Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Truscott Called onto the Carpet

Kudos to John in Carolina. We have followed John's battles with the NYT regarding some lies spread by Lucian Truscott and published in the NYT, and we have admired John's doggedness in pursuing the issue (and have tried to link him up with some members of the West Point class of '69).

To get the NYT to admit their mistake in publishing Truscott's false claims (which John has now done), and to get Truscott himself to admit, in so many words, that he shot his mouth off (again) and couldn't back it up when called out on the playground, is certainly satisfying to those who have followed John's efforts and to West Pointers everywhere.

A Day in the Life of the N&O

Some real gems in the N&O today:

1. The paper runs an AP story about former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark defending Saddam, but fails to mention Clark's political affiliation (Dem.). Yet all reports of Duke Cunningham's misdeeds carry his political affiliation (Rep.).

2. The main header on the business page is "Nation basks in rosy data," but the subheader reads "Next year is not expected to be better," and the majority of the article (from the NYT) spins the economic situation as negatively as possible.

Now I am all for the "things are good but may go bad" angle of reporting as long as it is backed up by some data. But why didn't the MSM run "things are bad but may turn good" articles about the economy leading up to the 2004 elections? Every day they trumpeted the talking points of the Kerry campaign (x jobs lost in y years - worst than Herbert Hoover, etc.) without mentioning the many economists who saw signs of the rebound that in fact started before the election.

3. The N&O also runs an LA Times piece on a program by the U.S. military to pay the fledging Iraqi press to run articles favorable to the U.S. effort and trumpeting freedom, democracy and prosperity. I think this is a great idea in the short term, but I was amused by this: "Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists." The article goes on to claim that these news accounts are in fact not unbiased.

Well, that description pretty much sums up the state of the MSM as well. They hold to the claim that articles are unbiased when even a casual reader can sniff out liberal bias daily. If you gave me a choice between reading the LA Times/NY Times/N&O to try to find out what is going on in Iraq, vs. reading a small Iraqi paper that runs some articles placed by members of the U.S. military Information Operations units, I would read the latter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Payoff May be End for Black

NC House leader Jim Black has been under increasing scrutiny for various misdeeds, but the latest charge that he made campaign contributions that look suspiciously like payoffs may be the end for his leadership position in the NC Democratic party:

(RALEIGH) – Ferrell Blount, Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, issued a harsh response after learning that Speaker Jim Black gave former Rep. Michael Decker $4,000 one day before Decker drafted a check to himself and closed his campaign account.

In 2003, Rep. Michael Decker switched to the Democrat Party which erased a 61-59 Republican majority in the N.C. House. His switch directly benefited Speaker Jim Black since Black later formed a power-sharing agreement with Richard Morgan. Decker later switched back to the Republican Party and lost in the 2004 primary.

The news of Black’s contribution to Decker came to light in a press release from Joe Sinsheimer, a Democrat who has worked in state and national Democratic politics for 20 years. Sinsheimer is also the creator of the website, which calls on Speaker Jim Black to resign. Sinsheimer notes that since Decker’s infamous party switch, Speaker Jim Black has rewarded him in several ways.

“First we learn that Jim Black got Michael Decker a sweetheart $48,000-a year state job in return for switching political parties and keeping Jim Black in power,” Sinsheimer said in the release. “Then we learn that Black helped Decker’s son, Michael Decker Jr., get a job as a ‘research associate’ in the General Assembly. Now we learn that Black is rewarding Decker with campaign cash. There seems to be no end to Jim Black’s influence peddling. I am sick of turning my head while Jim Black rewards his political allies with campaign cash.”

The $4,000 contribution to Decker on February 10, 2005 was not Black’s first. Speaker Black also gave Decker $4,000 on August 4, 2004 – two weeks after Decker lost the July 20 primary to Larry Brown.

“The Republican Party defeated Michael Decker in a primary in 2004. Now the Democrat Party should clean up its own House Caucus by defeating Jim Black,” said Blount. “North Carolina can have an honest and open government, but it will take both parties to defeat those who subvert the political process for their own gain. It is no wonder that Democrats like Joe Sinsheimer are angry with Speaker Black. This system of corruption must come to an end.”

Loserman no More

The MSM has trumpeted every utterance (except the embarrassing ones) of Cindy Sheehan. Our own N&O runs a weekly John Edwards lovefest item and the MSM gobbles up his "I was wrong (and a political opportunist)" columns and speeches. And lately the left has tried to lionize John Murtha after he called for (but did not vote for) the beginning of an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

So let's see how the anti-Bushies report on Joe Lieberman's latest pronouncements and writings, including today's featured OpEd in the WSJ.

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.


I cannot say enough about the U.S. Army and Marines who are carrying most of the fight for us in Iraq. They are courageous, smart, effective, innovative, very honorable and very proud. After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: "I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates."
Thank you, General. That is a powerful, needed message for the rest of America and its political leadership at this critical moment in our nation's history. Semper Fi.


Back in 2000 I was one of those outraged at the actions of the Gore-Lieberman team, in particular their attempt to deny the vote to our service members deployed overseas. I laughed along at the Sore-Loserman bumper stickers, but after reading Lieberman's opinions on Iraq, and being aware of his consistent stand on the issue as opposed to the flopping of other leaders of his party, I will call him Loserman no more (especially in comparison to scum like the cartoonist derided by Michelle Malkin here).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Still in Love With Sheehan?

The N&O had a short lovefest with Sheehan, which included their embarrassing attempt to crop a Sheehan-Sharpton photo to hide the real story. I say let the lovefest continue and show this photo.

(Follow-up note: The news editor of the N&O, Melanie Sill, took issue with my claim that the paper cropped the Sheehan-Sharpton photo. Her claim is that the paper did not crop the photo but instead chose to use a photo from the AP that was either taken or cropped in order to not show the throng of photographers around the teary Sheehan-Sharpton "moment." She acknowledges that the N&O did have access to the AP photo [that showed the real story of the manufactured photo-op] but chose not to run it.)

Dems Hurt Troop Morale

My experience suggests that without a doubt the anti-war left is despised by members of the military and the section of the Democratic party that has joined forces with that left hurts troop morale.

WaPo reports that most Americans have formed the same conclusion, which may give Dems pause in their relentless attempt to gain partisan political points at the expense of national security (HT Instapundit):

Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.

Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."

Taking the Battle to the Terrorists

This sounds like good news:

BAGHDAD -- The leader of Iraq's most powerful political party has called on the United States to let Iraqi fighters take a more aggressive role against insurgents, saying his country will only be able to defeat the insurgency when the United States lets Iraqis get tough.
"The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror," said Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shiite Muslim religious party that leads the transitional government and whose armed wing is the most feared of Iraq's many factional forces.

Any time host nation forces want to play a bigger role, you can count on progress in tracking down and killing terrorists.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lara Logan

Rantingprofs exposes the sometimes incestuous relationship among the MSM. In this case the NYT runs a fawning article about CBS's next "It Girl," Lara Logan, without mentioning that one of Logan's biggest stories was in fact more story than fact.

The NYT piece does suggest that former swimwear model Logan has used her looks on occasion to get the story, and I do remember the enthusiastic willingness some of our special operators in Afghanistan exhibited when it came time to host Logan on a visit to the Afgh.-Pak. border.

Bad Ideas Catch up with Reality

Michael Barone is one of our best political and social commentators, and his latest on the decline of GM and the unions is valuable because it does not focus on what is happening right now, but rather on how these problems were created in the first place.

To expand on Barone's theme (trying to create a socialist nirvana on earth through government may sound good, and may get some votes, but will lead to tragedy), most of the major issues our country faces have roots in the attempt to sell a socialist scheme to (sometimes) willing Americans.

Social Security proposals helped vault the Democrats to national power for years, and as long as there were more people working than retired the Ponzi scheme would work. So now reformers in the Republican party (I haven't heard anything substantial from the Dems) have to correct the errors made decades ago.

The initial proposals for Medicare and Medicaid projected low costs and much smaller enrollment levels than we are seeing today. Voters flocked to the Democrats for providing these "free" programs to the elderly and the needy because it was difficult to understand how years later these programs would weigh heavily on the economic health of the nation.

And as we have discussed before, the current insolvency of the PBGC (the next bailout of a govt. entity by the American taxpayer) has not been caused by the bankruptcy of companies in the last few years, but rather by the creation of a program by the govt. that shifted the decisions of private individuals and corporations engaged in the free market onto the govt.

Barone effectively outlines how the "visionaries" at GM, the UAW and the govt. schemed to create a socialist version of society. Their scheme actually "worked" for years. Half of my family worked in the auto industry around Flint and I remember tales from childhood about their workdays filled with sleeping in back rooms or sitting around waiting for a delivery or some instructions. Yet despite their lack of production they were paid well and had the opportunity to live good lives. I can't begrudge them their work habits and attitudes, but those who led the auto industry and the unions and failed to reform their institutions until it was too late should be ashamed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where Did McCain Go?

The MSM is always front and center when John McCain dissents from the Bush administration, so why aren't they trumpeting his call for more troops in Iraq vs. the Dem. demand for beginning an immediate withdrawal?

And here is an example from Winds of Change of media bias against the military in the LA Times.

Iraq Update With Lots of Weapons Talk

Just received this update from Iraq via the father of a Marine (forwarded by a West Point classmate). Pretty comprehensive summary of the view of the battle from the company perspective, and if you like an analysis of weapons you will want to read the whole thing. Some excerpts below:

The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700s. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcocks record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.

The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and (especially) Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members (especially children) is common to influence people they are trying to influence but can't reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.).

According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see shit like Are we losing in Iraq on TV and the print media.

Monday, November 21, 2005

More on Mongolia

Long before the president's recent visit brought attention to Mongolia, our favorite writer Robert Kaplan traveled there and made some remarkable observations on the strategic importance of the place, and also on the impact one man with a vision (in this case LTC Tom Wilhelm) can have. The linked article, from Atlantic Monthly, is also in Kaplan's newest book Imperial Grunts. Two good excerpts:

The morning I arrived at the American embassy in Ulan Bator, Wilhelm, newly promoted to colonel, greeted me wearing a gray suit, a white shirt, a tie, and suspenders. Born in 1959, raised in Orlando, Florida, and given formative military training at West Point and the Army Ranger school, in Fort Benning, Georgia, Wilhelm had risen through the ranks of the military as the Cold War order was falling apart. On the ground in several theaters of military operation, he had witnessed the messy collapse of communism in Eurasia. Known to warlords in Bosnia as "Mean Mr. Tom," and to colleagues in Tajikistan as "Aga Tom," he became the ultimate area expert on the former Soviet empire and its shadow zones, from Yugoslavia all the way to Mongolia.


Wherever he is, the mission is everything for Tom Wilhelm. In his eyes, to avoid taking bureaucratic risks, or to shade the truth for the sake of a diplomatic advantage, is unmanly, the worst of offenses. "I'm the guy who gutted the [Department of Defense] environmental program for Mongolia, because it was unimplementable, and I didn't see what DOD was getting out of it," he told me almost as soon as we had met. One of Wilhelm's early moves in Ulan Bator was to scrap many existing military-assistance programs and replace them with new ones—including a humanitarian dental project in a key Mongolian-Chinese border area—that would support the three-pillars strategy. "I chose to come here and not to work at the JSTAFF [Joint Staff] at the Pentagon, because in Mongolia I knew that I could make a difference," Wilhelm told me. Even as a military officer he was a policymaker by another name.

Thanks to the always informative Mudville Gazette for helping distribute this info.

Withdraw When?

MSM spin has already started on the Murtha controversy. The AP is claiming, and the N&O is dutifully printing, that Murtha "called for troops to leave Iraq within six months." But what Murtha really called for is for troops to leave Iraq immediately, and that is what the Republicans pushed to a vote. Logistically and realistically it might take six months to get everyone out, but the Murtha surrender would have to start now, and honest reporting would make that clear so voters could understand the choice presented to them by the 2 parties.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Zarqawi Dead?

We have hoped before, so hoping again that the scumbag is dead.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Troops Need Your Help

I am going to tout our foundation again here. Five officers who served together in the 2nd ACR in Germany in the late 80s recently formed the E. E. Mixon Second Dragoons Foundation. We are pledged to help the families of fallen cavalrymen and to do so with minimal administrative costs, and for no pay, in order to ensure your donations go directly to the families in need.

We recently flew 9 members of the family of CPL Jeffrey Williams to Ft. Carson for his memorial service. Since then the 3rd ACR has suffered additional losses and we are raising money for travel for services likely to occur in Dec. The foundation web site has information on how to donate. Thanks for whatever help you can give, and thanks to the Mudville Gazette for letting me add this info to the open post.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

The Democrats, while failing to offer viable alternatives to any of the challenges facing the nation, have managed to smear the Bush administration with false or trumped-up charges. We have long been calling for a relentless counterattack, and we are seeing some signs of our willingness to put the knives away and use the right ammo.

The vote yesterday was a perfect counterattack and struck a deep blow at Dems who were loud enough to call for immediate withdrawal of our troops, but apparently did not have the courage to vote for such a bill. Keep these votes coming boys. Every time a liberal mouths off and the Dem. leadership does not distance themselves from the idiotic comments, hold a vote.

One interesting observation on the MSM reporting of the vote yesterday. Much was made of Murtha's service in Vietnam (sounds like one less Purple Heart than Kerry), but I heard nothing of the 7 years that Sam Johnson, R-TX, fierce critic of Murtha and keynote Republican speaker on the bill, served in a POW camp in Vietnam.

A good one here on the Dem. plan for Iraq, and read a summary of Dem. comments about Iraq at Mudville Gazette.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Coming Home

Go here if you want to get a little lump in the throat reading about the return of Michael Yon's unit - and God bless Bruce Willis for attending the homecoming and showing more backbone than most Dem Senators.

MSM Pumps the Theme

One thing I admire about the MSM is their ability to stay on message day after day. The theme they are pumping may be completely false, but until they move along to another topic they can find some new angle to keep an issue alive. Of course the "issues" they choose to pump seem to focus on conservatives, so "stories" like how many judges will be removed from the Delay case can be used to keep that one alive.

The current theme is dual-headed. The first angle is "Bush lied" and the MSM is in concert with Dems seeking political gain in slandering or libeling the Bush administration. The second angle is that "the tide is turning" in Iraq (and despite evidence on the ground to the contrary, the MSM is depicting the tide as turning against the U.S.).

So when John Murtha, D-PA, made some strong statements yesterday claiming that our military could not win in Iraq (and implying that he knew this because he was an expert due to his service in Vietnam), the MSM, including our own N&O, put it on the front pages. But how much "reporting" research would it have taken to find that Murtha had made similar comments over a year ago? Yet every MSM story presented this as recent news because it fit the "tide is turning" theme. The great Americans at the Mudville Gazette have a broader roundup of this theme.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Jim Black Must Go

A former operative for the Democrats here in NC is finally fed up with the performance of Jim Black and has started this site to distribute information and formalize the protests against Black.

Nobody Can Blame...

We rarely take on the N&O editorial writers as the target is too easy and the quality too low to justify the time, but while flying to NY on Tuesday I saw this lead editorial:

Nobody should blame advocates of black and Hispanic youth for using strong language to rivet the communities attention.

Having the N&O start any sentence with "Nobody should blame" makes me want to start blaming someone, so I read on to find out that a Raleigh minister called the situation of black and Hispanic youths in N.C. "tantamount to genocide."

Well, yes, someone should could cast blame when a speaker uses the word genocide where it clearly does not apply, and who better to cast the blame than the "paper of record" in the Triangle? But the liberal impulse is to grant that anything goes when commenting on their pet issues. Accuracy is no longer important when Hurricane Katrina stories can be exaggerated in order to attempt to damage the administration, or when the MSM can repeat lies that the Bush administration manipulated intel and provide no proof for their claims.

So to be clear, genocide is defined as the deliberate extermination of a people or a nation. If I have missed something and genocide is going on in this region, then I hope the N&O will provide the details on who is committing the genocide as the definition mentions a deliberate act. Otherwise, please find someone to use in the lead editorial who has something useful, and not needlessly inflammatory, to say about the problem.

Dems on Tape

Now that the Dems on waffling on whether they want to fight the war to victory, check out some of their past statements on the topic here. It sure is easy to talk tough and be bold when popular support is behind you, but it takes a real coward to bail out mid-course just because the public has developed doubts and wants to see more concrete progress.

Lorie Byrd at Michelle Malkin's site has more, including this cogent point:

Here is my take on this strategy. The more I think about it, the more I believe this is just a way to diminish any political goodwill that will accrue to the Bush administration when troops do begin leaving Iraq. I think the same can be said for the timetable Democrats wanted to impose in the Congress. With upcoming elections and the trial of Saddam, and more and more Iraqi troops and police being trained daily, it is likely, and I think the President has even stated, that the American military presence will start being scaled back within the next 6 - 12 months. When that happens, Democrats will try to claim it was the pressure they exerted that caused it. We all know that is what the President has said all along -- that we will leave when the Iraqis no longer need us there. The public, however, has heard a constant drumbeat from Democrats and the media that there is no exit strategy

Monday, November 14, 2005

Weathervane Edwards

HT to Mike Williams for pointing us to Jim Geraghty's NRO article on John Edwards. The former liability lawyer has changed his position so often on Iraq that he may bypass John Kerry's record for waffling on the issue based on which way the political winds are blowing. Geraghty gives us plenty of quotes from Edwards to make the pretty boy look pretty bad.

Attack, Don't Defend

The Bush administration, as well as Republicans like John McCain, are on the attack against the "Bush lied" idiots. But the N&O, in choosing the headline for an AP story, made 2 interesting decisions.

First, they titled the piece "Advisor defends Bush." The advisor in question is Steven Hadley, and he was not defending Bush. He was attacking the critics, like Jay Rockefeller in our earlier post, who have proven to be political opportunists. The headline should have read "Bush advisor attacks critics," but that would have been out of line with the MSM theme that the Bush administration is on the defensive and in disarray.

The second interesting choice, though here the fault lies more with the AP than the N&O, is relegating the comments of John McCain to a late paragraph and not the headline. McCain is a much more popular and well-known figure than Steven Hadley, and he has also spoken harshly of the "Bush lied" critics and has called them disingenuous (which means they are liars, but also colleagues of his). Why wouldn't the headline read "McCain attacks critics of Bush"? That lead would pack a nice punch and would put the critics of Bush on the defensive in the minds of readers. (More McCain comments here via Mudville Gazette)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Will the Truth Win Out?

Will the vile liars who are repeating the "Bush lied" theme finally be called out by the MSM? I doubt it, but I am glad to see the President blasting away, and in at least one case, as reported by Powerline, a prominent Dem is embarrassed by the MSM when his "Bush lied" theme is completed discredited and he is revealed as a partisan hack who, like the majority of his party, is willing to try to gain political points at the expense of the national security of the country and the truth.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Trend, or Statistical Noise

Check out the latest Rasmussen. Trend, based on Alito nomination and the administration finally deciding to go after the disloyal opposition hard, or statistical noise?

Friday, November 11, 2005

NC Global Warming Commission

The John Locke boys run another good piece on the genius of the Dem-led govt. here in NC. Responding in solid PC fashion, the state decided to name a NC Global Warming Commission. Except when the 16 members of the commission were named, we learned that only one was a climate scientist, and none of the members were economists.

Recruiting Goals Met

Why does the N&O carry AP stories when the Army misses recruiting goals, but not carry these stories when we hit our targets for five months in a row!

Is the Right Wing Howler Representative?

We have talked a lot here about losing your base (and why you shouldn't do it under any circumstances), and how the Alito nomination was step one in reinvigorating that base. But we do check out some sites of strong conservatives, like Right Wing Howler, to see how the base is feeling. After yesterday's vote on ANWR and budget cuts, Howler was howling. I won't support all of the strong language, but the post does help measure the anger out there when Republicans fail to live up to their conservative principles.

On a another note, plenty of great salutes to veterans out there, so instead of reproducing will direct you to Mudville.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Finally, an Apology

Jason VS posts an apology letter from newspaper editor Rex Smith regarding the Jimmy Massey debacle. Massey, you may remember, is a former Marine who has been making exaggerated claims of U.S. atrocities in Iraq. A number of players in the MSM printed these claims (I do not believe the N&O did so), and not many of them have apologized now that the stories have been proven to be lies. Congratulations to Jason for calling Smith out, and congratulations to Smith for admitting that the press has a problem with investigating and printing the truth, especially if the truth does not fit into the "blame America first" mentality many in the MSM carry.

Watch the Market

If you want to track the importance of Tuesdays election results as a harbinger of the 2006 elections, watch the markets. The MSM, as predicted, will claim that because the Dems held onto 2 governorships, and lost one lt. gov. post (in VA) that they previously held, they are well positioned for 2006.

But if the markets agree, and if participants foresee either the Dems taking the Senate or picking up more than a handful of seats in the House, the markets will start a steady slide downward. The bull market in U.S. equities coincided with the Republican House sweep in 1994 as businessmen and investors bet on lower taxes, less regulation and a reduction in frivolous lawsuits (all promises delivered in the last 10 years). Only the bursting of the tech stock bubble and the attacks of 2001 have prevented the bull market from continuing.

The markets correctly shrugged off yesterday's election as disappointing but a small and noisy MSM blip. They will give a clearer signal later this year if the tables start to turn nationally on the GOP.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Eliminate the MSM Filter

We posted an press briefing with one of our commanders in Iraq, H.R. McMaster, and another briefing, via Mike Williams and Bill Roggio, has come to our attention and is worth the read. The value of reading comments directly from battlefield commanders is that we can avoid the customary filtering and spin and editing applied by the MSM on stories about Iraq. Mudville Gazette usually has a sampling of briefings as well.

This afternoon I conducted an interview with Colonel Stephen W. Davis, the Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team - 2 currently operating in western Iraq and engaged in Operation Steel Curtain in the border town of Husaybah.

Bill Roggio: What is the current status of Operation Steel Curtain?

Col Davis: Husaybah has been cleared and secured. Coalition forces are now conducting combat patrols. Construction is underway for basing of Iraqi and U.S. troops to maintain a permanent presence in the city, and provide security. We had a real good plan, but the execution was even better. I am pleased with the results of Operation Steel Curtain.

Bill: MNF-West states there were 1,000 Iraqi troops involved, while CNN and other news outlets reports 550. Is there an explanation for this discrepancy?

Col Davis: The number is just a hair short of 1,000. There is one full battalion of Iraqi Army soldiers, one brigade headquarters unit, units from the Desert Protection Force, and a Special Operations Forces unit, which was trained by [U.S.] Army Green Berets. These SOF units are high caliber units with a great deal of expertise and bring it to the battlefield.
(my emphasis)

Bill: How is the Desert Protection Force organized and trained?

Col Davis: These are platoon sized units recruited locally and trained in reconnaissance and scout techniques. They add a level of granularity due to their experience and local knowledge of the region. They have been very, very helpful during Operation Steel Curtain.

Bill: Last time we spoke, we discussed the morale of the Americans serving under your command. Can you give us a feel for the morale of the Iraqi troops?

Col Davis: The morale of the Iraqi troops is high. We are very fortunate to work with these soldiers and to watch them grow. The 2nd Brigade, 7th Division of the Iraqi Army is operating in the Hit/Haditha region, and the 1st Brigade, 1st Division is operating out west on the Syrian border. One of the battalions was engaged in Fallujah and Ramadi. There are some tough and battle hardened soldiers in these units. I am fortunate to have these two brigades directly under my command.

I dine nightly with [Iraqi Army] Colonel Razak, and we discuss the progress of the Iraqi troops and their ability to conduct combat operations. These units operating out here have good morale and show a high degree of proficiency in combat. They are in need of logistics assistance from us. These guys fight hard; I’ve lost six Iraqi soldiers since they have been operating out here.

These are just some excerpts, but Roggio carries the whole interview.

Guns and Money

I live a few miles from where Wake County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Tucker was murdered and drove by the scene not long after his body was discovered, so I have followed the case pretty closely and admired the quick work Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison and his team did in quickly tracking down the killer.

But reading the latest from Confederate Yankee leaves a bitter taste about the aftermath. The Brady Center, as a liberal group, believes that laws don't matter, but lawsuits do. It's not what you can prove, but what you can settle for that is important to these people (and Eliot Spitzer may become Gov. of NY on that principle). But now the Brady Center has now been caught in two fabrications surrounding the murder of Mark Tucker, and they are doing neither their Center nor the men who enforce our laws any favors with these errors/lies.

Michelle Malkin has some good coverage of another gun issue, this one surrounding the San Fran ban on handguns.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Perfect Timing

James Taranto's timing is perfect in bringing us this excerpt from a Krugman column on July 29th extolling the French economic system vs. the U.S.:

Americans are doing a lot of strutting these days, but a head-to-head comparison between the economies of the United States and Europe--France, in particular--shows that the big difference is in priorities, not performance. We're talking about two highly productive societies that have made a different tradeoff between work and family time. And there's a lot to be said for the French choice. . . .

Let's ask how the situation of a typical middle-class family in France compares with that of its American counterpart. The French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out.

But there are compensations for this lower level of consumption. Because French schools are good across the country, the French family doesn't have to worry as much about getting its children into a good school district. Nor does the French family, with guaranteed access to excellent health care, have to worry about losing health insurance or being driven into bankruptcy by medical bills.

Election Day Themes

Interesting how the MSM depicts the main issues on election day. At the national level, if Dems win the gubernatorial seats in NJ and VA (seats they already hold), the focus will be on the Republican losses and what it means for the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq etc. etc.

But if the Dems lose these states (2 pickups for the Republicans), the focus will be on the dirty campaigns (with implications that Republicans play dirtier). The MSM will completely avoid the conclusion, should the Dems lose both, that the Democratic party has nothing to offer in terms of fresh ideas and that this withering at the top damages state candidates as well.

In local elections here in Wake County, the most important races are at the school board level. Two runoffs feature candidates who support the education establishment and the idea that school bureaucrats know what is best for our kids vs. candidates who desire more choice for parents and less meddling by the school board.

The pro-establishment candidates, and the N&O, have started to use the segregation word to try to label their opponents. But segregation is defined as enforced racial separation. The candidates supporting parental and student choice in schooling are not doing so to segregate schools, they are doing so to improve schools through greater competition. Most parents are primarily concerned with the quality of school their child attends, not the racial makeup, but the pro-establishment/anti-choice candidates take the exact opposite view. Should be interesting.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

New U.S. and Iraqi Operation

Rantingprofs offers another example of lousy, and also biased, reporting by the MSM on Iraq.

Good News Not Reported

Craig Newmark brings another example of the MSM not reporting good economic news, this time with the strong productivity numbers. Here we are post Clinton recession, post 9/11, post Katrina and Rita, post multiple Fed raises, and we are still churning out great numbers and holding the unemployment rate at 5%. You would think we would see glowing reports in the press but almost every report on the economy picks one potential trouble spot and focuses only on that area.

Foundation On-line

I introduced our new foundation in this post, and wanted to announce that we are now up and running for on-line donations here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

More Jimmy Carter

Powerline, via Mike Williams, has more on Jimmy Carter:

His history is a sorry one: he started out as a Midshipman and served honorably in the Navy. But at some point, his leftist politics took hold and he started aligning himself with America's enemies. The turning point, I think, came here:

Soviet diplomatic accounts and material from the archives show that in January 1984 former President Jimmy Carter dropped by Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's residence for a private meeting.

Carter expressed his concern about and opposition to Reagan's defense buildup. He boldly told Dobrynin that Moscow would be better off with someone else in the White House. If Reagan won, he warned, "There would not be a single agreement on arms control, especially on nuclear arms, as long as Reagan remained in power."

Using the Russians to influence the presidential election was nothing new for Carter.
Schweizer reveals Russian documents that show that in the waning days of the 1980 campaign, the Carter White House dispatched businessman Armand Hammer to the Soviet Embassy.
Hammer was a longtime Soviet-phile, and he explained to the Soviet ambassador that Carter was "clearly alarmed" at the prospect of losing to Reagan.

Hammer pleaded with the Russians for help. He asked if the Kremlin could expand Jewish emigration to bolster Carter's standing in the polls.

"Carter won't forget that service if he is elected," Hammer told Dobrynin.

Conspiring with our chief enemy to try to influence an American Presidential election: We could have called that treason, but we didn't. You can form your own opinion.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Laptops for WIAs

Blackfive has more progress on what sounds like a pretty good idea - buying voice-activated laptops for soldiers who have been wounded.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Useful Idiots

HT to Mike Williams for bringing this informative info on the guy who has become one of the "useful idiots" to the blame-America-first crowd:

Jason at the Texas Rainmaker blog quotes former President Carter:

November 2, 2005

"The Bush Administration's prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction were manipulated, at least to mislead the American people."

February 18, 2003

"We want Saddam Hussein to disarm but we want to achieve this through peaceful means. He obviously has the capability and desire to build prohibited weapons and probably has some hidden in his country."

Scandal a Brewin'

The N&O is digging in hard on the lottery scandal story here in N.C. and doing some good investigative work. As expected, the editorial writers weighed in today, and as expected the piece reveals little new information and offers up few useful opinions. The theme of the editorial writers is that this is a problem with the influence of lobbyists on government. But get this - not once in the long editorial do Steve Ford and his folks mention that the real scandal is with the Democratic party in N.C. In fact, they don't mention the party affiliation of the accused (Easley, Black and Basnight) even once in the article.

Now their argument will be that readers know these men are Democrats, but as the Civitas Institute has demonstrated in their polls, a majority of N.C. residents in fact do not know that the state is controlled by Democrats.

The same editorial writers, when commenting on the relationship of lobbyists with Tom Delay, repeatedly noted that Delay was a Republican and framed the problem as one for the Republican party. So why is this lobbying scandal in N.C. different? How long can the N&O get away with supporting their favored party in light of the continuing series of revelations about improper behavior (slush fund, transportation dept. failures, the lottery)?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Looking out for the troops

While the MSM focuses on the negative aspects of U.S. involvement overseas, and while liberals look to the government to solve all problems, an overwhelming number of Americans have decided to support our troops through private efforts. Some send cards or care packages and others have formed foundations to help out.

A small group of us who served together in Germany in the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment recently formed just such a foundation and last week we made our first distribution. The foundation is called the E. E. Mixon Second Dragoons Foundation (MSG Mixon was an outstanding and influential NCO when we were all young LTs, and he has now passed away).

Our first act was to pay for the travel costs for 9 members of the family of CPL Jeffrey Williams to attend the memorial service for him at Ft. Carson. The military pays for the service but not for family travel, and in this case the family was spread throughout the country. CPL Williams had served the 3rd ACR and died from an IED attack during the recent battle for Tal Afar.

By all accounts the memorial service was a moving event and the family was deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from our foundation and others. We hope to ramp up the foundation operations and expand our website to include on-line payment options, but for now if you would like to contribute you can mail a check to the E.E. Mixon Second Dragoons Foundation at 3405 Spartina Ct., Raleigh, NC, 27606. If you would like to donate appreciated stock you can e-mail me using the link at the right. We would also like to thank the Mudville Gazette for letting us use their open post to publicize the foundation.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Filibuster Deal Looking Better

We pointed out several months ago that the filibuster deal set up by the "Gang of 14", while hard to stomach, gave the Reps more room to maneuver than the Dems. The Alito nomination will demonstrate that claim as the 7 Dems who signed onto the Gang of 14 (I think former KKK member Robert Byrd - D-VA- claimed they had "saved the Republic") will have a hard time not voting for cloture.

We also claimed the Lindsey Graham and Mike Dewine (the two most surprising names on the Republican list of the Gang of 14) were not turncoats. Indeed, they were the first 2 to announce that Alito merited a vote in the Senate and that the failure to provide such a vote will lead to the Constitutional Option.

Photo Manipulation

Confederate Yankee has the latest example of photo doctoring by the MSM, this one of Judge Alito. The point of the recent rash of photo doctoring cases, from the Condi Rice shot here to the less sinister but still manipulative Sheehan/Sharpton lovefest here, is not that the MSM would do such things - we take for granted that they will, but rather that they can no longer get away with it thanks to the bloggers and some simple uses of technology.