War

It's In The Details
January 22, 2007

Six days ago, bombs went of at a Baghdad university, and some 70 people--mostly students--were the numbered dead when the counting stopped. One hundred and fifty, maybe more, were wounded and maimed. Then, today again in Baghdad, another 75 men and women were slaughtered in a local marketplace after two bombs exploded, which also left more than 175 people injured, disfigured and limbless. In between these two atrocities, other bombings, beheadings, shootings were carried out. Who knows the real murder toll? The fact is no one.

Ancient Hatred
January 22, 2007

Marc Santora, who wrote The New York Times article on which my previous post was based, has just updated his dispatch. Now, it's 88 people dead... and rising. The market place is "littered with pieces of human bodies..." He has also given us some demographics of the murdered, and it is all Shia. This is strategic madness on the part of the Sunnis who cannot win this war, simply cannot. But they are so accustomed to having their will in Iraq that they also simply cannot grasp this truth.

More On Iran
January 22, 2007

I'm hesitant to get into a full-blown debate about Iran and Israel because I don't want to preempt Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, whose upcoming piece addresses the subject thoughtfully and in great detail. Unlike me, Yossi and Michael actually know what they're talking about. So I'll leave the big questions to them. But I do want to make a few narrow points. Brad, you note that Khamenei has issued a fatwa against developing nuclear weapons. But just about every reputable observer--left, right, dove, hawk, American, Israeli, European--believes that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The Use And Abuse Of Intelligence
January 21, 2007

by David Bromwich Walter Mondale, interviewed today by Wolf Blitzer, said that in his judgment Vice President Cheney had "crossed a line" the Carter presidency took care to preserve: the line that stops the vice president from becoming an autonomous actor in the framing and the pursuit of policies. He added that Dick Cheney appears to have constructed "a parallel National Security Council" to control national intelligence.

Plug For Pepe
January 19, 2007

As Brad Plumer notes, this morning's New York Times has a front page story about how Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei is losing patience with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demagoguery. But the story appeared yesterday in Asia Times under the byline of Pepe Escobar. I have no idea who Pepe Escobar is, but I have been reading his "Roving Eye" column for several years. He is one of the most interesting--and as far I can tell, informed--journalists writing about the Middle East. He travels there, and seems to speak and read several of the languages.

Being Chris Dodd
January 18, 2007

From today's NYT: [Hillary] said the legislation would also propose capping the number of troops at the levels they were on Jan. 1--roughly 130,000. After she announced that on the 7 a.m. broadcasts, Mr. Obama followed suit, saying at 4 p.m. that he would introduce a bill proposing a cap as well. Aides to a third likely Democratic contender, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, cried foul, saying that Mrs. Clinton's plan to propose a cap seemed to copy a similar proposal by Mr. Dodd. [Emphasis added.] Poor Dodd.

Bush Has Learned To Speak
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
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?
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
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.

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