September 7, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 09/07/2007

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)
Thompson Runs to The Right - Fred D. Thompson took his bid for the White House to the campaign trail Thursday, vowing to compete aggressively for the support of Iowans and pitching steady, experienced and conservative leadership. (READ MORE)

Petraeus Open to Pullout of 1 Brigade - Army Gen. David H. Petraeus has indicated a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 U.S. troops from Iraq early next year, with more to follow over the next months based on conditions on the ground, according to a senior U.S. official. (READ MORE)

Lawmakers Challenge Plan to Expand Spying - Senior House Democrats called on the Bush administration yesterday to delay a planned Oct. 1 expansion of the use of powerful satellite and aircraft spy technology by local and federal law enforcement agencies, challenging the plan's legality and charging that the administration is failing to... (READ MORE)

Israel Faulted in Deaths Of Civilians in Lebanon - Israel's "frequent failure" to distinguish between military and civilian targets during the war in Lebanon last summer was the primary reason so many Lebanese civilians were killed in the bombing campaign, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Thursday. (READ MORE)

Bush and S. Korean Leader Spar - President Bush's talks with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun ended on a sour note today not over the war in Iraq, but rather the Korean conflict that ended with a truce more than five decades ago. (READ MORE)

China Warns Taiwan of 'Danger' - Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday told President Bush that the next two years will be a time of "high danger" for Taiwan, as the island republic prepares again to apply for a seat in the United Nations. (READ MORE)

Border Checks Limited to Speed Traffic - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Texas have been ordered to abbreviate national security checks at one of the nation's busiest ports of entry to speed up travel between the United States and Mexico, according to official documents and multiple interviews with agents. (READ MORE)

Antiwar Drive Stalls on Hill - Rank-and-file Democrats in Congress are criticizing the party's leaders for allowing the White House to sap momentum from the antiwar movement during the August recess. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Those Wacky Iraqis: The Merry Go Round - You are driving in a car at a constant speed. On your left side is a drop off - the ground is 18-20 inches below the level you are traveling on - and on your right side is a fire engine traveling at the same speed as you. In front of you is a galloping horse which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it. Behind you is a galloping zebra. Both the horse and zebra are also traveling at the same speed as you. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation? (READ MORE)

Me Over There: Getting Closer - The new group has been here for almost a week, and they have completed their last major hurdle. We staged a mock mass casualty drill for them to demonstrate what they are capable of, and we will soon have our official Replacement in Place - Transfer of Authority (RIP-TOA) ceremony, after which they will officially own the building… (READ MORE)

Jake's Life: For the Glory of Our Dead - Tonight my battalion held a memorial ceremony for the brothers that we lost while in Iraq. How do I even begin a post like this?? We lost 8 men in combat operations. Tonight their family and friends came to Twentynine Palms to help us remember them. But what can we possibly do that will ease the pain of their passing? There is no salve that will help close the wounds of their loss. (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: Always the Forager - Prior to training in the US and deployment to Iraq I was studying food waste. The work was pretty cool, dumpster diving and stocking up on food grocery stores and distribution centers threw away untouched. (READ MORE)

Far From Perfect: Labor Day - Sorry its been a bit since I left a post, but life here just kind of seems to drag on. The days seem to be getting longer now that our redeployment date is nearing. The days themselves are slightly cooler, but thats only because the sun can’t sear the desert for as many hours during the day. Its still mostly a miserable event to be stuck in a humvee all day, especially when the air goes out, but I guess in the end a balmy 100 degrees is a fair bit better than 122 degrees. (READ MORE)

Desert Flier: Ramadan, Up-Ticks, and Stage Left Exits - Ramadan, the holiest month of Islam, is upon us. Following a lunar calendar that varies slightly from year to year, Ramadan, the ninth lunar cycle month, will begin around September 12th this year. Consistently over the past few years, the preceeding period and Ramadan have been markers of significant insurgent activity and concentrated attacks on Coalition units. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: The troop surge IS working... - So I've heard a little bit on the news and seen online about the recent analysis of the Iraqi government and their failing to meet 11 of the 18 benchmarks that were set for them. I'm not up to date on what these benchmarks are so I wont comment about what I think about that, because I dont know if I would feel the benchmarks were realistically obtainable with the given situation or not. One thing I can comment on based on my experiences here lately is that the Presidents troop surge which went in to full effect in late June I believe, combined with the new strategies that are in place with rooting out Al Qaeda and whatnot, are in fact working! (READ MORE)

Hooah Mac: Surge is working, but that is only half of the story - This is one of the updates I promised you all now that I am home and safe and sound. A couple of notes: First of all, I will comment less on news stories or specific statistics, and more on processes and impressions as someone who was there. I do this because the other information is all out there to be had, and the one thing I can enlighten with is my perspective. Second, there are many things which I wish to tell you, and which would greatly enhance your understanding, and likely your support, of the war in Iraq, but I cannot reveal because of classification. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Ghosts of Anbar, Part IV of IV - After villagers tipped off the IP about an IED emplacer some days earlier, the Iraqi Army and US Marines launched several raids based on further tips. On the way to the raids, Lieutenant Hamid took a sidebar and raided the wrong house. SSG Rakene Lee asked LT Hamid why he had raided the wrong house. It appeared to be an accident, but nobody was hurt and the people were treated well. (Except of course that their house got raided.) (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Standing in the Gardens of Stone - Need someone with ULTIMATE MORAL AUTHORITY to declare that American troops in Iraq are thugs committing heinous atrocities against the civilians? The IVAW is there for you! “With extraordinary honesty, these veterans — medics, MPs, artillerymen, snipers, officers and others — revealed disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops: innocents terrorized during midnight raids, civilian cars fired on when they got too close to supply convoys and troops opening up on vehicles that zip past poorly marked checkpoints, only to discover that they'd shot a 3-year-old or an elderly man.” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Don Surber: NFL players of the week - Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck and FB Mack Strong are being booed by local fans. Not over a fumble or an interception, but because they treated a guest to Washington state right. Reported Jim Moore of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “The Seahawks quarterback and fullback gave the 43rd president a No. 43 jersey with his name on it at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Rep. Dave Reichert at the Hyatt.” (READ MORE)

Patterico: Concern Over Illegal Alien Criminals: A Political Fad? The WaPo Suggests It Is - The Washington Post reports on the problem of illegal alien criminals — but seems to think that concern about the issue is a passing fad: “With a single sentence in a news release, a slaying in Prince William County gained high-profile treatment this week, not because of how the crime was committed, but because of who police say did it: a twice-deported illegal immigrant.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) South Korean prez gets testy when Bush refuses to capitulate totally - Here’s something you don’t see every day: Bush having a “moment” with a world leader where it’s the other guy who’s acting like a jackass. Why not declare the Korean War over now, wonders Roh. Why not retain a little diplomatic leverage and have Kim Jong-Il denuclearize first, comes the reply. Advantage: Boosh. Click the image to watch. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Checks at the border limited during heavy traffic - So…the more people we have coming across from Mexico the legal way, the less scrutiny they get? “An Aug. 16 memorandum from CBP El Paso field office Director Luis Garcia directs agents to limit inspections of vehicle and pedestrian border crossers as wait times escalate. The document, obtained by The Washington Times, sets new guidelines that border inspectors say undermine efforts to prevent terrorists and other criminals from entering the United States.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Islamophobia - MEMRI, its sights usually aimed in the other direction, tackles Islamo-bashing on YouTube and other sites, noting that same are often used by Crusaderphobic jihadis for their hate speech. MEMRI offers a list of I-phobic vid outrages that are part of “Bash Islam Week” at YouTube. Here’s the thing about Islamobashing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mocking one’s adversaries and the terms in which they have chosen to present themselves. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Staying on message - Once you’ve committed yourself - and I mean committed like the pig is committed to your bacon and eggs breakfast - to military defeat, national humiliation, diplomatic retreat and the abandonment of millions of people who trusted you in a strategically critical portion of the world to genocidal levels of violence, well: It can be pretty hard to contemplate the alternative. And since the surge is showing signs of (thankfully uneven) progress, well. Let’s just say it’s time to shoot the messenger: (READ MORE)

McQ: Edwards wants more bureaucracy to fight terrorism - John Edwards thinks we need to change our counterterrorism policy: "We need a counterterrorism policy that will actually counter terrorism," Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery at Pace University. "We've got to throw away the failed George Bush policies of the past, and move in a bold new direction." And that "bold new direction?" Another layer of bureaucracy: (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: RE: Schumer on the Inability of U.S. Soldiers - Thomas brings up Sen. Chuck Schumer and his latest statement on the war in Iraq on the floor of the United States Senate. Aptly, this morning Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has a column at NRO titled "About-Face: Critics warm to surge." Clearly, the highly motivated Senator Schumer is not counted among them. In chronicling the the transition in perception — and the realities that inspire such — among many in Schumer's political party, Daveed writes: (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Haditha Video Doctored? - If this is true, it is damning: “A video taped from a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle – purported to show the action that took place in Haditha when 24 Iraqi civilians and insurgents were killed – was heavily edited by government investigators, a NewsMax investigation reveals. The reason, according to an inside source: to avoid showing anything that exonerates the Marines who were accused of murdering the victims.” (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: "This is what happens when you lend money to poor people" - In the midst of the "subprime" mortgage "crisis," it pays to remember the biggest losers are the investors who put up their own money so poor people normally considered "un-creditworthy" could actually get a home mortgage. One of those fellows who found that "no good deed goes unpunished" was Michael Lewis, who draws some lessons at (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: More Proof Of The UN's Ineptitude - Well, some elements of the left side of the blogosphere is crowing this morning. It turns out that the chemical weapons discovered at the United Nations last week well... weren't. Turns out they were merely cleaning chemicals. So Larkin from the Blue Boobies wants to know if I'm going to print a retraction. The answer: no. A retraction would mean that I was flat-out wrong when I wrote the story. Instead, I'm going to call this a "correction" or an "update." (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Fate, Folly, Fred - OK, Mr. Thompson, so you have finally decided you're in the race. Late and a sloppy entry, but you have time to make up for that, just to long as you don't screw up again. And let's be honest, you have screwed up. I have this sneaking suspicion that when you decided to declare your candidacy on the 'Tonight Show', it was because someone in Marketing thought that was some slick 'outside the box' thinking. In fact, sir, it was plain stupid. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: ACLU Scores Big Win For Terrorists - "A federal judge struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act on Thursday in a ruling that defended the need for judicial oversight of laws and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible "far-reaching invasions of liberty." The ruling handed the American Civil Liberties Union a major victory in its challenge of the post-Sept. 11 law that gave broader investigative powers to law enforcement. A March government report showed that the FBI issued about 8,500 national security letter, or NSL, requests in 2000, the year prior to passage of the USA Patriot Act. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Democrats are in Attack Mode - It was obvious from the moment that word started spreading that the troop surge was working that Democrats needed a way to defeat and lessen any good news that might come from Iraq. They have spent a lot of energy in helping the enemy and in trying to paint all things Iraq as bad. They put a lot of stake in the idea that the surge would not work and that they could then get what they wanted with regard to de-funding our troops and bringing them home. They lack the testicular fortitude to just come out and do it without a reason because then they would look weaker on national security than they already do. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: North By Northwest -Luck dealt Norman Hsu a bad card after he was arrested after checking into a hospital in Colorado, having been taken sick on the California Zephyr train. “Norman Hsu's quickly jumpstarted life on the lam came to a screeching stop less than 48 hours after it began when he got sick on the California Zephyr and was nabbed after being rushed to a Colorado hospital, according to the FBI. The prolific Democratic fundraiser and fugitive was busted at 7 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time by FBI agents from the Denver office, according to Special Agent Joseph M. Schadler in the FBI's San Francisco office.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissy: Anti-Semitism Is As Anti-Semitism Does - Clinton administration official Jeff Robbins wonders in today's Wall Street Journal why people like Jimmy Carter, Stephen Walt, and John Mearsheimer seem so obsessed with American Jews exercizing their right to political speech, and so silent about the influence of Wahabbist petrodollars competing in the same arena. The former American delegate to the highly anti-Semitic UN Human Rights Commission points out that Saudi Arabia drops millions of dollars and leverages political clout through its commercial partners to pursue its anti-Israel agenda, and yet these three (among many others) quake with fear when American citizens organize to refute it: (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: Good Grief - The Dems Have Finally Gone Over the Edge - WOW - talk about going completely over the edge... The Dems have officially lost touch with reality. Case in point - The Petraeus Report is an Impeachable Offense from Key point here - The Downing Street Memo tells them so... “Before the war, the Bush-Cheney administration repeatedly claimed Iraq had WMD's and ties to Al Qaeda. Both of those claims were fraudulent but were deliberately promoted by George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and other top officials. We know these lies were deliberate thanks to the Downing Street Memo, which revealed that ‘the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’ of invasion three full months before George Bush asked Congress to authorize the invasion.” (READ MORE)

Walid Phares: Iran Plan for Iraq - This is a part one of a series on "Freedom Lines," adapted from seminars conducted for the U.S. House of Representatives' Caucus on Counter Terrorism, summer 2007. It addresses the various plans in the region regarding Iraq, Lebanon and beyond. It was initially published by the World Defense Review. This piece attempts to summarize the Iranian strategic goals in Iraq, if they can achieve a US collapse. The piece is analytical and based on projections and some information not on strict intelligence sources. In March 2003, the United States made a strategic decision to send troops into Iraq and defeat the Saddam Hussein regime militarily. This decision is still being debated nationwide and internationally as to its legitimacy and rationality. (READ MORE)

Counterterrorism Blog: HLF Witness Doesn't Accept Evidence Linking Charity to HAMAS - Cross examination of former U.S. Counsel General Edward Abington continued Wednesday at the terror-support trial of five Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officials. Abington, who served as counsel general at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, has testified that Palestinian charity committees supported by HLF benefited needy Palestinians and did not help HAMAS, as the prosecution claims. Prosecutor Barry Jonas tried to challenge Abington's assertion Wednesday, identifying members of those charity groups, known as Zakat (charity) Committees, who had HAMAS affiliations. Tuesday, Abington referred to Zakat Committees as "organizations run by pious individuals." (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Not the Least Bit Misleading - According to several news organizations, The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, perhaps better known as the Jones Commission Report, states that Iraq's national police force is so broken that they should be disbanded and began over again from scratch. So says the U.K's Times Online: “The Iraqi national police force is riddled with militia and corruption and should be disbanded, a panel of retired US military officers has told Congress.” (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Would They Bitch if it was Texas? - California's Attorney General and Secretary of State have certified a ballot initiative that has Democrats up in arms this week. If the initiative gets enough votes to get on the ballot, and then wins approval in the state, the 55 electoral votes would no longer to to the highest vote getter in the state. Instead, two would go to that person, the other 53 would go to the winner in each Congressional district. I railed against a Maryland proposal in April that would give that state's electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote, for what I think is a good reason. It wouldn't guarantee that who the voters of Maryland voted for is where their electoral votes went to. In fact, in 2004, Maryland would have had to give it's electoral votes to GWB, not John Kerry, not what the state's residents wanted. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: ACLU Depictions - Dan Riehl referenced a pending lawsuit to be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) by way of making a cautionary rejoinder to Bob Owens recent defense of our troops. Riehl also linked to a report on the ACLU lawsuit published by Time Magazine, as well as the ACLU press release, and full text excerpts of military prosecutions and investigations of soldiers who were alleged to have committed criminal acts while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. More on the ACLU’s press release and documentary “evidence” below. Why the note of caution from Riehl? He warns Owens and his readers that, “unfortunately, it isn’t all made up.” Riehl refers to Owens implication that negative stories about the US military attack “the integrity of those who serve.” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: What is Hillary Trying to Hide? - A google search of Bush fixation secrecy (without quotation marks) yields over 55,000 hits. The left seems fixated on the president’s alleged fixation on secrecy with columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. writing, “No administration in history has withheld information as prodigiously, determinedly or indiscriminately as this one.” Obviously, Mr. Pitts hasn’t taken much time to look at the previous administration. And given her record this campaign season, if, in the unfortunate event that the wife of the immediate past president wins her husband’s old job, the next administration will not only help expose Mr. Pitts’s hyperbole for what it is while his words come to define Mrs. Clinton’s team. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrrr Express: Another Adult Republican Discussion - For those of you interested in entire debates dedicated to narrow interest groups, the democrats will be pandering to an audience near you at some point. As important as it is to discuss reparations for slavery, global warming hysteria, trisexual bestiality rights, and how to destroy education by letting public schools exist, children are for the daytime. This was a prime time debate by, about, and for adults. The liberals were sent to bed, and the grownups spoke with each other. Fox News asks tough questions, and unlike Bill Clinton, who wagged his finger and blamed Chris Wallace for having the nerve to question him about anything, these adults took some difficult questions. Wallace did cross the line more than once, as did Wendell Goler. No wonder the democrats are more scared of Fox News than Osama Bin Laden, which is what their own rhetoric indicates. (READ MORE)

ThreatsWatch: RapidRecon: American Complacency and the "Next" Attack - In a few days we will mark the sixth Memorial Day of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Some people may ask, “what complacency?” The fear is that in their minds, many people have returned to September 10, 2001. Others, perhaps many others, will ask, “what next attack?” “They” will say, “There was one attack, and it was horrible, but there hasn’t been another attack since then.” Such reactions would represent the sense that a dangerous complacency has set in. Recently, an associate of mine stated his belief that it is simply a matter of time before there is another attack on American soil. He is not the only one who is publicly voicing this opinion. (READ MORE)

Smooth Stone: HRW's damage can't be undone - I am pleased that we are pursuing and exposing Human Rights Watch, including the Executive Director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division, Sarah Leah Whitson, who wrote a letter to "Dear President Ahmadinejad" which began with, "We [at HRW] are aware that you have recently expressed great concern about the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, citing in particular the large numbers of Lebanese civilian victims of this conflict." HRW believes that Ahmadinejad can be reasoned with. Ms. Whitson seems unaware Ahmadinejad has repeatedly, unabashedly characterized Israel as a loathsome "tumor" whose civilians and non-civilians alike "must be wiped off the map" of the planet earth. (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: Just Another Soldier Smear (Updated: It’s Working!) - The fix is in on the coming Iraq progress report as far as the Democrats are concerned. Anything General Petraeus says that doesn’t involve abject failure is going to be seen as a flat-out lie and the Dems have no problem at all smearing that honorable soldier as they’ve smeared hundreds of thousands of other honorable soldiers over the past few years. They’d be a lot more credible about the report, though, if they knew what the heck they were talking about. (READ MORE)

Protein Wisdom: Propaganda Wars, 2: this time it’s personal - In response to my earlier post on propaganda, counter-propaganda, and the shifting of the propaganda paradigm, I received the following email (reprinted with permission, though I’ve taken out the writer’s name): "Regarding your recent blog post, “Fa-llujah Daddy”, I must say that you are dead-on when discussing how US news and commentary impacts information operations in Iraq. I’m an Army Reserve soldier. My last deployment to Iraq was in 2006-2007 as a Psychological Operations Detachment NCOIC. A key task of our detachment was conducting counter-propaganda in Baghdad. The sheer amount of rumors, disinformation, and enemy propaganda being pumped out on the street level made this task Sisyphean.” (READ MORE)

Congressman Roy Blunt: Democrats Can’t Shake Those Lazy Days of Summer - With the last hours of Labor Day – long considered the unofficial end of summer – having come and gone, one would have expected House Democrats to come back to work with a renewed commitment to finding real solutions to real problems facing real Americans. Unfortunately, three full days into this fall session, this Congress seems to be suffering from a legislative paralysis that plagued the majority since they arrived. (READ MORE)

Fern Sidman: The New Palestine Post - Once upon a time ago, we lived in a world where we were taught that the media was an instrument to disseminate news. To report the facts, check and re-check sources assiduously and maintain lofty levels of fairness, accuracy, objectivity and integrity. So much for utopian concepts and fairytales. One need only to look to The New York Times, the paper that boasts that it only runs “all the news that’s fit to print”, to get a better idea of a paradigm of journalistic opportunism, fueled by a left wing, liberal, vehemently secular political agenda that is embraced by the elitist community of academics and intellectuals. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Operation Lightning Hammer II launched in Iraq’s North - Multinational Forces Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces have launched a major offensive operation in Iraq’s northern provinces on September 5. Called Operation Lightning Hammer II, the offensive is aimed at al Qaeda’s network in Salahadin, Ninewa, Diyala, and Kirkuk provinces. Operation Lightning Hammer II is a corps-sized operation, consisting of over 14,000 Iraqi Security Forces and 12,000 US troops. “Attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Vehicles and tanks compliment the combined effort,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. (READ MORE)

Heading Right: Guess Who Runs The Mosques Of London? - The Times of London has done some digging into the lines of control for the city’s mosques and finds a disturbing development. Almost half of them have come under the leadership of the same radical sect that spawned the Taliban, and the new leader has called for the shedding of blood in a jihad against the West: “Almost half of Britain’s mosques are under the control of a hardline Islamic sect whose leading preacher loathes Western values and has called on Muslims to ‘shed blood’ for Allah, an investigation by The Times has found.” (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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