December 11, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
December 01, 2006
Rashomon, Conservative Pundit Style
Yesterday, George Will weighed in on the Bush-Webb brouhaha. He blasted Webb, writing: Wednesday's Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb "tried to avoid President Bush," refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "I'd like to get them [sic] out of Iraq." When the president again asked "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "That's between me and my boy." [snip] Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor.
November 30, 2006
Merry Christmas, Kim
This morning's Washington Post has what seems like an unrealistically optimistic piece on North Korean sanctions. There isn't much of a news peg here--the U.S. has published its list of restricted goods, but the U.N. sanctions were passed more than a month ago--so the Post's strategy is to claim that the measures, which are supposed to limit (among other things) the flow of Kim Jung Il's favorite luxury items, are "effective this holiday season" and will thus ruin Kim's Christmas: The U.S. list of more than 60 items reads like a letter to Santa from the dictator who has everything.