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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 18, 2008


By Charles Johnson

Because it’s boring. They’d rather be in Afghanistan: Quiet Iraq streets leave soldiers yearning for Afghanistan.

The relative calm is apparent in Baghdad’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood, patrolled by troops stationed at Maverick from the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

Instead of facing gunfire and roadside bombs, the soldiers’ armored Humvees are chased by waving children as they weave through streets crowded with pedestrians out to shop or just to stroll.

Some of Maverick’s troops saw combat a few months ago when they helped the Iraqi army take over the Ghazaliyah office of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in a battle complete with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades. But their days in Ghazaliyah have mostly been filled with routine patrols. The soldiers’ job is to serve as a critical presence that helps keep violence down in the mixed Sunni and Shiite neighborhood.

“Ninety-five percent of the time it is perfectly quiet in Ghazaliyah now,” said 1st Lt. Shane Smith, who leads one of the three platoons at Maverick.

Quiet can mean boredom, as Gebhart and a colleague turn in another four-hour shift in one of Maverick’s guard towers, looking over a landscape of two-story concrete buildings and green fields dotted with a few cows and goats.

To while away the time, the young soldier from Omaha, Nebraska, talks of his brother, who is fighting the Taliban in the mountains outside Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan. “He spends 20 days at a time camped out in the mountains, and the Taliban come engage them in serious firefights,” said Gebhart. “At least it sounds exciting.”

(Hat tip: Occasional Reader.)


By Charles Johnson

United Nations “peacekeepers” stand and salute the remains of Hizballah terrorists on a truck decorated with a photograph of Imad Mughniyeh, mastermind of the Marine barracks bombing that killed hundreds of US citizens.

Thursday, July 17, 2008




By Jerry Holbert




By John Hinderaker

As we noted here, Senator John Cornyn is carrying on a discussion of energy policy on his web site this week. Yesterday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin chipped in with a plea to open up ANWR for exploration and development. Some excerpts:

[T]he debate about energy policy is no longer theoretical or abstract. Our failure to enact an energy policy is having real consequences for every American in their daily lives and has begun to affect America's place in the world. Alaska is ready, willing, and able to assist the nation in addressing our acute and expanding energy needs. Like many other states, we would like the opportunity to help.

Congressional approval of responsible petroleum development in the coastal plain of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) - the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America - would be of incalculable benefit to my state and our nation.

As this is written, the Alaska Legislature is considering proposals to commercialize and transport the vast quantities of clean-burning natural gas that are located on the North Slope.

Already, 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves have been identified, and many trillions of additional cubic feet are thought to exist on the North Slope and in off shore areas of Alaska.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are busily trying to fool the American people into believing that they are doing something about high gasoline prices. Today they will bring to the floor of the House the "Drill Responsibly on Leased Land" act in order to convey the false impression that they, like a large majority of Americans, want to drill for oil and gas to meet the country's energy needs.

In fact, the Dems' cobbled-together statute won't generate a single barrel of new oil production. It contains a series of provisions that add nothing to existing law or existing energy production capabilities. The "Drill" Act would re-enact the "use it or lose it" concept that is already the law, i.e., energy leases that are not exploited within a given period of time expire. It purports to "open up" land in Alaska for oil exploration. But the land in question is NPR-A, not ANWR:

NPR-A is already open to oil exploration and development. That isn't happening, though, because the Corps of Engineers hasn't been able to get a permit to build a pipeline, and the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations have tied up proposed projects in litigation. Moreover, NPR-A is a less desirable area for exploitation than ANWR. It has about the same amount of recoverable oil, but spread out over ten times the area as ANWR's 1002. Both environmentally and economically, ANWR is a far superior place to recover oil, and it is close to the existing Alaska Pipeline. You can read about ANWR and NPR-A here.

So the Dems' proposal is a fig-leaf will do nothing to increase domestic energy supplies. It is designed purely to fool voters. Republicans offered a series of amendments in committee that actually would have allowed increased energy production, but the Democrats voted them all down.

UPDATE: The Institute for Energy Research has produced this section-by-section analysis of the "DRILL" act:

Section 1: Bill Title

Ø The Act has been dubbed the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands – or DRILL - Act of 2008. However, nothing in its following sections will increase domestic energy production beyond what is already scheduled.

Section 2. Lease Sales in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska

Ø This section requires that lease sales be conducted once a year. This is something that is currently allowed, but not done because NPRA’s Indiana-sized area has no infrastructure. In addition, a history of dilatory lawsuits has made it an area of limited interest to energy producers. This section also seeks to expedite permits in the NPR-A, a positive step. However, it does nothing to tackle the biggest problem with developing new energy: dilatory protests and lawsuits. Any genuine effort must involve putting a stop to the legal blocking and tackling of groups opposed to American energy production. Incidentally, Congress should address this issue nationwide.

Section 3: Pipeline Construction in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska

Ø Pipelines in NPRA have been held up by appeals, protests and lawsuits, not energy producers.

Section 4: Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Project Facilitation

Ø This section authorizes the president to exercise authority he already has to facilitate something he is already facilitating. In short, this section achieves nothing.

Section 5: Project Labor Agreements

Ø A last minute bonus prize for organized labor, but creates no new energy whatsoever.

Section 6: Ban on Export of Alaskan Oil

Ø A nice talking point, but the United States does not export any Alaskan oil, and has not since 2000. California exports more petroleum products than Alaska.

Section 7: Issuance of New Leases

Ø This section was crafted using synonyms to restate existing laws, including:

· The Mineral Leasing Act (for onshore production), which stipulates that an oil company must have a producing well within 10 years or surrender the leases. Source: 30 U.S.C. 226(e)

· The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act: (for offshore production), which stipulates that an oil company must produce energy between 5 to 10 years (in the government’s discretion) or surrender the lease. Source: 43 U.S.C. 1337(b)

· Penalties in U.S. Code: The federal government can cancel a lease if a producer fails to live up to the terms of the lease, the law or federal regulations. Source: 30 USC 188(a) and (b) and 43 CFR 3108.3 (a) and (b).

Section 8: Fair Return on Production of Federal Oil and Gas Resources

Ø This section restates current law and practice. In fact, the government increased royalties on outer continental shelf leases by 50% last year, making it more expensive to produce energy in America.  Thursday, July 17, 2008




By Chip Bok




By Charles Johnson

Jim Geraghty: “Does it bother anyone that a guy with political ambitions for his entire adult life has not left a paper trail?

From the Chicago Sun-Times article on grants distributed by then-state-legislator Barack Obama.

(Records from 1997 to 2000 weren’t available.)
There’s a shock.

His state legislative office records may have been thrown out, he told us.

He’s never released a specific list of law clients, instead giving a list of all of his firm’s clients, numbering several hundred each year. His campaign will only confirm representation when the media comes to them with a specific case.

He won’t release his application to the state bar. He’s never released any legal or billing records to verify that he only did a few hours of work for a nonprofit tied to Tony Rezko.

He’s never released any medical records, just a one-page letter from his doctorThursday, July 17, 2008




By Henry Payne




By Paul Mirengoff

Three polls taken in June showed Barack Obama running even with John McCain in Virginia. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Obama's internal polling must also show Virginia to be close because the Obama campaign is adding 20 new offices in the state, bringing the total to 30. McCain, by contrast, has five offices. Part of the drive to open offices may be a function of the sheer number of Obama's volunteers in the state. It's said that he has 10,000 of them, and they need places to hang their hats.

Naturally, Obama is focusing on vote-rich and fertile Northern Virginia. But he is also opening offices in unfriendly territory, such as Lynchburg in the south and Harrisonburg in the west. I doubt that there will be much bang for the buck in these parts. Recall that Obama had plenty of offices in some of the states he lost decisively to Hillary Clinton during the primary season. And David "Mudcat" Sanders, a savvy Democratic strategist in Roanoke says that Obama is doing badly in his neck of the woods. But if Virginia is going to be close, then it makes sense to scrap for votes everywhere, provided the campaign has the resources. Apparently it has them.

I once thought that Obama's efforts in Virginia might be intended merely to force McCain to devote resources to a state Republicans must win. But now it seems clear that Obama is playing to win.  Thursday, July 17, 2008




By Charles Johnson

That’s one of the more disturbing headlines I’ve written, but it’s completely accurate to describe this utterly depraved Hamas TV show, in which Assud the giant Jew-eating rabbit is tempted by Satan to steal and then is sentenced by ghoulish child host Saraa to have his hand chopped off.

The wonders of sharia. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)

Click picture to play video. Requires Windows Media Player; Mac users should install Flip4Mac.

Following are excerpts from a Hamas children’s show, titled “The Pioneers of Tomorrow,” which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on July 11, 2008.

Assud the bunny: In the name of Allah, I hope my dad doesn’t see me. God, make him go on sleeping, while I take one or two bills. There’s his stash of money... Man, there is so much money here... No, I must put it back. Stealing is forbidden.

Satan: No, no... What are you doing, Assud?No, Assud, I promised you that nobody would see you or know about this. Take one or two bills. Don’t be afraid, Assud.

Assud: Okay, I’ll just take one... Actually, I’ll take two.

Satan: No, take three.


Voice of girl: Assud, you were wrong to follow Satan, who is the source of all problems. In addition, you caused problems between your parents. You have no right to cause such a great problem. Don’t you know that stealing leads to Hell. The Prophet Muhammad said: “If my daughter Fatima had stolen, I would have chopped off her hand.” If you were in Saudi Arabia now, they would chop off your hand. Allah said in the Koran: “As for a thief, male or female, cut off their hands: A punishment by example, for their crime.”


Child TV host Saraa: What do you think about what Assud did?

Asmaa: It was wrong, because “as for a thief, male or female, cut of their hands.”

Assud: Oh my God! You say that my hand should be chopped off, Asmaa?

Asmaa: Yes.

Assud: You think my hand should be chopped off?

Asmaa: What?

Assud: You want my hand to be chopped off?

Asmaa: Yes.


Nur: The Prophet Muhammad said: "If my daughter Fatima had stolen, I would have chopped off her hand.

Assud: So if Saraa were to steal, her hand should be chopped off, right?

Nur: No.

Assud: When you were little, didn’t you ever steal a shekel or something?

Nur: No, because Allah is watching me.

Saraa: Nur, do you think we should go ahead and chop off Assud’s hand now?

Assud: No, no. Saraa, I’m begging you...

Nur: Saraa, he has repented and promised never to do it again, then that’s it.

Saraa: Well, if we don’t chop off his hand, maybe we should chop off his ear?

Assud: No, please, no, I’m begging you...  Thursday, July 17, 2008



Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is de facto control; yellow is under threat.

The Pakistani Army has launched a military operation against the Taliban in the settled district of Hangu in the Northwest Frontier Province.

The military took over security in Hangu from the Frontier Corps on July 16 after imposing a curfew and warning the residents to leave the area and not to shelter the Taliban. "People who fail to move to relief camps will be considered to be anti-government," a pamphlet distributed by the district administration warned.

The Army moved more than 1,500 infantry into the region. The force is backed by Cobra attack helicopters and artillery. The target of the operation are more than 4,000 Taliban, "along with Uzbeks and Taliban from Waziristan" operating in the Zargari and Shinawari regions in Hangu. Troops have blocked the Kohat-Parachinar road to limits Taliban movement in the district, and have "secured the Naryab dam where militants were deeply entrenched and putting up stiff resistance for five days." The military reported the Taliban withdrew from Zargari and Shinawari, and the fighting has stopped.

There are no reports of Army or Taliban casualties. Five suspected Taliban were reported captured, but were later released. Civilians appear to have taken the brunt of the casualties, with 13 reported killed and homes leveled by artillery fire.

The Taliban have responded by issuing an ultimatum to the provincial government, warning it would attack if the operations against Taliabn forces did not cease and the government did not live up to the terms of the peace agreements signed throughout the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. “[The Northwest Frontier Province] government will itself be responsible for the damage,” Mullah Omar, the spokesman for Baitullah's Pakistani Taliban movement told Geo TV. “{The Awami National Party] government made peace pacts but failed to fulfill its promises,”

The operation in Hangu began after a week of unrelenting attacks by Taliban forces in the region. On July 8, a police force detained seven Taliban fighters after a clash in Hangu. Security forces found weapons and explosives as well as “poisonous injections.” Rafiuddin, a senior Taliban leader and a deputy of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, was captured during the raid. Rafiuddin’s group is based out of South Waziristan, which borders Hangu to the south.

The Taliban then launched a siege on the police station where Rafiuddin and the other fighters were held. A force comprised of 400 Taliban fighters surrounded the police station, but dispersed after a Pakistani Army battalion was dispatched to lift the siege.

On July 15, an estimated 250 Taliban surrounded a fort in the Shinawarai region and ordered the paramilitary troops to leave. The Frontier Corps paramilitary toops abandoned the fort, and it subsequently looted and destroyed by the Taliban. The Taliban are said to have captured 29 members of the Pakistani security forces during the past week, and threatened to kill them if extremists in custody were not released.

The security situation in northwestern Pakistan has rapidly deteriorated since the government initiated its latest round of peace accords with the Taliban and allied extremists in the tribal areas and settled districts in the Northwest Frontier Province. Peace agreements have been signed with the Taliban in North Waziristan, Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Malakand, Mohmand, and Khyber. Negotiations are under way in South Waziristan, Kohat, and Mardan. The Taliban have violated the terms of these agreements in every region where accords have been signed.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established more than 100 terror camps in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War JournalThursday, July 17, 2008


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