"Hopefully this Buck won't stopone of the best damn MilBloggers to ever knock sand from his boots." -- The Mudville Gazette

29 March 2006


Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
-George Orwell

What’s black and white and red all over?

The blood-soaked headlines, the negative news reports, and the pessimistic press coverage sprints ahead at full gallop. Live from Iraq: it’s the Meme of the Month. Didn’t you hear? The country is in the midst of a calamitous downward spiral into Civil War. (All things considered, it’s really not much of a war and it’s sure far from civil.) But Al Jazeera said so. Or was that CNN? Is there really even a difference anymore?

It's true that much is indeed still amiss in Mesopotamia. (Not at all like that flourishing human rights Babylon of yesteryear.) But the seemingly random violence persists -- local politicians quibble over minutiae and squabble over militias; public cynicism is steadily on the rise as foreigners stealthily infiltrate the porous borders with near impunity; and all while embattled authorities on the ground struggle day by day to maintain order amidst the chaos. Come to think of it, it sounds almost as bad as the Golden State.

Journalists in theater must come to acknowledge that they are participants in this conflict whether they choose to believe so or not. Far from omniscient observers, these regal noncombatants must necessarily interact with the Iraqi people if they wish to accurately relay facts home to the American public. Or in a perfect world, I should say. The messy Third World we're really living in is currently teeming with (O)J-school graduates whose investigative skills recall the Search For The Real Killers. If the narrative doesn’t fit, you mustn’t file it.

The lack of security is the story, they say. Frankly, I'd be feeling pretty insecure too if I were so lousy at my job. Do these Green Zone FOBgoblins ever emerge from their Baghdad belfries long or often enough to properly collate the Big Picture they lay such exclusive claim to? Or are they merely hunkering down and ordering in, passively relying on the local Iraqi stringers who are bylining around the block to feed them information and in the process dispensing freelancing blows to the other half of the truth that rarely bleeds but certainly never leads.

"Hello, room service? Yes, I’ll have the sectarian special, medium rare -- terrorist toast with insurgent jam -- a mosque bombing with a side of corruption, and a chilled can of diet hope. Oh, and hold the progress, please."

Am I being too hard on them? I’ll concede they volunteered for a dangerous line of work, just like their camouflaged compatriots. The rare few who dare ride along with us deal with the same dangers we face, and must learn to cope in roughly the same stoic manner we‘ve long since mastered. We just have differing yardsticks for what constitutes success, what amounts to failure, and especially what is newsworthy and what is just more of the same old story. Dog Bites Man has never before been so fit to print. But come now, let's face it. It's hard to blame someone for having no other real options in life than to join the press corps, travel all over the world, meet interesting people, and film them.

IED! Quick, who do you call first -- the wife and kids, or your editor? Okay, so perhaps not all of them are glory seeking war whores or care bearers of bad tidings who pretend to fret over the fate of average Iraqis while all but ensuring their quality of life will never improve. Take Mike Yon, for instance. Now there's a guy who tells all sides of the story -- and doesn't count Zarqawi as one of them. (Refresh my memory, which Big Media clique does he belong to again? Oh, right.)

Make no mistake -- Al Qaeda’s PR machine stands head and shoulders above our own precisely because they are so adept at using our own satellite feed bloodlust against us; our BOOM mikes recording every second of it in Dolby Surround. Terrorists target journalists because it is a sure-fire page one headline with a ripple effect guaranteed to reverberate throughout every newsroom in America. Telegraphed acts of violence beget televised recounts of violence in a vicious Circle of Death that feeds the impression that all is hopeless. Want more coverage of your handiwork on ABC? Blow up their messengers. (Drop anchor!) I’d like to see a poll taken on how many newsmen are familiar with Bob Woodruff’s ordeal, and then how many are familiar with Paul Ray Smith’s. (Paul Ray who?) The prosecution rests.

Back at the Gotham City Times, the race to the bottom to release the home team play book continues unimpeded by guilt and unburdened by conscience. Apparently, it wasn’t enough to merely undermine the war effort at every opportunity and underplay the elections at every turn. No, Al-Qaeda has now been given an above-the-fold heads up to switch their long distance call-a-friend-of-Osama plan to ATnT 10-10-2-20, which will bookend nicely with the nuclear launch codes I fully expect to find within the Arts & Leisure section any day now. Compounding their treachery, the Treason Times shamelessly highlighted the results of a "secret" Pentagon investigation identifying the vulnerable spots in individual body armor worn by every soldier and Marine currently under fire. [Note to the Gray Lady’s foreign correspondents: Your body armor likely exhibits the very same weak points]. What was it Darwin had to say about natural selection and the instinct for self-preservation? Species bound for extinction tend to lack it.

Anyone old enough to recall Mogadishu, Haiti, Bosnia, or Kosovo would be hard pressed to recall a similar level of vitriol in the press or the public for those prior haphazard military engagements that were far less relevant to the national interest than our current Middle Eastern campaigns. But at least they’re all now thriving examples of democra… oh, never mind!

Ah, the good old days. Back before Not In Our Name changed their organizational letterhead from Not On Our Radar. Can the higher cost in blood and treasure of the current conflict really explain away all of this disparity in tone? The casualty predictions made for the taking of Baghdad were breathlessly predicted by every last retired general and armchair admiral on record as being in the tens of thousands. Three years later, to still have endured less than were lost in the span of an hour in lower Manhattan is anything if not encouraging. Yet the news coverage countdown to catastrophe continues unabated, the ME-ME-MEdia quagmired in misery.

Is this what stands today as serious and sober analysis? Is it impossible to believe that incorrigible ideology is trumping age-old idealism in driving this drumbeat of BOOM and gloom? What will it take for the press to finally decide to become more enamored with the solution than with enabling the problem before their myopic defeatism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Oh, how they all must long for eight more halcyon years of Billary.

Changing of the Drapes in the Ovum Office, World Peace Declared!

Picture a man witnessed running into a burning home after arriving on the scene to find it quietly smoldering. A crowd of onlookers has gathered outside to view the spectacle and wait meekly for the fire dept. to arrive on the scene. Moments later the roof catches fire and the heat drives the crowd back even further. By now, flame is shooting out of every window, ash and soot choking the air. The man never makes it back out. A few bystanders begin to wonder aloud: Why did he do it?

He was a fool, says one. He dashed inside to retrieve his valuables before they were incinerated. He was nothing but a materialist and placed those concerns above even those of his own life. This is what our society has come to, he says.

His family could have been trapped in there, cries another woman. He ran in to save his wife and children before it was too late. This man was a hero. A murmur escapes the crowd.

That was not even his home, chimes in a neighbor. That man lived in the small, one-story over there on the corner. No one even lives in this house here.

See? says the first man. He must have been a looter. He went in there to make off with someone else’s things. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one who started the fire in the first place.

No, says the woman, he couldn’t have known all that. He might have gone inside to look for survivors and maybe keep the fire from spreading out of control. This whole block could go up in flames, and his house with it.

Others in the crowd aren’t convinced either way. It doesn’t matter why he went in, they finally agree. He should have left that job for others to deal with. What arrogance, claiming for yourself a mantle of duty that no one asked you to take up.

The intensity of the heated debate begins to compete with the blaze. The witnesses do not know the factual circumstances, and can only speculate at this point. Later, after everyone has left the scene and firefighters comb through the rubble, the remains of the unidentified male are the only ones recovered. The house is declared otherwise uninhabited in the final investigation.

Local Man Dies Trapped in Fiery Model Home, Cause Unclear

Was he a fool or a hero?

Veterans distrust the elite press and the Main Street media that laps at their coattails when they are so quick to assume the former view even in the face of readily available evidence to the latter. All too often their glass isn't just half empty, it’s a half-empty three-day-old coffee with half a dozen cigarette floatees. Comparing our own reality on the ground with the media’s version of reality, one would think it difficult to host a tribal family feud when none of the contestants actually desire such an outcome. The Kurds do not, the Shia do not, the minority Sunni certainly do not because they realize the final tally would amount to a Final Solution decidedly not in their favor.

Can we see... 'accommodation?'


So who is it that desperately seeks our surrender while simultaneously campaigning for a war of incivility to bear fruit? I’ll offer two guesses. The first one's a gimme. The second I’ll leave to speculation. (Hint: it’s MSM spelled backwards.)

Maybe the real security issue the hired media jackals for jihad should be fretting over is their own job security. Because an increasing number of us are mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore. The most profitable route between two viewpoints is the straight line, not the slanted one. Clearly you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you're not fooling those of us in uniform with that looped stock footage backdrop of chaos and carnage circa 2004 while your talking heads talk out of their rears about unremitting violence circa 2006. A good many of us are on our second and third tours -- we were there, okay? (Hey Smitty, isn't that you manning the .50 cal? Dude, you look so young).

General Patton was prone to spout (in between profanity-laced litanies), "Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way." But really, either option will do nicely. Now just pick one, camera jockeys. It's almost time for your close-up.

22 March 2006


Watch the Video Tribute HERE

Filmed, Edited, and Produced by Buck Sargent

It is a worthy thing to fight for one’s freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man’s.
-Mark Twain

On April 4th, 2004 Army Specialist Casey Sheehan and seven fellow soldiers were killed during protracted combat with Shi'ite insurgents in Sadr City, Iraq. Sheehan, a Humvee mechanic, had volunteered for the rescue mission to relieve his besieged comrades only to be ambushed himself while en route. He had been in country for five days.

President Bush has made it clear that "America will not abandon Iraq" on his watch, yet he has acknowledged that the mission will likely continue on well past his presidency. And as in any long war, what is required most is a long lens and a long-run perspective in order to fully comprehend what is at stake and what we have to lose by declaring unconditional surrender. Such were the days when the American people demanded it of our enemies, not our own armies.

Ours has become an instant gratification nation, the countdown to ADD-Day stalking the horizon. Heading into its fourth year, the Iraq War has now lasted longer than most celebrity marriages. (Correction: Desert Storm lasted longer than most celebrity marriages). It has been said that the Vietnam War was lost on television, and that was when there were only three channels and they all screamed: RETREAT! But soldiers don’t watch the news, we make it. That is why the MSM refuse to tell our story, that is why they continue to poison the well back home, and that is why soldiers have taken it upon ourselves to “tell it like it is” on the internet.

Casey Sheehan's mother asks, “What did my son die for?” as she hops the globe with her traveling Cirque du Solemnity. His actions that fateful day provide the answer. Her son -- regrettably, now the second most famous Sheehan -- and the thousands of others like him, died for their brothers in arms. For their families at home. For their country. For a people they had little in common with other than a desire to live free from fear. For children that were not their own, but that reminded them of home. For the same thing forgotten Americans have long died for in forgotten places like Takur Gahr, Mogadishu, Hue City, Inchon, the Ardennes, Cold Harbor, and Bunker Hill.

They died not for "nothing," but for no thing. They died for a set of ideals, principles, a creed. Imaginary concepts impossible to “deconstruct,” yet born out of war and nourished by the blood of patriots in a long line of succession that remains unmoved, unbroken, and unmatched. Displaying the best known side of human nature: steadfast opposition to its worst. Becoming intimate with war, thus allowing others to know peace. Sacrificing their future progeny for another's in defense of the weak and the vulnerable. Avenging the ghostly remains left behind from a tyrant unburdened by conscience. To protect the right of lesser men (and women) to freely and openly ridicule their sacrifice.

“What did my son die for?” A question better left to Iraqis themselves to answer. Take the mayor of Tall’Afar, Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri:

“To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.”

Casey Sheehan was killed defending freedom on Palm Sunday.

Cindy, says Mayor Najim, let not your heart be hardened. Be not bitter, but proud. None that walk among us are immortal, and to bury a child is forever a tragedy. Yet your son lost his life in the most honorable manner possible. He died so that others may live.

I’d say that puts him in pretty good company.


12 March 2006


American Citizen Soldier *Extra*
This is the continuation of a series of selected excerpts from my Afghanistan war journal hand-recorded from October 2003 to August 2004. All OEB entries are previously unpublished.

Sunday 11January2004 -- Saturday 17January2004
Camp Blackhorse
Kabul, Afghanistan
Once again the exhausting nature of our Groundhog Day-like work schedule has thwarted my regular journal attempts and forced me into yet another week-long retrospectus. Here goes:

--I finally recovered from several days of a flu-like illness that’s been making its rounds throughout our sleep-deprived rank & file. If there is anything worse for morale than sitting in an OP tower all night while sick as a dog and all the while cursing humanity, I don’t know what is. For those few miserable days I was not a happy camper. I hurled invective at the Army, at my platoon mates, at God, at White Trash the dog, Hajji, Osama bin Laden, the French... No one was spared my wrath.

And the sicker I became, the stupider things got. Our already sacrosanct “sleep” shifts quickly vanished in a puff of white smoke, as our admittedly bored senior leadership (bored, that is, from snoozing all night and lounging all day) decided to reintroduce “mandatory fun,” Afghaniland style. We now spend the majority of our “off time” traveling out to the various firing ranges set up on the outskirts of Kabul in order to attempt to shoot or at least operate every off the wall foreign weapons system that our platoon sergeant can get his hands on. AK-47s, RPGs, RPK and PKM machines guns, T-72 tanks... Tanks, for cyin’ out loud. Basically, if it’s an old, crappy, outdated Soviet era weapon that is of absolutely no training value to us whatsoever and that we’ll likely never use again in our lifetimes -- well then, by God, we’re going to master it!

--The platoon sergeant, aka the “platoon daddy,” is not the only one suffering from terminal boredom at our expense. The PL gets restless playing solitaire on his laptop all day long, so of course the minute we actually find ourselves with a rare moment of down time he decides a little up-armored humvee patrol is in order. Off to explore the outer limits of Kabul we go, dead on our feet and dying for just a little taste of well-deserved rack time. Alas, it is not to be. We get lost. We have maps and handheld GPS, yet still we backtrack aimlessly for nearly four and a half hours in a comically futile attempt to find a road that will take us in the right direction. To be fair, the “roads” outside the city aren’t exactly of the navigable variety. Think less a metropolitan expressway, and more a Dukes of Hazzard dirt trail to nowhere. Sitting in the back of a cramped humvee for hours on end is no fun at all. We may not have gotten any sleep that day, but our asses got plenty.

--Ironically, guard duty is now the only reprieve one gets from the clownish stupidity of the daily antics around camp. The only reading I get done, the writing of this journal, and sadly, the majority of my sleep now takes place within the confines of OP 5. All of these activities are of course officially prohibited within the towers, but unofficially you do what you have to do to keep from slowly descending into madness. If they're not going to provide us with any down time, then we’ll make our own down time, roger?

According to The Book of Useless Knowledge (a fabulously entertaining Christmas gift from my sister), the men who served as guards along the Great Wall of China during the Middle Ages often were “born on the Wall, grew up there, married there, died there, and were buried within it. Many of these guards never left the Wall in their entire lives.”
I feel your pain, fellas. I feel your pain.

Sunday 18January2004 -- Saturday 24January2004
--Boredom is not our friend. It brings out the worst in every soldier. PFC Christy is coping by mischievously sabotaging every other ICOM radio transmission made by our nemesis SGT Manning as he attempts to call in convoy arrivals and departures from the front gate. The naked frustration in Manning’s voice as he continually has to re-transmit the garbled info is classic OP entertainment at its finest. And Christy is right -- it never gets old.

--I’ve arrived at the conclusion that what Afghanistan needs above all else right now is a national sports team. What better way to channel thirty years worth of latent war and aggression than with professional roller derby! Actually, soccer would probably be a wiser choice in terms of available funds and equipment; all you really need is an inflated ball and an open stretch of flat, otherwise useless ground (no shortage of that here) and you’ve got yourself a game. They could even leave the ubiquitous landmines that dot the terrain in place to make it a little more interesting to watch for any Americans in the crowd (we hate soccer). Hell, it wouldn’t be any less dangerous than attending a World Cup futbol match at Wembley Stadium. Those chaps are bloody out of control!

No doubt the Taliban sympathizers would have a field day doing their utmost to disrupt any such attempt on the part of their fellow countrymen of actually enjoying themselves for once in their lives, so a coalition security presence would surely be required at first. But for once, I wouldn’t mind doing such a thankless job one bit. The sooner Afghanistan establishes some semblance of civilized normalcy, the sooner we can get the hell out of Dodge for good. I’m not sorry I came, but I sure don’t want to ever have to come back.

--Another brilliant idea that’s crossed my mind while enduring the interminable stretches of OP guard brain rot concerns the manner in which the War on Terrorism is being financed. Instead of levying the monumental costs on the backs of American taxpayers, why not utilize the tried and true method of corporate product endorsement? If it’s good enough for the BCS College Bowl series and has helped finance new stadiums in city after American city, why not Afghanistan? Seriously, if the public can live with Minute Maid Park and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, why not "Operation Enduring Freedom: Brought to you by Mountain Dew and your friends at Gatorade. Obey your thirst." Or, Microsoft and Starbucks present: "Operation Iraqi Freedom To Drink Overpriced Gourmet Coffee. Because there’s a billion Muslims out there still using Netscape, and by God, we just can’t have that."

The way I see it, if the U.S. is going to be routinely accused ad nauseum of commercializing the entire planet, then let’s just go ahead and do it for real. And if for no other reason than to piss off the French. That’s usually a perfectly good rationale for doing anything, really.

--Speaking of pissing off the French, I got the chance recently to do so up close and personal. Due to the fact that the mighty United States military cannot seem to provide us with any extra ammunition in which to train, we spend most of our days here driving out to the ranges looking for coalition forces to mooch off of (under the guise of “weapons cross-training”). In reality, we’re those party crashers that cruise around every Saturday night in search of free keg beer. Everybody hates those guys.

So we happen upon a small contingent of les soldat de français one cold and windy afternoon and convince them to let us fire their strange-looking rifles. They even had in their possession a .50 cal. sniper rifle, a military rarity most of us had never seen before in action. The Frenchies were friendly enough toward us, and I took the opportunity to test out mon français on them. I hadn’t studied it since the fifth grade, so granted, it was a bit rusty, but even I was surprised at how many words and phrases I actually did recall.

I even borrowed a page from Donald Rumsfeld’s Big Book of French Insults, although they were probably too busy being appalled at my mangling of their snooty, effete language to bother taking offense.

Me: Excusez-moi, monsieur. Parlez-vous allemand? (Pardon me, sir. Do you speak German?)

Frenchy: Non, monsieur. (No, sir)

Me: De rien. (You’re welcome)

Frenchy: (Puzzled look on face)

I shouldn’t be so hard on them, really. Their soldiers seemed like good guys, even if we did save their country’s ass twice from the Germans in the span of thirty years. Not to mention shielded them from Soviet domination for fifty more.

No, my real beef is with that incontinent continent of bedwetting Europeon chowder heads that consistently rank the U.S. third (trailing only Israel and Iran) in opinion polls asking who the greatest threat to peace in the world is. I suppose in the Euro-mind groupthink it is better to unilaterally surrender to one’s enemies and have “peace,” than to defiantly stand up to them alone and have war. Spineless cowards, the whole lot of ‘em. Is there anything they're willing to defend other than "free" (read: lousy) health care and the 35-hour workweek?

--President Bush gave his annual State of the Union Address last night (although it was actually broadcast here over breakfast). As expected, half his audience stood and raucously applauded after nearly every sentence, while the other half glumly sat on their hands or pretended to clap politely. Try and guess which half was which.

Every time the President broached the topic of Iraq, the television cameras would immediately cut away to Hillary Clinton’s sourpuss expression or Ted Kennedy spastically shaking his giant, bloated head back and forth like a Parkinson’s victim on Ephedra. Funny, I don’t seem to recall the Democrats in Congress reacting so negatively to President Clinton’s Bosnian and Kosovo military campaigns -- costly, unilateral actions involving precisely zero American national interest. The world according to the modern Democratic Party:

Cleaning up Europe’s messes for them = Good.
Fighting and defeating America’s enemies = Bad.

Once again they are on the wrong side of history, and regrettably so, because our nation is weaker for it. One-party systems are the hallmark of banana republics, not constitutional ones. But I just don’t see how a group of people so patently unserious in a post-9/11 world could possibly be entrusted with national security.

Where have you gone, Harry Truman?


07 March 2006


Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.
-Winston Churchill

Misdirection. One of the tried and true tactics of military lore, and a key ingredient in deception of every stripe. Used by magicians, generals, politicians, and con men the world over, misdirection buys crucial time to makes one's move, after which it is too late for the opposition to effectively counter. American armies have exploited this tactic against their adversaries with great success.

German intelligence was led to believe with such certainty that Patton would spearhead the invasion of Fortress Europe from the south, that even as the largest naval landing force in history crossed the dense fog of the English Channel and hit the Normandy coastline, the Nazi leadership still hesitated to act, assuming that to be the feint they assumed was coming. Operation Overlord caught them with their pants around their ankles, and they hobbled around in a panic rather than pick them back up and reinforce their positions. The Germans refused to believe that the American command would squander their most aggressive general as a mere decoy, yet that is precisely the reason it worked.

First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it.'
During Operation Desert Shield, an 18,000-man task force steamed into the Persian Gulf within a month of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, performing high-visibility exercises off the Saudi Arabian coastline to heighten enemy wariness of an impending seaborne invasion. Even as the ground war commenced, the Iraqis were convinced that the "Mother of All Battles" would be waged at the center of their defensive lines along the Saudi-Kuwait border by amphibious assault, a fatal error in judgment attributable to the deceptive tactics at the core of Operation Desert Storm. In one of the largest and swiftest battlefield troop movements in history, American and Allied forces numbering 250,000 strong moved deep into Iraqi territory from the Saudi border to deliver General Schwarzkopf's famous "left hook" to the enemy in a classic doctrinal flanking maneuver that cut off all avenues of retreat to the north and west of Kuwait.

Misdirection at its finest.

Today this tactic has many new adherents, and a disciple particularly well-versed in all it's geopolitical and media manipulating potential -- the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Iranian regime, along with its sickophantic sidekick, the secular Ba'athist state of Syria, have purposely fanned the flames of the so-called Cartoon Intifada in recent months in a calculated move that has all but enfeebled whatever shred of European moral authority remained; most notably that of Denmark, where the infamous illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad were originally published -- last fall. Apparently, "Rent-a-Mobs 'R' Us" had been booked solid until after the new year. So many infidels to threaten to behead, so little time.

Manufacturing Dissent
Muslim enclaves throughout the Divided States of Eurabia became suddenly incensed, goose-stepping through the streets toting signs declaring "death to those who insult Islam," and applying electric shock therapy to the underpinnings of enlightened multiculturalist sensibilities everywhere. European cartoonists and publishers have since gone into hiding, in fear for their lives, becoming all but exiles in their own country. To publish or not to publish, that was the question -- fear and a fatwa the answer. Salman Rushdie was not available for comment.

Something is indeed rotten in Denmark, and it isn't just the "Roses of the Prophet Mohammed." In early February, hundreds of rock-wielding Syrian "demonstrators" stormed and set fire to the Danish Embassy in Damascus. These anti-Talmudic Teamsters were met with surprising little resistance from a Ba'athist police state that dictates when its citizens may sneeze, much less violently assail the diplomatic immunity of even those dastardly Danes with their dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Somewhere under Giants Stadium, Jimmy Hoffa is smiling.

Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much
Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad may soon have to answer for any ties to last year's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri when the issue is brought before the UN. The International Atomic Energy Agency has finally bowed to Western pressure to refer Iran's nuclear issues to the UN as well, but not until next month, when the rotation of the Presidency of the Security Council is handed off from the intense scrutiny of the U.S. and Ambassador John "New Sheriff in Town" Bolton, to those bulwarks of individual liberty Argentina, Congo, and China. The next free countries in line do not come up again until this summer, and conveniently for Islamic obfuscators everywhere, they are Denmark and France. If by that point a nuclear Iran is not already a foregone conclusion, prepare for the European cartoon caterwauling to return to a fever pitch.

But please, pay no attention to the mullahs behind the curtain.

Condoleezza Rice: "Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it. All responsible people ought to say that there is no excuse for violence."

All responsible parties have responded accordingly, blasting the Golden Dome off the Askariya mosque in Samarra in a strategic blow timed to ignite civil war between Iraq's competing religious factions and create a power vacuum that Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias will be only too happy to fill. It remains to be seen whether Iraqis will take the bait; thus far cooler heads have prevailed. Iraq's President Jalal Talabani: "The fire of sedition, when it breaks out, can burn everything in its path and spare no one."

But Iran's political and religious leaders wasted no time in accusing "defeated Zionists and occupiers" as responsible for the attack on one of Islam's most revered holy sites. Al-Qaeda's Zarqawi may or may not be on the Iranian payroll -- on this charge the jury is still out
-- but his actions clearly further their mutual goals.

If you destroy it, they will leave.

An Axis Around Which Nations Could Dissemble
Another day, another demand for American withdrawal. The Mullahs would like nothing more than to stall Iraq the Model Airplane and send it careening into a mountain. Iraq must be shown as a failed experiment in democracy, lest the nasty contagion spread across its borders. See? See what "freedom" equals to the West? The freedom to insult the Prophet and desecrate our shrines!

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government have frequently (and often
bizarrely) downplayed the Holocaust and openly called for the destruction of Israel. If the UN were a serious body and not a limp and ineffectual debating society, threatening a fellow United Nations member state with annihilation should be ample reason to expel the irate Iranians from its ranks. "If," of course, being the operative word.

The Israelis are again in a panic, and for good reason. When one of your crazy neighbors fancies your people "wiped off the map," bankrolls terrorist organizations on your borders, and is frantically pursuing nuclear technology in pursuit of their own Final Solution to an age old argument, I'd say that justifies a permanent drift into crisis mode.

But West Bank foreclosure is far from the only Iranian export. Iran quietly trains jihadists to sow terror from Russian to Iraq, orchestrating attacks against British troops in Basra and putting pressure on Moscow by backing the Chechen fighters in their midst. As they did in Iraq, the Russians are again playing their dangerous game in enabling a regime that may eventually bite the hand that feeds. Take it from us, Mr. Putin. Blowback's a bitch.

What the Iranian mullahs lust after is a nuclear shield of invulnerability, freeing them to test-run their Middle Eastern Chaos Theory to its fullest extent. A land overflowing in oil and gas reserves has little compelling need for "peaceful" nuclear energy. Iran seeks the bomb for the same reason that Saddam sought it, and for the same reason that Kim Jong Il likely now has it. Deterrence. The West can do nothing to them, can take no direct action against them as long as they possess it. If the Taliban had such a weapon, they would still be entrenched from Kabul to Kandahar.

There are two types of modern nation-states that have never made war on each other: Those that possess democratic institutions, and those that possess nuclear weapons. Nuclear-armed democracies, certainly. Nuclear theocracies, however, are an untested variable. Pakistan may be a mere heartbeat away from such a reality, but at least it is still beating.

But this threat is far from a recent phenomenon. We have continually ignored it like the "check engine" lamp that reminds us that a tuneup is precariously overdue.

In early November 1979, sixty-six Americans were taken hostage on diplomatic U.S. soil as radical Islamic students encouraged by the newly established clerical regime overran and occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Held captive for 444 days, the hostages were finally released twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as our 40th president, designed to further humiliate his already enervated predecessor. Under diplomatic law this outrage against our nation was clearly an act of war, yet Iran was never held to account.

In the two and a half decades to follow, Iran has helped supply, train, and finance radical organizations that have specialized in bombings, highjackings, assassinations, suicide missions, kidnappings, and publicly issued death warrants -- all commissioned and sanctioned by the godfathers of terrorism in Tehran.

Let Them Eat Yellowcake
While Western wishful thinkers continue to worship at the altar of Neville Chamberlain, the Iranian regime is busy enriching uranium, impoverishing its people, and imperiling its neighbors. The wolf is no longer at the door, he's at the foot of the bed. A cataclysm of epic proportions is afoot, yet our attention is elsewhere, distracted by manufactured Muslim outrage and headline-grabbing subterfuge. "Looney toons" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Once again the idiot light on the global dashboard is flashing, and it would be wise to finally heed its warning before the engine of individual liberty externally combusts. George W. Bush learned the hard way in his inaugural year that "terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness." But for all those who opposed the Iraq intervention on the grounds that "other options" were available yet not pursued... well, here is your big chance. We're all ears. (What's the matter, scimitar got your tongue?)

Ambassador Bolton recently predicted "painful consequences" for Iran if it continues to defy the world and plod ahead with its nuclear ambitions. But unless that is his pet name for the John C. Stennis, it may be too little, too late.

Deployed soldiers certainly do not thirst for more battles to fight nor seek more enemies to vanquish, but we have borne witness to war's alternative -- we have all seen the terrible price of inaction and the unbearable cost of neglect. One that Natan Sharansky calls a "return to the pre-9/11 delusion that a tyrant's repression of his own subjects has no consequences for us." That grim national debt has been run up from the skies of New York to the peaks of Afghanistan and the streets of Baghdad. And make no mistake, it is still daily accruing interest.

Yet it has never been part of the American character to pass the buck. "If we have to fight," said Ulysses S. Grant, "[let us] do it all at once and then make friends."

War can be avoided if we do not seek to evade difficult choices -- the hard right over the easy wrong. It is not a Clash of Civilizations we face, but a defense of civilization itself against a resurgent Islamic Enfrightenment. We have weathered similar storms before, but this go-round, time is not on our side. If we ever hope to get over our Persian Wolf Syndrome, we've got to first check our dhimmitude at the door.

The Thomas Paine of the Terror War, Bill Whittle:

"We have to look our weakness and our sins full in the face, and accept them, and unlike past occupiers of this position...we must undergo, daily if necessary, the painful and humiliating airing of our worst excesses, and stare right in the face the reflection of our own flawed nature.

But unlike our hand-wringing, self-loathing, paralyzed elites, we must do this not to become immobilized with shame and doubt, but rather to have the confidence and moral clarity needed to be able to act when action is essential, to act when all others are paralyzed by the shame of unexamined atrocities, to act when only action can save this world from the relentless drag of human entropy that cannot abide creativity, freedom, tolerance and success.

Because now, at this moment, this fulcrum point in history, we need American power more desperately and urgently than at any time in memory. And we cannot allow the past errors of a fundamentally decent, generous and kind people to prevent us from acting at this critical moment where inaction and paralysis could doom the world."

Or take it from Ahmadinejad himself, and the mad mullahcracy pulling his strings:

"The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world," he has said. "We thank God that our enemies are idiots."

Must we insist on proving him correct?


01 March 2006


Illustration courtesy of Why Mommy is a Democrat

The idea that we are going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong.
-Howard Dean

As it now stands, the War on Terror's illiberal critics and unlawful combatants certainly appear to be in agreement on one thing: Both demand a fixed timetable for our military's withdrawal from the field of battle. I believe it extreme folly to hand the enemy such a predetermined calendar announcing our departure. If the goal is to apply pressure to the resistance, why alleviate their job-related stress? That isn't what we mean by deadline.

However, I do feel there are a few telltale signposts that can be viewed as bellwethers of our progress in this marathon struggle against state-sponsored terrorism -- you just have to know where to look. Remember, you heard them here first.


10. Bin Laden and Zawahiri discovered living together in a cave on Brokeback Mountain.

9. Cindy Sheehan puts her money where her mouth is, enlists with insurgency.

8. Saddam Hussein finally comes out against torture, begins hunger strike. No one tries to stop him.

7. NY Times announces it's run dry of national security secrets to reveal.

6. Four out of five Middle Eastern despots said to be scared sheikless of being next on Bush ‘to do’ list.

5. "Muhammad & Ali" debuts on Cartoon Network, becomes highest rated television program in entire Middle East.

4. Top JAG lawyers review Geneva Conventions, conclude we are legally obligated to J-DAM al-Jazeera -- Time Now.

3. Mainstream press declares war on terror unwinnable. U.S. military yawns, goes back to work.

2. Senate Democrats conclude every campaign speech with
"Delenda est Al Qaeda!"

And the number one sign of victory in the Global War on Terror…

1. Jack Bauer in '08!

Hey, it could happen...


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