Gershom Gorenbergwrites about how hardened assumptions about the Middle East, combined with a tendency to willfully ignore the interests of individual regimes in favor of a grand strategic framework, have often blinded American policymakers to reality in the region.
Indulging in one of his periodictirades against Christians who have the bad form to call attention to the widespread human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation, Marty Peretzinveighs against those perfidious Methodists, noting with apparent satisfaction a drop in church membership:
Newsweekreports on Muqtada al-Sadr's role vis-a-vis the surge:
Gen. David Petraeus has been deservedly praised for tamping down violence in Iraq, but an unlikely character deserves some credit—Sadr. Five months ago the firebrand cleric ordered his followers to lay down their arms, and they've largely obeyed...American officers now talk about "splitting the seams" within the Shiite militia—working with moderates in the group to isolate the radicals, similar to the strategy adopted to tame the Sunni insurgency.
If we were concerned about Iranian influence, we should not have had this government installed in the first place, [and] we shouldn't have invaded [Iraq] in the first place. It was part of the reason that I think it was such a profound strategic error for us to go into this war in the first place.
Let's all just take a moment to thank our lucky stars that Rudy Giuliani, a man who relentlessly tried to capitalize on the fear and confusion that Americans felt, and still feel, about 9/11, who tried and tried to sell himself as the embodiment of America's rage and the instrument of its unreasoning vengeance, and who offered America nothing but a future of disunity at home and endless war abroad, will not be president. If you have a loved one nearby, go hug him or her now.