The Spectacle Blog
Michael Totten, reporting from southern Israel, near Gaza, writes:
"How many rockets are hitting the city right now?" I said.
"Not as many today," he said. "Because of the war in Lebanon."
"What does Lebanon have to do with it?" I said.
"All the journalists forgot about us during the Lebanon war. So the terrorists are waiting for the media to come back before firing rockets again. They don't want to waste those they have."
"That can't be the only reason," I said. "The IDF has been active in Gaza this entire time. Surely that has something to do with it."
"Yes," he said. "Also because of the IDF."
Later two more Israelis repeated what Shika said about Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooling their rocket launchers while the media's attention was elsewhere. I haven't heard any official confirmation from either side that it's true.
A great article in yesterday's Washington Post described the internal debates in Israel over targeted killings of terrorists, specifically the conflict over risking Palestinian civilian casualties to kill terrorist leaders whose deaths would mean saving Israeli lives. The article focuses in on one specific incident in 2003, in which a "who's who" list of Hamas leaders (including current Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh) was meeting in one house. The dilemma? "A half-ton bomb wouldn't finish the job, the air force chief said. A one-ton bomb would blow out the neighboring apartment building, which was filled with dozens of families." Eventually, the Israelis found out that the curtains were closed on the top floor of the house, so they decided to take a chance that the leaders were meeting on that floor. They used a quarter-ton bomb to destroy only that floor, but it turned out that the terrorists were meeting on the ground level, and so the terrorists escaped.
For what it's worth, Robert Novak said on "Meet the Press" that he never reveals a source unless that source reveals himself, but added that he thinks it's time for his source to come forward.
David Corn and Michael Isikoff have a new book which confirms that Richard Armitage was the original Plame leaker. Close observers had already figured this out; Tom Maguire, for one, zeroed in on Armitage months ago. Maguire's most recent post on the topic, noting Armitage's (vague) association with the McCain campaign team, came just this Tuesday.
The corollary to this revelation has been equally clear all this time: Pace the anti-Bush storyline, the Plame kerfuffle was not a case of the White House intentionally blowing Plame's super-secret cover to attack her husband.
Our buddy Patrick Hynes weighed in today against Jim Antle and his piece on Mitt Romney by casting doubt on Romney's conservative bona fides -- just the sort of thing one might expect from someone now working for John McCain and evidently worried that Romney is outflanking McCain on the right.
To answer a few of Patrick's specific complaints: I would bet McCain is effectively more pro-choice than Romney these days, and that McCain's suppression of the First Amendment via McCain-Feingold incumbent protection dwarfs any of the coerciveness in Romney's health-care reform. As for who Romney is surrounding himself with -- the puny-minded article Patrick links to tells us nothing on that score -- I think a bigger worry should be McCain, whose current brain trust includes such conservative stalwarts as Colin Powell, Richard Armitage and Gerry Parsky.
But you know Patrick's really ready to throw mud for his man when he for all intents blames Romney for the recent Big Dig tragedy. I was wondering who'd be the first to take that route.
Ms.Alliott-Marie, the French Defense Ministress, has proclaimed a new French strategy for the Son of UNIFIL force the French are finally going to "man." According to that Wall St. Journal report, Ms. Minister said, ""I don't want to send men so that they can be humiliated on the ground." Which, since the death of Napoleon, has been the almost-unvaried situation of the French forces.
She also criticised those who are denigrating the French effort. Ma'am, we only aim to please.
NEW YORK - Jackie Mason is suing Jews for Jesus, claiming the missionary group damaged him by using his name and likeness in a pamphlet.
"While I have the utmost respect for people who practice the Christian faith, the fact is, as everyone knows, I am as Jewish as a matzo ball or kosher salami," the 75-year-old comedian said in documents filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan....
The pamphlets feature an image of Mason next to the words "Jackie Mason ... A Jew for Jesus!?" with information inside that outlines the similarities between Jews and Christians.
"The pamphlet uses my name, my likeness, my 'shtick' (if you will), and my very act, which is derived from my personality, to attract attention and converts," Mason said in an affidavit.
The Jerusalem Post reports that if a new election were held today, the right-wing parties would take control of the Israeli government:
A Ma'agar Mohot poll, broadcast on Channel 2 on Thursday evening found that if the election was held today, the Likud and Israel Beiteinu would each win 24 seats, Kadima would fall from 29 to 14, and Labor would fall from 19 to only 9.
Meanwhile, another poll, reported in the Guardian, shows that a majority of Israelis want Olmert to go: