October 4, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 10/04/2007

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)
Iraqis to Pay China $100 Million for Weapons for Police - Iraq has ordered $100 million worth of light military equipment from China for its police force, contending that the United States was unable to provide the materiel and is too slow to deliver arms shipments, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said yesterday. (READ MORE)

In Latest Poll, Good News for Both Clintons - Former president Bill Clinton has emerged as a clear asset in his wife's campaign for the White House, with Americans offering high ratings to his eight years in office and a solid majority saying they would be comfortable with him as first spouse, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. (READ MORE)

Senate Approves Pentagon Budget - The Senate passed a $459 billion budget for the Pentagon yesterday, after adding $3 billion to try to gain control over the U.S. border with Mexico. The Pentagon spending bill, passed by voice vote, does not include President Bush's request of almost $190 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill does award the Pentagon a 10 percent increase of $43 billion, much of which would be devoted to procuring new and expensive weapons systems. (READ MORE)

Koreas to Seek a Formal Peace Treaty - SEOUL, Oct. 4 -- Leaders of the two Koreas ended their summit Thursday with a joint pledge to seek talks with China and the United States aimed at formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War. They also announced that they would set up a "peace zone" around a much-disputed border in the Yellow Sea that is rich with fish and where skirmishes between the countries have broken out over the past several decades. (READ MORE)

For One Family, Answering Three Calls to Duty - These days, many military families live with the anxiety of a loved one's deployment to a combat zone, but Margaret Dixon of Howard County faces more than most. In coming weeks, her husband and two of her sons will be leaving home in preparation for deployment to Iraq. "Let's just say she's squeezing the rosary beads pretty hard," said her husband, Sgt. Kim Dixon of the Maryland Army National Guard (READ MORE)

21st Century Comes to Tibet - Tibet, for centuries a Himalayan kingdom lost in time, is lost no longer. China's shift to a market economy and its relentless drive for development have brought the region storming to the cusp of the 21st century, and in some places over the edge. (READ MORE)

GOP Urges Probe in China Firm Deal - Several Republican members of Congress yesterday called for a Treasury Department probe into whether Pentagon computer networks will be compromised by the merger of a U.S. network-equipment maker and a Chinese firm with links to Beijing's military. (READ MORE)

Hillary Touts Bill to Unite 'Illegals' Kin - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday as president she would push an immigration bill with a path to legalization that unites families. "We've got to deal with immigration to be sure that we're going to get back to doing what is right and smart in America," she told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. (READ MORE)

Senate OKs Border Funds - The Senate overwhelmingly approved $3 billion for added border security that includes a 700-mile fence on the Mexico border, as Democrats lost another bid to force a U.S. pullout from Iraq. The popular border security measure, an amendment to the $459 billion defense appropriations bill, passed 95-1, ensuring Republicans are not put in the awkward position of challenging President Bush's promised veto of a homeland security bill that includes the same provision. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Jason's Iraq Vacation: What's the Frequency Kenneth - There is actually no one here named Kenneth, so I'm not sure where the title of this blog came from. I started thinking about the frequency in which I update this blog and that song came to mind. Speaking of songs, I have been going around singing songs in Arabic lately. "Habibee . . . Habibee . . ." It's great because most of the songs sound like they are intentionally being sung off-key, and they all center on the word Habibe (= my love). Ok, maybe not all of them, but all the ones I hear do. I think I can be an Arabic Frank Sinatra if I try hard enough . . .and trust me, I'm practicing. Back to my original reason for this blog, which is how frequently I post. I feel like I should be writing more often - I enjoy it and its sort of therapeutic. (READ MORE)

The Sandmonkey: The Bush Memo: Grounds for impeachment? - A couple of days ago I passed by the blog of Juan Cole and found this post, in which he has seletced passages from the translated secret Bush-Aznar Memo regarding Iraq in the run up to the war. Juan has selected parts of the transcript and spun them in a way to meet his agenda, which is dishonest and disgusting. Having the entire Memo translated by PJM's Jose Guardia, it's easy to see how much of a spin mesiter Juan Cole is, and we are awarded a glimpse of what went down in the run-up to the war in Bush's head, which I suspect is not what many people suspect at all. For example: (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Mission Accomplished? - No - not yet. But I believe this article is the most accurate, fact-based, and level headed assessment of the situation - both current and historical - in Iraq as I've ever read. As far as predictions for the future, few sane people would make them without acknowledging a degree of fallibility. But given the current course of actions these seem reasonably optimistic - though chaos theory along with the sum total experience of human history indicate some surprises await. And while the author's depiction of Sadr is debatable* the remainder of the brief is cold hard fact. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: The most courageous Christians - Throughout my travels in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I've met several Muslim converts to Christianity. Back home where religion is protected and the threat of bodily harm almost unknown, those who will stand up for their beliefs are far more timid. In a country where religious freedom is denied, there are those who are willing to risk their lives for religious choice. Back home in the United States, religion is no longer acceptable in public discourse, because religion has become a taboo topic. In a strange twist, it is more acceptable to parade sexual acts in public, like the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, than it is to display any act of religious faith. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda financier and foreign facilitator captured in Baghdad - Just one day after the announcement of the capture of Muthanna, a senior al Qaeda facilitator of foreign fighters in the Sinjar region on the Syrian border, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the capture of a major financier in Baghdad. The yet to be named al Qaeda financier was captured by the Iraqi Army in the Baghdad neighborhood of Kindi. The al Qaeda operative used his leather business to fund attacks inside Iraq and smuggle weapons into Iraq. (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith Jr.: Fatah Al Islam Fighters Buried Today - BEIRUT (The Ministry of Defense) — Just left a private meeting with Gen. Francois Hajj, director of operations for the entire Lebanese Armed Forces. As I entered his office — his desk covered with several huge maps of Lebanon, a couple of cell phones, and and a single pack of Marlboros – Gen. Hajj was discussing something (unintelligible to me because it was in Arabic) with another general. The other general and I shook hands, he left the office, and Hajj ordered coffee for the two of us. We discussed everything from current security operations in Lebanon to the recent fighting at Nahr al-Bared. He then showed me an exclusive video tape – not seen by outsiders – of the fighting at Bared, including some truly grisly images of killed Fatah al-Islam fighters. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Why? - That is a question I have received frequently over the last couple of weeks. Why, when you could be at Fort Living Room, seated on Camp Couch, my command and duty safely behind me, two dogs, a cat, and a loving wife vying for my attention, did I choose to stay in Iraq? The answer of course is complex and has a myriad of reasons both personal and professional. It was a mutual decision between Mrs. Badger 6 and myself. We took about a week to make the decision about how it would affect us, but we decided that the personal challenges it would afford us also offered us personal opportunity. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Robert D. Kaplan: Modern Heroes - I'm weary of seeing news stories about wounded soldiers and assertions of "support" for the troops mixed with suggestions of the futility of our military efforts in Iraq. Why aren't there more accounts of what the troops actually do? How about narrations of individual battles and skirmishes, of their ever-evolving interactions with Iraqi troops and locals in Baghdad and Anbar province, and of increasingly resourceful "patterning" of terrorist networks that goes on daily in tactical operations centers? (READ MORE)

Daniel Henninger: Democracy Has Been Demoted - During a respite in Europe last week, my contact with politics took two forms. The first was watching CNN International's constant coverage of Burma's Buddhist monks and some 100,000 other Burmese in the streets of Rangoon. Hour after hour, CNN ran the smuggled video of robed monks in the streets, while its news anchors in London conveyed with untiring tones of urgency that the world" was "concerned" about Burma. The second contact with politics--related to the first in Burma, I'd argue--was the inclination of one's European hosts to bring to the attention of American guests the U.S. government's unpopularity, which apparently extends like a dark fog from the Thames to the Danube. (READ MORE)

Melik Kaylan: Play Cards, Protect a Culture - FORT DRUM, N.Y.--The "Monuments Men" of World War II dashed around Europe saving humankind's historical and artistic heritage from destruction. They were American soldiers tasked with a mission that didn't benefit the U.S. in any direct way, yet they performed it unsparingly and with unprecedented honesty. This June, Congress officially honored their memory, and more recently PBS ran a documentary, "The Rape of Europa," telling their story. In the era of chaos in Iraq, it has been all too easy for the world to airbrush out of mind the longstanding record of American custodial service to other people's cultures. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: Republicans Should Visit Vermont - WOODSTOCK, VT. — The Wall Street Journal, no left wing publication, reports that Republicans may soon lose the votes of some economic conservatives. In part, it’s because of the unending war in Iraq and social policies they don’t like, but they might swallow hard and continue to vote Republican anyway if GOP fiscal policies did not mimic the Democrats when it comes to the deficit and spending. (READ MORE)

William Rusher: Conservative Advocate - I have often wondered how democracies manage to survive at all as workable methods of government. They vest the management of public affairs in politicians, who must win election and re-election, in the hands of the people. And what better way is there for a politician to curry favor with those people than by proposing to confer new "benefits" on them? It's a win-win situation: The politicians propose to heap expensive benefits on the people, and the people gratefully reward the politicians with election and re-election. At first glance, the system seems fated to self-destruct: governmental bankruptcy is only a few short steps away. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: What Is Intelligence? - One of the longest-running controversies in history has been that between those who believe intelligence to be inherited and those who see it as determined by environment. If time has not resolved that question, it has at least led to sharper definitions of the question and a muting of some of the dogmatism among those on both sides of this issue. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Pretend to be all you can be - Not content to wait for my book to come out, Senate Democrats are demanding a censure resolution against Rush Limbaugh. Ah, the memories ... In my experience, having prominent Democrats censure you on the Senate floor is the equivalent of 50 book signings. Or being put on the cover of The New York Times magazine 20 years ago when people still read The New York Times magazine. They should rename Senate censure resolutions "Harry Reid's Book Club." (READ MORE)

Bill Steigerwald: The Incredible James Hansen - If you've paid any attention to the global warming debate, you've heard of James Hansen. Hansen is the politicized NASA climate scientist who virtually invented the global warming issue in the broiling summer of 1988 when he was the star doomsayer at Senate hearings called by Al Gore. Since then, Hansen has received better press than Mother Teresa. (READ MORE)

Lisa A. Rickard: Lobbying for Lawsuits - America needs more lawsuits. That’s the message hundreds of plaintiffs’ trial lawyers from across the country are taking to Capitol Hill this week as they lobby Congress to make it easier to bring more lawsuits. It isn’t surprising. The plaintiffs’ bar has been chomping at the bit since last November’s elections. “We are going to get things done,” declared the treasurer of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America at the time (they’ve since changed their name to the “American Association for Justice.”). (READ MORE)

Rich Galen: Obama's Last Stand - Here's the deal on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton is not only holding onto a nearly 20 point lead in the http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/ Real Clear Politics website poll average, but she announced that she had raised about $22 million for the third quarter while Barack Obama - who had kicked Hillary's enormous (nevermind)- had raised about $20 million. This is the first time this year that Obama's campaign had fallen behind the Hillary Clinton campaign in fundraising. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: COIN Is Not Small Change - It’s the Pentagon’s job to prepare for wars of the future. But somewhere between Vietnam and Iraq, military planners confused “future” with “futuristic.” They convinced themselves that combat in the 21st Century would resemble computer games. Satellites would provide intelligence. “Smart bombs” would do much of the killing. The enemy, overcome by “shock and awe,” would lose his will to fight. But the future, as they say, ain’t what it used to be. Put to the test in Iraq, American military forces succeeded brilliantly in bringing down Saddam Hussein’s regime. (READ MORE)

Congressman Thomas Price: The Left’s Push to Silence Free Speech - The First Amendment of the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” More recognizable perhaps than any other provision of our Constitution, the freedoms bestowed to the American people by the First Amendment have been treasured for more than two centuries. (READ MORE)

Michael Medved: The Founders Intended A Christian, Not Secular, Society - Senator John McCain’s recent comments about America’s heritage as a “Christian nation” ignited an ill-tempered blast of self-righteous condemnation – a reaction that highlighted the widespread misunderstandings, distortions and downright ignorance surrounding the nation’s founders and their view of religion’s role in society. Asked a question about a recent poll that showed 55% of the public believing that “the Constitution establishes a Christian nation,” McCain responded: “I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation... (READ MORE)

Letters from the other side of the world: Almost There - There’s a good chance you’ll be back home by the time you read this. It’s driving me crazy knowing you’re in the U.S. but not here. It’s also taking all of my self-control to not hop on a flight down to where you’re at. Buying astronaut diapers isn’t psychotic if you’re going after your own husband, right? I’m kidding, I’m kidding. But seriously, everybody keeps telling me how happy they are you’re back, and they really do seem genuinely happy. Sometimes I worry about our personal hardships being used as an anti-war argument. (READ MORE)

Andrew Lubin: A Deadly Brew: Iran & the United States - The Iranian problem is far worse than their trying to build a nuclear bomb. Not that a “Persian Bomb” is a good thing, but legitimate sources say that they are 3-5-6 years away – assuming the Israeli’s don’t launch a pre-emptive strike like they did against the Iraqi reactor at Osirak.. The real danger is the continued Iranian de-stabilization of Iraq, and their de-facto control of the southern oilfields, the pipelines, and Iraq’s only seaport- Basra. This would give them control of 80 % of Iraq’s oil exports, which would certainly roil the economies of the free world. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Weaponized Psychology - Ever since Psychological concepts entered our cultural zeitgeist, there has been a tendency to use these concepts as weapons. Epithets such as "Passive-Aggressive" and "Narcissistic" become divorced from their therapeutic meanings and become weapons in the hands of the those who hurl them. When you are called a "Narcissist" by your opponent, there is little defense possible. It is one of those insults that, even if containing a grain of truth as the best insults do, cannot be parried. If one responds at all, it only lends some weight to the attack. In the best pseudo-therapeutic jujitsu, a defense becomes a confirmation of the "interpretation." On the other hand, if one does not respond, the accusation hangs and sticks, as long as there is the slightest twig to hang it on. After all, psychological attacks are directed at aspects of the person that arise from the unconscious and are therefore indefensible. (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Congress - Trying to Boil Blackwater - In a lot of ways the House Oversight Committee was a simple ambush. Committee Chairman, Rep. Waxman set the stage for it in his opening statement which suggested the hearing would be something entirely different from what it turned out to be. What Waxman said was: “We will seek to answer basic questions: Is Blackwater, a private military contractor, helping or hurting our efforts in Iraq? Is the government doing enough to hold Blackwater accountable for alleged misconduct? And what are the costs to the federal taxpayer?” Of course what happened during the hearing didn't address much of this kind of stuff. It was instead an attempt by each committee member to play a little "gotcha" with the target sitting in the witness chair. I don't know whether this is SOP for the committee or something new since the Dimo's got control of Congress. But as in past hearings I have observed from start to end, the taxpayer does not get a good return on his dollar with this committee which is made up of some of the most intellectual lightweights in Congress. Perhaps that is a prerequisite for being on the committee in the first place? (READ MORE)

William Teach: SCOTUS To Hear Voting ID Case - Seriously, only in Liberal World can you have people pitching a fit over someone being able to prove who the hell they are in order to vote, something which can change the course of America, anywhere from our local politics up. Yet, these same liberals have no problem requiring Grandma Wendy to show her ID several times, take her Mules off, and have the wire in her bra searched just so she can take a well deserved break at the meca of terrorism, Palm Beach "With the 2008 elections on the horizon, the Supreme Court has agreed to rule on whether an Indiana law that requires voters to have a government-issued photo ID is a security necessity in the post-9/11 world or some sort of partisan plan to suppress voter turnout." (READ MORE)

Fjordman: Saudi Arabia Lectures the EU on Human Rights - Hello from Fjordman, with thanks to the Danish blog Snaphanen. The “Human Rights Commission” of Saudi Arabia, a country where slavery was formally abolished as late as the 1960s and is still practiced more or less openly (it is allowed according to sharia law), now lectures Europeans on Islamophobia. Notice that this is not an isolated incident; it is part of a sustained, ongoing effort with the explicit goal of surrendering half a billion Europeans to Islam. The Euro-Arab Dialogue, which this is a part of, was established in the 1970s and is rapidly progressing towards the goal of merging Europe with the Arab world. The European Union is thus formally negotiating the surrender of an entire continent, without asking their peoples about it and without even mentioning this in the major media. It is one of the greatest betrayals ever recorded in the history of Western civilization. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Well, That About Wraps It Up For God (And Politics) - I've often cited P. J. O'Rourke's "Parliament Of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts To Explain The Entire U. S. Government" as one of the greatest influences on my political beliefs. With DJ's piece yesterday, I'm starting to wonder if I'm not the only Wizbanger who can say that. DJ wrote "The God Who Votes." PJ's Preface to "Parliament Of Whores" is titled "Why God Is A Republican and Why Santa Claus Is A Democrat." I'm going to quote a bit of that here, as a sort-of response to DJ's piece: (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: Jimmy Carter in Dafur: High Plains Grifter - As if the people in Dafur, Sudan, didn't have it bad enough, now they're the latest stop on "The Elders" mission to save humanity from itself, starring former President Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for solving the Israeli-Palestinian question back in the '70s (a few minor details remain to be worked out, apparently). He is joined on the tour by fellow Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu (hence, "The Elders"), Graca Machel (Nelson Mandela's wife), and billionaire Richard Branson (presumably along because he owns planes). (READ MORE)

Bear Creek Ledger: Do you trust the UN to control the seas? - The Senate Foreign Relations committee meets at 9:30 (ET) today to discuss ratification of the UN Law of the Seas treaty. With this treaty the United States will be joining a global court where the United Nations would be the judicial authority. With this treaty the United States will signing global taxation authority to the United Nations. Once the UN Seabed Authority has been established there will be no transparency since the United Nations does all of it’s own internal audits. Unlike US Corporations which are required to be audited by outside firms this is not the situation with the UN. The UN is a breeding ground for graft, corruption and secrecy. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Leahy Retreats - Patrick Leahy has capitulated on scheduling confirmation hearings for Michael Mukasey's nomination as Attorney General. Originally, Leahy wanted to hold Mukasey hostage to his demands for internal memos from the White House. However, the Bush administration has apparently proven too tenacious for Leahy: "Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) signaled yesterday that he will move ahead with confirmation hearings for a new attorney general later this month without reaching a deal on documents that he hoped to obtain from the White House." (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: Debunking the Movie, Battle for Haditha - One of the favs at the Toronto Film Festival is the disgusting movie, Battle for Haditha, by Nick Broomfield. Reviewers are marveling at the "dramatization" and lauding the performances. BUT NOT ONE has questioned the events as depicted in this tripe of a movie. To rub salt in the backstabbing wounds, former Marines portray the real Haditha Marines to add realism to this piece of fiction. You know you're a hit with the anti-war, anti-American, anti-military crowd when you get a review on the World Socialist website. The only good thing about the WSWS review is David Walsh spilling the beans about some of the scenes in the movie (because I refuse to pay my hard earned money to this purveyor of terrorist propaganda). So let's see how accurately reconstructed the events at Haditha were... (READ MORE)

Don Surber: DNC sued to make every vote count in Florida - Unable to take a loss by 537 votes in Florida in 2000, Democrats tried to steal the election with a ridiculous court challenge that ironically blocked an automatic recount. 7 years later, the DNC is working to make No Vote Count in Florida. But Florida Democrats are fighting back. They are hauling the DNC into court to force the party to seat any delegates Florida voters decide to send to the DNC presidential convention. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) The left drops an absolute moral authority JDAM on Bush - From Families USA. He pulled the trigger on SCHIP yesterday, to the consternation of more than a few Republicans now facing a slew of ads next year accusing conservatives of hating children on top of everything else. It’s great to see him exercising fiscal responsibility and it’s understandable that he’d want to put up a roadblock on the path to universal health care, but this is the sort of thing you do when you’re 15 points ahead on the generic ballot, not 15 points down. The Democrats are going to grind his face in it, too, apparently: (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Phony Democrats - In the recent past prominent Democratic officeholders have made remarkably insulting and/or counterfactual statements about our soldiers and their leaders. Among the recurring themes are the proposition that our troops are stupid and their leaders are liars. Has anyone compiled these statements? I think they would provide useful context for the phony "phony soldiers" controversy orchestrated by Hillary Matters and executed by HM's dutiful Democratic poodles. I have a few that come to mind this morning. Harry Reid (on "the surge"): “Now I believe, myself, that the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows: that this war is lost, that the surge is not accomplishing anything.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Climbing Ladder Creates Risk of Falling - NYT gotcha on Bush admin’s efforts to avoid fighting GWOT with one hand tied behind back closes with this money quote. It’s meant to be probing and ironic, but ironically, not in exactly the way it is: “The problem is, once you’ve got a legal opinion that says such a technique is O.K., what happens when one of our people is captured and they do it to him? How do we protest then?” Article neglects to mention we are fighting an enemy that considers powerdrills into kneecaps and videotaped beheading of captives business as usual. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Phony Veterans Attempt To Take Advantage of VA Benefits - There’s been a huge amount of coverage in the media about Rush Limbaugh’s comments about “phony soldiers,” with politicians and groups such as moveon.org lambasting him and claiming that he’s disrespecting Soldiers with that comment. I beg to differ with them, but he was in no way speaking about our Troops past or present, but instead those phonies and yes I said phonies who attempt to pass themselves off as Soldiers or Veterans and while doing so, badmouth our Troops and attempt to make them look bad, but also, try to obtain VA Benefits that they aren’t entitled to. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Jimmy Carter Comes Face To Face With Darfur Mess – “The 83-year-old Carter walked into this highly volatile pro-Sudanese government town to meet refugees too frightened to attend a scheduled meeting at a nearby compound. He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into the town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.” Carter really is clueless about the situation in Darfur. The Sudanese government had no intention of ever letting Carter see what is really going on there. Carter thinks that talking things through with the regime in Khartoum will fix matters? (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The Democratic Underground Thread Of The Day: Cheney Must Be Using Death Threats And Blackmail To Keep The Democrats Under Control! - Despite the insane paranoia in this thread, the childlike faith shown in the Democrats in Congress is almost touching. The attitude is something akin to, "Well, of course Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Company wouldn't sell us out for the sake of politics, so that evil Dick Cheney must be threatening their families!" Of course, these comments are way too kooky to be cute, but still... (READ MORE)

Countercolumn: Wesley Clark - (Liberal character assassination and gentle but misguided warnings about the UCMJ to commence in 3...2...1...) Now that former General Wesley Clark is trying to reassert himself on the public stage, I think it's worthwhile to take a brief look at the man. Like Westmoreland, by all accounts he was a stellar junior officer, and had tremendous success at his middle management jobs as Battalion Commander, etc. But remember, after Kosovo, he was all but relieved of his command by President Clinton, who made him an offer he couldn't refuse: Retire three months early. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: The Empire Strikes Back - Iran has evidently been emboldened by our lack of significant response to its peddling explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) to Iraqi insurgents; so now, per the Telegraph (and a great, big, sloppy-wet hat tip to John at Power Line), Iran has begun doing the same for the Taliban: “Iran is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with the same bomb-making equipment it provides to insurgents in Iraq, according to British military intelligence officers…The allegation will add to fears that the escalating war of words between Iran and the West could end in armed conflict between the two.” I don't mean to be persnickety, but if Iran is FedExing munitions to its catspaws and stalking horses left and right -- by which I mean in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively -- then aren't we already in armed conflict? It's time for President Bush to fish or get off the pot. I have a suggestion... (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Somewhere in Time - It becomes more apparent every day that the reactionary progressive Democrats that pinned their hopes of a future ascendancy upon a defeat in Iraq are psychologically unable to come do grips with the reality on the ground in that nation. This was demonstrated again today by Senator Russ Feingold in the Huffington Post: “Over in Iraq, our troops get up every day and risk their lives in the middle of an Iraqi civil war. They have to do their job, no matter what the risk, and no matter what the cost. They do what they are asked to do...and so should Congress. Congress's job right now should be to bring our troops home safely, and we can't turn away from this issue just because it's tough going. The only way we will ever get our troops out is by putting constant pressure on supporters of this disastrous war. Let's make them vote again and again, so that they have to go back home and explain why they keep voting to keep our troops in Iraq. When they feel the heat for their vote, that's when they will change their vote, and that's how we will bring our troops home.” I have news that will no doubt come as an absolute surprise to Senator Feingold: the Iraqi civil war never materialized. (READ MORE)

Bluey @ RedState: White House Catches Nancy Pelosi in a Lie - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) spent the day spinning President Bush's veto of the $35-billion expansion of SCHIP. In some cases, uneducated reporters failed to question their outrageous assertions. Fortunately, Republicans aren't letting the Democrats get away with it. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) left Emanuel speechless during a TV debate this afternoon. And when I asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) if Emanuel would successfully woo 15 Republicans to override the veto, Pence said his Democrat colleague was blowing smoke. "I think he’s talking through his hat," Pence said. Now I'm pleased to see the White House is challenging Pelosi on three misleading statements she made about SCHIP today. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: The abandonment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali - One sure sign of whether or not a society is serious about defeating tyranny is the support it gives to dissidents who brave their lives by resisting it. By this standard, as Douglas Murray write here, the latest twist in the saga of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born former Dutch politician, bodes ill for the west. Hirsi Ali’s life has been threatened by Islamist fanatics ever since she collaborated on a film about the persecution of women in Islam, as a result of which her collaborator, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Chill out - No reasonable person can defend government sponsored torture, but neither is any reasonable person apparently permitted to define what torture actually is - a conundrum that falls rather hard upon those in the field caught up in the fight with people who send car bombs into crowds of school children. Into that breach boldly steps the New York Times and a predictably frenzied cohort of the perpetually hyperventilated set at a long article dealing with secret Justice Department authorizations, internal bureaucratic revolts between those whose hands are not only always clean but also manicured, and the continued use of such aggressive CIA interrogation techniques as head slapping, waterboarding and frigid temperatures. (READ MORE)

Mark I: Senate Democrats Cave on Intelligence Bill - Yesterday, the Senate unanimously approved the FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act. The bill authorizes all expenditures for intelligence related activities and gives Congressional approval to all of it’s heretofore most controversial programs. By agreeing to the bill, unanimously, which cannot be stressed enough, Senate Democrats had to swallow some bitter pills. One, they had to drop their demand that the White House turn over all Presidential Daily Briefs between 1997 and 2003. So much for Bush Lied!™. Two, they had to agree to drop a provision that would have required the Director of National Intelligence to assess the impact of climate change on US national security. Sorry, Mr. Gore. But worst of all for Democrats is the fact that they have now given their assent to the Bush Administration’s most hated intelligence programs by throwing money at them. Warrantless wiretapping... (READ MORE)

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