September 20, 2007
Hari Singh Interview Part 1 - video [wmv] [mov]
"Anbar Awakens Part II: Hell is Over" - Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Post thoughts to comments.
Posted by lauren at September 20, 2007 7:41 PM
My lower back says "thanks coach!"
Been doing CF for about a month and am achieving great results. I was wondering if anyone knows of stretching exercises that will make someone more flexible. I wrestle and dabble in BJJ and flexibility has always been a weak area for me. Can anyone help? Thanks
My reaction to the Portland Cert:
Twice I’ve taken a course just because of the guy teaching it. When I was in school, there was a professor who had a reputation for being completely incoherent, yet his classes were always packed. Years earlier he had developed an important economic model that changed the thinking in his field. I figured that people took his course so that someday, if the guy got the Nobel Prize, they could say they had studied under this famous professor. He was the worst teacher I ever had. Turns out that his class was packed because he kept using the same final exam. Years later he did get the Nobel Prize, but that means nothing to me.
The second time I took a course just because of the guy who was teaching it was this weekend at the Portland Cert. Again, it was with a guy who completely changed the thinking in his field. This time, I had the total opposite experience. Coach is one of the best teachers I have ever had. I learned CrossFit from Greg Glassman. Now that means something to me.
I’m a lifelong New Yorker, which among other things means that I am completely indifferent to celebrities. I spend way too much time in restaurants, and over the years have sat next to probably a dozen movie stars. In real life, they never look nearly as good as on screen. Once, I ignored some woman who was walking past me at brunch, much to the shock of my date who asked me what I thought. I shrugged and said something like “she’s okay, why?” It was Catherine Zeta Jones. I’ve had the same reaction to Kim Bassinger, Gwyneth Paltrow (who is quite charming), and others. Without makeup, they’re okay, but not really what you would expect. The women always look frail. (Full disclosure: In real life, Susan Sarandon is seriously beautiful, but she’s Susan Sarandon. Her politics just ruin it for me.)
This weekend, the first words out of my mouth were, “Wow, that’s Nicole!” The second words out of my mouth were,” That’s really Nicole.” A lifetime of indifference collapsed. It was all I could do to not beg for an autograph. She looks even better in real life. I met Nicole! I actually met Nicole! Sorry, need to focus. Aside from being jaw dropping stunning, Nicole is a superb athlete and a first rate teacher, one of the rare examples of someone who can do and can teach.
Being at the Cert was like being at summer camp or in the schoolyard, except that everyone played well together. One day, when we got back early from lunch, a bunch of us kids were hanging around at CrossFit H.E.L. (the school yard) waiting for the teachers to call us back from recess. Naturally we did what kids typically do in this situation. We played. My friend, Dammit (I bet he didn’t get to call himself that the last time he played in the school yard) was imitating one of his favorite athletes, OPT. (Remember being a kid and imitating batters’ swings or basketball players’ moves?) Dammit was imitating OPT’s pull-up, his unique circular kip. Naturally, he got the other kids to try. Nadia, who I felt I already new from the website, volunteered. Earlier, I had seen her blast out ten rounds during a half Cindy (real pull-ups!). After a few attempts, Nadia had the OPT move nailed. Recess ended and we went back to class.
Later, we got a lesson on muscle-ups. We divided up based on skill level, some at one end working on ring dips and others working on the full move. Nadia had put herself at the dip end. When the instructor asked whether anyone else wanted to try, Nadia demurred. I pushed her. It seemed very clear to me that she had both strength and coordination. After a bit of persuading she jumped up on the rings, and then she worked herself into a false grip. Next typically comes struggle and failure, repeated hundreds of times. Not Nadia. Two seconds later, she had her first muscle-up. It was like watching someone pick up a baseball bat for the first time, swing, and hit a homerun. The look on her face was priceless. Not triumph but confusion. How did this just happen? Did it just happen? A second later everyone burst into applause. It was the highlight of my weekend.
Thank you Coach, Nicole, Dave, Kelly, Jamie, Tony B, Trainers, and Classmates. Congratulations, Nadia!
Just started really getting into crossfit a few weeks ago and I really like it. This is a long shot... but have yall heard of any crossfitters at the University of Alabama???
You make us very proud, Hari! Thanks for everything.
Link to my MySpace page.
I put up some pictures from the seminar I went to in LA with Pavel, Chad Waterbury and Alwyn Cosgrove.
Chad told me on the way home Pavel said "Wow, that Allison girl is very strong. Tell her keep doing those pull-ups"
I did 10 in a row that day and they were impressed with my cleans.
I told them I owe it the coaches at the Black Box NYC.
First of all, fantastic interview. I was sad when the video ended, can't wait for part 2 and 3 and 4 and...
You are truely a wonderful soul, and I am so glad to have met you last weekend. It is rare to meet such real, down to earth and sincere people.
Your reaction to the portland cert brought a tear to my eye and you nailed it with the summer camp bit. I will never forget that weekend.
oh I also had the same reaction to seeing Nicole. I did the 'Holy crap is that really Nicole, my CF hero?'
thanks Hari for the gentle push to get me out of my comfort zone; you are a gem. BTW, didn't someone else get a muscle up or was I too hopped up on cold meds to remember correctly? :-)
OPT better watch out now that Dammit and Chaz have taught us the secret pull-ups. ;-)
Hello CrossFitters in CA. I am going on business in Placentia, CA next week of the 24th. I was curious of any CrossFitters in the area or affiliates nearby? please let me know via e-mail I would really appreciate it. Always looking for fellow crossfitters to train with.
Loved the interview and it was great to meet you and all the NY Crossfitters out in Portland. I found myself playing on the rings and ropes during "recess" both days.
Hari rules, nice comments and nice interview!
To increase flexibility you need to develop strength in the stretched position. PNF stretching works the best. Achieve your maximum range of motion. then flex the muscle being stretched isometrically. Then relax, breath out and stretch a little further.
You want to hold the isometric contraction longer for bigger muscle groups. You can look for reasons to why this works in various places, like Pavel Tsatsolin and his stretching stuff.
Also, make sure you're completely relaxed, as tension, fear, and being pressed for time all diminish flexibility.
hari - met you on a rainy day at mid-city, we were both doing the same WOD, i think everyone was wondering what we were doing. still trying to make it over to CFNY, more of a financing issue than anything else. when i do i'm sure i'll see you there. great interview. gotta say had to laugh when i realized it was you, so random!
all the best
I was lucky enough to be teaching the night Hari walked in the door of CFNYC. And, much as I hate to embarrass him, I was worried Hari would keel over dead before he finished his first workout.
The rest of the crew was convinced he'd never come back. But he did. And then he came back again. And again.
With each month, Hari finished workouts faster, lifted more, pushed harder. His times dropped, his PR's increased. In the time since, he's never stopped.
I was lucky enough to be there again a few weekends ago, when Hari lifted three new PR's in a row. And I knew he - like the rest of the CFNYC'ers attending the cert - would do us proud.
Per usual, glad to see Hari exceeded even our best expectations.
You hit the mark on bonding with fellow crossfit folks. Maybe I'm a little off but to me it's kind of like a secret handshake. I have only been @ it a couple months and look fwd to each day. Did my first Cindy yesterday and got 17 sets. Could have pushed a little harder. One of my problems is the pace @ which I push myself. Some workouts I feel like I cheated myself and others, god seeing spots and gasping. 49 M
Totten's Middle East Journal
It is simply awesome to continually see the proof that sacrifice for others makes a difference. That selflessnes does not go unnoticed, and that America continues to gain confidence in Eastern culture... grass roots perhaps, but within their culture.
God Bless and Keep our Troops!
man I just watched the video
Great interview, Hari. Congratulations on the cert. I miss you and everyone else at the Box. Keep working hard
There should be a Marine Corps PFT as the WOD. That would be amazing. We'd see how well crossfit is at preparing applicants for military fitness tests, and it would be a good way for crossfit to show real, tangible support for members of the military - I'll suffer with you if you'll suffer with me.
I'm sorry if I sound completely ignorant here. I'm new to the Crossfit concept. I was wondering if most participants do solely the WOD, or use it as a staple to add on to their current routine?
#16 Speaking solely for myself, I try to tack on a bit more (Handstand pushups, one-legged squats, a 5k) but the WOD when done at 100% leaves me unable to do much else.
Todays time was 21:00 flat.
Can't wait for Flagstaff!
Nice post Hari. Maybe someday I'll get Nicole's autograph :-)
My Elite rings came today. kewl.
no offense #15 but the marine corps PFT or there fore any services PT test is not a good gauge for fitness. Crossfit doesn't prepare military members for the PT test it prepares them to better adapt to the test of the military more specifically combat. The tangible support for the military? are you kidding me? what is more tangible than a WOD being named after a fallen comrade or a soldier, sailor, airman or marine writing testaments to how they were able to pull through what seemed insurmountable odds because of the unique conditioning Crossfit has afforded them .... I know the intent of your post was to show enthusiasm and I am not here to rain on your parade but to be honest I was a bit insulted by the post
Myspace is being not so nice atm with signing up, so i'll look at the pictures later on!
Thanks for your story Hari!
I'm looking to go to a cert in a few months.
Anything that I should do ahead of time that would help me get the most from it, or to be the best prepared for it that I can?
Thanks for the article Coach, it was a good read.
Great interview and thank you for sharing the story about the cert!
couldnt do yesterdays WOD so is it ok to do yesterdays today? thanks
3 rounds for time: 800 m run, 25 back ext. 25 sit-ups.
Nice to put a face with a name. We'll meet one day.
With respect to the article, that is terrible news. For people who want us to fail. I guess the spinners on the left will need to focus on Baghdad.
For me, it was tremendously encouraging. I truly believe that in the ways that matter, we are the most generous people on earth. Our history, and our ideals, are noble. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, none of us are saints, but on balance, most of the time, we are working to do the right things for the right reasons, and this just plain drives some people nuts.
It would be a wonderful, wonderful thing if we can bring peace to Iraq. It would--will, if we are allowed to persevere--be a gift to the Iraqis that can only help us strategically as well. It is, in my view, the right thing to do.
my abs are not too bad, but i can literally feel my lower back through my shirt. thanks again coach.
I think this website and the whole thing you got going here is the best the web has to offer.
This site is my first stop every morning and the damn thing gets better and better every freaking day!
I gotta get to Black Box if nothing other than to meet Hari!
Michael Totten is doing excellent work, I would suggest that anyone who thinks so, donate to his cause. He is not a paid reporter. All of his work is done through donation.
Also, Michael Yon has two recent dispatches[/url] that are stellar. Both deal with Hunting al Qaeda and the work being done between US Troops and Iraqi soldiers and militias.
Saw an amazing thing in the gym today. Gus, a 15-year-old homeschooler, came into the gym while we were finishing up assisted muscle ups and asked what we were doing. So we showed him. He didn't quite get the false grip on the first try. Almost got up on his second attempt. And rolled right over the top, adjusting his grip on the way, to pop off a muscle up--his third attempt ever. On rings. Well after he did a couple of those, we said, why don't you try it on that bar, too. Right up. What fun to see. We were impressed.
I was thinking all morning about what Hari wrote in his post and about how you encourage others in your posts. I was going to send you an email, but decided I'd rather give you a shout out here.
You are a strong, talented, inspiring, encouraging, beautiful, and confident person. Break out of your comfort zone more often and I think you could move the world.
Hari, Great interview. I took notice that you served on "boards," some of which may be community based or charitable. I'm guessing here, but my suspicion is that you, like many others here, give back to their communities and society in general. In a narrow sense, CF is about forging elite physical fitness, but there's a subtle relationship between physical fitness and a larger more encompasing fitness. I won't say doing a muscle up makes one a better human being, but there's a lot of folks here who teach, encourage and cheer you on, and it's that sense of sharing that seems to attract people such as yourself and many others to numerous to name.
Starting the Black Box has been an amazing experience for us because we've been able to create this wonderful community of people like Hari, Juan, Dammit and Rob. It's great to be part of a community that inspires such greatness.
I second what Josh (#14 a/k/a the Ant) said. Hari is a testament to hard work and dedication. He exemplifies all those qualities that make someone a CrossFitter. He shows up consistently and works hard and has a great attitude. I swear I thought he was going to die the first time I saw him work out. I think it was that one hour and forty five minute Fran he spoke of. Now he's like the terminator: unstoppable.
A2, we miss you too.
Angry G or anyone:
isn't there a way i can pull up my previous comments to get my times and loads from past workouts? control something? want to register them all on this logsitall site. thanks.
Just wanted to post a personal achievement. I just played squash with one of my buddies for about 45 minutes. Normally, afterwards I would be dead tired, but after about 4 weeks of Crossfit, I am completely energized. My game got better (I still didn't beat him), and I just overall was more flexible and faster on my feet.
Plus, he was a little late, so I busted out a 21-15-9 set of push presses with 135#s on a Smith Machine.
I've never had a workout program get results this quickly.
Oh the comraderie is fantastic here at Crossfit. Some day i'll make it out to one of the gyms, i have very scarce transportation and so i just go through my workouts a lone...i am like a scary gladiator to everybody else at the gym. Keep up the good work everybody.
This rest day is well needed. I have been into crossfit for 5 weeks now and am addicted. I'm glad this website and community of great people exist.
I do ahve a question though. I want to learn more...Is it better to do a cert like the basic barbell cert, or would it be more beneficial to attend a level 1 cert? What exactly is the difference between the two? Thanks...
Did Michael today with feet anchored on the situps
I believe it is a PR. I have to check my old book.
Good interview Hari! The interviews are fun to watch...Keep 'em coming!
Speaking of Crossfit women, I suggest a "Girls of Crossfit" calendar to help raise funds for the program. I'd buy one. :)
Haven't met you but maybe will at a Cert some day. I really look forward to reading your thoughtful posts on rest days. Today's was no exception. Great interview.
Today is not rest day for me =P
1k row + CFWU 1 round
Then gave a shot at Barbara:
10 pull up
20 push up
30 sit up
I only wanted to scale down the pull up but I just realized I scaled down the whole thing finnaly o_O
You and Tony asked me about a 'Pete Ihrie' posting while we were in Portland last weekend.
My son Peter was the guilty party. He's just begun 'real posts' - until now he's flown under the radar.
Have been shadowing this sight for approx. 2-3 years. It is really a wealth of information, not just about training for it's own sake, but training for enriching one's life. I feel connected to many of the people in the video demos. I must admit that as a life long trainier and endurance athlete, the ideas and beliefs of this site has radically changed how I train and those I advise. Thanks to all.
One harrowing experience endured together can build bonds stronger than a decade of 'good times'.
CrossFit: Providing harrowing experiences to share with strangers. . . daily.
I do the daily wod at a local gym & I'm always peeking out of the corner of my eye for other people who might be doing the wod. I haven't found anyone yet, but I'm sure I will before too long & I'm excited for the conversation that will come out of that encounter.
Regarding the article - awesome, inspiring, encouraging
I liked it so much that I e-mailed it to moveon.org & asked them to justify the results attained in Ramadi (without simply claiming the article as right wing propoganda which basically says that they can't justify it but still don't like the whole thing - booh hoo!). I also e-mailed it to our esteemed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who I am somewhat (no - not somewhat. VERY!) ashamed to say is from my home state (although us Northern Nevadan's don't really claim him as he is really out of Las Vegas). If "the war is lost", how can you explain the look on those kids faces.
I am hopeful that this kind of positive result breeds hopeful Iraqi people & the environmnet throughout the rest of Iraq gets infected with this positive mindset. My heart breaks for those children & I am confident that we are well on the way to finishing what we started.
Howdy fellow CrossFitters! Let me just start out by saying that I am a loyal and dedicated CrossFitter and have been for the past 15 months! I love it, I love it, I love it! Hands down the best program I've ever been a part of.
So I'm home on leave and itching to do some CF. Although I really don't need a gym to do CF (subbing is just another beautiful aspect of CF), I still joined up with one for the month that I'll be home. After completing one of the WOD's I happened upon a section of the gym that offers "Parisi Speed School" training. I'm sure most of you have heard of it, but I hadn't. It sparked my interest so I signed up for a demo class as well as the initial evaluation class.
Just let me tell you that CF couldn't have prepared me any better for this evaluation. I far exceeded my own expectaions (even got a 27.5" vertical leap, with bad knees to boot)!
I was mostly interested in where I stood as far as my overall fitness. After completing the evaluation, it only bolstered my confidence and support for CrossFit. Of course there were areas where I needed improvement...but there always will be, right?
So I just thought that I'd share my experience and further plug CF for its inspiring program. I've still got a few years in the Air Force, but my dream is to open up my own CF facility one day. Now I just have to get to one of those certifications...SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT! Can you say, "CF is the future of fitness...?" Keep up the great work CF.
And thanks to Troy for introducing me to the Parisi Speed School - I'll be back for more! Take care of everyone!
I look forward to seeing your interview tonight. Thanks for what you wrote above, most excellent.
As for the Anbaris, I couldn't hold back the tears reading this post, even knowing the story from other writers and reports. When I arrived in Baghdad in April 06, Ramadi was the hell hole of the country. The Marines began their 'Ramadi squeeze' but the results were ugly with heavy fighting, nasty casualties, and an overpowering sense of futility amongst the analysts I was learning from. I spent a year there thinking all the time of ways we could modify, improve, shift, augment, or whatever to make it work. I saw a nation in which 99% of the people were not enemies of America, who were not fundamentally opposed to a peaceful solution, who desperately wanted enough stability to raise the children and live their lives.
The Marines say "no better friend, no worse enemy" and they walked the talk in Anbar, and paid the price for it daily. They got it done.
The potential that is there - Kurds with their homeland after thousands of years of fighting to get it - Shia Arabs owning their own religious shrines after 1400 years of status as a repressed minority - an Iraq that is not a threat to regional stability - these are no small things.
That some would give all of this up to allow a bunch of thugs and regional bullies to have their way - it's not American. It's American to worry about our troops, and American to see how hard the project is and lose heart that it can be done, and it is American to think “I’m living the easy life every day, I can’t bear to think of putting these fine young people in harm’s way when I sacrifice nothing,” but it's un-American to quit in despair.
And for those miserable few who would give it all up for political gain - contemptible.
So many powerful posts today, thanks CF community.
Nice post and interview. It was a pleasure meeting you and the other guys at the Portland cert.. I share all of your feelings and have come home completely energized and inspired by the lectures and instruction. Good luck in your training and please stop by if you're ever down near Philly.
(the other) Rob Miller
CrossFit Delaware Valley
Man I wish you had been there a year ago, I just graduated fro UA. I can't think of any crossfitters there but I'll poll my friends.
Ran Today, not far but fast for me. (without warm up or cool down tried holding 8:00 min miles or faster)
And on the death of Sheik Sattar Abu Risha -
this man was an amazing leader and hero. I don't care if he was 95% scoundrel, which he may have been, his heart, his courage, his absolute determination to live free or die, was an inspiration to me. I see him, what little I know of him, as a representation of what is best in Iraqis. I bid him fair winds and following seas.
I would like to think Sheik Sattar and Capt Travis Patriquin and their brothers and sisters in arms will have a fine feast to consider their victories and common losses together.
I6, thanks for posting that link.
Great interview....reference the article there was one comment that I think was key. It said that we had started to work with the tribes. Understanding the their culture and working within it could mean much better success. I am proud of all the Soldiers and Marines over there. Keep it up!!
35 M bw 202
I have offically done crossfit for one week now and have been able to complete the workouts so far but some have been scaled down in weight. I had to do yesterdays today and 150 back extensions are brutal. I was able to do "Michael" in 28:33 so I thought that was a good time for a beginner. Thanks for all the motivation guys and gals. You have really helped this firefighter get his groove back. Tonight we have 3 rounds of 30 story builing.
Purely outstanding to read a truthful article about the situation in al-Ramadi. My nephew, a US Marine, has served there for about 6 months.
#56- I share your opinion on Sheik Sattar. Talk about real courage....
Thanks for the article and this program, Coach.
the following article gives a different perspective of Iraq by someone that has been there.
for those of you that have been to Iraq and have helped in the stabilization of that country do the military contractors really have free rein and impunity to do what they will there?
the following article gives a different perspective of Iraq by someone that has been there.
for those of you that have been to Iraq and have helped in the stabilization of that country do the military contractors really have free rein and impunity to do what they will there?
Ahh yes. The George Bush is the devil argument. I will be very curious to hear the feedback of the actual men and women who are serving there & who witness this first hand.
Thanks for adding a different element to the discussion Steve.
# 9 Jason
I live in Fullerton which is one city over from Placentia and the closest affiliate I can find is Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley.....not sure if you're new to the area but that's about 45 min. to an hour drive, from Placentia, with traffic. I workout at the big-box L.A. Fitness so I do what I can!!
26 yom 6'2" 155#
HSPU...these suck and I gotta work at 'em
I've been pushing for a men of Crossfit Calendar since I started. I want to be December!
First day I am eligable to donate blood after my last donation ended up doing a Double Red; great day to take a rest.
Happy rest day everybody. I am looking to attend a seminar in the near future. Can anyone tell me the difference between a level 1 seminar and certification seminar? And which might be more benificial? Email me if you want. Thanks in advance.
Hari....great interview and thanks for re-minding me that I NEED TO ATTEND A CERT!!! Very inspirational!
Hari, quite pleased to meet you.
Caught up with Row/Wall Ball WOD, details there.
24:46 (includes music malfunction time)
Has there ever, in the history of man, been a nation whose soldiers were more compassionate outside of the strict arena of battle than ours? I think not.
Just like every rest day, been practicing my OHS. I was hoping to get to my goal of 100lbs x 15 reps by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, summer ends tomorrow and I came up 5lbs short. Oh well, I made some amazing progress nonetheless. From starting at 45lbs in June to now, it's awesome!.. I might just get it like next month or somethng I am sure...
OHS: Warm Up: 15 x 65lbs, 15 x 85lbs.
Working sets: 4 sets of 95lbs.
I would be able to pump out 10 quick reps, then my shoulders would get tired and it would just be a struggle from there...
Finished up with:
66 Dips (19-17-16-15).
90 Inverted Rows (30-25-20-15).
great interview and posts, hari! thank you so much for that link to the post about beauty!
that was exactly what i think every time i read this website -- heck, i have been trying to figure out how to take a picture of my bruised shoulders and forearms from doing a Livelong CF workout that included heavy DB cleans. i was so proud and i thought that the only people that would love that as much as me, were my fellow Crossfitters!
after seeing hari's interview and visiting a real CF gym this summer, i have one request... can someone please open up a CF gym in baltimore?! please? if anyone is, please let me know!
thanks, as always!
It's nice to read encouraging news for a change. Much of the public perception of the Iraq mission is skewed by continued use of the word "war." If we continue to call the stabilization and occupation of Iraq a "war", we'll never "win." It's like we're trying to win a war against drunk driving; at what point of driving fatalities do we declare mission accomplished and disband the highway patrol? In Iraq there's no clear goal line, no flag atop the Reichstag moment to shoot for which gives the Administration's critics an opening to stir unrest among a population that has grown casualty adverse, their unease fueled by a cable media focused only on casualties in the same way local media broadcasts car crashes and crime stories. Ultimately, the Iraqis will have to figure out how to live with each other and divide equitably their oil revenues. We've done a heroic job keeping the thugs and assasins at bay, but at some point responsible leaders need to meet and compromise to stitch this country back together.
#69, Bingo: Yes, a few others, namely England, Scotland,Wales, Canada, Australia, all of us part of that wonderful creation, the English Speaking Commonwealth.
Slightly off topic, but I've spent some time on the crossfit H.E.L. site and, as a Brit stuck on this dark little island some way away from Portland, I wondered if you could give me some idea of the format of the bootcamp? I'd love to know the skills you emphasise during the 4 week course.
Obviously, if this is commercially sensitive, just forget I even asked. I'll still love 'ya!
Anyway, thanks to you and the community for providing such a resource. As we say in Blighty, crossfit kicks arse!
you have got to be kidding me. i can't speak for canada or australia, but as an irish immigrant from the northern counties and a former british cadet (ccf East Anglia Regiment) i can speak for the rest. Compassion is not a word you can use to describe the British Army. not a chance in hell.
and as a tonic to some of the liberties these posts have taken with Tottens great reporting, here is an email he wrote to Sullivan earlier today.
"Michael Totten emails:
I wish I disagreed with what you wrote on your blog, but I don't.
The "Awakening" model is spreading elsewhere in the country, which is good, but something else will need to happen in Baghdad, especially, for the reasons you outline.
Also, the Mahdi Army will be tougher to beat than Al Qaeda because they are less extreme and less likely to be rejected by the society as a whole. So while the Anbar model is exportable to an extent - it is being exported to Diyala Province, Salah a Din Province, and even to some places in the South - winning everywhere in Iraq (if it's even possible, and I really don't know if it is) will require something more. The success in Anbar Province is real, but it would be a mistake to assume that solution can be applied to the entire country. It probably can't. I wouldn't say reconciliation between Sunnia and Shias is impossible, but if it is possible it won't be because of what happened in Anbar."
Having said that, Anbar is an effin great success and we SHOULD be proud. Just not naive.
Mcall, Correct, the tribes are not as influential in other areas, and as I was explaining to a co-worker, the tensions are fewer in Anbar - 'merely' the Anbaris against murderous thugs. Ninevah, Salah ad Din, and Diyala (aka Arab/Kurd zone) have the Kurd/Arab tensions, and the south has the Shia v. Shia power struggles w Iranian aggravation. However, the Arab/Kurd zones are at least rejecting AQI as the Anbaris did - leading to some tremendous house cleaning in Diyala, as reported by Michael Yon and others last month.
There's no short term solution - the real solution is generational, the trick being to stabilize things well enough for the next generation of leaders to emerge; a generation that values reconciliation.
At the very least, though, these Anbaris have proven to be a valuable enemy of our enemy - AQ.
Here's a look from Friedman at what the Kurds have done with their liberty - a bit sanitized but still amazing stuff.
sweating and bleeding the way we do...well said hari
John Wopat: Keen analogy there!
"It's like we're trying to win a war against drunk driving; at what point of driving fatalities do we declare mission accomplished and disband the highway patrol?"
I like it. Reminds of Dennis Praeger saying we shouldn't call it the "War on Terror" b/c terror is a tactic, not an identifiable enemy. I think you're both right.
mcCall, point us to Sullivan's blog.
Hey #55... yeah, that would've been good or you could've just stayed a year extra haha! I just transferred down here as a junior. But yeah, I get some funny looks at the Rec-center and from my buddies-> they're all into the 1-2 hr workout thing where you talk for half of it and your heart rate never goes up, haha! If you find any of your friends are into CF let me know.
made up diane today.
HSPU against wall
5:59 one of my worst times ever. just have nothing in the tank. everything still sore.
thank you so much for your kind words, they mean more then you know. Thanks for always being so supportive and welcoming to everyone on this site.
Erin- in8girl (hope i got that right)
thanks for your comment yesterday. the advil helped. Glad to know I am not alone in those days/weeks where you just feel worn out and everything seems so damn difficult. Hope you got some rest, yawning between sets probably means time for a rest day! :-)
I didn't feel like resting so I did Cindy. 13 reps completed. Finished up with some ab work and 45 (15-15-10) wall ball shots.
Totten and Yon do amazing work. It's too bad this stuff never makes the evening news. Doesn't fit the company narrative. Besides, these are "amateur" reporters. We all know only pros can give us the real news.
That's what I've been told, anyway.
Who is Hari? No disrespect.
Ok, after reading all the posts about how wonderful the certs are... I really can't wait until Dec. when I go to NC!!! WOW!
I am heading to Colorado for some r&r but I am sure I will find something to do out in nature that will give me that crossfit high!
Anyone else ever get the itch to try a second workout in a day just because they love this stuff soo much?
ok, now that I have read all of the posts about how wonderful the certs are and how much fun everyone has, I can't wait to get to NC in Dec.
I had to check out the video of Hari becuse of all the talk. This is one community that I am excited to be part of.
Heading to Colorado for some R&R out in the woods. I am sure I will find 30 boulders to dead lift and toss to keep me going! HA HA!
Does anyone else here ever get the feeling that they want to do multiple workouts in a day just because they love this stuff so much?
It is very refreshing to hear ANYTHING positive about what's going on in Iraq. I am not educated enough on the topic to really make any other statement. I just wish the national media would switch gears and report stuff like this. Maybe then there would be public support to finish what we as a country started.
I am jealous of all of you who get to work out in crossfit gyms. It's particularly disappointing as i have one not too far away from home, but I cannot make the schedule work as my office is on the exact opposite side of town. :(
on another note i couldn't let myself rest today after not meeting my goal yesterday. did cindy - 18 rounds with jumping pullups. The I-beam in my garage isn't real conducive to kipping - so i haven't learned that yet. PR by 2 rounds. I'm still improving, even if it is slower than i'd like.
We did "Cindy" today
Shay 20 rounds + pull ups (jump Pull up) + push ups
Carole 15 (jump Pull ups)rounds
Shawnine 20 rounds +4 pull ups (jump pull ups)
pre: Burgie, L-PUs, M/U, L-dips, HSPU
wod: 20:54 (PR)
post: more HSPU
Hari is a CrossFit mensch.
Hurray for the "marriage of convenience" in Anbar.
One bright spot in a dark place.
Lets not brush aside the fact during self congratulatory backslapping that some of those Anbar folks killed and wounded US troops in the not so recent past.
Not only do they get amnesty but guns and money thrown into the bargain also.
So we have now pretty much armed everyboby...Army,Police(& indirectly Shiite militias,& now Sunni militias.Seems to me flooding the country with arms runs counter-intuitive to enhancing security and promoting democracy,or do we just have a really steep learning curve.
Watch your backs.
Fantastic article. I was in Anbar in 2005 and it was one of the worst places on earth. I congratulate not only what our troops are doing but more what the Iraqis finally decided to do; take charge of their future. They are a wonderful and interesting future and since I'll be back there soon I look forward to seeing the progress and improvements. Too bad not enough Americans ever read the real story like this.
Diane did me in the other day, tried to think of Wonderwoman (you know from the old tv series) inflicting the pain on me, worked a bit, but my back has been out the last couple of days. Back to it tomorrow though!
In regards to the post about independent contractors, its seems to me what did in Blackwater was not the skill of the operators (Bad guys : 0 , Blackwater:? hard to argue with a perfect record) but a lack of accountability.
From what I have read we passed or imposed a law saying that BW and others would not be subject to Iraqi law. Makes sense in the early days I suppose, how can you do business over there with that kind of liability hanging over your head. But as we built up Iraq into a nation of laws, supposedly, BW continued to operate as if they had no accountability, either to Iraqi law or the laws their clients operated under. Now they are out, what no bullet or IED could have done, politics has. Maybe they will come to an understanding with al Maliki, maybe not, but the cold hard fact is that they are confined to the Green zone and useless to their Clients, who cannot move without them.
Our soldiers even though most Iraqis think it is ok to shoot at them and consider them an occupying force, ironically are held by the same Iraqis to be a relatively neutral player, why because they are accountable to a set of laws. Even if you do have rare instances like that guy who raped and killed that girl and her family, at least he stood trial and was held accountable for his actions. Right now BW and other are not subject to military law, Iraqi Law, and may only be subject to our Federal Courts but that is a murky subject at best. Whether or not you feel that is ethical or no, does not really matter. For the time being these very capable operators are out of comission.
Why? No accountabilty.
As for the Anbar Sunnis, I think it is great that Anbar seems to have turned itself around, but lets not lose sight of who we are dealing with here. The same guy George was smiling and shaking hands with last week was at least partially responsible for the deaths of 1273 of our soldiers in that province. We may have to deals with the devil to get things done, and they may be in Anbar and they may end up being in Iran, but lets forget that its a hoof we are shaking in the end.
I think the prime issue we had with the Sunnis in Anbar was that they thought we were there to take their oil, and take their women. A sociological fact about any nation that is fed propaganda for years is they tend to start making up their own news. When this happens, conspiracy theories--which have the tremendous advantage of being unfalsifiable, since the evidence that would support them is by definition secret--start popping up.
There were conspiracy theories about us, and what the Abu Ghraib story did was confirm them, in the minds of many Arabs, both in Iraq and throughout the region. Arab despots regularly humiliate their subjects, and those pictures seemed to indicate plainly that that was the intention of the Americans as well. We were there to put the Arab man under our foot, to literally put leashes on them, and force them to grovel.
Obviously, if you are used to being lied to, then you assume that whatever rhetoric American rulers put out would consist of falsehoods too. What is the solution? Armed conflict. We did not have an insurgency immediately. Unless I am making a major error in my chronology, the bulk of the shooting and killing started after the Abu Ghraib story came out.
It has taken us this long to convince the Sunnis that in fact we can be trusted, that we are not there to humiliate and steal from them, and that in fact they would be hard pressed to find better friends than us.
Remember, too, that a lot of the recruiting for Al Queda consists in fantasies about the extent of our monstrosities that are on par in content, if not propagandistic genius, with what Goebbels put out. They blame the Jews and the Crusaders for everything. Logically, if the Jews and Crusaders are to blame for everything, then killing Jews and Crusaders will solve the problem.
This obviously appeals to many young Arab men, and that fact suits the thirst for power felt my many mullahs, sheikhs, and other Islamic thought leaders, so they don't invoke fatwas on what are otherwise solidly unIslamic practices, such as the wanton murder of civilians, or murder of Muslims.
In no small measure, our task is getting an accurate account of who we are out on the Arab street. And when our own press tells lies about us, it doesn't help. They assume that the press here is not that different than the press there, and that if anything they are minimizing the atrocity, not over-reporting it, as is actually the case.
I completely agree that the Abu Ghraib story served to confirm some of the peculiar conspiracy theories that the 'Arab Street' seems prone to and was a major negative issue for US effort in Iraq.
However, I am unable to confirm that "We did not have an insurgency immediately. Unless I am making a major error in my chronology, the bulk of the shooting and killing started after the Abu Ghraib story came out." The relevant data appear to be as follows.
Abu Ghraib broke publicly on 28 April 2004 with a 60 Minutes report. US forces had been taking casualties fairly steadily since the invasion in March 2003 (source: http://icasualties.org/oif/) with November 2003 and April 2004 being the worst months to that date. Eyeballing the numbers, the case can certainly be made that casualties (on a per month basis) have been greater after Abu Ghraib than before it, which would lend support to your statement.
However, as far as I can see, April 2004 returned the highest casualty figures because that was the month that U.S. Marines commenced Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah following the murder of the 4 Blackwater operatives in that town on 31 March 2004. It would appear there was a serious insurgency issue prior to Abu Ghraib breaking as news.
(The month of greatest casualties, November 2004 coincides with Fallujah II, Operation Phantom Fury)
Looking further back than Abu Ghraib, Saddam himself was captured in his little hole on 13 December 2003 and the following day the President addressed the nation, including the phrase "For the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the current violence, there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held." Again, that would suggest that there was a serous level of insurgent action in the period prior to the capture of Saddam and well before Abu Ghraib.
Further, looking at the mosque/religious festival bombing campaign, which has generally been ascribed to al-Qaeda, the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf was bombed on 29 August 2003, while Karbala's Day of Ashura was bombed on March 2 2004. Both were significant bombings and took place before Abu Ghraib broke which would indicate that al-Qaeda had strong operations in Iraq prior to Abu Ghraib.
At the end of the day, the issue may be that the nature of the insurgency has changed over time, beginning as an organised Baathist guerilla war and evolving to include al-Qaeda as they got their act together, and from there broadening to a Sunni vs. Shiite low-level civil war (perhaps dating from the bombing of the al-Askari mosques Golden Dome on February 22 2006), with the US in the middle (which one could certainly argue is not an insurgency). As noted above, al-Qaeda had been trying to ignite this sectarian war since quite early in the piece, and no doubt Abu Ghraib served their purpose well.
My read would therefore be that while it is very plausible that Abu Ghraib provided excellent propaganda for the insurgency and thereby strengthened it and made the US's task much harder, one can't say that Abu Ghraib story was a major catalyst for the insurgency.
Abu Ghraib broke the first week of April with a story by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. The article was there a week ago, but it's gone now.
That research is worth doing, though. This is a thesis that can be falsified or questioned, no doubt about it.
Since you seem to have a bent for research, and since I can't find what I'm looking for, I'd be curious if you can find a graph showing Coalition and Iraqi casualty rates, which would place April, 2004 in a longer time frame.
I know it's a rest day - and believe me, I'm 43 and need my rest. But I got off schedule this week and instead did a little strength routine:
From what I can see the AG story broke on 60 minutes on 28 April 2004; the Hersh article was posted online on 30 April and was published in the New Yorker magazine print edition of 10 May. (Source, Wikipedia, which is pretty good on factual stuff like that).
As for graphs, there is an excellent graph of US casualties here: http://icasualties.org/oif_a/CasualtyTrends.htm. I can't vouch for the site, but I suspect US numbers are pretty accurate as they are publicly available.
For Iraqi numbers, they have a graph here: http://icasualties.org/oif/IraqiDeathsByYear.aspx and more numbers here: http://icasualties.org/oif/IraqiDeaths.aspx. The Iraqi numbers are just a compilation of deaths reported by the news services and only starts in jan 2005 (presumably when the site got going). These numbers probably understate Iraqi deaths, but how much by is an open question.
Another interesting presentation of coalition fatalities is here: http://www.obleek.com/iraq/index.html.
From the figures all I would be prepared to say would be that the insurgency (in one form or another) started between the fall of Baghdad and the end of 2003, probably very early; Abu Ghraib doesn't show as an obvious driver, of fatalities, but that doesn't mean it has not been extremely influential.
It appears you are right, and I was wrong. I learned something.
Having more than a little water in me, though, it occurs to me to ponder this: if we are fighting two wars, one here in the form of public opinion, and one there in the forms of public opinion and corresponding desire to help, ignore, or attack us, what was the effect of this story on the former? Does this not feature prominently in much of the anti-Bush propaganda?
I have to go, but here's a link worth reading, which offers a riposte to one aspect of the propagandistic use of the story: http://slate.com/id/2118306/
Hamilcar, Barry, Randy - very interesting and positive discussion, thanks. Paul
post held for usage of 4 letter word
... and I use that term loosely :-) ...
I was on the border of Kuwait & Iraq when everything went ballistic ... It was the first week of April, or very close to it. The marines were pounding Fallujah in response to the Blackwater incident & tensions were high even in the east. All routes went red when several bridges were blown on the main supply route (MSR) and convoys started coming under heavy attack. I recall it being an uprising of the Mahdi Militia that was called by Sadr in response to ... I want to say a mosque that was bombed (don't remember exactly what) in Najaf. wouldn't that be great if cnn.com was indexed and you could just go back to see headlines throughout Apr of 2004?
Anyway, this happened (all heck breaking loose) before the Abu Ghraib incident.