Memorial Day

These are not just numbers. 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; 51; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 60; 61; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 70; 71; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 80; 81; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 90; 91; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 100; 101; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 108; 109; 110; 111; 112; 113; 114; 115; 116; … [Read more...]

Sweet deals

Imagine this happens to you: Some big Manhattan publisher gives you a $100,000 advance to write the Great American Novel. Then you look at the fine print and you realize that your deal gives you $100,000 every year until you finish the book. You call to double check. "Does this mean I get $100,000/year forever?" you ask. "Not forever," the publisher says, "just until whenever you're finished writing." And once the book is completed, the publisher says, you will … [Read more...]

One in seven

Will Rogers suggested a simple standard for evaluating any country or community: Are people trying to get in? Or are they trying to get out? By that standard, as Dahr Jamail reports on TomDispatch, Iraq is a massive failure: Let's start with the numbers, inadequate as they are. The latest UN figures concerning the refugee crisis in Iraq indicate that between 1-1.2 million Iraqis have fled across the border into Syria; about 750,000 have crossed into Jordan (increasing its modest population … [Read more...]

Happy Andrew Natsios Day

With Congress and the White House in tense negotiations over the next $100 billion for the next six months in Iraq, we take time out today to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Andrew Natsios' appearance on ABC's Nightline. On April 23, 2003, host Ted Koppel invited Natsios, then the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, on the program to talk about the Bush administration's estimate of the cost of rebuilding Iraq. Younger readers may not remember Koppel, … [Read more...]

Back to the Philippines

I'm not at all pleased to be linking to The American Spectator, but they've published a piece by William Tucker that's worth reading: "Iraq and Counterinsurgency." Tucker isn't optimistic about America's prospects in Iraq: What we have in Iraq is a series of American fortifications where soldiers live a life that reasonably mirrors conditions back home and then once a day or week put on "full battle rattle" and risk their lives by venturing into what … [Read more...]

Road to Damascus

March 30, 2007. White House Press Briefing by Dana Perino: Q So specifically on this one -- this will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to go to Syria since the Hariri assassination, even before that, and apparently she's going to meet with President Assad. Would you have a specific message to the Speaker of the House about meeting with President Assad at a time when the administration has even withdrawn our ambassador from Damascus? MS. PERINO: Well, again, I don't know if anyone … [Read more...]

Worst-case scenarios

Since before the American-led invasion of Iraq four years ago, I have written more than once about possible bad outcomes from this adventure. "Gaza on the Tigris" has come to seem the most apt of these possibilities, but it was not the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is something more like Rwanda in 1994, about which more in a bit, but first let me clarify something about the meaning of "worst-case scenario." By "worst-case scenario" I mean the outcome … [Read more...]

Dulce et decorum est

Last month, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., spoke at a rally in Ames, Iowa, and said: We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and on which we've now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted. Sen. Obama quickly apologized for using the word "wasted": "Even as I said it, I realized I had misspoken," Obama said. "It is not at all what I intended to say, and I would … [Read more...]