American Elephants


The Iraq War is Over. by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2008, 4:58 pm
Filed under: History, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

That’s what Michael Yon reports today in the New York Post.  Michael Yon has been reporting on the War on Terror since December 2004 at Michaelyon-online.com. His latest book is  Moment of Truth in Iraq , and I highly recommend it.  The civil war, he says, is completely over. Muqtada al-Sadr has lost a lot of support among the Shia.  Many view him as one whose influence derives solely from respect for his father.

The Iraqi Army continues to grow stronger and more professional by the month. Even the National Police, who last year were thought of as militia members in uniform and drew attacks, are slowly gaining acceptance and respect.  U.S. soldiers’ mentoring is working, and bonds of trust are being built between U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens.  “The United States”, says Yon, “has a new ally in Iraq.  And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.”

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Do read the whole short article. The media have lost interest in Iraq, and prefer to think of it, if they think of it at all, as Bush’s failed war.  It is instead, a great Bush success.  It’s hard now to remember what an awful situation Iraq was in 2003.

I remember the Iraqis voting for the first time. We all remember the purple fingers. U.S. soldiers guarding the Iraqis lined up to enter the polling place noted a very pregnant Iraqi woman in line.  She went into labor while she waited in line, and a U.S. Medic came to her aid, delivered the baby, and the woman planted the baby in the soldier’s arms, and went in to vote.
Do not belittle Iraqi democracy. A people who endured the torture, the terror and brutality of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein could teach us a few things about the importance of the right to vote.



Will Obama Gut the Military? by The Elephant's Child

“I’ve fought for open, ethical and accountable government my whole public life.”
BWA HA HA HA!



Bless ‘em all. Bless all the bloggers who tell us the truth… by The Elephant's Child

The guys at Argghhh! The home of two of Jonah’s Military Guys post a little article on why they blog, and it is a heartwarming story:

KIRKUK,Iraq — The first class of Iraqi Air Force student pilots were awarded their flying wings as part of a graduation ceremony here, Oct. 13.

Nearly a year after the three trainees, Iraqi 2nd Lieutenants Hassan, Majid and Habeeb, entered the program, the success of the Joint Iraqi Flying Training Wing and 52nd Expeditionary Flight Training Squadron came to a pivotal point in building a credible objective air force capable of conducting sustained operations in defense of the country.

As operations expand and the number of students being trained increases, the Iraqi Air Force will move close to developing the foundational capabilities that will allow it to sustain independent operations and grow to meet future demands.  The new Iraqi Air Force stood up after the invasion in 2003 but, until today, all pilots were veterans who rejoined the force….

That’s what happened, and news, but you won’t find much about it in the mainstream media. But that wasn’t the heartwarming part.  That came after a speech by U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Brooks Bash, Coalition Air Force Transition Team commanding general. (Try to get all that on a business card!)

The important part came in a speech by a Distinguished Visitor when his speech was interrupted by a standing ovation:

One of the kids nudged me when the DV started getting passionate in his address.  “He is saying that for the first time in our history, we are not doing things for one man, but we are doing it for all the people of Iraq.  He is saying the US has showed us how, and we must not forget when we thank God every day, we must also ask him to bless the US.”

Well, an additional thanks to bloggers who tell us the things that do not grace the elite pages of the mainstream press. Because they’re important. And they’re things we need to know.

Which is one of the reasons that the mainstream media is failing in prestige, influence and readership.  They no longer understand what is important outside of their immediate circle, and we are beginning to really notice.



Obama’s Statements Are Raising Some Huge Questions. by The Elephant's Child
September 17, 2008, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Iraq, Military, Terrorism, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

The Obama campaign objected to the article from Amir Taheri that I quote  in the article below. The campaign’s response says that Taheri’s article was “filled with distortions”, but their rebuttal centers on a technical point: the differences between two Iraqi-US accords that are being negotiated — the Status of Forces Agreement which will set rules governing US military personnel in Iraq (SOFA) and the Strategic Framework Agreement, to settle the legal basis for the US military presence in Iraq in the years ahead (SFA).

One agreement cannot be settled without the other, for the two are interlinked. The Obama campaign waffles and misconstrues, but the record ends up confirming just what Taheri suggested in his article:

Obama preferred to have no agreement on US troop withdrawals until a new administration took office in Washington.

Obama has changed position on another key issue.  In [an] NBC report, he pretends that US troops do not have a  “clear mandate.” Now, however, he admits that there is a clear mandate from the UN Security Council and that he’d have no objection to extending it pending a bilateral Iraq-US agreement.

This may seem technical, but it is important to understand.  Obama is merely a candidate for the office of President of the United States.  He has no authority and no right to pretend to any. Senators don’t get to run around the world trying to make policy. Democrats seem to have lost a sense of the constitution, and what rights are given to what branch of the government.  Former presidents have no business going around the world making foreign policy speeches.  Candidates who claim expertise in constitutional law should know better.  It should be an election changing error on Obama’s part.

Obama has demonstrated a great lack of understanding of American foreign policy, of our position in the world, and of our responsibilities and challenges.  His claim that he knows more about foreign policy than his opponents because he lived in Indonesia when he was 6 to 10 and has relatives in Africa is laughable. He sneered at senatorial trips abroad when they met with government officials, as unimportant, yet is with governmental officials that the American government must deal.  In his own meetings with foreign officials, as in the case of Iraqi officials he seems more interested in using them to further his ambitions than in learning from them.

In a long interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, [Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar] Zebari says’ “Obama asked my why, in view of the closeness of a change of administration, we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of the new administration next year ang agree on some issues and matters.”

Again, note that Zebari mentions a single set of agreements, encompasssing both SFA and SOFA. Zebari continues’ “I told Obama that, as an Iraqi, I believe that even if there is a Democratic administration in the White House it had better continue the present policy instead of wasting a lot of time thinking what to do.”

He now talks of “the prospect of lasting success,” perhaps hoping that his own administration would inherit the kudos…He has even abandoned his earlier claim that toppling Saddam Hussein was “illegal” and admits that the US-led coalition’s presence in Iraq has a legal framework in the shape of the UN mandate.

In other words, Obama was trying to derail current US policy, whild Zebari was urging him not to “waste time.”

…Obama no longer talks of “withdrawal” but of “redeployment” and “drawdown” — which is exactly what is happening now.

While I am encouraed by the senator’s evolution, I must also appeal to him to issue a “cease and desist” plea to the battalions of his sympathizers — who have been threatening me with death and worse in the days since my article appeared.

Obama’s ambitions have run away with him, and his desires exceed his knowledge of the office he seeks.  It is very important to look closely at his claims and his promises , and consider what the facts are and if his promises hold water.  They don’t.



Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave When First… by The Elephant's Child

According to Rasmussen Reports, voter confidence in the War on Terror is at the highest level ever recorded simce Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking in January 2004.  Fifty-four percent (54%) of American voters now think the United States and its allies are winning the war.  The previous high-water mark for optimism — 52% — was reached a handful of times in September and October 2004.

Optimism about the situation in Iraq is also at an all-time high.  Forty-eight percent (48%) now expect the situation in that troubled country to get better over the next six months.  Only 17% expect thing to get worse.  In addition to being the most optimistic assessment ever recorded, these numbers reflect a remarkable turnaround over the past year.  Last August, just 27% thought things were going to get better while 47% were pessimistic.

Discovering, in the middle of your huge televised national convention, that your message on the war and Iraq is a little off, must be uncomfortable.  But never mind, we’ll just drop it all down the memory hole.



What is victory in Iraq? by The Elephant's Child

From the President’s strategy for victory in Iraq:

VICTORY IN IRAQ DEFINED

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come come in the form of an enemy’s surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event — there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

In the short term:

An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.

In the medium term:

An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, nd well on its way to achieving its economic potential.

In the longer term:

An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.
An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.
An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.

Not mentioned in the President’s strategy — Kuwait, invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, is opening an embassy in Iraq. Or, if you are not impressed by that:

Kentucky Fried Chicken has opened in Falluja.

So there!



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.



Democrats Attempt to Censor Petraeus by American Elephant

General David Petraeus

There are no “General Betray-Us” ads this time around, I guess we should be glad Democrats aren’t stupid enough to pull that bone-headed move again. But don’t worry, they’re still plenty stupid…

With General Petraeus set to testify before congress again, the Democrats talking points are exactly the same as last time — “General Petraeus is a puppet for the White House, things are going horribly in Iraq, and he damn well better not try to tell Americans any different!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Thursday not to “put a shine on recent events” in Iraq when they testify before Congress next week.

“I hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra,” said Pelosi, referring to a recent military offensive against Shiite militants in the city led by the Iraqi government and supported by U.S. forces. [read more]

The implication that General Petraeus would even consider presenting anything but a fair and honest assessment of conditions on the ground is just as disgraceful and inexcusable now as it was the last time Democrats smeared him.

The fact is the only reason the Democrats need to warn Petraeus in the first place is because the surge has been so successful. Violence continues to drop, the Iraqi parliament has passed a whole slew of some of the most contentious benchmarks, and now the Iraqi government has again proven Democrats wrong, by leading the fight against the very same Shiite militias Democrats complained just a short time ago they were unable and unwilling to fight.

The Weekly Standard puts the lie to the Democrats latest spin.



Liberal lies and Democrat hypocrisy… by The Elephant's Child

The education establishment continually provides entertainment. Today the National Heroes Tour of some of the most honored veterans of the Iraq War was scheduled to appear at Forest Lake High School in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets for Freedom, the sponsor of the tour, is an alumnus of that high school.

Apparently in “The Democratic Underground” forums there was an announcement of a press conference by unidentified groups to oppose the appearance. They expressed outrage that Vets for Freedom were going to meet with students to “indoctrinate them on the joys of war” according to reporter Katherine Kersten. They called on members to oppose the appearance and listed contact numbers for the principal, the school board president and the district office. So, of course, the school promptly canceled.

On short notice, the vets moved their program to an American Legion hall, and the venue was packed to overflowing, including some students who skipped school to attend. It seems that some people seem to think that veterans speaking about their experiences is a “political event”, even if others just want to hear from vets about their experiences.

The University of North Dakota is sponsoring a lecture by 1960s Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers, now a “distinguished professor of education” at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Ayers says in his book that he participated in the bombing of the New York City’s police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol Building in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972, committed in the name of ending the Vietnam War. He was not convicted because prosecutors and the FBI mismanaged the case. He said in an interview with the New York Times that “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough”. This, however, is apparently not a “political event”.

Columbia University invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, and the President of Columbia University spoke harshly to the Iranian. Columbia University professors planned to go to Iran to apologize to Ahmadinejad, who runs a terrorist regime, for the harsh words of the university president. This also was not a “political event”.

Iran favors the disappearance of Israel, the murder of homosexuals, and the stoning to death of those convicted of adultery, among other things. I suspect that the National Heroes Tour would not be welcomed at Columbia, nor would a speaker from the Boy Scouts of America. “Political Events”. Go figure.




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