Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Funding the War: Fear and Consequences

Brian Faughnan on funding the war and the Democrat's fears,
It's true that the support of Congressional Republicans was necessary to pass the bill, but it's equally true that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid had it in their power to deny funds for the war. They could have refused to bring up funding legislation--and they should have if they really believed that Iraq is not worth 'one more drop' of American blood. There was never any compulsion to fund the troops--only a reasonable fear that the voters might punish Democrats for not doing so.

Whatever faults this administration may have, fear of doing what they believe to be right in Iraq--regardless of the political consequences--is not one of them. The only reason the president won this showdown is because Democrats do have that fear.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Freedom, Equality, Support, Support

Video via PJ Media of student protests at Allameh University, Tehran, College of Social Sciences.
As we can see in the middle of the video, about five men wearing white shirts (Basij trademark) are taking one of their men downstairs. He supposedly was injured by the students across the hallway. This move by Basijis is mixed with the students chanting: “I will kill, I will kill, the one who killed my brother.” If you notice, the voices of women are much louder than men.

Afterwards, they chant: “Freedom, Equality, Support, Support.”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

"Valid university business" and "The ass that goes pow"

Today's ST on the audit of Chicago State University.
Two ''leadership seminars'' on Caribbean cruises for the university president, just a year apart. Two plane tickets upgraded to first class for an extra $1,500. A $995 meal tab covering $139 worth of alcohol and a 28 percent tip.
[***]
Robyn Wheeler, spokeswoman for the 6,600-student school, refused to answer specific questions about Daniel's travel, the audit, or the $10,000 in family travel perks.

''The substance of the transactions represent valid university business,'' Wheeler said.


And then this gem on Michelle "The ass that goes pow!" L’amour playing the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health's 3rd Annual Spring Affair.

Burlesque joints had a gritty realism that seems lost in a do gooder's venue. This is too fake. Shame on Miss L'amour.

Only in Illinois...

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari's visit to Australia

Maybe Congress should invite someone from Australia's Ministry of Defense to see how they get it right. via Labour Friends of Iraq
But in much of the Western debate, not least in Australia, you get the impression that commentators hate George W. Bush and John Howard more than they love the Iraqi people. Just as the international Left cared not a fig for the human rights of Vietnamese, Cambodians or Laotians, and in general didn't mind a genocide or two once the communists were in power, so too you get the feeling they will rapidly lose interest in any amount of suffering by Iraqis provided the Americans and their allies have been comprehensively humiliated.

The other intriguing aspect of Zebari's visit was his general praise for the Australian troops in Iraq and his report that they enjoyed a very high reputation in Iraq. This is significant in part because it echoes what several other critically credible sources have said in the past few weeks. It also demolishes the proposition of the Australian Left that somehow or other our participation in Iraq, which by the way is under the authorisation of a UN resolution, is somehow damaging our international reputation.

Ali A. Allawi, a former defence and finance minister in recent Iraqi governments, has written the definitive account of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, entitled, appropriately, The Occupation of Iraq.
In it he deplores the amateurism and incompetence of some of the staff of the Coalition Provisional Authority under the leadership of Paul Bremer. However, he goes out of his way to contrast this with the professionalism of the Australians, especially the Australians involved in reconstruction.

Similarly, the recently published memoirs of the former chief of the CIA, George Tenet, are instructive on this point. Tenet has become a critic of Bush and his memoirs are designed to limit his guilt by association with the Iraq operation and put as much distance as possible between himself and the Bush administration.

His remarks on Howard, though - again, strangely unreported - are instructive. He says that he and Bush agreed to delay the announcement of his resignation as CIA chief because Howard was due to visit and they didn't want to detract from the attention the US media should pay to Australia's Prime Minister.

Tenet writes: "Howard had been one of our closest allies. Not only had he deployed troops to Iraq, but he'd also had the enormous political courage to say that he'd gone to war in Iraq not because of what the intelligence said but because he'd believed it was the right thing to do. The President didn't want to do anything to step on Howard's visit. Nor did I."

This is much how many people see Howard internationally, unless they are dedicated haters of the coalition operation in Iraq. Australia, and Australia's Government, are seen as immensely successful internationally.

Austin Bay on France's new Foreign Minister: Bernard Kouchner

Bay writes and provides plenty of links on Kouchner,
Nicholas Sarkozy strikes again — and again. Yesterday Saint Nicholas (”it’s Christmas for liberty”) appointed Bernard Kouchner as Foreign Minister. Touche’. Too-effin-che’. Magnifique. Kouchner supported the toppling of Saddam. Like Norm Geras and Christopher Hitchens, Kouchner’s a man of the Left who actually believes in liberty. Grind your teeth in your own buttock, M. Chirac.
And than nails it here,
As I’ve written — repeatedly– Iraq is a war of liberation. The War on Terror (as poorly named as it is) is a war for modernity. If you aren’t on the side of liberty and liberalization, if you aren’t willing to pay the hard price of winning for liberty and liberalization against the latest brand of fascism (Islamo-fascism), then you are part of the problem. No matter how many tattoos, ponytails, attaboys from Nancy Pelosi, and orientations you may wear, have, or profess, you’re at best a medieval frump, at worst objectively pro-terrorist.

What does Kouchner’s appointment mean for Iraq? Don’t dismiss it as too little too late. This is Sarkozy’s subtle comment on Chirac’s cowardice vis a vis Saddam (and possible connivance with Saddam). The time to evalute Kouchner’s role in the Iraq political game is late this fall. Let’s see Sarkozy-Kouchner’s response if General Petraeus provides a positive assessment in September of his Iraqi “surge.”
Nice to see 1968 live on this way.

Future Combat System

Forward Observer's thoughts on how the Army should respond to Congress's cut of $876 million from the Future Combat System program.
Given the Army's record of fumbling big procurement programs, I think everybody would be well served if Congress or Defense Secretary Robert Gates named an outside commission with no ties to Boeing to examine FCS and tell us in plain English where the systems are now and where they should go next in the light of budget constraints.

Members of the panel that wowed the Senate Armed Services Committee April 17 should be candidates for this truth squad. They were retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey; historian and retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales; former Pentagon manpower chief Larry Korb, and Krepinevich.

I would add former Defense secretaries Melvin Laird, a master of the art of the possible, and William Perry, who has great technical smarts and speaks plain English; Thomas Christie, the former Pentagon chief of operational testing who can see through Army smoke, and Robert Chapman, who as former Vice President Al Gore's point man got the Big Three auto companies to agree to build a fuel efficient car -- only to have the effort derailed by the Bush administration.

The royal commission need not go outside the Beltway to blow away the smoke hanging over the FCS and to think outside the box.

For starters, why not bring in Iraqi military experts and ask them what kind of vehicle they would like to help pacify their country after American troops left?

Let the ailing Big Three auto companies build hundreds of the vehicles in a hurry for Iraq, broadening the political and industrial base of support for FCS and providing a test bed for the vehicle the Army could order for itself.

Friday, May 25, 2007

McCain gives Obama flak

Ouch!
"While Senator Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation's security.

"By the way, Senator Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket."
It's short for the German Flugabwehrkanone

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Crains: County prez must fix hospital system, Sen. Durbin warns

Something to chew on for those here who say our elected Federal reps have no business getting involved with CPD on Police Brutality. Crain's on Durbin, Emanuel, and Schakowsky's chit chat with Stroger about Cook County Hospital. They had no problem chewing out Stroger behind closed doors I guess. Wonder what happened to the rest of Cook County's delegation to Congress.
The meeting in Sen. Durbin's office "raised the expectation that Mr. Stroger show leadership and get a handle on the problems facing the health system," a spokesman for the senator says.

Among other key lawmakers present were U.S. Reps. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Jan Schakowsky of Evanston. Neither they nor Sen. Durbin could be reached for comment.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Iraq IG Under Investigation

Reuters via FedBlog,
Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction whose office has uncovered abuse of both Iraqi and U.S. funds, is under investigation himself, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"Complaints against Mr. Bowen are being looked at by the integrity committee of the PCIE (President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency), said spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.

She gave no details about the investigation or the nature of the complaints against Bowen, who heads the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, or SIGIR.

[***]

Several former SIGIR employees filed complaints about Bowen in 2006, focusing on charges that he failed to come to work for long periods at a time, and used SIGIR staff to work on a book about the broad lessons of Iraq reconstruction, said one former SIGIR employee, who asked not to be identified.
I made a best qualified list of 20 to go work for him but was passed over. I didn't have any plans to cash-in with a book; which is a very tasty developing trend.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dick Durbin - Lying to Us About Iraq?

RNC video of Durbin's recent comments and fellow Democrat's words and the time Durbin thought they were all being lied too. via Reverse Spin and Backyard Conservative.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Obama, Rezko, and cynisim

The opening of an Obama email subject: The cost of cynicism. He's got real crust.
For good reason, many of us have become cynical about what politics can achieve in this country.

And as many Americans have turned away from Washington, we know all too well what's filled the void.

It's the lobbyists and influence-peddlers with the cash and the connections -- the ones who've turned government into a game only they can afford to play.

They write the checks and we all get stuck with the bills.

They think they own this government.

But today, we're here to tell them it's not for sale.