May 14, 2004

HOW TO LOSE A WAR

Well, here we go. The overreaction to Abu Ghraib has created new policy on the ground in Iraq, and it's nonsense.

When you have troops violating rules or breaking the law, you punish them. If their command was negligent or complicit, punish them, and so forth up the chain. Clearly the command discipline and good order collapsed in Abu Ghraib, and there should be a healthy round of UCMJ action. But that doesn't mean you should change policies that don't need changing, and that might actually save lives.

Don't get me wrong here--true torture is a terrible thing and our troops should never engage in it. But the military, reacting to the scandal, has banned practices now that don't come anywhere near torture, and it will cost lives:

The U.S. military, facing a scandal over the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail, has prohibited several interrogation methods from being used in Iraq (news - web sites), including sleep and sensory deprivation and body "stress positions," defense officials said on Friday.

The officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said these techniques previously required high-level approval from the U.S. military leadership in Iraq, but now will be banned completely.

If sleep deprivation constitutes torture, then I was tortured in Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in 1993. During those six stressful weeks, it was common for the TIs to put us to bed at midnight or later and then get us up at 2 or 3 AM, have us dress and go outside and do all kinds of things--march, whatever. We were sleep deprived. I guess we were tortured then.

Stupid. This is going to get people killed. Allow me to explain.

Many of those incarcerated at Abu Ghraib were caught in the act of fighting against our troops--that is how they got themselves into prison. They were probably caught in firefights, and were allowed to live because they might prove useful for intelligence purposes. Our troops probably have instructions to try and capture as many insurgents as possible so that we can learn about their support network, their funding, anything they may know that can help us put down these terrorist militias. But what good is catching these guys if you can't interrogate them in a way that puts pressure on them to talk? These terrorists don't fight according to the Geneva Conventions and are therefore not by law required to be held according to GC standards. We are allowed to interrogate them in ways outside the GC. That doesn't mean we should torture them--as I said, we shouldn't. But we should pressure them in harmless ways to get information from them.

If they become less useful as prisoners, then capturing them becomes more trouble than it's worth. Our troops will end up just killing more of them on the battlefield, which isn't really a bad thing, but we'll also end up learning less about the insurgency. We're forcing ourselves to fight blind, which is a recipe for disaster. The less we know about the terrorist networks operating against us in Iraq, the more effective those networks can be. They will end up operating more freely, and will kill more of our troops and civilians, Iraqi as well as foreign.

Why are we still treating this war like a paintball match? These people want to kill us. We should not pussyfoot around when it comes to unravelling their networks via intelligence gathering.

Posted by B. Preston at 06:05 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

UK ABUSE HOAX PHOTOS LEAD TO FIRED EDITOR

Editor sacked over 'hoax' photos:


Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has been sacked after the newspaper conceded photos of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake.
In a statement the Mirror said it had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" and that it would be "inappropriate" for Morgan to continue.

The Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR) said the Mirror had endangered British troops by running the pictures.

Roger Goodman, of the QLR, said the regiment now felt "vindicated".

Mr Goodman added: "It is just a great pity it has taken so long... and that so much damage has been done in the meantime."

The Daily Mirror... apologises unreservedly for publishing the pictures and deeply regrets the reputational damage done to the QLR and the Army in Iraq


Now you know why the Boston Globe only regrets a display of nudity. But fear running through the Globe newsroom has led them down the cover-up spiral. It looks like they compounded their mistakes by lying to their readers. (Link to updated post below)

MORE: 'Fake' Abuse Photos Help Al Qaeda - UK Soldiers


This is a deadly serious business because people's lives have been placed in jeopardy by what has turned out to be utter and complete nonsense," Brigadier Geoff Sheldon told reporters. . . .

Sheldon said the time had come for the Mirror and its high-profile editor Piers Morgan to accept the pictures were fake and to apologize.

"It's time that the ego of one editor is measured against the life of the soldier," Sheldon said.

Colonel David Black, the most senior officer at the regiment which was based in Basra in southern Iraq but no longer has soldiers there, said the photos were a "recruiting poster for al Qaeda and every other terrorist organization."

"It has made the lives of our armed forces in Iraq that much more difficult and that much more dangerous."

The British government said on Thursday analysis of the photographs had proved they were "categorically not taken in Iraq."

But Mirror editor Morgan said the government had not produced incontrovertible evidence the pictures were faked and that there was a bigger issue that needed to be highlighted.


Can you smell what the Boston Globe was cooking?!?

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

LIEBERMAN: WHY RUMSFELD MUST STAY

Why can't more Democrats be like Sen. Joseph Lieberman?

Most Democrats and Republicans, including President Bush and Sen. Kerry, agree that we must successfully finish what we have started in Iraq. Now is the time for all who share that goal to make our agreement publicly clear, to stress what unites us. Many argue that we can only rectify the wrongs done in the Iraqi prisons if Donald Rumsfeld resigns. I disagree. Unless there is clear evidence connecting him to the wrongdoing, it is neither sensible nor fair to force the resignation of the secretary of defense, who clearly retains the confidence of the commander in chief, in the midst of a war. I have yet to see such evidence. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.

I disagree with what he says about Kerry, whom I do not trust to stay the course in Iraq or the war generally, but the rest of the editorial is flawless. It's a must-read.

And again, why do so many Democrats choose to be moonbats when they have Lieberman as an example of how to be responsible political opponents in a time of war?

Posted by B. Preston at 11:46 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

THE "BOSTON STRANGLER" AT WAR

John Kerry's war record is, um, less than heroic:

Thomas Wright was one of John F. Kerry's fellow Swift boat officers in Vietnam. Since Wright outranked Kerry, he was Kerry's sometime boat group Officer-in-Charge, so Wright had occasion to observe Kerry’s behavior and attitudes, and the circumstances surrounding his early departure from the war zone. The intervening years have not dimmed his memories.

When the Swift boats of Coastal Division 11 sailed into harm’s way from their Phu Quoc Island base of An Thoi, for missions along the rivers of Vietnam’s southwesternmost Kien Giang and An Xuyen provinces, they communicated by radio. When they did, boat captains adopted distinctive, often humorous call signs for identification purposes. Eldon Thompson was “Mary Poppins,” William Schachte was “Baccardi Charlie,” James T. Grace was “Twiggy,” and Tom Wright was “Dudley Do-Right.” When John Kerry radioed another Swift boat, he used the call sign, “Boston Strangler.”

---

Working with call sign “Boston Strangler” became problematical. “I had a lot of trouble getting him to follow orders,” recalls Wright. “He had a different view of leadership and operations. Those of us with direct experience working with Kerry found him difficult and oriented towards his personal, rather than unit goals and objectives. I believed that overall responsibility rested squarely on the shoulders of the OIC or OTC in a free-fire zone. You had to be right (before opening fire). Kerry seemed to believe there were no rules in a free-fire zone and you were supposed to kill anyone. I didn’t see it that way.”

In Wright’s view, it was important that the enemy understood that Swift boats were a competent, effective force that could dominate his location. To do that, you also had to control the people and their actions; to have them accept Swift boat crews and their authority. You couldn’t achieve that by indiscriminate use of weapons in free fire zones.

It got to a point where Wright told his divisional commander he no longer wanted Kerry in his boat group, so he was re-assigned to another one. “I had an idea of his actions but didn’t have to be responsible for him.” Then Wright and like-minded boat officers took matters into their own hands. “When he got his third Purple Heart, three of us told him to leave. We knew how the system worked and we didn’t want him in Coastal Division 11. Kerry didn’t manipulate the system, we did.”

Read the whole thing. It's enlightening, and consistent with the Kerry qualities I came across when I was looking into his history a couple of months ago.

(Thanks to Chris)

MORE: Now Kerry promises to fight the war against non-combatant terrorists using rules for combatants.


...which prohibits pressuring detainees to talk to interrogators.

"I will fight a more effective war on terror, because I would never have thrown out of the door or window the obligations of the Geneva Conventions," Kerry told Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."

The Geneva Convention mandates that POWs be protected from "coercion," "insults," and "unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

It also requires that detainees be provided with monthly medical checkups and a store to shop in, as well as requiring that facilities be made available for "the practice of intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits, [including] sports and games amongst prisoners."

Kerry didn't explain how guaranteeing terrorist suspects a better lifestyle than our own soldiers would keep America safe.


I guess he would only ask their name is since they have no uniform rank or service number. Here's the extent of a Kerry Administration interrogation of a terrorist involved in a dirty nuke plot: "Excusez-moi. Bonjour, comment t'appelles-tu? Merci beaucoup mon ami."

And family members of those who terrorists killed in NYC will just love this:


In fact, under the Geneva Convention prisoners must be allowed one right currently denied to residents of a number of localities around the U.S.

"The use of tobacco shall be permitted," the GC mandates.

Too bad for tobacco consumers who live in New York City, where smoking has been banned in public places, that Mayor Michael Bloomberg never signed the Geneva Convention.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2004

THE NOW MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF NICK BERG

When Nick Berg was beheaded almost everyone in America thought terrorists made a big mistake in the middle of a massive media assault on President Bush and Dept of Defense. But did crafty terrorists find out from Nick that his anti-war father was so radical he could be counted on to join the media assault on the Bush Administration?


"My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this," Berg said in an interview with radio station KYW-AM.

In the interview from outside his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a seething Michael Berg also said his 26-year-old son, a civilian contractor, probably would have felt positive, even about his executioners, until the last minute.

"I am sure that he only saw the good in his captors until the last second of his life," Berg said. "They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend."

Two days after the publication of a video showing the execution of his son by five masked men, Berg attacked the Bush administration for its invasion of Iraq and its sponsorship of the Patriot Act, which gives sweeping powers of surveillance to the federal government.

Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat."


Knowing this was a likely response may have helped the terrorists choose Nick Berg from their selection of captives. Nick himself was supposed to have been a supporter of President Bush according to this father, but it turns out he was also connected to Zacarias Moussaoui when he was living in Oklahoma. It's being reported they both had the same password to an email account that they both used at some point in time. Nick was said to be simply "careless" with his password, but you can see here why the FBI thought it could have been more than that:

The only suspect in custody, Zacarias Moussaoui, used a Hotmail account —pilotz123@hotmail.com — to set up his flight school training, U.S. officials said.

Internet-based e-mail is particularly useful for groups that wish to remain clandestine:
Accounts are free and easy to set up, requiring users to divulge little personal information.
Storage of materials on the Web means messages do not even have to be sent — one person can simply store a draft of the message to be read by a second person using the same password.


Nick's father also just showed up on Fox News saying Nick was a friend of the al Qaeda. The reporter chimed in and said he meant to say Iraqis, but it was clearly a freudian slip and just adds to the mystery.

Not content to be left out of the horrid murder story that has captivated America's political attention, John Kerry has now publicized his private conversations the Bush-bashing Berg family, but the subject of his conversation is secret:


KERRY SPEAKS WITH BERG'S FATHER: Kerry tells CBS affiliate in Little Rock, Ark. that he has spoken with Nick Berg's father ... later at Doe's, print pooler Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune asks Kerry when he spoke to Berg ... Kerry refuses further comment says "that's private" ... Zuckman asks "why did you mention it on television?" ... Kerry: "I'm not going to say anything about when, where or how." ... DEVELOPING

I'm expecting Kerry to say, "I agreed to keep the conversation private before I made it public for political reasons. But I kept the details private to avoid speculation." Didn't Kerry do the exact same thing with the foreign leaders he talked to?

No matter what comes out of the Nick Berg story, it seems to have moved the current war debate toward sanity, which hurts the terrorists. I don't care if it later comes out that Nick was actually a friend of the terrorists for some strange reason. He may have been a Jewish American, but terrorists will brutally execute absolutely anyone, including their own friends and family members. I think Michael Berg's verbal attack on Bush will probably just remind people how some liberals just never get it. So, it was still a bad move for the terrorists.

MORE: And then there's the conspiracy theories from Al Jazeera and others which means the usual suspects behind the terrorists are in a political panic, as Instapundit points out. Glenn also wonders who all the bloggers are mentioned in the Al Jazeera story. Maybe the terrorists are blogging in Arabic now.

MORE: Nick's "curiousity" was curious:


When Berg was arrested in Mosul, he had two items with him that made authorities nervous: A copy of the Koran, and another book reportedly entitled either "The Jewish Problem" or "The Jewish Solution." Why a Jew would be carrying these items is unclear, but Berg supporters say it was like him to be curious about such things.

UPDATE: One of our readers posted a link that confirms Michael Berg's connections to the marxist, and some would say pro-terrorist, International A.N.S.W.E.R. organization. I actually heard this as just speculation before, but there was also a Michael Berg from another state that made it questionable to post (this isn't the Boston Globe ya know!). Now we can see why Nick's dad excuses his son's beheading as innocent friendly fire.

Could anyone imagine a mother feeling sympathetic for the killer after a beheading of her son, even if she was a flaming radical liberal?

Well...we do have some women in favor of partial-birth abortions, but still...

MORE: Instapundit now linking an amusing parody of the Al Jazerra conspiracy article.

Posted by Chris Regan at 06:56 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

DEMOCRATS, THIS IS YOUR NOMINEE

"When Bill Clinton left office, not one young American was dying in war anywhere in this world,’ Kerry said. --Associated Press, May 13, 2004

True. Unless you count the USS Cole, which was attacked on October 12, 2000. Seventeen young Americans died in that attack.

Or the Khobar Towers building, which was attacked on June 25, 1996. Nineteen young Americans died in that attack.

Or Mogadishu, 1993. Eighteen Americans died that day.

Besides being an outright lie, what the hell is Kerry's point? That even though we were allowing our young men and women to die at the hands of terrorists, we weren't "at war" so therefore somehow Clinton was a better President?

While Clinton was President, terrorists roamed free and a few of them were preparing to kill 3,000 Americans. A few others were studying up biochem weapons in Afghan camps, unmolested by the US military. A young American named Jose Padilla was pitching his plan to scout for a dirty bomb attack on US soil. Osama bin Laden was trying to get his hands on a suitcase nuke. While Clinton diddled, the terrorists plotted.

Kerry didn't mention that for some reason.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:27 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

THE IRAQI RAPE HOAX LIVES ON

Here's the actual headline of a new column by the international representative for the Nation of Islam, Akbar Muhammad, who distributed the photos used in the sham of a press conference covered by the Boston Globe, AP and others:

Photos show U.S. soldiers gang raping Iraqi women and girls


It is the same mentality their fathers - white Americans – and their great grandfathers, former slave owners, had who raped our Black men and women during the days of slavery. That is how graphic and barbaric the pictures are that I viewed.

These pictures and the mention of what these soldiers did to the Iraqi women were available, then later blocked, from the Internet. . . .

The rape of the Iraqi women in those prisons has been completely omitted from the Western press reports. The pictures were so viscious and humiliating to the entire Muslim and Arab world that they found a way to delete and block entrance into the websites that published them. However, I was fortunate enough before they deleted them all to get the pictures. . . .

I thought long and hard on why the pictures of the women being raped were not shown in America and how they were wiped off the websites. I also reflected on why the writings that I have read from one paper to another failed to mention what these women have suffered in Iraq.


This was published in the San Francisco Bay View -- named "National Black Newspaper of the Year" by the by the National Black Chamber of Commerce in 1997.

What he says is very interesting, because I pointed out below that the photos Akbar Muhammad personally distributed to the men in the Boston press conference do not match the photos from our cache of the now-closed Albasrah.net. Unlike the ones printed in the Globe, those photos were blurred by responsible editors. Mr Muhammad was so upset that the photos were taken offline (because they were widely exposed as fakes), and that the mainstream press was not covering them as real rape, that he redistributed the rape porn to shills for a press conference.

Just a few days earlier, his Nation of Islam boss held his own press conference:


...recent photographs of prisoners abused in U.S. custody, has unmasked an ugly America, Min. Farrakhan said.

The pictures and policy are so ugly that the Arab and Muslim world grows inflamed, he observed. Soon Americans will not be able to travel abroad, the Minister warned.


So why is Farrakhan's international rep attempting to inflame the world in coordination with his speech?

And why isn't the Associated Press reporting the truth about the obvious hoax?


...a photograph that purportedly showed U-S soldiers raping Iraqi women

...The newspaper says the photo shouldn't have run because it was overly graphic and couldn't be authenticated

...The photos showed men in unidentified military uniforms engaged in sex acts with unidentified women.


The AP and the Boston Globe still haven't figured out the photos are what's known as "porn" performed by people called "actors" and posted on what is known as a "porn site." Get this:

Boston Globe ombudsman Christine Chinlund said she had been unable to locate the source of the images.

"My attempts to figure out where the photos originated have failed," Chinlund said.


Christine Chinlund's problem is that she's assuming that Boston Globe reporters have a clue and can help her. She should venture out onto the scary Internet and use that popular goofy-sounding website she's heard about to search for the answer. It will show up in real reporting here.

The Boston Globe should know better. They also published this story on Jan 4, 2004:


Rumors of rape fan anti-American flames

Paper's claim against troops widely believed

The allegations can be heard almost everywhere in Turkey now, from farmers' wives eating in humble kebab shops, in influential journals, and from erudite political leaders: American troops have raped thousands of Iraqi women and young girls since ousting dictator Saddam Hussein.

Articles in Turkey's Islamist press reporting the allegations have fanned opposition here to the US invasion of Iraq to white-hot anger -- and even, apparently, to murder.

Nurullah Kuncak says his father, Ilyas Kuncak, was boiling about the rumored rapes just before he killed himself delivering the huge car bomb that devasted the Turkish headquarters of HSBC bank last month, killing a dozen people and wounding scores more.

"Didn't you see, the American soldiers raped Iraqi women," Nurullah said in a recent interview. "My father talked to me about it. . . . Thousands of rapes are in the records. Can you imagine how many are still secret?"

. . .One of the most dangerous aspects of these rumors, say Turkish and Western officials, is that people who do not at all fit the stereotypes of suicide bombers -- people like Ilyas Kuncak -- may be motivated to drastic action.


Leave it to the Boston Globe to give worldwide attention to the new allegations of rape four months later by only half-apologizing and leaving the authenticity of the bogus photos open to debate.

UPDATE: This is becoming a much bigger scandal about the Globe's overall management. The Globe has now proven beyond all doubt that the paper is run by an incompetent and deceptive staff. I expect the New York Times Company to fire some people after this shameless attempt to fool readers about their shameful screw-up.


Editor Baron refused to speak with WND yesterday when told I wanted to question him as to why the Globe was refusing to admit it knows the images came from a porn website.

He also refused to answer e-mails indicating WND's surprise over the comments the Globe ombudsman made in yesterday's Agence France-Presse article, implying that she had no idea where the photos were from and had "failed" to find their source.

"… So my question to you would be, why are you pretending like you don't know and haven't already verified that the photos came from the Sex in War site and were created by the Extreme Traffic content providers?" WND asked.

"In April you were quoted in Editor & Publisher as saying, 'Editors bear responsibility for what's in their newspapers and if they are alerted to problems they have an obligation to pursue them.'

"So WND's question also would be, why have you not pursued telling the truth in this matter? Do you consider it now your responsibility to lie and to direct your ombudsman to lie as well?"

When WND walked Slack through the porn site, she seemed excited to get the scoop on the source of the photos, and said, "This is great," adding however that her editor was "dying" since finding out the photos were from a porn site.

Update: To make matters worse, the Globe has now published an editorial confirming that the photos are "bogus" and saying that they "appear" to have come from a porn website. That admission has only taken the media giant three days, and it only came after repeated denials that they knew the source. Even worse, the Globe blames Turner for the gaffe, calling him "reckless" and "inflammatory."

So now, the Globe has expressed even more incompetence: After failing to confirm or deny for three days that the "rape" photos were from a porn site, the newspaper today both confirms and denies it knows the source of the photos.

Pathetic and half-baked, this "pass-the-buck" editorial also slammed Turner for having "no regard for truth or consequences" and for making "unsubstantiated charges," while admitting Turner left authentication of the rape photos to news media.


Another update from Sherrie Gossett here.

Why are the Globe editors -- and even the ombudsman -- so attached to this bogus story? They're dripping out half-apologies and lies that just fuel the rumors. As they've reported in January, a rape hoax can lead directly to murder. What the hell is going on at the Boston Globe??

Their initial response to this scandal was to circle the wagons around the hoax. You know, "Don't blame us, it could be true!!" It's probably not ideological, but now that they're being deceptive we can't rule it out. It could be that they're simply trying to minimize their original guilt and limit the mistake to the photo only -- sort of the same reason they only shrunk the photo instead of removing it from later editions. But this reaction is absolutely reprehensible when it involves the subject of a war crime. They're now part of the hoax and have known it was a hoax for days. So why aren't they distancing themselves from it with truth rather than lies?

We might now reasonably suspect now that there was an ideological agenda behind the original publication of the story and photo. It almost seems that their goal from the very start, to today, has been to "keep hoax alive!" Normal professional journalists would react to someone trying to fool them, or to a successful scam, by investigating and running a story exposing the hoax and slamming the hoaxers. They've done some of that now, but only to deflect from their negligence. The Globe is still covering for themselves and refusing to report the facts, or investigate the role of the radical Nation of Islam, even after being told the truth.

**I updated this update to reflect the Globe's transparent blame-shifting "We hope this kills the story by Monday" update.

Posted by Chris Regan at 01:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2004

JUNKYARDBLOG'S DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

Those of you looking around for the latest on the Boston Globe's airing of uncensored hard-core porn that smears US troops, see the post below. For the rest, story time.

I guess I'm what National Review and others have taken to calling a "panicked hawk." Having supported the Iraq war--and continuing to support it to the utmost--I find myself of the opinion that we are playing a solid hand very badly and are in real danger of losing the war. I've gone from an optimist on the war to a near abject pessimist in the space of about 10 days, and this blog has reflected that change. I think an explanation is in order.

Around the time John Kerry became the Democrat nominee to oppose President Bush, I started working on opposition research. I announced a little campaign on this blog to get ahold of The New Soldier, Kerry's 1971 anti-war book with a mock Iwo Jima flag-raising on the cover. I'd looked in my local library and didn't find the book, and figured the JYB's readership might enjoy helping out.

Our splinter cells went to work at the Library of Congress as well as other university and local libraries around the country, and finally an intrepid operative struck paydirt. He got the book, scanned most of it and sent it to me. I haven't written up a review--yet. But I will.

For now, the short verion--The New Soldier is an awful book. No wonder Kerry has spent the last thirty years suppressing its publication. It's an embarrassment, full of photos so full of drug-addled hippies you can almost smell them across the decades. The writing is bad and cliched beatnik claptrap, and though Kerry is its nominal author, he barely makes a cameo.

While all that was activity going on, I made several trips to the library to research the larger Vietnam-era anti-war movement. I wanted to understand Kerry and his times--I was four when Saigon fell--and I wanted to understand his role in the movement and his possible role in the US defeat. It's the only time we have lost a war. I wanted to know if the man a major party was nominating for President had played a significant role in that defeat. It's a relevant question in a time of peace, and only more so in a time of war.

But during my research, Kerry almost became a sideshow. I started seeing how the anti-war movement of which Kerry was a part contributed to our defeat in Vietnam. And I started to get worried.

Vietnam was a strange war. I took a college class on Vietnam back when I was chasing my degree, and the odd thing about it was that battlefield tactics almost never came up. That was definitely not the case in the Civil War class I took--in that class, our texts and our professor went on at length about which generals succeeded and why, taking into account the terrain, weather, battlefield objectives and so forth. Nearly everything about the Civil War--Lincoln's relationship with his commanders and cabinet, Grant's rise and McClellan's fall, the North's attitude toward the war--was tied closely to battlefield success or failure.

But the Vietnam class was different. It was all about politics and sociology, with very little about the actual war on the ground. My term paper was on the Battle of Hue, one of the few urban battles of the entire war. It took place during the Tet Offensive, and was a resounding victory for the US side and a staggering defeat for the North Vietnamese. Yet they fought on, more confident than ever, while the US began to sulk and divide along ideological lines. The Vietnam War ran well over a decade, with more than 50,000 American dead by its end. Why did scholars pay so little attention to what actually happened on the battlefield?

I had that question answered when I studied the anti-war movement earlier this year. Scholars pay so little attention to actual battles in Vietnam because they didn't matter to the war's outcome. The shooting war took place in jungles on the other side of the world from America, but the real war took place on the Mall in Washington and in the streets of America. We won Vietnam in Vietnam, but lost Vietnam in America. The anti-war movement is largely responsible for this outcome.

To be sure, our politicians failed miserably to understand just how crafty the enemy was, and that failure played a role too. Nixon failed to understand that when he ran for President in 1968 on his secret plan to end the war, he telegraphed to the North Vietnamese that he would enter office believing the war was unwinnable. LBJ failed to capitalize on the successes of Operation Rolling Thunder, a massive bombing campaign that very nearly destroyed the North's ability to wage war by 1967, allowing negative press to pull his finger off the trigger when victory was in sight. But the anti-war movement made America feel guilty for the war, waved the bloody shirt for every single setback suffered or crime our troops committed in the war--real as well as imagined--and mainstreamed the most ludicrous opinions of America and our reason for entering the war in the first place.

The short version of that is that we entered the war when the North Vietnamese Communist forces crushed French forces fighting on the side of the South, forcing a pullout. We stepped in to fill the gap the French were leaving behind, believing that a Communist Vietnam would influence other states in the region to flip red. Our reasons were noble--defend a poorly armed and defended (and led) populace from a Stalinist menace. Vietnam was a very hot period of the Cold War. Those who fatuously say today that we defeated Communism without firing a shot would do well to visit the black wall in Washington, which lists our dead from Vietnam. Those men and women died in a losing battle that was part of a war we ultimately won.

The war dragged on past Truman and Eisenhower through Kennedy and Johnson to Nixon. Republicans and Democrats, a very bipartisan war. In 1971, when Kerry came on to the scene, the anti-war movement was in full swing but still a fringe movement. It needed a mainstream spokesman, someone who could de-hippify the movement and make it palatable in Peoria, and Kerry stepped into that role like he'd been born for it. He took all the wild tales of American atrocities, mostly made up by KGB operatives across Europe, and put them into the mouth of a decorated Vietnam war hero. He--John Forbes Kerry, Ivy Leaguer, recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts--called American troops baby killers, rapists and the rest. Every indication I've come across indicates he knew he was lying. He knew, as his VVAW friends attest, that he was being used by the anti-war movement to put a reasonable face on their radicalism, and they knew he was using them for a future in politics. He met with Communist representatives in Paris, and used their talking points on how to end the war. For Kerry it was partly belief and partly business, a kind of finishing school for the leftist politician, training ground for a new soldier.

But as I said several hundred words ago, Kerry became a sideshow in my research. The anti-war movement, simply put, was the single most important factor in our defeat in Vietnam. I've written a couple of posts about this that go into more detail, but the Communist North figured out two essential truths in the mid-60s, and those truths changed the war. First, they discovered that no matter what they did, they would not defeat us on the battlefield. Even at its worst, the Vietnam-era US military was far superior to its foe. It was better led, better trained and better equipped, and hailed from a country with nearly unlimited resources. It would not be defeated in battle, period, at least not in the long run. This truth held up throughout the war--US forces never lost a battle. But essential truth #2 was the kicker. The North discovered that it could win the war while losing every single battle, by altering the political landscape for US presidents here at home.

It was General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of North Vietnames forces, who figured it out. He'd led the defeat of the French in 1954 and would later lead Vietnam in defeating China in 1979, in both cases employing novel tactics designed to exploit his enemies' greatest weaknesses. By about 1966 or 67, Giap had figured out our Achilles Heel: We are political hemophiliacs. Prick us in the right spot, and we bleed to death thanks to a hardened anti-American core on our political left and our inability to shout it down. He just had to figure out what that spot was, and he did, and won.

Fast forward to our war today, a war that bears almost no resemblance to Vietnam, save one fact: Like then, today we have a hardened and determined anti-war movement and a hostile press that will not fail to spread any lie if it undermines the war effort. From my studies it made sense to me that anyone opposing the US today would study the tactics of the one General who had been able to defeat us, and would try to adapt what he had done to present circumstances. So I started watching for signs that a) al Qaeda had gone to school on us using Giap as its guide, and b) that today's anti-war movement could succeed over the long run in mainstreaming anti-Americanism, rhetoric, etc.

Al Qaeda is barely an organization, more like a criminal gang than an army. But its leadership isn't stupid. It came up with 9-11 precisely because it had studied us and determined our vulnerabilities. It designed the attacks to achieve maximum exposure and, it believed, would inflict maximum damage on our economy and our national psyche. 9-11 was a masterpiece of asymmetrical warfare, using $3 box cutters to kill thousands and do trillions of dollars in damage. Though 9-11 did significant damage, it did not force economic collapse and did not make us cower in fear. It made us angry, and we determined to wipe al Qaeda from the face of the earth.

I believe that Osama bin Laden underestimated our both response and our effectiveness. He didn't believe we would actually invade Afghanistan, or that we could topple the Taliban once we had. He believed we might send a few missiles his way, perhaps a carrier group to bombard his camps, but no boots on the ground. He'd watched our 1990s conflicts in Kosovo and Iraq, and he'd forced our pullout of Somalia. He believed we were too soft to fight. He had no clue that we would also invade Iraq.

We all know what happened. But bin Laden had gone to school on us. He knew about our political hemophilia. Given time, and a wound in just the right place, we would bleed ourselves to death.

That's why I got worried. I suspected that al Qaeda knew what such a wound could do to us, and was either planning to inflict that wound or hoping we would inflict it on ourselves since it seemed that al Qaeda could no longer mount an attack us US soil. He knew that either way, he could count on US political forces arrayed against the Bush administration to do his heavy lifting once the wound had been inflicted.

Abu Ghraib is that wound, or threatens to be. It will lead to exposure of other "atrocities," real and imagined. It will draw a line from a prison in Iraq to prisons here in America, and will lead to an airing of our worst side in the middle of a war in which our moral authority is indispensible to victory. The world already hates and fears us; seeing us as a truly abusive power, in living color, will dash whatever sympathy the world may have still held for us. Abu Ghraib will also paint us into a corner in which we will no longer be able to use serious methods to interrogate dangerous terrorists who may have information on future attacks. It will give a hostile press and our political opposition something to exploit, and will give the anti-war movement renewed energy. As the war has heated up, fringe leftist rhetoric has gone mainstream, with Democrats spouting "Bush knew!" and accusing him of plotting the war for purely political purposes. There is even a returned US soldier from Iraq playing Kerry's latter day mini-me. The Vietnam-era anti-war movement is back in force, ready to turn America once again from sure victory to catastrophic defeat.

What we have witnessed in the past week or so has been the bleeding from the Abu Ghraib wound. Al Qaeda got very lucky, because otherwise the war in Iraq was going fairly well for us. Violence had flared up in Iraq, but so had local elections--in which mullahs ran for office and lost to businessmen and doctors. A militia had sprung up to oppose us, but another militia had sprung up to oppose the first militia. We were showing patience and restraint, and applying force properly for the most part and avoiding civilian casualties. The Zarqawi memo told a story of inevitable allied victory and terrorist defeat.

And then Abu Ghraib. And our political opposition thinks it has a "silver bullet," our Senate all but handcuffs our intel operatives, the press goes wild with stories about US "atrocities" even while terrorists saw an innocent American's head off with a machete, and we flagellate ourselves into a stupor from which we may not recover.

So I'm worried. I'm not panicked by any means, but I'm a pessimist now. I think we have taken a very strong hand and played it extremely poorly, thanks mostly to internal bickering, recrimination and anti-Americanism on the left and in the press. I'd love to be wrong, but I don't think I am. If we stay on the path we're on, no matter who wins in November, we will lose this war. Due to the war's increasing unpopularity we will pull out of Iraq prematurely, it will descend into chaos as the Iranians and al Qaeda and Syria vie for control from without while the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds battle within. We will have painted ourselves into a corner from which we will be unable, for political reasons, to use force. We will repeal the Patriot Act, which has probably been the single biggest reason we haven't had a major attack on our soil since 9-11. We will sit back on our heels while Iran and North Korea continue their nuclear programs, and we will pay dearly for it.

Imagine, for a second, the terrorists on that Islamicist snuff film--the ones who sawed Nicholas Berg's head off while he screamed in agony--armed with a nuclear device. Do you doubt for a second that they would use it to destroy an American city? If you do, you're a fool. But as I've been repeating lately, experience is a dear teacher, and a fool will learn by no other.

I pray that we don't have to learn via that experience or something similar. But I'm not optimistic anymore. We're about to let the fools run the show, and we'll pay for it.

MORE: I think people need to read this post a couple of times to understand what I am saying and what I am not saying. I am not saying the war is already lost. I am saying we should not take for granted that it is already won, either. We have been doing that for too long, and should stop. We're on a knife's edge right now, with victory and defeat as viable possibilities.

I am also not saying Iraq=Vietnam. The war we fight today is very, very different from Vietnam, but there is a striking similarity. In the same way that the Civil War was the first truly modern war, with "total war," mass casualties, modernizing weaponry and so forth, Vietnam was the first post-modern war, and the global war on terrorism is the second.

Post-modern war? What does that mean?

Post-modern war is about asymmetry and information management as opposed to battlefield tactics. Don't get me wrong; if we lose on the battlefield we'll lose the war. But because the conflict is asymmetrical, our enemy doesn't have to win on the battlefield to defeat us. He only has to win politically, and all he really has to do to accomplish that is demoralize us. We can win every single battle in the current war and still lose, just like Vietnam. Fortunately in that earlier war, what we were fighting was really a campaign in the larger Cold War, so losing it didn't translate into losing the war. Reagan eventually applied a bit of asymmetry to the larger war, outspending the Soviets instead of outfighting them while threatening to obliterate them if they went too far, and we won. I believe failure in Iraq stands a good chance of leading to loss in the war generally, because it's likely to demoralize us and there is no larger enemy to outspend and thus recover victory.

Demoralization was one of the key Soviet Cold War strategies, and they invented and spread anti-American propaganda to accomplish that end. The Vietnam-era talking points, the nuclear freeze movement, and anti-American political organizations spread throughout the country were created for the express purpose of demoralizing us and convincing us that we weren't a force for good in the world. The Soviets are on the ash heap of history now, but their machines live on like a watching ticking on a dead man's wrist. Nuke freeze, International ANSWER, and so forth are still here, recruiting new volunteers but mostly relying on their grizzled anti-war veterans to keep up the fight. Their talking points have gotten mainstreamed by the hard left of the Democrats to the point that you can find somewhere between 10 and 40 percent of the country believing some level of the lie about us--that we're imperialists, that we only fight for oil, that we're the symbol of oppression in the world, etc.

That leads to a lack of self-confidence on our part, and thus soft support for the war as it extended past Afghanistan. We went into Iraq with about 65% support, but it was soft and predicated on the WMD threat, not the larger anti-terrorism strategic framework. That recipe meant that the war support numbers could only go down, not up, no matter what happened on the battlefield.

We won the actual war in Iraq handily but WMDs didn't materialize, or when they did the press hasn't taken up the story with any gusto. I believe this has led to a paralysis in our government at the highest levels. Put yourself in the President's shoes. You don't have time to sift through information sources on your own everyday, and so you rely on your staffers and cabinet officers to tell you what's going on. From State, you hear one thing about WMDs and the war, from the Pentagon you hear something else, from NSC you hear something else, and so forth. As the released PDBs show, the state of our intel services is shockingly bad, and no one part of the government has all or even most of the facts. The war over the war--the war within State and among State and the Pentagon, with CIA siding mostly with State--is filling the Oval Office with smoke. The President relies on his top officers for information, and they're all telling him different things. Whom does he trust? He has been burned in the past by officials resigning and writing damaging tell-alls that the press spins into "proof" that either Bush isn't up to the job or that he led us to war on fraudulent arguments. He probably has current officials threatening to do the same if he acts on something that this official disagrees with. If Bush makes a big deal out of the Jordan WMD attack, for example, CIA will leak to the New York Times that there are problems with Jordan's methods of interrogations, or with some weak spot in the evidence, etc. At critical junctures throughout the war, we have seen damaging leaks designed to force the administration's hand on the issue of the moment. This must surely have made the President gun-shy about making strong public arguments or proposing initiatives related to the war. He has just been burned by his subordinates too many times, and doesn't know which subordinate will burn him next. Hint: Anyone who was there when you showed up in 2001 is likely to burn you. Clinton holdovers have proven to be a major thorn in the President's side.

We're engaged in a post-modern war, and our government is dysfunctional in its approach to it. Our opposition party does not subscribe to the war, thanks mostly to its old associations on the hard left and its heir apparent, a man who was part of the anti-American machine during the last post-modern war. In fact, most of those at the top of the Democrat party today played some role in the old anti-war movement or sympathized with it. Our majority party has a spine of jelly and won't confront the radicals to defeat them.

So we're in more trouble than I think most of us realize. We haven't lost, but we may be on the road to losing.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:59 PM | Comments (33) | TrackBack

SILVER BULLETS, "TORTURE RUMSFELD AND KILL BUSH," AND MAINSTREAMING FAKE PORN

At the risk of sounding overly partisan, many Democrats and elements of the "mainstream" press have taken sides in the war on terrorism. The side they have chosen isn't ours.

First up, Washington is a-whisper about Abu Ghraib. Some Democrats see the abuse scandal as their "silver bullet" to oust Bush:

Democrats on Capitol Hill are saying privately that the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal is the "silver bullet" they need to bring about President Bush's political demise this November, according to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

"I heard someone - and I would not be in a position to say who it was - but a Democrat staffer saying, 'Ah hah, this is the silver bullet we've been waiting for,'" Inhofe told radio host Sean Hannity on Tuesday.

The Oklahoma Republican noted that the comment dovetails with recent fundraising efforts by Sen. John Kerry, whose campaign now invokes U.S. abuse of Iraqi terror suspects in email solicitations.

Think about this for just a second. US troops do something awful in a war. Rather than circle the wagons aroung America while ferreting out the guilty for punishment, Democrats are gearing up to turn the whole thing into their number one weapon against Bush. And that's in spite of the fact that Bush had no role in the abuse scandal in any way, and the Democrats know it. It's also in spite of the fact that the scandal is demonstrably energizing our enemies, who are using it as an excuse to murder Americans. To these Democrats, that's all fine and nice if it helps them win in November. They'll consider Nick Berg a martyr to their cause.

One could be forgiven for calling them traitors for this one.

But wait, there's more. Al Franken's Air Anti-America is this war's Tokyo Rose. During World War II, US troops around the Pacific could tune in to hear the lovely, seductive voice of "Tokyo Rose," a woman broadcasting from the Japanese capital in flawless English detailing the futility of the war. Rose encouraged US troops to stop fighting, and tried to demoralize us and intimidate us, all with silky, sexy tones.

In our current war, Rose need not broadcast from the enemy capital. She is Randi Rhodes, and she's part of Al Franken's failure of a "liberal" talk radio network. What is Taliban Rhodes saying to those Americans so unfortunate as to tune her in? Oh...

Rock bottom came when she compared Bush and his family to the Corleones in the "Godfather" saga. "Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw," she said, imitating the sound of gunfire.

...just that President Bush should be taken out and dispatched, Bolshevik-style. Silver bullet through the head. The charming lass also said, pace Abu Ghraib, Sec Def Rumsefeld should be tortured. Islamicists need not develop their own propaganda anymore--"liberal" talk radio will suffice. Taliban Rhodes is on the job.

What the hell, Democrats? Is this what passes for your side's political discourse this year, or just what passes through your large intestine?

This is what you call "Air America?"

And last but surely not least, recall how the "mainstream" press bloviates about how bad bloggers are because we don't have editors. Well, the Boston Globe has an editor, and thus no excuse for this:

Boston residents got more than they bargained for this morning when their copy of the Globe came complete with graphic photos depicting U.S. troops gang-raping Iraqi women.

Problem is the photos are fake. They were taken from pornographic websites and disseminated by anti-American propagandists, as first reported by WND a week ago.

---

Asked whether the photos were the same as the porn photos WND already investigated, reporter Donovan Slack said, "I have no idea. I'm surprised the editor even decided we should write about it."

She added: "Oh my God, I'm scared to answer the phone today."

"It's insane," said Slack. "Can you imagine getting this with your cup of coffee in the morning? Somehow it got through all our checks. Our publisher's not having a very good day today."

"Not having a very good day today...?" Running late for a meeting is not having a very good day. Missing a deadline is not having a very good day.

Repeat after me: USING PORNOGRAPHIC IMAGES TO SMEAR AMERICAN TROOPS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE "HAVING A BAD DAY." It constitutes either a firable case of negligence or willful misrepresentation of the facts. Either way, the Globe should be searching for a new publisher by nightfall. If you have a suggestion, you can contact them here.

So where did the Globe get these bogus photos? Where else?

The photos accompanied an article about Boston city councilor Chuck Turner, who distributed the graphic photographs yesterday at a press conference with activist Sadiki Kambon. Turner told reporters the photos showed U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women.

---

Kambon, who is director of the Black Community Information Center, said at the news conference he received the photographs by e-mail from Akbar Muhammad, a representative for the Nation of Islam.

What do you wanna bet Turner is a Democrat? Here's a picture of the genial terrorist-symp, along with his contact information should you decide a polite yet strongly-worded letter is in order. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you.

Now, as to his source--no surprise, an Islamic connection! Shocking, ain't it? Leftist Democrats and Islamic terror fronts, like Martin and Lewis, just go together. So what's their motive?

Turner said he and Kambon were distributing the photos to force the Bush administration to release additional documentation of abuses, which Turner said are not limited to the prison, west of Baghdad.

Apparently Turner believes the abuse of Iraqi prisoners extends to Pennsylvania--that's where the porn site's owner resides.

The Globe's editors have failed their readers in a way that bloggers could not possibly mimic, and have attempted to do lasting damage to the war effort. They were aided and abetted by a "liberal" politician and two Islamic shills.

Democrats, liberals, this is your party and these are your allies--people who advocate assassinating the President and torturing the SecDef, people who will use a wartime setback as a political weapon, and who pass off fake pictures with the intent to smear American troops fighting and dying to guarantee our freedom and liberate a war-torn nation.

And you whine when bloggers question your patriotism...

UPDATE: Readers do the legwork so I don't have to...it turns out Councilman Turner is a Green Party member. Nevertheless, a lefty.

MORE: Not only did the Boston Globe publish the photo of four bogus GI abuse pictures, but they used no blurring whatsoever. I've just compared the Globe photo to a cache of the original Abasrah.net scam abuse website, which Junkyard Blog provided to the BBC, military investigators and others last week, and the photos do not match. Albasrah.net's "responsible editors" ran the same photos, but they at least used heavy blurring over the genitalia. In other words, we're not seeing the original hoax propagated. This is a new hoax being generated with fresh images (though the provider of the images may be the same person in both cases). So publishers for The NY Times Company just ran a photo of uncensored hardcore "rape" images pulled fresh off a porn site. The Weekly World News editors wouldn't be that gullible even if bat-boy was involved.

This scan from Drudge is of the news article and low-res photo. But if in doubt, do not click.

MORE: Solomonia reports:


I just heard Kambone on the radio. What a despicable character. He's sticking by the photos. He had excuses and placement of responsibility on everyone, everyone but himself. I kid you not. He started out talking about how these photos brought back in his mind images of the treatment of black women since the times of slavery, how they released them because the Bush Administration wasn't forthcoming enough, how we've been given that there are worse pictures coming out, how he was given them by a source he trusts, how they haven't been proven false to him yet...every single thing by way of avoiding admitting he had some responsibility himself. Of that, not one word.

And here's the latest standings in the European Media Division of the Prisoner Abuse Hoax Competition:

The British Government is expected to say Thursday that newspaper pictures of British troops allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners are fake, according to sources at the Ministry of Defence.

Armed forces minister Adam Ingram is likely to use an appearance in the House of Commons to reveal that an investigation into the Daily Mirror photographs has concluded they are not genuine.

The Mirror has published a string of photographs apparently showing British troops mistreating Iraqi prisoners.

But a Royal Military Police probe into the veracity of the pictures is understood to have concluded that they are false.

That will lead to renewed calls for Mirror editor Piers Morgan to resign.


UPDATE: A reader points out the latest in the Boston Herald:

``This photo should not have appeared in the Globe,'' editor Martin Baron said in a statement. ``First, images portrayed in the photo were overly graphic. Second, as the story clearly pointed out, those images were never authenticated as photos of prisoner abuse. There was a lapse in judgment and procedures, and we apologize for it.''

. . .The Globe ran a picture of Turner and Kambon displaying the images. In a large shot in the paper's early editions, pornographic details are clearly visible. In later editions, the photograph was reduced, making the images slightly more obscure. A number of news outlets - including the Herald and The Associated Press - attended the conference but did not run a story after determining the photos were highly suspicious.


So when the three Globe editors realized they made a huge mistake they kept running the photo with the porn "slightly" more obscured? Weird. Are they that personally invested in the photo?

And what about the Associated Press? Didn't they feel the need to report the smear of the troops? Didn't their editors feel that people peddling hoax abuse photos in a big press conference in a major city were worth exposing as frauds? I have a feeling that the propaganda of Muslims and minorities gets special protection. Had this porn been presented by the "moral majority" of right-wing evangelicals, the resultant Christian-bashing would have led the AP newswires.

MORE: A new update post here.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:01 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

May 11, 2004

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?

Coming soon to a city near you:

Berg_Behead.jpg

Our soft-on-terror Democrats and the Al Jazeera American press are all but guaranteeing that there will be more Nick Bergs, and they will be captured and killed right here on our streets.

Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn by no other.

And by the way, before anyone blames this act of brutality on Bush or the prisoner abuse scandal, these animals did the same thing to Daniel Pearl long before the invasion of Iraq, and long before any National Guard troop came into contact with any Iraqi insurgent. Their forebears were taking Americans prisoner and executing them when I was still in junior high. But I suppose that's Bush's fault too.

We're fighting 12th Century brutes. We'll either defeat them or they will drag us down to their level.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:54 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

CBS RAISES THE STAKES AFTER BEHEADING

60 Minutes II has responded to today's beheading of an American, prompted largely by their earlier broadcast, by expressing remorse raising the stakes. They saw the dripping blood from the severed neck of Nick Berg as positive feedback and just announced a new anti-American segment for tomorrow. The latest war crime? A U.S. soldier talked about Iraqi prisoners dying from spider bites. She said she didn't care about them or the ones that were shot for attacking guards. Plus she threw some rocks at some guys once and got in trouble! Oh the humanity! The biggest crime to liberals is, of course, not caring -- in this case about Iraqis and terrorists who kill Americans and other Iraqi civilians. It also turns out that, unlike most soldiers, this girl cares nothing about military professionalism. But CBS likes that about her.

To use a poker analogy for where we're at in the war now, President Bush and the troops are now caught in the middle of a deadly "raising war" between al Qaeda and the liberals at CBS (and elsewhere). Both groups are overplaying their hands, but the goal of the tactic is to get America to fold the winning hand. Soon everyone will catch on to what they're up to. The problem will still be that 45% of Americans don't care that liberals are working with the terrorists to achieve a common goal.

The pre-election bombing of Madrid, followed by coordinated media attacks on their President Aznar, got Spain to pull troops out of Iraq. That's the model for what were watching now. In the case of America, it started with Falluja followed immediately by media salvos on the Pentagon and those evil mercenary contractors. Remember that? The media actually smeared the four Blackwater contractors who were burned alive. Then Sadr's army attacked and the media quickly portrayed it as Iraq in total chaos, near civil war. It was suddenly "another Vietnam" and the terrorists literally began using Democrat talking points.

Now we've had an interesting reversal where 60 Minutes launches an attack against American interests followed by scores of other media attempts to say the war has already been lost. Even that failed to move John Kerry's numbers though. Then the terrorists follow up with a retaliatory beheading of another civilian and 60 Minutes II responds right away to cover their flank and prove how Americans were killers to. Nice work CBS. A Team bound, B Team cover. B Team bound, A Team cover. Back and forth they'll go, bearing down on President Bush until he quits fighting or is voted out in November.

Posted by Chris Regan at 07:31 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

MUQTEDDY AL-KENNEDY IS AT IT AGAIN

Nice to know that the Senator from Chappaquiddick can tell the difference between a few rogue soldiers and an entire state aparatus devoted to torture and murder.

Oh wait. He can't.

"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?'" said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."

Here's the audio clip. These remarks follow a long-standing pattern in which Kennedy exploits the latest setback to politicize the war and encourage our enemies. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) is not anti-war. He is on the other side.

Wake up, Democrats. You're supporting a traitor.

Oh wait. You are awake.

And you agree with Kennedy.

Ben Franklin wrote "Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn by no other."

You fools will soon learn what it means to lose a war if you keep going down the path you're on. Unfortunately, we'll all be right here to share in your harsh lesson.

(thanks to Hanks)

Posted by B. Preston at 04:46 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

%&*%*%&$$!!! SAVAGES

Arafat's ideological children at play:

Six soldiers of the Givati Brigade's engineering unit were killed instantly Tuesday morning, when terrorists detonated a large mine underneath their armored personnel carrier, setting off some 100 kilograms being carried inside.

The explosives were left over from an operation to demolish metal workshops used by terrorists to manufacture Kassam rockets and mortar shells in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City.

---

Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the attack and announced they are holding body parts of the dead soldiers, which were scattered hundreds of meters from the scene of the attack by the force of the blast. Officials from the terrorist organizations demanded to enter negotiations with Israel to exchange the body parts for Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Israel.

---

Shortly after the attack Arab television stations al-Manar, al-Jazeera, al-Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, as well as foreign networks, broadcast footage of masked, armed Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists parading the streets of Gaza displaying body parts of the dead soldiers, their weapons, and pieces of the wrecked APC. Al-Jazeera showed Islamic Jihad members holding up the head of one of the soldiers. Israel Television Channel 1, rebroadcasting the footage, electronically obscured the head.

How does one negotiate with someone recently seen hopping up and down in the street with a severed human head in tow?

Lock and load, that's how.

Nota bene, these freaks wore masks. So did the animals who beheaded Nick Berg, as did the terrorists who murdered Daniel Pearl, etc etc. So can we all agree that apparently these humanitarians don't mind donning a hood now and then?

Posted by B. Preston at 04:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

JOHN MCCAIN, ARABS COMPARE AMERICAN TROOPS TO NAZIS

Looks like we have somebody who wants to be John Kerry's VP or SecDef:


In some of the most incendiary criticism yet of the Iraqi prison abuse scandal, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is comparing U.S. mistreatment of detained Iraqi terror suspects to the kind of tactics employed by Adolf Hitler's "Gestapo" police.

Warning against taking the scandal too lightly, McCain told radio host Don Imus on Tuesday, "If you go down that slippery slope, OK - you decide, OK, well, this torture is OK - then what's the difference between us and the Gestapo?"

. . .When Imus countered that "having a pair of women's underwear pulled over your head was better than having your fingernails pulled out by a pair of pliers," the former Vietnam War POW replied:

"Oh, absolutely. But, as I say, I worry about it being a slippery slope and I also hear rumors of things that were worse than that."


You know McCain is being a partisan hack when Don Imus has to remind him what being a prisoner of war is really like. NBC had to go to the Middle East to find people who love the camera as much as, and sound a lot like, John McCain:

The broadcast and cable network newscasts led once again Monday night with multiple stories on the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. . . .

NBC went so far as to air a claim that Rumsfeld reminds one Egyptian journalist of a “neo-Nazi character” and how an Arab businessman thinks U.S. treatment of prisoners “is not Jeffersonian democracy. It’s more like a lesson from Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf.”

MORE: Here's something related to a comment I made earlier about having some personal perspective on this issue. For those who want to experience what it was probably like as an Iraqi POW in the hands of a bad, but not horrible, American captor -- while preparing yourself for a possible abduction as a civilian in a warzone -- it will cost your $1500:


Soon, the endless cycle of torture, questions, uncomfortable positions, and more questions began. . . .

"We have a surprise for you, Little Man," he whispered, and then he pushed me into a box no bigger than the space beneath your kitchen sink.'

That's when all the water I'd [been forced to drink] kicked in.

. . .My first interrogator greeted me with a flurry of slaps and questions, trying to get me to blurt my secrets. The second preyed on my compassion, torturing [another prisoner] whenever I refused to answer. In between inquisitors, the guards kept me busy with [painful] positions like the dying koala, which made the interrogations an appreciated change of pace.

. . .An eternity later (actually about 14 hours), I met a new interrogator. Instead of throwing accusations or slaps, he handed me peanuts - the first mouthful of food I'd seen in ten hours. He pretended to be a peacekeeper, but I was onto him, dodging all requests and questions with bogus answers. It seemed all too easy, which is when I realized that something was horribly wrong.

"Kill him!" he shouted, motioning for a guard. "I have everything I need!"

Turns out he'd tricked me, even before the first question. Again, I wouldn't want to ruin it for future campers, but if only I had looked more closely at my surroundings....

One tug of the hood meant death and the return to reality. "Welcome back, soldier," said Delta's second-in-command, extending his hand. Only now did I understand the reward: Having the nation's best mind manipulators tell you that you've got a huge set of cojones is the ultimate stroke to any man's ego.

I asked for my pants back.


It's like a Skull and Bones initiation on steroids, and to say it really sucks would be an understatement as big as John McCain's ridiculous overstatements. But you'll gain perspective on the Abu Ghraib hysteria, learn a lot about yourself and learn how to survive an abduction or POW scenario -- unless 60 Minutes II decides to play up some mild abuse of terrorists again and cause your real-life captors to chop your head off as a Viacom valentine.

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

THE 17 GOVT OFFICIALS NOTIFIED OF PRISON ABUSE

Here's the list of the shameless 17 who were given a chance to take up the case before it went public on 60 Minutes II:

Lawson, the uncle of one of the accused soldiers, Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick, gave NewsMax.com the names of the 16 members of Congress and West Virginia's governor as well as the text of the explosive letters in a series of faxes.

Here are the the 17 names, all Democrats except for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Sgt. Frederick's congressman:

Senators Jack Reed, Mark Dayton, Robert Byrd, Bill Nelson, Evan Bayh, Mark Pryor, Edward Kennedy, Benjamin Nelson, Hillary Clinton, Joseph Lieberman, Daniel Akaka, Paul Sarbanes, John D. Rockefeller, Governor Mark Warner and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.

Senator Byrd's office would not even accept the letter e-mailed to him on the grounds it was too long.

Bartlett said he was looking into the matter.

Sarbanes said he had written the the "appropriate officials."

Rockefeller begged off on the grounds that he was barred by privacy rules.

Senator Joe Lieberman is the only one of these members of Congress who has defended Donald Rumsfeld and the world's mission in Iraq.

In fact, Senators Reed and Dayton were nearly abusive in holding the feet of Sec. Rumsfeld, Gen. Myers et alii to the fire last week - and here we find that they knew of the abuse allegations months ago.


Joe Lieberman is the only one who isn't being a shameless partisan.

UPDATE: Here comes the blowback that Don Hewitt and 60 Minutes can use to get more ratings:


CAIRO, Egypt - A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site appeared to show a group affiliated with al-Qaida beheading an American in Iraq (news - web sites), saying the death was revenge for the prisoner-abuse scandal.

The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit who identified himself as an American from Philadelphia.

After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and cutting off his head with a large knife. They then held the head out before the camera.


Don Hewitt and CBS execs must be rubbing their hands together in glee like Mr Burns from the Simpsons.

"Excellent...What good is money if it can't inspire terror in your fellow man?"
- Montgomery Burns

Posted by Chris Regan at 12:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

SADDAM, ATTA AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Laurie Mylroie adds to the persistent story of Mohammed Atta's pre-911 visit with an Iraqi agent in Prague. She also adds a very interesting angle to one of the more interesting aspects of the story:

Opinion polls show that most Americans still believe Iraq had substantial ties to al Qaeda and even that it was involved in 9/11. Yet among the “elite,” there is tremendous opposition to this notion. A simple explanation exists for this dichotomy. The public is not personally vested in this issue, but the elite certainly are.

America’s leading lights, including those in government responsible for dealing with terrorism and with Iraq, made a mammoth blunder. They failed to recognize that starting with the first assault on New York’s World Trade Center, Iraq was working with Islamic militants to attack the United States. This failure left the country vulnerable on September 11, 2001. Many of those who made this professional error cannot bring themselves to acknowledge it; perhaps, they cannot even recognize it. They mock whomever presents information tying Iraq to the 9/11 attacks; discredit that information; and assert there is “no evidence.” What they do not do is discuss in a rational way the significance of the information that is presented. I myself have experienced this many times, including in testimony before the 9/11 Commission, when as I responded to a Commissioner’s question, a fellow panelist repeatedly interrupted, screeching “That is not evidence,” even as C-SPAN broadcast the event to the entire country.

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke is a prime example of this phenomenon. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Yet as we know now, thanks to Epstein’s work, Czech intelligence at that point had already informed their CIA liaison that they had tentatively identified Mohammed Atta as the Arab whom al-Ani had met on April 8, 2001.

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

If Mylroie is right, it would mean we've been fighting essentially a false flag war since 9-11. We've been swatting away at al Qaeda when they're just the hired guns. Iraq would be the power behind the killers, or more properly, would have been the power behind the killers, because Bush took care of the threat last year.

You can also tie up another little loose thread with this data. Shortly after 9-11 we experienced a wave of anthrax attacks which killed 5 but terrorized the country. Cipro became the botox of the time; all the fashionable people were taking it. Authorities believed that the as yet unknown assailants were domestic, because the strains of anthrax used came from our own labs. But it's not exactly a secret that in the 1970s and 80s we provided Iraq with anthrax strains, which they claimed they needed to study and develop anthrax vaccines. Perhaps they spent that time weaponizing the critters.

The anthrax attacks probably didn't work as intended. The first, sent to American Media, Inc. (which someone not terribly familiar with the US seems to have confused as the actual media of the United States, housed in one building in Florida), killed one man in the mailroom and made a few others sick. It came with a letter spouting the usual terrorist claptrap--"Death to America, Allahu Akhbar," that sort of thing. The terrorists probably expected, based on sensationalized bioweapon stories in the press, that anthrax would kill millions starting with wiping out the "American media."

But it didn't. And then we threatened to attack Iraq. And suddenly the anthrax killer or killers stopped. Why?

Did he die in one of the 9-11 flights, his letters having already reached their destinations? Or did his master in Baghdad decide to recalculate and recalibrate, laying low until the Great Satan had punched himself silly at the UN where Saddam's oily allies were ready to spring a new trap? Or both?

So many questions, so few answers.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 10, 2004

MS. GORELICK, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!

Though she still sits as a member in good standing on the cult-like 9-11 Commission, Jamie Gorelick's firewall is at the heart of what went wrong in the years leading up the attack. Her 1995 memo, probably more than any other single government decision of the last decade plus, led to the deaths of 3,000 and a terrible, divisive war:

More than a year before 9/11, CIA officials prevented an FBI agent working with the CIA from passing vital information to his agency on two suspected al Qaeda members — men who later would become Sept. 11 hijackers.

U.S. officials told ABCNEWS the agent wanted to warn his FBI bosses about a gathering in Malaysia where al Qaeda suspects Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhamzi met with suspects in the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen.

After the meeting, CIA officials learned Al-Midhar and Alhamzi had visas to enter the United States, the U.S. officials said.

"The failure to communicate that info to the FBI, which would have been potentially able to act on it, is a very serious failure," said Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general who now works for a private consulting firm.

---

Al-Midhar and Alhamzi could have been placed on a terrorism watch list, and U.S. customs and border officials might have spotted them. There were not put on the watch list until August 2001, just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Al-Midhar left the United States and came back just two months before 9/11 attacks — no questions asked. He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, using his own name. Then he disappeared until Sept. 11, 2001.

Bromwich described the missed opportunity as "frustrating, troubling, tragic."

"I think the failure of our government to work in the way we hoped it would is a deep set back in our confidence that our government can protect us," he said.

He failed to add that it was also standing policy, left over like so many bad political appointments from the Clinton era.

Will Gorelick ever be held accountable, or at least required to testify? Nah. In the Democrats you have a party that kept its Attorney General when she authorized a botched raid that ended up killing scores of Americans, including women and children. You have a party that rewards official criminals like Bill Clinton, nominates confessed war criminals like John Kerry to the presidency, all the while demanding the resignation of SecDef Donald Rumsfeld though there is no allegation whatsoever that he has done anything wrong.

And you can bet that if they get him out of the Pentagon, they'll hold up confirmation on any replacement until at least November. They would leave us without a Secretary of Defense for six months in the middle of a war if they thought it would help them win the White House.

So they'll keep protecting Sister Gorelick, and Republicans will keep failing to hold her accountable.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PRESIDENT KERRY

Confessed war criminal John Kerry wants Americans to believe that he would be a steady captain of the ship of state. In any time, guiding America is a solemn duty; in a time of war, the world literally depends on the American president's judgment. Our nation can liberate millions, or incinerate billions, or choose to do nothing when someone else is either killing or "liberating" millions. What our nation does depends largely on what our president decides to do.

What kind of president would John Kerry make? Is there any way we can learn from him or his past what he would do with the power of the presidency in his grasp? How would President Kerry choose whom to call friend and foe? How would he understand the world and America's place in it?

In 1971, 27-year-old John Kerry was yet too young to run for the White House but not too young to run for Congress. He did, and failed, but not before becoming perhaps the most famous Vietnam dissident of the moment. On America's actions in that war, a war to halt the spread of Communism into vulerable southeast Asian states, Kerry decided to spread blanket denunciations and accusations, levelling charges of war crimes up and down the entire American chain of command. He said the men he today calls his "band of brothers" were in fact a band of murderers, rapists and oppressors. He met with representatives of the government his "band of brothers" were at that moment in combat against, and took their wartime talking points as his own. By any objective sense, Kerry chose in 1971 and thereafter until the Vietnam war ended to take the side of an enemy against America.

But that was Vietnam, a confusing war. What about since then?

In the 1980s, the titanic struggle against Communism was at its zenith. President Reagan came to Washington as perhaps the only major politician of either party who actually believed it was still possible to win the Cold War, and he set about putting policies in place to roll back the Leninist empire where and how he could. Among Reagan's policies was a controversial effort in Central America. The USSR had established little beachheads in our backyard in an attempt to extend its empire and create a little exposure along America's southern flank. Nicaragua, El Salvador and several other states came into Moscow's orbit.

Reagan rightly viewed this turn of events as unacceptable and started funding anti-Communist resistance forces. In Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas ruled with a Stalinist flavor, Reagan funded and trained the Contras, an indigenous force determined to oust Daniel Ortega's brutal and despised Communist junta.

The Contras became controversial largely because Democrats such as Senator John Kerry made them that way. Displaying a tendency that has since become a laughable pattern, Kerry stepped off a plane in Nicaragua in April 1985, pronounced it another Vietnam and castigated President Reagan for making the same mistakes Nixon made in Southeast Asia. Kerry, Sen. Tom Harkin and several other leftists in government soon became known as "Dear Commandante Democrats." They set foot in foreign soil and, among other things, falsely accused the Reagan administration of funding terrorism against Nicaragua.

Reagan's policy was eventually vindicated in the form of a Cold War won and a democratic Latin America that rejected Communism the first chance it had. Senator Kerry was on the wrong side of history and acted against his country's stated foreign policy, perhapd the only parallel between Central America and Vietnam, though he wasn't as effective in Nicaragua as he had been a decade earlier. America actually won this time in spite of his efforts.

Along the way, Kerry tried to turn the Contras into drug kingpins, and even tried to gin up conspiracy theories worthy of Art Bell: He tried to tie Vice President George H. W. Bush directly to the illegal drug trade via the Contras. He used a Senate Committee and its taxpayer-funded resources to explore these baseless charges. He was unsuccessful because the facts disagreed with him.

Throughout the 1980s, Kerry voted against a string of weapons systems that the Pentagon wanted to develop. Among them, the B1 and B2, the Apache helicopter and a host of systems that make up the bulk of our modern fighting force. If Kerry had had his way on those votes, it's fair to say that the US would have a force today not much different from the one in which Kerry actually served in 1968. Not agile, not modern, and not capable of ousting two murderous, terrorist regimes in the space of less than two years.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded tiny neighboring Kuwait and annexed it as Iraq's "19th province." President George H. W. Bush marshalled the world to wage war and eject Saddam from Kuwait. Though controversial at the time, in hindsight that Gulf War has come to be seen by most Americans as a no-brainer--we couldn't in good conscience leave Saddam in possession of territory won through naked aggression, and couldn't leave so much of the world's oil supply in his grip or near enough for him to grasp whenever he pleased. Senator John Kerry, however, had a different view at the time. He voted against the resolution authorizing force in 1990. If he had had his way, Saddam Hussein would likely own most of the Middle East by now. He would certainly own Kuwait and almost as certainly own Saudi Arabia, and could singlehandedly dictate the price of oil on global markets.

John Kerry has become known this year for being a shameless and artless flip-flopper, but that characterization is only partly fair. When asked a direct question, Kerry's tendency is to equivocate. When speaking to different audiences with different interests, Kerry is likely to tell them he believes different--even contradictory--things, and when questioned about this he descends into a hall of mirrors where only the liguistically daring venture to follow him. But on the use of American power, Kerry is remarkably consistent. He is against its use, votes against its development and modernization, and once deployed has worked on more than one occassion to see that American power failed. Though he expresses shock at recent evidence of US troop crimes committed in Iraq, Kerry falsely accused American troops of committing far worse during Vietnam, apparently for purely personal and political reasons.

So what kind of president would Kerry make? I'll leave that decision up to you, based hopefully in part on the evidence I have presented here. If you'd like more detail about any of the things mentioned here, please read Jay Nordlinger's article, "Back in Sandinista Days" in this month's National Review.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

WAR MESSAGES

There is much at stake this election, more than any probably since 1860. If--and it's still a big "if"--President Bush is defeated in November, it will send a message to several recipients around the world.

To future presidents and contenders for the presidency, it will mark the second time in the last three presidencies that a wartime president has been turned out of office after one term. Both happened to have been named "Bush," but you can go back further and see that LBJ was turned out in the middle of a war that demagogues had made unpopular, Nixon won re-election in the middle of that same war in part by basing his case on "peace with honor" as opposed to victory at all or even any cost. Carter was turned out because he was truly weak and incompetent. Reagan pulled out of Lebanon and, while he fought Soviet Communism into extinction, didn't do much more than bomb the Middle East at crisis points. Bush 41 actually sent troops to the Middle East and won a war there, only to lose his job to "it's the economy stupid." Clinton assiduously avoided serious committment to the Middle East, pinprick bombed frequently and, at particular crisis points, engaged in aerial campaigns--but never put boots on the ground in any combat zone. More than any other US president, Clinton legitimized terrorists by accepting Yassir Arafat as a "partner in peace," and reinforced their strategies by pulling out of Somalia at the first sign of trouble. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton all won second terms. Bush 43, if he loses, will become the second president in a row to commit US troops to combat and end up out of office after one term. Additionally, we will have replaced with an uber peacenik, a man who used anti-American Communist propaganda to help defeat the US in an earlier war and who has a dismal record on defense issues as a senator. Message to future presidents: Don't take this country to war, even if it's fully justified. You'll lose your job.

To our enemies around the world: Wait us out a while and you can defeat us without defeating us. Bush's loss will signal a lack of voter support for the war, first and foremost. Pressure will build on Kerry's left, assuming Kerry is still the nominee by November, to pull out of Iraq as soon as possible. The squishy center will likely add to that pressure, since it will have been largely responsible for tipping the scales against Bush. A majority will have said, in effect, all you have to do is shame us to defeat us. We'll change leadership, and we'll demand a pullout. Even if we win every single actual battle on the ground, and even if it means condemning the millions we have recently liberated to another life at the mercy of mullahs and warlords.

To everyone else: We don't believe in ourselves. We call ourselves the "city on a hill" and a beacon of freedom, but a collection of awful photographs and videos depicting the actions of the worst among us will shame the rest of us and shatter our national self-confidence. So no one should buy our national myths anymore, because that's exactly what they are--myths. We're not that America that stood for freedom and liberation. We're not capable of liberating, and don't really believe we're free. If we did believe we are a liberating force, Abu Ghraib would become a negative blip in an otherwise largely positively run war. But we're far past that point already, with the Democrats politicizing Abu Ghraib every chance they get and promising to pile on in the coming weeks.

To Osama bin Laden: You were right about us. We're political hemophiliacs. Prick us and we not only bleed, we bleed to death.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

WHAT PRISONER ABUSE STORY?

Dateline: Iraq


It is Friday, May 7, 2004, the Muslim "weekend."

And the news here is apparently much different than there. From my early morning looks at the news channels, it looks like the "prisoner story" is dominating the national news. It appears to us to be taking on all the signs of an overreaction to a very negative and unfortunate incident.

It's amazing to us that people are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation or firing. Interestingly, it's mostly a non-event for most of the Iraqis with whom we work or meet. A typical reaction came from one of our key staff I'll call Abdul. He has a degree in English literature, is in his mid-30s, served in the Iraqi Army during the Iraq-Iran War, has a side business in women's cosmetics, and works with us in the coordination of several of our social institutions. He is somewhat typical of the many more educated Iraqis.

When I questioned him about how most Iraqis view the prisoner abuse story, his first reaction was a startled stare. He didn't really even connect with my question. When I explained more fully, he said, "Well, actually, sir, to be quite honest with you, we think that it represents a small dot on a large piece of paper. We know that the hearts of almost all Americans are good and they do so much good for our people. And remember, sir, we lived under Saddam for nearly 30 years. To be quite honest with you, sir, we believe that the media is not fair and has not been fair for this entire war. After all, we Iraqis watch every despicable act committed by terrorists as they are glorified by Al Jazeera."

Nearly all our translators and Iraqi staff indicate basically the same thing. Many Iraqis, even those who have televisions and watch Al Jazeera, are mostly nonplussed by the prisoner story.


To generate more publicity for the abuse, the U.S. Military is organizing a public show trial in Baghdad. It's frustratingly hard to generate an insane O.J. trial level of buzz in a third world nation where people are deprived of a TV news scandal culture, but officials feel it's worth a shot.

The Abu Ghraib affair, which came to light after CBS television published pictures of US troops abusing Iraqi prisoners, has generated less heat in Iraq than elsewhere.

But that may change as the US military yesterday confirmed that there would be no Iraqi role in the trials - as some Iraqis, including members of the US-appointed Governing Council, have been demanding.

In addition, the maximum sentence for those found guilty is likely to be one year in detention, military lawyers confirmed yesterday.

"This is a US court martial. The judges are Americans. No Iraqis," a US military lawyer said yesterday in Baghdad. If released, the accused could not be retried, he added, citing the rules of double jeopardy.

The announcement came as forces loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric wanted by the US, yesterday tried to bring an escalation of a month-long insurrection from cities in the south to a largely Shia neighbourhood of Baghdad.

Hundreds of young men, armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, took to the streets of Madinat Sadr, a largely Shia suburb of Baghdad, witnesses said.


After we export scandal-hysteria to Iraq, then further confuse and anger the locals with the idiosyncracies of the UCMJ, smart terrorists will use the new publicity to generate an uprising for the worldwide media circus that comes to town. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few in the media negotiating with Iraqis to set up hidden camera stings on U.S. troops.

UPDATE: You know it's going to be a show trial when your spokesman has to deny it's going to be a show trial. Maybe Paul Bremer should have Sadr's Mahdi army strip the prison guards naked, tie them to what used to be Saddam's statue and give them all 30 lashes. Mel Gibson could document it for distribution on Al Jazeera. Then people would really, really understand how sorry we are.

The latest word is that we're resisting televising the Baghdad trial, so it's not technically a "show trial." Congress and the 9/11 Commission have a monopoly there still. But I wouldn't be shocked to see Bush give in and order it to be televised.

UPDATE: NY Times has more:


The military has emphasized that the trials will be open to the news media and the public, though not to electronic coverage. None of that is unusual. On the other hand, it is the rare trial that is held, as Specialist Sivits's will be, in the Baghdad convention center.

"There's public and there's public," Mr. Fischer said. "They don't normally hold them in convention centers and print out fliers."

The exceptionally public nature of the trial, coupled with the certainty of no more than mild punishment and the possibility of none at all, may create public relations problems.

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack