Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Michael Yon's Memorial Day Message

I was away from home and internet yesterday for the holiday, but Michael Yon was there with a must-read Memorial Day message:

Q has already made it to Germany and is about to be flown home. CSM Pippin is on his way to Germany. Along the way, excellent groups like Soldiers’ Angels will welcome them home, I expect. My readers will find out here where to send messages once that news is released.
Both men often lamented to me how frustrating it was to be back home and realize that the average American is not aware of practically any of the progress that’s been made in Iraq. Both men darken with something closer to anger when they consider the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers and the fact that while the media most likely counted the deaths in all instances, they also most likely failed to mention any of the good things their fellow soldiers had accomplished while in Iraq.

I plan to stay in Iraq for the rest of 2007, doing my part to tell of these and other accomplishments, and both of these men would not have it any other way. But when I do finally get home, I want to see these heroes, and be reminded what Memorial Day is all about.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reports from Baghdad

...in an exclusive over at The Fourth Rail. It's a long, but necessary read, however I'll leave you with this excerpt:

Right now our country is embroiled in a critical debate about setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Unfortunately, this is one of the most intellectually impoverished political debates that I have ever witnessed, with both sides often resorting to sloganeering and demagoguery rather than substantive argumentation. One thing that my time in Iraq underscored to me is that, in looking at the country, many people see what they want to see. I would often think about the stories that journalists might write if they went where I went and saw what I saw. For example, after my first night on patrol—when the civilians we saw were clearly happy to see U.S. troops and felt comfortable around them—a conservative journalist might write a piece countering the stories about Iraqis hating us and wanting us to leave. Fine—but what about polls indicating that a shockingly high percentage of Iraqis think it’s okay to kill American troops? What about neighborhoods where U.S. troops would encounter a very different reception? On the other hand, a liberal journalist could write a very funny piece about the Iraqi army’s sloth and trigger-happy approach to the world, and conclude that we need to leave immediately because the Iraqi security forces are hopeless and at least a withdrawal will put some fire in their belly. Fine—but what about Iraqi soldiers’ improvements? What about the likelihood that pulling out would guarantee the Iraqi army’s failure?

Thailand: Rumors of a second coup?

Perhaps one wasn't enough. The always invaluable Bangkok Pundit links to a report that soldiers have been dispatched to TV stations to "protect" them from other parties who might use them for their own purposes. Bangkok Pundit wonders:

Who would be behind the second coup? Will it be (1) Thaksin whose army allies have been decimated, (2) Gen. Saprang who has recently been sidelined and his allies, or (3) Gen. Sonthi to consolidate his position even further?

Meanwhile Islamic radicals continue to terrorize and bomb Southern Thailand in their efforts to carve an Islamic state out of the region. As usual, the military idiots in charge of Thailand continue to speculate that the bombings are works of political elements, much like they tried to explain away the Bangkok bombings, when in fact it is painfully aware to everyone but those in charge who is responsible.