April 3, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/03/2008

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)
Alliance Invites In Croatia, Albania - BUCHAREST, Romania, April 2 -- NATO's political leaders agreed Wednesday night to admit Croatia and Albania into the military alliance, but after a vigorous debate they effectively rejected President Bush's bid to put two former Soviet republics on the path to membership. (READ MORE)

It Might Be a Recession, Fed Chief Tells Congress - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke acknowledged yesterday for the first time that the United States may be in a recession, projecting that the economy could shrink during the first half of this year. (READ MORE)

A Century-Long War? Not Exactly - The charge that Republican Sen. John McCain wants the Iraq conflict to become a "100-year war" has become a recurring theme in Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The Democrat has made the claim several times on the campaign trail, as has Susan Rice, one of his top foreign policy advisers.... (READ MORE)

Chinese Spy 'Slept' In U.S. for 2 Decades - Prosecutors called Chi Mak the "perfect sleeper agent," though he hardly looked the part. For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor... (READ MORE)

Georgia, Ukraine NATO bid dropped - The Bush administration yesterday backed off its insistence that two former Soviet bloc countries be invited to enter NATO's membership process at today's summit, after European countries refused to bow to U.S. pressure. (READ MORE)

Barr bid could hurt McCain - Can a conservative former congressman who helped impeach President Clinton, is a board member of the National Rifle Association and has done contract work with the ACLU dent Sen. John McCain's presidential bid? (READ MORE)

Obama welcomes Gore's advice - Sen. Barack Obama's six-day Pennsylvania bus tour ended yesterday with news he'd chipped away at his rival's lead and a promise that Al Gore would be welcome to battle climate change in an Obama White House. (READ MORE)

S. Africa presses Mugabe to honor vote results - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) yesterday made clear that it expects the government of neighboring Zimbabwe to accept the results of Saturday's election, in which the opposition won an outright majority in parliament and could unseat long-ruling President Robert Mugabe. (READ MORE)

Home-school ruling centers on protection - When a California court ruled that two children could not be taught at home, it became a cause celebre for those claiming that home-schooling was being outlawed. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Suzanne Fields: Politics is Sexual: Body Language Tells the Candidates' Stories - There he was, a man making a serious run for the White House, taking questions from a panel of women who were used to talking about their hot flashes on national television. Barack Obama lopes onto the stage -- tall and handsome, like a basketball star, but in a jacket and tie as if to keep the girls from fighting over his letter sweater. This is the television show The New York Times describes as "an estrogen-intense zone," an updated version of the kitchen table coffee klatch, where women get together to gossip over the latest public fad and private foibles in their lives. They're usually flustered when there's a man around to hear what they're saying. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Obama's Dimestore 'Mein Kampf'- If characters from "The Hills" were to emote about race, I imagine it would sound like B. Hussein Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father." Has anybody read this book? Inasmuch as the book reveals Obama to be a flabbergasting lunatic, I gather the answer is no. Obama is about to be our next president: You might want to take a peek. If only people had read "Mein Kampf" ... Nearly every page -- save the ones dedicated to cataloguing the mundane details of his life -- is bristling with anger at some imputed racist incident. The last time I heard this much race-baiting invective I was ... in my usual front-row pew, as I am every Sunday morning, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: The Year That Wasn't - 2008 was supposed to have been an ideal year for the Democratic Party. There's an unpopular, lame-duck Republican president presiding over an iffy economy and an unpopular war. Plus, the Democrats won big in the 2006 elections, and there's no Republican vice president in the race to draw on the power of incumbency. No wonder that for much of 2007, the polls suggested that the only mystery would be by how much Sen. Hillary Clinton would beat former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the general election. Indeed, for Democrats not to walk into the presidency in November 2008, the conventional wisdom was that the absolute unthinkable would have to transpire. And now it almost has. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: King's Imprint - Certain events imprint the mind with images time cannot erase. People of one generation recall where they were when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. People of another remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Then there was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 40 years ago, April 4. I was a young man having dinner with an old man at an upscale private club in Atlanta. When the news came in, it was whispered from table to table. There were shocked murmurs, heads shook. That night I caught the last flight from Atlanta to Washington. As the plane began to descend toward National Airport, I saw the city of my birth in flames. (READ MORE)

Rebecca Hagelin: Navigating the Numbers - You know the expression “The numbers don’t lie”? Well, after you spend a few minutes perusing The Heritage Foundation’s new “2008 Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts,” you may wish they did. Ever wonder where your tax money goes? How much the “richest 1 percent” shells out in taxes? How bad congressional pork-barrel spending is? What it will take to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits to the baby boomers? How high the federal budget deficit is set to climb in the decades ahead? The pathetic truth is boldly presented in Heritage’s Book of Charts, along with the answers to many other questions. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: Heeding Labor's Demand? - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Bush next week will send Congress a trade agreement forcing Democrats there to make an unpleasant choice. Will they follow the bidding of organized labor and reject a pact negotiated more than a year and a half ago with the country's strongest ally and best customer in South America? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want to make her members cast votes on the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. It is unconditionally opposed by the AFL-CIO, which is uninterested in negotiating changes. But to forget about a vote this year as Pelosi wants would be akin to an outright rejection in its international implications. (READ MORE)

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: Gore Remains A Mystery To All But Al - Even as the rest of the Democratic Party around him takes sides in the epic struggle of Clinton vs. Obama, Al Gore remains inscrutable, silent, above the battle. His gigantic but unspoken presence is raising rumors and fueling speculation. Joe Klein, writing in Time Magazine, even suggested a scenario where a deadlocked convention turns its lonely eyes to Al. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson comes out for Obama, and so do Ted Kennedy and Bill Bradley. Govs. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jon Corzine of New Jersey back Hillary. Even House Speaker Nancy P elosi, while avoiding an endorsement, speaks out to ask superdelegates to respect the will of the voters. (READ MORE)

Michael Reagan: Haditha: The Collapse of a Liberal Fiction - You'd hardly know it if you relied on the mainstream media, but the government's case against the Haditha Marines took another body blow last Friday that may be the beginning of the end for this whole sorry attempt to severely punish eight heroic United States Marines for doing what they are trained to do. In a surprise development on the day Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum's court martial was scheduled to begin, all charges against him were dropped without explanation. Tatum, facing charges of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault that could have sent him to prison for 18 years, was the fifth Marine -- and the second of three enlisted men -- to be exonerated, leaving only one enlisted Marine still facing court martial. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: '100 Year' Charges Misleading, Say News Orgs - A trio of reputable organizations say Democratic-led charges, including those made by presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, that GOP candidate John McCain supports 100 years of war are misleading. The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and Annenberg Public Policy Center have issued articles explaining how Democrats have been taking a statement McCain made on the campaign trial out of context for political advantage. At a stop in New Hampshire last January McCain was asked at a town hall meeting about how President Bush “has talked about our staying in Iraq fifty years.” McCain replied: “McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We've been in South Korea, we've been in Japan for sixty years. (READ MORE)

Nina May: Democrats Have Kept Racism Alive - There was a big problem with Barack’s mea culpa speech in Philadelphia, defending his racist pastor, Jeremiah White. He failed to mention that over 300,000 white Americans gave their lives to end slavery. He didn’t mention that in 1854, abolitionists left the Democratic Party and founded the Republican Party specifically for the purpose of ending slavery and giving equal rights to all those who had been in bondage. And when he does mention the 3/5ths clause in the Constitution, he totally got it wrong, the way most Americans do. News flash . . . it was the abolitionists who insisted on it so that the slave holding states could not have their slaves counting as constituents so they could get more pro-slavery representation in congress. (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Choir Preacher - That was 91-year-old American author Herman Wouk, who filled bookshelves with "The Caine Mutiny," "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance," meeting with Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, who it's worth noting has tried but failed numerous times to resurrect a "Truman Committee" to fight waste, fraud and profiteering during wartime. "You know, I don't know much about what happened after 1945, but I know everything that happened before 1945," the senator paraphrased Mr. Wouk as remarking during their meeting. "Do you know anything about the Truman Committee?" One can only imagine Mr. Dorgan's expression at that moment. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Barack Obama's Antiwar Coalition - I've been researching a post on "paleoconservatism," so I'm intrigued to see Philip Giraldi's new essay over at the Huffington Post, "Obama the Conservative Choice." Giraldi's highlighting Andrew Bacevich and his endorsement of Barack Obama at the American Conservative. This is a very interesting development, holding considerable significance for the fall election if Obama's the nominee. Here's a bit from Giraldi: “Many traditional conservatives (not the neocon subspecies) are embarrassed by George Bush and are looking for a way out of the foreign and domestic policy nightmare that he has engineered.” (READ MORE)

The Anchoress: Is Limbaugh subverting a sacred trust? - Cobb is sayingRush Limbaugh has crossed a line with Operation Chaos, and he even has a cartoon up about it. My take on “Operation Chaos” is that Rush is doing several things, here - he’s demonstrating his sway, he’s enjoying making mischief (and hoping that when the press talks about “Hillary winning and demonstrating momentum” they’ll mention his “Operation,”) and he’s getting a feel for just how strong may be the desire of conservatives to — not now, but in coming years — jump the GOP ship and form a more demonstrably “conservative” party. Rush is justifying “Operation Chaos” by suggesting that since Democrats routinely play around with some Republican primaries (I believe the Kos folks did something similar) this is an acceptable thing for conservatives to do. (READ MORE)

The Captains' Journal: As the Smoke Clears Over Basra … - The Long War Journal is discussing the idea that the Iraqi Army is following in the footsteps of the U.S. Army in dividing the Mahdi militia into legitimate actors and criminals. We respectfully disagree. Both Badr and the Mahdi militia have taken weapons and received training from Iran, and also serve Iranian intentions of undermining stability in Iraq, notwithstanding the show of political legitimacy by Badr. The SIIC and Sadrists will not become a legitimate part of Iraq until force is projected into their camp and ties with Iran are cut. We continue to believe that Operation Cavalry Charge has adequate forces and that the root problem is a lack of political will on the part of both Maliki and the Iraqi Army. Recent reports justify this narrative. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Bill Clinton Gone Wild; Again - Bill Clinton unleashed his fury on several California super delegates while attempting to garner their support for his wife’s bid for the presidency. The meeting started out as an affable gathering with Bill working the room. Then, Rachel Binah mentioned how she was sorry to hear that James Carville had referred to Bill Richardson as Judas. This seems to have been the trigger that sent Clinton into a rage. Clinton, who has a short flash to bang time anyway, went from a congenial fellow to a red faced, finger pointing lunatic accusing the media of unfair treatment and saying that Richardson had promised not to endorse at least five times. (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Hanoi Jane Picks A Candidate - Jane Fonda has endorsed - or at least said that she is voting for, Barack Obama. “Less examined is whether some celebrity endorsements may actually cost a candidate votes. This could be one of those less desirable votes for part of the country, especially if Obama was hoping to attract some crossover Republicans if he's the Democratic candidate come fall.” Fonda, of course, did so much more than just sit at the battery. She was also part and parcel of the North Vietnamese propaganda machine - a willing participant to that. More importantly, after the POWs began returning, she denied they had been tortured: (READ MORE)

Blue Star Chronicles: The Pig Book is Out and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are Top Porkers - You win some, you lose some. In this case, Hillary Clinton is at the top of the ticket. According to the Pig Book she has beat out her competition for taking home the most pork. Meanwhile Barack Obama, a brand spanking new Senator, gets second place. That’s a lot of pork for such a new Senator. It has to take a certain amount of arrogance nerve for a first term Senator to sneak that many pet projects into legislation. Of course, it helps when you understand that the democratic mindset is that any money you earn is theirs to take in taxes and spend as they see fit. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: A PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSION WITH ECONOMIC HALLUCINOSIS - IBD says that journalists are suffering from depression: “Journalism: It's been said the press notice the homeless problem only when a Republican's in office. The same could be said for food stamps, which the media now are using as an economic indicator…” Indeed. I saw the same thing happen here in Michigan when John Engler (a Republican) was governor. Not a day went by where he wasn't excoriated in the press because of policies that "hurt the poor" etc. blah blah blah. He made front page news daily because he supported proposals that would cut entitlements and trying to balance the budget. Since Jennifer Granholm (guess which party?) has been in charge, the state economy has descended into the toilet and major cuts have been imposed, but these cuts were always "necessary" and, her saintly name is rarely mentioned in connection to them, except with a positive spin. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Hysterics On The John Yoo Memo - Much teeth mashing and hyperbole is coming forth from the left on the declassified memo written by John Yoo today. The memo was written to give some advice to the administration and the Pentagon about the use of interrogation techniques in interrogating al-Qaeda and other enemies. Here is the always hysterical Glenn Greenwald: “The fact that John Yoo is a Professor of Law at Berkeley and is treated as a respectable, serious expert by our media institutions, reflects the complete destruction over the last eight years of whatever moral authority the United States possessed. Comporting with long-held stereotypes of two-bit tyrannies, we’re now a country that literally exempts our highest political officials from the rule of law, and have decided that there should be no consequences when they commit serious felonies.” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Intelligent Revolutionary? - Kristan Wheaton, blogging at Sources and Methods, links to an article by Barron YoungSmith in The New Republic, purported to explore Presidential Candidate Barack Obama’s “revolutionary” proposals for intelligence-gathering. As an aside prior to commenting on YoungSmith’s article, Wheaton works as an Intelligence Educator at the very intelligence-savvy Mercyhurst College, and moonlights as a blogger on intelligence related topics at Sources and Methods. She’s prolific, informed, non-partisan from what I have seen, and she’s in my blog roll. I don’t know that I want to keep repeating “YoungSmith” to accord with my journalistic stylebook. Maybe this is a new affectation as alternative for hyphenated names. But I keep thinking of Senator Paine (Claude Rains) or Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) making slight reference to poor Jefferson Smith (Jimmie Stewart) in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: Hadassah Hears A WHO:Cure For Rockets Against Sderot? - Facetiously, what if the world-leading Hadassah hospital opened a facility in Sderot, just to care for desperately ill Gazans? Would Hamas stop its terror rockets against Sderot? What do you think? The World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative for Gaza and the West Bank issued a report criticizing Israeli security for slowing the access of Gazans to Israeli hospitals, saying – as the Associated Press reports -- “The U.N. agency listed 32 cases since October in which Gaza residents, ranging from a 1-year-old child to a 77-year-old man, died because they could not obtain urgent medical treatment.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Presidents' kids aren't always off limits - Chelsea Clinton is no longer entitled to softball questions. Twice now, Chelsea Clinton, 28, has been asked whether how her mother handled her father's much-publicized affair affects the public's perception of her mother, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. Judging by the reaction of most people on the cable TV news channels, this was bad form. At least one person has wondered why the press doesn't ask embarrassing questions of Meghan McCain, 23, whose father is Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Good point. But why didn't the press ask Miss Clinton these questions? (READ MORE)

Freedom Eden: Bad Blood Between Bill and Bill - Let's not pretend that the Democrat Party is one big happy diverse family. The battle to be the presidential nominee is so bitter. If it ended tomorrow, that wouldn't undo the damage that's been done. “SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Former President Clinton is still smarting over New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama. During a private meeting with California Democrats this past weekend, Clinton grew red-faced as he talked about how he expected Richardson, who was a member of Clinton's Cabinet, to back Hillary Rodham Clinton for the presidential nomination or at least stay neutral, according to several people who attended. Instead, Richardson endorsed Obama late last month, calling him a ‘once-in-a-lifetime leader.’” (READ MORE)

SFC MAC: The Difference Between Victory and Defeat, MSM Style - Looks like the Iraqis didn’t get the leftwing MSM memo about Sadr’s ‘victory’ in Operation Cavalry Charge. Below is a Reuters photo of hundreds of Iraqis in Basra lining up to enlist in the Iraq Army. Nibras Kazimi at Talisman Gate has more: “The western media operating in Iraq regurgitated the Mahdi Army’s bravado as fact thereby serving as useful propaganda tools for the criminal cartels. I’d single out the New York Times, the Associated Press, McClatchy and CNN as the worst transgressors. Many journalists were positively orgasmic in anticipation of another ‘intifada’ or uprising to crease Bush’s message of hope and regeneration. But as the dust began to clear and the real scope of the battle was revealed, these journalists were reduced to alarmism of the ‘What if Martians decide to invade Basra too?’ variety.” (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Hillary's new "3 a.m." ad -- an exercise in ridiculousness - Allah's got it, and yes, it's beyond ridiculous. With this ad, people can see that Hillary is grasping at straws. See, the ad is all about her getting that infamous 3 a.m. phone call about ((GASP)) home foreclosures. Yes, you can yawn now. See, the point of the 3 a.m. ad that McCain ran was about foreign policy experience and national security experience. It's about that call that no president wants to get at that time. Another attack on the US. An attack on our allies abroad. An attack on our interests abroad. Etc., etc. We know the drill. Imagine being the president and receiving a phone call that New York or LA have just been nuked? Or that a dirty bomb has been detonated in Kentucky? Or that Iran has just announced they have a working nuclear weapon. These are the scenarios that a 3 a.m. phone call should imply. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep In The Hooah!: Big War, Small War … what is this? Dr. Seuess? - Guest blogger, guest blogger … guess who? ME! Good ol‘ Mr. Hooah! (Oh no! Not again Mr.Bill! Of course if you get the reference then your older than dirt, like me.) The lady of the house let me back in here just to drop a quick line or two. She’s nice like that. She’s so nice that she even bought me the last issue of Newsweek just because it was the issue marking five years in Iraq. Her hope was for me to blog on a particular story. Too bad I’m not doing that. I found another story I wanted to comment on first. Just like a man isn’t it? You ask him to do one thing and he does another. Here is the story that caught my eye: “The Fight Over How to Fight Should we prepare for big wars or small ones? After Afghanistan and Iraq, the answer might seem obvious, but the truth is harder and more expensive: both. By Evan Thomas and John Barry NEWSWEEK Mar 24, 2008 Issue” Oh, yes. That one really caught my eye. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: NATO endorsing missile defense? - Missile defense turns out to be a lot less controversial in Europe than here in the US. NATO will endorse the missile-defense system that Democrats, including Barack Obama, have denigrated since its first proposal in the Reagan administration. Its adoption by NATO bolsters George Bush’s position in Europe against Vladimir Putin, who has tried to split the Western coalition by extortion and negotiation: “NATO leaders meeting in Bucharest were set to endorse a planned U.S. missile shield for Europe on Thursday, a senior U.S. official told reporters. The final summit statement would ‘recognize the substantive contribution to the protection of the allies’ from the missile defense system to be deployed in the Czech Republic and Poland, the official told reporters.” (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: Two months of higher casualties in Iraq, and the BBC declares a 'trend' - How long did it take the BBC to acknowledge that things were getting better in Iraq? Certainly a lot more than two months. Six at least, probably more. But after just two months of increased Iraqi deaths the Beeb has no hesitation in declaring an upward 'trend'. Under the headline 'Iraqi death toll climbs sharply' it reports: “The monthly figure of people killed in Iraq rose by 50% in March compared with the previous month, according to official government counts. A total of 1,082 Iraqis, including 925 non-combatant civilians, were killed, up from 721 in February.” The journalists who put this story together (there's no byline – it's one of those BBC staples: figures culled from wire reports with a smattering of unattributed 'analysis') must have been counting down the hours until the end of March like a kid waiting for Santa Claus so they could let loose with this. (READ MORE)

Neal Boortz: HAMMERING THE OIL COMPANIES - First .. the big oil company tax benefits that our politicians remind us of virtually every day are tax breaks enjoyed by corporations across the board. So when the politicians cite those tax breaks as an excuse to tell the oil companies what to do with their profits they're laying the groundwork for a system in which politicians can dictate, to one or extent or another, how virtually all American businesses spend and invest their profits. Now I blame those oil company executives too. They were submissive candy asses before that congressional inquisition yesterday. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Irrational Antipathy - The United States, with 4.5% of the world’s population, pays 22% of the budget for the good works of our friends at the United Nations. It pays 27% of the peacekeeping budget - this is apart from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US economy is a significant engine of worldwide economic growth, contributing over the last 20 years to the emergence of new economies in the developing world which have lifted hundreds of millions of people from existential poverty. During the Cold War, the US spent an average of 6.7% of its GDP on NATO - an organization designed to protect Western Europeans from collectivist tyranny. In their own defense, Europeans spent an average of 3.5% of their GDP. American sacrifices not only protected Western Europe, they set the conditions for the eventual liberation and liberalization of Eastern Europe. (READ MORE)

Political Pistachio: The Games Liberals Play. . . or "Don't Feed The Trolls" - On Political Pistachio and my other political blogs this crops up from time to time, and I promise myself that I won't let these freaks get under my skin, but there are about five of them on the internet that really get my hair to rise and somehow find a way to get under my skin. I also have about a dozen minor irritations that call themselves "liberal" e-mailing me as well (the now legendary Mudkitty being one of them). If only all liberals were as easy to get along with as my good friend Sam, which is pictured behind me in the photograph on the right. When the discussion of Socialized Medicine (Government paid health insurance) came up, he says to me, "Doug, I can't believe you have a problem with free health care." Okay, stop laughing. (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: Throwing Cold Water on Flex Fuels? - It is my position that the West in general, and the United States in particular, needs to find some way or ways to reduce our dependence on oil from states that mean us ill. By sending money to Saudi Arabia and other gulf states, we are literally funding their attempt to destroy us through a sort of "creeping sharia" motivated by a jihadist ideology. Because petroleum is, to some extent, a fungible commodity, we don't even have to directly import from a country for our consumption to help them. High U.S. demand keeps the price of petroleum on the world market high, helping Iran and Venezuela. As such, one of the options I have investigated is "flex fuels", by which a car might run on a combination of gasoline biofuels(go here and scroll down for posts). "Biofuels refer alcohol fuels such as ethanol (E85) and methanol (E95). The former can be made from a variety of plant products, such as corn or sugar cane. (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: The UN Human Rights Council and the Influence of Nondemocratic States on International Law - Eugene's excellent post on the UN Human Rights Council's egregious resolution seeking to repress freedom of speech provides an example of a problem that John McGinnis and I have sought to highlight in our work on democracy and international law: the extensive influence repressive nondemocratic regimes on international law's contents. If you look at the list of nations supporting the resolution, it turns out that most of them are either outright dictatorships (such as China, Cuba, and Jordan) or authoritarian pseudo-democracies such as Russia. By my count, about 16-18 of the 21 nations voting for the resolution fall into one of these categories. In a vote limited to democratic states, the resolution would have lost overwhelmingly by at least a 2-1 margin (all 10 of the nations voting against it were democratic). (READ MORE)

TF Boggs: My (*cough*) Generation - The other day I found a box of mine that contained some souvenirs from my first deployment to Iraq. Among them was a canvas painting of Saddam that I took from the Abu Ghraib prison during the summer of 2003 (pre-prisoner “abuse” for those of you paying attention.) I showed a few friends of mine and told them I planned on having it framed. Then I told them where I got it expecting some sort of reaction i.e. gasp, laughing, or maybe disbelief. What I got in return instead was blank stares. I thought that maybe they were just figuring out how they were going to respond, that maybe they weren’t sure if I was being serious or not. What I found out was something entirely different. It wasn’t that they didn’t know how to respond-they didn’t know that a response would have even been warranted in that situation. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: Basra and American interests - Who won the battle for Basra, Prime Minister al Maliki or Moqtada al-Sadr? Or Iran? There are credible arguments for any of the above. Al-Sadr’s men seemed to defend their Basra neighborhoods skillfully, denying Iraqi troops access to where they wanted to go. There were numerous desertions from the government’s ranks. The government had to send emissaries to al-Sadr in Iran in order to bring an end to the fighting. Al-Sadr’s militia is still a force-in-being, and can re-emerge at any time. Al-Sadr is thought to have widespread popular backing on the streets. But Mr. al-Maliki is still Prime Minister and still controls Iraq’s security forces, consisting of hundreds of thousands in the ranks and backed by the Americans. Al-Sadr, meanwhile, still is in hiding in Iran. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Collabarative dissonance - With the recent report that the U.S. monitors concluded that the PA has not been doing what it should to prevent terror, the PA has been making an effort to show that it indeed has been doing all it can and that problems, well blame those on Israel. Earlier this week Ha’aretz reported: “Omran sounds enthusiastic about the changes he expects, but does not hide his criticism of the Israel Defense Forces commanders he meets with frequently.”I’ll give you an example. Last night, about 3 A.M. a van with yellow [Israeli] plates crashed into a wall of the Bank of Palestine, about 200 meters from here. I couldn’t send even one soldier because we’re not allowed to operate in the city after midnight according to the agreement with the IDF.” (READ MORE)

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