Bloggers examine Saudi Arabia's intrigues in Iraq, take sides in the Clinton-Obama sparring match, and wonder just how premonitory Oscar the death-predicting hospice cat really is.
Naughty Arabia: According to the New YorkTimes, Saudi Arabia has been causing trouble in manifold ways in Iraq. The royal regime has passed on documents (apparently forgeries) that suggest Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is untrustworthy, and it has long been suborning Sunni insurgents in the neighboring country. Bloggers wonder why the birthplace of Wahhabism is still a port of call for U.S. presidents and state officials.
"[H]aving over 150,000 soldiers in Iraq has not given us any greater ability to dictate to Saudi Arabia what they should and should not do," writes Xanthippas at conservative Three Wise Men. He continues, "Why would the Saudis respect our wishes when our soldiers pull back from fighting insurgents, when they don't respect them as our soldiers battle the insurgents? Both of these considerations lend support to an argument for a renewed diplomatic approach that is not directly tied to a military strategy in Iraq."
Geoff at leftist American Entropy argues that the era of terrorism and double standards in our Mideast alliances must come to an end: "[T]he presence of copious amounts of hydrocarbons make looking away easy. My question is when will belt-way right-wingers and neocons see the light and apply some of their rhetoric on the Saudis? Who knows, maybe they'll listen."
Douglas Farah, a terrorism and national security writer, complains that the Saudis have given only lip service to helping the United States' anti-terror efforts since 9/11: "They have learned that talking, especially if done in very good English, will buy them all the time they need to play their lethal double game. Six years have proven them to be correct."
"[U]ltimately the Saudis are playing with fire," says Don C. Warrington at Christian blog Positive Infinity. "It's good foreign policy to try to keep all of the 'balls up in the air' (as a juggler would do) and thus your potential rivals off balance. The British used to do this in their imperial days. But trying to export a tough version of Islam and expect your ship to stay afloat in the tempest it creates is asking too much. The Saudis' game is dangerous, and not just for them either."
Read more about Saudi interference in Iraq.
Dems' fighting words: A piquant Sen. Barack Obama stoked the flames of his ongoing spat with Sen. Hillary Clinton on Thursday, calling her foreign policy "Bush-Cheney lite." The two first clashed during the CNN/YouTube debate Monday when Obama said it was "ridiculous" not to have diplomatic relations with such fun-loving internationalists as Fidel Castro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez.
Liberal "bored now" at MyDD throws in with Obama, who represents "change," vs. Clinton's "continuity with the past": "hugo chavez isn't an enemy of the united states, he's an enemy of george bush's arrogance and his interventionist foreign policy. and why shouldn't we met with the president of iran? we've had a fscked up policy and relations with iran since the second world war. it's time for a change. barack obama hit this one out of the park. "
Not quite, says Jim Addison, at Wizbang Politics, who suggests Obama's "woefully naive on foreign policy and diplomacy, and hopelessly unprepared for the Presidency. …Appealing to the frothing-at-the-mouth anti-American left in this way may seem like a good idea given their control of the Democratic Party, but it's absolute electoral suicide in a general election." A concurrence: "Attacking someone for your own mistakes comes off looking childish and that seems to be Obama's only plan," opines conservative Bullwinkle at TheBullwinkle Blog. "In any war — one of words, on terror or for the nomination Obama is up against a seasoned veteran and he's not up to the job. Another two or three terms in the senate might fill that empty suit but as Obama is showing now, shooting stars burn out quickly. He jumped in too early in his political career and there's no jumping out."
Obama's rhetoric is pushing one up-for-grabs voter toward HRC: "Bush-Cheney lite sounds like just about what we need," writes law prof and political moderate Ann Althouse. "Clinton declares the epithet 'silly,' but I think that secretly she knows the comparison helps her in some quarters."
Read more about the Clinton-Obama face-off.
Meow see dead people: Oscar the cat lives in a Rhode Island hospice for elderly patients suffering from dementia. If he wanders into your room and cuddles up to you, chances are, a few hours later you'll die. Even the New England Journal of Medicine says so.
Tony at Pencils Down buys the morbidity but not the cuteness: "I want to be the first to come right out and say what everyone else is only thinking. Oscar has been the last visitor of some 25 patients in the last two years. Some say that makes him and angel; I say it makes him a suspect. I wonder if anyone has tried removing him from the unit and seeing what happens to the mortality rate? There are many well documented cases of medical serial killers. Involuntary euthanasia, they call it, and Oscar fits the profile to a tee."
Phil Bowermaster at The Speculist dittos: "Yeah, poignant. Not to go all Occam's Razor or anything, but has it occurred to anyone to ask whether this cat might be somehow killing these people?"