Michelle Malkin might become a South Park fan. Here's why. Heck, after reading this we might tune in, too.
Friday, April 7, 2006
81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 25
What are these numbers? This week's Powerball winners? A safe deposit combo? New numbers to torment those poor b*stards stranded on the island in Lost?
No, they're the number of troops that have died in hostile actions in Iraq for each of the past six months. That last number represents the lowest level of troop deaths in a year, and second-lowest in two years.
But it must be that the insurgency is turning their assault on Iraqi military and police, who are increasingly taking up the slack, right?
215, 176, 193, 189, 158, 193 (and the three months before that were 304, 282, 233)
Okay, okay, so insurgents aren't engaging us; they're turning increasingly to car bombs then, right?
70, 70, 70, 68, 30, 30
Civilians then. They're just garroting poor civilians.
527, 826, 532, 732, 950, 446 (upper bound, two months before that were 2489 and 1129).
My point here is not that everything is peachy in Iraq. It isn't. My point isn't that the insurgency is in its last throes. It isn't. My point here isn't even to argue that we're winning. I'm at best cautiously-pessimistic-to-neutral about how things are going there.
My only point is that, at the very least, people who complain that good news coming out of Iraq gets shuttered by the press aren't crazy. I'm a regular denizen of the right-leaning blogosphere (though I spend about half my daily routine with left-leaning sites), and I was unequivically shocked when I saw this. Completely the opposite of what I'd expected. My non-scientific sample of three friends, all of whom are considerably more bullish about the prospects in Iraq than I am, revealed three people similarly surprised by these numbers. I'm guessing if I polled people on this site regarding the direction those numbers were going, and people didn't answer strategically (eg figure I was up to something from the question words), no one would predict any of those numbers were on a downward trend, or were even flat.
Again, my point isn't that we're winning. My only point is that if the data you've received left you completely surprised by these numbers, what does that really say about the completeness of the data you've received?
Incidentally, these statistics are compiled by the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank.
Wretchard at Belmont Club quotes an Armed Forces Journal article entitled "It will be better when you leave" which says that it has become so comparatively quiet in former Iraqi hotspots that the troops are wondering what to make of it:
There are more than 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, 23,000 of whom are Marines. But even in the most insurgent-infested places in Iraq, the troops aren't doing much. The Fallujahs and Mosuls and Tall Afars are history. The insurgents seem to be lying low. They're not coming out in great numbers to confront U.S. troops. They're not mounting as many effective IED attacks.
Sometimes it seems the American forces are searching for things to do - going on patrol for the sake of going on patrol. At some point that patrol is going to hit an IED - it's a numbers game. But it's unlikely that a patrol was specifically targeted. It's just bad luck.
Could the insurgents be executing a similar strategy to the Taliban in Afghanistan? As Sean D. Naylor reported in the February issue of AFJ, Special Forces officers who work closely with tribal militias in Afghanistan's most remote provinces warn that the former regime that protected al-Qaida is lying in wait, marshalling resources for the day America leaves.
If this is so then the "Last Helicopter" party, the Murthas, Pelosis, and Deans, really are "useful idiots." They're unwitting terrorism enablers whose policy prescription for withdrawal would facilitate and accomodate the Taliban/al-Qaeda strategy of waiting us out. If the Defeatocrats have their way, the enemies of peace and freedom won't have to wait long before the road is open once again to Kabul and Baghdad.
Rush hits a home run with his Limbaugh's Laws on immigration:
I want to call this proposal the Limbaugh Laws. Here they are. First, if you immigrate to the United States of America, you must speak the native language. You have to be a professional or an investor. We are not going to take unskilled workers. You will not be allowed.
There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools, no special ballots for elections, no government business will be conducted in your native language. Foreigners will not have the right to vote, I don't care how long they are here, nor will they ever be allowed to hold political office.
According to the Limbaugh Laws, if you're in our country, you cannot be a burden to taxpayers. You are not entitled, ever, to welfare, to food stamps, or other government goodies. You can come if you invest here, but it must be an amount equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage. If you don't now have that amount of money, you can't come and invest. You have to stay home. If you do come and you want to buy land, okay, but we're going to restrict your options. You will not be allowed to buy waterfront property in the United States. That will be reserved for citizens naturally born in this country.
In fact, as a foreigner, you must relinquish individual rights to property. These are the Limbaugh Laws. Another thing. You don't have the right to protest when you come here. You're allowed no demonstrations, you cannot wave a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies, or you get sent home. You're a foreigner. You shut your mouth or you get out, and if you come here illegally, you go straight to jail and we're going to hunt you down 'til we find you.
I can imagine many of you think that the Limbaugh Laws are pretty harsh. I imagine today some of you probably are going, "Yeah! Yeah!" Well, let me tell you this, folks. Every one of the laws I just mentioned are the actual laws of Mexico, today. I just read you Mexican immigration law. That's how the Mexican government handles immigrants to their country. Yet Mexicans and others come here illegally, they protest in our streets, they get on our welfare program, and we have members of the United States Senate, both parties, doing handstands and back flips, going through every contortion possible to allow it to continue so that it doesn't make these people mad, resulting in votes against these linguini-spined populations [he meant to say politicians].
This is more than a double standard. It is an indication of just how gutless people in charge in this country are to protect the identity of this country. They don't care about border security, I know the ports deal notwithstanding, they're not doing a thing to shore up the border, because that might make somebody mad. It's a good thing there are [not] a whole lot of Arab voters in this country or the port deal would have gone through, too.
Mercifully, it looks as if the senate bill, which essentially cedes the American southwest to Mexico, is going to stall. Evidently, there are still enough Republican senators who think that America has a right to control its borders that the bi-partisan amnesty bill isn't going to make it to the floor for a vote. This will be seen as a defeat for the president and we say it is one defeat we are glad to see.
Any bill which does nothing to stem the flow of illegals across the border will only make the problem worse. What we do with the illegals who are here now is important. What we do to stop more from pouring in is absolutely crucial. The senate bill does nothing at all to dam the flood.
Steve Waldman constructs a taxonomy of the religious left over at Slate. He makes the demographical distinctions seem a lot more confusing than perhaps he has to - he divides the religious left into six different groups when in fact there are probably only two or three with a lot of overlap - but it's an interesting, and sympathetic, analysis nonetheless.
Waldman's six groups are: Bible-thumping liberals, Pious peaceniks, Ethnic churchgoers, Conflicted Catholics, and Religious feminists.
If you read the piece note how many times the implication of what he says about the secular left is that they're little more than unprincipled political opportunists.