Krauthammer on Beauchamp

August 11, 2007

For the second time in a week, I think Charles Krauthammer is more right than not. Shudder the thought. Much as I hate to side with the pro-war crowd on something pertaining to Iraq, Krauthammer pretty much has the idea here. This should give you the gist of it.

Except that it is now revealed that the mess-hall incident happened before he even got to the war. On which point, the whole story — and the whole morality tale it was meant to suggest — collapses.

Now, granted, I think Krauthammer takes a running dive over the too-far cliff when he says:

Why did the New Republic run it? Because it fits perfectly into the most virulent narrative of the antiwar left. The Iraq war — “George Bush’s war,” as even Hillary Clinton, along with countless others who had actually endorsed the war, now calls it — has caused not only the sorrow and destruction that we read about every day. It has, most perniciously, caused invisible damage — now made visible by the soul-searching of one brave and gifted private: It has perverted and corrupted the young soldiers who went to Iraq, and now return morally ruined. Young soldiers like Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

The problem with that little bit of over the top: it’s totally disingenuous. TNR supported the war. Krauthammer, as a contributing editor, doubtless knows this.  It’s more recent editorial position on the war, as Ross Douthat has pointed out, is to not really have a position at all, but I would argue that putting the publication on the side of the “virulent” left is taking it way, way too far.

On the other hand, I also think that people like Matthew Yglesias, linked two sentences prior, are going way too far to defend TNR for refusing to apologize when, as Krauthammer rightly points out, their so-called “minor detail” in fact completely alters the narrative.

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The Rundown

August 8, 2007
  • Here is a pretty good, reasonable, level-headed analysis of the entire Scott Beauchamp controversy over at Slate.
  • Speaking of level-headed analysis, here is Mark Kleiman on No Child Left Behind.
  • Ruben Navarrette of the San Diego Union-Tribune defends Obama’s much-maligned foreign policy prescriptions. TPM’s Reed Hundt has more.
  • Paul Sonne argues for Foreign Policy that the IOC should do a better job of selecting Olympic sites.
  • Things continue to heat up between Russia and Georgia.

Mayer on Torture, Plus FISA Updates

August 6, 2007

The big news today is, of course, the Jane Mayer piece in the New Yorker describing the secret CIA detention facilities used post-9/11. Some truly frightening stuff in there. Example:

Finally, [Rep Alcee Hastings] received some classified briefings on the Mohammed interrogation. Hastings said that he “can’t go into details” about what he found out, but, speaking of Mohammed’s treatment, he said that even if it wasn’t torture, as the Administration claims, “it ain’t right, either. Something went wrong.”

There’s much worse in there than that, too. Here‘s Marty Lederman’s pretty thorough discussion of the article.

On a related note, the Democrats capitulated to the Administration on an update to FISA. Jack Balkin is disgusted. TPM’s Greg Sargent responds by pleading with the Democrats to remember why they were elected. Orin Kerr isn’t as critical. I tend to agree with Balkin on this. Even if the amendment isn’t so bad on its face, the potential for abuse is enormous, and I remain unconvinced that this was the best (or even a particularly good) solution to the Administration’s FISA problems.

Democrats, Republicans, doesn’t seem to matter most of the time. All worthless. Being informed is such a drag.


The Rundown

July 28, 2007
  • CFR’s Peter Beinart uses the ongoing Hillary Obama spat as a jumping point for a pretty good editorial about Pakistan in Time.
  • Reid Wilson writes about the state of the Senate.
  • Things continue to look worse for Alberto Gonzalez, as even more people effectively call him a liar.
  • The NYT gives a handy summary of corruption charges plaguing various lawmakers around the country.
  • Daniel Davies tears the David Kane criticisms of the Lancet study of Iraq deaths that Michelle Malkin has been promoting to shreds at Crooked Timber.
  • Via Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy, a new paper by environmental law professor Arnold Reitze suggesting corn ethanol may not work out as planned. Yeah, you don’t say.