PENGUINS

Steven Martin: ‘I thought you were better than that. My first swing was 230 and my second was 290.’

☞ The ice was probably a little wetter / more slippery when you tried it.

YAWNING KIID

‘Let the record show that Democrats can be just as boring as Republicans,’ I wrote, ‘so I do not suggest that there is any larger point here.’ Of course, there was a larger point, and the indispensable Paul Krugman made it.

THEY’RE USING EUROs NOW? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

George Hamlett: ‘You write . . . ‘how the ruble, mark and rupee will fare relative to each other over the same period . . .’

☞ I skip one stinking issue of the Economist and look what I miss. Next you’ll be telling me the Wall’s come down.

IT’S NOT JUST CLARKE (AND O’NEILL AND SHINSEKI AND WILSON)

I expect we will get Osama very soon now. But is it unpatriotic to wonder how much more effective it might have been to get him two years ago? To quote from one just-posted report:

In March 2002, six months after President Bush announced the war on terror, an unusual military decision was made: the military’s specialists hunting for Osama bin Laden were reassigned.

According to Flynt Leverett, who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, the Bush administration pulled off Arabic-speaking Special Forces and CIA officers from the hunt and gave them a new assignment: Iraq.

Leverett told the Washington Post last week, “[Richard] Clarke’s critique of administration decision-making and how it did not balance the imperative of finishing the job against al Qaeda versus what they wanted to do in Iraq is absolutely on the money.”

He went on to say “We took the people out who could have caught them. But even if we get bin Laden or Zawahiri now, it is two years too late. Al Qaeda is a very different organization now. It has had time to adapt. The administration should have finished this job.

☞ What’s done is done. It’s very good that Saddam is gone. (Whether it was worth the cost in lives, money, credibility and goodwill is an open question – another being whether the same result could have been achieved at much less cost.) But I would remind those who have not yet seen this little movie that our history with Saddam is a little more complicated than most people realize. He was a monster . . . but for much of his career, he was our monster. We may even have given him the green light to invade Kuwait.

Tomorrow: Turks Are Not Arabs – and an Important Perspective on Real Estate

 

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