29 December 2007

2nd Ammendment Under Fire (again)

I thought the whole Gun Control Fascist movement died out after 9/11 (anyone remember the Million Mom March), but I guess it is now seeing a resurgence. This recent New Yorker article disputes the placement of commas by our founding fathers to imply that private citizens shouldn't have firearms. I understand that the New Yorker characterizes anyone living outside of Manhattan as a brain-dead hick, but this whole argument is flimsy at best IMHO. Gun-Control zealots always like to cite modern Europe and Japan as examples of low crime areas with gun control. They conveniently neglect the countries of Brazil, Mexico, and Nazi Germany in their argument. Next up, the 3rd amendment is going to be under assault. Watch out America or the unruly LT Nixon might be quartered in your domiciles against your will. A wiser man than myself once said "Vote for the Best, Prepare for the Worst".

28 December 2007

Are You Tired of Politics?

I sure as hell am. Subliminal crosses, wide stances in the bathroom stall, and Ron Paul cars just to name a few. Iowa still hasn't happened yet and there's already talk of voter burnout. This probably has to do with all the ridiculous media and blogosphere attention to campaign shenanigans. Fortunately, Kent Fletcher is a former Marine Corps officer and Iraq war vet who's heading to Iowa to generate attention on the important issue of our time: The Long War. With the recent Bhutto assasination, Taliban still operating in Afghanistan, and an uncertain future in Iraq, it is now more important than ever to be concerned about foreign policy and defense issues. Here's an article about Kent which indicates that the military is disappointed with Bush's handling of the Long War (I'm inclined to agree with them) and you can visit his profile on Vetvoice to get the scoop. It's time to act responsible as a nation and put the stupid, petty distractions of this important election aside.

Give 'em Hell, Kent, uh I mean sir

Kuwait: The Crossroads of Purgatory

Tent City: Step-off point to Wherever

Most military folk who go into Iraq or Afghanistan pass through the oil-rich country full of sandstorms and camels, Kuwait. I recently passed through it on the way back to the states for R&R for a couple days. Despite my griping about the lack of sheets in the transient tents and the process by which the Army moves people from point A to point B, I took it upon myself to be chatty and talk with the soldiers who were stuck in purgatory with me. A good place to start a conversation is the smoke pits conveniently located on the rocky walking paths. Most soldiers don't know what to make of me as a Naval officer lounging about smoking Kools, but I try not to give off an aura of douchiness so that people will be able to shoot it to me straight.

The consensus for the soldiers in Iraq is that things have calmed down significantly. This is especially true for the folks who dwell in the western province of Anbar. I talked with one SSGT who mentioned that the Shiite enclaves on the east side of the Tigris in Baghdad were still quite dangerous and traveling by convoy was still a source of concern for most. One PFC in the Guard asked me when he thought we would be getting out of Iraq. As an officer I've always hated myself when I couldn't properly answer a question, but this one really disturbed me. I honestly have no idea when coalition forces will be out of Iraq, and I am starting to lose faith in the policy makers in Washington for having an answer to that question as well.

As for Afghanistan the consensus was that it was very cold in the mountains this time of year. I asked how the fight was going and there seemed to be an uptick in violence, along with NATO forces routinely rounding up foreign jihadists. Many of the folks heading out on R&R lamented that it was their third or fourth tour, but were generally ecstatic that they were heading home on a bird for the holidays. As bored as I was waiting around to get out of there, it was certainly interesting to get such clarity on a cross-section of issues in both Iraq and Afghanistan in this nexus of information. It was certainly more interesting than sitting around watching South Park episodes on my laptop for the umpteenth time. I hope all these folks are enjoying the holidays with their friends and family, and they are not worrying about the inevitable return to our nation's conflicts. (X-posted at Vetvoice)

27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto Martyred

This is not a good day, and this is a huge defeat in a chapter of the Long War. Benazir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan, was assassinated by gunshots followed by a suicide bombing at a campaign rally (story is here). Her return to Pakistan was controversial and subjected to a violent suicide attack in Karachi that left 108 killed. Pakistan has become increasingly troubled as the Taliban and other extremists gather in the tribal region of Waziristan and Newsweek called it the most dangerous country on earth in October. With nukes, an unstable government, and a huge pissed-off contingent of anti-Western youth, it's starting to make Iraq look like Plano, TX. My heartfelt sympathies goes out to the good people of Pakistan with the hopes that swift justice will be brought to those responsible for the atrocities.

R.I.P. (1953-2007)

Me vs. Juan Cole on Iraq

Juan Cole is a professor at UofM and Army vet that runs a pretty rigorous blog (Informed Comment) on Iraq. While I don't agree with him since he seems to be too negative about what's happening in Iraq, I do try and read his commentary everyday. He recently published the "Top 10 myths about Iraq" and I thought he was way out to lunch IMHO. Here's my counter-retort to his post (note: in the interest of space I truncated Juan Cole's facts, see his post for the full detail).

10) Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.
JC: In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue.
LT Nixon: The American public has lost interest with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are shifting focus to more mundane issues surrounding the presidential candidates: subliminal crosses, lapel pins, and Soviet-style hand-out programs (er socialized healthcare). This is evidenced by decline in media coverage and decline in blogospohere interest.

9) Myth: There have been steps toward religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007.
JC: The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has for the moment lost the support of the Sunni Arabs in parliament.
LT Nixon: Dr. Cole doesn't take into account the grass-roots reconciliation taking place between Sunni and Shiite tribal sheikhs in the most troubled provinces of Iraq. Like America, the central government is going to be the last one to pick up on emerging trends.

8)Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
JC: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite.
LT Nixon: There is no civil war in Iraq and there hasn't been since the 2003 invasion. Violence in Iraq is best characterized by gangland-style violence and graft, scattered attacks against coalition forces by the insurgency, and a small but lethal number of foreign jihadists who engage in terrorist activity. If you're looking for the Battle of Gettysburg try somewhere else.

7)Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles (a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq.
JC: Iran has not been proved to have sent weapons to any Iraqi guerrillas at all.
LT Nixon: Agreed. However, I haven't seen any other sources that have said otherwise, not sure why this is a top 10 myth. Iranian Quds force had supplied weapons and training to Shiite militia groups, as to whether or not they have stopped remains unclear...

6)The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women.
JC:Iraqi women have suffered significant reversal of status
ability to circulate freely, and economic situation under the Bush administration.
LT Nixon: I'm not an Iraqi woman, so it's hard to say. But the senior officials in the Baath regime used women as sex slaves for their sick hedonistic pleasures. I'd say that's about as bad a violation of women's rights as it gets.

5)Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration.
JC: in the words of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Those legislative benchmarks include approving a hydrocarbon law, approving a debaathification law, completing the work of a constitutional review committee, and holding provincial elections
LT Nixon: Yes, the government of Iraq has not made much progress on the benchmarks. As a matter of fact it's been pretty abysmal. But following the end of Hajj, when the Iraqi Parliament returns to session will hopefully produce some real results. You have to remember that this government started from the ashes essentially, and our own country took years and years to iron out all the creases following our own revolution.

4)Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants.
JC: In interviews with the Western press, Awakening Council tribesmen often speak of attacking the Shiites after they have polished off al-Qaeda.
LT Nixon: The Awakening councils and Concerned Local Citizens are not militias wandering Mesopotamia. They are regulated neighborhood watch groups that provide security for their neighborhoods working in conjunction with coalition and Iraqi security forces.

3)Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth.
JC:The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.
LT Nixon: The Kurdish region of northern Iraq is so stable that there is barely a coalition presence up there. The Turkish incursion involved limited air strikes and ground force deployments against the mutual PKK threat. To say that this has de-stabilized the Kurdish government and the cities of Dahuk and Irbil because of a full-scale Ottoman invasion is silly.

2)Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart.
Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November.
LT Nixon: Sort of Agreed. Iraq is not "calm", but it is certainly calmer than it was. This improved security will provide the opportunity for economic and political progress in 2008. The Iraqi government has asked the coalition to stay through 2008 and has rejected permanent bases. This is a good goal to achieve since we don't want to be in Iraq forever either.

1) Myth:The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."
JC: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar.
LT Nixon: I agree with Dr. Cole on his analysis of Anbar province, since the coalition forces shifted their strategy in 2006 to work more closely and enable the Sunni sheikhs, but that is just one province. The surge strategy enabled coalition forces to move into troubled areas that boosted the confidence of the locals in Baghdad and in the area surrounding Baghdad. This allowed for Iraqis to take a more active role in their security. The change in strategy that was relevant to the "surge" was more important than the extra personnel.

(H/T McClatchy Watch) Shiite tribal leaders at an Assyrian Orthodox church, no civil war here!

26 December 2007

With More Bandwidth Comes More Hijinx

Now that I'm stateside I've been able to make a few updates that I've been meaning too, since I'm mooching off my folks' bandwidth. I added some of those dumbass de-motivational propaganda I made which you can conveniently view on the sidebar. I also re-organized the links to better characterize everything. I found out about this place called twentysomething bloggers that I joined. Man, that place is packed full of hot babes! No joke, I thought it was some kind of spam site, but I did a cursory check and it seems legit. So sign up before the place becomes a total sausage fest. I understand my standards may be in the crapper after 3 years on a sub with a bunch of dudes, but these chicks are hot! I'm waiting to be banned as soon as I say something about instituting a draft or getting in an argument about our generation's priorities, but in the meantime I'm keeping an eye on it.

SGT Grumpy is spreading the Xmas cheer in Iraq, and he keeps a pretty good blog with observations from the streets of Iraq. There's also a new milblog False Motivation that you should check out. Of course Milblogging.com is always a good database. A lot of these guys have to blog in crappy MWR trailers with internet connections that remind you of using a 14.4K modem to BBS, not to mention the occasional rocket, so pay your respects!

25 December 2007

Xmas Morning Roundup

There's some good Xmas videos for the troops floating around the blogosphere if you're into that sort of sentimental business. Blackfive has got a tribute compiled from a variety of blogs here and Blogs of War has one here. Lew Rockwell's griping about a non-military christmas here if you like your Xmas message mixed with anti-OIF politics.

But since I'm not particularly religious, I tend to look for good-natured humor to pass the holiday season. Here's an article about Santa being nailed to a cross in where I used to be stationed, Bremerton, WA, in some kind of bizarre protest against consumerism. A friend sent me the Burger King christmas song, which is good for a chuckle. Wesley Willis (R.I.P.) sings his schizophrenic Xmas cheer. Since, Santa Claus might not have brought more bandwidth to the MWR trailers in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'll leave our guys at the front with a photo of the pets at my parents' house to spread the Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas.

21 December 2007

VAJoe Interview and LT Nixon's Out of Theater

Hey folks. I'm going on R&R for a few weeks so my blogging capabilities might be limited. I'll try to keep up with current events, but for anyone who's traveled through Kuwait (aka Purgatory) you know that committing to anything except sitting around in the dust is difficult.

In the meantime swing by some of the links on the sidebar there, they are all pretty good. I recently did an interview with the kind folks over at VAjoe, and you can read it here.

In the meantime, get drunk like Santa and have a Merry Christmas!

Why Getting it On for Peace is a Stupid Idea

While I admit that there are a lot of good reasons to be against not just the Iraq War, but war in general, this "Global Orgasm for Peace" website is not presenting a very strong argument. Some aging hippie douches out of, where else, Northern California are sponsoring a worldwide event where people all orgasm at the same time on 22 Dec to channel "good vibes" into the earth's atmosphere. This is supposed to bring about peace on earth, and I have no idea why. Sounds like a lot "Age of Aquarius", froofy crap if you ask me. I was thinking the dismantling of Al-Qaeda and radical jihad groups would foster a new world peace, but what do I know. The website is called "Global Orgasm" and it's here (H/T to Dave). Their rationale is justified on their website.

Practice visualizing the planet experiencing the afterglow of your Big Oh and ignoring the Govern-Men as they try to drum up support for their next invasion.

Absolute stupidity. Is this what the anti-war crowd has come up with. I'm in no way trying to diminish people's opinions on matters as complex as Iraq, but if you are against the Iraq war, these 60's throwbacks are not helping your cause.

They then go on this weird eugenics rant about why people shouldn't have kids.

"Every cute baby is another consumer. Let’s make children even more valued by making fewer of them, before the pressures of overpopulation drive our children to kill each other. "

???? How orgasms, war, and fascist "Brave New World"-style population control intertwine into a cohesive thought, I have no clue. They must have some pretty good drugs out where these people are from.

The mental image of old hippies doin' it, just what I wanted for xmas!

20 December 2007

Torture House found in Diyala Province and Why Al-Qaeda must be Exterminated

Diyala Province has certainly seen it's share of terrorist atrocities and violence wrought by Al-Qaeda. This includes suicide bombings, extra-judicial killings by Al-Qaeda courts, and insurgent activity. But the torture house recently discovered by Coalition Forces north of Muqdadiyah takes the cake. CNN has the story here. Liveleak has the video here (H/T to McClatchy Watch for getting the Liveleak Link). This is not for the faint of heart, but sadly this is the reality of Al-Qaeda caliphate. You can see a transcript of an interview with an Al-Qaeda operative, Jawhar Shehada, that aired on Al-Arabiya a few weeks back (H/T IraqiMojo) to get an idea into the demented mindset.

Interviewer: Did you ever participate in any kidnapping operation?
Jawhar: Yes, I once kidnapped someone in the city of Hit. What's the problem? I took him and left the market. An American patrol was passing by, but what's the problem?
Interviewer: Why did you kidnap him?
Jawhar: Because he collaborated with the Americans.
Interviewer: Was he Iraqi?
Jawhar: Yes.
Interviewer: What did you do with him?
Jawhar: We took him for "a walk."
Interviewer: What kind of a walk?
Jawhar: We passed him over to the brothers who conduct the interrogations. My job was just to grab him. The brothers who conduct the interrogations dealt with him.

The 20th century was rife with mass murder and atrocity from industrialized nations: concentration camps in Nazi Germany, gulags in Stalin's Soviet Union, cultural revolution in Mao's China, and many others. With the dawn of the 21st century, it is tragic that this type of brutality still exists. The war in Iraq has been mired in controversy and political stalemate, however one thing that we must realize is that as a civilized nation, we cannot allow this type of activity to fester. It must be wiped out. Maj. Gen. Hertling talks about Al-Qaeda activity in the northern Provinces of Iraq that compromise MND-N (Tameen, Salah ad Din, Ninewah, and Diyala):

"Many of them have transited our province of Diyala", which has seen some of the worst violence in Iraq, he said. "There are still some very bad things happening in that province, but we are continuing to pursue al-Qaida so they don't find a safe haven anywhere."

Since the surge strategy has forced Al-Qaeda terrorists north from Baghdad and the Awakening movement which began last year in Anbar forced Al-Qaeda east, MND-N has born the brunt of the violence. Violence has dropped in MND-N (~40-50%), but not at the same rate as the rest of Iraq. Al-Qaeda has been badly crippled in Iraq, but as evidenced by the torture house, it appears that there's still some fighting left to do. Regardless of your politics or beliefs on the war, I wager that we can all agree that these types of atrocities must be prevented at all costs.

Glimpse into the Sick and Twisted

Levity: The Lighter Side of Contracting in a War Zone

Tired of hearing about contractor criminality in Iraq? What with the 16 September Nisoor Square massacre under investigation and now this KBR rape case, maybe you should consider the other side. A contractor's wife tells the soft side of her hubby.

So here I am. Alone for 4 to six months in a stretch. I usually have daily phone calls, sometimes just a quick "I love you" and sometimes those long sweetheart conversations where you forget to talk and just listen to each other breathe. Email is constant (Did you pay the water bill? What is this $50 check? Please send me new socks.) Packages are sent often and arrive in less than two weeks.
How do I do it? I do it with love.

Uhhh.... I'm not gonna comment on this. I'll leave that to y'all.

19 December 2007

Diplomatic Fiasco with Turkey, PKK, Iraq, and Kurdistan

Stressed-out Condi at press conference in Baghdad (note: I'm glad I'm not Secretary of State LT Nixon)

Here's a little background on this diplomatic quandary. The standoff between Turkey and PKK has been ongoing for decades, but recently flared up when some Turkish soldiers were killed near the Iraqi border in October. The Marxist-terrorist group PKK has taken to hiding in the mountainous Kurdish region of northern Iraq to scadaddle from the might of the Turkish military. Turkey seems to be a pretty nationalistic culture and the citizens were out for blood when the PKK killed some of their own. Iraq, America, and the EU all agree that the PKK is a bunch of terrorist yahoos, but a full-scale Ottoman-like invasion of Kurdistan is not desired since it's the most stable part of Iraq and has enjoyed economic prosperity after Saddam got the boot. Iraq, the US, and Turkey held a series of talks to address this and the US agreed to provide intelligence to help Turkey fight their enemy.

Now, Turkey is conducting airstrikes and even had a small-scale ground incursion to strike the PKK in northern Iraq. But these airstrikes hit Kurdish villages and reportedly a woman was killed. Iraq is pissed that Turkey used their airspace and didn't talk to them about it, but the kicker is that the US supposedly allowed Turkey into Iraqi airspace, and the Turks are using that to justify a green-light for the incursion. The US and Iraq have to walk a fine line, since Turkey is a key NATO ally, but we still are obligated to protect Kurdistan, oh yeah and we hate terrorists too. It should be noted that Kurdish President Barazani was not amused that the US let Turkey into Iraqi airspace, and refused to meet with Rice when she was in town yesterday.

It's times like this when I'm glad I'm some nobody LT who doesn't have to deal with situations like of this magnitude. What would you do if you were in charge of American foreign policy? Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was in town yesterday and she said this at a press conference:

Reporter: the Turkish Army entered the Iraqi territory today. Just when you were in northern Iraq. I wanted to know if, first, did the Turks inform you in advance of this operation and if U.S. helped them with intelligence?

Rice replied: Well, first of all, the United States, Iraq, and Turkey share a common interest in stopping the activities of the P.K.K. which threaten to undo the stability of the north which clearly have resulted in deaths in Turkey. And when we were recently together in Istanbul, we actually had a trilateral discussion about our common interest in dealing with this problem. This is a circumstance in which the United States has constantly counseled that we need an overall, comprehensive approach to this problem. That we should do nothing…that no one should do anything that threatens to destabilize the north. As to the activities, things unfortunately do go on along this border. As to the activity last Sunday, this was a Turkish decision and we have made clear to the Turkish Government that we continue to be concerned about anything that could lead to innocent civilian casualties or to a destabilization of the north.

I've badmouthed the Bush Administration and the neo-con machine many times before, but I think Ms. Rice has the right idea on this complex issue, iMHO. Limited military operations against the PKK by Turkey with prior approval from the Baghdad government is probably the best compromise. Turkey invests a lot in Iraq and the kurdish North, and it would be downright dumb for Iraq to snub their powerful neighbor. However a full-scale Turkish scorched-earth campaign into the mountainous north wouldn't be a very swell idea either since it would result in massive civilian casualties. It's not the best of both worlds, but hey, we need practical solutions to this diplomatic bag of dogsh!t. Well at least she didn't get heckled at the press conference by the Code Pinkos. If I could've hand-picked the heckler, it most definitely would've been the dude who heckled Clinton with the robot outfit and accompanying robot voice.

Extra: You can read Juan Cole's analysis of the Turkish incursion which he postulates that it was an attempt to embarrass Condoleeza Rice and the mission in Iraq (typical Juan Cole). Sounds a little "Building 7", "man on the Grassy Knoll", tinfoil-hat type conspiracy IMHO, but give it a read, since I'm not doubting that he's a smart guy (if you want to hear slams on Juan Cole, check out Iraq Pundit). I think it had more to do with Turkey's long-time hatred of the PKK and public pressure on the Turkish government.

Uh... Did Everybody Forget There was a War in Iraq

I've moaned, groaned, and whined about the mainstream media not covering what was going on in Iraq before, which is why I've turned to the blogosphere to get the scoop. But, alas, the blogs are even starting to forget about the war in Iraq as you can see by this blogpulse graph (I don't even want to graph Afghanistan because it might be too depressing to view the apathy). Do you nice folks out in blog-land really not care about the Iraq war? Let me know. Maybe I should write about Paris Hilton's latest follies, John Edwards' fancy haircuts, and Huckabee's subliminal cross in his Christmas video. I'm a shameless self-promoter and will whore myself out to get blog hits by any means necessary. Perhaps this is why The Onion ran this biting satire entitled "Iraq war no longer interesting enough to make list of year's top stories". Iraq is actually at pretty interesting cross-roads, and 2008 could either be a success for the Iraqi people or a total disaster, depending on what does or doesn't happen. So I urge you to stay apprised of the situation whatever your choice of media is.

18 December 2007

The Decline of Good Music, Metal goes Christian

Et Tu, Alice?

When I was growing up, metal used to be focused on hot babes, whiskey, flying V-guitars, and thinly veiled references to Satan. It was with some disappointment that I saw this interview on Fox News with the legendary Alice Cooper yesterday. They were plugging his new website Alice Cooper's Solid Rock. I went and checked it out and was filled with utter contempt.


What is the story on this? Alice used to rock out with angst-ridden songs like "Eighteen" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy". He starred in the superb John Carpenter 1987 picture "Prince of Darkness" where he played a schizoid homeless man possessed by Satan. What are we teaching our youngsters! This is no slam on Christianity, I assure you. But our teens need to grow up questioning authority and with a healthy disdain for contemporary society. That's the only way things are going to change around here. Listening to metal used to be an act of rebellion in itself, since notable fascist Tipper Gore tried to ban the genre altogether in the '80s. Are we setting our kids up to be little automatons who are going to perpetually tow the party line as our society sinks into oblivion. Damn, I sure hope not.

I saw this Jules Crittenden post on 3 Doors Down (I had never heard of them), but they do a recruiting ad for the National Guard. I suppose in this day and age where the Iraq war is so unpopular and the military derided as an extension of the Bush/Cheney neo-con machine, it's rebellious and cool to support the military. Who knows. I don't get kids these days.

Proof that Alice Cooper used to be cool

Tuesdaze Bloggin' Roundup of Iraq

MSM got you down, not enough news about Iraq. Check out what other non-traditional media has to say in these milblogs and blogs.

Enjoy and stay in the know.

17 December 2007

Zawahiri says "Brits fled Basrah", I ain't buyin it!

Yeah... I'm gonna call BS here

There was a lot of preliminary negative press in anticipation of the turnover of security responsibility to the Iraqis from the Brits dwon south in Basrah. It's clear that many mainstream media outlets have a vested interest in ensuring the British involvement in Iraq was nothing short of fiasco. There was the BBC poll conducted which not so subtlely stated that the Brits should never have been in Basrah in the first place, and there was the piece on women being targeted by Islamic fundamentalists for not covering their heads. This is natural in a democracy, since the press will undoubtedly cast doubt on the ruling administration's foreign policy agenda. Nothing new here. Sure Basrah had a lot of ups and downs, but the handover of security to the Iraqis is a success because it shows the competence of Iraq's security forces. But when that assclown terrorist Al-Qaeda #2, Zawahiri, said the "Brits fled Basrah", that was the last straw!

In a newly released video Osama bin Laden's deputy mocked the "decision of the British to flee" and said it follows the growing strength of the Mujahideen. Zawahiri says Iraq insurgency is strengthening. He also claimed that coalition control in Iraq is deteriorating "despite their desperate attempts to deceive and mislead".

This is typical Al-Qaeda nonsense to utilize the media to get across any message, no matter how grossly inaccurate it is. Since I'm still waiting on the War is Boring piece to get the no-nonsense appraisal of the situation, I talked to a civilian buddy who headed down to Basrah yesterday. You can check out his travel blog here. I asked him about it and he said it was a interesting ceremony with a whole slew of media to watch this historic moment. I asked him if the Brits provided any festive beverages to lighten things up and he said no, unfortunately. I then asked him if it resembled the Bataan death march that Zawahiri referred to, and he said no. So as always, I do my best to take into account all different sides and angles to discern the truth of events like these. I even looked at Iranian media and they didn't mention anything about a retreat. People sure say some strange things when they're in the throes of defeat, especially when they're trying the failed notion of setting up a caliphate through the greater part of the Middle East. Could this latest outburst be Zawahiri's death rattle, I hope so.

Brian schmoozin with the media in Basrah (no retreat here)

16 December 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly News of Iraq (week of 16 Dec)

The weekly roundup of what's important in Iraq in my humble opinion. Coverage of the Iraq war in American media has freakin' tanked, so thanks for keeping yourself informed if you're reading this. If you're from a coalition country, you're paying for it, so here's what's happening.

The Good: Despite a lot of naysaying in British media about Basrah looking like the set of Road Warrior once the British turned over security, the British turned over security responsibility of the southern province to the Iraqis in an upbeat ceremony today. This marks the 9th province that the Iraqi Security Forces are responsible for with only 9 left to go (see MNF-I press release as well). The British were always ahead of the power curve in matters of counter-insurgency, possibly due to their harsh experiences in Northern Ireland. So kudos to the British, as this marks a success in highlighting their stabilization efforts in Iraq, cheerio! Us yanks could learn a lesson from the British and understand a good model for properly transitioning security in some of the larger, more populated provinces. I certainly don't think we should be here forever, and neither does National Security Advisor Rubaie who said "No permanent US Bases" this week. Iraq's oil exports are up above pre-war levels, which probably explains how they paid off their IMF loan early. Say whatever Al Gore soundbite you want about the perils of oil, but the oil exports here means more money for reconstruction and services for the Iraqis.

The Bad: More nasty terrorist attacks this week including one that targeted sheikhs who promoted awakening and reconciliation in the troubled Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. There was also a car bomb attack in the quiet Shiite province of Maysan. Predictably, the media focused on these spectacular attacks giving terrorists more incentive to repeat their tactics, sigh. It's still unclear who was responsible for these vicious attacks: Al-Qaeda in Iraq, ex-baathists, or maybe even Iranian-backed Special Groups? Well whoever it was, the Badr Corps holds a lot of sway in the southern provinces and is probably going to lay the smack down. I definitely wouldn't want to be a foreign terrorist down in the Shiite heartleand after this atrocity.

The Ugly: Looks like it's Back to School for Moqtada al-Sadr! I'm not expecting the hilarious romp that the late, great Rodney Dangerfield had, but rather as a way for Mooqdie to gain more legitimacy for the Sadrists and Mahdi Army. They've been lying low and the Iraqi citizens, government, and coalition commanders are very appreciative (that includes LT Nixon, mortars suck!); however, it looks like they might be biding their time and re-organizing. Things change in a heartbeat in this country and it would be wise to pay attention to the activities of the Mahdi Army lest we all get caught with our pants around our ankles.

Iraqis take charge of security in Basrah

Come Visit the Green Zone, Take it Easy on the "Hero" speak

Come Visit the Green Zone: Where Concertina Wire and Creepy Saddam Architecture Thrives

There was an interesting article from AFP about the notorious walled-off portion of Baghdad, the Green Zone (or the IZ). It was one of those "human interest" pieces that talks about the ups and downs of jogging around the emerald city. Being the total loser that I am, I don't exercise because it would cut into my smoking and blogging time. But, I do like wandering around once in awhile if I'm not too busy, and the article discusses some of the more interesting parts of the IZ.

But the excesses of the executed despot are hard to avoid -- the bullet-holed helmets of Iranian soldiers killed in the war embedded in the tarmac, the huge reviewing stand from which Saddam would glare down at his troops on the parade ground, the stadium-sized Tomb of the Unknown Martyr.

The Iranian helmets are scattered around the hands of the crossed-swords monument, and are befitting Saddam's despotism. They were going to take down the hands that hold up the swords (since it was Uncle Saddam hands), but the Iraqi government decided not to. I guess Saddam's daily parade would involve marching over the Iranian helmets that are embedded in the tarmac. That Saddam guy, he was a real class act.

The AFP article also discusses the Saddam heads that are now sitting in a tucked away parking lot, but they used to grace the roof of the Republican Palace which you can see in this wiki.

The route passes a "junkyard" which contains two oversized giant busts of Saddam lying face down in the dirt plus a statue of him cast in bronze made to look like an Assyrian king, sword in hand and a fierce look on his face.

Also, I liked how the article made light of the horrendous ratio of guys to girls:

The two women, who asked that their names not be published, said that the main problem with running in the Green Zone was that they had to put up with men harassing them -- some even stopping their cars to proposition them."We always run with a guy," said one woman, a press affairs officer wearing shorts and a Lycra running vest. "Men stop us all the time--it's very annoying."

Yes indeed, the IZ is a total sausage fest and reminds me of going to parties at the engineering frat in college. Most women get meaner and more confrontational as the weeks progress, since they are constantly approached by meatheads in cargo pants with 6 figure incomes. As a military guy, I cannot compete with this economic largesse, so I pretty much just mind my business when I'm around ladies.

One thing that I found a little absurd was one of the runners in the Green Zone talking about "being a hero":

"Very few embassy staff run out in the IZ," said David from behind dark glasses, and perspiring while jogging up onto the July 14 bridge for a view of the Tigris and some relief from the never-ending blast walls. "When I tell them I have been running in the IZ they will think I am a hero."

Alright, David, let's not get carried away here (he must be a State Dept guy). Just because you courageously hit the deck when the occasional mortar gets lobbed in doesn't qualify you as a "hero". Let's reserve the hero comments for guys and gals out in the field engaging in combat and unknown danger, which you'll find aplenty here on Thunder Run. The first week I was here, a truck bomb went off across the Tigris river and I damn near crapped my DCUs, did that make me a "hero". I don't think so.

15 December 2007

Why I Listen to other Vets on Iraq and a Letter to Andrew Sullivan

The Iraq war has been one of immense complexity. So much so, that it would be pretty difficult for one guy to foment an opinion without listening to the opinions of others. That's why I listen to other vets on VetsForFreedom and VetVoice. VetsForFreedom tends to highlight what is currently going well with our strategy (improved security, local reconciliation), while VetVoice is good at highlighting what's not going so well (uneasy Sadr ceasefire, corrupt and incompetent central government). Both are key to take into account to envision future policy in Iraq and elect and support the right people for '08.

What I haven't been impressed with is the "Anti-War" Ivy-League intelligentsia who are still yakkin about no WMD found, Cheney's big Oil conspiracy, and Neocon plans for world domination. Booorrrrrriiiinnnngg. We need to look more critically at current events and figure out a proper exit strategy that will leave Iraq a stable place and not split-up between an Al-Qaeda Caliphate and Iran part II, while balancing the resources of our military. As the surge winds down, I challenge left-leaning bloggers and pundits to come up with a valid exit strategy. The USA is not a military junta, and our policy in the military is to follow the orders of the civilians democratically elected over us. I wrote a letter to Mr. Andrew Sullivan to see if he's got any insight.

My Letter to Andrew Sullivan:

Mr. Sullivan,

I respect your opposition to the war in Iraq and you seem like a really smart guy. But, I was a little disappointed when I saw this post in that you're still bringing up the tired old "anti-war" rhetoric of "Where's the WMDs?", "Saddam didn't fly the planes on 9/11", and "No blood for oil.". Okay, we get it. But those issues are outdated and have little to do with our current situation in Iraq. I've been following HuffPost, Glen Greenwald at Salon.com, Juan Cole, and yourself since I got to Iraq 6 months ago, and I've yet to hear a good plan of how to exit Iraq and leave it in some condition of stability. All this "I told you so" doesn't change the fact that we are where we are. But where do we go from here? You're a smart and influential guy, please enlighten me. I'm very curious about what our policy should be in Iraq for 2008 and I thought you might have some answers. Thank you for your time, sir.

LT Nixon

(note: I'm NOT speaking for the United States Military and this is for my own personal education and blogging usage. I am in no way "intimidating" you, and please don't turn me into a COL Boylan like Salon.com did a few months back. I took an oath to uphold freedom of speech and will defend it to the death. All you're gonna find if you follow the IP trail is some disheveled Navy LT hanging out in a trailer. Again, thanks For Your time! )

If he says it's because "He supports the Troops" and we need an immediate withdrawal, that's swell, but I think it's not going to make a good exit strategy. Hopefully he doesn't think I'm a dumbass because I'm in the service.

14 December 2007

Al-Jazeera English Rules, BBC/CNN Drools

Al-Jazeera English covers the important stuff

Al-Jazeera (the arabic one) has gotten a rap for being a mouthpiece for insurgent and anti-American propaganda (see Michelle Malkin post here), however Al-Jazeera English actually has some in-depth reporting on important international events. Cannoneer#4 over at Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group (a respectable blog IMHO) says so himself here. Yesterday, hundreds of tribal sheikhs (both Sunni and Shiite) attended a reconciliation meeting in Baghdad which was hosted by President Talabani. General Petraues also attended highlighting that this type of "grass-roots" reconciliation is key to solving Iraq's sectarian woes. Al-Jazeera English covered the event in Baghdad, presumably since events in Iraq may have some international significance (that goes without say). But I checked the other "respected" international news stations (CNN and BBC), and both of them had a bunch of lameass coverage on the Baseball Steroids scandal (see here and here). What the hell does a bunch overpaid, over-appreciated meatheads have to do with international news! So they used steroids, no shit, look at the size of those brain-dead neanderthals. I'm sick of these clowns sucking up air time and taking away from important events. The frustration that average GIs have over these "sports heroes" can be seen in this milblog (Iraq: The Purgatorium) post here. Sadly, this reporting on inane events is another way to pacify the world's population through the "bread and circuses" and distract us from what's really going on. Thanks Al-Jazeera English for covering something that is meaningful with journalistic credibility, BBC / CNN, you suck!

BBC covers the crap (zzzzzzzzzz...)

The Hypocrisy of our Senior Government Officials

I work in an office mixed with military and civilian contractors out here in Baghdad. A few months back, one of my civilian co-workers got a shipment of travel coffee mugs from their headquarters in DC. They are worth about $5 each and are nothing fancy. I asked for one, but the head of our cell, a Colonel, would not take one since it was a "conflict of interest" and could show favoritism and bias. Obviously, this is because contracts are awarded through a heavily regulated bidding process. Before you start calling LT Nixon a corporate shill, the rules are up to $50/year (I think...) in gifts a year to the military. The Colonel in question did the right thing as a matter of principle, because a lot of sleazy backdoor deals could result when companies vying for defense contracts start buying off those involved in the selection process. It's pretty intuitive logic for all public servants to understand.

But then I read this article in The London Times on Bush administration officials acting like Xerxes of Persia getting lavished with gifts:

The most extravagant gifts were inevitably from the Saudi Arabians. King Abdullah gave Mr Cheney the most expensive present on the list: a $55,000 18-carat white gold, ruby and diamond jewelery set. The King also gave Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, a white gold-and-diamond necklace, earrings, bracelet and ring, worth $20,000. Mr Bush's most expensive gift was an $11,000 Cartier Santos-Dumont watch - inside an $18,000 white gold case - from the Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra. He was toppled by the military in September 2006 and has since taken over Manchester City Football Club.

What the hell! Dick Cheney, also a public servant, gets all this crap from a country that produced the 9/11 hijackers, the majority of foreign fighters in Iraq, and a dismal human rights record. How is that not a "conflict of interest"? Just pointing out the hypocrisy. Maybe the Bush Administration, that got all these gifts from other nations, can hock them on the black market to fund our military for next year. Last I heard, they were still having some issues in DC on how to appropriate funds.

The future of the US Army if Washington can't figure out funding.

13 December 2007

Sahwa Councils, The Awakening, and Concerned Local Citizens in Iraq

McClatchy Watch has noted that there's not enough talk in American media about the Sunni population (and some Shiites) arising from their persecution to take on the Al-Qaeda caliphate. Long War Journal has published a comprehensive break-down of where they are located and how they operate, but there hasn't been any detailed analysis of this group in MSM (I guess they were too busy debating the ethical dilemma of waterboarding a bunch of terrorists). Well, there has actually been quite a lot of talk about them in Middle Eastern media as well as amongst the military. It has been proven that they are effective, and their courage has been noted. I know you might not believe the American guy who's been here for a short 6 months, so let's take a look at this Gulf News editorial:

War fatigue, as I was told by an American friend, has hit the publishing world in the West, so can we imagine what is happening to the Iraqi individual? People in Iraq want peace, stability, jobs, paved streets, no concrete walls, no human corpses floating on the River Tigris, electricity, clean water and to never ever have another Saddam Hussein in the presidential palace. Around 77,000 Sunnis, many from some tribes who considered volunteering for the Iraqi National Guard Forces and the Police Force as high treason, have enrolled to volunteer in these very forces. Now they protect major positions in their areas, not against Americans, but against Al Qaida and other terrorists... In all reality, I am not trying to paint a rosy picture, but I do know that Al Qaida and other terrorists are not treated as friends anymore in Iraq, where tribal heads, chiefs and the ordinary man on the street are unanimous when they say they had enough of them and enough is enough.

When these armed groups began their rise to power, the Shiite-dominated government was a little concerned that they would turn into thuggish militias (much like Sadr's people). However, there has been a huge change of heart in the central government when they announced yesterday that they would appropriate $150B Dinar to fund these neighborhood watch groups. Ironically, I don't have a link for you in Western media, even though Phil Reeker (US Embassy Spokesman) announced it at a press conference yesterday. Could this be one of the key components of success to a stable Iraq? Should assassinated Sheikh Abu Risha be posthumously considered for the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to Al-Qaeda in Anbar province, which facilitated the spread of the movement to other areas of Iraq? LT Nixon thinks so! It's a lot damn better than giving it to that unintelligent, unscientific boob Al Gore. Give it a think.

R.I.P.: Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha
(killed by Al-Qaeda in September 2007)

Ron Paul won't run with Libertarian Party, Campaign gets Even Weirder

Eric Dondero over at Libertarian-Republican has the scoop that Ron Paul has said no to running on a third-party ticket. Perhaps it is for the best, since Ron Paul's supporters are producing weirder and creepier Paul Propaganda by the day (thanks Hot Air). The blimp now goes on a mythical adventure through outer space and takes on the Masonic Eye in the Pyramid ala Star Wars. I think it's a testament to what some undersexed poindexter living in his mother's basement can accomplish if he puts his mind to it. Eric Dondero also accuses Lew Rockwell of Machiavellian opposition to the LP, and taking a look at Lew Rockwell's website it's very strange how much the guy loves Dr. Paul. "Ron Paul is the doctor with the cure" the entry says. That still doesn't solve what the Doctor has in store for our woes against terrorism (IMHO the biggest problem we currently face). After seeing this hilarious Jesus' General spoof on the GOP debates, my only hope for 2008 is going to have to be: Zombie Thomas Jefferson.

Vote for Zombie-Thomas J. in '08!

Guess Who Else Has a Blog...Ahmadinejad!

That's right. I was kind of dumbstruck when I got wind of President Ahmadinejad's blog. There's an article about it in the NY Times (thanks Drudge) discussing the lighter side of the madman of Iran. The blog is not just in Farsi, presumably since the Iranian authorities are conducting an outreach campaign. Mr. Ahmadinejad discusses the finer points of ruling a theocracy:

I have been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of bureaucracy ‎for some time now. The main question is how much does the contemporary system ‎of bureaucracy help to solve people's problems?

It didn't take me much looking around to find where Ahmadinejad starts getting all distressed over the source of every problem in the Persian regime and elsewhere in the Middle East for the past 3,000 years: The US-Zionist Usurpers!

Of course, we too hate war – as you do. Certainly, we are not panic-stricken of a defensive war, but we believe there are many diplomatic and peaceful ways and approaches to intercept paranoidal bullying and expansion policies and practices of U.S., Zionist usurper regime – the occupier of Palestine – and Britain. I assure you that Iran would not initiate any war! Unfortunately today, the entire world is somehow afoul of some hostile powers and politicians that are non-edified, power greed and warmongers.

There's also some pretty hilarious comments that Mr. Ahmadinejad leaves on the right side for all to see. Many are from Americans:

God bless Iran, Bush and Isreal are unfair to Iran. I am sorry for the way you were treated at our university. All americans are not the same as Bush. Peace god bless Iran and the rest of the world! -Colby Brown

Thanks Benedict Arnold, why don't you go live there!

I would love to leave the comment "Mr. Ahmadinejad, Please stop sending EFPs, mortars, and Quds Force to Iraq, they make for many unpleasantries. Your friend, LT Nixon" But I'm not with the State Department, and my internet traffic is probably monitored.

12 December 2007

Is our Drug War Fueling Narcoterrorism in Afghanistan?

The Taliban prevents poppies from being eradicated due to their high price on the black market (courtesy of War is Boring). See how opium allowed Taliban back into Musa Qala on the Long War Journal.

The argument against the drug war was gaining steam pre-9/11, but the debate kind of got put on the backburner for obvious reasons due to the nation having higher priorities post-9/11. However, now I think it is more important than ever to frankly discuss how our long-running "War against Drugs" is running contrary to our objectives in the War on Terror. One of the key components of counter-insurgency is to eliminate the source of funding for the enemy. In Iraq, this involves targeting and disrupting extremist financial cells and discouraging foreign infiltration (in Iraq's case this would be from Syria and Iran). Another key component of counter-insurgency is to stimulate small local businesses to keep people well-employed and discouraged from joining the insurgency in troublesome areas. Those principles are being applied in Iraq, but I saw this piece on CNN's "This Week at War" last month and I became a little concerned regarding Afghanistan.

Well, what General Grange is talking about here is classic counter-insurgency. There are so many different opinions in Afghanistan right now how to deal with the drug issue. The United States is pushing the idea of spraying crops which is, according to many people, absolutely counter-intuitive to winning hearts and minds, which is essentially counterinsurgency. What General Grange is proposing is an idea that's been proposed by some other groups, essentially you legalize the poppy growth in certain villages, certain areas. The communities there self-police the amount of poppy cultivation that they've been licensed to grow and you work with them, rather than work against these farmers by destroying their crops. So in essence, this is one solution, but -- and it works, if you will, in a counter-insurgency environment which is what the battle in Afghanistan and the border of Pakistan would be all about. But there are so many different ideas. The British want to help the farmers. The UN wants NATO to take a bigger role. There just aren't enough NATO troops to do the job they're doing at the moment, never mind get in and police poppy crops. So the international community has a whole plethora of ideas and after six years, still can't agree and the poppy production this year was gone up about another 20 percent, 8,200 tons of opium produced this year.

It seems that our endless quest to rid the world of narcotics has proven to be a double-whammy in A-stan. By making drugs illegal, we have driven up the cost (just like prohibition!) of drugs making it a lucrative trade for terrorists to fund their operations. Likewise, by destroying the crops of rural Afghanis, we aren't helping out on the "Hearts and Minds" front, and may be giving them reason to sympathize with the Taliban fascists. While the drug war has a plethora of unintended consequences in our own country (see this website for details), it seems to be having more unintended consequences in our efforts in Afghanistan as well.

By legalizing drugs, we could knock out the blackmarket that fuels narcoterrorism and assist in empowering Afghans who harvest the poppy crop. I know I'm having "armchair weenie syndrome", since I've never been near Afghanistan, so someone weigh in on this proposal. I understand it's radical, but these are drastic times, damnit.

Destruction of our inner city: Another problem with the War on Drugs

Why I Badmouth Chickenhawks and Congrats to PVT Albarran

I've been getting some flak from some conservative bloggers over poking fun at "chickenhawks". It's understandable, since childish name-calling can be a form of limiting free speech in the blogosphere. I asked one of the smarter dudes in the office and he said the term has been around since the Spanish-American war defined as "those who support foolhardily going into war, but never taking up arms themself". Most of my rants are aligned with conservative-libertarian indoctrination, and I'm in no position to alienate anyone, so allow me to explain myself.

Case 1: Remember back in the day, when Rosie O' Donnell wanted to outlaw gun ownership, but had a bunch of private armed bodyguards. Wouldn't it follow that she was clearly guilty of hypocrisy.

Case 2: Mr. environmental peace prize, friend of the planet, Al Gore who lives in some mansion sucking up the earth's resources. Doesn't that tick you off as you ride the bus to work like a schmuck?

Case 3: All the celebrity blog babble on Huffington Post (note: HuffPost does have SOME good stuff) that tells Americans how to live their life, despite their own wallowing in materialism and hedonistic excess.

Case 4: Jonah Goldberg (H/T to Operation Yellow Elephant!), who is holding a symposium called "Give War a Chance" at a college in Massachusetts, talking all about military strategy despite never having served in the military himself. His flagrant douchiness was exposed when he asked for "more security" since the campus Republicans got some nasty emails from "anti-war leftists". Am I incorrect in my logic?

Times are getting tougher, there's no end in sight yet for both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our military is getting stretched horribly thin. That's why I was a little disappointed to see this Jesus' General video showing the extended Bush family (all of military age) not contributing constructively to a crisis facing America. As a nation, we need to walk the walk and get with the program. PVT Albarran, whose husband was WIA in Iraq, recently completed Basic, why can't some of these other people join up?

And Now a Snippet of Good News from Samarra

Saw this small article from AFP on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra and who's providing the security for the reconstruction.

Iraq's premier has formed a council of Sunni tribesmen from the town of Samarra to provide security so that a damaged Shiite shrine there can be rebuilt, the government spokesman said Tuesday.

Ali al-Dabbagh said the group, formed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on the lines of Awakening groups that have sprung up in other Sunni regions, would be "responsible for maintaining security in Samarra, which always faces terrorist threats.

"This coucil could provide the suitable atmosphere to start rebuilding the shrine of Al-Askari," Dabbagh said in a statement.

Very interesting. It's good news because 1) It's a Shiite shrine being guarded by Sunni concerned citizen groups, 2) The al-Askari shrine is very symbolic since its bombing by al-Qaeda in Feb 2006 launched Iraq into sectarian violence which has only recently been tempered, and 3) This shows the Shiite-dominated central government is coming around on the idea of empowered Sunnis (aka reconciliation). I'm not saying the war is over, but it's better than the standard news of violence and strife coming out of northern Iraq which even I am guilty of discussing.

11 December 2007

Why "Christmas in Fallujah" is Miserably Inaccurate

Cass Dillon: With his hipster clothing, long hair, and lack of comprehension of Iraq, he makes an excellent spokesman for the troops!

Recently, Billy Joel teamed up with hipster Cass Dillon to release a song "Christmas in Fallujah". The Boston Hearld wrote a blurb about it, and you can see the Youtube video here. While I think their heart is in the right place since the proceeds from the song are going to "Homes for our Troops", I can't help but criticize the ridiculous lyrics of the song.

It’s Evening In the Desert, I’m Tired and I’m cold, But I’m just a solder, I do what I am told

We Came with the Crusaders,
to save the holy land, It’s Christmas In Fallujah, and no one gives a damn

And I just got your letter, And this is what I read you said, I’m fading from your memory, so I’m just as good as dead

We are the armies of the empire,
We are the legionnaires of Rome, It’s Christmas In Fallujah, and we ain’t never coming home

We came to bring these people freedom, we came to fight the infidel, there is no justice in the desert, Because there is no god in hell

They say osama’s in the mountains,
deep in a cave near Pakistan, But there’s a sea of blood in Baghdad, A sea of oil in the sand

Between the Tigris and Euphrates,
another day comes to an end, it’s Christmas In Fallujah, Peace on earth goodwill to men

it’s Christmas In Fallujah,
hallelujah hallelujah(hoorah) (The self-righteous yodeling goes on for some time after this...)

Okay, where to begin. First off, if the song was supposed to be about somewhere violent and grief-stricken, I would recommend finding a city in Iraq that has not seen a decline in violence for a consecutive 11 months. Don't take my word for it, read Michael Totten's first-hand account of the city. Second off, I'm not sure where this "crusaders" and "legionnaires of Rome" business is coming from. The US military personnel in Anbar province wear uniforms that clearly state they are members of the United States Armed Forces. I have yet to see someone with the big Knights of Templar cross emblazoned on their IBA. Third, the Youtube synopsis commends the song with "Hats off to these two for being brave enough to use their talent in a positive way!" Ahem, don't you think you should be giving credit to the brave men and women who are actually in Fallujah? As much respect as I have for the piano man Billy Joel, I would not categorize him as "brave" amongst the context of people who got shot at on a daily basis from 2004-2006. Fourth, why does this song have to be so politically biased? Can't celebrities with all their "good will" just do something nice for people without promoting their ill-informed agenda. Fifth, the song is really god-awful, I'll take "Captain Jack" any day of the week, but not this drivel.

Another wannabe Trotskyite that "Supports the Troops"

Aww, gee whiz guys, does this mean we can't be friends?

Big H/T to 32nd Sig Bn over at VetVoice for bringing this to the attention of the vet/military community. There's this website called Political Fleshfeast that is sort of a no-holds barred, DailyKos-style forum on meth. It's actually pretty interesting since you get to see people's true opinions without any sort of customary blog manners or political correctness. I'm not here to talk about the website (LT Nixon's wholeheartedly supports free speech), but I'm here to speak ill of one poster, "Fairleft". Fairleft doesn't know a lot about us in the military, but likes to make some pretty ridiculous suggestions on what policy towards us should be in contemporary society. One diary entry entitled "Fuck Military Families and their Interests", rationalizes that we should say "Fuck the Military" because us military folks are actively part of a corporate imperialist enterprise to destroy the world. I'm guessing they read that from Noam Chomsky somewhere, and they're now an expert on all matters pertaining to the VA. Fairleft gives justification for the diary entry:

Joining and/or staying the US military is not the right thing right now, and even to a moron hasn't been for 3 or 4 years. Those who choose to stay in, often for money (they are not thrown on a trash heap when they exit, they're actually a helluva lot better off than many who don't join up), are doing the wrong thing. And they even know that consciously or at least on some level. Think about what they're doing for a living over in Iraq or Afghanistan. The reality of what you're doing, occupying with overwhelming deathpower peoples and nations against their will, kind of hits them right in the face.

Uh... I guess I'm a "corporate stormtrooper" occupying with "overwhelming deathpower". I'm guessing this has something to do with all the space-age "deathrays" and "lasers" we carry around on a regular basis in Iraq. Fairleft also has another post about an operation in Shiite militia stronghold, Sadr City, that discusses how the US "massacred" civilians. If civilians are charecterized as guys with AK-47s shooting at Apache helicopters during the middle of the night, I guess you're right Fairleft, touche! It's funny how Fairleft buys so quickly into the Shiite militia propaganda machine. I hope there is a diary on all the Sunnis that got massacred at the Ministry of Health by Shiite militias and turned up on the streets of Baghdad being "just a big accident".

Fairleft goes on to eloquently explain why the US slaughters civilians in our occupation.

That's a big part of the problem: the massive numbers of innocent civilian deaths is a result of exactly that gruesomely selfish feeling. What you're saying is that that feeling is shared and acted out by nearly all the occupying troops. So they're all criminals, and on some level -- seeing the bodies of the dead civilians they've killed to 'protect' their illegally occupying asses -- they know it.

Since Fairleft clearly has the psychological profile defined of every active-duty member in the United States Armed Forces, allow me to present my own analysis on his/her profile. Fairleft seems to be another rich kid, who came from the upper-middle class suburbs, listened to their draft-dodging college professors freshmen year, and suddenly was smarter than everyone else around. They read a couple "enlightening" books by Noam Chomsky and slapped a few "No blood for Oil!" buttons on the backpack that was purchased by their parents (which was probably made by a Capitali$t oppre$$or!) Now they continue to spew their venom on those that are constitutionally and morally obliged to protect them. Here's an idea, Fairleft, why don't you try thinking rationally for once instead of mindlessly attacking the people who carry out foreign policy but do not make it (i.e. the military). These types of people all grow out of this phase and get cushy jobs and go back to the suburbs. Of course they probably put "energy-efficient" lightbulbs in their monstrous homes to alleviate guilt surrounding ownership of their McMansion. I honestly don't think it's a big problem and this thinking is most likely the result of the stupidity of adolescence. But anyone who thinks like this, feel free to drop me a line so I can help you with your "education" that your capitalist pig parents spent so much imperialist money on.

LT Nixon's Tuesdaze Bloggin Roundup of Iraq (week of 11 Dec)

Sick of MSM spouting lies, get the real scoop on Iraq from these milblogs/blogs:

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