Mark Alexander / April 4, 2003

Tightening the Noose

According to a search of print-media archives, the word “quagmire” has occurred more than 800 times in articles about progress on the warfront with Iraq since hostilities commenced March 19. And it has been uttered by 24-hour news-cycle talkingheads more times than can be counted – second only to “shock and awe.” Fortunately, the only things these Leftmedia mouthpieces do consistently is get it wrong!

“Destination: Baghdad,” President George Bush declared Thursday at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina: “Our Armed Services have performed brilliantly in Operation Iraqi Freedom. … Having traveled hundreds of miles, we will now go the last 200 yards. The course is set. We’re on the advance. Our destination is Baghdad, and we will accept nothing less than complete and final victory.”

The roads to Baghdad cleared out as the second week of Operation Iraqi Freedom came to a close. Saddam’s “elite” Republican Guard (elite not by virtue of their training but because their uniforms match) had been camping out in the countryside around the city, but the weather turned stormy as U.S. Army and Marine Corps units rained showers of steel and lead on the Iraqi dictator’s prized fighters.

The Baghdad and Medina Divisions of the Republican Guard, positioned to the southeast and southwest of the Iraqi capital respectively, were degraded so severely by midweek that they were “no longer credible forces,” according to DoD spokesman Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Army 3rd infantry decimated the Medina forces, while 2,500 of the Baghdad Division surrendered to the Marines.

Of note, advancing U.S. troops discovered an abandoned Iraqi position containing thousands of boxes of an unidentified “white powder,” together with documents in Arabic giving instructions on how to engage in chemical warfare, and large amounts of atropine – a nerve agent antidote. Probably just infant formula….

U.S. troops took control of Saddam … uh, make that the newly renamed Baghdad International Airport, and have taken up siege positions in a ten-mile perimeter around the city, from which they will launch operations over the next three weeks to take control of Baghdad sector by sector. For at least a week, according to our sources, special-ops units have been disabling or demolishing high-profile military targets all around the capital, including Saddam’s presidential palaces, where troves of intelligence have been retrieved. “The dagger is clearly pointed at the heart of the Baghdad regime,” declared Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks.

In response to the rapid march on Baghdad, Iraqi regulars have adopted tactics straight out of the Jihadi terrorist handbook. On Saturday, a man driving a taxi at a checkpoint near Najaf waved to American soldiers for help, then detonated explosives, murdering four of them.

Imam Sayyid Mohammed Barkir, a respected Shi'ite Muslim cleric, has disclosed that Saddam’s savage paramilitary forces have been forcing Iraqi civilians into performing such asymmetrical attacks under threat to their families. Imam Barkir claims that the Saturday car-bomb attacker participated only under the duress of threat to his very young children. He further charges that the Fedayeen Saddam terror squads forced 13 women and children into a van with the driver ordered to speed through the U.S. Army checkpoint near Najaf; after warning fire, the soldiers shot into the van, killing seven and wounding two of the passengers.

Among the 11,000 Iraqi prisoners of war and “enemy combatants” (the same designation given to al-Qa'ida fighters captured in Afghanistan) are many Fedayeen, who have shielded themselves with Iraqi civilians while firing on allied troops, faked surrenders and formed “death squads” to punish Iraqi regulars tempted to give up the fight.

Regarding the few coalition POWs in Iraq’s hands, 19-year old PFC Jessica Lynch, who was captured along with 12 others after an ambush of the Army’s 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, was freed in a daring assault by U.S. Special Forces. Unfortunately, the bodies of 11 executed men, yet to be identified, were also recovered. PFC Lynch suffered severe injuries and abuse at the hands of her captors.

On the northern front of the war with Iraq, the discovery of documents connecting the Iraq-based terrorist group Ansar al-Islam to al-Qa'ida have strengthened the Bush administration’s case for the link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Kurdish infantry reinforced by U.S. Special Forces and air support took the Ansar compound this week as a part of their push south toward Baghdad. Among the documents discovered was a phone directory containing the names and locations of so-called Islamic “activists” around the world, a number of whom are based in the U.S. and Europe, as well as a Kuwaiti cleric and the Yemeni minister of religion.

But where is Waldo? Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that there are no indications that Saddam Hussein or a centralized senior command is directing Iraqi forces: “We watch the actions of the units, the Iraqi units on the battlefield, as we pay attention to our intelligence systems, that there is no evidence that there is senior leadership giving guidance to the field, and there’s no evidence of coordinated actions on the battlefield by the various units.”

Saddam has not appeared “live” anywhere since March 19th. Shucks, even his trusty impersonators have disappeared. Surely, if he has not already met a violent end and is a guest of Assad at, say, a plush resort hotel on the Mediterranean in Latakiya, Syria, he could at least have his photo taken holding today’s New York Times!

Our campaign to liberate the spirit of the Iraqi people could be bolstered if Saddam’s lifeless body was hung high in Baghdad’s central square so all could see he is truly dead. Twenty years of ruthless tyranny and torture perpetrated by Saddam and his Ba'ath Party have left most Iraqis terrified of every shadow. Our failure to support the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings at the end of the Gulf War, Part 1, is a major factor in the reluctance of Iraqi civilians to fight for their own freedom.

One example: A reporter for Saudi Arabia’s English daily newspaper the Arab News pulled aside a young Iraqi from a food-distribution line where he had been chanting, “With our blood, with our souls, we will die for you, Saddam,” in front of TV news crews. But he explained his actions to the print journalist: “There are people from Ba'ath here reporting everything that goes on. There are cameras here recording our faces. If the Americans were to withdraw and everything were to return to the way it was before, we want to make sure that we survive the massacre that would follow…. In public we always pledge our allegiance to Saddam, but in our hearts we feel something else.”

To that end, President Bush offered a message for the Iraqi people Wednesday: “The people of Iraq have lived in this nightmare world for more than two decades. It is understandable that fear and distrust run deep. … I give this pledge to the citizens of Iraq: We’re coming with a mighty force to end the reign of your oppressors. We are coming to bring you food and medicine and a better life. And we are coming, and we will not stop, we will not relent until your country is free.”

Quote of the week…

“By our actions, we serve a great and just cause: We will remove weapons of mass destruction from the hands of mass murderers. Free nations will not sit and wait, leaving enemies free to plot another September the 11th, this time, perhaps with chemical or biological or nuclear terror. And by defending our own security, we are freeing the people of Iraq from one of the cruelest regimes on Earth. … The objectives we’ve set in this war are worthy of America, worthy of all the acts of heroism and generosity that have come before. Once again, we are applying the power of our country to ensure our security and to serve the cause of justice. …May God bless our country and all who defend her. Semper fi.” –President George Bush

The BIG lie…

This week’s “Primo-Prevaricator” Award: “Our Constitutional imperative, to ‘provide for the common defense,’ has not been fully realized. As a result, our people remain vulnerable, nearly as vulnerable as they were before 8:56 a.m. on September 11.” –Sen. Ms. Hillary Rodham-Clinton-Rodham

On the Left…

From the “Useful Idiots” File, while Army PFC Jessica Lynch was bravely enduring all manner of torture and other assorted indignities, NBC’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “journalist” Peter Arnett was busy chatting on Iraqi state-run television with Lynch’s captors about the U.S. military’s “failed” Iraqi campaign.

Arnett told the enemy: “I’d like to say from the beginning that the 12 years I’ve been coming here, I’ve met unfailing courtesy and cooperation. Courtesy from your people, and cooperation from the Ministry of Information, which has allowed me and many other reporters to cover 12 whole years since the Gulf War with a degree of freedom which we appreciate. … [Baghdad] is clearly…a city that is disciplined, the population is responsive to the government’s requirements of discipline and my Iraqi friends tell me there is a growing sense of nationalism and resistance to what the United States and Britain are doing. … Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance….”

This is the same Peter Arnett who, during the 1991 Gulf War, reported to CNN’s viewers that a destroyed Iraqi chemical weapons factory was really, as Iraq insisted, a “Baby Milk Factory.” Arnett went the extra mile reporting that the factory “…had been producing 20 tons of powdered milk a day and was the only source of infant formula food for children one year and younger in Iraq.”

Peter Arnett was hired by NBC after being fired by CNN in 1998 for fabricating a sensational story purporting that U.S. troops used chemical weapons in Laos during the Vietnam War. After his lie was exposed, Arnett said, “Looking at it in retrospect, maybe I could have asked more questions than I did.” Friend of The Federalist Charles Krauthammer responded, “…[Arnett] is the guy who spends…almost a decade in Iraq since the war in 1991, and never discovered poison gas. But he discovers it in the U.S. military.”

NBC defended Arnett’s treason, claiming his appearance was a “professional courtesy,” and his comments “were analytical in nature and were not intended to be anything more.” But overnight opinion polls caused NBC to re-evaluate its position, and Arnett was fired – in fact, fired from NBC, MSNBC and National Geographic all in the same hour. (That’ got to be some kind of record.)

For his part, Arnett’s first column for his new employer, the Daily Mirror, London’s virulently anti-American tabloid, noted: “I said over the weekend what we all know about the war. … I am still in shock and awe at being fired. I report the truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it.”

Memo to Peter and his Leftmedia cadre: Real journalists asks questions – they don’t answer them; they ask for opinions, they don’t give them; they report the story, they don’t become the story.

From the “Non Compos Mentis” Files…

Taking a “Dumb and Dumber” cue from the Ditsy Tricks, after lead country singer Natalie Maines bad-mouthed our campaign against Iraq, pop seductress Madonna has decided not to release her new music video containing images of transvestite soldiers and Iraqi children and grenades being thrown at a George Bush lookalike, saying, “I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.” (And what meaning might that be, Ms. Madonna?)

Speaking of the Ditsy Tricks, Albert Arnold Gore (you may recall, he was once Veep) is back, winning this week’s “Alpha Jacque-ass” award for his comments to a university audience in defense of Ms. Maines. Gore lamented that the Chicks were made to feel “un-American” and regretted that the group has become subject to “economic retaliation” because of their stance on the President and the war. The Alpha Male’s conclusion: “Our best protection is free and open debate.”

Contrary to Gore’s pandering, one might conclude that those taking offense at the lead Chick’s remarks are simply exercising their rights of free exchange by refusing to buy or listen to her music. “I guess for Al it all depends on whose ox is being gored,” opines friend of The Federalist Lyn Nofizger.

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