August 20, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 08/20/2007

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

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Shenyang Six -- Freed - When last we left the Shenyang Six, in January, the North Korean refugees were being held in a Chinese prison, awaiting deportation back home, where they faced the gulag or worse for the crime of escaping Kim Jong Il's workers' paradise. Their futures were especially grim because they'd been arrested after failing to reach safe haven at the U.S. consulate in Shenyang. Pyongyang metes out harsh punishment to returnees who have associated with Americans or Christians. (READ MORE)

Wiretap Correction - The current Congress has done little to brag about, but in the case of its recent wiretapping legislation we sold it short in one key respect. As part of the bill authorizing the executive branch to wiretap al Qaeda suspects, Congress did give prospective liability protection ... (READ MORE)

Kentucky Trial Derby - How's this for a legal bestseller? Three tort lawyers are accused of defrauding their clients of $62 million. A state judge signs off on the scam, and is rewarded with a cushy job. When the scandal comes to light, the bar association looks the other way and another state judge fails to force the men to return the money. A federal judge finally intervenes and jails all three as flight risks. (READ MORE)

As Democracy Push Falters, Bush Feels Like a 'Dissident' - By the time he arrived in Prague in June for a democracy conference, President Bush was frustrated. He had committed his presidency to working toward the goal of "ending tyranny in our world," yet the march of freedom seemed stalled. Just as aggravating was the sense that his own government was not... (READ MORE)

A Rush To Frame Views on Congress - Democrats and Republicans are mounting a fierce battle to shape voter impressions of Congress during August's political lull, convinced that they must define the story line of the 2008 congressional election before voters are swamped by the presidential campaign. (READ MORE)

APA Rules on Interrogation Abuse - SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 19 -- The American Psychological Association ruled Sunday that psychologists can no longer be associated with several interrogation techniques that have been used against terrorism detainees at U.S. facilities because the methods are immoral, psychologically damaging and counterproductive in eliciting useful information. (READ MORE)

Democratic Rivals Caution Against Swift Iraq Pullout - DES MOINES, Aug. 19 -- The leading Democratic presidential contenders sounded a note of caution about a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq in a largely civil debate Sunday morning that also returned to the familiar themes of experience and electability. (READ MORE)

For Iranian Guards, Life is Rich - As the zealous enforcers of Iran's Islamic revolution, they are at pains to be seen living humbly, maintaining homes in the crumbling Soviet-style slums of downtown Tehran and driving modest, imported South Korean cars. (READ MORE)

Candidates Press Hillary and Obama - Democratic presidential candidates yesterday weighed in on whether Sen. Barack Obama is too inexperienced to be president and assessed if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton can unite the nation. (READ MORE)

Israel Expels Refugees Across Border to Egypt - The Israeli government has moved to cut off a two-year influx of Sudanese refugees into Israel, for the first time expelling back to Egypt about 50 Africans who illegally crossed the porous border with the Sinai Peninsula. (READ MORE)

Summit in Canada Prompts Fears of Super-Government - President Bush's two-day summit with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, beginning today in nearby Montebello, is raising fears among some conservatives that the three governments are planning a European Union-style super-government. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Badger 6: Falluja Post-Bellum Concerns. - The New York Times has a pretty good article here on the situation in Falluja. Overall I would say it is both a fair and accurate article, although the thesis, no one knows what will happen when the Marines leave Falluja and Fallujan's to their own devices, seems somewhat obvious. No one knows what the future holds, for Falluja, Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: Boom, here comes the boom! - Well after the last patrol, I am throughly exhausted. I can say that yesterday officially broke me off. Im feeling it today and am quite sore for it. We ended up being on our feet doing stuff for much longer than we have in a long time, and with the added heat and all that, it just drained us. Yesterday was to be a pretty chill day, because at night we had a raid that we were to go on. To start the day off we were to go around to some of the banks in our sector and talk with them and assess their current situation. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Public Affairs: Baqubah Food - This is the only Public Affairs release I have ever published. This release is consistent with the facts I saw on the ground in Baqubah. Baqubah to resume local food production. First large shipment of grain to Diyala mill celebrated. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: The Military Might?--Opinion Piece - The "forgotten war" or the one that should have been remembered, Afghanistan is a place that looks suspiciously like Palm Springs except the women wear Burkas instead of bathing suits. Logically, this is the "good war", the legal and justified war, but like the sibling to the prodigal son, the son who did everything right, Afghanistan is both neglected and misunderstood. (READ MORE)

Jake's Life: One Step Closer - Well I am currently writing this post from TQ, or al Taqaddum, Iraq. It's a major air base, and the first step on the road to America. I can't reveal our timeline for going home, but next stop is Kuwait, and from there we will be Stateside. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Cutting Edge Cole - To follow up on last week's monstrous attacks on villages in northwestern Iraq that killed hundreds, here is an Arabic-language report that says the Kurds blame Syria. Most others blame al-Qaeda-related thugs for the murders, though the two claims are not necessarily inconsistent. It's entirely plausible that Syria's criminal regime has been facilitating AQ types in Iraq all along (plenty of people think so), encouraging the murder of innocent Iraqis in order to save its own skin. (READ MORE)

Fightin' 6th Marines: A new meaning to the term, Highway Patrol - Imagine donning full combat gear, a flame resistant hood for your head, and the outside air temperature is hovering around the 120 degree mark. But wait, that's not all. Now, jump into an Assault Amphibian Vehicle (AAV) and shut the lid. You are now in 140+ degrees of sand and sweat while riding with some of the hardest working Marines that patrol around Fallujah. Pfc. Brian Jones takes us for a trip with Team Gator as they pound the pavement: (READ MORE)

Far From Perfect: Farewell… - I just got back from the memorial services for a friend of mine and two others that died in an IED earlier this week. That was harder than I thought. I was doing good till the end. They were traveling down one of the many roads through our AO on a regular combat patrol. I am not sure of their exact mission, but they were hit by a large IED detonated by some insurgents. He died immediately and I doubt he even knew what happened. I was there for the recovery. (READ MORE)

The Shield of Achilles: Rieckhoff's New Neighbors - Here is an interesting development on the article that recently appeared in The Nation, called "The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness", that claimed to spotlight regular atrocities by US forces in Iraq. I wrote about this article previously, and why I didn't feel it was very reliable. You might want to look there before you read further. Some other good info here. (READ MORE)

Northern Disclosure: More of an Honor than Pleasure - There are some pretty cool perks with being in the military sometimes. Since I have been in I have tried to keep my nose clean and it has payed off with some cool events. I have met some pretty amazing people and participated in some historical events. This is one of the main reasons started writing. I want to document and record my guys legacy so that they have a tangle record of accounts and experiences. Of course being a millblogger I need to sensor things so that I do not comprimise operational security that endangers my guys. Somethings though I tell as soon as I can because of pride. (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: The Boo Radleys V. - There is a near-permanent quality to the air in Iraq - though perhaps lack of quality is a better description. Smoke from factories, smoke from battles, smoke from the burning of crops...Exhaust from vehicles, many new, many more some years from professional repair......all mix with the dust and sand lifted up from the ground by the winds, or the passing of those same vehicles, or the tread of a million feet, to form a near-permanent haze that obscures the view of things at distances at which they should be plainly seen. (READ MORE)

Wes Morgan: Touring with Gen. Petraeus - After the battlefield circulation briefing, Attorney General Gonzales quizzed Gen. Petraeus for awhile on what the Justice Department could be doing to help the war effort, and then the general, his staff, and I armored up, went back to the Black Hawks, and took off and suddenly as we'd appeared for the briefing. On the helicopter, I sat across from Sadi Othman, Petraeus' towering interpreter and "cultural advisor," who it turns out is friends with Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih and had heard about me beforehand (he didn't say what exactly he'd heard). The birds flew north across the villages and arid farmland northwest of Baghdad, and touched down on the tarmac of Camp Taji, a huge Forward Operating Base that is the headquarters for three brigades: 1st BCT, 1st Cavalry northwest of the city; 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne in Adhamiya; and 4th SBCT, 2nd ID east of Taji and west of Baqubah, the Stryker brigade we would be visiting. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Burt Prelutsky: The Left is Brain-dead - I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make sense of the world. Which is probably all the proof anyone needs to prove that I?m certifiably loony. Even though I know that one of the most obvious symptoms of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again in the foolish belief that the end result will be different this time, I can’t help myself. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: Showdown in Pakistan - The Bush administration is the silent matchmaker for an unlikely political marriage of bitter opponents: President Musharraf and former Prime Minister Bhutto. (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Verdict on the Architect - The resignation of Karl Rove ends the tenure of a man who has occupied a unique place in American history. (READ MORE)

Star Parker: Fred Thompson's rope-a-dope - It's said that in life, timing is everything. And it could be that former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's entry into the 2008 presidential race, expected in early September, will prove to be timed perfectly. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Unprotected - Almost every year at UNCW, I see a feminist professor or administrator (sometimes both) handing out condoms to students in the hopes that they will engage in ‘protected’ sexual intercourse. (READ MORE)

John Fund: Leave It to Deaver - Michael Deaver, worked for Ronald Reagan for more than 20 years, was philosophical about being in Reagan's shadow. "My obit will probably say 'Close Reagan Aide Dies,' " he told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. "That doesn't bother me a bit. That's my life." When Deaver, 69, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer, his obituaries indeed highlighted his longtime association with both Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited the recently released "The Reagan Diaries," says Deaver's "exceedingly close" ties to the Reagans allowed him to "learn how to properly market" the president. (READ MORE)

Sen Joseph Leiberman: Al Qaeda's Travel Agent - The United States is at last making significant progress against al Qaeda in Iraq--but the road to victory now requires cutting off al Qaeda's road to Iraq through Damascus. Thanks to Gen. David Petraeus's new counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, and the strength and skill of the American soldiers fighting there, al Qaeda in Iraq is now being routed from its former strongholds in Anbar and Diyala provinces. Many of Iraq's Sunni Arabs, meanwhile, are uniting with us against al Qaeda, alienated by the barbarism and brutality of their erstwhile allies. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Domino Effect - First it was Der Spiegel. Now, as Protein Wisdom notes, some reality in The Guardian which, in fairness, occasionally has a glimmer. It describes a liberal-who-got-mugged process of awakening. Unfortunately, it wallows its way into domestic crime, challenging liberal assumptions and reactions there, but fails to venture over to troublesome ground in Iraq: (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Mahdi Army members confess: We’re training in Lebanon with Hezbollah - Awfully nice of them to admit it. And to the British left’s flagship paper, too."Lebanon’s Hizbollah has trained Shia fighters from Iraq in advanced guerrilla warfare tactics, according to Mehdi army militants who have been fighting British forces in the south of the country. Members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s powerful militia said they had received instruction from fellow Shias from Hizbollah, the movement that fought Israel’s vaunted military machine to a bloody standstill in last year’s July War." (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Debate Video: Hillary Clinton on “brushbacks” - This may or may not be the most significant moment in this morning’s Democrat debate on ABC — I’m still slogging through it — but it struck me as a significant sign of Democrat priorities in the war, and who they ultimately see as the biggest threat in the world. The context is whether Obama was right to state that he would invade Pakistan without Musharraf’s acquiescence if his administration had actionable intelligence against Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts in that country. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Lefty draft games - Frank Schaeffer at the Huffington Post, Nov. 21, 2006: “Charles Rangel is right to call for a draft. The present system is unfair. We don’t really have an “all-volunteer” military. We have a recruited military and the recruiting is mostly done where it works, in other words in middle class and working class neighborhoods and from “legacy” families where someone is already in the military. (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: Karl Rove and Lazy Journalists - Ed Morrisey comments on Howard Kurtz' latest on Karl Rove with an interesting post about how Rove's elevation to the role of Bush's brain by many journalists was partially the result of lazy reporters not doing the work to get past their preconceived ideas about Bush. (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: Illegal "sanctuary" woman arrested in LA - The woman who took "sanctuary" in a Chicago Methodist Church to avoid deportation has been arrested in LA, reports "An illegal immigrant who stayed in a Chicago church for a year to avoid separation from her 8-year-old son, a U.S. citizen, was arrested Sunday and being processed for deportation." (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: The Perfect Conspiracy-Theorist Foil - For the last seven years, Karl Rove has served as the focus for some of the worst vitriol thrown in the political and media arenas. When he decided to retire last week, his resignation captured the top spot in newspapers and news programming for days. Howard Kurtz wonders whether all of the fuss reflected the reality of Rove's work, or whether it served a synthetic narrative that the media created out of laziness: “From the moment he leaked word of his departure to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Karl Rove has been lionized and vilified by the media hordes.” (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: What metrics will Petraeus use? - I’ve run this list past a couple of other veterans of Iraq. Yes, it’s a sketch. Yes, several of the categories must be broken down into very small pieces and those pieces accurately assessed (ie, the security of neighborhoods, the competence of police precincts, etc). Recognize this problem: if you tell the enemy what you are measuring and it become very easy for him to frustrate it — at least frustrate it perceptually. The best example (or perhaps “worst example” is more appropriate) is the conclusion that Babil is secure. The leader of an Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia cadre sees that conclusion in a newspaper headline so he sends several suicide bombers to Babil. One gets through and kills twenty Iraqis. What’s the media tout? Petraeus was wrong? (READ MORE)

Grim @ Blackfive: COIN: On "The War as We Saw It" -This Sunday, the New York Times published a piece called "The War as We Saw It" by Specialist Buddhika Jayamaha, Sergeants Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, and Staff Sergeants Yance T. Gray and Jeremy A. Murphy. These gentlemen are assigned to the 82nd Airborne, which needs no introduction here. I wish to begin by conveying our respectful appreciation of their service, and our hopes that their Staff Sergeant Murphy will recover quickly and fully from his injury. It will surprise no one that I am going to argue against some of the conclusions they offer, but I do not wish disagreement to be read as disrespect. Their service honors our nation, as does the fact that they feel they can provide a frank assessment of their observations to the public. (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo @ Blackfive: 82nd ABN NCOs in the NY Times - First go read Grim's piece below, as always he lays out a much more coherent and detailed look at specifics than I do. From the NY Times, a piece written by junior NCOs of the 82nd ABN. I don't really enjoy criticizing what is obviously a sincere and well done opinion piece by this group of junior NCOs from the 82nd ABN. I think they did an excellent job of pointing out the extreme difficulties faced in fighting an insurgency, but that's all they did. They break no new ground and they illuminate no inherent flaws in our current policy. If anything the piece should be read the opening day of the classes on counter-insurgency COIN I assume all our officers are getting. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: The Homegrown Threat - Steve Schippert, posting at The Tank, took note this past week of both the NYPD's study on “homegrown” terror, as well as fellow ThreatsWatch contributor Michael Tanji, describing The Domestic Intelligence Imperative. The Associated Press (AP) introduces the NYPD report as a comprehensive analysis of the threats and causes of homegrown terror: “The New York Police Department report released Wednesday describes a process in which young men - often legal immigrants from the Middle East who are frustrated with their lives in their adopted country - adopt a philosophy that puts them on a path to violence.” (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: An Anti-Zionist is Someone Who Takes Seriously a Tenth of What Hyper-Self-Critical Israelis Say About Themselves - In the previous post, I broached a major topic - the epistemological crisis provoked by the skew of European anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism and their complementary silence in criticizing Islamism because of the unacknowledged intimidation factor that is compounded with a combination of hypocrisy and resentment (the “moral” assault on Israel and the USA). So the reader of the MSM would have virtually no idea (unless he or she paid close attention to the occasional honest remarks and unintimidated analysis that slip through the net), that they were getting a systematically skewed view of reality. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Anne Rice Endorses Rodham, Big Deal - Anne Rice, the author who changed her life by converting from atheism to Catholicism and writes religious books has endorsed Hillary Rodham for the presidency. Her endorsement is very long with rationalization for her choice but it seems to boil down to a misunderstanding of reality and the idea that party trumps all else. Rice claims to be a Christian and I will not dispute that, I will merely state she is a misguided one. This should not be much of a surprise because many of her beliefs still run counter to the teachings of Christianity. She also says that she is glad that she lives in a country where we have separation of church and state. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Anarchy and the Will of God - Peter Leeson's shocking argument at Cato Unbound, that "contrary to conventional wisdom, it is simply not true that any government is always superior to no government" meets its immediate match in the unconventional beginning of Mark Lilla's NYT article, The Politics of God, which begins by characterizing the civilizational crisis of the West in terms of a religious faith -- and insisting that both are inseparable. (READ MORE)

Aaron Mannes: CAIR's Legal Gambit (and another Graph) - The move by CAIR and several other prominent Muslim organizations to have themselves de-listed as un-indicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trials is an interesting, albeit unprecedented, legal maneuver that – if successful – would have a profound impact on the HLF trial and criminal justice in the United States. First, full disclosure: I am not an attorney, but I did speak with several about the issues at stake. Slate has a short article defining the unindicted co-conspirators: (READ MORE)

Steven Emerson: New York Times Covers for CAIR, Again - In what has become practically a routine, whenever bad publicity for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) surfaces, in an almost Pavlovian response, the New York Times leaps to its defense. As I wrote about last March in The New Republic, when CAIR had befallen several embarrassing public setbacks, including the rescinding of an award from Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office and public opposition on Capitol Hill for the use of a room to host a CAIR event, the Times dispatched its reporter, Neil MacFarquhar, to resuscitate CAIR’s image. (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: Congress: Lawfare Vs. Warfare - There’s as much division in Congress today over Iraq and what kind of, if any, war the U.S. is in as there was in the early ‘70’s over Vietnam. What’s different is the extent to which the divisions now exhibit themselves cloaked in legal process arguments. The causes are several: New types of enemies, clearly not part of a anything close to a conventional national military; The increased sway of lawyers throughout our society and their priorities for process over defense; and, The decline in military veterans among our senators and congressmen... (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: The Post 9/11 Liberal - In my many years of blogging I have come to know all types but the 9/11 Democrats have always held a special place. They had the courage and conviction to see that their whole world view was wrong, and they changed it. Many people go their whole lives without reexamining their beliefs but not these people. After 9/11 they saw the hypocrisy and utter foolishness inherent inside the Democrat party. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: The Islamification of Christ - O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Mary and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, “Trinity”. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. — Koran 4:171 That’s what the Koran has to say about Jesus Christ: he is not the son of God, but only a messenger of Allah, and he does not partake of any aspect of the divine, nor should the Trinity be mentioned. In other verses it asserts that Jesus was not crucified, and neither died nor was resurrected. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Let them go - The US military have had to endure a fair amount of old world sneering from their coalition allies to the south almost from the beginning of OIF. The British were fond of explaining how their experiences in Northern Ireland had better prepared them for the kind of “soft hat” policing that would win hearts and minds in any counter insurgency campaign, while tut-tutting over the harsher measures used by over-armored Americans in Baghdad and Fallujah. Never mind: Having given up the coastal city of Basra to the tender mercies of gang warfare and retreated to cantonment - where remaining efforts are dedicated to defending themselves from attack - our coalition allies submit that nothing more useful can be done: (READ MORE)

Kobayashi Maru: Climate Change - Models vs. History - I've argued previously for a long-term geo-historical approach to understanding climate change, its triggers, its manifestations and its impacts--as against the prospective, model-based approach that's been dominant in the debate so far. For illustration, it's worth looking at two snapshots I took off of WeatherUnderground this morning depicting different methods for forecasting the track that Hurricane Dean might take. (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: Fundamentally Flawed - On Tuesday evening, CNN will debut a three-part series called God's Warriors. The series, devoted to an examination of "religious fundamentalism," is created and hosted by Christiane Amanpour; the first segment, to be aired Tuesday, is called "Jewish Warriors;" Wednesday's show is "Muslim Warriors," followed by "Christian Warriors" on Thursday. While these three topics are treated as though they were on a par, there are some obvious distinctions. Like, the Christian "warriors" are home-schooling their children, while the Muslim "warriors" are blowing people up. If this Associated Press account is accurate, CNN's series is devoted to obfuscating such obvious differences rather than elucidating them. (READ MORE)

McQ: War as they see it ... - An interesting article in the NY Times today which many on the anti-war left have pounced upon like a dog on an unguarded pork chop. It’s written by a group of soldiers and junior NCOs from the 82nd Airborne Division who make it clear the article is their opinion and not an official one or that of their chain of command. Fair enough. So, what do they have to say? "To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day." (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Seven Sergeants - The War They Saw - The OpEd piece in the New York Times Sunday, "The War as We Saw It" is one of those articles that will garner a lot of attention. After all, it was written by seven Sergeants [actually six and one Specialist - NOTR]! You know these are the soldiers that have no political aspirations, nothing to lose if they 'lay it out as they see it' - so it must be true! But I admit, the erudition of the article article makes me a bit suspicious how much of this was from the 'seven' and how much was from the editors of the paper. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrr Express: Elizabeth Edwards vs Tony Snow - The liberal media is a mixture of lower standards, no standards and double standards. Such behavior is simply standard. While liberal media hypocrisy is as self evident a truth as a drunken Kennedy, even the media usually stops stomping on people when they are perceived to be dying. The media vilified Ronald Reagan, despite his being loved by virtually everybody not suffering from liberal levels of toxicity. Yet with the exception of true hatemongers such as Robert Scheer, most of the media treated the news of his Alzheimers disease with dignity and class (although much less than that exhibited by Mr. Reagan himself). (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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