Embrace the Wealth Gap
America as discussed by of all things, an American.
The Anbar tribes' turn against al-Qaeda has developed significantly since the end of the Anbar Campaign late last year, which swept al-Qaeda and the insurgency from the major towns and cities west of Ramadi. Over the past year, the majority of the tribes have denounced al-Qaeda and formed alliances with the Iraqi government and U.S. forces operating in the region. Numerous 'foreign fighters' have been killed or captured by the tribes. The tribes are working to restore order, and are providing recruits for the police and Army, despite horrific suicide attacks on recruiting centers. These attacks have not deterred the recruiting, but in fact have motivated the tribes to fight al-Qaeda.
Some will keep on blaming America and her policies and they will consider anything America did and does wrong whether America stayed or left, fought or ran away, negotiated or boycotted.
We need immigrants in this country. That's why we bring in more than two million. Has anybody over the past hour on this broadcast or this network reported, or any other network, reported that we bring in more than two million immigrants into this country lawfully each and every year?
Evan Sayet describes modern liberalism in a very plain and understandable way. This video has literally changed my view of liberalism. He is dead-on with this. I have never seen or heard of him before tonight, but boy is he right. Watch the video - it's a bit long at 45 minutes, but you'll be enthralled - trust me. He makes a lot of great points throughout.
An Iraqi blogger asked the question, "Why are the Democrats doing this?" The easy answer is one I can rattle off without batting an eyelash: politics. There is really nothing else to explain. The discussion in Congress should be one of assessing the situation in Iraq and addressing the best course of action there. Not surprisingly, there is zero discussion about any of this in Congress. There is whatever piece of legislation that the Democrats craft behind closed doors and then there are those who oppose it. No discussion about how to win or if we can win or what the real situation is there. Nothing. Just accept these terms, ignore anything you hear that is positive about Iraq, and if you don't agree then you don't agree with the American people. Apparently anything the Democrats do is exactly what America wants. Funny. They never asked me. Nor did they ask the folks I'm going to introduce you to in this blog.
After Senator Harry Reid announced that the "war is lost," another Iraqi blogger responded to Sen. Reid with the following.
Instead coming up with ideas to help the US Democrats are trying to stop the effort to stabilize Iraq and rescue the Middle East from a catastrophe.
I am an Iraqi. To me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say, ‘Well, it’s not worth it.Time to leave’.
To the Democrats my life and the lives of twenty-five other million Iraqis are evidently not worth trying for. They shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.
For four years everybody made mistakes. The administration made mistakes and admitted them. My people and leaders made mistakes as well and we regret them.
But now, in the last two months, we have had a fresh start; a new strategy with new ideas and tactics. These were reached after studying previous mistakes and were designed to reverse the setbacks we witnessed in the course of this war.
This strategy, although its tools are not yet even fully deployed, is showing promising signs of progress.
General Petraeus said yesterday that things will get tougher before they get easier in Iraq. This is the sort of of fact-based, realistic assessment of the situation which politicians should listen to when they discuss the war thousands of miles away.
We must give this effort the chance it deserves. We should provide all the support necessary. We should heed constructive critique, not the empty rhetoric that the ‘war is lost.’
Or how about the soldiers. I think they have a stake in this whole situation as well. I mean, it's not the Senators laying their lives on the line every day. The Democrats seemingly refuse to acknowledge that there might be some good outcome from this war. That's because they can't. They literally can't. From a political perspective they can never admit anything positive about the war. That would lend vindication to President Bush. And apparently it's worth it to them to throw the entire country as well as Iraq and perhaps the entire Middle East under the bus than to give Bush any such ray of light.Do you have any idea how your words sounded to ordinary Iraqis? I'm sure you don't. It sounds like you haven't given the matter a moment's thought. It even sounds like you think the Iraqis and their fate are irrelevant, especially when weighed against your cheap political aims. Yet millions of Iraqis want only to live peacefully, and have embraced the early positive signs of the security crackdown as a reason for limited optimism. You've told them to abandon any hope. You've invited them to make whatever accommodation they can with the murderers around them. Didn't you have a single word to say to them? Did it not occur to you that they heard you, too?Do you have any idea how your words sounded to the rest of the Middle East? To the region's press, for example, which as a result has been trumpeting American surrender? Or to the delighted mullahs of Iran? Or to the region's brutal, murderous jihadis? Not only the jihadis who are spilling so much blood in Iraq, but to the jihadi network in Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere that dreams of making the world cower? They already think that, with divine aid, they've caused the Soviet Union to cease to exist. Your thoughtless and ignorant words of defeat were like an answered prayer to them. Didn't you have a single word of warning or caution for them? Did it not occur to you that they heard you, too?
Another Marine shares some particularly interesting facts about how things have been in Iraq and how they are going now.
well ramadi was once dubbed by everyone as the worst city in the world. but we have done such a great job here that all the families in the area have worked with us on driving out the insurgency and that we work directly with the IA and the IP’s. the city has been cleaned up so well that the IP’s do most of the patrols now and we go out with them to hand out candy and toys to the children. you can tell that the people want us here to protect them from the thugs and gangs (insurgents). granted they would rather have peace and quit but they know that if we arent here they will be thrown around by the insurgents. a good example is this one mission we did. long story short we got blown up in multiple buildings and had to run into a families house. i spent my christmas holidays covered in ash from the mortar fire and the IED’s, sleeping under a dirty rug i found in the house. everyone was sleeping way to close for comfort just to stay warm. anyways. a family was there and they obviously didnt want us there. atleast at first. the daughters were very sick so our corpsman treated them. they didnt have electricity so we got them a generator for power, they were cold so we got them gas heaters, we got them food and water and then we gave them $500. by the end of the week long visit with them we were drinking tea with them. when we left we cleaned their house better than it was when we got there. i even have pictures with the family. they told us that they liked marines and they would help us as much as they could and they gave us some information on the insurgents in the area. we ended up catching a HUGE target down the road from there house because of it.
These stories from Iraqis and American soldiers are a far-cry from what we hear from Democrats and the American press. And you'll notice something peculiar about that, the voices of Iraqis and for the most part the American soldiers are silent. We hear about how "bad" things are going in Iraq and how pulling out is the only thing to do. But we hear it from people who deliberately ignore what's really happening in Iraq and try to replace that reality with a made-up version of their own.
The Kurds, who were already autonomous, had the security forces already organized and in place. They stayed the course which resulted in no American deaths since 2003, a notable feat. For most of the Shia, who controlled southern Iraq, things were relatively peaceful. Although we had our run-ins with the Madhi Militia, the Shia had so much to gain in this war that by in large the Shia community began to cooperate. The Shia took a willing role in the security effort, making up the large majority of a 250,000 security force a few years ago. They suffered ultra-violent retaliation from Sunni and Al Qeada insurgents. Yet they shouldered on, and in such a dismal state of affairs, it should be considered remarkable. Now the predominantly Shia army have graduated from clearing Falluja, to policing their own ranks by driving out the Shia death squads and Madhi militiamen. The only piece of the puzzle missing was the Sunni. Things have changed.
I left Ramadi, Iraq in 2005. The only Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in the city were Shia battalions and Shia Commando units. The Sunni were no where to be found. A fledgling police force was corrupt and continuously disbanding or being disbanded. Over the next year things would very slowly turn around. One could speculate the reason why Sunni men were joining the ranks of the ISF. Money would be the most obvious indicator, and one could claim that they had an honest interest in their prosperity, but I look in another direction. Even the Iraqis have television and internet, and they have witnessed the growing anti-war sentiment of Americans. Coupled with watching the success of the Kurds, and the rise to power of the Shia, the Sunni have much to lose. And it was time that they became part of the process or face being left behind.
The ISF has since grown to over 330,000 members. Most remarkably is that the Sunni of Al Anbar province, the heartland of the insurgency, has pitched in significantly. The over 5,000 man army unit, “the Sons of Anbar”, continues to grow and by actively operating against insurgents, they positively influence the once hopeless province. While this unit makes up only seven percent of the Army, hundreds of Sunni men volunteer for service weekly, so much that US training elements had to grow in order to compensate for the influx of recruits. This is more than encouraging, not just for the citizen of Anbar, but the US service members whose sole purpose is to build these forces (so we can leave). Their immediate success gained the attention of the insurgents. They have executed numerous Sunni ISF via suicide bombings, firing squads, and beheadings, and captured it all on video. But that has not deterred the brave Sons of Anbar. They continue to grow and the tribes who support these men have become victims of retribution as well. This unfortunate set of circumstances is not without benefit, for it has united the majority of the tribes in Al Anbar against the Al Qaeda terrorists. The once sworn enemies of America are now standing alongside side us and even with the Kurds and Shia – all of us united against Al Qeada. Unseen between news reports of bombings, beheadings, and political infighting, is the hope that Iraq is not lost.
On Thursday of last week, Sen. Harry Reid said that the Iraq war is lost.
"Now I believe, myself, that the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows: that this war is lost, that the surge is not accomplishing anything," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.
If that is so, who won? Reid's comments would have led him to be charged with treason in previous times in this country. He claims his reasoning for the war being lost is the recent violence at the hands of Al Qaeda in Iraq. So he's sending a message to Al Qaeda that their terrorism is working. He's sending a message to all terrorists basically that if they get really violent, we won't have the stomach to hold out against them. Senator Reid may as well go ahead and capitulate our government now to Sharia law and save everyone the trouble. Because under his pretenses we'll never be able to fight terrorists. They're too violent for us.
Contrast his message to sending a message that we are united against these terrorists and that their acts of terrorism are cowardly and that WE WILL DEFEAT them. Period. Instead of being emboldened to thinking that they can win, they would eventually succumb to the idea it is they, not us that cannot win this war.
Now we have the terrorists riding high thinking that they can do whatever they want to us and we won't have the stomach to stay in the fight. Al Qaeda just has to keep the bombs going off for a short while longer and they'll have their victory. This despite the many setbacks they've experienced recently. If they win and push us out of Iraq, there will literally be no stopping them. People will join their ranks with little to fear from U.S. and they'll be swimming in money from supporters throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. That'll be when the real fun starts. Where will Sen. Reid be then? If he doesn't succumb to some terrorist attack I'd suspect he'd be looking to make political capital out of the situation and maybe pick up a few more Congressional seats.
He already sees Iraq as a chance to pick up Congressional seats in 2008.
"It's at least my belief that they are going to have to break because they're going to look extinction, some of them, in the eye," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of his Republican colleagues.
Added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: "We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war."
Let's shift gears and talk about some of those recent setbacks to Al Qaeda for a moment; because they are not insignificant.
Al Qaeda's support in Iraq has been waning recently. They seem to be engulfed in a civil war with their Sunni brethren. Sunni tribal leaders have been working with Coalition and Iraqi forces to oust them from the region. These tribal leaders have also have formed a new anti-insurgent party aimed at opposing insurgent groups and promoting a better image of American forces to Iraqis. The Sunni insurgent group, Islamic Army of Iraq split ranks with Al Qaeda earlier this month. And most recently, a senior Al Qaeda operative in Iraq has been apprehended and is beginning a pleasant stay in Guantanamo Bay.
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment that the Iraq War is "lost:"
"This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is 'lost.'
With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.
Al Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.
The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes - abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week's atrocities - or whether we stand united to fight them.
This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism."
Sen. Lieberman was the only Democrat (he's an Independent but still caucuses with the Democrats) to vote against the appropriations bill that would have forced American troops from Iraq regardless of any progress made in the war. Sen. Lieberman went on to give an eloquent speech before the Senate prior to the vote on the appropriations bill. Here are some excerpts:
When we say that U.S. troops shouldn't be "policing a civil war," that their operations should be restricted to this narrow list of missions, what does this actually mean?
To begin with, it means that our troops will not be allowed to protect the Iraqi people from the insurgents and militias who are trying to terrorize and kill them. Instead of restoring basic security, which General Petraeus has argued should be the central focus of any counterinsurgency campaign, it means our soldiers would instead be ordered, by force of this proposed law, not to stop the sectarian violence happening all around them--no matter how vicious or horrific it becomes.
The sectarian violence that the Majority Leader says he wants to order American troops to stop policing, in other words, is the very same sectarian violence that Al Qaeda hopes to ride to victory. The suggestion that we can draw a bright legislative line between stopping terrorists in Iraq and stopping civil war in Iraq flies in the face of this reality.
I do not know how to say it more plainly: it is Al Qaeda that is trying to cause a full-fledged civil war in Iraq.
And yet, if we pass this legislation, according to the Majority Leader, U.S. forces will no longer be permitted to patrol Iraq's neighborhoods or protect Iraqi civilians. They won't, in his words, be "interjecting themselves between warring factions" or "trying to sort friend from foe."
Therefore, I ask the supporters of this legislation: How, exactly, are U.S. forces to gather intelligence about where, when, and against whom to strike, after you have ordered them walled off from the Iraqi population? How, exactly, are U.S. forces to carry out targeted counter-terror operations, after you have ordered them cut off from the very source of intelligence that drives these operations?
And here is the best:
For most of the past four years, under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the United States did not try to establish basic security in Iraq. Rather than deploying enough troops necessary to protect the Iraqi people, the focus of our military has been on training and equipping Iraqi forces, protecting our own forces, and conducting targeted sweeps and raids--in other words, the very same missions proposed by the proponents of the legislation before us.
That strategy failed--and we know why it failed. It failed because we didn't have enough troops to ensure security, which in turn created an opening for Al Qaeda and its allies to exploit. They stepped into this security vacuum and, through horrific violence, created a climate of fear and insecurity in which political and economic progress became impossible.
For years, many members of Congress recognized this. We talked about this. We called for more troops, and a new strategy, and--for that matter--a new secretary of defense.
And yet, now, just as President Bush has come around--just as he has recognized the mistakes his administration has made, and the need to focus on basic security in Iraq, and to install a new secretary of defense and a new commander in Iraq--now his critics in Congress have changed their minds and decided that the old, failed strategy wasn't so bad after all.
Sen. Lieberman manages to address, quite well I might add, each and every point made by Sen. Harry Reid who is pushing for the "redeployment" of U.S. military forces from Iraq. Sen. Lieberman sees very well the marked flaws found in the Democratic Leadership's strategy for Iraq.
If Al Qaeda hired an official spokesperson here in the US to basically pitch propaganda to help them win the war, that spokesman would say exactly what Harry Reid and many Democrats have been saying. So who's side is Harry Reid really on? It seems that the Democrats (or at least the Democratic leadership) happen to find themselves in the same corner as Al Qaeda on this one.
Why are we not trying to discuss options on how to win the war instead of trying so fervently to lose it? Democrats just push and push and push for leaving Iraq regardless of any possible good news about the surge and regardless of other ideas that might bear fruit in Iraq.
I will answer my own question by saying that Reid and other Democrats don't want us to win. And yes I do believe that. Harry Reid has admitted openly that Iraq is going to yield Congressional seats. All the actions and rhetoric of the Democrats so far says that they see Iraq as a political tool to help them in 08 instead of a war that needs to be won, not lost. Losing the war will be that final nail in the coffin for George Bush and possibly the only tool they need to gain seats in Congress as well as gaining the White House in 2008. Apparently it's completely worth those precious seats to go ahead and throw in the towel on this all important war. Right now, they have really put themselves in a political corner such that a victory in Iraq would be a political disaster for Democrats. And it didn't have to be that way, but they have clearly positioned themselves 180 degrees from the President on this and now either he wins or they win, not we all win like it should be.
Harry Reid wouldn't even bother showing up at Gen. Patraeus's brief before the Senate the other day. Probably because he doesn't want to hear anything that might be good news regarding Iraq. He has to continue to sell Iraq's loss to the general public no matter what. And he has to continue to make Iraq the number one issue to make political capital out of. They (the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate) will keep playing games with legislation to get as much as they can out of the Iraq issue until 2008. And that my friends, is reducing war to pure politics. I hope history crucifies these people for that.
Again, this is treason as far as I'm concerned but treason or no, Harry Reid will probably get reelected. There's a comforting thought.