Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Countering Defeatism: Words of Courage From the Frontlines

Amidst the sickening display of defeatism that's been taking place in our nation's capital, it's refreshing to hear from a true warrior on the frontlines of the war on terrorism. Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West - currently training Afghan troops in Kandahar for the Department of Defense - is one of them. Frontpage Magazine's 2003 "Man of the Year," LTC. West sets a courageous example our politicians would do well to emulate:

If you look into the eyes of the young men and women who are here - not just American, but British, Romanian, Canadian, Danish, Dutch, Poles, and more - they are here as evidence that our civilization, our society and our way of life is worth defending.

Why should we take counsel from those who feel there is nothing worth sacrifice? As Teddy Roosevelt termed them, "those hapless souls who will never know victory nor defeat." They fear to enter the arena, yet will sit back and ridicule the warrior who provides them the safety and sanctity upon which they can offer their criticism.

This abject, vile filth called self-loathing is nothing more than the manifestation of internal insecurity and, actually, shame. Shame from those who cannot make a stand. Shame from those who have no honor. Shame from those who would rather prostrate and subjugate themselves before anything, just to preclude calling upon a simple character trait, courage.

Do I have fears? Hell yea. But do I take counsel of those fears? No. That is called courage.

I will not back down in the face of totalitarian, imperialistic, fascist Islamism or its 7th century jihadi henchmen.

I will not bow down to the false god of multiculturalism. I am proud of my American, and black, heritage.

I will not submit to inner insecurities based in self-loathing and hatred.

I will not base my life and my country upon being liked by nations that, if they examined themselves, are failing.

We are the most benevolent superpower ever known in history, and it is time we realized that respect far outweighs being liked. If we are such an immoral society, then why do we have an immigration issue?

My dad, my mom, my brother, myself, and now my nephew, have not taken up the shield, spear, and sword as warriors of this country for nothing. Ever since the Boston Massacre, Lexington/Concord, Bunker Hill and onwards, Americans have not wasted their lives. They have sacrificed with honor so that others could live free!

I will not live my life in shame as a coward and will show no respect to any person who does.

Al West, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Retired
Amen to that!

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Col West,
Thank you and your family for your service to our nation.
You, sir, indeed, like all our hero/warriors of the U S Armed Forces, are and always have been our best our brightest and our only hope for a future.
We, the James Family, salute you and back you, unconditionally.
When it comes to our men and women in uniform, either Serve, Support or Shut Up.

Steadfast and Loyal,

James Family

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

Well said Col. West and thank you for your service to this country.

Defeatism is the religion of the Democrats. That and the apocalyptic cult of human caused "global warming."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All well and good, but for the fact that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq ever attacked the US, mooting Mr. West's claim of "defending" us. I'll be the first to praise him and other soldiers when they rebuff any foreign attack on US soil, but until then, it remains a fact that the 9-11 attackers were Saudis, al- Qaeda is still active, Osama bin Laden is still a free man and we've driven Iraq from a stable dictatorship into civil war and chaos at the cost of tens of thousands of lives and $370 billion (so far).

Bush's "war on terror" is just as much as a failure as Reagan's "war on drugs". You can't win a "war" against an ideology or an addiction, and you can't hide failed policies by putting American soldiers in front of them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 2:35:00 PM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

"we've driven Iraq from a stable dictatorship into civil war and chaos "

I know how you leftists love those stable dictatorships. The kind that you used to criticize American presidents for coddling. But then you were against coddling dictators before you were for coddling them.

So we should leave right? I bet you're one of those people who condemned the US for "abandoning" Afghanistan and creating a vacuum after the Russians left. The one that the Taliban filled. And now you're probably salivating for an Iraqi vacuum.


"Bush's "war on terror" is just as much as a failure as Reagan's "war on drugs". You can't win a "war" against an ideology or an addiction, and you can't hide failed policies by putting American soldiers in front of them."

Didn't I read this on Alternet? Catchy. Meaningless.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know how you leftists love those stable dictatorships."

I wouldn't know; I'm not a "leftist".

"The kind that you used to criticize American presidents for coddling. But then you were against coddling dictators before you were for coddling them."

Oh yeah -- you know all about me.

Look: it's an incontrovertible fact that, in the 12 years between the end of the Gulf War and the 2003 re-invasion, a few thousand Iraqis were victims of Saddam Hussein and his family. Since we re-invaded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, hundreds of thousands more have been injured or sickened, and millions are still without the electricity, food, fresh water and sanitation they enjoyed even during the worst years of Saddam Hussein's reign. So on a cost-effective basis, we've spent $1,225 per American to make Iraq less stable, to kill hundreds of thousands of their people and thousands of our own. And there's no end in site for terrorism and sectarian violence, nor will there ever be, so long as we pursue cowboy diplomacy.

I wonder what percentage of Iraqi citizens would have preferred to have had Saddam Hussein remain in power? I'd bet it would be a strong majority.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 7:26:00 PM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

"Since we re-invaded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, hundreds of thousands more have been injured or sickened, and millions are still without the electricity, food, fresh water and sanitation they enjoyed even during the worst years of Saddam Hussein's reign."

Provide REAL proof of these numbers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 8:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Provide REAL proof of these numbers"

Here you go:
According to The Lancet -- one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world -- there have been about 655,000 Iraqi civilian deaths since we re-invaded in 2003 which can be attributed to the war. Wikipedia has an exhaustive view of their study here: http://tinyurl.com/y2dk2q

The UN count for the number of Iraqi civilians who died violent deaths just in 2006 is 34,452 -- far more than the estimated 17,500 who died violent deaths in all 12 years between the wars combined.

According to the Christian Science Monitor study published on Feb. 10 of last year, "Thanks largely to deteriorating security, electricity - along with water, sewage, and oil production - has dropped below prewar levels. Before the invasion, for example, Baghdad was receiving an average of at least 16 hours of power a day. Today, with insurgents targeting power plants and electrical lines on an almost daily basis, the city gets power just four hours each day on average."

According to a UN study released this week, "From a thriving middle income economy in the 1970's and 1980's, one third of today's Iraqi population lives in poverty with more than 5 per cent living in extreme poverty".

And from the same source: "Violence continues unabated in the country, and UNHCR estimates that there are 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) out of a total population of 26 million, with this number potentially swelling to 2.3 to 2.7 million by the end of the year."

As I said, things have gotten worse, not better, for most Iraqi people since we re-invaded, and it's only going to get even worse as the nation slides into all-out civil war.

Every President before him knew the value of keeping some dictators propped up in office, and all of them did it, right or wrong. But Bush and Co. made a catastrophic error of judgment going into this war, and both we and the Iraqis are going to be paying the cost for generations to come.

Did the Iraqi people greet us with flowers, as many in the Administration promised? No. Was it a cakewalk, as promised? No. Is the US safer, as claimed? No. Did we get bin Laden, as promised? No. Have we "won the war against terrorism"? Of course not. But we ARE hundreds of billions of dollars poorer, we have thousands of dead soldiers and tens of thousands permanently wounded, and our reputation and good will around the world has taken a body blow. Mission FAILED.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

"Was it a cakewalk, as promised?"

When was that promised?

"Have we "won the war against terrorism"? Of course not."

What did you expect? Don't blame your short attention span and irrational impatience on others. Fighting terrorism will be going on for many years as has been noted by the president. Get used to it.

"we ARE hundreds of billions of dollars poorer"

Where does that figure come from?

Les Roberts from John Hopkins who did both surveys in Iraq, which curiously came out just before elections (go figure) is a leftist who is against the Iraq war. His first one which came up with 100,000 dead a mere 2 years earlier obviously wasn't good enough so he had to get the numbers up.

He didn't even make a differentiation between insurgent deaths and others!

His latest figures would mean 560 Iraqis are dying every day. What a crock!

The Lancet also said:
"Of the 601,027 violent deaths, 31 per cent were directly attributed to Allied forces, with 24 per cent attributed to "other" causes and 45 per cent attributed to an "unknown" cause."

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/study-650-000-iraqis-diead-as-result-of-war-11715.html
"Between March 2003 and July 2006, households attributed 31 percent of deaths to the coalition."

You think the "households" are going to admit their dead relatives were insurgents?

And I love his methods according to his interview with The Socialist Worker, a truly reputable source that Anonymous can get behind. http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php4?article_id=6271

"I was smuggled across the border into Iraq. I went with just a suitcase and $20,000 in my pocket. All it took was six Iraqis brave enough to do the survey."

Who were the (well paid) Iraqis?

"I only went out with the interviewers for the first eight days. On the eighth day the police picked up our interviewers while I was in the car watching and that was a pretty bad experience.

After that we were convinced that interviewers knew what they were doing, and they didn’t want me there. For about 15 days I just stayed in a hotel room and didn’t go out."

Nothing like being hands on when you're attempting to propagandize.

Love this:

"Most of the people killed by the coalition were women and children,"

Really? No further explanation of how Roberts arrived at that.

While it is apparent that Anonymous desires defeat and withdrawal asap, giving credence to fellow travellers will just lead to a quagmire of wishful thinking.

Anonymous prefers to believe our defeatist "allies," enemies and assorted America haters because that is the side he/she has chosen. Just be honest. You're for defeat and you hope the bad guys win.

You shouldn't even be posting at the same place as a true American patriot like Col. West.

Friday, February 23, 2007 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, with its slow bleed policy and the comments from todays prominent Democrats( Murtha, Pelosi, Clinton, Kennedy, Reed, Obama, et al) and their supporters; they sound like fools, cowards, appeasers and traitors, when it comes to supporting our troops and winning this Worldwide War On Terror, of which Iraq and Afghanistan represent only 2 simultaneous battle fronts in a war being fought in and out of the shadows all over the globe.

Now contrast todays Democrats, with the words and actions of a revered Democrat of our recent past:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, That we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the Survival and success of liberty."
(Inaugural Address Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961)

"Let the world go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world!"

J Kennedy

Democrats, you should cower in shame over what you have become.

Barry Goldwater, Republican, said it best,
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice;
Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

We repeat, when it comes to our troops, in the Worldwide War on Terror, either serve, support or shut up.

Steadfast and Loyal,

James Family

Friday, February 23, 2007 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What did you expect?"

Only what our nation's leaders promised:

March 16, 2003 -- VP Cheney: "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

ibid: "I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly...weeks rather than months."

Sept. 24, 2002 -- Sen. McCain: “I believe that the success will be fairly easy.”

Jan. 22, 2003 -- Sen. McCain: "We will win this conflict. We will win it easily."

Feb. 13, 2002 -- Kenneth Adelman: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." (At the time, Adelman was a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, and previously he was the Assistant to Sec. Rumsfeld.)

May 3, 2003 -- President Bush: "Good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: their mission is complete and major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

May 29, 2005 -- VP Cheney: "They're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."


>>"we ARE hundreds of billions of dollars poorer"<<

"Where does that figure come from?"

Well, let's see: the Pentagon says that Bush is requesting $145 billion for the war in 2008. This year, he's already requested and spent $344 billion already, according to the General Accounting Office. That adds up to nearly a half a trillion dollars, and it doesn't even get into future costs like the long-term rehabilitation and treatment of tens of thousands of injured and maimed servicemen and women.

Feb. 28, 2003 -- Dep. Sec. Wolfowitz: "If we costed each and every (scenario for the war), the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion."

March 27, 2003 -- Dep. Sec. Wolfowitz: "Iraq can really finance its own reconstruction."

You're outright lying about the Lancet's study of deaths in Iraq. Wikipedia has an exhaustive and even-handed review of the study here: http://tinyurl.com/y2dk2q
Some facts you're ignoring: the study was actually conducted by 8 Iraqi physicians through Mustansiriya University (established in 1233), and took 2 months to complete. The interviewers asked for and copied death certificates 87 percent of the time and when they did, more than 90 percent of households produced certificates. And the study wasn't the work of some lone Leftist; it was co-authored by Dr. Gilbert Burnham. Burnham and Roberts used the same methodology as used by the Burnet Institute, which carried out a similar death toll study in the Congo. The Burnet Institute study estimated that 3.9 million Congolese had died in that conflict, a figure that was later verified firsthand, once remains were able to be examined and other forensic evidence compiled.

The Washington Post points out that (Of the reported deaths), "Gunshot wounds caused 56 percent of violent deaths, with car bombs and other explosions causing 14 percent, according to the survey results. Of the violent deaths that occurred after the invasion, 31 percent were caused by coalition forces or airstrikes." If the Iraqis were trying to lie for some reason, they wouldn't've admitted the large percentage of deaths from NON-Coalition forces.

The study's authors explain "Aside from Bosnia, we can find no conflict situation where passive surveillance [used in the IBC] recorded more than 20% of the deaths measured by population-based methods [used in the Lancet studies]. In several outbreaks, disease and death recorded by facility-based methods underestimated events by a factor of ten or more when compared with population-based estimates."

And you're ignoring the fact that the Lancet's study isn't comparable to other studies, since it is the only study to include deaths due to non-violent effects from the war, such as the unavailability of medical care, diseases spread through unclean water, reduced heating for homes and myriad other causes of death that were not an issue before we re-invaded Iraq.

"He didn't even make a differentiation between insurgent deaths and others!"

Why should they have? The insurgency wouldn't exist, were it not for our presence, and for us having turned their nation's structure upside-down.

"His latest figures would mean 560 Iraqis are dying every day. What a crock!"

I don't doubt it for a minute. The United Nations reports that in 2006, an average of 94 Iraqis died every day -- the majority from gunshot wounds. It's absolutely credible that four times as many Iraqis (especially the very young and old) are dying from non-violent causes that would've been preventable, were we not at war with them.

Again, the Lancet study is the only active study on deaths that has been performed in Iraq. Every other death toll has been calculated using estimates, data turned in by hospitals, etc. One of the world's foremost experts on death tolls, Sir Richard Peto (a Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at Oxford University) described the Lancet's study as "statistically valid".

So, if we're to believe you, one of the world's most highly-respected medical journals is lying, 8 Iraqi doctors are lying, one of the most prestigious university hospitals in the world (Johns Hopkins) is lying, there was massive fraud to produce hundreds of thousands of fake death certificates, and so forth -- for a conspiracy of epic proportions. No doubt you prefer to accept President Bush's guess of 30,000 Iraqis killed, if you are willing to consider their deaths acceptable justification for our re-invasion. Or maybe you like the L.A. Times estimate of 50,000 killed, or the Iraq Body Count's estimate of 60,000, or the United Nations estimate of 34,000 killed just in 2006, or the estimate of 100,000 to 150,000 by Iraq's own Health Minister, if that helps you sleep better at night.

"Anonymous prefers to believe our defeatist 'allies', enemies and assorted America haters because that is the side he/she has chosen. Just be honest. You're for defeat and you hope the bad guys win."

What classic Neo-con bullshit. What I'm "for" is wise leadership, something this Administration has lacked from the very beginning. If Iraq had attacked the US, if there had been WMDs, if the repeated claims about the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq had been true, if ANY of the justification for the war had been legitimate, and we had properly planned and implemented post-war recovery plans, I would have had no problem with America going in and doing the job.

But instead, Bush & Co. "fixed (the intelligence) around the policy (of going to war)", as the Downing St. Memos so damningly revealed, and insisted upon going in unilaterally, leaving most of our traditional allies elsewhere, with their better judgment. Bush & Co. repeatedly lied, totally misjudged the enemy, and failed at both reconstruction and at winning the hearts of the Iraqi people.

If Bush and Cheney were CEO and Sr. VP of a major corporation, and they performed with as much malfeasance and ineptitude and simply made so many mistakes as they have in this war, they would have been sacked long ago for having driven down the company's value. But to have their mistakes and lies result in at least 50,000 deaths and at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars -- why the hell should we support such terrible executives?!

Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Timeline of Lies

Oct. 7, 2001 -- President Bush: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."
LIE

Feb. 13, 2002 -- Kenneth Adelman: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." (At the time, Adelman was a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, and previously he was the Assistant to Sec. Rumsfeld.)
WRONG

Aug. 26, 2002 -- VP Cheney: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."
LIE

Aug. 29, 2002 -- VP Cheney: "They (Iraq) continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program."
LIE

Sept. 8, 2002 -- Sec. Powell: "There is no doubt in our mind that he (Saddam Hussein) still has chemical weapons stocks and he has the capacity to produce more chemical weapons."
LIE

ibid: "This is evidence, not conjecture (about Iraq's alleged WMDs). This is true. This is all well documented."
LIE

Sept. 18, 2002 -- Sec. Rumsfeld: "(Saddam) has amassed large clandestine stocks of biological weapons, including anthrax and botulism toxin and possibly smallpox. His regime has amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX and sarin and mustard gas."
LIE

Sept. 19, 2002 -- Sec. Rumsfeld: "(Saddam) has at this moment stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons".
LIE

Sept. 26, 2002 -- President Bush: "The regime (Iraq) is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material, could build one within a year."
LIE

Oct. 7, 2002 -- President Bush: "And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produced chemical and biological weapons. Yet Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world."
LIE

ibid: "Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States."
LIE

ibid: "(Saddam Hussein) is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon."
LIE

ibid: "If the Iraq regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than one year."
LIE

Oct. 10, 2002 -- Based upon the intentionally misleading intel and scaremongering from the Bush Administration, Congress passes the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of Force.

Oct. 14, 2002 -- President Bush: "There is a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein."
LIE

Oct. 22, 2002 -- Sec. Powell: "They're (Iraq) trying to acquire nuclear weapons."
LIE

Jan. 26, 2003 -- Sec. Powell: "Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?"
THEY WEREN'T

Jan. 28, 2003 -- President Bush: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
LIE

Feb. 5, 2003 -- Sec. Powell|: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent."
LIE

Feb. 6, 2003 -- Sec. Rumsfeld: "It is clear that the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction."
LIE

Feb. 20, 2003 -- Sec. Rumsfeld: "There is no question but that they (US forces) would be welcomed (by the Iraqi people)".
WRONG

Feb. 28, 2003 -- Dep. Sec. Wolfowitz: "If we costed each and every (scenario for the war), the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion."
WAAAAAY OFF

March 16, 2003 -- VP Cheney: "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
WRONG

ibid: "I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly...weeks rather than months."
EXTREMELY WRONG

March 17, 2003 -- President Bush: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
LIE

March 20, 2003: the US declares war on Iraq.

March 27, 2003 -- Dep. Sec. Wolfowitz: "Iraq can really finance its own reconstruction."
LIE

March 30, 2003 -- Sec. Rusmfeld: "We know where they (WMDs) are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
LIE

May 3, 2003 -- President Bush: "Good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: their mission is complete and major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
WRONG

May 29, 2003 -- President Bush: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or
banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."

LIE

June 1, 2003 -- President Bush: "We've discovered a weapons system, biological labs, that Iraq denied she had, and labs that were prohibited under the U.N. resolutions."
LIE

June 5, 2003 -- President Bush: "We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents."
LIE

June 8, 2003 -- Sec. Rice: "And there were other attempts to, to get yellow cake (uranium) from Africa."
LIE

May 29, 2005 -- VP Cheney: "They're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
WRONG


If the leaders of a corporation (say, Enron) made so many blunders and lies and did intelligence-mining that cost the shareholders significant profits, they'd be ousted without hesitation. And no amount of trying to shift the blame to their intelligence sources would work (sales projections, industrial spies, forecasters, etc.)

But when Bush & Co. do the same thing with not only billions of dollars but thousands of lives, the Neo-cons cry "you're a defeatist!" and "stay the course"! and "support the troops!" You people never met a lie from the Bush Administration that you wouldn't try to justify.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:36:00 PM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

Get a life! Or start your own blog so you're not cluttering up Cinnamon's space with your maniacal rants.

Pathetic loser.

Monday, February 26, 2007 7:59:00 AM  

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