Saturday, April 05, 2003

While I'm on the subject of taking issue with David Adesnik (why does this keep happening?), he has another post on the topic of Islamic backlash against the war. Dave writes that "Yes, the religious parties are gaining strength. No, it is not because of the war. It is because Pakistan has a dictator supported by the Pentagon." And: "Arab/Muslim opposition to the war is all talk. Opposing the war is just a convenient way of venting other grievances" And: "As I've said before and will surely say again, the real threat to American interests and ideals in the Middle East is not the people, but the dictators."
Now, all of these statements make a good point, which is an important corrective to much alarmist and gloomy thinking about 'Arab/Muslim' backlash: that the anti-American and anti-war demonstrations serve as an outlet for venting frustration against dictatorial regimes. However, each of these statements is also built on a false opposition, an 'either/or' premise. EITHER gains by religious parties are due to the war OR they're due to US support of Musharraf. EITHER opposition to the war reflects a genuine, fierce sentiment OR it's a way of venting other grievances. EITHER the people of the Middle East, and other Muslim nations, are a threat to the US, OR the US's support of the authoritarian false friends who rule the region is.
But, in fact, these are not mutually exclusive possibilities at all. Many people in the Middle East, in Arab nations such as Pakistan, and indeed in non-Arab nations, do resent the US because of our cynical support of their rulers -- people like Musharraf, Mubarak, the Sauds, etc. This leads them to generally mistrust us and our motives, to see us as imperialist meddlers who don't care about the people of the region, their ideals, traditions, feelings or welfare -- an impression we've all too often reinforced in our actions. This in turn makes them view the war on Iraq as another imperialist venture to conquer, control and humiliate a Muslim people and their native rulers by a self-interested and bullying US. This leads to strong passions opposed to war that, while they are fed and reinforced by anger about US-backing of Arab (and other) dictatorships -- and often mixed in with this anger -- are genuine in themselves. The war then serves as both catalyst of fury and confirmation of suspicion. Whether this catalyst will be enough to actually 'destabilize' some of these countries remains to be seen; and how bad such destabilization would be varies (and for whom).
So, Dave is quite right in what he says about the sources of the widespread distrust of and resentment towards the US. Why he thinks that this insight leads to the conclusion that war will not provoke a backlash, though, remains something of a puzzle to me.

There's a very interesting collection of commentaries on how native populations have viewed foreign 'liberators' in other conflicts in the NY Times. The piece on the Civil War doesn't seem to have anything to say about the present conflict -- other than the fact that people tend to resent outsiders coming into their territory with guns, a point which the other pieces make more effectively. And the piece on North Korea is speculative (though it does provide a good argument for why we're unlikely to see a liberation of North Korea anytime soon, alas.) However, the pieces on Japan and Germany -- and especially Stephen Kotkin's piece on the Soviet Union -- all make good points: that people tend to always be wary of outsiders and resist them; that this sentiment -- patriotism -- can often be at least as strong as a more rational desire for liberty and self-preservation; and that authoritarian or, especially, totalitarian regimes can very effectively control their subjects' thinking through propoganda and, indeed, by their very terror. Anyone who's studied the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, or North Korea, or China (or has read 1984), will know that dictators can, despite, or indeed precisely through, their brutality, inspire not only hate, not only fear, but a submissive love. This is a deeply ugly fact, and one which is hard to understand from the perspective of reason and freedom; but a fact is what it is. (A similar point is made, with far greater knowledge of and reference to Iraqi society, by Ethan Bronner in an excellent NY Times article. At OxBlog, David questions some of Bronner's claims about likely voting results in Iraq. I agree with David that this particular claim is dubious, and weakens Bronner's argument, though I'm not as quick to regard it as plainly false as David is -- I just think that it's too speculative and difficult to judge the probability of to carry much argumentative weight. David concludes: "While Bronner's essay is well worth reading, one must ultimately regard it as a sad monument to the ways in which prejudice can color the work of even the most hardworking journalists." Well, no. There's no 'must' about it. Bronner has his own point of view; and it is a view which strikes me as being far better informed by knowledge of Iraqi society, far more realistic (and nuanced) in its perception of human psychology, and far better informed by a deeper and more correct understanding of history, than David's own view -- which strikes me as far hastier, less well-informed (for all of David's undoubtedly great knowledge of international relations), far more influenced by theoretical presuppositions and ideological commitments, and undergirded by an understanding of the psychological impact of totalitarianism that is more optimistic and therefore, I believe, less realistic. This is not to say that David is wrong in believing that many Iraqis will ultimately come to recognize Saddam's evil, once they are liberated from his rule. It is to say that the psychological hold of Saddam over many Iraqis -- and the difficulty of removing this hold, even after Saddam's defeat and, hopefully, death -- will prove far greater than David, and many others, seem willing, or able, to comprehend. (This same facile (mis)understanding informs David's other comment , in response to Nicholas Kristof's claim (in an excellent column) claim that 'Sensitivity and diplomacy' were able to win public opinion in post-WWII Japan and Germany "Funny, I thought it had something to do with the fact that people actually resented Hitler." Well, some of them did (though I'm not sure what the relevance of this was in JAPAN). But many didn't - at least at first. It took time to break the spell of Nazism, the spell both of ecstatic, loving self-surrender and of terror -- and more than just time, or humiliation; it also took a mixture of 'sensitivity and diplomacy,' economic generosity, and at the same time an attempt at de-Nazification. And, even then, there remained a good deal of unrepentant loyalty to the Third Reich under the surface -- just as their remained loyalists to Japanese militarism, and as their still remain devoted Stalinists in Russia today.)

Friday, April 04, 2003

Post-War Plans: Colin Powell presents a general idea of what a post-war, interim government of Iraq might look like. The governing principle seems to be, include everybody: primarilly Iraqi exiles, but also people from 'inside'; primarily backed and watched over by the US, but also including the UN. Whether this will manage to avoid some of the tensions, and indeed clashes, which would result from excluding anyone; and whether it will actually work coherently, or just create a god-awful muddle -- remain to be seen. But it's probably a better idea than either setting up a government of exiles who lack the trust and support of the Iraqi people, or excluding the exiles and handing power over to groups with no experience of democracy, and who are deeply distrustful of the US and one another. And including the UN is key: we need to mend some of the damage done by our break with the UN over the war -- and also try to combat the idea that post-war reconstruction, and the instituting of a post-war government, are no more than covers for a US imperialist takeover of Iraq.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. This itself is, in fact, at least a partial untruth. To the extent that truth survives the pressures of war, it is thanks, first and foremost, to the brave and dedicated journalists who risk their lives to discover the truth, and bring it to the world. Sadly, these truth-tellers sometimes become casualties of war themselves. The latest journalistic casualty of the current war is Michael Kelly, former editor of The New Republic, National Journal, and The Atlantic, and columnist for the Washington Post.
Kelly's achievments as editor -- especially at the Atlantic , which he enriched and transformed -- are self-evident and beyond dispute. So are his early achievments as a journalist (an example of which TNR has made available online.) As a columnist, Kelly often ruffled feathers; for he was pugnacious, irreverent, often caustic and sometimes ferocious -- and not always fair or, in my opinion correct. He excited strong responses of exasperation and anger -- which many, myself included, sometimes gave equally ferocious vent to (a fact of which I'm now ashamed). But his commitment, his personal integrity and passion, were always evident. That he sometimes inspired much perturbation and controversy was a testament to the tenacity of his convictions; that he also inspired such widespread and deep affection and respect -- and that his death therefore has provoked such shock and sorrow -- is a testament to the warmth and goodness of his heart. His death is indeed a great and sad loss -- to his family, his many loyal friends, and to journalism.

Ah, my sort of day over at OxBlog, where David and Josh (at GREAT length -- not that that's a criticism!) discuss Plato's Republic, the question of whether there is (or has been) progress in human wisdom and morality since Plato's day -- and, in Josh's case, plenty else as well. I'll address what I take to be the main point of Josh's post, which is what really provokes me -- and brings out, I think, an important philosophical difference between us (which is, essentially, that while I'm considerably to the left of Mr. Chafetz, I'm more of a conservative and he's a Progressive. Yes, I know. It's a confusing world.)
Josh's argument comes down to this: since Plato's time, the world, or at least an increasing part of it, has come to embrace the ideals, and refine the institutions, of constitutional democracy, individualism, liberalism, and egalitarianism (broadly defined -- we're talking a belief in equality of inviolable individual rights, not equality of results, or favouring economic planning, or rejecting communal ties in favour of radical autonomy and self assertion, etc); and we are continuing to get better at realizing these ideals more effectively, and more consistently. Thus, as he writes:
Have we made moral progress? Absolutely. Are we wiser than Plato? Absolutely not. Plato, Aristotle, Locke, et al. were geniuses, and they were sages. Those are rare in any age. But we have the benefit of their wisdom. We stand on the shoulder [what? Only one of the shoulders? Doesn't that make it hard to balance? No wonder things are always getting so messy!] of giants, and we make progress because we have more giants on whose shoulders to stand than people in ages before us. History is a dialectic, but a progressive one.
Well. First of all, this of course is based on the assumption that our embrace of these various modern ideals is a GOOD thing. Which is something I happen to agree with Josh on, so we won't argue about that too much; we'll merely note that some might disagree on this (Islamic fundamentalists of course, and Christian and Jewish ones as well; but also, to some extent, at least some of the disciples of MacIntyre, Arendt [though not apparently Josh himself], Voegelin, Strauss [or do they? Who knows?], and all the other powerful minds who prefer various [though certainly not all] aspects of the ancient world or ancient thought to the ideals and realities of our own world).
Tangential parading of erudition, or pseudo-erudition, aside, I do think it's important to remember that most people at most times have been pretty sure that they had things figured out pretty well, that their assumptions about the world and the way things should work were right and represented an improvement over earlier times. And we now consider many of them wrong (think of all those Medieval pictures of Aquinas and the Church Fathers trampling Aristotle and Plato underfoot. Now, not to knock Aquinas -- despite what now appear to be some aberations [speculation about angels, declaring homosexuality to be a far more serious offense than rape, etc.] -- but given the alternatives of his views, which build on the 'shoulder' of Aristotle, and Aristotle's, I'll be retrogressive and take Aristotle). So, too, it may be that we are mistaken -- or that we are right, but will be considered mistaken by people in the future, who might well wind up not carrying on in the direction of democracy, rule of law, liberal rights, etc., but make a 180 degree turn (not likely, you say? Well, I hope not. But we can't know that.)
Now, let's assume that we actually do know that our modern, democratic, individualist political philosophy is better than earlier ones. Or let's just agree to agree on that like good Rortyans. Does this in itself constitute moral progress? I would say yes -- and no. (You want dialectic -- I'll give ya dialectic!) On the one hand, to now recognize slavery as evil and abolish it -- to grant rights to women, religious and ethnic minorities, homosexuals (ok, we're working on it ...), adherents of unpopular views, foreigners (despite the best efforts to the contrary of Ashcroft et al), etc. -- to grant citizens (and, increasingly in some areas, non-citizens) self-rule, and guarentee them protection of individual rights, to open careers to talent and break down the barriers of inherited class and caste identity -- these are all very great, very real progressive steps. And even if we do have a long way to go, we have come a long way, and the present is definitely better than (most of) the past.
On the other hand, as David observes, we've just come out of one of the most horrific centuries in human history. And there is no guarantee that the next century will be any better -- indeed, at the moment, the storm clouds are gathering (though they do seem to show up more on this blog's forecast than OxBlog's ...) I would say, to put it too simply, that while (many of) our ideas are better, and have influenced the develop of institutions that embody and safeguard those ideas, our instincts aren't. We've made progress in terms of legal safeguards, political structures, and what are considered acceptable beliefs; but we remain quite capable of brutality, cruelty, arrogance, treachery, mendacity, hatred, moral blindness -- etc., etc., etc. Nor has it been a story of complete progress in terms of ideas and institutions. While democracy, bills of rights, moral egalitarianism may have arisen largely over the past 300 years, so have totalitarianism, secret police states, bioligical racism and eugenics, mechanized killing, etc. And while the best -- or what we think the best -- ideals of the 18th and 19th and to some extent 20th centuries -- liberalism, democracy, pluralism, etc. -- have won out in the Western world for the present, is this victory guaranteed to last? And what of the rest of the world? Surely Saddam Hussein is a bit of a come-down from Hamurabi?
So, there's your dialectic. It exists not only in history, but in human nature itself -- between that within us which is drawn ever higher, to better, nobler, more just ideals; and that which forever moves us to turn a blind eye to our fellow human beings' humanity, and destroy them for our profit or pleasure. Hegel was both right, and wrong. He was right about the dialectic, but wrong to believe that the dialectic is an inherently and inevitably progressive force propelling us inevitably towards our telos. Within everything, every force, every movement, every tendency, there is a counter-force, counter-movement, counter-tendency, that qualifies and comes into conflict with and at least partly negates that first force etc. And for that reason progress can never be complete, or unambiguous, or more than fragile, and there is always at least the potential for a lurch back to the bases barbarity.
In this respect, Hegel, for all the insights contained in his idea of the dialectic, is I think a less reliable guide (though a more profound and ambitious thinker) than Tocqueville or Niebuhr. Tocqueville also has a (to my mind somewhat too mono-linear and inevitabilist) view of history as progressing towards the ever greater spread of democracy (that is, political and social equality); but he sees this as bringing both costs and benefits, improvements and debasements, in the realm of morals: as democracy spreads, our morals become gentler and more humane; but we lose the love of liberty and honour that has always inspired people to the heights of human greatness, and become prey to materialism, mediocrity, and conformity. And this negative side of democracy threatens to bring about the rise of a new, 'soft' tyranny. And Niebuhr reminds us that the capacity for sin and evil always resides within the human soul (or, if you prefer, heart or mind) -- and that the prouder we are, the higher we believe we've climbed, the wiser we think we are, the greater is our capacity for foolishness and degradation -- the greater our potential to fall.
Of course, Niebuhr himself got this idea from Augustine -- and voiced it in the face of Nazism and Communism. Oh yes, we've learnt a lot -- but it hasn't necessarily been new. And it hasn't necessarily been cheerful.

Two more great entries from Kanan Makiya's War diary in TNR. In the March 29 entry, he gives us a fascinating, vivid, terrifying glimpse into the Fedayin Saddam. This is certainly valuable (it would've been nice to have seen more about this formidable enemy in the press before the war began ...), and provides a good picture of what we're up against -- in the south of Iraq at present, probably pretty soon within Baghdad itself, and in post-war Iraq.
Makiya, not surprisingly, lambasts the US for not making as good use of the Iraqi diaspora in fighting the fedayin -- arguing that it takes an Iraqi to be able to tell who's a member of the Fedayin and who isn't. This is probably true, and I agree that the coalition forces should make use of Iraqi volunteers in their hunt for the fedayin -- and that this hunt needs to be a top priority (right up there with getting water to the Iraqi people). At the same time, we do need to remember that not all Iraqi exiles and opposition members are as noble as Makiya -- and the danger of individual Iraqis turning against one another and accusing one another of being members of the Fedayin, or the Ba'ath Party, for personal gain or vengeance is another thing we have to worry about.
In his latest entry, Makiya again laments the failure of the US (especially the State Department) to either make use of, or show adequate concern for, the Iraqi exile community. From what he says, it sounds like CentCom is more responsive, more willing to make use of the exiles who want to join the battle, than either State or the Pentagon. This -- along with recent rumblings and grumblings from un-named sources within the armed forces about Rumsfeld's alleged interference with the plans for war -- raises the question: how much control will the post-war occupation/administration of Iraq, headed by Franks and Garner, have in their own hands -- and how much control will Washington have, or exercise, over them? I'm worried that the answer may turn out being not enough and too much, respectively -- which could undermine and constrain the ability of the government of occupation to accomplish its (already difficult) tasks of rebuilding and bringing democratic self-rule to Iraq, and sour whatever progress it makes in building good relations with the Iraqi leadership.
And then there's the problem of how much control to give to the Iraqis, how quickly -- and to which Iraqis to give it. Right now it seems doubtful that the self-designated government-in-exile will be capable of -- or much good at -- ruling Iraq effectively, or inspiring and maintaining the popular support they will need to do so democratically (Josh Marshall's excellent post on Ahmed Chalabi adds to one's scepticism about the ability and reliability of the Iraqi National Congress). At the same time, there's also good reason to be dubious about the ability of the Iraqis currently in Iraq to emerge from decades of brutalizing, pulverizing tyranny and terror, plus the horrors of war, and to overcome the deep divisions within Iraqi society, to become effectively self-ruling any time soon. Yet the third option -- a long occupation -- would be extremely unpopular, confirm the suspicions and arguments of America's enemies, and likely spawn uprisings in Iraq and encourage further terrorism around the world (for one, not entirely convincing, forcast, see Timothy Garton Ash's 'history of the future' [well, he's already written a History of the Present, so I guess that's the natural next step] in the Guardian).
Where does that leave us? In a bad place. But, hopefully, a better one than Saddam's Iraq.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Now THIS makes me very happy to read.
Now we can only hope that our troops can hunt 'Chemical Ali' and his goons down -- and dispose of them permanently.
(It's inappropriately frivolous, I know; but whenever I hear mention of 'Chemical Ali' I think of the recurring line in Ernst Lubisch's classic comedy about Nazi-occupied Poland [yes, you read correctly. It's a great film, if rather uncomfortable to watch in light of later events -- i.e. the Holocaust]: 'So, they call me 'Concentration Camp Erhardt?')

The electricity is out in Baghdad, according to CNN. (US forces not to blame, according to the Pentagon.)
Which of course means no refrigeration or air conditioning in the Iraqi summer. Which in itself pales beside the prospect of hospitals bein deprived of electrity -- as civilian casualties continue to pile up. This is going to make an ugly situation uglier.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Evidence that the explosion in an Iraqi marketplace on Friday night, which is estimated to have killed over sixty Iraqis, was an American HARM missile; the article also contains an interesting discussion of some of the limitations to the accuracy of 'smart' weaponry. This isn't surprising -- no weapon is perfect, and if we use weapons with a 90% accuracy rate we have to be aware that things may go very wrong from time to time. But still, bad, bad news. (It'll be interesting to see what the blogosphere makes of these developments.)
UPDATE: No confirmation -- or mention -- of the Independent's report in either the Guardian or the BBC website, so far as I can tell. So, has the Independent (which has consistently managed the impressive feat of being more strongly anti-war than the Guardian or BBC) gone off half-cocked -- or cocked things up altogether? Or is everyone else just being overly cautious? (Or both?)

The Guardian has another admirable column on the war by lefty-hawk David Aaronovich. Aaronovich confronts the question of whether his support for the war was justified, or will be proved justified -- and how much suffering as a result of war is too much -- and has the honesty to admit that he doesn't know -- and the wisdom to point out that, for the time being, none of do, or can, know.
Something that the Bush boys and the anti-war movement might both do well to realize.

On a lighter, more frivolous note: there's another video out from everyone's favourite Russian nymphettes -- I mean, popettes, TATU. My currently poor internet connection has saved me from being able to see the video at all clearly -- it seems to involve our heroines in a car or truck or something (actually, it seems to be -- an oil rig?) going through frozen landscapes -- I guess something like Thelma and Louise in Novgorod. With way more combustible matter. Anyway, the song itself -- called 'Not Gonna Get Us' -- strikes me on first hearing as better-than-average contemporary Euro-disco. The tune is infectious enough, but I fear the singing highlights the weaknesses of the girls' voices -- the recurrent, dominant refrain (which is, er, 'Not Gonna Get Us', surprisingly enough) is sung in a voice that's chirpy to the point of shrillness. Ugh. Which is a shame, because the song itself isn't bad at all -- though not on the same level as their great, affecting, epochal declaration of homosexual love, 'Ya Soshla S Uma', which could well go down in history as the Russian, female equivalent of 'Hand in Glove' (except without the cool harmonica part. But, ah well -- we can't all be the Smiths. And TATU really shouldn't try, as their cover of 'How Soon is Now' demonstrates. Uch.) Anyway, 'Not Gonna Get Us' was Euro-trashy enough to compel me to follow it up with the great Johnny Cash's cover of Nine-Inch Nails' 'Hurt' (Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails? Huh?) AND Freedy Johnson's 'Bad Reputation,' which is one of the best songs (with one of the best videos) ever. Or at least I think so.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Let's see -- angry crowds demonstrate against the coalition war on Iraq in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia; the Iraqi leadership claims that there are more than 6 thousand Arab volunteers in Iraq, many of them suicide bombers; a truck barrels into the British embassy in Iran; Saddam calls for a jihad, as do leading clerics in Syria -- and Syria is being generally bellicose.
So, does this constitute a 'backlash' yet? OxBlog seems not to think so. Now, I'm not sure -- maybe I'm misreading it -- but Dave's latest post seems to suggest that all this talk of a backlash is being used by repressive regimes in the region -- Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- to shore themselves up. He also generously admits that these despots might actually believe what they're saying.
Well, I suspect they do. And there's a reason for that. There does, in fact, seem to be an awful lot of anti-American feeling in response to the war. Now, I don't know that it was necessarily CAUSED by the war -- many of those protesting may've hated the US already. But it does seem like those who predicted that the war would lead to anger throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds -- and that this anger would continue to mount, and threaten to turn violent -- were right, regardless of their motivations. And as the war goes on, and there are more civilian casualties, and the rest of the region is hit economically (as Jordan certainly will be) -- and when after the war a US-occupation, however short-lasting, however well-intentioned, however effective in bringing in much needed humanitarian aid and fostering democracy -- is installed in Iraq, that anger will probably continue to grow. And if the US fails to bring humanitarian aid and democratic self-rule to Iraq, pronto -- and if it fails to move forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace-process (or rather revive it, since there's not much to move forward at this point) ... Well, I'm wary of prediction; but my hunch is that it won't make the US popular, that it will confirm and prod and provoke feelings of anger, distrust, resentment against the US. And, as the calls for jihad go out, and the crowds mass, and the undemocratic governments sweat and fret -- it doesn't look good for the stability of the Middle East. Or the security of the US, its people, and its allies.

You know, I COULD say plenty about Nicholas De Genova, the Columbia University Prof who called for the death of US troops and the victory of Ba'athist forces at a Columbia 'Teach-In'. But I won't. It's too self-evident that the man is a hate-mongering fanatic, and, anyway, everyone else with a blog seems to have trashed him already (the most comprehensive being Dan Drezner). (Any news on PRO-De Genova posting would, on the other hand, be an interesting surprise).

Iraqi welcome: I've just come upon not one, but two, interesting posts by Eugene Volokh on possible explanations for why the 'the Iraqis will greet us with kisses and flowers' predictions of many haven't been borne out. His unsurprising, and unedifying, but convincing, answer: Ba'ath intimidation.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Also in Newsweek (ok, it's my day for reading Newsweek ...), an interesting interview with Wolfowitz (they couldn't have run a picture of him in which he doesn't look like a rabid, bloodthirsty vulcan, as played by Mel Brooks?). Wolfowitz says that this is "a war for the Iraqi people, not against the Iraqi people." As so often, he's half right: it's BOTH a war for, and a war against (or at least on), the Iraqi people. That's where the tragic nature of the situation comes in. Alas, like (it seems) a good many members of this administration, Wolfowitz seems not to wholly get the reality of tragedy. Ah, for the days of George Kennan (even if he is a reactionary, elitist, possibly racist fatalist. Oh well.; nobody's perfect.) What Wolfowitz has to say about post-war democratization is interesting; let's hope that his hopes and plans -- such as they are -- for that turn out to be better founded than some of the DOD's expectations for the war. (At least he dismisses the democratization domino theory as 'silly'. Right on.)

Fareed Zakaria has a very good column in Newsweek on why we shouldn't be surprised that early hopes for a massive Iraqi surrender and embrace of the US seem to have been ill-founded (to say the least) -- and what we ought to learn from this mistake. Couldn't have said it better, or as well, myself.

Still more on Moynihan (well, you can never have too much of Moynihan ...)
An account of the memorial service, including some nice tributes (how often do you find Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush all joining together to say basically the same thing? And how often are they actually all right when they do so?) And another very good tribute by Jonathan Alter in Newsweek. (Incidentally, I remember thinking when reading Moynihan's obit in the Times that it would be nice if they named either Grand Central or the new Penn Station after him -- and now I see that they're to do the latter. Very nice to hear.)

My favorite remark about Moynihan, though, may be from a discussion of the late Senator on the News Hour, in which Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe remarked that, before he had met with Moynihan in the latter's office as a young reporter, he had never tasted single malt whisky. Yet more evidence that Moynihan was, in all areas of his life, a man of taste, sure judgment, and generosity.

It's always nice to move from partial dissent to unqualified praise; so I'm glad to note that at OxBlog Dave has a lovely post on his response to CNN's site on coalition casualties. Amen to that.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?