Monday, March 31, 2003

Media Embargo

While not in effect, per se, I have decided to scale back news consumption and commentary for sanity's sake. Big Picture vs. snap-shot. Remember that.

Friday, March 28, 2003

No links, no nothing today. To get my feelings about what is going on, please try to scout up the text of Rummey's afternoon Pentagon Press conference. He's going at the gaggle with both barrels. It's a keeper.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

A few things today, first up is Jed Babbin on National Review Online who has a good running war blog and today brings up the role that special forces, and particularly sniper/scouts, are playing in Baghdad with little or no fanfare. I listened this morning to the press conference given by three wounded soldiers detailing the action in which they received their injuries. It was highly illustrative of the quality of the men and women in uniform and should make every one of us confident that the "grunts" are confident and extremely able. Of course, CBS news radio chose to parse the one line by a soldier, Moran I believe was his name, about how he expected the Iraqi soldiers to roll over and was surprised that they didn't. CBS conveniently chose this singular quote rather than the paragraphs devoted to the heroic effort of these guys in killing and capturing these same Iraqi's during this engagement. Not to mention the fact that while the Iraqi's are actually putting up a fight, once they are confronted with face to face combat, rather than taking potshots dressed in civilian clothes, they are either killed or surrender pretty quickly. This is just another example of the media focusing on the tactical side of the news and not the strategic. We must always remember that the nature of news is to report the out of the ordinary. The fact that we have superior forces is not news, as such, and only when we encounter resistance, no matter how relatively light, does the press seem to get interested. Not to mention the fact that operational security has probably dictated that some of our more successful maneuvers are not going to publicized at this time. At least logic would seem to dictate this.

If you're tired of celebs spouting of, I can give you one real rock band that actively supports our troops. Their name is 3 Doors Down and they have toured extensively for USO and even include the military in their "When I'm Gone" music video. I have to confess to getting a lump in my throat myself when I saw it while channel surfing the other night. So, if you like rock music and want to support a band worth supporting, give 3DD a try!

Finally, regarding my comments yesterday about the size of the force we have in place, please realize that I have complete confidence in the forces in place and that we will win with what we have. Also, I know that more troops are on the way and this is all part of the "rolling start" outlined by Secretary Cheney and the DoD. I just think that more is always better and that those troops should have been in place before engaging. It would have been a lot easier to "roll" those troops in from Kuwait after a week than from Texas, Colorado, and via the Suez canal in my opinion. Hopefully, this will cause us to rethink this strategy a bit. But you know what? History will be the judge. God bless America and Protect our troops.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I just started reading Ralph Peters, a guest columnist in the NY Post. Good, common sense approach to the war on Iraq. He does have one quibble, though, and that's with our seemingly undermanned ground forces. I've maintained that as soon as the Turks cut out on us, we should have begun moving those 30 ships full of 4th Army equipment immediately to the Gulf and started flying the troops to man that equipment in from Texas. It appears they are finally going to be deployed this week. I don't think it's necessary to field a million man army, but it seems more would have been better. But we'll win, it just may take a bit longer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

FOX News has a bulletin that the Shiites in Basra are joining the fight. Looks like they just needed a little more reassurance that we meant it this time.
I've been pretty busy at work and home, so not much time to blog lately. However, for a status on the war, and my implied "here here", go, well, HERE.

Friday, March 21, 2003

And let me get this straight....while some protest in America, Iraqi's cheer our arrival. Why don't those protestors live awhile under a despotic regime and then decide to protest "American Imperialism?"
So we're rolling! Seems as if we managed to kill two birds with one...missile in Baghdad. I was entranced by the real time reporting of our troops rolling into Iraqi territory last night. I'm not a war monger, but it was still pretty darn cool. The wonders of technology.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

So it has begun. The "International Community" has come out with statements of varying degrees of condemnation. Oh well. God bless the troops and the U.S.A.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

One of my pet areas of study is Just War Theory. Today, Joseph Loconte of National Review Online has a solid piece on how traditional JWT has been watered down. He begins:

"The mischief began at least 20 years ago, when the U.S. Catholic Bishops issued 'The Challenge of Peace,' a pastoral letter redefining the litmus test for war. Not only must military action be a last resort, they said, but 'all peaceful alternatives must have been exhausted.'

And goes on to explain the slippery slope of the ultra ambiguous last phrase of the above quote. He wraps it all up with:

"Just-war doctrine remains essential to international order, but if it can't sanction action against this menace, it needs revision. Grounded in Christian ethics, the theory guards against warmongerng in the pursuit of national security. But when all peaceful alternatives to war have failed, the doctrine must not become a suicide pact with civilization. "


Not much to say this morning, just waiting for war. Well....OK, and I have to lead you to the excellent George Will column on Tom Daschle, too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Tony Blair laid out the case this afternoon to the British House of Commons. Simply Eloquent. A must read.
Today, we finally get to the primary reason I decided to start this blog. It's purpose is to provide a running commentary on the statements and shenanigans of the Rhode Island delegation to Congress as well as those in the General Assembly and the Governor. All are Democrats, with the exception of Gov. Carcieri and a negligible few in the General Assembly (something less than 20%!). Oh, I almost forgot Senator Lincoln Chafee, who calls himself a Republican but has yet to verify that affiliation by his stance on any substantive policy issue. Nonetheless, with the President issuing his ultimatum to Saddam Hussein last night, an opportunity to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of our Congressional Delegation has been provided. All have made statements. For an article on these statements, go to this story in the Providence Journal. My statements follow, now.

We'll start with the easy ones first....
Sen. Jack Reed is a West Point grad, Democrat. His comment is in-line with most of his politics. He supports the action, says it will be successful, but has serious reservations about the aftermath and continues to blame the Bush Administration for ham-handed diplomacy. As a matter of fact, Reps. Jim Langevin and Patrick Kennedy, both Democrats, pretty much fall in line with that, with the latter two additionally blaming France for much of the diplomatic problem. Of these 3, Reed and Langevin seem to be maintaining their consistency best as far as what one would expect from them given their past political body of work. Rep. Kennedy is somewhat of a surprise, he is generally regarded as one of the more liberal firebrands in Congress. It has to be conjectured that, given his relatively close re-election campaign, Mr. Kennedy may be hedging against another run by his 2002 opponent, Dave Rodgers, a conservative Republican, former SEAL. Regardless, he is right on this issue, though he succumbs to his irresistable partisan urges and can't resist criticizing the perceived diplomatic failures. That brings us to Sen. Chafee.

Rather than having me explain his stance on the war, I'll let Sen. Chafee do it himself. From the article in ProJo today:

"But Republican Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee said that the idea that the French veto threat had contributed to a diplomatic breakdown is 'absolute hogwash.'

Chafee also charged that the Bush administration's stance toward Iraq is 'not about weapons, not about chemical weapons, not about biological weapons. It's about the aggressive imposition of our sole superpower status' on the rest of the world.

'My own opinion is that the administration has wanted to pursue this course over the last number of months, if not years,' Chafee said. U.S. policy has included the 'browbeating' of Great Britain and other nations to join the effort against Iraq, he noted.

'It's sad that, in this time of spring and warmth, the sense of vitality that comes with that first scent of spring is darkened by a change in American direction,' Chafee said. 'There was a contrast that I think everybody felt."

That is a Republican? The son of John Chafee, former Secretary of the Navy? Mr. Chafee received my vote during the last 2 elections. He will never receive it again. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for 4 more years before I will be able to voice my opinion at the ballot box. As such, I will endeavor to continue to illustrate in this blog exactly how off the mark our "Senator from Virginia" (as called by Dan Yorke, see link to the right) usually is. In his remarks, Chafee seems to be spouting every conspiracy theory espoused by the average blame-America-first war protestor. How can Chafee, knowing what he knows, think that the President has any but the best motives? No proof of WMD's in Iraq? WHAT!? And even if he doesn't trust the President, then it is generally expected that now is a time to close ranks and maintain a united front for the sake of the troops. I believe Sen. Chafee has just tossed away any legitimacy he may have had with the Bush Administration and expect him to be even further marginalized by his own party. But it's really not about party loyalty. To imply and ascribe the worst motivations to the President is reprehensible. It's reprehensible what some Democrats are doing, such as Sen. Tom Daschle severely criticizing the Bush diplomacy last night at a union fund raiser, but you are a Republican, Mr. Chafee. Your father was a Republican. Like it or not, members of political parties should stand together in times like these. Senator Chafee, you are certainly not the man your father was and it seems you never will be. In fact, it seems as if you are bent on political self-destruction. I'm beginning to believe that you were pressured into filling your father's Senate seat, something you may have never really wanted, and are now trying very hard to make yourself unpalatable to members of both parties in future elections. It's obvious you are far left of the average Republican voter. And an average Democrat would be justifiably reticent to support you if it was perceived that you were a political opportunist should you switch parties at some future date. I suspect you have thought of switching parties, too, especially should the Senate come under Democratic control next election cycle. In short, Mr. Chafee, you have time and again exhibited an unhealthy lack of decisiveness and concomitant resolve on almost any issue of foreign policy. You're as soft as sponge, but don't hold as much water. Get ready Senator....the free ride is over.

Monday, March 17, 2003

The U.N. delays have finally been ended as the U.S., U.K. and Spain pull the resolution, blaming a threatened French veto. Saddam has hours to leave Iraq, a point the President will make tonight at 8 pm. Meanwhile, it looks like the old saying that 'there's nothing the market hates more than indecision' is holding true as the Dow was up over 200 points the last time I checked.
On the brink of war, today I choose to simply provide a link to an annual rite of spring.....The NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Friday, March 14, 2003

So the "diplomacy" continues....... Meanwhile, Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard has a good piece on how we should view the French. That's all I can stomach for now. Later.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Due Diligence time: First, the U.S. Seeks U.N. Vote on Iraq on Friday; Second, Blair says there's no turning back, and Britain will support the U.S. regardless of the UN; Third, it seems that France is to help after war with Iraq, at least according to them. Don't hold your breath, Jacques; Fourth and Final, Iraqi 'secret surrender' negotiations under way, as Rumsfeld hinted at yesterday. By the way, Andrew Sullivan seems to be taking Rummy to task a bit, perhaps deservedly so. That's it on the war front for now. Bonjour!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Notice the sports emphasis today? Well, I've had it with this "diplomacy" tack. It's frustrating and ridiculous that we have come to lobbying 3rd World nations for a Security Council vote. Let's do it and get it over with! Everything that needs to be said has been said. It's time to act. 'Nuff said.
Pats add Rodney Harrison to defensive haul. The news keeps getting better for the Pats Defense. Can you say top 5 in the league?
Good news for a change. My beloved Pats have themselves a playa! Rosey is coming to town! Get ready for one helluva pass-rushing/defending defense coming out of NE folks. And I bet that the run D won't be too bad either. Colvin will allow Willie McGinest to operate solo on the other side and make him more effective. Now, if the Pats can pick up one of those young defensive linemen in the draft and perhaps an offensive playmaker, the Pats could be back in 2003.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Not much to say today, just this document which I wrote up: Iraq: A Just War. It's still under revision and review, but I hope to solidify it soon.

Monday, March 10, 2003

More evidence that Hans Blix may actually be enabling Saddam!
Also, reports are coming out thatAl Qaeda May Target U.S. Forces in Iraq. How come the Administration can't seem to prove any connection between Saddam with al Queda? Oh, I get it, Saddam doesn't know that al Queda is in his own country, right?
What a surprise! In his last report, Blix 'hid smoking gun' from Britain and US according to the London Times. Seems like he tried to bury the discovery of Iraq's unmanned drone program, an undeclared and proscribed weapons program, in an effort to forestall the U.S. and U.K. efforts in the U.N. Meanwhile, Sky News has interviewed an Iraqi defector from the Republican Guard claiming that Saddam plans to use his chemical and bio weapons. But you know what? It seems as if the U.N. and Saddam-enablers have moved past that. They pretty much acknowledge that he has the WMD's, but insist that an inspection regime is the better path than using force. They refuse to acknowledge that without the threat of an ass-kicking, Saddam would have never gotten this far. If you knows said ass-kicking is never going to come, how much cooperation does UNMOVIC and Hans Blix think they are going to get? Again, the process takes precedent over results for these guys.

Friday, March 07, 2003

As we head into, hopefully, the final U.N. presentation by Blix, let's remember that we are a nation in the right and, regardless of what those who value process over results think of our ultimate goals, we aren't trying to be an empire. This quote by Colin Powell is right on.

"We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last 100 years . . . and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in."
FOXNews.com has a report this morning that hints that Secretary of State Powell's stance of going to the U.N. before acting on Iraq may have weakened him within the administration. I'm at the point now where we wrap the U.N. thing up in a week or so, call for a vote, prove what an utterly useless organization it is and worry about ourselves and our friends. There is a theory about an Anglosphere that may be more in line with our future as a nation and as a member of some sort of "world body". I haven't read the whole thing, so if there is anything too wacky in there, remember it was just a site marked for further investigation.
FOXNews.com has a report this morning that hints that Secretary of State Powell's stance of going to the U.N. before acting on Iraq may have weakened him within the administration. I'm at the point now where we wrap the U.N. thing up in a week or so, call for a vote, prove what an utterly useless organization it is and worry about ourselves and our friends. There is a theory about an Anglosphere out there that MAY be germane. I ran across the above a few days ago, but haven't read it fully, though I will endeavor to do so.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Jed Babbin on Military & Politics on National Review Online has a column regarding the Generals appointed by Clinton and now operating under Bush as we pursue this war on Iraq.
Fred Barnes has perhaps the final say on the debate about the coming war. The Peacenik Top 10 is a point by point counter to every argument against the war.
Finally, on the local political front, Governor Carcieri revealed his budget. Now, I haven't gone over it with a fine tooth comb, but all of the usual suspects are already whining about cuts here there and everywhere. Let us remember, to a politician, a cut is a reduction in the EXPECTED INCREASE in spending. The governor is proposing 2% increases. The Dems et al. wanted, expected, and are used to more. So, a mere 2% increase in spending is a "cut" from their expectations. My major problem is the increased reliance on gambling. I think it's a slippery slope when you start to disproportionaly rely on a "vice" for government revenue. But the real problem is the resistance to cutting waste, fraud and abuse in Rhode Island. As long as the majority of the voters in this state continue to elect and overwhelmingly Single Party government, nothing will change. But that's a topic for another day.
Meanwhile, the Mighty Casey struck out: Fossum way off mark in rough outing according to the Boston Herald. Not time to panic yet, but let us remember that it was a refusal to trade Fossum that kept the Sox from getting Colon from the Expos. We'll keep an eye on this.
Starting off with a nice preview of the Hockey East Tournament in the Boston Globe. I'm a college hockey fan, particularly a Maine Black Bear fan, though that may have to change should I become a student at Providence, I guess....

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

One more here. by Stuart Taylor of the National Journal. Best quote, regarding the anti-American Europeans, South Koreans and others: "Abdicating their own responsibilities to help maintain world order, they are free riding, as my colleague Clive Crook noted last week, on the same U.S. polices that they publicly denounce. Like a spoiled teenager who expects her parents to support her even though she refuses to do any work around the house and constantly mouths off to them, these nations enjoy the benefits of U.S. global policing while refusing to share in the costs and trashing the policeman."
Quick Hits today:
1)U.S. plans to make short work of Iraq -- The Washington Times

2)The Sun Newspaper On Blair getting public support

3)George F. Will: Bush awaits permission from the passive

I'm out!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

"When one reads the reports of UNO [United Nations Organization] conferences, or international negotiations of any kind, it is difficult not to be reminded of l'Attaque and similar war games that children used to play, with cardboard pieces representing battleships, aeroplanes, and so forth, each of which had a fixed value and could be counted in some recognized way. In fact, one might almost invent a new game called Uno, to be played in enlightened homes where the parents do not want their children to grow up with a militaristic outlook.

The pieces in this game are called the proposal, the demarche, the formula, the stumbling-block, the stalemate, the deadlock, the bottle-neck and the vicious circle. The object of the game is to arrive at a formula, and though details vary, the general outline of play is always much the same. First the players assemble, and somebody leads off with the proposal. This is countered by the stumbling-block, without which the game could not develop. The stumbling-block then changes into a bottle-neck, or more often into a deadlock or vicious circle. A deadlock and a vicious circle occurring simultaneously produce a stalemate, which may last for weeks. The someone suddenly plays the demarche. The demarche makes it possible to produce a formula, and once the formula has been found the players can go home, leaving everything as it was at the beginning." - George Orwell, "As I Please," December 12, 1946. Thank you Andrew Sullivan

Monday, March 03, 2003

The Sun Newspaper Online claim's that everything; a U.N.S.C. vote, war on Iraq, the end of Chirac is a done deal. Wish I had those sources.....
This morning, Peggy Noonan has a good column, a letter to Andrew Cuomo, on her view of the state of the Democratic Party. Essentially, for today's Democrat, winning at all costs is paramount. It seems, the game is the thing. Meanwhile, WFB thinks the President should "transcend the Security Council". Good stuff.

Onto other things, specifically, SPORTS! Yeah, us "sportos" are currently in that weird twilight zone of the sports calender. The dark times if you will. Football is over, spring training has just begun. The NHL and NBA are mired in their respective useless regular seasons and March Madness has yet to start. But the latter is almost here. For reasons not readily apparent, I am an avid Michigan State University Spartan fan. They are currently embroiled in a tough battle in the Big Ten and, should they win their next two, will probably make it to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they perform in the Big Ten tournament. But we still have time before that happens. I'll keep my gun holstered on that topic for a bit longer. As I will on the NFL Draft and my beloved Red Sox.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

It's the weekend, so I'm taking it easy. However, one of the most important events on the war on terror so far has occurred. Somehow, we seem to have captured Al Queda's #3 man, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, even while building up for Iraq and dealing with Turkey and the U.N. How is it possible that the world's last superpower could do multiple tasks at once? I thought that our war on Iraq was/is distracting us from the "real" war on terror? Just lucky, I guess, huh?