I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay,
And I pity any girl who isn't me tonight
--I feel Pretty, West Side Story
Would you feel confident with your account in the hands of this cheery bloke?
Iraqis greeted the visit with a mix of anger and anticipation.
"The main thing that we need is to get rid of the Americans," said Mona al-Essawi, 19, who works for a women's clothing store. "If [Obama] will take his soldiers and leave Iraq, then I will even invite him to dinner at my house."
Yankee, go home.
". . . logistics convoys rely on drivers and vehicles supplied by Iraqi companies under contract with the corps. British and U.S. companies provide convoy security, also under contract with the corps."
"Pease says the successful use of private security contractors to protect the logistics convoys frees more U.S. troops for combat and peacekeeping."
"The two Black Hawks, including Healy's were too heavy to vault over the peaks of Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province. . . . the choppers diverted to Jalalabad, where 16 men were ordered off the Black Hawks. With more than 10 minutes lost, the two helicopters decided to outrun their slower, armored escorts. Contact with the trapped SEAL team had been lost."
"The SEALS onboard the second Black Hawk were horrified to see the lead chopper explode, tilt its nose upward and spill men to the ground. The remaining air crew, belted in, were trapped inside a flaming comet, plunging down into a boulder-choked ravine. Healy, McGreevy and a dozen others were gone."
Addendum: Author Richard Miniter is the best-selling author of two books which Borders does not stock. Each explains how Bill Clinton is to blame for Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden. You can guess the audience which drove these books into best-seller status. That's right -- your fellow Americans.
Miniter's non-credentials as a "terrorism expert" include a terminal degree of a B.A. in philosophy from a liberal arts college. He has never worked in the military or government. He would make a fine writer of YA adventure stories.
"Senior Crew Chief Dan Healy was in chrage of planning the SEAL component of Operation Red Wings. . . . he became obsessed with finding the Taliban warlord killing Marines in A-bad."
This is a good simple plan, except it lacks any contingency plans or Escape & Evasion considerations. This elementary failure is what cost the team their lives.
"The plan was simple. A helicopter would drop off the SEAL team a few miles from a village where the warlord Shah had been sighted from the air. They would rope down and find a concealed position. If they spotted Shah, they would radio "eyes on target" and an 80-man force would swoop in to capture him."
"The Taliban were not long in coming. Initial intelligence reports put Shah's forces at 80 fighters, but some 200 Taliban appeared on the ridges above them. The enemy held the high ground and started flanking the SEAL team on both sides; they were about to be surrounded."
Where were their URC-type survival radios?Where was the airborne radio relay? Where were the emergency contingency plans when contact with the team was compromised?
"The SEALs couldn't hold out for long. The radio only spoke static. They couldn't phone home."
Classic hunter becoming the hunted scenario. A team fighting downhill with enemy elements above is the same as a death sentence. "Without an air rescue, or close air support from a plane, the SEAL team would die."
"Murphy ordered them to retreat down the hill, gaining distance and time. But the Taliban pursued their prey relentlessly."
"McGreevy ran into the barracks to round up any SEALs or Night Stalkers he could find. The men sprang into action, grabbing gear and guns while running for the door. Onboard trucks heading, sergeants divided men into "chalks," and Healy counted heads. The posse was coming."
"In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime, an area surrounding a black hole, inside which events cannot affect an outside observer. Light emitted from inside the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer's side is never seen again."
President Bush invoked executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing the FBI report of an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney and other records related to the administration's leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003 (Bush Claims Executive Privilege on CIA Leak Case).
"Kantar, who had been serving multiple life terms in Israel for a grisly 1979 attack, wiped away tears as he stood before a crowd in the coastal border town of Naqoura.
"The five later flew to Beirut, where they received an official welcome from the president and were congratulated by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who was last seen in public in January.
"Your return is a new victory and the future with you will only be a shinning march in which we achieve the sovereignty of our land and the freedom of people,'' President Michel Suleiman said in his address. 'I congratulate the resistance (Hezbollah) for this new achievement.' (Lebanese Militant Released in Israeli Prisoner Exchange Swap.)''
And just what is this " new achievement" for which Lebanese President Suleiman praises Hezbollah?
Beyond the story, this episode is instructive of the spectrum of warfare. Hezbollah has progressed beyond terrorism to become a true military force. This is true despite killing Israeli soldiers in violation of the rules of war and the dictates of common humanity. But who can blame them when U.S. policy also violates the Geneva Conventions on a daily basis?
If one doubts this transition one need only look at the photo of murderer Kantar as he arrives to a hero's welcome in Beirut. Hezbollah has reached the status of a military force within a state and beyond the control of that state, or so goes the fiction.
Hezbollah is not a rogue actor but an instrument of state policies which allows them plausible deniability. The group may be acting as the unofficial army of the Lebanese state. If George Bush is so bone-headed that he is considering a military strike on Iran, or he is considering unleashing Israeli forces in a proxy attack, the Hezbollah wild card should be fully considered prior to any ill-advised strikes being launched against Iran.
Hezbollah is a counterforce that is more powerful than any nuclear weapon that could be developed by Iran. The entire Middle East is out of the control of U.S. policy.
"There is fun, a lot of it, in sex. But that fun becomes truly erotic and transcendental ONLY when sex is used as an expression of love towards the spouse, a total gift of oneself, without any reservation, yes, ZERO reservation. This kind of reservation is sorely lacking in casual sex.
"I never depreciate the carnal nature - just [want] an atomic bomb to harness [its] energy.
"When the carnal, the heart, the mind, and the spirit converge, you're close to heaven, that's real erotic. The carnal alone is just not cutting it...."