Iraqis Condemn American Demands

“High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely.

Top Iraqi officials are calling for a radical reduction of the U.S. military’s role here after the U.N. mandate authorizing its presence expires at the end of this year. Encouraged by recent Iraqi military successes, government officials have said that the United States should agree to confine American troops to military bases unless the Iraqis ask for their assistance, with some saying Iraq might be better off without them.” (Washington Post)

Justices Rule Terror Suspects Can Appeal in Civilian Courts

SCOTUS sides with the Constitution, for once. (New York Times) In a 5-4 ruling, with the usual suspects in dissent, the Court ruled that denial of habeas corpus rights to the detainees is unconstitutional, and that they are to be heard in civilian courts. A monumental rebuff to the criminal dysadministration, but they got five years of illegal detention in under tthe belt before the rule of law reasserted itself.

Apple’s new iPhone augurs the inevitable return of the Bell telephone monopoly

Tim Wu writes in Slate Magazine:

“The wireless industry was once and is still sometimes called a “poster child for competition.” That kind of talk needs to end. Today, the industry is more like an old divorced couple; the bickering spouses are AT&T and Verizon, the two halves of the old Bell empire. (To its credit, the Bell company, in internal memos, proposed a wireless phone in 1915 and then spent 70 or so years deciding how to deploy it without hurting its wired-phone business.) While you can’t blame this on the iPhone, nearly every non-Bell phone company is, in the long tradition of such firms, dying or being purchased. Sprint Nextel lost an astonishing $29.5 billion in a single quarter last year—a loss of nearly double the annual revenue of Google. Alltel, one of the last independents, is being bought by Verizon. The exception is T-Mobile, which, while healthy, simply doesn’t have the spectrum to play with the bigs. By the end of this year, we may find that the wireless world, in industry structure at least, will be pretty close to where it was at the beginning of the 1990s, before ‘deregulation.'”