Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Thursday - July 17, 2008

AP reluctantly starts to sing Die Walküre

AP: “Iraq’s al-Qaida fighters now `furtive terrorists’ ”


Suck on this you traitorous bastards. I hope you choke on the words:

Throughout the country, al-Qaida in Iraq, an insurgent organization thought to be affiliated with the global terrorist network but comprised mainly of Iraqis, has lost so much clout it is close to becoming irrelevant to the outcome of the war.

What did you say there? Did I hear you say the surge actually worked?

When President Bush announced in January 2007 that he was sending more than 21,000 extra U.S. combat troops to Iraq — mostly to the Baghdad area — as part of a new approach to fighting the insurgency, commanders said their No. 1 focus was degrading al-Qaida’s ability to foment sectarian violence.

In the Latifiyah area, it’s not hard to see that goal appears to have been achieved — an accomplishment that adds to the expectation that Bush will be able to further reduce U.S. troop levels this fall.

Oh no no no. You don’t get off that easy. Say the whole thing out loud you worthless bitch.

That soldiers are looking elsewhere for a battle is a testament to how much Iraq has changed from a year ago, when violence was at its height. Now it’s the lowest in four years, thanks to the U.S. troop surge, the turn by former Sunni insurgents against al-Qaida in Iraq, and Iraqi government crackdowns on Shiite militias.

Now tell me again how this thing is unwinnable and AQ is going to kick our butts because of the never ending stream of new terrorists our presence is creating?

There is no available official estimate of the number of al-Qaida fighters in Iraq. A U.S. intelligence estimate early this year put it at a maximum of 6,000, although it probably has fallen far lower recently. Perhaps more importantly, U.S. officers said in a series of Associated Press interviews over the past 10 days that so many al-Qaida leaders have been captured or killed that its remnants are ineffective.

Did you say something about failed policies?

Col. Al Batschelet, chief of staff for the U.S. command overseeing military operations in the Baghdad area, said that once the leadership began disappearing, lower-level technicians were pressed into duty.

That had the effect of accelerating the group’s decline: the technical experts were not as good at organizing and executing attacks, and by taking the lead they exposed themselves to being captured or killed. That, in turn, has left even less-technically skilled fighters to perform the specialized work of assembling bombs like al-Qaida’s signature weapon, the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, officers said.

What do you call these fighters again? Weren’t they the new Minutemen? Holy warriors? Freedom Fighters?

Stephen Biddle, an Iraq watcher in Washington at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview that without an urban hideout, al-Qaida is reduced to the role of being ”furtive terrorists.”

Bitches. Now go tell your Obamessiah, so he done git da word too. Not that I expect him to admit that he was completely ass-backwards wrong the whole time either.


Ok, AP tries so hard to minimize it. But I pulled the core points for you. The whole thing, with their endless picayune caveats, is here.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/17/2008 at 07:04 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Thursday - May 08, 2008

Is the end near for Sadr City fighters?

Iraqi Soldiers Warn Residents in Embattled Sadr City to Leave Homes

Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in the embattled Sadr City district to leave their houses Thursday, signaling a new push by the U.S.-backed forces against Shiite extremist who have been waging street battles for seven weeks.

Iraqi soldiers, using loudspeakers, told residents in some areas of southeastern Sadr City, which were virtually abandoned, to go to nearby soccer stadiums, residents said. UNICEF says about 6,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Sadr City, most of them from the southeastern section.

U.S. forces have increased air power and armored patrols in an attempt to cripple Shiite militia influence in Sadr City, a slum of 2.5 million people that serves as the Baghdad base for the Mahdi Army led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The U.S. military is trying to weaken the militia grip in the slum and disrupt rocket and mortar strikes from Sadr City on the U.S.-protected Green Zone, which includes the U.S. Embassy and key Iraqi government offices.
Iraqi soldiers on Thursday shut down a local radio station, al-Aahad, run by the Sadrists after raiding offices of the station in a neighborhood near Sadr City, police said.

Fighting continues to be hot in this area of Baghdad, and the wall around it continues to be built. Divide, then conquer. Looks like the divisioning aspect is really progressing, so maybe the conquer part is soon to come. Fighting around the Qod Street part of the wall is still intense:

The Mahdi Army continues to attack US and Iraqi forces as they erect the barrier on Qods Street, which divides the southern third from the northern portion of Sadr City. US and Iraqi troops responded, killing 18 Mahdi Army fighters and capturing 11 throughout Baghdad.

US and Iraqi troops and US air weapons teams killed 11 Mahdi Army fighters as they attacked barrier emplacement teams and planted roadside bombs in Sadr City on the night of May 5 and the morning of May 6. Iraqi soldiers and police also uncovered numerous weapons caches in northern and eastern Baghdad. In one raid, Iraqi police discovered a weapons cache in the courtyard of the Imam Ali Mosque in the Al Ghadeer neighborhood in New Baghdad (number 31 on map). “The [National Police] found five explosively formed projectiles, two improvised explosive devices, five rocket rails, three grenades and numerous rounds of various ammunitions,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported.

The US military conducted a guided rocket attack on a Special Groups headquarters adjacent to a hospital in Sadr City, while 14 Mahdi Army fighters have been killed during clashes over the past 24 hours.

The US Army targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center in a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System strike in Sadr City at 10 AM local time Saturday morning, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “There were six GMLRS rocket strikes on these Special Groups criminal command and control nodes,” (said Public Relations Officer) Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover

I’m posting this because you probably haven’t heard much about it on your TV news. There has been a pretty heavy battle going on there in Sadr City for over a month now, and al Sadr’s gangs are getting creamed. Gee, too friggin bad. These rocket attacks - I mentioned the GMLRS system the other day - are proving to be a very effective weapons system for the Army. Good.

With their vertical trajectory, ability to cover 70 kilometers (43 miles) in 82 seconds and close-combat precision, GMLRS rockets are becoming the rockets of choice, even when other more traditional missiles or other bombs are available.  Army officials say many requests for the rockets to be used instead of aircraft-launched missiles are coming from the Air Force.  Of the estimated 273 missions in which GMLRS rockets have been used in theater, about 83 percent were accomplished in urban environments and 69 percent were done with troops in close proximity.
U.S. Army commanders and troops have come to view the Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) as their “70-kilometer sniper rifle,” but enemy forces in Iraq see the weapon in a starker light.

“The enemy is calling it the ’Hand of Allah,’”

Got that one right Achmed. The Hand of Allah. And stop and think, if you live long enough that is, just who is controlling that hand.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/08/2008 at 09:22 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqMilitary •  
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calendar   Friday - May 02, 2008

Baghdad fighting focuses on Sadr City Wall

Leaving aside the Pink Floyd references that jump to mind, there has been a very intense level of fighting going on in Baghdad over the past few weeks. Coalition forces are trying to build a wall around one of the worst areas of the Sadr City slum zone, to control egress. Our troops are building a wall while under nearly continuous assault. The wall is supposed to isolate the area and keep insurgents (sorry, they’re called “criminals” now) from being able to range the Green Zone with mortar fire. This is what you get from fighting a “gentle war”. Maybe a wall, or that way, isn’t the best course of action right now?

The large majority of the direct attacks by the Mahdi Army against US and Iraqi forces in Sadr City are occurring on Qods Street, where a barrier is being erected to separate the Iraqi Army and US controlled sections in the south from the northern portion of the district, the US military told The Long War Journal. The Mahdi Army is attempting to stop the building of the barrier.
image...The Mahdi Army is desperately trying to stop the barrier from being built, and is focusing its attacks on US engineers and patrols as they work to complete it. The Mahdi Army has launched complex attacks and ambushes using small-arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and roadside bombs.

“[The barrier is] a magnet,” said Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad in response to email questions on the recent fighting in Sadr City. “In that area, for the past three days we’ve seen some pretty heavy, prolonged engagements.
“As the engineers were emplacing the barriers an M1A1 Abrams fired a main gun round at militants across the street,” Stover said. “We fired 5 Hellfire missiles and dropped two JDAMs from fixed wing aircraft. It got a bit hot today, but our Soldiers continued emplacing the barriers.”

Please go read the rest over at Bill Roggio’s Long War Journal. For a nearly constant stream of press releases about things going on in Iraq, visit Operation Iraqi Freedom, the website of MNF Iraq.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/02/2008 at 11:21 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Friday - April 25, 2008

Proxy War Heating Up?

Factory Fresh Iranian Arms Caches Found in Iraq (again)

Al Sadr & Mahdi Army Fighting Escalates

The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.

Officials in Washington and Baghdad said the purported Iranian mortars, rockets and explosives had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months. The U.S. plans to publicize the weapons caches in coming days. A pair of senior commanders said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.
ast fall, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Mr. Ahmadinejad had told the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Tehran would take steps to curb shipments of Iranian weaponry into Iraq.

The weapons of deepest concern to U.S. officials were explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which U.S. officials accuse Iran of manufacturing and shipping to Shiite militants. EFPs, which are capable of punching through even the strongest U.S. armor, have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, focused his recent congressional testimony almost exclusively on Iran, which he said was playing a “destructive role” by funneling advanced weaponry to Shiite militants in Iraq

The use of the EFPs had diminished for a while after Ahmadumjihad had promised Iraqi PM Maliki Iran would try harder to control smuggling. Now their use has flared up again. Maybe they were just being stockpiled for a while?

Meanwhile, Iran’s stooge in place, rotundo Al-Sadr (I guess he got over the food poisoning?) is yelling and screaming and threatening more war. He launched two major uprising in the past, and is now threatening more. But Maliki wants his forces to disband, saying there is no room in Iraq for a seperate private army. Clashes between the forces are increasing, with probably close to 100 Mahdi Army casualties so far, though the MSM is reporting many less. From Bill Roggio’s Long War Journal:

The showdown with the Mahdi Army continues in Baghdad and outlying areas to the North as Iraq’s prime minister says the days of the militias are over. US and Iraqi forces engaged the Mahdi Army in Baghdad and the towns of Rashidiyah and Hussaniyah in northern Baghdad Province over the past several days, killing 16 Mahdi Army fighters and capturing five. Seventy-two Mahdi Army fighters have been killed in Baghdad since Muqtada al Sadr threatened to initiate a third uprising.

The largest clash occurred in Hussaniyah, a town north of Baghdad, on April 22 when an Iraqi patrol was ambushed by a “criminal group” armed with roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms. Iraqi troops, backed by US Special Forces advisers, counterattacked and killed nine Mahdi Army fighters and destroyed two of their vehicles.

Hussaniyah has been a hotbed of Mahdi Army activity in the recent past. In August 2007, US troops surrounded the town after patrols were ambushed. In October, US troops uncovered a weapons factory where explosively formed penetrators and other roadside bombs were manufactured.
South of Baghdad, Iraqi forces captured a Mahdi Army leader and two others and seized an IED factory in Karbala. US forces also found 12 Iranian-made rocket launchers, which were aimed at a nearby forward operating base.
The US military has slowly begun to stop making distinctions between the Mahdi Army and the Criminals and Iranian-trained Special Groups as the fighting has flared since March. Colonel Allen Batschelet, the chief of staff for Multinational Division Baghdad, came closest to admitting the distinctions are often meaningless.

Some background on Al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army; it’s so hard to tell the players without a score card.

I don’t like what I’m seeing here. While this could be the last great attempt by Iran to foment another civil war in Iraq, it could also be a putsch by Maliki against opponents. The only thing I’m sure of is that American troops are going to be caught in the middle of this muddle. I think it would have been better to have offed al-Sadr several years ago when we had the chance.

And just for extra fun, little Yemen is about to fall off the cliff and descend into anrachy. War in the North, riots in the south, hungry people everywhere. Naturally they’re another oil producing nation. Yemen is about the size of California, though its borders are sandy and not well defined.

CNN says Al-Sadr is threatening all-out war against “occupiers”:

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened “open war,” against the American “occupiers” and not the Iraqi government, according to a letter read by a top aide during Friday prayers.

Yet, at the same time, other sources see the very same speech as a call for peace:

Less than one week after threatening to conduct an uprising against the Iraqi government and US forces, Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army, has called for his fighters to maintain the self-imposed cease-fire. The US and Iraqi military continue to strike at Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Baghdad. Ten “criminals” were killed in strikes in Sadr City, making 82 Mahdi fighters killed in the six days since Sadr threatened renewed violence.

Go read the rest, along with some very helpful comments, over at The Long War Journal.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/25/2008 at 07:58 AM   
Filed Under: • Iraq •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 01, 2008

What is Gaddafi’s son REALLY doing in Iraq?

What is Gaddafi’s son REALLY doing in Iraq?

A guest post by DWMF

A letter from the wood-paneled study of your latest BMEWS news analyst.

I was looking through some Austrian news, when I chanced upon an item that there are two Austrians still being held hostage in North Africa, in the country of Mali, to be exact. It is an elaborate denial that Muammar al-Gaddafi (who we all know about) has sent his number two son, Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, to negotiate with the kidnappers (who announced themselves to be al Qaeda) for the release of the hostages. This runs contrary to other stories that he is doing exactly that.

Seif is also (nominally) in charge of his father’s charity, the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations, which in the past has been instrumental in extracting other hostages from similar situations.

“I know that name”, I thought to myself. For not long before, I had read another item which placed him in Northwestern Iraq, in the area around Mosul, which still has bands of al Qaeda running wild. Iraq The Model also has an excellent article.

So there are three stories about this man.

Story 1: He helps to run his father’s charity foundation, which involves the in-flow and out-flow of large sums of money.

Story 2: He negotiates with al Qaeda kidnappers for the release of their hostages, probably paying them off in the process.

Story 3: He is the Mosul regional captain of al Qaeda himself, financing their campaign, and generating some Fear and Despondency in the Western media. Seif went into Iraq with a large company of palace guards (the Seifaddin Regiment) to add some military muscle to the campaign.

Let me fill in the gaps with some facts.

Fact 1: There has recently been an increase in terrorist activity in and around Mosul. Quote: “It is their strategic center of gravity. One-half to two-thirds of attacks in Iraq today are in and around Mosul.”

Fact 2: Libyans are the second largest nationality of foreign insurgent fighters (19%) in Iraq, after the Saudis.

Some other factors are worthy of note.

Note 1: During the Cold War, when an agent was sent out on his (or her) mission, he was given a “cover”(CIA-speak) or “legend” (KGB-speak), to give a legitimate reason for being where he was.

Note 2: Nothing in the Middle East is straightforward. There are always multiple motivations, more than one reason for anything happening, especially so since al-Quaeda became considerably more decentralized. The rationale of who did what and why is constantly being muddled by a “Billy the Kid” effect (see footnote). This constantly bamboozles the MSM, who don’t seem to get their heads around it.

Note 3: Seif’s father is a ruthless bastard. That is pretty much a given. Gaddafi wants to trade in either smuggled goods or political influence: smuggling antiquities (yes it still goes on), or getting in some last jabs in against the Iraqi government and the US forces to gain some kudos with the other regional dictatorships (Iran, Syria, Sudan).

Note 4: For a long time, Seif al-Gaddafi (number two son) was seen as the heir-apparent to be President of Libya. But there are reports that he was dropped in favor of his younger brother Motassim Bilal, also known as Hannibal. And yes, he is something of a cannibal. Seif would be keen to win his spurs on the field of battle and regain his father’s favor.

Conclusion: Gaddafi is again playing both ends against the middle. It reminds me of this character (picture in the middle) in the Rockford Files – one of my favorite programs which has recently had a re-playing on digital TV in the UK. (See the comments here.)

Footnote: The “Billy the Kid” effect is one of false attribution. For a few years, while Billy was still at large, it was common for young criminals to hold up a store or a stagecoach and announce that they were Billy the Kid. Word goes around, and in no time at all, a pretty fearsome reputation has been created, and a hitherto unknown talent for being in two places at the same time. Billy would not disown the crimes, for they make him appear mightier than he really is, and a large part of his modus operandi is the psychology. (No links, Google was no help.)

Postscript 1: Don’t you think Seif looks like Art Malik in True Lies? Maybe he can come to a similar sticky end, or crispy-fried a la Zarqawi.

Postscript 2: To those who think “Better inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in”, there is a third possibility – Inside the tent pissing on your shoes - which is what the Western powers are in danger of, unless they wise up and see Gaddafi for what he really is. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Presently, DWMF is our only reader in Switzerland Gnaargh!, AUSTRIA. (funny name for a town smile ) He also could use a hand with some plain old html. So, give his essay a read and a think, and leave an opinion and a response or two. And if you have impressive html skills and some time, lend him a hand. Or a keyboard. Thanks. If any of the links are beat, it’s my fault.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/01/2008 at 08:05 PM   
Filed Under: • Iraq •  
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calendar   Monday - March 17, 2008

How to tell the Iraq campaign is succeeding


That about sums it up perfectly. Since Bad News is Big News, and Good News is No News, a near total lack of news coverage on what’s going on in Iraq means things must be going very well indeed. Silly me ... the DrewNews channel would be pushing this 24-7. We live in a world turned upside down AND inside out, and I’m still thinking right side up. For quite a bit more analysis of this news tend, please visit Mudville Gazette.

Strategy Page also dashes off a couple paragraphs on this, and reaches a similar conclusion.

Since last Summer, more good news than bad news began to come back from the front. This was not useful for news organizations. Bad news makes money (by attracting larger audiences for advertisers), good news is useless. Moreover, only about five percent of Americans (military personnel and their families) have any personal interest in Iraq. There are even fewer Iraqi Americans to care. There are also fewer veterans. Only nine million American actually served in the armed forces during the official Vietnam war period (1964-1975, most U.S. troops were out of Vietnam by 1972, and the big build up didn’t begin until 1965). And only 30 percent of those were actually in Vietnam. That’s 2.7 million troops. Those who served in Vietnam represented nearly ten percent of the men of their generation. The current war on terror will probably only involved a few percent. Veterans of older wars are dying off at a rapid clip. The Iraq war is something most people simply can’t relate to.

In a word, the war has no constituency.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/17/2008 at 12:44 PM   
Filed Under: • IraqMedia-Bias •  
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calendar   Wednesday - March 12, 2008

New Yon - go read it

Ok, Ok, I’m late for the party again. You’ve all probably read Michael Yon’s latest Discpatch from Iraq, Guitar Heroes that went up two days ago. It’s hard for me to be everywhere at once, but I try. So go and read it. It’s a great story of aerial swordfighting, our guys in helicopters against the Jihad Moes in the sandbox in and around Mosul. Pretty damned excellent job our Air Cav troops are doing, though I wish they had something a tiny bit more substantial than unarmored Kiowas and tiny Hellfire missiles to fight with.

For you gearheads ... here’s a photolink to the gunships image

and another photolink to the Hellfire missile image they’re using.

Mr. C. and I have been talking about that “more substantial” part, what with the Air Force being in the news quite a bit these past few days. Read Yon’s article and you’ll see that the downside to fighting a super precision war is using minimalist weapons, barely big enough to get the job done. A risk I don’t think we should be forcing our troops to take. I think it would be better, and probably a lot cheaper, to use more basic munitions that pack a bigger wallop. ("But what about collateral damage?” “Hey, almost no buildings within 100 yards of the target were destroyed. And PS - it’s a WAR, remember?") You’ll also notice that the M-4 “poodleshooter” carbine isn’t quite up to the task either.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/12/2008 at 05:49 PM   
Filed Under: • IraqWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Friday - February 01, 2008

You sick bastards

Al Qaida shifts from martyrs to murders; retarded women used as remote control bombs

BAGHDAD - Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, police and Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital this spring.

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, claimed the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control, indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said the bombings showed that a resilient al-Qaida has “found a different, deadly way” to try to destabilize Iraq.

“There is nothing they won’t do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that,” he told The Associated Press in an interview at the State Department.

The first attack Friday occurred at about 10:20 a.m. in the central al-Ghazl market. The weekly bazaar has been bombed several times since the war started but recently had re-emerged as a popular place to shop and stroll as Baghdad security improved and a Friday ban on driving was lifted.

Four police and hospital officials said at least 46 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. Firefighters scooped up debris scattered among pools of blood, clothing and pigeon carcasses.

About 20 minutes later, a second female suicide bomber struck a bird market in a predominantly Shiite area in southeastern Baghdad. That blast killed as many as 27 people and wounded 67, according to police and hospital officials.

Involving women in fighting violates cultural taboos in Iraq, but the U.S. military has warned that al-Qaida in Iraq is recruiting females and youths to stage suicide attacks because militants are increasingly desperate to thwart stepped-up security measures.

You perverted, sick, putrescent roadkill humping, leprous puss licking, demon spawned bastards. This is a new cowardly low even for the craven likes of A-Q. It’s just as bad as the feral scum that used baby bombs to try and get Bhutto. This is evil. Not pure, not simple, but total. Evil. There are no tortures sufficient to punish those who do this. That it’s done in the name of your pagan religion can hardly make it worse.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/01/2008 at 12:14 PM   
Filed Under: • IraqRoPMATerrorists •  
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calendar   Friday - January 04, 2008

Remember the Lancet Study that had a widely disputed High Count of Iraq Casualties?

Data Bomb

By Neil Munro and Carl M. Cannon, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Friday, Jan. 4, 2008

Three weeks before the 2006 midterm elections gave Democrats control of Congress, a shocking study reported on the number of Iraqis who had died in the ongoing war. It bolstered criticism of President Bush and heightened the waves of dread—here and around the world—about the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of “excess” Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.

In December 2005, Bush had used a figure of 30,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. Iraq’s health ministry calculated that, based on death certificates, 50,000 Iraqis had died in the war through June 2006. A cautiously compiled database of media reports by a London-based anti-war group called Iraq Body Count confirmed at least 45,000 war dead during the same time period. These were all horrific numbers—but the death count in The Lancet’s study differed by an order of magnitude.

Queried in the Rose Garden on October 11, the day the Lancet article came out, Bush dismissed it. “I don’t consider it a credible report,” he replied. The Pentagon and top British government officials also rejected the study’s findings.

Such skepticism would not prove to be the rule.

CBS News called the report a “new and stunning measure of the havoc the American invasion unleashed in Iraq.” CNN began its report this way: “War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis, or more than 500 people a day, since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports.” Within a week, the study had been featured in 25 news shows and 188 articles in U.S. newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

Editorials in many major newspapers cited the Lancet article as further evidence that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea, and the liberal blogosphere ridiculed Bush for his response. Prominent mainstream media outlets quoted various academics who vouched for the study’s methodology, including some who said they had reviewed the data before publication.

Within a few weeks a backlash rose, although the contrarian view of the study generated far less press attention than the Lancet article. In the ensuing year, numerous skeptics have identified various weaknesses with the study’s methodology and conclusions. Political blogs and academic journals have registered and responded to the objections in a debate that has been simultaneously arcane and predictable. The arguments are arcane because that is the nature of statistical analysis. They are predictable because that is the nature of today’s polarized political discourse, with liberals defending the Lancet study and conservatives contesting it.

How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet’s estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly—or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data—Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results—has refused to answer questions about his methods.

Some of these questions could be resolved if other researchers had access to the surveyors’ original field reports and response forms. The authors have released files of collated survey results but not the original survey reports, citing security concerns and the fact that some information was not recorded or preserved in the first place. This was a legitimate problem, and it underscored the difficulty of conducting research in a war zone.

Each death recorded by the Hopkins surveyors in 2006 extrapolated to 2,000 deaths in the Iraqi population.

Over the past several months, National Journal has examined the 2006 Lancet article, and another [PDF] that some of the same authors published in 2004; probed the problems of estimating wartime mortality rates; and interviewed the authors and their critics. NJ has identified potential problems with the research that fall under three broad headings: 1) possible flaws in the design and execution of the study; 2) a lack of transparency in the data, which has raised suspicions of fraud; and 3) political preferences held by the authors and the funders, which include George Soros’s Open Society Institute.

Source and Rest of article

Posted by Infinity   United States  on 01/04/2008 at 09:25 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsIraqMiddle-EastMilitaryPolitics •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 19, 2007

News Bits for the Day

A ton of things to write about today.

First off, the congress and, apparently, President Bush, thinks its just fine and dandy that they tell us which lightbulbs we will be able to buy, what vehicles we should drive and what kinds of fuels will be produced.

WASHINGTON (AP)—Congress by a wide margin approved the first increase in automobile fuel economy in 32 years Tuesday, and President Bush plans to quickly sign the legislation, accepting the mandates on the auto industry.

The energy bill, boosting mileage by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon, passed the House 314-100 and now goes to the White House, following the Senate’s approved last week.

In a statement, the White House said Bush will sign the legislation at the Energy Department on Wednesday.

In a dramatic shift to spur increased demand for nonfossil fuels, the bill also requires a six-fold increase in ethanol use to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, a boon to farmers. And it requires new energy efficiency standards for an array of appliances, lighting and commercial and government buildings.

“This legislation is a historic turning point in energy policy,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland because it will cut demand for foreign oil and promote nonfossil fuels that will cut greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Nevermind that I want to be able to decide what kind of lightbulbs to buy.  Nevermind that the food industry is suffering from so much corn being diverted to fuel.  nevermind that biofuel will reduce imports by four million barrels per day.  Those same folks are the ones who are rejecting as “very very bad”, the drilling in ANWR to bring us a million barrels per day.

Lastly, they always tote out the line of “...fuels that will cut greenhouse gases linked to global warming” Linked by who, precicely?  Jerks.

Second on the list is this great news from Iraq:

Iraqis Include Christmas As Religious Holiday!

The following is a translation from Iraq’s news paper Alamashriq on December 18, 2007 by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina:

Iraqi Government extends Religious Holidays to Include Christmas.

The Iraqi Government announced, yesterday Monday, the extension of the religious holiday (for all Government offices) to celebrate Eid Al-Adha (Three day Muslim Religious Holiday at the end of the Pilgrimage to Mecca) one extra day to Include celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The Iraqi national press office released this announcement which declared December 25th a national holiday in Iraq for all government offices (national and provincial). The government in its press release mentions that this allows our citizens to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and the birth of the messiah (peace be upon him).

Haider Ajina comments,

While I was growing up in Iraq, in the sixties and seventies, Christmas (or Celebration of Birth of the Messiah as it’s called by Arab Christians) was acknowledged and celebrated but it was never a national holiday. Christians had the day off with pay and Christian children did not have to come to school on Christmas. Even children from Mixed marriages (Christian and Muslim parents) could stay out of school if they wanted, it was an excused holiday.

I am pleased and surprised to see the government declaring it a national holiday. This way almost all Iraqis can celebrate their religious holidays together. This is another positive change and one of many steps towards national unity. Eid and Christmas celebrations will be held under substantially improved circumstances from last year.

Iraqis have plenty to celebrate as this year comes to an end. Thanks to our men and women who have served and are still serving in Iraq. The future of Iraq is looking very bright and hopeful, with much hard work to rebuild and ground this new democracy and rule of law, still ahead.

Haider Ajina

Thirdly, speking of Glowball Worming, we find this courtesy of Say Anything:

Washington Times Columnist Lists Some Very Inconvenient Truths For The Global Warming Cultists
David Deming’s commentary on global warming in this morning’s edition of the Washington Times is one of the best I’ve ever read.

If he’s right - and I believe he is because he’s obviously done his homework - the global warming bunch will end up with a substantial amount of egg on their face by the end of this winter:

South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency.

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.

Last January, $1.42 billion worth of California produce was lost to a devastating five-day freeze. Thousands of agricultural employees were thrown out of work. At the supermarket, citrus prices soared. In the wake of the freeze, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President Bush to issue a disaster declaration for affected counties. A few months earlier, Mr. Schwarzenegger had enthusiastically signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a law designed to cool the climate. California Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to push for similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.

In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95 percent of South Carolina’s peach crop, and 90 percent of North Carolina’s apple harvest. At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923. On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Denver’s temperature records extend back to 1872.

Recent weeks have seen the return of unusually cold conditions to the Northern Hemisphere. On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On the same date, record low temperatures were also recorded in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Extreme cold weather is occurring worldwide. On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius. Nov. 24, in Meacham, Ore., the minimum temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the previous record low set in 1952. The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years

Of course, the global warmers will answer with this type of psychobabble double-speak:

If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you’re hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can’t make this stuff up.

We’ll know in afew short months if Gore’s dire end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it predictions are an incovenient truth as he would have us believe, or just convenient for his bank account.

In the meantime, my hat’s off to David Deming for this incovenient article.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/19/2007 at 01:17 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-WeatherInternationalIraqPolitics •  
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calendar   Thursday - November 01, 2007

Real Heroes, Real Soldiers, and a real reporter

h/t to powerline

Jeff Emmanuel from, embedded in Iraq, shows what real combat reporting ought to be. Al Qaeda in Iraq is on the ropes because we have troops like these guys from Charlie Company. It’s a 20 minute read you do not want to miss.

In Jeff’s own words,

In my opinion, this is the type of heroic story that has been missing from the mainstream media’s coverage of the War on Terror—and it is precisely the type of story that the American people need to hear. Being the one who had the opportunity to write about it and to bring it to the public’s attention—something which was only possible because I, like the very small number of my colleagues who do this, was willing to go to a place (and take a risk) that others will not—was an amazing and humbling experience.

If you haven’t read Jeff’s work yet, you will after this. He’s just as good as Michael Yon.  Read the original rendition with pictures at his site, or read it in an easy reading font at The American Spectator.

Ambush In Sammara: The Longest Morning

Six weeks ago in the Iraqi city of Samarra, four paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division became the object of a pre-planned, coordinated effort by dozens of al Qaeda to kidnap and slaughter American soldiers only days before General Petraeus’s internationally televised testimony to the U.S. Congress on the state of the war in Iraq. Only two survived—but, fighting like heroes, they succeeded in preserving the honor of their nation.

This is their story.

You don’t need me to snag more excerpts than this to entice you to read it. Just go and do it.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2007 at 11:51 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqMilitaryWar-Stories •  
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Al Qaeda Beaten in Iraq

Gateway Pundit, Say Anything and Michael Yon all agree, Al Qaeda has lost in Iraq.

From Gateway Pundit:

The following is a Haider Ajina translation of a headline and news article from Iraq’s Buratha News on October 31, 2007:

“Sunni Tribal leaders from Dhi-Qar province distance themselves from Takfiries and pledge their support to the political process and elected government”

The governor of Iraq’s Dhi-Qar province Aziz Khadum Alwan received a delegation of Sunni tribal leaders of the Dhi-Qar who are member of the Dhi-Qar tribal chamber. The delegation handed the governor a copy of a speech given by the Chair of the delegation Sheik Ahmed AbdulRazaq after Friday prayer. The speech he delivered made very clear the mission of the Tribal Chamber which guides its actions. Sheik AbdulRazaq acknowledged the danger of the Takfiri fatwas and its deviation from Islam and the importance of combating and fighting the Takfiries and their deviant ideas. He also called for the support of the government and its local administrative and security representatives.

Haider Ajina comments:

Dhi-Qar province is a mostly Muslim Shiite province with some Mandaeans (followers of John the Baptist). Sunni Tribal leaders in Dhi-Qar province are speaking out loudly against Takfiries and against those trying to disrupt the political process in Iraq. Since the Alqida Takfiries are Sunnis, the Sunnis in Dhi-Qar are speaking out to disassociate themselves from these Takfiries as well as call for fighting these Takfiries. They also denounce the Takfiri deviant ideology and calling it non Muslim. These are all positive steps towards a united Iraq against the terrorists and for a representative government. While Iraq, as any free society, will never be fully united behind any political cause (nor should they) they are however uniting against the Takfiries and intolerance and they are uniting to protect their minorities.

From Michael Yon:

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated,” according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe. Speaking through an interpreter at a 31 October meeting at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in downtown Baghdad, Sheik Omar said that al Qaeda had been “defeated mentally, and therefore is defeated physically,” referring to how clear it has become that the terrorist group’s tactics have backfired. Operatives who could once disappear back into the crowd after committing an increasingly atrocious attack no longer find safe haven among the Iraqis who live in the southern part of Baghdad.  They are being hunted down and killed.  Or, if they are lucky, captured by Americans.

Colonel Ricky Gibbs, the American brigade commander with responsibility for the Rashid District in south Baghdad today told me, “So goes South Baghdad goes Baghdad.” General Petraeus had told me similar things about the importance of South Baghdad. In fact, Rashid is quickly developing into what might be one of the final serious battlegrounds of the war.

From SayAnything:

The funny thing is that when violence in Iraq is escalating, the journalists always know what it is and the meaning is never disputed.  When violence is escalating, they call it “civil war” and imply that it means the war in Iraq is a failure.  Like this report from November 2006:

As the sectarian violence in Iraq escalates into what the US media is now calling a civil war, Mr Bush said he would press Mr Maliki to develop a strategy to stop the killings.

Escalating violence = civil war

Decreasing violence = confused journalists

But don’t you ever accuse these brave and courageous journalists of not being objective


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2007 at 11:07 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Tuesday - October 30, 2007

More Good News You Won’t Hear

From we see that fatalities in October are the lowest they’ve been since March of last year.  You think this will be the lead story tonight on CNN?

Thought not.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/30/2007 at 03:54 PM   
Filed Under: • Iraq •  
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calendar   Monday - October 29, 2007

Suicide Bomber Kills One


Suicide Bomber Explodes After Iraqi Citizens Corner Him

The Al-Qaeda killer exploded himself after an Iraqi Concerned Local Citizens group cornered him at home.
One person died- the bomber.
MNF-Iraq reported:

MUQDADIYA, Iraq – Acting on a tip from a local citizen, a group of Concerned Local Citizens located a suicide bomber, who detonated himself upon discovery in Muqdadiya Oct. 26.

The suicide bomber, who was believed to be targeting a populated area, detonated as soon as the CLC group entered the house he was located in, causing it to collapse. The collapse wounded one CLC and a suspected extremist who was in the house with the suicide bomber.

“Today’s discovery is a sure sign the population continues to grow tired of al- Qaeda’s barbaric acts,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition Forces in Diyala province. “The local citizens and CLCs are both playing active roles in securing their areas and neighborhoods across Diyala – an important sign that they realize they must be the definers of their own democracy.”

“Because of the actions by the CLCs, many lives were saved,” Sutherland continued. “This is not the first time the CLCs have saved lives in their neighborhoods.

They truly are patriots serving to protect their families, tribes and neighbors.”

True patriots indeed.  The tide has turned.  These fine people have tasted freedom and are not going to allow the radicals to take back over their country.  They want their kids to grow up free and safe just like we do.  Good job guys.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/29/2007 at 08:14 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqPatriotismTerrorists •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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