Monday, April 30, 2007

Here's What Nancy Pelosi Missed

After meeting with both houses of Congress, with one notable exception, General Petraeus then gave a public briefing to the media. He said it was similar to what he told Congress, just without the classified info he gave in that meeting- information that Speaker Pelosi missed out on.

Here is a rundown of the pertinent points:


-Al Queda
Iraq is, in fact, the central front of al Qaeda's global campaign and we devote considerable resources to the fight against al Qaeda Iraq

-Extreme Militias
There can be no sustainable outcome if militia death squads are allowed to lie low during the surge only to resurface later and resume killing and intimidation

-Sunni Insurgents
while we continue to battle a number of such groups, we are seeing some others joining Sunni Arab tribes in turning against al Qaeda Iraq and helping transform Anbar province and other areas from being assessed as lost as little as six months ago to being relatively heartening. We will continue to engage with Sunni tribal sheikhs and former insurgent leaders to support the newfound opposition of some to al Qaeda, ensuring that their fighters join legitimate Iraqi security force elements to become part of the fight against extremists, just as we reach out to moderate members of all sects and ethnic groups to try to drive a wedge between the irreconcilables and the reconcilables, and help the latter become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.


-It's Brand New
It is in fact important to recall that the government of Prime Minister Maliki is Iraq's fourth government in as many years.

-Unity Problems
it is one comprised of political leaders from different parties that often default to narrow agendas and a zero-sum approach to legislation.

-It Needs Time
The focus of Multinational Force Iraq is, of course, on working with our Iraqi counterparts to help improve security for the people of Iraq in order to give Iraqi leaders the time and space they need to come to grips with the tough political issues that must be resolved.


-Good, Though We Just Got Started
We are still in the relatively early stages of our new effort, about two months into it, with three of five Army surge brigades and two additional Marine battalions on the ground, and the remainder of the additional combat forces scheduled to be operating in their areas by mid-June.

Baghdad is the main effort, and we continue to establish joint security stations and combat outposts in the city and in the belts around it. The presence of coalition and Iraqi forces and increased operational tempo, especially in areas where until recently we had no sustained presence, have begun to produce results. Most significantly, Iraqi and coalition forces have helped to bring about a substantial reduction in the rate of sectarian murders each month from January until now in Baghdad, a reduction of about two-thirds. There have also been increases in weapons caches seized and the number of actionable tips received.

In the Ramadi area, for example, U.S. and Iraqi forces have found nearly as many caches in the first four months of this year as they found in all of last year
Beyond this, we are seeing a revival of markets, renewed commerce, the return of some displaced families and the slow resumption of services, though I want to be very clear that there is vastly more work to be done across the board and in many areas, and I again note that we are really just getting started with the new effort.

-Fighting, And Casualties, Increase As We Reenter Areas We Withdrew From In The Past
Our achievements have not come without sacrifice. Our increase in operational tempo, location of our forces in the populations they are securing and conduct of operations in areas where we previously had no presence, as well as the enemy's greater use of certain types of explosive devices, have led to an increase in our losses. Our Iraqi partners have sacrificed heavily as well, with losses generally two to three times ours or even more.

-It's Hard When All That's Reported Are The Car Bombs
As I mentioned, we generally in many areas -- not all, but in many areas -- have a sense of sort of incremental progress. Again, that is not transmitted at all. Of course it will never break through the noise and the understandable coverage given to it in the press of a sensational attack that kills many Iraqis.

You know, all of this is actually so foreign, I think, in the mind of most people who see the news and of course do see that day's explosion or something like that. And actually there is a city of seven million in which life goes on, and again, citizens are determined to carry on with their life.


-Yes, Absolutely
It is clearly the element in Iraq that conducts the sensational attacks, these attacks that, as I mentioned, cause not just horrific physical damage -- and which, by the way, have been increasingly indiscriminate. Secretary Gates noted the other day that al Qaeda has declared war on all Iraqis, and I think that that is an accurate statement. They have killed and wounded and maimed countless Iraqi civilians in addition to, certainly, coalition and Iraqi security forces, and they have done that, again, without regard to ethnosectarian identity.

That significance of al Qaeda in the conduct of the sensational attacks, the huge car bomb attacks against which we have been hardening markets, hardening neighborhoods, trying to limit movement and so forth -- those attacks, again, are of extraordinary significance because they can literally drown out anything else that might be happening
So this is a -- you know, it is a very significant enemy. I think it is probably public enemy number one.

...Typically, in fact, still we believe that, oh, 80 to 90 percent of the suicide attacks are carried out by foreigners.


-Iraqis Die
My sense is that there would be an increase in sectarian violence, a resumption of sectarian violence, were the presence of our forces and Iraqi forces at that time to be reduced and not to be doing what it is that they are doing right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What Diplomacy Means to Speaker Pelosi

Someone needs to get Speaker Pelosi a PDA. The ones equipped with the appointment reminder alerts.

Or maybe she just needs a reminder of who our enemies are.

Remember how Speaker Pelosi went to Syria recently, and was roundly criticized for doing so? The criticism revolved around her playing president and changing our national foreign policy. Even publications that basically agreed with her intent nonetheless realized her actions were a grave mistake. The NY Times agreed with Ms. Pelosi's view that the US needs to open dialogue with Syria, despite that country's elbow-deep involvement in worldwide terrorism, assassinations in Lebanon, and supplying the very IED's that are killing soldiers and citizens in Iraq. The idea is that even though Syria is nominally an enemy to the United States, we should still meet with them.

Now juxtapose that with what occurred in Congress this week. Congressional leaders succeeded in passing an Iraq war funding bill that also called for troop withdrawal by October, perhaps sooner. It was a divisive debate, and had a razor thin margin of victory.

The administration opposes the bill, and the president has vowed to veto it. The four star general overwhelmingly approved by the Senate to oversee military operations in Iraq opposes it as well. In fact, General Petraeus envisions a lengthy stay in Iraq.

General Petraeus travelled back from Iraq this week to visit the Congress and update them on the status of the "surge" policy enacted in January. Listening to the experts would seem to be a good idea, wouldn't it? The Senate apparently agreed and scheduled the meeting. But it seems that under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi the House of Representatives initially declined to accept the general's offer of expert analysis. When some in Congress protested, leadership changed direction and set up the meeting.

What happened next is why someone ought to start up a collection or something so that Speaker Pelosi can get herself a PDA. According to CNN,
Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNN the Speaker realized "first thing (Tuesday) morning" she had a scheduling conflict and could not attend the all-House members briefing Wednesday

See, if only she had a PDA she could have known that she had a conflict when she set up the meeting in the first place. I hear they even make cell phones with scheduling capabilities too. Maybe she should get one of those.

"Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami" wasn't sure what it was exactly that took precedent over meeting with the four star general, but apparently another "Democratic aide with knowledge of her schedule" was able to tell CNN in another story that,
Anticipating a close vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi skipped Wednesday's briefing with Petraeus to lobby for passage

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, that's why. She couldn't attend the meeting she set up with the commander of US forces in Iraq because she was lobbying members of Congress to vote against his recommendations.

Is it possible that Ms. Pelosi doesn't really need a high tech scheduler after all? Could it be that she simply couldn't be bothered with a face to face meeting with General Petraeus because she had her own agenda to further? Obviously she doesn't agree with what the General is doing in Iraq, so what's the point in even discussing it with him?

Except that she just flew halfway across the globe to meet face to face with a man that is doing things in Iraq that she presumably disagrees with. Things like blowing up our soldiers and killing innocent civilians. She maintains that we should have normal, open relations with men like him, men that are enemies to our country. But if that man is a US general who just flew halfway across the globe to meet with her, apparently open relations aren't needed.

Harry Potter "Order of the Phoenix" Trailer

Anyone remember the plot of this book? Something about an evil threat, but nobody will believe Harry or Dumbledore that it actually exists? Harry and his cohorts using fear of said threat to gain power among his peers. The leader of Hogwarts losing his position as Headmaster for insisting on claiming a threat existed and being replaced by someone who refuses to teach any real self defense lessons.

Who is this Rowlings lady, exactly? And what does Karl Rove have on her?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Last week's happenings gave me pause. Not only the shootings, but the reaction around the country. The bodies were still warm, and the facts still hazy, when the television announcers were clamoring for someone to blame. Mere hours after the shooting Sean Hannity was defending gun rights. I wondered to myself, with not a little irritation, why he would already be on that bandwagon. Sure enough, when I next opened a web browser, the homepage's news headline box linked the shootings to gun control. I was so disgusted with the coverage and politicization of a massacre that for a day or two I tried my best to avoid any news of it. Finally, I watched a "special" news program dedicated to the tragedy. I hoped to get some information, some facts about what happened. Instead, I was treated to a round of sensationalism, cryptic sound bites, and far too much speculation for any respectable journalist. It was disgusting. It was disappointing. The media is often criticized, sometimes unfairly so. But this time they truly failed.

With each new soundbite and headline the same line repeated in my head: Let us grieve. Over thirty people were killed and within hours of it happening it had become a media circus of assigning blame and playing politics. Enough already! Let people be sad.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What Happened To My Sleepy, Small Town?

These sorts of things aren't supposed to happen in places like Twin Falls, Idaho:

In February an 18 year old kid stabbed his girlfriend. The following day he committed suicide after barricading himself in a local business surrounded by police and the SWAT team. At the time, he was on probation for stabbing his mother. The county juvenile prosecutor said the boy had a history of violence and alcoholism. Did I mention he had just turned 18?

Last fall, there were a string of robberies that appeared to be connected. Unfortunately, they ended when the thieves turned on one of their own and killed him. The four remaining thieves are now charged with shooting their partner in the face, chasing and shooting him as he ran away, and then dumping his body in the nearby mountains. Two of the four are a "couple". The woman cried at her arraignment, her boyfriend smiled.

In November, a man was shot and killed outside a bar. Validating my mother's claim that nothing good happens after midnight, the man was shot at around 2 am after a series of confrontations at at least two seperate bars. The altercation allegedly escalated until the accused pointed a gun at the victim, and then the victim grabbed the gun and pulled it to his face, asking, "what are you trying to prove".

Last month, the body of a woman was found under the Perrine Bridge. She had been stabbed multiple times and apparently dragged to the canyon edge and dumped. Police identified a suspect who had recently met the victim at a bar, interviewed him and searched his home where they found blood. Shortly afterwards, the suspect did not show up to work, and was found at his parent's home, an apparent victim of suicide.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

BASE Jump The Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls

BASE jumping is big in Twin Falls, Idaho. Though I'm not sure how many of the jumpers are actually from Twin Falls. The bridge that spans the Snake River Canyon, Perrine Bridge, is a very popular spot to base jump. I cross the bridge every day and there are always folks preparing themselves for the jump. Often, there are mishaps that result in the injury and death of the jumpers.

Such was the case yesterday. In fact, it happened minutes before I crossed the bridge on my way home from work. An as yet unidentified BASE jumper's parachute failed to deploy and the jumper was killed.

Of course, there are myriad of issues involved with the BASE jumping. It costs money to rescue the jumpers from the problems they put themselves into. There are virtually no regulations or safeguards in place to protect those that want to jump. The pros and cons of this are invariably discussed each year as the weather improves enough to start the jumping.

Speaking of weather, yesterday was not a great day. It was cold. It was windy. There were 24 mph gusts around the area.

What in the world would possess a thinking person to step out onto a bridge in the middle of 20+ mph gusts of wind and jump? What exactly do you think will happen to you and your parachute when hit by one of those wind gusts?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Incovenient Consensus

The results are in, and it doesn't look good for Speaker Pelosi's trip to Syria. A sampling of major newpaper editorial boards reveals that the Speaker's trip to Damascus was better left to those elected to do that sort of thing.

The Washington Post:
The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.

The Chicago Tribune:
After she met with Syria's thuggish president, Bashar Assad, she issued this doozy: "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace."

It is also, administration officials quickly pointed out, the road by which arms are shipped to terrorists -- Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and insurgents in Iraq.

The New York Times:
There is at least one point on which we and the critics of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Damascus can agree: It is the White House, not the speaker of the House, that should be taking the diplomatic lead.

USA Today:
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi crossed a line this week by visiting Syria, where she met with President Bashar Assad. She violated a long-held understanding that the United States should speak with one official voice abroad — even if the country is deeply divided on foreign policy back home.

The Boston Herald:
Normally, there’s no objection to members of Congress of either party meeting with officials of foreign governments. But Syria is not a normal government. In addition to exporting terror, its agents have tried to maintain control of Lebanon by assassinating opponents there.

A trip like Pelosi’s effectively rewards an outlaw Syria for nothing. What the “negotiate no matter what” crowd forgets is all the previous failed attempts to get Syria to negotiate seriously. They make new attempts and comments like Pelosi’s “the road to Damascus is a road to peace” nothing but rank foolishness. From 1993 to 2005, there have been many more than 20 high-level visits to Syria for nothing.

Monday, April 09, 2007

It's Your Fault

This is interesting. Liz Pulliam Weston says that if you're having financial troubles, it's your fault. She's a highly read financial columnist, and she's listed the many excuses she's been given by people in financial binds. Less overtime, higher unplanned expenses, divorce, bad economy, credit cards, mortgage, bad parenting, or you're just plain bad with numbers. She's heard them all and she's having none of it.

Ultimately, it's up to you to spend less than you earn.

Ms. Weston lists a few fairly common and fairly easy to follow ideas to identify, fix, and leave behind your financial problems. While she does say that your problems are of your own doing, she does understand the various difficulties people face. Those issues, whether caused by government, corporations, credit card companies or health care, can and should be discussed and improved. However, Ms. Weston writes, "But first make sure your own house is in order. Don't leave your financial well-being to the whims of others. Taking charge, taking responsibility and finding solutions is what empowers us and what ultimately lead to financial freedom."

For He Is Risen, As He Said

I had a really good Easter weekend, one spent with family, friends, and church. I had the opportunity to reflect and ponder on a few things, and put my faith into practice. I offer up now a few notes in regards to Easter, and specifically to the Resurrection and Atonement.

In Matthew it is recorded of the Savior,
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.

The miracle of the Savior's resurrection is made even more miraculous by its extension to all of humanity.

Job said,
"And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God"

Amulek taught a questioning multitude about the resurrection:

Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.

The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.

Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.

In the recently concluded General Conference, Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of "The Things of Which I Know", including his testimony of Jesus Christ,

The second great certitude of which I am sure also has its foundation in the vision of the Prophet Joseph. It is that Jesus lives. He is the Living Christ. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New. Under His Father's direction, He was the Creator of the earth. The gospel of John opens with these remarkable words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

"The same was in the beginning with God.

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1–3).

Note particularly that last verse, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

He was the great Creator. It was His finger that wrote the commandments on the Mount. It was He who left His royal courts on high and came to earth, born under the most humble of circumstances. During His brief ministry, He healed the sick, caused the blind to see, raised the dead, and rebuked the scribes and Pharisees. He was the only perfect man ever to walk the earth. All of this was part of His Father's plan. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He suffered so greatly that he sweat drops of blood as He pleaded with His Father. But this was all a part of His great atoning sacrifice. He was taken by the mob, appeared before Pilate with the mob crying for His death. He carried the cross, the instrument of His death. On Golgotha He gave His life, crying out, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

His body was tenderly laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. But three days later, on that first Easter morning, the tomb was emptied. Mary of Magdala spoke to Him, and He spoke to her. He appeared to His Apostles. He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. And, we are told, He was seen by some 500 others (see 1 Corinthians 15:6).

He had said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). Accordingly, He appeared to those assembled in the land Bountiful in the Western Hemisphere. Here, He taught the people as He had taught them in the Old World. This is all recorded in detail in the Book of Mormon, which stands as a second witness of the divinity of our Lord.

And to repeat, both He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph, the Father introducing the Son, saying: "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

Friday, April 06, 2007

LDS General Conference Available Online

The archives for the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints held last weekend are now available online. You can view them in pdf or html format, and you can also download the audio files. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell Agrees With Mormons.....At Least One Of Them Anyway

Rosie O'Donnell is in the news lately for her statements on tv's The View regarding September 11 skepticism. Here's the video of what she said:

A major September 11 conspiracy theory group's co-founder is Steven E. Jones, who was a BYU physics professor. In November 2005, Salt Lake City Utah's Deseret News reported on a paper that Mr. Jones had posted on BYU's physics page that offered his research on the subject. The paper has since been removed and Mr. Jones was put on paid leave and subsequently retired from BYU last fall. However, the paper, titled "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Collapse?", was published in the book "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out" and can be found at The Deseret News provided the following quote:
"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the two plane crashes — which were actually a diversion tactic," he writes. "Muslims are (probably) not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all,"
Professor Jones was also interviewed by a local Salt Lake City news program:

Mr. Jones has done numerous interviews and has spoken at many conferences explaining his findings and answering questions.

However, many organizations are skeptical of the skeptics, including the folks at Popular Mechanics. Their March 2005 cover story was devoted to debunking the debunkers. After Rosie's comments stirred the controversy again, Popular Mechanics revisited the issue. Here are some pertinent quotes:
debris from the 110-floor North Tower hit WTC7 with the force of a volcanic eruption. Nearly a quarter of the building was carved away over the bottom 10 stories on its south face, and significant damage was visible up to the 18th floor.

The North and South Towers of the World Trade Center weren’t knocked down by planes—they both stood for more than a half-hour after the impacts. But the crashes destroyed support columns and ignited infernos that ultimately weakened—not melted—the steel structures until the towers could no longer support their own weights. Ms. O’Donnell fundamentally misstates the case with her use of the word “melted”.
Popular Mechanic's website has many valuable photographs of the towers and the damage done to them by the two planes. They also reveal that WTC7
"housed the city’s emergency command center, so there were a number of fuel tanks located throughout the building—including two 6000-gal. tanks in the basement that fed some generators in the building by pressurized lines."
Popular Mechanics also refutes Mr. Jones's claim that the towers were felled by explosives by saying that wiring the buildings for a controlled demolition "would present insurmountable logistical challenges."

The 9/11 conspiracy groups are not satisfied with these explanations however. Nor, I suspect, will they ever be. Rosie O'Donnell says she would like to have physicists on the show to discuss the issue. Hopefully they will have physicists from both sides of the argument so a real discussion might be possible. Maybe she'll invite Mr. Jones. It might possibly be the only time she ever agrees with a Mormon.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One Last Time for Geoffrey

I'm not sure it's worth it to continue this, but in order to leave a record for posterity, I will revisit my experience in Geoffrey-land.

In his post, "Pathetic Gathering of Pseudo-Patriots" and in the comments that followed, Geoffrey called into question and otherwise ridiculed a group of counter protesters that call themselves Gathering of Eagles. When faced with the various facts that I presented, rather than debunk, dispute, engage or even aknowledge them, Geoffrey retreated to his I Hate Republicans cacoon.

In response to my blog post on the encounter, he proclaims that it is I that have ignored facts. Of course, the facts he offers have nothing whatever to do with the Gathering of Eagles. They are simply his excuses for his continuing hatred of Republicans.

Now, just who are the Gathering of Eagles? According to their website, they are:
We are wholly and forever committed to our brothers and sisters in uniform. As veterans, we understand their incredible and noble sacrifices, made of their own accord for a nation they love more than life itself. As family members, we stand by them, and as Americans, we thank God for them.

We believe that the war memorials are sacred ground; as such, we will not allow them to be desecrated, used as props for political statements, or treated with anything less than the solemn and heartfelt respect they–and the heroes they honor–deserve.

Then there is the blogger Indepundit who was at the protest and mingled with both sides. He took pictures and wrote a commentary on the Gathering of Eagles group.

In his latest comment on my last blog post on the topic, Geoffrey asserts that he has not belittled anyone. Let's review the original post in question so we can verify his claim.

His first sentence is not too promising:
I am going to belittle a group with whom I disagree.

Geoffrey keeps his promise by following up with these gems:
a bunch of out-of-shape, military-wannabes pretending to be a part of something that would destroy them if they actually were there

chest-bearing, pseudo-macho, pseudo-patriotic nonsense spewers

These people are the very embodiment of pathetic

And, of course, the title of the post is "Gathering of Pathetic Pseudo-Patriots".

Someone, somewhere, perhaps even in Geoffrey-land, has got to admit that those statements amount to belittling. Since the Eagles are comprised of many veterans, Geoffrey therefore has belittled veterans. That's the truth. Period.

Now, on to my "ignoring the facts" assertion that has him so flustered. In his original post, Geoffrey posed the question,
what, exactly, were they protecting and why?

Geoffrey cannot fathom why peace protesters would want to harm war memorials in any way. I often ask myself the same question. And yet it continues to happen:

Vietnam memorial in Corpus Christi, Texas
September 11 memorial in Emmett, Idaho
September 11 memorial in Naperville, Illinois
Medal of Honor monument in Indianapolis, Indiana
Veterans memorial in Irving, Texas
The Capitol steps spray painted during January protest march
And, of course, the flag and soldier burning in Portland.

Is it still so hard to understand why veterans would want to rally in order to protect the monuments that were erected to honor their sacrifice? Is it hard to understand why anyone would want to? Is it still so hard to understand why some may have become emotional-even angry-at the sight of anti-democracy, anti-soldier protesters and placards? Is it still so hard to understand that for most of these veterans this had little to do with Republicanism or President Bush?

Not for me.


April 3, 1948:

President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, allocating more than $5 billion in aid for 16 European countries recovering from World War II.

Monday, April 02, 2007

This Day In History

President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying,

"The world must be made safe for democracy.”

The "You're Kidding" Headline of the Day

From the UK's Daily Mail:

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

Iraq The Model Re: The Real Front in War on Terror

Excerpts from a recent post on Iraq The Model:

"When The Taliban regime in Afghanistan fell young men waited in lines to get a haircut and when Saddam fell barbers became targets."

My father offered this simple example during a discussion we had about war on terror the other day. Although the example is very simple but the idea behind it is deep and aims at identifying the change of the main battleground for war with terror.

I wanted to talk about this because recently we've been watching the debate in America about redeployment of troops and identifying the real front we must focus on.

I see that al-Qaeda and terrorists in general didn't hide their position in this respect—despite the fact that they still operate in many parts of the world, they are clearly redirecting most effort and resources to the war in Iraq.

An Islamic state in Iraq whether to be led by al-Qaeda or one of the local extreme religious parties would be an enormous threat to the security of the region and the world and a turning point that might encourage fence-sitters to join the terrorists…the tide would be much more difficult to stop then.

Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls Idaho