The Wisdom Of Robert Gates
December 05, 2006

During his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing today, one of Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates' most telling exchanges was with Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. In it, Gates came very close to endorsing the view of Iraq war critics that the Bush administration should have focused on Osama Bin Laden rather than Saddam Hussein. He also expressed extreme reluctance about going to war with Iran, or for that matter, Syria.

Where Does Bush Rank?
December 04, 2006

The Washington Post's Outlook section this week devotes considerable space to famous historians' assessments of where Bush will place on the list of our country's greatest presidents. Unsurprisingly, the consensus is that Bush 43 will rank, well, close to 43rd.

Trouble In Mccainland?
December 04, 2006

Newsweek: Privately, some McCain supporters have begun to worry that the senator's hard line on the war may turn off the moderate, independent-minded voters who've long formed the bedrock of his primary support. "We lost independents," says one campaign adviser, who asked for anonymity discussing the politics of national security.

The Militant Grass Roots
December 03, 2006

Thanassis Cambanis is a journalist whose attention to detail is so sharp and fine that reading one of his articles will put you in touch, really deeply in touch, with a whole other world.

The N-word, Further
November 28, 2006

by Eric Rauchway True confession, following Dan's post: I, myself, a white guy, have used the N-word in front of dozens of students--when quoting white racists, in my U.S. history lectures. Which I regard as legitimate, but I didn't reach that conclusion lightly: It still gives me pause, and I could be argued out of it. As I've pointed out elsewhere, one of the few pleasures of studying the history of American racism before the Civil Rights Movement is the ease of finding evidence: American racists used to be unashamed and frank about their racism.

Civil War In Iraq
November 25, 2006

This is the headline over an AP dispatch from Baghdad: "Iraq: Civil war feared after bombers kill 215." Does not calling it a civil war keep it from being a civil war? The death rates are worse than those in the Spanish Civil War and much worse than those in Bosnia. Why the hesitancy, both official and from others? Let's face it. There is a civil war going on in Iraq, and it has been going on for months and months. No one in the country really identifies himself as an Iraqi.

Terrorism And Risk Perception
November 24, 2006

by Cass Sunstein David Bell says that it is "a pity" that Overblown, by John Mueller, "isn't getting more attention," because its central thesis--that the risk of terrorism is wildly exaggerated--deserves to be part of public debate.

Lebanon War Iii
November 17, 2006

The United Nations performs again. And also the Lebanese army. Well, not exactly. According to Security Council Resolution 1701, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has been there for almost three fruitless decades, was supposed to be beefed up (that is, tripled in size) with real soldiers and given more arms and to perform the task of peace-keeping more--shall we say?--aggressively. Lebanon's army was supposed to displace and replace Hezbollah in the south. Everybody knows that none of this has happened.

Inside Man
November 15, 2006

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.

Pumped Up
November 13, 2006

Last fall, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't escape the huge crowds of union members and Democrats who protested his ballot initiatives that proposed reshaping the state's education, budget, and political systems. Protesters surrounded hotels where he spoke,gathered outside TV studios and restaurants where he appeared, and even confronted him in hallways and kitchens. The angry hordes reflected a statewide rejection of the once-popular governor--more than 55 percent of Californians disapproved of his job performance, and Democratic challengers led in early polls on the 2006 governor's race.