ThinkFast: August 18, 2008

Under pressure over impending impeachment charges, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation in a televised address to his nation today. “I don’t want the people of Pakistan to slide deeper and deeper into uncertainty,” he said. Musharraf said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

Mold infests barracks at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, even though they were set up just “a year ago for wounded soldiers after poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center triggered a systemwide overhaul.” Twenty soldiers who spoke to USA Today said that their” complaints about mold and other problems went unheeded for months, and they were “ordered not speak about the conditions.”

Despite public assurances, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was not in a “cone of silence” on Saturday night while Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was being interviewed at the Saddleback Church in California by the Rev. Rick Warren. McCain “was in his motorcade on the way to the church” during Obama’s interview. The matter is significant because McCain and Obama were asked virtually the same questions.

McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis is accusing NBC of making “partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain.” Yesterday, Davis asked for a meeting with NBC president Steve Capus, “part of an aggressive effort by McCain to counter news coverage he considers critical,” Politico notes.


On the trail today: Obama will be in Albuquerque, NM where he will host a discussion on equal pay and outline his plan to provide economic security for working women. McCain will speak at the 109th Annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Orlando.

Last week, the White House press office criticized the Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page for claiming that the administration “was slow to respond” to the Russia-Georgia conflict. The sparring represents how a “lot of conservatives are increasingly unhappy with him [Bush], particularly when it comes to foreign affairs.”

In an interview yesterday with the Pueblo Chieftan, McCain said the water compact that Colorado and other upper basin states have with California and Arizona should be renegotiated. The compact would be reopened “over my dead body,” Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) said in response. Even Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer reacted harshly: “Over my cold, dead, political carcass.”

Examining the roots of “the most serious post-cold-war showdown between the United States and Russia,” the New York Times reports that Vice President Cheney had previously “pushed to sell Georgia more arms” in order to “defend itself against possible Russian aggression.” But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “argued that such a sale would provoke Russia, which would see it as arrogant meddling in its turf.”

The newly created Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center will have “an office authorized for the first time to carry out ‘strategic offensive counterintelligence operations.’” Though the operations aims to target terrorist activities both abroad and domestically, they are not intended to target U.S. citizens, according to the office’s director.


And finally: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has made himself available for extensive interviews with media outlets worldwide. But in one unusual moment, the BBC catches Saakashvili eating his necktie. (Watch video here.) A voice-over preview for the segment says, “The Georgian president chews over his next move. Is he weaker or stronger than before?”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.