Friday, March 31, 2006


Temple goes to class

Special thanks to my friend, John Temple Ligon (seen standing in front of one of his favorite buildings), who assisted me with several mock interviews for my magazine writing students at USC's J-School, yesterday. Interviewing Temple, the students learned the finer points of controlling an interview by regaining control after Temple took over. They learned a lot, and it was a lot of fun. Also, thanks to his extraordinarily attractive assistant, Gabriella.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Spinning Swarmer

Our latest at on the MSM's spinning of Operation Swarmer. Lots of great letters coming in.
Thanks to all the bloggers linking to it, including Lucianne Goldberg who christened it a "must read."

Also, had a great time on The Michael Graham Show, yesterday. Michael is now on 96.9 FM in Boston


Saturday, March 18, 2006


Comments from Lt.Gen. Peter Chiarelli

As posted on The Corner at National Review Online:

NO CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
In a satellite-feed interview from Iraq, yesterday, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli (commanding general, Multinational Corps Iraq) told Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman:

"There has been a lot of talk lately about the post-Samarra violence, and whether it means Iraq is descending into a civil war. Quite frankly, the talk of civil war is nothing new. I've heard people debate the topic for three years now.
"I don't want to downplay the tragedy of the violence that has occurred; however, it may be unfair to characterize every post-22nd February event as sectarian in nature.
"The possibility of civil war may be higher today than it has been in the last three years, yet I believe we are still far away from such an event. Where there are groups of individuals polarized at each end of the spectrum, there are a vast majority of Iraqis in the middle who don't see the divisions that are being highlighted. Many Iraqis are part of mixed marriages and lived in mixed neighborhoods and consider themselves Iraqis first.
"I can tell you that in the first few days following the bombing, we did indeed see an increase in sectarian violence. That has since tapered off, and what we are seeing now are the same types of attacks we were seeing before the mosque bombing, and actually at a slightly lower number, except now all events seem to be characterized as sectarian in nature. In some instances, it's perceived that way.
"Now, some of those events are sectarian, but far fewer than are being reported. Most of the events are a combination of the work of al Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent attacks designed to prevent progress in building the government and pure, unadulterated crime."

Much more here.



My great (seven-times) grandfather

Here is a picture of my great (seven-times) grandfather, Captain Thomas Woodward of South Carolina. (artist unknown)

Born 1729, Woodward is best remembered as a "regulator" who pursued outlaws during the Colonial era in South Carolina. He also was a captain of mounted rangers during the American Revolution. The company he commanded was positioned on the extreme left flank of William Moultrie's position during the famous Battle of Sullivan's Island (Charleston, S.C.) in June of 1776.

Woodward was shot from his saddle and killed in 1779, while in pursuit of Tory horsemen.

His name has continued in my family: My great grandfather was named Thomas Woodward, and my Uncle Woody was named Frank Woodward.

Friday, March 17, 2006


"Shock and Swarm"

Slate talks about us in an article, Shock and Swarm, by Melonyce McAfee.
Also, Happy St. Patrick's Day.


CENTCOM Posture Statement

Blackfive is linking to the 2006 Posture Statement for the U.S. Central Command.
See here.


Thanks, Kathy Sena

"Sun Devil" and fellow ASJA-er Kathy Sena spoke to my magazine writing students at the University of South Carolina's School of Journalism, yesterday, and she was FANTASTIC! Thank you, Kathy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


A "bombing raid" and an "air assault" are not the same

Lots of mail coming in about Operation Swarmer in Iraq.
Here are my comments over at THE CORNER:

I've received several emails this morning from people wondering why we've launched a "massive bombing campaign" in Iraq. And they're saying, "won't that kill a lot of innocent civilians?" But they are confused by the term, "air assault."
An "air assault" is actually a helicopter-borne infantry assault. In this case, large numbers of helicopters are ferrying airborne-infantry soldiers to enemy targets.
Posted at 12:24 PM


Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Recent fun!

In the spirit of catching up after weeks of sporadic - perhaps nonexistent is a better word - posting, I would like to share a few important dates, comments, published pieces, etc. (also check out yesterday's post).
First, I recently had the honor of introducing Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares at the Columbia World Affairs Council luncheon, here in Columbia, S.C. at the Capital City Club, February 21.

Here are my unedited introductory remarks:
"This is an honor for me personally – and it is in fact for all of us – because the Columbia World Affairs Council has – as it so often does – arranged to have a key participant in global affairs address the council and its guests: Today, Dr Walid Phares will specifically discuss our global war on terror and our ongoing struggle with the jihadists of the world.
Let me first tell you a bit about Dr. Phares, then I’ll share with you a couple of very brief personal thoughts.
"An expert in Middle Eastern affairs and global terrorism, Dr. Phares has been called on to review captured enemy documents from the former Iraqi regime, and he often assists in the translation of Al Qaeda messages. He has briefed the U.S. State Department, also the departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security. He has testified before Congress and the United Nations Security Council. He has written seven books – including his latest, FUTURE JIHAD (which is available here today) - and his work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Global Affairs, The Washington Times, World Defense Review, The Denver Post, and many others. He also appears regularly as a guest commentator on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, all of the major television networks, PBS, C-Span, and the BBC. And recently, he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"Dr. Phares holds degrees in law and political science from Saint Joseph University and the Lebanese University in Beirut. He also holds a Masters in international law from the Universite de Lyons in France, and a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami. He is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Dr. Phares’ lectures and his writings reflect the foundation’s goals of 'promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.' His is a vision for a better world, much like the overall mission of the World Affairs Council, which embraces the global community and more specifically to those of us here today, builds relationships between South Carolina and the rest of the world.
"I’ve spoken with Dr. Phares numerous times, edited his stories for World Defense Review, which – by the way – never need editing, and I’ve chatted with him for my own stories in National Review Online and
"In so doing, I’ve discovered something very special about him. That is: His life’s work is his calling to be sure, but it is because he not only loves his work. He loves people. He loves his students. He loves his readers. And he loves our global community.
"When I was interviewing him recently for a story in National Review Online, I asked him about the capabilities of the new Iraqi army and Iraqi soldiers, who – by the way - are now planning and conducting operations against the insurgents often independently of U.S. troops. But when I asked Dr. Phares about those Iraqi soldiers, he said – among other things - 'I've watched them, heard them, and spoken with some of them. These are among the most precious soldiers in the Arab Muslim world: because these are the soldiers who will fight in defense of democracy.'
And with that, I am proud to introduce the Columbia World Affairs Council’s distinguished speaker, Dr. Walid Phares."


Then there is the recent story about my nephew and his becoming a state wrestling champion, published in one of his community newspapers. Here 'tis as it appeared in 'The Kershaw County Current' (March 1, 2006).

Making “a few good men”
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

January 28 will forever be a red-letter day for my family and me. Not because I was ‘chatting up’ my fifth book and discussing global terrorism with national anchor Julie Banderas on the FOX NEWS Channel: I was, to be sure, but then I’m always talking about something… somewhere.
As far as my family and I are concerned, however, the day belongs to my two nephews: Kershaw County’s own Maxwell Fowler, 14, and his brother Michael, 17.
That evening, in an overtime wrestling match producing a little blood, lots of sweat, and a gym full of tears, laughter, shouting, and the match-ending referee’s whistle; Max became a state champion (155-pound weight class).
Michael – in an equally emotionally charged act of manhood – was first out of the bleachers and at the mat, physically picking up his little brother (though Max actually outweighs him) as if the state laurels also belong to him. Therein lies the truth: They do.
Led by Coach Ted Monroe, Max and his team (the Lugoff-Elgin Middle School Leopards) walked away with two state champions – Max and Will Connell of the local Connell wrestling dynasty – and a legion of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, buddies, girlfriends, sisters and brothers, like Michael, all of whom have been encouraging and supporting their men on the mat since the beginning of the season.
“Deserving,” is how Coach Monroe describes his team and their fans.
I would add: Committed, courageous, and wholly inspirational.
Recently, it has been suggested that America is no longer producing the “right sort of men” who will be able to lead the nation into its dangerous, complex, and uncertain future. My answer for anyone hoping to be disabused of that belief: Drive northeast from Columbia on Highway 1. Stop when you hear the roar of the crowd.
— South Carolina native W. Thomas Smith Jr. is the author of five books, and his articles have appeared in USA Today, George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, National Review Online, and the New York Post. He writes a weekly column for Washington, D.C.-based

Click here (then scroll to the bottom of the page) to see a picture of my family's state wrestling champ. He's the tall good-looking kid with braces.

Finally, a quick note about chatting over a cup of coffee with my dear friend and fellow writer - actually, an accomplished poet, author, and magazinist (Hah! how about that word?) - Kay Day.
She blogs about our coffee prior to her speaking at the South Carolina Book Festival; and, days later, speaking to my magazine writing class at the University of South Carolina.
Kay chatted with my students about the plums and pitfalls of her writing career. She was in fact warming up in the batter's box {Yikes! cliche} while friend and editor Gordon Witkin of U.S. News & World Report was sharing some of his own professional experiences.
(See Kay's comments here.).
More to come. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


OK, here's what's up...

OK, here's what's up...
Been deep in my sixth book (details later), and the blog and other things have simply had to take a back seat. Still have lots of book work to do, but I may soon find time for more posting.
What's hot?
Was just this morning chatting with Brig. Gen. Dan Bolger in Iraq. His comments were later posted over at National Review Online's THE CORNER.
(On Sunday we CORNER-posted about former NFL lineman Jeremy Staat who is now serving as a PFC in Uncle Sam's Marine Corps... The toughest part of bootcamp for Staat? The screaming and yelling and climbing the rope, the latter which was a new experience for this friend of the late Pat Tillman).
Also, we've received tons of mail regarding our latest columns at See here, here, here, and here. And we learned that Canada's Enter Stage Right published an article, 'Captured Iraqi intel confirms pre-war links between Saddam's regime and terrorists' by Sam Wells, that liberally quotes us throughout the piece.
Finally, thanks to Michelle Malkin and so many others for talking up our piece, "Responsible or irresponsible reporting."
Stay tuned.
Semper Fi,
P.S. I still plan to post some of your mail, but there's a lot I still have to go through.
Again, stay tuned. And keep those cards and letters coming (best way to do that is by clicking here.).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Jeff Quinton on AOL Radio

So my friend and fellow South Carolinian, Jeff Quinton,
will be on AOL Radio, tomorrow, discussing college football.
Here's more from his

Poll: College Football's Most Hated
As part of Fanblogs' participation in AOL Radio's Sports Bloggers Live this Thursday, I am posting a poll regarding the most hated figures in college football. Click here to vote.

The show will focus on Most Hated Athletes
in all sports and I will be on to discuss college football. We limited the choices to coaches and televsion analysts since college football is unique in the fact that players are only on the field for 4 years at most. Amid discussions with other college football fans, including another Fanblogs author, I decided there weren't really many choices for current college players. Had he not been dumped from the team, Marcus Vick would have definitely made the list. However, in general the object of hate in college football is directed at coaches since they most embody the program and all fans have their list of disliked talking heads on Saturday television.
The show will be available on demand around 5 p.m. EST Thursday at
the show's website. Voting will continue through Thursday here.
--- Jeff Quinton

Also, some serious blogging catching up to do in the coming days.
Lots to report. Lots of GREAT mail. Stay tuned.

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