Now that we have that out of the way, a couple of quick linked links.
Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to U.S., Europe:
Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com.Oh, that's comforting. At least it's nice to know that suicide training ends with a formal graduation, complete with appropriate academic wear.
Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.
Iraq, 'Sinking Fast,' Is Ranked No. 2 on List of Unstable States:
Iraq now ranks as the world's second most unstable country, ahead of war-ravaged or poverty-stricken nations such as Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Congo, Afghanistan, Haiti and North Korea, according to the 2007 Failed States Index, issued yesterday by the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine.Well, nice to know that was all money well spent.
Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid and the presence of more than 150,000 U.S. troops, Iraq has declined steadily over the past three years, according to the index. It ranked fourth last year, but its score dropped in almost all of the 12 political, economic, security and social indicators on which the index is based.
"The report tells us that Iraq is sinking fast," said Fund for Peace President Pauline Baker. "We believe it's reached the point of no return. We have recommended -- based on studies done every six months since the U.S. invasion -- that the administration face up to the reality that the only choices for Iraq are how and how violently it will break up."
Embassy Staff In Baghdad Inadequate, Rice Is Told:
Ryan C. Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a cable dated May 31 that the embassy in Baghdad -- the largest and most expensive U.S. embassy -- lacks enough well-qualified staff members and that its security rules are too restrictive for Foreign Service officers to do their jobs.I read something else today that said fewer than 20 of the thousand staffers in policy positions can speak Arabic. It's the frigg'n same thing from the late-1950's as seen in the fictional, but accurate, The Ugly American. When will we learn?
"Simply put, we cannot do the nation's most important work if we do not have the Department's best people," Crocker said in the memo.
Administration Struggles With Interrogation Specifics:
Eight months after President Bush signed a bill authorizing the CIA to resume using "enhanced interrogation techniques" on terrorism suspects, the administration has been unable to agree on what constitutes "humiliating and degrading treatment" of detainees.No matter; I'm sure we're continuing to press on. Afterall, we're America, and we can't do anything wrong. Remember, the President has said, "We don't use torture."
The CIA program remains in limbo, awaiting an executive order about the techniques that has become the subject of tense discussions within the administration and between the White House and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Or... maybe not...
'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws:
President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.Well, laws passed by Congress don't really apply to the President and the Executive Branch. I remember reading that in the Constitution, somewhere.
Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.
The General’s Report: How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties:
On the afternoon of May 6, 2004, Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba was summoned to meet, for the first time, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his Pentagon conference room. Rumsfeld and his senior staff were to testify the next day.It's all downhill from there.
Taguba was met at the door of the conference room by an old friend, Lieutenant General Bantz J. Craddock, who was Rumsfeld’s senior military assistant. Craddock’s daughter had been a babysitter for Taguba’s two children when the officers served together years earlier at Fort Stewart, Georgia. But that afternoon, Taguba recalled, “Craddock just said, very coldly, ‘Wait here.’ ”
“Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!” Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice.
That's the roundup for this afternoon. I'm thinking the only good news with this post is that Angelle Sampey was victorious.