Morning Report: June 1, 2007

A British hostage speaks for the camera, a mayor and a governor talk about boycotts, and the Coalition strikes another blow against the enemy in Iraq.

BBC journalist appears on video, denounces everybody.  JTA:  'A BBC journalist kidnapped in the Gaza Strip appeared on a videotape, denouncing Israel and U.S. and British policy in the Middle East.  Alan Johnston appeared healthy in the video broadcast Friday on Al-Ekhlaas, a website used by Islamist groups.  It was not immediately clear when the video was made or what kind of pressures if any were used to get Johnston to speak. Johnston has been held, apparently by the "Army of Islam," for nearly three months.'

Red Ken opposes Israel boycott.
  Not one of our favorite people, London's leftist mayor Ken Livingstone hasn't suddenly become a staunch Zionist - but he doesn't think the time is quite right for a boycott of Israel, as has been advocated by some British academic and labor groups.  Arutz Sheva:  'London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone has expressed his opposition to the academic boycott of Israel by the University and College Union.  “Now is not the time for boycotts," he said. "Boycotts should only be used as a last resort, when there is no other alternative, such as was the case with South Africa but is not the case here.” Speaking at a meeting organized Tuesday night by the Movement for Reform Judaism and the London Jewish Forum, Livingstone said that such a boycott would undermine efforts to restart the Middle East "peace process."'

Florida's Governor Charlie Crist calls for Iran, Sudan divestment.  JTA:  'Florida's governor wrote to his 49 counterparts urging them to join his state in divesting from Iran and Sudan.  "During the recently concluded Florida legislative session, the Florida Senate and House of Representatives passed legislation to divest the Florida pension fund of financial sectors and businesses that deal with the governments of Iran and the Sudan," Gov. Charlie Crist (R.) said in his letter from Israel, wher he is leading a trade mission.  "The legislation, unanimously passed in both chambers, is a statement to the Iranian and Sudanese governments that Florida will not idly stand by and allow businesses that operate in Iran and the Sudan to foster terror. I look forward to signing this legislation upon my return to Florida.'

Six terrorists killed.
  MNF-Iraq:  'Coalition Forces killed six terrorists and detained 18 suspected terrorists in operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq Thursday and Friday.  North of Fallujah Thursday afternoon, Coalition Forces conducted an operation to capture suspected terrorists allegedly associated with al-Qaeda senior leadership.  Coalition Forces attempted to stop their vehicle, but when the suspected terrorists resisted, Coalition Forces used proper escalation of force measures and engaged the vehicle with automatic weapons, killing three men. Inside the vehicle, Coalition Forces found two mortar rounds, a rifle and an approximately 100-pound improvised explosive device.  The vehicle and heavy explosives were safely destroyed on site.  While Coalition Forces were at the scene, they received small arms fire from a nearby orchard.  Taking appropriate self-defense measures, the ground forces engaged the armed terrorists, killing three.  Coalition Forces also found grenades and assault vests in the orchard.  In a follow-on operation Friday morning, Coalition Forces detained one suspected terrorist in a building north of Fallujah for his alleged ties to al-Qaeda senior leaders.'

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  Everybody knows the adage about "the best defense".  The Belmont Club examines the disturbing implications of this principle:

The FBI now occupies a position comparable to that of Fighter Command in Britain during World War 2. And although it will doubtless do its best to stop attacks, one wonders whether [British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin] was right about the inevitability of tragedy. Historically he was proven correct in that to the end of the Second World War bombs fell upon London. Even after the Battle of Britain the Nazi threat continued to mutate. Between June 1944 and March 1945 -- practically up to the time Germany surrendered -- "8938 people were killed by Flying bombs and rockets and 25,000 were seriously injured and many maimed for life. In addition over 2,000 British and US Airmen lost their lives attacking the Flying bomb and Rocket sites." That little known corner of Second War history contains far more blood and carnage than the cumulative loss in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baldwin was proven correct too, in predicting that the riposte would be retaliation on a scale designed to dwarf the Nazi attack. Between 300,000 and 600,000 German lives would be taken by Allied counter-bombing. Where Baldwin proved wrong was in believing that this prospective exchange of horrors could be avoided. It could not; and Baldwin's hesitation made the horror even greater.