4:00 AM May 31, 2004by Rob Ritchie

General Orders No.11,
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

    We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

    If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

    Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

  2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

  3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of


Adjutant General


The Road not Taken

11:36 AM May 30, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

Stopping in the Woods on a Snowy Evening

11:34 AM May 29, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

- Robert Frost

Victor Davis Hanson

6:39 PM May 28, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Our Reptilian Brains

Why was a defiant Pericles lionized in 431 and censured and fined by 430? Most likely because Spartans were in Attica and an unexpected plague was killing 80,000 Athenians. Few cared that he had nothing to do with a mysterious disease, they cared only that thousands had died on his watch. Ask Churchill's ghost why he was called on in 1939, thrown out as war ended, and brought back again as new dangers loomed.

What made Lincoln popular by October when he had been so pilloried in August? Uncle Billy Sherman had taken Atlanta and suddenly the public saw that the Confederacy was hollow rather than defiant and impenetrable. Had Sherman backed off weeks earlier, Lincoln would have been through — even though he was not much responsible for the degree of nerve and bravery shown by the Army of the West and their mercurial general.

Go read the rest.

6:26 PM May 28, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Man Commits Suicide After Sex with Hen

The hen was slaughtered after the incident.

6:07 PM May 28, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Tensor has found evidence that 9/11 was predicted as far back as 1985!

Okay, it's in a comic book, but still....

12:15 PM May 28, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

David Horowitz and Ben Johnson review Al Gore's MoveOn.org speech.

Via Tim Blair

China. France. Germany. Russia.

10:33 AM May 28, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Past a tale of Gnat-terror, Lileks takes on the Big Four.

I was going to put in an excerpt, but it's all too good. Just go read it.

Larry Elder

6:52 PM May 27, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Bashing President Bush takes over as our No. 1 national pastime

When discussing religion or politics with strangers, conventional social etiquette compels one to tread gently and cautiously when raising such topics with strangers. But Bush-haters appear perfectly willing to batter the president without regard as to whether anybody might be offended, or they do so with the assumption that anybody with a brain surely must agree, or they couldn't care less whether they offend someone.
I've found this to be true too. He's got a lot of examples.

1:56 PM May 27, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michael J. Totten posts one of his comments:

I spent two weeks in Jordan, back in the eighties. Since their artillery practice happens from hardpads with known locations and aiming posts set in concrete, surveyors didn't have much to do. I ended up being the liasion NCO for our Host Officer. Nice guy, told us to call him Capt. Abby. He and his sergeant/bodyguard hosted us at the Amman/Baghdad truck terminal souk one evening. It was an excellent experience, and renewed my parents' lessons for me while growing up: you cannot hate people in groups.

See, after burying my best friend after Beirut, my intended goal for any liberty time in Jordan was to catch an Arab or two in any convenient alley and gut them like fish. I had a lot of hate back then, and Capt. Abby caught the vibe. Of course I was properly respectful for our guest (superior rank, royalty, host, and all that) but there's a difference between formal and agreeable.

Anyway, after listening to the truck driver's and sheepherder's songs and poems about life, dreams, family, and tribe over coffee (sloppy full cups) and the strongest tobacco I've ever smoked, I got the strangest feeling these boys could fit in at the Penwell Truck Terminal at the end of a long day...just they wouldn't be drinking any Coors.

I believe that people are just people. Each man makes calls and every man is responsible for choosing his path. Without my experience driving that Jordanian around I would have been one of those people wanting to see the mideast east of Israel turned to glass.

I also believe that the conflict before us is one that is unavoidable; we are not consciously committed to ending Islam but our very existence ensures the death of the religion because societies that embrace it cannot compete with western, capitalist societies. They are the ones who adopted jihad.

Anyway, that was many years ago. I have read the Koran three or four times by now...read commentaries, learned the timeline of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the yeast tray explosion of that creed through the Arab mideast. We have a muslim center up in Salt Lake; I've spoken with imams there more than once since 9/11.

CAIR is the Sein Feinn of al Qaeda. No more, no less.

These days I'm just trying to keep up with the world and decide what to do with myself since I don't survey any more. Capt. Abby got promoted out of zone, and now runs Jordan as King Abdullah.

Don't tell me I need to know more about Arabs. Thanks.

12:07 PM May 27, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Via LGF I see this Michael Ledeen editorial indicating Iran's intentions to cripple the American economy and to sponser terrorist attacks against US targets (including detonating nuclear warheads).

Iran claims to already be at war with the US, and at some point it may be necessary to strike them militarily.

I mean, effectively.

It's a twofer!

11:58 AM May 27, 2004by Rob Ritchie

"We deserve a president of the United States that doesn't make homeland security a photo opportunity," said Kerry, posing for a photo opportunity.

10:47 AM May 27, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

A different dork than usual, but whatever.

(I shudder to think what the photoshop gurus at Fark could do with this picture.)

Update - Seriously, I think that Gore took all that 'no personality' talk during the last election to heart, and has decided to reinvent himself as a street-corner, sandwich-board-wearing ranter out of an old cartoon. Nobody can claim he's a robot now.

10:43 AM May 27, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Tim Blair points out a line from a Reuters story:

Using artificial insemination to get pregnant, lesbians are four times more likely to have children than gay men.
Apparently, the odds of gay men getting pregnant by artificial insemination are higher than I thought.

Clowns are funny!

5:07 PM May 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Another Comedy Central Post

12:42 PM May 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Another show I really like on Comedy Central is The Daily Show with John Stewart. He's been AWOL for a while, and I was wondering what he was doing.

Apparently, giving commencement addresses at William & Mary.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan


10:43 AM May 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Last night, Al Franken appeared along with others of the Air America folks on the Comedy Central show Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. Early in the program, Franken quoted Golda Meir as one time saying:

"We may forgive the Palestinians for killing our children, but we will never forgive ourselves for killing their children."

I am familiar with the quote, but not in the form that Franken provided it. The actual quote is:

"We may be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our children; but we can not forgive them for making us kill their children."

This is a significant difference. Franken's misquote is a rather banal statement that inspires breast-beating; Meir's is more profound and actually inspires thought.

I don’t simply post this to mock Franken’s mistake. (Okay, maybe just a little – Neener, neener, neener! Franken is a Wiener!)

Franken pronounced his misquote with the pompous air and solemnity we have come to expect from our nation’s most respected comedians, then used it as the centerpiece of an argument. (I must admit that I didn’t follow the argument, because I was busy recalling the actual quote.)

People make mistakes all the time, especially when speaking live before an audience. From what I hear, Franken and the rest of the Air America morning zoo crew make plenty of mistakes every day on the radio.

But he had obviously come prepared with this particular quote, and he got it wrong! Why? To use Franken-logic, as exemplified in his bestselling book Al Franken is a Big Fat Idiot Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, this cannot be a simple mistake, since he has a stable-full of anxious Harvard interns fact-checking everything he says and does.

If this is a simple mistake, then he and his entire organization must be completely incompetant, since they couldn't even get a famous quote by a famous person right. And if he was so incompentant, stupid, ignorant and uneducated as this implies, he certainly wouldn't have ascended to the lofty circles to which he has, could he? I think not.

Therefore, he must have come to the show knowing that the quote was wrong. He sat there on a national television program (well, okay, on a basic cable program) and misled the American people with a blatant and easily-checked untruth.

And, he wasn't even funny.

Franken lied! And the bit died!

7:28 PM May 25, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

E.L. Doctorow was practically booed off the stage for giving an anti-Bush commencement speach at a Long Island collage.

Peggy Noonan tells him why.

7:16 PM May 25, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

One awful day

12:59 PM May 24, 2004by Rob Ritchie

According to this AP story covering the courts martial of Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits for his part in the abuses at Abu Graib prison, the majority of the abuses documented in photos and videos occurred on November 8th.

The abused prisoners were suspected of taking part in a prison riot earlier that day.

The day of abuse — a Saturday — capped what had been the worst week for U.S. troops in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Nearly three dozen had been killed in a surge of attacks that left some other soldiers frustrated and frightened. Insurgents had attacked the Abu Ghraib prison and other U.S. bases in the area with mortars several times in previous weeks.

The day before, insurgents had downed a Black Hawk helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade near Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s hometown of Tikrit, killing six. Sixteen soldiers had died five days earlier when a shoulder-fired missile destroyed a Chinook transport helicopter near the flashpoint city of Fallujah.

This does not excuse what they did, but it might put it into some context.

Not systematic or wide spread: one day's abuse in the midst of unimaginable stress.

12:07 PM May 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Tim Blair has a nice roundup of the latest about everyone's favorite sloppy-joe-eating lying sack of suet, Michael Moore.

The Formation of National Party Systems

10:37 AM May 24, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman

Departing from the conventional focus on social divisions or electoral rules in determining whether a party system will consist of national or regional parties, they argue instead that national party systems emerge when economic and political power resides with the national government. Regional parties thrive when authority in a nation-state rests with provincial or state governments. The success of political parties therefore depends on which level of government voters credit for policy outcomes. National political parties win votes during periods when political and economic authority rests with the national government, and lose votes to regional and provincial parties when political or economic authority gravitates to lower levels of government.

Sounds both reasonable and interesting. I look forward to reading this.

2:34 PM May 21, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Since new photographs from Abu Graib all all the rage right now, I found this site interesting: The Museum of Hoaxes Photo Gallery.

And, no, I'm not saying that all the Abu Graib photos are hoaxes. But the Boston Globe was recently stung, so this site makes interesting viewing in that context.

Hat tip: Reflections in d minor

Where can you see Cicadas?

12:07 PM May 21, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Find out the truth about these deadly killers!

Hat tip: Bill

UPDATED: Humans strike back!

Defeating the Islamic Jihad

11:22 AM May 21, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The following speech was given by Col. Melvin (Buzz) Kriesel, US Army (ret) to the Twin Cities Investment Trust on May 19, 2004:

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honor to speak to you this evening.I will take about 20 minutes to frame my remarks.This will leave time for you to ask questions and comment on my pessimistic assessment of our war with Islamic extremism.

My remarks will address what the President and others mistakenly call “The Global War on Terrorism”.  At the outset, I want to make it clear that the terminology used to describe the war is confusing and inaccurate. 

We cannot attack terrorism, because there is no state or political entity by that name.In other words, it is impossible to declare war on an enemy’s weapons, tactics or strategy…they are formless concepts.  Terrorism is simply the strategy our enemy is using to defeat us psychologically.

By putting aside political correctness, we can begin to correctly define our enemy.The reality is, we are at war with Islamic extremists who have declared a Jihad (Holy War) against us. They are using terrorism as a psychological weapon to counter the overwhelming military and economic might of the West.   The objective of the Jihad is to generate a mass movement within Islam that supports the ultimate goal of establishing shari’a or Islamic law in all Muslim nations and eventually the world.

The warriors in this struggle go by many names—Mujahideen, Shahids, Salafiyya, and other Koranic terms.   Other names include Islamists, Jihadists, Wahhabists and recently, Islamo-fascists.  Whatever you choose to call them, they have global reach and their numbers are increasing.

Confronting the Jihad is complicated by the difficulty of estimating the number of Muslims who directly or indirectly support the militants.In any case, we are dealing with some very large numbers.  The population of Muslims across the globe is estimated at between 1.2 and 1.5 billion.If a global conflict with Islam were to occur the numbers of warriors available for Jihad is immense.

Our war with the Islamists was officially declared after their stunning attack on September 11, 2001.  We now regard that horrific day as our modern Pearl Harbor.   At 8:46 am on that September morning, we lost over 3000 men and women to the enemy.  This closely approximates our casualties at Pearl Harbor in 1941 at the outset of our entry into WW II.

There are another parallels to WW II that may apply to our present struggle with the Islamists.The sustained terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Iraq are being used to force the withdrawal of our forces before stability is restored to the country. A modern Dunkirk may occur in the Middle East if we pull out of Iraq and abandon that country to the enemy.  Bloodied by that experience, we may conclude that the job of democratic nation building within the bloody borders of Islam is just too hard and completely withdraw from the Middle East.  It is very likely that this will result in another Holocaust as Jews in Israel are slaughtered in a genocidal Muslim rage and Christians are cleansed from the region.

Is this extremist language?  Perhaps.Yet these predictions are already a fact in Egypt where Coptic Christians are under a genocidal assault by the Muslim Brotherhood.In other parts of the world, Muslim rage is killing thousands of Christians: in the Indonesian Molluccas where Muslim violence has claimed at least 5,000 lives in the past decade, and an estimated 500,000 people have been driven from their homes; in the Sudan and Pakistan where the murder of Christians living under shari’a government is routine; in Nigeria, and Kenya where Muslims are killing Christians who are resisting the establishment of shari’a in those countries.  These are only a few of the nations experiencing violent assaults by radical Muslim extremists.

Locating and destroying the widely dispersed, highly decentralized forces of the Jihad is proving to be exceedingly difficult.Mounting an effective defense against their operations is equally challenging if not impossible.   This is because their attacks do not have traditional military objectives.They are instead, a part of one of the deadliest psychological warfare campaigns ever waged.

The PSYWAR campaign is the central strategy in the Jihad declared by Osama bin Laden and his global al-Qaeda “base”.   As I have indicated, the ultimate objective of the Jihad is to generate a mass movement within Islam against the West.Its near-term objective is to destroy Israel and drive US forces from the Middle East.   Its ultimate objective is the establishment of shari’a in target countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and eventually, the world.

On February 23, 1998, the Jihadists gave the world a clear warning of their intent to declare war on the West.   On that date, a fatwa signed by Osama bin Laden and the principal leaders of the “base”, formally declared Jihad against Jews and Crusaders…the Crusaders being Christians generally but specifically, the United States as the leader of the West.   Few Americans have read or even heard of this fatwa, which clearly explains their ultimate objectives.   The media and academia largely ignored the fatwa as just another rant by Islamic extremists.Yet, the fatwa foretold 9/11 and outlined the struggle we are facing today.

The terrorist bombing in Madrid, Spain on March 11 is a perfect illustration of the effectiveness of psychological terror in this struggle.The bombing of the train in Madrid was an immense human tragedy, with more than 200 killed and over a thousand wounded.It was also a disaster for the Western world. This single incident led to the defeat of Prime Minister Aznar by the Socialists in Spain as well as the subsequent pullout of Spanish soldiers from Iraq.It is a classic case of psychological defeat and a shameful act of appeasement. It also confirms Jihadists' contempt for the weakness and the cowardice of the West and encourages further attacks aimed at the very heart of Europe.

The Spanish electorate is not alone in failing to grasp the simple fact that we are engaged in a death struggle with radical Islam.    That simple fact, denied by the media broadly and by Western academia specifically, makes us supremely vulnerable to our enemy’s use of terror weapons against us.  Unless we understand whom we are fighting and why he is attacking us, we will be defeated.

Broadly speaking, this is war of ideas.   It is a struggle for the minds of men who are willing to bear any sacrifice for their distorted faith—even suicidal death.    If we are unable to discern the political and psychological centers of gravity in this conflict, we risk an insurgent mass movement within Islam of epic proportions.   Noted scholar Samuel Huntington has described this potential conflict as a “Clash of Civilizations”.  Huntington’s book should be required reading if for no other reason than that he predicted 9/11.  He also forecasts a profound struggle within Islam as moderate Muslims struggle to recapture their faith from the extremists.Regrettably, and as predicted by Huntington, the extremists seem to be winning.

There are those who disagree with Huntington and argue that his thesis is exaggerated and too alarmist.  I don’t agree.I think that Huntington is correct in his pessimistic assessment of the great difficulty we will face in countering radical Islamic extremism.  The cultural clash that pits Islam against the West is now occurring.We may even be in the early stages of an Islamic mass movement that is likely to increase in religious fervor and violence.    As we are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East, the virulent hatred and intolerance of militant Islam makes it an extremely tough, resilient enemy.

This raises an important question. Is Islam a peaceful, tolerant religion or is it a “religion of the sword”?

Moderate Muslims strenuously maintain that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.  However, it is difficult to refute its militant history and the violence that accompanied the early history of its spectacular expansion.  I do not have time here to develop the militant history of Islam and how it relates to modern manifestations of Jihad.  However, I will describe how modern Islamic fundamentalism relates to two militant trends that converged in Egypt and found expression in Al Qaeda as the “base” for all modern Islamist movements. 

The first of these militant trends is that which derives from the teaching of an 18th Century fanatic by the name of Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who preached in a remote region of what is now Saudi Arabia.   Significantly, Wahhab was to marry the daughter of a local chieftain by the name of Ibn Saud.  Ibn Saud lent his name to what would become the Kingdom Saudi Arabia.Thus was formed a religious/political alliance that lasts down to the present day—one shielding the other in an amazing but deadly marriage of religious and political convenience.

Ibn Abdul Wahhab was fanatically puritanical in his fundamentalist beliefs.He also proclaimed Jihad to be the sixth pillar of Islam declaring “Jihad is the ultimate manifestation of Islam…it is a furnace in which Muslims are melted out and which allow the separation of the bad Muslim from the good one.”He declared Jihad a religious duty for all Muslims and condemned all enemies as polytheists who have no right to live.This set the stage for much of the cruelty and terror practiced by Wahhab’s present day adherents who are known as Wahhabi

Today, militant Wahhabism is the official religion of Saudi Arabia.Funded by Saudi oil revenue, Wahhabism is expanding across the Muslim world.  There is a Wahhabi directed building boom resulting in thousands of new mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) under construction or recently completed in countries that stretch from the northern edges of Africa to the eastern islands of the Philippines.The construction is primarily financed by Saudi Arabian money and built to Wahhabi standards.

The Wahhabi movement is also strong in the West.  In the mosques of London, Paris, Bonn, Madrid, Rome, and in North America’s streets and prisons—militant Wahhabism is the central Islamic doctrine used to find converts in the West.

My friends, with gasoline going at over 2 bucks a gallon, you can bet that there will be additional billions poured into this Wahhabist inspired, Saudi financed Islamic revival if we do not find a means of stopping it.

The Salafist movement is the other trend that melds with and supports the Wahhabist inspired Islamic Jihad.  Like the Wahhabi, the Salafists seek to return Islam to its earliest roots or to the Islam practiced by the first two generations of Muslims.   The Salafists join the Wahhabi in a shared conviction that they are the only true Muslims; all other forms of Islam are shirk or unbelief.  Unless you profess their brand of Islam you are a polytheist and an apostate and must be converted or killed.  

The Salafists also believe that shari’a and the principles of religions law must replace secular law in all Muslim states and societies.(The implementation of shari’a is now the driving force behind Muslim violence in the Sudan, Kenya, and Nigeria.It can be expected to manifest itself throughout the Europe and North America as growing Muslim communities demand their own jurisprudence and religious courts.).

The movement that is directing the Salafist Jihad is the Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) that originated in Egypt in 1928.A schoolteacher named Hassan al Banna formed the Ikhwan.He declared that violent Jihad is the means Muslims should use in establishing shari’a-based societies. 

Sayyid Qtub, a radical Islamist theologian, later refined al Banna’s doctrine and focused it on direct appeals to violence.   Qutb formally declared that there could never be peace with the West.He also taught that all existing Islamic states and their rulers were not true Muslims but pagans who must be destroyed.He called for Jihad against all rulers in the Middle East and against society in general.He led several unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Egyptian Leader Gamal Nasser.  Nasser cracked down by arresting Qutb and many of the Ikhwan ringleaders.  They were hanged in 1966.

Nasser’s crackdown made the Muslim Brotherhood go underground.It survived by splitting into a number of associated extremist groups.  One offshoot, the Gamma al-Islamiyya, produced Ayman al-Zawahiri, the half-mad, but brilliant fanatic and associate of Osama bin Laden.  Al-Zawahiri was closely associated with the Gamma leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.  Together they successfully plotted the assassination of Anwar Sadat and directed the brutal massacre of 66 tourists at Luxor in 1997.  They also began a genocidal attack on Egyptian Coptic Christians that continues today. 

Where are they now?  Al Zawahiri is hiding some place in Northeastern Afghanistan with a $25 Million Dollar price on his head.  Sheikh Omar is sitting in a Federal Penitentiary in Missouri after being convicted of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

It is important to remember that our Global War with the Islamic Jihad is not a war with Muslims or Islam.   It is a war with a radical faction within Islam that seeks our complete overthrow.  Their numbers are growing despite our efforts to interdict their operations and destroy their cells.Be assured, they will not cease operations until they are either completely destroyed or until moderate Muslims come forward to unequivocally, reject the Jihad they have been called to support.

Military operations directed by timely intelligence is crucial to winning the war.However, there are other, equally important actions we can take to deny the Islamists the shari’a-based world they are seeking to establish.

First, we have been largely ineffective in countering the Jihad messages being sent by Islamic fundamentalist to Muslims around the world.  This is because our Public Diplomacy apparatus is in complete disarray.Margaret Tutweiler who headed the Office of Public Diplomacy recently resigned.  Her departure will not impact our Public Diplomacy program, as there is none worthy of the name.   Yet there has never been a time in our history when there has been a greater need for effective Information Operations.  As a retired military officer, I can only apologize for the damage done to our image here and abroad by the criminal activities of some of our soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison.

We urgently need to counter the anti-American messages beamed at the Middle East and Arab world.  Unfortunately, the USIA formed to fight the Cold War was disestablished by the Clinton Administration in 1999.  It should be reactivated to lead this campaign.  Our Public Diplomacy offensive should also connect directly with target audiences in the Muslim world.   This can be done by building US sponsored libraries and information centers throughout the Muslim world, by translating more Western books into Arabic, by increasing scholarships and visiting fellowships for Muslim academics, by upgrading the American Internet presence, and by training more Arabists, Arab speakers and public relations specialists.Until this is done, we are at the mercy of al Jazeera and can only watch as support for America continues to erode.

Secondly, we have to protect and give a voice to moderate Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere, who want to speak out against their violent coreligionists.   This includes Muslims within our own borders.Moderate Muslims in particular must be called upon to reject the hatred and violence being directed against Jews, Christians and other religions.  In other words Muslims must begin to demonstrate that Islam is a tolerant religion as proven by deeds as well as words.They can begin by demanding that mosques and madrassas cease preaching the extremism of the Wahhabi sect before it completely infects their faith.

Finally, the Commission created to investigate 9/11 must face a truth that they (and our Congressional leaders) have been reluctant to confront.The Commission should connect the dots that lead to illicit Saudi Arabian monetary and logistics support for the men who conducted the attacks of 9/11.  It is shameful that the involvement of the Saudi government in 9/11 is not being investigated and their actions revealed to the American people and the world.

We should also confront the Saudi government with regard to their continued funding of Wahhabi directed violence and terrorism around the world.This funding and support creates deadly madrassas that are factories for the creation of suicide bombers and religious cannon fodder for al-Qaeda and its associated Islamic groups.   

To conclude, we are in a global war with Islamic extremism.   The Islamists are putting us to the test in Iraq.They do not seek to turn Iraq into another Vietnam.They are trying to turn Iraq into another Afghanistan and do to us what they did to the Soviet Union…force a humiliating withdrawal.We simply must not let that happen and withdraw in the face of adversity as we did in Beirut and Mogadishu.

If we end up losing in Iraq it won't be because the American people were too soft or unwilling to stick with the President and when the going got tough. The public understands something the pundit and political classes are reluctant to recognize—the war in Iraq is directly linked to the global war with militant Islam.   They also understand what former statesman Dean Acheson meant when he said, “No People in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies”

All Americans should pray that the White House and the Democratic challenger fully understand that the greater challenge we face is not who wins in November but who wins in our struggle with Militant Islam.The fate of Iraq and a democratic world is hanging in that political balance.

6:33 PM May 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Finally, the truth about the VRWC can be told.

6:28 PM May 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Belmont Club has a useful analysis of the Iraqi "Wedding Party" story.

10:36 AM May 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

James Lileks and Mike Nelson?


It's better than a Superman / Spiderman Team-up!

10:59 AM May 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Good News about Iraq

Both Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan have links to this, but it's an important post.

6:39 PM May 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Enoch Soames, Esq., cries 'Uncle!' and I, for one, don't blame him.

Gay Marriage

5:54 PM May 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

In this story in the Boston Herald (dateline Provincetown) you can find this quote from one of the new blushing brides:

[Yarbrough] says the concept of forever is``overrated'' and that he, as a bisexual, and Rogahn, who is gay, have chosen to enjoy an open marriage. ``I think it's possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner, not in the polygamist sense,'' he said.``In our case, it is, we have, an open marriage.''

I appreciate you being so honest about your intention to make a mockery of your marriage. I can only hope that you are in a vanishingly small minority, but I fear you are not.

New Leftist Talking Point

5:23 PM May 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Now that Saddam's WMDs have, in fact, fallen into the hands of terrorists, something that anti-war leftists swore was an impossibility, I predict the following will be heard in some quarters:

Bush's illegal war failed to prevent terrorist WMD attacks!

Of course, this assumes that anyone ever hears about it.

Update: Damn! That was fast! (Actually, that was yesterday. I guess I'm too slow. The "argument" apparently has crystalized as criticism of the number of troops used in the invasion; as if the Left wanted any troops at all.)

4:18 PM May 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michael Totten takes Paul Savoy to task:

The (Im)moral Case Against the War

This, apparently, is what happens to people who live a rarefied existence in a spoiled complacent country. Maybe he needs to take a holiday in Sudan (or even Cambodia) to see how the other half lives. You know, walk a mile in another’s shoes, get a little sympathy for the downtrodden. It’s amazing I have to say this to a liberal. It was the liberals, after all, who taught it to me.

Girls Gone Wild!

6:21 PM May 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Breast Baring Popular in 1600s

With pictures! (SFW)

Mythical WMD's in Iraq

6:10 PM May 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

By now, you've probably heard about the serin-gas filled artillery shell, rigged as a roadside bomb, that was found in Iraq.

Citizen Smash has a good round-up of thoughts, opinions, considerations, WAG's, etc.

Now, that's one great wall...

5:59 PM May 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Separation AND Security

4:55 PM May 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Prison Abuse Trumps Saddam’s Mass Graves?

To illustrate a fraction of the bias problem, we counted the number of prisoner-abuse stories on NBC’s evening and morning news programs (NBC Nightly News and Today) from April 29, when the story emerged, through May 11. There were 58 morning and evening stories. Using the Nexis news-data retrieval system, we counted the number of stories on mass graves found in Iraq from the reign of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and 2004. The number of evening and morning news stories on those grim discoveries? Five.
On one hand, nobody expected any better of Saddam, but have reason to expect better from Americans.

On the other hand, shouldn't the severity of the issue be more important than your expectations about the perpetrators?

4:37 PM May 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Instapundit provides a powerful argument in favor of a Kerry presidency.

No, really!

Iowahawk's Torture Roundup

2:56 PM May 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

All Torture! All the Time!

(AP) Controversial US President George W. Bush remained the focus of increased rancor today as questions mounted about the clamorous uproar over the burgeoning abuse scandal whose growing momentum threatens to create another divisive wedge in an already angered electorate, which imperils his very administration as it teeters on the brink of disaster, and oh God oh God yes yes yes there it is right there baby uhhhhh AHH....AHH... JOURNALISM! JOURNALISM! JOURNALISM! uhhhh... mmm phhhhh

2:31 PM May 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

If The Media Treated Basketball Like They Treat The War On Terror

Funny stuff - read the comments, too.

11:56 AM May 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Go read Mark Steyn:

Now's not the time for Bush to go soft

Back before 9/11, real crossfire was long ago and far away. Not anymore. And that's the problem: We still have a ''Crossfire'' culture in an age of real crossfire. We have the ersatz warriors, the ham actors of Washington -- Senators Kennedy, Levin, Leahy, Harkin and others too fond of seeing their names in print to mention -- ''calling for Rumsfeld's head'' at a time when America's enemies have already got Nick Berg's, and they're swinging it around on camera for the snuff video they'll be distributing as a recruiting tool.

Operation Copper Green

11:28 AM May 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Seymour Hersh accuses.

DoD denies.

And, in the absence of named sources, the burden is upon Hersh to prove his allegations, not upon the DoD to disprove them.

I discussed Seymour Hersh's credibiity previously.

10:52 AM May 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Do we need to fear Global Warming? I tend to think not, but then I'm no expert. I've read that the measured few-degrees-on-average increase in temperatures have resulted in longer growing seasons and milder winters, and that doesn't sound bad to me.

Of course, hysterical claims by certain leftists-pretending-to-be-environmentalists also tend to discredit the idea in my mind, but I try to filter out the crap when deciding on things.

Now there's a new movie coming out called The Day After Tomorrow, which Al Gore apparently wants everybody to see. From the previews, it seems to be yet another catastrophe movie, similar to the spate of asteroid-impact films we saw a couple of years ago.

Patrick J. Michaels (a climatologist) reviews the film in the Washington Post. He's not too impressed.

10:57 PM May 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

3:55 PM May 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Curious about the quaint Arab custom of head-chopping? Amir Taheri has a nice history in the New York Post.

UN Abuses Worldwide

3:26 PM May 15, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Donald Sensing has a round-up of abuses by UN peacekeeping troops around the world.

Remember, these are the guys that Kerry wants to put in charge in Iraq and whose absence indicates the illegitimacy of the US invasion.

Weekend reading

1:36 AM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Boy, this was a busy blogging day! I'll leave you with some weekend homework:

200 Years of Undaunted Courage

5:56 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Today is the 200th Anniversary of the beginning of the Lewis and Clark expedition. They gathered up their provisions and set out from St. Louis for the Pacific Ocean and back with 31 companions.

I highly recommend the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. It's a terrific account of their amazing journey.

An interesting idea...

5:39 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Jackson said: "There is something wonderfully melancholic about a piece of writing that's living flesh and finally dies and is grieved over. It is a revolution in literature.

The more I get to know you...the less I think I like you

5:19 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Here's a terrific post from a blog that's new to me: Solomonia

Sadly, war is not an inevitable result of a failure to communicate, and only a failure to communicate. It is not always a product of one side's inability to understand or read the other's "narrative." It is not always a result of a failure to respect the "Other's" values and traditions. No.

Sometimes War happens because we finally understand each other all too well.

Doesn't know when to keep quiet

5:11 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The Vatican has been in the news this week in a few stories.

Prison Abuse Said Bigger to U.S. Than 9/11

The scandal of prisoner abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq (news - web sites) has dealt a bigger blow to the United States than the Sept. 11 attacks, the Vatican (news - web sites) foreign minister told an Italian newspaper.

As many people have commented, this isn't exactly the best time for the Vatican to be commenting on sex abuse scandals.

Bishop Issues Strong Anti-Abortion Edict

Catholics who vote for politicians in favor of abortion rights, stem-cell research, euthanasia or gay marriage may not receive Communion until they recant and repent in the confessional, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs said.

Vatican Warns Catholics Against Marrying Muslims

The Vatican warned Catholic women on Friday to think hard before marrying a Muslim and urged Muslims to show more respect for human rights, gender equality and democracy.

Actually, I have a hard time condemning this one....

Quel Surprise!

4:56 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Air America has shut its sales offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and is recasting its business plan, the network's president said on Wednesday as troubles beset the liberal talk show network.
Read all about it!

More suppression of dissent

4:53 PM May 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Local disc jockeys who laughed at beheading are fired

I hope these fat f***s turn green and die.

10:21 AM May 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Remember way back earlier this week when some dude got his head cut off in Iraq?

Apparently, many in Big Media would like you to forget.

Warning! Disturbing image.

1:39 PM May 13, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Stefan Sharkansky has the image that was missing from the front page of your local newspaper.

We must never forget that this war is about defending our civilization against the depraved barbarians who can joyfully cry "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") again and again while they butcher a man as if he were a goat, and then display his severed head like a trophy. Many in the media would rather pretend that this is not the case, but we must never forget.

Ask youself why?

There's so much bad news...

12:38 PM May 13, 2004by Rob Ritchie

...but if you are starting to lose your nerve, try this antidote.

The anti-war Left and the Bush-haters can try, but they can't entirely bury the truth.

Hat tip: Tim Blair

11:46 AM May 13, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan has some good stuff today on Nick Berg, the NYT and, well, all of it.

Oh. God. Please. No!

1:35 PM May 12, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Brad Pitt may play Mr. Darcy in a new film version of Pride and Prejudice.

And Keira Knightley will play Elizabeth Bennet.

This would be worse, much, much worse than the Greer Garson version.


1:20 PM May 12, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Did you know that Nick Berg was Jewish?

Joshua Sharf has an idea why you may not have heard.

Cox & Forkum

12:22 PM May 12, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Yeah, like they need a reason

6:12 PM May 11, 2004by Rob Ritchie

While the media continues to demand it's pound of flesh over Abu Ghraib, the barbarians are still out there doing this shit:

A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site appeared to show a group affiliated with al-Qaida beheading an American in Iraq (news - web sites), saying the death was revenge for the prisoner-abuse scandal.

The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit who identified himself as an American from Philadelphia.

After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and cutting off his head with a large knife. They then held the head out before the camera.

More details here

Update: Stefan Sharkansky demands that they Show the Video

Of course the images of such an appalling act (if indeed real, which is not yet confirmed) would be shocking, horrifying and upsetting to the victim's family. But isn't it just as important for us to see for ourselves the bottomless depravity of the people we're at war with, as it is for us to watch ad nausem the regrettable behavior of a handful of rogue soldiers or to see the still photos of flag-covered coffins on an airplane?

Still more details here.

4:35 PM May 11, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

"Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management." -- Ted Kennedy

Read more at Hugh Hewitt

11:59 AM May 11, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Mudville Gazette has some thoughts about Seymour Hersh's credibility. (He's the guy who recently wrote a damning New Yorker article about Abu Ghraib.)

Of course, there's always an urge to attack the messenger who brings bad news.

But what if the messenger really is acting in bad faith?

Hat tip: Instapundit

11:19 PM May 10, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Beck has some photos that he warns aren't for everyone.

If you believe Bush is Hitler and Michael Moore doesn't smell like bacon, this page is not for you....

2:23 PM May 10, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

"Oh That Liberal Media" has a good post about the L.A. Times, and some questions even super-intelligent liberals may get wrong.

Mark Steyn

11:48 AM May 10, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Kerry's just parroting his speechwriters

Boy, those Benedict Arnold speechwriters who take the hard-earned money of decent, honest American politicians and salt it away in their Cayman Islands bank accounts, there oughta be a law against it. Given their uncanny ability to make Kerry say what he doesn't mean at six campaign stops a day, is it possible these overzealous speechwriters are part of the ''Republican attack machine''?

It was only a matter of time

11:17 AM May 10, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Frauds Try to Exploit Iraq Abuse Scandal

Thanks, buddy. That really helped.

Abu Ghraib

11:01 AM May 10, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds is back from a short vacation, with these words of advice:

If all this coverage is leaving you demoralized, and hopeless, and depressed, let me suggest that this isn't an accident -- it's the goal. Don't lose perspective, even if you have to take a few days away from the news to get it back.

Maybe Andrew should take a few days off.

6:19 PM May 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

[O]ur enemies realize that the struggle, lost on the battlefield, can yet be won with images and rhetoric offered up to alter the mentality and erode the will of an affluent, leisured and consensual West. They grasp that we are not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place.
This, and other wisdom today from Victor Davis Hanson

4:43 PM May 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Here's a cool WWII story:

Ex-Nazi corporal says Germany attempted to kidnap Ike :

"Those with no English were instructed to exclaim, 'Sorry,' if they were approached by Americans, and then to open their trousers and hurry off feigning an attack of diarrhea,''

4:31 PM May 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

"It's amazing to hear that the breasts have had to be repaired many times because they're being worn out by too much touching."
Pam Anderson? No, he's talking about this story.

11:09 AM May 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

This is why I love the man, despite his many faults.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."


10:31 AM May 6, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I've been really busy, so little blogging or blog-reading for the last few days.

But this link, which I found on today's Bleat just breaks my heart.

Abu Ghraib Timeline

10:26 AM May 6, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Here's a good timeline for the Iraqi "torture" scandal.

Hat tip: Lileks

Update: More here

I like Larry Miller

9:34 PM May 3, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Well, It Was a Good Idea in '46

Hey, bonehead, the only reason there ought to be a United Nations in the first place is so that you do get involved, so that every so often you put your baby blue helmets in between the bad guys and the screaming people before they get chopped up. That's the reason you have such a big, tall, pretty building in Manhattan, you know, not to go to cocktail parties on the Upper East Side and chat up the local, needy blondes.

9:20 PM May 3, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson on ABU GHRAIB

5:03 PM May 3, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Kerry 'Unfit to be Commander-in-Chief', Say Former Military Colleagues

4:06 PM May 3, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander-in-chief." They will do so at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.
Well, heck. I say that and I've got no credentials to back it up.


12:00 PM May 3, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Mitch has a great post on what he thinks is going on in Fallujah. Go read it.

10:12 PM May 2, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Anybody for some bar-b-que?

Seriously, why do these "people" do this? This behaviour, called a "car swarm" over at lgf, happens whenever Isreal greases another terrorist leader.

7:08 PM May 2, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Four little girls

Six weeks ago, Israel launched a fatal missile strike against the "spiritual leader" of Hamas, Sheikh Yassin, and the world recoiled in horror. "War crime!" people cried. "Murder! The cowardly killing of an old blind man in a wheelchair!"

Today, gunmen from Hamas and Islamic Jihad walked up to a car containing a mother and her four daughters, aged 2 to 11, and shot them all dead at close range.

My nephew has four little girls....

Hat tip: Tim Blair

5:28 PM May 2, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The next time you hear some Palestinian-terror apologist lying about how there's a "cycle of violence" and trying to pretend that there is a moral equivalency to Israeli response to terror and the murderous terrorists themselves, remember this:

Israeli security forces thwarted 11 suicide bombings in April, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet during its weekly meeting on Sunday.

He also said terror organizations are attempting to carry out more complex attacks on Israeli targets and added that Hamas is under increased pressure and is facing financial difficulties.

If those 11 suicide bombings hadn't been stopped, there'd be dozens of dead Jews.

Hat tip: lgf

6:54 PM May 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Father Jim has some thoughts about Communism, occasioned by today's May Day demonstrations world wide.

One sometimes hears people say, "Communism was a great idea in theory, but it just didn't work out in practice." No. Communism was just as foul in its ideal form upon paper as it was in its concrete and imperfect incarnations in the real world. It was not a beautiful idea that sadly didn't work out: it was a fundamentally flawed ideology based upon a warped theory of human nature and a warped understanding of history. It was rotten to the core.

On May Day, I always think of how easy it is for good intentions (such as bettering the lot of workers) to serve as a justification for despicable means and evil ideas, of how easy it is for us to crush the individual and his particular freedoms in the name of some grand cause. It's not just the Commies who try that.

Nope. It isn't.

Moderate Muslims Found!

5:54 PM May 1, 2004by Rob Ritchie

According to this post, 0.2% of Muslims in Phoenix, Arizona, consider themselves "moderate."

So, that means that the "tiny minority" of extremists that have "hijacked a peaceful religion" stands at approximately 99.8% of the total Muslim population.

5:43 PM May 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of posts on THE TORTURE INCIDENT.

I, like him, feel that, if it's true, then these folks need to be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of military justice.

But I'm not going to assume it's true absent of an investigation.