Friday, July 27, 2007

US GDP grows beyond Expectations

Fire of Liberty

Now matter how much the MSM and Democrats try to argue the dreadful economy by pointing to drop in the Dow (Though it's only a mere 2%) or the troubles in the sub-prime lending market, the economy keeps on proving them wrong by producing some 3.4% growth in GDP and low inflation during the second quarter. Here's what the NY Sun had to say about this fantastic growth.

Mugabe's Hit Squad

Fire of Liberty

While the MSM is running countless stories on the Dow falling some 311 points, Lindsay Lohan's arrest, and Michael Vick's dog troubles, the thuggish regime of Robert Mugabe is bringing down its hob-nailed boots on the folks of Zimbabwe. Thankfully the intrepid reporters of the Times are finding time to report on how this African hurdling further and further into chaos that is reminiscent of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Here's a look at the latest horrors in the land of Mugabe:

A group of nursing mothers were ordered to put down their babies by Zimbabwean police before being beaten for hours.

The six women were among 160 people rounded up at the offices of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an organisation dedicated to constitutional reform, after activists tried to hold a demonstration.

They were taken to Harare central police station and told to leave their babies in the corner of a hall and join other adults lying on their stomachs.

For the next four or five hours, witnesses say, the infants screamed as police lashed their mothers and the other adults continuously with metre-long, heavy rubber sticks.

here were six women with children. There were grandmummies,” said a 35-year-old woman in hospital with a suspected broken shoulder. “We were made to lie down on our stomachs in rows of five or ten with our hands stretched out in front. All were beaten.

“From about 6pm to 11pm they were beating us, nonstop, going up and down the rows, one after another. When one group of police got tired another would take over.

This just goes to show you what people in this world will endure in their quest for liberty. It would be nice if they MSM and other Western nations(South Africa as well) would take note of this man-made hell before we get another Rwanda or Sudan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Power of Ideas

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece in the Hill by Dick Armey. According to the former House majority leader(1995-2003), the time is ripe for this nation to put aside any thoughts of diplomatic engagement with Iran and start using our various financial assets, radio, Internet, television, instant messaging, intellectual heft, and everything else that we used against the Soviets during the Cold War. I know such will be a great surprise to Obama but President Reagan used such assets as well as the fact that the Soviet premiers were dying left and right well before he ever had a sit down over nukes. For me, Armey's ideas(The props really go to Michael Ledeen for raising the idea in The War Against The Terror Masters) are will have a greater impact than a meeting at a peace table.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Patton's Take

Fire of Liberty

It's a sad shame that this nation or our military doesn't have the privilege of having the advice and service of the great George S Patton in our current fight in Iraq and against Islamic terrorists. Thankfully through the inventive nature of folks in America and the technology of YouTube, I have a good idea of what he might say.(Warning some bad language.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Security is a Must

Fire of Liberty
As I watch the Washington D.C. news cycle on the various news channels and the variants of C-SPAN, I keep on seeing and hearing various Democrats barking the same talking points on how the situation in Iraq cannot be handled militarily because it is a political/diplomatic solution. Now while I agree that the problem is only 80% military and 20% political, I'm scratching my head when Democrats(And some wimpy Republicans) are so quick to condemn a group of politicians in Iraq, who work and live under a constant threat and are beginning their journey in democratic self-government, when members of our Congress(Who have a 200 year head start) have the damnedest time in passing laws that secure or borders or bring about earmark reforms. I know that Democrats are quick to bandy the whole non-sense of this being a mere political problem but when push comes to shove the political process won't result in anything if the folks in Iraq aren't safe or feel safe from the marauding members of Al Qaeda and other hostiles that the US military and Iraqi security forces are currently doing. Someone who seems to agree with this but does a far better job at explaining it his current column is National Review's Jonah Goldberg. I'd say the following explains everything:
It's the small businessman, the shopkeeper or tradesman, who wants to feel secure in his property and contracts. He wants to know, as Lindsey Graham says, that he can get a fair shake from a judge. If, down the road, he gets to vote for his preferred politician, that's wonderful. But it's not the first priority.

In Iraq, security isn't merely the most important thing, it's the only thing. Without security, nothing else is possible. "The good society is marked by a high degree of order, justice and freedom," Russell Kirk wrote in The Roots of American Order. "Among these, order has primacy: For justice cannot be enforced until a tolerable civil social order is attained, nor can freedom be anything better than violence until order gives us laws."

Which is why Democratic talk about how "political solutions" are more necessary than military ones and President Bush's ornate rhetoric about the "universality of freedom" are so irrelevant, even counterproductive. The Arab world doesn't have a great grasp of what democracy is, but it does have a keen sense of justice and order. One significant reason we're having such trouble selling Iraqis on the former is that they were really in the market for the latter.
Here's hoping the President and fellow Republicans start using such an argument with regards to Iraq.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

John Burns Understands Iraq

Fire of Liberty

If you've read my previous posts on Iraq and the current surge then you know that I have great admiration for the well rounded reporting of the New York Times' Baghdad bureau chief John F. Burns. Now aside from his most recent reporting from Iraq, which he is leaving for his new assignment in London, Burns also takes time out of his busy schedule to appear on TV to give a sober assessment of the state of Iraq. Thankfully through the good fortune of the Internet we can all see what Mr. Burns had to say on his recent appearance on the The Charlie Rose Show.

I might not agree with Burns 100% but he sure beats the mess we saw Tuesday night in the US Senate.

*Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ethanol Blues

Fire of Liberty

Not only is the rush to make bio-fuel driving up the price of feed corn thus resulting in higher food prices in the US but is playing havoc on the UN's World Food Programme.

Interesting fact from NIE

Fire of Liberty

Eli Lake has combed through the most recent National Intelligence Estimate and has a good article in the NY Sun which notes that one of the two leadership councils of Al Qaeda meets regularly in Iran and consults with members of the Quds Force terrorist unit. From what I've seen in the media this is something the MSM has failed to notice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Keep on Keepin' On

Fire of Liberty

Now this is the type of military actions that we can do with the addition of the 30,000 surge troops. This is yet another example of what you can achieve when you've got the right commanders who are willing to apply an effective policy. With the talk of our commanders, the various soldier blogs, foreign policy analysts and a smattering of reports in the MSM, I'm beginning to see the "sea change" that General Peter Pace noted most recently.

Progress Report from Ramadi

Fire of Liberty

Max Boot has a good post over at Commentary's blog contentions which has a progress report on Ramadi by Colonel John Charlton who commands the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. I highly recommend you check it out.

A More Secure Ramadi

Fire of Liberty

Before the Democrats wear themselves out tonight(They're still shy of the 60 votes for passage and 67 to beat a veto) in arguing that we need to get out of Iraq because the surge has "failed", I think they'd should at least see the following report by CNN's Barbara Starr on our current success in securing al Anbar province and its capital Ramadi.


I just hope the Senate keeps up the money and allows our troops to keep up such good work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rudy Making Right Moves

Fire of Liberty

I'd say this story from Fox News on Rudy's five star judicial panel gives me heart that the former mayor of Gotham could be a good fit. For me, I'm a fan of Rudy's stance on economics, foreign policy, crime, health-insurance, and such news only draws me closer to his camp, especially if Romney and Thompson fizzles out.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Visits with the Last of the WWI Vets

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece over at Sky News on two of the three remaining veterans of WWI meeting Queen Elizabeth II. This is one example of how time is a fleeting thing and how we need to live everyday to its fullest like these heroic soldiers have done. I just hope we are also lucky enough to see our 100th B-Day.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Earthly Emissions

Fire of Liberty

Diana Furchtgott-Roth has a good op/ed piece in the NY Sun which points out that one of the major contributors to the global warming phenomenon is the fires that are currently burning within the various coal mines in China and India. Even more, these fires are belching out some 560 to 1,120 million metric tons of CO2 or some 50% to 100% of US emissions. Maybe the politicians who are calling for carbon taxes, expensive caps, and greater regulations on our cars and lives should take some time and look at such facts. One can guess from RFK Jr's antics that the folks at Live Earth weren't given such information.

Bob Mugabe Pushes Zimbabwe into a Greater Hell

Fire of Liberty

If you want to see what anti free trade/free market policies instituted by economic populists/socialist like Hugo Chavez then I suggest you take a look at the madness that Robert Mugabe and his fellow thugs have instituted in Zimbabwe as of late. See here and here. Get ready to chalk up one more African country on the failed/failing state list.

Rising the Tide via Free Trade

Fire of Liberty

With tons and tons of illegal immigrants flooding into our nation weekly in an effort to seek out a better life in America compared to their home country and Hugo Chavez leading his crusade to spread his economic populism throughout Central and Southern America, you'd think that the Democrats in Congress would be all for the passage of a free trade deal with Panama. Aside from the fact that this trade deal would help strengthen the economic, political, and diplomatic relationship between the US and Panama( especially when the US is Panama's largest trading partner in buying some 48% of Panama products and providing them 27% of their imports), this trade deal will also create a situation in which agricultural jobs will continue to keep on going and also create a situation in which new jobs will be created. Therefore if the "animal spirits" are unleashed even further in Panama through free trade, then the people of Panama will have a growing economy which in turn creates an incentive for the folks of Panama to stick around rather than venturing on an illegal journey to the US. Even more both nations can show how free trade and the free market are a far better pathway to a good life than the policies being advocated by Hugo Chavez. Let's just hope that Congress comes to its senses and pushes through this deal rather than falling to the hands of labor unionists and enemies of free trade. It was a time that Democrats believed in JFK's policy that "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Technology At Work for the US Special Forces

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece over at Strategy Page on how the technology revolution is providing hand held devices for our Special Forces to see real-time video feeds from UAVs while conducting their various missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Countering the Populist Shtick

Fire of Liberty

Before politicians like John Edwards, Hillary, Obama and others start their populist shtick about how the economic policies of George W Bush are running factories and jobs out of America, they should look at this editorial in the D.C. Examiner.

General Briefing

Fire of Liberty

According to the Examiner's Yeas & Nays column, Senators Clinton, Obama, McCain as well as Fred Thompson have received briefings from retired General John Keane. Now I understand McCain and Thompson would welcome a briefing from a general who supports the President and helped in forming the counter-insurgency policy in Iraq but what in the world are two Senators, who oppose the war or is trending that way, would consult with this general. Could it be that they're covering all their bases just in case something turns around in Iraq near the general election in 2008. No matter what, this is an interesting tid-bit.

Congress is Hungry for Pork

Fire of Liberty

Amity Shlaes has a good column over at that points out how members of the Senate Agriculture Committee(and members of the House) are still in love with pork and are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that their state gets a hefty bit of the expensive farm subsidies in the current farm bill. The thing that bothers me about this love affair with such pork is that more and more of taxpayers money is being doled out to various "green" energy companies and massive farms rather than going to the everyday farm. As a free-market conservative, who prefers the market to make or break a business/enterprise, I got to say that offering such farm welfare to large companies and entities is not what members of Congress should be handing out. Here's a look:

As Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute points out, the Democrats won the House promising to help average families. ``Now they have a chance to prove it,'' he says, by ``ending benefits for wealthy corporate farmers.''

President George W. Bush proposed restricting farm-subsidy eligibility to individuals earning less than $200,000 annually, and Senator Harkin has spoken in favor of the concept of such payment limits.

But Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota, his counterpart at the House Agriculture Committee, has not, which means, as Harkin knows, such limits aren't likely to become law.

The Environmental Working Group, a green nonprofit that monitors subsidies, recently made public an enticing database of 1.5 million names at The site allows visitors to search for the biggest subsidy recipients by name or zip code, which makes it fun to root around.

Given the weak will of both parties, the best we all can do is get comfortable in the pen.

Thankfully, Amity Shlaes has provided a useful piece which shows us the dependency and corrosive nature that these subsidies pose to the recipients as well as the market-place. So check it out.

*Here's George Will's take on farm subsidies. According to Will, it looks like Senator Lugar and other like minded politicians are working hard at reforming the whole pork-fest. I just hope they accomplish their efforts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Optimistic Surge Watch

Fire of Liberty

Rowan Scarborough has a good piece in the Examiner, which gives me a good bit of optimism that General David Patraeus and our soldiers are making slow but steady process in their current mission in Iraq. Here's a look:
U.S. intelligence officers in Iraq believe 2007 will be looked on someday as “the beginning of the defeat of al Qaeda,” an adviser to the command in Baghdad said Monday.

Retired Army Gen. John Keane offered the assessment after being briefed by a senior intelligence official who is an expert on the insurgency. The upbeat view marked a shift from 2006 intelligence reports that al Qaeda in Iraq was growing stronger.

Keane also said he expects a U.S. troop drawdown next spring, when forces should be able to turn over security in some Baghdad neighborhoods to Iraqis.

Keane, who has made two fact-finding trips to Iraq since a surge of U.S. troops began in February, said two new developments convinced intelligence officials that al Qaeda was on its way to defeat.

First, Sunni sheiks are breaking alliances with al Qaeda and joining the coalition. “They are fed up with this barbarism and four years of war,” Keane said during a talk at the American Enterprise Institute.

Second, the U.S. counteroffensive of more than 155,000 troops is simultaneously attacking al Qaeda safe havens around the country — a tactic not used before.

I know the assessment of one retired general but at least he's offering a balanced and clear thinking approach to Iraq compared to the madness of the "get out now" crowd.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Keeping Up the Surge

Fire of Liberty

Earlier today I watched Senators Biden(D-DE) and Gordon Smith(R-OR) in the well of the Senate and on vaious cable news shows carrying on and on about how the surge has failed and that we've got to "change the mission" by drawing down our forces and retasking them into an acilliary role which consists of training and providing rapid reaction support to the Iraqis. Now something that baffles me about this whole debate is how these Senators can stand in D.C. and tell us the sky is falling and Iraq is "lost" even when you've got excellent reporters like the NY Times' John Burns, independent bloggers like Michael Yon and Bill Roggio, and other outside experts reporting from the battlefield that the counter-insurgency is gaining results. If these politicians are really wanting to issue a serious blow to the terrorists of al Qaeda then you'd think they'd be more willing to stick it out in Iraq than give into polls and the menacing acts of terrorism. For me, I'm pretty much in the camp of Rich Lowry rather that the gas bags of the Senate after reading the following:
Al Qaeda relies on intimidation to impose itself on the Sunni community, and succeeds unless driven back by a stronger force, i.e. the U.S. military. In his report from Anbar province, John Burns notes that the Sunni “sheiks turned only after a prolonged offensive by American and Iraqi forces, starting in November, that put al-Qaida groups on the run.” He continues, “Iraqis, bludgeoned for 24 years by Saddam Hussein’s terror, are wary of rising against any force however brutal, until it is in retreat.”

This experience has been replicated in precincts of Baghdad, Diyala, province and other Sunni parts of Iraq, but the Republican senators want American forces, rather than al Qaeda, to do the retreating. Advocates of various forms of withdrawal argue that we can fight al Qaeda from our large bases or from Kurdistan. This is a fantasy that ignores that we are waging a counterinsurgency war against al Qaeda that requires on-the-ground relationships with key players and knowledge of the terrain.

And the main “compromise” proposal — adopting the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group — would have all American combat troops out of Iraq by the end of March 2008. It is self-evidently impossible to fight al Qaeda in Iraq without any combat troops to do it. What all those abandoning the surge essentially want is a return to the old failed Rumsfeld strategy of prematurely drawing down and handing over to unprepared Iraqi forces.

The surge has succeeded in reducing sectarian killings in Baghdad and civilian casualties overall, but at the cost of increased U.S. casualties and without the Iraqi legislative accomplishments that were established as “political benchmarks.” Those benchmarks shouldn’t be fetishized. The reason that they were considered so important is that they were thought necessary to entice Sunnis away from the insurgency. Instead, the Sunnis have swung our way anyway, in reaction to al Qaeda brutality and to our strength.

I just hope that the politicians in D.C. would look at the facts on the ground and await a report from General Patreaus and his commanders before they blow more hot air.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Strive for Victory not Retreat

Fire of Liberty
Now while I've been down on President Bush with regards to his stand on the abhorrent Immigration Reform bill and a lack of restraint with regards to spending(Well he's finally issuing vetoes), I've got to give him credit for being stand-fast on his commitment to finish the job in Iraq. Though it took until February for President Bush to finally accept a new counterinsurgency plan and appoint new generals to lead our soldiers into the war zone, the US is starting to achieve a modicum of success and it would be most unfortunate if the United States, based on the whims of politicians who pay too much attention to the polls and are facing an election in 2008, jumps ship on Iraq and leaves the region in the chaos of radical Islam. Someone who tends to share the same views(only in a more articulate fashion) is William Kristol who has penned a wonderful piece over at the Weekly Standard that advises President Bush not to "go wobbly" but to stay in the fight and push on to victory rather than settle for defeat. I think Kristol put it best when he noted the following:
The best strategy for the president is to hold firm. There is every reason to believe that he can survive the current calamity-Janes of the Republican party (does anyone really imagine that a veto-proof majority will form in the Senate this week or next?). This nonsense will pass, Congress will go on recess, and Petraeus will have a chance to continue to produce results--and the president and his allies will have a chance to gain political ground here at home. Why on earth pull the plug now? Why give in to an insane, irrational panic that will destroy the Bush administration and most likely sweep the Republican party to ruin? The president still has a chance to emerge from this as a visionary who could see what the left could not--but not if he gives in to them. There is no safety in the position some in the Bush administration are running towards.

Here's what I gather is a basic lesson of tactics: When you find yourself in an ambush, attack into the ambush. Don't twist and turn in the kill zone, looking for a way to retreat. Especially when the ambush is not a powerful one, and the Democrats' position (to mix military metaphors) is way overextended. The Democrats are hoping the president will break and run. They will not allow him a dignified retreat or welcome him with compromise. They will spring to finish him off completely. It doesn't matter what the president's motives are. Some of his advisers are trying to persuade him that he needs to go for a grand bargain now so as to build bipartisan support for his policies when he's gone. But the only way to do that is to hold firm now--and to counterattack. Those who try to convince him otherwise offer nothing but defeat, for the troops, for the mission, and for the president.
I just hope that President Bush stays pat with Iraq and allows General Patraeus and his generals in the field to fight the war their way rather than letting the politicians in their cozy offices up on Capitol Hill dictate the mission. Good luck Mr. President.

Vigilance for the Sake of US National Security

Fire of Liberty

James K Pinkerton has a good piece in Newsday which notes that if this nation is going to prevent the onslaught of radical Islam that is racking England and Europe then we've go to me more vigilant eye on who we let into this nation and what they do when they get here. I'd further that by noting that if we are going to put an end to the dangers of radical Islam, then this nation has got to stop its politically correct, paddy-finger fight against terrorism and begin a hammer and anvil campaign against our enemies and give them no quarter. We've passed one hurdle by quashing the muddle-headed Immigration Reform bill and could clear another hurdle by keeping up our fight in Iraq, keeping Gitmo opened, as well as allowing our various intelligence agencies to apply any and all of the various tools available to prevent or destroy the terrorists wherever they stand.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Fire of Liberty

I hope everybody has a safe and wonderful Independence Day.

Saving the British Lion

Fire of Liberty

With the second anniversary of the June 7 bombing of the buses in London as well as the most recent acts events in which Doctors, who were Muslims, plotted and executed their devilish acts of terrorism on the streets of London and the airport at Glasgow(Thank God the bombs didn't go off.), one would expect that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would came out swinging. Now it is true that the Prime Minister came out during these horrible events and declared that the will of British people wouldn't be broken by these acts but he has also gone out of his way to emphasize that this is as a police investigation rather than a fight against Islamic terrorism. To make matters worse, the Daily Express has reported that PM Brown has issued orders to his cabinet that they shouldn't identify these terrorists as being Muslim and should do away with the whole term "War on Terror". Now while I'm all for an academic discussion on what to name our current fight, I think the UK is crippling itself with political correctness by failing to say enough is enough and acknowledge that the is an act(s) of Islamic terrorism and that this is indeed a problem within the Muslim community(See Melanie Phillips' book Londonistan for more.)

Until the PM says enough is enough and throws down the gloves, I foresee that the UK will see more and more attacks that will pale in comparison to the attacks of June 7, 2005. I thought that Gordon Brown, who was noted as being a strong Atlanticist and an admirer of the US in various articles, would be as strong and as determined as Tony Blair(He had a little political correctness in him but not this much.) was at destroying the threat of Islamic terrorism but with the most recent events I'm guessing that we're seeing a British terrorism policy more in the tune of Bill Clinton and John Kerry rather than Churchill, Thatcher, and Blair. I just hope the Brits get their senses before the British Lion roars its last roar.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Beefing Up Our Soldiers' Safety

Fire of Liberty

I'd say that a lot of our soldiers, their families and the American people will welcome the news, see here and here that the slow wheels of the Pentagon's procurement branch has excepted bids and written contracts for the building and use of 17,700 MRAPs by July of 2009. For those who aren't familiar with these stocky military vehicles, which will give our soldiers greater security from the horrific IEDs, let me introduce you to two popular models:

The is the Buffalo:


And this is its smaller brother the Cougar:


This just goes to show you that when a specific problem is posed to our soldiers, the American entrepreneur and military contractors will work day and night to solve the problem.