The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced today it will hold fresh hearings on the nomination of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who failed to be confirmed by the Senate last year. The hearings are set for next Thursday, and the White House has scheduled Bolton on multiple Sunday morning news shows this weekend.
Sites like On the Face are bringing ordinary citizens together even as violence continues. “We have tons of things in common. We come from two of the most liberal, educated countries in the Middle East. Many of us received a western education. We have talked, wrote, and dreamed about open borders between our countries.”
This morning on the Today Show, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow argued that “nobody has been more diplomatically active than we have” in the Middle East, citing all the phone calls White House officials have made in recent days:
Real diplomacy requires more than just phone calls. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously went to the region and used “shuttle diplomacy” — meeting repeatedly with each party — to negotiate “disengagement agreements between Israel, Syria, and Egypt” following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Similarly, in 1996, Secretary of State Warren Christopher spent “seven days shuttling between Damascus and Jerusalem” and successfully negotiated a “truce between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.” President Bill Clinton visited Israel in the midst of the 1996 terrorist attacks by Hamas to show U.S. support.
In contrast, the Bush administration has taken a “hands off approach,” and has derided diplomatic efforts as “naive and ineffectual.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will finally visit the region next week, but has rejected calls to press for a cease-fire.
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warns Lieutenant General David Richards, head of Nato’s international security force in Afghanistan.
The Bush administration’s evacuation of Americans in Lebanon has been disorganized and lagged behind the efforts of other countries. As of yesterday, only a few thousand had been able to evacuate, and they departed “two days after the first Europeans left on ships.” Denmark, for example, “evacuated more than 4,000 of its citizens” by Thursday.
Conservatives have reacted to this incompetence by attacking the evacuees:
Rush Limbaugh, 7/19:
Even in the eyes of our ingrate, spoiled-rotten little children, brat-type ingrate citizens in Beirut, it’s our fault. (Crying.) “It’s a war zone. It’s a war! How do I get out? (crying) We’re having to shield ourselves from the sun in cardboard.” (sobbing) That’s embarrassing.
Fox anchor Neil Cavuto, 7/20:
The media is playing up a lot of whining, complaining Americans in this country who said there’s been no warning, no communication.
TownHall.com columnist Mike Gallagher, 7/21:
Amazingly, we’re not even going to charge these ungrateful evacuees for the free trip home. … Their sense of outrage and entitlement is slowly but surely becoming the American way. And it’s positively disgusting.
Fox anchor Steve Doocy, 7/19:
Shockingly, after they’ve been plucked out of Beirut, a lot of them are whining and complaining that, you know what, I had to sleep on the concrete and they didn’t have any food for me to eat.
Watch Fox & Friends (a Fox correspondent in Cyprus disputes Doocy’s account, describing the evacuation conditions as “really chaotic”):
Congress passed a law requiring the Bush administration to estimate the future costs of the war in Iraq. Here’s an excerpt:
The President shall provide to the Congress a report detailing the estimated costs over the period from fiscal year 2006 to 2011 of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, or any related military operations in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, and the estimated costs of reconstruction, internal security, and related economic support to Iraq and Afghanistan… the report referenced above shall be submitted no later than January 1, 2005.
There is an exemption if the administration certifies that estimates “cannot be provided for purposes of national security.” But the President hasn’t done that. From Bloomberg:
Instead of a presidential waiver, Joshua Bolton, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote congressional leaders in May 2005 that the Pentagon couldn’t compile the estimates because “there are too many variables to predict accurately.”
Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) isn’t happy:
The Bush administration hasn’t followed a 2005 law requiring the Pentagon to estimate the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan military operations through 2011, a Republican lawmaker said today.
“The administration does not appear to have compiled with a statutory requirement to provide Congress with a report,” wrote Representative Christopher Shays in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate armed services and appropriations committees.
Shays has good reason to be concerned about mounting costs. Total appropriations for Iraq by Congress will soon exceed $400 billion.
rhetorically asked viewers yesterday “to ‘guess which television’ outlet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had recently appeared on, and then stated: ‘No, not The New York Times, but Al Jazeera television, broadcasting this terrorist on TV.’” Oh, and also Fox:
Yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attacked Al Gore and global warming science, claiming that Gore was “full of crap” on global warming.
Appearing on Glenn Beck’s radio show and CNN television program, Inhofe said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that global warming was real and caused by humans, used “one scientist.” Inhofe added: “[A]ll of the recent science…it confirms that I was right on this thing. This thing is a hoax.” Watch it:
Actually, “all of the recent science” — without exception — accepts that global warming is real and caused by humans. The IPCC didn’t involve “one scientist.” It involved thousands of scientists from over 120 countries, including so-called “climate skeptics” and industry representatives. The National Academy of Sciences recently concluded that the one study singled out by Inhofe for criticism, which was authored by Michael Mann, “has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence.”
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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday he has been “somewhat gingerly approaching this… No longer. There is a civil war going on in Iraq. In the last two months, more than 6,000 Iraqis have been killed…and we need to make sure there is a debate on this.” Senate conservatives “questioned why Reid wants to go over old ground.”
Germany’s conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel may not have appreciated President Bush’s awkward “massage” last week, but she does agree with his stance on stem cells. Germany yesterday “pressed its EU partners to ban European funding for embryonic stem-cell research, a day after President George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have expanded such work in the United States.”