Thursday, November 30, 2023

John Bernard of Let Them Fight has drawn my attention to an extraordinary comment appended to his post this week featuring the views of Ben Shaw, a combat veteran and embedded reporter in Afghanistan.

Having featured John's post of the original Ben Shaw material, I am passing along the new comment. It is also by Ben Shaw. It is a retraction and apology for his initial observations, criticisms, and opinions, and it is extraordinary for its abject and sweeping aspect.

It's worth pointing out that some of these now-retracted observations are by no means original to Shaw, and have been attested to elsewhere. I refer, for example, to the fact that, as Shaw originally put it, "the current tactical directive leaves U.S. troops on the ground increasingly vulnerable, often unsupported by air assets or indirect fire." See...

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From the Milken Institute via Business Insider: a presidential pattern, from Nixon to Obama, of what are euphemistically known as "broken promises" about ending US dependence on foreign oil.

Foreign oil now...

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Ah, Yale. So edifying, so enriching (at least metaphorically speaking since the Yale experience drains parental coffers of as much as $50K per year).

But It's Worth Every Penny.

I just dipped into Ye Olde Daily News to learn about the quaint (new) custom of "Spring Fling" -- a rock extravaganza -- on the Old Campus, the organization of which requires the students of the college social committee to have spent much of the past two semesters studying hundreds of bands to determine which of them should be invited to come and perform this week on the Old Campus.

The poor dears must have burned up their I-pod ear buds in pursuit of the Truth and Light -- and Good Taste -- that led to the selection of, yes, the Ying Yang Twins as one of the acts. This is an ultra-raunchy hip hop group most often described as "misogynistic."

Their selection...

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John Bernard, a 26-year veteran of the US Marine Corps who blogs at Let Them Fight or Bring Them Home, has posted an extremely important report from Afghanistan, which I present in full below:

Corroboration is a tool we all seek in determining validity. What follows shortly is a first-hand accounting of the cost of the failed policies of this administration and the last in Afghanistan. I want to give full credit to Herschel Smith at 'The Captain's Journal' for bringing this to light. The contacts he has fostered have led to this piece which I believe to be of particular significance and pivotal to the discussion.

For the past several months I have been making the case, in this Blog, for my fellow Warriors - especially for the actively employed but also the retired, that the current strategy in Afghanistan is doomed to failure. Doomed because the assessment of the enemy, the local government and civilian population has been skewed by wrong - if any, historical analysis. We are also back in the cycle of the socialist world view which precludes specific national interests and imperils our Warriors, a national asset, for the purposes of rebuilding a foreign nation. The lives of our Warriors have been trumped by the lives of a civilian population that has no understanding of the freedoms we now perilously take for granted. Because the concept of personal freedom is anathema to the Koranic principles the Afghans willingly apply to their lives, families and culture, they lack any motivation to fight for freedom or any change. Because they will not fight for it; they do not deserve it. 'They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.' Benjamin Franklin. In essence, we are wasting the lives of our precious national resource; our Sons and Daughters for the purposes of freedom for those who neither understand it, nor want it and who are not covered by the oaths sworn by our Warriors.


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This week's syndicated column:

The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, get it.

They get the free-speech significance of the Danish Muhammad cartoons epitomized by Kurt Westergaard's bomb-head Muhammad.

They even get it across.

"It's so sad, the whole Muhammad, the whole Danish cartoon thing," said Stone, Parker seated beside him during a joint interview with the entertainment website Boing Boing.

Don't laugh. "Boing Boing" here goes where "elite" media fear to tiptoe, let alone tread. The subject was the 200th episode of South Park, which, in unusually clean if satirical fashion, focused on Islam's fanatical, and, to Western sensibilities, ridiculous prohibitions on depictions and criticism...

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Newsflash: " `Muhammad' now a dirty word." So reports the Hollywood Reporter today in a story about Comedy Central's decision to bleep all references to Mohammed in this week's episode of "South Park," a follow-up to last's week's episode spoofing the criticism-proof Islamic prophet. That's criticism-proof according to Islamic law (sharia),  of course, which Westerners have supinely submitted to.

Here is a statement on Comedy Central's censorship from series creators Parker and Stone. It's more explanation than denunciation, but it's clear that they are unhappy about it:

In the 14 years we've been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn't stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn't...

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At Family Security Matters this week, Ruth King of Ruthfully Yours has interviewed me about Petraeus's Israel Problem, the Conservatives' Petraeus Problem, and more.

Read it all here.

Cartoon: Mohammed is the one in the bear suit.


Have been meaning to post about a sicko Islamic death threat video about "South Park" founders Matt Stone and Trey Parker, with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders, Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks rounding out the cast of those similarly targeted for "offending" Islam, even as I have been simultaneously monitoring the reluctance (read: fear) of the MSM to report the story, period.

Imagine: Mega-star animators Stone & Parker are threatened with death by jihadists for their "South Park" cartoon satirizing Mohammed for being off limits to mockery (to the point, in the cartoon, where both redheads or "gingers" and celebrities all want some of what he's got), and the MSM, most of it, wants to pretend nothing is happening.


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This week's syndicated column isn't about Islam, war, or the tragic emptiness of conservatism today. In fact, it's kind of a writing-trip homeward, back to the kind of pre 9/11-subjects I used to follow more closely.     

The column:

Just as the Pulitzer Prizes come around every year, a conservative columnist comes around after them, dusting off the hard fact, as measured in an ever-expanding set of tally marks, that conservatives rarely get to pop a champagne cork over one of their own.

Take the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Since George F. Will won in 1977, William Safire (1978), Vermont Royster (1984), Charles Krauthammer (1987), Paul Gigot (2000), and Dorothy Rabinowitz (2001) have won as well, and good for them. But that's six conservative columnists in 33 years. This year's winner, Kathleen Parker, is seen as Rightish, but,...

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I really feel for Captain Mark Moretti, above, holding hands with this Pashtun tribal primitive -- men holding hands being a "custom" among "friends" in the region, according to the accompanying Washington Post story.

These two men, infidel and jihadist, are not "friends" by any stretch.

Moretti was photographed carrying out the distressing mission of arranging a truce for the US retreat from the Korengal Valley, accomplished this week. The deal he put to the "tribal elders" was this: If we (US) can leave this (pointless) outpost without jihadist attack, we won't destroy the 6,000 gal. of fuel we still have inside our about-to-be-abandoned base. Or, to put it another way, we'll pay you 6,000 gal. of fuel to retreat without incident. And I'll hold your hand if I must.

The story runs under the headline: "US retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition...

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LTC Terry Lakin is laying it all on the line -- freedom, family, pension, career -- in refusing all military orders including deployment orders for his second tour of duty to Afghanistan pending release of the president's original 1961 birth certificate attesting to his constitutional legitimacy as a natural born citizen and thus commander-in-chief. On Monday, the 18-year veteran and decorated medical officer had his Pentagon access pass and laptop revoked, was read his Miranda Rights by his commanding officer, and informed that he would face a court martial.

The American Thinker's Thomas Lifson put the case into succint if horrifying perspective: "A devoted physician and military officer may go to military prison, to protect the secrecy of the President's original birth documentation held by the state government of Hawaii. The secrecy of the President's paper trail...

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"Official White House photo by Pete Sousa"


Online, Dana Milbank's exercise in high media dudgeon over Obama's nuclear media blackout (posted below) was headlined:

Obama's disregard for media reaches new heights at nuclear summit

In the dead-tree edition, the column was called:

For Obama, newsworthy doesn't necessarily equal press-worthy

I like the screamer better.

From last weekend, the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick speaks to Gen. Petraeus' "Israel problem" at her website:

... I commend to everyone, Andy McCarthy's authoritative and important analysis of Gen. David Petreaus's hostility towards Israel. I have basically ignored the controversy regarding his remarks and particularly, Max Boot's attack on Diana West for calling Petreaus to task for his unfair, incorrect and indeed libellous statements about Israel's responsibility for Arab violence. And I am sorry for dong so. I received an email from Diana asking me to weigh in on the the issue but I just didn't have the time or energy to do so. Maybe I was hoping that Petreaus was telling the truth when he tried to weasel out of responsibility for his untoward attack on Israel during his...

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Obama: bowing to China, shutting out the press.


While the military "goes native," the media goes Soviet. This is a bad  combination.

The details from Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:

World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.

They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.

This is a giant, institutional display of dhimmitude -- in this case, the culturally...

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The few, the proud, the Marines? cont'd.

The post "Marines Going Native: A Gallery" has been drawing comment as though the phenomenon of Marines dressing up in Afghani costume were brand new. It's not. I first noticed it in June 2009 in a lengthy Washington Post story about a US Army captain, in this case, who, according to the newspaper caption beneath a photo of him dressed in a sky-blue salwar-kameeze, the native Afghan dress US soldiers refer to as "manjammies," was dressing up in order "to seem less like a foreigner..." At the time, I wrote:

Don't know about you, but that kicked my pulse rate up...

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AP Photo: Protestors in the Kyrgyz cabinet room after seizing the government last Thursday.


Remember that flash of headlines that whizzed by last week about rioting, revolt, civil war, whatever in one of those Islamic , consonant-jammed, '-Stans near Afghanistan?

That would be Kyrgyzstan, whose US base in Manas is the premier hub for US and NATO troops transiting in and out of Afghanistan. I gather flights in and out have been touch and (not) go since the capital was seized by factions opposed to the US bases, sending friendlyish President Bakiyev into hiding.

Today, Reuters reports that U.S. military Central Command has announced that all military passenger flights have been suspended and that cargo flights are "not guaranteed." Also:

 Bakiyev's refusal to step down remains the main question as tenuous calm returned to the streets...

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Speaking of "going native" ....

US military slaughters sheep in apology for Afghanistan deaths. Update: Eagle-eyed reader writes in:

Diana, I read the article (above) a couple of times and all it says is "Arriving in a cavalcade of trucks and armored vehicles, three Afghan soldiers pinned down a sheep and held a blade to its throat in a traditional Afghan gesture seeking clemency. Then an elder summoned them inside and McRaven offered his condolences."

In other words, what really happened to the sheep? And was the US military actually involved?

The story orignates with the Times of London, which, unexpectedly as far as the US military was concerned, was present at the scene. Here's...

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How high is Libya's Gaddafi riding? How low are the EU and the US grovelling? And how did Switzerland ever become what I have to describe (below) as the new Israel -- the new fountainhead of "Arab anger"? Paul Belien has the jaw-dropping details.

From Brussels Journal, "The New Neutralism: US and EU Abandon Switzerland in Conflict with Libya":

March was a good month for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He received high-profile apologies from both the United States and the European Union. The apologies were at the expense of Switzerland, the country against which Gaddafi has officially declared “holy war.” Switzerland has a tradition of neutralism in international conflicts, but could not avoid a nasty conflict with Libya. Trying to remain “neutral” in the Swiss-Libyan conflict, the US and the EU grovel before the Libyan despot.


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Photo: Maj. Jim Gant, proponent of "going native," with the Pashtun tribal chief he dubbed ... "Sitting Bull."

This week's syndicated column:

A reader e-mailed me to comment on a column by David Ignatius, who recently accompanied the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, to a shura, or local council meeting, in Marja, Afghanistan.

Ignatius wrote: "Given the weakness of the central government in Kabul, U.S. commanders are working to align American power with the most basic political structures, the tribal shuras. `Culturally, this country works,' says Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the chief military spokesman (in Afghanistan). `People sitting down together can solve almost anything.'"

Slap a happy-face sticker on the man's briefing book to commemorate the dopiest spin ever on the primitivism, violence and misogyny of Afghan...

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Former Bush speechwriter Joseph Shattan has picked up on an notable point in Karl Rove's book, namely Rove's admission that it was all his fault that information regarding the presence of  WMD in Iraq (and subsequent removal to Syria) was never put out by the White House. Shattan writes at the American Spectator:

About four years ago, around the time when Democrats were heatedly charging that Bush had "lied" about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in order to build a case for war (after all, they argued, if the weapons had existed, why weren't we able to find them after liberating Iraq?), I was having lunch with Dr. Laurie Mylroie, one of America's leading students of terrorism in general, and Iraqi terrorism in particular. Laurie was beside herself with anger. Why wasn't the Bush administration citing Gen. James Clapper, the Director...

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While we're on the subject, I think today is as good a day as any to post a letter I emailed last Wednesday to Commentary magazine's blog Contentions, where Max Boot posts amok. I had hoped for some form of a public correction attesting to my reportorial honesty, repeatedly impugned by Boot, but not having received any response to date, I will set the record straight here.

Dear Jennifer Rubin, As editor of the Contentions blog, you are the gatekeeper of what appears. I don't know if you actually read, let alone edit, posts before they are published, but I write to you as the lady in charge. Also, the following is a private letter, meaning it is not submitted for publication or blogging. [Updated 4.8.10: Obviously, this caveat is no longer applicable. I had originally hoped a private letter would elicit an appropriate response.] Twice in the last week I have been smeared on your blog by Max Boot. I choose the word "smeared" very carefully. It perfectly describes the technique he has used to depict...

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Over at National Review Online, Andrew C. McCarthy has written a judiciously authoritative overview of the Petraeus-Israel controversy, which occupied this blog in recent weeks, particularly as it became an exploration into the mindset of denial as exemplified by the writings of Max Boot (encapsulated here; more here). Andy weighs in on that aspect of the story as well. Indeed, he opens with it, writing:

Max Boot is a good historian. On Islam, I often disagree with him, finding in his work the wishful thinking common among Islamic Democracy Project enthusiasts. Still, he is thoughtful and civil, so one always expects to learn something from reading him. It was therefore jarring to read his smug attempt to drum Diana West out of the conservative movement. Boot seems to see himself as William F. Buckley Jr. and West as the John Birch Society. If you’re going to play that game, you’d better be right. Boot is dead wrong.


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The few, the proud, the Marines? Yup, that's Lt . Col. Matt Baker (commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment) Sgt. Maj. Dwight D. Jones (sergeant major of 1/3), and Maj. Rudy Quiles (civil affairs team leader with 1/3), all decked out for Islamic New Year last month in Nawa, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which, of course, is Afghanistan's official name.

The official Marine Corps caption (below) tells us they are decked out in traditional Afghan ceremonial garb to "honor the occastion." Since when are dress blues not spiffy enough to honor any occasion? Official Marine Corps photos and captions below.    

NAWA, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (From...

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NYT photo and caption: "Hajji Abdul Zahir, far left, the district governor of Marja, oversees payments by the Marines to Afghans in the region."

Um, do you see any Marines? Meanwhile, informants say that 30 Taliban have received "compensation" money from Marines from one Marja outpost alone.


Readers of this blog will remember Maj. Gen. Larry Nicholson,  who, since last summer's Marine mini-surge into Helmand Province, has been noted here, and often, for his classic order to drink lots of tea, eat lots of goat, get to know these people.

Today, the  New York Times...

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This is a picture of LTC Terry Lakin, the highest ranking and first active duty officer to refuse to obey all orders on the basis on unanswered questions regarding President Obama's eligibility. A medical officer, Lakin has an impeccable military record (detailed here), which includes providing medical care for admirals and generals at the Pentagon where he serves as Chief of Primary Care and Flight Surgeon for the DiLorenzo TRICARE Helath Clinic, and a previous tour in Afghanistan among other overseas posts.

His decision to refuse to obey all orders (including orders to deploy for a second time to Afghanistan) pending the release of the president's original long-form birth certificate -- not the computer-generated copy -- is certain to have hit like a bombshell at the White House and Pentagon....

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Photo album from top left: Karzai and A-jad in Kabul last month. File photos of A-jad and Meshal, Maliki and Ajad. Nasrallah, Assad and A-jad in Damascus in February.


This week's syndicated column:

What a heady whirl of a month it has been for Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the world's most fabulous jihad-kingpin and leading proponent of genocide. Everyone seems to want a piece of him, in a good way, of course. American enemies, American "allies" -- they're all palsy-walsy. Where that leaves Uncle Sucker is another matter....

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Gates of Vienna has just posted a must-read story about Muslim thugs, mobilized by a group called sharia4belgium, shouting down Dutch-born man of letters Benno Barnard at the University of Antwerp last night in Belgium -- Belgium, which, with a unanimous panel vote in the Belgian Federal Parliament today, has just come one important step closer to becoming the first European country to ban the burqa and niqab (full-body Islamic coverings).  

I have posted the Baron's shocking illustration for the story above. He writes:

The image above is a detail from a picture on the sharia4belgium website, and shows the jihad flag of the caliphate (with the shahada) flying over the Royal Palace in Brussels.


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Photo: Infantrymen of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade liberating Zwolle, Netherlands, 14 April 1945. Grant, Donald I. (Biblioteques et Archives Canada).

Between 1940 and 1945, 128 known air raids were carried out by Allied forces on German-occupied Rotterdam  in the Netherlands, killing 884 civilians  and wounding 631. I mention this wondering whether Admiral Mullen ever ponders just why it was that Allied Forces in Europe were greeted as liberators in a war that caused millions of civilian casulaities. From DVIDS:

  KABUL - The coalition record on civilian casualties has improved significantly as a new strategy has gone into place in Afghanistan, but American leaders continue to hammer home how important it is to avoid killing civilians. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited with troops serving on the front lines of the...

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