Haggai's Place

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Your humble narrator is...
...a research analyst at a think tank in the Washington DC area. Born in Israel, raised in Kentucky, movie fanatic and sports nut.
My first-hand account of the Palestinian divestment conference at the U. of Michigan

:: Saturday, May 22, 2004 ::

My favorite blog is definitely Josh Marshall's. But what was he busting out near the end of this post, which discusses what's going on behind the scenes within the Bush administration regarding Chalabi:
[W]hat we're seeing here is less the result of new revelations than the outward signs of deep tectonic shifts within the US government -- the discrediting of some factions and agencies, the attempts of others to reposition themselves in a moment of acute crisis and get ahead of the storm, and the freeing up of others to assert themselves for the first time in years.

It's probably too dramatic to compare this to the bubbles, choppy water and occasional scraps churned up by a Piranha feeding. But the struggles that are giving rise to all these leaks and tergiversations of the state are the real story -- one that it is difficult to see directly, but possible to glimpse in what we can infer from its effects and repercussions.
Not that I have the world's greatest vocabulary, but where the hell did that word come from? Looking it up reveals a couple of definitions:
1. equivocation, tergiversation -- falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language
2. apostasy, tergiversation -- the act of abandoning a party or cause
It seems like Marshall is using the second meaning there, apostasy, in that the administration is casting Chalabi off after having supported him for so long. But, come on, how many people know what that word means?
10:34 AM
:: Thursday, May 20, 2004 ::
Running out of people to blame
So now Ahmad Chalabi's compound has been raided by "U.S. military personnel and Iraqi police." I wonder who Chalabi's remaining defenders will blame for this, since they've been attacking everybody except the Pentagon and the White House, the people who have been in complete control of the Iraq policy from the beginning. For instance, this bit of comedy about how the State Department and the CIA somehow managed to foil Rumsfeld's heroic plans to bring Chalabi into the country with 10,000 armed fighters. I wonder how they managed to accomplish that--the sheer power of the Colin Powell Brigades, a separate branch of the US Army directly under State's control?

Apparently Chalabi's aides are blaming a "smear campaign by the CIA." Hmmm...last time I checked, if "US military personnel" were involved, that means the Pentagon was involved.
11:37 AM
:: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 ::
This sounds pretty bad
The latest from Gaza:
Eight Palestinians were killed and dozens were wounded Wednesday afternoon when Israel Defense Forces helicopter gunships and tanks fired missiles and shells at a crowd of protestors in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip...

An estimated 3,000 people were marching to the nearby Tel Sultan neighborhood of the camp, to protest the IDF invasion in that area, when the strike occurred.

Military sources said that troops had spotted the approaching demonstrators, among them armed men, and asked a helicopter to fire a warning missile at an open field. But when the crowd continued to march, a tank fired three shells at the nearby abandoned building to ward the protesters off.

Senior IDF officers said that if there was indeed a mistake in the firing of the shell, it would be a grave fault that would affect the continuation of the ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Mixing armed terrorists in with unarmed crowds is a favorite Palestinian tactic, but is firing missiles and tank shells a justifiable method of crowd control? Doesn't look good to me.
2:04 PM
:: Sunday, May 16, 2004 ::
"That's interesting."
I certainly think that Ted Kennedy went too far when he recently said, "we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - U.S. management." That's drawing an equivalence that shouldn't be made.

However, shouldn't we also be confident that we're operating on a more principled level than the villains from Pirates of the Caribbean? This quote from Captain Barbossa becomes a sort of theme about the "Pirate's Code" that comes back a few more times later in the movie. Tell me this doesn't remind you of the administration's attitudes regarding the Geneva Conventions:
First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I must do nothin'. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply, and you're not. And thirdly, the Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.

12:01 PM

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