Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Greyhawk, Samarra, and Tootsie Rolls
Note in particular the precise way in which he fisks NYTimes reporting on Samarra (with an obligatory negative spin from some academic clerics in Baghdad).
from the NY Times:
"But if the Americans were pleased with their success, not all Iraqis were. In Baghdad, the Association of Muslim Scholars, which represents more than 3,000 Sunni mosques around the country, denounced the military operation and accused American and Iraqi troops of widespread atrocities in Samarra. The clerics, who spoke at a news conference in Baghdad, said the military action would undermine any support in the area for the elections.
"The hospital is full of bodies, children are buried in the gardens, and there are bodies filling the streets," said Muhammad Bashar al-Faidhi, one of the members of the group in Baghdad who said he was basing his accusations on witness accounts. It was impossible to independently verify his claims."
"Based on the story byline (Samarra) and the photos I'd have to guess the reporters were with the troops in Samarra. But they were unable to verify the claims. Which I'm sure is true, but different from stating 'they saw no evidence of atrocities.'
"In fact, this is what they described:
As though a bell had been rung, people began to emerge from their homes on Sunday, gathering in small numbers on some market streets and waving warily at passing convoys of armored vehicles. Here and there, people passed along the hot, dusty streets with white flags waving over their heads.
"Nothing about fresh graves in the gardens."
Also some poignant references to Tootsie Rolls and MREs. Read the whole thing.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
An Appropriate Vietnam Analogy
David Gelernter, writing for the Editors of the Weekly Standard, draws the correct analogy between Iraq and Vietnam. The last two paragraphs, but read it all.
"Every combat death we sustain is a tragedy. All Americans mourn every one. Nonetheless: A long fight wins a different sort of victory than a short fight, a victory that costs more and is ultimately worth more. "What you have achieved," Wittgenstein wrote, "cannot mean more to others than it does to you. Whatever it has cost you, that's what they will pay." Iraq has cost us plenty, but the payment hasn't been made in vain. We have already gone far towards silencing the post-Vietnam slander that says America is physically tough but mentally and spiritually weak. We have gone far towards recouping a certain kind of credibility we lost in Vietnam--and American credibility is a precious substance; it can save lives by the million. If we had the credibility (or magic power) to tell the regime of North Korea, Iran, or the Sudan: Clean up your act or be crushed by American power, get to it, hop!--millions would rejoice. And Americans know it.
"And so if Kerry should succeed in convincing this nation that Iraq today resembles Vietnam circa 1968, he will discover that America today bears scant resemblance to itself circa 1968. Kerry may have learned nothing from Vietnam, but America has learned plenty."
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And a Reminder on Iran
John Podhoretz identifies this struggle as WWIV. Borrowing another Cold War metaphor, is it too much to suggest that the Dominoes are in the process of falling?
Friday, October 01, 2004
Don't Forget Afghanistan
Kerry -- and all the Loyal Opposition out there -- needs to learn that you cannot easily support the soldiers without supporting the war, for it is we who fight it.
"This is not a military dictatorship. The President makes the decision to go to war, after consulting with Congress. He may even approve or veto specific military strategies. But he does not write the war plan – the Pentagon does that. Our war planners are some of the most brilliant, thoughtful, and well-educated warriors on the planet. They’ve studied Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Mahan. They’ve dissected and analyzed all the major battles in history, from Thermopylae to Desert Storm. They know about logistics, intelligence, artillery, air support, guerilla tactics, and psychological warfare. They are professionals – the best of the best."
Afghanistan is a stunning success, and demonstrates the possibilities that a more aggressive foreign policy can achieve in an otherwise evil world. To restate an old saw: If not us, who? If not now, when? If not here, where? (Kerry's "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" is a non-answer of Chamberlainian proportions.)
Kerry's a War Hero in His Own Eyes
The pieces add together quite convincingly, and to those who have come to know the Senator, that he himself is the source for his own legend is quite a surprise -- not at all.
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