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The AP phone records scandal is seven years old

Apparently, there is a lot of outrage right now over the trampling of press freedoms occasioned by the FBI’s secret perusal of AP’s phone records.

The president of the Associated Press called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into newsgathering activities, while Dana Milbank at the Washington Post reported today that the press . . . → Read More: The AP phone records scandal is seven years old


Brilliant FBI agents decipher threat to New York in anthrax letters. . . . → Read More: FNY

Obama’s fraudulent “sovereign immunity” legal argument

On April 3, late on a Friday afternoon, the Justice Department asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the National Security Administration for unlawfully spying on Americans’ telephone records. In its brief, the Justice Department made two arguments:

First, it claimed that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would result in the . . . → Read More: Obama’s fraudulent “sovereign immunity” legal argument

Shooting the last fish in the barrel: Bush’s “biggest regret”

George W. Bush’s public statements have been absurd for so long, that it’s almost poor sport to continue to skewer them. Nevertheless, because I haven’t done so on BTC News in quite a while, and because this may be my last opportunity, I can’t resist one last shot. For auld lang syne, as it . . . → Read More: Shooting the last fish in the barrel: Bush’s “biggest regret”

McCain’s miracle of the cross

According to John McCain, he was visited by a mysterious Christian North Vietnamese prison guard twice in 1969 and “often” thereafter. The timeline of these visitations is interesting.

Starting in December 1967, McCain was held in a prison camp in northeast Hanoi that the prisoners referred to as “The Plantation.” In May of 1969, McCain received his first visit from the saintly prison guard, as described in his May 14, 1973, article in US News and World Report, “John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account”:

“It was also in May, 1969, that they wanted me to write—as I remember—a letter to U. S. pilots who were flying over North Vietnam asking them not to do it. I was being forced to stand up continuously—sometimes they’d make you stand up or sit on a stool for a long period of time. I’d stood up for a couple of days, with a respite only because one of the guards—the only real human being that I ever met over there—let me lie down for a couple of hours while he was on watch the middle of one night.”

McCain described this event slightly differently in his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers:

Continue reading McCain’s miracle of the cross

Playing hardball in Iraq: did Bush throw Maliki a brushback pitch?

On Monday at the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Dana Perino declined to answer when I asked her whether the White House would apologize for last Friday’s raid by U.S. forces in Iraq that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The slain man, Ali Abdul Hussein al-Maliki, was described . . . → Read More: Playing hardball in Iraq: did Bush throw Maliki a brushback pitch?

Is the U.S. fine-tuning the sectarian violence in Iraq?

That’s a mind-boggling but logical implication of an amazing anecdote in a Washington Post commentary today written by John Rogers, a captain in the U.S. Army who served in Iraq from June 2006 to September 2007.

Rogers’s piece is an explanation of why he plans to leave the army. One of his reasons is that his “experience with war has left [him] feeling angry, frustrated and mismanaged.” To illustrate this point, he describes the following incident (which he says was not the only one) in which he was “blocked in doing my job in Iraq.”

My mission as a platoon leader was to clean up police corruption and reintegrate the Iraqi police into the security structure of Ghazaliyah, a district in western Baghdad. Over time, my platoon built a relationship of trust with Iraqi policemen, who gave us leads on insurgents. On one patrol, we detained a Sunni whom our battalion’s intelligence officer confirmed as a genuine criminal. This man had threatened local residents, preventing them from participating in a clinic we had restarted. Continue reading Is the U.S. fine-tuning the sectarian violence in Iraq?

Making sense of Jackson Diehl

Jackson Diehl, the deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post, has an op-ed today in which he asserts that the lack of political progress in Iraq is an argument for staying there indefinitely. It’s another version of the now familiar If-Things-Are-Getting-Worse-We-Must-Stay-In-Iraq-And-On-The-Other-Hand-If-Things-Are-Getting-Better-Then-We-Must-Stay-In-Iraq argument that, whatever its deficiencies might be, is at least admirably consistent.

. . . → Read More: Making sense of Jackson Diehl

U.S. military: Good news! We’ve finally gotten the Iraqis to agree on something!

The Washington Post has a story today, on page 14, about the results from nineteen focus groups—conducted for the U.S. military—that were held throughout Iraq last month. According to a military analysis of the results, there is good news: Iraqis from every sectarian and ethnic group share many beliefs in common.

And what are those beliefs?

According to the summary report obtained by the Post, “virtually all Iraqis” believe that the U.S. invasion is primarily responsible for the sectarian violence in Iraq, and that the departure of the U.S. military is the key to national reconciliation.

In other words: Yankee go home!

Continue reading U.S. military: Good news! We’ve finally gotten the Iraqis to agree on something!

Prove it, Mr. Hiatt

The Washington Post’s lead editorial today asserts that Tehran is supplying “sophisticated bombs” that are killing American soldiers in Iraq.

After President Bush made the same accusation last year, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace said, on March 14, 2006, that he had no proof that the Iranian government was responsible for such attacks.

. . . → Read More: Prove it, Mr. Hiatt