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Why Fred Thompson Has My Vote

Just watch and listen: Fred Thompson’s Message to Iowa Voters

[Found via Bryan Preston at HotAir.com]

Fred, in his own words to Iowa voters, makes the case for why he’s the best man to America’s next Commander in Chief.

I would look forward to watching this man give speeches, press conferences and State of the Union Addresses for the next four years. I just enjoy listening to him speak about government, values and principles and our country. I certainly hope the Republican base will finally rally around Fred Thompson and make him the Republican nominee for President in 2008. I would even look forward to watching the debates this campaign season to hear him battle the Democrat candidate.

Please watch and listen and support him if you like what you hear from him. I truly believe he is the best man for the Presidency of this nation.

Also, please visit www.Fred08.com for more info on Fred Thompson’s policy positions and for the opportunity to donate to his campaign.

UPDATE at 00:18 EST on 31 DEC 2007: Peter Robinson (admitted Fred Thompson supporter) at NRO The Corner points out something that I noticed as well, but forgot to make note of: Fred Thompson appeals to disaffected Democrats who do not like the extreme leftward shift of the leadership of the Democrat Party.

In the passage I found the most striking, Thompson does something no other Republican contender has attempted: appeal to Democrats.

You know, when I’m asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn’t matter… These days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They’re all NEA-MoveOn.org-ACLU-Michael Moore Democrats. They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.

So this election is important not just to enact our conservative principles. This election is important to salvage a once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It’s time to give not just Republicans but independents, and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once-proud party of working people.

So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party — the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.

This is reminiscent of Reagan’s talk to the people of North Carolina in 1976. Simple, straightforward, modest production values — just the candidate in front of an American flag and an Iowa flag — but (to use the word again) compelling. Reagan’s 1976 talk enabled him to recover after a string of primary defeats, winning in North Carolina, then going on to come within a handful of delegates of wresting the nomination from Ford. Will Thompson’s talk move voters in Iowa? Does his campaign have the money to get it on the air? Throughout the state? Or even in a few of the most important markets? Beats me. But we have here a serious man, making a serious case — and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling.

Even at this late hour, I wouldn’t count Fred out.

UPDATE at 02:18 EST on 31 DEC 2007:  I liked this comment left at the HotAir post to which I linked above.  Summarizes my thoughts perfectly (wish I would have stated it myself!)

I suppose what it comes down to is this: Fred Thompson has said in detail what he wants to do as President and how he wants to do it. Forget everything else – his campaign style, his age, his wife, all the frivolous crap – and ask yourself if you want to see what Fred Thompson has said he wants to do if he’s elected President. If your answer is yes, then he’s your candidate.

Jimmie on December 31, 2007 at 1:39 AM

December 30, 2007 , 10:50PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Fred Thompson | Comments Off on Why Fred Thompson Has My Vote

2007 Person of the Year: GEN David Petraeus

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This is amazing and wonderful to see: General Petraeus: man with a message of hope

[Found via HotAir]

The critics said it couldn’t be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year.

For a man whose critics say he is far too fond of the television cameras, General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, has been rather out of the limelight this Christmas.

The sprightly, media-friendly 55-year-old is not perturbed, however, that his face is no longer number one item on the US networks. As he said last week, where Iraq is concerned, “No news is good news.”

Today, we put him in the spotlight again by naming Gen Petraeus as The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement.

He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq’s escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.

So far, it has achieved what many feared was impossible. Sectarian killings are down. Al-Qaeda is on the run. And the two million Iraqis who fled the country are slowly returning. Progress in Iraq is relative – 538 civilians died last month. But compared with the 3,000 peak of December last year, it offers at least a glimmer of hope.

Nonetheless, why should we choose to nominate Petraeus

[ … ]

There has also been great British military leadership and bravery on display this year, not least in Helmand, where British troops are now fighting a Taliban foe as fierce as anything their American counterparts encountered in Baghdad or Fallujah.

But the reason for picking Petraeus is simple. Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West’s biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives.

A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America’s problem.

It would be a symbolic victory for al-Qaeda, a safe haven for jihadists to plot future September 11s and July 7s, and a battleground for a Shia-Sunni struggle that could draw in the entire Middle East. Our future peace and prosperity depend, in part, on fixing this mess. And, a year ago, few had much hope.

To appreciate the scale of the task Gen Petraeus took on, it is necessary to go back to February 22, 2006. Or, as Iraqis now refer to it, their own September 11. That was when Sunni-led terrorists from al-Qaeda blew up the Shia shrine in the city of Samarra, an act of provocation that finally achieved their goal of igniting sectarian civil war.

A year on, an estimated 34,000 people had been killed on either side – some of them members of the warring Sunni and Shia militias, but most innocents tortured and killed at random. US casualties continued to rise, too, but increasingly American troops became the bystanders in a religious conflict that many believed they could no longer tame.

Except, that is, for Gen Petraeus. [ … ]

Read it all.

And, in case you have not seen it already, here is GEN David Petreaus’ letter to the troops (via Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive):

As 2007 draws to a close, you should look back with pride on what you, your fellow troopers, our Iraqi partners, and Iraqi Coalition civilians have achieved in 2007. A year ago, Iraq was racked by horrific violence and on the brink of civil war. Now, levels of violence and civilians and military casualties are significantly reduced and hope has been rekindled in many Iraqi communities. To be sure, the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done. Nonetheless, the hard-fought accomplishments of 2007 have been substantial, and I want to thank each of you for the contributions you made to them.

In response to the challenges that faced Iraq a year ago, we and our Iraqi partners adopted a new approach. We increased our focus on securing the Iraqi people and, in some cases, delayed transition of tasks to Iraqi forces. Additional U.S. and Georgian forces were deployed to theater, the tours of U.S. unites were extended, and Iraqi forces conducted a surge of their own, generating well over 100,000 more Iraqi police and soldiers during the year so that they, too, had additional forces to execute the new approach. In places like Ramadi, Baqubah, Arab Jabour, and Baghdad, you and our Iraqi brothers fought — often house by house, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood — to wrest sanctuaries away from Al Qaeda-Iraq, to disrupt extremist militia elements, and to rid the streets of mafia-like criminals. Having cleared areas, you worked with Iraqis to retain them — establishing outposts in the areas we were securing, developing Iraqi Security Forces, and empowering locals to help our efforts. This approach has not been easy. It has required steadfastness in the conduct of tough offensive operations, creative solutions to the myriad problems on the ground, and persistence over the course of many months and during countless trying situations. Through it all, you have proven equal to every task, continually demonstrating an impressive ability to conduct combat and stability operations in an exceedingly complex environment.

Your accomplishments have given the Iraqi people new confidence and prompted many citizens to reject terror and confront those who practice it. As the months passed in 2007, in fact, the tribal awakening that began in Al Anbar Province spread to other parts of the country. Emboldened by improving security and tired of indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, oppressive practices, and criminal activity, Iraqis increasingly rejected Al Qaeda-Iraq and rogue militia elements. Over time, the desire of Iraqis to contribute to their own security has manifested itself in citizens volunteering for the police, the Army, and concerned local citizen programs. It has been reflected in citizens providing information that has helped us find far more than double the number of arms and weapons caches we found last year. And it has been apparent in Iraqi communities now supporting their local security forces.

As a result of your hard work and that of our Iraqi comrades-in-arms — and with the support of the local populace in many areas — we have seen significant improvements in the security situation. The number of attacks per week is down some 60 percent from a peak in June of this year to a level last seen consistently in the early summer of 2005. With fewer attacks, we are also seeing significantly reduced loss of life. The number of civilian deaths is down by some 75 percent since its height a year ago, dropping to a level not seen since the beginning of 2006. And the number of Coalition losses is down substantially as well. We remain mindful that the past year’s progress has been purchased through the sacrifice and selfless service of all those involved and that the new Iraq must still contend with innumerable enemies and obstacles. Al Qaeda-Iraq has been significantly degraded, but it remains capable of horrific bombings. Militia extremists have been disrupted, but they retain influence in many areas. Criminals have been apprehended, but far too many still roam Iraqi streets and intimidate local citizens and Iraqi officials. We and our Iraqi partners will have to deal with each of these challenges in the New Year to keep the situation headed in the right direction.

While the progress in a number of areas is fragile, the security improvements have significantly changed the situation in many parts of Iraq. It is now imperative that we take advantage of these improvements by looking beyond the security arena and helping Iraqi military and political leaders as they develop solutions in other areas as well, solutions they can sustain over time. At the tactical level, this means an increasing focus on helping not just Iraqi Security Forces — with whom we must partner in all that we do — but also helping Iraqi governmental organizations as they endeavor to restore basic services, to create employment opportunities, to revitalize local markets, to refurbish schools, to spur local economic activity, and to keep locals involved in contributing to local security. We will have to do all of this, of course, while continuing to draw down our forces, thinning our presence, and gradually handing over responsibilities to our Iraqi partners. Meanwhile, at the national level, we will focus on helping the Iraqi Government integrate local volunteers into the Iraqi Security Forces and other employment, develop greater ministerial capacity and capability, aid displaced persons as they return, and, most importantly, take the all-important political and economic actions needed to exploit the opportunity provided by the gains in the security arena.

The pace of progress on important political actions to this point has been slower than Iraqi leaders had hoped. Still, there have been some important steps taken in recent months. Iraq’s leaders reached agreement on the Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation with the United States, which lays the groundwork for an enduring relationship between our nations. The United Nations Security Council approved Iraq’s request for a final renewal of the resolution that authorizes the Coalition to operate in Iraq. Iraq’s leaders passed an important Pension Law that not only extends retirement benefits to Iraqis previously left out but also represents the first of what we hope will be additional measures fostering national reconciliation. And Iraq’s leaders have debated at length a second reconciliation-related measure, the Accountability and Justice Bill (the de-Ba’athification Reform Law), as well as the 2008 National Budget, both which likely will be brought up for a vote in early 2008. Even so, all Iraqi participants recognize that much more must be done politically to put their country on an irreversible trajectory to national reconciliation and sustainable economic development. We will, needless to say, work closely with our Embassy teammates to support the Iraq Government as it strives to take advantage of the improved security environment by pursing political and economic progress.

The New Year will bring many changes. Substantial force rotations and adjustments already underway will continue. One Army brigade combat team and a Marine Expeditionary Unit have already redeployed without replacement. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Throughout that time, we will continue to adapt to the security situation as it evolves. And in the midst of all the changes, we and our Iraqi partners will strive to maintain the momentum, to press the fight, and to pursue Iraq’s enemies relentlessly. Solutions to many of the tough problems will continue to be found at your level, together with local Iraqi leaders and with your Iraqi Security Force partners, in company and battalion areas of operation and in individual neighborhoods an towns. As you and your Iraqi partners turn concepts into reality, additional progress will emerge slowly and fitfully. Over time, we will gradually see fewer bad days and accumulate more good days, good weeks, and good months.

The way ahead will not be easy. Inevitably, there will be more tough days and tough weeks. Unforeseen challenges will emerge. And success will require continued hard work, commitment, and initiative from all involved. As we look to the future, however, we should remember how far we have come in the past year. Thanks to the tireless efforts and courageous actions of the Iraqi people, Iraq’s political and military leaders, the Iraqi Security Forces, and each of you, a great deal has been achieved in 2007. Thus, as we enter a new year, we and our Iraqi partners will have important accomplishments and a newfound sense of hope on which we can build.

As always, all or your leaders, our fellow citizens back home, and I deeply appreciate the dedication, professionalism, commitment, and courage you display on a daily basis. It remains the greatest of honors to serve with each of you in this critical endeavor.

Sincerely,

David H. Petraeus

And it remains the greatest of honors to call myself an American when we have men like GEN David Petraeus and men and women in our armed forces representing the United States across the world.

December 30, 2007 , 4:26PM Posted by | General David Petraeus, Iraq, Military, The Long War, UK, War Effort in Iraq | Comments Off on 2007 Person of the Year: GEN David Petraeus

Why Europe Will Fall to Islamofascism

If this guy represents the mindset of most Europeans (which, from everything I have read recently about Europe and Europeans, it is pretty accurate), then they will not put up much of a fight against the Islamofascists when they get enough immigrants in their countries and decide the time is right to take over.

I came across this blog from looking at the U.S. Army tags on WordPress [where I have my public blog]. Apparently, Europeans find it ‘unChristian’ to give a gun as a Christmas present. He also has a tough time figuring out what guns have to do with peace. Hmmm, could it be that guns in the hands of good people keep relative peace in the world against bad people who would like to end the peace? Of course, I don’t expect the Europeans to understand that concept. They apparently do not understand that the only reason they even get to have some semblance of peace in Europe is because of the sacrifice of past Americans who used guns. Of course, he also can’t understand the basic concepts from his friend’s uncle’s blog (which he calls “radical ideas” by “an American neocon right-wing military blogger”):

Basically, I guess Europeans like myself have a completely different cultural background when it comes to guns. Guns are a no-no. Belgians don’t buy or carry handguns. Most of us (liberal or conservative) feel that gun ownership the way America approaches it is just plain madness. That’s not only my personal opinion, that’s the opinion of virtually all W-Europeans.

And putting a gun in a Christmas tree [sigh]: these people must have a set of distorted believes (religious, but a gun in their tree, etc) that we cannot begin to understand.

When Belgians read the the statements on the blog of Pam her “Christmas gun” uncle:

“You will see everything from flowers to firearms depicted on this weblog”

“We support the War on Terror and believe that we must win in Iraq and Afghanistan. We believe that we must win the propaganda war”

“We believe that the ACLU and “progressive thinkers” undermine the law and endanger everyone.”

“We believe that the mainstream media regularly abuse their first amendment privilege by “engineering the news” to favor their political positions – generally to the left of clear-thinking Americans”

“We believe that global climate change is a consequence of natural forces and that humans only have a limited effect in locales inhabited by them.”

“We love sport shooting and owning firearms. You will find articles and commentary on guns here. We believe in the militia”

our first impression is one of disbelief. But when we realize that half of this great nation harbours these radical ideas, we no longer laugh at a gun in a Christmas tree.

We get the creeps and wonder what on earth happened to the land of the brave and the free.

Stacy, when you post

“what’s the big deal about giving a gun as a Christmas gift? It’s not myrhh or frankencense, but it is a loving gift – to those who choose that lifestyle. Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!” most European Christians feel you’re raping the concept of Christianity, along with the spirit of Christmas.

Go ahead, unwrap your “loving gift” and kill someone. Or have one of your own children accidentally kill some of your loved ones.

Handguns are made for killing. Full stop.

Comment by Peter — December 13, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

And there you have the European mindset. And why America will have to come to Europe’s aid in the near future when Islamofascism decides to take it over. It is already happening in Britain/UK/London, which is to Belgium’s Northwest, and in France, which is to Belgium’s Southwest. It is only a matter of time.

Europeans can continue to get “the creeps” about Americans. We’ll just go on protecting their asses and spilling our blood for their unappreciative asses. Because that is what it means to be an American in “the land of the free and [the home of] the brave.” And that is what makes America different than Europe.

December 30, 2007 , 3:48PM Posted by | American History, Britain, Dhimmitude, Europe, Firearms, Islamofascism, Liberalism, London, Military, Military History, Patriotism, The Long War, UK | 5 Comments

Iraqis: I Feel Safe Here

Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our military men and women (and their families), more and more stories such as this are coming out of Iraq: Baghdad Zoo is a Draw Again – With the help of U.S. troops, a sanctuary that was damaged and depleted by the onset of the war is revived.

Not that you will see any of these reported in the mass media. Amazingly enough though, this story is in the LA Times. Granted, in what section of their paper do they print it: “Science and Medicine”. Jackasses.

I guess it does not fit with the storyline that the eeeeeeevil Americans are destroying a poor Muslim country and terrorizing the poor Iraqi people, making their lives worse than under that wonderful, benevolent dictator Saddam Hussein.

[Found via HotAir]

BAGHDAD — Capt. Amy Cronin never had a pet. Before deploying to Iraq, she didn’t even really know much about animals.

But in 15 months, Cronin and her unit, the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, have gone from providing logistics and supplies to U.S. troops to helping refurbish an animal clinic, building horse stables and constructing new habitats for bears and porcupines at the Baghdad Zoo.

“It’s really satisfying,” said Cronin, 28, from Boiling Springs, Pa. “Typically support soldiers don’t get to interact with Iraqis as much as infantry would. And this gives me the satisfaction of seeing the direct results of my work.”

That has included projects to resuscitate the zoo, in a lush 3-square-mile park in the heavily fortified Green Zone, which also includes the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition forces, the Iraqi parliament and other key administrative buildings. It used be among the largest animal sanctuaries in the Middle East.

The zoo had received assistance from U.S. civil affairs units, engineers and international animal aid agencies since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. But some of the quarters for animals needed to be rebuilt and the park’s aesthetics needed improvement before it could be turned into a haven where Baghdad residents could retreat from the violence on the streets.

“We’re not making sure that people have water and other supplies [with this assignment], but we are making sure that people have a place to relax and have fun,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Vieira, the unit’s commander.

[ … ]

The zoo reopened in July 2003, and most of the employees returned. But fewer than 100 animals remained.

“It needed medical supplies, and power generation was an issue,” said Maj. David Shoupe, a public affairs officer with the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, which includes the 15th Brigade Support Battalion.

The zoo was dependent on the city’s power supply, which meant it typically received electricity for only three hours a day.

So when the battalion assumed zoo duty in April of this year, it brought several generators to ensure the electrical supply.

Next came refurbishing of the clinic, which got new equipment, to the delight of the zoo’s 10 veterinarians.

Then, on Nov. 1, the zoo’s four bears got a new home, a large compound with natural vegetation and a more wildlife-friendly environment.

It was a dramatic change from the small cages with tile floors where they had previously been confined separately, said Wassem Sarih Ameen, the zoo’s chief veterinarian. The floors were hard on the bears’ feet, and one of the animals in particular had leg problems, he said.

“Now her health has changed,” Ameen said. “She walks better. Her legs are healing.”

This month, the support battalion unveiled a new indoor horse stable with 20 individual stalls, along with a washroom and a birthing area. Before the renovation, the horses had to share stalls in an area severely damaged by artillery fire.

Cronin, whose unit is in the process of returning to its base in Ft. Hood, Texas, said the zoo projects were being funded through a $2-million grant from the Army Commander’s Emergency Response Program. The city of Baghdad has provided about $500,000.

Word has spread that the number of animals has grown, and visitors are coming back.

Once again, there are about 500 animals, Vieira said, among them 250 species of birds. Some of the new animals were bought in Syria; among the others, camels, ostriches and swans were brought in from private reserves around Baghdad.

Several lions and a cheetah that used to belong to Saddam Hussein’s son Uday are among the major attractions. Some of the animals might seem odd for a zoo in another part of the world. For example, a caged black Labrador that many Iraqi visitors refer to as the “American dog” is a popular attraction.

Shoupe, the public affairs officer, said the Labrador is an object of fascination because it is a purebred, uncommon in Baghdad. But it is unclear why some Iraqis refer to the Lab, a breed prominent in many countries, as the “American dog.”

On an average day about 200 visitors come to the park, zoo officials said. But during the holiday season, the number can surge to a million in a week.

Adil Salman Mousa, the zoo’s director for 17 years, said the reason for the crowds can be summed up in one word: security. “This is the most important thing for visitors in the Baghdad area,” he said. “This is the only place where Iraqis in Baghdad can breathe.”

Before entering Zawra Park, cars are searched and visitors are frisked by the more than 120 Iraqi security personnel who protect the zoo. U.S. soldiers patrol the facility two to three times a week, Vieira said.

On a recent morning, Ali Abdul Hussein came to the zoo with a female friend because he said he wanted to find a place where they could stroll without fear of violence.

“I feel safe here. I feel relaxed,” said Hussein, 51, a taxi driver, as his wandered past a newly renovated porcupine habitat, the latest of Cronin’s renovation projects. “Before,” he said, recalling the days of Saddam Hussein, “we always felt that someone was watching and listening to us. We didn’t feel free.”

December 30, 2007 , 3:01PM Posted by | Iraq, Media Bias, Military, Muslims, The Long War, US Army, War Effort in Iraq | 1 Comment