Sunday, March 13, 2005

Are the Insurgents Becoming a Spent Force?

The Strategy Page puts the recent carnage in Iraq into broader perspective.

March 10, 2005: While spectacular suicide car bombings continue, the overall level of attacks continues to decline, as it has since the January 30 elections. The terror attacks now are being done mostly for the benefit of the foreign media, for the killings are only making the population more hostile to the al Qaeda and Sunni Arab groups that are responsible for nearly all the violence. The terrorists are being hit as never before, with more police raids into neighborhoods known to be terrorist strongholds. Weapons and bomb making materials are seized and arrests made.

Sometimes, the resistance is heavier than expected. A raid today in Baghdad resulted in 14 policemen and at least four terrorists getting killed, as well as 65 policemen, and over a hundred terrorists and civilians wounded. The resistance was so fierce because the terrorists are running out of places to hide. Many have already had to flee "friendly neighborhoods" several times in the last few months. Terrorists are having a harder time recruiting because of this, and many terrorist cells are down to the hard core. These guys will stand and fight, and get killed.

Iraqi media is playing the battle between the terrorists and the security forces for what it is, gang-busters. Confessions of captured terrorists are televised, and camera crews increasingly accompany the Iraqi police on their raids, or to crime scenes where the bodies of terrorist victims have been discovered. The fact that the terrorists are now killing women and children is pointed out, as this is considered over-the-line behavior, and the mark of true outlaws.

It would be nice if the evening news would provide a little of this context along with their reports of car bombings and assassinations. By largely omitting the background they leave their viewers with the impression that all is chaos and carnage in Iraq, and that the situation is hopelessly out of hand. This is not fair to anyone involved and certainly not fair to the viewers. The fact that people have to go elsewhere for a fuller understanding of this conflict is one reason why the evening news in particular and the MSM in general is going the way of the dinosaurs.

Liberalism's Lunatic Fringe

For the truly troubled libs even a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker is like a strobe light to an epilectic:

TAMPA - Politics has always been divisive, splitting families and turning friend against friend. This week, though, a Tampa woman learned that simple Bush-Cheney bumper sticker can bring trouble, if not danger, from a total stranger. Police say Michelle Fernandez, 35, was chased for miles Tuesday by an irate 31-year-old Tampa man who cursed at her as he held up an anti-Bush sign and tried to run her off the road.

His sign, about the size of a business letter, read: Never Forget Bush's Illegal Oil War Murdered Thousands in Iraq.

"I guess this was a disgruntled Democrat," Tampa Police spokesman Joe Durkin said. "Maybe he has that sign with him so he's prepared any time he comes up against a Republican."

Police arrested Nathan Alan Winkler at his home on N Cleveland Street near Hyde Park within an hour of the incident. After finding the antiwar sign in his car, they booked him into the county jail on one count of aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, Durkin said.

Durkin said Winkler told police officers he got upset with Fernandez because she "gave him the finger." Fernandez told the Times Wednesday that "whatever gestures I made, I made them because I was trying to figure out why he was honking at me and pointing to his sign."

"At first I didn't know why he was screaming at me," she said. "Then it clicked." In her frantic nine-minute call Tuesday to a 911 dispatcher, Fernandez said it was the Bush Cheney '04 bumper sticker on her green Ford Expedition that set the other driver off.

"I was just almost run off the road by a man," she told the dispatcher at 5:14 p.m. She was taking her son, 10, and daughter, 3, to a ballfield. "He just ran me off because I have a Bush bumper sticker in my car. He had some type of - he drove up next to me with - he had a sign on it like hanging from his - from the passenger window, that said something about the war in Iraq....I'm shaking like a leaf."

Durkin said Winkler started following Fernandez at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Armenia Avenue shortly after 5 p.m. "He told our officers that he just got mad at her, so he went after her," Durkin said. As Fernandez drove south on Armenia, the other driver pulled alongside her in his black 1996 Nissan, beeping his horn and "flailing his arms," according to a police report.

He held the antiwar sign up to his passenger-side window, she said, following her along busy streets in south and west Tampa and veering into her path, forcing her to swerve to avoid a collision. She pleaded with the dispatcher for help and tried to get away by running through stop signs and changing directions.

"Oh, now he's following me! I'm gonna get back on Kennedy now. I don't know what to do!" she told the dispatcher, her voice rising. At one point the man pulled his car in front of Fernandez's, got out and started running toward her, Fernandez told police."He just pulled over next to me, he's stopping the car, it's ridiculous, this man!" she said. "He's running after my car. Oh my goodness, he's a fanatic, he's in the middle of the street!"

She drove along Arrawana Avenue and Habana Street, then back onto Kennedy Boulevard, but she couldn't shake him, Durkin said. "He's trying to hurt us. Look at this, what a moron," she said. "Look at him!... Idiot!"

The dispatcher told Fernandez to drive to the Tampa police office near Raymond James Stadium, but she drove instead to the ballfield where she had been headed with her children before the chase. She met with a police officer and carefully described the Nissan and its tag number, Durkin said.

Officers traced the tag to Winkler, went to his home within an hour and arrested him. "This could have been tragic, for her and her children and for other people on the road as this was going on," Durkin said. "But she did all the right things. She showed remarkable poise, she didn't engage him. She called us."

"I respect him for having his beliefs and feeling so strongly," Michelle Fernandez said Wednesday night, her nerves still frayed. "But here he is protesting the war and lost lives, and he is going to put me and my children in danger? This man has a serious problem."

Yes, he does, and he's not alone. Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the tip.

Disposable Society

Some time ago, I learned that my daughter's boyfriend had been "kicked" out of his home by his father. I don't know the reason why but the fact was he was "out of doors". He had nowhere to go and his prospects where dim. I lent him some money to make a down payment on an apartment and he paid the loan back monthly.

Today, while in church waiting for the service to begin my daughter related to me a particularly disturbing story of two friends of hers - one child who's father had married the mother of the other child and both children have recently been "kicked" out for no better reason than the parents wanted time alone with each other.

While my daughter and I were working on her application for room and board for the college she will be attending this August, there was a section where she could indicate a roommate if she had a preference. My daughter had planned to room with a friend of hers from high school but she informed me that she might not be attending college because she, too, had recently been "kicked" out of her home and would have to be responsible for her college expenses.

I'm just one person who has learned of this sick phenominon in which four children are "out of doors". What does that extrapolate to nation wide?

I have a degree in psychology yet I simply cannot understand what enables a parent to abandon their children. What possible rationale can someone construct that enables them to justify in their own minds such behavior?

I have wondered why America isn't referenced in the book of Revelations in the events that unfold at that time. I've come to the conclusion that we, as a nation, will simply be irrelevant by the time those events unfold. We will have been judged, long before then for our selfishness, greed, and avarice, and found woefully wanting.