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   PoliticsPolitics for Pros- moderated

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From: LindyBill9/16/2007 8:45:50 AM
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The Disappearing Jihadi
September 16th, 2007 Posted By Pat Dollard.


The number of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria has decreased noticeably in recent months, corresponding to a similar decrease in suicide bombings and other attacks by the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

"There is an early indication of a trend," said Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, in an interview. Border crossings from Syria that averaged 80 to 90 a month have fallen to "half or two-thirds of that over the last two or three months," Petraeus said.

An intelligence official said that "the Syrians do appear to be mounting a crackdown on some of the most hardened terrorists transiting through the country, particularly al-Qaeda-affiliated foreign fighters." The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said there is also evidence that the Syrians have been stopping return crossings by foreign fighters leaving Iraq.

Other administration officials, while confirming the decrease in border crossings, said they are not yet prepared to attribute it to Syrian action, instead citing increased U.S. operations against al-Qaeda inside Iraq and stepped-up cooperation by terrorist "source" countries, such as Saudi Arabia, in prohibiting travel to Damascus. U.S. intelligence has said Saudis form the biggest group of foreigners fighting with al-Qaeda in Iraq. Petraeus also said his command is uncertain of the reason for the decrease, adding that "we're watching it on the ground."

A National Intelligence Estimate last month attributed an apparent crackdown in Syria to that government's concern about the threat al-Qaeda posed to its own stability. The NIE also assessed that Syria had stepped up its support to non-al-Qaeda groups to bolster their influence — and that of Damascus — in Iraq. Several Iraqi Sunni extremist groups opposed to the United States and al-Qaeda in Iraq are present in Damascus.

The Bush administration has said that interference from Iran and Syria helped spark and continues to fuel much of the sectarian violence in Iraq. Iran is charged with training, arming and funding Shiite militias. The al-Qaeda in Iraq organization, which largely consists of Iraqi Sunnis, is said to be led by foreigners whose primary route into Iraq is through Syria. Syria is also believed by U.S. officials to be the primary route for foreign terrorists moving out of Iraq to return to their home countries in Arab countries, Europe and North Africa.

Nascent U.S. diplomatic dialogues with Damascus and Tehran, begun last spring after demands by war critics and the Iraqi government, have been judged unproductive by the White House.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem met in May with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the highest level contact between the two governments in more than three years. The meeting, held in Egypt, took place in the context of a conference between Iraq and its regional neighbors and was also attended by the European Union and the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council.

Although Rice did not sit down with her Iranian counterpart, the conference led to two meetings this summer between the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Baghdad. But there has been no similar high-profile follow-through between Washington and Damascus. Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent years of exile in Syria during the Iraqi governance of Saddam Hussein, visited Damascus for several days. U.S. officials also participated last month in a meeting in Damascus of a regional committee formed to address Iraqi refugee and border issues. An estimated 1 million Iraqis have fled to Syria to escape violence.

Rice plans to attend a second neighbors conference at the end of October in Istanbul, but U.S. policymakers have made no decision on whether they would seek or agree to another high-level meeting with Syria. "We haven't ruled it out yet," an administration official said. "I could speculate that if the end of October came and the numbers of suicide bombers had really dropped significantly and people . . . came to the conclusion there really had been a change in [Syrian] policy, that would give us every reason to have a meeting."

Just as it does with Iran, which the United States alleges is working toward production of a nuclear weapon, U.S. policy toward Syria is to separate Iraq-related issues from other points of contention.

The United States has labeled Syria a state sponsor of terrorism because of its support for Lebanese Hezbollah and other groups designated as terrorists. Washington and others have accused Syria of direct involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, a charge Damascus denies.

The U.N. Security Council voted last May to establish an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the Hariri bombing, which also killed 22 others. Early this month, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he will appoint the tribunal judges as soon as U.N. member nations allocate $35 million to fund the tribunal's operations for the first year and pledge an additional $85 million for the following two years.

Meanwhile, the White House and State Department have declined to confirm or deny recent reports that North Korea may be assisting Syria with a possible nuclear program. Although one State Department official said Friday that Washington has concerns in that direction, other officials expressed skepticism that North Korea would be conducting nuclear trade with Syria.

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From: LindyBill9/16/2007 8:47:23 AM
   of 786661
One Mean and Nasty War
Massachusetts tough talk.
By Mark Steyn

This year I marked the anniversary of September 11th by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn’t exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the governor of Massachusetts. 9/11, said Governor Patrick, “was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States.”

“Mean and nasty”? He sounds like an over-sensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry’s sent back the aubergine coulis again. But evidently that’s what passes for tough talk in Massachusetts these days — the shot heard around the world and so forth. Anyway, Governor Patrick didn’t want to leave the crowd with all that macho cowboy rhetoric ringing in their ears, so he moved on to the nub of his speech: 9/11, he continued, “was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other.”

I was laughing so much I lost control of the wheel and the guy in the next lane had to swerve rather dramatically. He flipped me the Universal Symbol of Human Understanding. I certainly understood him, though I’m not sure I could learn to love him. Anyway I drove on to Boston and pondered the governor’s remarks. He had made them, after all, before an audience of 9/11 families: Six years ago, two of the four planes took off from Logan Airport, and so citizens of Massachusetts ranked very high among the toll of victims. Whether or not any of the family members present last Tuesday were offended by Governor Patrick, no-one cried “Shame!” or walked out on the ceremony. Americans are generally respectful of their political eminences, no matter how little they deserve it.

We should beware anyone who seeks to explain 9/11 by using the words “each other”: They posit a grubby equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim — that the “failure to understand” derives from the culpability of both parties. The 9/11 killers were treated very well in the United States: They were ushered into the country on the high-speed visa express program the State Department felt was appropriate for young Saudi males. They were treated cordially everywhere they went. The lapdancers at the clubs they frequented in the weeks before the Big Day gave them a good time — or good enough, considering what lousy tippers they were. September 11th didn’t happen because we were insufficient in our love to Mohammed Atta.

This isn’t a theoretical proposition. At some point in the future, some of us will find ourselves on a flight with a chap like Richard Reid, the thwarted shoebomber. On that day we’d better hope the guy sitting next to him isn’t Governor Patrick, who sees him bending down to light his sock and responds with a chorus of “All You Need Is Love,” but a fellow who “understands” enough to wallop the bejasus out of him before he can strike the match. It was the failure of one group of human beings to understand that the second group of human beings was determined to kill them that led to the crew and passengers of those Boston flights sticking with the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures until it was too late.

Unfortunately the obsolescent 1970s multiculti love-groove inclinations of society at large are harder to dislodge. If you’ll forgive such judgmental categorizations, this isn’t about “them,” it’s about “us.” The long-term survival of any society depends on what proportion of its citizens thinks as Governor Patrick does. Islamism is an opportunist enemy but you can’t blame them for seeing the opportunity: in that sense, they understand us far more clearly than Governor Patrick understands them. The other day, you may recall, some larky lads were arrested in Germany. Another terrorist plot. Would have killed more people than Madrid and London combined but it was nipped in the bud so it’s just another yawneroo: Nobody cares. Who were the terrorists? Mohammed? Muhammad? Mahmoud? No. Their names were “Fritz” and “Daniel,” “Fritz,” huh? That’s a pretty unusual way to spell Mohammed.

Indeed. Fritz Gelowicz is as German as lederhosen. He’s from Ulm, Einstein’s birthplace, on the blue Danube, which, last time I was in Ulm, was actually a murky shade of green. And, in an excellent jest on western illusions, Fritz was converted to Islam while attending the Multi-Kultur-Haus – the Multicultural House. It was, in fact, avowedly unicultural – an Islamic center run by a jihadist imam. At least three of its alumni – including another native German convert – have been killed fighting the Russians in Chechnya. Fritz was hoping to kill Americans. But that’s one of the benefits of a multicultural world: There are so many fascinating diverse cultures and most of them look best reduced to rubble strewn with body parts. Fritz and a pal, Atilla Selek, had previously been arrested in 2004 with a car full of pro-Osama propaganda praising the 9/11 attacks. Which sounds like a pilot for a wacky jihadist sitcom: Atilla And The Hun.

Fritz Gelowicz. Richard Reid. The Australian factory worker Jack Roche. The Toronto jihadists plotting to behead the Prime Minister. The son of the British Conservative Party official with the splendidly Wodehousian double-barreled name. All over the world there are young men raised in the “Multi-Kultur Haus” of the west who decide their highest ambition is to convert to Islam, become a jihadist and self-detonate.

Why do radical imams seek to convert young Canadian, British and even American men and women in their late teens and twenties? Because they understand that when you raise a generation in the great wobbling blancmange of Deval Patrick cultural relativism – nothing is any better or any worse than anything else; if people are “mean and nasty” to us, it’s only because we didn’t sing enough Barney the Dinosaur songs at them – in such a world a certain percentage of its youth will have a great gaping hole where their sense of identity should be. And into that hole you can pour something fierce and primal and implacable.

A while back, I had the honor of a meeting with the president, in the course of which someone raised the unpopularity of the war. He shrugged it off, saying that 25 percent of the population is always against the war — any war. In other words, there’s nothing worth fighting for. And I joked afterwards that some of that 25 percent might change their mind if Canadian storm troopers were swarming across the 49th Parallel or Bahamian warships were firing off the coast of Florida. But maybe not. Al Qaeda’s ad hoc air force left a huge crater of Massachusetts corpses in the middle of Manhattan, and Governor Patrick goes looking for love in all the wrong places.

How many people in any society think like Deval Patrick? That’s the calculation to make if you want to figure out its long-term survival prospects.
National Review Online -

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To: Snowshoe who wrote (219874)9/16/2007 9:05:39 AM
From: Hoa Hao
   of 786661
The problem is that we can not fight a war and have financial discipline. Guns and Butter. Or pork barrel if you prefer.

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To: KLP who wrote (219870)9/16/2007 9:07:08 AM
From: Geoff Altman
   of 786661
It's funded by some of our favorite groups of people, patriotic Americans all, firmly entrenched in our Jacksonian values...<gg>:

ANSWER characterizes itself as anti-imperialist, and its steering committee consists of socialists, Marxists, civil rights advocates, and left-wing progressive organizations from the Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, Filipino, Haitian, and Latin American communities.

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From: LindyBill9/16/2007 9:09:27 AM
   of 786661
No War For Oil?
By Bill Quick on Islamofascism

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil - Times Online

"in his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush's economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil," he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East."

i hope he's right. And defending US energy supplies is not the worst reason to go to war I've ever heard. Keep in mind this is a bit different rationale than the leftist antiwarriors offer. It wasn't a matter of "stealing" Saddam's oil - there was no need to do that, since the US could simply have bought it from Saddam on the open market a hell of a lot more cheaply than invading Iraq for it. It was a matter of preventing Saddam from gaining nuclear weapons, and then taking control of Kuwaiti and Saudi oil, and conceivably Iranian oil as well. That would have precipitated an energy crisis for the entire western world, not just the US, although from the craven assumptions of the Euros - that they could deal with the devil Saddam even if he did have them simultaneously by the throat and the balls - made it seem as if they didn't think he was a threat.

That said, I've long assumed that Saudi fear of the Iraqi threat was a, if not the, prime mover behind Bush's decision to make Saddam target number one after Afghanistan. If that is the case, perhaps Saudi fear of a nuclear Iran in control of Iraq will lead them to pressure Bush to take out the Mullahs before he leaves office.

Then the next President can take on the Oilbags and the Wahabbist serpent they nurture in their, um, bosoms.

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From: LindyBill9/16/2007 9:57:20 AM
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The Sunday Paper (Repackaged Edition)

This is somewhat redundant, and for that I apologize, but here's how The Washington Post covered my meeting with the President in today's edition:

"President Reaches Out to a Friendly Circle in New Media

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 16, 2007; A07

The day after his prime-time speech on Iraq, President Bush sat down for a round-table interview not with traditional White House reporters but with bloggers who focus on military issues, including two participating by video link from Baghdad.

Judging from some of the accounts of the Friday meeting, the president offered up little news. Here is what one of the 10 bloggers, Ward Carroll of, described from his notes as some of Bush's most notable comments:

• "This strategy is my strategy."

• "I'm defining a horizon of peace."

• "I don't mind people attacking me. . . . That's politics . . . but I do mind people impugning the integrity of our generals."

Still, the hour-long meeting in the Roosevelt Room offered Bush another opportunity to break through what he sees as the filter of the traditional news media, while also reaching out to the providers of a new source of information for soldiers, their families and others who follow the conflict in Iraq closely.

"More and more we are engaging in the new-media world, and these are influential people who have a big following," said Kevin F. Sullivan, the White House communications chief.

Bush told the group that, to his knowledge, it was the first time a president had met with bloggers for a chat at the White House, one of the participants wrote. The blogs represented at the meeting are generally pro-Bush and pro-military, and the ensuing reports were highly sympathetic to the president.

"At this meeting President Bush came off as more comfortable with the message than I've seen him appear on TV or in speeches," wrote Carroll, a journalist and former Navy pilot. "No deer-in-the-headlights stuff here. Truly unwavering and passionate. Facts on the ground notwithstanding, he believes the United States can win the Iraq War. And to be honest, being around him made me believe it at that moment too."

Matthew Burden, a former Army officer who blogs under the name Blackfive, raved about how Bush slapped his hand and called him "brutha."

"The President was very intelligent, razor sharp, warm, focused, emotional (especially about his dad), and genuine," Blackfive wrote. "Even more so than this cynical Chicago Boy expected. I was overwhelmed by the sincerity -- it wasn't staged."

Bill Ardolino, who participated from Baghdad, wrote on that he asked Bush about progress in Anbar province and Fallujah and that Bush's answer "honestly surprised me in its length, level of detail and grasp of events on the ground."

Bush told Ardolino: "The military can only do so much. There has to be follow-up with jobs and hope. We recognize that the man on the street needs to feel like his government cares about him."

Bush talked about the difficulty of setting up workable bureaucratic processes in Iraq, according to Ardolino's post, and the growing pains "that this society needs to go through" to achieve stability. "We shouldn't expect instant results with a society that was brutalized by Saddam Hussein," Bush told the group.

When it was all over, the bloggers seemed wowed. "All in all, it was an amazing day for and one I'll never forget," Carroll wrote. "In fact, I'd rank the event a close second to the time I sat in with Cheap Trick. It was that good."

-- Ward

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (219878)9/16/2007 10:43:01 AM
From: Geoff Altman
   of 786661
The Israelis figured out how to jam it?

My forte was ASW not ECM so I'd have to talk to Hawkmoon my military advisor....<g> I do know that the travelling wave tube was a huge boon to ECM and the general tactics used to jam radar.

To tell you the truth Nadine, I must have read the chapter on TWTs 15 times and never really grasped it, just never clicked, Thank God they never asked me any theory questions about it on my rating exams...<g>:

I've yet to hear of a radar that can't be jammed if you can deduce what type of radar it is.... I wouldn't doubt that Israel has an exact road map of radars in Syria. Those to avoid on the entrance and egress and those to jam at the target.

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From: Mr. Palau9/16/2007 10:55:59 AM
   of 786661
"You have an unpopular President going onto prime time television, interrupting Americans' TV programs, to remind them of why they don't like him."

-- A "frustrated Capitol Hill Republican strategist with ties to the G.O.P. leadership," quoted by Time magazine, on President Bush's recent address on Iraq.

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To: Snowshoe who wrote (219877)9/16/2007 11:02:30 AM
From: ManyMoose
   of 786661
Charlie Russell knew the west. His art depicts action as though he were able to clip a single frame out of a movie.

Other artists, Frederick Remington for example, did almost as well, but I think Russell is incomparable.

Some artists, like Karl Bodmer, painted Native Americans in their actual dress and habitat. His paintings are faithful to detail but lack the power of Russell's, in my opinion. However, we owe a lot to him for capturing an ephemeral moment in history with paintings such as this one.

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To: Bearcatbob who wrote (219896)9/16/2007 11:02:55 AM
From: Bearcatbob
   of 786661
McCain vs John Kerry is a wonderful thing to behold! Kerry is a complete idiot - it is a shame his dumb joke took him out of the campaign.

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