Hacking the Regime
September 03, 2009

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad like to blame the uprising in Iran on outside influences. They particularly like to point their fingers at the British and the Americans, along with a requisite nod in the direction of the Zionists--a time-honored pretext for avoiding blame for discontent in their country.

Can the Saudi King Spare Pervez Musharraf from the Death Penalty?
September 02, 2009

It wasn't until I reported my print piece on how much Barack Obama's foreign policy--from closing Gitmo to Iran to the global economy-- depends on the Saudis that I appreciated the influence Riyadh has over its Sunni ally Pakistan. One illustration of that: Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military dictator pushed from office last year, flew on a Saudi jet to Riyadh this week to meet with Saudi King Abdullah, in what regional news outlets are suggesting could be part of a Saudi-brokered deal to spare Musharraf, now residing in London, from treason charges back home.

Nuclear Villain Back on Lockdown
September 02, 2009

A bit of unexpected good news from Pakistan, and a step which could prevent new holdups for a stalled-out U.S. foreign aid bill: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A two-member panel of the Lahore High Court ruled Wednesday to reinstate travel restrictions on Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who has confessed to running the world’s largest nuclear proliferation network. The restrictions on Mr. Khan, who is widely revered in Pakistan as the founder of the country’s nuclear program, had been lifted in a ruling on Friday. The federal government appealed.

The Times Admits that its Reviewer is Dumber Than the Book He Reviewed
September 02, 2009

Tony Horwitz, who knows less than nothing about Israel, reviewed Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and its History by Rich Cohen, who knows just nothing, no more, no less. These two are among those who are nostalgic for the European (and Muslim) Diaspora that dealt so civilly with its Jews in exile, as the Times itself felt during the most searing years. In "Paper Cuts," a Times "blog about books" (September 1), Steven Coates collects letters to the editor about the review. Not a one supports Cohen and not a one supports Horwitz either.

Headline of the Day
September 02, 2009

Ha'aretz: Shi'ite 'Bernard Madoff' jailed in Lebanon

Sentence of the Day
September 02, 2009

WaPo: The report said supervisors held near-weekly parties in which they urinated on themselves and others, drank vodka poured off each other's exposed buttocks, fondled and kissed one another and gallivanted around virtually nude. "Virtually" nude, mind you. They had to maintain some dignity, after all!

Gadhafi's Bed and Breakfast
September 01, 2009

He apparently doesn't stay in hotels. When he travels, he brings his Bedouin tent with him. In Paris two years ago, his minions set up his big wigwam outside the Hôtel Marigny. If he ever goes to London, where there are many government ministers and bankers eager to meet him, perhaps they could arrange for his portable lodgings to be put up on the lawns of Buckingham Palace. The immediate challenge is for him to find a place to stay in New York during the annual meeting of the U.N.

The New York Times as a Family Paper: The Gadhafi Family, That Is
September 01, 2009

Everything about the Gadhafi family is news. Everything except, of course, the 40-year chronicle of what they have done to Libya and to its people. No one looks and no one cares. Moammar is an utterly deranged man with brutal instincts that he directs and redirects as his distemper decides. He holds no public office and is, therefore, under no one's supervision--and no writ or oath either. But he has been named "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution." Quite a revolution.

Deterred From Logic on Nukes
September 01, 2009

In the latest issue of Newsweek, Jonathan Tepperman has a very confused piece arguing that nuclear disarmament is a bad idea because “[t]he bomb may actually make us safer.” Taking a stand against Washington’s allegedly overwhelming “nuclear phobia,” he writes, “Knowing the truth about nukes would have a profound impact on government policy.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone suggest that they know “the truth” about nuclear weapons, but I’m quite certain that Tepperman hasn’t found it. The thrust of the article is that nuclear-armed states won’t fight each other because “all states are rati

Do We Have a "Moral Obligation" in Afghanistan?
September 01, 2009

Into the murky stew of rationales for fighting on in Afghanistan,  Joe Klein throws this ingredient: we have a moral obligation to the Afghan people, just as we had to the Iraqis when we stomped in there and destroyed the most basic institutions of civil society Really? America was attacked by people who were given safe harbor by Afghanistan's government. Our retaliation was well within the bounds of international conduct, as opposed to George W. Bush's extremely debatable war of choice in Iraq. It also did not involve the vast infrastructural damage that we inflicted on Iraq.