Saturday, September 13, 2003
After a particularly grueling day of work, I wandered outside to get some fresh air. I snatched a basketball from the garage and began shooting baskets. Within a few minutes, a group of neighborhood kids had congregated. We grabbed another ball, drew chalk shooting lines and played game after game of "Knockout". The game is very simple: Everyone lines up, the first two people in line have basketballs and each person shoots in turn. Once you make your shot, you get the ball, pass it to the first person in line and go to the back of the line. If the person in line immediately behind you makes their shot before you do, you are knocked out. The winner is the last person left. Then everyone lines back up in the order they placed and it all starts again. It is pretty fast moving and great exercise. It's much more interesting than horse and playable with people of all skill levels.
After 20 games or so, it was time to wash up for dinner. I hopped in the shower and started rinsing the sweat off. After a little while, the water got very cold. I gritted my teeth and tried to wait it out, assuming that someone had jumped into the other shower. I showed great restraint in not adjusting my own water temperature and it eventually returned to a comfortable warmth. I washed my hair and was rinsing the shampoo out when my scalp started burning. The continued increase in temperature encouraged me to rinse quickly and get out of the steaming shower as fast as I could.
At the dinner table, my oldest son asked me how my shower was. The sly grin on his face explained everything. He had known that I was taking a shower at the same time he was, so he decided to have some fun. He described turning the water to the hottest setting and trying to avoid the hot water for a while. Then he turned it normal and washed up quickly. Finally, when he was rinsing the soap off, he turned his water to cold. He said it was freezing and not very fun except for the fact that he knew I was getting scalded. I pretended to be mad at him, but could not do it for long without laughing. I'm sure this is a stunt I would have pulled on my brother or sister when I was his age.
Friday, September 12, 2003
The Bad News: This NY Times article details more casualties both of U.S. Troops and of Iraqi police officers.
And in a fourth incident, American troops apparently misidentified the members of an allied Iraqi security force today and fired on them, killing eight Iraqi policeman and wounding five other people, news agencies reported.
Friendly fire incidents are so sad, yet very common in combat. A close friend was in Panama during the Noriega situation and told about a group of U.S. Soldiers getting off of a helicopter on a remote airfield at night. They were exiting both sides of the aircraft, placing troops on each side of the runway. One weapon fired accidentally and both groups immediately took cover and returned fire. After a few minutes of fighting, someone figured out that they were fighting each other. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
More than 23% of all Gulf War I deaths were caused by friendly fire. The second Gulf War has seen a serious reduction in friendly fire incidents over the first. This does not lessen the tragedy of each death - combat, non-combat or friendly fire.
The Good News: This NY Post article explains that U.S. forces in Iraq captured 80 foreign fighters from 5 different middle eastern countries yesterday. It seems the "Bring 'Em On" strategy is working. It is far superior to deal with these terrorists in Iraq then on U.S. Soil:
Military officials said the foreign fighters came from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan and Syria, and were carrying machine guns and rifles, as well as $75,000 in Iraqi dinars.
U.S. officials suspect they are part of a growing al Qaeda foreign legion whose members are being recruited at mosques and over the Internet throughout the world to undermine U.S. rebuilding efforts and drive coalition forces out of Iraq.
News bias? Absolutely...biased towards bad news it would seem.
Winning Council Entry:
Proud to Boycott by Alpha Patriot
Winning Non-Council Entry:
Don't Tell Me This Is "Progress" by Electric Venom
As always, fantastic entries and difficult voting choices. If you find any posts you think should be considered, please let myself or another council member know.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Besides which, they have been targeting homes all along.
The kind of bombing campaign they are carrying out is distinctly low-resource. They cannot deliver many bombs, and the ones they do deliver are not very powerful because they must be carried by a single person without detection. That limits the size, weight and shape of the weapon, and they've settled on the "explosive belt" as the best compromise. This is a ring made up of a couple of kilos of plastic explosive around the midriff of the bomber, with a layer of metal fragments (e.g. ball bearings, nails) on top. When the explosive goes off, shrapnel spreads out horizontally in all directions. The entire thing probably doesn't weigh 10 kilos and can be comfortably worn under loose clothing (which is common there). It doesn't cause the bomber to move differently (by weight or physical obstruction) and doesn't create any unseemly lumps under the clothing. It can be reliably detonated electrically, using a simple switch.
In terms of maximizing destructive ability within the essential constraints of stealth, it seems optimal, especially if one doesn't care about the fate of the operator. But as military weapons go, it isn't really very impressive, except for the sophistication of the delivery system. It's a "smart weapon" but the warhead is tiny. The weapon's lethality range upon detonation is pretty small, and the shrapnel is easily stopped by any kind of significant physical barrier. The only way such a bomb can be effective is if it is used near (or in the middle of) concentrations of people in a single space.
The aptness of the battlefields we have chosen is proven every time we uncover another connection between the shadowy forces of Al-Quaeda (simply "The Base") and its many allies around the world. These groups go by different names in different countries, but ties of communication, doctrine and deadly method have been well-established. In turn, the support of these groups by countries such Afghanistan and Iraq – the countries where we have taken the fight – has also been well-established.
Osama bin Laden was able to use the entire country of Afghanistan as his base and training ground. He and members of his Al-Quaeda visited Saddam Hussein's Iraq for supplies and training, such as practicing taking over large passenger jets in the camp at Salman Pak. In fact, bin Laden bragged about his success in the 9-11 attack, while Hussein openly sent huge payments to those who carried out the terrorist murders he so desired. There now can be no doubt that the horrendous events of 9-11 can be laid at both their feet. They were indeed among the many perpetrators of that deed – and many more.
And now they are both dead, or in deep hiding. As President Bush has said, "They aren't leading any parades lately." The world is better for their absence. To say otherwise is anti-human, anti-civilization, and anti-reason.
Yet there are those who do say otherwise, who dispute the wisdom of this war that was so suddenly thrust upon us. Why they would say so is open to question, for it is difficult to credit that they could actually believe that Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States and the world would have been better off had we just allowed these two villains their will.
Unfortunately, those carrying this dishonest story are among the most influential voices in our society: left-leaning politicians and the mainstream media who support them. And the only possible answer to the question "why?" is the simple one-word answer: "Politics." Those on the left are so set against President Bush, against any Republican serving in nationwide office, that they would undermine their own country's strength in order to undermine his.
So they tell lie after lie, about President Bush, his actions, his motives. More cruelly, they tell lies about the brave men who are fighting and dying for our security in deserts halfway around the world from home. The US Armed Forces valiantly destroyed the base of Al-Quaeda and their allies, the Taliban of Afghanistan. They then brilliantly drove up the heart of the country of Iraq and in a matter of days took the capital Baghdad. In both cases, they took great care to minimize the impact on civilians, not only in terms of precious lives, but also of essential infrastructure.
Now they are rebuilding both countries, reopening schools and hospitals, repairing plants and lines for water, gas and oil. Even more importantly, they are building relationships with local citizens, gathering information on where the continuing threats are coming from, and teaching those who want to build their country how to be police and firefighters, leaders and legislators. Both countries are physically well on the way to restoration, and politically more free and representative than ever before.
Meanwhile, in this country and around the world, we are tracking, finding and stopping jihadi terrorists who are still intent on killing us and destroying our civilization. Over 1,000 proven terrorists have been captured, and many more killed. And although the terrorists have enjoyed some bloody successes, over 100 intended attacks have been thwarted. Despite threats and attempts, no further major attack has occurred in America. This has been done with a minimum of disruption to our own lives, and even with sensitivity to non-jihadist Muslims.
Yet still we hear the constant drumbeat of negativity from the hostile media. Why are they so loath to pass on the good news? Why don't they want Americans to be proud of their own country, and solicitous for her security? Could it be, could it possibly be, that they are so small-minded that they would rather see us suffer than to see George Bush prosper and be popular?
Fortunately for us, President Bush himself is of opposite mind. If he had to do something unpopular in order to protect our country, so unpopular that it would cost him re-election, he would do it in a moment. He is better and finer than his opponents in this: his country is more important to him than that word, "Politics."
The truth of 9-11-2003 is that we are, as President Bush told us two years ago, in a war that will be long and hard-fought. The truth is that we are winning that war, and winning it honorably. The truth is that we are taking the fight to the terrorists' back yard, instead of letting them bring it to ours. And, the truth is, no matter how hard the Left tries to spin it, that we are winning that war because of the leadership of President George W. Bush.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
If the computer didn't have a problem, then the inmate would have fallen into a vacant room and might not have been caught. (Especially if he had found an extra robe in the judge's closet.) The big question this leaves is who should get the credit. Microsoft takes most of the blame for viruses written by mailcious hackers, so they get the credit for this one.
They'll hold hands, light candles, and pass around a plateful of platitudes: 'Never forget,' they'll intone. 'Let's roll,' they'll thunder. 'God bless America,' they'll warble in perfect harmony.
They'll assure us that they are committed to fighting terror and securing our borders and doing whatever it takes to protect the homeland from another horrific mass murder at the hands of freedom-hating fanatics. And then?
One recent morning, I was attempting to remove the tangles from the long blonde hair of my daughter. In an attempt to distract her from the pain I was causing, I asked her where the tangles come from. She had no suggestions, so I speculated about the existence of the Knot-Man, a miserable creature who sneaks into houses at night and ties people's hair into knots as they sleep. Her response was "Daddy, that's silly!"; a sentiment often aired within our residence.
Through the course of the next several days, I continued to express disdain for this nocturnal fiend as I removed the offending knots from her hair. Soon, she was playing along too. One morning she told me that she thought the Knot-Man was invisible, although I am at a loss to accurately represent her charming pronunciation of the word.
It wasn't until one Saturday morning, when I discovered my recent invention had evolved into legend. Our neighbor came over and before I knew it, I had two four-year old girls chasing me around the house, calling me the Knot-Man. I complied by chasing them back and messing up their hair from time to time. Eventually, I moved on to more mundane tasks, but their game continued with an imaginary antagonist. As they played, my oldest boy heard my daughter tell her friend that the Knot-Man was crying. Curious, he inquired why our invisible friend was so sad. Her response:
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
UPDATE: The death toll from the two bombings has risen to 14 as of 9:48pm C.S.T.
Monday, September 08, 2003
That's what's in store for the Middle East in the wake of the resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, according to online commentators in the region. The exit of Abbas, in combination with Israel's attempted assassination on Saturday of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual founder of Hamas, is widely seen as the demise of the Bush administration’s 'road map' for peace.
The failure of the peace process has nothing to do with the resignation of Abbas; however, the resignation of Abbas has everything to do with the failure of the Palestinians to uphold their agreed responsibilities under the "roadmap". It is obvious that Abbas is not entirely to blame for this failure. Arafat refused to cede the necessary control to his puppet Prime Minister, and the terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad could not control their lust for Jewish blood for the requisite two months.
The article ends with this telling quotation: