Commentary Magazine


Posts For: December 12, 2007

Korean Unity?

The hard-for-some-to-imagine prospect of a united Korea drew closer today with news that the first South Korean freight train had crossed the Demilitarized Zone and headed into North Korea. This regularly-scheduled freight service looks set to continue, not least for economic reasons, as a projected connection with the Trans-Siberian Railway will greatly reduce a variety of transport costs.

The establishment of this rail link is, of course, part of the somewhat erratic foreign policy of outgoing Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. In elections set for December 19, Roh’s party looks as though it will be defeated by Lee Myung Bak of the far more seasoned and conservative Grand National Party. Subsequently, as Japan’s Daily Yomiuri puts it in a headline, the “South Korea vote may cool ardor for North.” But pan-Korean ardor for unification, done realistically and right, will not cool. Korea is a country that was politically united under the same ruling house from the late 14th century until the 20th. Its present division is maintained only by the seeming impossibility of merging the cruel and unreconstructed North with the now free and blossoming South.

These difficulties are now gradually being removed. China has signaled intent to take over North Korea if things go badly there, so Pyongyang is looking for alternatives. In Seoul, even the conservative presidential candidate favors increasing cooperation with the North. The trend is clear—and to many, unwelcome, particularly owing to North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. If the arms of the present two Koreas are amalgamated, the outcome is a military having nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, advanced jet fighters, and state of the art air-independent-propulsion stealthy submarines—all of which can be indigenously produced.

Such a prospect will elicit two quixotic instincts. One will be to try to keep the Koreas separate. The other will be to attempt to render Korea non-nuclear. Neither, I think is possible, and the first is not desirable. I believe we should explicitly support Korean unification. The first reason is that it is coming anyway. The second is that if we (and Japan) are involved we are more likely to see a liberal and open state emerge. It is in our and Japan’s interest to pull the new state away from China at least to neutrality, and perhaps in our direction. Admittedly, huge headaches will be involved. But better to be moving with inescapable change and attempting to steer it in a positive direction than to allow the new United Korea to align with Russia or China against us.

The hard-for-some-to-imagine prospect of a united Korea drew closer today with news that the first South Korean freight train had crossed the Demilitarized Zone and headed into North Korea. This regularly-scheduled freight service looks set to continue, not least for economic reasons, as a projected connection with the Trans-Siberian Railway will greatly reduce a variety of transport costs.

The establishment of this rail link is, of course, part of the somewhat erratic foreign policy of outgoing Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. In elections set for December 19, Roh’s party looks as though it will be defeated by Lee Myung Bak of the far more seasoned and conservative Grand National Party. Subsequently, as Japan’s Daily Yomiuri puts it in a headline, the “South Korea vote may cool ardor for North.” But pan-Korean ardor for unification, done realistically and right, will not cool. Korea is a country that was politically united under the same ruling house from the late 14th century until the 20th. Its present division is maintained only by the seeming impossibility of merging the cruel and unreconstructed North with the now free and blossoming South.

These difficulties are now gradually being removed. China has signaled intent to take over North Korea if things go badly there, so Pyongyang is looking for alternatives. In Seoul, even the conservative presidential candidate favors increasing cooperation with the North. The trend is clear—and to many, unwelcome, particularly owing to North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. If the arms of the present two Koreas are amalgamated, the outcome is a military having nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, advanced jet fighters, and state of the art air-independent-propulsion stealthy submarines—all of which can be indigenously produced.

Such a prospect will elicit two quixotic instincts. One will be to try to keep the Koreas separate. The other will be to attempt to render Korea non-nuclear. Neither, I think is possible, and the first is not desirable. I believe we should explicitly support Korean unification. The first reason is that it is coming anyway. The second is that if we (and Japan) are involved we are more likely to see a liberal and open state emerge. It is in our and Japan’s interest to pull the new state away from China at least to neutrality, and perhaps in our direction. Admittedly, huge headaches will be involved. But better to be moving with inescapable change and attempting to steer it in a positive direction than to allow the new United Korea to align with Russia or China against us.

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A Papal Kowtow

On Friday, the Dalai Lama said that he was sorry that he would not be meeting the Pope during his visit to Italy. The Pontiff met with the exiled Tibetan last October in what the Vatican termed “a private courtesy visit.” This time, however, the Pope refused to have any contact with him. The turn-down was unexpected: a December 13 audience between the two spiritual leaders was unofficially announced in late October.

Why would Pope Benedict change his mind and shun one of the world’s most respected figures? Beijing in early November said such a meeting would “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” Most Chinese, frankly, do not care; it’s the Chinese leaders who would be upset. Their campaign to isolate the Dalai Lama is failing. So far this year, the Tibetan has met the leaders of Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Moreover, Tibetan lands that the Chinese rule are going through another cycle of instability—disturbances there are occurring with increasing frequency. It’s exhilarating to watch the Chinese repressors on the run both at home and abroad.

Yet it is so depressing to watch the Pope perform the kowtow to atheistic autocrats in Beijing. One of Benedict’s top priorities is to establish relations with the modern Chinese state. He has made some progress recently—China’s state-run Catholic Church ordained two Vatican-approved bishops within the month (it often chooses clergymen who do not have Rome’s blessing). The timing of the elevations suggests they were directly related to Benedict’s refusal to see the exiled Tibetan.

The Pope, in a 55-page open letter dated May 27, indicated that the Vatican was willing to switch recognition from Taiwan to the mainland under certain conditions, including those relating to the selection of bishops. That would be a betrayal of millions of souls. Now, to please the Communist Party, he is breaking the Holy See’s long relations with the Dalai Lama. The Pontiff, unfortunately, is becoming just another craven figure in a world with too many of them. We expect better from religious leaders. Benedict, I am sad to say, is a disappointment.

On Friday, the Dalai Lama said that he was sorry that he would not be meeting the Pope during his visit to Italy. The Pontiff met with the exiled Tibetan last October in what the Vatican termed “a private courtesy visit.” This time, however, the Pope refused to have any contact with him. The turn-down was unexpected: a December 13 audience between the two spiritual leaders was unofficially announced in late October.

Why would Pope Benedict change his mind and shun one of the world’s most respected figures? Beijing in early November said such a meeting would “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” Most Chinese, frankly, do not care; it’s the Chinese leaders who would be upset. Their campaign to isolate the Dalai Lama is failing. So far this year, the Tibetan has met the leaders of Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Moreover, Tibetan lands that the Chinese rule are going through another cycle of instability—disturbances there are occurring with increasing frequency. It’s exhilarating to watch the Chinese repressors on the run both at home and abroad.

Yet it is so depressing to watch the Pope perform the kowtow to atheistic autocrats in Beijing. One of Benedict’s top priorities is to establish relations with the modern Chinese state. He has made some progress recently—China’s state-run Catholic Church ordained two Vatican-approved bishops within the month (it often chooses clergymen who do not have Rome’s blessing). The timing of the elevations suggests they were directly related to Benedict’s refusal to see the exiled Tibetan.

The Pope, in a 55-page open letter dated May 27, indicated that the Vatican was willing to switch recognition from Taiwan to the mainland under certain conditions, including those relating to the selection of bishops. That would be a betrayal of millions of souls. Now, to please the Communist Party, he is breaking the Holy See’s long relations with the Dalai Lama. The Pontiff, unfortunately, is becoming just another craven figure in a world with too many of them. We expect better from religious leaders. Benedict, I am sad to say, is a disappointment.

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Paul’s Blimp

This coming Sunday afternoon, Ron Paul supporters, hot off their $4.3 million dollar “money bomb” fundraising effort in November, are holding a Boston Tea Party-themed rally at Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

The event is getting attention not only from Paul’s passionate online community, whose campaign videos touting the event (here, here, and here) portend a $12 million dollar plus quarter for Paul, but also from ABC news for the theatrics his supporters have in store:

Overhead during the tea party, an enormous, helium-filled blimp that supporters independently banded together, circumventing current election law, to buy and float to Boston from North Carolina will implore New Englanders to “Google Ron Paul.”

But how can they afford to do this, given FEC limits on PAC fund-raising? Paul supporters, unaffiliated with the campaign, have found an ingenious way of getting around federal election laws and are, perhaps, setting a precedent for future circuses. The ABC report continues:

Instead of forming a Political Action Committee that operates much like a campaign with fund-raising limits, the people behind the blimp, [are] incorporating an actual company, a limited liability corporation, instead of a PAC, through which to sell stakes in the blimp lease to supporters.

Given their unorthodox fund-raising tactics, viral video blitzes, and poll-jamming, it’s unsurprising that Paul’s backers have come up with even more circuitous ways of supporting their candidate and getting his message out. And although Paul is nowhere in Iowa—the latest polls have him topping out at 4.4 percent—his supporters are showing that backwards fund-raising legislation can, and should, be circumvented by entrepreneurial thinking.

This coming Sunday afternoon, Ron Paul supporters, hot off their $4.3 million dollar “money bomb” fundraising effort in November, are holding a Boston Tea Party-themed rally at Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

The event is getting attention not only from Paul’s passionate online community, whose campaign videos touting the event (here, here, and here) portend a $12 million dollar plus quarter for Paul, but also from ABC news for the theatrics his supporters have in store:

Overhead during the tea party, an enormous, helium-filled blimp that supporters independently banded together, circumventing current election law, to buy and float to Boston from North Carolina will implore New Englanders to “Google Ron Paul.”

But how can they afford to do this, given FEC limits on PAC fund-raising? Paul supporters, unaffiliated with the campaign, have found an ingenious way of getting around federal election laws and are, perhaps, setting a precedent for future circuses. The ABC report continues:

Instead of forming a Political Action Committee that operates much like a campaign with fund-raising limits, the people behind the blimp, [are] incorporating an actual company, a limited liability corporation, instead of a PAC, through which to sell stakes in the blimp lease to supporters.

Given their unorthodox fund-raising tactics, viral video blitzes, and poll-jamming, it’s unsurprising that Paul’s backers have come up with even more circuitous ways of supporting their candidate and getting his message out. And although Paul is nowhere in Iowa—the latest polls have him topping out at 4.4 percent—his supporters are showing that backwards fund-raising legislation can, and should, be circumvented by entrepreneurial thinking.

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The Sound of Novels

The literary blogger Maud Newton posted yesterday about the “soundtrack approach to novel writing.” It’s a solution to so-called writer’s block: “My friend had a surprisingly practical suggestion: Give each part [of a novel] its own soundtrack. Listen to different music as you work on each section, and make sure it’s the same music every time. . . . [T]he words will just flow out.” I confess to having written a (stubbornly unpublished) novel while listening only to supernatural calypso, but I’m wary of any “technique” that further tightens the ties binding fiction to film.

Why do I say this? It’s a helpful coincidence that at the top of her “Remainders” sidebar, Ms. Newton has linked to Wes Anderson’s stilted, abysmal Hotel Chevalier script, published in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story. It seems that material written for the screen can hypnotize a literary audience, and very much vice versa. Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, for instance, either perplexed or invited the ridicule of many critics until the Brothers Coen gave it an extreme—which is to say, nasty, brutish, and long—makeover for the Sanguinary Screen.

Here was a story so clearly and in so mercenary a fashion written for the movies that its release as a novel should simply have been passed over. If I could have it another way, I’d take Oprah’s beloved The Road as a movie and No Country as a better, more fleshed-out book—and, believe me, The Road has flesh to spare. Why does everyone, from goofy Nick Hornby to ghoulish McCarthy, write as though he’d rather be polishing up a screenplay? Is it just because there’s no money in books, or is there something about the vocabulary of the movies that continues to slice away at the primacy of the printed word?

The literary blogger Maud Newton posted yesterday about the “soundtrack approach to novel writing.” It’s a solution to so-called writer’s block: “My friend had a surprisingly practical suggestion: Give each part [of a novel] its own soundtrack. Listen to different music as you work on each section, and make sure it’s the same music every time. . . . [T]he words will just flow out.” I confess to having written a (stubbornly unpublished) novel while listening only to supernatural calypso, but I’m wary of any “technique” that further tightens the ties binding fiction to film.

Why do I say this? It’s a helpful coincidence that at the top of her “Remainders” sidebar, Ms. Newton has linked to Wes Anderson’s stilted, abysmal Hotel Chevalier script, published in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story. It seems that material written for the screen can hypnotize a literary audience, and very much vice versa. Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, for instance, either perplexed or invited the ridicule of many critics until the Brothers Coen gave it an extreme—which is to say, nasty, brutish, and long—makeover for the Sanguinary Screen.

Here was a story so clearly and in so mercenary a fashion written for the movies that its release as a novel should simply have been passed over. If I could have it another way, I’d take Oprah’s beloved The Road as a movie and No Country as a better, more fleshed-out book—and, believe me, The Road has flesh to spare. Why does everyone, from goofy Nick Hornby to ghoulish McCarthy, write as though he’d rather be polishing up a screenplay? Is it just because there’s no money in books, or is there something about the vocabulary of the movies that continues to slice away at the primacy of the printed word?

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Huck’s Confused on National Security

It’s something of an understatement to say that Mike Huckabee, now leading polls in Iowa, has a national security problem.

This is from a CBS News story covering the former Arkansas governor in Des Moines last Tuesday:

Now a reporter was asking Huckabee about the National Intelligence Estimate report, which had found that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago. The report had been front-page news, and it seemed likely to transform the rhetoric about Iran coming from the presidential candidates.

Huckabee, to the surprise of the reporters gathered around him, was unfamiliar with the report.

This coming Sunday’s New York Times magazine will feature a cover story by Zev Chafets on Huckabee that offers troubling insight into gaffes like the one above. Asked about his foreign policy credentials, Huckabee’s response sounds more like a puffed up on-line dating profile than the CV of a future commander-in-chief: “In his defense, Huckabee mentioned that as governor, he had visited ‘‘35 or 40 countries,’’ where he sometimes “negotiated trade deals.”

When Chafets asked him what thinkers influenced him on foreign affairs, the first name mentioned was columnist Thomas Friedman—not so much a strategist as a well-meaning hand-wringer, ever-hopeful on the sidelines. (Friedman himself recently admitted, “My Iraq crystal ball stopped working a long time ago. I’m taking this one step at a time.”) Then, in an ideological 180, Huckabee mentioned Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney.

Mike Huckabee is coming out of Iowa riding a policy-free wave. If he keeps trying to do national security every way and no way at once, he’ll roll into McCain-friendly New Hampshire on a mere ripple.

It’s something of an understatement to say that Mike Huckabee, now leading polls in Iowa, has a national security problem.

This is from a CBS News story covering the former Arkansas governor in Des Moines last Tuesday:

Now a reporter was asking Huckabee about the National Intelligence Estimate report, which had found that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago. The report had been front-page news, and it seemed likely to transform the rhetoric about Iran coming from the presidential candidates.

Huckabee, to the surprise of the reporters gathered around him, was unfamiliar with the report.

This coming Sunday’s New York Times magazine will feature a cover story by Zev Chafets on Huckabee that offers troubling insight into gaffes like the one above. Asked about his foreign policy credentials, Huckabee’s response sounds more like a puffed up on-line dating profile than the CV of a future commander-in-chief: “In his defense, Huckabee mentioned that as governor, he had visited ‘‘35 or 40 countries,’’ where he sometimes “negotiated trade deals.”

When Chafets asked him what thinkers influenced him on foreign affairs, the first name mentioned was columnist Thomas Friedman—not so much a strategist as a well-meaning hand-wringer, ever-hopeful on the sidelines. (Friedman himself recently admitted, “My Iraq crystal ball stopped working a long time ago. I’m taking this one step at a time.”) Then, in an ideological 180, Huckabee mentioned Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney.

Mike Huckabee is coming out of Iowa riding a policy-free wave. If he keeps trying to do national security every way and no way at once, he’ll roll into McCain-friendly New Hampshire on a mere ripple.

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Debate Reaction: Romney

John, I only caught the second half of the debate, but I’m surprised that you think it won’t change anything. The thing that struck me most about the candidates was not so much anything about the specifics of their responses, but their respective energy levels. McCain and Rudy often seemed to be fighting not to win the Republican nomination, but just to keep from dozing off. Their voices were soft and monotonous, and the points they made lacked punch. In stark contrast, Romney was commanding — articulate, confident, indeed Presidential — followed by Thompson, who did a fine job showing off his laconic charm and sense of humor. Some of this is likely due to the moderator, who seemed unable to create any sense of flow, drama, or tension to the exchanges. It was like a long Q&A session at the DMV, and a strange one at that.

Overall it strikes me that Romney was the victor by a large margin. I’m nowhere near the horse race-watcher that you are, but I’d be surprised if this debate does not put some wind in Romney’s sails.

John, I only caught the second half of the debate, but I’m surprised that you think it won’t change anything. The thing that struck me most about the candidates was not so much anything about the specifics of their responses, but their respective energy levels. McCain and Rudy often seemed to be fighting not to win the Republican nomination, but just to keep from dozing off. Their voices were soft and monotonous, and the points they made lacked punch. In stark contrast, Romney was commanding — articulate, confident, indeed Presidential — followed by Thompson, who did a fine job showing off his laconic charm and sense of humor. Some of this is likely due to the moderator, who seemed unable to create any sense of flow, drama, or tension to the exchanges. It was like a long Q&A session at the DMV, and a strange one at that.

Overall it strikes me that Romney was the victor by a large margin. I’m nowhere near the horse race-watcher that you are, but I’d be surprised if this debate does not put some wind in Romney’s sails.

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LIVE: Blogging the Republican Candidate Debate, Part Two

The debate is over. I think at the end, as I thought throughout, that it changed nothing.

Moderator Carolyn Washburn has just made the worst demand in the history of debating: Offer a New Year’s resolution for somebody else on stage. She is the editor of the Des Moines Register. It must not be a very good paper.

McCain is asked when he wished he would have compromised on his ideals. He says he can’t think of a time.

Completely pointless observation: For a very tall man, Fred Thompson still has an uncommonly huge head.

Duncan Hunter is attacking Mitt Romney for having a company that funded a Chinese corporation’s effort to buy an American defense contractor. I don’t know the case, and chances are Hunter is being unfair, but thank G-d somebody is going after somebody else at long last.

Romney says it’s incredibly important that the next president should be a conservative. We need to follow Ronald Reagan’s model: social conservatives, economic conservatives and foreign policy conservatives. I want to draw on those strengths. Very strong answer.

Huckabee’s faith means, he says, that the poor and the rich should have the same health care and education.

Quick call on the debate: Romney is very good. Huckabee is fine. Thompson is intelligent and thoughtful, but still not totally engaged. Giuliani is very fluid. McCain seems a little reduced in stature, for some reason. I don’t see much change coming out of this.

Character question for Giuliani: My government in New York City was very transparent. I’m used to it, I’m used to being analyzed, I haven’t had a perfect life and I wish I had. I’ve had an open transparent government and an open transparent life.

Giuliani: I’ve been tested by having to show leadership through a crisis — not just 9/11 but as a U.S. attorney and a mayor. We have problems we haven’t solved — terrorism, the border. We need an optimistic leader who can bring us solutions.

Romney: I know how to keep America strong. I know a lot about the economy. I know a lot about health care and the economy. And I know a lot about values. “And to the People of Iowa, I need your help, I’d like your vote.”

Alan Keyes says he would, upon assuming the presidency, instantly commit himself to an asylum. Okay, he didn’t say that.

John McCain: I can lead, I can inspire confidence and restore confidence in government.

Mike Huckabee: The first priority of the next president is to bring all the people together. We’re too polarized. The left is fighting the right — who is going to bring this country together again? We need to be the united people of a United States. This guy has a way of saying absolutely nothing and making it sound deeply meaningful.
Romney says we need to fight global jihad, reduce the size of government, and have stronger families with stronger values.

Thompson says he would go before the American people and “tell them the truth.” I’d tell them that we need to fight the enemy, that we’re bankrupting the next generation, that judges are setting the social policy in this country and that’s got to stop, and tell Congress we need to work together.

Rudy Giuliani says in the first year he would confront Islamic terrorism, end illegal immigration, and move to achieve energy independence. “You need bold leadership to accomplish that.”

Mike Huckabee says he has had the most executive experience of anyone on stage. Smart.

Thompson says the biggest obstacle to education is the National Education Association.

Alan Keyes inserts himself on education. He complains about how he is being treated unfairly. He is a deeply unpleasant buffoon.

Huckabee says we need to “personalize” learning for students who drop out because they’re bored to death. We need to build a curriculum around their interests. Unleash “weapons of mass instruction.” We need to teach the right side of the brain with the same energy as the left.

Romney gives an extraordinarily good and detailed answer on education.

Duncan Hunter cites Jaime Escalante as his model on education. This is like listen to an Oldies station. Twenty years ago, I wrote words of praise about Jaime Escalante as a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan to speak.

Rudy Giuliani says parents should choose the school their child can go to. In America, higher education is the best in the world and there’s total consumer choice.

John McCain says on education, we need more choice and more competition. We need more charter schools, we need more vouchers where it’s approved locally, need more home schooling, need to be able to pay good teachers more and fire bad teachers. Odd praise for Mike Bloomberg’s work on public education, which doesn’t deserve much praise; is that a strange shot at Giuliani?

Mike Huckabee says Americans are looking for leadership, looking for change, want politicians not to be a ruling class, but a serving class. When we are elected, we are not elected to be elevated up but to truly remember what we’re looking for. Trying to help Americans be the very best they can be.

The debate is over. I think at the end, as I thought throughout, that it changed nothing.

Moderator Carolyn Washburn has just made the worst demand in the history of debating: Offer a New Year’s resolution for somebody else on stage. She is the editor of the Des Moines Register. It must not be a very good paper.

McCain is asked when he wished he would have compromised on his ideals. He says he can’t think of a time.

Completely pointless observation: For a very tall man, Fred Thompson still has an uncommonly huge head.

Duncan Hunter is attacking Mitt Romney for having a company that funded a Chinese corporation’s effort to buy an American defense contractor. I don’t know the case, and chances are Hunter is being unfair, but thank G-d somebody is going after somebody else at long last.

Romney says it’s incredibly important that the next president should be a conservative. We need to follow Ronald Reagan’s model: social conservatives, economic conservatives and foreign policy conservatives. I want to draw on those strengths. Very strong answer.

Huckabee’s faith means, he says, that the poor and the rich should have the same health care and education.

Quick call on the debate: Romney is very good. Huckabee is fine. Thompson is intelligent and thoughtful, but still not totally engaged. Giuliani is very fluid. McCain seems a little reduced in stature, for some reason. I don’t see much change coming out of this.

Character question for Giuliani: My government in New York City was very transparent. I’m used to it, I’m used to being analyzed, I haven’t had a perfect life and I wish I had. I’ve had an open transparent government and an open transparent life.

Giuliani: I’ve been tested by having to show leadership through a crisis — not just 9/11 but as a U.S. attorney and a mayor. We have problems we haven’t solved — terrorism, the border. We need an optimistic leader who can bring us solutions.

Romney: I know how to keep America strong. I know a lot about the economy. I know a lot about health care and the economy. And I know a lot about values. “And to the People of Iowa, I need your help, I’d like your vote.”

Alan Keyes says he would, upon assuming the presidency, instantly commit himself to an asylum. Okay, he didn’t say that.

John McCain: I can lead, I can inspire confidence and restore confidence in government.

Mike Huckabee: The first priority of the next president is to bring all the people together. We’re too polarized. The left is fighting the right — who is going to bring this country together again? We need to be the united people of a United States. This guy has a way of saying absolutely nothing and making it sound deeply meaningful.
Romney says we need to fight global jihad, reduce the size of government, and have stronger families with stronger values.

Thompson says he would go before the American people and “tell them the truth.” I’d tell them that we need to fight the enemy, that we’re bankrupting the next generation, that judges are setting the social policy in this country and that’s got to stop, and tell Congress we need to work together.

Rudy Giuliani says in the first year he would confront Islamic terrorism, end illegal immigration, and move to achieve energy independence. “You need bold leadership to accomplish that.”

Mike Huckabee says he has had the most executive experience of anyone on stage. Smart.

Thompson says the biggest obstacle to education is the National Education Association.

Alan Keyes inserts himself on education. He complains about how he is being treated unfairly. He is a deeply unpleasant buffoon.

Huckabee says we need to “personalize” learning for students who drop out because they’re bored to death. We need to build a curriculum around their interests. Unleash “weapons of mass instruction.” We need to teach the right side of the brain with the same energy as the left.

Romney gives an extraordinarily good and detailed answer on education.

Duncan Hunter cites Jaime Escalante as his model on education. This is like listen to an Oldies station. Twenty years ago, I wrote words of praise about Jaime Escalante as a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan to speak.

Rudy Giuliani says parents should choose the school their child can go to. In America, higher education is the best in the world and there’s total consumer choice.

John McCain says on education, we need more choice and more competition. We need more charter schools, we need more vouchers where it’s approved locally, need more home schooling, need to be able to pay good teachers more and fire bad teachers. Odd praise for Mike Bloomberg’s work on public education, which doesn’t deserve much praise; is that a strange shot at Giuliani?

Mike Huckabee says Americans are looking for leadership, looking for change, want politicians not to be a ruling class, but a serving class. When we are elected, we are not elected to be elevated up but to truly remember what we’re looking for. Trying to help Americans be the very best they can be.

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LIVE: Blogging the Republican Candidate Debate, Part One

Mike Huckabee is doing very well in this debate so far, which means he is winning it in a walk.

The worst question so far: “Mr. Keyes, what do you think?”

Rudy Giuliani and John McCain say climate change is real and Giuliani says we need energy independence to deal with it. Note he doesn’t use the term “nuclear.” Nor does Mitt Romney, who uses the term “new technologies.” “Nuclear” must poll really, really, really badly.

Fred Thompson refuses to be bullied by the debate moderator, who wanted candidates to raise their hands in answer to whether they believed climate change was the result of human action.

Tom Tancredo says we’re losing our sovereignty because Mexican trucks can cross our border without being checked.

Fred Thompson makes a commitment to free and fair trade.

Rudy Giuliani praises NAFTA. America should think about “free trade, global economy as things we want to embrace.”

John McCain, the world’s least pandering politician, attacks agricultural subsidies in Iowa.

Mitt Romney wants to create a “level playing field” on trade. In this way, as in so many others, you can see how a brilliant businessman has become a compulsively pandering pseudo-populist.

Ron Paul wants to open Cuba to the American market, which would, according to experts, contribute roughly 11 cents to the U.S. economy.

Duncan Hunter says he would finish the border fence with Mexico in six months when he is president, which is impressive, and in every respect, science-fictional.

John McCain says he has devoted his life to making our country safe. Claims responsibility for the surge. Has one “ambition: To keep America safe and maintain our greatness.”

Rudy Giuliani says he wants a flatter, fairer tax, reducing corporate taxes, and eliminate the inheritance tax (death tax).

Fred Thompson just said Mitt Romney was really rich. Romney essentially said, “Aw shucks.” Thompson said he’s becoming a good actor.

Mike Huckabee just said that his lunatic “fair tax” plan for a national sales tax might help “make poor people rich.”

Alan Keyes is literally ranting and raving.

Thompson “takes a risk”: He says we can’t afford entitlements at the level they are offered now. He’s going for the “I’m the truth teller” spot.

Quick first impression: Everybody is talking very softly, in measured terms. It’s said Iowans don’t like negative campaigning. The problem is that unless the candidates engage each other in debate, there will be no change in the dynamic of the race.

Ten minutes in. How to lower our debt? Giuliani says we need to restrain government spending, an important message for him to deliver in order to convince conservative voters that he is not a liberal. Giuliani uses the term “nanny government.” Ron Paul says we can cut government spending by looking to foreign policy: Isolationism as budgetary policy. Huckabee wants to reduce health care costs by moving to disease prevention rather than curing ills. Romney says he worked in the private sector, and wants to bring efficient methods of management to government — he’s trying to show his command of data about government waste. That’s good, but as usual, Romney is packing his answer with too much.

Five minutes in. So far, the debate indicates the degree to which the American economic debate has shifted toward protectionism. A question about the national debt has become the occasion for candidates to complain about foreign investment. Mike Huckabee claims the United States is no longer feeding itself, which is an astonishing thing to say about the world’s leading exporter of agricultural goods. John McCain says he will bring America to energy independence in five years, which suggests he will bring a magic wand to the White House. Alan Keyes is saying…what a minute, what on earth is ALAN KEYES doing here?

Mike Huckabee is doing very well in this debate so far, which means he is winning it in a walk.

The worst question so far: “Mr. Keyes, what do you think?”

Rudy Giuliani and John McCain say climate change is real and Giuliani says we need energy independence to deal with it. Note he doesn’t use the term “nuclear.” Nor does Mitt Romney, who uses the term “new technologies.” “Nuclear” must poll really, really, really badly.

Fred Thompson refuses to be bullied by the debate moderator, who wanted candidates to raise their hands in answer to whether they believed climate change was the result of human action.

Tom Tancredo says we’re losing our sovereignty because Mexican trucks can cross our border without being checked.

Fred Thompson makes a commitment to free and fair trade.

Rudy Giuliani praises NAFTA. America should think about “free trade, global economy as things we want to embrace.”

John McCain, the world’s least pandering politician, attacks agricultural subsidies in Iowa.

Mitt Romney wants to create a “level playing field” on trade. In this way, as in so many others, you can see how a brilliant businessman has become a compulsively pandering pseudo-populist.

Ron Paul wants to open Cuba to the American market, which would, according to experts, contribute roughly 11 cents to the U.S. economy.

Duncan Hunter says he would finish the border fence with Mexico in six months when he is president, which is impressive, and in every respect, science-fictional.

John McCain says he has devoted his life to making our country safe. Claims responsibility for the surge. Has one “ambition: To keep America safe and maintain our greatness.”

Rudy Giuliani says he wants a flatter, fairer tax, reducing corporate taxes, and eliminate the inheritance tax (death tax).

Fred Thompson just said Mitt Romney was really rich. Romney essentially said, “Aw shucks.” Thompson said he’s becoming a good actor.

Mike Huckabee just said that his lunatic “fair tax” plan for a national sales tax might help “make poor people rich.”

Alan Keyes is literally ranting and raving.

Thompson “takes a risk”: He says we can’t afford entitlements at the level they are offered now. He’s going for the “I’m the truth teller” spot.

Quick first impression: Everybody is talking very softly, in measured terms. It’s said Iowans don’t like negative campaigning. The problem is that unless the candidates engage each other in debate, there will be no change in the dynamic of the race.

Ten minutes in. How to lower our debt? Giuliani says we need to restrain government spending, an important message for him to deliver in order to convince conservative voters that he is not a liberal. Giuliani uses the term “nanny government.” Ron Paul says we can cut government spending by looking to foreign policy: Isolationism as budgetary policy. Huckabee wants to reduce health care costs by moving to disease prevention rather than curing ills. Romney says he worked in the private sector, and wants to bring efficient methods of management to government — he’s trying to show his command of data about government waste. That’s good, but as usual, Romney is packing his answer with too much.

Five minutes in. So far, the debate indicates the degree to which the American economic debate has shifted toward protectionism. A question about the national debt has become the occasion for candidates to complain about foreign investment. Mike Huckabee claims the United States is no longer feeding itself, which is an astonishing thing to say about the world’s leading exporter of agricultural goods. John McCain says he will bring America to energy independence in five years, which suggests he will bring a magic wand to the White House. Alan Keyes is saying…what a minute, what on earth is ALAN KEYES doing here?

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An Alarming (But Not Surprising) Poll

According to an American Jewish Committee poll, out yesterday, a whopping 70 percent of American Jewish Democrats favor the New York Senator in her presidential bid. This isn’t exactly a shock. But maybe it should be. Mrs. Clinton has a record of serious gaffes in regard to Israel: her engagement with activist Abdurahman Alamoudi, for example, an avowed supporter of Hamas and Hizballah, whose contributions she returned publicly in 2000. Or her infamous kiss of Yasir Arafat’s wife after Mme. Suha accused Israel of using poison gas to kill Palestinians. Clinton tried to bow out of that blunder with the excuse that the translation in her earphones at the West Bank event was different from and less offensive than what she learned later to be the truth about Mrs. Arafat’s remarks.

While Hillary now enjoys massive support among American Jews, it seems the truth about whether that support will help or harm them will only be learned later.

According to an American Jewish Committee poll, out yesterday, a whopping 70 percent of American Jewish Democrats favor the New York Senator in her presidential bid. This isn’t exactly a shock. But maybe it should be. Mrs. Clinton has a record of serious gaffes in regard to Israel: her engagement with activist Abdurahman Alamoudi, for example, an avowed supporter of Hamas and Hizballah, whose contributions she returned publicly in 2000. Or her infamous kiss of Yasir Arafat’s wife after Mme. Suha accused Israel of using poison gas to kill Palestinians. Clinton tried to bow out of that blunder with the excuse that the translation in her earphones at the West Bank event was different from and less offensive than what she learned later to be the truth about Mrs. Arafat’s remarks.

While Hillary now enjoys massive support among American Jews, it seems the truth about whether that support will help or harm them will only be learned later.

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Free Speech and Radical Islam at The University of Florida

University of Florida is the latest battleground in the war between free speech and “tolerance.” In a campus-wide email Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, asked students to apologize for putting up fliers on campus promoting a screening of the documentary “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The fliers read: “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.”

On liberal U.S. campuses, those who challenge Catholicism are applauded as rebels, and critics of Israel are revered as brave dissenters who expose some dangerous truth. Yet criticism of an ideology that publicly advertises its homicidal aims as a point of pride elicits accusations of bigotry.

From Patricia Telles-Irvin’s email:

At the University of Florida we have embraced a set of values, one of which is diversity. Diversity is not just about having representation from various cultures on campus. It also is having each member contribute to an inclusive and safe environment and collectively enhancing our understanding and appreciation of the richness brought by such differences.

“Diversity” is exactly what suffers when patronizing bureaucrats lump non-fundamentalist Muslims together with the proponents of Jihad, as Telles-Irvin’s response implicitly does. One only need look at Iraq’s emerging socio-political dynamic to note the majority of Muslims waste no tears on the identification and destruction of their radical co-religionists. That Telles-Irvin thinks she needs to protect all Muslims from criticism of jihadists indicates the shallowness of her version of diversity.

State Attorney General Bill McCollum has written a letter accusing Telles-Irvin of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students,” and is so far unsatisfied by the school’s efforts to clarify its position.

University of Florida is the latest battleground in the war between free speech and “tolerance.” In a campus-wide email Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, asked students to apologize for putting up fliers on campus promoting a screening of the documentary “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The fliers read: “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.”

On liberal U.S. campuses, those who challenge Catholicism are applauded as rebels, and critics of Israel are revered as brave dissenters who expose some dangerous truth. Yet criticism of an ideology that publicly advertises its homicidal aims as a point of pride elicits accusations of bigotry.

From Patricia Telles-Irvin’s email:

At the University of Florida we have embraced a set of values, one of which is diversity. Diversity is not just about having representation from various cultures on campus. It also is having each member contribute to an inclusive and safe environment and collectively enhancing our understanding and appreciation of the richness brought by such differences.

“Diversity” is exactly what suffers when patronizing bureaucrats lump non-fundamentalist Muslims together with the proponents of Jihad, as Telles-Irvin’s response implicitly does. One only need look at Iraq’s emerging socio-political dynamic to note the majority of Muslims waste no tears on the identification and destruction of their radical co-religionists. That Telles-Irvin thinks she needs to protect all Muslims from criticism of jihadists indicates the shallowness of her version of diversity.

State Attorney General Bill McCollum has written a letter accusing Telles-Irvin of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students,” and is so far unsatisfied by the school’s efforts to clarify its position.

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People Are the Problem

In Australia this week, professor of obstetrics Barry Walters has called on his country’s Parliament to tax every couple with more than two children to offset the children’s carbon emissions. “Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society,” Walters says, and “far from showering financial booty on new mothers and rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behavior, a ‘baby levy’ in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle.” The polluter being made to pay in this instance is the parent, and so, at least implicitly, the pollution is the child. Lovely.

This should come as no surprise. Throughout the 20th century, every fashionable leftwing cause seemed somehow to conclude in a call for population control. The early environmentalist movement was no exception: its proponents called unabashedly for a decrease in the human population to protect the earth’s resources. In his popular 1968 book Population Bomb, the biologist Paul Ehrlich put the matter bluntly:

The first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size.

Read More

In Australia this week, professor of obstetrics Barry Walters has called on his country’s Parliament to tax every couple with more than two children to offset the children’s carbon emissions. “Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society,” Walters says, and “far from showering financial booty on new mothers and rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behavior, a ‘baby levy’ in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle.” The polluter being made to pay in this instance is the parent, and so, at least implicitly, the pollution is the child. Lovely.

This should come as no surprise. Throughout the 20th century, every fashionable leftwing cause seemed somehow to conclude in a call for population control. The early environmentalist movement was no exception: its proponents called unabashedly for a decrease in the human population to protect the earth’s resources. In his popular 1968 book Population Bomb, the biologist Paul Ehrlich put the matter bluntly:

The first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size.

In our era of aging societies and below-replacement fertility in the West, you would think this notion of radical population control would be another of those 20th century ideas we might discard. But as it turns out, the latest fashionable cause—the fight against global climate change—concludes for some in just the same bright idea as did the popular causes of the last century. One widely-read recent book, charmingly entitled A World Without Us, dares to dream of ridding the earth of the human infestation. “How would the rest of nature respond if it were suddenly relieved of the relentless pressures we heap on it and our fellow organisms?” the author asks, wistfully.

The stupidity of the anti-humanist remedy for global warming is not an argument against the existence of the problem. Like poverty, disease, resource depletion and the other problems the left has tried to solve through population control, the problem itself does call for attention. But humanity is not the problem, and fewer human beings would not be a solution. Like those other problems, concerns about the environment would be best addressed by the energy and ingenuity of free societies. And such free societies in turn would be best served by economic freedom and cultural vitality—both of which would be well served by larger, not smaller, families.

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Leaning towards Iran…

On Tuesday, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie announced that there would be no permanent U.S. military bases stationed in Iraq. “We need the United States in our war against terrorism, we need them to guard our border sometimes, we need them for economic support and we need them for diplomatic and political support,” he told al-Arabiyya television. “But I say one thing, permanent forces or bases in Iraq for any foreign forces is a red line that cannot be accepted by any nationalist Iraqi.”

For al-Rubaie, this marked a stunning change of tune. Earlier this year, he arrived in Washington to lobby Democratic critics of the war against a U.S. troop withdrawal, holding closed-door meetings with Senator Carl Levin and Congressman John Murtha, among others.

But with the surge now firmly in place and working, al-Rubaie has apparently taken U.S. support for granted. Most disturbingly, the Iraqi security establishment has set its sights on another partner for its future security needs. At a security conference in Bahrain earlier this week, al-Rubaie called for a regional security pact that would include Iran, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad naturally has welcomed.

To say the least, this a frightening prospect. Among other goals, the Iraq war sought to replace a most tyrannical regime with a democracy, with policymakers believing that a democratic government would be most inclined towards alignment with the United States. In the short-run, the chaos in Iraq created a military opening for Iran against U.S. forces, and the results have been deadly. But if the long-term outcome of the Iraq war is a Persian Gulf that is firmly united with Iran as its power center, a large chunk of the Middle East will be lost for many years to come.

On Tuesday, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie announced that there would be no permanent U.S. military bases stationed in Iraq. “We need the United States in our war against terrorism, we need them to guard our border sometimes, we need them for economic support and we need them for diplomatic and political support,” he told al-Arabiyya television. “But I say one thing, permanent forces or bases in Iraq for any foreign forces is a red line that cannot be accepted by any nationalist Iraqi.”

For al-Rubaie, this marked a stunning change of tune. Earlier this year, he arrived in Washington to lobby Democratic critics of the war against a U.S. troop withdrawal, holding closed-door meetings with Senator Carl Levin and Congressman John Murtha, among others.

But with the surge now firmly in place and working, al-Rubaie has apparently taken U.S. support for granted. Most disturbingly, the Iraqi security establishment has set its sights on another partner for its future security needs. At a security conference in Bahrain earlier this week, al-Rubaie called for a regional security pact that would include Iran, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad naturally has welcomed.

To say the least, this a frightening prospect. Among other goals, the Iraq war sought to replace a most tyrannical regime with a democracy, with policymakers believing that a democratic government would be most inclined towards alignment with the United States. In the short-run, the chaos in Iraq created a military opening for Iran against U.S. forces, and the results have been deadly. But if the long-term outcome of the Iraq war is a Persian Gulf that is firmly united with Iran as its power center, a large chunk of the Middle East will be lost for many years to come.

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Fareed Zakaria and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The inimitable Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs links to an interview between Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch Parliamentarian, AEI scholar, and critic of Islam.

Their conversation, in two segments, itemizes some of the chief difficulties Islam faces in reconciling itself to modernity—mostly resulting from Islam’s literal approach to scripture. Hirsi Ali points out that a distinction between Islamic beliefs and the rights of individual Muslims, as well as economic liberalization, are both prerequisites of an Islamic Reformation.

She has cutting words for the practice of child marriage—such as the Ayatollah Khomeini’s marriage to a nine year old. And she boldly indicts the Council on American Islamic Relations. When Zakaria describes the thesis of Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The Enemy at Home, which proposes an alliance between conservative Muslims and Americans alienated by a permissive culture, Hirsi Ali whispers: “Oh, God.”

Watch.

The inimitable Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs links to an interview between Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch Parliamentarian, AEI scholar, and critic of Islam.

Their conversation, in two segments, itemizes some of the chief difficulties Islam faces in reconciling itself to modernity—mostly resulting from Islam’s literal approach to scripture. Hirsi Ali points out that a distinction between Islamic beliefs and the rights of individual Muslims, as well as economic liberalization, are both prerequisites of an Islamic Reformation.

She has cutting words for the practice of child marriage—such as the Ayatollah Khomeini’s marriage to a nine year old. And she boldly indicts the Council on American Islamic Relations. When Zakaria describes the thesis of Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The Enemy at Home, which proposes an alliance between conservative Muslims and Americans alienated by a permissive culture, Hirsi Ali whispers: “Oh, God.”

Watch.

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Is the CIA a “Fifth Column”?

Why was the declassified summary of the latest Iran NIE drafted, as I believe it was, in such a way as to subvert U.S. policy toward Iran? Why do officials at the CIA regularly leak information that undermines the Bush administration? Why do left-wing journalists like Seymour Hersh and James Risen enjoy so much access to closely held intelligence information? Do the personnel who staff this vital intelligence bureaucracy see themselves as dispassionate civil servants dedicated to the craft of intelligence or something else?

It is of course difficult to generalize about the men and women of an institution as large and diverse as the CIA. But it is worth recalling something written by our current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in his memoir, From the Shadows.

In 1969, when Gates was twenty-five, he found himself a junior analyst in the agency, working on Soviet policy toward Africa and the Middle East. The Vietnam war was raging, the country was bitterly divided, and attitudes inside the agency had already strongly tilted in one direction: “I and virtually all of my friends and acquaintances in CIA,” writes Gates,

were opposed to the war and to any prolonged strategy for extracting us. Feelings among my colleagues –  and nearly all of the men in those days were military veterans — were strong. Many from the CIA marched in antiwar demonstrations on the Mall and at the Pentagon. My one and only was the May 9, 1970 demonstration  after the U.S. military offensive in Cambodia.

Popular impressions then and now about CIA — especially as a conservative, cold-war bureaucratic monolith — have always been wrong. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s not only was antiwar sentiment strong at the Agency, we were also influenced by the counterculture. There is not a doubt in my mind that some of my older colleagues and supervisors, presumably influenced in some measure by their college-age children, experimented with marijuana and perhaps even other drugs. Antiwar and anti-Nixon posters and bumper stickers festooned CIA office walls.

Gates subsequently grew up and went on to a distinguished career, including a stint as director of the CIA and many other top-level jobs. Whatever he now thinks of Vietnam, he has clearly had a change of mind about the behavior of his colleagues in those years. Indeed, he goes so far as to speak of the agency of his youth as “a not inconsiderable Fifth Column” within the Nixon administration.

Today, like then, the country is deeply polarized by a controversial war. And today, like then, government bureaucracies, like so many sponges, absorb the attitudes and ideas circulating in the broader society. The CIA is no exception. Is it possible that our premier intelligence agency has become, once again, “a not inconsiderable Fifth Column”?

Connecting the Dots would welcome sightings from inside Langley. Are anti-Bush posters and bumper stickers festooning CIA office walls today? Are some CIA officers smoking marijuana in classified documents vaults, or are they just acting like it?

Why was the declassified summary of the latest Iran NIE drafted, as I believe it was, in such a way as to subvert U.S. policy toward Iran? Why do officials at the CIA regularly leak information that undermines the Bush administration? Why do left-wing journalists like Seymour Hersh and James Risen enjoy so much access to closely held intelligence information? Do the personnel who staff this vital intelligence bureaucracy see themselves as dispassionate civil servants dedicated to the craft of intelligence or something else?

It is of course difficult to generalize about the men and women of an institution as large and diverse as the CIA. But it is worth recalling something written by our current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in his memoir, From the Shadows.

In 1969, when Gates was twenty-five, he found himself a junior analyst in the agency, working on Soviet policy toward Africa and the Middle East. The Vietnam war was raging, the country was bitterly divided, and attitudes inside the agency had already strongly tilted in one direction: “I and virtually all of my friends and acquaintances in CIA,” writes Gates,

were opposed to the war and to any prolonged strategy for extracting us. Feelings among my colleagues –  and nearly all of the men in those days were military veterans — were strong. Many from the CIA marched in antiwar demonstrations on the Mall and at the Pentagon. My one and only was the May 9, 1970 demonstration  after the U.S. military offensive in Cambodia.

Popular impressions then and now about CIA — especially as a conservative, cold-war bureaucratic monolith — have always been wrong. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s not only was antiwar sentiment strong at the Agency, we were also influenced by the counterculture. There is not a doubt in my mind that some of my older colleagues and supervisors, presumably influenced in some measure by their college-age children, experimented with marijuana and perhaps even other drugs. Antiwar and anti-Nixon posters and bumper stickers festooned CIA office walls.

Gates subsequently grew up and went on to a distinguished career, including a stint as director of the CIA and many other top-level jobs. Whatever he now thinks of Vietnam, he has clearly had a change of mind about the behavior of his colleagues in those years. Indeed, he goes so far as to speak of the agency of his youth as “a not inconsiderable Fifth Column” within the Nixon administration.

Today, like then, the country is deeply polarized by a controversial war. And today, like then, government bureaucracies, like so many sponges, absorb the attitudes and ideas circulating in the broader society. The CIA is no exception. Is it possible that our premier intelligence agency has become, once again, “a not inconsiderable Fifth Column”?

Connecting the Dots would welcome sightings from inside Langley. Are anti-Bush posters and bumper stickers festooning CIA office walls today? Are some CIA officers smoking marijuana in classified documents vaults, or are they just acting like it?

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Noam & Norman

New York magazine has a short piece on what disgraced professor Norman Finkelstein has been up to since he was denied tenure at DePaul University. We learn a lot about Finkelstein in this piece. Too much. For instance:

His days are now spent in solitary scholarly pursuits; his bookshelves buckle under the weight of tomes by Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. Notes of support from his students sit on a piano; there’s a photo of him and Noam Chomsky (“my closest friend”) bare-chested on the beach at Cape Cod.

Sorry to ruin your morning.

New York magazine has a short piece on what disgraced professor Norman Finkelstein has been up to since he was denied tenure at DePaul University. We learn a lot about Finkelstein in this piece. Too much. For instance:

His days are now spent in solitary scholarly pursuits; his bookshelves buckle under the weight of tomes by Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. Notes of support from his students sit on a piano; there’s a photo of him and Noam Chomsky (“my closest friend”) bare-chested on the beach at Cape Cod.

Sorry to ruin your morning.

Read Less




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