Saturday, February 26, 2005

king christian X/the danish people

how many stories of the king of denmark are there? the answer: lots.

here's a few I've been thinking about lately:

the swastika:
the story goes that when the germans conquered denmark, they placed a swastika in the kings' palace and king christian X sent a soldier to take it down. the high nazi in charge of denmark (I can't remember his name or title) ordered the king into his office and raged at him: 'the swastika is going up again, and the next soldier to take it down is going to be shot!' said the king: 'then you are going to have to shoot me. becaouse I am going to be the one to take it down.' and the next day. there was no swastika.

the truth: I haven't found anything on this, but from everything I've read about him. this would have been fairly typical of the man.

the yellow star:
the story goes that when the germans invaded denmark and ordered that the danish jews wear the yellow star, king christian X put the first one on himself. and ordered that all danes wear them to show solidarity.

the truth: there is no historical evidence to support this story; the truth is no less amazing.
the current queen of denmark (king christians' grandaughter) along with several prominent danes who were alive at the time say that the germans never ordered the yellow star worn;they say that this story comes from the danes themselves; that back in the occupation. rumors began circulating about the germans giving that aforesaid order, and the danes all said "there's no way that could happen. king christian would put on the first one himself, and I'll put on the second."
some people don't see the marvelous thing about this: the people of denmark were so sure of their king, so determined to stand by their neighbours, (whatever their religion) that they were willing to place themselves against the nazis. to wear the yellow star. to stand up and say: "they are danes, whatever you may say, and you are not taking them."

here's a few about the danes themselves:

all the jews were helped to escape from denmark:
not true: 8,000 jews of the 8,500 (+/-) jewish danes were helped to escape from denmark

no danish jews were killed in the holocaust:
not true: exactly 51 jewish danes died from the holocaust. the other 450 jews who were taken from denmark survived because the danish government put a lot of pressure on the german government and the danish people sent food packages.

after the war, danish jews returning home found their homes and pocessions untouched:
not true: danish jews coming home found their homes and pocessions in pristine condition (having been taken care of by their neighbours).

great man. great people. great country.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

differebces between women and men

I found this on (warning: the man is an idiot)

Summers Falls In Winter's Spring

February 20, 2005

It seems that Larry Summers, a timid man mysteriously president of Harvard, has suggested that men might be better than women at mathematics. He has been beset by the fanged mouselets of academe, and is now busily cringing like a puppy who has wet the rug. We must not mention what the correct do not want to hear.

Yet maybe we should. Let us reflect on differences between the sexes:

Men are taller, heavier, stronger, more durable, and more enduring. They have higher erythrocyte counts, greater cardiac volume, build muscle faster with exercise, and are more strongly constructed. All of this is perfectly well known scientifically, having been studied to death by exercise physiologists. It tracks with daily observation, with athletic records, with attempts by the military to train women as soldiers (they are much weaker and have many more injuries in training). It is why you don’t see women in the NFL, why the sexes have separate athletic teams. On the other hand, women live longer.

(note from bill: women are also more agile with better balance)

Intellectually the differences are more complex, but equally well known among people who study such things. Men are distinctly better in mean mathematical-logical-spatial reasoning, and either very slightly ahead or very slightly behind in mean verbal ability.

Crucial here is what in mathematics is called a “distribution.” In comparing two groups, the mean—“average”—tells only part of the story. To see this, consider an imaginary group of fifty women, all having an IQ of exactly 100. Their average IQ is 100. Now consider a group of fifty men, half of whom have IQs of zero, and half of whom have IQs of 200. The average IQ also is 100—but you would expect very different performance.

The way the human distribution works is that as you move toward the extremes of intelligence, both high and low, men increasingly predominate. Again, this is well known. At the highest and lowest ranges of intelligence, you find almost entirely men. The effect is stark in math, less so but inescapable in verbal ability. It shows up on every known test of mental capacity. It is why there are almost no female Nobelists in the mathematical sciences, and no world champions in chess. It is the “glass ceiling.” It is also much of why the prisons are full of men: the stupid tend to end up as criminals, and there are many more truly stupid men than truly stupid women.

(note from bill on the extremes: my sister was studying quantam physics when she was twelve, and got three "perfects" on her high school diploma)

All of this is well known and heavily documented.

Psychologically the differences between the sexes are fuzzy and less easily quantified. On the other hand, they are obvious. Women are more emotional than men, less aggressive, more interested in people and less interested in abstractions and machinery.

This, plus the difference in mathematical ability, explains the paucity of women in engineering and physics, and their high numbers in professions that involve caring for or dealing with people. They are neither particularly good at physics, nor very interested. Why then would you expect to find them there?

(note from bill: as I said, my sister is studying quantam physics. and the person who discovered DNA was a woman.[the two men who got the nobel for it stole her work])

The aggressiveness of men explains why they find war fascinating, quickly look for military solutions, love to study weaponry, glorify martial exploits, and have through all history fought war after war after war. It is biological. It is how men are.

A great deal of human behavior is biologically determined—or, if you prefer, the consequence of human nature. A combination of stupidity and aggressiveness is conducive to violent crime. What characteristically do you find in prisons? Stupid, aggressive men. Why so many blacks in prison? Largely because of an almost infinitely documented fifteen-point deficit in intelligence, however measured, between blacks and whites. Why are bar fights always between men? Why does a man going into a tough town get challenges from men and not women? Why do the challenges diminish when the interloper is too old to be a sexual competitor?

(note from bill: no where I have looked has there been any proof that black people are any smarter or stupider than white people)

It is difficult to imagine that Larry Summers, president of Harvard, isn’t aware of all of this. In fact, it is difficult to imagine that anyone isn’t at least vaguely aware of it.

(note from bill: I'm unaware of it.)

The intelligence of men at the high end, plus their assertiveness and their interest in machines and in building things, is responsible for most of civilization. The male desire to fight, as innate as a dog’s desire to pee on hydrants, is a most hideously destructive phenomenon. The question for civilization is how to harness the horsepower of men for useful purposes without letting them engage in their preferred sports: butchery, burning, the sacking of cities, and armed robbery.

(note from bill: I wouldn't call "butchery, burning, the sacking of cities, and armed robbery." "preferred sports")

This is tricky because testosterone has no moral component. Men are happy spending long hours designing a robotic surgical suite to save lives, or working together in groups to send men to the moon. They are equally happy designing a new and better tank, or in bombing cities. Building the Parthenon and burning Hamburg enchant them equally. How to encourage the one while discouraging the other?

Men can be civilized at the local or neighborhood level. Well-bred and preferably educated males, whether in Switzerland, Fukuoka, or the white suburbs of Washington, go to work, invent things, try to better the world, and only very occasionally kill each other. Boys, if raised to be gentlemen, usually will be. Of course this only works if women are ladies. It comes down to a society’s instilling, and insisting on, high standards of behavior. Dueling should be discouraged.

At the global level, things are more difficult. The male readiness to think in terms of abstractions makes the world a chess game. Combativeness easily trumps morality. It is men, not women, who fantasize about nuking China. Given that almost all countries raise armies and train them to fight, it is to be expected that they will want to. The unprincipled tend to rise to power. I suppose the best hope is that countries will become sufficiently integrated with each other, as Western Europe seems to have done, that fighting just doesn’t seem attractive. Probably a long shot.

Meanwhile we might all be happier if women stopped trying to be what they aren’t, and men tried to stop being what they are, if you get my drift. And is not a woman who tries to help a wounded puppy, whether she be a barmaid or astrophysicist, obviously a higher form of life than Agamemnon, Timurlane, Napoleon, the Bushlet, Hitler, Patton, or Pol Pot? If not, why not?

(note from bill: first; while I would certainly call hitler a lower life form. I object most strongly to the placement of patton on that list. second; why the double standard? why object to women trying to not conform to a stereotype and say men shouldn't conform to their own stereotype? third; if, "the unprincipled tend to rise to power" what's the use of trying to get countries "sufficiently integrated"? fourth; I don't think that those men could be called "lower life forms" [with the exception of hitler, above].whatever else he did, napolean championed the cause of religious equality before the law, german and italian unification, polish independence, Etc. patton was a warrior and a general [the only one the nazis feared] who contributed enormously to the downfall of nazi germany. [and I've decided not to commment on "the bushlet" for fear of being offensive to anyone reading this])

the man is an idiot.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Romanian News article

Read this excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper. The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title "C"ntarea Americii, meaning "Ode To America" on September 24, 2002, in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei ("The Daily Event" or "News of the Day").

~An Ode to America~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs. Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart.

Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing.

On every occasion, they started singing their traditional song:
"God Bless America!" I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land?
Their galloping history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace.

I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion. Only freedom can work such miracles.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Evolution of Conservatives & Liberals.

I am a liberal (working as a farmer when I can, a student when I can't) and I couldn't stop laughing. (though I don't think this is very complimentary to women)

The division of the human family into 2 distinct political groups began some12,000 years ago. Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains in the summer & would go to the beach & live on fish & lobster in winter.

The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer & the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization & together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals & Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered it required grain & that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking & killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as "the Conservative movement." Other men who were weaker & less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's & doing the sewing, fetching & hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became
known as 'girleymen.' Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy & group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat & beer that conservatives provided. Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, & French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood & group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat & still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, soldiers, athletes & generally anyone who works productively outside government. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers & decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tame & created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history.

I am a liberal (working as a farmer when I can, a student when I can't) and I couldn't stop laughing. Seriously though, I don't agree with the assertion that liberals produce little or nothing; I have known a goodly number of hard-working and blue collar liberals; during the 40's the liberal movement helped push for the creation of israel (although unfortunately they reversed their position somewhat later); liberals were basically THE politicol movement that got us out of the veitnam war; the republican party tried to keep us out of WWII. I could go on and on about great things 'produced' by liberals. I still think that bush is better than the alternative, but remember that life isn't just conservatives=productive, liberals=parasites. nothing in life is that simple.
I still think this is funny.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I HAVE NOW DECIDED [by Jonah Goldberg]

Tha the faculty at Harvard is going mad. It's like the Crucible or something. It's approaching an inquisition. Here's an excerpt from the New York Times:

"My best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon - by far - is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity; that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination," Dr. Summers said, according to the transcript.

"I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them," he added.

Over and over in the transcript, he made clear that he might be wrong in his theories, and he challenged researchers to study his propositions.

He also urged research on "the quality of marginal hires" to the faculty when efforts to diversify are under way. How many of these hires, he asked, have "turned out to be much better than the institutional norm who wouldn't have been found without a greater search?" Or are "plausible compromises" that are not unreasonable additions to the faculty? And "how many of them are what the right-wing critics of all of this suppose represent clear abandonments of quality standards"?

Several Harvard professors said they were more furious after reading the precise remarks, saying they felt he believed women were intellectually inferior to men.

Everett I. Mendelsohn, a professor of the history of science, said that once he read the transcript, he understood why Dr. Summers "might have wanted to keep it a secret."

"Where he seems to be off the mark particularly is in his sweeping claims that women don't have the ability to do well in high-powered jobs," said Professor Mendelsohn, part of a faculty group that sharply criticized Dr. Summers's leadership at a meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Tuesday. "There's an implication that they've taken themselves out of that role. But he brings forward no evidence."

Now look. The guy said he was there to provoke people. He said he was there not as a president but as an academic. He was speaking to an off-the-record session of grown-ups. He said numerous times that he was offering theories he hoped would and could be falsified. And for this the Harvard faculty might vote no-confidence in the guy. And he's already been forced to apologize three or four times (I'm losing count) and appoint not one but two task forces which no one doubts will release reports saying Summers is a neanderthal.

Meanwhile, that no-talent-ass-clown Ward Churchill is a champion of free speech for refusing to apologize or even "back-up one inch" on his statement that the decent, innocent victims of 9/11 were the moral equivalent of the man who sent babies and old women to the gas chambers.

What is wrong with these people?

news from iraq

I picked this up at castle arrrgh! (this is the unit of the son of a blogger there)

...And, by the way, on this operation we assigned our Iraqi Army counterparts, for the first time, their own search sector. Marines from the Civil Action Platoon from Co E acted from overwatch only. And, if I might, the Iraqi Army performed magnificently! They found several caches of insurgent/terrorist weaponry, and they moved and acted like professional soldiers from start to finish. Yes, they are inching ever closer to the day that THEY WILL operate without US Forces, and will crush those who oppose law and order.

There is no doubt the tables have turned against the insurgents in our zone!
The atmospherics we get from the people are SIGNIFICANTLY different than
when we first arrived. They talk of fighting back against the insurgents. They talk openly of their respect for us and their gratitude at our assistance. They are far less afraid to be seen talking and cooperating with us. They are growing… … …

… … … While on this patrol, they were approached by a local who told them of a shooting a couple of blocks away. The local explained that armed men pulled up in a couple of cars, sprayed another car with machine gun fire, kidnapped the male driver, left the female driver for dead, and then placed a bomb in the trunk. Now, immediately, the Marines of Co E knew this was a standard tactic of our enemy who knows no limit to his cowardice. They approached the scene cautiously and established a safe cordon around the vehicle. From the cordon, the squad's US Navy Corpsman, through long range observation, saw what he believed to be bubbles forming in the blood underneath the nose of the supposed dead female. "Doc" made the decision that she was still alive. With that information, the Doc and the Squad Leader moved forward, extricated the female, and were approximately 30 meters away when the car detonated in a huge fireball of death and destruction. This entire episode was captured by one of the Marines on video and is as dramatic as any Hollywood scene you have ever viewed. Now, we can debate the smartness of their actions all we want, but what I ultimately know is this: this Marine and Sailor COMPLETELY AND
UTTERLY DISREGARDED THEIR OWN SAFETY TO SAVE THE LIFE OF AN INNOCENT IRAQI WHO HAD BEEN GUNNED DOWN IN COLD BLOOD, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT ON A BUSY STREET! Now unfortunately, the women later died at the Mahmudiyah Hospital. But know this, the Iraqi crowd that had gathered to witness this whole event, well, they cheered. No, check that, they celebrated in the Arab way of near hysteria for the heroic actions of the Doc and the Marine. They saw once again what AMERICANS are all about. And, I have no doubt, once again, they have learned. They have learned for future actions. They have learned evil and terror can be fought. They have learned that there is a heavy price, BUT GOOD ALWAYS TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL!!!!! (Now this video should be released soon, and if it does not make the major media outlets, well, then something is wrong! But if it does not, we will show it to you all upon our return.) It is heroism in action, and just another day at the office for the Mad
Ghosts of 2/24.

(this is me-bill-)
I've seen a liberal taking a quiz asking how they ought to f**k the troops. whenever I read something like this, I remember that and I get so mad.

Tim Russert being snotty and getting slapped down

(this is pretty long)
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: Iraq. The president pledges to stay the course.
(Videotape, February 2, 2005):
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: The leading liberal in the U.S. Senate disagrees.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D-MA): President Bush should immediately announce his intention to negotiate a timetable for a drawdown of American combat forces.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: What now? With us: for the Bush administration, the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld; for the Democrats, the senior senator from Massachusetts, Edward M. Kennedy.
But first, joining us now on MEET THE PRESS is the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
Welcome back.
SEC'Y DONALD RUMSFELD: Thank you, sir.
MR. RUSSERT: The elections have been held, as we well know. The early counting seems to indicate the Shiites have done very, very well in the election. The headline in the Sunday New York Times, Mr. Secretary, "Top Iraq Shiites Pushing Religion in Constitution," that they want to use Islam as the guiding principle in drafting the constitution. How do you feel about that?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, a lot of states that have a predominantly Muslim population have a way of including that without having it dominate. And certainly, if you would look at Afghanistan, that's the case there. I think that, of all the headlines I've seen, that's not the one I would have cited. I would have cited the ones that point out that all of the people who were involved in the election are reaching out to the Sunnis, are, in fact, engaged in political discussions and negotiations.
Think of it: In Iraq, after 35 years of a repressive dictatorship, what we're hearing is political debate and discussion and who should be prime minister and who should be president and deputy president, and how should this work and how should we sort that out and who's going to fashion the constitution. That's thrilling. That is absolutely thrilling. I would say this: The Shia in Iraq are Iraqis. They're not Iranians. And the idea that they're going to end up with a government like Iran, with a handful of mullahs controlling much of the country, I think, is unlikely.
MR. RUSSERT: But when they say that they would like to have a constitution which says that daughters would get half the inheritance of sons, do you find that troubling for all the bloodshed we have spilled for Iraq?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: The first thing we have to begin with is that Iraq belongs to the Iraqis. And the Iraqis are going to have a solution for Iraq that's Iraqi solution. They're not going to have an American solution or an Afghan solution. And the wonderful thing that's taking place is that the great sweep of human history is for freedom. And we're seeing it in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the Palestinian Liberation Authority, in the Ukraine, in Indonesia, and what's happening is healthy. It's good.
Look at our Constitution when it was first fashioned. Look what it did with respect to women not voting. Look what it did with respect to blacks and the way they were counted in the population. So you don't get from where they were to where they're going on a feather bed, as Thomas Jefferson said. You get there through tough discussion, trials, error, mistakes, good things, and they're on that path. And I think people ought to step back and say, "Isn't that amazing? Isn't that a wonderful thing for that region?"
MR. RUSSERT: If they decide that they do not want Prime Minister Allawi to remain as prime minister, we would accept that?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, it isn't a matter of accepting it or not accepting it. The Iraqis had a vote. They're going to decide who the president and the deputy presidents are going to be. They're going to decide who the prime minister is going to be. They're going to decide who the ministers of these various ministries are going to be. That's what that's about.
MR. RUSSERT: One of the Iraqis said this--he's the head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party: "Americans are in for a shock," adding that one day they would realize, "We've got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that's extremely friendly to Iran."
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You know, I could go to the press, and I could pull out a quote on almost any side of every issue. And your question is: What do I think about that particular quote? First of all, I don't think it's representative. Second, I'm always amazed at the things that can happen in the world, and I don't doubt for a minute that there are going to be some surprises for everybody. Third, let's face it, Afghanistan has Iran as a neighbor, and they talk to each other. Most countries do talk to their neighbors. And that's a very different thing from suggesting that the model that Iran has is necessarily going to be the model for Iraq. I don't believe it is. I think the Shia in Iraq are Iraqis first and Shia second. And just as in Afghanistan, you don't see Mr. Karzai fashioning a government that's a replica of one of his neighbors. He's got an Afghan solution to his problems.
MR. RUSSERT: So you're confident that we will not have an Islamic fundamentalist state in Iraq?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I think it would be just an enormous mistake for that country to think that it could succeed with all of its opportunity, with its oil, its water, its intelligent population--to deny half of their population, women, the opportunity to participate fully, I think, just would be a terrible mistake.
MR. RUSSERT: Our next guest, Senator Kennedy, has said now that the elections are over, we should have a specific timetable...
MR. RUSSERT: ...for the withdrawal of American troops. The president said that would embolden the terrorists. Why?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, let's point out the truth. The president and I and anyone would dearly love to be smart enough and wise enough to know precisely when our troops could leave. It would be such a relief for people to know that. It's not knowable. The important thing to do is to see that we do not create a dependency, that we encourage them to take over that responsibility. And our forces are doing that. We're helping to train and equip the Iraqi security forces. And the president believes, and I agree with him, that we don't want to be there any longer than we have to, but we want to be there as long as we're needed. And it seems to me that the answer as to when our troops can come out is dependent upon the conditions on the ground and whether or not the Iraqis are capable of managing the security situation there. We're working very hard to see that they can.
MR. RUSSERT: Why not give the Iraqis benchmarks that "In six months, we're going to withdraw 50,000 troops. You better have 50,000 troops ready to replace them"?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Because we've been--our country has invested a lot of lives, a lot of heartbreak. The courage of our troops and the sacrifice of those that have fallen and were wounded is important. And the idea that you should just arbitrarily say this is going to happen on that date--think of it, the last administration did that in Bosnia. They said we'd be out by Christmas. Six, eight, 10 years later, not out. It is misleading people to think that you know something you don't know. And we know we don't know.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you believe two years ago that at this stage of the war we would have 135,000 Americans on the ground, 1,400 dead, 10,000 wounded or injured?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: We were asked. And at that time, we told the truth. And the truth was you can't know how long it'll last. You can't know how many troops it'll take. And you can't know how many dead and wounded there would be. No one in any war has ever been able to predict that. People who do predict it make a terrible mistake, because they set expectations based on nothing but hope.
MR. RUSSERT: One area that has created a lot of debate is the number of Iraqi forces that are now ready and trained and available. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--"Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the [Senate Armed Services Committee] that only about a third of Iraq's 136,000 trained security forces have enough training to engage in combat with insurgents across the country." As he says, "About 40,000 who can go anywhere in the country and take on any threat," he said.
He used the figure 136,000 security forces, big umbrella. This is what Donald Rumsfeld said in February of last year, a year ago: "I would say there's not been a slowness in forming the Iraqi security forces. Indeed, if you think about it, last June or July [2003] there were no Iraqi security forces, and today, in February of 2004, there are over 210,000 Iraqis serving in the security forces. That's an amazing accomplishment."
How did we get from 210,000 a year ago...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Very simply. There are people that are trying to make this more complex, for whatever reason, than it is. It's not complex. It's simple. We did start with zero, and we ended up over 200,000, and that included 74,000 site protection people. Those people did not report to the Ministry of Interior or to the Ministry of Defense. When we took that number out of the 200,000, it went down, obviously, and we no longer include them. Every paper we put out has a footnote stating exactly why that's the case.
Now, let's go to Dick Myers' comment. We have 136,000 Iraqi security forces, excluding the 70,000- plus in the site protection, and they are in the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and there's a lot of different types. Some are policemen and they walk a beat. Some are border patrol and they sit on a border in a patrol place. Others are in commando units and they operate in a region and go in on special assignments. Still others are in the regular army, and they're being trained for that type of function. A small number of them, as Dick Myers said, something like 40,000, are highly mobile, can move anywhere in the country and be sustained.
Now, would you--he answered the question perfectly honestly. We have 136,000. The implication that the rest are not useful is silly. It's nonsense. The policeman on the beat outside your office doesn't need to be mobile and sustainable and go into Los Angeles.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Joe Biden says 40,000 is not an honest number, that it's more like 4,000 truly trained Iraqi forces that can take on the insurgents. Is he right?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It--he's wrong, obviously. I mean, General Petraeus put this out very clearly in a press briefing and laid it out. When I say Senator Biden's wrong, what I mean is this: When you train some people to be policemen, they're very good policemen, and that's part of the Iraqi security forces. If you train them to go after the--do a counterterrorism job, then that's a very different function, and we have a certain number of those. And we announce and release the number of those. But that's true of our military. We have people who are--whose job is military police. We have people whose job is to be part of a special operations team that can go in and do counterterrorism-type activities. We have people who do entirely different things. And that--to suggest that, therefore, the numbers are wrong is incorrect.
The other thing I should say is talking numbers is not terribly useful, always, because if a person comes out of training the first day, they're not a battle-hardened veteran. They are trained and they are equipped. You compare them with somebody who's been out a year, who's been in Fallujah and had a success there or been involved in the election, where the Iraqi security forces successfully secured 5,000 election sites. The inner perimeter and the outer perimeter were all Iraqis doing that at 5,000 sites. Now, that was a major accomplishment. And I think to belittle them or to question the numbers because some do police work and some do counterterrorism work is a misunderstanding of the situation.
MR. RUSSERT: How many Iraqi security forces do we need fully trained and capable of fighting insurgents?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, the answer to that question is not complicated. We need as many as are needed. If you have an insurgency that's this level, you'll need X. If you have an insurgency that's that level, you'll need X-plus. And if you have an insurgency that's quite low, you'll need X-minus. And to think that you can sit here today and--I mean, no one predicted the level of the insurgency as it is today.
MR. RUSSERT: You still...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Partly it's a function of money. Partly it's a function of what the Syrians and the Iranians are doing. Partly it's a function of how many criminals they can hire to participate. Partly it's a function of how much money Zarqawi gets to hire suicide bombers, and that goes up and down.
MR. RUSSERT: But right now, knowing what you know about the insurgency, how many fully trained Iraqi troops do you think we need in order for the United States to withdraw?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: OK, what we've done is we made an initial assessment when the major combat operations ended. Six months later we sent in General Eichenberry and he made an assessment. General Casey then went in last June and made an assessment. We just sent in General Luck, and what we do is keep looking at the changing circumstance on the ground and re-evaluating what that ought to be. You've got to remember, the enemy has a brain. It isn't as though the enemy's an inanimate object and that you can then measure what you need to deal with that inanimate object. He watches what we do and adjusts to it, just as we watch what they do and adjust to it. And, therefore, it's a moving target. It's not static.
MR. RUSSERT: The Iraqi intelligence services director said that the insurgency is larger than the U.S. Army; it is more than 200,000 people. Is he right?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Who said that?
MR. RUSSERT: The--Mohammad Abdul Sussami, the Iraqi Intelligence Service director, on January 3, 2005. He's a general.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Yeah, I've never seen that number, and I don't know where it came from.
MR. RUSSERT: It's a lot larger than the dead-enders that you had talked about some time ago.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I talked about it?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I think I've always characterized it as a mix of people. There are some Ba'athists who are dead-enders; that's true. There are some jihadists who've come in from other countries, and Zarqawi and that team of people who are particularly lethal. There are criminals. There are always--I've always included...
MR. RUSSERT: But in June of 2003, we were talking about small elements, 10 to 20 people, no large network.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That's what they were functioning as during that period immediately after the major combat operations. That's right. And the insurgency has...
MR. RUSSERT: It's changed? It's changed?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Absolutely.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That's why we keep sending in assessment teams.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to what we need on the ground right now. About 40 to 45 percent of our troops are National Guard and Army Reserve. The head of the Army Reserve said that we are rapidly degenerating, "into a broken force." He's worried about retention, recruitment. The National Guard has reached only half its goal in January in terms of retention and recruitment. The Marine Corps for the first time in a decade has not reached its recruiting goal. Will it be necessary to say to the National Guard, "You may have to serve another 24 months, not just the original 24 months that we sent you, but we may break you and have to send you back again"?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: We have no plans to do--to change the rulings and the methods that we're operating on at the present time. For the first time, we've begun to see some goals and targets not being fulfilled. But generally recruiting and retention has been on track and is today generally on track. One of the reasons that the National Guard and the Reserves are slightly down is because we're enlarging the size of the Army and, in that process, more people are staying in. And one of the pools that you draw on to build the Guard and Reserve is people coming off active duty, as you know. So there's fewer people coming off active duty. Therefore, we've increased the number of recruiters. We've increased the incentives, and we just simply have to recognize that the stress on the force is real, and take the kinds of steps that we've taken to anticipate that and see that we're able to attract and retain the people we need. We've still only used about 40 percent of the Guard and Reserve that's available in this country, since the beginning of the Afghan operation.
MR. RUSSERT: So you have no plans to change the rules in terms of extending...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: No, the rules--there's been a debate in the press...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: ...about whether you wanted to change 24 months to cumulative or consecutive, and it's being left at consecutive, not cumulative.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you some comments that some have made...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Or cumulative. I misspoke.
MR. RUSSERT: Yeah, I understand. Some things that members of Congress have said. This is Susan Collins, a Republican--not a Democrat, Republican: "I think there are increasing concerns about [Secretary Rumsfeld's] leadership of the war, the repeated failures to predict the strengths of the insurgency, the lack of essential safety equipment for our troops, the reluctance to expand the number of troops."
I want to talk--we've talked about insurgency. I want to bring you back to the whole debate about the use of essential safety equipment for our troops and take you back to December--we haven't seen you since then--when Thomas Wilson stood up and asked you a question. I want to show you that exchange and come back and talk about it.
(Videotape, December 8, 2004):
SPC. THOMAS WILSON: Now, why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles and why don't we have those resources readily available to us?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Now, Specialist Wilson did acknowledge he worked with a journalist in crafting that question.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Yeah, but wait a minute. Let me get into this a little bit.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That was unfair and it was selectively taking out two sentences from a long exchange--there it is--that took place. And when you suggested that that's how I answered that question, that is factually wrong.
MR. RUSSERT: No, we...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That is not how I answered that question.
MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Secretary, it clearly represents the exchange and...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It does not.
MR. RUSSERT: All right. What is missing?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You want to hear the exchange? There is it. It's right here. I'll read it to you.
MR. RUSSERT: I just...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: If you're going to quote pieces of it, I'll give you the exchange. He asked that question, and I said, "I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they're not needed, to places where they are needed. I'm told they are being--the Army is--I think it's something like 400 a month are being done now. And it's essentially a matter of physics. It's not a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army's desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to the war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
"Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce armor necessary at a rate that they believe--it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously but a rate that they believe is the rate that can be accomplished. I can assure you that General Schumacher and the leadership of the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable to have, but that they're working at it at a good clip.
"It's interesting. I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who've been working hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and the tank could still be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up. And you can go down and the vehicle--the goal we have is to have many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that's what the Army's been working on. And, General Whitcomb, is there anything you want to add?" And then he spoke.
Now, that answer is totally different from picking out two lines. And I think it's an unfair representation and it's exactly what some of the newspapers around the country did. Now, let's go back to Susan Collins' comment, Senator Collins...
MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me just finish on the Humvees because...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You bet. OK. I'll tell you right now where we are. By February 15th, nine days from now, there will not be a vehicle moving around in Iraq outside of a protected compound with American soldiers in it that does not have an appropriate level of armor.
MR. RUSSERT: Which is a pretty dramatic change, because Newsweek had said that, of the 19,000 Humvees in the Iraqi theater, according to the Army's latest numbers, only a quarter were fully armored. So the fact is that Specialist Wilson's question in front of his troops in which he was cheered was helpful in getting people to truly focus and respond to this. Fair?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I didn't criticize his question. I thanked him for his question.
MR. RUSSERT: No, but is that a fair statement?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, you saw my answer. We'd already been focusing on it hard. I mean, I answered it by saying we had teams of people in Washington working on it, General Whitcomb was working on it.
Let's go back to Senator Collins. You said that she was critical because we couldn't predict the size of the insurgency. That is the job for the intelligence community. And it is unfortunate that we don't have perfect visibility into that. It is also unfortunate that it's changing and evolving and, therefore, easy to say, "Well, you don't know what the size is because the size is changing," but the fact of the matter is it's a difficult thing to do. And I suppose someone can sit back in an air-conditioned room and be critical of it, but the fact is the intelligence community is working as hard as they know how to try to manage those serious questions about what the size is.
Second, to say that I've resisted increasing the size of the Army is factually incorrect. We've increased the size of the Army. We've been doing it under the emergency authority. Some of the people in the Congress have wanted to increase the in strength by statute. And we don't need that done because under the emergency authority we can increase it and we have already increased it by tens of thousands--I think, 20,000.
MR. RUSSERT: There was a large debate at the Pentagon. General Sinseki--we've talked about this before--others saying we needed 200,000 troops on the ground.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: But that's a separate issue from the size of the Army. Quite different.
MR. RUSSERT: It--exactly.
MR. RUSSERT: But there were also comments made that you were going to transform the Army and have a light, more mobile force and not have as many additional members of the armed forces...
MR. RUSSERT: ...that some were suggesting.
MR. RUSSERT: At all?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: No. We--the size of the Army is quite a different thing from whether it's light and agile and mobile and able to go someplace fast. That's the nature of the Army, not the size of the Army.
MR. RUSSERT: In hindsight, do you wish we had sent more troops on the ground in Iraq initially?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I wish that we could have gotten the 4th Infantry Division in from the north, so that it would have been able to put more pressure on the Baathist regime and probably capture more of the Baathists that today are part of the insurgency. But in terms of the total numbers of troops that went in, we finally got the 4th ID in, but it had to come in from the south. So it was not as effective as had it come in through Turkey. The answer to your other question is no. I think that General Franks and General Abizaid have been correct in calculating the number of troops that we need on the ground in Iraq.
MR. RUSSERT: Bob Woodward said General Franks...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Just a minute. Just a minute. Just a minute.
MR. RUSSERT: Bob Woodward had said that General Franks had recommended 300,000 troops.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: At any given moment, General Franks might have had some number in his mind. So what we did was I agreed with his recommendation, which was that we put in line up to 500,000 that could go in were they needed, and that at any moment where they were not needed, he would pull the stopper and stop it, and he did. And that's where it stopped. And I think he was right because the balance he faced in both Afghanistan and Iraq is you do not want to become a heavy-footprint, occupying force that causes more of an irritant to the population than a benefit. And who knows what's perfect? It's not for me to judge. But when General Myers, General Pace, General Franks, General Abizaid, General Sanchez and now General Casey tell me that they believe we have the right number on the ground, that's good enough for me.
MR. RUSSERT: You said to CNN on Thursday that you tendered your resignation twice to the president of the United States.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I was asked.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Why? First of all, an unfortunate thing happened on my watch, and I was secretary.
MR. RUSSERT: Abu Ghraib?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Abu Ghraib. And people were not treated the way they should have been treated. And that's wrong. And it seemed to me that a president ought to have that choice. I had to make a decision if I thought I should leave. And I decided that I would leave if I thought I could not be effective. And I decided I thought I could be effective. But I also know that the president deserved a chance to make that decision himself. So I sat down with him and handed him a written resignation and urged him to think very carefully about it from his standpoint, from the country's standpoint. And that's why.
MR. RUSSERT: Why twice?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I did it first in the Oval Office. And about 10 days later, he was at the Pentagon. And I had migrated in my thinking that from his standpoint--it might be wiser from his standpoint if he were able to step off fresh, and so I tried to persuade him that that was the case, and I failed.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you think you had done something wrong?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: No. Obviously the country has to be deeply concerned that people were not treated right. And I was secretary of defense when that happened. And we've had eight or 10 investigations. We've had dozens of criminal trials. And people have pled guilty to doing things they shouldn't do. And obviously you just feel terrible about that. That is not the way our country behaves. And it was a most unfortunate thing that it happened. And I was secretary of defense.
MR. RUSSERT: When John Kerry calls for your resignation and says he has 800,000 signatures on his Internet, John McCain says he has no confidence, Trent Lott says he's not a fan, what does that do to your ability to be secretary of defense?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, you know, we were in a political campaign, and there are people always running for president, and that goes with the territory. We've never had a war in this country where there haven't been critics. They were calling for George Washington's resignation. In the Civil War, they were constantly calling for resignations. In the--World War I, in World War II, in Korea--there's never been a war or a war president or a war secretary of state who has not been criticized by critics, and particularly during a political campaign or by political people who are running for president. So that's life.
MR. RUSSERT: Would you have done anything differently?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, sure. I don't know, maybe there was a way to get the--you mean the 4th Infantry Division, that type of...
MR. RUSSERT: Or Abu Ghraib?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, I mean, in retrospect we've taken probably 15 or 20 administrative steps to require that people go in, if it's the midnight shift half a world away, and we know in history people who guard people have done things wrong with respect to the people. It happens in prisons all over the United States and other countries. So you don't want that to happen. So maybe you have to do senior officer checks at the midnight shift because, apparently, a lot of it happened during a relatively brief period of months, weeks, months.
MR. RUSSERT: You're confident it cannot happen again?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Of course not. Human beings are human beings. People do things they shouldn't do. All I'm confident of is that the Army, which is the executive agent for detainees, is seized with this problem. They recognize it's their responsibility. They've worked hard to undertake a whole series of steps to try to see that it doesn't happen again. And I pray it doesn't happen again because it's wrong.
MR. RUSSERT: And you will be secretary of defense and see this war through as long as...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: We serve at the pleasure of the president.
MR. RUSSERT: But you have every expectation of staying for how long?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I serve at the pleasure of the president.
MR. RUSSERT: Don't want to see Iraq all the way through until the American troops are home?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It's not for me to tie his hands. I look at what's happened in Afghanistan, and I think of the people who--our soldiers who've died there and the wounded, that I--your heart breaks when you see limbs off, and how proud they are of what they've accomplished, of liberating 25 million people who, for the first time in 5,000 years, have a popularly elected president, a constitution, they're going to have parliamentary elections later this spring or summer. It's a thrilling thing. It shows how important their sacrifice has been, and you see what's happening in Iraq and that election. And people who've been--decades they've been frightened to come out of their homes, to put their heads up, to do something that the regime might not like, because they filled tens of thousands of people in mass graves. And they came out. I'm told that they wandered around in front of the election polling place and finally some woman in her 60s or 70s said, "I've waited my whole life to do this," walked in, and everyone walked in.
Now, those folks who've been killed there, those folks who are wounded there, their families and their loved ones have to feel that their sacrifice was worth it, that the effect that can have on that region and the world can just be so important. It's an amazing thing that's happening in our world.
MR. RUSSERT: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as always, we thank you for your views.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Thank you.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next: Iraq, Social Security and more through the eyes of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. He is next right here, only on MEET THE PRESS.

(Note form Bill: Sec'y Rumsfeld is cool!)

Friday, February 18, 2005

good quotes re: gun ownership

this was originally compiled by my sister (she's not a blogger) and I added a few more.

no free man shall ever be barred the use of arms- thomas jefferson

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin, 1759


"Free men have arms; slaves do not." - Wm. Blackstone

"A right DELAYED is a right DENIED." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no such thing, as limited infringement. (I believe this is mr. king as well, but I'm not sure)

Nothing will preserve liberty but downright force.--P.Henry

When firearms go, all goes - we need them every hour. - (the) George Washington

Love cannot be taught to an attacking assailant. -- Ed Parker of Kempo

Better to have a gun & not need it, than to need a gun & not have it.--Unidentified (sorry)

criminals don't obey the law. it is more or less a requirement for the job. -Terry Pratchet

Armed Women = Polite Men. - Charles Curley

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun - Mao Tse-tung

"'and we solemnly declare that we shall preserve our liberties. being with one mind resolved to die free men rather than to live as slaves.'" -thomas jefferson, on the necessity of taking up arms. 1775

First they burn books then they burn people* (Said by a Rabbi in the 13th or 15th century I think, I have notes somewhere)

and of course, bumper stickers:


Gun Control - All criminals support it!!!

If guns cause crime, all of mine are defective.

Enslavement is like old age, it creeps up on you.

99% of all guns have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy.

Vermont: State with lowest crime rate & no gun laws.

If you can't trust me with a gun why trust me with a car?

A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

The MIND is the weapon...everything else is just a tool!

Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

Guns - today's leading cause of statistics!

and now to be fair, here's a couple quotes from the gun-control lobby:

"now that we have finally achieved gun control, we may take our place as one of the leading countries of the twentieth century"--Adolf Hitler. (I kid you not, some people are actually quoting Hitler)

"hitler enacted gun control, so he wasn't ALL bad" (I can't say exactly who it was who said this first, because there are actually quite a few people who are saying this)

yes, I am quite biased against gun control (I just like guns) despite my liberal leanings. please post a comment and visit often.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

denzel washington and army families

Danzel Washington was visiting BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio) the other day. This is where soldiers that have been evac'd from Germany come to be hospitalized in the States. They have buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a hotel that soldier's families can stay at, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled to the brim most of the time. While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He got his check book out and wrote a check out for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.

Iraqi Police Use Kidnappers' Videos to Fight Crime

MOSUL, Iraq, Feb. 4 (2004)- In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet.

In the next, it is one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

"How do I say this?" says the kidnapper, identified as an Egyptian named Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud, holding back tears. "I am sorry for everything I have done."

In the first week after the elections, the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Mosul police chief are turning the tables on the insurgency here in the north by using a tactic - videotaped messages - that the insurgents have used time and again as they have terrorized the region with kidnappings and executions.

But this time the videos, which are being broadcast on a local station, carry an altogether different message, juxtaposing images of the masked killers with the cowed men they become once captured.

The broadcast of such videos raises questions about whether they violate legal or treaty obligations about the way opposing fighters are interrogated and how their confessions are made public.

Since thousands of Iraqi police officers fled their stations here in November under insurgent attacks, the American military has been working with the Iraqis to reconstitute the police force in Mosul. But it was not clear if American advisers had any influence on the decision to use the videos. American military officials did not have any immediate comment on the practice.

But officials in Mosul, short on manpower, apparently hope the psychological force of the broadcasts will help undermine the insurgency, making its fighters appear weak and encouraging citizens to call up with their reactions or information about those still at large. A program loosely based on "most wanted" crime shows in the United States is also being developed, a Mosul television official said.

"Because of their confessions and the disgusting things they did, we have reached our limit," said the Mosul police chief, Ahmed al-Jaburi. "There is no more patience."

If nothing more, the confessions, as they are called in the videos, offer a rare glimpse into how the gangs operate and plot their killings. The videos also try to divest the terrorists and criminals of their religious platform by challenging them with questions about Islam.

"These are men who do not fear God," an Interior Ministry official said at the beginning of one of the segments this week. He described the men as Iraqi and other Arab terrorists. "Our special forces will crush their filthy heads!"

"We are going to show you some men who have the blood of innocent people on their hands," the official said. "We are going to show you their confessions, say their names and those of their leaders, and we expect you to help us find them."

Some people said they found the practice of showing the insurgents on television troubling.

Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch said such tactics raised the issue of whether the people were tortured or otherwise coerced into making the statements.

Last week the organization issued a report based on interviews in Iraq that "found the abuse, torture and mistreatment of detainees by Iraqi security forces to be routine and commonplace," said Ms. Whitson, the executive director of the group's Middle Eastern division. For example, she said, the police often described detainees as guilty before any trial had occurred and made them available to journalists to be photographed.

It is not immediately clear what the officials intend to do with the detainees. Security officials said the men had been detained around Mosul during patrols based on leads.

Mr. Mahmoud's segment is especially dramatic. At one point it shows three masked kidnappers dressed in black, standing over their victim. The two on the sides point weapons at the victim's head as the man in the middle reads a statement.

When he is finished, he hands the paper to someone off camera and, without hesitation, draws a knife and grasps the victim's chin, pulling it to the side to expose his neck. The other two lean forward to help.

Then the video pauses. The voice of an Iraqi security official comes on. "That is Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud on the left," said the official, referring to one of the masked men. "And that is Mohammad Hikmat on the right."

The man identified as Mr. Mahmoud had been shown earlier in the video in a very different way than when he was displayed masked, armed and acting with bravado as he helped to kill a man on his knees.

"The coalition forces arrested me last April as one of Saddam's special forces," he said, sporting a scraggly beard, his eyes wide and a crease furrowing his brow. He was shown from the neck up, a plastic sheet forming a backdrop behind him.

"I met a man named Sheik Mahdi in jail," Mr. Mahmoud said. "When I was released, we met again. He was organizing four groups. They hung out at a pool hall."

He coughed a few times, then leaned his head on his right hand and put a finger to his temple as if trying to appear sincere or thoughtful.

"The operations were in the Mahmudiya area," he said, referring to a town south of Baghdad where guerrilla attacks are frequent. "They killed someone named Metwalli al-Masri, along with four engineers."

In another scene, a man who gave his name as Muataz Jawba sat in front of a tiled wall. The camera was fixed on him from the shoulders up. He was heavyset and had a thick moustache.

The commentator said he was part of a gang led by the "prince" of terrorists, Khaled Zakia, who was a colleague of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate of Al Qaeda.

Mr. Jawba's heavy-lidded eyes darted nervously from side to side. Whispering into a little microphone held to his lips, he said he had pointed out to the gang a Christian man who worked for the Americans.

"They chose a day to kill him," Mr. Jawba said.

The gang went to the man's restaurant and shot him. But they found out he survived after they sent a scout to the hospital pretending he wanted to donate blood. They then demanded a $10,000 ransom from the family, which the family paid, Mr. Jawba said.

"As a group, did you fast and pray?" the questioner said, referring to two requirements of practicing Muslims.

"Khaled came and fooled us," said Mr. Jawba. "He said it's jihad, it's occupation, come help us."

"Do you call this jihad?" the interrogator said.

"No," Mr. Jawba replied meekly.

"Is Khaled Zakia a religious man?" the questioner asked.

"He brainwashed us," Mr. Jawba said.

Another man was identified as one who pumped bullets into the head of a prone man with his hands bound behind his back. The commentator said insurgents thought the victim worked for Americans because a mineral-water bottle was found in his car.

In another segment, after mentioning that Iraqi security forces had engaged in a gun battle, an Iraqi official says, as if making a grim public service announcement: "This is how we will treat the people beheading you." The video then showed what appeared to be a body covered by a sheet.

Iraqis are invited to call with their reactions and information during the programs, of which there have been at least three this week. On one broadcast, emotional citizens called the number imposed over the image of Mr. Jawba on the screen.

"My nephew was killed a while back," said a caller from Dohuk, a Kurdish city north of Mosul. "His name was Hassan Ibrahim. Are they the guys who did it? Please ask them if they killed someone in Sanaa Street in Mosul."
A woman called up, sobbing. "Someone murdered my son, Abdel Salam Hamoodi," she said. "He was murdered near our house. Just ask them if they killed him. I want you to give me the answer, to ease my heart."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The November 19th Guardian and Eason Jordan

I found thid on

The avalanche of Eason Jordan commentary continues this morning, and will probably run through the week as various corners of the media world weigh in with judgments pro and con.  Last night's discussion on the NewsHour which featured David Gergen, Jim Geraghty and Jay Rosen is one of the most comprehensive as the time allocated it was the most generous.  Still, the host was unprepared, as Terence Smith seemed not to know about Eason Jordan's remarks in Portugal in November, 2004.

This is the key to the entire episode.  Imagine a man on trial for two crimes, the second one of which is a repeat of the first. There is no dispute as to the details of the first crime, and it can be admitted into evidence as to the mindset and intent of the defendant.  Wouldn't it be discussed?  Will Michael Jackson's previous incidents be part of the discussion of his current trial? 

Even outside of the judicial process it is routine to look for patterns of behavior as means of assisting interpretation of ambiguous situations.  This is why every sport includes scouting staffs  --to see how past practice might predict future performance.

With that in mind, read this from the November 19, 2004 Guardian:

"'Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces,' Mr. Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal."

Now turn to the heart of David Gergen's argument last night on PBS:

"DAVID GERGEN: I have no objection to the tape being released whatsoever. I've been quoted to that effect in the press. It was an off-the-record setting. That's ordinarily respected. But in these circumstances I have no problem with the tape being released and let it be settled that way. But, you know, I think the damage is done now. This is what I think is very regretful is that this is a man who spent more than 20 years gaining stature and great respect within the journalistic community for helping to build CNN International, working with Ted Turner, working with Tom Johnson and others.

And I think it's very distressing that one mistake which he tries to move back from, you know, costs him his job. And I have to tell you, Terry, that while I agree with Jay Rosen that, you know, the world has changed. I welcome the blogosphere because I think it's really important that citizens in this new public square be able to hold people more accountable than in the past, whether it's journalists or public officials or corporate officials or others.

I think that is a welcome development. It's empowerment of citizens that we should be for. But there is within this public square -- there is a raucous quality sometimes; in this particular instance there were not only those who were pressing I think not unfairly for a release but there were those who were out for his scalp. And there was a vigilante justice kind of quality here of people who were going after Eason Jordan not because of what he said but because of what he represented, and that is he represented CNN. And there are those who wish to paint CNN as this liberal media outlet in contrast to Fox and they want to beat up on him for that reason. Frankly I think that there has been a quality of vigilante justice here which has gone -- has been excessive. I think it's very -- it's been a cruel fate for Eason Jordan to be caught in effect in the culture wars that are going on in the country."

Is it possible that David Gergen doesn't know about the first slander?  Or that he doesn't bring it up because it makes his defense of Jordan absurd?  And how can a serious journalist like Terence Smith ignore this crucial aspect of the controversy? 

Every single commentary on the matter that does not bring up the first slander is either incompetently assembled or ideologicially blinkered.

One final comment on why Jordan either left or was shoved out the door.

The force that was growing wasn't among the polibloggers of the center-right or the media theorists of the center-left.  It was the milbloggers that must have concerned CNN.

Three of the folks who put together Easongate --Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail, Chester of the Adventures of Chester, and Blackfive-- are veterans, and they were ticked off. It is one thing for civilian supporters of the military to take exception to Jordan's double slander, but I doubt these men would have flagged in their efforts to get the tape released and reviewed, or have halted their research into Jordan's past statements like the slander in Portugal.  Chester was himself a member of the forces that swept into Iraq and brought an end to the dictatorship and is still there fighting the insurgency. In a very real way he was fighting for the reputation of his friends and his own reputation.  Either Jordan or CNN must have figured out this one wasn't going to blow over.

It wasn't a lynch mob. It wasn't "one mistake." It was a demand for accountability fueled by legitimate and still unanswered questions based upon unrepudiated past statements by a senior American news executive that slandered the American military. Even at this late hour, it would be useful if commentators on the controversy became familiar with its basic facts.

a bit of british history

Colonel Geoffrey Powell, who has died aged 90, won an MC leading 156 Parachute Battalion at the Battle of Arnhem; later he served in MI5 and became a notable writer on military history.

Brigadier "Shan" Hackett's 4th Parachute Brigade was dropped north-west of Arnhem on September 18 1944 in the second lift of "Market Garden", an audacious attempt to capture the road and rail bridges over the Rhine. The Brigade had the task of moving into Arnhem to establish a defensive perimeter on the high ground to the north of the town in order to block the movements of German forces from that direction.

As Powell - then a major in command of C Company - left the Dakota, the Germans were on the dropping zone shooting up at him, and one of the bullets grazed his fingers. On the ground, the lightly equipped paras, without artillery, armour or air cover, found themselves confronted by determined, well-armed German troops in strong defensive positions.

A dawn attack by C Company the next morning was successful, but assaults by A and B Companies, with the objective of capturing a dominating feature, were repulsed with very heavy casualties. In the first 36 hours, two-thirds of the battalion was lost and food and ammunition were running short.

Amidst the carnage, there were acts of the greatest gallantry. Powell said afterwards that one of the Dakotas that had flown over them had been hit and was on fire; it was rapidly losing height, but the RASC dispatchers stood in the doorway throwing out supplies until it was too late for them to jump. The pilot was awarded a posthumous VC.

As the Brigade attempted to move from the woodland into the Oosterbeek Perimeter, it encountered ferocious German attacks from machine-gun fire and mortar bombs which burst in the trees with deadly effect. An attack by Messerschmitts on the Brigade HQ caused more casualties.

After his CO and second-in-command were killed, Powell took command of the remnants of 156 Battalion and elements of Brigade HQ, leading them out of the dense woodland towards Oosterbeek. When he took cover in a house, a round of solid shot came through the wall, passed over his head and exited through the other, showering him with debris and leaving a hole a foot in diameter.

Facing virtual annihilation, Powell led one bayonet charge to clear the enemy from a hollow in a wood and afford a brief respite for the beleaguered survivors. Then, Hackett led another to break through the encircling Germans and reach Oosterbeek, where 1st Airborne Division was clinging to a small bridgehead north of the Neder Rijn.

For the next six days, Powell and what was left of his battalion fought a rearguard action to defend the eastern sector of the perimeter. Here they saw some of the most bitter fighting of the week. Most of the British anti-tank guns had been destroyed, and German armoured vehicles were able to stand off out of range and smash each building in turn, compelling the defenders, by now hungry and exhausted, to fight from slit trenches in the gardens.

When orders were given to evacuate, Powell led the survivors downstream in darkness and pouring rain, guided by lines of parachute ropes, each man holding on to the smock of the man in front. At the riverbank, the first boat that he saw was riddled with bullet holes and its sapper crew dead.

As his men started to swim across a boat appeared, and Powell put half his group on board and waited for it to return, before departing with the remainder. Harassed by scarlet tracer from the German spandaus and with shells dropping around them, they reached the southern bank.

Powell formed up his 15 men and marched them, bayonets fixed and rifles at the slope, five miles back to the reception area. Although recommended for a DSO, he was awarded an MC. The citation stated that his bravery was an inspiration to all around him. Brigadier Hackett described him as a great fighting man in a great tradition; competent, courageous and self-effacing.

Geoffrey Stewart Powell was born at Scarborough, Yorkshire, on Christmas Day 1914, a few days after the German naval bombardment of the town. After attending Scarborough College, he started work with a firm of estate agents, but decided that it was not for him and was commissioned as a regular subaltern into The Green Howards in 1939.

Powell served with the 2nd Battalion at Ferozepore in the Punjab before transferring to 151 British Parachute Battalion (later 156 Parachute Battalion) in 1942.

Promoted major and given command of C Company, he served in Palestine and Tunisia, but broke a leg in a night drop and missed the invasion of Italy.

Arnhem was the end of Powell's participation in the Second World War. After attending Staff College, Camberley, he was posted to Java, and subsequently Malaya as brigade major of 49 Indian Infantry Brigade; he was mentioned in dispatches.

In 1954 Powell returned to the 2nd Battalion Green Howards to command C Company in the Canal Zone and then in operations against Eoka terrorists in Cyprus.

The next year, he was promoted lieutenant-colonel and appointed to the planning staff of the CIGS, Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer.

Powell commanded the 11th Battalion King's African Rifles in Kenya in 1957 and then moved to the MoD. In 1962, in his final appointment in the Army, he served as Brigade Colonel Yorkshire Brigade. He then applied for an appointment in the Security Service, took the Civil Service Commission examination and, having passed out close to the top, was accepted. For the next 12 years he worked for MI5, initially on security policy and then on counter-espionage.

In 1977 Powell moved to Chipping Campden and was able to devote more time to writing. He founded and ran the Campden Bookshop and helped to start the Campden & District Archaeological and History Society. He lectured on Army Staff College battlefield tours of Arnhem, and he was proud of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

As a young man, he enjoyed polo, hunting and beagling. In his latter years, he took to climbing and was a vigorous walker into his eighties.

Powell published a number of books, among them Men at Arnhem (1976); The Devil's Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem (1984); Plumer: The Soldier's General (1990); and Buller: a Scapegoat? (1994). The History of The Green Howards (1992) was updated in collaboration with his son, Brigadier John Powell, Colonel of the Green Howards, and republished in 2002.

Geoffrey Powell died on January 5. He married, in 1944, Felicity Wadsworth, who survives him with their son and daughter

Sunday, February 13, 2005

aircraft carriers

this was not written by me. so when it says “I” or “me” it is in reference to matt archer, and not me

January 4, 2005

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro colleagues tossed this little smart-comment out to no one in particular:

"See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, there's a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier...

After which he and many of my Euro colleagues laughed out loud, and then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -"Hmmm, let's see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster? Now what kind of ship would we want? Something with its own inexhaustible power supply? Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?"

"Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it? Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies? Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier? Well 'Franz', we peasants in America call that kind of ship an 'Aircraft Carrier'."

"We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that's right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we don't like."

In fact, if memory serves, once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us. Do you know who those people were? That's right Franz, Europeans."

There is a French Aircraft carrier? Where is it? Oh.. Right where it belongs! In France of course! Oh, why should the French Navy dirty their uniforms helping people on the other side of the globe. How Simplesse... The day an American has to move a European out of the way to help in some part of the world it will be a great day in the world, you sniggering little snob..."

The room fell silent. My Hindi friend then said quietly to the Euros:

"Can you let your hatred of George Bush end for just one minute? There are people dying! And what are your countries doing? has helped more than France has. You all have a role to play in the world, why can't you see that? Thank God for the US Navy, they don't have to come and help, but they are. They helped you once and you should all thank God they did. They didn't have to, and no one but them would have done so. I'm ashamed of you all..."

He left the room, shaking and in tears. The frustration of being on the other side of the globe, unable to do anything to assist and faced with people who could not set aside their asininity long enough to reach out and help was too much for him to bear. I just shook my head and left. The Euros stood speechless. Later in the break room, one of the laughing Euros caught me and extended his hand in an apology. I asked him where he was from, he said "a town outside of Berlin". He is a young man, in his early 20's. I asked him if he knew of a man named Gail Halverson. He said no. I said "that's a shame" and walked away to find my Hindi friend.

For those of you who may not remember, Gail Halverson was the transport pilot responsible for the "candy drop" during the Berlin airlift. They called him the "Candy Bomber" as he dropped goodies for all the Berlin children.

Matt Archer
Flight Operations
Transport Test Pilot

after elections

now that iraq has had elections. lets take a look back:

here's one opinion:

on April 9, 2003, martin kramer said:
The Iraqis, in the end, did not rise up. They waited to see the whites of American eyes before they headed into the streets. They did not earn their freedom; they had it delivered to them, U.S. federal express. It is doubtful they are ready to assume its responsibilities.

here's another:

A young iraqi man said on the elections:
If we agree to live in fear for one day then we're going to live in fear forever. Today, the terrorists are using the elections as an excuse to murder the "infidels" and they will never run short of other insane excuses in the future, they will find something else... they will have to kill me to keep me from voting. And many of my tribesmen feel the same. We have suffered too much and been denied too long to not go this last step. It may be just a trickle at first, but when Iraqis see the results of their votes it will be like a flood over all Iraq. Iraqi people, want to be free more than anything else.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, election officials took several extraordinary measures to make voting easier in Sunni areas. They allowed voters in some of those areas to register on election day, and permitted voters to travel outside their neighborhoods to cast ballots. In some of the smaller villages around Ramadi, where many city residents were encouraged to vote, election workers reported that they had run out of ballots. In the refugee camps outside Falluja, set up after heavy fighting there in November, Iraqi officials reported steady voting.

With vehicular traffic banned and American and Iraqi forces imposing especially tight security, the attacks on Sunday were carried out in some cases by men wearing explosive vests who rushed polling centers and blew themselves up.

In the Shiite and Kurdish areas, the strategy clearly failed. In Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, including Sadr City, many Iraqis cast their ballots to the sounds of exploding shells.

In some cases, the violence seemed to goad the Iraqis on. In the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Khadamiya in northern Baghdad, where nearly 100 people were killed in a terror attacks last year, the turnout was said to approach 80 percent.

An American soldier sent this dispatch from Iraq:

It is now dusk in Baquba, a city that lies thirty-five miles Northeast of Baghdad, along the edge of the Sunni Triangle. The streets are quiet. Vehicular traffic has been banned today, a curfew is due to come into effect soon after dark. Mothers hurry home from the markets. Children scurry to keep up with them. Election posters cling to the walls and streetlights. The city is filled with expectations. The vast majority of the people realize what is at stake here. They are ready to cast their ballots tomorrow, to elect representatives who will govern them and craft a new constitution for their nation. They are eager to write a new chapter in the history of their country. Meanwhile, the enemies of freedom lurk in the dark alleyways of this city. Domestic and foreign terrorists lie in wait. They fear not only the outcome of the vote, but the very process itself. They want to halt the inexorable march of freedom. They may try to disrupt the voting. No matter what happens tomorrow, they are doomed to failure in the long run. The elections will take place, the citizens of Baquba will cast their ballots. The transformation of Iraq is about to commence. Still, this is not the end of the beginning; nor the beginning of the end; it is the beginning of the beginning. Sunday will mark the first step on the long road to political and moral recovery in Iraq – and in the region. When the sun rises, the people will speak.

And they did speak;

In Basra, the country's second-largest, predominantly Shiite city, one explosion after another echoed down the streets. Even so, as the day wore on, the number of voters swelled, and local officials began to appear to congratulate the Iraqis and themselves.

"The insurgency has been exposed - they have no popular support of any kind," Mr. Pachachi, the former iraqi foreign minister and one of the country's most prominent sunni candidates said. "I think this election will weaken the insurgency."

"In Anbar, the number of votes were very good compared to our estimates," Mr. Ayar, the election commission spokesman, said of that province. "We did not expect a lot of turnout, but we found a lot of people standing in line in Anbar."

Sahib Al-Battat, the local elections chief, swept into the polling center at the Black Gold primary school, with a full entourage in tow. One by one, he inspected the voting stations with a military crispness. Asked how the day had gone, Mr. Battat said in Arabic: "Bekhair. Gebeer. Bekhair. Shamel." Roughly translated: "Excellent. Big. Excellent. All of it."

Some Iraqis found in Sunday's election a victory that may ultimately loom larger than that of April 9, 2003, when Mr. Hussein's rule collapsed. The victory then was largely of American making, and one that, despite their relief that the tyrant was gone, many Iraqis felt they could never build on.

"We feel now that we are human beings living in this country," Muhammad Abdul-Ridha, 25, a Najaf goldsmith, said after dropping his ballot into the box. "Now I feel I have a responsibility, I have a vote. Things will go right if people leave us alone to do what we want to do. If they leave the Iraqi people to decide for themselves, things will get better."

"We have established the principles upon which a democracy can be built," said Fareed Ayar, the spokesman for Iraq's electoral commission.

"The election was a victory of our own making," said Mr. Rubaie, the security adviser. "Today, the Iraqi people voted with their own blood."

Pentagon Sets Rules of Engagement for Journalists

(2005-05-08) -- Spurred by CNN executive Eason Jordan's accusations
that U.S. troops have targeted journalists in Iraq, the Pentagon today
issued revised rules of engagement for encounters between U.S. forces
and the members of the news media.

Under the new guidelines, U.S. troops will first offer journalists an
opportunity to throw down their cameras and notebooks and approach
with hands raised.

"We're there to kill terrorists, not journalists," said an unnamed
Pentagon official. "The new rules are designed to make it easier for
our personnel to distinguish between the two, since they're often
found together and have similar objectives."

Once in captivity, the so-called Prisoners Of Undetermined Loyalty
Embedded with Terrorists (POULET), will be treated according to the
Geneva Conventions, although the Justice Department has yet to rule on
their official status.

who evr said generals didn't have a sence of humor? please post comments and check in often.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

President Bush on terrorists in Iraq

President Bush on terrorists in Iraq:

"They can't whip our militaries. What they can do is get on your TV screens and stand in front of your TV cameras and cut somebody's head off, in order to try to cause us to cringe and retreat. That's their strongest weapon." . . .

very true. and unfortunately they're getting plenty of help from our own media. I pray to god that some of these people get their sanity and start putting out some real news, and not their petty blathering and rhetoric-filled nonsence.

please check in often and commenta-plenty.

hello, I'm a democrat.

hello, I was a life long liberal up until a little after sept. 11. (this is going to be a rant, so please be patient with me)..

I am not a democrat now, that's not to say that I think that the way george bush has handled the situation has changed my attitude. it was the way that liberals and democrats carried on after the fact totally disgusted me so I stopped being a democrat.

(here's the rant) I'm furious! there's thousands of people killed in a sneak attack on this country (which reminds one of pearl harbor) and do liberals and democrats set their differences with republicans aside against this great threat to our security and freedom? NO! they try to take ADVANTAGE of this tragedy, turn it into POLITICOL LEVERAGE to attack bush and this country!

this is not to say that I like george bush. I think that many of his civil policies are bad for this country. BUT HE'S ACTUALLY FIGHTING BACK! there's hardly one democrat (and I've known a few) who would do that!

god! it makes me mad! being a liberal I've paid close attention to democratic speeches and I've slowly lost all faith in the democratic party as even a passable politicol party able to protect the interests of their constituents.

but you wanna know what makes me maddest of all?

they forced me to choose between a man whom I do not like as president and a politicol party that is De Facto allied with terrorists and murderers! (end of rant)

to all the sane people out there, I humbly apoligize for any difference I may have made in the past in favor of these copletely insane people.

so. please read my blog and post plenty of comments.