Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Operation Matador

The Fourth Rail has some analysis of the fighting going on in western Iraq in Operation Matador in which three Marines and over 100 insurgents have already lost their lives.

Perhaps one of The Fourth Rail's more interesting observations is this:

Col. Stephen Davis states, "The insurgents we're fighting today are not the guys getting $50 to put [a roadside bomb] on the side of the road... These are the professional fighters who have come from all over the Middle East. These are people who have received training and are very well-armed." The insurgents are fighting to the death from bunkers, basements and other concealed positions that do not provide for easy escape. Similar tactics were used by dead-enders in Fallujah, and similar results - the enemy's defeat - will occur during Operation Matador, dealing yet another blow to al Qaeda's jihad in Iraq.

Belmont Club has maps and additional details.

The war is gradually, maybe even quickly, evolving from an indigenous insurgency to a foreign invasion. This is going to make it much harder for the radicals on the loopy Left to claim that the insurgents are just Iraqis patriots trying to expel foreign infidels. We're confident, though, that somehow they'll find a way to turn these alien fighters into naturalized Iraqi citizens.

See UPDATE below.

Unconfirmed Rumor

Word is passing around the blogs about a report that Abu al-Zarqawi has either been seriously wounded or killed in the fighting in western Iraq. The report is encouraging but there's been no confirmation of it as yet. Read Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail for more on this and related developments pertaining to Operation Matador.

Alzheimer's Vaccine

A story at Fox on work being done to develop a vaccine to slow or prevent Alzheimer's disease is encouraging:

A vaccine that triggers the immune system to fight against the plaque-building protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease may still be a viable option in the future for treating -- or perhaps even preventing -- the devastating disease, according to new research.

[T]wo new studies that followed the participants suggest that the approach may slow the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease by reducing the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

"The idea of inducing the immune system to view beta-amyloid as a foreign protein, and to attack it, holds great promise," says researcher Sid Gilman, MD, a neurologist at the University of Michigan Health System, in a news release. "We now need to see whether we can create an immune response safely and in a way that slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease and preserves cognition."

Follow the link to read the rest of the story.

Priscilla Owen

Senator John Cornyn of Texas makes the case at NRO for giving Priscilla Owen a straight up or down confirmation vote. The fact that a nominee of her caliber has been held hostage for four years to partisan power struggles by the Democrats really is unconscionable. Cornyn begins his piece with this:

I know Priscilla personally, because we served together on the Texas supreme court. Throughout her life, she has excelled in virtually everything she has ever done. She was a law-review editor, a top graduate from Baylor Law School at the remarkable age of 23, and the top scorer on the Texas bar exam. She entered the legal profession at a time when relatively few women did, and after a distinguished record in private practice, she reached the pinnacle of the Texas bar - a seat on the Texas supreme court. She was supported by a larger percentage of Texans than any of her colleagues during her last election, after enjoying the endorsement of every major Texas newspaper.

Unsurprisingly, then, the American Bar Association, after careful study, unanimously rated her well qualified to serve on the federal bench - their highest rating.

Unsurprisingly, she enjoys the enthusiastic support of a bipartisan majority of senators.

Yet a partisan minority of senators now insists that Owen may not be confirmed without the support of a supermajority of 60 senators - a demand that is, by their own admission, wholly unprecedented in Senate history. Why? Simple: The case for opposing her is so weak that changing the rules is the only way they can defeat her nomination.

What's more, they know it, too. Before her nomination became caught up in partisan special-interest politics, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee predicted that Owen would be swiftly confirmed. On the day of the announcement of the first group of nominees, including Owen, he said he was "encouraged" and that "I know them well enough that I would assume they'll go through all right." Indeed, just a few weeks ago, the Minority Leader announced that Senate Democrats would give Justice Owen an up-or-down vote - albeit only if Republicans agreed to deny the same courtesy to other nominees.

The senator goes on to discuss her critics' objections to her appointment - a flimsy and insubstantial lot. The only reason for objecting at all, of course, is that the Democrats have to offer some reason for opposing her other than the real reason, which is that she's Bush's nominee.

The sooner we see that metaphorical mushroom cloud in the senate chamber, the better.