Friday, March 3, 2006

Maybe This Time?

This could very well be just another vain hope or it could be something more concrete. It's not clear yet, but since the word is out there we offer it for what it is worth. There is reason to believe that operations in Anbar province in Iraq may have resulted in the capture of Abu al-Zarqawi. Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail urges caution, but he mentions the report nonetheless:

The death or capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's commander in Iraq who is affectionately called the "Sheikh of Slaughters" by his admirers, would be a tremendous psychological victory to the Iraqi people and the American public. The Kuwait News Agency is reporting that Multinational Forces - Iraq is investigating claims that Zarqawi may have been detained during the raid on the Jazerra region, which sits north of Ramadi and Fallujah. According to KUNA, "A MNF officer did not confirm or deny the arrest, noting that the US forces are still investigating the reports... Meanwhile, sources in the Iraqi Army said that Al-Zarqawi could be among those arrested in the operation on Monday."

Enthusiasm should be muted at this time as we have been down this path several times. It has been believed Zarqawi has been close to death or capture on several occasions, including February of 2005, when he was almost captured in Fallujah (his laptop was seized and driver captured during the raid); April of 2005, when he was thought to be cornered in Ramadi; May of 2005, when Zarqawi evaded capture and was wounded in the Qaim region, and later thought dead; November of 2005, when he was believed to be in Mosul during a raid on a al-Qaeda safe house; and February of 2006 when reports indicated Zarqawi may be in the Hamrin region of north-central Iraq [located between Tikrit and Kirkuk].

Zarqawi is being sought by the hunter-killer teams of Task Force 626. This is an elite team of professionals, likely made up of elements from the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Defense Intelligence Agency, NSA, and CIA. Multinational Forces - Iraq is very sensitive about the operations and whereabouts of this group. During my time in Iraq, questions about Task Force 626, their mission and any cooperation with conventional forces went unanswered, or the answers were so vague as to be meaningless.

Don't pop the cork on the champagne yet, but it wouldn't hurt to make sure that it's chilled.

More From Congressman Paul

Independently of whether or not this unfolds, it looks like the Democrats will gain seats in the mid-term election as well as, perhaps, win the election in 2008.

If so, it may soon be time to start looking for real estate in Costa Rica.

From the link:

Republican Congressman Ron Paul has gone on record with his prediction that the impeachment of George W. Bush is right around the corner but warned that in the meantime the US was slipping perilously close to a dictatorship.

The Port Debacle

This is an interesting article in that it looks at the issue from a different perspective.

From the link:

There's nothing necessarily wrong with a company from the United Arab Emirates being involved in U.S. port operations. After all, Islamic terrorists have lived in many European countries, and nobody suggests that E.U. corporations should be similarly disqualified.

Business As Usual

From the link:

The Bush administration has informed Congress of a review of the UAE acquisition of a British manufacturer of engine components for U.S. military aircraft and main battle tanks. The British firm operates nine factories, including military production facilities in Connecticut and Georgia.

The Evil Empire

Confirming what everyone except the willfully blind already knew, an Italian parliamentary investigative commission has concluded that the Soviet Union was indeed behind the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. At that time Leonid Brezhnev was the mafia capo running the Soviet Union, and he must have signed off on the hit. That's the same Leonid Brezhnev that Jimmy Carter warmly embraced.

It turns out that Ronald Reagan stroked the ball with the fat part of the bat when he called the old U.S.S.R. the evil empire:

"This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the leadership of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate Pope John Paul," the report said. "They relayed this decision to the military secret services for them to take on all necessary operations to commit a crime of unique gravity, without parallel in modern times."

The report also says "some elements" of the Bulgarian secret services were involved but that this was an attempt to divert attention away from the Soviet Union's alleged key role.

Any day now the liberal media will aggressively report this story. If not this year then surely next. Just as soon as they've gotten Bush impeached for lying about whatever they can bamboozle the public into believing he lied about.

From The Mighty Mogambo Guru

The latest great read of the Mogambo can be found here where he says

Now you want to know, "What upheaval?" Well, on the site we read, "The Laboratoire europ�en d'Anticipation Politique Europe 2020 (LEAP/E2020) now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006, will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929." I re-read, and re-read, and re-read that part about it being "comparable" to 1929, which is the year that the stock market crashed and ushered in the Great Depression. But there is, so these guys say, only an 80% chance of that, which is the exact odds my wife figured of our marriage lasting less than a week.

I need to make one correction on an otherwise great article from the Mogambo. He says:

I sort of remember a quote by Benjamin Franklin, who was asked, when they finished work on the Constitution, "And what kind of government do we have?" He replied, "A democracy, if you can keep it."

Actually, Benjamin Franklin replied "A Republic, if you can keep it."

It's a small detail but actually makes all the difference in the world. The framers of the Constitution knew a democracy would never work. A democracy is a failed concept that leads a nation into oblivion. A republic form of government was our only hope. Unfortunately, we are no longer a republic.

The Katrina Video Hype

I watched the video of the briefings given the president about the potential damage Katrina could cause to New Orleans, and I honestly couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. To listen to the hyperventilated media reports you would have thought that they'd been handed proof that George Bush knew in advance where, when, and how the 9/11 attack would unfold. The Katrina briefing, as best I could tell, said very little that was relevant to what actually occurred in New Orleans.

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters agrees:

For those who want to see the transcripts themselves of the video conferences, the New York Times has them for the August 28th and August 29th briefings Get the links at Morrissey's site). The transcript for the 29th makes one garbled mention of the levees around New Orleans (page 6). After making the point that the storm surge would cause the greatest devastation in the Gulfport area of Mississippi, going as high as 21 feet, Max Mayfield then turns to New Orleans:

MAX MAYFIELD: ... The rest of the track we have 10 to 15 feet, in a few areas up to 16 feet. At least glimpsed it out, and Louisiana can talk a little bit more about this than I can, but it looks like the Federal levies [sic] around the City of New Orleans will not have been (incomprehensible) any breaches to.

That certainly doesn't sound like a warning -- and this was on the day the levees broke. That transcript clearly shows that the conference considered the storm surge and precipitation runoff to be the major threats of flooding in New Orleans. The possibility of breaches, even on the 29th, had been discounted.

The transcript from the August 28th meeting talked more about levees, but in the same vein, and this time no one mentions the word "breach". Starting on page 5, Max Mayfield again talks about the dangers of Lake Pontchartrain, but only in the context of the winds created a surge that could overtop the levees:

"One of the valleys here in Lake Pontchartrain, we've got on our forecast track, if it maintains its intensity: about 12 1/2 feet of storm surge in the lake. The big question is going to be: will that top some of the levies? And the currrent track and the forecast we have now suggests there will be minimal flooding in the city of New Orleans itself, but we're -- we've always said that the storm surge model is only accurate within 20 percent."

"If that track were to deviate just a little bit to the west, it would -- it makes all the difference in the world. I do expect that there will be some of the levies over top even out here in the western portions where the airport is. We've got valleys that can't overtop some of the levies."

"The problem we're going to have here -- remember, the winds go counterclockwise around the center of the hurricane. So if the really strong winds clip Lake Pontchartrain, that's going to pile some of that water from Lake Pontchartrain over on the south side of the lake. I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levies will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very, very grave concern."

Again, the entire briefing that related to levees only focused on the effects of the wind on Lake Pontchartrain and its effect in pushing water over the top of the levees. Mayfield never even addressed the possibility of breaches in the levee walls. And in fact, the storm track shifted eastward in the final hours before Katrina hit, which eliminated much of the predicate for even the worries Mayfield expresses in this transcript.

The media got it wrong yet again on Katrina. The notion that the experts warned of levee breaches is nothing more than a hack job initiated by the AP and continued by the rest of the Exempt Media even after the source material has proven it false.

The media are so desperate to make something, anything, bad stick to George Bush that they're not hesitating to construct high mountains out of the merest molehills. This is journalistically dishonest, of course, but then honesty was never a very important virtue to the left. Meanwhile, their credibility sinks ever deeper into the muck and Bush continues to score one victory after another, even as his popularity sags because of the media attacks. It really is an amazing thing to watch.

You're Being Lied To

This brief dispatch from Baghdad by Ralph Peters is pure gold:

March 1, 2006 -- The reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business - and everyday life in abundance.

Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.

It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death - or the plague of terror.

And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.

Most Iraqis want better government, better lives - and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.

Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.

When people invest themselves in a particular position they will grasp at any evidence to justify that position and vindicate their credibility. This is true of both optimists and pessimists on Iraq, of course, but the liberal media is comprised mostly of pessimists who not only are temperamentally inclined to see the sky falling as soon as a few clouds roll in, but who also, for political reasons, wanted to see George Bush fail. Add the political incentive to the temperamental disposition, and it's little wonder that every pothole in the road to success is seen as an abyss.

Today's Lesson: America is Evil

Just because someone has a teaching degree doesn't necessarily mean that they should be in the front of a classroom. A case in point is a Colorado teacher by the name of Jay Bennish who uses his teaching position as a platform for an anti-American rant that sounds even more absurd on audio than it reads in print. Bennish was recorded by one of his students who was tired of Bennish's propagandizing in the classroom and the recording is being played all over talk radio and the blogosphere. Michelle Malkin has links to the audio as well as a partial transcript. You can listen to a podcast here. Keep in mind as you listen to this guy that he's teaching a geography class. Here's an excerpt:

Make sure you get these definitions down: Capitalism - If you don't understand the economic system of capitalism, you don't understand the world in which we live. Ok. Economic system in which all or most of the means of production, etc., are owned privately and operated in a somewhat competitive environment for the purpose of producing PROFIT! Of course, you can shorten these definitions down. Make sure you get the gist of it. Do you see how when, you know, when you're looking at this definition, where does it say anything about capitalism is an economic system that will provide everyone in the world with the basic needs that they need? Is that a part of this system? Do you see how this economic system is at odds with humanity? At odds with caring and compassion? It's at odds with human rights.

What drug is responsible for the most deaths in the world? Cigarettes! Who is the world's largest producer of cigarettes and tobacco? The United States!

What part of our country grows all our tobacco? Anyone know what states in particular? Mostly what's called North Carolina. Alright. That's where all the cigarette capitals are. That's where a lot of them are located from. Now if we have the right to fly to Bolivia or Peru and drop chemical weapons on top of farmers' fields because we're afraid they might be growing coca and that could be turned into cocaine and sold to us, well then don't the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants that are killing millions and millions of people in their countries every year and causing them billions of dollars in health care costs?

Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!

(Unidentified student interjects)We are.

The United States of America! And we're a democracy. Quote-unquote.

...when you shoot a missile into Pakistan to quote-unquote kill a known terrorist, and we just killed 75 people that have nothing to do with al Qaeda, as far as they're concerned, we're the terrorists. We've attacked them on their soil with the intention of killing their innocent people.

Student Sean Allen: But we did not have the intention of killing innocent people. We had the intention of killing an al Qaeda terrorist.

Bennish: Do you know that?

Student: So, you're saying the United States has intentions to kill innocent people?

Bennish: I don't know the answer to that question.

Do we really want the Middle East to unite as one cohesive political and cultural body?

No! Because then they could what? Threaten our supremacy.

We want to keep the world divided. Do we really want to kill innocent people? I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.

I know there are some Americans who do. People who work in the CIA. People who have to think like that. Those kind of dirty minds, dirty tricks. That's how the intelligence world works. Sometimes you do want to kill people just for the sake of killing them. Right?

There's much more on the audio which you really should listen to in order to gain a sense of Bennish's stridency. For our part we were just wondering why some leftists think its okay to indoctrinate students with goofy political propaganda in a geography class, but it's not okay to simply mention Intelligent Design to students in a biology class. Very strange.