Saturday, December 20, 2003

THE GZILLIONTH EXAMPLE OF WHY IT DOESN'T PAY TO BE NICE TO TERRORISTS

File this under "No good deed goes unpunished".
One of the 13 Palestinians deported from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in May 2002 was arrested Tuesday in Belgium on suspicion of participating in a number of robberies in which more than $250,000 were stolen.

Khalil Mohammed Abdullah al-Nawara received asylum in Belgium following the siege on the church.

Sounds like he didn't learn much from his days in one of the holiest sites in all Christendom.

Let's put it this way...if a Belgian had taken hostages and weapons into the Kaaba, Mecca's holiest shrine...what do you think the odds are of him being offered asylum in, say, Jordan?

Hell, what are the odds of him coming out alive?
ONE OPTION

If you are out of work and you covered your tracks very, very well...
Former congressman Gary Condit hit three supermarket tabloids with a $209 million defamation suit Friday for printing articles suggesting he killed Washington intern Chandra Levy.

The stories published in The National Enquirer, The Globe and The Star portrayed Condit as a "murderer" and "sexual deviant" and "caused him to be exposed to public hatred, contempt and ridicule ... for things that never happened," according to the suit filed in Palm Beach, Fla.

Levy, 24, vanished from her apartment in May 2001. Her aunt said she had been conducting an affair with the married congressman, and the press focused on his possible involvement in her disappearance even as police said he was not a suspect. Condit, a six-term Democratic representative from California, was subsequently voted from office.

What's next...ya gonna sue all those voters for believing those stories and voting your investigation dodging butt from office?
IN CASE YOU WERE RUNNING OUT OF REASONS NOT TO TRUST THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION
BARMY BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator.

Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as “the deposed former President”.

The astonishing edict was seized on by MPs last night as more proof of a Left-wing bias inside the BBC against the Iraqi war.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq.

“It amply demonstrates elements of the BBC have got a clearly anti-war and anti-Government agenda.”

Uh...ya think?
ALERT THE AUTHORITIES

Because by all appearances time has actually stopped. We are at a standstill.

I've done everything I know to do (that doesn't involve messing up the house...)

I read an entire book, I took out the recycling (again...just since yesterday)...I helped neighbors carry in groceries. I've tuned every stringed instrument in the house (I collect them...and actually play many of them to one degree or another...) I've called my mother...

I've done more in the last two days than I've done in the last 7 months and I still have time left in the day?

Get those folks in Greenwich England on the phone...aren't they in charge of time? They'll want to know this...

Time has absolutely stopped.

And then you just watch. I'm betting it will start up again when she gets here...and then to make up for standing still all this day...it's gonna kick itself into high gear and zoom as fast as it can for about a week.

You just wait and see.

(sigh)
A LATER LATEST WORD ON A LONGER LONGEST DAY

Newest rumor is the flight puts down at Rhein Main sometime after 11:00 p.m.

Might as well call it Sunday. But I am NOT complaining...I am merely eager.
THE LONGEST DAY (UPDATE)

Latest word from the wife of the HHC 1SG is the flight is now due in to Rhein Main about 9:30 tonight.

Which means CPT Patti and I might may finally reunite in Friedberg about 11:30 tonight.

As I did last night I will take with me in the car a thermos of coffee and a bottle of beer.

Just to see which she needs more...
FUN AT "THE CORNER"
Did you hear what the troops were calling the Sikorsky Blackhawk which Hillary used to tour Iraq? "Broomstick One"
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON PLAYS THE DUMB AMERICAN

He's much too much a genius for that...but he makes a good go of it...
Europeans: Come on. You know that the animus is directed at Bush, not the American people.

Dumb American: No; I think the divide is even worse than that, I'm afraid. You see, the reaction over here is just the opposite — we have nearly given up not so much on European governments but Europeans themselves, which we see as essentially the same.

Europeans: In some ways you're right. After all, over half our population now believes that you — not the North Koreans or the Iranians — are the real threat to world peace.

Dumb American: I suppose a similar poll 65 years ago would have revealed the same thing about your fear of a unilateral Churchill and your ease with a multilateral Hitler, who seemed to get a nod from the Russians, Italians, Spanish, Eastern Europeans, and Japanese when he went into Poland. But in any case, we wish you luck with the Iranian mullahs. And as far as Tehran goes, for your sake — as long as we are not yet in missile range — we hope that your Nobel Prizes, trade credits, lectures, and so-called "soft power" provide better deterrence than an ABM.

Go read it all.
IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR...

The Prince of Peace? Well, yes...and now a smackdown too...
Official WWE Smackdown! Preview: 12/25 From Iraq

World Wrestling Entertainment in proud to present a special edition of SmackDown! from Iraq on Christmas night. Join the Superstars of SmackDown! as they have the honor of competing in front of America’s troops in what should be an evening filled with action, excitement and emotion.
THE ARAB PRESS

Ya gotta love 'em.
No "smoking gun" to convict Saddam Hussein yet, say Iraqi experts

Iraqi legal experts warned of the huge difficulties ahead in finding decisive evidence of Saddam Hussein's guilt in crimes committed by his regime in Iraq.
NOW AWAITING THE 24/7 TELEVISION DISCUSSIONS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE BRIEF DURATION OF THE VISIT, HOW IT DOESN'T CHANGE ANYTHING, HOW THE MONEY COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER SPENT FEEDING THE POOR, HOW THIS IS JUST A PHOTO OP AND HOW UTTERLY DISGUSTING IT IS FOR A HEAD OF STATE TO VISIT DEPLOYED SOLDIERS
Spanish Prime Minister in surprise Iraq visit
I'M GUESSING THIS IS SLIGHTLY WORSE IN ARAB CULTURE THAN HAVING YOUR MOUSTACHE SHAVED OFF

The name of Saddam Hussein has been removed from the list of descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

The head of the union of Ashrafs, Al-Sherif Najeh Muhammad Hassan al-Faham al-Aaraji admitted that the ousted president had been able to cheat despite the great value and honour attached to the line which is guarded in Baghdad.

The Ashrafs guard the Prophet's genealogical tree.

"Saddam had forced the origin experts to falsify his genealogical tree so that it went back to the Prophet," he said.

Let me get this straight. The Muslims can't event trust the very committee set up to protect the lineage of the Prophet Muhammed...and yet we are the infidels?

Story reported by various Arab Press, this one from al Jazeera no less.
THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Shown for what he is...
In the old days the conquered tyrant was dragged through the streets behind the Roman general's chariot. Or paraded shackled before a jeering crowd. Or, when more finality was required, had his head placed on a spike on the tower wall.

Iraq has its own ways. In the revolution of 1958, Prime Minister Nuri Said was caught by a crowd and murdered, and his body was dragged behind a car through the streets of Baghdad until there was nothing left but half a leg.

We Americans don't do it that way. Instead, we show Saddam Hussein -- King of Kings, Lion of the Tigris, Saladin of the Arabs -- compliantly opening his mouth like a child to the universal indignity of an oral (and head lice!) exam. Docility wrapped in banality. Brilliant. Nothing could have been better calculated to demystify the all-powerful tyrant.

It was a beautiful sight. But it was more than that. It was a deeply important historical moment. More than the fate of a man is at stake here. At stake is the fate of an idea, an idea of singular malignancy that has cost the Arabs not just countless innocent lives but a half-century of progress.

Hussein was the most aggressive and enduring exemplar of a particular kind of deformed Arabism, a kind that arose in the post-colonial era, appealed to the greater glory of the Arab nation and promised a great restoration...

Hussein's destiny is important because he was the last and the greatest of these pan-Arab pretenders, though he gave it a psychotically sadistic character unmatched anywhere in the Arab world. This stream of Arab nationalism brought nothing but poverty, corruption, despair, torture and ruin to large swaths of the Arab world. The mass graves of Iraq are its permanent monument.

This is why it was important not just to capture Hussein but to demystify him -- and with him, the half-century spell that radical pan-Arabism had cast over the entire Middle East. It was important that the god-king of pan-Arabism be shown as the pathetic coward he was...

On the run, Hussein enjoyed one final moment of myth: the ever-resourceful, undaunted resistance fighter. Perhaps, it was thought, he had it all calculated in advance, fading silently from Baghdad like the Russians withdrawing from Moscow before Napoleon, to suck in the Americans only to strike back later on his own terms in a brilliant guerrilla campaign masterminded by the great one himself.

And then they find him cowering in a hole, disheveled, disoriented and dishonored. After making those underground tapes exhorting others to give their blood for Iraq and for him, his instantaneous reaction to discovery was hands-up surrender.

End of the myth. It is not just that he did not resist the soldiers with the guns. He did not even resist the medic with the tongue depressor.

STILL NOT ONE WORLD
A powerful explosion in Baghdad Friday has killed one woman and wounded at least seven other people. The blast also demolished an office of a militia group linked to the country's largest Shi'ite political party.

The early morning blast collapsed more than half of the building containing the Jihad neighborhood branch of the Badr Brigade, a Shi'ite militia group allied to the country's largest political party. But the building was not just a Badr Brigade office, it was also a makeshift apartment building, housing several families who had nothing to do with the militia group.

I'm kinda glad I live in a country where our political parties don't have "militia groups".
HOPING TO FILL THE DANCE CARD WITH FOLKS NAMED STUPID

Here is a bit more on Washington Congressman Jim McDermott.

But read everything written here please...
Dazed and disoriented, not seen since the Iraq war began, he emerged talkative yet defiant. Saddam Hussein? No, Rep. Jim McDermott.

The Washington Democrat told a Seattle radio station Monday that the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." An incredulous host asked whether the congressman really thought Saturday's capture was timed to help President Bush.

"Yeah. Oh, yeah," McDermott replied. "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

Yes, we really haven't heard from the Seattle lawmaker since he turned up in Saddam's Iraq last year to call the president — Bush, not Saddam — a liar. Now "Baghdad Jim" is back, accusing Bush of staging Saddam's snare for political reasons. The past year seems to have been as tough for McDermott as it has been for Saddam. One has lost his country; the other has lost his mind.

McDermott has contributed to greater bipartisanship. Washington state Republicans blasted his "crazy talk." His Democratic colleague from Washington, Norm Dicks, said: "With all due respect to my colleague, that is a fantasy. That just is not right. ... It's one thing to criticize this administration for having done this war. ... But to criticize them on the capture of Saddam, when it's such a big thing to our troops, is just ridiculous."

Exactly, but Dicks' sane words are out of sync in a Democratic Party that increasingly suffers a kind of psychological affliction: It's ready to believe the most hateful charges against George Bush but unwilling to even acknowledge evidence of Saddam's links to al-Qaida.

It would be one thing if McDermott were alone in concocting these anger-filled phantasms. But the Capitol Hill backbencher has eye-catching company. Consider the recent musings of Howard Dean on National Public Radio. He was asked about charges that Bush is holding back information that he had been warned about Sept. 11.

"The most interesting theory that I have heard so far ... is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis," Dean replied. "Now who knows what the real situation is?"

He admitted this "most interesting theory" couldn't be proved and, in later days, said he didn't actually believe it. But here was the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination trafficking in a theory that, according to his staff, the candidate just picked up "out there" in the political atmosphere — a theory that accuses Bush of knowing in advance about the terror attacks and doing nothing to stop the slaughter of thousands of Americans.

Will Dean be favoring us with other "most interesting" theories or just the ones that accuse Bush of treason or worse?

We've been talking a lot lately about folks paying attention, or not, as the case may be. Simultaneously, we've also kept an eye on the reporting "styles" of the main stream media.

This story of Jim McDermott's assertions the Saddam capture is a political stunt is, of course, absurd.

More absurd...way more absurd...is the notion uttered by Howard Dean and widely reported in the press that President Bush was warned in advance about the attacks of September 11th.

But consider please...I doubt seriously that Howard Dean is a certifiable idiot...meaning I doubt that he for a moment believes the President sat by and let 3000 people die and billions vanish from the US Economy.

If this is true...that Dean is not an idiot...why would he say it?

The results of this poll might just be an insight. Taken in 2002 the bottom line on the poll is this:


The public's news habits have been largely unaffected by the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequent war on terrorism. Reported levels of reading, watching and listening to the news are not markedly different than in the spring of 2000.

So...let me proffer this. Certainly the political parties have their own polls to research the best means of reaching the public. As a result of such polling they have found what you and I know to be true...most folks just aren't paying attention.

They get their news from "headline news" type TV while getting dressed...or the 90 seconds of news that most radio stations play at the top of the hour.

Or they get it from reading the newspaper headlines as they walk by the newspaper machine.

Or they get it from word of mouth...

If that is all the opportunity one has to influence an opinion then one will never sufficiently inform the Amercan populous of the nuances of one's stance vis a vis anothers.

So the best one can do is to create a bogus but compelling story and let it make the headlines to be further spread by word of mouth.

I mean - supermarket tabloids make a fortune by making up stories that anyone with an IQ higher than a celery stalk would never believe. But a whole bunch of folks buy the tabloids (and presumably believe them...or want to believe them).

So...is Dean trafficking in tabloid style campaigning? It would seem so.

I theorize that we can agree that most of us don't believe the President sat back and allowed the attacks on the World Trade Center to happen...

I believe that most reasonably intelligent Americans think we found Saddam Hussein one week ago...and pulled him from a hole...

If my theory is correct then why do Dean and others say wild stuff?

They are courting the stupid vote.

That is the long and short of it. If it makes no rational sense (here I'm not talking about genuine disagreements over tax policy or even the existence/not of WMDs...I'm talking about the irrationals such as uttered by Dean, Mcdermott and even Madelaine Albright for crying out loud...)...if it makes no rational sense (and I presume them to be rational folks) then the only conclusion that can be drawn is this is a strategy to gain the vote of stupid Americans.

Does that scare you as it scares me? That the next election...not just the Presidential election...any of them...getting stupid people to vote and to vote on the basis of WORLD WEEKLY tabloid style stories (PRESIDENT'S DOG INFECTS WHITE HOUSE STAFF WITH BRAIN WITHERING DISEASE!)...isn't that frightening?

Those of us who are paying attention need to recruit more folks to pay attention.

Because we have to out-vote the stupid people
.
MILITARY HAPPY NEWS ROUNDUP

We mentioned this problem a couple of weeks ago. The fix isn't perfect, but it is a step forward.
The Army has enacted a policy that allows mobilized Army Reserve and National Guard officers to be promoted immediately, instead of waiting until they come home...

Until now, all reserve component officers, except for a few select branch officers, who were selected for promotion had to wait until a slot opened up in the next higher grade before they could “pin on” the higher grade.

And then there is this:

Effective immediately, active-duty soldiers who re-enlist while deployed to Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan will receive a tax-free, lump-sum bonus, which for most will exceed $5,000, Army officials said Thursday.

So if you are headed for deployment and your re-up window is open...wait until you get there!
ALL THE UN RESOLUTIONS IN THE WORLD VS. ONE WELL-AIMED BIG STICK

News item #1:


Iran signed an agreement on Thursday allowing the UN nuclear watchdog to conduct snap inspections across its territory, which Tehran said should prove it is not secretly developing atomic weapons.

The signature to the Additional Protocol to the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) comes nearly 18 months after an exiled Iranian opposition group sparked an international crisis by saying Tehran was hiding several large nuclear facilities. The allegations proved to be true.

News item #2:

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has promised to surrender his country's weapons of mass destruction and halt its nuclear development program in a bid to end nearly two decades of international isolation, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced last night.

Libya will "immediately and unconditionally" allow international inspectors to enter the country to track unconventional weapons and oversee their destruction, said Bush, describing nine months of secret negotiations among U.S., British and Libyan officials.

The connection? These two countries looked around and noted what the United States did to Iraq, a nation much stronger than either of these, when the intelligence indicated that country had WMD.

In other words, after the USA went in and handed Saddam Hussein his ass...other CTIC (Chief Thugs in Charge) in the region went "Oh crap!...what if we are next???

And so two more rogue states are no longer a nuclear threat.

Think about that next time you hear one of the 9 Dwarves mealymouth about how the USA and the world are "not safer" for our actions in Iraq.

They are falling like nuclear-wannabe-dominoes.

Way to go, us
!
THERE MAY BE MORE TIME TO BLOG

When I spoke to CPT Patti this morning she told me she has "had no meaningful sleep for 3 days".

(!)
STRIKING AN ENTIRE COUNTRY FROM MY CHRISTMAS LIST
CPT Patti called at 6:00 a.m. (It is now 9:15a.m. in Germany).

Says they now predict her flight will touchdown in Germany at 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Says they were in the air...had actually left a little bit early (charter flight, you know...) and were headed home when - get this - Turkey denied them entry into Turkish airspace.

Now lets be clear about this. This was not a big green war bird...this is a commercial jetliner from a charter service (Omni World, or some such...) and the flippin Turks for reasons unknown would not let them enter the air space.

This would be Turkey, the erstwhile ally. The same Turkey that caused the 4th ID to drill holes in the ocean as it's equipment shipments floated in circles while awaiting permission to use Turkish bases while we kicked Saddam's butt (permission was ultimately granted only to defensive capabilities...ie, protecting their Turkish butts...the tanks and tubes had to float clean around the Arabian peninsula and darn near missed the war.)

And it isn't just me! That plane was full of GI's who have spent 223 days in a war zone, headed home for Christmas...some going on to Baltimore...with connecting flights that no longer connect.

And so I am seriously considering altering my Christmas menu to Ham.

And I am resolved...and you can check me on this to ensure I am as good as my word.

Not one single solitary Turkish person from that huge vascillating flea-bag country is getting a Christmas gift from me this year.

Not one.

You can take that to the bank.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20th.

And the best laid plans...

An old Army saying "No plan survives first contact".

It is 3:55 a.m. and I've just returned from a 90 minute round trip drive (plus 45 minutes waiting time) to Friedberg only to learn that CPT Patti's flight from Kuwait was delayed.

They believe it will be landing about 10:30 a.m. today.

Me...I went to bed at 6:00 p.m. got up at 1:30. Shaved. Drank coffee.

Appears I'll probably crash, and need a shave about the time I'm supposed to pick her up.

Such is life from time to time.

But hey - at least she is still coming home...

Friday, December 19, 2003

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19th.

CPT Patti has been deployed for 222 days.

But she is headed home for a brief respite.

Me...well, the toilet is so clean I'm not sure I'm in the correct apartment...

No time to blog...gotta get the house straight.

And if you wonder why I didn't get it straight since Monday when she said she "might be" coming home, then you are obviously - well - a woman, I guess...

Thursday, December 18, 2003

YES, I SHOULD BE CLEANING THE BATHTUB BUT...

This is too good not to share.

While eating dinner I had the TV tuned to West Wing (Yes...I know its a show about liberals, but I watch AFN and it was that or 2 hours of some blasted couple that got married on TV...)

I don't know if AFN is showing this year's or last year's episodes. But the point is this...

In this episode, a Thanksgiving episode, the "president" is outraged to learn that his staff "polled the American people" as to where they think he should spend Thanksgiving.

To which the "president" comments something on the order of "why should it be important where the American people think I should spend Thanksgiving"?

And I'm thinking...given the liberal apoplepsy over Bush in Baghdad...I just bet Aaron Sorkin wishes he had this particular episode in for a rewrite.

Delicious.
7:45 P.M.

The battalion Command Sergeant Major just called from Baghdad.

CPT Patti is coming home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She left Baghdad today...will overnight in Kuwait and (hopefully) will find a seat on a plane headed this way tomorrow sometime.

Me...I'm dancin'!!!

Er...uh...by the way...posting may be light for the next few days.....

But I know you will forgive me.

Thanks for your prayers!!!

Whoooo Hoooo!
6:00 P.M.

Nada.
4:00 P.M.

Still nothing.
IT IS 2:00 P.M.

Still no word from CPT Patti.

Testing the theory that no news is good news...
TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS...
Saudi Arabia has banned the importation of female dolls and teddy bears, giving merchants three months to dispose of such stock, a state-guided newspaper reported Wednesday...

The ban singled out stuffed-animal toys and dolls of brides. It made no mention of male dolls and it was not clear if these were banned as well.

The order also prohibited the importation of crucifixes and models of Buddha, the newspaper said.

The ban comes at a time when Saudi Arabia appears to be taking steps toward moderation and limited reform.
NOT PAYING ATTENTION

Saddam doesn't quite get it...but he will.
"He's saying things like 'I'd like to sit down now. I'm the president of Iraq. You wouldn't treat your own president this way,'" said a U.S. intelligence official.

Sources said the American interrogators, in an attempt to break through that hubris, are repeatedly telling him that he is no longer president of Iraq.

They have also played him videotapes of Iraqis celebrating in the streets at the news of his capture and tapes of the uncovering of mass graves and former torture chambers.

"His reply to this is to tell us to go ahead and organize elections and that he'd win big if we did," said a U.S. official.

THE REST OF THE STORY

You may have heard this in the news lately:
In Vatican City, a top official at the Vatican is condemning the U.S. military for showing the video footage of Saddam, saying the former dictator was being treated "like a cow." Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace Department, says he "felt pity to see this man destroyed."

But you probably didn't hear this:


The Italian newspaper Il Foglio ran a piece Dec. 16 about the frustration at the Vatican, at the secretariat of state, with the imprudent, irascible anti-Americanism of Cardinal Martino, an unfortunate recent appointment (late last year) to the Council for Justice and Peace, who has not ceased being an embarrassment to his superiors.

WAR STORY

The Stryker's inaugural combat.
As they drove through the city, Soldiers saw a large flock of pigeons take flight. The pigeons were apparently used as a signal to announce the arrival of the Soldiers in Stryker infantry vehicles.

Moments later, two men on a motorcycle, firing automatic weapons used children leaving school as cover to attack the patrol. Soldiers, in consideration of the children and a nearby mosque, employed snipers to target the attackers and successfully suppressed the enemy’s ability to inflict damage. The attackers fled as the patrol continued their movement through the city...

The sound of automatic fire could be heard as they engaged the enemy head on. Soldiers radioed a nearby patrol and requested support. Company A Soldiers responded and moved towards the embattled patrol. Both U.S. elements fought through the ambush and eliminated the threat...

At the end of the day, a company commander confirmed that 11 attackers were killed. After confirmation, Samarran residents moved the attackers’ bodies from the area. There were no coalition casualties during the firefight. And, except a civilian automobile that was damaged by a rocket-propelled grenade, there was no damage to any other property or equipment.


DO YOU HAVE THIS MUCH JOB SATISFACTION?

Even though most soldiers in Iraq can't wait to go home, some are volunteering to serve a second year.

At least eight of the 140 soldiers deployed from the 490th Army Civil Affairs Reserve Battalion have decided to stay. They are staying for a variety of reasons - from a feeling of unfinished business to convenience because a military spouse is being deployed. But most say they feel like they are making a difference, and they aren't ready to stop their work yet.

"More of us are staying because we've had more job satisfaction, I would venture to guess," said Sgt. Omar Masry, who is with the battalion from Abilene, Texas.

WHY NOT TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN?

Attempting to explain why Saddam was in a hole when he had the money to buy himself anonymity on some beach on the Black Sea.
But megalomania is not a head cold.

This is why discussions with these guys, or even what we sometimes like to think of as negotiations, are always weird. We're inclined to think they are basically rational people with a few unpleasant habits (a friend has just passed along James Thurber's line: "We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked") who have gone astray, and we're always surprised that a reasoned argument, much less carpet bombing and the approach of an invasion fleet, doesn't prompt them to recognize the errors of their ways.

If not forget that, we should at least rethink it. The news has been filled with reports of Saddam's interviews and interrogations since his capture that state, with maidenly astonishment, that he shows no remorse. Why would he? Remorse for what? He's right. He always has been. We're the ones who are wrong. The only thing that surprises him is that we can't see this.

They are believers. They have somehow come to have blind faith in themselves, and besides, if you're the one who decides what reasonable is then you are always reasonable. This isn't a bad definition of psychotic. I don't buy the presence of "evil" in the world, but there's no shortage of psychosis, and I have no idea what we can do about it.

Clearly nobody goes into that kind of work for the money.
COULD HAVE SAVED US A LOT OF TROUBLE...
The Israeli military had a plan ready to assassinate Saddam Hussein in 1992 -- in retaliation for firing 39 scud missiles at Israel during the first Gulf War -- but the plan was called off.

Then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the operation, which was going to land commandos in Iraq and then fire two specially designed missiles at Saddam while he attended a funeral. However, during one of the final run-throughs of the operation, five Israeli soldiers were killed and six others wounded when a live missile was accidentally used.

The assassination attempt was consequently canceled. It would have taken place in Al Adwar -- the same city where Saddam was captured over the weekend.
NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE SUCCESS
Optimistic Asian allies step up military plans for Iraq after Saddam's capture

South Korea finalized plans Wednesday to send 3,000 troops to Iraq as Asian governments expressed optimism for peace and the U.S.-led reconstruction following Saddam Hussein's capture.

Japan plans to send its first main troop contingent in late February after months of delay, a major Japanese newspaper reported Wednesday. And Thailand reportedly will keep hundreds of its troops in Iraq with hopes that security will improve following Saturday's seizure of Saddam by U.S. forces.

The emboldened military plans among Washington's allies underscore the growing sense of optimism for Iraq since the capture, despite the official wariness voiced by many leaders.

NEAT IDEA

An art student from Maine, whose studies were delayed when his Army Reserve unit was called to Iraq, hopes to turn a toppled bust of Saddam Hussein into one of the country's first postwar public art projects.

Army Maj. Peter Buotte has lobbied Iraq's Ministry of Culture for permission to use the bronze from a bust of the captured president as a starting point for a project among Iraqi artists...

"If it can be melted down, the intention is to have contact among Iraqi artists and use the material in a new project," Buotte said by telephone from Baghdad. "It seems that it would be kind of fitting."
A KEY DIFFERENCE
"Saddam brainwashed all the Iraqi people," said Dr. Riyadh Nassir Al Adhadh.

Where Americans pledge allegiance to their nation, Iraqis did not. Instead, they were taught to pledge their loyalty to Saddam personally, he said.

AS YE SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP
U.S. officials reportedly are showing Saddam Hussein videotapes of rallies against him, of troops unearthing mass graves and of prisoners being tortured during his reign.
ASTONISHINGLY BAD

The Arab press, I mean. And the Arab "Jewish pathology".

A newspaper in Qatar creates a report out of thin air saying that Sharon flew to Baghdad to "secretly meet...Saddam Hussein".

The Israeli PM's office issues a denial.

And this Arab media outlet publishes the denial...in the last paragraph of this story...after repeating verbatim the original Qatari work of fiction...
I'M SURE THE FOLKS IN HOUSTON ARE THRILLED BY THE COMPARISON...
More than a dozen members of the Baghdad City Council toured Houston's infrastructure Wednesday.

Their visit included learning how our sewer system works and how to repair potholes. It's all information they can take back to Iraq to rebuild the country.

The deputy mayor, Ibrahem Hussain, says that Baghdad is very much like Houston in that it is very flat and has the same types of problems.

AN ACCIDENT

Yesterday I called this terrorism. I was mistaken.
The massive blast when a petrol tanker exploded in a fireball after colliding with a bus in the centre of Baghdad today, killing 17 Iraqis, was an accident, said US military investigators.

Iraqi officials, however, maintained it was a suicide bomb run targeting a nearby police station.

“It was a fuel truck that had a traffic accident, caught fire and exploded,” said Captain Jason Beck of the US 1st Armored Division, which oversees security in Baghdad.

”There was no evidence of a bomb.”

Military explosives experts concluded the blast was accidental after conducting crater analysis and other tests at the site, Beck said.
PRICELESS

I'm sorry I didn't know this site existed before now...

It includes the "Good Morning Morons Award", the "Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity" and the "Dominique de Villepin Snottiness Award for Whining About the War"

Go see it.
PAYING ATTENTION

The Washington Post traditionally leans a bit to the left so I find it interesting that today they assault Howard Dean for his inability to tell the truth. And apparently he has a history of it...
Dean, for instance, recently spoke of a "most interesting theory" that Saudi Arabia had "warned" Bush about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although Dean said he does not believe Bush was tipped off about the assaults that killed nearly 3,000, he has made no apologies for raising the rumor.

Dean's remarks, his critics say, are in keeping with his history of making statements that are mean-spirited or misleading. He has distorted his past support for raising the retirement age for Social Security and slowing Medicare's growth. He has falsely said he was the only Democratic presidential candidate talking about race before white audiences. And he made allegations -- some during his years as governor -- that turned out to be untrue.

After saying at his last gubernatorial news conference that he was sealing his official records to avoid political embarrassment, Dean now says he was joking and is not sure what is in the files.

When Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) unveiled his health care plan in April, Dean, through his campaign, belittled the lawmaker's record on the subject. Dean later walked away from the statement, saying it did not reflect his views. But this fall, in debates and TV ads, Dean has resurrected the criticism, accusing his congressional rivals, including Gephardt, of producing only rhetoric on health care in comparison to his record in Vermont.

In recent days, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said Dean lacks the "credibility" to be president and accused him of misleading voters about past remarks on Iraq. One example cited by Kerry's campaign: Dean recently said, "I never said Saddam was a danger to the United States. Ever." But in September 2002, Dean told CBS's "Face the Nation": "There is no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States. The question is: Is he an immediate threat?"


PARTY PLANNER

Uh...you need to know this is not a military occupational specialty...
Camp leaders have designated Vanjura and 1st Lt. Tim Greenway as party planners who arrange activities about once a month to keep troops’ spirits up.

“At a certain point, you just get sick and tired of being sick and tired of being over here,” said Lt. Col. Hank Arnold, battalion commander.

Their first big event was the Sinjar Summer Slam. The soldiers hired an Iraqi they call “Johnny Three Fingers” (his hand is disfigured from a fire) to build a boxing ring.

“The guys got in there and beat the crap out of each other,” said Vanjura, 25, a chemical officer from Dayton, Ohio.

And because there is only one woman at Range 54, the soldiers convinced four female soldiers from nearby Talafar to box.

“Yeah, that’s what the guys wanted to see,” Vanjura said.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

On Tuesday, troops began passing out handbills in Arabic and English that show a photo of Saddam after his capture Saturday night in Tikrit by troops of the 4th Infantry Division.

“They show Saddam’s face on them as a detainee,” Tucker said, “because people want to see proof. It gives them a photographic image — Saddam after his capture.”

The accompanying text reads: “Saddam Hussein CAPTURED The capture of Saddam Hussein is the defining moment for the new Iraq. The future starts here.”

“We’ve printed 200,000,” Tucker said. “So we’ll push these out; if the demand is still there, we’ll do another printing of them.”

Troops on Friday will begin distributing a newspaper that will carry the Saddam capture story on its front page, along with a photo of him in captivity. An article on an inside page will spell out details of his capture and explain its importance.

The division publishes the paper, called Baghdad Now, in Arabic and English, for distribution to the Baghdad public. It appears the first and 15th of every month, with 500,000 copies printed each time.

And, since Sunday night, the division has broadcast hourly public service spots on radio station IQ4, 104 FM, a civilian outlet in Baghdad, giving details of Saddam’s capture.

And I'm glad they are...although it may be redundant. I mean even this guy knows and he's been living in a hole in the ground for 21 years...(Thanks Sarah)

But then, I continue to be amazed by the capacity of certain Arabs to deceive themselves:


"It is someone wearing a Saddam mask," volunteered Waleed Ibrahim, a 25-year-old tire repairman in Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad. "It is a trick to help President Bush get re-elected."

CENTCOM BRIEFING SLIDES

The actual slides used by LTG Sanchez at Sunday's press conference announcing Saddam's capture.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18th.

And CPT Patti has been sleeping on a cot for 221 days.

Today is the day I should find out if she gets to sleep in a real bed - at home - for Christmas - for a few days.

I'm in a hover.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION? (2)
Responding to a question following a speech to the Pacific Council on International Policy Monday, (Howard) Dean declared,

“Had the United Nations given us permission and asked us to be a part of a multilateral force, I would not have hesitated to go into Iraq.”

Permission?
EVER THE OPTIMIST...
Iraqi minister tells UN to stop sniping, start helping
ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

A sampler from a Howard Dean fund raiser on Monday night.

Take a moment to go read the whole thing...because I think you will be surprised. And while reading it imagine in your mind's eye what reaction you might expect if this had been a Republican fund raiser...
So there were no TV cameras last Monday night when pro-Dean comics took the stage on West 18th St. in Chelsea at a $250-a-head Dean fund-raiser (reduced from $500) and competed to see how often they could use the F-word in the same sentence.

Comic Judy Gold dissed President Bush as "this piece of living, breathing s---" and Janeane Garofalo ridiculed the Medicare prescription-drug bill that Bush had just signed as the "you can go f--- yourself, Grandma" bill.

Just a few days before, rival John Kerry had used the F-word to attack Bush in Rolling Stone magazine in an apparent bid to sound hip, but Dean's event was "enough to make John Kerry blush," as rival Dick Gephardt's spokesman Erik Smith tartly put it.

And the Dean event got a lot worse. Comedian David Cross used the N-word for blacks in a disjointed "joke" apparently based on the premise that it's fine for a pro-Dean comic to use racial epithets as long as the goal is to claim Republicans are racists.

Comic Kate Clinton evoked Michael Jackson (hit with new child-sex-abuse charges) and said: "Frankly, I'm far more frightened of Condoleezza Rice" - the Bush national security adviser who has nothing in common with Jackson except being black.

I found this via trying to grok. And I found Sarah's comments here and here intriguing.

If you aren't paying attention perhaps you are under the misimpression that the right is racist, exclusive and intolerant.

But if you are paying attention you see these in fact to be traits exhibited in the Howard Dean fund raiser, reportedly about as far left as left gets.

As the article points out...Dean made sure there were no cameras there. Just as he has made sure we can't see his records as Vermont's governor.

And Sarah makes this point:


When you are told flat out on the Democratic Underground that "If you think overall that George W. Bush is doing a swell job, or if you wish to see Republicans win, or if you are generally supportive of conservative ideals, please do not register to post, as you will likely be banned", then there's a problem of accepting differing opinions under one political party.

Lots of people I know are "hesitant Republicans": those who wish there were a Democrat they liked but just can't seem to find one who doesn't make them want to barf or throw the TV through the window. Many have said so on their blogs. No one is claiming they're traitors to the party or banning them from posting because they have conflicting ideas.

I just don't see the shades of grey in the Democrats that I see in the Republicans.

Amen Sarah. As I've told close friends...I'm hoping that Senator Lieberman gets the Democrat's nomination...not that I'm in love with his positions, but he strikes me as the only intellectually honest one on his side of the aisle. And I can respect that.

But it is intellectually dishonest for Howard Dean not to have interceded. A man of principles would have. Abandoning one's principles in order to raise money...well, that's called whoring where I come from.

And if you aren't paying attention...he'll get away with it.

And if we all pay attention we'll find the right has an awfully big tent.
COWARDS

The Arab League wouldn't set foot in Iraq until Saddam was captured.

Will these guys ever do anything on principal?
An Arab diplomatic source announced yesterday that a delegation representing the Arab League will head tomorrow to Iraq, for the first time since the collapse of the Iraqi regime in April, in order to hold talks with various political forces and religious leaders.
GOOD READ
The capture of Saddam has restored to the United States the initiative in its campaign in Iraq. That initiative, in turn, gives momentum to the fundamental American objective of spreading democracy around the world.

The psychological impact of American soldiers taking Saddam prisoner cannot be overestimated. Nor can the images of the dictator who opulently laid claim to the mantle of Hammurabi and Saladin, disheveled and filthy, humiliatingly submitting to the medical examination of an American military physician.

Beyond these images was the nature of Saddam's capture. The military despot who defiantly thumbed his nose at the West, who interminably claimed victory over Iran and the United States, who eagerly sent hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths in futile offensives, who proudly paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers — this hero of heroes hid in a hole, gave up without a fight, without taking his own life, despite having a pistol at his side.

A Saudi newspaper editor expressed the mixed emotions of many in the Arab world.

"On the one hand, we are very happy, relieved that this man is out of the picture and he will not threaten us anymore," Khaled M. Batarfi told the New York Times. "On the other hand, to see him so humiliated — he is an Arab president, after all. Whether you love him or hate him, he is still a member of the family. He did not fight like his sons; he went like a dog or a cave man, so they feel sorry more for Arab pride than for the man."

LARA CROFT NOT UP TO THE TASK

Spoiled brats need not apply.
Nell McAndrew has demanded to be taken out of her army accommodation after branding it a "dump".

She was in Iraq to visit British troops, but ended up being flown to Kuwait so she could stay in a luxury hotel.

Despite having air conditioning, a large bedroom and hot meals, McAndrew was unhappy.

She told military chiefs: "This is unacceptable. There is no way I'm staying here."

She's also said to have disappointed troops in Basra after arriving two hours late for a visit, leaving her no time to meet the troops.

Major Charlie Mayo, a spokesman for the troops in Basra said: "Nell was shown the accommodation and washing facilities we had planned for her. She wasn't fantastically happy.

"She asked to be moved and was sent back to stay in a hotel in Kuwait. It's all rather strange."

The Daily Mirror says she also demanded that she be driven for two hours through the desert in an armoured Land Rover so she could do a photo-shoot. That delayed her trip to Basra by four hours and meant she just had time to pose for pictures.

A CANADIAN EXCORIATES CANADA...AMONG OTHERS
...Military casualties: 311 dead Americans.

Democracy in a Middle Eastern Arab state: Priceless.

What Canada contributed to ousting Saddam Hussein and waging the war to set the stage for a modern renaissance of Iraq: Zero.

Yet, after putting precious little into Iraq, we have the nerve to whinge about not being allowed to take a profit out of it...

The award for gracelessness, however, goes to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who observed following news of Saddam's arrest that "the international community should congratulate itself.''

The hypocrisy is staggering...

There's only one Switzerland. In real geopolitics, governments have to pick sides. And ours did. We sided with those who did their utmost to retain the status quo in Iraq, many of these European countries already signatories to industrial deals with the Baathists, deals that have now collapsed with billions owed...

There are no political ingĂ©nues in Ottawa. We fully understand where political alliance and financial profits converge. We knew, nine months ago, where our "principles'' would take us when the war was won and the process of reconstruction began. Since the war formally ended — although, clearly, it's still being fought on the ground in Iraq — Canada has declined to send peacemaking troops. Not that we have the manpower do so anyway.

I suspect, in the end, some kind of profitability accommodation, by way of sub-contracts, will be formulated to quiet Canadian caterwauling, particularly as Prime Minister Paul Martin attempts to repair the frayed relationship with Washington.

This will be a concession from the U.S. towards a neighbour and erstwhile ally.

We'll jump at the opportunity. But we are not worthy.
THERE'S A LIMIT TO WEASLENESS?
President Bush's special envoy on Iraq won an agreement yesterday from Germany and France, two of the most ardent opponents of the American-led war, to ease Baghdad's estimated $120 billion debt.
PITIFUL
The Washington congressman who criticized President Bush while visiting Baghdad last year has questioned the timing of the capture of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: "Yeah. Oh, yeah."

The Democratic congressman went on to say, "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: "I don't know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they'd find him.

"It's funny," McDermott added, "when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."

UPDATE: And then there is this:


Hannity and Colmes just replayed a segment from earlier on Fox during which Mort Kondrake relayed a conversation he had with Madeline Albright in a Fox green room. She asks, Do you suppose the administration has Osama bin Laden and will bring him out before the election? Kondrake said that he asked her if she was serious and she suggested it is a real possibility. She was our secretary of state.

Pathetic.
FOR PERSPECTIVE

How much it all means to one Iraqi.
Returning to Iraq last summer after fleeing Saddam Hussein's secret police 22 years earlier was the happiest day of his life, Jawad Alamiri said.

Until Sunday.

"Now that's the happiest day of my life," a beaming Alamiri, 42, said yesterday with his wife, Istbraq Abdulameer, and daughter next to him in his Northeast Philadelphia home.

That's when he got the news he had awaited so long - that Hussein had been captured and would never terrorize another member of his family again. Three siblings had been killed by Hussein's henchmen and he was on a list to be executed, he said, before he escaped to Kuwait and then the United States.

FOOLING DAD

I just love these R&R stories...
An empty frozen pizza box at his side, Greg Westerkamp paced around an almost empty airport baggage claim area.

Westerkamp, who works for a frozen pizza manufacturer, thought he was picking up a client who would know him by the box.

He had no idea it was all part of an elaborate scheme cooked up by his wife and his employer to get him to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Tuesday for the arrival of his 19-year-old daughter, Army Pvt. Kristine Timmons.

As the tiny woman in desert camouflage walked toward her father, they both began to cry.

ONE SOLDIER'S TALE
Alers said she and her company were originally stationed in one of Saddam Hussein’s many palaces in Baghdad, but they currently live in a tomb.

"It’s the tomb of one of Saddam’s relatives," Alers said. "He executed him, then gave him a tomb."

WATCHING FOOTBALL WITH THE SOLDIERS
What's "game day' atmosphere in Baghdad?

"Saturday nights are crazy here in Baghdad. Soldiers show up with their school flags, T-shirts. ... The great thing about the Army is we have soldiers in the unit from all over the United States. In my unit alone, we have some die-hard Alabama, Auburn, Penn State and West Virginia fans. So it has been a good season for me (to) fly the LSU flag with lots of pride every week.'
DETAILS
On the second time through the property where he was found, perhaps five strides inside the front gate, a soldier kicked away some dirt from a spot that looked odd-a spot on top of which a soldier had stood during the first pass. Underneath the dirt was a cloth rug. Underneath that was a rubber mat, which sat atop a thick Styrofoam block.

"We expected something more elaborate. We expected something more well constructed," said Lt. Col. Hickey.

They also expected resistance, he says, but when the block was removed, "two hands appeared. That individual clearly wanted to surrender."

The bearded, bewildered looking man did not reach for the pistol in his lap. He had no chance to get to the two AK-47s that were inside the house. Instead, Lt. Col. Hickey reported, he said, "I am Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, and I am willing to negotiate." One of the soldiers responded, "President Bush sends his regards."
THE ELVES ARE WORKING OVERTIME

And it seems Saddam must have kept up his Winsor Pilates while on the lam...
A 12" action figure is set become a favourite Christmas present this year for young boys seeking a new enemy for their toy soldiers.

The 'Captured Saddam' doll, created by the US toy company Hero Builders, features a bearded Butcher of Baghdad flexing his bulging muscles and wearing a tight-fitting Ace of Spades t-shirt.

The toy makers also sell a Talking Uday doll. The 12" action model of Saddam's son pleads for someone to get his dad to help him before he is shot dead.



ROBIN WILLIAMS ENTERTAINS THE TROOPS
"I'm looking at a group of heavily armed people here," Williams joked with the soldiers, most of them wearing helmets and body armor. "I'm telling myself, 'If you're not funny, it's a problem.'"
TERRORISM

With Saddam removed from all future equations we can now call it what it is.
Police in Baghdad say at least 17 people were killed Wednesday when a fuel truck exploded in an apparent terrorist attack in a residential area of the capital. Details of the incident are still sketchy. But reports say a huge fireball engulfed a nearby minibus and several cars in Baghdad's Al-Bayaa district in the southwest part of the city.

And more terrorism:


A truck loaded with explosives rammed into a small bus and exploded near a police station in Baghdad today, killing at least 10 people, an Iraqi minister said.

The blast occurred before dawn in the al-Bayaa district, police said.

IT IS CHRISTMAS...GIVE A LITTLE MORE

How you can help in the school rebuilding effort in Iraq.

Taken from the website, an excerpt from the original email by a US Army Major in Baghdad.
The Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): I am asking for your help in bringing desperately needed school supplies to the children of our zones here in Baghdad.

Thanks for the tip, Ann.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
The life span for a pair of eyeglasses in Iraq is about two months.

“Because of the sandstorms just beating on the glasses, they aren’t useful,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Brunell, noncommissioned officer in charge at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center, Europe...

Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the center produced an average of 4,900 glasses a month. Since the attacks, total orders have increased to 7,500 a month, with about 1,200 of those glasses going to soldiers downrange.

WINNING
The U.S. military said it captured a rebel leader and 78 other Iraqis Tuesday in an operation north of Baghdad as anti-U.S. attacks and demonstrations persisted in the wake of Saddam Hussein's capture.

In a battle late Monday near Samarra, attackers ambushed a U.S. patrol with a roadside bomb, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. No U.S. soldiers were hurt, but 11 attackers were killed, military officials said.

BY THE WAY...

I'm not sure if I've ever made this clear...

Given her combination of working around the clock, and the lack of available bandwidth at Camp Provider, CPT Patti has not had one single solitary chance to log on and read this, her website, since before she left Germany over 7 months ago.

Occasionally I'll print some of it and mail it to her...but she never sees it online.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17th.

And CPT Patti has been doing the bidding of her country for 220 days.

But today she says she is scheduled to go to Baghdad International Airport , remain overnight and hopefully catch a flight to Kuwait on Thursday. (And if all that works, let me say thanks, about one century after the fact, to Orville and Wilbur...)

Me...I'm trying not to get my hopes up...she is simply on Stand-by after all...

But so far hopes are eluding my best controls...

Monday, December 15, 2003

WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE YOUR SLOGANS WISELY...
Some 700 people in Tikrit cheered and rallied in favor of Saddam, following his weekend capture by U-S forces...

Protestors had been chanting "Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood."

US troops and Iraqi police responded with cheers of "Saddam is in our jail."

CONGRATS AND THANK YOUS (4)

From the parents of a Giessen-based soldier - and readers of CPT Patti's website:
To ALL the U.S. military men and women in the world (but especially in Baghdad)

CONGRATULATIONS! Job WELL done! You are helping to let Freedom ring for all of the world, not just Americans (and yes, that includes the French, whether they like it or not).

Our son called us from Baghdad to give us the news. He was pumped. He said that this is a good day for the Iraqi people. We told him "Thank you for doing your part." Each and every military man and woman there has helped to acheive this goal. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you all for the great Christmas gift! Have a happy PEACEFUL New Year!

Cathy & Bill
Proud Mom and Dad of PFC Aaron - 16th Engineers, Baghdad
EXACTLY RIGHT
Today we imposed an identity change on the insurgents. After Saddam’s capture, the insurgents can no longer be identified as Baathists seeking Saddam’s return.

This is a turning point in the war because — if handled correctly — it can change the fight from a brewing ethnic civil war to one of Iraq and the Coalition against external forces.
PERHAPS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE US ARMY
"Why didn't you fight?" one Governing Council member asked Hussein as their meeting ended.

Hussein gestured toward the U.S. soldiers guarding him and asked his own question: "Would you fight them?"
ON WHAT PLANET?
“I am sad because my people are in bondage.”

- Saddam Hussein to interrogators.
GOOD POINT
Matt Drudge points out that Saddam was found with $750,000 dollars.

And NO Euro.
THAT'S THE WAY I SEE IT TOO
But many more Iraqis, freed from lingering fear that the dictator could return, may be ready to think about their place in the new order and join in the task of rebuilding.

That is the greatest gain the capture may offer U.S. authorities and the Iraqi Governing Council: another chance to win over a part of the population until now excluded from the political transition, especially in the "Sunni Triangle" north and west of Baghdad.
HAS ANYONE SEEN OR HEARD...

the names of the soldier who actually pulled back the styrofoam lid and shone his light down the spider hole?

If you have, can you point me toward it?

Thanks.
PERHAPS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOWARD DEAN
"But you should know that my views on Iraq have not changed one bit."
PERHAPS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ARAB MEDIA
Some Arab TV stations did not carry the announcement of the arrest but the major ones -- including the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya in Dubai, all-news stations that reach around the Arab world -- did.
NO MA'AM...IT DOESN'T GO WITHOUT SAYING

Me, I reckon this is something for the Iraqis to decide.

Some groups wouldn't recognize a good opportunity to shut up if it crawled inside their ears and died.

Sheesh.
The interim Iraqi government said Sunday it wants to try Saddam Hussein before a special tribunal, but a human rights group voiced deep concern about the legitimacy of the newly established panel...

Amnesty International, however, criticized the new Iraqi tribunal as flawed. It demanded that Saddam -- as commander in chief of Iraq's armed forces -- be classified as a prisoner of war...

"Another concern is the death penalty," Shoueiry said. "He should be punished for his crimes, but the death penalty is not included. That goes without saying."


SIMPLE COMMON SENSE
To a person, the Democrat candidates cheer the capture of Hussein but immediately launch into their campaign rhetoric of the need to defer to the UN and “internationalize” our efforts in the region. Were we to have done their bidding as they have been demanding all along, Saddam would not be a captive, he would be emerging from his “spider hole” with three quarters of a million in US bills in his web, ready once again to inject his poisonous injustice on the citizens of Iraq.

Several of the Democrats campaigning for the office of president, had praise for our troops and congratulated them for a job well done. Missing from their praise was any mention of the tenacity of the president and his administration, to stay the course, not yield to the campaign to undermine our efforts in Iraq by liberals and their media cohorts, to keep the pressure on, resulting in the capture of Hussein.
DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THIS STRANGE?
"I don't believe it," shouted Khalid Mahmud, at one shop as the news broke, but his brother was already dashing outside with an AK47 to fire jubilant rounds in the air.

"It's like celebrating a hundred Christmases," said his cousin, firing madly into the air until Iraqis nearby told him to watch where he was shooting.

That in a moment of ecstasy a (presumed) arab compares this moment of joy to...Christmas...?
CONGRATS AND THANK YOUS (3)

From a reader and mother of a 1AD soldier.
My sincere congratulations to every single member of the Armed Forces who so vigilantly focused on their missions and duties in Iraq in order to see this Glorious and Happy Day finally come.

I am so proud to be an American. I am so proud to be the daughter of a retired Air Force Member and the mother of a 1st Armored Division Soldier.

I am just so proud today.

My Son, My Soldier, My Hero is due to leave for R&R very soon, and when he called me at midnight Baghdad time I told him, I am so glad they got him while you are still there. His response was " yes me too"

Look out Osama...we American's are just around the corner and we will never give up our hunt for you. As you can see by the capture of Saddam, you can run, you can even hide in a rat hole, it doesn't matter we're still going to get you.

I salute the 4th ID and all their hard work.

I am so proud , just so so proud....Oh Happy Day !

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight !
CONGRATS AND THANK YOUS (2)

From a reader:
CPT. Patti,

Congrats to you and your team from the folks back here, watching the home-front's butt.

You made our job that much easier today.

You all rock!

Semper Vigilans,

1st. Lt. Rod R

Emergency Services Officer
Chicago Midway Composite Squadron
USAF Auxiliary / Civil Air Patrol
CONGRATS AND THANK YOUS

Here is the one I sent. CPT Patti read it to the soldiers at the morning formation.
Hey Patti!

They've been broadcasting the news of Saddam's apparent capture for about the last hour and a half.

And I want to be the first to get to you and the Gators with my congratulations, and thanks from an American citizen.

I know it was the 4th ID who captured him...but you guys have done your part every day for 217 days to set the conditions for this to happen.

You guys have been there day in and day out...refuting the pundits who called all this "another Vietnam type quagmire"...demonstrating the resolve of the United States of America, the resolve of President Bush even as his opponents for the Presidency called your efforts (this war) wrong.

You guys have demonstrated to the Iraqis that we are serious. You have demonstrated to the Iraqis the power of virtue.

You have demonstrated to the Iraqis that folks of varying backgrounds (white, black, asian, latin, you name it) can pull together as part of a great nation - just as the Kurds and the Sunni and the Shia must do.

And forever and ever so long as you exist on this planet each of you can say "Yes...I was there in downtown Baghdad the day that the Butcher of Baghdad was snatched from the freedom that he didn't deserve and began his march toward the fate he forged for himself with every torture and killing and murder."

You guys played your part.

And I'm extremely proud of you...as millions of us Americans are every day.

Love to you all...

Tim
AS PREDICTED HERE

The bad guys strike back quickly.
Suicide car bombings at two Baghdad area police stations have killed nine people and shattered any hope of a swift end to violence after the capture of Saddam Hussein.

One attacker crashed his car into the gates of Zuhour police station at Husseiniyah, a village 18 miles north of Baghdad, at 8:30 a.m. (5.30 a.m. British time) before detonating explosives that killed himself and seven police, a police spokesman said on Monday.

Around 20 people were wounded.

In Baghdad 30 minutes later a second bomber blew himself up in a car packed with explosives outside Amiriyah criminal investigation department. He died and 12 people -- eight police and four passers-by -- were wounded.

THE GATORS HEAR THE NEWS

When I spoke to CPT Patti this morning she sounded upbeat and wonderful as usual.

I asked her to tell me about when her soldiers heard the news.

CPT Patti has been working the midnight to 0800 shift..."so I was trying to sleep" she said.

"But then there were all these car horns and we could hear the celebratory gunfire. The 1SG knocked on my door and said "Ma'am, they say they've caught Saddam".

"The 1SG and I headed over to the CSM's hooch - he's got the big TV with the news connections...we watched the reports and the press conference."

"The soldiers were psyched. Of course, their first question...'can we go home early now?'...and that isn't going to happen...but you can't blame them."

I told her I am pleased that so many Iraqi's are happy...but to please keep her helmet on since the Iraqis are launching bullets into the air.

"Oh, of course, darling...we are in full battle-rattle."
GOOD NEWS

Lost over the weekend...
Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West will not face a court martial for his alleged use of excessive force against an Iraqi detainee in August, according to reports.

The commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, has decided to impose an Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, ordering West to forfeit $5,000 in pay but allowing him to remain in the military until his scheduled retirement.

Odierno made his decision during a closed administrative hearing in Tikrit, Iraq, on Friday.

West will be allowed to retire at his current rank, his wife said.

And then get started on that book you know he will write...and I will read.
THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS
And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.
TYPICAL RESPONSE

And you can't blame them...but it isn't going to happen.
Christine Burton said her first thought on hearing the news was, “I hope my husband is coming home sooner.”

The troops in Iraq will complete their rotation and the follow on forces will begin theirs.

Saddam's capture doesn't change the fundamental situation...that the Iraqis need a constitution and an elected government and infrastructure repair and an economic makeover.

And if we leave before all that is done, well, the bad guys just leap into the void.

No...our deployed loved ones are not coming home sooner because of this...but who knows...it might happen for the follow-on force.

Let's hope.
MAN'S BEST FRIEND

And these are our men...soldiers of 1-36 and 1-37.
When U.S. troops rolled into Baghdad at the climax of the war last spring, some of them took up security posts by the Palestine Hotel near the east bank of the Tigris River.

A white dog came on the scene, got friendly with the troops, and stayed.

Those soldiers were with the 3rd Infantry Division. Later, their division pulled out and was replaced by the 1st Armored Division...

“She was already there and set in her ways,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Fox, 34, of Newport, R.I., a tank platoon sergeant with the 1st Armored Division’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment...

But, partly thanks to Lucy, the troops at the Palestine have not one dog, but three. The other two are Lucy’s son, the brown-and-white Litefighter – the nickname of Fox’s platoon; and Shellie, a young German shepherd who “came out of nowhere one day,” said Fox, and got along with everyone, man and dog...

And at night, the dogs go fully tactical.

“A lot of times we’re on patrol,” said Fox. “Whenever we walk out the gate, they’re there with us, always in front, lookin’ around. … If any other dogs come into the compound, these three are right there, Lucy leading the charge, chasing them off.”

NEARLY DEAD
Soldiers were seconds away from throwing a hand grenade into the hole when Saddam surrendered, Hickey said.
POSSIBLY A BETTER REJOINDER THAN "NUTS" FROM BASTOGNE IN WWII
"My name is Saddam Hussein," the fallen Iraqi leader told U.S. troops in English as they pulled him out of a dank hole that had become his home. "I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

U.S. soldiers replied: "Regards from President Bush."
CENTCOM NEWS RELEASE

To complete the record. As if...
December 14, 2003
Release Number: 03-12-32


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SADDAM HUSSEIN CAPTURED, IN COALITION CUSTODY

Forces from the 4th Infantry Division, coalition forces and special operations forces captured former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, at approximately 8 p.m. local time yesterday in a remote farm house near Tikrit, Iraq.

Operation “Red Dawn” was launched after gaining actionable intelligence identifying two likely locations near the town of Ad Dwar. The First Brigade Combat team of the 4th ID was assigned the mission to capture or kill Saddam Hussein.

The Forces involved in the operation consisted of approximately 600 soldiers including cavalry, artillery, aviation, engineer and special operations forces. The forces cleared the two objectives but initially did not find the target. An additional suspicious site was identified and searched. The area was a small, walled, mud hut compound with a metal lean-to structure. Within the structure a “spider hole” entrance, camouflaged with bricks and dirt was located. The hole was about 6-8 feet deep with space allowing an individual to lie down. Saddam Hussein was found hiding at the bottom of the hole. He was captured without resistance and is in the control of coalition forces at an undisclosed location

Items confiscated during the raid include two AK-47 rifles, a pistol, $750,000.00 U.S. dollars and one white/orange taxi. Two other individuals who have not been identified were also detained.

No one was injured in the operation. Saddam appears in good health and is undergoing further evaluation.
DO YOU WANT TO GO TO DULUTH OR BY BUS?

I don't know whether to spit or go blind.

CPT Patti called this morning as I was driving to work in a snow shower. (I suppose it is more precise to say I was driving to work in my Honda in the midst of a snow shower...)

And she calls to tell me - get this - that she might be coming home for a few days at Christmas.

Might be?

Seems they've found there are often vacant seats on the R&R bird as it leaves Baghdad and so they are establishing a stand-by list.

And she is on it for the 18th of December.

But it is a stand-by list. So...I'm not sure what to do.

Before that phone rang this morning I was completely OK with spending Christmas day by myself.

Before that phone rang this morning I was totally on track for an early March homecoming.

Before that phone rang this morning I was resigned to the absence of marital privilege for a couple of more months.

Holy buckets, now everything is all in a dither.

I feel as if I have one shoe nailed to the floor, while the other walks me around frantically in circles. A lot of energy expended but to what end I can't be quite certain.

So I tell you what...I'm going to do my best to leave this outcome in the hands of the Lord.

However, if you out there have grown fond of CPT Patti or me...and you want to influence His decision with a fervent prayer...well you feel free.

Cause I'm still trying to decide if I go to Duluth or by bus...
MONDAY. DECEMBER 15th.

CPT Patti and her soldiers have been in doing what they do best for 218 days under Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Me...for 218 days I've been practicing the art of blogging.

So far no one has called to offer me money... I reckon I shouldn't give up the day job...

Sunday, December 14, 2003

WATCH OUT FOR QUICK STRIKES FROM THE BAD GUYS

Because they will want to send signals that today's capture is not a defeat for them.

Of course...it is. But that won't stop them from trying to say it ain't so.

Deeds thinks so too...and he has the chance to talk to Iraqis about it.
"PRAISE THE LORD"

- Senator Joe Lieberman
"ALL IRAQIS WHO HAVE TAKEN THE SIDE OF FREEDOM HAVE TAKEN THE WINNING SIDE"

- President George W. Bush
"HE WAS JUST CAUGHT LIKE A RAT"

- MG Odierno, referring to the lack of resisitance due to Saddam's being found in a small hole in the ground.
"THE CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE IS ANOTHER SIGN THE COALITION AUTHORITY FAILED IN DISARMING THE IRAQI POPULATION"

- CNN News Anchor (I'll get his name next time I see his scrawny ass on TV)
SOME ARE MORE WEASELLY THAN OTHERS
French President's reaction: "It's a major event that should strongly contribute to democracy and stability in Iraq and allow the Iraqis to master their destiny in a sovereign Iraq," French President Jacques Chirac said in a statement.

German Chancellor's reaction: "With much happiness I learned about the arrest of Saddam Hussein," Schroeder wrote in a letter to Bush released by the German government. "I congratulate you on this successful action."

"A major event" says Chirac. We can credit the French President with uttering a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). (Is it for such milquetoast comments l'Academie Francaise exists to protect the purity of the French language???)

"With much happiness...I congratulate you" says Schroeder. Who knows, he may have had to swallow hard and bite bullets, but he said he is happy (is Chirac?) and that he recognizes where the credit goes.

Although it was a long, close race, in the end Chirac pulled way ahead and is therefore awarded the title King Weasel of the World
"GEORGE BUSH GOT HIMSELF RE-ELECTED TODAY"

- Check out clerk at the Giessen Commissary where I bought the hot dogs for the party.
IMPROMPTU HOTDOGS AND BEER

That's how I celebrated with my stairwell neighbors. CPT Will was there.

We had American flags and posters saying "We Got Him". Hot dogs, Fritos, beer, and the Temptations, the Eagles and good old South Carolina style beach music on the boom box.

It was about 45 degrees out...but we made a go of it.

I've just come inside...my feet need thawing.

And I discover that while I was celebrating Sarah was writing the line that I will forever wish I had written.

How soon do you think Chirac will be allowed his conjugal visit?