84% of Australians say Iraq war has done nothing to reduce the threat of terrorism: “Two-thirds of respondents disagreed the war would lead to the spread of democracy in the Middle East, and 85 per cent think the experience should make us cautious about using military force to deal with rogue regimes,” The Age reports. “Labor foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the findings reflected the widespread "commonsense" belief of Australians.” Too bar Australia is led by a pseudo-American Republican. Speaking in his weekly radio address (another crib from the White House habit re-started Ronald Reagan, who wanted to sound FDRish), John Howard said: “It is quite obvious that if everybody pulls out of Iraq, before Iraq is ready to defend itself, then the terrorists win, and the worldwide jihadist movement receives a massive boost.” Actually if “everybody” pulled out of Iraq it’d be a rather quiet place for a change.
Matthew Yglesias on America’s embrace of torture: “We now know that among those spirit-crushing rogue regimes is the Government of the United States of America, which is now "leading by example" in the field of hair-splitting and wink-nod authorisations of torture. Thanks to the recent "compromise" between the hardcore torturers in the Bush Administration and "moderate" Republican torture opponents, America is a country that does not officially endorse the infliction of "severe pain". That would be torture, you see. "Serious pain", however, is fine. That's merely cruel and degrading treatment.” See the full column in Australia’s The Age…
Videos: Osama and 9/11 accomplices in Kandahar, from 2000…
And further proof of Al-Qaeda’s built-in gift for self destruction: “Six months before the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, a senior al-Qaeda figure warned him in a letter that he risked removal as al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq if he continued to alienate Sunni tribal and religious leaders and rival insurgent groups,” the Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung writes. “The letter, the first document to emerge from what the military described as a "treasure trove" of information uncovered from Iraqi safe houses at the time of Zarqawi's death, provides new details of a debilitated al-Qaeda leadership-in-hiding, locating it in Waziristan.” And why jails could be al-Qaeda’s best recruiting friends.
Elections 2006: Mason-Dixon isn’t the most reliable polling agency in the world, but it has Democrats ahead in senate races in Ohio, Tennessee and Montana, three pivotal states in the Democrats’ bid to retake the Senate. With the Virginia Senate race now dead even, that makes four previously safe red states (or three, if you exclude Ohio, which has been leaning bluish) going blue. See the full report…
What to expect from the John Roberts Supreme Court as it convenes Monday for its 2006-07 term: Previews from Linda Greenhouse of the Times and Warren Richey of the Christian Scienc Monitor (he wishfully anticipates a more centrist Anthony Kennedy).
What to expect from David Cameron, Britain’s rising conservative leader: More fluff than substance? Preview from London’s Independent.
World Cup 2010: South Africa’s stadium bill: $1 billion. “The cost is over three-and-half times higher than the R2,3-billion estimate made in 2004 when the country won its bid to become the first African host of the World Cup tournament. It is also well over the R3-billion the government said one year ago it was setting aside for sport facility upgrades for the tournament.”