The Idiom

Can You Grok It? Free Grokistan!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We Just Put Weapons On Our Ships Because We Like The Way They Look

10 things to hate about Star Trek from Pretty damn funny. Kid Various can truly grok number 9.

9. The Federation.
This organization creeps me out. A planet-wide government that runs everything, and that has abolished money. A veritable planetary DMV. Oh sure, it looks like a cool place when you're rocketing around in a Federation Starship, but I wonder how the guy driving a Federation dump truck feels about it?

And everyone has to wear those spandex uniforms. Here's an important fact: Most people, you don't want to see them in spandex. You'd pay good money to not have to see them. If money hadn't been abolished, that is. So you're screwed.
The Kid has always been weirded out by the quasi-marxist Feds because their so unrealistic. The reality is that our future is not really Fed, but Borg!

Sweeeet. The future is coming. Resistance is futile!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

George Kaplan Al Baghdadi

In an interesting development straight out of North by Northwest, American officials have revealed that the leader of the "Islamic State of Iraq," Abu Omar Al Baghdadi, does not, in fact, exist.

The mysterious Abu Omar al-Baghdadi -- the so-called “emir” of the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq” -- apparently avoided capture so elusively through a very clever ruse: He didn’t exist. As Michael Gordon writes in the Times, US forces, announcing the arrest of Khalid al-Mashhadani, have also claimed that al-Baghdadi was a persona created by al-Qa'ida’s leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, in order to “establish an Iraqi pedigree” for the al-Qa'ida franchise in Iraq.

AQI is feeling the pinch because their extreme vision of the Islamic Caliphate is not resonating among the Iraqi public. So, in addition to more mundane methods of control like brutal intimidation and threats, they apparently went the full Hitchcock and "invented" an Iraqi front man for purposes of legitimacy (Al Masri is Egyptian.)

While this may seem laughable in hindsight, it's demonstrative of the creative nature of the Enemy's psychological operations. They are better than us at understanding what motivates people in premodern tribally based societies. What's more, they are better than us at understanding what motivates people in postmodern societies - thus the ugly spectacle we witnessed on the Senate floor the other day.

Warfare is not about killing people and breaking stuff. It's about affecting the state of mind in a given population. And in this war between the Enlightenment and its discontents, the discontents are winning.

"Choose your next quip carefully Mr. Baghdadi, it may be your last..."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Smaller Measure of Courage

Senator John McCain's remarks on the floor concerning the Levin-Reed Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY '08:

“Mr. President, I oppose the amendment offered by the Chairman and the Senator from Rhode Island that would mandate a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

“The debate that has taken place on this floor for some months now comes down to this. It is a simple choice. The sponsors of this amendment would have us legislate a withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment, leaving in place only forces authorized to carry out specific narrow missions. That is one choice, to force an end to the war in Iraq and to accept thereby all the terrible consequences that follow. The other is to defeat this amendment, to give General Petraeus and the troops under his command the time and support they have requested to carry out their mission, to allow them to safeguard vital American interests and an Iraqi population at risk of genocide.

“That is the choice, Mr. President, and though politics and popular opinion may be pushing us in one direction, to take the easy course, we as elected leaders have a greater responsibility. A measure of courage is required. Not the great courage exhibited by the brave men and women fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a smaller measure, the courage necessary to put our country’s interests before every personal or political consideration.

“I would like to spend a few moments reviewing the state of affairs in Iraq today. The final reinforcements needed to implement General Petraeus’ new counter-insurgency strategy arrived several weeks ago. From what I saw and heard on my recent trip, and from briefings and reports since then, I believe that our military, in cooperation with the Iraqi security forces, is making progress in a number of areas. The areas where they are operating have not suddenly become safe – they have not – but they do illustrate the progress that our military has achieved under General Petraeus’s new strategy.

“The most dramatic advances have been made in Anbar Province, a region that last year was widely believed to be lost to al Qaeda. After an offensive by U.S. and Iraqi troops cleaned al Qaeda fighters out of Ramadi and other areas of western Anbar, the province’s tribal sheikhs broke formally with the terrorists and joined the coalition side. Ramadi, which just months ago stood as Iraq’s most dangerous city, is now one of its safest. In February, attacks in Ramadi averaged between 30 and 35; now many days see no attacks at all – no gunfire, no IEDs, and no suicide bombings. In Falluja, Iraqi police have established numerous stations and have divided the city into gated districts, leading to a decline in violence. Local intelligence tips have proliferated in the province, thousands of men are signing up for the police and army, and the locals are taking the fight to al Qaeda. U.S. commanders in Anbar attest that all 18 major tribes in the province are now on board with the security plan, and they expect that a year from now the Iraqi army and police could have total control of security in Ramadi. At that point, they project, we could safely draw down American forces in the area.

“The Anbar model is one that our military is attempting to replicate in other parts of Iraq, with some real successes. A brigade of the 10th Mountain Division is operating in the areas south of Baghdad, the belts around the capital which have been havens for al Qaeda and other insurgents. All soldiers in the brigade are “living forward,” and commanders report that the local sheikhs are increasingly siding with the coalition against al Qaeda, the main enemy in that area of operations. Southeast of Baghdad, the military is targeting al Qaeda in safe havens they maintain along the Tigris River, and Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of operations there, recently reported that attacks on civilians in his area of operations were down 20 percent since April and civilian deaths had declined 55 percent. These and other efforts are part of Operation Phantom Thunder, a military operation intended to stop insurgents present in the Baghdad belts from originating attacks in the capital itself.

“In Baghdad, the military, in cooperation with Iraqi security forces, continues to establish joint security stations and deploy throughout the city in order to get violence under control. These efforts have produced positive results: sectarian violence has fallen since January, the total number of car bombings and suicide attacks declined in May and June, and the number of locals coming forward with intelligence tips has risen. Make no mistake – violence in Baghdad remains at unacceptably high levels, suicide bombers and other threats pose formidable challenges, and other difficulties abound. Nevertheless, there appears to be overall movement in the right direction.

“North of Baghdad, Iraqi and American troops have surged into Diyala Province and are fighting to deny al Qaeda sanctuary in the city of Baqubah. For the first time since the war began, Americans showed up in force and did not quickly withdraw from the area. In response, locals have formed a new alliance with the coalition to counter al Qaeda. Diyala, which was the center of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s proposed “Islamic caliphate,” finally has a chance to turn aside the forces of extremism.

“I offer these observations, Mr. President, not in order to present a rosy scenario of the challenges we continue to face in Iraq. As last weekend’s horrific bombing in Salahuddin Province illustrates so graphically, the threats to Iraqi stability have not gone away. Nor are they likely to go away in the near future, and our brave men and women in Iraq will continue to face great challenges. What I do believe, however, is that, while the mission – to bring a degree of security to Iraq, and to Baghdad and its environs in particular, in order to establish the necessary precondition for political and economic progress – while that mission is still in its early stages, the progress our military has made should encourage all of us.

“It is also clear that the overall strategy that General Petraeus has put into place – a traditional counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes protecting the population, and which gets our troops off of the bases and into the areas they are trying to protect – that this strategy is the correct one. Some of my colleagues argue that we should return troops to the forward operating bases and confine their activities to training and targeted counterterrorism operations. That is precisely what we did for three and a half years, Mr. President, and the situation in Iraq only got worse. I am frankly surprised that my colleagues would advocate a return to the failed Rumsfeld-Casey strategy. No one can be certain whether this new strategy, which remains in the early stages, can bring about ever greater stability. We can be sure, however, that should the United States Senate seek to legislate an end to the strategy as it is just commencing – should we do that, Mr. President, then we will fail for certain.”

Now that the military effort in Iraq is showing some signs of progress, the space is opening for political progress. Yet rather than seizing the opportunity, the government of Prime Minister Maliki is not functioning as it must. We see little evidence of reconciliation and none of the 18 benchmarks has yet been met. Progress is not enough – we need to see results, and today the results are not there. The Iraqi government can function; the question is whether it will. If there is to be hope of a sustainable end to the violence that so plagues that country, Iraqi political leaders must seize this opportunity. It will not come around again.

To encourage political progress, I believe that we can find wisdom in several suggestions put forward recently by Henry Kissinger. An intensified negotiation among the Iraqi parties could limit violence, promote reconciliation, and put the political system on a more stable footing. At the same time, we should promote a dialogue between the Iraqi government and its Sunni Arab neighbors – specifically Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia – in order to build broader international acceptance for the Iraqi central government, in exchange for that government meeting specific obligations with respect to the protection and political participation of the Sunni minority. These countries should cease their efforts to hand-pick new Iraqi leaders and instead contribute to stabilizing Iraq, an effort that would directly serve their national interests. Finally, we should begin a broader effort to establish a basis for aid and even peacekeeping efforts by the international community, keyed to political progress in Iraq.

In taking such steps, we must recognize that no lasting political settlement can grow out of a U.S. withdrawal. On the contrary, a withdrawal must grow out of a political solution, a solution made possible by the imposition of security by coalition and Iraqi forces. Secretary Kissinger is absolutely correct when he states that “precipitate withdrawal would produce a disaster,” one that “would not end the war but shift it to other areas, like Lebanon or Jordan or Saudi Arabia,” produce greater violence among Iraqi factions, and embolden radical Islamists around the world.

Let us keep in the front of our minds the likely consequences of premature withdrawal from Iraq. Many of my colleagues would like to believe that, should the withdrawal amendment we are currently debating become law, it would mark the end of this long effort. They are wrong. Should the Congress force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, it would mark a new beginning, the start of a new, more dangerous, and more arduous effort to contain the forces unleashed by our disengagement.

No matter where my colleagues came down in 2003 about the centrality of Iraq to the war on terror, there can simply be no debate that our efforts in Iraq today are critical to the wider struggle against violent Islamic extremism. Already, the terrorists are emboldened, excited that America is talking not about winning in Iraq, but is rather debating when we should lose. Last week, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy chief, said that the United States is merely delaying our “inevitable” defeat in Iraq, and that “the Mujahideen of Islam in Iraq of the caliphate and jihad are advancing with steady steps towards victory.” He called on Muslims to travel to Iraq to fight Americans, and appealed for Muslims to support the Islamic State in Iraq, a group established by al Qaeda.

General Petraeus has called al Qaeda “the principal short-term threat to Iraq.” What do the supporters of this amendment believe to be the consequences of our leaving the battlefield with al Qaeda in place? If we leave Iraq prematurely, jihadists around the world will interpret the withdrawal as their great victory against our great power. Their movement thrives in an atmosphere of perceived victory; we saw this in the surge of men and money flowing to al Qaeda following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. If they defeat the United States in Iraq, they will believe that anything is possible, that history is on their side, that they really can bring their terrible rule to lands the world over. Recall the plan laid out in a letter from Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before his death. That plan is to take shape in four stages: establish a caliphate in Iraq, extend the “jihad wave” to the secular countries neighboring Iraq, clash with Israel – none of which shall commence until the completion of stage one: expel the Americans from Iraq. Mr. President, the terrorists are in this war to win it. The question is: Are we?

The supporters of this amendment respond that they do not by any means intend to cede the battlefield to al Qaeda; on the contrary, their legislation would allow U.S. forces, presumably holed up in forward operating bases, to carry out targeted counterterrorism operations. But our own military commanders say that this approach will not succeed, and that moving in with search and destroy missions to kill and capture terrorists, only to immediately cede the territory to the enemy, is the failed strategy of the past three and a half years.

Major General Rick Lynch, who is directing a major part of the Baghdad offensive, said over the weekend that an early American withdrawal would clear the way for “the enemy to come back” to areas now being cleared of insurgents. “When we go out there,” he said, “the first question they ask is, ‘Are you staying?’ And the second question is, ‘How can we help?’” General Lynch added that, should U.S. forces pull back before the job is complete, we risk “an environment where the enemy could come back and fill the void.” On Monday, Lt. Gen. Odierno, the number two commander in Iraq, said, “My assessment right now is, I need more time. . . . I’m seeing some progress now here in Iraq. We have really just started what the Iraqis term ‘liberating’ them from al Qaeda.”

Withdrawing before there is a stable and legitimate Iraqi authority would turn Iraq into a failed state and a terrorist sanctuary, in the heart of the Middle East. We have seen a failed state emerge after U.S. disengagement once before, and it cost us terribly. In pre-9/11 Afghanistan, terrorists found sanctuary to train and plan attacks with impunity. We know that today there are terrorists in Iraq who are planning attacks against Americans. We cannot make this fatal mistake twice.

As my friend Brent Scowcroft has said recently, “The costs of staying are visible; the costs of getting out are almost never discussed. . . If we get out before Iraq is stable, the entire Middle East region might start to resemble Iraq today. Getting out is not a solution.” Natan Sharansky has recently written, “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could lead to a bloodbath that would make the current carnage pale by comparison.” Should we leave Iraq before there is a basic level of stability, we will invite further Iranian influence at a time when Iranian operatives are already moving weapons, training fighters, providing resources, and helping plan operations to kill American soldiers and damage our efforts to bring stability to Iraq. Iran will comfortably step into the power vacuum left by a U.S. withdrawal, and such an aggrandizement of fundamentalist power has great potential to spark greater Sunni-Shia conflict across the region.

Leaving prematurely would induce Iraq’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Egypt to Israel, Turkey and others, to feel their own security eroding, and may well induce them to act in ways that prompt wider instability. The potential for genocide, wider war, spiraling oil prices, and the perception of strategic American defeat is real, Mr. President, and no vote on this floor will change that.

Do not take my word from it. Consult, perhaps, the Iraq Study Group report, which says: “[a] chaotic Iraq could provide a still stronger base of operations for terrorists who seek to act regionally or even globally,” and that “Al Qaeda will portray any failure by the United States in Iraq as a significant victory that will be featured prominently as they recruit for their cause in the region and in the world.” The report goes on to say that “a premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions. . . The near-term results would be a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization, and a threat to the global economy. Al Qaeda would depict our withdrawal as a historic victory.”

Or perhaps ask the Iraqis. Brig. Gen. Qassim Attam, the chief Iraqi spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, said on Sunday that the Iraqi military and police force need more time before they are capable of assuming control of the country’s security.

Or maybe our intelligence agencies which, in the January National Intelligence Estimate concluded: “If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq, intensify Sunni resistance to the Iraqi Government, and have adverse consequences for national reconciliation. . . the ISF would be unlikely to survive as a non-sectarian national institution; neighboring countries. . . might intervene openly in the conflict; massive civilian casualties and forced population displacement would be probable; AQI would attempt to use parts of the country. . . to plan increased attacks in and outside Iraq; and spiraling violence and political disarray in Iraq, along with Kurdish moves to control Kirkuk and strengthen autonomy, could prompt Turkey to launch a military incursion.”

Those are the likely consequences of a precipitous withdrawal, and I hope that the supporters of such a move will tell us what they believe to be the likely consequences of this course of action. Should their amendment become law, and U.S. troops begin withdrawing, do they believe that Iraq will become more or less stable? That al Qaeda will find it easier to gather, plan, and carry out attacks from Iraqi soil, or that our withdrawal will somehow make this less likely? That the Iraqi people become more or less safe? That genocide becomes a more remote possibility or ever likelier?

Mr. President, this fight is about Iraq but not about Iraq alone. It is greater than that and more important still, about whether America still has the political courage to fight for victory or whether we will settle for defeat, with all of the terrible things that accompany it. We cannot walk away gracefully from defeat in this war.

How we leave Iraq is very, very important, Mr. President. As the Iraq Study Group found, “If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return.” General Petraeus and his commanders believe that they have a strategy that can, over time, lead to success in Iraq. General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will come to Washington in September to report on the status of their efforts, and those of the Iraqis. They request just two things of us: the time necessary to see whether their efforts can succeed, and the political courage to support them in their work. I believe that we must give them both.

Mr. President, right now, as we continue our debate on the war in Iraq, American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are fighting bravely and tenaciously in battles that are as dangerous, difficult and consequential as the great battles of our armed forces’ storied past. Americans who fought in France’s hedgerow country; those who bled in the sands and jungles of Pacific islands, who braved the onslaught of the Chinese Army in the frozen terrain of Korea, and who fought a desperate battle to retake Hue from the enemy during the Tet Offensive and against numerically superior forces in an isolated Marine base at Khe San will recognize and honor the sacrifice of Americans who now fight with such valor, determination and skill to defend the security interests and the honor of our country in desperate battles in Iraq.

The hour is indeed late in Iraq. How we have arrived at this critical and desperate moment has been well chronicled, and history’s judgment about the long catalogue of mistakes in the prosecution of this war will be stern and unforgiving. But history will revere the honor and the sacrifice of those Americans, who despite the mistakes and failures of both civilian and military leaders, shouldered a rifle and risked everything – everything – so that the country they love so well might not suffer the many dangerous consequences of defeat.

We read in our leading newspapers about those veterans of the Iraq War who have organized to oppose its continuation. They have fought for America’s freedom, and they have every right to exercise their freedom to oppose their government’s policies. I wish, though, that the press would pay at least equal attention to the many more veterans who have fought, suffered and witnessed the ultimate sacrifice, the loss of their dearest friends, and yet are still committed to America’s success in Iraq, and to those who have served multiple tours in this terrible war, and yet re-enlist because they remain steadfast in the belief that they can achieve the mission they have already risked so much to achieve. The American public, those who still support our effort in Iraq and those who desire a quick end to it, should be daily reminded that although our country is deeply divided about this war, most of the many thousands of Americans who have suffered its worst miseries are still resolved that it not end in an American defeat.

Our new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding where our previous tactics failed us. We are taking from the enemy and holding territory that was once given up for lost. Those who have falsely described General Petraeus’s efforts as “staying the course” are the real advocates of continuing on the course of failure. Many of those who decry the way we got into this war and the way we fought it are now advocating a way out of it that suffers from a more willful refusal to face facts than they accused the administration of exhibiting. Although we all seem to be united in recognizing the mistakes and failures of the past, the proponents of reducing our forces in Iraq, and keeping them on secure bases from which they could occasionally launch search and destroy missions are proposing to return to the very tactics that have brought us to the point of trying to salvage from the wreckage of those mistakes the last best hope for success.

That is what General Petraeus, and the Americans he has the honor to command, are trying to do – to fight smarter and better, in a way that addresses and doesn’t strengthen the tactics of the enemy, and to give the Iraqis the security and opportunity to make the necessary political decisions to save their country from the abyss of genocide and a permanent and spreading war. So far, the Maliki government has not risen to that challenge, and it must do so. It is obvious that America is losing our resolve to continue sacrificing its sons and daughters, while the Iraqi government will not take the political risks to do what is plainly in the best interests of the Iraqi people. But we do not fight only for the interests of Iraqis, Mr. President, we fight for ours as well.

We, too, Mr. President, we members of Congress, must face our responsibilities honestly and bravely. What is asked of us is so less onerous than what we have asked from our servicemen and women, but no less consequential. We need not risk our lives, nor our health, but only our political advantages so that General Petraeus has the time and resources he has asked for to follow up on his recent successes and help save Iraq and America from the catastrophe that would be an American defeat. That is not much to risk, Mr. President, compared to the sacrifices made by Americans fighting in Iraq or the terrible consequences of our defeat. For if we withdraw from Iraq, if we choose to lose there, there is no doubt in my mind, no doubt at all, that we will be back – in Iraq and elsewhere —in many more desperate fights to protect our security and at an even greater cost in American lives and treasure.

Little is asked of us to help prevent this catastrophe, but so much depends on our willingness to do so, on the sincerity of our pledge to serve America’s interests before our own. The Americans who must make the greatest sacrifices have earned the right to insist that we do our duty, as best as we can see it, and accept willingly and graciously whatever small sacrifice we must make with our own personal and partisan ambitions. Ours is a noisy, restive, and contentious profession. It has always been thus, Mr. President, and it always will be. But in this moment of serious peril for America, we must all of us remember to who and what we owe our first allegiance – to the security of the American people and to the ideals upon which we our nation was founded. That responsibility is our dearest privilege and to be judged by history to have discharged it honorably will, in the end, matter so much more to all of us than any fleeting glory of popular acclaim, electoral advantage or office. The history of this country, after all, is not merely a chronicle of political winners and losers, it is a judgment of who has and who has not contributed to the continued success of America, the greatest political experiment in human history.

It is my sincere wish that all of us, Republicans and Democrats, should know in our hearts whatever mistakes we have made in our lives, personally or politically, whatever acclaim we have achieved or disappointment we have suffered, that we have, in the end, earned history’s favor. I hope we might all have good reason to expect a kinder judgment of our flaws and follies because when it mattered most we chose to put the interests of this great and good nation before our own, and helped, in our own small way, preserve for all humanity the magnificent and inspiring example of an assured, successful and ever advancing America and the ideals that make us still the greatest nation on earth.

Given the recent public troubles in his campaign, it seems unlikely that Sen. McCain will be able to capture the GOP nomination. And how much poorer are we because of it?

War Stories

Short round up of required reading for today.

Bill Roggio of The Weekly Standard reports on the offensive underway in the Babil province of Iraq. In the heart of ancient Babylon, our boys are smashing the Enemy's networks that supply explosives and other instruments of death to their counterparts in Baghdad.

"Marne Avalanche will build on the successes of Task Force Marne’s offensive operation, Marne Torch, which began June 1 and is ongoing," Multinational Forces Iraq stated in a press release. "To date, Operation Marne Torch resulted in 1,152 structures cleared, 83 insurgents killed, 278 insurgents detained, 51 caches found, 51 boats destroyed and 872 citizens entered in a biometric identification system."

Roggio also reports on our troops take down of Iranian backed Mahdi Army cells, disrupting Iran's abilities to kill our soldiers in an underhanded and ongoing act of war against America.

On July 15, the Iraqi Army conducted several raids against the Iranian-backed "rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi" (Mahdi Army) cells in Baghdad and Najaf. The Baghdad raids resulted in the capture of a battalion commander and a cell leader. The battalion commander "is suspected of organizing kidnappings and leading death squad killings of Sunni Muslim Iraqi citizens. Intelligence suggests he has been involved in more than half of the detonated improvised explosive devices in two of the northern districts of Baghdad."
And speaking of continuing acts of war by the rogue regime of Iran, Eli Lake of the New York Sun reports on how the mullahs are giving safe harbor the core leadership of Al Qaeda, allowing them to safely reconstitute their organization so that they may continue their mad war against Civilization.

One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.

Out in Anbar, previously "lost" to Enemy forces, elements of the 3rd Infantry Division (The Rock of the Marne!) are working with the local government and U.S. civilian advisors to provide security and services for the decent people of Ramadi who have for 4 years been terrorized by the blood-thirsty forces of the Adversary. Max Boot relays an email report from the theater.

Security here in Ramadi continues to improve as the Iraqi police and army forces work daily to keep the population safe. When we arrived in February, we were averaging 30 – 35 attacks per day in our area of responsibility. Now our average is one attack per day or less. We had an entire week with no attacks in our area and have a total of over 65 days with no attacks. I attribute this success to our close relationship with the Iraqi security forces and the support those forces receive from the civilian population. The Iraqi police and army forces have uncovered hundreds of munitions caches and get intelligence tips from the local population every day.

...We now have our Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (EPRT) and they are working hard to help build the municipal government in Ramadi. The EPRT is composed of personnel from the U.S. State Department, USAID, and other experts in various areas of government. We have partnered the EPRT with officials from the municipal government in much the same way that we partner Soldiers and Marines with Iraqi police. The EPRT works every day with the city government helping them with budgeting, planning, and delivering services to the public. The EPRT is a critical capability that we never had before, and I’m confident that it is going to make a big difference in building stability here in Ramadi.
Finally the Small Wars Journal publishes a post on the importance of winning the narrative. What will lose us this war is not the facts on the ground, which are improving. America is incapable of losing the counter-insurgency battle in Iraq. It can only lose the war over the narrative - which is, in this post modern world, the only battle that ultimately counts.

The National Review On-Line recently posted an interview with LtGen James N. Mattis, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Forces CENTCOM. Mattis is widely-known for his boldness and ferocity in combat. Yet Mattis did not discuss operations. Instead, he focused on perceptions. "I noticed (in the newspaper) today that 'a bomb went off in Baghdad'... the moral bye, the passive voice by our media, makes it appear like what the enemy is doing is just an act of God of some Godamned thing...getting our narrative out will be as important or more important than tactics."

More Kurzweil

Kurzweil on the human body 2.0 via futurismic

Although artificial hearts are beginning to work, a more effective approach will be to get rid of the heart altogether. Among Freitas’ designs are nanorobotic blood cell replacements that provide their own mobility. If the blood system moves with its own movement, the engineering issues of the extreme pressures required for centralized pumping can be eliminated. As we perfect the means of transferring nanobots to and from the blood supply, we can also continuously replace the nanobots comprising our blood supply.

Energy will be provided by microscopic-sized hydrogen fuel cells. Integrated Fuel Cell Technologies, one of many companies pioneering fuel cell technology, has already created microscopic-sized fuel cells. Their first-generation design provides tens of thousands of fuel cells on an integrated circuit and is intended to power portable electronics.
The future is gonna be great!

Regicide in Denver

Holy crap! The Emperor of Colorado has been shot and killed!

War clouds gather as the royal houses of Utah and Wyoming threaten to intervene in the Colorado Succession...

The Emperor of Colorado lies dead in the Denver Palace. Laid low by an anarchist's bullet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

He Deserved It

Because Andy Dick is, well, a dick.

Good for Jay Sherman! Standing up for Phil Hartman's honor.

It was fight night at an L.A. comedy club last week when Jon Lovitz roughed up Andy Dick over the murder of their "Saturday Night Live" colleague, Phil Hartman.

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, who witnessed the assault, said, "Jon picked Andy up by the head and smashed him into the bar four or five times, and blood started pouring out of his nose." Lovitz told Page Six, "All the comedians are glad I did it because this guy is a [bleep]hole."

Didn't She Resign?

Christ, won't she just go away?!

Allahpundit has the definitive word on the subject:

But St. Cindy promises she’ll be good and only meet with insurgents who are working towards reconciliation. Which creates the exceedingly remote yet still existent possibility that she’ll end up lecturing about how George Bush killed her son in front of the guy who actually killed her son.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Future's Gonna Be Great!

For those of you too lazy to slog through Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near, or even the essay the book is based on, The Law of Accelerating Returns, - here's a good presentation given by Kurzweil on how evolutionary systems progress exponentially not linearly. And that, dear friends, is the crux of the argument. And why you'll be backing up your brain on the Maxtor drive sooner than you'd think.

The future is gonna be great.

Part one.

Part two.

Part three.

People Laugh When The Kid Brings Up The Idea Of Licensing Parents

Feed the baby?! I'm about to make 19th level!

Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing "Dungeons & Dragons" series, to give their children proper care.

"They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The solution to this problem is readily obvious. People should stop having kids so they can make more time for playing World of Warcraft. Prioritze, man, prioritize!

Kid Various, exploring the jungles of Central America. No rugrats in sight!

Kraut Dinos Back On Display!

Janensch's iconic Brachiosaur is back on display at the Humboldt. That's one sweet mount.

The Original

The Boys doing what they do best - projecting an aura of simple, pure fun in the best music video EVER!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good Point

What can we say? The man makes a point.

Which is why the timetable for leaving Iraq should be tied to the exact date that Social Security reform can be passed by our ponderous legislative bodies.

I find it rich beyond the pale that our Congress is lecturing lawmakers in Iraq, when they have yet to take a bite out of the biggest legislative challenge that will face our country over the next 35 years.

They must feel plenty righteous in lecturing members of the Iraqi government about lethargic action and lack of resolve, since they have failed to move a millimeter forward in dealing with Social Security (in)solvency.

As a member of the prestigious US Congress it must be easy to criticize a legislative body that is only a few years old; one that is attempting to construct a democracy out of the ashes of a generation of repression and dictatorship. Never mind that Iraqi lawmakers do their necessary work under the constant threat of attack and terror; or that compromises must bridge thousands of years of tribal history and distrust; and that failure will certainly lead to the death of millions, as certain as it did in Southeast Asia after our politically motivated, precipitous withdrawal. A withdrawal forced by the political machinations of our esteemed Congressional bodies.

Of course our lawmakers face serious threats everyday; dwindling kickbacks, public outing from escort service phone lists, DUIs, and perhaps even re-election campaigns. How dangerous.

Kid Various finds this whole "blame the Iraqis" wave to be most disgusting.


So when Kid Various attempted to dry hump Goofy... that was wrong?

I am a costume character at a well-known theme park. Since it is a performance, I have to stay in character. That means when people ask me if I am a boy (and all of our characters are), I have to say yes (we are not allowed to speak).

Very rude people, always adults and older teenagers say, "I bet you aren't!" and proceed to try to grope and feel whether or not I have breasts. I have been told by some that it "comes with the territory" of my job, but when I informed my manager, he said that it was completely inappropriate and next time it happened, I have every right to inform security and have these people escorted off the premises.

What is fascinating is that the furries have a derogatory term for such people.

Within this community, there is a specific term, a "furvert" for the individuals who groped you indicating, presumably, their sexual attraction to a mascot.

Proving once again that no matter how low you are on the totem pole, there are still always people you can look down on.

Presumably, "Tak-furries" would be the farthest one could sink.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Abandon All Hope

Hey! Look who Kid Various found in the 9th Circle of Hell!


You can go to Hell too! And believe us, they're warming up a special place for Senators:

  • Richard Lugar

  • John Warner

  • Chuck Hagel

  • Pete Domenici

  • Susan Collins

  • Olympia Snowe

  • George Voinovich

  • Lamar Alexander

  • Gordon Smith

Can We Continue?

Ever fighting the good fight, Bill Kristol writes:

But what if this week is a harbinger of things to come? What if the Defeatists have overplayed their hand? What if they continue to sound the tocsin of defeat--and the president, and the commanders, and the soldiers, don't snap to and obey? What if the surge continues to show better and better results, and the Bush administration does a more effective job of communicating them? If so, this past week could turn out to have been a pivotal moment in the Iraq war.

Yes, Bush stood his ground yesterday, but with more displays from the Caucus of the Cowardly like today

Defying Bush even as his team fanned out to press Congress for more time, Sens. John W. Warner (Va.) and Richard G. Lugar (Ind.) unveiled a measure requiring the White House to begin drawing up plans to redeploy U.S. forces from frontline combat to border security and counterterrorism.

Just makes Kid Various think that Kristol is indulging in an exercise of wishful thinking.

But success on the ground in Anbar was apparent six months before it became so glaring that the MSM had to report on it. Maybe, just maybe, a stubborn President can buy us just enough time so that the successes of the new COIN strategy become so in your face that they cannot be ignored. And maybe then, the George Costanza rush to the door will ease just enough that we can buy more time to pull this out.

Just maybe...

Maximum Storage

Soon, everything we experience will be recorded.

Stross describes a world -- not too far off, where every moment of every individual's life is recorded and where 100 kilograms (or less) of diamond-based storage can store an entire century's worth of experience for the population of the planet.

Cool! So when our planet blows up we can send out a probe and psychically transfer our collective memories into a passing starship captain!

That flute was sold at auction at Christie's. They originally valued it at $300, which as Kid Various predicted, was ludicrous. It eventually sold for $48,000.

Mr. Sting! Mr. Sting! Wakey, Wakey!

One of Kid Various' favorite Sting songs.

What an enigmatic video! From an age when videos often had an actual story, and weren't edited so frenetically as to give you seizures.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nothing Is Over Until WE Say It's Over!

If Senator Blutarsky were still in Congress, we sure as shit wouldn't be going through this disgraceful display of Republican Senators pulling a George Costanza.

And see Ralph Peters today assailing our current "leaders" lack of spine.

Iraq's a mess. Got it. The Bush administration has made so many mistakes I stopped counting a year ago. But we've finally got a general in Baghdad - Dave Petraeus - who's doing things right. Iraqi politicians are still disgracing themselves, but our troops are killing America's enemies - with the help of our former enemies.

Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq is suffering a humiliating defeat, as fellow Sunni Muslims turn against the fanatics and help them find the martyrdom they advertise. Yet for purely political reasons - next year's elections - cowards on Capitol Hill are spurning the courage of our troops on the ground.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The new Transformers flick has got a 57% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The Kid expected something like a 12. Could it be that this movie is... more than meets the eye?

Kid Various liked the guy who played Unicron in this version but, Orson Welles was better.

It's All Going The Kid's Way

America is becoming an "adult-centered" nation.

And that's wrong because?

Soon the market will be big enough for Kid Various' long dreamed for child-free airline! Oh what premium would he pay for that?!

Ciaccio's survey highlighted certain causes among the childless, including government subsidies for birth control, holding parents responsible for their children, and the establishment of child-free areas in restaurants, movie theaters, and apartments. Also of great importance: simple respect for their decision.

"People who don't have children and parents have a lot in common. They are not natural antagonists," says Ciaccio. "If parents respect the choices of people who have not had kids, and people who have not had kids respect the choices of parents, then we can all move forward together for mutual benefit."

The Nixon Scenario

Neo-Neocon has an interesting speculation concerning the New York Times' thoughtless and frankly, evil editorial on Sunday.

All Over It Like, Well Batter On Fried Chicken

Yeah. This is what it's all about...

Fried chicken pizza.

Gang Warfare

Strategypage has a decent analysis about the level of rank criminality that is lumped in with the insurgency in Iraq. People have to understand that the enemy composed of a continuum of everything from foreign jihads/takfiris, who are purely ideologically motivated to simple gang lords for whom the chaos is nothing more than a chance to make a profit. The American public has to understand the nature of the insurgency, how we are defeating it, and why it takes time - before they rush to the door. via Instapundit

The American databases of Iraq's Most Wanted grew year by year. The databases were eventually merged, and the picture of who was who in the Gangs of Iraq became clearer. Then came the idea that, with enough additional American manpower, one could conduct a targeted gangbusters campaign. The key to making this work long term was the desire of ordinary Iraqis to be done with the gangs. Over the last three years, life had become intolerable in many parts of Iraq, as the gangs began spending most of their time getting rich and, worst of all, doing whatever they liked.

Mistake # 1

McCain. Mistake #1.

They said Mr. McCain and his aides had made two fundamental strategic decisions that so far have proven flawed. One was that voters would reward Mr. McCain for taking principled decisions on issues — especially immigration, where he is out of step with much of the grass roots of the Republican Party, and the war in Iraq, where his steadfast support for fighting on has left him on the defensive. Instead, polls suggest that Mr. McCain has alienated much of the Republican base.

Wow, who didn't see that coming?

As political professionals, we can flatly state, voters rarely reward principled decisions...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Attention Stockholm!

And they give Carter a Nobel Peace Prize?

Kid Various is so all over this peace plan...

This conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has to stop, but how can you convince two militaristic societies bent on each other's destruction to stop fighting?


Lebanon and Israel are known for having some of the hottest girls in the Middle East, if not the world. Why put them at risk of bodily harm?

There is nothing that can force the IDF and Hezbollah to lay down their arms except for that which could stop all men from doing anything: watching two incredibly fit girls with great breasts and nice Mediterranean tans from each side of the border going at it.

Lesbians solve everything!

BBC Reports US Tactics in Iraq Working. World to End Tommorrow.

In a sign that the Apocalypse is surely near, the BBC aired a report that America may not be the root of all evil in the world and that its new strategy in Iraq may be producing results.

The BBC has not been a supporter of the Iraq war so it is quite something when its World Affairs Editor John Simpson concludes that America
might finally be pursuing the right tactics in Iraq.

Disney's Lawyers Must Have Got Out the Waterboard

Good news, we don't have to watch a terrorist version of Mickey Mouse anymore.

Bad news, well...

Good God is that depraved!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Theresienstadt of the Carribean

For those who might have been taken in by Michael Moore's new film, "Sicko." A good description of what life is really like under the Cuban tyranny.

Healthcare and education are supposed to be the redeeming graces of the regime, but this is questionable. There are a large number of doctors, but, according to most Cubans I know, many have left the country and the health system is in a ragged state—apart from those hospitals reserved for foreigners—and people often have to pay a bribe to get treated. Michael Moore, the American film director, who has recently been praising the system should take note of the real life stories beneath the statistics. I went into a couple of hospitals for locals on my latest visit. In the first, my friend told me not to say a word in case my accent was noticed, as foreigners are not allowed in these places. I was appalled by the hygiene and amazed at the antiquity of the building and some of the equipment. I was told that the vast majority of Cuban hospitals, apart from two in Havana, were built before the revolution. Which revolution, I wondered; this one seemed to date from the 1900s.
The hospital Moore goes to with his Cuban minders is like the concentration camp Theresienstadt that the Nazis used to parade the Red Cross around in the 40's.


One Kid Various' favorite songs from the 80's. Can you believe Ben Orr is dead?

UPDATE: "Drive" is featured in the new Transformers movie???

Heinlein At 100

There's been some discussion in the blogosphere about the recent 100th anniversary of the birth of SF author Robert Heinlein. Instapundit pointed to this post from The Corner which quotes Heinlein doing a "this I believe" segment.

It's spot on. And Kid Various also believes it. It's just, in the light of our apparent desire to surrender, he hopes that he and Heinlein haven't grossly miscalculated.

Our Noble, Essential Decency

by Robert A. Heinlein

I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.

Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know that his goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him. My next-door neighbor's a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat—no fee, no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town, say, "I'm hungry," and you'll be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, "The heck with you, I've got mine," there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, "Sure, pal, sit down." I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, "Climb in, Mack. How far you going?"

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime. Yet for every criminal, there are ten thousand honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so. no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.

I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses, in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land. I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman, there are hundreds of politicians—low paid or not paid at all—doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

I believe in Roger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in—I am proud to belong to—the United States. Despite shortcomings—from lynchings, to bad faith in high places—our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race—yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth—that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive, endure.

I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.

The Weak Horse

Yesterday, the New York Times published a truly sickening editorial clamoring for the immediate withdrawal of the United States from Iraq.

The prescription of the Times for America’s woes in the Middle East is so wrong, for so many reasons, that it truly defies the ability of this writer to do justice in explaining its fault and downright malice and cruel perfidity.

Better attempts have been made by Jules Crittenden and Don Surber. Both commentaries are required reading.

But the truly ugly fact that must be faced, is that the Times editorial is only one more step in the accelerating rush to defeat now gripping this nation. This week, just in time to give the hysterical Sunday morning talk shows one more thing to ignorantly bloviate about, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) joined the ever growing Republican Caucus of the Cowardly and announced that the United States must “change direction” in Iraq. Proving once again, that qualities such as leadership and independent thought are in short supply in that august body, whose perquisites are apparently so grand, that it is filled with those who would rather lose a war, than lose their membership.

We are going to lose this war.

But we are not going to lose this war because of the New York Times, or President Bush, or Republican defectors in the Senate, and certainly not because of the pitiful exertions of a handful of nihilistic pre-modern primitives who would rather destroy everything within their reach than allow anyone to be free; disgusting, despicable primitives who, if there was any justice in this world, would find themselves facing extinction by our hand and their children living in freedom and prosperity.

No. We will lose this war because we lack the will to do what is necessary to win. We cannot muster the minimal courage to make the sacrifices necessary to safeguard our own liberty. We cannot display the basic decency to fulfill the promises that we have made to a foreign people in the promotion of that interest.

And so, the Enemy is right about us. We are “the weak horse.”

And what repercussions are to come because of it?

The Weak Horse - Audio Article from

Friday, July 06, 2007


Found this from a link over at The Tank. The milblogger manifesto. It's a bit old, but The Kid had not read it before. It's important, and thus reprinted in its entirety.

Something has happened to this country that my grandfathers would scarcely recognize and certainly struggle to fathom. That this requires discussion disgusts me daily.

While it can be traced back to before the 60's (though blossoming then), what really happened was the galvanization of self-loathing using Vietnam as a social catalyst. But the face of this nation changed most significantly when the election of the greatest true conservative leader on a chilly 1980 November evening forced a barely contained media into open rooting for a specific political party. The degeneration of policy discussion and political leadership since has been palpable, fueled by the successes of anti-military media coverage developed during the Vietnam era and skillfully maintained and nearly perfected since then.

And such is the nature of the degeneration of American politics. That this repulsive decay also consumes the very defense of the world's one true beacon of freedom causes true physical discomfort. For we do not own that freedom but are tasked with her defense and care by default.

That we must defend her from ourselves is heartbreaking. That we dare not pause to rest lest we lose her from within is enraging.

And so it is with this ever-present disgust that I read Restarting the Clock of History from Wretchard at Belmont Club, as he paints the portrait of our own mindless internal struggle while the wolves circle, darting between trees and shadows, laughing as we argue amongst ourselves in self-defeat over whether the wolves' teeth or our own defense against them are the greater threat.

The West was supposed to die; slowly and comfortably but ineluctably. And we were supposed to buy off the Islamists until we could finish the job ourselves. Bush declaring his intention to fight for the survival of the West was just as logical as Chomsky's pilgrimage to Hezbollah and just as infuriating to his enemies.

Until September 11 it was possible for the more "enlightened" segments of society to regard patriotism, religion and similar sentiments with the kind of amused tolerance that one might reserve for simpletons. Nothing that a little institutionalization and spare change couldn't straighten out. The problem for the Democratic Party is that the Great Polite Silence is over. People like Chomsky and President Bush have stopped being hypothetical and become all too real. Bring it on.

United we stood. At least for a few days, as the union was fleeting and superficial. The union was little more than an uncharacteristic measure of quiet among those who merely waited patiently to finally cry out "Not in our name!"

Why is the defense of this nation a political issue at all? There are those who will argue that it is the manner in which we defend ourselves that is at issue.

That, my friends, is a convoluted disingenuous sheen of reason upon the unreasonable.

A former Attorney General currently vociferously defends a mass murdering dictator deposed by our own forces. An icon of the self-loathing anti-American academic Left, Noam Chomsky, embraces Hizballah, the chief beneficiary of Iran's terror export, and condemns the War on Terror as bigotry wrapped in fiction. A former Vice President travels to the home of fifteen 9/11 hijackers and professes that Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" by America and its sitting president and held in "unforgivable" conditions.

These are not arguments of the manner in which to defend America. These are sycophantic rantings of whether to defend her. The flood of emotions in disbelieving reaction range from anger and rage to depression and grief.

We dare not rest as the most important front of the War on Terror and for the very survival of Western Civilization lies not upon the sands of distant shores, but in our own common discourse. The most important battlegrounds are around our dinner tables and in intelligent and persuasive common sense discussion among our peers, seeking the discomfort of battle and the very defense of defense rather than the comfort and unproductive endeavor of agreement among friends.

The line has been clearly drawn. Tire not. Engage.

Engage! You must engage! We all have to fight the War. For most of us, this does not mean we have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan (or Somalia, Indonesia or any number of other theaters you don't read about in the papers.)

But it does mean we all have to, at every point, challenge the narratives of the post-moderns who, surely as our pre-modern enemies, seek to destroy the West. It's not enough to roll your eyes and think to yourself, "What a moron..."

You have to engage them. You have to argue the point. You cannot let them get away with furthering their narrative. Not because you are going to change their mind, but because if their world-view goes unchallenged it will infect others. When someone spouts "Bush lied, people died!" or some other variant, and you do not publicly and vocally challenge it, you are complicit in making that concept "the conventional wisdom."

It's tiring. It's tedious. It's boring. But you must fight. You must never back down. You must never gloss over. You must engage. At every point, you must engage.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Why We Fight

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands that have connected them with another, and assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind demands that they declare the causes which impel them to that separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident:

That all men are created equal.

That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights

And that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And that to secure these rights, Governments are institituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

And that whenever any Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it and institute new Government, laying it foundation on such principles and organizing its powers as such to them seems best to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, would dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. And all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design, pursuing invariably the same object, to reduce them under absolute despotism – it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government and appoint new guardians for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the circumstances which constrain them to alter their former systems of Government. The history of the present king of Great Britain (George III) is a history of repeated abuses and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny in these colonies. To prove this, let facts be submitted before a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary to the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together Legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable and distant from the repositories of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved the representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the People.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states, for that purpose obstructing Laws for the nationalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions for the appropriations of new lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our People and eat out their sustenance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our Legislatures.

He has affected to render the military power independent of and superior to the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.

For imposing taxes upon us without our consent.

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.

For transporting us beyond the seas to be tried for pretended offenses.

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies.

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments.

For suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and utterly destroyed the lives of our People.

He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny begun by him in circumstances of cruelty and perfidity scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous of ages and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and bretheren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us and endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble of terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act that may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British bretheren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their Legislature to establish unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the conditions of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold all mankind, enemies in war – in peace, friends.

We therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, appealing to supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that there united colonies are, and of right ought to be – free and independent states. That they are totally absolved of any allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full right to declare war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.


If you will indulge me one last quote from another era in which we also faced a divided nation:

Gentlemen cry "Peace! Peace!" But there is no peace! The war is already begun. The next gale that blows form the north will bring with it the resounding clash of arms. Our bretheren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle?

What is it that gentlemen wish? What is it that they would have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased with the bonds of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God!

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death!

The Enemy believes that he is stronger than us. He believes this because, as he has said many times, in many forums, that we love life – while he loves death. And that is why he will defeat us.

And if that were the extent of the case, he would be correct. Of course it is true that we love life as only a diseased and psychotic people would worship death.

But there are things that we love more than life, chief among these being Liberty. We will fight for Liberty and we will die for Liberty. For our own, and for the Liberty of others.

That is why we are stronger than the Enemy. And that is why we will defeat him.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blair Speaks the Truth to Power!

Because in our societies, victimhood is power.

'The idea that as a Muslim in this country that you don't have the freedom to express your religion or your views, I mean you've got far more freedom in this country than you do in most Muslim countries,' Blair told Observer columnist Will Hutton, who presents the documentary.

'The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle is that we're not actually fighting it properly. We're not actually standing up to these people and saying, "It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified."'

Fatwas to follow shortly.

Christ we're going to miss him. Hopefully, the Brits will understand in time. But if Mark Steyn is correct, we can't hope for much:

Can that really be true? In a typically incompetent response, Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, issued one of those obviously -we're-sorry-if-there's-been-a-misunderstanding statements in which she managed to imply that Rushdie had been honored as a representative of the Muslim community. He's not. He's an ex-Muslim. He's a representative of the Muslim community's willingness to kill you for trying to leave the Muslim community. But, locked into obsolescent multiculti identity-groupthink, Beckett instinctively saw Rushdie as a member of a quaintly exotic minority rather than as a free-born individual.

This is where we came in two decades ago. We should have learned something by now. In the Muslim world, artistic criticism can be fatal. In 1992, the poet Sadiq Abd al-Karim Milalla also found that his work was ''not particularly well-received'': He was beheaded by the Saudis for suggesting Mohammed cooked up the Koran by himself. In 1998, the Algerian singer Lounes Matoub described himself as ''ni Arabe ni musulman'' (neither Arab nor Muslim) and shortly thereafter found himself neither alive nor well. These are not famous men. They don't stand around on Oscar night congratulating themselves on their ''courage'' for speaking out against Bush-Rove fascism. But, if we can't do much about freedom of expression in Iran and Saudi Arabia, we could at least do our bit to stop Saudi-Iranian standards embedding themselves in the Western world. So many of our problems with Iran today arise from not doing anything about our problems with Iran yesterday. Men like Ayatollah Khomeini despised pan-Arab nationalists like Nasser who attempted to impose a local variant of Marxism on the Muslim world. Khomeini figured: Why import the false ideologies of a failing civilization? Doesn't it make more sense to export Islamism to the dying West?

And, for a guy dismissed by most of us as crazy, he made a lot of sense. The Rushdie fatwa established the ground rules: The side that means it gets away with it. Mobs marched through Britain calling for the murder of a British subject -- and, as a matter of policy on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity, the British police shrugged and looked the other way. One reader in England recalled one demonstration at which he asked a constable why the ''Muslim community leaders'' weren't being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer told him to ''f - - - off, or I'll arrest you.'' Genuine ''moderate Muslims'' were cowed into silence, and pseudo-moderate Muslims triangulated with artful evasiveness. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who went on to become leader of the most prominent British Muslim lobby group, was asked his opinion of the fatwa against Rushdie and mused: ''Death is perhaps too easy.''

Must Read

All of Michael Yon's dispatches are outstanding. But every American should be made to read this one.

Fair warning, some of the pictures are graphic.

How Long Is It Going To Take To Build This Thing?

You know, World Trade Center 7 is already rebuilt and rented.

How long is this going to take?

Al Qaeda Also Fed Up With Ground Zero Construction Delays

Paragons of Journalism Not Interested

Civilian deaths in Baghdad down significantly in June.

Unofficial figures compiled by McClatchy Newspapers' show 189 Iraqis, including police and government security forces, were killed in the capital through Friday, a drop of nearly two thirds since this year's high in February, when 520 were killed.

Who do we go to for news that there is at least one indication that the Surge is having a positive effect?

The NY Times? The WaPo? The AP? The BBC?

No... McClatchy newspapers.



Don't get us wrong. This is good news, but shouldn't be cause for celebration. 189 civilian deaths is still terrible, and things can turn around quickly. But consider what the coverage from the NYT or the BBC would be if the facts pointed to June having the highest civilian death toll in the war...