Monday, February 19, 2007

Nutty Rules of engagement in Iraq

Now that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus is the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, one of his first jobs will be to clarify what military and defense officials say are vague rules of engagement that govern how U.S. troops can use force to defend themselves. Gen. Petraeus was asked recently about the problem of the vague rules, which have been discussed at length in this column over the past several weeks. He told a former general during a recent meeting that fixing the rules will be one of his most important priorities.

More evidence of the rules problem comes from an e-mail from an Army E-5 sergeant in Iraq who took issue with the recent letter in The Washington Times written by an Army attorney. The lawyer asserted that the current rules for soldiers were adequate and not confusing.

"I can tell you from personal experience that [the current rules of engagement] don't give us very much leeway with self-defense," wrote the sergeant, a member of a combat service support unit. "They tell us in our convoy briefings that we have the right to self-defense, defense for civilians and other coalition forces," the soldier said. "However, I do know that it is hard for soldiers to distinguish when is the proper time to use self-defense and when it is not. Soldiers are scared and they have a right to be. If a higher-up decides what you did was not in self-defense, you could get in major trouble and we feel that it's really not worth it."

In one case, a soldier fired two 5.56 rounds and as a result "had to sit in an office for two days straight and tell his story over and over and fill out a ton of paperwork for doing what he felt was right." The soldier said after the experience that "he would never fire his weapon again because he felt the aftermath wasn't worth it, and that's just not right."

"The military has gone severely soft in its effort over here and that is why more and more [people] are dying," the sergeant concluded. "They're just too scared to let soldiers think for themselves."




Stanley Kurtz makes an important point when he blames the central Islamic custom of cousin marriage for the hostility they have towards Western civilization -- which heavily undermines all such customs.

American Indians a distinct race: "A distinctive, repeating sequence of DNA found in people living at the eastern edge of Russia is also widespread among Native Americans, according to a new study. The finding lends support to the idea that Native Americans descended from a common founding population that lived near the Bering land bridge for some time. Kari Schroeder at the University of California in Davis, US, and colleagues sampled the genes from various populations around the globe, including two at the eastern edge of Siberia, 53 elsewhere in Asia and 18 Native American populations. The study examined samples from roughly 1500 people in total, including 445 Native Americans. The team looked for a series of nine repeating chunks of DNA, known as 9RA, which falls in a non-coding region of chromosome 9. They found the 9RA sequence in at least one member of all the Native American populations tested, such as the Cherokee and Apache people. The two populations in eastern Siberia, where the Bering land bridge once connected Asia to North America, also tested positive for the 9RA sequence. The 9RA sequence did not appear in any of the other Asian populations examined in the study, including those from other parts of Siberia, from Mongolia or Japan."

Obama is the best BS artist since Bill Clinton: "The Illinois Senator is the ultimate modern media creature -- he's a good-looking, youthful, smooth-talking, buttery-warm personality with an aw-shucks demeanor who exudes a seemingly impenetrable air of Harvard-crafted moral neutrality. If Hillary Clinton even dares to open her mouth within a hundred feet of him at any time during the campaign, she's going to come off like a pig digging for truffles. Even Edwards -- the so-called 'slick' candidate from '04 -- sounds like a two-bit suburban Buick dealer next to Obama. You get past the 'issues,' and it's a wipeout. Obama knows this, and so his entire political persona is an ingeniously crafted human cipher, a man without race, ideology, geographic allegiances, or, indeed, sharp edges of any kind. You can't run against him on the issues because you can't even find him on the ideological spectrum."

A nice little gift from Mexico: "Federal researchers say neurocysticercosis, a brain infection caused by a pork tapeworm, is a "growing public health problem in the United States," especially in states bordering Mexico, where the disease is endemic. Neurocysticercosis is the "most common parasitic disease of the central nervous system," according to a study jointly conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California public health officials, who reported that "international travel and immigration are bringing the disorder to areas where it is not endemic," such as this country. "Neurocysticercosis is the primary cause of epilepsy in endemic areas. This brain worm is very serious," Victor C. Tsang, chief of the immunochemistry laboratory in the Parasitic Disease Division of the CDC said in a telephone interview. "Oral-fecal contamination is the standard route of transmission," he said of the condition.... Carriers tend to be people from rural developing countries with poor hygiene, where pigs are allowed to roam freely and eat human feces. Mr. Tsang said the condition is rife in Mexico and other parts of Latin America"

Brits less generous under socialism: "The Economist follows up Tony Blair's philanthropy speech yesterday with a big feature on the issue headlined BRING BACK THE VICTORIANS. It tells us that the most generous towns in England are Sunderland, Motherwell and Blackpool, and the meanest are Croydon, Ilford and Kingston-upon-Thames. Is it a coindence that the former are all in the North and the latter are all in the South?! The graph also shows that Britain is far more generous than other major European countries when it comes to philanthropy, but way behind the United States. But the right hand graph is possibly even more illuminating. It shows that since Labour came to power the number of people giving to charity has fallen by 12% from 70% to 58%"

Business sticks it to the taxpayer: "Wal-Mart's CEO and his chief nemesis, the head of the Service Employees International Union, have joined forces. They recently appeared together at a news conference to endorse "universal health care," sugar-words for medicine by coercive bureaucracy. No, this is not another article about why a government-based medical system is a terrible idea. This is an article about a business leader looking to the state for a bailout. It is not the first time CEO Lee Scott has endorsed interventionism. In 2005 he called for an increase in the minimum wage. It wasn't hard to figure out why. Wal-Mart pays more than the minimum wage. So why not stick it to your competitors who don't? No one, not even Wal-Mart, is so secure that a little drag on the competition wouldn't be of help. Scott's jumping on the health-care bandwagon is equally transparent. He certainly isn't the only businessman to join this unholy crusade. Big business everywhere is creaking under the weight of their medical benefits, and they see only one way out: the taxpayers. It's the same reason Big Steel would like the government to take over its pension obligations."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason -- Details here and here

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