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.

Frank Keating, "mangy Dog"--or Future President?
December 19, 2006

There's a new Republican name circulating in the White House 2008 conversation: former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. I see National Review's hotwired Jonathan Martin is taking it seriously. And Keating, a devout anti-abortion Catholic, does offer some attractive post-9/11 credentials: He's a former F.B.I. agent, for instance, and, in a sort of mini-Giuliani fashion, presided during the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Keating is so impressive to fellow Republicans, in fact, that he was almost George W. Bush's running mate and, later, Bush's first attorney general. Almost. --Michael Crowley

Just Don't Blog About It
December 18, 2006

There's plenty that's appalling in today's front-page New York Times story, about a U.S. military vet working as a whistleblower for the FBI who got picked up mistakenly, tossed in a cell and blasted with fluorescent lights and heavy-metal music, and detained for three months on "secret" charges without being allowed an attorney. But even given the context, I thought this passage at the end stuck out: On his way out, Mr. Vance said: "They asked me if I was intending to write a book, would I talk to the press, would I be thinking of getting an attorney.

Can Brownback Exploit Mccain's Iraq Position?
December 18, 2006

With John McCain now on the verge of taking ownership of the president's Iraq policy, however unintentionally, it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the GOP field can exploit his position on the issue. So far, I've only noticed an adjustment from Sam Brownback, the '08 contender who is perhaps closest to my heart. In recent interviews, Brownback has suggested that the current level of U.S. involvement can't be sustained, and that partition might be the way forward.

On Language
December 15, 2006

I thought this NYT article about Fadwa Hamdan--a Muslim woman originally from Jordan who, at the age of 39, enlisted in the U.S. Army to become an Arabic translator--was fascinating, as it showed how the military gave Hamdan the self-confidence to overcome some of the handicaps she experienced as a woman due to her faith and her family. But the end of the piece is pretty unexpected--and disturbing.

No Sense In Trying
December 15, 2006

From the looks of things, printouts of the Baker Commission are being used as toilet paper in the White House, and the Bush administration plans more-or-less to stay the current, too-marvelous-for-words course in Iraq: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel's recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the "compensation" required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq. Well, who knows?

Equal Opportunity Terror
December 12, 2006

Don't think only men are suicide bombers. So Paula Broadwell breathlessly assures her Boston Globe readers in an article this morning titled, "The growing role of women in terror." Now that women are Ivy League presidents, they have also conquered the mountain in Islam to be able to be real "martyrs," not just wailers who follow the martyrs' funerals from behind. We are back to the proximate female terrorist, the 70 year old Gaza grandmother with 43 grandchildren.

Refugees Everywhere
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).