A review of the global security situation...
A bomb shatters the golden dome of a Shiite Shrine in Samarra, a town 60 miles north of Baghdad.
In retaliation, Shiite militiamen go ape in Baghdad, firing rocket propelled grenades and machine guns at Sunni mosques. In total, 27 Sunni mosques are attacked. Three imams are killed and another is kidnapped.
Iraqi Army soldiers, called out to stop the violence, stand by and watch it all happen.
Violent protests erupt across the country.
Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia leads many of the protests, blames the bombing of the shrine on "occupation forces."
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iran's top Shiite cleric, says, "If the government's security forces cannot provide the necessary protection, the believers will do it."
Some Iraqi leaders blame the United States for failing to prevent the violence.
One Iraqi Shiite leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's veiled threat on Monday to withdraw U.S. support if the Iraqis fail to form a nonsectarian government is to blame. "This declaration gave a green light for these groups to do their operation, so he is responsible for a part of that," Hakim says.
U.S. media pundits continue to argue over whether a civil war has broken out in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs chairman Peter Pace continue to complain that the media isn't reporting enough of the "good news" out of Iraq.
In other foreign policy news:
Our pals in Iran, who told us they'd build nukes whether we like or not, have pledged financial aid to Hamas, that terror group we don't like that won the elections in Palestine which we didn't expect to happen.
Since he can't get Iran to cooperate on a nuclear deal, Mr. Bush is now trying to meddle in India's nuclear program.
Our cuddly ally in Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, is losing his war against al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
In Afghanistan, the "crown jewel" in our Global War on Terror, militants are attacking schools and teachers.
In the worst foreign policy news of all, Condi Rice has made a surprise visit to Lebanon. I guess she had to sneak up on them so they wouldn't run away and hide before she got there. The best diplomatic move George W. Bush could make would be to chain Condi to her desk at Foggy Bottom. Among her, Rumsfeld, and Chertoff, it's a dead heat as to who's the biggest screw up in the Cabinet.
And on the Homeland Security front:
Bush domestic security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend is getting ready to release a report that says the nation needs to revamp the way it responds to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. It took a whole staff of people to help her figure that out.
The folks who tell you "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" want to spend $49.9 billion on homeland security in 2006, calling the outlay "a responsible effort to align spending with strategic priorities."
Last but not least, NYT's David Sanger tells us it doesn't matter if a Dubai company owns six American ports because security sucks at all American ports regardless of who owns them.
Mind you, all this is taking place under the stewardship of an administration that claims foreign policy and national security are its strong suits.
The long pole in the policy tent, of course, is Iraq, and we need to shut down that circus right now. We're not weakening the insurgency, we're not averting the civil war, and we're not bolstering Iraq's new government. A shrine blows up, all hell breaks loose, Iraqi troops pick their noses and rubberneck, and leadership across Iraq's political spectrum blames everything on us. I'm not upset that we threatened to withdraw support from the Iraqis if they failed to get their act together. I just damn angry we didn't do it two years ago.
There is no excuse whatsoever at this point for one more American kid to be killed or mangled in a futile attempt to bring that country into the 21st century. Iraqi troops aren't standing up. They're sitting down.
John Murtha's Iraq strategy is the only one that contains an ounce of sanity. Every second we delay redeploying out troops to the periphery is a senseless and irresponsible drain of our national treasure and power.