Bloggers are fit to be tied over a Senate committee's nonbinding resolution disapproving of the troop surge for Iraq. They're also following the goings-on in Beirut and are trying to figure out what the gay-sheep study means.
Surging disapproval: The Senate foreign relations committee thumbed its nose at the president Wednesday, voting 12-9 for a nonbinding resolution of disapproval against the troop surge. Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel was the only senator to stray from his party.
Many are fuming at Republicans for voting against the resolution after voicing displeasure with Bush's plans. Liberal John at America Blog seizes on this hypocrisy: "So, the Senate Republicans are opposed to the Bush escalation plan, are willing to voice that opposition publicly, but they feel that if they actually vote their opposition then somehow this will magically signal our allies, our troops, and our enemies that we are divided and in disarray over Iraq." At the nonpartisan After Downing Street, John Isaacs criticizes the Republican committee-members: "[T]he fact that so many could not bring themselves to vote for a non-binding resolution shows the magnitude of the task ahead to convince Republicans that they have to vote to stop the war in Iraq."
Live-blogging the hearing, D.C. snarkster Wonkette was bored: "[I]t's terribly exciting, in a non-binding sort of way. Chris Dodd and his evil eyebrows have just proposed an amendment in which he'll request—nay, demand!—that the President not ignore the Senate, which he has promised to do. ... Their joint resolution will force the President to… respond to them. Checks and motherfucking balances!"
Republican James Joyner at Outside the Beltway parses the implications: "It's very difficult, both from a separation of powers standpoint and from a political one, for Congress to force a president to abandon an ongoing war. The tide has definitely turned … for a prospective GOP presidential candidate [Sen. Chuck Hagel] to vote for a rebuke of his president's policy."
The Dartmouth junior at Joe's Dartblog dubs the Democrats' assertion that the surge is not in our national interest "absolutely ghastly." Others are similarly horrified. "The FRC majority want to assure us that they 'support the troops' while simultaneously undercutting their mission, bucking up their enemies, and leaving them on the front. … They claim that no increase in forces or any other plan will work. Yet they refuse to cut off funds to force their return," vents Cry Me a Riverbend at Iraqi Bloggers Central.
Read more about the nonbinding resolution.
Student violence in Beirut: As international donors met in Paris to discuss reconstruction aid for war-torn Lebanon, the country experienced more violence, with a deadly confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites at a Beirut university. The government instituted a curfew and braced for further destabilization.
At Candide's Daily Journal, Lebanese-American liberal Pierre Tristam draws comparisons between the current unrest and the civil war: "This is how it was, in those acrid early days in 1975: the strikes. The protests. The burning tires. … And this is how we knew the 'protests' in Beirut, between Hezbollah and the government, would eventually turn. To fire, riots, shootings, and if the hotheads prevail, as they seem always to prevail in Lebanon, civil war all over again. I've been looking at the pictures coming out of Lebanon. They're the pictures of 1975. Only the car models have changed. "
Writing at Pensées du Rik, Henri ruminates on the situation in Beirut, his current location: "Speaking of the army, it is now out in strength, but I don't see it starting to shoot on people. … At some point it will either attempt to restore order by force or split along sectarian lines. How easy it is the Iraqify Lebanon, after Iraq was Lebanized."
Posting just after the curfew was announced, Wissam at Blacksmiths of Lebanon reports: "It is interesting to note, according to eyewitness accounts, that the troublemakers do not engage in skirmishes in their own neighbourhoods. For example a Shia from Barbour (a mixed Shia-Sunni neighborhood) would go to Tarik Jadideh (a mostly Sunni area) to look for trouble and vice versa. I guess they do put some stake in their property values!"
Islamoskeptic Patrick at Clarity and Resolve uncharitably proclaims that "Lebanon's brief interlude of sanity" is over, writing, "That's how it's looking. It's certainly worth noting how any geographical location with a sizable Muslim population somehow ends up in one of two political situations: chaotic turmoil and violence or enforced stability under a ruthless autocrat."
Read more about the unrest in Lebanon.
The science of sheep: A scientist studying the sexuality of sheep has seen his research twisted, drawing him uncomfortably into the spotlight.
Law prof and moderate Ann Althouse wonders what all the fuss is about: "Don't we accept the idea of sheep breeders doing what they can to get sheep who will in fact breed? Should someone who objects to efforts to cure human beings of homosexuality resist efforts to manipulate sheep? ... Shouldn't gay rights advocates care when they sound like the religious fundamentalists they usually deride?"
Mouseydew at The Sietch Blog, a group blog, feels this research is important: "I do feel that such scientific research is of interest to us all to understand our nature. In some ways, this could be seen as a positive source of affirmation for the gay community that it is a biological factor, not one of environment as some ignorant opponents would argue."
Read more about the sheep controversy.