Bruce Berkovits explains why this was a succesful operation. "In large part, it was because analysts were allowed to ignore many long-held beliefs about how intelligence is supposed to work." Thoughtful.
Eugene Volokh opines that the Second Circuit decision on whether or not Jose Padilla can be held will be overturned by the Supremes.
This Washington Post is very good on Howard Dean. It is devastating! And Terry Eastland explains why Dean is wrong about our capturing Saddam; it does matter. Here is Dean’s
domestic policy speech. Not impressive; another new compact for America’s working families. He is even disowning Clintons relatively moderate domestic policy, and lunging toward socialism. This guys putting himself in a real box. Here is the New York Times’ report on the speech.
Not quite Yeats, but Dana Gioia is a poet, essayist, and literary critic I had the pleasure of hearing recite his verse (and others) for at least an hour without notes or transcripts--unheard of at poetry readings. He became persona non grata on campus and in the academe for his essays and criticisms of post-modern poetry after his piece "Can Poetry Matter?" which begins:
American poetry now belongs to a subculture. No longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life, it has become the specialized occupation of a relatively small and isolated group. Little of the frenetic activity it generates ever reaches outside that closed group. As a class poets are not without cultural status. Like priests in a town of agnostics, they still command a certain residual prestige. But as individual artists they are almost invisible.
David Tucker thoughtfully argues that maybe the trial of Saddam--although conducted by the Iraqis--should not be completely left in their hands. "Such are the politics of putting Saddam on trial that we might want to reinterpret the image of justice as a blindfolded goddess. Usually, this is taken to mean that justice is impartial. In the case of Saddam, it may mean that the goddess does not care to observe what is done in her name."
Terrence Moore reminds of an ancient but powerful truth: children emulate their parents, and this natural tendency should be capitalized upon when speaking with them. Both parents and teachers should talk up to them, rather then down to them. I would also recommend that not only should children be read to, but that they should read aloud. One way to overcome the stark fact that young people don’t hear the best in the language often enough is by having them read aloud some good literature. For the younger ones I recommend Kipling, The Elephant’s Child, for example. I defy you to read this out loud (regardless of your age) and not be smitten by the music of the language. In response to the question, "what does the crocodile have for diunner?", the Kolokolo bird says,
"Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out." If they are a bit older, try Jane Austen’s
Pride and Prejudice, or a couple of poems by Yeats.
The Washington Times reports on Madeleine Albrights "joke" to Mort Kondracke yesterday that Bush has already captured Osama Bin Laden and is waiting to play him like a trump card to seal the re-election. Shes offended and indignant that "To my amazement, Mr. Kondracke immediately went on the air to repeat this comment, which was made to a person I thought was a friend and smart enough to know the difference between a serious statement and one that was not." Kondrackes response: there were others in the room and no one else thought it was a joke. Apparently, as the old saying goes, it was so funny we forgot to laugh.
But heres Henry Kissingers take on the matter: "I am very fond of Madeleine, but theres something about President Bush that blows the Democrats minds," Mr. Kissinger said. "They get so rabid in their dislike that they say things which are absurd. If we could find Osama bin Laden on the same day that we could find Saddam, we would do it. Its just not possible that these captures are timed to embarrass the Democrats. Its a sort of paranoia." All of this, the Times reports, has some Demos concerned that their party will soon be perceived as outside the "mainstream."
Polling data continues to confirm what we all knew anecdotally...the religious vote Republican. The analysts and Demo pundits are paying new attention to the "religion gap," however, afraid that its yet more bad news going into the election year. And all the people said...Amen.
President Bush got a big bounce in polls after the Saddam capture. And Deans standing in a matchup with Bush plummeted. If the vote were today, the poll found, Bush would beat him 59%-37%, vs. 53%-43% in November. Here are some more details from the poll. A different poll, CBS/NY Times, shows that most voters, including most Democrats, are largely unmoved by any of the nine Democrats who are seeking to unseat President Bush. John Kerry is throwing everything into Iowa and New Hampshire. These are the moves of a dying candidate. Hes finished. Watch for Clark to rise against Dean. Howard Dean is leading in Wisconsin, but Clark and Lieberman are tied for second. Dean is getting icreased criticism from his Democratic rivals for his contradictory statements on foreign policy and Iraq, according to the WaPo. CBS poll shows Dean leading with 23% (Clark and Lieberman with 10%), but note that Al Sharpton is beating both Kerry and Edwards!
David Brooks writes a perfect op-ed on how Howard Dean thinks about foreign policy. Here are a few precious lines: "Dean is not a modern-day Woodrow Wilson. He is not a mushy idealist who dreams of a world government. Instead, he spoke of international institutions as if they were big versions of the National Governors Association, as places where pragmatic leaders can go to leverage their own resources and solve problems.
The world Dean described is largely devoid of grand conflicts or moral, cultural and ideological divides. It is a world without passionate nationalism, a world in which Europe and the United States are not riven by any serious cultural differences, in which sensible people from around the globe would find common solutions, if only Bush werent so unilateral."
There is a new translation of Don Quixote out. The introduction is written by Harold Bloom, and this is an excerpt from it. Good read. I havent read Cervantes in thirty years, maybe I should try it in between hours of unconsciousness due to this flu. Bloom:
"Yet how sly and subtle is the presence of Cervantes! At its most hilarious, Don Quixote is immensely sombre. Shakespeare again is the illuminating analogue: Hamlet at his most melancholic will not cease his punning or his gallows humour, and Falstaffs boundless wit is tormented by intimations of rejection. Just as Shakespeare wrote in no genre, Don Quixote is tragedy as well as comedy. Though it stands for ever as the birth of the novel out of the prose romance, and is still the best of all novels, I find its sadness augments each time I reread it, and does make it the Spanish Bible, as Miguel de Unamuno termed this greatest of all narratives.
Don Quixote may not be scripture, but it so contains us that, as with Shakespeare, we cannot get out of it to achieve perspectivism. We are inside the vast book, privileged to hear the superb conversations between the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza. Sometimes we are fused with Cervantes, but more often we are invisible wanderers who accompany the sublime pair in their adventures and debacles."
I am off running some errands for the rest of the afternoon, and then to some books now that the students dont bind. Take a look at this poem by
William Butler Yeats, a favorite.
The Sixth Circuit has upheld Ohios partial birth abortion ban. The Court rejected both claims of the plaintiffs, viz.: (1) it does not contain an adequate health exception; and (2) it imposes an "undue burden" upon a woman seeking to abort a non-viable fetus, in that the description of the banned abortion method encompasses the concededly lawful dilation andevacuation (D & E) abortion procedure. Good news!
Marilyn Thompson finishes her story on Strom Thurmonds daughter, and how the "pass-through" payment worked.
Bradley Graham writes on the use of the documents we found with Saddam. Apparently, the stuff is very helpful. The whole is worth reading. Note also that yesterday we nabbed over 70 bad guys in one fell swoop. It is not clear if this was related to information gleaned from Saddams papers. And the Iraqi foreign minister chided the U.N. for not helping Iraq. Good.
George Will has a very artful column on the meaning of the revolution that the Wright Brothers invention brought. The consequences of aviation are astonisnhing, moving from mail delivery, to war, to Cubism and skyscrapers. Excellent.
Joe Klein writes something worth reading in Time. The subtitle of his piece is "How the partnership between Dean and Gore is remaking the Democrats." Never mind that he really doesnt answer the question because along the way he gives away a good deal of interesting information, and a couple of sound judgments (the full he meaning of which he doesnt really understand, but thats not impottant for now). This attempt to remake the Democratic Party (as both Gore and Dean want to do; but not Hillary) is nothing more than this at heart: "One of the strangest but most telling passages in Deans recent stump speeches comes when he indulges in a romantic vision of 1968--a terrible year when America seemed to be falling apart but a time he remembers fondly as a moment of misty social communion. That, he says, is the America he seeks to re-create." Not long, read the whole thing.
Andrew Sullivan considers--and discards--Deans and Hillarys foreign policy speeches and this whole theme of "internationalization." The Demos think that this is the way to 1) criticize Bush on Iraq, yet, 2) seem as though they are not for getting out of Iraq. Its not going to work. Its a weird abstraction.
A formet student, a Hillsdale grad and a Chapman Law School grad and now working for the Pacific Legal Foundation, has taken up the cause of a Limousine entrepreneur in Florida. It seems one of the most regulated businesses in the country is the limousine business.
If you want a lawyer who will bite into a case and wont let go until Johnny Cochran cries Uncle, this is the guy.
A Saddam doll is already avaliable, with beard and all. I can’t understand why it’s called an action figure, but never mind. I don’t want to humiliate him any more than necessary, it may get some Arabs really angry. In New Zeraland, a seventeen year old skips school and builds a submarine that is remotely operated and is 1.5 meters long. Indiana is declared the fattest state. This explains why I have liked everyone I have ever met from Indiana! And, staying in Indiana, Purdue signs up the wrong Jason Smith to basketball letter of intent. In Toronto, a man kills himself as he tries to rob a taxi driver. And I should have known this days ago, but just discovered it. Time magazine was going to have Jesus on the cover, but, at the last minute, because of the capture, Jesus was replaced by Saddam.
Now the number of Democrats not seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate is five. Senator Breaux has announced that he will not run. Here is the New York Times story on it. And the Washington Post claims that House members Chris John(D) and David Vitter(R) are thinking about running. Four of the five states were won by Bush comfortably in 2000 (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana); he barely won, Florida, of course. There is a very good chance that the GOP can take all five, especially if Dean becomes the Democratic nominee.
For those who are not New York Yankee fans, this photo of Saddam Hussein proves that he is a very bad guy. (Thanks to Instapundit).
Jay Winnick elaborates on the meaning of the Iraqi resistance movement, and, explains how to end it. He cites good and useful historical examples.
Thurmond family admits that paternity is true: "After decades of denials, the family of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) acknowledged yesterday a claim made by a 78-year-old Los Angeles schoolteacher that she is the senators mixed-race daughter, a charge that had dogged her throughout her otherwise quiet life and shadowed Thurmond during his public career as a leading voice of racial segregation." Good opportunity to recommnend that you read Ralph Ellisons Juneteenth.
David Brooks hits a grand slam home run in his New York Times column today. Sales of indigestion medicine on the Upper West Side are sure to soar.
There are many blogs on the web, as you all know. Each one of them has its own peculiarities and character, of course, as does this one. Some blogs that I know of--over the last few months--have closed down their Comments pages because the conversations have proven either to be without value or uncivil. I regret that and I promised myself that I would never do that. The truth is, I read the Comments section pretty regularly (and I know that many of our writers do also) and I often learn a good deal about something or other. I appreciate that. Some people, occasionally slip off the deep end and become more personal (name calling, etc). Please dont do that. Lay out your opinions as reasonably as you are able, inject a little wit (if you are able) and make your points. Let the vituperative and personal stuff go somewhere else. Thanks.
Howard Dean gave his big foreign policy talk today in San Francisco. It is worth a read. He is digging in, claiming that his views on Iraq havent changed. Try to figure out what is important, what is less important, and what is pressing. Kind of hard, I would argue. It is full of talk about the "international community," working with others in a "true partnership," of "shared hopes," of "repairing our alliances," and of regaining "global support," securing "maximum support from other nations," and about how new leadership with strengthen partnerships, and so on. These three paragraphs give you the flavor:
"Meeting the pressing security challenges of the 21st century will require new ideas, initiatives, and energy. But it also will require us to draw on our proudest traditions, including the strong global leadership demonstrated by American Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, to renew key relationships with America’s friends and allies. Every President in that line, including Republicans Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and the first President Bush demonstrated that effective American leadership includes working with allies and partners, inspiring their support, advancing common interests.
"Now, when America should be at the height of its influence, we find ourselves, too often, isolated and resented. America should never be afraid to act alone when necessary. But we must not choose unilateral action as our weapon of first resort. Leaders of the current administration seem to believe that nothing can be gained from working with nations that have stood by our side as allies for generations. They are wrong, and they are leading America in a radical and dangerous direction. We need to get back on the right path.
"Our allies have been a fundamental source of strength for more than half a century. And yet the current administration has often acted as if our alliances are no longer important. Look at the record: Almost two years passed between September 11 and NATO assuming the leadership of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. More than six months have gone by between the fall of Baghdad and any serious consideration of a NATO role in Iraq."
Even though Saddam has been captured, we must remember we are in a time of war, a war unlike any other. We fight terrorism because it is lethal to freedom. The Ashbrook Center fights the ignorance of our heritage of freedom because that ignorance is also lethal to our nation. Without an educated citizenry that is devoted to self-government and the Constitution, we would lose not only battles, but also the things for which we stand. This is a fight we must win.
NEH Chairman Bruce Cole, scheduled to speak at the Ashbrook Center in March, recently said, "To defend our country, we must first understand it. A knowledgeable citizenry is essential to homeland defense." The Ashbrook Center produces this type of citizen. By teaching the meaning and significance of America, we strengthen our nation and in turn strengthen ourselves. We do important work here at the Ashbrook Center, and as we continue to grow, we will continue to need support from friends such as you.
We as Americans are facing a crucial time in our history. We are confronted with many choices, difficult choices, and it is essential that we understand the consequences of the wrong selection. We can only do this with a firm understanding of who we are and where we have been. The Ashbrook Center, through its Scholar Program, teacher institutes, and many other programs ensures we have the ability to make the correct choices. Please give to the Ashbrook Center today, and invest in a future of freedom for tomorrow.
Apparently, President Bush held his year-end press conference while I was out to lunch. So I didn’t see it, but I did read it quickly, and here are a few memorable lines. I especially like this first paragraph, it’s cowboy talk.
"Good riddance. The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein. And I find it very interesting that when the heat got on you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it. And our brave troops, combined with good intelligence, found you. And you’ll be brought to justice, something you did not afford the people you brutalized in your own country."
"And I acted because, I repeat, I have a duty to protect this country and I will continue to protect the country so long as I’m the president of the United States.
A free and peaceful Iraq is part of protecting America, because I told you before, and I truly believe this, this will be a transforming event in a part of the world where hatred and violence are bred, a part of the world that breeds resentment." The whole thing sounds pretty good to me
John Keegan just mentions the security benefit of Saddams capture, then considers what he calls constitutional issues (nice word for a new regime, dont you think?) in this very thoughtful article. In other words, how should he be dealt with? He rolls through the Treaty of Westphalia, Napoleon taking refuge on a British warship, France not wanting anything to do with him, etc. The short of it is that the new government in Iraq will decide and we will hold him until then, by right. Very good article, file it.
Barton Gellman and Dana Priest tell a pretty good story about the capture, and the intelligence that was gathered, or how the oinion was peeled back. By early December we started focusing on those people most likely to help him, especially those tied by blood and clan. It seems that we started interrogating--seemingly--unimportant distant family members, or members of tribes who had helped him in the past, and just kept narrowing the circle. Eric Schmitt of the N.Y. Times writes on essentially the same theme, and to the same effect.
Colin Powell has surgery for prostate cancer this morning. The State Department says that it was not an emergency; it was scheduled two weeks ago. Everything seems to be O.K.
Bill Safire has some thoughts; he also explains the origin of the term "spider hole." Austin Bay thinks it’s great news, and the capture and the trial will give Iraqis the opportunity to establish the rule of law. William Saletan thinks that this doesn’t necessarily assure that Bush will be re-elected. George Will explains, persuasively, that it will be good for Iraq to have a trial in Iraq. And he points out how Kerry and Dean have revealed their true selves in responding to Saddam’s capture. It’s been a good week for George Bush.
Jim Hoagland includes in his piece this memorable line from Saddam when visited by four Iraqi Governing Council members. One of them asked him: "Why didn’t you fight?" Hussein gestured toward the U.S. soldiers guarding him and asked his own question: "Would you fight them?" Touche!
After Saddam gave himself up in the hole by saying that he wanted to negotiate, an American soldier said this to him: "President Bush sends his regards." Perfect. Apparently his capture--either because of what he said or some documents he had with him--has led us to some other key bad guys.
Fred Barnes just punched out some instant political analysis regarding Democrats and Saddams capture. He thinks they have made some big mistakes on the issue of Iraq (pull Lieberman out of this one). CNN and Gallup ran a quick phone poll late today. Some of the results follow. An overwhelming majority -- 82 percent -- believed Saddams capture was a "major achievement." Of those polled, 62 percent agreed it was worth going to war. The previous high was 63 percent on August 25-26. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat confident that bin Laden would be captured. Markets are going up world-wide, and it is expected that the U.S. markets will also get a boost. An article in the Los Angeles Times maintains this: "The gasps that arose when Iraqis first saw Saddam Hussein filthy, ragged and in American hands could be the sound of the air leaving the insurgent movement.
The former soldiers and intelligence officers who were the backbone of the guerrillas in Iraq have suffered a stunning blow. People who have been sitting on the fence may now be less likely to join the resistance, and some may be emboldened to commit themselves to the U.S. vision for a new Iraqi state."
My quick opinion, for whats it worth is this: This is a momentous event. It will prove significant that this guy did not put up a fight. He proves to be a coward, a homeless, disheveled drone, one who still identifyies himself as President of a country, while a doctor looks for lice in his hair. His capture certainly has a bad effect psychologically on the bad guys, and not only in Iraq, but among Arabs in general. While that isnt everything, its not unimportant. It has propaganda value. If we keep adding victory to victory, pretty soon some will start talking about who is riding the strongest horse, after all. Yet, I will be surprised if the immediate effect is not more attacks, both in Iraq and elsewhere (even possibly including the U.S.). A dramatic attack or two would slow our momentum and would try to get air back into the lungs of prospective martyrs. Saddams capture should have an effect on both the tone and the substance of the Democrats criticism of the administration (didnt the rise in GDP do that too?).
Isnt it ironic that
Newsweek is reporting today that Dean got a large "Gore bounce"? Dean went from 16% of registered Demos supporting him a month ago, to 24% today.
Furthermore, there will be a lot of tip-toing around--since Saddam is a prisoner--there is always a chance that he will reveal something interesting about any number of things (WMD, the French, etc.). Even the question of how he ought to be tried (by an Iraqi court, The Hague, etc.) will become a bit of an issue; but it will be harder for the Dean-wing of the Demo party to make the argument that this justice (and honor) should be taken out of the hands of the Iraqis. The land-mines that Demos have to negotiate in American politics have just increased ten-fold. I guess you could make the argument that the election for the harts and minds of the American voter starts today. And Bush is off to a fast start. But lets not forget one thing: A vicious tyrant--one who has pillaged and raped and slaughtered--is formally out of business. Have you any idea what a relief this must be to ordinary Iraqis? I have a slight idea. After tyrants lose power, human beings sleep better, laugh louder, and walk in fear no more.
Joe Lieberman proves himself the most sensible Democrat. He should run the rest of his campaign on this statement (near the end, my italics):
"Hallelujah, praise the Lord. This is something that I have been advocating and praying for for more than twelve years, since the Gulf War of 1991. Saddam Hussein was a homicidal maniac, a brutal dictator, who wanted to dominate the Arab world and was supporting terrorists.
He caused the death of more than a million people, including 460 Americans who went to overthrow him. This is a day of glory for the American military, a day of rejoicing for the Iraqi people, and a day of triumph and joy for anyone in the world who cares about freedom, human rights, and peace...."
"This news also makes clear the choice the Democrats face next year. If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today, not in prison, and the world would be a more dangerous place."
Reuters claims that he was caught because of some tips we got during the interrogation of a guy we recently captured. Short.
Time recounts, in brief, some of his first responses to questioning once in custody. Ian Fisher of The New York Times writes a very engaging story about the confrontation between Saddam and four Iraqi leaders from the Governing Council. They were brought in to identify him. Although they could have done it through a video or from behind a mirror, they insisted on seing him in person. With General Sanchez and Paul Bremer in the room, they asked him some questions, he responded; note his very specific knowledge of French! The whole meeting could come from a Shakespeare play. Read it. Australian Broadcasting Service has some useful quotes from around the world. The two best are from soldiers. This New York Times article praises the spy agencies. Vernon Loeb of the WaPo wrote this profile about a month ago of Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, the head of the Fourth Infantry Division. Good guy. The title for the operation, Operation Red Dawn, might be taken from a 1984 John Milius movie by the same name. American teenagers fight a Soviet invasion. They called themselves the Wolverines. American soldiers in Tikrit smoke a few cigars, enjoy the victory, but know that it’s not over. And they conduct a grafitti war: After Saddam’s supporters sprayed dozens of walls and suitable surfaces with slogans "Long live Saddam," one patrol added Sunday: "In jail forever." BBC drew a diagram of the hole we found him in.
It is true that the tyrant who has left the print of blood wherever he walked is captured. Excellent. Some reports have it that the hole he was hiding in included money and rats. Even better. We have his kingdom, and he has no horse. This is the Washington Post account of the story. Naturally, there will be more, soon. Here is Bremer’s statement, in full (careful, it’s through the BBC) And here is Prime Minister Blair’s statement. President Bush will speak at Noon. The Command Post may be the best place for latest developments. I’ll be running around in the snow for most of the day, Johnny has pitching practice (inside) and Becky has a Church event. I’ll check back later this afternoon.
Im watching a press conference being put on by Paul Bremer and the Iraqi National Council. Its official--Saddam was taken early this morning in his hometown of Tikrit. Apparently information from Iraqi citizens was critical to his capture by U.S. forces. A video of the prisoner, taken while he was undergoing physical examination, was shown during the conference, and the Iraqis in the room erupted in spontaneous displays of joy and invective (shouting "Death to Saddam") against the former tyrant.
Apparently an amnesty is being offered to all those who are still engaged in hostile operations against coalition troops and supporters of the new Iraq.