Friday, April 09, 2004
Only one thing to say:
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, gave her long awaited testimony to the 9-11 commission today.
Watching on television, I could not help but be impressed by her measured and insistent responses to various interrogatories, many of them baiting and lawyerlike. After her testimony, the radio news broadcasts used words such as "resolute" and "unwavering" to describe her appearance. She won the day; that judgement was reinforced in my mind by the attempts on the part of the partisan media to raise questions about what she said, or to contrast her statements with the sentiments of various "9-11 Moms" who have, it appears, signed on with the Kerry Campaign. In so doing, the partisan media and their Democratic patrons missed the point of the episode.
Rice's testimony will convince no one in the Democratic Party's activist wing that she was sincere and her efforts were praiseworthy. That was not the objective. Karl Rove wanted her in there to appeal to centrist swing voters. The spectacle of Richard Benveniste or Bob Kerrey baiting and peppering Rice with "yes" or "no" questions was not lost on Mr. and Mrs. America. I could not help but be amazed that Benveniste, for instance, could be so stupid as to hector Rice on television. Rice refused to be intimidated by him, and confounded his attempt to steer her towards the conclusion that both she and the President were guilty of negligence. She did this by patiently, persistently, and relentlessly answering the questions raised by Benveniste, Gorelick, and Kerrey in her own way, and on her own terms.
There are people in Washington tonight who will try to get her on the Republican ticket in 2004. Her testimony, and her refusal to be buffaloed, was that impressive. She proved to me that not only does she have what it takes to be in the Arena, but she has what it takes to command, as well.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
A Freeper with the call sign Rokke was stationed at Doha a year ago during the war. He was a liason between the Air Force and ground units. As the Third Infantry Division approached the Karbala Gap, he told me that he had been witness to a conference video call with Tommy Franks and his field commanders. The field officers were chafing at the leash, they were so confident and ready to go.
Franks let them go. Third Division advanced on the "Karbala Gap", the strip of land between the holy city of Karbala and the Euphrates River. As they moved to contact the Iraqi defense perimeter, Rokke sent me an email. It read, simply, "Fight's on!"
The 3/7th Cav and the Third Division fought the Republican Guard on the 25th of April, in a howling sandstorm. Having repulsed an Iraqi advance, Third Division moved to encircle enemy troops at Najaf the following day. The Iraqis attempted to reinforce the defensive line but both Guard columns were heavily damaged by air attacks from Naval Aviation and Tactical Air. In each case, superior training, equipment, and leadership turned the tide in favor of the Coalition.
Meantime, the Fedayeen Saddam and the Special Republican Guard continued to make suicide attacks against the Marines. Each time, noncommissioned officers and trained Marine infantry turned back the Ba'athist troops. As the Third Army approached Baghdad, the attacks became much more desperate.
By the first week in April, the Third Army was within thirty miles of Baghdad. The regime was on its last legs.
Within days, the world would witness a new technique in urban warfare. It would be called the "Thunder Run".