This just kind of leaves me speechless and breathless: "A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred." If the number is even half that, well then ... I really don't know to say.

Meanwhile, are these guys trying to protect us? More than five years after 9-11, only 33 out of 12,000 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in areas that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, here. (And don't tell me they can't recruit Arabic speakers. Five years is plenty of time to learn Arabic.) More bad news on that front here. Meanwhile, speaking of this glorious adminstration's bravery and competence, what really happened at Haditha? William Langewiesche takes 14,551 words in the current Vanity Fair to tell us, here, and it ain't pretty. Well, neither is losing three sons ($), owing to the lies of your president. Our condolences ...

And, oh yeah, North Korea.

(McCain's straight-talking, mavericky solution? Blame Clinton. Brilliant. I sure hope he finds a way to get booked on ABC's This Week someday.)

I wrote a short online column for The Nation called "AIPAC Runs Right." It's not about AIPAC's foreign policy; it's about the organization's domestic policy, and it's here.

Speaking of which, the Cooper Union debate on the Israel lobby can be viewed here.

And speaking of that, the Foxman/ADL assault on Tony Judt's right of free speech by Todd Gitlin, here. Longtime readers will know that I tend not trust The New York Observer's reporting, based on repeated personal experiences, but this long article strikes me as accurate. (I signed Mark Lilla's petition, by the way.)

And speaking of that, I'm a little confused by this paragraph in Tim Rutten's review of Karen DeYoung's biography of Colin Powell, here. He writes:

There is one bit of malice at work in the Powell-DeYoung version of these now familiar events that should not pass unremarked upon. According to the author, the then-secretary went out of his way to identify the pro-war neoconservatives as affiliates of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a think-tank with decidedly hard-line views on Israel's security. "Powell referred to Rumsfeld's team as the 'JINSA crowd.' " Later in "Soldier," readers are told that the neoconservatives in the Defense Department -- nearly all of them Jews -- supported war against Iraq as the first step to replacing Arab despots with democratic governments that would sever their ties to the Palestinians, thereby enhancing Israel's security. In explaining why he did not resign over his profound differences with the White House, Powell cited the example of Gen. George C. Marshall, who refused to quit as secretary of State even though he opposed President Truman's recognition of Israel as a quest for "Jewish votes."

Whatever his bitterness over his mistreatment, Powell knows that these old and wholly unmeritorious allegations of dual loyalty are a slander. He knows better, and so does DeYoung. Their presence in this book is another blot on his record.

Well, here's my confusion. How does Rutten know what Powell knows? How does he know what DeYoung knows? And how, of course, does he know that all allegations of dual loyalty are a "slander?" In fact, how does he know that they are not merely not slander, but demonstrable, after all, Powell was there and he wasn't. I can't know, not having been there, but I do know that in recent weeks, I have read an article in The Weekly Standard complaining that Jews pay too much attention to politics in the United States and not enough to what's good for Israel. I read one by a rabbi in Newsweek berating Jews for caring about, say, the war in Iraq more than the political fate of Joe Lieberman. I read a similar blog item, if I'm not mistaken, on NRO calling Jews idiots for exactly this reason. One would almost think that the word "slander" here was designed to shut down conversation about this entire topic....

Now there's a great idea: Israel Bars New Palestinian Students From Its Universities, here.

Just as Myra MacPherson has done, people are using her I.F. Stone biography to write about Walter Lippmann. That's fine, but even though it's just a typo, I still take it as a bad sign when someone misspells the name Walter Lippmann as this review in The Washington Post does. It was after all, Lippmann's paper. In The Nation this week, a writer tries to make the case that Lippmann is "irrelevant today." That would be news to those who know, for instance, Public Opinion as one of the most influential works of political philosophy of the 20th century; or even those who know Ronald Steel's Lippmann biography as one of the most valuable political biographies of the past 35 years. It's certainly possible, as MacPherson shows, to praise Stone without denigrating Lippmann -- or at least denigrating him fairly and intelligently. (The review also criticizes Frank Rich for not attacking the Times enough, one sentence before the writer admits that he never criticizes the institutions for which he works; a curious moral position to say the least.) Meanwhile, Jon Wiener's discussion of Richard Hofstadter may be the best of this much-reviewed book, which rivals only Peter Beinart's in its ability to generate long, thoughtful reviews. That's here.

Doonesbury has a new military blog here. It's enormously compelling, and while we're here, Garry Trudeau is a great American.

People who ignorantly argue that blogs can replace the MSM need to read this terrific four-part Times series on faith-based tax evasion. It's incredible, and there's nothing like it without The New York Times. (And if you suscribe to Times Select, and you should check out this detailed report by David Unger on our indefensible national security budget. In fact, a great many of these talking points are terrific. I liked this one as well.

Oh, Susan D. Moeller and Moisés Naím make a similar point in a different context, here, regarding Anna Politkovskaya.

I see our boy Siva has co-edited the new, big, fat issue of American Quarterly, titled "Rewiring the 'Nation: The Place of Technology in American Studies." It's not really my thing, but more here.

Did Time's John Cloud protect Mark Foley back in 2003? That argument (with evidence) is here.

Should you read Business Week? (And I don't know what this story is about, but my guess is it's not good.)

Could someone at TNR please tell Marty Peretz -- as gently as possible because he's had trouble with his heart -- that Joe Lieberman tried and failed to get Al Sharpton's support for his campaign before Lamont did ...

"Neocon Ethics" by David Brooks

From the Times' letters page:

To the Editor:

Shortly before the start of the 2005 baseball season, after the New York Mets had endured three consecutive dismal seasons, David Brooks declared his readiness to "switch my allegiance from the beloved Mets to the new team of my adopted town." He wrote, "I will become a fan of the Washington Nationals" ("Whose Team Am I On?," column, March 29, 2005).

Now that the Nationals have completed an awful season and the Mets are in the playoffs, Mr. Brooks has thrown a changeup, writing of the tortured life of an angst-ridden Mets fan.

Mr. Brooks now writes of the "true Mets fan." But he can't be "a true Mets fan." For true Mets fans, wherever we are in the world, and wherever the Mets are in the standings, during times of misery and times of euphoria, our allegiance is unconditional and eternal.

Joseph Schick
Flushing, Queens, Oct. 8, 2006

From the Benton Foundation:

HERE'S THE FCC'S PLAYBOOK FOR BURYING NET NEUTRALITY [SOURCE: TPM Cafe 10/5, AUTHOR: Art Brodsky, Public Knowledge] [Commentary]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning in the next couple of weeks to begin an inquiry into Net Neutrality. On the surface, that might appear to be an enlightened, even noble, action for the agency to take. It's not. Beneath the surface, the reality is that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's planned Notice of Inquiry on Net Neutrality is an audacious triple play with the goals of greasing the largest telecom merger in history, relieving pressure on a key piece of legislation, and burying the Net Neutrality concept for good. Chairman Martin's actions should be seen as dodge they really are. FCC Commissioners Copps and Adelstein should insist on strong non-discrimination language as part of the AT&T takeover of BellSouth. They should either dissent to the bogus Notice of Inquiry or, at the least, point out the reality of the situation. And pending telecom legislation in Congress should be allowed to die after the election. Then, perhaps next year, a serious discussion about protecting the open Internet can take place.

[SOURCE: San Antonio Business Journal]

Clear Channel Communications officials may be lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to raise the cap on the number of radio stations a broadcaster can legally own. However, the results of a San Antonio Business Journal online poll show that a majority of survey participants don't agree with that move. 66 percent of people who participated in the online poll said that the existing FCC caps on local radio-ownership limits should not be raised. A number of other people who voted in the poll also said allowing further consolidation would lead to an even greater degradation of content. Several who voted in the poll said the caps, in fact, should be lowered in order to allow for more diversity of station owners, and thus, greater diversity of content. That's because the media already is under the control of too few players, some said. Twenty-four percent of those who voted in the poll said the FCC should raise the existing cap on radio stations. Another 8 percent were undecided.

An announcement:

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15 - St. Mark's Church In The Bowery
All-Star Benefit Concert for The Fund For Public Schools
2:00-5:00 PM, reception following in The Parish House.
Suggested Donation. 131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Ave.) Tel 212 674 6377
Featuring 2006 FONT Music artists and special guests including Henry Grimes, John Zorn, Andrew Cyrille, Dave Douglas, Steven Bernstein, Jonathan Finlayson, Peter Evans, Marcus Rojas, Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, The Practical Trumpet Society, and many others.

All proceeds will be donated to the Fund for Public Schools and directly benefit music programs in New York City schools.

And finally: Congratulations to Diana Roberta Silver, who is defending her dissertation today!

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Jeff Sommers
Hometown: Vancouver

Hi Eric:

Cubana Flight 466 may have been the first civilian flight to be bombed in midair but it was not the only one. In June 1985, Air India Flight 186 exploded in midair off the coast of Ireland. All 329 people on board, including 280 Canadians and 82 children, were killed. The bombing was likely in retaliation for Indira Gandhi's occupation of the Golden Temple (for which she was also assassinated). Only one of three suspects has ever been convicted of anything. Last year, the trial of the other two suspects collapsed under the weight of police (willful?) incompetence.

Name: Mark
Hometown: Portland, OR

I think it would be an interesting list to compare the book titles and authors that critique the Bush and Clinton administrations, as written during their respective first six years. I don't have quite the time or know-how to compile this list, and maybe it's already out there. But I hazard to guess that the Clinton era books would be mostly about the evils associated with the Whitewater scandal, mostly fictitious narratives about his sex life, and general denunciations, written mostly by highly partisan, politically motivated authors. In comparison, books on the Bush administration, (so far -- and the worst may be yet to come) include titles like Losing Iraq, Squandered Victory, Fiasco, Hubris, State of Denial, etc., written mostly by serious journalists and researchers. And thus we get a sense of how history will view this dark time.

Name: Marty
Hometown: Boulder


Just a technical correction on the two bonus tracks on the remastered version of Living in the Material World. Both tracks were previously released, but neither was included on an album before. "Deep Blue" is the B-Side to Harrison's 1971 charity single, "Bangla Desh," while "Miss O'Dell" is the B-Side to Harrison's chart topping 1973 single, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)." It's nice to finally have these tracks on an album.

Hopefully, the bonus tracks on the remastered version of Harrison's 1974 album Dark Horse will include "I Don't Care Anymore," the B-Side to that album's title track.

Name: Tim Kane
Hometown: In transition

Of all the "unique" terms used by President George W. Bush, the one that sticks out most in my mind, is "catastrophic success."

Pyrrhic victory is so yesterday now.

Historians will have to try really hard to find a better term to describe the Bush presidency.

Name: Michael Kircher
Hometown: Kensington, MD

The fact that you think "Babs" is magnificent at anything musically related at all really colors everything you've ever said about Springsteen, or pretty much anything about music. She and her musak is/are the epitome of dreck. Pap. She and Celine Dion will live forever in elevator music purgatory for all the harm they've caused, for the lowering of standards, for the embarrassing riches they've aquired through their hideous art. Blech.

Eric replies: Dear Michael Kircher of Kensington, MD: I actually pay a guy to keep moronic emails like yours out of my sight. He sent me this one, I'm guessing, to remind me of what a good job he usually does. Anyway, the fact that you bothered to write the above leads me to believe that you lead a pretty empty life where nobody cares what you think about anything. I tend to hold with the majority on that. If any of you know Michael Kircher of Kensington, MD, do the guy a favor and humor him when he talks, so he can live a more productive life than the kind which leads him to send emails like the above. And hey, Mike, Andrew Sullivan has a really great site. I'm sure he'd love having you as a correspondent over there.

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