Featured Articles — December 11, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad:

The Postwar Election — David Brooks
The 2008 presidential election has fundamentally shifted, but it hasn’t been because of events in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s because of events everywhere else.

How to Defuse Iran — FLYNT LEVERETT and HILLARY MANN LEVERETT
IN the wake of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program, Democrats and others are criticizing President Bush for again having “hyped” a nuclear weapons threat. This criticism, while deserved, does not address the critical policy question: What do we do now?


Paralyze The FEC? Splendid.
— George Will

The Post, dismayed by the prospect, in effect asks: What if we had deregulated politics — including the sort of presidential campaigns that produced 33 presidents (including some pretty good ones — Lincoln, TR, the sainted Coolidge, FDR, Truman, Ike) before the Federal Election Commission was created in 1975? Most of the rules, the possible nonenforcement of which has the Post in a swivet, are constitutionally dubious abridgements of freedom of speech and association, so sensible citizens should rejoice about the current disarray of the FEC.


Crisis Clarifies Partisan Divide
— GERALD F. SEIB

There are two major political parties in the U.S. for a reason, and it isn’t that two makes for nice symmetry on a ballot. It’s because Americans are split over a very basic question: how big the government’s role should be in a free society.


Poll Finds G.O.P. Field Isn’t Touching Voters
— ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN THEE

Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Republican voters across the country appear uninspired by their field of presidential candidates, with a vast majority saying they have not made a final decision about whom to support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.


That NIE Makes War against Iran More Likely
— Daniel Pipes

With the Dec. 3 publication of a completely unexpected declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” a consensus has emerged that war with Iran “now appears to be off the agenda.” Indeed, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed the report dealt a “fatal blow” to the country’s enemies, while his foreign ministry spokesman called it a “great victory.”

That NIE That Obama the Messianic — Rich Lowry
Barack Obama found the perfect booster in Oprah Winfrey. Not only can she fill a football stadium with 30,000 adoring people and put a hammerlock on a news cycle, she specializes in the warm-and-fuzzy uplift that is the very foundation of Obama’s candidacy.

Laying a Mitt on the Secularists — Bill Murchison
Right. Yes. Mitt Romney, if elected our president, “will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest.” Nor should any candidate “become the spokesman for his faith.” Yes, naturally.

On Second Thought — John McCaslin
On Friday morning, the public affairs shop at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) distributed to everybody on its e-mail list an article from The Washington Post from that same day that was critical of the office’s most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.

Is the NIE a Lie? — Rich Galen
I am, as long-time Mullsters know, a huge fan of the Central Intelligence Agency. More precisely a huge fan of America’s intelligence officers who routinely risk their lives, often under dreadful conditions, trying to determine the current state of affairs in states which don’t want us to know what their state of affairs might be.

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Featured Articles — December 10, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad:

After the Battle of Al-Fajr — Michael Totten
Fallujah is known as the City of Mosques. It is also a city of walls, and of war.

Paulson Behind the Curve — Sebastian Mallaby
Hank Paulson ranks among the Bush administration’s many disappointments. When he left the top job at Goldman Sachs to take the helm at Treasury, Washington was abuzz: This man was a problem-solver; this man had clout; the president had practically begged him to accept the job, and Mr. Fix-It hadn’t acquiesced just to warm a seat around the Cabinet table.

Opposition’s window of opportunity — Marifeli Perez-Stable
“A photo finish,” Chávez said after Venezuelans rejected his constitutional reforms. He’s right, of course, only the No –which few really thought would win– is resounding a lot louder than 51-49. The president, after all, thought he’d get indefinite reelection and even more personal power. Instead, he’s facing a Venezuela of opportunities that the Sí would have preempted.

A Pastor’s True Calling — Holly Bailey and Michael Isikoff
Huckabee’s success is due, in part, to right-time, right-place luck. But he says it comes from above.

Giving Tanks — John Fund
Across Europe, thinkers are promoting free-market ideals.

The threat has not diminished — Jonathan Schell
The intelligence is misguided – the danger that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons is real. What’s missing is the policy to address it

Due Process for Jihadists? — Andrew McCarthy
The Supreme Court ponders the constitutional rights of enemy combatants.

A Year Later, Signs of Progress Around the World — Michael Barone
The world looks safer, friendlier, more hopeful than it did as we approached Christmastime last year.

AWOL military justice — Morris Davis
Why the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions resigned his post.

Iran’s Vast Military Inferiority and the Prospect of Nukes — James Lewis
One madman with a gun can hold off a hundred cops. The difference is who is more willing to lose his life.

Featured Articles — December 8, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad: 

Iowa: Mojo versus manpower — Jonathan Martin
As the battle for Iowa enters the home stretch, the race appears to be breaking down along a simple fault line: Mike Huckabee’s momentum and passion versus Mitt Romney’s organization.

Huckabee Surges, Obama Gains in Iowa — Michael Hirsh
The new NEWSWEEK poll shows the former Arkansas governor now has a two-to-one lead over Romney, while Barack improves against Hillary.

Keep Up the Pressure — Charles Krauthammer
For Democrats, good news in Iraq is bad news. For me, good news is good news, whether from Iraq or now from Iran. Facts are facts. And if the conclusions of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) about Iran’s nuclear program are true, they are moderately encouraging. Moderately only, because the NIE itself expressed only “moderate confidence” in its most sensational conclusion–that Iran had not restarted its previously suspended covert nuclear-weaponization program.

A New York-Centric Presidential Election — Fred Siegel
Rudy vs. Hillary would nationalize the city’s local political battles.

Let’s have a free market for housing and religion — Mark Steyn
Last week the Bush administration decided to “freeze” for five years the interest rates of certain types of mortgages. You’ve probably caught the tail end of news stories about “subprime” home loans, lots of foreclosures, etc. Never a happy moment when the bank takes the farm.

A sea change in US energy policy — David Roberts
The progressive energy bill – as passed by the House of Representatives – encouraged renewables and told oil and car makers to bugger off.

Genocide’s victory — Eric Reeves
THE BRUTAL REGIME in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has orchestrated genocidal counter-insurgency war in Darfur for five years, and is now poised for victory in its ghastly assault on the region’s African populations.

Blocked Vatican Envoy — Robert Novak
President Bush’s nomination of Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican is being held up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raising the possibility that the post may be vacant when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States in April.

‘We Who Believe in Democracy’ — John Fund
Is there hope for a new Zimbabwe after Mugabe? This man is staking his life on it.

Iran Curveball — Wall Street Journal Editorial
This latest intelligence fiasco is Mr. Bush’s fault.

Featured Articles — December 7, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad:

Not According to Script — Brendan Miniter
Hollywood gets shown up by pro-war YouTube videos and a didactic antiwar cat.

Mormon in America — Peggy Noonan
How Mitt Romney came to give The Speech–and how he did.

Redefining Conservatism — Kimberley A. Strassel
Mike Huckabee is far from being Reagan’s heir.

Kennedy’s Turn Signals — Jan Crawford Greenburg
Throughout yesterday’s argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases, all eyes were focused, of course, on Justice Kennedy.

Kidding Ourselves About Immigration — Michael Kinsley
What you are supposed to say about immigration–what most of the presidential candidates say, what the radio talk jocks say–is that you are not against immigration.

W’s Disastrous Mortgage Fix — Nicole Gelinas
Part of the Bush administration’s “mortgage-bail out” plan would make it easier for cities and states to conduct their own mini-bailouts alongside the feds.

Huckabee Plays the Religion Card — Charles Krauthammer
When Mitt Romney’s father ran for the presidency 40 years ago, his Mormonism was not an issue. When Mo Udall was a major challenger for the Democratic nomination in 1976, his religion was so irrelevant that today most people don’t even remember that Udall was a Mormon.

Paulson’s bailout may boost GOP’s prospects — Nina Easton
Free-market Republicans may not like the fact that he’s meddling with the economy, but his efforts may serve them well come November ’08, says Nina Easton.

Islam’s Silent Moderates — Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)

Pearl Harbor lives in hearts of its vets — H.G. Reza
Jack Ray Hammett, a Pearl Harbor survivor and former Costa Mesa mayor, runs the Freedom Committee of Orange County, which sends Pearl Harbor veterans to speak at schools and social groups. The 87-year-old is intent on keeping the memory of Pearl Harbor alive for generations.

Featured Articles — December 6, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad:

Gitmo Goes to Court — David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey
The judiciary has no business managing how we fight wars abroad.

Meeting The Iranian Challenge — Joe Biden
I want to address two questions many are asking. Is war with Iran inevitable? And can we avoid the other stark alternative – an Iran armed with nuclear weapons?

The Flaws In the Iran Report — John R. Bolton
Rarely has a document from the supposedly hidden world of intelligence had such an impact as the National Intelligence Estimate released this week. Rarely has an administration been so unprepared for such an event.

Huckabee House Built on a Weak Foundation — Clarice Feldman
Mike Huckabee is this week’s latest Republican buzz, but I think his house is, as the old calypso song goes, “a house built on a weak foundation,” and “it will not stand oh, no.”

Of Teddy Bears and Cartoons — Victor Davis Hanson
Here we go again. Thousands of Sudanese Muslims took to the street last week to threaten death to a British schoolteacher in Khartoum.

NIE’s Upshot: War Is Out, but Iran Is Dangerous — Mort Kondracke
The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran ought to be greeted with cheers and bipartisan agreement on vigorous carrot-and-stick diplomacy to get Iran to open its nuclear program to international inspections.

How the U.K. and U.S. Made the Modern World — Heather Wilhelm
Ah, the 1990’s: those fabled halcyon days of peace, prosperity, and that confident American post-Cold War glow. For those yearning to return to the relative calm of the last decade, last week’s events in Slovakia would undoubtedly serve as a bit of a wet blanket.

Be Leery Of Mortgage-Meltdown Fixes — Froma Harrop
There will be few winners in the mortgage meltdown. Democrats may be an exception, but they can blow it by trying too hard to fix what pains so many homeowners facing foreclosure.

Still a Dangerous World — Daniel Henninger
Democrats imply the U.S. can talk its way out of global threats.

Heisman Is No Key to NFL Glory — Allen Barra
Why do so few winners make it in the pros?

Featured Articles — December 5, 2007

Interesting Takes from Home and Abroad:

Hillary, Rudy May Know Life After Death — Dick Morris
It now seems possible, and some would say probable, that both front-runners for their party nominations will be wiped out in the early caucuses and primaries. It may well be that neither Hillary Clinton nor Rudy Giuliani win anything before the Florida primary on Jan. 29.

If the NIE Is Right About Iran, Thank “Cowboy Diplomacy” for It — Rush Limbaugh
I might actually grant, ladies and gentlemen, that diplomacy played a small part in forcing the Iranians to cease the production of their nuclear weapons program, if indeed they have.

NY’S ’08 HOPES — William Kristol
‘IF I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere . . . New York, New York.”

Time to Talk to Iran — Robert Kagan
Regardless of what one thinks about the National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusion that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 — and there is much to question in the report — its practical effects are indisputable.

‘High Confidence’ Games — Wall Street Journal Editorial
The CIA’s flip-flop on Iran is hardly reassuring.

Peru Is In, Now Where’s Colombia? — Investor’s Business Daily Editorial
The Hemisphere: Santa came early this year, arriving on an alpaca-drawn sleigh with Senate passage of Peru free trade. But it’s not the only gift America needs. Congress must pass the even more critical Colombia pact.

The Logic of Torture — Keith Burgess-Jackson
Why the subject of torture provokes so much yelling and so little argumentation.

Turkey, still a western ally? — Daniel Pipes
‘Far from being the source of anti-Americanism in Turkey, the AKP represents an ideal partner for the United States in the region.” So asserts Joshua W. Walker, a former Turkey desk officer at the State Department now studying at Princeton University, referring to the Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP).

Britain’s moral maze — Daniel Scott
In the summer of 2006, while guiding 40 British school children across northern Israel, I found myself caught up in the Middle East conflict when Hizbullah rockets fired from southern Lebanon began raining down.

A political reversal — Jerusalem Post Editorial
We assess that Teheran is determined to develop nuclear weapons – despite its international obligations and international pressure. It is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations than reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution.

Nixon’s Gracious Loss Paid Political Dividends

This one according to Joe Butterworth of The Arizona Republic.  Unlike Richard Nixon – whose concession to JFK in the very close 1960 Presidential race was indicative of his greater principles to put the nation first – (Al) Gore’s actions fuel the ugly, divisive politics we endure today.

Gore Should have Learned from Nixon, Buttworth writes. Read More.