'I hate getting into this ancient history, however ...'
I was reading Dan's take
on Dan Rather's recent CBS lawsuit and thought to myself, 'Man, Rather's such a strange dude. Nice column.' Then I read the comments and, through no fault of Dan (the Kennedy one), some readers were seizing upon certain words and refighting RatherGate and SwiftboatGate etc. etc., as if 2004 was just minutes ago, not three friggin' years ago. ... Later, I then read Jonah's blog item
in which he's upset (or sensitive or whatever) with Katie's use of the word "we" in regards to the war. He noted: "Some may think this is a little thing, but I truly don't." I'm truly sure he truly doesn't think it's a little thing. That's the way it goes with partisan ideologues: seize upon a little word and commence arguing. ... Bottom line to both items: Hey, if you advocate for a war and it doesn't turn out the way you wanted, you might as well refight the old fights and/or pick fights over little things. You know, get the old confidence back up by rhetorically duking it out in the ring. RatherGate. SwiftboatGate. 'We.' MoveOn.org's ad. The Great TNR Beauchamp Incident. Argue over anything but
the substance of the war. ...
I was tempted to put together a new list: The Most Stupid And/Or Irrelevant Home Front Arguments: 2003-2007. There's so many nearly-forgotten stupid and irrelevant arguments to unearth. But I decided a list about stupid and irrelevant issues would be stupid and irrelevant. So I'm not doing it. ... I know I'm picking on the right these days. The far left is just as insane. But when you get a war largely or partially wrong and then stick your head in the sand for three or four years, well, that's hard to top. ...
'OFF or ON?'
Here's a terrific piece
by Cambridge's Errol Morris on whether Roger Fenton staged his famous Crimean War photo. I initially thought Fenton's critics had him nailed. Then Morris talks to others and ... I'm now a flip-flopper, too. I'm really looking forward to Part II of Morris's investigation. ... I tried solving the question by counting the foreground cannonballs in the photos. I'm pretty sure (the shadows confuse) there are missing cannonballs in the gully in the 'OFF' photo. The 'harvesting' theory might account for that if true, right? I also think I see cannonballs on the road in the distant background in the 'OFF' photo. What could account for that? Who knows. ... Keep in mind I don't have a good blog track record on photo/film/video disputes. It now looks like I was 'almost surely'
wrong about what Bill Belichick did with those sideline video tapes. Maybe Morris can investigate that caper too. ... Now back to my vacation. ...
P.S.-- I tinkered with the post a bit after realizing I was confusing the 'on' and 'off' photos. But the point is the same, if you think there appears to be missing cannonballs in the foreground gully in the 'OFF' photo. Where did they go? ...
'Crawl on their bellies across the finish line'
By now, moaning about the Sox seems like old news. So let's look at the upcoming playoffs here
. Permission to recommence moaning is granted. ... Reader No. 1 recently sent an email about how the "Red Sox collapse is fascinating, in an ugly way." I sent back a note asking if his comments were intended for Hub Blog. He responded:
Sure, as long as you add that the Cardinals went into a similar free fall last September but held off the Astros and won the World Series. It's too nice a day to get too upset about the Red Sox.
On those hopeful thoughts, I'll leave it. ... OK, I can't resist. A discussion
on how a collapse isn't a 'dramatic, cataclysmic, Big Bang kind of event' but rather 'slow and gradual':
Exactly. Where you once figured it was like a shotgun barrel in the mouth with brains splattered against the wall kind of death, you now know it's more of a car running in a closed garage cahbon monoxide asphyxiation kind of ending … you know, peaceful, really.
'We need him'
The Sox 'need' Eric Gagne?
Really? ... OK, it's officially
panic time. But I'm not in a panic. I must have accidently swallowed 'whatevah the fuck Francona is on.' ... Tony
is bringing up the tired 'inferiority complex' line. No, Tony, it's not about fans enjoying misery. It's about disappointment bordering, at least for me, on disgust. ... All will be forgiven and forgotten if they do well in the playoffs. But the way they're playing, I don't see them putting together three consistent playoff series to win it. ... Check out Adam's telegram
'Belichick's endlessly grinding motivation mill'
thinks Roger Goodell has created a monster that could go undefeated. ... I liked Charles' slap at Goodell, son of former Sen. Charles Goodell:
So, here's his kid, Roger, conducting himself in such a way that he probably should be standing on a balcony somewhere, his medals gleaming in the tropical sun. No wonder Nixon lusted after the job of the commissioner of the National Football League. Everything about the position would appeal to him.
And Charles thinks Goodell made the right decision in the Belichick affair. ... P.S. -- How did Fox get the Camera-gate film
? Just asking. ... P.S.P.S. -- The latter link has an interesting line: "The Patriots could synchronize the spy tape with coaching tape, decode the signals, then use them against their divisional rival in a future game, Glazer noted." ... Is that what Belichick meant when he talked about misinterpreting rules? Could it be the tapes weren't used for same-game purposes? ... P.S.P.S.P.S. -- Too bad this 'Mangini Risks Fury of Scorned Hoodie'
piece is still behind TimesSelect (at least until midnight). But there are ways around it
That sin has left Mangini toxic to some team executives. After all, would you trust him? Is there anyone — a player, assistant, general manager, owner or mascot — that he wouldn’t betray in a pinch?
You want more? You got more:
The matter has revealed more about Mangini than Belichick. Already, Mangini was known for attempting to raid the Patriots’ cupboards upon his exit in January 2006. He slithered around Foxborough as if he were pilfering Whoville, trying to lift players, assistants and secretaries.
He wanted everything but the picture hooks on the walls. He also wanted to claim Belichick’s mind as his own intellectual property.
Don't you love it?
' *GLOAT ALERT* '
gloats over the demise of TimesSelect. ... The Times wanted people to pay for the one thing the Internet has no shortage of: opinion. ...
Half a game to panic time
It's now 3.5 games.
... I almost don't care at this point. How will the Sox do in the playoffs if they keep playing like this? The answer partly explains the apathy. ...
'No, no, no'
Alan Greenspan is all over the map
regarding his 'oil' remark. ... Now Robert Gates is rewriting history: "I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true." ... Not that I'm a member of the 'It's All About Oil' crowd. Michael Moore still thinks the Afghan campaign was about natural gas. But idiocies of the left shouldn't be matched with idiocies of the right. September 11 profoundly changed the dynamics of our Middle East policies. But it didn't change the fundamental fact that our Middle East policies have always taken into account oil. ...
'A butt-kicking of major proportions'
what we hoped would happen. It's exactly
what was needed. ... But Camera-gate may not be over
. ... Maroney got only 77 yards on the ground? It looked like more than that. But it was enough to keep San Diego off balance. ... The Yanks are still
in the rearview mirror after last night.
Yeah, the Sox will probably win the division. Yet I question how deep they'll go in the playoffs. They're too unpredictable. ...Update
-- Reader No. 1: "I rest
.'' ... Master motivator, indeed. ...
'The button is still not on panic,' Part II
Last night didn't suck.
... What a great sports day yesterday for Bostonians. Watching a potential Cy Young ace throw at Fenway. Watching a potential Heisman Trophy winner throw
in Georgia. ... I'm not a big BC fan. I can't respect a team that's afraid to play the Tufts Jumbos. But Matt Ryan and Boston College are damn good this year. So I'm shamelessly jumping on the BC bandwagon. ... Like a lot of people, I'm a little bummed about the Pats. But I hope they crunch SD tonight and shut up the critics. ... Photo via MSNBC
and Getty Images.Update
-- Dark days for Charlie Weis
too. Notre Dame is 0-3. ... Knowing ND fans and alumni, they're whispering into the ear of Father Jenkins
following Mass each Sunday.
'Democrats really won this week'
Long-term, that is.
Mr. Gelpi (a political scientist at Duke) and others who study American public opinion and politics said that the Democrats really won this week because more than ever this is Mr. Bush’s war and Democrats have no ownership of it. By this reasoning, if the Democrats had succeeded in forcing an immediate withdrawal, they would then, in the minds of the American public, be partly responsible for what came after that.
No argument from me on this point. The best plan for Dems has long been to just allow the administration to keep screwing up. It may not be good policy for the country. But it's good politics for Democrats. ... I suppose Dems have to go through the motions of appeasing the far left, but I suspect leaders now realize it's run-out-the-clock
time on Capitol Hill. ... David
catches a good one from Alan Greenspan:
I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.
David adds: 'Well, that ought to cause a few heads to explode.' ... The heads will explode of those who convinced themselves the war had nothing to do with oil. But for those of us who knew it was partly due to oil and still supported this stupid war for WMD reasons, a paper bag over the head suffices. ...Update
-- The heads are starting to explode.
... At least he acknowledges oil. ...
No one quite knows what the Pats did with the video in Camera-gate. But watch this video
to see how much of an advantage there is to reviewing a video over and over again. ... Many of you have probably already seen the 'colour changing card trick' video. It's pretty amazing. The eye simply doesn't catch things at first glance. That's why the Pats dumped the binoculars for the cameras. The question is who was doing the reviewing over and over again. It probably wasn't the camerman. It almost surely involved two others: one to review the signals, one to match them up to actual on-field plays. ...Update
-- I've since added the 'Belichick's cheating toady'
photo, courtsey of the NY Daily News. That doesn't look like your standard Best Buy camera. ...
'The button is still not on panic'
Last night sucked.
... Coco: 'The button is still not on panic.' Whatever. But we know precisely
when to press it. ... It's an ugh-fest.
'They ended up with neither'
In his new book
, Alan Greenspan correctly bemoans the power-for-power's-sake
philosophy that the White House and Congressional Republicans seized upon in the years leading up to 2006. Greenspan: "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose." ... Speaking of Greenspan, he's mentioned a lot in this article
about the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged.'
I didn't know he was once a Rand groupie. I was briefly a Rand groupie. Rand's celebration of individualism is inspiring. 'Atlas Shrugged' still serves as an important counter-balance to the philosophy of collectivism. But as a governing philosophy, Rand's brand of individualism isn't realistic. It's too idealistic. ..
Now that I'm on book-post roll, I was getting excited about 'The Great Upheaval'
-- until I read the second half of the review
. Talk about a last-sentence slam. ... The review mentions the 25 turbulent years of war that engulfed Europe following the French Revolution. That made me think of a book I recently finished and didn't plan to mention here: 'The War for All the Oceans.'
It makes the best use of journals, letters and diaries that I've read in a book in long time. Hard-core history buffs will enjoy it. ...
'Spend as much time at home'
If Jim's Webb's troop-rotation plan
is the Democrats' idea of 'pragmaticism,' then the hell with it. ... It's silly and dangerous micromanagement that doesn't come close to the larger issues Congress needs to start addressing right now. Such as ... never mind. Just read George Packer's piece
. ... For crying out loud. Less than 24 hours after expressing hope that Robert Gates and Congress can and should work together (see post immediately below), this garbage bill pops up. ...
'Freedom is not free'
I sort of like the text of the president's speech
last night -- if you can get out of your mind President Bush delivering it. But it's pretty clear he's still in la-la land and doesn't have back-up plans. Someone had better formulate some soon. I have a hunch Robert Gates probably has a secret team working on it. But Congress has got to get involved. The next president is going to need options plopped on the desk when he or she takes office 16 months from now. ... Sorry, but the president's line 'Freedom is not free' instantly made me think of Trey Parker's 'Freedom isn't Free'
lyrics in 'Team America: World Police.'
That's how I'd describe the NFL's punishment
of Bill Belichick and the Pats
-- the maximum fine and probably the first-ever loss of a first-round draft pick. Does this incident really rise to that level? ... Still, the Pats clearly broke a very clear rule:
Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game.
Well, at least we have another Mark 'Snow Plow' Henderson
-like moment to chuckle about for years to come. ... BTW: The more I think about it, the more I'd like to see the NFL ban on-field quarterback headsets. Tough luck if coach-to-quarterback communications are sometimes screwed up. Some quarterbacks might have to think on their feet for a change. ... Forget about banning coach headsets. They're a status symbol and too much part of football tradition. ... Belichick's real stinker move: using a young kid to do the dirty work.
-- Under the slug 'Bill Belichick - Master Motivator?', Reader No. 1 writes in:
Conversation at home last night:Update II
- If you were the Patriots, wouldn't you be mad at the coach?
- No, I would be mad at the people saying I had to cheat to win. And I would want to show the rest of the world that I don't need a video camera to win the Super Bowl.
Is $750k and a #1 pick too high a price to win a Super Bowl? (Maybe if no one outside of Foxboro is rooting for you, there's the rub for ownership.)
This story has interesting allegations. If only Will Mcdonough were here to remember the good old days, when teams just let a little air out of the ball...
Remember how upset we were about those ping pong balls at the end of June?
- Reader No. 1 write in again: "Don't just get rid of the QB headsets, make 'em wear leather helmets!"
'Spying,' Part II
From Reader No. 1:
1- RE Coach Belicheck, this is NOT a defense of rulebreaking but... has anyone written why 'stealing signs' are against the rules as opposed to breaking down coaches' film for player tendencies/formations; positioning coaches in skyboxes high above the field with headsets to the sideline? If the answer is that all games would end in scoreless ties (except for goofs/errors/blown coverage), that's reasonable. Just want some elaboration on the issue. If the answer is that it's 'unsportsmanlike,' that has a different meaning.Hub Blog's response
2- Darn that mean and nasty state GOP for calling attention to Governor Patrick's public remarks on 9/11. Any chance that a careful local reporter like Jon Keller or Joe Battenfeld might get the Governor to elaborate exactly what he meant by his remarks?
-- Sideline signal stealing is part of the game. Some coaches brag that, with only binoculars, they routinely crack an opposing team's signals within a few series. During my old high-school football days, teams used to routinely figure out the other side's coded audibles and make adjustments. Still, prohibiting use of electronic equipment for spying purposes makes sense to me. What next? Bugging locker rooms? Hacking into computers to get game plans? Banning electronics covers a wide assortment of potential abuses. It also keeps costs down. ... My general response to Deval's remarks can be found below. ...
The answer may or may not be clear after this weekend's three-game series
. The Yanks have won seven straight and are five games back. They'll be coming into town either 5.5 or 4.5 games back. Do the math. It's not over. ...
'It’s Eddie. I’m back, with a new task'
gets a great review
. The Hub Blog Dad is now reading it. I have first dibs after he's finished. ...
'With absolutely nothing else to talk about'
just nails it: "With absolutely nothing else
to talk about, the right wing has, of course, decided to raise the question
of why Deval Patrick hates America." ... As truly historic events unfold on Capitol Hill and in Iraq, it really is fascinating, as David Bernstein
notes, to watch how these non-issue issues are pushed to the forefront by those simultaneously in need of changing the topic and obsessively winning gutter arguments against the left. Scott Thomas Beauchamp's bogus reports. MoveOn.org's ads. Now Deval Patrick's remarks. They're all side issues to the main drama unfolding. They'll be forgotten by history -- and we all know it. Yet the Wall Street Journal's lead editorial
declared the morning after Petraeus's intitial testimony:
Important as was yesterday's appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the events leading up to his testimony may have been more significant.
As you may have guessed, the more significant events were MoveOn.org's ads and Dems' critical remarks about the war and Petraeus, whose detailed battlefield report was brushed aside so the righties could take on the lefties. Hey, if you can't win an actual war, you might as well win an argument, right? ...
FYI: The WSJ op-ed pages, on the same day, were topped by a piece
comparing the Baader-Meinhof Gang to today's lefties and another
by Normam Podhoretz reliving his heroic intellectual battles against the left in the 1960s. ... Do you see a pattern here? Need any more proof that the far right and left are like two scorpions in a bottle? ...
So I won't be accused of not paying attention to substantive issues: Notice how Dems are changing their legislative tactics
on the war. It's a smart move -- and one that will more likely lead to substantive changes. The Dems' previous all-or-nothing initiatives, as demanded by the radical left, accomplished nothing. Now pragmaticism is the order of the day. It's about time. They may even stumble upon a sound compromise that deals with the very legitimate concerns outlined by George Packer.
'To wonder what Alex recognized'
A short Alex the Parrot piece
that makes you wonder about a lot things in life. ... FYI: I believe Alex felt and understood love. But at what level? Does it matter? It's beautiful to think about. ...
Re the Pats 'spying'
incident, I have a hunch it, or something like it, happened. The mere existence of sideline 'signals' obviously proves spying is part of the game. But if the Pats went too far, they went too far. ...
'Out they go!'
Two initial reactions to Gen. Petraeus' testimony
yesterday: admiration and disappointment. Admiration because he seems to be honorably telling it the way he sees it, bucking conventional wisdom that he might cave and advocate major troop cuts by next April. Disappointment because he didn't come to the conclusion on his own that we can afford major troop cuts by next April. Think about it: By next July, we'll be right back to where we were in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and pre-surge early 2007. Is this progress? ... George Will doesn't think so.
And he's right. ... Not that I advocate pulling the plug and ignoring all of Patraeus' wishes. But I truly hope Congress starts asking very tough military questions about the issues raised in George Packer's article 'Planning for Defeat.'
Knowing the Bush administration, I doubt it has any back-up plans. Someone else had better formulate them -- and very soon. ...
Quick note: Congrats to Ike Skelton for ordering, 'Out they go!'
when protesters tried to disrupt yesterday's hearing. I wanted to hear testimony, not the chants of pre-programmed fools trying to get their Protest Merit Badges. To me, there's no fundamental difference between the ugliness of the left's 'generals lie, children die' slogan and the right's 'treason' assertions. ...
'Yesterday's demo job'
The juggernaut on paper was a juggernaut on the field. Moss
and the entire team
should take a bow. Again, Reader No. 1:
Thanks you, Al Davis … For Randy Moss - where do I get Super Bowl tickets? But seriously, the casual nature of yesterday's demo job on the Jets reminded me of those good old mid to late 70s Grogan-Morgan-Francis Pat blowouts - I think that's a good thing... Laurence Maroney still looks too streaky to be a #1 back. A small complaint on a fine Boston sports day.
Now I can go back to worrying about Dice-K. As much as I'd like to castigate this Shaughnessian overreaction, I'm left feeling like Coach Farrell.
Back to the Pats, two welcome words as San Diego hits town: Norv Turner
. ... I thought Maroney played well. His streaky health is what makes me nervous.
'Leading thinking from The Bluest State'
From Reader No. 1:
Two more fascinating and not unrelated examples of leading thinking from The Bluest State: here and here.
Do I see a new political constituency growing? Will our pets and woodland companions become the real Silent Majority? Who gets more sympathetic treatment in local newspapers - coyotes or Mormons?
Aside from legitimate concern for preventing cruelty - can someone connect the dots for me between the premium we place around here on braininess/intellectual prowess, and our growing sympathy for our GMAT-challenged fine feathered/furry/finned friends?
'What on paper, at least, looks like a juggernaut'
Spiral ham, potatoes au gratin, cesar salad, Sam Adams and one big TV are all set for action. ... Look for Jeff's analysis
after the game. ... More on the Pats here
. Opening games are indeed unpredictable. Especially against the Jets.
Give him a rest
I don't care what they say
: Give Daisuke a rest. Give him a break for one rotation. Put in Buchholz. Rest up Daisuke for the playoffs. It can't hurt. ... Assuming they get to the playoffs: 5.5 games.
... Oh, they'll get in the playoffs, I suppose. But I still don't like all the 'it's over'
'This war of ideas is no less bloody'
Here's a must-read piece
by George Packer called 'Planning for Defeat.' It challenges the views of both the pro-surge and withdraw-now crowds. The most important thing is to start planning now. ... The crux of the various arguments starts here
. ... Norman Podhoretz
pulls a Mitt Romney: “In its own way this war of ideas is no less bloody than the one being fought by our troops in the Middle East.” Sons on campaign trails. Intellectuals in front of computer screens. Pundits on talk shows. They're the same as GIs slugging it out in Iraq. Podhoretz is truly bordering on the repugnant these days. ... BTW: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft are part of a 'domestic insurgency.' Finally, the word 'insurgency' spills out of Norm's mouth. ... Peter
talks to a former Massachusetts State Trooper about his time training Iraqi police. Jerry Burke is one blunt guy. ... Jeff Jacoby
rightly notes the successes in the war on terrorism. But see if you can identify the missing word. Hint: It starts with the letter "I." ... Photo above right is of GIs in Iraq, not Commentary magazine writers on patrol against domestic insurgents. Photo via of A Soldier's Blog
sees the Pats in the Superbowl. ... We'll see. There's something in me that senses trouble. They face a very tough schedule. Teams have caught on to what the Pats are all about. Key players are aging and more prone to injuries. They're a very good team on paper. But the NFL season is long and brutal.
Hub Blog didn't think it was possible to outdo my Chiang Kai-shek and Chinese civil war
analogy. But Susan Faludi
has done it. Not only that, Sept. 11 and its aftermath "exactly duplicated the terms" of King Philip's War, she asserts. ... Not a parallel-like historical analogy, mind you. But an exactly duplicated one. ... Seriously, I was all set to blast every inch of this pompous piece -- its PC use of "Metacom’s Rebellion," the alleged male "shame" for not protecting women and children during King Philip's War and how it shaped the nation, the condescending references ("given the historical forgetfulness of Americans"), the obligatory mention of John Wayne, the mere use of the grandiose "on a deep cultural and psychological level," etc., etc., etc. But then she mentioned "buckskin bravado." That stopped me. I thought, "Hmmm. Maybe she has a slight point here." There was indeed an awful lot of swaggering before and after the Iraq invasion, not to mention references to Andrew Jackson, Irish-Scot fighting prowess, American warriors, the Anglosphere, Munich, Churchill, Lincoln. Then there was John "Reporting for Duty" Kerry's DNC salute and our wartime president in a fighter-pilot jump suit with a "mission accomplished" banner in the background. ... OK, so guys were acting like guys. ... But I still believe her King Philip's War analogy is bogus, as are most historical analogies these days. She could have at least explained why the last pre-9/11 surprise attack against America by a non-Christian enemy did or didn't fit into her gender-analysis "narrative," i.e., Pearl Harbor. ... FYI: Faludi
is author of a book about another war, albeit an apparently undeclared one. ...
-- I've added the above image of Metacom, aka King Philip. I didn't know Paul Revere did an engraving of him. ...
'Totally adverse to change'
I really liked this Globe story
about a New York millionairess who bought up large chunks of Plum Island with plans to transform it into a "mini South Beach." Or whatever. I'm sure Jeanne Geiger was a lovely lady who meant well before she tragically died. But her husband, Julian, who sounds like a good guy, pushes my parochial button when he notes some Plum Island locals might be "totally adverse to change." Maybe some locals are indeed "adverse to change." But who are the ones really "adverse to change"? The fact is there are plenty of people (often very rich and/or elitist) who see and fall in love with something that's new to them -- and then immediately want to transform it to better match their comfort-zone image of how things should be. Hipsters are infamous for doing this. They see a cool working-class neighborhood -- and then immediately want to transform it into a tired 'SoHo' wannabe with all the predictable checklist items: gourmet food shops, Paris-style cafes, high-end bakeries, art boutiques, etc. etc. Is such blatant imitation really 'change'? Who are the ones on Plum Island really resisting 'change'? New Yorkers who can't accept a 'ramshackle' New England town for what it is and need to import all their comfort-zone items? Or locals who don't want another Anywhere USA upscale resort, with a Miami twist? ...
P.S. -- Hub Blog is reminded of the hipster blogger who once suggested that a city neighborhood, via eminent domain or something, should be transformed into a Paris-style mecca. I can't find the link. If anyone stumbles across it, pass it along. ... Recall: 'Too much local flavor.'
It's often too much for some.Update
-- Found the hipster post.
Adam was on a roll that day. My original rant
wasn't nearly as good. ... Thanks to Ned for digging it up.Update II
- 09.09.07 -- Margalit
has more. And photos of Plum Island that the Geigers felt compelled to 'change.' ... Margalit via Adam
I'm inclined to give Gen. Petraeus
the extra few months (and that's all we're really talking about) to let the surge's modest successes solidify in Iraq. But it's clear everyone's on the same approximate page now: the retreat starts next year. ... The president can call it what he wants. ... Even Charles
, who chides 'political Washington' for noticing the gains in Anbar six months late, acknowledges four-years late that current woes were "exacerbated by post-invasion U.S. strategic errors (most important, eschewing a heavy footprint, not forcibly suppressing the early looting and letting Moqtada al-Sadr escape with his life in August 2004)..." Of course his primary criticism is aimed at Iraqis, not those who failed to anticipate and plan for post-invasion sectarian strife. ...Update
-- OK, I stand corrected: Charles was three years late
, not four, though he was still downplaying the troop-level issue even last year (pre-surge, needless to say). ... Out of curiousity, I looked up what Charles had to say about the 2003 looting in 2003. Not pretty.
... Here's a gem
: a conservative site in 2003 denouncing ABC's coverage of the looting and an ABC reporter's prediction it would hurt us. Extra bonus point: Criticism of a reporter's suggestion in the spring of 2003 that we hadn't yet won the peace. ... FYI: I'm not mocking people for being wrong per se. Hell, I supported the war, if grudgingly (see archives at right). But here we are on the edge of a Vietnam-like disaster (the president's analogy, not mine) and you can only wonder what might have been had more conservatives earlier criticized the administration's obvious bumbling of the occupation. Bloggers and pundits like to brag they took down Trent Lott. They should have also moved to take down Donald Rumsfeld, who ultimately got the boot for political reasons (post-2006 election results) and not military reasons (inept management). But, no, it was more important for some on the right to shadow box the left and the media. ... Just ranting. The situation in Iraq is sad and frustrating. ...
'How To Look Like a Genius'
The folks who put out Pro Football Prospectus 2007
have some office-pool tips
for the upcoming NFL season. ... Sorry, Bears fans. They weren't that good. ... The biggest challenge for the Pats: managing expectations
'How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army'
Poor L. Paul Bremer III.
Still trying to defend his decisions. ... He basically argues that he made an inconsequential non-decision decision that was the right substantive decision -- and then points what sure looks like an accusing finger at other 'top officials' who were consulted. ... Isn't it great to know that Walter Slocombe, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Tommy Franks and George Bush were all involved in a 'thoroughly considered' decision? ... Ah, like clockwork: Bremer's new Iraqi army
won't be ready for another 12 to 18 months. ...
'The central irony'
Jack L. Goldsmith
confirms my theory
that the current Bush administration has long been refighting the political battles of the 1970s. ... The conservative Goldsmith, the former head of DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, thinks the 'central irony' is that the White House's obsession with overturning post-Vietnam/Watergate laws ended up diminishing, not enhancing, executive powers. ... I'd add that a similar '70s-time-warp obsession with avoiding another Vietnam ended up bringing about another Vietnam. I.e., the decisions on troops levels, the refusal to acknowledge and react to an insurgency, etc. ... Sorry, but it was the president who made Vietnam analogies fair game, not me. ...