AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

Are you an AmeriCAN or an AmeriCAN'T?

Operation R.A.M.B.O. – 27 FEB 08

Operation R.A.M.B.O.
[Read A Military Blog Online]

Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette has done an amazing job with her DAWN PATROLs, as has David M with his Web Reconnaissance at The Thunder Run. I wanted to do something similar, but not steal the titles of their efforts; not ‘steal their thunder’, so to speak. So this is what I came up with for my efforts to link to military blogs that I read, and that I encourage you to read as well.


Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: DAWN PATROL – 27 FEB 2008
“Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics – from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you’re a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.”

David M at The Thunder Run: From the Front: 02/27/2008
News and Personal dispatches from the front lines. …

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: What if, what was, what now, what next…
… To engage in this discussion is to enter into a game of “what if?”. Let’s indulge those who’ve chosen to do so – I’m assuming they’ve thought it through beyond the bumper-sticker/sound bite level and are eager to flesh out their position. So here are a few follow-up questions:

Would you have sent all the troops who went to Iraq into Afghanistan? If not, how many?

Is there any limit to the amount of troops or time you would devote to the hunt for Osama bin Laden? If so, what is that limit? What percentage of troops in Afghanistan would be assigned to other tasks?

Would the al Qaeda recruits (or “foreign fighters”) who went to Iraq since 2003 have gone to Afghanistan instead? The Soviet experience in Afghanistan certainly indicates that’s likely.

Would Saddam Hussein have assisted that effort? If so, how would you respond?

From 1991-2003 tens of thousands of American troops served in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey enforcing U.N. sanctions against Iraq. (Remember the “no fly zones” and the near-daily attacks on Iraq radar sites and anti-aircraft positions?) Would you have left these troops in place? (Hint: they aren’t there any more…) Consider also that Osama bin Laden cited the presence of these troops as the fundamental basis of his jihad against America, culminating in the 9/11 attacks.

There are countless follow-up questions – but that’s enough “what if?” for now. The more important question is “what now?” – and any candidate’s answers to the “what ifs” or complaints about “what was” matter only insofar as they illuminate that persons view of “what next”.

So on to the questions that matter: …

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: The Free and the Brave (VIDEO)
I sang this thing out loud without musical accompanyment every day while I was in Iraq, …

The Free and the Brave

Over in America, home of the free
Land of unlimited opportunity
People in the streets protest whatever they can
While over in Iraq and Afghanistan

The brave, far from home, are standing tall
and toeing the line, so they can have it all
Some try to complicate it but it’s simple to me
They’re making noise, we’re making history

Osama’d like to think that we can’t get it done
And some would like to tell you it’s time to cut and run
Me I like to finish something once I’ve begun
And I don’t think I’m the only one

Here making history, hearing the noise
of things that divide and things that destroy
Things you’d never ever want to see on your street
Things you might call the price of defeat

So excuse me if I come home a little annoyed
If while I was making history, you were making noise

We’re making history
They’re making noise
We’re facing the fire
They’re playing with toys
Nobody ever said
That it would be easy
They’re making noise
We’re making history

– Iraq, May, 2007

Curt at Flopping Aces: Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Visit Baghdad Mar2
I’m sure it’s not the way they hoped the news would be reported, but US and Iraqi forces captured one of the leaders of the insurgency who has been using Iranian armor-piercing EFP (explosively formed projectiles) to kill Americans. Looks like he’s a member of Iran’s Special Forces (or at the very least working with them).

On that same day, Iranian diplomats confirmed that their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is personally coming to Baghdad. …

ChrisG at Flopping Aces: US Military Commanders Bemoan Lack of Concern About Terror Threat
These retired and still active senior officer’s views are pretty much mine also. I will just post the article and let these people’s words speak for themselves.

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive: One Shot, One Squirrel
Bill Ardolino continues his excellent series on Iraqi politics at the Long War Journal.

Pete Hegseth discusses the waning media coverage in Iraq

Otto discusses an NYT piece on out of control soldiers in Afghanistan here.

Megan Ortagus meets up with a Private Ryan in Kuwait on her way to Iraq.

1LT Fishman sends the weekly good news wrap up after the jump …

February 27, 2008 , 10:31PM Posted by | Afghanistan, Iraq, Military, Military Blogs, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation RAMBO, The Long War, War Effort in Iraq | Comments Off on Operation R.A.M.B.O. – 27 FEB 08

They are Just a Tiny Minority of Extremists, Nothing to Fear, You Bigoted Islamophobes

That is what we are always told when we warn about the threat of Islamic Totalitarianism.

Abe Greenwald puts a number to these “tiny minority of extremists”: Muslim Survey “Challenges” West

A new Gallup poll is being touted as a “challenge” to western misperceptions of Islam. The survey was done on three continents and took six years to complete, and as the French news agency AFP reports, we’ve all been a little alarmist over here: “About 93 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.”

Seven percent of 1.3 billion leaves us with . . . 91 million radical Islamists. And to think we were concerned! That piddling handful is nothing that can’t be taken care of with a little dialogue, a few billion in American aid, and some proper education. I’m feeling audaciously hopeful.

But, wait, what’s this? “The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims,” said John Esposito, who authored the book Who Speaks for Islam.

Oh well.

One shouldn’t cherry-pick facts to fit an agenda. The study does say that radicals “believe in democracy even more than many of the mainstream moderates do.” But does anyone really think we’re operating with a consistent definition of democracy here? The Muslim Brotherhood, for example, makes claims to be democratic, yet its leaders-for-life are not elected, the organization boasts a doctrine of female subordination, and it calls for the death of apostates. Kind of a big-government democracy, I suppose. …

Nah, nothing to worry about at all. Move along. Nothing to see here. BusHitler, the “neocons”, Republicans, the American military, “Christianists”, Pro-Lifers and the Jooooos are the real evil in this world, which must be stopped.

Meanwhile, the Left here in America – Barack Obama included – continues to support “Palestine”, which teaches this to their children: Video: Jew-Eating Rabbit Threatens Denmark

Yeah, but it is America and Israel who are evil and must be “wiped off the map”.

Oh, and if you thought there was some hope for our side, remember that our enemies have propaganda outlets with half of our government, have our entire mass media, including the International media AND they have Hollywood on their side as well, putting out movie after movie of anti-America and anti-American military propaganda and also sporting solidarity pins at their award shows.

But hey, no worries, we have HOPE that things will CHANGE.

February 27, 2008 , 1:00PM Posted by | "Palestine", al Qaeda, Denmark, Dhimmitude, Fascism, Hollywood, Islam, Islamofascism, Jihad, Leftist Groups, Liberalism, Muslim Brotherhood, Muslims, The Long War | Comments Off on They are Just a Tiny Minority of Extremists, Nothing to Fear, You Bigoted Islamophobes

Barack Obama – The Democrats’ Ronald Reagan

And this is why I believe there is no stopping Barack Obama from winning the Presidency (in a landslide like Ronald Reagan) in November:

Conservatives complain about Obama’s vagueness mostly because they want to expose the dedicated liberal lurking behind Obama’s modeerate demeanor. In truth, though, Obama’s liberalism is no secret. His voting record, the policy positions laid out on his web site, and his own answers to questions in debates and town hall meetings make it clear that he is an unreconstructed liberal.

Obama’s appeal lies, in part, in his ability to make liberalism seem palatable. Unlike Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, he is generally not shrill or hectoring. He comes across as calm and reasonable. In this, he really does resemble Ronald Reagan.

There are obvious differences between Reagan and Obama, of course. Reagan was a life-long student of Communism, while Obama is not yet a life-long student of anything. Most important, Reagan was devoted to conservatism, which is essentially true, while Obama is devoted to liberalism, which is essentially false. This means that Obama’s policies, no matter how smoothly he may advocate them, will never be as successful as Reagan’s.

Here, though, lies the rub, in my view. Ronald Reagan came to power at a time when America had been carrying out, for sixteen years, an experiment with liberalism that by 1980 had brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. Americans did not adopt conservative principles because they sounded good on first hearing. They adopted conservative principles because of bitter experience with the alternative.

Today, the benefit of that experience has largely been lost. A generation of American voters has not experienced the failures of the Great Society, the near-collapse of American cities, double-digit inflation and unemployment, seventy percent tax brackets, or the disaster of Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy. In the absence of historical memory, and with a powerful assist from the ever-forgetful press, liberalism is once again emerging as the philosophy that sounds good. The fact that it doesn’t work awaits as an unpleasant surprise for a new generation. In the meantime, Barack Obama may well be the plausible candidate who can lead voters, once again, down the blind alley of leftism. He is, as Steve Hayes argues, an opponent who must be taken seriously.

Yep. We are the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, yet a majority of Americans believe that we are oppressed here in America, because we don’t have “free” health insurance, “free” iPods, “free” college tuition, “free” abortions, “free’ condoms, “free” XBoxes, etc etc etc. No one today knows what true oppression is really like. Thus, they believe the lies of the Democrats and the mass media that our country is oppressed and that we need “change”. And this is why I believe Barack Obama is going to win, and win big, in November: the ignorance and apathy of the American people. So we all better spend 2008 building up a huge savings, since our taxes are going to go way up come February 2009 and the coming 4-8 years.

Steven Hayes in the Wall Street Journal: Obama and the Power of Words

These are words that move and uplift, that give hope to the hopeless. These words inspired millions of voters nationwide to join the grand experiment called democracy, casting votes for their candidate, their country, their destiny:

“More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we’ll restore hope and we’ll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!”

So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party’s nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.

Earlier that day, the New York Times ran a long profile of Reagan on its front page. The author, Howell Raines, lamented that the news media had been unsuccessful in getting Reagan to speak in anything other than “sweeping generalities about economic and military policy.” Mr. Raines further noted: “political critics who characterize him as banal and shallow, a mouther of right-wing platitudes, delight in recalling that he co-starred with a chimpanzee in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo.'”

Throughout his campaign, Reagan fought off charges that his candidacy was built more on optimism than policies. The charges came from reporters and opponents. John Anderson, a rival in the Republican primary who ran as an independent in the general election, complained that Reagan offered little more than “old platitudes and old generalities.”

Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan’s own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan’s “secret weapon” was that “Democrats fail to take him very seriously.”

Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

For months now, Hillary Clinton has suggested that Mr. Obama is all rhetoric, no substance. This claim, or some version of it, has been at the center of her campaign since November. One day after losing to him in Wisconsin and Hawaii — her ninth and tenth consecutive defeats — she rather incredibly went back to it again. “It’s time we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions,” she said — a formulation that could be mistaken for a sound bite.

As she complained about his lack of substance, tens of thousands of people lined up in city after city, sometimes in subfreezing temperatures, for a chance to get a shot of some Mr. Obama hopemongering. Plainly, her critique is not working.

And yet, Republicans are picking it up. In just the past week, conservative commentators have accused Mr. Obama of speaking in “Sesame Street platitudes,” of giving speeches that are “almost content free,” of “saying nothing.” He has been likened to Chance the Gardener, the clueless mope in Jerzy Kosinski’s “Being There,” whose banal utterances are taken as brilliant by a gullible political class. Others complain that his campaign is “messianic,” too self-aggrandizing and too self-referential.

John McCain has joined the fray. In a speech after he won primaries in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, Mr. McCain said: “To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.” After Wisconsin, he sharpened the attack, warning that he would expose Mr. Obama’s “eloquent but empty call for change.”

The assumption behind much of this criticism is that because Mr. Obama gives a good speech he cannot do substance. This is wrong. Mr. Obama has done well in most of the Democratic debates because he has consistently shown himself able to think on his feet. Even on health care, a complicated national issue that should be Mrs. Clinton’s strength, Mr. Obama has regularly fought her to a draw by displaying a grasp of the details that rivals hers, and talking about it in ways Americans can understand.

In Iowa, long before the race became the national campaign it is today, Mr. Obama spent much of his time at town halls in which he took questions from the audience. His answers in such settings were often as good or better than the rhetoric in his stump speech, and usually more substantive. He spoke about issues like immigration and national service in a thoughtful manner — not wonky, not pedantic, but in a way that suggested he’d spent some time thinking about them before.

More important for the race ahead, Mr. Obama has the unique ability to offer doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates. That he managed to do this in the days before the Iowa caucuses — at a time when he might have been expected to be at his most liberal — was quite striking.

His rhetorical gimmick is simple. When he addresses a contentious issue, Mr. Obama almost always begins his answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting — a line or two that suggests he understands or perhaps even sympathizes with the concerns of a conservative.

At Cornell College on Dec. 5, for example, a student asked Mr. Obama how his administration would view the Second Amendment. He replied: “There’s a Supreme Court case that’s going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I’ve got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably — it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That’s what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that’s a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families.”

Then came the pivot:

“Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community . . . So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don’t think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, ATF can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out — what are you doing?”

In conclusion:

“There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the NRA is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don’t think that’s how most lawful firearms owners think.”

In the end, Mr. Obama is simply campaigning for office in the same way he says he would operate if he were elected. “We’re not looking for a chief operating officer when we select a president,” he said during a question and answer session at Google headquarters back in December.

“What we’re looking for is somebody who will chart a course and say: Here is where America needs to go — here is how to solve our energy crisis, here’s how we need to revamp our education system — and then gather the talent together and then mobilize that talent to achieve that goal. And to inspire a sense of hope and possibility.”

Like Ronald Reagan did.

February 27, 2008 , 12:53PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Liberalism, Ronald Reagan, Socialism | Comments Off on Barack Obama – The Democrats’ Ronald Reagan

Obama’s Supreme Court Justice Pick: A Gay Black Senior Citizen in a Wheelchair

Via Rick Moran at the American Thinker blog: Obama’s SCOTUS Picks: Can you say ‘Nightmare?’

Orin Kerr over at Volokh Conspiracy, the fine legal blog, has been pondering what kind of Supreme Court judges Barack Obama might pick if he became president.

Here are a couple of statements made by Obama that outline his deep thoughts on the matter:

I taught constitutional law for 10 years, and . . . when you look at what makes a great Supreme Court justice, it’s not just the particular issue and how they rule, but it’s their conception of the Court. And part of the role of the Court is that it is going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don’t have a lot of clout. . . .

[S]ometimes we’re only looking at academics or people who’ve been in the [lower] court. If we can find people who have life experience and they understand what it means to be on the outside, what it means to have the system not work for them, that’s the kind of person I want on the Supreme Court.

Part of the role of the court is to “protect people” who may be vulnerable in the “political process? Well, if you’re looking to change things, that’s one way to go about it. It certainly is novel criteria for picking a justice.

But what should really send chills down your spine is that he would be willing to entertain non judicial even non-legal candidates for the High Court. Might we see community activists or other unqualified candidates up for consideration?

I’m beginning to think that Barack Obama will either be the easiest candidate to beat in American political history or the toughest. That’s because in this statement, he gets even more specific about naming someone from outside the legal profession:

We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.

Our Editor Tom Lifson defines the parameters of this “nightmare:”

This is frightening. A concept of the judiciary as philosopher kings who protect selected victims with decisions based on thin air.

“Thin air,” indeed. One would think that a nominee should have a passing familiarity with the Constitution. But for Obama, that’s not as important as picking a gay black senior citizen in a wheelchair.

Let’s hope he’s just blowing smoke and not being serious about this.

February 27, 2008 , 12:53PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Liberalism, Socialism, United States Supreme Court | Comments Off on Obama’s Supreme Court Justice Pick: A Gay Black Senior Citizen in a Wheelchair