Zarqawi Slides under the Tag… Again

One Legged ZarqawiAnd, to think, he only has one leg left to tag.

Headlines such as “U.S. troops ‘just missed’ killing Zarqawi,” (which cameo’d as a headline on MSNBC.com for a brief period last night) never cease to amaze me.

As I read the news from the weekend, the 8 Iraqi’s who may or may not have been Zarqawi, actually blew THEMSELVES up. when troops were encroaching. Details aside — there is no such thing as a “near miss” when there’s a $25 million dollar bounty for a kill or capture!!!

This is not the first “near-miss” on the ever-elusive one-legged terror bogeyman:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Lawrence Di Rita, Nov 10, 2005:

Q: Has there been any interest in incidents recently in which you came close to catching him or might have just missed him or — that you know of?
A: We’re — the coalition, the Iraqi security forces, the U.S. forces are — we know what we know about Zarqawi and his network, and there’s undoubtedly a lot that we don’t know. But what we know for sure is that this is a guy who has — that al Qaeda in general has a vision, and their vision is one of a network capability….

Everybody remembers in April, when we juuuussst missed Zarqawi… but the special agents that ambushed his hideout were able to snag his laptop (iBook G4) which contained a “treasure trove of terror info.” — can you believe he didn’t just fold right then and there?!?!

But that wasn’t the first laptop that was seized. Just two months earlier, coalition troops “just missed” al Zarqawi, who (you’ve gotta see this web page! from the Dept. of Defense website):

“quickly grabbed his American-made rifle with one magazine and an unknown amount of U.S. dollars and escaped. He left behind his computer, pistols and more ammunition, which were all seized in the raid.”

Think they’re not trying hard enough to get the guy? Guess again (via NewsMax, reknown right-wing squawk box):

– At least two top-secret, multi-agency commando teams
– dozens of special forces commandos and military intelligence gatherers
– dozens of CIA case officers and analysts
– FBI special agents and bomb experts
– forensic money-trackers from the Treasury Department
– Eavesdropping satellites, unmanned drones and even U-2 spy planes

Wait a minute, Batman…. Who is this Zarqawi guy, anyway???

How ’bout a Do-Over?

Immersed in a squallid moat of schoolwork, but coming up for air. Apparently Rumsfeld said something on Schieffer’s Sunday show to the effect of “I didn’t advocate the invasion of Iraq…” or something befuddlingly similar.

It is no secret that Rumsfeld INSISTED on micromanaging a 21st century-style speedy and slick war with minimal troops. If the U.S. had begun the ground war with at least double the troops, as General Shinsecki (Shinseki)? and other uniformed military leaders projected as reasonable; perhaps the U.S. would have the personnel to better investigate and understand the regional and national disturbances occurring, soon to occur, and purported to have occured according to horrendously viral, yet unverifiable rumors cross-cutting Iraq.

What I fear is getting out of Iraq with as hasty, careless, and incomplete a plan as we had when we went in. I am hoping that Congress and the Administration have finally hit bottom and will come out more focused and ready to work overtime to produce a quality plan. Forget about the “Global” War on Terror and stick to Iraq – where there can be no “winning” in its normal sense. With the house on fire, you obviously want to get your people out as soon as possible, but how can you best save your guests AND spare the fire from spreading throughout the neighborhood?

The president originally made a decent case for war, and it is hard not to agree that Saddam needed to be taken out. My main argument against the war was simply logistical — How can you reverse the standards of war that have been revised since Vietnam and so hastily make a plan to fix Babylon in weeks and come out unscathed, leaving only freedom dust sprinkled behind?

Without having an in depth knowledge of the history of Iraq, I was aware of the fact that the fertile soils at the isthmus of the Tigris and Euphrates have been fawned over by kingdom’s and empires and dinosaurs since the beginning of civilization. President Bush may have overlooked this when his read on the Bible was reprogrammed by “Intelligent Design.”

So I hereby recommend the use of Marty McFly’s DeLorean for one last trip back in time. Mr. President, just imagine being back on the USS Lincoln in that flight suit and having that be the last day that anyone ever mentions “war” in Iraq, or even “occupation.” A little Back to the Future action, and Rumsfeld – you can be Mr. Smooth with the press corps again, gracing the cover of People as a celebrity and American hero, now that you’ll be able to do what you wish you had done and keep Gen Shinsecki et al in command of the mission.

P.S. if you happen to remember, there are a few terrorist attacks that can be averted between 2002 and now in Madrid, Bali, and London, among other places… nahhh, I doubt anyone will remember those.

Oops, I’ve rambled. I am getting back to work. Main reason I’m posting is to insert these links below so that I can follow up on the HOT Sunday morning talk show action that I missed.

Bush’s locked out of ‘exit strategy’ in China | Rummy | Murtha on MTP | George Will | General Odom on McLaughlin | Lawrence Wilkerson | Leonard Downie to Howard Kurtz | Italia Federici on Abramoff’s bribes | SNL Highlights

Big Hi-Fives go to Crooks and Liars and the Daily Dissent for hosting and posting.

Testing customized newsfeed software HERE

Tribune’s curious strategies for the future of news

Newspaper Cuts - Daryl Cagle Nov 19 2005

When I moved to Los Angeles in August I fell in love with the LA Times – there actually is a REAL newspaper outside of DC or New York, I thought. I wondered how they could pull off an international grade paper with various nat’l and international bureaus under the Trib Co umbrella (I had previously dealt with the increasing rate of newsworthlessness as a reader of my hometown Chicago Tribune.

Ken Auletta’s piece in the New Yorker a month ago or so made it obvious that I had fallen in love with the LA Times just as the the paper could no longer resist the effects of the slow yet suffocating downsizing of Tribune Co’s newspaper outlets. Alas, not even Dean Baquet would be able to salvage it. My new lover is undergoing a rapid anorexic disformation – under a forced hunger strike.

Still, Steve Lopez exuded award-winning, ambitious journalism with his Skid Row series. A deep search of the web reveals that very little traffic visits the Chicago Tribune’s website for national or international content. On the other hand, the most e-mailed article in today’s LA Times is columnist Tim Rutten’s take on Bob Woodward‘s involvement in the leak investigation. (Rutten was forced off a post as a National editor in a round of Trib Co cuts, only to recreate himself as a columnist, albeit relegated to the “Calendar” section. He has since been named Associate Editor of Features).

LA Times had managed to keep up despite repeated cuts to staffing, maintaining 22 international bureaus, some with multiple staff members, whereas Chicago Tribune currently staffs just12 individual foreign “correspondents.”

Following the bastardizing of the op-ed columnist line-up, abandoning the weekly “Outdoors” section and the launching a Metromix for Tinseltown The Envelope website, the LA
Times is looking more and more like its crippled sister paper.

The choices that media corporations make in the coming years in making a transition to the teenaged generation (the last that will buy newspapers) is not to be taken lightly. The audience is well aware of the multiple options for newsgathering and is quicker than ever to scrutinize sweeping corporate-minded changes that ignore the intellectual and consumer-friendly values of the product. Simply put, content transcends multiple media, but poor quality content does not translate much better – if at all – in different contexts. Its insulting.

A Look to the Future: For the past year or so the Chicago Tribune has highlighted the inside back page of Section 1 with the laughably pathetic ” PERSONALS: WHO’S WHO & WHAT’S UP NAME DROPPING.” Every Day. Section 1.

A weekly column in the Tempo section showed up a year ago as wel, summarizing the content of that weeks’ US Weekly, Star, InStyle and the like. On the front page of Tempo, no less, Its heading: CELEBRITY MAGAZINES: WE READ THEM SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

Now, I understand the “what’s going on in the Soaps this week,” and other gossippy columns, that regularly appear in a tucked away but consistent corner of the paper. But to have these 2 regular sections, so prominently placed – and given their bold headings – is just downright insulting.

The Metromix concept is one that the Tribune is expanding, and The Envelope is likely a result of this. Be on the look out in your town.

Finally, and i hate to bring this up, but a friend told me that they’re going to start charging for Red Eye. Red Eye is the 30 or 40 page tabloid roundup of news summaries, sports and entertainment launched a couple years ago in Chicago. Shaped not unlike The Onion, it is filled with photo and graphic-heavy summaries of the news as defined by a high school student, written at a 7th grade level. They have been charging a quarter for it since it launched, at least 2 years ago, and there are cash boxes where its available for purchase right next to The Sun Times copycat Red Streak. But its given away for free everywhere, hence its no surprise that its news if they “start charging.”

As the Tribune Company continues its mission to dumb down society one job cut at a time, while future strategies of any media corporation are trivial and unproven, all I ask for is please, please, please:

A World Championship Chicago Cubs team in 2006.

Murtha & the Wimpy Dems want to Quit on Iraq?!?!?

It is shameful – a downright disgrace to democracy and American morality – for a congressional representative to talk down to the President and Vice President as John Murtha did yesterday.

The “Hawkish Democrat” tirade story of Rep. John Murtha has been all over the news & web – but everyone seems to be missing the point. Murtha said (video):

“I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done,”

Murtha is referring to his decades spent as a marine with no regard to the fact that Bush and Cheney’s calling in the name of God and democracy would not come until later, in a much more macro sense. I mean, was Murtha doing his best to proliferate democracy and freedom throughouut the world?

Desert Rat all but takes the words right out of my mouth by stating the obvious: “We LOST THE WAR IN VIETNAM!! So don’t go casting slurs and throwing mud at anyone that wasn’t there with you, LOSING the war…”

What are the dems smoking by baselessly faulting the Pres and VP for a war which they approved. And, behind their backs, no less, with Bush being halfway around the world in China, and Cheney is in an undisclosed location guarding our constitution and its laurels for modern democracy with his life from this hapless partisan slander.

Am I the only one who hears Speaker Hastert when he makes it clear: “We must not cower like European nations who are now fighting terrorists on their soil.”

Just watch, I betcha if these crazy dems continue building momentum on their unfounded theories and pussyfooted blame game, we DO get attacked! And in some tree-filled park in San Francisco, no less, where all those commie blue-bloods think they’re SAFE. They’re NOT, and their naivete is endangering US ALL!

Lemme tell ya, Cheney was being EASY on Murtha when he compared him to Michael Moore. I’d say he’s more like Castro – even BEFORE all the Parkinsons! To Joshua Micah Marshall, who has the gall to suggest that the Republicans might be “joking” with their remarks, I’ve got this: are you K-I-D-D-I-N-G me?!?!?

I’m not ALL against Democrats, in fact, some of my closest friends voted for Clinton (in 1996), but I think we’ve just got to COME TOGETHER already, andn help bring democracy to the middle East. After all, we’re ONE nation under God, not two, and in lieu of God’s presence, we at least have a president that’s been personally approved by the big man himself.

I’ll leave with a segment, not from FOXnews, but Today show. The video is here. Rene Syler:

An influential Democratic congressman with close ties to the military says U.S. troops in Iraq have done their duty, and now it’s time for them to come home. But Republicans are calling that surrender!

voulez vous couchet avec moi
I can’t help but wonder if that’s the FRENCH flag he is standing in front of!!!???!!!

Pentagon on White Phosphorus: No… Meaning Yes

The Pentagon on Monday denied using white phosphorus in Iraq. The next day, they admitted that it had been used against insurgents in Fallujah.

Today’s UK Independent has full coverage of this and other recent cover-ups in U.S. military operations.

The most sickening aspect of this is that by at first denying the charges, the government appears to be concealing the worst. It seems American media has become afraid to break stories such as these and the CIA secret prison story   only two weeks ago. And now, we realize that it REALLY might be for the best interests of the U.S. image abroad to NOT publish such article with the assumption that the Pentagon is already familiar with the top news of the day in Europe and elsewhere.

The alarm sounded early this week in the Pentagon and they issued a flat-out denial of using white phosphorous for anything other than as a smoke-screen. Astute bloggers jumped on this topic, and uncovered whether it was anti-Americanism, or justified broke earlier last week in Europe after the broadcast by RAI in Italy and then Sky (doesn’t Murdoch own sky)?

WP is not a chemical weapon, but as the Independent explains, it is against Article 35 of the Geneva Conventions to use weapons that cause “superfluous or unneccesary suffering.” The Conventional Weapons Convention bans the use of WP:

against military targets “inside a concentration of civilians except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians”.

The Pentagon’s denial, then admittance of the use of WP forced even coalition allies to retract statements that they had made

The Pentagon needs a Public Relations professional. In today’s world of blogger’s and transparency of any public documents, getting caught in a lie can be fatal. The use of WP in Fallujah had already been written about in the military rag Field Artillery (.pdf) as I pointed out over a week ago.

Despite whatever implications the U.S. government and military may face regarding the use of white phosophorous as an incendiary device, (CNN tonight says they are investigating the use of WP as a “chemical weapon,” which we already know is not how it is classified – it is thermally activated) considerable damage has already been done to the country’s program in Iraq, especially the accountability of the Pentagon.

If only they would stop trying cover all of the bases defensively and get proactive. If this is nation-building abroad, it is surely at the expense of the nation at home. Today, Sunni’s describe the torture endured at prison camps that were until this week unknown to U.S. troops. Meanwhile, they are not trusting Shi’ite leadership in investigating the shi’ite run prisons. Sounds like Iraqi leadership is taking a page out of our own book of “how to investigate yourself” democracy. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh published an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal slamming the government for avoiding a probe] into Able Danger. And Robert Scheer in his debut column at his new home, the SF Chronicle, repeated his shout for and end to flat-out white lies.

Perhaps once again the media is frightened of WHAT ELSE we may find out if we press the issue of the recently released DITSUM No. 044-02 Defense Intelligence Agency Report, which claims:

The Bush administration’s key evidence for the apocryphal Osama bin Laden-Saddam Hussein alliance — said by Bush to involve training in the use of weapons of mass destruction — was built upon the testimony of a prisoner who, according to the DIA, was probably “intentionally misleading the debriefers.”

The Public is ahead – and just imagine where the government must stand now in the eyes of the world. Curtain call to Hawkish Dem. John P. Murtha for producing today’s Seismic Shift in Congress:

The war in Iraq is not going as advertised.  It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.  The American public is way ahead of us.   The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction.  Our military is suffering.  The future of our country is at risk.  We can not continue on the present course.   It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

I will try not to vomit while I read for you the reaction from our Speaker of the House Dennis J. Hastert’s (R – IL) blog:

[Murtha and the Democrats] would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil.

Gimme a break – we’re in this together. Now, let’s work on cleaning up this mess!

Tribune Sucks