Sunday, April 30, 2006

If The US Had Double The Troops In Iraq, We Would Have Doubled The US Fatalities

It is repeated so often that it’s accepted as conventional wisdom that the United States sent too few troops into Iraq. This is ticked off as the top error number one. Even those who opposed sending any troops into Iraq now fault President Bush for sending too few troops.

Is there another side to this argument? Yes, there is.

The international rules of war are very nice. The military of one side uses force to destroy the fighting capability of the other side which must display their weapons in the open, wear uniforms or insignia, and not unnecessarily endanger non-combatants.

So our guys should kill the enemy combatants in Iraq. Unfortunately, our troops do not know who to kill right now. Why? Because the enemy is operating outside the international rule of law. Not only are they hiding among noncombatant civilians, they deliberately target civilians. Some in the US justify their actions.

If the US had double the troops in Iraq, we would have doubled the US fatalities by now. The enemy would have double the targets while we still would not have identified to us who to fight.

From mid 2003, US commanders have said that we needed better intelligence; that means we need information from Iraqis on who to capture or kill. The problem with liberating Iraq is that Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator, had done an excellent job of intimidating the populace. I don’t blame them; I would kowtow too.

The solution to many problems is patience. Our Iraqi allies have successfully conducted three elections in 2005 despite the intimidation of Islamofascists. I certainly wouldn’t have the courage to vote if threatened with violence, and having to dip my finger in purple ink. I am impressed when 70% or 11,000,000 Iraqis vote; others in the US are not. Despite a two-thirds vote requirement, the elected Iraqi Parliament elected a new Prime Minister who has thirty days to form a government.

Is there a plan? Yes. With a legitimate elected government, more Iraqi citizens will assist in tracking down the Islamofascists so they can be killed by the plentiful US, coalition, and Iraqi troops available. Actually, they have already made significant progress.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Dagger to al-Qaeda

Hat tip
The Washington Post Company Editorial
A Dagger to al-Qaeda
Good news in Iraq triggers a bleat from a terrorist -- and a hasty cheer by the Bush administration.
Thursday, April 27, 2006

THE APPEARANCE of an al-Qaeda video on the Internet more often than not is a sign of good news in the war on terrorism. Tuesday's posting by Iraqi commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the latest example: The 34-minute show by the newly unhooded extremist is in part a bid for advantage in factional feuding that has curtailed al-Qaeda's visibility and effectiveness. More important, the terrorist acknowledges that the agreement of Iraq's leading Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties on the country's first permanent postwar government last week was, as he bluntly put it, "a dagger in the heart." The Zarqawi movement has spent the past several years trying to ignite a sectarian war between Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites; the new "unity" government, if it takes hold, could be the turning point toward defeating that strategy.

Iraq's insurgents and terrorists are a long way from beaten, as the daily toll of killings tragically demonstrates. But the nominee for prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has made an encouraging start. Although he has yet to form a cabinet
-- that may take another month -- Mr. Maliki was on Iraqi television Tuesday night appealing for national unity. Though he has been thought of as a relatively uncompromising Shiite partisan, Mr. Maliki promised to appoint nonsectarian ministers and said he believed the participation of "our Sunni brothers" in the government would "dry up the sources" of the insurgency. He appears focused on pragmatic results, saying his top priority after fostering national accord is increasing electricity supplies.

Another sign that this is good news was the appearance in Baghdad yesterday of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
President Bush was said to have ordered them to Iraq to boost the emerging new government and demonstrate the administration's intent "to correct our mistakes and do our part to make Iraq work," as one of Ms. Rice's aides put it. That's a good aim, and Mr. Maliki certainly deserves high-profile support. Still, a lingering question is whether Mr. Rumsfeld and Ms. Rice were in Iraq to revitalize the U.S. mission or to seize on a rare positive moment to inaugurate its retreat.

The administration and U.S. commanders are clearly eager to find reasons to draw down troops from the current total of 132,500 by the fall. Both Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. George W. Casey Jr. seized on the government breakthrough: "I'm still on my general timeline," Gen. Casey told reporters yesterday. Of course, if U.S.
forces can be drawn down without damaging the new government or undermining its ability to fight the insurgency, that will be welcomed by both Americans and Iraqis. But so far Iraq's slow political progress has had no impact on the violence, which has been growing steadily worse. Before welcoming Iraq's new government by pulling out tens of thousands of soldiers, President Bush ought to carefully consider whether that is the best way to achieve the victory he says he seeks.

United 93 The Filmmakers Got It Right

United 93 The filmmakers got it right.

Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Thursday, April 27, 2006

The calendar says it's April 25, 2006. At noon, my wife, Peggy, and I are walking around Battery Park--near the Tribeca area--in New York. It is our first time. The flowers are blooming; kids are fishing; people boarding the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Kids are laughing and noisy. The sun is shining. The vendors are hawking T-shirts, pretzels and some "designer" wares. And just up the street there is a hole in the skyline and in the ground.

In the park, there is a memorial with walls standing tall. Walls filled with so many names of those who gave their all in the Atlantic in World War II. How fitting that the names are here to honor those who gave their lives to enable this fun, this laughter--on this sunny day. The sights and sounds of freedom continue.

Fast forward--it is 10:30 p.m., April 25. We have just seen a movie premiere at the fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival. A film festival that has done so much to energize and revitalize the city, its people and especially the area that has that hole in the skyline and in the ground. This year the movie that had its worldwide premiere at the festival is titled "United 93." It is about the day when the hole in the skyline of New York was made--the day when a hole was made in the side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.--the day when a hole was made in a quiet mountain meadow in Pennsylvania. The day that our nation was attacked; the day when the war came home--Sept. 11, 2001. The day our son Todd boarded United 93.

Paul Greengrass and Universal set out to tell the story of United Flight 93 on that terrible day in our nation's history. They set about the task of telling this story with a genuine intent to get it right--the actions of those on board and honor their memory. Their extensive research included reaching out to all the families who had lost loved ones on United Flight 93 as the first casualties of this war. And Paul and his team got it right.

There are those who question the timing of this project and the painful memories it evokes. Clearly, the film portrays the reality of the attack on our homeland and its terrible consequences. Often we attend movies to escape reality and fantasize a bit. In this case and at this time, it is appropriate to get a dose of reality about this war and the real enemy we face. It is not too soon for this story to be told, seen and heard. But it is too soon for us to become complacent. It is too soon for us to think of this war in only national terms. We need to be mindful that this enemy, who made those holes in our landscape and caused the deaths of some 3,000 of our fellow free people, has a vision to personally kill or convert each and every one of us. This film reminds us that this war is personal. This enemy is on a fanatical mission to take away our lives and liberty--the liberty that has been secured for us by those whose names are on those walls in Battery Park and so many other walls and stones throughout this nation. This enemy seeks to take away the free will that our Creator has endowed in us. Patrick Henry got it right some 231 years ago. Living without liberty is not living at all.
The passengers and crew of United 93 had the blessed opportunity to understand the nature of the attack and to launch a counterattack against the enemy. This was our first successful counterattack in our homeland in this new global war--World War III.

This film further reminds us of the nature of the enemy we face. An enemy who will stop at nothing to achieve world domination and force a life devoid of freedom upon all. Their methods are inhumane and their targets are the innocent and unsuspecting. We call this conflict the "War on Terror." This film is a wake-up call. And although we abhor terrorism as a tactic, we are at war with a real enemy and it is personal.

There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war. Can't we just live and let live and pretend every thing is OK? Let's discuss, negotiate, reason together. The film accurately shows an enemy who will stop at nothing in a quest for control. This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life.

I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."

Be reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life, whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men, women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept. 11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact.

May the taste of freedom for people of the Middle East hasten victory. The enemy we face does not have the word "surrender" in their dictionary. We must not have the word "retreat" in ours. We surely want our troops home as soon as possible. That said, they cannot come home in retreat. They must come home victoriously. Pray for them.

Mr. Beamer is the father of Todd Beamer, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nathan Sharansky on George W Bush

Nathan Sharansky on George W Bush. See Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Dissident President, George W. Bush has the courage to speak out for freedom Monday, April 24, 2006.

“President George W. Bush is such an exception. He is a man fired by a deep belief in the universal appeal of freedom, its transformative power, and its critical connection to international peace and stability. Even the fiercest critics of these ideas would surely admit that Mr. Bush has championed them both before and after his re-election, both when he was riding high in the polls and now that his popularity has plummeted, when criticism has come from longstanding opponents and from erstwhile supporters.”

“The Bush Doctrine, based on a recognition of the dangers posed by non-democratic regimes and on committing the United States to support the advance of democracy, offers hope to many dissident voices struggling to bring democracy to their own countries. The democratic earthquake it has helped unleash, even with all the dangers its tremors entail, offers the promise of a more peaceful world.”

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fanatics Stop Progress in Understanding and Addressing Global Warming

Interesting article in the New York Times April 23, 2006
Meltdown, Yelling 'Fire' on a Hot Planet by ANDREW C. REVKIN
GLOBAL warming has the feel of breaking news these days.

"few scientists agree with the idea that the recent spate of potent hurricanes, European heat waves, African drought and other weather extremes are, in essence, our fault. There is more than enough natural variability in nature to mask a direct connection, they say.

Even recent sightings of drowned polar bears cannot be firmly ascribed to human influence on climate given the big cyclical fluctuations of sea ice around the Arctic."

See Prior Posts:
Kyoto Treaty Was Signed by United States
Nuclear Power Resurgence
U.S. Hurricanes Getting Worse Due to Global Warming? No Global Warming “systematically exaggerated”?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Not So Intense Democrats vs. Not So Demoralized Republican Voting in California 50th Congressional District

How demoralize are the Republicans? In the California 50th Congressional District, Republican Congressman Randy Cunningham had to resign and is now in jail for unbelievable greed and egregious bribery. How intense are the Democrats and liberals to take back the House of Representatives?

Likely many Independents voted, but since there was an Independent on the ballot, could the following calculations approximate the party voter turnout and their intensity.

California 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Tuesday April 11, 2006
Last updated on: 04-12-06 at: 01:30:04
There are approximately 10000 Absentee / Provisional ballots still to be counted

FRANCINE BUSBY – DEMOCRAT (including Green & Peace and Freedom)
Votes 56,147 of 109,906 Registered Voters or 51.1% turnout
Votes 772 of 2,280 Registered Voters or 33.8% turnout
REPUBLICAN TOTAL (all candidates)
Votes 69,880 of 159,547 Registered Voters or 43.8% turnout
Votes 1,042 of 77,804 or 1.3% turnout
Other Parties
Votes 0 of 10,290 Registered Voters or 0.0% turnout

Votes 127,841 of 359,827 Registered Voters or 35.5% turnout

The Libertarian turnout equaled about the same as the district overall 35%. The demoralized Republicans turnout around the 44% while the intense Democrats & liberals at 51%.

In this district that would mean the Republicans would always win.

If lots of Independents voted for the Democrat Busby, that means there were even fewer Democrats who bothered to go vote.

The run-off election will be held on California Primary election day, June 6th, between Democrat Francine Busby and the top Republican former Congressman Brian Bilbray.

Will Press Cover Fitzgerald’s Correction About Scooter Libby?

Last week the Los Angeles Times had big headlines claiming that President George W. Bush leaked authorizing outing the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

See Washington Post article Wednesday, April 12, 2006 Prosecutor in CIA Leak Case Corrects Part of Court Filing by Dafna Linzer.

- “The federal prosecutor overseeing the indictment of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, yesterday corrected an assertion in an earlier court filing that Libby had misrepresented the significance placed by the CIA on allegations that Iraq attempted to buy uranium from Niger.”

- “Fitzgerald wrote [the] sentence said Libby "was to tell Miller, among other
things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to
procure' uranium."

- “Instead, the sentence should have conveyed that Libby was to tell Miller some of the key judgments of the NIE ‘and that the NIE stated that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium’."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Global Warming Stopped in 1998

Did you see the article There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998 by Professor Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook University, Queensland, who is engaged in paleoclimate research? It includes:

■ “for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero)”
■ There was a “28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998”
■ “cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965”
■ “short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin”
■ “now infamous hockey-stick diagram that shows accelerating warming during the 20th century … is now known to be deeply flawed”
■ “During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's.”
■ “for more than 90 per cent of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder, than today"
■ “The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming”

Situation Normal - Iraq & US Democracies Are A Mess

Most Americans see representative democracy appropriately as the ideal. It would be helpful if we better understood that a functioning democracy is pretty messy, requiring lots of give and take.

Getting a majority vote in a legislative body is tough. When a supermajority is required, it forces more consensus, and predictably will take more time.

Some, including those who are rooting for the United States to be defeated in Iraq, act aghast that the Iraqi Parliament has failed to elects its Prime Minister. However, the recently ratified Iraqi constitution requires the Prime Minister receive a two-thirds vote.

By contrast, how does the mature American democracy do? Well, the California budget requires a two-thirds vote, and, although against the law, the legislature regularly fails to approve a budget on time, sometimes by months.

Although not in the United States Constitution, the Senate needs a supermajority 60% vote to pass controversial laws. It is generally recognized that the Judiciary Committee immigration bill does have sixty votes, and the Senate still adjourned without voting on the bill. The disputes include whether to allow votes on fewer or more amendments.

Democracy is difficult, frustrating, and messy. However, according to Winston Churchill “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”