Even for British special forces the odds were unappealing. Sixty men with limited air support travelling in open-top Land Rovers across the desert in Saddam Hussein´s back yard were up against more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers. The mission for the men of the Special Boat Service was to persuade the feared Iraqi Fifth Corps to surrender on the eve of the Allied Forces´ invasion of the country in March 2003 as they tried to overthrow the cruel dictator.[Snip]What happened next saw the men scattered across the desert as they fled the enemy. As details emerged of what had gone wrong
In the desert since military operations started in North Africa about 1940, for the British Special Forces, the more things change the more they stay the same. Read the great book "Killing Rommel" and you will see what I mean.
The NHS is spending millions of pounds a year on unproven ‘crank’ therapies while denying drugs to cancer and dementia sufferers. The rationing body NICE has approved a raft of alternative treatments including hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome and acupuncture for headaches – despite turning down proven medicines available in Europe. Women can get free electrical stimulation therapy if they suffer from urinary incontinence and mothers-to-be with morning sickness can be prescribed ginger on the NHS. Other alternative treatments available include magnetic field therapy and tai chi for multiple sclerosis, and aromatherapy for dementia. Prince Charles has met health secretaries several times to discuss
Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that the democratic nature of the net is threatened by a "growing tide of surveillance and censorship". The warning came as he launched his World Wide Web Foundation´s annual web index report, tracking global censorship. It suggests that 94% of the countries in the index do not adequately monitor government internet interception. Thirty per cent of countries block or filter political content, it indicates. The report concludes that the current legal framework on government snooping needs urgent review. "One of the most encouraging findings of this year´s web index is how the web
The US has said a new post-2014 security deal with Afghanistan should be signed by the end of the year--conflicting with earlier comments from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The US said it was neither "practical nor possible" to delay the signing. [Snip] He said: "I don´t trust them and they don´t trust me. The last 10 years has shown this to me. I have had fights with them and they have had propaganda against me." The BBC´s Karen Allen in Kabul says Mr Karzai also appeared to strike a new condition--saying any pact would not be signed until after elections.
When you think of the thousands of American and British soldiers who have been killed or suffered serious injury in Afghanistan, not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars spent trying to stabilise the country, it is a bit rich for its president, Hamid Karzai, to now start demanding a formal apology from Washington for the mistakes it has made during a decade of brutal fighting. [Snip] As this week’s report by the Chatham House think tank in London has concluded, the West’s military effort in Afghanistan has been hindered by a woeful lack of political oversight and by
Environmental campaigners walked out en-masse from climate talks here in Warsaw saying they felt no progress was possible. Several hundred people left the national stadium venue amid anger over the slow pace of negotiations. But UK climate secretary Ed Davey told reporters he still expected "modest progress" to be made. And other negotiators indicated that a deal was possible on some of the most contentious issues. The talks began almost two weeks ago in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan with an emotional plea for rapid movement from the Philippines lead delegate. Yeb Sano, said it was time to "stop this madness" but his call has
A day after S.C. Sen. Tim Scott avoided a question on whether he was backing fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Nikki Haley chimed in. Answering a question in Arizona where she is attending a National Governor’s Association event, she said she was not getting involved in the race but praised what Graham has done for the state. “I have made it very clear I am not going to be involved in any South Carolina races,” she said. “But I want to say this, on any issue that I have had to deal with Lindsey on, whether it was the NLRB issue
A married father-of-four emerged from his tornado shelter on Sunday and was able to count his blessings that his family had survived--but there was still someone special missing. Jonathan Byler Dann stood amid the rubble of his home in Washington, Illinois and looked desperately for the family´s beloved dog Maggie. Their pet, who has been with the family since she was four months and is now 11 years old, had refused to leave her kennel as the EF4 tornado barreled towards them on Sunday. After emerging from under the rubble of his home, a heartbroken Mr Dann posted a picture
US President Barack Obama has supported a motion passed by Senate Democrats which weakens Republicans´ ability to block White House nominations. The measure, known as the "nuclear option", curbs the power of the upper chamber´s minority party to use a blocking tactic known as a filibuster. Mr Obama said the practice had gone too far, and was "not normal". Republicans vowed they would use the new rule against Democrats if they won back the Senate in the next election. [Snip] But he said it was unacceptable that nearly 30 of his nominees had been targeted using the tactic since he took office.
US President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Afghanistan´s leader Hamid Karzai vowing to respect his nation´s sovereignty, as Afghan elders debate a crucial post-2014 security pact. Mr Obama vows US forces will not enter Afghan homes except for "extraordinary circumstances"--a key point of debate. Mr Karzai urged the 2,000 elders to back the deal, which could see 15,000 foreign troops remain after 2014. But he said it would not be signed until after elections next year. [Snip] His office could not confirm to the BBC whether Mr Karzai--or his successor--would sign the pact.
Did David Cameron really tell his people to get rid of all the "green crap" in the Autumn Statement (and presumably, in the Tory campaign message, as well)? If so, it´s the best news I´ve heard about the Conservative leadership in a long, long time. My personal inclination is to believe that he did say it: it sounds like authentic Cameron-speak when he is at his most frank and impatient. [Snip] This is Nick Clegg´s verbatim reply to a caller on his LBC phone-in this morning: "It isn´t all crap of course." It isn´t all crap? Which bits of it
Implementation of health-care reform continues to suck all the oxygen out of the Washington media echo chamber, where even the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address can become a political football. The debate is whether ´Obamacare´ is fixable or in a death spiral. Given the current media frenzy, conservative commentators are having the easier time of it. Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View lays out two reasons why she thinks the future of health care reform is so tenuous. First, in order for Mr Obama´s programme to work, the public must have faith in the government-run "exchanges," where they can
Britain´s cancer shame was exposed last night as a major report showed our survival rates are still no better than Eastern Europe. Women with cervical cancer in the UK are less likely to be alive after five years than their counterparts in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, a major international study found. Our survival rates for breast and bowel cancer are also among the worst of the world’s industrialised nations, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development. Its report found that even Russia has a lower mortality rate for cancers than the UK--and that the NHS has fewer MRI
´´Knockout´´ attacks have been reported in several states around the country and now investigators believe three people have been attacked in our area. Police in Lower Merion are investigating two attacks in the area, and Philadelphia detectives are investigating an attack in Northeast Philadelphia. It’s a violent crime that in other parts of the country has proven fatal. Videos from cities around the country show people being punched and beaten at random.
It´s no secret that Sarah Palin is mighty steamed at MSNBC and Martin Bashir over his despicable remarks about the abusive treatment he imagines for her. And now she´s doing something about it. The former Alaska governor and Fox News contributor was scheduled to sit down with Matt Lauer for a Christmas season interview. That´s now toast. Palin has now canceled Lauer´s scheduled trip to Wasilla, a source close to her tells me. It´s not because Palin is upset with Lauer or the "Today" show, but as a protest against NBC for not taking action against Bashir. In fact, Palin once sat
MICHELLE OBAMA: I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was really little and then I wasn´t that great at math and science so I switched to law because my mother told me that I like to argue a lot. But I realized in high school and in college that you don´t have to exactly know, you´re kind of always discovering yourself. So I studied law, I went to law to school, but was pretty clear I just wanted to be a good student. I wanted to know how to read and write and communicate, be able to
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid´s finger is hovering over the big red button that will launch the Democrats´ nuclear attack against the United States Senate. By which we mean that, having secured 51 votes, Reid reportedly plans to advance a change to the body´s voting rules that would facilitate the approval of presidential nominees. KABOOM. That rules change, the much-discussed "nuclear option," is not an insignificant move for Reid. It´s not as bad as what happened in, say, Hiroshima in 1945, but it upends a long-standing tradition in the chamber. The problem in the Democrats´ view, as we´ve noted before,
In an interview on BET last night with Bow Wow and Keshia Chante, First Lady Michelle Obama talked up her husband, President Barack Obama. "I always say my husband has got swag," said Mrs. Obama. "He’s got a little swag." The audience applauded. Mrs. Obama also said that the president of the United States "sings all the time." She continued, "Oh, yes, he’s in the bathroom all the time just singing." She also praised her husband. "[H]e has got a good voice." Here´s a transcript of that exchange:
Well folks, it looks like Arizona Senator John McCain will "be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.” According to the Arizona Republic, McCain is set to attend a glitzy fundraising for his 2016 campaign in New York City. Sen. John McCain has scheduled a December fundraiser in New York City, the surest sign yet that the veteran Arizona Republican is serious about possibly pursuing a sixth term in 2016. According to a copy of the invitation obtained Tuesday by The Arizona Republic, McCain is asking supporters to join him 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the midtown St. Regis Hotel
President Barack Obama told a gathering of corporate executives Tuesday he´s confident that his model of health care will work in the end, but he said he´s going to have to "re-brand" it to sell it to a skeptical public. He didn´t use the word "Obamacare" once on Tuesday in talking about his health care law, but he mentioned the "Affordable Care Act" seven times. "So, look, I am confident that the model that we built, which works off of the existing private insurance system, is one that will succeed," Obama told the Wall Street Journal´s CEO Council Annual Meeting
The White House has admitted that it was wrong to promise that people would be able to their health care plans under Obamacare. "With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan you can keep it, I think -- you know, and I’ve said in interviews -- that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. We put a grandfather clause into the law but it was insufficient," President Obama said
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says although some Democrats may be voting politically to distance themselves from Obamacare, they were still supporting the law and working in their districts to implement it. "This is history and the future and progress," she stated emphatically, "It stands right there as Social Security, Medicare, affordable health care, as a right, not a privilege for the few, but a right for the many." She was speaking Tuesday at an event sponsored by BuzzFeed. Pelosi acknowledged she was "really disappointed" that the technology behind the website failed, but said she was excited to see the program fully
President Obama’s approval rating has sunk to 37 percent in a new poll released Wednesday — the lowest of his presidency — and his disapproval rate is at 57 percent, a new high for him in CBS News polls. His approval rating has dropped 9 points since October, according to the CBS News poll. Approval of his health care overhaul, commonly known as Obamacare, is now at an all-time low of 31 percent and disapproval is at 61 percent, a high for the poll, as his administration scrambles to deal with the fallout from a rocky rollout of major parts
Appearing shell-shocked by the Harry Reid’s abrupt move to pass the “nuclear option” through the Senate, Republicans there issued ominous warnings to reporters outside the chamber. “When you start, it’s like wars — there’s no end to this. I don’t know where it goes,” says Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “In my view this is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them at the beginning of our country,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says. Democrats have been open about wanting the change so President Obama’s regulations, executive actions and other unilateral decisions enjoy a
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) announced she will fast for a day as part of a push for amnesty. She will join an effort by activists on the National Mall who began fasting over a week ago. “I’m so inspired by the fasters and … how they’re willing to put their bodies on the lines, their health on the line to raise attention to an issue that is really tearing at the fabric of our country,” she said. Schakowsky, who has planned her fast for Thursday, encouraged her colleagues to join her in her day-long fast. Schakowsky, who has planned