Those of us who study the UN and write about its failings owe a lot to the ground-breaking reporting of Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal. The April edition of Commentary has yet another article by Claudia that answers, definitively, the question of How Corrupt is the UN. We really ought to be starting a Claudia for Secretary General campaign. On second thought, I wouldn't wish it on her. She's much too good a person to thrive in that environment.
The Spectacle Blog
Welcome to one of the most glorious days of spring, Opening Day. It's that one special day of the season when my Cubs are guaranteed to be tied for first. From here on out, all bets are off.
To catch up to a few of our faithful readers:
Fitz: You're lucky. We have to watch this stuff, you don't. Someday, we should compare my Bayer/Tylenol budget to yours.
AndyDiP: The Dems aren't lightweights. They just can't stand the idea of wasting time that could be spent planning tax increases on trivialities such as the survival of our nation. To paraphrase Peggy Noonan, in 1994 the Dems lost the Congress. In 2000, they lost the Presidency. And then they lost their minds...
Debbie: I believe that the Iranians don't yet have a deployable nuke for two reasons. First, none of my sources - whom I trust, based on their track records and my judgment of them personally - think so. Second, if they did have nuclear weapons, they'd be using them to proclaim their hegemony over the Middle East and to give cover for a huge multinational terrorist rampage. The only thing holding them back is the lack of these weapons.
Drew Cline--occassional Spectator contributor, Union Leader editorial page editor, and all around great guy--has posted a funny bit on the UL blog you'd all do well to read in full. Here's a taste:
EMI has removed cigarettes from the hands of Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney for its reissue of the 1964 Capitol Albums Vol. 2. Ironically, George, the only one not smoking on the cover, is the one who died of lung cancer. Evidently they chopped off two of Ringo's fingers when removing his cigarette. (That's what you get when you outsource your graphics department to Albania.)
Clearly we are all doomed and it is only a matter of time before the ultimate irony occurs and the anti-smoking zealots have the cigarettes erased from the cover of Van Halen's 1984.
John: Don't drink the stability-flavored Kool Aid, as Gen. Tony Zinni apparently has. Zinni's appearance on MTP a little while ago made him look like what Wesley Clark always wanted to be but wasn't: a credible Dem presidential candidate.
Batchelor has it about 90% right. Peace and stability in the Middle East were the factors that enabled bin Laden, Hizballah and their ilk to grow powerful. For the forseeable future, peace and stability here mean war there, and vice versa.
I don't subscribe to John's prediction of Iranian military action against America in the next few weeks. But what they will do when they have a deployable nuclear weapon will make us yearn for the good old days of September 1939.
... that Peter Baker's a poor journalist.
See how easy it is? If you're a "straight" (objective) journalist, if you want to editorialize, all you do is preface the comment with "critics say."
Peter Baker takes it to new heights with his "The President as Average Joe": "To many critics, such forums feel contrived, and the fratboy towel-snapping humor unbecoming." What critics? What fratboy towel-snapping humor? Baker doesn't even bother to gather anonymous quotes to support this. But he recites it as Conventional Wisdom. It's probably the Conventional Wisdom of the White House Press Corps.
This stuff is properly run in Slate. Unfortunately for Baker, they already have that slot filled: John Dickerson.
Maybe Michael Kinsley is right: objectivity in the news is an illusion at best. Opinion journalism is more honest because it doesn't have to hide its point of view.
"If Iran makes another strategic mistake," runs the Telegraph, "such as ignoring demands by the UN or future resolutions, then the thinking among the chiefs is that military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable."
The greatest strategic mistake Tehran could make is an act of conventional aggression. Even the smallest incident could do. Even by proxy, if the line was drawn clearly between connected dots. Rearmament is one thing; remilitarizing the Rhineland another. Ours must be the second-itchiest trigger finger.
1. Tehran believes that the US national security apparatus cannot deal with a foreign crisis in an election year.
2. Tehran believes that the US will exit Iraq with its tail tucked.
3. Tehran believes that the US will not fight for Israeli sovereignty in the territories.
4. Tehran believes that the Ahmadinejad regime can ride out the blitz in its bunkers and emerge the winner when the UN or the Vatican or Russia brokers a ceasefire.
5. Tehran believes that the Bush Administration has lost its ability to rally the US's traditional allies.
Best signals source identifies the last week of noise in Baghdad as the turning point. Tehran plays checkmate.
Also, indicates a bloody minded war council in West Beirut with Nasrallah of HizbAllah, Meshal of Hamas, and ops from Mugniyah, Zarqawi and IJ on the West Bank (subset of AlAqsa).
Also, note that the Iran naval exercises in the Gulf are at two reinforced brigade strength, and they are practicing ship seizures and beach landings.
It's November. It's 1941. Sauve qui peut.
There's worse. Am not permitted to detail. Am open source only, am not crossing the line.
War warning, part 3. See the Telegraph report above. This is not idle gaming. US strategic position is flabby. National security apparatus is unhorsed.