr,” that drove this behavior. Furthermore, as I surveyed this scene, it was apparent to me that a lack of action – that is had we NOT been involved in Iraq – would not attenuate such evil. After all, let’s be clear. The attacks on our nation on 9/11 – four moderately filled civilian aircraft flying into our cities – were nothing more than 4 gigantic suicide car bombs!
So what does attenuate such evil? Interestingly, the answer to that question is the same answer to the question, “are we making progress?”
As I told many of you before, I am the commander of an area in and around the town of Tarmyia – a fairly hard core conservative Sunni area that is a northern suburb of Baghdad characterized by former regime members, former military officers, and Wahabi/religious Sunnis. Just prior to my arrival here in February, on this my second tour in Iraq, you recall that the first election was held on 30 Jan. By all accounts this was a success. Interestingly, the Sunni people in my area attempted to disrupt and (as they hoped) invalidate the election by not voting. And they did just that. No one in my zone voted on 30 Jan.
Not long after my arrival I spoke to the leaders here and made a passionate argument explaining to them that it was not in their interest to disrupt the progressive efforts to move their country toward a democratic process… that it was in their interest to compete politically. If for no other reason, they HAD to compete because interest groups that they feared WERE in fact making great progress politically, all of which was to their disadvantage. I told them that their fight was not with coalition forces, but rather their fight was FOR their future.
By April of this year, these Sunni leaders admitted that they made a mistake by abdicating their right to vote. Yet attacks continued. By May they were strongly vowing to participate in the next election. And attacks continued. By summer, they and their leaders were actively pursuing electoral means to get polling stations in their area to enable their vote. By the end of summer, the election commission here in Iraq told them that they would NOT be allowed to have polling stations in their area due to the fact that their area was so dangerous. And yes, attacks continued. Not to be discouraged, they didn’t quit. With the help of American soldier involvement and coaching, they fought hard to involve themselves in the political process and argued their case for polling stations. Finally, the election commission relented and said, “fine, if you want polling stations, you run them, you hire the election workers, you ensure security, and you administer them.” And that, they did. By 15 October, they put in place an election plan that resulted in nearly 90% participation throughout the area. And get this: they had their ballots and materials collected and turned in before any other “precinct” in Baghdad. This is progress.
Now some critics would say, “well, they overwhelmingly voted ‘no’ to the referendum on the constitution… and also attacks continue.” This is true. But the fact is, THEY VOTED. They admitted their Jan 30 mistake, they took action to rectify it in the political realm, they invested in it themselves, and they VOTED. Furthermore, after losing their referendum objective (to deny the constitution), they have not quit. No, instead they are now fighting hard to have several of the local leaders run in the 15 December election. Their goal? To get elected officials into the government with the charter to modify the constitution through the amendment process. God Bless them! Do you know what this is called? Yes, it is called DEMOCRACY. It is the obvious means to leverage influence and interests NOT by the end of the barrel of a gun (or car bomb as it were), but rather through the political democratic process!
I will admit to you that we do get discouraged. The attacks do continue. I am appalled at the culture of insidious violence that seeks universal power and, where power comes up short, terror, to impose selfish, extremist views on others. This culture will take a long time to change. But the culture of terrorism didn’t start yesterday, nor did it start in March of 2003. We as a nation have been experiencing this for nearly 30 years. And it might just take a generation to incrementally change the nature of this culture to embrace a system of governing that surrenders power not to the dictator or the narrow few of extremism, but to the broad power of an electorate, thus disenfranchising and overwhelming the few.
I told a journalist a few weeks ago that the key word in this process is incremental improvement. There is no silver bullet solution that will satisfy our desires in short order. We will, in the months and years ahead, claim cultural increments of change and improvement, while those that attack seek to preclude that change. The people that attack us in Iraq today were likely not terrorists in March 2003. But let’s be clear. The authors of this insurgency have a lot to lose. The third country involvement flowing through the borders want no part of a democracy on their flanks. The religious extremists want nothing but theocratic influence over their “flocks.” And former regime members would prefer their old, dictatorial powers to an objective ballot. But these groups, by achieving their ends would thus be the same groups financing and supporting future attacks against our way of life – democratic, free peoples pursuing liberty – that we have been experiencing for a generation.
On the other hand, a successful process in Iraq will put those on the borders and those who would seek the influence of theocratic dogma on notice – a notice that challenges universal power and/or terror in favor of broad democratic influence by people that moderate extremist behavior.
But…it is incremental. And it will take a long time. Perhaps a generation.
We are making progress. My “Sunni friends” are running in this next election. “They” frankly are also still trying to kill me and my soldiers as they have not completely changed their entire culture nor those that would finance evil But we are making progress.
And for what? President Bush, regardless of what you may think of him, chose bold action after nearly 30 years of this insidious dynamic called terrorism. He did not pursue a semi-tolerant, business as usual approach to terrorism. He sought to remove the potential threat of a WMD-empowered enemy (loudly proved incorrect) AND (not so loudly recognized) to initiate, through a democratic driven cultural change, an “antidote” to terror that has the potential for a more thorough solution to the steady onslaught of the carnage… an antidote that has the potential to provide people the means to disenfranchise evil extremists through democratic reform (not disproved, and rarely noted).
Is there a cost? YES. I see it everyday! Every time I attend a memorial service for one of our heroes, the emotion inside makes me painfully aware of the investment we, as a nation are making in the form of America’s sons and daughters. But God Bless those who are willing to make an investment in the pursuit of liberty and to counter evil.
I observed three groups of women in the last two days. One, the car bomb driver, is dead for a cause of evil and carnage. She was a failure. David’s mom invested the honor of her son, and she felt the pain of the cost in the damage done to his 23 year old body. Strangely she did so for another group of women. She did so, in a way, for the future opportunity of young Iraqi girls getting out of school the other day… girls who watched both the horror of evil explode before their eyes, and the activity of noble American men enduring that evil while they seek to instill an antidote that, over the course of a generation, might just preclude attacks that we all watched on September 11th 2001.
So, what do we do now? One more story about my soldier. As “David” lay in some pain on the gurney in the emergency room at the hospital, the doctor was explaining to him his condition and that he would need emergency surgery that would require months to heal. As he grimaced somewhat in discomfort, he said, “ok sir, so I guess I will have to suck it up for the next several months. Ok, I got it. Let’s get to it!” And with that they began to prepare him for surgery. We as a nation must do the same. It will take much longer than several months. It will likely take many years. We must be steadfast and resolute as we proceed through these incremental steps. I pray that we can be just that.
God Bless all of you.
Eric J. Wesley
Cdr, 1-13 AR
(IRAQ) WHAT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE SAYING
By J. Peter Mulhern
From The American Thinker, November 18, 2005
Forwarded by Russ Vaughn
It’s nice that the President is finally ridiculing the ridiculous charge that he lied us into war in Iraq. I, for one, am grateful for any sign of political life from a White House that sometimes seems to have gone into a second term coma. So far, however, the President has been content to pick some very low hanging rhetorical fruit. He needs to hit the Democrats much harder and much more often.
So far the new offensive in the war of words consists mostly of pointing out the glaring contradiction that underlies the “Bush lied, people died” disinformation campaign. Every prominent Democrat politician had access to the same antebellum information about Saddam Hussein and reached the same conclusions about the danger of leaving him at large as did President Bush. Most of them stated their conclusions about Saddam on videotape.
Assigning all the blame for a bipartisan mistake to George W. Bush is certainly unfair. The unfounded claim that the President initiated a war in bad faith is something much worse than unfair. It is seditious. Democrats are fortunate that the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t as tough as Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln would have Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and company cooling their heels in jail like many of their Copperhead forbearers. Bush, to his credit, has at least bestirred himself to observe that rewriting recent history to defame our Commander in Chief hurts our war effort and promotes the jihad.
This is good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It is not enough to point out that George W. Bush had plenty of company in error when he decided that Saddam Hussein was concealing weapons of mass destruction from U.N. inspectors. Many may have made the same mistake but Bush is primarily responsible for acting on it.
The President must argue that, with or without weapons of mass destruction, Saddam had to go. He must make it plain that all the sound and fury about Saddam’s arsenal or lack thereof signifies nothing. Even if we had known for sure in 2002 that Saddam had no unconventional weapons, any minimally responsible American government would have had to take him out. The war in Iraq is a war of strategic necessity. We had no choice about starting it and we have no choice about finishing it on our own terms.
Perhaps our intelligence services grossly overestimated Saddam’s unconventional capabilities. (Perhaps they didn’t and Iraqi intelligence services concealed them during our long pre-invasion detour through the U.N., but I digress.) We may have been misled about the exact nature of the threat Saddam posed to us. But there is not and never has been any reasonable doubt that he did pose a threat and a serious one.
We were at war with Saddam when George W. Bush took office. During the Clinton years Saddam was winning the war. Our government tossed bombs at him whenever Bill Clinton felt compelled to wag the dog. Steadily, however, the sanctions regime was eroding and the “international community” was losing whatever will it ever had to keep Saddam constrained. The Bush administration showed up for work and confronted a grim choice between letting Saddam win his long war with the U.S. and rooting him out by force.
September 11, 2001 turned that choice into a no-brainer. After that date we knew and Saddam knew that he could strike a devastating blow against the American homeland merely by supporting the right terrorist. He could strike that blow with or without a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. He had wealth, weapons technology and contacts with Jihad, Inc, all of which made his capacity for mischief almost unlimited. If, for example, he couldn’t build a nuclear weapon at home he might well have been able to buy one at a Nukes R’ Us in the former Soviet Union and deliver it to coastal American city care of a cooperative terrorist organization.
We couldn’t deter Saddam from making this nightmare scenario a reality because there was no reason to expect that we could ever identify him as the sponsor of any particular attack with enough certainty to justify retaliation. There is fragmentary evidence that Iraqi intelligence was involved in planning both the 9/11 attacks and the first World Trade Center bombings. That sort of evidence is the best one is likely to find in the wake of a covert operation, even an ineptly executed one. With just a little caution, Saddam could strike us with impunity. He knew it, we knew it, and the administration would have been criminally negligent to allow it.
After 9/11 we couldn’t leave Saddam free to attack us. We also couldn’t let him defeat us. He had defied us for years and we had to make him pay for it. Even if Saddam had not posed a direct threat, we couldn’t accept the strategic consequences of losing a war to our most prominent Arab enemy in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
9/11 didn’t happen because a small group of terrorists decided to attack us. It happened because hundreds of millions of Muslims, particularly Arab Muslims, wanted it to happen. Osama bin Laden supplied what his culture demands. That culture has to learn to want something better. It must learn to respect us and to fear our anger. We couldn’t earn respect in the Arab world as long as we let Saddam play us for fools.
Anyone who considers the facts and still wonders whether invading Iraq was a good idea should glance at a map. Before we invaded Iraq there were three major terror sponsoring states in the Middle East. Today there are only two, Syria and Iran, and we have a powerful army between them. Syria is caught between the Israeli hammer and the American anvil. The Iranian regime is shaken to its foundations by the rise of a democratic Iraq. The invasion of Iraq did far more to promote the defeat of the terror masters than anything else we could have done with the same time and resources.
We didn’t invade Iraq on a scavenger hunt for weapons of mass destruction. Our failure to find them raised questions about the quality of our intelligence, but not about the basis for the invasion. We went in to crush a dangerous enemy and begin the long, slow process of reforming a poisonous culture. Our reasons were compelling in 2003 and they are compelling today. The President needs to make that clear over and over again.
Complaining that a lot of Democrats shared the President’s pre-war views about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, serves mostly to keep public attention focused on a trivial distraction. The President needs to talk about what we have gained in Iraq and what we stand to gain by holding our ground and continuing to exterminate terrorists there. Those are subjects that really matter and the bully pulpit should be reserved for important subjects.
The descent of the Democrat Party into disloyalty is another suitable subject for the bully pulpit. Nobody who makes the bizarre claim that our invasion of Iraq was unjustified because we found no weapons of mass destruction is fit to hold any office of public trust. People who make that claim are:
- too stupid to breathe without a respirator;
- so corrupt that they are willing to damage the war effort in pursuit of short-term political advantage; or
- actively working to undermine the national interest.
None of the above belongs in public life. Unfortunately there are a lot of professional Democrats in each of these three categories.
Nearly fifty years after Senator Joe McCarthy drank himself to death it is time for the taboo against “questioning the patriotism” of a liberal to pass from the American political scene. The truth is that most Democrats oppose the war in Iraq because they oppose anything and everything we might do to defeat our Islamofascist enemies. That’s unpatriotic and the President should say so.
He should address the nation from the Oval Office look straight into the camera and say:
“When I took office in January of 2001 America was already at war with Saddam Hussein. My predecessor was willing to lose that war. His Iraq policy was a slow-motion surrender punctuated by occasional spasms of politically convenient bombing. On September 11, 2001 we learned that we had to take our Middle Eastern enemies more seriously than that. I decided that we had to win our war with Saddam Hussein because defeat would have been too dangerous. We did what we had to do and Saddam is now a defendant not a dictator.
“Democrats in Congress want to revisit my decision. They call the liberation of Iraq a mistake and demand a timetable for bringing our troops home whether or not our work is done there. In other words, they regret an American victory and want to replace it with an American defeat if at all possible
“The party of Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy has been reduced to carrying water and leading cheers for America’s deadly enemies.”
What the heck? It’s not like they can hate him any more than they already do.
J. Peter Mulhern is an attorney in the Washington, DC area. He is a frequent contributor to http://www.The American Thinker [http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4997 ]
(IRAQ) WHATíS ALL THE FUSS?
Forwarded by Spence Eggleston
Pam Foster, a veteran Atlanta home planner and Interior designer wrote the following letter to a family member in Iraq. It is worth the read and forwarding. Sooner or later, it will get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior! If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims occur in our great country.
Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania?
Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?
And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was “desecrated” when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet?
Well, I don't. I don't care at all.
I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.
I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
I'll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat.
I'll care when the cowardly so-called “insurgents” in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.
I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.
I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.
In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care.
When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don't care.
When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don't care.
When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed “special” food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being “mishandled,” you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don't care.
And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled “Koran” and other times “Quran.” Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and —— you guessed it, I could not have said this any better myself!
(IRAQ) WINNING THE WAR
By Senator John McCain
A policy address delivered at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC., on November 10, 2005.
Forwarded by Don Harribine YNCS, U.S. Navy (Ret) via BGen Bob Clements USAF (Ret).
The past weeks in Iraq have filled our news with numbers. 10 million Iraqis streaming to the polls to determine their future democratically. A new constitution, enshrining fundamental rights, approved across the country by a 4 to 1 margin - two Sunni-dominated provinces dissenting. Over 2,000 Americans killed in action since the war began. It's all being counted: the number of safe areas, daily attacks, billions spent per month, days left until the December 15 elections.
And yet, as has been so often the case in Iraq, these numbers cannot indicate where that country is heading, because the figures themselves point in different directions. There is, at the same time, both great difficulty and great hope. And just as we'd be unwise to focus solely on the hopeful signs, so too would we be foolish merely to dwell upon the difficulties. I mention this not because I seek to whitewash the situation in Iraq.
On the contrary, not all is well there. But as we look on events there, let us not forget that the Iraqi people are in the midst of something unprecedented in their history. The world has witnessed Iraqis of all stripes exercising those very democratic habits that critics predicted could never take root in a country with little democratic tradition. They voted in January for an interim government. They put Saddam on trial and dictators throughout the world on notice.
They produced a landmark constitution that, while not perfect, nevertheless enshrines critical rights that go far beyond the standards elsewhere in the region. On October 15, they braved explicit death threats from Zarqawi and his ilk in order to determine their future democratically. Try as they might, the terrorists and the insurgents in Iraq got no veto. Instead, an Arab country adopted a democratic constitution by a free vote for the first time in history.
Despite the daily bombings and attacks, the terrorists have not achieved their goals. They have failed to incite a civil war, because Kurds and Shia still have faith in the future and in American and Iraqi security efforts. The insurgents have not prevented Iraqis from joining the military and police, in spite of horrific attacks at recruiting centers. Oil exports continue, despite concerted efforts at sabotage. And the insurgents have not stopped the political process, even while they assassinate government officials and attack polling places.
So while I would like to offer thoughts today about events in Iraq, the stakes for the United States, and current American policy, I do so remembering just how far the people there have come. With our help, the dictator who ruled their lives is gone from power, and with our aid the Iraqi people are establishing a true democracy. The Middle East will be forever changed by the choices we have made, and by those we continue to make over the next months.
We must get Iraq right because America's stake in that conflict is enormous. All Americans, whether or not they supported American action to topple Saddam Hussein, must understand the profound implications of our presence there. Success or failure in Iraq is the transcendent issue for our foreign policy and our national security, for now and years to come. I would submit that the stakes are higher than in the Vietnam War.
There is an understandable desire, two and a half years after our invasion, to seek a quick and easy end to our intervention in Iraq. We see this in the protests of Cindy Sheehan; we saw it recently in Senator Kerry's call to withdraw troops whether or not the country is secured. But should America follow these calls, we would face consequences of the most serious nature. Because Iraqi forces are not yet capable of carrying out most security operations on their own, great bloodshed would occur if the main enforcer of government authority - coalition troops - draw down prematurely.
If we were to leave, the most likely result would be full scale civil war. When America toppled Saddam, we incurred a moral duty not to abandon the people there to terrorists and killers. If we withdraw prematurely, risking all-out civil war, we will have done precisely that. I can hardly imagine that any U.S. senator or any American leader would want our nation to suffer that moral stain.
And yet the implications of premature withdrawal from Iraq are not moral alone; they directly involve our national security. Instability in Iraq would invite further Syrian and Iranian interference, bolstering the influence of two terror-sponsoring states firmly opposed to American policy. Iraq's neighbors - from Saudi Arabia to Israel to Turkey - would feel their own security eroding, and might be induced to act. This uncertain swirl of events would have a damaging impact on our ability to promote positive change in the Middle East, to say the least.
Withdrawing before there is a stable and legitimate Iraqi authority would turn Iraq into a failed state, in the heart of the Middle East. We have seen a failed state emerge after U.S. disengagement once before, and it cost us terribly. In pre-9/11 Afghanistan, terrorists found sanctuary to train and plan attacks with impunity. We know that there are today in Iraq terrorists who are planning attacks against Americans.
We cannot make this fatal mistake twice. If we leave Iraq prematurely, the jihadists will interpret the withdrawal as their great victory against our great power. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe that America is weak, unwilling to suffer casualties in battle. They drew that lesson from Lebanon in the 1980s and Somalia in the 1990s, and today they have their sights set squarely on Iraq. The recently released letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's lieutenant, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, draws out the implications.
The Zawahiri letter is predicated on the assumption that the United States will leave Iraq, and that al Qaeda's real game begins as soon as we abandon the country. In his missive, Zawahiri lays out a four stage plan - establish a caliphate in Iraq, extend the “jihad wave” to the secular countries neighboring Iraq, clash with Israel - none of which shall commence until the completion of stage one: expel the Americans from Iraq. Zawahiri observes that the collapse of American power in Vietnam, “and how they ran and left their agents,” suggests that “we must be ready starting now.”
We can't let them start, now or ever. We must stay in Iraq until the government there has a fully functioning security apparatus that can keep Zarqawi and his terrorists at bay, and ultimately defeat them. Some argue that it our very presence in Iraq that has created the insurgency, and that if we end the occupation, we end the insurgency. But in fact by ending military operations, we are likely to empower the insurgency.
Zarqawi and others fight not just against foreign forces but also against the Shia, whom they believe to be infidels, and against all elements of the government. Sunni insurgents attack Kurds, Turcomans, Christians and other Iraqis, not simply to end the American occupation but to recapture lost Sunni power. As AEI's Fredrick Kagan has written, these Sunni are not yet persuaded that violence is counterproductive; on the contrary, they believe the insurgency might lead to an improvement in their political situation.
There is no reason to think that an American drawdown would extinguish these motivations to fight. Because we cannot pull out and hope for the best, because we cannot withdraw and manage things from afar, because morality and our security compel it, we have to see this mission through to completion. Senator Kerry's call for the withdrawal of 20,000 American troops by year's end represents, I believe, a major step on the road to disaster.
Draw downs must be based on conditions in-country, not arbitrary deadlines rooted in our domestic politics. The President and his advisors understand that, and I praise their resolve. They know that the consequences of failure are unacceptable and that the benefits of success in Iraq remain profound. And yet at the same time there is an undeniable sense that things are slipping - more violence on the ground, declining domestic support for the war, growing incantations among Americans that there is no end in sight.
To build on what has been accomplished, and to win the war in Iraq, we need to make several significant policy changes. Adopt a military counterinsurgency strategy. For most of the occupation, our military strategy was built around trying to secure the entirety of Iraq at the same time. With our current force structure and the power vacuum that persists in many areas, that is not possible today. In their attempt to secure all of Iraq, coalition forces engage in search and destroy operations to root out insurgent strongholds, with the aim of killing as many insurgents as possible.
But our forces cannot hold the ground indefinitely, and when they move on to fight other battles, the insurgent ranks replenish and the strongholds fill again. Our troops must then reenter the same area and re-fight the same battle. The example of Tal Afar is instructive. Coalition forces first fought in Tal Afar in September 2003, when the 101st Airborne Division took the city, then withdrew. Over the next year insurgents streamed back into the area, and in September 2004, Stryker brigades and Iraqi security forces went into Tal Afar again, chasing out insurgents again.
They then left again, moving on to fight insurgents in other locations. Then in September 2005, the Third Armored Calvary Regiment swept into Tal Afar, killing insurgents while others retreated into the countryside. Most of our troops have already redeployed, and they may well be back again. The battles of Tal Afar, like those in other areas of Iraq, have become seasonal offensives, where success is measured most often by the number of insurgents captured and killed.
But that's not success, and “sweeping and leaving” is not working. Instead, we need to clear and stay. We can do this with a modified version of traditional counterinsurgency strategy. Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, AEI's Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmitt and others have written about this idea. Whether called the “ink blot,” “oil spot,” or “safe haven” strategy, it draws upon successful counterinsurgency efforts in the past.
Rather than focusing on killing and capturing insurgents, we should emphasize protecting the local population, creating secure areas where insurgents find it difficult to operate. Our forces would begin by clearing areas, with heavy force if necessary, to establish a zone as free of insurgents as possible. The security forces can then cordon off the zone, establish constant patrols, by American and Iraqi military and police, to protect the population from insurgents and common crime, and arrest remaining insurgents as they are found.
In this newly secure environment, many of the things critical to winning in Iraq can take place - things that are not happening today. Massive reconstruction can go forward without fear of attack and sabotage. Political meetings and campaigning can take place in the open. Civil society can emerge. Intelligence improves, as it becomes increasingly safe for the population to provide tips to the security forces, knowing that they can do so without being threatened.
The coalition must then act on this intelligence, increasing the speed at which it is transmitted to operational teams. Past practice has shown that “actionable intelligence” has a short shelf life, and the lag involved in communicating it to operators costs vital opportunities. As these elements positively reinforce each other, the security forces then expand the territory under their control. We've done this successfully in Falluja.
Coalition and Iraqi forces cleared the area of insurgents, held the city, and today Iraqi police and soldier patrol the streets, with support from two American battalions. And when the Iraqi forces are at a level sufficient to take over the patrolling responsibilities on their own, American troops can hand over the duties.
Falluja today is not perfect, but our aim is not perfection - it is an improvement over the insecurity that plagues Iraq today. This kind of a counterinsurgency strategy has some costs. Securing ever increasing parts of Iraq and preventing the emergence of new terrorist safe havens will require more troops and money. It will take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties. Those are terrible prices to pay. But with the stakes so high, I believe we must choose the strategy with the best chance of success.
The Pentagon seems to be coming around on this, and top commanders profess to employ a version already. If we are on our way to adopting a true counterinsurgency strategy, that is wonderful, but it has not been the case thus far. After the recent operations in Tal Afar most American troops were redeployed from Tal Afar already, leaving behind Iraqi units with Americans embedded. I hope this will be sufficient to establish security there, but it is also clear that there has been no spike in reconstruction activity in that city.
To enhance our chances of success with this strategy, and enable our forces to hold as much territory as possible, we need more troops. For this reason, I believe that current ideas to effect a partial drawdown during 2006 are exactly wrong. While the U.S. and its partners are training Iraqi security forces at a furious pace, these Iraqis should supplement, not substitute for, the coalition forces on the ground.
Instead of drawing down, we should be ramping up, with more civil-military soldiers, translators, and counterinsurgency operations teams. Our decisions about troop levels should be tied to the success or failure of our mission in Iraq, not to the number of Iraqi troops trained and equipped. And while we seek higher troop levels for Iraq, we should at last face facts and increase the standing size of the U.S. Army. It takes time to build a larger army, but had we done so even after our invasion of Iraq, our military would have more soldiers available for deployment now.
Knowing the enemy is the essential precondition to defeating him, and I believe our counterinsurgency strategy can do more to exploit divisions in the strands of the insurgency. Foreign jihadists, Baathist revanchists and Sunni discontents do not necessarily share tactics or goals. Recent Sunni participation in the constitutional process - and especially the decision by Sunni parties to contest parliamentary elections - present opportunities to split Sunnis from those whose only goal is death, destruction and chaos.
KEEP SENIOR OFFICERS IN PLACE.
The Pentagon has adopted a policy of rotating our generals in and out of Iraq almost as frequently as it rotates the troops. General Petraeus, a fine officer who was the military's foremost expert in the training of Iraqi security forces, now uses his hard earned experience and expertise at Fort Leavenworth. Others, including General Conway, General Odierno, and General Chiarelli, have been transferred to Washington or elsewhere.
This is deeply unwise. If these were the best men for the task, they should still be on the job. These generals and other senior officers build, in their time in Iraq, the on-the-ground and institutional knowledge necessary to approach this conflict with wisdom. They know, for example, the difference between a battle in Falluja and one in Tal Afar, or what kind of patrols are most effective in Shia areas of Baghdad.
We need these commanders - and their hard-won experience - to stay in place. Integrate counterinsurgency efforts at senior levels. While it is critical to focus our military efforts on insurgents, particularly against Sunni fighters using violence to improve their political position, the non-military component is also essential. All Iraqis need to see a tangible improvement in their daily lives or support for the new government will slip. Sunnis need to feel that should they abandon violence once and for all, there will be some role in the political process for them.
The Iraqi people must feel invested in a newly free, newly powerful and prosperous country at peace. There is a role for each element of the U.S. Government in this, whether it implies aid, trade, wells, schools, training, or anything else. Ambassador Khalilzad has done a fine job at coordinating these efforts with the military campaign and the political process, but it needs to be done in Washington too. This should be the highest priority of the President's team, and must be managed by the most senior levels at the State Department, the Pentagon, the NSC, USAID, and any other agency that can contribute to the effort.
To consign Iraq to the Pentagon to win or lose will simply not suffice. In this regard, I am encouraged by Secretary Rice's recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which laid out a more comprehensive, integrated political-military-economic strategy for Iraq. Implementing it is essential and will require a more formal interagency structure than we have seen to date.
BUILD LOYALTY IN THE ARMED FORCES.
In building the Iraqi armed forces at a furious pace, the coalition and Iraqi authorities have invited former militia members to join. In the short run, it is most practical to do what we have done thus far - swallow former militia units whole. But in the long run, we must keep our focus on building diversified individual military units. The lesson of Afghanistan is instructive. There, the United States insisted - over initial objections from the Afghan Ministry of Defense - that each new military unit be carefully calibrated to include Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and others.
This diversification within units serves three important functions: first, over time, it helps build loyalty to the central government; and second, it makes it more difficult for militias to reconstitute, should any decide to
oppose the government. More broadly, the multiethnic Afghan National Army has provided a powerful psychological boost in a deeply divided country. Simply seeing Pashtuns and Tajiks and Uzbeks, in uniform and working together, has had a great impact on Afghan public opinion and the way Afghans imagine their country.
In Iraq the policy has been to recruit former militia members as individuals, rather than as units, but the reality has fallen short. Building units in this way is more difficult and will require more time than accepting homogenous Kurdish or Shia or Sunni units, for reasons of language, culture, and all-around expediency. But that is precisely why it is so important to do. Standing up the Iraqi army is about more than generating manpower so that American troops can withdraw.
The composition and character of the force we leave behind will have social and political ramifications far beyond the military balance of power. In helping to build an army, in short, we are helping to build a new Iraq.
For too long, Syria has refused to crack down on Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists operating from its territory. President Assad said last month that his government distinguishes between those insurgents who attack Iraqis and the killers who attack American and British troops, which “is something different.”
This is the same mindset that has led Syria to defy the United Nations over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, give sanctuary to Palestinian terrorist organizations, and attempt to maintain some hold on Lebanon. With the meetings of the UN Security Council, the international community has an opportunity to apply real pressure on Syria to change its behavior on all these fronts.
While multilateral sanctions keyed to Syrian cooperation with the Hariri investigation may be the starting point, it should not be the end. Any country that wishes to see the Iraqi people live in peace and freedom should join in pressuring Syria to stop Iraqi and foreign terrorists from using its soil.
WIN THE HOME FRONT.
While we make improvements in our political-military strategy, the latest polls and protests at home show that we need a renewed effort to win the homefront. If we can't retain the support of the American people, we will have lost this war as soundly as if our forces were defeated on the battlefield.
A renewed effort at home starts with explaining precisely what is at stake in this war - not to alarm Americans, but so that they see the nature of this struggle for what it is. The President cannot do this alone. The media, so efficient in portraying the difficulties in Iraq, need to convey the consequences of success or failure there. Critics in the Democratic Party should outline precisely what they believe to be the stakes in this battle, if they are willing to suffer the consequences of withdrawal.
Another part of the effort includes avoiding rosy aspirations for near term improvements in Iraq's politics or security situation, and more accurately portraying events on the ground, even if they are negative. The American people have heard many times that the violence in Iraq will subside soon - when there is a transitional government in place, when Saddam is captured, when there are elections, when there is a constitution.
Better, I believe, would be to describe the situation as it is - difficult right now, but not without progress and hope, and with a long, hard road ahead - and to announce that things have improved only when they in fact have. Above all, winning the homefront means reiterating our commitment to victory and laying out a realistic game plan that will take America there. I believe that the vast majority of Americans, even those who did not support our initial invasion, wish to see us prevail.
They are prepared to pay the human and financial costs of this war if - but only if - they believe our government is on a measurable path to victory. That we must give them. In this war as in all others, there are two fronts, the battlefield and the homefront, and we must tend to each.
THE ROAD AHEAD.
Despite bombs, daily attacks, and untold threats against the democratic process, Iraq has held free elections, with open campaigns and a truly free press.
Iraq has ratified the most progressive constitution in the Arab world and instilled justice in a country that for so long lacked it. Iraq has put Saddam on trial and held his henchmen accountable for their murderous rule. In doing all these things and more, the Iraqi people have issued to their more peaceful, prosperous neighbors a profound challenge. We have seen responses already in Lebanon's cedar revolution, Egypt's elections, and the Arab spring.
As Iraq consolidates its democratic process, the challenge to its neighbors - and their necessary responses - will be starker still. The Iraqi people have shown their impulse toward democracy; they need security in order to hash out the many remaining differences that still divide them. They can get there, but they need our support. Let me conclude by stating the obvious: America, Iraq and the world are better off with Saddam Hussein in prison rather than in power.
Does anyone believe the stirrings of freedom in the region would exist if Saddam still ruled with an iron fist? Does anyone believe the region would be better off if Saddam were in power, using oil revenue to purchase political support? Does anyone believe meaningful sanctions would remain or that there would have been any serious checks on Saddam's ambitions?
The costs of this war have been high, especially for the over 2000 Americans, and their families, who have paid the ultimate price. But liberating Iraq was in our strategic and moral interests, and we must honor their sacrifice by seeing this mission through to victory. Implementing the steps I have outlined here would not achieve victory in Iraq overnight - on the contrary.
It will take more time, more commitment, and more support, and more brave Americans will lose their lives in the service of this great cause. And despite our cajoling, nagging, and pleading, few other countries around the world will share much of our burden. Iraq is for us to do, for us to win or lose, for us to suffer the consequences or share in the benefits.
I began this speech by citing many numbers, and I could have cited many more. But in the end, there is only one United States of America, and it is to us that history will look for courage and commitment.
(IRAQ) YOU CANíT HELP BUT SMILE!
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret)
We hear and read about so many incidents in Iraq that can get you down. This short video is one that should bring a smile to your face, for a change.
A friend received it from his West Point grad daughter stationed at Al Faw, Iraq. The “stars” are members of the British Royal Dragoons tank regiment stationed there on a six-month tour when the video was shot, but are now back at their base in Germany.
In the video, a Staff Sergeant marches through the Iraqi camp along with his fellow squaddies singing and dancing to the tune, Is This The Way to Amarillo. When it first aired there, so many soldiers tried to download the video that it temporarioly brought down the Ministry of Defense computer servers.
This also links to a number of interesting items.
So settle back, CLICK HERE [http://www.navyseals.com/community/navyseals/socomdigital/video_14.html ] and enjoy a brief, enjoyable change of pace from death and destruction.
(PROTESTERS) GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GRANDMAS
Forwarded by JayPMarine
Here's a quote from a government employee who witnessed an interaction between an elderly woman and a Liberal antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC:
“There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America.
“An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined.
“The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, 'Lady, don't you care about the children of Iraq?'
“The old woman looked up at her and said, 'Honey, my father died n France during World War II, I lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam. All three died so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth our country. If you touch me again. I'll stick this umbrella up your butt and open it.' “
(RECUPERATION) PALACE HART
By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein, Air Force News Service
WASHINGTON 5/5/2006 - (AFPN) — A common trait exists among the injured Airmen recuperating at hospitals in the capital region, said the Air Force chief of staff.
“Every Airman I’ve met wants to return to active duty and (his or her) unit,” said Gen. T. Michael Moseley in recent testimony on Capitol Hill. “I am proud of them and their courage as they travel the hard road to recovery.”
The determination of injured Airmen inspired the creation of a program dedicated to helping them — Palace HART, or Helping Airmen Recover Together. This program is offered to separated or retired Airmen with an illness or injury associated with operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.
The Air Force’s goal is to retain injured Airmen on active duty. If an Airman cannot stay on active duty, then other options are explored through Palace HART. This includes finding them jobs in government civilian positions or making arrangements for higher education. Transition assistance counseling and relocation services are provided to the Airman and his or her family.
“I think the program speaks volumes for the commitment we have to our total force Airmen today,” said Brenda Liston, chief of Airmen and family readiness policy at the Pentagon. “In the past, assistance to service members was fragmented once they were separated or medically retired from the service, and it was up to the families to navigate their options themselves.”
Today, once an Airman is separated or retired as a result of a combat-related illness or injury, he or she is assigned a Palace HART case manager, who tracks the Airman’s case and advises him or her for up to five years.
“They really have the control to make their own choices,” Ms. Liston said. “Our job is just to do everything we can to give them information, get them stable again and so they are able to care for themselves.”
So far, the program has proved its worth, said Bill Sherman, who oversees the program from the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
“The biggest benefit is that total force Airmen in Palace HART have an advocate who that can assist them and their families, even after retirement or separation,” he said. “(The advocate) helps them work their way through the services available to them.”
He said the response from Airmen and families has been positive.
“The Palace HART members are delighted that someone is in their corner,” he said, “The team is there for them and their families when they are unsure about available services or run into a roadblock. Although we call them on a regular basis, Palace HART members have our toll-free number, and can call us anytime when faced with a concern or (when they) just want to chat.”
All Airmen, injured or not, should know that the Air Force is committed to their well being, no matter what, Mr. Sherman said.
“First and foremost, they should understand that the Air Force ensures these heroes will not be forgotten,” he said. “Every effort will be made to assist (injured Airmen) and their families in the transition to civilian life, and make certain they receive all entitlements due to them.”
(WAR ZONE) DEATH NEVER ďIN VAINĒ
(Jug: I thought you might be interested in the following commentary from my column in USA TODAY. Things have been going well for the book, “AWOL”. Frank and I have been conducting a tour of the Ivy League schools to talk about the issues in “AWOL”. We've recently gotten a terrific review in the Washington Times, and continue to get favorable commentaries in newspapers around the country. Best regards, Kathy.}
DEATH NEVER “IN VAIN”
By Kathy Roth-Douquet, co-author, with Frank Schaeffer, of AWOL: The
Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country. She lives on a military base in North Carolina.
Policy decisions can't tarnish a soldier's ultimate sacrifice. This act of faith for American ideals is what matters and should be revered, whatever the war and no matter the outcome.
Died in vain?
President Bush [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040413-20.html ] wants to stay the course in Iraq so that those who have died there will not have died “in vain.” Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan urges us to pull out immediately to prevent more Americans from dying in vain.
Bush and Sheehan have both got it wrong.
Too many partisans in the battle for Iraq policy have used soldiers' deaths as a football in a bid to score points. It's cruel (imagine being a family member and being told the death of your loved one was in vain), but even more, it's just wrong. Those who argue that a soldier's death has meaning only if the politics are “right” misunderstand military service in America.
“We think of Kristian (Menchaca) as a hero,” says Sylvia Grice of her cousin, 23, one of the soldiers kidnapped, tortured and killed by insurgents last June in Iraq. “He didn't have to do this. He believed in what he was doing.” The terrible death's meaning, in other words, came from the soldier's commitment. It is his commitment that gives his life meaning, and even his country's possible errors staying in too long, leaving too early can't take that meaning from him.
The phrase “died in vain” comes to us from our great moralist president, Abraham Lincoln. In Gettysburg's graveyard [http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=36&page=transcript ], Lincoln urged the gathered to fight on for the survival of the United States so that those interred in that ground would not have died in vain. He did not argue that a soldier who loses his battle or his war has died in vain. Instead, he noted that America itself, its ideas and ideals, is what gives the soldier's life meaning.
Behind the sacrifices
So where does the meaning of military sacrifice come from?
Military service in America flows from our Constitution as a covenant among free people. The parties to this sacred contract are, on one hand, a group of citizens who assent to bear arms for their country for a time, and on the other, the rest of us, the civilians whose task it is to decide whether to send our compatriots into peril. Those bearing arms promise to bring their loyalty, skill and honor to the task; the civilians, for their part, promise to weigh the fate of those soldiers with seriousness and care, and provide the support necessary to those who go.
The meaning in the lives of those who bear arms resides in their loyalty to the democracy that sends them, and the skill and honor they bring to their task. If the civilians who send them falter in their decision-making, it dishonors those who steer and not those who serve.
So let's apply this to the war in Iraq. What if the war is a mistake, or we pull out too early? Are the deaths then for naught?
From the standpoint of a soldier or Marine, or in my case, a Marine's wife, the answer to these questions must be no. Why? Because despite any partisan's passion for the rightness of a position, none of us will know how right or wrong we really are until long after the last shot is fired. So we make decisions the way one does in a self-governing society of 300 million cantankerous souls: imperfectly, inelegantly, with unnecessary suffering.
Whether we are led by Democrat [http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/wh32.html ] presidents or Republican [http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/wh29.html ] ones, great men such as Franklin D. Roosevelt or middling men such as Warren G. Harding, there will be mistakes, judged differently at different times in history and perhaps never resolved utterly in consensus. Even in the “good war,” there were bad engagements, bad decisions, and unnecessary, sad, tragic deaths.
Service, then, is even more ennobling because it represents an act of faith in an unwieldy system a representative democracy of human beings. The weakness of our system lends poignancy to the decision to serve: Those who go into harm's way recognize that our society is in many ways deeply flawed, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill [http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/24926.html ], it's the best one available yet.
Bad policy can't tar a soldier
Philosopher Nancy Sherman says the military resolves this tension by adopting a version of the ancient Stoic philosophy, which holds that one may be judged only by the rightness or wrongness of one's own acts, not by the acts of others. A soldier who does his portion morally and well, cannot be tarred by the brush of a leader's bad policy. This does not mean that some individuals' willingness to serve translates into a blank check for irresponsible policy. If anything, it requires us to constantly scrutinize our policy and commit to do better.
In complicated times like these, it's important to remember that self-government is perishable it can be killed not only by enemies outside the gate, but also by indifference and alienation within. The decision to serve is a decision to be part of our country and, ideally, to make the part one touches the best possible. This is what has value, so that even in the tragic cases of friendly fire, or accidental deaths or deaths in battles later lost, those who die did not die in vain. They died in service to an ideal - Lincoln's ideal that the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the face of this earth.
There is nothing vain about that.
(WAR ZONE) COMPARING PERSPECTIVES
Forwarded by The Waterworths
Compare your easy life with that of a military man in the war zone:
Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another ten minutes.
He stays up for days on end.
You take a shower to help you wake up.
He may go days or weeks without running water.
You complain of a “headache” and call in sick.
He gets shot at, as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.
You put on your anti-war/don't support the troops shirt, meet with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
You talk trash on your “buddies” that aren't with you.
He knows he may never see some of his buddies again.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He may not get to eat today.
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He may wear the same things for months, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
You are angry because your class ran five minutes over.
He is told he must stay an extra two months.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for that night.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own government and
remembers why he is fighting.
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of the men like him.
He hears the gun fire and bombs.
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees dead bodies lying around him.
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call and write home, sleep, and eat.
You crawl into your bed, with down pillows, and try to get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a five minute nap, but is awakened by gunfire.
You sit there and judge, saying the world is worse because of men like him.
Thank God there are men like him. If only there were more!
(WAR ZONE) IN REMEMBRANCE
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Retired)
Moving Tributes is an Internet Wall of Honor featuring brief slide shows posted by friends and family of the men and women who have lost their lives in Iran and Afghanistan. Each is individualistic and heart wrenching.
This beautiful site, sponsored by Legacy.com, is a good place to go for some quiet time in appreciation of those who have given their lives for all of us who love America, and who appreciate both what freedom really means, and those willing to defend it.
To visit, click here. [http://www.legacy.com/Soldiers.asp?Page=FSMovingTributes ]
(WAR) BENíS LETTER TO THE TROOPS
By Ben Stein, former Hollywood reporter. Forwarded by p38bob
Dear Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, National Guard, Reservists, in Iraq, in the Middle East theater, in Afghanistan, in the area near Afghanistan, in any base anywhere in the world, and your families:
Let me tell you about why you guys own about 90 percent of the cojones in the whole world right now, and should be damned happy with yourselves and damned proud of who you are.
It was a dazzlingly hot day here in Rancho Mirage today. I did small errands like going to the bank to pay my mortgage, finding a new bed at a price I can afford, practicing driving with my new 5 wood, paying bills for about two hours. I spoke for a long time to a woman who is going through a nasty child custody fight. I got e-mails from a woman who was fired today from her job for not paying attention. I read about multi-billion-dollar mergers in Europe, Asia, and the Mid-East. I noticed how overweight I am, for the millionth time.
In other words, I did a lot of nothing. Like every other American who is not in the armed forces family, I basically just rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic in my trivial, self-important, meaningless way. Above all, I talked to a friend of more than 43 years who told me he thought his life had no meaning because all he did was count his money.
And, friends in the armed forces, this is the story of all of America today. We are doing nothing but treading water while you guys carry on the life or death struggle against worldwide militant Islamic terrorism. Our lives are about nothing: paying bills, going to humdrum jobs, waiting until we can go to sleep and then doing it all again. Our most vivid issues are trivia compared with what you do every day, every minute, every second.
Oprah Winfrey talks a lot about “meaning” in life. For her, “meaning” is dieting and then having her photo on the cover of her magazine every single month (surely a new world record for egomania ). This is not “meaning.”
Meaning is doing for others… Meaning is risking your life for others… Meaning is putting your bodies and families' peace of mind on the line to defeat some of the most evil, sick killers the world has ever known.. Meaning is leaving the comfort of home to fight to make sure that there still will be a home for your family and for your nation and for free men and women everywhere.
Look, soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen and Coast Guardsmen – there are eight billion people in this world. The whole fate of this world turns on what you people, 1.4 million, more or less, do every day. The fate of mankind depends on what about 2/100 of one percent of the people in this world do every day — and you are those people. And joining you is every policeman, fireman, and EMT in the country, also holding back the tide of chaos.
Do you know how important you are? Do you know how indispensable you are? Do you know how humbly grateful any of us who has a head on his shoulders is to you? Do you know that if you never do another thing in your lives, you will always still be heroes? That we could live without Hollywood or Wall Street or the NFL, but we cannot live for a week without you?
We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment. And Oprah Winfrey, if she were a size two, would not have one millionth of your importance, and all of the Wall Street billionaires will never mean what the least of you do, and if Barry Bonds hits hundreds of home runs it would not mean as much as you going on one patrol or driving one truck to the Baghdad airport.
You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and you are in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet. That's who you are and what you mean. I hope you know that.