Sunday, March 30, 2008

So what's the real story here?

It's getting increasingly difficult to discern the true story of events going on in Iraq. Is the operation in Basrah a massive failure, or a success? Is al-Maliki fighting an enemy he can't handle, or is he acting as the executive of a free nation should?

I can't honestly tell you because I'm not there. Part of the reason its difficult to figure everything out is because the news reports coming in are massively conflicting. Take a look at these articles, for example. Bill Roggio's report from the Long War Journal is considerably more "factual" in tone while reporting more positive information, while the AP calls the situation a "mounting crisis".

Here's a taste of the cherry picking that's going on (emphasis mine):

Anti-American Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Saturday to defy government orders to surrender their weapons, as U.S. jets struck Shiite extremists near Basra to bolster a faltering Iraqi offensive against gunmen in the city.
But to my eyes, Sadr's government-defying order was actually a form of pseudo-surrender:
Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who is in Basrah supervising Operation Knights' Assault, has given the Mahdi Army 72 hours to lay down their weapons. "We are not going to chase those who hand over their weapons within 72 hours," Maliki said. "If they do not surrender their arms, the law will follow its course."

Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army and the Sadrist movement, is calling for an end to the fighting, according to a statement released by Hazem al Aaraji, a close aide to Sadr. He called for "everyone to pursue political solutions and peaceful protests and a stop to the shedding of Iraqi blood."
I've never heard of someone who is winning crying "uncle" -- certainly not someone who has shown repeatedly to have no compunctions about the shedding of his follower's blood, as Sadr has.

His reason for waving a gray flag is apparent in Roggio's dispatch, but is curiously absent from any of the AP reports: 120 Mahdi army members killed, 450 wounded, another 218 captured -- and the strength of the Iraqi army presence in Basrah has been elevated to over 15,000. US forces have killed an additional 68 Mahdi soldiers in Baghdad, with similar body counts all over the country. He's not worried about shedding Iraqi blood; he's tired of the bloodshed being one-sided!

To make matters worse for the Mahdi militia, Al-Maliki is actually in Basrah, supporting his troops. And Sadr? He's a non-entity in this struggle, relying on his headquarters in Najaf to make his announcements via press release.

Maliki has given a 72 hour ultimatum for the Madhi army to lay down its arms. I'm curious to see how the situation unfolds.

Keep your anti-American propaganda filters up, kids -- this is shaping up to be another media battle a-la Tet offensive.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Global climate change strikes again!

We're coming out of the coldest winter in a decade. The Washington Times runs an article on global cooling. Here's a list of other articles that cover the subject:

  • Earth's 'Fever' Breaks: Global COOLING Currently Under Way; Report: Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling (Daily Tech – February 26, 2008;

  • Forget Global Warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age (Canada's National Post – Feb. 25, 2008);Arctic Sea Ice Sees 'Significant Increase' in Size Following 'Extreme Cold' (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -CBC – February 15, 2008);

  • Ice between Canada and Greenland reaches highest level in 15 years (Greenland’s Sermitsiak News – February 12, 2008);NewPeer-Reviewed Study Shows Arctic COOLING Over last 1500 years;

  • Antarctic Summer Thaw 'Later Than Normal' (AccuWeather Global Warming News – February 6, 2008;

  • Report: Sun's 'disturbingly quiet' cycle prompts fear of global COOLING (February 8, 2008 - Investor’s Business Daily);

  • Solar data suggest our concerns should be about global cooling – (By Geologist David Archibald of Summa Development Limited in Australia – March 2008 Scientific Paper);

  • Report: Too Much Ice = Polar Bears Starving? (Scientist Philip Stott’s Global Warming Politics – February 15, 2008);Report: Solar Activity Diminishes;

  • Researchers Predict Another Ice Age - Sunspots have all but vanished in recent years. (Daily Tech – February 9, 2008);Scientist predicts 'Coming of a New Ice Age' (Winningreen February 2008."

  • And now this:
    Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.
    Or, you know, it could mean that the ocean waters haven't heated up.
    "There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Willis says.
    ...Don't be alarmed. Global warming is still real.
    So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. "Global warming doesn't mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming."
    That's funny. To me, cooling doesn't = less rapid warming. There's a bit of a directionality issue involved in that statement.
    It's also possible that some of the heat has gone even deeper into the ocean, he says. Or it's possible that scientists need to correct for some other feature of the planet they don't know about. It's an exciting time, though, with all this new data about global sea temperature, sea level and other features of climate.

    Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.
    But don't worry -- the science is still settled. Right?

    Read the rest.

    Petraeus and Hillary

    I almost don't even want to write this because it's so totally and completely unsurprising to me. The ultimate reason I'm doing it is because I want to gloat.

    Remember, if you will, when Hillary Clinton censured Gen. David Petraeus with these words, lecturing to him as if he were a child:

    "...You have been made the de facto spokesman for what many of us believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.

    In any of the metrics that have been referenced in your many hours of testimony, any fair reading of the advantages and disadvantages accruing post surge, in my view, end up on the down side."
    She then proceeded to vote against the senate amendment that would have defended and honored Gen. Petraeus. Remember?

    That was then, this is now:
    As critical as she is about the Bush administration’s conduct of the Iraq war, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a relatively rare shout-out to the military’s top man in Baghdad, General David Petraeus, calling him “an extraordinary leader and a wonderful advocate for our military.”
    Extraordinary leaders aren't liars or shills for other politicians as she implied. And they're certainly not so stupid as to misrepresent (or misunderstand) their own two day long statistical presentations to congress.

    I wonder if her sudden change of heart has anything to do with this?
    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq, spoke with reporters accompanying Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is visiting the country.

    The security trend lines all are favorable (still) , the general said. “Attacks have continued to go down. We’ve had a five-month period consistently of a level of attacks we’ve not seen since spring of 2005,” he said. “This past week was the fourth-lowest since October 2004.”

    Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker will explain why they believe attacks have come down when they report to President Bush and Congress (again).

    The general said he is encouraged by the statistics and what he sees around the country. “In fact, the level of attacks has come down in recent weeks below a level we thought might be the ‘irreducible minimum,’” he said.
    Emphasis, and italicized comments mine.

    I know the guy won't be snarky in his testimony; he's too much of a professional for that. But wouldn't it be wonderful if he was? I would love to be in his shoes at the end of the testimony, just to have such a legitimate excuse to smirk.

    Read the rest.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Obama's Stupidity

    Obama has been trying to promote "race healing" but it occurs to me that the wound of racism in the United States has long since scabbed over...and the only time it continues to bleed is when people who stand to benefit from their vampirism (e.g., Barack Hussein Obama or Jesse Jackson) pick at it.

    Read the rest.