Thanks, Iowa! 2:41 A.M.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Kerry was so soporific and frozen-featured in his Tom Brokaw interview last night (Wednesday) that while he was talking the network resorted to running moving photographs of a 9/11 poster, a candle, a child in a field of flags, a U.S. soldier on patrol, a flag-draped coffin, etc.--instead of the traditional head shot of the candidate answering the anchor's questions. ... Maybe next time they can show film of John Edwards on the stump or sneak in an update of the box scores. ... P.S.: Does Kerry just seem like a man trying very hard to avoid saying anything? ... 6:12 P.M.
Tom Maguire has a complicated but seemingly promising theory of the Berger leak that I don't quite follow. Maybe you will do better. (Query: Do we know that the earlier "after action" report of Clinton's 1998 cruise missile strike against Bin Laden is actually missing? If so, isn't that the lede, and not merely a way to explain how the Berger investigation might have leaked?) 5:50 P.M.
We're told that Kerry didn't know about the criminal probe of Sandy Berger's document-handling. (See, e.g., Kerry's NBC interview, quoted here, and today's WaPo account, citing "Berger allies.") That puts us in Roger L. Simon's Box #2: Bill Clinton knew about it. Kerry didn't. So why didn't Clinton warn Kerry? ... One possible answer that doesn't involve Hillary: Berger took the docs so he could review them before briefing Clinton, which is potentially embarrassing to Clinton. He, too, was hoping the probe would somehow stay secret. ... 2:33 A.M.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
John Wayne Allawi? Accounts of the sensational allegation regarding Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi--that he personally executed several terrorist prisoners--tend to focus on whether the story is true despite his office's strong denial of it. But the converse could also be the case: the story is false, but (as the original Sydney Morning Herald report hints) Allawi in fact would like Iraqis to think it's true, because it implies that he's a strong figure who shouldn't be messed with when it comes to restoring security. ... P.S.: In general, could Iraq be in a situation in which (as a Marxist might argue) the transitional methods necessary to establish the rule of law are themselves inconsistent with the rule of law? See: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. ... 1:07 P.M.
If the Socks Don't Fit, Must We Acquit? The core of the Berger scandal--was he guilty of a crime and should he be charged?--may not ultimately be that interesting. But there are second-order ramifications. Josh Marshall, Roger "el" Simon and The Note all point up one--if Berger has known for months that he was being investigated, why did he hang around as a Kerry adviser and expose his candidate to potential embarrassment? ... And if, as I suspect, Berger took the various drafts home simply because it's a lot easier to pore over them at home rather than at the National Archives, that may be understandable and ultimately excusable. But it would also mean Berger has tied himself up in ...er, veracity problems by saying he only took the documents "inadvertently." ... P.S.: The WSJ ed board has called for the "release [of] all the drafts of the review Mr. Berger took from the room." But wait a minute. The reason it was wrong for Berger to take the "review" documents is that they contained sensitive, classified information. If the drafts can now be actually released publicly without damaging national security, then why was it so terrible for Berger to take them home? The WSJ is making Berger's case for him. ... 11:57 A.M.
That was fast:
Here is a criticism I have spoken of but not written of regarding President Bush. When you are president and you are doing hard things in history like making war, and you are doing it in the jingle-jangle of the modern media environment, you have a kind of moral responsibility to make it clear that you hate war, really hate it, and love peace. This would seem obvious, but is not. ... Mr. Bush has not made it clear, or has not repeated often enough, that he hopes for peace, yearns for peace, loves it. He seems part of the very drama he has been forced to wage, and seems sometimes to enjoy it.
--Peggy Noonan's column of July 15, 2004
"Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."
--President Bush, speech of July 20, 2004
Now if we could just get Noonan to recommend balancing the budget.. ... [link via Marshall ] 1:59 A.M.