Imperial Requiem

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Post-Memorial Day thoughts

I'm posting today, instead of yesterday to illustrate a point: I believe that every day should be Memorial Day. We should honor our fallen soldiers every day, in whatever private or public manner we choose to.

And I mean honor them- cherish their lives and their deaths, and make it mean something. Not play silly games with naming all the American dead from Iraq on Nightline just because it its a blatant attempt at nakedly voicing your anti-military screeds. It's service only tells the story they want us to believe; they don't bother talking to the hundreds of thousands who have lived and continue to fight the good fight in Iraq. Honor them by saluting them, and telling them (and their families, who sacrifice greatly as well) that they've done their job well.

We should also honor those that have fought and lived for our country and way of life, and are still serving overseas. Their sacrifices may not be the ultimate ones, but they are a burden on us all, as well. And while I'm at it, I'll extend those thanks to the soldiers of foriegn countries who are also in harms' way, fighting alongsides American soldiers. May they all continue to fight the good fight, and come home safely.

Keep kicking ass, take names, and honor us all. God bless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Newsday, again

There are two articles in recent Newsday papers; both create the atmosphere of insinuating that there's a "civil war brewing in Iraq" when in reality, it's alot of editorial fluff, with very little sourcing (that doesnt' actually say anything important), and a total dismissal of ANY military analysis from either the Americans, the Iraqis, or the coalition. Even if you check Newsday's website, they try to hide that Operation New Market is underway in Iraq. But it's one of the main leads at Fox News' website.

One article was written by Mohammad Bazzi, who's apparently reporting from Beiruit. Unless he's actually shuttling back and forth between Iraq and Lebanon, he's making long distance phone calls on Newsday's tab. His most recent article Iraqi Civil War? What's interesting is that he talks to people who could, tangenitally, be figures in Iraq. But often he doesn't, and we're left with people who it's clear he's using as a cheap prop to make his story work. It's an old tactic- say that A= C but you can't prove or even come up with ANY evidence of C, so you get someone to talk about something that could be B, and then you do A + C= B.

He even gets his evidence wrong- like this:

It is unclear how long al-Sistani and Shia politicians will be able to
restrain young Shia militants. One such force is the militia loyal to renegade
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which fought extended battles twice last year with
U.S. forces. Al-Sadr's militia surrendered most of its weapons to the Iraqi
government, but its members are still difficult to control because they do not
look to senior clerics such as al-Sistani for guidance......Against this backdrop of violence, al-Sadr appeared publicly last week for the first time in nine months. He accused the United States of inciting sectarian hatred and called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. He also urged his followers not to retaliate against Sunnis.

I think it's more a case that Al-Sadr has no real support anymore. That's why no one gives a damn for him. He recently had an anti-American rally a few days ago, and only 6,000 supporters showed up in three cities. That's it. I'm guessing the largest group was in his slum territory (Sadr City), and that's a really pathetic showing. He's got no real base of support, and he's trying to find out what he can and can't get away with, politically. The rallies are harmless, and if he wants to complain- let him. That Bazzi completely overlooks this, is suprising. He makes Al-Sadr out to be a big bad boy (and he's right, he's NOT a nice guy), but he doesn't look at the reality that he is not a power broker on any level. And Al-Sadr hasn't been quiet AT ALL for the past few months, it's just that reporters haven't been doing a great job of reporting about him. He's been complaining on and off about the political process in Iraq for months now.

In the article he cites killings that have happened through Iraq (mostly the Baghdad area)- but doesn't come up with any actual reasons for A) why they're dead B) who killed them and C) what the government and local authorities are doing about it. It's all insinuation. And may I remind you, that it's a news artice- NOT an editorial.

His lead is the most telling part of it all-
The signs of sectarian warfare are everywhere in Iraq these days: clerics assassinated outside their mosques, dozens of execution victims turning up in ditches and car bombers inflicting heavy casualties on the country's Shia Muslim majority.
Nearly four months after Iraq's election, when millions of Iraqis defied insurgent threats by voting for a new parliament, sectarian violence now threatens to drag the country into civil war. Most victims so far have been Shias targeted by Sunni insurgents. But the recent discoveries throughout Iraq of more than 50 bodies - men from both sects, apparently abducted and executed - highlight a new problem: a wave of retaliatory killings between Sunnis and Shias.
It is the worst-case scenario that many Iraqis have feared since the insurgency's early days: that persistent attacks against the Shia community would drive Shia militias to seek revenge against Sunni civilians, prompting a new cycle of violence that would destroy any hope of dampening the insurgency and bringing Sunnis into the political process.
Problem: he doesn't actually have ANY evidence that the killings were retaliatory. He doesn't cite anything to say that they are. He just insinuates that he THINKS thats what it is. I'm pretty sure that it's the insurgents trying to make it look like someone else is doing the killings. Keep in mind, that not all the insurgents are car bombers- and that many of them don't actually want to die. They're cowards, and don't particularly like the concept of fighting American and Iraqi soldiers in combat. Thus, they capture people off the streets, kill them, and then let it pass off as reprisal killings. Actually, they've been doing this for a while. And it's suprising that Bazzi really can't find all that many people to talk to- on the streets (keep in mind that he's not IN Iraq)- to tell him what's going on. Thus, why he's all but stuck with bad evidence and misleading insinuations. I've seen better reporting from people INSIDE Iraq. And his total misreading of both Operation Matador and New Market are also telling. He doesn't think the US military is worth talking about.

And he also gives himself a cheap mulligan, with his "its the worst case scenario" line. Yeah, it is the worst case scenario- and if he's wrong about it, he'll just say that it was "a scenario that I kept an eye out for". Actually, he works for Newsday, which isn't the nicest newspapers to the US military, nor to the Bush administration. Articles like his are the norm, while they completely ignore the US military at any chance they can get. Hell, it's movie reviewers review movies according to their political content (I'm not kidding- go read John Anderson's Master and Commander: Far Side of the World review).

Here's my idea to Newsday: send him to Iraq, and let him do his reporting there. If he refuses, stop taking articles from him. I'm actually interested in finding out WHEN he went to Lebanon- before or after the Cedar Revolution? If it was before the Cedar Revolution, I want to know how long it is before he's kicked out of the country. Because he will be. I've seen a few articles from him already, and they each have the same falliacies. I'll keep an eye on his works in the future, and report anything here, at Imperial Requiem.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

So much for property value......

Gotta love this, from Tim Blair's blog:

Heh. That house must do a GREAT job of baking potatoes during the summer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Good news comes in pairs

With all that bad news that the world can generate, there's also good news that warms the soul, and tells you that everything's worth it.

-The first tidbit is from Kuwait, where Kuwaiti women have been allowed to vote in elections- Kuwait approves Women's political rights. Kuwaiti women will now be able to vote and hold office in their country. Kuwait's been a steadfast ally of the United States and has been far more pro-western than any other muslim nation in the world. They have been alot more accessible to the West, and as a result, they have not had the blinders on that some other muslim nations have had. All they needed was the right political moment for democratization to come- and put the process into play. Bravo to the Kuwaitis, and the best of luck to them in their newfound freedoms.

- The second tidbit comes from Syria of all places. Syria Heralds Reforms, But Many have Doubts:

Beset by U.S. attempts to isolate his country and facing popular expectations of change, Syrian President Bashar Assad will move to begin legalizing political parties, purge the ruling Baath Party, sponsor free municipal elections in 2007 and formally endorse a market economy, according to officials, diplomats and analysts....

Most prominent among the reforms will be a recommendation for a new party law, said the officials, analysts and diplomats. It would envision the formation of parties as long as they are not explicitly based on ethnicity, religion or region. While this is potentially a dramatic step, analysts caution that even if the Baath Party recommends the change, enacting a law could take a year or more. Also, the party is not expected to surrender its constitutionally enshrined position as "the leading party of both the society and the state."

As part of the reforms, the government is expected to enact a law providing for free elections of 15,000 members of municipal councils in 2007. The congress is also expected to endorse the free market as the country's economic orientation -- a break from the party's slogan of "unity, freedom and socialism."

The Baath Party's 21-member leadership, still including many septuagenarian colleagues of Assad's father, will likely be purged, analysts and officials said. The number may be reduced to 15, with only a handful -- perhaps three or four -- carried over from the current leadership. It would mark another step in Assad's consolidation of power and could open the way for the inclusion of powerful relatives like his brother, who heads the elite Republican Guard, and brother-in-law, who heads the feared military intelligence.

It's a step in the right direction, although it seems to me that Assad wants to keep as much control over the situation as possible. The problem is, is that controlling change doesn't work the way you plan. I'm pretty sure that Assad is buying all his logical answers he's presenting us with- but the problem is that the world doesn't work that way. By opening the gates just a little bit, he's creating the situation where those in his country will demand more than just what he's prepared to give them. And how he reacts to their reaction remains to be seen. Plus, the world around him is already skeptical of his plans, and will view them as part and parcel of his Iraqi and Lebanese problems.

The fact that he might be trying to consolidate power- at least for the time being- may well be a plan to allow his country to democratize with as little interference from his own political rivals (ie; his father's supporters). It could also be that the limited democratization that he's installing is nothing more than a window dressing for his consolidation of power. But it's still good news, for a country that generally gets kicked at repeatedly while it's down. I'll remain in a wait and see mode as to what actually happens in the country. But I will say that the situation IS ripe for a democratic change to take effect- either with Assad at the helm, or with him swept away by the laws of unintended consequences. And that's good news, indeed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The news is weak in Newsweek

By now everyone knows about the whole Newsweek fiasco, and I'm not going to do too much backtracking on it. If need be, you can check outFox News, Little Green Footballs, and Wretchard's always good Belmont Club. Now that Newsweek has admitted that the article was basically false, and that their anonymous source was crap, they're now trying to find a way to say that their editorial standards are still good.

They're not good. The sheer force of will that the editors and spokespeople of Newsweek are putting forth tells me that they know they're screwed. It's like being in a police interrogation, and you say "But I didn't rob Austin's Pawn Shop!" and the police respond with "No one mentioned which pawn shop it was, yet."

The problem is that there may well be nothing that authorities can DO to Newsweek to punish them for their stupidity and callousness. Sure, Newsweek could save us a bundle of time and energy by firing anyone involved in the incident, turning a nice portion of either their profits or ownership over to the military (who were directly affected by the false allegations), and requesting that any journalistic licences that the fired people had be revoked. But that won't happen.

I think that the advertisers and retailers of Newsweek should- and some will- jump ship over this. It's not going to go away, and their credibility is shot to hell now. No one wants to be seen standing next to the condemmed. Newsweek is going to lose ALOT of money with this.

If Congress actually acts on something- and subpoenas's Newsweeks' staff to find out who their "source" was, that would also hurt them. If any of Newsweek's staff is caught lying on the stand- they're screwed. And the embarassment would be double if their sources turn out to be really incredulously bad. Congress could also pass laws that allow individuals, organizations, and institutions to sue media companies and individuals to have their anonoymous sources brought out into the open. That would be a nice check and balance against the media overdoing it, which they currently are doing.

If they're really sure of their sources, they can stand by it and stare down the people who are suing them. But I think that would prove to be the exception to the rule- and that it would force the media to self-censor their works. For once.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Real Nightmares

As usual at the Cannes movie festival, it's a joygasm of tinfoil leftists and numbskulls, who have been so pampered by riches, prosperity, and fame that they no longer understand the concept of freedom and democracy. Y'see, folks in the Hollywoods of the world have grown accustomed to barking orders at lesser people around them- and by lesser, I mean people who aren't other top billed directors, producers, actors and actresses, and that sort of thing (apologies to those that don't give a shit in H-wood, like James Woods). You're not a friend of theirs if you can't provide some gratifying ego boost to these people. It probably explains why they're so eager to accept conspiracy theories and leftist rantings- they get to have their ego boost while not having to A) think hard about it and B) actually be amongst the lesser people.

If they wanted to talk to conservatives, they'd probably have to talk to middle America- you know, NASCAR fans. Perish that thought! They take the easy way out, and go for the college crowd, and the West/East coast mentality.

That brings me to "Power of Nightmares" a documentary that's screening at Cannes. It's about how the US and British governments have "exaggerated" terror fears for their own personal political gain, since 9/11. Wow, talk about calling the Kettle black. I love it when these documentaries bitch about politics- yet they play the same political game that they rail against! Isn't "Power of Nightmares" exaggerating an exaggeration? And for political gain? Reifenstahl would be proud of the producers of the documentary.

Anyways, I live in New York. I remember that September morning, and I don't want to see it again. And I surmise that no one else does, either. Documentaries like these want to forget that we live in a world in which there are those that don't like us- and will go to any lengths to make sure that we feel their anger. It's also a vain attempt to discredit those that stand to benefit the most from the War on Terror, of course- Bush, Blair, and their respective political parties. It's also a convienient way to slide 9/11 into a separate category of pity and remorse, without having to actually tackle the political, military, and cultural issues that revolve around it. It's pathetic, really, since their views are really THAT transparent. It's ultimately a callous and mean-spirited view of the world, in which anyone who doesn't agree with you gets ass-reamed in any way you can administer it. I'll probably end up seeing the documentary, just so I can go on record as having seen it- which is probably more than the documentarians have done with New York, Washington DC, and and Pennsylvania. Ground Zero doesn't mean anything to these folks.

When these people talk about how Bush and company are exaggerating the war on terror, you respond with this:

9/11 was the third major attempt at a terror attack on NYC since 1993. Does that sound like an exaggeration? Or a reality check? Oh, and had the planes hit a few hours later on that day, the death toll would have been in the tens of thousands. Think about that for a sec.

And to the tinfoil celebs in hollywood- you tell them this: how many lives are you willing to risk on the chance you're not right? Disregard soldiers from your calculations- they're soldiers. Count civilians only. What happens if the A.Q Khan nuclear black market found it's way to Al Quai'da? or Islamiiah Jemmiyyah? How many hundreds of thousands are you willing to risk- not just in America, but throughout the world? And would you be willing to live with the number that you end up with? Or would you just mouth another "I'm sorry, world" for the deaths of untold hundreds of thousands, in an attack that dwarfs 9/11? Sorry doesn't cut it in the real world, Hollywood.

The problem with the celebs is that they're not about to do any research on anything- they'll just continue to mouth platitudes without thinking hard. That's the beauty of America and most democratic countries- you don't need to think hard or watch most of what you say. They can shrug off their comments for now- until it's too late. That's why they love documentaries like these- it lets them continue to not think for themselves, and they can go back to their "hard work" at making movies. To them, the world is their plaything, and everyone else be damned.

Get out of their sandbox! Now!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Operation Matador

I've been reading up on the current major military operation in Iraq, Operation Matador. Some of the better news is at Chester (The Adventures of Chester) , Belmont Club (The Belmont Club) , and Bill Roggio's Fourth Rail site ( Fourth Rail). Basically, the Marines have encircled positions along the Syrian-Iraq border that correlates with the center of Iraq (basically think of the region as a funnel for troops to come in from Syria towards Baghdad), and are using air and ground fire to pin the terrorists down in their defensive positions. It's early in reporting so far, but the reports that are coming out of the area have stated that some of the fighters that the American forces are facing are wearing Syrian uniforms, and that many of them have recieved some degree of combat training that could only be gotten from a standing army (ie; they aren't the dime a dozen suicide bombers and IED planters you find. These are hardcore fighters who will fight to the death if need be). The fighters apparently are making every attempt to fight to the death, since the Coalition forces have brought in heavy weaponry and major airpower to reduce the area to rubble. I'm also left wondering how fast the Syrian military ran from the area, and how much of an abject lesson they're going to take from this.

It wouldn't suprise me if the current spate of terror attacks in Iraq are acutally responses- albiet feeble ones- from the terorrists to try to relieve pressure upon their border "fortresses". If they can get American forces to divert attention elsewhere, they might be able to break the cordon that's tightening around them. Problem is, is that the attacks that they're perpetrating throughout Iraq aren't working. Sure, they're killing innocent civilians in numbers, but it does not have any worth on a strategic or tacitcal level. They're aiming at soft targets, and those targets are really indefensible by the coalition forces in the manner that the terrorists are going after them. They can't protect them in the fashion that the terrorists want them to- with heavy concentrations of manpower- and the terrorists probably know this. It's also a testament to their lack of leadership and resources. If this is the best they can do against a major military offensive by the coalition forces, they will have no alternative but to either leave Iraq, or accept the amnesty of the Iraqi government.

Oh, and the near capture of Zarqawui and the capture of his computer have apparently paid dividends. Anyone want to take guesses on how much the computer has helped coalition forces in preparing Matador?

Newsday in LaLa land

Newsday is essentially one of the usual followers of the New York Times, and as such, their articles are your typical arrogant and dismissive leftist tripe. Their prose is generally vapid, and distant, like their writers have never met a real human being in a very long tine. You'll never see an article in the news section actually coincide with centrist or right of center thinking. You might occasionally see a sop to the center/right with an article by Krauthammer or David Brooks, but that's the exception to the rule.

So, enter the 5/12/05 article "Iraq on edge of Civil War",0,4630319.story?coll=ny-top-headlines by Timothy M Phelps. I'm going to play with this for a while, so bear with me, folks.

"An unchastened insurgency sowed devastation across Iraq Wednesday as experts here said the country is either on the verge of civil war or already in the middle of it."

Wouldn't calling it an "unchastened insurgency" be an editorial slant, to begin with? I mean, you're dismissing the fact that they have had an absolutely horrid track record of late. Blowing up civilians in soft-target areas gets them nowhere, folks. And Newsday ignores Operation Matador's tactical and strategic worth, as well. And I'm pretty sure the lead there was your typical conclusion with an answer to follow stuff you see from the left these days.

"In the course of the day: Four car bombs detonated in Baghdad; a man wearing explosives at an army recruitment center in Hawija, north of Baghdad, blew himself and many others up; a car bomb exploded in a marketplace in Tikrit, north of Baghdad; and the country's largest fertilizer plant was heavily damaged by a bomb in the usually quiet southern city of Basra. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines were winding up a remarkable pitched battle against surprisingly well-equipped and determined insurgents on Iraq's western border. Some 76 Iraqis were reported killed and more than 120 wounded in the one day of violence."

This tells me that they have no intentions of actually TALKING about what's happening on the ground; instead, that they want to just tell you what they WANT YOU TO BELIEVE is going on. Notice their dismissal of Operation Matador in all it's forms. Hey, Newsday, hire a goddamn military analyst for once, will you? Ever think that the bombings that you're seeing are a reaction to Matador, and the fact that Zarqawi has almost been caught twice? Y'think? Oh, and since when was Basra quiet?

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

Name them if you can, and cite info. If not, shut up and move along. If you can't name them and you just rely upon the boogeyman of "anonymous sources" that means that you CAN'T verify your information and are just saying it to make it look like the guys who appear later in the article verify it for you. Oh, and why don't you ask the military directly about what's going on in Baghdad? Afraid you won't like their answer?

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

If Mr. Lang is such a high and mighty guy, why is he NO LONGER IN THE PENTAGON?!?!?! It wouldn't suprise me if he was a Clinton appointment who got shoved out the door when 9/11 happened. But since he's not in the Pentagon today, his views are suspect- as well as the reasons he's talking to Newsday. He would know full well what the Newsday reporter wants from him. Oh, and explain why the Sunnis are now flocking to join the military (I'll cite: Belmont Club, Chernkoff, Bill Roggio. Oooh! I did better than this article already!), the insurgents are mostly foriegn fighters and sunni baathists who are essentially just fighting in the sunni triangle area? Notice you rarely hear anything out of the Shi'ite and Kurdish areas? Gee, I wonder why. Maybe Mr. Lana Lang could give me an answer. But then again, he's no longer in the Pentagon and doesn't have contacts nor actionable intelligence.

Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.

Again, name your sources, unless you're afraid I'll laugh at them. Oh, and "civilians on both sides being slaughtered"? The majority of the attacks in Iraq are in the Sunni Triangle - and the article essentially agrees with me, pointing to the "south of Baghdad" part. Get a friggin map, will you? That's the Sunni Triangle! Anything else is random. And military units have been used throughout Iraq- with very good results. The only reason that the Sunnis haven't had those military units in Iraq policing their areas is that they didn't sign up for the government to do so initially. They are now, and they're not complaining about the units that are there.

"I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.He said the insurgency has been "getting stronger every passing day. When the violence recedes, it is a sign that they are regrouping." While there is a chance the current flare of violence is the insurgency's last gasp, he said, "I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

He's an NYU professor who may have had contact with the Coalition forces. I want to know what those contacts were. And I want to know who he voted for in November. Ten bucks says it's Kerry. And he's a law professor- get a military historian or actual strategist to do your military analyst work for you, not a law professor. I'm not saying that Mr. Feldman is not a great law professor- but that's his field, not military strategy. Get someone else with credentials next time.

"Everything we thought we knew about the insurgency obviously is flawed," said Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was quiet for a little while, and here it is back full force all over the country, and that is very dark news."The increased violence coincides with the approval of a new, democratic government two weeks ago. But instead of bringing the country together, the new government seems to have further alienated even moderate Sunnis who believe they have only token representation.

Who the hell is this? And let's not forget that the insurgents were quiet because the IRAQI PEOPLE VOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR HISTORY. IN RECORD NUMBERS. AND THE TERRORISTS WERE DICKLESS TO STOP THEM. And this lady somehow seems to think that the new gov't is alienating ethnic groups without saying how. That's once again, coming up with the conclusion before you have an arguement. Develop an arguement, please!

That is a joke," said Sunni politician Saad Jabouri, until recently governor of Diyala Province, in an interview here. "The only people they allowed in the government are ones who think like them," he said of the majority Shia faction, who mostly come from Islamic parties.Military and civilian experts said the insurgency seemed designed to outlast the patience of the American and Iraqi peoples.

And this is supposed to impress me? You quote a fringe Sunni politician, who acts like every other politician in the world and bitches loudly, and then slide in more anonymous sources?

"I just think this Sunni thing is going to be pretty hard," said Phebe Marr, a leading U.S. Iraq expert reached in the protected Green Zone in Baghdad. "The American public has to get its expectations down to something reasonable."Lang said there is new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime carefully prepared in advance for the insurgency, with former Iraqi officers at the core of each group. They are well coordinated and have consistently adjusted their strategy, he said.

Lemme guess, Phebe Marr is a NGO person, right? Care to tell me what that person is DOING IN IRAQ? He sounds so phoney otherwise. I mean, he could be wearing a tutu for all I know. And it could also be a girl, and I'm screwing the gender up here. I apologize to all Phebe's out there for the misunderstanding. Won't happen again, I assure you. And then the author goes back to citing Mr. Lana Lang. Great. Can you keep your "sources" in order? And he's doing a piss-poor job of actually getting information, just conjecture that's taking the form of analysis. That's not analysis- that's babbling. I have not heard one thing that's actual evidence yet. Yawn.

Now the 140,000-plus U.S. troops in the country are mainly "a nuisance" factor in the insurgents' overall goal of preventing the new government from consolidating."They understand what the deal is here," Lang said, "to start applying maximum pressure to the economy and the government and make sure it will not work." Their roadside bombs are intended to keep U.S. forces inside their bases, he said.

Now I KNOW he was thrown out of the Pentagon, if he ever worked there. This crap is nothing but CRAP. The US military in Iraq goes where it wants to, when it wants to, and how it wants to. The IED's have been nuisances to the US military and they were generally there to hit convoys, not the US miitary itself. The insurgents can't get NEAR the US bases unless they're really lucky. Planting IEDs are done on main roads and throughways, generally, since they're bound to hit something, eventually. And it's hard to police those roads effectively. And the guy's basically reading page 1 from Guerilla handbook 101. Duh, of course the insurgents are trying to destabilize the gov't. But have they had ANY success in it? No, they haven't. The gov't is going about it's business regardless, people are joining the new gov't, and the insurgets- terorrists- have no alternative to the gov't. Not even a civil war. It's foriegn fighters and Sunnis fighting against Sunnis. That's not a recipie for civil war. That's an end-run attempt to subjugate a segment of the population to your will, in order to gain some level of support in order to destabilize the gov't. And it's not working. And this guy doesn't really give any real evidence as to any destabilization in Iraq- just conjecture and hearsay from so-called sources. That's not evidence, bubba.

All the while the insurgents are gaining strength, he said. "The longer they keep going on the better they will get," said Lang, a student of military history. "The best school of war is war."The Sunni insurgents could win the battle if they persevere long enough to sour U.S. voters, Feldman said.He said, "There is no evidence whatsoever that they cannot win."

Now we get to the point of the whole sordid piece, don't we? Mr. Phelps, please stand up, and realize that you just want to play your Vietnam fantasies all over again, kick Bush out of office, and pretend that the War on Terror never happened. Right? How else would we get a cheap shot of "sour US voters" in there, otherwise?

NOW Lang is revealed as a "student of military history"- he goes from being a former Pentagon bigwig to a "student of military history". What is Mr. Lana Lang precisely? Is he Pentagon lite, or is he someone off the streets? If you work in the Pentagon, YOU ARE A STUDENT OF MILITARY HISTORY. Why then, the need to say that? Maybe.....because he isn't? And that you need to remind yourself that he is? Or your writing sucks? If you can't keep your sources straight, you're a bad poker player.

It's an article rife with bad sourcing, no analysis that's worth a damn, does NOT talk to the US, Coalition, or Iraqi militaries on ANY LEVEL, and talks to fringe sources outside of the US and Iraqi gov'ts only. It's a pathetic attempt at passing off non-experts as experts, in order to make the conclusion that the author starts off with as valid, without really giving any arguement to any of them. It's utterly unconvincing, and frankly, it took me 20 minutes to eat it alive. Go back to journalism school, or better yet......go to Iraq. And as for the insurgents having evidence that they can't win, I'll give it to you:

El Salvador.
Afghanistan (after 2001).
Ireland (1970's IRA).
Jordan (early 1970's).
Philippines (1898-1902).
Confederate States of America (1861-1865).
FARC (Columbia).
German Civil War (1918-1919).
Algerian Civil War.