July 2, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 07/02/2007

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)A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease - At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search. (READ MORE)

Obama Takes Lead In Money Raised - Sen. Barack Obama raised $31 million for his presidential primary campaign over the past three months, surging past Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's fundraising machine by nearly $10 million for the quarter to take the lead in contributions in the crowded Democratic field. (READ MORE)

5 Suspects Held in British Bomb Attempts - British police arrested a fifth person Sunday and raided homes in three cities in connection with attempted car bombings that officials say are connected to al-Qaeda. (READ MORE)

5th Suspect Under Arrest - British police yesterday raided buildings near Glasgow and in central England and made a fifth arrest in a hunt for al Qaeda-linked terrorists behind the fiery attack on the Scottish city's airport and foiled car bombings in London. (READ MORE)

Saudi Religious Police Spur Growing Backlash - After the car stopped outside a Riyadh amusement park, two bearded men dragged the driver from behind the wheel and took the three women on a wild ride of more than an hour, bouncing over sidewalks and finally abandoning them on a darkened street. (READ MORE)

Executive Privilege Carries a Hefty Political Price - President Bush may have strong legal grounds for refusing congressional subpoenas, but the political price for asserting his executive privilege will be high, say lawyers who have worked for both Republican and Democratic presidents. (READ MORE)

Chertoff Rebukes Congress Over Bill - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff yesterday scolded senators for failing to pass an immigration bill with new border and interior enforcement tools, refused to commit to spending the $4.4 billion in border security President Bush said is needed, and said the onus is now on Congress to pass something. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Michael Yon: Bless the Beasts and Children “On 29 June, American and Iraqi soldiers were again fighting side-by-side as soldiers from Charley Company 1-12 CAV—led by Captain Clayton Combs—and Iraqi soldiers from the 5th IA, closed in on a village on the outskirts of Baqubah. The village had the apparent misfortune of being located near a main road—about 3.5 miles from FOB Warhorse—that al Qaeda liked to bomb. Al Qaeda had taken over the village. As Iraqi and American soldiers moved in, they came under light contact; but the bombs planted in the roads (and maybe in the houses) were the real threat.” (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Current OPS “The internet has decreased the costs of access to information by an amount that I cannot even begin to measure. In my view this has some interesting effects, some good and some - well I am not sure how I would categorize it. I would not characterize it as bad because I do not think the access to more information is bad; with so much more available the end user must make the decision to self-limit at some point or be paralyzed by indecision. Additionally one must make his or her opinion more open to change based on new and factual information.” (READ MORE)

Calvey in Iraq: Day Off “Greetings from Baghdad! Today I am enjoying the first day off work that I have had since arriving in Iraq 5 months ago, not counting the time I had to be medevac'ed out for surgery. Morale is definitely up! I did get up early to run a 5K race. My best time ever by six seconds- 23 minutes 47 seconds. Then I went to lift weights and eat breakfast.” (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce On The Loose In Iraq: Iraq - The Ultimate Suckfest “Alright well the last patrol that I just got off of was a very, very, very long and crappy time. It seemed as if the time would never pass and we would never make it back into base. But eventually time did pass and we finally made it back home. Just seemed like an eternity out there this time. To start out, we ended up doing the usual market babysitting that apparently, the 82nd Airborne, a prestigious unit full of strong battle heritage, has been tasked with a job that the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police should be doing.” (READ MORE)

The Gunner's World: 2D Battalion 5th Marines... Al Fallujah “The motions come to me now without much thought: flack jacket buttoned up, helmet and goggles strapped and on, gloves on, magazine in, pistol locked and loaded. I climb into the HUMMER knowing what I have to do to be safe and leave the firm base. Today I am riding outside the wire into the city of Fallujah with the Marines of 2nd Battalion 5th Marines. This mission is a little different as I have my Commanding Officer (CO) with me, from Quantico, he is also in country serving in the Joint History office in Baghdad.” (READ MORE)

Jack Army: You Knew That “Ya know, sometimes I feel like folks just don't get it. I know you can't/shouldn't judge someone on just a one-liner comment to a blog post, but it's hard not to, being human and all. So, I'm cruising my usual reads, I get to one of my favorites (who must be busy cavorting about the the country since he left up the post linking to my VBIED adventure up for several days now... but I digress) and notice that "3 people are talking" which is TC Override speak for comments. One person says this:” (READ MORE)

Omar: More Baghdad Summer Politics “News about the creation of a so-called ‘moderate powers front’ is making the headlines in Baghdad’s papers again. This time headed by the ruling parties, not the opposition, al-Sabah reported last Wednesday: ‘The two Kurdish parties (PUK and KDP), the Dawa Party, and the SIIC agreed yesterday (Tuesday) to form a national political front that will be officially announced next week.’ And as usual the Dawa and SIIC can’t move forward on anything without the blessing of Ayatollah Sistani, so the SIIC sent Abdul Mahdi to Najaf to brief Sistani on the plan:” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: From the Anbar Awakening to the Surge ‘Frederick and Kimberly Kagan have written a very worthwhile piece about the strategy underpinning the United States military’s surge in Iraq. I’ll be honest here. ‘Optimism’ and ‘Iraq’ in the same sentence sound ludicrous to me unless we’re talking about Kurdistan. Too many times I naively believed the U.S. was “turning the corner” on the insurgency, only to later feel like a sucker. Don’t be a sucker is perhaps the best one-sentence advice I can give to anyone who chooses to engage or even dabble in Middle East politics. I learned that one several times from experience. At the same time, though, I know that conflict does not equal failure. And lack of victory in the middle of a war doesn’t pre-ordain failure at the end of a war. Otherwise it would not be the middle.” (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: The Return of the Headless Headlines “Gosh!!: The Associated Press, Reuters, and a small Iraqi Independent news agency called Voice of Iraq released stories Thursday about the massacre of 20 men near Salman Pak, who were supposedly found decapitated on the banks of the Tigris River. I'm shocked - shocked I tell you, to read this. I haven't heard of such a thing since the last time the news reported a bogus headless bodies story.” (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Lugar doesn't get it “Republican Senator Richard Lugar gave a long speech in which he reportedly warned that the United States’ standing in the world could be irreparably eroded if the White House does not change its Iraq strategy soon. Of course, I haven't heard the speech. But from what I can see from the excerpts from what his 50 minute talk, the senator did not address some important questions. For example, has Lugar thought about the celebrations of al-Qaeda in Iraq once they declare victory? How will the world view the standing of the United States once it has been defeated by murderers who cut off the heads of people who disagree with them?” (READ MORE)

Northern Disclosure: We do have some time to work with. “Life on the road will have it's ups and downs. I do enjoy being out in the mix and hope to keep myself out here with the boys where I am needed. As I have progressed with my career I have found that the older the leadership get the more they want to keep people busy at home doing....well you know. I will do everything in my power to stay out with the boys and serving the way I know I am needed. Its cool to travel around iraq and see the places I have been in the past and how they have changed.” (READ MORE)

My Desert Adventure: No thank you, Mrs. Speaker “Recently, the Speaker of the house reiterated her desire to pull out American forces from Iraq. She stated that withdrawal was the best way to support the troops: ‘Democrats are committed to an American military that is second to none. That is why in this Congress we have made huge investments in America's military readiness. And we will always do whatever it takes to support our troops. But we believe that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home.’” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Ronald A. Cass: Democrats and U.S. Intellectual Property “Henry Waxman and 34 other House Democrats wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab late last month demanding that she rescind her decision to put Thailand on the ‘Special 301’ Priority Watch List of nations violating intellectual property rights. Their protest demonstrates an uncanny instinct for getting things wrong -- reducing important protections for trade and intellectual property on behalf of an authoritarian government installed by military coup, meanwhile damaging American companies working to cure HIV/AIDS, coronary-artery disease and other threats to world health.” (READ MORE) *REG REQ*

Abigail Thernstrom: Supreme Gibberish “More than half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court is still wringing its hands over whether race can determine where a child goes to school. Can a school district look at two neighboring families, one black and the other white, and send the children to different schools because of their skin color? In a 5-4 opinion last Thursday, the court took a gratifying but sadly limited step in the right direction. Racial sorting, it said, is not permitted -- except when it is.” (READ MORE) *REG REQ*

John Fund: Voting Rights Turnabout “Last week a federal district judge found direct evidence that the political machine in Noxubee County, Miss., had discriminated against voters with the intent to infringe their rights and that ‘these abuses have been racially motivated.’ Among the abuses catalogued by Judge Tom Lee were the paying of notaries public to visit voters and illegally mark their absentee ballots, manipulation of the registration rolls, importation of illegal candidates to run for county office, and publication of a list of voters, classified by race, who might have their ballots challenged.” (READ MORE)

WSJ Review & Outlook: Jihad in Britain “Barely 48 hours on the job, Britain's new Prime Minister Gordon Brown got a lesson in the realities of the post-9/11 world. Terrorist plots in London and Glasgow pushed the U.K.'s security alert up to the highest level—‘critical’--for the first time in a year. In fortunate contrast to the London subway bombings two years ago this July 7, neither attack came off as planned. Two cars packed with gasoline, gas cylinders and nails were discovered early Friday in the British capital and defused. At Glasgow airport, a similarly rigged SUV crashed into security barriers, barely failing to get inside the departure hall. Except for an attacker who set himself ablaze yelling ‘Allah, Allah,’ no one was seriously hurt. Police arrested five suspects.” (READ MORE)

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.: Acts 17:23 “Only the naïve believe that the flare up of radical Islam is a temporary response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Washington on the Tiber “The sparklers, snakes, rockets and Roman candles will make a grand display at barbecues, fish fries and picnics this week, but between the second hot dog and the third brewski we ought to think about what the Fourth of July actually means. New Year's Day offers a time for personal appraisals of what we like about ourselves and what we'd like to change, and Independence Day offers that same pause for reflection -- for the nation and for each of us.” (READ MORE)

Donald Lambro: Bad News Democrats Dropping the Ball “Six months into the first session of the Democratic Congress and the last two years of the Bush administration, the news isn't good.” (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: A Republican Failure “I asked one of the few conservative Republican senators who stuck with President Bush on immigration to assess how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell handled the issue.” (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: (Free) Speech Disorder “There are few areas where I think common sense is more sorely lacking than in our public debates over free speech, and there's no better proof than two recent Supreme Court decisions.” (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Immigration Bill -- Shut Down “The administration, by charging ahead on border security and setting the stage for a national identity card, can move the public toward accepting a comprehensive immigration bill in the years ahead.” (READ MORE)

Star Parker: Immigration fiasco shows crisis in leadership “According to Rasmussen, the main concern of the public -- 72 percent, according to his polling -- is border security. Yet, the main focus of the debate was how to legalize the 12 million plus here illegally.” (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: What's So Great About America “In recent years, we’ve heard a great deal about ‘why they hate us’ and about why America is so bad. What the critiques often miss is what is good and even great about America.” (READ MORE)

La Shawn Barber: Black Pride, White Paternalism “Last week the U.S. Supreme Court held that schools in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington, could not use race as a tiebreaker when assigning students.” (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Why I Support Statutory Rape “It is not possible to believe that a child has a right to consent to abortion while simultaneously taking the view that she may not consent to sex. In fact, the sex is pretty much a prerequisite to the condition of pregnancy.” (READ MORE)

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Amnesty International's inhumane human-rights policy “It is a tragedy when a force for good becomes a force for evil. But such is the case with Amnesty International.” (READ MORE)

Mary Grabar: The Cultural Illiteracy of Atheist Christopher Hitchens “Best-selling atheist authors are riding a wave of ignorance and illiteracy. The latest offering, God Is Not Great, comes from a bon vivant with a British accent, an attribute that lends sophistication in the eyes of the pseudo-intellectuals whose vision of the Christian is the Bible-thumping backwoodsman.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Iraq Report: Surprising Drop in Civilian Deaths “The civilian death toll in Iraq dropped sharply in June, by over 35 percent from May's totals and reached the lowest number since July 2006. This occurred despite the launch of Operation Phantom Thunder in mid-June. Iraqi Security Forces absorbed 222 deaths in June, more than twice the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq over the same time period. The sharp drop in civilian casualties and the reduction of sectarian-related murders in Baghdad are encouraging signs, but it is too soon to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the Baghdad Security Plan.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Half of Baghdad Secured “On June 4, The New York Times released partial data from a classified memorandum that stated only 29 percent of Baghdad was secured, and provided little context to the status of the remaining 71 percent of Baghdad. The article was widely interpreted as heralding the failure of the Baghdad Security Plan, as four months into the operation, less than one third of Baghdad was secured.” (READ MORE)

Some Soldier's Mom: Invisible Wounds: The Army Still Doesn’t Get It. “Let me start this rant with a little perspective. Every year around the 4th of July, a local church group puts on a patriotic play or show right smack in the middle of the town on our courthouse square that celebrates the military. This year’s program was prefaced with a song called ‘Letters from War” that (surprise!) made me tear up. I leaned to the DH and said, “You know, these days I don’t think too much about how we almost lost him, but this song has brought all that rushing back.” He said, “I think about it every day.”’ My son’s physical wounds have healed, but invisible ones remain.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: South Asian Wrongfulness Update “Two more arrested in Britain’s Islamo-flambe case. AP doesn’t indicate whether these are more disenfranchised South Asians engaged in international wrongfulness. But here’s some news. They may not be South Asians after all. Iranian Kurds, linked to Ansar al-Islam? Sounds more Middle Eastern to me. Somebody may owe the disenfranchised South Asians an apology. What’s that word, by the way. Yeah, that one. Islam. How’d that get in there? Someone’s going to get their feelings hurt:” (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Monday morning idiot: Code Pinko activist nearly martyrs herself waiting on a useless meeting with Sen. Lieberman “There’s only one reason to post this clip. The Code Pinkette rambles, shambles and talks about passing out in Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s office. She’s insufferably self-righteous. She was having a hunger strike to protest how mean Liebs was being to that nice guy who runs Iran. So she went to Lieberman’s office and pestered him. Over the course of the no doubt riveting exchange of ideas, she passes out, to remain ever unenlightened. Not that a warehouse full of facts would have made a difference with her and her fellow Pinkettes anyway.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: You don’t say: U.S. captures top Hezbollah bombmaker in Iraq; Update: Video added; Update: Quds Force helped plan Karbala raid, general says “Not even the left will be surprised by this but they’ll publicly scoff and attack the story anyway lest it give any more credence to Bush’s complaints about Iran. Greenwald used that same “reasoning” a few weeks ago with respect to the Anbar Awakening: it simply couldn’t be true, because if it’s true then it means progress really is being made and if progress is being made then it justifies extending the mission and we can’t have that.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Voters give GOP amnesty “I’ve been blogging that the Amnesty Bill could save the Republican by giving the party an issue Americans understand. As Sonny Bono said: ‘What’s to debate? It’s illegal.’ The issue also gives Republicans a chance to boo President Bush. Apparently, that is how it is working, as the Rasmussen Poll showed a slight uptick in people identifying themselves as Republicans:” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Hezbollah Operative Further Proof Of Iranian Involvement “The announcement yesterday of an arrest in March of a high-ranking Hezbollah terrorist in Iraq gives more credence to the accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq's insurgencies. The US caught Ali Moussa Dadouk in southern Iraq after he masterminded a Karbala attack that killed five American soldiers -- and Dadouk fingered the Iranians for much more:” (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Senate Arrogance Reinforces Need for Term Limits “The US Senate, in its vote Tuesday to continue the push on the pending immigration 'reform' bill, has showed that once again, and more dramatically than ever, it has no interest in actually serving the interests of the American people. How many times have we heard some senate blowhard claiming to know what 'The American People' want, all usually tied to some phony poll that posted the desired answers before even asking leading questions to select respondents to be sure the required answer was delivered? But when push comes to shove, and the American people are screaming bloody murder because our esteemed senators are turning a deaf ear to their concerns, suddenly 'The American People' are not to be listened to, trusted, or heeded.” (READ MORE)

Cassandra: A Tale Of Two Villages “Last week, the Associated Press rushed to bring us the shocking tale of 20 headless corpses found in Iraq. This was news most of us here at home could scarcely imagine functioning without. Indeed, as the Editorial Staff fed another load of laundry into the washing machine, paid the bills and finished a report at work we snidely pondered to ourselves: how could we be expected to go about the important business of the day without instant headless body updates, or the latest Grim Milestone Count from the front lines? The mere thought is panic inducing. Verily, the mind boggles.” (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: Tony Blair puts his retirement to good use ‘Tony Blair, finally speaking for himself rather than the government of the United Kingdom, calls out the British Islamists and their ideological fellow-travelers: ‘Tony Blair has launched a powerful attack on 'absurd' British Islamists who have nurtured a false 'sense of grievance' that they are being oppressed by Britain and the United States.’” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: First, Do No Harm “Expressing opposition to Universal Health Care is a bit like opposing the Flag, Mom, and Apple Pie; it is generally seen as indicative of a cruel and cramped attitude toward the less fortunate. Furthermore, with the price of health insurance and health care acting as a major factor in the increasing anxiety of the middle class, such opposition is a political loser of the first order. Yet the American public is being sold a bill of goods when it comes to Universal Health Care. If Hillary Clinton gains the Presidency and is blessed with a Democratic Congress, the American Middle class is in for one of the great ‘bait-and-switch’ scams of all time. It is a useful approximation to consider the American health care system as a 3 tier system as follows:” (READ MORE)

Walid Phares: The Car Bomb Jihad: Is Britain seeing clearly? “With each revelation made in Britain and in the West about a foiled plot or after an actual attack, a shower of questions is raised within the mainstream media, some of which contradict the other. The June 29 British success in averting two (maybe more) car bombs in London has also been accompanied by an endless series of issues, revealing among other things how the counterterrorism culture within Western democracies is still lacking in terms of cohesiveness. By comparison with previous conflicts, the analytical behavior of the global war on terror deserves a serious review. Following are a few questions I suggest we consider:” (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Forget the Crummy Effigies — Burn a Church! “Many conservatives supported the 1999 air war against Serbia over Kosovo, even though it was instigated by Bill Clinton. I was not one of them; it seemed like an ill-advised use of America’s political and military capital, and a look into the background of the KLA did not inspire confidence. What did we think we were doing by going to bat on behalf of such a seedy, shadowy, and dangerous organization? Later events only confirmed my worst expectation. Putting Kosovo into UN receivership has been a disaster for everyone except for the Kosovar Albanians, and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Christians from Kosovo highlighted the nature of the people we were so eager to help.” (READ MORE)

McQ: Iraqi Civilian deaths down for June “No, this isn’t a ‘the Surge is working’ post, so we can skip hearing from those who don’t understand the Surge to begin with. It is to note that violence, at least for the month of June, was down in Baghdad: ‘Iraqi civilian deaths dropped to 1,241 last month, according to figures issued on Sunday, the lowest since a US-led crackdown was launched in February in Baghdad and other violent regions of the country. The latest numbers, compiled from interior, defence and health ministry figures and made available to AFP, indicate that 1,241 civilians died last month, compared to 1,951 in the previous month.’” (READ MORE)

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