Hezbollah Operative Further Proof Of Iranian Involvement

The announcement yesterday of an arrest in March of a high-ranking Hezbollah terrorist in Iraq gives more credence to the accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq’s insurgencies. The US caught Ali Moussa Dadouk in southern Iraq after he masterminded a Karbala attack that killed five American soldiers — and Dadouk fingered the Iranians for much more:

Iran’s elite Quds force helped militants carry out a January attack in Karbala that killed five Americans, a U.S. general said Monday. U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner also accused Tehran of using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a “proxy” to arm Shiite militants in Iraq.
The claims were an escalation in U.S. accusations that Iran is fueling Iraq’s violence, which Tehran has denied, and were the first time the U.S. military has said Hezbollah has a direct role.
A senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq, Bergner said. Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was “working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force,” Bergner said.
The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shiite group led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali’s group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations. Al-Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali were captured with Dakdouk.

It turns out that Dadouk and the Quds forces took a page from the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. They used stolen American fatigues to send a dozen terrorists into the government compound in January, allowing them to pass through checkpoints so they could launch their attack. They killed one US soldier outright and abducted four others, who were later killed.
How were they able to do that? The Quds operatives have extensive intel about American installations in Iraq — a not terribly surprising development, considering the alliances they have with Iraqis in the area. The intel includes detailed information about the personnel, shift changes, duty assignments, and so on. Quds shared the information with the terrorists, using Dadouk as an intermediary.
Dadouk got himself captured with an intel trove of his own. He had detailed instructions on attacking convoys, instructional material for other techniques that he shared with his insurgency clients, and diaries of his meetings with them. Al-Khazaali had plans for eleven different attacks on American forces. They comprise part of the 18 high-level Iranian special agents the US has captured since February, but are lucky not to have been among the three killed.
Hezbollah is known as a client of Iran, a terrorist group that receives direction from Teheran via Damascus. Hezbollah so far has refused to comment on Dadouk’s status with their group, but after playing deaf and dumb for a month to American intelligence, Dadouk has himself confirmed his status as a high-ranking member. That clearly shows that Iran has violated any claims to neutrality in this conflict. The US and the UN need to deliver consequences to Iran for their acts of war — not invasion certainly, but some clear consequences that will make the mullahcracy think twice about its meddling in Iraq.

If You Don’t Hear From Me, Send Lawyers, Guns, And Money

After struggling for a few years with Qwest’s DSL service, I’m changing to Comcast this afternoon. I’ll be replacing my local phone service and Direct TV programming at the same time, a move that should give me much faster Internet access while saving me close to $60 per month … if it works.
My DSL has always had its share of problems. I live in one of those neighborhoods that sits too far from a central office to get normal DSL. Qwest installed repeaters nearby to give service to my area, but no other CLECs followed suit. As a result, the only DSL I can get is Qwest’s business class (for networking in the house), and while the down/up pipe isn’t bad — usually 512/256K — it’s cranky. If I run a trace route on any domain, it times out.
Cable hadn’t been an option for a while here either, but I had another problem — the previous owner of the house had inadvertently cut the cable line over ten years ago when adding a retaining wall. When I called Comcast, they told me that they now routinely bring a new line into the house in this area, so it wouldn’t cost me anything extra. I placed the order for Triple Play, and my new speed should be 6M, roughly twelve times faster, as well as allow for movies on demand and free long distance service to the entire US.
We’ll see. Friends of mine have had trouble in the past with Comcast installations, and Glenn Reynolds recently wrote of his issues with Comcast’s service. If you don’t hear from me this evening, keep my post title in mind — or send me lots of Panera gift cards, because I’ll move in there instead.


What are the causes of terrorism? Many would have them as poverty, a lack of education, and little exposure to Western values. It’s rather interesting, then, that two of the five terror suspects rounded up by the UK in the wake of three mostly failed attacks are doctors working in their National Health System:

Two of the five terror suspects being held in the wake of the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow are hospital doctors working in the UK.
The majority of the five terror suspects being held in police custody in connection with bomb attacks in London and Glasgow are not British and at least one is still at large, according to Sky sources.
Sky sources believe one of the men arrested at Glasgow airport and a 26-year-old man arrested on the M6 with a 27-year-old woman in Cheshire are both doctors.
Sky Crime Reporter Martin Brunt said: “This is very far removed from the picture we normally have. These are professional people with highly paid jobs who are intent on killing people.”

The British may want to check on their work in the hospital system, too. It seems like terrorists who really wanted to frighten Brits would have a field day by killing patients with just enough plausibility towards seeming like natural deaths. It certainly will give patients a new reason to feel uncomfortable about going to hospital.
I wonder what Michael Moore would make of this?

Senatorial Karma’s Gonna Get You (Democrats)

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have come under tremendous pressure to start achieving the ambitious goals they set for the 110th Congress after winning control for the first time in 12 years. However, the two Democrats find themselves looking foolish as this Congress has done less in its first five months than any in recent memory — and both Reid and Pelosi blame the Republicans for obstructionism in the Senate. They seem to forget that the two of them played the same exact game for their own political advantage over the past few years of Republican control (via Memeorandum):

Pelosi sounded more apologetic than celebratory Friday when she announced with her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats’ list of accomplishments six months after they seized control of Capitol Hill and promised “a new direction” in Washington.
“I’m not happy with Congress, either,” Pelosi, of San Francisco, conceded.
She pinned the blame on “the obstructionism of the Republicans in the United States Senate.” …
“The Republicans are doing what the Democrats did,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs scholar at Boston University. “They’re using the power of the Senate filibuster, and the power in the House when you have narrow majorities, to make a do-nothing Congress — even when there’s a lot of issues on the table, even when there’s a lot of interest in accomplishing things.”
The Democrats in their years in the minority made a filibuster-proof 60-vote supermajority — rather than a 51-vote simple majority — the threshold needed to pass any legislation in the Senate. Democrats routinely blocked all but the most noncontroversial bills. They created a Senate crisis in 2005 by filibustering Bush’s judicial nominees, provoking Republican leaders to threaten to do away with the filibuster. That showdown was averted only by the intervention of a dozen moderates in both parties.

Payback is a … bummer. Having set the precedent, now Pelosi and Reid want to complain about its use against them. Both Democrats proved that the strategy works in making the majority party look incompetent, and the GOP have just decided to follow their playbook against them.
Is this wise? Not in the long run. We have serious problems that require cooperation and compromise. However, listening to Harry Reid complain about Senate obstructionism is somewhat akin to hearing a small child complain to his mother that his sibling hit him back.

Rap — The New Disco

The London Telegraph reports that rap music has suddenly plummeted — sales have dropped more than twice as fast as the entire ailing recording industry. Sales in 2006 came in at 21% below 2005, and this year looks even worse. The reason? Listeners have tired of misogynistic lyrics, crude paeans to violence, and the garish jewelry that once fascinated America’s youth:

Confronted with haemorrhaging sales, the most assertive popular music movement since the Sex Pistols has lost its swagger and is suffering a crisis of confidence.
This year rap and hip-hop sales are down 33 per cent, double the decline of the CD album market overall, which is under pressure from music download sites such as iTunes, where fans can buy individual songs.
In 2006, rap sold 59.1 million albums, down 21 per cent from 2005. Not one rap album made the American top 10 sellers of the year – a list headed by the saccharine tunes of the soundtrack to Disney’s made-for-television High School Musical. The bad boys of rap are now trailing the cowboys of country and the headbangers of heavy metal. …
Rap has been deserted by many white fans and middle-class blacks, apparently tiring of the “gangsta” attitude to women, racism, violence and bling – the gold rings and medallions that have made hip-hop a byword for vulgarity.

Some see this as a period of adjustment for a long-lived art form, which began in the late 1970s and exploded in the following decade. Michael Dyson, a professor of African and religious studies at Penn, says that “horrible hip-hop has to die so that regal hip-hop can live.” Most others are not as sanguine. Even media outlets that have feasted on hip-hop over the years have begun pulling away, such as Ebony Magazine removing Ludacris from its cover, and Verizon dumping Akon after his simulated sexual assault of a fifteen-year-old fan on stage.
The concerns of the language and the imagery certainly play a role in rap’s sudden decline. The case of Don Imus using common rap slang to describe the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team put the issue in high relief this year, and even race-baiting demagogues like Al Sharpton decided to go after rappers as a result. Suge Knight, who founded the worst of the gangsta-rap labels, Death Row Records, now says he will withdraw its entire catalogue and only re-release it with every single mention of the N-word bleeped out.
Can rap make a comeback? To some extent, certainly, but probably not to the levels it once enjoyed. The movement became a parody of itself, with its celebration of pimp culture and the ridiculous excesses like grilles (gaudy jewelry for the teeth, for those unfamiliar). Snoop Dogg’s selling Girls Gone Wild videos and 50 Cent is selling mineral water. The fans have tired of the power trip and have grown up. If rap artists can do the same, then maybe they’ll experience a renaissance.

A Salute To Our Northern Neighbors!

Via Newsbeat1, I’m reminded that today is Canada Day. In fact, it’s the 139th year of Canada Day, which began as Dominion Day in 1868. (This is the 25th anniversary of the event as “Canada Day”.) As fitting for our northern neighbor, it celebrates no particular military victory or political event, but just humbly celebrates the nation itself.
From your neighbors to the South, happy Canada Day, and may our friendship celebrate many, many more of these days together.
Canada has a special place in my heart. To see why, please read through my archive.

Brits Hold 4 In Glasgow Attack

The attack on a Glasgow airport apparently resulted from an Islamist conspiracy, as suspected yesterday in its aftermath. British authorities have four people in custody, including two arrested in Chesire:

Early Sunday, after a day of fast-moving developments, the London police announced that two people had been arrested in Cheshire, in northwest England, “in connection with the events in London and Scotland.”
The arrests were in addition to those of the two occupants of the blazing car at Glasgow Airport. A witness to the attack said on BBC television that one of the car’s occupants had been ablaze from head to foot, and as he struggled with the police, “was throwing punches and shouting ‘Allah, Allah.’ ”
Britain’s threat level is now at “critical,” meaning another attack is considered imminent. The threat has not been as high since last year, after authorities discovered what they called a plot to attack trans-Atlantic airliners with liquid explosives.
A British security official, who like many other officials who disclosed information insisted on anonymity, said Saturday that the heightened level reflected an assessment that the London and Glasgow cases were “linked in some ways and, therefore, there are clearly individuals who have the capability and intent to carry out further attacks.”
The links relate to the way the London car bombs and Glasgow airport attack were planned, using vehicles and gasoline, the official said.

Clearly, radical Islamists have planned these attacks for quite some time. The attacks took some planning and materiel acquisition, which indicates coordination between the two cells in terms of at least the timing. Since cells typically operate independently, that indicates a higher-level involvement, probably from al-Qaeda, rather than home-grown terrorists working spontaneously.
If so, then AQ has hit some hard times in terms of competence. The two London bombs failed to detonate, perhaps from design flaws, or perhaps from the incompetence of the bombmakers. However, the Glasgow attack seems highly amateurish and very poorly conceived. The terminal at Glasgow has significant barriers to defend against vehicular attacks, which the attackers apparently didn’t take into consideration. Instead of blowing up the terminal, all they succeeded in doing was to light themselves on fire — which no one will consider any great loss.
That doesn’t make AQ harmless by any means. It does, however, indicate that our years-long aggressive strategy of attacking AQ as an enemy at war rather than a criminal gang has paid off. They have lost a large number of their leadership, and apparently a great deal of their organizational skills. They used to excel at coordinated bombing attacks, but now their bombs misfire, and they’re reduced to banzai attacks on concrete barricades.
As I said yesterday, Jihadi U seems to have suffered from massive grade inflation.

Evidence For Global Warming Evaporating?

Al Gore has transformed global warming from scientific theory to political crusade, writing books and producing a documentary to scare people into action. Gore and his supporters claim that scientific consensus is nearly unanimous that the climate changes measured over the last two decades are anthropogenic, and that we may already have run out of time to save the planet. However, James Taylor, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, points out that Gore has some of his “evidence” completely wrong — and that consensus does not exist on his central argument:

For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate reported, “Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame.”
Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, “Although it’s tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests’ humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.”
Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.
Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.

Taylor has more refutations in yesterday’s Sun-Times column. Gore has claimed that African deserts have begun expanding, eating up valuable arable land on the continent. However, five years ago New Scientist noted that Africa’s deserts were in “spectacular retreat,” opening up even more arable land than before. Claims that the Antarctic ice sheet had lost mass turns out to be incorrect, as a British scientific journal concluded last September; it has actually gained mass between 1992 and 2003, during the period of supposed global warming. Greenland has lost ice at its margins, but the central ice cap in Greenland has actually grown, resulting in an overall gain of mass — and it has just had the coldest two decades in 90 years.
With all of this contradictory evidence, not only can one not conclude that man has had much effect on the climate, one cannot clearly conclude that the climate is changing much at all, outside of natural cycles. Recent studies of Mars’climate shows that it too has experienced some rapid warming, indicating that the sun probably has caused the warming of both planets.
However, that would not suffice to force radical environmental policy on the world — and primarily the West. The effort to cap industrialization seems very similar to the decades-long demand by environmentalists that have always been antagonistic to industrial economies. They have played Chicken Little for almost half a century, and “global warming” serves as the latest scare tactic.
We should stop spewing poisons in the air, and it behooves us to find cleaner methods to generate energy — but carbon dioxide is not a poison. We need to move away from petroleum for lots of reasons, but national security is primary among them, not some anthro-centric view that we change the climate. We need to take time and find the right solutions, not get stampeded like shrieking cattle into adopting a 1930s standard of living. We need facts, not hysteria — and the facts show that anthropogenic global warming is a dubious theory, not fact.
UPDATE: And, like clockwork, Al Gore appears in today’s New York Times today in full hysteric mode:

Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings. …
As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several “tipping points” that could — within 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet’s habitability for human civilization. …
This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong.

Gore then evokes Venus as an example of what will happen to Earth:

Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.
As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It’s the carbon dioxide.

It’s because the Venusian atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide, and the fact that it’s much closer to the sun. Mercury isn’t “right next to the Sun” in any real sense other than it’s the closest planet. Its average orbit puts it closer to Venus than the Sun. Venus is not “three times hotter than Mecury on average,” but only slightly hotter. Mercury’s mean temperature is 354 degrees Fahrenheit, but ranges from -290 degrees at “night” to over 840 degrees during its “day”, which lasts over a month. Venus is slightly hotter and has no real temperature variations, but it isn’t “three times as hot”.
It’s the kind of misinformation and bad science that plagues Al Gore and the climate-change crowd, but then again, science isn’t really what concerns them.

‘Bless The Beasts And The Children’

Michael Yon continues reporting from the front in the new US/Iraqi push to clear Baqubah of al-Qaeda forces. His post title will need explaining, but first, Michael embeds with an armored unit to a village on the outskirts of Baqubah. A firefight ensued, and when the Americans had driven off the AQI terrorists, an unsettling quiet came over the battlefield:

On 29 June, American and Iraqi soldiers were again fighting side-by-side as soldiers from Charley Company 1-12 CAV, led by Captain Clayton Combs, and Iraqi soldiers from the 5th IA, closed in on a village on the outskirts of Baqubah. The village had the apparent misfortune of being located near a main road—about 3.5 miles from FOB Warhorse—that al Qaeda liked to bomb. Al Qaeda had taken over the village. As Iraqi and American soldiers moved in, they came under light contact; but the bombs planted in the roads, and maybe in the houses, were the real threat.
The firefight progressed. American missiles were fired. The enemy might have been trying to bait Iraqi and American soldiers into ambush, but it did not work. The village was riddled with bombs, some of them large enough to destroy a tank. One by one, experts destroyed the bombs, leaving small and large craters in the unpaved roads.
The village was abandoned. All the people were gone. But where?

In this case, Michael has documented the answer to that question with plenty of pictures. The villagers went underground — literally. AQI forces massacred the men, women, and children of the village, burying most of them before the battle and their subsequent withdrawal. Michael’s pictures show very disturbing images of the victims of AQI. Michael told the Iraqi and American commanders on this mission that it was important that Americans see this, and he’s right.
And the title of the post? It comes from a favorite tactic of AQI in Iraq. They “bless” the corpses of children and dead animals with explosives — in order to kill anyone who attempts to clear them.
Be sure to read the entire post — and to throw a few dollars into Michael’s tip jar while you’re there.

Japanese Anger Over The Truth

Anger over remarks about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced the Japanese defense minister to apologize today. Fumio Kyuma had told an audience the previous day that he held no grudge against the United States, as the bombings forced Japan to surrender before the Soviet Union had a chance to invade:

Japan’s defense minister apologized on Sunday for comments about the 1945 U.S. atomic bomb attacks on the country which outraged survivors and drew criticism from the ruling bloc ahead of a key election in late July.
Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said he had not meant to offend the victims when he said on Saturday the bombings “couldn’t be helped” because they had brought World War Two to an end and had prevented the Soviet Union from entering the war against Japan.
“If my remarks were seen as lacking regard for the feelings of atomic bomb victims, then I am sorry,” he told a news conference.
On Saturday, Kyuma had said in a speech: “My understanding is that it ended the war and that it couldn’t be helped … I don’t hold a grudge against the United States.”

The remarks infuriated victims of the bombings and others in Japan, who continue to see themselves as more sinned against in World War II than sinners themselves. Ten days ago, Japan’s government started a firestorm of protest by toning down significant aspects of their wartime atrocities in history textbooks. Okinawans reacted in fury to one change, which downplayed the Japanese Army’s role in forcing thousands of civilians on the island to commit “suicide” rather than to surrender to the American military.
That reaction paled in comparison to the worldwide condemnation of a group within Japan’s ruling party, who declared that the Rape of Nanking was a fabrication. In six weeks, the Japanese killed between 150,000-300,000 civilians in a city that presented no wartime threat to Japan. The disciplined Imperial Army turned into a pillage movement, raping women, killing civilians indiscriminately and purposely. They put the city to the torch — and it wasn’t an isolated incident. After getting a bloody nose from the Chinese in Shanghai, they pillaged all the way to Nanking.
The Japanese have refused to acknowledge these atrocities, and many more besides, which gives them the intellectual cover to consider themselves victims in the final two bombings of the war. In truth, the Japanese had conducted themselves as brutally and as cruelly as any army could possibly have. In Okinawa, they made it clear that they would murder their own people before admitting military defeat, and they had even less compunction about murdering civilians in other nations, as the Chinese and Filipinos can attest.
Faced off against that kind of enemy, the US had no choice but to use the most powerful weapon in its arsenal to avoid the inch-by-inch massacre of an invasion of the main island. The Japanese refused to surrender, still believing in their megalomaniacal mission to rule Asia to the very end. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were significant cities for Japan’s war effort, and the US warned Japan that we would target them with a terrible new weapon if they did not surrender. And as Kyuma notes, the Soviet Union had finally declared war on Japan, and they would have been more than interested in carving up the islands as they were with Germany and eastern Europe.
Kyuma has no reason to apologize. The Japanese should pull their heads out of the darkness and start acknowledging that their brutality and bloodthirstiness in a decade of war in Asia led to the inevitable in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.