AL-QAEDA WANTS THE U.S. IN IRAQ.Marc Lynchasks why so few in the media seem to have mentioned this. In a letter purportedly from a top al-Qaeda leader to the organization's Iraqi branch, the author writes:
Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God's permission.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ALONG CAME A SPIDER. As Christopher Moraffreports, the U.S. isn't merely continuing its longstanding opposition to international efforts to ban landmines -- it's actually reviving an active landmine program of its own.
RETURN OF THE LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. Writing in this month's Cato Unbound, Markoslays out the case for Libertarian Democrats -- a socially libertarian, fiscally moderate ideology he's been formulating over the past couple of months. Reading the essay, it would seem we could as easily be talking about Technocratic Democrats, or Silicon Valley voters, or some fraction of the electorate completely driven by upwardly mobile, white collar concerns. His primary examples of the market's magic are how Google outraced Microsoft, and how Indians have ascended to high positions in software development.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STONE COLD UNTRUTHS.It'sAlterman on Berman on McPherson on Stone. Eric Alterman was angered by Paul Berman's review essay about I.F. Stone in Sunday's New York Times Book Review, and he's written a rejoinder. Take a look.
BAI ON DEAN.Matt Bai's piece in The New York Times Magazine about Howard Dean's tenure at the Democratic National Committee bodes well for Bai's upcoming book on the Democrats, the lead time on which I do not envy him, since I can see about three perfectly valid, if mutually exclusive, premises for such a project all going completely up the spout in the next three weeks. The magazine feature was nuanced, subtle, and, for the first time in a long while, treated Dean as someone who might actually know what he's doing.
THEY'VE ALL GOT NEWT'S TALKING POINTS. As I scrolled through my e-mail this morning, I was greeted by one with this charming subject line: "Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal." It was from Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Perkins uses the Mark Foleyscandal to assert the following: "While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two." The problem with this is that it isn't true.
CONDI VISITS THE "NEW MIDDLE EAST." The State Department announced last week that Secretary Rice would be visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, with the aim of engaging what she characterized as "moderate" Arabs. And here she is, in the region for the first time after the pointless war in Lebanon, which saw U.S. standing in the region plunge to new depths.
CT SEN: LIEBERMAN TO KEEP SENIORITY?The Hillreports today that Sen. Joe Lieberman, who left the Democratic Party in August to run for the Senate under a banner of his own making, may be able to keep his seniority in the caucus after all.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, the longtime Democratic senator from Connecticut running for re-election as an independent, says the party leadership has assured him he would keep his seniority if he returns to Congress.
Local Democrats are responding with irritation, political opponents voice disbelief, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) denies making a decision.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE DREAM-KILLER.Mattexplains why war with Iran is a far more serious possibility than many seem to think, and why understanding this is "especially important for liberals hoping to think creatively about the future of American foreign policy: a war with Iran would, in essence, render all of our grand schemes moot."