Deo volente.

Remember our Heroes – Dean Hawkins

If you don’t know about William Dean Hawkins, you should …

The first to disembark from the jeep lighter, 1st Lt. Hawkins unhesitatingly moved forward under heavy enemy fire at the end of the Betio Pier, neutralizing emplacements in coverage of troops assaulting the main beach positions. Fearlessly leading his men on to join the forces fighting desperately to gain a beachhead, he repeatedly risked his life throughout the day and night to direct and lead attacks on pillboxes and installations with grenades and demolitions

At dawn on the following day, 1st Lt. Hawkins resumed the dangerous mission of clearing the limited beachhead of Japanese resistance, personally initiating an assault on a hostile position fortified by S enemy machineguns, and, crawling forward in the face of withering fire, boldly fired pointblank into the loopholes and completed the destruction with grenades.

Refusing to withdraw after being seriously wounded in the chest during this skirmish, 1st Lt. Hawkins steadfastly carried the fight to the enemy, destroying 3 more pillboxes before he was caught in a burst of Japanese shellfire and mortally wounded.

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November 11, 2006 Posted by | Leaders of the West, The West | 8 Comments

This is our entire civilization

This is brilliant….

Via Dave in Texas, who thinks that women should know their place.

November 3, 2006 Posted by | Humor | Leave a comment

AnalogKid can read the Future update …

So we have a new jack ass on the list … that’s good. I don’t think that it’s really a surprise to anyone. And we have some of the coolest guys to wear the uniform who gave Kerry what for

But who else was warning you about violent squirrels?

“It was a freak thing. It was traumatic,” Dougherty told The Derrick newspaper. “I saw it there on the porch, put the mail in the box and turned to walk away and it jumped on me.”

She said the animal ran up her leg and onto her back.

“I eventually got a hold of the tail and pulled it off me,” Dougherty said.

She is lucky it didn’t use the Force.

“In about 230 years of postal history, I bet it is not the first, but I’ve personally never heard of another squirrel biting,” said Steve Kochersperger, spokesman for the Erie district. 

Huh? What a convoluted sentence … he should work as a Kerry speech writer.

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Jack-Asses | Leave a comment

A Conservative in America

I’ve said for a long time that the real reason- the only reason – for a conservative to be mad at the Democrats is that they are failing us as a second party.

You can be mad at individuals or at idiots, an awe-ful lot of whom happen to be Democrats. But you’re not mad because they are Democrats. You get mad at their “policies,” projects, or their activism, most of which seems to fly in the face of political theory about deferential republics.

No, the only thing to be mad at Democrats about is that they don’t give you a choice. You don’t like the way the GWOT is being run? Well, you’re not going to find an solution on the other side of the aisle, where the criticism is worse than the alternatives . Don’t like the Senate’s lack of resolve on immigration? Are you in awe that anyone can contemplate national sovereignty without secure borders? Don’t look now, but a Democrat Senate won’t help things.

So there’s no alternative on the issues that matter most. Do a similar comparison side by side on the economy, Iran, North Korea, the Dollar / Euro, South America, judicial activism, or any other serious issue.

The Republican party is the only place where there is actual debate and actual alternatives. The problem is that the debate happens over time in a Darwinian manner rather than at the voting booth. If only you could pit Republican against Republican – then maybe you’d hear a real solution to, say, the border fence that is so needed, or whether a strong dollar is better than a weak dollar. Instead you can choose the dollar, or you can choose the barter system. It’s really no choice at all.

It’s almost like someone asking you whether you’d vote for him or her for president. I’m serious, folks – I’ll take the rabbit.

So this November, I’m taking the rabbit. Don’t get me wrong – there are substantive candidates who deserve the vote, and there are candidates to vote against. But really, there isn’t a choice so much as a decision.

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Philosophy - General, Politics | Leave a comment

It is the time of Kristalnacht … again

Chris over at Veritastic has a boots on the ground update on the anti-semitic violence that continues in France.

In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire.

In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil — all recently.

A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails, and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, the words “Dirty Jew” were painted. In Bondy, fifteen men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months.

This is 2006, unless you happen to be a French Muslim, and then it’s 792 all over again.

Read the whole thing. It gets worse.

As for vacationing in Israel to offset the disparity, I’d do it.

And as for boycotting France, you had me at Freedom Fries four years ago, Chris.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Dhmmitude, The West | 3 Comments

75 Virgins if you _Just_ kill yourself

Dear Mr. Homicide Bomber,

Whether your weapon is a belt, a bus, a car, or an ambulance, I would like to make you an offer on behalf of the West.

You can have 75 virgins if you’ll just kill yourself. That’s 4 more virgins for simply putting a gun to your own head, or taking the bomb to an unpopulated culvert and detonating it there.

It’s important that you succeed. You are welcome to film it or not, to do the suicide note, or not. But it is important that the event ends with your demise. Otherwise, the 4 virgins are off the table.


The West

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October 20, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Philosophy - General, Terrorists | 2 Comments

Wild Pig Savages British Nurse

Why does this sound like a Monty Python “And now for something completely different …” Nurse savaged by giant pig.

A nurse has spoken of her terror after she was attacked by a giant pig which charged the horse she was riding and then savaged her after she was thrown to the ground.

Suffering from broken ribs from the fall, Carolyn Robinson feared for her life as the enraged pig hurtled at her.


The first picture is a representative wild pig, but not the assailant. The second picture is the victim of the attack.

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October 14, 2006 Posted by | British | 8 Comments

Republican Dissatisfaction … with the GWOT

Ace is part right …

Why Are Conservatives So Down On The GOP? … The reasons offered, usually, are immigration, overspending, corruption, and general political ineptness. But I wonder about that. At least, I wonder about the first three. One that’s not mentioned as frequently is the War in Iraq. Which I think is more of a factor in conservative disatisfaction that many conservative war-supporters are willing to admit, perhaps even to themselves.

Good so far.

I also wonder if the War in Iraq has an effect. The war isn’t going well. We expected a fairly quick war and a fairly quick occupation; we got the former, but definitely not the latter.

See, I differ. I don’t think the issue is that the War isn’t going well. I’m not sure that any clear thinking person expects perfection or even competence in a war. War is a messy business, not least because fighting one successfully is at least as much art as science. An assymetrical war, which the Global War on Terrorism is, at least in part, has never really been fought on this scale with this technology. There is a learning curve for us that is driven by our enemies.

But The Battle of Iraq is certainly not assymetrical, at least in its essentials. Our strategy seems to be to localize the enemy, bring him out in the open, set the terms of his defeat. It is an attempt to negate the assymetrical character of our enemy’s tactics and turn this into a war drawn along lines. And we have been largely successful – enemy deaths are up, his ability to wage assymetrical war worldwide is down. He has had to concentrate his resources – men, money, materiel – in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. He has had to fight pitched battles in Fallujah, Kirkuk, Mosul where for a period of time we could engage the enemy “out in the open” (or “out in the streets”) where America is stronger, faster, and better.

For all of this, the enemy is stubborn, resourceful, and has a deep bench. When the “insurgency” in Iraq ran dry with the locals, they imported it from Syria and Iran and the Phillipines. For all their bluster, Al-Quaeda and the Shi’a states of Iran and Syria bought the premise that Iraq is a central battleground in the GWOT, and they poured in to stop America. They didn’t have to fight together – they were fighting in the same area against a common foe.

Put another way, if Iraq had been quick, it wouldn’t have had the chance to be decisive. And because it is decisive, it simply wasn’t going to be quick.

If Iraq had really been over in 3 months, the battlefield would have moved – perhaps to Sudan or Somalia, perhaps to the Phillipines, perhaps to Pakistan, perhaps to Indochina, perhaps to Tunisia, or Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan. Perhaps even Turkey. And then the Democrats would be crying that we couldn’t bring the enemy to the battlefield, that we were chasing our tails, &c.

So let’s be clear: both we and our enemies believe that The Battle for Iraq is central to the GWOT (everybody agrees except the Democrats). So this Battle is not only decisive in and of itself, but to the larger War. It is decisive in the same way that Midway was decisive – the elusive enemy made a strategic calculation and tactical mistake and has suffered losses that are crippling. Or they should be.

What didn’t happen – and what conservatives, RINOs, and Republicans are mad about – is that we didn’t do what was easily within our power to win what we could once we made the battle decisive. We have not

  • Engaged Syria – we could have diplomatically or militarily engaged, cut off, and diminished Syria as a threat. Given that Syria was both a base for the Insurgency, a freeway for Hezbollah, and a threat to Israel, this would have been a potential move that would have furthered our regional advantage and brought the war closer to being completed
  • Strategically and decisively engaged Iran – There are many accounts of Iran sending insurgents into Iraq as early as the Summer of 2003. They clearly have pulled Syria’s and Hezbollah’s strings. They have engaged America and the West by proxy at every opportunity. Certainly decisive diplomatic or military action was warranted in 2003 when America and Iran first started going toe to toe. Instead we chose to allow the enemy his facade.
  • Destroyed the Iraqi Insurgency – This was militarily possible by doing one of the above, or by curfews, or by assassinations, or by effective control of Iraq. We chose to nurse the crippled democratic Iraq along, letting her have the successes. There was a cost.
  • Destroyed the regional non-state actors that are puppets of Syria, Iran, etc. – It was a reasonable expectation that having established an effective beachhead in the region that we would be able to strike at the non-state actors therein. Based in Iraq, SEALS and other SpecOps were within striking distance of every major terrorist organization. Not all of them are hiding in caves in Pakistan – I bet you could look Hezbollah up in a phone book in Tehran.
  • Eliminated the regional non-state powers supporting Terrorism as threats – It was not unreasonable to expect a severe restriction on, say, the House of Saud’s support of Al Quaeda or Wahabbiism, no matter how unofficial. Fatah and Hamas should have ceased to exist as regional centers for funding. The Palestinian state should have remained on a wish list until a more apropriate time.

You can put all of the successes that you want against that list. Had we or our allies done any two effectively, Republicans would feel justified in the course of the war. People would have accepted as the nature of this war another attack on America – as long as we were taking 100 of the enemy to their graves every day. We’re not talking about democratizing (in the short term) or about saving Israel. We are talking about winning. Patton was right:

[Y]ou are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

So Ace is missing the salient point.

So I wonder if there’s a bit of buyer’s remorse here, magnifying the GOP’s failings on other issues due to a possibly-unconscious need to lash out at Bush for the continuing chaos and violence in Iraq.

It’s neither the battle nor the occupation nor the war nor the casualties nor the timeline – it is the way that Americans are fighting. Americans fight to win. When we are not fighting to win, we ask why not. When we our leaders who were fighting to win suddenly stop fighting to win, they lose our support.

People would be fine with an extended occupation if we could point and say, for example, “Hezbollah ceased to be an effective organization” or “Iran chose to go nuclear. Iran chose wrong.” People would have accepted a major strategic initiative in the Phillipines or in the Tri_border area if it had been to engage the terrorists decisively. To win. Americans would have supported greater intrusion in American phone records and bank accounts if it would have led to arrests, convictions, incarcerations, and executions for treason. That would have been decisive. People would have been fine with more troops in Iraq if it had been to engage the Syrian border – decisively. To win.

But we are losing, or have lost, whatever decisive characteristic the Battle of Iraq had.

The Generals of WWII knew a little more about PR than most people give them credit for. MacArthur knew that he had to island hop to Japan, and he told the press that he had to island hop to Japan, and the people accepted that this was the course of the war and he island hopped to Japan. It was a long, bloody business. But it was also goal-oriented and decisive. When we took Iwo Jima, it was definitively gave America an air base within striking distance of both Okinawa and Japan. People understood that.

People also understood Iraq. You could almost sense the “Good … we’re taking the fight to the enemy.” And a hard fight was expected – remember the surprise when Sadaam’s forces collapsed (again). And people expected an insurgency – remember Sadaam’s hand picked insurgency which we kept hearing about in June and July- the Fedajeen? Baathist money was flowing in the country inciting rebellion against the evil imperialists, etc. We were told to expect the insurgency. But we were ready to stay the course. To win.

Look at Israel this summer. Remember the sense of relief when Hezbollah pulled the trigger. “Ah, at last, Bush will unleash the dogs of war, even if only by proxy.” Nope. A bunch of people got killed, and the only thing people hate more than their war dead are war dead who died in vain.

I’m not saying that Iraq was wrong, and I’m not saying it’s wrong now. But what was clearly a leap into the heart of the enemy is … still … going … on … We’re not leaping to the next fight. We’re not taking the fight to the enemy. We’re not winning. And when you’re not winning a war, you are losing. And Americans are simply asking not was Iraq right or wrong, but are we still fighting to win?

It’s as if Bush decided to listen to his critics. The daring and determination that we saw in 2001, 2002, 2003 went away. The active impatience with the UN was replaced with a quiet acceptance of process. The active seeking of the enemy was replaced with a slow churn. The Supreme Court found Guantanamo unconstitutional and Bush accepted that. The NY Times found SWIFT subpoenas unconstitutional, and Bush accepted that.

And Bush reined in Rumsfeld who acted decisively. He reined in Cheney who seemed to steer a decisive path. He let Frist run the Senate. And he reined in Israel, who in our stead could have struck a decisive blow for the West. Conservatives of all stripes are mad at the Republicans because they started acting like a party in power instead of a war party. The rest is anecdote.

And if you want proof, watch the newly conservative Britain or the resurgent Australian administration – the conservatives will win in those countries because they are acting like conservatives.

One more quote by Patton:

“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin”, he yelled, “I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!”

October 13, 2006 Posted by | Battle of Iran, Battle of Iraq, Battle of Israel, GWOT | 4 Comments


I’ve got to tell you, I’m jazzed

The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae is being made into a movie.

Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Miller’s (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.

What Hollywood lacks in perpective in modern times, it makes up for in Gangland and in Historic Epics. It’s almost as if they’re … schizo.

Trailer here. Victor Davis Hanson’s take, and it’s all good.

October 11, 2006 Posted by | Art and Aesthetic, Leaders of the West | 8 Comments

Lancet Debunking Redux

This Lancet crew … they have a limited bag of tricks. For what it’s worth, I had an argument on Eric Raymond’s now nearly defunct site here about the October 29, 2004 BBC article talking about the original Lancet study.

From the 2004 article:

Dr Les Roberts, who led the study, said: “Making conservative assumptions we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most of the violent deaths.”

He said his team’s work proved it was possible to compile data on public health “even during periods of extreme violence”.

The sample included randomly selected households in Baghdad, Basra, Arbil, Najaf and Karbala, as well as Falluja.

Lancet editor Richard Horton said: “With the admitted benefit of hindsight and from a purely public health perspective, it is clear that whatever planning did take place was grievously in error.”

Odd, no? that Fallujah and Baghdad were included at random. That is a very nuanced “random.”

On Eric’s site, I mentioned this link from LogicTimes, and it is an excellent, precise fisking of the shoddy moralism and methodology exhibited by the Lancet authors.

From the article:

There is indeed a mind-blowing story about collateral damage that needs to be told, but that story is one in which we honor the extraordinary achievement of the United States military: two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad, much of it urban warfare, with less than 1,000 civilians killed as a result of U.S. action:

And it’s backed up with statistics, methodology … all the stuff missing from the Lancet report. Good stuff.

Day by Day Update:

More after the bump …

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October 11, 2006 Posted by | Battle of Iraq, GWOT | 1 Comment