Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random thoughts

David Brooks writes a short and clear piece on Bush’s winning strategy in Iraq. He focuses on the "November 15 agreement" which mandated that sovereignty would be transferred to the Iraqis on June 30th, 2004. The scpetics were wrong; the U.S. had to transfer sovereignty in order to stay, end the insurgency and rebuild the country. Since then--despite the mistakes--the administration has been constant, and that has servedus and the Iraqis well. I agree that there is more reason for optimism now than at any time. Victor Davis Hanson’s longer piece makes a broader point about the "current mythic world" we are now living in; the most interesting point here is that the left opposes freedom and democratization, almost everything they were in favor of a generation ago. This is best exemplified by not only the behavior of the Chomskys and the Soroses. Gore’s "recent bouts of insanity are a metaphor for the scary era we are living in. "But who is the real new Democratic guru that best refeflects the new Know-Nhtigness?" Michael Moore, this "half-educated, vindictive buffoon." The Left in this country "has gone absolutely crazy." Note some of these images protraying Bush from the Left. And Lee Smith, at Slate, asks why the Western press is whitewashing the relationship between beheading and Islam. Why do they all say that the Quran opposes beheadings? And, last but not least (via Instapundit), Linda Seebach reflects on a new study of media bias by profs at UCLA and Cicago (the full study in PDF file). She explains their method, and what they found. "Our results show a very significant liberal bias. One of our measures found that The Drudge Report is the most centrist of all media outlets in our sample. Our other measure found that Fox News’ Special Report is the most centrist." And all three papers, plus NBC and CBS, "were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than to the median member of the House of Representatives."

One more for the Gipper

Charles R. Kesler writes an op-ed sized essay for the Gipper. The whole is well crafted and worth reading, but note these three paragraphs especially:

"Optimism is often distrusted by conservatives, and for good reason. It’s not a virtue but a temperament, and liberal pragmatists from John Dewey to Richard Rorty for years have tried to reduce all philosophical disagreements to matters of temperament. That’s a smug way of silencing dissent and protecting the liberal establishment, of course, and Ronald Reagan would have none of it. He liked a good argument, and preferred to uphold a banner of "bold colors, not pale pastels." What’s more, there’s a certain contempt hiding in the media’s celebration of his optimism, as though he were a right-wing Forrest Gump, for whom life was always one big box of chocolates.

Nonetheless, Reagan was on to something. Long ago, Aristotle pointed out that cowards are pessimists, because they fear everything. A courageous man, by contrast, is confident, and confidence breeds a sanguine disposition. In other words, true optimism is the shadow of excellence, and particularly of courage. Reagan was optimistic not out of random temperament but out of confidence in his own character. He was hopeful about America because of his confidence in the American people’s character.

Reagan’s optimism is rarer than the counterfeit kind, based on a sham form of courage and typified by the person who believes, based on experience, that he will always win. For much of the past century, this was the liberals’ optimism, the false belief that history must be on their side because so far they had progressed from victory to victory. Drunks often feel a similar kind of exhilaration. The Communists, drunk on their own Marxist moonshine, elevated historical determinism into an official article of faith. But in the course of a single decade, by making them taste political, economic, and military defeat, Ronald Reagan sobered up millions of men and women who had been ideologically intoxicated."  

The Fourth of July

Happy birthday to the USA! Go enjoy your freedom, family, hot dogs and fireworks this weekend, but do take a minute to reflect on the meaning and glory of this nation, the only nation in the world with the soul of church (G.K. Chesterton). To help you reflect see any one of these documents.

Here is Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, and his letter Henry Lee, as well as his letter to Roger C. Weightman. Also see Lincoln’s Fragment on the Constitution and Union, as well as Calvin Coolidge’s speech on the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Ramirez Cartoon from the LA Times

Unemployment and jobs

Unemployment held at 5.6% for the third straight month, but only 112,000 new payroll jobs were addded (the tenth straight month of growth), yet most were expecting circa double that. Tim Kane of the Heritage Foundation claims all is well.

Marlon Brando

The death of Marlon Brando allows Terry Teachout to write a couple of intelligent paragraphs about him. Here is one (via The Corner):

"A few film actors—Bogart, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, possibly Robert Mitchum, certainly John Wayne—have succeeded in constructing personas so magnetic as to float permanently free from their actual bodies of on-screen work. Brando wasn’t that kind of larger-than-life artist, though it’s conceivable that he could have been if he’d worked harder at it. Instead, like lesser mortals, he will be remembered as much for the quality of the films in which he appeared as for the quality of the performances he gave. Judged by that standard, my guess is that his memory will fade quickly, since so few of his films are worth seeing today."

The Reaction

The majority of Iraqis were transfixed by the sight of Saddam Hussein appearing in court yesterday. Wherever there was a television, you would see a crowd of Iraqis watching--soaking in the moment. The Deputy Foreign Minister, who I chatted with briefly, said that he feld "jubilant about Saddam facing justice." However, I witnessed another reaction in the press room as I waited to get the feed from the hearing. A journalist was complaining quite loudly about how the trial of Saddam was going to distract people from how terribly things were going in Iraq. This was all planned, you see. There were other expected things said: the administration is a bunch of extremists, jihadis, and nazis. And to think, some people think that the press in Iraq is biased.

Thurmond’d daughter will join United Daughters of the Confederacy

Strom Thurmond’s daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, "now wants to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization of descendants of soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War.

Evidently she is eligible: Senator Thurmond, once a fierce segregationist, was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a similar group for men. Ms. Washington-Williams, a 78-year-old retired teacher who lives in Los Angeles, also plans to apply for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Black Patriots Foundation, which honors black Revolutionary War fighters. One of her two sons will apply to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, her lawyer said."

Wake Up Call--Baghdad Style

Last night, after keeping to my custom of working late, I got up at 4:30 am to do the Roger Hedgecock Show. This ran until about 5:00 am, at which point I had trouble falling back to sleep. I watched a movie until about 5:45 am, and finally was able to doze again. Then at 7:30, there were a series of loud explosions which literally shook my room. A missile hit the Sheraton and another hit the parking lot of the Baghdad Hotel--both within a block on either side of my location. Two more missiles apparently misfired into Firdous Square (also within a block of my location) near the minibus that had been used as a makeshift launching platform. In a bit of poetic justice, it appears that a malfunction caused some of the ordnance to cook off, and to set the terrorists minibus ablaze. Unfortunately, it appears that the miscreants escaped before the bus blew up. CNN has a report about the incident here.

Media Update

I will be on The Darrell Ankarlo Show at 6:05 am CST/7:05 am EST this morning to discuss Saddam’s court proceedings. Readers in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area can tune in to 570 KLIF AM. Those outside of Dallas can listen live over the internet here.

Democratization of beauty

Christine Rosen writes a thoughtful (and long) article on plastic surgery and what it means. It is not simply an issue of vanity, but more especially "denial and envy." Worth reading the whole thing. A glance: "Cosmetic surgery thrives on our collective denial of aging and on our refusal to accept physiological limits. It feeds our envy of those who embody nature’s most powerful but fleeting charms—youth, strength, beauty, and fertility. Its supporters praise its ability to change lives and its critics denounce it as the expression of our society’s worst impulses. It is a useful fathometer for assessing the state of our democracy and a Rorschach test for people’s views about much broader social currents: the glorification of youth, the tenor of popular culture, the peculiar but strenuous American anxiety about identity. It is also a wildly successful industry—one based on ingenuity and an array of constantly evolving techniques and products, overseen by an army of trained professionals eager to protect and enhance their market prestige."

"In part, the discomfort some people have with cosmetic surgery is a discomfort about the particular form of denial it represents: a denial of bodily limits. The language of cosmetic surgery does everything to obscure this. Something “cosmetic” is not supposed to be a permanent alteration, as plastic surgery is. And humans are not “plastic,” but beings embodied in tissue, flesh, and bone that will, at a certain point, resist our efforts to remold it. But the freedom to do what we will with ourselves, which is the model for cosmetic surgery, presents a real challenge when we start thinking about permanent alterations to the human body. As a case study for how we might act in the genetic future, cosmetic surgery—which is individualistic, consumer-oriented, largely unregulated, and invokes the therapeutic language so popular today—is hardly a reassuring model."   

Moore to be Embraced by Red China?

This news report claims that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is likely to become the first western documentary [sic] to be imported to the People’s Republic of China. I’ll bet that if Saddam were still in power in Iraq, he would have permitted it as well. Not to mention the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Fox News Today

I am scheduled to be on Fox News today at 12:40 pm EST/9:40 am PST to discuss Saddam’s arraignment.

I had a technical problem last night, so under the theory that the third time is a charm, I am scheduled to do the Roger Hedgecock Show this evening at 5:30 pm PST/8:30 pm EST. Again, those in San Diego can listen on KOGO 600 AM, and those in the rest of the world can listen via streaming audio.

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

In Mother Jones, Bradford Plumer responds to my recent article about the Supreme Court’s bad decision in Rasul, which permits any enemy combatant in the custody of the United States to seek habeas review in federal court. While apparently conceding my point that the decision will have deleterious effects to the war on terror, Mr. Plumer responds:

Nevertheless, this country has faced a number of pressing, dire challenges -- from the two World Wars to the threat of nuclear annihilation. We did not tear up the Bill of Rights then, and we should not do so now.

In this statement, Mr. Plumer shows that he is painfully ignorant of history and the law. The Supreme Court had in fact previously held that enemy combatants held on foreign soil could not seek U.S. habeas review. That case was decided in response to claims brought by WWII detainees. Oops, so much for Mr. Plumer’s knowledge of history. Second, the Rasul case dealt exclusively with interpretation of a statute, and expressly did not involve the Constitution, which means that despite Mr. Plumer’s rhetorical flourish, the Bill of Rights was not even involved. So much for his knowledge of the law.

Saddam’s lawyer

Saddam’s lawyer is already spouting off about how his client cannot possibly get a fair trial, besides the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq was illegal. Etcetera, etcetera. In the meantime the U.S. has struck at another al-Zarqawi safe house in Fallujah, killing at least four, according to AP.

Brokaw vs. Allawi

Donald Sensing notes how Brokaw tried to browbeat the new prime minister of Iraq. Allawi came out on top. Short, to the point, with good links. (Thanks to Instapundit.

Carter, bringer of chaos

Noemie Emery reviews Steve Hayward’s The Real Jimmy Carter. The review, of course, is positive but not to Carter’s advantage. Emery relates Carter’s failed presidency, why he did more than anyone to create and empower the modern Republican party, and what havoc he brought to American purposes and policies (under both Bushes and Clinton), in his wrong-headed and hapless post-presidential career that continues to be ruthlessly self-serving. The best epitath for Carter is from Senator Moynihan: "Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has adopted our enemies’ view of the world."   

Bremer and the poem

This Iraqi blogger wrote about the celebrations they had at the hospital upon hearing that sovereignty had been turned over. They had cake (click on the photos) and then listened to Al Jazeera while Bremer gave a short good-by speech, which he ended with a famous poem, in Arabic. Quite moving. (Thanks to Luke Florer)

Trying the Tyrant

Robert Alt claims that the Supreme Court’s decision permitting anyone in the custody of the United States to seek a writ of habeas corpus in a U.S. federal court could lead to a media circus in Saddam’s trial, which starts tomorrow. All this sounds too ridiculous to be true, but who knows, Robert may be right. Another movie for Michael Moore?

John Keegan on the Iraq war

At NRO John Keegan runs a five-part series of excerpts from his new book The Iraq War. Together, these five pieces comprise chapter six of the book. Very much worth reading, and then go buy the book. The first selection is

"The American Triumph" and the second, "Preparing for Attack", and the third, "The Attack Begins".

The Supremes and war

John Yoo has some thoughts on Hamdi and Rasul. Read the whole thing, but this will give you an idea:

"But despite the pleas of legal and media elites, the justices did not turn the clock back to Sept. 10, 2001. While the Court has unwisely injected itself into military matters, closer examination reveals that it has affirmed the administration’s fundamental legal approach to the war on terrorism, and left it with sufficient flexibility to effectively prevail in the future.

To wit, the Court agreed that the U.S. is at war against the al Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban militia that supports them. It agreed that Congress has authorized that war. Moreover, the justices implicitly recognized that the U.S. may use all of the tools of war to fight a new kind of enemy that has no territory, no population and no desire to spare innocent civilian life.

Taken as a whole, the Court’s message is unmistakable: The days when terrorism was merely considered a law enforcement problem and our only forces were limited to the FBI, federal prosecutors and the criminal justice system will not be returning."

French puns

Let’s leave aside for a moment the antipodal politics of the French--as in opposing Afghanistan’s request to send more NATO troops to help with security during their elections--and note this graceful essay by Luc Sante on the French language. He hails from the French speaking part of Belgium, lives in the U.S., and was artfully kept in his native tongue by his mother. His reflections on the language, and especially "in the singular ability of French to generate wordplay, puns in particular" is quite good, but long.
A taste:

"French-speaking children are schooled in puns from the start. Of course, this could be said of speakers of English and maybe every other language as well-that’s what riddles are for. For example, I date my true immersion in English from the moment I understood the humor of Q: When is a boy not a boy? A: When he turns into a store. But puns lie much thicker on the ground in French, in large part because the language is so much more rigorous and willfully delimited than the sprawling mass of English, an elegantly efficient two-stroke engine to the latter’s uncontainable Rube Goldberg mechanism. French does not necessarily have fewer sounds than English, but the protocols governing their order and frequency make their appearances predictable-hence the profusion of sound-alike phrases and sentences, which fueled Surrealism and ensure the ongoing appeal of Freudian and post-Freudian ideas in the French-speaking world: Les dents, la bouche. Laid dans la bouche. Les dents la bouchent. L’aidant la bouche. Etc. These phrases, which sound exactly alike, respectively mean ’the teeth, the mouth;’ ’ugly in the mouth;’ ’the teeth choke her;’ ’helping her chokes her.’ You don’t need to have been psychoanalyzed by Jacques Lacan to see from these examples how language can assist thought in swiftly tunneling from the mundane to the taboo. Children are instinctively aware of this, even and perhaps especially if they are being raised Catholic and are thus trained in the finer points of repression."

Media Update

I will be on the Martha Zoller Show on WDUN in Georgia at 10:45 am EST. You can listen online here.

Schedule Change

Some wires got crossed in the scheduling of the Roger Hedgecock Show yesterday--a fact of which I was painfully made aware when I called the show at 4:30 am Baghdad time this morning. I am now scheduled to be on today at at 5:30 pm PST/8:30 pm EST (and again, 4:30 am Baghdad time). Those in San Diego can listen on KOGO 600 AM, and those in the rest of the world can listen via streaming audio.

College costs and Kerry’s misery index

Rich Lowry considers John Kerry’s ill-defined "misery index" with regard to college tuition. Kerry maintains that "George Bush is pricing thousands of young people right out of the American dream." Not so, Lowry maintains: "It is positively raining college aid, meaning students are in a tight competition with the elderly over who can be more pampered by government." And then this unpalatable truth:

"The game for universities is obvious — hike official tuition rates ever higher. Then everyone thinks students cannot afford college and plies them with more aid, which ends up lining the pockets of the schools. It’s one of the great scams of our time, and Kerry has been happy to play along by hyping nominal tuition increases and promising yet more aid. He is the dream candidate of greedy college administrators.

The problem isn’t that students hungry for knowledge are being frozen out from college, but the opposite. Marginal students take their generous aid and go to colleges that don’t teach them. Eighty percent of universities aren’t selective, e.g. more or less happy to accept anyone who shows up with a check. Only 37 percent of first-time freshmen graduate in four years, and only 60 percent graduate in six years. Universities are happy to take money from unprepared students and fail them right back out, or dumb down their standards to stay on the government-aid gravy train."

Aphrodisiac for women?

An aphrodisiac for women may be in the offing. "A drug that seems to drive female rats mad for sex may offer the first real scientific aphrodisiac for women, U.S. and Canadian researchers said on Monday." Sometimes it’s best just to pass information along without comment. This is one of those times.

Iraq as Al Qaeda’s graveyard

This is Jim Dunnigan’s short note, called, "Iraq: Al Qaeda’s Graveyard." The text:

"June 29, 2004: Iraqi terrorists released a video showing them killing a captive American soldier by shooting him in the head. The terrorists have learned that the beheading routine is counterproductive and even offends many of their own supporters. The terrorists are probably also debating their suicide bombing campaign, which has killed over a hundred Iraqis in the past week. Perhaps the al Qaeda leadership is also pondering their long string of failures over the last decade or so. The fact of the matter is that al Qaeda, and their predecessor, the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, have turned Arab populations against them whenever they practiced their terror tactics "at home." Moreover, when al Qaeda was in control of the government, as they were in Afghanistan, they quickly became hated by the average Afghan. Al Qaeda was most popular in Arab countries when it was not operating in any Arab countries, but instead concentrating on attacks on Western targets. But the war on terror has forced al Qaeda back to its homelands, and concentrated them in Iraq. There, al Qaeda is becoming as hated as it already is in the West. This hatred led to the Moslem Brotherhood’s defeat, and expulsion from Egypt over a decade ago. The same thing is happening again in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Recent surveys have shown support for bin Laden and al Qaeda shrink dramatically in Saudi Arabia (from 96 percent in late 2001, to less than a quarter of that currently.) It’s easy to admire terrorists from a distance, rather more difficult when they are terrorizing you. Iraq is rapidly becoming al Qaeda’s graveyard."

Hillary on the common good

Some honest talk from Hillary Clinton at a Democratic fund raiser in San Francisco. She was speaking to a couple hundred rich guys, some paying as much 10k, and said that some of Bush’s tax cuts will have to be taken away if there is a Demo president: "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

Media bias in Iraq

I continue to be amazed at the simple-minded bias of the national media on Iraq. Watching TV last night was otherwordly: the Iraqis got "so-called" sovereignty a few days early because they were afraid; it was a stealthy proceeding; reporters were not informed, therefore the whole thing touches on illegitimacy; this means very little since the country is in turmoil; there were no celebrations in the street, bad sign; Bush thought he was clever passing pieces of paper back and forth and shaking hands with Blair; how could Alawi be legitimate when he was a paid informant for the CIA?; the cup is half empty, etc. But, of course, it’s not just TV that is biased.

Eric M. Johnson, a Marine Corps reservist, takes a close look at the Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s reporting from Iraq and finds his integrity wanting. He makes much of especially this piece of biased reporting on the Mayor of Kut. (Thanks to Instapundit)  

Iraq’s opportunity

Foud Ajami, of Johns Hopkins, writes a lovely paean to the opportunity now handed the Iraqis. Read the whole thing, but these two paragraphs in the center, are critical: "Iraq’s Shiite majority now faces a great historical test. The Shiites can make Iraq or they can break it. Their history has been a sorrowful alternation between fear and quietism, and doomed rebellions. They have now been delivered from this cycle of history: One of their own, Prime Minister Allawi--by the appearance of things a skilled political operative--is now at the commanding heights of political power. And a revered figure from their ranks, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, exercises a subtle influence over the course of the country’s political life.

This new Shiite liberty has been an American gift. The Shiites needn’t be--and aren’t--America’s proxies in Iraq. But a measure of America’s success in Iraq--a measure of this war’s vindication in the scales of history--will rest on the ability of the Shiite center to hold, and on the willingness of Shiite secularists who honor the separation of religion and politics to look across the border, to that Shiite republic in Iran, and recognize the failure of religious zeal--and of religious pretension--to create a tolerable society that works. In the preceding quarter-century, the authoritarian orders in the Arab world held up the Shiite bogeyman as a specter of the darkness that would descend on the Persian Gulf if their writ was questioned, and if the Pax Americana did not come to their rescue. In Iraq, Shiism will be given the chance at a new history."

Cuomizing Lincoln

I few weeks ago I was suckered into buying a book by Mario Cuomo called Why Lincoln Matters. I should have known better. Read about half of it by the time I realized that it wasn’t about Lincoln at all. I meant to bring it to your attention and ask you not to buy it, then serious things intervened, like watching Mario praising Michael Moore’s so-called documentary on Larry King, I got angry and forgot all about his repulsive attempt to Cuomize Lincoln, to pull Lincoln into every petty and base policy that Cuomo and liberals favor. Now

Andrew Ferguson has done us a good deed by slicing Mario’s not so crafty effort into pieces. This is not a book about Lincoln and is not worth reading, but Ferguson’s elegant and amusing review in The Weekly Standard is; see how Cuomo makes the great Lincoln small, see how Lincoln understood equality as equality of condition and of outcome, see how Lincoln was really in favor of higher taxes, see how Lincoln practiced the politics of inclusion and diversity, see how get the point.

Early Reports: Spc. Maupin of Ohio Killed

AP is reporting that Al-Jazeera has received a videotape claiming to show the killing of Spc. Keith M. Maupin of Batavia, Ohio. In a statement accompanying the video, which shows a blindfolded man shot in the back of the head in front of a hole dug in the ground, the captors claim to be "The Sharp Sword against the Enemies of God and His Prophet." Maupin and eight fellow Americans disappeared after an ambush west of Baghdad on April 9.

Some polls

The latest CBS/N.Y. Times poll shows that Bush has gained 8 points over Kerry in the last month; they are now running even. The reason offered is that people are more optimistic abaout the economy. Battleground also shows the electorate evenly divided. For a Democratic analysis go to Celinda Lake, and for the Republican go to Ed Goeas. For the latest on all the polls, always go to Real Clear Politics.

Demos to retake the Senate?

What with the Democratic Senate prospects in Illinois looking good, Time magazine writes this puff piece claiming that Democrats have reason for optimism in the Senate races in November; in fact they’re giddy with optimism. I’m not persuaded, but here is the party line, in case you’re interested.

Clinton, just another American

John Vinocur writes in the International Herald Tribune that the European elite press and intelligentsia are pushing Bill Clinton to sound like Michael Moore on Iraq, which he refuses to do. That Clinton may have made American hyperpower "likable and seductive" to Europeans is to be noted, yet in the end the Europeans are discovering that he was just another American politicians who was willing to pursue America’s view of justice and its own interests in the world. They take it all out on Bush, but its how America sees itself and moves through the world that they don’t like.

Rasul v. Bush is bad law, bad policy

Robert Alt claims that the Supreme Court, in Rasul v. Bush has created a "bold new world." And it is a world, Alt claims, that we should not like because it "opens the federal courts to any detainee held by the United States anywhere in the world," as long as they seek habeas review. Alt: "Thus, as Scalia suggests in his able dissent, anyone held in a foreign theatre of active combat such as Iraq or Afghanistan may bring a petition against the Secretary of Defense." Read the whole thing.   

More Media Appearances

I will be on the Roger Hedgecock Show this afternoon at 5:30 pm PST/8:30 pm EST (4:30 am Baghdad time!). Those in San Diego can listen on KOGO 600 AM, and those in the rest of the world can listen via streaming audio.

Tomorrow morning I will be on with Bill Handel on KFI 640 am in Seattle at 5:35 am PST/ 8:35 am EST. You can listen online here.

At 9:07 am CST, I am scheduled to be on with Jan Mickelson In the Morning on 1040 WHO AM in Des Moines.

At 11:20 am EST/8:20 am PST I will be on the G. Gordon Liddy Show, which is broadcast virtually everywhere. You can find a local station here.

And finally, at noon EST/9:00 am PST, I will be on Janet Parshall’s America. The program is broadcast across the country, and for Schramm, it is available on XM radio. You can find your local affiliate here.

Things I Don’t Recommend

Migraine headaches in 100+ degree heat.

Alt on CNN Tuesday Morning

Robert Alt will appear on CNN’s Daybreak program Tuesday at 5:45 am ET.

Kerry, Cuba, and human rights

Pejman considers John Kerry’s lack of support for democracy and human rights, with special focus on Cuba. Kerry prefers "stability" to democracy. I’m waiting for more chicken Kiev speeches. Too bad.

Saddam’s lawyers

The government of Iraq is wasting no time in putting Saddam on trial. Please note that there are approximately 1,500 lawyers from Arab countries (and others) who are going to work on Saddam’s defense. If this is not a misprint, it is beyond my comprehension.

Let freedom reign

This is the note Condi Rice passed to the President this morning at the NATO meeting, with his note on it. This is Bush/Blair’s comments on the turnover. This is the Reuters story on it. I can’t helping bringing to your attention this headline from the Washington Post on the change of regime in Iraq: "
Iraqis See Little Change in Symbolic Transfer of Power:
Continued Violence, Power and Infrastructure Problems Expected." Here is the whole

article. Isn’t that amazing? Decades of tyranny, murder, mayhem, oppression. Now a better future, one of their own doing, and--at the least--hope. Yet, this is the best the Washington Post can come up with. I guess this would have been their headline when Mussolini was overthrown: "Italians now fear trains will not run on time." Thank you WaPo, thank you. The United Nations officially welcomes Iraq "back into the family of independent and sovereign nations." If you doubt that there is hope in Iraq, look at these poll results from Iraq: massive support for the new government.

Bremer Waves Goodbye

Here is a picture of Paul Bremer waving goodbye to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh. The photo was taken by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen.

Another Cleveland Area Broadcast

I am taping an interview for Fox News Channel 8 in Cleveland, which is supposed to be aired in their 5 pm broadcast.

Media Appearances Today

FYI, for those readers in Ohio, I am doing a live interview for the Ohio News Network at 10 EST.

UPDATE: For those readers in the Seattle area, I will be on with Mike Segal on 770 KTTH at 7:35 am PST.

UPDATE II: I will be on with Al Kresta at 4 pm EST. His radio show is picked up in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pittburgh, Buffalo, and Los Angeles. Check the link for station details.

Iraqi sovereignty

Robert Alt reflects on the early hand over of sovereignty, and claims that it was largely ceremonial, "representing a change in authority which had already substantively occurred." He concludes:

"The Iraqi leadership today inherits both great promise and a great challenge. They also inherit a people who are hungry for more. The Iraqi people have tasted democracy, and they want more. They have tasted a new, market-driven economy, and they want more. They have tasted a better life, and they want more—and they want it now. There are many pitfalls in the road ahead—terrorism being the most prominent—but today, for the first time in more than 35 years, the Iraqi people control their own future."

Othman Al-Omari Turns Himself In

CNN is reporting that senior al qaeda operative Othman Al-Omari has turned himself in to Saudi authorities to take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s proffered 30-day amnesty offer for al qaeda members. While there have been varying accounts as to what the amnesty will entail, it is clear that the Saudis have agreed to spare the lives of anyone who comes forward.

Rumors of Zarqawi Capture

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Zarqawi may have been captured near Hilla. The Arab media has been running the story this morning. I just finished speaking with a Coalition spokesman. He could not confirm whether Zarqawi was in custody, but suggested that the relevant operations may have been conducted by Iraqi Security forces. (In which case, the announcement would come from the Iraqis as to his capture, not the Coalition.)

UPDATE: Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt has said that the rumor is not true.

Sovereignty Turned Over to Iraq This Morning

In a surprise move, Ambassador Bremer handed over sovereignty to the Iraqi people this morning. I was in the press room when it occurred, and they were informed with a phone call. Here is a short Fox News blurb. Inevitably, this was designed to short circuit any terrorist plans to disrupt the actual handover. It also steals any thunder for attacks in the next couple of days. (Remember that Zarqawi stated that the terrorist should use what he called the pretext of US occupation to justify the terror attacks, which should be increased prior to the handover.) All-in-all, a clever move by Bremer and the CPA.