Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is Naomi Wolf Advising McCain?

In the 2000 Presidential election coverage, Al Gore was called a serial liar for, among other things, saying he invented the internet, that he was the inspiration for the lead character in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and that he discovered Love Canal. In fact, however, he said none of those things (except, of course for repeating what he'd read in an interview in which the author of JLS said that part of the inspiration for the story came from his observation of the relationship between Al Gore and his future wife, Tipper). People still harp on this crap, bringing it up as if it were the gospel truth, when in fact it is all a bunch of crap.

It was disproved at the time. It was called crap at the time. Yet, it was repeated ad nauseum by pundits and insiders because, as Margaret Carlson said somewhere, most of the chattering classes thought such sport was fun.

Eight years later, John McCain says that he likes the timetable proposed by the Iraqi PM in concert with Barack Obama, and then the next day says he never uttered the word "timetable." In a speech in Pittsburgh, he claims that he gave the names of the starting line-up of the Pittsburgh Steelers when demanded to give out the names of the rest of his squadron by his North Vietnamese captors. Except, in his memoirs, he explicitly says it was the starting line-up of the Green Bay Packers. He has said that we need to pour even more blood and treasure in to Iraq at the same time we have achieved victory. Just this past week, he said the border skirmish between Georgia and Russia (instigated by Georgia) was the first great international crisis of the post Cold War era, playing Rip Van Winkle to even his most recent comments on Iraq, Iran, and terrorism.

One of the biggest, and stupidest, lies about the Gore campaign was that feminist author Naomi Wolf was a paid adviser on matters of his attire, including a change to what was referred to as "earth tones." The problem was that it just wasn't true. Wolf was an informal adviser, unpaid, on matters of issues important to women. She did not deal with Gore's attire or appearance; she dealt with feminist issues including wage parity and pro-choice advocacy.

McCain's campaign adviser Randy Scheueneman was a paid lobbyist for the Republic of Georgia, and has provided McCain an "in" for one-on-one contacts with Pres. Shaakashvili during the brief, week-long war, in which McCain has been as bellicose and hard-lined as possible. This reality - a paid-lobbyist adviser providing a candidate with unstable, violent judgment access to a beleaguered country at war, seeming to contradict both American policy and sound judgment - is barely mentioned.

The next time I hear about "liberal media bias", I will vomit. If it happens during a conversation, that person may want to move, because I might not have time to duck my head.

Saturday Rock Show

For my first real love. Every word captures her, and us, and the aftermath.

She was a friend to me when I needed one
Wasn't for her I don't know what I'd done
She gave me back something that was missing in me
She could of turned out to be almost anyone
Almost anyone ...
With the possible exception
Of who I wanted her to be

Running into the midnight
With her clothes whipping in the wind
Reaching into the heart of the darkness
For the tenderness within
Stumblin' into the lights of the city
And then back in the shadows again
Hanging onto the laughter
That each of us hid our unhappiness in

Talk about celestial bodies
And your angels on the wing
She wasn't much good at stickin' around, but
That girl could sing,
She could sing ...

In the dead of night
She could shine a light
On some places that you've never been
In that kind of light
You could lose your sight
And believe there was something to win
You could hold her tight
With all your might
But shed slip through your arms like the wind
And be back in flight
Back into the night
Where you might never see her again

The longer I thought I might find her
The shorter my vision became
Running in circles behind her
And thinking in terms of the blame
But she couldn't have been any kinder
If she'd come back and tried to explain
She wasn't much good a saying goodbye, but
That girl was sane

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stupidity Must Be A Benefit For Republicans (UPDATE)

I heard a "week in review" kind of thing on NPR, featuring Ruth Marcus, and some guy from The Mooney Standard, and both of them agreed that the recent events in Georgia were "a net plus for Sen. McCain" (as these exact words were used by both of them, I feel safe putting them in quotes). I can't, for the life of me, understand whether it is profound stupidity or willful ignorance that leads these alleged journalists to not notice that John McCain has demonstrated his unfitness to lead the US in a crisis, even one as minor and ultimately inconsequential as this.

The Carpet Bagger Report has a nice rundown on his latest stupid remarks.
“My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression.”

Please stop and think about those two sentences. Considering their source - a man who has pushed for more and more American military action since advocating using ground forces in Kosovo in the late 1990's, McCain seems blissfully, or willfully, or perhaps Alzheimersly unaware of the following list, also provided by this same post to which I linked above.
The Cold War effectively ended 19 years ago, and the conflict between Russia and Georgia is the first serious international crisis in that time? Are you kidding me?

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has fought (or is fighting) two wars in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan, and two conflicts in the Balkans. There have been multiple crises in Israel. There was a burgeoning nuclear crisis with North Korea. There is, and has been, a crisis in Darfur. There have been multiple, shall we say, tense moments between Pakistan and India, nuclear powers both. One could make the argument that the attacks of Sept. 11 were, themselves, a serious international crisis.

The only thing more embarrassing than John McCain's utterly horrid performance this past week has been the fawning press coverage, touting his alleged experience on matters of foreign policy. Yet, every time you actually look at what McCain says, you are forced to cringe at the lack of any serious content, and shudder at the prospect of someone so bellicose, yet so ill-informed, leading our nation's military.

UPDATE: You know, just when you think McCain's campaign can't get any worse, it goes and does something like this. Apparently, the "I know you are but what am I times infinity" rebuttal works in the circles McCain runs in.

He is programming himself to lose. I think he actually believes all that "Straight Talk" crap.

Since I've Changed My Mind . . . (UPDATE)

I must admit that I have been pre-occupied with the entire Russia/Georgia war this week. Apart from work, and my family's frequent absences, I have spent the bulk of time this week trying to figure out what, exactly, I think about this entire episode. Not, of course, that what I think matters all that much. Except, of course, as an informed citizen I think it does matter. My initial, knee-jerk reaction of support for Georgia I would defend as a typical American response of support for an underdog, knowing full well the Russian Bear would enter the ring and tear this little terrier up.

Having said that, and considered many of the mitigating circumstances, not least of which have been the repeated empty promises the Bush Administration has made to Pres. Shaakashvili, I have come full circle and realize that, as earnest and honest as my initial reaction may have been, it was wrong. The Russians did what had to be done, and have shown remarkable restraint (unlike the US, which has shown only ineptitude in Iraq and negligence in Afghanistan), all things considered (this is war, after all). In light of my own change of heart, I would recommend this piece by Strobe Talbott in today's Washington Post as an example of the kind of stupid thinking that is rampant across the political spectrum in foreign policy circles in Washington.

There is no reason at all to reconsider our relations with the Russians in light of this conflict. That is, to be blunt, ridiculous, and would be counter-productive in both the short and long term. Now, it is true that the conservatives tend to offer advice that empirically provides the exact opposite of the intended consequences, and it might be good to have so many people offering this particular perspective. Since so many insiders are counseling this garbage, it's a sure bet doing the opposite is the best bet.

Furthering good relations with the Russians in a post-Bush, post-Republican, post-Right Wing America is in our best interest, and while I weep for all those who are suffering, since all sides (including the Georgians in the path of Russian tanks; one should listen to BBC on occasion to get an idea of what people in the rest of the world think) blame Pres. Shaakashvili for their woes, I think it unwise to promote this obscure leader of a country most even in the policy-making community would be hard-pressed to find on a map as some savant of democracy in a sea of oppression. Punishing the Russians, in any case, is outside our capabilities and tough talk only makes clear our current weakness. Sending Condoleeza Rice is less than pointless, as Pres. Sarkozy of France has actually done the grunt work of making a peace deal; I think Shaakashvili is still holding out hope of American and European support for his beleaguered country (a country beleaguered, I repeat, by his own foolishness) will tip the scales in the Georgians' favor. This is foolishness in the extreme on his part, and every step official Washington makes in that direction only compounds the folly. Let the Europeans manage the affair, as they already have a good head start on it, and for the love of peace, please shut silence all the pro-Georgia nonsense in official circles in Washington.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall summarizes a joint press conference Pres. Shaakashvili held with Secretary of State Rice thusly:
[H]e is claiming that Europe is to blame for the Russian invasion because of the failure to grant NATO entry to Georgia. This is followed by some odd arguments about why Georgia didn't at the least give Russia a robust pretext by launching into South Ossetia last weekend. It's Czechoslovakia (1938 & 1968), Poland, Kuwait, Afghanistan and several other crises of the past rolled into one and we don't greet this like standing up to Hitler and Stalin our honor is lost today and our freedom tomorrow.

His conclusion? "[H]e's trouble."

I couldn't agree more.

Open Call For Top Ten Songs/Albums/CDs

Via Erudite Redneck comes a link to the rock mag Blender, which has an article on the top ten songs of the major party candidates for President. If you are too lazy to click the link, here are the lists:
1. Ready or Not Fugees
2. What's Going On Marvin Gaye
3. I'm On Fire Bruce Spingsteen
4. Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones
5. Sinnerman Nina Simone
6. Touch the Sky Kanye West
7. You'd Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra
8. Think Aretha Franklin
9. City of Blinding Lights U2
10. Yes We Can

1. Dancing Queen ABBA
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me ABBA
4. If We MakeIt Through December Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong
8. I've Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters

I hadn't noticed before, but "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is a great song, although the Platters has so many great songs, it is hard to choose.

Anyway, I do a couple posts a week on music here. They have spanned the gamut from the truly terrible to the personally relevant to the (I hope) uplifting. I am going to list the top ten albums (for want of a better word) I would want with me should I ever be stranded on some God-forsaken desert island. Some of them, I think, would surprise you. I am hoping you all would chime in, in comments, with your own lists of songs, albums, CDs - music that would keep you from losing your sanity in the face of a hopeless situation. My own list will be accompanied by an apologia for each, and goes in reverse order.

10. Dick's Picks #15 by The Grateful Dead. For those not in the know, Dick Latvala was the long-time tape archivist for the Dead. Before he passed away, he took the two-track mixing board recordings the band listened to after each show, and offered up his picks of the best representations of the band's career. Number fifteen in the series came from a comeback concert of sorts for the Dead. They had been on a kind of hiatus for a while, but appeared with The Marshall Tucker Band and a few other guests at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ before 100,000 people on September 3, 1977. The inner jacket photo has the skull-fuck logo prominently displayed, and the band played quite well with a twenty-minute jam on Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" a highlight, as well as the closer, the title track from then-new release "Terrapin Station".

9. Leftoverture by Kansas. Of their first six albums, this is the best representation of who this band was, and had the best overall production values (their next album, Point of Know Return may have had some great songs, but the production was just a little too muddy; even the remix isn't as clean as Leftoverture). There isn't a weak track on this particular release, even "Opus Insert", with highlights (besides the massive radio hit "Carry On Wayward Son") being "Cheyenne Anthem", "Miracles Out Of Nowhere", and "Magnum Opus".

8. Brave by Marillion. This was a difficult choice, because they have so many great recordings, and there are actually more weak moments on this one than, say, Season's End or even This Brave Engine. It is just that the high points are so high. Steve Rothery's guitar work is at its best on this one. A concept album concerning suicide (no cheery, no, but it does have a happy ending, of sorts), it features the first serious self-indulgence by a band that makes a fetish of it.

7. Dick's Picks #18 by the Grateful Dead. With a thirty-three minute jam-out on "Playing in the band", and a twenty-nine minute jam on "Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain" being the absolute highlights from this compilation from two mid-winter shows in Wisconsin and Iowa in 1978, this features the band really doing what they do best - just playing.

6. Beautiful Maladies by Tom Waits. A "Best of" compilation from his recordings with Island records, this chronicles Tom Waits being, well, Tom Waits. No one else in my family can even listen to him, and I can't for the life of me understand why.

5. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence by Dream Theater. Their second recording with Jordan Rudess on keyboards, this double CD has them at their absolute best. Along with the 45-minute suite/symphony title track, "Misunderstood" and "Blind Faith" are awesome, although "Glass Prison" has one of the best openings of any song. Ever.

4. Rush in Rio by Rush. If you're going to spend the rest of your life trapped on a desert island, you might as well have this live recording along. Recorded on their Vapor Trails tour in Rio de Janeiro during what could be called a "comeback tour" of sorts (drummer/lyricist Neal Peart had lost both his wife and daughter within a year of one another in the late 1990's and retired from music for a while) and this concert shows them that, middle aged or not, past their prime or not - they can blow pretty much any band away (I saw them on this tour in Chicago in the Fall of '03).

3. Bach's Mass in B Minor by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan conducting, with featured soloists Gertrude Janowitz, soprano; Christa Ludwin, alto/contralto; Peter Schreier, tenor; Robert Kerns, baritone; and Karl Ridderbusch, bass. While this may be an obvious choice for a piece of sacred music, it is the production values of the parent company that released this particular recording that make it far more valuable than any other. Deutsche Grammophon has always supported superior production, and this recording is no exception. While I think the Musical Heritage Society has done well by itself in its remastering and releasing of older material, little tweaking of this analog recording would be necessary. It is, like the piece itself, flawless.

2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it's obvious, maybe it's not, but I love this album. This is another of those recordings that has no weak moments, and bridges the early exuberance of The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle with the more experimental moments of The River and Atlantic City and even The Ghost of Tom Joad. This is probably the single best American record of the past fifty years. Even better than Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

1. Empty Glass by Pete Townshend. This solo album recorded during the hiatus in The Who after drummer Keith Moon died choking on his own vomit and Townshend nearly killed himself on a mixture of booze and heroin, this album has always surprised me with how powerful it is. Whether it's the takedown of rock music critics in "Jules and Jim", Townshend's plea for understanding in "I Am An Animal" to his ode to Motown, "Let My Love Open The Door", this single album has so many moods, so many shades of so many colors, I would have to say that, were I limited to a single recording, this would be the one. Indeed, if I ever had the privilege of meeting Townshend, I would want him to sign my copy not of any of The Who's recordings, but this one. I think this is not only his best work, but some of the best music ever recorded. Give it a listen.

I've shows you mine, now you show me yours.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Do Believe We Have A Winner

He said it. John McCain actually said it.
In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.

Is there any reason at all to vote for this man now?

Something To Think About

For some odd reason, many of my interlocutors on the right continue to harp on abortion when the issue is, to be frank, off the table this election. It just has no traction with the American people, who seem content with the current status quo when it comes to the subject. Attempts to use it as a wedge issue just don't seem to work. Yet, time after time, it seems to come up in discussions I have in various forums.

Often cited are questionable studies relating abortion to everything from breast and ovarian cancer to suicide (said studies having been shown to be erroneous on multiple occasions). Finally, there is a legitimate study in a peer-reviewed journal that indicates there is little risk of serious mental health issues related to abortion. A text of the APA press release is here, and it contains a link to the study, which is a .pdf file.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

After Taking A Deep Breath

I will make my position clear. I was swept up a bit in the whole Georgian/Russian war fever a bit, partly out of a sense of solidarity with the tiny nation stranded in the Caucusus Mountains, sandwiched between Mother Russia and Iran, attempting to keep its sovereignty and integrity intact in the face of internal dissension and the ever-present threat of military intervention from its much larger neighbor to the north. I never once thought the US should intervene, God forbid. I also realize that extending NATO membership, or even the promise of eventual NATO membership, to Georgia was foolish in the extreme. Risking a general European war with Russia over a Georgian border dispute is ridiculous in the extreme; the Russians, in all probability, understand that, even if hawks in the United States pushed the alliance in that direction, the alliance would crumble before the Europeans would agree to anything as stupid as war with Russia over something like that.

Gregory Djerijian has a wonderful piece at The Belgravia Dispatch that does two things quite neatly. First, it explains the strategic nonsense that has been our current policy toward Georgia (rhetorical support, including promises never meant to be kept, keeping alive my own belief this is more like Hungary 1956 than Czechoslovakia 1938).
Look, all of this would have been stupid and deeply flawed policy, but at least morally defensible, if we meant to actually defend the Georgians. But we don't, and never will, as this would mean a war with Russia. We've had a tough go of it fighting small militias and tribes in Iraq and Afghanistan, so even McCain would pull back from such unbridled folly (though doubtless some imbecile will pen an op-ed in coming days about the need for NATO airstrikes on Russian forces should they attack Tbilisi).


Meantime, a Georgian soldier tells a U.S. reporter in the same piece: "Write exactly what I say. Over the past few years, I lived in a democratic society. I was happy. And now America and the European Union are spitting on us." They are, aren't they? They had no business making the cheap promises and representations that were made. No business on practical policy grounds. No business on strategic grounds (though I guess it got Rummy another flag, near the Salvadorans, say, for the Mesopotamian "coalition of the willing"). And now our promises are unraveling and nakedly revealed for the sorry lies and crap policy they are, with the emperor revealed to have no clothes, yet again. This is what our foreign policy mandarins masquerade about as they play policy-making, in their Washington work-stations. It's, yes, worse than a crime, rather a sad, pitiable blunder.

A perfect synopsis of the reality, versus our innate desire to "do something".

Second, the article paints in grim detail the dangers of a McCain Presidency in the face of events such as have transpired over the past weekend.
An honorable man who served his country well, it is clear [McCain's] time has past and his grasp on the most basic foreign policy calls we'll need to make in the coming years is very tentative indeed. He'll be surrounded by second-tier 'yes-man' realists and residual neo-con swill, few with any ideas worth pursuing if we mean to take the national interest seriously with sobriety and freshness of perspective. So let us help him exit off-stage gracefully, as he served his country with dignity when called upon, but let us not sacrifice our children's future to ignorants with deludely romantic notions of empire. Been there, done that. Indeed, we have a President who has announced a pre-emptive doctrine which allows us to, willy-nilly, instigate regime change when and where we deem appropriate. Who are we to lecture Putin now? What standing do we have to do so? And what parochial and self-satisfied myopia has us indignantly thinking we are some unimpeachable arbitrer of right and wrong in the international system after the disastrous missteps of the past eight sordid years?

With the Russians having halted at the northern city of Gori, in what seems to be a message that is both reassuring and threatening, it seems the time is ripe for serious diplomatic work. This is a situation that is a classic international military/political situation (hardly a "crisis"; sometimes even wars aren't crises) calling for serious, credible diplomats.

Which removes most members of the Bush Administration from the equation. I think we will be sidelined in this by the Europeans (Pres. Sarkozy of France is currently in discussions with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin), which is all to the good. Historically, the Russians have always had contempt for any other country that does not abide by diplomatic niceties combined with a realistic understanding of the forces at work in any situation (which is at the root of Stalin's comment, made during a wartime summit with Roosevelt and Churchill, in which an offer of arbitration for peace by the Vatican was rejected by the Soviet leader, who said, "How many divisions does the Pope command?").

This entire situation leaves our credibility, not just in the south Caucusus, but in the world in general, in even greater tatters than before. McCain's stupidity and blustering do not help the situation. Recognizing the reality of Russian power in the region, and moving forward on other issues requires people who have a sense not just of history, but of the reality of the limits of power, most especially American power. John McCain disqualifies himself from consideration because he refuses to admit that we can't "do something".

Monday, August 11, 2008

"The current situation in Georgia and his response should make clear to everyone how dangerous a president John McCain would be."

Thus Josh Marshall.

With a bonus link to Andrew Sullivan (who is crazy when it comes to Hillary Clinton, but spot on about most other things):
From his knee-jerk COld War posture over Georgia to his Rovian campaign tactics, McCain is simply too close to [the Bush Administration's] disastrous record to contemplate. McCain's trigger-happy temperament, shallow understanding of the complexities and passion for military force as the answer to everything is the bigger risk. He is a recipe for more, wider and far more destructive warfare. . .

Music Monday

I was going to do a post on the Philly sound - the O'Jays, the Levert Brothers, Teddy Pendergrass - when I heard that Isaac Hayes passed away. So, from one funk sound to another. While best remembered for his Oscar-winning soundtrack to Shaft, Hayes had been a long-time Stax/Volt session guy and songwriter until he broke out and proved himself. Since I already did the whole Shaft thing a while back, here is Hayes doing what he did best. First, he sings Bachrach (!!) in a way that Dionne Warwick should have, with "The look of love":

Here he is, from a French television program, with some help from two members of Soul2soul, with the old Temptations song, "Papa was a rolling stone":

Finally, a great slow-dance song. Or slow "something" song. "I stand accused":

On A Lighter Note - Cokie Roberts Makes A Run At Doug Feith's Title

First, the title was bestowed upon Douglas Feith, former Undersecretary of Defense, by General Tommy Franks in the latter's memoir. Franks called Feith, "the stupidest fucking guy on the planet." Second, of all the blabbermouths on television pretending to understand politics, none arouse my disdain more than Cokie Roberts. Implicated in a news-faking incident several years back (she was presented doing a stand-up in front of the Capitol building, but in fact was on a set in front of a blue screen, with an image of the Capitol behind her), she has since gone on to be one of the really stupid people who talk about politics. The one thing on her resume she has going for her is that her father was a Democratic Representative for Louisiana, back in the 1950's and 1960's. Also, she is married to Steve Roberts, who, while looking like a Rhodes Scholar next to his wife, in reality isn't much brighter.

So, why do I think Cokie should be named "the stupidest fucking [gal] on the planet"? Please read this and weep for our nation.
I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be at Myrtle Beach and if he’s going to take a vacation at this time. I just think this is not the time to do that.

He's going back home, to the grandmother who helped raise him. He's going to a state in the United States. But, somehow, it seems "exotic", even "foreign" to Roberts.

Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have a winner in the "Doug Feith Title" contest.

Is It Like Munich Or Hungary?

So the Russians have invaded Georgia. It seems this war in the Caucusus has brought out the rough beast in the hearts of our ultra-hawks. God knows they just want more and more war, always with other people doing the fighting and dying. Listening to Bill Kristol is a sure way to fail. Yet, the situation is a complex one, and the Administration is doing the exactly wrong thing in its rhetorical approach to the war.

I do not think most Americans are as "concerned" with this situation as others, and certainly not as concerned as members of the Administration or various foreign policy experts. I believe they see it as a far-away war in a land with a strange name (Abkhazia?). The involvement of the Russians is certainly of note, yet the stakes for the United States are minimal. Our diplomats, in concert with those from the European Union and the UN are doing what they can, which is about all that can be expected right now.

Yet, members of the Administration are doing their best to undermine our credibility and to create a bellicose atmosphere vis-a-vis Russia. For the life of me I can't imagine what they are thinking. Like Woodrow Wilson after the sinking of the Lusitania, who said that while the US remained neutral, encouraged anti-German feeling by saying that the American people might not be able to remain neutral in their hearts, Cheney, for example, is insisting that the Russians should "pay" for their military aggression against Georgia.
"The vice president expressed the United States' solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratically elected government in the face of this threat to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Cheney's office said in a statement.

It said Cheney, in a phone call on Sunday, told Saakashvili that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States, as well as the broader international community.

Andrew Sullivan notes that comparisons to the Czech crisis of 1938 are being dragged in (of course; these people are one-hit wonders). My own sense is that official rhetoric of this kind is reminiscent less of the fake Sudenten crisis than of another historical parallel - the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union.

When the Hungarians rose up, Voice of America encouraged them. President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (of whom Winston Churchill said, "He is the only bull who carries his own china shop with him.") hinted that military support from the United States might be forthcoming if the Soviets attempted to end the coup by force. The Soviets, of course, invaded, and their mighty tanks rolled in to Budapest. The United States response? Apparently the Hungarians misunderstood our words. We were offering moral encouragement only. I think it goes without saying the Hungarians felt betrayed, and members of the Eisenhower Administration couldn't, for the life of them, figure out why.

I think sympathy for the Georgians is fine. Official neutrality, however, rather than talk of reprisals - obviously, at this point, merely diplomatic - is far more realistic. Any talk of military support (shoot, even flying home the Georgian troops in Iraq was a really stupid thing to do) is meaningless.

If this sounds like I have changed my mind since Saturday, I do not believe this to be so. I do not believe Russian adventurism in Georgia, or anywhere else, is a good thing. Yet, I am not sure what if anything we can do except register our disappointment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Virtual Tin Cup

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