The best thing to come out of the McChrystal dust-up

From Fox News: Petraeus to Modify Afghanistan Rules of Engagement, Source Says:

A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus told Fox News that one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy, though a Petraeus spokesman pushed back on the claim.

Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules — aimed at preventing civilian casualties — have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.

The military source who has talked with Petraeus said the general will make those changes. Other sources were not so sure, but said they wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen once Petraeus takes command.

Petraeus spokesman Col. Erik Gunhus disputed the claim Friday, telling Fox News it’s too soon to tell whether Petraeus would change the current rules. But he said it is one of many issues he’ll take under consideration during his assessment after he’s confirmed and after he takes over command in Afghanistan.

My prediction: Considering how bad things are getting in Afghanistan, it will most definitely happen.

Stripes Central adds:

In his public remarks this week the president emphasized that Afghan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s firing was “a change in personnel, not a change in policy” and that he expects replacement commander Gen. David Petraeus to continue the “hearts and minds” counterinsurgency strategy already in place there.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen reiterated that point in a Pentagon press conference Thursday, but also noted that doesn’t mean everything will stay the same. Some of specific rules of engagement – when troops can return fire, where they can patrol, who they can detain – could see major changes in coming weeks.

“Any new commander, Gen. Petraeus included, will go in, assess his command and what it is going to take to achieve the mission and certainly has the flexibility to make changes that he thinks are necessary,” Mullen told reporters. “And so my expectation is, certainly that’s what (he) will do widely and make adjustments.”

That’s welcome news for troops in Afghanistan who’ve been quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) complaining about limitations they face in completing the mission there. Earlier this week troops at one base in Afghanistan celebrated McChrystal’s possible firing, citing the restrictions as too severe for their safety.

Nice Deb has much more.

But “[AZ] is a state that is a ways removed from the [MX] border”

This, my friends, is your quote of the day (via @IrishSpy and @EdMorrissey):

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Board spent part of the day debating a measure that would call for the county to boycott doing business with companies in Arizona.

Communities around the nation have passed similar measures in response to a law in Arizona that makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

There was an odd moment during the debate when [Democrat] Supervisor Peggy West stood up and seemed to be confused about her geography. “If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this. But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border,” West said during debate.
Her colleague, Joe Rice, quickly corrected her, “I just want to assure my colleague that Arizona does in fact share a border with the country of Mexico.”

Video below:

Comedy gold.

ST reader & Wisconsin resident @steveegg notes this useful tidbit of info as well:

Bonus item on the Peggy West story-she’s on the Executive Committee of the Milwaukee Democratic Party


While her gaffe will give everyone a laugh, this story will have just the opposite effect (via Don Surber):

Two federal agencies have joined the “boycott Arizona” trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state’s immigration law, a Democratic Arizona congresswoman said, calling the development “very troubling.”

Any cancellations by the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law. But Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who has written to dozens of cities and groups in a campaign to persuade them to end their boycotts, said it was disturbing to learn that the federal government would withdraw from the state over the issue.

“It is very troubling when the federal government becomes involved in a boycott against our state,” Giffords said in a written statement. “Although I personally disagree with the immigration law, it came about because of growing frustration over the federal government’s unwillingness to secure the border. The federal government’s participation in this boycott only adds to that frustration.”

The Department of Education issued a statement to Fox News confirming that a program administrator, though not the Education Department itself, canceled a 2010 convention “at the request of one of our trilateral partners.”

My question is: Considering the Arizona immigration law very much mirrors federal law, when will the federal government start boycotting … the federal government? Now that I’d break out the popcorn for. …