First and foremost, remember the Vets For Freedom will be having a press conference with Senators and Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan today at 3pm eastern.
Vets for Freedom is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American strategy and tactics-namely "the surge" in Iraq. Vets for Freedom is the leading voice representing troops and veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information, please visit www.vetsforfreedom.org.
Men and women that have been there, fought there, lost friends there, In iraq, are going to the Capitol today to let the defeatists in the Senate know that surrender is not an option.
Next we have General Peter Pace declaring a "Sea Change" In Iraq, via Wapo.
RAMADI, Iraq -- In his most optimistic remarks since the U.S. troop buildup began, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that Iraq has undergone a "sea change" in security in recent months, and that this will influence his recommendation to President Bush on how long to continue the current strategy.
After conferring with Maj. Gen. Walter Gaskin and other commanders in this provincial capital west of Baghdad, Pace told reporters he has gathered a positive picture of the security environment not only here but also in Baghdad, where he began his Iraq visit on Monday.
"It will because what I'm hearing now is a sea change that is taking place in many places here," he replied. "It's no longer a matter of pushing al-Qaida out of Ramadi, for example, but rather _ now that they have been pushed out _ helping the local police and the local army have a chance to get their feet on the ground and set up their systems."
Read the entire article....
Pace's words echo and verify what we have been hearing from other sources inside of Iraq, in daily reports.
In the meantime Baghdad Reid is planning an all nighter (I mistakenly thought that was to be last night, but it is for tonight), and the GOP have called his bluff and are not blinking, if Reid cannot get the votes passed a 60 vote threshold to bypass a filibuster, he cannot pass anything with timelines that will tie General Petraeus's hands and not allow him to do the job he was asked to do.
Senate Democratic leaders are planning a rare all-night session tonight, employing theatrics and scheduling votes that they hope will chip away at Republican resolve to back President Bush's Iraq war strategy.(ADDED COMMENTARY) One has to wonder who Reid is listening to, actually, I don't wonder, I know he is listening to his far left liberal supporters, but THEY get their information from biased sources such as NYT and Wapo, and by listening to them, Reid is deliberately ignoring the overwhelming concensus by military leaders and others that are IN Iraq seeing a tremendous turnaround since General Petraeus took over and implemeted new counterinsurgency tactics.
Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had hoped to convince Republicans to allow a simple-majority vote on a Democratic proposal to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring. But GOP leaders held firm to a 60-vote threshold for passage -- a routine maneuver in today's closely divided Senate but a number Democrats have been unable to meet all year. And Republicans decried Reid's decision for a marathon session as a stunt.
Finally the MSM is starting to tell the American people of these successes and progress on the ground in Iraq and these political stunts are backfiring on Reid and crew in a big way, the polls show them falling fast to the lowest approval ratings in history. They have invested so much in trying to force defeat, they have now placed themselves in between a rock and a hard place and I do not see any liklihood that they can get out from under this.
We are witnessing, firsthand the complete implosion of the democratic party as a whole.)
Following up on Roggio's daily report where he discusses Iranian interference in Iraq, we also see from the New York Sun that Iran is also a lair for al-Qaeda.
WASHINGTON — One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.
That is a consensus judgment from a final working draft of a new National Intelligence Estimate, titled "The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland," on the organization that attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The estimate, which represents the opinion of America's intelligence agencies, is now finished, and unclassified conclusions will be shared today with the public.
The three main Al Qaeda leaders in Iran include Mr. Adel; the organization's minister of propaganda, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, and the man who some analysts believe is the heir apparent to Mr. bin Laden — one of his sons, Saad bin Laden. The locations of the senior leaders include a military base near Tehran called Lavizan; a northern suburb of Tehran, Chalous; an important holy city, Mashod, and a border town near Afghanistan, Zabul, the draft intelligence estimate says.
Read all 3 pages of that article.
I will bring you more on that as soon as the NIE report is made available, in full.
Captain's Quarters names some of the difficulties of dealing with any al-Qaeda forces in Iran.
What the analysts debate is the extent to which the AQ cell operates as an independent part of the leadership structure and the extent of Iranian sponsorship of the group. The letter intercepted by US forces from Ayman al-Zawahiri scolding him for his bloodthirstiness shows that Zawahiri, at least, considered his branch superior to that which had handled Zarqawi to that point.
The second issue seems rather moot, however. If the Iranians know they are there -- and they do, since they attempted to trade them in 2003 for information on an opposition group -- then they have responsibility for their operations and attacks as a matter of sovereignty. And it seems absurd in any case to presume that the Quds force, which is a branch of the Iranian military, somehow manages to be the only part of the Iranian theocracy which runs independent of the mullahs.
The question becomes what we do about the al-Qaeda cell in eastern Iran. If they have protection from the Quds force, it won't be easy to take them out. Iran's eastern region resembles that of Afghanistan and Pakistan, rugged mountain territory in which stealth attacks would be difficult to conduct. Any other kind of operation will be (rightly) seen as a declaration of war on Iran -- in which case we would have to attack a range of other targets first in order to protect our military.
Between the press conference with Vets For Freedom on the Capitol today and the release of the NIE report, today promises to be a busy blogging day, so keep checking back and I will bring them to you as they come out.
Other reactions one or more of the above mentioned articles, via memeorandum:
Don Surber with "Reid to Hold Himself Hostage" HEH.
So Harry Reid has to stay up past his bedtime one night. Big deal.
Jules Crittenden with "Indomitable Spirit"
The dogged determination of the Democratic leadership in Congress to prevail against all odds is truly inspiring.* Imagine the possibilities if they actually turned that fire against the enemy.
Michael Totten with "al-Qaeda in Iran"
Stories like these reinforce another very basic idea: terrorism has a return address.
Flopping Aces with "The New Terrorist Assessment, Plus Some Code Pink Thrown In"
Knowing this, the Democrats still want to pull out and allow them to take over Iraq. Amazing.
Blue Crab Boulevard with "Reid Panders Yet Again"
Harry "Bozo" Reid, his ever-sensitive political antennae (at least the ones on the left side of his head) twitching mightily, has pandered, yet gain, to the nutroots. Earlier today they were panting that Harry should put one of his big, floppy red shoes down and actually make the Republicans filibuster. Harry is ever reliable as a tool of the far left and promptly complied to his loud, screeching masters.
Hot Air with "Khadamiyah Comeback"
That is certainly true, and is reflected in press coverage of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of the reason I’ve been airing the Winning Hearts & Minds series is to show the other side of the war, that part that isn’t sexy enough to earn Pulitzers and therefore hardly ever gets any coverage, even though it’s one of the most important parts of the war.
More found at memeorandum.
Cassy reminds us all to vote for the Wounded Warriors Project at www.rezoom.com, do so every day, they can use the money.
[UPDATE] U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns the U.S. of the consequences of any rapid withdrawal from Iraq, via The Washington Times.
NEW YORK — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged U.S. policy-makers yesterday to exercise "great caution" in considering any rapid withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.
"It is not my place to inject myself into this discussion taking place between the American people, government and Congress," said Mr. Ban, who was expected to repeat the message during meetings on Capitol Hill today.
"But I'd like to tell you that a great caution should be taken for the sake of the Iraqi people," he said at a U.N. press conference. "Any abrupt withdrawal or decision may lead to a further deterioration."
He says what we have been saying and he will be ignored by the Senate because they are too busy pandering to their far left liberal base.
Is it any wonder that their approval rating is in a freefall?
[Update] A very interesting article on RCP about al-Qaeda in Iraq with quotes from people on the ground in Iraq as well as family members of our troops in Iraq.
CNN's Michael Ware said in a broadcast Jan. 30 that Ramadi is "the true al Qaida national headquarters." If that were true, al Qaida is in bigger trouble in Iraq than most of us realize.
Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt devoted his show last Wednesday to the (overwhelmingly negative) opinions of Iraq war veterans on the demands of Democrats that U.S. troops be pulled out. One call was from "Bruce in Upland," whose son is a soldier currently serving in Iraq.
"I will speak for my son who right now is bored out of his mind in Ramadi, because he hasn't heard a shot fired in combat now in about six or seven weeks," Bruce said.
There were about 22 enemy incidents per week in Ramadi in April, said Marine Major Jeff Pool. That's declined to "about two per week." (An enemy incident is any type of direct or indirect fire, from a sniper to a mortar or an IED attack.) Throughout Anbar province, the number of "incidents" has dropped from about 400 last December to 155 last week, said Maj. Pool, the public affairs chief for U.S. forces in western Iraq.
"Though these numbers are a substantial drop, I believe them to be artificially high," Maj. Pool said. The increased operational tempo resulting from the troop surge has increased exposure to the enemy as it has increased the number of al Qaida operatives killed or captured, he said.
"Anbar is returning to a state of normalcy, so I consider the soldier in Ramadi being bored a true measure of progress," he said.
A lot of things have changed since Mr. Ware did that interview with Anderson Cooper. But he was wrong even then.
In October of 2006, al Qaida declared Baquba to be the capital of the Islamic State in Iraq, and claimed to control both Anbar province (of which Ramadi is the capital), and Diyala province, of which Baquba is the capital).
So how are things faring for al Qaida in its new capital? About as poorly as in Ramadi, says Michael Yon, a former Green Beret turned freelance journalist who is embedded with U.S. forces.
"It's really slowed down here in Baquba," Mr. Yon told Mr. Hewitt in a telephone interview Thursday. "I was just in the TOC (tactical operations center) about 15 minutes before I came on the show, and they were like the Maytag repairmen here."
U.S. intelligence thought there were about 1,000 al Qaida in Baquba when Operation Arrowhead Ripper began June 19. Those who haven't fled have been killed or captured.
Read the rest, it is fascinating and these are things I referred to above when I said that Baghdad Reid and his merry band of surrender monkeys ignore the reality on the ground by continuing to try to force America's surrender.
[Update] You can watch the surrender monkeys yourself make their rhetorical speeches, all of them completely ignoring the question of "what would the consequences of rapid withdrawal", each and every time it is asked.
Going to be a long night, but watching the Dems turn purple in the face because Reid's little stunt has backfired on them and now they are stuck there for the night, and still not getting their way, IS kinda worth watching it.