History matters: Juan Cole on religious conflict in Iraq


It was foolish to think that voting and elections could bring “democracy” or “freedom” to post-Saddam Iraq without first establishing a bill of rights guaranteeing secular government and legal protections for religious minorities. Attempting the former without the latter just puts religious freedom at stake in every election. That’s a guaranteed recipe for sectarian civil war. [Read more...]

Celebrating Krauthammer’s credibility problem


Charles Krauthammer, April 22, 2003: “Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.” As of today, it has been five months 23 times over. [Read more...]

Theodicy and foreign policy: The U.S. is not omnipotent


Andrew Tabler is trying to revive one of the nastiest, most illogical of all the nasty, illogical arguments that misled America into the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. He’s repeating Glenn Reynolds’ ugly, foolish slur that anyone who opposed invading Iraq was “objectively pro-Saddam.” This accusation doesn’t make any more sense in 2013 than it did a decade ago, but I think I’ve finally figured out why people like Reynolds and Tabler trick themselves into thinking it does. They’re not really talking about foreign policy. They’re talking about theodicy. [Read more...]

Dover and Just Wars

Mark Benjamin of Salon points out that former Vice President Dick Cheney and retired Gen. Tommy Franks just aren't that bright. Benjamin didn't put it that starkly himself, but that's the inescapable conclusion. He recently spoke with Bob Garfield of NPR's On the Media about what Franks called the "Dover effect" (see "The True Cost [Read More...]

Band of outlaws

“To abolish God!” said Gregory, opening the eyes of a fanatic. “We do not only want to upset a few despotisms and police regulations; that sort of anarchism does exist, but it is a mere branch of the Nonconformists. We dig deeper and we blow you higher. We wish to deny all those arbitrary distinctions [Read More...]


On Monday in London, appearing at a press conference with President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown endorsed Bush’s strategy for the ongoing occupation of Iraq. And Brown did so using one of Bush’s signature absurdities. Here is Brown from the official transcript: Can I just say that in Iraq there is a [Read More...]

A third possibility

“Attempts to confront or wake up patients during the events frequently lengthens the parasomnia episode and may induce resistance or violence from the patient.”– WebMD’s emedicine entry on Somnambulism In comments for the previous entry, Doctor Science points us to an insightful post from Kit Whitfield (aka Praline) that suggests a possible third explanation for [Read More...]

Look at their shoes

Matthew Yglesias recommends Jeffrey Record’s monograph, “Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s.” I realize no one is going to read that and think, “Ooooh, a monograph! How exciting!” But if you’ve got a crazy uncle/co-worker/president who makes a habit of invoking Neville Chamberlain to dismiss any hesitation to invade Iraq/bomb Iran/annihilate Fredonia, then [Read More...]