While the American press again plays into the Bush administration’s manipulations on Iraq—buying whole the story that the administration is repositioning, redeploying, sending in more troops, re-focusing, re-bullshitting—the UK Independent cuts to the chase: “In the firmest indication yet of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, America's most senior general there and its top civilian official have drawn the outlines of a political and military plan that could see a substantial pullout of US troops within 12 to 18 months. Yesterday's announcement looked like a strategy change carrying implications for British troops in Iraq, although President Bush's aides deny any "dramatic shifts" in policy. It came after Mr Bush's spokesman acknowledged on Monday that the President had cut and run from his signature promise that America would "stay the course" in Iraq. In the New York Times, Michael Gordon politely ridicules the latest American plans that foresee Iraqi forces managing to assume all responsibilities within 18 months: “Given the rise in sectarian killings, a Sunni-based insurgency that appears to be as potent as ever and an Iraqi security establishment that continues to have difficulties deploying sufficient numbers of motivated and proficient forces in Baghdad, General Casey’s target seems to be an increasingly heroic assumption.”
From the Editorial Board: Casualties of Folly: "Nick Rogers of Deltona was 27, father to a 3-year-old daughter, Jocelyn; expectant father, with his wife, Kelly, of another child in three months; son of a 25-year veteran and now deputy fire chief Bob Rogers and his wife, Penny, of Deltona; a medic deployed with the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Iraq since August. He was on a foot patrol in Baghdad Sunday. A firefight with insurgents erupted. Rogers was shot. He died shortly after at a battalion aid station, becoming the sixth serviceman with Volusia or Flagler County connections to be killed in Iraq since 2003, and just about the 2,800th soldier serving with the American armed forces to be killed there. As of Tuesday, 2,803 have been killed. At this rate, the 3,000th American fatality will be recorded right around the new year. For what, and with what end in sight? Two questions that can't be answered, although the cynical policies that have enabled this war continue, as do the attempts to justify it." See the full editorial...
THIS JUST IN: Iraqi leader Maliki changes his name to Ngo Dinh Diem.
It’s not just the United States that likes to militarize its streets. The Wehrmacht is heading back to Germany’s streets, too: “In a move likely to fuel controversy, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung called Tuesday for troops to be deployed on homeland anti-terror missions,” German Expatica reports. “ Germany has strict constitutional limits for deploying its armed forces on domestic missions - a reaction to massive abuses under the Nazi Third Reich - and Jung's plans could require a change to the constitution. Jung, in a speech to a security conference, said the difference between internal and external security was now so fluid that both elements had to be better "interlocked".” He might have chosen a less shackled word.
Because mercenaries haven’t raped and pillaged and massacred, among other things, America’s image enough in Iraq; Max Boot now wants to send them to Darfur.
Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly: “While Western and even some Arab media continue referring to the daily killing by Israel of Palestinian civilians, activists and militants as "clashes", the Israeli occupation army has intensified its brutal onslaught against Palestinian population centres both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. […] Any intensification, henceforth, of Israeli aggression in Gaza and the West Bank might well lead to a renewal of the Al-Aqsa Intifada or even to the outbreak of a new type of Intifada characterised, at least in part, by Al-Qaeda-like violence. Even organisations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad would look moderate compared to what might then appear.” The Jerusalem Post reports that Syria is upping its military alert level.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, Israel’s law-breaking flies on: It’s been an Israeli tradition going back to the 1970s to overfly Lebanon at will (in contravention of international law), usually to give the lucky pair of fliers of the day a chance to break the sound barrier and spook whatever’s below, while also gathering target intelligence for the next strike, which always comes. Israel has announced it will continue the overflights, says Lebanon’s L’Orient-Le Jour. No, no malice there. Not at all. At least Israel admitted to using white phosphorus bombs during its last invasion.
From Slate: How the Supreme Court—Scalia, Alito, Kennedy—took on the press. Miserably.
Did French toops facilitate the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994? “Twelve years after a 100 day long killing spree left some 800,000 Rwandans dead, the tiny African nation continues to search for accountability and some sense of justice. Perhaps the most surprising of the accused is a force that was sent there to protect against the genocide -- the French military. Not only did French soldiers fail to prevent the massacre, says the Rwandan government, they actually facilitated it.” Der Spiegel…
Grammar at all costs: “Language is more than a tool for expressing ourselves. It acts as a mirror to our world, reflecting back to us the way we live. It reflects our attitudes about the way we see things and how we are seen by others: in public life; in politics and commerce; in advertising and marketing; in broadcasting and journalism. Yet the prevailing wisdom about language seems to be that "anything goes".” Not according to John Humphrys.
Gay marriage in the animal kingdom?
Daylight Savings Time yields massive daylight surplus. “Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced Monday that the country's seven-month-long effort to conserve sunshine has resulted in the largest national daylight surplus since October 2005. "We have built up over 200 hours of this precious, life-giving resource," said Bodman, noting that "the sun's rays are not going to last forever." "We have decided it would be most prudent not to squander this valuable daylight by distributing it to Americans, instead suggesting that they all just wake up a little earlier."”