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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, July 02, 2008


By Ed Morrissey

Harry Reid declared surrender for our economy last night.  If anyone has any doubts about the Democratic direction on energy policy, this should dispel them for all time:

This isn’t some fringe character, some crazy uncle that one has in the attic. This is one of the Democratic Party’s leadership explaining why he and his party will never allow for extensive increases in domestic supply for coal and oil, the two leading sources of energy in the US, along with natural gas. “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It’s global warming. It’s ruining our country, it’s ruining our world. We’ve got to stop using fossil fuel.”

That would be great, except that no other mass-market solutions exist. Even nuclear power would take several years to implement, and Reid opposes nuclear. He wants wind and solar, even though neither have mass-production capabilities and we still haven’t solved the storage problem for alternative-sourced electricity. He thinks that we’d be better off without energy at all, rather than “making us sick” by producing coal and oil to meet current demands.

Feel like surrendering and having our economy redeploy over an event horizon to satisfy this Luddite? Vote Democratic and watch your energy bills keep skyrocketing — or vote Republican and get a sane energy policy instead.  Tuesday, July 1, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Reuters says: Obama fights back against questions on patriotism—but all I see is the usual self-absorbed outrage that the question would even come up.

In a clear sign the patriotism issue is a worry for the campaign, Obama said in a speech at the Harry Truman presidential library in Missouri that he would not sit back and watch his love of country questioned by political rivals.

“I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine,” he said.

Democrat strategists believe that John Kerry made a big mistake by not responding more strongly to the Swift Boat allegations, so the Obama campaign issues these pro forma, pugnacious, empty statements to look tough.


By Charles Johnson

Now causing seething in British Islamic communities: Trainee police puppy Rebel.

The British police should have known better than to take such an obviously blasphemous photograph, sure to offend and enrage members of the Religion of Peace™. What were they thinking?

A postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman’s hat advertising a Scottish police force’s new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims.  

Tayside Police’s new non-emergency phone number has prompted complaints from members of the Islamic community.

The choice of image on the Tayside Police cards - a black dog sitting in a police officer’s hat - has now been raised with Chief Constable John Vine.

The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.

Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif said: “My concern was that it’s not welcomed by all communities, with the dog on the cards. It was probably a waste of resources going to these communities. They (the police) should have understood. Since then, the police have explained that it was an oversight on their part, and that if they’d seen it was going to cause upset they wouldn’t have done it.”

Councillor Asif, who is a member of the Tayside Joint Police Board, said that the force had a diversity adviser and was generally very aware of such issues. He raised the matter with Mr Vine at a meeting of the board.  

The chief constable said he was unaware of the concerns and that the force had not sought to cause any upset but added he would look into the matter.  Tuesday, July 1, 2008


By Charles Johnson

Wesley Clark shows how low the Barack Obama campaign will go through their surrogates.

‘I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark told Face the Nation on Sunday.

Clark explained: “In the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk.” The Hillary-Clinton-turned-Barack-Obama-supporter continued: “It’s a matter of gauging your opponents and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war.”

Clark went on to say: “That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron.”

If this is a serious strategy on the Left for defeating McCain, Republicans may yet surprise in November.

But although others have tried hitting McCain’s military-service record, this Face the Nation story may be more about Democrats finally facing the reality that is the fringe recklessness of Wesley Clark.  Monday, June 30, 2008

UPDATE: The Daily Kos Kidz enthusiastically agree with Wesley Clark, of course: Daily Kos: what was so special about what McCain did as a POW?




By John Hinderaker

Wesley Clark has made the rounds of just about every talk show on television over the last 24 hours, repeating his attack on John McCain as lacking the executive experience needed to be President. It's pretty funny, actually, if you listen to Clark, because whenever he describes the precise military experience needed to equip a candidate for the Presidency, it turns out to be exactly what Clark himself did. Right up until the time he got fired.

I think some of the criticism of Clark has been overblown; he always repeats that he respects and admires McCain, but doesn't think he has the judgment or executive experience needed to be President. This afternoon on CNN, John Roberts pointed out the most glaring contradiction in Clark's theory of military experience: his enthusiastic endorsement of John Kerry, whose strategic command experience was nowhere near McCain's. Here was the exchange:

ROBERTS: But when it comes to that same type of qualification, you were very robustly behind John Kerry's military experience...

CLARK: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: ... in your speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, where you talked about his experience of being there under mortar fire.

CLARK: Right.

ROBERTS: And let's listen to the way that you summed that up.

CLARK: Right.


CLARK: John Kerry's combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need as Americans in our commander in chief.


ROBERTS: So, you said it's what we need in a commander in chief. And I'm wondering how different was John McCain's experience from John Kerry's?

CLARK: Well, a lot, because John McCain basically served honorably and well in uniform. He did everything the country could have asked.

What John Kerry did is John Kerry got out of the uniform. He took a judgment, a judgment I didn't agree with at the time, but he had the moral courage to stand up for himself and oppose the conflict in Vietnam.

ROBERTS: But where was the executive experience that you talked about?

CLARK: The executive experience wasn't the issue there, because John Kerry wasn't claiming that he had some special executive experience on national security against George Bush.

So Kerry's military experience was better than McCain's because after serving for four months in Vietnam, he returned to the U.S. and falsely accused his fellow servicemen of being war criminals. I think it's time for Wesley Clark to be ushered quietly off the stage.  Tuesday, July 1, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

James Kirchick does not exactly fit the bill as a right-wing ideologue, although he is more of a centrist than his center-left colleagues at The New Republic.  That gives his Politico column on political smears in the presidential race significantly more heft than if similar observations were made by a Robert Novak or a Charles Krauthammer.  Kirchick disputes the notion that Republicans have engaged in smear tactics against Barack Obama — and points the finger instead at Obama’s campaign and supporters:

Thus far, no one with any serious affiliation to John McCain’s campaign has resorted to the alleged “scare” tactics in which Republicans — and, apparently, only Republicans — have been perfecting since Richard Nixon was first elected. On the contrary, if the past few months have showed us anything, it’s that the Obama campaign is the one dealing in crude smears.  …

It’s curious how anyone could argue that a man with such visceral understanding of the capacity for what America’s enemies will do to our men and women in uniform doesn’t fully appreciate the cost of war. But even more troubling is the unmistakable pattern of these smears, all of them unsubtly alleging that McCain is an unhinged, mentally unstable warmonger who would deploy soldiers capriciously because he hasn’t truly experienced the horrors of ground battle. Indeed, the claims of these four men — and the short period of time in which they were all uttered — are so similar in tone that one would be foolish not to at least consider the possibility they were coordinated by the Obama campaign.

Nevertheless, the fears of Obama supporters that their candidate lies eternally vulnerable to GOP smears exists only in their fevered imaginations. The evidence of dirty Republican tricks has been utterly absent this campaign season. And if anyone has tried to smear Barack Obama in the way that Thomas, Wolfe and other Democratic partisans allege, it was not the Republican National Committee, but rather Hillary Rodham Clinton and her surrogates. In February, the Drudge Report claimed that the Clinton campaign circulated photos of Obama in a traditional East African turban and robe, with the message that the images showed him “dressed.” Asked if there was any truth to the smear that Obama is a Muslim, she infamously replied, “As far as I know,” it wasn’t the case. After the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, she said the results showed that “Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.”

Kirchick emphasizes the series of attacks and smears on McCain’s military record coming from a range of Democrats, most of which AP and I have extensively documented.  He sees this as a coordinated effort to paint McCain as temperamentally unsuited for leadership, somehow without getting Obama’s hands dirty in the process.

Barack Obama is the leader of his party, a point he made himself when he imposed new rules on the DNC for fundraising.  A leader who didn’t want to have his party take part in such a smear campaign would act to stop one when it got rolling.  Obama’s answer?  It’s not a priority for him.  That makes it pretty clear where the problem lies and where the smear campaign originates.  Tuesday, July 1, 2008




By Charles Johnson

At an African Union summit meeting in Egypt, the corrupt leaders of Africa rallied behind Robert Mugabe: Robert Mugabe hailed a hero at African Union summit.

Robert Mugabe was hailed a “hero” by Africa’s longest-serving head of state as he joined his fellow leaders at an African Union summit.

The 84-year-old flew to the summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh only hours after being sworn in for his sixth presidential term following a one-candidate election run-off widely decried as at best a sham, at worst a travesty of democracy.

He entered the conference hall accompanied by the leaders of Egypt, Tanzania - the AU chairman - and Uganda, and his enemies’ hopes that he would be disowned by his peers were quickly dashed.

“He was elected, he took an oath, and he is here with us, so he is President and we cannot ask him more,” said Omar Bongo, President of Gabon since 1967. “He conducted elections and I think he won.” ...

“We have even received Mugabe as a hero,” he told reporters. “We understand the attacks (by the international community) but this is not the way they should react. What they’ve done is, in our opinion, a little clumsy, and we think they could have consulted us (the AU) first.”  Monday, June 30, 2008



Map of Paktika province. Click to view.

The US military and Afghan National Army fought yet another major engagement in eastern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan. An estimated 33 Taliban were killed in a battle in the Spera district in Khost province.

The battle began after the Taliban launched a complex attack on a US outpost in the Spera district, right along the Pakistani border. The Taliban followed up a rocket attack with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. US forces beat back the attack with "mortar, artillery fire and close air support," the International Security Assistance Force reported in a press release.

The Taliban fighters "crossed into Pakistan." The US military said the Pakistani border guards launched an artillery strike at the Taliban forces, and estimated 33 Taliban fighters were killed in the fighting. No US or Afghan forces were killed in the engagements.

The Taliban have launched a series of attacks against district centers and Afghan and Coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan. Paktika, Paktia, and Khost provinces have seen an increase in attacks over the past two weeks. The Taliban are attempting to destabilize the eastern region and overrun Afghan government centers. Many of the attacks have originated from Pakistan.

Twenty-two Taliban were killed after Afghan police repelled attacks on two district centers in Paktika province and one in Paktia province on the night of June 24. Earlier that same day, a large Taliban force made up of Afghan, Arab, and Chechen fighters attacked a district center in Paktia. Afghan and US forces killed 16 Taliban during the attack.

US and Afghan forces killed 55 Taliban and wounded another 25 during a massed attack on a patrol in neighboring Paktika province on June 20.

Two large-scale rocket and mortar attacks were launched from Pakistani soil during the same timeframe. On June 27, a Taliban rocket team fired at a US outpost in Paktika province. The Taliban also fired rockets at a US base in Paktika on June 21. One Afghan woman and three children were killed in the attack. US forces launched artillery at Taliban positions inside Pakistan after both attacks.

The three provinces border Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan in Pakistan. The Taliban, led by Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan and the Haqqani family in North Waziristan, use the tribal agencies as bases to attack US and Afghan forces.

US forces have singled out the Haqqanis as a major threat in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj Haqqani is one of the most wanted men in the region because of his close links with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Taliban attacks in eastern Afghanistan have increased by 40 percent since last year, Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101, said during a briefing on June 24. While the attacks are “not really effective in lethality” they are “increasingly more complex."

The strikes are originating in Pakistan, Schloesser said, noting that the “enemy's taking refuge and operating with what I will call some freedom of movement in the border region, and they're using this sanctuary to reconstitute, to plan and to launch attacks into Afghanistan.”

Images from the attack on Combat Outpost Inman.

On the morning of March 23, 2008, an Easter Sunday, a massive blast rocked the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Eight kilometers away at Forward Operating Base Marez, the US Military Transition Team for the 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, prepared for the worst. The blast was so large many thought incoming rounds landed close by inside the base. But a large plume rising in the distance in the northwest made it clear a very large suicide vehicle attack just occurred inside Mosul.

The US adviser team, led by Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Meeker, immediately spun up and accompanied Brigadier General Taha to the blast site – Combat Outpost Inman in the western sector of the city. The team, accompanied by this reporter, arrived at the scene of the attack within one hour of the bombing.

The devastation of the attack was visible immediately upon entering the combat outpost. An al Qaeda suicide bomber drove an armored dump truck with an estimated 10,000 pounds of explosives through the gate and detonated it directly in the middle of the compound.

The ambulance blocking the gate lay on its side. The facades of three buildings that served as the command post and barracks for the Iraqi battalion based there were shattered. Humvees, fuel trucks, ambulances, and even a mine-resistant ambush-protective vehicle were shattered or heavily damaged. A massive crater sat between the three buildings. The Iraqi soldiers were laying out their dead and treating their wounded in the wreckage.

Thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed and 43 wounded in the attack. Civilians in buildings adjacent to the outpost were also wounded. Windows in buildings thousands of feet away were shattered from the resultant pressure wave.

The suicide attack was part of an al Qaeda offensive designed to break the will of the Iraqi security forces in Mosul in an attempt to main a foothold in the northern city. Dozens of such attacks against Iraqi Army and police bases and checkpoints have occurred in Mosul.

Al Qaeda has reached to its cadre of foreign recruits to carry out the suicide attacks. Ninety percent of its suicide bombers are foreign recruits, the US military estimates. The attack on Combat Outpost Inman was carried out by a notorious al Qaeda operative – a Kuwaiti who was captured at Tora Bora in Afghanistan, held in the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and released to the Kuwaiti government in 2005.

An ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee carried out the attack

In early May of this year, news organizations reported a Kuwaiti carried out suicide attacks in Mosul just weeks prior. The reports were based on information from the US Department of Defense and reports from the family. Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay was reported to have conducted a suicide bombing at the Umm Al Rumman police station in Mosul on April 26. Seven policemen were killed and 26 Iraqis were wounded in the attack.

The report created a stir, as Ajmi is the first former detainee confirmed to have conducted a suicide attack against US forces.

Video clip from Al Furqan's latest tape, "The Islamic State is Meant to Stay." The video shows the attack on Combat Outpost Inman and images from The Long War Journal of the aftermath of the attack.

But an al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda tape released on June 23 cast serious doubt on the report that Ajmi was involved in the April 26 attack. The tape, titled “The Islamic State is Meant to Stay,” showed footage of several suicide attacks in Mosul. Towards the end of the tape al Qaeda highlights the attacks of two Kuwaitis, Ajmi and another al Qaeda bomber known as Badr Mishel Gama’an al Harbi.

Ajmi’s image is shown just prior to footage of the attack on Combat Outpost Inman. Video is then shown of the attack from a distance. Images of the aftermath of the attack taken by this journalist are displayed. Al Qaeda in Iraq is clearly stating Ajmi was behind the March 23 attack on Inman.

Nibras Kazimi, an Iraq expert and a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute who first reported on the tape, confirmed the footage proves Ajmi was behind the March 23 attack in Mosul. “The tape makes it clear that Ajmi performed the Harmat Apartments [the location of Combat Outpost Inman] attack,” Kazimi told The Long War Journal. “Harbi was given credit for the Umm Al Rumman attack on a police station.”

The reason for the confusion of the identity of the bomber is unclear, but Kazimi speculated the family was in the dark on the exact date of the attack, and a name change may have added to the confusion. The press accounts reported Ajmi’s family said he was killed “weeks prior” but they did not give an exact date.

“I think the confusion arose when al Ajmi's family received word that their son had been 'martyred' in an attack in Mosul," Kazimi said. “The family did not specify the date of the attack, maybe they didn't know themselves and people assumed that it was the April 26 attack that they were talking about.“

Ajmi also “changed his pseudonym from Abu Hajer al Muhajir to Abu Juhaiman al Kuwaiti, while the pseudonym of the April 26 attacker was Abu Umar al Kuwaiti,” Kazimi said. “So, the military folks could have heard that some 'Kuwaiti' was behind the April 26 and added this to what al Ajmi's family had said, and erroneously reached the concluded that al Ajmi performed the April 26 attack.” The blast at Combat Outpost Inman was so large that the bomber’s remains were never recovered, so a DNA test was never performed.

Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, was behind the attack on Combat Outpost Inman.

“A Taliban operative” who fought at Tora Bora

US military’s summary of evidence memo used at his hearing at Guantanamo Bay states Ajmi admitted to being a Taliban operative who went to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. Ajmi admitted to going absent without leave from the Kuwaiti military after he was denied permission to travel to Afghanistan. Ajmi “wanted to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan.”

Upon his arrival in Afghanistan, Ajmi was “issued an AK-47, ammunition and hand grenades by the Taliban” and fought against the US-backed Northern Alliance in the Bagram region. As the Taliban suffered defeats, Ajmi “retreated to the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan and was later captured as he attempted to escape to Pakistan.” The battle of Tora Bora was the last stand for al Qaeda and the Taliban. The terrorists covered the retreat of the senior leadership cadre, including Osama bin Laden.

“Committed to Jihad”

The US military determined that Ajmi was “committed to Jihad” due to his past statements, his behavior while in detention, and his activities in Afghanistan. The US military said Ajmi was “a continued threat to the United States and its allies.”

Ajmi told his captors at Guantanamo that before his case went to trial, he wanted it to be known that “he now is a Jihadist, an enemy combatant, and that he will kill as many Americans as he possibly can.” Ajmi was “constantly in trouble” due to his “aggressive and non-compliant” behavior while in detention, the military said.

Despite the assessment that Ajmi was still a threat, the US transferred him to Kuwaiti custody. When asked to provide the “primary factors favor release or transfer” the US military responded “No information available.” This determination is “highly unusual,” said al Qaeda expert Tom Joscelyn, who is working with The Long War Journal on a project that analyzes the history of the known detainees at Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Detainees who are released or transferred always have information in the primary factors that favor their release or transfer from Guantanamo section, Joscelyn said.

The Kuwaitis promptly tried Ajmi, and he was acquitted and released from custody. Three years later, Ajmi traveled to Iraq via Syria along with a fellow Kuwaiti, and subsequently murdered 13 Iraqi soldiers in Mosul.

Denying links to al Qaeda

Despite admitting to fighting with the Taliban and al Qaeda at Bagram and Tora Bora and his vow to kill Americans, Ajmi denied any links to terrorist groups during his tribunal session. Instead, Ajmi denied he went AWOL. He claimed he was never in Afghanistan, but went to Pakistan to “learn and memorize the Koran.” He said he only made the statements “under pressure and threats.”

In letters sent to the Guantanamo tribunal, members of Ajmi’s family said he “is a valued member of the family and his community, and as such does not pose an ongoing threat to the United States or its allies.” He was described as a valuable member of his family who loved animals and cared for others.

But Ajmi’s denials and claims of abuse and torture are directly out of the al Qaeda handbook, an “18-chapter manual that provides a detailed window into al Qaeda's network and its procedures for waging jihad - from conducting surveillance operations to carrying out assassinations to working with forged documents.” One section of the manual directs captured operatives to "insist on proving that torture was inflicted" and to "complain of mistreatment while in prison" in order to discredit the captors.

Ajmi’s lawyers and supporters claim he was driven to jihad after his detention and “torture,” which has never been proven. But his supporters never answer the question as to how purported mistreatment at a US military prison justified Ajmi’s decision to carry out a suicide truck bomb attack against fellow Muslims in Iraq. Nor have they addressed Ajmi’s admission of fighting alongside the Taliban at critical battle of Tora Bora. Instead, the word of a known suicide bomber and avowed jihadist is taken at face value while the US military is blamed for the actions of a known terrorist.  Tuesday, July 1, 2008


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