So I believe, compulsorily and satirically, in the existence of this absurd world; but as to the existence of a better world, or of hidden reason in this one, I am incredulous, or rather, I am critically sceptical; because it is not difficult to see the familiar motives that lead men to invent such myths. George Santayana

Staying to Help in Iraq By Angelina Jolie

Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance,
from us and others, can have an impact.

By Angelina Jolie
Thursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders,
the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the
departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of
innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in
many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United

Sarkozy's Brave Move by Thane Rosenbaum

The New York Sun

Sarkozy's Brave Move

February 25, 2008

President Sarkozy's honeymoon with the French people may have finally come to an end over, of all things, the Holocaust.

After an all-too-public divorce from his wife, Cecilia, followed by a tabloid-assisted romancing of a former supermodel and present pop star, Carla Bruni, now his new wife, the French president's approval ratings have declined and there is widespread disappointment of his management of the economy — all of this in just the first eight months that he has been in office.

Yet, the piece de resistance of Mr. Sarkozy's stumbles may have come last week when he announced a decision to require all fifth grade students to learn the story of one of the 11,000 French Jewish children murdered by the Nazis.

Mr. President, Don't Forget Iran by Christopher HItchens

The Wall Street Journal


Mr. President, Don't Forget Iran
February 19, 2008; Page A19

Dear Mr. President: A few months ago, it became possible to hear members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran "would not be left to the next administration." As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular.

That slight advantage has now, if you will permit me to say so, fallen victim to diminishing returns. The absurdly politicized finding of the National Intelligence Estimate -- to the effect that Iran has actually halted rather than merely paused its weapons-acquisition program -- has put the United States in a position where it is difficult even to continue pressing for sanctions, let alone to consider disabling the centrifuge and heavy-water sites at Natanz, Arak and elsewhere.

When you can't deal with the devil By Spengler

Asia Times ~ Oct 30, 2007

When you can't deal with the devil
By Spengler

A year later than I expected, the drumroll has begun towards a
Western attack on Iran's nuclear capability. Despite the best
efforts of Western diplomacy, the "moderate" option in Iranian
politics expired last week with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's
triumphal consolidation of power.

A combination of economic distress and external threats, Western
capitals hoped, would strengthen the position of the loser in Iran's
2006 presidential elections, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and external
pressure would undo the decision of the Iranian electorate. At best
that would have been a deal with the devil; unfortunately, the devil
was not returning phone calls last week.

The Counterterrorism Club By Thane Rosenbaum

The Wall Street Journal


The Counterterrorism Club
July 18, 2007;
Page A15

Last week, Germany, a relatively unscathed contestant in the game of radical Islamic roulette, publicly debated the antiterrorism proposals of its interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. The law under consideration would permit the government to engage in online searches of computers and to shoot down hijacked planes. Mr. Schäuble also recommended the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists and the assassination of terrorist leaders abroad.

Persian Puzzles By Bret Stephens

The Wall Street Journal


Persian Puzzles
June 19, 2007; Page A16

'Neo-Cons to plot Iran strategy amid Caribbean luxury." Thus did an Internet sleuth describe a conference convened late last month in the Bahamas by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies -- a think tank so sinisterly right-wing that its board of advisers includes Donna Brazile and Chuck Schumer.

Had our sleuth been at the conference, he might have been disappointed to find that nothing by way of bombing coordinates for the pending attack on Iran's nuclear installations were presented. On the contrary, the 30 or so conferees -- Iranian-born intellectuals, Middle East scholars, journalists and former officials from Democratic and Republican administrations and foreign governments -- could agree on little other than that Iran is a uniquely aggressive regime intent on becoming the predominant power in the Middle East. As to how best to confront it, the conference raised more questions than it answered. Here's a partial list:

Inadvertent Truths by William Kristol

The Weekly Standard

Inadvertent Truths
George Tenet's revealing memoir.
by William Kristol

05/05/2007 12:00:00 AM

George Tenet's At the Center of the Storm is a self-serving and often whiny recollection of his time as director of central intelligence. Among other failings, the author seems to have fabricated the story that frames his discussion of the Iraq war, an impossible meeting with Richard Perle at the White House on September 12, 2001--impossible because Perle was in France on that date and remained there for three days. The context he provides for his famous "slam dunk" comment makes it arguably more damaging to his reputation rather than less. And yes, it's a bit rich to read the former CIA director's complaints about unfair leaks when a small group of unelected bureaucrats from his agency, including some close to Tenet, leaked almost daily against the White House. Clearly, President Bush made a mistake by retaining Tenet, a Clinton appointee, in the job for the better part of his first term.

Can Petraeus Pull It Off? by Max Boot

The Weekly Standard

Can Petraeus Pull It Off?
A report on the progress of our arms in Baghdad, Baqubah, Ramadi, and Falluja.
by Max Boot

04/30/2007, Volume 012, Issue 31

The news from Iraq is, as usual, grim. Bombings, more bombings, and yet more bombings--that's all the world notices. It's easy to conclude that all is chaos. That's not true. Some parts of Iraq are in bad shape, but others are improving. I spent the first two weeks of April in Baghdad, with side trips to Baqubah, Ramadi, and Falluja. Along the way I talked to everyone from privates to generals, both American and Iraqi. I found that, while we may not yet be winning the war, our prospects are at least not deteriorating precipitously, as they were last year. When General David Petraeus took command in February, he called the situation "hard" but not "hopeless." Today there are some glimmers of hope in the unlikeliest of places.

Real inconvenient truths By Camille Paglia

Real inconvenient truths
Our failed political dynasties, Pelosi's stylish appeal and George W. Bush as Queen Victoria. Plus: The hot air about global warming.

By Camille Paglia

Apr. 11, 2007 | Reviving the format of my original Salon column, Ask Camille, each third column will be devoted to my replies to reader letters, collected at this mailbox. I am very grateful to the hundreds of readers who wrote to welcome me back to Salon and who posed fascinating and thoughtful questions. This month's selection of letters follows.

Dear Camille,

What is your opinion concerning two people in one family running for office, as in the Bush and Clinton families? We already had a Clinton for eight years -- do we need another one for another eight years? Same thing with George and George. We didn't like the father enough to give him a second term, so how did we (America, not me personally) get stuck with the son? One per family unless we elect a king. That would help keep all the blowhards off TV -- maybe.


There may be an atavistic longing for quasi-divine kingship that surfaces in unsettled times. Especially after 9/11, with its diffuse sense of peril, we should beware of the seductive dream of the strong man or clan who will shield us from harm. Democracy is predicated on sometimes chaotic cross-talk, not on governance by fiat, the whims of a hereditary elite.

Political dynasties are mythic foster families whose princes rise and fall like flaming stars. Does it signify democracy's nostalgia for royalty? The irony is that authentic royalty, re-glamorized by Diana in the 1980s, has waned back into banality in England and everywhere else.

Fitzgerald's Cover-Up ~ Editorial

The Wall Street Journal


Fitzgerald's Cover-Up
April 4, 2007; Page A14

For a prosecutor who claims to be a truth-seeker, Patrick Fitzgerald sure can be secretive. Even now that the Scooter Libby trial is over and his "leak" investigation is all but closed, the unaccountable special counsel wants to keep his arguments for creating a Constitutional showdown over reporters and their sources under lock and key.

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