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KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE



It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.
-Douglas MacArthur


Is Iraq the central front in the war on terror, or an unnecessary distraction? The answer would likely depend on who you ask, so let us begin with the enemy himself.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a written communiqué between two senior al Qaeda leaders. Dated July 9 of this year, it was reportedly intercepted in Iraq during routine counterterrorism operations.

This rambling, repetitive missive from Ayman al-Zawahiri--Osama bin Laden’s fellow Pakistan cave-dwelling deputy--to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his top field marshall of mayhem in Iraq, is telling on many levels. Al Qaeda websites have come out against its authenticity, highlighting further its revelatory nature and the political damage to their cause that may ensue.

The United States Government is purporting to have the highest confidence in the letter's authenticity, posing an interesting dilemma. For those predisposed to reflexively dismiss anything put forth by the current administration (just under half the country, based on the last election results), including those of the tin foil hat wearing conspiracy crowd, this would logically infer agreement with the official position of Al Qaeda Online. You‘ve Got Jail.

"Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists," said President Bush shortly after 9/11. In this case, you either believe us or you believe them, a motley crew of bloodthirsty killers. There’s precious little wiggle room. (Chew on that one, Melinda).

Being distrustful of global networks made up of genocidal lunatics, I do believe I’m going to have to side with the usually oxymoronic "government intelligence" agencies on this one.

As for the contents of the aforementioned thirteen page letter, it reads like the 7 Habits of Highly Defective People, or rather, a rough manuscript for a self-help guide to global jihad. In it Zawahiri makes it clear he’s been boning up on his Stratego, laying out a vision of war without end, whether the Americans pack up and leave tomorrow or remain another quarter century.

He admits that al Qaeda’s territorial ambitions extend well beyond the borders of Iraq, ultimately leading to the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic regime that would span the region and clears the way for a final showdown with the 58-year-old bogeyman of the Middle East. And no, I’m not referring to George W. Bush.

But don’t take my word for it. Let the Z-man speak for himself:
I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting battle in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam's history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era…

It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the [Middle East]… As for the battles that are going on in the far-flung regions of the Islamic world, such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Bosnia, they are just the groundwork and the vanguard for the major battles which have begun…

If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet… then your efforts and sacrifices -- God permitting -- are a large step directly towards that goal. So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it…
Next, Zawahiri speculates that the jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals:
The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.
Sadly, I don’t think it involves Geraldo.
The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or emirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate -- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq…in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before un-Islamic forces attempt to fill this void.
Here he makes it patently clear that the war does not end upon U.S. withdrawal, but merely shifts crosshairs to the Iraqi Army and police forces left to fend for themselves.
The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.
But keep in mind, there were absolutely no terrorists in Iraq until we got there!
The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.
That’s right, the creation of Israel had nothing at all to do with the century-long obsession with wiping the Jewish populace off the face of the earth. It was all about whitey keeping the mullahs down. Where have we heard this tired excuse before?
…the [jihadists] must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it…
In other words, we can fight them now in the streets and alleys with AK-47s and crude roadside bombs, or we can sit by and watch as they build a "legitimate" army of tanks, planes and missiles, and lobby at the UN for Security Council protection under the auspices of "national sovereignty."

And you can count on a mass slaughter of epic proportions as the Iraqi Shiites, northern Kurds and others who dared take a chance on a better future and defy their Sunni masters are repaid in full for being foolish enough to trust the Americans yet again.

Zawahiri also acknowledges an acute sense of political cunning and PR manipulation:
The Americans will exit soon, God willing, and the establishment of a governing authority--as soon as the country is freed from the Americans--does not depend on force alone.

Things may develop faster than we imagine. The aftermath of the
collapse of American power in Vietnam--and how they ran and left their agents--is noteworthy.
For those whose grasp of American history is as flimsy and weak as Zawahiri’s (i.e., you attended an Ivy League college or typical liberal arts university), keep in mind that the U.S. military did not "lose" the war in Southeast Asia. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the United States Congress retroactively cut off our South Vietnamese allies from all the promised financial support that Richard Nixon assured them before the last American boots left the ground. Up until that point, the war was won. The troops had come home and the South was still free. Then came the media frenzy of Watergate.

The North Vietnam Communists lost militarily on their home turf yet hung on because they saw their cause succeeding politically on ours, as eventually it did with an assist from celebrity activists, doom and gloom journalism, and a campus counterculture cast of thousands of self-indulgent students. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

The danger of the people--and their elected representatives--becoming distracted by domestic brouhahas is real, and should not be discounted in wartime. Neither should the eroding effect of a perpetually pessimistic opposition party and a mainstream press that behaves more like a fifth column than a fourth branch.

Zawahiri gets it:
…however far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one thousandth of the capabilities of the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us. …more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media... in a race for the hearts and minds of [the entire Muslim world].
The inane press comparisons or Iraq to Vietnam persist, yet the few that are still apt are worth noting. Once more, we are seeing U.S. victories on the battlefield spun into defeat on the home front by the filtering, distortion, and outright anti-American bias of the media. And once again, the only way we can lose the war at this point is if we as a nation turn on backs on the millions of innocent people we’ve committed to support. The antiwar movement purports to stand for peace, yet if successful, their aims will only lead to untold carnage of ordinary Iraqis.

"Know thy self, know thy enemy," instructed Sun Tzu, the oldest recorded military advisor.

The enemy have made their intentions known. They have staked out their allegiances. They have broadcast their objectives on Al Jazeera--the Fox News of the Middle East--as well as on CNN, the Al Jazeera of the West. Yet millions of Americans across the spectrum continue to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear.

Many still dispute whether Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. Though among the global terrorist network, the debate ended long ago. Just ask Osama Bin Laden:

"This Third World War is raging" in Iraq and "the whole world is watching,” he says. It is an outcome that will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."

You want an exit strategy? How about "victory."

Right on!

The focus on an exit strategy takes our collective eye off the ball, which was our entrance strategy.

I'm not comparing it to anything. It is what it is. A few people had a plan after Gulf War I to install a democratic system, which, if left to grow, would provide an up close example of how a free market can work for people who've never really had one to study.
Actually, not a bad plan.

Implementation strategy is where it gets a little dicey.

John Barlow, a Wyoming resident, son of landed gentry with political connections, once knew a young Dick Cheney, well enough to have gone fishing with him, calls Cheney "One of the two brightest people he's ever met", the other being Bill Gates.

Point being, how can someone so smart think that a "destroy a country in order to save it" approach could possibly work?

If someone pulled that shit with me in my country, my great great great grandchildren would still be pissed off. I would see to it that they would be imbued with a sense of holy mission to make the heirs to the perpetrators of that crime pay.

Now, I'm just a dumb cracker from rural PA. I don't know from the Arab world, but I do know people, and you're gonna try to tell me that Mr. & Mrs. John Q in Bagdahd aren't going to feel the same way? I don't think so.

As for your snide remark about liberal arts universities, my uncle was a dept. head at UT for 20 years. He always presented it as an open minded place that allowed for all opinions to be expressed, even yours.

Come home safe. You're a royal pain in the ass. I actually respect that.

Rik Longenecker

For those predisposed to reflexively dismiss anything put forth by the current administration (just under half the country, based on the last election results)Jeez. Just because someone voted against President Bush in the last election doesn't mean that you reflexively dismiss anything he or his staff says. That's a misreading of the electoral process.

Hey, Rik:

Iraq hasn't been destroyed. We are actively building up many things that were destroyed. A lot of destruction is being committed by foreigners from Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc., who aren't building a damn thing, and the Iraqis are getting quite pissed off by that.

As far as what your great-grandchildren might do; we haven't seen that in Vietnam. And we didn't display it towards England.

Buck,

We agree with you, son. Press on. You are winning and the enemy knows it. Most of the country is behind you, wants you to win, and expects you to do your duty. They know this is not a hopeless conflict, and will make things better for America if we finish it.

Folks like Rik will be with us always, like bad weather, but folks like you guys only come around every so often. We need you to stay on mission, finish the terrorists by changing the Islamic propaganda machine against us. And then come home with the honor and Victory you have won.

You can't believe the polls either because they are stacked against the administration and the military. They deliberately ask whether Americans think we are doing what we should be doing in Iraq, and then claim it means we should pull out. The vast majority of Americans want you to make it work, be harder on the Iraqis, if necessary, and then come home victorious. We don't want you to fail.

So press on, youngster. We need you at home to make sure the wimpy liberal candyasses don't end up running the country. Because then we will all be destined to die -- horribly.

Subsunk

Osama appears to have missed. We're currently fighting World War IV. III was the cold war. We'll win IV just like we won the others: with guts, determination, perseverance, and overwhelming firepower.

Carry on!

Quote: "Is Iraq the central front in the war on terror, or an unnecessary distraction? The answer would likely depend on who you ask, so let us start with the enemy himself."

He said the letter you wrote quite a long analysis of here is a forgery.

Since then I really cannot think of any Middle East analyst who hasn't concluded the same thing weeks ago.

Quote: "Know thy self, know thy enemy," instructed Sun Tzu, the oldest known military advisor.

Running a google search on the topic of your articles don't hurt either.

I do so wish they still taught history in the schools today. I say this as a mother who just went through 12 years of school with my daughter and couldn't believe what the kids weren't being taught about their own country's history. The Media could use a few refresher courses too.
But those who wnat to believe in the "evil conspiracy" going on now will continue to do so seeing only what they want to see. Keep posting!! We need your voice!

>>>Iraq hasn't been destroyed...

Last I heard, they had about half the electricity they had before the invasion.

>>>we didn't see that in Vietnam...

I still see a lot of "Forget, Hell!" bumper stickers south of the Mason/Dixon line. It's 150 years after that war.

We preemptively invaded a soverign nation that was not planning to attack us,or our allies, did not have the capacity, short term or long, to invade us.

We manufactured evidence, then lied about it, and the world community knows this.

We deposed a tyrannical dictator who we'd been doing business with previously, when it suited our needs. That should certainly build trust.

>>>like bad weather...

Yes, the facts can be as unpleasant as bad weather. But ignoring them is like ignoring an impending hurricane.
we've seen what that can do.

Buck - Once again, you're right on target. You would think that people would have learned how deeply the anti-war movement in Vietnam undermined the mission. I just don't understand people like Rik - what would you have us do? Pull out? What do you think happens then? Peace and prosperity? When is war ever appropriate? Didn't we invade Germany in WWII without provocation (it was Japan that attacked us, not Germany)?

Anyway, thanks again Buck for all you do and stay safe!

-Rebecca

>>>Didn't we invade Germany without provocation???

No, we didn't. We entered the war after Germany had overrun several neighboring countries.

Thank God my son is with a soldier like you! Keep it up. I only wish this was out where more people could see it. I'm the only Army mom in my place of work and it's gets so tiring explaining and defending why we are there. But I will continue to do so as long as it takes! Unfortunately, the only thing that will wake up the majority of the media again will be another 9/11, and even then they will blame us. What a shame, that they have so little love for their fellow neighbors and themselves. Anyway, this war won't be over for many years, not just Iraq, but everywhere. I have two sons in the Army, both have been in Iraq or are there now. I will forever be behind our Military, whatever they need from us! God bless them!

First, I apologize for using anonymous, it's just quicker right now.

Oh Boy, guys like Rik are ubiquitous. How sad for us optimistic Americans.

Rik, of course, knows more than anybody else about everything imagineable. Just ask him. It is also very important to note that people like Rik glory in delivering "bad news". Even if this so called bad news has to be manufactured. Even if this so called bad news relies on parsing words, tortured logic or obscure concerns known only to the liberal cognoscenti.

Guys like Rik used to important, now they are impotent. This impotence has resulted in eunuch's rage as Rik & Co watch the march of progress leave them behind.

the liberal play book is quite well known now, the viet nam redux underpinnings of this are also crystal clear to Americans everywhere.

So out of simple politeness we do little more than shrug our internet shoulders and wonder at people like Rik, so stuck in yesterday.

Frankly, I don't much feel all that charitable toward these people. I am far less willing to tolerate their misguided hatred of the country I love.

Hey Rik, if you're in America may I suggest that you relocate to a socialist state? No doubt they are anxious to have you there.

if you are not in America may I suggest that simply butt out?

I've stated facts. I haven't attacked you, personally. Why do you not accord me the same courtesy?

>Didn't we invade Germany in WWII without provocation (it was Japan that attacked us, not Germany)?

Well, with this statement, I'd have to agree with 'yankeemom's' laments about the lack of a knowledge of our own history. Might I suggest a trip to the library to pick up a book on the history of WWII, which should have some helpful information about treaties and alliances that might help you out.

You haven't answered my question.

As for the history of WWII, my uncle was wounded and paralyzed in Belgium in the fall of 1944, at the age of 19. The first half of his autobiography is a soldier's first hand view of that war, from his draft notice, through basic, the events leading up to being shot, his recovery and life after.

A copy of it is in the "Greatest Generation" archives that Tom Brokaw establised at Florida State University to honor soldiers of that war.

If you'd like an autographed copy, email me and I'll be happy to send you one.

He gave up the use of his legs so that discussions like this could take place, and that dissenting views could be heard.

As for me, I'm a small business owner, which makes me very much a free marketer, not a socialist.

I came of draft age in June of 1972. I registered as the law required. Within weeks of that, Nixon abolished the draft. had I been called, I would have gone.

I attended a land grant college, not Ivy league.

As for my manhood, you've obviously never met me.

"Well, with this statement, I'd have to agree with 'yankeemom's' laments about the lack of a knowledge of our own history. Might I suggest a trip to the library to pick up a book on the history of WWII, which should have some helpful information about treaties and alliances that might help you out."

-Uhhh, Germany had been aggressive with our allies for YEARS before we decided to get involved. Why didn't we act on our alliances and treaties then?

Rik, you merit no courtesy. Nor do you merit respect. these are things you earn, they are not accorded to you simply because you occupy space and consume food.

This isn't some politically correct college campus where you can run to the PC police because you're offended. If you offended, go sob in the corner. In the meantime leave the adults alone.

How nice that you run your own business, bully for you.

Sad to hear about your uncle, but I wonder how your uncle's war wounds confer credibility on you, especially when you simply repeat the fringe left's talking points basically verbatim.

As I said in my first post, I don't feel particularly charitable toward people like you. We've had enough righteous indignation for now and it's time for you and yours recognize that you are now part of the problem.

As for you manhood, well since you mention it, may I point out that yesterday was St Cripians day.

Ring a bell with you Rik? Agincourt? henry V? We few, we happy few, we band of brothers?

Any of this striking a chord with you Rik?

How about this part: " And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

Is that you Rik?

>-Uhhh, Germany had been aggressive with our allies for YEARS before we decided to get involved. Why didn't we act on our alliances and treaties then?

again. read up on those history books. it's all there for you reading pleasure. might take you some effort to actually go do some research. you're not afraid of reading up on the facts, are you?

Don't feel sad for my uncle. He led a full life, was a child psychologist who founded two schools, one for autistic kids,one for kids with varied disorders, raised 4 kids and a mess of grandkids, and had a community who loved and respected him.

I only pointed out my professional life because you incorrectly labeled me a socialist.

What I stated in my original post are facts. They aren't "good news, or bad news" as you would like to label them. Those are subjective adjectives. These are facts.

As for adults, namecalling is the childish behavior. You're the one doing that.

As for when we entered the war in Europe, There was a serious discussion going on in this country on when or if we should commit troops to a war that wasn't being fought on our soil. FDR agonized long and hard over it. Appeasement was a policy the neighboring countries chose, not us. Hindsight's always 20/20.

FDR didn't agonize over it, he faced a population that was isolationist. he faced an electorate that was unwilling to spend blood and treasure to end yet another stupid european war.

He beleived that our entry into the war was inevitable and he LEAD his people. Much like Bush is leading now.

Evidence? Lend lease was going strong well before pearl harbor. We were propping up the Soviets and getting material to Britain as fast as we could. We were also moving to a war time footing.

Frankly, if FDR and others had acted pre emptively much sorrow would have been averted. yes this is hindsight, but it's apropos of the left's current whining about taking Iraq out before Saddam got any stronger.

had France or Germany simply crushed the embryonic Nazi party there would be no WWII. Instead they did what today's feckless left demands that America do: nothing. They did nothing. Hitler built an arsenal while they dithered. I'm sure there was something about sovereignty and no overt attacks and the League of Nations and such, but by the time the French and Brittish got over themselves they had no viable way to stop hitler.

Hitler took the Sudatenlands because no one could stop him. Hitler took Danzig and the german corridor because no one could stop him. Hitler took most of continental europe because no one could stop him.

My question: why does the left insist that we repeat this grave mistake? What is it about the lessons of history that are lost on the left? Why does the left continually beleive that america should weaken itself?

How stupid can these people be?

"again. read up on those history books. it's all there for you reading pleasure. might take you some effort to actually go do some research. you're not afraid of reading up on the facts, are you?"

CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHEN GERMANY ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES?? PLEASE DIRECT ME TO THIS HISTORY BOOK YOU IDIOT.

-Rebecca

Who are you yelling at?

Who is this "left" you keep referring to. I'm a conservative.

I don't recall anyone saying anything about Germany invading the US except you.

Your comparison of Iraq to Germany isn't valid, as Hussain wasn't preparing to invade anyone.

Germany declared war on us. They didn't need to invade us to get into our cross-hairs.

And nobody said Iraq was going to invade us. That would be absurd.

Nobody (except Senator Rockefeller) said Iraq was an "imminent threat" to us either. The President said he did not want to wait until the threat was imminent. 69% of the House and 75% of the Senate agreed. Popular opinion was about the same level. That's how we got into this.

Buck ... a little haiku for you:

message we must send
USA no better friend
no worse enemy

Let precision-guided ruthlessness be the order of the day ... destroying our enemy, while protecting all who do not take up arms against us, whether they welcome or disdain our presence.

Rik ... maybe Saddam wasn't going to invade us (right now), but consider this scenario:

Saddam passes one UN weapons inspection, yet manages to keep his WMD R&D resources (as described in the Duelfer Report) hidden. Sanctions are lifted.

In response to pressure from the Arab Street, the Saudis and Kuwaitis compel us to draw down our forces in the region.

If we were not around, Saddam had more than enough force to quickly overrun Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, IMO.

Imagine a world where control of nearly all the Persian Gulf oil reserves would then lie with two entities ... the mullahs of Iran, and Saddam & Sons.

They would have the developed world by the short-and-curlies ... and they have shown that they would use that position, not only to disrupt our economies, but to leverage their (now extensive) resources into the military power needed for further expansion.

Saddam, ever the egomaniac, would be sorely tempted ... and have no checks and balances working against him ... to cement his legacy as a Great Arab Man by directing some of those resources towards the only functional democracy in the region -- Israel -- in an attempt to render it judenrein. He would be egged on by every Islamofascist in the Middle East to do so ... even those who don't consider him a good enough Muslim to suit them.

Now ... put all this aside ... and ask yourself this: when was the last time that a tyrant, with extensive resources and the ability to leverage them further to advance his agenda, stopped attempting to expand his area of totalitarian control ON HIS OWN? Even after crushing Israel (if that was actually possible ... I, for one, think not), would Saddam and/or his Islamofascist fellow-travelers not continue to expand totalitarian rule, if we show that we would not get in the way?

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, what we did here was DECISIVELY END a threat that was equivalent to Hitler in 1935 or so ... instead of waiting until 1941 to do something about it.

The reason Saddam was first on the hit parade -- even before Osama -- was because he had a combination of proven brutality, extensive resources, a location that gave him myriad opportunities to cause trouble, and alack of structural restraints within Iraq ... that made him a unique threat to his neighbors (and because we now live in a highly-interconnected world, "neghibors" means us, as well). It wasn't just about WMD ... though that was honestly part of it (see below)

I wonder if FDR and President Bush will ever compare notes about the flack they took for their "unilateral" actions?

You say we fabricated evidence ... then why did Saddam's own generals, up until two months before the war, believed they would have WMD to use?

If anyone lied about WMD, it was Saddam ... who spoke out of both sides of his mouth as he kept his capabilities ambiguous (in stark contrast to the cooperative disarmament actions in South Africa and now Libya) ... and not President Bush.

So ... how did we miss the WMD?

We missed it because our intelligence apparatus couldn't see through what Saddam was telling other world leaders and his own generals.

They couldn't do so because our intel apparatus -- and that of other nations who share our values -- has been hobbled over the last three decades or so at the behest of the political Left, who feared it would be used against them more than our blindness being exploited by our enemies.

BTW, this is the same political Left who, through their insistence that we NEVER DECISIVELY project American force (else we would be "imperialist") painted our leaders into a corner where they had to make the best of a bad situation by playing footsy with Saddam and other dictators. (Keep in mind, though, that our interactions with Saddam were a mere conversation over coffee, compared to the bed he shared with the French and Russians.)

Be sure to direct a proportionate amount of your criticism at the cheerleaders for universal impotence as a way to peace, while you criticize someone with the fortitude to make a common-sense judgment call, rather than further risking innocent lives by waiting for either 100% proof or UN approval.

I am surprised nobody else has brought this up. During the discussion of US entry into WWII, various commenters talked about Germany invading our allies in Europe.
The US had no allies in Europe in the 1930's. The impression that the US did is probably due to sloppy terminology. Most history books talk about the victorious coalition in WWI as "the Allies". The actual name of the coalition, as used at the time was "the Allied and Associated Powers". The US was an Associated Power due to the fact that the US was not bound by any treaties of alliance.

Holy crappola! Children, children... play nice. Well, this one certainly struck a chord with some people. I don't even know where to begin. (And how did WWII get dragged into this? Focus, people, focus).

Okay, deep breath...

"how can someone so smart think that a "destroy a country in order to save it" approach could possibly work?"

There's a saying in my line of work that no plan survives first contact. I'm sorry that the wars hasn't gone perfectly the way you'd like it too, but neither has ANY war we've been involved in. By today's reporting standards, D-Day would have been pegged an absolute fiasco, the desperate last-ditch effort by Hitler's troops in the Battle of the Bulge would have had the NY Times screaming for retreat, and the Tet Offensive would have been recast as a defeat for the U.S. rather than the total destruction of the Vietcong... oh wait, that IS the way it was reported then. Thanks, Uncle Waltie, you octogenarian ass. (Christ, now you've got ME referencing WWII).

"As for your snide remark about liberal arts universities, my uncle was a dept. head at UT for 20 years. He always presented it as an open minded place that allowed for all opinions to be expressed, even yours."

No, but this site is! I guess that was then, this is now. Because UT was a liberal cesspool of groupthink at the time I attended ('99-'02). I was a government major, and I routinely got C's for my writing in several of my poly sci classes. Now if you truly believe I am a "C" student, fine. But I can't help but deduce that I was being punished for my politics. In fact, I've been planning to post some of my old writing in a series of posts about why elections matter. You can decide for yourself. Until then, Hook 'em Horns!

"You're a royal pain in the ass."

Have you been talking to my wife? (Hi Honey! I miss you!)

"Osama appears to have missed. We're currently fighting World War IV. III was the cold war."

Very true. But it's not Osama's fault. He's very misunderstood. His 57th wife left him for another sheik years ago, and he hasn't recovered since.

"the letter you wrote quite a long analysis of here is a forgery. Since then I really cannot think of any Middle East analyst who hasn't concluded the same thing weeks ago."

I'm aware of the "controversy," but it's patently absurd. It all revolves around the fact that Zawahiri didn't directly use his own or Zarqawi's name in the text of the letter. Actually, he DID mention Zarqawi once, and it's actually pretty comical. He says something along the lines of: "and if you HAPPEN to run into our mutual 'friend' Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who is definitely in FALLUJAH and NOT where you are right now, please tell him 'whassup' for me." Please... even master terrorists aren't stupid enough to address letters to each other and then write their real name with a return address on it. No one other than our own intelligence services would take the time to forge a 13 page letter like this one, so this goes back to what I wrote: Either you believe our government on this one, or you believe the terrorists. I guess you've made your choice. What the NY or LA Times think truly doesn't affect my opinion. Although a more enlightened explanation than mine can be found here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/katz200510210928.asp

"Last I heard, they had about half the electricity they had before the invasion."

Hey, what happened to all your 'FACTS!'

Look, parts of Iraq are still a mess, predominantly in and around Baghdad, but 3/4 of the rest of the country is calm and on the mend with little insurtent violence. But you don't hear these reports because all the journalists hide out in the Green Zone in Baghdad.

"We preemptively invaded a soverign nation that was not planning to attack us,or our allies, did not have the capacity, short term or long, to invade us."

Yeah, 'sovereign' according to Saddam and the UN, also dominated by tin pot dictators. Plus, who ever said anything about 'invasion'? How many terrorists does it take to kill three thousand Americans? Last time I checked, 19. But it really only takes one sale of an NBC weapon from a willing manufacturer to a willing user to make that death toll pale in comparison.

"We manufactured evidence, then lied about it, and the world community knows this."

Um, actually the 'whole world' believed the exact same thing we did up until Bush surprised them all by actually following through. 'Regime change' was the standing policy of the U.S. govt. during Clinton's term as well, as authorized by Congress. Opposition to this war is purely political. Can ANYONE imagine liberals savaging Clinton this much for going to Iraq? (Although if they did, he'd of course have us turn tail and run, i.e., Somalia).

"We deposed a tyrannical dictator who we'd been doing business with previously, when it suited our needs."

Big deal, we do it all the time. It's called pragmatism. Who was a bigger threat to us in the 80's, Iran or Iraq? Who was a bigger threat to us in the 40s, the Nazis or the Russian Communists? And then for the next 50 years, the Soviet threat trumped all others. In foreign policy you don't always have the luxury of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

Okay, I'm spent. Plus, I have to go out on patrol soon, so I need to grab some rack time. Sorry for devoting all my time to answering the critics, but for those of you who actually had constructive things to say, whether you agree with me or not, right on!

But please... no more dissertations on the origins of WWII, at least, not in this thread.

Save that for "GIVE WAR A REST".

-Buck

Dr. Phil weighs in.
Sneak peek inside the mind of a liberal:

http://www.philzone.org/discus/messages/36579/239433.html?1130366275

"Stupidity and ignorance almost beyond description."

"I read the comments. The reaction to it is about what I would expect from a group of "uber-patriots" who are too full of themselves to realize that the situation is wrong."

"They keep telling themselves they are winning because they cannot face the prospect of being in a losing situation. And they wil fight to the death anyone who is willing to point out reality to them. A caged animal fights harder than a free one."

"pathetic to think a war can accomplish that."

"they are not even able to comprehend the context from which you speak, only their own."

>>>Iraq hasn't been destroyed...

>>Last I heard, they had about half the electricity they had before the invasion.

Well, you must've last heard about two years ago. You might also want to find out who the Iraqis have been blaming for their more recent power outages.

>>>we didn't see that in Vietnam...

>>I still see a lot of "Forget, Hell!" bumper stickers south of the Mason/Dixon line. It's 150 years after that war.

Those Southerners have yet to send suicide bombers north of said Mason/Dixon line. Either they've been biding their time for 150 years or it's just braggadocio.

>>We preemptively invaded a soverign nation that was not planning to attack us,or our allies, did not have the capacity, short term or long, to invade us.

Why kill your spouse when you can hire a hit-man to do it for you? Step into the zeroes, there's a whole new type of war coming your way and it's called asymmetrical. One of the stated purposes (if you read the manual in its original Chinese) is to attack your enemy through dispersed non-state actors to avoid direct force conflicts. Those are always a losing proposition when trying to tangle with the USA. Another is to foment the same kind of dissent you're exhibiting, based on unproven rhetoric presented as facts that stems from a general distaste for war. There is nothing wrong with a distaste for war. We, after all, are a peace loving nation. But the enemy has been fighting this war for a decade despite our lack of interest in joining the fray. Further, they've been preparing the battlefield while we've been casting an uninterested eye their way. Just like the USC Trojans can only beat themselves, the US can only defeat itself by losing its will to fight. The international community knows this. The only strategy any enemy can even try is to outlast us, hope we declare victory and go home, then back to business as usual. Better bone up, the opposition sure has.

By the by, nobody denies Saddam was a financier of international terrorism. The US was a victim of a terrorist attack perpetrated by folks from another nation. There are so many connections that an entire book was written about it. Follow the money. Or better yet, follow the path of Zarqawi after he fled Afghanistan and before we entered Iraq.

>>We manufactured evidence, then lied about it, and the world community knows this.

Turns out the evidence wasn't manufactured. You can see a lot of it on the CIA website. Also, turns out the persons claiming the administration was lying were actually, well, lying. Or misspoke, or were misrepresented, or whatever nuanced excuse best serves their purpose. They are now using all kinds of vague language to cover their butts, what the definitions of 'is' is and all that rot.

The world community, thanks to Oil for Food, helped perpetrate this. Folks opposed to a government having cronies in the oil business pulling the strings seem to have no knowledge of Total and Power, Canadian companies related by marriage to the PM of France while also having major stock ownership of BNP which has been implicated in the Oil for Food scandal. Turns out almost every country opposed to the war now finds themselves implicated in OIF, all the way up to Kofi Annan. Is that okay? Were they not lying? Were they being fully truthful in their presentation of the alleged facts?

There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Turns out there's a fine line between 1999 - when that administration was describing the threat posed by Iraq - and 2000 when the reins were handed over to the scape goats, the Bush administration. C'est la guerre. They were right in 1999 and that didn't change in 2000.

>>We deposed a tyrannical dictator who we'd been doing business with previously, when it suited our needs. That should certainly build trust.

It is still the policy of the UN to deal with the devil you know instead of the devil you don't. The US was wrong to follow their lead then, and it would be wrong to continue to follow that lead. Placating dictators that foment hate is not a recipe for world peace. For those wondering why we haven't deposed others: why, they'll just have to wait their turn. Then again, when the threat of force is backed up by actual use of force those folks tend to pay closer attention. Vis Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, and even Syria.

Thanks to the genius of taking Iraq first we pretty much have Iran surrounded by allies and they know it.

>>>like bad weather...

>>Yes, the facts can be as unpleasant as bad weather. But ignoring them is like ignoring an impending hurricane.
we've seen what that can do.

Yet you have been ignoring, or discounting, plenty of facts. Actually, your entire argument is based upon unproven charges that have been countered by facts time and time again. Facts that go unreported, but are readily available nonetheless. Are you giving a free pass to those that have lied about the administration? Or lied about the existence of the evidence on display at the CIA website? Or lied, or misspoke, or misrepresented their role in the gathering of intelligence before the war? Lying is bad, right? Lying about matters of national security during a time of war is sedition. Is that not bad? Is a misrepresentation of facts on the ground not lying? Or is that merely responding to market dynamics since if it doesn't bleed it doesn't lead?

Good thing Zarkman and the Zaw came out against the communique. We know they are stalwart bastions of truth. /sarcasm off/. But if their debunking of the intercepted communique is truth, if you believe they don't ever lie, then why not take them at their word when they proclaim their goals (as stated on Al Qaeda websites and their own manuals) as the destruction of Israel, establishment of a Caliphate, and defeat of Team Satan aka the USofA?

It would seem from your postings that you are unclear as to the nature of the threat. Hence the Sun Tzu quote. I won't hazard to guess what your perception of the threat is, but I will post my take if you are willing to post yours.

OMG - that photo is hysterical. I just love it. It took me a sec when looking at it til I realized what was on his back. It is too precious to be believed. It's real right?

I love what you wrote and the photo too. You are so right, those that whine and cry out to get out of Iraq will still not be satisfied. If we did as they want then they would start in how everyone failed. They have a hard enough time now telling all the awesome things our troops are accompolishing there.
I vote for Victory for our strategy! Victory to thank all those that served and gave their all. Victory for the Iraqi's that took a stand and went out to vote with their hearts full of gratitude to the troops that helped make it possible.

Thank you Buck Sargent, thank you for all you do and for your writing truth as always.

Freedom! No Word Was Ever Spoken
That Held Out Greater Hope,
Demanded Greater Sacrifice,
Needed More To Be Nurtured,
Blessed More The Giver,
Cursed More Its Destroyer,
Or Came Closer To Being God's Will On Earth.
And I Think That's Worth Fighting For."

General Omar Bradley

"Iraq hasn't been destroyed...Last I heard, they had about half the electricity they had before the invasion."____Generating capacity is now about 40% more than it was before the invasion. There is a steady campaign to remedy the neglect inflicted on the system by Saddam's government over three decades. Ideally, the capacity would be about ten times what it was before the invasion._____ There are difficulties in delivering some of this power to houses because of the constant attacks on pylons by insurgents, many of who are former regime elements.

Buck, you're the best!

Something Rik said earlier caught my attention. It was his comment regarding the draft back in '72. I too came of age back then, but in early November. The draft didn't officially end until January 1973. He must've had a higher number in the "lottery" not to be drafted that year. I was one of the lucky few, I was drafted mid December.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Happy Birthday Buck!! Your post is right on with my thinking. I too loved the photo. At first I thought it was "Ralph" the Stryker dude, but realized it was the wrong uniform :D

Your blog is outstanding....Ive come back to visit a few times since teh first time I ran across it, and theres always something to make me laugh, which is nice. I have several friends over there, including my unborn son's father, and its nice ot get a break from reading all of the news about deaths and injuries every week. I look forward to reading mor eof operation enduring boredom:-D

typical yanks.....try picking up a copy of "friendly fire- the secret war between the allies" FDR was a warmongerer , he went hell bent to cauz the second world war. as hitlers second in command reudolf hess stated in his war time correspondence in ENGLAND , the only result which could come of a war between germany and britain in to bring about the end of imperial britain as a world power , replacing this power with the dominence of the united states, and to make the soviet union the most dominent power in all of europe .....mmmm , as for FDR ...mayby youz should look at who really had a say in the way ....try HARRY HOPKINS , FDR went into the war to get the US out of bankruptsy using british gold , he did just that , within 3 months of the start of the war britian was broke, so he came up with lend lease to keep it going

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln