Bloggers on the Marines' proposal to redeploy to Afghanistan.

Bloggers on the Marines' proposal to redeploy to Afghanistan.

Bloggers on the Marines' proposal to redeploy to Afghanistan.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Oct. 11 2007 5:47 PM

Trading Places

Bloggers probe news that the Marines want to leave Iraq for Afghanistan, have little pity for Congress' five-day work week, and take sides in the showdown between Michelle Malkin and Ezra Klein over SCHIP.

Trading places: The New York Times reports that top Marine brass want to move the corps from Iraq to Afghanistan and take charge there. Bloggers speculate about motives and critique the Times' coverage.

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"Interesting proposal — but probably DOA," writesSlate contributor and Iraq vet Phillip Carter at Intel Dump. "I can only imagine the stream of expletives from senior Army officials when they read this plan. … Frankly, I like the idea of cleaning up the chains of command for each theater, and I also like the idea of simplifying things on the Title 10 side of the house for the services as they provide forces to CENTCOM for employment in Iraq and Afghanistan. …  I think the mission in Iraq would suffer terribly from the absence of the Marines, with their expertise in small wars and infantry-centric operations."

You Will Anyway wonders what the Marines leaving Iraq will mean for troop numbers and relations with Iran: "There are 25,000 Marines in Iraq. Would this count toward the 30,000 troops from the surge that they are talking about 'reducing' the forces in Iraq with? I thought maybe those would be going to Iran, but then again, it wouldn't take 30,000 to bomb the place to Hell." 

Lefty Jake Today attributes more selfish motives to the move: "They are getting antsy about 2008. They may be telling us that the Dems will win. Lets face it, if the Dems win and all your soldiers are in Iraq, then it may well be no more combat for you. However, if your guys are in Afghanistan, then the appropriations for combat will increase."  Middle East blogger Al Qumriyah at Ali Baba's Newswire also sees politics at play: "It seems more like a shrewd move by the Commandant though to ensure his Corps stays in the fight as he can see the line in the sand of troop reductions in Iraq coming with the change of power in the next presidential election while more of a focus will remain on staying in Afghanistan since the Al Qaeda leadership resides in the hills of Pakistan."

"You have to love the way this article makes it seem as if the Marines are making a cynical political calculation here," gripes Jill at liberal Brilliant at Breakfast. "The article paints the suggestion by the Marines' commandant as a pissing contest between branches of the military as to which branch is manlier. But if the Marines are about combat, and Afghanistan is still about defending territory, it makes sense to have the marines there instead of in the occupation/police role in which the American military is mired in Iraq." Democratic blogger Blue Girl, Red State thinks this report means bad news for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: "Who is monkeywrenching Bob Gates at the Pentagon? This is not the first time he has been blindsided by news coming out of that five-sided building that left him caught unawares in front of the cameras and mikes."

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Read more blogger reaction to the Marine redeployment.

Workin' man blues: The Politico reports that Congress is fitfully adjusting to their newly instituted five-day work week, but conservative bloggers reserve little sympathy for the lawmakers' complaints.

"When the Democrats took the majority this year, they swore to set a new tone of hard work in Congress by demanding a five-day work week while in session," writes conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters. "… Nine months later, while overdue appropriation bills still have not seen the House floor and the 110th Congress acquiring a do-nothing appelation, Democrats have begun to rebel against the schedule" 

Citizen Jake also takes a swipe at the supposed do-nothing Congress, noting, "You would think that politicians that are smart enough to get elected to Congress would be smart enough not to complain about having to work a 5 day work week." Righty American Pundit is gleeful that Democrats have less time to spend in their districts: "You may remember that the Democratic House instituted 5 day workweeks when they took over Congress, apparently in an attempt to get more done (yeah, that worked). …Well, there's apparently an ironic consequence of 'working' more: Representatives not having time to actually visit their constituents."

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Read more on the trials of a five-day congressional work week.

Klein vs. Malkin: In the days since President Bush vetoed legislation to expand SCHIP, Michelle Malkin and other conservative bloggers have investigated the family of Graeme Frost, who gave a radio address for the Democrats on the issue last week. Liberal Ezra Klein challenged right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin to a debate over SCHIP after Malkin criticized "militant leftist bloggers" for their lack of discourse on the subject. Malkin declined the invite, but bloggers are ready for a dust-up.

At Obsidian Wings, Publius finds that Malkin's response is  "interesting from a psychological perspective. [It] distinguishes her in interesting ways from Ann Coulter, who tends to get (wrongly) lumped together with Malkin in people's minds. But Coulter is actually far more interesting, even if her writing is substantively more objectionable." Kevin at Lean Left joins in the criticism of Malkin: "Ezra throws down the gauntlet, and Malkin runs away."

The brinksmanship between Klein and Malkin exasperates the Moderate Voice's Tyrone Steels II, who notes, "Both Klein and Malkin have enough blogging history to find loop holes, cracks, and crevices in each other's past posts. So they knew they have enough material to counter each other. Not that hard. So this had to be a stunt by both Klein and Malkin to heat the lava and drive even more traffic to their sites and their satellites, right?"

Read more on Klein and Malkin.

Morgan Smith, a former Slate intern, is a law student in Austin, Texas.