“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

"They Did it for Their Country"

Group of young Muslims murders 3 Christians in Turkey
By Barbara G. Baker/Compass Direct News Service
Apr 20, 2007

ISTANBUL (BP)--In a gruesome assault against Turkey's tiny Christian community, five young Muslim Turks entered a Christian publishing office in the southeastern province of Malatya April 18 and slit the throats of the three Protestant Christians present.

Two of the victims, Necati Aydin, 36, and Ugur Yuksel, 32, were Turkish converts from Islam. The third man, Tilmann Geske, 46, was a German citizen.

The Turkish press reported that four of the five young men, all 19 to 20 years of age, admitted during initial interrogations that they were motivated by both "nationalist and religious feelings."

"We did this for our country," an identical note in the pockets of all five young men read, Channel D television station reported. "They are attacking our religion."

According to the Hurriyet newspaper, one of the suspects declared during police questioning, "We didn't do this for ourselves. We did it for our religion. May this be a lesson to the enemies of religion."

In a demonstration against the Zirve Publishing office in Malatya two years ago, local protestors had claimed its publishing and distribution activities constituted "proselytism" among Muslims and should be closed down. Turkish law, however, guarantees the right to engage in religious evangelism if it does not contain proven political motives.

The three Christians were found tied hand and foot to chairs in the liaison office of Zirve Publishing in Malatya's Niyazi Misr-i district. Their throats had been cut and their bodies marred by multiple stab wounds.


  1. Onward Christian soldiers:

    MOSUL, Iraq, April 22 (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead 23 factory workers from an ancient minority sect in an apparent revenge killing in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, police and hospital sources said.
    Brigadier-General Mohammed al-Waggaa said the gunmen stopped the vehicle, forced the textile factory workers out of a minibus and gunned them down in the eastern al-Nour district of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq's third-largest city.
    A source at a local hospital said 23 people were killed and three were seriously wounded.
    Waggaa said the execution-style killing appeared to be in retaliation for an incident in which a Yazidi woman was stoned to death several weeks ago for converting to Islam. He said the workers were found near a mosque in the same area.

  2. Our Friend Fellow Peacekeeper:
    Weekly attack on Diwaniyah VIII/07

    April 20 Rocket attack on Echo base (Iraqslogger), thats Friday so think post sermon hate.
    April 21 Reports of Polish convoy 30 km from Diwaniyah hit by IED, one Polish solider killed and three wounded.

    That second news is grievous, but the indirect fire attacks inDiwaniyah proper have finally tailed off. MNF(I) reveals two reasons why indirect fire attacks on Echo are down post Black Eagle - the US 1-14 Cav Regiment.

  3. Insurgent Tactics Raising U.S. Death Toll in Diyala
    Attacks on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have risen sharply, a problem compounded by an influx of fighters in search of safer havens outside Baghdad.

  4. What a lunatic asylum. This girl marries a muzzie so her folk stone her to death, then the muzzies massacre all her folk. Do I have this right? If one were a fiction writer I think it would be hard to conjure this non-sense up. These people can't handle rights, they are overwhelmed by emotions of the most idiotic sort. The old ploy of trying to make some peace through inter-marriage won't seem to work here.

  5. Sadr calls for Iraqi security forces to end the fighting in Diwaniyah
    Diwaniyah is the city where large segments of Sadr's Mahdi Army fled to after the commencement of the Baghdad Security Plan, a U.S. intelligence official told us. With the split in Sadr's Mahdi Army, and a large segment looking to reconcile with the Iraqi government, the extremist elements of the militia have hunkered down in Diwaniyah. Security in Diwaniyah is said to have been deteriorating since the Mahdi Army concentrated power in the city. The Iraqi government and Coalition is pursuing the Mahdi Army holdovers remaining in Diwaniyah.

    Sadr's plea for Iraqi forces to break for the Coalition and halt the fighting shows he is concerned his forces in Diwaniyah are facing a very real threat. Yesterday, Sadr issued an official statement, "which was distributed in the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf and stamped with Sadr's seal." The statement called for Iraqi Security Forces to end the fighting against the Mahdi Army. Reuters excerpts portions of Sadr's letter:

    "And here we can see in ... (Diwaniyah), a civil strife the occupier planned, to drag the brothers into clashing, fighting and even killing... Oh (Mahdi Army) and my brothers (Iraqi forces) enough of this clashing and killing. This is success for your enemy ... and (Iraqi army and police) don't be dragged behind the enemy... God has ordered you to be patient in front of the enemy and to unify your efforts against it, not against the sons of Iraq."

  6. Yazidis are not Christian.

    Yazidi is a combination of an ancient pagan religion and Islam.

    The origin of the Yazidi religion is now usually seen by scholars as a complex process of syncretism, whereby the belief-system and practices of a local faith had a profound influence on the religiosity of adherents of the Adawiyya Sufi order living in the Kurdish mountains, and caused it to deviate from Islamic norms relatively soon after the death of its founder...

  7. Where are the Mandeans in all of this--the followers of John the Baptist? Haven't seen them scoring any points, or getting scored upon. Anyone with any sense would try to leave. I think I'd try to hike north into Turkey, then to Europe, then get to Canada, or South America. If I had to steal to do it, I'd steal.

  8. Stihl? What kind of Swede are you?
    Get thee to Huskvarna

  9. Bob makes a good point, consider how many towns there are in the US with 300,000 people:

    "More than 200 killed in Mogadishu in 5 days
    The fighting in the Somalian capital Mogadishu has claimed more than 50 lives today, bringing the toll since Wednesday to more than 200. Bodies have been lying in the streets for days because it is too dangerous to take them away for burial. The United Nations reports that more than 300,000 people have fled Mogadishu since February.

    The fighting, which began at the start of the year, centres on the conflict between Islamist militias and the Ethiopian troops that ousted them in support of Somalia's interim government. Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi says his country is not fighting local insurgents, but "terrorists linked to al-Qaeda".

  10. Wretch has a neat post on African Tibetan Monks and the History of Christianity in Africa.
    (all of which was once called "Ethiopia")

    by Chairman Mao
    July 14, 1956
    Part of a talk with two Latin-American public figures.

    Now U.S. imperialism is quite powerful, but in reality it isn't. It is very weak politically because it is divorced from the masses of the people and is disliked by everybody and by the American people too. In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of, it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe the United States is nothing but a paper tiger.

    Paper Tiger

  12. The sparrow flew in: He reminded me of a point. Mao was a long marcher, a "leg over leg , the old dog went to Dover." kind of guy. he misread the US as a paer tiger. In reality the US is a tiger with only two acts. A asmart US politician and student of US history would know that the The US will fight a tough war if it is a winner. GWB is neither.
    The US will take casualties and give them, but it does not like ambiguity in war. The political system is rigged against the long march. Plan accordingly.

  13. The ever famous Ralph Peters writes:


    Which pertains to both the last thread and habu's Paper Tiger link, as well. In 1956 Mao had already tasted the massive casualties the US inflicted upon is ground Army, in the stalemate that was the Korean War.

    If we were not a "paper tiger" at the start of the Iraq adventure, we may soon be.

    Unless, of course, we begin to use those weapons and tactics that have been taken off the table.

  14. Think how hard the Iraqis will laugh when a Mexican Truck authorized by Globalist W Bush carries a WMD across the border ordered to be kept open by el Presidente Jorge.

  15. The Sunni-led governments of the Arab world have long been suspicious of Iraq's Shiite leadership, blaming it for fueling violence by discriminating against Sunnis and accusing it of helping mainly Shiite Iran extend its influence in the Middle East.

    On Sunday, al-Maliki announced that he had ordered a halt to a barrier being built by the U.S. military that would separate a Sunni enclave from Shiite areas of Baghdad. The wall had drawn sharp criticism from residents and Sunni leaders who complained it would isolate the community.

    Al-Maliki also promised to introduce new legislation to let former members of Saddam's ruling Baath Party resume jobs in the government. The legislation, which has yet to be sent to parliament, was seen as an attempt to avert criticism at the Arab summit.

    Halting Barrier

  16. "Ordinarily, stem-rust spores move only short distances, one stem infecting another as they brush against each other. However, Ug99 makes five distinct types of spores. Of these, the one known as the urediniospore is especially infectious and unique in its ability to ride air currents. Winds can carry these spores for hundreds or even thousands of miles."
    I took a Mycology Class in College:
    Them Fungi are Magical Critters!

  17. DR,
    Unless, of course, we begin to use those weapons and tactics that have been taken off the table.

    This will happen when pigs fly.

  18. You underlined the scary part, Doug, these last, survive and cruise with the air currents.

  19. That does create a challenge then, aye. As the reconciliation path to success seems hard to find. Especially as the Iraqi are not even looking.

    How to fallback, while achieving a marketable success story, all at the same time.

    I have my idea, but that is as likely to become a reality as pigs flying, as well.

    Appears to me that 2008 will be remembered, like it was 1974.
    If we remain on course.

  20. Four of the nation’s top military strategists told Congress this week what modernization plans they’d scrap and how they’d change military priorities.

    The list included former 24th Infantry Division commander and Clinton-era Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey; former commandant of the Army War College and military historian Maj. Gen. Robert Scales; former Reagan-era Pentagon official and oft-consulted GWOT critic Lawrence Korb and head of the Center For Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Andy Krepinevich.

    Scales is heavily involved in current Army war planning and in the development of new counterinsurgency doctrine. Korb is someone the DoD often talks to for his counterpoints of the Iraq war. McCaffrey has a key to the Oval Office - often providing his insight to administration planners and the president. And Krepinevich had been involved in writing the Quadrennial Defense Review and works on a range of strategic planning for the Army and other services.

    In a wide-ranging and fascinating hearing this week, the four told lawmakers what they’d do to change the current DoD modernization plans, realigning resources to areas they say will better position America for the conflicts of the future. Their views were sometimes in conflict, but overall, they were remarkably concurrent – and at times, quite radical.





  21. On balance, what would be worse?

    To lose a political skirmish in Iraq, after the primary military goals of the mission were achieved,
    or lose the Congress and the Executive to the Dems, who will then leave Iraq, without a convincing story of success?

    We should give Maliki the Authority he demanded when he took office, on the timeline he requested. November or December, then ink a long term "stay behind" deal with him.

    Change the story from that of failure to one of success, all with a treaty and slow withdrawal, over the next two years, starting in January '08, culminating with a sizable garrison in place in 2010.

  22. After visiting Egypt, Maliki will fly to Kuwait and other regional countries for preparatory talks ahead of the upcoming conferences on Iraq to be held in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on May 3-4.

    His regional tour aims to rally support for his government and its efforts to reduce widespread sectarian violence in the country.

    Iraq's neighboring countries conference will also be attended by Egypt along with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the G8 members.

    Restoring Peace and Stability

  23. Aquarium: I can easily see '08 as '74

    2008 is 1960. Barack Obama is JFK. Hillary is Nixon. Obama will win the primary because every time she speaks her numbers go down. Obama will win the general because nobody in the south is gonna vote for a cross-dresser like Giuliani, or a Mormon like Romney, and McCain is sinking like a rock. So the "solid South" will stay home and blue and purple states will put Obama in the White House. Then he will be shot.

  24. Of the four, Mr Krepinevich comes closest to my opinion of the needs and requirements of the future US force.

    The old mission of Special Forces, to be trainers and advisors to foreign troops, to be force multipliers is essential to our future efforts.

    That there are more fighter aircraft than infantry squads, now that is something I did not know.

    It's pitiful, really.

  25. The real reason 32 people were murdered at Virginia Tech

    During a TV interview a psychiatrist said we should ignore the killer's "delusions" about persecution (bullying).

    I agree, and think Cho invented that story, perhaps subconsiously, to save face and cover up the real reason he decided to commit suicide: he was within a month of graduation and felt he was a failure. He had no job offer. He had no girl, and had never dated. There is evidence that Cho was originally an engineering major, but failed at it, and switched to English instead.

    Besides being evil (what one of his teachers called "mean"), Cho seemed to blame his failures and problems on others. So he killed a woman from the dorm next to his as a symbol for all the women he had known. He killed people in the engineering building because they were succeeding at something which he had failed at. He then killed himself because he had failed at everything he set out to do, and had nowhere to go after graduation.

  26. Great links elijah, why do the Koolaid drinkers have a hard time understanding that criticism of incompetence is patriotic?

  27. Elijah,

    Thanks for the 4 links. Great reads.

  28. It looks like Al Gore will run in 2008, as Hillary is falling apart. That could change things. I would suspect Gore offers Obama the VP slot.

  29. Deuce, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're "Patriotic," but I don't see what in the Hell criticizing my President has to do with it.

  30. Polling Data

    If the 2008 Democratic presidential primary were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were:
    (Democrats and Democratic leaners)

    Apr. 2007
    Mar. 2007
    Feb. 2007

    Hillary Rodham Clinton

    Barack Obama

    Al Gore

    John Edwards

    Bill Richardson

    Dennis Kucinich

    Joe Biden


    Not sure

    Would not vote

    Source: Opinion Dynamics / Fox News
    Methodology: Telephone interviews with 900 registered American voters, conducted on Apr. 17 and Apr. 18, 2007. Margin of error for the sample of registered Democratic voters is 5 per cent.

    41 - 20

  31. Rufus, it is my country right or wrong, not my president right or wrong. If I followed your logic, I would have to also defer to LBJ, Carter and Clinton.

  32. Polls see Obama gaining as Hillary Fades

    Obama has pulled to within 5% of Hillary as her negative rating soar among core Democratic groups

    The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has tightened significantly between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, according to recent polls that show a sharp increase among voters who have negative opinions of the former first lady.
    The New York senator held on to her front-runner status last week, but pollsters and political analysts said she was losing strategic segments of her party's base, including younger, single women, liberals and independents...

    Gallup's survey of registered voters last week found that Mrs. Clinton had lost her double-digit lead over Mr. Obama of Illinois, who now trails her by five percentage points.
    It also found that her favorability ratings had taken a nose dive.
    Mrs. Clinton's favorability score fell from 58 percent in February to 45 percent last week her lowest Gallup score since 1993. Fifty-two percent said they have a negative view of her candidacy. This compared with Mr. Obama, who had a favorability rating of 52 percent.
    "It's still early in the campaign and it's hard to bet against a Clinton. They're winners. However, the inevitability factor is no longer there," independent pollster John Zogby said...

    Hillary isn't wearing well. It seems as if the more people see her, the less they like her," Dick Morris wrote on the Town Hall Web site last week.
    "Now, for the first time, her low likability levels are costing her votes, as Democratic Party voters are abandoning her to support Barack Obama," said Mr. Morris, who served as a campaign adviser to former President Bill Clinton.
    Democrats appear to be moving away from Mrs. Clinton and toward her two strongest rivals, Mr. Obama and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Mr. Zogby said.
    "Democratic voters right now say they want someone who stands for what they believe, and that points to Obama and to Edwards," he said.

  33. I'd bet anyone $5 that Hillary is the nominee. Though I've always been opposed to taking candy from babies.

  34. Gore could win the popular vote, again.
    In '08 Ohio the GOP will have no lock on it, as they have in the past few cycles. Republican incompetence and malfesence, there in the Governor Tafts' office has done them in, to a great extent.
    GOP Senator Mike DeWine felt the sting, after 12 years in the Senate, he took a lickin' last November.

    Without Ohio, Mr Bush would not be President, today. No Republican would.

  35. I've always thought that Mr Gore would be the nominee.
    He'll win in the early CA primary and roll on towards the White House.
    Rudy would have an easy time against Ms Clinton, I'm not sure how he'd do against Mr Gore.

    When and if Mr Gore becomes President, no criticisim will be allowed, it'd be unpatriotic.

  36. why do the Koolaid drinkers have a hard time understanding that criticism of incompetence is patriotic?

    It IS your Right; and, it MAY NOT BE "Unpatriotic," but I'll be damned if I can see how it makes you, prima facie, "Patriotic."

  37. Mr Krepinevich, elijah.

    A man after my own thoughts,
    and I did not even know.

  38. Some claim that to criticize is un-patriotic. That implies lack of criticism is patriotic. If one looks at how the Constitution was constructed, it is obvious that it was done with some scathing criticism, sarcasm and outright loathing.

    "I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
    -- George washington

    I would advice against being in awe of our masters of the moment.
    George Washington

  39. Deuce, I didn't say criticizing the President made you "unpatriotic," I just said, "I don't see how in the hell it makes you the reverse ("Patriotic.")

  40. Here are some quotes on patriotism from some luminaries of the past.

  41. Thanks Bob, this one caught my attention. It has currency.
    George Washington:
    "I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward."

  42. Theodore Roosevelt:
    To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

    But then, he was not a "conservative" either.

  43. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! March 23, 1775

    And, Please Lord, give me respite from the whining, bitching, moaning, crybaby anklebiters.

  44. If Senator Reid and his colleagues were to engage in a serious discussion to create more effective plans to enable the Iraqi forces decisively to defeat the terror forces, if Congress were to debate the best strategies to contain the Iranian and Syrian regimes, and if the legislators were to invite more Muslim dissidents instead of Islamist radicals to the Hill, then the road to victory in the war on terror would be paved with meaningful evidence. But, unfortunately instead of proposing a better map towards strategic victory, leading politicians - influenced by faulty expertise - are missing the whole logic of the War on Terror: its global dimension.

    And to add egregious insult to intellectual injury, a congressional panel recently voted to ban the use of the phrase, the “Global War on Terror.”

    In this context, Mr. Reid’s statement needs to be understood differently. Indeed one war is being lost by America today; it is the War of Ideas, not the war in Iraq.

    War in Congress

  45. Actually, he was about a half-assed crook, if the truth be told.

  46. Theodore Roosevelt, that is.

  47. oh almost forgot, from the same link above

    Al-Qaeda Doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Media

    Among the strategists referenced in this article, the Saudi al-Muqrin most thoroughly discussed the essential interconnectedness of the military and media dimensions of insurgency. Muqrin argued that the military and media campaigns must be accelerated simultaneously. While al-Qaeda's military doctrine required that the mujahideen wage war in all areas of Afghanistan and Iraq, this widespread activity was no less essential from the perspective of influencing the Muslim and Western worlds. "[There must be] no trace of doubt left on anybody's mind that they [the mujahideen] are present all over the land," Muqrin explained. "This will prove the mujahideen's power, rub the nose of the enemies in the dirt, and encourage young men to take up arms and face the enemy—Jews, Christians, and their collaborators." Such demonstrations, moreover, will stimulate donors to increase funding for the mujahideen. This is vital, Muqrin noted, because "jihad eats up enormous funds" and those funds are "the nerves of the jihad." In addition, broad and continuous mujahideen military activity will send a warning "through the language of blood or fire" to the people of nations allied with America that "their governments are getting them involved in wars and conflicts with which they have nothing to do."

    Has an Organized Campaign to Shut Down Islamist Websites Begun? Islamist Forums Claim It Has

    Now, really, goodnight

  48. Damned "unAmerican" to say that, about Teddy. He being a dead President, and unable to defend himself. One should not speak ill of the dead.

    The paragraph prior to elijahs' link to the aQ doctrine is interesting, as well.

    When military operations based on this data are ready to begin, Muqrin urged the mujahideen to follow "the 1,000-wound" policy of guerrilla war with the goal of prolonging the war to "exhaust" the enemies' patience and resources, and to avoid set-piece battles and attacks on "hardened targets" that would be too costly in terms of mujahideen casualties. "We can exhaust him [the enemy]," Abd-al-Hadi wrote, "without fighting any real battles with him." Al-Qaeda's strategists believe that they could find no better foe than the Americans against which to implement this doctrine.

    So we continue to field a 2nd Generation force, in a 4th or 5th generation battlespace. To little effect after four years of war.

    I've been saying so for three years, soon after the conventional war was won, as per Mr Bush on the Abe Lincolns' flight deck.

    The fruits of our success still not on the tree, let alone ready to harvest.

  49. :) Rufus! About one of our own Presidents!

    Well, truth be told, there have been some half assed crooks, we just disagree on which ones, exactly! :)

  50. I thought I read something awhile back that said we wanted to keep those websites up and running. You know, information source and everything.

  51. Just like letting cho broadcast his rant.
    There are differing views as to what is the prime objective.

    wu would tell US that the truth on those Mohammedan sites must be known, to be understood.
    Others would argue that the sites themselves generate ever greater escalations in the violence.

    I'd shut down all their sites, overtly, as well as shut down the cell phone networks in the "War Zones". Close the streets to private vehicle traffic, in the "War Zones".
    If those things are not done, why then, it's not a "War Zone". Almost by definition, aye?

  52. Like most Iraqis, Mahmud is so desperate for security, he would like nothing more than for the new U.S. security plan to work. With the troop surge, U.S. soldiers are now a constant presence in dangerous neighborhoods like Adamiya for the first time.

    But with al Qaeda terrorists determined to see the U.S. fail, and the ongoing cycle of revenge killings between Sunnis and Shiites, many Iraqis are skeptical.

    "Why did they come?" Mahmud wonders.

    Coping with Violence

  53. Grandma just sent me an email on how to improve border partol:

    Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.

    Use the dirt to raise the levies in New Orleans.

    Put the Florida alligators in the moat.

  54. First, we gotta import another couple hundred thousand Mehicans to dig the moat.

  55. Bob, I don't think Ford, or either of the Bushs are/were crooks. And, as vile and repugnant a human being as Jimma Cathe was, I don't think he was a crook, either.

    I ain't vouching for any of these people, and I sure as hell ain't vouching for any of the others.

  56. Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.

    I'm not into working out. My philosophy: No pain, no pain.

    I am in shape. Round's a shape!

    Rooney Quotes

  57. Did you all know about THIS? Buffalo

  58. I agree with those you named Rufus. They weren't, aren't crooks. Nixon was kind of a crook. I read Grant was a crook. I don't know enough about many of them to say. Of course, if you are a good crook, then everybody thinks you're an honest man. Clinton was a crook, and a rapist, his wife is a crook. Lincoln was honest, Jefferson too. Washington, I quess. Jefferson died kind of broke, didn't he? Kennedy wasn't really a crook, he didn't have to be because his father was such a great crook.

    Crooks aren't all bad, just depends who they are stealing from:)

  59. And the Bill Clinton Adult Book Store--hehe.

  60. President Bush , deferring to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, passed up any attempt to be funny at the White House Correspondents‘ Association dinner Saturday, leaving those efforts to impersonator Rich Little.

    Little‘s material was safe if occasionally a little raunchy. He dusted off his impersonations of six presidents, from Nixon to the current occupant of the White House, and avoided any reference to current political issues.

    Best known for his impersonations of Richard Nixon and Johnny Carson, Rich was the featured act for the glitzy dinner with Bush, Cabinet secretaries, foreign dignitaries, Hollywood celebrities and members of the press.

    Media Dinner

  61. Bobal,
    When you add Crowe's IQ to Laurie David's, you get a larger negative number.

  62. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.)
    has spent most of his nine House terms quietly warming the back bench. But last month, when the former fighter pilot took to the House floor to speak against the Democrats' Iraq war spending bill, a hush came over the packed chamber.

    He recalled his tour of duty in the Vietnam War, when he served as an aide to Gen. William Westmoreland. He recounted his nearly seven years in a Vietnamese prison camp, more than half of that time in solitary confinement. Then Johnson conjured a scene that lawmakers saw unfold on black-and-white televisions or read about in history books, a scene of national defeat and humiliation, a scene that even younger members could not forget.

    "Just think back to the dark day in history when we saw visions of American Marines airlifting Vietnamese out of the U.S. Embassy. Do you remember that? That's what happens when America makes a commitment, Congress cuts the funding and we go home with our tails between our legs," he told his colleagues.

    Johnson is an unlikely standard-bearer for the war's cause, a lawmaker who has never sought the microphones or the television cameras. But for him, the Iraq debate is like a flashback. By the time Congress cut off funds for Vietnam, the war was largely over, but Johnson still languished in prison, fearing that his nation had abandoned him.

    "I know what it's like to be on front lines for country when fellow countrymen don't support you," he said, vowing it will never happen again.

  63. elijah wrote:

    "ash - better write tijani and inform him that some of his fellow co-religionists are misreading the Quran again"

    Hey, there are loads of examples of extreme wacko Islamists about, so? That doesn't mean all whom follow Islam as such, except in your eyes I guess. Should we start parading examples of 'odd' orthodox Jewish behavior so we can tar all Jews with that brush?