November 15, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 11/15/2007

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)
Iraqis Wasting An Opportunity, U.S. Officers Say - Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias. (READ MORE)

Bill to Expand Head Start, Bolster Its Teacher Qualifications Is Approved - With two overwhelming votes, Congress approved a bill yesterday that would boost teacher qualifications in federally funded Head Start preschools, expand access to the program for children from low-income families and scrap a controversial system for testing 4-year-olds. (READ MORE)

Dissident Leader, Ex-Envoy Are Arrested in Pakistan - Pakistani authorities on Wednesday arrested former cricket star Imran Khan, one of the last major opposition leaders to remain at large since the military-led government declared emergency rule and began widespread detentions. A former ambassador to the United States,... (READ MORE)

French Strikers Take On Sarkozy - Strikers shut down French trains and buses, disrupted electricity production at nuclear plants and barricaded universities Wednesday, giving President Nicolas Sarkozy the toughest challenge yet to his ambitious plans for restructuring the country's huge social welfare programs. (READ MORE)

House Approves Bill Linking War Funds, Troop Withdrawals - The House yesterday approved a war funding bill that directs President Bush to withdraw most troops from Iraq by the end of next year, escalating a feud between the White House and congressional Democrats over spending priorities in wartime. (READ MORE)

Who Are Iran's Revolutionary Guards? - The scene is a board meeting of Bank Sepah, Iran's second-largest financial institution, in Tehran. The directors are waiting for the sardar (literally "head-owner") to arrive. But the sardar is in a changing room, shedding his uniform for a civilian suit. The man in question is Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the new commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which owns and controls the bank. (READ MORE)

Illegals' Licenses Dropped - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer yesterday scrapped his plan to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens, but Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he expects the governor to still live up to his agreement to adopt Real ID standards for regular licenses. (READ MORE)

U.S. Told to Denounce Pakistan - The former head of the Pakistan Bar Association who faces arrest if he returns home, yesterday called on the United States and the Pakistani army to withdraw support from embattled President Pervez Musharraf. (READ MORE)

Lawmen Under Siege Along Mexico Border - Alien and drug smugglers along the U.S.-Mexico border have spawned a rise in violence against federal, state and local law-enforcement authorities, who say they are outmanned and outgunned. (READ MORE)

War Funds Under Attack - The Pentagon yesterday warned that money was already running out for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as congressional Democrats dismissed recent security gains and threatened to stall emergency war funds. (READ MORE)

Insulted Chavez Threatens Ties to Spain - A row between Venezuela and Spain escalated Wednesday as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would review ties between the two countries after being told to "shut up" by the Spanish king. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Douglas Halaspaska: So Much Has Changed...Observations from Ramadi - This was my first assignment to Iraq, and I had expected it to be both rough and dangerous. My editor had embedded in Ramadi during 2006 and 2007, and shared his improvised explosive device (IED) experience and some other stories with me before I departed, so I had strong concerns about embedding with the Marines. While I’m pleased to say that the living conditions of the Marines at the joint security stations are still rough – Marines wouldn’t have it any other way – the dangers related to being in Ramadi have virtually disappeared. (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: Chow in the Field - The other day I went out with a patrol to participate in a Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting. We missed having lunch in the DFAC back on post so I asked one of the soldiers to get me a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). I told her, "Sgt. I need a happy meal." "What, sir?" she replied. "A happy meal. You know, an MRE. When you're real hungry, they'll make you happy." (READ MORE)

Omar: Troops and locals stop twenty car bombs from reaching the streets of Baghdad - Yesterday a joint US-Iraqi force with help from local anti-al-Qaeda awakening fighters in the Adhamiyah district in northeastern Baghdad found and disarmed more than 20 vehicles rigged as VBIEDs in a parking lot. This is a great find by all standards but the timing makes all the more significant. The significance comes not only from the amount of bombs, cars and other resources that al-Qaeda has been denied the ability to use. It comes from the amount of frustration they have to deal with right now that all these preparations and resources are lost. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Space to unwind - The stresses of being downrange in a combat zone are difficult. That's why having ways to unwind are critical to the soldiers here at Camp Vulcan. We have a weight room and an exercise room for those who blow off steam by pumping iron or getting the heart pumping. We also recently built an MWR room. MWR is an acronym (what would the Army do without acronyms) which stands for "morale, welfare, recreation." Though we're a small camp with just under 50 guys living here, we need our share of MWR. We feel fortunate to have a pool table and many readers of this blog and those who support us through have provided us with dart boards, books, magazines, games and even computers. (READ MORE)

American Ranger: Can the Sunnis and Shiites Ever Reconcile? - America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have done a magnificent job of removing Saddam Hussein and creating an atmosphere in which the new Iraqi government can take advantage of its freedom. With cooperation, decisive action and a spirit of reconciliation, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds can build a prosperous nation of the kind never seen before in the Middle East. The problem is that the Shiite-dominated government still won’t reach out to the Sunnis because they represent the party of Saddam Hussein. The Sunni minority ruled over Iraq – and the Shiites – with an iron hand. Now that the Shiite majority has the power, they fear sharing any of that power with the Sunnis. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Agim Ceku: Kosovo Wants Independence - The Kosovo status process is reaching its natural conclusion. The present negotiations come to their appointed end on Dec. 10. This will create the atmosphere for a positive and collaborative declaration of independence and prompt recognition by the international community. We are taking very seriously our talks with Serbia and the "troika" of international diplomats from the U.S., Europe and Russia. But it is clear that discussion of status is a dead end: Serbia can't accept that independence is inevitable; we know that independence is nothing but inevitable, and can't be compromised on or delayed. Attitudes in Serbia and Kosovo are not going to change in a month or a year. We must be realistic, and we must be forward-looking. (READ MORE)

Daniel Henninger: 1968: The Long Goodbye - It's too bad Barack Obama wasn't able to meet Abbie Hoffman. I don't know if Hillary Clinton ever met Hoffman, who died in 1989, but like any young person up and running in America in the late 1960s, she knows him well. One of the touchstone events in U.S. political history was the Democratic convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968. Among the demonstrators arrested, put on trial and acquitted for battling the police amid photogenic clouds of tear gas was Abbie Hoffman, a founder of the Youth International Party, a k a the Yippies. (READ MORE)

Sandra Day O'Connor: Justice for Sale - Voters generally don't express much interest in the election of judges. This year, as in years past, voter turnout in elections for judges was very low. But judicial elections, which occur in some form in 39 states, are receiving growing attention from those who seek to influence them. In fact, motivated interest groups are pouring money into judicial elections in record amounts. Whether or not they succeed in their attempts to sway the voters, these efforts threaten the integrity of judicial selection and compromise public perception of judicial decisions. (READ MORE)

Joel Mowbray: Media Silence: Islamic Terrorism Case Ignored - In the terrorism case of two young Egyptian nationals and University of South Florida students arrested August 4 in South Carolina, fascinating twists and turns abound. There’s a secret recording of the defendants discussing strategy shortly after their arrest. There’s a You Tube video in which one of the defendants gave instructions in Arabic on converting a remote-control toy into a bomb detonator, which one defendant allegedly told police was made to help people in Arab countries “defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries,” (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: When Good News is No News - There’s an old expression about war: “Victory has many fathers, while defeat is an orphan.” But in the case of Iraq, it seems the other way around. We’ve blamed many for the ordeal of the last four years, but it is the American victory in Anbar province that now seems without parents. Over the last few months, the U.S. military forced Sunni insurgents in Anbar to quit fighting. This enemy, in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle, had been responsible for most American casualties in the war and was the main cause of unrest in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Brent Bozell III: Beware Hillary's "Whitewash" - The Hillary Clinton juggernaut likes to try to run over every new threat, especially the ones it can call "old news." Every new book on her life, personal and political, is dismissed as "old news" -- unless the person retelling and reshaping the "old news" is Hillary. Her recounting of her life is minty-fresh. Every other book smells like a reopened casket. Whenever -- if ever -- authors of Hillary books are introduced by the national media, the tone of the interviews focuses in on Hillary's talking point: (READ MORE)

William Rusher: Is the Religious Right Splitting? - In recent elections the so-called "religious right" has demonstrated a powerful influence. Beginning in the late 1970s with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, it has exerted impressive clout in the Republican Party at both state and national levels, arguably providing George W. Bush with the support that won him the GOP nomination in 2000 and even giving him the push that then propelled him into the White House. It is not too much to say that no one aspiring to a Republican presidential nomination can now afford to do without the support, or at least the tacit approval, of the religious right. (READ MORE)

Marvin Olasky: Democracy Without Liberty Is Not the Answer - Pro-American dictator or anti-American democracy? That's the choice in Pakistan now, where President (and top general) Pervez Musharraf has suspended his country's constitution, fired the country's chief justice and shut down nongovernmental television stations. He said had he not acted, Islamist extremists would have taken over the country. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to urge publicly a return to democracy and the ending of "extraconstitutional measures." But it didn't take long after Musharraf's move for Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell to say it "does not impact our military support of Pakistan." (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Musharraf: The Tolstoy of the Zulus - If Republicans end up with a divided convention between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, I say we pick Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf has declared emergency rule in Pakistan, shut down the media and sent Supreme Court justices home. What's not to like about a guy who orders policemen to beat up lawyers? I bet he has a good plan on illegal immigration, too. The entire history of Pakistan is this: There are lots of crazy people living there, they have nuclear weapons, and any Pakistani leader who prevents the crazies from getting the nukes is George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all rolled into one. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrrr Express: Calculating, Obfuscating, Triangulating…Enough Hillary! - Enough with Hillary. Enough with the lying. Enough with the blame game. Enough with the scorched Earth tactics. Enough with the trying to be everything to everybody. Hillary…please…just go away. I am tired of you already. I am tired of the fact that you deck the boys between the eyes, and then pull the girly girl routine the moment anybody dares to hit back. Can anybody imagine Margaret Thatcher behaving this way? Benazir Bhutto is fighting against people who want to have her detained to her home, or worse, murdered by a car bomb. The toughest challenge Hillary will face in this election is a tough question. (READ MORE)

Jay Fraser: Faulty Airport Security - Air travelers know that additional time is needed to pass through the post-September 11th security. Especially after the liquid bomb scare of last summer, additional restrictions were imposed by the TSA, including the banning of shampoos and bottles of water and limiting the size of containers of liquids, gels and aerosols to 3 ounces. On my flight to DC yesterday, I had a nearly flattened, all but empty tube of toothpaste confiscated. Still, a GAO report issued today reveals that investigators were able to bring explosive and IED components through security. (READ MORE)

Cassy Fiano: Students forced to choose between gym memberships and birth control; say it ain't so!! - Well, it looks like the world is coming to an end! Students are protesting because costs of birth control are going up, forcing them to make unthinkable choices! “University of New Mexico students are worried the federal deficit is going to cause a boom in unwanted pregnancies. UNM is now feeling the affects of the Deficit Reduction Act passed in 2005 whose funding cuts reduce money used by universities to subsidize birth control.” Well, by golly, what are these students going to do?! Without access to birth control, apparently pregnancies are going to skyrocket, because not having sex is, of course, simply not an option. (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: The al Durah blood libel and the deconstruction of imagery journalism - Among the many interesting stories we have not covered on this blog, the al Durah libel case stands out as one that I would have written about if I had had more free time in the last couple of months. The case, now on appeal in France, turns on whether or not a French television network staged the filming of the killing of a Palestinian child by Israeli soldiers back in 2000. The question is important for general reasons and specific. Generally, because defenders of the television network -- France 2 -- are waxing all sophisticated on us naifs and arguing that all television journalists stage video and that nobody should be shocked or surprised. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Evidence Tampering in Al-Dura Case? - The Mohammed Al-Dura case is one of the most infamous cases of media mendacity and the use of media as propaganda in the war against Israel. Now, we come to learn that France's Channel 2, which captured 27 minutes of the incident on video produced only 18 minutes of the incident in court despite the judge knowing that 27 minutes existed and that the cameraman himself admitted there were 27 minutes of video. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Obama Supports Driver's Licenses for Illegals - Clinton finally settled on a firm no, but Obama is standing by his earlier support for providing licenses for illegal aliens. He's got a great talking point to draw Far Left voters: "When it takes two weeks and six different positions to answer one question on immigration, it's easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement issued late Wednesday. Given the widespread opposition to the license plan, I'm fairly certain this issue will sink his campaign, especially if the numbers coming out of Ohio are as common as I suspect. (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: Iraq Gov. Moves Against AMS - Representatives of the Government of Iraq entered a mosque in Baghdad today to close the offices and shut down the radio station of the Association of Muslim Scholars- a Sunni religious network often seen as supporting or affiliated with some of the more radical elements of the Sunni insurgency, including elements of al-Qaeda. “Baghdad, Nov 14, (VOI) - The Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) said on Wednesday that the government's Sunni Awqaf (endowments) department closed the association's head-office at Um al-Qura mosque in western Baghdad and ceased its radio broadcast.” (READ MORE)

Bear Creek Ledger: From a Blue Star to Gold Star Mom - This poem was written and posted in the Patriot Guard forum. It needs to be read by all. “I AM THE MOTHER YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW I sit at the computer It is ready to go, I take a breath, Do I really want to know?” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The Dual Presidency - David Broder of the Washington Post warns about two fears the Democrats must allay in 2008: immigration and the "dual presidency". “As the Democratic presidential race finally gets down to brass tacks, two issues are becoming paramount. But only one of them is clearly on the table. That is the issue of illegal immigration. A very smart Democrat, a veteran of the Clinton administration, told me that he expects it to be a key part of any Republican campaign and that he is worried about his party's ability to respond.” (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo @ Blackfive: The precise horrors of waterboarding - Since I have covered my experience with and my support for waterboarding we can cut to a different part of the chase. Recently former SERE instructor Malcolm Nance wrote a piece at Small Wars Journal detailing the actual techniques and results of using the process. In the piece he claims that in many cases water is actually forced into the lungs. I did not object to the characterization and took him at face value when he said that he had done it and seen it done. I don't have the medical expertise to comment on those implications. In my case it never got even close to that as I caved early and often. (READ MORE)

War Historian: It’s the Politics, Stupid - LTC Gian Gentile wrote this op/ed for the San Francisco Chronicle and was kind enough to send me a heads up at the time of publication (November 9). I’ve been snowed under enough not to post it until now. Apologies to him — and you, dear reader — for the delay. “Want to stop Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, from going off in Iraq and killing American soldiers and Marines? Then end the war. This is not a political or policy statement on my part but a simple matter of fact based on my personal experience as a tactical battalion commander in west Baghdad in 2006 and on history. How did the warring sides in World War I stop the deadly artillery barrages that became endemic to that war? When the states involved agreed politically to end the war and the deadly artillery stopped.” (READ MORE)

Blogmeister USA: My Take on Robert Spencer's MEF Talk - On Tuesday, I was fortunate to be among those who saw Robert Spencer speak in New York City. He was sponsored by the Middle East Forum, and I wrote about his talk on FSM today: "How tough is our current crop of presidential hopefuls when it comes to the war on terror? Not very, said Spencer. In fact, he said that it’s “the great missing issue so far in the campaign.” (READ MORE)

The Captains Journal: Anbar, Buffoons and the Daily Kos - The best open source analysts on Iraq are Nibras Kazimi of Hudson Institute (and Talisman Gate), and Mohammed and Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model. Without planning or warning, from time to time their collective wits and powers of analysis will dovetail, and it’s a wonderful thing to watch as they deconstruct lies and propaganda. Kazimi recently turned his guns on a New Yorker article which relied on an interview with an alleged sheikh Zaidan al-Awad, and the “sheikh” had this to say: (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Democrats Try Timetables Again - Over the spring and summer, the Democrats tried putting timetables for withdrawal onto funding bills for the war in Iraq. At that time, they claimed that the war had been lost, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explicitly declaring defeat on the floor of the Senate during the debate. In the end, they lost the battle for defeat and retreat as the Bush administration backed them into a corner, even while losses spiked in the early days of the surge. Now, of course, the strategy and tactics of General David Petraeus have proven successful. Violence across all markers has dropped precipitously, and even the slow motion of the Maliki government has begun to take up reconciliation proposals, including a general amnesty demanded by the Sunnis. (READ MORE)

Victor Comras: Iran: Has the Rising Price of Oil Trumped Sanctions? - A major debate is ranging in European capitals on how best to deal with the growing prospect of confrontation with Iran over its ongoing nuclear weapons development program. Last month French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on their EU colleagues to impose new EU sanctions against Iran. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also warned that dire consequences could result if Iran were permitted to continue unimpeded on its presence course. G7 Ministers meeting in Washington also praised new warnings issued by the 34 nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Iranian banks posed serious international money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The United States had hoped that against this background EU countries would follow-suit after the US targeted new sanctions measures against Iran’s largest banks, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and IRGC controlled companies. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Pentagon Bomb-Fighter Stumped by Iraq's IED Drop - The number of improvised explosives is falling dramatically in Iraq. And even the Pentagon’s chief bomb-fighter isn’t exactly sure why. “I wish I could tell ya,” says retired General Montgomery Meigs in an interview with DANGER ROOM. Meigs has served for the last two years as the head of Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO – the Defense Department’s $4 billion-per-year organization to stop the deadliest threat to American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. In a few weeks, Meigs will be stepping down, and returning to Georgetown University, to teach. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: A Highly Dysfunction Marriage and a Highly Dysfunctional 'Shared' Presidency - As if there weren't enough reasons to dislike the prospect of a Hillary presidency, Charles Krauthammer reminds us of yet another one. The psychiatrist and pundit notes that it is not the threat of another sex scandal--though that reality is always present with a Bill Clinton; nor is it about the idea of a "dynastic succession", which some have criticized about the Bush 43 presidency: “...[T]he father-son connection is nothing compared to husband-wife. The relationship between a father and an adult son is psychological and abstract; the connection between husband and wife, concrete and quotidian.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Wile E. Coyote Congress - Democrats deploy Acme’s latest way to cut Iraq War funding - I cannot verify who said this first, but insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Perhaps Congress is insane. Democrats again voted to cut Iraq War funding, even though they promised not to when they sought election last fall. Michelle Malkin called them White Flag Democrats. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Put in Your Earplugs, Put on Your Eyeshades… - …you know where to put the cork. Conservative Swede has demonstrated at length how thoroughly Western culture is shackled by PC thinking. It’s not just a leftist or liberal phenomenon; it cuts across the political spectrum. Most conservatives are just as hobbled by it as is the most ardent enthusiast of Multiculturalism. It has become a kind of unconscious group-think, shared by almost everyone in the culture. It’s as if we’re all possessed by the PC demon and we don’t realize it. What we need is a good exorcist. When it comes to Islam, the blinders are fully in place. (READ MORE)

Gateway Pundit: Still More Good Security News From Iraq - Iraqi-American Haider Ajina sends the following reports from the Iraqi news: “From Iraq's Azzaman news paper of Nov. 12: 185 schools constructed The ministry of education has built 185 schools and repaired 332 others as part of its reconstruction plan for 2007.” From Iraq's Azzaman news paper of Nov. 12: “Al-Qaeda defeated in main Baghdad neighborhood Forces loyal to government have purged the restive and violent Baghdad’s Adhamiya quarter of Qaeda fighters, according to Ahmad al-Samarrai.” (READ MORE)

Kit Lange: Boycott Redacted - Hello Patriots, Hollywood is set to release yet another movie bashing the military. It is the latest in another string of Vietnam type models where we, the military, are the bad guys. As you can see below GOE and a host of like minded organizations are set to boycott and protest the movie’s release. Hollywood only understands one thing: money. We need to make sure they understand that there 23.9 million of us who do not want this type of garbage to run unchecked. Take a look at the Press Release below and, please, act accordingly. I am thinking of standing outside the theater here in Philly with a sign detailing my disgust with the movie. I do not expect all of you to do that, but I would ask that all of you do one thing from the suggested list below. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Cha-ching! Hillary campaign takes cash from the people that Bill pardoned - Quid, meet pro and quo. “Three recipients of controversial 11th-hour pardons issued by former President Bill Clinton in January 2001 have donated thousands of dollars to the presidential campaign of his wife, Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., according to campaign finance records examined by ABC News, in what some good government groups said created an appearance of impropriety…” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Impeachment averted: Political genius postpones plan to tax Amazon - Terrible policy idea foisted on an unsuspecting electorate? Check. Embarrassing reversal after its unpopularity becomes apparent? Check. Scapegoat identified to deflect blame from the governor’s own idiocy and political tin ear? Checkity check. Behold what we New Yorkers call … Spitzermania: “Yesterday, just hours after The New York Sun reported on the new revenue collection scheme, the Spitzer administration announced that it was burying it for the time being — at least until after the Christmas shopping season. The move saved New York City shoppers from having to pay an additional 8.375% on many goods…” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: A Year of This - I launched this thing at the original blogspot site a year ago today, after a couple of days of tinkering. It was all an accident, this blogging thing. No jokes, please. On Nov. 12, 2006, I tried to post a comment at Gateway, and suddenly discovered I had a blogger account. What the heck, spoke to the boss, messed around a little, sought some advice, and launched two days later. That’s when I discovered, like all bloggers, when they finally find a way to project the voice they’ve always loved the sound of, that I had been waiting for something like this for most of my life. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Coalition special forces, al Qaeda fight major battle in Tarmiyah - The same day Multinational Forces Iraq reported it had killed Tha’ir Malik, the emir of Tarmiyah, Coalition forces fought a major battle against the terror network in the city. Twenty-five al Qaeda in Iraq operatives were killed and 21 captured after Coalition forces conducted a series of raids west of the central Sunni city searching for senior al Qaeda leaders. The term “Coalition forces” in Multinational Forces Iraq press releases usually is referring to Task Force 88 or The Task Force, the special operations hunter-killer teams assigned to dismantle al Qaeda in Iraq's leadership. The scope of the battle and number of al Qaeda operatives killed and captured indicates the Task Force may have come close to its mark. (READ MORE)

Patterico: A Response to Sebastian Holsclaw on Waterboarding - This is a response to Sebastian Holsclaw’s response to my hypothetical about waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In case you missed my original hypo, here it is: “Let’s assume the following hypothetical facts are true. U.S. officials have KSM in custody. They know he planned 9/11 and therefore have a solid basis to believe he has other deadly plots in the works. They try various noncoercive techniques to learn the details of those plots. Nothing works. They then waterboard him for two and one half minutes. During this session KSM feels panicky and unable to breathe. Even though he can breathe, he has the sensation that he is drowning. So he gives up information — reliable information — that stops a plot involving people flying planes into buildings. My simple question is this: based on these hypothetical facts, was the waterboarding session worth it?” The hypo assumes that waterboarding is the least coercive way to obtain the information, and that there are no legal obstacles to performing the waterboarding. It is purely a moral question. (READ MORE)

The Middle Ground: Battle Front Afghanistan: General Overview - As Iraq cools down, Afghanistan heats up. Al Qaeda and it's Islamic terrorist affiliates are being pushed back on many fronts including the destruction of Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon, MILF and Abu Sayaf in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines among the many places. It has sought to expand into the contested territories in the Caucuses including places like Ingushetia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and the like. Al Qaeda has begun to concentrate foreign fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan as this represents their last, best hopes for establishing a long term and protected base from where they can launch attacks and, hopefully, from where they can establish and expand the planned for caliphate. (READ MORE)

Dale Franks: America’s Most trusted News Source - Earlier this week, Chris and I were watching a CNN investigative report on the use of performance enhancing dugs in professional wrestling. I don’t know why Chris wanted to watch it, since neither of us are wrestling fans, but I generally let her have her way with the TV. The thrust of the hour-long show was that professional wrestlers use steroids and what-not (I’m shocked—shocked!—to learn of such a thing), then fly into odd fits of psychotic rage like Chris Benoit, and harm themselves or others. Or just keel over from a heart attack at 35. Whatever. It’s all Vince McMahon’s fault, anyway. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Family Squabbles - Yesterday I focused my post on the tendency of many on the far left to demand perfection of their political opponents. Although I did not extend the discussion to the manner in which political orthodoxy (political correctness) is enforced and demanded among their allies on the left, this is certainly a derivative of the demand for perfection I noted. It appears that a similar intolerance of dissent is brewing on the Conservative side of the Blogosphere and this is troubling. Little Green Footballs was one of the first blogs I began to follow with any regularity when I first entered the Blogosphere. Charles Johnson is first and foremost a Philosemite and his work has been, and continues to be, an invaluable resource bringing to people the actual words, thoughts, and deeds of the enemies of Jews and the Judeo-Christian West that our MSM have consistently and conspicuously missed. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: "How Do We Beat The B*tch?" - John McCain has been criticized, mainly by some twit from CNN and a bunch of liberal bloggers who could drop 5 f-bombs in a 100 word review of a Kindergarten Christmas pageant, for his nonchalant response to an audience member's harsh, but accurate characterization of Hillary Clinton as a b*tch, “John McCain, who is drawing criticism for not challenging a South Carolina voter's vulgar reference to Hillary Clinton, issued a letter accusing CNN of having ‘stooped to an all-time low’ in trumpeting the incident. On Monday night, when a woman at a town hall asked how Republicans could beat Clinton--calling her a word that rhymes with witch--McCain smiled as the crowd laughed and said it was an ‘excellent question.’” (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.

Trackbacked / Linked by:
Blood Libel from Lord Nazh's Daily Ramble
The Pros and Cons of Immigration from Pros and Cons

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