This Week in National Insecurity

| Thu Aug. 5, 2010 1:59 PM EDT

Whichever side of the fence you land on, chances are you agree that America's not a very secure nation these days: economically, electorally, and of course, physically. So we grabbed our lensatic compass, rucksack, and canteen, then mounted out across the global media landscape for a quick recon. Whether you're scared because our military isn't good enough—or you're scared because it's too good—here's all the ammunition you need, in a handy debrief.

In this installment: Mike Hastings, martyr; dealing with Iran; what mosques and married gays have to do with homeland security, allegedly; old Iraqi enemies; new Al Qaeda enemies; soldiers on hippie drugs; WikiLeaks groveling; and Taliban gangbangers. Word.

The sitrep:

The United States government's national threat level is Elevated, or Yellow. You're welcome.

  • After military overseers in Afghanistan yanked his embed reporting assignment this week, Rolling Stone's Michael "I write everything down" Hastings went on TV. The gist of his argument: He wasn't denied access because he got Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired, but because the war sucks, the war's media guys know it, and the last thing they need is more bad press. All true, but depressing. Mikey needs a Bud Light Lime. (MoJo/Yahoo News)
  • WHAT! Sanctions work on Iran? Holy ayatollah! Unless..."sanctions" is a euphemism for really big frickin' US and Israeli bombs, right? (Time)
  • Remember Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's old foreign minister? (You'll recognize when you see him.) The now-imprisoned Ba'athist gave an interview cursing the US for invading Iraq in 2003...and cursing the US for wanting to leave Iraq in 2010. But apparently he's always been a little confused: The Nation's Iraq war expert, Jeremy Scahill, tweeted today: "when i met tariq aziz in baghdad in 1998, he went on and on about how he loved james baker and donald rumsfeld." Um, so...in this mutual admiration society, was there a goat sacrifice involved? (The Guardian)
  • Al Qaeda's North African outfit has decided its mortal enemy is not the Great Kenyan-American Satan, but rather Europe's refuge for cheese-eating surrender monkeys, the kingdom of Sarkozia. Apparently Al Qaeda is stunned that French commandos killed some members of the terrorist group in a vain attempt to rescue a Gallic aid worker. Not stunned that the French killed their colleagues, just stunned that they have commandos, 'cause hey. France. (Al Jazeera English)
  • How do you keep corn-fed, all-American flatlands soldier boys from passing out while they do their thing in Afghanistan's high-altitude areas? Drugs. Lots of 'em. Who says Pentagon research isn't totally hip? (Danger Room)
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