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June 30, 2008

Reason For Being

David Horowitz is featuring a six-year old column by Caroline Glick on his blog. And six years later, it's still true that no peace can be even contemplated as long as the goal of the Palestinians is genocide.

In a seminal article in Commentary magazine this past February on the recent rise of anti-Semitism, Hillel Halkin argued, counterintuitively, that the Holocaust is the main reason why it is so difficult for Jews today to accept the fact of anti-Semitism. In his words, "The Holocaust has made some Jews less, rather than more, able to see anti-Semitism around them. This is because if the Nazis demonized the Jew, they also demonized the anti-Semite." In short, if an anti-Semite is not a Nazi, then it is hard for Jews to perceive him as a threat. Just so.

Even as generations of Jews adopted "Never Again" as their rallying cry, the Holocaust made it difficult for us to notice when genocide is adopted as a policy against the Jewish people, without gas chambers present. The fact that the Palestinians currently lack the means used by the Germans to perpetrate their genocidal policy against the Jews blinds us from the fact that their desire to do so is the same as that of the Germans in the 1930s and 1940s.

The absence of the trappings of the Nazi Holocaust also prevents us from properly identifying repeated massacres of Israelis by Palestinians. Contrary to what we tell ourselves, these attacks are not expressions of rage or reactions to specific actions by the IDF. They are acts of genocide perpetrated against Jews as Jews because the Palestinians have descended to the level of depravity where they do not view the Jews as human beings whose murder is an inherently immoral act. The fact that the Palestinians don ski masks and keffiyehs rather than brown shirts and swastikas also makes us undervalue the fact that, like the Nazis, the Palestinians are utilizing all their technological know-how and military resources to kill Jews and are making their best efforts to constantly improve and enhance these resources to increase their kill rate.

June 29, 2008

Without A Flinch

Obama's Long March to the center has begun. Charles Krauthammer

Normally, flip-flopping presidential candidates have to worry about the press. Not Obama. After all, this is a press corps that heard his grandiloquent Philadelphia speech -- designed to rationalize why "I can no more disown (Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown my white grandmother" -- then wiped away a tear and hailed him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. Three months later, with Wright disowned, grandma embraced and the great "race speech" now inoperative, not a word of reconsideration is heard from his media acolytes.


Obama's U-turn on public financing was not done for ideological reasons, it was done for Willie Sutton reasons: That's where the money is. It nonetheless betrayed a principle that so many in the press claimed to hold dear.

As public financing is not a principle dear to me, I am hardly dismayed by Obama's abandonment of it. Nor am I disappointed in the least by his other calculated and cynical repositionings. I have never had any illusions about Obama. I merely note with amazement that his media swooners seem to accept his every policy reversal with an equanimity unseen since the Daily Worker would change the party line overnight -- switching sides in World War II, for example -- whenever the wind from Moscow changed direction.

The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician (though of unusual skill and ambition). The man who dared say it plainly is the man who knows Obama all too well. "He does what politicians do," explained Jeremiah Wright.

When it's time to throw campaign finance reform, telecom accountability, NAFTA renegotiation or Jeremiah Wright overboard, Obama is not sentimental. He does not hesitate. He tosses lustily.

Why, the man even tossed his own grandmother overboard back in Philadelphia -- only to haul her back on deck now that her services are needed. Yesterday, granny was the moral equivalent of the raving Reverend Wright. Today, she is a featured prop in Obama's fuzzy-wuzzy get-to-know-me national TV ad.

Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.

June 27, 2008

Plea Silences CAIR

Columbus journalist Patrick Poole at FPM notices the deafening silence of CAIR on the matter of the guilty pleas on terrorism charges by Christopher Paul and his Ohio al Qaeda associates. Poole calls the Columbus cell "the largest known Al-Qaeda operation in the US since 9/11." Wonderful.

June 25, 2008

Taking Alex

Bill Kristol weighs in on the MoveOn.org anti-McCain ad....you know, the one that's a fear-mongering incoherence, based on a lie, and made on behalf of the candidate who represents a new kind of politician. That one.

Echoing Kristol's theme, Libby Sternberg dubs the ad "a call to selfishness."

UPDATE 6/26: At the Standard blog, a soldier responds:

...if baby Alex will not join the military someday, then someone else will protect his Mommy for him

...and another rebuttal...

June 24, 2008

Obama and ACORN

Michelle Malkin on Obama and ACORN. As has now been widely publicized, the group specializes in vote fraud to benefit Democrats. Such is "community organization."

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including "Leon Spinks," "Frekkie Magoal" and "Fruto Boy Crispila." Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN's criminal sabotage "an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls."

The group's vandalism on electoral integrity is systemic. ACORN has been implicated in similar voter fraud schemes in Missouri, Ohio and at least 12 other states. The Wall Street Journal noted: "In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey. During a congressional hearing in Ohio in the aftermath of the 2004 election, officials from several counties in the state explained ACORN's practice of dumping thousands of registration forms in their lap on the submission deadline, even though the forms had been collected months earlier."

In March, Philadelphia elections officials accused the nonprofit advocacy group of filing fraudulent voter registrations in advance of the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary. The charges have been forwarded to the city district attorney's office.

The worst thing about this well-organized election fraud operation (outside of one of our Presidential candidate's close association with it) is the fact that it is funded with taxpayer money.

If you haven't seen it, by all means read Stanley Kurtz' piece on ACORN from a few weeks ago.

June 22, 2008

Buckeye Stuff

A new edition of "Buckeye Leaves" is up at TCF.

June 19, 2008


High school baseball players conspire to send the umpire a message. Rick Reilly's column shows "bad sportsmanship taken to a whole new level." But first watch the video:

June 16, 2008

Really Bad Poetry

Of the many things I know precious little about, poetry is definitely one. Fortunately for me, the crack young staff of The Hatemonger's Quarterly are practiced at the discrimination of garden variety poetry from really, really bad poetry. Hence their staging of "The Fifth Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition" .

And boy, did they have some winners. Have at it.

(miss those kids at THQ)

June 15, 2008

Dad's Day

Fathers Day cards for less fortunate dads than I. (via Ace)

Worth Fighting

Hitchens reviews Pat Buchanan at Newsweek.

Then Victor Davis Hanson rebuts Buchanan's response to Hanson's review. Got that?

To be fair, I haven't read the Buchanan book (pretty far down my list) but I'm left feeling he shouldn't debate history with Hitchens or Hanson.

June 14, 2008

Burning Wood

Thanking Big Oil - Todd Keister at American Thinker asks where we'd be without them. Probably cold, wet and hungry for starters.

June 13, 2008

Stop Doing Nothing

The movement to "Drill Here, Drill Now" seems to be gaining momentum nationally. The petition at americansolutions.com has gained some 30,000 signatures in just the last several hours (Friday evening), and as of this writing stands at 729,000 plus.

The anger and frustration at both parties in the do-nothing Congress is growing, as polls show fewer Americans believe the high cost of gasoline is caused primarily by oil company greed.

But the Pelosi-led Democrats apparently think Americans will feel better about pumping $4 gas into their tanks if they know the Congress is punishing the oil companies with windfall profits taxes, even if it doesn't exert any downward pressure on the price of gasoline at the pump.

And Barack Obama implies he doesn't have a problem with $4 gasoline per se, it's just that we got there in such a hurry. "I would have preferred a gradual adjustment", said the candidate. He says we need to take steps to help people with the high costs... "first of all, by putting more money in their pockets." Huh? Care to elaborate on just how the Obama administration might do that, sir?

Maybe from those thousands of high-paying, new "green jobs", which in addition to materializing out of congressional pork thin air, will also presumably come without the nasty necessity of commuting.

At least some Republicans are convinced that the growing sentiment about the need to increase domestic supply can be a winning issue for McCain and the GOP in November, and I'd even suggest that many Americans might just forgive McCain for a "flip-flop" if he came out for drilling in ANWR in light of today's changing realities, including the very real pain low income citizens especially are feeling at the pump.

It brings to mind the famous John Maynard Keynes quote when he was criticized for a change of mind, and responded "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"

Maybe some of those low-income Americans would be surprised to see just how lopsided the votes in Congress have been over the years, in terms of which party has supported policies to increase domestic energy supplies, and which party has opposed them.

Irish Say No

Ireland votes a convincing "No" on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Start at EU Referendum.

June 12, 2008

"Give The Speech"


The disconnect between what Democrats are saying about Iraq and what is actually happening there has reached grotesque proportions. Democrats won an exhilarating electoral victory in 2006 pledging withdrawal at a time when conditions in Iraq were dire and we were indeed losing the war. Two years later, when everything is changed, they continue to reflexively repeat their "narrative of defeat and retreat" (as Joe Lieberman so memorably called it) as if nothing has changed.

It is a position so utterly untenable that John McCain must seize the opportunity and, contrary to conventional wisdom, make the Iraq War the central winning plank of his campaign. Yes, Americans are war-weary. Yes, most think we should not have engaged in the first place. Yes, Obama will keep pulling out his 2002 speech opposing the war.

But McCain's case is simple. Is not Obama's central mantra that this election is about the future not the past? It is about 2009, not 2002. Obama promises that upon his inauguration, he will order the Joint Chiefs to bring him a plan for withdrawal from Iraq within 16 months. McCain says that upon his inauguration, he'll ask the Joint Chiefs for a plan for continued and ultimate success.

The choice could not be more clearly drawn. The Democrats' one objective in Iraq is withdrawal. McCain's one objective is victory.

It is amazing that Iraq could be a positive campaign issue for Republicans, but such is the remarkable progress of political reconciliation and restoration of order in that country that we can even consider it. RTWT.

June 11, 2008

180 Degrees

How wrong was Joe Biden on Iraq? Peter Wehner answers.

What Was That Lie?

Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post, on Sen. Rockefeller's Senate Select Intelligence Committee Report. Despite prohibiting input from Republicans on the committee, the Democrats still had some trouble pinning down that infamous "lie".

"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," he said.

There's no question that the administration, and particularly Vice President Cheney, spoke with too much certainty at times and failed to anticipate or prepare the American people for the enormous undertaking in Iraq.

But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.

In the report's final section, the committee takes issue with Bush's statements about Saddam Hussein's intentions and what the future might have held. But was that really a question of misrepresenting intelligence, or was it a question of judgment that politicians are expected to make?

After all, it was not Bush, but Rockefeller, who said in October 2002: "There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."

Neither did a lot of other people, Senator. But some of them stood by the judgments they made at the time. And others realized that people are listening when they speak, and that the Internet means forever, and that a person can sound like a blithering idiot when he contradicts himself so blatantly.

Bush and Rockefeller were briefed with the same intelligence data. The difference is that one of them had the responsibility to make a decision from a list of all bad options, and then be held accountable for it. The other is a Senator.

(via Hot Air)

UPDATE 6/11: More on this topic from The New York Sun, and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, (both via Ace)

June 7, 2008

Buckeye Leaves

News and notes on the Ohio State Buckeyes in my latest column for The Cleveland Fan.

Stay Classy, Cleveland

Free lance writer Paul Jackson looks back at one of the more bizarre games in baseball history, 34 years ago this week. On June 4, 1974, Billy Martin's Texas Rangers, eventually assisted by the Indians, took the field with baseball bats to square off with hundreds of drunk fans in Cleveland. You'll want to read it all, but here's a taste...

Remembering 10-Cent Beer Night

In the ninth, the Indians mounted a rally, scoring two runs to tie the game at 5. The winning run stood on second base when a young man jumped from the outfield seats and (perhaps searching for a memento to mark the occasion) flipped the cap off Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs' head. The outfielder turned to confront the fan and tripped over his own feet in the process. For the first time that evening, the chaos enveloped a player.

The slope of the diamond made it impossible for Martin to see below the level of an outfielder's knees from his station in the dugout. The legendary manager, in a moment that does not get large enough print on his long and colorful résumé, did not hesitate after Burroughs fell from view.

"Let's go get 'em, boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat and sprinting toward right-center field. The Rangers, understandably inspired, followed him.

Martin and his team stormed the diamond, infielders filling out their ranks. When they reached the outfield, the Rangers found Burroughs flustered but unharmed. More worrisome was the effect of their charge on the assembly: The jovial, frolicking nudists had disappeared. The mob that replaced them kept its clothes on and brandished an arsenal that made Martin's Louisville Slugger look like a child's toy. The Rangers manager spotted people wielding chains, knives and clubs fashioned from pieces of stadium seats. The 25 Texas players quickly found themselves surrounded by 200 angry drunks, and more were tumbling over the wall onto the field. The Texas Rangers had been ambushed.

Then the riot began. Indians manager Ken Aspromonte, his own defining moment upon him, realized that the Texas franchise might be on the verge of decimation. He too ordered his players onto the field. The bat racks in the home dugout emptied as the Indians mounted their own rescue.

(hat tip to Jack H.)

Random Browsing

Don't miss Bruce Bawer's Pajamas Media piece on Vaclav Havel.

I knew a little about ACORN, and how the group was busted for election chicanery in 2004, but before reading Stanley Kurtz' article on the group, I had no grasp of their far-left radical ideology, nor of their very close association with Barack Obama.

John McWhorter says the nomination of Obama demonstrates "Racism in Retreat" in America.

Obama's troublesome and inconsistent foreign policy positions continue to be fodder for some excellent commentary and analysis. Start with Peter Wehner, then see Power Line, Pete Hegseth, and Matthew Continetti. And it's a couple days old, but see also Jennifer Rubin.

There's a long first-person narrative by John McCain of his capture and imprisonment in Vietnam, that is being re-issued at U.S. News after having first appeared in the magazine in 1973. It grabs your attention right out of the gate.

June 6, 2008

Cooler Heads

I've been getting the Cooler Heads Digest by email for a couple months now, and always seem to find articles on climate and warming issues that I would have otherwise missed. Cooler Heads is a publication of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and you can sign up for the free email newsletter here

A couple of gems from this week's issue:

A longish essay by Ray Evans from the new issue of The Quadrant from Australia called "The Chilling Costs of Climate Catastrophism". Evans concerns himself with the issue as it relates to Australia of course, but the dangers of government trashing our economy with no resulting effect on climate are just as real here as they are down under. And the clever use of language by the anti-capitalists masquerading as environmentalists is similar wherever you go.

See also Ben Lieberman's piece for NRO, "Hot Air", in which he busts five myths about the Lieberman-Warner climate legislation. No relation, apparently.

Senator Inhofe and the Wall Street Journal also have op-eds this week on the Lieberman-Warner bill that are worth taking in.

And George Will pulls no punches in describing how cap and trade legislation is a lobbyist's dream, and a massive expansion of government power.

June 3, 2008

He Can't Mean That

Will the same people who characterized Ahmadinejad's earlier remark that Israel would be "wiped off the map" as a mistranslation soon be telling us that his words yesterday were similarly distorted?

"I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene"

Arash Norouzi, in the above-linked article, claims that the correct translation from the Farsi of the quote (attributed to the late Ayatollah Khomeini, by the way) would be that only the Israeli "regime", presumably the current government, "must vanish from the page of time." He contends that Ahmadinejad never used the Farsi equivalents of the terms "map" nor of the verb usage "wipe off".

It seems that even those reasonable distinctions would be hard to square with this latest promise that the Zionists "with a 60-year record" (not the current government) would be "erased" (wiped off) "from the geographical scene" (the map). This for the folks who thought the previous message unclear, I guess.

So the apologists have their work cut out for them this time around. As if there were ever really any ambiguity about Ahmadinejad's goals.

June 2, 2008

Acting Locally

Patrick Poole, who covers radical Islamism in central Ohio at C.O.A.T. , and contributes to FrontPage Magazine, reports the story of a guilty plea by Christopher Paul, a Columbus-area al Qaeda cell member, on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

More Bam Feedback

Scott Johnson nicely rounds up some commentary on Obama's disregard for both the private economic sector and for the military as a worthwhile form of public service, in his recent commencement address. Reproducing here Scott's Thomas Sowell excerpt intact:

Every year about this time, big-government liberals stand up in front of college commencement crowds across the country and urge the graduates to do the noblest thing possible -- become big-government liberals.

That isn't how they phrase it, of course. Commencement speakers express great reverence for "public service," as distinguished from narrow private "greed." There is usually not the slightest sign of embarrassment at this self-serving celebration of the kinds of careers they have chosen -- over and above the careers of others who merely provide us with the food we eat, the homes we live in, the clothes we wear and the medical care that saves our health and our lives.

What I would like to see is someone with the guts to tell those students: Do you want to be of some use and service to your fellow human beings? Then let your fellow human beings tell you what they want -- not with words, but by putting their money where their mouth is.

You want to see more people have better housing? Build it! Become a builder or developer-- if you can stand the sneers and disdain of your classmates and professors who regard the very words as repulsive.

Would you like to see more things become more affordable to more people? Then figure out more efficient ways of getting thousands of things from the producers to the consumers at a lower cost. That's what a man named Richard Sears did a century ago. In the process he rose from near poverty to become one of the richest men around.

Bill Kristol in the Times

It can’t be that the possibility of military service as an admirable form of public service didn’t occur to Obama. Only the day before, Obama had been squabbling with John McCain about veterans’ benefits. He said then, “Obviously I revere our soldiers and want to make sure they are being treated with honor and respect.”

And the day after the Wesleyan commencement, Obama was in New Mexico, where he read an eloquent and appropriate Memorial Day tribute to our fallen soldiers.

But at an elite Northeastern college campus, Obama obviously felt no need to disturb the placid atmosphere of easy self-congratulation. He felt no need to remind students of a different kind of public service — one that entails more risks than community organizing. He felt no need to tell the graduating seniors in the lovely groves of Middletown that they should be grateful to their peers who were far away facing dangers on behalf of their country

Nor did Obama choose to mention all those college graduates who are now entering the military, either for a tour of duty or as a career, in order to serve their country. He certainly felt no impulse to wonder whether the nation wouldn’t be better off if R.O.T.C. were more widely and easily available on elite college campuses.

Obama failed to challenge — even gently — what he must have assumed would be the prejudices of much of his audience and indulged in a soft patriotism of low expectations.

Was this a public service?

Through Their Hats

Best column of the weekend had to be Krauthammer's on environmentalism as the ultimate social control vehicle. Guess who's driving. Read it all.

I’m not a global-warming believer. I’m not a global-warming denier. I’m a global-warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems — from ocean currents to cloud formation — that no one fully understands. Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation. “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity,” warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, “is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven’t seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global-warming debate over. Consider: If Newton’s laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming — infinitely more untested, complex, and speculative — is a closed issue.

Fateful Missteps

Thomas Joscelyn reviews McCarthy's "Willful Blindness".

June 1, 2008

Center-Left Media Budges

Ed at Hot Air has comments on the Washinton Post editorial acknowledging the media's reticence to report on the recent good news from Iraq. "The defeatists have been exposed", says Ed.

All of this comes as good news for Iraqis, good news for the US, and good news for the region — but as unwelcome news to the American media and the Democrats. They have predicted nothing but defeat and chaos for so long that they cannot find any way to pivot to embrace the success of the venture. Both predicated their forward strategies on that defeat and now flounder to adapt to Nouri al-Maliki’s sudden emergence as a unifying figure of strength in Iraq.

In order to do so, they would have to answer for the defeatism of Harry Reid, who declared the war lost a year ago on the floor of the Senate. They would have to answer for their antagonistic reception for General David Petraeus in September 2007, when he warned Congress that the new strategies had begun to succeed and the Iraqi Army was close to self-sufficiency. The likely nominee would have to answer for his refusal to meet with Petraeus for an individual, in-depth briefing to find out how much the situation has changed since his only visit to Iraq in January 2006.

Two other major articles by center-left figures in the past week have received deserved praise for their penetrating looks at the changing realities in Iraq and within al Qaeda.

Lawrence Wright's piece at The New Yorker, "The Rebellion Within", and the New Republic feature "The Unraveling", by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, both speak to a dynamic within Islam trending away from al Qaeda and rejecting its path of violence. Maybe reason for some hope. Pack a lunch for the Wright article.

Peter Wehner reports on the optimistic interview CIA Director Michael Hayden gave to The Washington Post this week, and adds...

It’s worth recalling how widely the pendulum has swung in just the last two years. In 2005 and 2006, Iraq, it was said in many quarters, was lost; we either had to beat a hasty retreat or, as Joe Biden and Les Gelb counseled, we needed to separate Iraq into three largely autonomous regions (Shia, Sunni, and Kurd). For a time the Biden-Gelb plan was the “hot” one among commentators — the “third way” between leaving Iraq precipitously and foolishly attempting to repair a hopelessly broken and divided society. In fact, we are now seeing precisely the reconciliation and progress that many analysts believed was impossible to achieve.

It was also said by many analysts that as a result of the President’s misguided policies, al Qaeda was growing more popular, terrorist recruitment was up, al Qaeda had been handed great gifts by the Bush administration, and that America was less safe than prior to 9/11. The conventional wisdom was that the “Bush legacy” would be that al Qaeda was much stronger and America was much weaker than before the Iraq war.

Today the pendulum is swinging very much the other way. The reality is that things are much better now then they were at the mid-point of this decade. The cautionary tale in all this may be that we need to resist the temptation to take a snapshot in time and assuming that those things will stay as they are. Two years ago there were reasons for deep concern — but there were not reasons, it turns out, for despair or hopelessness. Events are fluid and can be shaped by human action and human will. While commentators were busy writing obituaries on Iraq, Bush, in the face of gale-force political winds, changed strategies –and Petraeus and company took on the hard task of redeeming Iraq.

Abe Greenwald notes a glaring omission in the reported causes of the positive trend in Iraq.