American Elephants


The Fourth of July in Iraq by American Elephant

BAGHDAD – How are you spending your 4th of July holiday? While most Americans probably slept, 1,215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines raised their right hands and committed to a combined 5,500 years of additional service during the largest reenlistment ceremony in the history of the American military. Beneath a large American flag which dwarfed even the enormous chandelier that Saddam Hussein had built for the Al Faw Palace, members of all services, representing all 50 states took the oath administered by Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq. [read more]

Now that’s patriotism! Watch the “related videos” at the end to see the entire ceremony. Very cool.

These men and women, and a total of 8,000 troops from seven bases around Iraq were then treated to 3,000 fresh, authentic deep-dish Chicago style pizzas, shipped directly from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago:

The 3,000 pizzas — each with a pound of cheese and packed with other toppings — were cooked by Lou Malnati’s Restaurant staffers last week, then shipped though New York, Belgium and Bahrain on their way to U.S. troops around Baghdad.

The logistical nightmare of frozen freight and military regulations cost nearly $100,000 to pull off, most of that coming from donations from the restaurant chain and DHL Express.

But the idea came from retired Master Sgt. Mark Evans and his 16-year-old son Kent, Illinois residents who have sent much smaller care packages to overseas troops in the past

“My son and I were having a man’s night — eating some of Lou’s pizza while the women were out — and they were talking about the war on TV,” he said. “He asked me about the food over there, and I told him, ‘They do their best, but it’s not like home cooking. They don’t have pizza like this there.’

“Then he asked if we could get some over there.” [read more]

Evans plans to repeat the operation, and hopes to provide enough pizzas for all the troops next year. For more information, or to contribute, visit Pizzas4Patriots.

The military provided ribs, corn on the cob and red, white and blue cake for others, and yet other troops had no special Fourth of July celebrations, just hard work in unforgiving heat.

We wish them all a very happy Fourth as we celebrate the freedom that they are protecting.



Unpopular? Let me count the ways… by The Elephant's Child

Popularity? Gallup just did their annual update on confidence in institutions. They found that only 12% of Americans have any confidence in Congress. This is the lowest rating that Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35 years they have been measuring this question. And it gets worse! Only 6% have a “great deal” of confidence in Congress. Whew!

Newspapers and TV news rank along with George W. Bush, which is low enough, but it is Congress that is really, really unpopular. How can this be? Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the Democrat Congress were going to change everything for the better.

Let’s see. Democrats have raised the minimum wage which has the effect of making it harder for people who are beginners at work to get their first job. (Studies show that even raw beginners usually get promoted within 6 months). Did you notice the big jump this month in unemployment statistics? There weren’t any big layoffs. What there were is a lot of kids looking for summer jobs or first jobs after graduation.

Democrats passed a big energy bill banning incandescent lightbulbs. Now we have to use the florescent kind and call the Haz-Mat team if we drop one. They ordered more ethanol production, which is causing food riots and inflation in food prices. Since they are experts in how to make automobiles, they ordered car makers to increase cafe standards, without any conception that car makers are in the business of pleasing their customers and are working hard to provide them with more fuel-efficient cars. The last time congress did that, car makers were forced to make their cars lighter, and killed about 4,000 additional people a year in highway accidents.

Being expert in solving problems such as high gasoline prices, they called in oil company executives and raked them over the coals for their high salaries and high profits; threatened to take over their businesses; asked the Justice Department to sue OPEC, and demanded that oil companies promptly produce oil from public lands that they have leased. All, of course, while they steadfastly refused to open ANWR, offshore lands or onshore lands, or oil shale lands to exploration and drilling.

Democrats have insulted the Generals who have turned the War in Iraq around, suggested that they are liars, and smeared the troops. And to top it all, they have suggested that Congress should take over American oil refineries so that they can control prices. When I was growing up, they called that communism, and America was pretty definitely against it.

I could go on and on, but space is limited. There is a common thread here, and it seems to be an unfamiliarity with economics and history. Throw in a healthy dose of lack of interest in the meaning of freedom, and how it is attained, preserved and nurtured.



Exactly Why Democrats are Dead Wrong on Detainees by American Elephant

The Supreme Court’s repugnant, extra-constitutional 5-4 Boumediene decision last week conferred on illegal combatants more rights than were given to even Nazi’s during WWII. It gave foreign born terrorists, fighting in manners violating the Geneva Conventions, and captured on the battlefield access to American civil courts. The most egregious usurpation of constitutionally granted war powers by the courts in our nation’s history.

Democrats were overjoyed with the decision.

As if in response comes this story from Britain:

Abu Qatada, the radical Islamic cleric described as Osama bin Laden’s “right-hand man in Europe”, has been released from jail after a judge ruled that there were no grounds to keep him in prison.

The decision to allow him to return to his home in London – where he will receive around £1,000 per month in state benefits – made a mockery of the government’s promise to crack down on terror suspects, and embarrassed the Home Office, which had pledged to deport Qatada to Jordan to face terror charges.

Qatada is not only known as “Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe,” but is wanted in Jordan for terrorist activity and has been accused of inspiring the attacks on America because videos of his sermons were found among the possessions of Mohammad Atta and other 9/11 hijackers.

The same court that released him previously described him as

“a truly dangerous individual” who was “heavily involved, indeed at the centre of terrorist activities associated with al-Qa’eda”.

In other words, everyone knows he’s a terrorist, everyone knows he is dangerous, but the courts refuse to allow him to be extradicted and have now set him free.

This is precisely why the courts have no business whatsoever involving themselves in the war on terror. It’s a war, not a legal matter. Precisely why the constitution granted sole war making powers to the president, and to a lesser degree congress.

As if to emphasize the risibility of the decision, the court also specifically stated that Qatada is prohibited from receiving visits from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Hamza, and… Osama bin Laden!

Phew. That’s a relief!



Winnie the Pooh and Ahmadinejad Too! by American Elephant

Welcome Michelle Malkin readers and People’s Cube comrades! We hope while you’re here you’ll stop and have a look around our humble little grass-roots conservative, capitalist pig blog and tell us what you think!

I can’t think of a better metaphor for Barack Obama’s childish foreign policy than the one proffered by his own “key foreign policy adviser” and presumptive National Security Adviser, Richard Danzig:

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.” [read more]

Obama’s foreign policy? Big soft cuddly America gets the stuffing knocked out of it. As Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot observes:

It’s good that Obama is going to Iraq and Afghanistan. And he would be wise to articulate a national security policy that relied more on personal meetings with Gen. David Petraeus and less on reading Winnie the Pooh.



Why Iraqis Back McCain by American Elephant

It’s clear that liberal effetes, appeasers and pacifists the world over think Obama would do a better job with Iraq. So do Iraq’s enemies. But Bret Stephens points out in The Wall Street Journal what I think is obvious: if you ask the people who are most invested in success in Iraq, who have the most to lose – the Iraqis themselves — they overhwhelmingly support John McCain:

Today, the governor speaks with a mixture of confidence and foreboding. He insists al Qaeda has been vanquished. But, he adds, “Iraq is in a strategic location and has huge resources. There are a lot of eyes on Iraq.” Later in the conversation, he makes his point more precisely. “Liberating Iraq is a very good dish. And now you are going to hand it over to Iran?”

…The Iraqis are even more incredulous about Mr. Obama’s willingness to negotiate with Iran, which they see as a predatory regime. “Do you Americans forget what the Iranians did to your embassy?” asks the governor. “Don’t you know that Ahmadinejad was one of [the hostage takers]?” 

…Throughout our interview, the men did not stop fingering their prayer beads, as if their future hinges on their ability to make their case to the American public. They’re right: It does. Which is why Iraq, all but alone among the nations, will be praying for a McCain victory on the first Tuesday in November.[read more]

It’s an important point. I encourage you to read the entire column.



Drunk on Bias! by American Elephant

From the “Are you freaking kidding me?” department:

“However you feel about her politics, I feel that Sen. Clinton received some of the most unfair, hostile coverage I’ve ever seen.”

- Katie Couric

Hmm, let’s see if I can think of anyone who has gotten more unfairor hostilecoverage.

Have you got any nominations? (h/t Instapundit)



Winning the War on ALL Fronts! by American Elephant

Reports from the Pentagon, CIA, the British, and corroborated by independent terrorism experts conclude that the United States military, under General David Petraeus and President Bush is winning the war on terror, and winning big:

Al Qaeda virtually defeated in Iraq, Saudi Arabia:

Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA chief cited major gains against al-Qaeda’s allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group’s core leadership. [read more]

Taliban in Afghanistan on brink of defeat:

Missions by special forces and air strikes by unmanned drones have “decapitated” the Taliban and brought the war in Afghanistan to a “tipping point”, the commander of British forces has said.

The new “precise, surgical” tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.

In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the “very effective targeted decapitation operations” that have removed “several echelons of commanders”. This in turn has left the insurgents on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand said. [read more]

US Troop Deaths in Iraq at All Time Low:

BAGHDAD, June 1 (Reuters) – U.S. troop deaths in Iraq fell to their lowest level last month since the 2003 invasion and officials said on Sunday improved security also helped the country boost oil production in May to a post-war high. [read more]

US-Backed Government and Army May be Winning the War:

THERE’S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have “never been closer to defeat than they are now.”

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained “special groups” that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. [read more]

Bin Laden, Al Qaeda Losing Support Among Muslims:

Important Muslim thinkers, including some on whom bin Laden depended for support, have rejected his vision of jihad. Once sympathetic publics in the Middle East and South Asia are growing disillusioned. As CIA Director Michael Hayden said last week, “Fundamentally, no one really liked Al Qaeda’s vision of the future.” At the same time, and potentially much more important over the long run, a new vision of Islam, neither bin Laden’s nor that of the traditionalists who preceded him, is taking shape. Momentum is building within the Muslim world to re-examine what had seemed immutable tenets of the faith, to challenge what had been taken as literal truths and to open wide the doors of interpretation (ijtihad) that some schools of Islam tried to close centuries ago. [read more]

Let’s be sure to give credit where credit is due. This is all due to the hard work of our military men and women, to the strategy of General Petraeus and military leadership, and to the vision and steadfast leadership of President Bush, his administration, Republicans and the independant Joe Lieberman. Let’s also be clear, because President Bush will never say it, but this success is also very much despite the Democrats and their ceaseless efforts to sabotage the Commander in Chief and the war effort itself for political gain.



The Perilous Fight by American Elephant

For over 230 years, far better men than I have risked everything fighting for our independence, fighting to keep us together, putting themselves between America and the evils of the world. They are doing so now.

To a man they knew the dangers. To a man they went anyway.

Today we honor those who have fallen to keep us safe and free. We are forever in their debt.

We must always remember what they’ve done for us. Too many take it for granted. Still others really have no idea. That makes it even more important that the rest of us remember and honor them.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Of all the Memorial Day tributes I found, this was my favorite, but it is one that I can’t embed on our page, so I hope you’ll click the link and watch it. These were also very moving tributes…

Thank you to all who serve. God bless and keep those who gave all.



ABC News Connects Saddam and Bin Laden — in 1999! by American Elephant

I am shocked to have just stumbled across this video for the first time. I’ve never seen it before in my life — and I should have! Every American should have. Have you?

In it, ABC News shows the clear and increasingly dangerous connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden… in 1999! Over two years before the 9/11 attacks!

Filmed and aired long before then Governor Bush ever ran for the White House to begin with, and over 2 years before he took office, this video proves several very important things:

  1. That President Bush’s rationale for removing Saddam Hussein from power was entirely justified and based on widely accepted facts.
  2. That the idea that Saddam and Bin Laden would never work together because Saddam was secular and Bin Laden fundamentalist was ridiculous from the get go, and…
  3. That the intelligence that justified removing Saddam existed and was understood long before the Bush administration was even in Washington to supposedly manipulate it.

The deranged left will never be convinced of anything remotely resembling the truth, but remember this video next time you wonder if the war in Iraq was justified…

This video makes it clear: following 9/11, there was no other responsible alternative.

Tom Joscelyn elaborates at Powerline:

In any event, Saddam’s response was telling. Just two days after Operation Desert Fox ended he dispatched one of his top intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. As I and others have written, Hijazi was no low-level flunky. He was one of Saddam’s most trusted goons and was responsible for overseeing a good deal of the regime’s terrorist and other covert activities. It was this meeting that led to widespread reporting on the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. I collected a bunch of these reports, including the ABC News report, in “The Four-Day War.” Another, earlier piece also discusses Saddam’s conspicuous response to Operation Desert Fox.

The consensus in the media then was that there was a relationship between the two and that Saddam’s regime was very willing to work with al Qaeda against their common foe: America. And vice versa. Indeed, the reporting indicated that they had been working together even long before Operation Desert Fox…. [Read the rest]

Has anyone noticed ABC airing this report since we invaded Iraq? And why the hell haven’t they!? Where the hell was this report during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings??

Unconscionable!

(h/t: Powerline via Vince P)



Only Because Obama Hasn’t TALKED to Them Yet! by Emerald City Elephant

Obama's Childish Foreign Policy

From the Washington Post:

THREADED through the reports of progress in Iraq by Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker last week was the story of a larger failure: the inability of the United States and its allies to contain the growing aggressiveness of Iran. Since Gen. Petraeus and Mr. Crocker last reported to Congress seven months ago, Iranian-backed militias and “special groups” in Iraq have evolved from a shadow force into the largest remaining threat to U.S. forces and the Iraqi government. It was Iranian-supplied rockets that slammed into the Green Zone in recent days and Iranian-trained militants who stiffened the resistance to Iraqi government forces trying to gain control over the southern city of Basra. [read more]

Never fear! HOPE is here! If only Obama would TALK to them!

Good thing al Qaeda isn’t in Iraq!



Iraqis Continue Putting Democrats to Shame by American Elephant

Democrats finally gave up their “The War is Lost” and “The Surge is a Failure!” mantras once it became undeniable that the Surge has been a great success. They have since adapted the argument that there has been no political progress in Iraq. Of course that’s complete horsehockey as well. Iraqi leaders have come together to pass many very difficult, contentious laws that required a great deal of cooperation, compromise and trust.

I think Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman said it best (echoing our observations) when questioning General Petraeus on Capitol Hill last week:

“Hey, let’s be honest about this: The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has.”

Now we learn that Iraqis are continuing that progress, heedless of Democrats dishonest claims to the contrary:

At the same time, Iraq’s Cabinet ratcheted up the pressure on anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr by approving draft legislation barring political parties with militias from participating in upcoming provincial elections.

Al-Sadr, who heads the country’s biggest militia, the Mahdi Army, has been under intense pressure from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also a Shiite, to disband the Mahdi Army or face political isolation.

Al-Sadr’s followers are eager to take part in the local elections because they believe they can take power away from rival Shiite parties in the vast, oil-rich Shiite heartland of southern Iraq.

And in a new move to stem the flow of money to armed groups, the government ordered a crackdown on militiamen controlling state-run and private gas stations, refineries and oil distribution centers.

It is believed that gas stations and distribution centers, especially in eastern Baghdad and some southern provinces, are covertly controlled by Shiite militiamen dominated by the Mahdi Army.

Can someone please explain how Democrats can fault Iraqis for being more willing to compromise and making more political progress than they have themselves?

(Hat tip: Rich Lowry at The Corner)



ABC News Shocker: 5 out of 150,000 Troops Endorse Democrats by American Elephant

US Troops in Iraq

Taking a page directly from Barack Obama’s campaign playbook, ABC “News” traveled to Iraq and was able to find five soldiers who endorse Democrat candidates for president — three for Obama and two for Hillary — which they attempted in a piece called, “Surprising Political Endorsements By U.S. Troops,” to portray as the general consensus among America’s fighting men and women.

Riiiiiight! John McCain leads both Democrats in national polls, but the military, which has a long history of being much more conservative than the general public, and which backed Bush by approximately 73% to 18% over Kerry in 2004, is suddenly gangbusters for the candidates that want to surrender Iraq to terrorists and Iranian-backed militias. Forgive me if I don’t buy it.

One of the first rules of journalism is that anecdotes prove nothing. One of the first rules of propaganda is to use anecdotes to portray what the facts don’t.

No wonder an overwhelming 58% majority of Americans don’t trust journalists to tell them the truth and only a paltry 38% do! A reputation well earned!




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