December 12, 2006

Reyes Errs
12:00 AM

This is really, really disturbing: Silvestre Reyes, soon to be the next House Intelligence Committee chair, flubbed a foreign policy quiz from Congressional Quarterly ... and flubbed it badly:   Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite? The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said.

December 11, 2006

12:00 AM

Lindsey: Progressives should ally with the Cato Institute.

Refugees Everywhere
12:00 AM

A few weeks ago, George Packer argued that if and when the United States finally pulls out of Iraq, the country should offer visas to those Iraqis who collaborated with us during the occupation, seeing as how they'll all be in grave danger when we leave. As an aside, he noted that last year the United States accepted fewer than 200 Iraqi refugees (and looking around, it seems that most of those had applied for admission before the current war).

December 10, 2006

Will Iran Talk With The U.s. About Iraq?
12:00 AM

James Baker has his first authoritative answer from Iran to his commission's proposal to talk. According to a Reuters dispatch in Saturday's Times, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced at a security conference in Bahrain that his country "ready to help the administration to withdraw its troops from Iraq." But "the first and most essential step ... is the United States announce they have decided to withdraw from Iraq." Some negotiation. And what is Iran's relationship with this conference's host country? Quite tense and testy.

December 09, 2006

The Responsibility Era
12:00 AM

I see that Richard Perle--like a number of neocons--is promoting the notion that he got off the Iraq train way back in the early days of the war. He tells Pajamas Media's Richard Miniter: PERLE: I think the most serious, the seminal mistake, was getting into an occupation. The day Baghdad fell, we should have handed political authority to the Iraqis. . . . Instead, we sent in 8,000 Americans to administer Iraq like you'd administer Montgomery County. . .

December 08, 2006

Tactical Strike
12:00 AM

The history of labor is partly a history of violence, and the recent janitors' strike in Houston was no exception. "The horses came on all of the sudden," said Mateo Portilla, a janitor who described how police broke up the protests, causing at least one person to be hospitalized. "They started jumping on top of people. I heard the women screaming." Another demonstrator, Anna Denise Solis, described her night in prison, where protestors faced bail of more than $800,000 apiece: "The first night they put the temperature so high that a woman--one of the other inmates--had a seizure.

December 06, 2006

What's New In The Baker-hamilton Report?
12:00 AM

by Richard Stern The long-awaited Baker-Hamilton report is out, all 160 pages of it. It was introduced by a news conference presided over by James Baker with his familiar mix of witty condescension ("we has-beens") and aristo impatience (telling a reporter he could answer his question but "as it's answered in the Report it would be a waste of time"). Baker's co-chair, Lee Hamilton, the icon of gravitas, came close to the brink of pompous, if not senile garrulity.

Reyes Gets Hawkish
12:00 AM

Newsweek's Michael Isikioff and Mark Hosenball have a fascinating piece on Silvestre Reyes, who is soon to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. In an interview, Reyes said that he wants to increase troop levels in Iraq:   "We’re not going to have stability in Iraq until we eliminate those militias, those private armies," Reyes said. "We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq ...

December 05, 2006

Bad Analogies
12:00 AM

It's fun, if predictable, when pundits make bad analogies between current political trends and historical circumstances. But White House stenographer Fred Barnes's book review in the new Weekly Standard sets a high (low?) water mark. The book under discussion is Jennifer Weber's history of slavery-friendly Northern Democrats who opposed Lincoln's war policy, known as Copperheads. Here's Barnes:   They undermined the war wherever they could. ... More broadly, the antiwar faction's vituperative opposition hurt the ability of the Union army to carry out the war effectively. ...

December 03, 2006

Reyes's Record
12:00 AM

The New York Times tells us in Saturday' paper that Nancy Pelosi has chosen a Texas congressman, Silvestre Reyes, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee because he was "more combative" against the president than Jane Harman, the person who by seniority and expertise would have gotten the post had the soon-to-be speaker not despised her. Actually Reyes's combativeness toward the administration would be OK with me if anything in his resumé had shown he has experience in fighting terror. And anything also that showed he was particularly combative against terror and its practitioners.