February 28, 2008
Obama Will Use "Hope, Change" to Fight Al Qaeda
Can Barack Obama be any more clueless on national security?
OBAMA RESPONDS TO MCCAIN: “There was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”
Glenn Reynolds snarks:
The problem with this statement is that, although it's an article of leftie faith, it's not true. (Remember how Richard Clarke was worried that Osama would "boogie to Baghdad" if we invaded Afghanistan? It's not really Obama's fault though -- as an Illinois State Senator when these events transpired, he probably wasn't paying much attention.)
But it's not just that. Didn't the man read newspapers like the Christian Science Monitor, (that Bush mouthpiece) back in 2002?
A radical Islamist group – with possible links to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein – is growing and threatening the stability of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
The group – Ansar al-Islam – emerged just days before the Sept. 11 attacks on the US. It delivered a fatwa, or manifesto, to the citizens in mountain villages against "the blasphemous secularist, political, social, and cultural" society there, according to Kurdish party leaders.
Since, Ansar al-Islam has nearly doubled in size to 700, including Iraqis, Jordanians, Moroccans, Palestinians, and Afghans – a composition similar to the multinational Al Qaeda network. Villagers here claim it has ransacked and razed beauty salons, burned schools for girls, and murdered women in the streets for refusing to wear the burqa. It has seized a Taliban-style enclave of 4,000 civilians and several villages near the Iran border.
Kurdish military sources say that Ansar al-Islam's Mr. Kreker is a former member of a Kurdish Islamic party who joined Ansar al-Islam after its formation in September. Kreker replaced Abu Abdullah Shafae – an Iraqi Kurd who trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan for 10 years – and changed his name from Warya Holery. Mr. Shafae is now Ansar al-Islam's deputy.
Another of the group's leaders, Abu Abdul Rahman – who, the Kurds claim, was sent to northern Iraq by bin Laden – was killed in fighting in October.
Commander Qada also claims that Ansar al-Islam has ties to agents of Saddam Hussein operating in northern Iraq. "We have picked up conversations on our radios between Iraqis and [Ansar] al-Islam," he says from his military base in Halabja. "I believe that Iraq is also funding [Ansar] al-Islam. There are no hard facts as yet, but I believe that under the table they are supporting them because it will cause further instability for the Kurds."
But don't tell Obama that. He knows everything, so he can state definitively that al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before we invaded. And don't even bother bringing up Human Rights Watch, that ruthless cabal of neo-con warmongers:
PUK officials have repeatedly accused Ansar al-Islam of having links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, and that its members included Arabs of various nationalities who had received military training in Afghanistan. The PUK also said some fifty-seven "Arab Afghan" fighters had entered Iraqi Kurdistan via Iran in mid-September 2001. While Human Rights Watch did not investigate these alleged links, the testimonies of villagers who had fled Biyara and Tawela and were interviewed in September 2002 appeared to support this contention. A number of them, including former detainees, said that there were foreigners among Ansar al-Islam forces, that on occasion they were interrogated by non-Iraqis speaking various Arabic dialects, and that they had heard other languages spoken that they did not recognize.
Scores of Iraqi Kurds affiliated to Ansar al-Islam, including key leaders, consider themselves veterans of the Afghan war. They had spent time in Afghanistan, initially fighting against Soviet forces during the 1980s. Representatives of other Iraqi Kurdish Islamist groups who maintain links with Ansar al-Islam told Human Rights Watch that a small number of Iraqi Kurds affiliated to the group had also fought alongside the Taliban, and that they then returned to Iraqi Kurdistan following the latter's defeat.
There are also other indications of possible Ansar al-Islam connections with al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Documents discovered in an al-Qaeda guest house in Afghanistan by the New York Times discuss the creation of an "Iraqi Kurdistan Islamic Brigade" just weeks prior to the formation of Ansar al-Islam in December 2001, and some Ansar al-Islam members in PUK custody have described in credible detail training in al-Qa'ida camps in Afghanistan. The existence of any ongoing links between al-Qa'ida and Ansar al-Islam is unknown.
Don't mention the NY Times either, though now that they've discovered al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, they seem to have forgotten they reported the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq long before we invaded:
The group, which formed late in 2001 in opposition to the autonomous and largely secular government in the Kurdish enclave, is mostly composed of Kurds. But Kurdish leaders here say that about 150 of its members, mostly Arabs, trained in Qaeda-sponsored camps in Afghanistan, and that Osama bin Laden's network has an interest in its success.
''This is a group that Al Qaeda set up here as an alternative base of operations in the Middle East,'' said a senior Kurdish official familiar with the intelligence collected on Ansar. ''It is certain from various sources that this was to be an alternative base to Afghanistan.'' The official declined to be identified.
But no worries. Just keep moving - there's nothing to see here. At any rate Barack has all of this covered. If it turns out he's wrong about the need for us to oppose al Qaeda in Iraq later (like he was mistaken about the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded, we can always, you know, re-invade...
I think Obama made a huge boo boo in last night’s debate. When asked what he would do if we pulled out of Iraq and the place turned into an al-Qaeda haven, he said he would re-invade. Smooth as butter, didn't miss a beat.
You know, with that broken Army of ours....
The one that's racking up unprecedented debts this nation can ill afford:
US military spending as a percentage of discretionary spending, 1962--2003
US military spending as a percentage of GDP, 1940--2003
Yep. It's enough to make one long for the Reagan years, when we were at least fiscally responsible:
... let’s take a look at the Reagan legacy on federal spending and deficits. In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, government outlays were running at 21.7% of GDP and the budget deficit was 2.7% of GDP. (The economy was also a basket case, which is when you would expect budget deficits to be at their worse.) In 1988, Reagan’s last year in office, outlays as a percent of GDP were running at 21.3% with a deficit of 3.1% of GDP. The budget deficit over Reagan’s eight years averaged 4.2% and ran as high as 6.0% in 1983.
Bush entered office with an economy that was booming: in 2000 government outlays ran at 18.4% of GDP with a budget surplus of 2.4%. But the stock market implosion, 9/11 and the war quickly changed the budget dynamics and the surplus switched to a deficit of 3.5% in 2003 and 3.6% in 2004. In 2005, the budget deficit came in at 2.6%, with government outlays running at 20.1% of GDP.
The point here is that there is lot of hyperventilating about the Bush administration’s spending and “out of control” deficits, much of it by folks who praise Reagan yet trash Bush. But the most recent “out of control” Bush deficit at 2.6% of GDP is far below the eight-year Reagan average of 4.2%.
This is not meant to disparage Reagan, only to provide perspective. When you look at the numbers on a proportional basis - which is the only way to honestly compare different eras - Bush’s federal spending is not “out of control,” at least in comparison to Ronald Reagan.
But I guess in order to reign in all of this out of control military spending, we'll just have to go to war with the Army and Marine Corps we have.... or whatever's left of them after Obama brings us all that inspiring Hope and Change he keeps talking about.
I hear you can do a lot with Hope.
Let's hope so.
Posted by Cassandra at February 28, 2008 07:03 AM
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Absolutely great, Cass.
When I read this I remembered an article about the role of Michelle Obama in the campaign. Her advice to her husband is "Feel - don't think!"
The scene: Barack Obama and his top advisers on a conference call, prepping for a debate. Michelle dialed in to listen and couldn’t stay silent.
“Barack,” she interjected, “Feel - don’t think!”
Saying her husband’s “over-thinking” during past debates had tripped him up with rival Hillary Clinton, she said: “Don’t get caught in the weeds. Be visceral. Use your heart - and your head.”
The campaign veterans shut up. They know Michelle Obama’s opinion and advice means more to their candidate than anything they could say.
This is dangerous advice when there are really truly bad people who think all the time about how to do us in.
And "Feel - Don't Think - Vote BARACK!" would make a great bumper sticker for the Obama campaign.
Posted by: MathMom at February 28, 2008 08:25 AM
Michelle dialed in to listen and couldn’t stay silent. “Barack,” she interjected, “Feel - don’t think!”
Obama '08: Use the Force.
Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2008 08:30 AM
OBAMA RESPONDS TO MCCAIN: “There was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”
There was no such thing as Global Warming until Al Gore decided to start flying around the globe in jets.
This really becomes a contest of who is creating the problems that they are benefiting politically from. On this side of things, the Democrats have a large advantage.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at February 28, 2008 09:22 AM
It's really just an offshoot of Chaos Theory:
A Democrat's lips flap on Capitol Hill and the mean temperature of the earth rises by another degree. The science is irrefutable.
Posted by: It Snows Wherever He Goes! at February 28, 2008 09:28 AM
Can Barack Obama be any more clueless on national security?
Since there is over 8 months to go before the general election, I'd say "yup!" :)
He will certainly say something even dumber and more clueless, not to mention the usual surrender now! talk he will engage in.
Posted by: William Teach at February 28, 2008 12:29 PM
Joe Conason, writer for the New York Observer, just published a column about McCain and the fact that sooner or later, he has to justify his support for the war and the lives lost. Check it out to see how his views differ. The link is Here.
Posted by: BK at February 28, 2008 02:12 PM
John McCain doesn't have to "justify" anything.
The fact is that Obama is factually wrong on the question of al Qaeda in Iraq. Whether it is subjectively "worth it" is a values question, not a factual one. Voters will either agree or disagree. It is not a question of justifying anything, and that's really kind of a dumb argument.
Most people made up their minds on the war a long time ago. Those who oppose it won't be voting for McCain anyway. Those who support the war are unlikely to be upset by McCain's support of the Surge, now are they?
Posted by: Cassandra at February 28, 2008 02:33 PM
That Obama video is more frightening then a Steven King movie ... thanks now I will have nightmares!
Posted by: Frodo at February 28, 2008 04:19 PM
It was rather bizarre, wasn't it?
Posted by: Cassandra at February 28, 2008 04:26 PM
Yes, they guy starts our discussing wasteful spending and then proceeds to discuss military projects. As you point out, defense spending is a small part of the overall budget.
Then he wants to appoint a civilian board to approve projects ... isn't that congress' job? On the occasions where there is wasteful spending in defense, its the fault of congress. How many extra C-130 aircraft were built against the Air Forces wishes because the plant where they were made is in some influential congressman's district?
Posted by: Frodo at February 28, 2008 05:09 PM
Since you are talking about it, I hope you don't count this as spam. You should check out my new book Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents
Posted by: Ray Robison at February 28, 2008 05:57 PM
Crikey! I've been trying to get the video to load all day - finally it worked. What I heard scares the carp out of me. This dude is seriously not ready for prime time. He's dangerous.
Posted by: MathMom at February 28, 2008 10:39 PM
How many extra C-130 aircraft were built against the Air Forces wishes because the plant where they were made is in some influential congressman's district?
Not nearly enough. We could use many more; but once the production line for a military aircraft is shut down, it's normally shut down forever. The cost to retool and restart production is prohibitive, being far beyond the unit cost of production while the line is active.
Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2008 11:36 PM
Check out my latest blog, "Matt Taibbi, When Doves Cry" this is a response to his article in RollingStone Magazine, McCain Ressurected, Matt Taibbi, believes John McCain is a Warmonger.
Posted by: laree at March 1, 2008 02:18 PM
Once again you are digging in the weeds from 2002-2003. I suggest you read stuff from, oh, let's say, the past couple years. I have some suggested reading for the deluded. Try "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks. You could also go to The Cato Institutes website (mind you this is a conservative-libertarian think tank with many ties to the militar), Larry Diamond from the Hoover Institute, and finally Pentagon white papers which all conclude al-Queda had no ties or forces in Iraq prior to invasion. The Zarqawi pre-al Queda medical treatment in 2002 is as close as you get. He did not publicly pledge his allegiance to Osama until 2004.
If you are worried about terrorist abetting, maybe you should concern yourself with the administrations support of the MEK in Iraq who were allowed to maintain their own base in Iraq even after the elimination of Iraqi military and police. Now we're funding and arming the Sunnis, who still have loose ties with al Queda, despite the fact that some factions oppose them. And yet, these Sunnis are still killing Shia. By the way, for the first time since September, killings in Iraq (both civilian and military have risen from the previous month...Jan to Feb). So you see, if you only want to quote sources other than the press (even the lib NY Times and WaPo were saying the same thing about al Queda), you must read something legitimate.
Posted by: Miguel at March 1, 2008 07:10 PM
I'm still trying to figure this one out. YOu support McCain? All you Willie Cunningham lovers are supporting McCain? Hey, look, I like McCain, because as you are all aware, he is more moderate/centrist than anything. He is old-school republican conservative...like Reagan. All these phonies running around calling themselves Reagan Conservatives. Let's see....Reagan supported stem cell research...he was quitely pro-life...he raised taxes twice in his president (one Social Security, one Federal income)...he supported Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate Republican. Now that is the kind of Republican which is honest and true.
Posted by: Miguel at March 1, 2008 07:29 PM
Would that be the same Thomas Ricks who broke the law to leak us that really reliable classified memo that told us that Anbar Province was "irretrievably lost"? :p
That worked out really well, didn't it?
I don't need to "read stuff from the past couple of years". I can talk to my husband, who has been over there for the past year.
Posted by: Cassandra at March 1, 2008 08:00 PM
And Miguel, you are wasting your time telling a Marine wife 'how Iraq is'. You aren't going to win that argument because you've read some book somewhere by some moron reporter who hops on a plane every once in a while and takes a heavily guarded trip or two out to get a few surface impressions.
Don't talk to me about 'legitimate'. Thomas Ricks wouldn't know legitimate if it slapped him right across the face.
Posted by: Cassandra at March 1, 2008 08:07 PM
I think you may have missed the point entirely. The point of the 2001-2003 archived articles and statements is this: prior to the McCain/Bush rebuttals, there were and are standing still very strong indications that not only was Abu Musab Zarqawi present but Ansar al Islam (the organization to which AMZ pledged after his flight from Afganistan and prior to his named al Qaeda effort) was an al Qaeda front inside Iraq in the war on terror. This negates wholly the statement "...prior to the invasion of Iraq...there was..[no].. al Qaeda in Iraq..."
however true may be the statement "prior to the invasion of AFGHANISTAN...there was not..al Qaeda in Iraq."
If you want more recent publications:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/9237/ (late 2005)
The MEK are not and were not sanctioned or supported by the US administration. They are designated as a terrorist organization in spite of the UN reversal of that designation. As to the individuals capture or detained by coalition partners in the invasion of Iraq, much to their detriment many were repatriated to Iran and other countries from whence the came.
Those who refused repatriation were eventually recognized as having 4th Geneva Convention status but they have not been allowed to operate in Iraq at all.
By the way, the Iraq casualty statistics are as follows:
Though no loss of life is desired, the steady drop in fatalities since the surge began has been maintained with the exception of January. Operational exposure due to transition and replacement may account for this spike but in any case the numbers dropped again in February.
Posted by: Elena at March 1, 2008 08:10 PM
Apparently you all chose to listen by the fire to the tale of folklore. And just because you are a Marine wife doesn't make you an expert on, nor privy to all intelligence. Hey, my sister is a dentist, so with your logic I know a lot about root canals. Read! Don't be lemmings. YOu watch way to much Hannity. And ma'am, Thomas Ricks has been inside the Pentagon for over 30+ years. Everyone in thew defense community has quite a bit of respect for the man. Funny, how anyone how has info or expertise contradicting you is reproachable and fictionally marginalized. Thomas Ricks has not been indicted nor charged with revealing any secrets. Karl Rove has been indicted, though, but unfortunately not charged.
If you are implying the soldiers are given information directly from the Pentagon, that's news? What does your husband's service have to do with whether al Queda was in Iraqi prior or not? That is one of those things that a politician throws out there that is irrelevant to the discussion. Ricks spends all his time speaking to military command and intel. He's been to Iraq for longer than a week, like some of these Chicken hawks on talk radio, or in Congress. He's spent years in combat zones. He's studied Iraqi intelligence.
The service your husband has made to our country is incredible and honorable. I'm sure your husband valor is immense. I don't doubt that. That in and of itself doesn't make this war honorable, nor the actions of the Congress or Executive Branch of government since the onset.
And Elena, the casualties you write, do not include the most recent flash of deaths, plus you are only counting US casualties. Iraqi security force and civilian deaths are on the rise for two months in a row. But of course, no one here probably cares about Iraqi deaths. And military strategists recognize an increase in civilian deaths as a sign of potential problems. Also, you can google MEK and find tons of articles on there existence pre and post war, and how they were not required to disarm, nor repatriated. They are still in Iraq as a buffer against Tehran. That is one reason why crazy little Ahmadinejad is so angry. Remnants of the Iraq-Iran War. You seem so well informed, yet you did not know that. As humans, we may not like it, but sometimes we must accept facts, and include them, even if they go against the beliefs we might hold. Case in point is your exclusion of civilian deaths.
Not to mention that we are arming an extremely dangerous faction of Sunnis, and allowing them to flourish. As well, letting MEK run around and kill Shia and civilians. Who are the terrorists here? Based upon the different groups, and the bombing of Kurds by Turkey, this is getting strange. And Bush says, "They shouldn't be there long." Does anyone here read anything other than mainstream press (inclusive of lib and neocon papers)? My God, the internet allows one access much info. YOu must consider the sources, but you can find declassified national security stuff, writings by many military personnel that are retired, and foreign intel which is declassified.
Exa mple: From CIA and NSA de-classified documents (from the gov) A.Q. Khan obtained nuclear secrets from our intelligence at the approval of the Reagan Whitehouse because the thought was it would deter the Russians from messing around in Afghan, Iran, etc. Others warned the Whitehouse that he might give these secrets to rogue nations and create a bomb. Ultimately, A.Q. Khan sold these secrets to Pakistan, S.Korea, China and India.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 01:39 AM
I am tickled by your love for McCain. Not more than a month or two again you were excoriating him on this site, calling him all kinds of names. In fact, too many of you folks were calling him a liberal and Manchurian Candidate. I don't know any liberal candidates who are adamantly opposed to choice and Pro-life. Also, he may not know much about the economy, but I'm sure he has a PhD. compared to Bush's GED. And if you want a war president, this is the guy. And he knows what he is doing, unlike the predecessor.
So you've made a wise choice as McCain being your loved candidate.
Posted by: MIguel at March 2, 2008 01:45 AM
Couldn't resist...there you go again with the hitting. "Slapped right across the face." Why do you always go for the metaphors in which you are rhetorically hitting someone? Or killing. I say enough with the violence. Hatred is a thing which is hard to get out of your system.
Posted by: MIguel at March 2, 2008 01:49 AM
I don't think Cassandra has time for you just now; but I live and work in Baghdad, and have plenty of access to intelligence, both raw and analysis. I think your projection that recent upticks in violence mark a negative turn is flawed.
There are two reasons for this:
1) Part of the reason there is a measurable "uptick" at all is that violence has fallen so far that a small number of suicide bombings can now sway the trend line for the month.
2) The other part is that Iraqi forces are increasingly in the lead. While they are not yet as good as American forces, in the long run they will -- at least in the context of Iraq -- be better.
For example, the security for the massive Arab'een festival in Najaf and Karbala was provided almost exclusively by Iraqis. Everyone read about the suicide bombing in Iskandariyah, which killed forty of them.
That said, there were nine million pilgrims, who felt safe enough in their nation to walk hundreds of miles on foot through what is commonly believed to be a war zone. Furthemore -- I'll risk doing the math in my head -- Iraqi security forces protected 99.998% of the pilgrims with almost no American help.
You can compute the suicide bomb in Iskandariyah into the numbers (versus last month, when there wasn't a massive train of people walking up and down the roads), and say, "See, there's been an uptick." In doing so, however, you miss the real picture.
The Arab press isn't missing it, though; television coverage of the streets of Najaf and Karbala, choked with happy pilgrims, was broadcast heavily all last week.
Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2008 06:58 AM
Pen and ink sketch of an A6 loaded for bear outside of the Ready Room at Attack Squadron 128, NAS Whidbey Island: You negotiate with your adversary with your knee in his chest and your knife at his throat"
Posted by: GM Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET at March 2, 2008 10:15 AM
I'm from WA state. I didn't know there was bear on Whidbey Island. Or are you being figurative? I miss the NW.
No offense, sir, but it looks like we are negotiating in Iraq with our adversaries quite differently. Look at Sunnis and MEK. But if this will quell this thing and end this campaign, I'm all for it.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 10:57 AM
Since you are there, could you please explain to me the relationship to two entities, the Sunni support we offer, and the allowance of the MEK to operate out of its own base. These two pieces seem quite contrary to the objective of control and installation of democracy in the region. I would love to hear the perspective of someone who is there.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 11:02 AM
I am not going to comment on MEK, which lies far from my own area, which is south of Baghdad; my perspective on it is therefore not the perspective of 'someone who is there,' because I'm not there where they are. As for the Sunnis (and Shiites also -- there are increasing numbers of recognized Shiite security volunteers and "Sons of Iraq"), we have frequently negotiated arrangements with local tribal leaders to help them secure their homes, provided:
1) That they abide by certain territorial boundaries, and do not mistake license to guard their homes for license to raid their neighbors;
2) That they work with Iraqi security forces, and obey the orders of the Iraqi army and police;
3) That they sign contracts to man certain checkpoints and perform other duties, which we verify that they are doing.
Failure to do any of those things can end the relationship, either for individuals messing up, or sometimes more broadly.
As for the idea that it is antidemocratic, I think the opposite is true. These people are able to perform those duties because they have storng local support; and they are granted authority only within those areas. These are mostly family, tribal ties, and the head of the contract is (very nearly always) a sheikh. The sheikhs are the sheikhs because of the personal loyalties won from large numbers of family, allies, and supporters in their community.
Why, then, would it be antidemocratic to empower the preferred leaders of these tribesmen? These folks were acting out the functions of mayors when we arrived; why not ratify the choice the people have already made, and will certainly make again, until such time as elections can be called? At the provincial level, by the way, that was going to be October; it may be a bit longer now, because the provincial elections law was just sent back to the legislature for further consideration.
I can't think that it would be more democratic to impose another leader than the one the people are already supporting; nor can I think it would be democratic to ignore the wishes of the elected GoI, and have them hold immediate elections while the legislature is still considering the law establishing how those elections are to be held. I don't think there is a more democratic option on the table: we're letting the government they have elected work out its own laws; and in the meanwhile, we're working with the leaders the Iraqis have selected for themselves locally.
Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2008 11:41 AM
I agree that, if that is the case, developing working relationships with these people would be effective, and probably is for the time being.
However, my question is not to imply that is undemocratic, but rather that it flies in the face of the rhetoric we keep hearing (i.e. Sunni terrorists, alliance to al Queda). Also, isn't it a matter of time before the Sunni and Shia civil battle festers? There are limited examples recently, but how can the US forces control this, what many believe, inevitable conflict which may erupt?
Would you concede that the post-war planning and management up to the surge, was terrible if not dangerously irresponsible (eliminating military and police, allowing MEK to operate, Shia/Sunni civil fighting, reliance on technocrats and civilians to have fiat on running things versus military? I sure hope this thing is working.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 11:52 AM
Miguel, if you're basing your assessment on declassified documents then you have to make the assumption that those documents were correct and factual when they were classified. That's a dangerous assumption to make since the classified documents may have started with assumptions or incomplete information that was processed to "fill in the blanks".
The only numbers that count for justification in withdrawing US troops, are US numbers but even still: total coalition, ISF and Iraqi civilian casualties have dropped and stabilized. Compared to 2007, the civilian deaths from Ashura to the end of Arbaeen is less than 20%.
Where are you getting this idea about the MEK and what on earth makes you think we're arming them in a fight against the major demographic of a government we support??
Posted by: Elena at March 2, 2008 12:15 PM
With the understanding that this is a personal reading of the situation, not in any way official, I would say it is more likely that the Shiites will shed their extremists, as the Sunnis have largely shed theirs. The Badr faction has entered the police and army; the Sadr faction, excepting a fringe, seems pleased with his continuation of the ceasefire, and as for that fringe, he himself seems to be taking steps to cut them out of his movement. That will leave them without a protector, which will allow the police (again, mostly Badrists, who don't love the extremists from the other faction) to take them down not with militia violence, but using the police and courts. I don't think anyone, even Sadr himself, will be very sorry to see them go.
There is certainly some political jostling going on between the Badr/Sadrists right now in Baghdad, but it is just that -- politics. It's a major gain over not that long ago, when they were just killing each other. There is also some racketeering with their factions, but again, it's more along the Chicago model than the Baghdad of 2006.
I don't think the Sunnis and Shiites are destined for an inevitable civil war. If we'd walked away from them last year, they'd have certainly had one; if we do now, or too soon, they may yet. But as long as we are here as a stabilizing force, I think things will continue to improve. The economy is growing rapidly, which is taking some of the insurgency offline in and of itself (and indeed, some of the racketeering is profit-extraction -- protection rackets and whatnot -- that exists only because there are ever-larger profits from which to extract). People here have a sense of hope. My Iraqi friends are more cheerful than I have seen them yet. I think they had given up hope a couple of years ago, and though they are brave, it has meant a lot to them to see a chance of it coming out all right after all.
Certainly I will conceed that the pre-Surge management of the war was not what I would have wanted. I wrote a piece in 2003 called "Black Mail" which advocated a tribe-centric method similar to the Sons of Iraq program; and while I was willing to accept the deBaathification logic of disbanding the Army, I thought they were going to provide a means for Baathists excepting the very top leadership to return to service (and indeed, that was exactly what they did do at first; the 101st Airborne had a deBaathification program, not dissimilar to the way the Confederates army was largely permitted to retain arms and reenter public life after the war, though the Confederate political leadership was not).
So yes, as the politicians say, "Mistakes were made." I'm glad to see, though, that there seems to be every chance of making this work. I would say that McCain is right -- we'll be here, if not a hundred years, a long time yet. But it's going to be a far better Iraq, not only than it has been lately, but than its people have ever had a chance to have.
Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2008 12:26 PM
My oh my. Here comes Miguel to enlighten us all. Only Miguel reads "legitimate" things, and he gets them right off of the internet! Where else could you read "A.Q. Khan obtained nuclear secrets from our intelligence at the approval of the Reagan Whitehouse because the thought was it would deter the Russians from messing around in Afghan, Iran, etc."
Nevermind that this statement selectively ignores the fact that the Patiskans' nuclear development was first noted during the term of Jimmy Carter, or that China played a pivitol role in the Pakistani nuclear program throughout. But what the hell do the actual facts matter when you're right? And if y'all didn't love Willie Cunningham so much you'd know that Miguel is eactly right. Nevermind that Willie Cunningham is about as germane to this disussion as Willie Horton. You're just trying to change the subject.
Face it, you're not only too ignorant to understand Miguel superior knowledge, but your hide-bound hearts are too selfish to comprehend the depth of Miguel's compassion for the Iraqi people. As Miguel teaches: "But of course, no one here probably cares about Iraqi deaths. And military strategists recognize an increase in civilian deaths as a sign of potential problems." Wow. Just WOW! Who would have thought that increasing Iraqi civilian deaths might signal a potential problem - particularly for the Iraqis being killed? Nevermind that in February of 2008 569 Iraqi civilians were slain (or found murdered) as compared to 1598 in August of 2007 - six months ago - or that the number of murdered Iraqis had been dropping steadily until jumping by 79 last month - 63 of them pilgrams killed in a single bomb attack, or that these 569 murdered Iraqis out a a population of 27.5 million represent a murder rate that is less than half that of Baltimore, because you people don't care about Baltimorian deaths anymore than you care that while Iraqi murders dropped by 80% from February 07 (2864) to February 08 (564), Vermont's murder rate rose more than 50% in 2006! Clearly, even militray strategists would recognize the potential problems in the Green Mountain State, particularly in light of the nascent separatist movement there. But do you care? Not unless you are Miguel! He knows that as soon as American forces leave Iraq milk and honey, not blood, once more will flow in the streets of Bagdhad. How? He got it from a legitimate source on the internet.
Posted by: spd rdr at March 2, 2008 12:32 PM
Actually, the civilian deaths number is about 674 for Feb. 554 in Jan. 549 in Dec. Pakistan did not have the technology prior to A.Q Khan obtaining it from us. China provided material support after that, without our objection. I don't believe I've ever suggested troops should leave Iraq. I hear a creaky, arthritic knee jerking.
Posted by: MIguel at March 2, 2008 12:46 PM
I hope your perspective prevails and is correct. I am more skeptical. However, agreed that a relationship like a Korea, or even the historical one in the Philipines, will be inevitable in Iraq. I believe McCain, whether Senator or President, would not possess the ideological bent of GWB, so hopefully we would return to old school Council on Foreign Relations ways of foreign policy. Meaning he will reject the Sharansky/Wolfowitz perspective, which is already being shelved. The reality an Obama presidency would face (or Clinton) is the necessity to be in Iraq for some time. Once again, let's hope you are right about progress and future.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 12:56 PM
Interesting and rather unclever how you state Iraqis "murdered" as a segue way to murder rates in capitals, sdp rdr. A good portion of Iraqis "killed" were unfortunately collateral damage. To compare appropriately, you'd have to include accidental deaths in said cities, as well as auto accidents and other. However, since there is no war in those cities or states, it is quite a weak comparison and only seems to serve the premise of the writer. Why don't we stick with the Iraqi War and the points mentioned. Nice diversion, I see you've been keeping up on your Hannity and Limbaugh. Since Alan Colmes is purposely so weak, why don't they create Hannity and Limbaugh. That would be hilarious.
Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 01:51 PM
The numbers he's quoting are combined ISF/civilian counts and come from press reports. There is nothing to suggest that a good portion is collateral damage and the murder rate comparison is a good one to enhance perspective and understanding for those who have not lived in a war zone.
For those who'd like to see the numbers and press reports from which the Iraqi counts are derived:
"I don't believe I've ever suggested troops should leave Iraq. I hear a creaky, arthritic knee jerking."
Your arrogance is amazing. I'm not sure why you think anyone would address strategic suggestions in policy from you, especially since the only suggestions you've made are that commentaries that refute your suggestion of facts are wrong.
The subject of the blog entry, Barak Obama, suggested the withdrawal then return of US forces in the event of al Qaeda presence.
Your original comment suggested a negation of al Qaeda presence prior to some conspiratorial US support of terrorist groups inside Iraq and your "by the way" statement suggests that the numbers are some how proof of your "facts". Your statement that "both civilian and military" deaths rose for the first time since September from Jan to Feb is factually incorrect. Both numbers haven't risen. US and total coalition losses dropped from Jan to Feb, after a spike preceded by a dramatic drop preceded by a stabilized drop from the presurge highs. The combined numbers (military and civilian)rose but the combined number, just as with a segregated count, on it's own or from one month to the next cannot be used for any strategic gauge.
This is why the Pentagon, if they stay smart about this, will stay away from body count statistics as a gauge for success or on-track progress because there is no acceptable level of the loss of life and the loss of life even if low is not indicative of the status and progress made by the Iraqi people with support of the coalition.
Example, if you have a low body count during a provincial election, but no one votes that low body count certainly doesn't suggest success for the US, the coalition, the Iraqi government or the progress of the Iraqi people.
If you have some access to facts that we've overlooked, please share rather than offering some Pierre Salinger type reference to facts on the internet.
Posted by: Elena at March 2, 2008 03:10 PM
Also, isn't it a matter of time before the Sunni and Shia civil battle festers?
I think it is just a matter of time before the South rises up in rebellion over slavery and civil battle festers anew.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 2, 2008 03:53 PM
Miguel: "Collateral deaths" now equal car crashes? How lame is that? I was comparing persons murdered, i.e. lives not taken by accident - you know, homicides. Sure, some deaths are collateral, just like some drive-by shootings kill school kids just as dead as car bombs. But some, Miguel, are old fashioned murders for money, power, lust, or revenge. Turf wars, Miguel. Don't think any of that is going on in Iraq? What fairytale planet are you from?
And of course the comparison "serves the premise of the writer." What the hell else would I use it for? The numbers just don't suit you.
Please cite your source for Pakistan not having nuclear technology until the US gave it to Khan.
Posted by: spd rdr at March 2, 2008 06:10 PM
"Please cite your source for Pakistan not having nuclear technology until the US gave it to Khan."I too am waiting for that authoritative reference.
Posted by: bthun at March 2, 2008 09:57 PM
An excerpt: (circa 1992)
In its secret nuclear facility at Kahuta, in the hills near Rawalpindi, Pakistan has been quietly amassing advanced nuclear technology. The U.S. gave its tacit blessing to the project largely in recognition of Pakistan's role as a strategic CIA-financed staging area for the fundamentalist rebel fight against the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan. The Reagan administration, in fact, pressured Congress to grant exceptions to laws requiring a cutoff of aid to Pakistan because of its nuclear program, arguing that it had not yet technically assembled an atomic bomb, i.e., it was "one screw turn away" from constructing a nuclear weapon. A.Q. Kahn, head of the Pakistani nuclear program, acknowledged that the U.S. was fully aware that it had the bomb. "America knows it," said the "father of the Pakistani atomic bomb" in one candid interview. "What the CIA has been saying about our possessing the bomb is correct." In spring 1992, after years of adamant denial, Pakistan publicly admitted for the first time that it has the capability of building the atomic bomb.
While the U.S. richly rewarded Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan, which all had extensive clandestine nuclear facilities, it used Iraq's primitive bomb-building efforts to justify a war. In that conflict, the U.S. and its allies dropped 88,500 tons of high explosives (seven times the Hiroshima bomb), killed perhaps 200,000 to 300,000 people, and according to the U.N., reduced the country to a "preindustrial" state.
Read the entire piece if you wish. Taken from previously classified info. See the date.
Methodology of site. Not just press. DOD and Coaliton numbers. Elena, slicing and dicing doesn't change the increase from Jan to Feb for "combined". This is a figure our military and Pentagon is using as a figure of note.
As well, my contention was no al Queda in Iraq pre-war. I asked a question of whether supporting MEK was supporting terrorism. Also, since the Sunnis of Saddam were our sworn enemies, how can we now be negotiating with them. Grim seemed capable of a logical answer to that question. I'm not sure I believe that is a good solution, but it made sense in terms of policy.
Finally, if one states an absurd premise, than expect that someone will attempt to carry out its flawed logic further. You compared homicide rates in US cities to deaths in a war zone, which measures combined deaths due to war. First, two very different systems of measurement, and measured in relation to to very different phenomena. Secondly, you used the term "murder" which is a subjective term. Be careful, because many civilian deaths in this war, as well as friendly fire deaths, were caused inadvertently by our own forces. Would you classify that as murder? YOur words. Accidental killing (friendly fire) and deaths due to our bombings are quite different than drive by shootings. Wouldn't you agree? I imagine you would not dare to make the comparison. Remember, those unfortunate deaths are included in the total casualties. AS for Pakistan, read closer...I said we gave him secrets to help build a bomb. I didn't say they didn't have nukes. We allowed them to finalize their work and sell technology given to them by us.
Posted by: Miguel at March 3, 2008 12:27 AM
Here is a piece by Justin Raimondo, contributing editor to the American Consevative. Nice comparison to the neoliberals like George Soros and Balkans/Russia to neocons and the Middle East. Its all about where the money is. Please don't let that knee jerk just because of the URL title.
Posted by: Miguel at March 3, 2008 12:41 AM
You continue to use the term knee jerk. That creaky, arthritic knee jerking was mine. I've earned it. If you are lucky enough, you may live long enough to become creaky and arthritic. A little less condescension when you choose to participate in a discussion with others will go a long way.
I read the links you posted and I have to say that I'm not very impressed with the opinions which cite other opinion pieces as reference. Saying that I'll have to admit that I had hoped for a little more. Something that would not require me to spend the next several hours tracking down orders of tertiary references to tertiary references.
I too can provide pointers to analysis and opinion at www.carnegieendowment.org, Christopher O. Clary's Masters Thesis on Khan from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2005, the Council on Foreign Relations, globalsecurity.org, or even the NTI.org, which I find consistent with each other. None of which assign blame on Reagan or the US BWT, but I will not, since I'm not attempting to make the US government or one particular POTUS administration responsible for AQK and Pakistan obtaining the bomb.
I've read with interest several pieces on the AQKahn nuclear proliferation issue over the years. Simply saying
"Exa mple: From CIA and NSA de-classified documents (from the gov) A.Q. Khan obtained nuclear secrets from our intelligence at the approval of the Reagan Whitehouse because the thought was it would deter the Russians from messing around in Afghan, Iran, etc. Others warned the Whitehouse that he might give these secrets to rogue nations and create a bomb. Ultimately, A.Q. Khan sold these secrets to Pakistan, S.Korea, China and India. Posted by: Miguel at March 2, 2008 01:39 AM"does not make it so. I'm still waiting for a smoking gun. How did AQK obtain nuclear knowledge, materials and technology from the US, exactly? Another question I have is why do you insist on pinning the responsibility for Khan's actions on Reagan when by all accounts, ok most accounts that I choose to believe, Khan's efforts go well back into the 1970's in Europe, with European countries, particularly the Dutch?
Now rather than address all of the other items that you brought up I will just say that to stay focused on one item at a time is a real good method to use when you would like to prove your point. So I'll work with you on the Khan piece if you would like, but being an older fellow, I'll warn you that I have good days and bad days and that means that I do not always have the energy or time available to converse in depth or at length.
IOW, I may take a while to get back.
I will wait for your links to these declassified documents of which you speak...
Posted by: bthun at March 3, 2008 08:59 AM
Finally, if one states an absurd premise, than expect that someone will attempt to carry out its flawed logic further.
Which, coincidentally, was what I did for you.
Also, since the Sunnis of Saddam were our sworn enemies, how can we now be negotiating with them. Grim seemed capable of a logical answer to that question. I'm not sure I believe that is a good solution, but it made sense in terms of policy.
It is less an issue of policy as it is an issue of human nature and warfare done correctly.
Be careful, because many civilian deaths in this war, as well as friendly fire deaths, were caused inadvertently by our own forces. Would you classify that as murder? YOur words.
Of course they were murdered by the enemies the US military fights. What don't you get about that?
I said we gave him secrets to help build a bomb.
You may think the CIA is part of this "we" you are obsessed over, but that has nothing to do with me or us. If you want the CIA to be part of your clique, then that's fine, but don't ascribe their actions to all of the US.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 3, 2008 10:23 AM
Before we congratulate the W on spending, do remember that (1) Reagan had to re-build our military that Carter had dismantled as part of his 8 years of spending; (2) Reagan controlled spending and actually reduced the size or eliminated an agency or two, despite having only 2 years of a friendly Senate, and no years of a friendly House.
Working on memory here, I think W had a friendly Sentate 4 out of the first 6 years (with the other two being a 51-49 Jeffords slit I think) and friendly house for 6 years. He also had a much stronger economy, even post 9/11 and dot com bust, which grew his first 6 years in office. Reagan had a recession caused by the left over Carter economy until 82 or 83. Yet W grew the rate of growth of spending on all things, even those things that had nothing to do with the WOT. W had help (Reps in Congress, who got what they deserved -- loss of power) but he was a willing participant.
Bush had real potential to reduce spending, and it was wasted. Reagan performed miracles on that subject.
My facts may be a little off -- but they are generally correct. W had Rep control of both houses much of his first 6 years. Reagan has 2 years of Rep Senate control total in 8 years.
Posted by: KJ at March 3, 2008 04:12 PM
Thought that would get a rise out of you :p
Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2008 04:34 PM
And by the way KJ, Bush didn't have a great economy to work with. It was heading into a recession when he came into office (remember the dot-com bust?) that was only exacerbated by 9.11.
My firm, just to give you an example, used to have annual user's conferences. We had to stop holding them - not because there wasn't any interest but because none of the Fortune 500 and 1000 firms we dealt with were approving travel claims for that sort of thing, post 9.11. It took YEARS for them to get over that skittishness. Even when they had the capital, they weren't spending it.
And having a narrow majority in the Senate means nothing when there is the filibuster, as you well know. The climate on Capitol Hill has changed significantly since the Reagan years. It started with Bork. You are ignoring that, but you can't. At least if you want to look at it evenhandedly.
The point of that article was not (as you state) to praise W on spending, but to place W's record into historical perspective.
Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2008 04:43 PM
There's a window in my wall.
But I can't fit through it.
Not that I've ever tried.
It would block the light.
Posted by: spd rdr at March 3, 2008 11:12 PM
And having a narrow majority in the Senate means nothing when there is the filibuster, as you well know.
Numbers don't really matter all that much in warfare, which is what the Democrats have been waging against America for awhile now.
What matters in warfare is discipline, elan, esprit de corps, Command and control, and good tactics/strategy. In those fields, the Democrats had the Republicans on the run since 2000.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 3, 2008 11:31 PM
The point of that article was not (as you state) to praise W on spending,
If Bush had put his stubborness to good use in ensuring that every Bill Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd voted for or supported or helped write got vetoed, W and America would be in a much better strategic position.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 3, 2008 11:34 PM
I'm very familiar with the methodology which is different for each count: US, UK, Other Coalition and Iraqi Casualties, all have a different baseline, reporting venue and validation process--go back and review the documentation. That would be why there's a different section in the methodology to address each count. The only numbers confirmed by DOD are US fatalities. The Pentagon is not in the habit of reporting or confirming deaths from other countries' forces and definitely do not report Iraqi casualties in any of the confirmation venues used in the methodology.
As listed on the methodology page, Iraqi casualties are compiled from news reports, they are neither confirmed nor qualified, they are barely quantified because of the wide range of reporting that varies in count.
"This is a figure our military and Pentagon is using as a figure of note."
This is not a "figure" being used by the military or Pentagon at all. The Pentagon, as I pointed out, doesn't address numbers of Iraqi casualties. The only military source that even closely references Iraqi casualties is the Multi-National Forces-Iraq commander, who did not even use a number in reference to Iraqi casualties (and love him or hate him, Gen. Petraeus is ALL about the Iraqi people):
The general said he also will consider Iraqi civilian deaths in formulating his recommendations. “If your focus is on securing the people, then it is a metric you have to pay attention to, and we do,” he said
The only conclusion I can draw from your commentary, Miguel, is this: You are the worst kind of poker player.
You go all in with bluster and when you're called, you offer to throw in the pink slip to your car if you can raise the stakes again. And you do it with such authority, even the house who knows the rules wonders if that's allowed but Sir! the kitty's fed, your raise has been met, you've been called more than once, no one's interested in the deed to your earthquake proof house in California or your coastal timeshare property in Utah next to the silo full of declass nuke specs available to anyone with FOIA sense,
If not, your honor and credibility are irrevocably tarnished and I think I'll skip your commentary from now on.
If anyone is interested in what is really being said by the military about Iraq and the hard issues being addressed by the Coalition in concert with Iraqi Security Forces, there's a press conference daily at the Pentagon with MNF input via satellite. It can be viewed on the Pentagon Channel and the press releases can be read at the MNF website.
Posted by: Elena at March 3, 2008 11:40 PM
This is a figure our military and Pentagon is using as a figure of note.-M
Why is it always convenient to use your enemy's actions against him, but never okay to use their actions for him.
Must be a law of warfare.
If not, your honor and credibility are irrevocably tarnished and I think I'll skip your commentary from now on.-E
Oh, I see. We're at that stage in the little comment progression evolution I tend to see here with some select folks.
Through superior firepower to all.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 4, 2008 02:57 AM
"They are neither confirmed nor qualified, they are barely quantified."
Based on who's opinion? IT is widely agreed by most World governments, including many in ours, both Republican and Democrats, that the Iraqi Coalition Casualty count understates the number of deaths in Iraq (Lancet estimates more). To say these numbers are ignored by our Pentagon is erroneous as in many congressional hearings, Generals quote a wide range of Iraqi civilian deaths, including this groups numbers.
"Note: Iraqi deaths based on news reports .
This is not a definitive count.
Actual totals for Iraqi deaths are higher than the numbers recorded on this site."
You are correct in regards to the press. With thousands of reporters from our country and other nations in Iraq since the beginning, they have a pretty wide view of the country. I would think those statistics have some credibility.
I don't understand why you chose to attack me with your polemic ammo. I'm not sure what button I pushed, but it glared red. What is not clear is why you disregard the reported (yes, press and Iraqi government)number that shows an increase in civilian deaths. Why you presented some stilted poker analogy, I don't understand. The only contention I made regarding your statement was the numbers of civilian deaths increased. As is the case with many folks here when presented with facts in opposition, two methods of attack are used: 1. "your source is biased and not recognized as credible by me or this site", 2. "you are arrogant for stating this and I've just handed you your lunch." I don't know what point you want me to concede. I cut and pasted the statement about civilian counts, and I mentioned that the Pentagon does look at those numbers. How that became personal, you might want to inspect your rather thin skin.
And my credibility is tarnished. Oh, I have been so served. I can't dance here again. (By the way, you would flunk rhetoric at any college. Rule #1, the moment you go on attack of someone, you have conceded that you have no faith in your argument, and you have no response to opposing facts stated. Now if you presented another organizations civilian death statistics showing it is less, or no change, then that would lend itself to debate. Personal attacks are the sign of weakness).
Posted by: Miguel at March 5, 2008 12:58 AM
Let me paint you a picture, Miguel. You come waltzing in here making outlandish and inflammatory remarks labeling the readers of this forum uniformed "lemmings" who "don't care" about Iraqi civilian deaths. And then you have the temerity to whine about the responses you receive? Are you really that clueless a troll? You squandered whatever "credibility" you might have been afforded straight out of the box. Perhaps you "Rule #1, the moment you go on attack of someone, you have conceded that you have no faith in your argument, and you have no response to opposing facts stated."
Perhaps you need to go back to college, Miguel. I think you've flunked rhetoric, again.
Posted by: spd rdr at March 5, 2008 08:18 AM
"Based on who's opinion? IT is widely agreed by most World governments, including many in ours, both Republican and Democrats, that the Iraqi Coalition Casualty count understates the number of deaths in Iraq (Lancet estimates more)."
If I recall, Saddam had hordes of WMD, at least that was agreed by "most World governments" such as Russia, France, GB, etc. That argument, however, is now out of favor since we didn't bother to plant some WMD and pretend to find it.
Posted by: KJ at March 5, 2008 02:48 PM
It's a consensus.
Real facts don't matter to "World Governments", whoever those guys are.
Consensus reached, and the narrative will proceed as scheduled.
And now, back to our drug-induced reality....
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at March 5, 2008 06:06 PM
Sir sadr (or sorry, spd rdr):
Seems you like to rearrange words and then put words in parenthesis to give a different intent. That is a Fox News or CNN trick. If you read, my comment says, "Read! Don't be lemmings." If you want to own that label, it's yours. I did not say the readers of this blog are lemmings. I feel some choose not to read all sources and claim items as fact. Just as some broker in NY reads Thomas Freidman and declares him the truth.
As well, my provocative statement regarding Iraqi civilian casualties was in reference to Elena leaving out these statistics to serve her own view of the situation. Even after responding, she disregarded the statistic with no reference to a figure more to her view. I'd like to see that figure and take a look. So, once again, if the shoe fits for you...Clearly, there are some intelligent folks here who state facts and positions without invective. I usually start with that position, but when I'm called out and the polemics are thrown my way, my tongue will get a bit acidic. I don't mind disagreement. That's healthy...I think guys like you are upset that someone of an opposing view would come and disrupt the cheerleading here. Just like the Free Republic. If you so much as post a contrary item there, you are banned. As well, as those "trolls" call you every polemic name under the sun, and you respond, you are banned. At least Cassandra doesn't do that. That is what free means. I thank her for that.
So, dig up more facts and dispute me. I'll respond in kind and enjoy every minute of it. If I come off as arrogant, or condescending, than you shouldn't take that personally. That is my own problem with my over-inflated self-image.
Posted by: Miguel at March 6, 2008 12:55 AM
Say, Miguel, you don't happen to come from Irvine, do you?
Posted by: spd rdr at March 6, 2008 10:42 AM
Why? Are most people from Irvine arrogant and condescending? Nope, to many plastic surgeons for me down there. Correct state though. And I love Arnold.
Posted by: Miguel at March 6, 2008 12:22 PM
That is complete rubbish.
Posted by: Bob at October 22, 2008 05:28 AM
Nothing like a logical and fact-laden 3 word sentence to definitely refute every single point I made in this post :p
I consider myself duly refuted.
Posted by: Cass at October 22, 2008 06:43 AM
Takes Bob a while to read the posts, but once he's finished, whoooo-eee...
Posted by: BillT at October 22, 2008 07:52 AM