- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2008


The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, on Sen. Barack Obama’s meeting with troops in Iraq:

There’s been so much attention paid to the political jousting between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama over the latter’s trip to the Middle East and Europe that some good news is close to being forgotten already: The Iraqi government is talking about American troops leaving by the end of 2010.

Unfortunately, it is not clear that troops pulled out of Iraq would come home right away regardless of which candidate wins the presidency.

For now, there’s no official deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. And yes, for a lot of Americans even 2010 would be too long to wait.

Still, the fact that the Iraqi government wants a timetable or to use President Bush’s preferred euphemism, a “time horizon” for the departure of American troops suggests that there might really be light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel. …

Whether it’s weak or strong, if the Iraqi government tells the United States to leave, it must. The U.S. government has no right to stay the course if the government it helped create says go away. …

On the Net:


Los Angeles Times, on the recent 5.4-magnitude earthquake:

We got lucky this time. …

… And although better building codes have made this a safer region in which to ride out quakes, we are not prepared in other ways to maximize our chances for both immediate and longer-term survival.

… When hundreds of people wrote in to The Times’ Web site within minutes to share their experiences of the quake, among the stories were reports of unsecured bric-a-brac that had fallen or children who had never experienced an earthquake and had no idea what to do. And how many of us, if we ever had a home earthquake kit complete with bottled water, have bothered to update it in the last five years? …

It’s easy to ignore theoretical reports such as the one released in May by the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey warning that a catastrophic quake, like the one that struck China, was inevitable here, and that individuals and governments were not up to the challenge. After all, we have other disasters to worry about these days. … (The) quake may have provided a useful jolt of reality.

On the Net:https://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-quake30-2008jul30,0,10315. story

Chicago Tribune, on NATO and Afghanistan:

… Obama’s extended photo op in Europe may hearten residents of that continent who view 21st Century America as too belligerent, just as it could enhance his candidacy for the presidency here at home. We hope, though, that the throng gathered before Obama in Berlin didn’t hear only what it wanted to, lots of talk about taking down walls and ignore his call for NATO members to assume more responsibility for saving Afghanistan.

In 2006, NATO forces took command of what had started five years earlier as a U.S. war effort. For the most part, though, Europe hasn’t committed resources sufficient to prevail in Afghanistan. Rather than look eastward toward the war zone and ask “What can we do?”, too many European leaders essentially have looked westward toward Washington, chanting, “Yes, you can!”

The crowd in Berlin, like all the peoples of Europe, needs to appreciate the unanimity of commitment in this country. President Barack Obama or President John McCain won’t shy from the message President Bush has emphasized: The “Don’t-bother-us” contingent in NATO must do more to exterminate terror groups in some of the most treacherous terrain on Earth. …

The threat of Afghanistan returning to uniform lawlessness is palpable, and the demands European nations need to meet are not extreme. This is a sprawling and vicious war, but not a huge one. If NATO members dodge their obligations in Afghanistan, how reliable would they be as co-combatants in a more expansive conflict elsewhere – perhaps one with nuclear implications?

On the Net:


Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Sweden, on executions in Iran:

The largest mass execution in years is threatened to be followed by death through stoning. Youths are being tortured and executed. The world must condemn the tyranny in Tehran.

Last week, an Iranian court sentenced eight women and one man to death through stoning for prostitution and marital crimes, etc. The gender division is typical. Iranian women seldom have neither money nor possibility to defend themselves to the same extent as men. The verdict has been condemned by the E.U. …

Ironically enough, stoning is not mentioned in the Quran, despite the punishment now having become linked to Islamic law. …

Meanwhile the medieval week in Iran continues. … Only this year’s Olympic host executes more people. …

Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005, the executions have increased by 360 percent. Does it have to take as long as for China for people to wake up and see the truth about the Iranian regime?

On the Net:


Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab emirates, on Iraq:

There’s more bad news from Iraq. A new phenomenon of female suicide bombers has added itself to the long list of woes of the Middle East country. Three female suicide bombers killed more than 60 people in triple devastating attacks across Iraq. …

The bombers targeted a crowd of Shia devotees and a protest rally in Kirkuk in the north. These attacks have shaken the Iraqi government and the coalition that had begun to cautiously celebrate relative improvement in the security situation in recent times. …

But coming as it does after weeks and months of relative peace in Iraq, the female suicide bombing has left everyone stunned reminding them of the extremely fragile nature of peace. It is being suggested that since the massive influx of foreign fighters has of late been reduced to a trickle, thanks to increased vigil and crackdown by security forces and cooperation of Iraq’s neighbors of course, the insurgents are increasingly turning to women as their weapon of choice. …

That said, the new phenomenon must come as a wake-up call to Iraq’s leaders. But, instead of cracking down on the families of the female bombers, the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition must take a serious look at why women are taking to these desperate measures. If the Iraqi authorities are keen to prevent such tragedies in the future, it’s important to understand what is driving such women.

On the Net:


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