January 12, 2007

There's been plenty of speculation lately that the White House is gearing up for some sort of military confrontation with Iran. First there was his speech two nights ago, in which Bush talked about "addressing Iran and Syria" with a rather menacing undertone. Then the U.S. military raided an Iranian liaison office in the Kurdish city of Irbil and took a couple of Iranians captive--a move roundly denounced by the Kurdish regional government.

Terrorism, Cont'd
January 10, 2007

Poor Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He thought he had a cease fire with ETA, which Elaine Sciolini calls in this morning's Times, "[T]he armed Basque separatist organization." It is, of course, the armed Basque terrorist organization. But, never mind. Zapatero was working on the assumption that ETA and Spain were both on a sure path to peace. Alas, then ten days ago, a bomb attack at Barajas airport killed two people and injured some two dozen others.

A Certain Shade Of Something
January 09, 2007

Joe Klein, in the midst of a raging blog feud with people at The American Prospect (which you can follow in real time here, here, here, here, here, and here), makes the point: Liberals were "right" about Vietnam, but they have paid a price ever since because they were so obnoxious about their correctness. I hesitate to even come near this brouhaha, but Klein's comment put me in mind of something--and that's the cavalier way in which some liberal opponents of the surge talk about withdrawal.

The Latest From The Middle East
January 07, 2007

Here's what happened in "Palestine" on Thursday: A Fatah commander, named Muhammad Gharib, was murdered in his Jabaliya house in Gaza. It was really an execution carried out by the Executive Force, a Hamas security unit in the Interior Ministry. By day's end, eight other people who had been wounded in the attack were dead. In addition, as Steven Erlanger reported in Saturday's Times 60 other people were wounded, including 10 children. "On Friday," according to Erlanger, a local cleric and frequent critic of Hamas, was assassinated as he left his mosque.

Two Manifestos
January 04, 2007

Sorry to bring you this article by Roger Cohen five days after it appeared in The International Herald Tribune, of which he is editor. Before moving to Paris, Cohen was foreign editor of The New York Times. And, although we don't now see his wisdom and skills in the Times regularly, people around the world read it in the Trib. This article is about "A manifesto from the left too sensible to ignore." It is called the Euston Manifesto, written by Brits and put out last March. It has been simmering in Britain ever since.

January 04, 2007

Sorry to be a downer, but this NPR report on Jose Padilla is easily one of the more disturbing things I've read all day. Padilla, as we've learned, has basically gone insane during his time in U.S. military custody, after four years of stress positions and "total sensory deprivation." But here's the government's defense: The government maintains that whatever happened to Padilla during his detention is irrelevant, since no information obtained during that time is being used in the criminal case against him. Er... so there was real no point in holding him indefinitely, without charges?

It's The Media's Fault (again)
January 03, 2007

I didn't think even hard-core conservatives were still clinging to this line about Iraq, but here was Sean Hannity on Fox last night. Hannity refers to guest Brent Bozell but is primarily berating his "left-wing" guest, Mark Levine, a war critic: The guys that are on the ground, the guys that are fighting, the guys that are risking their lives, overwhelmingly say--and, Brent [Bozell], you chronicle this as well or better than anybody--that the media is not telling the true story. Look, we've had elections, three of them. People risked their lives to vote....

The Nixon Pardon Was A Mistake
December 28, 2006

by Michael Kazin Gerald Ford would indeed have been generous and statesmanlike if he'd pardoned those who broke the draft laws at the same time as he pardoned Nixon. But he also would have split his party and perhaps lost his chance to win the 1976 nomination--particularly against Reagan, whose political base despised the anti-war movement. At any rate, I still think the Nixon pardon was a mistake. Granted, presidents should not undergo prosecution while they're still in office. But why should they be immune once they leave it?

Have Yourself A Terrified Little Xmas
December 22, 2006

According to ABC News, British officials are convinced London will suffer a terrorist attack over the holidays. ("It will be a miracle" if there is no attack, an American official tells Brian Ross.) But no one else is running with the story, not even the anything-goes UK Sun. What gives? Here's hoping Ross has bad sources--but he often doesn't. --Michael Crowley

Another Way To Deal With Ahmadinejad
December 19, 2006

Maybe you didn't notice it on the weekend. But I posted a small item, "Ahmadinejad and Genocide", on The Spine. It was about a Friday morning meeting in New York at which I spoke that was also addressed by Alan Dershowitz, the former Canadian minister of justice Irwin Cotler, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Congressman Charlie Rangel and Professor Ruth Wedgewood, a very learned legal scholar at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.