November 25, 2005

"Friends of Sheehan" Target Children With Grenades

Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan must be proud of their "Minutemen" friends for specifically targeting children with hand grenades hidden in dolls.

These children are the people Cindy Sheehan wants to abandon. She claims to be "heartbroken" that our troops aren't home.

I wish she cared half as much about these children, but hey, they aren't white, or American, so I guess they aren't worth dying for...

Right, Cindy?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 25, 2005 10:45 AM | TrackBack

They only care about children whose deaths can be directly blamed on America. Find a way to blame the deaths on the USA and they will become the most important people in the world. Their problems with America is not what we do but who we are. As long as we are who we are, our actions will never satisfy them.

Posted by: shoprat at November 25, 2005 04:35 PM

The VC (Viet Cong) used to use children, too. They would put a grenade in a kid's hand, pull the pin and tell them to take it to the American GIs.

I can't figure Cindy Sheehan out; she's too old to make a movie like Barbarella - besides, who the heck would go see it?. I also can't figure; if she is so "heartbroken" why is she always smiling (for the cameras that is). Oh, yeah, there's one more thing I can't figure out about Cindy: what's her purpose in life, I mean besides being an oxygen thief?

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 25, 2005 04:57 PM


Gosh, I was leaning Anti-bush and Anti-Iraq War there for a minute, but the above quote sure has me convinced now.

What a Man !

And a Helluva Nice Guy Too !


Posted by: Duke Denby at November 25, 2005 09:38 PM

You Bush-supporters are so incredibly dumb you don't even realize you have resorted to classic left-wing "do it for the children" tactics to justify your war. Where were you when Bush wanted to pull our troops out of Kosovo, where they were helping to prevent genocide? Where are your photos of children in the Sudan? Of poor kids in Asia? Oh, that's right, they don't serve your Iraq war agenda, so you could care less about them.

Your war is over. Now Republicans are looking for the exit, and are going to blame the MSM and Cindy Sheehan for eroding morale and causing us to lose the war. I say keep it up, because sane Americans see right through your pathetic scapegoating. You got your war, but you were too stupid to realize you what kind of a war it would be. Let the grownups take over now.

Posted by: Nate at November 25, 2005 09:40 PM

Nate, we'd love to be able to put some Green Berets in the Sudan, but can't because of folks like John Murtha and anti-war types who don't think war is worth being fought for any reason. If you remember, he's the one who convinced Clinton to abandon Somalia's children when just 18 Americans died.

Freeing the Iraqi people was already a state goal. Just read the President's pre-war speeches, genius.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 25, 2005 10:01 PM

Nate, do you know any grown-ups that can keep the facts straight and remember from one year to the next what they read and how they voted? If you do they're not in your party.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 25, 2005 10:13 PM

I have some bitter thoughts at this moment about other friends of Cindy Sheehan, they are expounded upon in this post

When I was Ten Years Old

Here's a brief sample

"I think it was the machine gunfire that woke me up that night. It turned out
they were having exercises, but sometimes ten year old boys are not told these
things. I was frozen at that window in total terror, UNTIL, I saw the Marines
running towards the beach in full kit. Then I was all in one istant, no longer
afraid. I knew that those big strong men, who played with us kids in the sanlot
behind their barracks and my Daddy would not let ANYTHING Bad happen to us. Some
may understand how I felt when I read. This Is How The Left Supports The Troops?
in Common Sense Run Wild"

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at November 26, 2005 01:32 AM

Whom are you kidding? Clinton had to fight tooth and nail to get Republicans to approve military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. Bush ran on an election platform of pulling the troops out of Kosovo because they were "eroding the morale" of the army. Look it up.

Look, the US military is trained to fight and win wars. At this point, the military is not trained to mediate disputes between tons of ethnic groups, rebuild the economies of corrupt, backward states, or foster democratic governments in formerly tribal societies. If post 9-11, Republicans decide they want they military to do these things, we don't you help our guys out and actually train them for these jobs?

And by the way, our Green Berets in CENT-COM are deployed where they are most desperately needed right now- in Iraq and Afghanistan. They practically run the Afghan operation. If you think we are willing to send some down to the mess in the Sudan, that's foolishly idealistic thinking.

Posted by: Nate at November 26, 2005 11:19 AM

Nate, you have just shown a ton of not knowing what you are talking about.

First off, there is more than one Special Forces battalion. The battalions have different areas of responsibility and specialties associated with those geographical regions. You are very misinformed if you believe all of the Army’s SF is committed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Not so, no matter how much you may wish it to be so.

Second, the Army has “Civil Affairs” battalions whose mission is to assist weak governments and build governments where necessary. Have you paid absolutely no attention to the news? Iraq and Afghanistan both have fledgling representative governments where several democratic votes have already occurred. How do you think those governments came about? Magic in a vacuum? I’m afraid not. The US Army helped to build those governments. So your snip about training our military (to accomplish civil affairs type missions) is negated. Already been done, Nate, and bearing fruit!

I’m not going to address Kosovo, because it doesn’t come close to resembling Afghanistan and Iraq. It was a peace-keeping mission not an operation directed to ensure our national security. Since you brought up Kosovo, why did Clinton believe it so important to keep the peace in Kosovo but ignore the genocide in the Sudan?

”Look, the US military is trained to fight and win wars.”

My handle (Old Soldier) is predicated upon 31 years active service in the U.S. Army. I believe I understand what the military is trained to do, apparently much better than you.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 26, 2005 12:27 PM

Excellent post!

Posted by: Claire at November 26, 2005 01:15 PM

Old Soldier:

Special Forces are divided into five different regions, and learn the different languages. They are currently deployed all over the world, which is why the are a finite amount of SF forces in CENT-COM, which encompasses the Near East and North-Eastern Africa. The army cannot just drop a bunch of Green Berets into the Sudan because the Arabic specialists are needed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rest are spread out in places like the Phillipines and Columbia, where they are conducting lower profile operations against terrorists and drug lords. SF cannot be deployed to the Sudan without giving up other missions, even if you wanted to take a unit out of their specialized region.

Yes, we do have Civil Affairs units, but not nearly enough of them. Things like Psychological Operations, Military Police, and Civil Affairs are over-taxed due to our military being unprepared for such a prolonged nation-building effort. And even if we did have more people in these positions, what is really needed is more cultural experts and linguists, the lack of which doomed our first two years in Iraq. See pro-war military experts such as Robert Kaplan and Max Boot for more on this.

We are doing much better now, given that the military adapts quickly and we have learned from our mistakes, but frankly I think it is too little too late. We have a low-level civil war going on that the administration refused to acknowledge, preferring to characterize it as the last gasp of terrorists. The political progress we see is built on a very weak foundation, and very possibly could cave due to a number of factors.

Regarding Kosovo, I'm a realist. That intervention was an example of doing something with our allies to promote a greater good. But we cannot be all things to all people. If in the future we want to go into places like Rwanda and the Sudan, we need to develop better peace-keeping capabilities, and certainly reform the UN. This process will take time, and given our priorities in Iraq, I don't see us focusing on preventing genocides at present. We certainly shouldn't go in anywhere unilaterally right now, even to prevent a genocide.

Posted by: Nate at November 26, 2005 01:28 PM

Nate, your tune has changed significantly. Were you baiting in your earlier comments?

How long did it take the allies (primarily the US) to rebuild Germany? Japan? It was many years more than 3. During our “rebuilding” process in Germany, our soldiers were continuously being sniped and subjected to booby-trap bomb devices. Some could have argued that we were dealing with a civil war within Germany. Iraq isn’t going perfectly by any means, but it is going better than any of our past nation rebuilding projects.

Iraq may ultimately fail as a free Islamic representative democracy. Then again it may just succeed. If it succeeds, it will deny al-Qaeda a logistical resource they desperately need. Iraq could possibly join Jordan in declaring war on al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorist organizations. The alternative to attempting to defeat radical Islam by denying them resources, is to make it too painful to all of Islam for radical Islam to be tolerated or supported. That will be a very unfortunate error indeed if that is an eventuality.

I hear what I believe to be your pain. I can only say that since Vietnam the military has repeatedly been asked to do more with less resources. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 26, 2005 02:24 PM

The doll grenade story is horrible if true, but
it's lurid enough to smell like agitprop. No
photographs, no witnesses, and no source other
than an Iraqi Army spokesman. Remember the
dead-babies-dumped-from-incubators story from
the first gulf war?

Posted by: Laney at November 26, 2005 06:29 PM

Old Soldier:

My angry tone in the first post was because before I was writing out of sheer frustration. I still think posting pictures of children and accusing war critics of not caring about non-white, non-American kids is ridiculous, and something that fringe left-wingers do when arguing on behalf of things like welfare and affirmative action. It is an intellectually dishonest tactic.

Regarding Japan and Germany: I don't think these are good analogies for Iraq for a number of reasons. Both had:

a) Highly developed economies
b) No inner strife among ethnic groups
c) A much less effective insurgency

Then there is the fact that, in terms of the military, we have never left those countries. None of this is the case in Iraq, where we have a harder job, and less time to do it, since nobody wants a long-term American presence.

I don't think any of our problems in Iraq are to be blamed on the military. I do blame the people who sent them to Iraq and ignored the State Department reports that predicted this kind of situation could occur. And I hope we are recognizing that:

a) asymetical warfare is something that requires a new skill set to fight
b) nation-building is a serious business that can't be improvised on the spot.

I recommend the author Thomas Barnett, who advocates a two-pronged approach along these lines, but wouldn't force the military to do both at the same time.

Posted by: Nate at November 26, 2005 07:18 PM

Nate, I’ll let CY address your first issue.

In regards to the differences between Iraq and Germany and Japan; there are several more differences of significance. In Germany and Japan we established military governments and our forces were in fact occupational armies. In Iraq, we very quietly established a military government only long enough to empower some of the Iraqi political leaders. We messed up on one or two and had to replace them, but we established Iraqi political leaders as quickly as possible. We also did not assume the roll of an occupational army. We did not lock down and control the country. It would have been counterproductive for us (as infidels) to establish positive control over an Islamic country we “liberated” vs. conquered.

Although Germany and Japan had functioning economies in place they both crashed after their surrender. In each case their currency became worthless overnight. It took several years to get both countries back on their feet economically and a lot of that was done through American contracts with German and Japanese companies. Iraq on the contrary has flourished quickly with TV stations, cell phone service, newspapers, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure.

In Germany we still faced opposition from the Gestapo and the Hitler Youth associated with the Arian propaganda. I don’t have the casualty statistics associated with the early years of occupying Germany, so I can’t say if the radical Islamic terrorists are more or less effective. I know the frequency and numbers of attacks are decreasing, and that the Iraqi populace is becoming more cooperative at turning in the terrorist’s locations.

No we haven’t left Germany and Japan, but we are no longer an occupational force. Part of the conditions of surrender stipulated no armed forces other than for defense. (That’s one of the reason Japan would not send offensive forces to the first Gulf War. They sent money and equipment, but no troops.) As the world geopolitical landscape changed, it became apparent that allied forces would be required for deterrent reasons. It also gave us a global presence during the COld War. That may occur in Iraq as well. We just haven’t reached that point yet.

Asymmetrical warfare is significantly different from mid and high intensity conflicts against a national uniformed force. However, we’ve been training asymmetrical tactics for some years now. We’re not as “unskilled” as some might think. Technology is on our side and improving every day. The terrorists target us just enough to keep US deaths in the news. They still kill far more Iraqis trying to keep them intimidated for later purposes. The problem is that the Iraqis are getting real tired of being killed and are really starting to fight back. It will not surprise me to read that Iraq has joined Jordan in declaring war on al-Qaeda.

We all but enjoyed a victory of defeating asymmetrical forces in Vietnam. We rendered the VC ineffective and had the NVA on the ropes (without knowing it at the time). And we did that with conventional forces using pretty much conventional tactics. Too, the radical Islamic terrorists do not have an opposing super power arming them with the latest technology weapons (like the NVA had the USSR and China). The terrorists are receiving some munitions from Iran. I don’t know, but expect steps are being taken to limit suspect traffic at that border. I believe Iran will exercise some prudence, because they really don’t want to give us a legitimate reason to invade.

Nonetheless, the process converting Iraq into a free Islamic nation has started and it is imperative we maintain security long enough for them to become self defended. We must stay committed to that end.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 26, 2005 08:41 PM

I'll allow for a different, more optimistic take on Iraq than my own. But I'm more concerned than you for the following reasons:

1) I'm unconvinced that the suicide bomber problem is improving. As this past week has shown, the terrorists are still killing far more people than befits a reasonably stable society. The Sunnis and Shiites are increasingly distrustful of each other, and it is difficult to tell how much the Shiite militias have penetrated the new Iraqi army.

2) It doesn't seem to me that we have a way of cutting down on munitions from Iran or infiltrators from Syria. We have recently done a better job of taking a town and staying put, but it seems to me we are still spread thin, even with the new Iraqi forces, and can't control the borders.

3) I do think the majority of the Iraqi people hates the terrorists. But I also think there is resentment towards the US for not doing more to stop the terrorists. In my opinion, we made a major mistake by NOT occupying the country in the first year. We were always going to be perceived as an occupier in the short-term anyway, and the benefits of law and order would have helped in the long run. I'm always amused when certain Republicans say that the Democrats view the military as occupiers instead of liberators, since I don't think you can liberate a country unless you effectively occupy it. Maybe Germany and Japan were less well off than Iraq in the initial years of occupation, but the long-term results in Germany and Japan are hard to argue with.

Despite my misgivings, I do agree that we should be committed to giving Iraq the best future it can get. I can't say much about the Vietnam comparison, but from talking to my dad and neighbor, ex-vets, I've always been under the impression that winning in Vietnam would have required bombing the country is a way that totally destroyed it. I mean, wouldn't the NVA have turned into an insurgency rather than give up like a traditional army? It seems to me that war was very much like this one in that ultimately a military solution was secondary to a "hearts and minds" campaign, and the latter is more difficult to fight.

Posted by: Nate at November 27, 2005 10:50 AM

Nate, I don’t have any insight into the factional distrust between Sunni and Shiite or Shia or whoever. I can only hope that with a representative government a balance will be effected where one faction does not possess the ability to subjugate the others. Like I said, it may work and it may not. But if we don’t try we’ll never know and if it does work we’re light-years ahead.

I now there are many tactical ways to control a border besides committing troops. Satellites, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ground radar are just a few. Weapons carrying UAVs and artillery batteries can be effective at stopping unwanted intruders. I’ve been concerned about border control, too, but if it were as big a threat as we perceive, you can bet your bottom dollar those generals would be moving move troops in as needed. Since the generals are not indicating they need more troops, I have to believe in their judgment. Remember, Saddam had huge weapons caches many of which we haven’t discovered as yet. ANd they could be the primary sources of the IED munitions.

As far as actually occupying Iraq, I have to go back to Germany and Japan. In Germany it took 4 years to get to the first election and we ended our occupation the same year food rationing ended – 1952. In Japan we occupied the country until 1952 also. Effecting elections in Japan included having to institute suffrage. If we had tried to occupy Iraq for an extended period, I’m afraid we would have solidified all of Islam behind al-Qaeda rather than our gaining Iraq’s alliance. Something to think about…

The Vietnam misperception that we had to destroy villages in order to save them is incorrect. There were in deed villages destroyed, but primarily because they were known to be NVA or VC strongholds. Usually it was the South Vietnamese that conducted the assaults and usually the villages were notified to vacate. I do not necessarily condone that tactic, however, an army will not constantly take fire from a known enemy stronghold location and not do something about it. That is part of the inhumanity of war.

According to Gen Giap, had we continued to attack the Ho Chi Minh trail (the logistics supply route from north Vietnam into South Vietnam) the NVA would have had to negotiate a peace settlement because they were not getting enough supplies through to keep their troops fed and armed. They hung on because they recognized that the dissent and protesting within the US was causing a loss of will to win the war. As I’ve said before, the politicians managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The NVA would not have had the means to become insurgents; they would have had no supplies. We had almost achieved the ultimate goal of warfare – deny the enemy the ability to mount offensive operations. It was the Jane Fondas and John Kerrys that fueled the dissent and protests that ultimately caused the population to drop their support for a victory in Vietnam. That’s why I’m so bitter toward the Jane Fondas and now Cindy Sheehans, but that is not on topic, is it?

We’ve made mistakes and probably will make more. But every American should know that Iraq is but one front on the global war against radical Islamic terrorists. We fight for our right not to have to worship Allah or submit to Dhimmitude or die.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 27, 2005 04:51 PM

I have read conflicting reports about the need for more troops in Iraq. Rumsfeld may be correct when he says the generals have not requested more troops, but I've read a lot of accounts from officers on the ground who say the exact opposite. I don't politics are out of the question here, since I'm sure the other generals noted that Gen. Shinseki was pushed into an early retirement soon after his assessment that Iraq would need a few hundred thousand troops.

Regarding our mistakes, I realize it is easy to point out errors in hindsight. But I don't know that declaring martial law, instituting curfews, and threatening to shoot looters would have necessarily turned the Iraqis against us. The first objective should have been order, followed by economic development. We should have identified the sheiks with power, given them money for reconstruction projects, and encouraged them to sign up as many young men for work as possible, even if they signed up more than were needed for a job. So long as young men are showing up for work, the sheiks would stay on the US payroll, since this is perhaps the best counter-insurgency tool. This influx of cash would act as a counterpoint to the heavy-handed police state, and we could slowly work towards elections.

I don't know enough about military tactics, but it seems to me we should have made it known once we took Baghdad that no armed militias, bodyguards, or gangs of any kind would be tolerated. We should have encouraged the Iraqi military and police to come forward, and if they turned in their arms, we would continue to pay their salaries, as well as keep open the option to return to their job. It strikes me as a mistake for the US to have not insisted on a complete monopoly of force in the first year. We can give them their right to bear arms later on.

As for Vietnam, you may be right that we could have won. (I still doubt that) But I very much disagree that it was Jane Fonda and John Kerry that lost it. The country just finally decided we were losing too many lives for an ambiguous cause. If anything the anti-war protestors prolonged the war, since so many people were put off by their overt anti-Americanism.

The same goes for today. Cindy Sheehan, in my opinion, has zero effect on America's stance on the war. The country voted for Bush because they were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on Iraq, even though it had not gone according to plan. Over the last year, they haven't seen enough progess, and have shifted their views. The notion that Democrats are driving this shift is absurd, since if anything their recent attacks on Bush reflect them FOLLOWING the public mood rather than LEADING it. I can see how a pro-war person might see this as reprehensible, but frankly it's just politics, and politicans will always try to pander to the people.

Posted by: Nate at November 27, 2005 06:23 PM

Nate, Shinseki’s retirement may be perceived as having been pushed, but it is immaterial to the troop strength assigned to the Iraq operation. General Franks was the theater commander and it was his call on forces necessary to victoriously take Saddam’s military. Gen Shinseki was in a staff position – he did not command troops or a theater of operation. Gen Cody has never stated that more forces were required and he is the Vice Chief of Staff and is much closer to the action (as it were). As for officers returning making statements that more troops are needed; the military is a very structured organization with levels of command and staffs. Junior officers start out at the lower level organizations and are not necessarily privy to holistic plans and requirements. They may earnestly believe more troops would improve their ability to control the situation and in many instances they may be more correct than wrong. However, time as favored the decisions made by Franks and his successors.

The historical situations (Germany and Japan) where we have occupied a country with marshal law, validate that it takes a long time to reconstitute a country's government and economy. Unemployment is somewhat a problem in Iraq, however with all the gains in Iraqi infrastructure, more and more jobs become available weekly. There is more infrastructure up and running now than when Saddam was in power. Besides, poverty and unemployment is not the motivator for the radical Islamic terrorists. The terrorists involved in 9-11 were not poor, nor were they from poor families. Destitution was not a motivator – it was the radical Islamic jihad theology.

Shortly after we took Iraq, there were many sweeping operations trying to round up arms. Iraq was very much like the US in that much of the population owned weapons. Trying to disarm the US would be an army’s worst nightmare. As long as the Iraqi was not suspected of being a terrorist or supporting them, they were pretty much left alone. And there have been instances where armed citizens have taken out some of the terrorists themselves.

I’m not trying to oversimplify our pullout of Vietnam by blaming it solely on Jane Fonda and John Kerry. They were people who were at the forefront of the dissent and protests. They both proved to be fuel feeding the fires of dissent and protest with the MSM fanning the flames. An example; the Tet ’68 offensive was carefully and meticulously planned by Gen Giap and believed to be a tide turning blow to the American forces. At the completion of the offensive, his commanders reported back dismal failures – they had been decidedly defeated by the Americans. However, Walter Cronkite reported that the Tet offensive was a resounding success for the NVA and VC and in fact they had captured the US Embassy in Saigon. That was an outright falsehood – one VC had been shot just outside the embassy and that was as close as they got. The media elites had decided the US had suffered enough casualties in a useless war (never mind the millions of Vietnamese that didn’t want communism) and set about turning public opinion against the war. They succeeded because they were the only game in town and they had been fairly honest in their prior reporting of wars. I’m not stating anything here that you can’t find on the internet. I, too, happen to be a veteran of Vietnam as well as a career soldier and I hold some very strong opinions that have been validated by subsequent investigative journalism. Please give my regards to your dad and neighbor.

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 27, 2005 08:04 PM

I doubt we'll ever know the truth about the number of troops question. But there is a problem if we have to take towns twice, three, and four different times, if the borders are not secured, and if civilians feel the threat of force by insurgents is more powerful than the the threat of force by the Americans.

From what I have read, the core of the insurgency is Sunnis with ties to the old regime. They seem to be operating more out of nationalism and tribalism than jihadist ferver, but of course they work with foreign jihadists. Maybe money wouldn't do everything, but more should have been done to keep them from feeling alienated in the new Iraq.

I just talked to my dad about Tet. He was not in Vietnam yet, having been drafted in the fall of 1967 and still in boot camp. He said that Cronkite was indeed wrong when he said the war was lost. But according to my dad the reason Tet was such a watershed was that it exposed President Johnson's campaign of deception about the enemy we were facing. Support for the war stayed relatively strong- it was support for Johnson that eroded. After all, the public elected Nixon twice, the second time against a clear anti-war candidate.

In general I don't like tying political preferences to views about a war. My dad is Vietnam veteran who is proud of his service, but he's very liberal- he voted for Nader in 2000. I have an uncle on the other side of the family who is a huge Republican, and during Vietnam he used connections to get into the California national guard. Two of my older cousins were naval officers in Vietnam, one an underwater explosives specialist who is now a solid Republican, the other a moderate Democrat. I don't think people's attitudes towards the military are defined by their politics.

That neighbor of mine I mentioned (actually former neighbor since I recently moved) is a good example. He is very left-wing and very anti-war, partly I think because he feels his unit was betrayed and left behind in some weird situation when the war ended. He is a filmmaker by trade, and in the process of making a film about his unit's experience. Last year he gathered a bunch of the guys together and they traveled to Vietnam and he filmed them revisiting their past. He hasn't finished it yet, but it's pretty powerful from the interviews that he showed me. Everyone has their own take on the war-some guys are still angry, some are very proud, but what's great is that they respect each other's views, and don't see each other as spreading lies.

Now, I don't know your experience during the war, but it seems to me there is room for reasonable people to disagree. The same goes for this war. I don't agree with people who want to pull out right away, but they aren't unpatriotic or undermining the troops for wanting to do so. Cindy Sheehan is an idiot, and if our country can be undermined by somoen like her, then we don't deserve to win in the first place.

Posted by: Nate at November 28, 2005 02:02 AM