Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Morning copy 02.22.2006

Professor Cole calls today in Iraq "apocalyptic".

The New York Times: "Blast Destroys Golden Dome of Sacred Shiite Shrine in Iraq", and:
Shiites protestors took to the streets shortly after the explosion. In Baghdad, militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who is a fervent believer in the prophecy of the Imam Mahdi, drove through the streets of Sadr City with Kalashnikovs, many accusing the Americans of carrying out the attack.
The Guardian:
The interior ministry said four armed men, one wearing military uniform and three dressed in black, broke into the mosque, overcame the guards and detonated two bombs. One of the explosions collapsed the 100-year-old golden dome and damaged part of the northern wall of the shrine.

The shrine contains the tombs of two Shia imams reputed to be descendants of the prophet Muhammad. It is part of the Imam Ali al-Hadi mausoleum.
Shiite leaders called for calm, but militants attacked Sunni mosques and a gunfight broke out between Shiite militiamen and guards at the offices of a Sunni political party in Basra. About 500 soldiers were sent to Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad to prevent clashes between Shiites and Sunnis, Army Capt. Jassim al-Wahash said.
In other news...

The Times of London:
As the American vehicles lurched to a halt, their gunners scanning the surrounds for insurgents or a follow-up ambush, the Iraqi troop lorries hightailed it into the distance.

The same moment, on the opposite side of the highway, a construction convoy drove into view, escorted by a masked team of Iraqi contractors spraying the area with machinegun fire. Amid the mayhem, the message was clear: it will be a long time before Iraqi security forces can provide a credible alternative to the coalition.

More than 100,000 Iraqis have already been recruited to the new Iraqi Army, a figure intended to reach 135,000 this year. On paper at least they already dominate operations in much of the country. More than 60 per cent of Baghdad is already the preserve of Iraqi forces, allowing US troops to move elsewhere and, potentially, home.
Port security


The Wall Street Journal backs the president: "How to sound like a hawk without being one."

The New York Daily News does not: "Mr. President, are you nuts?"

Nor does the Washington Times: "Scotch the ports deal"

News stories...

The Baltimore Sun: "Growing criticism puzzles many in shipping industry"

Bloomberg News:
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The sale of six major U.S. ports to a Dubai company pits President George W. Bush against his Republican Party's leadership in Congress and puts in conflict two of his signature issues: national security and open markets.
The Washington Times quotes anonymous officials, some identified as administration officials, breaking with the president on this:
"You have to be concerned about a firm from that part of the world managing the ports," this official said. "They are more vulnerable to compromise and penetration by terrorists, even if they are just managing the port."
Howard Kurtz makes it all make sense:
Then some Democrats, notably Hillary and Chuck Schumer, ripped the administration, and since the Cheney story was fading, a new controversy was born.

Now at this point, the conservative bloggers usually weigh in and tell the left-wing moonbats to stop playing politics with national security and leave the White House alone. But that didn't happen, and soon George Pataki and Bill Frist were jumping on the anti-Dubai bandwagon.
Health Care

Bloomberg News:
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. spending for health care may double to $4 trillion by 2015, propelled by an aging population using more drugs, hospital care and technology, according to a government forecast.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should this sale go through and ANY terror related material or people pass through one of those ports it will be a big blow to the administration- every member of congress would love to hold hearings on this. I can see transportation, defenese and oversight issues just to start with. Hopefully no white house members own stock in either company. If this show down drags out and involves a veto it will cement this presidency as one of the weakest in the last 50 years.

While there is no evidence to suggest the sale would comprimise the already weak port security, it is not the point. This sale will shine a light on border security as well as the reactionary dislike for arab things. Would America be shocked if the french pilot crew that flew Hawkeyes over the Eastern seaboard after 9/11 were mostly of arab descent? Does it make a difference? Perhaps arab soldiers shouldn't serve in the gulf region for fear of them turning on their own?

The only fallout from this sale will be a recognition that the administration is weak. If you're going to pick your battles this is not the one to do it on. The "trust me, I'm the President" routine lost its value after the 9/11 hearings. The best step for this administration is to veto as promised and then roll over and take the override and let the media sort out the real threat. Besides, terrorists will probably still be able to get over the border by hitching a ride on an 18 wheeler full of cocaine.

Another topic: why even allow people to do business in America if they are from a country so predisposed to violence? It just doesn't make sense.

11:08 AM  

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