Monday, 28 May 2007

MEMORIAL DAY 2007

Ken Berwitz

Today is Memorial Day. 

Honor our brave soldiers, past and present.  They are the reason we have the freedoms we enjoy.


PROGRESS IN IRAQ: THE (INTENTIONALLY) UNTOLD STORY

Ken Berwitz

There are no excuses when this happens.  The story (excerpts of which I am showing below) was put out by the Associated Press.  They all get the AP.  So they all know about this.  Now.....who is REPORTING it?-

Troops free 42 Iraqis held by al-Qaida

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 19 minutes ago

BAGHDAD - U.S. and Iraqi forces freed 42 kidnapped Iraqis some of whom had been hung from ceilings and tortured for months in a raid Sunday on an al-Qaida hideout north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

Military officials said the operation, launched on tips from residents, showed that Iraqis in the turbulent Diyala province were turning against Sunni insurgents and beginning to trust U.S. troops.

"The people in Diyala are speaking up against al-Qaida," said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.......

U.S. military officials have said they expected insurgents to step up attacks as U.S.-led forces worked to crack down on violence in Baghdad and the surrounding areas during their 14-week-old security operation.

As part of the crackdown, the military sent 3,000 more U.S. troops to Diyala, a turbulent province north of Baghdad that has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks. Military officials said the tip that led to the raid on the al-Qaida hideout outside a small village six miles south of the city of Baqouba showed that the troop increase is helping.

"The more contact we have (with) the Iraqi citizens, the more confidence that they develop in us, and in the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army. That leads to greater cooperation from the Iraqi citizenry," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman.

The U.S. military said troops located the hideout in a joint air and ground operation launched after receiving the tip.

U.S. officials said the hostages were kept in a small, concrete and mud compound and were forced to sleep on dirty linens in cramped rooms. Soldiers found rotting food in the building, the U.S. military said.

Some of the men suffered broken bones. Some had been captive for as long as four months. One said he was just 14 years old, Caldwell said.

The 42 freed Iraqis marked the largest number of captives ever found in a single al-Qaida prison, he said...... -

What does this tell us?

-First off, it is a success story in Iraq.  A joint Iraqi-USA raid that could only have happened because people in that area trusted and cooperated with us.  Is that progress?  Is that success?  Yes and Yes.

-Then we have the 42 people Iraqi and US forces freed.  They were held and tortured by "insurgents".  Anyone who thinks their al qaeda torturers put panties on their head, or made them prance around naked, a) has a monumentally ignorant idea of what torture is and b) is gullible enough to have been sucked in by the USA hating LAMB segment.  If you're one of them, for god sake wake up.

-Another point about the 42 rescued Iraqis:  If we leave the country to al qaeda "insurgents", al qaeda will bring this concept of "humanity" to everyone else in Iraq as well.  That is something the "Give Peace A Chance", crowd ought to include in their tambourine dance.

-The most important paragraph in this article may well be - The more contact we have (with) the Iraqi citizens, the more confidence that they develop in us, and in the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army. That leads to greater cooperation from the Iraqi citizenry," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman. - If we set artificial dates to remove the troops and you lose that contact, confidence and cooperation.  For Iraqis, they would become a risk rather than a benefit.  It would be a blueprint for military defeat and Iraqi disaster.

Let me finish by asking again whether you saw this story in your newspaper today and/or watched a TV story about it.  If so, then good.  This is important news.  If not, then think about the daily gloom-and-doom reports about roadside bombs and fallen soldiers, and reflect on why only that part of the news is made available to you.  


THE NEW YORK TIMES ON MEMORIAL DAY

Ken Berwitz

This is going to be a very short blog entry, because all you need to know can be said in very few words.

Today's New York Times has no editorial praising our military. 

But it does have an opinion piece suggesting that the origins of Memorial day are racist, and another that bitterly attacks the war our brave, volunteer army is fighting.

Thank you New York Times, for your continuing effort to disparage the military and sabotage this war.  And a very special thanks for doing so on the day each year we specifically set aside to honor our military and their accomplishments.


CULTURE OF CORRUPTION UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

I can't say I always agree with Robert Novak.  But I certainly don't question his credentials as a hard-working investigative reporter who is more likely to get to the bottom of things than most of that genre.

Here is Mr. Novak's latest column, in which he lays out the facts about john murtha and shows just how fraudulent the Democratic leadership's fight against corruption really is.

Yeah, I know I've written about this several times too.  But Novak does it so well.........

Here it is.  As usual, the bold print is mine:

-

Jack Murtha's Friends
By Robert D. Novak
Monday, May 28, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Democrats controlling the House of Representatives demonstrated this month the hollowness of their claim that they have ended the corruption of 12 Republican years. Rep. John Murtha quietly slipped into the Intelligence authorization bill two earmarks costing taxpayers $5.5 million. The beneficiary was a contractor headquartered in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown, Pa., whose executives have been generous political contributors to the powerful 17-term congressman.

This scandalous conduct would be unknown except for reforms by the new Democratic majority. But the remodeled system is not sufficiently transparent to expose in a timely manner machinations of Murtha and fellow earmarkers to his colleagues, much less to the public. It took Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the leading House earmark-buster, to discover the truth.

Jack Murtha, the maestro of imposing personal preferences on the appropriations process, looks increasingly like an embarrassment to Congress and the Democratic Party. But there is no Democratic will to curb Murtha, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's closest associates. Nor are Republicans eager for a crackdown endangering their own earmarkers.

On May 10, as the Intelligence bill neared passage, Flake took the floor of the House to relate how Capitol Hill works. Told there were no earmarks attached to the bill, a skeptical Flake sought the measure's classified annex but was sent on a wild goose chase for earmarks -- first to the clerk of the House and then to the parliamentarian. When he finally found 26 earmarks, it was five hours after the deadline to submit amendments to the bill. Flake requested a secret session of the House on Intelligence earmarks, but got no support from either party.

Five days later, in a letter to House Republican Leader John Boehner, Flake revealed (without describing them) Murtha's two earmarks for the Johnstown-based Concurrent Technologies. One provides $2.5 million for the Mobile Missile Monitoring and Detection program. The other supplies $3 million for the Joint Intelligence Training & Education with Advanced Distributed Learning Technological Phase II.

Murtha's earmark requests attest (as required by the new reforms) that "neither I nor my spouse had any financial interest" in either project. What he did not attest was that officers and employees of Concurrent Technologies contributed $56,475 to Murtha from the 2000 election cycle to the present. That includes $4,500 from CEO and President Daniel DeVos and $5,000 from Vice President Emil Sarady.

Flake, in his May 15 letter to Boehner, made "another appeal" for House Republicans "to take a more proactive position in opposition to earmarks." The minority leader did not respond. Instead, on May 21, Boehner wrote Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Murtha's $23 million earmark for a National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown was "a questionable project" secured by "highly suspect methods." Indeed, the project was not placed on the earmark list, as required by the new rules. An effort by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan to eliminate this project led to Murtha's notorious threats, in violation of House rules, to eliminate Rogers's own earmarks "now and forever."

In fact, Rogers, a 43-year-old former FBI agent, has 10 current earmarks to protect, costing more $45 million. Flake is a rare Republican who understands that pounding on Democrats will not cure the GOP's earmark addiction. "I am concerned," Flake wrote Boehner, "that the only action taken regarding earmarks by Republicans thus far this year is to ask for clarification of the earmark rules, in order to ensure that we can take full advantage of earmark opportunities." Boehner, who personally does not use earmarks, told me "I can't agree with that." But he did not respond to Flake.

Nor do Democrats show interest in curbing earmarks. Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, Pelosi's hand-picked Intelligence Committee chairman, blamed non-disclosure of earmarks on a mistake by the Government Printing Office. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey first skirted the new rules by claiming no earmarks were contained in the supplemental appropriations. Last week, he decreed that henceforth, earmarks in his bills would not be revealed until a measure passes both the House and Senate. The test for Democrats is what they will do about Murtha now that it is known he rewards contributors with federal funds.

 


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