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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


God, you need to shut up

Retreat Isn't an Option

By Liz Cheney
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A17

I'd like to ask the politicians in both parties who are heading for the hills to stop and reflect on these basic facts:

· We are at war. America faces an existential threat. This is not, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has claimed, a "situation to be solved." It would be nice if we could wake up tomorrow and say, as Sen. Barack Obama suggested at a Jan. 11 hearing, "Enough is enough." Wishing doesn't make it so. We will have to fight these terrorists to the death somewhere, sometime. We can't negotiate with them or "solve" their jihad. If we quit in Iraq now, we must get ready for a harder, longer, more deadly struggle later.

· Quitting helps the terrorists. Few politicians want to be known as spokesmen for retreat. Instead we hear such words as "redeployment," "drawdown" or "troop cap." Let's be clear: If we restrict the ability of our troops to fight and win this war, we help the terrorists. Don't take my word for it. Read the plans of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman Zawahiri to drive America from Iraq, establish a base for al-Qaeda and spread jihad across the Middle East. The terrorists are counting on us to lose our will and retreat under pressure. We're in danger of proving them right.

· Beware the polls. In November the American people expressed serious concerns about Iraq (and about Republican corruption and scandals). They did not say that they want us to lose this war. They did not say that they want us to allow Iraq to become a base for al-Qaeda to conduct global terrorist operations. They did not say that they would rather we fight the terrorists here at home. Until you see a poll that asks those questions, don't use election results as an excuse to retreat.

· Retreat from Iraq hurts us in the broader war. We are fighting the war on terrorism with allies across the globe, leaders such as Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Brave activists are also standing with us, fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the empowerment of women. They risk their lives every day to defeat the forces of terrorism. They can't win without us, and many of them won't continue to fight if they believe we're abandoning them. Politicians urging America to quit in Iraq should explain how we win the war on terrorism once we've scared all of our allies away.

· Our soldiers will win if we let them. Read their blogs. Talk to them. They know that free people must fight to defend their freedom. No force on Earth -- especially not an army of terrorists and insurgents -- can defeat our soldiers militarily. American troops will win if we show even one-tenth the courage here at home that they show every day on the battlefield. And by the way, you cannot wish failure on our soldiers' mission and claim, at the same time, to be supporting the troops. It just doesn't compute.

Not one member of Bush or Cheney families has sent a member to fight in Iraq. She can keep calling for more people to die because it doesn't matter to them.

Cheney needs to stop with the fantasy. Our soliders know the war in Iraq is lost. Those "insurgents" are brave men, fighting for their country. Don't act like Americans are supermen, they aren't. Respect for the enemy is crucial. But not to some daddy's girl like Liz Cheney. American troops cannot rule Iraq.

But you know what strikes me is the cowardice of her tone. Why the fuck should a country of 300 million worry about a few nutjobs in Iraq. We still have an Air Force, right? We lost New Orleans. We survived as a country.

We are not a nation of cringing cowards living in fear of the next brown person. We can and have defended ourselves against far great threats. Why are Bush and Cheney so willing to live on their knees in fear of people who cannot destroy this country?

Where is the fight against Osama Bin Laden? Undermanned, ignored. Instead, we fight Bush's colonial war because in his heart, he lives in fear of a couple of hundred guys in Anbar Province.

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