Jack Kelly over at Irish Pennants talks about the poll of Iraqis taken earlier this month on behalf of the U of MD International Policy Attitudes program. It truly is a good news/bad news situation, much as you’d expect it be. It would almost go without saying that our media reported diligently on the bad news and ignored the good news entirely. Were it not for the efforts of journalists like Kelly (who has to run a blog to get this kind of info dispersed) no one would know about the full findings of the poll. Kelly serves it up with the bad news first:
The bad news is 78 percent of the 1,150 Iraqis polled think the U.S. presence is causing more violence than it’s preventing; 71 percent want U.S. troops to leave within a year, and 61 percent approve of attacks on U.S. troops.
The good news comes in three parts: The first is that al Qaida is a lot more unpopular than we are. Ninety four percent of Iraqis — including 77 percent of Sunnis, for whom al Qaida claims to speak — disapprove of the terror group.
The second is that support for the Iraqi government is pretty strong. Sizable majorities say the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is doing a good job (63 percent); and have confidence in the Iraqi police (71 percent) and army (64 percent). Ninety six percent disapprove of attacks on Iraqi security forces.
The third is that Iraq’s majority Shia have much more favorable views of Prime Minister Maliki (86 percent) and Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani (95 percent) than they do of the Iranian-backed radical Muqtada al Sadr (51 percent). Only 45 percent of the Shia polled view Iran’s influence in a positive light. (Kurds and Sunnis have overwhelmingly negative views of Sadr and Iran.)
The bad news garnered the headlines. The Washington Post’s lengthy story on the poll mentions none of the good news at all.
Kelly also advances the thought that the benefits of setting a timetable for withdrawl – a flexible one that can adapt to changing circumstances and not be called backpedaling – now exceed the liabilities of setting such a timetable. I’ll leave you to read his reasoning on his blog, so follow the link. (Have a look around, too. He’s a good writer. He does this for a living.)
Many people out there have had to deal with the impact of cancer at some point in their lives. For me it was the loss of a loved one, my father. Time flows along and people in the medical field continue their battles against the disease. I’ve written recently about a giant step forward announced at the beginning of the month where a treatment completely obliterated the cancer in 2 of the test’s subjects. I called it “tremendously good news” at the time and I stand by that assessment today.
My attitude toward cancer treatments makes me incapable of understanding the stance some of my fellow conservatives are taking with regard to a vaccine now available that grants immunity to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The HPV has been discovered to be the cause of some types of cervical cancer in women. The vaccine will stop it. Ergo, you can successfully prevent certain types of cancer in women with a simple vaccine much as we can halt measles or chicken pox with an innoculation. Under what pretenses could someone suggest that’s a bad thing?
Turns out there are those who suggest that such an innoculation would encourage young women to engage in sexual relations. Their premise is that if the danger of developing cancer that could lead to disfigurement or death is present then the girls will choose to remain celibate until marriage. Catherine Seipp over at Pajamas Media lands a mortal blow to that kind of twisted thinking:
As I explained to my daughter, the purest of purity ring-wearing girls could remain a sanctified virgin until she got married – and then still get infected by her new husband the night of their wedding if he hadn’t been quite so chaste. People make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to die – or lose their fertility (a more common result of cervical cancer, at least now in the U.S.) – because of it.
An anti-STD vaccine no more encourages promiscuity than locking your doors at night encourages burglars. Sure, it would be a fine thing if we lived in the best of all possible worlds, where locked doors and vaccines were unneccessary because burglars and diseases don’t exist. But we don’t live in that kind of world.
My own thoughts on the matter centered on the reliance on a disease as an enforcer of morality. I cannot see the intelligence of saying that young women will find themselves at the moment of deciding whether to hop into the sack with a guy and that the possibility of them contracting HPV will enter into the equation. As it stands today, a casual fling with a relatively unknown person risks sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and a whole list of others that can literally kill you if left untreated. Others, such as herpes, have no cure. Then, of course, there’s the cureless and lethal AIDS – to say nothing of the risk of unintended pregnacy, let us not forget. Is it really reasonable to think that a woman would completely ignore all of those risks yet pull up short and say, “Oooo, I better not do this. I might get the HPV.”
No, not hardly. Opposition to this vaccine that’s based upon a fear that it might encourage women to have sex out of wedlock is irrational. It’s a desperate grab at anything to advance a moral position and it’s both disgusting and embarrassing to the rest of the conservative side of political thought. If the vaccine is otherwise safe, there is no reason to oppose it from a conservative perspective. Any conservative who would stand against the availability of this vaccine and yet innoculates their children against all the various diseases we vaccinate for today is a hypocrite and nothing more.
Michael Yon developed quite a reputation as a war correspondent (a term he’d likely argue but one I find fits nicely) during his tour as an embedded journalist with the “Deuce-Four” in Iraq. His viewpoints and photos from his travels there brought more insight into the conflict than did the disconnected ramblings of the MSM’s reporters who stayed at the hotels in the green zone. Yon’s attitude toward the war have soured somewhat. It seems, these days, that most of the news he reports is bad and he is convinced that the situation in Iraq is already a civil war.
Regardless of my thoughts on his perceptions, he’s earned my respect and my attention. So, when I got an e-mail from him this morning (not a personal one, I’m on his mailing list) that mentioned a recent Pajamas Media report on the number of embedded reporters in Iraq, I listened. I have already mentioned the PJ report here where they showed there’s only 9 embeds in Iraq at the moment. Yon says there’s a good reason for that: the US Military officer in charge of the embeds is purposely denying requests. Here’s from Yon’s letter:
Pajamas Media recently reported that there are only 9 embedded reporters in Iraq. Many are blaming this on the media, and while I can never be called an apologist for mainstream media, I can say with certainty that the United States military is censoring.
It remains unclear if this is a general policy, though there are recent inquiries to the office of the Secretary of Defense. I await response. Or, perhaps, the censorship is merely the policy of LTC Barry Johnson who is responsible for operations involving embeds. Barry Johnson is said to be the most quoted man in Iraq . I’ve learned to trust nothing he says. I do know for a fact that Johnson has been untruthful with the media. If Johnson calls me on this, I’ll take the time to prove it.
Yon gives the specific example of Walt Gaya, a combat veteran with 2 Purple Hearts from his tour in Mosul who has asked specifically to embed with troops in Iraq. LTC Johnson denied the request in spite of Gaya having a direct invitation to embed from the 4th Infantry and General Dana Pittard. Yon doesn’t say why the request was denied and I get the impression that’s because LTC Johnson didn’t say.
If this is true – and I have no reason to think it’s not, at the moment – then the fact that there’s only 9 reporters embedded in Iraq is 100% the US Military’s fault. I am hardly a cheerleader for the MSM but, dammit, I’m not going to toss insults at them when it’s the military screwing the pooch on this one. I’d like to know just what the hell’s up with LTC Johnson and why he’s getting in the way of the rest of us hearing what’s going on over there. I’m not prepared to say this is a smoking gun but it sure looks bad on the surface.
I’m also going to call on Michael Yon to back up his assessment that Johnson can’t be trusted. To throw that kind of accusation up in the air, basically calling a Lt. Colonel in our military a liar, and then hold back on the explanation doesn’t exactly look like sterling behavior, either. Don’t wait for Johnson to call you on it, Michael. I’m calling you on it. Please explain.
I’ll pass along what public info I get.
I reported a bit ago about 2 women who are suing Bacardi over burns they received in a bar. Bacardi is now coming back at them with some interesting observations. They say that the alcohol used to light the fire was rubbing alcohol, not their 151 rum.
Bacardi denies 151 rum caused burns
Four years ago, a patron at a South Florida bar turned a bottle of rum into a “flame thrower.” Now three women who got burned are trying to hold Bacardi responsible.
The women have sued the Miami spirits company, blaming its 151-proof rum for the injuries they suffered after a bottle used to pour shots turned into a flame thrower. But Bacardi, in a motion to dismiss the lawsuits, said the women were hurt after a bartender poured rubbing alcohol on the bar of the “Secrets” adult club and ignited it as part of a promotion for flaming drinks in 2002.
Quoting from Miami-Dade County police and fire reports, the company said another drunken patron placed a paper menu in the fire and then “pulled it up in the air,” causing the fire to spread.
“Indeed, rubbing alcohol is the sole named source of the fire,” Bacardi USA said in the motion filed last week in federal court. “Bacardi had nothing to do with this misfortune.”
This would seem to be a material question in the case. If the stuff used to light the fire wasn’t Bacardi, then the lawsuit is frivolous and should be tossed out on its ear. I had thought that this would prompt Bacardi to put one of those idiot-level warning labels on their bottles warning people that alcholic beverages might, you know, catch fire if you light it with a friggin’ match. Silly me for thinking that. Turns out they already have such a warning label. And – get this – the cap used on the bottle (the one Bacardi provides, I might add) has a flame arrester on it!
Bacardi also said its 151 rum contains warning labels about its flammability — one says “Do not use this product for flaming dishes or drinks” — and features a “flame arrester” to prevent it from accidentally igniting.
The lawsuit the women are pressing alleges that the cap is “to easy to remove.” What? They’re suggesting Bacardi lock the cap on the bottle top with a padlock? How about holding the moron who actually removed the cap responsible – assuming that’s what happened, of course. Their case was weak before. With the facts now available, it’s anemic to the point of a coma. I reiterate my call for the Judge to toss this one out with predjuidice and for Bacardi to go after the lawyers who convinced these women they had a case.
As a non-smoker I will be the first to tell you that I don’t shed a tear over smoking bans. The habit is ugly in just about every sense of the word and the presence of someone smoking in the immediate vicinity degrades or ruins just about any experience I can imagine. That is doubly true at mealtimes – there’s nothing I find more disgusting than sitting down with my family at a restaurant and trying to eat with the aroma of burning weed wafting over from the “smoking section.”
In recent years, I’ve come to view those bans a little differently. I am of the opinion that market forces – families deciding to avoid a given restaurant, for example – would produce the same or similar effect without opening the door for government regulation in so many aspects of our lives. The argument used at the time these bans were considered was that if we allowed the government to ban smoking, which is an otherwise completely legal behavior, how long would it be before they started trying to ban other things that “weren’t good for you?” The example used was the coming of the “food police” to keep you from eating things like french fries and red meat.
I recall mildly scoffing at such a notion. I’m not scoffing as I read this morning’s news item titled, “NYC Health Department Proposes Ban on Trans Fats.”
Three years after the city banned smoking in restaurants, health officials are talking about prohibiting something they say is almost as bad: artificial trans fatty acids.
The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city’s 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.
Artificial trans fats are found in some shortenings, margarine and frying oils and turn up in foods from pie crusts to french fries to doughnuts.
So, if these folks have their way, thousands of foods that have been happily served in New York for literally centuries, now, will be outlawed. The food police really have arrived.
I will offer an argument in support of smoking bans that shows a difference in these 2 items, however. When the clown at the next table blazes up, his smoke travels and I have to ingest it while I breathe. When the same guy orders up a double-fried cheese log with a side of curly fries, I don’t have to eat any of them. He can chow down on every crumb and my body doesn’t absorb any of it. This is the intrinsic difference between these 2 kinds of ban. The 1 prevents me from harming my neighbor. The other is merely intrusive into my life.
I would hope that the voters of New York will demonstrate their desire that their government try to better accomplish the goals they already have and worry less about whether people are eating a donut and french fries.
Update : Ed Morrissey weighs in on the subject, too, with a good question about what NYC will do about peanut allergies next.
The new Prime Minister of Japan is Shinzo Abe, now the youngest PM for Japan since World War II. He is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, is a staunch supporter of the alliance with the United States and of a more assertive military in Japan.
Congratulations, Prime Minister Abe. We look forward to continuing our friendship with Japan in the years to come.
Our local news radio station, WTOP News, has a great little write-up this morning detailing the various exploratory missions ongoing in our solar system. There are missions currently in place at Venus and Mars (a lot more activity there than I realized), 1 enroute to Mercury, and 1 at Saturn. And those are just the active ones. Give the link a click and get updated on our efforts to expand our knowledge of space.
Power Line has some additional material from the latest leak of a classified document, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) I referenced earlier today. John Hinderaker makes a very valid point: the leaker of such information is obviously not leaking everything he or she knows, only what will support their political agenda. That the Washington Post drooled all over themselves to publish those details is unsurprising. I’m guessing they wouldn’t be so eager if the rest of the document were to see the light of day.
That’s what the top 2 people on the Senate Intel Committee are urging, as a matter of fact. Both are suggesting the White House declassify a “public version” of the document and allow the American people to see the whole report so they can judge for themselves. I urge caution on the part of the White House to see to it that such a declassification doesn’t tip too much info to the Islamic terrorists the report covers, but it certainly would be valuable to get the rest of the story, rather than just the part some treasonous criminal currently holding a security clearance wants us to see.
The first officer aboard the Comair crash in Lexington, KY is still in serious condition in the hospital and does not recall the crash that sent him there. This is hardly surprising considering what the man’s been through. His family announced, however, that doctors have had to amputate his leg.
Still no NTSB report but I’ll post on that as soon as it’s available.
When a report comes in from the Intel community, is it too much to expect that it be written intelligently? The report, if you believe the MSM, states that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat, being the primary reason people are turning terrorist in the Islamic world. Whether that’s what the report actually says or not – and the White House is saying that the reports on the “characterization of the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] is not representative of the complete document” – you could count on the Dems to grab at any excuse to put forth their “cut-and-run” strategy as the best plan for America.
As usual, the Dems and their cheerleaders in the MSM conveniently forget to mention that history did not start in 2003. There is a long line of terror attacks ranging back literally decades and absolutely none of those prior to March, 2003 had a damn thing to do with the invasion of Iraq. Why? Because when those barracks were truck-bombed in Lebanon, when the World Trade Center was attacked the 1st time, when the embassies in Africa were bombed, and when the USS Cole was attacked the invasion of Iraq hadn’t happened yet. Clearly, there were terrorists active before Iraq and they were recruiting before Iraq. I’m certain that there are some terrorists operating today who decided to get involved because of Iraq but there were obviously people who turned terrorist for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the Iraq war and there would continue to be such folks if we hadn’t invaded.
To be blunt, any action we take – and even taking no action at all – will motivate some people to become terrorists. Cringing and trying to hide under the covers will do nothing but invite attack and, in such a case, that attack will happen right here in America. To suggest that any 1 event currently ongoing is the cause of terrorist recruiting efforts being successful is blather and nothing more.
This is going to be yet another powderkeg that blows up in the faces of the Dems now screaming “we told you so!” When the entirety of the NIE gets out there, as it surely will, and the American people see the entire characterization of that document, the Dems and their allies are going to be looking more unhinged than usual. That didn’t work as a strategy in 2000 or 2004. It ain’t gonna play any better in 2006 nor will it set a decent stage in 2008.