Monday, February 28, 2005
Freedom Marches On
BEIRUT, Lebanon - With shouts of "Syria out!" 25,000 protesters massed outside Parliament in a dramatic display of defiance that forced out Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister and Cabinet Monday, two weeks after the assassination of a popular politician touched off increasing unrest
Minutes after Prime Minister Omar Karami announced he was stepping down, jubilant demonstrators — shouting, waving flags and handing red roses to soldiers — demanded that Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud bow out, too, and pressed on with their calls for Syria to withdraw its troops from the country.
Will this get President Bush's critics to finally admit that his plans for freedom in the Middle East might just work? No, but that does not diminish the importance of what is going on there; freedom is marching on!
Need A Vacation?
Then go golfing in beautiful Afghanistan! The bomb crater on the right is out of bounds; as is the unexploded Russian ordinance stockpile to the left.
Stupid, Stupid, Stupid:
Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group, with leadership in Lebanon and Syria, claimed responsibility Saturday after first denying any connection to the bombing.
The bombing being referred to? A "militant" blew himself up outside a night club in Tel Aviv, killing five people. What does it take for the SAEN to call a terrorists a terrorists? All I can say is that calling Islamic Jihad a "militant" group is stupid, stupid, stupid.
Good News From Iraq
Changing The Middle East
As long as Iraqis are fighting each other, a U.S. presence will be grudgingly accepted as a stabilizing force. The Bush administration has no objection to keeping a large military presence perched over the world's second largest oil reserve in a position to dominate the entire Middle East.
It would have made more sense to stabilize the country and defer elections until everyone could vote and the legitimacy of the election could not be challenged.
But if the Iraqis ever got their act together U.S. forces would get the boot, and that doesn't fit in with the Bush plan at all.
This is not to call into question the courage, optimism and resilience of the millions of Iraqis who did face the bombs and bullets to vote. But if they thought they were voting for democracy, liberty and freedom they are sadly mistaken. They risked their lives to legitimize the Bush administration's long-term plans for domination of the Middle East.
It may sound like freedom and look like liberty, but Iraqi democracy is just an empty box with a ventriloquist hidden in the hallway singing the same old songs.
I see no proof of what Ms. Ives is saying. The left claims that Bush and Cheney are in the pockets of "Big Oil," but if that is so then surely they would have known that the best thing for "Big Oil" would have been to lift sanctions, leave Saddam in power, and buy oil from him. Now the other side. The right believes that by taking out Iraq we would help the cause of freedom in the Middle East (note: despite the MSM's reporting, Bush made the case for freedom in addition to the WMD case). Yes, Iran is a bigger threat, but why effect change the hard way when you can take out the weaker threat to create that change. Now this on page 10A of today's SAEN:
Several thousand anti-Syria protestors took to the capital's streets late Sunday in defiance of a government ban, while a visiting U.S. official kept up Washington's pressure on Syria...
Read it again and notice "took to the streets" and "in defiance," concepts unheard of before Iraq. It's historical and it's beautiful. And in case you haven't seen this quote (from the Washington Post, reg. required) from Walid Jumblatt yet, here it is:
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
Ms. Ives, I rest my case.
What Is The Commando Reading?
With the SAEN...
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Best Actor: Foxx
Best Actress: Swank
Best Film: Million Dollar Baby
Best Supporting Actor: Freeman
Best Supporting Actress: Have no idea
Best Director: Eastwood
There you have it folks, my best guess.
Update: Rock just opened up the ceremonies with an anti-Bush tirade. I have turned off the Oscars and will read about it in tomorrow's paper.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
If There's Bad News, We'll Find It!
Two Afghan relief workers were found shot to death on the side of a remote southern desert road, officials said Monday.
Health Minister Mohammed Amin Fatemi said robbers or militants could be responsible for killing health workers Mohammed Nader and Mohammed Zaher in Helmand Province.
The SAEN: “Oh, by the way, the Taliban are giving up, but that’s not important right now.”
The Commando: Readers, you people are so lucky to have me; you pay 50 cents for the SAEN and get some of the news, but then you can come here at no cost and get the rest of the news.
Pic Of The Day: Iraq
Here is a scene you won't find in the pages of the SAEN: 2nd Lt. John Herman, a platoon leader with Co. B, TF 1-21 Inf., passes out candy to Iraqi children while on a joint dismounted patrol with Iraqi Police officers in Kirkuk, Iraq. Let's hear it for the Big Red One!
Just What I've Been Saying
No matter how well things go in Iraq, count on fresh predictions of catastrophe. First, the war was going to be a bloodbath. Next, the occupation was bound to fail. Then, Iraq's first free elections were going to be a disaster.
Held on schedule, the elections were remarkably successful. Iraqis risked their lives to cast ballots. Now the voices that have been wrong about everything else insist Iraq will become "another Iran."
That's dead wrong. Part of the problem is ignorance by some in the news media. Columnists write about the topic of the moment, whether they understand the subject or not. News shows fill segments with talking heads, few of whom have firsthand experience. Far more disheartening are partisans who would rather see Iraq fail miserably than allow the Bush administration a success. But Iraq will not become a second Iran.
Although a coalition backed by the senior Shiite clergy won nearly half the votes, Tehran won't dominate Baghdad. Iraqi Shiites have deep differences with their Iranian counterparts. The ethnic rivalry between Arabs and Persians predates the coming of Islam. Saddam Hussein trusted his Arab Shiite soldiers to fight their Iranian co-religionists.
Did Christianity unite Europe's hereditary enemies? Of course not.
Thanks Ralph, I couldn’t have said it better myself. The editors of the SAEN keep reporting predictions of catastrophe in Iraq and even Afghanistan, then focuses on bad news, and then when the facts on the ground prove them wrong they start all over again. What is it they say about somebody who doesn't learn from his or her mistakes?
Ted Rall Backs up Eason Jordan
I got off easy compared to Eason Jordan, who lost his job at CNN for claiming--off the air--that "he knew of 12 journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq," as Congressman Barney Frank quoted him in the Washington Post. And, he claimed, some had been targeted by U.S. forces. In fact, more than 50 war correspondents have been killed in the Iraq war--of whom a portion were apparently shot intentionally by American troops[emphasis added]. Two journalists for Al Jazeera were killed in 2003 by U.S. troops firing at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, well known to CENTCOM as the main residence for foreign journalists. Two more Al Jazeera journalists reported being tortured by U.S. troops last year; another has been rotting in the Guantánamo concentration camp since 2001. Eason had the facts right, but the blogger lynch mob howled so loudly that CNN fired him anyway [emphasis added].
Rall mentions nothing about having any proof so I think it is safe to assume he has none. And since he has no proof the question becomes why would he say such a thing if not to cause injury to our troops? I am all for the First Amendment, but I think it is safe to say that our national dialogue would be better off without the filth of Ted Rall, who insults the very people who fight and die for his freedom to say such things. If you want to learn more about this raving lunatic please check out the Raving Heretic.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
In Zabul, a province in the southeastern badlands haunted by Taliban militants...
So according to the SAEN I guess the Taliban aren't giving up and accepting the amnesty offer because they are too busy haunting the people of Zabul. Just as a refresher, here is a small excerpt from my post yesterday:
One of the Taliban's most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans.
I wonder, is anyone over at the SAEN interested in getting the truth to their readers? Today's column by Jonathan Gurwitz is about the Eason Jordan story, which I wrote about briefly here. In writing about Eason Jordan Mr. Gurwitz expresses a sentiment that could easily apply here. A sentiment stated on this blog almost every day:
The reinforced perception among a skeptical American public is that the ideas animating the mind of Jordan also animate the institutions that force-fed images of Abu Ghraib Prison but purged images of beheadings, that routinely report casualties from the war in Iraq but curiously neglect to do the same for the war in Afghanistan.
The editors over at the SAEN should listen to SAEN Watch and Mr. Gurwitz.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You All!
She breathes on her own, but relies on the feeding tube to survive. Doctors have ruled she's in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery.
That statement leaves no doubt in the reader's mind---Terry Schiavo will never get better. The only problem is that her parents don't agree and they have doctors who also don't agree with that statement. You can learn more about that here. Shouldn't the SAEN have presented both sides of the argument in order to be balanced?
Hemingway Is Back
"Study sees stricter laws corking binge boozing by college students"
Light Posting Wednesday
Pic Of The Day: Iraq
Staff Sgt. Jessica Kelly from Lafayette, La., a medic with the 256th Brigade Combat Team, is helping an Iraqi child put on his new shoes. Clothes, school supplies, and dental hygiene products donated by families of Soldiers from the United States were handed out, as well as treatment on Feb. 9. (US Army photo taken Lt. Col. Joseph Dore). Thanks again to Mike Thomas for the great pictures.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Update: Free Mojtaba and Arash Day
An Iranian journalist was jailed for 14 years on charges ranging from espionage to insulting the country's leaders in an unusually heavy sentence in Iran, where tens of journalists have been tried in recent years.
Rights activists said on Tuesday that Arash Sigarchi, 28, was convicted by the Revolutionary Court in the Caspian province of Gilan in northern Iran.
Sigarchi, a newspaper editor in Gilan who also wrote an Internet journal or "weblog," was arrested last month after responding to a summons from the Intelligence Ministry.
"In total, he has been given 14 years in prison," Mohammad Saifzadeh, a member of Center for Defense of Human Rights in Tehran told Reuters by telephone.
Please join the fight against such oppression over at the Committee to Protect Bloggers.
Are The Taliban Throwing In The Towel?
One of the Taliban's most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans.
The commander, Abdul Salam, earned the nickname Mullah Rockety because he was so accurate with rocket propelled grenades against Russian troops.
He later joined the Taliban as a corps commander in Jalalabad before being captured by the Americans after September 11.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, said yesterday that a group of Taliban militia including senior officials will soon join the Afghan government's peace initiative.
"They are in Kabul seeking peace and to boost the reconciliation process," he said, adding that he was hopeful that the Taliban surrender would take place before the parliamentary elections, expected in the summer.
Afghan officials claimed in recent days that four unnamed senior figures from the former Taliban government have accepted the US-backed offer of amnesty extended to them by Mr Karzai's government and will form a new party for the elections.
Anyone want to offer odds on the SAEN reporting on this in any significant way? The road in Iraq has been harder, but the result will be the same. Will this finally get liberals to admit, albeit hesitantly, that President Bush is right about the power of freedom and democracy to change a country? If the Taliban can figure it out then I am optimistic that liberals can too.
Some 200 Sunni figures in Iraq called on the sides which took part in the recent legislative elections to consider the Sunnis as real partners in the process of formulating the constitution and the current political process in the country.
Chairman of the Sunni Waqf court Adnan al-Duleimi, in conclusion of a conference held in Baghdad in the presence of tribal chiefs and representatives for the Sunni parties and commissions in 6 governorates, said that Iraq is for the Iraqis. He added that if the Sunnis in Iraq did not take part in the elections, this does not mean they do not want to take part in the political life, stressing the need to work for maintaining the unity of Iraq, its independence and sovereignty, until the day when the American forces will leave the country.
Al-Duleimi called on the Sunni parties to unify their ranks in order to take part in the next elections in a united list.
You know our motto here at SAEN Watch: "reporting all the news fit to be ignored by the SAEN."
Pic Of The Day: Iraq
Yes Bob Rivard, good things are happening in Iraq! Maj. Carrie Acree from Grand Junction, Colo. of the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to the 256th Brigade Combat Team, plays with an infant at a local school in western Baghdad during a humanitarian mission Feb. 9. (US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Kelly, 256th Brigade Combat Team) Thanks to fellow San Antonio blogger Mike Thomas for this photo from the guard unit his brother-in-law is serving in.
Free Mojtaba And Arash Day
SAEN: "We Love The U.N."
An Australian investigator for a U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl who sought a job as a nanny in his household.
Police officer Peter Halloran, 56, was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison.
As CNN reports, the scandal goes much further than this one incident:
There have been more than 150 allegations of sexual exploitation of girls as young as 13 by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo.
So we have UN employees sexually abusing young girls and Kofi Annan decides that the best course of action is to...wait for it...send more UN peacekeepers! More from the CNN story:
Annan last Wednesday urged the Security Council to add at least 100 military police to the peacekeeping mission in Congo to help prevent sex abuse by the U.N. forces.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. The SAEN should be commended for the smear job it did in regards to the Abu Ghraib story, but the lack of coverage of the UN scandal leaves me with many questions. It also makes me feel shame. The MSM reported on Abu Ghraib with malicious intensity; smearing our troops in the process, and yet the UN gets a pass.
Shield Bill Introduced
"...but she said it's broad definition of the term 'journalist' poses a slippery slope because it could extend protections to bloggers."
The bill was introduced in the Senate as SB604. I am no expert but the definition given in the bill of what a journalist is should cover bloggers:
"Journalist" means a person, or an employee, independent contractor, or agent of that person, engaged in the business of gathering, compiling, writing, editing, photographing, recording, or processing information for dissemination by any news medium.
I guess the big question is whether or not a blog can be considered a "news medium." Personally I think the answer to that question is yes, but like I said I am no expert. SAEN Watch may not be the biggest blog on the block, but I am proud of how intelligent my readers are. So dear readers, what do you think?
SAEN Editorial Board, Part V
Pessimism is the prevailing tone of board editorials and columns related to the war in Iraq. Dire predictions and warnings are the rule. Referring to the one-year anniversary of the war: "One year after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, the outcome of the American-led effort remains uncertain" (3/19/04). Referring to the March 11 Madrid train bombings: "The Europeans also believe that the Iraq war is not only a dangerous distraction from efforts to combat terrorism but actually is feeding the terrorist threat (4/6/04). Referring to the four murdered American security guards: "They remind us, painfully, that the Iraq imbroglio is deeply serious....Nor can this nation walk away, even as the news gets worse" (4/8/04). Board member Holley, in a March 21 column "Spanish voters lift nation's 'fog of war'," equates the war in Iraq with our country's involvement in Vietnam.
The pessimistic message and tone in these writings demoralize our armed forces, their families, and the Americans who support them, and encourage terrorists in their "jihad" against us. Since as the board concedes we cannot "walk away," why doesn't it, instead, offer hope and inspiration to those who are putting their lives on the line in the name of freedom and democracy? The short answer? The impending election.
The pessimistic tone of the Editorial Board is also reflecting in the news coverage on Iraq as readers of SAEN Watch well know. Be sure to check out the latest issue of Scene in SA; for which Ms. Massey is Editor-At-Large.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Pic Of The Day: Iraq
Children smile while playing with the books and crayons given to them by soldiers with the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion and soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, during a goodwill visit to the Karacham village located outside the city of Dibis, Iraq.
Celebrating President's Day
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in
a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot
dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated
it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be
dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here
dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this
nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people shall
not perish from the earth.
My favorite line: "that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom." His words ring as true today as they did back then, unfortunately I fear some people in this country have forgotten what they mean.
This shattered city overrun by U.S. troops to root out terrorists is coming back to life and American officers brag it's now the safest place in the country.
I know how hard this was for the editors over at the SAEN to take this small step in the right direction. We shall see if it is just an aberration or a sincere attempt on their part to balance the news coverage from Iraq.
...that the AARP quietly has joined up with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to oppose President Bush's judicial nominees.
Fair is fair. If they are going to label conservative groups for their readers then they should do the same for liberal groups. Just another prime example of the SAEN's liberal bias!
SAEN Editorial Board, Part IV
Most Americans agree that the civil rights movement of the sixties ushered in some much needed changes in our society, and policies to correct racial discrimination in school admissions was one of them. But are racial preference policies still necessary forty years later?
The board believes that the U.S. Supreme Court "wisely ruled that race can be among the factors considered in admission to the nation's colleges and universities" (6/24/03).
In a scathing indictment of Justice Clarence Thomas who wrote a 31-page dissent of that decision, columnist Russell writes "he despises his own liberation and seeks to deny it to others" and his is a "bigot's point of view" (6/26/03). Thomas wrote in his dissent, "When blacks take positions in the highest places of government, industry or academia, it is an open question today whether their skin color played a part in their advancement. That question itself is the stigma."
According to Tammy Bruce in her book, The New Thought Police, when Ward Connerly, a businessman and a regent of the University of California, led the campaign for Proposition 209 to eliminate racial preferences, he was called a "houseboy," a "paid assassin," and a "freak of nature." Jesse Jackson accused this black man of promoting "ethnic cleansing." Board member Russell aligns herself with people like Jackson who demonize those with dissenting opinions.
Padilla, however, gives the best example of the legacy of racial preference. Sent to do a story on the San Antonio Housing Authority because Hispanic activists "cried racism," she came to the conclusion that their charges proved baseless (7/23/03). In this piece, she provides the percentages of Hispanics (76%), Anglos (11%), Blacks (10%), and Others (3%) in this organization, coming to the conclusion that since there is a majority of Hispanics, racism cannot be proved. Since San Antonio is only 51% Hispanic, wouldn't a more equitable percentage be 51%, rather than 76%-if fair treatment is the goal? Apparently not.
She ends her editorial with this statement, "As someone who has benefited from affirmative action in various newsrooms across the state, I would like to think that while skin color got me in for the interview, my resume and clips got me the job."
That this bright, educated woman has to even mention this is a sign that racial preferences are doing a disservice, not only to her, but also to all Americans.
My thanks again to Ms. Massey for allowing me to excerpt from her article.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
SAEN Editorial Board On Gun Control
The board backs gun control, saying, "Most Americans want common sense laws that will limit the killing" (5/13/00). Our country already has many "common sense" gun laws that simply need enforcing; nevertheless, the rhetoric of those lobbying for stricter gun control laws is emotionally appealing. What readers don't see in the editorial page is the strong evidence against gun restrictions.
Consider, for example, what has happened in Great Britain-which has the most stringent firearm restrictions of any democracy-since it banned handguns in 1997. According to Joyce Lee Malcolm, a professor of history at Bentley College and author of Guns and Violence: The English Experience, "In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent" and "the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent." Malcolm goes on to say that the English approach to violent crime "has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them. Imitating this model would be a public safety disaster for the United States."
Watch for more excerpts in the following days. And thanks again to Ms. Massey for allowing her work to be excerpted here.
Friday, February 18, 2005
The SAEN Editorial Board On Abortion
Clinging with a death grip on a belief in a woman's "right" for an abortion under virtually any circumstances, this board disregards the sentiments of a vast majority of Americans-72 percent according to the most recent Gallup Poll-who favor restrictions, because they view abortion from a moral and ethical perspective, rather than from a 'rights' point of view.
The board spewed venom at Rep. Frank Corte, R-San Antonio, in editorials (4/11/03, 5/2/03) blasting his sponsorship of legislation called the "Woman's Right to Know Act" that requires a 24-hour waiting period and the dissemination of a pamphlet that includes pictures of developing fetuses. The newspaper urged its defeat, calling it a "coercive piece of legislation" (5/2/03).
The legislation passed.
Stayed tuned as I address the editorial board's opinions on other issues over the next week.
Pic Of The Day: Iraq
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Naomi Hawkins and Capt. Amy Malugani pose with Iraqi children in Al Madinah, Iraq, on Feb. 10, 2005. The locals taking part in a ceremony celebrating the efforts of 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment (2/10) in refurbishing the village with home repairs and electrical and septic systems. The Battalion has invested over $360,000 in improving the lives of Al Madinah residents. The SAEN won't show pics like this because it proves that most Iraqis and happy we are there.
***Abu Ghraib Alert***
SAEN Editorial Board
Bruce Davidson, Editor - Liberal
Robert Seltzer, Assoc. Editor - Liberal
Lynell Burkett, Columnist - Liberal
Jonathan Gurwitz, Columnist - Conservative
Gloria Padilla, Writer - Liberal
There you have it folks. So the next time you want to tell me that the SAEN's editorial page is conservative, don't! And if you still need more proof then check out this article by Cynthia Massey.
Under such circumstances trying to find a middle ground is not appealing, hence leaving Muslims with little choice but to reject those choices and embark on the difficult task of liberating their societies from dictatorships. It is not easy, but if they do succeed they will, for the first time, fulfill the intent of that Koran verse.
I have three comments. First, now if Muslims would realize they have to stop blaming us (or Israel) for everything in order to embark on freeing themselves from tyranny and we will have a ballgame. Second, if Muslims in other countries decide to free themselves I think they would find that the U.S. would help. Third, my thanks to Dr. El-Kikhia for bringing up an issue for which he is obviously qualified to speak to. I am most worried about point number 1 above, and as this Miami Herald writer states, old habits die hard:
Also, in what other nation on the planet does the Islamic minority enjoy the level of integration, freedom and respect enjoyed by the five million Muslims who live in the United States?
Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are attitudes based not on an objective analysis of facts but on hallucinatory beliefs contained in conspiracy theories of history that are based almost always on the paranoid suspicion that a small group of villains pulls strings throughout the world to seize all wealth and bring misfortune to their victims.
Once that powerful imbecility adheres to the brains of those who propound it, there is no antidote capable of eradicating it. Just as there is no such thing as a former idiot, there are no former anti-Semites or former anti-Americans. The disease in incurable.
We have a long road ahead.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The MSM Hates Blogs
"...but she said it's broad definition of the term 'journalist' poses a slippery slope because it could extend protections to bloggers."
And as ELB points out the SAEN also omits some important information. The person filing the bill, Aaron Pena, D-Edinburg, happens to be a blogger; a fact left out of the "newspaper" story:
Pena, a blogger himself, said he likes the idea of including bloggers, but is willing to consider other viewpoints. Pena said he wasn't aware of journalists' past opposition to shield law in Texas and didn't know similar bills had failed before.
Yay Iraq, Part III
Iraqi Interim Vice President and the strongest candidate for assuming the post of the prime minister in the new Iraqi government Ibrahim al-Jaafari denied any attempt to establish a religious state in the country.
Jaafari's confirmation came at a time when Kurdish leaders announced their objection to the foundation of an Islamic state in Iraq. Eyad Allawi whose list occupied the third position in the Iraqi elections of January warned against the foundation of a religious government in Iraq.
The SAEN can continue reporting the misconception that the Shiites want a regime like Iran's, but the Commando's readers know better!
Yay Iraq! Part II
Senior clerics in the restive city of Mosul have pledged to oust elements seeking violence from their mosques.
They also denounced killing of innocent Iraqis whether Muslims and non-Muslims and all attacks targeting local security forces.
"We call on all the citizens of Mosul to remain steadfast in the face of terrorist and criminal elements and cooperate with the authorities and security services to put an end to violence," the clerics said in a statement following the meeting.
In addition, I am sure that I did not read about this in the SAEN:
The security situation has slightly improved in the city in the past two weeks, with security forces mounting patrols in districts which until recently were viewed as no-go areas.
There is no doubt that we have a long way to go in Iraq, and as the SAEN shows us there is plenty of bad news to be reported. All the Commando is asking for is that the SAEN balance their reporting with some good news.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the new children's hospital will emphasize services that will have the greatest impact on the health and welfare of Iraqi children providing inpatient and outpatient pediatric care. It will also serve as a model pediatric facility and is designed to accommodate the Ministry of Health's (MOH) plans for future expansion.
You would think that the SAEN would be all over stories about the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure considering all the complaining they have done about how America isn't doing enough, fast enough, but here is another story they missed:
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently completed a $4.1 million refurbishment of the Kirkuk Unified Water Treatment Plant, benefiting over one million residents of Kirkuk City and its surroundings.
In addition, the water treatment plant will provide permanent jobs for 100 Iraqis. And another water treatment plant will be going online in March in Najaf:
A water treatment plant in Najaf is expected to be fully operational at the beginning of this month, supplying potable water to the majority of Najaf's 563,000 residents.
This project will restore the plant in Najaf to its full capacity and meet drinking water quality standards, according to the United States Agency for International Development.
Would it kill the editors of the SAEN to give their readers a fair look at what is going on in Iraq? Wait, don't answer that.
Picture Of The Day
Back In Action
Captain David Rozelle lost his foot when his Humvee ran over a land mine in Iraq. But after months of agonizing surgery, physical therapy, and the emotional hardship of losing a limb, he has been declared "Fit for Duty" to command his men on the ground in Iraq and will be deployed back in March. In his spare time he runs triathlons, snowboards, downhill skis—all with a prosthetic.
Just another reason why we will win (hat tip: Greyhawk).
"Do you believe that democracy will help solve Iraq's Political, Security and Financial problems?
Yes - 82.1%
No - 15.3%
Don't know - 2.6%
"Would you consent to a Kurdish President?
Yes - 69.8%
No - 27.3%
Don't know - 2.9%
"Do you believe that the Kurds will secede from Iraq over the next 10 years?
Yes - 35.4%
No - 53.9%
Don't know - 1.6%"
The SAEN article also mentions the "Sunni problem." Oh, how the SAEN has whined about the Sunni problem, but are they being accurate? Would it surprise you if I told you no:
The supposed total exclusion of the Arab Sunnis from the National Assembly did not happen, either. Arab Sunnis account for some 15 per cent of the Iraqi population and are a majority in four out of 18 provinces. In three of those provinces the voter turnout was below 30 per cent, and in one, Anbar, dropped to 2 per cent. But only half of the Arab Sunnis live in those provinces. The other half, in Baghdad and other major cities, voted in larger numbers.
Based on their demographic strength, the Arab Sunnis should have 42 seats in the 275-seat transitional National Assembly. The final results show that the new assembly will have 49 Arab Sunnis sitting in it. Of these 40 were elected on the Shia-led and the Kurdish lists, plus the list headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister. Five were elected on a list led by Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer, the Arab Sunni interim President, while four more won within smaller alliances. If we add the Kurds, who are also Sunni Muslims, at least 110 members of the assembly are Sunnis.
I understand if this is the first time you are hearing some of this. You mean that the Sunnis will actually have more MP's than their representation in the population dictates? The answer is yes, but if you listen to the SAEN you would think that Iraq is on the verge of civil war because the Sunnis won't be properly represented. Now for some more good news we turn to Ralph Peters' latest column in the NY Post:
Dismiss the media nonsense about the Sunni Arab failure to participate invalidating the elections. The Sunni Arabs know they blew it. Their most promising politicians are maneuvering for a role in writing the new constitution. And the Shi'as and Kurds will bring key Sunni Arabs into the process. They know their society better than the pundits do.
You can also disregard the warnings that Iraq will turn into another Iran. Ain't going to happen. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered figure, is well aware that Iran's theocracy has failed miserably tarnishing the faith he loves. As a result, Sistani has set a rational course that will endure beyond his death.
The constitution may end up with more strictures than we like. But the odds are that the document will be a sensible compromise with every party grumpy, but content. Clerics will have influence, but won't rule.
He continues in a statement that appears to have been written specifically to the editors over at the SAEN:
And the critics seem determined to ignore the most encouraging outcome of all: No Iraqi voting bloc handed power to fanatics or demagogues.
The most important word in that last statement is "ignore." The SAEN continues to ignore all but the bad news out of Iraq; which is why so many citizens of the Alamo City continue to ignore the SAEN.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Pic Of The Day: Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Julie Weiss, with Task Force-Eagle, 33rd Area Support Group, gives medical aid to local Afghans in Qalah Musa Bala, Afghanistan, on Feb. 10, 2005.
American Government 101
It's All About The "O"
Monday, February 14, 2005
Chicken Soup, Please
Friday, February 11, 2005
(sigh) El-Kikhia's Hysteria
The second event is the inability of the most powerful nation in the world to fill the moral power vacuum resulting from the new global order. America won the Cold War because it was viewed as morally right and as representing the values and interest of much of the world.
Today, many view it as morally wrong and representing only its interests. The world is leaderless, yet no other nation possesses the necessary components of power to replace the United States as hegemon.
The world is leaderless and America is morally wrong? Please, only a left-wing elitist really thinks that. Every time there is a disaster who does the world turn to for help? The UN, don't be silly, the U.S. because they know we will help and have the resources to do so. America is still the greatest country on the planet and that is why so many people try to come here each year. Moreover, whose interest should we be protecting exactly? El-Kikhia goes through a whole laundry list of things that Russia is doing in her own interest, but he does not seem to have a problem with this. El-Kikhia goes on to say:
These are not the acts of a waning power but of one on the rise. It took two wars to defeat Carthage, two to defeat Napoleonic France and two to defeat Germany. Will Russia also require two wars? No, unless the current administration insists on keeping its immorally jingoistic center of gravity.
I just love "...immorally jingoistic center of gravity." So what El-Kikhia is saying here is that if President Bush doesn't stop protecting America we could end up in a war with Russia. That is so absurd that it needs no explanation from me. El-Kikhia could have written an informative article about Russia that would have educated his readers, but he chose to throw in statements so absurd that the reader forgets about what he says that is correct, and only focuses on the absurd stuff. Just where exactly does the SAEN dig up these guys?
Time For: Stupid Headlines!
"Torch debate snuffed"
"Fatal errors don't kill support for executions"
"Senate looks down on low-pants bill...But kids still high on droopy trousers"
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the SAEN headquarters there is a lowly intern, trapped in a broom closet, laughing his or her butt off at how clever they are.
Did Molly Ivins Plagiarize?
If a worker sets aside $1,000 a year for 40 years, and earns 4 percent annually on investments, the account would grow to $99,800 in today's dollars, but the government would keep $78,700 -- or about 80 percent of the account. The remainder, $21,100, would be the worker's.
With a 4.6 percent average gain over inflation, the government keeps more than 70 percent. With the CBO's 3.3 percent rate, the worker is left with nothing but the guaranteed benefit.
And here is an excerpt from the Ivins column where she came to the same incorrect conclusion as Weisman and used the same incorrect figures and even similar language:
If you managed to make 4 percent on your account in which you contributed $1,000 a year from the start of your career, you would have $99,800 by the time you retire, but the government would keep $78,700 of it, about 80 percent. If you only made 3.3 percent, you're left with nothing but the guaranteed benefit, now diminished by inflation indexing.
So not only does Ivins use similar language, but she also uses Weisman's erroneous figures. How can this be unless Ivins plagarized the first Weisman column without knowing a correction had been run. Paul Krugman of the New York Times also used incorrect figures, based on the same wrong conclusions, in one of his past columns and was forced to make a correction on the Atrios blog. Here is what Weisman said in his corrected column:
The original story should have made clear that, under the proposal, workers who opt to invest in the new private accounts would lose a proportionate share of their guaranteed payment from Social Security plus interest. They should be able to recoup those lost benefits through their private accounts, as long as their investments realize a return greater than the 3 percent that the money would have made if it had stayed in the traditional plan.
Weisman goes on to say:
The Post mistakenly reported that the balance of a worker's personal account would be reduced by the worker's total annual contributions, plus 3 percent interest. In fact, the balance in the account would belong to the worker upon retirement, according to White House officials.
"You'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children . . . or grandchildren," Bush said in his State of the Union address. "And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away."
It's just fascinating that Ivins came to the exact same incorrect conclusion as Weisman and ended up using the same incorrect figures.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Rumble In The Jungle
"The Gang That Won't Shoot Straight"
It began when ol' Dubya gave Al Gore the boot,
Those gun-hating Dems really started to shoot.
Their weapons of choice though leave much to desire
For they're usually off-target and so often misfire.
In his blustering barrages, as everyone knows,
Al Gore is most likely to blow off his own nose.
And in hitting his targets, Teddy's chances are slimmer
He's no better at bombast than he was as a swimmer.
John Kerry took aim at Bush's war in Iraq
But salvos from Swiftees left him smoking black.
Daschle went to Dakota with all barrels loaded;
When the smoke finally cleared, he had clearly imploded.
They were gunning for George, but without enough practice
And ended up full of holes, their butts full of cactus.
That dimwitted cowboy turned out muy mal
Blew the Libs clean away at their O.K. Corral
Howard Dean, more than most, embodies the phrase,
"Shoot yourself in the foot," yet may see better days.
If DNC chiefs decide the Party needs Deaning,
Shooting yourself in the foot will have Party-wide meaning.
Senator Boxer shot holes in her own reputation,
Taking potshots at Condi before the whole nation.
We can't wait for the chance to see Nancy Pelosi,
Take aim at ol' George: "BAM!" there goes her toesy.
We'll not tolerate lying, fumes Senator Dayton,
A lightweight compared to the lady he's baitin'.
But he shoots from the lip and quite clearly he misses,
While eighty-five colleagues hand out Condi kisses.
This "Gang that won't shoot straight," is really no puzzle,
Did you ever see a Lib knew his butt from his muzzle?
Have you fathomed the lesson that runs through this poem?
All guns should have locks if there are Libs in the home.
Hope you enjoyed the poem and I will see you all tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Cowardly Lions Of Islam
Amar Ahmed Mohammed, 19, a Shiite with Down syndrome, was a perfect target for the ruthless men of the insurgency - unable to speak because of the severity of his condition, he could not tell anyone he was being groomed for death.
While the family buried his broken body in Najaf last week, a relative speculated that Amar's abduction was an opportunist snatch by insurgents while his parents were several streets away, celebrating their new-found right to vote at a family lunch.
Now his mother speaks out in an article (free registration required) about how the terrorists lied to her to get her son to blow himself up:
Accustomed to living on charity, they were not surprised when, 10 days before the election, two men arrived saying they were from the local Sunni mosque and wanted to help Amar. Ms Zubaidi was overjoyed.
"They said they would organise a sickness pension from the new government, that they were arranging with the Red Crescent for a block of land on which we might build a house, and they gave me $300 for stock for the shop.
"They said that they would take Amar to a special school, and each day they collected him and drove away. They gave him sweets and clothes and cigarettes - he loved them. Sunnis had helped us before, so I didn't think it strange."
So they came to her door promising help, and then sent her son to die:
She recounts how a neighbor recognized Amar's decapitated head. The Sunnis have not been seen again. Her husband has spent the days since either sedated in hospital or wandering the streets looking for the two men.
Sounds like the terrorists are running out of willing participants to blow themselves up. Please check out the entire story; it will make you sick and it will make you angry, but it also reveals the true face of cowards like al Zarqawi for those who don't already know.
Helping With "Easongate"
Bagged Another Big One
Iraqi security forces arrested Adnan Muhamed Hamed Alqeisi also known as Abu Walied, during surprise operation in southern Baghdad. Abu Walied, and Iraqi of 41 years of age, was a facilitator for the terrorist group led by al Zarqawi who is tied to Al Qaida. He was also in contact with Abu Omar, Hassan and Abu Seif who Zarqawi named commander of Baghdad; those were arrested earlier last month.
The Iraqi vice president Dr. Berhem Saleh said that Abu Walied was working as a military advisor to the top leaders in Zarqawi's terror group, and he also supplied terrorist activities in Baghdad. The vice president also said that Zarqawi is loosing his battle against the Iraqi people and his organization of terrorists and criminals is loosing its main leaders over the last few weeks. This is to the credit of the Iraqi security forces and tips from the population.
Rumors of Zarqawi's captured were floating around before the Iraqi election and the fact that so many of his top aids are going down might give credence to those rumors or it could just mean that we are closing in on him. Either way, another Islamo-fascist pig has landed in the pokey and that is great news for us and the Iraqis. No doubt he is singling like a canary just like all his cowardly comrades have done before him.
Photo Of The Day: Iraq
Builder 3rd Class Christopher Ravella, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seventeen (NMCB-17), works alongside Iraqi students enrolled in the Iraqi Construction Apprentice Program (ICAP), in the village of Shamar, Iraq, Jan. 5, 2005. ICAP provides valuable training in constructions trades for Iraqi civilians in carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring, and plumbing.
The News They Ignore
A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey shows that President George W. Bush's approval rating has increased to 57%, up from 51% three weeks ago. The increase appears to be related to the Iraqi elections, which the poll shows went better than most Americans expected. In general, the public is more positive now than it was before the elections about the way Bush has handled the situation in Iraq, as well as how the war is faring for the United States. The poll shows little change in Bush's job approval rating on the economy or on Social Security.
You can learn more for yourself here.
The Real Schmeling
Nice Scare Quotes
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
About Iraq, By Iraqis
I am still confident that things are going to end up well for Iraq. Despite reports, and I have many emails sort of in a panic, that this party is encouraging a theocracy, I think there is a misunderstanding of the language used by these clerics. Indeed, this win will give clerics more importance, but it does not mean they will rule us. I have posted before, that Sistani does not mix politics and religion, this makes him different from Khomeni.
What a wonderful idea: learning about Iraq from Iraqis! Why am I bothering with this? Because the SAEN won't provide a fair reporting of all sides of the debate.
Picture Of The Day: Afghanistan
Lance Cpl. Dan Robert, squad automatic weapon gunner with Lima Co., charges forward through the deep snow of the Hindu Kush mountains to his squad's next objective during cordon and search operations as part of Operation Spurs this week.
Our Saudi Friends:
We ask Allah to strengthen the spirits of the Jihad fighters in Iraq, and to help them against their enemies, the Jews and the Christians.
Likewise, I emphasize that the Jihad that the Muslims are fighting in Iraq in order to repel the enemy aggressor, the Jews and the Christians, who are attacking land and honor – I emphasize that this Jihad is legitimate Jihad, Jihad for Allah's sake, and it is considered defense of Muslim countries, their lands and their honor. The doubts that are raised against this Jihad are not correct and are out of place.
He goes on to say this of Islam:
Islam uses the sword when there is no other alternative. Therefore wisdom, as the religious authorities say, consists in utilizing each thing in its proper place. If there is need for the sword, then it is wise to use the sword, and if the occasion requires kind words and outreach, then it is wise to utilize them.
So, if you can't sway them with words this peaceful religion suggest that you resort to the sword.
They Must Know Who I Am
Monday, February 07, 2005
Good News From Afghanistan
562 canals and irrigation structures constructed; 310,500 hectares of farmland rehabilitated; 186 km of farm to market roads constructed; 138 market centers constructed; 8,400 loans distributed (73% to women); 3,679,222 livestock vaccinated; 482 km of Kabul-Kandahar highway operational.
40,000 radios distributed to vulnerable populations (including rural women); 400 legal personnel trained; 8,000,000 Afghans voted in first presidential election (40% women); 6,000 business licenses issued; $9,700,000 in domestic revenue generation collected.
169,716 students in 17 provinces enrolled in Accelerated Learning Programs (55%women); 16,200,000 textbooks printed and distributed; 6,819 teachers trained in Accelerated Learning Program; 80 schools constructed; 4,800,000 Afghan children enrolled in school.
4,700,000 people have access to basic health care; 1,971 MOH and NGO health care workers trained; 9,900,000 children under the age of 5 vaccinated against polio; 159 water wells constructed or refurbished; $697,000 in pharmaceuticals and commodities distributed.
There is lots more including updates about security and women in Afghanistan, so be sure to check it out because the SAEN has all but forgotten about the place.
Is The SAEN Catching On?
"You can feel the situation has changed," said Haider Abdul Hussein, 30, a pharmacy owner. "People seem to linger on the street longer. You can feel the momentum, the sense of optimism."
Hello, Ms. Ives, are you listening? I am not saying that Iraq is out of danger, but it helps to keep things in perspective. And as the SAEN tells us on page 8A in a report from Mexico via the Associated Press, Iraq is not the only dangerous place left in the World:
On Saturday unidentified gunmen with automatic weapons killed three policemen and a 15-year-old bystander in three separate Guerrilla-style attacks in the Acapulco area.
Darn it, they missed their big chance to run this healine: "Acapulco streets run with blood."
Nattering Naybobs Of Negativity
But if [the Iraqis] thought they were voting for democracy, liberty and freedom they are sadly mistaken. They risked their lives to legitimize the Bush administration's long-term plans for domination of the Middle East.
How many times have we heard that Bush "did it for the oil," and his buddies at Halliburton? And how many times have American actions proven those allegations true? Not once, because the fact of the matter is that if we wanted the oil in the Middle East we could take it. You know, President Bush is fair game for criticism, but her remarks dishonor the fighting and the dying that our troops our doing over in Iraq. She says she is not calling into question the courage of the Iraqis, but that is exactly what she is doing. I kind of feel sorry for Ms. Ives.
Friday, February 04, 2005
President Clinton On Social Security
Today, Social Security is strong. But by 2013, payroll taxes will no longer be sufficient to cover monthly payments. And by 2032, the trust fund will be exhausted, and Social Security will be unable to pay out the full benefits older Americans have been promised.
The best way to keep Social Security a rock-solid guarantee is not to make drastic cuts in benefits; not to raise payroll tax rates; and not to drain resources from Social Security in the name of saving it.
Instead, I propose that we make the historic decision to invest the surplus to save Social Security.
Specifically, I propose that we commit 60 percent of the budget surplus for the next 15 years to Social Security, investing a small portion in the private sector just as any private or state government pension would do. This will earn a higher return and keep Social Security sound for 55 years.
Notice he wants to invest some of the money because it will earn a higher return and help keep Social Security sound. When he said this is 1999 the Democrats cheered, but this year they booed; proving once again that they would gladly sacrifice Social Security for partisan gain.
What The SAEN Won't Tell You:
The Iraqi police have investigated a case in the village of al-Mudhariya, which is just south of Baghdad. The villagers there say that before the election insurgents came and warned them that if they voted in last weekend's election, they would pay.
Now the people of this mixed village of Sunni and Shia Muslims, they ignored the threat and they did turn out to vote.
We understand that last night the insurgents came back to punish the people of al-Mudhariya, but instead of metering out that punishment the villagers fought back and they killed five of the insurgents and wounded eight. They then burnt the insurgents' car. So the people of that village have certainly had enough of the insurgents.
Does anyone else think it is silly that we have to go to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. for the full story because our local paper ignores good news in Iraq?
Picture Of The Day: Iraq
British soldiers help an Iraqi child put on his shoes after their unit donated clothing and food to the orphanage where he lives.
On Torture and Lap Dances
Update 1: I have spoken to El-Kikhia via e-mail and he is upset with my post and feels I am not being fair. I will leave that up to you guys, but I wanted to pass along his sentiments so you can judge for yourself if I am a "waco fascist" or not.
"Berry big paint job under way."
Great, after disappearing in the late 80's Strawberry Shortcake went to college, got a degree in journalism, and now works at the SAEN.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Fight Of The Week!
Another Reason CNN Stinks
During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.
Then Mr. Eason sort of wavered between supporting that statement and backpedaling a bit:
To be fair (and balanced), Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess.
You can read more about it at the official Davos blog, Forumblog. And you can bet that Arab news journalist ran this (it was taped) on every newscast throughout the Middle East saying "see, now we have proof that Americans murder reporters." You have to wonder how many others in the American media believe what Mr. Jordan thinks. SAEN Watch is a family oriented blog so the Commando won't tell you what he thinks of Mr. Jordan.
Picture Of The Day: Iraq
The Dithering UN
The left tells us we cannot live without the UN, but there are millions of people who can't live with it.
SAEN Sometimes At Odds With Facts
The Hypocrisy Of Waiting
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
There were intellectually and morally honest arguments against going to war in Iraq. But once the war began, a moral person could not oppose it. No moral person could hope for, let alone act on behalf of, a victory for the Arab/Islamic fascists. Just ask yourself but two questions: If America wins, will there be an increase or decrease in goodness in Iraq and in the world? And then ask what would happen if the Al Qaeda/Zarqawi/Baathists win.
It brings me no pleasure to describe opponents of the Iraqi war as "worth nothing." I know otherwise fine, decent people who oppose the war. So I sincerely apologize for the insult.
But to the Left in general, as opposed to individually good people who side with the Left, I have no apologies. It is the Left -- in America, in Europe and around the world -- that should do all the apologizing: to the men, women and children of Iraq and elsewhere for not coming to their support against those who would crush them.
At this point you are either rooting for freedom or rooting for fascism. The left is, amazingly, rooting for fascism because that will be the result if we fail there.
Picture Of The Day: Iraq
The SAEN is restarting it's negative coverage of Iraq, but the good work of our soldiers continues. In this picture, U.S. soldiers distribute food in Iraq.
Statement of Conscience: "We will not hand over our consciences...We refuse to be party to these wars, and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name.
From the AP yesterday: "I came here to vote for our goal, which is freedom, and this is the first step toward democracy," said Abu Ahmed, a voter in Baqouba.
I was really dismayed at the use of "these wars" in the Statement of Conscience because it is hard to believe that anyone in America could be against the war in Afghanistan. Come to think of it, perhaps they should have called it the "Statement of Unconsciousness."
A Call For Unity
Too Hot For The SAEN
The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them, as in Qur'an 3:28: "Let believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the faithful -- he that does this has nothing to hope for from Allah -- except in self-defense."
It was these "converts" who knocked on the door of the Armanious home. Of course, the family, not suspecting the deception, was happy to see the "converted" men and willingly let them in to their home. That's why there was no sign of forced entry. Then the "converted" Muslims did their grisly work.
The SAEN goes ballistic when a few American soldiers put panties on the heads of Iraqi prisoners, but ignores the grisly murder of an entire family by Muslims. And remember, this took place in New Jersey, not Damascus.