The Daily Demarche
Change of Address
It is with very mixed emotions that I sit down to write this post. This will be my last posting at The Daily Demarche, as I move into semi-retirement from blogging. Recent life events and work, and a few other factors, have not allowed me to dedicate the time and attention to this blog that it and you deserve. I have not been able to meet the "daily" portion of the title for some time, and do not see that changing anytime soon.
I am not, however, throwing in the towel completely. I plan to continue to write and post, but no longer on this blog. As the title of this post suggests I am relocating- I will primarily be blogging at American Future
with Marc Schulman, who has generously agreed to allow me to hang my shingle with his, at one of the best blogs on the 'net. My plan is to post there at least once a week, more frequently as time allows- or as world events inspire me to forgo sleep in order to post. I am sure that nearly all of you are familiar with Marc's outstanding blog, and know for a fact that many of you visit here from there. From time to time I will also post at The Intelligence Summit Blog
, although I would not venture to guess with what frequency. Consul at Arms
now bears the burden of being the last of the Foreign Service blogs, although I imagine New Sisyphus
will still have something to say about foreign policy from time to time.
The reaction to this blog has wildly exceeded my expectations, with an average of well over a thousand hits per day in the last year, thanks in part to several "instalaunches" from the likes of Instapundit
, Austin Bay
and Michelle Malkin
, but even more so the readers who have spread our name by word of mouth, and an established group of commenters who have kept me on my toes with excellent debate and ruthless spell and fact checking. I hope that you will check in frequently at American Future; if at all possible I will try to establish a regular day to post there- although once you start to read Marc's posts you might forget all about looking for me! I owe a debt of gratitude to many people and blogs, and hope I can remember to mention them all here- I apologize in advance if I leave anyone out.
First I have to thank Mrs. Dr. D who tolerated all the time I spent in front of the keyboard and the occasional late night outburst as I surfed the net news. I can only hope that all of you have or find a mate like her. Next comes The Diplomad
who inspired me to start this blog- and who nine months after his last posting still generates traffic for The Daily Demarche- if you are out there reading this, we miss you, and thanks. I also have to thank Smiley, who believed in the project early on and wrote some of the best posts on this blog-including this one
. I've missed him here but can't say I fault him in the least for not being around as much.
I also want to thank A Guy in Pajamas
who helped to spread the word early on about us, as did Toni from Bear Creek Ledger
(formerly The View From Tonka) and my all time favorite member of the loyal opposition Eric Martin at Total Information Awareness
. Blogs like Expat Yank
kept me informed on events in far away places, and The Atlantic Review
restored (somewhat) my faith in our public diplomacy efforts.
Every blogger who participated in our "What if We Never Invaded Iraq
" and "China Syndrome
" blog projects reinforced my belief that the finest minds in policy analysis and imaginative thinking are not necessarily to be found in the press, or think tanks or the government. Every blog on the blogroll to the right- and many that I am ashamed to say I never got around to adding- played a part in the happiness I found writing this blog, as did every person who ever left a comment or sent me an e-mail (even the hate mail!), and all of you contributed to my sense that our democracy is alive, well, and in good hands.
I will continue to use the same e-mail address dr.demarche AT gmail.com, and look forward to reading your comments at American Future
. If all goes well I hope to have my first post ready for Marc to publish by Tuesday, at the latest. And so, it is not farewell, but see you later.
Thanks again to all of you,
(End of post.)
Marc Schulman, at American Future
, has posted the first of three parts of an excellent collection and analysis
of ten years worth of the New York Times' coverage of and stance on Saddam Hussein, Iraq and the war to free the latter from the former.
As Marc describes it:This post, which covers the eight years of the Clinton administration, is the first of three that employ the Times’ editorials to trace and analyze the evolution of the newspaper’s position on Iraq. The second will cover the pre-invasion Bush administration, while the third will deal with the period from the fall of Baghdad to the present.
This timeline of editorials and articles should be required reading for both those who support and oppose the war in Iraq; especially those sitting in Washington trying to remember what lead us to the point we have reached today. As one commenter noted, it is "like watching time-lapse photography" of the evolution of not only one major media player's opinions on the subject, but also our policy towards the region.
Spend some time refreshing your memory on this subject, you won't be disappointed.
(end of post)
There are two holidays that mean more to me when I am far from home, the first, July 4th, probably goes without saying. The second is Thanksgiving. I was surprised at how forcefully my first Thanksgiving in a foreign country struck me. At home the day had always meant football, turkey, mom's pumpkin roll, family and friends- to be sure those are all things to be missed, and I still do miss them every year. But none of them accounted for the deep rooted sense of missing America on that last Thursday in November. Gradually, however, it came to me that in addition to the food and family, the football and friends, what I was missing was the sense of tradition. America, writ large, is not a land bound by many traditions, and these two holidays are in a large part what define our common cause for celebration.
So today, though I am far from home and not likely to see any football, I am thankful for the friends and family I have with me here. I am thankful for the efforts that we all will make today as we gather together here, in an effort to have a traditional thanksgiving (I've been hoarding a few cans of whole cranberries for months just for today!).
Beyond that I am thankful for the accident of birth that allows me to call myself an American. I am thankful for the brave men and women in our armed services, for those among us that struggle to protect us all from those who would do us harm. I am thankful for our allies in this struggle against our enemies, no matter how the left and MSM belittle them. I am thankful for purple stained fingers proudly thrust in front of the media's cameras.
I am thankful for you, for reading this, and hope that you too can celebrate this American holiday with thanks, wherever you are.
(end of post)
Is he, or isn't he?
As I write this, speculation abounds as to whether or not Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is still alive. Iraqi and U.S. forces took a house in Mosul on Saturday, and some of the occupants blew themselves up to avoid capture. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari earlier today stated
:"In my view, I would say there must have been some key leaders of the insurgency, especially the fundamentalists -- al Qaeda type of people -- so I would not be surprised if he could be one of those who blew himself up." "We know that American and Iraqi forces ... surrounded a house where there was fierce resistance and when the American and Iraqi forces jointly tried to storm the building the occupants blew themselves up, they committed suicide," Zebari added. "They believe there must have been some key leaders from the terrorists, from the fundamentalists who committed suicide instead of handing themselves up."
Now I am not certain that I agree with that sentiment- a great many non-key members of al Qaeda have blown themselves up, and let us not forget how Saddam himself, a key leader if there ever was one, was dragged from a hole in the ground with no fight whatsoever. Reports
from within our government indicate scepticism that al-Zarqawi was in the house, although we may be closing in
on him. Of course allied forces will continue to check to see if he was killed in the raid, but-I have to ask, does it really matter if al-Zarqawi is dead? (Although, if he really is, I'll gladly eat 72 raisins
to mark his passing.)
Al-Zarqawi has recently become a bit of a pariah in the middle east, or at least in parts of it, after his group claimed responsibility for three bombings in Jordan (several good video clips embedded in that piece). One of these bombings targeted a wedding party- killing the fathers of both the bride and groom, and several other relatives and party guests. His killing of, or sponsorship of the killing of, non-Muslims was not enough to invoke the ire of the "religion of peace", but this time by striking close to home, he may have gone too far. Having crossed the line, he may be more valuable to al-Qaeda dead than alive.
One of the constant problems with the "war on terror" is the very nature of the enemy- amorphous, difficult to pinpoint or identify. While "men" such as Osama bin Laden and al-Zarqawi put a face to the enemy, it is the ideology, not these men, who we fight. It is the ability of such men to convince others to strap on explosive belts and decimate a wedding, or to fly airliners into skyscrapers that makes them dangerous, but it is the continuing supply of willing volunteers that ensures the battle will continue.
We have seen proof that volunteers exist from all walks of life and all parts of the world; and it is no secret that Terror, Inc. makes great use of the internet. Now MEMRI reports that
"Until December 13, 2005, supporters can sign an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Mullah Muhammad Omar, and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi online".
The oath reads, in part, as follows:
"I invite you to the first day of the month of the great swearing of an oath of loyalty to the commander of the Muslim armies, Sheikh Osama bin Laden, and to the commanders of the global jihad: Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar, and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, and to all the jihad fighters.
"Oh God, you need this oath of loyalty, the oath of death for Allah that will terrorize the infidels and earn the jihad fighters in particular, and the Muslims in general, reward in the world to come...
"Moreover, for this oath of loyalty to death it is not necessary for you to die now - but in the near future, the very near future, Allah willing, we must all join this blessed convoy, particularly since we have sworn an oath of loyalty.
"This [signing of this] oath of loyalty will continue for one month, and will be posted in all the forums so that the number of oath-takers will be [as] great [as possible], and so that Osama bin Laden will have an army in Afghanistan, an army in Iraq, and a massive army in the waiting list on the Internet pages.
"This is the Internet that Allah operates in the service of jihad and of the mujahedoun, and that has become [a tool in service of] your interest - such that half the mujahedoun's battle is waged on the pages of the Internet, which is the only outlet for passing announcements to the mujahedoun.
"Anyone who has already sworn an oath of loyalty is asked not to do so again, because at the end of the month there will be a count of all those who took the oath..."
"We swear loyalty to Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah preserve him, and to the commanders of the global jihad, Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar, and Sheikh Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, and all the Jihad fighters. [This is] an oath of death for Allah.
Al-Zarqawi was elevated to the unholy pantheon of al-Qaeda with the beheading of Nicholas Berg. His death, at his own hands to avoid capture, would only ensure his place there. We should not get overly excited if really is dead. The men and women who brought about his death, if indeed they have, deserve a "well done", but for the time being we can be sure that there is another scoundrel prepared, to take his place, and if there isn't you can bet that OBL is running his own version of The Apprentice to find the next one- only his unsuccessful contestants aren't fired, they are handed an explosive belt and sent out to wreak havoc. Web sites such as the above indicate there is no shortage of willing participants.
This is a war of attrition, plain and simple. There will be no Paris accords this time (just ask Paris), no dividing of a country at some arbitrary parallel. We- the non-Muslim (and incresingly non-jihadist version of Islam) will either win this war by stamping out all of the "al-Zarqawis" out there, or we will lose it and Islamofascism will win the day.
To answer my own question, then, it doesn't really matter if he is dead, because the ideology that spawned him is not, and those who chose to follow him will carry on. The death of one man, al-Zarqawi or even bin-Laden, will not end this epic struggle. It would, and should, boost morale for us and our allies, but the fight is far from over. So let us not focus entirely on al-Zarqawi. He is a small piece of a large problem, the face of the enemy, but not the hands that pull the trigger. We will not mourn his passing when that day comes, but neither will we celebrate to the point that we lose focus. Al-Qaeda and Islamofascism predate al-Zarqawi, and they will continue to be a threat once he is gone. Let us not elevate his importance any further by celebrating his death. Once less murdering thug plotting to kill innocent people is a good thing, but there is no need for us to reinforce his myth.
Save the celebrations for the day the war is over.
This is it.
There is no better ideology on Earth than democratic, small "L" liberalism- and there are no better people on the planet than those in our armed forces- and I am claiming all the forces of all countries who love freedom here.
Need proof? Watch this
from our British allies
(click "orignal size" in "View Size" drop down box for best resolution). Turn on the speakers, work safe.
I mean, compare that to this
Okay, couldn't resist that. Here is the real deal.
Seriously chilling stuff.
Mug tip to Cathy for the first clip- God bless your son and his comrades in arms.
OBL Inc., take note- love of freedom and a sense of humor cannot be defeated.
(end of post)
Venezuelans to take long way to el norte?
Apparently while the rest of Latin America was busy protesting the presence and policies of President Bush in Argentina a few weeks ago, President Vincente Fox of Mexico and President Fidel Castro, er, Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela were working themselves up to see who is the big enchilada.
Chavez has set out to derail the Free Trade Area of the Americas, primarily because Castro's Cuba would not be included, and when Fox backed the plan Chavez called him a "puppy" of the United States, and it just went downhill from there.
For the most part the U.S. has stayed out of this, it really is none of our business, but United States Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield did make a brief statement today, as reported by the excelent blog Venezuela News And Views
, self described as "...the diary of Venezuela slow decent into authoritarianism, the slow erosion of our liberties, the takeover of the country by a military caste, the surrendering of our soul to the Cuban dictator... ( Note: the comments in brackets in the following quote are by the host of that blog, I am assuming he also made the translation as the comments were in Spanish):[The US has been accused of being behind] of the presidential assassination attempt, coup d’etat, promoting Venezuelan voter abstention, internal divisions within Chavez party, campaign of the opposition, Vargas floods [in February because Bush did not sign Kyoto] bombs in the CNE office of Carabobo, killing a prosecutor [CIA involvement in the Anderson case, at least not alone there], complot to terrorize Venezuelan kids at Halloween, Colombia’s DAS declarations, decreasing PDVSA production, the International Trasnparency campaign [where Venezuela was revealed as one of the most corrupt countries], international negative media campaign, campaign against the Aves island [a tiny island in the Northern Caribbean that some island state would like to take away from Venezuela, something totally unfounded for this blogger who would suggest to trade it for the Guyana portion stolen from Venezuela by the Brits, but I digress]How can I sleep with so many conspiracies and intrigues? The truth is that in this world there are some things that have nothing to do with the US, and this is one of them [the Venezuela Mexico spat]
It is not often that you get to hear a U.S. Ambassador say something like that!
The spat between the two leaders has escalted, and both countries have recalled their Ambassadors (although to be fair Fox threatended to declare the Venezuelan Ambo persona non-grata
if Chavez did not apologize). The Guardian reported yesterday
that Chavez sent Fox a message when he recalled his Ambo: "Don't mess with me."
I haven't seen Fox's reply yet, but with Venezuela poised to become a Castro-ite satellite state I would bet that a good number of the Venezuelan population hopes things cool off betwen the two leaders soon- after all the may have to cross Mexico to get to the border of the U.S.
(End of post)
"IN THE TRENCHES DOING DOG'S WORK."
Former Ambassador J. Anthony Holmes, head of the American Foreign Service Association
(our "union") set off a firestorm last week when he described Consular work, specifically non-immigrant visa interviewing, as "dog's work." Several readers e-mailed me after the interview came out to express a range of emotions- some were clearly outraged by Holmes' words, others thought it was about time that someone on the seventh floor (executive level) of the State Department spoke the truth when it comes to the visa work done primarily by entry level officers.
The timing on this, for me, was amazing. While on my travels last week I read two books pertaining to immigration in the United States. The first was On the Line: Inside the U.S. Border Patrol
by Erich Krauss and the second was Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores
by Michelle Malkin (travel, like Internet service and everything else involving electricity and/or a motor here can be trying, so I always travel well prepared for delays).
"On the Line" covers a lot of ground in a short read, ranging from the earliest days of the Border Patrol (the first BP agent was commissioned to stop Chinese coming in from Mexico) to the amazing armed incursions into America- with shots fired- made in the last decade by the Mexican army. The author details the rigorous training Border Patrolmen go though and takes the reader into the world of BP special ops from Elian Gonzales to road blocks in Bolivia in the war on drugs. When he writes about how open the northern border is, and how little political will there is to stop illegal immigration or to pursue illegal aliens already in the U.S. it is enough to make your blood boil and give you the chills at the same time.
"Invasion" takes this theme a step further and provides vivid details about crimes that have been committed by illegal aliens in the U.S. , such as Angel Maturino Resendez, "The Railroad Killer"
and Edward Nathaniel Bell
who shot and killed Sgt. Ricky Timbrook
of Winchester, Va. Both Resendez and Bell had multiple contacts with INS, and yet they were able to either remain in or to re-enter the United States. (Click here
to read the NRO review of this book, and to learn more about the failures of our immigration system.) I wish I had read this book when it first came out. While much has changed since then, at least cosmetically, much still remains terribly the same.
Whereas the Border Patrol is charged with protecting "the line" of our nation's borders, there is another "line" of defense against those who would not only break our immigration laws, but also do us intentional and massive harm. This is the "visa line", the first contact many would-be visitors and immigrants have with the government of the United States. The State Department took a lot of heat over the "Visa Express
" program that allowed many of the September 11th hijackers to breeze through the visa system, and as result many things have changed, such as more and better shared information from law enforcement, and increased use of technology to catch impostors and criminals.
One thing, though, has not changed. The officers charged with manning the line are almost entirely entry level, and most are not Consular officers. The State Department, in order to meet the demand for visa services, mandates that all entry level officers spend at least one of their first four years on a visa line, and most spend at least two years doing Consular work. Training for these officers, while better in recent years, is by no means intensive, and the convoluted immigration laws
and policies of the U.S. don't help. Neither does attempting to apply these laws in a foreign language. In a "visa mill", a post that exists largely to feed the visa beast, such as Manila or Bogota, officers may "interview" over 100 applicants a day. This is down somewhat from the pre-9/11 days, I can clearly remember "interviewing" upwards of 250 a day on my first tour at one of the top 5 visa mills' but it is still too many. At the most an officer will have 4 minutes with each applicant, but processing of the cases and administrative work cuts that down to more like two minutes per case.
So when Holmes says the following in regards to entry level officer and "transformational diplomacy" he is not at all off the mark:
"probably 80 percent of them go for their first assignment to a visa mill, where they interview 50 to 75 to 100 visa applicants every day. And that isn't transformational. I mean, that is -- you're in the trenches doing dog's work."
Unfortunately, Holmes has been forced to backpeddle from his statement:
The point I was making is that working on the NIV line at many posts is particularly challenging and stressful, full of pressure and stress, and sometimes thankless. These new officers are truly "in the trenches," on US diplomacy's front lines, and this tough duty is the bread and butter of the Foreign Service.
As this work is what most new officers do before they get assignments doing "transformational diplomacy," I was trying to convey that it will take time before the bulk of the DRI new hires start doing what the focus of the NPR piece was all about. My broader point was the need to get the resources necessary to do the job.
This release by AFSA was followed by an "all hands" e-mail from Asst. Secretary of State Maura Harty sharing a copy of a letter she sent to Holmes and AFSA, that read in part:
Foreign Service Officers embarking on their initial tours are engaged in activities that are both critical to our nation's security and central to our government's sacred responsibility to protect American citizens abroad. Our officers serve on the front lines of the global war on terror and put their own names on the line every single time they decide whether a foreign national is eligible to visit the United States. They must exercise good judgment and have a mastery of complex substantive material - namely U.S. immigration law and consular regulations - to protect the United States and its citizens. Their first Foreign Service tours give them an invaluable opportunity to develop language and interpersonal skills and management ability, while acquiring a sophisticated understanding of the societies in which they live - all to the benefit of the Foreign Service.
The real problem in all of this is that both Holmes and Harty are right- it is dog's work and it is critical to our national security. My question, then, is why is this work left to our most junior officers who in most cases are merely marking time and "paying their dues" on a visa line. Why do we not have a corps of professional visa adjudicators, well versed in law and policy who speak the local language at a high level? To borrow an example from the military, why are we staffing the front lines with lieutenants right from OCS, who are replaced every year or two? Where are the NCO's with twenty years experience? Frankly, I don't want the people in the visa section in my Embassy to be developing language and interpersonal skills and gaining management experience. I want them to be implementing the law and making informed decisions on who is, and is not, to be granted the privilege of visiting the United States. I want them to be holding the line further from the border.
Holmes deserves to be praised for his honest assesment of the facts in the "new" State Department, and those in the trenches deserve our thanks. Beyond that, though, we should be aiming at making our borders ever more secure, and perhaps making the trenches a little less trench like.
Internet Access in the 3rd World
Like everything else here, access to the Internet is spotty at best- I had a good run there for a while, but now have no access at home. For obvious reasons I can't post at work.
I'm dashing this off at a "cafe" on the way home- hopefully I'll have access tomorrow, which is what they told me yesterday. Of course, here "tomorrow" just means some point in the future.
In the meantime please visit our frinds in the blogroll, or post a comment about your current favorite international affairs event.
Stay tuned, hope to be back soon.
(End of post)
Happy Birthday, USMC!
Every morning, as I make my way in to work, the first American I see is the Marine Security Guard
on Post One (or "in the box"). These men, and increasingly, women who watch over our diplomatic missions abroad not only greet and protect me and my colleagues everyday- they also make a statement. Visitors to the Embassy are always visibly impressed by the sight of the Marine on duty. They clearly get the message (perhaps an unintentional one) that despite the polite diplomatic phrasing of whatever meeting is about to take place, there is an iron fist in the velvet glove. After all, there are not many people who do not know the storied history
of the United States Marine Corps. The famous Marine Corps Hymn
offers a glimpse of that history:From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli,We fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea.First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean;We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.
Tomorrow marks the 230th anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps
. Perhaps most famous for the "island hopping" defeat of the Japanese Imperial Army
, Marines have fought in every major conflict in the nation's history. They continue to serve with distinction in Iraq
(I HIGHLY recommend reading 25 Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan
on this site), and they continue to protect our embassies.
Duty at an embassy is not all greeting striped pants diplo-wheenies like me and intimidating visitors, though. Earlier this year I detailed how the Marine Security Guards at the Consulate in Jeddah repelled a terrorist attack and saved countless American and Saudi lives. If you have not read it, you may find it here
. Here is an excerpt:Ambassador Oberwetter:
...the marines were performing heroically just as you would expect them to do. There are many other stories of heroism about the events of yesterday. Heroism by our locally employed staff. Heroism by the marines, and by other American citizens, and heroism by the Saudis who were guarding our gates and took casualties in doing so.Another loud explosion occurred and over the radio in the Safehaven, we heard Post One say, "Three at the front!" The terrorists let out a spray of bullets against the glass doors, yet unable to get in, they tried to attach an explosive. Post One came back on the radio "terrorist are attaching device to the front door permission to GAS!" The RSO yelled, "GAS, GAS, GAS NOW!" over the radio. Post One activated the gas and the C/S fell right on top of the terrorists who then ran from the front doors. They ran around the chancery shooting into our office windows making it appear they were INSIDE and moving down the hall towards us! At that point, I was ordered to secure the vault door.
The acting commander of the small force of Marines that repelled the attack on our Consulate was awarded a Bronze Star:
Staff Sgt. Michael L. Young, an EA-6B Prowler mechanic staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge with Marine Electronic Warfare Squadron 1, was awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device, Nov. 1, at Al Asad, Iraq, for his actions Dec. 6, 2004, when he and the three Marines under his command defended the consulate and killed al-Qaeda terrorists.
So, as Marines around the world celebrate the birthday of the Corps tomorrow, please spare a moment to think of them. If you know a Marine, still serving today or long retired, please give him or her my thanks; and should you be so inclined, please include our men and women serving in the Marines (and all of our armed forces) in your prayers this evening.
If you are a Marine, thank you. We might not always acknowledge it, but I damn glad to have you "in the box" when I come in every morning.
Happy Birthday, USMC. Semper Fi.
(Note: I'll be away for the next few days, duty calls. Should be able to post over the weekend. Dr. D)
The Day America Quit
Note: This is my response to my own blog project/challenge. Responses from other bloggers can be found in the post below this one.
From the 2025 edition of Encyclopedia Online, entered under "The New Caliphate"
The September 11th al Quaeda attacks on The United States were widely hailed as world changing events in their immediate aftermath, but with the distance provided by nearly a quarter century of internecine warfare between the Western, liberal societies and the jihadists bent on establishment of a new Caliphate those attacks are now viewed as part of a larger history.
Most historians agree that war was declared with the taking of the US Embassy in Tehran, in 1979, and that the war escalated with the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, the suicide bombing of Marine Barracks in Beirut, and the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, all in 1983. The weak response of the United States and the rest of the Western world to these events allowed the Muslim leaders to grow rapidly in power and influence, unmolested.
The 1980's saw a rapid increase in Islamic terrorism: the bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex near Beirut, the hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221 and of TWA Flight 847, and the hijacking of cruise ship Achille Lauro. This last event led to the murder of Leon Klinghofer, a 69-year-old disabled American tourist. It is believed that the footage of his murder, shown repeatedly, sparked the Islamic jihadist love affair with the media, and vice versa. The bombings continued with the Rome and Vienna airports and the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin. Note for the first time the U.S retaliated after the Berlin bombing, targeting Libya and her leader Muammar el-Qadaffi. As a result of this counter-attack terrorists affiliated with Abu Nidal murdered three American University of Beirut professors.
Such activities continued in the 1990's with al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden moving to the forefront of the terrorist ranks. Major Al-Qaeda attacks began with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In 1996 Osama bin Laden formally declared war on America and the West, and al Qaeda bombed a U.S. housing complex in Saudi Arabia. This was followed by the 1998 African Embassy bombings, and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. Then came the 2001 September 11th attacks on U.S. soil. These were followed by the 2002 attacks in Bali and Kenya, among others, and in 2003 attacks in Casablanca and Istanbul. Al Qaeda struck in Madrid in 2004, as well as attacking the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah that same year. In 2005 London became the latest target for OBL and his minions (to view a Flash presentation of al-Qaeda attacks click here
Throughout much of the time after September 11th U.S. and allied forces pursued al-Qaeda, killing or capturing many of the top echelon leaders, but never managing to capture or verify the death of bin Laden. As a result of having harbored bin Laden and his followers the Islamofascist Taliban government of Afghanistan was toppled and democracy took root in the devastated country, but the War on Terror seemed destined to be long and difficult.
On another front, the US invasion of Iraq, viewed by many as a distraction in the War On Terror, undoubtedly consumed resources that could have been used to hunt bin Laden. The startling swiftness with which Saddam Hussein was toppled after years of taunting the world and flaunting the U.N. sanctions against him, and his ignominious capture, however, boosted the idea that democracy could take hold in the Middle East. This joy was to prove short lived, though. Shortly after Husseins capture the rise of the jihadist insurgency in Iraq, now known to be fueled by Syria and Iran, severely dampened the optimism many Americans felt for the future of Iraq. Anti-war coverage dominated Western media at the time; elections and the subsequent adoption of a Constitution in Iraq were not seen as the marks of progress that they are now recognized to be. The anti-war movement in the United States, driven by the far left but attracting adherents from across the spectrum of American society, fueled by the intensely anti-George Bush media and fronted by various demagogues, was relentless in it's call to "bring the troops home."
As President Bush entered the middle of his second term, political pressure to do just that mounted drastically and the President was forced by members of both political parties, especially a powerful few in his own party seeking to boost their profile in an election year, to do just that. On Christmas Day, 2005 the President announced that the "coalition of the willing" would immediately begin to withdraw from Iraq, with full turnover to be completed by Easter 2006, despite protestations from the Iraqi government that they were not yet strong enough to defend their democracy against Islamic jihad. While many on the American Right and several allies, including Australia, agreed that Iraq was not yet safe from the threat posed by the terrorist insurgents the American Left and the media were ecstatic in their "victory" over the President. Several high ranking military leaders and at least two mid-ranking diplomats resigned over the withdrawal, but the plan was put into action immediately.
These events took place against the backdrop of the Muslim uprising in Europe, which began in France and spread across the EU as Fall turned into Winter in 2005. At the time these uprising, termed "riots" were not recognized for what they were- a clear indication that Islam was on the march in Europe again, after having been defeated over seven centuries before.
With U.S. troops no longer in Iraq al-Qaeda was able to use the relatively open society of the still fragile democracy to infiltrate more would be jihadis, reestablishing training camps, targeting police and elected officials for assassination, and freeing trained terrorists for their next move- the envelopment of Europe.
Turkey, having long been rejected by the EU, experienced a sudden, massively violent return to militant Islam. Many young Turks, stung by failure of the EU to accept their nation and encouraged by the lack or response to the "riots" in France, Denmark, Belgium and other countries, flocked to the Islamofascist crescent, and the land in which the last Caliphate met it's end became the cradle of the next. The Turkish Republic was destroyed, and a new Islamic Republic declared, this time on Continental Europe. Many moderate or Westernized Turkish Muslims were imprisoned, tortured or simply executed as the radical progeny of the Taliban took control of the nation. A lucky few were able to flee, ironically to Israel as no Muslim nation would accept them.
Muslims across Europe were called to arms once again, and the "riots" of 2005 paled by comparison to the wave of terrorism that swept Europe in mid 2006. European nations declared martial law in rapid succession, but it was too late. The Muslim insurgents were already to well embedded into the fabric of the EU nations, and generations of gun control law left the citizenry of every nation apart from Switzerland (where the insurgency was rapidly crushed) unarmed and unable to defend itself.
European leaders turned to the U.N. and the United States for military aid, but the United States, still stung by the tragic failure of Iraq after coming so close to bringing freedom to the Iraqi people, deferred to the U.N. A resolution to send peace keeping troops into the EU was vetoed by permanent security council member China, supported by Argentina.
While there are still flare ups of violence along the tense borders of the Muslim city-states that now exist within Europe, peace has once again settled over the EU. France is reported to have shipped al of her nuclear weapons to Quebec, Canada for safekeeping, although Muslim unrest in that nation and the recent adoption of Sharia principles into public law lead many to believe that the weapons will not be safe for long, if indeed they are there.
Former President George W. Bush has remarked, publicly, that the early withdrawal from Iraq was the catalyst for the events that have transpired in Europe, and the Middle East, and that he views the Christmas decision the greatest failure of his Presidency. A former Secretary of State is rumored to have referred to Christmas 2005 as "the day America quit."
The New Caliphate, now based in Baghdad, has continued to issue veiled threats to the existence of Israel, all the while maintaining that Islam truly is the religion of peace.
Bring the troops home now!
How many times have you heard that refrain? Probably more than I have- being outside the U.S. does have certain advantages at times, and being far from Moonbat Central is one of them. What if President Bush decided, tomorrow, to give those who oppose the war exactly what they wanted, and he ordered our troops out of Iraq tomorrow. What would happen, what would be the consequences? That is the question I asked in my blogiversary project/challenge
, and while I may have fallen behind in preparing my own answer (I'm going to try to post it later tonight) the same cannot be said of those who I invited to take up the question.
- Toni, over at The View From Tonka
was the first to answer the call- she starts off strong and keeps on going- don't miss this one:We've all seen what has been occurring in France over the last 12 days. Doesn't look pretty does it. Did France's anti-war stance help them at all with the Muslim citizens of it's country? I don't think so, pandering to a specific ethnic group accomplishes nothing for a politician. This is what the anti-war left wants, to pander to Islamic Facists under the the guise of being either anti-war or their other mantra is to support the troops by bringing them home. Knowing that the anti-war left is mostly comprised of Socialist and Communist party members this slogan is absurd. What the anti-war left does support are murdering dictators and totalitarian regimes. The protesting of Code-Pink outside of Walter Reed Hospital demonstrates the shameful behavior of this group. All these groups want to do is use our Troops to advance their own causes.
- Marc Schulman at American Future has once again hit one out of the park with Iraq: Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat
in which he envisions the President announcing our withdrawal in the State of the Union Address. The course he plots is chilling for the ease with whixh it could come to pass:
Faced with this clamor and fearful of losing control of Congress, Bush used his January 2006 State of the Union address to announce a change of course:We have achieved our goals in Iraq. Last month, more than ten million Iraqis refused to be intimidated by the terrorists. Because of their bravery, Iraq now has a democratically-elected permanent government that will serve as a beacon of light for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East.We have always said that our military would not stay in Iraq a day longer than necessary. With the establishment of a permanent government, that day has arrived. Before entering this Chamber, I signed an Executive Order establishing September 30 of this year as the last day that the United States will have military forces in Iraq.(Standing ovation)
- We have a new entrant into this project- Gollios (a frequent contributor of e-mail info for me) who has sent me the following to be posted. Like Toni he draws a Vietnam comparison, but in contrast to Marc he predicts more casualties, not fewer, if we announce a withdrawal, and he expands the circle of nations influenced by a coalition withdrawal to include China. This is a long post, so I am hosting it at My Blog is Your Blog
. Here is a great excerpt (please leave comments on this blog, not MBIB :...Despite good-faith efforts by elements of the coalition-trained Iraqi army & central government, the regions would start to unravel. The Kurds, knowing that they can neither count on our support or respect restraints imposed by the US, would accelerate ethnic cleansing efforts aimed at eventual secession. Iran would be emboldened to act in the South, which possibly could lead to a Shia-Shia schism, making that area of the country progressively less governable. Some like to think of the Shia as monolithic--however the Arab/Persian divide would once again be thrust to the forefront, as would divisions between Sadrist and Al-Sistani backed militias. The big losers in some ways would be the Sunni. Without engagement by the U.S., Shia and Kurdish forces would not have to act with restraint...and quickly the Sunni-nationalists would find themselves overrun--and often slaughtered by their erstwhile Jihadist 'allies.'
- There is more to come on this topic, including a post by yours truly. Feel free to offer up your scenario, on your own blog, at My Blog is Your Blog or by e-mail to me- and don't forget the comments! All you readers of the Beltway Traffic Jam
- I'm talking to you!
(End of post, for now.)
"It's like Baghdad here! It's the Apocalypse!"
I was going to post my "What If We Withdrew From Iraq Today" essay this afternoon, but in light of the continuing situation in France I am still working on that particular post. While not directly related, I can see some parallels between the two, and am still trying to tease them out, so hopefully that post will come tomorrow. I am not the only one making these connections, either- at least some of the rioters in France are fully aware of the similarities
Despite my cheap shot at the French government (below), this is no laughing matter. After how many days does rioting become civil war
? At what point do the French people say "enough is enough" and either demand action from the government in the form of reactive violence, or simply take to the streets themselves in search of justice? Mark Steyn (see the link above) has, as usual captured the essence of this situation perfectly:Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It's way too late to rerun the Battle of Poitiers. In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''
The response of the French government, lead by Jacques Chirac has been weak, at best. Finally, after 11 days, Chirac has made a public statement
:"The law must have the last word," Chirac said in his first public address on the violence. Those sowing "violence or fear" will be "arrested, judged and punished."
What Chirac seems to have failed to understand is that it is too late to make threats of arrest and punishment. The liberal left, the appeasers on both sides and the media
have all been careful to tread lightly around this situation, but the discovery of a bomb factory
and the spread of violence into rural France
seems to indicate that the "angry youths" have no intention of ending their rampage anytime soon.
What are we to take away from this? France has done much to ingratiate itself to Muslims- they opposed the Iraq invasion, and have largely distanced themselves from the war on terror. Large numbers of immigrants have been welcomed into the country- many of them Muslim (France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe), and yet clearly the French are not immune to Muslim rage. I am not claiming that 100% of the rioters are Muslim, but consider the reports of rioters shouting
"God is Great" in Arabic and that 80% of the population of Clichy, where the riots began, is Muslim.
Until today the riots had largely been about the destruction of property and symbols of the state, with the notable exception of a woman on crutches who was doused with gasoline and set afire. French news is now reporting, however, that 30 police officers in Grigny
have been injured in clashes with rioters, including two with serious gunshot wounds. How long will it be before these clashes become more frequent, or before the disaffected gangs turn their ire towards the French people themselves? How long before one torched building is found to be full of bodies? And when this does happen, what will the reaction be?
Faced with these questions I have to ask myself, what do the rioters want, really? Is this really about racism, or unemployment? Why is it that these same folks, recent immigrants to a large extent, did not rise up in their home lands? Why did they not agitate for change in the places they fled? This pattern of flee from a homeland without promise to a liberal Western land, and then demand that this land accept you and your ways without compromise, has repeated itself across Europe in recent decades.
Francis Fukuyama touched on this last week in his op-ed A Year of Living Dangerously: Remember Theo van Gogh, and shudder for the future:
The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.
I find this passage profoundly disturbing. Who in their right mind wants to integrate "large numbers of angry young Muslims" into their community? To what end? Fukuyama fears a backlash from the right, but does not fear "large numbers of angry young Muslims"? I see no reason why any nation should alter its sense of national identity to accommodate recent immigrants. Equal treatment under the law for all is a given. From that base it is up to each society to choose what to adopt and what to marginalize. Any culture that chooses to transplant itself into the center of another must prove that what it has to offer is worthwhile, if it wishes to be accepted by the greater majority. The simple fact is that all cultures are not equal. Just because something is considered to have cultural value in one place does not mean it is valid in another.
If there really is a vast silent majority of peaceful Muslims in Europe then it is time for them to rise up as well. It is time for those who have "integrated" to drown out the violence and the voices of those who refuse to do so. It is time for France and the rest of the E.U. to worry less about the threat posed to their cultures by Hollywood and for them to worry more about the threat posed by their own policies, and the radical elements within their borders.
These riots may yet be put down without serious loss of life, but they are a glimpse of the future that awaits Europe. The youth who shouted out the phrase that is the title of this piece is sorely mistaken. Baghdad is on its way to recovery- Europe is on the slippery path to suicide by appeasement.
My blogiversary project.
It is almost our one year blogiversary here at The Daily Demarche, and I figured what better way to celebrate than with another group blog project. You may recall that we first organized one on the topic of "What if We Had Never Invaded Iraq
" and then another called "The China Syndrome: 2015 and beyond
" (that one ran
to several editions
Well, it is time to put on your speculating caps again, ladies and gentlemen. This time I propose another Iraq related topic: what if we brought the troops home tomorrow, as those who oppose the war clamor for? What would the future of Iraq, the Middle East and the United States look like?
I sent invites out to those bloggers who have participated in the past (those I have good e-mail addresses for, anyway), and any others who send us e-mail and are now on "the list." I am now tossing it out to all of you, too. I'll be glad to host guest pieces for the non-bloggers who want to contribute, and My Blog is Your Blog (a project of mine that never really took off) is always at your disposal.
I am aiming for a Sunday/Monday post date for my offering, to allow time to work on it and to coordinate with any others who are interested, but any post any time after Sunday is welcome. Feel free to twist or run with the theme- the more variations the better. Let me know if you are interested, and if you do post on this theme be sure to send me an e-mail or a trackback so I can link to you.
Cheers, Dr. D
Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
This might be wrong, but man can I just hear this in my head:Ring, ring, ring.
Good evening, White House switch board.(insert French accent) 'ello? Kin I spek wit Jeorge?
I am sorry sir, who are you trying to reach?Jeorge, Jeorge Bush! The President.
I am sorry sir, he is not available, would like you like to leave a message?This is Jacques Chirac, I am the President of la Republique Francaise, and I demand to spek to the President!
Um, sir, he really is not available- he is in Argentina.Sacre bleu! Hokay, I will spek wit Sheney.
Please hold, sir.
Um, sir, he said he has nothing to say to you.But, but, ee must spek wit me! I want eem to send the soldjers, again. Paree, she is burning.
Please hold, sir.
Sir, he told me to tell you that you will have to get the UN's permission to send troops in, and that you are exaggerating- Paris is not burning, the suburbs of Paris are burning, and the United States will not commit troops based on your faulty information.But, but, ...
Thank you for calling the White House, sir. Good Night.
(end of my Ally McBeal moment)
"The City of Lights"- did they mean burning cars?
Foks, I had a bad day today. That means I need to let off some steam. Lucky for me, we'll always have Paris. The phrase "the city of lights" has taken on a new meaning as riots in the heavily immigrant populated suburbs of Paris continue this week- burning cars expose the truth behind the reality of immigration in Europe. Now, I know this supposedly started with the tragic deaths of two young men, and my heart goes out to their families. But seven, seven!
days of riots? One would hope, at least, that there is a lesson in all of this.
Of course there is: Muslims are discriminated against. The Beeb has a nice piece out titled French Muslims face job discrimination
. Here is my favorite part:Sadek recently quit his job delivering groceries near Saint-Denis, just north of Paris. He was tired of climbing stairs with heavy bags.Sadek, 31, has a secondary school education and aspires to something better. But he knows his options are limited: "With a name like mine, I can't have a sales job."
Okay- he had a job. It was hard. He didn't like it. He quit. Now he is unemployed. No, now he is unemployed- and we should feel sorry for him. I am going to type this next part slowly so that everyone can follow along:
He had a job. He quit. Now he is unemployed.
That is not discrimination. It is stupidity, it is laziness, it is weak and shallow. He is playing the race card, period. Lots of people have tough jobs. Work, save, learn and get a better job. That is the fundamental key around the world to success. The article complains about integration and what it means to be French. I almost hate to do this- it seems to easy, but here it is:
Sadek has learned how to be French. He is the perfect Frenchman. The path ahead is tough- and he quit. Fight the Nazis? Non, too hard. Carry groceries up stairs? Merde! J'ai stoppé!
Even better- later in the same article the Beep waxes philosphic regarding access to education:
Of course, youths from poor suburbs need more than an education - they need jobs.
Um, Sadek had a job. He quit, remember?
More from the Beeb: Headscarf defeat riles French Muslims . Now, I think the whole headscarf ban in asinine, but again, it's the French. I grew up in an area with early summer temperatures in the high 90's and humidity to match. Girls could wear skirts or skorts to school- boys had to wear long pants. Why? Beats me, to this day. We were pissed, I can tell you! It was really unfair. So we rioted for 7 days and burned 177 cars. Actually, two guys wore skirts to school, got three Saturday detentions and the rest us just sweat into our Levis. But as our British journalist pals put it:
French Muslims marched against a move that many condemned as intolerant.
You might recall that thousands of of French Muslims condemned September 11th, packingthe Champs Elysee. Or that they thronged to the Eifel Tower when the Bali bombings occured. Or maybe you remember the moving footage of the tiny paper lanterns the Muslims of France floated down the River Seine after the Madrid bombings. Oh, you don't recall that? Sorry, I forgot- those things never happened. See, they only want to be tolerated, not to tolerate others.
So what is the French government going to do about it? I'll give you three guesses.
Ministers are hoping that a mix of factors - worsening weather, the return to classes after half term and the end of Ramadan - will combine soon to bring the wave of copy-cat riots to a halt, but there is deep pessimism about the future. The banlieues have been the scene of regular outbreaks of riots for more than 15 years now - and though each peters out eventually, the next round is always worse.
Right! They are going to hope it rains and that classes start again soon and the kids will get bored, besides a week of rioting with nothing to eat during the day really takes a toll on one. That oughtta work.
But take heart, there are some cool heads out there- this might be the best quote I have seen regarding immigration and the riots:
...local human rights organizations - rather than condemning the rioters as autonomous individuals who made bad choices - instead blame the French government for the riots, saying that an official's rhetoric about ridding the suburbs of crime "provoked" them. (Such explanations are never offered when white people engage in violence, quite rightly).
The unmistakable implication is that political rhetoric can easily provoke violence and mayhem from immigrants. If true, that seems an argument for ending immigration, not for accommodating every whim of a group that might erupt into violence otherwise. In fact, however, even outraged immigrants are perfectly capable of reining in their emotions and using their logic to formulate a civilized response even to legitimate injustices.
Of course in the days that follow we will be bombarded with talk of the "root causes" of the riots, the Interior Minister will be blamed, it will all be because France did not integrate its immigrant population. But rest assured, it won't have anything to do with "The "M" Word."
Meanwhile, the EU will have to brace to ask itself the tough question: is The future of Europe: Islamophobia? Funny, I always thought a phobia was some sort of baseless or irrational fear. Just keep telling yourselves, Europe, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Oh, and Muslim extremism.
Our readers frequently send us a "heads up" on some of the breaking news out there, for which we are very thankful. There is so much going on in hte world, however, that we simply can't cover it all- family, work and other demands on our time restrict the amount of news we can cover. So I asked on of our regulars, Ron, if he would put together a linkfest on a topic that he covers very well- the so-called "Religion of Peace." Here is what he came up with on short notice, plus a few others that he has sent in lately- and her promised more to come.
1. When a kid gets caught stealing bread, the Glory of Shari'a is invoked.
(Note: the text is in German and the photos are a bit disturbing, no blood, but it ain't pretty.)
2. The Religion of Peace, Tolerance & Diversity loves its children so much, they strap bombs to 10 year-olds.
3. None dare 'insult' Islam.
4. Royal airhead to plead Islam's cause to Dubya:
(and explain how 7/7 was just a figment of everyone's imagination?).
5. G'day, mate! We must respect wife-beating and 'honor' killings
6. Church-state debate revived by call for mosque funding.
7. Dutch Liberals block ban on glorifying terror.
8. Saudi bonus for former Gitmo inmates.
9. Terror groupstarget SharonQassam rockets aimed at ranch,'every Jew' must leave 'Palestine'
10. Palestinian TV: Jews murder Arab brides in cold blood
11. War in France, War in Denmark.
12. Jews and Freemasons controlled war on Iraq, says No 10 adviser.
and to make it a bakerss dozen:
13. Piggy banks 'offend UK Muslims'
Thanks for keeping us up to date, Ron, and for taking the time to put this together.
Got a topic that you are passionate about, and that we haven't covered, or that we missed an angle on? Send us a linkfest!
(End of post.)
Iraq is a quagmire, Kosovo is messy?
Sorry one and all for that brief unannounced absence, last minute travel is occasionally part of the gig. Here are a few things that I did not have a chance to post on:
First, I am very disheartened to write about the apparent demise of New Sisyphus
. It appears that the evil insurgents of the internet, spammers, have rendered his site inoperable. I say "apparent demise" because a few tech options have been offered to him, and he is of course always welcome to post with us. Let's hope this works out for the best, I'd hate to see him go.
The "Paper of Record", late last week, ran an editorial entitled "Kosovo, Still Messy After All These Years
" lamenting the failure of the U.N. efforts there to produce a lasting peace with real results. What I love about this piece is that when the U.N. is involved and six years have passed and there is nothing to show for it the results are "messy." When George Bush frees Iraq, successful elections are held and a constitution is overwhelmingly approved (and underwhelmigly reported) in a fraction of that time, the result is a "quagmire." Just for giggles I searched for "quagmire+Iraq" on the times web site and got 271 hits. "Kosovo+quagmire" returned 42 hits, at least seven of which also contained the word Iraq. I stopped counting after that. Why beat a dead horse? It's not all bad news from that region, though- in Macedonia's Journey
Vlado Buckovski, prime minister of that country, one finds words that are few and far apart these days:While Macedonians deserve the credit for the difficult reforms we have undertaken, we would not have come so far or so fast were it not for the support of the United States. In our part of Europe, we know first hand the value of American leadership and the necessity of backing diplomacy with military power. We appreciate American support for our process of reconciliation and reform.
The Prime Minister also says:We are proud to stand side by side with America and its coalition partners in Iraq and with NATO in Afghanistan as part of our commitment to face the new threats of the 21st century with our allies.
To which I say: we are proud to have you stand beside us, sir. May your country and it's brave people continue to prosper.
Speaking of good news, National Review Online opens the month with Progress Reports: Balancing some of the Iraq-news scales.
One rarely hears any good news from Iraq, such is the MSM fetish with all things negative. I had access to the Armed Forces Network
, the military satellite TV system. This group of channels has no paid advertising, and features many "soldiers on the spot" type reports. Our family and friends who visited were always astonished to see footage of soldiers and Marines handing out toys
, aiding women and children
, building schools
or just speaking with Iraqis
who did not cower in fear or try to kill the hated Americans on site. They simply had no idea that for most troops, most of the time, violence was a rare thing. NRO plans to continue reporting the good news all week. I say, why stop then? Why aren't we demanding the truth from our media, or at least some semblance thereof? As Capt. Todd Lindner put it in response to the question "are we getting it right" (the media coverage) when he appeared on CNN
:LINDNER: ..we did watch the news when we were back in Baghdad, and we had AFN, and we were able to watch CNN, but I don't know that they always had it right, and I don't know that it's anybody's fault, but for us, we understood our purpose for being there, and we just wanted to make a difference and have an impact, and we definitely did that. But it is kind of disheartening sometimes to see everything focused on just the, the death and destruction and the IED strikes and not focused on how well the U.S. and coalition forces are doing building up the Iraqi police services and the Iraqi army. It really is a tremendous effort being put into that infrastructure and building a self-sufficient government over there. And they're absolutely making progress.
For more on Captain Lindner see here, and to see why the feminist left ought to love him for this quote "Capt. Todd Lindner, who commands the 617th Military Police Company, which includes Raven 42, said Hester and Pullen "shouldn't be held up as showpieces for why there should be women in combat. They should be held up as examples of why it's irrelevant." see here (some, at least, have noticed).
Captain Lindner, thank you. Fear not, for your efforts have not gone unnoticed, just unreported by the MSM. Even in the heart of the liberal left, people know. As evidence I offer you this quote, from the Colorado State student newspaper:
Other fronts in the war on terror include the ever-controversial Operation Iraqi Freedom. Whether or not they were linked to 9/11, Iraq had been involved with terrorist organizations and the creation of weapons of mass destruction for decades. If you don't believe me, I have some more people you can ask, like the 5,000 or so Kurds and countless Kuwaitis who were killed by Saddam using poison gas in 1988. According to MSNBC.com Saddam showed great remorse when he referred to these Kuwaitis as "dogs" just last week in court. Oh, and if poisonous gas does not count as a weapon of mass destruction, then I don't know what does.
Outside of the removal of an evil dictator from power, Operation Iraqi Freedom has also seen the vast improvement of Iraq's infrastructure including water and electrical systems, roads, and schools. The health care budget has been increased from $16 million in 2002 under Saddam to $950 million today. Another change that has been made in Iraq, that I'm sure is dear to the heart of every employee here at the Collegian, is the establishment of free press, which had been banned for decades.
Just two weeks ago, Iraqis also voted on a new constitution, proving to the world yet again that a peaceful democratic Iraq is not too lofty of a goal. Iraq, along with Afghanistan will set an example for the rest of the tumultuous Middle East in the years to come.
Iraq and Afghanistan will set an example, as Macedonia already has, and in it's own sad way has Kosovo. And it will be thanks to men like Captain Lindner and the men and women he commanded and served with, along with the brave people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Macedonia. I only hope that the efforts of the people who fought and died in Kosovo, and who continue to struggle against the inept efforts of the occupying U.N. meet with equal success.