Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blog of the day

Here. As you will see, this blog is less than a month old but he has over 1700 comments to his most recent post.

Casualties in the cartoon war

Borders and Waldenbooks have banned a magazine that published those infamous Danish cartoons. This represents another unfortunate instance of people allowing threats to chill their free speech rights.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

25 years later

It was 25 years ago today that John Hinckley shot President Reagan. I was a sophomore in high school at the time and I was standing at my locker when the principal made the announcement over the PA system. As I have said before, I will never forget that a significant number of people started clapping and cheering. I was stunned.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Two quotes for Newsweek

"We took him out without any serious injury, with the exception of his own." - Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Dolan, on Tasering and taking into custody Jakub Fik, 33, who severed his own penis and threw it at police after officers confronted him while responding to a property-damage call. Doctors at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital reattached Fik's organ.
"Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool." - Thomas Pfeffer, of the American Heart Association in Los Angeles, on his support of a Calabasas, Calif., law—the first of its kind in the United States—that bans smoking in public places where people can be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Stupid lawsuit of the day

The parents of two boys who fell almost 30 feet through a skylight in an abandoned warehouse intend to sue the owners of that abandoned building. . .

The boys were playing around and jumping on a skylight in the roof of an abandoned warehouse near Sample Road earlier this month when it gave way, sending them plummeting onto a concrete floor. . .

Police said the boys sneaked onto the property of the abandoned building, once used to manufacture park equipment, through a sheet metal fence that appeared to be pried open.

Firefighters said the warehouse had been secured so well that they had to break down a fence in order to reach the boys after the accident.

Spring, baby

You have to go through a Minnesota winter to appreciate this 7 day forecast. Anyway, we are clearly turning a page this week.

Time to pull out the golf clubs.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Say what?

I just heard Mary Winkler's defense lawyer say on CNN that "telling police what happened" (i.e., "I shot him") is not necessarily a confession.

Good luck with that strategy.

Messed up

AP thinks that it is OK to steal original material from a blog and republish it without attribution. In fact, it is policy: "We don't credit blogs."

9/11: It could have been much worse

If Zacarias Moussaoui's testimony today is believed, I think that it is fair to assume that Capital Hill was the target of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. It is mind boggling to imagine what would have happened had al-Qaeda succeeded in hitting the Capital and the White House that day. Mind boggling.

Picture of the day

Is that a light saber that Mr. Camilo Villegas has there?

Sunday, March 26, 2006


In a world full of consumerism, one (very, very rich) man is resisting.
GENEVA (Reuters) - IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, ranked 4th richest man in the world, drives a 15-year-old car and always flies economy class, in part to inspire his 90,000 employees worldwide to see the virtue of frugality.
Ask yourself, honestly, whether if you had that kind of money you wouldn't have a private jet and a Lamborghini as well as a limo.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Online polls

I think that online polls can be interesting when the question relates to something in the entertainment or sports arenas, but they are a complete waste of time when it comes to news events. Latest example:

Click here to enlarge.

Survey of the day

Somebody decided that it would be worth the time and effort to conduct a survey to find out how many people talk on the telephone naked.

Friday funny

I am always slightly amused when a world leader acts with the maturity of a teenager. The latest example is courtesy of Jacques Chirac.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - President Jacques Chirac said on Friday he had been so shocked to hear a fellow Frenchman speak English at a European Union summit the previous day that he had felt compelled to leave the room.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A harbinger

Tiger Woods.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tiger Woods says the competitiveness he learned from his mother helped him overcome a childhood stutter.

In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" to be televised Sunday, the world's No. 1 golfer says, "The words got lost, you know, somewhere between the brain and the mouth. And it was very difficult, but I fought through it. I went to a school to try and get over that, and I just would work my tail off."

The guy was born tough as nails. I have little doubt that in 15 years I will declare him the greatest athlete of my lifetime.

Charlie Sheen is a putz

From the NY Post.
March 23, 2006 -- CHARLIE Sheen has joined the 9/11 gone-bonkers brigade. The "Two and a Half Men" star gave a bizarre interview on GGN Radio Network's conspiracy-minded "The Alex Jones Show," in which he suggested that the federal government was covering up what "really" happened. "It seems to me like 19 amateurs with boxcutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions," Sheen said. "A couple of years ago, it was severely unpopular to talk about any of this. It feels like from the people I talk to, and the research I've done and around my circles, it feels like the worm is turning." Sheen said the collapse of the Twin Towers looked like a "controlled demolition." The out-there actor also expressed his disbelief over how one of the planes hit the Pentagon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Let it ride

The latest from Katherine Harris demonstrates that she is brave, but also stupid and/or crazy.

TAMPA - U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris continued her attempt to take her campaign to national television and to add religious overtones to her quest for a U.S. Senate seat with an appearance on ABC News "Nightline" Tuesday.

Harris told John Donvan, of "Nightline," that she intends to sell all her personal assets to fund the race. "My husband has real estate, but I will not own anything."

Since making a pledge last week to put $10 million of her money into the race, Harris has made the phrase "putting everything on the line" a new campaign theme.

Picture of the day

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Silent majority

This column reinforces my belief that the silent, centrist majority in this country is actually growing in power.

In the past 50 years independents have grown from one-quarter to one-third of the electorate, according to Gallup polls. In California, the number of independent voters more than doubled between 1991 and 2005. The fastest-growing political party in the United States is no party.

According to the American National Election Studies at the University of Michigan, the number of split-ticket voters in the electorate -- meaning people who vote for a Democrat for president and a Republican for Congress, or vice versa -- has gone up 42 percent since 1952. That shows a radical new willingness on the part of Americans to look at individual candidates, not party slates. It is a sign of a thinking electorate, not a partisan one. . .

These voters are untethered to either political party. While it's become conventional wisdom to say that voters' minds are firmly made up, and that certain candidates can or cannot win, it's just not true. The growing bloc of swing voters takes a hard look at candidates much later in the process, and they adjust and shift as they gather information. They may seem like wallflowers in the political process right now, but they are the ones a successful campaign eventually needs to cross the finish line.

The wingnuts on both sides may be the loudest, but I take comfort in the empirical evidence of the ever-growing importance for candidates to appeal to the mighty middle.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A surprise

If there is anyone who I thought would back Senator Feingold's censure proposal it would have been retiring Senator Dayton. Instead, Dayton is incensed.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton on Thursday strongly criticized fellow Democrat Russ Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush over a warrantless surveillance program.

"It's an overreaching step by someone who is grandstanding and running for president at the expense of his own party and his own country,'' Dayton said of Feingold, a Wisconsin senator and potential 2008 presidential candidate.

"I think it's a very dangerous territory for the democracy that we have in this country to be playing around with those kinds of resolutions, without any consultations from his colleagues. I think it was irresponsible.''

Although Feingold has gotten a tepid response from Democrats, none has publicly blasted the proposal the way Dayton did on Thursday. The assault was even more striking given that Dayton is one of Bush's harshest Senate critics.

I think that Dayton is often misguided, but I have more respect for him now than I did 6 years ago. Like Wellstone before him, Dayton generally does what he thinks is "right" and worries about the political consequences later.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ignatius' ignorance

Quote from David Ignatius' column today.
I had a chance to see the new counterinsurgency doctrine in practice here this week. U.S. troops are handing off to the Iraqi army a growing share of the security burden. As the Iraqis step up, the Americans are stepping back into a training and advisory role. This is the way it should have happened from the beginning. . .

It's a few years late, but the new U.S. strategy is moving in the right direction.
Now one can argue that the military has not been as effective in training and advising Iraqis as quickly as expected, but to argue that this is a "new strategy" suggests that Ignatius is just ignorant. Since at least 2004, this is what I have always understood our strategy to be.

For example, Bush, June 2004:
Our military is performing with skill and courage, and our nation is proud of the United States military. (Applause.) Many brave Iraqis have stepped forward to fight for their own freedom, and we are working closely with them to disband and destroy the illegal militia, to defeat the terrorists, and to secure the safe arrival of Iraqi democracy. We're stepping up our efforts to train effective Iraqi security forces that will eventually defend the liberty of their own country.
And who could forget this refrain from Bush all last summer:
Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
As Ignatius reports, the level of battle ready Iraqi units is improving consistently.
In an interview, U.S. Army Col. James Greer, chief of staff for the U.S. military command responsible for training Iraqi troops, said 40 of Iraq's 102 battalions have taken over security in the areas where they operate. A typical Iraqi battalion has 700 to 800 soldiers. Greer said he sees the process speeding up, as in March 2005, there were only three battalions manning their own areas in Baghdad, he said. But now, Iraqi battalions are taking control in violent areas such as parts of Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra.

It all comes down to this:
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown
That was the repeatedly-stated security strategy in Iraq long before Ignatius started listening.

More than a fib

The big local political story here right now stars the State Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, who is a minister. At a meeting with fellow clergy members, he told them that he had spoken with all members of the Minnesota Supreme Court about the gay marriage issue, and that the former Chief Justice had assured him that the Court was "not going to touch it." After the former Chief Justice flatly denied that such an unethical conversation ever occurred, Johnson attacked the people who recorded his words, and then later admitted to "embellishment."

Summary: A minister/politician lied to a group of ministers and attempted to convince them that at least one member of the Minnesota Supreme Court had violated her judicial oath and assured him that she had prejudged how she would vote with respect to any hypothetical gay marriage legal issues.

That swooshing sound you hear is Johnson's reputation disappearing down the toilet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mandatory donation

If Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has any sense of decency, he will send at least a $20 thank-you donation to the Alan Keyes-esque campaign of Katherine Harris. A blah Democrat in a purple state is going to face no challenge at all. Has Karl Rove lost his powers?

Ports P.S.

Sadly, I sincerely believe that the driving reason for the overwhelming public sentiment against the UAE ports' deal is summed up here:

This racist propaganda, unfortunately, sums it up. It is s really depressing that Democratic and Republican politicians alike caved to (or worse, played to) a largely uneducated-as-to-basic-facts public's collective opinion rather than legitimately address (and maybe even attempt to educate about) the true merits.

The geopolitical fallout from this particular debacle will be significant, but not overwhelming. Of more concern to me is that I don't like what it says about our country generally.

Stupid criminal of the day

This man wore a crate on his head during a robbery. Then, the brain surgeon took it off in front of several witnesses and was easily tracked down by the police. Link.

Ed Koch

I have proposed that we issue an ultimatum to our NATO and regional allies informing them that unless they join us by providing their military forces and treasure to bear in the future the casualties and costs we have suffered and expended, we will leave Iraq before the end of June.
I'm a big fan of Mr. Koch, but this is crazy talk for many reasons. First of all, there is no chance that it would work in actually getting troop and money commitments. Second, it would mean that the U.S.'s future approach to a critical national security problem would effectively be in the hands of foreign governments. Third, it would signal to the people of Iraq that we are ready to cut and run and are just looking for an excuse. This proposal unquestionably sucks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

So long

I greet the news of the trade of Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins with mixed emotions. On the one hand, he is a man with incredible physical gifts and I was convinced after the 2004 season that he was going to be one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the NFL for a long time. The potential is still there. On the other hand, he has demonstrated over the past year that he is an immature flake as he didn't just burn bridges here, but detonated them with several thermonuclear blasts. The point of no return was passed last week, after which I guess that it was a good thing to get the divorce over with ASAP.

But who is going to play quarterback for the Vikes in 2006? I sure hope that they are working on a better answer than Brad Johnson.

Marital issues

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that this couple is not going to work things out.

A MEXICAN couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said yesterday.

In scenes taken straight out of hit romantic comedy Mr and Mrs. Smith starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, the paper said. . .

Mr Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Ms Contreras said said she was only sorry she had not "hacked off his manhood" during the fight.

Holocaust cartoon contest

200 people, including 6 Americans, submitted entries into Iran's government-sponsored "mock the Holocaust" cartoon contest. In the meantime, Ted Rall is moving forward with his lawsuit against Ann Coulter for her statement that Rall would be entering the contest.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Claude Allen is a putz


WASHINGTON, March 10 — A former top White House aide was arrested on Thursday in the Maryland suburbs on charges that he stole merchandise from a number of retailers, the police in Montgomery County, Md., said Friday.

The former aide, Claude A. Allen, 45, was President Bush's top domestic policy adviser until resigning last month. Known as a rising conservative star, he previously served as deputy secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, and in 2003 the White House announced its intention to nominate him to a seat on the federal appeals court based in Richmond, Va. Democrats raised questions about the nomination, and it never came to a vote. . .

The Police Department said that as a result of an investigation it opened after the initial incident in January, it found that Mr. Allen had received refunds of more than $5,000 last year at stores like Target and Hecht's. Mr. Allen was arrested on Thursday and charged in connection with a series of allegedly fraudulent returns. The police said he was charged with a theft scheme over $500 and theft over $500.

I don't know how many more black eyes the Republicans can take and still retain majority status. The tax and spend caricature of Democrats is appealing when compared with the corrupt caricature of the Republicans.


A former college teammate of Pat Tillman is following in his footsteps, leaving a career in professional football to join the military.

Pfc. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the St. Louis Rams, graduated from the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Friday.
Stories are written only about famous people who make this type of sacrifice. It is worth noting that almost 13,000 men and women volunteered for active duty service in February. Here's a tip of the hat to all of them.

Digging out

Don't go into work unless you have to.
I should have listened to that advice. Six inches of snow overnight, with heavy snowing continuing to fall this morning, made for a nasty commute in. The problem was made much worse by the fact that city buses were getting stuck everywhere and blocking traffic.

I'm ready for spring.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bill O'Reilly

The reasons I dislike Bill O'Reilly so much is that (1) he is a bully, and (2) he is thin-skinned, able to dish it out but not able to take it. This story proves both of these unattractive traits.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Defending honor

We can all end up unintentionally being jerks from time to time, but consider this situation:
  • Camp is run by volunteer parents.
  • Camp is extremely popular.
  • Through the commitment of literally thousands of hours, volunteer parents organize camp logistics and a registration process that is consistent from year to year.

For two years, my wife has done the grunt work on the processing of registrations for this camp and, in that job, has worked hard to convert a cumbersome paper-based system into a computer database entry system that can be transferred easily to the next volunteer. But the most thankless part of my wife's task is having to call parents who did not pay attention to the MARCH 1 - DEADLINE and tell them that their applications are late and their kids are not guaranteed to get in.

An interesting thing happens at this point more often than not; the parent who couldn't circle a date on the calendar acts like someone who is getting bad service at a restaurant and goes on the offensive, laying into my wife, the dedicated volunteer. The general theme is that this particular person was entitled to a wake up call right before the MARCH 1 - DEADLINE.

If I ever act in a remotely similar fashion at any time in my life, I want the closest person to slug me in the face.


My spam folder dumps messages older than 30 days. As of this minute, I have 800 messages in that folder, which means a rate of more than 25 per day. Point: I don't have the time or energy to dig through my spam folder for potential legitimate messages, so if you have sent me an e-mail and I didn't respond, I guarantee it was lost in my spam. Sorry.

More Kirby

One final good deed from Kirby (or maybe eight).
Kirby Puckett might get his wish to become an organ donor, experts say, in spite of the medical problems that led to his death Monday in Phoenix.

On Tuesday, doctors in Arizona were trying to determine which, if any, of his organs could be used in transplants, according to the Donor Network of Arizona. . .

Tonya Puckett, Kirby's former wife, smiled Tuesday when asked if it were true that it looks as though Kirby had many good organs to donate.

"I just know there are eight organs, one of which might be a match for his sister, Jackie," said Tonya Puckett, crossing her fingers.

Jackie, who lives outside of Chicago, has kidney disease, according to Tonya Puckett.

"I don't know the other organs they have [potentially] found matches for," she said. "It's just amazing. That's how my life with him was. He always made it happen, found a way to let somebody benefit; made some good out of everything, even in his death. How can you top that?"

I think that it would have to be comforting to the family of anyone who experienced a premature death to know that part of the body lives on and, in the process, one or more persons were given the gift of longer lives.


The Iranians are rubbing the Europeans' noses in it.

THE man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program.

In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Tehran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

He boasted that while talks were taking place in Tehran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant while convincing European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything'. The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.

What did Reagan say? Trust, but verify. The Europeans got it half right.

Public outing

From the New York Times.

Paulette Cormack, a teacher who lives in Napa, Calif., has been married to her husband, Jerry, a retired city planner, for 36 years. For 34 years, Mrs. Cormack said in an interview, she has known that although she and her husband are sexually active together, his erotic desires otherwise focus almost exclusively on men. "It's not easy, but I truly do love him," Mrs. Cormack said.

Mr. Cormack is now involved with another married gay man, and Mrs. Cormack has had extramarital relationships. Neither has explicitly discussed this with their son, who is 25.

Yeah, probably better to let your son find out from through the newspaper.

Angry left

Molly Ivins goes off the deep end here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


This is serious stuff.

March 6, 2006 — U.S. military and intelligence officials tell ABC News that they have caught shipments of deadly new bombs at the Iran-Iraq border.

They are a very nasty piece of business, capable of penetrating U.S. troops' strongest armor. . .

U.S. officials say roadside bomb attacks against American forces in Iraq have become much more deadly as more and more of the Iran-designed and Iran-produced bombs have been smuggled in from the country since last October.

"I think the evidence is strong that the Iranian government is making these IEDs, and the Iranian government is sending them across the border and they are killing U.S. troops once they get there," says Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism chief and an ABC News consultant. "I think it's very hard to escape the conclusion that, in all probability, the Iranian government is knowingly killing U.S. troops."

The current Iranian government has gone out of its way to poke a sharp stick in the collective eye of the West over the past several months. It is time to bring a containment foreign policy approach out for an encore performance. There really are not any other good options in this dangerous game with a dangerous and unpredictable adversary.

Kirby Puckettt - RIP


The Twins drafted him in 1982, and he reached the big leagues on May 8, 1984. He celebrated his arrival by getting four hits against the California Angels.

Puckett lore piled up quickly in 1987, when he led the Twins in hits as they came back from a three-games-to-two deficit against St. Louis in the best-of-seven World Series and won their first championship. He now had unqualified success to go with his uninhibited style.

"A 7- or 8-year-old kid watching the game would pick him out, and he just looked different," sportscaster Bob Costas said. "He had an affection for the game, and there was a kind of energy about it that was fun.

"I'm sure he took it seriously. You have to take it seriously in order to be a great player, but there was nothing grim about the way he went about it."

In 1991, the Twins again found themselves trailing in the World Series three games to two, this time to Atlanta.

But Puckett went around telling teammates to hop on his back for Game 6, that he would carry them to victory. Then he delivered two signature moments.

First, he made a leaping catch against the Metrodome's outfield Plexiglas in the third inning and robbed Ron Gant of an extra-base hit, saving a run from scoring. Then, in the 11th inning, Puckett became the ninth player in major league history to win a World Series game with a home run, hitting a changeup from Charlie Leibrandt over the outfield wall and pumping his arms in celebration as he rounded the bases.

"You couldn't hear yourself think in the ballpark," former Twins hitting coach Terry Crowley said Monday. "Kirby was on deck. The manager went to the mound, and Kirby said to me, 'If they leave this guy in the game, the game is over.'

I was in law school in 1991 and will always remember watching Game 6 on TV with a buddy. After Puckett hit the home run, we got in the car and raced downtown. We actually got to a popular bar before people from the game arrived, but within 20 minutes it was pandemonium. We were then able to get our hands on tickets for Game 7, the 1-0, 10 inning classic won by the Twins. After that game, we went out (different bar this time) and I vividly remember Queen's "We Are the Champions" playing at a deafening volume.

Kirby was a hero in this town like nobody before him. Yes, his image was tarnished after the end of his baseball career with various abuse allegations, but he remained an icon. Today is a sad day in Minnesota.

Friday, March 03, 2006

What centrism is about

Joe G. offers an apology to Michael Brown. Joe's reconsideration is what centrism is all about, in my opinion. Give me facts, and then I will form an opinion. If I get new facts, I might change my mind. If I decide that I am wrong, I will openly admit it. Radical, I know.

(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)

The Horse Race

This is interesting.
Noting there are just 978 days to go, Chuck Todd picks the top five front runners in the 2008 presidential race for each party. "These rankings are based on a number of factors, including: organization, money, buzz and polling. The candidates in our two top spots may not surprise you, but they are the candidates who are doing well in all four categories."

  1. Sen. John McCain
  2. Sen. George Allen
  3. Gov. Mitt Romney
  4. Gov. Mike Huckabee
  5. Newt Gingrich
  1. Sen. Hillary Clinton
  2. Mark Warner
  3. John Edwards
  4. Sen. Evan Bayh
  5. Gov. Bill Richardson

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker is a putz

Link. He thinks that Alabama should proceed with executions that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.

Picture of the day

Link to story.

Personal note: One of my best friends in high school also drove a car into a house when he lost control during a street race.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


This point has probably been made a 1000 times elsewhere, but the whole port-operations brouhaha is interesting in that Democrats are accusing Bush of laxness on national security, and the Democrats are being accused of racist profiling. The lesson is that 99% of politicians are unprincipled opportunists.

Quote of the day

Mikhail Gorbachev.
“My biggest dream at the moment is to get drunk for my 75th birthday. No matter what it may lead to.”

Life is weird


ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (AP) -- State Sen. John Giannetti was waiting for his take-out order of Italian food at a Maryland restaurant on Monday when he saw a man choking. He rushed over, performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a chunk of seafood -- saving the life of his political rival.

The choking man, Jim Rosapepe, is challenging Giannetti in the Democratic primary for the suburban Washington district.


If there is one thing that I have learned in my 14 years as a lawyer, it is that the American justice system is very imperfect. That said, I'm not sure whether to be amused or outraged that a Supreme Court justice fell asleep during oral argument on a case of significant Constitutional significance.

Money pit

This explains why our savings account balance is so low.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


It isn't often that an editorial column is news, but William F. Buckley's "It Didn't Work" column last weekend -- in which he wrote that "[o]ne can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed" and "the administration has, now, to cope with failure" -- was news. A leading conservative had declared that Iraq was a lost cause.

Personally, I think that Buckley is wrong. "It Didn't Work" is surely correct in the sense that things in Iraq have not gone as well as we might have hoped, but declaring defeat at this time is very premature. From where I sit it looks like there have been two underappreciated steps forward for every undeniable step backward (most recently last week in the violence after the golden dome of the Askariya shrine in Samarra was blown apart). Today, Victor Davis Hanson and Ralph Peters, after visits to Iraq, write convincing columns that support my perceptions.

I hope to heck that I and the other cautious optimists are right, and not just because our household is paying more than $1,000 a month for this endeavor. In Vietnam, we got away with failing in the sense that no permanent damage was done to the country's most vital national security interests. We won't be so lucky if Iraq is lost.