Saturday, April 23, 2005

MoJo Blog: Justice and/or peace

MoJo Blog: Justice and/or peaceThe New York Times recently published a piece with the headline, "Atrocity Victims in Uganda Choose to Forgive." The bent of the article seems to be that a battle of cultures is going on in which the ICC is pushing a foreign concept of "Western justice," while Africa is more preoccupied with "forgiveness."

The Washington Monthly: Kevin Drum

The Washington Monthly
Unfortunately, the problem with hiring a regular columnist is that if you hire an idiot, you're stuck with an idiot. For example, you could hire the guy who said this last year:

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina seems like a decent and likable man, the political equivalent of a handsome, slightly under-ripe bunch of bananas, just the thing if you are looking for bananas and can't find any ripe ones, or don't know the difference.

That was David Gelernter, writing in — wait for it — the LA Times last July. His reward for this was to be given a regular column on the op-ed page starting last week.

House Approves Broad Energy Bill - Yahoo! News

House Approves Broad Energy Bill - Yahoo! NewsWASHINGTON - The House approved a far-ranging energy bill Thursday that would open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling and shield makers of a controversial gasoline additive from environmental lawsuits — both issues likely to meet strong opposition in the Senate.

Fairy tales linked to violent relationships - Yahoo! News

Fairy tales linked to violent relationships - Yahoo! News

LA Weekly: Columns: On: The Mortal Storm

LA Weekly: Columns: On: The Mortal Storm

Ezra Klein: Point, Counterpoint

Ezra Klein: Point, CounterpointObviously, no nation other than the United States would allow robed eminences in Massachusetts to make decisions about the legality of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in marriage, but provincial Supreme Courts in such far-off lands as Canada have likewise been ruling on such matters. And if you want to know what other advanced democracy would have judicial decrees legalizing abortion you, again, don't need to look further than Canada. All of which would merely demonstrate ignorance on Krauthammer's part were he not, well, Canadian.


Crooks and Liars

They hate us for our Freedom, David Brooks; need I say more?

Crooks and Liars

The Common Ills: Ruth's Morning Edition Report: A sad day for news & NPR

The Common Ills: Ruth's Morning Edition Report: A sad day for news & NPR Bolton's Biggest Problem Bolton's Biggest
Bolton's Biggest Problem

By David Ignatius

Friday, April 22, 2005; Page A17

"My conscience got me," Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich said this week in explaining why he wanted to delay a vote on the Bush administration's nominee for U.N. ambassador, John Bolton. That's a sentence you don't hear often in Washington, and it suggests that there's more going on with the Bolton nomination than a mere partisan squabble.

The problem with Bolton, in fact , is that he epitomizes the politicization of intelligence that helped produce the fiasco over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration has so far managed to evade any real accounting for its role in the Iraqi WMD blunder, letting the intelligence community take the hit. But the Bolton saga is a microcosm of that larger failure: It's the story of a policymaker who tried to pressure intelligence analysts into supporting WMD views that turned out to be wrong.

I've read hundreds of pages of testimony gathered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in its review of the Bolton nomination. It's a fascinating account -- not simply in its documentation of how Bolton tried to intimidate the analysts when he was undersecretary of state but in showing how the analysts refused to buckle under pressure. In that sense, it's a lesson in how to improve the performance of the intelligence community.

The most damaging allegation about Bolton involves his 2002 efforts to prod the intelligence community to back his allegation that Cuba might be seeking to export weapons of mass destruction from a biowarfare program. In February 2002, he prepared a speech that, according to an unclassified Senate intelligence committee report, "contained a sentence which said that the U.S. believes Cuba has a developmental, offensive biological warfare program and is providing assistance to other rogue state programs."

The problem was that Bolton's charges went well beyond what the intelligence community viewed as solid evidence. The agencies' cautious judgment, expressed in a 1999 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was still classified in 2002, was that Cuba had a "limited, developmental, offensive biological warfare research and development effort."

Bolton wanted to sound the alarm about Cuba, regardless of what the NIE said. So he asked his chief of staff to submit his proposed language to the intelligence community for clearance. The request went to the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), where it was given to the chief biological weapons analyst, Christian Westermann. And there the battle was joined.

To appreciate the story, it's important to see Bolton and Westermann as Washington archetypes. Bolton is a political appointee who has made his career delivering broadsides at think tanks. Westermann, by contrast, is a career man. He served 20 years in the Navy, including combat time, before joining INR as a weapons analyst. He took his job as an intelligence gatekeeper seriously.

Westermann sent Bolton's proposed speech language about Cuban biowarfare efforts to the intelligence community for clearance the afternoon of Feb. 12, 2002. With it, he attached alternative language that in his view accorded better with the NIE. Westermann had frequently suggested similar changes for other colleagues and saw it as part of his job. But Bolton seemed convinced that it was a stab in the back. His chief of staff fired off an e-mail complaining about the alternative language and summoning the analyst to Bolton's office immediately. Westermann e-mailed back meekly that he had provided the same language a few months before for Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Bolton was enraged when Westermann arrived: "He wanted to know what right I had trying to change an undersecretary's language. . . . And he got very red in the face and shaking his finger at me and explained that I was acting way beyond my position. . . . And so, he basically threw me out of his office and told me to get Tom Fingar up there," Westermann testified.

Fingar at the time was acting head of INR and now has the job full-time. He testified that when he arrived, Bolton was still furious, saying that "he wasn't going to be told what he could say by a midlevel INR munchkin analyst," and "that he wanted Westermann taken off his accounts." To their immense credit, Fingar and his boss, INR chief Carl Ford, refused to cave to continuing pressure from Bolton to transfer Westermann. He's still on the job.

And what about the Cuban biological weapons program that had Bolton so exercised? In 2004 the intelligence community revised its 1999 estimate because it was even less sure that Cuba had any such effort to develop offensive weapons of mass destruction. In other words, the mercurial, finger-wagging policymaker appears to have had it wrong, and the cautious analyst who refused to be intimidated had it right.

The Mongol devastations - signandsight

The Mongol devastations - signandsightThe destruction of Dresden and Hiroshima marked the beginning of the Cold War. The Allies wrestled for control of the world while the civilian population was taken hostage.

Watch this video

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truthIt's kind of fascinating, actually. A little girl, truly the bitch from hell, destroys a teacher's office, keeps trying to hit the teacher for an hour, and finally the police arrive and put her in handcuffs.

The Silencing of Sibel Edmonds

village voice > news > Mondo Washington by James RidgewayTechnorati Tags: sept11

Army Clears Top Abu Ghraib Case Officers - Yahoo! News

Army Clears Top Abu Ghraib Case Officers - Yahoo! News

Tom Friedman: He is the perfect symbol of our culture of emboldened stupidity.

New York's Premier Alternative Newspaper. Arts, Music, Food, Movies and Opinion: "He is the perfect symbol of our culture of emboldened stupidity."

Another accounting scandal in the consulting business

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

Reid Blasts Bush for "Not Being Honest"

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

The Purpose of This Website

The Purpose of This WebsiteThis approach has changed the focus of education from producing an innovative, creative, intelligent child capable of reaching for the star or stars of his or her choice, to a system intended to produce a worker according to regional economic development strategies and regional labor market needs as determined by the Workforce Investment Board under the auspices of the federal government, and as implemented by the regional One Stop system also under the auspices of the federal government (centralization of government).

Waiting for the Iraq 'Spectacular'

Cardinal Ratzinger - Could the Next Pope Be a Nazi?

Moussaoui Pleads Guilty in 9/11 Conspiracy - Yahoo! News

Moussaoui Pleads Guilty in 9/11 Conspiracy - Yahoo! News: "Moussaoui "
BG: Headline mentions 9/11 Conspiracy, and Defendant clearly states having nothing to do with 911
Technoriat Tags: sept11

Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus -- November 1998 Education Reporter

Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus -- November 1998 Education Reporter

Chairman of Voting Reform Panel Resigns - Yahoo! News

Chairman of Voting Reform Panel Resigns - Yahoo! News

The Rest Of The 911 Street Engine Story

The Rest Of The 911 Street Engine StoryTechnorati Tags: sept11 wtc