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Friday, August 24, 2007


America-bashing. Lee Harris -A specter haunts the world, and that specter is America. This is not the America discoverable in the pages of a world atlas, but a mythical America that is the target of the new form of anti-Americanism that Salman Rushdie, writing in the Guardian (February 6, 2002), says “is presently taking the world by storm” and that forms the subject of a Washington Post essay by Martin Kettle significantly entitled “U.S. Bashing: It’s All The Rage In Europe” (January 7, 2002). It is an America that Anatol Lieven assures us, in a recent article in the London Review of Books, is nothing less than “a menace to itself and to mankind” and that Noam Chomsky has repeatedly characterized as the world’s major terrorist state.

al-Qaeda operative captured. U.S. command said Friday that Iraqi troops and U.S. Special Forces raided a home in the Hit area and seized an al-Qaida suspect believed to have shot down an American helicopter in 2004.

The forces detained the suspect and a "second person of interest" in the Wednesday raid, and found an assault rifle as well as numerous identification cards and passports. In addition to the helicopter attack, the primary suspect — whose name was not released — is believed to be involved in roadside bombing and sniper attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces in the region, 85 miles west of Baghdad, the military said in a statement.

The twin attacks near the Diyala provincial capital of Baquoba — a city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad that has been the focus of recent major U.S.-Iraqi military operations against alleged al-Qaida fighters and Shiite militiamen — hit a Shiite village and a Sunni village with the same ferocity but apparently different motives.

Violence is down in Iraq. Although the media, including big networks, are trying to spin reports from Iraq, noticeable progress cannot be denied. Independent bloggers who are currently embedded with Marine Units in Iraq keep releasing encouraging reports. Politicians and other journalists who have recently returned from Iraq also point out that progress is indeed being made.

CNN showed a brief clip from this piece, took it out of context and made it seem very negative, but if you read the whole article, you'll realize that it's a far cry from disaster.

WASHINGTON - "Due to the sustained presence of coalition forces in former insurgent safe havens and increased capability of Iraqi security forces, levels of violence in Iraq are the lowest they’ve been since June 2006," an operational leader on the Joint Staff said today.

Local government shows progress in Iraq's Anbar province. “To say that I feel good would be an understatement. I am continually amazed at … how much the local Iraqi government is actually doing to better their situation,” Simcock said. “They are working hand in hand, not only with my Marines and soldiers on ground, but also with the provisional reconstruction teams that are out here. I am very, very pleased with the efforts that local governance is putting forth.”

Bye-bye Brits! "We have a force surrounded like cowboys and Indians in the Basra palace." Other MPs said British troops told them the only reason they were staying in southern Iraq was "because of our relations with the US" and "American domestic sensibilities".

Charges to be dropped against Haditha Marine! Investigating officer Lt. Col. Paul Ware said the evidence was too weak for a court-martial. Tatum shot and killed civilians, but "he did so because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder," Ware wrote. [They had come under fire from within houses, after one of their fellow soldiers was killed in a roadside bomb.]

More good news from Iraq! Iraqi judges have heard 1,900 cases and completed 150 criminal investigations, Smith said. In addition, 30 Iraqi investigators have graduated from an academy run by the FBI, and detainees are held in the Rule of Law Complex in humane conditions, he said.