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 But Mearsheimer and Walt do not cite examples of secret influence.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.
The Politics Of Spite
February 13, 2007
A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote the following about global warming: One doubts that any of these various rightwingers were actually humming along and then got bribed by energy companies to come up with the outlandish conservative arguments you here on this score. Rather, the money's just sort of out there ready to flow to individuals who make outlandish arguments and to publications and institutions that associate themselves with such people and such arguments. Under the circumstances, the human mind proves remarkably supple and creative.
February 12, 2007
You go to your computer, and it hits you in the face. Again. Another bombing in Baghdad. The death toll is already 67, "at least," says the Times scrupulously. Not less than 155 maimed and wounded. "Four bomb explosions," writes Damien Cave, "charring families in their cars" in the largest market in the capital city. More than 500 people have been murdered in the Shorja market since August. The first anniversary of the bombing of a Shi'a mosque in Samarra. It's not even certain who the targets were today. Sunni, Shi'a.
February 11, 2007
Let's ignore the paganism of millions of people going on pilgrimage to Mecca to throw stones at three effigies of the devil. Before Yom Kippur, after all, some pious Jews ring a chicken's neck around their heads three times: "This is my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement; this cock (or hen) shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace." The chicken is then given to the poor for their meal before the fast.
February 11, 2007
A fascinating and intricate story by James Glanz in Monday's Times details a previous dispatch about Iranian "explosively formed penetrators" that are the most lethal weapons in the Shi'a extremists' war against the U.S. and government troops, mostly Shi'a, in Iraq. Just wait until Jay Rockefeller and other Democratic opponents of an aggressive stance towards the Iranian intelligence forces, that are said to be the masters of the making and the deployment of these arms, begin publicly to doubt the evidence.