The face of the enemy shows even when he tries to hide it

Are there words to describe men who strap bombs onto mentally disabled women and then send them into a marketplace, only to blow up the women and kill and injure hundreds of surrounding civilians, using remote control devices that keep the bombers themselves safe?  I think there is a word:  Evil.  This is pure, undiluted, undisguised evil.

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Does this mean Bush didn’t lie? Yes, I think it does. *UPDATED*

I’ve never believed Bush lied and, to the extent his information was incorrect (as was information in the hands of all other Western agencies and governments), I assumed that our spywork was to blame. Now we get confirmation of what’s been rumored forever — it was Saddam who lied, never suspecting that his bluff would be called, not by Iran, but by the US:

Saddam Hussein initially didn’t think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.

[snip]

“He told me he initially miscalculated… President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998…a four-day aerial attack,” says Piro. “He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack.” “He didn’t believe the U.S. would invade?” asks Pelley, “No, not initially,” answers Piro.

Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. “And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war,” Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn’t convinced that the insurgency was Saddam’s plan. “Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency,” says Piro.

Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.

You can read the rest of the article here and, of course, watch the 60 Minutes interview.

Incidentally, it’s also apparent from the interview that, even if Saddam didn’t have WMDs in 2003, he was plenty prepared to have them in future:

He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. “Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” says Piro. “He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program.” This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.

But do you think any of this will change of the minds of the Bush lied/people died crowd?

UPDATE: From SGT Dave’s comment to this post:

The only problem I have at this time is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there were indeed chemical weapons in Iraq at the time of the invasion. We captured some while I was serving in Baghdad (the 500 “old” rounds) and had at least one shell used as an IED.

Saddam had all the physical machinery in place to start making chemical and biological weapons; he didn’t have the chemical precursors, but was seeking them. The same goes with radiological/nuclear weaponry. The only reason he didn’t have these items was lack of ways he could get money out of the country and into the hands of the dealers.

The bottom line remains that at least five tons of the chemical weapons reported destroyed by the UN inspectors were recovered by US forces; the mobile laboratory facilities reported destroyed by Iraq and the UN were captured in western Iraq during the opening days of the war; the Saddam regime attempted to purchase yellow-cake uranium for refining (despite C.Wilson’s false statements to the press – contradicting his sworn report) in a centrifuge array that was captured by US forces – again reported as destroyed by Iraq and the UN; and Saddam ordered items shipped to Syria (though the contents of those shipments is not known/releasable at this time).

The writing on the wall is just about as clear as the German redeployment of the Panzer divisions eastward into Poland. If not for the Germans’ own crazy leader interfering with the battle plan, the ignorance and arrogance of the Russian leader of the time nearly brought down an entire nation in a single campaign season. While Bush is no Churchill or Roosevelt, I fear that the other choices we were given would have given results in the range of Stalin or Chamberlain.
Wow, quite a rant – even for me.

Even now the literate and relatively knowledgable are falling prey to the spin. Don’t concede that there “weren’t” WMD – there were. Don’t even let them put out that there “wasn’t a significant amount” – enough agent to kill over a million people ten times over is quite a bit. They are lying now, as they were before, but they are lying about the lies that they told about the lies. Don’t give them the first step; they will keep lying until the truth is only known by those willing to dig into the classified and official “sworn” documents.

Don’t be a victim of Newspeak and Newthink. They’re lying to you.

UPDATE II: And more from SGT Dave, whose comments here are factual enough that they shouldn’t be buried:

Saddam was killing dozens every day in Baghdad, not to mention the “swamp Arabs” and the Kurds.

Training areas used to practice hijackings – including a set of four that killed about 3,000 Americans.

Mid-grade weaponized anthrax, enough to pollute an area the size of Kansas.

Enough sarin, VX, and mustard gas to kill every Shi’ite in Baghdad.

And I won’t go into the torture and rape rooms – it took days to get the images out of my nightmares.

Saddam may have been lying on some things, but you cannot take that kind of risk. I’m out here; I was there. The truth is that we didn’t do it because we “can”. We did it because the risk was too high regarding what he could have done. There is no defense in thousands of miles of sea any longer.

Maybe I’m a simple reactionary, but I believe it was worth the time I spent there. I have friends that still serve and believe it was worth it. You didn’t get to meet a young woman of my acquaintance, there in Mashtal in Baghdad. She didn’t have fingers on her left hand and her right leg didn’t work quite right anymore. When she was eight Uday thought she was very pretty playing in the schoolyard. She can’t ever have kids and was trembling when she took the aid bag from my hand, with food for her mother and sister. My counterpart with Civil Affairs and her female terp got the story of why she was scared of the big men in uniform.

I will never, ever, forget the look on that woman’s face and the fear those unspeakable individuals made manifest in her. If one – ONE – little girl in that place was spared this by our actions, then it was worth every cent, every drop of blood, sweat, and tears we shed.

Those people were dead, Swamp. They were just waiting their turn to be buried. They have a chance, you selfish, greedy, me-me-me, complacent goof. And some died – but so did the founders of our nation, disregarding the “safe” path that allowed tyranny to rule unchallenged. Too many “liberals” complain of the cost, ignoring the pile of bodies that went to making their right (RIGHT!) to complain possible.

I’m ranting again; God save me, I am not as strong as I should be. I am fallable, weak, and human. But I am a soldier, and I will cleave to my duty and find strength in my honor. Don’t think that the men and women who gave all gave in vain. They gave for that elusive, precious, and irreplacable commodity – hope.

And I hope the Iraqi people fulfill that hope. But I know that the enemy is not attacking my home, my business, or my nation on our land. And I know why – so do you, if you look at what the enemy is saying.

And that too, is what “defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic” means. They would be fighting us anyway – you want the shootout in your house or theirs?

And Ari; there are no dispassionate historians; the ISP could have stopped the hijackers by turning their trainers over to INTERPOL when they crossed the border from Syria and moved overland to Turkey with ISP assistance before boarding planes into the EU to give guidance to the hijackers. Or even by taking Bin Laden out and shooting him instead of throwing a four day feast/orgy congratulating him on the USS Cole and US Embassy incidents.

‘Nuff said – There is a lot of Truth out there, but few, if any, are willing to address it.

Throwing yourself into the breach

When I was growing up, my father always told a story about a weapons training class he had in the Israel Army (this was during the War of Independence). An explosives expert led the impromptu class, made up of men and women soldiers, all grouped around the teacher in the hot Mediterranean sun. The teacher held in his hands a class jar with dozens of the explosive caps from grenades (I think I’ve got that detail right). As he spoke, standing there in the hot sun, he idly tossed the jar back and forth between his hands.

My father, a seasoned combat soldier from his years in the RAF during WWII, watched in something of a trance as that jar went flip-flop, flop-flip, flip-flop, in the hot sun. And then, suddenly, at precisely the same time, both my dad and the teacher realized that the jar had taken on a life of its own. My father, a few rows away from the teacher, hurled himself on top of the young woman next to him to protect her from the impact — but it never came. There was a huge explosion, but only the teacher died — because, when he realized what was about to happen, he threw himself on the bomb in his hands, saving the lives of all those around him. I’ve spent my entire life wondering what kind of person could react that way — could coolly embrace certain death to save others around him.

I’m asking that question again today, because of this story, ignored in the American media, but brought to life at American Thinker:

It was a day of ceremony, pride and hope. Dancing Iraqi soldiers celebrated the country’s national army holiday with a new chant: “Where is terrorism today?”

In the central Karrada neighbourhood, an elderly man placed flowers into the gun barrels of three recruits. And then the suicide bomber struck.

Four policemen, three soldiers and four civilians were killed, and many more wounded. The death toll would have been much higher were it not for the three soldiers who threw themselves at the bomber when they became suspicious. They absorbed much of the blast. Without their action, many more would have died… (Emphasis mine.)

The soldiers, presumably, were Iraqi soldiers, willing to die to save their countrymen in a land that is increasingly seeing the hope of peace. Here’s what Paul Schlicta has to say about the story:

The names and photos of these three heroes should have been on the front pages of all the newspapers in the world. What could be a more compelling human story? It would have been a welcome change from the too-familiar faces of the candidates.

To sink momentarily into politics, these three men, by giving their lives, gave the lie to the canard, common to all the current Democratic candidates, that our involvement in Iraq has been a pointless mistake. To most or all of our politicians, the war in Iraq is merely a bargaining chip for getting votes. But to these three, it was a matter of life and death.

We are justifiably proud of the valor and determination of our soldiers in Iraq. But these three Iraqi soldiers, and 135,000 others like them, had even harder choices to make with even more at stake. Unaccustomed to living in a free country, despised by many of their own people as traitors, deceived and betrayed by self-serving leaders, they nonetheless chose to risk their lives and futures for in the hope of winning lasting freedom for their families and their people. If their efforts were to fail, they and their families would become the fugitive targets of reprisals. And when the climactic moment came, they chose to give their lives to save others.

We cannot walk away from these people.

Stunning decline in casualties in Iraq

The Surge’s effectiveness in bringing down the rate of deaths in Iraq is stunning.  Naysayers (and there are a few who hang out here), have already moved the goal posts, saying that the Surge hasn’t worked because (a) all the necessary internecine, tribal, religious, etc., killing was already done before the Surge kicked in and (b) the Surge was supposed to bring instant harmony to the Iraqi government.  Both these arguments are specious.

As to the first, that argument is belied by the direct correlation between the Surge and the drop in casualties.  It’s possible, of course, that the Surge just coincidentally happened at precisely the same moment the Islamist slaughterers decided that they had succeeded in their bloody work.  Possible, but hardly probable.  That’s an argument only for those who resent the fact that more troops on the ground mean less deaths in Iraq.

And as to the second, that’s a cart before the horse argument.  Government cannot be stable if the country is awash in violence.  For one thing, the violence surges upwards, with assassinations being used in lieu of ballot boxes.  Only the insanely brave, the foolhardy or the complicit will seek political office under those circumstances.  For another thing, the ordinary citizenry can scarcely be expected to think in political terms if survival is its primary issue.  When violence declines, when ordinary people of good will can run for office, and when the citizens can view politics as a ballot sport, not a death sport, government tends to stabilize.

The same thing goes for economic stability.  When streets are awash in blood, ordinary people cannot develop, sell and buy goods.  All they can do is hunker down, which has a stagnating effect on the economy.

The Surge, which has always been a military operation, has achieved its military goals and, with luck and with a continued strong US presence, the political and economic goals will be able to follow.

Iraq’s producing a lot of oil

This is good news:

Iraqi oil production is above the levels seen before the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA said Iraqi crude production is now running at 2.3 million barrels per day, compared with 1.9 million barrels at the start of this year.

It puts the rise down to the improving security situation in Iraq, especially in the north of the country.

Typically, the IEA goes on to put a lot of negative spin on things, but the core news is good. Even better is that revenue from this oil, rather than going into the pockets of Hussein and his minions, or into the pockets of corrupt UN officials, will, at least in theory, benefit the Iraqi people.

The media and Iraq

You remember Matt Sanchez, don’t you? He’s the conservative military writer who suddenly shot to fame when it was revealed that he’d had an earlier career working in gay porn. He’s since turned against the lifestyle (porn), and writes about how it degrades the human spirit. He’s also been writing from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Right Wing News has an email interview with him. A lot of his responses are a bit too flip — too trying to be funny — but I think he’s on to something when he discusses the MSM’s Iraq news coverage:

Now, since then, you’ve been embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan. First off, tell us a little bit about your time in Iraq and how you think things are going there.

In Iraq, the media tried pulling off a coup attempt, by cooking the coverage. I understand performance is an element of the news, but these people were just flat out hamming it up for the cameras.

Iraq is a country the size of California with a population as large as Canada’s. On any given day things happen—very ugly things happen. Iraq was under a coordinated assault by Islamofascists who terrorized the country after the fall of Saddam. What the media showed was a one-sided military drama about how directionless the conflict was, while completely downplaying the actions and motives of the enemy.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the coverage has changed, because of great independent reporting. Iraq had an average of only 30 western reporters from 2005 through 2007. The country is the size of California, but even less media interest than Brian Depalma’s hit Redacted.

When people like Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, JD Johannes, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity et al showed a more in-depth view, it challenged the media monopoly. The internet and talk radio played a HUGE role in this.

Thanks to eyes on the ground reporting, spin, like Thomas Scott Beauchamp, was challenged and debunked. That entire liberal soap opera would have stood unchallenged, a bit like how the McCarthyism myth has largely stood unchallenged.

One movie, two views

Dennis Prager likes to say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that liberals and conservatives have entirely incompatible world views. They understand facts in such a different way that there are few points of intersection. I had a reminder of that truism the other day when I watched Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center with a liberal friend.

As you may recall, WTC, which came out last year, tells the true story of two Port Authority police officers (John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno) who got trapped in an elevator shaft when the Trade Center buildings collapsed. The movie traces their day from its ordinary beginnings, to their bewildering mission into the building, to their entombment, survival in the wreckage and ultimate rescue. It also looks at how their families cope with both the news and the complete absence of news, and how they are discovered and extricated. I found it a very moving experience to watch. My friend did not. He thought it was sentimental and pedestrian, despite learning at the end that much of the dialog was lifted right out of newspaper stories and quotations from the people actually involved in the events.

My friend’s perception in that regard could just be an artistic, movie-making quibble. What was more interesting was his emotional response to the movie. As I watched events unfold, especially when the planes hit the buildings and people began to realize that America had been attacked, I became furious all over again at those who had attacked us, and at those who masterminded and funded the attack. I was sorry that the Saudis in the plane died, and that they died fulfilling their hearts’ desires, because it would have been so much more emotionally satisfying to subject to them to some horrible medieval style torture. (And, in that way, it’s probably good for America’s soul that we didn’t get the opportunity to flay them alive, and remove their intestines and burn them before their eyes, which is what they richly deserved.) That was my response.

My friend’s response was this: “Bush is going to go down in history as the worst president ever. He squandered the opportunity to go after the terrorists.” I didn’t want to talk politics during the movie, so I let it drop, but I had a few thoughts: As to the source of this attack, which was Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Bush didn’t squander the opportunity. Instead, he went in and destroyed the Taliban. And as to the fact that it was Saudi Arabia that provided the manpower, the money and the ideology, I doubt my friend seriously believes anyone could attack Saudi Arabia without destroying the West in a single, oil-dripping stroke. In other words, once Bush went after the Taliban, which was a low level player in world Islamism, although a high level players in this single attack, what should he have done vis a vis the Twin Towers?

There will be, for a long time, debate about the wisdom of Bush’s next responsive choice — invading Iraq. I’d like to avoid the justification given for the war — violating UN sanctions, creating a Potemkin nuclear village (although some of the village’s real components seem to have drifted into Syria), funding terrorism, etc. — and focus on the strategic benefit of going into Iraq.

George Friedman, who is the founder of Stratfor, a company that produces intelligence analysis, wrote a book in which he opined, based on information available to the public, that Iraq was a proxy attack on Saudi Arabia. That is, Bush used information available at the time built up a credible and honest case that Iraq was a threat (and I say honest because most of the information was, in fact, true and, as for that which was untrue, there was no way to know at the time that it was false). Neutralizing Iraq, though, was only one goal and, perhaps, even a secondary one. What he really wanted to do was to create a strong American military presence, both short and long term, that was breathing over Saudi Arabia’s shoulder. Saudi Arabia got the message, by the way, and after the War began, Saudi Arabia instantly stepped up its own attacks against Al Qaeda within Saudi borders.

Bush also hoped to create– and, in fact, may have created — a stable pro-American bulwark in the heart of the Middle East. He almost incidentally created a honey pot that attracted Al Qaeda fighters from all over the Muslim world (especially Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia), men who rendered themselves useless by becoming dead. While there may be other fervent anti-American Muslims around the world, not all are willing to die for their beliefs, so the fact that they hate America (as they have done for decades) may be less important than the fact that they’re suddenly not so willing to throw themselves in front of American bullets to demonstrate their hatred.

That’s my view, but I willingly concede that there is room for intelligent disagreement, both about the War’s origins, its conduct, and its eventual results. Nevertheless, I still found peculiar that my friend, watching in almost real time a Muslim/Saudi attack on America that killed 3,000 people, rather than venting at the attackers, used the opportunity to vent against George Bush.

My friend also had one other interesting take on the movie. I’m not giving anything away here, since it was well publicized when the movie came out, but the two police officers were discovered because an ex-Marine, living in Connecticut, recognized that the US was at war, pulled on his old uniform, and went down to the ruins to hunt for survivors. And because he was not affiliated with any official organization, he wasn’t constrained by orders from headquarters calling the search off for the night. He just went in. Once there, he found another ex-Marine, exactly like himself: someone who pulled on his uniform and did his duty. It was these men who, in the dark, dusty, dangerous smoke, went around yelling for survivors to call out or tap. And it was these men who, when they found McLoughlin and Jimeno, assured them that, as Marines, these survivors had become their mission, and the Marines would not abandon them. Since you know how I feel about the Marines, I was really moved by that moment.

Interestingly, when my friend was talking to my son, and telling him about the movie, he described these two rescuers thusly: “These ordinary guys decided to go looking for survivors.” I interrupted to say, “They weren’t ordinary guys, they were Marines.” My friend insisted that I was wrong. They were ordinary guys, he said, because they weren’t fire fighters or police officers or FBI agents or anyone else working with an organization. They just went in on their own. My friend is technically correct — both men were ex-Marines who showed up without orders — but I think he missed something profound, which is that it was their Marine identity and training that drove them there. Strikingly, both of them showed up in their uniforms, which I think was more than just a way to avoid police cordons. I think it was a statement about their identity and their goals: they were Marines, and they were on a mission.

So, one movie, two very different responses.