Friday, September 08, 2006

Does Tolerance Extend To Not Executing Converts?

Episcopal Church and National Cathedral grant backdrop for brazenly mendacious plea for tolerance from former President of Iran.

In Other News: Fire Hot, Water Wet

Scientist establishes a psychological underpinning of the blindingly obvious.

Patricia Schroeder could not be reached for comment.

A Link to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Pre-War vs. Post-War Intelligence

Links to Iraq Intelligence Phase II Reports:

Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How they Compare with Prewar Assessments

The Use by the Intelligence Community of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress

I Can't Decide What Should Happen

Bond villain wannabe Dr. A.Q. Khan ails from prostate cancer.

Would we rather:

A) He slipped in the bathtub tomorrow morning;
B) He suffered a long and harrowing ordeal which brought him to repentance and cooperation with the U.S.;
C) He makes a complete recovery and is bagged by a covert ops. team while celebrating his recovery on some beach outside Karachi

Internecine Bombing?

The most recent attack in India seems to have killed at least 30.

The natural assumption to make here, since the victims were primarily Muslims at prayer, is that the blast was a tit-for-tat retaliation, presumably by Hindu extremists, for the Mumbai bombings in July, but there are curious details which give one pause. A previous explosives find in Malegaon was made by means of evidence obtained from arrested Islamic militants. Malegaon is about three quarters Muslim, so it seems unlikely that the local Hindus would court a riot by attempting violence there, and it seems likely that out-of-towners of any sort would have stood out as well.

Maleagaon also has a history of Muslim violence, dating back to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

If this were "green on green" violence, then the follow-up questions which I cannot answer would be:

1) Was this factional--were the target congregants known for some doctrinal dispute with other Muslims in the area; and

2) Was this a provocation by extremists hoping to spark another riot and possible overreaction by the authorities?

The authorities, as is typical in cases of sectarian violence within India, are close-mouthed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Somewhat Light on White Chips, Though

Naval forces in Arabian Sea:

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - Arabian Sea
USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - Arabian Sea
USS Nashville (LPD 13) - Arabian Sea
USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) - Arabian Sea
USS Saipan (LHA 2) - Gulf of Aden

The Kitty Hawk is currently on port call in Thailand. That would be close enough to be of use, but it's a big step down from the build-up in 2005, which saw 3 carrier groups in the region.

The Blue Chips on the Table

8/7/2006 - SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- A contingent of four bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., is providing both an increase in forces and a security presence to the 36th Air Expeditionary Wing at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam -- making one of the U.S. military's most unique aircraft ready at a moment's notice.

8/31/2006 - -- A 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-52 Stratofortress taxis on the airfield at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 30. The B-52, from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., is one of six scheduled to be deployed to Andersen for four months. The aircraft, aircrews, support staff and maintainers will continue the mission of promoting regional security and preserving regional stability, while providing a continuous bomber presence.

Thursday, September 7, 2006
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (AP) -- B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base are scheduled to depart early Thursday for southwest Asia.
On Tuesday, about 300 airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing of the base near Rapid City were deployed for assignments that will last from 120 to 200 days.

8/28/2006 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- After more than 140 sorties and 330 released weapons, B-2 Spirit aircraft, pilots, maintainers and support staff from the 509th Bomb Wing are returning home having completed another successful deployment here.

So the Air Force posture is looking almost as relaxed as the Navy one detailed above.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Going All In

Bush makes flat statement:

"The world's free nations will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

The Shia and Sunni extremists represent different faces of the same threat. They draw inspiration from different sources, but both seek to impose a dark vision of violent Islamic radicalism across the Middle East. They oppose the advance of freedom, and they want to gain control of weapons of mass destruction. If they succeed in undermining fragile democracies, like Iraq, and drive the forces of freedom out of the region, they will have an open field to pursue their dangerous goals. Each strain of violent Islamic radicalism would be emboldened in their efforts to topple moderate governments and establish terrorist safe havens."

So will this be the son's "Read my lips..." moment? The document whose release was heralded in this speech, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism only states that:

"We will continue to create and strengthen international will to interdict material support, akin to our efforts in the Proliferation Security Initiative – a global effort to stop shipments of WMD, their delivery systems, and related material. We will build international cooperation to financially isolate rogue states and their terrorist proxies. We also will continue to expose the vehicles and fronts that states use to support their terrorist surrogates."

With respect, this simply isn't going to stop anyone who's already committed to developing a bomb and, like Iran, has the material means to produce one.

Additionally, might one read perhaps too much into Bush's formulation that we will not permit Iran "to develop a nuclear weapon?" It seems to me to leave open the possibility that the Mullahs in fact already have gotten their mitts on a weapon from outside...