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November 2006

Godspeed, SFC Jim Priestap

At Wizbang!, Kim Priestap writes:

My husband, Steve, and I received some very sad news Thanksgiving evening. Steve's cousin, Army Sgt.1st Class James Priestap, was shot and killed by a terrorist sniper while working at a checkpoint near Baghdad. He was wearing body armor, but he hit was in the shoulder, and the bullet went into his heart killing him instantly...

Go here to read more about SFC James Priestap.

WaPo & NYT sit out Hastings trainwreck

Byron_york Byron York, who would make a most excellent Muppet, looks at MSM coverage of Pelosi's decision on Hastings

Tomorrow the Washington Post, on its front page, reports the news that Alcee Hastings will not be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. For a story about Nancy Pelosi's decision, the Post piece gets into a number of details about the Hastings case itself. Why? One reason might be that, during the last few months when concerns about Hastings' impeachment and conviction were being raised, the Post never reported the basic facts of the case. A Nexis search for Hastings' name and that of William Borders, Hastings' co-conspirator in soliciting bribes, reveals exactly one recent story , a November 1 column by the Post's Ruth Marcus, who had covered the Hastings story years ago. As Congress buzzed, and Pelosi deliberated, the Post never bothered to tell its readers what the controversy was about.

By the way, if you do the same search for the New York Times, you'll find the same thing , just without the Ruth Marcus column. Which means that perhaps the most interesting so-far-unnoticed aspect of the story is that so much political pressure built up on Capitol Hill while the nation's two leading newspapers were looking the other way.

Hastings being considered for Chair of the Intel Committee was a test about the relative importance of security v. identity politics for the Dems. They passed, although a more robust "Hell no!" would have been appropriate for a corrupt weasel who was tossed off the bench by 400+ votes in the very house he currently befouls. His mouthy presumptuousness that God was not finished with him must be interpreted as a promise to embarrass himself, his constituents, the Dems and Congress at every opportunity. He ought to STFU and be happy he still gets to shove his face back in the trough instead of having to earn an honest living.

Byron points out an important point about the pressure on Pelosi to throw Hastings under the bus, it was not orchestrated or even participated in by our E-lite media outlets. Between them, the WaPo and NY Times published one piece about this, doing their usual service as media valet to the Dems. A suicidal move obvious to any sentient being that would be a political, but more important a national security catastrophe is ignored so as not to further damage the media's chosen side.

The fact that these two sat this one out, yet Pelosi was still put under tremendous pressure shows a shift of power away from dinosaur media to cable news and oh yeah, the internets. The old media relied on their position as providers of the knowledge, sent down from Mt. Journalismo to the unwashed masses below, not to be questioned simply absorbed. Absent their monopolistic advantage dino media has been exposed as the "man behind the curtain" it truly is. Tremendous facade, brilliant packaging, the content.....eh not so much. Mr York notes the lameness of the late response of the NYT.

Earlier I noted that in recent weeks the New York Times has published nothing about the details of the Alcee Hastings case , even as the matter began to nag Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Today's story suggests the paper still hasn't looked into the matter very much. It includes this passage:

Members of [Pelosi's] staff had said she favored Mr. Hastings. But his position was weakened because he was impeached and removed as a federal judge in 1989 in connection with a bribery case. He was subsequently acquitted in the criminal case.

Hastings was acquitted in his criminal case years before he was impeached and removed from office.

Even when they get around to writing about this, they reorder history to give the appearance that Hastings was exonerated. Turn out th elights on your way out please.

Unwelcome in American Pubs

Reader Robyn E. Giacoletti writes from Bisbee, AZ, where her son received a similar "welcome" to that of the Royal Marines below.  She forced a letter of apology from the bar owner, and the firing of the bartender in question, but the story is still stunning.

Her letters are below the fold.

UPDATE:  One of the things to come out in this thread is that the hotel in question, the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, AZ, has new owners since the incident described below.  The new owners are proud veterans, and wish to assure all of you that servicemen will be welcomed there.

Continue reading "Unwelcome in American Pubs" »

Marine Tanker Sends Iraq Update

Via Seamus, this is an update from a Marine in Iraq:

Sorry I haven't been able to write lately, there have been some major movements in the AO.  I will give you a brief update on the two most recent events that my platoon took part in.

Recently, we were on a presence patrol and conducting bridge recon in a surrounding town.  There were locals everywhere and the streets were very narrow.  We couldn't find defensible terrain for the tanks and trucks because there was a large cemetary in the only open spot.  We were forced to provide overwatch as the grunts went across the bridge, met with the local tribal leaders and sheik, and visited the medical clinic.  The people started massing around the tank I was in, pointing and waving towards the brigde.  I had my crew provide overwatch as I dismounted to "talk" with them.  After my best effort, I gathered that they needed to move a huge concrete slab that was preventing anything but foot-mobile traffic from crossing the bridge.  The slab was about the size of a full-size pickup truck.  After manuvering the tanks and getting some help from the crew, we set about to move the slab.  After a few unsuccessful attempts, we succeeded in dragging the slab off to the side.  The crowd went crazy, happy at what we had done and in awe of the tank's raw power.  Soon after, the first vehicle was able to cross the bridge in years.  It came across and got medical supplies from the corpsman to take back to the clinic.  Marines also handed out soccer balls, pumps, and some sweets to the children.

The next series of events occurred as the unit we were supporting moved locations.  They had to take over a house and establish a new Combat Outpost (COP).  After a painful discussion with family living there, they began to pack up and move out.  The kids were ambivalent, the mother was in tears, and the father was concerned about his financial settlement.  Soon after, the engineers moved in to fortify the place.  On the second day, we received incoming 120mm mortars which landed less than 15 meters from our position.  My ear is still ringing and recovering from the blast.  Two patrols hit IEDs, which destroyed a Hummer and a 7-Ton truck.  We received incoming fire daily, ranging from 7.62 mm to 14.5 mm and RPGs.  We responded with machine gun fire and with main gun.  A few of my Marines got their Combat Action Ribbon/Award on the Marine Corps Birthday.

That is all the time I have for now, we are about to help out with a re-supply convoy.  I am sorry if I have been unable to write letters or email, it has been busy lately.  I will do my best to stay in touch when the situation and time permits it.

Thank you for the prayers, email, letters, and support.

Semper Fidelis

[name redacted]

Profiling the Flying Imams

Sounds like a circus act, and to some extent it is.

Profiling is the single best tool we have available to deter or prevent airplane hijackings, short of terrorist assassinations overseas. The fact that we don't use it is a prime example of our non-seriousness about the threat Islamists pose to everyone. We hear wails of indignation anytime a Muslim in the US catches a cross-eyed glance from the terror apologists at CAIR, and the media hype every instance. Yet even though Muslims outnumber Jews significantly in this country, hate crimes against Jews dwarf any inconveniences suffered by Muslims, somehow it is the innocent Muslims who the press ensures are seen as victims.

The most recent atrocity committed by jack-booted, Islamophobic airline folks involves the 6 Imams booted from their flight. The apologist line is that they were persecuted for the crime of Flying while Muslim, and calls for boycotts and pray ins abounded. Actually a boycott by Muslims of an airline would be an advertising bonanza if they had the stones to advertise "Fly jihadi-free with US Airways". But back to our innocent religious scholars who were treated unfairly and unreasonably by the airlines right? Not quite that simple, from the Washington Times.

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

More hatin' on innocent religious scholars here

Army Sergeant Note to the Media

    "Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life.  It is far better that you fear the media for they will steal your honor."  - Bobby McBride, Crew Chief, 128th Assault Helicopter Company, RVN 1969-1970

So, I was sitting in a car dealership yesterday waiting for my car's 50,000 mile service to be done.  They had CNN on in the waiting room.  Wulf Blitzer was making all kinds of wild accusations, Michael Ware declaring Civil War, etc. ad nauseum.  Then Cafferty came on.  No kidding, CNN was in full panic mode.

Baghdad is a mess, no doubt.  But CNN would have you believe that all  is lost.

I booted up my laptop, grabbed an internet connection, and found this message from an active duty Army Sergeant who recently returned from Afghanistan and is probably headed to another dangerous place:

...you're a big time media type guy and all........i was hoping you could thank the media for completely giving up and abandoning everybody who is in and those of us who are going to the suckage......makes us feel like we have a real purpose and all.....just thought they'ld be more inclined to listen to you and all...

Duly noted. 

Royal Marines Not Welcome in Pub

In Training has two posts about Royal Marine Commandos turned away from a pub in Liverpool.  Why?  They were in uniform, having attended the funeral of a fellow Marine.

The first post is here, and the followup is here.

The author, a longtime BlackFive reader engaged to a Royal Marine herself, is naturally furious.  The company's justification?

The Licensing Act of 2003 places clear responsibility upon all of our venue teams to ensure that all of our customers can enjoy a safe experience.

Well, drinking with Marines may not always be safe...

Surely that is beside the point, however.  The proper response to having a Marine in uniform enter a place of refreshment is to offer to buy him a drink.  Given what they have offered, at a young age, they deserve to receive the most honorable reception wherever they go.

They defend our civilization.  They ought to enjoy civilization's benefits.  Those surely include a drink at a pub, and the acclaimation of a grateful people.

Realists v. Neocons

Stanley Kurtz of National Review makes an important point about our focus on democratization.

I think it's dangerous to pose American foreign policy as a choice between neocons and realists. That's because the neocons are right about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, but wrong, I believe, about the advisability of rapid democratization. My fear is that the failure of rapid democratization will seem to validate the realists entirely, when in fact it is only realist skepticism about rapid democratization that has been borne out, not realist faith in our ability to contain and deter a newly nuclearized Middle East.

I wish things had gone much better in Iraq, but they haven't. Even having seen some of the worst parts of the crappiest planet I have ever lived on first hand, I still believe that there is a basic instinct to prefer freedom to oppression. But there is a beaten dog aspect to the people in Iraq, and they have been unable to rise to the opportunity we have offered them. Oh they have a democracy, just like the Palestinians, but it has done them little good. There were opponents of invading Iraq who claimed Arab Muslims were incapable of democratic government, and there is little if any evidence to disprove this. I think the truth is that Islam makes it very difficult to have democracy when god has a veto over any earthly pronouncements.

I'm not ready to say that our democracy-building enterprise has failed yet, W gets two more years regardless of the cackling from Capitol Hill. But it certainly has not succeeded and we need to look carefully at that as we eyeball the huge problems on either side of Iraq.

Realists v. Neocons cont.