Liars and honest fools

The word "alleged" is used far more frequently in newspapers that it is in most aspects of daily life. This is due partly to a commitment to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." If, for example, a man is arrested after going to a local mall with a video camera attached to his shoe [Read More…]

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The Quiet American

Revising and extending my remarks from an earlier comment — Graham Green was a cynical old bastard, but he was not only a cynic. In order for him to describe cynicism so well, he must have had a place to stand outside of it from which to make his deft observations. My favorite Green novel, [Read More…]

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“What more do you want?”

Saddam's capture is clearly the best news to come out of Iraq in months. It is a necessary step toward accomplishing the grandly ambitious goals the Bush administration has laid out as the purpose of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Necessary, but nowhere near sufficient. By all means, let's celebrate this capture, but let's not [Read More…]

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Overtime

When you work at a newspaper, getting called in on your day off usually means something bad has happened. Big news is usually bad news. But not this time. The capture of Saddam Hussein is tremendously good news. More on this later — for now I'm going to go get me some time-and-a-half. N.B.: By [Read More…]

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Reagan’s Bind

When I first read Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times, I was disappointed to find him musing on the possible motives behind the Bush administration's latest diplomatic screw-up: James Baker sets off to negotiate Iraqi debt forgiveness with our estranged allies. And at that very moment the deputy secretary of defense releases a [Read More…]

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Employing Iraqis

Fred Kaplan continues his insightful reporting on the occupation of Iraq with "More Dinars Please" — a look at the invaluable Commanders' Emergency Response Program: The program started in May, shortly after President Bush declared the war over, when American soldiers in Baghdad unearthed mounds of cash that Saddam Hussein and his two sons had [Read More…]

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A trip to the airport

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has the best article I've seen on the meaning and the ramifications of President Bush's surprise Thanksgiving visit to an airport outside of Baghdad. … it is too soon to know whether the image of Bush in his Army jacket yesterday will become a symbol of strong leadership or a [Read More…]

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Case Closed

Thanks to sensitive CIA reporting dating back to the Clinton administration, as revealed in a classified memo labeled "Top Secret" and also "For Immediate Release," I am able to report the following. 1. An Arabic student from Hamburg, Germany, who may or may not have been al-Qaida terrorist Mohammad Atta, may or may not have [Read More…]

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