Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Times Online: Israeli Struck Syrian Nuke Site

“We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

In a midnight surprise raid on September 6, Israeli Defence Forces blew apart what it believed was a cache of nuclear weapons, a British newspaper said at its website.

Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.

Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

Friday, September 14, 2007

FOX News Poll: Rudy Giuliani Preferred President Over Hillary Clinton If Terrorists Attack America


The latest FOX News poll shows that if the United States were hit with a terrorist attack, by a 50 percent to 36 percent margin, Americans would rather have Giuliani in charge than Clinton, including 28 percent of Democrats and an overwhelming 80 percent of Republicans. Independents split in Giuliani’s favor 47 percent to Clinton’s 28 percent.

Full results, PDF.

Karl Rove said he believed that Hillary Clinton was a smart, capable campaigner but that she was a "fatally flawed" candidate. These poll results show why.

Also buried deep in the data is this festering sore: At 45%, she has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate currently seeking the office of President. And, at 49% she remains unable to get her favorable ratings over half, a key measure in estimating a candidate's "electability." Her favorable/unfavorable figures have been stubbornly ugly for her, despite a well coordinated media "in kind" contribution casting her in the best possible light.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Petraeus and Crocker at the Press Club

MNF-Iraq Commander GEN David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker speak about the current status of conditions in Iraq at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Confederate Yankee Is Pregnant!

Breakthrough blogger and journalist extraordinaire Bob Owens is pregnant. Hey Bob... They know what causes that, now.

Confederate Yankee is the blogosphere equivalent of Woodward and Bernstein circa early 1970's. He's done journalistic heavy lifting (i.e., fact-checking, i.e., reporting, i.e., investigating) on the Scott Beauchamp debacle at the New Republic and most recently instigated the Moveon.org ad price scandal.

Now that Mrs. CY has been appointed his designated driver for the next oh, nine months or so, you may want to go drop a dollar or two in the tip jar.

AP Gives Election to Democrats... One Year Early

Key dates and events in the Iraq war -- AP via Yahoo! News:

Before they change it (it's obviously a typo):


March 17 — President Bush gives Saddam Hussein 48-hour deadline to give up power. U.S.-led invasion of Iraq begins three days later.

May 1 — On an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, President Bush declares "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Dec. 13 — Saddam Hussein captured while hiding in hole in ground near Tikrit; hanged after trial.



April — Photographs surface of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Oct. 6 — Top U.S. arms inspector in Iraq finds no evidence that Saddam's regime produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991, discounting a main justification of the war.



Feb. 23 — Revered Shiite shrine in Samarra bombed, triggering onslaught of sectarian violence.

May 3 — The first democratically elected Iraqi government sworn in.

Nov. 7 — In what is widely viewed as a referendum on the war in the United States, Republicans lose both House and Senate.



Nov. 8 — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns; Bush nominates former CIA director Robert Gates as successor.

Dec. 31 — American deaths in the Iraq war reached 3,000.



Jan. 10 — Bush commits more than 21,500 additional American troops to Iraq — a military buildup that has grown to 30,000 with support troops.

July 12 — White House report required by Congress says Iraq has made satisfactory progress on eight of 18 political and security benchmarks, unsatisfactory progress on eight and that it's too early to judge progress on two.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

McCain to Clinton: Ain't Tough Enough

The Weekly Standard:

McCain released another statement chiding Clinton for her failure to condemn MoveOn's attack on Petraeus:

"Senator Clinton said that believing General Petraeus' testimony requires a 'willing suspension of disbelief.' I think it willingly suspends disbelief to not repudiate an advertisement run by a radical left wing organization that impugns and dishonors the integrity of a man who has served his nation with dedication all of his life. If you're not tough enough to repudiate a scurrilous, outrageous attack such as that, then I don't know how you're tough enough to be President of the United States."



Combat Engineers are da shit

These are the baddest asses on the battlefield.

Trivia Question:  What is the only unit to have gone in at both Omaha and Utah beaches at the same time?

[cue jeopardy theme]

Oh, I'll go ahead and give you the answer:  299th Combat Engineer Battalion.

Hoo Ahh.

AL ASAD -- Whether it is building or renovating, combat engineers are always working hard to ensure that service members have what they need to make work or life a little better. Recently, the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 took on a mission that has an affect on service members throughout Iraq.

The engineers of MWSS-271 have started the Rapid Runway Repair project, which is designed to fix problem areas on Al Asad’s runways.

“The problem is that there are holes in the runway from where the concrete expands and contracts from the heat and it starts breaking up,” explained Sgt. David Poole, a combat engineer for MWSS-271. “When you have holes in the flightline, the planes have trouble landing or taxiing.”

The repair on Aug. 11 was the second of many upcoming repairs that will be conducted by the ’271 engineers. The repairs are completed in small sections, so that they do not interfere with normal operations.

“We go in and cut out the portion that is starting to come up where there are holes and we jackhammer all the stuff out and put in pavement, which is runway repair material,” said Poole. “It gives it a solid surface and stops it from cracking.”

The engineers have primarily been focused on minor projects around the base, before starting on the runway repair.

“We have been building SWA huts, gyms for units, a detention facility for (the Provost Marshal’s Office), just small construction projects,” said Poole. “It’s a big change, definitely different. It’s part of our job and I feel like I’m really doing my job out here doing (runway repair) because I know it means something.”

Although the MWSS-271 engineers have primarily been tasked with small projects, their performance during the first runway repair was the catalyst for more work.

“They finally decided to give us a shot at it to see how we could do it, and we ended up doing it ahead of schedule,” Poole explained. “We had two nights allotted to us on the flight line, where they shut it down for us, and it didn’t even take one full night. So now they see that we can and we are going to be repairing a lot more.”

Just like any other group of Marines in the Corps, the engineers attribute teamwork to their success.

“Everyone gets along well and knows their job” said Poole. “It’s all planned out before we get out there, so everybody knows exactly what they will be doing and when they’ll be doing it.”

If planes cannot land or taxi, then supplies cannot get where they need to be in a timely matter. The engineers understand and relish the fact that repairing the runway is essential to the overall mission here.

“(Rapid runway repair) is one of the only projects that’s an asset to the (whole) base,” said Cpl. Jessica Torelli, a combat engineer for MWSS-272. “We usually work fast and efficiently. When things need to be done, we work together pretty well.”

The first two projects went well and the engineers plan on continuing their success, according to Poole.

“We have a couple more missions signed up and all the Marines are excited.” said Poole. “This is important to the overall mission in Iraq, its not like building a desk for somebody. We are doing something that is going to be noticed and needed for the mission.”

Nukes in Syria?

Report: Israel spots nuclear installations in Syria:

Washington official says Israeli surveillance shows possible Syrian nuclear installation stocked by North Korea, Israeli Arab newspaper claims target of alleged raid last week was Syrian missile base financed by Iran.

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Petraeus and Crocker in a Pit of Vipers Today

This morning, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are entering a pit of Vipers.

The Senatorial Snakes of the Foreign Affairs Committee:

Joseph Biden
Christopher J. Dodd
John F. Kerry
Russell D. Feingold
Barbara Boxer
Bill Nelson
Barack Obama
Robert Menendez
Benjamin L. Cardin
Robert P. Casey Jr.
Jim Webb
Richard Lugar
Chuck Hagel
Norm Coleman
Bob Corker
John E. Sununu
George V. Voinovich
Lisa Murkowski
Jim DeMint
Johnny Isakson
David Vitter

You might see a few friendly names on that list, but virtually every member of this committee is invested in defeat. Even the Republicans are questionable.

Update:But it gets a little (only a little) better this afternoon:

Carl Levin
Edward M. Kennedy
Robert C. Byrd
Joseph I. Lieberman
Jack Reed
Daniel K. Akaka
Bill Nelson
E. Benjamin Nelson
Evan Bayh
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Mark L. Pryor
Jim Webb
Claire McCaskill
John McCain
John W. Warner
James M. Inhofe
Jeff Sessions
Susan M. Collins
Saxby Chambliss
Lindsey O. Graham
Elizabeth Dole
John Cornyn
John Thune
Mel Martinez
Bob Corker

Must See Blog of the Month

9/11 Truth March and Power to the Peaceful Festival

Zombie's photo essay just must be seen to be appreciated.

Fourteen Terrorists Killed; 20 Surrender

Coalition forces in Baghdad, Bayji and Kirkuk completed operations that resulted in 14 Tangos being sent to Allah and 20 more surrendering.  In the first operation, coalition forces targeted the expected replacement for the al-Qaeda in Iraq emir of the southern belts around Baghdad, who was killed in a Coalition operation Sept. 5.

A group of armed men engaged Coalition forces with heavy small arms fire. Coalition forces responded in self-defense, returned fire and called in close air support to engage the enemy force. Coalition forces ground and air fire killed six armed men in the engagement.

Also in Baghdad, Coalition forces captured a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq operative allegedly associated with senior terrorist leaders. In addition to the wanted individual, the ground forces detained four other suspected terrorists.

“We’ve been putting consistent pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq and impairing its ability to attack innocent Iraqis,” said Maj. Winfield Danielson, MNF-I spokesman. “We will continue our aggressive operations to bring security to Baghdad and the surrounding areas.”

In northern Iraq, Eight terrorists were killed and 15 suspected terrorists were detained during Coalition operations Tuesday targeting the al-Qaeda in Iraq network. Coalition forces conducted two operations targeting the al-Queda in Iraq network that conducts attacks and facilitates the movement of foreign terrorists in northwestern Iraq. Several armed men engaged Coalition forces during a raid in a desolate area six miles from the Syrian border.

Coalition forces returned fire in self-defense, killing six armed men. Coalition forces also discovered two men hiding inside a tent, one of whom detonated a suicide vest he was wearing, killing only himself and the other terrorist. Coalition forces found several suicide vests, weapons, rockets, grenades and $18,000 in U.S. currency at the site. They also detained one individual. In the second operation, in the far western part of Ninewa province, Coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists.

In Bayji, Coalition forces captured a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq leader believed to have taken over the sniper and assassination network in the area after Coalition forces captured his predecessor Aug. 4.

Also in the Tigris River Valley, ground forces detained one suspected terrorist near Balad for his alleged ties to a network known to attack Coalition forces.

Iraqi and Coalition forces in Kirkuk targeted the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader of the city’s car-bombing network, who also facilitates the movement of foreign terrorists who conduct suicide attacks. The ground forces detained seven suspected terrorists and found a cache of bomb-making materials, which they safely destroyed on site.

“Terrorists have no safe haven in Iraq,” said Maj. Winfield Danielson, MNF-I spokesman. “We will continue to find al-Qaeda in Iraq’s leaders and operatives and foil their attempts to destabilize the elected government.”

Trashing Petraeus

OpinionJournal - Featured Article:

MoveOn.org, and the new standards of Democratic debate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Important as was yesterday's appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the events leading up to his testimony may have been more significant. Members of the Democratic leadership and their supporters have now normalized the practice of accusing their opponents of lying. If other members of the Democratic Party don't move quickly to repudiate this turn, the ability of the U.S. political system to function will be impaired in a way no one would wish for.

Well, with one exception. MoveOn.org, the Democratic activist group, bought space in the New York Times yesterday to accuse General Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House." The ad transmutes the general's name into "General Betray Us."

"Betrayal," as every military officer knows, is a word that through the history of their profession bears the stain of acts that are both dishonorable and unforgivable. That is to say, MoveOn.org didn't stumble upon this word; it was chosen with specific intent, to convey the most serious accusation possible against General Petraeus, that his word is false, that he is a liar and that he is willing to betray his country. The next and obvious word to which this equation with betrayal leads is treason. That it is merely insinuated makes it worse.

MoveOn.org calls itself a "progressive" political group, but it is in fact drawn from the hard left of American politics and a pedigree that sees politics as not so much an ongoing struggle but a final competition. Their Web-based group is new to the political scene, but its politics are not so new. More surprising and troubling are the formerly liberal institutions and politicians who now share this political ethos.

In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times, after saying that President Bush "isn't looking for the truth, only for ways to confound the public," asserted that "General Petraeus has his own credibility problems." We read this as an elision from George Bush, the oft-accused liar on WMD and all the rest, to David Petraeus, also a liar merely for serving in the chain of command. With this editorial, the Times establishes that the party line is no longer just "Bush lied," but anyone who says anything good about Iraq or our effort there is also lying. As such, the Times enables and ratifies MoveOn.org's rhetoric as common usage for Democrats.

Late last week, for instance, we heard it said of General Petraeus that, "He's made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual." This was from Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, said Thursday that General Petraeus would not be the author of his report; it would be written "by Administration political operatives." He opened yesterday's hearing, moments before General Petraeus was to speak, by saying, "We cannot take anything this Administration says on Iraq at face value."

So far, only two Democrats that we are aware of have repudiated this political turn. Joe Lieberman, already ostracized from the party for dissent, called the MoveOn ad an "act of slander that every member of the Congress--Democrat and Republican--has a solemn responsibility to condemn." And Joe Biden, after the MoveOn ad was read to him on "Meet the Press" Sunday, replied: "I don't buy into that. This is an honorable guy. He's telling the truth."

These are the exceptions. Another of the party's activist groups, Democracy for America, released a statement about the time General Petraeus began to speak: "It is offensive that our commander-in-chief has ordered a four-star general to mislead Congress."

As General Petraeus finished his statement yesterday, Senator Chris Dodd's Presidential campaign spammed an email about "the accuracy" of the report: "The fact that there are questions about General Petraeus's report is not surprising given that it was brought to you by this White House." Thus in Mr. Dodd's view, General Petraeus, returned from the Iraq battlefield, is a complicit ventriloquist's dummy.

Can this really be the new standard of political rhetoric across the Democratic Party? There was a time when the party's institutional elites, such as the Times, would have pulled it back from reducing politics to all or nothing. They would have blown the whistle on such accusations. Now they are leading the charge.

Under these new terms, public policy is no longer subject to debate, discussion and disagreement over competing views and interpretations. Instead, the opposition is reduced to the status of liar. Now the opposition is not merely wrong, but lacks legitimacy and political standing. The goal here is not to debate, but to destroy.

Today General Petraeus testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Its Democratic Members include Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer and Jim Webb. This would be the appropriate setting to apologize to General Petraeus for the MoveOn.org ad. Or let it stand.