Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Christopher Hitchens brings his inestimable skills as a journalist to bear in a dissection of the organizations behind the "antiwar" rallies this past weekend in this piece in Slate.

Here are a few appetizers:

The name of the reporter on this story [in the New York Times] was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the genocidaires in Rwanda.

Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper-to mention only two radical left journalists-who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another.

It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

There are only two serious attempts at swamp-draining currently under way. In Afghanistan and Iraq, agonizingly difficult efforts are in train to build roads, repair hospitals, hand out ballot papers, frame constitutions, encourage newspapers and satellite dishes, and generally evolve some healthy water in which civil-society fish may swim. But in each case, from within the swamp and across the borders, the most poisonous snakes and roaches are being recruited and paid to wreck the process and plunge people back into the ooze. How nice to have a "peace" movement that is either openly on the side of the vermin, or neutral as between them and the cleanup crew, and how delightful to have a press that refers to this partisanship, or this neutrality, as "progressive."

We're sure that the rallies in Washington and elsewhere attracted many good-hearted patriots who are also opponents to American policy in Iraq, but when one climbs into the sty with pigs one gets more than mud on one's shoes. If opponents of the war really want to gain a hearing for their arguments they should stop hanging out in the sty.

Delay's Indictment

Anyone interested in the full story on the Tom Delay indictment should visit Michelle Malkin's site. She has lots of analysis and links. The short version is that this looks like an ugly political hit job on Delay. Whether you like the guy or not, anyone with a basic commitment to fairness should at least be skeptical of the justice of this indictment brought by District Attorney Ronnie Earle who has repeatedly used his power to harrass conservative political figures of both parties.

Earle's indictment of Delay, whether or not there's anything to it, hands the Democrats a club with which to beat the Republicans for the next several months, and they will not scruple to employ it. If Delay is guilty of an infraction then, of course, he should pay the penalty (just as Bill Clinton and Al Gore should have paid the penalty for taking illicit campaign contributions from Chinese businessmen and Buddhist nuns). But if this indictment gets thrown out of court for want of substance, as it certainly appears that it might, then Earle should be disbarred for abuse of his office.

The Cascade Effect

Security Watchtower documents the degradation of enemy leadership in Iraq over the last month. Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail comments on this and notes that "in the Anbar and Diwana provinces, sixteen leaders, including six "emirs", five senior facilitators and 5 brigade or cell leaders have been killed or captured. This list excludes the Coaliton's success in dismantling the al-Ahwal brigade in the city of Hit."

Each success leads to a cascade of further successes. Every capture of enemy documents and leadership provides us with intelligence which leads to the elimination, in one way or another, of more of the enemy's leaders. The steady loss of this expertise and the constant fear of capture or sudden death must be taking a serious toll on the morale of the insurgents.

Wretchard at Belmont Club describes the difficulties the enemy is facing and concludes with this observation:

[T]he worst of it is the wastage to cadres. Those who write that body counts are a meaningless metric to apply against the insurgency ignore the fact that formations which sustain heavy casualties lose their organizational memory while those who suffer lightly retain them. Lt. Col. Joseph L'Etoile is on his third and half of his men are on their second tours of Iraq . For Abu Nasir and many of his foreign fighters, the memory of what to avoid next time has been lost on this, their last tour of Iraq.

Wretchard borrows heavily from Bing West writing at Slate. Part of West's post follows:

A wide strip of blacktop running straight southwest from Fallujah, Route Boston is flanked by thick groves of palm trees that provide cover for terrorists armed with explosives. Boston was often closed to traffic, demonstrating that the insurgents, defeated in pitched battle, could successfully revert to classic guerrilla tactics. One option to reduce the threat of IEDs was to remove the vegetation. But clearing acres of trees would deprive thousands of farmers of shaded pastureland for their livestock.

Instead of cutting down the trees, the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Joseph L'Etoile, set out to track down the people who had set the mine. This was L'Etoile's third "pump," or deployment, to Iraq. Half of his 1,000-man battalion had at least one prior pump. Drawing on that experience, L'Etoile sent out 96-hour patrols through the countryside along the highway. Every day, dozens of Marines scoured the palm groves, checking farms and back roads, thinking like guerrillas about hide sites and escape routes. At night, the Marines moved to their own hide sites, sent out night patrols, got up in the morning and moved on, usually startling farmers accustomed to seeing Americans only on the roads.

On the second day of his patrol, Staff Sgt. Van Schoik was leading 26 Marines through a farmyard a few hundred yards from where Pfc. Romero had been killed. Van Schoik noticed that the cars on Route Boston were slowing down and then driving away at high speed. Approaching the highway slowly, the Marines noticed a spot where the swamp reeds were bent over. In the mud near a culvert, they found a cache of a dozen artillery shells-about 800 pounds of high explosives, enough to rend the stoutest armored vehicle.

When they saw the insurgents, the drivers had hastily fled. Van Schoik sent a squad across the highway to cut inland and set up a blocking position. He took the rest of his force, spread out, and then noisily surged forward, searching through the undergrowth. Van Schoik never saw the two insurgents-the digger with a shovel and his guard with an AK-47-break cover on the other side of the road and race toward their safe house, a farm in a palm grove several hundred meters away. When the Marine blocking force stepped into view in front of them, the insurgents tried to escape across an open field and were shot down.

Read the whole post. It's an interesting perspective on the day to day work of our Marines.