"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)
- Name: John
- Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Republicus hopes that everyone had a good Thanksgiving.
A summary of Thanksgiving's origin was provided for your educational benefit and as a holiday tribute.
However, Republicus must confess to his people that the summary did not end with the idyllic day of mutual grace, harmony, giving Thanks, and feasting, but it was considered best to leave it at that so as not to infringe on the day's serenity and cheer and spoil the sanctity of the holiday (or the appetite, for that matter).
But now that Republicus is quite certain that the festivities have run their course (with the exception, of course, of a week's worth of leftovers), that all is well-digested, and his people satiated with the God-Blessed bounties this great land of ours provides (something you should never take for granted), it behooves your host to append the final chapter of that summary, if only in the spirit of full-disclosure and for the sake of education, and hopefully for the encouragement of Wisdom (and not the engendering of cynicism):
...Samoset introduced the colonists to Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag Indians, who signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims. Squanto, another English-speaking Indian, acted as guide and interpreter, and with his help the colonists learned to plant corn, catch fish, and gather fruit. The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate their first harvest in 1621, an event now celebrated as Thanksgiving Day.
After Massasoit's death, the Wampanoag joined a tribal coalition to eliminate English settlers...
note by Republicus: Yeah. Thanks a lot.
...but in the ensuing King Philip's War the Wampanoag were nearly exterminated.
Yeah. Don't mess with Paleface.
The Assessments of Lieutenant General John Vines And General John Abizaid
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 23, 2005
The top tactical commander in Iraq says an abrupt pullout of U.S. troops would be "destabilizing" and labeled "disturbing" Washington's heated political debate that has some Democrats calling the war unwinnable.
Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the Multinational Corps Iraq, said that 36 Iraqi battalions, about one-third of the total force, are now responsible for their own security sectors and can fight the insurgency. But they are not yet ready to operate totally independent of U.S. supply lines and tactical advice.
Because of that, he said, now is not the time for an American withdrawal.
"Iraqi security forces are able to conduct operations in a large portion of their area with only limited coalition support," Gen. Vines told Pentagon reporters via a teleconference from Baghdad. "They do require our support at this time. That support will be increasingly less over a period of time, but a precipitous pullout, I believe, would be destabilizing."
Gen. Vines' U.S. troops, which number 160,000, are now fighting against a backdrop of a heated debate in Washington over the course of the war. Some Democrats want a fixed timetable for troop withdrawals, a move President Bush rejects because, he says, it sends the wrong signal to terrorists and Saddam Hussein loyalists.
Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, upped the ante last week. He called the war unwinnable and asked that a six-month withdrawal from Iraq begin immediately, triggering a fierce House debate Friday night on a resolution which would call for just that. It failed 403-3.
Even before the troop debate, Democrats charged that the commander in chief deliberately misstated the intelligence on Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction. The White House struck back, starting last week, saying the president presented the same intelligence on WMD that some Democrats used to justify their vote for using force to oust Saddam.
"Of course the debate and the bitterness is disturbing," Gen. Vines said. "But after all, we are a democracy, and that is what democracy is about is people will have differences of opinions."
Asked about troops' morale, Gen. Vines said, "Certainly soldiers are concerned about whether or not they enjoy the support of not only their elected representatives, but the people, and they know that they have their support."
Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander for Iraq, told The Washington Times on Monday that Washington needs to be patient. He predicted that Dec. 15 elections to pick a permanent Iraqi government and the maturation of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) will lead to progress in 2006 in subduing the insurgency.
"It's not hard to deal with patience in the Middle East. Everyone is patient," the four-star general said.
"The only problem [is] that there appears to be a patience problem ... within the Beltway," he said. "When I talk to civilian audiences, I don't get the same sense of impatience that I detect here in the Beltway."
Defense sources say it is likely that Gen. Abizaid next year will recommend a sizable U.S. troop reduction below what is considered the base of 138,000. The Pentagon temporarily pushed the level to 160,000 to provide added security for the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum and the Dec. 15 parliamentary election.
Friday, November 25, 2005
"Good Morning Vietnam?" Yeah, They Wish.
Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.
(bold type by Republicus):
Question: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?
Answer: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."
Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?
A: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.
Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?
A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.
Q: What was the purpose of the 1968 Tet Offensive?
A: To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year.
Q: What about Gen. Westmoreland's strategy and tactics caused you concern?
A: Our senior commander in the South, Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, knew that we were losing base areas, control of the rural population and that his main forces were being pushed out to the borders of South Vietnam. He also worried that Westmoreland might receive permission to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In January 1967, after discussions with Le Duan, Thanh proposed the Tet Offensive. Thanh was the senior member of the Politburo in South Vietnam. He supervised the entire war effort. Thanh's struggle philosophy was that "America is wealthy but not resolute," and "squeeze tight to the American chest and attack." He was invited up to Hanoi for further discussions. He went on commercial flights with a false passport from Cambodia to Hong Kong and then to Hanoi. Only in July was his plan adopted by the leadership. Then Johnson had rejected Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops. We realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war. Vietnam was not sufficiently important for the United States to call up its reserves. We had stretched American power to a breaking point. When more frustration set in, all the Americans could do would be to withdraw; they had no more troops to send over. Tet was designed to influence American public opinion. We would attack poorly defended parts of South Vietnam cities during a holiday and a truce when few South Vietnamese troops would be on duty. Before the main attack, we would entice American units to advance close to the borders, away from the cities. By attacking all South Vietnam's major cities, we would spread out our forces and neutralize the impact of American firepower. Attacking on a broad front, we would lose some battles but win others. We used local forces nearby each target to frustrate discovery of our plans. Small teams, like the one which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, would be sufficient. It was a guerrilla strategy of hit-and-run raids.
Q: What about the results?
A: Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was.
Q: What of Nixon?
A: Well, when Nixon stepped down because of Watergate we knew we would win. Pham Van Dong [prime minister of North Vietnam] said of Gerald Ford, the new president, "he's the weakest president in U.S. history; the people didn't elect him; even if you gave him candy, he doesn't dare to intervene in Vietnam again." We tested Ford's resolve by attacking Phuoc Long in January 1975. When Ford kept American B-52's in their hangers, our leadership decided on a big offensive against South Vietnam.
Q: What else?
A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.
note by Republicus:
Do you recognize a pattern here?
It is not a coincidence.
The Antiwar Left knows what it's doing.
They spent the better part of three decades self-consciously rewriting that history (what else is new?), insisting that the "illegal" war was a lost cause to begin with, trotting out McNamara's defeatism and other "experts" that could justify their treason for, not only allowing, but enabling and indeed cheering America's military humiliation in the thick of the Cold War, and the precipitous decline in might and morale which followed...
...until Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 made us be all we could be, and won the Cold War, without firing a shot.
Meanwhile-- the whole way through the Reagan Era-- the Left screamed "War-monger!" and lambasted the "Tax-Cuts for the Rich!" and decried the "Deficits as far as the eye can see!" and gloomed "He's compromising the separation of Church and State!" and doomed "He's going to start World War III!" and, finally, "Well, it was the enlightened communist Mikhail Gorbachev who ended the Cold War!"
Do you recognize another pattern there?
They hated Reagan, too.
Don't let their bleeding-heart posturings of pacifism fool you.
Republicus will refer you to the October 17 post, titled "Today's Flower Children Are A Thorny Bunch," which reproduces a piece by Chris Hitchens called "Antiwar My Foot," wherein he properly sneers at the September 24 antiwar/Impeachment marchers and discerns (bold by Republicus):
To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard (i.e. at the "Antiwar" March--R.) saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.
Indeed, they don't hate war. They're waging war against the President of the United States, raising armies, marching to beating drums, drafting battle-plans, engaging in subterfuge, psychological tactics, and all.
They just hate George Bush, the Republican Party, the Conservatives, and America, as their hysteria and tirades tells you much more about them than they do the world at large.
Great changes are sweeping throughout the Middle East. The Left wants "World Peace?" This had to be the prerequisite. We are not conquerors. We are liberators. Only America wins wars not by defeating an enemy so much as by winning his heart, and we are winning hearts. From Palestine to Libya to Lebanon to Egypt to Iraq, the Middle East--that disfunctional snake-pit, that perennial hot-spot that has been destabilizing the entire world for the entire life of Republicus-- is changing. It's happening.
Keep your eye on the ball, people.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Plymouth Colony, America's first permanent Puritan settlement, was established by English Separatist Puritans in December 1620.
The Pilgrims left England to seek religious freedom, or simply to find a better life.
After a period in Holland, they set sail from Plymouth, England, on Sept. 16, 1620, aboard the Mayflower, its 102 passengers spending 65 days at sea.
Passengers, now known as the Pilgrim Fathers, included leader William Brewster; John Carver, Edward Winslow, and William Bradford, early governors of Plymouth Colony; John Alden, assistant governor; and Myles Standish, a professional soldier and military advisor.
The Mayflower dropped anchor near present-day Provincetown on Nov. 21, 1620, and 41 male passengers signed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement to enact "just and equal laws for the general good of the colony."
The Pilgrims finally landed at the site of present-day Plymouth, Mass., on Dec. 26, 1620.
By legend the Pilgrims stepped ashore at Plymouth Rock; their records do not mention this landmark.
Settlers began erecting buildings and rough shelters for the winter. But harsh climate and illness took their toll. By the end of winter half the colonists had died.
The colonists encountered the Indian Samoset, who surprised them by speaking English, learned from English traders on the coast of Maine.
Samoset introduced the colonists to Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag Indians, who signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims. Squanto, another English-speaking Indian, acted as guide and interpreter, and with his help the colonists learned to plant corn, catch fish, and gather fruit.The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate their first harvest in 1621, an event now celebrated as Thanksgiving Day.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Duhs, a Ditto, a Doy, and a "DOH!"
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 21, 2005
Pentagon officials say they are increasingly worried that Washington's political fight over the Iraq war will dampen what has been high morale among troops fighting a tenacious and deadly enemy.
note by Republicus: No, really? Duh.
Commanders are telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that ground troops do not understand the generally negative press that their missions receive, despite what they consider significant achievements in rebuilding Iraq and instilling democracy.
note by Republicus: Duh. The boots on the ground there hear their work being described as a "debacle" and they're thinking, "What the hell are they talking about?"
The commanders also worry about the public's declining support for the mission and what may be a growing movement inside the Democratic Party to advocate troop withdrawal from Iraq.
note by Republicus: Duh.
"They say morale is very high," said a senior Pentagon official of reports filed by commanders with Washington. "But they relate comments from troops asking, 'What the heck is going on back here' and why America isn't seeing the progress they are making or appreciating the mission the way those on the ground there do. My take is that they are wondering if America is still behind them."
note by Republicus: Duh.
Mr. Rumsfeld appeared on several Sunday talk shows yesterday to express concern about the effects of the political discussion on U.S. forces.
"We also have to understand that our words have effects," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "Put yourself in the shoes of a soldier who thinks that we're going to pull out precipitously or immediately, as some people have proposed. Obviously, they have to wonder whether what they're doing makes sense if that's the idea, if that's the debate."
He repeated similar words on other shows, saying on CBS' "Face the Nation" that war critics should "think about the troops that are there and how it sounds to them."
He also exhorted the audience on ABC's "This Week" to "put yourself in the shoes of the American soldiers."
But Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Mr. Rumsfeld, said commanders are not telling the Pentagon that morale is sinking, although they have long-standing concerns about the press.
"The commanders often have expressed their incredulity at the difference between the progress they are seeing in Iraq and the manner in which that progress is obscured, in Washington, by the disproportionate focus on the challenges, in lieu of the many reasons to feel proud and satisfied at all that is happening," he said.
note by Republicus: Ditto.
The political fight over Iraq has heated up in recent weeks as the White House says Democrats who supported ousting dictator Saddam Hussein essentially saw the same intelligence relied on by President Clinton, when he ordered bombing of Iraq in 1998, and by Mr. Bush. No major stocks of banned weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been found since the 2003 invasion.
But Democrats are not only questioning the war because of the failure to find banned weapons.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has labeled the war a "grotesque mistake."
note by Republicus: DOY! Here is what Pelosi said in the run-up to the war: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Last week, a respected Democratic voice on national security, Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, called for withdrawal from Iraq because he thinks the war is not winnable. The U.S. death toll exceeds 2,000 and continues to rise as Saddam loyalists and al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists execute attacks and bombings.
The WMD charges, the call for withdrawal and the nervousness among Republicans are all being monitored by the almost 160,000 American troops in Iraq.
"They are not oblivious to this stuff nor are they isolated," said the senior Pentagon official, who asked not to be named.
note by Republicus: Duh. And neither are the "insurgents."
Still, officers in Iraq contend that troop morale is good to excellent.
"I have not heard of any morale problems related to the political debates," said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman in Baghdad.
Lt. Col. David Lapan, a Marine spokesman in the violence-wracked Anbar province, said, "We haven't conducted any surveys so obviously we can't speak to the morale of every Marine, sailor and soldier out here. However, based on comments from commanders and leaders who interact daily with troops at all levels, I'd say morale remains pretty high."
On the other hand:
Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, an author of books on military transformation, said he is hearing something different from returning troops.
"Soldiers see no viable mission, no plan and no strategy," Col. Macgregor said. "No one trusts any of the Arabs in the Iraqi army, only the Kurds. Soldiers want to survive to go home and are fighting to keep each other alive. There is no Iraq. There is Kurdistan, which the soldiers all love. Then, there is the Sunni Arab center and the Shi'ite south that most think is an autonomous province of Iran."
note by Republicus: "DOH!"
Audrey Hudson contributed to this report.