Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Are We Meddling in Iraq Elections?

A couple of days ago, Barack Obama tried to dictate part of the outcome of the Iraqi elections. That sounds a bit like something George Bush would have done. Fortunately, the Iraqis told him to go fly a kite.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Problem With Going Someplace You Should Have Never Gone

If only more Americans knew their American history and current affairs. They would have screamed bloody murder when George W Bush announced his plans to send the US military to Iraq. We should have never gone there. Now the Obama Adminisration, with the full complicity of Congress, plans for us to never leave.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Surge Worked? Then Why Are Candidates Being Banned From Elections?

Many Americans, not having to deal with the mayhem that will likely ensue the departure of the American military from Iraq, are too quick to say, "The surge worked." We have no idea whether it will have worked until we leave. Current signs indicate that not much has changed in Iraq. Not only may the surge not have worked, but it bears wondering whether Iraq would have been in a much better situation had the United States not been so ensconced in the last seven years of its history.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, Iraqis Remember 9/11

Iraqis mourned with Americans on September 11, 2001. It wasn't long, however, before their tyrannical ruler was targeted as a possessor of weapons of mass destruction along with the intent to use them on America. When it was later proven beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein never had either such payload or such intent, it was too late for the Iraqi people. During our mid-stream mission change of bringing them "democracy", we have brought far more death, dismemberment, and destruction than liberty. Yes, Iraqis remember 9/11. It is still tearing their country apart.

When I got to Kuwait in June of 2005, I was surprised that all of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti workers on my transition base couldn't understand very much of my limited Arabic speaking ability. It turns out they were Indians, Pakistanis, Philippinos, etc.

When I got to my combat base in Iraq, the only three Iraqis workers I ever met there were translators who went with the brigade and battalion commanders, or with combat patrols as necessary. The rest of the workers were Indians, Pakistanis, Phillipinos, etc.

It was not until 2 weeks ago, after having been home from Iraq for more than three years, that I discovered that this wasn't just the norm on military bases in Iraq. Not only did we occupy their country on false pretenses, disband their military, and fire all of their government employees, we also (except in rare circumstances) didn't provide reconstruction jobs to any of the Iraqi people whose country we were occupying.

No wonder they hate us.

In her book, "The Shock Doctrine", Naomi Klein details what additional shock and awe U.S. uber-fuhrer Paul Bremer dispensed once the aerial bombardment was complete.
Before the invasion, Iraq's economy had been anchored by its national oil company and by two hundred state owned companies. The month after he arrived in his new job, Bremer announced that the two hundred firms would be privatized immediately. Bremer enacted a radical set of laws [one of which] allowed foreign companies to own 100 percent of Iraqi assets...

The Shock Doctrine, p. 436
Iraqi advisers warned in advance that these actions would be seen as acts of war. You probably already know at least that much of the history that happened next.

But it gets worse.

Of the billions of dollars sent by the Bush Administration designated as reconstruction money--at least not the significant portion that was stolen outright by American contractors--almost none of it went toward contracts with Iraqi construction companies or to pay Iraqi workers, due to the fact that very few were allowed to participate. Klein says:
Even Iraqis' low-wage labor wasn't required for the assembly process because the major U.S. contractors...preferred to import foreign workers whom they felt confident they could control. Once again Iraqis were cast in the role of awed spectators...

Iraq once had one of the most sophisticated industrial economies in the region; now its largest firms couldn't even get a subsubsubcontract in their own country's reconstruction.

...cement factories were perfectly positioned both to supply the reconstruction effort with building materials and to put tens of thousands of Iraqis to work. The factories received nothing--no contracts, no generators, no help. American companies preferred to import their cement, like their workforce, from abroad, at up to ten times the price.

The Shock Doctrine, pp. 439, 441-442
Despite the ignominy of American occupation, sectarian violence and violence against the military was almost unknown for at least the first year that we were there.
Did you ever wonder where all of the insurgents came from? Well, now you know. Klein says:
In fact, all the forces tearing Iraq apart today--rampant corruption, ferocious sectarianism, the surge in religious fundamentalism, and the tyranny of death squads--escalated in lockstep with the implementation of Bush's anti-Marshall plan. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq badly needed and deserved to be repaired and reunited, a process that could only have been led by Iraqis. Instead, at that moment, the country was transformed into a cutthroat capitalist laboratory--a system that pitted individuals and communities against each other... It was a very capitalist disaster, a nightmare of unfettered greed unleashed in the wake of war.

The Shock Doctrine, 443-444
Why can't we just leave these people alone? Are they better off now than they were under Saddam? A friend of mine asked me today if we were going to leave Iraq in a bigger mess than we found it. Yes, it seems like we will.

How much longer are Americans going to believe the Bush Administration lie that our overarching goal was to bring democracy to the Iraqi people?

The Iraqis wish that 9/11 had never happened--but for very different reasons than most Americans do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Good News is No News", but Fallujah Holds Bicycle Race Anyway

It's a pretty good sign that things are going much better in Fallujah if they were able to hold a bike race there recently.

No news is good news, they say. Well, actually in America, when it has to do with Iraq, good news is no news. As the surge has helped to dramatically improve the lot of Iraqis all across the country, the American media has grown not-so-strangely-for-them more silent about the topic of Iraq.

Meanwhile, Fallujah feels comfortable enough--now that al Qaeda is on its heels--to hold a bike race.

December 3, 2007 -- About 150 students wearing colorful T-shirts competed in a bicycle race last week in Fallujah, an unimaginable event a year ago in what was once an al Qaeda hotbed and one of Iraq's most dangerous cities.

The city's police chief fired the starting shot to set the students from 15 intermediate and secondary schools off on the 5-kilometer race across the town, 30 miles west of Baghdad.

Scores of families lined the streets to watch the race and milled around the riders to congratulate them after the race.

"This proves that the security situation in Fallujah is very good," said Col. Faisel Ismael, head of the city's police.

"This is the beginning of good things in Fallujah."

Haitham Abdul-Razek raised his arms in the air as he crossed the finish line to win a $1,135 cash prize and a trophy.

"Bring the trophy! Bring it," some students chanted after the race, echoing a popular song among Iraqis after their national soccer team won the Asian Cup this year.

"Even though I did not win, I am happy that Fallujah's name was held up high today," said 17-year- old Marwan Khoedeiri, adding that he was not scared to compete, because of the security provided by police and army.

God bless the people of Fallujah and their fellow Iraqis. May they continue to enjoy ever increasing peace and prosperity.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Murtha (Graciously?) Admits that the Surge is Working

It was John Murtha's comments over the last couple of years that have caused a great deal of problems for the US military in Iraq. Now that he admits that the surge is working, should he demand our respect? No, but for once he is right.

John Murtha recently went to Baghdad. He had a change of opinion. He now believes the surge is working. I think we would have been better off long ago if he had kept his mouth shut, but now that he is talking, it's good that he's admitting the truth. But he's still suggesting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only deserve $50 billion in 2008.

Investor's Business Daily calls it Murtha's "Road to Baghdad" conversion. I wouldn't go that far.
Beyond the embarrassing questions now sure to be asked of Pelosi about Murtha's unexpected flip-flop, and Democrats' crass unreasonableness toward a people who risk their lives to exercise the voting rights we take for granted, there's something bigger for Pelosi, Reid and the Democrats running for president to think about:

Murtha, like so many other high-ranking Democrats in the House and Senate, and those seeking the White House, was "absolutely convinced" that surrender was the only answer in Iraq.
Yes, the surge is working. Deaths are way down. Attacks are way down. Success is starting to bear fruit. But I don't think Murtha's admission that the surge is working is a gracious statement. I'm still waiting to see what else is up his sleeve.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Help! Iraq is Improving. We Need More Sabotage!

Despite what one may think about George W. Bush getting into the Iraq war mess, one must concede that his objectives are noble. The American military has only ever been in Iraq until such time as the Iraqis are ready for us to leave. We might have already been home had it not been for several half-witted stunts by the Democrats in congress.

The US Military today turned security over to the Iraqis in Karbala, only 40 miles south of my old stomping grounds, making that the eighth of eighteen provinces that now provide indigenous security. That's cool. We're making progress.

Although it's too early to be sure if it's a trend, the number of American military deaths is the lowest in two years. That's cool. We're making progress.

Despite the death of Abu Risha last month, Ramadi is trending toward peace. A recent parade was held in honor of Abu Risha. Troop and civilian deaths are way down. That's cool. We're making progress.

Which has me confused. Why aren't the Democrats in full overdrive--as they usually are at junctures such as this--trying to sabotage the effort? Careful...maybe they are...

My observation, albeit unscientific, while I was in Iraq was this: something goes good, like an election, and then the American media finds something negative to say about George W. Bush, and then, boom! Roadside bomb, car bomb, and rocket attacks suddenly increase. (Terrorists have satellite television.) That used to just piss me off.

Then John Murtha came along and made all sorts of brazen and baseless allegations, and the whole country went to crap. We're just recovering. That really sucked, and it still does.

I guess a few days ago, the Democrats did attempt a bit of sabotage, but it didn't seem to work. A recently tabled resolution before congress to censure Turkey for genocide that occurred nearly a century ago makes no sense unless one realizes its geopolitical ramifications.
Having failed miserably to force a US retreat in Iraq, House Democrats and their skittish Republican counterparts have now resorted to asymmetrical political warfare against President Bush, his administration and US military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

About 70% of all supplies supporting current US combat operations flow through Turkey. Its strategic location has made the air base at Incirlik a vital lifeline to the US military. It doesn't take a legal scholar to articulate the implications to Iraq or Afghanistan if Turkey denied access to Incirlik.
I'm all for being finished in Iraq. We should have never been there. But we can't just sabotage every good effort to achieve liberty among the Iraqi people.

I don't think we should rest on our laurels just yet, though. The enemy may still be combining in an attempt to scuttle the liberty process there. Al Qaeda, you think? Heck no! The Democrats in Congress!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

US Casualties Down in Iraq

It's a little early to tell, but it's interesting that US casualties are on pace for the lowest in any month in quite a while.

Cybercast News service is reporting:
Through the afternoon of October 15, the Defense Department reported that 15 U.S. military personal had been killed in Iraq since October 1. Thirteen of these were combat-related, while the other two were not. The most recent Defense-Department-reported death occurred on Oct. 12.

Last year -- during the same period -- 44 U.S. military personnel were killed in Iraq, all but two in combat-related incidents. That's more than three times the number of combat-related casualties now being reported for the first half of this October.
It sounds like the counter-insurgency tactics employed by General Petraeus are working, and that perhaps the crowd was a bit premature in saying that he was betraying the US. Hmmm.....

CNSNews adds that
September 2007 marked a 14-month low in reported casualties: 68 U.S. military personnel were killed in Iraq, a drop in deaths the military credited to the 30,000 "surge" in troops that began in June. Among the 68 U.S. casualties in Iraq in September, 41 were from combat-related incidents.
It seems as well, from what I've been hearing on the radio, that car bombings are down, and the number of casualties from such bombings are down as well.

Sounds almost like a trend...or two.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Passing the Cost of War On To Future Generations

Democrats in the house are now 'concerned' that the $150 billion cost of the Iraq War will be passed on to future generations. Well, that's one way to look at it...

The Associated Press wrote today that:

Three senior House Democrats proposed an income tax surcharge Tuesday to finance the approximately $150 billion annual cost of operations in Iraq, saying it is unfair to pass the cost of the war on to future generations.

The plan, unveiled by Reps. David Obey, D-Wis., John Murtha, D-Pa., and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., would require low- and middle-income taxpayers to add 2 percent to their tax bill. Wealthier people would add a 12 to 15 percent surcharge, Obey said.

Since when did "pass[ing] the cost of [anything]
on to future generations" stop anybody in Congress, with the exception of a handful of exemplary leaders, such as Ron Paul? We're certainly passing the cost of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on to future generations.

But that's not all. The tax surcharge these congress people are proposing is another experiment in the socialist wealth collection shell game. If you don't make much money, you only pay 2%, but that's okay that we're suckering you poor people, because guess what? The rich SOBs have to pay EVEN MORE!!!

Despite how one may feel about the way we got into Iraq, one of the Constitutional requirements of the federal government is to provide for a defense of the country. Until these loons in the Senate and the House can figure out a way to get us out of this mess, I think there are better ways to pay for the war than a snide tax increase.

How about cutting spending in the myriad areas that they have no constitutional authority over?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Syria Missile Explodes, Followed By Media Blackout

I didn't do a ton of looking around, but it seems that not too many news outlets are interested in reporting the fact that it is just coming to light that a Syrian missile which exploded at a Syrian military base in May killed dozens of Iranian engineers.

It was reported in May that a missile exploded in a Syrian military site. Today, new facts are surfacing. The major media outlets do not seem to be interested, although they are very interested in analyzing a recent Israeli air strike on a military facility in northern Syria.

The new facts are that dozens of Iranian engineers were killed in the May missile explosion. The blast occurred while engineers were trying to outfit a Scud C missile with mustard gas. AFP reports

The July 26 explosion in Aleppo, northern Syria, was reported at the time. The official Sana news agency said 15 Syrian military personnel were killed and 50 people were injured, most of them slightly from flying glass.

The agency said only that "very explosive products" blew up after fire broke out at the facility and that the blaze was not an act of sabotage.

But in the September 26 edition of Jane's Defence Weekly, Syrian defence sources were quoted as saying the explosion happened during tests to weaponise a Scud C missile with mustard gas, which is banned under international law.

Fuel caught fire in a missile production laboratory and "dispersed chemical agents (including VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent) across the storage facility and outside.

"Other Iranian engineers were seriously injured with chemical burns to exposed body parts not protected by safety overalls," the publication quoted the sources as saying.

Among the dead were "dozens" of Iranian missile weaponisation engineers, it added.