July 12, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 07/12/2007

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
CIA Said Instability Seemed 'Irreversible' - Early on the morning of Nov. 13, 2006, members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group gathered around a dark wooden conference table in the windowless Roosevelt Room of the White House. (READ MORE)

U.S. Warns Of Stronger Al-Qaeda - Six years after the Bush administration declared war on al-Qaeda, the terrorist network is gaining strength and has established a safe haven in remote tribal areas of western Pakistan for training and planning attacks, according to a new Bush administration intelligence report to be discussed today... (READ MORE)

Sting Reveals Security Gap at Nuclear Agency - Undercover congressional investigators posing as West Virginia businessmen obtained a license with almost no scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that enabled them to buy enough radioactive material from U.S. suppliers to build a "dirty bomb," a new government report says. (READ MORE)

Investigator Urges Clearing of Marine in Killings at Haditha Home - An investigating officer in the case against a U.S. Marine accused of murdering civilians in Haditha, Iraq, has recommended that charges against him be dropped, concluding that the government's allegations that the Marine executed a group of men are "unsupported and incredible." (READ MORE)

Lady Bird Johnson Gave America A Big Bouquet -This was another Lady Bird spring we had, wasn't it? Confident and lush and defiantly gorgeous, this spring burst out of an ugly winter in such glory because of Lady Bird Johnson. Starting after her husband became president in 1963 in the bleak days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, she commanded the plantings of millions of tulips and daffodils through the parks and triangles of Washington. Red oaks went in along Connecticut Avenue. (READ MORE)

GOP Foils Minimum Leave - Senate Republicans yesterday thwarted Democrats" effort to set a minimum length for rest time for troops between deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan — saying it was another attempt to "micromanage" military operations. (READ MORE)

U.N. Complex Breaks Budget - A new audit has found that renovating the iconic U.N. headquarters building is already $148 million over budget, long before the dirt has been shoveled. (READ MORE)

Fenty Flip-Flops on Large Pay Boosts Now That He's Mayor - A proposal by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty this week that would allow him to give big boosts in pay to D.C. agency heads was similar to a scenario that took place at City Hall four years ago. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Acute Politics: Mission Pictures “The three-day mission I mentioned in the last post was to clear a route into the area of interest, nestled within a loop of the Euphrates river near Amiriyah. Following us was a combined force of Army, Marine, and Iraqi Army troops, who would then seal off the area and fan out gathering intel, ‘making face’ with the villagers, and searching for caches. We staged out of a small Combat Outpost (COP) near Amiriyah.” (READ MORE)

Desert Flier: Should we stay or should we go now... “I live in a vacuum. I have Internet access, obviously, but it is usually slow and mostly unreliable. However, when I do have it, I make a point of scanning today's headlines, the progress (or lack thereof) interpreted by the media, and editorials from a number of sources. What I do offer on a personal level to you is an eyewitness account of what is happening in my little part of this world and this war.” (READ MORE)

The Iceblog: Transfer of Authority “Today we finally came to the end of our deployment! Our replacements have gone with us on a few missions, and they are ready to do the mission without our help. I reported this to MAJ Simer, and he told us to conduct a ‘Transfer of Authority’ ceremony. So we just did a very simple ceremony on the roof of the BCT Headquarters.” (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Proper I.D. Please! “‘In Their Own Words’ Lance Cpl. Williams gives a great account of the use of the ID cards. It pays to proper ID and you'll hear why in Cpl. Williams' own words.....” (READ MORE)

My Desert Adventure: The Bad Guys “In Iraq, things are not black and white. Of course, we are the good guys that wear the white hats. The bad guys, that is a little more difficult. First, you have the Al Qaeda types. Those are the worse of the worse. To them it is their way or the highway. They are the most brutal and fanatical killers.” (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: The Onion “The honeymoon phase is over. We are slowly realizing that this place is sort of like an onion - everytime we peel away one layer, we discover another layer underneath - and they all make us want to cry. For example, a few posts ago I wrote about my frustration with the Iraqi major who insists on turning away all of the supplies before they even enter our compound. I couldn't figure out why he was so stringent on the quality of products, and it was driving me crazy.” (READ MORE)

The Gunner's World: Pearl "I had just returned from a week out on a collection trip at Al Asad and was in my summer home of Fallujah. I was relaxing with a cigar and chatting with my office and can mate Capt Tony Licari in the evening when a friend and fellow Marine brought a black lab by.Talking with the Master Guns I found out the dog is a female named 'Pearl'. " (READ MORE)

Jake's Life: Back in the Land of the Living "Well, here I am, sitting behind a computer screen on day 13 of what was supposed to be a 6 day op. How does that happen you might ask? How do we end up staying out here more than twice as long as we were scheduled? That is a mystery even to us." (READ MORE)

Northern Disclosure: I think they are praying for us? "It's amazing how the simplist of pleasures can mean so much. We had a long day yesterday that wrapped up after the sun was burning holes in our skins. I fell asleep for a few minutes on the slanted hood of Bad Voo Doo wheels of death using my body armor to stop gravity since I was low on energy. We rested in place for a few then officially rested. I awoke to a nice little collection of fruit, a blueberry muffin and a cigarette placed to look like a candle. The boys hooked it up. They're alright!" (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: Wow, that was a close one... "Well, Im back to my sweet ass schedule now. Our schedule changes through different cycles and we've now switched into the easy cycle. And my turn at a day off is up next and it will end up working out to quite a few days off in a row for me! God its going to be nice. Today was good, although I didn't get to sleep in as long as Id like to. I woke early so that I could go down and get the internet setup in my room so I no longer have to go to the computer lab. This is so nice and I feel free now! :)" (READ MORE)

On the Web:
WSJ Review & Outlook: The 'Benchmark' Excuse “Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, is a 36-year career diplomat who has served under seven administrations in Iran, Syria, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Pakistan. He's no partisan gunslinger. So it's worth listening to his views as Congressional Democrats and a growing number of Republicans press for a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq on the excuse that the Iraqi government hasn't met a set of political ‘benchmarks.’” (READ MORE)

Daniel Henninger: The Blogosphere for Killers “Living as we do now afloat the incoming and outgoing tides of media, perhaps the aborted London and Glasgow car bombings of a fortnight ago are worth another thought before these attempted mass murders drift away on the sea of bad memories. What about those doctors? The apparent complicity of U.K.-resident Muslim physicians in the attempted murder of innocent British civilians had many in the West asking why. The short answer is that these trained M.D.s somehow convinced themselves that these British people didn't deserve to live--that it would be morally good to kill them. That's insane. Why would they think that?” (READ MORE)

Fred Siegel: The True Politics of the Paranoid Style “‘Inherit the Wind’ is running on Broadway again, night after night pitting the righteously rational Clarence Darrow against the Bible-thumping antievolutionist William Jennings Bryan. The 1955 play--a chestnut of high-school English courses across the country--concerns the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ of 1925 and is meant to capture the moment in American history when science and reason superseded, at last, the myth and superstition of foolish reactionaries. It has become something of a liberal sacrament. But as James Piereson shows in ‘Camelot and the Cultural Revolution,’ myth and superstition were the essence of the liberal response to John F. Kennedy's assassination in November 1963. It was the liberals who threw evidence and reason to the winds, inheriting the crippling effects of their own bad judgment.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Seven Futures “Austin Bay describes seven possible scenarios following a US withdrawal from Iraq to try and create a framework to imagine what might happen. ‘Here are seven 'scenarios' sketching 'potential outcomes' of a quick withdrawal from Iraq. They are not mutually exclusive. They could well 'blend.' In fact, an amalgam of the first six could occur. ... These are speculative dramas. The US and the Iraqi governments have their own scenarios. I am certain that Iran, Al Qaeda, Syria and Turkey have also analyzed potential outcomes and made plans accordingly.’ Quickly, the scenarios are:” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Winning for Losing “Iraqi Veteran and independent journalist J.D. Johannes presents a very thoughtful (and must read) analysis of Al Qaeda’s stunningly successful media offensive over at TCS Daily. Johannes, a former Marine, television news producer, and media consultant, uses the concept of Gross Ratings Points (GRP) to generate an admittedly rough estimate of the public relations and perception impact from the media saturation that mainstream media (MSM) outlets are providing to Al Qaeda, gratis. Johannes’ analysis underscores the overwhelming, unrelenting pessimism of the media in stark contrast to the military realities on the ground in Iraq. As Johannes’ post headlines, the analysis captures ‘How Al Qaeda is Winning Even as it is Losing.’” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Byrd and Clinton want to surrender “I will not mince words. The call to bring our troops home from Iraq is nothing short of a surrender that will move the theater of war from Baghdad to the streets of the United States. Unlike Vietnam, the enemy will follow our soldiers home.” (READ MORE)

Patterico: L.A. Times Preparing Another Hit Piece on Fred! “The L.A. Times really has it in for Fred Thompson. Jim Geraghty reports: ‘Folks close to Fred Thompson expect another critical piece from the Los Angeles Times in the near future, this one focusing on Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn’s past work for the government of Chile. Apparently sometime around 1991 or 1992, the partners invited Fred Thompson to join them on a trip down to Chile aimed at drumming up additional business.’” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Tucker, lefty muckraker scream at each other over Vitter “Lifted from the ‘Busters so I’ll make you click over for background. Carlson backs him into a corner from the opening bell and starts swinging, and not until about a minute left does this McCornthyite tool finally start swinging back. But it’s worth the wait for when he does. The money line comes about halfway through: ‘I get it the way through intimacy and, and decency.’” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Lazy, Stupid or Willfully Ignorant? “Right now, all the talk in DC is whether there has been any progress in Iraq. No one can wait till September. They need to know now. Primarily, it appears, because they need to kill the war for their own domestic political reasons before it kills them. Most people, of course, already have the answer they want. But how come, if this is the pressing issue of the day, we’ve seen no serious effort whatsoever among our leading news organizations to tell us or our political leaders what is actually happening?” (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Iraq - An Examination “It is an axiom of mine, that anyone who goes around making noise about issues of note, should be willing to test and re-examine their own beliefs and assumptions every now and then. Therefore, I am taking another look at the war in Iraq, testing claims made by both ends of the spectrum. I would suggest as I begin, that in my experience few people on the Left are willing to test their own assumptions, so this is hardly an exercise in balance, but for all that it is worth the look.” (READ MORE)

John Donovan: Given my expectations of the LA Times and Washington Post... “...and *especially* the New York Times, there has been some almost surprising reporting and editorializing of late. Clearly, there are people who are thinking through what may happen if we just pull up our stakes and leave Iraq, vice trying to better set conditions that might give the admittedly weak and seemingly floundering Iraqi government a chance.” (READ MORE)

War Historian: Mother and Motherf***er “Editor’s Note: Last year Bob reported on the brutal murder of Mayada Salihi, an Iraqi mother of two who worked as a translator for the U.S. Army and with whom he became friends during his tour in Baghdad. Here is a reprint of that report, followed by Bob’s July 11 guest column in Altercation. ‘When American humanitarian Marla Ruzicka was killed in Baghdad last year I wrote about her, as did many others, and she was known. When an American or European journalist is killed, the system works and they are known as well. Similarly, when a Soldier or Marine is killed, they merit ink and public eulogy once their names are released. But in this war the news comes in every day, displaying a sameness which confuses. It is “59 Iraqis killed by bomb” today, and on another day, “fourteen bodies discovered in Baghdad.” See here or here for example. Sadly, unless they are high government officials, at most all that is known of these victims is their town and, sometimes, their profession. They are anonymous, and with their anonymity, easier to deal with. Few accounts let you know an average Iraqi.’” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Promises, Promises “The Democrats made a lot of promises in the last electoral cycle, most of which they have yet to fulfill: serious earmark reform, action on a long list of legislative priorities, ending the power of lobbyists, and so on. Not only have voters learn to live with bitter disappointment from the worst Do-Nothing Congress in decades, but even Arlen Specter has been surprised by the level of mendacity by the opposition. The ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who has served as a moderate enabler on some of the Democratic attacks on the administration, expressed his frustration about broken promises on judicial confirmations, which have ground to a halt:” (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: Demand Murtha Apologize to Capt Stone and LCpl Sharratt “Murtha is feeling the heat and it ain't due to the weather. More and more media outlets are picking up on the recommendation for dismissal of charges for LCpl Sharratt in the Haditha incident. Rush called for Murtha to apologize on today's show... ‘"He went on to call these Marines "murderers," and he "just knew it." He just knew it had to be the case because he knew there was a cover-up because the Bush administration lies. In fact, the Bush administration probably orders the murders! Jack Murtha is like so many damn Democrats today:’” (READ MORE)

Cool, Calm & Collected: Standing Still. “As I face each day, I become more and more aware of the fact that this is all very real. It isn't going away, and I unfortunately cannot bury my head in the sand. (Though Lord knows, I wish I could.) This song was on at work today, and all I could think of was how true it is, how it really does speak for me. Not one single day goes by that I don't miss Jim. I know it hasn't been long, and I won't ever 'get over' him. Not a day will ever go by that I won't think about Jim. Not a day has gone by yet that I don't think of him, the Holtom family, what was going to be, what should have been, our wedding, our house, our babies... Everything.” (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: No Merits Here “Ruth Marcus has an interesting editoral in yesterday's Washington Post concerning the NEA Convention and the candidates who spoke there, and two words that made the room go silent. Merit Pay. Barack Obama had the audacity to use them during a Q&A session, and was booed. That really isn't unexpected, the NEA Convention isn't really a ‘teachers convention’ it's a union gathering, and unlike teachers, the folks who run their unions (actually any unions) don't like the idea of merit pay.” (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: On Benchmarks and Iraq “Apparently, according to a new report (to be released shortly), the Iraqi government has satisfactorily met eight of eighteen benchmarks set for it, has performed unsatisfactorily, and is mixed on two. They are batting around .500, which is tremendous if you are a major league baseball player, but failing if you are in high school. How you view it, of course, makes all the difference. The first two paragraphs of an editorial in today’s Opinion Journal speaks volumes about Washington’s mindset.” (READ MORE)

McQ: John Stossel and a primer on the "smuggled premise" “A very good column today by John Stossel in which he takes quotes from an interview he did with Michael Moore and points out what commenter Robert Fulton would term, phrases from the ‘liberal narrative’. Moore tells Stossel, ‘I watch your show and I know where you are coming from. ... ‘, acknowledging Stossel’s libertarian roots. Moore then smuggles a few premises into the conversation. Here’s a little pop quiz for you. First Moore quote: ‘I gotta believe that, even though I know you’re very much for the individual determining his own destiny, you also have a heart.’ Have you spotted it?” (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: The Nutter of Iran “Actually, I wish we could just dismiss Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a nutter. As it is, his country is earnestly pursuing nuclear weapons, and unless there is a regime change they likely have them in less than a half-dozen years. Yes yes I know, Ahmadinejad does not hold total power, that is the reserve of the Mullah-dominated Assembly of Experts. But it is more than just a ceremonial post. The President has significant influence over government policy. But I digress.” (READ MORE)

RedState: Failure Is Not An Option “The majority of Americans seem to have the same misconceptions about the relation between this ‘new’ strategy and the so-called ‘Surge’ now as they did when it was first proposed. Allow us to provide some clarity. The war in Iraq is vital to America’s national security and to the Global War on Terror. It is a fight which we are not currently losing on the ground, and which we will not lose if we commit to victory, rather than taking the path that appears easier, at least in the short term – abandoning yet another battlefield to the enemy.” (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The 11 Most Frustrating Things About The Cut And Run Crowd “In the RWN comments section, RWN reader Cylarz put together a great post, which I have taken the liberty of editing just a bit and posting on the main page: ‘The opponents of the war often display several common threads which cause me some frustration:’” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Magical Thinking on Iraq “On NPR this morning, there were two consecutive stories that illustrated the bind we are in when it comes to the Iraq war. The first story was a report by an NPR correspondent from the Shia dominated areas south of Baghdad. Despite the anchor's attempts to elicit support for the idea that the military has been slanting the news to make al Qaeda appear more prominent in the battle space, the correspondent reported that al Qaeda may be numerically smaller than the Shia militias or the ex-Baathists, but that they are the most professional of the enemies and produce the most lethal car bombs. He also reported that they are intermingled within the population of the area.” (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: AP media bias in action “You know how I keep telling you that the media never acknowledges the deaths of Israelis the way it leaps onto the deaths of Palestinians? Well, take a look at this headline. Notice how the death is reported. Israeli Soldier Killed in Gaza Operation: The ‘operation’ killed the soldier, not ‘militants.’ The headline should read ‘Palestinian Militants Kill Israeli Soldier.’ But then, that would put the Palestinians in a bad light, and this way, the AP also gets to blame the IDF for the ‘incursion’ into Gaza.” (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: Reality Does Matter You Know “Kimberly Kagan contributes a piece in today's Wall Street Journal ($) which I recommend you read in full. In her essay, Kagan asserts with great force that the surge is in fact working. And working exceedingly well. And quickly. Now, for someone who has argued for ages that we already won ‘the war,’ it comes as no particular surprise that, once again, our military is executing a counterinsurgency campaign brilliantly that will quite naturally ‘work.’ Why? We have a devious and brutal enemy.” (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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