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Saturday, September 13, 2003

Water War 

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

News From Iraq 

Two interesting pieces of news have come out of Iraq over the past 24 hours.

The Bad News: This NY Times article details more casualties both of U.S. Troops and of Iraqi police officers.

In a rash of violence against American-led coalition troops in Iraq, two coalition soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded by rebels in three separate incidents in the past 24 hours, the American military said today.

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.

As always, any word of death is tragic - friendly fire incidents even more so. Yet, combat losses will happen while the United States remains at war. The war over Iraq may be over but the war against terror is not. Both solders who died were involved in a raid on Saddam loyalists, who obviously still have weapons and are still fighting. These remaining thugs are not an army; they are terrorists. They wait for a convoy to pass by and then launch a RPG at it. Then they turn tail and run for a crowd in an attempt to disappear. They fear the troops, and for good reason. Sweet is freedom and so bitter the blood that was, is and will be shed to preserve it.

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:

U.S. military forces in northern Iraq captured 80 foreign fighters from several Arab countries on suspicion that they are part of a new al Qaeda offensive against American troops, officials said yesterday. Pentagon officials said the suspected terrorists were nabbed by the Army's 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment between Mosul and the Syrian border.

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.

Now for the comparison between the two stories: Using Google News as a guide, there are 534 articles relating to the two soldiers lost in combat plus the friendly fire incident. Searching for articles related to the capture of 80 foreign terrorists in Iraq yielded a mere 2 articles.

News bias? Absolutely...biased towards bad news it would seem.

The Council Has Spoken 

The Watcher's Council has met and has voted on the posts of the week:

   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

Hamas restraint 

USS Clueless has a very insightful article about Hamas and the "restraint" they have shown:
The idea that Hamas had somehow been practicing restraint in selection of targets is laughable. The reason Hamas hasn't been targeting homes is that they're lousy targets for the kind of attacks Hamas has primarily been making.

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 post is quite long but high quality from start to finish. Highly recommended reading! (Hat-tip to Joyful Christian)

The Truth of 9-11-2003 

The following essay was written by Jerez2 at Free Republic. It was originally posted here and she has graciously given me permission to post it today (9/11):
On September 11, 2001, the United State was attacked by jihadi terrorists, zealots intent on destroying our open, free and prosperous society. Two years later, our country has awakened to the frightful fact that war has been declared upon us, and we are deeply involved in fighting and winning that war.

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

Carnival of the Vanities 

The 51st Carnival of the Vanities is posted at Admiral Quixote's Roundtable. No matter what your tastes are, you will find something there to interest you.

Microsoft Fights Crime 

Interesting events in a Decatur, Georgia courthouse:
An inmate found himself before a judge sooner than he expected when he fell through the courthouse ceiling into the judge's chambers while trying to escape Monday.
The judge was in the courtroom at the time, but a computer technician was in the room. He took a break from repairing the judge's computer and called for security officers. The inmate was captured in the hall outside the office.

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.

Spitting On Their Graves 

From the latest must read article from Michelle Malkin (Townhall.com):
Across the nation, public officials will strike somber poses and shed television-friendly tears and bow their blow-dried heads in memory of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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?

And then what? Go read the article and find out.

The Knot-Man is Crying 

Innocence IncarnateWith Autumn come changes in every arena of life. Recently, the Queen (may she live forever) changed from the world's most beautiful homemaker into the world's most beautiful music teacher. Her early departure time has transferred new responsibilities onto my worn shoulders. In addition to my role as King of Fools, I have also become the Duke of Dishes, the Magnate of the Made Bed and the Prince of Pony Tails. The coffee can full of hair bands, ribbons and barrettes has been annexed into my domain; although the ribbons continue to confound my bow-impaired hands.

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:

"He is crying because daddy doesn't have enough hair for him to tie knots in."
At the time, I was not sure if she was referring to the length or lack of hair on my head. Within a few hours, the answer became apparent. She was sitting next to me as our family ate lunch together. During the meal, I heard her tender voice ask "Daddy?" I turned to see her staring at me and she continued her statement.
Daddy, you are running out of hair."

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The Oslo Difference 

The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise has a table of all Major Palestinian Terror Attacks since Oslo posted here. This list does not include the two bombings today. Ten more dead, four in Jerusalem and six near Tel Aviv.

UPDATE: The death toll from the two bombings has risen to 14 as of 9:48pm C.S.T.

Early 9/11 Party 

If you have not read Allah's blog, you should head on over and take a look. This entry describes their annual 9/11 party:
Then there were the decorations. On one side of the room were large banners glorifying the magnificent 19 and their American supporters, and on the other side were posters alleging that the Zionist entity was behind it. So for the entire night shahids were forced into retarded conversations like, 'We drink to those who rained fire and death upon the Great Satan!' 'To Mossad!' 'NO! To Osama! . . . who was, uh, framed by Mossad?' What was even more retarded was that Allah took the mike at one point and TOLD THEM to stop being so stupid, that of course it was the mujahedeen who had done it. And still they could not quite believe it! What can Allah say, infidels, except that you can't teach old anti-Semites new tricks. Eventually a consensus was reached that Osama had somehow hypnotized Mossad into doing it and people seemed happy with that.
Allah does seem a bit grouchy most of the time. Could it be the strain of having to come up with so many virgins in such a short time due to Israel's new Hamas instant martyrdom plan?

Monday, September 08, 2003

Abbas Departs 

The Washington Post weighs in on the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas:
More violence. The revival of Yasser Arafat. Assassination attempts on Israeli cabinet ministers. The strengthening of Ariel Sharon. More violence. The expulsion of Yasser Arafat. More violence.

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.

It is interesting that the article fails to mention the abject failure of Abbas to exercise control over the Palestinian terror organizations. It does not mention that the ceasefire was violated by Hamas in violent fashion. If the roadmap is dead, it is because terrorists have instead decided to take the conflict off-road.

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:

With only slight hyperbole, Islam Online , a Persian Gulf Web site, says "The situation is on the verge of explosion."
Nonsense. The explosion started with the bombs going off in pizza parlors and busses at at security check points. If one particular explosion is to have any significance, it is not one coming in the future but the one that claimed 22 lives on August 19th. That bus bombing, during a cease-fire no less, started the action against terror organizations by the IDF. The civilized world is praying that it continue until the terror organizations are completely wiped out. Only then can any road be mapped, and only then can it be traveled without fear of land mines.

Interview 

Patriot Paradox is running an interview series called Conservative Views. Today's interview is with your humble king, under my Free Republic name: ChewedGum. If you want to know a little more about me, you can read it here. (But be forewarned, it is a pretty long read.)