April 8, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/08/2008

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)
Corruption undercuts stability - Corruption and political patronage in Iraq's Interior Ministry threaten U.S. efforts to transfer responsibility for public safety to Iraq's police, military analysts said ahead of Gen. David H. Petraeus' long-awaited report to Congress today. (READ MORE)

Soldiers on the ground offer mixed assessment - Behind the recitation of facts and figures by Gen. David H. Petraeus in Capitol Hill testimony beginning today, the fluctuating moods and emotions of U.S. troops here are much harder to gauge. (READ MORE)

Clinton owes ex-strategist $2.5 million - The latest campaign-finance reports show that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign owes about $2.5 million to the firm of Mark J. Penn, who quit as chief strategist after embarrassing the campaign and left a leadership shake-up in his wake. (READ MORE)

Bush urges pact on free trade - President Bush yesterday sent Congress a free-trade pact with Colombia, forcing the issue onto the public stage at a time when free trade is unpopular with voters, concerned over the slumping economy. (READ MORE)

Global warming mascot left in the cold by delays - The polar bear is no longer just a shaggy, white mammal with a taste for seal. It has become a proxy for the debate on global warming, and the implications of a listing decision stretch far beyond its U.S. habitat in northern Alaska. (READ MORE)

McCain: Democrats' Stance on Iraq Flawed - KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that calls from his Democratic rivals to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq stand as a "failure of leadership" as they are making promises they cannot keep. Democrat Barack Obama said the failure rests with McCain's support for an open-ended occupation of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Congress To Hear Of Gains In Iraq - In a reprise of their testimony last September, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker plan to tell Congress today and tomorrow that security has improved in Iraq and that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken steps toward political reconciliation and... (READ MORE)

Paris Protests Disrupt Torch Relay - PARIS, April 7 -- Thousands of rowdy demonstrators forced cancellation of the last leg of the Olympic torch ceremony in Paris on Monday with repeated attacks on the procession, escalating international protests over China's human rights record ahead of the 2008 Games in Beijing this summer. (READ MORE)

Sadr Told to Disband Militia - BAGHDAD, April 7 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to block the party of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr from upcoming provincial elections as clashes between rival Shiite factions continued Monday in Baghdad. (READ MORE)

FBI Data Transfers Via Telecoms Questioned - When FBI investigators probing New York prostitution rings, Boston organized crime or potential terrorist plots anywhere want access to a suspect's telephone contacts, technicians at a telecommunications carrier served with a government order can, with the click of a mouse, instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico. (READ MORE)

Bill Clinton Visits Puerto Rico, Rich in Culture and Delegates - BARCELONETA, Puerto Rico, April 7 -- The four sound trucks filed onto potholed streets at 8 o'clock Monday morning, weighed down by the 800-pound speakers rigged to their roofs. They drove past the pineapple plantations, past the black-sand beaches, past the multicolored tiendas downtown. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Mike S. Adams: Forward this Column or Get Stuck on Stupid - If your kid comes home from college one day and tells you that your Christian faith is stupid, welcome to the world in which I live. The college environment does that to our kids. It makes good Christian students stupid. By that I mean it turns them into liberals, atheists, or both. Three out of four Christian kids (that’s 75% for those of you who attend UNC-Wilmington) abandon the church when they go to college and only about a third of them return by age 30. In other words, most stay stuck on stupid. Christians and conservatives could simply whine about this, but then we would just sound like liberals. Instead, we need to take action. Before I tell you what you can do to help fix this problem, let me clarify what we’re facing. (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: It's a Bad World - Here are some news items from just this past week: In Tibet, according to an Associated Press report, "police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who had marched on local government offices to demand the release of two monks detained for possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader." At least eight died. In Iraq, the mass murder of civilians continues while American and Iraqi government forces continue to battle murderous Shiite gangs known as militias. And a 40-year-old Assyrian Orthodox priest was killed in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad in the latest attack against Iraq's Christian minority. (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan; Onward the Revolution! - Having cheerfully confessed he knows little about economics, John McCain is advancing himself as a foreign-policy president, a "realistic idealist," he told the World Affairs Council of Los Angeles. But judging from the content of his speech, McCain is no more a realist than he is a reflective man. Speaking of our five-year war in Iraq, McCain declares, "It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possible genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible and premature withdrawal." (READ MORE)

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.: Required Reading - The war over Iraq – not to be confused with the conflict actually taking place there – is back in the headlines. This week’s report to Congress by America’s top two emissaries in Baghdad, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, will provide a backdrop for the momentous decisions to come concerning whether and how to pursue victory in Iraq. Before the politicians and their constituents make such decisions about where we go from here, they should be sure to ground themselves in the facts about how we got to this point. After all, as George Santayana put it, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (READ MORE)

Michael Steele: Uniting the Republican Party - A great deal has changed since President Reagan left the national stage. Our enemies have come to our shores, the rising tide of our economy has not "lifted all boats" and our government has increased, not lessened its intrusion into our lives. However, many of the issues that united us during the Reagan Revolution in the 1980s — lower taxes, less government spending, free markets and strong national security — are the same issues that motivate voters today. Reagan’s successes were in large part due to his ability to focus on those things that unite us. Rather than trying to divide the American people along philosophical or political lines, he made a connection with average citizens through themes that inspired us and policies that restored our national pride as well as the security and prosperity of a nation. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Democrat Presidential Magic Goes Poof - The Democratic primary contest has degenerated from a perceived battle between the party's highest ranked superheavyweights to a fight for survival between two badly damaged club fighters. In its early phases the campaign featured only "Hillary, the Entitled." Her inevitability had been decreed by party powers still operating under the deluded assumption that the Clinton years inspired mostly positive images, especially those of economic prosperity. Sure, there was Bill's baggage, but the country had rejected the Republicans' attitude toward it when it punished them in the 1998 congressional elections, right? (READ MORE)

Bill Murchison: The Sound Bite War - The sound bite presidential campaign of Barack Obama -- working to transform itself into the sound bite presidency of Barack Obama -- delivers a puzzling judgment on the Iraq war. It is that the war, to quote Obama, has "made the American people less safe." We heard it again during the rhetorical run-up to Gen. David Petraeus' latest debriefing to Congress concerning the war and will certainly hear it for a while longer. This, despite the lack of intellectual underpinning for the assertion. In other words, huh? "Less safe" how? More exposed -- or something -- to World Trade Center-style terror? (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Democrats Tie War to Bad Economy - Democrats are tying Iraq war spending to a flagging U.S. economy in hopes of securing more tax dollars for domestic agenda items in the run-up to scheduled testimony from senior Iraq officials. “We cannot lose sight of the Iraq war’s impact on America’s economy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) told reporters last week. She said the war was causing “economic pain” at home and cited rising costs of healthcare, education, gasoline and groceries. “Consumer prices for staples such as milk, bread and eggs rose by the largest amount in 17 years,” Pelosi said. (READ MORE)

Rich Galen: Conflict of Interest - One of the problems in modern-day Washington is trying to decide who works for whom and on what basis. So as not bury the lead, Mark Penn has been relieved of his duties as the Chief Strategist and More of the Presidential campaign of Hillary R.(!) Clinton. Here's the background. Penn was not paid by the campaign. His polling firm, Penn Schoen & Berland, is paid by the campaign. His polling firm is owned by the mega-PR firm of Burson-Marsteller. Burson-Marsteller is a unit of Young & Rubicam which, in turn, is owned by the WPP Group. Penn is the CEO of Burson in addition to having been the Chief Guru of the Clinton campaign. (READ MORE)

Ace: "I Will Always Listen to the Commanders on the Ground" - O RLY? Via Instapundit, who also notes that the media's declaration of a Sadr victory was not only premature, but preretarded. And on Sadr: one report says he's Shiite clerics have told him not to disband his Army of Assholes,, but he has called off his plan for a Million Maniac March through Baghdad, apparently due to lack of juice enough to pull it off. “Sadr called it off, he explained in a statement, because he was afraid his supporters would be attacked. Really? The Western media take great pains to remind us how many supporters he has in Baghdad’s Sadr City, with over 2 million residents. Surely a man with that kind of popularity would have no trouble finding enough people for a demonstration with hundreds of thousands of people at the least — and with that kind of strength, who would attack them? It looks a lot more like Sadr couldn’t gin up enough people to meet the lofty expectations he set for the demonstration.” (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Bush's Reich: MTV's Holocaust Ad Campaign - I'm literally shocked that MTV's running a television advertising campaign comparing the United States under the Bush administration to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. What's my reaction to this, besides being shocked? It's either embarrassing or sad that MTV would go this far in demonizing the administration. Notice the end of the clips: "The Holocaust happened to people like us." Readers may have seen my post last night, "What Happened to Military History?" We can be more particular in our query: "What Happend to World War II Military History?" or "What Happened to the History of Comparative Industrial Democratization in the 20th Century?" (READ MORE)

Atlas Shrugs: REVOLUTION IN EGYPT! - My dear sweet courageous friend in Egypt, Sandmonkey, wrote me this earth shattering missive, "Never thought I would see the day, where over 50,000 people revolt against the autocratic regime in Egypt, but it's happening in the Nile Delta City of Mahalla. Thepictures are exhilarating, people are stepping with their feet on pictures of Mubarak. Yet Nobody is reporting this. Not in the international media in the US or europe, which means that it's up to the blogsphere to get the word out. Those people need all the international media, focus and support they can get. So please help spread the news. Let's shame the MSM. Let's get the revolution televised!" (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: No, Sadr did not win - Realclearpolitics.com featured last week’s Creators Syndicate newspaper column and the gents at Powerline commented. As the column attests, I saw the Basra and east Baghdad counter-militia operations very differently from the NY Times, etcetera. I don’t even want to bother with the various links logging the defeatist assessment, other than this typical herd-media column by Trudy Rubin. She labels Basra as a “debacle.” Hey, she wrote it. It’s dated April 7. Quote: "Petraeus and Crocker did not expect that their testimony would be preceded by the debacle in Basra. As I wrote last week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki initiated a major Iraqi military operation without prior consultation with the Americans. This has now been publicly confirmed by Crocker and other top administration officials…" (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Businesses Leaving Berkeley - This is how the bay Area Chapter of Code Pink views their "mission" at the USMC recruiting station: "This fight is about war and ending war. This is about recruiting our youth to be the fodder of war. It is not about the marines. It is not about being anti-American. It is not about rights, freedom, or apple pie. It IS about this occupation of Iraq: about the 1.2 million dead Iraqis, 3950 dead U.S. soldiers, trillions of dollars of our tax payer money, the attack on our civil rights and constitution, torture, rape, wounded and neglected soldiers, suicide, depleted uranium. It is about recruiting youth to be the occupying forces Iraq. Women say ENOUGH! Basta! The People of Berkeley say ENOUGH! Basta! We MUST take back the language from the right: END WAR NOW! We MUST take back the messaging. We must stand up for Peace." But the Code Pinkos have achieved much more than this mission statement. They have inadvertently hurt their beloved "peace-loving, anti-war town" by driving away businesses that are sick of the protests and the backlash. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: The bias of ABC - It is no secret that the MSM has fallen in love with Barack Obama. Chris Matthews gets chills down his leg listening to Obama talk a lot but say nothing. He is not the only one to go ga ga over the Obamination that could be our next president as many in the media have dropped off the Clinton bandwagon and climbed aboard the hope express. The MSM helped decide the Republican nomination and now it is working on ensuring Obama wins the primary and the general election by using biased reporting to make Obama appear more popular among certain groups than he really is. This is the case with ABC’s recent report on the military and the presidential race. ABC reported that many of the troops were supporting Barack Obama (with one Hillary supporter) because the troops wanted out of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Breinholt: Coming To A Law School Near You: The Upcoming Merger of Counterterrorism and Human Rights - Doug Farah’s recent post about our complacency in dealing with the problem that is Saudi Arabia dovetails well with one of my pet causes: showing that counterterrorism and human rights go hand in hand. That our most reliable social critics (and multilateralists) are refusing to condemn the deplorable human rights record of much of the Arab world, I have argued, is a symptom of partisan politics and an eagerness to find fault with what we are doing in counterterrorism. The same thing is happening in reverse when it comes to pointing out the bad records of our “allies” in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Remember, Saudi Arabia maintains that the proper punishment for infidels who set foot in Mecca is execution. This creates a little problem for American pilots employed by American airline companies who make money ferrying Muslims to and from the Haj. The response by these American companies? Require the pilots to convert to Islam, in order to maintain their jobs. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: MSNBC Games McCain Speech with Irrelevant "Breaking News" - As has sadly become commonplace, Amanda at Think Progress missed another story today, even though this one slapped her right between the eyes. Her post, McCain's Speech On Progress In Iraq Interrupted By News Of Mortars Hitting The Green Zone, notes that MSNBC interrupted a John McCain speech about progress being made in the Iraq War with the breaking news story that four mortar shells hit Baghdad's Green Zone, an unremarkable development as Sadrists and insurgents have used mortars for harassment and interdiction (H&I) fires frequently throughout the war, usually to little effect. There were no known casualties at the time the story was reported, and there was no known targets of importance hit. (READ MORE)

Victor Comras: The Candidates Positions Re Iran's Nuclear Ambitions: Time for Some Clarification - Iran’s leaders are once again displaying their usual intransigence concerning Iran’s nuclear and uranium enrichment programs. They have refused Security Council and European attempts to engage them in a new round of negotiations despite the new round of sanctions and offers of sweetened incentives. And they continue to play the IAEA card without providing any real insights into their accelerating nuclear programs. This refusal to engage in any meaningful dialogue on their nuclear program, safeguards, and intentions portends serious dangers for the future, and marks Iran’s nuclear ambitions as one of the most serious foreign policy challenges the next President will face. By this time next year the list of viable options might will be considerably narrower than today. It is surprising, therefore, that the Iran issue has, so far, played such a back seat role in the Presidential Campaign. (READ MORE)

The Daily Ramble: Words - Eons ago in pop music - during the latter bit of the last millenium, between the time when Punk went to Charm School and became New Wave, before the rise of Heavy Metal (v2.0) there was a cool artsy pop rock gang out of La La Land called “Missing Persons”. One of their signature tunes on their breakout debut was called “Words - What are words for? When no one listens anymore? When no one listens - there’s no use talking at all” This could be the anti soundtrack for recent remarks by actual divine bi partisan realpolitik avatars. Psychic Ex Secs Dr Kissinger and Dr Albright - the very cats who stuck the stab in stability, the up in corrupt and the oral in ammoral concur their second sight cites the need for speed RE: the ever elusive, effervescent, ever eternal ‘dialogue’ with Iran. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Prelude to Testimony - On the eve of General Petraeus’s next scheduled testimony to Congress, National Review hosts or links to three strong arguments in favor of continued support for our efforts in Iraq. In the first, Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute takes on antiwar (and thus Antiwar Party) talking points. They make easy work for Kagan, whose very lengthy takedown can be summarized thus: however else they can be characterized, the arguments against Iraq by anti-war Democrats are deeply dishonest, and not in accord with reality – current or past. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Loyal Disobedience or Unlawful Arrogance? - One of our readers, Zenster, left a provocative comment in a recent post. Here is the relevant snip: “‘People get the government they deserve. Cultures cannot be entirely absolved of what they have become… While Islam is not the most volitional of systems, there still remains a fundamental personal responsibility that individuals have for steering where their societies go. As Solzhenitsyn observed in “The Gulag Archipelago”, when the KGB started their midnight arrests of Soviet citizens, if people had stormed out of neighboring apartments and strung up those agents from balconies by their shoelaces, things might have turned out quite differently. If ever there has been a supreme example of people getting the government that they deserve, it is the Soviet Union.’” As I said in my reply to Zenster, Soviet citizens were a different category from the desperately poor, illiterate women of Bangladesh who had been the point of my argument. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: More Hyperbole, This Time On Waterboarding - From CBS earlier to CNN with Christiane Amanpour’s ridiculous asertion in her new show that the Pol Pot era of the late 70’s in which 2 million people were killed is the same thing as George Bush’s America: “PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) — A recently disclosed memo gave U.S. interrogators the ability to use harsh methods — what many call ‘torture’ — to extract information from terrorist suspects after 9/11. Around the world, critics saw it as another blow to American prestige and moral authority. The 2003 document also invokes wartime powers to protect interrogators who violate the Geneva Conventions, for example, by the use of waterboarding — when a prisoner is made to think he is drowning….” Yeah….the waterboarding issue somehow, in someway, is the same as what Pol Pot did to millions of prisoners where fingernails and nipples were pulled out, genitals mutilated, and summary executions were commonplace. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Burning bucks - Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton owes $2.5 million to strategist Mark Penn. well, he did help her get into second place … “The Clinton campaign — which pays Mr. Penn through his business, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates — doled out at least $10 million to the firm since the race started last year. He will continue to collect paychecks as an adviser and pollster for Mrs. Clinton,” the Washington Times reported. Well, so much for you get what you pay for. Nearly 10% of her money raised has gone to Penn. That shows what her priorities are in a campaign — polling over advertising — and her management style: tossing $10 million down a rat-hole that led to nowhere. Well, second place. (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: The Journal looks at "The Petraeus Effect" - General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are set for another round of idiocy from Congress as they present another progress report on the Iraqi theater of operations in the "War on Terror." There's speculation that both men will be derided by Congress as nothing more than "water carriers" for the Bush Administration. However, Journal's editors point out there is considerable that is owed to General Petraeus, and the Congress is wrong to try and attack him. their track record, as the editors illuminate, is far from stellar, to say the least: “As General David Petraeus briefs Congress this week on Iraq, it's clear his surge has achieved remarkable results. The most crucial is that the U.S. can no longer be defeated militarily in Iraq, which could not be said a year ago. The question now is whether Washington will squander these gains by withdrawing so quickly that we could still lose politically.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Obama now lying about lying about McCain’s “100 years” comment - A nifty clip via MKH exposing his shameless lie this morning on “Today” with footage from the campaign trail. Which isn’t to suggest that he’s let this matter drop of late: Only last week he told a crowd in Pennsylvania, “You know, John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years.” Memo to His Holiness: If even your fans at ABC are telling you to let this go, you should probably listen. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: UN Human Rights Council investigator stands by Israel-Nazi comments - As if anyone needed further confirmation of the UN’s hostility to Israel, the investigator for the Human Rights Council assigned to observe Israel stands by his comments that equated the Israelis with the Nazis. Professor Richard Falk accepted his assignment from the UN-HRC and its constituent members, such as Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, by comparing the Israeli policy towards Gaza to the conduct of the Nazis and predicting a Palestinian Holocaust: “The next UN investigator into Israel conduct in the occupied territories has stood by comments comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis.” (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Commitment Motivates Iraqis, Not Threats of Withdrawal - You’ll hear politicians like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Murtha and John Kerry say it is their threat of a military withdrawal that has Iraqis making political and national progress, but troops on the ground tell a different story: it is our professed commitment to Iraqis that gives them the security to cooperate with Coalition Forces. Here are two examples. Maj. Gen. (MG) Rick Lynch, Commander of Multi-National Division-Center last week:
MG Lynch: What we have found is, the local population as a result of seeing the patrol base come forward and two questions. The first question is, “Are you staying?” and when the local population is convinced that we’re going ot stay, the next question is, “How can we help?” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: “Failure of Leadership” - Is what McCain is calling his Dem rivals’ campaign-motivated withdrawal demands. Also, “height of irresponsibility.” This is going to be a great campaign. via Herald. Meanwhile, guess which flagpin eschewer is now wearing his AmeriKKKan flag on his sleeve. Big day ahead on the Hill for the candidates, Gen. David Petraeus, the United States military, the Iraqi people and all of us. Too bad there will be politicians involved. On McCain’s point re Dems and withdrawal, Barack may actually believe in his ridiculous hasty-retreat positions, though thanks to his advisors, he may be becoming aware that mouthing off for adoring crowds and actually having any responsibility for lives and the future of nations are two very different things. (READ MORE)

Stephen Peter Rosen: Iraq options by elimination - …when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) What are the alternatives available to the United States in Iraq? Three appear to be worth considering. First, the United States might consider withdrawing its forces to the areas that produce the bulk of Iraqi oil in the south. This would enable the United States to ensure that oil is pumped and exported from the country, and to prevent Iraqi oil revenues from going to a hostile government. This would mean the defense of an enclave, supported by physical and electronic barriers, and would reduce the manpower needed to defend the U.S. position in Iraq. Periodic raids would be conducted to spoil impending attacks on those enclaves. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: The Petraeus testimony - The outlines of General David Petraeus’ testimony to Congress tomorrow are broadly clear: The surge of US ground forces he implemented enabled a more effective counter-insurgency strategy, and - combined with the Sunni “Awakening” and a now-fraying Sadrist cease-fire - has markedly improved Iraq’s once execrable security situation. The Iraqi government has met many (but not all) of the reconciliation benchmarks “mandated” by US Congress. The hard-won gains on both the political and military fronts are real and there is room for cautious optimism, but the situation is fragile and the gains potentially ephemeral - things could still go south. If he allows himself to stray into policy he might even admit that victory is possible, and preferable to defeat, in which case further troop level decreases will have to be carefully examined on their military merits once the draw-down of surge forces is complete. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Petty tyranny at the University of St. Thomas - The University of St. Thomas is the major private university in the Twin Cities, with campuses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a Catholic institution, but it also worships strange gods at the shrine of political correctness. After Ann Coulter addressed a standing room only crowd that mobbed the university''s law school in 2005, the school's president -- Father Dennis Dease -- condemned Coulter's talk as "hateful speech." Father Dease was nowhere to be seen when Coulter appeared at St. Thomas, and couldn't be troubled to specify how Coulter's speech exceeded the bounds of civility at St. Thomas. (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: Barack Obama and the art of self-triangulation - Hillary is the nominal Clinton in this year's presidential race, but it's Obama who increasingly bears the resemblance to Bill. Aspects of that resemblance have been apparent for some time. Both have a physical presence, the gift of gab, and non-pedestrian minds. And recently it's become clear that, like the former president, Obama is fundamentally unserious about vital issues, including even those pertaining to war and peace. For both men, issues are not at root substantive problems to be addressed on their merits, but formal matters to be navigated and, to the extent possible, manipulated. Bill Clinton raised this approach to a high art through "triangulation." But years before he and Dick Morris were triangulating at Newt Gingrich's expense, Clinton was self-triangulating. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: War and Peace and the Dog Who Didn't Bark - The news is filled with ominous signs of impending conflict in the Middle East. Israel is carrying out its largest war exercises ever, a five day affair designed to test its response to an all out missile assault from its neighbors. As Stratfor summarizes (subscription only): “Tensions are on the rise between Israel, Syria and Hezbollah. Israel is hosting the largest civil defense exercise in its history, both Israeli and Syrian reserves reportedly have mobilized, and there are rumblings about an impending reprisal attack for the killing of top Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah. Concerns across the region continue to mount that Israel is looking for an excuse to step into another war with the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah, this time with more decisive results.” In addition, Iran, the patron of Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, is ramping up its nuclear program: (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The Daily Kos Vs. Military Recruiters - If you ever needed more proof that "supporting the troops" doesn't mean the same thing to the Left and the Right in this country then, well, honestly you haven't been paying much attention. But, no worries, this post from Daily Kos diarist acquittal should give you an idea of the sort of esteem that libs hold the military, and for that matter, our country in: “How to defeat military recruiters: overwhelm them with decoys! I truly believe that antiwar activists should focus our energies on military recruitment. The empire will modify its militarism only if is does not have sufficient bodies and minds to run all its ongoing and contemplated wars.” (READ MORE)

Socrates Academy: Truth - I believe that everything I believe is true. So do you, else by definition you would not believe it, for if you held some doubt about something being true, you therefore could not be said to believe it. At the same time, I know that there are some things I believe to be true which are false, or only true sometimes, or are only partially true. I just don't know which is which. And that is not to say that because I believe something, for me it is true. No, if I believe something which is not true, then I am wrong and require instruction. (READ MORE)

Some Soldier's Mom: Tonight We Wait... - There are things and events in our lives that we never really forget... like riding a bike. Recently, with the birth of Noah's son, Thomas, I realized it doesn't take much towoooshyou back in time and to places in your mind and heart you thought you'd long forgotten. Although it has been more than 20 years since I fed a bottle or sung a lullaby to a little bundle to coax him to sleep and then stared into that sweet cherubic face, it doesn't take much to rouse the memories and fullness of love and amazement that come with those simple acts. Yesterday and today, I have been pushed back into the fears of waiting... wondering... anxious... dreading. The area near Our Guys was hit in an attack over the weekend... a dozen or more wounded, one KIA. Of course, there has been a communications blackout on since then and the mothers, wives, sisters, children and brothers of those serving in that area are forced into a vacuum of silence and not knowing. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Christiane Amanpour: Post Nam Cambodian Genocide Just Like U.S. ‘Waterboarding’ Today? - So, do you want to see a most egregious example of equating apples to oranges? Well, even that old saw is too mild a metaphor to describe the disgusting example of Christiane Amanpour’s latest foray into moral relativism. In her CNN piece titled, “Survivor recalls horrors of Cambodia genocide,” Amanpour assumes that American “waterboarding” today is exactly the same thing as the genocide of millions as perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Amanpour seems to think that waterboarding is the same thing as what Pol Pot did with prisoners that were “whipped raw, their fingernails were yanked out, they were hogtied to wooden bars. Prison guards mutilated women’s genitals, ripped off their nipples with pliers. And worst of all, babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms and slaughtered.” (READ MORE)

The Tygrrrr Express: General Petraeus, Please tell the entire truth - One of the most dishonest acts of blogging is creating sensationalistic headlines offering provocative themes that are completely misleading. I am guilty as charged. Deal with it. General David Petraeus is very diplomatic, but he will not tell the complete truth when he testifies. He will discuss the surge. He will give his assessment of how the War in Iraq is progressing. He will most likely state that he needs more time. We are making progress, we have a long way to go, but there is cause for cautious optimism. Yet there is one thing he will refuse to say, so I will say it for him. The Senators with the most hostile questioning of him are not fit to lick his boots. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: The very model of a middle east correspondent - Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post is one of those Jerusalem bureau chiefs who have parlayed their time in the Middle East into a book and further fame and fortune. Now the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of the Washington Post, he holds forth about foreign affairs most weeks. This week he treated us to The Road Map to a Gaza War.Like him I believe that Israel is reaching a point where it can’t ignore the rockets from Gaza any more. However, I don’t view an eventual Israeli counterattack as an intolerable escalation. Diehl starts: “Seven years ago George W. Bush’s incoming foreign policy team blamed the Clinton administration for an eleventh-hour rush for a Middle East peace agreement that ended with the explosion of the second Palestinian intifada. Now, with less than 10 months remaining in office, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are engaged in a similar last-minute push — yet they don’t seem to recognize the growing risk that their initiative, too, will end with another Israeli-Palestinian war.” (READ MORE)

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