Reach out and terrorize someone: Among its other topics, the Ballot Box Fray is reacting to William Saletan's disassembly of the Bush administration's distinction between terrorist organizations with "global reach"—the ones America is at war with—and those without it—the ones we tut-tut about. Zathras defends the distinction, if not the term, explaining that:
Every al Qaeda attack except assassinations of individuals and the Cole bombing that has killed Americans has killed nationals of other countries as well.
There is a school of thought that these countries would have nothing to fear from al Qaeda if that group were not so angry with us. It's more likely they would just be easier targets …[W]hile protecting American lives and interests obviously occupies the top position on the administration's list of priorities other countries have good reason to consider our war theirs as well.
But Engram sees the contradictions hidden in the administration's distinction as a way to expand the war on terror, solving several problems at once here:
Since we are asking Israel to hold back, we should take it upon ourselves to exterminate the terrorist infestation in Kenya. This would be good for Israel (because we would be joining their war against terrorism) and for us (because Israel would remain on the sidelines while we deal with Iraq).
Engram also notes that:
We [did] not complain when Vladimir Putin recently declared that Russia might pre-emptively strike at terrorists hiding in other countries, and we openly praised Australian Prime Minister John Howard when he recently adopted a similar position. ... Obviously, Israel is a special case, and asking them to refrain from taking action against terrorists in Kenya is not the blatant contradiction that Saletan makes it out to be. ...
Phony wonks? Authentic slackers?: Mulling over the continuing Kausfiles Kerry contest, Pacimini offers a superbly wrought account of the psychology at work in the Beltway bashing of Kerry in "Maybe Kaus hates welfare AND work." One nugget:
Kaus doesn't think that Kerry's furrow is phony because Kerry's not serious. Instead, Kaus and the Washington media herd all think that "seriousness" itself is phony, that knowing a lot about the environment, defense, public works, and other government projects is per se a demonstration of inauthenticity. That's one of the reason's why the press was so eager to portray Al Gore as deceitful. How, the thought goes, can somebody be honest when they read as much and know as much as Gore?
If this hypothesis is true, it might explain why ostentatiously uninvolved politicians like George Bush seem more real to Kaus and the rest of the press. They're more authentic because they don't work any harder than Kaus wants to work.
Five Nice Threads: Today's Papers discussing the Supreme Court's decision to revisitBowers v. Hardwick and the resulting fate of gay marriage (also available in a more extensive Best of the Fray version here); the possibility for universal health insurance in California; and Kofi Annan’s newfound desire to avoid war in Iraq; Sports Nut on the UNC job, which includes Captain Ron Voyage's advice to the Jayhawks' AD: "Kansas should have fired Williams for not taking the job—it shows an appalling lack of judgment, and casts serious doubt on his ability to ever win a championship"; and Poems on "Nail Broth." ...
Weighty issues: Best of the Fray's DiraNecessitas announces a political-scientific discovery here. Update: So DN didn't originate it, and I am burned, as historyguy said I would be. I still think it's funny, and that makes me even worse than the annoying co-worker who's always forwarding you "humorous" lists. More room for Pacimini in the theoretical BOTF. ...
Perhaps more than we need to know: Andkathleen: "I have a bladder made of steel" ... 7:25 a.m.