The Spectacle Blog

American Hero Vouches for Pillar

By on 2.11.06 | 3:34PM

CIA source is adamant that Pillar was not risk averse while at NIO: that when he ran the desk, he was aggressive, quick, demanding, tireless. "A fabulous officer," is the quote, and this is admiration from an American hero who jumped into the darkness of the ummah and directed deadly fire while under fire, a man who made history that will remain a thousand years. Am not qualifying: When a hero tells you that Pillar is first-rate, then Pillar is first-rate. Critical is that Pillar is an analyst, not operations. Said to be straitlaced, stern, most conservative, and this probably means politically as well as professionally. Pillar is an Army vet, Vietnam era. Have not read his book, Terrorism and Foreign Policy, but am sending for it and will interview Pillar soon enough. Pillar now at Georgetown.

Source says that Pillar does not overstate and is a cautious opiner.

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Pence in the Morning

By on 2.11.06 | 10:02AM

Somehow, Congressman Mike Pence was relegated to 8:30 Saturday morning at CPAC. What a cryin' shame. His address was a rousing call to action. He argued that not only is the Republican movement off course, but that wrong heading is accepted. The party in D.C. accepts more government as the accepted philosophy of government. "We control the spending and the process and we wonder how things got to such a state." Pence has posted his prepared remarks on his campaign website. Read it all. It's vastly different from the tunnel vision offered by so many of the party leaders these days, especially those in Washington.

Speaking of Washington, at a bloggers' reception hosted by Human Events after his address, a man from Washington State asked how he can get Rep. Pence to visit and rally the troops there. He answered that he just needed to be invited, but offered a few thoughts on the two Washingtons: "You're the Washington that I like. You're sitting in 30 square miles surrounded by a place called reality. That's a Washington where they produce things." Indeed.

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Pillar a Trusted War-Fighter

By on 2.10.06 | 7:24PM

Report from best CIA source that retired CIA analyst Paul Pillar featured in this morning's Washington Post was a candid, thorough, war-fighter trusted analyst who moved to the critical NIO post for the ME and South Asia just prior to the war. The politics of Pillar's knocking the White House are most intriguing. CIA in turmoil. But Pillar said to be a golden boy who got away.

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Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 4:00PM

"Is the destruction of an embryo less horrific than the murder of an adult?" Yes, to me it is.

I don't expect to reconcile our moral assumptions here. But Steele was speaking before a Jewish group, where the horror of the Holocaust is viscerally felt and the primacy of life after birth, far from being a "current fad," is part of an ancient tradition (Jewish law requires abortion if necessary to save the life of the mother). He was right to apologize.

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Turin Transportation

By on 2.10.06 | 2:25PM

Have you ever had the pleasure of riding in a taxi in Rome? Or a bus along a mountain road in Italy? If so, you can imagine the impact of this report from the Daily Telegraph:

"More than 2,000 bus drivers from all over Italy have been drafted in to ferry athletes, officials and media personnel around the Olympic sites, and many of the drivers are unfamiliar with local roads, let alone local weather conditions."

Having done both the taxi and mountain bus routine, let me remind all who shall so venture forth that a coward dies a thousand deaths: the valiant taste of death but once.

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Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 2:02PM

John, I wasn't looking for consensus on the moral status of an embryo. I'm sure Lt. Gov. Steele wasn't either when he made his remarks, because consensus does not determine the morality of an act. Truth exists independent of the current fad.

Speaking for myself, I'm appealing to morality, science, and common sense. An embryo is a human being, different only in size, not kind. The best guy to state this case, as always, is Robbie George, who wrote in the fall 2004/winter 2005 New Atlantis,

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Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 1:43PM

I disagree, Dave. If you're going to make a Nazi comparison, the subject had better be legitimately and unambiguously genocidal. Few would object to comparing Pol Pot's killing fields to Auschwitz. It may annoy you, but there simply is no consensus that an embryo is the moral equivalent of a walking talking human being, and it's rhetorically foolish to pretend that there is.

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Steele Shouldn’t Apologize

By on 2.10.06 | 1:24PM

Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, has apologized for likening embryonic stem cell research to the Nazis' medical testing on Jews. Consider his remarks:

Look, you, of all folks, know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool.

Okay, fine. He's violated the unwritten rule of polite political discourse (the name of the rule escapes me): don't refer to Hitler or the Nazis. But really, in this case, what's Steele's offense? He supposedly trivialized "the pain and suffering of more than 6 million Jews." That's his language from his apology statement.

If anything, proponents of ESCR trivialize that pain and suffering by refusing to learn from it. Not only did Nazis treat humans as objects for medical experiments, but they targeted the weakest among us. Today, ESCR would be right up their alley.

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Cheney and Marriage

By on 2.10.06 | 1:11PM

Rob Bluey seems to fault Vice President Cheney for not mentioning the Federal Marriage Amendment last night. But isn't there an obvious reason for that? Recall what Cheney said in the 2004 VP debate:

People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business.

That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.

Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.

In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.

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Bullets & Bombs & Kudlow & Co.

By on 2.10.06 | 12:09PM

I'll be on CNBC around 5:30 eastern with Kudlow and Co. If I'm asked to be on, Larry must be in the mood to blow something up. It is, after all, the age of specialization. Hope you can catch it.

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