Insurgency Led By Saddam Remnants: Pentagon

The New York Times confirms that Pentagon analysts have concluded that the apparatus of the Saddam Hussein regime has financed, advised, and even led the insurgencies inside Iraq. In fact, intelligence shows that the insurgencies are the result of pre-war planning, as many had suspected:

A Pentagon intelligence report has concluded that many bombings against Americans and their allies in Iraq, and the more sophisticated of the guerrilla attacks in Falluja, are organized and often carried out by members of Saddam Hussein’s secret service, who planned for the insurgency even before the fall of Baghdad.
The report states that Iraqi officers of the “Special Operations and Antiterrorism Branch,” known within Mr. Hussein’s government as M-14, are responsible for planning roadway improvised explosive devices and some of the larger car bombs that have killed Iraqis, Americans and other foreigners. The attacks have sown chaos and fear across Iraq.
In addition, suicide bombers have worn explosives-laden vests made before the war under the direction of of M-14 officers, according to the report, prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The report also cites evidence that one such suicide attack last April, which killed three Americans, was carried out by a pregnant woman who was an M-14 colonel.

This report should end the silly representation by some in this country that the insurgency demonstrates some sort of grassroots groundswell of Iraqi opinion against the US. Iraqis dislike the idea and experience of occupation, but they know better than we do that for us to evacuate Iraq entirely would leave them at the mercy of the same regime we deposed. They are not fools, but they worry that we are.
The report details how the M-14 structured cells to operate independently in case their leadership was killed or captured, and it also reports on the tactics of terror and intimidation employed by the Ba’athists which have kept Iraqi civilians from cooperating fully with the CPA and the provisional Iraqi government. Until the CPA takes decisive action against the Ba’athist remnants — and the report makes clear that insurgents in Fallujah and nearby Ramadi are led by this group — we will not have accomplished our overall goal of freeing Iraq from Saddam’s grip, either personally or by proxy.
On the positive side, they cannot defeat us militarily; they are far too weak for that, which is why they’ve adopted the Hamas/Islamic Jihad/al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade tactics described in the article. Their only hope is in outlasting us, by demonstrating a stronger political will than the CPA. Their very existence demonstrates Ba’athist futility, otherwise, these same units would have stood and fought as the Coalition rolled across Baghdad. As I posted earlier, we cannot allow Saddam’s remnants to chase us out of Iraq by nitpicking us into losing our political will, the only possible strategy in which they could win. The resultant loss of prestige would guarantee high-yield terrorist action against the US for decades to come.

Kofi Annan Endorses Unilateral Action By Anglo-American Alliance

Under pressure from the revelation of what may be the largest corruption case in history, Kofi Annan attempted to strike back at critics of the UN and the Oil-For-Food program, asserting that member nations never alerted Annan to the smuggling and the kickbacks that stuffed Saddam’s pockets:

Annan pointed out that all members of the U.N. Security Council were on the committee overseeing the program, yet none had come forward and said “we had a role.” Instead, Annan said, all accusations of wrongdoing were being leveled at the U.N. Secretariat which he heads.
“Be that as it may, these allegations are doing damage, and we need to face them sternly and do whatever we can to correct them,” he said. “And we are beginning to put out quite a lot of information which I hope will correct some of the misinformation that has been put out.”

Annan wants to play a little misdirection with the facts. The UN specifically was put in charge of this program and was supposed to be administering the contracts and the shipments, guaranteeing that the money stayed within the program and that the proceeds went to aid Iraqi citizens, not Saddam’s regime. If it had trouble fulfilling that mission, the UN Secretariat should have informed the Security Council, at which time the UNSC could have decided on a course of corrective action. In fact, as the excellent blog Friends of Saddam notes in several posts, the UN OFF relaxed its oversight over time, allowing a much wider range of goods to be purchased and eliminating most rudimentary accounting controls.
But Kofi’s blameshifting is not the real story here. When responding to the allegations of smuggling, Annan said:

On the $5.7 billion that the GAO estimates Saddam pocketed through smuggling, Annan said “there was no way the U.N. could have stopped it” but he suggested the United States and Britain could have.
“We had no mandate to stop oil smuggling,” he said. “There was a maritime task force that was supposed to do that. They (the Iraqis) were driving the trucks through northern Iraq to Turkey. The U.S. and the British had planes in the air. We were not there. Why is this all being dumped on the U.N.?”

Annan’s remarks boggle the mind. He literally endorsed the entire idea of unilateral action by the Anglo-American alliance to enforce UNSC restrictions that the UN was clearly unable to maintain. In fact, what he says here is that the OFF corruption can be blamed on the US and the UK failing to act, even without specific UN approval, when Saddam clearly was in violation of UNSC resolutions well before 2002.
Annan, simply put, just agreed with everything George Bush has said in his justifications for military action in Iraq. Saddam clearly was in violation of Resolution 1441 — even Hans Blix acknowledged that — so Anglo-American military action, in Annan’s view, was justified. Saddam, in fact, violated every single one of the UNSC resolutions related to disarmament, human rights, and reparations after the Gulf War, especially in continuing to oppress Iraqi citizens — and so Anglo-American military action to rectify the situation was necessary, as the UN was unable to act on its own to stop it.
In fact, since the first whiffs of the OFF debacle only started coming out publicly in the run-up to the war, and since continuation of sanctions would have continued the smuggling and kickbacks by Saddam and his henchmen, Annan has now legitimized the Coalition action to remove the tyrranical regime and put an end to the OFF program.
Alert John Kerry — even the UN Secretary General has conceded the worthlessness of the UN in enforcing world order, and has endorsed the Anglo-American initiative to reintroduce accountability to international relations.

Patriot Forum Tonight

Well, we’re trying this again … the First Mate and I will be at the Patriot Forum (sponsored by our radio station, AM 1280 The Patriot) in Bloomington, MN to see Michael Medved! The Northern Alliance will be represented by Mitch Berg, The Elder, Saint Paul, and myself, and perhaps a few others as we provide “security” for the event. (Translation: we stand at the door and tell everyone to wait until the dining room is open.)
I’m taking my camera and hope to post a few pictures when I get back. In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who’s helped Captain’s Quarters get past the 200,000 visitor mark, as of yesterday. Thank you and keep coming back!
UPDATE: No pictures (sorry), but Michael Medved was fabulous! Both The Patriot and Michael himself went way out of their way to mention the Northern Alliance, and we got a nice round of applause from the great crowd at the Sheraton. Michael spoke brilliantly and took a number of questions, and afterwards graciously stood for an hour while people filed past to shake his hand and greet him. He even gave me a hint on solving the mystery of the one fake film in his book from the 70s, The Golden Turkey Awards, one of the funniest looks at the movies ever put to print.
If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, take it. In fact, you can hear him speak on the Salem Radio Network every afternoon. If you’re not listening yet, you should be.

Democratic Dirty-Tricks Campaign To Target NY Convention

The New York Times runs a story today on a campaign by anti-Bush protestors to infiltrate the Republican Convention in New York by signing up as volunteers, and then doing their best to disrupt the event — a clear sign of both desperation and of a lack of respect for the political process:

“Really?” said Kevin Sheekey, president of the New York City Host Committee, when told that protesters were talking about flooding the ranks of volunteers to disrupt convention operations.
The city is obligated to find a total of 8,000 New Yorkers to volunteer to help things run smoothly, and would-be protesters are hoping that by signing up, they can work from the inside during the convention, scheduled Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.

For some reason, the Times headlines this article “G.O.P. Protesters Plan to Infiltrate Convention as Volunteers,” leaving the impression that the protestors are Republicans. However, even though the Times notes that a similar effort supposedly targets the Boston Democratic convention, those volunteer slots have already been filled, while more than three-quarters of the New York positions remain open. Filling those positions with Democratic or Green Trojan horses not only creates a potentially large security problem within the convention itself, it also creates a way for disaffected little twerps to keep people who really would like to volunteer out of the convention, as well as irresponsibly and illegally block Republicans from exercising their freedom to pursue their politics.
Imagine, if you will, if little Republican twerps had infiltrated the 2000 Democratic convention and turned it into a mess, refusing to perform the necessary tasks they were assigned in good faith and shouting anti-Democratic slogans from all over the floor. Even a fraction of 8,000 people makes for a very large and difficult-to-subdue group, especially in a crowded convention. They would have been compared to Nazi brownshirts, and while the analogy would have been overwrought, it would have some truth in it.
And Al Gore would be President.
If they manage to pull this off, they may not understand the impact it will have on the center. Such a left-inspired debacle would wind up making the Paul Wellstone memorial look like a bipartisan tea party. They’ll be big heroes to the Deaniac/Naderite crowd, but the stench of hypocrisy may plow under Democratic hopes all the way down the ticket in November. It will expose the hard left as not a democratic force in politics but a neo-Stalinist polemic, which tolerates no dissent and sabotages any exercise of democracy and free speech which does not serve its own purposes, and any politician who trucks with that lot will pay the price.

Be Careful What You Wish For

George Bush must be pleased to see the results from Pennsylvania’s primary election last night, which saw the candidate he personally endorsed, incumbent moderate Arlen Specter, narrowly edge out conservative challenger and current Congressman Pat Toomey by two points, which amounted to less than 17,000 votes. Bush went to Pennsylvania to campaign for Specter’s re-election and threw the weight of the state and national GOP behind Specter’s run. After all, Specter represents so many of the things that Bush wants:

He supports abortion rights, voted against limiting medical malpractice awards and successfully pushed for a reduction in the size of Bush’s tax cut package back in 2001, though he voted for the tax cuts in the end. … He has also questioned provisions in the Patriot Act, which Bush has been pushing to renew.

Well, then, Toomey represented a real threat to Bush’s legislative initiatives after re-election … right?

A spending hawk in the House, he has drawn the ire of even some of his fellow Republicans by challenging increased federal spending, including a 2002 farm bill that he likened to “Soviet-style agricultural policy.”
He proposed making Bush’s tax cuts even larger, and, like the president, supports restrictions on abortion and medical malpractice awards.

Hmm. Well, Bush got the “electable” man he wanted, opting to play it safe rather than support the candidate who supported him, since you can hardly call Arlen Specter loyal to the Bush agenda. The political calculation necessitated by the wafer-thin Republican majority in the Senate may be understandable, but it disappoints nonetheless. The Republicans are certain to significantly increase that majority with the five open and formerly Democratic seats in the South, and Bush could have taken a chance on supporting Toomey in the primary, at least.
It’s a rare instance of caution from a politician who has built his career on taking risks, such as his full-court press in 2002, which paid off amazingly well. While I hope that the White House does get what it wants from the election, I suspect that they will live to regret their support of the ever-difficult Specter.

More Problems at Err America

The gang at Air America just can’t catch a break. First they lose access to the radio signal in the #2 and #3 markets, having to ask a judge to force the radio station to air their program — and that only lasts until Friday. Now comes word that one of their founders has packed it up, decided that he doesn’t care for the daily grind, and another executive has been “replaced” … at least according to the FrankenNet spinners:

In the latest development in what has become a chaotic inaugural month, Air America Radio is losing two of its top executives, including the network’s co-founder.
Mark Walsh, the former AOL executive and Democratic National Committee operative who announced the network’s launch to much fanfare five months ago, said Monday that he has stepped down as chief executive officer.
Separately, the network confirmed that Dave Logan, Air America’s vice president for operations and programming, has been replaced.

Walsh may not be leaving permanently; he’s agreed to stay on as a “senior advisor”, which sounds a lot like they won’t see too much of him but they’ll still see his money. Walsh helped found the fledgeling radio network by infusing a lot of cash, both from himself and his donors, as Err America bought its way on the air. (Don’t get me wrong — if I could find a paranoid billionaire who thought the best way around campaign-finance laws was to buy me radio stations like they were toys, you’d bet I’d take him up on it.) Walsh seems to have tired of the venture rather quickly, as have media critics, even liberal ones such as David Shaw.
Logan, however, apparently got walked out of the office, at least according to a staffer. His duties, which included programming and operations, have been reassigned to on-air talent Lizz Winstead and chief counsel David Goodfriend. When you have to have your lawyer run operations and your on-air host run programming, that indicates that George Soros may not be cutting checks to the organization any more. Perhaps he finally listened to the shows, or maybe he’s lost interest. We’ll know for sure when Err America assigns Chuck D to Sales and has Al Franken running security.
Spinning, however, goes on as usual. Despite the apparent firing of Logan, Err America chairman Evan Cohen denied that anything at all was amiss in liberal paradise:

Chairman Evan Cohen characterized the management departures as the normal growing pains of a start-up. “Businesses have an evolutionary process,” he said. “If you’re looking for `Shake-up at Air America Radio,’ that’s a creation in your own mind.”

One thing that I do have to admit is that the changes seem to have resulted in an immediate improvement in their programming:

In Chicago, the network pulled its morning shows off the air Monday, replacing them with music and a periodic promotional message telling listeners how to hear the network over satellite radio and the Internet. Cohen said he wanted to inform listeners where to find Air America in case a new station isn’t lined up by Friday.

Unfortunately, the improvement was short-lived; they went back to regular programming in the afternoon. (via Leather Penguin)

Caption Contest #7 Winners!

The judge has stepped out of the shadows to shine a light on the winners of this week’s Caption Contest! For those of you who have forgotten, here’s the picture:
shadow president
Gerbera Tetra has selected his favorite entries for this week’s contest:
Captain’s Award (The Limited Salute) — Todd Robins:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American, unless of course this offends someone in which case I will simply deny it later. And to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, under no ridiculous illusions of a higher moral power, with liberty and justice for any protected minority group.
You Have The Conn #1 (You SOB Award) — Scotty:
In a move defending his ethnically challenged cabinet, Senator Kerry hires his own shadow to be his general secretary of urban music appreciation. When told that a dark shadow of a white man doesn’t count as much as having an actual African-American on his cabinet, the senator decried the comment as an attack on the patriotism of the shadow because the shadow was being cast upon a flag, and ordered his secret service agent to go all “bunny-hill” on the accuser.
You Have The Conn #2 (Super Hero Award) — Kimmber:
In an effort to clarify his flip-flop voting record, John Kerry introduced the Alter-Ego-Representative, Nuance Kerry. “When I vote for it, he flips against it. We watch out for each other that way.”
You Have The Conn #3 (Your Blood, His Guts Award) — Chris B:
(for Best Invocation of George C. Scott)
“Now some of you Dems, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you’ll all do your duty. The Republicans are the enemy. Wade into them. Lie about their war record, lie about their voting record. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was our legislative agenda, you’ll know what to do. Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything, we’ll let the UN do that. We are equivocating constantly, and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the election. We’re going to hold onto Bush by the ass, and we’re going to kick him in the nose. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re going to go through him like crap through a Clinton. Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, What did you do in the great 2004 election? You won’t have to say, Well, I voted for Dean. Alright now, you secret service agents, you know how I feel. I will be proud to shove you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.”
Report to Sick Bay (On The Double) — SC Lefty:
You’re right, I don’t know where this finger has been.
I’d like to thank Gerbera Tetra for guest-judging this week’s contest, and don’t forget to drop by his blog. Comments on this post will remain open, as usual, in order for the winners to gloat, the others to disparage GT’s intellect and my parentage, and for any other entries submitted just for the sheer enjoyment of amazing your friends and confounding your enemies.
I’ve already got a couple of pictures to choose from for next Friday’s contest, but don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you want to guest judge a weekly contest, along with a picture you’d like to see run. I have a blast with these contests, and I hope the guest judges do as well.


John Kerry can’t decide what he believes about the Iraqi WMD issue, on today’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. First he says he agrees with Matthews that WMD didn’t exist at the time of the invasion and leverages that into a tirade against the Bush administration’s honesty — but then he executes a curious, partial reversal, as Hugh Hewitt noted on his show tonight:

Key portion of the Hardball exchange this evening:
Matthews: “If there was an exaggeration of WMD, exaggeration of the danger, exaggeration implicitly of the connection to al Qaeda and 9/11, what’s the motive for this, what’s the ‘why?’ Why did Bush and Cheney and the ideolouges around take us to war? Why do you think they did it?”
Kerry: “It appears, as they peel away the weapons of mass destruction issue, and –we may yet find them, Chris. Look, I want to make it clear: Who knows if a month from now, two months from now, you find some weapons. You may. But you certainly didn’t find them where they said they were, and you certainly didn’t find them in the quantities that they said they were. And they weren’t found, and I have talked to some soldiers who have come back who trained against the potential of artillery delivery, because artillery was the way they had previously delivered and it was the only way they knew they could deliver. Now we found nothing that is evidence of that kind of delivery, so the fact is that as you peel it away I think it comes down to this larger ideological and neocon concept of fundamental change in the region and who knows whether there are other motives with respect to Saddam Hussein, but they did it because they thought they could, and because they misjudged exactly what the reaction would be and what they could get away with.”

Kerry extends his fatuousness into yet another area this week. No one has ever said that WMD would be limited to artillery — one of the reasons that the UN limited Iraqi missile ranges (which, as Kenneth Timmerman noted, they routinely violated) was to ensure that Saddam couldn’t drop chemical weapons onto Tel Aviv with a ballistic missile delivery system. Another reason was to keep WMD from terrorists, who have very little use for artillery-delivered WMD, but could make good use of the chemicals and biological agents in other ways. When did the threshold for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons become artillery-based deployment?
But more than that, Kerry argues for both positions in the same breath. If WMDs aren’t found, then the whole thing was just a big neo-con conspiracy, a sentiment that one usually has to travel to Jakarta or Tehran to hear. If they are found, then … what? Bush told the truth and your paranoia has been revealed? If he finds WMD but not in the quantities found, is it still a neo-con conspiracy? How much WMD does Kerry consider to be a problem? Kerry doesn’t answer those questions, mostly because Matthews didn’t bother to ask them, turning “Hardball” into television’s most ironic show title. (If you listened to the replay, you could practically hear the smooch from Matthews’ lips on Kerry’s backside. It was that bad.)
So now on one hand, Kerry claims Bush lied as part of a vast neo-con conspiracy to turn the Middle East democratic — oh, the horror! — while saying at the same time that WMD may still be found. Either he lied or he didn’t, Senator. If he lied, then you’re saying that the WMD never existed and he knew it, despite the testimony of everyone involved and even Bill Clinton that the intelligence all said that it existed. Somehow George Bush saw through the intelligence reports from all Western nations claiming that Iraq had WMD and refused to account for them, and decided to go to war anyway even though in the end he knew that we’d find nothing and he’d pay a political price for it.
Or we may still find WMD, in which case Kerry turns into Emily Litella and says, “Never mind!”
Riiiiiiiiiight …..

More Good Economic News

Consumer confidence and home sales continue to rise as more people find jobs, contributing to an undeniably growing economy:

Home sales rose a strong 5.7% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, and a second report said consumer confidence rose in April, driven primarily by increased faith in an employment recovery.
The reports are more good news for an economy showing increasing signs of strength.
The Conference Board, a private research firm, said its index of consumer confidence rose to 92.9 in April from a revised 88.5 in March. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the index to slip to 88.0.
“The job market, which has a major impact on confidence, appears to be gaining strength,” said Lynn Franco, director of research at the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are hard to get is now at its lowest level since November 2002, and more consumers expect this trend to continue.”

It just keeps rolling … it just keeps rolling along …

Captain’s Caption Contest #7!

It’s Friday — time for a new Captain’s Caption Contest! We have an intriguing selection by this week’s guest judge, Gerbera Tetra, the place for bad commentary, bad ideas, bad motives and bad jokes. GT wants to challenge us all with this eerie image:
The Creeping Kerry
You know what to do — post your best caption lines in the comments section of this post (no e-mails, please), enter as often as you like, no purchase necessary, winner need not be present when selected, blah blah blah. We’ll keep the contest open until Tuesday 4/27 6 PM CT, when GT will select the winners.
Just remember — if you want to win, don’t hide your light under a bushel … step out of the shadows and give it your best shot!
BUMP 4/24: We already have a ton of great entries, but keep it up — very impressive so far …
BUMP 4/25: I slept in today (in Irish, you sleep out, not in — trivia points!), so I’ve lost some blogging time. I’ll post more after the honey-do list for today is complete, but in the meantime keep posting your excellent captions! …
BUMP 4/26: Apparently, today will be a light-blogging day as well, but be sure to get your entries in ahead of the Tuesday 6 PM CT deadline …
COMMENTS CLOSED 4/27: Thanks for a whole boatload of great entries! The judge is putting them under a harsh light as we speak …