What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 30, 2007

Jack Kelly Sunday

Let's just dive in head-first, shall we?

Did you know we're winning the war in Iraq? That's what Jack Kelly says in this week's column. This is what he said:
Back in 2006, when we were perceived to be losing it, the war in Iraq was voted the top news story in the AP's annual poll. But now that we're winning, the war in Iraq has fallen to third in the AP poll for 2007, behind the massacre at Virginia Tech last April and the mortgage crisis. [emphasis added]
And General Petraeus did it.

In all of American history, only a handful of generals -- Grant and Sherman in the Civil War, MacArthur with the Inchon landing in the Korean War -- have turned a war around in so short a time as has Gen. David Petraeus. And no one has done it with so few casualties, or so little civilian "collateral damage."

What has happened in Iraq since the troop surge began about this time last year is a tribute to the kindness and the humanity as well as to the courage and skill of U.S. soldiers and Marines. And to the genius and leadership of David Petraeus. The surge strategy was mostly his idea, and he's implemented it brilliantly. [emphasis added]

So Jack's on the record with this. Ok fine. Taking a closer look at who he quotes (and why) we can see that Jack isn't as careful with his writing as he probably should be. Take his first quotation:

Radical Islamists are driving Christians from the Middle East, said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

"From Morocco to the Persian Gulf, we are seeing the rapid erosion of Christian populations, thought to now number no more than 15 million," Ms. Shea wrote in National Review. "The extinction of these ancient church communities will lead to ever more extremism within the region and polarization from the non-Muslim world."

He follows that immediately with this:

There's one Middle Eastern country where the reverse is happening. Thousands of people attended Christmas services in Baghdad this year. Most of the worshippers were, of course, Christians. But in the pews with them were prominent Muslim clerics, both Sunni and Shia.

You'd think, just as I did, that the third paragraph is somehow connected to the quotation of the first and second, right? The information found in the third is actually from another (unsourced by Jack, by the way) article from the Scotman.

More about that in a little bit.

I want to point out that what Shea writes a little later in her article at the National Review Online actually contradicts Jack's thesis. Here's what she writes:

Over half of Iraq’s one million Christians have fled since a coordinated bombing of their churches in August 2004 was followed by sustained violence against them. A Catholic Chaldean bishop raised the possibility last month that we may now be witnessing “the end of Christianity in Iraq.” Anglican Canon Andrew White, who leads a Baghdad ecumenical congregation, agrees: “All of my leadership were originally taken and killed — all dead,” he asserted in November.

Iraq’s Christian community, which dates from the Apostle Thomas, is not simply caught in the cross hairs of a sectarian civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. It is targeted for its non-Muslim faith — a reality U.S. policy fails to acknowledge. An extremist Sunni fatwa issued to Christians this year in a Baghdad neighborhood could not be clearer: “If you do not leave your home, your blood will be spilled. You and your family will be killed.'”

The end of Christianity in Iraq - a phrase left unmentioned by Jack Kelly who wants us to believe that the success of the surge has brought Christians back to Iraq.

So where did J-Kel get the part about Christians returning to Baghdad for Christmas?

Here - take a look at the rest of that article:

As the suicide bombers struck to the north, thousands of Iraqi Christians picked their way through checkpoints and streets lined with concrete blast walls in Baghdad on their way to packed churches for Christmas Mass.

The country's small Christian community took advantage of lower violence in recent days to turn out in numbers unthinkable a year ago.


The pews were almost full and still more people streamed in. Outside, police armed with automatic rifles manned a checkpoint at the corner of the narrow street, searching every passing car for possible bombs.

Christians have often been the target of attacks by Islamic extremists in Iraq, forcing tens of thousands to flee. Many of those who stayed were isolated in neighbourhoods protected by barricades and checkpoints.

So it's not, as Jack Kelly informed us, that Christians were streaming back into Iraq because of the surge, it's that the security brought by the surge has allowed those who didn't flee some new level of protection.

But what happens when the surge subsides?

Mean while, back in the real world:

In a message to his troops, [General David Petraeus] wrote: "A year ago, Iraq was racked by horrific violence and on the brink of civil war.

"Now, levels of violence and civilian and military casualties are significantly reduced and hope has been rekindled in Iraqi communities. To be sure, the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done."

And something for Jack Kelly to chew on:
Although the security situation has improved this year, U.S. commanders have been careful not to declare victory after years in which their statements were often seen as overly optimistic.
But didn't Jack Kelly say we were winning? Why are those US Commanders such defeatists?

Because maybe things have gotten somewhat better, but they're still fragile, reversable and on the whole, still not so good:

Figures supplied at the news conference, however, showed that the number of suicide car bomb and suicide vest attacks is starting to creep up again after reaching a low in October.

Two suicide bomb attacks on U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrols killed at least 33 people in the northern city of Baiji and in the city of Baquba on Christmas Day. Ten people were killed in a car bomb blast in central Baghdad on Friday.

War is over (if you want it)


Bram Reichbaum said...

I couldn't believe he didn't at least pay lip service to the idea that military progress, such as it is, means EL ZILCHO without political progress. Didn't we establish that years ago? Does anyone dispute it? Are we a smidgen of an iota of a smenth closer to bringing the troops home than we were FOUR YEARS AGO?

Oh wait -- he doesn't WANT the troops home, or the war "over", does he? He wants to continue waging Western Jihad until evil is abolished from the earth, the One Ring is destroyed, and American security contractors occupy all the land from Pakistan to Spain, right? Then he's correct. We ARE making excellent progress. Yippee Kaiay.

C.H. said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry reading this...

First of all, is your deranged plan of "getting the hell out of there" going to save Iraq's Christians? If you think a handful of bombings every week is bad, just imagine what could happen if we just give up...maybe another rwanda. Look what happened after we "got the hell out" of Somalia back in the 1990's. That country went to hell, and today mortars, gunfire, and bombs are raining down on civilians in Mogadishu on a daily basis.

You conveniently ignore that the al-Anbar province, the far-lefts prime example only a year ago of how bad things were in Iraq has been dramatically turned around due to the bravery of the Iraqis.

Today, it is one of the most stable regions in the country. Just the same, the Iraqis have been controlling basra in peace. Baghdad has remained remarkably secure and christians are flocking back to baghdad. If you go to michael yon's website, you'll find a picute of Iraqi crhistians raising a cross over a newly opened chruch.

Just face it...Iraq is suceeding, the sons and daughters of Iraq have risen up against terrorism from basra to Irbil whether you like it or not. It makes me sick when far-left kooks celebrate the deaths of innocent people in that country to push their agenda of withdrawal and isolationism. For the love of god, can't you just be happy with the good news in Iraq? Can't we work together to make it a better place?

Instead, your blinding rage toward George Bush has affected your better judgement.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Instead, your blinding rage toward George Bush has affected your better judgement.
This would imply that we HAVE better judgement to be affected, correct? That would put us far ahead of the Bush Administration. Their judgement was that they should lie us into a war for no good reason, fight it badly for four years, kill off about 1,000 brave young Americans each year, deal out death to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and displace millions of them.

You have cause and effect reversed, as do all you whackos who think that Bush can do no wrong even as he insures the poverty of you kids and grandkids. We don't want to lose the war because we despise Mr. Bush. We have a "blinding rage" for him because he has lost the war. Repeatedly. Tragically. Corruptly. Despicably.

If you need something to make you sick, consider this: The terrorists that you crow about being contained after four years were American imports into Iraq. So a million dead Iraqis later, we're winning this war? Your definition of winning, like your values, is disgustingly twisted.

Carolyn said...

19 US casualties in Dec 2007. Lowest of any month since the war began 5 years ago. You don't want to admit that at least some progress is being made???

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Progress? Prior to 2003 there were no Americans dying in Iraq. So is it progress compared to the complete holocaust we were enjoying three months ago? Sure. Is it progress compared to February of 2003? Why don't we ask the children of those 19 casualties how much they enjoy the progress of losing their parents?

Another thing. The surge is over in a month or two -- not because Bush is wising up -- as if. No, it has to end because we're running out of troops. Will you call it a defeat when causualties jump again? No, I didn't think you would.

Thanks for playing.

C.H. said...

Prior to 2003, Iraq was a state run by total fear. Anyone who dared to criticize Saddam's rule was killed, women were raped by the republican guard, and truckloads of political opponents were being executed and buried in mass graves. Iraqi money was flowing to Palestinian Jihadists launching daily suicide attacks on Israel, and the Fedyeen was torturing all those who dared not to submit to Saddam's brutal rule. Uday and Qusay were running around the country brutalling murdering anyone they felt like. Saddam's campaign of genocide topped over 1.3 million people, I think you should at least admit that pre-war Iraq was not the oasis of peace, prosperity, and happiness you envisioned it as.

Do you remember the pledge of "never again" the world made after the Holocaust? Time after time we have betrayed it ie rwanda, cambodia, Darfur, Congo, Somalia, and of course, your buddy Saddam Hussein. By going into Iraq, we did the right thing. Sadly, the effort was sabotaged by Al-Qaeda, Iran, and other extremists, but thats why we need to stay and defeat them to give the Iraqis the freedom they desire.

Not Shitrock said...


When did Shitrock ever say that Iraq was an "oasis of peace, prosperity, and happiness"??

Saddam was (and no one here has ever said otherwise as far as I know) a beast among men.

But you're guilty of a little historical revisionism, I'm afraid. The impetus for the war in Iraq was NOT to liberate the Iraqis but to stop Saddam from handing the WMD that we knew we had using the connections that we knew he'd made over to al-Qaeda. We had to stop them from attacking us again like they did on 9/11.

Don't you remember?

Abd it was all a lie. All the death and misery in Iraq after the invasion of 2003 happened because your buddy George W. Bush lied to the American people.

Doesn't that anger you?

It should.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: This is hilarious. You lefties are so tied up in hating Bush you cannot recognize success when you see it. LMAO nothing further needs be said except LOL LOL LOL.

not shitrock said...

John K:

Still no comment about getting the story of Major Andre COMPLETELY WRONG, huh?

Well if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't want anyone to know I'd gotten spanked either.


I win!

Anonymous said...

John K. says: LMAO, shitrock you had no idea of who he was and got Gen Washington's actions wrong. I know why you lefties are upset over the success in Iraq. "As violence falls in Iraq, cementary workers feel the pinch." LMAO at the left and especially you shitrock.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Poor Wingnuts. They can't even admit when they are totally wrong. They can't recognize when their stupidity is being ignored. They can't ever change their minds about having a liar and a traitor for their leader.

But that's OK. They make up for their failures by being good at laughing at dead soldiers.

C.H. said...

I'll give you one thing,

I wish GWB had used the humanitarian reasons as justification for going into Iraq.

However, none of that matters anymore. Your "Bushed lied people died so get the hell out" argument is meaningless because all that matters is helping the Iraqis in their fight against terrorism.

Instead, you people celebrate the deaths of innocent people in that country because it helps your deranged agenda of creating a Clinton/Obama/Reid/Pelosi government that takes its orders from moveon.org and far-left kook blogs like this one.

Fillippelli the Cook said...

"To help the Iraqis in their fight against terrorism"? I love that one. Oh, yes, it's the all-powerful AQI that's causing all of the problems. Not the civil war, not the strife between sunnis and shiites (the former of which were arming to the gills - can't wait to see how that turns out!). You just ignore all of the intelligence reports that say we are creating MORE terrorists with this war, destroying our armed forces and ability to fight real terrorists, ignore that we have abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban, that we have directly enabled tremendous instability and an autocratic regime in in the NUCLEAR ARMED Pakistan.

I also love the "I wished GWB had used humanitarian reasons..." comment. WTF does that even mean? You wish the president hadn't LIED about launching a war? You wish President Cheney and his little lapdog GWB hadn't twisted and lied about intelligence to start a war that Surefire Dickey has wanted to launch since the mid-90s? How humble of you.

And none of the Dubya ass-lickers ever seem to really care about the humanitarian crises in other parts of the world. If humanitarian reasons are sufficient to launch a war, why aren't we in Darfur right now? Why aren't we in North Korea? Why aren't we in Cuba, for that freaking matter?

"Winning" by your definition is killing enough American soldiers and innocent Iraqis to show a statistical decline in deaths and attacks (which even then you can't do). Without a single shred of evidence of progress on the political front, the only way we can continue to "win" is just more death, more money thrown down the toilet to corrupt contractors, more soldiers committing suicides at record rates, more record high divorce rates among married soldiers, more children who will grow up in one-parent households while the surviving parent has to battle the Pentagon to get the full benefits he/she is owed.

So, yes, you are absolutely right. By almost no measure are we really winning, but we can cherry pick one or two that can be loosely defined as "progress," and for that, we should be grateful to our idiot president and his divine leadership. Happy New Year's to the 24 percenters. The rest of you traitorous lot should be locked up in Guantanamo.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

I wish GWB had used the humanitarian reasons as justification for going into Iraq.

Actually, he tried that first. The American people said "NO" quite emphatically, so he had to gin up the WMD lies.

It's true that Bush lied and hundreds of thousands died, but I agree with you that it doesn't matter because no one has the balls to hold him responsible. What does matter is whether we will perpetuate the hideous effects of his ill-gotten war, continue to deplete our military, continue to kill off the flower of our youth, or whether we will finally renounce his lies and leave the Iraqi people to decide their own fate.

Apparently, you believe the answer is that the Iraqi people can't do it, can't be trusted with their own destiny. You believe that more Americans have to die, more tens of billions have to flow into the hands of Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater, more dithering by the inert, inept, and immoral Iraqi government must be supported.

I don't believe any of that crap. I say hold Mr. Bush to his word. He said the surge was to give them time and space to form a democracy. He said the surge would succeed in producing a political answer. Well, it has produced a political answer. The answer is that the Iraqis are unable to form a democracy and not particularly able to cooperate in doing anything other than killing American kids.

It's sick, and it must be stopped as quickly as we can get some sane, competent people into the White House. That will probably not be for another 20 years.

Anonymous said...

John K;

Again you've made an error. I am NOT Shitrock. That's why I sign my name "not-Shitrock."

And you're the one who got it wrong about Major Andre.

Didn't you say he was executed without a trial?


Wasn't there a trial?


Weren't you using that episode in American history to make Shitrock look like he didn't know enough American history?


Doesn't the fact that you got it all wrong make you look foolish?



I win!

C.H. said...

It's amazing how the far-left lashes out so violently as its Bush lied/general betrayeus/get the hell out attitude slips into its death throws.

It makes me sad that you people are upset over the decline in violence in Iraq. Reports continue to show that violence has fallen dramatically and daily life has returned to normal in Baghdad. Sadly, you people want to block the message of peace and prosperity, because the car bombings and carnage help you score points with voters, who by the way, are far more fascinated with Britney Spears than anything in the Arab world.

It's pathetic really, that coverage of the war has fallen almost as dramatically as the violence in Baghdad. MSNBC is no longer leading with stories of how bad things are in Iraq, and instead are trying to keep people from hearing about the good news...


Because they need failure in Iraq to ensure a democratic victory in '08. If I am wrong, then why isn't the today show doing its daily hit-piece live from Iraq starring Richard Engal.

I also love how the left conveniently ignores the other conflicts in the world, like Somalia, where an Islamic insurgency just as ferocious as the one in Iraq is killing people every day. Why don't you care? because it contradicts your beliefs that everything bad in the world is george bush's fault. Conflicts like Somalia, Algeria etc. can only be blamed on terrorism, and Bush lied people died doesn;t come in handy there does it?

How anyone can deny that Iraq is getting better and that AQI triggered the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq by bombing Shiite targets is beyond me.

The only logical explanation is that you don't want it to work because you are so deeply ravaged by Bush derangement syndrome.

So pathetic and so sad that it has reached this point.

It really is...

Schmuck Shitrock said...

What's pathetic is that the right wing holds the rather bizarre position that "only" 22 American deaths and "only" 36 American wounded is more than acceptable, it's good news. This in December of a year that saw still another peak in American deaths and dismemberment in Iraq.

What's pathetic is the rage that Wingnuts display when it is pointed out that the surge was a complete failure in its stated goal, viz. to give the Iraqis time and space to get its political act together. As Bram pointed out, "military progress, such as it is, means EL ZILCHO without political progress."

What's pathetic is the blind, fanatical loyalty that a minority of Americans display to an Administration that lies to them, picks their pockets, and impoverishes their children -- all to further enrich the wealthiest of the wealthy in the US and Saudi Arabia.

What's pathetic is that radical reactionaries throw up strawmen about insurgencies around the world -- the kind of insurgencies that have been arising since the dawn of civilization -- and claim that these are proof of the wisdom and divinity of a drunken, drug-addled military deserter who was appointed to the presidency by his fellow rich buddies on the Supreme Court.

What's pathetic is the way benighted followers of a would-be despot believe his claim that the only way he can keep them safe is to monitor their phone calls, install surveillance cameras, and do torture and murder in their name.

There is plenty of political pathos in this country, all right. It's so sad that many are unable to recognize themselves as its source.

So when those clueless Republicans ask whether it would be proper to laugh or cry, here's the answer: We all should cry. Those of us who live in the reality-based world will continue to laugh at you.

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