Saturday, May 7, 2011

Evidence at bin Laden’s home raises serious nuclear concerns . . .

Pakistani government links suspected 

Supporters of the Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islamial Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in Lahore, Pakistan. Osama bin Laden was killed by a helicopter-borne U.S. military force on Monday, in a fortress-like compound on the outskirts of Pakistani city of Abbottabad. (Associated Press)

MugshotPakistan army soldiers and a police officer patrol past the house (background) where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces on Sunday, ending a nearly 10-manhunt after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. soil. (Associated Press)
Intelligence analysts are sifting through phone numbers and email addresses found at Osama bin Laden’s compound to determine potential links to Pakistani government and military officials while U.S. officials and analysts raise concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear materials.

According to three U.S. intelligence officials, the race is on to identify what President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, has called bin Laden’s “support system” inside Pakistan. These sources sought anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

“My concern now is that we cannot exclude the possibility that officers in the Pakistani military and the intelligence service were helping to harbor or aware of the location of bin Laden,” said Olli Heinonen, who served as the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2005 to 2010.
“What is to say they would not help al Qaeda or other terrorist groups to gain access to sensitive nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium?”

The U.S. has worried quietly about the infiltration of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and military for years. Those concerns heightened in recent months when the CIA learned that bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad was a stone’s throw from Pakistan's military academy.
Politico first reported this week that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told members of Congress that bin Laden’s clothing had two phone numbers sewn into it at the time of the raid. Those numbers and other contacts found at the compound are key clues in an effort to determine what elements of Pakistan’s national security establishment provided support to bin Laden and al Qaeda.

“I can tell you that concern about al Qaeda and other terrorists’ infiltration into the ISI is not new on the part of the Congress or the [George W.] Bush and Obama administrations,” said Rep. Steve Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat who serves on two House Appropriations subcommittees that fund defense and foreign aid.
Mr. Rothman has attended top-secret briefings on the Abbottabad raid and the impact of the raid on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“As a matter of course, and for good reason, the materials that were removed from bin Laden’s home in Pakistan are being run down for leads that could assist the United States in apprehending individuals or entities who have sought to harm Americans or who have enabled others to harm Americans,” he said.

Another U.S. intelligence official told The Washington Times that other phone numbers and emails were recovered in the raid.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


 Verne Strickland Blogmaster
This is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. At this time, all scholastic efforts are being exhausted to expose every nuance of this epic struggle which divided the Nation. Every nuance? Perhaps not. While the North somehow keeps safe the notion that Union leaders and troops were paragons of virtue -- leaving no stone unturned to assure that fairness, civility and security be accorded those enslaved by "corrupt" Southerners -- alas, it was not so. 

Sanitized chronicles of the bloody war whitewashed many instances of Northern cruelty and disdain toward the unfortunate blacks to whom they swore a blood oath that they would save, honor and deliver to safety.

 The shameful incident at Ebenezer Creek in Georgia was conclusive proof that the North did not value the human cargo that they led across Georgia in the Union march to devastate the scorned Confederates and their despised land.

The shame of Ebenezer Creek did not cast a shadow on Northern honor. For the most part it was expunged from the history books. This is the story that you were not supposed to see.

*** Please -- no offense is intended or insinuated toward my wonderful friends from AFL (above the frost line) who have joined us here in peace and harmony. We love you! But this has to be said.)


Betrayal at Ebenezer Creek
Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis had few complaints about the able-bodied black men who were supplying the muscle and sweat to keep his Union XIV Corps on the move with Major General William T. Sherman’s 62,000-man army. The black ‘pioneers’ were making the sandy roads passable for heavy wagons and removing obstacles that Rebel troops had placed in his path. Davis was irritated, though, by the few thousand other black refugees following his force toward Georgia’s coast. He had been unable to shake them since the Union army stormed through Atlanta and other places in Georgia in late 1864, liberating them from their owners.

The army fed the pioneers in exchange for their labor. It also took care of the refugees who worked as teamsters, cooks, and servants. It did not, however, assume responsibility for the others. So every day, hundreds of black women, children, and older men wandered into the camps, begging for food. That was not so bad when forage was plentiful, but fall had turned to winter and the sandy soil closer to the ocean was not exactly fertile. Living well off the land was but a fond memory.

‘The rich, rolling uplands of the interior were left behind, and we descended into the low, flat sandy country that borders for perhaps a hundred miles upon the sea,’ recalled Captain Charles A. Hopkins of the 13th New Jersey Infantry. ‘…The country is largely filled with a magnificent growth of stately pines, their trunks free–for sixty or seventy feet–from all branches…. These pine woods, though beautiful, were not fertile and rations–particularly of breadstuffs–began to fail and had to be eked out [supplemented] by rice, of which we found large quantities; but also found it, with our lack of appliances, very difficult to hull.’
Besides exacerbating the food-shortage problem, the refugees tested Davis’s volatile temper by slowing down his march. Davis was eager to reach Savannah, the destination of Sherman’s 250-mile destructive ‘March to the Sea’ from Atlanta to Georgia’s coast. But at every step of the 25 miles left in Davis’s march, the XIV Corps would have to contend with Major General Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry corps, a constant hindrance and annoyance. Quicker movement would make it easier to evade the Rebel horseman as well as to defend against them.
Map of Sherman's March to the Sea

So as Davis’s men approached the 165-feet-wide and 10-feet-deep swollen and icy Ebenezer Creek on December 3, the general envisioned more than merely another mass pontoon-bridge crossing. He saw an opportunity to rid himself of the refugees in a manner he thought would be subtle enough to elude censure. Controversy might follow, but he was used to that.
General Jefferson Davis, known to some by the derisive nickname ‘General Reb’ because of his name, was a veteran Regular Army soldier who loved battle. Short-tempered and a proficient cusser, he had a nasty reputation and was infamous in his time for a furious, short-lived feud with Union Major General William Nelson. In August 1862 Nelson and Davis had got into a heated argument over the defense of Louisville, Kentucky, where Nelson was in command. Nelson ordered Davis, a brigadier general, to leave. The two men met again a few weeks later in a Cincinnati hotel. Davis demanded an apology from his superior, and Nelson stubbornly refused to give him one. Minutes later the angry brigadier shot and killed the major general at point-blank range. Davis was arrested but later released. Though plenty of questions went unanswered, no charges were ever filed against him.
As the XIV Corps prepared to cross Ebenezer Creek, Davis ordered that the refugees be held back, ostensibly ‘for their own safety’ because Wheeler’s horsemen would contest the advance. ‘On the pretense that there was likely to be fighting in front, the negroes were told not to go upon the pontoon bridge until all the troops and wagons were over,’ explained Colonel Charles D. Kerr of the 126th Illinois Cavalry, which was at the rear of the XIV Corps.
‘A guard was detailed to enforce the order, ‘ Kerr recalled. ‘But, patient and docile as the negroes always were, the guard was really unnecessary.’
Though what happened once Davis’s troops had all crossed remains in dispute, it seems fairly certain that Davis had the pontoon bridge dismantled immediately, leaving the refugees stranded on the creek’s far bank. Kerr wrote that as soon as the Federals reached their destination, ‘orders were given to the engineers to take up the pontoons and not let a negro cross.’

‘The order was obeyed to the letter,’ he continued. ‘I sat upon my horse then and witnessed a scene the like of which I pray my eyes may never see again.’
How many women, children, and older men were stranded cannot be determined precisely, but 5,000 is a conservative estimate. ‘The great number of refugees that followed us…could be counted almost by the tens of thousands,’ Captain Hopkins of New Jersey guessed. Major General Oliver O. Howard, commander of the right wing of Sherman’s army (which included Davis’s corps), recalled seeing ‘throngs of escaping slaves’ of all types, ‘from the baby in arms to the old negro hobbling painfully along the line of march; negroes of all sizes, in all sorts of patched costumes, with carts and broken-down horses and mules to match.’ Because the able-bodied refugees were up front working in the pioneer corps, most of those stranded would have been women, children, and old men.
What happened next strongly suggests that Davis did not have the refugees’ best interest in mind when he delayed their crossing of the creek, to say nothing of his apparently having ordered that the bridge promptly be dismantled. Davis’s unabashed support of slavery definitely does not help his case, though Sherman insisted his brigadier bore no ‘hostility to the negro.’

Kerr saw Wheeler’s cavalry ‘closely pressing’ the refugees from the rear. Unarmed and helpless, the former slaves ‘raised their hands and implored from the corps commander the protection they had been promised,’ Kerr wrote. ‘…[but] the prayer was in vain and, with cries of anguish and despair, men, women and children rushed by hundreds into the turbid stream and many were drowned before our eyes.’
Then there were the refugees who stood their ground. ‘From what we learned afterwards of those who remained upon the land,’ Kerr continued, ‘their fate at the hands of Wheeler’s troops was scarcely to be preferred.’ The refugees not shot or slashed to death were most likely returned to their masters and slavery.
Kerr’s descriptions of the atrocity apparently met widespread skepticism, and he was forced to defend his integrity. ‘I speak of what I saw with my own eyes, not those of another,’ he asserted, ‘and no writer who was not upon the ground can gloss the matter over for me.’ Still, he left it to another officer, Major James A. Connolly of Illinois, to blow the whistle on Davis. ‘I wrote out a rough draft of a letter today relative to General Davis’ treatment of the negroes at Ebenezer Creek,’ Connolly wrote two weeks after the incident. ‘I want the matter to get before the Military Committee of the Senate. It may give them some light in regard to the propriety of confirming him as Brevet Major General. I am not certain yet who I had better send it to.’
Civil War Pontoon Bridge
Connolly decided to send the letter to his congressman, who evidently leaked it to the press. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton reacted to the subsequent bad publicity by steaming down to Savannah, which Sherman’s army had captured on December 21, to investigate the matter. Stanton did not preannounce his visit, but Sherman had received advance notice about it from President Abraham Lincoln’s chief-of-staff, Major General Henry W. Halleck. ‘They say that you have manifested an almost criminal dislike to the negro…, [that] you drove them from your ranks, preventing their following you by cutting the bridges in your rear and thus caused the massacre of large numbers by Wheeler’s cavalry,’ Halleck wrote.
Stanton arrived on January 11 and began asking questions. ‘Stanton inquired particularly about General Jeff. C. Davis, who he said was a Democrat and hostile to the negro,’ Sherman later wrote. Stanton showed Sherman a newspaper account of the affair and demanded an explanation. Sherman urged the secretary not to jump to conclusions and, in his postwar memoirs, reported that he ‘explained the matter to [Stanton's] entire satisfaction.’ He went on to say that Stanton had come to Savannah mainly because of pressure from abolitionist Radical Republicans. ‘We all felt sympathy…for those poor negroes…,’ Sherman wrote, ‘but a sympathy of a different sort from that of Mr. Stanton, which was not of pure humanity but of politics.’

Sherman’s attitude toward black people is perhaps best illustrated in his own words, in a private letter he wrote to his wife, Ellen, shortly before he left Savannah to continue his march up the coast. ‘Mr. Stanton has been here and is cured of that negro nonsense,’ he wrote. ‘[Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P.] Chase and others have written to me to modify my opinions, but you know I cannot, for if I attempt the part of a hypocrite it would break out in every sentence. I want soldiers made of the best bone and muscle in the land, and won’t attempt military feats with doubtful materials.’ As he admitted in his memoirs, ‘In our army we had no negro soldiers and, as a rule, we preferred white soldiers.’

‘The negro question was beginning to loom up…and many foresaw that not only would the slaves secure their freedom, but that they would also have votes,’ his memoirs further reveal. ‘I did not dream of such a result then, but knew that slavery, as such, was dead forever; [yet I] did not suppose that the former slaves would be suddenly, without preparation, manufactured into voters–equal to all others, politically and socially.’
In course, when considering Sherman and his actions, it’s important to remember that his ideas about black people, though shocking today, were hardly unique in his time. The majority of Union volunteers, and of Northerners in general, were at most ambivalent about emancipation and were vehemently opposed to black suffrage.
Given the prevailing beliefs of the time, it might be no surprise that Union authorities justified the incident at Ebenezer Creek as a ‘military necessity.’ None of the officers involved was even officially reprimanded. Most of them advanced in their military and, later, civilian careers.
Davis’s commander, Howard, who had been described as ‘the most Christian gentleman in the Union army,’ went on to found Howard University, a black college in Washington, D.C. He also became the first director of the Freedmen’s Bureau, which the Federal government set up to help the recently freed slaves make the transition from slave to citizen.

Wheeler’s cavalry was roundly condemned for its part in the affair, but the reputation of its young commander was evidently not harmed. Wheeler went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1885 to 1900 and as a major general of volunteers in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Davis handled the Ebenezer Creek commotion with the same coolness that had taken him back to battlefield command so soon after the Nelson shooting. Again he was never punished or even reprimanded. In fact, he was later made a brevet major general.Then there is William T. Sherman, the field commander ultimately responsible for Davis’s actions. Sherman was rewarded with the Thanks of Congress for the revolutionary ‘total war’ he waged during his March to the Sea. At the May 1865 Grand Review of the Armies, the huge parade through Washington, D.C., to celebrate Union victory, Sherman was hailed as a war hero. A few years later, newly elected President Ulysses S. Grant made Sherman a full general and general-in-chief of the U.S. Army.
Sometime during those postwar years, Sherman offered a rosy recollection of the reception he and his men had received as they marched through Georgia. ‘…the Negroes were simply frantic with joy,’ he said. ‘Whenever they heard my name, they clustered about my horse, shouted and prayed in their peculiar style, which had a natural eloquence that would have moved a stone.’ Apparently, though, it did not move Sherman deeply enough to make him seek justice for the soon-forgotten victims of the Ebenezer Creek incident.

This article was written by Edward M. Churchill and originally published in Civil War Times Magazine in October 1998, posted on History Net.

Friday, May 6, 2011

N.C. GOP (claims Politico) will boost blacks, hurt Dems in redistricting.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster   

Got news for you, friends. This is a tainted news story. Democrats, who have ruled the roost for a century in North Carolina's redistricting decisions, are crying foul before the first pitch is thrown in shaping new maps. 

Hearings are being held around the State to gain citizen opinion. Mike McIntyre says he will load the hearings with his own partisan goon squads. Republicans say they will be fair -- something the Democrats could not be accused of doing -- and will not take advantage of the situation. 

Even so, the crisis crews of the Democrat Party are already out ratcheting up the hysteria. Black leaders are revving up the faithful and whining that they are being squeezed out. Say what? Chill, people! No pen has been placed on a map. No one will be disenfranchised. 

But get real, Democrats. You lost. It's not the same as what you have been experiencing for these many years. Please read this little vignette published by Politico (12/24/09) and see if it might have a familiar ring:

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

The message from the GOP, then, boys and girls, is this time WE WON -- GET USED TO IT! 

And, if you can, do it with some class. You're in political purgatory for ten years. But We'll bring you some food, and you'll have visiting rights.The time will fly by.

Posted to Federal Government News Politico Politics NC   May 4, 2011 

By Richard E. Cohen  

The redistricting wars are about to hit North Carolina, and Republicans in the Tar Heel State are considering a controversial but well-worn strategy that has worked elsewhere in the South: Create a new majority-minority district while destroying other districts occupied by white Democrats.

The state’s Republicans — who are in control of the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction — are basically planning to blow up the current congressional map and give North Carolina a third district that has a large enough minority population to elect another African-American member of Congress. But in doing so, they’ll be drawing new lines that would secure the political safety and expand the ranks of the state’s congressional Republicans.

The maneuvering shows that even in the new South, in a state that went for Barack Obama in 2008 and has had two straight decades of Democratic governors, congressional districts aren’t immune from old-fashioned racial gerrymandering. In a sense, North Carolina is planning to catch up to race-based redistricting that has spread across the region over the years.

And while Republicans hope for buy-in from local black political leaders, their greater goal is to end the careers of a handful of North Carolina Democrats who survived the 2010 GOP landslide. Reps. Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller and Heath Shuler could all be in danger of being drawn into Republican-majority districts.

Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Mel Watt — the two African-American Democrats from the Tar Heel State — likely would be entrenched in their minority districts, as would Rep. David Price from the more liberal Research Triangle area. The six GOP incumbents would remain safe.

“It’s politically probable that there will be a new minority influence district. … It’s logical based on the demographics of our state,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who has become the point man in Congress for the state’s redistricting.

McHenry and other North Carolina Republicans defend their redistricting efforts, saying the Tar Heel State’s booming population and the surge in Republican voters — not to mention the fact that Democrats drew the current districts — justify a new map that could give the state nine Republicans and four Democrats in Congress.

“Republicans should pick up three seats under any fair and legal map,” McHenry said. “That is huge. No other states in the nation would gain as many Republican seats. This would be in a state that Barack Obama won in 2008 and where we have had a Democratic governor since 1992 — the longest such period in the nation. A 9-4 delegation is pretty good and would attempt to avoid the risk of a bad year for Republicans. Clearly, Reps. Kissell and Miller are serving their final term.”

But Watt, a veteran of lengthy redistricting wars both in the political arena and in courtrooms, warned Republicans not to assume they will be successful in creating a third minority district.

“I haven’t seen a plan that can be credibly drawn. Nor is it legally required,” Watt said. “So I doubt that it would be practically done.”

Watt himself was embroiled in a long-term legal fight over his painfully drawn, snake-shaped minority-majority district, so his skepticism on the new North Carolina map may be a guidepost for Democrats.The result could be another extended round of litigation, Watt warned. The 1992 creation of his district that extends north of Charlotte led to two Supreme Court rulings and a redrawing of his district.

Although Democrats were reluctant to discuss their uphill prospects in North Carolina, campaign strategists concede that they have been planning for the worst there — something of a mirror image to Illinois, where Republicans risk losing three or four seats in a Democratic-controlled state.

Even assuming they jam their plan through the Legislature — Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue has no veto power over redistricting legislation — Republicans will most likely still face a major obstacle in the Justice Department or court review. Under the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina is a covered state for review of any election law changes.

“Republicans can roll the dice. But they may come up snake eyes,” said former Texas Rep. Martin Frost, who has a long history with redistricting, both in his home state and as a House Democratic leader. “They are trying to concentrate minority voters into as few districts as possible and to bleach surrounding districts with as little minority population as possible. It remains to be seen whether a Justice Department under Democratic control will go along.”

In Raleigh, Republican lawmakers are moving cautiously. Rep. David Lewis, who is senior chairman of the state House Redistricting Committee, said GOP leaders are “committed to drawing fair and legal districts.” Beyond adding, “We are still analyzing all data and receiving public input,” he said he was not “comfortable” with commenting on specific options.

But three well-connected North Carolina GOP sources recently told POLITICO there is “conceptual” agreement among key players for a third district that would have a substantial black population. It would be centered in Fayetteville-based Cumberland County and include numerous mostly rural adjacent counties, many of which are now represented by McIntyre. Although McHenry said blacks are “too dispersed to achieve” 50 percent in a district, they most likely would produce a majority-minority district when Hispanics and the area’s large Lumbee Indian tribe are included.

Other GOP objectives include extending Butterfield’s district in eastern North Carolina closer to Raleigh. That might remove a large African-American community from the district of freshman GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers and facilitate the evisceration of Miller’s district north of Raleigh. To oust Shuler in the western part of the state, other Republicans said that perhaps half of his Democratic-leaning Asheville base could be moved to McHenry’s safely Republican adjacent district.

On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 10:30 AM, Andrew Koeppel <> wrote:

Below is the testimony I gave last night to the Re-Districting Committee at their meetings in New Hanover, Brunswick , and Bladen Counties.
Since we now have 9,535,483 people in our state and 13  Congressional districts, and we can do the math and see that we need to create districts that each have as close to 733,500 people each as possible.

In addition, in accordance with our state constitution, we know there is a need to try to follow county lines as much as possible. 

With those thoughts in mind, we know that a coastal district in the southeast would have common environmental concerns. In addition,  it would include both state ports. Given these facts, the district I am proposing and the population of each county within it is described below.

New Hanover  202,667 - Brunswick 107,431- Pender 52,217- Onslow 177,772- Carteret 66,469- Jones- 10,153- Duplin 58,505- Columbus-58,098. The total population is 733,312.

I would be remiss, in my judgment, if I did not comment on two adjacent districts and propose counties for them. Since I was the 7th District Chairman for six years, I feel a need to address those counties that were in the 7th District but would not be in the above district.

What would be a reconfigured 8th District is described below.

Robeson 134,168- Bladen 35,190- Hoke 46,952- Scotland 36,157- Richmond 46,639- Anson 26,948- Montgomery 27,798 - Stanly 60,585- Cabarrus 178,011- Moore 88,247- Lee 57,866. The total population is 738,561.

The remaining district including counties I represented would be a reconfigured 2nd District. It is described below.

Sampson 63,431- Cumberland 319,431- Harnett 114,678- Johnston 168,878- Wilson 81,234. The total population is 747,652.

I would welcome any comments by the people receiving this e-mail. It is no secret that the Re-Districting Committees are going to be confronted with some difficult decisions.

It is my hope that the above information will be seriously considered and will hopefully make some of those decisions somewhat easier.    Andy


Andy, sounds like you made a good case to me!  I think what people want is more compact districts that make sense.  As much as I hate being in David Price's district, if I were drawing the maps, I'd keep me in a 4th District that included all of Orange and Durham, and only such other territory as is needed to meet the population criteria.  Durham and Orange are homogenous and basically have the same characteristics with the hospitals and universities and heavy Democrat populations.  My hope is that all the districts will be drawn so fairly that good candidates of either party can win.

Martha Jenkins

Martha Jenkins was elected NFRW 3rd vice president at the 35th Biennial Convention in Orlando and took office in January 2010. She previously served as vice chairman of the NFRW Public Relations Committee, which helped update the list of NFRW media contacts and sent out news releases to support the GOP agenda.

Jenkins also served as president of the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women from 2003-2007. In 2005, she was a finalist for the NFRW Ronald Reagan Leadership Award, and in 2007, she won the Reagan Award as the outstanding state president for 2006-2007.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Verne Strickland Blogmaster

As the news broke that Osama bin Laden had been taken down by America, I waited to get a reaction from Ilario Pantano so I could use it in USA DOT COM. And I waited. George W. Bush released a statement. And Richard Burr. Mike McIntyre. But not Ilario. It concerned me, and I tried to find out if something was wrong. It wasn't. Everything was right. And soon I found out why. He was pouring out his heart.

The result is this extraordinary epistle written by an extraordinary American. It may be the most moving tribute you'll ever read to God, family and country. It's by Ilario Pantano of Wilmington, NC. Beyond this, he may need no further introduction.  His privileged friend and admirer, Verne Strickland. I'm glad I had to wait.

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE  May 5, 2011   4:00 A.M.

Ilario Pantano
A Decade After 9/11: 

Thank you to the families, including my own.

‘Is this as close to victory as we are ever going to get?” I wondered aloud as I absorbed the headlines. I’ve been struggling with that question, and perhaps you have too. But I have drawn some conclusions: Today, we may all feel like SEALs, but the credit doesn’t go to our military or our politicians. It goes to the military families: the spouses, the children, and the parents who have made this long war possible.
We’ve been at war for a decade, and only 1 percent of this country has any idea of what that actually means. Neither Barack Obama nor George W. Bush has kissed his wife goodbye four, five, or six times to go into the unknown.

Last night, our friend Rachel was over for dinner with her two-year-old son Henry. My boys love to play with Henry, and when his daddy is away on a nearly year-long deployment, it’s nice for Henry’s mommy to have few minutes of distraction. After my time in Iraq, my wife, Jill, could relate to Rachel’s struggles as a “single mom,” and we had a nice dinner talking about nothing and certainly not the family business. Henry’s dad is on his third “trip” to Afghanistan in three years, and for him, as a Marine infantry officer, the trips aren’t just long. They are dangerous. 

With the news of bin Laden’s death, many friends have reached out to connect with Jill and me. “What do you think?” they ask. My friends know that like so many Americans, Jill and I were deeply impacted by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With the air still thick with smoke and death, we almost cancelled our October wedding in lower Manhattan.

On Sept. 12, 2001, I started what would become a year-long process of reentering the Marine Corps. A part of me died on 9/11, and in the weeks that followed, I would have my first of many struggles with survivor’s guilt. Men from our neighborhood firehouse were killed, and friends from my days on Wall Street died, too.
One of the buildings where I had worked (4 World Trade Center) had been destroyed, and soon I would watch as my father’s tourism business shriveled and nearly died.

Yes, it may be hard to remember, but between anthrax scares and jihadists, there was a time in 2001 when New York became a no-go for tourists. My entire focus shifted from easygoing self-indulgence to national security. I don’t know how Jill put up with the transformation; it was never easy. I left the house on the morning of 9/11 with hair down to my shoulders as a media executive, and I returned home with a head shaved “high and tight.”

She cried. We both cried. Our country had been attacked, and we were at war. In the years that followed, Jill told me that my sense of humor died that day. I became consumed with defending the homeland as America awoke to confront a threat that had long been denied. I was inspired by the heroism and valor of men such as Johnny “Mike” Spann, a Marine–turned–CIA paramilitary officer who was killed in November of 2001. Mike was the first American killed in the War on Terror, and he left behind a wife and children.

In time, I became friends with Mike’s dad, Johnny Spann. Mr. Spann shared a tragic revelation: Mike had been part of earlier missions to kill bin Laden, but the Washington leadership (Clinton) had dithered and missed opportunities. I can’t imagine what the Spann family is feeling right now, but I know it will never bring Mike back.

The enemy brought a new kind of war to our doorstep, and just as today we all feel like Navy SEALs, ten years ago we all felt like victims. We quickly went on offense, and, like millions of Americans before us and beside us, we raised our right hands and said, “Send me.” Mike Spann was one of the first into the breach, but there would be more.

For every Pat Tillman, thousands of ordinary men and women left success and comfort for the austerity and death of the battlefield. After a year of volunteering, seeking waivers, and reapplying for a massive pay cut, Jill and I finally packed up our lives and headed off to Quantico for Officers Candidate School. Our little family didn’t know what to expect, but we knew we were headed toward the sound of the guns.

That September 12 decision and the experiences in war that followed changed our lives forever. As I reflect on the choices and the decisions that put ensuring our national security above all other callings in my life, I am left with one thought: I owe my wife big time!
Jill, my love, as I struggle to reflect on life after bin Laden, all I can find myself wanting to do is say thank you. Thank you for enduring.

For ten years, Jill has braved our family’s commitment to engage in the War on Terror, but this was never her plan. Yes, she knew I had been a Marine in the Gulf War, but those days were long behind us. As we planned our wedding in the summer of 2001, the last days of innocence, the thought of service and sacrifice was a footnote. It was history. It would become our story. In the time since 9/11, she has endured uncertainties, relocations, false alarms, and death threats.

She left her friends, her family, and her home so we could fight this fight together. She raised our son by herself while I was stationed at Quantico and we lived out of boxes. When the infantry-officer course kept me in the field for 45 out of 60 days, she made a home for us that I never saw. Even our dog stopped recognizing me.

After a year of training, I was finally assigned to my combat unit. Jill had packed up and moved our home to Camp Pendleton, Calif., only to be told that there had been a change in my orders, and the new destination was on the other side of the country at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The moving trucks arrived the day we signed a lease on our small apartment in Wilmington with a baby in her arms and a seabag in mine. Two months later, I was off to Iraq, and she was left to make friends and start a life with no family within 500 miles.

The television news offered no comfort as American bodies were hung from a bridge in Fallujah and the world went crazy. While her husband was fighting for his life, a new baby in her belly was fighting for his. It’s hard to share the frightening aspects of a pregnancy over a staticky satellite-phone call once a week. The letters home were a comfort, but the weeks of delay made it uncertain whether the sender was actually even alive. A video we shot of daddy reading a story book might be all the father that our two-year-old would ever know.

Ahh. Relief, Homecoming! The relearning and reconnecting that comes after a half-year separation begins.
The effects on her husband were not subtle. Real war — shooting and killing war — changes a man. Her husband was different. Her husband looked different, sounded different, smelled different. My chemistry had changed. My salt was saltier and my heart was heavier.

Home for two weeks, and then off to the hospital for a second baby! Mommy recovering nicely in the adjustable bed. Daddy watching the TV as Fallujah gets invaded for a second time. The joy of a son being born is tempered by brothers being killed.

All of these experiences are so common amongst the warrior class that to us, they are almost taken for granted. Ask your friends. Ask your neighbors. Their stories will be just as vivid, and so will their scars.
How many of us leave the battlefield and never stop mourning for our fallen brothers?

Every time I see my friend José, we cry thinking about his men being killed by an IED. Some friends I have learned to avoid because the emotional wreckage is too painful. One of my men, a boy really, who lost an arm in a firefight, survived Fallujah and Walter Reade only to succumb to the demons of war here at home. We spent days looking for his body, and then we buried him at Arlington. Some of my Marines have missed him so much that they tried to follow him to Arlington. Others have detoured through state and county jails as they struggled with alcohol and drugs.

When I was a deputy, we had troops in jail who had been arrested by men from their same National Guard unit. Think about that: Fighting side by side one day. Arresting your brother the next. What does that hell do to a man? To a marriage?
If it weren’t for God’s saving grace and the power of His healing, I would be lost. And I praise God for you, Jill. Your love and resilience has saved me from the dark corners of this post-9/11 odyssey.

With the achievement of this decade-old goal, I have become painfully aware of the debt of gratitude that I owe you, honey. The debt is echoed and compounded across this country. From shore to shore, in every neighborhood and every walk of life, America owes its military families. For a decade you have soldiered on and toiled, not just with spouses, parents, and children at war, but with the consequences of their broken bodies and broken hearts when they come home.

I love the gunfighters, but the true credit goes to the military families. Seven thousand coalition forces have died in combat since 9/11. Over 40,000 have had their bodies wounded, and over a million have engaged in this new form of combat that leaves deep scars of its own. Without your loving homes, tender embraces, and courageous hearts, our troops would not be up to the task.

For us, from SEALs to supply clerks, it’s the support of the families that makes it all possible. It is the families that pay the overdue bills, cook the missed meals, and dry the longing tears. Theodore Roosevelt said the credit goes to the one in the arena. I say the credit goes to the family, without which the arena would be empty.

So I say, rejoice today and give thanks to God. This small victory is a testament to American perseverance even in the face of unspeakable barbarism and psychological warfare. And this fight is far from over. Sure, we have more planes and tanks, but an enemy willing to kill its own women and children with bomb vests cannot be dismissed. And while we may have finished bin Laden, don’t ever forget how viral this movement of radical Islam has become.

I know you remember Daniel Pearl, a victim of Pakistani “tolerance,” but do you remember Nick Berg? I was fighting just outside of Fallujah in May 2004 when the little radio in our company combat operations center broke the savage news. Nick was only 26 when his head was cut off by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I watched the video again just yesterday, and you should Google it, too.

You don’t really believe it could happen, and clearly neither did Nick. He sits in his orange jumpsuit like a fat lamb. He’s surrounded by masked gunmen, and Zarqawi reads a long, rambling statement. Nick just kind of sits there, and the men behind him hardly even shift their weight as the time goes by.

Suddenly Zarqawi is done reading. The knife is in his hands before you know it. A knee rests on Nick’s back while Zarqawi straddles him and starts sawing back and forth. One hand grips Nicks scalp, wrenching the neck in order to get a clear angle on the throat. The gunmen stand around chanting “Allahu Akbar” as if they were cheering on a fraternity hazing. Nick shrieks the shrill screams of a child, and then Zarqawi shows his lifeless head to the camera.

The image of a masked terrorist triumphantly holding Nick’s head has always struck me. It became much more personal two years later, when my own head would appear superimposed on Nick Berg’s in that same image. The FBI told my family that the website containing that image “originated in Pakistan.” The FBI also called to tell us that a cell in Ohio had information on my mother, my wife, and me.

That was the inevitable outcome of a highly publicized military investigation in which I was charged with murder for killing terrorists in combat. You can thank the breathless panic whipped up by our media for that one. Later, all the charges would be dismissed, and I would be granted a fresh combat command, but I chose to resign in order to protect my family. I became a deputy sheriff in North Carolina, determined to continue keeping my family and my community safe from these monsters, but the scars would linger.

Today, my commitment to keeping America safe is stronger than ever, which is why I am running for Congress. But that choice has had consequences for my family too, and the threats have picked up again. Jill, have I thanked you enough lately for your courage? You won’t be deterred, and neither will I. 

Churchill said, “It is not enough that we do our best. Sometimes we have to do what is required.” Killing bin Laden was not our “best,” but it is what the situation required. In this long war, we may never have another reason or opportunity to celebrate like this.

“But is it truly a victory?” I asked one of my brothers-in-arms, a Marine officer turned shadow warrior. He said, “In this fight, it’s as close to victory as we are ever going to get.”

We paused to reflect on how the war had changed both of our lives. He too joined the Marines after 9/11. He’s one of America’s best and brightest and could have done anything, but he and his young family have committed themselves to fighting our nation’s enemies. He too was inspired by men like Mike Spann, and he knows there will be dark days ahead, but today, he assured me, “It’s a victory, baby. It’s a victory.”

— Ilario Pantano is the author of Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Are veterans and jobs used as pawns in the big game of politics?

Five questions Obama needs to answer as he basks in the giddy glow of success

By JOE KLEIN  May 4, 2011

Joe Klein is TIME's political columnist and author of six books, most recently Politics Lost. His weekly TIME column, "In the Arena," covers national and international affairs. In 2004 he won the National Headliner Award for best magazine column.

President Obama is basking in the after-glow of the successful operation that led to the demise of Osama bin Laden. As I have said previously, he deserves credit for making the gutsy decision to use a Navy SEAL team to take Bin Laden down. Of course, the lion’s share of the credit belongs to the special operations forces themselves, who overcame immense odds to mount the incredibly risky attack ordered by their commander-in-chief.

However, as President Obama savors the high point of his time in office to date, there are some questions that he needs to answer to the American people. Here are just a few of them.

1. Does the president have any change of heart about the harsh criticisms he leveled at his predecessor for using renditions of suspected terrorist detainees and enhanced interrogation techniques in light of the crucial information they yielded on the identity of bin Laden’s trusted courier, which in turn led us to locate Bin Laden himself?

Since taking office, President Obama has largely followed the counter-terrorism policies of President George W. Bush, despite criticizing them while campaigning to succeed Bush. Guantanamo remains open. Military commissions are still being used by the Obama administration to try some detained terrorist suspects. Renditions and indefinite detentions of high risk suspects without trial have continued. It’s time for President Obama to admit that he was wrong in castigating the Bush administration during the campaign and acknowledge the continuity of Bush’s policies that are necessary to fight an evil foe determined to kill as many Americans as possible.

2. Why have there been so many conflicting reports on what happened during the mission?
First we were told by the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who reportedly observed the mission in real time from a live feed transmitted by the Navy Seals as it went down, that Bin Laden had a firearm which he was using when confronted and shot.
Brennan said in his initial account that Bin Laden was
engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in
We were also told that he used one of his wives as a human shield.
The next day we learned that Bin Laden was not carrying a weapon when he was killed by our forces, but was somehow resisting arrest. We also learned that Bin Laden had not used any human shield. Given the fog of war in a fast-moving operation, why did Brennan speak with such certainty in the first place on what happened when apparently he did not know the whole story?

Was there an attempt to justify killing Bin Laden, rather than taking him into custody, in order to satisfy international law sticklers including President Obama himself?  Will the Obama administration, in its usual deference to the United Nations, comply with the request from the UN’s senior human rights official, Navi Pillay, for detailed information on the operation to confirm its ‘legality?’

3. Why did the Obama administration show such concern in handling and disposing of bin Laden’s body to make sure it conformed to Islamic law?
President Obama said in his speech to the nation on Sunday night that
“Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.
If Bin Laden represented a perversion of Islam, why obsess that he be buried within 24 hours and cleansed in accordance with Islamic law? Why not bury him in an unmarked grave or drop him into the sea to live with the fishes after making absolutely sure that we have confirmed his identity?

4. What are we going to do about double-dealing Pakistan where al Qaeda terrorists are finding sanctuary?

Shouldn’t we re-focus our efforts in the region from counter-insurgency, nation-building in Afghanistan to more limited counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan and Yemen where our enemy is now concentrated?
The Obama administration wisely left Pakistan in the dark about the Bin Laden mission until it was completed. Elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have a record of working with the Taliban and al Qaeda.

There is no way that bin Laden could have been hiding in a town filled with Pakistani military facilities and within yards of Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point without the knowledge and support of members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence service. Advance information about the operation in the wrong hands would have ensured the failure of the mission and could well have brought about significant casualties to our forces.

After initially praising the killing of Bin Laden as a “major setback to terrorist organizations around the world,” the Pakistan government issued a statement yesterday complaining that the United States had undertaken an “unauthorized unilateral action.” It’s time for a major push back against this fair weather, duplicitous ‘ally.’

Is the Obama administration planning to revisit the billions of dollars Pakistan receives each year from our country? Will we continue, and even expand our counter-terrorist operations in Pakistan, including continued drone attacks and commando raids, without seeking Pakistan’s permission as their treacherous government demands?

And aren’t we wasting billions of dollars and sacrificing the lives of our soldiers trying to re-build Afghanistan when the global terrorist networks threatening America are now operating out of Pakistan and Yemen, not Afghanistan?

5. Finally, will the Obama administration continue to mistakenly look at radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and their U.S. affiliates such as the Council of American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America benignly, distinguishing them from al Qaeda, even though they are using more stealth means towards the same Islamic supremist agenda to impose sharia law as broadly as possible?

President Obama can take pride in his accomplishment of ridding the world of Osama bin Laden. But the American people deserve answers to these and other difficult questions in the days, weeks and months to come.

Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

North Carolina Activist of the Month: Ginny Quaglia

Article provided by Pantano for Congress

About the author: Jessica Anderson is Heritage Action’s North Carolina State Director.

North Carolinian Ginny Quaglia understands grassroots activism. The Brunswick County resident first became involved as an activist in North Carolina when radio host Curtis Wright had his first “Tea Party” in April ‘09 on the banks of the Cape Fear River. Today, she is actively involved as an activist holding South Eastern NC elected officials accountable to the highest conservative standard.
I had the privilege to meet Ginny my first week on the job and caught up with the activist to ask her a few questions.

When did you first get involved as an activist in North Carolina?

Ginny Quaglia: I had been calling and writing my legislators for awhile, but mostly I screamed at the TV and wondered what to do. After I attended Curtis’ first Coastal Conservative Conference in Wilmington, I was hooked. There, we got information on how to be a “community organizer” and concrete things to do to combat the left and start controlling the message from the right. From there, I co-founded a Brunswick County Tea Party group, got heavily involved in the Brunswick County Republican Party, helped run a primary campaign for a state senate seat, co-founded a second Tea Party Group that works in both North and South Carolina, and co-founded a by-invitation only conservative group currently operating very efficiently mostly on Brunswick County issues.

Wow, you really hit the ground running! What three issues are you most concerned with?

Quaglia: The three issues I am most concerned about are first healthcare. We must repeal and replace Obamacare. It is key to gaining back our liberty and freedom. Second, the EPA must go. It controls everything that healthcare doesn’t capture. And third, I’m concerned about the erosion of faith in this country. Our country was founded on a Judeo-Christian tradition and today, it seems anything goes. The lack of morals, values, and faith means no one has a conscience. They are at sea without a rudder, adrift in an ocean of hopelessness.

What was your favorite moment as an activist the past five years? 

Quaglia: My favorite moment as an activist was also my scariest. But it was a seminal moment for me. I was standing in a local church filled with people there to hear a lecture by a professor on “Misconceptions of Islam”… I had prepared a short statement and questions for the good professor to refute his claims. So, shaking and wobbly I began to speak. About 1 minute in, 2 people tried to shout me down and shut me up. That only galvanized my position as my friends stood up for me and many clapped for me.

I made my point and grew more and more confident as I stood there and finished what I had to say. At that point I realized how powerful the individual really is. How each of us can make our voices count and be heard. That each of us can be leaders of this great country. That I am a leader already in just 2 short years. I feel very proud to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Ginny at a Tax Day rally.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Steelers' Mendenhall incurs wrath of club top kick Art Rooney via Twitter gaffes.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


Vinnie Iyer Sporting News / May 3, 2011 
Mendenhall via Twitter, shared a series of sentiments about not believing that slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those thoughts, including criticism about those celebrating bin Laden's death on Monday, prompted Steelers president Art Rooney II to make a counter statement through his team's official website on Tuesday.

 Rashard Mendenhall via Twitter, shared a series of sentiments about not believing that slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11. On Tuesday, Steelers president Art Rooney II released a counter statement through his team's official website. (AP Photo)
"I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments," Rooney said. "The entire Steelers' organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon."

Although Mendenhall, just like everyone in the United States, has freedom of speech, he should be aware that what he said has the potential to cause a public relations nightmare for what's considered to be one of the league's classiest franchises. Rooney wisely was just protecting the interests of his brand.

For the many of you who might not follow Mendenhall on Twitter, here were his (unedited but censored) series of Tweets on the subject:!/R_Mendenhall
"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man" they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side…"
"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take down a skyscraper demolition style"
(at former Illinois basketball player Dominique Keller)
"I believe in God. I believe we're ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge."
"Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves."
"For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn in hell and p--- on his ashes, I ask how would God feel about your heart?"
"There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to #think."

NC House budget is return to fiscal responsibility: House Speaker Thom Tillis

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

May 3, 2011 in NCGOP7 News

From the Office of the Speaker  May 2, 2011

Raleigh – “House Republican leaders held a press conference this afternoon (May 02)  to highlight their proposed budget to be voted on in this week.  House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) said the budget represents a return to fiscal responsibility and is critical to North Carolina’s long-term economic sustainability.

“This budget confronts North Carolina’s fiscal problems in a responsible, sustainable way,” Tillis said.  “It brings government expenses into line with state revenues, ends the practice of taxing our citizens to pay for state government’s appetite for spending, and restores over a billion dollars into the private sector to help create jobs.”
Rep. Harold Brubaker (R-Randolph), the House Appropriations Chair, said the budget includes intelligent spending reductions for state agencies that will reverse the trend of ever-expanding state government, with great benefits to North Carolina taxpayers.

“This budget is one of the largest tax cuts in state history,” said Brubaker.  “By allowing certain taxes to expire, we will provide more than a billion dollars to the private sector.  We believe private businesses and individuals use their own money more effectively than state government.”

Brubaker also commented on specific proposals in the budget, including the funding of every teaching position in the state and giving local control to school boards and Superintendents, rather than directing spending from Raleigh.

“As a rule, all areas of government experienced spending reductions that were accomplished through streamlining administration and operating costs whenever possible,” Brubaker said.  “When positions had to be eliminated, we made sure the majority of those positions were vacant ones, to hold as many individuals harmless as we possibly could.”

Republicans commented on the transparency that has accompanied this budget from day one.  “This is the most transparent budget process in recent memory,” Tillis said.  All subcommittee documents and reports on the budget were posted online, and the budget has been available in its entirety online for five days before any budget votes have been taken on the House floor.

Republicans pointed out that they did not create the budget crisis they inherited when they were elected in November.  “The bottom line is that for decades, politicians in Raleigh have raised taxes and increased spending, and that formula hasn’t worked,” Tillis said.

“It’s time we give the private sector a chance and tighten the belt of state government.  We need a fundamental change in the way state government approaches the economy and job creation, and this budget does just that,” he asserted.

Finally, Tillis addressed the claims that some have made concerning potential job losses incurred in this budget.  “Some voices in state government have floated hypothetical, inflated job loss numbers,” he said.

“These numbers are just that:  hypothetical," Tillis continued. "Based on countless conversations with outside experts and internal non-partisan fiscal research staff, we are convinced that this budget is a job creator, period.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

TORN APART BY MOB: Iraqis rejoice over four ambush killings. Charred bodies of Americans strung up from bridge.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster   May 3, 2011

There have been complaints by Muslim leaders that Osama bin Laden's corpse has not been treated respectfully. It was buried at sea, and U.S. officials said every effort has been made to ensure adherence to Muslim traditions.

Perhaps it might be instructive to elaborate on how Muslims treat the remains of Americans. The following story was published in a Glasgow newspaper on  April 1, 2004.

The article is a bit untidy, and no attempt has been made to correct errors or other information which appears misplaced. There are some descriptions of gory photos which were not provided.

But it should impress the reader with the barbarity and crude disrespect shown the remains of several Americans killed by radical mobs in the Iraqi city of Falluja in 2004. 

Byline: By Rod Prince / Glasgow Daily Record / April 1, 2004

THE charred bodies of four civilian contractors three Americans were paraded through the streets of an Iraqi city after a terror attack terror attack natentado (terrorista)

terror attack nattentato terroristico 

The baying mob including children then hung two of the bodies from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

Limbs were pulled from at least two of the dead and hung from a telephone cable in scenes of sheer barbarity.

Pictures of the obscene attack many too horrific to be shown in the Daily Record were flashed across the world and are sure to deeply shock the US public.

They showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole.Others tied a yellow rope to a body,hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street.

One of the dead was a woman. And five American soldiers died in a roadside bombing on one of the bloodiest days so far this year for the coalition governing Iraq.

The enormity of the attacks on the contractors was bad enough but the jubilant way that the crowd of Iraqis displayed their bodies through the streets was even worse.

The crowd's blood--lust exposes the depth of anti-American bitterness among Iraqi hardliners and the scale of the challenge facing coalition commanders charged with restoring calm to the region.

The four contractors were killed in a rebel attack on their 4x4 vehicles in Falluja, 35 miles west of Baghdad.

The city has been the scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.

Witness Abdul Aziz Mohammed said Both the name Mohammed and the name Said can be romanized in several ways. This page attempts to link all articles about people with this name, irrespective of spelling variants:

Mohamad Said

: 'The people of Falluja hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep. Some of the corpses were dismembered.'

Beneath the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones skull and crossbones

alerts consumers to presence of poison; represents death. [Folklore: Misc.]

See : Danger

skull and crossbones

symbolizing mortality; sign on poison bottles.
 and the phrase, 'Falluja is the cemetery for Americans'.

One resident displayed what appeared to bedog tags taken from one body.Others said there were weapons in the targeted cars.

TV pictures showed one US passport near a body and a US Defence Department ID card. US contractors in Iraq have been hiring former US and British special forces soldiers as bodyguards with contracts worth up to pounds 5000 a week.

Witnesses said the two vehicles were attacked with small arms small arms, firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery.

Falluja is in the so-called Sunni Triangle The Sunni Triangle refers to a densely-populated region of Iraq to the northwest of Baghdad that is inhabited mostly by Sunni Muslim Arabs. The roughly triangular area's corners are usually said to lie near Baghdad (on the east side of the triangle), Ramadi (on the west side) and , where support for Saddam Hussein was strong and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces.

In yesterday's other attack at Malahma, 12miles to the north-west of Falluja,five US troops died when their military vehicle ran over abomb.

Defence officials said the soldiers were from the Army's 1st Infantry Division The latest violence came two days after Carina Carina (kərē`nə) [Lat.,=the keel], southern constellation, representing the keel of the ancient constellation Argo Navis, or Ship of the Argonauts. Carina contains Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky.  Perelli, the head of a UN electoral team, said better security is vital if Iraq wants to hold elections by a deadline of January 31, 2005. They are scheduled to follow a June 30 transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government.

The grim and shocking scenes in Falluja represent President George Bush's worst nightmare the reality ofthe fall-out from the Iraq war brought home in all its gory go·ry
adj. go·ri·er, go·ri·est
1. Covered or stained with gore; bloody.

2. Full of or characterized by bloodshed and violence.

The images of corpses being mutilated are certain to appal an American electorate increasingly disillusioned by the Bush administration's attitude to the war.

Jeremy Binnie,Middle East Editor of Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment, said the grisly images would sent shockwaves around America.

He said: 'It is such a savage attack. The mob are holding these contractors up as an example of what awaits other foreigner in Iraq.

'This would have been a spontaneous reaction by the crowd, rather than something premeditated everyone wanted to take part.

'There would have been a whole queue of people wanting to get to these bodies. Most people understand the situation across Iraq is not ideal but whether they are prepared for these pictures, I'm not sure.

'It reminds me of the famous photograph of an American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in Somalia, which pretty much led to the withdrawal of US troops there in 1993.

'These photographs are definitely unhelpful to the Bush administration.'

One youngster, Mohammad Nafik, 12, said as he watched the scenes of desecration: 'I am happy to see this. The Americans are occupying us so this is what will happen.This is the fate of all who come to Falluja.'

Yet, despite the continuing violence, President Bush yesterday vowed troops would remain there.

He said: 'We mourn the loss of life. But there is an important effort to provide the Iraqi people freedom and democracy and we will not turn back from that effort.'


PRICEY: At the pumps; CHILLING: Top, the boy's sign reads `Falluja is the cemetery of the Americans'; BARBARIC: Anti-US slogans are chanted as bodies hang, left. Above, playing inside the shell; SICKENING SCENES: Iraqis celebrate the deaths of four civilians after gunmen opened fire on two vehicles in the flashpoint city of Falluja yesterday
COPYRIGHT 2004 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday

CNN SPECIAL REPORT: Seven Questions after the death of bin Laden.

7 questions after the death of bin LadenOsama bin Laden, the longtime leader of al Qaeda, was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion north of Islamabad, Pakistan.
May 2nd, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations (where he blogs), co-author of "America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy" and a former director for global issues and multilateral affairs at the National Security Council.

By James M. Lindsay – Special to CNN
Article referred by Andy Yates

Americans are cheering the surprising news that U.S. Special Forces have killed Osama bin Laden. The successful military operation is a tribute to the skill of U.S. Special Forces, the perseverance of intelligence professionals who have hunted bin Laden for more than a decade and the nerve of a president to order a military strike that could have failed spectacularly.


1. Does Bin Laden’s death cripple al Qaeda and jihadist terrorism more broadly? Probably not. Al Qaeda long ago ceased to be a centralized operation. For the last decade bin Laden has been a figurehead than a mastermind. Terrorist attacks, like the bomb plot that German authorities broke up last week, have been planned and carried out by largely independent al Qaeda “affiliates.” Nonetheless, U.S. Special Forces might have picked up valuable intelligence as they scoured bin Laden’s command post that could help uncover terrorist cells and plots.

2.  Can you kill a symbol?  In announcing bin Laden’s death late last night, President Obama noted that “For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol.” Men die, symbols don’t. In death, bin Laden will continue to inspire jihadists as much as he did in life. The biggest threat to bin Ladenism comes not from American bullets but from the prospect that the Arab spring will remake the political order in the Middle East.

3.  Where is Ayman al-Zawahiri? With bin Laden dead, his chief lieutenant and the man frequently described as al Qaeda’s “brains” goes to the top of the most wanted listed. Zawahiri reportedly was gravely injured in a missile strike in Pakistan in 2008. Given his deep operational experience and cunning, the Egyptian-born Zawahiri is more than capable of plotting major terrorist attacks on his own.

4.  Is Pakistan a reliable partner for the United States? President Obama said last night that “our cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden.” But the White House didn’t notify the Pakistani government in advance and Pakistani troops did not participate in the attack. Bin Laden’s compound was located just forty miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad - or about the distance from Washington to Baltimore - in a city that hosts a Pakistani military base and military academy. Expect to hear more doubts inside the Washington Beltway about the value and viability of the U.S.-Pakistani partnership.

5. Can we leave Afghanistan now? Sometime in the next several months, President Obama will decide whether and how fast to draw down U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. Last week the Pentagon reported mildly optimistic news about progress in the Afghan War. Bin Laden’s death gives the president the political opening to order the sizable draw-down that public opinion polls show that most Americans want. He has always justified the war in Afghanistan in terms of defeating and dismantling al Qaeda, and he can say that with bin Laden’s death that goal has been achieved.

6.  Will Obama benefit politically from bin Laden’s death? The president’s public approval ratings have slipped recently after enjoying a modest bump earlier in the year. Expect another bump in the coming weeks as the public gives the White House credit for a job well done. But if past “rally-‘round-the-flag” dynamics hold true, the boost that Obama gets from bin Laden’s death will be short-lived.

7. Will our current bipartisan moment last? John Boehner, Dick Cheney, and Rudy Giuliani are just a few of the Republican luminaries who have congratulated Obama. As John Kennedy once noted, victory has a thousand fathers. But don’t expect this moment of unity to last. The issues dividing Democrats and Republicans are too deep to be bridged by the death of the world’s foremost terrorist.

Asking these questions does not diminish the significance of what the Obama administration accomplished yesterday. Killing bin Laden brings closure to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. It shows that terrorists will pay for their crimes. Justice was done.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of James Lindsay.

Post by:
Verne Strickland Blogmaster