Thursday, December 07, 2023

France has decided to pull out of Afghanistan in 2013, only one year early, following the recent killings of six French troops at the hands of their (and our) wonderful uniformed Afghan allies.

The decision hasn't gone over too well with Afghan MP Tahira Mujadedi, who argues that Afghan forces are not (all together now) ready to go it alone. As for those recently murdered sons of France, Miz Mujadedi isn't exactly overflowing with condolences or mea culpas (does that even translate into Dari or Pashto?)

"When military forces are present in a war zone, anything can happen," she said. The French troops "are not here for a holiday," she added.


This week's syndicated column:

No doubt Deborah Scroggins believes she just published a dual biography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former Dutch parliamentarian, and Aafia Siddiqui, jailed al-Qaida terrorist, and so she did. What may surprise the biographer, however, is that she also provided a third study: post-9/11 moral equivalence.

This begins with Scroggins’ outre decision to pair a peaceable writer and politician with a violent al-Qaida scientist who married Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and co-plotter after 9/11 as the “Wanted Women” of the book’s title (Wanted Women: Faith, Lies and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui).

Wanted by whom? Hirsi Ali is wanted for violating Islamic law against apostasy (leaving Islam is a capital offense) and criticizing Muhammad, Islam’s prophet (ditto). Siddiqui was wanted by the FBI as an accomplice of al-Qaida, an operational arm of Islamic law. How to knit the two together? Scroggins writes: “Like...

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Beastweek decided to take a swipe at Geert Wilders this month -- no particular reason, just because he's still there. It's a singularly empty piece, a selection of complaints by Christopher Dickey rattling around, anchored by an almost comically validating chorus.


There’s no such thing as moderate Islam, Wilders insists, and he’s tired of hearing that radical Islam is something different from the mainstream faith.

BTW, Beastweek, Turkey's Erdogun goes ballistic at the very notion of "moderate Islam." The Turkish PM doesn't like assimilation, either -- calling it "a crime against humanity." But never mind. You're perfect the way you are. Don't ever change.


It means nothing to him that among Muslim believers there are many different sects and currents.



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Click "read more" to see DoD video from Kajaki Sofla bazaar, November 2011. Don't miss the motorcycles whizzing by, a chilling prefiguring of last week's suicide bomb attack.


Military censorship only goes so far. Now we know, contrary to official reports, at least two US Marines were hit by the bomb driven into the  Kajaki Sofla bazaar by a suicide-bomber on a motorcycle on January 18, 2012. Corporal Phillip McGeath, 25, was killed; Corporal Christopher Bordoni, 21, was critically wounded.

Why the official silence? And why the frustration, almost palpable in the public affairs office emails yesterday, over reports that break the silence?

Maybe it's because Kajaki is supposed to be, has been reported as a shining  COIN success story. On January 12, 2012, for example, six days before the suicide bomb in the bazaar, the US government spelled it all out in a story headlined: "Soccer field, symbol of hope to Kajaki Sofla children":


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The Kajaki Sofla "bazaar"


From the emailbag this a.m.:

Ms. Diana West,   My name is LT Joe Nawrocki.  I am a Public Affairs Officer in Regional Command Southwest, at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.   I just read your article titled, “Uncle Sam Hides the Truth about Kajaki” and wanted to ask whom did you try to contact at Camp Leatherneck?  We never received any word that you were trying to contact us, so I apologize for that.

If you have any further questions, please send them my way and I will do my best to answer.

R, LT Nawrocki   LT Joseph M. Nawrocki (USN)   Regional Command Southwest Public Affairs Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

So thoughtful! So polite! And, more interesting, no beef with my facts as written. I replied:

Dear Lt Nawrocki,

How nice of your to "reach out."

No, I am simply trying...

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I've received kind feedback on last night's interview with Brian Lamb on CSPAN, as well as some questions related to a couple of items covered in the show.

The book I consider more instructive to non-Muslims than the Koran regarding the exercise of Islam on society is the Sunni sharia book Reliance of the Traveller.

Peter Braestrup's magnus opus on the widespread misreporting of the Tet Offensive is called The Big Story. Sadly, it is long out of print, but fairly inexpensive used copies are available here.


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KABUL: An Afghan soldier who shot dead four French troops says he did it because of a recent video showing US Marines urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban insurgents, security sources say.

The attack on the soldiers, who were unarmed, happened last week at a base in eastern Afghanistan and left 15 other French troops wounded, eight of them seriously.

Cause and effect? Case closed? NATO, ISAF, the White House, and, probably, France's Sarkozy (above) wish.

What a relief it would be to pin the murders of four French troops and the additional wounding of 15 (all unarmed) onto a video of four Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban. The solution to the "problem" -- the epidemic of Afghan Muslim security forces murdering Western infidel troops and contractors -- then becomes so simple: more cultural sensitivity training. More submission to Islam's...

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... on C-SPAN on Sunday, January 22, 8pm and 11pm (after which the interview is available online).

It is a one-hour conversation, the subjects of Brian Lamb's choosing from a stack of my columns going back some years. I could see the yellow highlighting on the page from where I was sitting, which was, of course, quite flattering but also rather intimidating: as in, Whatever did I write next?!


AP photo and caption: "An Afghan man stands at the scene of Wednesday's suicide attack in Kajaki, Helmand province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The suicide bomber blew himself up at a bridge under construction in Kajaki district of Helmand province, according to Mohammad Ismail, the deputy of the Afghan security forces coordination office in the area. Ismail said NATO troops also were working at the construction site, but it was unclear whether any were injured or killed."


Fortunately, my friend the Marine Mom is keeping a close eye on news out of Afghanistan. This week, holes in the news the military is releasing -- as she flagged, for example, in this AP report below on the week's...

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Always love to hear from UKIP's Nigel Farage, particularly when full-blasting the authoritarians at the EU (EUSSR). Via Vlad Tepes.

Another attack by an Afghan service member has killed four French troops and wounded 16.

This brings my unofficial tally of the grim toll to 52 Western personnel killed by Afghan security forces in the past 26 months since the November 2009 attack by an Afghan policeman that killed five British troops inside the wire.   

But looking back, I find that on October 3, 2009, two Americans were killed and two others wounded as they slept by an Afghan Army soldier on duty.

To the best of my caclulations, that makes 54 infidels murdered...

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Pfc. Dustin Napier

This week's syndicated column:

Is there a single public official who is examining – who cares about – the murder spree by Afghan security forces against Western troops and security contractors in Afghanistan? I can list well over 40 such murders in the past two years. These incidents even have their own phrase in military jargon – “green-on-blue” shootings – but the color we should all be seeing is red. Does Obama see red? Pelosi? Romney? Newt? Anyone?

In the last several months, there have been five six separate attacks on Western forces by uniformed Afghan army members. The toll includes three Australian soldiers killed (as they ended a regular weekly parade) and...

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Having declared its policy of censoring information about Afghan-on-Western attacks inside the wire, ISAF now seems to be censoring information about every other kind of troop casualty, too.

From the AP today:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide attacker set off a vehicle laden with explosives Thursday outside a gate at a sprawling base for U.S. and NATO operations, killing seven civilians in a second suicide bombing in as many days in southern Afghanistan, officials said...

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the afternoon attack at a crowded entrance to Kandahar Air Field, claiming they were targeting a NATO convoy.

Two witnesses told The Associated Press that they suspect the suicide car bomber was trying to hit U.S. forces because he detonated his explosives just as two pickup trucks, which they say are often used by American special forces, were leaving the base.

The coalition said no NATO troops were killed. It does not disclose information about...

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ISAF HQ in Kabul


The story below, concerning ISAF's alarming and quite sinister decision to supress information regarding Afghan security force shootings of NATO troops and military contractors in Afghanistan, is a time bomb. It started ticking yesterday  in USA Today. Today, the Air Force investigation into Afghan Air Force Colonel Ahmed Gul's murder of nine Americans last April 2011 hit the news, thanks to a FOIA request by the Air Force Times (the subject of this week's upcoming column). I'm not sure whether this genie goes back so easily into the bottle.

From USA Today, January 17:

"ISAF limits details of troops killed"

Military commanders in Afghanistan have stopped making public the number of allied troops killed by Afghan soldiers and police, a measure of the trustworthiness of a force that is to take over security from U.S.-led...

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Tim McGirk, source of the Haditha myth-acre.


Eight charged; seven cleared; one, please, let's hope, to go.

Finally, the last "Haditha" trial is in progress, and, thanks to Nat Helms at Defend Our Marines, everything you need or want to know about the proceedings, the witnesses, the facts about the case of SSGT Frank D. Wuterich, the last of the Marine Mohicans, is here.

Of course, I still have a few questions -- the exact same questions I had when I first looked at the case back in late 2007/early 2008. That was just about one year after all the charges related to claims of a 2005 Marine massacre of civilians in Haditha had come down. Even by early 2008, however, the case was already turning into a big flopola for prosecutors, media and other champions of the massacre myth, including the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA).     

From my January 2008 column:

What a difference a year has made since charges came down at the end of 2006. The New York Times in October...

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It was when anti-abortion advocate Austin Ruse explained to his audience that because his sturdiest allies at the United Nations were Muslims countries, his international anti-abortion coalition could not also be an international religious freedom coalition that my dhimmitude-meter kicked on -- dhimmitude in this case meaning appeasement of Islam. (This is what I first wrote about it.)

Ruse was describing a classic example of the divide-and-conquer reversals that ensue when the Free World seeks common ground with totalitarian Islam. In isolating the subset of commonality -- in this case, opposition to abortion -- the greater set of Western principles abjured by Islam must be bracketed away. The thinking is, concessions as a matter...

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This week's syndicated column:

Granted, it’s not civil, palace etiquette, or, more important, U.S. military doctrine to urinate on battle-killed enemy fighters – in this case, three dead Taliban in Afghanistan. But could we just move on?

That’ll be the day. Get set for Abu Ghraib 2, a national wallow in a wholly manufactured and inflated evil, the kind of masochistic frolic our twisted elites, safe on their sound stages, find so extremely pleasurable. Get set for the exclusion of any and all context related to heat-of-battle conditions, battle fatigue or Taliban depredations. We have met the enemy and he is us, again – and thank God. Or is that thank Allah?

Most distressing is watching the International Security Assistance Force’s PR machinery crank up. The desecration of Taliban bodies – killed according to ISAF orders and assorted United Nations-NATO-focus-group preferences – is of immeasurably greater concern than the recent cold-blooded murder of a 20-year-old U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, shot in the head while playing volleyball by an Afghan army member. (Three other Americans were wounded.) By my unofficial count, this makes Kill No. 43 of NATO forces by Afghan security forces inside the wire over the past two years.


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Granted, it's not civil, acceptable, palace etiquette or, more important, US military doctrine to urinate on battle-killed enemy fighters -- in this case, three dead Taliban in Afghanistan. But could we just move on? 

That'll be the day. Get set for Abu Ghraib 2, a national wallow in a wholly manufactured and inflated evil, the kind of masochistic frolic our extremely twisted elites, safe on their soundstages, find so extremely pleasurable. Get set for the exclusion of any and all context, either related to heat-of-battlefield conditions, battle fatigue, or Taliban depredations. We have met the enemy and he is us, again -- and thank God. Or is that thank Allah?

What is most distressing is watching the ISAF pr machinery crank up. The desecration of Taliban bodies -- as in already dead, according to ISAF's own orders and assorted...

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Trust us.


Ever wonder how Taliban "re-integration" in Afghanistan works?

The Stars and Stripes reports on one case, which started after a tribal elder with (an "oyster-grey beard") paid a call on the US military at an Afghan government center.

“We would like Zareef to be released,” he said. “We do not think the military should be holding him.”

[LTC] Wilson knew the name. Coalition soldiers detained the insurgent in October after finding him with a large stash of automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

“Before we can do anything,” Wilson said, “we need you and the rest of the elders in your tribe to be willing to be accountable for him.”

They arranged to talk further the next day at Forward Operating Base Bostick, about 15 miles north of Nishigam, where the 2-27 is stationed. The man arrived with a band of elders to meet with Wilson and area commanders of the Afghan military and police.

The group reached an agreement several...

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The Secretary of State wears clothes, all right, but is she really ready to deal?


The Wall Street Journal reports:

JANI KHEL, Afghanistan—In the American war against the Taliban, on whose side are the Afghan police? For many U.S. soldiers serving in the insurgent heartland, the answer is: both.

"They smile to our face when we're here, giving them money and building them buildings," says U.S. Army Capt. Cory Brown, a provost marshal officer helping to oversee Afghan security forces here in volatile Paktika province. "But they've given insurgents money, food and even rides in Afghan police cars."

Worse, he says, some policemen are also suspected of selling their U.S.-provided weapons to the Taliban.

The rest of the story lies behind a subscription wall, but it's not necessary to read more. Anyone could write the rest. In fact, it writes itself, another...

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Somehow, the face of American-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Daood Sayed Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley, comes as news to me. Don't know how I missed it, but it strikes me that news stories detailing his poisonous international career as a star facilitator of jihad in Mumbai, in Copenhagen and elsewhere generally carry photos of someone else, a more distinctly Pakistani-looking accomplice -- often AQ jihadist Illyas Kashmiri.

Anyway, there Headley is (top photo), son of a Pakistani employee of Voice of America who also worked in the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, and, on his American mother's side, grandson of a University of Maryland football star (or so says Wikipedia) named L. Coleman Headley. This terror-thug, who declares his allegiance to Pakistan, was a most effective instrument of global jihad until his arrest in Chicago in 2009 before jihad-jetting...

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The way the GOP field is attacking Mitt Romney by attacking free enterprise has now torn it for me with this latest lowdown distortion of the Romney's "firing people" comment. This is something to expect from the Left, the media, the Obama campaign (one and the same), not the Republican Party. Folllowing up on Gingrich's anti-capitalist attacks, now we have Perry and Huntsman piling on Romney by willfully distorting Romney's obvious pitch for choice for consumers of services as though they were channeling Rachel Maddow. Since Santorum's non-reflective, reflexive Bush-mongering leaves me cold and Paul is not my cup of tea, Romney it is.

Go Romney. Beat Obama.

The New York Times sees -- but knows not what it sees.

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan soldier turned his gun on American military personnel while they were playing volleyball at a camp in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding three others before being fatally shot, the Afghan police said on Monday.

It was the third time in just over two weeks that a man wearing an Afghan Army uniform attacked NATO personnel.

And at least the 43rd such fatality in 26 months.

In the earlier cases, the Taliban claimed responsibility, although there was no immediate claim in this case that the Afghan soldier had Taliban sympathies.

Card-carrying Taliban or not, as a Muslim, the ANA soldier was subject to the call of jihad. Fact. I'm sorry about that, but I didn't write the Koran.

The attack took place on Sunday afternoon in Qalat, the capital of Zabul Province. The Afghan soldier approached the volleyball game and appeared to watch the soldiers play before opening fire with an M-16 assault rifle, said Ghulam Jilani Farahi, deputy police chief of Zabul Province. Another American soldier who heard the firing shot and killed the attacker, he said.


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US Army and Afghan Army play volleyball in southwestern Kandahar in 2011. On Sunday, a similar match in Zabul province turned deadly when an Afghan Army member shot and killed one American, wounding three.


It would be most helpful for at least one of the GOP candidates to think long and hard about what is going wrong with the Bush-Obama Afghanistan War and share his thoughts with his fellow citizens. A good place to start would be with examining -- noticing -- the serial murders of ISAF soldiers by Afghan Army members, particularly given the fact that the Bush-Obama strategy is to train the Afghan security forces (at exhorbitant US taxpayer cost) as the supporting pillar of our so-called Exit Strategy. As George W. Bush used to say about Iraq, as they stand up, we stand down. And that worked out so well.

In the last three months the murder count in five separate attacks by uniformed Afghan security forces  inside the wire includes:

Three Australian Diggers killed and ten wounded;...

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I am deeply saddened and shocked to learn that Tony Blankley has died. Tony, by virture of his quite remarkable career and background spanning Hollywood and Washington, California and the East Coast, the US and Great Britain, was himself a wealth of experience and treasured knowledge, very much of the "old school" despite his Baby Boom birth. A man of a debonair and ebullient patriotism, Tony, his sharp pen and steadying voice will be greatly missed. 

On a personal note, I will add that as editorial page editor at the Washington Times between 2002 and his much-lamented departure in 2007, Tony was always extremely supportive of my work, both my weekly column -- then at the Wash Times and on Tony's arrival still in its earlier phase of jihad and dhimmitude exploration -- and my 2007 book The Death of Grown-Up, which he quite generously...

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In an urgently important piece today at NRO today, my friend Andy McCarthy elucidates the complex: the crude power grab by Barack Obama that is underway, camouflaged and fuzzed up by abstruse procedure and eye-glazing acronyms. Skewering all that is wrong with the Grand Old Party -- all that is wrong with those entrusted with safeguarding the Republic against the encroachments of the Superstate  -- McCarthy lays out how Barack Obama is entrenching and expanding dictatorial powers unopposed.

Hint: the Constitution goes in the shredder while Republicans "tweak."

Of course, as Andy reminds us as a matter of almost guilty comic relief, this no doubt thrills the likes of Thomas Friedman, whose longings for the "right" kind of dictatorial...

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On Dec. 31, 2011, Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki declared a national holiday to celebrate the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Funny way to say “thank you” for all the blood and treasure, no?

Not that al-Maliki was saying thank you. He wasn’t even saying good riddance. He was saying, in effect, that it was all a dream. Or, in the Associated Press’ words: “The prime minister sought to credit Iraqis with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and made no mention of the role played by U.S. forces that invaded Iraq in March 2003.”

No mention, huh? I guess it was just a trillion-dollar mirage, a figment, a never-never fantasy best dropped from speeches, polite conversation, maybe history books. Then again, silence suits the American political classes fine. Amazingly, following the U.S. withdrawal, the questions, “What was that all about?” or, “What went...

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Heard an interesting talk this week by Austin Ruse, who, heading up a Catholic NGO at the United Nations, is on a professional and vocational quest to prevent the UN, in its various documents and legal instruments, both non-binding and binding, from declaring abortion to be a human right. He pursues a similar track regarding "gender identity," another anti-traditionalist area seen as ripe for human-right-hood on the Wild-Eyed Left. Ruse has been successful to date -- if, by success, we mean continuing to stand in place on the edge of civilizational precipice. And we do.

But this comes at some immeasurable toll. Islam opposes abortion; therefore, as Ruse explained, among his sturdiest allies are representatives from many Islamic countries -- probably the whole OIC shebang, I would think. But, as he noted, these same Islamic countries...

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This journal entry is less than a year old, but I think it documents the scant essence of what is considered arguable about Iraq to this day: logistics and tactics -- anything but the doomsday flaw, the false, ideological premise that the US can build nations in the umma (Islamic world).

From February 16, 2011:

Haven't read Rumsfeld's book, but I did read a rebuttal by Dan Senor and Roman Martinez in the Wash Post this week in which they argue over what went wrong in Iraq. Rummy says it was poor planning in a too-long CPA-led aftermath; they say it was Rummy's failure to send enough troops. They further contend that Rumsfeld supported the CPA's policy at the time, citing internal docs to prove it.

But this whole argument seems completely beside the point, whizzing right by anything meaningful or significant about the disastrous...

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In case you missed it, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki decided New Year's Eve wasn't sufficiently festive without also declaring December 31 a national holiday in Iraq to celebrate the withdrawal of American troops as a "new dawn" for Iraq -- the American effort to cobble together a functioning nation in Iraq, presumably, being the old night. According to the story:

Thе prime minister sought tο credit Iraqis wіth thе overthrow οf Saddam Hussein аnԁ mаԁе nο mention οf thе role played bу U.S. forces thаt invaded іn March οf 2003.

Taking stock at year's end, I chose to throw a spotlight onto the "unsolved mystery of 2011" -- what really happened in Smolensk, Russia in April 2010, when the sitting government of Poland and a central swath of its intelligentsia was lost in a stunning plane crash. The 2011 Russian crash investigation report prompts more questions than the it answers, beginning with: Why hasn't Russia returned the Polish plane's black boxes to Poland? Why doesn't the international community, so-called, want to find out? Has the West, once again, become complicit in another Big Lie to come out of Moscow?

Looking past all too obvious top 10 story lists, it's well worth noting Andrew McCarthy's timely jeremiad  -- "The surrender is complete now..."-- in a piece today at NRO where he picks up on a recent report in The Hindu...

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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


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.


"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.


"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."


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.


"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?


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


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


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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