... Such bombs, which fire a semi-molten copper slug that can penetrate the armor on a Humvee and are among the deadliest weapons used against American forces, are used almost exclusively by Shiite militants. American intelligence officials have presented evidence that the weapons come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, although Tehran has repeatedly denied providing lethal assistance to Iraqi groups. (emphasis added - THC)
The United States should use its air power to systematically destroy every military instillation in Iran. We should destroy their one oil refinery, bomb every government building and police headquarters we can identify and hit every one of their nuclear research and production sites. the latter might need some limited boots on the ground to make sure that not only was the equipment destroyed, but the scientists and engineers were killed as well.
We should render every airport in the nation unusable by cratering the runways and destroying the control tower and radar installations and declare a no-fly zone over the entire nation. The only thing we should leave alone is their oil production in that we don't want to drive up the world price of crude too much.
Just so. The USAF is under-used at present. I would add that with every sortie we should issue a nice denial to match Tehran's.
The biggest obstacle to success in Iraq, besides American democrats, is Arab culture. It stinks. For instance, they're perfectly liable to believe this kind of nonsense propaganda until their heads, or at least their neighbors', are quite literally cut off. The Army published al Qaeda's response to it's ass-kicking at our hands during Arrowhead Ripper in Baquba. Michael Yon was kind enough to insert his eye-witness Fisking.
“The strongest kinds of explosives are awaiting them on the streets and in the allies(sic). [This was true: we lost a soldier to an IED. But our guys caught most of the bombs, in many cases when local Iraqis pointed them out. Others that remain hidden will be neutralized by our engineer and EOD teams in a thorough, methodical process that will continue until the city is cleared.] Snipers of the Islamic State of Iraq are going ahead hunting down dozens of soldiers. They are in control of the high-rise buildings [They were until our guys killed them], and ambushes and traps are awaiting them everywhere. [This was true: there were ambushes and traps everywhere. But our guys killed them, ran them off, or foiled the ambushes in nearly ever case. We did lose one Stryker and one Bradley.] The American Army, in spite of its numbers and equipment, could not penetrate the region except for a couple of minutes to film so as to sell the photographs to the lying media. [The penetration was persistent and pervasive and eventually complete, something captured on film by dozens of reporters who finally embedded for the initial days of the operation. A minor point: the military’s own photographs and videos are always available free of charge to media agencies.] It is during those few minutes that a great number of airplanes were downed. [Completely false.] We are announcing this good news to the nation as the soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq are basking in their victory in all parts of this and the rest of the provinces [It would be dangerous for al Qaeda to celebrate here in Baqubah, or in Anbar, or up in Mosul, or down in Basra, or in Sadr City. In fact, they are running out of places to peek out from, let alone bask in.], while the Crusaders will not escape this fierce battle but with slit throats and a defeat, the likes of which has never been witnessed.” [There are many American soldiers on FOB Warhorse in Baqubah. They’ve extended their invitation for al Qaeda to come visit.]
To be fair, once the residents of Baquba had experienced a healthy dose of al Qaeda in Iraq's hospitality, they turned on AQI when we gave them the chance. My point is that the Arabs of Iraq believed AQI's propaganda in the first place and didn't clue in until their daughters had been raped and kidnapped and their sons and neighbors had been PEZed. To be double fair, AQI's propaganda wasn't much different than the NYT's, but I digress...
VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with. ...
Naturally, one can't have "victory", no, that would not be nuanced. "Sustainable stability" (pardon me, but isn't that repetitive & redundant?) is plenty good enough for the real goal of eliminating Iraq as a threat to the security of the United States. What the Iraqis do from that point on is up to them, as it should be.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done...
Amazing what our troops, with no formal training in city management much less nation building, are accomplishing with new tactics. And isn't it interesting to see that Heroes are still necessary? Is Patraeus the indispensable man?
But for now, things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).
In addition, far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion. The Iraqi Army’s highly effective Third Infantry Division started out as overwhelmingly Kurdish in 2005. Today, it is 45 percent Shiite, 28 percent Kurdish, and 27 percent Sunni Arab.
In the past, few Iraqi units could do more than provide a few “jundis” (soldiers) to put a thin Iraqi face on largely American operations. Today, in only a few sectors did we find American commanders complaining that their Iraqi formations were useless — something that was the rule, not the exception, on a previous trip to Iraq in late 2005....
Of course, it had to end on a sour note and it did:
How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.
Still, things are looking good. Defeating insurgencies takes time. We've had time and the tide has clearly turned. Defeating al Quaeda in Iraq will be mostly done pretty soon. Defeating the last of the Sunni dead-enders might take longer, or it might not -- Ramadi sure looks good. But getting the Baghdad politicians to stop acting like Arabs and to instead act like patriots... there's the rub.
Congress's attempt to lose the war is so hard for me to believe that it's difficult for me to talk about it. I'm shocked.
Either those are the most despicable bunch of Quislings ever gathered in Washington, DC or their information bubble is so tightly self-contained and impenetrable that they might as well be deaf, dumb, and blind.
A friend of mine sent me an email with a link to this site, which purports to show the running cost of the war in Iraq. It has a scroll down menu to show you the cost of the war to your community, it has buttons to push to compare the cost of war to happy things like public housing and public education, and - best of all - it has a sweet picture of kids playing on a nice new playground on its website banner.
Why not call it "The cost of allowing 9-11 to happen"? Or just asking "How much did 9-11 cost?" Or how much would it cost us to lose in Iraqi front of the Global War on Terror? How much use does he imagine an Iraqi kid who's had his eye plucked out has for a nice new playground?
Sorry, EC, but that's just dumb. And harmful. In fact, it's very harmful and very counter-productive. Really, this is the kind of crap that will make us lose another war, and lead once again to mass murder, maybe genocide in the short term, and mushroom clouds over Tel Aviv, New York, Islamabad, and Tehran in the long term. How about dropping the oh-so-sophisticated detached lefty-ness and throwing your shoulder to the wheel? We could use your help. In fact, we need it.
I know how it usually goes with these kinds of fraternity things; what with starting up a medical practice, honor killing obligations, and starting a family, it's easy to lose touch with the old school buddies. But this thing -- our thing -- was serious, you know? Thanks to email we were able to keep in touch and keep the plan going. As luck would have it, we all won Achmedinijad scholarships to do our residencies in England for the National Health Service. We got our families together most every weekend for backyard cookouts and self-flagellation and TV football matches. Afterwards me and the other guys would slip out to the garage for cigars, and to pack shrapnel.
So okay, the big weekend arrives, and the guys come over to my place bright and early, everybody's jazzed about rolling up some kufr carnage. All the propane tanks and propellant and nail cannisters are ready to go. I look at Ali and say, "okay mate, back up your car to the garage and I'll start loading it up." He gets this dumbstruck look on his face and says, "my car? I thought Hassan was going to do the martyrdom." And then Hassan does a massive spit-take with his tea, and he's like, "whoa dude, I rigged the cell phones, I didn't agree to blow up. I thought Mohammed was going to do the blowing up." Then Mohammed's like, "don't look at me, pal, I thought I was just providing the spiritual guidance. Plus my car's in the shop for transmission work." From there it just descended into this big shouting match. Holy frickin' prophet, two years of planning this prank and now everybody wants to pussy out on the actual martyrdom.
Long story short, we decided to draw straws. And guess who wins? Yep, yours truly, good old sucker Khalid, the same guy with a pile of charge card receipts for petrol and propane and hardware. The same guy who ended up having to host two thirds of the martyrdom planning parties at HIS house, because his good old college "pals" always have some convenient excuse about "kitchen remodeling" or "MI6 surveillance," and never lift a finger to help clean up the empty bottles or paper plates or the C5 mess. Well, you know what they say: no good deed goes unpunished. Then the other short straw get pulled by Bilal, and I'm like, oh, great. Now I'll be banging some celestial virgin with that wanker looking over my shoulder...
Earlier this week, the U.S. military made public new and disturbing information about the proxy war that Iran is waging against American soldiers and our allies in Iraq.
According to Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, the Iranian government has been using the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah to train and organize Iraqi extremists, who are responsible in turn for the murder of American service members.
Gen. Bergner also revealed that the Quds Force--a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whose mission is to finance, arm and equip foreign Islamist terrorist movements--has taken groups of up to 60 Iraqi insurgents at a time and brought them to three camps near Tehran, where they have received instruction in the use of mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices and other deadly tools of guerrilla warfare that they use against our troops. Iran has also funded its Iraqi proxies generously, to the tune of $3 million a month.
Based on the interrogation of captured extremist leaders--including a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah, apparently dispatched to Iraq by his patrons in Tehran--Gen. Bergner also reported on Monday that the U.S. military has concluded that "the senior leadership" in Iran is aware of these terrorist activities. He said it is "hard to imagine" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei--Iran's supreme leader--does not know of them.
These latest revelations should be a painful wakeup call to the American people, and to the U.S. Congress. They also expand on a steady stream of public statements over the past six months by David Petraeus, the commanding general of our coalition in Iraq, as well as other senior American military and civilian officials about Iran's hostile and violent role in Iraq. In February, for instance, the U.S. military stated that forensic evidence has implicated Iran in the death of at least 170 U.S. soldiers.
Iran's actions in Iraq fit a larger pattern of expansionist, extremist behavior across the Middle East today. In addition to sponsoring insurgents in Iraq, Tehran is training, funding and equipping radical Islamist groups in Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan--where the Taliban now appear to be receiving Iranian help in their war against the government of President Hamid Karzai and its NATO defenders.
While some will no doubt claim that Iran is only attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq because they are deployed there--and that the solution, therefore, is to withdraw them--Iran's parallel proxy attacks against moderate Palestinians, Afghans and Lebanese directly rebut such claims.
Iran is acting aggressively and consistently to undermine moderate regimes in the Middle East, establish itself as the dominant regional power and reshape the region in its own ideological image. The involvement of Hezbollah in Iraq, just revealed by Gen. Bergner, illustrates precisely how interconnected are the different threats and challenges we face in the region. The fanatical government of Iran is the common denominator that links them together.
No responsible leader in Washington desires conflict with Iran. But every leader has a responsibility to acknowledge the evidence that the U.S. military has now put before us: The Iranian government, by its actions, has all but declared war on us and our allies in the Middle East.
America now has a solemn responsibility to utilize the instruments of our national power to convince Tehran to change its behavior, including the immediate cessation of its training and equipping extremists who are killing our troops.
Most of this work must be done by our diplomats, military and intelligence operatives in the field. But Iran's increasingly brazen behavior also presents a test of our political leadership here at home. When Congress reconvenes next week, all of us who are privileged to serve there should set aside whatever partisan or ideological differences divide us to send a clear, strong and unified message to Tehran that it must stop everything it is doing to bring about the death of American service members in Iraq.
It is of course everyone's hope that diplomacy alone can achieve this goal. Iran's activities inside Iraq were the central issue raised by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq in his historic meeting with Iranian representatives in Baghdad this May. However, as Gen. Bergner said on Monday, "There does not seem to be any follow-through on the commitments that Iran has made to work with Iraq in addressing the destabilizing security issues here." The fact is, any diplomacy with Iran is more likely to be effective if it is backed by a credible threat of force--credible in the dual sense that we mean it, and the Iranians believe it.
Our objective here is deterrence. The fanatical regime in Tehran has concluded that it can use proxies to strike at us and our friends in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine without fear of retaliation. It is time to restore that fear, and to inject greater doubt into the decision-making of Iranian leaders about the risks they are now running.
I hope the new revelations about Iran's behavior will also temper the enthusiasm of some of those in Congress who are advocating the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Iran's purpose in sponsoring attacks on American soldiers, after all, is clear: It hopes to push the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan, so that its proxies can then dominate these states. Tehran knows that an American retreat under fire would send an unmistakable message throughout the region that Iran is on the rise and America is on the run. That would be a disaster for the region and the U.S.
The threat posed by Iran to our soldiers' lives, our security as a nation and our allies in the Middle East is a truth that cannot be wished or waved away. It must be confronted head-on. The regime in Iran is betting that our political disunity in Washington will constrain us in responding to its attacks. For the sake of our nation's security, we must unite and prove them wrong.
Hmm. Well, the commenter "Whoami" is entitled to his opinion. I don't think he meant to be a racist with his first line -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt there, I think he meant the suburbs of Baghdad. I guess.
I know I would feel terrible if I actually believed our marines were "planting bodies all over Iraq".
I wonder if there's any hope for him, and what he would think if he were to read Michael Yon's latest from Iraq?
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.