ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, October 20, 2006

More Bad News From Iraq

At least, it must be bad news, because this story is not getting covered by the press:

raqi Soldiers rejoin the fight Print
Friday, 20 October 2006

By Lance Cpl. Ben Eberle
I Marine Logistics Group PAO

CAMP HABBANIYAH — More than 1,500 Iraqi Soldiers returned to duty recently, reporting here between Sept. 20 and Oct. 1.

Top Iraqi military officials approved the full reinstatement of the soldiers and welcomed them back to the Iraqi Army, said Col. Juan Ayala, senior advisor to the 1st Iraqi Army Division.

“The fact that they came back on their own volition shows that they want to serve,” said Ayala. “It’s going to give this division a much needed influx of soldiers.”

Maj. Gen. Tariq Abdul Wahab Jasim, commanding general of the 1st Iraqi Army Division, speaks with Iraqi soldiers at Camp Habbaniyah upon their return to duty. U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo.
Maj. Gen. Tariq Abdul Wahab Jasim, commanding general of the 1st Iraqi Army Division, speaks with Iraqi soldiers at Camp Habbaniyah upon their return to duty. U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo.
The Iraqi Army is a voluntary force but unlike American forces has no specified terms of enlistment. Prolonged exposure to combat and dangerous conditions in their families’ hometowns may have played a part in the soldiers’ temporary AWOL status, said one U.S. military official.

Maj. Gen. Tariq Abdul Wahab Jasim, commanding general, 1st Iraqi Army Division, realized the need and requested assistance from the Iraqi Government.

The Defense Ministry offered dispensation to those who previously left, attracting entire families back to the fighting forces, explained Ayala.

“The Iraqi Army is full of family members – brothers, fathers, sons, uncles, cousins – I’ve seen fathers and sons on patrol together,” said Ayala, who served as chief of staff for 1st Marine Logistics Group prior to deployment.

“This is also a very communal society,” he added. “Everyone is very loyal to their religious leaders, their tribes and their families.” The soldiers’ return to the 1st Iraqi Army Division, he said, is due largely to word of mouth.

The division is the oldest operating in the new Iraqi Army and assumes key battle space in the heart of the Sunni Triangle. Defined by the predominantly Sunni Muslim population between Baghdad, Ramadi (in the west) and Tikrit (to the north), it is considered one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq.

“I’ve been here nine months now, and day after day the Iraqi soldiers show that they’re able to fight,” said Ayala. “In many units, they’re constantly under attack but they keep coming back… They’re very good at conducting counter-insurgent operations.”

The division is a mix of Shi’a, Sunni, Kurds and Christians. These soldiers are better than most Americans at spotting insurgent behavior due to their understanding of tribes, sects and terrorist organizations in Iraq, said Ayala.

The 1st Iraqi Army Division also performs casualty evacuations, posts security after attacks, and commands patrols and vehicle convoys on its own. This includes the recent operation that returned nearly 1,600 soldiers back to Camp Habbaniyah.

“This is a very professional division, and there is no (animosity) between Sunni and Shi’a,” said Tariq. “As far as (the changes) we face, as long as we have a strong staff, the problems will be light.”

One such change is the amount of responsibility resting with noncommissioned officers. The officers in the old Iraqi Army supervised and ran everything, putting little or no responsibility in the enlisted ranks.

The new Iraqi Army is different. Noncommissioned officers are commanding some foot and vehicle patrols and are “doing a great job when given the chance to lead,” said Lt. Col. James B. Zientek, chief advisor to 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division.

According to projections from Multi-National Force – West, an Iraqi recruiting initiative plans to bring in 30,000 troops by May 2007. Retaining the newly-recruited soldiers as well as those in the operating forces has become a top priority.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Ayala. “(Command, support and maintenance of the brigades) will eventually be under control of the division commander.”

If only our own political hacks here in the US understood that...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Eric Lidle crash graphic courtesy of the NYT

As some of you may know, I'm a certificated pilot. I've been flying now for 4 years. When I heard about the Lidle crash into the NYC apartment building, I felt sadness at the loss of life that would inevitably come out of a crash of that magnitude. I was also concerned about the potential affect the crash would have on aviation regulations. But I also wanted to better understand the inevitable chain of events that led up to the crash.

The New York Times has an excellent series of graphics on its website illustrating the flight path the airplane took, and the nature of the east river VFR corridor. The only downside I have with the illustration is the depiction of the aircraft altitude as it circled the island. From the graphic it looks much higher than it ever would have been.

Some things to note, the east river corridor is exceedingly narrow. As noted, the typical procedure is to get permission to cross through LaGuardia airspace before entering the corridor. The time the plane entered the corridor till the time the plane impacted the apartment building was only 2-3 minutes. The entire flight lasted only 12 minutes. Things would have happened very rapidly.

James Fallows also has an article that effectively disputes some of the mechanical failure arguments at The Atlantic Online. Read the whole thing.

Also read this one and this one. From the latter, James echo's something I thought as well:

The first is the nightmare of the "box canyon." When I first heard about the accident, my mind skipped over the mention of "Upper East Side" and let me imagine that this had happened along the Hudson River, on the west side of Manhattan. I did so because that is the only route I had flown, and because it is so much easier and more "normal" a route for aircraft going around Manhattan. On the west side the river is relatively wide, and the course is direct. You watch like crazy for other aircraft, and you just keep going up or down the river
I, too, thought they must have been talking about the Hudson river VFR corridor. I didn't even know that an East river corridor was possible.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An example of why not to send your kid to UNM Law School

From Instapundit today, was a link to an article by Christina Hoff Summers, author of the book War Against Boys, on a recent speech she gave at the University of New Mexico Law School.

The one paragraph that struck me as an illustration of how leftist ideology trumps education is the following (emphasis mine):

The day I visited campus UNM faculty members were organizing a teach-in on Guantanamo and manning tables to protest military recruiters on campus. Last year the faculty achieved a prized, long-term goal: it terminated a hugely popular "DA Law Clinic" where students worked with the local District Attorney's Office. The professors were uncomfortable with a program that prosecuted— rather than defended— accused criminals.

Wow. They had a program that would allow students the opportunity to gain real world experience with the law, but because it was associated with the prosecutor's office it was on the "wrong side". And what does this say about the logic capabilities of the faculty. Is there nobody that was prosecuted in the DA's office that deserved it?

Why not just get rid of the DA then?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

You can put lipstick on a pig

but it's still a pig.

At least, that was my reaction when I read this article:

'Common Good' a New Theme for Democrats
Oct 16 3:28 PM US/Eastern

AP Religion Writer

One phrase stands out in Democratic speeches this campaign season.

Ned Lamont uses it in his Connecticut Senate race. President Clinton is scheduled to speak on the idea in Washington this week. Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania candidate for Senate, put it in the title of his talk at The Catholic University of America, then repeated the phrase 29 times.

The term is "common good," and it's catching on as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. Led by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, party activists hope the phrase will do for them what "compassionate conservative" did for the Republicans.

"It's a core value that we think organizes the entire political agenda for progressives," said John Halpin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community, sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty."
But he acknowledged that the strength of the "common good" as a unifying theme also is a weakness. The term is so broad it's hard to define and can be misinterpreted as a call for "big government," Perriello said. "The question right now is who is going to define it."

Advocates say they don't want to tie the phrase to a laundry list of narrow policies, but intend to convey a broad philosophy of governing with a positive appeal.

It won't be easy. Under Roman Catholic teaching, promoting the "common good" would include opposing abortion _ a position both Santorum and Casey embrace _ and opposing gay marriage to protect human dignity and the family. "Common good" Democrats are generally changing how they talk about abortion, calling it a tragedy to avoid _ rather than a private issue. But most have not come out against the procedure.

"I would argue that the conservative evangelical and traditional Catholic stands on same-sex marriage and abortion are stances in favor of the common good," said Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention and a supporter of President Bush.

"We believe that traditional marriage is the basic building block of society."

So, just because you use the phrase Common Good or "true American values" doesn't mean that people of faith will flock to your message. Your message has to be consistent with their beliefs regarding the Common Good.

I suspect that when most voters hear this phrase, they have the same reaction that I do: What a bunch of Commie pinkos....

In a related story, John Heilemann asks the question... what if the Dems lose? Or worse, what if they win?

I mean, if your entire platform is purely platitudes and meaningless bunk intended to convey the message that you're "for change, a new direction", there's going to be an awful lot of confusion within your caucaus should the reigns of power be handed to you by the electorate. And don't be surprised if the electorate feels that they were sold a bill of goods that didn't meet their expectations.

Or, what happens if the Dems lose? And by lose, I don't mean a GOP tide that increases our majority. No, the bar has been set so high now that if the GOP merely retains control of one house of Congress, it will be a failure for the Democrats.

Here's Heilemann:
So maybe the GOP has dug itself a hole so deep that the Democrats will finally win. Maybe they won’t be hurt by the absence of an agenda—though, even in the short run, Luntz reserves some doubt. “They’ll probably win narrowly in the House,” he says. “But if they had a positive message, they could probably take ten more seats.”

And what of the longer run? What happens if the party is restored to power after running a campaign where the essence of its appeal was, Bush and his enablers blow? Here’s hoping that its members realize that more is needed to cement a durable Democratic revival. Here’s hoping they grasp that pursuing a nonstop strategy of investigation and prosecution—gloriously cathartic though it would be—is a sure way to turn whatever victory they might win this year into something that Pyrrhus would be proud of.

When the GOP firewall strategy and the Dems inability to "run the table" results in both houses being controlled by the GOP, Kos & Kids will be claiming it a moral victory... while the DUers will be screaming Diebold!!! HALLIBURTON!!! into the ether.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, October 15, 2006


While the Left is all up in arms over Mark Foley (R-FL) over sexually explicit instant messages with a male Congressional page, they find time to come out and praise a censured, retired Congressman who engaged in actual sexual acts with a male Congressional page. Here is their praise for Gerry Studds (D-MA):

Reaction to the death of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds
By The Associated Press

Reaction to the death of former Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass.:

"Gerry's leadership changed Massachusetts forever and we'll never forget him. His work on behalf of our fishing industry and the protection of our waters has guided the fishing industry into the future and ensured that generations to come will have the opportunity to love and learn from the sea. He was a steward of the oceans."

- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.


"No one fought harder for human rights, particularly in Latin America; for our environment; and for the fishermen of New England and the entire nation. He was a true pioneer."

- U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., whose wife, Lisa, once worked as an aide to Studds.


"Gerry often said that it was the fight for gay and lesbian equality that was the last great civil rights chapter in modern American history. He did not live to see its final sentences written, but all of us will forever be indebted to him for leading the way with compassion and wisdom. He gave people of his generation, of my generation, and of future generations the courage to be who they are."

- Dean Hara, who married Studds in 2004.


"Gerry was a stalwart champion of New England's fishing families as well as a committed environmentalist who worked hard to demonstrate that the cause of working people and the cause of the environment go hand in hand with the right leadership. When he retired from Congress, he did not retire from the cause, continuing to fight for the fishing industry and New England's environmental causes.

- U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.


"I am very saddened by the death of Gerry Studds. From his days in the early 1970s as an articulate and effective opponent of the Vietnam war, through his consistent leadership on environmental issues, to his insistence that the U.S. government stop ignoring the AIDS crisis, Gerry was a forceful advocate for causes that were not always popular and that were consequently shunned by many politicians."

- U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

In the GOP, if you're caught in questionable or despicable activities, you won't keep your position of power.

In the Democratic Party, you're lauded as a hero and increase in stature.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler