14 July 2007

Catching Up with miscellaneous Stuff

OK, the debate with Bill McD (and others) on my previous post is interesting as all hell, but I have been neglecting Regularly Scheduled Blogging in its favor. Keep commenting--this ain't over by a long shot, and as long of y'all of the Leftist persuasion keep it civil and rational, feel free to comment on other posts as well.

We've got Mike Yon's report on the surge thus far.

Money quote:
"Well, you know, al Qaeda’s not been wiped out of Iraq by any means, and there’s still some serious fighting to do. But what we have seen is if you give al Qaeda time, they will alienate the local population for us. So I mean, they almost prep it for us to get rid of them. You know, a lot of them that were not killed or captured here in Baquba in the last three weeks did move out to other places. So they’re not gone. I mean, so there’s some truth to what Mick Ware says. However, there are fewer and fewer hiding places for them to go. They can’t go to the south in Basra. They’re not welcome there. They can’t, there’s only a few places they can go to in Anbar, and those are drying up. There’s fewer places in Diyala, and what is left is drying up. They certainly cannot go to the Kurdish regions, because they will be killed. So they can still go to Nineveh, but the ISF in Nineveh is up where Mosul is the capitol. They can go up there, but the ISF, or the Iraqi Security Forces up there are pretty well advanced, and they can hold their own now, and I saw them doing it again earlier this year when I was back in Nineveh. You know, I spent a good part of 2005 up there. So you know, I’ve seen tremendous progress in different parts of Iraq, but this is not going to be solved in six months or a year. We’ve just got to settle in for the long haul, but you know, if you’ve been here long enough, you can see that progress is being made."

Dadmanly discusses the editorial in the Washington Post, which questions whether we can judge the progress of the war as quickly after changing strategy as certain critters in Congress wish to. Of course, we already know what the verdict would be if the media got their way. Just ask the US News and World Report. If half of the benchmarks aren't met, then half of them are, right?

Of course, these 'benchmarks' are questionable anyway, as the Wall Street Journal reminds us. After all, we don't have to live with the consequences of withdrawal.

"You can't build a whole policy on a fear of a negative, but, boy, you've really got to account for it," he said. "In the States, it's like we're in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we're done here . . . and we leave the theater and go on to something else. Whereas out here, you're just getting into the first reel of five reels, and ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse."

Jules Crittenden takes the media to task for their portrayal of events on the ground. Most notable is the AP, which writes about Buqabah in a manner described thusly:

"The story is all about failure. The failure to control this village. The failure of Iraqi forces to provide follow-on security in areas U.S. troops have cleared. It tells us, “Fleeing insurgents appear to be trying to capture more territory farther north in Diyala, where Iraqi security forces are fewer.”

"It doesn’t say why. Because they have been run out of Baquba, after being run out of Baghdad and Anbar. The three-week operation to clear Baquba has been highly successful, with the loss of one soldier, according to Michael Yon. Can this possibly be true? One soldier killed in three weeks of what is routinely described as bitter fighting in Baquba, fighting that has run al-Qaeda out of the much-vaunted IED-saturated stronghold where al-Qaeda was executing people in the city square. How is that not a screaming headline?"

J.D. Johannes has another report on the Surge. He's of an opinion with Mike Yon and others regarding ground reality. Of course, it doesn't seem to matter much what we do.

"According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who opine that America's military operations are "going well" slid from 38% in May '07 to 34% in June; those who believe our military operations are "not going well" increased from 57% of respondents to 61%.

"The same Pew poll found that only 30% of the public could identify General David Patraeus and only 27% could identify Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 59% of respondents were unaware that Shi'ites constitute the majority religious group in Iraq. Precise knowledge of the war's progress is obviously scarce. Yet 95% of respondents have defined opinions on the success of our arms."

Pardon me while I vomit heavily.

Why is this pessimism and half-empty approach?

"The Media Research Center defined as "optimistic" coverage that "reported on achievements or victories" for coalition forces. It defined as "pessimistic" reports that emphasized "setbacks, misdeeds or pessimism about [coalition] progress in Iraq."

"The MRC report, "The Iraq War on Cable TV," concluded the following:

Ø On Fox, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 3-to-2;

Ø On MSNBC, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 4-to-1; and

Ø On CNN, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 6-to-1."

In fact, what American mainstream media most strongly resembles is a propaganda machine for the enemy. In past wars, the enemy had to put out their own propaganda. This is no longer the case.

And it ain't just the media! Congress gets in on the act, too. Of course, no one wants to listen to either the professionals nor those most involved in the question.

The Army Lawyer is one of the few people I read with an opinion of Congresscritters almost as bad as mine. He's right.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, the Taliban/al-Qaeda loons are getting stronger. I thought the deal was that we don't press for removal of Pakistan's Islamist dictator on the ground that he fights terrorism. Not with the understanding that he could concede huge chunks of his nation to them as a safe haven. I could be wrong.

The Grey Dog, a long-time reader (as I am of his) has a modest proposal for how to fix this mess, or at least guarantee that no Democrat could get elected in 2008.

The Navy has decided to join the war in Iraq in serious force. Navy advisors have been present in Iraq attached to Army units for reasons I can't discuss. Seabees have also been a big part of the construction effort in Iraq on FOBs. But this is new.

On the lighter side, the Brits provide a case of the least subtle method of terrorist infiltration, ever.

The Iranians have taken stern measures to prevent Western infiltration of their homeland. One wonders when the latest detainees will be paraded on TV.

You want to know how to screw the morale of a Soldier or Marine and embarrass him for life? Write a whiny, self-pitying letter to the editor. Get over yourself, honey. Your Son is a Marine. He volunteered, he's a grown man. He isn't the kid you knew ten or twenty years ago, and all this nonsense is a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy. All you're doing is embarrassing him.

And finally, Military Motivator gets it right once again.


Anonymous Bill McD said...

Keep commenting--this ain't over by a long shot, and as long of y'all of the Leftist persuasion keep it civil and rational, feel free to comment on other posts as well.

Rational, you say??

22/7!!! 22/7!!!

11:34 AM  
Blogger dracphelan said...

I love that motivational poster. If it was really all about the oil, I doubt we would have ever had $3/gallon gas prices in the USA.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Speaking of the Wall Street Journal, allow me to give you two links to fascinating articles. They may offer a clue as to how/why America is so very divided between right and left:


I find this second link even more interesting:


11:24 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Yep. Those are interesting. Of course, they don't take into account households like Decurion's, where the two parents do not have a Vulcan Mind Meld on politics... also true of my parents. And really, wouldn't you rather have people growing up exposed to both sides, so they can actually form an informed opinion and decide for themselves what they support, instead of just voting one party line or the other because that's how their parents voted?

Fun thing about statistics: As long as you're clever, you can make them say anything you like.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

instead of just voting one party line or the other because that's how their parents voted?

In real life, the single greatest influence on voter behavior is the voting behavior of parents. Depending on which study you read, between 80 and 90% of people voted the way their parents do. That leaves only 10-20% of people who may swing their votes one way or the other.

I see nothing but good coming of this. According to the numbers mentioned in the 2 WSJ articles I referenced, the Democratic Party should implode before 2020, and perhaps as soon as 2012. When it does, I think the Republican party will split as the Dems will no longer be a threat, and we 'Pubs are are too ideological to remain as a single party after that point. America might end up with a true multi-party system in time for the 2024 elections.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

In real life, the single greatest influence on voter behavior is the voting behavior of parents. Depending on which study you read, between 80 and 90% of people voted the way their parents do.

Yes, but think about that: should we be doing ANYTHING just because our parents did it? Shouldn't we be trying to get people to think for themselves rather than just exhibit blind obedience to pavlovian training?

As for a true multi-party system... don't bet on it. The system's set up in such a way that the Dems and Reps control the FEC. As long as they control the FEC, no smaller party gets equal consideration, even if they manage to get onto the ballot in all 50 states.

9:55 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

If/when we have kids, they're not going to be able to follow us in lockstep politically, simply because they're going to have too many choices.

Decurion and I agree on a few things, but probably not what you'd expect.

1:57 AM  

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