Showing posts from February, 2007

The carbon offset scam

Ecotality: As the controversy over global warming doomsayer Al Gore’s voracious energy-eater mansion rolls on, there’s an angle I think merits deeper investigation than it is currently getting. While much of the focus has been on whether or not Gore is an environmental hypocrite, the story has raised the profile of the role of “carbon offsets” in achieving a “greener,” more environmentally friendly world. In its original story , The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported that Gore buys “carbon offsets” to compensate for his home’s use of energy from carbon-based fuels. What is a “carbon offset,” exactly? Essentially, it’s a payment someone makes to an environmentally friendly entity to compensate for personally using non-green energy. ... So far, so good. So, where does Gore buy his ‘carbon offsets’? According to The Tennessean newspaper’s report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management . a company he co-founded and serves as chairman: Gore helped

The "fat neutral" lifestyle

ScrappleFace parody: ... “Many people don’t realize that I also live a fat-neutral lifestyle,” Mr. Gore said. “While the inconvenient truth is that I’ve gained a few pounds since I beat George Bush at the polls in 2000, I also make large investments in companies that produce bran, sprouts and legumes, thereby reducing my “real feel” weight to around 175.” The rest is about Al Big Foot Print Gore explaining why his big house and its electric bill are "carbon neutral." I'm not buying either story. I still think he needs to look into the contribution to global warming caused by all the baby boomer women hitting menopause at the same time. Waving a hand in front of the face should not be considered a heat flash offset.

The American heros you have not heard about

Mark Moyar: Neil Sheehan began his Pulitzer-Prize winning book "A Bright Shining Lie" by pronouncing the Vietnam War "a war without heroes." In the rest of the book, the Americans in Vietnam largely came across as fools, liars, criminals, or a combination thereof, with the exception of Mr. Sheehan and his fellow journalists, who were depicted as brave unmaskers of ineptitude and absurdity. Sheehan ignored the real heroism of many brave Americans — such as Marvin Shields, Carlos McAfee, Antonio Smaldone, and Steven L. Bennett, to name but a few — and many military victories, for American triumphs did not square with his claims about the war. He badly distorted press involvement in the war so that he and his colleagues, particularly David Halberstam and Stanley Karnow, could dodge the blame they deserved for promoting the disastrous coup against the South Vietnamese government in November 1963. The Vietnam-era journalists began a tradition that today's press co

It is not a phobia if they really want to kill us

Amil Imani: Why confront Islamism? Because if we don't it will continue to get more extreme. This is not Islamophobia, as many Muslims and their apologists protest. A phobia is a baseless irrational fear. Detestation of Islamism, the violent form of Islam, is based on irrefutable facts and it is not only rational, it is ethically imperative. It is a virtue to take action to oppose the hateful, a vice to ignore it. It is a virtue to hate tyranny, misogyny, discriminations of all sorts, oppression, and all manners of violations of the legitimate rights of individual and peoples. Islamism is a mutation of Islam into a terrible menace. It is religious fascism, a destroyer of liberty and much of what free people cherish. Therefore, it must be confronted. Islamism, Islamofascism, radical Islam and political Islam, are different terms for essentially the same thing: a virulent, hateful, and violent system of beliefs and practices. Yet, one and all are progeny of Islam itself. It is a sys

Insurgency in Iran continues

Gateway Pundit: Insurgents attacked and killed two policemen and kidnapped four others in the Sistan and Balouchestan region of Iran today. This is the same region where insurgents bombed a bus carrying Revolutionary Guard members last week in the city of Zahedan. The Iranian regime blamed the US, UK and Israel for the recent unrest. ... It could be that the US and Israel are offering support to people that oppose a regime that wants both countries to disappear. It would certainly be a logical thing to do. However, this regime has made more than two enemies and I suspect that there are many Sunni Muslim countries who would make "charitable" contributions to opponents of the Tehran entity. Gateway Pundit has much more on the attack.

Ups and downs in Baghdad

Strategy Page: ... After three weeks of "the surge", arrests are way up, and the murder rate in Baghdad is down by more than half. One of the bomb factories captured appeared to be the one that was including chlorine gas tanks in their truck bombs. About 900 terrorists have been killed or captured so far. Many others were able to drop their weapons and get away into the civilian population. But some of these guys are getting fed up, and heading back to a Sunni village in western Iraq, or trying to get out of the country. Life is becoming harder and harder for Sunni Arabs. One downside of the security operation is that the Shia terrorist groups often provided protection from car bombs. That's because the Shia terrorists, like many factions of the Mahdi Army, had their black uniformed members manning checkpoints around Shia neighborhoods. The Mahdi guys checked every vehicle, while the police, who have replaced the Mahdi men (who are in hiding until the surge operations are

Taliban "intelligence" and another failed attack

James Robbins: Afghanistan is sometimes referred to as the forgotten front in the War on Terrorism, but it was brought firmly back into focus this week after a failed bombing attack said to be aimed at Vice President Cheney during a surprise state visit. It is easy to make too much of the attack, as has been evident from some of the coverage. I was interested in particular in claims (first originating in Pakistan, no friend to the Afghan government) that this incident showed that the Taliban had compromised the Afghan intelligence network; that there was no other way they could have known about the “top secret” visit. Maybe there was no easy way for the enemy to know about the visit in advance — but once the vice president arrived in-country Monday afternoon it became global news. The earliest wire report I could find was from AFP, dateline BAGRAM AIR BASE, at 12:18 P.M. GMT (4:48 P.M. Kabul time), and no doubt the news was out locally much sooner. Reports quickly followed that Cheney’

A Constitutional right to flee police?

Terence Jeffrey: To understand what Timothy Scott did, you must first understand what Victor Harris did not do. At about 10:45 on the night of March 29, 2001, Harris was driving his Cadillac at 73 miles per hour down a two-lane highway where the limit was 55. Coweta County, Ga., Deputy Sheriff Clinton Reynolds, waiting by the side of the road as backup for a drug sting unfolding nearby, flashed his blue lights at Harris to get him to slow down. Harris did not. Reynolds turned on his siren, pulled onto the highway and tried to get Harris to pull over. Harris did not. Instead, according to a brief that the U.S. solicitor general filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, Harris sped up, driving "in excess of 100 miles per hour" in the direction of the neighborhoods and shopping districts of Peachtree City, Ga. Reynolds told a dispatcher he was chasing the Cadillac. Deputy Timothy Scott -- who was also waiting as backup for the drug sting, and who was not told whether the fleeing Cadillac

Preemption is a must option for Israel

Louis Beras and Thomas McInerney: The core of Israel's active defense plan remains the Arrow antiballistic missile program. Test results of the Arrow have been promising. They indicate not only the mutual benefits of close cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem, but also the technical promise of Israel's missile defense system. But serious decisions must still be made. Faced with a steadily nuclearizing Iran, Israel must consider whether it can rely entirely upon a suitable combination of deterrence and active defenses or whether it must also prepare for preemption. The results of this essential consideration will have existential consequences for the Jewish state. Israel's preemption option should now appear less urgent. If the Arrow were truly efficient, even an irrational Iranian adversary armed with nuclear and/or biological weapons could be dealt with effectively. If Israel's nuclear deterrent were immobilized by an enemy state willing to risk a massive "

Our enemy's religious bigotry, not ideas, is cause of war

Ralph Peters: ... From 1789 and the French Revolution until the Soviet Union's disintegration in 1991, humankind took a bizarre historical detour through the Age of Ideology, when hundreds of millions — if not billions — of people accepted the notion that intellectuals and other charlatans could design better systems of social and political organization than had arisen naturally. The arrogance of men such as Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong in believing that they could compress human complexity into their scribbled utopian visions may have been stunning, but the willingness of the masses to put their faith in such systems was a form of collective madness. Inevitably, human beings disappointed the demagogues who tried to perfect humanity. Leaders responded by forcing men and women to fit the "ideal" pattern and the quest for utopia led inexorably to the gulag and Auschwitz, to Mao's Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia or, at best, the poverty of t

Reality and Iran

Amir Taheri: ... Ahmadinejad has the great merit of seeing the problem for what it really is. Fantasists such as Javier Solana, the European Union's ineffective foreign-policy czar, have tried to present the Islamic Republic's uranium-enrichment program as a technical issue. Others, like French President Jacques Chirac, have advised acceptance of what they regard as a fait accompli . For Ahmadinejad, however, the issue is political in the grand sense of the term - with nothing less at stake than the survival of the Khomeinist regime. The 1979 revolution had a tripartite slogan: "independence, liberty and Islamic government" - and the regime that emerged tried to build its legitimacy on that basis. Over the last quarter-century, however, it has failed to deliver. In practical terms, Iran today is more dependent on the outside world than before the Khomeinists seized power. In 1977, Iran imported 11 percent of the food it needed; today, it imports almost half. In 1

Euro lawfare against US

David Rivkin and Lee Casey: An Italian court announced this month that it is moving forward with the indictment and trial of 25 CIA agents charged with kidnapping a radical Muslim cleric. These proceedings may well violate international law, but the case serves as a wake-up call to the United States. Overseas opponents of American foreign policy are increasingly turning to judicial proceedings against individual American officials as a means of reformulating or frustrating U.S. aims, and action to arrest this development is needed. The Italian case involves a 2003 CIA mission to apprehend an Egyptian cleric named Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr. Suspected of terrorist ties, Nasr was seized in Milan and transported to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured. This was, of course, an "extraordinary rendition" -- a long-standing and legal practice that generally involves the cooperation of two or more governments in the capture and transportation of a criminal suspect outside of normal

Patriot Act success story

David Ignatius: Everybody knows that economic sanctions don't work. Just look at the decades of fruitless pressure on Cuba. But guess what? In the recent cases of North Korea and Iran, a new variety of U.S. Treasury sanctions is having a potent effect, suggesting that the conventional wisdom may be wrong. These new, targeted financial measures are to traditional sanctions what Super Glue is to Elmer's Glue-All. That is, they really stick. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt doesn't even like to call them sanctions, preferring the term "law enforcement measures." Explains Stuart Levey, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence: "Sanctions are scoffed at. They have a bad history." Authority for the new sanctions, as with so many other policy weapons, comes from the USA Patriot Act, which in Section 311 authorizes Treasury to designate foreign financial institutions that are of "primary money laundering concern."

Iran's main interest is drawing out negotiations

Bill Gertz: Iran's development of nuclear arms is "very dangerous," and Tehran could deploy the weapons within the next several years, the nation's most senior intelligence official told the Senate yesterday. "We assess that Tehran seeks to develop nuclear weapons and has shown greater interest in drawing out the negotiations rather than reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution," said retired Vice Adm. Michael McConnell, the new director of national intelligence. "This is a very dangerous situation, as a nuclear Iran could prompt destabilizing countermoves by other states in this volatile region," he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Iran could have the capability to build nuclear weapons by 2015 and about the same time will be able to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile, Mr. McConnell said in response to a question from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat. Asked whether Iran would use a nuclear weap

The surge is working already

Chuck Hagel needs to be forced to watch the video at this Redstate post. He is just flat wrong at this point on the effectiveness of the surge and the receptiveness of the Iraqi people. The video is by the Crazyhorse Troop of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry. But some of the stars in the video are the Iraqi people who make it clear that they do not want the Americans to leave. Come on Chuck, admit you were wrong.

Death squad suspect seized in Sadr City

AP: U.S.-led strike forces seized suspected Shiite death squad bosses Tuesday in raids that tested the fragile bonds between the government and a powerful militia faction allowing the Baghdad security crackdown to move ahead. The sweeps through the Sadr City slum were part of highly sensitive forays into areas loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has ridiculed the 2-week-old campaign for failing to halt bombings by suspected Sunni insurgents against Shiite civilians. Al-Sadr withdrew his powerful Mahdi Army militia from checkpoints and bases under intense government pressure to let the security push go forward. But the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also worries that al-Sadr could pull his support if he feels his militiamen are being squeezed in Baghdad. The pre-dawn raids appeared to highlight a strategy of pinpoint strikes in Sadr City rather than the flood of soldiers sent into some Sunni districts. Bombings have not slackened off, with at least 10

The Afghan attack outside Bagram

The Belmont Club has a lengthy report on the human bomb attack in Afghanistan outside a base in which Dick Cheney spent the night. Some are suggesting that al Qaeda and the Taliban have penetrated the security service of the US and the host governments. I think they have jsut been keeping up with the NY Times and other media who only yesterday were complaining about Cheney's penchant for secrecy. One also has to ask why if Cheney was the target the human bomber could not get anywhere near him? That suggest to me that our security efforts were effective and the enemy was thwarted in his "plans." Of course, his real plan was to create a PR event that would be enhanced by the additional media present. If that was the plan it worked.

Muslims and respect for religious sites

Ynet has the story on Palestinians use of former synagogues as sites for launching rocket attacks into Israel. These are the same people who throw tantrums over the repair of a ramp near a mosque in Jerusalem that Muslims claim has some religious significance. The mosque was, of course, built on top of a Jewish religious site.

Democrats put Iraq measures aside

Captain's Quarters: Democrats have delayed further consideration to restrict or cripple the Iraq war deployments, apparently stunned by the lack of cohesion among their own caucuses and fearful of the backlash their efforts might produce. Harry Reid has delayed the progress of a Joe Biden bill to revoke the 2002 AUMF, and Nancy Pelosi has started to distance herself from John Murtha (via Memeorandum ): Democratic leaders backed away from aggressive plans to limit President Bush's war authority, the latest sign of divisions within their ranks over how to proceed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday he wanted to delay votes on a measure that would repeal the 2002 war authorization and narrow the mission in Iraq. Senior Democrats who drafted the proposal, including Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Carl Levin of Michigan, had sought swift action on it as early as this week, when the Senate takes up a measure to enact the recommendations of the bipartisan S

Promises and Pelosi

Politicos: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is discovering the cold truth about governing with a slim majority: It's much easier to promise behavioral change for Congress than to deliver it. Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one . Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week. The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates -- a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once. Pelosi set a high standard for herself when she pledged to make this "the most ethical Congress in history" -- a boast that was the political equivalent of leading with her chin. And some critics have been happy to hit it. She is drawing fire for putting Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who had $90,000 in alleged bribe money in his freezer, on the Homeland Security Committee. And The Wa

Russia reequips Hezballah

Strategy Page: If Israeli troops move into southern Lebanon again, they will apparently find, as they did last Summer, lots of late model Russian missiles aimed at them. That's because Syria has placed an order for several thousand 9M133 Kornet and 9M131 Metis 2 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). Israel tried to persuade the Russians to back off. But the money was too good for the Russians to pass up. Iran is supplying the cash. Syria gets to keep some of the missiles, and slips the rest across the border to Hizbollah. It's a win-win-win-win-lose (Russia-Syria-Iran-Hizbollah-Israel) situation. ... There is more. If Russia is not an enemy of Israel and the US, it is certainly not a friend. Russia sees its interest in commerce with evil regimes in Tehran and Damascus that seek the destruction of Israel. The main reason they apparently oppose Israel's destruction is because it would hurt their arms sales.

"Outraging" E.J.

David Limbaugh: For liberals like Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, it is far worse for Vice President Dick Cheney to accuse congressional Democrats of playing into Al Qaeda's hands on Iraq than for Democrats actually to play into Al Qaeda's hands on Iraq. It's perfectly fine for liberals to liken Bush and Cheney to Adolf Hitler or falsely accuse them of lying us into war in Iraq to steal its oil. It's perfectly fine for liberals to attribute failures in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina to alleged Republican racism. But don't you dare question the wisdom of the Democrats' proposals on Iraq in such a way as to cause the hypersensitive to infer you were challenging their patriotism. Apparently to Dionne and other like-minded liberals, the potential dire consequences of the Democrats' policies on Iraq are not appropriate for discussion and debate because they might make Democrats look bad, or even feel bad -- and those are far worse evils than thr

George Bush's home has a much lower carbon footprint than Gore's

Wizbang: ... Yikes! Gore is an energy glutton. Now compare this to President Bush's comparatively modest home in Crawford, Texas, which is a model of environmental friendliness : The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize. A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the str

Rudy's ability to inspire

Stephen Roderick: ... ... Along with McCain and Mitt Romney, his best-known fellow Republican presidential contenders, Giuliani is out on the thin, saggy pro-surge limb with the president. But Rudy can spin the issue in a way McCain and Romney, not to mention Hillary and Barack Obama, cannot. And now he does just that: Iraq leads to 9/11, which leads to the sacred image of construction workers raising the flag over ground zero. “I knew what they were standing on top of,” Giuliani says. “They were standing on top of a cauldron. They were standing on top of fires 2,000 degrees that raged for a hundred days. And they put their lives at risk raising that flag.” The room is silent. Not a fork hits a plate, not one gold bracelet rattles. “They put the flag up to say, ‘You can’t beat us, because we’re Americans.’" The mayor pauses and, as if on cue, an old woman sniffles. He continues. “And we don’t say this with arrogance or in a militaristic way, but in a spiritual way: Our ideas are

Hagel's retreat to battle

The Nebraska Senator now sees merit in securing the borders of Iraq and fighting al Qaeda. He is not supporting the Levin interference with Gen. Petraeus's job in Baghdad. He is also recognizing how much his vote on the non-binding resolution cost him at home. This is an interview with a local TV reporter. Hat tip to Brian Bresnahan. Hagel still does not comprehend the value of the surge, because he is caught up in the Senate mindset that it is a sectarian civil war that cannot be won. He and the rest of the Senators who share that point of view are missing what is really happening. While the violence that preceded the surge had some elements of a civil war it was also missing several elements of a civil war. For example, the Shia militia that was attacking Sunnis was not anti government nor was it making direct attacks on US forces all that often. It was making attacks of retribution against Sunnis who were targeting non combatants. If this was a civil war it is unique in

Convenient lies of the Clintons

Rich Lowry: W hile Al Gore was winning an Oscar for his film An Inconvenient Truth , the people he once inhabited the White House with were showing the power of the convenient lie. When Hillary Clinton’s talented spokesman Howard Wolfson reacted to Hollywood mogul David Geffen’s attacks on the Clintons last week, his initial statement calling on Barack Obama to apologize described Geffen as Obama’s “campaign finance chair.” This could only have been a calculated dishonesty, since everyone knows that Geffen has no formal role in the Obama campaign, even if he was hosting a Hollywood fundraiser for the Illinois senator. But nakedly mischaracterizing Geffen’s role served the purpose of more closely associating Obama with his remarks. It was a convenient lie, and it just might have worked. Much of the punditocracy declared Hillary the winner of the bout over Geffen, since the Wolfson statement baited Obama’s above-the-fray campaign into responding in kind. Thus, the flap itself showed the

Facts and the real Justice Thomas

Thomas Sowell: The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. However, many on the political left act as if they are entitled to their own facts -- and especially the "fact" that those who oppose their ideas are either intellectually or morally inferior. In other words, you cannot oppose "diversity," gun control, global warming, or gay marriage unless there is something wrong with you. No hard evidence is necessary to support this conclusion. Indeed, no hard evidence can change this conviction. ... A recent book on the Supreme Court in general has a chapter on Justice Thomas that devastates what has been said about him in the media. That book is "Supreme Conflict" by Jan Crawford Greenburg. What will come as a shock to many who read this fact-filled book is that the picture of Justice Thomas as a blind follower of Justice Antonin Scalia, with whom he often votes, is completely different fr

Rudy is no liberal

John Podhoretz: IT is nearly impossible for the chattering classes - on all sides of the political divide - to comprehend the heat being generated by Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid. The fallback explanation is just to say "9/11" and be done with it. After all, how else can you explain a man with Giuliani's supposedly liberal social views possibly rise as high as he has - besting John McCain among Republicans by as many as 22 points in one poll? Many on the right profess amazement at the lead he's opened up among Republican primary voters, considering his pro-choice views and sloppy personal life. Meanwhile, writers on the left express disbelief at the notion that a pro-choice Republican candidate might be able to win the GOP nomination. According to the best Leftist analyst of American politics, Michael Tomasky, abortion is simply "too fundamental an issue for most Republican caucus goers and primary voters (even in California, with its likely Feb. 5 pr


Anne Applebaum: ... For those who haven't encountered her name yet, suffice it to say that Hirsi Ali is a European of African descent with an almost American rags-to-riches life story. As a young woman, she escaped from her Somali family while en route to an arranged marriage in Canada, made her way to Holland, learned Dutch, attended college and eventually won a seat in the Dutch parliament. Along the way, she also made an intellectual journey -- beautifully described in her new book, "Infidel"-- from tribal Somalia, through fundamentalism, and into Western liberalism. After Sept. 11, 2001, horrified by some of the things Osama bin Laden was saying, she reached for the Koran to confirm a hunch: "I hated to do it," she wrote, "because I knew that I would find bin Laden's quotations in there." Partly as a result she lost her faith, concluding that the Koran spreads a culture that is "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in w

Human bomb attack near base in Afghanistan "aimed" at Cheney, misses

NY Times: A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning outside the main gate of the United States military base at Bagram while Vice President Dick Cheney was inside. Mr. Cheney was not hurt in the attack. The blast killed and wounded American soldiers and Afghan and Pakistani truck drivers and laborers waiting for access at the gate. The incident was at the first security gate of the base, far from where Mr. Cheney was staying. The Associated Press reported that the Taliban claimed responsibility and said Mr. Cheney was the target of the attack. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties. A report from the American military in Afghanistan said that four people were killed, including the suicide bomber. NATO said that three people were killed, including an American soldier and a coalition soldier. An Afghan guard at the base said he counted up to 15 dead at the scene, including three American soldiers, and 12 others were wounded. Mr. Cheney made an unscheduled overnigh

Al Big Carbon Footprint Gore wins hypocrisy award

Nicole Williams: Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home. The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption,

Mission impossible for Quds director of operations

AP /IHT: The U.S. ambassador said Wednesday that one of the Iranians detained by U.S. forces in Iraq during two raids over the past month was the director of operations for Iran's Revolutionary Guard Quds faction, the organization responsible for funding and arming Iraqi militants. ... "Some of those we've arrested are Quds Force operatives. One of them was director of operations for the Quds Force" who was in the country without the knowledge of Iraqi security officials, he said. ... "Should you be discovered the director will disavow knowledge of your activities." More is expected to be revealed in the coming days. However, how would the government not know where its generals are and what they are up to.

Huge cache of Iranian weapons found in Diyala

AP: U.S. officers said Monday they had discovered a factory for assembling sophisticated roadside bombs from Iranian-made components _ the first such facility uncovered in a religiously mixed province north of Baghdad. The officers, who displayed weapons for reporters at a U.S. base in the capital, said the find provides more evidence that the Iranians are providing weapons used to kill Americans. They include EFPs _ explosively formed projectiles _ that fire a slug of molten metal capable of penetrating armored vehicles and have been blamed for killing more than 170 U.S. and coalition soldiers since 2004. ... Military officials said the cache _ buried in two freezers and a water container, with some of the rockets covered by tarps _ was the largest of its kind to be found north of Baghdad. "This is a significant amount," said Capt. Clayton Combs, the commander of the company that found the cache in the volatile Diyala province. "Before we have found one or two EFPs

Enemies control Iran's tomato prices?

Ynet: Iran’s president said on Sunday the country’s enemies had hatched a range of plots to push the Islamic Republic to give up its disputed nuclear programme, including driving up the price of tomatoes and other food. But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said such tactics would not work, Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted him as saying. Rising prices, particularly the cost of tomatoes which form an important ingredient in Iranian food, have prompted growing public criticism of Ahmadinejad’s government. The president has often dismissed complaints as media exaggeration. "In order to harm us, they (enemies) make plots, for instance they come and push tomato prices up in the market. They think we will give up our ideals with their plots," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in which he said Iran would not reverse its atomic plans.> ... Isn't interesting that we have such power over the price of tomatoes in Iran? Or could it be that Iran's attempt to control the market for goods might

The surge

MNFI: First Lt. Philip Schneider, a platoon leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, takes a moment to chat with an Iraqi girl on a Baghdad street corner during a security mission Feb. 14. This doesn't look like the picture that the media and the anti war politicians would describe on what is happening during the surge in Iraq, although some media reports have indicated that the troops have been well received in many areas, opening their doors to them. Reports have also indicated a significant drop in violence in Baghdad since the surge began. Click on photo to see full size.

Reaching out in Iraq

MNFI: U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Chris Conner, platoon sergeant assigned to 3rd Platoon, Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/4, interacts with a local child while conducting clearing operations in Barwanah, Iraq. The California-based Marines conducted a sweep and clear operation through the city. You probably want see pictures like this in the mainstream media because it does not play into their "chaos" theme. This picture comes from Anbar province where the Sunni insurgency is supposed to be overwhelming according to some in the media. This photo might undermine that theme.

Hagel's retreat

USA Today: Jeff Strong, a recently retired National Guardsman and "rock-ribbed Republican," churned with conflicting emotions as he sat in an auditorium at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, waiting for Sen. Chuck Hagel. Strong personifies the dilemma for many residents in this state, where President Bush captured two-thirds of the vote in 2004. Strong is uncomfortable with the role Hagel, the state's Republican senior senator, has taken in criticizing Bush's war plans. "I just don't understand how his anti-war rhetoric is helping to stabilize Iraq," said Strong, a postal worker. ... "If I decide to get into this, I would run not just to make a statement," Hagel, 60, said in an interview last week. He said that if he ran he would seek the Republican nomination. Yet he's also talking up Unity08. That's a plan by a bipartisan group of political operatives to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket on the Internet and offer voters an al

The H2O also rises

Roy W. Spencer: ... Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world - possibly none - have a sufficiently thorough, "big picture" understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem. Here, for example, is an insight that even many climate scientists are unaware of: The one atmospheric process that has the greatest control on the Earth's climate is the one we understand the least - precipitation. Over most of the planet, water is continuously evaporating, humidifying the air to form the Earth's dominant greenhouse gas: water vapor. Climate scientists will tell you that the extra CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere causes a "warming tendency" at the surface, which will evaporate even more water, which will amplify the warming. This positive water vapor feedback, so the

Al Qaeda's influence operations

Jim Saxton: Yes, it is true: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many other Western decisionmakers and political leaders have been influenced about Iraq. This has been done intentionally through a brand of conflict called "fourth generation" warfare. The al-Qaeda led coalition recognized from the start they had no hope of defeating us on the conventional battlefield. All they had to do was to look at the results of the first Iraq war in 1991 or the short conventional war in Iraq in 2003. The al Qaeda-led coalition had to ask itself this: how can we, a relatively weak conventional military force, outgunned and outmanned by a technologically superior giant, hope to win a military and political victory in Iraq? Their answer: by making it so costly in terms of bad news, too many dollars, and loss of life that their superior enemy, the United States, would decide the toll was too high and would leave. Retired Marine Col. Tom Hammes best describes this in his book "The