War Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Leave it to Newsweek to call family films "shameful" for not fulfilling their PC feminist quotas.  With so much that is actually shameful coming out of Hollywood, you’d think they’d have more to deal with than "Finding Nemo".

Robert Robb of The Arizona Republic asks:

What will it take for economic policymakers to understand that the chief problem today is uncertainty? And that until they quit moving significant pieces of fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy around, the uncertainty won’t abate?

Quite a lot, apparently.  If jobs start getting created after big Republican wins in November, it’ll likely be because the "Party of No" will be there to curb this uncertainty.

If 91% of white voters had voted against Obama, some would have called it partially due to racism.  If 91% of black support him, can that be partially attributed to racism?  Jerome Hudson considers this.

The New York Times trumpets how well the civilian court system is for dealing with terrorism it when a terrorist pleads guilty and is sentenced.  Um, that’s not a real test of the system, guys.  A trial is the way to test it, and a terrorist trial going on in the civilian system was dealt a huge blow.  Do we want to chance, perhaps, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed getting off on a technicality?

Glasses that give perfect vision for any type of eyesight, even if you need bifocals?  Looks possible!

And finally, the longest stretch of 9.5+ percent unemployment since the 1930s has not been mitigated one bit by the two highest deficits since 1945.  Given liberal claims, we ought to have been sailing out of this by now.  Can we finally put that "government spending fixes the economy" meme to bed?

The Difference

With regards to stories such as these, of U.S. military personnel committing crimes and atrocities, take care to note “The Difference”. While murderous actions of terrorists are considered the norm, such acts, when committed by U.S. soldiers, justifiably result in outrage here in the U.S.

As graphically illustrated, by Michael Yon’s photograph of a U.S. soldier cradling an Iraqi girl, mortally wounded by the normal actions of terrorist insurgents, there is a difference between us and those who would wage terror on the innocent.

Image © 2005 Michael Yon

Another Just War Theory

In my late-vocations class were were informed that during late antiquity in the Eastern (very Christian influenced) Roman empire there was an operational just war theory. That theory was quite simple and was as follows. 

War is never just. 

Now this is an interesting theory of war to be held by a Empire which was almost continuously at war (mostly for defense) for 800 years or so. This merely points out that the conclusion that war is not just is not equivalent to the claim that war is at times necessary. 

War not being just however, did not mean war was not practice or even should not be practiced. Those engaged in war, because of its inherent injustice, were excluded from Eucharist for a period of five years (if the war was not deemed defensive, in which case it was three years). I think there are some problems with this theory as presented about how the Eastern Roman Empire viewed justice vis a vis war, in that I’m pretty sure that clerical presence was found alongside the army. What was its purpose if these soldiers were all “out of communion” during wartime? 

Damaging Our Intelligence Efforts: NY Times and Wikileaks

If you had information about local organized crime activities, and were contemplating giving this information to the police, would you be more or less willing to be an informant if you knew your name might be associated with that information?  Would you be willing to take that chance?

Yeah, me neither.

NewsBusters, in a post regarding all the classified information dumped to the public via the NY Times and, more recently, by Wikileaks, noted Jim Miklaszewski discussing this on MSNBC.

Not only are those named put at risk, but those who might potentially cooperate with the Americans are probably not going to do it now. You know, often allies, U.S. allies, have told the Pentagon, State Department, why should we cooperate with you, because whatever we tell you is going to end up on the front pages of the New York Times.

That’s one of the complaints, actually, specifically from Pakistan.  Every time U.S. officials travel to Islamabad to sit down and try to gain increased cooperation from Pakistan, inevitably, we are told, they complain about press leaks that jeopardize anything they’re going to do in conjunction with the U.S.

(Emphasis supplied by NB.) 

While Pfc. Bradley Manning may have had a legitimate beef with how portions of the Afghanistan War have been run, his implication in this massive document dump to Wikileaks far overshadows his initial charges.  If he’d kept the dump relevant to his whistleblowing, I’d think much better of him (aside from the fact that he didn’t go through the normal channels the military has set up for whistleblowers). 

But this dump, purporting to merely foster transparency, has damaged our credibility with potential sources, and given our enemies a boatload of late summer reading.  Just as there were other, proper ways for Pfc. Manning to get his point across, there are better ways to foster transparency than giving aid to our enemies and discomfort to those who might help us defend ourselves.

Prisoners (heart) Gitmo

Turns out that the prisoners in Gitmo would rather stay in Gitmo than go home.

The Obama administration would quickly send home six Algerians held at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but for one problem: The men don’t want to go. Given the choice between repatriation and incarceration, the men choose Gitmo, according to their lawyers.

He’s got what seems to be a good reason why.

The detainee had asserted that if he is returned, the Algerian government will torture him or he will be targeted by terrorist groups who will kill him if he refuses to join.

But i spite of the recent history of torture of prisoners in Algeria, the administration disagrees.

Administration officials point out that despite this history, the United States, under the Bush and Obama administrations, has already sent 10 Algerian detainees home from Guantanamo Bay, and that none has been persecuted.

"We take some care in evaluating countries for repatriation. In the case of Algeria, there is an established track record and we have given that a lot of weight," said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the active litigation. "The Algerians have handled this pretty well: You don’t have recidivism and you don’t have torture."

You know, if we really were torturing prisoners in Gitmo, this sort of request wouldn’t be such an issue.  Algeria doesn’t torture released Gitmo detainees, and they want to stay?  Understand, we’re not talking about some guys who just showed up.

The administration has been preparing to repatriate one of the six Algerians. But lawyers for Aziz Abdul Naji, 35, who has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years, said he is "adamantly opposed to going back."

Adamant about staying at Gitmo.  Just let that sink in.

(Hat tip: Power Line)

The Iraqi WMD Question

The question of where Saddam Hussein’s WMDs went that the whole world believed were there has been knocked around since at least 2004, with the most popular answer being Syria.  There was some evidence of it, that the MSM cheerfully ignored, but it’s back in the news today because President Obama’s pick for replacement of the Director of National Intelligence believes this is true

Ryan Mauro of Pajamas Media has an article today about new satellite imagery that is lending new credence to this thought.  Worth a read.

Right-wing extremist, angry over Obamacare, arrested in NY bomb attempt

Or maybe not.

Via HotAir, NY mayor, and staunch anti-gun proponent, Michael Bloomberg recently speculated* that the bomber was someone upset about the healthcare [sic] bill. From the article,

Law enforcement officials don’t know who left the Nissan Pathfinder behind, but at this point the Mayor believes the suspect acted alone.

“If I had to guess, twenty five cents, this would be exactly that,” Bloomberg said. “Homegrown maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something. It could be anything.”

Yet word comes in that Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, has been arrested after he attempted to flee to Dubai.

No word yet on whether any Tea Partiers were involved.

* actually, “speculate” is too generous.

Spring Break Catch-up

I was on Spring Break vacation with the family last week, so other than my post-dated blog posts, I didn’t write much … well, anything.  But I did surf the web and kept track of some articles I wanted to highlight when I came back.  Here they are, in mostly chronological order of when I found them.

Amnesty International decided that jihad was not antithetical to human rights so long as it’s "defensive". 

The bump in polling numbers after passing health care "reform" was supposed to go to Democrats.  Instead, while it’s just a measure of emotion at this point in time, you’d think that all the promises of the bill would give Democrats a few higher point.  Instead, they’re at an 18-year low.  It’s quite possible that people are only now understanding what they supported all along, because the "free" stuff isn’t materializing right now.

What was the point of the resurrection on Easter?  Don Sensing has (had) some thoughts.

The Tea Party’s ideas are much more mainstream than the MSM would like you to believe.  And Tea Partiers are much more diverse that the MSM realized.  Turns out, they did some actual journalism and found out the real story.  Imagine that.  Has the liberal slant of the press become a problem of corruption, especially with, first, the willful ignoring of the Tea Party story, and second, the willful misreporting of it?

Toyota cars have killed 52 people, and got a recall for it.  Gardasil, a cervical cancer vaccine, has had 49 "unexplained deaths" reported by the CDC and it’s still required in some states.

Changing the names to protect the guilty, the words "Islam" and "jihad" are now banned from the national security strategy document.  When the next terror attack Islamic jihadists happens, it’ll be interesting to find out how they describe it.

Cows have been exonerated of helping to cause global warming.  No, really.

Rep. Bart Stupak’s reversal of his principles is having the proper effect; he’s decided not to seek re-election.  Likely, he couldn’t get re-elected anyway, after betraying his constituents, but let this be a lesson about trusting "conservative" Democrats too much.

And finally, media scrutiny of church vs. state (click for a larger picture):

Media scrutiny

Oh, that liberal media.

An "Atta’ Boy" for Obama

On Sunday, President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to visit the troops and speak to them.  They deserved a show of support, and I’m glad they got it. 

Civilian Casualties: Then and Now

That was then:

We are in a war because the Generals want to play with their toys and don’t give a damn how many people get hurt in the process.  We are in a war without direction, or discipline, led by a disengaged simpleton who will do whatever he is told by the unelected war mongers who are running our government. 

This is now:

Now, we seem to be in a fight against a force of vicious murderers, using civilians as human shields, and misleading us at every turn, while taking a high toll on NATO troops.  But the military is not supposed to kill anyone?!!!

(Emphasis hers.)  Same DailyKos diarist, and encouraged in both statements by droves of commenters.  The difference?  The first was written in September, 2008 against the military causing the death of 90 civilians.  The second was written yesterday, against the president of Afghanistan condemning the deaths of 27 civilians.

That was then as well, by another Kos writer, who gets front page access.

One million dead. And each day, a few more. If that isn’t a reason to flood the streets in D.C. tomorrow and in your hometown all this week and next Friday for the Iraq Moratorium, what is?

But this is now, and it looks like the Left is going all warmonger on us in the Middle East.  Hey, it’s their guy doing it, so now they can take credit for it and declare victory. 

The double-standard-bearers are certainly hoping we won’t notice.  They probably don’t really notice themselves.

When aggressors receive honor

Imagine, if you will, a documentary being broadcast on PBS, the gist of which pertains to details surrounding an attack on the United States; an attack which claimed almost 3,000 American lives. Also imagine the producers of said documentary extolling the sacrifice made by those who took part, and perished, in the attack.

No, I’m not describing an apologetic for the events of 9/11, but the recent PBS NOVA episode, Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor. From NOVA’s website,

NOVA dives beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace provocative new clues to one of the most tragic events of World War II—the sinking of the USS Arizona. More than 1,000 crew members perished in the greatest single loss of life in United States naval history. For decades, it has been thought that a bomb dropped by a Japanese aircraft sank the Arizona. But the discovery of a group of Japanese midget subs in and around Pearl Harbor has raised questions about the battleship’s final hours.

While the program primarily consisted of historical investigation, pertaining to the events of December 7, 1941, I was taken aback by remarks made at the conclusion of the episode in which the remains of one of the midget submarines was found. From the show transcript,

NARRATOR: Today Admiral Ueda visits the wreck of midget sub number 5 to honor the remains of pilot Sadamu Kamita and commander Masaji Yokoyama.

KAZUO UEDA: Mr. Kamita, here is your brother. Here is Mr. Dewa who accompanied you to Pearl Harbor.

NARRATOR: A cup full of sand is carefully removed from the seafloor, beneath the sealed control room of the midget sub, and given to Admiral Ueda to take home.

AKIRA IRIYE: The remains or the spirits of the dead, ah, from the submarine would now be reunited with the sand.

NARRATOR: Admiral Ueda presents the sand to Petty Officer Dewa. He brings it to a memorial service for Japanese sailors who lost their lives in midget submarines.

AKIRA IRIYE: The sand that was brought back from Hawaii is purified now, becomes Japanese soil, so to speak.

NARRATOR: For Kichiji Dewa, the mission is at last over. For Parks Stephenson, it’s always been about bringing the facts to light.

PARKS STEPHENSON: I want their accomplishment known, so that their sacrifice will have meaning.

NARRATOR: Time may yet uncover new details in the history of Pearl Harbor. And each step we take towards the truth of the heroic and tragic events of that day, not only honors the people who lived it, but serves future generations, as the real story is finally revealed.

(emphasis added)

Color me unimpressed, but I find no reason to honor, as sacrifice, the actions of those who were responsible for the deaths of 2,400 U.S. personnel, the subsequent deaths of those U.S. personnel who fought in the Pacific theater of World War II, and those civilians, throughout the Pacific, who fell to the bloody actions of the Empire of Japan at that time.

It seems to have become politically correct to view aggressors upon our land with a sympathetic hand, in some attempt to excuse their actions as either psychologically or culturally motivated or, worse yet, somehow caused by our own actions (read: WE are the guilty party). Indeed, Mark Steyn raised such issues in his book America Alone (which I reviewed, here). As I wrote,

Steyn quotes an Arabic proverb, “A falling camel attracts many knives,” and then applies it to Europe. It is falling and, as it falls, it continues to be attacked… We’ve feminized our approach through our multi-culturalism: we ask “why?”, we try to understand, we sympathize, we concede, and we apologize – and these are all seen as signs of weakness.

Yes, and now this sympathetic sentiment is being expressed in our view of history. Oliver Stone recently remarked that,

Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,

And when comparing two warring factions, motives and actions are melted into one as both the aggressor and those who are forced to fight to retain their freedom are seen as essentially the same. In the book, Flags of our Fathers, we are made witness to descriptions of the atrocities which occurred during the World War II battle of Iwo Jima. In a post I wrote for RedBlueChristian.com, I quoted the book’s author, James Bradley,

The Japanese army fought using the most ruthless tactics of any combatant in World War II. Their practice of “no surrender” meant they were unpredictable, as they fought far beyond the limits of a Westerner…

The Japanese soldier turned all Western logic on its head. If surrounded, a German would surrender; a Japanese would fight on. If wounded and disabled, an Englishman would allow himself to be taken prisoner; a Japanese would wait and blow himself and his captor up. The Marines could not treat the Japanese soldiers as they would hope to be treated. Their only choice was to exterminate him.

While the book was made into a movie, by Clint Eastwood, a companion movie, Letters from Iwo Jima, was also made and received more critical acclaim. Letters from Iwo Jima recounted the battle from the Japanese perspective, based on letters from the Japanese soldiers themselves. Hailed as an unprecedented demonstration of worldly citizenship, by Eastwood, the movie was also praised for humanizing “the enemy”, and paying honorable tribute to ill-fated men. Indeed, at ConversantLife.com, in a post listing the movie reviewer’s top 100 films of the 2000s, Letters from Iwo Jima is listed at #36 as an “other side of the story” companion piece to Flags of our Fathers.

Wow. I can’t wait to hear the “other side of the story” regarding Mohamed Atta and the other 18 terrorists responsible for the attacks on 9/11.

Our culture is deeply confused if it cannot distinguish between good and evil. To make such a distinction is not to diminish the humanity of the Japanese soldiers of World War II or of the Islamic terrorists of 9/11; such a distinction is, in fact, a deep recognition of the humanity of these individuals. Humans, created in the image of God can, and do, engage in evil acts. And the fact that there are two sides to a story does not mandate that both of those sides are valid.

Remembering Pearl Harbor’s Last Hero

The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Station on December 7, 1941 marked one of the darkest days in America history and prompted our entry into World War II. Fifteen servicemen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on that day but only five survived the battle. Lt. John William Finn, who turned 100 years old this past summer is the only remaining survivor of those fifteen men. He reportedly was headed to Pearl Harbor today for commemoration ceremonies. Mary Katherine Ham has a wonderful profile of this genuine American hero that is well worth reading.

Ed Morrissey reminds us also of the enduring lesson of Pearl Harbor:

The lesson from that war is that appeasement and complacency doesn’t keep one from having to fight a war. It usually forces one to fight from an extreme disadvantage. That’s a lesson we have not remembered in dealing with expansionist powers in our own time, even after a second shock like 9/11 after years of complacency in dealing with al-Qaeda. We’re falling back to treating radical Islamist terrorism like a Law and Order episode, and allowing one of the main drivers of radical Islamist terror, Iran, to arm itself with nuclear weapons with no consequences whatsoever.

We must never forget Pearl Harbor.

Afghanistan Surge Roundup

President Obama announced yesterday evening that he’s authorizing 30,000 more troops for Afghanistan.  Reactions to it have been just about what you’d expect. 

The NY Times headline is, "Qualified Support From G.O.P.; Skepticism From Democrats", and the article quotes Democrats upset at it and Republicans with guarded approval, with some concern over a specific timetable. 

Bruce McQuain at the Q&O blog expounds more regarding the timetable.  Bruce is a military man, and so he speaks with some authority on the subject.  When it comes to how quickly they will leave, and how quickly they will come home, he doesn’t quite understand the possibility of the speed going out and the purpose of the speed coming back.

Obama says these troops will deploy by fastest means possible. Additonally he said:

Let me be clear: there has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war.

Well let me be clear – deploying troops to a theater of war takes a long lead time. Preparation and training are key. While it is probably true that there were no calls for deployments before 2010, a 3 month delay means 3 months in which the alerted units are shorted vital training time. And now the deployment cycle is going to be speeded up because he’s trying to cover his tail? Guess who suffers to make him look better?

To this point, I’ve laid out a plausible but complex military mission. But it moves from “plausible and complex” to impossible with this line:

After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.

Even getting the deployment cycle initiated as quickly as possible, the troops (most likely 3 BCTs, a Marine MEU, 4,000 trainers and a command and control element of 7,000) will take 12 to 18 months to complete their deployment. So how is this a surge if as the last unit arrives in country as the first leaves?

He also notes that, if he were part of the Taliban, who have been fighting since the 80s, holding out for 18 months is a cakewalk.

But going from those who think we need more troops to properly get the job done (especially if you include building infrastructure) to those who want less, we start with a blistering opinion piece in Der Spiegel.

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.


For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama’s re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free.

This left-leaning periodical, from one of those countries that was going to love us once we jettisoned Dubya, is more polite than other domestic Democrats who are throwing their guy under the bus.

Well, OK, that last link is to a blog post discussing the chatter on Democratic Underground, a rather bottom-feeding, though very popular, site.  How about the reaction from Christians who are Democrats?  Lemme tell you, Jim Wallis ain’t happy.  And neither are most of the commenters to the post.  But this one comment, from someone disappointed in Obama’s move, puts it best.

Obama supported this war from the beginning. During his campaign, he called it a "good war" and promised to put more resources into it. He has kept his promise.

All of you who supported his candidacy while claiming to be pro-peace should be doing some major rethinking. I hope you don’t make the mistake of supporting pro-war politicians again in the future.

Reading comments from the Left today, you’d think they expected that he would break that promise; that it was just made to get enough votes to win.  Is that the way to get more honesty in Washington?  Hmmm.

But when all is said and done, I’m with Don Surber who says that, since politics stops (or, well, should stop) at the water’s edge, we should support the President’s decision, and pray for the troops who will be deployed.  We should anyway, of course, but an event like this can bring more attention to this need. 

The Biggest Problem With Civilian Trials for Terrorists

No, it’s not that our Federal court system can’t handle a case like this. 

No, it’s not that New York can’t handle it (though we are about to open old wounds). 

No, it’s not that Barack Obama is doing it.

No, it’s not even that we conferring constitutional rights to someone who was neither a citizen or living here at the time of the crime (though that is a big issue).

James Galyean, a former federal prosecutor and former counsel on the US Senate Judiciary Committee, spells it out.

The criminal justice system is not the proper place to determine his fate. Our criminal courts provide protections to our citizens that should not be provided to a terrorist, and may actually damage national security.

Just think about the discovery requirements that could be placed on prosecutors. For instance, in the trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, prosecutors were required to turn over to defense lawyers a large amount of intelligence information. Documents from that discovery production, which were never supposed to be provided to anyone outside the defense team, were later found in an al-Qaeda hideout. Let me say that again, confidential documents from a trial in New York were later found in the hands of al-Qaeda.

Now consider that KSM was captured in a lightening raid in Pakistan. The intelligence that led to that capture has been the subject of a number of reports. However, al-Qaeda would love to know for sure where that information came from and how it was obtained. In addition to that, they may be able to learn a number of other things from discovery in this trial.

Emphasis his.  And he also notes that even military tribunals have their hands tied

The Obama Administration just approved new rules for military commissions. The President’s new rules make obtaining a conviction much more difficult, maybe impossible in some cases. The new rules require that a defendant be allowed access to any classified information used against him. This may prevent a number of trials from going forward if the military decides it cannot afford to “burn” the method or source of the information. And since the new rules are now the President’s rules, it would be his fault if the terrorist were not convicted, or perhaps not even tried.

But you know he’ll still blame Bush. 

Citizen Khalid

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is being promoted to, what amounts to, full citizen of the United States of America for purposes of standing trial, in civilian court, for his war crimes.  He’ll get all the rights and privileges afforded citizens, and even just residents living under the laws of our land, even though he has never been either of those. 

Nazis are rolling over in their graves.  No doubt John Kerry, who called the war on terror a "law enforcement" issue is feeling vindicate today.  (He’s still wrong.)

Democrats promptly erected straw men to defend this decision by the President.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the federal courts are capable of trying high-profile terrorism.

”By trying them in our federal courts, we demonstrate to the world that the most powerful nation on earth also trusts its judicial system a system respected around the world,” Leahy said.

But nobody’s saying that the federal courts aren’t capable.  What they are saying is that there are other ways to deal with this without the detrimental consequences.

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona called bringing Mohammed to New York ”an unnecessary risk” that could result in the disclosure of classified information. Kyl maintained the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called ”blind sheik” who was tried for a plot against some two-dozen New York City landmarks, caused ”valuable information about U.S. intelligence sources and methods” to be revealed to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Making 9/11 that much more easier to plan.  And we’re putting the master planner on trial.  We’re throwing caution to the wind because of the President’s reckless promise to close Guantanamo within a year (which hasn’t been going so well, and people are losing their jobs over it).

And if you thought that the OJ Simpson trial was a circus, just wait until the KS Mohammed one.  "If he was waterboarded, he must be exonerated!"  OK, I’m no Johnny-Cochran-caliber poet, that’s for sure.

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