Friday, June 30, 2006

Delayed by the King

I'm sitting in the DFW airport waiting for a flight back to Memphis, but we've been delayed by the King. Now, some might call Bush "King George". Some readers here have heard me refer to Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton as "King Willie". Neither "King" is responsible. No, it's the real King--Elvis. The Japanese PM had to get some Rendevous ribs (very good) and go sing at Graceland (never been), so here I sit.

Anyway, WIFI is pretty cool.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gitmo ruling

As most know, the Supremes (not the soul act) ruled that military tribunals used to process GWoT detainees held at the Navy's Guantanamo Bay facility are unconstitutional:
By a 5-3 vote, the nation's highest court declared that the tribunals, which Bush created right after the September 11 attacks, violated the Geneva Conventions and U.S. military rules.
Rueters writer James Vicini could hardly hide his excitement as he described the ruling as a, "sharp rebuke of President George W. Bush's tactics in the war on terrorism". As opposed to a sharp rebuke for the United States in keeping head-chopping ghouls out of circulation, I guess.

The reaction from other members of the left was predictable, such as a jubilant Amnesty International, who said:
"..sends a clear message to President Bush that he cannot act unilaterally to create a system of law from thin air."
Or some dude named Nicholas Howen, secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva who said,
"Now is the time for the Bush administration to move ahead swiftly to release all prisoners in Guantanamo."
Yes, perhaps we can send them to Switzerland to learn yodeling and watchmaking. Or maybe we'll just turn the entire GWoT over to the Swiss Army. By the way, I now pronounce myself Secretary-General of Fore Left. Or heck with it, just plain old general since there's not enough business here for a secretary (er, no offense to all you hard-working Administrative Assistants out there. Y'all probably do a heckuva lot more work than Secretary Howen).

Lastly, the most elated reaction to the news came from terrorists around the world, highlighted by Bin Laden who said,
Only WE can create laws out of thin air, hold mock trials and convict people with no evidence, then torture and kill them in cold blood in the most horrible ways imaginable. Allah is great!
Case closed..

Nothing to see..move along

Hamas claims to have fired a chemical tipped warhead towards Israel:
"The al-Aqsa Brigades have fired one rocket with a chemical warhead" at southern Israel, Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the group, said in Gaza.
Wonder if anyone will bother asking where the Palestinians got the technology? Oops forgot--chemical warheads are now classified as harmless according to the MSM.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Respect for the flag

The Congress failed to pass a bill prohibiting flag burning Tuesday, which was a good thing. Anytime a body has to pass a law to tell people not to do something they shouldn't be doing anyway, it amounts to a waste of time and money.

An amendment to ban flag burning would do noting to instill the love of the flag within the hearts of misguided people who feel the only way to protest is by torching the symbol of their own freedom. It would do nothing to force them to understand the level of sacrifice made by countless men and women in support of what that flag stands for. It would do nothing to increase their deficient mental faculties or non-existent sense of judgment.

I'm proud to live in a country where patriotism resides in the hearts of the people, not on a piece of paper in Washington. Where people are free to be idiots or make asses out of themselves as long as they don't harm anyone else.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The real crusader

Islamists call Americans fighting the Iraq war "crusaders", but the term more aptly fits one American--Ramsey Clark--who is a crusader for the rights of dictators the world over.

He's back in the news with the Saddam trial, saying it's not fair and such, but one specific quote he made in reference to the soon-to-begin Halabja chemical gassing trial telegraphs his future discovery intentions:
The defense is considered likely to highlight how Kurdish guerrillas attacked Iraqi forces during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war. Clark also said defense lawyers would examine extensive U.S. intelligence on the 1988 campaign.
So it appears the defense argument will be the Kurds "deserved it" by having the temerity to attack the brutal dictator. Sounds like a real winner.

But let's cut to the chase--Clark wants to call Cheney and Rumsfeld as witnesses to prove they were the ones who gave Saddam the gas. In the weird mind of the radical left, Saddam was simply a helpless sock puppet contolled by evil oil-hungry Americans.

It could be entertaining, but if Clark fails to also subpeona some French and Russian intelligence files we'll need to send in another international fair trial advocate to investigate him. And while they're at it perhaps they could also investigate whether anyone involved with this mess is also involved with paying the representatives defending the Butcher.

GOLDEN 6/28/06

Iraq today made public the perpetrators of February's Golden Dome attack in Samarra:
Badri, an Iraqi who was linked to the previous regime before joining Ansar al-Sunna and ultimately the Al-Qaeda network, led the cell which included Abu Qudama plus four Saudi nationals and another Iraqi.
Linked? How? We've been told those secular fellas didn't care too much for all that fundamentalist stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A silent bombshell

The government of Iran was complicit in bringing down the Khobar Towers and killing 19 Airmen and wounding hundreds back in 1996.

So says former FBI Chief Louis Freeh in what should be a bombshell essay in Sunday's Wall Street Journal. He's written on this before, but still, you'd think the content might be in bombshell category judging by some other stories.

Here we have an untainted former high-ranking US official claiming evidence of state sponsorship of terrorism, yet a quick check of the following web sites--CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post and New York Times--showed nothing as of this writing.

Are the majors just behind the curve? CNN was running a story about bogus intelligence from "Curveball", yet nothing on Freeh, someone known as a straight shooter. Anyway, here's a snippet from his article. You be the judge:
It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. .
Could it be that the Bush administration asked the majors not to pick up the story due to ongoing sensitive foreign policy negotiations? Maybe, but evidence shows us the New York Times cares little about such things, their new policy seemingly being "every state secret is fit to print". Therefore, such an assumption must be wrong.

Interestingly, a few Project Harmony documents released earlier in the year suggested Iraqi intelligence also had links to Saudi Hezbollah. It was well known there was no love lost between Saddam and the Royal Family, but that's a whole nother can of worms, isn't it? Safer to stick with Curveball and the like.

SPEAKING OF.. 6/26/06

..those WMDs, wonder if this is what happened to the rest of them?

MORE 6/26/06

Mudville Gazette remembers the tenth anniversary of the Khobar attack, and includes an Osama fatwah issued shortly thereafter. Let's see, we have Osama puffing and evidence that Iran's IRGC was involved, and that Saddam was dilly-dallying with Saudi Hezbollah. But still no stories from the mainstreamers. Do the bloggers have to do everything?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

al-Maliki's grand plan

Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki announced his 24 point plan of peace, brotherhood and understanding today in Baghdad. The odds are stacked, but at least they're trying.

The big question is whether the plan offers amnesty to those who've killed or attacked Coalition forces? Most Americans would consider the answer of "yes" as a show-stopper, after all, none of this love-fest would be possible without our blood, sweat and toil. As of this afternoon MyWay quotes him as saying it will NOT:
Iraq's prime minister unveiled a 24-point national reconciliation initiative Sunday, offering amnesty to insurgents who renounce violence and have not committed terror attacks on American soldiers or Iraqis
While the WaPo doesn't know:
Maliki did not directly address the issue of whether insurgents who attacked U.S. troops would receive amnesty. The reconciliation plan has gone through several revisions, and earlier proposals suggested offering pardons to Iraqis who have attacked U.S. troops. The plan presented today did not make a distinction between crimes against U.S. forces or Iraqis.
The confusion isn't limited to the US media, Omar is also unsure. But it's certainly hard to imagine any plan including the psychopathic followers of these guys, especially the one on the right.

Surely to God they haven't forgotten what just happened? Anything other than luxury accomodations at Abu Ghraib or an appointement with virgins for those practicing such barbarity would represent a huge step backwards. Al-Maliki hints he won't go there:
Maliki said the reconciliation would be offered to those insurgents who were not terrorists or committed to the regime of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Which produced this shocking reply. That was expected, and to counter it al-Maliki has the head Sunni in Parliament onboard, which is another attempt to isolate the Ba'athists from the more moderate (sane) Sunnis. That's really the only strategy left, and it's why "stop it" was figuratively scribbled on every page of Zarqawi's day planner.

Finally, many bloggers were up in arms at the Times (again) for printing leaked classified drawdown plans being worked up by General Casey. However, as much as I hate not taking another potshot at the Old Grey Harlot, this leak surely had to come from the Pentagon and occurred simultaneous to the announcement of the plan. Maybe that's no coincidence. Leaks about troop drawdowns have happened before, perhaps as a way to gauge insurgent reaction, and were followed by no drawdowns.

In this case the leak could be considered an olive branch, and right now they need lots of bread-buttering and back scratching to get this done. So far the initial reaction sounds promising.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Cell phones, lightning and nonsense

You might have seen a few stories lately linking cellphone use with a greater risk of lightning injury, which included quotes from doctors. Here's an example, which was a Reuters/MSNBC story:
LONDON - People should not use mobile phones outdoors during thunderstorms because of the risk of being struck by lightning, doctors said on Friday.
Of course this is utter nonsense--actually it's a hoax. Maybe that's why it's nearly impossible to now find any of these stories via search engines (the engines are catching up, but slowly).

The bogus info didn't slip past the National Weather Service. They went to the trouble of issuing a press release debunking these stories. Here's part of it:
Contrary to recent media reports, NOAA lightning experts state that lightning is not attracted to people carrying cell phones.

“Cell phones, small metal items, jewelry, etc., do not attract lightning. Nothing attracts lightning. Lightning tends to strike taller objects,” said John Jensenius, a National Weather Service Lightning Expert. “People are struck because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wrong place is anywhere outside. The wrong time is anytime a thunderstorm is nearby."
Ironically, we just passed "lightning safety week".

Congrats to the media. They managed to get junk science and lousy fact-checking into the same story. And we're supposed to believe them on global warming?

UPDATE 6/25/06

Guess the NWS didn't want to comment on the underwire theory. Can't blame 'em there, but of course it's also a hoax.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Listen you, Bush

That's how, to borrow a phrase from Keith Olbermann, one of "the worst persons in the world" addressed president Bush today.

If ever one needed evidence that Bin Laden's number two is nothing more than an opportunistic manipulator, this is it. The laughable PR picture proves he cares nothing about true religion and probably never has. Murder is more interesting.

Which is exactly why he fits in so nicely with a man like Saddam. In Avigdor Haselkorn's 1999 book "The Continuing Storm" about the Butcher's WMDs, he reminds us of the rhetoric ongoing in 1991 before and during the Gulf War. Remember gas masks? For a short while, people were buying them in America. Why? From page 67:
Moreover, the Iraqis took care to spread rumors that they might use chemical or bacteriological weapons in terrorist attacks around the world. Saddam also threatened terrorism during his meeting with Glaspie (ed- the US Ambassador):

"We know that you can harm us. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs can reach you".
Al Qaeda sprung up shortly thereafter, along with an attack on America in 1993. A mere coincidence, of course.


The New York Times surely can't be accused of chasing presidential brownie points. After divulging state secrets earlier in the week, apparently they'll follow it with a Sunday expose on Saddam (assuming we can trust a Drudge exclusive) that will mention him being reinstalled into power in some sort of deal to quell the insurgency. Did you hear that? It was a collective national jaw drop.

Here's an initial WAG. First, any serious proposal from Bush to consider reintroducing Saddam back into the political process would instantly mean he was ready for the nearest state happy home. He'd have to carry a number of supporters along with him, too, that is if he survived the miilitary fragging.

Second, any serious notion that injecting the dictator back into this mess could actually affect a change on the conditions on the ground means someone believes Saddam still has some influence. The Drudge story says they'll gain leverage over him after he's sentenced to death, but there's a problem--in order for him to be useful in that arena he'd need continuing leverage over the groups they're trying to stop. Otherwise, the Shura Council and others would simply bellow out laughing at such a proposal.

Also, any serious offer would put Saddam squarely into bed with the whole al-Qaeda clan, including the dipstick above babbling in front of the picture of Zarqawi and promoting the Iraq insurgency.

MORE 6/24/06

There are a few must-reads around the net today, one providing a possible explanation as to why it took so long to reveal the 500 WMD shells, which may partially explain this story.


The Times story was less than thrilling after reading Drudge's pre-publication pomp. It sounded almost like Saddam's lawyer was floating a trial balloon. If that was indeed the case the Butcher is either 1) crazy, because he thinks he might have influence, or 2) actually still has influence.

The war from within

Part and parcel of Bin Laden's jihad is the intended consequence of a breakdown of America from within, and two news stories from today illustrate that effect.

The uncovering of the secret financial transaction snoop program by news sources was another hard breaking curve ball for the Bush administration just when they were busy heralding the capture of actual terrorists in Miami hellbent on waging jihad against, well, Sears (evidently I missed their ad campaign about Craftsman being the official tools of the Crusaders and Zionists).

Tony Snow defintely has his work cut out. This new program may not be viewed as sympathetically as the NSA thing was. Surely there's more (or less) than meets the eye here, but the thought of John Snow looking over my financial transactions is downright terrifying. Thank heavens my mother never had access.

If only this was a TV sitcom we could all have a hearty laugh at the flimsy explanations these media tygoons gave for going to press:
"It's a tough call; it was not a decision made lightly," said Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times' Washington bureau chief. "The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected."
Yes, it's all about protecting America--by revealing state secrets. Not to be outdone, Editor Bill Keller of the New York Times said,
they were quite vigorous, they were quite energetic. They made a very strong case(against printing).
Bwaahahahahaha. Yeah, right.

The old "liberty versus security" debate will arise from the ashes again, which is fine. What's not fine is damaging national security if there were any other ways to accomplish getting a review, especially is we ever find out it was done for democrat political gain.

Not saying the subject isn't worthy, because any precedents set by Bush will carry into future administrations. I've no idea what the solution is, but I do subscribe to Lincoln's adage that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact". Jefferson's take on the matter is plastered to the sidebar here. It's something we need to get settled, but not at the expense of innocent lives if it can helped.

There's one final wild hair to consider--what if there are no programs at all? No NSA program, no financial snooping program, no nothing, just standard surveillance? The government could be engaged in a disinformation program trying to force the enemy into changing tactics, for all we know. Carrier pigeons or post-it-notes are hard to use for overseas communications, and we've got the airports well-surveilled. Just think about it. How many phone calls are occurring at any given moment? Remember, we're talking about the federal government here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's settled then

Another global warming panel reported back today, one requested by Congress via the National Academy of Sciences. And guess what? They said humans are indeed frying the planet to a crispy farethewell, no ifs, ands, or butts.

They're darn confident about that assessment too, at least after 1600 when instruments began to be used to actually measure things.

No word on what happened to the "Little Ice Age (LIA)" theory, since the basis of this report was believeing the so-called hockey stick theory, which ignores it along with another formerly settled theory called the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Presumably both are now 'unsettled', which by the way casts new doubt on the development of the Stradivarius.

CNN covered the story by posting a comically one-sided AP story that managed to drop every name in the pro-global warming camp without so much as a whisper from any nay-sayers.
But why bother quoting lunatics paid to shill by Exxon Mobil when we know the truth as told to us by politicians and Hollywood actors?

AP could have referenced a recent Canadian Free Press article that poo-poo-ed the conclusions of Gore's movie by quoting many actual climate scientists. We're left to believe they still believe in scientific debate in the frozen north, unlike America, where everything is already settled, just like no WMDs in Iraq.

But watch the media on this. Case in point:

That from CNN's story this evening, describing a video link on the issue. Any questions?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


"500 chemical-tipped shells found in Iraq since 2003" was the buzzing headline of the afternoon. Significant or not? Yes. And no.

Everyone knew Saddam had chem-shells before and during the Gulf War, but there was never adequate verification of their destruction, either via UNSCOM or UNMOVIC. But let's be real. The shells were all pre 1991 and the materials were degraded. Those shells alone did not represent a significant threat to the region or to America, and were not a stand alone justification for our invasion, even after 9/11.

But their existence does prove several things. One, that inspection regimes have a long way to go in becoming an effective way to disarm a tyrant. As Joe Walsh once said, "you can't argue with a sick mind". The left still has trouble with that concept, which is why the voters don't trust them with national security.

Two, they prove that Saddam was in material breach and violated resolution 1441, which was noted for it's 'severe consequences'.

Some might defend by saying they simply lost track of them. That might work for 20 or 50, but a dictator just doesn't allow his minions to lose track of 500, too many heads would roll. Besides, if it was possible to lose track of 500 how many were there to begin with, 50,000? If so, where did they go?

Finally, their existence also proves that Saddam's goose was cooked the minute UNMOVIC came back to town. Surely he knew any stray chem weapons found or declared, even if old and inert, would give us an immediate casus belli for war, so he lied and obfuscated. And the international left fell for it.


This really makes no sense. The Shia control the trial, and are a hair's breath away from executing Saddam. I believe it's just as likely a frame job, carried out by a Shura Council goon squad.

MORE 6/21/06

Perhaps I spoke too soon on the lawyer's murder. Iranian-backed militias trying to keep the sectarian war alive surely cannot be ruled out. There are so many covert plans being executed in Iraq right now it's hard to tell anymore. The only thing not being executed is the former dictator, who today decided to start yet another hunger strike. One can hope he'll do the job himself, but in reality it probably means he's going to give up Doritos for a few weeks.


According to the New York Times the thugs that kidnapped and murdered Saddam's lawyer, Khamis al-Obeidi, were not dressed in police uniforms after all as per previous eyewitness statements. The closest eyewitness would have been his wife, who is saying they were dressed in 'civilian clothes'.

The Times then quoted several unknown 'witnesses' who told about this poor man's torture and made it seem likely the kidnappers were Mahdi Army goons. All uncorraborated, of course.

Mr. Obeidi refused to live in the Green Zone, but according to an American Official speaking on background he wasn't without protection:
.. said Mr. Obeidi had chosen guards from his family, who had been paid with Interior Ministry funds. It was unclear where they were at the time of his abduction.
"Don't wake the security guard" was my first reaction, my second being "every man has his price". Wonder who has more disposable cash, Saddam's daughter Raghad or al-Sadr?

[Ed- moved updates of lawyer's death from other thread to this one. they didn't belong there, anyway.]

IT'S OVER 6/23/06

Saddam's hunger strike, that is:
Saddam Hussein has ended his hunger strike after missing just one meal, a US military spokesman said today. The fallen dictator announced he would refuse to eat after one of his lawyers was murdered on Wednesday, but only refused his lunch yesterday. "They all took their dinner meal," said the spokesman.
Looks like the dinner meal was a nice big serving of serial...lying.

Yo, King!

Our lovable local mayor Willie W. Herenton finally decided to address the press about the missing floor of the Fed Ex Forum parking garage:
Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, on behalf of the city, accepted the blame for construction problems at the FedExForum garage, but insisted there was no criminal intent involved.

He also blamed an "overzealous media" for blowing the matter out of proportion.
Sounds like fairly standard mayor-speak (video link), but after a testy City Council meeting one might think the chief executive, the man accountable to the voters and taxpayers, might feel obliged to answer a few questions from those same overzealous media types. One would be wrong.

The City Council was either professionally feigning indignation or sincerely not amused, it's hard to tell anymore. They indicated they'll attempt to get some answers, but it might be kinda hard under a lingering veiled threat:
Herenton noted that he has “never in my political career asked for anybody to be investigated” even though he said he has heard rumors that some council members are “less than honest.”
In other words, if "Dubya Dubya" is going down, he's taking a few others with him, wink, nod. Part of his new ethics program, I guess.

Last but not least, local wannabe Senator Harold Ford, Jr. was shocked, shocked at such a thing and wasted no time grabbing some of this spotlight:
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. on Tuesday joined a group of council members in calling for a federal investigation into the matter.
And we'll all be shocked if anything actually happens.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The meaning behind the massacre

"Hey Mom, I love you... I love you too, Dad. ...Be safe and I'll be back, and you know, be safe while I'm gone. You know, be careful out there on the road. I worry about you guys, too... I'm going to be OK. Everything's going to be OK. I'm going to defend my country. Be proud of me. I love you guys. I know that you love me. I am going to call as much as I can. And, I love you once again. Talk to you later. Goodbye."
The pain is maddening.

But it's just another day for the barbarians. Today's excuse--retaliation for killing Zarqawi. Tomorrow, something else. The urge to kickass must be a fever pitch for our guys.

But before proceeding it might not hurt to know thine enemy a little better. Earlier this year AQ in Iraq morphed into the Mujahideen Shura Council, which by most accounts is a storefront for either bin Laden or the Saddamists, or both. Their nom de guerre spokesgoon, al-Baghdadi, was supposedly an ex-member of the Republican Guard. No one seems to know much about him, but no one knew much about Ramzi Yousef, either.

Consider reading through this analysis of UBL's 12/1/04 audiotape regards Iraq by Dan Darling. When discussing bin Laden's references to Saddam, Darling puts it this way, "he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch!"

Why the fixation with Saddam? It goes to purpose. As Darling points out, bin Laden made an effort in the tape to gather all the AQ factions under one umbrella banner, even if it contained Ba'athists. When Saddam gets anywhere near a microphone he talks about the same thing--unity. The Shura Council crystalizes that message of teamwork.

Some may say that Saddam only glommed on to al Qaeda at the last minute out of sheer desperation. It could well be the other way around, but the evidence generally suggests the glomming occurred prior to 9/11.

But most follow conventional wisdom, therefore if popular the opinion rules and we choose Murtha's yellow brick road of retreat (the horizon is now Okinawa) they might as well pull up stakes in Afghanistan, too. The causes are exactly the same.


Is what this is.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The point of no return

The law requires employers to make workers fill out I-9 "employment eligibility" forms and provide documents to prove they are legally entitled to work.

But the employers benefit from one large loophole: they are not expected to distinguish between a fake ID and the real thing. To work, illegal immigrants do not need to come up with masterpieces of ID fraud, only something that looks plausible.
So stated a New York Times expose on the illegal alien job racket network. After reading this piece you'll be thoroughly convinced how unlikely it is that our elected politicians will ever cap this can of worms.

Articles like this are designed to "humanize" the illegal activity by pointing out how many folks might suffer if president Bush evers decides to "bring these people to justice". Ain't gonna happen. But in the interim, big problemo for the rule of law:
..It (the fake docs) includes a green card with the customer's photo and somebody's fingerprints, along with a Social Security card, for which the number was plucked out of thin air.
So goes the daily "wink and nod" network. One can only guess how many "show me the money" corporations and small business are involved up to their elbows, but labor unions aren't blameless, some of whom receive union dues from illegals. Funny, those very same organizations would be appalled if companies played fast and loose with labor laws in the same manner. Show me the lawyers! Show me the hypocrisy!

It's certainly tempting to throw up the hands and let the illegal chips fall as they may. That's been the strategy in Washington for twenty years. It's near impossible to put this genie back in the bottle, but if we're to maintain any semblance of law and order for future generations, a solution must be found, and soon. This issue is fast becoming repetitive and hyperbolic (by design?), but nevertheless deserves it's place on the front burner.

MORE 6/19/06

Debbie at Right Truth has information about a letter sent by some conservative luminaries to president Bush. In a nutshell they want the border secured before any new legislation is passed. Sounds sensible, but it also might be a way to give the republican Congress a pass on this sticky wicket before the Novemeber elections.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The subway attack and Saddam

This weekend's Time magazine article about the scrubbed al-Qaeda hydrogen cynanide attack on the New York subway system will certainly fan the flames in conspiracy world. Consider this my small contribution of butane.

According to the story:
Ali revealed that Ayeri had visited Ayman Zawahiri in January 2003, to inform him of a plot to attack the New York City subway system using cyanide gas. Several mubtakkars were to be placed in subway cars and other strategic locations. This was not simply a proposal; the plot was well under way. In fact, zero-hour was only 45 days away.
The time line is very important. Let's presume al-Ayeri's trip to meet Zawahiri (was bin Laden too tied up?) was in late January 2003. Add a 45 day countdown and we're squarely in the middle of March 2003, when the Iraq invasion was to began. How would AQ know when our attack might start?

Well, they might have guessed it based on open-source info, but keep this in mind -- according to the Joint Forces report the Russians had a mole at CENTCOM headquarters in Qatar, who was relaying our attack plans to Baghdad. Putin denied it, Condi Rice expressed shock and disgust, then the whole thing quickly went away. Another ongoing story in January was Hans Blix's failure to find any WMDs.

We're learning that Saddam's gameplan for defending Iraq was to deny WMD while privately preparing for a Vietnam-style insurgency using Islamic proxies/guerrila fighters. An attack on New York timed with our invasion might have easily backfired and pulled together an already partially divided nation fully behind the war effort. Coordination between all the interested parties would seem a must.

Like many other documents and stories, this one doesn't provide a smoking gun of such Saddam-AQ coordination, only more circumstantial evidence towards that end.

AYE, CAP'N 6/18/06

Ed Morrisey has more insight and links. By the way, here's wishing him a speedy recovery.


Texas Rainmaker has a good summary of some of the dots linking Saddam with terrorist groups, not all of them recently discovered:
Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance was produced at El Shifa or what happened to it. But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa’s current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.
Keeping Sudan and al-Shifa in mind, here's another speculative dot:
Mubarak al Duri (who is referred to as Mubarak Douri in the report's text and Mubarak al Duri in a footnote), reportedly bin Laden's principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction. Though he is referred to as such, no details on what he did for bin Laden or when he lived here were revealed.
There was Mubarak al-Duri, an Iraqi native living in Arizona, who officials say worked with bin Laden's firms in Sudan
A straw grasp or connected dot? Perhaps if we could find folks like Mr. al-Duri and Abdul Yasin, we'd have a better idea.

NO FLY ZONE 6/21/06

Speaking of Mr. al-Duri, he spent time in Arizona as did Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, who apparently knew Hani Hanjour. Ali was recently arrested in New Zealand and extradicted to Saudi Arabia--supposedly--but has now disappeared.

Two speculative possibilities spring to mind. One, SA let him go because they were threatened by bin Laden, or two, he never made it to Saudi because he's now spending time at one of our luxurious secret detainment facilities. Right now I'm leaning towards one, but not by much.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hillary and Harold

The national media has lately been paying close attention to Harold Ford, Jr.'s race for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee due to it's possible impact beyond the state, but the local yocals down here are more interested in his campaign financing:
Ford held a $1,000-per-person Washington fund-raiser Thursday at the Clintons' home, which the GOP promptly criticized as another example of his out-of-state fund-raising.

Ford raised about 63 percent of his contributions from individuals out of state through March 30, compared to Hilleary's 12 percent, Bryant's 9 and Corker's 6 percent, according to the Federal Election Commission.
That's not a typo, Van 'Hilleary' is running for Senate against former Rep Ed Bryant and former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker on the republican side.

The national DNC obviously cares about Harold's race because a victory could tip the Senate to port side control, but it would also prove that a democrat can win in the middle of Jesusland, which might be seen as a test-case for Hillary's presidential run in 2008.

No doubt Ford's recent hob-nob with Hil was more about strategy than supper, and they no doubt discussed the importance of those rebel flag rednecks, a voting block that Ford has been carefully targeting for quite some time:
"My record supporting our troops and winning the war on terrorism is clear," Ford said, citing his vote Tuesday to extend funding for the war.
Indeed, he's been to Iraq four times. Meanwhile, hard core Tennessee liberals have no love for 'Junior', as we call him, primarily due to that very fact, and due to his luke cool stance on gay marriage. Ironically, Hillary (also using the pro-war strategy) was recently booed by her base for refusing to support Murtha's immediate pullout.

But when push comes to shove, the left won't pull the GOP handle. Actually, their fight is just beginning. The DNC knows this.

While Hillary's strategy is pretty simple, Junior's is anything but. He's a motivated individual, but is tainted by a legion of family scandals where the race card has been pulled a few times. That doesn't play well in the east, so Harold needs to divorce himself from those demons. One way is to become a neo-Dixiecrat:
"All over the state, people are hungry for lower gas prices, for action on illegal immigration, and for creating new jobs. We don't believe our message is offensive to anyone," Ford said after landing here for a Middle Tennessee campaign swing.
It's a longshot, but if it works just chalk it up to the Clintons. They've got a lot invested.

MORE 6/18/06

By now you know that Junior voted against the "Iraq is part of the GWoT therefore we can't cut and run" resolution put up by republicans on Friday. Here's how one of his supporters is trying to spin that no vote:
Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. today voted against a Republican-sponsored resolution supporting an Iraqi government that is considering granting amnesty to terrorists who attack U.S. troops.
I don't think that's gonna wash with the east and mid-state voters he's trying to woo.

Uncle Pavian has an example of another Congressional candidate who is keeping her affliation close to the vest.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hitchens versus Margolis

The American Zeitgeist premeire was held Thursday night in New York. After the luminaries left the stage, Christopher Hitchens and Eric Margolis were scheduled to go to battle in another Iraq war debate.

UPDATE 6/ transcript, but here's an anecdotal review, with some hard-hitting opinion on Margolis thrown in absolutely free!

You might ask, who is Eric Margolis and what are his views about the Iraq war and Zarqawi? Allow me to give you a pre-game report (don't have the debate transcript/audio yet--it's early) :
Few will miss Zarqawi. But his assassination is not `a major victory against al-Qaida,’ as President Bush claimed.

Contrary to erroneous reports promoted by the US government, Zarqawi’s so-called `al-Qaida in Iraq’ was not truly part of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida movement, and he was not the leader of the anti-US resistance in Iraq.
Agreed. We know al-Douri and his Saddamist minions are the major instigators/handlers who may or may not still be in control of the Shura Council. But he was a poster boy for terrorism, and it's always good when the poster boy gets taken down. To diminish his role is irresponsible.
The real al-Qaida was most displeased by Zarqawi’s brazen trademark infringement. This deception was enhanced by American-produced faked letters supposedly `intercepted’ by US forces claiming to show Zarqawi was part of al-Qaida and acting under bin Laden’s direct orders.
Firstly, it's doubtful Mr. Margolis has any evidence the letters were faked. Secondly, AQ might not have always been pleased with Z-man's loose cannon approach, but they were MORE THAN HAPPY to praise him as "the Sheikh of Slaughter". Strike two for Margolis.
Some Iraqi resistance leaders and some Arab media even claimed Zarqawi and his henchmen were covert ‘agents provocateurs’ working for the US and Britain to stir up ethnic tensions as part of Britain’s old `divide and rule’ techniques.

This sounded far-fetched until the arrest in Basra of British SAS commandos armed with explosives and disguised as Arabs, leading many to believe Zarqawi’s men were indeed western double agents or criminals working for hire
If Mr. Margolis really believes he was an 'agent provocateur' (which he seems to) then perhaps he'd like to explain why we eliminated him. Did Task Force 145 not get the memo?
Ironically, the only people who may miss him are the Bush Administration’s pro-war neoconservatives. Zarqawi played a major starring role in US propaganda efforts to convince credulous Americans that the Bush Administration launched an unprovoked invasion of oil-rich Iraq `as the central front in the war on terrorism.
Here we see him slowly devolving into stock 'no blood for oil' territory. Any whiff of logic, such as Zarqawi's previous involvement in bombing hotels in Jordan, murdering an American diplomat, or working with AQ in Afghanistan has evaporated from his head like a summer breeze.

We're getting to the end. Mr. Eric sums up his Iraq war position in polished boilerplate fashion:
Now that Zarqawi is gone, the US will need to find another demonic figure with which to keep selling the war to Americans at home and to US troops in Iraq, 75% of whom still amazingly believe Saddam Hussein launched the 9/11 attacks.
That's because it's more logical to believe Saddam was a master enabler of worldwide terrorism than to believe we "created Zarqawi" or that we killed our own "agent provocateur" in our continuing effort to rape Iraq for oil. No Mr. Margolis--we are right where we need to be.

So there you go. Margolis is a target-rich environment for Hitchens, and the transcript should be high entertainment.

MORE 6/16/06

There he goes again. Vice President Cheney was publicly quoted making loose ties between Saddam and the War on Terror again. Surely folks like Mr. Margolis find these kinds of declarations nerve popping.

But Mr. Cheney has been subtly telegraphing threats to the American public since 2001, so why stop now:
Taking down Saddam Hussein was exactly the right thing to do," he said.

"It's also, I think, in part responsible for the fact that we haven't been hit again in nearly five years. That's no accident,"
We have the freedom to either believe the Veep or not. But while folks who don't proceed to roll on the floor laughing about his statements, others combine them with previous utterings and events such as this to arrive at their own conclusion about the state of threats today. Count me in the latter group.

HOUSE OF 55 CARDS 6/16/06

Hatfill Deception tips us that Tariq Aziz is under some intense pressure to sing:
Finally, Aziz said, he was prepared to seek the assiatnce of French lawyers to help him reveal information that he claims will have a great impact.
They better hurry.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Memphis missing floor fiasco

I've been trying hard to ignore the missing floor fiasco regarding the new Fed Ex Forum here in Memphis.

In case you're not from these parts but are nevertheless still interested in reading about such things, here's a brief recap.

The Memphis Grizzlies professional b-ball team was the beneficiary of new stadium and parking garage a few years back. Their previous accomodations--our big white elephent called the Pyramid, wasn't luxury box-ish enough, so the Griz moved out (the Pyramid will now become the world's most expensive bait shop). In the process the state and federal guvmints chipped in about 40 mil.

There were a couple of stipulations with that money--the garage needed to fit 1800 cars and the state required some sort of intermodal transport hub, presumably so cars, buses, trolleys, bicycles and rickshaws could all come together in perfect gridlock before and after the game.

But in typical Memphis fashion they took the money and bent the rules, and whoops, forgot to build the intermodal hub. Whoops again, they left out one floor of the parking garage, too, which unbelievably led to a feature on George Noory's weird Coast to Coast AM radio show (as if the floor had really disappeared).

Now we've got three local politicos crying 'foul', a talk radio host about to pop a vein, and a local media personality defending every missing brick. Such is life in the little Bluff City.

Amidst all this, the Grizzlies owner has lately been hinting he's ready to sell the team. Maybe he's not satisfied with the seven dollar beers and four dollar hotdogs. Or maybe it's more the old Animal House comment, "leaving, what a good idea".

I've said enough. I'm not privy to any inside information (actually I'm still wondering what happened to the story about the guy who said he carried bags of cash into the Mayor's office, so I'm behind the curve)-- this is just the rant of a taxpayer.

And no, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I understand "how things get done" and so forth, and yep we got the NBA team. But do we always have to emulate a Banana Republic to get anything done? Speaking of which, wonder how many illegals helped build that parking garage...on second thought, never mind.

If you'd like to read more about our stadium frolics, here's a fun place to go.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Operation Mountain Thrust

Despite all the rancor over Iraq, that country is fairly stable right now compared to Afghanistan.

NATO commanders will soon be taking control of the southern part of the nation, a relatively lawless area teeming with Taliban and now patrolled by American forces. It borders the infamous territory of Balochistan.

In preparation for the changeover, American-led forces kicked off Operation Mountain Thrust Wednesday, designed to soften up the region in advance of the multinational forces. About 11,000 troops under US control are involved.

This should make the anti-Iraq war liberals giddy. Since Afghanistan was the last place on Earth bin Laden was seen alive it's also the only morally legitimate spot the American Army can fight the GWoT. Well, at least until the Taliban devises a few made-for-CNN village massacres.

But not everyone there is Taliban. Some actually have their heads screwed on straight (and still attached):
"The Taliban is a disease, like typhoid," said Muhammad Hanif, Zabul's director of education. "And the ISI [Pakistan's intelligence agency] is the germ that causes it."
Godspeed to them. They're working hard so we can 'go about our business' back here.

MORE 6/15/06

Events are starting to unfold:
Officials say the coalition forces include British, Canadian and Romanian troops. Afghan forces will join them over the next several days as they conduct sweeps on Taliban safe havens.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is heralding the end of al Qaeda in Iraq due to the seizure of personnel and documents after the Zarqawi raid.
.. "thumb drives or flash disks," a laptop and other documents have been seized in various hideouts. He said the data is helping authorities determine the whereabouts of the network, its leaders, weapons, meetings and how it operates.
It will be quite interesting to see where this might lead. Al Douri, anyone?


As you might have noticed in the comments, Mir Azaad Khan Baloch, part of what's called the Government of Balochistan in Exile (located in Jerusalem right now) stopped by to inform about the struggles of the Baloch people, who apparently want their own state. His website is in comments, and here's a recent online interview.

Clearly, the natural resources and coastline of this territory are seen as attractive to other nations, and was most likely a target of the 1979 USSR invasion of Afghanistan. Mr. Baloch suggests the Chinese are now mining resources there at the behest of the Pakistani government.

But exactly where they fall in the grand scheme of the GWoT is a bit hard to figure. The Iranian part is largely Sunni Muslim and routinely causes trouble for the Shiite leadership in Tehran. It was rumored they backed Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war. The Pakistani area near Quetta was supposedly home to first WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef and second WTC planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

For such an unknown and forgotten territory it certainly sounds pretty darn important. One has to wonder if the NATO force redistribution in Afghan has any bearing on that presumption.

BACK TO IRAQ 6/15/06

The so-called treasure trove of AQ documents captured around Baghdad after Z-man's departure are coming out, and Reuters says the first batch..
"...reflects al-Qaida policy and the terror organization's cooperation with groups loyal to Saddam Hussein.
Can we trust something left on a thumb drive? Perhaps. The last time one of these little buggers made news was after they found one on a terrorist in western Iraq that tied AQ in Iraq to the London Tube bombings.

And with a little imagination, here's an interpretation that puts the spotlight on the Saddamists (via Zarqawi) for the Golden Shrine bombing:
It suggests carrying out a range of terrorist acts for which it will falsely implicate Iran, including bombings in the West and kidnappings. It also recommends declaring the existence of a relationship between Iran and terrorist groups, and disseminating bogus confessions showing that Iran has weapons of mass destruction.


We've knocked off a lot of Taliban lately, 45 according to this AP report, which by the way had a rather short shelf life. At this writing the only place it seems to exist is on Fox News (imagine), while nearly all the major MSM outlets had replaced it with flashes about the 30 or so killed by insurgents in Iraq and the possible kidnapped GIs.

The WaPo did hoist a feature story about Afghan (also cross posted at MSNBC) with emphasis on the Taliban's resurgence, and to remind us:
The enemy in Afghanistan is "adaptive" and "very smart," Freakley said. One tactic they have used lately to counter U.S. dominance in the air is to withdraw, when fighting, into compounds where civilians are located, which has resulted in civilian deaths in two sets of airstrikes near Kandahar.

The spate of recent civilian deaths caused by the bombing has hurt the U.S. image in Afghanistan
Wonder how long til Murtha demands we retreat to the horizon there, too?

Finally, although the WaPo did do a story you'll not find any mention of the 45 killed nor even the name of the offensive, "Mountain Thrust" included anywhere within. You'd think.....oh never mind.

MORE 6/18/06

Despite a relative lack of coverage from the MSM, fortunately we've got sources like this to broaden our knowledge base.


With Gore's truth movie about to go into full swing the American MSM has been largely silent regarding the movie's conclusions. Thank heavens for the Canadian press and this article, which properly summarizes the feelings of many in the actual field of climatology and climate science.

The following excerpt exemplifies the nature of the guessing game involved in determining future weather trends (which averaged together makes up global climate):
"There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years."

Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"
This coming from a real scientist, not a politician pretending to be one. Too bad Gore couldn't have interviewed him for the flick, eh?

Roadtrip reaction

The editorial folks in the national media were in recovery mode today after Bush's surprise 'road to Baghdad' trip Tuesday. The AFP was kind enough to summarize a few for us.

The WaPo was fairly positive. Here's how AFP described their take:
The Washington Post said Bush gave "an important demonstration of American support" for the new Iraqi government, which represents the country's "best and maybe last hope" of defeating secterian bloodshed, terrorism and defenders of Saddam Hussein.
Said the USA Today, "the circumstances of the trip itself illustrated that reality is not so simple ... Security remains so dicey that Bush was in and out of Baghdad in hours." [ed- pssst--it's still a war zone].

They went on to say that keeping troops around awhile was fine, but if things don't stablize, "as soon as that chance disappears, they should be brought home promptly, not left to die to save face, as happened during the long Vietnam drawdown."

Other than not providing any concrete answer of what represents "the chance disappearing", they managed to get that ole "V word" out there again. Saddam's crew must be thrilled, since he's been espousing the Vietnam model since the Gulf War.

Guess the USA Today thinks we're over there on a lark. If such were the case, I'd agree with them, but Saddam was/is a part of the GWoT every bit as much as al Qaeda or any other tinhorn sheikh who employs terrorist groups to do their bidding. They simply crossed the line on 9/11, and part of stopping them is why we're in Iraq now.

Opined the New York Times, "After too many photo-ops aimed at giving Mr. Bush and his fellow Republicans a short-term lift in the domestic opinion polls at election time, Americans hunger more than ever for a realistic game plan for Iraq and some real progress," said the daily.

An elected government, all cabinet positions filled, Zarqawi dead, 70,000 government troops spreading out in the capital city.. gee, sounds like some progress to me. If the Times believes our current predicament is so bad, perhaps they'd care to explain John Kerry's "realistic game plan", which is nothing more than a fixed-schedule retreat from the entire Middle East.

Judging from the reactions above, it seems like the WaPo was perhaps more in the loop than the Grey Lady or the Yuppie Comic. Just a guess, but burning bridges does have its drawbacks.

One more thing. The next time Bush spirits off into a war zone, someone please get Tony Snow a better-fitting helmet. I love the man, but that thing looked like a GI Joe hat on him.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The land of good intentions

Hooray. The liberals have finally found a way to be partriotic without even realizing it. Due to their constant chattering and admonishment of U.S. soldiers in Iraq they've created a negative and distorted image, which has penetrated across the globe as a pretty nasty urban legend. In the case of law-breaking illegals crossing the Mexican border, that myth is actually coming in handy:
"Some migrants have told me they heard about the troops on television and, because the U.S. Army doesn't have a very good reputation, they prefer not to cross," Loureiro said, referring to reports of abuse in Iraq.
Of course, whenever those lefties realize their comments have backfired resulting in less illegal immigration, a reduction of trespassing and fewer people dangerously interfering with interstate commerce (hopping freights)...
Migrants in the region walk some 25 miles through the scrub-covered desert with summer temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees, and then hop on cargo trains to reach their destination.
...what will they do? Perhaps they'll start praising the troops and hoping for a reverse backfire effect. And of course, there's always the ole desperation play--just blame everything on Rove.

Such are the daily predicaments faced in the land of good intentions.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The results are in

The official word from DoD is that Zarqawi died of massive internal injuries due to being in proximity of the blast waves from two 500 lb bombs. They noted some other stuff, like a broken leg and some bruising. He held on less than an hour before learning the awful truth about the virgins.

Since those same injuries might also be consistent with a few boots about the head and torso, it's doubtful today's findings will put down all the conspiracy theories.

My initial question remains the same and I've yet to see it addressed, and that is, how did Zarqawi manage to 1) survive two massive bombs, and 2) in doing so, remain largely intact with possession of all his limbs?

Lacking a formal explanation it seems possible there might have been a bunker present in the safe-house, and that somehow, some way, somebody got the "duck, incoming" word to him at the last second. If such a thing did occur it suggests an ability to quickly translate and act on intercepted messages, which is not good.

MORE 6/12/06

Time mag is running an extensive "behind the scenes" story about the termination mission. Here they describe some of the cooperating sources:
But early this year, the secret task force's luck began to change. Tips came in from Iraqi insurgents, former Baath Party members loyal to Saddam, some of whom objected to al-Zarqawi's viciousness and attacks against Shi'ites
After the Golden Mosque attack the Butcher was supposedly shocked and outraged, too. He used the trial to preach a little about the sectarian violence:
"I call on the people to start resisting the invaders instead of killing each other," Saddam said.
A unified front would certainly keep Iraq from "going Shia" and becoming a ward of Iran, which would complicate his goal of getting the Ba'ath Party back in power someday (under the cover of Sunni Islamism, of course). But Saddam wasn't the only well-known figger to condemn Zarqawi's head-chopping, Shrine bombing ways. Both Usama and Zawahiri did likewise. The enemy of my enemy, and all.

Now we see the Shura Council has named a nom de guerre successor. It might be a somebody, or it might be nobody at all--they really just needed a name out there fast.

MORE 6/12/06

The allegation that US soldiers kicked the crap out of Zarqawi when he rolled off the stretcher was apparently a lot of hot air. The phenomenon of grossly mangled facts in a breaking news story shouldn't be surprising, rather it should be expected. Katrina was the perfect example.

The AP is now backpeddling. Surely a retraction will soon follow, right?

By the way, did anyone ever answer Rick Moran's question?

WHAT HE SAID 6/12/06

Hitchens has an elegant way of getting to the point:
It is customary to dismiss evidence of this kind with a brisk and pseudo-knowing sneer about the "secular" nature of Saddam's regime and thus its presumed incompatibility with theocratic fanatics. Quite how this CIA-sponsored "analysis" has survived this long is beyond me. At least from the time of its conclusion of hostilities with Iran, Baghdad became a center of jihadist propaganda and sponsorship. Saddam himself started to be painted and photographed wearing the robes of an imam.

He began a gigantic mosque-building program. He financed the suicide-murderers who worked against the more secular PLO. He sent money to the Muslim separatists in the Philippines. His closest regional ally was the theocracy in Sudan, which had been the host of Osama Bin Laden. (You can see a similar process at work with the other "secular" Baathist regime in Syria: It has long had very warm ties to the mullahs in Iran and to Hezbollah, and in its current and one hopes terminal phase, is forbidding all non-regime propaganda except the Islamist type.)
Read the whole darn thing.


Here's one answer to Rick Moran's question:
Still, the poll did find some signs that Americans are becoming more optimistic about Iraq — at least when looking at the long term. Sixty percent now say it's somewhat likely or very likely that the United States will ultimately find success in Iraq, a 5-point jump since last month.

More than half of Americans also say Iraq will eventually become a stable democracy, though it will take more than a year or two.
Of course the headline read, "Poll: Zarqawi Death Has Little Impact". SSDD.


The "Al Qaeda media arm" announced today the name of the 20th hijacker. Apparently these announcements come from an internet site (has anyone bothered to check their IP?).

They once again reminded us Moussaoui was not, repeat not, part of the plan. The more they say it, the more suspicious it sounds. I'm starting to wonder exactly what Zacarious was up to over here. As was previously pointed out, he was training on the 747, not the 757 or 767 used on 9/11. Let's hope this tepid announcement was not a coded go-order.

But it was more likely a last minute attempt to throw something out to mute Bush's very effective surprise visit to Baghdad and to address the announced crackdown in Baghdad. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" also issued a statement from their new nom de guerre leader, who threatened widespread head rolling, yada yada, yada.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Major shank

The U.S. Open golf tournament begins this Thursday at the venerable Winged Foot golf club in Mamaroneck, New York. Tiger Woods is the favorite to win. He is not white. The Washington Post has taken note, and reminds us:
Ten years after Woods turned professional in the summer of 1996, Woods is the only African-American player on the PGA Tour.
To be precise Woods is only part black. He's also part east Asian, and his father had white, black and American Indian bloodlines. So to be fair, he's only part African-American.

These gentlemen, Vijah Singh, Michael Campbell and Shigeki Mariyama, all play with Woods on the PGA Tour.

Singh, who just won the most recent PGA tour tournament, would be considered black by most casual observers but is from the Island of Fiji, which disqualifies him from being called an African-American. In a weird paradox, if white South African golfer Ernie Els (now a US resident) becomes a citizen he might better fit the definition of African American than Woods.

So relax, WaPo. Compare golf to pro tennis and hockey, which are also mainly white and tell us if that means anything. Baseball is becoming more Latin, while football and basketball are dominated by blacks in numbers disproportionate with their percent of total population. And the ladies golf tour has seen a large influx of east-Asians. But feel free to create a crisis if you must. Surely there's a republican to blame somewhere.


So much for favorites. This was the first time in years I was pulling for Tiger. I know the pain of losing a dad. It must have been tough to focus.

EPILOGUE 6/18/06

"I still am in shock that I did that. I just can't believe that I did that," Mickelson said. "I am such an idiot."

Give him some credit. That might be the most honest response to a sports choke ever uttered by the offender.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Any connection?

Remember Hani Hanjour, 9/11 pilot? His name is back in the blogs due to a former acquaintance being captured. This friend, Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, was present with Hanjour while the latter was studying the principle of flight in Arizona prior to 9/11. He disappeared shortly afterward but recently surfaced in New Zealand and was arrested and later extradicted to Saudi Arabia.

But there were other jihadi buddies loosely associated with Hanjour and Arizona. One was identified as Mubarak al-Duri, whereabouts unknown.

Al Duri, al Duri, where have we heard that name before? Shall we assume any connections to the other slightly better-known al-Douri?
In Tucson, al Duri, a native of Iraq, became acquainted with Wadi al Hage, the report said. Al Hage, a native of Lebanon, is in federal prison for al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
The story goes on to say:
Mubarak al Duri (who is referred to as Mubarak Douri in the report's text and Mubarak al Duri in a footnote), reportedly bin Laden's principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction. Though he is referred to as such, no details on what he did for bin Laden or when he lived here were revealed.
We have this Al-Duri guy--a native of Iraq who has the same surname as the former leader of the Revolutionary Command Council, and was thought to be a WMD procurement agent for bin Laden. What am I missing here?

MORE 6/10/06

Captain Ed has this story and points out that:
Rayed doesn't get much attention in the final 9/11 Commission report; all references to him are found in the extensive footnotes.
Which is very interesting. The same applies to Mubarak al-Duri. Why were these guys relegated to the notes?

As to al-Duri, a deeper dig produced the following morsels:
There was Mubarak al-Duri, an Iraqi native living in Arizona, who officials say worked with bin Laden's firms in Sudan
And this,
The ruling does not say when Al Duri, whom the judge said was "reported to be Osama bin Laden's principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction," had lived in Canada.

But she said Al Duri had associated with Toronto-based terror suspect Mohamed Mahjoub after December, 1995, and may have also associated with terrorist Essam Marzouk, who lived in B.C. until 1998
Mahjoub is one of the five detainees locked up in the Canadian Gitmo.


James Loney finally made it to Ottawa. He continues to speak out about the Canadian Gitmo detainees, one of which is Mohamed Mahjoub. Too bad the former hostage can't tell us what happened to Mahjoub's old associate Mubarak al-Duri.

A new wave of corporate dissent

I was gonna take a blogger's holiday today, but saw this and just couldn't resist.

Instapundit tipped us to a Kausfiles column regarding a spat between General Motors corporate PR department and the New York Times letters to the editor department. Their back-and-forth was in response to a Thomas Friedman hit piece on GM last week, blogged about here. Amazingly, the interchange made GM look like the guys in white hats. What's going on here?

First off, as a GM vehicle owner it's bizarre to think I'd ever type out a column in their defense. I'd more believe any time spent typing would be devoted solely to chewing out a division manager about an unfixed problem or to the NHTSA people complaining about lack of recalls on crappy factory equipment (like those defective windshield wiper motors stuck on certain year-models, but I digress). However, this story represents more than defending GM, it's about a new frontier in corporate communications.

In this new world petty spats like the one in GM's BLOG make it darn near impossible for old line MSM entities to fire away verbal trebuchets against large targets while effectively crushing or manipulating the returning dissent. In reading the exchange, who doesn't feel sorry for the behemoth corporation?

In the old days this type of thing would have dropped on the floor and been filed away in the corporate mind for later use. Today they can simply do an 'end run' around these intransigent human firewalls through use of bloggers. Why wait? After all, I read the story then typed up this piece, and so will thousands or even millions of other bloggers. Think of all those sites, all of those readers, all of those trackbacks, all of those links. It's exponentialism.

There are drawbacks and pitfalls to this new method, but if done correctly and honestly it's hard not to like this immediate and open form of resolution. Surely it's an advertising bargain, as well.

Iraq beyond Zarqawi

Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post are wondering aloud if we might actually miss Zarqawi:
From the moment President Bush introduced him to the American people in October 2002, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi served a crucial purpose for the administration, providing a tangible focus for its insistence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
It's not surprising a couple of WaPo writers would pose this argument, since their own paper ran a story a few months ago suggesting the military was using Zarqawi in a psyops campaign. Seems they think we molded him into the face of al Qaeda for digestion by the American public while simultaneously molding him into a dirty foriegner (Jordanian) for digestion by the Iraqi public. Apparently the campaign was designed to mask the real face of the Brigades, etc.

Read any lefty blog and you'll find that premise, usually with a few choice invectives and a reference to Hitler for good measure. But hey, what's wrong with a psyops campaign? Exploitation is useful and necessary sometimes, but it doesn't mean we created Zarqawi. The 'War on Terror' has always been as much about psyops and intelligence than conventional war, and both sides are fervently playing the game.

Case in point--bin Laden's Cave Committee could have easily disavowed themselves from Zarqawi long ago, but they didn't. Rather, they puffed him into an even larger figure because he met their immediate needs on the cheap.

But his sudden trip to hell might change the paradigm for everyone. Example, if the attacks don't decrease president Bush might be compelled to further elaborate on exactly who we're still fighting and why. Some might even ask about Izzat al-Douri or various other 'deck of card' Ba'athists still running loose. As the earlier WaPo article alluded:
"The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious extremists, but these former regime types and their friends,"
But even so, it's doubtful we'll see much of a change from the WoT PR department. It does no good to refocus things away from 'rootless non-state actors' in caves to legitimate state sponsors, especially if those states are diplomatically hostile or hold certain "cards". Best to just press on under the radar. After all, the goals are exactly the same.

MORE 6/11/06

Can things get any stranger? (refer to the picture accompanying this post for reference):
When, last month, US officials pointed out how he was sporting a pair of New Balance American trainers in one of his propaganda videos, the main effect was to make their sales rocket in sports shops across the Arab world, from the refugee camps of the Gaza Strip through to the slums of Zarqa, Zarqawi's home town in Jordan.
Hey Mohammed, death to America! By the way, can you get me some of those New Balance Air Zarqawis?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Land of fruits and nuts is now "red"

According to CNN, that is. Their headline regarding the Dixie Chicks' abysmal ticket sales for their upcoming Bush Derangement concert tour was, "Red state backlash hurts Chicks' tour". Thing is, the article then goes on to say:
According to Pollstar, dates in Memphis, Tennessee, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, and Fresno, California, have been dropped from the tour schedule for now, while box-office sales also were canceled for Houston.
Well, we all knew the euphemism, "the land of fruits and nuts" only applied to the coastal cities, but it's nice to see that confirmed in print every now and again.

But there's very little guesswork needed to figure out why CNN and Reuters (where the story originated) felt the need to use such divisive color coding to describe the story--it takes away from the in-your-face report last week about the Chicks' number one Billboard CD sales, which some liberals had used as a blanket endorsement of their anti-Bush, anti-war message.

ed- cleaned up a grammatically messy post.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Berg, the bounty and Abu Musab

Allow me to offer a few more thoughts on the timely demise of al-Qaeda in Iraq's "Sheikh of Slaughter".
    On the reaction of Nick Berg’s father:
It's impossible to comprehend a parent's grief over the loss of a child unless you've been there yourself, especially after what happened to Nick Berg. In most circumstances Mr. Berg's reaction to today's news would be taken in context with that grief, however he is now a candidate for public office. His opinions and comments cannot be ignored, since presumably they represent the backbone of his position.

And that position sounds very much like the basic anti-war boilerplate, similar to what we recently heard from the Fort Lewis refuser. He clearly does not blame Zarqawi for the death of his son, matter fact his opinion puts him more in the freedom fighter category: that Zarqawi had a need to get in, to defend his region of the country from American invaders."
My refutation would be as follows. Conventional accounts had Abu Musab fighting in Afghanistan with the Taliban in 2001, which is the only location on earth where the liberals think we should be fighting the WoT.

He indeed returned to "his region", but unlike Mr. Berg's assertion there was nothing to defend it against. The Iraq invasion was a year away and his home country of Jordan was under no threat of attack. On the contrary, he was charged in absentia by Jordan for ordering the death of American diplomat Laurence Foley, then hooked up with Ansar al-Islam.

Since those three items alone would more than qualify him as an enemy of the state to most folks, I'm blaming Mr. Berg's comments and campaign on his prolonged grief. He's got plenty of company.

Head man al-Maliki was asked about the 25 million reward, in which he replied:
"We will meet our promise," he said without elaborating.
And to whom will that obligation be kept? Well,
.. the tips leading to the safe house had come from within Zarqawi's network.
Sounds almost like they're saying the 25 million might end up in the pockets of people “within Zarqawi’s network”. Surely not.

It’s been widely rumored for nearly a year that Z-man had been in the terrorist dog house, mainly after the idiotic attack in Amman. Recently we were told of a demotion:
It also comes in the wake of reports that Zarqawi has been demoted within the Shura Council, losing his policymaking prerogatives; yet he was content to use their logo and trademarks in his video.
Shortly thereafter we saw the machine gun video, then were later treated to the outtakes version. Hard to imagine that sat too well with the Shura council or Bin Laden's cave committee.

One possibility is that the Shura council deliberately ratted him out due to his plummeting publicity value and thought they might clandestinely take the reward in the process. However, that would seem a big gamble since the money would likely be traced back to them in some fashion.

Another possibility is that his network had been infiltrated by Shiite militia members who turned him in for the money, revenge and to pave the way for a Tehran-favored government.

And of course conventional wisdom is still in play--ie, he was the leading figure of the insurgency in Mesopotamia and worth every penny of the 25 million.

Whatever the case such questions cannot diminish the work of the men and women, most likely from Task Force 145, who’ve been hunting this scumbag down for three years. They all deserve medals, because in the end despite any idle speculation there are certain facts beyond reproach--he was a murderer in the true sense of phrase ‘in cold blood’, and was a warrior against freedom and decent civilization. Now he’s dead.

Final final thought—a lot of folks are going to dump Blogger after the past two days. Hey, you still can’t beat the price..


The Weekly Standard's Dan Darling:
Yet according to the text of a Senate Select Intelligence Committee report, imprisoned al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah "indicated that he had heard that an important al-Qaida associate, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi . . . had good relationships with Iraqi intelligence."
Shiite leader of the SCIRI Abdel Aziz al-Hakim:
In a rare interview, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the president of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said that now that Zarqawi is dead the government's next priority must be to rid the country of supporters of Saddam Hussein and former members of Saddam's Baath party. He singled out specifically the Defense Ministry, the largest ministry led by a Sunni.
An Iraqi Shiite, Sheikh Abdallah Kadhim:
"I am happy and joyful as I was on the day my son was married...This is a blow to the insurgents and infidels who were backing Zarqawi at the expense of the Iraqi people." Iraqi Sunni, Munther Obeidi:
"We have thousands of Zarqawis on the streets. We need to get rid of all of them. This news about his death is an American game to keep people busy and not think of the crimes they [US forces] did in Haditha."
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar:
"Zarqawi's martyrdom will not weaken the resistance movement in Iraq. Many, many more young men can become Zarqawi," Omar said. "The successors . . . can be even stronger than him."
Cindy Sheehan:
“I have been on the road traveling and have not read much about it, but I doubt if it will make a difference in the direction of the war,’’ she said
Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of the Caldean Catholic Church in Iraq:
“This is a great hope for the end of violence which torments,” the Archbishop said. “but we repeat that the best solution is always in dialogue and not in killing. Killing each other for personal reasons can not bring anything good,” Delly continued, “loving each other and not killing - this is the way to keep in mind.”
[Ed--seems the Islamic faith would do well to use the "L" word (no, not that one) more often.]

Moath Muhammad, 10, of Zarqawi's hometown:
"We will seek revenge for Abu Musab Zarqawi and we will continue on the same path that was laid out by our brother Osama bin Laden,"
(Leave it to the Times to dig up this kid).

President Bush:
Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again.
Indeed he won't.

And finally...Zarqawi himself, stunned, seconds from death and on the gurney, looking up and seeing US troops standing over him:
sahkl lah ahsjishl, hddakbarbfdkgfg!!!
I'll translate, "help, save me, I've been hit.."

LAST WORD 6/10/06

Leave it to the MSM to gin up a controversy with Zarqawi's death:
"When the Americans arrived they took him out of the ambulance, they beat him on his stomach and wrapped his head with his dishdasha, then they stomped on his stomach and his chest until he died and blood came out of his nose," Mohammed said, without saying how he knew the man was dead.
Now, I suppose it's technically unethical for troops to yank this slug out out an ambulance and kick the crap out of him. But considering we're supposed to be at war, and that we'd just dropped two 500 pound bombs on his head in an effort to dismember him, it hardly seems an issue. By the way, since he survived and nobody else did it's sounds like he might have been warned at the last second and ran to a shelter.

But the left and their unwitting allies in the Sunni/Saddamist sect will probably try to link this with Haditha. As for me, I'm proud of the troops. Zarqawi didn't warrant a trial. After all, Nick Berg didn't get one.

Oh, need to amend the tranlation of Zarqawi's last words. Change it to, "oh shii...."

via Gateway Pundit.