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August 18, 2007



With Baird, not a Blue Dog, changing his mind, the tide may turn. Here's hoping Petraeus's account will no longer matter, as everyone decides it's smarter to declare a victory over there.

While the declaring is good.

Charlie (Colorado)

Oh, Tom, for God's sakes. The surge was supposed to be just that --- a surge. It wasn't supposed to be "add 30,000 forever." What is the deal with people gropingfor a reason to be disappointed? It's like when John Derbyshire was predicting that Bush would get right up to the line and then not invade; there's anything but a reason to think this Bush isn't committed to this; he stuck with it and his plans even when it cost an election.

I've no doubt that the Times would love to see Bush declare defeat so the Democrats don't have to, but, well, how often has the Times gotten it right on these things?

Rick Ballard

Wow. What a revelation. Force levels to be reduced to pre-surge level after they get done.

Odierno also said commanders are planning to withdraw the five extra brigades of soldiers sent for the buildup when their 15-month tours of duty end. The brigades arrived roughly one a month from January to June.

Asked if they would be able to leave the same way starting next April, he said he was "not willing to quite say that yet" because top commander Gen. David Petraeus may decide to send replacements for some, depending on the security situation.

But "right now, our plan is not to (replace) those units," he said.

Then we revert to the Casey plan (kept hidden until June '06) for drawing down to a 5-7 brigade end force.

Pretty soon some bright reporter is going to actually read the Petraeus initial assessment report and realize that, when combined with the successful subornation of the Sunni sheiks in the spring, it sets up Maliki for a nasty little fall to begin in September. Followed by a new round of elections ("proof" of a vibrant democracy, dontchaknow) and a new government that will (maybe, cross your fingers) actually pay the Iraqi security forces to perform their duties. Maybe even give them fuel for their trucks so they can get to where they need to be and buy 'em a few bullets so they can shoot bad guys.

The dearth of attacks to this point in August are a clear mark of the success of the deal cut with the Sunni sheiks. Without the Sunni sea to swim in the AQ fish are flopping on the beach. Kinda like Maliki.

Cecil Turner

It wasn't supposed to be "add 30,000 forever."

That's right. In fact, the "surge" wasn't a new strategy at all, merely a new operation. And its goals were limited and pretty much the same as previously (i.e., to hand over security to Iraqis):

These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.
Moreover, the limits to the current force size were predictable (and even the NY Times is apparently capable of the complex mathematical calculations required to fully realize the implications):
But senior officials have said that unless the president chooses to break a promise to limit deployments to 15 months and guarantee 12 months at home, or to send larger numbers of reservists to Iraq, the troop increase must end next spring.
It's hard to tell which is funnier: the pro spinmeisters claiming it's a "new strategy" and a principled compromise with the loyal opposition; or the con crowd citing it as evidence of an impending ignominious retreat.

The bottom line is that there's nothing new here . . . but even I know that's not the way to sell newspapers.

Rick Ballard


Shhh... Next thing you'll be tellin' 'em that the COIN manual isn't exactly new.


The post surge strategy I’d like to see is a strategy to lead the public discussion on Iraq. Over the last four years, those opposed to the war have successfully used the media to define our efforts there as a quagmire, catastrophe, failure, the wrong war in the wrong place, etc. This arena has held our chief failures in the Iraq War.

At the moment it seems that the tide has turned (at least temporarily) in the thrust of media reports about Iraq. The Administration should capitalize on this trend by issuing statements that the press is likely to agree with or at least publish. For example, if the President announces that, “our long term goal is to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq” though meaningless, it would likely be widely (and favorably) reported.

If the Administration described our midrange strategy using some of the language used by Democrat presidential candidates, “maintain a military presence necessary to prevent genocide, protect Iraq’s borders, fight terrorists and terrorism,” those comments would be unassailable by the Dems. Adding that we need to, “protect the gains we have made in Iraq,” would be ‘frosting’ on the cake.

It might be a good idea to separate benchmarks into two categories, security benchmarks and political benchmarks. This makes sense because we have a diplomat and a general on scene representing generally different responsibilities, and we have more influence over security than we do over politics in Iraq. Here the Administration should try to define ‘benchmarks’ before the opposition does. By this I mean for example, convert the phrase, “As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down” to a less generic set of benchmarks, while hopefully not creating a ‘target list’ for the enemy.

Joseph Somsel

Sounds like distracting and misleading disinformation (redundant, no?)

This is to steal a bit of thunder from the defeatists of both parties.

I would worry that it sends a mixed message to Iran. No point in complaining about our weaknesses so our enemies can hear unless they aren't really weaknesses.

Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report

The folks at moveon.org must be furious.

Nick Kasoff
The Thug Report



I remember when you said Patraeus was staking a nap. You did not seem to have much faith in his policy in Anbar and I have been hearing you bad mouth Maliki from the day the man took office.

You said Sadr would not let him meet with Bush, but meet with Bush he did.

He has also cut ties with Sadr and the other day he went to Tikrit to ask for support from Sunni.

I agree that Maliki may have lost his best shot at bringing reconciliation to Iraq and new elections might be coming, but I will wait and see what happens before I assume you are right about Maliki and his eminent departure. It might be even be best if he were replaced, but considering the fact that the man has a near impossible job to do I really do not feel comfortable trying to do it for him.

I do think that Tom and the Post are making too much of this latest development. Bush has said the surge was temporary and the plans were to begin a drawdown next spring. If people would just listen to what the man said instead of constantly creating their own scenarios they would not have to guess.


And btw I find the sarcastic and snotty references to democracy in Iraq to be kind of juvenile. I realize that if you felt that the only good Muslim was a dead Muslim that might be an acceptable to way to look at things, but the Iraqis have a high hill to climb and they are paying dearly for that climb.

I know my relatives who went over to Iraq to fight actually believed in the mission, maybe that makes them naive. I know a lot of fine young Americans have lost their lives for this war and while I think our number one concern should be our own national security, I do not think the Iraqis are just mindless members of a death cult. I also think that change of the is magnitude will take a long time, perhaps a generation to really take root. It will be a long road.


For Purple Fingered Majesty
For unborn yet to come.

Carol Herman

First, before the WHIGS died, altogether, in 1860; they were on the down-slide starting before 1840! And, all due to mistakes made by Henry Clay, who was supposed to be their "political genius."

The WHIGS were the "conservatives" of their time. Against immigration, which was coming to the USA through Germany and Ireland, in very high numbers. So they embraced "NATIVIST" strategies.

It's a rather long list, leading to their final failure.

As to the Bonkeys, they've lost so much, now, all they have are the affirmative action hires, left. Not a hell of a lot to run a national campaign, on.

Rick Ballard

"to a less generic set of benchmarks, while hopefully not creating a ‘target list’ for the enemy."

I believe that the lists exist already and have been public for some time. I don't even think that the US has been particularly shy about disclosing them. Militarily, the transfer of "control" to Iraqi security forces has been hamstrung by Iraqi political games of disrupting logistics flow (pay, fuel and ammunition) plus a three monkey approach to corruption. All of that is undergoing positive change but I don't think that the rate of change will be satisfactory until a "new" government is in place.

Maliki is up in Tikrit trying to cut a deal with the Sunnis. If the al-Tikriti tribe rejects a deal, the government falls. If I had a dollar, I'd bet on Sunni rejection followed by elections and a new government more amenable to Sunni interests.

This piece about a program in the KSA to ameliorate the splodeydope situation is worthy of a read and a bit of reflection. The KSA allowed (encouraged, probably) their "disaffected" youth to head north and "fight" the US while starting this program to handle cool down the next wave. They burned off a bunch of bad weeds while we've improved our cowboy and jihadi skills tremendously.

I wonder how Imodium sales are doing in Tehran these days.

BTW Terrye, I think that mob rule in Iraq was possible from Day 1 and will always be possible. I just don't think protection of minority rights and interests is probable unless the minority is well armed and capable of defending itself. That's what the deal we cut with the Sunni sheiks was all about. Where do you think those missing AK-47s went?

Patrick Tyson

I just don't think protection of minority rights and interests is probable unless the minority is well armed and capable of defending itself. That's what the deal we cut with the Sunni sheiks was all about.

It might also be aimed at preventing a civil war after January 2009 from escalating rather quicky into a regional war. Not that I'm predicting anything.

My optimism, such as it is, remains muted.

Rick Ballard


Aren't we already in the middle of a Persian-Arab regional war? Subtract the pieties concerning islam and democracy from both sides (for the sake of argument, of course) and you're left with a battle over who gets to bank the proceeds from a very lucrative income stream over the next 100 years.

I'm not at all sure that January of '09 will mark any kind of turning point that will outweigh the deal cut with the Sunni sheiks. The US thumb on the Arab side of the scales should be enough.

It's Tehran's move and there is a very distinct possibility that they could choose to burn up a portion of their Arab population again, as they did in the '80's. I don't think it's more probable than collapse though. We just keep tinkering around the edges a bit too much for them to make the commitment and the Iraqi war still carries some weight. It's not as if the Iranian Shia Arabs don't understand that they were tasked to kill Iraqi Shia Arabs.

Patrick Tyson


I'd say no. In my view, the fault line they're most worried about is religious rather than ethnic and the nation-states they're most concerned with keeping out of any conflict are the ones that don't claim to be republics (democratic or otherwise) aside from the one that is in NATO and whose main concern is with the national aspirations of one of its minority populations.

I'm not sure that January 2009 will mark any kind of turning point either. What I am sure of is that the current POTUS will be setting policy with regard to the region until then and I don't expect he'll have any major change of heart or mind regarding the region during the remainder of his term in office regardless of what goes on domestically or internationally.


In Sistani We Trust.


I know my relatives who went over to Iraq to fight actually believed in the mission, maybe that makes them naive. I know a lot of fine young Americans have lost their lives for this war and while I think our number one concern should be our own national security,
First off: our troops are not Naive..they are brave members of the armed forces who are smart, strong and clear eyed.
They know the mission and accept it willingly to keep us ( and you ) safe..
while you sleep they stand on that wall on protect america. We have picked a battle field in the middle east and all the terrorists worldwide have run there in great haste to do battle with america.
in 6 years the terrorists have not have time to hijack planes or blow up nuclear reactors because they run to Iraq...
This has been a hard war..but yet during WW2 in the pacific we probably lost more men in 1 week than this whole war...Yet the press has virtually declared defeat..exactly where in iraq have we retreated and raised the white flaq?
our son called last night.. He was in ( an area close to..)Haditha but they moved them to Bagdad near the green zone...( we can't say his unit) his unit has high morale and doing really good...
Naive my ass..sorry terryl



I was not being literal, I never said they were naive, in fact I agree with them and their views of the mission.

My only point is that a lot of people on the left and the right seem to think that Iraqis are not capable of anything but chaos.

I have always supported this mission from the word go and I support it now. Read what I said.



I don't know where the guns went and in fact I know some people who think they did not go anywhere and the fault is in the system and its inefficient makeup.

I do not know if Maliki will be able to cut a deal or not and I don't know if that will pave the way for someone who can. But I do know that some things take time and it could be that no one could have done what was expected of Maliki, not then anyway.


Sorry TerryL
I'm just alittle sensitive of all the msm chatter about a failed war...
I think the only thing left the terrorists have is car bombs..circa belfast for 20 years.. It's not unwinnable or a failure.
Again sorry..we good?

Rick Ballard

Why does Bush hate the Yucatan? Does this have something to do with Rove leaving?

Doesn't Bush realize that there are millions of poor American people who could be devastated by another hurricane? What did the Indians down on the Yucatan do to displease him?


hoosierhoops: I was just dropping in to read comments (as usual) and I realized that I have not yet said "God speed" to you and your son who is serving in Iraq.

As a parent of 4 and grandparent of 10, I know the worry one has for children - even adult children. Anyway, I know you are a proud parent and, probably, a lot of the time a worried parent. So, I just wanted to say I am appreciative of your son's service in the protection of our nation.


Once upon a time, we had one solid ally in the Middle East: Israel. Now we have three, and the two newest ones -- both of whom are former enemies -- border opposite sides of Iran.

Is anyone thinking of a strategy which seeks to add another ally or two to the club? I'd say the answer's probably yes, and it's a frat-boy doofus some call Chimpy.

I'd like to see some Iraq "war" opponents discuss their Middle East strategy, rather than nit-pick about the surge. That might turn into a *real* debate.



Naw, they don't want to debate, they just want there power back. They could care less about the people in the Middle East.

If we would allow Iraq and Afghanistan to vote in 2008 for the U.S. president, well then,
they would pretend to really care.



I would also like to thank you and your son for his service to this great country. I can't imagine what it is like to have a child in harms way and have to listen to the cold bloodied Murthas of this world.

Just remember that most Americans recognize and are grateful for your family. You are in our prayers.


Rick Ballard

That's a bit cyptic, Mr Uk.


From Mr.UK's cryptic link ...

Reagan was often attacked as a dangerous ideolouge who needed to reconcile himself to the facts of the world, but he never succombed to Beltway realpolitick.

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War," Reagan declared. "We win, they lose."

This is also George W. Bush's approach to Islamist fanaticism. And a generation from now his resolve concerning the War on Terror will be as esteemed as Reagan's resolve to triumph in the Cold War.


Well actually Mr.UK's link led to another

Terry Gain

Boris, I agree with you completely. The comparison to Reagan is apt. The same types who are so quick to tell us what a fool Bush is told us throughout his Presidency that Reagan was a lightweight.


I have a question; why do we tell the NY Times anything? You konw they're not going
to really give Patreus's report a fair shake. They've accepted leaks on pre-war plans,current surveilance,data mining &
financial tracking plans. Friedman's whose
the most sober of the pundits will invariably always blame US and or Israel before Iran, Hezbollah or Al Queda. Kristof,
the former arabist in training was running Laura Rozen's thinly veiled speculations about Hatfill and puff pieces about Al Arian
and CAIR. Dowd & Krugman would someone entertaining as fiction; but they purport to
relate actual events. Rich, on the other hand; might as well be reporting from Planet
Mongo (i'm sure there's a Ming the Merciless
reference in the next few weeks) John Burns,
is the exception; who never resorts to canned cliches. Their public editor; has just come off a stint as editor for my local
anti-war fishwrap; McClatchy/Knight ridder's
Miami Herald.



Need a good laugh?


600 strip in the Alps in Greenpeace protest against global warming.

And they wonder why we call them moon bats!

Rick Ballard


Is the question really: "why do we tell the NY Times anything?" or is it "Who gives a FF what the NYT says about anything?

AFAICT the President hasn't budged regarding strategic objectives in Iraq. There ain't but three and they haven't changed. "Democracy" was peddled for a bit but so was "RoP", not as true objectives but as aspirations. The two are coextant in a parallel universe IMO and have precisely zero to do with the end state necessary to declare "match point - US".

We would do well to remember that there will be a rematch by and by - same as there has been since the ascendance of the cult at the end of the Roman Empire. We'll get an entracte but there will definitely be a rematch.


"We would do well to remember that there will be a rematch by and by..."
Mr. Ballard--are you getting your information from "Revelation" or from a more earthly report?
It just so happens I agree with much of your comments.



Of course we are good and I hope all is well with you and yours.



I was not aware that Bush had stopped "peddling" democracy. In fact I think he has remained dedicated to the notion. The problem is people sometimes do not know what it means.

The Iraqis might actually be able to have a form of representative government that works for them. I think they need to do a better job of putting people in office who actually represents regions rather than blocs, but it could work for them. If the French can manage it, I see no reason why they can not eventually.

The problem is in keeping it together in the mean time.


As for the RoP, I do not think that the Muslims are the Borg...they are not either all good or bad, violent or nonviolent. I think it is rather simplistic to assume that all 1 billion of them are beyond hope. It is not only simplistic, it is self defeating.

I grew up in Oklahoma and I knew a lot of southern men and most of them were not like the guys you saw and heard about terrorizing and hurting people. The bad guys were just the ones getting the attention. But because of them how many people thought the entire culture of the South was hopeless, racist, vile?

How many still do? And to be truthful how many good people looked the other way and allowed those kind of people to define their culture?

The other night I was watching the First 48 and there was the inevitable murder of the young black male and of course everyone was afraid to talk to the police. No one trusted authority, the state, the law.

Imagine that a thousand times over, all over the Middle East and you might have an idea what people are up against in terms of cultural taboos.

After all the Yazidis who stoned that young girl back in April were not Muslim, that is just part of the world we are dealing with here.


Many Germans were not Nazis,but they went along for the ride.An ascendant Islam will gather more adherents,one has only to view the rejoicing in the "Arab Street" when the Trade Towers got hit on 9/11.
Interestingly the advance of Islam came because the Roman Empire was in schism and drawing back from its provinces.The resulting power vacuum gave the Arab armies the Roman province of Spain.and what do know,Al Andalus is theirs for ever.
The isolation of Byzantium,the former Constantinople,gave the Turks access to the Bosphorus and onwards to the soft underbelly of Europe.
The Arabs were raiding the coast of Europe for slaves right into the nineteenth century,it is estimated that some 1.5-2.5 million souls were taken into captivity.
Whilst agreeing with Mr Ballard,I would posit that this is a re-match.

Terry Gain

Even as it's clear that the security situation is improving more people will focus on and lament the political situation. Although I'm very confident about the former I cannot say the same about the latter.

In fact given that the country is now 231 years old one would have expected better.

Alas even after all this time one of the two political parties remains invested in pessimism and defeat.

It's so depressing I'm prepared to declare that the political situation is lost. Politically, America has been defeated.


A rematch with the challenger being an overweight, oil steroided, goon. Radical Islam is no more capable of taking over and running the world than was Mohammed, but the oddly gotten gains from living over petroleum has artificially elevated radical Islam into a coherent social force. It can't last.

In the meantime, however, there is hell to pay.


So I keep hearing on the news that there is a democrat debate from IOWA this morning. Does anyone know what time, and if it will be televised?


Found it, albeit a bit late.

Obama skirting the question of whether Hillary is part of the failed politics of Washington, and he wants to do healthcare and climate control.

Edwards says democrats in 2006 stood for change, and we have to maintain the momentum of change - YIKES is that an endorsement of Reid and pelosi?

We have to take away lobbyists power and Clinton has done a terrific job, and he and Obama have not taken money from lobbyists (to be refuted within the hour).

Hillary finds it interesting that karl Rove is obsessed with her and she has been fighting against these people (republicans) longer than anyone. You can't escape the republican attack machine and not have high negatives/

We will win because we know how to bring about change. It's Rove driving up her negatives.


Why then are you taking money from lobbyists Hillary.

It's an artificial distinction, let's move to public financing.

Edwards: the distinction is not artificial and Hillary did a great job on her health plan and it's the insurance company's fault that we don't have health care.

Dodd, this sounds like situational ethics - people here take money from this but not that, and it's not the money you take but your votes. We need public financing. It's about getting the job done. He's a leader blah blah blah. He can bring republicans to the table (I doubt that)

Kucinich, this debate about lobbyists is insufficient. AFL-CIO endoresed some Kucinich health care plan, and everyone else keeps the insurers on the - gawd i can't follow him but he wants socialized medicine.


I love it, Rove is driving up Hillary's negatives.


What are your plans to get out of Iraq? He shows a Biden ad - about a flag draped coffin.

Richardson's plan is to get ALL the troops out. His plan has diplomacy. A reconciliation, a division of oil revenues and a UN led something. No residual forces. Orderly timetable.

Biden: Let's level with the people, administration hasn't - there is much more at stake, if we leave there will be chaos in the region, most of my colleagues are now supporting my plan, it will take a year.

Richardson - many generals agree with me, we can withdraw within 6-8 months (that's a change)We can take them out of turkey.

Clinton, who is right? We need to move the troops out, which requires careful planning, we need to pressure the iraqi gvt. I would condition aid on the gvt doing what I say. we would have intensive regional and diplomatic effort. This would be dangerous and difficult and we need the equipment.

Is Richardson wrong Hillary -

Joe is right. We can't over sell. (seems to me everyone is coming over to the administration's way of thinking)

Does anyone agree with richardson. Gravel disagrees with everyone, this is american imperialism. blah blah blah. Turn to the Iranians. (oh dear) Use diplomacy.

Edwards it would be hard to get the troops out by december. Any democrat president will end this war, and the differences between us are very small (clearly he has no plan) the republicans are Bush on steroids, and will keep this war going for as long as they can.

Richardson asks how the non-combat troops will protect themselves if they partially withdraw. We need stability.

Biden - I disagree with everyone because they cling to a straegic mistake because there is no possibility in our lifetimes that there will be any reconciliation. There is much more at stake in how the war ends. Our grandchildren will be in a regional war, Turkey will take the kurds, Iran will take sides in shia.

Steph interjects Richardson's plan. Biden said it is impossible. We have to separate the parties.

Richardson - why leave residual troops?

Biden you need troops to protect.

Obama thinks Joe is right about how long it will take. And all the democrats will end the war and it's all bad options, then says they were all bad for voting for the war. And then says experience got us in trouble.


Obama wants the iraqi's to come up with Biden's plan.

Is there any difference between you (Obama) and Hillary's plan for now?

It's all Bush's fault and the COngress shouldn't help him. I'll call up the Joint Chief's and tell them to withdraw.

Kucinich - the democrat senate was in charge and okayed the war (actually I think he is wrong) and the democrats keep funding it and democrats need to stand up to the promise they made in 2006. (They keep showing his wife looking on adoringly)

What is your understanding of a personal God.

Hillary can't hear. She does not pretend to understand God but she always relies on prayer. She is dependant on faith and prayer.

Dodd can't second guess the Lord and we don't do anything without his approval.

Edwards prays daily. He prayed before his son died and before his wife's cancer and you can't prevent bad things from happening thru prayer.

Gravel believes in love. People who pray want to go to war. People have the power.

Richardson prays as a roman catholic. It's personal. It's important to have faith and values but I won't impose my religion.

Biden was told that his wife and daugher are dead (says edwards wife is dead) Prayer won't stop a hurricane but it will give you ability to deal with it.

Obama, in true prayer we can't strengthen ourselves thru adversity. We can't prevent illness but we can have free health care. He prays for strength and wisdom. He wants to express his values thru gvt.

Kucinich - I've been praying for the last 45 minutes that you would call on me. He quotes from the bible and says it relates to his philosophy. The founders didn't expect leaders to be separate from their spiritual values (except Bush I guess)

How will you help small farms?

Dodd - we need to deal with anti-trust issues as in media. (fairness doctrine, I guess) He wants to give broadband access to rural america.

Edwards - re trade agreements - ask if the agreement is good for multi-national corps, because if it is, it is bad. he will enforce labor and environmental standards and currency manipulation, and get rid of tax loopholes.

Clinton - agrees with everything Edwards said, then says we export. We need to focus on family farms. She's an advocate and has created reports (no solutions, just reports). we have to do more to build up agriculture. Trade has to be fair so we will look for ways to do something.

Obama, agrees with everyone, and says Congress hurts family farms. Wants to cap subsidaries so we don't have continued concentration. Globalization is here. We need to make sure we are hard bargainers - Bush has been taken to the cleaners .

richardson is looking for a way, and he wants renewable fuel.


Tell us an issue where you didn't tell the whole truth.

Gravel - we can do public financing right now which everyone says they want, but they all lie about wanting it.

Biden, in my public life I always say what I think, and often too much he can't think of an issue in the COngress where he hasn't been straight up (yeah even if somoene else said it first)

Kucinich is always completely honest.

Obama, we have to make choices, like energy. We all talk about global warming, there will be some costs involved, and those steps will require hardship. Now he has tried to bring that up but no one cooperates.

Edwards - that si true about his vote on Iraq. he had huge conflict about giving Bush the conflict and I never said that, because I didn't reveal that I didn't trust Bush.

Clinton, also regrets giving Bush the authority, she was assured by him privately and Bush lied, (she skirts the issue)

Did you tell the whole truth - yes as I saw it. So Hillary is clearly not guilty of never not telling the whole truth. (Gee ask about whitewater)

Richardson. I make about one mistake a week because I'm not a scripted candidate. I got hostages out. We will get rid of GITMO, eavesdropping, we will get habeus corpus back (I assume for terrorists)

Dodd - I wish I'd done more on the military commissions act where we allowed torture, and I should have filibusterd it.

education - should there be performance based pay?

Dodd - this is a huge issue, we need to measure growth and not abandon schools, and I would give more money to teachers in bad schools. He won't give better teachers more money.

Obama: Teachers are betrayed by no child left behind. and frustrated about how their performance is addressed. He skirts the question. We need to tell them how to teach. Now the teachers get to decide how they are measured.

Clinton: She has long supported incentive pay for school wide performance. Must start at preschool to help the family, reform no child left behind. we need a conversation with teachers.

Richardson. He's against merit pay for teachers, just wants to give a minimum wage to teachers $40k and scrap no child left behind. Mandatory pre-school, full day kindergarten.

Gravel is for merit pay, no one else is, and they are all talking politics as usual.

Obama now wants to be clear, he can implement a performance based system (optional) that teachers create. (Oh yeah that's incentive)

Kucinich funds a universal pre-kindergarten bill by taking the money away from the troops.

Biden - whose wife (now apparently alive) is a teacher. No teacher wants to be judged by her boss. More pay for teachers.

Credit crunch: Should the federal reserve lower rates for eveyrone else:

Hillary can't answer yes or no

Dodd: yes

Edwards: We need a home rescue fund

Gravel: follow the money

Richardson, this is the Katrina of home ownership. Yes

Biden: yes - we need more transparency with hedge funds. It's very deep

Obama: Yes we need to help homeowners and have tough regulation, so homeowners are not hoodwinked and it is the lobbyists fault.

Kucinich: No - it's a continuation of the problem. The govt needs to loan money to people in trouble . Gvt needs to maintain control over the economy.


That's it. The phone rang. I missed the personal statements, which is fine with me.


Go Jane!


we need more transparency with hedge funds. It's very deep

LOL. I wish I could have seen Edwards face during that response. Or his body language. I bet he was sweating bullets.


Thanks, Jane!

I really, really, really hate it that the solution to schooling too often seems to be universal daycare and all-day kindergarten. I had a hard enough time sending my kids off to half-day. Their preschool was only 3 afternoons a week, and that was the case for many kids in the district. Taking kids away from the home isn't the universal solution.


I just signed mortgage papers last week. Eesh. I think government should pay for my mortgage, and I further think government should lower the interest rate (at least for me).


My favorite question in the debate was the one where the emailer asked what issue the candidates had not given the full and complete answer on. Not one candidate gave a full and complete answer. It was perfect.


Good show, Jane. One for the books.


Well, MayBee, if it doesn't work, out, I'm sure Edwards will be there for ya!!


Thanks, Jane. I hadn't realized there was a debate today.

Patrick Tyson

Interestingly the advance of Islam came because the Roman Empire was in schism and drawing back from its provinces.The resulting power vacuum gave the Arab armies the Roman province of Spain.and what do know,Al Andalus is theirs for ever.

Somehow, nearly two and a half centuries of Visigoth rule (the last 80+ without even a Byzantine beachhead) got lost in there somewhere. Rome fell in 476. Lisbon fell in 716. The Reconquista began in 718. It was completed in 1492.


Patrick,it wasn't a potted history of the Roman Empire it was about the continuous expansion of the Middle East.Europe had been under threat from Middle Eastern powers for millenia,Persia,Carthage,again the Moors and the Ottoman Turks.


PeterUK -

It wasn't the Moors, it was the Moops.


Has anyone undertaken a serious investigation into the extent that oil money from the Saudis and others might be greasing the palms of the friendlier outlets in the U.S. media?

We know Saddam was able to buy some pretty good Western press, for example, providing access to friendly correspondents and news outlets. We also know that some of the Oil For Food money found its way to politicians in England and France, as well as others who thwarted us in the U.N. during the deliberations leading up to the Iraq ultimatum. But Saddam was a pariah. Maybe these were only the easiest to understand of a more extensive set of financial transactions.

Saudi Arabia seems to be a major funding source for all sorts of terrorist-sympathizing charities, training-ground madrasses, etc. The Saudis are often cited by lefties as great friends of the Bush family, the implication being that Bush is bought and paid for by the Saudi royal family. But we know the Saudis bank-rolled a large part of the Clinton Library, and that Clinton has personally gotten big bucks for speeches paid for by these same petro-dollars, as has Gore. Maybe some of the focus on Bush-family angles are misdirection plays. Who's to know?

There's a lot of oil money floating around in the world, controlled not by independent corpoations, but by despots doing the work of the Prophet. Has any of it made its way to the BBC or the New York Times, for example? How would we know?



A few threads down you had mentioned a nutroots wiki-, I think it had something to do with the Tamm thread.

The opening attack

How Rove Directed Federal Assets for GOP Gains


...Investigators, however, said the scale of Rove's effort is far broader than previously revealed; they say that Rove's team gave more than 100 such briefings during the seven years of the Bush administration. The political sessions touched nearly all of the Cabinet departments and a handful of smaller agencies that often had major roles in providing grants, such as the White House office of drug policy and the State Department's Agency for International Development.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee are investigating whether any of the meetings violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using federal resources for election activities. They also want to know whether any Bush appointees pressured government for favorable actions such as grants to help GOP electoral chances....more....

...Even agencies traditionally considered to be above the elections fray sent representatives to such briefings. A White House-arranged meeting that year for Justice Department appointees at the Old Executive Office Building included "a presentation about what the Department of Justice is doing for Hispanic American citizens," the department recently told Waxman's committee.

Don't be surprised when this story gains momentum and Waxman salivates as he tries to put Rove under the lights. CREW faked documents, "whistleblowers", the House "Oversite" Committee, should get interesting right around mid-September.


Well we know that UPI was partially owned by Saudi interests; in the era that Helen
Thomas (Grandma Hezbollah) held her post as White House reporter; then the Moonies took
it over; through Korean investors and Helen had to protest. CNN was floated through junk bonds (which probably were secured through petro dollars) and CapCom; a project of BCCI; which was a front for Saudi
intelligence grandies (Adham, Turki, Khalil)
and Emirati players (like the Sheik Zayed of Dubai) along with Pakistani financier
Agha Abedi. There's of course the Chase Manhattan Bank share owned by Sheik Talal; as well as Fox. Citicorp had the Olayan account in connection with fmr Treasury
Secretary Simon. Jay Rockefeller's family
had the most direct tie to the Saudis through the Aramco concession of'38. Tom
Kean, grand poobah of the 9/11 statesmen
had partnerships with Saudi Delta Oil for oil deals in Azeri and Kazakh fields; which is either headed by Bali Audran or Hussein
AlAmoudi. thorough his board seat with Amerada Hess. Is it a coincidence that Armitage, Powell, Baker, et al; also swim in those same waters. Baker, Botts, Wilmer
Cutler Pickering's Jamie Gorelick also a 9/11 commissioner, were involved in litigation against class action claims against Saudi figures like President of the
Islamic Banking Association.


Terrye--once again you've nailed it. Radical, Wahabbi Islam is like nothing so much as the KKK. History's losers desperately seeking to justify themselves, and maintain power, by terrorizing the powerless and asserting religious authority for doing so. Those who stand up to them are the true heroes in this struggle.
And our "liberal" media cheer for the bastards.
And Hoosierhoops--God Bless you, your son, and all of those who are making the real sacrifices in this fight.



Has anyone undertaken a serious investigation into the extent that oil money from the Saudis and others might be greasing the palms of the friendlier outlets in the U.S. media?

Why would the Saudis need to buy anyone off when journalists are working for the Truth and the Other. Most of the KGB water carries during the Cold War weren't "paid"-they were given perks for "speaking truth to power"

Anyway Kingdom Holding Company has stakes in Time Warner, News Corp, Walt Disney

There's a lot of oil money floating around in the world, controlled not by independent corpoations, but by despots doing the work of the Prophet. Has any of it made its way to the BBC or the New York Times, for example? How would we know?

Yes there is, did you hear of the recent KSA [Saudi Basic Industries] purchase of GE's Plastics Division. The way to look at it is not as direct bribery or anything quite so gratitious-look at as media warfare, legal warfare, educational warfare-the black box is a control system and legal groups, ngo's, pr firms, and mosques are nodes in the system.

Protein Wisdom posted an article a few days back about Willi Munzenberg that described the Communist version of a similiar system. Also the folks at Counterterrorism Blog have a graphing program that outlines the connections of CAIR and HLF and the links amongst the players.



We know Saddam was able to buy some pretty good Western press, for example, providing access to friendly correspondents and news outlets. We also know that some of the Oil For Food money found its way to politicians in England and France, as well as others who thwarted us in the U.N. during the deliberations leading up to the Iraq ultimatum. But Saddam was a pariah. Maybe these were only the easiest to understand of a more extensive set of financial transactions.

The Oil-for-Food scandal, some more [by way of Malkin]crooks getting frogmarched. A pity that story didn't get more of an airing out-really could have shed some light on some areas that need some disinfecting. Instead we got some weak Congressional hearings, a UN whitewash, and Kofi Annan still enjoying his pension when he should really be in jail.

Rick Ballard


The House of Saud has been purchasing influence (protection, really) since being awarded the throne. They have a well founded fear of having any type of proficient army and have chosen to rent protection from others as a more viable solution to general security issues.

You really have to look at Halliburton - and expecially the Brown & Root connection to follow the effectiveness of Saudi dough. It isn't tied to particular politicians or parties but to power. Eisenhower, Kennedy, JOHNSON et al ad infinitum all benefited, some more, some less.

Figuring out the cui bono on the American reaction to the Suez Canal expropriation isn't a bad place to start.

They ain't dummies and they have to get rid of lots of disaffected and quasi-ambitious young men who possess nary a qualm about using murder as a means to power. Win or lose, it's always inshallah. Why not take a run at the throne?


Years ago my father told me that when the West exhausted the Oil of Araby, the sheiks would own the London Stock Exchange.


Rich, it appears Rove's efforts were carefully vetted with attorney's and apparenly only one improper meeting has been identified out of at least one hundred.

HoosierHoops, it is difficult for me to imagine how frightened and proud I would be to have a child who would not shame me at the gate, actually at the gate.

Patrick Tyson


Was that what that was?

Once upon a time in 334 BC: He would live eleven years more, but would never see home or Europe again. While his army crossed the Hellespont from Sestos to Abydos, he himself chose to land at Cape Sigeum, and retraced what he believed to have been Agamemnon's path to Troy.

Once upon a time some 367 or so years later: The Sanhedrin met, found him guilty of blasphemy (then a capital crime), and decided to bring him before the Roman procurator who had come to Jerusalem to keep an eye on the Passover crowds.

Once upon a time some 1,225 yaers later: Lured by the promise of clemency, he and his two sons gave themselves up to the Mongol....So ended the Abbasid caliphate in Asia.

He, him and he are, respectively, a European (Alexander) and two Middle Easterners (Jesus Christ and Al-Mustasim Billah.)

Will Durant (the italicized above are from volumes of his The Story of Civilization) states toward the end of his section on him that Alexander created the pathway for the religious victory of East over West.

...and so it goes.


Funny that they keep mentioning Bush and the Saudis. They never seem to mention that Prescott Bush got involved with the Saudis at the behest of Averell Harriman (husband of Pamela Harriman who was a big backer of Clinton). In fact the Harrimans controlled the Bush trust for years and did all their deals for them.

Strikes me that the LLL dems are closer to the Saudis than the Bush family is through their backers who are all in bed with the Saudis.

Rick Ballard

The Sa'ud family is in bed with the Sa'ud family. That's why so many of them are crosseyed. If they do buy the LSE it may open every morning to the strains of Dueling Banjos. A couple more generations of inbreeding could do the trick.



...it appears Rove's efforts were carefully vetted with attorney's and apparenly only one improper meeting has been identified out of at least one hundred...

It appeared that Libby's efforts to ferret out the Niger Mission were apparently proper until Fitztruth got in the way. Re-read: Conyer's is involved, the conspriacy thread [I think it was at 'truthout']that Slimguy linked about a week back mentioned CREW, there is smoke because already one of the meetings has been deemed inappropriate...all we need now is a "noble whistleblower that BushCo™ is trying to destroy" and some fake documents [stuff that CREW says is from the NSA, RNC, or WH email...just throwing it out there].


Well, it worked pretty well once, Rich. CREW is particularly cynical with their disinformation. I'm still angry that they conflated homosexuality and child predation to win the last election, and even angrier that gay people let them get away with it.


"He, him and he are, respectively, a European (Alexander) and two Middle Easterners (Jesus Christ and Al-Mustasim Billah.)"

The history of Asia Minor is slightly more complicated than that.

"Alexander created the pathway for the religious victory of East over West."

If anything created a pathway it was the Silk Road,

..and Patrick ,do we have spend time googling peripheral topics? Islam is expanding again.


RichatUF (on the question of whether the shieks are bribing willing lefty reporters):

The way to look at it is not as direct bribery or anything quite so gratitious-look at as media warfare, legal warfare, educational warfare-the black box is a control system and legal groups, ngo's, pr firms, and mosques are nodes in the system.

Thanks, I appreciate this and the other replies to my original question. Certainly, there's plenty of evidence of this sort of influence buying, which has been going on for a long time. My thinking is along the lines of finding an angle in the fight, and it seems to me it would be a very nice find if some Saudi or Abu Dhabi or Syrian money could be traced to a specific high-profile U.S. reporter, for example. (I can think of a few I'd be particularly interested in reading such a thing about, in fact, but let's not cast aspersions.)

Just wondering if anyone knew of a serious investigation along these lines.


Richard Miniter has a nice article about Beauchamp at Pajamas Media.

And what's with Musharraf and Bhutto?


The Beauchamp New republic piece is really interesting. Here is the URL:



L'il Elspeth has a story to tell, like Beauchamp didn't.

hit and run

OK, so on that Pajamas Media story from Richard Miniter - I learned that the whistleblower is Robert McGee.


First Scott Thomas Beauchamp pens his anonymous Diarists under the pseudonym Scott Thomas.

Then Robert McGee outs the marriage of Beauchamp and Reeve under the anonymous pseudonym Throbert McGee.

I know that Beauchamp was going to be outed no matter that his pseudonym was so close to his name -- bloggers had already narrowed down the search to his company.

And I know that McGee was fired because TNR was able to track his posting to his TNR workstation.

Yet, in both cases, these guys used a very thin veil of anonymity.

Although, come to think of it, they probably met the CIA's definition of covert.


Beauchamp comes across as a bit of a sociopath in that article - okay, more than "a bit". Three engagements before age 21, marrying the latest so he could work for New Republic, joining the army for the same reason.

And the New Republic can certainly choose them too. I guess they deserve each other.

Rick Ballard

Miniter's piece was hmmm... unexceptional? I think Pvt. For Life Beauchamp is a very sorry specimen but I can't rate McGee much higher and I can't really get upset about TNR firing a gossip.

There aren't any heroes in this shabby spectacle - just a bunch of sadsacks building sand castles along the water's edge at low tide. Priscilla ought to spend some time each day giving thanks that Elspeth took a bullet for her.

The piece itself is National Enquirer level (IMO). Connecticut Yankee and Ace did the yeoman's work on Peeling Pvt. Beauchamp (with some excellent help from their commenters). The "Little Venice" bit that Miniter treats as his very own "find" was uncovered early on.


Of course McGee was going to be fired. Any company would fire someone doing such a thing.
As for how this keeps happening to TNR, the answer seems easy. It's a small office full of like-minded people. When you think you know people personally, you give them the benefit of the doubt. A sociopath takes advantage of that.


http://www.marklevinshow.com/libby.pdf>Mark Levin/Landmark Legal Foundation have filed a brief in the Libby appeal.

Patrick Tyson


You're googling? The "peripheral" issue(s) originated with you, but, okay, I'm done.

The history of Asia Minor is slightly more complicated than that.



Mark Levin/Landmark Legal Foundation have filed a brief in the Libby appeal.
Read it...
I have a better chance winning the powerball than that opinion carrying any weight legally
with the court..same auguments about fitz.
( I did forget to check Saturdays powerball Numbers..)

Ralph L

MeGee was a temp and maybe subconsciously wanted to get caught, since he used a TNR computer.

Rick, I believe you mean the oxymoronic Confederate Yankee.



Not sure if you're telling me to read it, or if you are saying you read it. I did read it and wasn't making a comment on whether or not I thought it would carry any weight, just thought it was a development in an otherwise non-developing story.

Rick Ballard


Yeah - Connecticut Yankees are a dime a dozen outside of King Arthur's Court. Thanks.

With Petraeus

Another, Washington Democrat Brian Bird, stunned me with his knowledge of the situation in Iraq, reasonable perspective on the surge and Iraqi political process, and above all his suggestions for Petraeus' September visit to DC and how he could make sure that the American people understand the message of his report. Finally, Ambassador Crocker closed the discussion with an incredibly detailed analysis of Iraqi parliamentary politics and the motives and intentions of Maliki. We don't hear as much about him as about Petraeus (although they seem to get along, and do PT together), but Crocker deserves the same amount of respect; together, the general and the ambassador seem, for the first time in this war, to have both the military and the political sides well in hand and closely integrated.

It's a long piece and the bit on Baird is down at the bottom. Baird has a pretty solid seat (although it did go for Bush in '04) and he has been a consistant 'aginner'. I wonder how Nan feels about him advising the General on his visit to DC.

hit and run

Via K-Lo, from the AP...quoting Hillary, wherin I write the headline to accompany quote:

''I think it is unacceptable for our troops to be caught in the crossfire of a sectarian civil war while the Iraqi government is on vacation.''

Suggested Headline: Clinton Says Troops Being Caught in Crossfire Of Sectarian Civil War Acceptable, If Iraqi Government Doesn't Go On Vacation

''It's working. We're just years too late in changing our tactics,'' she said. ''We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war.''

Suggested Headline: Clinton Says Dems Can't Use Anti-War Tactics From Vietnam Era When Iraq Surge Is Showing Signs of Success


yea, Sue:
I knew you weren't commenting on it...
It's a real slow day isn't it?
Hope you are well..


Interesting take on Cooper's appearance on MTP and possible perjury.

hit and run

In a Novak piece, some are paying attention to the suggestion that Hillary may not be eyeing Obama as VP. Of course, there's another angle here as well. From Novak:

Anticipating that Sen. Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, some supporters are beginning to argue against her choosing her principal rival -- Sen. Barack Obama -- for vice president.

They maintain Obama provides no general election help for Clinton. As an African-American from Illinois, he represents an ethnic group and a state already solidly in the Democratic column.

This school of thought advocates a Southerner as Clinton's running mate. The last time Democrats won a national election without a Southerner on the ticket was 1944. Prominent Democrats from the South are in short supply today. The leading prospect: former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

Well. If there is a dearth of prominent Democrats from the South, please notify Al Gore and John Edwards.

Of course, Gore would sooner reduce his carbon footprint than serve as VP in another Clinton presidency, especially with the power he currently possesses as Global Warming Alarmist in Chief, but what to make of the fact that Edwards does not rate a mention?

That may be blamed on Global Warming as well. It's the humidity. In the South. Wreaks havoc on even the most exquisitely coiffed hair.


No you jumped in with your names and dates without relevance.
You certainly were googling.


Maybe someone could email Fitzgerald the YouTube of Cooper on with Gregory.


Yes, Baird is not a Blue Dog, but I didn't realize Bush won his district in '04. Does that make him an honorary Blue Dog?

I can't wait until Hillary decides it's worth winning over there. Watch the scramble. Coming soon to a venue near you. Muslims are a little fatigued with killing each other.


Anticipating that Sen. Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, she must be considering just what possible candidates for VP would prompt a third party to try to knock her off, once she get sworn in of course.

The Left has long conceded that the thought of Cheney succeeding Bush has protected Bush.

Rick Ballard

"Muslims are a little fatigued with killing each other."

In my Vizzini moments I sometimes wonder if the Sunni didn't team up with AQ to keep us in Iraq. The fastest way to get us out is for everybody to sit on their hands for nine months and then wave good-bye. Which appears to be the way things are headed today.

The net for the Sunni on the deal is that a whole bunch of AQ have become the very best kind of terrorist and they have a much stronger bargaining hand in the government than their numbers would otherwise allow.

Patrick Tyson


No googling. We go way back elsewhere. Be reading you.


In my Vizzini moments I sometimes wonder if the Sunni didn't team up with AQ to keep us in Iraq.

Nice reference.


"We go way back elsewhere. Be reading you."

Who cares?

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