Friday, March 25, 2011

We'll Follow The Snow

Rain is for sissies. Kathy and I are going to Lake Arrowhead for a couple of days. See you when there's wireless.
Photo by Dual Ravens

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Can Always Count On The Nixon Guy

Evangelist and former Nixon aide Chuck Colson complains that iTunes banned a "gay cure" app.

Michele, Nobel

The voice of sober Nixonian realism on Libya is Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said in an interview tonight with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that the U.S. shouldn't have intervened because we're overextended internationally and don't know enough about the anti-Qaddafi rebels or the war's likely outcome.


Historian Maarja Krusten gently chides Watergate reporter Bob Woodward (who's coming to the Nixon library on April 18, or, as we say at St. John's, the Monday in Holy Week) for his confused and curmudgeonly critique of Google and Facebook:

Google and Facebook just aren’t the problems Woodward seems to paint them as being. And it isn’t Google that killed newspapers. The problem is in the newspapers providing free content at the start of the Internet age and then having no way to go paywall once everyone was accustomed to reading what they wanted. As Bob Haldeman once observed, there’s no point in trying to put the toothpase back into the tube once you squeezed it out. Ain’t gonna work.

As shown by the mixed reaction the New York Times received last week when it decided to charge non-subscribers for more than 20 visits a month to its web site. Hundreds wrote and said that they'd just get their content at Yahoo, as if they don't understand what would happen to the content (also the top source of information for the networks and ten thousand bloggers whose shoe leather carries them no further than Starbucks) if the Times went broke.

You'd think Woodward, famous for his deliberate, ingratiating methods, would be the first to say, "Google can't find it if I don't report it, and I'm not going to report it for free." Yet people, especially younger people, have gotten it into their heads that Internet=Information. Last night, rewatching Roman Polanski's flawed anti-Tony Blair thriller "The Ghost Writer," I laughed out loud when the hero broke the case wide open by Googling another character's name and uncovering his status as a CIA agent. As if.

It's Sleazy Being Green

Did Hamas bomb Jerusalem to distract attention from its own thuggery against fellow Palestinians?

Madison, California

An Orange County city lays off half its workforce.

Fickle Bill

Dan Quayle's ex-chief of staff brought Sarah Palin to the dance in 2008 and then split. Now who's going to take her home?:

Even founder of the conservative "Weekly Standard" magazine Bill Kristol, who helped push Palin into the spotlight in 2007, said this week he does not think she should be the GOP standard-bearer.

"She has a very shrewd judgment about politics and policy and very good instincts -- but she hasn't done what Reagan ... did, which is really educate himself over a number of years," Kristol said. “I think she's unlikely to be the Republican nominee, and to be honest I think she probably shouldn't be the Republican nominee for president.”

Aw, My First Retweet!

Here's the National Archives and Records Administration's tweet about the Nixon library's new Watergate exhibit:
Want the REAL story behind Watergate? Groundbreaking new exhibit to open at the Nixon Library in CA this April!
Hat tip to Maarja Krusten

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Puleeze Process

Sarah Palin came back from Jerusalem with the insight that West Bank settlement construction is a "zoning issue."

A "Groundbreaking" Exhibit

From the National Archives web site, details about the March 31 media opening of the Nixon library's new Watergate exhibit.

Sly Of Newt

Newt Gingrich was for the Libyan intervention before he was against it.

Trump Plays The Birther Card

Donald Trump, on The View today, said that the president's "probably" a U.S. citizen, then added:
There's something on that birth certificate he doesn't like.
Trump's absolutely right. Barack Obama's birth certificate contains irrefutable evidence that he was born in Honolulu. That's why we'll never see it. Refusing to provide additional proof that Trig Palin is Sarah's son (Oops! Wrong conspiracy) he's a citizen is Obama's smartest move, guaranteeing that some likely Republican candidates (such as Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee and now, it appears, Trump) will continue to maneuver for the birther majority among likely GOP voters. Listening to a birther nominee try to defend (or back away from) the broadly unpopular birther position during the first presidential debate in the fall of 2012 would be the Obama campaign's happiest moment.

Nixon political confidante Roger Stone (above right) has been advising Trump for 25 years, so it's safe to assume he's helping with the talking points. Adding a dollop of birther cred to Trump's good-natured, tolerant populism is the kind of move that enabled Stone to outmaneuver Nixon in-law Ed Cox and engineer the GOP nomination of another plain-spoken loose cannon of a tycoon, Carl Paladino, to run for governor of New York in 2008.

Reuters' Rotten Logic

Reuters on today's terrorist attack in Jerusalem:
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike.
How could anyone write that sentence? Is the Palestinian National Authority at war with Israel? No: Its prime minister, Salam Fayyad, called it a terrorist attack, too. Doesn't that put the Palestinian imprimatur on "Israel's term"? Would Reuters have called an IRA bombing an "Irish strike" even though it was condemned by Ireland?
Hat tip to Jeffrey Goldberg

Jerusalem Weeps Again; And Still She Waits

Israeli-Palestinian talks are hanging fire over the broad cauldron of anti-authoritarian Arab unrest. Israel won't and probably can't make a move on a Palestinian state until Egypt's new regime is place, at the earliest. In the vacuum, the implacable enemies of peace are doing what they do best.

Cade's Story (Find The Cleenex Before Reading)

During a year of student teaching, my St. John's friend and colleague Tedda Duhey worked with a teacher named Mike whose five-year-old son, Cade, suffered a stroke following an operation a few months ago. Mike's wife is Erin; Cade's newborn sister is Lucy. Mike takes it from there:
It was a Thursday. Ten days after the surgery and stroke, and six days after Cade had a four-hour seizure. Cade was laughing a lot. Laughing too much. He wasn't responding the way he had been before the seizure. His eyes seemed to be staring through us.

We didn't talk about it. I didn't write about it. Part of us was still so encouraged that he was smiling and laughing.

But we knew it. Something was off. He wasn't "there."

That night Erin's dad stayed with Cade while we went to Main Place mall to get away for a bit. To get our minds off of everything. It didn't work. As the night went on, a dark cloud hung over the both of us. A sick feeling. A feeling of uncertainty and sadness.

We didn't talk about it. But we knew it.

When we left to come back we couldn't find our car. We looked through almost every exit more than once trying to see something that looked familiar. After an hour of searching we finally found it inside a parking structure. I had absolutely no recollection of parking in that structure. I think my mind was so heavy with Cade as we drove there, that I couldn't remember where we parked. The truth is I probably shouldn't have even been driving.

As we headed back to Children's Hospital of Orange County, the sick cloud still hung over us, only now it was coupled with an urgency for Erin to get home to Lucy. I dropped her off in front of the hospital while I parked the car.

I was alone. I thought of Cade. I thought of him on Christmas Eve a month earlier. He was so excited that night. Excited to be at church. Excited to see everyone. To be with everyone.

I thought of Cade upstairs. Was he gone? I broke down in that car. I remember just saying sorry to him through my tears.

I'm so sorry, Cade.

Honestly, part of me said goodbye to him that night.

The next morning. January 28. A Friday. Cade woke up early. He smiled. No, he smirked. Something had changed. Something in his eyes. He was looking at me, not through me! I spoke to him. He responded. And then we had a Thumb-War.

Cade came back to us that morning. God gave him back to us. He couldn't speak. He couldn't move his right side at all, but he was back,

...and he has been back ever since.

Things were so different after that point. We knew we had such a long road of recovery ahead of us, but strange as it may sound, we were okay with it. Cade was here, with us. I remember Erin and I both saying to each other, "We can do this. With Cade back with us, like this? We can do this!"

Every day since, Cade has got a little better. His body is catching up with his mind. No, with his spirit! We have been using the story of Lazarus as a picture for what we believe God is doing in Cade. After Jesus had brought Lazarus back to life, they began to remove the linens that covered him. God has been slowly unwrapping the linens that cover Cade. Although there is still more to go, we are so thankful for every miracle along the way. Miracles that so many of you have shared with us through this amazing website. You have been here with us, in his hospital room, walking beside us, praying for us, praising God with us!

We thank you for every prayer, for every guestbook entry, for every Facebook message, for every email, for every time you logged on to CaringBridge to see how our little Cade was doing. This little guy that so many of you have been praying for everyday, that so many of you have never even met.

Thank you.

Shortly after the stroke, Dr. Loudon came in and tickled Cade's foot, and Cade moved his right leg a few inches. I remember being so encouraged. I remember saying out loud, "He's gonna walk out of this place!" I didn't really know what I was saying.

And Thursday we are going home. After being away for 86 days, we are finally going home. By no means is this the end of the marathon. We are simply changing the setting,

...simply changing arenas.

We are bringing Cade home for the first time since Christmas Day. We are bringing his sister, Lucy, home for the first time...ever.

And Thursday, sometime around noon, holding his mommy and daddy's hands, our little Cade, our little superhero,

will walk out of this place,

...leaving a huge pile of linens on the floor behind him.

God is good all the time.

Of Mellow Mice And Men

I sometimes think of anxiety as a hamster running on its wheel in our heads. Studying mice, scientists may have found out how to get their fellow rodents to cool it.

Will No One Rid Us Of This Turbulent Colonel?

The "Economist" exhaustively describes the military and diplomatic complexities and perils of the Libyan war and concludes:

Given the range of uncertainties, the question of targeting Colonel Qaddafi himself becomes more relevant. Without him, it is hard to see the regime surviving for more than a few weeks. The coalition will not change its declared position that killing the Libyan war leader is not on its list of objectives. But were it somehow to happen, few would complain.

Your Move, Mr. Speaker

Matthew Yglesias on why Republicans, not President Obama, now have to provide leadership on the budget deficit:
If Republican leaders don’t want to agree to any revenue increases, that’s their prerogative, but willingness to compromise on revenue is the sine qua non of a bipartisan deal. Absent that willingness, there neither can nor will be a bipartisan deal so there’s nothing for the president to say or do.

The real question then becomes: When will the Republicans produce a budget proposal? We’ve seen the White House proposal. Do Republicans have an alternative proposal that makes the deficit lower consistent with their position on taxes? If they do, I’d like to see them write it down on paper so we can talk about it.

The Nixodemus Factor

Watergate reporter Bob Woodward to journalism students:

“You get the truth at night, the lies during the day,” Woodward said.

The perfect time to visit someone, he told students, is after 8 p.m. “They’ve eaten. And if they’re home, they probably haven’t gone to bed.”

Hat tip to Maarja Krusten

My City In Ruins

Detroit's population has declined by nearly a quarter million since 2000:
Laying bare the country’s most startling example of modern urban collapse, census data on Tuesday showed that Detroit’s population had plunged by 25 percent over the last decade. It was dramatic testimony to the crumbling industrial base of the Midwest, black flight to the suburbs and the tenuous future of what was once a thriving metropolis.
Hat tip to Tom Tierney

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

37 Cheers, Mr. Director

As Nixon library director Tim Naftali, after a four-year struggle, prepares to unveil the library's Watergate exhibit on March 31, historian and former Nixon tapes specialist Maarja Krusten says that he "represents scholarly public service in the United States at its best." That's Tim in the heart of the Nixon library with Kathy O'Connor, Richard Nixon's last chief of staff, and me.

Buying Abstentions

What did the Obama administration give up or promise so that Russia or China wouldn't veto the UN Security Council resolution the U.S. needed for our latest war? Some unpleasant speculation here.

The Obama Freedom Agenda

From "HuffoPo"'s daily congressional affairs e-mail:
The White House press office this morning sent around a readout of the President's call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip. These emails are usually pretty perfunctory, relaying how the president hopes to continue the two countries' ongoing efforts to promote economic growth and monitor some issue of regional importance (in this case Libya). However: "They underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people's will," it reads. Democracy through military action? Didn't the president sort of campaign against that? Somewhere George W. Bush is wearing sweatpants, watching The Sandlot, eating Bugles and chuckling to himself.

Monopoly Or Competition?

Matthew Yglesias on the AT&T-T-Mobile deal:
[T]o offer the optimistic take, what I would say is that in the current US cellphone Verizon is the market leader because it has the best network. AT&T had long been able to acquire a comparable strong position despite its inferior network thanks to a farsighted deal it signed with Apple years ago giving it exclusive access to the most popular phone. But the combination of Android entering the market and the iPhone going non-exclusive raised the prospect of a market in which Verizon utterly dominates on quality. Acquiring T-Mobile (“a company that has the broadband it needs”) isn’t so much about “cutting out a competitor” as it is about building a firm that’s capable of competing with Verizon.

Watergate Watchers

Hat tip to historian Maarja Krusten for the nod on the archivists' web board.

The Morning Line On Libya

David Brooks on the shortcomings and perils of making war by coalition. For instance:
Most wars are fought by nations — by people aroused not only by common interests but by common passions, moralities and group loyalties. Multilateral campaigns rarely, on the other hand, arouse people. They are organized by elites, and propelled by calculation, not patriotism. No one wants to die for the Arab League, the United Nations or some temporary coalition of the willing.

In the Libyan campaign, Qaddafi’s defenders will be fighting for land, home, God and country. The multinational force will be organized by an acronym and motivated by a calibrated calculus to achieve a humanitarian end.

Also from the New York Times this morning, we learn:
[T]he firepower of more than 130 Tomahawk cruise missiles and attacks by allied warplanes have not yet succeeded in accomplishing the more ambitious demands by the United States — repeated by President Obama in a letter to Congress on Monday — that Colonel Qaddafi withdraw his forces from embattled cities and cease all attacks against civilians.
As the days pass, let's remember what he said.

"Because The Night," Springsteen and Stipe

R.E.M.'s lead singer, performing with Springsteen and the E Street Band during the John Kerry campaign in 2004. The background here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"It Happened Today," R.E.M.

Hat tip to the R.E.M. fans at "The Daily Dish" for this lyrical video. I'd noted the biblical reference in December. If Michael Stipe's not an Episcopalian, he should be.

Ernestine's Revenge

The proposed AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile will give it 42% of the wireless market, and more:
As part of their assessment, antitrust lawyers must determine whether the deal might undermine efforts to encourage broadband service competition between wireless and landline providers. AT&T and Verizon both control a major segment of the landline market, so by allowing them to dominate wireless services as well, the merger could effectively hurt competition for broadband delivery options.
You'd think the three New York Times reporters who wrote this post might've mentioned that we devoted a considerable amount of effort to breaking up AT&T in 1974-82.

Bless Me, But "Big Love" Ended Surprisingly

A regular visitor to St. John's is married to a bishop who retired several years from the Anglican church in Canada. When she was introduced in church Sunday morning, she said that she'd sometimes been called the "mama bishop." So I bent my head and asked for her blessing, which she graciously -- in the Christian sense of that adverb -- provided.

It wasn't an especially remarkable moment except for our denomination's adherence to the ancient tradition in which the act of sacramental blessing, along with the celebration of Holy Eucharist and the granting of absolution, is usually reserved to ordained people -- deacons, priests, and bishops. Even within the Holy Orders, the blessings usually flow from the top down. Deacons and priests in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles are sometimes discomfited, if only briefly, when our bishop, J. Jon Bruno, asks us to reach up to his broad, 6'4"-tall forehead and bless him. The mama bishop on Sunday also looked a little surprised by my request, but she gave me a good one anyway. All of us baptized, after all, are priests of the most high God.

Something similar happened on Sunday evening, during the series-ending episode of HBO's "Big Love," the unlikely hit drama about a polygamist businessman and politician, Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton). He's just taken three rounds in the chest from an angry monogamist neighbor in front of his house in Salt Lake City. His three wives hover over him in horror, watching him die. He looks at his first wife, Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), and says weakly, "I need your blessing." She hesitates, and then complies.

It was a moment of sheer beauty and the last thing I expected in this completely weirded-out show which started in 2006 as an broad parody of plural marriage and ended up witnessing for women's ordination and being a little squishy on polygamy.

Much of the tension in the fifth and final season resulted from Barb's discerning that she has the priesthood, which in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is reserved for men. Henrickson is following what he takes to be his destiny to advocate for "the principle," polygamy, by founding a polygamist LDS offshoot and getting himself elected to the Utah legislature to try to legalize plural marriage. Meanwhile Barb risks tearing her family apart by attending a Mormon-like church which, unlike her husband, recognizes the sacramental equality of women. Ultimately she doesn't join it, for the sake of the unity among her, Henrickson, and her two sister wives. By this time, we've been deftly manipulated into feeling relieved when she puts family about principle, even though it's a plural family, and we all know that polygamy is disgusting.

HBO also got us to root for Tony Soprano, the murdering narcissist. Appreciating the nobility "Big Love" drapes over Henrickson in its final reels doesn't mean viewers have been transformed into advocates of polygamy. But I did get the feeling that series creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer had on their agendas persuading us to be less judgmental about lifestyles we don't fully understand and more mindful of the way most denominations and faiths fail to empower women.

Late And Too Little

The new web site of the Center Formerly Known As Nixon is finally up. Suggestion to my former colleagues: You might at least make the (ugh!) new name bigger.

The Final War Of Watergate?

Historian Stanley Kutler wrote a book called The Wars Of Watergate. Has the final one come to an end at last? In a press release today, the Nixon library announced that its new Watergate gallery will be unveiled on March 31 at a ceremony attended by the archivist of the U.S., David S. Ferriero, his presidential libraries chief, Sharon Fawcett, and the library director and organizer of the exhibit, Cold War historian Tim Naftali. According to the release, here's what the public can expect:
The Watergate Gallery chronicles the events beginning in June 1971, with the Pentagon Papers leak and the formation of a clandestine White House group known as the Plumbers and ending with former President Richard Nixon’s public explanations of Watergate after he left office. Through documents, recordings, and oral histories, the Gallery addresses issues such as abuses of governmental power, secret Presidential taping, and the role of the three branches of government and the media in this constitutional crisis. The exhibition includes a timeline of Watergate events with eight interactive screens that draw from the White House tapes and 131 oral history interviews done by the Richard Nixon Library with key participants like G. Gordon Liddy, Bob Woodward and Charles Colson. The exhibit concludes with Watergate’s legislative legacy and an interactive resource center of documents, oral histories, excerpts from the White House tapes, and television coverage from the era.
The public first saw smoke from the battlefield in Yorba Linda last summer, when the New York Times revealed that the former Nixon White House operatives now controlling his foundation, including individuals involved in Watergate or Watergate-era activities, had gone to war against Naftali over the exhibit's contents. These ended up being no secret, since they were available on the library's web site. Among Naftali's interviews is one in which convicted perjurer Dwight Chapin (shown above) says that Nixon was present when chief of staff Bob Haldeman ordered him to set up a dirty tricks unit for Nixon's 1972 campaign.

As Nixon's chief of staff in the late 1980s, I oversaw the design and writing of the private Nixon library's exhibits, most of which are still on view in the federal library. But in the spring of 2007, as we prepared to give the keys to the feds, I authorized Naftali to remove the Watergate gallery which, while never successfully challenged on a factual basis, had outlived its usefulness as a museum exhibit principally because of its polemical tone. It was former U.S. archivist Allen Weinstein along with Sharon Fawcett who, at my suggestion, assigned Naftali to come up with a replacement -- a four-year-long struggle which, as details become known, history may well remember as the toughest, most thankless job ever undertaken by a public historian. Among other things, there will no doubt be lots to learn about the secret role of politics, influence, and money when it comes to curating the people's business.

Naftali (shown below with Nixon's last chief of staff, Kathy O'Connor) must be happy March 31 is coming. Nixon's former White House operatives obviously aren't. But it's a day that has to come before Nixon, at least, can get his richly deserved shot at redemption. It will help when the rest of his tapes are finally opened as well, since their periodic piecemeal openings always seem to push him a rung or two down in the public's estimation.

Still, in ten days, nearly 21 years after it opened, the Nixon library will finally be complete, a full account of what Nixon called his peaks and valleys featured in its museum, the rich story of his far-reaching, course-changing presidency in its archives.

It's about time. As 37 himself might have said, 465 months of Watergate is enough.

Exit The Valkyries And Richard Nixon

My two concerns about Libya, stated better by others. First, Jacob Heilbrunn on the roots of the Iraq and Libyan wars:
Contrary to popular opinion, the Iraq War was not simply the product of neoconservatives. It was also championed by liberal hawks. An alliance between the two factions propelled the debate forward. It was forged in Bosnia, welded together by Iraq, then seemed to fall apart as the liberal hawks went AWOL. Now the liberal hawks have returned with a vengeance....

[I]f the venture goes south, Obama knows squarely where to stick the blame. [Hillary] Clinton, [Samantha] Power, and [Susan] Rice have taken their biggest gamble. The liberal hawks and neocons may well have prepared a new foreign policy disaster should Libya devolve into tribal warfare. And so this is a crucible for the idea of humanitarian intervention. If it fails, the liberal hawks will return to ignominy. At least until the next crisis erupts.
And "HuffPo" on President Obama's poor consultation with Congress. I'd raise my hand on that one as well. I definitely feel insufficiently consulted with, principally because the U.S. hasn't mentioned one vital U.S. interest to explain its decision to go to war in Libya. Obama actually veered in the direction of rash overstatement when he said Friday that Qaddafi was a risk to "global peace and security." That reminds me of George W. Bush stressing WMD instead of his freedom agenda in justifying the Iraq war. For his turn, Obama used strategic rhetoric to justify a humanitarian war.

It's important to give worthy motives their due. Perhaps Obama really fears a Libyan genocide. He's mentioned Muammar Qaddafi's "no mercy" rhetoric at least twice. George Will said yesterday that we've intervened in a civil war in a tribal society we don't understand. Fair enough, but if President Clinton had intervened in Rwanda in 1994, Will probably would've said exactly the same thing, and we might have saved a few hundred thousand lives nonetheless. If Obama or anyone else has evidence that Libya is different than a hundred civil wars before it that didn't lead to genocide, we should see it.

In suggesting that Libya is just a bleeding heart war, like the Washington Post and New York Times before him, Heilbrunn can't resist stressing the divide between, in his estimation, the pro-war "Valkyries" and Obama's more cautious male advisers. The mama grizzlies, this line suggests, were more attuned than the male grouchies to the potential f0r massive civilian casualties.

But if you're afraid of a repeat of Rwanda, as the secretary of state and President Clinton reportedly were, then gender has nothing to do with it. Yet Heilbrunn and the other gender-fixated reporters and analysts seem to be suggesting that women are more likely to commit our volunteer forces out of the goodness of their hearts, even in situations where civilians are at risk but U.S. interests aren't. That's pretty much tantamount to saying women aren't ready to be president, which, I don't think, Heilbrunn and the others really mean.

Actually, I'd put this all down to lazy journalism and a lapse of good taste. Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman, and Fred Malek were, I trust, the last to count Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nobody would write anymore that a president's African-American advisers had lined up against his white ones. It's also time to stop categorizing presidential advisers by gender.

That shortcoming aside, Heilbrunn and others are providing essential commentary, rooted in principles of Nixonian pragmatism, at The National Interest, published by the Center Formerly Known As Nixon. The Nixon Center's experts did the same after Sept. 11 and during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

But today, the Nixon legacy is silent. "" is now inoperative. The web site of its blandeloquent successor, "The Center for the National Interest," though promised last week, is still nowhere to be found. There's also not a word on Libya from Nixon's foundation in Yorba Linda, now controlled by lower-echelon, non-policy Nixon-Haldeman operatives.

On March 10, James Joyner stuck up for the former Nixon Center's decision to throw its founder and namesake over the side. Joyner thinks Watergate and the bigoted comments on Nixon's tapes make it hard to operate a foreign policy center in his name.

I don't buy it. Without his name and personal endorsement, the Center wouldn't have attracted the funding and star power to get started in the first place. That was because Nixon was internationally acknowledged as a course changer, in the words of one top supporter, whose foreign policy principles, at once hard-nosed and enlightened, would have permanent salience in the post-Cold War world. As Joyner himself admits, Nixon was "a giant of American foreign policy [whose] vision looks all the better in hindsight, in a town where neoconservatives and liberal interventionists seem to see no affliction in the world that is not worthy of American military intervention."

Eerily, Joyner wrote that a little over a week before the Libyan war. We need Nixon's vision in foreign policy now more than ever. But his friends in Washington and Yorba Linda had other plans.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Take Qaddafi. Please.

A provocative analysis from one of the unidentified readers of "The Daily Dish":
The Arab League has played us well. Our intervention in Libya is the perfect distraction.

Now that we're enmeshed in Libya, we will have far less attention to pay to Saudi intervention in Bahrain, or to the regimes' responses to protests in Jordan, Syria and Yemen. And what easy marks we are. We find it impossible to sit on the sidelines as critical events unfold in other nations, and we are desperately afraid that the Middle East, and its oil, is slipping away from our control. Libya, with a madman for a tyrant, is an easy intervention target. Here, the Arab League seemed to say, do you need to make a stand for human rights in the Middle East? Take Libya. We all hate him anyway.

We are gullible beyond belief. Did Obama, Clinton, Cameron and Sarkozy ever stop to ask themselves who really benefits from our intervention in Libya? No, a bottomless stockpile of missiles combined with a sincere, if narcissistic, belief in ourselves as a "force for good" in the world, made us ripe for the con.

They Almost Stole The Show

Aidan and Ally were the ring bearer and flower girl at a wedding at which I officiated Saturday at St. John's.