“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."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

13,000 Christians to flee Mosul, Sunni Arabs and Kurds blamed

"The Christians know very well armed groups belonging to some of the ruling political parties in Baghdad, are behind the 'veiled' attacks and the threats against them," wrote the bilingual newspaper. "Many, among them a great part of the Christians, are quietly pointing their accusations in the direction of the powerful Kurdish community in Mosul, who dominate the provincial council and constitute the majority of the city's armed forces. Observers say the Kurds want to show that Mosul cannot be controlled without them." AINA

Killings force 13,000 Christians to flee Mosul

• UN agency sends aid to beleaguered community
• Sunni Arabs and Kurds blamed for violence ( I thought the Kurds were the good guys)

Aidan Jones
The Guardian, Saturday October 25 2008

The full scale of the persecution of Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul became apparent last night when the UN's refugee agency said about 13,000 had been hounded from their homes this month - more than half of the city's Christian community.

The UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) said it was sending aid to thousands of Christian refugees fleeing Mosul after a three-week campaign of killing and intimidation. About a dozen Christians have reportedly been killed in the recent violence, prompting many members of the community to seek sanctuary in churches and homes in outlying villages, or in Syria. "Many left with little money and need help," said Ron Redmond, UNHCR spokesman, in a briefing from Geneva. Christian neighbourhoods had been bombarded with threatening phone calls, letters and messages pinned to doors for months, but the killing began a few weeks ago, he said.

Recounting the story of a woman named Mariam, Redmond said she left her home when she heard of a Christian who was murdered.

"We were the hard core that never wanted to leave Iraq, even with the tense environment," the woman, who fled to Syria, was quoted by UNHCR as saying.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but suspicion has fallen on Sunni extremists intent on turning the historic city into a stronghold.

Local Sunni officials deny the allegation, pointing the finger at Kurdish militias who, it is said, want to empty the city of Christians before upcoming local elections. The Kurdish regional government also denies the claims.

Mosul, Iraq's third biggest city after Baghdad and Basra, has remained mired in violence despite the US military surge. Al-Qaida insurgents regrouped in the city after being flushed out of neighbouring Anbar province, taking advantage of its proximity to Syria.

After a period of relative calm roadside bombs and assassinations gradually returned to Mosul, giving it the reputation as the Iraq's most dangerous city.

The province of Nineveh, which has Mosul at its heart, has been home to Assyrian and Chaldean Catholics for 2,000 years. Before the fall of Saddam Hussein Iraq's Christian population numbered about 1.2 million.

But the upsurge of violence has prompted a mass exodus, with 20% of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria thought to be Christians.

The return of sustained religious violence will also raise fears over Iraq's fragile security and lend weight to calls for the Iraqi government to give US troops a legal mandate to maintain security for a further three years.

Meanwhile a Shia cleric, Jalaluddin al-Saghir, yesterday endorsed a draft US-Iraqi security pact. "The country is passing through a most critical stage," Saghir said. "The politicians should think about Iraq's interests. They should not seek to break the unity of Iraqi society. This is not a game." The proposed agreement has been opposed by a number of critics, including the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who say it infringes Iraq's sovereignty.


  1. Humanitarian Disaster on W's watch, not covered by the MSM!


    "Iraq's a success" news here.


    So what?

  2. What's the count on Sunni refugees?
    ...somewhere North of a Million.

  3. It looks like it may well get worse. Except the number of Christians is a grim limitation. If we are coming home it's hard to see any restraining force. We'll be out of there. No offer of money, no threat of force. What's to prevent the Shias and Sunni from going at it again? Iran is already celebrating. It's all going to be for nothing as far as I can see.

  4. Always was going to be for nothing, bob.

    Nothing new there.

    Mosul is still under US control, what a good job is being done, there.

    The "Long War" really being the "Non War".

    $10 Billion a month, for what?
    Just good money, blood and treasure, after bad.

    The Iranians have been celebrating, since June 2003.

    Iraq for the Iraqi.

  5. Obama must just be going to pick up pictures, documents, incriminating stuff at grandmas.

  6. That would need to be proved, bob, not just thought.

    The only proof in the tasting, is in the Hawaiiam government's data bytes. That is where the "real" evidence lies.

    Evidence that got Obama a US passport.

  7. Phillip Berg can be heard on the Savage Nation radio show talking about his lawsuit filed against Obama Here

    October 23 show

  8. What's to prevent the Shias and Sunni from going at it again?

    Not to worry. Mother hen Nostro dumb ass sayz, Petraeus will pull it off.

  9. Is Henry Nostrilitus Waxman related to Nostradamus, too?

  10. Once again no hat tip for doug @ you know where.

  11. A Holy Trinity, of sorts.

    That's the "Next big thing." So sayz Mother hen Nostro dumb ass.

  12. Henry, Mother Henry, and O Henry.

  13. Is O Henry related to Sydney Sidney Poitier?

  14. The "Long War" really being the "Non War".

    $10 Billion a month, for what?

    No Iran strikes.
    So sayz Mother hen Nostro dumb ass.

  15. Tell me, again, bob, why we should care, if the Shia and Sunni "go at it, again"?

    There were 21 folk killed along the US Mexico border in 24 hours.

    That is damned near terrorizing.

    Drug-tied gunfight kills 10 in Nogales

    by Sean Holstege and Dennis Wagner - Oct. 24, 2008 12:00 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    NOGALES, Sonora - At least 10 gang suspects were reported killed Thursday morning during a gunbattle with police in this Mexican border town, one week after the U.S. State Department warned of growing violence among narcotics rings.

    Mexican media said four officers were wounded, including some hit by shrapnel when gunmen tossed grenades at them. No law-enforcement agents were reported dead.

    The outburst was part of a particularly bloody day along the nearly 2,000-mile Mexican border, with 21 people killed in 24 hours of violence involving drug traffickers and other criminal syndicates.

    In Juarez, along the Texas border, the Associated Press reported four men were gunned down in front of teenagers at an amusement park. A toddler died when the car he was in crashed during a shootout. A businessman was murdered after leading a protest against criminal violence.

    The Nogales bloodshed supports drug-intelligence reports that gangs have opened a new front of warfare south of Arizona's border, which for years was relatively calm because a single cartel controlled the state of Sonora. It also reflects stresses caused by a crackdown by Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

  16. She is right about that one, mat

    No strike against Iran
    No cutting their World Bank credit line, either.

  17. We shouldn't really care, and that Hugh Fitzgerald guy at Jihadwatch thought it was the best thing if they did. Just hard to watch, I quess. Haven't read him for a long time.

  18. She is right about that one, mat

    That history hasn't been written yet. And Mother hen Nostro dumb ass is not in a position to write it.

  19. History has been written, mat
    The future, that is not written, yet.

  20. Now, doug, it is the MSM's responsibility, that the US cannot control Mosul, because they are not reporting US failures, there?

  21. October 24, 2008
    It Was a Hoax

    Ashley Todd, the woman who told police she had been mugged by a black man who scratched the letter "B" into her face after seeing a McCain bumper sticker on her car, has now admitted she made the whole thing up, according to this report from KDKA.

    What a disgrace.

    This hardly ranks as one of the great racial hate crimes hoaxes of all time - Tawana Brawley, Susan Smith, and the Duke Lacrosse case were all far more egregious and damaging to the country's race relations - but it still is just a dirty and utterly irresponsible act that defies logic and deserves condemnation.

    Posted by Tom Bevan at 01:34 PM

  22. You may think that the porous border and the number of economic refugees in the US is bad, now.

    Just wwait for the Revolution in Mexico to start.

    4,000 a day will seem as nothing, compared to what'll come, to avoid violence and death, as opposed just to be gettin' a job.

    12,000 Iraqis, not even worth the ink, when we ignore Mexico and the current meltdown of civil order, there.

    12,000 refugees, used to be three days flow int the US, now, maybe four, five at the outside.

  23. Revolution

    You say you want a revolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it’s evolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know you can count me out
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright alright

    You say you got a real solution
    Well you know
    We’d all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well you know
    We’re doing what we can
    But when you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright alright

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well you know
    You better free your mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of chairman mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
    Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright alright

  24. 13,000 christians have fled the palestinains occupation of gaza and west bank and that's aint a news story

    600,000 jews fled the arab world in 1948 still not a story......

    maybe shias and sunnis need to flee america and europe?

    karma ya know..........

  25. You better listen to that Bush Sermon Deuce Posted a few days ago, WIO.
    They're makin great contributions to the World.

  26. Good point WiO.

    Can you imagine the outrage if one Muslim family was burned out in Europe or America. Guaranteed Front Page news for days on end.

  27. You better listen to that Bush Sermon Deuce Posted a few days ago, WIO.
    They're makin great contributions to the World.

    I heard it....

    I puked....

    I support the efforts of America in Iraq...

    The TRUTH?

    Islam is a pagan death cult spawned by the bastard children of my great great great great great great great grandfather's product of f*cking the servant...

    Ishmael the lineage of Hagar and Abraham...

    thus gave us "islam"

    we have 2 choices...

    be bigots like MOST of the world and say they CANNOT change (genetics ya know) or TRY to change their culture of death into something not quite as cancerous....

    the left in America are total selfish bigots....

    they dont care if the sunnis and shias "fight it out" and murder 10's of millions, they do not care if the entire middle east plunge into chaos...

    At least we are TRYING to do something....

    Islam needs reform and it's wont come from within without a hugh kick from the outside...

  28. actually millions of christians have been ethnically cleansed from many lands now occupied by islam

    can we say "istambul' without choking?

    can we say egypt & the coptics?

  29. History has been written, mat

    No, it has not been written. It is being written. And it will continue be written and rewritten. Mother hen Nostro dumb ass scribing her pompous ass gobbledygook and hardheaded dumbfscks trying to decipher that abstruse gibberish, notwithstanding.

  30. ..will continue ^to be written and rewritten..

  31. Here is how it works in the UK. This is coming to the US. The BNP is the British Nationalist Party. Of course a party tat encourages British nationalism will be scorned by the press. This is our new world:

    "BNP supporter’s racist stickers


    A BNP supporter stuck racist stickers on packages and sent them out in a protest over mosques, a court heard.
    The stickers contained the words ‘no more mosques’ and a cartoon figure of a Muslim with a bomb exploding from his head. They were found by Muslim workers at the Royal Mail Centre in Stockport in March.
    Internet trader Lockhart Kneen, 39, of Braemore Drive, Hyde, who sells political magazines for the BNP, claimed he had put the stickers on the packages and sent them out through the post in protest against a ‘Tameside super mosque’.
    Stockport Magistrates heard that the stickers, which contained the Muslim tenet ‘There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger’, were found by a Muslim mail processor who found them extremely offensive.
    "When I saw the statement about no more mosques and the writing in Arbabic, I knew that these stickers were not normal and were descriminating against muslim people," said Mr Mohammed.
    "I live in a free country and nobody makes trouble for me. I am very glad to live here, but of course the statement ‘no more mosques’ offends me. If I was a Christian and somebody said ‘no more churches’ it would be offensive."
    The packages were traced to Kneen, who claimed he had been advised by the leader of the BNP in Tameside that the stickers were not racist, but were illegal when stuck on public property.
    "I just thought, the stickers are fine, these parcels are my property and I live in a free country, so I decided to stick them on my property," he said
    "They’re going to move the war graves in Ashton and build a super mosque. I’m a methodist. If someone said no more methodist churches I wouldn’t find that offensive, that’s their opinion."
    Kneen’s internet account has been suspended and he is no longer able to trade in electronics.
    Defending, Mr Lake said: "It was an expression of freedom of speech that was expressed in the stickers and clearly had personal significance to the defendant."
    District Judge Tim Devas said: "I find the defendant’s point on Methodist churches thought provoking. But these stickers did cause offence to people of other cultures and I don’t find his actions reasonable."
    Kneen was fined £150 and ordered to pay £115 costs for two counts of racially/religiously aggravated harrassment."

  32. for bobal:
    re: Colin Powell

    Here's a 2005 post I did on Powell and his State Department Chief-of-Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson.

    We are known by the company we keep.

    I don't think Powell's endorsement is solely a racial thing. As I've said, Powell is and has been a RINO. I think his politics have always left of center.

  33. Whit, Has not McCain been accused of being a Rino? Does Obama share any characteristics of any wing of the Republican Party? Has Obama done anything in his pre-electioneering past that demonstrates ideals that would be shared by a Republican Sec of State or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?

    You are very kind to the purveyor of McCain's colonoscopy.

  34. Here's a nice little find that Tiger over at the Observer noted:

    Military Implies Political Correctness is Inhibiting GWOT

  35. I'm beginning to wonder if the Republican Party knows what it stands for anymore. Perhaps a majority of Republican politicians in DC could be labeled RINO these days.

    I have a hard time identifying with the Republican party these days. I prefer to think of myself as a conservative. I think a lot of people feel the same way which explains McCain's tepid support.

  36. I heard a little blurb on the radio the other day about some Albanians "muslims" who had actually been closet Christians for centuries coming out of the closet, and reaffirming their beliefs. Like 17 year cicadas or something.

    Kind of hard to believe, but that's what it said. I didn't get a feel for how many was being talked about either. Faiths do go underground on occasion.

    Thanks Whit for the Powell article.

  37. How "Technology" Won Sadr City Battle:

    But not to worry. Mother hen Nostro dumb ass assures us Petraeus will man his Apartheid Walls for ever and ever.

  38. The problem with the Republicans is they are trying to be inclusive based on race and ethnicity. The party would be far stronger if it became color blind and stuck with a conservative ideology. The Republican Party should not be for the rich as so much as for those that want to get rich. It should be the party of conservative middle class values. If things go the way that I believe they will, it will get its chance.

    By the way, how did that dreadful Joe Scarborough ever get elected?

  39. No Lebanon redo. Check.
    Petraeus pulls it off. Check.
    No Iran strikes. Check.
    Venezuela border bluff. Check.
    Pakistan border bluff. Check.
    "Next big thing." Check.

    I'm sure there are literally hundreds of others I'm forgetting, mat.

    A regular Nostro dumb ass Mother hen is.

  40. When sixty or seventy percent of the people want to get the border closed good and tight and we can't get it done, something is wrong. O bama isn't going to do anything about it.

    I was wondering how much Mexico is growing in population, and if this influx would ever stop by itself. Other Catholic countries like Italy and Spain aren't growing any more, haven't for a long time.

  41. Mat, you'll get fined 150lbs like rhe Methodist for upsetting somebody's sensabilities:)

  42. How did Scarborough get elected?

    That's a good question.
    He is from the Pensacola area, so I guess he slipped past those conservatives the same way Powell slipped into the party. Same way Obama is running as moderate.

    I first began to question Scarborough when he displayed his post-Katrina hysterics and venom night after night.

    Also, remember he wants to keep his job at MSNBC.

  43. Which part of McCain's policy package is to be considered "conservative", duece?

  44. Bob, as long as I don't do time in Mother hen Nostro dumb ass library reading pompous ass gobbledygook.

  45. GE, whit, bringing good things to life.

    Certainly did for Morning Joe

  46. Come on Mat:

    She was right on those issues.

    Give it a rest.

  47. She was right on those issues.

    Right on what? Even today she wont stand behind it. Press her on it means, and all of the sudden she needs an umbrella and a drink.

  48. ..Press her on ^what it means..

  49. You are right about the border, bob.

    Why ask why?

    The answer is obvious.

    The DC eleites do not want to.
    You support McCain, regardless.

    Actually, Obama is more likely to bend to pressure from the Unions and Black activists and at least make an eyewash effort to stem the flow.

    In the Republic, this very morn, crossings are down 17%, so still, more than 3,000 a day are making the trek

  50. I haven't watched the tv shows for so long, I'm still of the opinion that Scarborough was a pretty good guy. Came in with the Gingrich Revolution, didn't he.

    Don't mean to sound like wishing ill on anyone, but it would be kind of interesting--just as a thought experiment--to watch the democrats respond to a Katrine. They'd have the very same bureaucracy to work with, the results would be much the same.

  51. Super Scooper
    Check out the Scoopers in formation @ 1:40 coming in to pick up 1,800 Gal in 30 Seconds!

  52. "Which part of McCain's policy package is to be considered 'conservative,' deuce?"

    I have not counted them Rat, but the only fact to be considered is that no matter how small they may be, they will be immensely more than Obamas.

  53. Not, duece, if those are the principles you wish to rally the "conservatives" around, in the next go-round.

    There will be a "next go-round".

    I was watching a BBC film of the Dem convention, Chi-town '68. The "activists" were speaking of using "every means" to take control of the United States and turn it into the America of their dreams.

    Took 'em forty years in the wilderness, but seems they are about to get it done. My "side" was able to accomplish that feat, in 2000 and squandered the opportunity.

    Because, for Republicans, it was all about personalities, not policies.

  54. :)

    Yeah, kind of forgot about the school buses.

    I'm glad we had our right wing revolution in Moscow this last time around. Some of those people would be hard to deal with otherwise. Not all politics is local, but a lot of it is, some of the most important for those involved.

  55. I heard a little blurb on the radio the other day about some Albanians "muslims" who had actually been closet Christians for centuries coming out of the closet, and reaffirming their beliefs.

    This is true all over the Middle East as well. People are tribal because the tribe carries and protects their identity against the Jihadis.

  56. Lower taxes
    Not gutting the military
    Not betraying Israel
    Supreme Court Justices

  57. Lester Crown, he'd have been forty, in 1968, now, at 80 years of age, his brand of "Change" is coming.

    Like the cold winter winds of Lake Michigan, ripping across Lake Shore Drive.

  58. McCain does not stand stand for lower taxes, bob.

    He wants to make folks employeer paid Health Insurance taxable income. That is the first step of his "reform", then apply some type of tax credit, in exchange.

    But the core of his health care program, raise taxes by eliminating the employeer expense deduction for premium costs from workers pre-tax earnings.

  59. From John Lott's Website

    Obama campaign's "arrogance"?

    With the Obama campaign already confident of a win in less than two weeks and raising well over $600 million for their campaign, John Fund discusses something that I had only heard a little about:

    . . . Crain's Chicago Business reports that Mr. Obama's campaign sent a memo saying the price for access to the media area, where electrical power will be available, will be between $715 and $1,815 depending on how many phone lines and power outlets are granted. Reporters who want to cover Obama campaign officials and interview them will have to gain access to a "Press File" tent for an additional $935 per person for admission.

    Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, called the price list "an outrageous pay-to-play plan that caters to national elite [media] outlets." . . .

    Mr. Obama will certainly be getting the lion's share of votes from reporters who cover his campaign, but that doesn't make his media operation popular. "There is an arrogance there that I hope doesn't carry forward to any Obama White House," one reporter who travels frequently with the candidate told me. "But all the signs of trouble are already there."

  60. Was cancelling the "Crusader Gun" gutting the military, or enhancing it, bob?

    Is maintaining a 150,000 troop presence in Iraq gutting the military or enhancing it?

  61. Lower taxes
    Not gutting the military
    Not betraying Israel
    Supreme Court Justices

    Lower spending
    Rethink the military (90% cut)
    End oil dependence, use renewables/green
    Enact legislative veto over Courts (80%)

  62. Well, maybe so on that but taken overall the tax bills would be lower with McCain. Capital gains, he's not talking about raising that.

    John Lott, who has tracked Obama's talk on his platforms, says he's never seen so many changes, almost day by day sometimes.

    He's for change.

    McCain's not going to grab your gun, Obama would try to, according to Lott, who asked him about it once, regardless of what he's said recently about the S. Court decision.

    2nd Amendment, here today, gone tomorrow.

  63. Obama's campaign is doing the "Market" thing.

    There are only so many "premium" spots available, gotta pay to play.
    Not "just" have a press badge.

    No free rides for the media, in an ObamaNation, thought that would have make you happy, that.

  64. Nuclear power, McCain's mentioned it a lot, with Obama it's sure not to the forefront.

  65. What "Capital Gains" bob?

    The market has tanked.
    Real Estate and Market Equities.

    Any long-term gain was pretty much eliminated.
    Trading gains are regular income.

    There won't be a lot of "Capital Gains" claimed, anytime soon.

  66. What's the singular of media, medium? Is the only message there will be. They'll try to hit on talk radio. Probably try to say KGO is a 'fair' station, and Liddy should go off the aire.

  67. Some of the good news is that there will be no discretionary spending available to Obama.

    Any defense cuts will result in job losses in liberal Democratic states, most from unions.

    The levels of expectation from the Left is immense. Blacks will have run out of excuses if their guy cannot deliver the goods.

    Obama elected should be the death of affirmative action. It will have been obvious that he got there by white voters. White voters will have to ask themselves why do we still have affirmative action when the highest office in the country is held by a black?

    Obama can do what he wants with capital gain taxes. There is such a large pool of capital gains tax loss carry forward, it will make an increase in future rates meaningless.

  68. We have our nuclear power plant, largest in the Nation. Do not need another one, no water to cool it.

    Goin' need ethanol to run things, like cars.
    McCain stands opposed, does the Republican Party?

  69. Rep. Barney Frank calls for 25% cut in military spending...

    PAPER: John Kerry wants New Deal II...

    Hope Rufus is getting a fair deal, at the poker match.

  70. They are still building coal fired plants around. Nuclear is so much cleaner.

    Gotta go shower. Later.

  71. Going to need to drill, baby, drill.
    In ANWAR.
    McCain stands opposed, does the Republican Party?

  72. McCain favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform, with a Path to Citizenship

    Does the Republican Party?

  73. McCain favors Carbon Cap & Trade as the solution to man made "Global Warming"

    Does the Republican Party?

  74. For "WiO"

    PUMA, my ass. Signs pointing to a McCain victory.

    Still McCain is a light year ahead of Obama. Later.

  75. For some reason, (the reason being that a vast pool of American voters are "current affairs challenged,") many have not noticed that Democrats have been in charge for two years. That will change when Obama becomes the tiller man. Obama's constituency is an impatient constituency.

    It does seem to me that a previous messiah inflated expectations and his timeline diverted from those of his followers, looking for immediate gratification, to disastrous personal consequences.

  76. Things are going well, in Mosul.
    The Multi National Force tells US so.

    Multi-National Corps – Iraq
    Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
    APO AE 09342


    RELEASE No. 20081024-15

    Oct, 24 2008

    Violence drops as operation in Mosul continues

    Multi-National Division – North PAO

    MOSUL, Iraq – Violence in Mosul continues to drop as the Iraqi Security Forces work to clear the city during Operation Mother of Two Springs II.

    The operation, which began Oct. 15, is the third large-scale operation conducted by the ISF since May.

    Since the operation kicked off, the Iraqi Security and Coalition forces have captured more than 270 insurgents, said Capt. Dawn Brooks, an intelligence officer for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

    The major impact of this operation has been the reduction in the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks and cache finds in the city.

    Before this operation, there were about three VBIED attacks every week. During the past 10 days, there has been one, said 1st Lt. Julie Paynter, an intelligence officer for the 3d ACR.

    “(This operation) is definitely decreasing their ability to resupply and maintain their caches,” Paynter said.


  77. Here is the news, from the MNF, for Friday 24 Oct 08

    Iraqi Air Force firefighters conduct joint training exercise with U.S. Force

    Coalition forces hit AQI networks, detain five suspected terrorists

    DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty (Balad Air Base)

    Odierno visits Turkey, discusses military cooperation

    MND-B Soldiers detain SGC cell leader, accomplice in Abu T’shir

    IA arrests suspected terrorist (Fallujah)

    Muhallahbiyah Water Office refurbishing project in progress

    Violence drops as operation in Mosul continues

    Downtown al Kut, signs of normalcy

    U.S. and Iraqi Sustainment Warrant Officers break bread and build bonds

    Cortoba School celebrates completion of construction (Baghdad)

    SoI arrest known Special Groups criminal in Aamel; tips lead MND-B Soldiers to caches in Baghdad

    MND-B Soldiers captured 5 suspected criminals in early morning raids

    IPs find TNT stashed in concrete plant

    Local citizen leads MND-C Soldiers to large cache in North Babil

    Iraqi Air Force celebrates another milestone

    Senior Iraqi Non-commissioned Officers Symposium

    First Formal Inspector General Foundation Course graduates 64 students

    Coalition forces detain eight suspects, degrade AQI car bomb networks

  78. Washington Is the Problem FedEx's CEO on McCain, free trade and the tax bias against capital-intensive industries.


    Fred Smith is in an agitated state. He's just returned from a Washington Redskins game -- played in FedEx field in Washington -- and the team has been upset by the Arizona Cardinals. "It was just awful," he grouses. "My son's one of the coaches, and he was ready to jump off the ledge of the stadium."

    There are few better people to ask about our current economic precipice than Mr. Smith -- or, as some people call him, "Fred Ex." His company has $38 billion in sales, employs four football stadiums full of workers, owns 300 jet airplanes, and tens of thousands of trucks and vehicles. FedEx moves an incomprehensible seven million packages each day to every corner of the globe. And the good news is that Fred is optimistic -- sort of.

    "Oh, the country is going to get through this and the financial markets will stabilize," he assures me, but only after we go through a period of "trauma and readjustment."

    I ask him just what he means by "trauma." He attributes the financial crisis to "the intersection of four long-term developments." Reckless mortgage lending policies; high energy prices; mark-to-market accounting rules; and national policies that favor what he calls "the financial sector over the industrial sector."

    "Rather than in our business where you have to have a dollar of equity for, 10 cents or 15 cents of debt," he explains, "it's exactly the opposite in the financial sector where you have one dollar of equity for 10, 25, 50 times risk." "Things became so flipped upside down," he explains, that "the assets at these banks became the liabilities and the liabilities became the assets. These people were making these fantastic returns -- at places like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- but in reality they weren't adding a lot of value. I have said time and again that there is a fundamental tendency in good times in the financial sector to over-leverage. Our national policies actively encouraged all this debt."

    How so?
    "The United States has a completely uncompetitive tax structure in general and it has a particularly onerous tax structure for firms that are asset-intensive. If you run an industrial company like FedEx, which employs 290,000 folks, most of whom are blue-collar people, the way we have to run this business is to equip those workers with billions of dollars of assets that allow them to pick up and deliver millions of things around the world."

  79. Trade aside, no issue is of greater consequence to FedEx than energy policy. FedEx consumes 1.3 billion gallons of jet fuel a year, and is the largest user of energy in the world next to the U.S. military. Mr. Smith sits on the board of the Energy Security Leadership Council, which issued a report a few months ago advocating a huge expansion of domestic energy supply. How do we do this?

    "Two things," he insists. "The first is we should maximize oil production in the United States in every respect. Everything, offshore, Alaska, shale, nonconventional, coal to liquid, gas to liquid, and nuclear. Let the market work.

    "Second, and this is where I am an apostate on the free market, and also where I disagree in the main with, with Boone Pickens," Mr. Smith adds. "The United States has only one real way to reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum, in terms of reducing demand while we're increasing our domestic supply, and that is to electrify the short haul transportation system, to go to battery powered cars. The technology that brought us laptops and cell phones has reached a point where these lithium ion batteries can now produce cars like the Chevy Volt and the new plug-in Toyota Prius." Many FedEx trucks are already using this technology, though he admits they aren't yet cost efficient but are 42% more fuel efficient.

    Mr. Smith ends our interview with a little sermon about what the U.S. must do to retain its global economic superpower status. "Many of our current policies are not conducive to continued economic leadership. We restrict immigration when we have thousands of highly educated people that want to come to the United States, and some of our greatest corporations [are] crying out that we don't have the scientific talent that we need to develop the next generation of innovations and inventions . . .

    "That's where all wealth comes from . . . It's not from the government. It's from invention and entrepreneurship and innovation. And our policies promote a legal and regulatory system which impedes our ability to grow entrepreneurship. Lastly, if we want to make [America's workers] wealthier we have to quit demonizing quote, big corporations."

  80. Birds of a statist feather

    George Jonas, National Post

    The McCain campaign has taken to calling Barack Obama a socialist. This is neither as derogatory as McCain's handlers seem to think nor as baseless as Obama supporters would like U. S. voters to believe. Yes, Senator Obama is something of a socialist. So is Senator McCain.

    In the 21st century it's difficult to run for office without being something of a socialist. There's a basic philosophical split between people who think of government as the problem and liberty as the solution, and those who think of liberty as the problem and government as the solution. People who think of government as the solution are statists, and one of their left-wing subspecies is called "socialist." Their right-wing subspecies include paleo-or social conservatives. In reality, they're birds of a feather. Their policies may be diametrically opposed; their mindsets are near-identical.

    If you ask the Republican candidate, the Democratic candidate is a socialist. So is the Republican candidate, if you ask me. To be anything else, he would have to run on a platform of reducing government -- and not just a little, but a lot. He isn't. At best, he's running on a platform of throwing good government after bad government.

    Is the world's current mess due to the free market's greed, competition and carbon footprints, or much more to what Steve Forbes has called in Forbes magazine "government's big, basic blunders"? Even if Senator McCain agreed with Mr. Forbes-- I don't think he does --he wouldn't propose to nix government, only fix it. He's pushing for a government surge, figuratively and literally, militarily and fiscally, domestically and abroad.

    The Republican nominee wants to ride the unruly horse of the state, not put it out to pasture. Insofar as he has better ideas than his opponent, his bid for state power may be more beneficial, but it isn't less "socialist" than Mr. Obama's quest for the same thing.

  81. DR,
    I realize this is the wrong forum for questions or answer that require more than a sentence to deal with, but I will ask anyway.

    Why don't you tell us who will fill the vacuum of power in Iraq? And please spare us the JUCO explaination that it will simply be Iraqi's.

    Secondly, are you a closet Anti Semite?

    In 1948 Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, Anti-Semite and Jew
    Schocken Books, Paris.

    In part he gets you fairly well nailed. What are your impressions of the following excerpt;

    "Anti-Semitism is a way of feeling good, proud even, rather than guilty at the abandonment of responsibility and the flight before the impossibility of true sincerity. (Ibid.) The anti-Semite abandons himself to the crowd and his bad faith, he ‘flees responsibility as he flees his own consciousness, and choosing for his personality the permanence of the rock, he chooses for his morality the scale of petrified values.’ (Ibid. p.27.) He pulls down shutters, blinds, mirrors and mirages over his consciousness to keep himself in his bad faith away from his responsibilities and his liberty. The anti-Semite is afraid ‘of himself, of his own consciousness, of his own liberty, of his instincts, of his responsibilities, of solitariness, of change, of society, and the world – of everything except the Jews.’ He is ‘a coward who does not want to admit his cowardice to himself.’ (Ibid. p.53.) The anti-Semite wallows in the depths of an extreme bad faith. ‘Anti-Semitism, in short, is fear of the human condition. The anti-Semite is a man who wishes to be pitiless stone, a furious torrent, a devastating thunderbolt – anything except a man.’ (Ibid. p. 54.) This is his bad faith."

    Given that you know the eventual fate of Israel should we squander our now dominant position in Iraq, one wonders if this is not your true raison d'etre.

  82. Lastly, if we want to make [America's workers] wealthier we have to quit demonizing quote, big corporations."

    Detroit's being the classic example.


    McClatchy Newspapers

    WASHINGTON The Bush administration will announce in mid-November, after the presidential election, that it intends to establish the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, according to senior Bush administration officials.

    The proposal for an "interests section," which falls short of a full U.S. Embassy, has been conveyed in private diplomatic messages to Iran, and a search is under way to choose the American diplomat who would head the post, the officials said.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that he would consider the idea, which first surfaced over the summer.

    The U.S. had close ties to Iran's late shah, who was overthrown in 1979. Iran's ruling circles, however, are suspicious of U.S. attempts to expand its influence in the country.

    Earlier this month, an Iranian official said that Iran would refuse to allow a U.S.-based nonprofit group, the American-Iranian Council, to operate there even after it received a Treasury Department license to do so.

    Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, has criticized the Bush administration's penchant for not talking to U.S. enemies, and has indicated that he would hold direct talks, even with Ahmadinejad.

    Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has ridiculed Obama and his foreign policy as naive.

    Yet in his waning days in office, President Bush has authorized a more direct approach to Iran, sending Undersecretary of State William Burns to participate in six-nation nuclear talks with Iranian representatives in Geneva in July.

    Among other things, the U.S. diplomats in Tehran would facilitate cultural exchanges; issue visas for Iranians to travel to the U.S.; and engage in public diplomacy to present a more charitable view of the U.S.

    The U.S. and Iran don't have formal diplomatic relations, which were broken by President Carter in April 1980, following the November 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Iranian students.

    U.S. interests in Iran are looked after by the Swiss. Iran has a small interests section in Washington under Pakistan's embassy, but it doesn't include any Iranian diplomats.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in New York in July that Iran would insist on a quid pro quo for permitting a U.S. interests section: approval of its standing request for direct flights between Tehran and New York.

    While some senior officials said Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice haven't made a final decision, they and others indicated that the mid-November announcement is a near-certainty.

  84. Hard to believe?

    Maybe it should be, but no.

  85. Given that you know the eventual fate of Israel should we squander our now dominant position in Iraq, one wonders if this is not your true raison d'etre.

    Sorry, but bankrupting the US to the tune of $2 trillion a year by subsidizing Jihadis is no help to Israel.

  86. The elected Government of Iraq, habu. Chosen by the purple fingered voters of that country, under the Constitution we helped them write. Defended by the 350,000 troops and police we've armed and trained.

    Not a bad solution to Phillies voter fraud challenge, perhaps. Purple fingers.

    No, I'm not anti-Semite, do not know all that many Semites to be anti or pro about.
    Those I have met seem pleasent enough.

    I'm not much of a Religionist, truth be known. More a Nationalist, even a Continentalist
    but religion does not rank high on my list of judgemental priorities.

  87. Why would that be hard to believe, habu?

    Just because it does not fit your years old projection of GWBush. Instead reality is dovetailing into mine.

    That is kind of an old release, think I saw it a few days, maybe a week ago. Such depressing news, on top of the election prospects, didn't want to bring the boys down, any further.
    Thought we'd wait until the envoy arrived, before pilloring the last act of Team43.

  88. DR,
    Good to know you're not an anti semite.

    Also good call a year ago on the bombing issue.

  89. By even the most sympathetic evaluation the Bush presidency was an utter disaster. If his governance results in an Obama presidency and a full filibuster proof senate, the US military will be reduced by 25% according to Barnie Frank. Education will become a permanent ward of the federal government and under control of the hard left. The financial system is shattered. Government is bigger than ever, more repressive, and federal spending is unmanageable.

    The only thing that surpassed deficit spending was the percentage increase in illegal immigration.

    Iraq, without US presence, is anyones guess as to the final outcome and Afghanistan is unmanageable by anyone. How many of GWB's hand picked staff are voting for Obama, a left wing street activist?

  90. Now I remember why I don't play much poker any more. I never knew there were that many 2's, and 3's in a deck of cards. I mean, you'd think a man would draw an Ace every now, and then, wouldn't you?

    Well, at least the Bud Light was good, and cold. Even if the cards were colder.

    Anyone got an aspirin?

  91. We'll see what there is to see,
    habu, as time goes by.

    It is not 20Jan09, yet.

  92. westhawk
    With or without legalization, the war against the cartels would have to go on. What is in question now is whether Mexican society has the will to sustain President Calderon’s campaign. The next question will be how the U.S. copes should President Calderon fail.


    Please see this article on the border war written by David Danelo and published in the latest issue of Proceedings from the U.S. Naval Institute. Captain Danelo argues for the U.S. military to employ the counterinsurgency skills it has recently acquired to the border problem, and to do so in close cooperation with the Mexican army, police, and population. Danelo admits that trust between the two sides has never been good, but that the growing crisis on the Mexican side now offers a fleeting opportunity to mend fences, so to speak. Captain Danelo is the author of a new book on the U.S.-Mexican border and its problems.

  93. The Border War
    By David J. Danelo
    Border security is a foreign relations problem that cannot be solved by an agency modeled on domestic law enforcement. Our southern border needs the presence of the U.S. military. The author of a new book looking at the U.S.-Mexican border tells us why.
    The U.S.-Mexico border is the most unstable region in North America. During the first eight months of 2008, more than 2,500 drug-related killings have occurred in Mexico. Half of the murders have happened in border cities; cartels are fighting for authority over smuggling routes from Tijuana to Matamoros. Systematic campaigns of bribery, intimidation, and assassination have prevented law enforcement officers from curbing the violence. On both sides of the line, news seems to worsen daily.

    Since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006, almost 5,000 Mexicans have died, more than the number of American troops killed in seven years of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than half of the casualties have been police officers. Throughout Mexico, 40,000 troops struggle valiantly-but often unsuccessfully-to impose order. "It is a war," President Calderon declared in May 2008 to reporters, while also appealing for U.S. assistance.

    Two months earlier, in March 2008, the rising body count in Ciudad Juarez prompted Calderon to deploy 2,500 Mexican soldiers to the state of Chihuahua. After he announced the deployment, I went to Juarez to see what martial law looked like there. Soldiers patrolled in teams of four with weapons at the ready, wearing masks to conceal their identities from enemy surveillance. Forty checkpoints had been placed around the city. Military forces took over the police's daily duties, screening traffic and maintaining security. The police split their loyalties between government forces and insurgents simply to survive. Gunfire rang out nightly.

    Because the casualty level in Mexico is much lower than that of, say, Iraq, military analysts hesitate to call this a war. After all, border combatants do not use suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices. But both wars involve non-state campaigns that have weakened legitimate authority. In Iraq, factions of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds jockey to impose their worldview; in Mexico, cartels fight for market control to feed America's insatiable demand for cocaine, heroin, and cheap labor.

  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

  95. In a 34-page memorandum that accompanied the court order, the Hon. R. Barclay Surrick concludes that ordinary citizens can't sue to ensure that a presidential candidate actually meets the constitutional requirements of the office.

    Surrick defers to Congress, saying that the legislature could determine "that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Presidency," but that it would take new laws to grant individual citizens that ability.

    "Until that time," Surrick says, "voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that Plaintiff attempts to bring."

    Berg Loses Round One, Will There Be A Round Two?

    We got the right to bring a suit under the Endangered Speicies Act, but can't ask a candidate a simple question, to get a simple answer, which we still don't have.

    The doubts can remain, the suit goes away, till the next day, if ever.

    When McCain was sued, in a similar manner, he put his package on the table for inspection, if I recall.

  96. Check out the Scoopers in formation @ 1:40 coming in to pick up 1,800 Gal in 30 Seconds!

    Sat Oct 25, 11:07:00 AM EDT

    Nice to have around if you live on the coast or near a large lake or river. Sikorsky Sky Cranes move more per load with better flexibility for loading and dropping. I watched two in tandem dropping more than 15,000 gal/min once on a fire above the Kings River, dipping from a hydro project forebay and hopping over the ridge to deliver. The logging contractors do the best. Low overhead, fast response. NG ships drag around too big a logistics tail.

  97. Watched both the helos and the flying boats work a fire near the Tonto Basin Ranch.
    Very impressive flying.

    Teddy Roosevelt Lake right there.

  98. The tankers needing a spotter plane to lead them in.

  99. I don’t like dry-gulching journalism, but there was a strange scene when the Fox reporter caught up to Bill Ayers and stuck a microphone in his face as he went up the sidewalk of his rather impressive home: Ayers, with a bright red star on his T-shirt, shoos away the reporter with the apparent mumble “this is private property” before the police arrive. How strange that an advocate for communalism and an erstwhile attacker of police stations reverts to the notion of property rights and police to protect him from an intrusive reporter. Right out of Thucydides Book III and the strife on Corfu, when the historian warns that those who destroy the protocols of civilization may well one day wish to rely on them.

    Dang that Ayers must be a smart ass little twerp.

    Remembering Carter, And Other Stuff

    I remember Carter well, what a disaster. I remember those interest rates, almost killed me. Then, we were told it was all our own fault.

  100. Very impressive flying.

    You can say that again. All of them. I'd have been burned out more than once had we not had aircraft available. Perils of living on a ridge top.

    You still need the infantry, though.

    I casually suggested using napalm once for a quick backfire when control looked iffy. I got the "...he farted in church treatment."

    Thinkin' outside the box, and all. Still think it would work. Like clearing free fire zones along the border fence.

  101. Martin Owens

    | 10.24.08 @ 10:48AM

    Is anyone really surprised? The plain fact is that when we add the national debt, the deficit, the bailout, the unfunded pensions and everything else this government has promised to cover, we get a total of $35 trillion in various obligations. There ain't that much money in the solar system.

    But as the UFOlogists say, if the people knew the truth they would panic. Therefore it matters not whether Obama, McCain, or Joe the Plumber is the next President ( though Joe would probably be the best choice). Whoever runs this house of cards from now on has no choice but to keep on robbing Peter to pay Paul, then tax Paul to help subsidize Peter. Never mind Social Security. Any pot of money anywhere will soon be fair game for the "compassionate sharing" that is needed to keep the Ponzi going.

    Everybody knows what's gonna happen, folks. What is behind all these bombastic fantasies of " fairness" and " spread the wealth" ? No more than each individual player's strategy to get out in time, so it doesn't happen to HIM.

  102. The Big Burn

    Great fire of 1910. The rivers were helpless against it. Jump right over.

  103. Well, by now gag has driven by Mt Ord, more times than he'd like to count. There is cell service in the morning shadow of the peak, right there at the pull over spot.

    At the rest stop, gag, that's the turn to Tonto Basin and the paved road to Globe.

  104. Bob is putting up some interesting stuff...We can make a complaint about an endangered bat, but not an endangered constitution...

    ...Is anyone really surprised? The plain fact is that when we add the national debt, the deficit, the bailout, the unfunded pensions and everything else this government has promised to cover, we get a total of $35 trillion in various obligations. There ain't that much money in the solar system. ...

    like Rufus we are all going to realize how many deuces and threes there are in the deck.

  105. There is going to be a restructuring, of a sorts, goin' on, that's fer sur.

    There are, as yet, few places to flee to.
    Hell, the oppressed of the World, they are still fleeing, to here.

    From Guatemala, Mexico, Africa, to name but a few.

    Whether you are still in Cash
    Real Estate or Equities
    Long or Short.

    They're all in the tank, simultaniously.

    Who'd have thought.

  106. Here, bob, a little more of the Crown connection to Obama. It makes the Ayers stuff pale in comparison, but who's to know?

    Why ask why?

    It happened circuitously. In 1990, Obama was already enough of a celebrity – the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review – for the New York publishers Simon & Schuster to offer a “six-figure contract” for a proposed autobiography. The only problem was that Obama was too busy finishing law school to write the book, and the contract was eventually cancelled. By the time Obama finished Dreams From My Father – published by Times Books in 1995 – his advance was only $40,000. In 2004, Obama – now a state senator in Illinois and a candidate for the US senate – was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, but his book was long out of print. Yet when he arrived in Washington, the $169,300 senator’s salary was not going to be his mainstay:

    two weeks before he was sworn in, Crown Books announced a $1.9m three-book contract with the senator-elect.

  107. Who can challenge a Presidential candidate then?

    Could a State of the Union do so?

    One of the red states?

    What about a Congressman, or Senator?

    What about the Minority Leader of the House?

    Wha about an opposing Presidential candidate?

    Somebody's got to be able to do it.

  108. How deep are this fellows' pockets?

    Gotta dig deep to go any further.

    Be out of time, too.

  109. Call John, bob, have him sign on to that project.

    Betcha an Amero to a dough-nut he says no.

  110. Who is Obama?

    That's now easily answered...

    A Crown Man.