Bloggers scrutinize a report that says the United States has attack plans for Iran, weigh the impact of British withdrawal from Iraq, and wonder about a new study that suggests sexualized female media figures are bad for young girls.
Target: Tehran: According to the BBC, the United States has developed plans for bombing Iran in the event of one of two possible "trigger" conditions: Confirmation of the Islamic republic's denied but widely rumored nuclear weapons program, or the carrying out of a high-casualty assault on U.S. forces in Iraq that was traced back to Iran.
Journalist-historian Historymike thinks "[t]he leaking of this information could be for a number of reasons. It is possible that American policymakers hope to force Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to back down on his insistence that Iran has the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, admittedly giving Iran the potential to produce weapons-grade nuclear material."
At all-purpose diary The Journey, Minnesotan "notfainthearted" is not buying it: "In the 1950's there were all sorts of attack plans on how we'd attack the Soviet block. All sorts of plans for the Korean or VietNam wars. Those plans weren't published in the international press beforehand. This is sabre rattling, meant to threaten Iran (and others) and to numb the ears of the American people, so that when it actually happens we aren't paying attention anymore."
Others are equally unimpressed. Righty Allahpundit at Hot Air yawns his way through the BBC's headline: "Not only is it uselessly vague, but this is at least the sixth time the plans have been 'revealed' … They all say the same thing: a sustained attack targeting not just the Iranian nuclear plants but the country's major military targets and infrastructure. Which, logically, is the only kind of attack you could and should wage if you're going to strike."
Conservative Brennan at The American Pundit agrees, wondering sarcastically "You mean that the US actually plans, for if a nation that wants to wipe our ally off the map, gets a nuclear weapon?! I am outraged."
Read more about the BBC article on attack plans for Iran.
No surge from Downing St.: Departing Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Tuesday that 1,600 British troops will be withdrawn from southern Iraq in the coming months. Citing the success of Operation Sinbad—aimed at training the nascent Iraqi army to inherit martial responsibility in Basra—Blair said a contingent of British forces would stay on to offer assistance and council.
Liberal Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly's Political Animal writes: "Now, if Tony Blair announces in tomorrow's speech a firm deadline of 2008 for withdrawing the rest of Britain's troops, as the Guardian also reports, that will be news. But I betcha he does nothing of the sort. It'll be 'if conditions allow,' just like it's always been."
Yet conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters believes that while Blair's plan is logical, "there is no doubt that the transition comes at a difficult time for George Bush and the US. While Blair will allow the British forces to reduce through the end of fresh rotations into Basra, the US has started to send three times as many troops into Baghdad than what the Brits have in the entire country now. The progress in Basra will get overshadowed by the surge and the battle where the sectarian insurgencies meet in the Iraqi capital."
Gordon at the British democratic socialist blog Harry's Place, which supported regime change, explains: "Today's statement comes after Blair told the BBC's Sunday AM that the operation to allow Iraqis to take the lead in frontline security in Basra—Operation Sinbad—had been 'completed' and 'successful' … No one can accuse Blair or anyone else of cutting and running as there is the hope that withdrawal might have a positive impact on Southern Iraq because of the view that the continued presence of British troops may have contributed to the violence in Basra."
Read more about British troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Too hot, too soon: A task force set up by the American Psychological Association has concluded that sexualized images of young women in the media damage young women. Hillbilly Liberal reads a profounder feminist plaint into the study's findings: "The real, deeper issue, however, is how western society views women—whether she is a 'virgin', a 'madonna', or a 'whore', a woman's purpose—at least according to the traditional view—is always to serve men. The sexism that is rampant in our society destroys girls before they ever have a chance to live."
Henry at medical blog Æsculapius, Henry, and Panacea doesn't jive with the task force's nonclinical lingo: "What the hell does 'harms' mean? Does it indicate the psychological damage that sexualized images in the media do to the female half of the population? Does it take into account the positive images of women in advertising and on television? Is 'harms' a medical term, or does it have a broader meaning? ... It is exactly this kind of unclear medical reporting that frustrates me to no end. To make generalizations like this, particularly in regards to such an important topic, misleads the public and compromises scientific research. One could argue it 'harms' them."
Read more about the report.