I’m having a busy day taking care of non-blogging matters, but Gates of Vienna has an excellent article, Remembering the Farhūd, on the Iraqi Arab equivalent of the mass violence on Kristallnacht, which took place 70 years ago yesterday. Definitely a must-read.
Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category
As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.
According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.
The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.
The CBO figures show that the most expensive year of the Iraq war was in 2008, the year when the surge proposed by Gen. David Petraeus and approved by President Bush was in full swing and the turning point in the war. The total cost of Iraq operations in 2008 was $140 billion. In 2007, the cost of Iraq operations was $124 billion.
Notice how half the speech is dedicated to “a new commitment to our veterans”, while making them more dependent on the government.
American Power has more.
Jules Crittenden’s powerful essay about the decade,
God Damn The Naughts
God damn the Naughts. It forced me to take sides. I never wanted to do that, and generally, like most, had successfully avoided doing so. My profession had made the idea of it anathema, though when it happened, I finally was ready to admit that had in large part been a lie.
It became so many things I never expected. It was a decade that demonstrated what a bitter thing winning could be. Remember how, despite the opposition party’s best political efforts to abandon a war effort and abandon a nation to deadly chaos, our political and military leadership found a way to prevail there? Most people have forgotten. The more than 4,300 Americans dead in Iraq don’t need to have died in vain, though the commonly accepted narrative will be that they did. They did something good there, for that nation whose future was always written in blood, for a region that was stabilized and shown that democracy is possible. The only satisfaction from all of that was of the sort that can barely be spat out in words … You see, we’ve done it. You tried to stop us. So many fought so hard, and would not be denied. It had to be done and now it has been.
Go read every word, and let’s all pray together for a good decade ahead.
… in Iraq and Afghanistan, using Russian software Skygrabber,
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
$26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected
Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.
Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
Iraq, Afghanistan, but possibly also Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia
Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.
Drones are inherently vulnerable:
Gen. Deptula, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said there were inherent risks to using drones since they are remotely controlled and need to send and receive video and other data over great distances. “Those kinds of things are subject to listening and exploitation,” he said, adding the military was trying to solve the problems by better encrypting the drones’ feeds.
The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn’t know how to exploit it, the officials said.
Why weren’t drone communications encripted in the first place?
My apologies for my ignorance
Via Michael Goldfarb, you would think the US is monitoring a kindergarten playground instead of fighting a war:
Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist
Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.
The three, all members of the Navy’s elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral’s mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named “Objective Amber,” told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Abed claims he was punched, and now the
Marines SEALS face assault charges? They should be given a medal for not doing to the terrorist what the terrorist did in Fallujah: burning, mutilating, and hanging four Americans:
The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.
Here’s a photo, after the fold,
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Three friends, including Instapundit have the good news:
Iraq Declares Christmas an Official Holiday for First Year
Iraq’s Christians, a small minority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a present from the government, which declared it an official holiday for the first time.
Let’s continue to pray for Iraq.
Steve rips Tom Cruise In an Industry of the Blind
I think when you notice your boss shipping trainloads of Jews and gypsies and gays off to be gassed and turned into lampshades, and your big concern is that he may lose a war and cause problems for your country, you can be said to have completely lost sight of the high moral ground. Maybe I’m being unfair to Claus von Stauffenberg–the man Cruise plays–but judging from this quotation about Poland, I sort of doubt it:
The population here are unbelievable rabble; a great many Jews and a lot of mixed race. A people that is only comfortable under the lash. The thousands of prisoners will serve our agriculture well.
Roger Kimball writes about Sarah Palin,
I know that Sarah Palin is a deeply divisive figure, as much for the Right as for the Left. One of the reasons I so admired–make that present tense, “admire”–her is that, of all the candidates, she was the only one who advocated and embodied the virtue of people standing up for themselves. She was nobody. Her last name was Kennedy. She wasn’t married to a former president of the United States. Her family wasn’t rich. But she decided she wanted to become mayor of her town, and she did it. Then she decided she wanted to become governor of her state: she did that, too, unseating an good-old-boy from her own party. It may be that the word “existential” has never passed Palin’s lips, but she understands the existential value of independence. She knows that big government is intrusive government and that, as Gerry Ford put it, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
HRW v Hugo Chavez st sycophants: Human rights in Venezuela.
Richard Fernandez contemplates The march of folly
The 3 Amigos Celebrate Success in Iraq… Shine Light on Cut-&-Runners. Check out the photo.