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Standoff in Iraq
http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200602240629.asp ^ | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 02/24/2006 4:10:55 AM PST by mal

The insurgency in Iraq has no military capability either to drive the United States military from Iraq or to stop the American training of Iraqi police and security forces — or, for that matter, to derail the formation of a new government. The United States air base at Balad is one of the busiest airports in the world. Camp Victory near Baghdad is impenetrable to serious attack. And even forward smaller bases at Kirkuk, Mosul, and Ramadi are entirely secure. Instead, the terrorists count on three alternate strategies:

First, through the use of improvised explosive devices (IED), assassinations, and suicide bombings, they hope to make the Iraqi hinterlands and suburbs appear so unstable and violent that the weary American public says “enough of these people” and calls home its troops before the country is stabilized. In such a quest, the terrorists have an invaluable ally in the global media, whose “if it bleeds, it leads” brand of journalism always favors the severed head in the street over the completion of yet another Iraqi school.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: gwot; ied; iraq; iraqifreedom; islam; islamicfascism; muslims; nro; terrorism; vdh; victordavishanson; wot; zarqawi

1 posted on 02/24/2006 4:10:56 AM PST by mal
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To: mal

Perhaps we need a War on MSM.


2 posted on 02/24/2006 4:21:52 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (Legality does not dictate morality... Lavin)
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To: mtbopfuyn
"Perhaps we need a War on MSM."

We have one. We're in it. We're winning.

3 posted on 02/24/2006 4:27:38 AM PST by norwaypinesavage
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To: norwaypinesavage

Spot-on.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it like that.


4 posted on 02/24/2006 4:28:59 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: mtbopfuyn

A great article, with one exception. He missed the fourth factor: A deliberate and willing campaign from hard core left wing Americans and their many allies in the press to lose the war, regardless of the costs, regardless of the progress, regardless of the implications for American security. Not since the American Civil War have more Americans been so deliberately engaged in treason. Willful, deliberate treason.

At least during the early parts of the war, the enemy at home would say "We support the troops......" We dont even hear that any more and its been proven a lie any way.

Again, a great article, well written and produced.


5 posted on 02/24/2006 4:34:59 AM PST by armydawg1 (" America must win this war..." PVT Martin Treptow, KIA, WW1)
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Standoff in Iraq

The IED vs. Democracy.

The insurgency in Iraq has no military capability either to drive the United States military from Iraq or to stop the American training of Iraqi police and security forces — or, for that matter, to derail the formation of a new government. The United States air base at Balad is one of the busiest airports in the world. Camp Victory near Baghdad is impenetrable to serious attack. And even forward smaller bases at Kirkuk, Mosul, and Ramadi are entirely secure. Instead, the terrorists count on three alternate strategies:

First, through the use of improvised explosive devices (IED), assassinations, and suicide bombings, they hope to make the Iraqi hinterlands and suburbs appear so unstable and violent that the weary American public says “enough of these people” and calls home its troops before the country is stabilized. In such a quest, the terrorists have an invaluable ally in the global media, whose “if it bleeds, it leads” brand of journalism always favors the severed head in the street over the completion of yet another Iraqi school.

Second, the al Qaedists think they can attack enough Shiites and government forces to prompt a civil war. And indeed, in the world that we see on television, there is no such thing as a secular Iraq, an Iraqi who defines himself as an Iraqi, or a child born to a Shiite and Sunni. No, the country, we are told, is simply three factions that will be torn apart by targeted violence. Sunnis blow up holy places; Shiites retaliate; and both sides can then blame the Americans.

Third, barring options one and two, the enemy wishes to pay off criminals and thugs to create enough daily mayhem, theft, and crime to stop contractors from restoring infrastructure and thus delude the Iraqi public into believing that the peace would return if only the Americans just left.

One of the great lapses in world journalism is investigating what happened to the 100,000 criminals let out by Saddam Hussein on the eve of the war. Thus the terrorists have succeeded in making all the daily mayhem of a major city appear to be political violence — even though much of the problem is the theft, rape, and murder committed by criminals who have had a holiday since Saddam freed them.

We are at a standoff of sorts, as we cannot yet stop the fear of the IED, and they cannot halt the progress of democracy. The Americans are unsure whether their own continued massive use of force — GPS bombings or artillery strikes — will be wise in such a sensitive war of hearts and minds, and must be careful to avoid increased casualties that will erode entirely an already attenuated base of public support for remaining in Iraq at all. The terrorists are more frustrated that, so far, they cannot inflict the sort of damage on the Americans that will send them home or stop the political process entirely.

During this sort of waiting game in Iraq, the American military silently is training tens of thousands of Iraqis to do the daily patrols, protect construction projects, and assure the public that security is on the way, while an elected government reminds the people that they are at last in charge.

The IED and suicide bomber answer back that it is a death sentence to join the government, to join the American-sponsored police and army, and to join the rebuilding efforts of Iraq.

Who will win? The Americans I talked to this week in Iraq — in Baghdad, Balad, Kirkuk, and Taji — believe that a government will emerge that is seen as legitimate and will appear as authentic to the people. Soon, ten divisions of Iraqi soldiers, and over 100,000 police, should be able to crush the insurgency, with the help of a public tired of violence and assured that the future of Iraq is their own — not the Husseins’, the Americans’, or the terrorists’. The military has learned enough about the tactics of the enemy that it can lessen casualties, and nevertheless, through the use of Iraqi forces, secure more of the country with far less troops. Like it or not, the American presence in Iraq will not grow, and will probably lessen considerably in 2006, before reaching Korea-like levels and responsibilities in 2007.

The terrorists, whom I did not talk to, but whose bombs I heard, answer back that while they fear the Iraqization of their enemy and the progress of democracy, they can still kill enough Shiites, bomb enough mosques, and stop enough rebuilding to sink the country into sectarian war — or at least something like Lebanon of the 1980s or an Afghanistan under the Taliban.

It is an odd war, because the side that I think is losing garners all the press, whether by blowing up the great golden dome of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, or blowing up an American each day. Yet we hear nothing of the other side that is ever so slowly, shrewdly undermining the enemy.

The Iraqi military goes out now on about half the American patrols, as well as on thousands of their own. It is not the Fallujah brigade of early 2004 — rather, it is developing into the best trained and disciplined armed force in the Middle East. While progress in reestablishing the infrastructure necessary for increased electricity and oil production seems dismal, in fact, much has been finished that awaits only the completion of pipelines and transmission lines — the components most vulnerable to sabotage. It is the American plan, in a certain sense, to gradually expand the security inside the so-called international or green zone, block by block, to the other 6 million Iraqis outside, where sewers run in the streets and power from the grid is available less than 12 hours per day.

The nature of the debate has also changed at home. Gone is “my perfect war, your screwed-up peace” or “no-blood for oil” or even “Bush lied, thousands died.” And there is little finger-pointing any more that so-and-so disbanded the Iraqi army, or didn’t have enough troops, or didn’t supply enough body armor. Now it is simply a yes or no proposition: yes, we can pull it off with patience, or no, it is no longer worth the cost and the lives.

Most would agree that the Americans now know exactly what they are doing. They have a brilliant and savvy ambassador and a top diplomatic team. Their bases are expertly run and secured, where food, accommodations, and troop morale are excellent. Insufficient body armor and unarmored humvees are yesterday’s hysteria. Our generals — Casey, Chiarelli, Dempsey — are astute and understand the fine line between using too much force and not employing enough, and that the war cannot be won by force alone. American colonels are the best this county has produced, and they are proving it in Iraq under the most trying of conditions. Iraqi soldiers are treated with respect and given as much autonomy as their training allows.

Again, the question now is an existential one: Can the United States — or anyone — in the middle of a war against Islamic fascism, rebuild the most important country in the heart of the Middle East, after 30 years of utter oppression, three wars, and an Orwellian, totalitarian dictator warping of the minds of the populace? And can anyone navigate between a Zarqawi, a Sadr, and the Sunni rejectionists, much less the legions of Iranian agents, Saudi millionaires, and Syrian provocateurs who each day live to destroy what’s going on in Iraq?

The fate of a much wider war hinges on the answers to these questions, since it would be hard to imagine that bin Laden could continue be much of a force with a secure and democratic Iraq, anchoring ongoing liberalization in the Gulf, Lebanon, and Egypt, and threatening by example Iran and Syria. By the same token, it would be hard to see how we could stop jihadism from spreading when an army that is doing everything possible still could not stop Islamic fascism from taking over the ancestral home of the ancient caliphate.

Can-do Americans courageously go about their duty in Iraq — mostly unafraid that a culture of 2,000 years, the reality of geography, the sheer forces of language and religion, the propaganda of the state-run Arab media, and the cynicism of the liberal West are all stacked against them. Iraq may not have started out as the pivotal front in the war between democracy and fascism, but it has surely evolved into that. After visiting the country, I think we can and will win, but just as importantly, unlike in 2003-4, there does not seem to be much of anything we should be doing there that in fact we are not.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.
 

6 posted on 02/24/2006 4:42:46 AM PST by Tolik
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To: norwaypinesavage

yep. one of the big bites in the dust was Dave G.. lmao


7 posted on 02/24/2006 4:43:03 AM PST by Cinnamon
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To: mal; neverdem; Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...


    Victor Davis Hanson Ping ! 

       Let me know if you want in or out.

Links: FR Index of his articles:  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson 
His website: http://victorhanson.com/     NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp

8 posted on 02/24/2006 4:44:15 AM PST by Tolik
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To: mal

vdh nails it again


9 posted on 02/24/2006 4:49:27 AM PST by beebuster2000
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To: mtbopfuyn

Watch Fox News. At home, we never watch the MSM, but occasionally when on travel, at the Atlanta Airport (or some other airport), CNN will be on, and I will watch for a while. It generally only takes a few minutes for CNN to show its true colors (pinko), and I go back to reading my book or magazine. I sometimes ask myself, how did I survive all those years listening to Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings?


10 posted on 02/24/2006 4:54:40 AM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: Tolik

I love his books on classical history. If you are at all interested in Greek or Roman History, his books demonstrate just how exceptional those civilizations were in History.


11 posted on 02/24/2006 4:56:14 AM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: mal

"Instead, the terrorists count on three alternate strategies:"

There are more than three, unfortunately. There's The Democrat/Liberals, the mainstream media and the college professors.


12 posted on 02/24/2006 4:58:20 AM PST by RoadTest ("- - a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people." - Richard Henry Lee, 1786)
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To: mal; Ernest_at_the_Beach
The Americans I talked to this week in Iraq — in Baghdad, Balad, Kirkuk, and Taji — believe that a government will emerge that is seen as legitimate and will appear as authentic to the people.

And still the MoveOn FReepers back home insist that we are wrong and that Iraq is doomed and gosh, we don't know what we're talking about - aren't we paying attention to CNN, dang it?

I've been saying it for the two years I've been here and I'll say it again:

Iraq is going to work.

GREAT article!

13 posted on 02/24/2006 5:07:01 AM PST by Allegra (Save the Mediterranean Fruitfly!)
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To: Allegra

Correct. I have seen, especially the last few days, an uptick of certain FReepers advocating the Murtha strategy of "cut n' run", which means three things to me....

1. They're fallling for the MSM propaganda. Note to FReepers: The MSM is not on the side of conservatives. They will spin things against conservatives.

2. The democrats don't care about national security as much as getting back in power. Don't help them. That would be FOOLISH.

3. Staying the course, listening to our military (there are a heck of a lot of stories on this web site, that will never be published, explaining what really is going on--read them!!!), and following the president on this one requires having a little intestinal fortitude. Show it!


14 posted on 02/24/2006 5:18:49 AM PST by Alas Babylon!
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To: mal; norwaypinesavage

Who else has actually been to Iraq, from the ranks of the commentariat? Left and right?


15 posted on 02/24/2006 5:24:26 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: FreedomPoster
I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it like that.

At its base, the whole thing is a war of good vs evil, in which fighting off the MSM is only a part. Other important parts include the military opposition to terrorism and the war of ideologies and values in the US. They are not separate items. They are all a smaller part of this battle of good against evil.
16 posted on 02/24/2006 5:26:40 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: mal; Old Sarge; Allegra; BilboB; Coop
The insurgency in Iraq has no military capability either to drive the United States military from Iraq or to stop the American training of Iraqi police and security forces — or, for that matter, to derail the formation of a new government. The United States air base at Balad is one of the busiest airports in the world. Camp Victory near Baghdad is impenetrable to serious attack. And even forward smaller bases at Kirkuk, Mosul, and Ramadi are entirely secure. Instead, the terrorists count on three alternate strategies

Ping.

17 posted on 02/24/2006 5:40:10 AM PST by StarCMC (Old Sarge is my hero...doing it right in Iraq! Vaya con Dios, Sarge.)
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

You are kinder than I am. I see that crap and start talking back to the TV. Loudly. He he he!


18 posted on 02/24/2006 5:43:27 AM PST by StarCMC (Old Sarge is my hero...doing it right in Iraq! Vaya con Dios, Sarge.)
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To: StarCMC

I must admit that in response to a comment on CNN, while at the Atlanta Airport, I announced "B---S---." Some ignored me but a couple of people approved.


19 posted on 02/24/2006 5:53:51 AM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

He he he!! I would have been smiling ear to ear! One comment like that and you can pretty much figure out where everyone around you stands! Makes it more fun to strike up a conversation! LOL


20 posted on 02/24/2006 5:57:32 AM PST by StarCMC (Old Sarge is my hero...doing it right in Iraq! Vaya con Dios, Sarge.)
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To: FreedomPoster
Who else has actually been to Iraq, from the ranks of the commentariat? Left and right?

Allegra. Read Post 13 of this thread. Allegra works in Bagdad.

21 posted on 02/24/2006 7:20:45 AM PST by MNJohnnie ("Good men don't wait for the polls. They stand on principle and fight."-Soul Seeker)
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To: MNJohnnie

While I very much enjoy Allegra's posts, I wouldn't consider her part of the commentariat, in the general sense of the word.


22 posted on 02/24/2006 7:52:13 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: mal

Excellent assessment by VDH. I'm very glad he made the choice to go to Iraq and see for himself the progress being made.


23 posted on 02/24/2006 8:30:35 AM PST by afnamvet (CONGRESS.SYS corrupted; Reformat WASH_DC (Y/N)?)
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To: Allegra; Alas Babylon!
the MoveOn FReepers back home

We have loads of them recently surfaced around here.....it's like they never bother to read anything in depth....already having listened to the MSM and are simply relaying their talking points....

24 posted on 02/24/2006 8:57:46 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Tolik; NormsRevenge; Grampa Dave; SierraWasp; Marine_Uncle

Thanks for the ping to another great article from VDH.


25 posted on 02/24/2006 8:59:46 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Some things must be repeated literally hundreds of times to perhaps catch the ostriche's attention. Though the birds do have a habit of keeping their ears and eyes buried quite deep.
26 posted on 02/24/2006 9:21:51 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: JamesP81

Right now we have arrayed against us:

Al-Queda and the Wahabbists
The Media
The Democrats
The Leftists
The Communists (but I repeat myself)
The Mexicans
The Iranians
The Academy
The RINOS
The European Socialists

For us we have:
The Conservatives
The Christians
The Jews (some of them)

This isn't a slam dunk, not at all.


27 posted on 02/24/2006 9:27:40 AM PST by Flavius Josephus (LSM: Controversy, Crap, & Confusion, denial, decrial, dismissal, degradle.)
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To: Marine_Uncle
Some things must be repeated literally hundreds of times to perhaps catch the ostriche's attention.

Or, as the left used to put it, we need to Raise the Ostrich's Conciousness.

28 posted on 02/24/2006 9:29:10 AM PST by Flavius Josephus (LSM: Controversy, Crap, & Confusion, denial, decrial, dismissal, degradle.)
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To: Flavius Josephus
"Or, as the left used to put it, we need to Raise the Ostrich's Conciousness."
Perhaps with a swift kick to their ass. heheh.
29 posted on 02/24/2006 9:31:20 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Flavius Josephus
Right now we have arrayed against us: Al-Queda and the Wahabbists
The Media
The Democrats
The Leftists
The Communists (but I repeat myself)
The Mexicans
The Iranians
The Academy
The RINOS
The European Socialists

For us we have:
The Conservatives
The Christians
The Jews (some of them)

This isn't a slam dunk, not at all.


At the risk of sounding like a nutter, let me add this one:

God

I don't think things are quite as bad as they look. People tend to give up the fight right when they are on the edge of success.
30 posted on 02/24/2006 9:31:43 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: mtbopfuyn
Perhaps we need a War on MSM..

For how the lame stream media has tried to intentionally undermine the mission of the outstanding men and women of the US military and our coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan I HATE every one of those MFing talking mediots. The media whore katie couric, coward sissy matthews and all the other traitors in the lame stream media are mortal enemies of the United States... at least that is how I view them.

31 posted on 02/24/2006 9:43:55 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: Marine_Uncle

Oooyeah, Marine Uncle, Sir! Kicking!


32 posted on 02/24/2006 10:41:31 AM PST by Flavius Josephus (LSM: Controversy, Crap, & Confusion, denial, decrial, dismissal, degradle.)
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To: Flavius Josephus
"Oooyeah, Marine Uncle, Sir! Kicking!"
I cannot accept the honor of being addressed as sir with the thought you may think I am an old gruff gunny. I only am the uncle of a tough young Lance Corporal. But yea the birds some time just need their backsides booted to wake up.
33 posted on 02/24/2006 10:50:53 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Marine_Uncle

I did have the image of a wiry old gunny with a marine corps tattoo who could still kick my ass into next Tuesday at the ripe young age of 62.


34 posted on 02/24/2006 11:14:33 AM PST by Flavius Josephus (LSM: Controversy, Crap, & Confusion, denial, decrial, dismissal, degradle.)
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To: Flavius Josephus
"I did have the image of a wiry old gunny with a marine corps tattoo who could still kick my ass into next Tuesday at the ripe young age of 62."
Sorry to disapoint you, I'm just a super handsome 59 guy! ha ha. Who I might add, almost weaped more then once while shaking hands of Marines newly graduated and later at Camp Lejeune rubbing skins with Marines from PVC up to Majors who returned from Iraq. They serve with honor. While running around these bases with my nephew. He indulges me quite a bit, I felt like I was twenty again. Full of spirit, purpose, and unlimited endurance. It would have been so grand to be allowed to go onto a fireing range and with these old weary eyes try to at least find the outer rings.
Let me end with this. A few years back while attending my nephew's graduation at Parris Island I had a unique experience. Steve was asked to give a talk to the Marines that where in the special Physical Training unit (those Marines that where not staying up with the course, and needed extra help to get with the program, whether mental or physical). While he stood at a little podium talking with this recruits, remember Steve only became a Marine some 24 hours before, he asked some what their hang up was. To a large degree these kids complained about the running, sit ups and pull ups.
I was standing in the background next to a room where the Sargeant on duty stayed.
I could not take it any more. I asked Steven if I could interupt him for just a moment. He gave way. I addressed the recruits .....ok guys, look you see me, white hair, rather old looking, totally out of shape right? No responses. Steve starts to giggle.
I ask them. How many pull ups are required to complete that requirement. Answer four sir. OK. what they did not know that I used to be able to press into inverted iron crosses and the likes on rings and do pull ups galore.
So I ask them where do you do pullups. They said over their sir.
I walked over to a high bar they had set up. And ask how do you get to up to the bar. They said we have to jump up and grab it.
So whispering a prayer, I jumped up and grabbed the bar. And pumped out four full pull ups crying on the last one with my aching white piped biceps gone for ages....I'm doing this for you guys. As I dropped to the floor I said If this old bastard who hasn't done any pullups in over twenty years can do four you guys can do it.
So FJ. I got to do some pull ups at a MCRD. It did feel quite good to say the least. The biceps stopped hurting within the hour as we ran around other parts of the base.
35 posted on 02/24/2006 11:37:12 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Marine_Uncle

That's a great story, Pops! ;-)

But get out to a firing range. We may all be needed in the minutemen before too much longer.


36 posted on 02/24/2006 11:45:00 AM PST by Flavius Josephus (LSM: Controversy, Crap, & Confusion, denial, decrial, dismissal, degradle.)
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To: Flavius Josephus

I sold all my firearms after getting married and hearing to many why do you want to shoot Bambi for. Such is life. It is grand even when things are not going to well. Haven't fired a gun, rifle, or shotgun in some thirty years.


37 posted on 02/24/2006 11:53:04 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: mal
OK-fine, I'll say it. Hanson is right on the main thrust of the article which is that the insurgents have no other option than to inflict enough pinpricks so that the casualties incurred will cause enough political pressure to force us to withdraw from Iraq and that the media and the left are their willing allies in that. He is also right that reforming Iraq is our best shot at combating Islamic extremism and that the enemy understands this and is doing all he can to undermine our efforts there.

However, he is wrong about a lot of the details. For example, the IA and IP are only marginally capable and need a lot more training and supervision before they are ready. And one of the main reasons that we are drawing down in Iraq is that we have used almost all of our NG combat brigades and, barring a declaration of war, they cannot be reactivated again until the current five-year mobilization window expires. Having failed to expand the regular Army, the administration has no choice other than to draw down and hope that the domestic Iraqi forces can handle the mission.

Oh, and the chow on our FOB sucked.

38 posted on 02/24/2006 12:58:22 PM PST by 91B (God made man, Sam Colt made men equal.)
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To: mtbopfuyn
Perhaps we need a War on MSM.

We're engaged, and FreeRepublic is a MOAB on the MSM.

39 posted on 02/24/2006 1:43:26 PM PST by Caleb1411 ("These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G. K. C)
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To: Tolik

Much-obliged for your full posting of a needlessly-excerpted article! KUDOS!!


40 posted on 02/25/2006 12:20:25 PM PST by ConservativeStLouisGuy (11th FReeper Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Excerpt)
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