Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Break Trip...

To keep with us on our Spring Break Trip check out our family blog....http://christammyfam.blogspot.com

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday FactCheck!

It's Friday and time for another episode of FactCheck: Just the Facts. This week they tackle the issue of Spam. Good information for those that like to forward emails... Enjoy! Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Case anyone was still wondering...

Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2008

WASHINGTON — An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime's archives found no documents indicating a "direct operational link" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

He and others spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity because the study isn't due to be shared with Congress and released before Wednesday.

President Bush and his aides used Saddam's alleged relationship with al Qaida, along with Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, as arguments for invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had "bulletproof" evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam's secular dictatorship.

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell cited multiple linkages between Saddam and al Qaida in a watershed February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council to build international support for the invasion. Almost every one of the examples Powell cited turned out to be based on bogus or misinterpreted intelligence.

As recently as last July, Bush tried to tie al Qaida to the ongoing violence in Iraq. "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims," he said.

The new study, entitled "Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents", was essentially completed last year and has been undergoing what one U.S. intelligence official described as a "painful" declassification review.

It was produced by a federally-funded think tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses, under contract to the Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Spokesmen for the Joint Forces Command declined to comment until the report is released. One of the report's authors, Kevin Woods, also declined to comment.

The issue of al Qaida in Iraq already has played a role in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, mocked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, recently for saying that he'd keep some U.S. troops in Iraq if al Qaida established a base there.

"I have some news. Al Qaida is in Iraq," McCain told supporters. Obama retorted that, "There was no such thing as al Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade." (In fact, al Qaida in Iraq didn't emerge until 2004, a year after the invasion.)

The new study appears destined to be used by both critics and supporters of Bush's decision to invade Iraq to advance their own familiar arguments.

While the documents reveal no Saddam-al Qaida links, they do show that Saddam and his underlings were willing to use terrorism against enemies of the regime and had ties to regional and global terrorist groups, the officials said.

However, the U.S. intelligence official, who's read the full report, played down the prospect of any major new revelations, saying, "I don't think there's any surprises there."

Saddam, whose regime was relentlessly secular, was wary of Islamic extremist groups such as al Qaida, although like many other Arab leaders, he gave some financial support to Palestinian groups that sponsored terrorism against Israel.

According to the State Department's annual report on global terrorism for 2002 — the last before the Iraq invasion — Saddam supported the militant Islamic group Hamas in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a radical, Syrian-based terrorist group.

Saddam also hosted Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, although the Abu Nidal Organization was more active when he lived in Libya and he was murdered in Baghdad in August 2002, possibly on Saddam's orders.

An earlier study based on the captured Iraqi documents, released by the Joint Forces Command in March 2006, found that a militia Saddam formed after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the Fedayeen Saddam, planned assassinations and bombings against his enemies. Those included Iraqi exiles and opponents in Iraq's Kurdish and Shiite communities.

Other documents indicate that the Fedayeen Saddam opened paramilitary training camps that, starting in 1998, hosted "Arab volunteers" from outside of Iraq. What happened to the non-Iraqi volunteers is unknown, however, according to the earlier study.

The new Pentagon study isn't the first to refute earlier administration contentions about Saddam and al Qaida.

A September 2006 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Saddam was "distrustful of al Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qaida to provide material or operational support."

The Senate report, citing an FBI debriefing of a senior Iraqi spy, Faruq Hijazi, said that Saddam turned down a request for assistance by bin Laden which he made at a 1995 meeting in Sudan with an Iraqi operative.

I post this for informational purposes. It is not meant to be partisan in any way. I am merely sharing facts. This can be useful information when making electoral decisions.   

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where to go for awnsers...

As the political election season heats up there is a need for a place to get unbiased information. Factcheck.org is the place to go for that. Recently they have started a weekly vidcast that covers some situation where not all the facts are given. Here is the vidcast for this week. You can sign up to get a weekly email from them. Then you can make educated and informed decisions, not just what the media (both left and right) want you to do.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Election video....thought provoking

The primary season is still around for a few more months. For the Democrats it will most likely be until the convention that a decision is made. The Republicans have crowned their victor and now he can start the process of making his case to the entire nation, not just the primary states.

The Idaho Democratic Party has an annual fund raising dinner, the Frank Church Banquet. Named after the late Idaho Senator Frank Church. There has been much in the blogosphere regarding the dinner and who was and was not there. What I want to do is share a video that was prepared for that night, but not shown. And as you watch, think about the election coming up local, state and national and where we are as a nation and where we want to be.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Living through history...

There is much out there about the Presidential race. A lot of he said- he said- she said. But if you could look through the lens of history there is much to be impressed about. Ben Stein shares his thoughts on how history will see this campaign season.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I love my Wife!!!!

I love my Wife!!! I have the best wife in the world. She is selfless and sacrifices daily for our family. She is the same beautiful, sweet girl that I fell in love with Tonight she is going to a PTA meeting at the school which will take a good part of the night, she helps so much with all of their activities.

This past weekend we had the chance to spend a night together, away from our children at a hotel. We stayed at a new hotel The Marriott TownePlace Suites. It is so new that we were the first people to stay in our room. We had our kids stay with my brother, his wife and kids. It was a fun night. We went to a Japanese Steakhouse, it was really good. My lovely wife helped me to step out of my comfort zone and it was fun. Then we drove around downtown Boise a little. We used to live very near where we stayed (before we had any kids and right when son #1 was born). It was fun to reminisce. With a growing family sometimes it is hard to get the time together that we need and this was great.

I love her so much!