Monday, November 7, 2005

Sudden Death

Bill Roggio relates how the coalition forces are handling IEDs in Ramadi:

The Coalition is constantly working to use technology to disrupt and neutralize the insurgency's ability to detonate their bombs remotely, the enemy adapts their tactics as well. This is the nature of war. But there is one area where the insurgency's innovations hit the wall: the physical deployment of IEDs. Depending on the size, nature and the deployment of the explosive, it can take quite a bit of time to "plant" a roadside bomb.

Marines in Ramadi are taking advantage of this limitation and are deploying sniper teams to observe and engage insurgents while they deploy their deadly cargo. Over the period of one day, sniper teams killed eight insurgents planting IEDs and wounded the ninth in four separate engagements. Multinational Forces West provides the blow by blow:

"In the first incident, a sniper team observed an insurgent digging a hole along a street that historically contained a high number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The sniper team engaged the insurgent with one round and was able to confirm one enemy killed in action.

"Shortly afterwards, a taxi pulled up and stopped between the body of the insurgent and the sniper team. Three insurgents exited the vehicle and began firing sporadically in all directions with AK-47s. The sniper team engaged all the three individuals and was able to confirm three additional enemy killed in action. At this point, a fourth insurgent got out of the taxi and began firing at the sniper team. The insurgent was engaged as well, but was able to escape in the taxi after being injured.

"In the second incident, a sniper team observed as a vehicle pulled up to a historical IED hole and two insurgents got out to inspect the hole. When the insurgents began pulling out ordnance from the trunk of their vehicle to place in the hole, the sniper team determined hostile intent and engaged both insurgents. The snipers were able to confirm two enemies killed in action.

"In the two other incidents, sniper teams observed two masked men observing their positions at two separate times during the day. Both insurgents were engaged and confirmed killed."

The day's events in Ramadi highlight the fact that while technological solutions are force multipliers, they cannot replace the need for boots on the ground and well-placed trigger-pullers. The solution to the IED threat is, in the end, not better armor or more sophisticated signals disruption, but a permanent presence of security forces and well policed neighborhoods. The dramatic decrease in IED attacks along "Route Irish", the road running from Baghdad International Airport to the city proper, is a prime example of this.

As the Euphrates rat-lines grow more and more difficult for insurgents to transit from Syria to Baghdad, and as more Iraqi police and military come on-line, the frequency of car bombings and IED blasts will steadily diminish. The question at this point may well be not whether the war is being won, because it certainly appears to be, but whether it will stay won after the Americans withdraw.

Timetables, Apologies, and Scalps

This Jonah Goldberg column is worth posting in its entirety:

Just how big a threat was Saddam Hussein? Let's reprise what our leaders had to say on the subject. First, here's the president:

"If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. ... Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction...? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too."

Here is the vice president:

"If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."

Here's the hitch: That was Clinton and Gore in 1998, not Bush and Dick Cheney in 2002.

President Clinton offered his assessment in February 1998. Gore made his observations the following December, defending the military strikes Clinton had ordered against Iraq. These were not off-the-cuff remarks but vetted statements by the two highest officials of the United States.

Clinton and Gore were not alone in their conviction that Saddam had WMDs. France thought so, too, as did Israel, China, Russia, Britain, the United Nations, the CIA and the entire national security team of the Democratic administration. The Germans believed Saddam would have a nuclear weapon within 36 months.

Robert Einhorn, Clinton's deputy assistant secretary of state, told the Senate Governmental Affairs committee in March 2002 that Saddam could have nukes and the missiles capable of striking Europe "within four to five years" and would be able to deliver nukes in America via "non-conventional means." "If Iraq managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material," he said, "these threats could arrive much earlier."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller - the ranking Democratic on the Senate intelligence committee and now a full member of the "Bush lied" chorus - echoed Einhorn's assessment, adding, "I do believe that Iraq is an immediate threat" and "we can no longer afford to wait for a smoking gun."

Sens. Evan Bayh, Joseph Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, and John Edwards all voted for the war.

Most of these Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the president. But now, in one of the most repugnant and craven partisan ploys in modern American history, Democrats have decided that they cannot accept their own responsibility in what they clearly consider to be a mistake. They cannot even criticize the CIA for yet another horribly botched job or stick to the ample areas where constructive criticism is warranted. Instead, the same CIA that liberals derided for years is now heroic, and Senate Minority Leader Reid has decided - now that the Fitzgerald investigation has fizzled - to dedicate his party to slandering the president.

Meanwhile, the Democrats cannot even admit they made a mistake supporting the war - except in that they believed Bush's "lies." But how could Bush have lied? How was he to know the intelligence was wrong? Without knowing that, he could not have lied. But the Democrats will not allow for the possibility that the very same intelligence that prompted Clinton to bomb Iraq also informed Bush's decision to topple Saddam. And they will not even concede that, after 9/11, the argument over WMDs wasn't the best - never mind the sole - argument for toppling Saddam but the easiest one.

"Never again" was the new rule after 9/11, and - after ousting the Taliban - Saddam was the next obvious target. He applauded the attack, funded suicide bombers, defied the international community and, we now know, pretended he had WMDs. Remember: "Regime change" became the official policy of the U.S. in 1998, not 2002. Post-9/11, where would you start?

But the Democrats don't care. They don't care about all the previous investigations or that the planet is watching this spectacle. Or that their shabby accusations feed the very worst theories about America's role in the world. Heck, Howard Dean is recycling the charges in fundraising letters. They don't care that Iraq is poised to become either one of America's greatest achievements or its worst debacles. They want timetables, apologies, and scalps.

But does anyone doubt that if there were no insurgency, with Iraq as far along in the democratic process as it is now, the Democrats would be boasting about their bipartisan support for the war and cackling about how Democrats were right about "nation-building" all along?

But they don't care. In their America, partisanship begins at the water's edge.

Indeed, and in their America integrity is subordinated to political success.

Racism on the Left

It may be hard to imagine outdoing the racism of the KKK, but the Democrats in Maryland where Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele is running for the U.S. Senate are ebulliently doing their best. The Washington Times writes:

When Michael Steele, a Republican, announced that he would seek the Senate seat long held by the popular liberal Democrat Paul Sarbanes, Marylanders should have welcomed his candidacy. He has shattered a considerable number of color barriers on the southern side of the Mason-Dixon line -- and he accomplished as much in a state where voters warm to Democrats and assail anyone attempting to whistle Dixie. But instead of encouraging a conservative-liberal, Democrat-Republican debate on the issues, Maryland Democrats have embarrassed themselves again.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has obtained Mr. Steele's personal credit report, without his consent, and other liberals have tossed mean racial slurs at him, characterizing him as a minstrel clown. We thought the gutter bigotry that first played itself out in the gubernatorial race had lost its glamour in Maryland. Alas, it has not. During that campaign, the white president of the Maryland Senate, Thomas Miller, called Mr. Steele "Uncle Tom." In a debate at the historically black college, Morgan State, Oreo cookies were thrown at Mr. Steele. The Baltimore Sun, Maryland's largest daily newspaper, indulged in a little race-baiting as well, declaring that Mr. Steele brought little to the governor-lieutenant governor team "but the color of his skin."

Imagine, if you can, that these slurs and insults were levelled against a black candidate by conservatives or Republicans. The outrage would occupy every inch of column space in all the major papers and cable news shows in the country. But the bigots are Democrats, black ones at that, directed at a conservative, so there is relative silence. Racist slurs are acceptable to liberals, evidently, as long as they are made in the service of the proper cause.

Michelle Malkin has much more on the story and the sheer hypocrisy of the left/liberals when it comes to race and racism.