Bloggers discuss U.S. strategy in Iraq and the visit to that country by Condoleeza Rice and Jack Straw. They ponder the Supreme Court's decision against hearing Jose Padilla's appeal, and they're already counting down to the release of the Simpsons movie.
The end of Jaafari?: In Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times, conservative columnist Mark Steyn condemns British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for speaking of Islam as a "learned and peaceful religion." Steyn claims that Straw and many other Western politicians are practicing "geopolitics as the Aretha Franklin Doctrine: The more the world professes its R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the more the Islamists sock it to us." He writes that the Bush administration must level with supporters of the Iraq war because "if this is a 'long war,' it needs a rhetoric that can go the distance."
Steyn's column is music to hawkish ears. At the conservative National Review's blog The Corner, Peter Robinson lauds Steyn's attack against Straw: "Mark Steyn is at his zestful, gorgeous, truthful best." Conservative Christian Terrance Williams of Terrance This is Stupid Stuff agrees: "If our leaders avoiding talking about the major problem facing Islam today (Is jihad directed towards their neighbors right or wrong?), they will not be able to convince the public that there is a threat worthy of a war effort or anti-insurgency effort." InstaPundit's libertarian Glenn Reynolds also appreciatively quotes Steyn, adding, "Bush's problem on the war is that he's losing the Jacksonian base, which is no longer confident that he's willing to do whatever it takes to win, regardless of foreign or public opinion."
Scolding Reynolds for being a "slogan-driven hawk" who doesn't explain what "whatever it takes" would entail,the Washington Monthly's Political Animal Kevin Drum writes, "So: what's the plan, hawks? ... Are you suggesting higher taxes to fund a dramatic increase in military end strength? A draft? A ground invasion of Iran? A permanent military occupation of the entire Middle East? Because that's probably what it would take."
Other Iraq-watchers focus on the recent unannounced visit to Baghdad by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Both politicians emphasized that Iraqi politicians need to step up the formation of their coalition government and strongly implied Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari is not the man to do it. Culture of Life's left-leaning Elaine Meinel Supkis writes, "The Mother of a thousand tactical errors, Condi, has joined with the Father of Inventive Lies, Straw, to enter Iraq secretly and then to not so secretly twist Jafaari's arm and basically perform a coup that will terminate him. This is democracy, Bush/Blair style."
Even before Rice and Straw showed up in Baghdad, "Reuters reported that Shi'ite support for Ibrahim al-Jafaari had disintegrated, with voices calling for his resignation," points outCaptains' Quarters' conservative Ed Morrissey. He lauds the Western diplomats' position: "That's about as blunt a message as one will see delivered by Western diplomats, especially in a region with this much volatility. It shows that the Bush and Blair administrations have come to the end of their patience with the eleventh-hour style of negotiations that the Iraqis have used for the past year."
Padilla: Bloggers are weighing in on the Supreme Court's decision against hearing the appeal of Jose Padilla, the U.S. citizen accused of belonging to a terror cell. He was held in a military brig without being charged or accorded a trial for more than three years. However, in January, the government transferred him to civilian custody—a fact the court cited to explain why it wouldn't hear the appeal.
SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston explains that the decision is a triumph for the Bush administration because "the Court leaves intact a sweeping Fourth Circuit Court decision upholding the president's wartime power to seize an American inside the U.S. and detain him or her as a terrorist enemy, without charges and -- for an extended period -- without a lawyer." However, in Padilla's favor, "The Court implied that Padilla has a legitimate concern that the government -- which repeatedly changed its handling of his status -- may again return him to military custody. … [I]t told all courts to stand ready to react quickly if the government again shifted Padilla's status or custody."
Liberals are deeply disappointed. On group blog Bring It On!, The Stuffed Tiger notes, "Keep in mind that Padilla has not been charged as the dirty bomber. My guess is that the evidence against him wouldn't hold up in civilian court. Backed into a corner the Administration had two choices: let Padilla's appeal go through and risk losing the 'right' to detain Americans forever or charge Padilla only on broad ties to terror and hope that the Supreme Court would let their swindle stand." And AMERICAblog's John Aravosis believes, "The importance of this case and this area of law in post-9/11 America should not deter judicial review, it should invite it so that it can be settled once and for all, lest the ambiguity invite more and more abuses."