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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My Two Cents - A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

OK, Scott Ritter has never been one of my favorite people. You remember Scott Ritter – the former Senior UNSCOM Inspector who resigned in 1998 because no one was taking action against Iraq, and then trashed us because we were….

Let’s take a trip down Ritter Lane:

From a 1998
News Hour with Jim Lehrer Interview:

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: What was happening in your investigations that made you feel you had to resign?

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, basically, is the investigations had come to a standstill were making no effective progress, and in order to make effective progress, we really needed the Security Council to step in in a meaningful fashion and seek to enforce its resolutions that we're not complying with.

And then, in 2002, in the Boston Globe:
While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.

Well, he must have gotten tired of all of that self-contradiction, because it seems that our buddy Scott has got himself a new gig. From BlackFive comes the news that Scott is now an editorialist for – hold on to your hats – Al Jazeera. Surprising, maybe not. Nauseating, definitely. Scott’s up to his old tricks, trashing America. Yes, that’s right, Scott’s just full of rancid commentary. Full of something, to be sure.

But more than just evidence that Scott is a man with a serious anti-American chip on his shoulder, this latest bit of joy just reminds me what sort of people are hanging around in the U.N. From the blood money of the
Oil-for-Food program, to U.N. Weather Agency, for crying out loud, everything the U.N. touches seems to sour (and when the New York Times is reporting that the U.N. is corrupt, be afraid…be very afraid)

The United Nations was supposed to be a way, according to the
Preamble of its Charter:
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…

I wonder when anyone at the U.N. last read that…

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Marine charged with Murder

You have likely already heard about Marine 2ndLt Ilario Pantano, who shot and killed two Iraqis almost a year ago - in April. He has been charged with 2 counts of murder.

The Lt. states that he directed them, in Arabic, to stop. They did not, and he fired. What the media isn't telling you is that the incident occurred after the two tried to speed away from a house where the Marines found bomb-making equipment, along with a few other details.

Check out the story at

Prince Pundit

Lt. Pantano's mother has also created a website at: You may need to try a few times, since there's been a lot of traffic lately

When I first heard this story, "Breaker Morant" popped into my head. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's based on an unfortunately true story of Australian officers tried for the murder of a Boer soldier who had ambushed one of their comrades. Basically, they were tried as a conciliation move to appease the Boer. A third was sentenced to prison, and released a few years later after public outcry. The situation is different, but there is one similarity; it seems that we're more interested in sympathy for the enemy than supporting our own.

It seems that every war has its scapegoats. I've never really understood it. Perhaps its because no one wants to deal with what war is. Yes, it's unfortunate that some things escalate to war, but that's the world we have. And yet, it seems that we have to find someone to hold up and say, "See, there's killing people, and then there's murder."

Sure, there are situations that go beyond what is expected in our troops. But since when is shooting an advancing enemy a crime? And why wait a year to accuse him?

2nd Lt. Pantano was doing his job, in a war zone. He reacted to what he perceived as a clear and present danger. Maybe it's me, but advancing on an armed Marine after they just found bomb-making equipment in your house, and stopped you from fleeing the scene, doesn't strike me as a non-threatening gesture. Nor is it too bright. What could you possibly be thinking? There's not a whole lot of grey area in an armed Marine's presence. Had he not taken action when he did, it's entirely likely that we would be mourning a Marine. The difference between dead insurgents and a dead Marine can be a fraction of a second.

Have we forgotten who the enemy is here? How many insurgents do you think will be tried for the deaths of our troops?

If you encounter any Boers
You really must not loot 'em!
And if you wish to leave these shores,
For pity's sake, DON'T SHOOT 'EM!!

Harry "Breaker" Morant

From Fox News

Feb. 15: U.S. soldiers secure the scene after insurgents set fire to a truckload of communications cable in Mosul.

Feb. 14: U.S. soldiers search for insurgents in Mosul, Iraq.

Task Force Warfighter

Pilots aboard a U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter prepare to land on an airfield in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2005. The soldiers and their aircraft are part of Task Force Warfighter, which is composed of various aviation units with different capabilities working together during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Defense Dept. photo by John Valceanu

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Hanley checks to make sure passengers aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter are in position and wearing their safety harnesses before a flight in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2005. Hanley is a crew chief assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Rhode Island National Guard. The unit is operating as part of Task Force Warfighter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Defense Dept. photo by John Valceanu

U.S. Army aviators perform pre-flight maintenance checks on their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on an airfield in Baghdad, Iraq, before taking off on a flight Feb. 13, 2005. The soldiers are assigned to the Arizona Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment, operating as part of Task Force Warfighter. Defense Dept. photo by John Valceanu

U.S. soldiers conduct refueling operations on an airfield in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2005. The soldiers are part of Task Force Warfighter, which is composed of various active duty and reserve-component units operating together. Defense Dept. photo by John Valceanu

U.S. soldiers aboard an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter hover overhead as aviators on the ground prepare their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for a personnel delivery mission, in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2005. The attack helicopter will provide escort for the Black Hawk during the mission. Defense Dept. photo by John Valceanu


In Today's News - February 16, 2005

Quote of the Day
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -Martin Luther King, Jr. Associated Press
AP: Likely Iraq PM promises moderation
The shy family doctor who became the leading candidate for prime minister Tuesday says ending the nation's rampant violence is his top priority and that U.S. troops would remain as long as they are needed to achieve that goal.

U.S. withdraws ambassador from Syria
The United States pulled its ambassador from Syria on Tuesday, expressing "profound outrage" over the assassination of a Lebanese leader who had protested Syrian influence in his country.

Appeals court upholds ruling in CIA leak
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources about the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

Senate confirms Chertoff as homeland security secretary Iraq & Terror

The US News: Iraq News
Iranian minister hopeful about EU agreement
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamel Kharrazi said Tuesday he believes an agreement with the European Union can be reached over Iran's nuclear program. [in The US News] The US News: Iraq News

Shi'ite Jaafari Is Front-Runner to Become Iraqi PM
By Mariam Karouny BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Shi'ite politician and former exile Ibrahim al-Jaafari emerged as the front-runner Tuesday to become Iraq's new prime minister as horse-trading to decide the l... [in Reuters] The US News: Iraq News

U.S. Troops, Gunmen Trade Fire in Iraq
Print this story. U.S. troops and gunmen exchanged automatic weapons fire in the area around Baghdad's notorious Haifa Street on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.The gunbattle lasted between 10... [in Tuscaloosa News] The US News: Iraq News

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Sharon: Israel to compromise for peace
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday that Israel is prepared to make "painful compromises for peace," and has begun coordination with Palestinians on Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

U.N. calls for report on Hariri slaying
The Security Council on Tuesday called for an urgent report from the U.N. secretary-general on the "circumstances, causes and consequences" of the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, and the United States demanded the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Israeli troops kill 2 armed Palestinians
Israeli troops shot and killed two armed Palestinians seen approaching a West Bank settlement after dark Tuesday, the Israeli military said. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Man held hostage in Iraq arrives in Turkey
A wealthy Turkish businessman who was released by kidnappers in Iraq following two months in captivity arrived home Tuesday. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Egypt offers border guards for Gaza
Egypt is offering 750 border guards to keep smuggled weapons out of Gaza and is urging Syria to restrain Hamas and other militant groups from attacking Israel, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday.

Turkey culture and tourism minister quits
Turkey's culture and tourism minister resigned from his position and left Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political party Tuesday, the first Cabinet member to leave the government since it took power more than two years ago.

Lebanon mourns slain ex-prime minister
Lebanese mourned their slain ex-premier Tuesday with noisy street processions, while the country's interior minister suggested a suicide bomber aided by "international parties" may have been behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

U.N. team predicts rise in terror attacks
A U.N. team investigating compliance with sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban predicted Tuesday that brutal attacks by Osama bin Laden's followers will escalate as they still have easy access to bombmaking materials and money.

AP: Likely Iraq PM Promises Moderation
The shy family doctor who became the leading candidate for prime minister Tuesday says ending the nation's rampant violence is his top priority and that U.S. troops would remain as long as they are needed to achieve that goal.

Senate Panel Hears Oil-for-Food Testimony
U.S. officials knew of problems in the U.N. oil-for-food program but were concerned international support for Iraqi sanctions could crumble if they insisted on stricter rules, a U.S. diplomat told the Senate on Tuesday.

Ibrahim Jaafari, Iraq's most likely next PM
Ibrahim Jaafari, who emerged as the man most likely to be Iraq's new prime minister, is a religious Shiite who believes in modernising Islam and boasts a popular support unmatched by any of his rivals. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Weather information from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

From Fox News
Homeland Security Sec'y OK'd
Diplomat: Oil-for-Food Abuses No Secret to U.S. Officials
U.S. Battles Insurgents in Iraq

Syria Ties 'Worsening'
Rice warns nation; U.S. pulls ambassador amid 'outrage' over ex-Lebanese PM's death

Lebanon on Edge After Attack
U.S. Troops Battle Insurgents in Baghdad
Sharon: Israel Ready to Compromise
U.S. Blocks Account of Suspected Al Qaeda Leader
Deputy Iraqi Governor Escapes Bomb Attack
Pipeline Attacked as Iraqis Mull New Gov't
Shiites, Kurds Start Coalition Talks
Bush Congratulates Candidates
Sen.: Eliminate 'Patriot Penalty'
GIs May Get Higher Death Benefit
GI Who Sued Army Wants to Re-Enlist

From the Department of Defense
U.S. Maritime Forces Play Crucial Role
MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 15, 2005 — They may be far away from the streets where ground troops are engaging insurgents and terrorists in direct combat, but Army Gen. John Abizaid told sailors and Marines aboard the carrier USS Harry S. Truman that they are playing a crucial role in the global war on terrorism. Story

American Unit Rotations Continue in Iraq
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2005 — With the Army's 18th Airborne Corps taking over as the Multinational Corps Iraq headquarters, the 2004-2006 rotation of troops is well under way. Troops have been flowing into and out of Iraq since October as part of the rotation. When finished, there will be about 138,000 American servicemembers in Iraq. Story

Bush Sends Supplemental Budget to Hill
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2005 — President Bush requested almost $90 billion from Congress to pay for the on-going war on terrorism and other emergency measures. Story

Iraqi Recruitment Drive Draws Thousands
A SOUTHERN IRAQ MILITARY FACILITY, Feb. 15, 2005 — Between 8,000 and 10,000 men arrived by foot, bus and other means by sunrise Feb. 14 at an airfield outside an Iraqi army base to join the Iraq's army, officials said. Story

Marines’ KC-130J Joins Mission in Iraq
AL ASAD, Iraq, Feb. 15, 2005 — Establishing another milestone in Iraq, the Marine Corps deployed its newest refueling tanker aircraft-the KC-130J Hercules-for the first time Feb. 13. Story

Bavarian Chancellery Hosts Soldiers' Families
WUERZBURG, Germany, Feb. 15, 2005 — Families of soldiers from 5th Corps' 1st Infantry Division who are serving in Iraq were honored at the Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich, Germany, Feb. 11. Story

Marines Make Valentine's Day Visit in Fallujah, Iraq
Airmen Keep Ground Mission Running
Speicher Runways Make Redeployment Easier
82nd Airborne Division Gets New Digs
Mississippi Guard Unit Reports for Duty
Iraqi Pilots Fly Prime Minister on C-130 Mission

Troops Help Afghans Endure Cold Weather
Afghan Army Assists in Plane Crash Aftermath
Coalition Doctors Mend Boy’s Cleft Palate
Engineers Help Expand Kandahar Airfield

Intel Marine Prepares for Iraq Deployment
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., Feb. 15, 2005 — How does one become a better problem solver, acquire patience and tact, and attain a high degree of self-discipline? For Cpl. William H. Zeh, the answer was to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Story

Hawaii Homecoming: Unit Returns from Afghanistan
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii, Feb. 15, 2005 — U.S. soldiers of the 725th Main Support Battalion were the first group from the 25th Infantry Division (Light) to return from Afghanistan Feb. 2 after a one-year deployment. Story
Navy Medical Detachment Returns to Norfolk
Personalized Shirts Greet Returning Soldiers
Photo Essay: Fort Hood Homecoming

Mother Applies Skills to Help Son
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Feb. 15, 2005 — Debby Schick arrived here at Brooke Army Medical Center to help her son, Marine Cpl. Jacob Schick, recuperate. She ended up volunteering her services to transform the center's assisted daily living center from a cold, institutional office into a homey environment. Story

Students Help Patients Phone Home
New Yorkers Thank Troops
Airman Gathers Valentines

Special Report - Iraqi Elections
Shiia Slates Win, Call for Unity
Commentary: Leaving Fear Behind
Elections Deal Blow to Terrorists
Elections Boost Confidence in Forces
Troops Relate Election Day Events
Fact Sheet: Timeline
Fact Sheet: Transitional Admin Law
Fact Sheet: Candidate List Regulations

Baghdad Raids Grab 13 Suspects
Transportation Regiment Forms
Extremists Try to Impose Vision
Iraq Daily Update
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Missing Aircraft Search Continues
Afghans, USAID Work Economic Plan
Forces Secure Weapons, Render Aid
Enduring Freedom Marks 3 Years
Afghanistan Daily Update

Rumsfeld Stresses Unity
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Exercise Tests Emergency Response
National Guard, Reserve Update

Marines Remember Fallen Comrade

Officials Identify Marine Casualty
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2005 — Defense Department officials announced today the identity of a Marine who died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Story