Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The Hawash Scandal: What Do Photos Mean?

As I peruse Left-leaning, Bush-hating, Ashcroft-vilifying Blog sites, it is interesting to note that they chose to show this particular photo of Maher Hawash. It is the one that shows him as the average joe:

These same Bloggers NEVER show this next photo. The face of Maher that so worried his neighbors following 9/11 that they called the FBI. It was soon after 9/11 that Maher allegedly became a virtual recluse and began to grow out his beard, allegedly, in sympathy with the suffering of Arabs around the world.
To be honest, pro-Hawash bloggers should show both pics.

pics via KATU TV

Friday, April 25, 2003

Hello? Andrew Sullivan?

I'm pretty surprised that Blogger/writer Andrew Sullivan has just now discovered that there is a conservative, non-Libertarian wing to the Republican party. Andrew, have you read the papers over the last twenty years? This is not a secret and I am surprised that you are surprised.

Is there a general right to bedroom privacy in the Constitution? Certainly not as the Founders wrote it.

But should we infer one anyway? Sure, why not? So, I agree with Andrew there.

As for everyone getting all hot and bothered that there is a conservative streak to the, well, conservative US party of Republicans strikes me as odd.

I guess if I were gay and in Texas, I'd probably spend about three minutes a year worrying about the cops.

But I think I would worry much more about the IRS taking 30% of my personal money, the EPA telling me what I can do with my personal real estate, the EOC telling me who I could personally hire for jobs, and the miriad other government agencies whose sole purpose is to tell me what to do every hour of every day that the press and the Left NEVER talk about.

So, if I were a gay Texan, and I had a sense of what is really important day to day, I'd be a Republican and not a Democrat.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Skeptical Iraqis? Skeptical me!

The newspapers this weekend were loaded with stories identifying many "skeptical Iraqis". Not only were they skeptical, some were even "very" skeptical. They were skeptical of the United States' "intentions". Skeptical of our dedication to "a free Iraq". Skeptical of our use of their "oil wealth". They wanted to know if we would stay around long enough to "fix what we broke". And some said they'd be skeptical if "we stayed to long". And of course, the liberal pundits were all-to-ready to chime in with a briskly worded, "The Iraqis have a right to be skeptical?"

No, they don't. The Iraqis have no right to be skeptical...but I sure as hell do.

I'm skeptical of the Iraqis' interest in building their country instead of whining about it to the media. I'm skeptical of their interest in creating a society protective of the rights of minority religions and ethnicities.

I'm skeptical of Iraqis' ability to ward off the influence of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia as they go about re-inventing their government. And I'm skeptical of Iraqis’ desire to stave off the powers of the conservative Mullahs and clerics who hope to dominate post-war Iraq.

I'm skeptical of Iraqis' ability to construct a modern nation unafraid to experience the market-place of ideas. I'm skeptical of Iraqis ability to be a help, rather than a hindrance, to the Mideast peace process.

Yes, call me a skeptic when I see an entire nation of people who do not (and may not ever) understand that Freedom Isn't Free. Maybe they thought freedom was handed out in breadbaskets delivered by Allah, because they've never shown much interest in fighting for it.

But we in the US know differently. History has shown us that the road to freedom is strewn with sacrifice and blood and because of that we hold precious all that we have fought and died for. The Iraqis of yet have not learned this, they got off easy. Their entire nation liberated with minimal casualties while someone else did all the dirty work.

So pardon my skepticism when it comes to the Iraqi people. And pardon my distrust of a people so quick to become skeptical of the intentions of others while many of their own intentions remain so very unclear.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

For Our Dead: No to EU, No to UN

So, now that the blood of Americans has barely dried on the streets of Baghdad, Umm Qasr, Nasiriya and many other cities and towns of Iraq, the delicate elites of the UN and EU wish to give the United States suggestions on how to be a good world citizen in Iraq.

Perhaps the UN would also like to tell the family of Cpl. Bernard Gooden, age 22, of Mt. Vernon, N.Y. who was killed April 4 during a firefight in central Iraq how they should mourn and remember their son and brother?

Perhaps, too, the EU would like to pick out the style casket that will contain the body of Lance Cpl. David K. Fribley, age 26 of Lee, Fla. who was just one of nine Marines killed when a group of Iraqis pretended to surrender but then opened fire on Marines near An Nasiriyah.

No, no, better yet, perhaps President Chiraq has an opinion about which funeral home should be chosen by the family of Spc. James M. Kiehl age 22, of Comfort, Texas who was killed on March 23 when the convoy he was traveling in was ambushed in southern Iraq.

I am certain that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has a view as to what songs should be sung at the services held for Sgt. 1st Class John W. Marshall age 50, of Los Angeles, who was killed in action on April 8, when he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during an Iraqi ambush in Baghdad.

And we would all be interested to know what Kofi Annan thinks the kids should wear to their daddy's funeral, that of Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline, Jr., 21, of Sparks, Nev. who left a wife and two children.

I could go on. Yes, I could continue to name the leaders of Europe and put with each of their names the name of a father or son, a brother or an uncle who won't be going home to their families this spring.

They won't be going home because they are dead.

For you see, they didn't have "views" about Iraq, they had courage.

They didn't have "policies" about Iraq, they had guts.

These dead soldiers didn't have "conferences" about Iraq, they had battle plans.

The didn't have "carefully crafted statements" about Iraq, they had guns.

And now, here it comes; wafting over the Atlantic like a stench comes the advice, the suggestions, the dictums, the objections, the disquiet, the whispers, and the anger and disgust of Europeans and the UN bureaucracy... and I "No!" to it all.

I have no interest in their opinions any longer. Except for a few countries on the continent, their opinions and thoughts carry no weight in my house, in my country.

Let the memory of Bernard advise teh US how to look for the weapon's of mass destruction.

Let the memory of David inform as to how best to get the water running.

Let the memory of James tell us how we should sell the oil.

Let the memory of John assist us in distributing the medicine.

And, let the memory of Donald tell the United States of America what kind of future the children of Iraq will have.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Remarkable Arab News Article:

    AT AN AIR BASE IN KUWAIT, 16 April 2003 — People are curious about being embedded in the Marines. This is my effort to set the record straight. Some readers suspect I was subjected to propaganda while living with these men and women. There was no propaganda campaign. If there had been, there would have been no embeds. Journalists wrote their own stories, and made their own interview requests and interviews. The Marines’ “PAOs” (public affairs officers) would set up the meetings, but not oversee them.

    What happened to the majority of journalists living the Marine life is that we experienced it from the inside. I can honestly say that seven weeks as an embed has changed me forever. And I have often found many similarities between Marines and Arabs.

I have passed this around to all I know. I suggest everyone does the same.

genealogy site

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

A Pro-War Blogger's List of US Errors in the War

Please don't take this as Monday morning quarterbacking, folks. These are errors that annoyed me the very moment they happened and were not deduced as errors with the benefit of hindsight. They are not so much military errors as they are PR errors with regards to playing the "expectations game".

    1) The term "Shock and Awe" should never have been used by any US official to describe the air campaign. When used, the term set the expectation bar so high that anything less than immediate capitulation on the part of Saddam's regime would look like a defeat for the US campaign. "Shock and Awe" was always too flippant to be used in any serious discussion of the military strategy and use of the term worked to our disadvantage.

    2) "Nasiriya (or Umm Qasr or Basra or Najaf) is now in control". Each time such a thing was said during the first week of the war, I cringed, knowing it was just a matter of hours before a US casualty came from that city and the pundits would have a field day. If I could see the cheap shots coming, why couldn't the Pentagon. It was always better to say that the situation in a particular city remained serious, rather than trying to nuance that city's particular level of safety.

    3) "Water and electricity will be turned on soon." Don't say it unless it is absolutely true. Cripes, my cable goes out for 15 minutes and I go nuts. Why are we expending large amounts of our "goodwill capital" and credibility with fanciful predictions on when basic services will return. If it is going to be two weeks, say two weeks and explain why.

    4) "Syria has chemical weapons". Can we PLEASE find the one's in Iraq first? Once we do, our credibility will be sky high and we'll be able to convince folks that the Pope has WMD. However, until we find the WMD in Iraq, let's keeping the finger pointing to a minimum.

Much Ado About Hawash

Lots of attention on the Internet about Intel engineer Mike Hawash who is now in custody as a material witness (witness to what, I don't know). Hawash is a Palestinian but has been an American citizen for 15 years. He is getting alot of high-level support from the likes of Intel executives and Oregon's legislative contingent.

Many on the 'Net are using this case as a weapon in their war against Attorney General John Ashcroft, but I suggest they hold their fire. So far Ashcroft is doing very well in the courts (see the Lackawanna cases, the Florida Professor case and the recent Ujaama case).

My money is on Achcroft; betting he has a reason to hold Hawash and that it will all come out well for the AG in the end.

As for the use of "material witness" powers to hold American citizens in jail, I will (at least for now) defer to the judges of the US to determine if these powers are being abused. Until I feel otherwise, I know of no reason to believe these judges are acting in an unconstitutional manner.

UPDATE: Washington Post has suggested in this past article that Hawash may have connection to the Ujaama case in Portland.