Here's what I thought you'd like to hear about today:
- Is Iran Cleaning Up their Act In Iraq? - Some Interesting Data Points
- Hillary's Equivocating - Having it all ways
- Armitage on Plame -She was Right, I'm an Idiot
- Are we Waterboarding Anyone? - Lindsey Graham says no, and he ought to know
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Is Iran Cleaning Up their Act In Iraq? - Some Interesting Data Points
It's been no secret that Iran has been extremely unhelpful in stabilizing Iraq. From their support of rouge militia elements, their supplying of the deadly Explosively Formed Projectiles, also known as EFP's, the training of Iraqi insurgents, and the presence of Quods force operatives inside Iraq, they have been supremely challenging to the interests of the U.S. in Iraq. It was therefore surprising to hear the following exchange in a press briefing from November 6 in Iraq, with Rear Admiral Gregory Smith and the press. Thanks to the Pentagon Channel for the audio.
So, it looks like the EFP shipments into Iraq have stopped, and as a response we are releasing some Iranians held in detention in Iraq. This sounds promising. The nine Iranians were released three days later. According to the AP:
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.S. military released nine Iranians from custody in Iraq on Friday, including two accused of being members of an elite force suspected of arming Shiite extremists. It said they were no longer considered security risks.I say this is good news, even if I have no idea what it all means.
The nine were released to Iraqi officials, and were being transferred to the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement. They were expected to return to Iran later Friday, it said.
We are clearly getting the upper hand Militarily in Iraq. The monthly casualty and death rates have been coming down among US military and Iraqi civilians. One of the reasons is that Sadr has asked his followers to abide by a cease fire. Admiral Smith addressed a question about this the next day. Thanks to the MNF-I web site for the audio.
The key influence has been the decimation of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The primary purpose of the November 7 briefing was to show how many senior leaders and operational members of this band of thugs have been either killed or captured. Here is Smith talking some numbers. A picture of some of these guys is on the Wizbang Podcast web site. Click on the thumbnail for a bigger image.
All this success in Iraq is giving the Democrats in Congress fits. Here is David Obey, D-WI, and chairman of the house appropriations committee explaining the success, answering questions at the National Press Club. Thanks to C-SPAN for the audio.
That's it, we've run out of targets. Must be, Dave. Moonbat. Later on he is asked a question about funding the Pentagon's request for modifications to a bomber to accommodate a larger conventional warhead. His answer has a lot to say about where the power lies in Congress. Hint: it doesn't rest in this cheese head.
I love it. Obey said: "I don't have the power to determine whether we will or will not do anything. " How true, how true.
Hillary's Equivocating - Having it all ways
Senator Clinton is trying to triangulate between different positions on Iran. She voted for a resolution to call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, but has been taking incoming fire from the Democrats that the resolution was a call for an invasion of Iran. Of course it was not. Any comparison between the Iran resolution, and the final authorization for the use of military force in Iraq that Congress passed in 2003 is a fantasy. We have a long way to go before any military actions in Iran. But here's Hillary triangulating Anti-Bush positions with her support of the resolution, at the Democratic Debate last week. I can't figure out where she stands. Can you?
Well, now we know that Hillary's secret weapon will be: vigorous diplomacy. Why didn't I think of that. Of course that is exactly what the Bush administration sanctions have been, and Bush's meetings with the heads of state of Europe. She has to find a way to bash Bush while hoping no one sees that her policies would be identical to his. Later on in the debate she had her well known gaffe about driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Tim Russert has been vilified for asking this question, and the one about the release of secret papers on the role she played in the Clinton White House. To me, his question is a typical Tim Russert gotcha question. Welcome to the big house, Ms Clinton. If you can't handle Tim, how are you going to deal with old Dinner Jacket in Iran?
Armitage on Plame -She was Right, I'm an Idiot
One of the great mysteries of the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson kerfuffle has been the question of why Richard Armitage leaked her identity to Robert Novak. As a senior State Department official, he should have known that providing her name to that serial discloser Novak would result in instant publication of her CIA role. On Sunday, appearing on Wolf Blitzer's Late Edition, Armitage explained.
As Byron York on the Corner of National Review Online said:
he also gave us a bit more evidence to show that, from his perspective at least, it was entirely unintentional. But there must be a conspiracy in there somewhere.Of course the only conspiracy I could find was the one to try to manufacture a scandal out of a fools misstatement to the press. Novak has already said that he found Plame's name in the Who's Who directory, after Armitage said the wife of Joe Wilson worked at the agency. Putting two and two together is not that complicated people.
Are we Waterboarding Anyone? - Lindsey Graham says no, and he ought to know
At the confirmation hearings of Attorney General Nominee Judge Michael Mukasey, there has been an enormous amount of discussion of the interrogation technique of waterboarding. I have no opinion on the morality or effectiveness of waterboarding. On one side you have those who say it is torture, and we should not stop the practice immediately. Others say it works, it doesn't meet the definition of torture, and we should continue it. Both sides have lathered on the rhetoric at the expense of some pretty basic questions. Two questions that I'd like answered are:
- What is it?
- Are we doing it today?
During the final confirmation hearing, when the committee met to vote on recommending his nomination to the full senate, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, had this to say about those kind of basic questions. Thanks to C-SPAN for the audio.
What he said was that the CIA program is legal and effective. And further,
Waterboarding is illegal. You can put 2 + 2 together if you want. The only way those two statements could be true is if the CIA doesn't do waterboarding. If so, all the Democratic posturing is just intended to embarrass the administration under the cover of a secret program. If the program became public, all this posturing would been seen as disingenuous. Which of course it is. We don't waterboard. End of discussion.
That's it for now, podcatchers. I'm Charlie Quidnunc signing off from cold, wet, and rainy Seattle.