"You can make a case that al-Qaeda’s second life in Waziristan is a result of the US getting “distracted” from Afghanistan by Iraq, but you can make at least as good a case that events show the pointlessness of invading Afghanistan in the first place. The political limitations on attacking Pakistan were always going to be there, whether the US invaded Iraq or not. There may have been better, less military means of g0ing Bin Laden and his brain trust after the massacres of September 11, 2001. The US as a whole and the Bush Administration in particular may have put more premium on the emotional satisfaction of hitting somebody than the bona fide achievement of shutting down the 9/11 killers. In other words, the current situation in Waziristan should make us reconsider the merits of the most marginalized figures in Western politics, the Afghan-war doves."
"The Vice President was choreographer of the attack on Wilson. He acted as though he was the deputy White House political director and the deputy White House press secretary. He was organizing meetings, drafting talking points and assigning which staff would talk to which reporter.
This is not what Vice Presidents do. This is more than an attack on his enemy Wilson. Most of us who have had high government positions have faced these situations, and launching a counter-attack could have been done far more discreetly and professionally."
"Among other things, Fitzgerald disclosed in his closing yesterday that Libby spoke to Vice President Cheney about his testimony despite being asked not to by prosecutors. "
* ron got a shoutout from Glenn
* leopold (thnx uranus):
"Moreover, Fitzgerald told jurors that Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, discussed aspects of the investigation with the vice president only when he was told by investigators not to talk about the probe, according to the transcript. Libby is "not supposed to be talking to other people," Fitzgerald said. But "the only person [Libby] told is the vice president. Think about that."
The suggestion by Fitzgerald that Cheney was complicit in the unmasking of Valerie Plame Wilson's undercover CIA status led to immediate speculation by pundits that the special prosecutor is widening his probe and may have Cheney in his crosshairs.
A year ago, truthout published a series of investigative reports that stated Fitzgerald was digging deeper into the role Cheney played in the leak itself. Those reports were largely ignored and in some cases dismissed by other media organizations."
* juan cole:
"Blair is not leaving Basra because the British mission has been accomplished. He is leaving because he has concluded that it cannot be, and that if he tries any further it will completely sink the Labor Party, perhaps for decades to come."
* hysterical - they are going to change the name of the Walter Reed building from "Building 18" - because... well.... i'm not really sure. a change is as good as a holiday, i guess.
* juan cole:
"Super-wealthy donors have retaliated against Brandeis University for inviting former president Jimmy Carter to speak on campus in connection with his book on Israeli Apartheid in the West Bank. They said they will withold further donations to the school.
If even Carter can't protest even this much without causing a whole university to be defunded, then there is something radically wrong with higher education in the United States. And what is wrong with it has nothing to do with the (quite high) standard of scholarship in Middle Eastern studies. It has to do with radical intolerance of any views that depart from a rightwing Zionist orthodoxy, and a willingness by upholders of that orthodoxy to deploy big money to punish anyone or any institution that departs from it."
* glenn has some video from the bremer/waxman showdown.
* riverbend: " Maliki is the stupidest man alive (well, after Bush of course…)"
* dissident voice:
"Let's begin with the inspector general's assessment of Feith's 'inappropriate' activities. "The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers. While such actions were not illegal or unauthorized, the actions were, in our opinion, inappropriate given that the intelligence assessments were intelligence products and did not clearly show the various with the consensus of the Intelligence Community. This condition occurred because of an expanded role and mission of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from policy formulation to alternative intelligence analysis and dissemination. As a result, the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Policy did not provide 'the most accurate analysis of intelligence' to senior decision-makers."
Only Washington can make a crime of this magnitude sound like a clerical error.
Only Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Bush were legally entitled to authorize Feith to set up and fund the OSP."
* via john, the wapo has a headline for Blair's withdrawal: "Ally's Timing Is Awkward for Bush"
"At some point we need to decide whether we're really serious about denouncing "state sponsorship of terrorism," and either stop denouncing or stop sponsoring, if we want our words to have more value than the wind."