FUBAR

Stopping MySpace predators

The recent headlines might send a chill up any parent’s spine:

Suspect Accused Of Using Facebook To Lure 15-Year-Old Boy. Seven Teenaged Girls Assaulted By Men They Met Through MySpace.Com.

Social networking Web sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, are a virtual playground where millions of children log in looking to make friends near and far.

Pentagon fails to protect troops in Iraq

The Pentagon expects to deliver only 1,500 mine-proof armored vehicles to Iraq by the end of the year, less than half the number promised a month ago, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Press secretary Geoff Morrell said the Pentagon will not be able to meet its goal of delivering 3,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles by the end of the year.

“If we could get 1,500 to theater by the end of this year that would be a positive development,” he said.

Will we be ready next time?

Two years ago, the CIA sent to Congress a report of several hundred pages done by its inspector general detailing the agency’s errors and missteps leading up to 9/11. The CIA fought strenuously against its release. Based on a heavily edited 19-page summary, it’s easy to see why.

Much of the summary spells out what was previously known or guessed at, and it did find that there was no “single point of failure” that allowed 9/11 to happen or “silver bullet” that would have prevented it.

Helping a friend

The guy has been a friend of John Powers since their middle-school days in Cumberland, R.I. When Powers headed for the University of Rhode Island, his friend headed for the Marine Corps.

His friend came back from Afghanistan in 2005.

“I saw his life fall off the face of the earth,” says Powers. “He couldn’t get a job.”

It has been two years, and still Powers worries. His friend will be OK for a couple of months, then get caught in that dark, frightening confusion that the Marines never prepared him for. He’ll stop calling.

Hearts, minds and souls

The first concept to grasp is that the global conflict now under way involves both a clash of arms and a clash of ideas. To succeed in this war will require effective combat on both fronts.

The second concept is this: The clash of arms and the clash of ideas influence one another, often in peculiar and even counterintuitive ways.

One example: Al Qaeda in Iraq could not challenge American troops directly. Their solution has been to target innocent Iraqis instead, to slaughter innocent Muslim men, women and children by the hundreds.

Going back to school

It is that time of the year when a great mass migration occurs. Unlike monarch butterflies, swallows, caribou or spawning salmon, the participants in this trek are not driven by strong instinctual need.

In fact, the participants barely understand the purpose of it. As for being driven, well, they are driven out the door by their relieved parents.

I refer to the back-to-school movement that fills the nation’s roads with yellow buses and its streets with youngsters who are so dragging their behinds that some will suffer posterior gravel rash.

Erin Brokovich is back

Erin Brockovich is moving forward with a possible sequel to the investigation she led in California, this time in Australia.

Brockovich and the Westlake Village, Calif., law firm Masry & Vititoe earned acclaim for her sleuthing in Hinkley, which found that a California power company had polluted the water supply.

The investigation was turned into a 2000 movie that earned Julia Roberts a Best Actress Academy Award.

Pentagon shuts down spying database

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it would close a controversial database tracking suspicious activity around U.S. military bases that critics complained had been used to spy on peaceful antiwar activists.

Officials decided the TALON program would end on September 17 not in response to public criticism but because the amount and quality of information being gathered had declined, the Pentagon said.

CIA report faults Tenet for 9/11 weaknesses

Mistakes and missed opportunities by the Central Intelligence Agency failed to follow up on the growing threat of al Qaeda and left America open to attack on September 11, 2001, an investigation within the CIA concludes.

The damning report condemns former CIA director George Tenet for abandoning his own declared war on the terrorist organization and diverting agency resources away from the effort to prevent an attack on American soil.

The report lays much of the blame for American vulnerability to the attacks directly on Tenet.

Iraq spirals out of control

A retired American general is admitting what President George W. Bush will not.

Southern Iraq is out of control and getting worse and there appears little the military can do about it.

As the war escalates and the White House continues to claim otherwise, the death toll mounts and the situation becomes more and more hopeless.

Yet Bush stubbornly sticks to his failed Iraq strategy and shows no sign of bending to the will of the American people or the face of reality.