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Mujadadi survives suicide attack, blames Pakistan
Today's Headlines
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Africa Horn
AU tables new, improved ceasefire for Darfur
Mediators in peace talks on Sudan's Darfur region on Sunday presented the warring parties with a detailed ceasefire proposal designed to work better than an existing, often violated agreement.
"Now longer, lower, leaner, wider, with more road-hugging weight and 40 percent more cheese!"
The African Union (AU), which has 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur and is mediating peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja, said demilitarisation of humanitarian supply routes and of displaced persons' camps were key elements of the plan. "Our proposals are fair, workable and in compliance with the previous commitments entered into by the parties," the AU's chief mediator Salim Ahmed Salim told the parties, according to an AU statement. "If any party refuses to sign the enhanced humanitarian ceasefire agreement, we will have no option but to conclude that it is not interested in peace and the well-being of the people of Darfur," Salim said.
Uhuh. And what will you do then, Ollie?
The AU and the United Nations are increasing pressure on the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels to speed up peace talks. On Friday, the AU extended its mission in Darfur until September 30 and set a deadline of end-April for the peace talks to conclude.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Bill Gates Diplomatic Program[tm]
The new improved version 5.2
Expect a system crash within 60 days
Posted by: Sleater Chetch3021 || 03/13/2006 9:18 Comments || Top||

Islamism in Oman
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 00:57 || Comments || Link || [336071 views] Top|| File under:

300 Islamic Scholars to Attend Manama Meet on Prophet
In the wake of recent attacks by the enemies of Islam, five leading Islamic organizations have organized an international conference in defense of the Prophet Muhammad (May his toenail fungus subside peace be upon him). The conference will be in Manama, Bahrain, from March 22 to 23. The press briefing at which the announcement was made was attended by Soliman Hamad Al-Buthi, supervisor of the International Committee for the Support of the Final Prophet (ICFSP); Dr. Saleh Sulaiman Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY); Salman Al-Oudah who moderates Islam Today, an Islamic website; and Khaled Al-Ojaimi of WAMY.

The conference, expected to draw more than 300 Islamic scholars from Muslim and non-Muslim countries, is being sponsored by ICFSP; Al-Asalah; a Manama-based nongovernmental organization (NGO); the Doha-based Union of Muslim Scholars; and Islam Today, an Internet portal dedicated to the cause of the faith. “The conference is being organized in response to the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The conference’s aim is to form a unified front to coordinate our efforts and voice our aspirations jointly on issues pertaining to Islam,” Dr. Wohaibi said, adding that this will be a beginning for a unified Muslims’ voice where they will be told how to cooperate in times of such situations.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336073 views] Top|| File under:

#1  One cruise missile. Just one.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 8:28 Comments || Top||

#2  we could put a real dent in the WOT...
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 10:53 Comments || Top||

#3  ,” Dr. Wohaibi said, adding that this will be a beginning for a unified Muslims’ voice where they will be told how to cooperate act in times of such situations.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/13/2006 10:58 Comments || Top||

#4  Dr. Saleh Sulaiman Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY)

Give WAMY the double-whammy. Fuel-air ordnance should be used to teach them not to cluster up like this.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 12:41 Comments || Top||

#5  or failing an explosion, slam them rhetorically when they fail to take up the issue of muslim on muslim mosque bombings in Iraq or muslim on muslim genocide in Dafar

Posted by: mhw || 03/13/2006 13:55 Comments || Top||

#6  Idea for cartoon:
March 22, Manama, Bahrain and a UFO comes zooming into the Muslim conference. A man walks down a beam of light and loudly proclaims "Allah is dead."
Posted by: wxjames || 03/13/2006 20:52 Comments || Top||

Bahraini police break up protest demanding release of detainees
About 300 Bahrainis demonstrated Saturday to demand the release of at least 16 people who are serving jail terms for sabotage, the second protest in two days to be broken up by police using tear gas. The demonstration began in the early evening near the downtown Al Khawaja Mosque, where protesters chanted and carried banners reading “Free our children from prison.” An information ministry spokesman said police dispersed Saturday's crowd because they had not received permission to hold a demonstration. He said the police used tear gas but there were no clashes with protesters as there had been the day before.

Political activist Abduljalil Al Singace, in an e-mail to the Associated Press, said police also used rubber bullets to break up the protest. A security official at the interior ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, denied the use of rubber bullets. Singace said the demonstration was to demand the release of the prisoners — convicted of rioting after their Shiite cleric was briefly detained in December — as well as of 20 people detained after Friday's protest. Witnesses said at least 11 people were wounded when police used batons and tear gas to break up that demonstration.

Some demonstrators moved on to the villages of Daih and Sanabis, east of the capital, where some set fire to tyres and garbage bins. Late in the evening, hundreds of riot police lined the streets, keeping people from moving in the area. Witnesses said at least 25 masked youth were still in the area, however, no demonstrators could be seen from behind the police barricade.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336066 views] Top|| File under:

Caribbean-Latin America
Chavez: Too Crazy For The French
French President Jacques Chirac has officially rejected Venezuela's bid to buy two Scorpone-Class diesel submarines.

While France has sold military equipment to Venezuela over the years, sales have been modest (averaging no more than $1 million annually). The submarine deal would have involved serious money (a billion dollars or more), but the French rejected it for several reasons.

Chirac is trying to rebuild relations with the U.S., but there's also serious concern about Venezuela's unstable President Hugo Chavez. French investments in Venezuela have been among those "foreign" interests threatened with "nationalization" by the Chavez regime.

In addition, Chavez' barely veiled threats against the Netherlands West Indies and Guyana makes senior French diplomatic and military leaders concerned about his ambitions in the Caribbean.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 20:22 || Comments || Link || [336097 views] Top|| File under:

#1  French investments in Venezuela ... threatened with "nationalization"

Posted by: DMFD || 03/13/2006 21:37 Comments || Top||

#2  Chavez can probably get a better deal in Bogota anyway.
Posted by: Darrell || 03/13/2006 22:06 Comments || Top||

#3  SCORPONE, or SCORPENE, sub class - everything I've seen on the Web says SCORPENE.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 22:35 Comments || Top||

#4  Wow, Joseph. You keep track of Phrench sub classes?
Posted by: Brett || 03/13/2006 22:51 Comments || Top||

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Arabs, Islam, and the Chechen wars
As a result of certain dramatic developments during the Chechnya conflict, many people believe that radical Islamist organizations have steered the secessionist movement toward the purported aim of creating an Islamic state in the Northern Caucasus.

The situation is more complex. Chechnya stands at the intersection of radicalism and nationalism. Islam has always been an integral part of its national identity, but it was not the impetus behind the nationalist movement after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. The politicization and radicalization of Islam opened a Pandora's Box threatening to morph into a regional ethno-religious war. Russia's refusal to acknowledge its wrongs, or change its policies, has led to the current impasse. Stalemate is the order of the day, with militant Islam threatening any chance of autonomy that the movement may try to achieve.

Against this backdrop, it is crucial to understand the extent and nature of Arab involvement in the Chechen movement, as this was alleged to have contributed significantly to changing the resistance from a nationalist movement to one tainted by religious radicalism.

Beslan, the Moscow theater siege, plane hijackings and various incidents of suicide bombings are chilling reminders of the festering conflict in Chechnya. They confirm two things: Moscow's ineptitude in winning the war against Chechen secessionism, and the fact that the Chechens have reacted to Russian atrocities and use of force by bringing the war to Moscow itself. Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to use force to suppress the resistance has led to a worsening situation. However, the conflict will not be resolved militarily. According to General Aleksander Lebed, Russia is not "fighting terrorists and bandits, but a people."

The feeling that the conflict may spill over regionally and Russian theories about Islamic extremism spreading across the Caucasus have been fuelled by incidents like the threat of radicalization in Dagestan, the Chechen raid into Ingushetia in June 2004, and clashes in Kabardino-Balkaria in October 2005, where dozens were killed. Locals across the region deny these events are part of an evil foreign plot; instead they see them as an extension of the Chechen conflict and a reaction to Russian policies.

In 2003, the U.S. State Department designated three Chechen groups affiliated with Shamil Basaev as terrorist groups, and alleged that they had received millions of dollars from Al-Qaeda. Thus, the Chechen resistance movement became forcefully identified with terrorism, although the same statement did not categorize all Chechens as terrorists.

Following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a number of people rallied to defend their fellow Muslims. Later, following the call of cleric Abdullah

Azzam, transnational Islamic brigades were set up to defend frontline Muslim communities around the world. The International Islamic Brigade, which took part in the first Chechen war in 1994, was set up by Habib Abdel-Rahman Khattab, a Saudi by birth. His aim was to radicalize the Chechen armed resistance and give it an extremist coloring.

As a teenager, Khattab had fought in Afghanistan alongside Osama bin Laden, under the leadership of Hussein al-Sarehi, in the battle of the Lion's Den in 1987. Later, fighting in Tajikistan, Khattab gained a reputation as a brilliant commander, before moving to Chechnya as head of the foreign mujahideen. He was appointed military commander of operations under Basaev. Bin Laden maintained a close ideological, technological, and financial relationship with Khattab, who helped in mobilizing mujahideen in Ingushetia, Ossetia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to fight the Russians in Chechnya and Dagestan, with money provided by Al-Qaeda. Later, Khattab married a Dagestani woman and lived in Chechnya until his death at the hands of Russian intelligence in 2002.

Several hundred Chechens were trained in Al-Qaeda's Afghan camps and armed. The Al-Qaeda-influenced Al-Ansar was considered the fiercest and most organized of the three major Chechen groups fighting the Russians. Most of the Chechen suicide attacks - previously an unknown tactic in that part of the world - were initiated by this group. European intelligence reports suggest that Al-Qaeda assisted Al-Ansar in weapons trafficking via Russian, Ukrainian and Chechen criminals.

Khattab's influence with Basaev extended to inciting a revolt among the top Chechen commanders and creating divisions that forced President Aslan Maskhadov, who did not share Basaev's radical vision, to implement an Islamic government and set up religious courts. Maskhadov's failure to impose law and order and control radical commanders, however, led to his loss of credibility in Moscow. His assassination in March 2005 at the hands of Russian intelligence was hailed as a victory by the federal government. In reality, it squandered a chance to pursue a political process in Chechnya with a key Chechen leader who had considerable influence among his people.

The exact number of foreign Islamic mercenaries fighting in Chechnya is unknown, but up to 300 Arabs reportedly took part in the war, according to Russian intelligence sources. The growth of this group's power in Chechnya played a key role in precipitating the second Chechen war following an armed incursion into Dagestan in 1999. This jeopardized all possible peaceful solutions for Chechnya's independence. Isolated, the Chechens tapped into the resources offered by Islamic organizations and networks in the Middle East and Asia. Warlords realized the benefits of forging alliances with radical groups, especially with respect to funding, training, recruiting and international contacts and support.

Arab involvement played into the hands of the Russian leadership. Moscow interpreted conflict or opposition as an Islamic threat, and found it useful to blame external actors for indigenous problems.

In this context, Russia's efforts to be considered part of the Muslim world through membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) became part of a plan to mend estranged relations with Saudi Arabia. With 20 million Muslims in Russia, Putin attempted to play the Muslim card when he addressed the OIC summit in Kuala Lumpur in October 2003. Moscow also sought to reverse perceptions in the Islamic world that it was pursuing anti-Islamic policies, especially in the North Caucasus.

Russia's repeated accusations that Saudi Arabia was funding Chechen militants and was the main source for imported radical ideologies were ended following Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to Russia in September 2003. Putin lauded the Saudi role in the war against terrorism and contending that both countries shared similar concerns on terrorism. The Saudi advice was that a solution to the Chechen conflict be sought through constitutional means, within the framework of a federal Russia. The Saudis also stressed that this was a domestic issue for Russia, an indication of the lack of Saudi government involvement in the conflict.

The assassination, by Russian agents, of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Doha in February 2004, strained Qatari-Russia relations. Doha had repeatedly turned down Moscow's requests to extradite Yandarbiyev on terror charges. Besides being implicated in the Moscow theater takeover, he was the link to those in the Gulf financing Chechen militants. Following the assassination, the Russian Embassy's first secretary in Doha was expelled and two Russian intelligence agents linked to the assassination were put on trial, further intensifying the row. The issue was put to rest only after an understanding was reached between Russian and Qatari leaders, whereby the accused were returned to Moscow.

Today political stalemate prevails, following the rejection by a majority of Chechens of the November 2005 elections. The international community has a responsibility to address the Chechen crisis. Moscow must be pressured to fulfill its commitment to hand power over to the Chechens through a complete withdrawal of troops and fair elections. Isolating Chechnya and delegating responsibility to Russia to deal with the situation there is tantamount to a crime against humanity.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 01:33 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Lots of fun pics of Khattab can be found at www.kavkazcenter.com Considerable video library too. They really like the video camera.

They even have an Islamic Bill of Rights. And a mission statement.

Required reading is their 'analysis' section. With articles like U.S. preparing genetic bomb for mankind, West is doomed, War of Civilizations Started (War Between Americans and Americans), and the brilliant Iran-U.S. Relations: A Cold, Fragile Peace(2003), including gems like this:
There are really no civilizations on our planet. Capitalism at the stage of globalism has virtually annihilated all civilizations. The only stronghold of possible variety of civilizations is Islamic fundamentalism and fundamentalist elements in various countries, both in underground and in semi-underground forms. It is not the matter of a clash of civilizations, but rather some head-on collision of fundamentalism and Western technological quasi-civilization.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 2:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Article: Isolating Chechnya and delegating responsibility to Russia to deal with the situation there is tantamount to a crime against humanity.

This is kind of amusing. I guess this means Muslim countries with non-Muslim minorities should also give their non-Muslim minorities their own states. I suspect I shouldn't hold my breath waiting.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 3:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Chehchens are the "people" who invented decapitation videos.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 8:29 Comments || Top||

#4  Good linky linky, Rafael. Thanks, though I'll read 'em at home later.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 8:42 Comments || Top||

#5  It's mostly garbage, Seafarious :-) I was in a sarcastic mood writing that comment. Though I suppose this stuff could prove useful to a poli sci or psychology student, or anyone completely new to Islamic fundamentalism.

The one thing I do find interesting though is their extensive use of the video camera. Like gromgoru said, these guys invented the decapitation video, but not only that, they like to film their warrior heros in action, probably for training or internal propaganda purposes: ambushes, skirmishes, etc. I'm not sure if this is unique to Chechens or Arabs, or if this is a guerilla tactic in general, but I don't recall any African or South American or Southeast Asian action videos (to such an extent anyway). Videotaping such as this could indicate a very specific influence, in any particular conflict, anywhere in the world. And there have been videos like this found in Iraq.

But I suspect this videotaping fetish started in Afghanistan when the Soviets were there, and probably spread with the jihadis as they dispersed, spreading peace and love and happiness all over the world. So this isn't unique to any specific group anymore.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 14:09 Comments || Top||

#6  Darn, I meant to type:
It's mostly garbage, Seafarious, not worth your time.
Not enough coffee in my system :-)
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 14:11 Comments || Top||

Japan as an al-Qaeda target
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 00:56 || Comments || Link || [336082 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I don't worry about the Japanese. In Japan, anyone who's not Japanese sticks out like a dick on a pumpkin. Any foreigner without blonde hair and blue eyes is automatically suspect in any crime that occurs nearby. The Japanese authorities have no problem with deporting troublesome foreigners, unlike some other countries I could mention.

On the other hand, Japanese police are about as competent as the Keystone Kops. They couldn't catch a cold.
Posted by: gromky || 03/13/2006 1:55 Comments || Top||

#2  Japan has (something like) ACLU?
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 8:26 Comments || Top||

#3  As I understand it, there are native Muslims in Japan.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 9:28 Comments || Top||

#4  On the other hand, Japanese police are about as competent as the Keystone Kops. They couldn't catch a cold.

Un, not really. It's not a matter of competence. It's a matter of initiative. From personal experience, the neighborhood police offices (1-3 cops) are very tuned into what's going on in their areas.

But if you do insist on being a problem, they will accomodate you.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/13/2006 10:31 Comments || Top||

#5  The police can be very efficient if it is a "face" isssue. Story later -- gotta run to an appointment (no I should not be here right now, but I had a few minutes and I couldn't stand it!).
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/13/2006 10:46 Comments || Top||

#6  Story happened to a colleague of Mr. Wife's, a good ol' Pennsylvania country boy who played football for Princeton U. So, big, blond, bearded and happy to bang heads. You know the type. At any rate, it seems there is a tradition amongst Japanese youths (this may be a Kyoto thing) to mug foreigners for some local holiday or other. A bunch of the lads jumped our boyo at the train station, so of course he laid them all out. Within moments he was hustled away by multiple policemen, full of apologies, "Are you all right, sir?", and help getting on his train, but who somehow didn't take any kind of statement. When he managed to turn around, there was no sign of his lads. ;-)
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/13/2006 14:32 Comments || Top||

#7  Few comments, as a westerner who has been to Japan multiple times.

The police are quite good actually, but you hardly see them. Not to say they are not there, but Japanese society is more about harmony and not disturbing the group. Police being around tend to remind one that crime is around.

However, each time I go to Japan (over many years now) I have noticed many things, a couple to the discussion:

1) Increased numbers of Westerners. First time I went, I saw only one in three months! This last time, I was in a smaller city, but still saw many westerners every day.

2) Increased Police, same deal as 1

It is interesting to note, as Japan opens up more, their unique society becomes more at risk to many things we don't even blink an eye.

For example crime, there is far more crime now than my first visit. This is not to say that western influence is causing crime, not at all, but that Japanese society of the past frowns so heavily on disturbing the harmony that crime is just something most cannot fathom and don't ever.

That is why it is still such a shock to most Japanese that a domestic terror strike has already occured (subway gassing), many don't even want to talk about it. Or that there are major crimes, with increasing frequency.

Anyway, the point is, in the past the average Japanese has sort of been immune to crime and as the country opens up, this immunity decreases.

Another interesting note, like most westerners, you are in total shock when you first arrive. My first time, thank god I had a Tokyo local to meet me at the airport and set me on the bullet train to Osaka. Back then, hardly anything had an English sign. As he took me from Airport to Shinkansen station, he told me I'd see something really strange. Sure enough, we passed a street as we were walking that housed most of the Arab population of Japan. He told me nobody trusted them (nothing against Arabs, back then and now, being a Gaijin - Foreigner - is hard, doesn't matter where you are from). I remember thinking, no way this would fly in the US, somebody would complain about equality or something.

Now, as the country opens up more, and that Gaijin trust barrier starts to dissolve, I would say that the Japanese will become more at risk for foreign terrorist strikes! That kind of natrual immunity to crime and shame and rocking the boat will slowly errode from the younger (already is) generation.

Plus with more foreigners you don't stick out like a sore thumb as much now. More and more Japanese are accepting there will be Gaijin in Japan, so I'm thinking it is easier and easier each day to pull an attack off.

Finally, I'm not sure they (terrorists) really want to unleash Japan again. They assume a complete western stance from Japan, but they were pretty creative with martyr attacks a few years back too (kamikaze).
Posted by: bombay || 03/13/2006 19:14 Comments || Top||

#8  HHHHmmmm, North Korea beats the anti-Nippon/Japan war drums. China's PLAAF and PLAN do the buzzin, ergo the Spetzies do the actual domestic destabilizing.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 23:15 Comments || Top||

Mullah Kreker: Muslims Taking Over Europe
Oslo, Norway
March 13, 2006

Norway's most controversial refugee, Mullah Krekar, told an Oslo newspaper on Monday that there's a war going on between "the West" and Islam. He said he's sure that Islam will win, and he also had praise for suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

"We're the ones who will change you," Krekar told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet in his first interview since an uproar broke out over cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims.

"Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes," Krekar said. "Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries are producing 3.5 children.
In many European cities, over half of all births are to Muslim mothers. Muslims are able to assert and get special treatment when they form a threshhold level of only 2% of the population of a Western country. Muslim majority countries do everything to reduce membership in minority religions, thus that percentile diminishes. Yet we insist on doing everything to increase the Muslim presence in the West.
"By 2050, 30 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim."
Muslims are increasingly at liberty, to extinguish liberty. Western leaders must cease denying what Muslims readily admit.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/13/2006 14:32 || Comments || Link || [336081 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Frightening - He gets it.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 03/13/2006 15:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Europe is in big big trouble. . . . but its the result of their leftist governments.
Posted by: bgrebel9 || 03/13/2006 15:28 Comments || Top||

#3  "Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes

At least he owns up to the parasitic bloodthirsty nature of his cohorts.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 15:43 Comments || Top||

#4  Zenster:
KKK miscreants once made racist statements like Krekar's "mosquitos" comment, about blacks. Yet here is a prominent Euro-Muslim admitting to demographic aggression. Norway has been trying to deport Krekar to Iraq, for years. In a couple of generations, Krekar will be in a position to kick Norweigans out of Norway.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/13/2006 16:23 Comments || Top||

#5  Norway has been trying to deport Krekar to Iraq, for years.

When a country is incapable of summoning forth sufficient jurisprudent fortitude to deport a known terrorist sympathizer, something is definitely rotten in Denmark Norway.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 16:35 Comments || Top||

#6  krekar is a radical proterrorist. This kind of statement (true or not) makes life more uncomfortable for moderate muslims, increases fear of muslims among non-muslims, and thus pushes moderate muslims into the arms of the radicals. This isnt about "admitting" something, its a clever strategic move.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 03/13/2006 16:40 Comments || Top||

#7  I think, soon enough, whatever "moderate" Muslims there are in this world will find out that any chance of distinguishing themselves from their radical brethern are rapidly disappearing.

Much like Islam currently sits back and laughs while the West goes about their housecleaning for them, "moderate" Muslims seem to feel it is someone else's responsibility to weed out the jihadists. After a few more atrocities, I think they will be in for a big surprise when everyone ceases to give a d@mn if they're "moderate" or not and begins deporting them (or worse) en masse. By not assuming a more vocal and active stance, "moderate" Muslims are only leveraging the tipping point against them all the more.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 17:01 Comments || Top||

#8  When Europe becomes muslim, it will cease to be Europe and become a worthless piece of shit. Like everywhere else in the world with a muslim majority.
Posted by: Unavick Hupique3481 || 03/13/2006 19:32 Comments || Top||

#9  Maybe if Norway gave some more money to Palestinians....
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 19:37 Comments || Top||

#10  What moderates, LH? The five or six that have popped up over the last few years?

Much like Islam currently sits back and laughs while the West goes about their housecleaning for them, "moderate" Muslims seem to feel it is someone else's responsibility to weed out the jihadists.

You mean like the American "moderate" Muslims who refuse to clean their mosques of Islamists, either whining that it's someone else's problem or simply doing nothing, and get in a huff when someone else tries to do it?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 20:25 Comments || Top||

Al-Qaeda and the Madrid attacks
Just the link since we aren't allowed to excerpt from the Jamestown Foundation. This even further confirms my belief that the claim that these were just homegrown hard boyz with no ties to al-Qaeda is being influenced more by politics than by the facts of the case. I suspect that it's more than a little inconvenient for Zapatero and Co to admit that they were more or less brought to power by the enemy.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 00:52 || Comments || Link || [336066 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Politix
Sen. Feingold to Introduce Measure to Censure Bush
Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) says he will introduce a resolution to censure President Bush for his domestic wiretapping program which has ignored the FISA court requirements as spelled out in the 1978 law governing domestic wiretaps.

Speaking on ABC's 'The Week' on Sunday, Feingold explained why he is seeking to censure the president. 'It's an unusual step,' he said. 'It's a big step, but what the president did by consciously and intentionally violating the Constitution and laws of this country with this illegal wiretapping has to be answered.'

Feingold admitted it is doubtful that any Republicans will join the move to censure the president but he said he hoped that at least the important issues can be debated on the Senate floor. Thus far, the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate has prevented any debate or investigation into the administration's actions. 'There can be debate about whether the law should be changed. There can be debate about how best to fight terrorism. We all believe that there should be wiretapping in appropriate cases -- but the idea that the president can just make up a law, in violation of his oath of office, has to be answered.' The only prior president to be censured was Andrew Jackson back in 1834.

Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-Tenn.) immediately opposed Feingold's move while appearing on 'This Week.' 'We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down,' Frist claimed. 'A censure resolution ... is wrong. It sends a signal around the world. The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting the war on terror.' In addition to preventing an investigation, Republicans in the Senate have tried to 'fix' the law retroactively by introducing a bill to address some of the criticisms. Last Tuesday, Senators Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Olympia Snowe R-Maine), Chuck Hagel R-Neb.)and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation in the Senate.

Feingold explained that the recently addressed bill does not address enough of the issues at hand. 'What I'm interested in is my colleagues acknowledging that we as a Congress have to stand up to a president who acts as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on September 11,' he said. 'We didn't enact martial law on September 11. We still have a constitutional form of government, and if the Congress of the United States does not stand up for that authority at this point, it will be an historic failure of our system of government.'

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) backed Feingold's right to be critical of the president while saying he would wait to decide if he should support the censure. 'I think criticism of the president is legitimate,' Levin said. 'I think we ought to welcome some checks and balances on the president.' While the censure resolution has little chance of winning approval, it may at least open the Senate up to some debate on the administration's controversial domestic spying program.
Posted by: Thains Gravirt3644 || 03/13/2006 10:52 || Comments || Link || [336093 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That's right, lets get Hillary on record before the primary. heh, heh.

Karl Rove....please call your office.
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 11:06 Comments || Top||

#2  Why is that the Republican led Congress continues to "stonewall" when it comes to
investigations of possible illegalities of
President Bush?
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 11:22 Comments || Top||

#3  JC, I'm tired of your whiny questions. If you have a theory, post it, and defend it.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 11:24 Comments || Top||

#4  JC, does it make you feel smart when you put your finger to your chin make a statement in the form of a question? Do you do that because you don't have to admit that you don't really know any relevant facts and by asking a leading question, you hope others, more intelligent than yourself, will make your case for you? Are you stupid?
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 11:28 Comments || Top||

Redacted by moderator. Comments may be redacted for trolling, violation of standards of good manners, or plain stupidity. Please correct the condition that applies and try again. Contents may be viewed in the
sinktrap. Further violations may result in
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 11:42 Comments || Top||

#6  Just Curious, you are not a welcome presence at this site. But if you insist on foisting your whinery upon us, then post your theory of why the Republicans are stonewalling, and prepare to defend your ideas.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 11:47 Comments || Top||

#7  Seafarious:

Do you represent the staff or ownership of
Rantburg or are you speaking for yourself?
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 11:52 Comments || Top||

#8  "While the censure resolution has little chance of winning approval..."

Hey Carl, I heard you had a dog.
Why yes Russ, and I understand you just bought a pony.
You know, we should really have a show.

Both of these political whores are on the historically non-partisian US Senate Intelligence Committee. God help us.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/13/2006 11:56 Comments || Top||

#9  Feingold graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, received a degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1977, and then went on to Harvard Law School, where he earned his degree in 1979. In 1982, in his first try for elective office, Feingold defeated a longtime incumbent and was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate for the 27th District. Feingold was re-elected in 1986 and 1990. When Feingold first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992, he won a tough three-way primary, and went on to defeat a two-term incumbent. Feingold was reelected to the Senate in 1998 and 2004.

Above indicated NO real-world work experience, no military, only politics.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/13/2006 12:01 Comments || Top||

#10  "Thus far, the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate has prevented any debate or investigation into the administration's actions."

This statement is taken from the article posted.
Thus far I cant get a single Bush backer in here to explain the Republican led Congress reasoning for "stonewalling" possible investigations into President Bush's actions. Why is that and what are they afraid of finding?
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 12:04 Comments || Top||

#11  I'm just trying to get the Bush backers in here to explain the repub-led congressional justifications for "stonewalling" investigations into President Bush activities.

First, explain why Democrats are blocking the complete release of an investigation into the Clinton administration, aka the Barret Report.

Because, frankly, that case doesn't involve the president's Constitutional authority, or wartime secrets. It's just about corruption and abuse of office. Yet the Democrats don't want a completed investigation to be released to the public that paid for it.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 12:08 Comments || Top||

#12  Just Curious, Seafarious is a mod here. So, when she tells you to go away, it's not like she doesn't have any authority to do so.

When I tell you to go away, it's just my personal opinion.

As one Dem to another, maybe you should stick to the Daily Kos. You're obviously out of your element here.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/13/2006 12:19 Comments || Top||

#13  heh heh heh. Screwed up JC. Picked on a mean 'un. I see cyan in your future.
Posted by: 6 || 03/13/2006 12:41 Comments || Top||

#14  JC, Democrats don't want an investigation, they want a forum to bash Bush, just like the phoney 9-11 commision. Republicans finally wised up and aren't going to build them a stage to posture on.
Posted by: Steve || 03/13/2006 12:52 Comments || Top||

#15  Not to mention that the wiretaps were approved by congress, including many democrats, which renders the whole censure thing moot.
There is no "stonewalling" (unless you are talking pork spending reform), just deranged morons like yourself.
I'm not a mod, I don't represent Rantburg, but my 2 cents is, "Please fuck off and Die Just Curious (bi curious?)"

And no, I am not a Republican.
Posted by: mmurray821 || 03/13/2006 12:54 Comments || Top||

#16  Do you represent the staff or ownership of
Rantburg or are you speaking for yourself?

She's a moderator. I'm a moderator.

She speaks for me.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/13/2006 13:03 Comments || Top||

#17  I'm a Republican. FOAD
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 13:05 Comments || Top||

#18  Rock on, you crazy diamond Frank!
Posted by: mmurray821 || 03/13/2006 13:10 Comments || Top||

#19  Why can't JC do nothing more than ask rhetorical/leading questions? WWhhyyy?? WHHYYYYYY?? oh Why???
Posted by: TomAnon || 03/13/2006 13:16 Comments || Top||

#20  I am a member of and represent the Rantburg Editorial Board. I believe I speak for the site's owner, although he is welcome to correct me if he disagrees. I don't think he will, since he has banned several of your IP addresses and you apparently can't take the hint.

Your whiny little brat routine is wearing thin. If you have a point you wish to make, then make it, and be prepared to defend it with facts. If you only wish to sneer and post pointless questions, then leave.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 13:22 Comments || Top||

#21  JC, The Congressional Republicans are under orders from Halliburton to keep quiet under their new Tsunami wave production system has all the kinks out. Duh. Sheesh, why can't these people keep up-to-date on the really important issues.
Posted by: Brett || 03/13/2006 13:24 Comments || Top||

#22  I find it quite interesting that certain people in this thread would rather attack me than deal with the issues that the author of this article
is bringing up.

I asked a very logical question based off a very true statement he makes:

"Thus far, the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate has prevented any debate or investigation into the administration's actions."

Bush backers, you cannot tell me that there is very specific reasoning behind why the Republican
Congress continues to "stonewall" investigations into President Bush's activities because, I cannot imagine that if former President Clinton was still in office and accused of illegal domestic wiretapping, with a repub controlled congress, the investigations would have started long ago, with possible impeachment looming.
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 13:27 Comments || Top||

#23  2b

JC, does it make you feel smart when you put your finger to your chin make a statement in the form of a question?


plz jc put a finger *in* it!!!

Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 13:27 Comments || Top||

#24  if former President Clinton was still in office and accused of illegal domestic wiretapping

Well, Clinton did wiretap domestically, while Bush isn't. The NSA program is listening to overseas calls, one side of which happens to be stateside. Nothing illegal about it.
Posted by: Steve || 03/13/2006 13:33 Comments || Top||

#25  Seafarious:

If you dont like what I post, then dont read or respond to it. I enjoy coming in here & watching
a group of right-wing trolls gather for a leftist bashing hissy fit on a daily basis.

Evidently there is some group pleasure your regulars take from it because just about everytime one of you speaks it's always in the plural "we"...
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 13:35 Comments || Top||

#26  You know what you're most guilty of JC?
You're boring.
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/13/2006 13:43 Comments || Top||

#27  Jc, Clinton did order warrantless wiretapping without FISA approval. Some of it was for industrial espionage and some was for the "Drug War". No one at the time or now suggests what he did was not legal. My question to you is, "Why is it now considered not legal for president Bush to order thses wiretaps for purposes of terrorist surveilance? This is not "Domestic spying" which is what Clinton did. So did Carter. In Carter's case the defendants appealed on the grounds the wiretaps were not legal and their appeal was denied on the grounds that President Carter had certain powers to protect national security. These two individulas were found guilt of spying for Communist Vietnam. The Republicans have finally figured out these Democrats are interested only in regaining power and if what they do weakens or damages this President all the better. What they either don't realize or don't care about is they weaken the Office of the President for the future as well. when I can find the links I'll add them.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 13:47 Comments || Top||

#28  tough growing up when even your parents don't like you, JC?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 13:50 Comments || Top||

#29  ok - I'm done....troll-poking is only fun when they're smart.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 13:51 Comments || Top||

#30  I cannot imagine that if former President Clinton was still in office and accused of illegal domestic wiretapping, with a repub controlled congress, the investigations would have started long ago, with possible impeachment looming.

There's nothing "domestic" about the NSA program.

There's nothing "illegal" about the NSA program.

Clinton did much worse, and no one gave a rat's ass.

Folks, today's Dem talking point is "WHERE ARE THE INVESTIGATIONS!!!" The same crap's being spewed over at ProteinWisdom. Apparently the talking point include directions to avoid responding to any questions about the Barrett Report, because it's being ignored over there, too.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 13:51 Comments || Top||

#31  LOL Brett! That is the same message I got from my Rovian Decoder ring from which I get my marching orders by channeling the spirit of Lee Atwater......

JC, it is real simple there is nothing to investigate. Sometimes the simplest answers are correct.
Posted by: TomAnon || 03/13/2006 13:53 Comments || Top||

#32  'It's an unusual step,' he said. 'It's a big step, but what the president did by consciously and intentionally violating the Constitution and laws of this country with this illegal wiretapping has to be answered.'
In addition, just because Finegold says something is not legal doesn't make it so. There is probably an equal number of pro and con on wheater it is legal. To catagorically claim so is disengenious at best and an outright lie at worst. It is my opinion the reason Hillary has not gotten involved is because she knows her husband did the same thing and if she, for some weird happenstance, is elected President she doesn't want the Office of the President to be weakend. She mught have to do the same thing.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 13:55 Comments || Top||

#33  Thus far I cant get a single Bush backer in here to explain the Republican led Congress reasoning for "stonewalling" possible investigations into President Bush's actions. Why is that and what are they afraid of finding?

Well, that’s a “Have you beat your wife lately?” question if I’ve ever heard one.

If you dont like what I post, then dont read or respond to it. I enjoy coming in here & watching a group of right-wing trolls gather for a leftist bashing hissy fit on a daily basis.

That’s probably not the best way to make friends and influence people, kid.
Posted by: Secret Master || 03/13/2006 14:26 Comments || Top||

#34  So the group consensus is that democrats only want investigations into the wiretapping program because they may uncover damaging information on President Bush politically that will lead to them regaining power.

I can see some of that but I dont think it is their primary motivation.

So, the questions remains then WHY are so many republicans questioning the program and are showing increasing uneasiness about it?
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 14:28 Comments || Top||

#35  So the group consensus is that democrats only want investigations into the wiretapping program because they may uncover damaging information on President Bush politically that will lead to them regaining power
I think you are misreading what people are saying here. You continue to claim the President did something wrong and the Republicans are trying to cover it up. What we are saying is the Democrats seem to be doing this in order to weaken the President and the Republicnas are saying, "There is nothing to investigate so why waste time and money investigating nothing?". There is a hell of a lot more the Democrats could be doing but all they seem to want to do is Bash Bush. It ain't gonna work. They have become the Party of fingerpointing. Forget the fact they have no message, no other agenda but to bring down this President. Do something constructive for God's sake!
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 14:36 Comments || Top||

#36  JC, again....facts. I know it's hard to focus, but you'll gain more respect here if you back it up with facts. Which Repubs. are questioning the program? And, geez, which part of Clintoon and Carter doing it also (REAL domestic calls) don't you get? Do you not remember 1994? Don't you think if there were REAL concerns back then the Repubs would've grilled Clinton over his program (or in subsequent years when the Repubs were in control). Are you afraid of the NSA tapping your phone and finding out what pizza you're ordering at Papa John's to satisfy your "jonesing?"
Posted by: BA || 03/13/2006 14:38 Comments || Top||

#37  FBI files !
Sandy Berger !
TWA 800 !
Barret Report !
Juanita Broaderick !
Curiouser and curiouser how the finger of corruption points a hole through the dhimmocrat party, eh ?
Posted by: wxjames || 03/13/2006 15:07 Comments || Top||

#38  Bring the censure up for a vote. The donks will wilt just like they did for Murtha.
Posted by: Omugum Phavimp8272 || 03/13/2006 15:17 Comments || Top||

#39  Deacon Blues:

I dont misread what's being said here in defense of Bush and I havent taken a position one way or the other on whether Bush did something illegal.
My position is that I think its odd for republicans to "stonewall" on investigations especially if they think nothing wrong was done.
This leads people to believe something IS being covered up.

BA: Such major republicans as Sen. Specter, Hagel, Snowe and Graham have all questioned the legality of Bush's wiretap program. The call for hearings has been bi-partisan but rarely do Bush Backers go after critics within his own party.
I understand what youre saying about Clinton and Carter, but that is for the courts to decide if those precedents stand or not. I am not all that certain that if this went before the Federal
Courts that "Clinton and Carter did it also"
would be a winning defense.
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 15:39 Comments || Top||

#40  The legak precedant has been set with the Carter case. No one here is claiming a defense of "Carter and Clinton did it too" just the hypocracy of these Democrats wanting "investigations" when their own did it with no outcry from them. Your repetative use of the word stonewalling is, I think, not realistic. Again, why waste time and money on investigating a non-issue? These few Democrats seem bent on obstructionism at all costs. There is no consensus on wheather these wiretaps were legal or not. What kind of "investigating" is necessary? it's my belief the Republicans are blocking "investigations" because there is nothing to investigate and there are more important things for Congress to do.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 15:53 Comments || Top||

#41  Just Curious, don't you feel the least bit odd coming to a web site that fields some considerable intellectual firepower with an unloaded weapon? I have yet to see you actually post something even remotely resembling substantive content.

Top that with challenging a Moderator on her own turf and you come across about as smart as a sackful of hammers.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 15:57 Comments || Top||

#42  JC represents all moonbats that can’t point to a specific act of breaking the law, but they just KNOW that Bush is breaking the law because THEY don’t agree with him.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/13/2006 16:18 Comments || Top||

#43  Ever since the democrats lost power, I have not seen ever, the most whining, crying, bitching I cannot believe I ever voted for a democrat
Posted by: djohn66 || 03/13/2006 16:35 Comments || Top||

#44  I suspect our JC figured out a long time ago that Mama and teachers would give credit for 'trying' and wouldn't criticize if he brought hot air to the table.
Posted by: lotp || 03/13/2006 16:36 Comments || Top||

#45  Zenster:

Blah Blah Blah...Were are smarter than you leftest..ablah blah blah...Were all experts on the middle east and politics...blah, blah blah..
we know everything...for god sakes give me a break!!!

As far as i am concerned most of the people that post in this site on a regular basis are a bunch of concieted, pompous, egotistical, rightwing windbags..you among them...In other words you or none of the staff in here impress me as being overly intelligent as you THINK you are..

btw: what you people call "moderators" in here
I call Censors...lmao
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 16:43 Comments || Top||

#46  "J.C., Don't you feel the least bit odd coming to a web site that fields some considerable intellectual firepower."

Zenster: ROTFLMAO...you cant be talking about
RANTBURG...that is too damn funny...lmao

Does that "considerable intellectual firepower"
pertain to your President Bush also?....lmao
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 16:52 Comments || Top||

#47  most of the people that post in this site on a regular basis are a bunch of concieted, pompous, egotistical, rightwing windbags

Wow, JC, you say that like it is a bad thing.

If you were half as smart as you think YOU are, you would realize most of the contributors here wouldn't take that as an insult. They'd consider it foreplay. (At least they would, if you knew how to spell "conceited" correctly......or "leftist", for that matter.)
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/13/2006 16:56 Comments || Top||

#48  C'mon, JC....call the posters on this site Nazis. Mention Halliburton. Use the phrase "Chimpy McHitler". You know you want to....

(Hey, I even did you a favor. I gave you the correct spellings.....)
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/13/2006 16:59 Comments || Top||

#49  Does that "considerable intellectual firepower" pertain to your President Bush also?

In keeping with my assessment of you, it's clear you have not even participated here enough to know that I am routinely reviled hereabouts for my dislike of Bush. However, in a battle of wits between the two of you, I'd have to bet hands down on George.

This board contains some of the more intelligent, well-traveled and good humored people I've seen on the web. It also has a trove of individuals who have actually done military and espionage service for our country. You are so out of your league, you don't even know it. So, just keep on poking everyone with that stick. They'll warm up to you eventually.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 17:12 Comments || Top||

#50  ...most of the people that post in this site on a regular basis are a bunch of concieted, pompous, egotistical, rightwing windbags

...and yet, you seem fascinated by the folks here and continue to return. Why is that?
Believe me, if you left, as you've threatened to do many times, the folks here would somehow manage to get over it. I know that's hard to believe but...it's true.
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/13/2006 17:19 Comments || Top||

#51  This is leading to another Murtha moment.

What is a Murtha moment, you might ask?

It's when the House took a vote on whether or not to cut and run from Iraq. When the House overwhelmingly voted for the continuance of the Iraq war, including John Murtha.

The same thing would happen should the censure gimmick get to a Senate vote. And, yes, the senators will vote to turn down a censure (thereby giving tacit approval for the NSA spying on Al Qaeda).

The polls still show the majority of the American people support the NSA spying work.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/13/2006 17:26 Comments || Top||

#52  btw: what you people call "moderators" in here
I call Censors...lmao

So you've moved into the basement here along with all the other trolls and wanna call people censors even as you demand that they subsidize your ravings here?

I don't know what Fred's feelings are about everyone who's crowding into the basement, but I hope he puts up some ventilators. I'm starting to smell strange chemicals down there.
Posted by: Phil || 03/13/2006 17:27 Comments || Top||

#53  In public fora it's called censorship, and may or may not be permitted, depending on how it is used. In private fora such as this, where we all are Mr. Pruitt's guests, we all are here on sufference, and it behooves us to use the manners our parents taught us. Insulting one's host in his own home is rude and childish, and reveals the insulter as not nearly as clever as he thought himself. JC insults his host and his host's guests, and changes names and computers in order to continue doing so. JC is a troll. Q.E.D.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/13/2006 19:01 Comments || Top||

I am awaiting the time when Rantburg forms a political wing and a military wing to rescue us from the current leadership of both parties.
Posted by: Master of Obvious || 03/13/2006 19:18 Comments || Top||

#55  One fora two forum?

Isn't the short answer to JC's thoughtfull question that most of those he's worried about don't see anything worth investigating? Maybe they might have a different perspective of the events that does not agree with JC's version?

Or, it could be that everyone else here is not as bright as he is? Maybe he's the only one who cares? Maybe he's the only sane person in the world?
Posted by: Bobby || 03/13/2006 20:09 Comments || Top||

#56  ... it behooves us to use the manners our parents taught us.

Tut tut, trailing wife. You're assuming that Just Curious even has either.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 20:10 Comments || Top||

#57  Frist tried to force a Senate vote on teh censure motion to get the Donks on record - as usual teh Murtha Moment™ noted above, came about - they pushed it to committee to avoid having to vote/go on record. Cowards, traitors, Donks, purple: One of these is Not like the others
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 20:20 Comments || Top||

#58  Bobby, JC, by any other name. Real lawyers at Powerline already addressed the real applicable law here

As for Sen.Feingold, the Republican leadership should shove this down the posturing individual's throat by calling for an immediate up or down vote on the censure. If they want to play political positioning games, force the issue out in the open before the American public. If the Dems thinks it smart to play to the left side of the house, then let them reap the consequences.

What I perceive is really all just primate posturing. Its 1859. We're finished trying to talk to each other. We're now talking past each other. The atmosphere of hate and loathing generated by the left since its loss of power is just increasing the probability of us reaching the flash point. All its going to take is for some fool to fire the one shot to get the real display of power in the open.
Posted by: Elmaitle Clereng8396 || 03/13/2006 20:27 Comments || Top||

#59  Seems they're on the scent right now. From Tim Chapman from Townhall.com.

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a resolution that would censure the President of the United States for "eavesdropping" in the wake of 9/11. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, moments ago, made a unanimous consent motion that the Senate vote on the resolution tonight. Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes rose to object to the motion. Frist then motioned to vote on the resolution again tomorrow. Sarbanes objected, saying no vote should take place on the resolution until Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had cleared the timing.

In other words, Democrats know this is a political stunt, without a chance of passage, but want to time it politically for maximum impact.

Later, Harry Reid took the floor to say he was offended that Frist would go to the floor and motion for unanimous consent on such an "important issue" without talking to him first.

Reid's two-facedness knows no bounds. Does he not remember last year taking the Senate floor and invoking Senate Rule XXI, thereby shutting down the Senate? When he made that parliamentary move to score political points over pre-war intelligence, he broke all Senate precedent by invoking the draconian measure without first seeking the compliance of the Senate Majority Leader as has always been done in the past.

Outrageous? Yes...Surprising? No...
Posted by: Elmaitle Clereng8396 || 03/13/2006 20:50 Comments || Top||

#60  Underlying all the tit for tat is what isn't being done. There is plenty of precedent for a lawsuit being filed solely to enjoin the President from further monitoring the calls in question. As far as I can discern, there have been no petitions filed.

The best reason I can think of for this is that what the President has ordered done simply isn't unconstitutional. Rumsfield vs. FAIR was primarily motivated by lawyers with plenty of time to do nothing constructive with. But here, the uproar can only be sustained as long as there is no adjudication. 'Till then, it's all "a tale told by an idiot...full of sound and fury...signifying nothing." But no dhimmicrat is willing to step up to the plate...to put his money where his mouth is.

That in itself should be instructive.
Posted by: OregonGuy || 03/13/2006 21:06 Comments || Top||

#61  Let me get this right.

Requiring actual evidence (as opposed to 'well everyone knows!') == stonewalling

You know what evidence is don't you? A stain on a blue dress is considered evidence. Politically motivated accusations (with no proof) is not evidence.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/13/2006 21:36 Comments || Top||

#62  OregonGuy has it - it's not illegal. Once proven that, they lose a talking point. Regards a vote - the cowards are afraid to back their talk with action.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 22:06 Comments || Top||

#63  hey maybe mods could use a different color type to warn us of folks like JC. Just a thought.
Posted by: Jan || 03/13/2006 22:50 Comments || Top||

#64  Does that "considerable intellectual firepower"
pertain to your President Bush also?....lmao

That sums it up right there, doesn't it? I am a Republican too (well, at least on most things, but I truly lean more Libertarian/Constitution Party). Anyways, I am no fan of Bill Clinton, and yet, on his worst day I never called him "your" President. JC, whether you wanna admit it or not, President Bush is YOUR President too. And, BTW, he's a LOT smarter than most of you "enlightened" ones are. Don't guess you made great grades through Yale did ya, JC?
Posted by: BA || 03/13/2006 22:53 Comments || Top||

#65  he's finishing up that Library Science AA at BumFuck Egypt CC...leading to that opening job sentence: "ya wanna jumbo-size those fries?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 23:22 Comments || Top||

#66  Frank, *ahem*

Posted by: The Flipper || 03/13/2006 23:53 Comments || Top||

#67  2b:

Actually if you read the article, you would understand my question, duh?

I'm just trying to get the Bush backers in here to explain the repub-led congressional justifications for "stonewalling" investigations into President Bush activities.
Posted by: Just Curious || 03/13/2006 11:42 Comments || Top||

Harvard Rantfest: Stop this War John (Kerry), Grow Some Balls
Anti-war protesters amassed at the Kennedy School of Government on Friday, when 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass) spoke with former Senator Max Cleland and a group of veterans to a packed John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

While Kerry came to Harvard for the premiere of “Hidden Wounds,” a documentary on veterans of the war in Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the event took a political turn as several dozen protesters gathered together at 79 JFK Street.

“Bush Lied. Kerry Complied. Bring the troops home now,” they chanted outside the Kennedy School.

The protest was sponsored by the organizations Not One More (NOM) and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) as part of their continued effort to provoke a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

One man, who was sitting inside the forum, called out to Kerry after the documentary. “Stop this war, John, grow some balls” the man said. “You can do something, John.”

The man was taken out of the forum, but his message did not fall on deaf ears. “I wish that young man who stood up was still here because those of you who know me, know that I don’t shy away from any conversation on any subject,” Kerry said. “I understand the anxiety and the frustration people feel here in this country.”

But Kerry emphasized that the purpose of the forum was for the discussion of the documentary and PTSD.
Which afflicts half of the Democratic Party.
The documentary, which was made by New England Cable Network (NECN), follows three soldiers through their experience in Iraq and their return to life at home. “The first definition of patriotism back here at home for all of us is to keep faith to those who wore the uniform for our country,” Kerry said.

At the event, Kerry introduced a new funding push he is making in Congress to allocate $100 million to Veteran Centers for the screening and treatment of PTSD.

Cleland, who lost both legs and half an arm in 1968 when he was serving in the Vietnam War, took the stage with Kerry before the screening.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/13/2006 10:51 || Comments || Link || [336079 views] Top|| File under:

#1  *snicker*
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 11:04 Comments || Top||

#2  Kerry has balls, or would that be jowls ?

you who know me, know that I don’t shy away from any conversation on any subject
I'm hard core. I'm born again hard as granite. I fought in Vietnam and I led the way in Cambodia. I was on the debating team. We were undefeated.
Posted by: wxjames || 03/13/2006 11:30 Comments || Top||

#3  But Kerry emphasized that the purpose of the forum was for the discussion of the documentary and PTSD.

Do the symptoms of PTSD include making shit up? If so, Kerry might be there as a sufferer, not as a politician.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 12:13 Comments || Top||

#4  Thursday, March 20, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC - Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to the commencement of military strikes in Iraq:
"It appears that with the deadline for exile come and gone, Saddam Hussein has chosen to make military force the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism. If so, the only exit strategy is victory, this is our common mission and the world's cause. We're in this together. We want to complete the mission while safeguarding our troops, avoiding innocent civilian casualties, disarming Saddam Hussein and engaging the community of nations to rebuild Iraq."
Flopped again, did he?

Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 12:22 Comments || Top||

#5  Image hosting by Photobucket

The audience applaud, in their way.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 12:32 Comments || Top||

#6  Why the long face, Joghn?

(sorry, I just didn't have enough class to resist)
Posted by: anymouse || 03/13/2006 12:51 Comments || Top||

#7  "The only exit strategy is VICTORY" - correct. WHy, becuz whether one believes Radical Islam is wilfully colluding wid the anti-American US-World Lefts and aligned, or NOT, the latters' agendums in any dedicated or neutral form calls for America to give up its sovereignty and submit to Socialism-dominated OWG. There will be no more free, independent, sovereign, democratic Nations anymore, only PC versions of Sovietized Stalinized, Socialist [Regulated/Controlled/
Managed]Republics, Regional and Global SSR's, States = SSR-specific interests will be determined and $$$ supported by OREILLY's, etal. Ultra/Radical-Left desired Coalition of world states where Amerika's specific interest(s) is merely one of many to be predicated. America's enemies are fighting for their right to be poor and to stay poor, and regressed, NOT equality or even upwardly progressive. LEFT or RIGHT, MODERATE or INDEPENDENT, WE AMERICANS ARE ALL IN A KILL OR BE KILLED, RULE OR SLAVE, FIGHT OR DIE SITUATION. Our waffling dialectical Policrats > STALEMATE-ISOLATIONISM, etal. ONLY MEANS WE LOSE AND DIE LATER, NOT SOONER.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 22:55 Comments || Top||

Bush Plans Speech Offensive
President Bush hopes to begin rebounding from record-low job approval rating record for him, or his predecessor, the Poll-Monkey? today with the first in a series of speeches on Iraq aimed at seizing the initiative after weeks of political missteps. White House aides believe Bush can turn a corner now that he is no longer feuding with Congress over a deal that would have given the United Arab Emirates management control of six U.S. ports. Dubai Ports World pulled out of the deal on Thursday after it became apparent Congress would kill the transaction.
But if no American buyer steps up, the Dubai deal could resurface.
Over the weekend, Bush rejected a reporter’s suggestion that the ports deal had opened a lasting rift within the Republican Party. “I’ve read all the stories about this rift or that rift — that’s typical Washington,” Bush said in the Roosevelt Room. “The Republican Party is united in our efforts to win the war on terror.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Saturday: “Democratic senators and representatives forced President Bush to give up the idea that six major American ports should be run by a foreign country.”
As opposed to the dozens that are already run by foreign countries. Nice spin, Howie.
In an effort to pivot away from the ports deal, Bush will deliver a series of speeches to mark the three-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began March 19, 2003. “In the coming days, there will be considerable reflection on the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and our remaining mission in Iraq,” Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address. “I will discuss the progress we are making, the lessons we’ve learned from our experiences, and how we’re fixing what has not worked.”

Bush acknowledged that “the fighting has been tough.” “The last three years have tested our resolve,” he said. “The enemy we face has proved to be brutal and relentless.”
Insurgents or New York Times? Oh, yeah; they're on the same side!
The weapon of choice for Iraqi insurgents is the improvised-explosive device, or roadside bomb. Bush is expected to discuss a program to counter the weapon in a speech today at George Washington University. “These weapons are now the principal threat to our troops and to the future of a free Iraq,” Bush said Saturday. “We’re not going to rest until this danger to our troops has been removed.”

Bush conceded that ongoing bloodshed is taking a toll on American support for the war in Iraq. “Amid the daily news of car bombs and kidnappings and brutal killings, I can understand why many of our fellow citizens are now wondering if the entire mission was worth it,” he said. “I strongly believe our country is better off with Saddam Hussein out of power.”
Posted by: Bobby || 03/13/2006 10:17 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wasn't Komrade Klinton (a Democrat 'hero'... ) the one who essentually handed effective control over both ends of the Panama Canal to some Chicom front corporation?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/13/2006 13:56 Comments || Top||

Scheuer's still a nut - take a look at this
These days Osama bin Laden must fear that Muslims will begin to believe the United States is his sponsor, and that Washington is doing all it can to ensure al Qaeda's victory. The foreign-policy performance of the Bush administration since bin Laden's Jan. 19 statement has been a godsend for al Qaeda. So bad for U.S. interests has been Washington's diplomacy that a summary of it falls into what radio host Don Imus calls the "you-couldn't-make-this-up category."

First, even before all votes were counted in Palestine, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the president, the neoconservative pundits, and sundry members of both parties in Congress -- some of whom clearly aspire to be Knesset members -- rejected dealing with the democratically elected Hamas government unless it abandons its pledge to defend Palestine against Israel, presumably a chief reason Palestinians voted for it.

Almost before this dictum was fully announced, Washington and Tel Aviv jointly announced they intend to financially strangle the Hamas regime, cleverly creating a situation where Hamas will seek funding from Shi'ite Iran and thereby force America's Sunni "allies" in the Persian Gulf to make up Western funding or be disgraced by Shi'ite Iran assisting Sunni Hamas.

As the smoke clears from this U.S.-foreign-policy train wreck, the dominating image must be that of Osama bin Laden's shy and wry smile. America, once again, has validated the al Qaeda chief's decade-long and ongoing lesson for Muslims: America supports democracy only if its agents are elected; America will destroy any regime that threatens Israel; America will not allow a country to be ruled by Islamic law unless it has vast oil resources; and, for America, Muslim blood is cheap, it has no qualms about cutting funds used to feed Muslim children.

Second, the Bush administration, the Democratic Party and its Hollywood masters, and their Western European associates have confused -- assuming they ever knew -- the difference between liberty and license, and have made the controversy over the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad into a battle between the pure defenders of free speech and the evil Muslims of medieval mindset. America's founders and the early Supreme Court, of course, never equated free speech with blasphemy, and did not judge the latter to fall within the purview of protected speech. It is only the enlightened minds of contemporary America -- especially the Democratic Party's Harvard-bred, libertine legal acolytes -- that have raised blasphemy to the rank of fine art, minds so nimble that they seem able to conjure the image of Patrick Henry passionately telling the Virginia's House of Burgesses: "As for me, gentlemen, give me the liberty to submerge a statue of the Virgin Mary in a vat of urine or give me death."

America, bin Laden has argued these 10 years past, is out to destroy Muslims and Islam via its foreign policy. He has wisely refrained from justifying jihad because of the way Americans live, think and vote -- Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini took that route to jihad and hit a dead end. Now, bin Laden finds America and its allies stepping in to teach Muslims to hate more than just U.S. foreign policy. The treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Pol-i-Charki; the destruction of the Koran; the burning of dead Taliban soldiers; and now the defense of the Muhammad caricatures are doing what no Muslim leader has done: They are persuading Muslims to hate Americans for being Americans.

Third, Mr. Bush's just-completed trip to South Asia is a triumph for bin Laden and his allies. Pakistan is the absolute key to the U.S. war against al Qaeda; it is growing more important as U.S. bases in Central Asia become problematic; and its president, Pervez Musharraf, is risking his life to help America by doing things that harm Pakistan's national interests and stability -- such as sending the Pakistani army into the country's border provinces after al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Faced with this reality what do the geniuses around the president do? They send him first to visit Afghan President Hamid Karzai, America's follower-less, anti-Pakistan satrap in Kabul; second, they send him to India -- Pakistan's eternal and mortal enemy -- where America's promises to support India's nuclear capability and make it a "strategic ally"; and third they sneak the president into Pakistan, where he stays just long enough to lecture Gen. Musharraf on how he must do more against al Qaeda, and then departs, refusing to assist Pakistan's nuclear program and leaving Gen. Musharraf to face a coup-minded general staff seething over the net U.S. payment for Pakistan's aid: domestic instability and a greatly strengthened India.

For the past two months of U.S, foreign policy, Osama bin Laden can only be reciting "Allahu Akhbar" -- "God is great." For Americans the question must be "Whose side are these guys on?"
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 01:23 || Comments || Link || [336071 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The train-wreck is Scheurer's mind. He's moved on from seditious fool to screechy traitor. The Twit Who Would Be King (now eclipsing Richard Clark whose 15 minutes have expired) is now far over the line. Since we are at war, he deserves to be disappeared or shot, IMO. I'm sure there have been others of this ilk in our past - perfidy is as old as frustrated ambition, fame, and power-lust.

Sometimes I think Bush truly needs to stop being a nice guy - and be more Machiavellian... Or delegate it to someone who will.
Posted by: Fluger Flash1043 || 03/13/2006 6:13 Comments || Top||

#2  OOO...OOOO... ME ME. I'll do it!
Posted by: whitecollar redneck || 03/13/2006 8:29 Comments || Top||

#3  First, even before all votes were counted in Palestine, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the president, the neoconservative pundits, and sundry members of both parties in Congress -- some of whom clearly aspire to be Knesset members -- rejected dealing with the democratically elected Hamas government unless it abandons its pledge to defend Palestine against Israel, presumably a chief reason Palestinians voted for it.

The hatred, lie, and delusion density of that paragraph is stunning. Is Scheuer a True Believer in the Arab Way, or honorably (ie, he stays bought) corrupt?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 9:24 Comments || Top||

#4  Reminds me of that Edgar Allen Poe poem, The Beating Heart (or something like that). Scheuer can hear all those bodies falling off the WTC... thump...thump...thump. If he hadn't lost it in his fear of being discovered - the world would have just had our cup of tea and left, but thanks Mike for letting us know how much of a personal hand you had in it.
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 10:37 Comments || Top||

#5  I think it's "The Tell-tale Heart", 2b.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/13/2006 14:41 Comments || Top||

#6  It sounds like a major appeasment failure. Witholding funding...what are they thinking ?
Oooh the humanities !
Posted by: wxjames || 03/13/2006 15:18 Comments || Top||

#7  "…it [America] has no qualms about cutting funds used to feed Muslim children."

Oh man…what were we thinking? First we abandoned all the Paleo civil servants and now were giving all the hungry children the finger. Granted HAMAS most likely will use the money to fund their violence but what next…systematic starvation of all the baby ducks and bunnies? I guess it’s really not extortion after all…it’s our obligation when you think about it.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/13/2006 19:24 Comments || Top||

#8  sundry members of both parties in Congress -- some of whom clearly aspire to be Knesset members

Why am thinking of a certain scene from The Great Dictator? The one where the microphone stands bend away from the speaker.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 20:00 Comments || Top||

Plame's identity no big secret
More fallout from the Chicago Tribune article over the weekend. Of course, if you really wanted to follow every twist and turn in the PlameNameBlameGame, you'd read Tom Maguire. The reporter on this story, John Crewdson, is a veteran Trib reporter and no dummy.
WASHINGTON - The question of whether Valerie Plame's employment by the Central Intelligence Agency was a secret is the key issue in the two-year investigation to determine if someone broke the law by leaking her CIA affiliation to the news media. Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald contends that Plame's friends "had no idea she had another life." But Plame's secret life could be easily penetrated with the right computer sleuthing and an understanding of how the CIA's covert employees work.

When the Chicago Tribune searched for Plame on an Internet service that sells public information about private individuals to its subscribers, it got a report of more than 7,600 words. Included was the fact that in the early 1990s her address was "AMERICAN EMBASSY ATHENS ST, APO NEW YORK NY 09255." A former senior American diplomat in Athens, who remembers Plame as "pleasant, very well-read, bright," said he had been aware that Plame, who was posing as a junior consular officer, really worked for the CIA. According to CIA veterans, U.S. intelligence officers working in American embassies under "diplomatic cover" are almost invariably known to friendly and opposition intelligence services alike. "If you were in an embassy," said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, "you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing."
The Soviets devoted substantial resources to do just that, and we did the same to know who their people were. That's different than today, as the Trib reported: now with Google and some select commercial databases, you can out an agent with 1/50 the effort the average Soviet intel officer had to put in. And it's not yet clear that the CIA understands this.
Plame's true function likely would have been known to friendly intelligence agencies as well. The former senior diplomat recalled, for example, that she served as one of the "control officers" coordinating the visit of President George H.W. Bush to Greece and Turkey in July 1991. After the completion of her Athens tour, the CIA reportedly sent Plame to study in Europe. According to her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame was living in Brussels when the couple first met in 1997.

Two years later, when Plame made a $1,000 contribution to Vice President Al Gore, she listed her employer as Brewster-Jennings & Associates, a Boston company apparently set up by the CIA to provide "commercial cover" for some of its operatives. Brewster-Jennings was not a terribly convincing cover. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the company, created in 1994, is a "legal services office" grossing $60,000 a year and headed by a chief executive named Victor Brewster. Commercial databases accessible by the Tribune contain no indication that such a person exists.

Another sign of Brewster-Jennings' link to the CIA came from the online resume of a Washington attorney, who until last week claimed to have been employed by Brewster-Jennings as an "engineering consultant" from 1985 to 1989 and to have served from 1989 to 1995 as a CIA "case officer," the agency's term for field operatives who collect information from paid informants. On Wednesday the Tribune left a voice mail and two e-mail messages asking about the juxtaposition of the attorney's career with Brewster-Jennings and the CIA. On Thursday, the Brewster-Jennings and CIA entries had disappeared from the online resume. The attorney never returned any of the messages left by the Tribune.

After Plame left her diplomatic post and joined Brewster-Jennings, she became what is known in CIA parlance as an "NOC," shorthand for an intelligence officer working under "non-official cover." But several CIA veterans questioned how someone with an embassy background could have successfully passed herself off as a private-sector consultant with no government connections.

Genuine NOCs, a CIA veteran said, "never use an official address. If she had (a diplomatic) address, her whole cover's completely phony. I used to run NOCs. I was in an embassy. I'd go out and meet them, clandestine meetings. I'd pay them cash to run assets or take trips. I'd give them a big bundle of cash. But they could never use an embassy address, ever." Another CIA veteran with 20 years of service agreed that "the key is the (embassy) address. That is completely unacceptable for an NOC. She wasn't an NOC, period."

After Plame was transferred back to CIA headquarters in the mid-1990s, she continued to pass herself off as a private energy consultant. But the first CIA veteran noted: "You never let a true NOC go into an official facility. You don't drive into headquarters with your car, ever."
So why wasn't this intelligent CIA veteran in charge? And why didn't the guy in charge know this sort of basic stuff?
A senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others quoted in this article spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that Plame "may not be alone in that category, so I don't want to suggest she was the only one. But it would be a fair assumption that a true-blue NOC is not someone who has a headquarters job at any point or an embassy job at any point."

According to Fitzgerald, Plame's "cover was blown" in July 2003, when columnist Robert Novak disclosed that Plame "is an agency (CIA) operative on weapons of mass destruction." Although Fitzgerald has yet to accuse anyone of violating that law, he won a grand jury indictment charging former vice presidential chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby with perjury and obstructing justice for allegedly making false statements under oath about how and when he learned of Plame's CIA employment, and when he told reporters.

Libby's lawyers, who now question whether Plame's CIA employment really was secret at the time Novak's column appeared, have asked a federal judge to provide them with documents that bear on that issue. If Plame's employment was not a legitimate secret, and if the national security was not harmed by its disclosure, Libby's lawyers argue, their client would have had no motive to lie about his conversations with reporters.
Ignore the Libby issue: it's small compared to the real problem. Does Porter Goss understand just how badly the CIA is broken?
Posted by: Steve White || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  U.S. intelligence officers working in American embassies under "diplomatic cover" are almost invariably known to friendly and opposition intelligence services alike. "If you were in an embassy," said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, "you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing."

No 'Plame' surprises. The term "Diplomatic Cover" or Dip Cover simply means you carry a black passort and cannot be jailed, only kicked out ot the country as in PNG'd, (Persona non-gratta). You are a standard, garden variety intelligence officer, nothing fancy. Anyone who frequents a US Embassy abroad, or get his or her mail there is automatically on the "suspected intelligence operative" list of the host country. "Googling" true names and coming up with a USEMB address, is a sure sign of
....garden variety.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/13/2006 10:44 Comments || Top||

#2  There was a thing on one of the PBS stations last night about retired CIA spies training FBI people by playing Hares&Hounds. The pair they interviewed, a husband and wife who'd spent years in Moscow, emphasized that everybody knew everybody else, and always followed one another around. The key was to keep local contacts and drops unnoticed during the hours and hours of carefully keeping their followers from losing them and getting upset enough to do something about it, which would have messed up everything. They also commented that real spies are nothing at all like James Bond; the key is to look uninteresting and mildly incompetent, apparently. Our Mrs. Ambassador sounds completely unsuited to the job. Perhaps she was an unconscious decoy, while the real spies did the real work?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/13/2006 14:56 Comments || Top||

#3  Our Mrs. Ambassador sounds completely unsuited to the job. Perhaps she was an unconscious decoy, while the real spies did the real work?

Your PBS folks probably hit it 'spot on' for the most part in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). No personal experience mind you, but I've been told being "followed" there was entirely expected and in fact kept the criminal element at bay. I can tell you with some degree of accuracy that having a lovely wife in residency does little to harm one's diplomatic career and social calendar. I suspect she surpassed company goals with Absolut aplomb and charisma.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/13/2006 15:19 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Canadian held in U.S. faces human smuggling charges
A university student from Toronto is being held in the U.S. on charges of human smuggling. The RCMP in Sault Ste. Marie say Kreshnik Zeneli allegedly tried to smuggle two men from Albania in November and a woman from Greece last Sunday. The 24-year-old is waiting a grand jury in Marquette, Mich. Police say they crossed the St. Mary's River, which runs between Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in a small, rubber watercraft.
Amateurs. Should've crossed the St. Lawrence instead.
RCMP Const. Al Montgomery said Zeneli and the woman were picked up by the U.S. Border Patrol on March 5. The men were captured after they crossed in November. The three are being held in the United States. Montgomery said it's believed Zeneli charged a fee to transport the people, but the constable was not sure what the price was. "We're trying to make the connection between the fact that he's a student, and the fact that these people from different countries are crossing the border into the United States," Montgomery told the Sault Star. Zeneli is a student at Algoma University College. He is charged with two counts each of human smuggling and conspiracy. More charges are expected. Montgomery said police are trying to figure out if Zeneli was working with other people.
See what happens when you increase tuition by 5%? Students get desperate.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 01:39 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

Military: Most Young Americans Are Unfit
WASHINGTON (AP) - Uncle Sam wants YOU, that famous Army recruiting poster says. But does he really? Not if you're a Ritalin-taking, overweight, Generation Y couch potato - or some combination of the above. As for that fashionable ``body art'' that the military still calls a tattoo, having one is grounds for rejection, too.

With U.S. casualties rising in wars overseas and more opportunities in the civilian work force from an improved U.S. economy, many young people are shunning a career in the armed forces. But recruiting is still a two-way street - and the military, too, doesn't want most people in this prime recruiting age group of 17 to 24. Of some 32 million Americans now in this group, the Army deems the vast majority too obese, too uneducated, too flawed in some way, according to its estimates for the current budget year. ``As you look at overall population and you start factoring out people, many are not eligible in the first place to apply,'' said Doug Smith, spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command.
This isn't a surprise. At the start of WWII, the majority of young men who volunteered were rejected for service (at first) because they couldn't meet the pre-war fitness demands. As the war went out, the standards were lowered to get men into the services.
Some experts are skeptical.

Previous Defense Department studies have found that 75 percent of young people are ineligible for military service, noted Charles Moskos of Northwestern University. While the professor emeritus who specializes in military sociology says it is ``a baloney number,'' he acknowledges he has no figures to counter it.
So may we regard Mr. Moskos with a similar poundage of baloney?
``Recruiters are looking for reasons other than themselves,'' said David R. Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland. ``So they blame the pool.''
Sounds like the pool has problems.
The military's figures are estimates, based partly on census numbers. They are part of an elaborate analysis the military does as it struggles each year to compete with colleges and companies for the nation's best and brightest, plan for future needs and maintain diversity.

The Census Bureau estimates that the overall pool of people who would be in the military's prime target age has shrunk as American society ages. There were 1 million fewer 18- to 24-year olds in 2004 than in 2000, the agency says. The pool shrinks to 13.6 million when only high school graduates and those who score in the upper half on a military service aptitude test are considered. The 30 percent who are high school dropouts are not the top choice of today's professional, all-volunteer and increasingly high-tech military force.

Other factors include:

-the rising rate of obesity; some 30 percent of U.S. adults are now considered obese.

-a decline in physical fitness; one-third of teenagers are now believed to be incapable of passing a treadmill test.

-a near-epidemic rise in the use of Ritalin and other stimulants to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Potential recruits are ineligible for military service if they have taken such a drug in the previous year.

Doctors prescribe these drugs to about 2 million children and 1 million adults a month, according to a federal survey. Many more are believed to be using such stimulants recreationally and to stay awake longer to boost academic and physical performance.

Other potential recruits are rejected because they have criminal histories and too many dependents. Subtract 4.4 million from the pool for these people and for the overweight. Others can be rejected for medical problems, from blindness to asthma. The Army estimate has subtracted 2.6 million for this group.

That leaves 4.3 million fully qualified potential recruits and an estimated 2.3 million more who might qualify if given waivers on some of their problems. The bottom line: a total 6.6 million potential recruits from all men and women in the 32 million-person age group. In the budget year that ended last September, 15 percent of recruits required a waiver in order to be accepted for active duty services - or about 11,000 people of some 73,000 recruited.

Most waivers were for medical problems. Some were for misdemeanors such as public drunkenness, resisting arrest or misdemeanor assault - prompting criticism that the Army is lowering its standards.

This year the Army is trying to recruit 80,000 people; all the services are recruiting about 180,000.
Look at those numbers: 180,000 recruits out of 6.6 million eligible. That's 2.7 % of the pool.
And about the tattoos: They are not supposed to be on your neck, refer to gang membership, be offensive, or in any way conflict with military standards on integrity, respect and team work. The military is increasingly giving waivers for some types of tattoos, officials said.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The greatest single fear vv Iran-North Korea is military confrontation btwn the USA, Russia, andor China - the States and economies of the latter two remain mostly [Russia] or wholly [China] militarized, whereas the USA is volunteer.
Truth be told, it is in the Anti-American agendists to keep it that way so as to induce Washington to Socialize and over-stretch beyond over-stretch domestically whilst intensifying America's risk of defeat andor "quagmire" overseas, for OWG and anti-Amer American Socialism. They want America to run out of beans and bullets before the Motherly, World-saving Commies run out of bodies - in WW2 the Nazis had TIGER and PANTHER tanks, the JAPANESE had the YAMATO-class and the ZERO, BUT BOTH STILL LOST. Russia and China are NOT going to give America any extended/long "lead times" to build up in any East-West, nuke-possible confrontation in the ME or NK-Taiwan. America's waffle-loving Policrats will ALWAYS be for everyone and no one, thru Nuke War, Asteroids, and the Second Coming of Christ, etc.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 0:31 Comments || Top||

#2  I've heard more or less the same thing in Australia -- albeit there it was worded something like "Military: Australian kids are too fat".

Though, I can't say that I'm too surprised -- is it me, or is the military looking for a body standard that's more or less discouraged in peacetime by the incentives and choices of civilian life? ("Live a little!" -> "let yourself go")

Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/13/2006 0:40 Comments || Top||

-a near-epidemic rise in the use of Ritalin and other stimulants to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Potential recruits are ineligible for military service if they have taken such a drug in the previous year.
An "epidemic" which seems to exist only in this country.

If I were a conspiracy nut, I'd have to wonder whether - in addition to drugging boys so they won't act like boys, to make life easier for lazy teachers - there weren't some conspiracy among Ritalin pushers to render young men unable to enter the military.

If the left (which has a strangle-hold on our schools and a good chunk of the medical professions) can't destroy the military itself, why not destroy the next generation of boys who would make up that military? Anything to achieve their goal. >:^(

Just sayin', 's all....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/13/2006 2:08 Comments || Top||

#4  Having been in the Army at its post-Vietnam nadir and carried through its reform/revolution in the 80s, one key lessoned learned is that its better off having only 8 motivated soldiers in a 10 man squad than to have the extra 2 bodies which steal 50% of the NCOs and officers time because of their 'problems'.

BS. If the NEA wants to make the public school systems a national security issue, they'd better think twice. Not only does DoD operate a very viable school system for dependents overseas, DoD operates one of the largest school systems in the nation from boot camp, technical schools, up through War Colleges. There are enough former commandants and instructors available to certainly start to make a big impact on any major school system. I don't think the NEA would like to see the results compared to what they've forced upon the public for the last couple decades.
Posted by: Flineque Angush9511 || 03/13/2006 7:18 Comments || Top||

#5  This is just more Al Guardian anti-American bullsh*t. Nothing to see here, move along.
Posted by: Spot || 03/13/2006 8:23 Comments || Top||

#6  The cruel truth is that no amount of conditioning or training will make a non-warrior into a warrior. By this I mean that there are just some people who are naturally gifted at fighting, and one of them is worth 100 of the non-warriors they are up against.

So the best bet is to provide the small class of real warriors with as much support as they need. And *these* are the people you need to recruit.

Since they are not being recruited as warriors, they should be recruited for whatever talent it is that they can provide in support of the warriors, not under any pretense that they are warriors.

Insisting that they be warrior-like in other than uniformity, for efficiency, is ridiculous. Their only combat requirement should be the ability to defensively protect their rear area.

Instead of needing to run two miles, they should be pushed for high-efficiency in whatever it is they do as a job.

This time around, the military has grudgingly accepted the notion that even civilian contractors *could* perform such tasks as mess-hall operations, etc. But these civilians were not as proficient as their military counterparts--a situation that needs to be remedied.

So, the question is, how many of these Ritalin-taking, overweight, Generation Y couch potatoes would be acceptable to a civilian contractor? If they can get hired by a civilian company, *and* can do the job, then that should be almost good enough to do the same job, but in a uniform.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 9:04 Comments || Top||

#7  Identifying warriors is not so simple, I'd say. Consider a couple of glaring exceptions: Audie Murphy and Alvin York. Additionally, I could bring up guys I served with who started out almost mousy, certainly afraid, who simply transformed under fire. The only things they seemed to have in common, at least that I could see, was honesty and a quiet serious side. The guys reading Hemingway, not Playboy. The funny thing was that, though they had been blooded and turned out to be real warriors, most resumed their unassuming behavior when the heat was off and the danger passed. Of course, they were no longer teased or screwed around with by the pretenders who'd failed to impress anyone in battle, themselves. Which was damned funny to most of us.
Posted by: Slenter Glonter4893 || 03/13/2006 9:24 Comments || Top||

#8  I was going to say the real story is that 30% of adults are obese

but it is a useless stat since it doesn't give the percentage of those in the appropriate age group. So the real story here is that 1/3 of teenagers can't pass a treadmill test. Wow!
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 10:52 Comments || Top||

#9  Slenter: Oh, I agree with that one. Warriors make themselves known. It is a combination of talents that is just breathtaking to watch, and you know that it would be as useless to try to fight them as it was to fight Achilles.

But that goes against the entire 20th Century grain--that of trying to prove that anybody can be given a uniform, a rifle and training and be as good as anyone else. An experiment that was tried, and failed, for more than a century.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 12:52 Comments || Top||

#10  My nephew is an Air Force recruiter, and has been for the last eight or ten years. He says his biggest problem is finding kids who are willing to LEARN. There are lots of able-bodied, fit young men out there that just don't have any curiousity, hunger for knowledge, or willingness to try something different. He DOES blame the schools for that - our public school system is the best in the world at destroying initiative, competetive behavior, and the thirst for knowledge.

One of the new commenters at Sgt. Stryker is an Army recruiter. Read what he has to say about parents trying to get their problem-children into the military. It's a complex situation. One of the reasons so many of today's recruits are from the midwest and south, and mostly from rural areas, are a combination of more physically active lives and fewer at-home opportunities. I'm not saying most city boys are wimps, but the percentages are greater for city dwellers to get less physical exercise than a Missouri farm boy that hunts and fishes regularly.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/13/2006 15:24 Comments || Top||

#11  "As for that fashionable "body art'' that the military still calls a tattoo, having one is grounds for rejection, too."

Why? The overweight/unfit part I get, but tattoos?
Posted by: Jules || 03/13/2006 16:07 Comments || Top||

#12  Tattoos - greater chance of the individual developing AIDS or Hepatitis D when in the service. Also, gang insignia and unknowing tribal affliation depending on design.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 03/13/2006 16:39 Comments || Top||

#13  ``As you look at overall population and you start factoring out people, many are not eligible in the first place to apply,'' said Doug Smith, spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command.

Some experts are skeptical.

The text above is exactly the way this AP article ended in the local fishwrap. WTF? Some experts are skeptical? Well, Ok. I guess that pretty much sums it up. Debate over.
Posted by: SteveS || 03/13/2006 19:24 Comments || Top||

Army Guard Refilling Its Ranks
The Army National Guard, which has suffered a severe three-year recruiting slump, has begun to reel in soldiers in record numbers, aided in part by a new initiative that pays Guard members $2,000 for each person they enlist.

The Army Guard said Friday that it signed up more than 26,000 soldiers in the first five months of fiscal 2006, exceeding its target by 7 percent in its best performance in 13 years. At this pace, Guard leaders say they are confident they will reach their goal of boosting manpower from the current 336,000 to the congressionally authorized level of 350,000 by the end of the year.

"Will we make 350,000? The answer is: Absolutely," said Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The rebound is striking because since 2003, the Army Guard has performed worse in annual recruiting than any other branch of the U.S. military. The Guard was shrinking while it was being asked to shoulder a big part of the burden in Iraq. Together with the Army Reserve, it supplied as many as 40 percent of the troops in Iraq while also dispatching tens of thousands of members to domestic disasters.

Today, the Guard is surpassing its goals and growing in strength -- a welcome boost for an all-volunteer Army stretched thin by unprecedented deployments. In recent months, the Guard enlisted nearly as many troops as the active-duty Army, even though it is a much smaller force. Indeed, the Army Guard, present in about 3,500 U.S. communities, will launch pilot programs this year to recruit for the entire Army. "We're seeing quantum leaps," said Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard. "We should probably be America's recruiter for the Army."

A driving force in this year's early success, Guard leaders say, is that thousands of Guard members have now returned from Iraq and are reaching out to friends, old classmates and co-workers -- widening the face-to-face contacts that officials say are critical to recruiting. Guard members "are staying with us and want to fill up units with their neighbors and friends," Blum said in an interview. "Now that they're back -- watch out."
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mexilamists in the SW, Spetzlamists making anarchy and mayhem all along the Straits of Malaccas to the Sea of Denmark and Norway; and a big, mostly empty country called Canada between Alaska and the Lower 48, which vv the MSM Muslim Terrorists like, demanding America attack them while Russia-China to save them.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 0:41 Comments || Top||

#2  "We're seeing quantum leaps," said Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard. "We should probably be America's recruiter for the Army."

*grin* Well, if they let you... ;-)

(Is it me, or is Mendiola being particularly incoherent tonight?)
Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/13/2006 0:42 Comments || Top||

#3  Whats a Motherly Commie Airborne Army = OWG America-based Peace-keeping Force for the protection of Washington to do - SO MANY MALE BRUTES, NOT ENOUGH VIAGRA OR CHEMICAL CASTRATIONS!?
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 0:43 Comments || Top||

#4  I think that sometimes our friend Joe compensates for not taking regular dosages of his prescribed medication at the appropriate times during the day by taking them all at once.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 0:47 Comments || Top||

#5  I wonder if Joe has any extra?

Joe 200 8 1/2
Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 0:56 Comments || Top||

#6  I don't get the reference, RD. However, RD, Dan Darling, it's still a pain in the ass to scroll through his material. He didn't even respond to my negative remark!
Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/13/2006 1:55 Comments || Top||

#7  it's still a pain in the ass

Images can cure that! LOL

Born: Jan 20, 1920 in Rimini, Italy

Died: Oct 31, 1993 in Rome, Italy

Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 2:19 Comments || Top||

#8  Expect the lefty whining blogs and MSM who screamed about 'short falls' acknowledging this bit of news? Nah, me neither.

The real good part, is that the old strap hangers who enlisted not expecting to be sent into harms way, are now shuffling out of the system, and people that are now coming in are doing so with eyes wide open. That's going have to make the reporters' jobs harder to dig to find the malcontents. Although the Jayson Blair School of Journalism is still a respected member of the profession trade.
Posted by: Flineque Angush9511 || 03/13/2006 7:09 Comments || Top||

#9  (Is it me, or is Mendiola being particularly incoherent tonight?)

Can't see any difference.

Oh, and how does this story line up with the "'Murricans Too Fat For Military" story?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 9:31 Comments || Top||

#10  My thought, exactly, RC. That article suggested standards were being set higher to explain shortfalls - no one's giid enuff for the new Army.

Maybe we could arrange to two authors to meet?
Posted by: Bobby || 03/13/2006 19:56 Comments || Top||

#11  Dibbs on the ticket concession.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/13/2006 21:13 Comments || Top||

Govt must give Baloch control over natural resources: Bugti
The conflict in Balochistan will end if the government accepts that the Baloch people should have control over the natural resources in the provinces, Bugti tribe chief Nawab Akbar Bugti said. The government has "imposed" conflict on the Baloch to maintain its "occupation" of Baloch resources, he said in an interview with news agency Online. He refused to be "lured into the useless bait of dialogue".

Bugti, who is also chief of the Jamhoori Watan Party, expressed sorrow at the death of 32 people whose vehicle hit a landmine in the Barkhan area of Kharcha on their way to a wedding. He blamed the incident on the Frontier Corps, saying the vehicle was traveling in an area controlled by the FC and the paramilitary troops had mined the area.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336086 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He doesn't stand a chance against Perv -- he's a handsome man, but he's got no sprockets.
Posted by: Foster Brooks || 03/13/2006 21:25 Comments || Top||

#2  living in a cave will change his looks
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 22:16 Comments || Top||

Police baton charge Mufti Munir supporters’ rally
PESHAWAR: Police baton charged and fired tear gas at the supporters of Mufti Munir Shakir, a cleric, to stop them from attending a protest at Ring Road near Sarband, a locality in the suburbs of Peshawar. The rally was a sequel to a chain of protests in various parts of the provincial capital to condemn Mufti’s ouster from the Khyber Tribal Agency. According to Saeed Wazir, senior superintendent of Police, Peshawar, 204 protestors were arrested, out of which 100 belonged to Khyber Agency, 30 were from the adjacent Frontier regions while 74 people belong to Pishtakhara and its surrounding areas. Wazir said that 74 detainees of the settled areas were booked, while those from the tribal territories will be handed over to the political administration to be tried.

According to police sources, all the detainees were shifted to DI Khan jail. The sources said that police feared the number of people in the rally could swell into 15,000 and that it would have been difficult to control them if they went unruly. Therefore the police acted pre-emptively.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

Qazi condemns 'hooliganism' and 'indecency' on Basant
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed condemned 'hooliganism' on Basant despite the kite flying ban and said all norms of decency were violated at the Asif Jah Haveli to please 'a so-called head of state'.

Addressing the concluding session of a one-day workshop of JI's Lahore Chapter members at Jamia Mosque in Mansoora on Sunday, he said General Pervez Musharraf's proposal to divide Kashmir into seven autonomous regions jointly controlled by India and Pakistan is a step towards 'united India' which would not be allowed by people on both sides of the Line of Control. He said 'anti-Pakistan forces' were trying to dismember the country and Musharraf was following a policy dictated by them.

He said American President George W Bush had clarified that the US was not against Islam but against Islamic extremism, and people were being threatened for adhering to the Islamic civilisation in the face of the Western culture's onslaught. The JI leader said the Pakistani constitution provided ample guarantee to safeguard Islamic values and enlightened moderation was not possible without amending the core of the constitution.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336083 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The evil kite fliers were arrested today.

Posted by: john || 03/13/2006 14:08 Comments || Top||

#2  well, if it keeps em out of the madrassahs...
Posted by: Frank G || 03/13/2006 15:01 Comments || Top||

#3  They'll probably send them to a madrassah for islamic re-education
Posted by: john || 03/13/2006 15:12 Comments || Top||

Iraqi Army Current Task Org
The Iraqi army now consists of about 140,000 troops. They are organized into 113 combat battalions (91 infantry battalions, 5 mechanized infantry battalions, 4 armored battalions, 1 special-duty security battalion and twelve special intervention force battalions.) The infantry and armor battalions are organized into nine divisions. There are also four special intervention force brigades (each with three battalions.)

Support forces include 9 motor transportation regiments, 3 mechanized combat service-support battalions and 10 base support units. There are not enough support units, and many more will be organized this year.

Before the 2003 invasion, the Iraqi army had about 420,000 troops (a quarter of them reservists, to be called up in wartime.) Most of the officers, and a disproportionate number of the NCOs, were Sunni Arabs, selected mainly for their loyalty to Saddam Hussein. There were thousands of intelligence personnel assigned to keeping an eye on the army, for any signs of disloyalty. Most of the enlisted troops were Shia Arabs, although a large minority were Sunni Arabs. There were also some Kurds, Christians and some other minorities.

The current Iraqi army had a hard time rebuilding its officer corps, because most of the experienced officers available were Sunni Arabs who, until recently, were reluctant to join because of terrorist threats against them. The terrorists were most active in Sunni Arab neighborhoods. But the new government, dominated by the Kurds and Shia Arabs (who comprise 80 percent of the population) wanted their people to comprise most of the officer corps. That required a lot of training, and years of experience for the senior commanders. There were some Kurdish and Shia Arab officers available, but most of these had served in low ranking jobs, and you needed experienced colonels as well as lieutenants. So over a year of intensive officer training was required before battalions could be organized. Many Shia Arab and Kurd NCOs were promoted to officer rank, but even these needed some formal training. The biggest problem with getting Iraqi battalions capable of independent operations, is the shortage of capable officers. Most civilians simply cannot comprehend how important training and experience is when you are commanding a battalion in combat.

By 2005, many more former Sunni Arab officers were willing to rejoin the army. That's because the terrorists had been run out of many Sunni Arab areas. But there was still the loyalty problem. Doing background checks was not easy, and many of the rehired Sunni Arab officers proved to be unreliable or untrustworthy. However, the majority did well, and are providing a lot of the senior leadership. But a new crop of Kurdish and Shia Arab officers are rapidly moving up the ranks. These are combat proven men, and that means a lot. During World War II, there were many men in their twenties who ended the war commanding battalions and brigades.

There are also problems with politically connected, but incompetent, officers being kept in their positions. Kurdish and Shia Arab politicians all want army officers they can personally depend on. This was what made Saddam's army so inefficient, and the current Iraqi political leadership had to be constantly reminded of that. But politicians have to worry about staying in power, and in Iraq, that has traditionally been accomplished by having a lot of loyal army officers to back you up.

American advisors are assigned to all Iraqi units. They not only give advice, but also constantly grade these units. Currently, about half the combat units are considered capable of operating on their own. The rest are either still training, or mainly being used for guard duty (checkpoints, infrastructure, oil facilities, government buildings). The guard duty is a good way to train the troops, and their officers. Those units that can operate on their own (with American backup and air support), require officers who can adequately supervise their troops and react effectively to rapidly changing situations. The most taxing job is patrolling and sweeps. This is when you can encounter unexpected opposition, and the officers and NCOs have to be able to handle it.

Most of the weapons are either Saddam era, or Russian stuff (often from Eastern Europe) donated after 2003. New American equipment includes radios and other electronic equipment, body armor, uniforms, trucks and medical gear. Getting new equipment and weapons is complicated by problems with corruption in the Defense Ministry. Old habits die hard.

The new army has proved competent in combat, and Iraqi troops who served in the old army have noticed the difference. The Iraqi troops admire the American, and other Western troops. Seeing these foreign troops operate has made an impression. The foreign trainers have demonstrated that the superiority of Western troops is not some kind of magic, but the result of good training and leadership. Some Iraqi units have made amazing progress in terms of effectiveness. But the main problem remains a shortage of trained officers and NCOs. This is a problem that will take several more years to fix.

The major units of the Iraqi army are currently deployed as follows;

1st Division (counter-insurgency) Habbaniyah

2nd Infantry Division Al Kindi

3rd Infantry Division Al Kasik

4th Infantry Division Tikrit

5th Infantry Division KMTB (Kirkuk military training base)

6th Infantry Division Baghdad

7th Infantry Division Al Asad

8th Infantry Division Diwaniyah

9th Mechanized Infantry Division Taji

10th Infantry Division Basrah

1st Special Intervention Forces Brigade Baghdad International Airport
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 20:13 || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

Tapes reveal Sammy's WMD ambitions
Audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides underscore the Bush administration's argument that Baghdad was determined to rebuild its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left the Iraqi dictator alone.

In addition to the captured tapes, U.S. officials are analyzing thousands of pages of newly translated Iraqi documents that tell of Saddam seeking uranium from Africa in the mid-1990s.

The documents also speak of burying prohibited missiles, according to a government official familiar with the declassification process.

But it is not clear whether Baghdad did what the documents indicate, said the U.S. official, who asked not to be named.

"The factories are present," an Iraqi aide tells Saddam on one of the tapes, made by the dictator in the mid-1990s while U.N. weapons inspectors were searching for Baghdad's remaining stocks of weapons of mass destruction.

"The factories remain, in the mind they remain. Our spirit is with us, based solely on the time period," the aide says, according to the documents. "And [inspectors] take note of the time period, they can't account for our will."

The quote is from roughly 12 hours of taped conversations that unexpectedly landed in the lap of Bill Tierney, a former Army warrant officer and Arabic speaker who was translating for the FBI tapes unearthed in Iraq after the invasion.

Mr. Tierney made a copy, which he provided to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee in turn gave a copy to intelligence analysts who authenticated the voice as that of Saddam.

Mr. Tierney said that the quote from the Saddam aide, and scores of others, show Saddam was rebuilding his once-ample weapons stocks.

"The tapes show that Saddam rebuilt his program and successfully prevented the U.N. from finding out about it," he said.

There also exists a quote from the dictator himself, who ordered the tapings to keep a record of his inner-sanctum discussions, that Mr. Tierney thinks shows Saddam planned to use a proxy to attack the United States.

"Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans," Saddam said. "With the Americans, two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign ... with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction."

The tapes are spurring a new debate over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stocks more than a year after the CIA's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) completed a lengthy postwar inspection. It concluded that Iraq did not possess stocks of weapons of mass destruction when the U.S-led coalition invaded in March 2003.

There is more to come. House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, told The Washington Times that about 500 hours of additional Saddam tapings are still being translated and analyzed by the U.S. In addition, in Qatar, U.S. Central Command's forward headquarters in the Persian Gulf, sit 48,000 boxes of Iraqi documents, of which the military has delivered 68 pages to the committee.

"I don't want to overstate what is in the documents," Mr. Hoekstra said. "I certainly want to get them out because I think people are going to find them very interesting."

He said the office of John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, is now weighing the congressman's request to release 40 of the 68 pages.

Of the tapes released so far, Mr. Hoekstra said, "Everything [Saddam] is doing is saying, 'Let's take it and hide it' with a clear intent. 'As soon as this is over, we're going to be back after this.' "

So far, the tapes do not shed light on what ultimately happened to Saddam's large stocks of weapons of mass destruction. None were found by the ISG, whose director, Charles Duelfer, filed a final report in 2004.

Some pundits and recently retired military officers are convinced that Saddam moved his remaining weapons to Syria. They cite satellite photos of lines of trucks heading into the neighboring country before the invasion and the fact Saddam positioned his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service agents at border crossings.

Mr. Duelfer said there were promising leads that weapons of mass destruction did go into Syria, but the security situation prevented him from closing the loop. Mr. Duelfer concluded that Saddam planned to resume weapons of mass destruction production once the United Nations lifted economic sanctions.

Mr. Tierney said he thinks the regime poured chemical weapons into lakes and rivers and sent other stocks over the border to Syria. Mr. Tierney served as a U.N. weapons inspector in the 1990s.

"The ISG, they were lied to in a very systematic way," he said. "Lying. They were very good at it."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 02:42 || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Some pundits and recently retired military officers are convinced that Saddam moved his remaining weapons to Syria. "

More than pundits and retired military officer point the finger at Syria ...






Posted by: doc || 03/13/2006 6:45 Comments || Top||

Push to Baghdad left some US generals divided
The war was barely a week old when Gen. Tommy R. Franks threatened to fire the Army's field commander.

From the first days of the invasion in March 2003, American forces had tangled with fanatical Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary fighters. Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, who was leading the Army's V Corps toward Baghdad, had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear.

Soon after, General Franks phoned Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the commander of allied land forces, to warn that he might relieve General Wallace.

The firing was averted after General McKiernan flew to meet General Franks. But the episode revealed the deep disagreements within the United States high command about the Iraqi military threat and what would be required to defeat it.

The dispute, related by military officers in interviews, had lasting consequences. The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.

The paramilitary Fedayeen were numerous, well-armed, dispersed throughout the country, and seemingly determined to fight to the death. But while many officers in the field assessed the Fedayeen as a dogged foe, General Franks and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld saw them as little more than speed bumps on the way to Baghdad. Three years later, Iraq has yet to be subdued. Many of the issues that have haunted the Bush administration about the war — the failure to foresee a potential insurgency and to send sufficient troops to stabilize the country after Saddam Hussein's government was toppled — were foreshadowed early in the conflict. How some of the crucial decisions were made, the behind-the-scenes debate about them and early cautions about a sustained threat have not been previously known.

A United States Marines intelligence officer warned after the bloody battle at Nasiriya, the first major fight of the war, that the Fedayeen would continue to mount attacks after the fall of Baghdad since many of the enemy fighters were being bypassed in the race to the capital.

In an extraordinary improvisation, Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile leader who was a Pentagon favorite, was flown to southern Iraq with hundreds of his fighters as General Franks's command sought to put an "Iraqi face" on the invasion; the plan was set in motion without the knowledge of top administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

Instead of sending additional troops to impose order after the fall of Baghdad, Mr. Rumsfeld and General Franks canceled the deployment of the First Cavalry Division;

General McKiernan was unhappy with the decision, which was made at a time when ground forces were needed to deal with the chaos in Iraq.

This account of decision-making inside the American command is based on interviews with dozens of military officers and government officials over the last two years. Some asked to remain unidentified because they were speaking about delicate internal deliberations that they were not authorized to discuss publicly.

As American-led forces prepared to invade Iraq in March 2003, American intelligence was not projecting a major fight in southern Iraq. C.I.A. officials told United States commanders that anti-Hussein tribes might secure a vital Euphrates River bridge and provide other support. Tough resistance was not expected until Army and Marine troops began to close in on Baghdad.

Almost from the start, however, the troops found themselves fighting the Fedayeen and Baath Party paramilitary forces. The Fedayeen had been formed in the mid-1990's to suppress any Shiite revolts. Equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms, they wore civilian dress and were positioned in southern Iraq. The first marine to die in combat, in fact, was shot by a paramilitary fighter in a Toyota pickup truck.

After Nasiriya, Lt. Col. Joseph Apodaca, a Marine intelligence officer in that critical first battle, drafted a classified message concluding that the Fedayeen would continue to be a threat. Many had sought sanctuary in small towns that were bypassed in the rush to Baghdad. The colonel compared the Fedayeen attacks to insurgencies in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Colombia, and warned that unless American troops went after them in force, the enemy would continue their attacks after Baghdad fell, hampering efforts to stabilize Iraq.

At the land war headquarters, there was growing concern about the Fedayeen as well. On March 28, General McKiernan, the land war commander, flew to the Jalibah airfield to huddle with his Army and Marine commanders. General Wallace reported that his troops had managed to contain the Iraqi paramilitary forces but that the American hold on them was tenuous. His concern was that the Fedayeen were threatening the logistics needed to push to Baghdad. "I am not sure how many of the knuckleheads there are," he said, according to notes taken by a military aide.

Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, the top Marine field commander, was also impressed by the fighters' tenacity. Bypassed enemy units were attacking American supply lines.

General McKiernan concluded that the United States faced two "centers of gravity": the Republican Guard, concentrated near Baghdad, and the paramilitary Fedayeen. He decided to suspend the march to the capital for several days while continuing airstrikes and engaging the Fedayeen. Only then, he figured, would conditions be right for the final assault into Baghdad to remove Mr. Hussein from power. To provide more support, General McKiernan freed up his only reserve, troops from the 82nd Airborne Division.

When he returned to his headquarters in Kuwait, there was a furor in Washington over General Wallace's comments to the press.

"The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against, because of these paramilitary forces," General Wallace had said to The New York Times and The Washington Post. "We knew they were here, but we did not know how they would fight." Asked whether the fighting increased the chances of a longer war than forecast by some military planners, he responded, "It's beginning to look that way."

To General Franks, those remarks apparently were tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in his war plan. It relied on speed, and he had told Mr. Rumsfeld that his forces might take Baghdad in just a few weeks. In Washington, General Wallace's comments were seized on by critics as evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld had not sent enough troops. More than a year earlier, he had ridiculed the initial war plan that called for at least 380,000 troops and had pushed the military's Central Command to use fewer soldiers and deploy them more quickly. At a Pentagon news conference, the defense secretary denied that he had any role in shaping the war plan. "It was not my plan," he said. "It was General Franks's plan, and it was a plan that evolved over a sustained period of time."

Privately, Mr. Rumsfeld hinted at his impatience with his generals. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker and a Rumsfeld adviser, forwarded a supportive memo from Col. Douglas Macgregor, who had long assailed the Army leadership as risk averse. In a blistering attack, Colonel Macgregor denounced the decision to suspend the advance. Replying to Mr. Gingrich, the secretary wrote: "Thanks for the Macgregor piece. Nobody up here is thinking like this."

General McKiernan, for his part, was stunned by the threat to fire General Wallace. "Talk about unhinging ourselves," he told Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid, General Franks's deputy, according to military aides who later learned of the conversation.

At General Franks's headquarters in Qatar the next day, General McKiernan made the case against removing General Wallace, according to officers who learned about the episode. Gary Luck, a retired general and an adviser to General Franks, said General Wallace was not one to shrink from a fight. General Wallace survived, but the strategy debate was far from over.

General Franks did not respond to requests for comment for this article. An aide, Michael Hayes, a retired Army colonel, said that to his knowledge, the accounts of General Franks's threat to fire General Wallace and other conversations with his commanders were inaccurate, but he declined to address specifics.

Calculating the resistance would fade if the invasion had an Iraqi face, General Franks's command turned to an unlikely ally.

Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile leader who had been long been pushing for Saddam Hussein's ouster and was championed by some Pentagon officials, was based in northern Kurdistan with his fighters. An American colonel, Ted Seel, was assigned as a military liaison.

On March 27, he was asked to call General Abizaid's office. The general wanted to know how many fighters Mr. Chalabi had and if he would be willing to deploy them, according to Colonel Seel.

Mr. Chalabi said he could field as many as 1,000, but Colonel Seel thought 700 was more accurate. The United States Air Force could fly them in to the Tallil Air Base just south of Nasiriya.

Eager to reassure the White House that he had an Iraqi ally, General Franks told Mr. Bush in a videoconference that Iraqi freedom fighters would be joining the American-led forces. Franklin C. Miller, the senior National Security Council deputy for defense issues, was taken aback by the plan. Unlike a small group of Iraq exiles recruited by the Pentagon and trained in Hungary, these fighters had not been screened or trained by the American military.

He approached Mr. Tenet, the director of central intelligence. Who are these freedom fighters? he asked, according to an official who was present. Mr. Tenet said he had no idea.

When the airlift finally started in early April, about 570 fighters were ready. As the C-17's were being loaded, Mr. Chalabi wanted to go as well. General Abizaid objected, arguing in an exchange with Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, that the military command should not be taking sides in future Iraqi politics by flying a potential Iraqi leader to southern Iraq, but Mr. Wolfowitz did not yield. He said Mr. Chalabi's fighters did not want to go without their leader, according to officials familiar with the exchange. When General Abizaid awoke the next day, Mr. Chalabi was at Tallil. His fighters would never play a meaningful role in the war. They arrived without their arms and were not well supervised by the United States Special Forces. But Mr. Chalabi, now the deputy prime minister of Iraq, proved to be undeterred. After arriving at Tallil, he drove to Nasiriya and delivered a rousing speech. It was the beginning of his political comeback.

Determined to spur his ground war commanders to renew the push toward Baghdad, General Franks flew to General McKiernan's headquarters in Kuwait on March 31, where he delivered some harsh criticism.

Only the British and the Special Operations forces had been fighting, he complained, according to participants in the meeting. General Franks said he doubted that the Third Infantry Division had had a serious tank engagement and warned of the embarrassment that would follow if they failed. The resistance around Karbala on the Army's route to Baghdad was minor, he said, and easily crushed. He expressed frustration that neither General McKiernan nor the Marines had forced the destruction of Iraq's 10th and Sixth Army Divisions, units the Marines and General McKiernan viewed as severely weakened by airstrikes, far from the invasion route and posing little threat.

One of the most critical moments of the meeting came when General Franks indicated he did not want to be slowed by overly cautious generals concerned about holding casualties to a minimum, though no one had raised the issue of casualties. To dramatize his point, according to one participant, General Franks put his hand to his mouth and made a yawning motion.

After the session, General McKiernan approached Maj. Gen. Albert Whitley, his top British deputy. "That conversation never happened," General McKiernan said, according to military officials who learned of the exchange. By April 2, American forces were closing in on the capital. Even before the war, Mr. Rumsfeld saw the deployment of United States forces more in terms of what was needed to win the war than to secure the peace.

With the tide in the United States' favor, he began to raise the issue of canceling the deployment of the First Cavalry Division — some 16,000 soldiers. General Franks eventually went along. Though the general insisted he was not pressured to agree, he later acknowledged that the defense secretary had put the issue on the table. "Don Rumsfeld did in fact make the decision to off-ramp the First Cavalry Division," General Franks said in an earlier interview with The New York Times.

General McKiernan, the senior United States general in Iraq at the time, was not happy about the decision but did not protest.

Three years later, with thousands of lives lost in the tumult of Iraq, senior officers say that canceling the division was a mistake, one that reduced the number of American forces just as the Fedayeen, former soldiers and Arab jihadists were beginning to organize in what would become an insurgency.

"The Baathist insurgency surprised us and we had not developed a comprehensive option for dealing with this possibility, one that would have included more military police, civil affairs units, interrogators, interpreters and Special Operations forces," said Gen. Jack Keane of the Army, who is now retired and served as the acting chief of staff during the summer of 2003.

"If we had planned for an insurgency, we probably would have deployed the First Cavalry Division and it would have assisted greatly with the initial occupation. "This was not just an intelligence community failure, but also our failure as senior military leaders."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 02:33 || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This reinforces the basic principle that war isn't a chess game - it isn't just about getting the other guy's king. It's about wiping out the other side's army, or at least killing enough of it that the remainder will submit. Rumsfeld (and his senior military commanders) may have gotten too carried away with the concept of effects-based operations. The most important effect - of the war-weariness and abject fear needed to cause submission - can only be imposed by killing large numbers of the enemy. And that was what the rush to Baghdad failed to do. We declared victory after bypassing the bitter-enders who are now hammering our forces. Bitter-enders should not be bypassed - they should be annihilated.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 3:21 Comments || Top||

#2  I think that the success in Afghanistan and the ease with which the Taliban's allies among the Pashtuns deserted them as soon as it became clear that the US wasn't going to massacre them also made some believe that the same model could be imported into Iraq.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 3:33 Comments || Top||

#3  DD: I think that the success in Afghanistan and the ease with which the Taliban's allies among the Pashtuns deserted them as soon as it became clear that the US wasn't going to massacre them also made some believe that the same model could be imported into Iraq.

We bombed the Taliban with B-52's and MOAB's for months. We went into Iraq after just days of bombing. My impression is that far fewer Iraqi forces were killed by bombing than Afghan forces. We bypassed large numbers of Iraqi units. We massacred Taliban units with Vietnam-style saturation raids on their positions. The Iraq campaign was a kinder, gentler version of Afghanistan, even though we had no troops on the ground - Afghan forces fixed the enemy, while our bombers made meat pies - for months.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 3:54 Comments || Top||

#4  fred,
now do you understand the reason for my lengthy post on the questionable viability of using 600,000 troops.This article is just a variation of the left's usual rant "that if the Bush Administration had done x,y, and z it would all have come out all so much better". This article is so trollish it hardly deserves a reply but what the heck lets just point out a few holes.
." Asked whether the fighting increased the chances of a longer war than forecast by some military planners, he responded, "It's beginning to look that way."
1)GEN.Wallace was WRONG-less than 3 weeks the government of Saddam was defeated.(History book stuff).
"had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear."
In making such statements to the press Wallace entered the political arena(calls of quagmire soon followed and IMHO Wallace should of been relieved of his duties for over stepping his bounds).
"More than a year earlier, he had ridiculed the initial war plan that called for at least 380,000 troops"
1)Rumsfield/Franks were right.
A)Saddam/decission makers did not consider the the actual invasion force a credible threat figuring that they would either await further reinforcement or maybe at most seize parts of southern Iraq from which the shiites would join the coalition(big part of why tht fedayeen were there)-(posted rantburg from records of Saddam meetings
B)Manuvuer warfare(more with less),surprise left iraqis bridges unblown,iraqi forces in ineffective position and etc.
And the biggest piece of BS from the article:
"If we had planned for an insurgency, we probably would have deployed the First Cavalry Division and it would have assisted greatly with the initial occupation. "This was not just an intelligence community failure, but also our failure as senior military leaders."
1) While the perfesser's reasonable musings on the effectiveness of 600,000 troops is very questionable, we are led to believe that 16,000 more would of totally made the difference.There's alot more but by why bother.
I'd liked to get the author and three of his closest friends in a locked room to deliver a lesson in firepower and mobility but alas AlterEgo is now a man of peace(sigh ,grumble,grumble).

Posted by: Chatch Snaiper4693 || 03/13/2006 4:39 Comments || Top||

#5  ZF,I tend to be very slow while composing my post(one big reason behind infrequent posting) or I would've replied to yours in my first posting(no posting when I started).
"Bitter-enders should not be bypassed - they should be annihilated"
1)The vast majority of fedayeen were Sunnis in "injun territory"(AE humor) so there exist a question on how many made it out alive.
2)The Very Big Point-You do not change stragetic objections without very compelling reasons.The fedayeen failed to meet this critereon.Why?
A)Their activities failed to result in a significant tactical effect( this is not to make lite of those they did kill).
B) If the heat had become to much they could've of just faded back into woodwork(which they did).
Posted by: Chatch Snaiper4693 || 03/13/2006 5:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Whoops,reply to ZF was me and 'objections' should of read 'goals';"You do not change stragetic goals without very compelling reasons"
Time to put me to bed.
Posted by: AlterEgo || 03/13/2006 5:10 Comments || Top||

#7  "Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper."
-- Robert E. Lee
Posted by: gromky || 03/13/2006 5:11 Comments || Top||

#8  He approached Mr. Tenet, the director of central intelligence. Who are these freedom fighters? he asked, according to an official who was present. Mr. Tenet said he had no idea.

Tenet was left in his position for what reason, exactly?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 5:25 Comments || Top||

#9  Final whoops #4 was also me if the length did not give you a clue.I think I saw this routine on Monty Phython,my apologies to fellow posters especially Chatch Snaiper4693.
Now for something different completely different,two donkeys mating -Cut to image of a red-faced Sadr.
Posted by: AlterEgo || 03/13/2006 5:33 Comments || Top||

#10  Is Tommy Franks running for the Senate from Florida?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/13/2006 8:28 Comments || Top||

#11  We bombed the Taliban with B-52's and MOAB's for months

For months? The Taliban regilme fell after less than a month after the first bomb fell.
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 8:41 Comments || Top||

#12  The fact that there were disagreements within the coalition command is hardly news as the NYT implies. Read The March Up by West and Smith, published in 2003. We did not have an agreed-on strategy for taking Baghdad; but we took it through guts and improvisation (see Thunder Run by Anthony Zucchini.)

Should we have dashed to Baghdad? One of the premises of the Franks strategy was that Saddam had control of WMD's and was willing to use them. The longer we stayed in the south the longer we were exposed to the threat of WMD attack. The dash to Baghdad was in a way a variation on the North Vietnamese grab-them-by-the-beltbuckle tactic: the assumption was that the closer we got to Baghdad the less likely it was that Saddam would use WMD's. And as it turned out, we also decapitated the Iraqi command and control structure. The fedayeen were a dangerous nuisance in comparison to the WMD threat.
Posted by: Matt || 03/13/2006 8:59 Comments || Top||

#13  "If we had planned for an insurgency, we probably would have deployed the First Cavalry Division and it would have assisted greatly with the initial occupation. "

So now a heavy armored division is an instrument for fighting an insurgency? News to me. One of the dirty secrets of guerilla war is that the guerillas aim for the army's firepower causing collateral damages so they get the support of the population. Even if your precision guide MOAB does not kill any civilian the owner of the flattened house will not be happy about it.
That is why fighting a guerilla is basically an M16 business not an MLRS business. And the First Cav is an MLRS unit.
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 8:59 Comments || Top||

#14  Most of this is refuted in General Franks" book. an excellant read.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/13/2006 9:37 Comments || Top||

#15  ruminations and recriminations, can we move on now?

These authors and their book is three years past interesting.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/13/2006 10:03 Comments || Top||

#16  I was thinking the same thing, Deacon. And the supposed "stall" of our troops on the march to Baghdad? Franks puts the MSM to death on that one. We had a BLINDING sandstorm for 2-3 days, where our troops on the ground couldn't literally see the humvee in front of them. Yet, somehow, the Navy and Air Force continued to pick off baddies using technology as these baddies were sneaking up on our convoys (and, which the convoy teams couldn't see until they were right up on them). Franks book was a good read to me, too.
Posted by: BA || 03/13/2006 10:10 Comments || Top||

#17  One can only suppose that 20/20 hindsight represents a powerful tool to those who are utterly bereft of vision.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 11:37 Comments || Top||

#18  DISCLAIMER: But remember that the Navy and the Air Force couldn't hold ground. ;-)

Matt kinda gets it. I'm willing to read this article, if only because it describes something that The March Up describes as well.

JFM, who's to say that the personnel of 1st Cav couldn't (have) be(en) put to counterinsurgency work by equipping them with small arms instead?
Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/13/2006 11:44 Comments || Top||

#19  JFM: For months? The Taliban regilme fell after less than a month after the first bomb fell.

The Taliban fell two months after American air raids began.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 11:52 Comments || Top||

#20  JFM: News to me. One of the dirty secrets of guerilla war is that the guerillas aim for the army's firepower causing collateral damages so they get the support of the population. Even if your precision guide MOAB does not kill any civilian the owner of the flattened house will not be happy about it.

At the time, the guerrillas were merely set up as light infantry. Everywhere the military chose to engage them, the firefights lasted days. Choosing to bypass them gave them the ability to melt back into the population and fight another day. The enemy wanted (and expected) Stalingrad - a massive force-on-force confrontation lasting for months, if not years. We bypassed them, and now have had a drawn-out series of skirmishes lasting roughly 3 years, at last count. It would have been better to fight them in place, wait for other bitter-enders to reinforce them, and kill more of them.

Again - if you're going for unconditional surrender rather than a mere punitive expedition, you have to kill the other guy's army. That doesn't mean command-and-control - it means a big chunk of the soldiers on the other side.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 12:02 Comments || Top||

#21  I think that the real question at hand was whether the staff analysis before the war missed an enemy center of gravity. A center of gravity is defined as "those characteristics, capabilities, or locations from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight." From the beginning of the war, the insurgency was able to generate more combat power (though not decisive combat power) than anyone had previously thought possible. One center of gravity was Hussein and his ruling clique, which maintained its apparatus of power in Baghdad. Tribalism and Islam constitute another center of gravity. I missed it. Almost everyone here missed it prior to the invasion, and from this article, one suspects that the planners from DoD, through CENTCOM, and and down to the tactical level missed it too.

Why is that important? Because if planners had recognized the second center or gravity during planning, they would have developed a different theater strategy, a different operational plan, and a different tactical plan. The MSM garbles this somewhat, but it is an important lesson learned as we look forward to a long hard slog in the Muslim world.
Posted by: 11A5S || 03/13/2006 12:41 Comments || Top||

#22  JFM, who's to say that the personnel of 1st Cav couldn't (have) be(en) put to counterinsurgency work by equipping them with small arms instead?

Didn't say they couldn't but then all the money and time you spent equipping them with M1s or MLRSs and traing the soldiers to use them is wasted. And soldiers who have spent years training on the use of M1s and maintaining the damned things in working order (tanks require a loooot of maintenance) aren't likely to be as good at infantry basic skills (eg marchs, camouflage, marksmanship with an M16) and tactics than people who have spent all that time training as infantry.
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 12:59 Comments || Top||

#23  JFM has a point about tank crews. But remember, most US "Armored" divisions have a mechanized unit attached to it that provides infantry support for just such occasions. Tanks are not much good in cities and almost all tank brigades have Infantry units to take care off all the little "crunchies" with anti-tank weapons. Combined arms is still something the US military uses all the time.
Posted by: mmurray821 || 03/13/2006 13:10 Comments || Top||

#24  Just to clarify: I wasn't comparing 1st CAv soldiers acting as infantry to Iraqui fedayeen or Republican guards but to Infantry. If the job is fighting fedayeeen a Marine Dicision is _much_ better than 1st Cav
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 13:10 Comments || Top||

#25  Oops, should have read "I wasn' comparing 1st Cav Soldiers in infantry roles to fedayeen but to American Infantry.
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 13:13 Comments || Top||

#26  #1, Zhang Fei, your comments remind of a quote from the 1986 movie "Zhaka Zulu". Zhaka gives us one of his ditums of warfare, "Never leave an enemy behind or it will rise again to fly at your throat".
Posted by: GK || 03/13/2006 13:49 Comments || Top||

#27  mmurray 821

You are mixing divisions and regiments (ideally an infantry regiment has nothing but infantry, a tank regiment has only tanks).

A division, at least a western division (1), is by definition a combined arms unit who can operate autonomosuly. It has its own artillery, its own enginer units for clearing obstacles and bridging rivers, its own infantry, its own supply units and, nowadays its own tanks. An armored division is not N thousand men on tanks but a division who has more tank regiments and less infantry regiments than usual. But notice that the infantry of a tank divison or of a heavy infantry division like 4th ID relies far more on vehicles and vehicle-based fire power than the one in lighter formation like airborne, marines or special forces. And that it spends less time doing infantry training than the people in light infantry formations.

(1) For propganda (making the Red Army look bigger) and political purposes (have more positions of general so more happy generals and less frustrated colonels) the Soviets called Divisons what was in fact just very large regiments. So a Soviet "division" was just one third the size of a German one, the equivalent of a German Division was Army Corps (both in size and its combined arms nature), the equivalent of a German Army Corps was an Army and the equivalent of an Army was called a Front. By the way if you rememeber the movie "We were soldiers" the Americans are confronted by a Vietnamese "division" but never get shelled: ie it was not a real division.
Posted by: JFM || 03/13/2006 15:11 Comments || Top||

#28  JFM: With all due respect, until the Rumsfield transformation, US brigades were organized with 2:1 mix of Armored and Mech Inf battalions. Armored and Infantry units were task organized down to the company level (task organized battalions were called "task forces" and task organized companies were called "teams.") Engineer, signal, and chemical units were typically t.o'ed down to the battalion level. An artillery battery and a logistics support battalion were t.o.'ed down to the brigade level.

Hope this helps.
Posted by: 11A5S || 03/13/2006 15:24 Comments || Top||

#29  "We trained hard … but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization."

Petronius Arbiter
Posted by: Visitor || 03/13/2006 15:31 Comments || Top||

#30  God I'm getting rusty. Two clarifications/corrections. 1. A peacetime brigade could have either two Inf Bns and one Armor or two AR and one IN. 2. It should be that an Artillery Battalion could be taked organized to the Brigade, not an arty battery.
Posted by: 11A5S || 03/13/2006 15:41 Comments || Top||

#31  JFM: With all due respect, until the Rumsfield transformation, US brigades were organized with 2:1 mix of Armored and Mech Inf battalions.

Because you don't really want to operate armor without infantry or infantry without armor. They're complementary.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 15:52 Comments || Top||

#32  Not being a general (or a ground troop) I can see the benefit of totally destroying a guerilla force that is dogging you LOC. I am Monday morning quarterbacking but I think that if we had decimated the first couple of Fedeyan forces rather than bypassing them it MIGHT have eliminated some future fights. By decimate I mean bombing, artillery, strafing, and then capturing/executing. It ends one enemy and sends a message to the rest that we wont simply bypass them and they are less likely to start a fight. By leaving them in place we may have embolden them to fight us after the fall of saddam, because they hadn’t (in their minds) been defeated. Just my 2 cents.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/13/2006 16:41 Comments || Top||

#33  It strikes me that the dash to Baghdad was a corps-sized version of King of the Hill - the idea being that if we get to the top of the hill, opposition will collapse. The Afghan campaign necessarily involved a 2-month bombing campaign that wiped out the Taliban because the Northern Alliance did not have the capabilities of several mechanized/airborne American divisions - they could not bypass Taliban units, given that the NA was mostly foot infantry armed with AK's, and the terrain was too rugged. And the destruction of the bulk of Taliban forces may be why post-war Afghanistan, which gave the Soviets so much trouble, has been a relative walk in the park compared to Iraq.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/13/2006 17:23 Comments || Top||

On Call in Hell
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 00:13 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Highly recommended.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/13/2006 0:42 Comments || Top||

Thanks Sea.
Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 1:18 Comments || Top||

#3  A true hero.

The enemy had no such doctors, and many many more casualties. Magnify the horror by 100, take away the morphine, and you get an idea what the enemy casualties were going through.
Posted by: gromky || 03/13/2006 1:59 Comments || Top||

#4  and you get an idea what the enemy casualties were going through

Maybe it's because I have an old, vacuum tube sympathy meter...but...nope...nothing.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 2:58 Comments || Top||

#5  I have an old, vacuum tube sympathy meter

I remember when Sympathy Meters had ferrite cores and they used to get hot enough to fry an egg on the top. blah, blah, blah
Posted by: phil_b || 03/13/2006 8:34 Comments || Top||

#6  I had trouble getting to sleep last night after reading this.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/13/2006 8:52 Comments || Top||

#7  I would love to see a movie about this kind of heroism. Hollywood sucks, except for Mel Gibson, so if any of you know Mel....
Posted by: wxjames || 03/13/2006 9:12 Comments || Top||

#8  Maybe it's because I have an old, vacuum tube sympathy meter...but...nope...nothing.

Don't think grom was asking for sympathy - more like imagery.

That imagery that really should be conveyed to the 'Oriental' mindset. Won't be absorbed by it presently, tho.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/13/2006 11:02 Comments || Top||

#9  I remember when Sympathy Meters had ferrite cores and they used to get hot enough to fry an egg on the top

Bah! The spring that fed my undershot Vitruvian waterwheel-powered sympathy meter dried up so long ago that the replacement gudgeon had barely broken in enough to ensure that the flayrods wouldn't go out of skew on the treadle ...
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 12:23 Comments || Top||

#10  waterwheel-powered sympathy meter

Lazy kids today. Why, I remember cranking my first sympathy meter by hand in the snow, and being thankful for it.
Posted by: Steve || 03/13/2006 13:00 Comments || Top||

#11  Don't think grom was asking for sympathy - more like imagery.

I know. Still, it was a great opportunity to test the meter. I thought maybe with such a strong image...but nope.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/13/2006 13:16 Comments || Top||

#12  Great read.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/13/2006 13:37 Comments || Top||

#13  LOL!
Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 13:40 Comments || Top||

#14  I remember cranking my first sympathy meter by hand in the snow

Uphill, both ways, and against the wind I'm sure.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 13:52 Comments || Top||

#15  I was wondering about my sympathy meter.
I checked the schematic it looks like R-15 is burnt out that is why the meter isn't reading. It wouldn't deflect much any how as the current is much too low to make the needle budge much anyway.
Looks as if I am not a sociopath any way.
Posted by: SPoD || 03/13/2006 14:28 Comments || Top||

#16  Jeepers, what a heroic story! I'm totally awestruck. I can only hope the full story of the 2nd battle of Fallujah becomes widely known so we can honor the people who served there.

As for the sympathy meters, it's a digital world now, you sorry-ass old farts! Get yourselves one of those new meters on a chip powered by a watch battery. They can register nano-scale sympathy events which makes them so useful in dealing with Paleostinean current affairs.
Posted by: SteveS || 03/13/2006 14:55 Comments || Top||

#17  But....even with the nano-scale digital babies, I barely get a blip when I think about "Palestine".

But the ol' disgust-o-meter works just fine for them. Go figure.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/13/2006 15:13 Comments || Top||

#18  you sorry-ass old farts!

That's Mister sorry-ass old fart, to you!
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 16:05 Comments || Top||

#19  As for the sympathy meters, it's a digital world now, you sorry-ass old farts! Get yourselves one of those new meters on a chip powered by a watch battery. They can register nano-scale sympathy events which makes them so useful in dealing with Paleostinean current affairs.

I'll get a digital sympathy meter as soon as I get three good reasons to develop some sympathy for splodeydopes. That should be sometime after the second freezing of He$$.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/13/2006 16:08 Comments || Top||

FOB McHenry has Sniff Support
With a modified ballistic vest, a Screaming Eagle combat patch and a Combat Action Badge...

Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

Iraqi Prime Minister to Keep Nomination
A leader in the Islamic Dawah Party, headed by current Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, has affirmed that that Al-Jaafari is adamant on keeping his nomination to the post of head of the new government. He said that the Unified Iraqi Coalition led by Abdulaziz al-Hakim, is "insisting on keeping its candidate for this position." An independent prominent member of the Coalition told Asharq al-Awsat yesterday that he heard Al-Jaafari say he "believes that this nomination is legitimate and that God and the people have chosen him for this position."
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336072 views] Top|| File under:

Guilty Saddam would hang quickly: prosecutor
The Iraqi High Tribunal's chief prosecutor says Saddam Hussein will hang immediately if he is found guilty on charges relating to deaths of 148 Shiites. The trial of Saddam and seven others for the deaths in the town of Dujail has resumed today. Jaafar Mussawi says no further trials will be held if Saddam is found guilty.
Good idea. Stretch his neck and be done with it.
"If the court passes a death sentence on any of the defendants in the Dujail case, the law is clear, the sentence must be carried out within 30 days following the appeal," Mr Mussawi said. "As for other cases [in which they have been charged], the court will only judge living defendants as those executed cannot be tried."

Saddam and others have also been charged in connection with other crimes, including the use of poison gas during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq against Iraqi Kurds in Halabja, and the crushing of a Shiite revolt in the south of the country following the 1991 Gulf War.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  the court will only judge living defendants as those executed cannot be tried in a worldly court

judge judy knows best.
Posted by: RD || 03/13/2006 1:22 Comments || Top||

#2  I think future generations will look back with amusement over these "trials" and think of them as an strange aspect of our culture. Like we think of duels today. It's not like we don't know he is guilty. Why the circus?
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 11:16 Comments || Top||

#3  Guilty Saddam would hang quickly: prosecutor

Someone musta spotted Slobo's obit.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 14:01 Comments || Top||

#4  Can we hang him slowly instead? Having him standing, then pull the rope taught. Then a little more so he can stand on tiptoes or strangle. Leave it that way for an hour or so. Then a little more...
Posted by: Jackal || 03/13/2006 20:36 Comments || Top||

#5  Comes the dawn of Execution day,
Tighten the noose so it only lightly touches his neck,
Stand him on a big block of ice,
Watch the ice slowly melt.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/13/2006 21:29 Comments || Top||

Saddam's trial adjourned
The trial of the deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and seven former aides has been adjourned. Three of Saddam's codefendants were brought into the dock separately to give their testimony under questioning from the chief judge. Saddam was not asked to appear. The trial is due to resume tomorrow.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

Hamas denies Abbas-Haniya rift over political program
Hamas has dismissed reports that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was rejecting the political program of the next Palestinian government as "Zionist disinformation."

"First of all, the Prime-Minister designate Ismael Haniya has not presented any program to Abu Mazen," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. Abu Mazen is Abbas's nom de guerre on Saturday evening. Abu Zuhri accused certain elements within the PA of seeking to create tension between Hamas and Fatah.

Earlier, a western news agency quoted an unnamed PA official as saying that Abbas had rejected the political program of the new Hamas-led government as impractical. The report was also denied by a number of Hamas MPs and not confirmed by the PA itself.

Meanwhile, Hamas has warned "elements within Fatah" against " placing sticks in our works."
Guess they ran out of wrenches.

Hamas MP Nayef Rajoub said he knew of "certain people" who constantly pray for our failure. Rajoub, who was speaking during a political meeting in Dura in the southern West Bank Saturday, said Hamas wouldn't deviate from its ideological constants under any circumstances.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/13/2006 00:54 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

Netanyahu snubs Kadima coalition
Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel's right-wing Likud party, has ruled out joining Ehud Olmert, the interim prime minister, in a future government. The statement on Sunday has increased speculation that Olmert's centrist Kadima party, expected to win elections on 28 March, would team up with centre-left Labour for a coalition robust enough to leave occupied land despite Jewish ultranationalist opposition.

Netanyahu resigned from the cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the prime minister who remains in a coma in hospital, in protest at the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last year. Netanyahu called the withdrawal a capitulation to Palestinian violence. Olmert, who assumed prime ministerial powers after Sharon had a stroke on 4 January, has promised similar moves in the West Bank should peace talks remain stalled.
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hooray!! Hold your ground Ben, We all know the big chair is yours to cull, grab destiny by the horns and usher us into the next phase!!
Posted by: smn || 03/13/2006 2:30 Comments || Top||

#2  Perhaps horns is not a good word.
Posted by: Perfesser || 03/13/2006 12:57 Comments || Top||

Hamas to hold final round of talks on gov't formation
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

Southeast Asia
Australian boats to flush out J.I camps in Mindanao
AUSTRALIA will supply up to 30 small river-boats to The Philippines to help track Jemaah Islamiah terrorists hiding in jungle camps on the southern island of Mindanao. Philippines Defence Secretary Avelino Cruz told the Foreign Correspondents Association in Manila that the boats would help Filipino troops "get to the terrorists who may have bunkers in these marshlands".

The concept of providing small rivercraft to help The Philippines armed forces patrol the waterways of southern Mindanao was first canvassed by former defence minister Robert Hill during a visit there last year.

Australia and The Philippines have stepped up bilateral counter-terrorism co-operation over the past two years, with Canberra spending more than $10million a year on military training and equipment. The biggest concern remains the movement of JI fighters from Indonesia to training camps in the southern Philippines run by Muslim separatists including the Abu Sayyaf group.

Mr Cruz said intelligence reports indicated that up to 30 JI militants "come back and forth" to Mindanao for terror training. Among the terrorists believed to be hiding in Mindanao are two JI militants, Dulmatin and Omar Patek, identified as key suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Canberra's focus has been on improving surveillance of The Philippines borders and waterways in southern riverine and marshland areas of Mindanao. Australia also trains Philippines police and special forces. Mr Cruz said Australia would train Filipino troops for the riverine operation. He said the Government did not judge the JI threat as serious "at this point".

The Philippines and Australia were moving closer to finalising a status of forces agreement that would allow Australian troops to conduct joint military training in the country, he said.
Posted by: Oztralian || 03/13/2006 16:32 || Comments || Link || [336075 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hope the ozzies plan on giving them gas for the boats or they will sit in Zambo and Gen San as static displays!
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/13/2006 19:17 Comments || Top||

RP, KL, RI discuss possible anti-terrorist sea lanes
The Philippines is talking with Indonesia and Malaysia about establishing secure sea lanes connecting the three Southeast Asian nations to make it easier to spot al-Qaida-linked militants, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz said Monday.

Indonesia and Malaysia have welcomed the idea and the Philippines will submit, in a few months, details of the proposed sea lanes, where human and cargo traffic would be required to pass to prevent rigid inspection by security patrols, Cruz said.

The ambitious proposal, which would compliment a plan by the three countries to conduct yearlong joint patrols along their sea borders, reflect growing concern over reports of covert movement by Indonesian recruits of al-Qaida's regional ally Jemaah Islamiyah to jungle terror training camps in the southern Philippines, sometimes through Malaysia.

Weapons and bomb materials also have been smuggled across the region.

The proposed sea lanes could be monitored by radar along existing commercial routes, Cruz told reporters.

"If you have sea lanes and you have continuous patrol, we could pick out those who would not pass along there for boarding and inspection," Cruz said.

The proposal is a challenge for the impoverished Philippines, which has acknowledged problems guarding its vast porous coastlines in the volatile southern Mindanao region because of the weak navy and coast guard. It could also face opposition from the large numbers of fishermen between the Philippines and itstwo neighbors.

Philippine security officials say Jemaah Islamiyah, working with Filipino Muslim militants, set up terror training camps for Indonesian recruits in Mindanao starting in the late 1990s. U.S.security officials also have expressed concern over the camps, saying they could produce terrorists that could strike anywhere in the world.

Jemaah Islamiyah has launched several terrorist attacks across Indonesia, including on the resort island of Bali.

The Philippine military says it has captured and shut down all of Jemaah Islamiyah's camps in Mindanao's mountainous heartland, and was hunting about 30 Indonesian militants. Security officials,however, said the militants could re-establish camps elsewhere in Mindanao.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/13/2006 02:41 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

Rice to meet with Indonesian leaders
US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice, scheduled to arrive in Jakarta this evening, is expected focus on political issues, particularly the war on terrorism, during talks with Indonesian leaders.

Rice begins her schedule on Tuesday, when she will meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and top ministers for talks that will also centre on building democracy and regional security, according to Indonesian officials.

Indonesia is considered a close ally of the US in anti-terrorism efforts in the Southeast Asian region.

Last week Rice said Washington also sought Jakarta's help in breaking the political impasse in the Middle East, following the radical Muslim militant group Hamas' upset victory in Palestinian elections.

Bilateral ties, which have been strained in the past over the situation in East Timor, improved after the massive US aid effort to survivors of the December 2004 tsunami, which left some 168,000 Indonesians dead or missing in the western province of Aceh.

Washington signalled it wants closer relations with Indonesia last November when it eased a six-year-old embargo on military sales to the world's most populous Muslim nation. The embargo had been imposed because of human rights abuses by the Indonesian military.

The US was Indonesia's largest supplier of military equipment and weapons before the ban.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said on Monday that the two sides will also look to strengthen business and political ties. Rice is also scheduled to visit an Islamic school in Jakarta and she might hold talks with religious leaders in the country, he added.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Indonesian armed forces, Air Marshal Joko Suyanto, said Rice's visit to the country would be used to boost military cooperation between the two countries, including discussing the US's International Military Education and Training programme for the Indonesian officers.

Government officials said Indonesia may raise the case of Hambali, an Islamic militant preacher believed to be a senior leader of al-Qaeda-linked regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, accused of masterminding the October 2002 bombings on Bali which killed at least 202 people, mostly foreign visitors.

Indonesia has repeatedly requested permission to question Hambali, who has been held by US authorities since 2003, and called on Washington to deport him to Indonesia to stand trial on terrorist charges.

Rice's visit to Indonesia is part of her tour of several countries, including Chile and Australia. In early January the top US diplomat cancelled a planned trip to Indonesia and Australian due to the illness of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 01:29 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

Iran faces petrol dilemma
Iran's conservative government, which draws its support from the poor who regard cheap petrol as a right, proposed spending $4 billion on petrol imports in the budget for the 12 months to 20 March 2007. However, parliament cut this to $2.5 billion, leaving the government with a tough choice.

Davoud Danesh-Jafari said: "This means we will only have imported gasoline for six months. "Making policy for the six months after that, we should either sell [imported] gasoline at its real price or ration it from the very beginning [March]."

Iran holds the world's second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia but lacks the refining capacity to meet its own petrol demand, importing more than 40% of its colossal 60 to 70 million litres-per-day of consumption.
Gee, that sounds like a weak spot to me. Be a shame if a few refineries accidentally caught fire.
Asian and European traders watch Iran closely for any suggestion of fluctuations in demand. Petrol sells in Iran for less than nine cents a litre. Its wasteful usage contributes to heavy congestion and the dense pollution which chokes Iran's biggest cities. Tackling the petrol problem is politically unpalatable. Previous petrol price rises have spurred instant knock-on inflation in basic goods.

Many Iranian officials say Iran's dependence on imported petrol threatens national security.
Heh heh heh
But diplomats and political analysts have said the West would probably shy away from slapping sanctions on petrol sales to Iran because that could spark political volatility. Iran has been reported to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions after failing to convince the world its nuclear scientists are working exclusively on power stations rather than branching into weapons.

Iran has ambitious plans to upgrade refineries over the next five years and lift daily petrol output to 120 million litres a day. Iran imports petrol from several parts of the world, including China, India and Brazil, according to Iran Daily.
Those are long supply lines, over submarine infested waters
Posted by: Steve || 03/13/2006 13:02 || Comments || Link || [336089 views] Top|| File under:

#1  But diplomats and political analysts have said the West would probably shy away from slapping sanctions on petrol sales to Iran because that could spark political volatility.

So you have a way to deal with the M²s and you refuse to consider it? This attitute makes the word "enabling" seem tame. The M²s are painting themselves into a corner. They have created an artificial demand based upon subsidized ---really subsidized---energy. They have huge ambitions for being a nuclear power, etc etc. In short they are spending their cash flows on their own dreams and not on the needs of the people. There is a great opportunity here to topple these madmen without a big military operation. At least, I hope that it is being considered. 9 cents a litre is equal to 34.1 cents/ US gallon. There is one big achilles heel to wack.
Posted by: Alaska Paul back home again || 03/13/2006 13:45 Comments || Top||

#2  So you have a way to deal with the M²s and you refuse to consider it? This attitute makes the word "enabling" seem tame.

Makes the idiocy of "soft power" apparent, doesn't it?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/13/2006 13:52 Comments || Top||

#3  Makes the idiocy of "soft power" apparent, doesn't it?

If, by "apparent" you mean a neon day-glo, UV, phosphoescent, million candle power BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious), I'd have to agree with you. In the very near future, I expect to see "soft power" listed in the Thesaurus as a synonym for "wanking".
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 15:17 Comments || Top||

#4  Rule #1, don't ever tell your enemy something they are doing is stupid and doesn't work, or give them helpful and friendly advice, or incentive, on how to fix it.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 15:25 Comments || Top||

#5  Six months? They believe the world will end before then.
Posted by: Jake-the-Peg || 03/13/2006 15:37 Comments || Top||

#6  Ninety percent of their imports have to go through those same Straits of Hormuz they 'intend' to block. These folks are about as stable as a snowball in the Sahara in the summertime. We, of course, can help their self-destruction by smashing a couple of pipeline complexes while we're taking out their nuke infrastructure, and watch the fun. BTW, two can play that game of blockade, and we have tons of experience. I also hope this time we also have the cojones to take out a few "friendly" ships that want to break that blockade, regardless of country of origin.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/13/2006 16:17 Comments || Top||

#7  There is no need to do anything at the straits of Hormuz. The US can track merchant ships anywhere and intercept them anywhere. A pro-forma declared blockade, with a few destroyers in the general area, will deter pretty much everyone. If any vessels try they can be intercepted at sea in the Indian ocean or in the Persian gulf and seized, or just ordered to other ports. If any petrol tankers sneak through they can be sunk in harbor or at the terminal, but that shouldn't really be necessary.

Escalation would involve bombing internal pipelines while avoiding any permanent serious damage to infrastructure. That will stop production without burning any bridges.

Political volatility may not describe the problem. A possible reason is that a gasoline/diesel blockade will be blamed on the US and may spark a "rally round the flag" effect.

This will die away after a while when the population faces true hardship, but then there will be a negative propaganda impact of that hardship. You may recall how the Serbs and Saddam Hussein exploited these things.
Posted by: buwaya || 03/13/2006 18:11 Comments || Top||

#8  They're building an A bomb, but can't/will not build a refinery?
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 19:39 Comments || Top||

#9  They're building an A bomb, but can't/will not build a refinery?

They're using the North Korean economic model.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 19:56 Comments || Top||

#10  Actually, nothing a few calls to the insurance companies won't fix.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/13/2006 20:16 Comments || Top||

#11  I'm no naval strategist but if Iran closes the Straits of Hormuz won't the gas have trouble getting to them?
Posted by: JAB || 03/13/2006 21:13 Comments || Top||

#12  ...if Iran closes the Straits of Hormuz won't the gas have trouble getting to them?

A rather crucial point, methinks. Of course, if they run short, we could always airlift some in. Careful with that stuff, guys! Its really flammable...Oops!
Posted by: SteveS || 03/13/2006 22:02 Comments || Top||

#13  Steve S, I hear there is a way to make a jelly out of the gasoline so it is safer to deliver by air. Maybe we would have to try that.
Posted by: JAB || 03/13/2006 22:52 Comments || Top||

US campaign aimed at Iranian leadership
As the dispute over its nuclear program arrives at the U.N. Security Council today, Iran has vaulted to the front of the U.S. national security agenda amid Bush administration plans for a sustained campaign against the ayatollahs of Tehran.

President Bush and his team have been huddling in closed-door meetings on Iran, summoning scholars for advice, investing in opposition activities, creating an Iran office in Washington and opening listening posts abroad dedicated to the efforts against Tehran.

The internal administration debate that raged in the first term between those who advocated more engagement with Iran and those who preferred more confrontation appears in the second term to be largely settled in favor of the latter. Although administration officials do not use the term "regime change" in public, that in effect is the goal they outline as they aim to build resistance to the theocracy.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Senate testimony last week. "We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime."

In private meetings, Bush and his advisers have been more explicit. Members of the Hoover Institution's board of overseers who met with Bush, Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley two weeks ago emerged with the impression that the administration has shifted to a more robust policy aimed at the Iranian government.

"The message that we received is that they are in favor of separating the Iranian people from the regime," said Esmail Amid-Hozour, an Iranian American businessman who serves on the Hoover board.

"The upper hand is with those who are pushing regime change rather than those who are advocating more diplomacy," said Richard N. Haass, who as State Department policy planning director in Bush's first term was among those pushing for engagement.

But as the administration gears up, the struggle with Iran remains shadowed by Iraq. The botched intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons has left a credibility challenge in convincing the public and the world that the administration is right this time about Iran. After alienating European allies in the rush to war in Iraq, the administration is following a slower, multilateral approach. And with U.S. forces stretched, analysts wonder how feasible a military option would be if it came to that.

The focus on Iran inside the administration lately has been striking. Bush, according to aides, has been spending more time on the issue, and advisers have invited 30 to 40 specialists for consultations in recent months.

In the past week, the State Department created an Iran desk. Last year, only two people in the department worked full time on Iran; now there will be 10. The department is launching more training in the Farsi language and is planning an Iranian career track, which has been difficult without an embassy there.

Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns said in an interview that the department will also add staff in Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, as well as at other embassies in the vicinity of Iran, all assigned to watch Tehran. He called the new Dubai outpost the "21st century equivalent" of the Riga station in Latvia that monitored the Soviet Union in the 1930s when the United States had no embassy in Moscow.

The administration also has launched a $75 million program to advance democracy in Iran by expanding broadcasting into the country, funding nongovernmental organizations and promoting cultural exchanges. Voice of America broadcasts one hour a day into Iran; by April, that will grow to four hours a day, and the administration plans to go to 24 hours a day. But the administration suffered a setback last week when lawmakers slashed $19 million, mainly from broadcast operations.

The administration got to this point after a year of deliberately staying on the sidelines. After the United States took the lead on Iraq, the British told Bush administration officials that Washington should let the Europeans go first on dealing with Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

During her first trip to Europe as secretary of state, in February 2005, Rice was surprised that most questions from European officials concerned Iran, not Iraq, and was sobered by the realization that they viewed Washington as the problem, not Tehran.

When Bush went to Europe a few weeks later, French President Jacques Chirac and then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany pushed him to support a British-French-German diplomatic effort dubbed the EU-3. Bush agreed, and Rice announced the decision a year ago last weekend. With the Europeans in the lead, it became easier to persuade Russia and China as well to take a tougher line with Iran.

"We have taken the position from the get-go that we believed it was important to work with as many countries as possible," Burns said. "We wanted to have the entire international community on our side in order to pressure Iran."

The biggest help bringing the international community together, though, came from Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved so incendiary -- in dismissing the Holocaust and talking about wiping Israel off the map -- that the prospect of a negotiated solution faded. The statements underscored the danger posed by Tehran and, according to Burns, led Rice "to say we need to fire on all pistons on Iran." Ultimately, the Europeans, Russia and China agreed to send Iran to the Security Council.

Bush decided to push more overtly for a democratic Iran. "Tonight," he said in his State of the Union address on Jan. 31, "let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."

Now that the nuclear issue is at the Security Council, the U.S. strategy is to escalate gradually rather than force an immediate climax. The first step would be a statement by the council president declaring Iran in violation of nuclear treaty obligations and demanding it suspend uranium enrichment. If that fails, the council could be asked to impose economic sanctions or pass a resolution allowing military force to enforce compliance. Russia and China, which have veto power, seem unlikely to support either move.

"There's a clear desire to have a broad coalition," a senior U.S. official said. "The question is, how do you get any action out of it?"

Some analysts believe this year will lead to a decision point for Bush whether to use a military option. For now, Bush and his aides say all options are on the table, but as a practical matter no armed strike is likely until diplomacy has been exhausted.

Many military specialists doubt a strike would be effective because Iran's nuclear facilities are scattered in dozens of locations, and would require hundreds of sorties first to disrupt Iranian air defenses. Such an attack, they say, could inflame the Muslim world and alienate reformers within Iran.

Haass, now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Washington should instead try direct negotiations with Tehran: "The United States ought to make a major diplomatic push in part because it might succeed, in part because none of the other options are attractive and in part because if you're going to escalate you want to demonstrate that you tried." The current policy, he said, "looks to me more like a hope than a strategy."

Some Republicans, though, say a military attack may be required if only to set back Iran's nuclear program a few years.

"Every year that we wait, the risk increases," said former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. "I would hope that the administration would decide to do something decisive. . . . We have the military power in the region if we need it. It's a question of whether we have the will."

Such a decision could prompt deep skepticism after the Iraq intelligence failure. "As far as Congress, they're certainly going to do their homework more this time and demand more from the intelligence community before they go along with this," said a Senate Republican leadership aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The way things are going now, the aide said, "It's hard to see this getting resolved under the Bush administration."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 03:00 || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Senate testimony last week.

At least they have their priorities straight. To he|| with "regime change", we need "mullah mulching".
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 12:07 Comments || Top||

UK urges Europe to push for democracy in Iran
Britain will call on Monday for an expansion of global broadcasting in Iran and more material in Farsi published on the Internet in an effort to support Iranians' aspirations for greater freedom. At a time when Iran is locked in a dispute with the international community over its nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Jack Straw will say in a speech, extracts of which were obtained by Reuters, that the Islamic state is heading in the wrong direction.

He will urge world organisations to boost the information flow to Iranians who may have little access to outside news.

"Iran is going in the wrong direction, chances are being squandered, Iran and the Iranian people deserve better," Straw will say in a major speech which could be interpreted by some as an attempt to interfere in Iran's domestic affairs.

"We in European countries need to communicate better with the Iranian people," he will say.

His speech, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, will come a month after the United States outlined plans to expand television broadcasts to Iran and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress for $75 million (43 million pounds) to help open up its tightly controlled society.

While cautioning that Britain has no interest in taking part in internal debates, Straw will say Europe should not look the other way when Iran fails to embrace human rights.

"We should not stop standing up for principles for human rights and fundamental freedoms which we hold dear to ourselves and which so many Iranians aspire to," he will say.

He will draw attention to cases where Iranian authorities have cracked down on the media and will call on European colleagues to talk more to Iranian journalists.

"I encourage international organisations and non-governmental organisations to make reports on Iranian affairs available in Farsi on the Internet."

"And we need to think about whether there is more we can do to ensure reliable and trusted news services are able to broadcast in Farsi to the Iranians."

Straw will avoid targeting the current Iranian government alone by saying that Iranians have struggled for a century to secure the freedoms many western countries enjoy.

Tensions between Iran and Britain are running high.

Britain, along with the United States and many other countries, suspects Iran wants to develop nuclear technology to build a bomb, a charge the Islamic state denies.

The issue is now with the United Nations Security Council which could eventually introduce sanctions against Iran.

Britain, along with most of the world, has voiced shock at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

"Reaction and repression at home is matched by confrontation abroad," Straw will say, noting that Iran is alone in opposing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Having the nuclear issue in the UN Security Council marks a new phase in diplomatic efforts, not an end of diplomacy, Straw will say, adding that the West does not want to stop Iran generating nuclear power.

It is up to Iran to build confidence by resuming a suspension of sensitive nuclear work and cooperating with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, Straw will say.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 02:56 || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

#1  come on Iran, pretty please with sugar on top, and a cherry, please play our word games. We promise you can come to our lunches and keep building bombs... please, please play along.
Posted by: 2b || 03/13/2006 11:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Europe should not look the other way when Iran fails to embrace human rights.

Why stop now? They've been doing a splendid job of head-turning to date.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 16:22 Comments || Top||

#3  How about some democracy in UK?
British Press Shuts Out Mark Steyn
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/13/2006 19:44 Comments || Top||

Iran urging Islamic Jihad to attack Israel
Iran continues to urge Islamic Jihad to carry out terror attacks against Israel ahead of the Knesset elections, Israeli intelligence sources say. According to the sources, the Iranian pressure on Islamic Jihad comes despite Tehran's declared support for Hamas and the fact that senior Hamas officials were invited to Tehran to celebrate the organization's victory in the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Islamic Jihad tactic would be designed, inter alia, "to pose a challenge to Hamas," a senior source in the General Staff said to Haaretz. According to the source, the Jihad terror group seeks to confront Hamas with a dilemma - "whether to uphold the policy of calm toward Israel, as it has done until now."

Troops along the northern border were on unusually high alert status Monday, amid fears that the pro-Iranian Hezbollah organization might attempt to kidnap a soldier.

IDF officials believe that Iran and the terror groups identified with it are trying "to turn a tactical terror attack into a strategic one" - in other words, to initiate a series of relatively harsh attacks whose effect would be compounded due to the sensitive political timing of the action. The officials say that Israel must be very cautious when it comes to responding with force, and must avoid being caught up by provocations designed to spark off an inferno in the region.

An escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves Iranian interests in a number of ways: It redirects some of the international attention currently focused on the fight against Tehran's nuclear program, and it stokes terror and violence against Israel in a manner that gives the Iranians more sway over Palestinian elements.

While Islamic Jihad terror is an ongoing phenomenon, General Staff officials have identified a worrying trend among the independent Fatah groups - primarily in the West Bank - that have openly returned to terror since the movement's defeat in the elections. The fact that the Palestinian Authority is finding it hard to support these cells financially is pushing them into the arms of Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. This trend is likely to intensify following the formation of the Hamas government: At present, the PA has some 75,000 individuals on its payroll. Hamas is likely to want to get rid of some of them, both in order to save money and to be able to pay its people.

IDF troops on the northern border, meanwhile, are on high alert in fear of another Hezbollah attempt to abduct a soldier or civilian. An attempt in November in the village of Ghajar was foiled, and four Hezbollah activists were killed in a clash with Israeli soldiers. Last week, Hezbollah's secretary general, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, again hinted at such a possibility. He promised "to use all ways and means" to secure the release of Lebanese citizens imprisoned in Israel.

The Iranian interest, coupled with the developments in the internal Lebanese arena (the renewed U.S. pressure on Syria vis-a-vis the assassination of Rafik Hariri), could prompt Hezbollah to carry out a serious operation.

The IDF published its announcement on the heightened state of alert, apparently, as a deterrent against Hezbollah. Israel has adopted a similar tactic in the past on a number of occasions, but the effectiveness of such a move is doubtful: On November 20, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz issued a warning regarding plans by Hezbollah; the next day, however, the organization took action in Ghajar, despite knowing about the heightened state of alert.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/13/2006 02:53 || Comments || Link || [336092 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Israeli intelligence sources say...According to the sources... a senior source in the General Staff said...According to the source...amid fears...might attempt...IDF officials believe...The officials say...General Staff officials...is likely to...is likely to want... in fear of...again hinted at such a possibility...could prompt...apparently..."

As an excercise, use this template to write your own story. Just fill in the blanks and you too can become a journalist. Feel free to jazz it up with phrases like; "diplomats said", "as reported", and "on condition of anonymity"
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/13/2006 9:01 Comments || Top||

#2  LOL - perfect, DepotGuy. Forward to Columbia and the other so-called J-schools.
Posted by: Slenter Glonter4893 || 03/13/2006 9:09 Comments || Top||

#3  The officials say that Israel must be very cautious when it comes to responding with force, and must avoid being caught up by provocations designed to spark off an inferno in the region.

Fer criminey's sake, the Israeli generals must have leash burns on their necks from the restraint they undergo. "[A]n inferno in the region", would largely amount to some carpet bombing of Gaza and a little @ss kicking around the edges of Israel's borders should anyone desire a reprise of 1967. How Israel manages to refrain from simply exterminating the Palestinians is beyond me.

As to Iran's proxy meddling, one can only hope that the clock is ticking down on their payback. The mullahs are swollen bloodticks in dire need of a pinprick.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 11:29 Comments || Top||

#4  Hag Purim! May the Hamans of 2006 C.E. be defeated as throughly as the Hamans of 300 B.C.E.
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 03/13/2006 17:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Iran once more, in and by itself, justifies the UNO/UNSC taking unilater military action against Iran in defense of another UNO member-state. Iran's Mullahs want Nukes and future Empire, or its death to everybody, includ their own people.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 23:09 Comments || Top||

Iranian parliment: Central Bank to fund moving garrisons from Tehran
[The] Majlis [Iranian Parliament] on Saturday assigned Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to provide the government with facilities [funds] to relocate garrisons and industrial sites affiliated to Ministry of Defense and Logistics of the Armed Forces away from large cities, particularly Tehran. The decision was made during a debate on the draft budget bill for the next fiscal year, 1385 (to begin from March 21, 2006) according to which CBI was obliged to provide the Armed Forces with 1,000 billion rials facility annually to enable them to relocate garrisons outside the large cities.
Excellent idea, move the targets out of the cities to unpopulated areas.

In the meantime, Majlis approved 400 million dollars for Ministry of Health and Medical Education from Foreign Currency Reserve Fund to renovate medical hardware of hospitals and laboratories. Majlis also authorized the government to take 40 million dollars from the Foreign Currency Reserve Fund and be put at the disposal of Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to be spent on feasibility study and implementing the project of 2,000 hospital beds in the cities already clarified.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/13/2006 00:46 || Comments || Link || [336080 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think they don't want the military to be exposed to the civilian population, much more to the point as a reason.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/13/2006 12:59 Comments || Top||

#2  MOVING TO THE DA' HILLS, ARE WE - REGIMECHANGE IRAN and other blogs have articles alleging that Iran is steadily mobilizing for war, and had already begun the redeployment and disguise of large forces to that effect. Govt./Army-controlled paramilitary armed units + remaining regular army-police units will the ones to handle the urban populations. "People's War" + Geopol "brinkmanship" + America's own MSM, etc will do the rest against Dubya.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 23:53 Comments || Top||

Iran says will no longer consider Russian enrichment proposal
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Iran > "Nukes and Empire, or its Death to Everybody".
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 0:14 Comments || Top||

#2  "...Iran had no intention to use oil as a weapon..."

Nice try, however that strategy can be nixxed, for as soon as the first shots are fired, the US will surprise the Iranians by forcebly shutting down the strait to up the ante with on the fence world sitters! IE, the oil won't help anybody, not just the Great Satan.
Posted by: smn || 03/13/2006 2:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Iranian statements long ago devolved into mainly boring tedium, with an occasional howler to serve as comic relief in the inexorable march toward regime suicide.

This one is part of the boring tedium.
Posted by: Fluger Flash1043 || 03/13/2006 6:28 Comments || Top||

#4  Anyone else get the picture of Ahmadinejad furiously painting himself into a corner?
Posted by: Zenster || 03/13/2006 11:40 Comments || Top||

#5  Your analogy, Zenster is apropos. The Iranians are trying to out NORK the NORKS. This whole thing is coming down to a big high noon showdown.
Posted by: Alaska Paul back home again || 03/13/2006 13:27 Comments || Top||

Russian nuclear proposal still negotiable: Iran
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday said a Russian compromise proposal on its nuclear programme can still be negotiated, after earlier saying the plan was now off the agenda. "As for the Russian proposal, if it considers Iran's right to conduct nuclear research on its soil, it can be a topic of negotiation, because the right to conduct research in Iran is the Islamic republic's right that we neither want to give up nor will do," Hamid Reza Asefi said on state television.
Just trying to play out the clock...
Posted by: Fred || 03/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ditto for SADDAM wid his court antics.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/13/2006 0:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Sheesh. Yes..No..No..Yes. This whole affair will go down in the record books as the World's Longest Diplomatic Handjob.
Posted by: SteveS || 03/13/2006 21:53 Comments || Top||

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