ThinkFast: August 8, 2008

A new report to be released today by the nonpartisan Institute for Science and International Security finds that an attack on Iran “could backfire by strengthening Tehran’s resolve to acquire the bomb.” “Following an attack, Iran could quickly rebuild its centrifuge program in small, easily hidden facilities,” said principal author David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector.

Russian troops invaded Georgia, after “Georgian troops launched a major military offensive Friday to regain control over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.” The developments raised the question of how the U.S. will react, given that Georgia is “an American ally whose pursuit of NATO membership has angered the Russians.”

“The Justice Department investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys has been extended to encompass allegations that senior White House officials played a role in providing false and misleading information to Congress,” raising the possibility “that investigators will pursue criminal charges against some administration officials.”

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, famous for reporting on Iraq’s purported WMD in the run-up to the invasion, is “back on Iraq and back in big-circulation print. In the July Reader’s Digest, she reports how great things are in U.S.-run detention facilities.” Miller “reports that life in two detention camps housing nearly 23,000 suspected insurgents is much improved.”


On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will visit the Iowa State Fair. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will participate in a “Welcome To Hawaii Event” this afternoon as he begins a week-long vacation in the state.

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced he would disband his militia if the U.S. agreed to timetable for withdrawal. “”It should not be considered an end to the Mehdi army,” a spokesman for al-Sadr said, about the militia’s ceasefire, “but it’s a halfway step to dissolving the Mehdi Army. If the U.S. began to implement a withdrawal timetable we shall complete the path to dissolution.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt insisted the agency’s proposed rule allowing physicians to refuse to provide abortions does not include contraceptives. Leavitt said the “early draft” of the rule “contained words that lead some to conclude my intent is to deal with the subject of contraceptives, somehow defining them as abortion. Not true.”

A new liberal organization dubbed “Accountable America” will reportedly “confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” Tom Matzzie, who heads the group, explained, “We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground.”

“A racially charged Democratic primary campaign ended Thursday” with incumbent congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) “trouncing the opponent who ran an ad linking him to the Ku Klux Klan. Unofficial results showed Cohen with 79 percent of the vote to 19 percent for Nikki Tinker.


According to U.S. military documents, “at least 17 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to a program that moved them repeatedly from cell to cell to cause sleep deprivation and disorientation as punishment and to soften detainees for subsequent interrogation.” The technique “was still used months after it was banned at the facility in March 2004.”

And finally: Bradley Blakeman, formerly an aide to President Bush and president of Freedom’s Watch, said that the “plot and marketing elements of the Kevin Costner and Kelsey Grammer movie ‘Swing Vote’ were stolen from him.” Blakeman claims that in 2006, he gave a copyrighted script called “Go November” to Grammar, who agreed to “develop the project and star as an incumbent Republican president but ended up portraying a similar role in ‘Swing Vote.’”

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