broke from an ice shelf in Canada’s far north and could wreak havoc if it starts to float westward toward oil-drilling regions and shipping lanes next summer.” It was the “largest such break in nearly three decades,” and global warming “likely played a role.”
Unlike in the musical arena, my cinematic tastes are pretty wide-ranging and by no means restricted to a single genre. Thus, I count six films as worthy of unambiguous recommendation — The Queen, The Descent, The Departed, Talladega Nights, Tristram Shandy, and Brick. I’m having a great deal of trouble working those into an ordinal ranking. I would say Tristram Shandy and Brick are probably movies for cinephiles, while Descent and Departed have the most mainstream appeal. For whatever reason, a healthy number of people who I would have thought would like Talladega Nights didn’t, in practice, enjoy it. Thus The Queen is probably the best movie of the year in some sense, though I’d say I liked Tristram Shandy the best personally.
That leaves the need for four more movies to fill out a top-ten list and I’m going to go with Half Nelson, V for Vendetta, Little Miss Sunshine, and Casino Royale but the exclusion of Apocalypto, Little Children and The Road from Guantanamo from that list is a bit arbitrary since I liked those three a lot, too. I haven’t re-viewed any of these movies, so it’s possible that my rankings will change over time.
In less than one week’s time . . . the social event of the season . . . Iraq: A Turning Point by the American Enterprise Institute:
U.S. senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman (I-D-Conn.) recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq. Both held extensive discussions with U.S. forces and Iraqi government officials. In light of a possible change in course for U.S. strategy in Iraq, their views will be critical in the upcoming Congressional debate.
At this important time, AEI resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan and former acting Army chief of staff General Jack Keane will release the updated and final version of phase one of “Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq.” The study calls for a large and sustained surge of U.S. forces to secure and protect critical areas of Baghdad. Mr. Kagan directed the report in consultation with military and regional experts, including General Keane, former Afghanistan coalition commander Lieutenant General David Barno, and other officers involved with the successful operations of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tal Afar. An interim version of the report was released on December 14, 2006.
At this event, Mr. Kagan and General Keane will present their final report, which outlines how the United States can win in Iraq and why victory is the only acceptable outcome.
“Sustained surge” is a pretty sweet oxymoron.
The Military Times released a new poll yesterday of 6,000 active duty U.S. military personnel. The results were revealing. Some highlights:
– Only 35 percent said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved.
– 50 percent believe success in Iraq is likely, down from 83 percent in 2004.
– 38 percent believe the United States should send more troops to Iraq. 39 percent believe we should maintain current levels or reduce the number of troops, including 13 percent who support complete withdrawal.
– 72 percent believe the military is “stretched too thin to be effective.”
– 47 percent disagree with President Bush’s mantra that the war in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism, while the same percentage agree.
– Only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects the beliefs of the general population today — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.
– 52 percent approve of the overall job President Bush is doing, down from 71 percent in 2004.
– 63 percent say the senior military leadership has the best interests of the troops at heart. That number is lower from President Bush (48 percent) and lower still for civilian military leadership (32 percent) and Congress (23 percent).
Chris Cillizza is doing a potentially valuable continuing feature where he details the “inner circle” of different presidential contenders. Today’s edition looks at Team Edwards which consists overwhelmingly of people I have no real opinion on. Indeed, it’s mostly composed of people I’ve never heard of. I did meet Jennifer Palmieri once, years ago, before she was working for Edwards, and she seemed smart and pleasant. Realistically, the main thing I learned from the exercise is that I know almost nothing about the world of political operatives.
Nancy Pelosi: “The execution of Saddam Hussein ends a tragic chapter in the history of Iraq, but it is not a substitute for an effective strategy that will bring peace to the region and allow the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.”
The deed is done. Sad to see even something as justice for a major-league war criminal rendered tawdry by this administration. Here’s a report on the infamous Anfal Campaign that Saddam wasn’t tried for in order to spare Donald Rumsfeld embarrassment.
Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in December, making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops in 2006.
“In the general condemnation of neo-conservatism,” writes Victor Davis Hanson, “we forget, at least as it pertains to foreign policy, it arose from a variety of causes, not the least as the reaction against the moral bankruptcy of both rightist realism and leftist appeasement.” He continues:
We were reminded of those poles these past few days with news that confirmed Arafat’s order to murder American diplomats in Khartoum. That apparently had made no affect on Bill Clinton, at least if it were really true as legend claims that such a terrorist much later was the most frequent overnight foreign guest to the Clinton White House.
Suffice it to say I don’t see things this way. The news was that Arafat ordered the killing of American diplomats back in 1973. But it’s been a long time since Palestinian nationalist groups deliberately targeted Americans. In other words, violent Palestinian nationalism used to be a problem for American security and now it isn’t a problem anymore. Why’s that? Well, appeasement. The process of engagement initiated by Henry Kissinger, significantly advanced during Jimmy Carter’s administration, and pushed further down the road by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton succeeded in making the problem go away. Along the way, this diplomatic process also managed to significantly enhance Israel security by leading Egypt to drop out of the anti-Israel coalition in the Middle East. What’s more, during the Clinton years the engagement process came close to achieving a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians that would have further enhanced Israeli security and removed a significant diplomatic problem for the United States of America.
At the end of the day and for various reasons, that ultimate goal was not achieved. But the process that came close to success did achieve a great deal. It didn’t do so quickly or easily, but it did achieve a lot. And there’s every reason to believe that an American administration willing to continue down that path would be able to achieve much more. Certainly, the Bush administration’s alternative approach has managed to be enormously more costly while bringing about essentially nothing in the way of positive results.
Today on Fox News’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest host Stuart Varney tried to “put out something positive about Iraq.” He suggested that since Iraq is “now fighting itself,” America is “in a way, winning and preserving our interests.” Watch it:
As the conservative Washington Times notes, a “fullscale civil war in Iraq would likely spread into neighboring countries — something that happened time and over the past century” — and would “conservatively speaking create hundreds of thousands of additional refugees — who would become an additional pool of recruitment for jihadists.”
Transcript: Read more