Monday, July 31, 2006

U.N. Declares Open Season on Jews

OK, time for a pop quiz! How many of you can spell hypocrisy.

OK, sure, you there in third row. That's right!

Hypocrisy is spelled U-N-I-T-E-D N-A-T-I-O-N-S

In fact if you look up the word hypocrite in the dictionary you'll see a picture of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who led the chorus from the UN and a plethora of countries across the globe declaring open season on killing Jews Sunday, July 30. This came on the heels of claims from Islamic terrorists, who have been deliberately rocketing Israeli cities for nearly three weeks that an Israeli air strike in Qana, Lebanon killed some three dozen women and children who were in the basement of a building targeted by an Israeli air strike.

When I say three weeks here, I mean just in the most recent unpleasantness. Obviously terrorists killing Jews has been the pastime du jour for decades, with homicide bombers blowing up marketplaces being the preferred method until the current onslaught of rocket attacks.

This wasn't the first such incident in which an airstrike or artillery shell hit civilians, and it was entirely expected since the so-called 'fighters' who call themselves Hezbollah routinely hide behind women and children when they fire on, well, anyone who isn't them. In fact, accounts of the incident were circulating by late Sunday that the Hezbollah murderers had ensured that the women and children would be in the building knowing full well that Israel would strike it because the 'fighters' who call themselves Hezbollah were shooting rockets into Israel from right outside.

Hezbollah then spent the day staging photo-ops while they disrespected the bodies of dead Lebanese children which the terrorists and willing accomplices from the World Terrorist Media used for props.

What incredible heroes these guys are! What terrific examples of the type of people who should lead the world, show the way to the future and serve as icons of their version of Islam, which, if they prevail, will be the only version of Islam allowed.

Although the Israeli government immediately expressed remorse for the death of civilians, and later Sunday cast doubt on the accuracy and timing of the terrorist claims, the blustering and pontification at the United Nations over the incident began within moments after reports on the incident were aired on world news outlets. Virtually every statement from the UN, the Arab governments across the world, and even Margaret Beckett, Foreign Secretary for Great Britain, verbally assaulted the Israeli government for conducting an air strike on a target that housed women and children.

Although Israel said about 150 deadly rockets have been fired from the village where the air strike occurred into cities in Israel, there has been no outcry from the world community over the deaths of Israeli civilians. H-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. One news reporter even compared the lower number of Israeli deaths from Hezbollah rockets compared to Lebanese deaths from air and artillery, as though somehow terrorism is justifiable when fewer people die.

Oddly enough, when Ms. Beckett was interviewed in England about the incident, she used the strongest language possible in relation to Israel but didn't utter a single word about how the war started, why the civilians were in that building in the first place, or what would happen to the Israeli people if they just stopped defending themselves.

Note to Ms. Beckett: I hope you like burlap because if the wrong guys win this one you'll be wearing it forever. (See Taliban.) Oh, and you won't be in a position to make any comments because women don't get to have jobs, or go to school, so you won't be part of the government anymore. And if you have an opinion you'd best be keeping it to yourself because the people you now appear to be supporting don't like women having opinions, and they especially don't like women voicing their opinions. In fact, when women don't shut up in Hezbollah's version of the perfect society, they (the noble warriors of Hezbollah) tend to put such women into public squares and proceed to bash their heads in with rocks.

Just something you many want to think about before you go shooting from the hip in the future.

Even though Israel agreed to a brief cessation in aerial bombing of southern Lebanon on Sunday night, the rockets continued to stream into Israel from Hezbollah. Every one of those rockets was deliberately fired with the intent of hitting civilian targets and killing Israeli civilians, but not one of the UN gas bags uttered a word of protest.

From this I believe we can accurately deduce that the UN has approved of killing Jews. Murderous radical groups of bigots across the globe must be rejoicing! Pick up your bombs and guns boys, it's Jew hunting season!

All of this leads to the question that many Americans have been asking for years. What good is the UN and why do we continue to support it? A bunch of elitist diplomats and gas passers gather in a building in New York City, remember, the town that was the target of equally cowardly attacks on innocent civilians on September 11, 2001, spend their days figuring how to rip off the masses, spend their nights stroking each other at cocktail parties, and accomplishing nothing. All of this with the bulk of the funding coming from the United States, and they complain that we don't give them enough.

Time to face the music. Noble idea. Unworkable in the present state of the world. Time to close it down, kick them out, make them pay up their back rent, and pay off those damn parking tickets in New York City.

And while we're at it, the time also has come for the United States to start acting like a world leader with some backbone, not some whining hand wringing worry wart. Good grief. Our foreign policy is starting to look like a bad Woody Allen movie.

Can anyone pinpoint any other time in history when the strongest, most advanced and best armed society was convinced to not use all the weapons, technology, and capabilities it had, just so the other countries wouldn't feel put upon?

If the United States is to continue on in any viable form, and if our citizens are to ever again have peace of mind or belief in our from of government, then our government better stop quibbling over the minutiae of the moment and start acting like a strong world leader with the ability and intent to defend itself. Otherwise ...
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Minimum Wage? Minimum Interference!

When did the United States of America stop being the land of opportunity and become the land where something for nothing is guaranteed?

This point should be at the forefront of the recurring debate on increasing the national minimum wage.

Those who want the minimum wage increased say it helps poor people keep up with inflation and prevents them from sinking further into poverty and despair. It was first enacted, they point out, to prevent worker exploitation by unscrupulous employers using what amounted to slave labor.

Those who oppose it say it just increases the cost of doing business and eventually will cost jobs on the very end of the labor spectrum that it is intended to help because the increased cost of doing business will force employers to discharge some of their work force.

The minimum wage concept has been part of the United States labor scene only since 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt pushed it through Congress as part of the Great Depression-Era National Recovery Act. That first measure was short lived because the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.

But it came back again in 1938, both times at $.25 per hour, and has been with us ever since. In the Clinton presidency the law was changed to allow states to set their own minimum wage higher than the federal level, and so far about a quarter of the states have done so.

I can live with the concept of ensuring that entry level workers aren't exploited. But I have a problem with the concept that the wage has to continue to increase at the national level, as a form of promotion or advancement.

When I got my first job as a photographer's assistant late in my senior year in high school I was paid $1 per hour, and could gauge exactly how much money I could expect to be paid each week based on how much I worked. After graduation I went to work in a grocery store for the same $1 per hour, which was increased to $1.25 three months later when I was given a raise based on job performance.

But while I did that job, I also was attending college. In time, I developed the skills to advance further, both in my grocery store job, and in what later became my chosen career. The minimum wage was not a factor in my life for more than a few months.

And, it should be noted, the minimum wage back then had far more buying power than it has now. By some accounts, in 1968 when the minimum wage had been increased to $1.60 per hour, and inflation from the Vietnam War had not fully kicked in yet, the minimum wage had the highest buying power in its history. The cost of housing, food and the other necessities of life had not yet spiraled out of control and the minimum wage wasn't a bad deal.

Today however, the buying power of the minimum wage is lower, but does that mean it should be raised to a level commensurate with the buying power it had in 1968? What would that figure be? $8 per hour, $19, $22? How would we decide what it should be when the cost of living not only changes within regions of the country, but often within regions of the individual states?

Regardless of those pesky details, my larger problem with the minimum wage as it is envisioned by some in Congress is that it is regarded as a permanent wage level for some workers whose only hope of getting a raise comes from the state or federal government.

Which raises the question, at what point did the government become responsible for people who either won't work hard enough to get a raise, or won't get further training or education so they can advance to better jobs? For that matter, even if the worker is diligent and the employer is a jerk, when did the right to seek a better job elsewhere disappear in favor of the government imposing artificial wage levels?

I realize there are plenty of reasons why people might find themselves behind the 8-ball for a time. But let me point out something about the minimum wage.
In Connecticut where it is $7.50 per hour, a person working 4o hours per week will earn $300 which translates to about $225 take home per week, $900 per month. In the town of West Hartford, which by all accounts is one of the most expensive suburbs in the center of the state, it is still possible to rent a one-bedroom apartment for $700 per month.

That means a husband and wife both making minimum wage, working 40 hours each, apparently with neither the option nor inclination to work longer or more than one job, still can afford an apartment in a very nice and pricey suburb, with $1100 per month for other necessities. Mind you, this is a couple who won't work more than 40 hours per week, won't do anything to advance themselves and don't expect to ever get a promotion or a raise.

How much of that situation is the government's responsibility? From my point of view, very little.

I think the answer to the minimum wage came when the law was changed to allow states to set their own. Each area of the country experiences different cost levels for housing, food, energy and other items, and each state legislature has the best view of the business climate in that state. If changes are needed the states provide the best venue for change.

I think it is time for the federal government to step back from the periodic manipulations of the minimum wage level. It smacks of cheap politics, it doesn't get the job done, it can't be universally applied with a universally anticipated impact, and it does nothing to encourage entry level workers to better themselves.

Leave it alone and spend the time saved on that issue working on the real problems we face.
Thursday, July 27, 2006

UN Casualties, Anti-Semitism, and Covering War

The duplicity of the leadership at the United Nations could not have been more clearly shown than this week when four members of the 'interim' peacekeeping force in Lebanon were killed by Israeli forces.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan denounced the Israelis for the "apparently" intentional strike on the post that was right next to Hezbollah forces firing at Israelis. The Israelis had been shooting back, as is their right and duty, all day long, prompting, according to one survivor from the UN post, at least 10 messages to them concerning the closeness of the strikes. As pretty much could be expected, one ultimately hit the post and four members of the international force died.

Kofi Annan's denunciation of Israel, and his subsequent backing off of that claim, in fact, trying to make it appear during a news conference that reporters were taking him out of context, shows the absolute incompetence and cowardice of the upper levels of the UN. This incident also goes a long way toward explaining the American public's distrust of an organization that claims to represent the entire world but shows repeatedly that it really represents a clueless elite using the organization as a funnel for corruption and cash flow.

Kofi Annan says the peacekeepers were his eyes and ears, observing the battlefield and gathering information on the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorists. OK, for the record, observers are what you have when there are war games or when there have been tensions and someone is trying to keep the combatants apart.

But you don't put observers into a war! The troops manning that post should have been withdrawn as soon as hostilities erupted, or failing to do that, should have been told to depart at the very first sign that the fighting was coming close. Today's munitions are remarkably accurate compared to generations ago, but there still are regular reports of rounds falling short, so-called 'friendly fire' incidents, and the expected confusion that results in the shifting conditions on a battlefield.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the Israelis also have averred that some UN observers have been taking sides with Hezbollah and using Kofi Annan's eyes and ears to provide battlefield information to the terrorists. Could be, I don't know for sure because I wasn't there.

But I am sure that the UN forces should have been withdrawn immediately. And I am sure that it was Kofi Annan's responsibility to get them out of there to safety. And I am sure that if anyone is ultimately responsible it is not the fighters on the ground, it is the Secretary General at the UN. As they say in the military, you can delegate authority, but not responsibility.

Kofi Annan is not only trying to delegate responsibility, he is trying to shift it and the resultant blame to someone else. Which tells me everything I need to know about his true character.


Other writers in the blogosphere are far more conversant than I about members of the US Congress who are openly anti-Semitic. One of the foremost of these writers authors the Atlas Shrugs blog at which recently printed a list naming members of Congress who openly oppose backing Israel in the ongoing conflict. (I am referring readers of this blog to that blog because its author not only has an upfront style with plenty of solid information, but she also is quick to credit others who contribute.)

But I would like to make a point here about other forms of anti-Semitism that may not be so obvious, but can inflict every bit as much damage. I am talking about members of Congress who say they support Israel, but then go public with statements that they support an immediate cease fire, and that they think we should talk to the terrorists, both in Lebanon and in Gaza.

They are giving aid and comfort to the enemy wrapped in the gauze of international cooperation and understanding. In my view, there is no option open for Israel, and by extension the US and the rest of the free world, except to eliminate Hezbollah and to do it now.

One of the often unspoken truths about Israel's allegiance with the United States is that it has been carrying the load against terrorism for far longer than any other country in the world. Israel is like a magnet that attracts the worst elements of the extremist world, and has taken the most damage.

But like the US position in Iraq, where we have actually benefited from the influx of foreign terrorists who are participating in the jihad, Israel is providing an invaluable benefit to the free world. By migrating to Iraq to ply their terrorist trade the extremists encounter armed and trained American troops instead of the soft underside of stateside America.

While we take losses in Iraq, and Afghanistan, we inflict far more damage on the enemy, we learn their tactics, we adapt to them as they adapt to us, and most importantly, we prevent attacks on the American homeland.

Israel is doing the same thing for us, and anyone in America who thinks for a minute that we aren't safer because Israel exists and attracts terrorists who might otherwise target American cities, isn't paying attention.

Anti-Semitism is rampant in the world, and we would be naive to believe it doesn't exist in America too. But it is crucial that all Americans take a hard look at their members of Congress, in both houses, and honestly interpret their actions, or lack of actions. Anything less than a hard-line stance in support of Israel is in reality support of terrorism, because to allow terrorists to live is to allow them to continue their plotting and attacks.

Undercover anti-Semitism is harder to spot but just as bad and dangerous as the open in-your-face kind. It is the duty of all Americans to know this and see it for what it is. Because eliminating Israel won't eliminate terrorism. It will just eliminate a target, and if Israel is gone, guess who is next?

Covering War

In the world of journalism, which I inhabited as a print reporter, columnist and editor for 20 years, prizes are the Holy Grail of the successful career. The more prestigious the prize, the better the chances of promotions, plum assignments, and ultimately more money.

So it is understandable when the world's reporters migrate en masse to the scene of an international event, such as the fighting in Lebanon, where they stand the best chances of getting a prize, because that is where the action is, no pun intended.

But there is a caveat. To improve their chances of winning a prize, they have to show evidence of extraordinary difficulty, great personal danger even, in gathering the information that led to the story that is up for the prize. Hence, a requirement to be reporting from the front or at least where bullets are zinging around and rockets are impacting within camera range.

Up to this point I understand the concept as long as reporters aren't broadcasting real time information that can aid the terrorists.

But I do have a problem with reporters who seem to have zero knowledge of the makeup of the military, its tactics, and its priorities. This was evident once again on Wednesday, July 26, when Israeli forces lost 9 killed and more than 20 wounded in an ambush.

The world press reported it as cataclysmic, catastrophic, a turning point, etc. etc. I am not callous or uncaring, but when I flew as a Marine helicopter machine gunner in Vietnam we would have medevaced that many casualties in two helicopters and considered it a slow day.

I understand that for the families of the dead soldiers this is the worst possible outcome of the war, and from my own personal experiences I know the impact that these deaths will have on the families and loved ones left behind.

But I also know that entire regiments, if not divisions, amounting to tens of thousands of Israeli troops, are operating in Lebanon against the terrorists. Israel's loss in that one skirmish amounted to one squad killed, and less than three squads wounded, most of whom will likely rejoin their units.

When the military looks at casualty reports it doesn't, and to be effective it can't, look at the individuals affected. It can only look at the numbers and interpret those numbers in terms of battlefield effectiveness. In the case of less than 30 casualties out of an army that approaches nearly a million members, the battlefield effectiveness simply is not impacted.

You can be sure that as humans the Israeli commanders feel those deaths and injuries as deeply as close family members. But it is their job to remain stoic in these situations and continue on until the terrorists are eliminated.

Again, this doesn't make it any easier for those killed and wounded.

But it would be more than a little bit helpful if news organizations made an effort to hire military veterans to do battlefield reporting and analysis, or at least teach the basics to the new guys. This would provide the requisite experience and perspective to do an accurate job of reporting the horrors of battle.

Battlefield reports on July 26 in some cases were approaching hysteria. It was not a hysterical situation. In fact, it was fairly typical, and to be brutally honest, it shows that Israeli tactics are focused on lessening the loss of soldiers' lives.

Had the media reported it as such, the quest for a prize would have been taken a back seat to the quest for the truth, which shouldn't even be an issue.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Casualties of War??

It is arrogant to say nothing of hypocritical for the World Terrorist Media hereafter known as the WTM to expect people in the age of information to believe that every single casualty on the Lebanon side of the battle between Israel and Hezbollah is a civilian.

Yet that is what we are told with virtually every new report from the region, with nearly nothing said about Hezbollah casualties. This is the invincible Hezbollah according to far too many commentators, the Hezbollah that can never be defeated, never be destroyed, only weakened for a time, thus requiring some form of negotiated settlement.


For starters, it can safely be deduced that the bulk of the casualties coming on the Lebanon side, children aside, are Hezbollah fighters or supporters. When they pushed "droves" of fighters into the battle for a border town on July 24th, and ultimately lost to the Israelis, you can bet there were massive Hezbollah casualties regardless of what the WTM said about it. And you can just as safely bet that if there were any real civilians among those wounded and dead they were there because the all-benevolent Hezbollah forced them to stay in harm's way so the "fighters" had someone to hide behind.

Casualties aside, there remains the issue of the invincibility of Hezbollah. I don't know where the WTM got all those military experts posing as TV reporters, but the near constant refrain you hear from them, and other unassailable experts on the Middle East, is that Hezbollah can never be eliminated.

Based on a number of reports the strength of Hezbollah is placed at something less than 20,000 including the leadership core of less than 1,000, another 7,000 or so mainline troops and 10,000 or so "reservists." For some reason, in a world that has seen casualties of military and para-military organizations exceed one-million in each of numerous engagements over the past seven decades, it makes no sense to aver that 20,000 or less can't be defeated and eliminated.

For example, let's take a look at the communist terrorists who slaughtered tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians in a reign of terror that began during World War II and ended in 1969. First they were called the Viet Minh and then during the American involvement from 1959 to 1969, the last year when they had real influence, they were the Viet Cong.

They had hard core political cadres backed by full-time guerilla armies, and a network of part-time reservists who worked their day jobs and stayed home until needed, then switched to fighters. At the height of their power in late 1967 and early 1968 they had roughly 70,000 fighters plus a significantly smaller number of political operatives. They were successful initially against ill prepared and trained South Vietnamese units, but could never mount a successful operation against the Americans after 1965, the onset of the major American buildup.

They made a huge blunder in the Tet Offensive of 1968 when they came out of hiding and, backed by regular North Vietnamese Army communist units, attacked American and South Vietnamese positions and units across all of South Vietnam.

In a matter of weeks the Viet Cong lost an estimated 35,000 fighters killed, not counting the NVA. That is fully one half of their army destroyed, and does not include others taken out of action due to wounds. Much like Hezbollah they had anticipated a huge outpouring of support from the South Vietnamese civilians to augment their attacks, figuring that Vietnamese of all political persuasions wanted foreigners off their soil.

But when they launched the Tet Offensive, the civilians the Viet Cong had been terrorizing for decades stayed home. It was a clear and historic lesson that terrorized populaces will not fight on the side of those who terrorize them when given an option.

The Viet Cong made sporadic and feeble attempts to regain their previous stature through 1968, including a series of attacks in May and June of that year dubbed "mini-Tet" by American troops. They were spectacularly unsuccessful, and in February 1969 the Viet Cong launched a second, last-ditch, desperate, all-out attack again, similar to the debacle of a year earlier with exactly the same results.

When the second Tet Offensive ended, the Viet Cong were gone. They were non-existent as a military force, with only political operatives remaining.

Enter the Phoenix Program, the oft-discussed, and usually misunderstood operation by American and South Vietnamese forces to eliminate the Viet Cong political structure. The Phoenix Program had one goal, to eliminate the Viet Cong political structure. It was not as has often been touted, a murder campaign. Rather its purpose was to identify and apprehend Viet Cong political cadre and eliminate them from the Vietnamese countryside.

There were deaths, many caused by South Vietnamese exacting revenge on the Viet Cong for past murders and torture inflicted on the civilian population. The left claims that it was a failed murder and torture operation. Others, who were much closer to its actual operations, say it was a spectacularly successful operation.

Regardless of your point of view, it is a fact that the elimination of the Viet Cong fighting units as well as the political units was not only possible, but was accomplished. Hezbollah is far smaller than the Viet Cong and to say that Hezbollah can't be eliminated is naive, uninformed, and manipulative.

Hezbollah can be eliminated, and I would bet that those who want the world to believe otherwise have a far different agenda than the one they market in the WTM.

Invincible? Give the Israeli Army about three weeks of unrestricted war against these terrorists and we'll take another look.
Sunday, July 23, 2006

Syrian Ceasefire Call = Ploy

There is only one reason why a participant in a long term struggle, or a backer of a participant in that struggle, suddenly and arbitrarily calls for a cease fire: that participant is getting the crap kicked out of it.

That was my first thought when the news reported Sunday morning that Syria, one of two primary backers for the Hezbollah terrorist state in Southern Lebanon, the other being Iran, had suddenly released a statement that it would agree to cease fire negotiations and a face-to-face meeting with the United States.

With reporters on all sides ominously intoning the day of the conflict -- "We have now entered DAY 12 of the Conflict Between Israel and Lebanon" -- as zealously as they do casualty counts, the one thing the terrorists have had going for them is a public relations blitz that says Israel, not the terrorists mind you, only Israel, is killing mostly civilians, with little to no reporting on damage to the terrorist army. (Interesting also that they say the conflict is between Israel and Lebanon, which it isn't, rather than Israel and Hezbollah terrorists, which it is.)

But if that were the case, and Hezbollah actually was as strong as the whiners and hand wringers want us to believe, then in the mindset of the typical street fighter, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah all would be taunting Israel, daring it to continue its military action where it would take more punishment. Instead, there is a sudden call for a cease fire.

No doubt in my mind, Hezbollah is reeling and Israel is inflicting far more damage than the pro-terrorist news outlets in the U. S. and worldwide would want us to suspect. I also believe Israel is uncovering some pretty nasty secrets in the towns it has taken along the border, and Syria knows that the Hezbollah terrorists have a few more things hidden in those tunnels and bunkers that it doesn't want Israel finding. I wonder if the Iraqi WMDs made their way to Hezbollah-land?

Oddly, Syria's announcement Sunday morning came only hours after it threatened to engage Israel in military action if Israel went too far into Lebanon or Israeli troops got too close to Syria.

Earth to Damascus: You have a border with Israel. They can put a hundred tank and infantry divisions on that border if they feel like it and you have no legal recourse. Of course, if you arm and support an aggressor nation, such as Hezbollah, that is openly bombing Israel, then all bets are off.

No, the conflicting statements from Syria signal that all is not well in their corner of the funny farm, and they are desperate to somehow put an end to Israel's efforts before they go too much further.

The United States and Israel would do well to ignore Syria, Iran, Kofi Anan, and all the other magpies calling for 'consensus' and 'negotiations' and 'meaningful discussions.' The terrorists are losing and hiding something on the border and they don't want Israel finding it. They can't get it out because the roads, bridges and airports are out of service, and the terrorists aren't strong enough to protect it forever. We would be making a huge blunder to discontinue this action before we find out what that is.

Liberal commentators such as Fox News' Juan Williams whine that civilians are being killed and the "Arab Street" will react negatively, and the big kids won't let him play in their games, and may even steal his milk money. But as has been shown by the widespread refusal on the part of many Islamic nations to take a stand in this conflict, the long-term show of strength and resolve by the Bush administration in both Afghanistan and Iraq has resulted in a willingness to let Israel destroy Hezbollah.

Why, might you ask? Because despite all the fawning reports on these terrorists, not from the usual Islamic extremist news outlets, but from the pro-terrorist American media such as the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN, the fact is Hezbollah and its backers are hideously brutal murderers, and if they prevail, all of the Arab world will be under their control, which no sane person can contemplate without a shudder.

It is simply amazing to watch the pro-terrorist news media report on what a great bunch of guys the Hezbollah believers are, what with them building schools and clinics and providing social services, all intended to undercut the democratically elected and unfortunately weak legitimate Lebanese government. But somehow those news reports forget to mention that the real purpose of the schools is to brainwash continuing generations of terrorists who hate mindlessly because that is all they know.

Or that the medical clinics' real purpose is to treat terrorists wounded during their crime sprees against Israel. Or, for that matter, those injured during bomb making classes, or chemical warfare training accidents.

Think I'm wrong? Watch enough news in a day and eventually you'll see film footage of present-day Nazis, goose-stepping through Lebanon, carrying the Hezbollah flag, preceded by a contingent of goose-stepping prepubescent Nazis also carrying the Hezbollah flag, portraying themselves as the heart and soul of Lebanon. Does a majority of the Lebanese citizenry actually think this way?

And what good are the schools, clinics and social services when the people who provide them start a war with a neighboring state, based solely on a mindless racial and ethnic hatred? What support will they have in the long run when they order the civilians to stay in their homes, babysitting rockets and other weaponry, where they most certainly will become casualties, after the Israeli Army blankets the area with pamphlets, loudspeakers and even phone calls telling them to leave to avoid being injured?

The pro-terrorist news media continually bring up Vietnam and America in their reports, usually parroting long since discredited and disproven statements about what went on in that country 35 years ago between the United States and the communists as comparisons to the present conflict. But if they want Vietnam as an analogy they are missing the best comparison.

Until the Tet Offensive of January and February 1968, the Viet Cong -- communist guerillas much like the present-day Hezbollah -- terrorized the civilian populace of South Vietnam to keep them in line and create a ready supply of food, shelter, and recruits. Their aim was to convince the civilians to join in the fighting against the Americans when the Tet Offensive was launched, showing the world that they all wanted America out.

Bad move. When the communist terrorists sprung their offensive they were mowed down in droves, losing an estimated 35,000 Viet Cong, fully half their military force in a couple of weeks, in addition to tens of thousands of regular North Vietnamese communist troops. The South Vietnamese civilians stayed home, and a major facet of the communist strategy fell flat. The Viet Cong continued to fight sporadically and ineffectively for another year before an unbelievably ill-conceived second Tet Offensive ended their military capabilities permanently.

That is the true comparison and the inevitable conclusion of the terrorist tactics. The populace is with you when all is peaceful and not too many people get beaten or murdered for breaking real or imagined regulations. But let the whole populace be held up for ransom and used as human shields and those images will remain imbedded in their collective unconscious forever.

Israel should hold firm, move as far north as necessary and kill every single Hezbollah fighter in the way. And don't repeat Richard Nixon's mistake from the Cambodian incursion by saying just how far the military will go and how long it will stay. Go as far as necessary for as long as necessary to get the job done.

That is the only way to resolve this war and set the real stage for a lasting peace. Find what they are hiding, and hold it up for the world to see. Free as many civilians as possible and let them tell the truth about Hezbollah using them as shields. It won't change all the minds in the world but it will give a lot of people something to think about before they embark on similar ventures.

Best Quote of the Week Starting July 23, 2006.

John Bolton, America's Ambassador to the United Nations, when asked if the US has had any face-to-face discussions with Syria: "We have an embassy in Damascus. They can pick up the phone."

It's about time someone has the courage to point out that the onus for resolving problems started by Iran and Syria is on Iran and Syria, not the United States. Syria wants to talk with us? Hey, pick up the phone, have your people call my people. I'll see if I can pencil you in.

NOTE TO TV NEWS CAMERAMEN: Don't shine camera lights into the eyes of advancing infantrymen at night. They have spent hours getting their eyes adjusted to the darkness and those camera lights not only blind them for the moment, they greatly diminish their ability to make out objects in the dark for hours afterward. This could mean the difference between life and death for the soldiers. Your camera work is meaningless when the stakes are that high.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Does Iran Want; What Should Iran Get?

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh posed an important question on his show Monday relating to the current violence in the Middle East.

"What does Iran want?"

It is an important question because Iran is acknowledged by just about every thinking person in our solar system to be instigating the violence against Israel through Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian terrortories. I have addressed the issue of who is pushing Iran's buttons in previous posts so we won't go off on that tangent here.

Rush's staff and callers hit on possible scenarios that work for the leader of Iran, Green Bean Almandine. (For the uninitiated, I know his real name, and could even do a passable pronunciation of it, but to keep all the world's wack jobs straight I use word association. In his case, it's Green Bean Almandine.)

I gave that question a lot of thought over the past day, and have come up with an answer of my own. First, I don't think that even someone as crazy and unconcerned with mass death as Almandine, including his own, actually wants WWIII. I do agree with those, including Newt Gingrich, who believe we already are in WWIII, but I'm talking the kind of war that includes unrestricted exchanges of nuclear missiles.

It should be obvious even to terrorist leaders that they can't win an all out war with any major power or coalition, and heading in that direction would not only ensure their destruction, but also would put an end to their dreams and aspirations.

By that I mean the dream of world dominance for their version of Islamic extremism. If all of the terrorists are dead, regardless of how holy their final moments may seem to have been, they still are dead and there is no one to continue on with their quest.

So I don't think they really want WWIII. In fact I don't think they want war at all, with us or their neighbors.

Oh, I do think they would love it if we sent some air raids over Iran in an effort to take out their nuke program. They could use the propaganda to their benefit, especially if we weren't successful, or if they were able to shoot down some American or Israeli planes.

By the way, the oft-repeated reason why Israel can't send bombers over Tehran is that the Israeli air force lacks the range to do the job and return to Israel. Ok, maybe we can't let them land in Iraq for all the usual political reasons, but why can't we assist by refueling them with our tankers? Iran wouldn't like it?? Please.

Anyway, the chances of Iran shooting down an attacking aircraft could well be more than we think. Remember, Russia is backing Hezbollah, and long ago, Russia was the prime backer for North Vietnam. That backing included ringing Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, with the world's most sophisticated air defense system, which took a heavy toll on our aircraft and crews.

It is entirely possible that RasPutin has secretly delivered some high tech anti-aircraft systems to Tehran to help set up an embarrassment for the leaders of the worlds' democracies. It was only a few days ago that a radar-guided missile was fired from southern Lebanon and hit an Israeli warship, killing several sailors and inflicting heavy damage on the craft.

That type of missile wasn't supposed to be in Lebanon or in Hezbollah's hands, but yet it was, and it proved deadly. There is no reason to think that Russia or China would be opposed to helping out Tehran with some advanced air defenses.

But what would be the gain? Well, Rush thinks Iran wants to take over the region's oil fields. He believes Iran's extremist leaders are bent on dominating every Arab state in the region by force of arms, and controlling the oil flow. I agree on the end result, but not the means.

I think Almandine wants to push the issue as far as he can to get away with as much as he can, right up to fending off a limited military response from the United States. Because if he can keep tweaking us, and showing us to be impotent, or to use Communist China's phraseology from the 60s, a Paper Tiger, he can use that to his advantage to sway the fence sitters in the rest of the Muslim world.

If he can be shown to be powerful enough to defy the United States and coalition partners, if he can threaten his neighbors in the region with the use of military force if he damn well feels like it, with no certainty whatsoever that the west will come to the rescue of any country he invades, then he doesn't have to do anything, he only has to give the appearance that he will do something.

Then he controls the oil. Then he shuts if off. And then, our military power becomes a moot point unless we have a plan to completely dominate Iran and any partners that join on its side in 90 days, roughly the amount of time it would take to use up our strategic oil reserves.

There also is some discussion on whether Almandine is crazy, or crazy like a fox. It doesn't matter. It only matters if he gets his way and continues to keep his adversaries off balance.

I'll finish with a personal observation of a fight between two groups of men that I witnessed a couple of years ago in a bar in Hartford. The two sides each had their champion, big guys who circled each other, facing off, trying to assess strengths and weaknesses.

But one side had a small guy, in relatively good shape, with what can only be described as an alligator mouth. He picked a potential adversary on the other side and began taunting the guy, pretty viciously, daring him, threatening him. The other guy was quite a bit bigger, and by all appearances should have been able to kick the small guy's ass, but he held back.

Suddenly, from out of the crowd came a third guy, who walked up to Mr. Alligator Mouth and hit him dead in the face with a crasheous blow, knocking him flat on his butt. Alligator Mouth got up holding his face, which was bleeding profusely from what appeared to be a broken nose, and made his way back into the crowd where he disappeared.

The guy who smacked him turned to his friend who had been the object of the taunts and asked "Why didn't you lay him out? He was nothing."

The non-fighter replied, "The way he was acting I thought he had something, you know, karate training or something. I was waiting for him to take the first shot so I could counter punch."

I thought of this encounter when Almandine was running his mouth the other day about what he would do to anyone who attacked Syria. I think he may have something, as noted above, but not what he wants us to think.

I think he wants to cow his Middle East neighbors, isolate the U.S. from its oil sources in that region, and begin exporting nuclear terrorists. He won't do it himself of course, any more than you'll see Osama Your Mama blowing himself up in a homicide bombing. But as long as there is a methodology to 'educate' youngsters to hate Israel and the west, there will be a supply of people willing to become martyrs.

It's time that a fighter who isn't beset with constant questions on his own capabilities steps from the crowd and smacks this punk dead in the face. A broken nose, some missing teeth and a photo op of Almandine slinking to the back of the crowd and away from the fight would work wonders for peace in our time.

It may not be what Iran wants, but it sure as hell is what Iran should get.
Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oil Shouldn't Be Our Achilles' Heel

If there has been one common thread in American politics for most of my adult life, it is that not one single president until this very moment has made a serious effort to wean our country from dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil.

This head-in-the-sand subservience to the oil industry has put us at the mercy of foreign nations and political movements that have nothing but ill will for us, in some cases extending to outright efforts to destroy our country. But while there have been some advancements in developing alternate energy sources, such as fuel cells and nuclear reactors, overall we are hopelessly mired in an insatiable national demand for oil.

It is true that Congress in the 70s, showcasing the infinite wisdom of that body in that time, essentially put an end to major exploration and development of national energy resources, including the building of refineries, thus ensuring our continued dependence on foreign sources. But that is only one element in the overall energy equation, specifically as it applies to oil.

And oddly enough we already have the ability to reduce our dependence on all sources of oil. Because the technology to substantially reduce our need for oil, perhaps by as much as half or more, and thus our dependence on foreign oil sources, has been available to us for decades.

When I was a teenager I lived outside of Troy, in upstate New York. Troy was a manufacturing town for most of its existence. It was known as the Collar City and among its more famous products were Arrow shirts. Troy also had a strong educational component in its history that successfully melded high-quality public schools with a wealth of private educational venues including Emma Willard School, Russell Sage College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the famed engineering college.

It is RPI that figures predominantly here. Occasionally in the early 1960s, the local papers, the Troy Record and the Times Record, would publish stories and photos of RPI researchers who had developed new variations on the automobile carburetor that could produce, on average, 50 miles per gallon and more! That mind you, in a time when the average car was built like a tank and weighed nearly as much. On average!!!

Each time, a representative from one of the major automobile manufacturers would show up with a nice check for the creative and resourceful engineer, buy the patent with a promise that it would revolutionize the automobile industry, and that would be that. I clearly remember my father telling me way back then that the promised advancements would never see the light of day because it wasn't in the best interests of the car or the oil companies to restrict the use of oil.

That position should have been revised in everyone's mind in 1973 when the Arab nations imposed the oil embargo on the world, which to my mind was the real beginning of the War of Terror, as opposed of course to the War ON Terror which began post-9/11.

Unfortunately, the response was to try to buy off the Arab nations and ultimately OPEC. That was followed by a series of well publicized but in reality, half-hearted modifications that now, more than 50 years later, have us driving much lighter, supposedly safer cars, that don't get any better mileage than we were getting back in the 60s.

And here we are with the Middle East in a state of all-out war, a smug pipsqueak of a national leader in Iran openly creating hostilities and hoping to instigate an even wider conflict, but instead of being able to stand up and do what is right, we have to "consider all our options." Which means we have to make sure that no matter what else happens we don't lose our oil supply.

Of course we would still be having problems in the Middle East even if we weren't dependent on their oil. There have been problems between eastern nations and the United States ever since there was a United States. Remember the Marine hymn -- to the shores of Tripoli? Goes all the way back to President Jefferson in the early 1800s.

No, this war is about Islamic extremism, and it was coming one way or another. But due to the short-sightedness of our political leaders, the terrorists now have us over a barrel, so to speak.

If we had been using technology that had been developed and available to us for the last half-century, we wouldn't be in that position. If we had applied the technology that was developed back in the 60s, to say nothing of REALLY working to develop new technologies, especially since 1973, we would be in a position of strength and independence, not of weakness and appeasement.

And this, my friends, is our own doing. No one came in here and imposed it on us, we did it to ourselves.

Consider further if you will, our reluctance to even take full advantage of the foreign oil resources we have available. I am talking specifically of Kuwait and Iraq. The United States imports about 10 million barrels of oil per day from foreign sources, about 20 percent of which comes from the Middle East.

Well, Kuwait produces about 2.5 millions barrels per day for export, and even in slow times Iraq produces about 1.5 million barrels per day for export, which together account for 40 percent of what the United States imports. So, it makes sense to a lot of people that we be first in line for Kuwaiti and Iraqi exports, since we freed both countries from Saddam Hussein.

This doesn't imply by any means that we TAKE the oil. It merely says that since we have put our country and the lives of our citizens on the line for these countries, we should be first in line for their oil, and pay a fair price for it. When we have what we need, then other countries, starting with those who contributed to the coalitions that freed Iraq and Kuwait, and in direct proportion to their contributions, can have theirs. Sounds fair to me.

In the meantime, how about we turn a couple of government investigators loose to look up those old patents gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in Detroit? How about we dust them off, update them and start making them required for all domestically produced as well as foreign imported autos in the United States, immediately?

Within a few months, with the proper incentives, we could also have a thriving after-market version available to convert existing autos. If we can go from near zero nuclear technology in 1939 to the only country with nuclear weapons by late 1944, we certainly can take existing advancements in automobile fuel supply systems and apply them nationwide in a year.

By this time next year the world would have a glut of oil, and we could take a certain tinhorn, big mouthed dictator by the throat, and sit his preening carcass down in an adult version of permanent time out. And no one could do a thing about it.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," George Bush to Tony Blair.
Gotta love straight talk!
Friday, July 14, 2006

Pork, The OTHER White Meat

Did you catch the significance of President Bush serving roast wild boar in Germany Thursday, while Islamic extremists, who detest pork and fear that even touching pork products will bar them from paradise, were launching missiles into Israel?

Perhaps he was just making a gesture of humility and solidarity with his German hostess, and giving a nod to German history. But I think there was a not-so-subtle message being served up along with roast pork loin.

But messages aside, with the Mideast once again engulfed in the flames of war, and the United Nations again doing nothing except shuffling papers and talking endlessly, it is way past time for the President Bush to remove his chef's apron, and take his iron fist out of its velvet glove. Instead of platefuls of roast meat, if the United States and its allies ever want to see peace in this generation, we should serve up some well-placed and permanent shots to the terrorists' vital spots, followed by some more well-placed shots at the instigators who are inciting the terrorists.

President Bush gave Israel the green light to press its offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian terrortories (pun intended) and his caution about not overdoing it meant next to nothing. But if we are ever to put an end to this insanity and win the support of moderate Muslims across the globe, we have to show that there is indeed an iron fist inside the velvet glove and we will use it without restriction if necessary. Judging from what is going on in the Middle East, it is necessary.

But once again, we have to step back and consider who is doing what over there, and why. Two terrorist groups make minor incursions into Israel, kidnap some troops, kill others, and set off a conflagration. Syria rattles its sabers and the president of Iran struts around the international stage like a demented street teen -- "Hey Israel, you want a piece of this? Huh? You want to take me on man. Go ahead. Touch Syria. You'll be answering to me man, and it won't be pretty."

Good grief. The sensible Iranian population, and by all accounts there is a sizable sensible Iranian population, must be mortified. This is the best the country can do? Put a loudmouth street punk out in front to represent their society?

But after we get past the mouth and the posturing, what can Syria, Iran and the terrorist groups actually accomplish? Very little. If Israel wants to flatten Damascus and Tehran today, it can and will be done.

So why is this going on? If Iran is instigating the fighting between Israel and the terrorists, who is instigating Iran?

Well, as I said in an earlier post, look to China and Russia. Not only are we dealing with a resurgence of communism worldwide, but the terrorists are giving the communist leaders a lever with which to undermine the democratic reforms that have been sweeping through the civilized world for nearly a generation, and an excuse.

Who stands to gain the most if the Jews, Muslims and Christians batter the living daylights out of each other? The communists. Who stands to fill the leadership vacuum that will be created in much of the world if the faithful renounce or distance themselves from their chosen faiths? The communists.

They did it before in countries where long-running dictatorships had brutalized the populace, with promises of workers' paradises where everyone would have an equal shot at the good life. But as was shown repeatedly for 60 of the most murderous years in human history, communism was not the answer to the sins of the aristocracy and monarchies.

Unfortunately, somewhere in the vicinity of 100 million human lives were destroyed, first in learning this lesson and then breaking free of communism's bonds.

While I believe both Russia and China are complicit in stirring up a religious war that will benefit them regardless of who wins or loses, I think China is a more active player than Russia. For starters, China has the most influence on North Korea, and as we all know, the leaders of North Korea and Iran talk to each other regularly. This is supposed to be an international top secret but I know it is true, I read it in the New York Times.

While Russia's (Ras) Putin has steadily eroded the freedoms that came with the fall of the Soviet Union, at least Russia has had a taste of democracy. And Russia has its own problems with Muslim extremists that could very easily escalate if additional countries become involved.

China hasn't seen anything remotely resembling a democratic government, well, ever, and it has the biggest share of still-in-control die-hard communists. If the Korean missile launches of two weeks ago were indeed a distraction to test the U.S., then today's fighting in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel is an extension.

Iran can't do squat if Israel decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against it. It can't get through Iraq, where we have an entire army in place, and where the emerging Iraqi army probably won't look too kindly at attempts to cross its borders. If Iran tries to fire missiles across Iraqi air space to hit Israel, it again is creating its own second front right there in Iraq.

Syria too can be overwhelmed by either Israel, the U.S., or a combination. So what we have here is a situation where someone obviously wants to see what will happen if certain buttons are pushed on certain tin pot dictators who look at themselves in funhouse mirrors that always show them to be much larger and important than they are in real life.

Constant taunts by Iran's president are just that, childish taunts, but somewhere out there someone wants to see what the United States and its allies can and will do. And if it is little or nothing, I fear there is far more in store for all of us than what we see in Lebanon and Israel today.

There is still this oft repeated claim that the US military is stretched too thin. But we have only about 1 percent of our entire population in the military on any given day, and only about 10 percent of that number is actively engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. If it really came down to it, we could increase our military by four percent of the total population and we would have more than enough people in uniform to do whatever needs doing without even breaking a sweat.

And we have allies, more so than you may imagine. There are dozens of countries that stand to lose horribly in the event of either a religious war or a communist takeover. Besides our stalwart friends like Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, we also have friends in Japan, India, Taiwan, South Korea and elsewhere.

I'll leave it up to geo-politicians to decide what the hidden agendas may be on the world scene. But I'll leave us with one concept that more than anything else should be at the forefront of President Bush's thinking.

All the rhetoric, missile firing, posturing and threatening have one common goal. Together they are a distraction that is giving Iran time to go nuclear and North Korea time to further develop the nuclear capabilities it already possesses. If these two countries can begin exporting nuclear weapons, even in the most rudimentary form, then whatever sacrifices are necessary today to rid the world of their influence will seem miniscule in a nuclear future.

There are many countries between Spain and Indonesia with large Muslim populations, whose rulers have given lip service, and possibly even more to the fight against terrorism. But for the most part, they still are fence-sitters, waiting to see who will emerge as the strongest. If they don't have a clear vision that the U.S. and its allies will be the victors, they will hedge their bets, and not give all they could to help.

On there other hand, if they see our resolve and a willingness to unleash the iron fist, they could become valuable allies, with a common goal of a peaceful more productive world. It no longer is sufficient to serve up signs and signals. It is time to dish out some knuckle sandwiches.

The time for talk is past. Diplomacy is wasted. The time to act is now. If President Bush doesn't use the full might of the United States to eliminate the terrorists, neutralize both Syria and Iran, and put world communism back in the box, he is mortgaging the futures of his own daughters, and his unborn grandchildren, and their grandchildren.

And ours too.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Keep Your Eye on Chris Dodd

The media reported today that Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd was heading down to Florida to do his first appearance as a potential presidential candidate.

Dodd, Connecticut's 'other' senator, was quoted in the state newspapers in May as saying he was considering a run for the top spot. Plenty, and I mean plenty, of knowledgeable political commentators reacted with a ho-hum, and immediately began writing him off. They then turned their attention to Joe Lieberman, Connecticut's other 'other senator,' who is under the harsh glare of the media spotlight for having the audacity to support the war in Iraq.

I disagree with those who have written Dodd off, and I think it is more than a little bit possible that once the August Democratic primary and November elections are over, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get back in touch with Sen. Dodd and see how he's doing. Here's why.

A few weeks before Dodd's May announcement first in the Connecticut, and then national media, I had occasion to attend an award ceremony featuring the senator at an aerospace manufacturing company. Dodd had been instrumental in getting the firm a decent-sized government contract to manufacture aircraft parts, and a state consortium of aerospace manufacturers wanted to thank him for his efforts on their behalf.

The event was well attended by the media, and a huge contingent of aerospace workers, many of them blue-collar machinists. I expected Dodd to give a run of the mill thank you speech for the award and spend a few minutes hitting on the venerable work ethic of Connecticut's manufacturing industry.

Instead, what we got was a roof-raising, barn-burning campaign speech that had the attendees on their feet repeatedly, clapping wildly and cheering with unabashed enthusiasm.

Afterward, I approached Dodd's Chief of Staff, with whom I have been somewhat acquainted for more than a decade, and quietly asked, "Did I just hear a stump speech?"

I received only a barely concealed smile in return. I found out later that a colleague had approached Dodd himself at the same time, and asked the same question, getting the same response. We concluded that Dodd definitely was running for president.

I bring this up for a reason. I had shared a podium with the senator at a rally for veterans' issues about a decade earlier and had heard him speak then with the same thunder and enthusiasm. He definitely is a man who can reach out to a crowd and hold them mesmerized, except for when he wants them to erupt in approval.

It occurred to me that this talent will work well for him as the national Democrats rush head-long to self-destruction with their culture of doom and gloom. They never have anything positive to say about anything or anyone who isn't part of their in-crowd, and they are so hell-bent on making George Bush's life miserable that they can't see the only people they are hurting are the ones looking back at them from their mirrors.

But then along comes Dodd, who will criticize the president when it suits him, but just as easily will vote with the majority when he thinks it is the right thing to do. The thing about Dodd is, he has so much power, so much seniority and so much confidence, that he can't be cowed into echoing the party line by the various factions vying for power within the Democratic National Committee.

Now, normally, that might not get him many points with the party power structure. But it is a long way to 2008 and who knows what will happen between now and then?

One thing is certain. If you put Chris Dodd on a stage with John Kerry on one side, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton on the other, all required to address a national audience, Dodd is going to hammer them. If he gives a speech similar to the ones I have seen him deliver, then Gore's buffoonery, Kerry's pontificating, and Hillary's shrillness will make him look like a savior.

Dodd has the capability, the knowledge of issues, the breadth and depth to make a huge impact on disaffected Democrats and independents alike. Some political commentators may say I am full of it. But then, some of those same commentators had Howard Dean chosen to be the Democratic candidate last time, and then Kerry to win by a wide margin.

Maybe I am full of it. But then, I have been to the countryside and conversed with the faithful, and I have seen a possible future for the Democratic Party. It looked a lot like Chris Dodd.
Saturday, July 08, 2006

It Won't Be Over When It's Over

No, that is not a contradiction in terms, if I expand on the headline and tell you that I am talking about the War in Iraq and the War on Terror.

With all the debating and posturing going on in Congress over pulling out of Iraq, and when, and under what circumstances, I get the feeling that many of our legislators think that by leaving Iraq we will be done with the War on Terror. Wrong.

To put this into perspective, let me say up front that I support our decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This has nothing to do with all the drivel that has been spewed out of Washington over the weapons of mass destruction.

There may or may not have been WMDs in Iraq in 2003. Prior to the invasion every politician in Washington believed there were and that it was their duty as good testers of the prevailing winds to say they supported overthrowing Saddam - until it actually happened and no one could find the WMDs. And now we have some evidence emerging that perhaps they were there after all, but were spirited away to Syria and Russia. Ho-hum.

Even if that is accurate, it is irrelevant.

Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George Bush promised America that we would hunt down any terrorists who took part in those attacks, and we would view any country that supported them, regardless of whether they actually participated, as enemies of the United States. OK, fine by me.

Well, in 2002, it has now been firmly established, our number one dead terrorist, Abu Al-Zarqawi, was wounded in battle against us in Afghanistan, and made his way to Baghdad, where he was hospitalized for a lengthy period of medical care. Then he was treated to a lengthy recuperation and rehabilitation period.

He was given sanctuary and treatment, and then he was turned loose against us in a country that already was being developed as the next launching point for further terrorist attacks. Since Al Qaeda and the Taliban were getting their heads handed to them by our forces in Afghanistan, they needed a new base for continuing their war, and Iraq was obviously it.

There were terrorist training camps, friendly secret police, even a mock up of a commercial airliner so they could practice hijackings. Oh, did I mention, the director of the hospital where Al-Zarqawi recuperated was Saddam's son.

George Bush brought up the WMDs in his State of the Union address in 2003, in an effort to get more of the world's movers and shakers from the United Nations on our side. Little did he or we know at that time that there was no way the UN Security Council was ever going to side with us on overthrowing Saddam, regardless of how much support he was giving to the terrorists. The big noises on the Security Council had already been bought off with the Oil For Food profits that were supposed to provide sustenance and medical care to Saddam's countrymen.

France, Russia, China and Germany all had sent bag men to the UN where they were bribed handsomely and pledged allegiance to each other, so long as the greenback pipeline was flowing. The UN join in overthrowing Saddam? He was greasing their already greasy palms and all the posturing and pontificating in the world wasn't going to change it.

So we go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, and then face another challenge, the emergence of the so-called insurgency, a two facet war that includes secularists fighting Sunni Muslims who are fighting Shiite Muslims, who all are being manipulated by outside terrorists who think this is the shortcut to paradise.

Three years later we have nonetheless put the smackdown on the terrorists, helped bring about the first popularly elected democratic government in that country ever, and are nearing the time when we can start bringing our troops home.

But that will not be the end of it. Terrorism isn't dead. Regardless of whether the Iraqis can establish a working coalition dedicated to the concept of one Iraq, regardless of whether their police and armed forces can take the lead in curtailing bombings and sectarian violence, the foreign terrorists will not be done with us as long as they are breathing, and will simply find a new base of operations from which to launch their attacks.

This is already happening. Some have gone back to Afghanistan, hoping presumably, to reestablish past glory days when men were men and women were cloaked from head to foot in burlap sacks. But alas, for them, this is not happening and they are being smashed by coalition troops, Afghanistan Army troops and Afghan police.

However, we would do well to keep an eye on Somalia. The terrorists have succeeded in taking control of Mogadishu, probably the one city and the one country in the world where they can rule simply by force of arms. With no army or police to worry about they can establish new training facilities, do all of their banking in secret, and prepare for the next round of attacks with impunity.

No, it won't be over when it is over. I believe this is a multi-generation war. The current generation of terrorists will have to be completely eliminated, the next will have to be neutralized, and the unborn generation educated to a less violent point of view before we can really start breathing easy. Three generations, sixty years.

And one other thing about these terrorists we are fighting. They weren't educated in prep schools, finishing schools and Ivy League colleges. They are the ultimate street fighters, and their training grounds were gritty streets and alleyways where there were no soft mats to absorb a hard fall, and no one to call time, or award a win on points from hitting an opponent with white striped boxing gloves.

There is no gentlemanly sport about this to a street fighter. There is only winning ... or dying. When a street fighter goes down, even if he temporarily goes out, there is only one thought on his mind when he regains his feet.

It isn't about pain or injuries, and certainly not about congratulating an opponent on winning the day. When a street fighter goes down, if he is not dead, the primary thought on his mind is revenge. How will he get even the next time? What must he change to overcome this enemy?

If you have fought him, and not killed him, he will use the encounter as a classroom into your tactics and mindset. Then he will use what he learned against you.

All of the fighters who are participating in the war against us must die or be totally disabled or they will continue to press the battle against us. No, the war is not over, and won't be regardless of when we leave Iraq. But if we go when the time is right, on our own power, with a new ally behind us, we will have a clear chance at winning.

If we slink away making excuses as we go, the street fighters, even though they have been beaten, will use this as a window into our national character. And the next time they will use new and even more ruthless tactics against us.

Best Quote of the week beginning July 9:
For the second straight week, Brit Hume to Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, following a panel discussion that included debate on military versus diplomatic responses to North Korean provocations:
"I'm working with the Chinese and the Russians to formulate a response to what Juan just said."
Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Smell Diversion

Within hours of the time I wrote my July 4 column, our wacko du jour in North Korea, Kim Jong Ill sent up a series of missiles that either don't work or don't have the range at the moment to be anything more than an annoyance, supposedly to let the world know that he really is a serious player on the international stage.

But is he? He can be a royal pain and a danger to our allies in South Korea and Japan to be sure. He can throw tantrums and make demands on his allies, China and Russia, but when you think about it, nut cases are as likely to strike out at their friends as their enemies if they don't get their way, so those two countries aren't likely to take him too seriously either.

But let's step back for a minute and think about what we would do if we WERE major players on the world stage, and we had our own pet sociopath who would do almost anything we asked, just so he could get the attention his equally megalomaniacal father never gave him.

In this case, the caretakers would be the aforementioned China and Russia, who so far haven't shown any real inclination to deal with Kim Jong Ill's proclivity to toss missiles around as frequently as threats. (Yes, I know there is only one L in his name, but for the purposes of my columns and his mental state, the second L will serve as my preferred play on words.)

If we were them, it would make sense to use him to do our bidding for whatever purposes suit us at the moment, without letting him in on the secret of course.

In case you haven't been watching, there has been a resurgence of communism on the world stage in recent years. Although the Soviet Union has been dead for more than a decade, and China is moving steadily toward a market rather than a police state economy, Russia and China, as well as North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and now Venezuela, still are headed by die-hard communists who long for the days when they controlled their masses with iron fists and smoking guns.

These folks aren't easily giving up on their fanatic belief in a workers' Utopia, even though the workers who were supposed to benefit from the state controlling every facet of their lives had a persistent problem with understanding that philosophy over the six decades of major communist influence. Ah, for the good old days when you could throw dissenters into the gulags with impunity whenever school children reported that their parents had been whispering anti-state diatribes in the darkness of their bedrooms.

And, if reeducation failed despite the most intensive efforts of the communist overlords, who can argue with the effectiveness of slave labor or executions for those who just wouldn't go along with the pogrom.

It seems from a number of recent events that there is one last desperate bid by the old-time communists to reassert themselves and their philosophy. Russia's leader Vladimir (Ras)Putin has rolled back many of the hard-won freedoms that emerged after the Soviet Union dissolved, including freedom of the press, and independent elections.

China is having internal spasms since the Bush Administration stopped handing over western technology as the Clinton Administration did. Cuba's Castro is literally beside himself hoping to finally achieve his lifelong goal of exporting communism throughout South America, starting with his newest, bestest buddy, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, the modern day replacement for Che Guevera.

And just in case you haven't noticed, communist terrorists, calling themselves Maoists, (don't you just love that term, as if we aren't supposed to figure out that they are communist Chinese or their agents) have gone on rampages deep in central India several times in recent months spreading death and mayhem in predominantly Hindu villages.

But there is a fly in the ointment, that being the Bush administration. The world communist community really had things going their way in the mid-to late 70s, and again in the 90s when the American political climate tilted heavily in their direction. But as in Reagan's 80s, we again have an anti-communist leader in George Bush, who has a penchant for keeping state secrets.

Consider, if you were the leader of a dying movement and you wanted to go down in a blaze of glory, or resurrect your beliefs on a widespread platform, you would have to either defeat or neutralize your primary enemy, in this case the United States. But if the leader of your primary enemy kept secrets such as military and technological advances to himself, how would you find out the things you need to know?

Let's say that you want to know whether the United States has made significant advances in anti-missile technology, and didn't share those advances with you. You know that under President Reagan the US embarked on a serious anti-missile defense program, that there were some advances and some setbacks, but also that the program was supposedly killed under the Clinton Administration as too expensive, unnecessary, and unattainable.

But then along comes George Bush, the terrorist attacks of 2001, and suddenly everything is back on the table or the drawing board. There have been some tests that you are aware of, but all you really hear about are the failures. Have there been any successes, any advancements? You would remember, if you had studied your history, that in 1939 the US wasn't involved in the emerging World War, and knew practically nothing about atomic energy or nuclear weapons.

But five short years later the US emerged as the only world power with an atomic bomb. If the US can pull that technological leap off in that short a period in total secrecy, who says that with the proper funding and mindset in the White House the anti-missile program couldn't also become a reality?

What do you do, how do you find out what the US has accomplished, short of putting agents inside the CIA to leak secrets to the American media? Well, eureka! You get your favorite puppet, to use one of communism's favorite expressions, to wing a few missiles out over the Sea of Japan and then watch the reaction from the US.

You may figure that the American media is right, the president is a cowboy who will react emotionally rather than strategically, that even though he was successful in becoming a jet fighter pilot he really didn't learn anything from his time in the military reserves, thus won't catch on to your ruse. You may believe the American media and the opposition in the US Congress when they say the American military is stretched too thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, even though less than 10 percent of American military assets are being used in those areas.

You can use this to your advantage, just by standing back and watching his tactics, and which weapons systems he activates to defend his country.

Maybe you aren't planning on an all out attack, but if you believe the dissenters in Congress and the media, then maybe, just maybe, if faced with the possibility of dealing with a hostile communist bloc, America will fold again, as it did in the 70s with Vietnam, and make whatever concessions are necessary to avoid confrontation on another front.

Maybe, just maybe. I could be wrong, there may be far more to this than any of us know, but nonetheless, I don't think the issue we have to deal with is North Korea or its leader.

I smell diversion, and I believe our intelligence agencies would be working in our best interests if they at least explored that possibility to determine whether it is true, or can be ruled out.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The 'Other' Korea, America's Ace in the Hole

With all the saber rattling, or should I say, missile brandishing, from the erratic leader of communist North Korea, Kim Jong Ill, most of the world's attention is focused on the response from the United States.

In fact, the entire confrontation seems to be regarded as a test of wills between the US and North Korea. Occasionally, media reports refer to the million-man North Korean Army, and television footage regularly shows battalions of goose-stepping communist soliders on parade backed by increasingly sophisticated missile systems.

But that perspective ignores a vital and powerful element in the region's balance of power, the country of South Korea and its highly trained, highly motivated and highly effective armed forces.

The United States has kept a relatively small military force in Korea since the end of major hostilities there in 1953, partially as a deterrent to the communists again invading the south, and for more traditional chores such as sharing the defense of the often volatile Demilitarized Zone between the communist north and the democratic south.

For many, the US presence in South Korea is seen as the trump card in an international high-stakes card game that keeps the communists at bay. But that disregards the contributions of the south.

It is true that when the communists invaded South Korea in 1950 the south's army was not up to the challenge from the better equipped and trained communist soldiers. For that matter, neither was the US Army, and for a time early in the war it seemed as if the communists would prevail.

But ultimately the US and United Nations forces pushed the communists back, then dealt with the communist Chinese onslaught, then worked to maintain a tenuous peace, with the South Korean armed forces fighting right alongside the forces from other free countries.

The South Koreans continued to work, building, training, advancing, after the armistice, and continue their efforts to this day. American forces who were joined in South Vietnam in the 1960s by their South Korean allies were pleased to find that not only were the South Korean forces intellectually motivated, they were in fact a highly aggressive and universally effective fighting force, so much so that the communist Viet Cong feared them like no others.

It would appear in hindsight that some in the American military disregarded the South Korean contributions, to our detriment. For instance a South Korean force was operating in the same area as the infamous village of My Lai, where after months of nearly daily casualties from hidden booby traps, snipers and mines, American soldiers went on a morning rampage in 1968, killing between 300 and 500 villagers, women and children included, virtually all non-combatants.

The South Koreans had also been taking casualties in a similar fashion from a village in the area. But there the similarities stopped.

One morning the village awoke to find itself cordoned off by a wall of heavy equipment including tanks. Dubbed Operation Bulldozer, the Koreans used the equipment to run a grid back and forth across the open spaces in the village, partially collapsing underground tunnels where the communist Viet Cong were hiding.

At each depression in the earth, Korean engineers placed red flags, and when they were finished teams carrying flame throwers went to each flag, opened a hole into the tunnel underneath and let loose. Within minutes hordes of screaming Viet Cong burst from hidden tunnel entrances, making straight for a nearby stream where they were met by a unit of South Korean soldiers and a hail of gunfire.

The Koreans inflicted nearly 100 percent casualties on the Viet Cong without harming the villagers who themselves had been subjected to terrorism from the communists. The operation was a classic example of outside-the-box military thinking that not only produced the desired results but also entirely avoided a political backlash.

Without deviating too much from the point of this article, it bears mention that the South Korean tactics from 1968 could well be adapted to the present situation in Iraq where coalition troops are tasked with eliminating terrorists without killing the innocent civilians among whom they hide.

As for the present insanity in North Korea it is clear that their leader has a fixation about being a major player on the international scene, and his objectives as well as his adversaries all appear to be beyond his horizons.

But Kim Jong Ill would do well as he focuses on faraway places and people to take a good look over his shoulder.

There he will find a South Korea that over the half-century since the Korean War has developed a prosperous economy, an enviable educational system, and a standard of living that stands in stark contrast to the starvation and privation experienced under communist rule just a few miles north.

He also will find South Korean armed forces that can field a million highly capable fighters on very short notice, who are ready to defend all that they have accomplished. It isn't outside the realm of possibility, based on his actions to date, to conclude that the leader of North Korea thinks nothing of ignoring or trifling with his counterparts in the south.

But he does so at his own peril.

Fourth Of July Holiday Note:
Two signers of the Declaration of Independence, who later became presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th, 1826 the 50th anniversary of the signing.


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