• Russia


    I have no idea what to make of this. Russia does seem to be on quite a slide though, even with high oil prices. The rest of the former Soviet block seem to be doing better, at least anecdotally.

  • Plame Affair

    Thoughts on the CIA

    From Instapundit

    THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.

    Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative — something that’s not actually quite clear from the indictment — the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson’s oped appeared, Plame’s covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.

    This leaves two possibilities. One is that the mission was intended to result in the New York Times oped all along, meaning that the CIA didn’t care much about Plame’s status, and was trying to meddle in domestic politics. This reflects very badly on the CIA.

    The other possibility is that they’re so clueless that they did this without any nefarious plan, because they’re so inept, and so prone to cronyism and nepotism, that this is just business as usual.

    All of which is true. How valuable could the information have been if they sent some retired guy to have coffee with mining officials. He also notes revisionism occurring.

    More thoughts from Tom MacGuire.

    This is not to say that Libby or whoever shouldn’t be going to prison, but it does point out that there are still structural problems that remain. Come to think of it those problems have probably only gotten worse now that the national intelligence system is more centralized.

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  • Atlanta


    From my place to the Airport (picking up Mark) – Door to curb – 22 minutes. Memorial Drive can be quite a timesaver. That was without really speeding too.

  • Plame Affair,  Politics


    As you might could guess, I’m a bit let down by this whole Libby business. While it does involve perjury, (yay irony!) I don’t think it’s got the potential let us have prosperous gridlock and partisanship for the next few years.

    It’s still surprising that people are taking what Joe Wilson said at face value, particularly the “it was impossible for uranium to get out of Niger (a third world country) because corporate safeguards were in place” bit. Also, the indictment would seem to make clear that no original crime (i.e. outing a covert CIA agent) was committed.

    Also unmentioned by most commentators is the fact that Libby was the lawyer of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton but still remains wanted for other crimes elsewhere. He was also mentioned in the UN Oil for Food scandal.

  • Law,  Politics


    Miers withdraws!

    Now Janice Rogers Brown perhaps?

    Curiously this was not buried during the weekend.

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  • Plame Affair

    Interesting post from McArdle

    In this post

    the longer the delay, the more likely that the charges in the indictments will be for obstruction of justice, with no charge on the underlying crime–or even no indictment at all, with the Fitzgerald team revealed to the world to have been engaging in a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful game of chicken with the witnesses it is interrogating (though I think this is pretty unlikely). To me, a delay like this would usually indicate that the prosecutor is trying to push this into the weekend news-cycle, where the non-explosive nature of the revelations will be mercifully buried


    And a new term “Fitzmas” has now been coined

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  • Iraq,  Politics

    Baby Boomer nostalgia

    Rather than focusing on the good, though moot, objections to invading Iraq, or useful strategies for withdrawal, Anna Qunindlen writes her variant of the standard column comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Needless to say she doesn’t mention the American occupation of the Philippines as another, more accurate comparison.

    There’s no need to read the column, it’s just like all the other baby boomer nostalgia pieces. One telling part was

    They should remember one of the most powerful men the party ever produced, Lyndon B. Johnson, and how he was destroyed by opposition to the war in Vietnam and bested by those brave enough to speak against it.

    At least Johnson had the good sense to be heartbroken by the body bags. Bush appears merely peevish at being criticized. Someone with a trumpet should play taps outside the White House for the edification of a president who has not attended a single funeral for the Iraqi war dead.

    Two Comments

    1. If Johnson was destroyed by opposition to the war in Vietnam, then how was he followed by two terms of Richard Nixon? Wouldn’t a peacenik have been elected instead?
    2. Funerals are for family, friends, and people who knew the deceased. They are not photo ops, political opportunities or anything else. Were Bush to attend one it would be dominated by the media and Secret Service and ruin a special sad moment.
  • Plame Affair


    Michael Barone (and me) think that there will be no indictments in the Plame case. We should know this time tomorrow.

    It’s too bad. A nice big scandal could winnow off the weak republicans and make them a much more worthwhile bunch while at the same casting Washington into happy gridlock. It would be especially funny if the indictments were for perjury.

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