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"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."-Winston S. Churchill

"The wandering scholars were bound by no lasting loyalties, were attached by no sentiment of patriotism to the states they served and were not restricted by any feeling of ancient chivalry. They proposed and carried out schemes of the blackest treachery."-C.P. Fitzgerald.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

A Tasty Lump of Coal in Your Coffee.... 

batboySaddam in happier times...One of the curious things that can be found in the Press is a certain unreal detachment from the various reasons why we went into Iraq. For instance, very quietly and over the past several months, the CIA has gathered the intelligence on the connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq's Mukhabarat that the Press has chosen to ignore. Of course, part of the reason they are taking so long is that the Agency had always pooh-poohed any connection between AQ and Saddam, and are probably quite embarrassed in private for having royally screwed the pooch again. The CIA has probably been given pause by their bungling of the whole Niger Yellowcake Affair. The dark-lanternists were snookered by an Italian forgery while Britain's own MI-6 found out about the real shopping trips that the Iraqis had made to the country. They don't want to get burned again, and neither does the Administration.

At any rate, our good friends over at The Weekly Standard have done Americans a valuable service by following up on the evidence (which is quite substantial, apparently) of Al Qaeda's alliance with Iraq. The always dogged Stephen F. Hayes has a wonderfully complete story on the goings on over at CIA and in Iraq. One of the things that freaks the hell out of me is why the Bush people remained so quiescent as they were being pummeled in July during that bogus Niger Yellocake scandal. According to Novak and others, the Administration is holding back until mid-September (right after September 11th, I guess) to release what former U.N. inspector David Kay has uncovered. Methinks they will release news of WMD and lurking bin Ladenists in Baghdad then, and not before.

Meantime, Friedman apparently still gets it. In this column in Today's Times, Tom posits what most conservatives figured out when the tanks first rolled across the Iraqi-Kuwaiti frontier. He divines that the Iraqi "insurgency" is the decisive battle of the War on Terror. Should we succeed there, bin Ladenism is dead as a wave of modernism takes over the Middle East. If we screw up, we really screw up. However, in the end Friedman can't help himself, and believes that Bush's entire policy will become undone because the President lowered the top rate by three measly percent. Good article on the whole, but as for Friedman's summation? Well, Jesus wept.

However, it must be noted that a paralell concern is raised by Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol back at the Standard in this article. Their contention is basically that if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound. The Standard wants to spend the money now and get the shouting over with, a position I find myself in agreement with. If it's going to cost sixty billion, let's tell everybody and get the posturing over with before primary season next year.

Though their sympathies lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, at least all three men understand that the Iraqi theater is the decisive battle of the War.

But that's not all the Times has to offer us. If it's Sunday, it must be Maureen Dowd. She's pining once again for George W. Bush's manhood, only vicariously through her new political boytoy, John Kerry. Natch, she compares Kerry's Vietnam service to GW's stint as and F-102 jockey in the Texas Air Guard and finds Dubya wanting. Rumor has it that she's been out and about with Aaron Sorkin of West Wing fame. But that's Page Six stuff. There is no room on this blog for vicious, personal attack, innuendo, and gossip leveled against a fine, Pulitzer winner such as Ms. Dowd.

Although I would like to know how her two old friends, Jim Beam and Captain Morgan, are doing.

Finally, the Times breaks today with Don Rumsfeld performing a game of Musical Chairs at the Pentagon, trying to get the most out of the force without really having to increase it. Sometimes I think that this guy is Robert MacNamara on Steroids, but then I remember that Rumsfeld is a real, honest-to-God buttkicker who isn't afraid to tarnish some brass if the need arises. It looks as if Rummy wants to outsource roles and missions that are being performed by active duty kids now that the private sector could do just as efficiently, if not better. In the article, one fellow remarks that efficiencies and different tasking could free up enough men and women to fill out two divisions.

The L.A. Times, in its neverending quest to resuscitate the California Democrats, gives Bustamante a twelve point lead over Arnold in a new poll out today. Color me skeptical, especially after the bangup week that Arnold has had. News of the day, of course, was that Bill Simon decided to bail out before he became a spoiler. This leaves the Republican field to Ahnuld and Bustmante, with the irritating chihuahua, Tom McClintock, tugging at Arnold's pant leg. Finally, the Democrats are ready to promote General Wesley Clark, USA (ret.) to commander in chief status. Memo to Howard Dean: beware Collateral Damage.


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