« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 2006

One Man's Grenade is another's...

I don't know where to begin writing about this "terrorist"...

Afraid to I.D. sexual aid in earshot of mother, man tells guards it’s a bomb
The Associated Press

CHICAGO - Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately didn't want her to know he'd packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey. So he told security it was a bomb, officials said.

Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said...

Continue reading "One Man's Grenade is another's..." »

A Draft I Can Support

General James N. Mattis for President.

This guy is exactly what America needs to deal with the challenges in front of us in 2008.   How do you go about drafting a general to run for high office?  Someone convinced General Clark to do it -- what will it take to get Mattis? 

Anyone out there got experience in this sort of thing?  I'd like to start the process -- surely there is still time, if we start now.

Phelps is going to protest at SEAL's Funeral

Marit sends this article about Fred Phelps' plans to protest the funeral of Navy SEAL Marc Lee.

Blackfive posts by Froggy about Marc Lee are here and here, and my Pundit Review segment about Marc is here (podcast).

Be sure to read the Intent of Fred Phelps.

If you are in the Oregon area, please consider helping to peacefully and positively counter the Phelps protest and allow Marc's family to have their dignity and respect honored during this very difficult time.

Group Will Form a Human Wall Around Westboro Baptist Protestors

Tim King Salem-News.com

Oregonians are being called out to Hood River this weekend to shield the family of a Navy SEAL killed in Iraq from Kansas hate groups during funeral.

(HOOD RIVER) - A counter-protest group says Oregon residents are being called out en masse to drown out hate groups that plan to disrupt the funeral of an Oregon Navy SEAL who was killed recently in Iraq.

The August 2nd 2006 death of 28-year old Marc Lee was the first suffered in Iraq by the Navy’s elite commando force.

But this is not the first time Oregon has been threatened by the Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas, in fact they’re getting to be old news.

They had announced plans to attend the recent funeral and memorial service for Private First Class Thomas Tucker of Madras, Oregon, an Army soldier who was captured and then later killed in Iraq, and now the hate group led by the Reverend Fred Phelps and his wife Margie Phelps says they are coming to Hood River this Saturday.


“Please, we need as many people as possible to dress in the ’ol red, white and blue and bring American flags. We would like to line the 2nd street over pass, the road to the Expo Center and completely surround the protesters who will be confined to Lot 6 at the Port. Lot 6 is directly west of the Luhr Jensen Plant.”

Members of the Oregon Veteran’s Motorcycle Association have been escorting the remains of soldiers in Oregon and Washington consistently since the first Gulf War. They will be on hand along with members of the Patriot Guard, A.B.A.T.E. and several other motorcycle clubs and organizations that will attend the service and pay tribute.


One of the organizers of the counter-protest says she never saw herself physically protesting again, ”I don’t think it matters whether you are for or against the Iraq War. I am appalled that any group will show such disrespect for a family at a memorial service for their son who has been killed. We need to do what we can to shield the Lee family from these people. You, probably like me, have never met Debbie or her son Marc. But I hope that you will join me in surrounding the protesters on Saturday so that their antics are drowned out.”

The event, named Drown out the Protesters takes place Saturday, August 26th, 2006 at The Hood River Expo Center, 405 Portway Avenue, in Hood River, Oregon. The planned time is 10:00 in the morning, but many will be arriving well before that to prepare the area.

The organizers are asking everyone who sees this story to please pass this message on.

I admit that at Salem-News.com, this thing with the Westboro Baptist Church got a bit personal.

It is hard to draw the line on exactly where the role of a media group is with all of this, but as one, if not the only news organization in the country that is primarily staffed and operated by veterans, we feel it is our duty to sound the alarm, because the Westboro Baptist Church will be considered invaders by most people here, and their unsavory behavior is clearly not in Oregon’s good public interest.

If you get a chance, read the whole post and tell Tim "thanks".  And I've said it before, those Patriot Guard Riders are simply the BEST!

Real Intel on Haditha

A while back I got a message from someone operating in Haditha not long after the killings who stated there was no reaction among the locals like you would expect if a massacre had occurred. This was echoed by a Marine CPT who commanded another unit in the city and regularly attended meetings with local leaders who mentioned nothing of any massacre. And from yesterday the SGT who examined the scene afterwards:

When asked if anyone ever hinted that the situation that day was considered inappropriate or if something bad had happened, Laughner answered: "No, just that a Marine died. That is the only bad thing.

I just got another message from someone who did a very professional job of establishing their bona fides and was definitely in a position to know conditions on the ground in Haditha after the killings.

None of what I am writing is classified or damaging to OpSec, if I'm wrong let me know.

In any area where insurgents are operating, gathering intel on them is the most important task. This will involve civilian agencies, Spec Ops, and all military units in the AO. There is something of a carrot and stick approach to building rapport with locals and the Marines tend to play the stick. Knowing the overall mood and concerns of the locals is vital and so information is shared between our forces. In the weeks and months directly following the killings none of our people who were interacting with the locals and meeting with their leaders heard about a massacre. Given the insurgent-supporting nature of the area. I find it shocking that no outrage over such an event was noted. The safety of all our forces in Haditha would be greatly compromised if a massacre had taken place, and considerable attention is paid to complaints and grievances. Yet business continued, more or less as usual, until many months later the famous videotape surfaced.

The Marines made some payments to families of those slain not long after the incident, and local customs dictate that most blood feuds are settled this way. It is hard to know the motivations of the gentleman who made the video, but his affiliations are very suspect. The possibility certainly exists that this was a manufactured tragedy on top of an accidental one. Events in Lebanon have shown that evil people have no qualms about manipulating the dead and Haditha had plenty of bad guys.

There will be a trial and we will hear quite a bit more about this event, but I am more skeptical given the multiple, independent sources who have told me that the locals were not up in arms about a massacre. I will reprise my acronym IMGH If Massacre, Guilty Hang as they should. But I would need more than testimony from relatives and neighbors of the insurgents to convict if I was on that jury of peers.

My previous thoughts on Haditha:

What makes a shooting a massacre

Good men pushed too far?

A Marine Murtha didn't talk to

I wonder if the cut and run court jester John Murtha talked with this Marine about Haditha

A sergeant who examined the scene hours after Marines killed two dozen Iraqis in Haditha last year said the shootings appeared to be an appropriate response to a coordinated insurgent attack, according to a sworn statement obtained by The Washington Post.

Sgt. J.M. Laughner, part of a Marine human-intelligence exploitation team that was hunting down insurgent bombmakers, went from house to house in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, and acknowledged finding two dozen bodies, including some of women and small children.

But Laughner said the scenes of the slayings appeared to match the version of events the Marine squad provided that day and did not seem especially out of the ordinary, according to a transcript of Laughner’s interview with military investigators in March.

On a lighter note here is a heart-warming little diversion that will help keep a smile on your face.

Whack a Mullah

You have to whack them a huge number of times for a KO

Media Still Doesn't Understand Recruiting...or Do They?

Look, I'm getting really tired of this crap about recruiting.  According to a friend in the Marines, it was easier for him to become a figher pilot than get into the Infantry.

If you're William Arkin of the WashPo, you think it's because of recruiting shortfalls that signal a lack of support for the war:

Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

News of an involuntary call-up of Marine Corps reservists and a Defense Department budget so out-of-control that even the Republican Senate Budget Committee chair speaks of Congress' failure of oversight, is music to my ears.

Not because I'm some fan of a draft or because I want to see America bankrupted.  But an increasing failure of the military to attract young men and women to serve and an overwhelming public rejection of the Iraq war just might finally provoke Americans to demand some real change...

The call up is because the Marines asked for Volunteers to sign up for a tour from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and didn't get enough.  Of the 500,000+ military men and women who've rotated through Iraq, people are going nuts over a recall of 2,500 Marine (IRR) Reservists.  There are about 59,000 Marines in the IRR.

So now the Marines call up a lot of Reservists and a few pundits are claiming it's because of a recruiting shortfall?  Show me the recruiting shortfall.  Come on.  Where is it?

As usual, and as I've said before, the Christian Science Monitor gets it more right than the other outlets (although it depends on a lot of retired officers for criticism of the call up):

...Briefing reporters Tuesday, Col. Guy Stratton, head of Marine Corps manpower mobilization, acknowledged that "this is going to be a long war" and that there is "clearly a need" for more marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. In essence, Col. Stratton said, there have not been enough volunteers among those in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) - marines who served four years on active duty but are eligible for recall for the next four years...

And it's not a rosey picture:

...At the Pentagon and within the military services, the debate over necessary troop levels in Iraq has raged both quietly and sometimes, not so quietly, with senior officers arguing for a more robust force and Bush administration civilians wanting to reduce American forces there as soon as possible...

And it's not because of recruiting, it's because a lot of us call it "The Long War":

...Following a serious shortfall last year, the Army now predicts that it will meet its 2006 recruiting goal. But the Army, too, has had to mobilize several thousand soldiers from its ready reserves. It's also issued "stop loss" orders for several thousand troops, extending their tours in Iraq...

So the Monitor tells the truth.  Are the rest of the MSM?  A few claim it's a "Back-door draft", "Recruiting Shortfall", etc.  Yes, there is a problem with the size of our military.  It's not big enough to handle the war AND keep some semblance of a work-life balance (three tours is not a small strain on family or morale - it's a HUGE strain).  Maybe if the force size was increased, there would be a recruiting shortfall.  But there isn't one now.

Add to this mis-labeling of the problem with the further attempted smearing of the reputation of the US Marine Corps by the Chicago Sun Times.  Smell blood in the water and increase the frenzy on recruiting problems.  Notice the headline and then see how long it takes to understand the truth:

Gang murder suspect gets into Marines

August 24, 2006

BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter


After he was charged with murder and robbery last year, Latin Kings member Jose A. Ramirez startled a federal prosecutor by saying he wanted to join the military to escape the gang life.

"I instructed him and his defense attorney we needed to resolve his charges first before he headed into the military," said Mario F. Gonzales, an assistant U.S. attorney in Milwaukee. "He felt if he went to Iraq, we would call this whole thing off. Apparently my advice did not stick in his head."

Gonzales was stunned to learn Ramirez wound up joining the U.S. Marine Corps while he was free on bond -- and was preparing to ship out to boot camp when Marine officials recently discovered he was under indictment in Milwaukee and kicked him out...

That's right, he never went to Boot Camp.  HE. NEVER. MADE. IT. INTO. THE. MARINES.  He never wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

This is the kind of media attack that ticks me the @#$% off.  Address the issue and give us the facts.  Instead, we get headline games.

Update:  John Noonan at OpFor has more about Yellow Journalism Makes a Comeback.

Update 2:  Frank Main of the Sun Times wrote me back to see about putting me in touch with the headline spinner [<- my words, not his].

Josh Wolf- Free Speech hero or hoser?

There is a Hot Air Vent today about blogger Josh Wolf and his refusal to turn footage he took of a violent protest over to a grand jury. An officer was seriously injured and they want to review his footage to gain evidence regarding that crime. The legal justification they are using is pretty flimsy as they are claiming protesters ended up lighting a police car on fire and since they get federal funds to buy cars etc., that makes it a federal issue and they can sidestep state journalist shield laws. That may or may not be true, but the issue is whether someone can be compelled to turn over information or media they have simply because police or a grand jury want to see it.

I wondered what I would do in a similar case, and I believe I would turn over the footage because it could help solve a violent crime. But I am not so sure I would want the government able to compel me to. Change the situation to a legalize pot rally where I have footage of bands of free range hippies wandering around a park smokin' dope and listening to Widespread Panic. What if Officer Friendly wanted to peruse my footage so he could scarf up said hippies and soak them with fines to buy new jackboots with? Would I turn over my video then? I kinda doubt it, and that calls the whole idea into question.

I don't think there is any doubt that what we do here qualifies as journalism and that bloggers deserve the same protections the jackals of the MSM abuse. I think Mr. Wolf owes society the decency of turning over the footage in order to allow the attacker(s) of the injured officer to be punished. I don't believe he should be required to do so upon pain of punishment.

And I have to join Allah in saluting the Qualifications of the Vent hosts, Bravo!

Marine Got There First

Here is another story of a righteous use of force...Rob J. sends this one.

Ex-Marine takes down man after clerk is hit

By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News

A man who had just been released from jail was sent right back Monday after police say he picked the wrong store to attempt a robbery.

The 30-year-old man was in line at a 7-Eleven, 2175 E. 9400 South, just before 8 p.m. When he got to the counter he asked the female clerk for a carton of cigarettes, said Sandy Police Sgt. Victor Quezada. But after he received them he walked out without paying, Quezada said.

The clerk told another female clerk who followed him outside the doors and told him to stop.

Instead, the man turned around and punched the clerk in the face, Quezada said.

James Sjostrom was standing in line right behind the man who took the cigarettes and saw the entire thing unfold.

"He just turned and clocked her," Sjostrom said. "He pounded her face. It was pretty vicious."

That's when Sjostrom went after the man who assaulted the store clerk.

As he went outside, Sjostrom said he saw the man standing over the clerk, who was kneeling over on the ground, as if he were going to punch her again. When the man saw Sjostrom coming at him, he took a swing at him, too.

But the attacker quickly found out he was no match for the bulky Sjostrom.

Sjostrom is a former Marine who taught hand-to-hand combat and currently teaches a course on Russian kettlebells, or the martial art of strength training, at the Sports Mall in Murray.

"I grabbed him, threw him on the ground, put his hands behind his back, sat on him and waited for the cops to come," Sjostrom said.

In just a matter of a few seconds Sjostrom had the man pinned. When the man realized he had no chance, Sjostrom said he became "pretty quiet."

"Anybody would have done the same thing," he said. "Another guy in the store said he was in the Army and asked if I needed any help."

With a grin, Sjostrom replied to the man, "The Marines got here first."...

Be sure to read the whole piece.

Iran & France dance and lie; Nukes under construction

Once again we get to watch the graceless diplomatic dance as France and Iran pretend that talking or bribery will stop the Iranians from finishing their nukes. The amazing thing is they do this while the Iranian leadership proudly proclaims they will not stop their uranium enrichment and they have now locked the IAEA inspectors out of their facilities.

NR’s Michael Rubin

They did not agree to suspend enrichment, but they’ve obfuscated the issue enough that they’ll get away with it.

In short, they’ve decided to talk about what rewards we’ll give them, but have refused the conditions under which those rewards were to be granted.

If the Mullahs do not allow the inspectors back into their facilities very shortly we will have a situation where we will no longer have any idea how far along the process is. As of now they have successfully enriched a considerable amount of uranium to “low” enrichment levels used for nuclear energy. The next step is to refine it up to “high” enrichment levels needed for weapons, and the first step in that process is booting the inspectors so they can deny doing this.

Funny thing about this is I can’t think of anyone who believes they won’t use the weapons once they get them.  So what do we do now?

Update: Reader Rey sends.

Jim, I dont think that hitting the "known" facilities would do squat. I propose a bolder solution. Just like the problem with gun violence is not the gun but the perp, the problems with nukes is not the nuke but the owner of the nuke. So, lets wait until Ahmadinejad and the muhllas are having the latest "death to America" meeting and lets put a dozen tomahawks in the meeting hall. Kill the leadership and then announce that we will kill any leadership that threatens "death to America and death to Israel" ever again. You want to be taken seriously and with respect? Sure, we believe you when you call for our submission or destruction. We just refuse to allow you to pursue it. Lets give them our own version of the shahid.

He's got an excellent point here

A Good Post At Daily KOS

I had an email forwarded today from someone complaining about this post on Daily KOS.  My sympathies to the gentleman who wrote the original, who knew one of the ladies mentioned, and is outraged to see her picture on a KOS diary, being used to further a political agenda.  That agenda is feminism.

That said, read it anyway.  The author, because she wants these ladies to serve as models for her agenda, treats them in exactly the right way:  she celebrates their lives, and honors their sacrifices.  It is a very good post.

She finishes:

"I'd like everyone who has some kind of problem with feminism to look long and hard at the faces of these women and consider the fact that they died for YOU and they were doing a man's job."

That they did, and that they were.  My respects to fallen heroines and volunteers.