EPCOT on the Euphrates

Ariana Eunjung Cha continues to report on the cost-effective and, under the circumstances, heroic efforts of ordinary Iraqis in rebuilding their country (see "Half a bridge" earlier). This time it's a cement factory. One of the reasons President Bush's $87 billion (for now) pricetag for rebuilding Iraq is so high is that that country has [Read More...]

Kill all the bad people

In Newsweek, we read this disturbing account of an Army chaplain's prayer: Then the battalion's chaplain asks the men to join him in a short prayer. "Lord, there are bad guys out there," he says, bowing his head. "Just help us kill 'em." This, in short, seems to be the Bush Plan for World Peace. [Read More...]

Moving statistics

Winston Churchill noted that one mark of an educated person is the ability to be moved by statistics. I would add that a mark of an over-educated person is the inability to be moved without them. Via Cursor, I find this BBC report on this study by the British medical charity Medact, which "estimates that [Read More...]

Yes, but the schools are open

Let's try to remember, first of all, that the schools in Iraq have been reopened. Don't forget about the schools — that's what this war has always been about, the centers of mass instruction. And the Good News is that the schools are open. Mission Accomplished, schools-wise. And but so, keeping said schools always at [Read More...]


In an op-ed column in today's New York Times, David Brooks offers a preemptive defense of American resolve in the face of atrocities yet to be committed by Americans. Brooks argues that such atrocities will be a necessary and vital component of America winning the war in Iraq, which is also, he says, "the Battle [Read More...]

Half a bridge

A few weeks back, as the famous Iraqi schools were reopening, NPR ran a story in which U.S. soldiers spoke with pride of the extra efforts they had put into repairing and painting the classrooms of one school. This was a "good news" story, although I paid it no special note then, since it came [Read More...]

Asking Questions

As the security situation in Iraq becomes more (to use the Bush administration's preferred term) desperate, many have questioned whether more American troops will be needed for the mission. During his press conference Tuesday, President Bush said the current size of the force was sufficient to the task — although, true to his character, he [Read More...]


"Sforzian" is Elisabeth Bumiller's term to describe the handiwork of: Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer who was hired by the Bush campaign in Austin, Tex., and who now works for Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Mr. Sforza created the White House "message of the day" backdrops and helped design the $250,000 set [Read More...]