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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Back from the Front...

(Firsthand account by an officer departing Baghdad)

Hi Everyone.
Just wanted to thank all of you for your emails, jokes, packages, hospital supplies, cookies, cards, letters, newspapers, etc. You've all made this tour just a little bit easier and for that I thank you. I will be departing Baghdad on Sunday, 22 May.

It's been a wild five months. Many of the things that I've seen, both good and bad, I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I thought I'd leave you with my final thoughts from Baghdad for whatever they're worth:

The big question: are we winning this war? My answer to that is both simple and complicated. In short, yes we are. But this war will not be over any time soon and in fact it will likely last our entire lifetimes. It is so much bigger than Iraq. Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism have been growing unabated and unopposed for decades. Add to that the demographics of the Arab/Muslim world, corrupt governments that can't meet the basic needs of their people, decades of terrible US foreign policy, the morally bankrupt influence of Wahhabism, disenfranchised youths, the disrespect of women, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc.

And to prove God has a sense of humor, he threw into the mix a region that floats on oil and gave the West an insatiable desire/need for the stuff. In short this is all very complicated stuff with no easy answers. Additionally, for the US to win this war its strategy must also include a confrontation of our own past and values: is it still permissible to support or turn a blind eye to those corrupt governments that happen to be pro-US, what damage was done by not confronting terrorism earlier (from Carter thru 9-11, both parties are guilty), do we have the will to see this battle through to the end, what role does our own lack of energy conservation play, should we have a greater influence on Israel to cease counter-productive policies like building more settlements in the West Bank. So when I say we are winning, it only somewhat refers to the situation on the ground, troop levels, insurgents killed, etc. Despite what the press says, great progress is being made. This is not a popular uprising that we face-it is comprised of foreigners, criminals, and ex-Baathists. Bombs will always make better headlines than the building of schools or the functioning of a court system. Mainly I say we're winning because our enemy, the foreign insurgents and fundamentalists, have nothing to offer to the people of Iraq. They can blow themselves up and take innocent people with them but they can never win the popular support. They are loathed by the Iraqi on the street. To see what kind of government are they capable of producing, one need only look at the Taliban. They're great at forcing men to grow beards or stoning women, but they can't provide basic social services, build roads, educate their children or create employment. Like the Nazis, Soviets, and Apartheid before them, they will ultimately fail simply because they are incapable of succeeding.

In my lifetime I have witnessed three great triumphs of the human spirit: the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela walking out of prison, and Iraqis defiantly going to the voting booth on January 30th despite the constant threat of death.

Secondly I would say that I will never again view the act of voting the same way. I've been pretty hit and miss over my life when it came to voting. Sometimes it was inconvenient, other times I wasn't well versed enough on the issues, and still other times I thought that I could voice my dissent by not voting. I am now ashamed by all of these excuses. I've heard a thousand times the cliché that people gave their lives so we that could have the right to vote. I guess I never really internalized it before. I now know men and women, American and Iraqi, who actually gave their lives so others could vote. For the rest of my life I will think of them whenever I am in a voting booth.

I know the range of opinion on this war run the entire spectrum, even among my good friends on this email. Everything in the preceding paragraphs is open to debate and I don't claim to be smarter than anyone else on these matters. But I would like to close off with one observation that I believe to be absolute: we should all feel honored by the men and women who are serving here. They work under impossibly harsh conditions: the danger, the heat, the dust, and the split second life and death decisions. These kids who serve their country are amazing. They do their job, they take care of each other and they don't expect much in return except a hot meal once in a while and a cot in a corner somewhere to get some sleep. They are selfless beyond belief and they would without hesitation risk their lives for each other or for total strangers. To know them and to serve with them has been the greatest honor of my life.



Blogger camojack said...

More "mainstream" media opinions? Your new moniker notwithstanding, do you seriously believe everything they feed you, from their ivory towers? What I posted came from someone who was there, and saw the real deal. What you posted came from a naysayer who, like yourself, doesn't fully appreciate the "Pax Americana"...if at all. Have you done any time in the military? I suspect not. But if you did, it isn't apparent. Do you enjoy being negative? If so, why? Terrorism is a problem that is definitely not limited to U.S. interests, it hurts everyone. I suggest you try to read the following with an open mind:
Bush country

And this too:
The Politics of Churlishness

May 25, 2005 7:05 AM  
Blogger KWL said...

I don't know about you, but the MSM news I read and watch is just full of supposed failures of the war in Iraq. It is constantly reporting on car bombings, terrorist (insurgents as the PC crowd calls them)and the many reasons why MSM thinks this is a failure. One thing we don't get reported on is all the many day to day successes being achieved in Iraq. Just as the post says this is a long ordeal and we have to withstand the negative attacks. We need to keep our thoughts and minds to the mission that our troops are doing so well over there.

There is never anytime when anyone should downplay a loss of life in a conflict and this post in no way means to do so, but do you remember the MSM/DNC reporting that went on just before the invasion? They said there were not going to be enough body bags to bring our youth back. They said it was going to be a bloodbath and we didn't know what we were getting in to. Have they reported that they were a little off on their predictions?

I know for a fact that the study done by the Los Angeles Times, one of the MSM rags that made those bold predictions above (just so we know the track record here) is skewed and flat out wrong. There may have not been photos, but the way it is skewed is in the way they (MSM) do the reporting. There were so many wrong things about that report it was laughable.

May 25, 2005 7:07 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Right you are; some quick examples:
USA Today: Bloody Monday in Iraq...
L.A. Times: Insurgents Flourish in Iraq's Wild West

There's plenty more...good news is no news, to paraphrase the old adage. "If it bleeds, it leads"; words to live by, if you're a journalist.

War is not pretty, it is brutal; it involves doing things that most of us don't like to think about, and usually don't have to watch. The young in particular tend to be soft-hearted and vulnerable to the sight of human suffering, not hardened by life experiences. That kind of empathy is a good thing, though, not a bad one. But those reactions, which are primarily emotional in nature and go very deep, can short-circuit cognitions about why a particular war is happening, and why it might be "the lesser of two evils," despite the horror.

John Stuart Mill may have said it best:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

May 25, 2005 7:33 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

mig said:
SHHH! Don't tell Joker but Batman would have served in Iraq despite the press.

OK, I won't...but you just did.

May 25, 2005 9:27 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

I thank this soldier for his service. I thank camojack for sharing his words.

I thank God for every soldiers' safe return.

May 25, 2005 9:57 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Amen, sister...amen.

May 25, 2005 10:40 AM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Thanks for sharing the letter camo. It's great to hear the opinion of someone who really matters... someone who's really been there. God bless our soldiers. God bless the United States of America.

May 25, 2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Ultimately, the opinions of those who've been there are the only ones that matter. Yet some people still allow themselves to be led by the leftist "mainstream" media. Sad...

May 25, 2005 7:03 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

One of the ways I express my gratitude is by donating to the U.S.O.

But speaking as someone who has served in the military, thanks.

May 26, 2005 1:45 AM  
Blogger KWL said...

The handle quite appropriate.
American Civil Liberties Union
Are we quite sure on the American part of it? Where are they when US Citizens are jailed for reading a bible? Where are they when womans rights are trampled by the very same people they are trying to defend?
And, by the way, just to put a punctuation mark on your whole thought process, "THOSE ARE SOME KIND OF TOILEST HUH?
You also boldly put it "a further erosion of human rights.." to imply we are denying their human rights?
Where in the frick do you come off. You can't reasonably think that has any legitimacy to it do you? Because of our actions woman can now walk beside or even in front of a man, without the fear of public beatings. They can now show their faces without the fear of public beatings, tongues being cut out, or even death sentences. They can now vote, and they can vote for whom they want to vote! If only we in the United States could be as excited about that one right that they now have, we surely would have a lot of Dumocrats and two face Republicans shaking in their boots right now!
You can't pick and choose the sometime failures of our actions to the tremendous and overwhelming successes that has been achieved in the Middle East, because we had someone in the White House (I know you didn't vote for him and that's really what bugs you isn't it) that has the kahoonas to do something about it.
Admit it, if Al Gore would have won, and he (snicker snicker) had the kahoonas to do this, I don't think we would see your post here would we. You would be singing the praises of Al Gore and how brave he is.
That cuts it to the core doesn't it?

We all know here in this blog where Amnesty and the ACLU loyalties lie, and it is always with the blame America First crowd. Do they ever mention in any press that there is no other nation on the earth where peoples rights are revered as much? Where in this earth is there any country that matches the United States of American when it comes to Freedoms, Human Rights, Property Rights and the right to prosper?

May 26, 2005 7:42 AM  
Blogger KWL said...

err ToilETS.,
Such a tempest in the toilETS

May 26, 2005 7:45 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Since you like the "mainstream" media so much, you should love these:

"Antarctica Ice Cap Growing, Another Sign of Warming"
-headline, Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

"Report: Muslim World Largely Anti-American"
-Associated Press

"Doctors Say During a Heart Attack, Make Sure You Call 911"
-KTUU-TV Web site (Anchorage, Alaska)

"Jobless Workers Could Lose Jobs"
-South Bend (Ind.) Tribune

In the event that you want to read what some people are saying, and think about it:

"Afghan rioters who were whipped into a frenzy of hatred against America by their Islamist imams were nurtured on violence long before the publication of the Newsweek article and their leaders exploited the Newsweek item for their own cynical purposes." -Suzanne Fields

"There is...a deep anti-military bias in the media -- one that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous." -ABC's Terry Moran

"Newsweek messed up. Nobody disputes that, not even Newsweek. That in itself makes the Newsweek episode very different from the CBS 'memogate' scandal. CBS stonewalled, whitewashed and distorted as much as it could at every turn. Dan Rather is still agnostic about whether those memos were real, and his former producer, Mary Mapes, is sticking to her guns like a marooned Japanese soldier looking to shoot down planes years after the war's over." -Jonah Goldberg

"In a way, both the U.S. media and those wacky rioters in the Afghan-Pakistani hinterlands are very similar, two highly parochial and monumentally self-absorbed tribes living in isolation from the rest of the world and prone to fanatical irrational indestructible beliefs -- not least the notion that you can flush a 950-page book down one of Al Gore's eco-crazed federally mandated low-flush toilets, a claim no editorial bigfoot thought to test for himself in Newsweek's executive washroom." -Mark Steyn

You know the toughest job in the world right now? Trying to sell Newsweek subscriptions in Afghanistan. ....The New York Times has had fake stories. CBS has had fake stories. And now Newsweek had a fake story. You realize the only one that hasn't had to print a retraction is the National Inquirer. .... In TV news, CBS has cancelled "60 Minutes II" which means Dan Rather is losing another job. I think they have an opening over at Newsweek so he might go there. -Jay Leno

Where are the Christian riots because of the fact (not simply an allegation) that Muslims are using pages from the Bible as toilet paper? One will do.
(Good luck in your quest, Quixoté!)

As for Abu Ghraib, the guilty parties were already being investigated long before the "mainstream" media broke the story...and several of them have been sentenced since. War is Hell; some people do things they shouldn't. But I guess sawing off someone's head while they're alive, or burning people and dismembering then displaying their remains, that's perfectly OK.

Just keep letting the media do your thinking for you, if you're not qualified to do your own...

Good points, all; I was in the middle of composing the above while you were at it. Don't sweat the spellin', typos happen. ☺

May 26, 2005 7:53 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

In other (than "mainstream" media) news:

Today's Misleading Headline Award...
By John Hinderaker

By Michelle Malkin

May 26, 2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger KWL said...

Did you bother to read my post? We don't need you to quote from Amnesty International as we know where there loyalties lay. (or is it lie?)
We do not need any further quotes from any other organization that belongs to the BLAME AMERICA FIRST CROWD
You haven't answered the question yet as to where is this crowd when one of our soldiers, whom was a prisoner of theirs, get his head slowly and painfully sawed off his shoulders with a dull blade. Does this tell you something Mr. Joker about their motives??
You said NOT MSM at the beginning of your last post, but are they very closely aligned and aren't the MSM/DNC more than happy to spread their drivel, which has no basis of truth at all. It is all innuendos, but, they can report on flushing a huge thick 900 some page booklet down a toilet and accept that as fact. And the sad part of it is, you my friend have bought into it.
Very sad indeed.

May 26, 2005 2:12 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

kwl & JannyMae:
Obviously joker has no interest in anything other than copying & pasting groundless allegations that he believes support his anti-American stance. Everything he posts has been refuted; I doubt he even reads the uncommonly sensible commentaries by leading contemporary luminaries in the links I've already posted above. He probably won't read them if they're copied & pasted herein, but let's see:

Today's Misleading Headline Award...

...goes to this Reuters story: "FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran". Sensational story, huh? That's what the lefty who emailed us the link thought. He wrote:

Will this make your front page?

I hope you do the right thing and acknowledge that Newsweek was correct in it's [sic] story, but I doubt it.

Unfortunately for our correspondent, who so badly wants the Newsweek story to be true, the article says no such thing. What it reports is old news:

An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet.

That such accusations have been made by detainees, along with other implausible claims, has been public knowledge for a long time. The Reuters article notes that the Defense Department described the claim in question as "not credible." The Reuters story also includes this disgusting account:

In document written in April 2003, an FBI agent related a detainee's account of an incident involving a female U.S. interrogator.

"While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head," the memo stated.

A similar incident was described in a recent book written by a former Guantanamo interrogator.

This story is absurd on its face. What about the "similar incident" described by the former Guantanamo interrogator? Presumably Reuters refers to the recent book by Erik Saar, the only book-writing former interrogator I know of. I heard Saar relate this story on the radio, only it wasn't blood, it was red ink, and there was nothing about the female soldier removing her blouse, etc. "Similar," indeed.

This story has been marked by two features, I think: lousy reporting, and a desperate desire on the part of leftists worldwide to believe that assertions made by Guantanamo detainees, no matter how outlandish and uncorroborated, are true.

By Michelle Malkin · May 26, 2005 07:39 AM

Daily Kos and other liberal bloggers are claiming that newly-released FBI documents confirm Newsweek's allegations regarding Koran-flushing (see "FBI: Newsweek was right").

It should be obvious to anyone who so much as glances at the documents being cited that the FBI was reporting the statements of detainees rather than endorsing or validating those allegations. Immediately before describing the Koran-in-the-toilet allegation, the FBI notes the detainee's statement that "God tells Muslims to do a jihad against non-Muslims." Does Kos expect us to believe the FBI is endorsing that statement too?

Many detainees have made allegations of serious physical abuse as well as mistreatment of the Koran. Notwithstanding the MSM's "flood the zone" coverage, that's neither unexpected nor particularly newsworthy.

Are the detainees' complaints valid? Maybe some are. But the FBI documents heralded by Kos and others as evidence of abuse actually show that a significant number of detainees' complaints were either exaggerated or completely fabricated.

One detainee who claimed to have been "beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog" could not provide a single detail pertaining to mistreatment by U.S. military personnel. Another detainee claimed that guards were physically abusive and told detainees that U.S. soldiers were having sex with the detainees' mothers. Yet this detainee said he had neither seen any physical abuse nor heard these comments from the guards. Other detainees who complained about abuse of the Koran admitted they had never personally witnessed any such abuse, but one said he had heard that non-Muslim soldiers touched the Koran when searching it for contraband.

A number of detainees were concerned about relatively mundane issues such as lack of privacy, lack of bed sheets, being unwillingly photographed, the guards' use of profanity, and bad food (like "the zoo," said one critic). If lack of privacy or bed sheets is a detainee's main concern, it is doubtful that the detainee is being tortured (unless the definition of "torture" is so ridiculously broad as to be meaningless).

Several detainees indicated they had not experienced any mistreatment whatsoever at Gitmo, including one detainee who claimed he was mistreated at Kandahar prior to his transfer to Cuba.

One detainee disputed claims that guards had mistreated the Koran. The detainee said that riots resulted from claims that a guard dropped the Koran. In actuality, the detainee said, a detainee dropped the Koran then blamed a guard. (This detainee is apparently more skeptical of Koran-abuse allegations than the Washington Post, which neglected to mention this tidbit.)

In one case, Gitmo interrogators apologized to a detainee for interviewing him prior to the end of Ramadan, giving lie to the MSM portrayal of guards and interrogators as Koran-dropping, Koran-kicking, Koran-flushing, Islamophobic thugs.

Don't take my word for it. But don't take Kos's word for it either. Or the Washington Post's. Go read some or all of the FBI documents yourself and draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, click on "Read More" to see excerpts from the FBI documents that won't be making headlines.

Update: INDC Journal reports on another prisoner-abuse scandal: "Breaking News: the entire Death Row population at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana testified, 'that the food is terrible and I'm 110% innocent. I swear. Hey, you wouldn't happen to have a smoke, would you?'"

Update II: Check out the new group blog "MediaSlander.com," dedicated to highlighting "bias, rumor and falsehoods that have been creeping into military coverage under the guise of objective news."

Update III: Excellent round-ups: Joe Gandelman, La Shawn Barber

Update IV: It's not just Kos. Take a look at how Big Media is covering the story:

- ABC News, "FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran"

- Reuters AlertNet, "FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran"

- Sydney Morning Herald, "US knew about abuse of Koran, papers show"

- Yahoo! News, "FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran"

- Washington Times, "FBI reports show Koran abuse at Gitmo"

I've come to expect these kinds of distortions from the MSM, but the Washington Times?!? Good grief.

Clarification, 7:48 pm: The headline that appeared on the Washington Times web site was selected by UPI not the Washington Times.

Update V: Tom MacGuire at Just One Minute notices that compared to the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times covered the story quite fairly.

From the New York Times:

Unlike F.B.I. documents previously disclosed in a lawsuit brought by the civil liberties union, in which agents reported that they had witnessed harsh and possibly illegal interrogation techniques, the new documents do not say the F.B.I. agents witnessed the episodes themselves. Rather, they are accounts of unsubstantiated accusations made by the prisoners during interrogation.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon dismissed the reports as containing no new evidence that abuses of the Koran had actually occurred and said that on May 14 military investigators had interviewed the prisoner who mentioned the toilet episode to the F.B.I. and that he was not able to substantiate the charge.

The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, which has been made by former and current inmates over the past two years, stirred violence this month that killed at least 17 people in Muslim countries after Newsweek magazine reported that a military investigation was expected to confirm that the incident had in fact occurred.

Newsweek retracted the report last week, saying it had relied on an American government official who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

None of the documents released Wednesday indicate any such confirmation that the incident took place.

And from the LA Times:

No independent verification has been made of the prisoners' claims. The FBI reports say that some prisoners, when asked, were not able to say that they had witnessed such abuse of the Koran, but that they had heard rumors about it.

One prisoner, the FBI notes say, "considers it his duty as a Muslim to believe the rumor until it is proven untrue."

Update VI: Don't mess with the Junkyard Blog.


(For the links within, click on the prior post)

May 26, 2005 9:14 PM  
Blogger KWL said...

It it truly sad that you have bought into it hook line and sinker and you wouldn't see the truth if it just smacked you upside the head.

Liberals such as yourself would have whined about trying to overtake Karimov saying it was a country that was minding it's own busines, but we don't go in their and you try to compare him with Saddam Hussein. You seem to think you can have both sides of the argument to fit your needs, but the majority sees otherwise and you and your liberal ilk think that we are the idiots. Look to the recent past in the elections that the liberals thought they would sweep, the majority spoke otherwise, yet the liberals continue with their same tactics. Here is a tip Mr. Joker: Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. (I forget who quoted that but how salient)

Your beloved groups that hate the US that you quote, do not,DO NOT have credibility with the silent majority of these United States. They are groups that hate the United States and anything it stands for. They align themselves with the most atrocious groups and countries in the world and in the name of Human Rights.
Again, one more time and I am moving on, please tell me where your beloved crowds were, prior to our invasion of Iraq, where human atrocities were going on daily,(as was chronicled by your beloved but mafiaso UN, but no kahoonas to act on it) when we the liberators had a prisonor in your friends custody, and your beloved friends systematically proceeded to slowly and most painfully saw off his head and recorded for your enjoyment. (I bet you really enjoyed that didn't you.) Where were they when hundreds of thousands of Kurds were being gassed by your friend in Iraq, you know, the one that we have now had the privelage of seeing him in his shorts! (I bet that made you mad didn't it)
How come the ACLU (remember the word American in ACLU? What's up with that huh?) didn't have a fit about that? What about their civil rights?

Just answer those questions for me. I need you to explain their motives to me. I simply do not understand it.

May 27, 2005 11:26 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

More copy & paste from the "mainstream" media by joker; at least the moniker is fitting. He has no interest in the responses to his nonsense, since he only replies with more copy & paste.

He should read the following, but it would destroy his "house of cards":


May 23, 2005
The Caricature and Reality of George Bush
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services

Moveon.org, "Fahrenheit 9/11," Anonymous, Richard Clark and now the Newsweek story about alleged desecration of the Koran — all these sensations of the day have been used to proclaim the supposed sins of the American administration in the Middle East. Even when Americans consider that the president's foreign policy might just be working, he is still caricatured by critics and the media, here and abroad, as a clueless Inspector Clouseau who trips around and only stumbles into his good luck.

How accurate is that cartoon?

Just imagine if George Bush had predicted to us on the morning after Sept. 11, 2001, what actually ended up happening. He might have delivered the following speech:

"Ours is not a war on Muslims or the Arab world. Rather, we are in a struggle against a new fascism that resorts to terror. Osama bin Laden must distort Islam and deflect blame onto the United States for the self-inflicted miseries of the Middle East, created by its own illiberal dictatorships.

"Therefore, American strategy is three-pronged:

"We will hunt down terrorist cells in the United States that due to our laxity have already infiltrated the West.

"America will remove rogue regimes abroad that have funded and supported these killers.

"In their places, the United States will support consensual governments to ensure a third choice other than just Islamic theocracy or brutal dictatorship.

"First, we must go on the offensive. In less than a month, our forces will go to faraway Afghanistan and remove the Taliban within six weeks upon arrival. From that victory, democracy will follow for all Afghans, regardless of tribe or gender.

"Some regimes openly sanction terrorists. Others have entered into secretive alliances with them. Saddam Hussein has violated all his past international agreements and murdered thousands of his own and others across his borders. The Senate no doubt will sanction his removal because he is an enemy of the United States, subsidizing anti-democratic terrorists from the West Bank to Kurdistan.

"In the space of three week's time, we can liberate Iraq from Saddam's Baathist nightmare and stay on to help the long-suffering Iraqi people secure their freedom under a new democracy.

"Pakistan has been hostile, but its cooperation is vital to dismantle Al Qaeda. We must win President Musharraf over to the side of civilization and prod him to reform. Such cooperation is fraught with danger. It demands the exposure of the nuclear proliferator Dr. A.Q. Khan and the cessation of his efforts to spread nuclear weapons worldwide. If we are successful, in the next four years most of the leadership of Al Qaeda will be scattered into hiding, apprehended or killed.

"Democracy is a human aspiration and thus contagious. After our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, America may well see democratic awakenings in Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states.

"Such reform could serve as an inspiration to peoples even as far distant as the former Soviet republics and Ethiopia. Syria must and will leave Lebanon to the Lebanese. It is also past time for Col. Gadhafi in Libya to come clean about his dangerous arsenal. Europeans should join us in stopping the nuclear plans of theocratic Iran.

"Yasser Arafat corrupted elections in Palestine. He embezzled billions from his own citizens, subverting all his commitments to peace. Arafat must be shunned and his subsidies cut off. Only that way can fair elections return to the West Bank. The American government certainly will no longer see him as a representative of the Palestinian people.

"Despite our historic relationship with Saudi Arabia, American troops will leave the kingdom. Saddam soon will no longer pose a threat, and we must distance ourselves from a Saudi monarchy whose rogue princes have funded terrorists.

"None of this will be easy, given our past appeasement of terrorists, the world's dependence on Middle Eastern oil and the global distrust of American force.

"Congress will debate this agenda. We must await its vote of approval before moving against both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. This administration shall stand for election in three years — and so the wisdom or folly of these risky policies will be determined by the American voter.

"The Taliban ruler Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein are formidable. Their removal halfway around the world may cost hundreds of American lives. Yet if we act forcefully now, we can fight the suicide bombers and autocrats on their own turf. That way, in the days ahead we will lose far fewer Americans in this war abroad than we have yesterday in peace at home. Only this difficult road ensures that in four years we will not witness a repeat of yesterday's mass murder on American soil."

Had the president promised or even predicted such things after Sept. 11, most of us would have dismissed him as utterly unhinged. But that is precisely what has come to pass.

It is now time to concede it was not entirely a coincidence, and that President Bush was not a "Pink Panther"-like Inspector Clouseau who bumbled about the Middle East, overturned a few things and ended up accidentally accomplishing what legions of "experts" never could.

©2005 Victor Davis Hanson

May 27, 2005 2:02 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Well, joker...at least you actually responded with something other than 100% copy and paste. As for the excerpts from American blogs, that's the thing about Freedom of Speech, it cuts both ways. Consequently, you have to discern the validity of what's being posited, which is no easy task sometimes. Obviously, you prefer to believe the negative...

May 27, 2005 3:08 PM  
Blogger KWL said...

Yawn...That's contagious you know.
I wonder though if he would ever directly answer my question.
I bet he is embarrassed at his own answer, or totally shocked. I doubt the shocked part, because you would have to have morales and such.

May 27, 2005 11:19 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

joker said:
"Obviously, you prefer to believe the negative... "

Lame answer.

Whether you consider it lame or not...it's still true, you do believe the negative, or so it seems. Personally, I think that's rather lame. What about the positive? Do you think there is none?

I posted you some facts.

Did you...or were they merely opinions?

Let's see you deal with them.

I posted a lot of things to which you haven't responded; why should I deal with yours?

Want to talk about Uzbekistan?

There are bad leaders in a lot of countries. Would you have us invade all of them? Impractical. The reasons for going after Hussein were many, not the least of which his demonstrated willingness to kill people on a grand scale...of course, he's not the only one to do that, but his threats to American interests (real and implicit) made his regime a priority. If you can't see that, you aren't looking.

Or Karzai?

What about him? He has his own country to worry about, his own people to placate, and wants to avoid the appearance of being a puppet of the U.S.

How about the new abuse photos?

As I've said, War is Hell, and sometimes people do things they shouldn't. If and when they're caught, they get dealt with.

We know they're probably worse than what we've seen already. Because some of your elected representatives have already seen them, haven't they?

Probably, yes. See above.

"As for the excerpts from American blogs, that's the thing about Freedom of Speech, it cuts both ways"

Not here it doesn't. You'd like to keep this a club for Republicans.

Actually, Freedom of Speech doesn't have to rule on my blog, since it's not a government function. However, provided you don't get offensive, I will allow you to have your say. What constructive purpose would a "club for Republicans" accomplish?

And people all over the world have blogs. American blogs are nothing special. So don't trivialise, please.

You were the one who pointed out that you'd referenced American blogs:

joker said...
That was not from the MSM, Camojack. That was an American blog.
May 27, 2005 2:21 PM

joker said...
Both were from American blogs, Camojack, actually.
May 27, 2005 2:31 PM

All I said about American blogs was merely in response to those statements of YOURS.

Rather than highlighting a portion of said response, re-read the whole thing:
"As for the excerpts from American blogs, that's the thing about Freedom of Speech, it cuts both ways. Consequently, you have to discern the validity of what's being posited, which is no easy task sometimes. Obviously, you prefer to believe the negative..."

May 28, 2005 1:46 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

JannyMae & kwl:

I offer the following copy & paste, regarding the critic:

"The sister Muses, whom these realms obey,
Who o’er the drama hold divided sway,
Sometimes by evil counsellors, ’tis said,
Like earth-born potentates have been misled.
In those gay days of wickedness and wit,
When Villiers criticised what Dryden writ,
The tragic queen, to please a tasteless crowd,
Had learn’d to bellow, rant, and roar so loud,
That frighten’d Nature, her best friend before,
The blustering beldam’s company foreswore;
Her comic sister, who had wit ’tis true,
With all her merits, had her failings too:
And would sometimes in mirthful moments use
A style too flippant for a well-bred muse;
Then female modesty abash’d began
To seek the friendly refuge of the fan,
Awhile behind that slight intrenchment stood,
Till driven from thence, she left the stage for good,
In our more pious, and far chaster times,
These sure no longer are the Muse’s crimes!
But some complain that, former faults to shun,
The reformation to extremes has run.
The frantic hero’s wild delirium past,
Now insipidity succeeds bombast:
So slow Melpomene’s cold numbers creep,
Here dulness seems her drowsy court to keep,
And we are scarce awake, whilst you are fast asleep,
Thalia, once so ill-behaved and rude,
Reform’d, is now become an arrant prude;
Retailing nightly to the yawning pit
The purest morals, undefiled by wit!
Our author offers, in these motley scenes,
A slight remonstrance to the drama’s queens:
Nor let the goddesses be over nice;
Free-spoken subjects give the best advice.
Although not quite a novice in his trade,
His cause to-night requires no common aid.
To this, a friendly, just, and powerful court,
I come ambassador to beg support.
Can he undaunted brave the critic’s rage?
In civil broils with brother bards engage?
Hold forth their errors to the public eye,
Nay more, e’en newspapers themselves defy?
Say, must his single arm encounter all?
By number vanquish’d, e’en the brave may fall;
And though no leader should success distrust,
Whose troops are willing, and whose cause is just;
To bid such hosts of angry foes defiance,
His chief dependence must be, your alliance."

(By the honourable Richard Fitzpatrick)

Naught but criticism, disdainful at that;
Neither answers, respect, nor anything but spat...

May 29, 2005 2:02 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

joker said:
[Not the MSM]
13 May 2005 Press Release:
Amnesty International is today publishing a new report updating its concerns around the USA’s detentions in the context of the "war on terror". The report, Guantánamo and beyond: The continuing pursuit of unchecked executive power, details how hypocrisy, an over-arching war mentality, and a refusal to adhere to international obligations continue to characterize the US administration’s approach to detentions in the "war on terror".

Amnesty International’s 2005 "Report" on worldwide human rights was released this week, and its contents have justly outraged Americans who support U.S. efforts in the war on terror — including the Washington Post (An extremely biased-to-the-left publication, no less) which noted that Amnesty had "lost its bearings" and joined "in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse." Among other things, the report accuses the United States of “war crimes,” and openly compares the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the Gulag Archipelago. In addition, the executive director of Amnesty International USA has called on foreign governments to seize and prosecute American officials traveling abroad, just as a Spanish judge attempted to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. In fact, the report says much more about the nature of Amnesty International — and the agenda of similar left-wing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) — than it does about the human-rights record of the United States.

To quote from Amnesty International's own 2001 report on Iraq:

Political prisoners and detainees were subjected to brutal forms of torture. The bodies of many of those executed had visible signs of torture, including the gouging out of the eyes, when they were returned to their families. Common methods of physical torture included electric shocks or cigarette burns to various parts of the body, pulling out of fingernails, rape, long periods of suspension by the limbs, beating with cables, falaqa (beating on the soles of the feet) and piercing of hands with an electric drill. Psychological torture included threats to arrest and harm relatives of the detainee or to rape a female relative in front of the detainee, mock executions and long periods in solitary confinement.
In June Najib al-Salihi, a former army general who fled Iraq in 1995 and joined the Iraqi opposition, was sent a videotape showing the rape of a female relative. Shortly afterwards he reportedly received a telephone call from the Iraqi intelligence service, asking him whether he had received the gift and informing him that his relative was in their custody.

Amputation of the tongue was reportedly approved by the authorities in mid-2000 as a new penalty for slander or abusive remarks about the President or his family...

The sources quoted by joker are questionable, consequently so are his conclusions. He is contemptuously condescending, yet wonders why nobody wants to address his issues...of which he seems to have many.

May 30, 2005 4:39 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Although you have gotten better in your approach, it still leaves much to be desired. You seem to pick and choose the points to which you wish to respond, then accuse me of doing likewise. With your arrogant, condescending demeanor, you shouldn't reasonably expect any response...or perhaps just negative ones.

There are various sources for which I have no respect whatsoever; Amnesty International and the ACLU top the list, along with the "mainstream" media. Even the leftward-leaning Washington Post now discounts the validity of Amnesty International.

Uzbekistan? I replied, but you didn't like what I had to say. Try these: "politics makes for strange bedfellows"; "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". We even had an alliance with Saddam Hussein once upon a time, because of our shared enmity for Iran. Political expediency, it's called; it is far too easy for you to sit back and opine...what are you actually doing, about anything? Complaining here won't change a thing, except maybe help you feel better about your anger and helplessness. It's something we all have to deal with, in one way or another. You think you hold the moral high ground somehow? Get over yourself, young man. Anyone with a computer and a connection to the Internet can find things to copy & paste in support of their position(s), no matter how far-fetched they may be.

I've posted a lot of things to which you haven't responded either. If you want to have a meaningful dialogue, lose the attitude. You presume much, and erroneously. Shall I cite examples? They are legion...

May 31, 2005 9:20 PM  
Blogger KWL said...

Did you notice that Joker did not answer one of my direct questions? I think he finally figured out that he couldn't answer my questions honestly and he said "I will not be back again. I feel soiled after being here."

I think he was just feeling a bit embarrassed and ashamed after we set his mind straight. However, I know he will not swallow his pride and admit that. That is why he set off packing.

Too bad. I enjoyed this. I will miss the "Joker"

June 01, 2005 10:03 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

I noticed that joker picked and chose what he wanted to talk about. I can certainly understand his frustration about the state of the world, because I feel it too, but his animosity is obviously misdirected. Anyway, as for missing him, he has threatened to leave a number of times. He can stay or go, his choice, but the holier-than-thou righteous indignation routine is tiresome. He does assume much, though, and incorrectly...

June 02, 2005 12:00 AM  

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