January 7, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 01/07/2008

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)
Clinton, Romney on Offensive As Pivotal Contest Draws Near - HAMPTON, N.H., Jan. 6 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, slipping further behind her chief rival in the Democratic primary here, has taken direct control over her strategy and message as she scrambles to block the ascent of Sen. Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

GOP Doubts, Fears 'Post-Partisan' Obama - Exploiting a deep well of voter revulsion over partisan gridlock in Washington, Sen. Barack Obama is promising to do something that has not been done in modern U.S. politics: unite a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of sweeping change. (READ MORE)

U.S. Officials Review Approach in Pakistan - The political upheaval in Pakistan and emergence there of a new military leader has revitalized the Bush administration's long struggle to develop a coherent strategy for uprooting al-Qaeda from Pakistan's western tribal areas, U.S. officials said yesterday. (READ MORE)

Strains Intensify in Pakistan's Ethnic Patchwork - KARACHI, Pakistan -- To Khaled Chema, an unemployed 32-year-old living in a sprawling slum of this mega-city by the sea, Benazir Bhutto wasn't assassinated because she opposed extremism and advocated democracy. She was killed because, like him, she was a Sindhi. (READ MORE)

HillaryCare v. Obama - Once Hillary Clinton got roughed up in Iowa, she was bound to strike back against Barack Obama. Her first line of attack debuted at the Democratic debate over the weekend, and a big part of it concerns health care. Their differences are more political than substantive, but the debate does tell us something about current policy ambitions on the American left. (READ MORE)

A Supply-Side World - Democrats in Congress remain committed to raising taxes on grounds that tax rates don't much matter to economic growth, and in any case they only help the rich. They may be the last public officials on the planet to believe this. In recent weeks alone, some of the unlikeliest political leaders have endorsed tax rate cuts in the name of making their economies better. (READ MORE)

Lesson From a Banana Republic - We don't make a practice of suggesting bedtime reading to Beltway poobahs, but maybe World Bank President Robert Zoellick should spend some quiet time with Gabriel García Márquez's "In Evil Hour." It's a tale from one banana republic that's peculiarly relevant to his own. (READ MORE)

HillaryCare v. Obama - Once Hillary Clinton got roughed up in Iowa, she was bound to strike back against Barack Obama. Her first line of attack debuted at the Democratic debate over the weekend, and a big part of it concerns health care. Their differences are more political than substantive, but the debate does tell us something about current policy ambitions on the American left. (READ MORE)

GOP Rivals Take Off the Gloves - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday took direct aim at his chief Republican presidential rival here, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, labeling him a Washington insider who cannot bring about change. (READ MORE)

'Elect a Doer, Not a Talker,' Hillary Urges - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York yesterday tried to reframe the Democratic presidential contest as "talk versus action" and "rhetoric versus reality," leveling charges that Sen. Barack Obama has done little more than give impassioned speeches. (READ MORE)

Kenya 'Critical' to U.S. Military - A destabilized Kenya would deprive the United States of one of its staunchest allies in Africa, because Nairobi since September 11 has provided military bases, communications networks and intelligence-sharing to prevent al Qaeda from making inroads on the continent. (READ MORE)

Obama Gets Beefed-Up Protection - Secret Service presence has increased for Sen. Barack Obama since his dramatic win in Iowa, amid fears over the safety of the man seeking to become America's first black president. (READ MORE)

Bishops to Protest Anglican Liberal Tilt - A coalition of conservative Anglican and Episcopal bishops has announced an eight-day conference in Jerusalem in mid-June to register their disenchantment with the liberal direction of the Anglican Communion. (READ MORE)

Bush Bound for Mideast - President Bush will cover thousands of miles but find it hard to break any new ground as he embarks tomorrow on the longest Middle East tour of his presidency. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
A Battlefield Tourist: This Week in Afghanistan: Dec. 30th - Jan. 5th - A Canadian soldier is killed and four others wounded when their T-LAV is hit by a roadside bomb in Zhari District, 13 miles west of Kandahar Airfield. In the same area, Canadian and Afghan troops continue to press on with Operation Winter Storm. So far the operation has produced little success in capturing or killing insurgents. However, troops are finding various weapons caches. (READ MORE)

all expenses paid afghan vacation: jingle culture - This is a long overdue post I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but waiting to gather the appropriate intel…lots of pictures. On the streets we’ve come to know almost as well as our own hometowns you see a few types of vehicles on the road more prominently than any other kind. First you have rickshaw taxis, kind of a 3 wheeled motorcycle with a carriage on the back for the passengers. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Not a Compelling Enough Reason - Found this story on a military forum I frequent- SoCal official's false medal claim defended as free speech: I can tell you how to spot someone who is misrepresenting their military service. The more they talk about what they did, the more they talk about their awards, and the more extravagant those claims are, the more likely they are lying. If you listen to a talk by a Medal of Honor recipient they are more likely to discuss what was going on around them than what they were doing. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: As Dark As Osama's Soul - It's been really really dark around here for the past couple of nights. The night sky where I've been in Afghanistan is usually a thing of wonder; more stars than I've ever seen before, anywhere. I've been in some remote spots, but for some reason the night sky in Afghanistan, at least the parts I've been in, shows more stars than I've ever seen in my life. The Milky Way is a brilliant smear across the sky, and the stars shine so brightly that some constellations are hard to pick out. (READ MORE)

Desert Dude: 6 January - The past few days on the FOB have been the normal same ol stuff…meetings, a little bit of work (very little), crappy food, the gym, and sleep…that’s about it…there are more indications of bad guys entering the area and BOLOs(Be On the Look Out) for suicide car bombers…we had a convoy up to the northern area of our province and on the way back, after passing one of our Combat Out Posts(COP) the COP got hit with three mortar rounds… (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: "Laughter is an instant vacation." -Milton Berle - Theres many things that we have experienced here, some of them good, some of them bad and some of them, well, just there. But theres one thing about being with a group of guys that have become like brothers to you, and thats the ability to just have a good time despite the situation that you find yourself in. That is one of the greatest things I've noticed durring this deployment, is that we can be in a horrible situation (combat related or not) and just make the best of it. The last 2 days, I can honestly say I have had some of the best times here in Iraq, not by anything that we have done mission wise, but just having a good laugh at the expense of myself and others in our platoon. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Rain. We have rain - So, I can count on one hand how many days its rained since May. Make that two now. We've had three near solid days of rain. My new sardine can is leaking like a 62 Chevy through the front door hinge and I've got Gator, the pup, diving in my room at every chance for any reprieve from the elements. He leaves it smelling like a wet Afghan ass (donkey.... well.... maybe), to boot. (READ MORE)

Fightin' 6th Marines: Fightin' 6th and NBC Nightly News - A team from NBC News recently embedded with us to obtain footage of Fallujah and the turnaround that has taken place with the people and the way of life. This segment aired last night and the possibility exists of another piece next week. The Marines of the "Darkhorse Battalion" hosted the crew and provided them a tour of the City of Mosques... (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: My Birthday Feast - I was invited to an important man's house when I was out with a patrol on my birthday. I had been privately sulking that I was working hard on my birthday, my fortieth no less, and it was hardly the big bash I imagined having. The man (who shall remain nameless) did not know it was my birthday yet served what you see here in his home. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: I think these guys are serious - Al-Qaeda wants to give the impression that it is back with a vengeance. The latest message from the terrorists threatens President Bush during his visit to the Middle East this week. Israel has said it will have no fewer than 10,000 policemen on the job. It seems likely that the terrorists want to show they're still around following reports they were largely defeated in Iraq. The recent al-Qaeda attacks on Iraqis involved in the Awakening groups have led to a certain kind of satisfaction among some people. (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: Happy Birthday - to the Iraqi Army! No, seriously, it's their 87th birthday today. As a special treat, I had prepared an interview with some of the "old-head" officers and Soldiers from the Saddam era to compare and contrast his army vs. the current army. It was a great plan, except for the fact that they all took off today. Great. No joke, I think it's quite possible they spend more days off than they do working. Oh well. Keep an eye for that interview, though, because I think it will be an interesting comparison. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Out of the Wire - The first time I rolled out of the wire, I wasn’t as nervous as I probably should have been. I’d woken up with a rare sense of calm that morning, something I attributed to the fact that I was going on a leader’s recon, and thus attached to the hip of the platoon leader whose unit we were replacing. It was still his show, and with the Gravediggers staying back at the FOB for the day under the precise supervision of SFC Big Country, the burden of leadership melted away like a renegade iceberg finding itself alone and powerless in the Caribbean. I was there to listen and absorb, something that was a welcome break from my normal occupational hazards. (READ MORE)

Lt. Nixon Rants: Lengthy Sunday Discussion of Iraq with my Friend A-Ro - I got an email from an old friend, let's call him "A-Ro", since I'm not sure he wants his full name used. One thing that blogging has provided is the reunification with old friends and colleagues through curiosity of current foreign and defense policy. I suppose it's more interesting than Facebook entries celebrating me passing out drunk in various places. He had a lot of questions and his own thoughts, so I figure I would post them: (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 6 DEC 2008 The burned children of Iraq - Today brings another burned child. After the invasion, there was a decrease in the availability of electricity throughout Iraq. Most households have a generator in the home or have access to one. Of course the supply of fuel for those generators is also unreliable. There are often long lines for fuel purchase, and most of the time gasoline or alternate fuel for generators has to be purchased on the black market by illegal resellers. The child I treated today is a four-year-old boy. He was curious about the family's generator, and opened the cap of the fuel tank. There was a flash as the benzene fumes ignited. He was burned over his face, hand, and one of his legs. (READ MORE)

Natt Sanchez: Military Idols - You ever look up to someone, get to know that person better and find out some people are better admired from afar? I first remember seeing Colonel Oliver North raising his hand and giving testimony in front of Congress. I didn't know much at all about the Iran Contra Affair, but so much of communication has little to do with what is said. During the days of the televised hearings, the colonel kept his composure, appeared determined and made a great impression on me. Of course, not everyone agreed, and I heard lots of criticism of Oliver North, but even as a kid, I just knew I had to go with my gut feeling. For me, Colonel North was a decent guy, no matter what his detractors said. (READ MORE)

Northern Disclosure: You're gonna laugh, You're gonna DIE - I am not from the State of Utah, but right now I am a fan of Utah. SGT Jill Stevens a National Guard Soldier and Medic has won Miss Utah! Yes, there are good looking women in the Army, to include the National Guard but this is not why I am excited. I have watched these pageants in the past and wondered if these women realized what they were talking about and if push came to shove would they do something about it. Here we have a citizen, a soldier, a HERO (awarded the Combat Medical Badge for redering aid under fire and in combat) and woman that can only bring credit and pride to our entire Nation. (READ MORE)

ON Point: The Ghosts of Fallujah - Today's Feature is a video written and shot Monday by the Marines in Falluah. The war is changing; from the opening gambit of March 2003 when the Arty bubba's of 1st Battalion 10th Marines levelled the city of An-Nasiriyah, to the Marines fighting door-to-door in Fallujah in November 2005...now we're writing and reporting about civil affairs, government meetings, and trash pick-up. But the ghosts of Fallujah remain, and as 3rd Battalion 5th Marines return to Fallujah for yet another tour, these Marines wonder about the future of the city as they remember the horrors and heroics of November 2004. These are your Marines in Iraq today - let your News Years Resolutions for 2008 include them. (READ MORE)

Richard's 15 Month Deployment to Afghanistan: One last Salerno post. I promise - For anyone interested, the 48th Combat Support Hospital, out of Fort Meade, MD, has taken over the mission at the Salerno Hospital. Although I don't know of any blogger from that unit (yet!), they do have a unit website. There is not much on the website as of today, but I would expect much more as they get settled in to their new "home". Here's the address: http://www.48cshfwd.com/ I wish them good luck, and great success. They've got a beautiful new facility and a great mission. (READ MORE)

Sergeant Grumpy: Wringing in the New Year - Well the Holidaze are over and we are back in the swing of things. My ankle was almost back to 100% from the last time we got mortared, and sure as shit when we got hit recently, I twisted my ankle really bad. Every damn time, I am running to get to my gun crew and I twist my ankle on these fucking rocks that serve no purpose other than to make you lose you footing. I swear I'd like to wring the neck of whatever jackass dumped this stuff all over the compound. (Must have been the lowest bidder) (READ MORE)

Sgt Hook: MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) Vehicle - They are popping up all over the place here in Iraq. The MRAP Vehicles have been long anticipated by those driving on Iraqi roadways and the procurement guys back in Washington have done a good job of getting them into theater. The other day I was talking with a pilot who told me that he was flying the night previously and did a double take when he saw the odd looking vehicle driving up the MSR in a CLP of about six. As the pilot brought his Kiowa Warrior around for a better look at the colossal truck his night vision devices momentarily suffered a white out from the blinding flash of an explosion. An IED had detonated just as the lead MRAP drove across it. (READ MORE)

Tragically Famous: Attention to orders - The Secretary of the Army has reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professional excellence of Anthony Vaccariello. In view of these qualities and his demonstrated leadership potential and dedicated service to the U.S. Army, he is therefore, promoted from Specialist to Sergeant… Promotion is effective 1 Jan 2008. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Families left home alone are the real heroes - GHAZNI, Afghanistan -- You learn a lot about yourself when you're deployed to a war zone. You learn even more about the family you leave back home. The hardships of the soldier downrange have been well documented. I've done my share of "woe is me" writing over the past several months. But the truth is the greatest burdens are shouldered by the spouses and children who never have to leave the comforts of home. We throw the word "hero" around today, but I am one of those who feels it should be reserved for those who deserve it. In my mind, no one is more worthy than those who never signed up to serve their country, yet find themselves serving nonetheless. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Men of Valor: Part V - William Rigby and his identical twin brother John were in 4 Rifles. On their 23rd birthday, John was up in the hatch of a Bulldog when a bomb detonated and a piece of shrapnel struck his head, mortally wounding him. William was by John’s side when he passed, and accompanied his brother home. The Regiment gave William the choice to stay home or return to Basra. When he elected to return to see the mission through, William’s personal strength added fiber to the Battle Group. I’d heard soldiers—including senior officers—mention his name with admiration. On October 8, I was eating lunch with some British soldiers in Basra. I didn’t know any of them, but could tell they were veterans by their eyes and the way they talked. They were quiet, professional, and exceptionally polite. Sitting in front of me was one young soldier who in particular radiated a special kind of character. I didn’t know his name at the time, but later learned he was William Rigby. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John Fund: Hold the Pork - This week President Bush will make one of the most important decisions of his remaining time in office. It won't get headlines or lead the news, but it could play a major role in deciding whether this country ever gets any kind of grip on the constantly growing federal budget. Just before Christmas, Congress sent Mr. Bush a $516 billion omnibus spending bill stuffed with 8,993 special-interest earmarks. To make matters worse, most of the earmarks aren't even in the language of the law itself. They were slipped into a 900-page "committee report" that represented the wish-lists of the Senate and House appropriations committees. (READ MORE)

Dorothy Rabinowitz: McCain's Promise - In the first hours of the Iowa caucus count, on-air pundits suggested a disappointment in store for John McCain, who'd hoped to finish third, but was tailing well behind Fred Thompson. Then a camera crew found Sen. McCain, who looked, as he does of late, like a man in touch with some reality the news gatherers have yet to catch up with (he ended up in a tie with Sen. Thompson). We're becoming accustomed again to his sparkle, that glint of humor in his eyes and the self-possession which seemed to vanish for a while when the death knells for his campaign began ringing out last year, along with predictions he would soon leave the field for lack of money. (READ MORE)

Kimberly A. Strassel: The New New Mitt -MANCHESTER, N.H.--"Washington is simply broken," exclaimed a dogged Mitt Romney at a town-hall meeting here the day after his Iowa caucus defeat. "Sending the same people back to Washington and just having them fill different chairs is not going to change Washington. If you want to change Washington, it'll take somebody going there who knows how to change things." America, meet the new Mitt Romney. Having been walloped in Iowa by upstart Mike Huckabee, the man who loves data took a look at the dismal Iowa numbers and concluded America is looking for a "change" candidate. (READ MORE)

Douglas MacKinnon: U.S. Military Defeats Fourth Estate - The new year means resolutions, and we can only hope that the Fourth Estate will make at least one of its own: A resolution that, for the sake of the nation, puts honorable journalism before political, cultural or religious bias, before competition, and before ratings. While complaining about bias and unprofessional conduct by the media is nothing new in the post-Sept. 11 world we inhabit, the consequences of purposely flawed reporting have been magnified exponentially. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: The Laugh's On Us - "I know of no American who starts from a higher level of aspiration than the journalist. He plans to be both an artist and a moralist - a master of lovely words and merchant of sound ideas. He ends, commonly, as the most depressing jackass of his community - that is, if his career goes on to what is called a success." -H.L. Mencken There was once a Broadway play - it was really a less than subtle campaign ad for Adlai Stevenson - called "The Best Man." The plot? To sum it up, Our Hero decides to do the right thing and so loses the presidential nomination to an unscrupulous Richard Nixon type. (READ MORE)

Star Parker: Huckabee and Obama: A study in contrasts - In almost poetic lockstep, Republican and Democratic caucus voters in Iowa rejected the political establishment. In picking Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama, they selected candidates who, at this time last year, conventional wisdom would have deemed inconceivable. Beyond this common denominator, and equally fascinating, is the fact that these two candidates and two political stories are mirror images of each other. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: My Anti-Feminist Fatwa - In 2004, Elizabeth Ervin, then-Director of the UNC-Wilmington Women’s Resource Center (WRC) sent a mass email to some feminists participating in a discussion on a list serve at Dartmouth College. Under the subject line “I need some support!” she complained that a group of feminist speakers coming to give a talk during Women’s History Month (formerly known as “March”) had received death threats. She suggested I was responsible for the death threats. Ervin said: (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: McCain Promises Bin Laden's Head - John McCain promised he would “get” Osama Bin Laden if he were elected President in 2008 in a GOP televised debate two days before the second in nation New Hampshire primary. ““I know how to get him and I’m gonna get him” McCain said on the campus of St. Anselm College on Manchester. Moderator Chris Wallace followed up on McCain’s promise later in the debate. Wallace asked McCain if he had heard him say he would catch the terrorist. (READ MORE)

The Anchoress: The Assassination Obsessives - The worst thing about the Baby Boom generation - besides their delusional belief that everything that came before them needed changing because it was all wrong or lacking in sufficient meaning, is that they keep wanting to re-create those “seminal” moments of their adolescence and young adulthood. That’s why in the late 80’s our entertainment was stuck on “The Wonder Years,” “Thirtysomething” and “The Big Chill,” and it’s why the war in Iraq was never going to be narrated as anything but “The Vietnam Quagmire.” The assassinations of the 1960’s could arguably be called the signal events of the age. The murders of JFK, RKF and Martin Luther King were public events of great drama, lasting psychological impact and “shared” experience, which brought out the best and worst in people, sometimes at nearly identical moments. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: It's Not Covert When You Plaster It On The Front Page - The New York Times fronts a story reporting that the US is considering a new covert push inside Pakistan to go after Taliban and al Qaeda inside the country. How can such an operation remain covert if it's plastered on the front page? Why publicize this? All such news can do is further threaten to destabilize the situation in Pakistan and force Musharraf to answer uncomfortable questions in a way that will make it more difficult for him to deal with the Islamists and hold the country together such as it is. (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: And Once Again - The snare is beating slow and the pipes are wailing somewhere far away. A man I never met, but always read and respected, was killed in the Diyala province of Iraq yesterday. Major Andrew Olmsted was a member of a Military Training Team- the guys that eat and sleep in small teams among Iraqi troops as they groom them into professional soldiers. He and another member of his team, Captain Thomas Casey, were killed by small arms fire. While in Iraq, he blogged at his own site, until the DOD found him in violation of policy. He moved to posting on the Rocky Mountain News website, which is where I found him many months ago. (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: This Decade's Training Camp - It's tempting to rerun my column on Pakistan from a month ago. Not because I predicted the assassination of Benazir Bhutto or offered any other great insight, but rather for the opposite reason: "Everyone's an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything: General Musharraf should do this, he shouldn't have done that, the State Department should lean on him to do the other... Well, I dunno. It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate when offering advice to Islamabad." Oh, well. In the stampede of instant experts unveiling their Pakistani solutions-in-a-box, some contributions are worthy of special attention. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is apparently running for the Democratic Presidential nomination, was in no doubt about what needs to happen in the next, oh, 48 hours: (READ MORE)

The Shield of Achilles: Bloggers must stick together - When it comes to issues of free speech, bloggers should form a united front regardless of their particular ideology. Generally, most agree, but there are quite a few that think there should be "exceptions" for those that are too far opposed to their own standards of decency, or who commit religious "blasphemy". I don't feel that way. I attack other bloggers all the time for the things they say, but I have never suggested that they be banned or prosecuted for it. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Liberal Paranoia Running Wild: Blackwater Is Going To Kill Obama! - Perhaps unsurprisingly, from the Huffington Post, here's history professor (Can you imagine having this loon teaching your children) Joseph Palermo speculating that Blackwater is going to murder Obama, "In 2008, Obama is gaining momentum, and hopefully people inside his organization are cognizant of the fact that he constitutes a very real threat to the likes of Blackwater, Dyncorps, Halliburton, and the hundreds of other private companies currently profiteering from the Iraq occupation.” (READ MORE)

Right Truth: TuTu to the rescue, and other world news - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sierra Leone's President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and others have "met with Kenya's two top leaders to help find a peaceful resolution to the ethnic violence that has killed more than 300 people since last week's disputed presidential vote." (CSM) “And in their respective headquarters, populist opposition leader Raila Odinga and incumbent President Mwai Kibaki continue to dig in their heels and demand that their rival step aside. Yet, amid the ethnic clashes, there are a few signs of hope that the crisis that followed Kenya's Dec. 27 national elections might be moving toward resolution.” (READ MORE)

McQ: Don’t look behind the curtain, Dorthy - If you can't gather them locally, import them. It's all about how it looks before the cameras after all: “Reporters who walked into this Nashua high school today were immediately struck by the crowd - there are visibly more people here for Sen. Hillary Clinton than were here for Sen. Barack Obama yesterday in the same location. The Clinton crowd was loud and boisterous and their foot-stomping was thunderous. Many of them were also from Massachusetts.” And many of them were from New York as well: (READ MORE)

Richard S. Lowry: Recording History Part IX - The war never really ended in Fallujah - In the spring of 2003, the All Americans of the 82nd Airborne Division were given the mission of securing the wild-west town of Fallujah, thirty miles west of Baghdad. They never had enough combat power to clear the city of an increasing number of enemy fighters. On April 28, 2003 a protest within the city turned violent and 15 Iraqis were killed, further inflaming the population. The increasing violence throughout the summer and fall of 2003 prompted the American commanders to withdraw their forces to a series of camps outside the city. Fallujah became a safe haven and rallying point for hardened Saddam supporters, former Ba’ath party leaders, Republican Guard, Iraqi Army diehards and, finally, Islamic fundamentalists. LtGen Richard Natonski characterized the enemy in the city in a recent interview. “These were hardcore insurgents who wanted nothing more than to kill Americans.” (READ MORE)

Neptuns Lex: Because success is unacceptable - Gateway Pundit has an interesting bit of video from last night’s Democratic debate, as ABC News commentator Charles Gibson asks the candidates whether any of them are ready to admit that the surge of forces to Iraq - which all of them opposed - has been successful. The candidates were not of course, which - given the facts as they were presented to them - makes for an awkward television moment. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Uh, War Still On - Captain’s Journal, run by a pair of Marine dads one of whom is back from an extensive combat embed, recommends a long view on Iraq and Afghanistan at a time when the nation is decidedly out of focus on the issue. Here’s Spiri, post-embed, re carrying on. Meanwhile, erstwhile fan of jacked-up Iraqi civilian death toll rediscovers his skepticism, without ever letting it go. Immoderate Mullen at Moderate Voice while acknowledging he was way off when he embraced Lancet’s politically motivated death tally, makes the remarkable statement that the Iraq war is something Iraqi civilians “neither invited nor deserved.” (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: (Video) Dick Morris says Hillary will use race to beat Obama - This is from H&C last night — well known ex-Clintonista turned Hillary hater Dick Morris cites Bill Clinton’s Sister Souljah moment to predict that Hillary will use race to defeat Obama. But among the points he expects Hillary to use against Obama is that he’s “not experienced enough” to be elected. That’s not a racist statement, and it happens to be true imho. It’s also true of Hillary, for whatever that’s worth. If she or a surrogate says the country “isn’t ready” to elect Obama, well, that’s closer to making a race-based case against Obama. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: CNN: “Significant” confrontation between U.S. and Iranian navies in Persian Gulf - “Significant” being a relative term: No shots were actually fired, although they were right on the brink. Telling a U.S. Navy ship “You will explode in a couple of minutes” usually isn’t a good idea. What’s bizarre about it is that it’s hard to believe it was accidental — but it’s also so small-scale that it’s hard to believe it was fully intentional. If Iran wanted to provoke America, this seems like an awfully penny-ante way of doing it. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: A Letter to Gordon Brown About Lionheart - I’ve posted several times recently about the plight of the British blogger Lionheart, who is facing arrest when he returns to the UK. Earlier today I received this email from the Danish blogger Anders Bruun Laursen: “Today I have mailed the following message to Prime Minister Gordon Brown as well as to the UK Home Office. I am going to make this an open letter on my blog www.euro-med.dk and other blogs as well. I think it would be expedient if Gates of Vienna also brought up this letter — and asked its readers to also write Mr. Gordon Brown. For this is a matter of survival of democracy — not only in the UK, but in all of Europe.” Here is the text of the letter Mr. Laursen sent to 10 Downing Street: (READ MORE)

Fjordman: Expo and the Islamophobes - The Swedish far-Left, anti-racist organization Expo recently released a publication ( pdf, in Swedish) entitled “Kriget mot islam,” “The war against Islam,” in which they worried about an increasing trend towards “organized Islamophobia” in the West. According to them, “Parallel with the growth of SIOE, a new anti-Islamic network of academics, bloggers and politicians is taking shape. The network has no formal name, but meets at so-called anti-Jihad conferences. The first known meeting was in Copenhagen on the 14th of April this year. Behind the event was the network Center for Vigilant Freedom (CVF).” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Say what? - Hillary: “After 9/11, I would never have taken us to war in Iraq.” Geoff Earle of the New York Post, stuck covering Team Hillary, caught her telling this whopper in New Hampshire: “After 9/11, I would never have taken us to war in Iraq.” What? She voted to authorize the war in Iraq in October 2002. What did she think she was voting for? A resolution commemorating each Dec. 18 as Marc Rich Day? (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Commitment to Iraq and Recommitment to Afghanistan - In Standing up the Iraqi Army I discussed the fact that Iraq would probably be a protectorate of the U.S. for a decade. In Kurds Desire Long Term U.S. Presence, I followed this up with a discussion of the likely ‘look and feel’ of long term U.S. commitment. Regardless of what formal agreements the Iraqi government enters into with the U.S., and what the U.N. does or doesn’t authorize the U.S. to do or for how long, the Kurds desire the long term U.S. presence and are willing to negotiate a separate agreement or arrangement with the U.S. (READ MORE)

Blogmeister: UK Blogger to be Arrested for Shining the Light on Islamic Jihad - Holy crap, it's come to this: British blogger Lionheart is to be arrested for speaking out against those Muslims who would take over not just Britain, but America and the rest of the Western world in order to create a 21st Century caliphate under radical Islam, and either force us to live under dhimmitude, force us to convert, or outright kill us. From his site: “I am currently out of the Country and on my return home to England I am going to be arrested by British detectives on suspicion of Stirring up Racial Hatred by displaying ‘written material’ contrary to sections 18(1) and 27(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Muslims call for 'no-go' CoE bishop to resign - It's hard to predict what number the band will play, but one thing is sure: the curtain's been raised. The Telegraph reports: “Religious groups have demanded the resignation of the Bishop of Rochester after he claimed that Islamic radicals had turned parts of Britain into ‘no-go’ areas for non-Muslims. The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that fundamentalism had made some communities hostile to Christians and those from other faiths. But Mohammed Shafiq, from the Ramadhan Foundation, said: ‘Mr Nazir-Ali is promoting hatred towards Muslims and should resign.’” Mark Steyn was the canary in the coal mine. Now that the gas has reached the main gallery the problem is now whether to inhale or hold their breaths. Having gone so far to appease the most menacing of its multicultural menagerie the politically correct class must now decide whether to fish or cut bait. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Debate Night: Pandering Against The Machine - Ye Gods. In a fit of insane boredom madness, the Blog Princess finally succumbed to the temptation to watch the presidential debates. Since her head is still reeling, an Unkind Fate has decreed that you must suffer too. Until now, she eschewed the unending parade of pre-inaugural utterance fests on the theory that they offer about the same entertainment/intellectual value as feeding American Gladiator, ElimaDate and How to Look Good Naked into an underpowered Cuisinart with no lid and hitting "Snooze". Modern science is actually quite compelling on this point. Rigorous longitudinal studies have irrefutably established that for each presidential primary We the People endure, another 50 points mysteriously disappear from the average SAT scores of the year's crop of graduating seniors: (READ MORE)

Mark Tapscott: Bush faces 'PATCO moment" on anti-earmarks Executive Order - Soon after being sworn in for his first term, President Ronald Reagan made one of the most important decisions of his entire eight years in the White House. The air traffic controllers union - PATCO - struck the federal government. Reagan fired every single one of them. Not only did that show Reagan's domestic political opponents that he meant business, it also showed the Soviets that here was an American president who meant what he said and said what he meant. President Bush now has the opportunity for a PATCO moment on earmarks, according to The Heritage Foundation's Mike Franc, a veteran of the Capitol Hill wars and an immensely respected conservative legislative strategist. (READ MORE)

Bill Jempty: Naturalization wait times - Less than a year ago, CIS increased the fees charged to people applying for US citizenship and other immigration status. This resulted in a flood of a naturalization applications by legal immigrants. The LA Times reports some of these soon to be US citizens are impatient over the time they will have to wait before becoming citizens and the possibility they may therefore be ineligible to vote. “Moreno, a legal immigrant from Guatemala who came to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago, applied for citizenship this summer so she would be able to vote -- starting with the 2008 presidential election.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Report: Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator captured in Pakistan - A senior al Qaeda commander has been reported to have been captured in the Pakistani city of Lahore, according to a Pakistani newspaper. Dr. Amin al Haq, the security coordinator of Osama bin Laden’s Black Guard, “was apprehended from Lahore couple of days back,” The Nation reported, citing “credible Afghan sources.” Al Haq is said to be “under interrogation” at an undisclosed location. The report of al Haq’s capture has not been confirmed, a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal. US intelligence agencies are aware of the report. Al Haq has a long pedigree with both the Taliban and al Qaeda. He was born in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, was educated as a physician, and practiced medicine in Pakistan. (READ MORE)

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