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Showing posts from June 4, 2006

buzz buzz

Zarqawi’s death is giving a much needed boost to the media appearances of the terrorist experts who for three years have been consistently wrong about Zarqawi’s life. Because Zarqawi' convict-lawyer genius for gimcrack publicity coincided with the American military's need for a scapegoat (since in Iraq, unlike Vietnam, they can't really conjure up big, scary HQs just across the border in Cambodia, brimming with VC -- thus they have to make due with a reject from the Jordanian prison system), the Washington Post analysis (a thing of such breathlessness that it gives LI a nostalgic twinge – it sounds ever so Mission Accomplished, a flashback to 2003) written by Craig Whitlock rolls out sentences like these: “The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could mark a turning point for al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement, according to terrorism analysts and intelligence officials.” The error in Whitlock’s logic is given to us by any fairy tale: you don’t have to be a giant to be a g


It had been a phobia of his for years that someday he would fall into the hands of madmen—in particular, madmen who seemed sane up until the last moment. – Philip Dick LI knows exactly what Dick is talking about. Or perhaps I should say – America in general knows exactly what Dick is talking about. Except – do we? Do we, Walt-Whitman-Alan-Ginsburg-Muddy-Waters' America? Case in point is Peter Beinart’s The Good Fight. We ignored the excerpt in the NYT magazine, but we knew it wasn’t going to go away. Beinart has taken a page and a phrase from the Weekly Standard, and issued a call for a liberal foreign policy of ‘American greatness.’ To make his case, he unfolds a narrative of stalwart cold war liberalism – Truman, Kennedy and (not mentioned in the TPM post , but surely a presence) Henry Jackson. Beinart proposes to be our modern Kennan. Kennan’s memo about Russia gave an intellectual blessing to Truman’s anti-communist/security state program. Out of that fountainhead issued th

just like king Nebuchnezzar's blues

Well, LI is on a tight schedule due to work this week. So we are going to have to be uncharacteristically close mouthed. We do recommend the Peter Popham article about Venice – since, obviously, the aim of this site is to highlight every fucking depressing fact we can cull from the World disaster and howl before it – or at least low, like Nebuchnezzar among the grass blades. “The only practicable way to keep out the high tides, engineers decided, was to have gates fixed to the lagoon floor that would hinge upwards to close it off to at times of emergency. And so the Moses scheme was drawn up, envisaging 78 massive gates, each 28m wide and 18m long, fixed to the lagoon floor. The politicians then sat down and chewed the idea over. For the best part of 30 years. There were a hundred different views on the project, and the damage it could do. It wouldn't work at all. It would cause the lagoon to fill with stagnant water, it would kill of the lagoon's ecological diversity. It was a

the sycophant's dilemma

No American writer would have fit as easily into court society – whether in Idi Amin’s Kampala or in Caesar Borgia’s Rome – as Fred Barnes. The man is not just your average D.C. ass kisser. He is somehow beyond that. He is to flattery what de Sade was to cruelty: there is a sexual relish in his praises of our present Commander in Chief that was embodied by that wonderful crotch shot pic on the cover of his last book, Rebel in Chief. Latent homoeroticism be damned – the sexual excitements of other people are, of course, sealed by seals even the angels in Revelations can't unlock, but obviously the zipper of our Rebel in Chief and the sacred object found behind it fills Barnes with an eagerness, a reverence that he has as much difficulty mastering as I have comprehending. But there it is, unabashed, unashamed. His career of abasement before right wing thugs (two thumbs up, Benito Mussolini!) has created a prose style that is the equivalent of a dog wagging its tail while it begs for

other great american massacres we can compare haditha to

World War II has certainly been turned into the strangest referent. Like Baptists figuring out where they stand on witches by looking at Leviticus, the war party feels better if they can invoke, in the most ridiculous ways, WWII. Recently, Bill O’Reilly tried to justify Haditha by referring to Americans slaughtering Nazis at Malmedy . He had that a bit wrong – it was the Nazis who were slaughtering the Americans. The tonier purlieus of the WAPO op ed page shows how to right the big Fox guy’s blunder, publishing a heartwarming tale by the father of a GI, Frank Schaeffer. Schaeffer comes out of the gate a bit ahead of O’Reilly: for instance, he claims to have read a book. The book is Norman Lewis’ Naples ’44. This is a book that is foreign to the O'reilly fan base. In this book, there are no Clancy like descriptions of the latest secret American weaponry; there are no muscular Navy Seals; and there is no obligatory sex scene – by which I mean using high tech weaponry to blow suita