Category Archive 'Kuwait'

15 Jun 2012

“Shark Tank Collapses at the Scientific Center in Kuwait”

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Buzz Feed says that this photograph is the result of such an event at the Kuwait Scientific Center, but I find no corrobative reporting.

Still, it is neat image.

Hat tip to James Coulter Harberson.



Yes, it’s a fake.

26 Jul 2008

One Source Retracts “Obama Snubs Troops” Report

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Thanks to commenter Pete-at-home who brought this to my attention.

James Gordon Meek, in the New York Daily News (7/25) reports that Army officials took steps to refute an email posted by the Blackfive blog on July 23, sourced to an unidentified “Air Force captain.”

The latest chain e-mail smear against Barack Obama: He “blew off” troops at an Afghan base to shoot hoops for a publicity photo.

The letter was apparently written by a Utah Army National Guard intelligence officer in a linguist unit at Bagram Airfield who claimed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was rude to G.I.s.

“As the soldiers where [sic] lined up to shake his hand he blew them off,” wrote the Task Force Wasatch “battle captain.”

But angry Army brass debunked the Obama-bashing soldier’s allegations, which went viral Thursday over the Web and on military blogs such as Blackfive.

The e-mail claims Obama repeatedly shunned soldiers on his way to the Clamshell – a recreation tent – to “take his publicity pictures playing basketball.”

“These comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect,” said Bagram spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, who added that such political commentary is barred for uniformed personnel.

Obama didn’t play basketball at Bagram or visit the Clamshell, she said. Home-state troops were invited to meet him, but his arrival was kept secret for security reasons.

“We were a bit delayed … as he took time to shake hands, speak to troops and pose for photographs,” Nielson-Green said.


On his Mouth of the Potomac blog, Meeks reports that the email’s author has issued a retraction.

Now the Bagram captain is dialing back, having signed the viral e-mail with his name, rank and unit – a possible violation of military regulations barring political statements. This morning, he sent The Mouth a new statement (punctuation corrected):

“I am writing this to ask that you delete my email and not forward it. After checking my sources, information that was put out in my email was wrong. This email was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the email and if there are any blogs you have my email portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too. Thanks for your understanding.”

An Army officer familiar with the incident told The Mouth today that the writer is “devastated that the letter was made public. It was never his intention that it go beyond members of his family.”


There is some confusion which needs to be cleared up. Blackfive deliberately identified the email’s author as an air force officer in order to protect his anonymity, which effort failed. Some reports claim that the army captain had mistakenly forwarded a hoax email of which he was not the author. Apparently, such reports are incorrect.


Snopes likes to pretend to be a purely objective source, but political prejudice creeps in. Snopes was perhaps a little overly eager to debunk this particular account.

Confederate Yankee (7/25) correctly notes that the official refutation only contradicts two minor details and notes that we haven’t seen any refutation of the second email posted by Blackfive one day later.

It is vitally important for us to know that Barack Obama didn’t play basketball in Afghanistan, nor did he visit a specific tent. We should be grateful that Meek ferreted out the truth and debunked those scurrilous allegations.

But LTC Nielson-Green’s refutation of these two rather minor specific points does not at all address the most important allegation made in the viral email, the author’s perception that soldiers on base were “blown off” by the junior Senator.

In fact, the PAO admits that Obama only met with selected soldiers. Only service-persons from Illinois were invited to meet him, and soldiers not from Illinois (the author of the email is from Utah) were indeed not met by the junior Senator. Though no doubt a touchy situation for the military, the key premise holds.

The same handful of faces are seen in all the pictures released to the media from Obama’s visit. If you were not a soldier from Illinois or otherwise selected serviceman, you were not allowed to meet Obama. The question then arises whether the decision to limit contact with the troops was a decision made by the military brass, if that was a decision made by the Obama campaign, or by joint agreement.

The second email published, from someone at an air base as Obama swung through Iraq stated in part that Obama’s visit was “A disgraceful PR stunt, using the troops as a platform for his ego and campaign.”

To date the second email has gone unchallenged and a senior officer I interviewed confirmed on background that Obama’s visit to Iraq was nothing more than a campaign stop masquerading congressional delegation visit.

Captain P’s retraction may very possibly have merely been a prudential response to pressure from command. It is hardly unlikely that he was threatened with prosecution for violating regulations by publishing political statements.

The left would like to believe that the US military is full of Obama supporters, involuntarily-closeted gays, and disgruntled pacifists all itching to vote democrat, but none of that is true. Common sense suggests that Obama would be wise to restrict access of military personnel to his campaign-oriented visits to the front. Most of those stationed in Afghanistan have probably already served in Iraq, and they just might not be the world’s biggest fans of someone publicly committed to reversing their efforts and throwing away their personal sacrifices. Obama doesn’t need to be photographed surrounded by hostile, booing troops.

10 Jul 2008

Some Arab States Modernized and Others Did Not

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Memri quotes an article in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, in which the former Syrian information minister Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah asks some of the right questions.

In the early 60s, if a person took a taxi in Kuwait or in one of the tiny Gulf states, he would hear on the radio a Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian song. Today, if one takes a taxi in Damascus, Cairo, or Beirut, he will hear a song from the Gulf [states]. How did this come about? …

Why has the Arab cultural and media [primacy] passed from the Nile, Syria, and Mesopotamia to the tiny Gulf states?

Why are books published in 50,000 copies in Kuwait, but in [only] 3,000 copies in Damascus?

Why are state-of-the-art satellite stations being set up in Qatar and Dubai, but not in Beirut, Damascus, or Cairo?

Why is the city planning in the Gulf states perfect, while Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo look like large villages or regions that are chaotic and far from perfect?

Why are the streets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Manama sparkling clean despite the water shortage, while in the streets and on the pavements of Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo one can find anything but hygiene? …

Why have the Gulf states managed to adapt themselves to the technological and social reality of modern times, while at the same time preserving their traditional Arab culture (e.g. dress), while Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt have adopted only trousers, shirts, and ties? …

I believe that our problem – whether in Syria, Lebanon, or Egypt – is that we have forfeited the wisdom of desert nomads, without having caught up with the rational and modern ways of the West.”

Syria and Egypt became National Socialist dictatorships, devoted to militarism and a futile quest for grandeur with dirigist, and therefore stagnant, economies. Syria destroyed Lebanon with help from Iran.

The rulers of the Gulf States devoted themselves to falconry, coursing, and hedonism, presiding over more open economies largely operated by guest workers.

The road to Progress seems everywhere to lead through the Palace of Consumerist Pleasure. Militarist statism does not make you rich, happy, or wise.

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