June 22, 2007

Don't Get Fooled Again
12:00 AM

The handwriting was on the wall; everybody knew that there would be a showdown between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip; everybody knew that Hamas was the overriding force in that territory. In the Middle East where the "Mu'ahmara," the conspiracy, has been the leitmotif behind every catastrophe, the man in the street knew that the Americans and Israelis had been conspiring with Fatah, that Hamas had been conspiring with the Syrians and Iranians, and that the Saudis were toiling to get things on track and to move the entire region in the direction of moderation.

June 21, 2007

Robert Rubin, Traitor To His Class
12:00 AM

A few months ago, my old boss Robert Kuttner wrote a harsh article in the American Prospect about former Clinton era Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Part of the article was a familiar criticism of the notion that Clinton's economic program contributed to the 1990s prosperity. But other parts of the article were more personally unflattering.

Gop Debate And Democratic Conformity
12:00 AM

Jonah Goldberg approvingly cites a Jeff Jacoby column that makes the following argument: On one important issue after another, the right churns with serious disputes over policy and principle, while the left marches mostly in lockstep. Liberals sometimes disagree over tactics and details, but anyone taking a heterodox position on a major issue can find himself out in the cold. Just ask Senator Joseph Lieberman .In the liberal imagination, conservatives are blind dogmatists, spouters of a party line fed to them by (take your pick) big business, their church, or President Bush.

The Rushdie Affair
12:00 AM

Geoffrey Wheatcroft has an excellent column in Slate on the Rushdie controversy. One of the piece's strengths is that it reminds the reader that much of the antagonism (pardon the euphemism) toward the prolific author came from the old British right, who didn't like his stance on Britain and empire. Pleasingly, Wheatcroft is not nearly as sympathetic to this point of view as readers of his work might have thought. There is also this anecdote: When Lord Ahmed was made a member of the House of Lords by Blair, he was paraded as a moderate Muslim voice.

Radical Sheik

Abdul Rashid Ghazi comes across a little like Jerry Garcia. He wears oval-shaped, wire-rimmed glasses, has a grey, fist-length beard, and sports curly hair that flips wildly around his ears and neckline. He even has the former Grateful Dead frontman's easy smile and chill demeanor. University educated, he talks in idiomatic English, and, during one recent conversation, we even swapped stories about hanging out on the beaches in Thailand. This is a bit surprising, considering that Ghazi and his brother, Maulana Abdul Aziz, are leading an Islamic revolution in Pakistan.

June 20, 2007

Rudy's Bad Day
12:00 AM

Talk about your bad days. Not only did Rudy's South Carolina campaign chairman ride off on the white horse; he lost his Iowa campaign chairman as well: Jim Nussle has been tapped to serve as White House budget director. Which raises an interesting question: what's worse--getting indicted on crack* cocaine charges? or going to work for the Bush administration in a job once held by Mitch Daniels? *Late reports indicate that, contra my Bob Roberts joke yesterday, Ravenel was charged with distributing good old fashioned cocaine, not crack. --Jason Zengerle

Conservative Jurisprudence Today
12:00 AM

This has to be among the most depressing things I've read in a while: "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer?

June 19, 2007

Rail At The Chiefs
12:00 AM

Getting beyond the whole "Is Peter Pace incompetent?" flap, Andrew Bacevich had an interesting article in Sunday's Boston Globe about the dysfunctional nature of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an institution. While Bacevich certainly doesn't go easy on Pace--"If the position of JCS chair had simply remained vacant for the past two years, it is difficult to see how the American military would be in worse shape today," he writes--he argues that the problem is bigger than any one man.

June 18, 2007

U.n. Truth-telling
12:00 AM

UN Watch is a truth-telling organization based in Geneva. Its mission: to monitor the workings of the United Nations. Alas, these workings are--to say the least--numerically biased towards the dictatorships of the world and ideologically still more or less in the era of well, yes, the dictatorships of the world. A big hallalujah! was sounded when the Human Rights Commission morphed into the Human Rights Council and reduced its membership by just about nothing meaningful. Here's a report from U.N. Watch on the latest shenanigans of the H.R.C. They are mind-boggling.

The Missing Ingredient
12:00 AM

From Stephen Hayes's Weekly Standard piece on Scooter Libby, which quotes from former administration official Robert Blackwill's letter to the judge on Libby's behalf: Sadly, I believe that Mr. Libby's premature departure from the Administration has been a major reason for the downward spiral of the situation in Iraq and the consuming mess in which we find ourselves today regarding that country... It's almost easy to forget how great things in Iraq were throughout 2005, when Libby was still serving the president (and the country).