Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Six Weeks

Australian hostage Douglas Wood, has been released in Iraq, not through the payment of ransom, but apparently through military action. Here are excerpts from the text of Prime Minister John Howard's speech to Parliament:

Mr Speaker, I am delighted to inform the House that the Australian hostage in Iraq Mr Douglas Wood is safe from his captors. Mr Wood was recovered a short while ago in Baghdad in a military operation that I’m told was conducted by Iraqi forces, in cooperation in a general way with force elements of the United States. He’s now under the protection of the Australian Emergency Response Team in Baghdad. I understand that he is well. He’s undergoing medical checks at the present time. I know that all Australians will be jubilant at this news. ...

I want to place on record the Government’s great appreciation to the officers of the Government who have done such wonderful work. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has displayed superb professionalism throughout this whole incident. The work of Mr Nick Warner who has been the head of the Emergency Response Team has been quite exemplary and I want to pay a special tribute to Nick. He’s an officer who’s known to many of us and he’s done great things for Australia, not only in Iraq, but also in the Solomon Islands. I want of course to thank the Special Forces and the other members of the Emergency Response Team that went to Iraq. Brigadier McCabe and all of the units in Iraq that have been associated with this.

Can I also pay special tribute to the contribution of the Minister for Foreign Affairs who has had the day-to-day carriage of this on behalf of the Government and may I also thank the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Griffith for their understanding at every stage of the difficulties involved and the need for us to unite to save an Australian and this has brought out some of the best things in our people. I also place on record my appreciation for the efforts of the Australian Islamic community and of Sheik Al Hilaly.

Many people have tried, we are overwhelmed with relief, nothing compared of course with the relief that his family must now feel. Can I also say that at no stage has a ransom been paid, at no stage has the Government compromised its position in relation to our commitment to Iraq, the level of our force commitment and I want to reiterate our commitment to the stability and reconstruction of Iraq and to the Iraqi people who are daily, the victims of terrorism and crime.

I did endeavour before making this statement to contact the Iraqi Prime Minister. I'll do so, I hope very shortly to express my thanks for the efforts of his forces and may I record again our thanks to our American friends for their constant support and availability and cooperation, it is a wonderful outcome for this man who suffered so much and it’s a tribute to the work of our Iraqi and American friends that this has come about.

Howard called Wood's family with the good news four and a half hours ago. New.com.au adds:

Mr Wood was kidnapped around six weeks ago by a group calling itself the Shura Council of the Mujahidin of Iraq. News of his ordeal first became public when his captors released a DVD showing him pleading for his life and surrounded by masked gunmen.

Mr Howard said his release would be met with jubilation by Australians who had closely followed Mr Wood's plight over the past weeks. "This man has suffered immensely," he said. "I want on behalf of all of the Parliament to pay tribute to the dignity and strength of his family."

Mr Wood's release comes just days after French journalist Florence Aubenas was reunited with family and friends following her five-month Iraqi ordeal. While there has been speculation France paid a ransom to secure her release, Mr Howard said no ransom had been paid to free Mr Wood'. "At no stage has a ransom been paid," he said. Mr Downer admitted he had not been overly optimistic that Mr Wood would be released. "Very few have been released by military action of this kind," he told ABC TV.

One part of the story which will be contentious is the role played by  Australian Muslim cleric Sheik Al Hilaly, who promised to negotiate the release of Woods but who apparently failed. Tim Blair has described Hilaly's activities in Iraq at some length. The Sheik spent most of May and the early part of June negotiating a release and announced at several points that a deal of sorts had been reached only to rescind his announcements. The most interesting section of Blair's chronology is this:

June 3 “We hope, God willing, that within the next few hours to hear the news of the hostage’s release,” says al-Hilali after attending a Baghdad mosque. In Sydney, Trad reports that the Sheikh has learned Wood was recently moved to a safer location, but could not be released because of ongoing fighting.

June 5 The Sheikh meets Douglas Wood, according to the Federation of Islamic Councils’ Ikebal Patel: “He said to me: ‘I’ve seen him eye to eye’, those were the words he used, eye to eye, it was Douglas.” ... 

June 6 Sheikh al-Hilali tells AP that he hasn’t physically met Wood: “I have seen a recent CD video lasting 12 to 15 minutes where Wood is alive and good and in honest hands. He looked normal and said ‘I am OK, I am fine’ and that he needs help from his family and the government.” The Sheikh adds: “God willing, Mr Douglas will be free in a short time.”

Hilaly (or Hilali if you prefer) left Iraq without negotiating any release at all on June 9. Two possibilities emerge. The most likely scenario is that the Sheikh Hilaly was surveilled until the Australian Emergency Response Team (trust Canberra to give a Special Forces unit the name of an ambulance service) felt there was enough info to signal a go-ahead to an Iraqi rescue force. The less likely scenario, but no doubt one that will be peddled in Europe, who cannot conceive of an alternative, is that Hilaly actually ransomed Wood and arranged for a staged rescue. That's extremely unlikely because Hilaly would have trumpeted a successful release had he been able to arrange one and John Howard would never risk being part of a setup that would effectively put his political career in the hands of an Islamic cleric privy to a "secret deal".

So here's how I think (speculation alert) it happened. Hilaly went to Iraq prepared to ransom Wood and return to Australia the big savior of the helpless kuffar. In good faith. But Hilaly gets dusted down with the latest tracking technology upon arrival in Baghdad ("in cooperation in a general way with force elements of the United States") and leads surveillance to links in the chain. Hilaly leaves Iraq frustrated, but has unwittingly provided key parts of the puzzle, for which John Howard was extremely grateful. Brigadier McCabe, possibly the onsite Aussie crisis manager, makes the judgment that the Coalition knows enough to risk springing Wood and calls Howard, who gives the nod. Or something like that. The Iraqi forces move in and when Howard is told everything went well he gives the big speech in Canberra.

Update

More details from the Associated Press:

Iraqi and American forces spotted a form huddled beneath a blanket when they raided a home in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood Wednesday. The residents insisted it was their ailing father - but the unfazed troops knew they'd found their man: Australian hostage Douglas Wood. Wood, 64, wearing a tan dishdasha, or traditional Arab robe, and with his head shaved, was smiling broadly as he was freed following 47 days in captivity.

Update 2

Tim Blair is all over the Douglas Wood rescue discussing, among other things, the predictable innuendo that Wood had not been rescued but that Australian Muslim cleric Sheik Hilaly had persuaded the "militants" to release the hostage. CNN reported that Wood was found during a routine cordon and search. However,  an Australian newspaper (hat tip: Tim Blair) has a detailed version which coincides, in many respects with the surmise I initially had.

Mr Wood was freed by a military operation in Baghdad after seven weeks in captivity. The U.S.-based engineer was rescued by an elite team of U.S. and Iraqi troops at 8.30am yesterday (Baghdad time) at a house about one hour's drive from the Iraqi capital.

Australian SAS troops working with the Government hostage team also were involved in planning the rescue operation. Well-placed government sources said the authorities were tipped off about Mr Wood's location. "U.S. and Iraqi forces knocked on the door and lo and behold, Mr Wood was there," a source said.

... Keysar Trad, the Sydney spokesman for the Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, last night said it was the sheik who provided the crucial information. The Mufti has campaigned extensively for his release, travelling to Iraq and offering himself in Mr Wood's place.

This squares with the earlier Belmont Club guess that Hilaly provided the crucial information -- without knowing it. Who knows?

78 Comments:

Blogger Buffy said...

The kidnappers and terrorists are suffering from a technology gap. The research centers of the terror networks are manned by people whose main qualification is religious zeal and hatred toward the western world. They are aiming toward a big score with a high body count. By focusing on strategic victories they ignore basic tactics.

Without the coalition presence in Iraq, the west would be playing mainly defense, unable to make direct contact with the enemy to test various tactics. The terror networks, on the other hand, if not tied down in Iraq would be free to experiment on the increasingly dhimmified populations of Europe and Canada.

6/15/2005 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Step by step
Iraqis run the raid. free the hostage. With general assistance from US
The Race is On

6/15/2005 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

The US tactic seems to be to keep the enemy on the defensive by threatening them in their own back yard. The enemy cannot afford to have a stable, democratic, and prosperous Iraq affording a forward base for US forces. A base where they have the ability to send heavy armored columns into Syria, Iran, or Saudi Arabia at will.

So the enemy is pouring their fighters into Iraq to try to cause enough casualties to make us pull out, and in the meanwhile we're draining their resources to the point where it's hard to pull off terrorist strikes in the US

6/15/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"and may I record again our thanks to our American friends for their constant support and availability and cooperation, it is a wonderful outcome for this man who suffered so much and it’s a tribute to the work of our Iraqi and American friends that this has come about."
---
Bah! This Stinks to High Heaven of Australian Unilateralism.
---
"But Hilaly gets dusted down with the latest tracking technology upon arrival in Baghdad ("in cooperation in a general way with force elements of the United States")"
Have these Fascists given the International Journalist Community Notarized Proof of Hilalilary's Consent Form?

6/15/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buffy said...
"The terror networks, on the other hand, if not tied down in Iraq would be free to experiment on the increasingly dhimmified populations of Europe and Canada."
---
Indeed. And in the USA they would be free to do the same with some portion of our population, plus half of the government, and virtually all of the MSM.

6/15/2005 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger jinnderella said...

Truly awesome. ;)
But won't the terrorists be more careful next time about negotiations? Analysis of this scenario will compromise the methods involved.

6/15/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Hepzi said...

While I am glad that he was released, and that the Aussies stood firm, the speculatyed scenario is a little discouraging. Doubtful that moderate muslim leaders will ever again step forward publicly against the islamicist thugs.

Even if not true, I am sure Wretchard's scenario is going to be "perceived fact" in the conspiracy-theory mad ME.

6/15/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Awesome show! We may have reached a tipping point in Iraq where the "law of diminishing returns" makes these types of kidnappings less productive to the anarchists intent on preventing the stabilization of their country - speaking now of the 10% or so of the terrorists who are Iraqui. For the remainder, may it be a bloody death in a foreign land.

And all the while they seem too busy to concentrate very much on the west. Hmmmmmm. So the stupid Bush remains 'lucky'.

6/15/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks for the upbeat analysis and speculation, W. And I don't think we're losing much in terms of future "moderate Muslim" cooperation.

Thinking of Spain, France, Germany, American Democrats - I quote Howard with a big smile:

"Can I also say that at no stage has a ransom been paid, at no stage has the Government compromised its position in relation to our commitment to Iraq, the level of our force commitment and I want to reiterate our commitment to the stability and reconstruction of Iraq and to the Iraqi people who are daily, the victims of terrorism and crime."

Gotta love those Aussies!

6/15/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Kidnapping will be hard to eradicate since in many parts of the region it has been a cottage industry for centuries.What is different now is terrorists get first refusal of the hostage.
It is interesting that this time the hostage wasn't murdered for the traditional snuff movie.Perhaps the terrorists are getting diminishing returns from this,or perhaps the driving force Zarqawi is dead.

6/15/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

11:37 am EST, and CNN just reported on this story.

Their narrative: Iraqi forces basically stumbled across Wood in the desert.

No mention of any sort of military activity at all.

6/15/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

HEY! I didn't post this:

" 11:37 am EST, and CNN just reported on this story.

Their narrative: Iraqi forces basically stumbled across Wood in the desert.

No mention of any sort of military activity at all.

8:39 AM "

6/15/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/15/iraq.australian.hostage/index.html

"Soldiers from the Iraqi army were conducting a pre-planned search in the al-Adel neighborhood of northwestern Baghdad on Wednesday morning when they came upon the two men.

"The soldiers, from the 2nd Battalion 1st Brigade of the Iraqi army, had not been acting with specific intelligence on his whereabouts, the official told CNN."

6/15/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

I guess we can thank blogger's stupid login mechanism that there are two tonys.

6/15/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

buffy is right on:

The research centers of the terror networks are manned by people whose main qualification is religious zeal and hatred toward the western world...

Thing is, the technology gap is even larger than it used to be because we took out so many of those buggers. And a few did have those qualifications. Don't forget, a lot of al Q. volunteers were college grads with engineering degrees and the like. But I'll wager many of them are gone now...gone to flowers, every one...

...only the lame, the blind and the terminally hateful Sunnis are left. The former are strapped into bomb cars so they can't change their minds.

Nonetheless, go Aussies. What a triumph! The Japanese and the Italians could learn a few things here. The French are looong past learning from anyone else's success. Can't even learn from their own failures.

Hey, Jinnji: don't forget one of our great strengths is flexibility in the battlefield. We can make it up as we go along. So they figure out how they were susssed and then expect us to repeat the same response to their ploy. And we don't. Remember Fallujah?

What this does say is that there's been some timidity up to this point, hmmm?

Wish I could send all those guys a beer. But even if I could send it, the Iraqis wouldn't let them drink it. Bizarro world.

6/15/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

I'm with jinnderella on this one, Wretchard:

"But won't the terrorists be more careful next time about negotiations? Analysis of this scenario will compromise the methods involved."

Shhhhhhh.....

6/15/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger romanesq said...

If as the speculative layout of the article is true, it's just fabulous on mutliple fronts. An islamis cleric who seeks to exploit the kuffar is in fact the tool used to bring about the rescue.

And the cleric gets no cash or any credit for his treachery.

You gotta love it!

Thanks again Rikard!

6/15/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

Wretchard wrote earlier about developing some creative ideas in the WoT. This exemplifies one. We should not let the enemy be the only one to make use of certain people or causes; or use misdirection, deception and other psychological strategies to advance our cause.

6/15/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

One can imagine an imam who takes the spot light at an opportune moments such as a Mohammed Al – Jesse Jackson. If a moderate imam exists, let the man speak!

As far as head cutting is concerned, the practice will continue as long as zealots see murder as a right of passage.

In the final analysis, there are some peoples that you really don’t want to piss off, and I would deem the Aussies one of them.

6/15/2005 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

KGB Beirut Retaliation
The Soviets made an excellent case against killing or kidnapping their operatives. The story is back in ’85 the KGB’s brutal retaliation against one of the kidnappers was so brutal and perverse it stopped the kidnappers cold. I suppose that Jihadists would let anybody brutal enough into their club. Violence is a language that terrorists clearly understand.

Recent events shows that the Russian track record remains unbroken –

'Chechnya's exiled former president, wanted by Russia for terrorism and ties to al-Qaida, was assassinated Friday when a bomb blew apart his car as he left a mosque with his teenage son.
Russia's security services denied any involvement in the death of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, 51. But a Chechen rebel group called the slaying "the latest bloody Kremlin crime."
...
The blast occurred one week after a bombing in a Moscow subway killed 41 people and wounded more than 100. President Vladimir Putin blamed Chechen rebels and took a hard line, saying, "Russia doesn't conduct negotiations with terrorists it destroys them."'
http://anticipatoryretaliation.blogspot.com/

6/15/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Tony wrote: " I guess we can thank blogger's stupid login mechanism that there are two tonys."

That's okay, I always like to meet other Tony's.

Besides, now if I post something really crazy, I can blame on the other Tony.

Tony

6/15/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Speaking of "moderate muslim leaders" here in the good ol' USA:

"...the Muslim leadership council known as the Majlis Ash'Shura of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley is standing behind Ali, Imam Isa Abdul-Mateen, the group's secretary, said yesterday afternoon.

"Just because someone else said he did something wrong doesn't necessarily mean he received justice," said Abdul-Mateen, who leads a North Philadelphia mosque. "It's a system known for injustice."

This quote comes in a story about Imam Shamsud din Ali in Philly, who has just been convicted on 22 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy. This was a four-year investigation, with hundreds of wiretaps of the defendant used as evidence against him. But "just because someone else said he did something...." ?

Phila. imam is convicted of fraud

Is this a "moderate Muslim"?

6/15/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

This shows that appeasement never works.

Good military search and capture procedures did the trick. I say keep relentlessly hounding the enemy. Keep them off-balance and force them from hole to hole. Sooner or later they are bound make a misstep.

6/15/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Fabio said...

Yes, in a couple of cases some Italian government official said that the location of the hostage(s) was known, but they did not dare a military action because the hostage(s) would have been put in jeopardy. (It's also a matter of domestic political games)

I wish someone tougher was in charge and ordered the Special Forces to move in as soon as the location was known.

Finally, please, refrain from "dhimmified": it's a horrible neologism, overused and abused, that bears little relation to the real meaning of "dhimma".

6/15/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger ice man said...

I just heard the good news on National Public Radio.

The headline was, "Austrailian Hostage Released"

My first thought was, "oh the terrorists are softening a bit and making nice,.... nice terrorists"

Then the report described the military action.

"Hmmm" I thought, "released is not quite the right word, freed would be more accurate"

It is good to see that NPR is putting to rest those bias claims that are threatening their funding

/sarcasm

6/15/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rory B. Bellows said...

One cannot help but contrast John Howard's behavior with Silvio Berlusconi's.

6/15/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Fabio requested:
please, refrain from "dhimmified": it's a horrible neologism, overused and abused, that bears little relation to the real meaning of "dhimma"...

Neologisms usually sound ugly at first. But they're employed because they work. Ben Franklin wrote a letter of apology back to the old country for his use of the ugly "colonized." But it's still around and for good reason.

What would you like to see substituted? It can be more than one word, but can't contain more syllables than "dhimmified" -- that's always been the point of neologisms, you see. They move the conversation along.

As in "Gitmo"...some Marine was complaining the other day that only someone who'd served there could call it that. Use by anyone else was sheer effrontery (though he used choicer words). Sorry, sir, but Gitmo it is. Short and to the point. But for someone who uses Guantanamo, here's a suggestion for closing it down and moving everyone to Neverland.

Guantanamo Shut Down. Prisoners Moved to Neverland.

Maaan, I wish I'd thought of that.

6/15/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

”Russia doesn't conduct negotiations with terrorists it destroys them” - Putin

wow! There’s man who knows how to get his message across. Short and to the point. I’m in awe. Didn’t know there were such politicians anymore. I suggest we appoint him to head the next EU constitution drafting.

Damn it’s good to see there’s at least one man left in Europe who hasn’t had his balls cut by liberal feel-good media.

6/15/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's a Time Magazine reporter getting ready to do his latest piece where he "takes no sides."
The 20th hijacker is "weirdly innocent" and childlike, and get this:

So are the other 19! AND FURTHER: "WE'LL NEVER GET TO KNOW THEM!!!"
...uh, well yeah.
. THEY'RE JUST CHILDREN! .

Atta was a pretty accomplished child, I'd say.

6/15/2005 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He wants to know about Dinosaurs, and doesn't even really know where Gitmo is.

Boo hoo. ...and they
POURED WATER ON HIS HEAD.
Torture Master Bastards.

6/15/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh yeah,
And then Charlie Rangle wringing his hands over Gitmo, since now every serviceman is scared ....less about how he might be treated.
Over GITMO!!!

6/15/2005 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wife reminds that we should feel for the passengers in those 767's too, since they won't be able to really get to know the innocent children either.

6/15/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rune cannot see or type straight:
Something about,
"Missing his Ration."
. LINK .

6/15/2005 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

~D,

Sean Penn says we should not take the daily chant of
"Death to America!"
By the politicians at the start of each day
"Too Literally"

6/15/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

On Monday, he told an audience at Tehran's Film Museum that such cries hurt prospects for starting a dialogue between Iran and the United States.

6/15/2005 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger David Simon said...

Dhimmified sounds quite dignified, actually. An excellent new word, just in time to be used extensively.

6/15/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oops, that was ~D's, link.
Strike "Ration" comment.

6/15/2005 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rune, you think THAT's bad:
President Vladimir Putin sparked uproar yesterday by saying Africans had a history of CANNIBALISM .
He lashed out at the continent’s past after being challenged about his human rights’ record.

. In an astonishing outburst, Mr Putin said: “We all know that African countries used to have a tradition of eating their own adversaries.
“We don’t have such a tradition or process or culture and I believe the comparison between Africa and Russia is not quite just.”

Tony Blair, who had just finished talks with Mr Putin, was left squirming with embarrassment as the former KGB boss let rip.
Minutes before the outburst, Mr Blair had hailed reaching a deal with the Russian leader on aid and debt relief for Africa.

But Mr Putin’s remarks about cannibalism will be greeted with astonishment in Africa and the wider world, as he will succeed the PM as G8 president next year.
Commission for Racial Equality chief Trevor Phillips said last night: “What a preposterous thing to say. He is at best insensitive and at worst a downright racist.
---
The pair struck a deal after Mr Blair agreed to Mr Putin’s demands that aid was linked to Africa’s move towards democracy.
. African Cannibal Monkeys

6/15/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

~D said...
Ben Franklin wrote a letter of apology back to the old country for his use of the ugly "colonized." But it's still around and for good reason.
.
Then W used the "Crusade" word, then took it back.
...but both later took actions proving that white man does indeed speak w/forked tongue.

6/15/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony said...
I guess we can thank blogger's stupid login mechanism that there are two tonys.
.
Likely story:
Which tony are you claiming to be now?
Everyone here knows that it is the evil other "doug" that flogs the blogs with innanity.

6/15/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

You gotta give Penn some credit for having the courage of his own convictions. Could you imagine standing in front of a bunch of Iranians and suggesting Ixnay on the “Eathday to a MericaAy”! Whoa dude, not cool!

6/15/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

~D said,
" But I'll wager many of them are gone now...gone to flowers, every one...
"
Yeah, the Time guy left out that Atta was a *Flower* Child.
...w/engineering degree.

6/15/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Annoy Mouse,
They're wishing us happy Earthday Now?
Cool!
Penn is more effective than Immam Al-Jesse.

6/15/2005 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Doug,

I was hoping you would ask: "Likely story:
Which tony are you claiming to be now?
Everyone here knows that it is the evil other "doug" that flogs the blogs with innanity."

Here's how I can prove it was not me. The other Tony cited CNN. This Tony would NEVER do that.

Thanks for helping me clear this up. It looks so bizarre in print. Now I know why the cool people on this blog have cool names. Then again, it might make it harder for Big Brother to track me down.

6/15/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Lets admire Putin's words for being tough but remember his execution, no pun intended, leaves a bunch to be desired. After all its his special forces that bungled the rescue of the innocents in the Beslan schoolhouse.

President Bush on the other hand tends to leave us all wishing for more in his words. But his actions are absolutely revolutionary and radical. He doesnt lay out the case that Saddam was allied to Al Queda he simply destroys Saddam. He doesnt lay out the case that Islam is corrupt and a cancer on the world he simply attacks its philosophy at its core by attempting to place governments by the people in positions where they instead of a 1400 year old book rule.

I think we all prefer weak words and strong action to strong words and incompetent action.

Pierre Legrand

6/15/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

What are the chances that it's the same kidnappers who've been responsible for the Filippino (and his ransom), the Italian journalist (and her ransom), the French journalist (and her ransom), and the Aussie (who was still tied up when rescued because of no ransom)?

As has been noted, it *is* a cottage industry in Iraq, Saddam *did* release a whole bunch of just-plain-crooks right before the war, and it strikes me that we may be looking at one tribe or family very much like the Mafia was in Italy. If we can kill or capture a bunch of that particular tribe of kidnappers, maybe the rest of them will go back to school, learn an honest job, or figure out a scam that doesn't have heavily-armed American soldiers kicking your door down and shooting you between your beady little thuggish eyes.

6/15/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Why is everyone using the term "FREED" instead of "RESCUED". It makes it sound like the terrorists had a moment of heart and allowed him to leave on his own.

6/15/2005 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Here's what Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill has to say:

Defence Minister Robert Hill has praised the role of Australian Defence Force special forces in the lead-up to the rescue of Douglas Wood.

Senator Hill confirmed for the first time the presence of special forces - presumably members of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) - as part of the Australian effort to free Mr Wood.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=49571

6/15/2005 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In terms of the "confusion" associated with the Aussie being "stumbled upon" versus "rescued" - aside from the MSM's wordtwisting we should recall that when the USAAF shot down and killed Adm Yammamoto in 1943, fort weeks thereafter the P-38's flew long range missions to the same area in order to give the appearance that they had just "stumbled upon" the two Betty bombers during a new series of patrols. This allowed the Japanese to conclude that their code had not been broken - they had just had a bit of bad luck.
As for the cleric's claim of being instrumental in the rescue effort - remember - the day Paris was liberated every Frenchman suddenly became a long-term member of the underground.

6/16/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

There, I'm the CNN-citing tony and I've changed my Display Name to my usual handle.

6/16/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger ag1 said...

[quote]The residents insisted it was their ailing father -[/quote] Insisted, huh? They should be seriousely questioned. For while it is possible that their claims were out of fear, it is also possible that there is more sinister motives.

6/16/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger NooYawkah said...

Hammorabi seems to believe that our Australian friend was not merely "stumbled upon".

This should be a big morale boost and a PR coup for the Iraqi forces.

6/16/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

6 more dead today. We're WINNING! WE'RE WINNING!

6/16/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey Undertoad,

Thank you for your courtesy and consideration!

6/16/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

As Whatever says: "We're WINNING! WE'RE WINNING!"
Top Zarqawi aide captured in Iraq's Mosul: US



The story goes: "A top aide to Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been captured in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, the US military revealed.

Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, also known as Abu Talha, is "Zarqawi's most trusted operations agent in all of Iraq," a military statement said Thursday.

"This is a major defeat for the Al-Qaeda's terrorist organisation in Iraq. Zarqawi's leader in Mosul is out of business," said US Air Force Brigadier General Donald Alston.

According to the military statement, he surrendered to US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday without a fight in "a quiet neighbourhood in Mosul" after they were led to his whereabouts by "multiple intelligence sources."

"According to former Talha associates, Talha never stayed more than one night at any one residence," the statement added.

Alston, the new top military spokesman, told reporters in Baghdad: "Numerous reports indicated he wore a suicide vest 24 hours a day and stated he would never surrender. Instead Talha gave up without a fight."

Iraqi authorities said recently they had captured one of Abu Talha's most trusted aides and his financial manager, Motleq Mahmud Motleq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raed, in Mosul on May 28.

They had also announced the arrest of another Zarqawi aide in Mosul known as Mullah Mehdi.

Abu Talha is accused of masterminding some of the deadliest attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Mosul. Iraq's third-largest city, it has been a major front for the insurgency since November.

"Talha fell like so many others fall, and that is through a combination of factors that ultimately catch up to him," Alston said.

"In his case like so many others along the way, civilians helped us get closer to him."

6/16/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Declare Victory and Withdraw

Even Republican drums are beginning to pickup the beat.
Time is running out.

"Congressmen Call for Start of Withdrawal from Iraq

Republican congressman Walter Jones says "no one is cutting and running."
The North Carolina lawmaker (left) is part of a bipartisan group of House members that wants President Bush to start bringing US troops home from Iraq by October 1st of next year.

The resolution being introduced in the House doesn't set a target date for complete withdrawal from Iraq.

It is the first such resolution being introduced by lawmakers from both parties. Sponsors say they see a shift in sentiment in the country.

Texas congressman Ron Paul, also a Republican, says the increasing death toll in Iraq is "starting to alarm a lot more" people.

The Bush administration says there can't be a timetable for withdrawal until Iraq's security forces are strong enough to protect their country from insurgents. "

http://www.kyw1060.com/news_story_detail.cfm?newsitemid=47074

6/16/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

From desert rat's news story above:

"The Bush administration says there can't be a timetable for withdrawal until Iraq's security forces are strong enough to protect their country from insurgents."

Perhaps you had a chance to read a Knight Ridder article from earlier in the week that quoted both Gen Casey and the senior US military spokesman in Iraq: Our military will not and cannot defeat the insurgency; hammer it down in one place and it pops up in another; it can only have a political solution.

Can't get any plainer than that.

So our military cannot defeat the insurgents. And the Iraqi security forces of which the White House speaks have, in the near future, less than no hope of doing so.

Then it is fair to ask: Why should we stay beyond the first general elections early next year? Why propose bringing them home starting OCT 06? Why not withdraw to bases, secure our no-fly zones, and begin rotating the majority back in February?

I sure as s*** wouldn't wanna be putting my life directly on the line in a campaign that my combatant commanders had concluded can't be won. And I would hope that their open and frank concession was a sign that soon...I wouldn't have to.

6/16/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Trish,

Could it be that the generals are all towing the Defense/Pentagon line - that the stated plan all along has been to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis?

DoD News Briefing with Secretary Rumsfeld and General Pace 6/14/05

Q: Could we follow on that? What are you hearing from the generals in Iraq? There have been varied reports about the status of Iraqi security forces, whether they're really getting the job done. Some Iraqi commanders are even doubting their own ability to stand up without U.S. forces backing them up.

General Pace, can you give us --

GEN. PACE: Sure, I'd be happy to.

Q: -- a realistic update of what you're looking at now?

GEN. PACE: I'll use one example. Let's just use Iraqi army battalions. In May of 2004, there was one -- count them --, one Iraqi army battalion that was deployable anywhere inside that country. Today, there are over 100 battalions, not all of which are fully capable of independent operations right now, but we have from the U.S. commanders in the field, who are working side by side with them, a breakdown of readiness capability -- like we provide for our own troops -- that tell us how many of each type of battalion are available for country-wide deployment; how many are best still to stay in the local vicinity; how many still need more training.

All that is very positive. The numbers of battalions that are operating first side by side with us has increased dramatically. Then, those that are operating independent, as Iraqi units under their own country's orders, has increased dramatically. The numbers of Iraqi army brigades has increased. So everything about the train and equip program over this last year, under General Casey and General Petraeus, has gone extremely well. They're at just shy of 200,000 total security forces right now. Just shy of that. All not fully trained and equipped --

SEC. RUMSFELD: (Inaudible) -- 169,000 this week.

GEN. PACE: (On pace ?) or --

SEC. RUMSFELD: That could be wrong, but --

GEN. PACE: I'll check my number. Thank you, sir. But bottom line is, one battalion a year ago, over 100 battalions working not only as battalions, but as brigades, meaning three or more battalions at a time. And the division headquarters that have stood up. Three areas that we had as U.S. / Coalition bases have, in the last month, been turned over to Iraqi forces. They have that -- now their bases of operation. So this progress is very good."

6/16/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Fox News just carried apiece from White House. Bush is going to begin to "Focus" on our successes in Iraq and how the Iraqis are stepping up.

Less military operations, more police work. Perfect for the Indigs
Increased op tempo thru Summer. Sunnis pardoned and participating in politics by Fall.

6/16/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

tony,

Of course the plan all along was to turn over Iraq to the Iraqis - it just wasn't to turn it over in the condition that it is, which is critical. As in, "The patient is in critical condition."

I know all about readiness numbers, and why and how they're stretched and fudged - especially under these circumstances. And the higher up and farther from the source you go, the stretchier and fudgier they get. And let me add that 200,000 DECENTLY TRAINED Iraqi troops cannot, with our air and minimal ground, secure and defend that state - cannot keep it together.

6/16/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I've been reading Mohammad, Ali and Omar are their various incarnations of "Iraq the Model" blog for the last year or more.

They have progressed in baby steps from demanding that "the Americans" *do* something, to the beginning of understanding about taking responsibility and how a democratic political process works. Currently, they are optimistic and proud that the rest of the Middle East thugocracies see Iraq is being a bigger threat to their well-being than America is.

I'm at a point now where I'm asking the same question, "What is the definition of victory?" I think it's wishful thinking to draw a hard and fast line in the sand of October 2006 to be out. On the other hand, it's equally wishful thinking to think that we can stick around until downtown Baghdad is as successful and as peaceful as downtown Manhattan or downtown LA -- which is NOT all that peaceful when you stop to think about it!

It seems to me that sooner or later we've got to hand it over to the Iraqi's to build their own country. There's nothing to say they can't send Iraqi soldiers and police to the U.S. for further training, if that's what they want to do. There's nothing to say they can't participate in global EVERYthing including OPEC, international banking, and universities and education.

If that's what they want to do, then at some point they have to stand up and say so, and FIGHT for it. Part of the pull for me is my desire to go on to the next domino, because it seems to me that there are other more dangerous-to-America entities in the Middle East now than Iraq is.

And while we could stick around and demonstrate and teach and baby and coddle and protect the poor little beat-down Iraqi's for another generation until they're fully up to American speed, I don't know that that would be good for either of our countries.

I would like to see Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld begin making, "It's been nice knowing you, and we'll be around so give us a holler, but it's getting late and it's time to go." The insurgents will assuredly perk up at this and think they can take over again -- but in the end, isn't that really a call the Iraqi's themselves will have to make? And my faith is in Omar and Mohammad and Ali that they will be fully up to the task of making damned sure the terrorists will NOT take over again.

And American can get on with the business of having stern, up-close-and-personal talks with Baby Assad, the Iranian Mad Mullah's, and Our Friends the Saudi's ... all of whom are WAYYYYYY too interested in acquiring their very own nuclear weapons to make peace-loving non-Muslims sleep well at night.

6/16/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Trish,
I never doubt your expertise. I just rail against us thinking about this as Vietnam. I think Iraq is going to be more like Berlin, we're going to hold it come hell or high water.

I wish we had the real JFK to help.

And Nahncee, you said it:

"Part of the pull for me is my desire to go on to the next domino"

Maybe the generals are right, we're never going to settle the insurgency this way. So what? We can't even "settle the insurgency" of crime in the US, and we survive.

Let's all take a deep breath, wipe the sweat out of our eyes, focus, settle, and squeeze the trigger.


"Part of the pull for me is my desire to go on to the next domino"

6/16/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I am afraid that the time for falling dominos has passed.
At least for those that need conventional US Military assets to be knocked down.

6/16/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Maybe the generals are right, we're never going to settle the insurgency this way."

I think they are right - and maybe a part of it is putting the fear of God, so to speak, into those Shiite government leaders who (wrongly) expect to have a Shiite state with a US protection force. A message of "get your s*** together."

6/16/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

desert rat - precisely - the time is passed for falling domino's to fall on their own, so some of us would like to get in there and give them a healthy shove. Which we can't do as long as we're baby-sitting Iraq.

We want to see Israel pull out of the West Bank and Gaza, despite the fact that the dreadful Palestinians will claim victory and that they drove the Jews out.

I'm wondering if part of the reason we're not staying in Iraq past its expiration date is because of a natural reluctance to allow Michael Moore and bin Laden to claim "jihadist" and/or Democractic victory *there*, and that American troops were driven out.

Concern about that sort of name-calling is *not* a good reason to avoid taking the next natural step.

6/16/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm all for dropping both Syria and Iran into the fire, I just think that this long term Policing of Iraq has taken the winds from our sails.
The window of opportunity is closing rapidly. Not what I really want, just what seems to be happening

6/16/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I'm wondering if part of the reason we're not staying in Iraq past its expiration date is because of a natural reluctance to allow Michael Moore and bin Laden to claim "jihadist" and/or Democractic victory *there*, and that American troops were driven out."

- Nahncee

Iraq is still (legally, under the recognition of the UN) occupied or foreign administered territory - and I believe a six-month extension was recently sought by the Iraqis. Occupation confers specific responsibilities - those normally undertaken by the displaced government authority - which in the normal course of things it is not wise or humane to abandon.

We are nothing if not earnest.

6/16/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Scratch that, nahncee.

I misread your post. I thought you were wondering why we had not departed before Iraq's expiration date. That's somewhat interesting in and of itself - and was a little-understood point of controversy during the presidential elections.

"Why not simply pull out?"

"Well, you see, we're legally responsible for it."

6/16/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I phrased it awkwardly. There is, of course, no expiration date on Iraq, any more than there is any clear defintion of what will constitute "victory".

That's part of the reason it will be so very difficult to decide "the time has come" to pack 'em up and move 'em out. But it does seem to me that perhaps if that time has not come right there and now, it's inching closer over the horizon.

To toss the baby bird out of the nest. I'm just not sure if the baby bird that will have to be on its own will be Iraq, or will be America leaving Iraq and moving on to the next Big Adventure.

Unless, of course, we just decide to drop about 5 scientifically placed nuclear bombs, declare victory and bring everyone and everything all back home. And let the ones who started it all in the first place clean it up for themselves.

6/16/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

nahncee,

We won't be evacuating the place and turning off the lights behind us as we go. But the operation, as-is, is so monstrously expensive, devouring resources day-by-day, week-by-week, with no end to the insurgency or even a decisive "tipping point" in sight, that it's got to be wound down. I don't expect US public support of OIF to turn positive again any time in the future and the WH and Congress have to know that as well. Once it's gone south, it stays south.

So, like desert rat said, the race is on to declare victory and start bringing 'em home.

6/17/2005 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"So our military cannot defeat the insurgents. And the Iraqi security forces of which the White House speaks have, in the near future, less than no hope of doing so."
---
You seem like the least optimistic member of this discussion:
What do you see happening to Iraq as we leave?
(My guess is we will just continue to slowly draw down troop strength in Iraq.)
---
Your guess on it's future would of course be appreciated also, 'Rat.

6/20/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry,
That question is for Trish.

6/20/2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug,

What do I see as we leave? Civil war. A civil war we can't and won't fight. "Leaving out the back door" is something I recall from the weeks before the January elections. I'm not sure what that means - most likely just what you said: a gradual drawdown. Less and less ground work; much more air support for the Iraqis. Getting our guys off the streets.

I'm something of a contrarian by nature, Doug, and when widespread public pessimism asserts itself I'm inclined to search in the opposite direction, to listen or look for something that the public's not hearing or seeing. I just haven't come across it yet.

6/21/2005 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

So let's give the enemy a good goddamned run for their money while we can.

6/21/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

...Which is exactly what Wretchard has been highlighting.

6/21/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But won't that stir up anti American sentiment in those that (already) HATE AMERICA around the world?
---
Plus, it might frighten some of them into giving up that long held to emotion.

6/22/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"But won't that stir up anti American sentiment in those that (already) HATE AMERICA around the world?"

It depends on what you mean by "that." OIF has already been metabolized by the Arab "street." And whatever else, going or coming, that is unseen is... well, unseen.

6/22/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry, I was just being dumb, paraphrasing the uber overused expression of all those desiring defeat in order to "Democratise" (put dems back in control)the USA again.
Don't think any of the gloom predictors predicted a Democracy Domino Effect.

6/22/2005 11:18:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger