Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday's Stuff

The Nation's Adam Shatz on Sheik Sayad Hassan Nasrallah:

By striking at Israel's Army during its most destructive campaign in Palestine since 2002's "Operation Defensive Shield," Nasrallah must have known that he would earn praise throughout the Muslim world for coming to the aid of Palestinians abandoned by the region's authoritarian governments, a number of which have pointedly chastised Nasrallah's "adventurism." And by bloodying Israel's nose, Hezbollah could once again bolster its aura in the wider Arab world as a redoubtable "resistance" force, a model it seeks to promote regionally, especially in Palestine, where Nasrallah is a folk hero, and in Iraq, where Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the radical Shiite Mahdi Army, has proclaimed himself a follower of Hezbollah and has threatened to renew attacks against US forces in solidarity with the Lebanese.

Stanley Hoffmann examines American foriegn policy in the latest New York Review of Books:
The most flagrant and widely deplored contradiction is between America's self-image as a force for democracy and human rights and a reality in which many rights at home are sharply limited, the death penalty continues along with the torture of "enemy combatants," while the US repudiates the international laws of war. Abroad, the US support of dictators and its failure to protect victims of genocide in Rwanda and Darfur have contributed greatly to anti-Americanism. Foreigners can observe for themselves, on the one hand, the weakness of public services throughout the US, the cult of low taxes, and the distrust of any redistributive role for government and, on the other hand, the formidable apparatus of American military and intelligence services throughout the world and in the US itself. The strength of America's destructive power and the lack of American interest in nation-building and development abroad have become all too evident.

Actually, the sentences I find truly illuminating are these:

The rapid collapse of the Soviet Union left the US as the only superpower, or so it seemed. George H.W. Bush talked about a new world order, in which the "real world" of American supremacy and the formal world of the UN Charter would somehow merge. But Bush Senior was soon gone, and Clinton had no large international vision. This may have been a blessing, and relations improved with allies, including France and Germany, which had occasionally been miffed by shrill official statements about the US as the "indispensable nation" endowed with greater foresight than others.

People such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who had long thought it time to proclaim US hegemony, were enraged by Clinton's failure to do so.
Sums it up.

And in the same issue, Peter Galbraith counts the ways Bushco botched Iraq:
Trainor and Gordon present a devastating picture of Rumsfeld as a bully. Convinced of his own brilliance, Rumsfeld freely substituted his often hastily formed opinions for the considered judgments of his military professionals. He placed in the most senior positions compliant yes-men, like Myers, and punished those who questioned his casually formed judgments. He enjoyed belittling his subordinates. The day before the September 11 attacks, Rumsfeld told a Pentagon meeting that the Defense Department bureaucracy "disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk." His aides followed the same approach: Steve Cambone, Rumsfeld's closest aide, "jested that Rumsfeld thought the Army's problems could be solved by lining up fifty of its generals in the Pentagon and gunning them down."
Sums it up.

Have a short story from the great Alice Munro.

Have some music from M. Ward.

Have some more from the Burnside Project.

Have one more from My Morning Jacket.
(Goodness gracious! I love this band.
Play it loud with someone you love,
even if it's only you.)

And finally:


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