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says “the days of the Saddam Hussein regime are numbered.”

Cnn Reports


Two Iraqi oil wells on fire.


More On Last Night




Not just flexibility, but the ability to make a decision in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The ability to see alternate routes to the objective and take advantage of opportunity, in this case an opportunity that may never present itself again.”

Web Briefing: August 21, 2014

John Burns


John Burns, the New York Times reporter who’s done some of the best work from inside Iraq had some interesting comments on PBS last night. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for posting it:

“Along with all of this apprehension I think America should know that there is also a good deal of anticipation. Iraqis have suffered beyond, I think, the common understanding of the United States from the repression of the past 30 years here. And many, many Iraqis are telling us now, not always in the whispers he have heard in the past but now in quite candid conversations, that they are waiting for America to come and bring them liberty.

“It’s very hard though for anybody to understand this. It can only be understood in terms of the depth of the repression here. It has to be said that this is not universal of course…

“All I can tell you is that as every reporter who has come over here will attest to this, there is the most extraordinary experience of the last few days has been a sudden breaking of the ice here, with people in every corner of life coming forward to tell us that they understand what America is about in this. They are very, very fearful of course of the [?] bombing, of damage to Iraq’s infrastructure. They are very concerned about the kind of governance, the American military governance, that they will come under afterward. Can I just say that there is also no doubt — no doubt — that there are many, many Iraqis who see what is about to happen here as the moment of liberation.”


Leadership Strikes


One would of course love to know (yet be very angry if anyone told us) where
the intelligence came from for those “leadership strikes” last night. One
thing that occurs to me, looking at those “Baghdad–ghost town” pictures, is
that there is very, very little traffic on Iraqi roads right now. That is
going to make it hard for the top people to move around much. Remembering
Colin Powell’s UN presentation last month, pretty much any large truck must
be taken as a target of opportunity, likewise of course any plane or
helicopter. If SH & his top people want to move around, they pretty much
have to hide in ambulances and suchlike–and then, without forming an
obvious convoy, where will his bodyguards, food-tasters and minders travel?
Any large number of vehicles converging on a meeting point is an obvious
hazard. The Iraqi leadership is pretty much immobilized.




This is from Bloomberg, sorry no link:
’The U.S. targeted the leaders after engineering reports yesterday that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz had defected, Sky News reported, citing unidentified offficials. The reports prompted Azia to go on live television yesterday to prove his loyalty, allowing the U.S. to track the source of the transmission and follow Aziz’s movements, Sky reported.’ In other words, we flushed out Aziz, followed him, and made him drop a dime on Saddam without him knowing it.”

Re: Presidential Flexibility


People coming out of an Ari press briefing just recently note the broad-execute authority Bush gave Centcom. He will not be micromanaging this phase of the war on terror is the message.

Last Night


Some quick (and slightly skeptical) observations from an military expert I just talked to, for what they’re worth: “My guess is that last night was probably based on good intelligence, not great intelligence….We have an inexperienced president reacting to that intelligence….I wouldn’t be surprised that they didn’t get him [Saddam]…The positive side is that it shows real flexibility on the part of the commander-in-chief. That is probably a good thing.”

Abc Radio


A few reads have pointed out:

“ABC radio playing Kate Smith singing God bless America” — they play it
every night at 1 a.m. It comes at the end of the indispensable John
Batchelor and Paul Alexander show, which started broadcasting September 12,
2001. One of the best sources for inside information and analysis about all
fronts of the war. They had the great Jed Babbin on for a while last night.

Derb On Ksfo


Bay Area NRO fans, those of you awake, I shall be on KSFO, as a guest of
Lee Rogers, at 8 a.m. PST.

Babbin Checks In


He’s got a last dispatch for today.

Violence Never Solved Anything Department


Dennis Ross has a good piece in the Journal about how the American use of force is already realigning the Middle East in a positive way. This was one of the central arguments of numerous NR Editorials from the get-go. Obviously, it’s early. But Syria’s curtailment of Hezbollah and its withdrawal of 4,000 troops from Lebanon can hardly be construed as a negative consequence of war (except, perhaps, by the Knight of Croatia, Pat Buchanan).

Going to The Mattresses


One question: Can the paleos buy their mattresses from just anybody? Or do they have to be made in South Carolina?

Where’s That Recipe For Spaghetti Sauce?


E-mail from a paleo friend who had just read David Frum’s piece: “So we’re
going to the mattresses.”

More Python Humor


If We Really Killed Saddam & Co in The First Five Minutes


With apologies to “A Fish Called Wanda”:

North Korea: All right, all right, we apologize.

The United States: You’re really sorry!

North Korea: We’re really really sorry, we apologize unreservedly.

The United States: You take it back?

North Korea: We do, we offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and we deeply regret any distress that our comments may have caused you, or your family, and we hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

The United States: OK.



I agree with Andrew Sullivan and others when they suggest the Saddam broadcast was authentic. If Saddam was looking to make a show of strength, he wouldn’t wear those glasses. Reading from that pad he looks like an old man trying to figure out why the deli raised the price on the chicken noodle soup.

For Those in Peril On The Sea


TV coverage has been mostly of the skies over Baghdad and the troop
movements at the Kuwait-Iraq border. Let’s not forget that thousands of our
servicepeople are on ships at sea, and just as much in danger as anyone else
now that hostilities have begun. Modern anti-ship technology is very
lethal, as the British discovered in the Falklands War. I believe modern
antimissile technology is a match for it, but nasty things can still
happen. For an adversary like Saddam Hussein, with almost no air force and
no hope of a victory on land, our ships at sea are tempting targets. Since
I know that the NRO readership includes many ministers of religion, I
suggest William Whiting’s wonderful old hymn “Eternal Father, strong to
save” for coming services–a.k.a. “The Navy Hymn.”



Cosmo’s search for Baathist vermin was postponed due to rain.

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