Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

>CNN Flying Pig Moment on Iraq

April 27, 2007 1 comment

>CNN is pretty much in lock-step with the rest of the left wing mainstream media and, therefore, it’s always a surprise when they put something to air that’s against what the Democrats are saying in Washington.

Michael Ware and Kyra Phillips, who both report from Iraq, talked to American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry.

As reported by Newsbusters in their article: CNN’s Ware: Troop Pullout Debate Is ‘Delusional,’ Would Hand Iraq to al Qaeda:

Left-wing blogs loved it when CNN’s Michael Ware rebuked Senator John McCain a few weeks ago, after McCain suggested he could safely walk through areas of Baghdad. But this morning on CNN, Ware took dead aim at Democratic schemes for pulling out of Iraq, saying that debating a U.S. troop withdrawal was “delusional” and such a step would amount to “giving Iraq to Iran…and al Qaeda. That’s who would own it.”

Ware also provided an interesting insight into how the battle in Iraq has shifted from Anbar province and Baghdad, areas where the U.S. has built up troop levels, to Diyala province, which he described as “the new frontline against al Qaeda.”

Apparently Ware has no doubt that al Qaeda has made Iraq a central front in their battle against the U.S., and that the U.S. pulling out would hand al Qaeda a huge victory.

Baghdad correspondent Ware was joined on Thursday’s CNN’s American Morning with Kyra Phillips, who has also been reporting from Iraq for the past several months. Both were in New York and talked to co-host Kiran Chetry during the program’s 8am EDT hour.

After Phillips talked about how U.S. General David Petraeus is “a straight shooter” who has admitted difficulty in some provinces in Iraq, Ware focused on the fighting northeast of Baghdad:

“Diyala is now the new frontline against al-Qaeda. I mean, to be honest, it’s a tragically bloody affair. The brigade that was there last year lost 19 troops in 12 months. The brigade there now has lost 50 in six months.

“And you listen very carefully to what General Petraeus says, he says ‘This is what we would like to see, a representative government.’ When I was in Diyala province, I interviewed a two-star general on camera for CNN, and he admitted for the first time from anyone in the military that they’re now prepared to accept options other than democracy.

“Now this is what this war was sold to the American public on, yet they’re now saying democracy isn’t mandatory, it’s an option, and that they’re prepared to see a government that can protect itself, give services to its people, and it doesn’t have to be democratic. In fact, the general said, most of our allies in this region are not democratic. So that fundamentally addresses the root cause of why America says it went to war, and now the military is saying, well, we may not get there.”

Then, after talking about the difficulty of daily life in Iraq, Chetry asked the pair “would all of us, all the American troops pulling out, help the situation?”

Phillips and Ware both loudly protested: “Oh, no! No. No way!”

Phillips zeroed in on the problems a U.S. withdrawal would cause for the Iraqis: “It would be a disaster. I mean, I had a chance to sit down with the Minister of Defense, to General Petraeus, to Admiral Fallon, head of CENTCOM. I asked them all the question whether Iraqi or U.S. military — there is no way U.S. troops could pull out. It would be a disaster. They’re doing too much training, they’re helping the Iraqis not only with security, but trying to get the government up and running. I mean, this is a country of ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ there’s so much corruption still. If the U.S. military left — they have rules of engagement, they have an idea, a focus. It would be a disaster.”

Ware agreed, but argued that winning the war was in America’s best interest: “Well, even more than that, if you just wanted to look at it in terms of purely American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you’re giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil,’ and al Qaeda. That’s who will own it. And so, coming back now, I’m struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you’re for this war, or against it; whether you’ve supported the way it’s been executed, or not; it doesn’t matter. You’ve broke it, you’ve got to fix it now. You can’t leave, or it’s going to come and blow back on America.”

Video (1:15): Real (2 MB) or Windows (2.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (392 KB)

Michael Ware is a noted critic of the administration. For him to be getting stuck into the Democratic Party confirms that their stance on the war is miles off target. He’s in Iraq. He can see the danger. They can’t.

Categories: Iraq, War On Terror

>Virgina Tech versus Iraq

>The always interesting and informative Diogenes Lamp highlights a letter to the socialist rag, The Age (Australian equivalent of The Guardian), which beautifully demolishes the ridiculous comparisons the Left are making between the Virginia Tech tragedy and what’s going on in Iraq in a post called Age sensible letter of the week. Here’s the full post:

And a superb letter it is. The Age has attracted a number of letters comparing the death toll of the Virginia Tech shootings with deaths in Iraq. The Left do their utmost to try to put it over that it is the United States that is killing all these people in Iraq. That the killing is being done by fanatical, psychopathic Muslims is carefully never mentioned. The United States is trying to STOP the mayhem.

In this letter Bruce M. Stillman describes the situation in Iraq perfectly. The United States is the police, trying to bring order out of chaos.

A PARALLEL could be drawn between the tragedy in Iraq and the tragedy in Virginia. But only if the students had attacked the police when they arrived on the university campus to apprehend the deranged murderer and then proceeded to form into groups and attack each other.

These attacks would have been carried out in the most barbaric fashion possible, and would have targeted those students and staff who did not wish to join in the general mayhem and/or who assisted the police.

Meanwhile, the staff would have split and taken sides with whichever faculty they favoured and then provided at least tacit support for their chosen student groups, while at the same time indulging in intrigue and personal enrichment.

An endless succession of pointless meetings and discussions would have taken place at which time the main topic of conversation would be to do with the activity of the police along with calls for them to leave the campus ASAP. All this would have been exacerbated by staff and students at neighbouring universities sending weapons to selected faculties on the increasingly chaotic campus.

The non-university population, meanwhile, would blame the police, arguing that they should have stayed away from the university and left control of the situation to the staff and students presently dismembering each other. After all, it was the police intervention that converted them to cold-blooded barbarians. Otherwise they would have been nice, civilised, caring human beings.
Bruce M. Stillman, Fitzroy North

Let’s get this straight: the United States overthrew a barbaric totalitarian mass murderer, who had overseen the murder of hundreds of thousands, and very likely millions, of people.

America knew that Saddam’s dethronement would lead to chaos. But nobody could have predicted the lunacy of Islamicists using Iraq to conduct an insane religious war, and even using their own children as human bombs.

And nobody did. The Democrats in the last five and a half years have not offered one suggestion of how the war against Islamic terrorism should be fought (and it must be fought. If September 11 2001 was not a horrific act of war, then neither was the Nazi invasion of Poland, nor the attack on Pearl Harbour).

Our own whingers have done no better. Phillip Adams complains about the war in Iraq, but regarding what is to be done in response to the 2001 terrorist attack, or the 2002 Bali bombing, or the 2005 bombing of the London tube, or a thousand other acts committed by bloodthirsty Islamic fanatics, Adams and his ilk have nothing to offer.

One is reminded of the words of Cicero:

I criticise by creation, not by finding fault.

Anyway, thank you Bruce. That was one hell of a letter.

And thank you, Diogenes, for bringing that insightful letter to people’s attention. A large number of people on the Left started making Iraq comparisons with unseemly haste in a horrible display of partisan politics. While that behaviour is not the sole domain of the Left at least the Right knows they’re wrong when they do it.

Categories: Iraq, United States

>Iraq The Model asks the right questions

April 22, 2007 1 comment

>Iraq The Model is a terrific website, written by two Iraqis living in Baghdad, that provides a candid view of what’s really going on in Iraq. I refer to it often and I suggest that you bookmark it and check in as often as possible.

End the war: Right message sent to the wrong address.

What did the last wave of terror attacks and the many crimes committed against our people all this time reveal?

If we look at how the media handles the situation we’ll find something like this almost everywhere; Dozens killed, scores wounded in attacks suggest failure of security measures…

It’s as if the speaker here wants to only emphasize the defect in security measures in a way that honestly angers and disgusts me.

There’s a pretty good reason it appears that they only what to emphasise defeat. The mainstream media is in lock step with the goals of the Democratic Party, which is heavily invested in ensuring defeat in order to improve its chances of taking the White House in 2008. A stable Iraq is bad news for the Left.

When shall they realize, if ever, that we are dealing with brutal crimes against humanity, a genocide against the people of Iraq? Why don’t people talk about the cruelty of the crimes and expose the obvious goals of the terrorists behind the crimes? Isn’t it everyone’s duty to expose the criminals, describe their sick ways and purposes and alert the world about the danger?

It is, indeed, everyone’s duty. The problem is that the majority of the population in the West are no longer allowed to make value judgements, to apply the label ‘evil’ to situations for which it is obviously appropriate or to take sides in spite of the blindingly obvious threat that presents itself on a daily basis. As for the concept of ‘duty’, well…

Where are the media when terrorists use chlorine poisonous gas, acids, and ball bearings to kill and hurt more and more civilians in utter disregard to all written and unwritten laws, ethics and values? I understand it’s the duty of the media to practice scrutiny over the work of governments but isn’t it equally their duty to expose criminals and their evil deeds?

Where are the media? At home, thinking up ways to stick it to the governments in Australia, the US and Britain; publishing national security secrets that allow terrorists to avoid future detection; giving mentally deranged mass-killers a platform to immortalise themselves; participating in completely false attacks on Scooter Libby, Alberto Gonzalez and, recently, Paul Wolfowitz; perpetrating the myth of the deliberate outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent; whitewashing the brazen security breaches of Sandy Berger and the unbelievable corruption of Congressman Jefferson; promoting the most hysterically apocalyptic predictions of Global Warming; blaming the indefensible crimes of self-identified ‘victim’ groups on, basically, white males; and generally doing whatever they can to attack those exceptional people and institutions that built the West into the vibrant, decent and pluralistic society that it is today.

It’s frustrating to see the media turn a blind eye to the nature of the crimes and open fire on an honest endeavor to restore peace to a bleeding nation. I’m sure the terrorists are pleased by the coverage. Why not, when their crimes are being portrayed as successful breakthroughs against the efforts of Iraq and America it’s likely motivating them to keep up the killing.

Of course it’s motivating them to keep up the killing. If the media turned around tomorrow and started supporting the Coalition and attacking the atrocities carried out by terrorists then the tide of the war would change tomorrow. Think about that for a while…makes you wonder about the moral fibre of the media, doesn’t it?

Would it be “hate speech” to expose the terrorists for what they are? I think our hate for their crimes must not be hidden; there is no shame in hating those blood-thirsty monsters.

Yes, in today’s morally inverted world it would be “hate speech”, as you would have to identify one group and compare them negatively to another. Don’t forget that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, or so the Left will have us believe. Has there ever been a more inane statement? Perhaps “I’m already against the next war” might top it but not by far.

Even more appalling I see and hear some people who think the solution is to end the war from our end and I can’t find an argument more naïve than this — I’ve seen enough wars in my life that I can’t remember a day when there was peace and I hate wars more than they can imagine. But we didn’t start his war; it’s the terrorists who started this war against life.

Instead of telling us to stop fighting back, I’d like to see some people stand up and protest the crimes of the terrorists and tell them to stop the killing and destruction…turn the stop-the-war campaign against the terrorists, is that too much to ask for?

The Left believes that you are not able to be democratised because it’s against your culture. Apparently, you are too barbaric to accept the mantle of liberty. The Left remains blind to the arrant racism of this position. The Right believes that all people have the capability and desire to express their free will. The contrast in attitude to race could not be starker.

Tell the criminals to stop killing us and stop attacking the people who are risking their lives fighting for liberty and equality. We’re not asking the media and the stop-the-war crowd to carry arms and shoot the terrorists; we just want them to stop shooting at us.

The Left only attacks easy targets. Christians, white males, the United States, conservatives. In spite of the atrocities committed by the most appalling people on earth you will never get them to stop taking shots at you while you are an ally of the US. George Galloway was on Saddam’s payroll for frigsake and look how he is still lionised by the Guardian and New York Times. Democrats fall over themselves in the rush to visit Syria and Iran in order to pay homage to murderous, dangerous thugs. While ever Iraq seeks democracy and freedom you will get no help from the Left.

Categories: Iraq, Media

>When is a little bit of contact too much?

>For many years the Los Angeles Police Department battled to control the activities of the Crips, a notorious gang with roots extending back to the late 1960s. The Crips’ main activities include dealing drugs and undertaking robberies. They protect their turf by intimidating opponents and murdering those that overstep the mark. Over the years an unwritten ‘agreement’ between the Crips and the LAPD meant that as long as the Crips confined their activities to the area south of the river the police would only take action against those that went too far or strayed out of their territory. For many years this arrangement held and the majority of people tended to forgot about the Crips, especially those that didn’t live in their area.

In the late 1990s the LAPD became aware of a new gang, the Creed, led by the charismatic Tupaq Obin. The Creed was quite different to gangs that had existed previously. It was much more focused, organised and well led by a small group of talented individuals that employed a new strategy with different tactics that the LAPD had not encountered previously. Unlike the Crips, whose activities occurred on a daily basis, the Creed confined itself to large scale robberies and contracted killings, on an irregular basis. The small, secretive nature of the organisation made it impossible for the police to penetrate and gain intelligence into its activities. The public quickly became aware of the Creed due to the fact that they were much more violent than other gangs and, after one particularly egregious incident, the cry went up to do something about them.

The LAPD set out to infiltrate the Creed or any associates, no matter how tenuous the links, in order to gain the intelligence they needed. Despite minor early successes it took some years before they started to piece together a picture of the Creed and its associates – and what they saw was profoundly disturbing for it appeared that the Creed were forming links with the Crips with a view to expanding their strength and influence. Most of this intelligence came from within the Crips and indicated that while direct contact between Tupaq Obin and the Crips’ leadership hadn’t taken place – basically, they hadn’t yet built up a basis for trust – there was an increasing link between lieutenants on either side. The LAPD understood the profound consequences of a combined Crips-Creed gang and stepped up efforts to deal with the threat.

Naturally, the LAPD was under heavy pressure from politicians and the media for greater success against the increased lawlessness on the street and, on the basis of increasing activity by the Crips and their links to the Creed, chose to deal with the threat by reducing the Crips’ ability to operate. Their method was to significantly increase the number of police operating south of the river and, indeed, achieved notable success when they captured significant members of the Crips’ leadership. Upon further investigation it turned out that the LAPD had read too much in to the intelligence and, while there was certainly some contact between the two groups, there was little evidence of co-operation in any operational sense.

Of course, I made all of that up to make a point.

For the Crips substitute Iraq, for the Creed, Al Qaeda, and Tupaq Obin is Osama bin Laden.

In my construction, is it reasonable for the LAPD to have been concerned with what it saw as a significant threat due to the activities of the Creed and their contact with the Crips? Of course it is. At what point does contact between the two become concerning? Surely, any contact has to raise a red flag when you’re trying to fight organised crime?

The Washington Post of 6 April headline is Hussein’s Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted: Pentagon Report Says Contacts Were Limited. This is based on a new Pentagon Report in which the CIA attempts to write down some of its pre-war analysis of co-operation between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda.

What does “Limited” mean? Why wouldn’t that be of concern to intelligence agencies? The CIA does not at all suggest that there was no contact between the two even though there was no long term relationship.

The CIA report proves that there was contact between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The answer that those discounting the importance of that contact is – why did it exist at all?

Categories: Iraq

>Democrats can’t face reality that Iraq is the main front in the War on Terror

April 6, 2007 2 comments

>As the Democratic Party works hard to kick an own goal by playing a dangerous game of political chicken through setting a date for surrender in Iraq, it uses as justification a completely upside down argument in which the real front in the war on terror is Afghanistan. The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer demolishes this argument completely:

“Our bill calls for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq so that we can focus more fully on the real war on terror, which is in Afghanistan” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, March 8

WASHINGTON — The Senate and the House have both passed bills for ending the Iraq war, or at least liquidating U.S. involvement in it. The resolutions, approved by the barest majorities, were underpinned by one unmistakable theme: wrong war, wrong place, distracting us from the real war that is elsewhere.

Where? In Afghanistan. The emphasis on Afghanistan echoed across the Democratic aisle in Congress from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to former admiral and now Rep. Joe Sestak. It is a staple of the three leading Democratic candidates for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. It is the constant refrain of their last presidential candidate, John Kerry, and of their current party leader, Howard Dean, who complains “we don’t have enough troops in Afghanistan. That’s where the real war on terror is.”

Of all the arguments for pulling out of Iraq, its comparative unimportance vis-a-vis Afghanistan is the least serious.

Let’s take a break from Krauthammer’s piece and have a little look-see at a map of the region just to remind ourselves of where these countries actually are.

As can be seen, Iraq is slap bang in the middle of the oil rich Middle East and Afghanistan is basically in a backwards no-man’s land. Iraq borders Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait and Iran. Afghanistan borders China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Some facts and figures – Population: Iraq – 27M, Afgh – 31M; GDP: Iraq – $94B, Afgh – $22B; Exports: Iraq – $17B; Afgh – $0.5B; Major asset: Iraq – Oil, Afgh – Dirt. If you were Al Qaeda, which country would make a more attractive base?

And not just because this argument assumes that the world’s one superpower, which spends more on defense every year than the rest of the world combined, does not have the capacity to fight an insurgency in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. But because it assumes that Afghanistan is strategically more important than Iraq.

Thought experiment: Bring in a completely neutral observer — a Martian — and point out to him that the United States is involved in two hot wars against radical Islamic insurgents. One is in Afghanistan, a geographically marginal backwater with no resources, no industrial and no technological infrastructure. The other is in Iraq, one of the three principal Arab states, with untold oil wealth, an educated population, an advanced military and technological infrastructure which, though suffering decay in the later Saddam years, could easily be revived if it falls into the right (i.e., wrong) hands.

Add to that the fact that its strategic location would give its rulers inordinate influence over the entire Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. Then ask your Martian: Which is the more important battle? He would not even understand why you are asking the question.

Al-Qaida has provided the answer many times. Osama bin Laden, the one whose presence in Afghanistan presumably makes it the central front in the war on terror, has been explicit that “the most serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War that is raging in Iraq.” Al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has declared that Iraq “is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.”

I have never understood why people can’t get it into their heads that opening up Iraq as the main front in the war against Islamic terrorists wasn’t a good idea. It has attracted the majority of potential terrorists to its battlegrounds where they are being taken care of by the US and Iraqi military in battle after battle. Al Qaeda understands that they can’t win militarily and turns to suicide bombings as its main weapon in order to turn public opinion against the US. That the tactic can be effective is a sad indictment of the public’s belief in itself and the virtue of the fight.

And it’s not just what al-Qaida says, it’s what al-Qaida does. Where are they funneling the worldwide recruits for jihad? Where do all the deranged suicidists who want to die for Allah gravitate? It’s no longer Afghanistan, but Iraq. That’s because they recognize the greater prize.

The Democratic insistence on the primacy of Afghanistan makes no strategic sense. Instead, it reflects a sensibility. They would rather support the Afghan war because its origins are cleaner, the casus belli clearer, the moral texture of the enterprise more comfortable. Afghanistan is a war of righteous revenge and restitution, law enforcement on the grandest of scales. As presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden put it, “If there was a totally just war since World War II, it is the war in Afghanistan.”

If our resources are so stretched that we have to choose one front, the Martian would choose Iraq. But that is because, unlike a majority of Democratic senators, he did not vote four years earlier to authorize the war in Iraq, a vote for which many have a guilty conscience to be now soothed retroactively by pulling out and fighting the “totally just war.”

But you do not decide where to fight on the basis of history; you decide on the basis of strategic realities of the ground. You can argue about our role in creating this new front and question whether it was worth taking that risk in order to topple Saddam Hussein. But you cannot reasonably argue that in 2007 Iraq is not the most critical strategic front in the war on terror.

Nostalgia for the “good war” in Afghanistan is perhaps useful in encouraging antiwar Democrats to increase funding that is really needed there. But it is not an argument for abandoning Iraq.

Assume that the US pulls out of Iraq. Then what? Terrorists will be freed up to go and fight in Afghanistan, which surely must lead to a pull out from there, as well. We then end up with Iraq and Afghanistan in the hands of people that seek our destruction. What message does that send to those we supposedly support such as in Pakistan? Make no mistake about it, failure in Iraq will have terrifying consequences. Iraqis will be slaughtered in their millions (such as happened in Vietnam and Cambodia when the Democrats abandoned the South), Al Qaeda will start targeting Western countries and those countries in the region that have been having a bet each way will fall into line with the regional strong horse. How that is good is beyond me.

Categories: Iraq

>Even More Inconvenient Truth from Iraq

March 27, 2007 1 comment

>The Left must be getting pretty concerned about the amount of positive news coming out of Iraq since the Surge was announced.

I commented in a previous post that even people like NBC’s Brian Williams, who went to Iraq recently, could see the good that was going on and that the number of attacks was reducing dramatically.

Today we have two good news stories to report. From the always informative bloggers at Iraqthemodel comes their piece on the capture of Ahmed Farhan Hassan, a senior aide to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda’s so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

And from Azamiyah comes the news that the members of a car bombing ring responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people have been captured including Haitham al-Shimari who was suspected in the “planning and execution of the majority of car bombs which have killed hundreds of Iraqi citizens in Sadr City.”

“…the majority of car bombs…” – that really is going to make a big difference.

It should occur to people that things are looking up for the Coalition effort in Iraq. The government has become much more serious about dealing with sectarian violence, tribal chiefs have turned against Al Qaeda in the Anbar province and the rules of engagement have changed so that Iranian Quds forces operating inside Iraq can be captured and held instead of being released as they were previously.

Has the Surge caused this sudden turnaround in attitude? To some extent that appears to be the case but I think that the Surge, when combined with the shenanigans of the Democrats in Congress and the Senate, has meant that people in Iraq realise they only have a limited amount of time to get their act together. In that sense, one has to agree with some of the Democrats’ position that we need to be tougher on the Iraqi government, and that certainly seems to have been the case over recent months.

Categories: Iraq

>10 Lies About Iraq and the War

>1. Iraqis were better off under Saddam – The first sentence of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office report into crimes and human rights in Saddam’s Iraq starts:

“Iraq is a terrifying place to live. People are in constant fear of being denounced as opponents of the regime. They are encouraged to report on the activities of family and neighbours. The security services can strike at any time. Arbitrary arrests and killings are commonplace” and continues “These grave violations of human rights are not the work of a number of overzealous individuals but the deliberate policy of the regime. Fear is Saddam’s chosen method for staying in power.”

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the most brutal way by Saddam’s regime. Those who opposed the war were not concerned with the welfare of the Iraqi people; they are only every concerned with their own well-being. The ‘stability’ option pursued so assiduously by governments around the world, and advanced as the answer to current problems in the Middle East by the Baker-Hamilton Commission, has resulted in the international community turning a blind eye to the truly gruesome actions of dictatorships and thugs not only in that region but in other problematic areas, as well, such as in Africa – in the name of stability. You need to have an irreparably broken moral compass to believe that Iraqis were better off under Saddam than they are now.

2. Abu Ghraib shows we’re just as bad as Saddam – There is no excusing the ridiculous and degrading things that went on at Abu Ghraib when the US used it to house captured fighters. In those circumstances where crimes were committed the culprits were brought to justice and punished heavily, a point always overlooked by those trying to make a moral equivalence argument between the Saddam regime and the US. One of the problems with the Left today is that it has not been taught how to think and that it’s wrong to make judgements about others which leaves them with no capacity to understand that in every issue of life there are grades of good and bad, and that things simply can’t be cast as either black or white. Ask yourself this question – would you have rather been tortured at Abu Ghraib by Saddam or by the US forces stationed there? I do not consider the following to be torture: sleep deprivation, bright lights, being forced to stand on a box with my arms outstretched and wires connected to me (as in the iconic photo), having excrement thrown at me, being forced to make a naked human pyramid or being humiliated by standing naked in front of women. That is not torture. That is degrading and stupid, and is certainly counter-productive from an intelligence gathering point of view. I definitely consider the following to be torture: gouging out of eyes, using electric drills on various parts of the body, high voltage electric shocks to various parts of the body and especially the genitals, beating the soles of a victim’s feet until they lose consciousness, and being slowly lowered into an acid bath. All of those were standard fare for the Saddam regime, as documented in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office report. The Iraqi intelligence documents released last year also showed that people were being fed feet first into wood chippers while their captors looked on and laughed. Wood chippers. Can you imagine? On one side we have stupidity and on the other barbarity. If you’re not prepared to recognise the difference then I’m afraid you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution.

3. The war has caused a million refugees – Again, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s report “Between 3 and 4 million Muslim Iraqis have abandoned their homes and sought refuge outside Iraq” and “Many hundreds of thousands of Iraq’s Muslims have been displaced internally. Estimates of 900,000 may be conservative.” The war clearly did not cause the refugee problem, though it certainly may have changed the refugees from Shites to Sunnis.

4. We went to war on a lie – “Bush lied, people died” goes the popular chant from the anti-war Left. The ‘lie’ being referred to was that we went to war because of WMD and because they weren’t found they never existed therefore it was a lie. David Kay led the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group and was interviewed by the NYT for an article that appeared on January 26, 2004, from which I extract the following (my bold):

‘I’m personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction,’ Dr. Kay said. ‘We don’t find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on. I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 1990s. Somewhere in the mid-1990s, the large chemical overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminated.’ Regarding biological weapons, he said there was evidence that the Iraqis continued research and development ‘right up until the end’ to improve their ability to produce ricin. ‘They were mostly researching better methods for weaponization,’ Dr. Kay said.

There have been more than 700 chemical shells discovered since the invasion, supporting Kay’s assertion that Saddam was looking to weaponize his chemical capability.

…As a result, virtually everyone in the United States intelligence community during both the Clinton and the current Bush administrations thought Iraq still had the illicit weapons, he said.

If you look at this list of quotes from politicians from both sides of the aisle in the US then you’ll find that it’s actually the Democrats that hold the strongest pro-WMD opinions. See if you can guess which senior Democrat made the following statements:

“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” – December 16, 1998

“Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that.” – November 17, 2002

“I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein. … Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons.” – October 10, 2002.

These quotes, all made well before the 2003 invasion and dating back to when Bill Clinton was in office were made by none other than – Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

…And the government became a victim of its own certainty. Dr. Kay said he was convinced that the analysts were not pressed by the Bush administration to make certain their prewar intelligence reports conformed to a White House agenda on Iraq. ‘All the analysts I have talked to said they never felt pressured on WMD,’ he said. ‘Everyone believed that they had WMD’ ‘The only comment I ever had from the president was to find the truth,’ Dr. Kay said. ‘I never got any pressure to find a certain outcome.’

Why would analysts need to be pressed by the Bush administration when it’s clear that the Clinton administration held the same view? Add into the mix the reality that Iraq held meetings with Niger in order to procure uranium yellow cake, as reported by British intelligence (Joseph Wilson’s false claims otherwise have been so totally discredited that even the NYT and Democratic Party don’t quote him any more) and you have a situation where any thinking person would assess that Iraq either had, or was procuring, WMD. And that was how it was. If you can’t tell the difference between being wrong and telling lies then you’re beyond help.

5. The war was illegal – This is one of those issues that tend to split down party lines. However, even the most cursory reading of UN Resolution 1441 (and its many predecessors that Saddam ignored) spells out the things that Iraq was meant to comply with and the consequences of not doing so. People will argue back and forth for years about the legality of the war and unless it’s ever tested in an impartial courtroom somewhere that will continue to be the case. To me it’s a complete no-brainer and non-issue. Saddam did not comply with this last chance Resolution and suffered the consequences. The US did not need Security Council approval to act unilaterally, as it is incumbent upon all UN members to enforce UN Resolutions.

6. We supported Saddam by supplying him with all of his weapons – US and British companies certainly sold weapons to Iraq. To the moonbat Left that means that we (the Coalition) are responsible for helping keep him in power and, by implication, the brutality of his regime. The fact is that combined US and UK arms sales to Iraq totalled less than 10% of Saddam’s arsenal. The 90%+ came from Russia, China and France. As an aside, would anyone like to guess which three nations Saddam had signed criminally profitable agreements with to develop his oil fields once the UN sanctions were lifted? The same three. How uncanny. Which UN Security Council members were agitating the hardest for the removal of the sanctions? China and France? Surely not! The US and UK are not countries that had traditionally strong links with Iraq in the way that countries like Germany did. Thus, it is not surprising to find that they are not the source of Saddam’s weapons.

7. The war was all about oil – This one makes it into my famous 10 Signs that you’re a Moral Idiot list but it’s worth repeating here. “Here’s a fact that people don’t know – 80% of the United States oil supply comes from itself, Canada and Mexico. Hmmmm. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Now, here’s a really big question. I want you to concentrate really hard. Put on your tin foil hat if you think it’ll help. If the United States wanted Iraq’s oil then…why didn’t it just buy it? Would have been much cheaper. Because they’re warmongers and wanted it for free, you cry, thus demonstrating the terrific double standard you have that also supports socialist confiscation of western companies’ assets such as happened in Chile and Cuba, and is going on in Venezuela today particularly with foreign owned oil companies. If the US wanted the oil then they would have simply taken over the refineries and pipelines, rolled up the oil tankers and pumped away. Would have been much easier. Did that happen?” No it didn’t and that’s because the war was never about the oil. For France, Russia and China, though, who stood to lose lucrative oil contracts if Saddam was toppled, and senior UN officials that were making millions from the Oil For Food Program, it certainly was all about the oil.

8. Saddam was not involved in terrorism – How it is possible for people to not understand the link between Saddam and terrorism boggles the mind. I guess that the NYT, Guardian, BBC and CNN haven’t exactly given the matter much air time. Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations. Iraq provided shelter to many terrorist organisations including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Abu Nidal Organization. In 2002 Saddam upped from $10,000 to $25,000 the payments to be made to the families of suicide bombers ‘martyred’ in Palestine whether they be from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Fatah. You can work out for yourself how many suicide bombers Saddam’s $9 million bought. The links to Al Qaeda are very clear and were exposed in the November 16, 2002, edition of Babil, the official paper of the Iraq government, when it identified one Abd-al-Karim Muhammad Aswad as an “intelligence officer,” describing him as the “official in charge of regime’s contacts with Osama bin Laden’s group and currently the regime’s representative in Pakistan.” A man of this name was indeed the Iraqi ambassador to Pakistan from 1999 until the fall of the regime. In September, 2006, a deputy prime minister of Iraq offered a sharp contradiction of the conventional wisdom that Saddam and Al Qaeda had no connection before the 2003 war, flatly contradicting a recent report from the US Senate’s intelligence committee. In a speech in which he challenged the belief of war critics that Iraqis’ lives are now worse than under Saddam Hussein, Barham Salih said, “The alliance between the Baathists and jihadists which sustains Al Qaeda in Iraq is not new, contrary to what you may have been told.” He went on to say, “I know this at first hand. Some of my friends were murdered by jihadists, by Al Qaeda-affiliated operatives who had been sheltered and assisted by Saddam’s regime.” Iraq has been on the US list of terrorist supporting nations for over 20 years so it’s hardly a new idea made up by the Bush administration to justify the war.

9. More than 650,000 Iraqis have been killed – This lunatic piece of fiction from The Lancet did have one positive side effect – it separated those that have a grip on reality from the barking moonbats who’ll believe any rubbish as long as it’s anti-US/UK/Australia. I have noticed that those who quote The Lancet as being true also tend to be strong global warming advocates. No surprise there, I guess. Iraq Body Count is a left wing site that, to its credit, is calculating the civilian cost in Iraq using valid means. It’s response to The Lancet was devastating:

A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:

  1. On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;
  2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
  3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
  4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
  5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive “Shock and Awe” invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

I regularly point out that for The Lancet’s study to be correct then the number killed exceed those killed in the Stalingrad campaign in WW2. For those familiar with what went on in that bloody battle it defies credibility that The Lancet is correct, even allowing for the shorter timeline of Stalingrad.

10. Democracy won’t work and can’t be imposed – I am always surprised by the Left’s assertion that democracy won’t work in Iraq because it’s not in the Arabs’ nature or culture. Do they not understand how profoundly racist this position is? It’s like saying that slaves weren’t ready for freedom or women couldn’t handle emancipation. If democracy is not natural for them then how does it come about that the northern, Kurdish region of Iraq (protected from Saddam since Gulf War 1.0 by the US Air Force) is such a terrific success story? The mainstream media provides little coverage of what’s going on in northern Iraq because it demonstrates that Iraqis are fully able to prosper when they get the opportunity to do so, and that doesn’t fit with the Iraq-as-failure narrative of the media. It is a given that authoritarian states don’t abandon power voluntarily so there must have been force used at some point to give us the democracies we have today. This force rarely comes from inside a nation and, thus, it must be imposed by external powers. In just the 20th century we saw democracy imposed in Japan (where it had never existed), South Korea (ditto), Italy and Germany not to mention Panama, Granada, Serbia or Afghanistan. It is a complete lie to say that democracy won’t work in Iraq and can’t be imposed.

Categories: Iraq, Top 10 List

>More news from Baghdad

>Iraqthemodel blogger, Mohammad Fadhil, has a piece at Pyjamasmedia reporting on the current situation in Baghdad:

A sign similar to this one greets you at all fixed checkpoints in Baghdad. These words authenticate the legitimacy of the checkpoint and emphasize who’s in charge in this or that area.

With the constant force build up many streets now host multiple checkpoints, both fixed and mobile. All are positioned in a manner that allows soldiers in one to have visual contact with those in the next one.

As the operations continue, the interior ministry is introducing new identification measures for vehicles used by its personnel. The new armored vehicles are unique and leave no room for confusion, while the SUV’s are getting new light-green paint with the words ‘National Police’ well visible on the sides.

From my personal experience I can tell that the men staffing the checkpoints do not take their job lightly. One can feel that a long month of hard work did not exhaust them, and I am awed by the courage of those soldiers and policemen. In a city which has absorbed more suicide bombings than all other cities in the world combined every passing vehicle or motorcycle is a threat.

I can’t imagine myself in a position where my job requires I open dozens of trunks every day and each one of those moments might be the end of my life and those of the people around me. The physical and psychological pressure is enormous, yet those brave men continue to be our shield.

I was listening to the radio this morning and the first headline was ‘Policeman killed in an explosion south of Baghdad’. The story later explains that ‘south of Baghdad’ actually meant Babil. Babil is actually 60 miles away from Baghdad. The misleading headline underscored again how most media try to associate every piece of bad news with Baghdad to maintain the image of violence associated with the city.

No doubt people who follow the news as it is being reported in the West get the impression that we’re fighting a lost war, and I feel that there won’t be a day when our struggle to live a normal life and what we achieve in this path will make headlines that run above those of death.

You look around in Baghdad now and see hundreds of men working in the streets to pick up garbage; to plant flowers and paint the blast walls in joyful colors. Many of Baghdad’s squares are becoming green and clean. The picture isn’t perfect, but it’s a clear attempt to beat violence and ease pain through giving the spring a chance to shine.

Nights in Baghdad now are far from quiet, but the sounds cause less anxiety for me than they did before. I recognize the rumble of armor and thump of guns and they assure me that the gangs and militias do not dominate the night as they once did.

When Arabs or westerners ask me about the situation and I answer that hope remains and that we’re looking forward to a better future most would say ‘Are you living in this world?’ I answer, ‘Yes, it’s you who live in the parallel world the media built for you with images of only death and destruction’.

If it surprised some of them that a poll found Iraqis optimistic, then I’m surprised that someone finally bothered to ask Iraqis how they feel.

Just as free birds would never return to the cage, we don’t want to return to the days of the tyrant. Birds do not care that beasts roam outside and would not feel nostalgic for a home or meal mixed with humiliation. All that a free bird cares about is to spread wings and fly as it pleases.

The mainstream media simply ignores anything that remotely resembles good news and distorts the facts to suit its narrative.

Categories: Iraq

>More Iraq Inconvenient Truth

>From the Sunday Times comes a couple of articles that will send cut-and-run strategists in Australia and the USA scuttling to the back rooms to work out how to maintain their ‘the war is lost’, ‘it’s a civil war’ and ‘the surge won’t work’ themes.

DESPITE sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs, an opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.

The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.

Oops, that is inconvenient. Really inconvenient. Fortunately for those of us that have correctly tuned moral compasses, it gets worse for the nay-sayers:

The 400 interviewers who fanned out across Iraq last month found that the sense of security felt by Baghdad residents had significantly improved since polling carried out before the US announced in January that it was sending in a “surge” of more than 20,000 extra troops.

….The inhabitants of a northern Baghdad district were heartened to see on the concrete blocks protecting an Iraqi army checkpoint the lettering: “Down, down with the militias, we are fighting for the sake of Iraq.” It would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Residents said they noted that armed militias were off the streets.

Things are getting better? The security situation is much improved? The Democrats will really need to work hard to cut off support for the troops so that things turn around. Success in Iraq will absolutely kill their ’08 chances.

“We’ve been polling in Iraq since 2005 and the finding that most surprised us was how many Iraqis expressed support for the present government,” said Johnny Heald, managing director of ORB. “Given the level of violence in Iraq, it shows an unexpected level of optimism.” Despite the sectarian divide, 64% of Iraqis still want to see a united Iraq under a central national government.

I’m surprised it’s only 64%, though I guess the Sunnis probably vote against it. In Australia the figure is almost 100%; we all want to see Iraq emerge as a democratic nation in charge of its own affairs and not acting as a haven for terrorists.

By a majority of two to one, Iraqis believe military operations now under way will disarm all militias. More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, said the findings pointed to progress. “There is no widespread violence in the four southern provinces and the fact that the picture is more complex than the stereotype usually portrayed is reflected in today’s poll,” she said.

I think it’s a little naive to think that security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces unless the implication is that the withdrawal occurs when the job is done. The UK’s Foreign Secretary also makes a salient point by referring to the agenda-driven media’s stereotype of Iraq as a country embroiled in a bloody civil war with no future. Things are still far from perfect in Iraq but it’s clear that the surge and General Petraeus’ appointment are making a positive difference. Surely that’s reason for hope?

If you’re not across the Iraq The Model blog then I suggest that you add it to your bookmarks and check in every day. It’s run by a couple of Baghdad residents and provides an honest, realistic view of what’s going on. Their latest post is about Al Qaeda’s ability to make enemies:

With this series of dirty chemical bombings a war between al-Qaeda and the tribes in Anbar is no longer a possibility. It just became a fact.

I’ve read at least two very optimistic reports from al-Almada in the last week about purported victories of the tribes and police over al-Qaeda in Ramadi and Fallujah. I was reluctant to trust the accuracy of the reports which sited unnamed sources but now seeing the reaction of al-Qaeda suggests that the action of the tribes was so painful that al-Qaeda retaliated in the way we see today.

Al-Qaeda’s terrorists-whom AP insists on calling insurgents-expended three suicide bombers and precious resources against their supposedly sympathetic civilian Sunni hosts instead of American and Iraqi soldiers and Shia civilians; their usual enemies. If this indicates anything it indicates that al-Qaeda’s is reprioritizing the targets on the hit list. The reason: al-Qaeda is sensing a serious threat in the change of attitude of the tribes toward them and perhaps the apparently successful meeting of the sheiks with Maliki and the agreements that were made then was the point at which open war had to be declared.

The tribes in Anbar are stubborn and they have many ruthless warriors. That’s a proven fact and it looks like Al-Qaeda had just made their gravest mistake—their once best friends are just about to become their worst enemy.

When the doom and gloomers tell us that we’ve lost in Iraq and should withdraw, while not forgetting to add that they “support the troops”, it would be useful if they kept abreast of the facts on the ground and that the reality is somewhat different. Moqtada Al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army has gone to ground, perhaps never to re-emerge, and Al Qaeda now has to fight local tribes. Sounds like good news to me.

Categories: Iraq

>"They don’t want us to leave"

>More inconvenient truth from Iraq where The Surge, combined with the Iraqi Government’s Operation Imposing Law, certainly seems to be making a positive difference, not that the mainstream media is doing much reporting on it. Credit therefore goes to NBC Nightly News for sending Brian Williams and Richard Engel to Iraq to provide an up to date view of the current situation. What they find is still less than ideal but is much better than what they expected, to the point where Williams himself says he wants to get back to the US and interview politicians who believe we should withdraw, as it’s clear that “They don’t want us to leave”. “That’s the 10th time I’ve heard that today”, states Williams from Sadr City itself.

Check out the video from Williams and its associated report (includes video link).

Since The Surge was announced Moqtada Al-Sadr has bugged out to Iran and his Mehdi Army has gone to ground, which would explain the following positive news:

It’s a bit hard to spin those numbers into bad news. I think it’s Engel who reports from Sadr City that there is “brisk traffic”, “families are out” and “children are playing”. “Finally we feel that there is security. It is better”, said a man who brought his daughter outside to see US soldiers. Engel points out that people are hesitant to be too enthusiastic because they don’t know whether the troops will leave again and plunge the city back into chaos. The commanders say they’re staying and I hope that’s the plan.

To those that are blind to the wishes of the Iraqi people and the possibility that the Coalition could actually be doing some good then these reports will make no difference. To people who are looking for signs that there has been a strengthening of will in order to achieve a positive outcome for Iraq then they will be heartened by the fact that progress is being made.

Categories: Iraq