Friday, October 29, 2004

U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday to say a team from his 3rd Infantry Division took about 250 tons of munitions and other material from the Al-Qaqaa arms-storage facility soon after Saddam Hussein's regime fell in April 2003.

Explosives were part of the load taken by the team, but Major Austin Pearson was unable to say what percentage they accounted for.

The Pentagon believes the disclosure helps explain what happened to 377 tons of high explosives that the International Atomic Energy Agency said disappeared after the U.S.-led invasion.

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita acknowledged the Defense Department did not have all the answers and could not yet account for all of the missing explosives, but stressed that the major's disclosure was a significant development in unraveling the mystery.

"We've described what we know, and as we know more we'll describe that," said DiRita.

Pearson, accompanied by DiRita, appeared at a Pentagon news conference and said his team's mission in April 2003 was to clear material from the Al-Qaqaa facility in order to secure it for U.S. forces. He admitted he was not an explosives expert.

The IAEA reported the disappearance of the explosives to the United Nations on Monday, suggesting they had fallen into the hands of looters after American troops had swept through the area.

U.S. military officials have retorted that they suspect the munitions were removed by Iraqis before Saddam was ousted from power on April 9, 2003.

The officer's story came the morning after new videotape surfaced supporting the contention that the explosives were still at the base following Saddam's fall.

Videotape shot by a Minnesota television crew traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq on April 18, 2003 shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels bearing IAEA seals.

The video was taken by a reporter and cameraman employed by KSTP, an ABC affiliate in St. Paul. It was broadcast nationally Thursday on the ABC national network.

"The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al-Qaqaa," David A. Kay, the former American official who directed the hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the site, told The New York Times. "The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn't use seals on anything. So I'm absolutely sure that's an IAEA seal."

The Pentagon late Thursday released a satellite photograph of Al-Qaqaa taken on March 17, 2003, just before the war. It showed showing several bunkers, one with two tractor-trailers next to it.

Senior Defense officials said their photo shows that the Al-Qaqaa facility "was not hermetically sealed" after international weapons inspectors had paid their last visits to the facility earlier in the month.

Officials were analyzing the image and others for clues into when the nearly 380 tons of explosives were taken. The munitions included HMX and RDX, key components in plastic explosives, which insurgents in Iraq have used in bomb attacks.

The Pentagon insisted that the image shows the Iraqis were moving something at the site before the first U.S.-launched bombs fell.

Meanwhile, an IAEA report obtained by FOX News said the inspectors noted that despite the fact that the Al-Qaqaa bunkers were locked, ventilation shafts remained open and provided easy access to the explosives.

The IAEA can definitively say only that the documented ammunition was at the facility in January; in March, an agency spokesman conceded, inspectors only checked the locked bunker doors.

The question of what happened to the explosives has become a major issue in the closing days of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry says the missing explosives - powerful enough to demolish a building, bring down a jetliner or even trigger a nuclear weapon - are another example of the Bush administration's poor planning and incompetence in handling the war in Iraq.

President Bush says the explosives were possibly removed by Saddam's forces before the invasion.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld entered the debate Thursday, suggesting the 377 tons of explosives were taken away before U.S. forces arrived, saying any large effort to loot the material afterward would have been detected.

"We would have seen anything like that," he said in one of two radio interviews he gave at the Pentagon. "The idea it was suddenly looted and moved out, all of these tons of equipment, I think is at least debatable."

The bunker with the trucks parked next to it in the Pentagon's satellite image is not one known to have contained any of the missing explosives, and Defense spokesman DiRita said Thursday the image only shows that there was some Iraqi activity at the base on March 17.

DiRita acknowledged that the image says nothing about what happened to the explosives.

Rumsfeld, in one radio interview, also cast doubt on the suggestion by one of his subordinates that Russian soldiers assisted Iraqis in removing the munitions.

The Washington Times on Thursday quoted John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, who said he believed Russian special-forces personnel, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material from Al-Qaqaa.

Shaw said he believed the munitions were moved to Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 invasion.

Senior Defense officials urged caution over the Washington Times article because they could not verify its allegations as true.

"I have no information on that at all, and cannot validate that even slightly," Rumsfeld said.

The article prompted an angry denial from Moscow.

At the core of the issue is whether the explosives were moved before or after U.S. forces reached that part of the country in early April.

No one has been able to provide conclusive evidence either way, although Iraqi officials blamed the munitions' disappearance on poor U.S. security after Baghdad fell.

The Pentagon has said it is looking into the matter, and officials note that 400,000 tons of recovered Iraqi munitions have either been destroyed or are slated to be destroyed.

Click on the link to see the source of the report. - U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


THE cliche goes: "Just business, nothing personal."
The hell it is.

John Kerry makes me weak in the ankles - and now it's personal, not business.
In the next few days, there will be a person reporting for duty in Iraq. His name is Army Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy.
Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy is not one ounce more special than the guys and gals he will go to Iraq with - no more special than the thousands of the brave boys and girls who have gone before him, and those who will certainly go after him.
He is, of course, special to his wife, Debbie, his mother, Gloria, his brother, Sean, Sean's girlfriend, Laura - and his friends in the sports bars who cheer for the Giants.
He is special to me, as are all the thousands of boys and girls who serve this country, because he looks at fear as a headache and duty as the ultimate.
And yet, John Kerry makes it look like those guys and gals are just victims - wrong war, wrong time, wrong place.
How dare he say that to our brave boys and girls? How dare he whisper it - let alone shout it to the whole world?
Now I am somewhere in Oklahoma to see off Capt. Pete, 37, my eldest boy. I ask him what he makes of Kerry's talk.
"Dad, we don't listen to politicians. We listen to our commanding officers," he says, growing bored already with the conversation.
I ask him where he is going in Iraq, what he will be doing, as all the worried parents of so many thousands of brave boys and girls surely do.
"Don't know. I'll just go where I am needed," he says matter-of-factly.
Sunday he left for another base, where he will be re-equipped, before taking off to Iraq in a few days.
On Saturday night, Pete and wife Debbie, a reservist in the Navy, had their last night out for a long time - at the Navy Ball.
It was there that Pete was given the official honor of re-enlisting his wife for another two years.
Capt. Pete is not worried about Kerry's outrageous statement - wrong war, wrong time, wrong place - because he's stronger and braver than that.
But I sure am worried.
In my book, Kerry is giving comfort and succor to the enemy. And don't forget that Tokyo Rose got jail time for it after World War II, and Jane Fonda, Kerry's soul mate, should have during Vietnam.
"Look, don't worry. I have been in the Reserves for more than 10 years - we are all well-trained, well-equipped," said Capt. Pete.
"To be honest, apart from having to leave Debbie back here, I'm psyched," he told me. "It's a privilege to serve and be given a new chapter of experience.
"I'll just knock this tour over and get on with it. No biggie."
I was in Baghdad last year, and it was very easy for me. Death was everywhere, but no one was shooting at me.
But that won't be the case for Pete and the men and women with him.
"Dude, don't worry about it," Capt. Pete says again.
And that's the attitude of the thousands below him and above him, the brave men and women doing the fighting.
But this father does worry - and worries even more about John Kerry.
When John Kerry says wrong war, wrong time, wrong place he undermines not my boy, but our boys. He embarrasses the United States abroad and he saps morale.
And that demands the severest reprimand. It is duplicity and cowardice and political opportunism of the worst kind. It's enough to make you cry.
I don't care what's on your watch, Sen. Kerry, this one's on my watch.
And then we come to the final "see ya later" at the airport. We hugged - and I couldn't talk.
Then I felt something strange - for the first time, after a lifetime of feeling like an adolescent, I felt old. Sending a kid off to war does that, I guess.
So Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy - and all the guys and gals that are going with you, and all that are there, and all that will come after you - go for the sake of our freedom. For the sake of your wife Debbie's freedom, your mother Gloria's freedom, your brother Sean's freedom, his girlfriend Laura's freedom - and the freedom of the boys in the sports bars cheering for the Giants.
Heck, for the sake of your dog's freedom. His name is Salty Dog. He loves you so much.
To you and all your comrades: Go with God.

Click the link to see the source. New York Post Online Edition: commentary

Friday, October 22, 2004

America's largest Jewish newspaper, endorses George W. Bush for President.

It was George W. Bush's lot to have been elected president at a time when two defining developments were at work, fundamentally changing the world landscape. The European Union's burgeoning determination to fill the international political void created by the collapse of the Soviet Union was one. And the unprecedented challenges presented by an international terror crusade on the move - underscored eight months into Mr. Bush's presidency by 9/11 - was the other.

Both these developments required - and will continue to require - leadership not rooted in outdated geopolitical thinking; leadership cognizant of the reality that our ostensible friends do not necessarily share our interest in a strong United States and that our enemies do not risk as much as we do from confrontations gone seriously bad.

With this in mind, the choice Americans must make on November 2 should be an easy one. One can prattle about the significance of this or that difference between President Bush and Senator Kerry on the environment, Social Security, jobs, taxes and a whole slew of other domestic issues. But that avenue ineluctably ends up as a clash of partisan talking points about inherently insoluble problems. When it comes, however, to the war on terror - the overarching issue of our time - the choice of Mr. Bush over Mr. Kerry is a clear one from everything available in the public record. And for those with a special interest in Israel, the choice is even clearer.

Click on the link to read the entire endorsement.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I love Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby Gives Parenting Speech in Wis.

MILWAUKEE - Bill Cosby won cheers as he carried a serious message to the city's black community, urging parents to take up the responsibility of educating and raising their children.

"It is not all right for your 15-year-old daughter to have a child," the comedian said Wednesday night. "I'm 67 years old. I'm not talking to you any different from a grandfather who would say, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you.'"

Cosby was warmly received by a crowd of about 2,400 people at North Division High School in Milwaukee's inner city.

He asked parents to talk with their children, spend time with them and encourage them to study hard and prevent teen pregnancy. He said parents shouldn't leave the responsibility of raising their children to television and CDs.

"These are your children," Cosby said. "You're supposed to raise them."

Cosby said he decided to come after speaking with Eugene Kane, columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and learning about the city's high rate of high school dropouts, its high teen pregnancy rate and its murder rate.

Cosby has become known for talking tough about problems of blacks and challenging parents to be more accountable for their children.

Kane had been critical of the comedian's comments before he attended a community rally Cosby held in Newark, N.J. Kane praised the event in a later column.

Click on the link to see the source. Yahoo! News - Bill Cosby Gives Parenting Speech in Wis.

School kids pick Bush, TV kids choose Kerry

School kids pick Bush,
TV kids choose Kerry

Competing polls of U.S. children reveal strikingly different results

Two national polls of American children have markedly different results this year, one showing President Bush a clear winner, and the other predicting an even bigger win for Sen. John Kerry.

Interestingly, both unscientific surveys proclaim historical accuracy in presidential prognostications.

In the first poll, conducted by Scholastic, the global children's publishing and media company, more than half a million students in first through eighth grades from across the U.S. participated. They voted online and through mail-in paper ballots found in many of Scholastic's classroom magazines.

"George W. Bush won the kids' election poll with 52 percent of the vote," announced Scholastic student reporter David Rush.

Kerry collected 47 percent, with one percent going for other candidates. A few reportedly wrote in "mom" as their choice for president.

Scholastic has been conducting similar polls since 1940, with predictions only wrong in two close elections: 1948 when students chose Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman, and 1960, predicting Richard Nixon would beat John Kennedy.

Meanwhile, the second poll with a large sampling shows Kerry the victor, defeating Bush by a margin of 57 to 43 percent.

Nickelodeon TV's "Kids' Vote" had nearly 400,000 children participate in online voting.

The Viacom-owned network says children in its poll have correctly predicted the winner of the general elections for the last four U.S. presidential campaigns. Its first poll was in 1988. Four years ago, Bush was predicted the winner over Vice President Al Gore with 55 percent of the vote.

Former NBC newscaster Linda Ellerbee hosted a Nick News program last night announcing Kerry as this year's winner.

"Kids aren't dumb, they're just younger and shorter," she said, according to the Associated Press. "In fact, last election, a boy came up to me and said, 'We picked George Bush to win, and he didn't really win. Al Gore won the popular vote, so we were kinda wrong.' Quite an observation."

In addition to the national polls, local schools across America have been holding their own mini-elections, with students evoking strong stances for both candidates.

Fourth-graders in Kosciusko and Attala County, Miss., classrooms were recently asked their opinions.

Abortion was the key factor for Bush supporter Autumn Lewis, who told the Star-Herald, "I don't want a president who would kill children. That would end the world."

Dylan Pope told the paper he picked Kerry because "he'll make peace and let us do anything we want."

What a profound commentary on today's society. It does effectively point out the differences between conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives want to learn and lead, while Liberals are happy with hand outs and following the crowd.

Click on this link to see the source.WorldNetDaily: School kids pick Bush,
TV kids choose Kerry

Monday, October 18, 2004

George W. Bush vs John F. Kerry

To start off this little blurb let me give you some background on my political upbringing. I was born in to a family with a strong pro union and Democrat foundation. My Grandfather was the boss for the Machinist Union and my father followed in his foot steps. I was brought up to believe that Democrats were for the small guy and that Republicans were out to get us. This being said as I got older, got married, and started a family I realized that all I had heard when I was young was not true. Fast forward to today I look at the candidates in real, simple, and honest terms. At the end of the day when Kerry loses the election I believe in his eyes life is over. This has been his life long dream and every move he has made was in preparation for this White House run. Contrast this to our President. His life was not lived with the Presidency as the goal. In fact if you look at his background it appears all his action were that of a man just living a real life. He's had alot of ups and a whole lot of downs. I Believe judging from everything I have read about the man, it makes no difference whether he leaves the White House this year or at the end of his 2nd term. He will be happy just to go back to his ranch in Crawford with his wife, and sip a tall glass of lemonade on a rocking chair on the front porch with thoughts of grandchildren playing in front of him in the yard. It's that calm, humble, and devout demeanor that wins my vote. GW truly is the epitome of a president who is looking out for the little guy.

Tour of the USS Ronald Reagan in pictures

Approaching The Entrance Posted by Hello

The Tower Posted by Hello

A friendly greeting Posted by Hello

Flags Posted by Hello

View from the deck Posted by Hello

The Island Posted by Hello

It's a long ship Posted by Hello

The flag he loved Posted by Hello

Captains chair Posted by Hello

Modern ship and an old fashion wheel Posted by Hello

Cool Door Posted by Hello

Stair well mural 1 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters his desk Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters 4 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters 5 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters his desk 2 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 1 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 2 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 3 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 4 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 5 Posted by Hello

Ship emblem Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 1 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 2 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 3 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 4 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 5 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 6 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 7 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum Final parting words Posted by Hello

This was truly a moving experiance. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to one of our greatest Presidents.