At Long Last, Sir
February 26, 2007
Joe Lieberman has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal. I found this passage particularly incredible: Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? Unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington?
Days Of Glory
February 22, 2007
Last night I went to see what I thought was Clint Eastwood's American pendant to his at once nuanced and stirring movie, Letters from Iwo Jima (which I hope wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.) The film I thought I was going to see was Flags of Our Fathers. But what I actually saw was Days of Glory. No, not that other Days of Glory with Gregory Peck and made in 1944. Yet there are some similarities. Both are about soldiers fighting the Nazis. The Peck drama centered on Russian partisans resisting the German occupation of the Motherland.
Rudy Can't Fail
February 22, 2007
Rudy Giuliani's event of the day: a photo-op with firefighters in South Carolina: "The first people that arrive on the scene of the bombing or the anthrax attack... it's going to be one of your brothers or your sisters or you that gets to do it," the former New York mayor told a crowd of about 200 emergency workers. "Your ability to do it well will once again determine if we save lives -- save America." This brings to mind two useful references. One is Jon Chait's recent column on the strange foreign-policy rationale behind Rudy's campaign.
The Cost Of Terror
February 21, 2007
Yesterday I posted a note on the Bangkok bombing which it was thought then had taken only eight lives. In Harvard Square, again yesterday, a friend asked me why I had bothered to write about an atrocity with so few dead. Well, it turns out today, that with all the precincts in the death total is 68. More like it. It's debilitating to see how cheap life is thought to be, how terribly cheap the terrorists have made it. Among the dead victims, according to a report by Amelia Gentleman in today's Times, are five children of a Pakistani shopkeeper, who himself had suffered burns.
Conveying Horror In Print
February 19, 2007
Two car bombs in a market in a Shia neighborhood of Baghdad, according to a late story by Marc Santora in The New York Times, blew up and left "at least" 60 dead. Some 120 people were wounded. The market looked like gehenna. The relentlessness of Sunni slaughter of Shia in Iraq is not only gruesome but it is also stupid. The Shia command a huge majority in the country, and now have the upper hand politically and geographically. Against this reality, Sunni butchery may give Saddam's heirs and the sectarian extremists momentary satisfaction.
February 19, 2007
Some 28 bombs were exploded in southern Thailand on Sunday, according to a dispatch by Seth Mydans in Monday's New York Times. Eight people were killed, and more than 50 wounded, in a epidemic of killings that has "included bombings, shootings, beheadings and arson ... " Why do you always want to know who did it? Well, it's not the Buddhists. I know that the Lubavitcher have a Chabad House in Bangkok. But it's certainly not them either.
Questions Of Anti-semitism, Continued
February 18, 2007
by David Bromwich I wish to comment on Jeffrey Herf's extended use of the defamatory epithet anti-Semitic, and Alan Wolfe's remark that nicknaming ofthis sort is coercive and dishonest. Herf says that Mearsheimer and Walt in their article on the Israel lobby employed an ancient style of anti-Semitic argument: namely the attribution of exorbitant influence to Jews working behind the scenes. But Mearsheimer and Walt do not cite examples of secret influence. They have no concern with secret influence, claim no special knowledge of it, and appear uninterested in finding it, if it exists.
Quds Force Reconsidered
February 16, 2007
What, exactly, is the Quds Force--the paramilitary wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)--doing in Iraq? The Bush administration maintains that the group is trying to destabilize the country, supplying explosives that are being used to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.
Anne Frank's Story
February 15, 2007
Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, was a truly tragic figure. He survived the war from whose particularly Jewish ravages he tried to save his family, and became a commentator and corrective about the personal aspects of an overwhelming event. His daughter also lived on in a certain sense, as the emblematic death of the more than one and one half million Jewish children who perished in the catastrophe that wiped away more than six million of Anne's people. On the front page of today's Times there's another desolating story about Anne Frank more than sixty years after her death.
Ethnicities And Bloodshed
February 13, 2007
The population of the Middle East may, in terms of sect and ethnicities, be the most diverse in the old world. But there is no rainbow over the region, and there is no rainbow coalition either. What there is is an arc of blood that suffuses the area --sometimes more here, sometimes there--and encompassing denominations, national communities and (among the Palestinians) ideologies. Right now the bloodiest locus is Iraq.