Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraq Study Group - my reaction

Iraq Study Group

Now that the ISG recommendations have been published, it is time to get real and analyze the whole situation with “Winning” in mind.
The ISG came up with a total of 79 recommendations but the most important one in my mind was not even considered.

The one lesson we need to learn from history, in this case, the Vietnam War experience, is that our enemy is using our media and our own citizens to defeat us. The North Vietnamese General was interviewed years later and he admitted that they could not win the war on the battle field but relied on the war of public opinion to defeat us.

In Iraq today, one of the factors that we have not been more successful is the constant harping by the media and the opposition party that this was a bad war. They highlighted our mistakes and exaggerated the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and distorted the premise of going to war.

Mistakes and abuses will happen in any war. We should not use them to score political points and undermine our foreign policy. We are not playing a game but real lives and national security are at risk.

The one recommendation that I didn’t read is the following – the one that should unify our country behind a just and worthy cause and to “WIN” in Iraq.

Let’s define what “WIN” means in Iraq. A minimum win in Iraq will mean that they have a stable government able to control their own borders and maintain peace and participate in a global dialog as a sovereign nation. If they turn out to be a democracy that would be great. If they choose to be governed by a Theocracy, that is OK too. What is unacceptable is an Iraq, being torn apart with the help of Al Queda and Iran and Syria and becoming a training ground for future terrorists.

What does not help is for example, Frank Rich of the NYT, in his latest editorial, one of many in the past few years, saying “we have already lost Iraq”.
How does he know and what is his agenda in pronouncing this as “fact”?
Is this a self fulfilling prophecy or is this border on treason at a time of war?
Let’s say we are loosing the war in Iraq at the moment. What does Frank Rich suggest we do going forward? Should we apologize and leave and bring Saddam back? Is this a better alternative? What happen over the next few years if we leave? Has Frank Rich thought about the unintended consequences that will surely follow?

I understand the need for analysis and criticism and even “freedom of speech and press” on the part of the media. That is their job.
I often wonder if the reporting of this war would be the same if a Democrat is sitting in the White House instead of GW Bush.

Can you imagine during the height of WWII and our press focused on the atrocities of our soldiers and the tactical mistakes of our generals? Would President Truman make the decision to drop the Atom Bomb on Japan to end the war in the Pacific if NYT has its way? Would we have even won against Hitler and Mussolini if half of the American public and 90% of the American media are against the war?

That is the crossroad we are at. Do we have the national will and unity necessary to win and succeed in Iraq?

The other thing which is not considered is defining our enemy in Iraq. Who are they and what do they want? Where do they get their support? How can we stop them?
Are they watching CNN and reading NYT and quoting our elected officials and repeating it on Al Jazeera- the leading Arab news outlet?
These are all good questions.

If I was an Al Queda leader, I welcome the call by Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney calling for the impeachment of GW Bush. It just gives me more moral ammunition to continue the fight against the “evil” USA”. This is one of many outrageous charges lodged against a sitting president by our own elected officials and elites in Academia.

As difficult as the current war in Iraq is going, I shutter to think what we would be facing if we pull out and let things go their natural way. Our enemy knew very well the lessons of Mogadishu, Somalia. They watched Black Hawk Down and learned. They can defeat us by inflicting enough pain and causing us to loose our will to fight.
That is their only strategy in Iraq, and so far, I agree partly with Frank Rich, they are winning and by default we are loosing. If we continue the national debate and not fully support our mission, we will loose Iraq and probably all future conflicts in that region.
Thanks to the NYT. What a way to go.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My accomplishments in 2006

Accomplishments of 2006:

Instead of making a New Year resolution each year, I thought it would be more productive to write an end of year accomplishments. This is more meaningful since it shows some actual deeds instead of a list of hopes.
In the beginning of 2006, I read an inspiring book called “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. It motivated me to do something different but hopefully with more impact.
Here is my list of major accomplishments for 2006.

1. I’ve created a Family Tree website on – It currently includes 115 people and photos of most of our family members and additional photos of interest; some are old photos that I reproduced digitally using my digital camera. Here is the link:
Tribal Pages

2. I’ve created 24 Squidoo lens on various topics including “Solutions to the Iraq War”, “9/11 Resources and Information” and “History of the National Woman’s Party”. The links to my lens are here:

3. I volunteered over 50 hours at the Westchester Archives – scanning old B/W photos of John Gass. We were given an award luncheon and the County Executive Andy Spano presented each of us with a certificate. See the photo here:
My Bio

4. I was called to serve on a Grand Jury for 30 days in NYC. As part of this experience, I learned about the current crisis in our justice system with regard to illegal aliens. I wrote a letter to our elected representatives. It is posted on my blog along with some of the responses I received.
My blog posting

5. I volunteered to assist with the Photo exhibit at the 5th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero. It featured photos by Jonathan Hyman.
Photo Exhibit

6. I wrote a letter to Governor Pataki and the Journal News complaining about the new Trump State Park sign. It was published in the letters section of the Journal News. My letter

7. I wrote 6 guides on eBay and received over 100 positive feedbacks. My two most successful guides are about Repairing the Palm Tungsten E2 and a guide on Digital Photography techniques.
My guides

8. I’ve posted quite a few digital photos on my photo album at Webshots.
My photo album

9. My personal accomplishment includes losing 4 pounds on the Atkins Diet.

10. I also started exercising and training for fencing. I have not touched a weapon for 25 years ever since my college days. I am training at the Fencing Academy of Westchester along with my son Jason.