Need to Know is a short roundup of key blog posts that shouldn’t be missed on your cruise through the blogosphere. The number of links in the roundup may vary but if you find it here you can trust that it’s must-read material.

Tengu House | The truth about Halliburton
It’s true that the profit motive looms big and strong over there. Personally, I see that as a good thing, because that’s what gets a lot of our civilians over there to support those guys. But then, lots of folks disagree with me, and that’s fine. But you can’t say we’re not doing our job. Whatever happens, you can’t say that KBR isn’t supporting the troops. We handle everything from food service to laundry to entertainment. We build everything from gyms to barracks to dining facilities for our troops, embassies for our stuffed suits, and schools, oil infrastructure, military and medical facilities for the Iraqis. We’re laying sidewalks, planting friggin’ trees, surveying roads, and training engineers. We’re helping. We’re doing our part. More than our part, really. And some of our people have died doing it.

Michelle Malkin | Uh, feminists?
Last August, I wrote about the plight of an ex-Muslim woman in Malaysia named Lina Joy. She had converted to Christianity and wanted to marry a Christian man. As the Abdul Rahman case made chillingly clear to the world, there are dire consequences for leaving Islam. Joy bravely went to court to stop being identified as a Muslim–and earned death threats and family disavowal for her apostasy. Now, the verdict is in. Sharia wins, Lina Joy loses

The Jump Blog | The perception is the reality
We are losing the war not due to operational failures but due to popular perception. If the perception of the support base for the war is that we are losing it then we will lose it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. And all of the human interest stories about this school and that project and this village and that unit and these men simply do not have the collective weight enough to shift that perception.

Dean Barnett | The McCain campaign dead pool
The general trend of the polls is unmistakable. John McCain’s campaign is sinking like the Titanic after having run into the iceberg of immigration “reform”. Oh sure, we can expect the McCain campaign and its misguided sympathizers to cling to the occasional outlier poll that shows the opposite much the way Leo DiCaprio clung to that piece of driftwood after the Titanic sank. But the rest of the Republican Party is like Kate Winslet, desperately trying to pry the McCain campaign’s frozen clammy hand from our own as we prepare for a limitless future.

NewsBusters | Creepy Al Gore worshippers
News magazines love to float above the real news and focus on nebulous trends, and perhaps none are more nebulous than the sudden popularity of the “beta male,” as represented by Al Gore. The “cultural dispatch” by writer Jennie Yabroff celebrates Gore as “the proto beta male” who’s “having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author, and a potential dark-horse presidential candidate.”

Cheat Seeking Missiles | Robert B. Zoellick heads to the World Bank
What’s missing from all the summaries I’ve read so far is what cred he’s got in the area of his most important task: Rooting out corruption and streamlining the bank. We know such stuff can get you fired from the World Bank (forget all the girlfriend smoke and mirrors!), so hopefully Zoellick has the stamina and smarts to take on the World Bank staff and its more corrupt participating states.

The Belmont Club | Transformation
Western society still needs to find ways to mobilize all the sources of its national power to fight in the economic, intelligence and information warfare fields. This will likely take the form of public/private partnerships which are still evolving.

Captain’s Quarters | Valerie Plame covert?
She traveled abroad under her own name. She helped arrange for her husband to do some fact-checking on a sensitive intelligence matter. Her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, then came home and leaked his observations to two nationally-known journalists, and then wrote his own op-ed in the New York Times under his byline.



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