Saturday, December 03, 2005

Maintaining my Status as a Warblogger: The Mother of All Roundups

Various critics (friend and foe alike) have referred to me as a "warblogger" -- a label I find rather curious, since my actual blogging on the war is rather minimal compared to my other interests, and when I do blog, my meager efforts in this regard pale in comparison to the likes of, say, Little Green Footballs or Winds of Change.

When I think of "war blogs," I think of the reporting of combat journalist Michal Yon or blogger Bill Roggio, currently touring Anbar Province, Iraq by invitation of the 2nd Marine Division, or the real 'milbloggers' posting from the trenches.

However, Wikipedia defines a "warblog" as

"A warblog is a weblog devoted mostly or wholly to covering news events concerning an ongoing war. Sometimes the use of the term "warblog" implies that the blog concerned has a pro-war slant."
So on that note perhaps I'd qualify.

It has been quite a while since I did any significant posting on this subject . . . so in the interest of bolstering my reputation, here's a roundup of recommended links on the subject culled from the past few months.

  • From Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail, An Interview with Colonel Davis Oct. 30, 2005, "Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team - 2, who is responsible for fighting in western Anbar province, also known as AO Denver" -- who, among other things, summarizes his regiment's mission in Iraq:
    . . . I don't like to talk in terms of winning and losing when it comes to the issues in the Middle East. Americans have a very Western way of thinking: you identify the problem; you analyze the problem and then fix it and move onto the next problem. Out here you need to be vigilant and do a lot of continuous maintenance work, which pays off over time.

    Saddam never controlled this region of Iraq. It is very tribal and fiercely independent. He sent in the army to kill and intimidate the population. He established two tribes in the region: the Salmanis and the Karabilah tribes, to further his goals and counter balance existing dominating tribes. The Iraqis out west, particularly in Haditha are well educated and are able to provide for their own needs. They have operated this way for centuries and can do so again with the proper security environment. We have a simple equation we use out here:

    Presence = Security = Stability = the environment for self governance.

    Our goal is to enfranchise the Iraqi security forces and allow them to provide for the security in the region and improve the lives of the Iraqi people. We will continue to conduct civil/military affairs operations to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. In Haditha, we are rebuilding the hospital the jihadis attacked with a car bomb and then used as a base of operation. We are working to enhance schools and other services vital to the people. We will continue to maintain a presence until the Iraqi Army is capable of standing on its own.

    Thanks to Chris Burgwald, who introduced me to the blog. See also this piece on Iran's sponsorship of international terrorism including Al Qaeda.

    Update: The Fourth Rail is now closed, as Bill Roggio is currently blogging from Iraq (Anbar Province) by special invitation from senior Marine officers with the Regimental Combat Team - 2, 2nd Marine Division. You can now read him at

  • Purple-Ink & Other Underreported Successes, by W. Thomas Smith, Jr. National Review Oct. 31, 2005:
    Lance Corporal Tara Pryor has been in Iraq for only three weeks. Already, she has learned that what readers glean from newspapers and television broadcasts back home are not as things really are.

    “I am surprised,” says the 21-year-old Strongsville, Ohio, native who currently serves with the Marine’s 6th Civil Affairs Group in Fallujah. “The majority of the [Iraqi] people appreciate what we are trying to do.”

    Pryor’s revelation is no surprise to those who have been there. Back home, military servicemen and women contend the daily fare from the various media ranges from disturbing to false to downright manipulative. . . .

  • A War to be Proud Of, by Christopher Hitchens. The Weekly Standard 09/05/2005, Volume 010, Issue 47. The former Nation journalist turned neocon poses some difficult questions that beg for answers:
    The balance sheet of the Iraq war, if it is to be seriously drawn up, must also involve a confrontation with at least this much of recent history. Was the Bush administration right to leave--actually to confirm--Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991? Was James Baker correct to say, in his delightfully folksy manner, that the United States did not "have a dog in the fight" that involved ethnic cleansing for the mad dream of a Greater Serbia? Was the Clinton administration prudent in its retreat from Somalia, or wise in its opposition to the U.N. resolution that called for a preemptive strengthening of the U.N. forces in Rwanda?
  • Our Troops Must Stay: "America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists", by Senator Joe Lieberman. Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2005. In case you missed it, a gutsy article from the Democratic senator from Connecticut, who returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months, and has good things to report.

  • Over at Mudville Gazette, Greyhawk questions John P Murtha's citation that "Over 15,500 have been seriously injured" in Iraq:
    There have indeed been over 15,500 wounded. But of those, 8375 returned to duty within 72 hours - so although those wounds weren't funny perhaps those wounds weren't quite serious either. Still, 7347 troops have been wounded severely enough to require over 72 hours recuperation. Furthermore, 2,791 Soldiers were wounded seriously enough to require evacuation to Stateside Army Medical facilities. And 280 amputees have been treated in Army facilities as a result of the war. A lot of unscrupulous types who just want to pretend to "support the troops" ignore these facts in favor of the less correct (and more impressive) claim that 15,500 troops have been seriously wounded, or maimed, or mutilated. The real numbers are big enough - I just can't understand why some feel the need to pad them
  • Here's yet another reason to love Hollywood action-hero Bruce Willis (besides Die Hard):
    Unlike many Hollywood stars Willis supports the war and recently offered a $1m (about £583,000) bounty for the capture of any of Al-Qaeda’s most wanted leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, its commander in Iraq. Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003.

    “I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported,” he told MSNBC, the American news channel.

    Source: Sunday Times Nov. 27, 2005. Willis is planning on making a film on Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, "which has spent the past year battling insurgents in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul."

    The film will be based on the reporting of blogger Michael Yon, "a former special forces green beret who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their heroics." (P.S. Due recognition to Charlie Daniels as well, who raised thousands of dollars in donated musical instruments for troops in Iraq.)

  • Rerum-Novarum: Miscellaneous Threads Worth Reviewing Nov. 19, 2005. In case you haven't had enough, another roundup with commentary from I. Shawn McElhinney, with notes on Able Danger, the question of missing WMD's and . . . Kurt Vonnegut.

History Lesson(s)

  • A Brief History of a Long War (1990-2003), by Greyhawk (Mudville Gazette), providing a necessary corrective to those who quickly forget the history of this conflict:
    . . . One of the most blatant - and most effective - examples [of revisionism] has been the highly successful propagation of the idea that the war in Iraq began as a misguided result of the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11th 2001. To achieve this feat of near-universal denial requires the dismissing of over a decade of real history - years in which a handful of Americans drew a line in the sand on distant shores - a line crossed repeatedly and re-drawn too frequently by too many hands to be forgotten so swiftly.

    And it's nearly forgotten they are, those warriors of just a few short years ago. But not just yet, at least not completely. This work in progress is dedicated to my fellow members of the US military, those who stand the "line in the sand" now and those have done so for so many years past.

    Look, here is what happened. Listen, here's what they said when it did. . . .

  • The New York Times and Iraq: 1993-2005. The blogger at American Future embarks on an ambitious project to "employ the New York Times’ editorials to trace and analyze the evolution of the newspaper’s stance on Iraq":
    A war can be lost because public opinion turns against its continued prosecution. The New York Times – the self-described “newspaper of record” – is among the world’s most influential opinion leaders. As shown by the cited quotations, the newspaper’s stance on Iraq underwent a complete transformation during the decade separating 1993 and 2003. While its editors never lost their fear of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their prescription for countering the threat posed by the weapons was altered beyond recognition. In 1993, by arguing that cease-fire violations nullified U.N. protection, the Times affirmed the right of a victorious party to resume hostilities at its sole discretion if the party it defeated did not abide by the terms of the agreement to which it affixed its signature. Ten years later, the Times reversed its stance, asserting that the United States should not go to war without the approval of the United Nations. In so doing, the Times implicitly argued that going to war with the approval of a multilateral institution took precedence over the use of military force to expeditiously eliminate the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD.
    The New York Times and Iraq (1993-2005): Part I covers the eight years of the Clinton administration, is the first of three that employ the Times’ editorials to trace and analyze the evolution of the newspaper’s position on Iraq. Part II covers the Bush administration until the invasion of Iraq. Part III covers the Invasion of Iraq to Abu Ghraib (March 2003 - April 2004).

  • Where the WMDs Went, by Jamie Glazov. | November 16, 2005. Interview with Bill Tierney, a former military intelligence officer and Arabic speaker "who worked at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and as a counter-infiltration operator in Baghdad in 2004. He was also an inspector (1996-1998) for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) for overseeing the elimination of WMD's and ballistic missiles in Iraq. He worked on the most intrusive inspections during this period and either participated in or planned inspections that led to four of the seventeen resolutions against Iraq."


  • Junkyard blogger B. Preston "would love it if Mark Shea simply defined torture -- What it is and what it isn’t. He's right, in that this post is a typically brilliant snark-fest but never actually addresses what the McCain Amendment will and will not do. . . . It’s seriously snarky and seriously angry, but doesn’t approach the issue with any genuine seriousness. In the end, it’s lazy." Much as I enjoy Mark's blog, I do think his snarkiness sometimes gets the better of him, together with his practice of labeling the opposition. Then again, perhaps that's part of his appeal. On his behalf, he did author the rather more serious appraisal of the issue in: Toying with Evil: May a Catholic Advocate Torture? Crisis March 9, 2005.

  • Military historian Victor Davis Hanson, meanwhile, joins others in backing the McCain amendment: On torture, U.S. must take the high road Chicago Tribune Dec. 2, 2005:
    So we might as well admit that by foreswearing the use of torture, we will probably be at a disadvantage in obtaining key information and perhaps endanger American lives here at home. (And, ironically, those who now allege that we are too rough will no doubt decry "faulty intelligence" and "incompetence" should there be another terrorist attack on an American city.) Our restraint will not ensure any better treatment for our own captured soldiers. Nor will our allies or the UN appreciate American forbearance. The terrorists themselves will probably treat our magnanimity with disdain, as if we were weak rather than good.

    But all that is precisely the risk we must take in supporting the McCain amendment--because it is a public reaffirmation of our country's ideals. The United States can win this global war without employing torture. That we will not resort to what comes so naturally to Islamic terrorists also defines the nobility of our cause, reminding us that we need not and will not become anything like our enemies.

Iraq & Al Qaeda

  • Night of the Living "Known Fact", by Leon H @ RedState.Org July 10, 2005:
    One of the most persistent Known Facts in the lexicon of Known Fact users is the Known Fact that Iraq had no ties to Al-Qaeda. None whatsoever. This, of course, was the justification the New York Times (one of the great all-time users of Known Facts) used for their shrieking denunciation of Bush's June 28th speech. How could he even mention Iraq and 9/11 in the same speech? Doesn't he know that it's a Known Fact that there was no relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda?

    Much of the evidence behind this Known Fact lies behind the findings of the 9/11 commission, which stated that it could find "no evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States." This, to the liberal mindset, was the same as saying, "We have proved conclusively that no such evidence exists, nor ever will exist, so let this henceforth be known as a Known Fact." The reality is that the commission said something very different, and the emergence of actual facts in the year since then has repeatedly put this Known Fact to death, only to see it rise up from the grave, more horrible and foul-smelling than ever before.

  • Case Not Dismissed: Ahmed Hikmat Shakir & the 9/11 Commission, by Andrew C. McCarthy. National Review Online. July 1, 2005.

  • Body of Evidence, by Stephen F. Hayes. Weekly Standard June 30, 2005:
    "THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way to al Qaeda."

    So declared CNN Anchor Carol Costello in an interview yesterday with Representative Robin Hayes (no relation) from North Carolina.

    Hayes politely challenged her claim. "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you're mistaken. There's evidence everywhere. We get access to it. Unfortunately, others don't."

    CNN played the exchange throughout the day. At one point, anchor Daryn Kagan even seemed to correct Rep. Hayes after replaying the clip. "And according to the record, the 9/11 Commission in its final report found no connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein."

    The CNN claims are wrong. Not a matter of nuance. Not a matter of interpretation. Just plain incorrect. They are so mistaken, in fact, that viewers should demand an on-air correction.

    If you want to investigate the alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, there's no better place to start than Stephen Hayes' The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, which provides a good compilation of his investigation into this issue as it appeared in The Weekly Standard.

  • It's ALL about Al Qaeda, by Andrew McCarthy. National Review Online. June 29, 2005.

  • That was then, this is now, by John @ Powerline July 15, 2005:
    This ABC News video from five years ago, courtesy of Media Research Center, is a classic. Before Democrats had a partisan motive to claim, contrary to all the evidence, that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and bin Laden's al Qaeda, their close and dangerous relationship was common knowledge. That common knowledge is reflected in this ABC news report, as it was in the Clinton administration's indictment of bin Laden in 1998 for, among other things, collaborating with Saddam on weapons of mass destruction.

    It really is a fascinating question: in this era of digital media, can the news media and the Democrats get away with trying to flush what they said as recently as 1998 and 2000 down the memory hole?

Supporting Our Troops" - Images of the Opposition

  • From the Rhode Island blog Anchor Rising ("The Right Side of Hope in Rhode Island") comes a substantial roundup of informative commentary on Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen soldier turned icon of the pacifist opposition to the "Iraqi occupation."

  • The Peace Movement's Moderate Face, by Amy Widenour (National Center, Nov. 27, 2005):
    As Cindy Sheehan is once again protesting in Crawford, Texas, I thought it a good time to share some pictures that show -- as the mainstream media often does not -- the message of the anti-war protesters. These photos, of another anti-war rally in which Cindy Sheehan participated, were taken by Joe Roche. . . ."
  • "Supporting Our Troops" @ AmericanFuture.Net: "Chad Drake, a resident of Garland, Texas, was somehow identified as the 1,000th victim of the Iraq war. The Drake family attended a vigil at the Dallas City Hall, having been assured by a member of the Dallas Peace Center that the event would be non-political. . . ."

  • Sox or Soldiers? Which photos are White Sox World Series celebrations, and which ones are solemn memorials for 2000 dead soldiers and certainly not parties? (Pop quiz at Everlasting Phelps).

  • Academic freedom has its limits. When John Daly, adjunct English professor at Warren County Community College advocated the murder of American military officers, the public outcry (largely instigated by the Young America Foundation and the patriotic blogging community) forced him to resign. I say good riddance.

  • Anti-war protestors recently expressed their "support for the troops" by throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers, attempting to set fire to buildings, "fighting capitalism" and equating Hurricane Katrina with "genocide." Michelle Malkin has the roundup.

    (Note: Don't get me wrong. I understand one can make a principled case against the war. But if this is the public face of the anti-war movement, as it seems to be, it's high time y'all hired a new public relations department).