There was a feeling of surreality this morning in watching the segment on Good Morning America. There was Chris Cuomo [son of Dem ex-NYS Gov. Mario, brother of Andrew, current Dem candidate for NYS Attorney General] chatting with former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos.

Was this an ABC 'news' interview between two of its employees - or had I mistakenly tuned to a CSPAN broadcast of a DNC coffee klatsch?

Cuomo had a fine line to walk. With brother Andy running for office in New York, being too critical of Israel could be impolitic. Chris focused on what came naturally: accusing the Bush administration of 'failure.'

Cuomo's opening question for Stephanopoulos: "The Secretary [of State Condi Rice] is in the air and she's heading to the U.N. Was this situation a failure for her and what needs to change when she hits the ground?"

The more I see about the timeline in Qana, the more I doubt the story being told to us by the world's media. Katherine Shrader and Kathy Gannon of AP make the strike and its effect seem immediate:

Without a doubt, Americans who have even a rudimentary understanding of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamic terrorism must be amazed by the continued ignorance being exhibited by the mainstream media as hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel exploded in the past three weeks. One of the finest examples of this occurred on “The Chris Matthews Show” Sunday when the host concluded the program by actually blaming this flare up on – drum roll please – George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

(Update: Video link now follows.)

Matthews began his rant:

Original Reuters caption: "Pakistani members of the Journalist Association chant slogans during a protest in Multan July 26, 2006 against Israel's air strikes on Lebanon and Gaza."

Blame the U.S. for a lack of diplomacy in its support of Israel is the theme of Friday’s “news analysis” by reporter Helene Cooper, “2 Steps Back: Rice’s Careful Diplomacy Falters Under Renewed Assertiveness by the U.S.

For your viewing pleasure, MSNBC decided to add to the Friday Night Fights series with a special Thursday edition. However, as "Hardball's" producers must have believed the challenger in the left corner, host Chris Matthews, was going to be outmatched by the challenger in the right corner, they decided to film the segment with an audience conveniently stocked with Ann Coulter haters. As a result, the fight turned more into a tag-team wrestling match than traditional mono-a-mono boxing.

It was quite evident from the onset that this was going to be a team effort by Matthews and his audience when he began:

Now, I want to know right off the front -- we`re going to use our audience in a very profane way. Who loves Ann Coulter? (APPLAUSE) Who vomits at the mention of her name? (APPLAUSE)

Nice way to introduce your guest, Chris. It seems impossible to imagine you introducing someone like Al Franken in such a fashion. Yet, Matthews wasn’t done. His next uppercut came only seconds later when he asked Coulter, “Do you have a soul?” This was followed a bit later with a right hook when Matthews said Ann was "All brain, no heart."

With that as pretext, this is a melee that must be watched to be fully appreciated. Here is the video. Pay particular attention to the people standing behind Coulter strategically placed to always be shaking their heads in disgust on virtually every one of her words. And, make sure that you have no drinking vessels around when Matthews asks Coulter to elaborate on the position she recently espoused concerning a former president’s sexual preference. (Transcript follows).

(Update: For those interested, here is a video of the beginning of the interview, as well as another part of this segment.)

Not only is America in a quagmire, but Israel is, too. Via Hot Air, here's the first few grafs of a Salon reprint of a Der Spiegel article headlined "Is Israel Facing a Quagmire?:"

On the map the war looks so straightforward. An Israeli commander has marked Hezbollah strongholds in south Lebanon red for the purposes of our briefing -- lately practically all of the towns north of the Israeli border are colored red. Marked with blue crosses are the strategically important positions, mostly crossroads, now controlled by Israel. "Now we have to just go in and deal with the Hezbollah boys," the commander, who asked not to be identified, said. "There isn't much more to say." [...]

The mission, christened "Just Reward," now appears much more difficult than was first thought -- above all in terms of casualties. Since the small targeted ground operations began Israeli soldiers have been dying on a daily basis in heavy firefights. Wednesday was especially bloody. In an attempt to take the Hezbollah stronghold of Bint Jbail, as many as 14 Israelis lost their lives.

Military analysts and politicians talked confidently at the beginning of the mission of targeted, surgical assaults against Hezbollah and an estimated conflict duration of about a week. Now Israel is increasingly preparing for a long war.

U.N.-beat reporter Warren Hoge forwards without question a U.N. smear against Israel in “U.N. Says It Protested to Israel for 6 Hours During Attack That Killed 4 Observers in Lebanon.”

“The United Nations said Wednesday that its top officials in New York and its officers on the ground in Lebanon made numerous calls on Tuesday to the Israeli mission and the Israeli military to protest repeated firing on its outpost in Lebanon where four unarmed observers ended up being killed.

“Jane Holl Lute, the assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council that over the six-hour period in which the United Nations’ warnings were being conveyed to the Israelis, the observation post at Khiam, in southern Lebanon, continued to come under fire.

“The firings persisted even after rescuers reached the hilltop site, she said, and in all it was subjected to 21 strikes, 11 of them aerial bombardments and at least 6 artillery rounds.

She described the observation post as ‘well known and clearly marked’ and added that no Hezbollah activity was reported in the area.”

Isn't it generally assumed that when two countries are at war, that it is the right and duty of those countries actually in the conflict to decide when that war might be over and how it is prosecuted? Certainly other nations might attempt to diplomatically intervene to help resolve the crisis but, when all is said and done, isn't it still the duty of the warring parties to arrive at their own conclusions?

During the ’90s, many conservatives referred to CNN as the “Clinton News Network.” In an op-ed published Thursday by FrontPage Magazine, radio talk show host Michael Reagan coined a new term for the cable news outlet that might come into vogue: the Terrorist News Network.

It is safe to assume that few Americans are going to forget the Muslim outrage a few months ago over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper. Well, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday (hat tip to NRO Media Blog) that a Norwegian newspaper published the cartoon to the right depicting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a crazed Nazi prison camp commandant:

Invoking a scene from the film Schindler's List, one of Norway's largest newspapers recently published a political cartoon comparing Prime Minster Ehud Olmert to the infamous commander of a Nazi death camp who indiscriminately murdered Jews by firing at them at random from his balcony.

The caricature by political cartoonist Finn Graff appeared on July 10 in the Oslo daily Dagbladet.

Think this created riots and death threats in Norway? Hardly: