War

Bush Has Learned To Speak
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January 17, 2007

by Richard SternMy friend, Peter Kovler, visiting from Washington, D.C., yesterday remembered hearing President Bush talking to a small group about four years ago. "It was frightening," he said. "He couldn't finish a sentence. Aides tried to throw him words, he didn't--couldn't!--pick them up. He seemed dyslexic. I almost felt sorry for him. I certainly felt sorry and terrified for the country." Practise, practise, practise gets you to Carnegie Hall, and Bush, like an NFL quarterback, has had lots of practise talk since then. Interviewed by Jim Lehrer two days ago, he was fluent.

The Mother Of All Credibility Gaps
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January 17, 2007

by Sanford Levinson I quote below the response of Mark Levin, blogging at the National Review site, to the announcement by the Bush administration that it will, after all, submit requests for surveillance of telephone conversations to the FISA Court after arguing, since December 2005, both that the president has inherent authority to order such surveillance and, even more to the point, that the 1978 surveillance apparatus leaves us in peril in the "global war on terror": Is there no principle subject to negotiation? Is there no course subject to reversal?

How Right Were You, And Why?
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January 17, 2007

by Eric Rauchway Jane Galt says you can't just get the ball in the pocket, you have to call your shot. Which is to say: I was wrong to impute excessive competence to the government.... This has not convinced me of the brilliance of the doves, because precisely none of the ones that I argued with predicted that things would go wrong in the way they did. If you get the right result, with the wrong mechanism, do you get credit for being right, or being lucky? In some way, they got it just as wrong as I did: nothing that they predicted came to pass. I don't know which anti-war voice Ms.

The Mystique Of Air Power
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January 17, 2007

The chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Dan Halutz, the ramatkal, has resigned in advance of the report of the special commission studying why the Lebanon war ended so ... well, let's be generous ... ambiguously. Doubtless, other heads will fall. This is a time of testing for the IDF, and a time of clarification. The brass in the Israeli military had become haughty, leaving the mid-level officer class resentful and justifiably so. In any case, this Spine is not about developments in Israel.

Varieties Of Roguishness
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January 17, 2007

I'm no lawyer. So I don't know whether Ethiopia's U.S.-backed invasion of Somalia violated anyone's sovereignty or not. James Kirchick argues it didn't. Maybe he's right. But I still agree with the thrust of John's original column: The United States seems to be engaged in a lot of roguish behavior here.

Who You Calling A Mcgovernite?
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January 16, 2007

I see via the Corner's regular (and self-parodic) "Fox News All Stars" feature that Mort Kondracke is calling John Edwards a McGovernite: KONDRACKE: What Edwards is trying to do is to be the George McGovern of this race. That is to be the anti-war candidate, more anti-war than any of the other candidates. He should remember what happened to George McGovern when he ran for president in 1972.

May The Decider Decide?
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January 14, 2007

by Jacob T. Levy I'd be very eager to hear the thoughts of cobloggers Sandy Levinson and Cass Sunstein on the debate over whether Congress may block the supposed "surge" or troops to Iraq ("supposed" because the number of troops being sent is lower than what any surge proponent estimated was the bare minimum to qualify, until a few weeks ago). Joe Biden has said a number of times that he doesn't think Congress has much scope to act, and has been widely criticized among war skeptics and opponents for saying so.

Ford Praises Nixon
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January 13, 2007

The Times and other papers have picked up some comments from President Ford, who before his death (obviously) made clear his thoughts on various twentieth century presidents. Many of his opinons are pretty unremarkable, or at least unsurprising: He claimed Carter was a bad president, liked Ike, and wished the Reaganites would stop crowing so much about ending the Cold War (he also thought Reagan was a "poor manager").

Escalation?
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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
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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.

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