MUQTADA CALLS A TIME OUT. The big news from Iraq is that Muqtada al-Sadrhas ordered his militia to stand down, though he has stated they will continue defensive operations against the occupation forces. Muqtada's image has suffered greatly from the perception among Iraqis that elements of his Mahdi Army incited the violence we saw earlier in the week. Starting a fight at the birthday observances of the imam after whom your group is named doesn't speak well of your piety, which is one of the strongest things he has going for him, so he has to do some serious damage control.
DARWIN... DARWIN... ANYONE? ANYONE? You didn't think "Intelligent Design" was going away, did you? After the devastating defeat of the Dover decision, in which a judge ruled, based upon scientific testimony as well as internal documents from ID's own proponents, that ID was little more than religion dressed up in cheap science costume, the ID gang have regrouped, and now present themselves as brave, embattled scientific insurgents.
Many soldiers also say practices that worked against insurgencies in other wars or in other parts of Iraq may not apply to Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods.
The Al Mahdi militia is not a textbook insurgent group. To Iraqi Shiites, the militia offers a source for basic services and support for the political and religious work of popular anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr.
WHEN MINI-ME'S ATTACK. There's a small scuffle going on over at Andrew Sullivan's place. Yesterday, guest-blogger Jamie Kirchick posted this bizarre item, in which he interpreted a couple of Barack Obama's statements to derive The Obama Doctrine: "The United States will remain impassive in the face of genocide."
THE TWILIGHT REALM OF HIS OWN SECRET THOUGHTS. Given the inexplicable high regard in which he's held by the conservative foreign policy elite, Charles Krauthammer is always a pretty good indicator of what new, delusional strategy they're banking on this week. Today he suggests that now, rather than creating secure space for political reconciliation, the point of the surge is to buy time for Nuri al-Maliki's government to be replaced: