Far too often lately, when I hear someone with no military experience talking about Iraq, even those who say they support our presence there, they morph into the wafflers' talking points by agreeing that the war is a "mess" and we are "stretched too thin."

But every time I talk to someone who has actually been fighting in Iraq, or who understands the needs and structure of the military, they say we are making phenomenal progress in Iraq, it just doesn't get reported by the World Terrorist Media and its homegrown subsidiary, the American Terrorist Media. Those who are in the military or have a working knowledge of the military don't understand where these 'mess' and 'too thin' claims are coming from, except of course from the wafflers and WTM/ATM.

But my question for the wafflers is, "What do you think you will get if you are successful? A peaceful world where everyone goes about their own business and ends centuries of violence, subjugation of women, enslavement, and repression?" Talk about being in denial.

I have been in regular contact with Marines and soldiers who have spent multiple tours in Iraq and they are unanimous that the Iraqi people overwhelmingly support the US, and want us to stay until they are capable of having a stable country of their own.

This may seem like a contradiction, but I believe that if you were to do a poll today and ask Iraqis only one question, "Do you want the US out of Iraq?" most respondents would answer 'yes.'

However, if you followed up the first question with "Do you want the US out now, or when Iraq is capable of providing its own security," the latter choice would be the overwhelming response.

I ran into this same issue in Vietnam a generation ago. Everywhere I went in I Corps, the locals would say they wanted the war over and the US gone, but quickly followed that up with the statement that they were defining a long term goal, and they did NOT intend to substitute American troops with communists.

But the anti-war media in the states, which by then was just about the entire American media, only reported the first half of those sentiments. It stands to reason that most people would prefer that their own armed forces and police keep the peace. It stands to reason that few if any citizens want an occupying army permanently in their land.

But you have to ask both parts of that question to get a real picture of the mood, and unfortunately, the WTM and ATM keep coming up short when they do their polling. Apparently they are losing advertising dollars at such a fast rate that they can only afford to hire pollsters who ask half a question.

When the WTM and ATM report on every car bomb that goes off in Iraq as the only news of the day it doesn't take long for people to get the impression that the country is a mess. But what if the same tactics applied here in America?

What if every single day the ATM reported on every car accident and related death in say, Greater San Diego and Greater Los Angeles instead of Baghdad and Fallujah, and extrapolated from the reporting that the entire state of California was in danger of sliding into anarchy? The people living the farming areas, other cities, and the mountainous regions outside of Sacramento would be justifiably and understandably angry over such lopsided depictions of their state.

Yet that is what we get. When was the last time you saw anything reported out of Basra, except when the British troops saw military action? Months ago probably. Is that because there is nothing happening in Basra, or because most of the sectarian violence is taking place in Baghdad, and Basra is actually improving all the time?

You can bet there are good things happening all over Iraq that simply aren't being reported. That is what our troops tell me, and I'd believe an Army or Marine private over anyone in the WTM and ATM anytime, even if the alleged journalist swore on a stack of Bibles - or Korans for that matter.

As far as stretched too thin, let's take a look at the numbers.

We have a standing military of just under 2.4 million people, including reservists, with about 1.4 million consisting of regular active duty personnel. Of that number we have about 140,000 in Iraq and some 20,000 in Afghanistan.

That means that if you only count the active duty forces, rathering that comparing it to the total number in the service, we still have only about 11 percent deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.

But even giving the edge to those who say we are stretched too thin, it still means we have nearly 90 percent of our active duty forces stationed elsewhere. I can't think of another place, with the exception of our border with Mexico and our troops in South Korea, where so many members of the military are absolutely, positively necessary for security or combat duties that if they were really needed elsewhere they couldn't be moved out.

Lately the wafflers also have been making the claim that we aren't doing enough in Afghanistan because of the disparity in numbers of American troops there versus those in Iraq. That is simply a disingenuous comparison since NATO has taken over military duties in Afghanistan, and done very well in smashing resurgent terrorists by the way.

I guess the wafflers are counting on the American public being stupid and uniformed even if we are in the Information Age.

The reason behind this is obvious. If the wafflers make the military appear weak, overloaded, ill-equipped and incapable of success, fewer Americans will want to join. Ultimately the terrorists and probably the communists who are backing them, will be able to take us over, which seems to me to be the real goal of the wafflers and hand wringers.

Am I wrong here? I don't think so. If I go down to the stop sign at the end of my street and take a right, I know exactly where I will end up. Same goes for if I take a left.

If you continue down the road the wafflers and handwringers want us to take, you end up with a disemboweled America where extremists from other countries rule by the gun and impose their versions of government, religion and society. I guarantee you, if that were to happen the wafflers and hand-wringers would be the first to pule and cry that "someone should do something." But by then it will be way too late.

The wafflers also are trying to make it appear that the military is falling short on recruiting efforts. Not true in the overall, but even more importantly, the combat job codes are full. Marine recruiters recently revealed that there is a waiting list to get into the Marine infantry.

Technical jobs and aviation jobs are open. But the boots on the ground, faces in the mud guys have to wait their turn to get a shot at the terrorists. Don't hear much about that do you?

What we have here is an outright attempt to regain lost political power by any means at hand, even if it means weakening the country and leaving us vulnerable to terrorist attacks. You really have to wonder about the mental abilities of someone who favors that route.

HP and government leaks

I heard a pundit on TV the other day saying it is impossible to stop the leaks of classified, meaning Top Secret, national security information. The New York Times has been publishing Top Secret information for years now, deliberately setting the stage for millions of deaths of innocent civilians in Southeast Asia, putting our troops at risk, and now putting the country at risk of further terrorist attacks.

This apparently is to get back at President Bush in the current situation, and was to get back at other Republicans in previous times. Apparently to the Times and other members of the WTM, revenge for perceived wrongdoing, like being a Republican, takes precedence over the lives of millions of people.

But while one pundit was claiming that it is impossible to stop the leaks of Top Secret information, a Congressional panel was holding hearings into Hewlett Packard's methodology for stopping leaks out of the corporate boardroom, which incidentally were totally successful.

But the pundits are saying HP invaded the personal privacy of individuals who violated their employment contracts by leaking sensitive inside information to the media, which then affected company fortunes on the stock market.

Who does that sound like?

I think the Justice Department should put in a request to have a private meeting with HP execs, and former execs, and then apply what they've learned. Then let's see how long it really takes to stop leaking Top Secret information.