Friday, March 16, 2007

Dems Hell Bent on Snatching Defeat from the Arms of Victory.
By Frank Antenori
March 15, 2007

Democrats began debate yesterday in the House and Senate to push their fourth plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. This one will begin to withdraw troops in March of 2008 with completion before November 2008 (A rather convenient date wouldn’t you say?).

Over the past few weeks, I have been in contact with close friends on active duty in the Special Forces that are currently serving in Iraq. They have been emailing me from time to time to keep me up to speed with how things are going.

The emails contained several success stories of interdiction missions along the Iranian border that have help to dramatically reduce Iranian support to the Shia militias. I’ve read about mission after mission in Baghdad and surrounding neighborhoods where Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Light Infantry have secured large portions of the city by rooting out the enemy. They also no longer abandon it to return to their fire base, they hold it, along with an ever improving Iraqi Army.

Some of it has even made the news. Many of you may have recently read in the news about the dramatic decrease in sectarian violence, down almost 50% compared to last month. How about the news coming out of Sadr City? Once the strong hold of Muqtada al-Sadr, the city is now quiet and our troops are meeting little to no resistance.

You may have also heard that al-Sadr himself is nowhere to be found; many of his top lieutenants have been killed, captured or fled to Iran. The “death squads” are no longer operating freely in the city, replaced by kids playing soccer and people shopping. Americans have also reached an agreement with Shia leaders in the city that will allow American forces to remain for as long as it takes. How can that be? I thought they wanted us out?

There’s other news like the tribal leaders in Ramadi, tired of the violence, are now helping the new Iraqi police and the U.S. military bring peace to the province by turning in foreign fighters and insurgents. Then there’s the change to the rules of engagement (ROE) recently implemented by General Petraeus that has untied the hands of our soldiers and instituted a policy of “no sanctuary” for the enemy. In the last three weeks, U.S. forces have relentlessly hunted down, killed and captured well over 1000 insurgents and terrorists, including the #2 al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq.

I’ve also been in close contact with a former commander of mine who is now a Colonel working in the Pentagon for the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He has the job of providing intelligence summaries to members of Congress who ask for them and assists with preparing the weekly, highly secret, briefings on the current situation in Iraq to the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (HPSCI).

My Colonel friend also told me that the HPSCI briefings have been showing steady progress and clear indications that the surge is working. By the questions he’s asked by committee members and their staff, he believes many Democrats are either refusing to accept that things may actually be getting better, or are outright ignoring the information. He mentioned one particular Democrat Congresswoman that caught him in the hallway after a briefing and practically accused him of lying to the committee.

So it is no surprise that Democrats are scrambling to do what ever they can to take the wind out of the sails of the U.S. Military effort in Iraq. In a last ditch effort to appease their allies in, and the rest of the far left, they once again want to give our enemies the hope we’ll cut and run before Petraeus can hunt them down.

The recent spate of Democrat posturing, even though they know none of their ideas stand a chance of passing, shows clear desperation to prevent the administration from claiming success and a turning tide of optimism in Iraq gaining momentum going into a presidential election year.

So one has to ask where our local Congresswoman will come down on the issue. Will she join the rush to defeat crowd or will she put faith in our troops and General Petraeus? She has a choice of either voting to tell our enemy to “hang in there, we’re about to throw in the towel” or taking the “wait and see” approach by voting no, thus telling our troops she has faith in their ability.

I have a funny feeling, knowing Ms. Giffords has made a deal with the devils of her party in exchange for key committee assignments, that she will have no choice but to jump on the “you can’t win because we won’t let you” band wagon and vote in favor of the now camouflaged John Murtha “Slow Bleed” plan.

Many in the business community that supported her campaign recently got a taste of Aesop’s fable: “The Frog and the Scorpion.” They bought into the school girl charm and the belief Gabby would be a business friendly moderate but found out the hard way when she voted in favor of H.R. 800. The bill essentially allows Unions to intimidate workers by taking away secret ballots when voting to form a union. It’s no surprise that the measure was endorsed by the Communist Party and Gabby’s close friend Raul Grijalva.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs. "You fool!" croaked the frog (business), "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?" The scorpion (Gabby) shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back. "I could not help myself. It is my nature."

So all of you frogs out there that thought Ms. Giffords was a moderate, don’t be surprised when she jabs her stinger into your back and votes with her fellow scorpions of the far left to once again embolden our enemy, thus sending a message to our troops at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the rest of our brave military that she has lost faith in them.

After all, she’s in Washington now and running with the scorpions of the party of cut and run; they can’t help it, it’s in their nature. A party that can’t stand to see America prevail, a party that has joined Iranian scorpions in condemning our war effort in Iraq. A party of scorpions that wants to abandon our troops in the field; a party hell bent on snatching defeat from the arms of victory.

Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier and veteran of Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Congressional District Eight.


sirocco said...
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sirocco said...

Off the cuff remarks ...

There _is_ good news coming from Iraw right now, and I hope it continues.

Of course, the cynic in me feels compelled to point out we've gone through cycles of this before, where we were "securing neighborhoods" and "clearing areas" and everything was swell and rosy, and children played gleefully and magic fairies spread pixie dust around and everyone was happy ... just to descend back into chaos and violence a few weeks or months later.

I hope I am wrong, but based on past performance I know which way the odds favor.

Further, with a majority (and it's NOT a small majority, it's a large one) favoring getting out of Iraq, if Giffords _were_ to vote that way she _would_ be espousing the moderate position. It is those advocating staying apparently indefinitely (thos like you Frank) who are the "fringe extremists" on this issue.

As for the "lack of resistence" in, say, Sadr City, that's clearly by design. Sadr has openly told his militia to not confront US troops, and that makes complete sense as the militia can't hope to win a heads-up confrontation. So, in standard guerilla fashion, they all go to ground and wait for the "occupiers" to move on before they slin back out of their holes to cause trouble.

The "occupy, hold and expand" approach might very well have worked if the administration had seen the entirely predictible likelihood of ongoing resistence to our presence there, and planned for it from the start. If this approach (and it's the textbook manner for dealing with guerilla wars) had been applied immediately after the fall of Baghdad I think there is a strong likelihood things in Iraq would be far, far better now.

That's not what happend, though. The administration was so wrapped up in it's heroic visions of being greeted as liberators by happy, smiling Iraqis strewing rose petals at the feet of our brave troops, and distracted by the need to get political flunkies into positions of influence rather than actual qualified people to oversee the rebuilding, and making sure companies that donated heavily to Republican coffers got billions of dollars in no-bid contracts for the rebuilding (how has that rebuilding been going again?) that trivial items such as, say, actually having a strategy to deal with the aftermath if things DIDN'T follow the script they were trying to dictate simply fell through the cracks.

Just an example that attempting to fabricate your own reality (to parphrase an administration official from a few years ago) may sound like fun and games, but when you actually TRY it, the real world has this annoying habit of biting you in the ass.

I like the little fable, but I would change the roles a bit ... lets make the Frog our troops, and Antenori (and his ilk) the Scorpian. Antenori's continued insistence on spouting slogans (such as "embolden our enemy", "cut and run", etc.) rather than trying to find real solutions to help our over-burdened, under-rested, under-geared troops is a true stinger in the back to the very men and women he purports to support.

But he can't help himself, it's in his nature.

It's impossible to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" when you are not, in fact, "winning", not by any definition of the term. While some chance of a good outcome in Iraq may remain, it has been on a general downward trend for years now, and a recent uptick doesn't (yet) represent an overall change in direction. Get back to me in four months ... then we'll talk.

Until then, Dem's were clearly elected to a majority with behind a popular sentiment to find some means of dealing with the Iraq war, and it's entirely appropriate for them to do so. They are intended to represent the will of the people, and the people spoke loudly last Nov.

Anonymous said...


I would say that Mr. Antenori knows a little bit more about the Iraq situation than you do, after all he's been there, and not just in the Green Zone.

Framer said...


Frank is right on Gabby Giffords. She ran on specific issues, and she is not moving that way now that she has been elected. I wonder how much enthusiasm she would have generated among independents if she had used the "Vote for me and I'll vote with Raul Grijalva every time!" slogan. I guess we will get to see next election when she will rightly be tagged with that distinction. I think that the voters thought they were getting a Blue Dog rather than a Pelosi Lap Dog.

As far as the surge goes, it appears that the senate is getting its intelligence from the same source that Frank is. As the Senate Resolution for Defeat failed outright, even if they had went with a simple majority.

Additionally, even Hillary is admitting that there would still be a role for US soldiers in Iraq if she were president. She has to be seeing something different than the other Democratic presidential contenders are seeing, and knowing how focus group driven the Clintons are, you can bet that she is connecting dots somewhere rather than operating from the strength of her convictions.

As with Frank I believe that the major change is with the rules of engagement:

"In the last three weeks, U.S. forces have relentlessly hunted down, killed and captured well over 1000 insurgents and terrorists, including the #2 al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq."

Those are 1001 troublemakers that will not be able to "pop back up." If we continue to make sure that death is the reward for impeding peace in the region, things will continue to change for the better. The more the military is left to handle the war, and the less we see of the State Department, the better things will continue to be.

sirocco said...


Why do you assume I haven't been there as well?


The resolution was never going to pass, and it had nothing to do with intelligence comig from Iraq, but rather restrictions regarding timelines. It's a specious argument, the result was not created by the cause you propose.

I am aware of Hillary's remarks, but that's just reality -- we are likely to have troops in Iraq regardless of who takes over in 2008.

I conceded in my response I think the latest approach is the one with the greatest chance of success. I just wish it had been tried three years ago.

x4mr said...

Well, for what little it is worth, I am far more pessimistic than any of these remarks as well as the original post by Frank.

For the record, I respect all of the folks posting here. For a sample of the folks I do not respect, go to the Star and read the 144 comments posted by folks with an opinion on the Cats loss to Purdue.

I'm sorry, Frank, but I have lost all confidence in the head of the fish, and the fish rots from the head. I am not speaking of Bush per se, but the top machinery and whatever names this concept implies. Over a beer, we would probably agree that the military objectives at hand and the "true task" at hand can be accomplished, but I also have some military folks that talk to me. They have nothing good to say. NOTHING.

You have your sources and I have mine. Mine are solid negative.

Is this a war, or is it a business venture?

x4mr said...

If it is a business venture, then a quick victory is not the objective, since this will reduce overall profits. The objective would be the sequence of events that maximizes that income generated for those running the project.

Sending in the proper number of troops up front and slamming this thing proper would generate far less revenue than a protracted engagement at millions of dollars per day.

Regarding Giffords, she is in CD 8. If she is the left extremist you suggest, they will crucify her in the next election.

sirocco said...

Appropos of nothing, I saw something this morning I wanted to write about, and since I have no blog of my own I am going to take over yours briefly, I hope you don't mind ... I posted this in a thread at x4mr's blog as well.

I saw an article this morning declaring the "serious" presidential candiates are looking to raise $250K in donations as we approach the Mar. 31 filing deadline. $250K a day.

Put another way, that's more than $75 million by the end of 2007 ... with the really BIG money coming in 2008.

I recall speculation back in December that winning candidates were likely to spend $100 million before Nov. 2008, and that figure was bandied about with a bit of horrified fascination. Now, that figure looks like it may not amount to half of what the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees may spend ... and this doesn't include what the eventual losers in the primaries will spend.

This is insane. Truly insane. Think about what $200 million might do to help provide services at Walter Reed for example.

I am becoming increasingly convinved that if the aftermath 2008 elections doesn't see real, meaningful election spending reform it may never happen. If the electorate isn't going to be disgusted enough by then, when will it ever be?

I don't pretend to have a well-thought out proposal, but I have some notions I wanted to throw out for debate anbd criticism.

1. Enact a hard spending cap for national elections. Have some non-partisan board do a study and come up with some maximum figures a candidate can spend for Presidential, Senatorial and Congressional races. Maybe $100 million for Presidential, $15 million for Senate races and $5 million for House races.

After these initial figures are set, they are adjusted for inflation after every election. So, the Congressional amount is adjusted every two years, Presidential every 4, Senatorial every 6.

2. No advertising for or against a candidate except by candidates themselves. Get rid of these 527 groups, make candidates responsible for managing their message.

The negative advertising from such groups got so bad this last election you saw some candidates (NY and PA come to mind) whom the ads were supposed to _help_ publically disavowing the ads.

If there really, truly is a point to be made about a candidate then it is (or should be) the responsiblity of the candidate himself to make it (if it is favorable) or the candidate's opponents (if it is not).

Outside organizations could make information available to campaigns. Maybe even go so far as to create example ads, literature, etc. However, rather than run or print them, they would present them to the campaigns, which would then decide whether or not this was a message their candidate wanted to get behind. If so, the campaign would spend money from it's warchest to distribute the ads.

3. Outside groups _could_ still run ads and literature, but only pure "issue" ads. These would be limited in that they could NOT refer to any candidate, directly or indirectly. They could discuss an issue, and why it might be important to consider in the upcoming election, but no mention of candidates allowed.

Just some off-the-cuff, admittedly knee-jerk thoughts that I have not fully considered, but I would appreciate any responses people might have.

Framer said...


I believe that you are seriously UNDERESTIMATING the cost. I bet the serious candidates will have upwards of 100 million by the end of 2007, and there will be more than a billion spent in the overall race.

I am working on an article about this, believe it or not, and it is not entirely the fault of the candidates. The primary process is becoming so front loaded that advertising will be at a premium, especially in the expensive markets. Buying ads in California is certainly more problematic than buying ads in Iowa and New Hampshire.

That being said, McCain-Feingold 2 is certainly not the answer. What needs to happen is current restrictions need to lessen, and transparency increase. You should be able to spend as much money individually as you wish, and the influence of 527's and non-party PACs should be discouraged. Doners should be identified, quantified, and be tied with their business interests. Additionally, all earmark-type legislation should be signed by the congressperson requesting it so a clear line can be drawn between the earmark and the earmarker's donors.

That is just a start however.

Kralmajales said...

I disagree with this post. I don't think many can tell me what kind of victory this country is looking for in Iraq. The goal has changed umpteen times since the war began and all when the chips got down over and over again.

We have lost this war because the public does not support it. It just plain doesn't and for good reason. We are not willing to give up our men and women and Billions of dollars to police a civil war and to install what will clearly be a Shia regime. This war's unintended consequence is clearly completing the Shia Cresent that our President warned us about (a belt now from Iran-to Iraq-to Syria-to Hezbolah). This experiment completes that cresent.

We sought to build a Democratic government that would allow the Shia majority (alligned very closely with Iran) to control the country. They voted, they control the country. As we saw this happening, we realized that we needed to be sure in a fit of irony that our enemy, the insurgents which are Sunni, has a say in this government...after we toppled them. Even with a "say" they are no where near a majority anbd after 30 years of opressing Shias are now receiving the horrifying payback that comes from a change in regime from dictator to freedom. This experiment can indeed work. Democracy means voting and we are now supporting a government dominated by Shias.

The American people don't support this war and all the cowboys and John Wayne lovers can't make it so. What goal are we hoping to acheive. If the argument is now that we "have to win", we should at least question what it is we are trying to win and why 60-70% of the American public is being ignored.

Are you calling the majority of Americans unpatriotic and anti-freedom? If so, the 30% that support this war need to re-think a bit about what America is all about.

The only palatable argument that I can buy right now is that if we leave more people in Iraq will die. It is the saddest of things. I wonder though if many Americans care when faced with the prospect of the the hundreds of thousands of troops needed to stablize this country and the draft that it would take to do it.

I assure you, my students and their parents will not make this sacrifice. This was never in the best interest of America and that is what should be the standard for putting the lives of our soldiers on the line for. Patriotism and sacrifice should be for a noble cause that protects our freedom. Very few of us here now believe that Iraq is about our freedom.

The crux of freedom is "consent of the governed". The "governed" in this case are being both parties in many ways...and it is not going to be taken lightly in the elections.