Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Blog

This week's syndicated column:

Ah, to be in Vienna at Yuletide. Streets sparkle with the lights of the Christkindlmarkts, the traditional markets that spring up for the season. Skaters circle the rink outside the picturesque Rathaus (City Hall). Merrymakers warm their hands on cups of gluhwein (mulled wine). What could possibly be missing?

Freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech no longer exists in Austria, as definitively proven by the Vienna high court. This week, a judge upheld the conviction against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on the following charge: "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion." In simplest terms, this means that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaks the truth about Islam, and in Austria, as in other nations across the Western world currently transitioning to sharia (Islamic law), speaking the truth about Islam is not tolerated, and, more and more, is against the law.

What did my friend Elisabeth say that the Vienna high court ruled verboten?...

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L. Paul Bremer visits the Women's Center in Karbala, February 2004

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Another entry in the Iraq "journal" -- a column from February 2004, reposted below.

The set-up: It's nearly one year after the US invasion, and nearly eight years before US troops finally withdraw from Iraq. We are at a turning point only we don't know it. In fact, the charade is becoming untenable even before the props are all in place. Looking back, naive US hopes for "equal rights" in Islamic Iraq promoted around a "women's center" in Karbala (described below) are emblematic of the policy failures to come. Almost symbolically, the following month in March 2004, the center's leading proponent, Fern Holland, a 34-year-old CPA employee, would be shot and killed by men in Iraqi police uniforms.

More directly pertinent to US policy, the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council (remember them?) had just voted in December 2003 to remove family law from secular jurisdiction and place it under sharia (Islamic law), relegating...

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The retrospective continues.

Trouble from the start.

4.23.03

"How democratic will Iraqi democracy be?"

After roughly 100 Iraqi exiles, sheiks and clerics gathered in a fortified and air-conditioned tent in Iraq this week to begin piecing together their country's future, U.S. Central Command headquarters released a 13-point summary of the meeting that included the outcome of the historic first vote in Saddam-free Iraq. The Iraqi proto-body voted to meet again in 10 days, and also voted on a string of high-minded resolutions.

Point one said "Iraq must be a democracy"; point three said "the rule of law must be paramount"; and point four stated that the country "must be built on respect for diversity including the role of women." No word as yet on how "respect" for "diversity including the role of women" translates into legal or political...

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This second piece in my "from the vault" retrospective dates all the way back to 2002. It stands as a reminder of how assiduously George W. Bush played Islamic booster-in-chief after 9/11 -- a role that did great damage in confusing and stifling national debate. Meanwhile, though, in 2002 I'm still holding out at least some faint hope for Islamic reform, which I later came to realize would be nice and everything but was no strategy for Uncle Sam to hang everything on. This column also marks what may be the first appearance of one of this blog's all-time faves, Abu "Has George Bush Ever Actually Read the Koran?" Qatada. NB: Khaled Abou El Fadl, referred to below as an "outspoken liberal Muslim," has since been unmasked as a stealth jihadist. Oh well.

11.26.02

"Something to contemplate this Ramadan"

Part of me wanted to let Ramadan, Islam's month-long holiday of contemplative fasting and Thanksgiving, slide. Sure, there has been a mini-surge in published musings by American...

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From the WSJ:

German engineering giant Siemens AG is adding heft to its campaign to win more business with the U.S. government by appointing former U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to a supervisory role.

The company is expected to announce Monday that the retired four-star general will chair a board overseeing a newly created unit aimed at securing more and bigger contracts with the federal government.

What's the old line: Old soliders don't fade away; they just become ... lobbyists?

Writing a weekly column is much like keeping a journal. It preserves thoughts and events of the day that would otherwise slip or blur in memory. Now that US forces have withdrawn from Iraq, I decided to look back on some of my many weekly entries on the topic to see if any of them might be of use in taking stock of what happened -- and what didn't happen.

Here, from the vault, is a column published almost exactly 5 years ago to the day on something that had just been newly announced in Washington: the "surge."

12.23.06: "The pitfalls of `victory' in Iraq"

Sure, let's go ahead and say this new "troop surge" being bandied about Washington comes off, and tens of thousands of additional American troops pacify enough of Iraq to pull off what President Bush this week called the Iraqi dream -- "a stable government that can defend, govern and sustain itself."

OK. So then what? It's not hard to imagine that the United States would take the first opportunity to wish that dream-come-true...

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A November update from Scott and Vicki Behenna (which I missed it when it arrived in my inbox last month):

To the thousands of supporters of 1Lt Michael Behenna, It has been awhile since we sent out an update.  Michael's lawyers have filed the petition to the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF).  The CAAF is the highest court for the military justice system and is similar to the Supreme Court as they do not have to take your appeal.  There were four issues on Michael's case presented to the CAAF and we would expect to hear within 30-60 days whether the CAAF will hear his case.  If the CAAF does not choose to hear any of the issues, then Michael’s appeals are done. So you can see the importance of this appeal.  We desperately need your prayers so that Michael’s conviction will be seen by the CAAF for what it is – an abomination of the military justice system.  The CAAF judges...

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This week's column:

I wish I could find the perfect label for the depths of denial and the heights of delusion manifested in Frederick and Kimberly Kagan's latest declarations on Iraq, published this week in The Washington Post as "opinion."

"Fantasy," is more like it. The premise of these two military advisers closely associated with the "surge" strategy in Iraq is that Western-style nation-building there failed not because the policy was an exercise in hothouse academic utopianism (leftist cant) that withered in the real-world conditions of the Islamic Republic of Iraq, but because the exercise didn't go on long enough.

Even as our troops withdraw after eight fruitless years, the husband-wife team still sees "American core interests" in Iraq, including "ensuring that Iraq contributes to the security of the Middle East, rather than undermining it through state collapse, civil war or the establishment of a sectarian dictatorship."

Is that all? Ensuring that Iraq doesn't collapse, enter civil war or establish a sectarian dictatorship requires an indefinite occupation on a colossal scale (why?) or the total transformation of Iraqi Man (read: Muslim Man), which is the Frankensteinian basis of "winning hearts and minds," the cornerstone of counterinsurgency theory (COIN).

...

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If I were a psychiatrist I could find the perfect label for the depths of denial or the heights of delusion that manifest themselves in Frederick and Kimberly Kagan's latest declarations on Iraq published in the Washington Post as "opinion." "Fantasy" is a more like it. Their premise is that the American nation-building exercise in Iraq failed not because nation-building is pure academic utopianism (leftist cant) that withers in real-world conditions (Islam), but because the exercise didn't go on long enough.

They pre-emptively score Prez Obama for the happy talk that's the predictable outcome  of his meeting today with Iraq's Maliki. Fair enough. The image of Iraq he is sure to present, they write, "is a mirage." But if we're talking about disconnection from reality, the Kagans have once again pulled their own plug.

They write:

Even after the last U.S. soldier departs, America’s core interests in Iraq include:

●Ensuring that Iraq contributes to the security of the Middle East, rather than undermining it through state collapse, civil war or the establishment of a sectarian dictatorship;

...

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Sapper Elijah Bond, 24, was born in Havant, Hampshire and grew up in St Austell, Cornwall. He joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in August 2008. He died from wounds sustained from an IED in Afghanistan on Thursday.

From the BBC report:

He had a vibrant personality and in quieter moments was an excellent chess player, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said. ...

"It was whilst on an engineer reconnaissance patrol helping to plan vital infrastructure for the local population that he paid the ultimate price."

RIP.

This week's syndicated column:

Last month, I noted that Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia had written to national archivist David S. Ferriero on Nov. 7, asking him to open the records of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Ferriero has summarily sealed for 20 years. Guess what? Webb's office tells me it still hasn't received a reply. Where's Wikileaks when you need it?

It's been about a year since the furor crescendoed over Wikileaks (see here, here, here, for example). Actually, "furor" is too mild a term. This was baying for blood. (Charles Krauthammer and Mike Huckabee talked about "execution," while Sarah Palin practically called in a drone strike herself.) Then and now, I consider the revelations of lying, incompetence and betrayal of foundational principle, as revealed by the Wikileaks organization's massive dumps of classified documents, to be a public service.

We heard an awful lot...

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Question: When the Libyan "military" comes to US staff colleges -- a real possibility-- do they get to bring their flags of al Qaeda with them?

This is a joke, right? I'm dreaming, aren't I? Either give me a pitchfork, or wake me up when it's over.

From USA Today:

The United States is in discussions with Libya over ways to help rebuild the country's military, which the U.S. military considers essential to unify the country and bring rival militias under national control.

We're looking for ways in which we can be helpful," said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. "They have...

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"We are working closely with the Afghan government to wean the Afghan economy off international assistance and lay the foundation for sustainable, private-sector-led growth."

-- Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and cheerleader for "the New Silk Road."



The new three musketeers?

From Pakistan's The Nation: "OIC, Russia and China Put Weight Behind Pakistan"

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), China and Russia rallied behind Pakistan expressed “deep shock” over Nato airstrikes that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead and called for an investigation into the incident.

“China is deeply shocked at the incident and expresses strong concerns and deep condolences to the victims in Pakistan,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing. “China believes that Pakistan’s independent sovereignty and territory should be respected and that this incident should be earnestly investigated and handled in a serious manner.”

...

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Dunno why I never thought of it before, but Hillary Clinton, with her diplomatic background in cattle futures, Whitewater and shaking down donors to her husband's library-foundation in exchange for political favors, is perfectly attuned to the needs and desires of corrupto-stans and baksheeshlands....Uh-oh.

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"Afghans Say Assistance Will Be Needed for Years," the NYT reports from the Bonn conference on Afghanistan. As in $10 billion per year until 2024, says Karzai. But there's a problem: Most of the money goes down the drain and/or into McMansions -- Mo-Mansions? --in Dubai for corrupto-klepto-baksheesho-crats.

Speaker after speaker — including Mr. Karzai — described corruption and poor governance as obstacles to the country’s development, factors that have caused reluctance among many countries about sending aid, especially given the economic crises in Europe and the United States.

...

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Had a chance to speak with Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio yesterday about Afghanistan, what they're calling the New Silk Road, what I'm calling "the new Afghan man," COIN, three cups and more.

Audio here.




C.W. Callahan, chief of staff for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, who set the September 14, 2011 guidelines prohibiting visitors to “wounded, ill, and injured partners in care” from giving away or using Bibles in the hospital.

Who advised him?

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From Todd Starnes, Fox News and Commentary:

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said they are rescinding a policy that prohibits family members of wounded military troops from bringing Bibles or any religious reading materials to their loved ones.

The decision to rescind the ban on Bibles came exactly one day after a Republican lawmaker denounced the policy...

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"Hey Jack, which way to Mecca?"

Peter Arno, The New Yorker, 1938

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This week's syndicated column:

Having written countless columns and blog posts arguing that the see-no-Islam counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) has led to failure in two wars in the umma and the dhimmification of the U.S. military, it's almost funny to see the debate more or less officially joined over my recent column on what appears to be simply the gross-out, PG-13 movie topic of peeing toward Mecca. Or, rather, not peeing toward Mecca.

The latter is the lesson that an Afghan Muslim contractor has been teaching Marines before they deploy to Afghanistan, in accordance with an Islamic canonical hadith called "The Prohibition of Facing the Qiblah When Relieving Oneself." But maybe the debate had to take this excretory turn with the Pentagon awash...

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Photo by Paul Avallone

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Since I can't quite get over the latest on Greg Mortenson, I went back to examining the disgraced author-guru's unrenounced, unrepudiated impact on US COIN strategy in Afghanistan, a large subject I've touched on before. In a nutshell, as written here:

Mortenson's unusual life as counselor to generals started back in September 2007, when then-Lt. Col. Christopher D. Kolenda "reached out" to him. Kolenda's wife had sent "Three Cups" to Kolenda in Afghanistan where, as the New York Times put it, "Kolenda knew well the instructions about building relationships with elders that were in the Army and Marine Corps' new counterinsurgency manual, which had been released in late 2006. But 'Three Cups of Tea' brought the lessons to life."

By the end of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported,...

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Happier days.

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Greg Mortenson update.

NPR reported on October 3 that legal action against Mortenson continues to grind ahead in both a class action suit brought on behalf of the four to five million people who bought Three Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools, and a fraud investigation by the Montana Attorney General's office. As a  reporter for the Missoulian newspaper noted, "Greg Mortenson has been silent on this. He did not come to the court hearing two weeks ago in Missoula. His schedule on his website has been unavailable for appearances. He has been recovering from heart surgery he had back in June. So he's just a no-show."

But it turns out he almost made a scheduled November 12 appearance at a senior center in Southern California where he would have collected a cool $38,000 just for showing up. And he would have collected $19,000...

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Missed this little gem of last May about Gen. Stanley McChrystal's evening with the International Relations Society at Oxford.

From a write-up in The Express Tribune by Mohammed Ali Rai, a Rhodes Scholar and one of the hosts of the event:



Soon after this the topic changed to what everyone had come to hear about — the general’s perspective on the Bin Laden episode. Instead of bashing Pakistan, McChrystal showed his mettle and worth — he argued that the US has made a lot of mistakes with Pakistan, and Pakistan has also made an equal number of mistakes, and there is no point in sticking to these mistakes. He continued that Bin Laden is dead and that should be the end of the story. He rationally argued that the only way out is to look forward to the future, and build up on a solid and trustworthy partnership that is beneficial for both states.

...

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This (past) week's syndicated column:

The last hot meal to be served at Camp Victory, the largest of 505 military bases once operated by the United States in Iraq, was a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 20. Cooks served more than 2,000 pounds of turkey and more than 3,000 pounds of mashed potatoes to 6,000-plus military personnel.

Doing the dishes this time also meant shutting down the kitchen. That's because Camp Victory, one of only 10 U.S. bases still in operation, will be closed soon. According to the agreement signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush and implemented by President Barack Obama, the U.S. military in Iraq is coming home.

Praises be. So what if the U.S. withdrawal comes only after Obama was unable to convince Iraq to extend its welcome under tenable conditions? I'll take it, and give thanks. I am very sorry Camp Victory troops are on cold rations until they finally return stateside next month, but I am thankful to be able to see the day when they will have left Iraq...

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What's worse in the eyes of Western elites? Gang rapes of female journalists covering Tahrir Square, or female journalists not covering Tahrir Square so as not to be gang-raped?

After another brutal sexual assault this week in Tahrir Square, this time of French journalist Caroline Sinz, and after Egyptian-American journallist Mona At-Tahtawy was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Egyptian police after being detained (her arm was broken in two places), Reporters Sans Frontieres came to a logical conclusion: Editors should not be assigning women journalists to Cairo: They might be gang-raped, either by mobs or mobs of police.

Makes sense to me.

This -- "discrimination" against women (not the gang rapes) --...

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"The Che Guevara Store" is having its 50-percent-off Black Friday sale, unironically.

 

A timeless image, seemingly from British history. It was taken this week in Yorkshire at the funeral of British Army Private Matthew Haseldin, 21, who was shot and killed in Helmand province on November 3 while "part of an operation to maintain freedom of movement for the local population."

No doubt the Afghan "local population" was won over, COIN heart and COIN mind, by Haseldin's sacrifice.

It happened again.  There we were, going from one happy-dappy government account of COIN success in Sangin District at DVIDS  --

With the use of counter insurgency operations, or COIN, the Marines are finding new ways to remove the insurgent networks from areas and assisting local villages in creating the peace the people of this area desire. “We’re going to go out there and get with the people…the population is the objective,” said 3rd Recon Bn. Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Travis Homiak ....

-- to a second DVIDS report on COIN success in Garmsir, when the dark side of reality intruded for a brief moment, like a rain cloud passing the sun.

Even as Marines go above and beyond even the call of COIN  -- helicoptering local elders to the Marine base to hold shuras for them??? ("There is only so much we can do for the people," said an Afghan partner-commander, a little incredulousness perhaps showing through) -- even as Recon Marines go Oprah for the cause (Afghans “just...

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After 12 visits to Afghanistan in five years, Telegraph defense correspondent Thomas Harding is trying really, really hard to be positive about NATO, and, particularly, British gains. Now,  Harding writes, after decade of Western blood and treausre, Afghan farmers know how to trellis their grape vines so the fruit doesn't moulder on the ground -- bringing the state of Afghan agriculture up to 5th-century-BC Minoan standards! The Afghan local police is taking shape, he writes. "Young, jobless men are given a little training and ordered to guard their area against the Taliban." Ah, sweet security.

Nice try. Now for the nitty gritty:

So, what will be Nato’s legacy? The police, on whom security will largely depend, are...

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As Americans move on out of Iraq, they are figuring out what to take, what to leave behind.

From the New York Times (via Business Standard)

One item staying is General David H Petraeus's bed. For nearly a decade he and all other commanding generals in Iraq slept, strangely, in a bed with a pastel-hued, lacquered headboard depicting in frieze two doves clasping ribbons in their beaks, against a field of pink and blue poppies.

When American troops commandeered the palace complex that included this room for barracks and headquarters early in the war they retained the original French Provincial-style furnishings, including the bed.

Aha. It was all those "hearts and flowers," night after cloying night, that led to the "hearts and minds" fiasco.

Gen. Petraeus ordered up the renovation of a water park in Bagdhad in 2008. It opened to much fanfare in 2009, and was nearly waterless and in ruins by 2011. The loss of $1 million in costs (not including military resources), is just a drop in the bucket.

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This week's syndicated column:

When the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan closed shop on Sept. 30, it reported its "sobering but conservative" estimate that U.S. taxpayers had lost between $31 billion and $60 billion in waste and fraud of the $206 billion Uncle Sam has spent on contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, that's not all. According to the commission's final report, "a similar amount could be lost due to unsustainable projects and programs."

These staggering, if "conservative," figures are the result of three years of the commission's work, including 25 hearings and eight reports to Congress. What the commission neglected to mention in its final press release, however,...

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From DutchNews.nl:

Three Dutch Moroccans have made a complaint against the Netherlands to the UN court of human rights, claiming the Dutch state has not protected them from incitement to hatred instigated by Geert Wilders, Nos television reports.

The three, who are not named in the court filing, say the ‘systematic incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims and other migrants’ committed by Wilders has left them feeling ‘discriminated against, humiliated and threatened’.

‘They are of the opinion that Wilders by his continued hate speech has poisoned the social climate in the Netherlands that has become more and more anti-migrant and anti-Muslim,’ the statement says.

Wilders was taken to court for discrimination and inciting hatred last year but found not guilty this spring after the public prosecution department called for all charges to be dropped.

One-sided

...

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The Marines respond to the North County Times story I cited in a recent column, as reported in the Greeley (CO) Gazette:

The [North County Times] report mentioned that one of the trainers, Shafiq Mubarak, from the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (COACL), told the Marines that in order to avoid offending Muslims in Afghanistan; they should not urinate towards Mecca.

“Mubarak also said the Marines should never spit or urinate to the west, the direction of Mecca that Muslims in Afghanistan face when they...

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Saudi Arabia -- sorry, "The Kingdom" -- is going ballistic over a 30-second commercial currently airing on Fox Business Network. Does Prince Talal know?

With thanks to Kathy Shaidle:





NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- EthicalOil.org fights Saudi "lawfare" by expanding campaign's reach

EthicalOil.org, a grassroots advocacy organization that educates consumers about the choice between ethical oil from Canada's oil sands and conflict oil from some of the world's most repressive regimes, is now airing a television ad in the United States that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is actively trying to block in Canada.

The 30 second television...

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This week's syndicated column:

We haven't had a good, old-fashioned "feeding frenzy," a la Herman Cain, for a long time – maybe not since the days of Dan Quayle. I'm talking about the kind of media wilding where someone is a whole person one day, and then, whoosh, the piranhas swim in and a gnawed carcass is all that remains. It's especially hard to look at when the victim joins in to shoot himself in the foot, but that's another story.

What interests me more is whether we can draw from the Cain case the conclusion that "women," as a group defined exclusively by sex, are exhibiting a new or finally realized power in society. Judging by the attention and gravity with which the sexual harassment charges are being treated, and judging by the perils these charges pose to the presidential run of this newly popular figure on the political Right, a Martian might be forgiven for concluding that the role and stature of women in society is supreme.

But a Martian would be wrong. The political...

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I don't get this. Two US Senators, Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb, co-sponsor legislation in 2008 to create a commission to investigate wartime contracting. Commission investigates -- finding between $31 and $60 billion in fraud and waste in contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and shuts down in September 2011. (Isn't there still wartime contracting in progress in A-stan? Oh well.) Also in September, the commission transfers its no doubt voluminous records to the National Archive and suggests? asks? stipulates? that the records be under seal for twenty years. 

Does a Senate-created, taxpayer-funded "commission" have the legal authority to do that?

Well, it did.

Sens. McCaskill and Webb had no idea the wartime contracting commission they helped create had taken steps to deep-six the evidence for almost a generation. In a letter of November...

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So glad the media are dwelling endlessly on the  Herman Cain sexual harassment accusations, leaving much less important stories such as this one off the front page:

Wartime Contracting Commission Seals Records for Next Twenty Years

Not so fast?

AP reports:

U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb want the federal government to allow public access to records from a commission that investigated wartime contracts.

The two Democratic senators say the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to seal its records from public review for 20 years. But McCaskill, of Missouri, and Webb, of Virginia, want the U.S. archivist to disclose the records "as quickly as possible."

Webb and McCaskill...

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Two breaking stories out of Afghanistan:

1) Big firefight in Paktika Province at COP Margah, which this blog has been keeping an eye on for a while. Sixty jihadis killed, all Americans okay.

BBC reports:

Two senior Afghan intelligence officials told the BBC the attack was "very close to Pakistan", adding: "Sixty insurgents carrying so many weapons could have not crossed from Pakistan without the help of Pakistani security forces - it is either that or they turned a blind eye."

Pakistan says it does all it can to halt insurgent activity.

Karzai's big pal Pakistan.

2) At Patrol Base Basir in Uruzgan province, where most of our Australian allies are stationed, a "rogue" ANA soldier is on the run after opening fire from a tower with an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher and seriously wounding three Australian soldiers. How he got down from the tower and away we don't know.

From...

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As the USA feeds on a sexual-harassment frenzy involving Herman Cain, women and the men who love them should pay special attention to the invaluable blog Vlad Tepes where a couple of vital instructional videos are posted today.

One is a harrowing half-hour report on "gang grooming" in Britain (I'm still shaking). This apparently decade-old, predominantly Pakistani practice of "grooming" very young, predominantly native British girls as sexual props for personal and business (prostitutional) use has now reached epidemic proportions. (The narrative attempts to portray the EDL and the BNP as villains for speaking out about the predominantly Pakistani identity of the rapists and criminals involved, but knots itself up in its own frustration with governmental silence on the perps' ethnicity.) 

The second is a brief report about a Serbian spa town of...

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Dementia advances in Afghanistan, courtesy the US taxpayer, who spent about $12 billion on training Afghans between October 2010 and September 2011. Not that it stopped there: $11 billion is pledged for the year ahead through September 2012.

Just think how many perfectly gorgeous Standard Poodles you could train for $23 billion dollars. And the world would be a better place....

On a recent graduation day for over 1,000 Afghan army soldiers, Reuters reports the alarming thoughts of Amlaqullah Patyani,  the Afghan general in charge of all Afghan training.

Surveying his new soldiers, Patyani said:

"We have no clue how to operate the weapons that NATO gives us. And even if we did, will the weapons keep coming after 2014?" ...

This is not a joke, not a satire. It's the gigantic Afghani$tan $candal, but it's dying alone, deprived of  media oxygen in the tabloid atmosphere dominated by Herman Cain accusers and moral turpitude in the Penn State Football office.

One...

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Equally as shocking as the malevolent but somehow also banal comments of Sarkozy and Obama regarding Netanyahu is the protection accorded them by the ladies and gennemen of the Fourth Estate who were listening in on the old, inavertently open mike. If it weren't for a French website called "Arret sur Images," we wouldn't have the story.

From Ynet (via Drudge):



The surprising lack of coverage may be explained by a report alleging that journalists present at the event were requested to sign an agreement to keep mum on the embarrassing comments. A Reuters reporter was among the journalists present and can confirm the veracity of the comments.

A member of the media confirmed Monday that "there were discussions between journalists and they agreed not to publish the comments due to the sensitivity of the issue."

He added that while it was annoying to have to refrain from publishing the information, the journalists are subject to precise rules of conduct.

Yes, master.

...

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This week's syndicated column:

Uncle Sam is getting a little weird. Make that a lot weird. Having dumped hundreds of billions of dollars into a sinkhole called Afghanistan – populated by misogynistic, pederastic, tribalistic and religiously supremacist primitives – to no avail, he has hit on a new plan for winning those ever-elusive Afghan "hearts and minds."

Uncle Sam has decided that the answer lies in the latrine with the U.S. Marine Corps. No kidding. When nature calls, Uncle Sam has decided he wants every U.S. Marine equipped with a map and compass, or some other way of knowing direction. This is to ensure that no U.S. Marine in Afghanistan urinates in the direction of Mecca ever again.

Now, there's a winning strategy.

It's still OK, of course, to spread baksheesh (payola) indiscriminately, chase jihadis into twisting mountain gorges, clear any road laced with improvised explosives – blow up, even, and bleed all over the place. Just make sure your sense of direction is sharp when it really counts.

...

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From NeighborNewspapers.com

Scott “Boots” Harper of Douglasville is remembered by friends and family for his smile, his warmth and his love for his friends.

The U.S. Marine was 21 when he was killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 13. His father, Brian Harper of Carrollton, heard from a fellow soldier’s father the story of how he died.

An Afghani translator or guide led a squad of 13 Marines into a village.

“He led them right into an ambush,” Harper said.

One Marine was shot in the chest and arm and fell to the ground.

“Scott ran into the gunfire to try to get this guy out...

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What journalist wouldn't want to be Paris Bureau Chief for Time magazine, or anything else? Sounds so glamorous. But look closer and the job qualifications -- sharia-compliance -- are more than a little off-putting, certainly as exemplified by the man with the job, Bruce Crumley, on weighing in on the bombing of Charlie Hebdo. Poor man. Full-blown, late-stage and terminal Dhimmitude.

Excerpts from his Time piece:

1) "Not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy ..."

2) It's "hard to have much synpathy for [Charlie Hebdo] after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary...

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Germany and Turkey are marking the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Turkish "guest workers" as Recep "Islam Is Islam and That's it" Erdogan visits Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Is this a happy occasion? 

Before answering that question, bone up on the history of Ottoman-era "satellite" colonies via Andrew Bostom, as well as the history-repeating pattern visible 20 years ago, as Bostom found, to the late German scholar of dhimmi history Karl Binswanger. Suddenly, you will know the reason that Erdogan's latest demand of Merkel -- that Turks in Germany be allowed to hold dual citizenship -- is so sinister. Will Merkel know it, too?

Almost worse is Erdogan's jarring recourse to romance to camouflage his aggression.

From Spiegel Online:

...

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The gutted offices of Charlie Hebdo, Paris. Under Islamic law -- not Islamist law -- Molotov Cocktails replace letters to the editor

Update: The "offending" cover via Vlad Tepes:



"100 lashes if you don't die of laughter"

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The Daily Mail reports:

"Offices of French magazine torched after latest edition mocked Prophet [sic] Mohammed"

First, notice the religiously correct references to Mohammed. My old AP Stylebook recommends "Mohammed," plain and simple, to denote "the founder of the of Islamic religion" -- not "the Prophet Mohammed," as the Daily Mail story calls him. This title is inflected with the obeisance of acceptance.  (I note also that my old AP Stylebook recommends "Jesus," not "the Son of God Jesus.") The magazine, by the way, was commenting on the rising power and fortunes of sharia and its...

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An Afghan National Army soldier opened fire and murdered three and wounded seven members of an Australian military training team in southern Afghanistan.yesterday. The ANA soldier attacked his own Mentoring Task Force 3 just as they ended a regular weekly parade at a forward operating base at Shah Wali Kot in Kandahar province.

To my best knowledge, that brings the grim toll of Afghan murders of their Western allies to 42 45 in the last 23 months.

The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that the loss of three Australians made this incident "the single deadliest attack on Australian forces during the entire Afghanistan campaign."

The Herald report continues:

Another Australian sustained life-threatening injuries and is likely to be airlifted to a military medical centre in Germany.

Another four Australians were seriously wounded while two suffered minor injuries. An Afghan interpreter was also killed.

Australian forces - including some of those who were wounded...

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Khaled bin Talal, brother to Alwaleed bin Talal, Fox News' top non-Murdoch shareholder

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The ethical and legal failings of the Murdoch clan have made headlines for months with James Murdoch kicking up the most dirt in the British phone hacking scandals, much to the discomfort of the News Corp. board and shareeholders.

But what are even unconsionable, unlawful  breaches of privacy next to putting bounties on the heads of Israeli soldiers to encourage their kidnappings? A close family member of another major New Corp. player has done exactly that.

From Haaretz:

"Saudi royal offers $900,000 for capture of Israeli soldiers"

A Saudi royal offered a $900,000 reward to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier, on Saturday. Prince Khaled bin Talal, the brother of business tycoon Walid bin Talal, told the Saudi-based broadcaster...

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Yesterday's post netted some valuable and vivid addenda.

1) From Andrew Bostom came the canonical hadith that suports Shafiq Mubarak's teachings to US Marines not to -- how to put it? -- excrete in the direction of Mecca. This, Andy explains, is more formally known as "facing the Qiblah," which means turning toward the Kabaa structure in Mecca.

From "The Book of Purification", Sunan An-Nasai (one of the 6 canonical hadith collections), vol. 1, chapter 19, p. 35, "The Prohibition of Facing the Qiblah When Relieving Oneself"   It was narrated from Rafi bin Ishaq that when he heard Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari say when he was in Egypt, "By Allah, I do not know what I should do with these toilets. The Messenger of Allah said: "When any one of you goes to defecate or urinate, let him not face toward the Qiblah, nor turn his back towards it."

And thus, Islamic Twister was born...?

...

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Gen. David Petraeus, Col. David Furness, and Shafiq Mubarak (far right). Mubarak served as Furness's "right hand" during a recent deployment. "I can't do anything without him," Furness said.

And who is Shafiq Mubarak? All I can find out is that he is a Pro Sol contractor (?) hired by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning to help implement "the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, the winning of hearts and minds." At least that's how Col. Furness puts it. According to the North County Times, Mubarak didn't come to the US until 2008 -- from where the story doesn't say -- but has been working with US troops in A-stan "for much of the past decade."

How is that? Why is that? Dunno. What the story does report is that Mubarak teaches the do's and don't's of sharia -- kind of, Islam for Leathernecks.

Mubarak teaches US Marines:

Don't spit toward...

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From Politico:

The Obama administration on Monday treaded carefully around the announcement that Sharia law will be enforced in post-Muammar Qadhafi Libya, refraining from expressing disapproval of Islamic law as the foundation of the country’s new legal system.

“We’ve seen various Islamic-based democracies wrestle with the issue of establishing rule of law within an appropriate cultural context,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday when quizzed about Libya’s National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil’s declaration on Sunday that Sharia law will shape the country’s legal system.

Nuland added that the “number one” priority for the U.S. was that universal human rights, as well as rights for women, minorities, due process and transparency, be fully respected in Libya.

Then, the "number one" priority for the U.S. is a dead duck. Islamic human rights, derived from sharia, and what we know as "universal" human rights are totally and mutually exclusive.  

...

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Iraq won't give us permanent bases, let alone immunity for our troops in Iraq to train demonstrably untrainable Iraqis. (I mean, come on; eight years and they're still not "trained"?) Score: Iran.

Now, Karzai says he would back Pakistan in a war with the USA:

"God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan," he [Karzai] said in the interview to Geo television.

"If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan needs Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan will be there with you."

Anything wrong with this picture?

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