Bloggers consider what a troop influx would do to Iraq. They also flog Sen. Brownback for trying to block a federal judge nomination and weigh accusations of anti-Semitism against Judith Regan.
Surge 'n' generals' warning: Tensions are rising within the Bush administration over whether to send more troops to Iraq. Proposals to increase troop levels by 15,000 to 30,000 have met with unanimous opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bloggers wonder if Bush is even listening.
Brij Khindaria at The Moderate Voice fears that adding more troops would only play into the insurgency's hands: "[T]he Mahdi fighters will melt away before superior US forces and reappear soon after the Americans leave. … The fact that a Baghdad slum militia armed with light weapons foiled the mighty US and its protégés will bring endless encouragement to other enemies around the world." Kindaria's TMV colleague Shaun Mullen wonders how a leader can resist a unanimous recommendation: "In some if not many other countries, the continuing intransigence of a national leader in the face of such an unmitigated disaster would lead to calls for his ouster or even a putsch. Why not in the U.S.?"
Conservative columnist Jules Crittenden takes issue with the generals' opposition: "[T]he chiefs are worried a short-term surge will create an al Qaeda magnet and lead to more U.S. deaths. Stats indicate that troops surges have had the opposite effect, driving down casualty numbers."
As "surge" replaces "stay the course" as sound-bite-of-the-week, liberal John Emerson at Seeing the Forest picks apart another catchphrase: "I don't know where the slogan 'one last push' came from—from the media or from the administration—but the word 'last' is a dead giveaway. It cues you to ask 'And after that, what?' (To my knowledge, no one in the administration has disavowed the 'one last push' meme)."
Former CBS producer and liberal blogger Barry Lando notices a "jolting irony" in the assumption that more troops will help: "[W]hile the conflicts in Iraq (and Afghanistan) have been a recruiting dream come true for radical jihadists, they've created an enlistment nightmare for the American military. Though the U.S.army claimed they had met manpower targets for 2006, they managed to do so only by offering 700 million dollars in retention bonuses; and spending $300 million more for their recruiting drive."
Liberal Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly's Political Animal doesn't envy Bush's tight squeeze: "If the Chiefs stand their ground, it will be very difficult for Bush to buck them. But if he gives up on the surge, what possible alternative can he offer that even remotely seems like a serious change of direction? Rock, meet hard place."
Read more about the proposed troop surge.
Brownback's backtrack: Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., will allow a confirmation vote on a federal bench nominee who attended a same-sex marriage ceremony. He originally tried to block it. Brownback had also proposed a "compromise," suggesting that the judge, Janet Neff, recuse herself from cases involving same-sex marriage.
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters argues that Brownback's compromise is "not just unprecedented, it's ridiculous": "Can you imagine the outrage had Ted Kennedy demanded that Samuel Alito recuse himself on all cases involving abortion? How about if Pat Leahy insisted that Janice Rogers Brown recuse herself on all affirmative-action cases? Conservatives would have had fits—and rightly so."
But liberal Columbia Law professor Michael Dorf flips Morrissey's hypothetical on its head: "Suppose an otherwise qualified judicial nominee had attended a ceremony that we liberals find offensive: Perhaps a judge attended a family friend's graduation ceremony in the Ku Klux Klan. (Humor me in assuming the Klan holds graduation ceremonies.) Even though attending in a 'personal' capacity, wouldn't this act send a sufficiently alarming message about the nominee's views on civil rights to warrant further investigation before confirming him to a seat on the federal bench?"
Bryan J. Scrafford at liberal Ambivalent Mumblings parses Brownback's argument and concludes that "the senator would also have to argue that anyone who has attended a wedding shouldn't be confirmed. Why? Because if a person who attended a same-sex commitment ceremony would be partial to one side, then Brownback's argument would also lead you to believe that a person who attended a heterosexual marriage would also have a preconceived bias."
Read more about Brownback's reversal.
If she said it …: A spat between recently fired publisher Judith Regan and News Corp. grew more heated as accusations surfaced alleging that Regan made anti-Semitic comments. Regan's lawyer said that even if she did call her detractors a "Jewish cabal," he "wouldn't be offended, as a Jew."
Rachel Sklar at the Huffington Post's media blog Eat the Press gives a comprehensive run-down of the players but still comes away wondering about Regan: "Why [is] the New York Times refus[ing] to say either way whether Regan is Jewish. The NYT reported that the controversy drew 'attention to the fact that her boss and others involved in the controversy over the aborted O. J. Simpson project were Jewish.' Oh, 'others involved in the controversy'—like, say, the speaker?"
Yid With Lid speculates that Regan's firing was probably "all a big ruse. Now that she has interviewed OJ Simpson, I bet she wants to snag a bigger killer: Iran's President Ahmadinejad."
Read more about Judith Regan's alleged remarks.