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The Tally Ho

Monday, March 13, 2006

SAS Soldier Quits and More Links

Sean Rayment in the Telegraph writes, SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq
He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human.

The decision marks the first time an SAS soldier has refused to go into combat and quit the Army on moral grounds.

It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan.

Peter Baker of the Washington Post writes, Senior White House Staff May Be Wearing Down
Of all the reasons that President Bush is in trouble these days, not to be overlooked are inadequate REM cycles. Like chief of staff Card, many of the president's top aides have been by his side nonstop for more than five years, not including the first campaign, recount and transition. This is a White House, according to insiders, that is physically and emotionally exhausted, battered by scandal and drained by political setbacks.

This may be, but I doubt that the White House troubles are due to lack of REM sleep. The decisions on Iraq, declaring the President infallible, the Katrina response, Iran having nukes, major budget problems - it seems to me that he needed a new staff long ago.
Michael R. Gordon writes for the NY Times, Dash to Baghdad Left Top U.S. Generals Divided
From the first days of the invasion in March 2003, American forces had tangled with fanatical Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary fighters. Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, who was leading the Army's V Corps toward Baghdad, had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear.

Soon after, General Franks phoned Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the commander of allied land forces, to warn that he might relieve General Wallace.

The firing was averted after General McKiernan flew to meet General Franks. But the episode revealed the deep disagreements within the United States high command about the Iraqi military threat and what would be required to defeat it.

The dispute, related by military officers in interviews, had lasting consequences. The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.

The NYT Editorial, The Death of the Intelligence Panel, is spot on.
The Senate panel has become so paralyzingly partisan that it could not even manage to do its basic job this week and look into President Bush's warrantless spying on Americans' international e-mail and phone calls. Senator Pat Roberts, the chairman, said Tuesday that there would be no investigation. Instead, the committee's Republicans voted to create a subcommittee that is supposed to get reports from the White House on any future warrantless surveillance.

It's breathtakingly cynical. Faced with a president who is almost certainly breaking the law, the Senate sets up a panel to watch him do it and calls that control. This new Senate plan is being presented as a way to increase the supervision of intelligence gathering while giving the spies needed flexibility. But it does no such thing.

The Republicans' idea of supervision involves saying the White House should get a warrant for spying whenever possible. Currently a warrant is needed, period. And that's the right law. The White House has not offered a scrap of evidence that it interferes with antiterrorist operations. Mr. Bush simply decided the law did not apply to him.

The piece by Times reporter Janny Scott titledNew York Asks Help From Poor in Housing Crisis is rather eye opening if you aren't aware the state of urban public housing. Also, check out Elizabeth Warren's report over at TPM Cafe, Multiplying the Risks. Lastly, Temple men's basketball coach John Chaney retired today and Adrian Wojnarowski adds more. I would check the Philly media for more coverage than a national one like ESPN. I will always remember Chaney's match-up zone and some of his great teams in the past. Can you imagine the Atlantic 10 without him? My bet is that the next coach will be U Penn's Fran Dunphy. If not, I bet it will be someone with Philly roots.

Sorry for the unoriginal content, but I'm busy!

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