The Spectacle Blog

Syrian-Iraqi Border — New Reports

By on 2.12.06 | 11:32PM

Speaking Monday with source from Beirut who is just returned from the Syrian-Iraqi border, where he found U.S. force commanders reporting a sharp drop in jihadists infiltrating from Syria to Iraq. No single explanation. Speculation includes remarks that the Syrians are training the jihadists at Syrian bases; also it is possible that there is a seasonal lull in jihad recruiting. Also it is possible that the Sunni clans that live on smuggling and robbery are weary or pacified or cooperating with Baghdad pay-offs.

Note that Zarqawi has been on air since the Amman attacks of last November. Zarqawi said to be reorganizing. The Zarqawi program in Iraq has now been exported to other theaters, such as Top in Southeast Asia.

Note also that Saddam Hussein and his fellow accused beginning hunger strike. Not unusual. Regime henchmen live in denial, transform themselves into victims. Iraq choosing new cabinet means that there is now someone to hang Saddam Hussein quickly. However, it is not a deep tradition in the ummah to execute rival sheikhs.

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Re: Bush’s Svengali

By on 2.12.06 | 9:14PM

Another one for the "I don't think it means what you think it means" file:

"It's going to be a menace trying to clean it up," said Mayor Scott T. Rumana in Wayne, N.J. [of the record snowfall this weekend.]
A menace?
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Guttmacher References

By on 2.12.06 | 2:31PM

Whenever the media refers to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, it ought to mention that it's Planned Parenthood's research arm. Instead, like the Post today, many references identify AGI as "a nonprofit organization focused on reproductive health issues." That's the party line from AGI.

The AGI website gives a bio that any enterprising journalist should find useful. Unfortunately, many journalists are lazy or pro-abortion, like AGI.

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Bush’s Svengali

By on 2.12.06 | 2:21PM

Is Karl Rove, according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, in his item today on White House fundraising. I've only heard "Svengali" as a term of derision, since it means "one who attempts usually with evil intentions to persuade or force another to do his bidding" (Webster's). Now, Rove as Svengali is the left's caricature, but Cillizza's column is ostensibly reporting only, not opinion.

I've emailed Cillizza asking if he knows what Svengali means. I'll let you know what he says.

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Allen Wins CPAC Straw Poll

By on 2.11.06 | 6:15PM

In the Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates straw poll, here's how CPAC attendees came down on the question of who is most likely to be the Republican nominee:

George Allen - 22%
John McCain - 20%
Rudy Giuliani - 12%
Condoleezza Rice - 10%

Told ya so. By the way, I didn't go to CPAC today, but I gather Blogger's Row was cleared out before the results were announced, as I can't find them yet via Technorati; I had to go to the Canadian Broadcasting Company, which mischaracterizes the straw poll as a straight preference poll.

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Dershowtiz Dems Warn the Clintons

By on 2.11.06 | 4:01PM

Talk cable provocateur Alan Dershowitz told me clearly while discussing his new book, Preemption, that he will not support Hillary Clinton unless and only if she supports preventive war aganst Iran when the time comes.

Dershowitz is adamant. He does not fudge this one. I heard a fury and impatience with the Democratic machinery that will not vanish in the fog of war. I speak routinely with Dems who have similar short, bilious tempers.

Significance to me is that the Clintons have no room to maneuver on the right. If the Clintons aim to veer leftish for early '08 primary season in Iowa and NH and New York, then the Dershowitz Dems will holler on air and damage the trust factor for the general campaign.

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American Hero Vouches for Pillar

By on 2.11.06 | 3:34PM

CIA source is adamant that Pillar was not risk averse while at NIO: that when he ran the desk, he was aggressive, quick, demanding, tireless. "A fabulous officer," is the quote, and this is admiration from an American hero who jumped into the darkness of the ummah and directed deadly fire while under fire, a man who made history that will remain a thousand years. Am not qualifying: When a hero tells you that Pillar is first-rate, then Pillar is first-rate. Critical is that Pillar is an analyst, not operations. Said to be straitlaced, stern, most conservative, and this probably means politically as well as professionally. Pillar is an Army vet, Vietnam era. Have not read his book, Terrorism and Foreign Policy, but am sending for it and will interview Pillar soon enough. Pillar now at Georgetown.

Source says that Pillar does not overstate and is a cautious opiner.

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Pence in the Morning

By on 2.11.06 | 10:02AM

Somehow, Congressman Mike Pence was relegated to 8:30 Saturday morning at CPAC. What a cryin' shame. His address was a rousing call to action. He argued that not only is the Republican movement off course, but that wrong heading is accepted. The party in D.C. accepts more government as the accepted philosophy of government. "We control the spending and the process and we wonder how things got to such a state." Pence has posted his prepared remarks on his campaign website. Read it all. It's vastly different from the tunnel vision offered by so many of the party leaders these days, especially those in Washington.

Speaking of Washington, at a bloggers' reception hosted by Human Events after his address, a man from Washington State asked how he can get Rep. Pence to visit and rally the troops there. He answered that he just needed to be invited, but offered a few thoughts on the two Washingtons: "You're the Washington that I like. You're sitting in 30 square miles surrounded by a place called reality. That's a Washington where they produce things." Indeed.

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Pillar a Trusted War-Fighter

By on 2.10.06 | 7:24PM

Report from best CIA source that retired CIA analyst Paul Pillar featured in this morning's Washington Post was a candid, thorough, war-fighter trusted analyst who moved to the critical NIO post for the ME and South Asia just prior to the war. The politics of Pillar's knocking the White House are most intriguing. CIA in turmoil. But Pillar said to be a golden boy who got away.

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Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 4:00PM

"Is the destruction of an embryo less horrific than the murder of an adult?" Yes, to me it is.

I don't expect to reconcile our moral assumptions here. But Steele was speaking before a Jewish group, where the horror of the Holocaust is viscerally felt and the primacy of life after birth, far from being a "current fad," is part of an ancient tradition (Jewish law requires abortion if necessary to save the life of the mother). He was right to apologize.

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