ThinkFast: August 20, 2007

“The Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.” The Army’s 38 available combat units are already mobilized, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that Bush sent to Baghdad this year.

Bombers killed an Iraqi provincial governor on Monday — the second assassinated in two weeks — “amid mounting tension between rival Shiite armed factions in Iraq’s southern cities.” Both governors were members of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, “one of Iraq’s most powerful parties and a bitter rival of another Shiite movement led by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.”

Reporting on the war in Iraq “fell sharply in the second quarter of 2007,” according to a new report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Coverage of the war’s three major storylines — the U.S. policy debate, events in Iraq, and their impact on the U.S. homefront — slipped to 15 percent of total coverage, “down from 22 percent in the first three months of the year.”

Today at 2:30 is deadline for the White House “to turn over materials regarding the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program to the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Even though the White House already received an extension from the original July 18 deadline, White House counsel Fred Fielding has stated that the administration will also miss today’s date.


The American Psychological Association, the nation’s largest group of psychologists, voted to restrict members from taking part in interrogations at U.S. military prisons that involve “any of more than a dozen specific practices, including sleep deprivation and forced nakedness.” The APA voted against a broader proposal to ban involvement in any interrogations that lack adequate human rights protections.9,000: Number of houses bulldozed in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005. But houses have gone up in New Orleans “more slowly than in many other midsized cities.” It has “approved construction of fewer than 1,400 new homes” during that same period.

Current and former officials of the Justice Department say “the department’s integrity has been damaged, employee morale has been hurt and [Alberto] Gonzales’ relations with the Democratic-controlled Congress have deteriorated beyond repair in a firestorm of criticism from lawmakers, including some Republicans.”

In an unprecedented order, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has required the administration to respond to a request it received last week by the ACLU for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government’s authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans.

And finally: “Hundreds of naked people formed a ‘living sculpture’ on Switzerland’s Aletsch glacier” over the weekend, “hoping to raise awareness about climate change.” The event was shot by Spencer Tunick, “the New York artist famous for his pictures of nude gatherings in public settings worldwide,” and co-organized by Greenpeace. Most Swiss glaciers “will disappear by 2080 if global warming continues at its current pace.”

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