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Democrats To Widen Conflict With Bush
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
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Europe has failed us in the Iran crisis
Hat tip Instapundit. To borrow from the Professor, letting people down is what Europe does best.
Labour's Margaret Beckett is getting it right. It's our EU allies who are letting us down

by Malcolm Rifkind

The Iranians are a sophisticated and sensitive people. From time to time, however, they do something dumb. The seizure of 15 British sailors and Royal Marines was one such example. Parading them on television and requiring them to mouth unconvincing apologies was another.

These events have not happened by accident. For some time the more radical elements in the Iranian government have been trying to find a way of retaliating against the growing pressure from the United Nations in general and the United States in particular. They have been surprised and disturbed that as a result of their nuclear programme, Washington has now achieved a second unanimous Security Council resolution ratcheting up sanctions against Iran.

The Iranians, of course, are indifferent as to whether the British were in Iranian or Iraqi waters. The British were taken for two specific reasons.

First, the Iranians want to demonstrate that they will not be passive while UN pressure is increased on them. They can, and will, retaliate through their close links with the Shia militia in Iraq and Hizbollah in Lebanon. They can disrupt normal traffic in what used to be called the Persian Gulf.

But they have a second objective. Some weeks ago the Americans arrested Iranians in the north of Iraq. They are still detained, accused of helping foment strife against the coalition forces. Tehran may be hoping to trade the British personnel for their citizens.

Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve White || 04/02/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336081 views] Top|| File under:

#1  EU is done, they can't even muster up economics sanction.
Posted by: djohn66 || 04/02/2007 1:17 Comments || Top||

#2  Pull out of Germany, NOW. Pull out of Italy NOW.Let the euros eat shit.
Posted by: newc || 04/02/2007 3:06 Comments || Top||

#3  "This lack of agreement shows how hollow are the aspirations to a common European foreign policy."

That was my first reaction too, but there's more to it than that. It underscores Britain's subservient status in the EU: Britain is accepted as an equal member so long as it shuts up and writes checks. When the Brits go off and unilaterally sign on to Yanqui military adventures, however, they're on their own, and owed no assistance.

So really, from the Brussels' point of view, the EU is doing just fine with a common foreign policy: everyone else agrees that Britain's cheese should be left out in the wind. The fact that Britain expects the entire bloc to support them only proves that Britain, with its continued belief in sovereignty, national interests, and a transatlantic alliance, is the odd man out, and therefore getting its just deserts.

The EU's refusal to suspend 14 billion euros in trade with Iran isn't just about greed or perfidy; it's a chance to teach Britain a lesson.
Posted by: exJAG || 04/02/2007 3:18 Comments || Top||

#4  The EU's refusal to suspend 14 billion euros in trade with Iran isn't just about greed or perfidy; it's a chance to teach Britain a lesson.

Seems to me as though they are only hurting themselves in the long run. Are you suggesting rivalries would win even in the face of an awareness of the problem? They're acting like they are not fully aware or are afraid of something or know something I don't. Which is possible, I suppose. :-)
Posted by: gorb || 04/02/2007 4:10 Comments || Top||

#5  gorb, it's not rivalry with Britain so much as with the US. The driving force of European integration has always been to set up a "counterweight" to US power, particularly since the end of the Cold War.

With the failure of the Constitutional Treaty, the EU is anxiously scratching for an alternate way to progress with European integration. The one major item that remains is constructing a common EU foreign and defense policy.

Britain has always been the major obstacle to full European integration (and all parties knew it would be, which it why they were not allowed to join the EU until 1973, after de Gaulle was out of the picture). Upon Britain's entry, the EU realized that there was actually an advantage to be had, in that the British treasury could be milked dry.

So even though Britain is the EU's biggest contributor, and by far enforces EU law most zealously, it has also insisted upon national sovereignty and keeping its "special relationship" with the US, to include procurement, NATO obligations, etc. Their alliance with the US in Iraq has proven, once again, that they are not "good Europeans."

Conseqently, the EU's current approach to building a common foreign and defense policy is to drive a wedge between Britain and the US. For example, all EU member states are being required to sever procurement ties with the US and buy only from EU companies -- hitting Britain the hardest, which is precisely the intention.

Early on, the EU was France's way of subordinating and punishing Germany; now it's Britain's turn. The EU is simply reminding Blair that Britain chose its alliance with the US over "European solidarity," with the goal of influencing future British governments not to make the same mistake. Britain must learn to behave and be "good Europeans"; the EU is simply demonstrating the consequences of failing to do so.

Please don't ask why Britain doesn't secede from the EU; it's unthinkable, like asking why Ukraine never seceded from the USSR.
Posted by: exJAG || 04/02/2007 6:22 Comments || Top||

#6  gorb,
Re. "rivalries would win even in the face of an awareness of the problem?"
There was a psychological study some years ago where the participants were given real money and offered various choices on its use; the most popular choice was to spend real money in order to cause more real money to be taken from other participants. Not accrued to the spender - just made to go away from the competitor. People will knowingly hurt themselves if they believe they are hurting their competition more; it's about relative position in the hierarchy, not absolute position in real space.
So, yes, France would hurt itself if it thought it could hurt Britain more. They don't regard Islam as a competitor the way they regard Britain.
Posted by: Glenmore || 04/02/2007 7:08 Comments || Top||

#7  Please don't ask why Britain doesn't secede from the EU; it's unthinkable, like asking why Ukraine never seceded from the USSR.

So you mean tanks would roll and crush Britain for seeking seccession? That's a lame analogy. You might try Belorus which seems to be Russia-light and staying close because of common this and that rather than fear but the Ukraine was kept in line because the Russians had tanks and would have crushed them.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 04/02/2007 10:23 Comments || Top||

#8  The "unthinkable" part was the analogy, rj, not the tanks part.
Posted by: exJAG || 04/02/2007 10:44 Comments || Top||

#9  > Please don't ask why Britain doesn't secede from the EU; it's unthinkable,

Well If the U.K. had had that referendum it wouldn't.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles in Blairistan || 04/02/2007 11:13 Comments || Top||

#10  To paraphrase Napoleon; the two primary levers of motivation in man are fear and greed. It appears that the EU is more influenced by the latter.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 04/02/2007 12:14 Comments || Top||

#11  Glenmore,

You don't happen to have a link or name for that study do you?

Posted by: AlanC || 04/02/2007 13:30 Comments || Top||

#12  Europe has failed us in the Iran crisis, as usual

There - fixed.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/02/2007 14:18 Comments || Top||

#13  Personally, I think the reason the UK doesn't leave the EU is battered woman syndrome. It's got that same illogical hysteria of the UK protecting it's abuser.
Posted by: Silentbrick || 04/02/2007 14:48 Comments || Top||

#14  exJag, is it really the case that the Brits are the largest contributors to the EU? I thought that was the Germans in both absolute and per capita terms.

Speaking of Brits and Germans: this past year the government share of the economy in the UK exceeded that of Germany's. There has been a huge socialization of the economy under Labor in the past ten years. Bodes very poorly for the future of the Brits as anything other than a docile tribe of EUnichs.
Posted by: Classical_Liberal || 04/02/2007 15:20 Comments || Top||

#15  War with Iran. War with Iran. Call it a twofer.
Posted by: Excalibur || 04/02/2007 16:34 Comments || Top||

#16  My joke failed because I meant to write "War with France" for the second war there. Also, I am not joking.
Posted by: Excalibur || 04/02/2007 16:34 Comments || Top||

#17  The challenge the British government faces is to find a means of putting real pressure on Iran that would hurt the regime without escalating the crisis and pushing the Iranians into a humiliating climb-down.

What in hell is it with all this concern over the usual endless Muslim sensitivities? I full well comprehend that public humiliation is almost unendurable in high context societies, like Iran and all of Islam. Yet, isn't it about time we began subjecting these tyrannical regimes to crushing defeats and humiliating climb-downs? By walking on eggshells around these Islamic maniacs we balloon their egos even further and lend them ever greater credibility amongst their Muslim peers.

I am well aware of how we seek to avoid any further antagonizing of these already hostile entities. My point is that by avoiding doing so in reality we only embolden them and actually exacerbate the situation all the more. Absent a clandestine campaign of selective assassination against Muslim terrorist leaders, halting Islam's threat will require the West to deliver a series of crushing defeats that will for once and all make clear just how much the MME (Muslim Middle East) has to lose.

We ARE NOT going to achieve this by pandering to Iran's or anyone else's Muslim sensitivities. As Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali has said:

"Given the world view that has given rise to such [Muslim] grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement and new demands will continue to be made."
[emphasis added]
Posted by: Zenster || 04/02/2007 21:55 Comments || Top||

'Europe is increasingly fading away'
Posted by: Seafarious || 04/02/2007 00:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336067 views] Top|| File under:

#1  sheesh...I thought it faded already
Posted by: Captain America || 04/02/2007 1:01 Comments || Top||

#2  But, at least, Europe's 2000 years old Jewish problem will be finally solved.
Posted by: gromgoru || 04/02/2007 2:13 Comments || Top||

#3  --Even Britain, which puts such store by its 'special relationship' with the US and continues to have an ambivalent relationship with the EU, will have to come on board if it is to have any influence in Washington.

"If the UK wants to defend its national interest number one [the special relationship], it must be in a position to deliver Europe, but to deliver Europe, it must be more European."--

That's a bug, dumkoff, not a feature.

So, spending more time in the US made him more sober, eh?
Posted by: anonymous2u || 04/02/2007 2:23 Comments || Top||

#4  anonymous2u, a few more years and he may become a neocon. ;-)
Posted by: twobyfour || 04/02/2007 5:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Turn out the lights, the party's over...
Posted by: Dandy Don || 04/02/2007 8:19 Comments || Top||

#6  The birthrate of of non-muslim Europeans is the key indicator. If European women don't have enough faith in their men or in their country to have children, then everything else is sound and fury signifying nothing.
Posted by: RWV || 04/02/2007 10:06 Comments || Top||

#7  The British have so far been left hanging by the Eu during the latest Iranian showdown. Not even serious sanctions from all of Europe have been forthcoming despite the EU citizenship of the British captives.

The USA should offer to allow England/Britian/UK (whichever seems the best) to formalize the special relationship into membership in NAFTA and make it easier for the Brits to keep their history and leave the EU (if they want).
Posted by: rjschwarz || 04/02/2007 10:19 Comments || Top||

#8  It's not faith, it's taxes. Same thing in SF and MA, 88K left Cook County, IL.
Posted by: anonymous2u || 04/02/2007 11:04 Comments || Top||

#9  I disagree that the 21st century powers will be India, China, and the US. I think Japan will continue to play a major role as well.
Posted by: DMFD || 04/02/2007 20:52 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Arctic Researcher takes longer view of warming, A Goreacle he's not

(Published: April 1, 2007)
Syun-Ichi Akasofu's greatest successes in a career of studying the aurora came when he questioned the conventional ideas about the phenomenon.

"I always become suspicious when many scientists agree on some interpretation," he said.

Now in retirement, the 76-year-old former director of both UAF's Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center is digging in on a new idea that runs contrary to popular beliefs -- that today's global warming might be more due to the planet's natural recovery from its last cold period than from our pumping of greenhouse gases into the air.

Akasofu recently gave a talk at the International Arctic Research Center in which he presented evidence for how the world has warmed in a steady fashion from well before the Industrial Revolution to the current day.

"If you look back far enough, we have a bunch of data that show that warming has gone on from the 1600s with an almost linear increase to the present," Akasofu said.

He showed ice-core data from the Russian Arctic that show warming starting from the early 1700s, temperature records from England showing the same trend back to 1660 and ice breakup dates at Tallinn, Estonia, that show a general warming since the year 1500.

Akasofu said scientists who support the man-made greenhouse gas theory disregard information from centuries ago when exploring the issue of global warming. Satellite images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean have been available in the satellite era only since the 1960s and 1970s.

"Young researchers are interested in satellite data, which became available after 1975," he said. "All the papers since (the advent of satellites) show warming. That's what I call 'instant climatology.' I'm trying to tell young scientists, 'You can't study climatology unless you look at a much longer time period.' "

Page 5

Melting glaciers, permafrost and other signs of warming might be Earth's natural recovery from a period known as the Little Ice Age, Akasofu said.

The Little Ice Age featured several centuries of very cold temperatures. The Thames River and New York Harbor often froze, and Vikings might have abandoned settlements at the time.
must have been the lack of CO2

Akasofu said there is no data showing that "most" of the present warming is due to the man-made greenhouse effect, as the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote in February.

He pointed out that the atmosphere cooled from 1940 to 1975 despite a rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions during the same period.
Mr. Al Gore, clue bat is calling

"Nature changes all the time," he said. "The natural component is there. Until you remove it, you don't know the man-made effect."

Akasofu said he could recall in the 1960s and 1970s when some scientists were talking about an approaching ice age. In the 1980s, global warming became a popular topic.

"I think the initial motivation by the IPCC (established in 1988) was good; it was an attempt to promote this particular scientific field," he said. "But so many (scientists) jumped in, and the media is looking for a disaster story, and the whole thing got out of control."

Akasofu said his tendency to go against the flow has been with him since he was a child in Japan. He looked beyond the accepted theory at the time to discover such things as the auroral substorm, the idea that the aurora explodes with activity more than once each night. In his career, he has seen many unconventional ideas become accepted theories.

"Although the Anchorage Daily News called me 'Alaska's best-known climate-change skeptic,' I believe I am a critic," he said. "That is the only way science can advance."

Nothing like hard science, pun intended
Posted by: Icerigger || 04/02/2007 12:50 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336065 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "whole thing got out of control"

That pretty much sums it up.

"his tendency to go against the flow has been with him since he was a child in Japan"

Very unusual, no? Good for you, Mr. Akasofu - you're obviously one of those natural Americans who just weren't born here, but got here anyway.

(As opposed to those natural Democrats socialists EUros who unfortunately were born here. I wish they'd go where they obviously belong, and leave us the hell alone.)
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/02/2007 14:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Here's a very interesting take-down of one of the global war -er- Climate Change adherents' key pieces of "scientific" evidence. I had always assumed there was statistical fudging involved, but I didn't think it was outright fraud.
Posted by: xbalanke || 04/02/2007 14:37 Comments || Top||

#3  Excellent article.
Posted by: Hupong Lumplump2657 || 04/02/2007 15:15 Comments || Top||

#4  Al-Gore is gonna have his zealots execute him for heresy.
Posted by: DarthVader || 04/02/2007 16:17 Comments || Top||

#5  It was just to good to pass up. The man seems to have a good grasp.
Posted by: Icerigger || 04/02/2007 16:42 Comments || Top||

#6  Akasofu said he could recall in the 1960s and 1970s when some scientists were talking about an approaching ice age.

Wait. I thought that didn't happen. God knows I've heard enough leftards lecture about how "scientists really didn't believe that", and how the Newsweek cover story just came out of the blue and surprised everyone.

Now we get a respected scientist in the field saying it did happen?


Posted by: Robert Crawford || 04/02/2007 20:19 Comments || Top||

#7  "The Coming Ice Age" was the big worry when I was in grad school in the late 70s. Akasofu is a highly respected Upper Atmosphere scientist.
Posted by: anymouse || 04/02/2007 20:51 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
GOP Candidate Tommy Thompson: Dim Bulb?
Most Buffoonish GOP Candidate Enters Presidential Fray

By Debbie Schlussel

Possibly the dumbest Republican to hold a cabinet position in contemporary times is running for President.
Schlussel is a semi-regular on Howard Stern's morning flatulence. Obviously, she has learned a few tricks from the King of all Egos.

Former Wisconsin Governor and ex-Bush HHS Secretary, Tommy Thompson is running for President. Because even the mediocre, bumbling set need a representative in the race, apparently.

Having lived in Wisconsin for 5.5 years while I went to Law School, Business School, and worked (all while he was the Guv), I had the misfortune of seeing up close what a nincompoop this guy is. It's laughable that he'd run.

Bush is thinking: "Why did I pick this idiot?"
But he probably thinks that whoever ultimately gets the GOP Presidential nod might be dumb enough to pick him--an ostensibly conservative governor from a Midwestern state with no skeletons save for lack of a brain--to be a running mate.

G-d help us all if that happens. Bush picked Tommy Thompson as HHS Secretary to pay off a political debt in a position where he thought the bloviating Beer-and-Cheesehead-State boob would do the least harm. But he was wrong and soon regretted the decision...
Posted by: Sneaze || 04/02/2007 12:07 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  jeeze - take a pill, beech.
Posted by: Snuque Crereck6058 || 04/02/2007 12:50 Comments || Top||

#2  I take it she don't like Tommy. :P
Posted by: djohn66 || 04/02/2007 12:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Thompson/Thompson in '08
Posted by: Phineter Thraviger || 04/02/2007 13:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Thompson/Thompson in '08

They thank you for your support.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 04/02/2007 20:05 Comments || Top||

#5  The Thompson Twins do have better hair than Thompson/Thompson and that is what wins elections nowadays.
Posted by: ed || 04/02/2007 21:40 Comments || Top||

#6  give it a rest, Tommy. Fred's the MAN
Posted by: Frank G || 04/02/2007 21:40 Comments || Top||

#7  Prior to leaving office, the President MUST ban the use of those "cheesehead" hats that we see at Packers' games.
Posted by: Sneaze || 04/02/2007 21:57 Comments || Top||

Bush needs to fight back
by William Kristol

An experienced Republican operative of our acquaintance--normally a man of sanguine disposition--said it all last week. After denouncing the amazing irresponsibility of the Democratic Congress, after lamenting the refusal of much of the media to report progress from Iraq, after noting the apparent incompetence of the attorney general, after wondering why the secretary of state seems to be making herself irrelevant--he came as close as he ever does to exploding. "But all this doesn't matter. It's really about Bush. Doesn't he understand he's walking around with a 'Kick Me' sign on his back?"

Surely President Bush must realize that the Democratic Congress is not merely struggling with him over policy, or jousting for political advantage. The Democrats in Congress are trying to destroy his presidency. They are trying to cripple his ability to govern for the rest of his term. And they are not far from succeeding. Will Bush fight back?

This does not mean defending everything his administration has done indiscriminately, of course. It may be, for example, that Attorney General Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General McNulty should go. Then get rid of them now. Appoint strong conservatives to replace them. And insist on their prompt confirmation.

Senate judiciary chair Pat Leahy threatened last week to hold up any such confirmation until his committee had access to testimony from Karl Rove. Why do the Democrats want Rove to testify? The Senate Democratic whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, gave the game away in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times's Lynn Sweet. Durbin explained that he wants Rove to testify so he can be forced to answer questions about "how much did the president know" and what did he do. Durbin wants to destroy the possibility of confidential communications between the president and his White House staff.

And that's not all. If Rove were to be sworn in as a witness, Durbin continued, the committee would want to know, "What else was Karl Rove doing when it came to other activities, departments of the government?" In other words: Democrats want a fishing expedition. Bush needs to be unequivocal that his White House aides will not testify. And if Leahy holds up confirmation hearings for the nominee for attorney general--if there is one--Bush needs to make his man acting attorney general in the meantime, rather than allowing Democrats to impede his ability to govern.

There is much else that Bush could do to show strength and remoralize his supporters. He could pardon Scooter Libby--now. When his top communications aide, Dan Bartlett, leaves, Bush could replace him with someone aggressive and conservative. And he could order his administration to battle for its initiatives and its people.

Here's a small but revealing example of the current situation. Last week, the White House withdrew the nomination of St. Louis businessman and philanthropist Sam Fox to be ambassador to Belgium after John Kerry threw a fit about Fox's having given money in 2004 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Kerry tried to insist that Fox apologize for his donation. Fox, a man of stature and dignity, refused to pretend to be contrite. Kerry bludgeoned Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrats into opposing Fox--which was not so easy, as Fox had wide and bipartisan support in Missouri and beyond. But the White House did nothing, and Democrats fell into line behind Kerry.

Sam Fox won't be an ambassador, but maybe the White House can learn from his experience. Refusing to yield to Kerry's bullying, Fox defended his contribution: "I did it because politically it's necessary if the other side's doing it." The other side is doing it in spades right now. If Bush doesn't fight back, the wreckage will extend to the few issues Bush has been vigorous on, such as Iraq. Even as Gen. Petraeus makes headway, even as John McCain demolishes the arguments of his Democratic colleagues, it will be increasingly difficult to maintain support for the war if the administration is in free fall.

Many Republicans may be tempted to give up in exasperation on a Bush administration that often seems incapable of defending itself. This would of course be bad for the country, leaving the nation at the mercy of the Democratic Congress for the next year and a half. But it would also be a political mistake. Even though Giuliani and McCain and Romney and Thompson have a fair amount of distance from the Bush administration, there is almost no precedent for a party's retaining the presidency if the outgoing administration ends its term in a shambles. So if Republicans--even not-particularly-Bush-friendly Republicans--want to save the country from a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress in 2009, with all that implies for foreign policy and the Supreme Court, they need to fight to save the Bush administration. It would be helpful if Bush would fight too.
Posted by: ryuge || 04/02/2007 07:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336067 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Amen to that
Posted by: DanNY || 04/02/2007 7:44 Comments || Top||

#2  I think Bush is tired and done, he tried to get the world and America to see what needed to be done and they rejected it and now he is probably thinking screw them. I would.( tho I do think Bush shot himself in the foot a couple times)
Posted by: djohn66 || 04/02/2007 7:59 Comments || Top||

#3  Someone once said "The best Defense is a good Offense." All I have seen in the past years is Defese and back peddling. The Donks case is weak and it wouldn't take much to topple that house of cards.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/02/2007 10:40 Comments || Top||

#4  Bush can't really fight back; he's toxic - even the Repubs in Congress no longer feel they can associate with him. He's making as few waves as he can now so that at least he still has the potential to get a veto sustained (should he ever decide to use one.)
Posted by: Glenmore || 04/02/2007 12:13 Comments || Top||

#5  So many times the Bush administration has been unwilling to defend itself. Part of the problem is W's speech impairment. Part of it is just fatigue.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 04/02/2007 12:54 Comments || Top||

#6  This could have been written (with different details) years ago. The administration has been passive forever, and outrageously so.

Not outrageous because it hurts his approval ratings, because those don't matter - outrageous because the administration has mishandled fundamental issues in a way that will hurt the country and the world after Bush leaves office. Leave aside the infatuation with magic and finesse in Iraq (that's a malady that runs deep in the military, not the administration's creation).

The crucial and common sense concept of pre-emption has been horribly mangled, and the role of (unavoidably flawed) intelligence in all that has never been explained. It took guts to act pre-emptively even being Bush, and even in the aftermath of 9/11. The next president may need to act even more decisively in a pre-emptive mode - and look at the political and public perception landscape Bush is bequeathing to the next CinC.

As for Bush being toxic, the performance of the political class (GOP, and the presumably still extant small number of serious Dems) actually speaks for itself, and is as troubling as the WH's inexplicable passivity. Bush is toxic to the midgets who now populate the Hill, and who are in Washington for no apparent reason other than to be in Washington.

Words like treason are cheap in website comment sections like this, and generally inappropriate. But cowardice and cluelessness are entirely justified strong words to use WRT the current political class. I can't imagine the country or world would be any less well off if all 535 members of congress disappeared from Earth this afternoon. Usual Twain-like snarkiness aside, that's a very damning observation. As a WH flails for no good reason, there's not a single voice, not a single personality that's even once stood up to provide some leadership. It's a lilliputian moment in American politics.

But it's even worse than that. The descent of the major media into unprofessional, partisan, mediocre analytical advocacy is well understood.

But less appreciated is the evaporation of standards in public service. The preposterous and loathsome Wilson couple are the poster children, but the leakers of the NSA program and the SWIFT operation are even more troubling. Thousands of rank-and-file public employees toil in strict compliance with all their professional and legal and ethical obligations, many risking their lives, often disagreeing with some policy that's current. And then arrogant, irresponsible, clueless senior types in comfortable Washington jobs take it upon themselves to be FISA Court, Supreme Court, National Security Council, and President all in one, and make momentous decisions about classified programs. And their felonies aren't even investigated effectively, no one goes to Club Fed.

And that's not all. The Supreme Court just starts making shit up - even more than they already had in the 70s and 80s. They insert their ridiculous and baseless interpretation of Common Article III as law of the land - thus neatly usurping the proper constitutional roles of the Senate and the executive branch. So now an unelected panel of folks with no particular understanding of security issues obligates the US to international standards we specifically have refused to accept through the elected executive branch that has the job of dealing with such matters. And silly me, I used to think it was a bit rich even in the early 1990s to be explaining "rule of law" and the importance of a free press to ex-Soviets ..... sheesh.

This WH is way, way past needing to fight back (and on substance, not political atmospherics). But seems to me like the wheels (professionally, ethically, in terms of standards) have come off the system in many other ways that can't be addressed by a WH public affairs or political offensive.
Posted by: Verlaine || 04/02/2007 15:44 Comments || Top||

#7  Verlaine '08!
Posted by: xbalanke || 04/02/2007 16:01 Comments || Top||

#8  I can't imagine the country or world would be any less well off if all 535 members of congress disappeared from Earth this afternoon.

Which is why I've been obliged to speculate upon the intense irony of Washington DC being targeted for a terrorist nuclear attack when they have done so incredibly little to prevent such a catastrophe.

Outstanding commentary, Verlaine!
Posted by: Zenster || 04/02/2007 19:04 Comments || Top||

A Chat with General David Petraeus
H/T to Op-for.com Read it all at Opfor home (good guys there)

The following is an OPFOR exclusive. Our friend Richard S. Lowry, award winning author of the best selling book, “Marines in the Garden of Eden, currently working on a historical account of the surge, sat down for an extensive phone interview with General Petraeus last Thursday. Richard transcribed the conversation into the post below, to be -with General Petreaus' permission- reposted here at OPFOR.

This is an absolute fascinating look into the fight to win Iraq, told by a master storyteller. Enjoy.

A Chat with David Petraeus

March 29, 2007

Richard S. Lowry

There has been a dramatic change in America’s strategy in Iraq. The new priority has become security of the people of Baghdad. America’s fortress mentality is gone and there is a whole new feeling of partnership in the Multi-National Force-Iraq.

While the situation in Iraq remains dire, we have finally adopted a strategy that has a chance of returning sanity to the people of Baghdad. It is still too early to determine if Fardh al-Qanoon (enforcing the law) will work. All the odds are against General David Petraeus, but if anyone can bring peace and stability to Iraq, it is he.

We are involved in a worldwide conflict and the front lines are in Iraq. We are involved in a conflict our military was not prepared to fight in 2003. We are involved in a modern-day counterinsurgent war – a netwar. General Petraeus knows the seriousness of this assault on the free world and he knows how to win against these 21st Century insurgents. Before taking command of the Multi-National Force, he was the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division; the commander of the Multi-National Security Transition command where he helped build the new Iraqi Army; and most recently the commanding general at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, where he oversaw the revamping of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM3-24.

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking with him on the telephone. We started by talking about the Iraqi people. The General spent several minutes talking of the sheer horror Iraqis have suffered most of their lives. They have lived through the Iran-Iraq war, Desert Storm, a decade of sanctions and the Invasion of 2003. Then, instead of freedom, they have suffered through the chaos of the last several years.

He said, that they have endured “serious, brutal, horrific, barbaric terrorism carried out by Al-Qaeda” only to be followed by senseless sectarian violence. The general went on to say that the, “various sectarian militia, shia militia, got way out of control. [They] hijacked governmental ministries and certain security force elements…particular[ly] in the wake of the violence following the Askari Mosque bombing in late Feb of 2006.” The bombing stoked sectarian violence on both sides. General Petraeus voiced empathy for the people. He said, “They have endured a lot. They are a resilient people; it’s a nation of survivors. It’s a nation of people that in many respects have endured enormous oppression.” The combination of oppression and sectarian violence has taken a toll on the Iraqi society.

Petraeus continued. “With a lot of those that had an option overseas leaving, Iraq has suffered a brain drain of varying proportions. A lot of the Technocrats just couldn’t hang in there.” With the people who administered Iraq on a day-to-day basis no longer sitting behind the desks in government, “You have people governing who, by in large, have had little experience in running large organizations [or] strategic level institutions.”

“There are just an awful lot of challenges.” Petraeus said.

More at site
Posted by: Sherry || 04/02/2007 12:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336078 views] Top|| File under:

#1  yeah, and the babylonians and the assyrians fought it out for 1000's of yrs too. let them kill each other off
Posted by: sinse || 04/02/2007 21:52 Comments || Top||

Taking of hostages by Iran is not Britain's finest hour
BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist

Twenty-seven years ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a student in Tehran and is said (by a former Iranian president, for one) to be among those in the U.S. embassy who seized and held American citizens hostage for more than a year.

Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is president of Iran and bears less ambiguous responsibility for Western hostages. This time round, they're British subjects: 15 sailors and Royal Marines. There are a few differences between this kidnapping and the last: Back in 1979, the Iranians seized their hostages by invading a diplomatic mission -- the sovereign territory of the United States. In 2007, they seized them in international waters. In 1979, two weeks after the embassy crisis began, 13 American hostages who happened to be black were released; the remainder were held for another 14 months. In 2007, the one woman among the hostages is being offered by the regime for early release, invitingly dangled in front of the TV cameras, though with her Royal Navy uniform replaced by Islamic dress; it remains to be seen what will become of the others. On Thursday, a new generation of "student demonstrators" called for the "British aggressors" to be executed.

On this 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, Tony Blair is looking less like Margaret Thatcher and alarmingly like Jimmy Carter, the embodiment of the soi-disant "superpower" as a smiling eunuch.

But this is a season of anniversaries. A few days ago, the European Union was celebrating its 50th birthday with the usual lame-o Euro-boosterism. I said up above that the 15 hostages are "British subjects." But, as a point of law, they are also "citizens of the European Union." Even Oxford and Hoover's Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe's pretensions. "Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards," he wrote. "Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

The article continues on at link
Posted by: Phesing Snusing2674 || 04/02/2007 21:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336064 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Culture Wars
NYC Play on Poor Misunderstood Al-Qaeda
Lawrence Wright's 'Trip to Al-Qaeda'
by Deborah Amos

Author Lawrence Wright's one-man play My Trip to Al-Qaeda chronicles his quest to understand the rage at the Islamic fundamentalist group's roots.

Morning Edition, March 30, 2007 · My Trip to Al-Qaeda, a one-man play in New York, is an emotional journey for the audience and the writer, who plays himself on stage.
From what I hear, this is mea culpa theater. In interviews, Wright laments how Americans don't understand that terror is a "desperate" response to our oppression of the "other." Nevermind the jihad prescriptions in the unholy koran, and the promotion of hate in the Wahabi mosques.

Lawrence Wright's award-winning book, The Looming Tower, charted the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. A television documentary that includes his work will be broadcast on PBS in April. Now, his new play documents his quest to understand the rage at the roots of the terrorist group.

The performance is a personal form of his journalism, tracing the backgrounds of the central figures in the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, Wright felt an odd, personal connection.

"I had a sickening feeling on 9/11. You know, everyone was saying, 'It looks like a movie,' and I was saying, 'It looks like my movie.'"

He had written a screenplay for The Siege, the 1998 film that depicts a terrorist attack in New York that leads to tanks in the streets and the curtailing of civil liberties.
However, the martial law commander - played by Bruce Willis - is arrested at the end of the film. Wright hardly promoted military solutions to counter-terror in his screenplay. Boo Hoo! They hate us!

"As time was passing," he said, "I was praying that the plot wouldn't play out exactly as it had in the movie, but step by step, the script unfolded."

By then, Wright was already researching his book, interviewing more than 600 people, including former al-Qaida members. He lived for a time in Saudi Arabia, traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those experiences are packed into this play...
Those contacts would ONLY talk to a dhimmi doormat. Root cause: self-absorbia.
Posted by: Sneaze || 04/02/2007 12:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336065 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What I want to know is, besides the palestinian "oppression", who the hell is oppressing the rest of the muslim world?
Posted by: TMH || 04/02/2007 13:15 Comments || Top||

#2  What I want to know is, besides the palestinian "oppression", who the hell is oppressing the rest of the muslim world? Can someone make a list of muslim countries and their oppressors, please?
Posted by: TMH || 04/02/2007 13:16 Comments || Top||

#3  Whatcha think the chances are of getting a play produced in NYC that is based (in truth) on the more infidelophboic portions of the koran? Such a play needs to be written but it won't happen.
Posted by: Mark Z || 04/02/2007 13:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Wright laments how Americans don't understand that terror is a "desperate" response to our oppression of the "other."

I wonder if he'll lament how Muslims don't understand how their terror led to a violent oppression agains them. Terrorists should have tried to stop the circle of violence.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 04/02/2007 14:26 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2007-04-02
  Democrats To Widen Conflict With Bush
Sun 2007-04-01
  Wazoo tribesmen attack Qaeda bunkers
Sat 2007-03-31
  Japan sets up missile defence shield near Tokyo
Fri 2007-03-30
  Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai stretchy neck
Thu 2007-03-29
  Arab League unanimously approves Saudi peace plan
Wed 2007-03-28
  US starts largest exercise since war
Tue 2007-03-27
  Hicks pleads guilty
Mon 2007-03-26
  Release Sufi Muhammad in 72 hours or Else: TNSM
Sun 2007-03-25
  UNSC approves new sanctions on Iran
Sat 2007-03-24
  Iran kidnaps Brit sailors, marines
Fri 2007-03-23
Thu 2007-03-22
  110 killed as Waziristan festivities enter third day
Wed 2007-03-21
  40 killed in Wazoo clashes
Tue 2007-03-20
  Taha Yassin Ramadan escorted from gene pool
Mon 2007-03-19
  5000+ kilos of explosives seized in Mazar-e-Sharif

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