Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Paging Japan, We Need to Borrow King Kong to Fight the Giant Spiders in Iraq
Via the Command Post comes this glimpse into the goings on in Fallujah from the other side. MEMRITV offers a transcript and a downloadable audio file of an interview with an Iraqi Sheik in Fallujah. What is his version of what's going on? Read on.
Iraqi Sheik Al-Sumide'i Tells of the Divine Spiders Sent by Allah to Assist the Muslims in the Battle of Falluja
The following are excerpts from an interview with Iraqi Sheik Mahdi Saleh Al-Sumide'i, who participated in the battle of Falluja:
Sheik Sumide'i: They [the Americans] attacked Falluja and tried to cause great damage to its residents. They destroyed mosques and homes, killed women, children, and youths, and spread corruption in Falluja. Nevertheless, we believe that Allah protects the believers, and indeed, Allah stood beside Falluja, and I'd like to mention some miracles Allah performed in Falluja. It is possible that the media does not know about them.
The first miracle that occurred in Falluja took the form of spiders that appeared in the city - each spider larger than this chair, or about the size of this chair. The American soldiers left, holding the legs of this spider, and I too, in one of the Friday sermons, held up a spider, with all its magnitude, in front of the satellite channels and in front of the world. This spider also had thin black hair. If this hair touches the human body, within a short period of time the body becomes black or blue, and then there is an explosion in the blood cells in the human body - and the person dies.
This is one of the miracles performed in support of Falluja, and the Jihad that took place in Falluja. Despite the damage done to the American force...
The people saw it, but the TV stations did not air it?
Sheik Mahdi Saleh Al-Sumide'I:
The people saw it and the TV stations indeed aired it. I held the spider, and there were between 13 to 15 TV stations, including Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera, Al-Majd, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi and other stations, and they saw it with their own eyes.
According to your personal knowledge, are the casualties in Iraq of the American forces and their allies much greater than what the US admits?
Sheik Mahdi Saleh Al-Sumide'I:
By Allah, I would like to say something. I swear in the name of Allah on this issue. If the American mothers, sisters, and wives - and this is a message directed at the American people - if they knew what was happening to their children in Iraq, no woman could sleep in her bed at night, and you would see women and children in the streets of America, down on their knees, throwing dirt on their heads because of what is happening to the American forces in Iraq.
Today, if a hundred Americans are killed, they say there was one casualty, and if dozens of tanks were blown up, they say one was blown up. No one will notice the losses caused to the American forces until they return to their bases - if they return, and in my opinion they will not return - but if they return, the world will see and the American people will see the number of losses.
Sheik, what do the Americans do with all these casualties? Some say that there are special mass graves for the mercenary forces the Americans brought to Iraq and no one is allowed to photograph them. A somebody has said, on this program, that they discovered a mass grave in the Iraqi desert and he took an Arab cameraman there, and he was told that if he films this mass grave, the Americans will kill him.
Sheik Mahdi Saleh Al-Sumide'I:
This is the truth. We too followed this issue. A mass grave was created in a desert area near the Saudi boarder for the American soldiers killed. There is also a lake near Al-Sa'diya. The Americans place the casualties inside white or black bags, seal them and toss them from a plane into the lake.
Wow, shades of comical Ali denying that the Americans are in the Baghdad airport and are, in all actuality killing themselves by the hundreds.
UPDATE Perhaps I was wrong to mock the Sheik, it seems that he was telling the truth!
Quick Convention Thoughts
Zainab Al-Suwaij was the first speaker I saw. An Iraqi woman who is now the executive director of the American Islamic Conference. She really spoke from the heart, rather than about politics, which I appreciated. You could see the old hurt as well as the new joy in her eyes as she talked about living under the Hussein regime and fresh hope Iraq's future. She also (accurately) noted that Iraq has been a country of war for three decades, not just since Bush invaded. She spoke of friendship and the noble sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces of the United States as well as the Iraqi's that have died trying to bring peace to the country. Michael Moore was in the audience, I would have loved to see her march down and look him in the eye. Better yet, make him look her in the eye and tell her that Iraqis were just a happy people flying kites and it would be better if the Hussein Regime was still in power.
John McCain made two excellent points that deserve emphasis. He referred to the Democrats as friends of his who say we need allies and that military power is not the only way to fight the war, etc. He agreed and noted that though they have some disagreement he does not doubt their sincerity so they 'ought not doubt ours.' He also mentions that our allies have always been able to count on us in times of need, we should be able to count on them.
Giuliani, far and away the best speech, articulated the wider strategic goal for the war, building democratic and free societies in the Middle East. He really talked up George Bush's leadership in times of great crisis and told some endearing stories of his (Bush's) visit to NYC in the days following 9/11. He was also careful to point out that Democrats aren't always wrong and Republicans aren't always right. But there are times for their ideas and times for Republicans' ideas. Now is a time for the Republicans' ideas. He also noted Kerry's service in Vietnam and said it was honorable. This drew cheers from the audience.
Overall one of the biggest themes was that Bush moved our position in the war on terror from defense on September 11, to offense just a few months later. I could not agree more. The front of the terror war is now in Iraq, rather than in our city streets. Iraq did not distract from the terror war, but rather the Iraq war distracted the terrorists focus and resources away from our citizens on U.S. soil to attacking professionally trained, armed Marines in Iraq. The rats are forced out of their caves where our Marines can cut them down.
Both McCain and Giuliani made it a point to refer to Islam as a great religion that has been hijacked by a minority of extremists. Ahhh the tolerance of civilization.
It also seemed to be a point of emphasis to show respect for the Democrats ideas, I was a pleasantly surprised that Giuliani's praising of John Kerry's Vietnam record drew cheers from the audience. Did President Bush (or any Republican) receive any similar praise at the Democratic National Convention? Were any of the protesters at the DNC doing such silly things as blocking traffic or shooting water at the delegates or screaming for the Democrats to go home?
The moderates of the Republican party were given center stage and showed themselves as uniters, it would be in their interest to keep it that way. One party clearly outclassed the other last night.
UPDATE Here is the Giuliani quote in full:
Neither party has a monopoly on virtue; we don't have all the right ideas, they don't have all the wrong ideas, but I do believe there are times in history when our ideas are more necessary, and more important, and critical. And this is one of those times - when we are facing war and danger.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Politics and Predictions
If I hear about one more politician acting like a politician....
I am going to continue my dislike for politics. At least the partisan superficial kind. I like to talk about ideas big and small, I like to discuss policy, but I hate the politics of politics.
Personally I could care less about what George Bush or John Kerry did in Vietnam, I am infinitely more concerned with what their respective plans might be for the current war. (are you listening boomers?) So why are we still talking about Vietnam? Because John Kerry has inexplicably decided that the centerpiece of his campaign is going to be his four month tour in Vietnam rather than his 20 years in the Senate. If you are going to base your campaign on your Vietnam record, then you better be prepared to have that record scrutinized. If you are going to come back from Vietnam and smear the veterans you served with as a baby killing war criminals while claiming valor and heroic status for yourself it should not come as a surprise when the smear-ees hit back. Politics is a contact sport as anyone with 20 years in the Senate ought to know and this year it looks like it's going to be even worse. John Kerry and President Bush can thank that ridiculous violation of free speech known as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform that they both supported. Now they are reaping the whirlwind. Boo-hoo.
That said, the Kerry campaign seems not ready for primetime. It seems to me it was a bad mistake for Kerry to ask Bush to put a stop to the Swift Boat Veterans group. First of all, if Bush did put a stop to it, wouldn't that be tacit proof of "coordination" between the two? A clear violation of McCain-Feingold to be sure. So the Bush camp avoided the trap waited until enough attention was on the swift boat vets, then denounced the ads and said he believes that Senator Kerry served honorably and should be proud of his service. All this allows Bush to paint himself as above the fray and Kerry still must deal with the Swift Boat Vets who are now getting even more attention. I must be confused as to who the dumb one of the two is supposed to be.
In the coming months Bush can now fairly (I mean fair in the context of politics - admittedly a loose definition) ask that Kerry denounce the likes of Michael Moore, who's film accused Bush of being complicit in 9/11, or Moveon.org who do their best to convince the populous that Bush and Cheney wake up every morning wondering how they can best ass fuck the world today. Perhaps even the mainstream media will demand that Kerry release his military service records to the public as Bush has done. After all that could probably clear up a bunch of the Swift Boat mess, so why won't he?
Rather than respond to the Swift Boat Vets allegations directly the Kerry campaign has instead chosen to attack them tangentially and ask Bush to silence them. If this is how they are going play it when the election really heats up then, well, he's toast. (Look at this timeline of mistakes from the month of August and cringe if you are a Kerry supporter)
What I am getting at is a prediction. I have gone back and forth on who is going to win this election many times, but right now I am thinking that Bush with about a 55% of the vote is the most likely. Of course in April and May I was 100% sure that Kerry would win a close one, but here's why I've changed my mind again:
It is going to be easy for the Bush campaign to paint Kerry as a liberal, and out of touch with mainstream America. He owns the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Senators traditionally have trouble getting elected president as they are on record for voting for so many things, often times in contradiction, especially over a 20 year career. (who was the last former Senator elected? Kennedy I think, before that, who knows?) The Bush capmaign is going to show that Kerry has consistently voted to reduce defense spending, to cut spending for intelligence, and is generally weak on national defense. He voted against pushing Saddam out of Kuwait in '91, but for going into Iraq in 2002, then voted for the funding of the war before he voted against it of course.
Couple that with the fact that there is hardly any genuine excitement about Kerry. Do you know anyone who was an ardent John Kerry supporter before the Democrats held their primary? It seems that the more voters see of Kerry the less they actually like him, he got a minimal bounce from his convention that has disappeared and after a particularly rough couple of months for the Bush administration it is still an even race, and the Republicans are just starting their convention.
Of course there are the possible wild cards of Iraq taking a major turn for the worse - something I consider highly unlikely, or a terrorist attack on US soil between now and then - something I consider very likely. There is no way to know which way a terrorist attack would tilt the electorate. It really depends on the nature, magnitude and timing and there are endless possibilities with those. But that's a subject for another day.
Stack all that up, most of the undecideds will remember the George Bush after 9/11, standing on the ruins of the World Trade Center talking to rescue workers through a bullhorn. That was when he had a 90% approval rating, he can get some of that back and many will conclude the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. This next week will tell much.
Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to start posting again... we'll see how it goes. I have also attempted to add in comments, though they are not built as cleanly as I would have hoped, oh well, they work. Just click on the comments/time stamp to access them.