Three from yesterday's NY Times:
An incredible article about missing portraits of the Great Leader. Apparently, as all dictators are prone to do, Kim Jong Il is a big fan of his own picture and has forced everyone in N. Korea to put his portrait everywhere imaginable. But recent reports out of N. Korea are that many public places are no longer displaying the dear leader's portrait. What does this possibly mean? If nothing else it gives us this wonderful quote:
There has been no official reaction from North Korea to the reports. But a North Korean diplomat in Moscow was quoted Tuesday by Itar-Tass as saying: "This is false information, lies. Can the sun be removed from the sky? It is not possible."
Moving right along, there is an excellent piece about the current situation in Iraq.
As long as the insurgency rages, it is unlikely that America will achieve the political goals it set for itself - a unified, democratic Iraq as the first building block in the broader democratization of the Middle East. In fact, we must now worry about the emergence of an Iraqi government dominated by anti-Western jihadist groups, or a perpetual civil war among the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish communities that will kill millions and create fertile ground for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda to recruit, train and plan.
Now most conservatives would tear this apart as liberal bullshit. But what makes conservatives so frustrating to me is that they never really have any evidence to support their claims. Us liberals can make a point using facts and history. Case in point from this analysis.
This is why the history of counterinsurgency warfare is a tale of failure. Since World War II, powerful armies have fought seven major counterinsurgency wars: France in Indochina from 1945 to 1954, the British in Malaya from 1948 to 1960, the French in Algeria in the 1950's, the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Israel in the occupied territories and Russia in Chechnya. Of these seven, four were outright failures, two grind on with little hope of success, and only one - the British effort in Malaya - was a clear success.
Read the entire article for convincing (at least to me) arguments on the subject.
Which brings me to this crap. Good 'ol William Safire weighs in on Bush and all his Yes Men and Women appointees.
This president is no sore winner, and has learned the hard way to have in hand a post-victory plan. In decisively choosing those who stay and those who come in, he shows a determination to win the policy battles of his second term.
Either that or he is showing a determination to go four years without hearing one critical word or doubt raised on any subject from any staff member.
And what does Willie use to back up his rosy outlook that all these new appointees will be good for the United States? Um, Condaleeza Rice's friends give their opinion.
Her friends tell me that she is more likely to surprise us skeptics, and to follow the pattern of one of her mentors, George Shultz, in taking control of the department in subtle ways. Let's hope so.
Gossip and conjecture work for Peter Gammons, but it is scary when it is considered wise conservative analysis. This administration can tell us whatever the hell it wants to, no matter how deceitful, and millions of Americans eat it up. What happened to the cynicism of the 70's?