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Showing posts from June, 2006

"Disaster City"

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It is at Texas A&M and I am not talking about the Aggie football team. The disaster training area is part of an enginering and training project for first responders and others having to deal with all types of disasters. Check out their web site.

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Emergency responders from across the globe venture to Disaster City® for unparalleled search and rescue training and exercises. Simply put, Disaster City® is the most comprehensive emergency response training facility available today.
Building Collapse
Emergency Operations Training Center
Rubble Piles
Technical Skills Training Area
Transportation Disaster Training Area
I did not notice any collapsed bon fires either, but the program looks like a worthwhile project. I can think of a few mayors and governors who should spend some time there too. They may want to turn their current problems into a theme park too. Seriously, Texas A&M is a great school with a high quality faculty and student body and it is not surprising they turn out so…

Koizumi all shook up over Graceland visit

Gateway Pundit:

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Koizumi released an Elvis CD in 2001: "Junichiro Koizumi Presents: My Favorite Elvis Songs."

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Back in 1987... When Koizumi was a mere lawmaker, he and his brother Masaya, now a senior adviser to the Tokyo fan club, helped raise funds to erect a status of Elvis in the Japanese capital to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.

Debbie Schlussel thought this was a pretty cool idea when it was announced.
Allah has a cool roundup.
The visit to Elvis's home was a dream come true for one of his biggest fans from Japan. It is great to see the human side of world leaders and particular one like Koizumi who has been a great ally for the last six years. Japan has become for Asia what the UK is for Europe when it comes to relations with the US and that is a high compliment. It will be a Blue Christmas without him.

Did the terrorist at Gitmo have the right to remain silent

When you look at what the Supreme Court has done for enemy combatants you have to ask will they also apply Miranda rights to them too. In other words before we asked them about more terrorist attacks did we have to tell them they did not have to answer? This is not just an academic question.

It is my belief that we did not and should not give terrorist Fifth Amendment rights, but if the Court says we must, then under one of their other egrigous rules, all of the terrorist will have to be released because all of the evidence we have gotten from them is inadmissable. If that is the case then the five justices responsible for this decision have turned the Constitution into a suicide pact for the benefit of people who want to over throw it.

How do they expect to avoid this conclusion when they claim judicial jurisdiction of enemy combatants during a war? I do not think they can and remain logically consistent. About the only hope for avoiding this results is if they continue to defy lo…

Americans disagree with the NY Times

Fox News:

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The poll shows there is strong support for the Treasury Department program tracking financial transactions in search of terrorist funding. Seven of 10 Americans support the program, including majorities of Republicans (83 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (58 percent).The Bush administration asked the New York Times not to publish information about the secret program, but the newspaper went ahead because it felt it was in the public interest to do so. By publishing the story, a 60 percent majority thinks the Times did more to help terrorist groups than the public (27 percent).More Americans blame government employees for leaking the classified info (51 percent) than the media for reporting it (28 percent).Furthermore, almost all (87 percent) think the employees who leaked should face criminal charges and two-thirds think the news organizations should. Even so, only 43 percent are willing to call what the media did treason, and almost as many think the organ…

Court at war with common sense

Ronald Cass:

Liberty may have been the traditional casualty of war, but common sense is its new colleague. The Supreme Court, trying hard on the anniversary of last term's Kelo decision to find a suitable sequel, performed a rare triple loop in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. It found jurisdiction in the face of a statute directly taking jurisdiction away from the Court. It second-guessed the President on the need for particular security features in trials of suspected al Qaeda terrorists. And it gave hope to One-World-ers by leaning on international common law to interpret U.S. federal law. If that weren't enough, the (left, lefter, and far left) turns were executed in the course of giving a court victory to Osama bin Laden's driver. What a perfect way to end the term!

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Despite the statements of the terrorist rights left that this decision involved common sense, it only demonstrated how uncommonly ignorant and abusive the left can be in achieving its judical objectives. Ignoring the…

The Madness of Hamdan

Peter Mulhern:

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The Court had no authority to hear the case, both because a statute clearly deprived it of jurisdiction and because the case presented questions no court is competent to address. If the Court was going to ignore these trifling impediments and decide the case anyway it should have issued a laugh track instead of an opinion. The case was utterly without merit.Nonetheless the Court issued an opinion, a number of them in fact. Five Justices agreed that the President of the United States does not have the power to constitute military tribunals for the purpose of trying terrorists for violating the laws of war.The irony here is exquisite. Article III of the Constitution leaves the definition of the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction up to Congress. In the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA) Congress very clearly gave the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over Hamdan’s habeas corpus petition. After the effective date of that s…

Behind the Isrealis operational pause in Gaza

Captain's Quarters:

The hesitation of Ehud Olmert to order the movement of ground troops into northern Gaza for unspecified diplomatic initiatives now can be understood. Reports have Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak demanding that Bashar Assad expel Hamas from Syria if the terrorist group does not release IDF soldier Gilad Shalit....

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The compromise still relies on Israel's release of prisoners convicted in court for attacks against them, and the Israelis are probably not terribly enthusiastic about trading them for someone abducted by terrorists. It still rewards the act of kidnapping IDF soldiers, something that will guarantee more kidnappings. If the Israelis don't jump at this deal, it's hard to blame them.

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My speculation is that the Israelis would trade the recently arrested Hamas officers, since the group would know that the same thing would happen if they tried this stunt again. I think that had a good bit to do with the round up, because they anticipated this t…

Toll on Taliban continues in Afghanistan

AP:

Coalition soldiers tracked a group of militants to an eastern Afghanistan safe house and killed 14 in an attack on the compound, the military said.

The insurgents were seen carrying AK-47 submachine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to a compound in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan province, a coalition statement said."The extremists were observed hiding and then coalition forces attacked them once they reached their safe house, destroying two buildings in the compound," the statement said.The statement said soldiers discovered the bodies of 14 fighters inside the compound.The coalition gave no details on the nationality of its soldiers in the operation, but U.S. troops have been operating alongside Afghan forces throughout eastern Afghanistan since April, hunting Taliban militants and allied extremists along the border with Pakistan....
This appears to be a pattern that the Taliban is helpless to reverse. The greater force to space ratio in the area leads to detection an…

Iranian fighters caught with Shia militia in battle north of Baghdad

Reuters:

Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, and witnesses and police said U.S. helicopters bombed orchards to flush out gunmen hiding there.Iraqi security officials said Iranian fighters had been captured in the fighting, in which a sniper shot dead the commander of an Iraqi quick reaction force and two of his men. They did not say how the Iranians had been identified....The fighting between Iraqi and U.S. troops and Shi'ite militias was taking place in the predominantly Shi'ite village of Khairnabat, outside Baquba, capital of Diyala province.Local residents reported hearing shooting and explosions.A bomb in the town's main market killed 18 people on Monday. On Wednesday, Shi'ite militiamen fired mortars at a Sunni mosque in nearby Miqdadiya, destroying the building and 20 shops.Police said the mosque attack and other attacks on Sunnis in Khairnabat itself persuaded Sunnis that it would be safer to leave …

NATO supplying Iraqi army

Stars & Stripes:

NATO forces provided millions of euros’ worth of supplies to the fledgling Iraqi army in June, including a recent donation of 1.8 million euros’ worth of ammunition to the 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized).At least three European nations made direct contributions this month, according to NATO press releases. The alliance also provides trainers and advisers to the Iraqi army through the NATO Training Mission Iraq, which kicked off in August 2004.“NATO is playing a valuable role to help the Iraqi government develop the ability to provide for its own security and these donations show NATO’s commitment in this regard,” wrote alliance spokesman Maj. Steinar Sveinsson of the Iceland Crisis and Response Unit in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.NATO’s Training, Equipping and Coordination Group in Belgium, along with the NTMI and the organization’s Training and Equipping Synchronizing Committee, coordinate donations with the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interi…

Profiting from betrayel

Oliver North:

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In 1985 John Walker, a U.S. Navy Petty Officer, was convicted of compromising U.S. military codesecrets to the Soviets in exchange for cash -- and placing an untold number of Americans in our Armed Forces in extraordinary jeopardy. In 1994, CIA officer Aldrich Ames was jailed for selling the names of people spying for the United States to his Soviet handlers. His perfidy enabled the KGB to eliminate more than 130 agents working for our CIA and at least 10 were executed. In 2002, FBI agent Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison for selling classified information about U.S. counter-intelligence operations to the KGB and its successor, the FSB, and irreparably damaging U.S. national security. These men were not "whistleblowers." All were avaricious, treasonous men, filled with hubris. Their actions directly harmed the country they were sworn to protect. What's the difference between what Walker, Ames and Hanssen did -- and those who decided to "…

Our 4 wars with Iraq

Victor Davis Hanson:

The present fighting is part of a fourth war for Iraq: Gulf War I, the twelve years of no-fly zones, the three-week war in 2003, and now the three-year-old insurrection that followed the removal of Saddam Hussein.

But this last and most desperate struggle, unlike the others, is being waged on several fronts.

First, of course, is the fighting itself to preserve the elected democracy of Iraq. Twenty-five-hundred Americans have died for that idea — the chance of freedom for 26 million Iraqis, and the more long-term notion that the Arab Middle East’s first democracy will end the false dichotomy of Islamic theocracy or dictatorship. That non-choice was the embryo for the events of September 11.

Although it is not the sort of conventional war that Westerners excel at — the enemy has no uniforms, state organization, or real army — our military has performed brilliantly. Past mistakes made were largely political, such as not quickly turning over control to an interim Iraqi go…

Venal speech patterns

David Limbaugh:

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Who is calling whom "venal," Sen. Obama? Democrats slam Bush for years, mostly with outrageously false and venal charges, and then become hysterical when he defends himself. It would be like throwing a sucker punch at someone and being outraged when they hit back, claiming they are suppressing your right to assault them. They may not like it when the president and his supporters criticize some of their indefensible positions on the war and their reflexive opposition to every administration policy, but no one has done anything to chill their speech or muzzle their criticism. I'd like to have one example of a Democrats' venal speech being suppressed by the administration. Indeed, I'd like to have one example of a national Democratic press conference on any subject in which the spokesperson didn't venally attack the president. Even if the president had called them unpatriotic for almost always finding ways to oppos…

Bin Laden's concern about Zarqawi's remains

James Robbins:

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Bin Laden suggests that President Bush should allow Zarqawi’s body to be returned to his family in Jordan, but this is a matter that is up to the Jordanian government, which so far has not shown much interest in facilitating a homecoming. Bin Laden mocks King Abdullah II, calling him a Coalition minion, and asking “what scares you about Abu Musab after he’s dead? You know that his funeral, if allowed to happen, would be a huge funeral showing the extent of sympathy with the mujahedin.” A large crowd would definitely turn out, though most people would be on hand to demonstrate their anger and disgust. Last November’s hotel bombings in Amman, masterminded by Zarqawi, are still fresh in people’s memory, and mentioning them to Jordanians has the same visceral impact as memory of the 9/11 attacks does here. Jordan has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards those who choose to mourn the country’s least favorite son, and four opposition members of parliament who paid condol…

India nuke deal moves forward in senate

Washington Post:

The Bush administration won initial support from Congress yesterday for its plan to create a broad nuclear cooperation agreement with India that reverses decades of U.S. policies and requires changes in laws aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.In a 16 to 2 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved outlines for a deal the administration is negotiating with India. On Tuesday, the House International Relations Committee approved similar guidelines, in a 37 to 5 vote, after the White House backed down from an effort to prevent further congressional involvement in the deal. After consultations with key lawmakers last month, the administration promised that it would submit the final agreement to Congress for a vote.The strategic accord between Washington and New Delhi, designed to accelerate India's rise as a global power and regional counterweight to China, is far from complete. But the congressional approvals signaled that the White House had wo…

Democrat name calling against black candidates

Washington Times Editorial:

The Democratic strategy against black Republicans is easy enough to understand: Call them sellouts; label them dupes of the racist Republican machine; link them to as many white conservatives as possible; and repeat. Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is no stranger to this program ever since the Baltimore Sun editorialized that the only thing he brought to the gubernatorial ticket of Robert Ehrlich was "the color of his skin." Now, with Mr. Steele's Senate campaign scaring the wits out of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, The Washington Post saw reason to run a tidy little hit piece Monday headlined "Steele's Donor List Stirs Racial Questions."
With such an ominous sounding headline, you might think Mr. Steele accepted a donation from a known Klansman or skinhead. Alas, reporter Matthew Mosk digs so deep into the Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports -- available online to everyone -- he uncovers the a…

A look at reconciliation in Iraq

Charles Krauthammer:

We had two political objectives in going into Iraq: deposing Saddam Hussein and replacing his regime with a democratic government unthreatening to the region and strategically friendly to the United States. The first objective proved far more easy to achieve than anticipated. The second has proved far more difficult than anticipated.The most serious misconception had nothing to do with troop levels or whether to disband an army that had already disbanded itself. It had to do with gauging Sunni intentions. Decades of iron rule over the Shiites and Kurds had left the Sunnis militantly unreconciled to any other political order.Moreover, the melting away of the Baathist regime from Baghdad gave the Sunni resistance weaponry, discipline and organizational know-how of a high order -- far higher, for example, than the Shiites and Kurds were able to muster a decade earlier when they rose up against Hussein's regime, only to be crushed.Perhaps the current Sunni insurgen…

Kerry's war with his record

R. Emmett Tyrrell:

The comic career of Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry is picking up steam, or gas, as the case may be. This inveterate windbag is, according to the New York Times, reopening the Swift Boat controversy of 2004 that did such damage to his presidential prospects when hundreds of the Vietnam War veterans who served with him deflated his reckless boasts of military gloire. He has undertaken this quixotic mission, claiming that he can repristinate his military record despite the Swifties' evidence against it. Then the delusory senator from Massachusetts seems to think he will be a shoo-in for the presidency in 2008.
Well, I for one shall delight in reviewing the Swifties' corpus delicti once again. There are his Purple Hearts that his officers deny authorizing. There are the missing medical records needed to substantiate his decorations. There are the questions the Swifties raised about his honorable discharge, a mysterious discharge not issued until several years after …

Axis of abuse

Austin Bay:

Call it the Washington Beltway's "Axis of Abuse": irresponsible reporters and editors collaborating with agenda-ed, unnamed "leakers."
The exposure of a legal and productive counterterror intelligence operation on the front page of the June 23 edition of the New York Times is the latest abusive and dangerous example of this Beltway hustle. "Leakers" in this particular case is too weak a term -- exposing the finance-monitoring program amounts to spying for terrorists.
The New York Times acknowledged the program it exposed was limited "to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry. " The paper also admitted these intelligence operations helped nab al Qaeda's Southeast Asia terror kingpin, Hambali, the man who planned the 2002 Bali massacre.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall St Journal also published t…

Sears tower plotters wanted to overthrow US government and relace it with Islamic one

AP/Houston Chronicle:

The leader of a group accused of plotting to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago and other buildings viewed the attacks as a prelude to the overthrow of the U.S. government and its replacement by an Islamic regime, prosecutors said at a hearing Thursday. Prosecutors also said they have video of the group's members swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden in a March meeting, and that they had pledged to support a plan to bomb FBI buildings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington. The plan came from an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaida operative.The details were revealed at a hearing in which one suspect, Lyglenson Lemorin, was denied bail and ordered transferred to Miami, where his six co-defendants were arrested last week at a Miami warehouse that allegedly served as their hide-out. Lemorin, a permanent U.S. resident from Haiti, was arrested in Atlanta.Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Getchell said that the alleged ringleader, Narseal Batiste, to…

Saudi contributions help habitat build homes for Katrina evacuees in Houston

Houston Chronicle:

AFTER moving to three different residences in three different cities since Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home in New Orleans last year, Sherrell Johnson finally feels at ease.On Thursday, she smiled from ear to ear as she and her family entered their first permanent home in nine months.Johnson, 32, and her two children are among 25 families who will receive homes built by Houston Habitat for Humanity through donations from citizens of Saudi Arabia."It is exciting for me to see these homes and realize that it is because of the compassion of the people on the other side of the world," Houston Habitat for Humanity Board Chairman Tom Owens said. " ... Those are the people I enjoy calling my friends."Saudis donated more than $600,000 to Habitat for Humanity for 25 homes built on the 11800 block of Greenmesa in northeast Houston. The donations will not only build homes for hurricane victims in Houston but 150 homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabam…

Republicans put financial pressure on UN

Washington Times:

Republicans in Congress moved yesterday to cut U.S. contributions to the United Nations budget just one day before the world body is scheduled to lift a budget cap imposed by the United States and other donors and to resume spending as usual.
At least $17 million has been sliced this week from the Bush administration's appropriations request for the U.N. regular budget, as frustration with the United Nations continues to fester among conservative lawmakers.
Rep. Scott Garrett, New Jersey Republican, yesterday won approval in a House subcommittee to cut $2 million from the U.S. contribution to the U.N. budget, saying that taxpayer money should not be used to lobby the U.S. government.
He was referring to a recent speech by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, who told two left-leaning think tanks, the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation, that Washington should do more to defend the international organization in public.
Anothe…

House cuts off funds to sanctuary cities

Houston Chronicle:

Local officials continued to debate police policy toward illegal immigrants Thursday after the U.S. House passed a Houston lawmaker's measure that would cut off federal crime-fighting money to cities with sanctuary policies.The House overwhelmingly approved a spending bill containing an amendment by U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, intended to force state and local authorities to get more involved with immigration enforcement — or risk losing millions in federal grants.In a news release on his amendment, Culberson listed Houston among cities that "have adopted sanctuary policies which prevent law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status."Mayor Bill White, Police Chief Harold Hurtt and the top federal official charged with local immigration enforcement maintain the city doesn't have a sanctuary policy.Responding to that assertion Thursday, Culberson said, "If they are in compliance with the law, and they can prove it to t…

House rebukes media for disclosing classified information

NY Times:

The House of Representatives on Thursday condemned the recent disclosure of a classified program to track financial transactions and called on the media to cooperate in keeping such efforts secret.

Lawmakers expressed their sentiment through a resolution that was approved on a largely party-line 227-to-183 vote after days of harsh criticism by the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans aimed at The New York Times and other newspapers for publishing details of the program, which the government said was limited to following possible terrorist financial trails. The vote followed a bitter debate in which Republicans said news accounts had jeopardized the effort, and Democrats accused Republicans of trying to intimidate the press. Republicans criticized news organizations, and The Times in particular, saying they had not considered the potential damage of revealing the program. "The recent front-page story in the aforementioned New York Times cut the legs out from u…

Isreal's war with the Hamas death cult

NY Times:

Israeli troops seized 64 members of Hamas in the West Bank on Thursday, including a third of the Palestinian cabinet and 23 legislators, a move that Israeli officials said indicated a significant change in Israel's policy toward the Hamas government.

The seizures are partly intended to warn Hamas leaders that they could lose their power and liberty, if not their lives, unless they act to release a captured Israeli soldier, a senior Israeli military official said. But Israel has also concluded that Hamas, which had largely kept to a cease-fire before, is now openly engaged in violent acts against Israel and must be treated differently.It was unclear what would happen to those held if the Israeli soldier were released, but the officials described the seizures as part of a plan well beyond seeking that.... In explaining the shift toward Hamas, Israeli officials said Thursday that they had agreed to let Palestinian parliamentary elections go ahead five months ago, despite the…

Offshore drilling still faces Senators who want to restrict domestic supply of oil

Houston Chronicle:

The Republican-led House easily approved a bill Thursday aimed at opening up more offshore areas to oil and natural gas drilling. But this measure faces formidable opposition in the Senate.With industry and consumers alike complaining about high energy prices, the House voted 232 to 187 to authorize drilling in areas that have been off limits to oil and gas exploration for a quarter of a century. The legislation also gives states the power to take action to block such activity within 100 miles of their shore."This is probably ... the biggest thing we have done in 30 years in terms of domestic energy production and in terms of jobs," said Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee.The U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates nearly 19 billion barrels of oil and nearly 86 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie under waters now off limits to exploration.But opponents fear expanded offshore drilling will endanger America's coastlin…

Bin Laden misses his war criminal buddy Zarqawi

AP/Washington Post:

Osama bin Laden praised slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the "lion of holy war" in a new videotape posted on the Internet on Friday.The 19-minute message shows an old still photo of bin Laden in a split-screen next to images of al-Zarqawi taken from a previous video. A voice resembling bin Laden's narrates a tribute to the Jordanian-born militant, who was killed in a June 7 airstrike northeast of Baghdad."Our Islamic nation was surprised to find its knight, the lion of jihad (holy war), the man of determination and will, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed in a shameful American raid," bin Laden said....
Isn't strange that the media never describes war criminals like Zarqawi and bin Laden as war criminals. I guess they don't want to be too judgemental about people who deliberately target non combatants in violation of the Geneva Convention which they seem to think the US is obligate to honor against an enemy who they do …

Deference on storm drains but not war powers

Don Surber:

The Supreme Court today halted wartime trials for the terrorists warehoused at Gitmo. This ignored precedent sent in World War II when an American citizen was tried in secret, convicted, executed, and buried upside down.

In his dissent, the best justice on a rather mediocre court, Clarence Thomas, observed, "Those Justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief's wartime decisions, only 10 days ago deferred to the judgment of the Corps of Engineers with regard to a matter much more within the competence of lawyers, upholding that agency's wildly implausible conclusion that a storm drain is a tributary of the United States. It goes without saying that there is much more at stake here than storm drains."

Ah, but the unelected -- never subject to public scrutiny -- justices identify more with the military cadre than they do the president of the United States, who was re-elected by the first presidential majority in 16 years.

God save, Justice Thomas. The res…

Al Qaeda on the run in Iraq

AP/NY Times:

The U.S. military claimed an advantage in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq on Thursday, saying raids since the death of its leader have forced many of its foreign fighters out into the open to be captured or killed.

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Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraqi, acknowledged Iraqi civilians were suffering most from the insurgency, accounting for 70 percent of all deaths and injuries, while he said the number of U.S. casualties did not appear to be on the rise.But he said the Americans gained momentum in its fight against al-Qaida in Iraq after killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and have devoted a lot of resources to targeting his successor as leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.''There is no question, if we can take him down, that will just disrupt the organization ... to the point where it would be ineffective for a long period of time,'' Caldwell said. ''It is very disorganized right now. And it is very disrupted right now.''He said…

More unaccounted for WMD found in Iraq

Reuters:

The U.S. military has found more Iraqi weapons in recent months, in addition to the 500 chemical munitions recently reported by the Pentagon, a top defense intelligence official said on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, did not specify if the newly found weapons were also chemical munitions. But he said he expected more."I do not believe we have found all the weapons," he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, offering few details in an open session that preceded a classified briefing to lawmakers. Responding to questions from lawmakers anxious to make political points ahead of the November congressional elections, U.S. defense officials said the 500 chemical weapons discovered in Iraq were "weapons of mass destruction." However their degraded state may make them more dangerous to those who find them than anyone else. Meanwhile, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Commit…

Murtha's misquote

Robert Novak:

Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) appears to be suffering "Daschle-itis," a figurative disease which makes entrenched incumbents become national celebrities and, in the process, risk alienating the voters that put them in office.

Since seizing his party's anti-war mantle, Murtha has become a great draw for Democratic fundraisers, helping his party boost its prospects for a congressional takeover. Naturally, this helps his party-leadership bid as well.

But at the same time, his outspokenness made him a huge target for the Internet right. His district went for John Kerry with only 51% in 2004. What originally seemed like a long-shot bid by Diana Irey (R.) to unseat Murtha has taken on new credibility as she raises money from the Internet and as Murtha makes more and more outrageous statements.

Murtha's opposition to the war has never been the real issue. He was misquoted stating that the U.S. is the greatest danger to world peace, but the misquote went unchallenged …

Supreme Court and Congress violate seperation of powers doctrine on war

Mark Levin:

Congress and the Court are systematically stripping the presidency of war-making powers. Congress demands that the president get court approval before intercepting enemy communications (we call that intelligence gathering) and the Court demands that the president get statutory support from Congress before he can use military tribunals to try terrorists.And yet, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court have any explicit constitutional authority to make these decisions. Congress can cut-off funding for the war or any aspect of it, which it has not; and the judiciary's only role in these matters is to defer to the president, who has explicit and broad authority under the Constitution as the commander-in-chief.Today, the Court has taken a giant new step in its usurpation of explicit presidential authority. The battle against terrorism is being fought as much in our courtrooms as on the field in Iraq and other places — where the likes of the ACLU and activist judges will set …

Baby Noor goes back to Iraq

Cox News Service:

The Iraqi baby who was rescued by Georgia soldiers and then melted hearts around the world returned home from Atlanta on Wednesday.Baby Noor, discovered by soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team and brought to Georgia for life-saving medical care, was delivered to her home in Abu Ghraib by the U.S. Army.Noor spent six months in Atlanta with two host families while undergoing surgery for a severe birth defect and receiving follow-up treatment.U.S. military officials took Noor's grandmother, Soad, to meet the baby in Kuwait and flew them both back to the Baghdad airport.From there, Noor was escorted in pre-dawn darkness by soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 2-22 Infantry Battalion back to eastern Abu Ghraib, the unit's public affairs officer, 1st Lt. Kristofer Deniger said in a telephone interview from Baghdad....
There is more. The baby will have a chance now and supplies were sent along to help Iraqi doctors contin…

Hamas leaders behind kidnapping hiding in Syria

AKI:

Syrian-based Hamas officials fearing possible retalitory attacks from Israel for the abduction of an Israeli soldier in Gaza are moving between different safehouses and limiting the number of telephone calls made to conceal their whereabouts, a source said Thursday. Hamas' exiled leadership in Damascus, including political bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal who Israel has accused of masterminding the kidnapping, are "taking seriously" threats made by Israel that it would target them for assassination, the Hamas source told Adnkronos International (AKI).

On Wednesday Israeli security minister Avraham Ditcher decribed the Syrian-based Hamas leaders as "murderers" and said Israel may carry out "targeted killings" to eliminate them.

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Syria should be told to turn over the Hamas responsible for the kidnapping or share his fate. No state should be permitted to harbor terrorist without consequence. Israel should not restrict itself to mere buzzing Assad's…

Horrible decision on Hamdan

AP/MSNBC:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court’s liberal members in ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the lead the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan.Thursday’s ruling overturned…

Terrorizing the terrorist

Strategy Page:

In Iraq, the Russians are about to show the Americans how it's done. Or at least try to. After four Russian embassy personnel were recently murdered by terrorists, many experienced counter-terrorism professionals expected the Russians to act. Russia, over some two centuries, has developed some very successful techniques for dealing with terrorists. When confronted with terrorist attacks like this, the Russians go in and play by terrorist rules. They terrorize the terrorists. Back in the 1980s, for example, Islamic terrorists in Lebanon kidnapped a Russian diplomat. The Russians (then the Soviets, a distinction without much difference in these matters) quickly found out which faction had their guy, kidnapped a relative of one of the kidnappers, and had a body part delivered to the Islamic kidnappers. The message was, release the Russian diplomat unharmed, or the KGB (Soviet secret police) would keep sending body parts, and grabbing kinfolk of the kidnappers. The Russi…

Terrorist aiding Times Two

Hugh Hewitt:

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You cannot balance what you have not weighed, and you cannot weigh what you cannot measure. Neither of the Times Two possesses the capacity, background, experience or learning to judge the extent of the assistance they have rendered terrorists. No “expert” they could consult would be in a position to contradict the government’s strong assertions of the danger they were putting innocents in via their recklessness.
...The picture that has emerged after a week is of two for-profit newspapers, eager for Pulitizers and aware of the other’s hunt for a headline, disregarding the urgent arguments of senior government officials and running a story on a program only dimly if at all understood by some (and by no stretch of the imagination all) terrorists, the result of which is to alert the world and even the below-average-intelligence killer of one key way the United States tracks them. The Indonesian master terrorist Hambali was captured through the SWIFT program. He was apprehe…

Impotent EU scapegoats Gitmo

Victor Davis Hanson:

When President Bush arrived in Vienna last week, protestors bore "World's No. 1 Terrorist" signs while chanting "We will, we will fight Bush." A Harris Poll conducted prior to the president's visit revealed that the European public thinks America is a greater global threat than either North Korea or Iran.Apparently, our terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay is the most recent open sore. When, European ministers have been persisting, will the United States close down this Neanderthal embarrassment to liberal Western values?This European anger, however, doesn't seem to be based on evidence of systematic American abuse. Despite Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin's claim that Guantanamo was akin to Nazi camps, the few reported regrettable, isolated cases of sleep deprivation and harassment seem no worse than what we read about in most prisons. The roughly 450 prisoners still there - many of them killers - are probably treated as well a…