Hi. It's a short offering today, focused on the new NIE, the war in Iraq, the alleged connection to al-Qaida and Iran ... and a dash of Senator Vitter.
Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters reads the NIE and surmises that the biggest Al Qaida threat to the U.S. comes from Iraq. Michael Ledeen, whose greatest hits include Iran-Contra and the war in Iraq, posts his take on the NIE and points an accusing finger at Iran. (Ledeen wanted to take on Iran before Iraq -- score one for consistency.)
And the unified field theory of both of the above comes from Eli Lake at the new York Sun who says Iran is now an al Qaida headquarters. And heck, let's just take this to it's logical conclusion, courtesy of The (London) Guardian: Cheney ain't leaving without "going to Tehran." But ah well, Spencer Ackerman finds one connection the NIE seems to have missed.
And Ed Morrissey discusses outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace's sudden declaration that the surge is working. This as Jack Kelly points to a bored soldier to demonstrate that al Qaida in Iraq is on the run. But oops... inconvenient facts on the ground seem to be undercutting that theory. John Aravosis at Americablog]is skeptical. There was a lot of attention last week on how the President's Iraq rhetoric has turned to al Qaida (with no differentiation between the loosely-related AQ franchise in Iraq and the old-fashioned 9/11 planners in Pakistan.) Thomas Ricks of the WP notes another rhetorical shift.. and wonders is the administration is setting up a fall guy. And in case you missed it, take a few minutes to watch Senators Jim Webb and Lindsay Graham get into a fight.. yeah it was a fight.. over Iraq policy on Meet the Press. Ann Applebaum warns against bad plans for Iraq. But James Joyner points out that Applebaum doesn't exactly have a plan herself. Atrios is a bit more blunt.
Senator David Vitter's first appearance since being outed in connection with the DC Madam got panned on Hardball last night. And despite the contention that Wendy Vitter did her husband some good, quaoar at DailyKos reminds us that she took a much different tack when she was talking about Bill Clinton's infidelity.