First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America

Operation Iraqi Freedom Weblog

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Apr 14, 2003

POW's Rescued

Praise the Lord for the rescue of the 7 POW's from the Iraqis. They were treated roughly, but they are alive & back with US forces. It is sad that some of their fellows were treated much worse in violation of the Geneva Convention. Even though these 7 are safe, the lesson we should take away from this is that, when fighting a non-western country, don't be taken alive.


The accusations against Syria are getting stronger. President Bush joined the accusations that Syria has been helping Saddam's regime and issued a warning. He says, " We're hopeful we'll receive cooperation", regarding Syria's WMD & links to terrorism. And Jack Straw joined the accusations.
Syria is certainly another regime that needs to be taken down. Is it next? I don't know. Before the war on Iraq, I doubted that another regime would be "next". I thought the US had expended its diplomatic capital and that Bush had expended his political capital against Saddam. I thought we would not have the will to fight further. But maybe I am wrong. The Baath Party in Syria certainly should be taken down. The rulers in Iran should as well, though there is some real hope there that the people can take it down themselves ... possibly with a little covert help from the US.

Apr 10, 2003

What about Chalabi?

Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the exile Iraqi National Congress, is urging that the interim government be set up quickly. That's a good idea for several reasons. First is the obvious issue of this not being perceived as an occupation. But I think it is equally important for the Iraqis to use the momentum from the fall of the Baath regime to move quickly into self-government. Most of them have always lived under the governing regime. Merely changing that regime from an oppressor to a fair government is good, but not good enough. The people of Iraq need to learn to govern themselves. The community leaders in southern Iraq are already moving toward setting up some kind of order, and the Kurds in the north have been governing themselves for 12 years. So the Iraqis should not have too much difficulty governing themselves regionally. Setting up the national government will be a challenge because of the ethnic & religous factions, but perhaps not the challenge that it was/is in Afghanistan where even regional self-government has no history.
But who is this Chalabi? It's widely reported that the leader of the Iraqi National Congress has been convicted of fraud. So the CIA views him with suspicion. I've collected some links to articles on him.
  • Max Singer's article on Chalabi in National Review is one of the best discussions I've found.
  • Jozan Magazine adds some biographical notes on Chalabi.
  • The BBC profiles Chalabi.

    Saddam's Fall: US help no cause for Iraqi shame

    Yesterday was, as the President has said, a very good day for Iraqis. Saddam's Baathist regime has symbolically fallen and it's influence has been crumbling for weeks now.
    The Iraqis got US help in pulling down the statue. That really symbolized the US help they had in liberating their country. And there are reports that there is some feeling of shame for having needed outside help to become free.
    But what oppressed people has not needed outside help to become free? In our own fight for independence from a far less oppressive government we received aid from two French officers and their men. The aid on land from the Marquis de Lafayette is well known and the aid at sea from Admiral de Grasse was critical at the Battle of Yorktown. In World War I, the British and Americans liberated France. In World War II those countries liberated most of western Europe.
    There is no shame in getting help to be free. The shame would be to continue under oppression.

    Apr 8, 2003

    Bush & Blair in Northern Ireland

    President Bush and Prime Minister Blair held a joint news conference in Ireland today. I heard it from 6:30 AM Eastern on, so it would have been some time in the afternoon over there.
    The big discussion was over the UN's role, if any, in post-war Iraq. The President repeated that the UN would have "a vital role". When asked what that meant, he said it meant exactly that, "a vital role". But he did specify that most of what that meant was providing humanitarian aid. The closest the UN will come to governing in Iraq will be suggesting people to be part of the Interim Authority. Even that Interim Authority will be chosen by the Iraqis, according to Bush.
    I, for one, hope that what the President has stated is exactly how it happens. The UN did nothing to help liberate Iraq. And it has no track record of successful nation building. Further, it is not committed to freedom. The UN has no place in Iraq, except possibly for humanitarian relief. In fact I would say that is the only place it has left in the world. The United Nations has shown that it does not care about the freedom of oppressed people. It does not care about enforcing its own resolutions. For years it has been a paper tiger. Now it has been shown to be all wet -- a sodden mass of muck.

    Another "leadership target of opportunity" struck

    Intelligence said Saddam & possibly his sons were meeting in a building in Baghdad. A B1, already in the air and armed with 4 bunker busters, responded. The 5000 pound bombs left a 60-foot deep crater. Whoever was in there is dead. DNA testing is to be done to see if Saddam was there. One military official said last night regarding the level of destruction at the site, "We're talking about dust."

    Apr 3, 2003

    Two aircraft down -- a Black Hawk and a Hornet

    There's been no clarification yet of casualties on either aircraft we lost yesterday. The UH-60 Black Hawk, of course, operates lower to the ground & flies more slowly than the F/A-18, so it is vulnerable to AK fire. A SAM is suspected of taking out the Hornet. Both incidents are reported to have been near Karbala, a few miles southwest of Baghdad.

    More on PFC Lynch

    We now understand that Private Lynch's wounds were received in a firefight she put up because "She did not want to be taken alive." Good thinking. One almost suspects that the Iraqis respected her fighting spirit and that is the reason she was not executed like other American POW's.

    Baghdad Skyline in Sight

    I listened to the Centcom briefing on the commute in this morning. Some of our forces are close enough to Baghdad to see the skyline. Military-age men are coming out en masse to surrender. Centcom predicts more heavy fighting ahead, but it is clear the Baath regime is losing control even in Baghdad. We could have been here sooner if the turkeys in Turkey hadn't slowed down the northern front. Just be glad that front wasn't on France's border!

    Apr 2, 2003

    Push to Baghdad

    The push to Baghdad appears to be on. Our forces are withing 19 miles and have crossed the "red line". Let's remember to pray for their safety and victory.

    Rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch

    We are all relieved to hear of Private Lynch's rescue by US special forces. The guys who pulled this off are some of the best of the best of the best warriors in the world.
    This brings back to the table questions about women's role in combat. They're not on the front lines, but that doesn't keep them from being captured. And in the non-Western (read no Christian influence) countries we've been fighting the last few years and expect to be fighting in the near future, women who are vulnerable are preyed upon. Back in 1991, Major Rhonda Cornum was taken prisoner by the Iraqis. She did not tell the story for 4 years of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of the Iraqis. Withholding that information played a role in a rule change under the Clinton administration that allowed women into more dangerous situations.

    Vanload of women and children revisited

    Looks like the "martyrdom" operation theory was accurate. WorldnetDaily reports that a leading Muslim cleric has said that the woman who drove the van was told if she didn't charge the checkpoint her family would be killed. Other suicide attackers have operated under similar threats according to this report.

    Apr 1, 2003

    Van full of civilians

    Yesterday's tragic incident resulting in the deaths of 7 women and children at the checkpoint near Najaf shows how tough fighting 2 wars at once in Iraq -- military and PR -- really is. The UK's Times Online reports both sides of this story. If the Washington Post reporter got the story straight, the tragedy was a result of miscommunication between our soldiers. If the soldiers' story is true, the only reasonable conclusion is that this was a "martyrdom" operation. The driver of the van decided to make "martyrs" of all his passengers in order to damage the US/UK in the PR war.

    Concerns about Syria and Iran

    Is Syria supplying materiel to Iraq? Is Iran sanctioning the activities of its people who are crossing into Iraq to fight against the Allies? If so, what should we do about it?
    We can shake our fingers in the faces of those regimes and tell them they're being naughty. We can save our breath and look the other way. Or we can give them ultimatums and if they don't shape up expand the war.
    Now that last option is not one to consider lightly. Neither should it be rejected out of hand. If we were to escalate the war of words with Damascus and Tehran and ended up taking military action, we would risk bringing most of the Arab world into the fight. Certainly the radical Muslims around the world would deal themselves in. And fighting the rather large radical wing of a group of people that numbers 1 billion is a major undertaking. But think who we would be fighting. These radical Muslims are the ones carrying out terrorist attacks all around the globe -- from New York to Paris to Israel to Bali to Manilla. These radical Muslims are the ones persecuting Christians in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Indonesia and elsewhere. These radical Muslims are the ones imposing Sha'ria law on their women and carrying out brutal punishments of accused criminals following only a sham trial. In short, these are the people that if we could get them all together in a single war, would be worth fighting to the last drop of Western blood. The world would be a much better place if we drew these guys out into the open and defeated them in battle -- as savage as that battle would be.

    Feb 1, 2003

    Justice demands that Saddam be removed.

    There are two often-overlooked points to consider on a war with Iraq.
    First, Iraq has attacked America. We all know that Timothy McVeigh didn't drop the Murrah Building all by himself. There's good evidence of an Iraqi connection to that. The Clinton Administration swept it under the rug b/c just nabbing McVeigh was a lot easier than admitting we had an international problem. And there's good evidence that TWA flight 800 was taken down by a missle. (WorldNetDaily is currently pushing a book on it.) There are strong allegations of an Iraqi connection to that too.
    Second, a nation doesn't have to attack us for us to have a moral imperative to deal with it. If I were walking down the street one night & saw a mugging taking place, I could not say, "he didn't hit ME" and go on. I ought to intervene -- call the police, run the creep off, or something. "Passing by on the other side" is not an option when we are confronted with the imperative of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
    If Saddam is an evil, evil man -- and we know he is -- and if his regime has done 1/5 of what President Bush said in the State of the Union -- and we have good evidence he's done all of it -- someone needs to bring him to justice.
    But why us? Why should we be the world's policeman? All men and nations have a God-given responsibility to promote justice wherever they can. There are plenty of injustices you or I as individuals cannot right. But we ought to right those we can. And the United States is the strongest (secular) power for good in today's world. There are nations that can't do justice in Iraq. But we can. And we should.
    By what authority ought we to do this? What gives the US the right to pass judgement on the leadership of another nation? We do this in the name of justice -- an absolute at which the relativist liberals scoff. Justice is a noble end in itself. It is the chief purpose for government -- or excercise of any power by any person or organization.
    We, individually and collectively, have a duty to perform justice wherever we can. And that includes in Iraq.

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