Showing posts from March, 2007

Insurgents turn on al Qaeda in Iraq

Sunday Times: Sunni insurgent groups that were previously allied with Al-Qaeda in Iraq have turned against it, killing its leaders, attacking its supporters and vowing to drive it out of the country. At least two Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad. Others have been forced to flee after insurgents passed their details to US and Iraqi commanders. Fierce fighting has broken out between insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. Until the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a US airstrike last summer, the groups cooperated with it in their bloody struggle with the coalition forces. But the insurgents have come to believe that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is destabilising the country by the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, often with truck bombs. Some senior Sunni insurgents believe that Al-Qaeda in Iraq shares the agenda of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias to plunge the country into ever more violent sectarian c

Power struggle in Tehran?

Sunday Times: THE fate of the 15 British marines and sailors held in Tehran may depend on the outcome of a power struggle between two of Iran’s top generals, write Uzi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin. According to an Iranian military source, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards has called for them to be freed. Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was “getting out of control” and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf. However, Safavi’s intervention was reportedly denounced by another senior general at a meeting of high-ranking commanders yesterday. Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ political bureau, was said to have accused him of weakness and “liberal tendencies”. Javani is said to have demanded that the prisoners be put on trial. ... The developments followed a warning by Safavi, the Revolutionary Guards commande

Evidence of surge success

Sunday Independent: US military commanders in Iraq have accused insurgents of using children in suicide bombings and staging poison gas attacks in a campaign to undermine the month-old security "surge" in Baghdad and Anbar province. The clampdown in the capital is credited with bringing a sharp reduction in civilian deaths in recent weeks, even though the number of attacks has remained fairly constant. "There are tanks and Humvees on every street corner," said an independent observer who returned from Baghdad last week. "There is a real change of atmosphere from earlier this year, before the operation began." According to David Kilcullen, senior counter-insurgency adviser to General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, heightened security has forced suicide bombers to detonate their devices at checkpoints well away from targets such as markets and other public gatherings, "killing far fewer people than intended, and far fewer than in similar atta

Leading Seaman Turney's coded message

Sunday Telegraph: Emblazoned on the side of the Cornwall, the Royal Naval frigate at the centre of the Iranian hostage crisis, is its call sign: F99, or Foxtrot Nine Nine in military radio parlance. The capture of 15 sailors and Marines operating from the ship nine days ago started a propaganda war the world over. Politicians and the public reacted with revulsion to the parading of the captured sailors on Iranian television last week. But it was the use of Cornwall's call sign in an Iranian broadcast that provided one of the few moments of encouragement to officials watching anxiously in London. "My name is Leading Seaman Faye Turney. I come from England," said the 26-year-old mother, whose treatment has attracted the most criticism, in her first appearance in front of the cameras. "I have served in Foxtrot Nine Nine. I've been in the Navy for nine years." The stilted nature of her delivery indicated that the words had been written by her Iranian captors. To

Iraq the Model stands for inspection

Pajamas Media has a Baghdad Dispatch from the Iraqi bloggers recently quoted by President Bush to the consternation of the left in this country. John Kerry would be disappointed at the lack of terrorism exhibited by the US troops. ... At the end we stood together and took some pictures. “These are bloggers, dude; cover your face if you don’t want to be seen nude on the internet tomorrow!” one soldier said to his colleague as I snapped this photo, and we all chuckled. ... Read it all.

The sectarian uncivil war in the US

Brian Bresnahan: Very few Marines have that classically blunt demeanor which causes others to wince at every other sentence they speak. Most only allow this type of abrasive behavior to happen occasionally, as needed or sometimes accidentally, with a likely increase in frequency during that time when one returns from a war zone. I try not to be, but am regrettably guilty of a few of those episodes, the first of which happened just a couple days after my return from Iraq. I went to eat dinner at an Irish restaurant about a half hour outside Camp Pendleton, eager for something other than MRE’s, chicken and rice, or one of the multiple versions of turkey yakisoba I’d been exposed to during the previous 7 months. Toward the end of dinner, two couples seated at the table next to me asked if I was a Marine and if I’d just returned from Iraq. The haircut and raccoon suntan after months of wearing ballistic sunglasses in the desert gave me away. I told them I was and had. They asked what it wa

The Mugabe Diary

Hugo Rifkind: Monday We are out the back of the sprawling presidential compound, having a relaxed afternoon braai. With three US dollars’ worth of Zimbabwe currency on the fire, the flames have been burning for four hours. And the British say I have harmed this country? “Why do my people no longer love me?” I demand. “What more can I give to them?” I am attended by a team of recent graduates from the University of Zimbabwe. They were given the choice of working for me or going to jail. They are all extremely loyal. ... Tuesday I cannot see this moustache, although my eyes are not what they were. I would ask my fashionable wife, but she has taken the jumbo jet to Paris to see how many shoes she can get for 20,000 hectares of Matabeleland. ... Wednesday I am in my compound in Harare, holding a brainstorming session with my graduates. Under pain of death, they have been told to suggest reasons why I might be growing unpopular. “The moustache?” suggests one, meekly. I glower

Letting go of the rope

Click to enlarge. This Sam Ryskind cartoon is via Power Line. It is hard to add to its message.

The lion's teeth are in a jar

Investor's Business Daily: Hostage Crisis: Britain's response to Iran suggests the British lion now keeps its teeth in a jar. Would Winston Churchill have responded to the kidnapping of British sailors by running to the League of Nations? Time was, the HMS Cornwall or any other British warship would have simply blown the Iranian motorboats that seized 15 British sailors out of the water. But these are the days when Western leaders run to the United Nations seeking meaningless resolutions of condemnation. The problem with the West is we never get it. We never grasp the fact that appeasement, conciliation and endless negotiation do not work and that the only time documents achieve peace is when the words at the top read "unconditional surrender." It's been 28 years since our embassy hostages were paraded on Iranian TV, and it was that weakness on our part that had tragic consequences for decades to come, culminating in the attacks of 9/11. This time it's Britis

Confronting the jackals

David Limbaugh: I simply cannot believe President Bush withdrew Sam Fox's nomination for Belgium ambassador. When will he confront congressional Democrats with the same resolve he brings to the war on terror? He doesn't need to get down on their level of stridency and sniping, but he should scrap the illusion that they are operating in good faith and want to work collegially or constructively with him. If the last six years prove nothing else, they show that Democrats are unwaveringly hostile to this administration. Bush's cordiality in return has only emboldened them to new heights of incivility. With their victory in November it has gotten much worse. With congressional control and their subpoena power they're like spoiled, malicious children with a new toy. According to the L.A. Times, they've already held over 100 oversight hearings. These are the people -- with the help of their militant base -- who have mercilessly and effectively demonized some of the finest

Democrats are trying an unconstutional coup on Presidential power over Justice Department

Douglas Kmiec: THE DISPUTE OVER the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys poses a fundamental question: To what degree may the president exercise authority over the direction of law enforcement? In the aftermath of Watergate, President Carter directed Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell to prepare legislation that would make the attorney general an appointed post for a definite term, subject to removal only for cause. Carter's idea was to keep the attorney general independent of presidential direction to ensure that the Justice Department's authority would never again be abused for political purposes, as it had been during the ethically troubled Nixon presidency. Despite Carter's noble intent, Bell refused. In a little-known memorandum to the president dated April 11, 1977, he explained why. Any law that restricted the president's power to remove the attorney general — and, by inference, to fire any U.S. attorney — would likely be found unconstitutional. The president, Bell reasoned, i

Defeating liberalism on 2nd Amendment

Jonah Goldberg: Considering how badly things have been going for conservatives, right-wingers, Republicans and anyone else whose brain doesn't explode like one of those guys from the movie "Scanners" at the thought of another Republican president, it's worth noting that one of the greatest conservative victories of the last 40 years is quietly unfolding right in front of us. On March 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an epochal ruling. The court found that the Second Amendment actually protects the right to bear arms for individuals. Now, that in and of itself is huge. For decades, the courts, the legal and academic establishments, the press and all right-thinking people everywhere have been arguing that not only is the Second Amendment a chestnut from a bygone age, but that enlightened judges should just go ahead and void the darn thing like a bad parking ticket. The high-water mark of anti-gun-rights shabbiness was the 2000 rel

McCain's conservative problem

Fred Barnes: Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, took time out from his speech to the Leadership Program of the Rockies on February 24 to conduct a straw poll. His audience, assembled at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, consisted of 300 conservatives, the elite of the state's Republican party. Luntz wanted to know whom they favored in the Republican presidential race. "I do this with every crowd I talk to," he says. "As a pollster, I'm the only person who can get away with it." Luntz asked for a show of hands. Rudy Giuliani got nearly a quarter of the crowd and came in first. Mitt Romney wasn't far behind. Newt Gingrich isn't a candidate, at least not yet, but he finished a solid third. When Luntz asked who supported John McCain, it appeared at floor level that no hands went up. The crowd gasped. "They were shocked at how badly McCain did," Luntz says. And it indeed was bad, but not quite that bad. From the podium, Luntz could see

Sen. *, a portrait of confusion

Phil Harris: ... Senator Hagel is unable to decide if we should carry a big stick or simply lie down and play dead. Senator Hagel does not seem to know, if he wants to be President, is the President, or if we simply do not need a strong President after all. The following is a snip from an AP news story that I read on the FoxNews website, and it has once again forced me to write about my least favorite subject on earth. GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the war, stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment. But he made clear that some lawmakers viewed that as an option should Bush choose to push ahead despite public sentiment against the war. "Any president who says, I don't care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are —

The veil of truth works against Muslim woman

AP /Washington Times: A Muslim woman whose small-claims court case was dismissed after she refused to remove her veil has sued the judge, saying her religious and civil rights were violated. Ginnnah Muhammad, 42, of Detroit, says in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit that Judge Paul Paruk's request to remove her veil, and his decision to dismiss her case when she didn't, were unconstitutional based on her First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. The suit against Judge Paruk also cites a federal civil rights law in asserting that Miss Muhammad was denied access to the courts because of her religion. Miss Muhammad wore a niqab -- a scarf and veil that covers her head and face, leaving only the eyes visible -- during the October hearing in Hamtramck, a city near Detroit. She was contesting a $2,750 charge from a rental-car company to repair a vehicle that she said thieves had entered. Judge Paruk told her he needed to see h

Drug insurgency in Monterrey kills 7

San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle: In one of the bloodiest seven-hour spans in the city's recent history, seven people were killed in three attacks linked to drug cartels. At least one police officer was slain, bringing to 16 the number of lawmen killed in the Monterrey area this year. "Without a doubt, this is due to a concrete strategy by organized crime that consists of generating terror in the population and destabilizing governments," said Aldo Fasci, a deputy attorney general for Nuevo Leon state, referring to the cartel violence across the country. All three attacks occurred Thursday in heavily populated areas of the city. Despite access to numerous witnesses and mobilizations of a large number of police after each attack, the authorities made no arrests. ... The authorities said the nighttime attack was in revenge for the day's first killing, a man police identified only by his supposed nickname. "El Chucky" was shot multiple times while dri

Congressional double standard on display in appeals court

Washington Times : FBI agents who raided Rep. William J. Jefferson's Capitol Hill offices last year in a bribery investigation did not violate the law when they seized papers and electronic files, the government argued yesterday in documents filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The government said that although members of Congress have protection for some public offenses, they have no immunity from the execution of a validly obtained search warrant. It noted that the warrant sought only non-legislative materials. "[The warrant's] design provided for careful procedures to screen arguably protected legislative materials from prosecutors and, as implemented under orders of this court, it will result in no executive branch official having any further access to the seized materials," the government said. "The narrow issue presented is whether the incidental review of arguably protected legislative materials during the execution of the s

Norks give new meaning to "fake but accurate"

W ashington Times: Kim Il-nam's first encounter with counterfeit U.S. currency was embarrassing. On an overseas trip several years ago, the North Korean diplomat took a $100 bill from a wad of more than $7,000 he had received from the Trade Bank in Pyongyang to the front desk of his hotel. "I had to buy some toiletries, so I asked the cashier at the hotel front desk to change one of the new bills," said Mr. Kim, who uses a pseudonym to protect his identity since defecting. "She took my note away and returned, saying, 'Sir, this is fake.' I felt like a criminal and protested to the Trade Bank when I got back to Pyongyang." Things are different now. A new generation of fake "supernotes," far harder to detect, has appeared, counterfeiting experts say. Feeling the latest $100 bill from North Korea, Yoshihide Matsumura, whose Matsumura Technology Co. supplies counterfeit-detection machinery to Japan's post offices, banks and law- enf

Hot sauce saved from rising tide

NY Times: ... The McIlhenny family knew Hurricane Rita would bring high winds and rain to southern Louisiana. They had heeded an evacuation order and had a volunteer crew of workers in case something went wrong. They assumed Avery Island, one of the highest points along the coast and home to their Tabasco sauce, would be fine. They were wrong. The day Rita made landfall, a guard called at 8 a.m. and said water was rising quickly. Everyone on the island raced over to the low-lying factory to see what they could do. The sight gave them pause. Water was starting to cover the main road leading to the factory and was gaining ground quickly. Employees jumped on forklifts to move some of the barrels of hot sauce onto pallets to give them a few inches off the ground. Others ferried computers to the main office up the hill. The low-lying pepper fields were underwater and white caps dotted the surface. Two hours later, the water was four inches from the factory floor. And then it stopped. At 9 f

Flying Imams amend John Doe suit

Washington Times: A group of imams suing US Airways for discrimination amended their lawsuit this week to target only the "John Doe" passengers who they say are racist and falsely accused them of behaving suspiciously. The six imams were removed from a flight in Minneapolis in November for disruptive behavior reported by passengers and members of the flight crew. The lawsuit filed earlier this month targeted "passengers who contacted US Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior of plaintiffs performing their prayer at the airport terminal." The amended lawsuit identifies possible John Does as individuals who "may have made false reports against plaintiffs solely with the intent to discriminate against them on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity and national origin." "The only individuals against whom suit may be raised in this litigation are those who may have knowingly made false reports against the imams wi

"Right of Return" returned to sender

NY Times: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in interviews published Friday that Israel would not allow a single Palestinian refugee to return to what is now Israel, and that the country bore no responsibility for the refugees because their plight resulted from an attack by Arab nations on Israel when it was a fledgling state. Of all the issues coloring Israel’s relationship with its neighbors, the fate of scattered Palestinians who lost their homes is among the most contentious. This week, the nations of the Arab League revived a 2002 initiative offering Israel peace and acceptance as long as it withdraws to pre-1967 territorial boundaries, accepts an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, and agrees to a solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants. To most Palestinians, that means the right to return to their original homes inside Israel, but most Israelis fear that admitting large numbers of Palestinians would undermine the

Texas justice, when crying rape is murder

AP /Houston Chronicle: Darrell Roberson came home from a card game late one night to find his wife rolling around with another man in a pickup in the driveway. Caught in the act with her lover, Tracy Denise Roberson — thinking quickly, if not clearly — cried rape, authorities say. Her husband pulled a gun and killed the other man with a shot to the head. On Thursday, a grand jury handed up a manslaughter indictment — against the wife, not the husband. In a case likely to reinforce the state's reputation for don't-mess-with-Texas justice, the grand jury declined to charge the husband with murder, the charge on which he was arrested by police. "If I found somebody with my wife or with my kids in my house, there's no telling what I might do," said Juan Muniz, 33, who was having lunch today with one of his two small children at a restaurant in the middle-class suburban Dallas neighborhood where the Robersons lived. "I probably would have done the same thing."

Pushing the wimp approach at Tehran

Guardian Editorial: In one sense it is perhaps just as well that it was British, rather than American, sailors and marines who were taken prisoner. If they had been Americans, the rump of neoconservatives in the Bush administration, in particular Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams, would have been saying: "We told you so." They have long argued that Iran is not susceptible to diplomatic pressure, that the European approach is doomed to failure and the only way to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability is a military strike on its nuclear facilities. Even though the prisoners are British rather than Americans, neocons have been desperate to head for television studios. The only reason they have not done so yet is a request by the British government to the Bush administration to stay out of it. Word has also reached members of Congress. The British fear is that even a mild rebuke from President George Bush, or a neoconservative such as John Bolton, will be counterproductiv

EU puts trade with Iran ahead of British hostages

Times: European foreign ministers failed last night to back Britain in a threat to freeze the €14 billion trade in exports to Iran, as the hostage crisis descended into a propaganda circus. ... EU foreign ministers meeting in Germany called for the sailors to be freed but ruled out any tightening of lucrative export credit rules. The EU is Iran’s biggest trading partner. British officials are understood to have taken soundings on economic sanctions before the meeting but found few takers. France, Iran’s second-largest EU trading partner, cautioned that further confrontation should be avoided. The Dutch said it was important not to risk a breakdown in dialogue. ... Britain’s response to the seizure of its sailors and Marines has been branded weak by Republicans in Washington. John Bolton, until recently the US Ambassador to the United Nations, described the Government’s incremental approach as “pathetic”. He said that Mr Blair should be threatening “real pain, real economic sanctions” u

Taliban in retreat in Afghanistan

Telegraph: Complete success is being claimed for the largest Afghan-led operation yet against the Taliban. Afghan army forces and police have now purged the Nad Ali district of Helmand of 400 Taliban fighters, following a series of chaotic battles. Allied commanders estimated 70 Taliban fighters were killed in the fighting, while many others fled or gave up their weapons. Locals said that the dead included at least one senior commander, Mullah Abdul Bary. "Of course there are some Taliban left in here, but they have dropped their weapons and they are hiding," said Colonel Rasoul, the commander of the 3rd Kandak, the best regular army unit in the fledgling Afghan security forces. The operation, which began last week during the Persian new year celebrations of Nawruz, involved 400 Afghan security personnel, the biggest Afghan-led sweep yet in the Nato offensive in Helmand. Crucially, it was also backed by local militias, whose commanders had sworn to remove the Taliban from the

Bobby Jindal is smarter than most

Red States: The first time I saw Bobby Jindal, he left Jack Welch, John Sweeney, and a roomful of corporate bigshots, union leaders, and people who generally like to hear themselves talk absolutely dumbfounded. It wasn’t the first time he’d done this sort of thing, and certainly not the last. ... In this meeting, Thompson had walked into a vituperative buzzsaw in the person of Leo Gerard, head of the United Steelworkers. Stout, vulgar, and mustachioed, Gerard was not interested in debate or discussion, but in browbeating Thompson and the business leaders around the table into submission. His policy views were bluntly communist. With a stack of papers at his side, Gerard would cite an odd statistic, use it as the basis for why the American health care system should be more like Sweden’s, then doodle on his notepad while others responded. The meeting fell apart within fifteen minutes. Thompson just didn’t know how to handle this creature. He quickly found there was no give and take on he

The latest Brit "confession" to Mum

Scrappleface parody: ... “On direct orders from Prime Minister Tony Blair,” said Ms. Turney, “my mates and I were about to hit the beaches in southwestern Iran. From there our orders were to drive directly to the heart of Tehran and raise the Union Jack, claiming Iran as a British colony.” The confession, contained in a note to her Mum, also indicated that the 15 British seapersons were “eager to reclaim the heathen land of Persia for the Christians and Jews.” H'mmm. No wonder the Ayatollahs were distressed by the "invasion." Hopefully we can get them out before the full knowledge of the scheme is revealed. I'm pretty sure they do not read Scott Ott's blog or this one. You know if the Brits would engage in this kind of ridicule of the Iranian abuse of the Geneva Conventions it might take the fun out of the Iranian misconduct.

Is UN going after al Qaeda, Hezballah and Hamas?

Gateway Pundit: It's not just the EU who is banning the use of the word "jihad" ... Today, the UN Human Rights Council voted to ban "attempts to identify Islam with terrorism." ... I see this as putting a serious crimp in the terrorist operations of the organizations listed above since they are clearly associating their terrorist activities with Islam and using it to justify their depravity and religious bigotry. Well if they were serious that is where they would target their activities on human rights, but we all know the UN Human Rights Council is one of the least serious organizations on the face of the earth. I have to say that the longer the Islamic religious bigots make war against us the lest respect that I have for Islam. You would think that if they were really concerned about respect for Islam they would be interested in stopping these attacks. I will keep my references to Islamic Terrorism.

A big project for skilled hands and big hearts

John Dobbs post pictures and comments on the effort that is still underway to help Katrina victims in Mississippi. The people of Mississippi have much to be proud of in the way they have handled adversity and they deserve all the help you can give. Please take a look.

Reason for angry women?

Dr. Helen: ... The researchers speculate that women's anger is prompted by feelings of powerlessness caused by "entrenched sexism in modern society." As opposed to what, less sexism in ancient society? When sexism was more prevalent, women were even more "ladylike." Today's women are encouraged to express anger in our "you go, girl" culture but instead of using anger constructively, women continue to take the mean-girl routes, talking behind people's backs, avoiding confrontation and personal responsibility for their anger by being anonymous and/or passive aggressive in their approach. What this leads to is probably... more anger. ... She does not mention John Edward's potty mouth bloggers and their "issues." She has an interesting post on attempts to explain why women are more angry than men and how that is reflected on the net. It is too bad Muslim women in Saudi Arabia could not participate in the study.

Bottom story of the day--hearing about nothing continues

Neal Boortz: The plot thickens in the U.S. Attorney firing non-scandal. Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff says the Attorney General was involved in the firings , contradicting his boss. Who cares, right? Bored Democrats with no agenda, that's who. And they show no signs of letting up. Once again, the Democrats are looking for somebody's head in the administration...and that somebody is Alberto Gonzales. Get a nice resignation here and victory will be declared. Then it's off to get the leftist pro-Democrat media to bite on another non-scandal. Yesterday Kyle Sampson, the AG's former chief of staff said he discussed the firings with his boss on two occasions. Gonzales said at a press conference 17 days ago that he was not involved in the firings. Gotcha! The attorney general is obviously a liar that must be fired. New York Senator Chuck Schumer said Gonzales' credibility has been shattered. But remember, Democrats only worry about credibility wh

Breaking the media code on spending

Don Surber: Dana Milbank’s page two-er today, “ Senate’s Bold Proposal for Iraq: Sugar Beets and Rural Schools — in the U.S. ” in the Washington Post, broke down some of the items added to the emergency spending bill for the war on terror. Milbank did not tell readers the Democratic Senate used this bill to ladle out its annual $20 billion in pork. In fact, the word “pork” did not appear even once in his story. He called it “pet projects.” ... Milbank is not alone in the media shilling for congressional Democrats. “ Conservatives Oppose Pet Projects ” read the headline over the March 27 story by Andrew Taylor. The word “pork” was never used. “ Senate GOP Will Not Block Iraq Bill ” by Ann Flaherty of AP on March 26 also called the waste “pet projects.” She too did not use “pork” once. Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times also deployed the “pet projects” euphemism in his March 27 story, “ Republicans to Rely on President Bush’s Veto to Block Troop Withdrawal Plan .” He did use “pork” onc

Terror has no boundaries

The Belmont Club: ... The kidnapping of fifteen British sailors by Iran has inadvertently given the public a glimpse of what it means to "negotiate" with the Ayatollahs. It is also an illustration of how safe it is to stay on "your" side of the border, such as for example within the sovereign territory of a United States embassy, or manning an outpost on the Israeli side of Lebanese border, sleeping in a housing unit in the Khobar towers, visiting a friendly Yemeni port, keeping a watch on smugglers in Iraqi waters while in a British naval vessel and -- in case anyone still remembers -- going to work in Manhattan on an autumn day. One of the problems with assuming that a withdrawal from Iraq -- to Kurdistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or as Congressman Murtha once suggested -- to Okinawa will end hostilities is it presumes a certain conventionality: that once you have "stopped" fighting by signing some agreement; or that by withdrawing past some map bord

Why there is no outrage at Iran

Rich Lowry: Iran wants to quit the international community, but the international community won’t let it. No act of warfare against the civilized world, no defiance of the United Nations, no violation of international norms, no brazen lie is ever enough to mark Iran as unworthy of outreach, dialogue and the art of sweet persuasion. When the Iranians seized 15 British sailors in a blatant hostage-taking, the commander of the British ship purred that it might be a “simple misunderstanding.” If so, Iran is cursed with terrible luck. Another such misunderstanding lasted 444 days back in 1979-81. In the latest incident, the accident-prone Iranians have had the misfortune of showing the captured British sailors on television and of telling provable lies about where they seized them. Showing the captives and coercing a confession out of one of them (a woman the Iranians have thoughtfully outfitted in a head-covering to protect her virtue) are violations of the laws of war, not to mention hold

What Geneva Conventions?

David Rivkin & Lee Casey: ... The Geneva Convention, which binds Iran, requires that the captives be treated honorably and humanely. POWs "must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity." This includes parading them before television cameras and using them as propaganda tools, as has already been done. They are entitled to contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and they may not be used as hostages. Moreover, once the armed conflict that brought the Geneva Convention into play — Iran's capture of the British force operating in Iraqi waters — has ended, they must be released at once. Unless Iran now considers itself to be engaged in active hostilities against Britain — and potentially, with Britain's allies such as the United States — the sailors must be repatriated. POWs cannot be held beyond the close of active hostilities. That is the law. It is doubtful whether Ir

Defending ourselves

Diana West: Quick -- somebody promote Lt. Cmdr. Erik Horner for good instincts. "We not only have a right to self-defense but also an obligation to self-defense," the second-in-command officer of the USS Underwood said, referring to the surrender by 15 British sailors in Iraqi waters to Iranian forces last week. "[The British] had every right to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't you guys defend yourselves?' " Better to ask why the larger Western world didn't teach these sailors to defend themselves, both as their personal right and their societal obligation. And speaking of societal obligations, could someone please explain why the sailor-mother of a three-year-old -- now imprinted on history for performing the hostage-squirm in a Muslim headscarf -- was required on this mission in the first place? But I digress (sort of). When a civilization no longer inculcates an overriding attachment

Europe's indefensible house of straw

Victor Davis Hanson: ‘It’s completely outrageous for any nation to go out and arrest the servicemen of another nation in waters that don’t belong to them.” So spoke Admiral Sir Alan West, former First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, concerning the present Anglo-Iranian crisis over captured British soldiers. But if the attack was “outrageous,” it was apparently not quite outrageous enough for anything to have been done about it yet. Sir Alan elaborated on British rules of engagement by stressing they are “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting ... Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.” One might suggest, not necessarily “sinking everything in sight,” but at least shooting back at a few of the people trying to kidnap Britain’s uniformed soldiers. But the view, apparently, is that stepping back and allowing some chaps to be “captured an

The Copperheads' fire in the rear

Mackubin Thomas Owen: Dissent in wartime is as American as apple pie. There is not a single war in US history that did not face opposition from some part of the citizenry. But at some point, dissent becomes something else altogether – obstruction of the war effort. The most egregious case of this occurred during the Civil War when "peace Democrats," called "Copperheads," nearly succeeded in defeating President Lincoln's attempt to save the Union. It's a largely forgotten element of the Civil War, but it bears striking – and ominous – similarity to the obstruction we see in Washington today over the Iraq war. Indeed, as Democrats in Congress this week imposed withdrawal deadlines, it's clear that Copperhead syndrome is alive and well. The Copperhead is, of course, a poisonous snake, which is how the Civil War-era opponents of the peace Democrats portrayed them: Confederate sympathizers and obstructers of the Union war effort. But "Copperhead" wa