Please? Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Congress yesterday for an additional $42.3 Billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That raises the total 2008 war-funding request to nearly $190 billion, the highest since the start of the war, according to the WaPo. The request arrived on the same day the Senate passed a nonbinding resolution to carve Iraq into three semiautonomous regions and two weeks after President Bush announced a limited troop drawdown starting in December. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said he refuses to rubber stamp the funding request.
Uprising Government security forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar Thursday, firing automatic weapons into crowds, hurling canisters of tear gas and raiding two Buddhist monasteries, reports the WSJ. In the second day of violence, the military junta appears to have redoubled its efforts to put down the country’s biggest uprising in nearly 20 years, amid mounting international protest.
Patriot Smacked A federal judge in Oregon ruled yesterday that two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, according to the AP. Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield brought the suit against the government after the FBI mistakenly linked him to the 2004 train bombings in Spain. The ruling comes two weeks after a federal judge in New York ordered the FBI to stop issuing "national security letters" that secretly demand customer information from Internet service providers and other businesses. The judge reasoned that the language in the Patriot act permitting the practice violated the First Amendment and the Constitution's separation of powers provision.
Trigger Happy Blackwater USA has been involved in more shootings than any other security contractor in Iraq, according to the NYT. Blackwater, under investigation in Washington and Baghdad for Sept. 16 shootings in which 11 Iraqis were killed, recorded an incident rate that was at least twice that of two other United States-based security firms that have been contracted by the State Department. Iraqi officials, in a rare display of solidarity, are pushing to jettison the firm from the country.