"Al-Qaeda has already achieved several of its goals in Iraq, and while these may be circumscribed, they will not be reversed entirely. The global jihad has indeed been reinvigorated and been granted a new pretext and new context for its continued struggle, for new recruitment, and for accelerated training of new combatants.
"Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached in Boston on Saturday "in a lengthy and emotional address to a packed Old South Church," according to Sunday's Globe. And what did he preach about? The same topic he's always preaching about these days: the evil the Jews are inflicting on the Palestinians. You wonder why a South African cleric of the Anglican Church is fixated on Israel, or at least I wonder. It could be for the same reason that many Christian clerics have always found reason to damn the Jews.
Ezra, I don't think Obama specified which Rocky-Apollo fight he was referring to. Given that Obama identifies as Rocky, we can probably assume he means the fight Rocky won, in Rocky II. In any case, he wasn't referring to the outcome of the match, as much as to the hype around it, and how that sort of thing can distract from the important issues under discussion, or, to continue the Rocky analogy, from the rustic, unadorned beauty of two human beings beating each other to a permanently brain-damaged pulp.
Following up on Spencer Ackerman's very good article, I think it's important to understand that, while President Bush will of course treat any good news from Iraq as a vindication of his own "steadfastness," the tribal revolt was unforeseen by anyone who took part in planning the surge, and essentially fell into our laps. Through their brutality, arrogance, and disrespect for Iraqi tribal customs, al-Qaeda apparently drove their former hosts to revolt. To General Petraeus' credit, he seems to have quickly grasped what was going on and used the resources given to him for the surge to exploit this development.