IRAN VERSUS THE ARAB STATES. An intriguing subplot I've overlooked so far in the Lebanon situation has been the attitude of the "axis of pro-American dictators" (to coin a phrase) which is extremely close to the main line of analysis we've heard from American and Israeli hawks. Take this reporting in The Jerusalem Post:
MY OH MY, WE DO HAVE A BETTER PRESS CORPS. Having already offered up an example of the press corps at its worst, let me now turn to how it looks at its best. Last week saw the release of data showing federal tax revenues far exceeding estimates. True to form, the Bush administration credited its tax cuts, arguing that they spurred the economy, generated massive growth, and proved Supply-Side Economics. Arthur Laffer lives!
A WARNING FOR PODHORETZ.John Podhoretz's attempts to use a single DailyKos diary to characterize the views of all the "Kos Kids" is illustrative of either mendacity or ignorance, but certainly one of the two. Given that he later makes a big show of being uninformed -- "I am not familiar with the posting rules and systems on Daily Kos, because I have better things to do than know them" -- I'll be charitable and assume he's just a really, really, really lazy commentator, and not a willful liar.
BLOCK THAT METAPHOR! Recently, at something called the Aspen Ideas Festival -- and how did Plato and the rest of them manage without having an Ideas Fest, I ask you -- Bill Clinton said the following concerning the situation in Iraq: "Once you break the eggs, you have a responsibility to make an omelet."
OUR FARCICALLY DISAPPOINTING PRESS CROPS. If I were crafting a parody of the political media's decline, I could hardly construct a better set piece than today's reportage. A live mic at the G8 Summit caught Tony Blair and George Bush talking privately about the conflict in Lebanon. Given the relative opacity of Bush's thoughts on the situation, the frank discussion offered a fair amount of insight and a couple nuggets of news, including that he was going to send Condi to the region (or possibly the U.N.
EQUALLY -- YES! I was really hoping that my claim that Israel's targeting of Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and Hezbollah's use of indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli cities were "equally indefensible" would bring forth an outraged condemnation of my "moral equivalence." It seems I'll have to settle for Jon Chaitsaying he doesn't "see how [I] could morally equate the actions of the two sides."
GORE WATCH: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY EDITION. There are, I hasten to acknowledge, much more important things going on in the world at the moment, but nevertheless this passage from EW's cover story on Al Gore includes a softer Gore line on the "running for prez" question than I've seen before from the man:
ISRAEL IS NOT INDIA. I would join with Jonah Goldberg's criticism of today's Sebastian Mallaby column. That India has shown impressive restraint in responding to its rival Pakistan doesn't necessarily offer a template or commentary on the Israel-Hezbollah situation. Israel's calculus in attacking a non-nuclear, largely diffuse enemy that's incapable of matching their military strength is rather different than India's decision to refrain from courting nuclear war against a large state. That's not to say Israel's actions are right or wrong, but it's a specific situation with its own history and context that deserves to be analyzed as such.