Stay on plan, avoid concentrations of civilians, make sure you have an exit strategy
That's right, sex tips from Donald Rumsfeld. Very funny.
Just as long as she doesn't make another movie
No need to worry about those oil fires. Master Sgt. Madonna Ciccone is on the case. She is experienced in dealing with pipes, as we saw in Truth or Dare.
The number of reservists called up to fight has been truly astonishing. First there was Optimus Prime of the Transformers, then Aquaman with the minesweeping dolphins, and now Madonna. Thanks guys!
Apparently Madonna also has a new video coming out that's supposed to make some kind of antiwar statement. And you just know it's going to be really serious and meaningful, because she's appearing as a brunette. Ooooo.
DoD Fashion Watch
Defense Dept. spokeswoman still seems a bit casual, but it's the weekend. At least she doesn't remind us of Batman villain Two-Face this week.
Pause that refreshes
There was a lot of talk about an "operational pause" last night, denials today, yadda, yadda, yadda. While we all want a speedy victory for the troops and for our economy, which is basically on hold for the duration, this might be a good thing, debating points on Al-Jazeera notwithstanding.
In Into the Storm, Fred Franks, commander of the armored VII Corps during the last war, talks about how you have two options for contact with the enemy: go fast now, vs. go fast later. If you go fast now, you can shock and hope the bad guys fall apart at once, but you run into supply problems if things last more than a couple of days. This is what happened in the last Gulf War. Had the war continued longer than it did, we would have been facing big supply hurdles in the field just as our troops were smashing the Republican Guard (I refuse to call them "elite").
The other option, go fast later, is what is happening now. We went fast at first, which was good, because we were able to get to the outskirts of Baghdad and probably forestall some of the greater chem/bio nastiness that could have ensued, and we have drawn the Republican Guard out into the field.
Now, with our guys and the RGs lining up like teams on a football field between Karbala and Al Kut, we are going slower now to go faster later, re-supplying, re-coiling, and getting our act together for the next series.
This is a good thing, as frustrating as it may be to watch (I'm still tuning into Fox and MSNBC every 15 minutes). If you make contact with the enemy and have a big engagement when you reach the end of your rope, bad things can happen. This is what happened to the Germans at Stalingrad. It happened to the Russians in Chechnya--they rushed in, were proud of themselves, and then got chopped up while waiting on resupply they needed much earlier. And it happened to Lee at Gettysburg, forcing the issue when his troops were not ready for a frontal assault on the Yankees. Even Patton ran out of gas in September 1944, which led to some bloody fights and ultimately a prolonged stalemate that gave us the Battle of the Bulge.
So we're being smart about things. Cool. As tough as it is, I'll trade 4-6 days of hand-wringing in the press for 4-6 days of aerial "Highway of Death" decimation of the RG's, resupply, followed by a 1991-style Battle of 73 Easting PlayStation deathmatch butt-whipping of the RG's, which should make the situation in Baghdad and the rest of the country much more fluid than anyone thinks, and should do it very quickly.
Mayhem at Maple and Hegemony
Something FINALLY happened at the Ministry of Information, site of the BaghdadCam we've been watching for the past 10 days. The phallic minaret remains unharmed, unfortunately.
Safe to drink Molson again
Finally found Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky's words of support:
"All I can say is the president of the United States is a great leader, I happen to think he's a wonderful man and if he believes what he's doing is right, I back him 100 percent."He even has a cousin serving in the Marines over there, just like I do.
I told you Gretzky would have an impact. First the Parliament passed a resolution to indict Saddam on war crimes, and now there is even a petition for Canada to join the Coalition.
It's a bit late, but at least we know our neighbours' hearts are in the right place (Canadian spelling intentional). Wish I could chuck all of you on the shoulder and buy you a Labatt's blue.
As I have read in their press and heard from a number of Canadians in person, Jean Chretien is an idiot.
France's worst nightmare
Lance Armstrong, multiple Tour de France winner , Bush supporter, and the antithesis of the Dixie Chicks:
"In my opinion it's not really the place of an athlete to take a position here. And I do think there should be a strong deliniation from sports, war, diplomacy, and politics... What I will say, and have said many times, is that NOBODY wants a war. Not me. Not President Bush. Not Tony Blair. No one... but sometimes it may be unavoidable. I absolutely support the President and absolutely support our troops. Enough on this.Tiger Woods is on our side, too, with quite the classy statement. Gretzky, Lance, Tiger... all we need now is Michael.
First off, not enough Laurie Dhue. Second, too much Shepard Smith. Like the guy and his boo-ya! gung-ho approach to narrating bombing videos, but he looks like he's going to blow a gasket sometime, like the Yul Brenner android from that Westworld movie.
The big surprise on Fox? Ollie North. Bad Senate candidate, but a great combat correspondent. Who knew?
I never thought I would say this, but Geraldo Rivera is also doing a pretty good job. Yes, that Geraldo, who was signing autographs at Hooters while he was supposed to be reporting on the DC sniper story last fall. Just don't let him near the Saddam bunker; we don't want a replay of that "Al Capone's vaults" mess from the '80s.
The best reporter, though, is Rick Leventhal, embedded with the 3d Marine LAR. Good stuff, and even lets you in on this little things. Had a fun piece last night about how the armored guys go to the bathroom in the middle of a combat zone. Sounds trivial, but after watching those guys for the last 10 days, the question has crossed my mind.
The pin-up war
Not to be outdone by the Brits, Playboy says that America has its own weapons of mass seduction as well. Although the English seem to be well ahead of us in this field of, um, technology.
With my shield and magic helmet...
You probably read about this the other day, but this Royal Marine was shot in the head FOUR TIMES the other day, and never got hurt. If I were him, I would not take off that helmet now for anything. Not to shower, not even in bed.
The top anti-war slogans, from The Onion:
1. I support my activist girlfriend
2. I oppose this war and I vote. Wait, no, I don't.
3. The International Socialist Organization needs a ride home
4. What would Guevara do?
5. Fooled by liberal media bias
6. The people, united, will usually be defeated
Shopping with Saddam
The Iraqis finally hit something in Kuwait. The fountain at the center atrium of the upscale mall in Kuwait City. At 2 in the morning. Nice shootin', Tex.
Even more interesting were the descriptions of what the Silkworm missile missed. Like the Burger King and the Starbucks in the food court. Of course they have malls, food courts, and Starbucks. Just as they will in Baghdad in a few months.
The holy day in the Islamic world is Friday, which gave rise to the term "Metric Sunday" among our troops. And for Muslims, it means it's time for a sermon. In Iraq, the head cleric for the country gave a stemwinder yesterday, waving a rifle around throughout the whole service (what is the DEAL with gun safety in that part of the world, anyway?).
He had some wonderful, if unintentional, media advice for Al-Jazeera:
"I say from this pure site to all media outlets that spread the evil [man's] lies: You have to verify the information [you are broadcasting]. They [the enemies] have no shame nor conscience. They lie to people and they must be exposed... Media outlets in the world should oppose this lie and verify the truth of their words, since they have no conscience and no morality. This lie will be exposed by the brave Mujahideen, in Iraq of the Jihad... The news channels have become a vehicle for passing the enemy's lies. Oh men of the media, be careful to broadcast the truth [only]. Don't be a [voice] for the administration of evil; Don't be a [voice] for the liars."
Thanks for losing the veil, but still no Laurie Dhue
Of course, Al-J has some competition now. MBC, the other big Arab satellite group, has started its own news channel, Al-Arabiya. The money quote is in the headline:
The other big news in the piece? Al-Jazeera, for all its infidel-smiting ways, has not made a profit in all five years of its existence. Heehee. Bite the hand that feeds you long enough, and you might get sent to the pound.
Followed by Xena at 9
I was intrigued by the Cairo site above, so I thought to check the movie listings. Here's one of the movies they're flocking to over there, something along the lines of what you;d be seeing on Lifetime if Osama ruled the world:
"...This time, he plays a doctor who discovers that one of his relatives (Ezzat Abu Ouf) has AIDS. The bad news inspires him to search for the woman who gave Ouf the disease, a quest that leads him into an underworld of urfi (unregistered) marriage and prostitution. He uncovers a ring of Israeli women posing as tourists, but actually attempting to infect as many Egyptian men as possible with AIDS.Freaky. The anti-Semitism and homophobia are bad enough, to be sure. What intrigued me, though, was the issue with unregistered marriages, supposedly as bad as murder and prostitution. And why does registering your marriage matter if your aim is to die in a Jihad to get 72 virgins when you die? I don't think your wife would be around for that, would she?
The propaganda war
I'm sure Saddam's propagandist thinks he's a bad-a** when he gets up there to denounce the infidels, but he just looks silly. Even sillier than Tori Clarke's jacket.
Maybe, if he grew a moustache, Saddam would buy him a step or two for that podium.
Quote of the day:
Reporter: What is the Marine Corps' mission in Iraq?
Iraq, land of the giants
I've had the same thought myself, but Lileks says it better, as always:
"I am heartened by the maps that show where our troops are located - if the pictures are indeed drawn to scale, we have three soldiers on the ground, and each is about 135 miles tall; they have at their disposal four tanks, each of which is the size of Rhode Island."
Plus ca change, plus la meme chose
Spoke too soon about France. Yesterday, this guy, Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, gave a talk in London, trying to begin repairing the damage and hurt feelings from the UN, their pressure on Turkey not to take our troops, etc. He even made a big deal about how France was "ready to re-establish a close and trusting relationship with the United States". A bit late, but we're nice people, and thanks for trying.
But then, when asked by a reporter about whether he hoped the Coalition would win the war with Iraq, he angrily refused to say which side he supports. Welcome back, Dom; we've missed your unique ability to tick everyone off.
This is why, heading into the Sweet Sixteen, France is the overwhelming favorite to win it all in IronyFest2003.
The only dark horse France has to worry about in the irony competition now is the Iraqi minister of information, who loves to harp on us for two citizens killed by an errant bomb when his government has gassed its own people, invaded other countries, and is now forcing children into battle at gunpoint.
But CENTCOM air tasking planners say IraqiInfoBoy probably won't be around in time for the finals. Something about a MOAB or a bunker-buster.
The Iraqi Information Minister must be a hard worker. He's the only person, male or female, who has reached a high level in Saddam's government without growing a moustache. Either that, or he has compromising photos of Saddam and a couple of goats down in the bunker.
I blame Molson's ad agency for this
More French-fried BS from Canadian politicians. First we're "morons", then "American bastards", and this week, a Senator yelled "SCREW THE AMERICANS!" during a debate on the floor of Parliament.
The Senator, Laurier L. LaPierre, is even French. OK, Quebecois. Which qualifies for French in Canada, even though they've been subjects of the Crown since the 1700s.
But not to worry. No matter what people say, we have Wayne Gretzky on our side.
FOOTNOTES FOR AMERICANS WHO DO NOT BUMP INTO CANADIANS ON A REGULAR BASIS:
Snuff-film purveyor and Iraqi TV distributor Al-Jazeera is angry because their website has been hacked continuously ever since they aired the footage of the POWs and the POWs they shot in the head. Today viewers saw a U.S. flag and a message of support for the troops in lieu of the usual batch of stories about how evil we are and how heroic the Iraqis are fighting against the infidels.
The J-school graduate in me is saddened a little by this. We have free speech, and the better ideas, ours, should stand on their own and triumph, just as our troops will. People should be repelled by the sensationalist, almost pornographic, footage of dead American soldiers and dead Iraqis that they air constantly. And Al-Jazeera actually DOES criticize some of the worst aspects of Arab culture, only when we're not at war with them. And this is outside the rule of law, one of the strengths of Western civilization.
But as a red-blooded American with family serving in the Gulf, my first though is, Bwahh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry about taking a break yesterday, but I needed a break from surfing from site to site to site while furiously channel-clicking between 6 news channels and the networks. Sort of like this guy. Did watch the war on TV, but we're sort of in a lull as the troops consolidate, resupply, and coil for the final strike on the Death Star.
Anyway, one of the biggest stories on the news front has been MSNBC. Their ratings are up 503% since the war started. That's not a typo. Over 503%. And without the surpassing beauty and news-reading acumen of Laurie Dhue.
Of course, there is a war. And they got rid of Phil Donahue (tonight's issue: flesh-eating males vs. lesbian vegetarians, with "debate" from Patricia Ireland, Rosie O'Donnell, and Ellen DeGeneres). That Nachman guy is gone, too. They are actually giving a pretty good mix of the macro picture and battlefield reporting. And the "headlines every 15 minutes" is a great idea. No one else has returned to that kind of structure, and I like it.
CNN is little different from 1991. And I'm getting awfully sick of the BBC's seemingly permanent sneer, which Lileks had a great column about. Andrew Sullivan calls them the "Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation".
Fox is great, and not just because of Laurie Dhue. I like the Bush spin and the network in general, but they'll cut to a live shot for any reason, just because they can. This was great when the war started, and Rick Leventhal with the Marines is great, but the constant shots of a Hummer being refueled and the cut to the Kuwait correspondent putting on his gas mask EVERY SINGLE TIME THERE IS AN ALARM gets old after a while.
The field stuff is fascinating, but give me news at the top of the hour, a moment or two with the map to see where we are, THEN take me to the desert. And MSNBC is doing that.
Getting this off my chest, that's all.
The other night at dinner, a colleague, upon hearing I was pro-liberation and Republican, exclaimed, "You're a Republican? How can you be a Republican?
I gave the usual line I give about being basically libertarian, believing in the free market of ideas as well as markets, and how the Republicans come closer to that than the Democrats. And then we went on to discuss other things, being polite, as you should at dinner.
The thing is, working in advertising, I get this a lot. From colleagues, friends in the business, and their spouses. I believe in free speech and the freedom of ideas as passionately as they do, if not more. I just have a different perspective. I've seen the intolerance of the right and left up close, and the left's is worse in the long run.
I could go on, but I'd rather let P.J. O'Rourke go on for me, because he's funnier (and less long-winded, barely) than I am.
In the book Republican Party Reptile, he makes a great point about nature of intolerance on the left.
"People who worry themselves sick over sexism and language and think the government sneaks into their house at night and puts atomic waste in the kitchen dispose-all cannot be expected to have a sense of humor. And they don't. Radicals and liberals and such want all jokes to have a 'meaning,' to 'make a point.' But laughter is involuntary and points are not. A conservative may tell you that you shouldn't make fun of something. 'You shouldn't make fun of handicapped people,' he may say. But a liberal will tell you, 'You can't make fun of handicapped people'. And he's wrong -- as anybody who's head the one about Helen Keller falling into a well and breaking three fingers calling for help can tell you.The Consititution protects me from Jesse Helms; it doesn't protect me from Ted Kennedy.
P.J. on being a Republican, way back in 1986:
"So I'm a conservative; what else could I be? However, I'm not too happy about it. Let's face it, conservatives can be butt-heads, too. There are the reborn fundamentalists, for instance. We should do to these what the conservative Romans did, with lions. But even regular country-club Republicans can be stuff about some things--dope smuggling, for example, and mixing Quaaludes with your scotch, and putting your stereo speakers on the roof of your house and turning the volume all the way up and playing Parliament of Funk at 3:00 A.M.
So hard to think back to those carefree, happy days before the war, fading into mist...
Actually not that hard, unless you've been burning a few too many jah-sticks. Hurts short-term memory, after all. 8 days! It's only been 8 days! In 1940, it took the German army 5 whole WEEKS to mop up France. And they weren't too worried about collateral damage, either.
Speaking of the French, I kind of miss their irrelevant carping. Kind of cute, in its annoying way.
Coalition of the mammals
Looks like Aquaman
is one of those called-up reservists.
That's right, we have dolphin minesweepers and landmine-clearing monkeys. The coalition isn't just multilateral, it's multispecies.
Of course, the Republican Guard is said to be using mammals as well. Goats. Lots of goats. Goats galore and more. Although intelligence reports say they're mainly used for R&R, if you get my meaning.
In a surprise move after Monday's Very Special Episode of the hit Iraqi reality TV show "Saddam or Not?, the series has been cancelled. Along with the rest of the network.
The host is scheduled for cancellation in the next week or two as well, probably by the Delta Force or the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Peggy Noonan galore, and more
"Victory in Iraq means this: every terror state and terror group is more than ever on notice and newly aware that the West does not exist to play victim."
Picture courtesy of DaghtatorBlog, fighting the EUropean slouch from within.
Can't say thank you enough
Victor Davis Hanson is a California historian who writes a column for National Review. He mostly writes about how the strength of Western Civilization through history is its diversity, flexibility and liberal spirit, and how that spirit will help us prevail in this war against those who seek to burn it. As it has from Ancient Greece to Poitiers against the Muslims in 732 to Afghanistan.
Today's column has a great thank-you to the troops:
"How do such men and women do such things, against such material, cultural, military, and psychological odds? I don’t know. But in the last year all those who have bet against the Americans now riding into the desert — elite journalists, out-of-touch academics, and self-satisfied Europeans — have been consistently wrong in their shrill predictions that we were either incompetent or amoral or would fail.
Of course, you can say thank you on your own. You can write a letter, or quickly register your support with the troops through an online petition set up by the Defense Dept. More than 9 million people (including your author) have signed it already!
And if you really want to help, visit TroopTrax, and send a soldier a CD through PayPal and Amazon donations (even has the DoD seal of approval!). I believe it was Keenen Ivory Wayans who once said, "Every hero needs a soundtrack."
Thanks for believing in us, Tad (and your 250,000 comrades in the Gulf)
OK, Peggy Noonan rocks, so I'm blogging the same column twice. She writes a much better thank you to the troops than anything I could say.
"We have 2.7 million members of the active and reserve American armed forces today. The world owes a great deal to America, and America owes a great deal to them, and not only because of their courage but because of their faith in us. And they have faith in us, and in this place we all live in, this great country, or else they would never risk their lives for us. Which leaves us humbled, and wishing we could say to them what the world should be saying to the country they represent: Thank you."
Eyes on the prize
Silly me, starting my day without Peggy Noonan's Monday WSJ column yesterday.
"That's what the coming week is about. As we become, inevitably, bogged down and fogged down by the dailyness and messiness of war, we should keep our eyes on the prize. One senses it is going to be bigger than we think.Read the whole thing. Wish she was writing for W right now; she did a pretty good job for Reagan, you may recall.
Snuff-film purveyor/worldwide distributor of Iraq TV Al-Jazeera now has an English-language website.
Not for a site for the squeamish, though. They have Sunday's murder victim and POW photos, and commentary so slanted against America and Western Civilization that they make NPR look like Rush Limbaugh.
Porn goes to war
You knew this would happen eventually; the Brits just got there first. The Sun, London's answer to the NY Post, is running a feature with its Page Three pinup girls entitled "Weapons of Mass Seduction". Just beware clicking on the link if you get offended or you're at work; being (technically) European, the Brits have no problem with topless women in their newspapers.
This got me wondering what a porn movie about the war would be like. It would probably start with Hans Blix trying to "inspect" what was underneath those burkas. And it would end with the Marines coming in and ****ing everybody.
You'd even get to see what really happened to Saddam in the bunker on the first night of the war.
Fair, balanced, and loaded
Best question of the day, from Fox anchor Sheppard Smith to embedded reporter Rick Leventhal, reporting from the middle of a firefight:
"Rick, are you packing? Come on, you packing? You packing heat?"
Contrary to what you may have gathered from reading this journal, my real life doesn't always revolve around war, rumors of war, live battlefield war footage, more war, politics, and Laurie Dhue. There's also basketball.
And just in time for March Madness, FHM magazine has a column on the "20 Most Hated Teams in College Basketball".
The most hated team? Dook: "This is the school that taught Richard Nixon law and Lefty Driesell English".
NC State came in at #7, Suburban Washington (whoops, excuse me, Maryland) #9.
The forces of goodness and light, Carolina, came in at #17. Some people bear to see good people succeed, I guess. People like Duke fans, State fans, Clemson fans, and the French.
"When all our enemies are finally dead, we will usher in a new era of peace by sitting in a circle and singing 'Kumbaya'"
Gotta love Rumsfeld, and IMAO's creative interpretations of his testy, take-no-prisoners attitude at news conferences.
"Yes, we are making great progress. Our Shock and Aww and Shock campaign has been going especially well. That's where we first hit the Iraqis with a shock, .i.e., an initial bombing campaign. While they're dazed and confused, we then flood the city with cute little puppies to make them go 'Aww.' Then while distracted by the puppies, we hit them with more shock, i.e., more bloody mayhem. I'm sure it won't be too long until Baghdad is ours and Saddam is dead."
At least they're consistent
In 1991, the Palestinians sided with Saddam.
On 9/11, they danced for joy in the streets.
Now, they're siding with Saddam again.
Will someone please tell me why in the heck we should lift a finger to help the Palestinian side?
Let's see... one side is a liberal, free-market democracy, our only true friend in a region seething with anger against us, who refrained from defending themselves against missile attacks in 1991 because we asked them not to.
The other side invented and legitimized terrorism in the modern Arab world, supports and is supported by enemies who want us dead, walked away from a peace plan we brokered that offered them 98% of everything they were asking for in favor of intifada and suicide attacks.
I just don't get it. Until then, you can send pizza delivery to the Israeli troops defending the ramparts of civilization. Just no pepperoni.
Still moving on Baghdad
Calm down, everybody. Yes, some of the bad guys shot back. They took a few of our guys prisoner. A few others have been killed. Horrible, but not unexpected, and much lower than any other war, including the last one. And Saddam is counting on us to lose our nerve and freak out when things aren't 100% perfect.
We are still advancing on Baghdad, about 50 miles outside the city and making contact with the heavy divisions of the Republican Guard. Other divisions are starting to advance from the west and the East, and we should have the city encircled in the next two to three days, with the battle of Baghdad starting by the weekend, if necessary. Still no chem/bio attack, oil well fires shut down.
We are invading the whole country, not just Kuwait. The strategy is working.
Stout hearts. Don't lose faith.
Map excerpt from daily Iraq map on StrategyPage.com. Worth a daily check.
Prisoners summarily executed. Others beaten and used for propaganda airing nonstop on Al-Jazeera. All of them Hummer mechanics captured in a sneak snatch specifically designed to help Saddam make PR points.
My heart and my prayers go out to the families and those soldiers still alive in captivity.
The intention was to demoralize us. It will backfire because, once again, they have underestimated America. This only serves to p*ss us off.
Minneapolis Star-Trib commentator James Lileks had this to say about it:
"I’m not disheartened by the sight of what those motherless sons of bitches did to the captured troops - not in the sense of wishing we would curl up and whimper Mommy and scamper back home. My first reaction was to wish that we’d identify the location of a Special Republican Guard unit, replace the B in MOAB with P, and drop the Mother Of All Paybacks on them."Damn skippy.
The tide is turning
As expected, Jabba-sized prankster/ambush interviewer Michael Moore won the documentary Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine". And as expected, he launched into a predictable diatribe against America, the 2000 election (yes, still), the President, and the war.
Unexpectedly, he was BOOED OFF THE STAGE before he could even get rolling. Highlight of my day.
Yes, Mikey, you do have freedom of expression. But so do we.
Fun with webcams
I've written before about the static camera shots of Baghdad that the networks keep flipping to, what Aussie commentator Tim Blair has taken to calling "the corner of Maple and Hegemony". And after five days of war, the networks have settled on one camera to monitor every time the Baghdad air-raid sirens start to wail.
Unfortunately, the shot includes a mosque with a minaret that looks like, um, well... more like something that the Kim Catrall/Samantha character on Sex and the City would get excited about than a tower for calling the faithful to prayer. Bizarre.
Shock without awe
When you're an official spokesperson for the U.S. Government during time of war, do you really want to remind people of the villain "Two-Face" from the movie Batman Forever?
Fix the jacket, though, and Tori Clarke looks like she was separated at birth from Tara's mom.
Experience trumps wishful thinking
"I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam"
"It hit me on visceral and emotional levels: this was a real portrayal of Iraq life. After the first conversation, I completely rethought my view of the Iraqi situation. My understanding changed on intellectual, emotional, psychological levels. I remembered the experience of seeing Saddam's egomaniacal portraits everywhere for the past two weeks and tried to place myself in the shoes of someone who had been subjected to seeing them every day for the last 20 or so years.