Monthly Archives: November 2008

A Culture of Weakness

We may never fully understand how ten armed men were able to terrorize a city of 19 million, but this is at least part of the explanation: In the first wave of the attacks, two young gunmen armed with assault rifles blithely ignored more than 60 police officers patrolling the city’s main train station and sprayed bullets into the crowd. Bapu Thombre, assistant commissioner with the Mumbai railway police, said »

It’s honeymoon time and long may it last

Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post reports that Adm Michael Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs, “felt very good, very positive” about his initial meeting with Barack Obama. That one-on-one encounter lasted 45 minutes. Mullen has every incentive to give a positive report about the meeting, but I take at face value his statement that he found Obama to be pragmatic and a good listener. Obama’s reputation for listening to »

Ambiguous tea-leaves, Part Two

Victor Davis Hanson detects in Barack Obama’s early personnel decisions “the outline of one of most profound bait-and-switch campaigns in our political history, predicated on the mass appeal of a magnetic leader rather than any principles per se.” In this account, “Obama is a masterful politician who never has had any real ideology or persona other than his own diversity story and history, youth, and charisma that together allow him »

Muslims “Worry About Image”

That’s what the Associated Press says. Somehow, it seems like we’ve been down this road before: Muslims from the Middle East to Britain and Austria condemned Sunday the Mumbai shooting rampage by suspected Islamic militants as senseless terrorism, but also found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion. Yeah, that keeps happening. Funny thing. Many Muslims said they are worried such carnage is besmirching their »

Ambiguous tea-leaves

Melanie Phillips takes little comfort from Obama’s “centrist” appointments. In this post, she makes what I think is an indisputable point — the president-elect’s selection of Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gates, Jim Jones, etc. is consistent with either of two theses: (1) Obama intends to govern from the center-left in about the same way Bill Clinton did and (2) Obama intends to govern from the left but does not »

The message from Mumbai

Melanie Phillips takes a look at the atrocities committed in Mumbai and finds that “they told us very clearly a number of things.” Here is one message that should be hard to mistake: Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives. “Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen »

Black Friday

We have finally entered (I think) what must be history’s longest- and most eagerly-awaited recession. News reports and commentary have been so relentlessly negative for so long that it is easy to lose sight of the actual performance of the economy. This happened again this week, with universally-gloomy predictions for “black Friday,” the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Yesterday morning, the Boston Globe, to cite one of many examples, »

“In the ranks of honour”

Ron Radosh is the superb historian and author of The Rosenberg File (with Joyce Milton) and, most recently, Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left (with Allis Radosh). Radosh now presides over his own aptly titled Pajamas Media blog Ron Radosh. In his post “Will Bush-bashing end?,” he takes up the question of President Bush’s reputation in history: Speaking about this himself, the President told »

Thinking about Mumbai: India’s test, part 2

Our favorite State Department correspondent writes to comment: Excellent post on India. Too few people think clearly on India because we’re not used to dealing with them. I just wanted to comment on one small thing in the below paragraph: Meanwhile the government of Pakistan shows no sign of controlling its own army or I.S.I, which the Indian government has also fingered as fomenting terrorist plots against India. This situation »

Why has Obama avoided the Georgia race?

The runoff between incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Democratic contender Jim Martin takes place this Tuesday. Barack Obama has avoided appearing in Georgia on behalf of Martin. Turnout is always a challenge in a runoff election. Obama’s appearance would obviously lend significant assistance to the contender. Why has he avoided Georgia? It’s a puzzling question. The sagacious Michael Barone speculates that Obama does not yet want to risk his »

A question for football fans

The Washington Redskins have a situation with their offensive line that to me raises an interesting question. The situation, probably not unique to the Redskins, is this: our starting right tackle, veteran Jon Jansen, is considered an excellent run-blocker but at this stage of his career a less than stellar pass blocker. His back-up Stephon Heyer is said to be signifcantly better than Jansen in pass protection but not as »

Moderately misguided

I’m a bit surprised by the equanimity, at a minimum, with which many conservatives have greeted Obama’s decision to appoint the likes of Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, and Rahm Emanuel to key positions in his administration. But I probably shouldn’t be. We’ve seen this before. President Clinton’s selection of Stephen Breyer for the Supreme Court was greeted by conservatives with the same sort of relief now being expressed over Obama’s »

Somebody Get Me A Gun

This post should be read in conjunction with the one immediately below. It describes a microcosm of India’s failure to defend itself aggressively against Islamic terrorism. The hero of the story is Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor at the Mumbai Mirror, who took one of the most famous photos of the terrorists in action: D’Souza describes his experience at the railway terminal where many innocent Indians were murdered: “I first »

Thinking about Mumbai: India’s test

A well-informed friend who has been following events in Mumbai this past week offers the following reflections: If Al Qaeda and its terrorist allies wanted to serve a reminder that they declared World War IV on the civilized world (to borrow Norman Podhoretz’s formulation), they did so this week when they brazenly attacked the epicenter of the world’s fastest-growing economy, targeting Westerners and assassinating key enforcers of the anti-terror law »

Boris’ Goat

Thomas Sowell relates a fable for our time; the fact that it comes from Russia should be a warning: An old Russian fable tells of two poor peasants – Boris, who had a goat, and Ivan, who didn’t. One day, Ivan came upon a strange-looking lamp; when he rubbed it, a genie appeared. She told him that she could grant him just one wish, but it could be anything he »

Interrogating the Survivor

Apparently only one of the Islamic terrorists who attacked Mumbai survived. He is now being interrogated by Indian authorities, and information about the attack is starting to emerge. The survivor is a Pakistani named Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab. Kasab claims to be the person who murdered Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and other policemen. Evidently there were only ten terrorists involved in the attack, which seems like a low »

The boys under the bus

Edward Wasserman is the Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University. He recently wrote a column for the Miami Herald that comes to the defense of Dan Rather in his lawsuit against CBS. The column was drawn to my attention when it was republished this week by the Star Tribune under the heading “How Dan Rather got thrown under the bus.” Wasserman first notes that CBS considered »