Friday, September 29, 2006

Woodward: War In Iraq a White House Secret

Smarter folks than me noted years ago the amazing coincidence between a new Simon & Schuster book release, and a 60 Minutes interview. Both companies being owned by Viacom.

Now it's Bob Woodward's turn. And get this: Did you know there's a war in Iraq?

Of course not--because Bush kept it secret!
According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "It’s getting to the point now where there are eight-, nine-hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.

The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now there’s public, and then there’s private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

"The insurgents know what they are doing. They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn't know? The American public," Woodward tells Wallace.
I know a fine guy named Raymond. Sergeant in the 8th Army Air Force. Radio operator on a Liberator. Flew 50 missions, four battle stars, DFC and lesser honors.

Every time he got over Germany, he got shot at. Guaranteed. Every time.

But--it wasn't a factor in the operation of the war, so long as enough of them came back.

That's where Woodward and Wallace, and really all CBSNews, goes off the rails. Bush has never withheld casualty figures--he has never disguised how effective enemy attacks are.

The news that there is a lot more ineffective fire towards our troops than commonly supposed is some sort of shock? Most Americans, one expects, understand that war involves getting shot at.

Not CBSNews, which persists in seeing the act of violence itself as some sort of evidence we can't win the war. Apparently confusing the still of the armistice with victorious warfighting, they imagine that as long as anybody is shooting, we're losing.

"Shocking" indeed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Al-Qaeda Escapee Killed by British

Appointment Almost At Samarra.

I guess the press is right, the fight in Iraq has created a haven for Al-Qaeda.

But since we are fighting, it is not a safe haven.

Should we quit fishing when the bastards are dumb enough to swim into the net?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Journalocracy

The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions.
Boo. Frickin'. Hoo.

Powerline beat me to the punch, and with images. Do go look.
Look at their photos, and understand what the AP means by this:
AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Oh really?
That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn't make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor.

"Journalists have always had relationships with people that others might find unsavory," she said. "We're not in this to choose sides, we're to report what's going on from all sides."...The military in Iraq has frequently detained journalists who arrive quickly at scenes of violence, accusing them of getting advance notice from insurgents, Lyon said. But "that's just good journalism. Getting to the event quickly is something that characterizes good journalism anywhere in the world. It does not indicate prior knowledge," he said.

Even if that were true--and the photos Powerline has up make me wonder--it does indicate knowledge after the fact.

Out of Hussein's body of work, only 37 photos show insurgents or people who could be insurgents, Lyon said. "The vast majority of the 420 images show the aftermath or the results of the conflict — blown up houses, wounded people, dead people, street scenes," he said.
Oh well, he only makes propaganda photographs part of the time?

..."How can you know what a conflict is like if you're only with one side of the combatants?" she said. "Journalism doesn't work if we don't report and photograph all sides."
We certainly couldn’t have journalism not work, could we?

Back in 2001 the President got up and said that people could either be with us, or with the terrorists. AP has chosen to be with the terrorists, among the terrorists, to document what the terrorists do as they do it. AP is the on-call public relations house for terrorism.

Back in 1978 J. Ross Baugham became an international disgrace for traveling with Rhodesian soldiers and blithely filming torture, rape, arson. I saw Baugham on a PBS series on journalist ethics in which he vowed to do so again if the situation arose. “My respect for the story would compel me to refrain from participating in it” he said.

Go look at the photo Hussein took of a blindfolded Italian being murdered by terrorists. That’s the price of the Story. The Story was more important to Hussein, and the New York office, than this guy’s life. And the next Story, which Hussein would get for keeping his mouth shut, was more important than picking up a phone and helping shut down this terrorist gang.

Journalism has decided its operations are above laws regarding classified information and privacy, and now they’re above the War on Terror itself.

Our government, and the government in Iraq, have decided that the “other side” of this conflict is a gang of thugs to be shot on sight or captured when convenient. The Associated Press insists it has a veto power over this decision—that if, in the opinion of the executive review panel in New York, continually providing terrorists a confidential pipeline to the world media is fair, then the United States government cannot object.

The United States government can either punish such a conspiracy, or surrender its authority.

Having said that, I agree with the AP that Hussein needs to be sent into the criminal justice system. Life without parole sounds like a fair sentence.

And—I’m serious—ten to twenty for the fellow conspirators in New York. They are giving aid and comfort to the battlefield enemies of the United States. They are with the terrorists.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Caligula Had Something There

So Lincoln Chaffee will "represent" my party for another six years?

It got me thinking about Emperor Caligula and the racehorse he had made Senator.

Incitatus was wealthy, well-liked, well-groomed, well-spoken. He knew how to win a close one. He understood enemies are best struck down from behind and kicked while down, rather than outshouted.

Sounds like perfect Senate workhorse. Probably not what you'd want for top leadership, but a good fellow to have in harness on the tough committees.

Now we Americans, with our greater wisdom, would never put a horse in the Senate.

Well, not the whole horse anyhow.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Defeatism

Headline news in the LA Times!

Zbigniew Brzynski says Iraq is 'unwinnable'.

Well. Guess that settles that.

Charitably, it is not now generally remembered that before Sixth Army rolled into France, the Allied High Commands were plotting how to invade the Soviet Union through the Black Sea. This surreally stupid episode is now known only to arcane scholars of WW2 lore.

I suppose Mr. B and the rest of the original anti-Iraq-war crew can only hope they too will be forgotten. It is not so much that they distrusted our ability to build an Iraqi democracy--but they deny it exists at all. "The Bush administration's aim of creating 'a secular, stable, democratic Iraq' is 'simply unreal,' the LA Times quotes Mr. B.

This story is an example of what I call 'Iraq stew'--everything on Iraq is dumped into one article, and overdone. The basic premise is, that if dozens of Iraqis are being murdered, we can't be winning the war.

There has never been a war in American history where we can compel the enemy to renounce senseless slaughter. Galveston, TX, fought Union forces for two months after Lee surrendered his army at Appamattox. Kamikazes took off to sink the American flotilla heading for the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Harbor. We can't stop that; we can only render it pointless to the final outcome.

Further, the President hasn't committed us to remain until it stops, but until the Iraqis take over the job of quelling it.

So the "argument" that America cannot win this war, so long as 100 Iraqis are shot by death squads, is right off the mark. The political momentum is with the Baghdad regime sponsored by the United States-and I will believe it is doomed only if I see established authorities defying it and the general public abandoning it, as seen in Southeast Asia, France in 1940, and the Soviet Union in 1991. Isn't happening in Iraq. Quite the reverse, in fact.

So far from being "unwinnable" it would take direct action by the United States to wreck Iraqi victory. The Democrats seem willing to rise to the challenge.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Standing Apart

I can't get the 9/11 "mood".

I can't understand there ought be a 9/11 "mood".

On November 11 I take a break from my usual life and think about "those who came before" and spent themselves breaking our country's enemies. Their struggle is past and has to be recalled.

Our struggle is ongoing. We have been fighting Al-Qaeda for five years. April 4, 2003 was about smashing Al-Qaeda. So was June 23, 2003. November 12, 2005. Any day over the last five years.

Every day over the last five years.

I am confused what people took out of the closet today, and contemplated, and will put away on a shelf tomorrow. Our commitment to fight Al-Qaeda? Our respect for the victims of terrorism?

What about 9/10 got interrupted for today, and will be resumed 9/12?

I don't have the rancor or anxiety I had on 9/11/01. On 9/11/01 I heard that the Sears Tower in Chicago got hit at 8 a.m. Central time, and I believed it, and I was worried for my folks on the West Coast for several hours. What was going to blow on 8 a.m. Pacific? Those hours are gone, the literally gut-wrenching rage that anyone dared strike my country, is gone. In its place is resolve--or what the center-right bloggers I email call "fanaticism". (Probably true; on some topics I don't mind being a fanatic so much as I mind losing: the litmus test of fanaticism.)

Should I indulge in raw emotion again?

I think recalling St. Crispin's Day can wait for the day to end.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A New Depth of Dumb

I'm astounded at the Democrats in the Senate, threatening ABC's broadcaster's license over a docudrama.

Not only is it unAmerican, it's impossible. The minority party can do nothing to ABC. In fact, it's impossible to imagine the Senate moving against ABC even if the Dems get 7 seats this November.

SEMPER FUBAR, indeed.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Contra Apostasy

I see a lot of blog activity regarding the recent release of FOX news reporters Centenni and Wiig, who were set free after forcibly converting to Islam. Most of the commentary is disapproving--yet usually along the lines of "I'd have done the same thing, only I'd feel worse about afterwards than they do."

I'd hope, if it were me, that I wouldn't go apostate. I dunno if Centenni and Wiig have any Christian faith; I do, and I was raised to appreciate the glory of martyrdom.

I've heard Catholicism accused of morbidity, and with some reason: the omnipresence of death and the promise of Eternal Life through Christ is a winning sales pitch around the world. Death, to Catholics, marks not the end of awareness, but the end of our ability to improve ourselves in Christ, a dormancy ended by the Day of Judgement. The living might pray for merciful intercession on behalf of the dead, but the dead themselves cannot perform good works or undertake repentance. Apart from those devout and grace-endowed few who are granted immediate colloquoy with God--the saints--for most, death is a time of uncertainty which we can approach with hope but without certainty of salvation. (For a thorough secular examination of the Catholic view, see Patrick N. Geary's "The Cult of the Dead").

Not so the martyrs.

We have the direct assurance of Christ that "blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 5:10. Which elsewhere was demonstrated at the martyrdom of Stephen, who said "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Acts 7:56. And there is the second crucified thief at Golgotha, who dying, acknowledged Christ as the king of heaven and was assured salvation: "Truly, this day you shall be with me in Paradise" Luke 23:40-43. And also there are the thousands of documented intercessions by martyred saints through the millenia.

To die affirming Christ takes strong faith and humility--the submergence of the ego into a concentration on spiritual matters--but its reward is purity of spirit and the only true Eternal Life.

I don't have to condemn Centenni and Wiig to affirm the Truth that a martyr is always a successful Christian.