Henry Moore sculpture stolen
And a related question: If the sculpture's so valuable, was there no security?
Professor Bainbridge very much expresses my own thoughts on the election: "Who can deny that the election today in Iraq is a good thing? The voting reportedly went remarkably well. Yet, the triumphalism I'm seeing on the war blogs and hearing on talk radio strikes me as unwarranted. Democracy is a lot more than elections. The old Soviet Union had elections, after all. Iran has elections all the time, which lately have been electing hard line Islamofascists, a point that strikes me as very relevant to today's events. Heck, even Hitler got elected back in 1933. So let's not count our chickens before they hatch. If five years from now, Iraq is a peaceful, multi-ethnic federal state, we can all look back on today fondly. If five years from now, Iraq is run by a pro-Iranian bunch of Shia mullahs and riven by ethnic strife, today will have meant exactly squat. The mission is not accomplished."
As many of you know, I've been extremely critical of the conduct of the war in, and occupation of, Iraq. But I do hope this election proves to be of lasting success. After all, however much we may dislike President Bush, however much we may be critical of his mismanaged war, what matters here is the well-being of the Iraqi people.
Yesterday was an incredible day in Iraq. Saddam and his barbarous regime are gone and there was -- gasp! -- a democratic election in the heart of the Middle East. All those voters, all those purple fingers -- that means something.
But now the hard work of building a democracy, a liberal democracy, continues.
Are the Iraqis up to the task? I suspect they are.
I certainly hope so.
The White House and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reached agreement today on a measure that would ban torture and limit interrogation tactics in U.S. detention facilities, a provision that the Bush administration had strongly resisted but that received broad support in Congress.
The agreement, announced after President Bush met with McCain and Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) in the White House, came a day after the House overwhelmingly approved language supported by McCain that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government. The Senate approved the provision by a lopsided margin earlier.
Instapundit has a solid round-up here. I also recommend Michael Kinsley's latest piece at Slate, which carefully (and, in my view, successfully) takes apart Charles Krauthammer's reprehensible argument for torture -- see here.
We all know President Bush is responsible for the decision to go to war. He's the president. Who else could be responsible (well, see below)? And it's fine to say that he's responsible for fixing "what went wrong". But by "what went wrong" he meant the pre-war proliferation of bad intelligence. As he put it in his speech, "much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong". But this wasn't solely an American problem, for "many intelligence agencies around the world judged that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction".There are at least three significant problems here.
A few weeks ago, I went to see Rich among the faithful, giving a talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Each year, the 92nd Street Y brings in a roster of eminences, from Alan Alda to Barbara Boxer, designed to draw out the old lions of Manhattan liberalism. A sign of Rich's star power is that tickets for his "evening with" had sold out well in advance, as they do every time he visits the Y. The lobby had the giddy buzz of a rock concert, and I spotted an elderly woman, suffering from age or just desperation to see her hero, attempt twice to sneak into the auditorium without a ticket. Inside, the audience hung on Rich's every word, nodding vigorously when he skewered George W. Bush ("I think he has lost the trust of the country") and resignedly when he skewered the Democrats ("I think the Democrats are pathetic"). Within a half-hour the synchronous head-bobbing had reached a level achieved only by a few rock acts; I imagine the aging ladies in the front row were ready to pelt Rich with their underwear, if only they had been able to stand.
Five years ago today Al Gore phoned George Bush to formally concede the presidency. Since then the United States has suffered it's worst ever terrorist attack, become embroiled in a disastrous foreign war and bungled the response to a natural catastrophe. So what is the Bush legacy after half a decade? Is he a ruthless Machiavellian or a bumbling puppet? A devout idealist or a cynical opportunist? A disaster or a mild disappointment?
Violence triggered by race tensions has hit Sydney for a second night, with youths damaging cars and shops.
A reporter in the suburb of Cronulla, where dozens were arrested after riots on Sunday, described scenes of "chaos".
Police said carloads of people had come into the area from other parts of Sydney and committed violent acts. Australian Prime Minister John Howard condemned the weekend's attacks by thousands of young white men on people of Arabic and Mediterranean background.
Let's summarize: Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frigthened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid...
Maye's case is an outrage. Prentiss, Mississippi clearly violated Maye's civil rights the moment its cops needlessly and recklessly stormed his home in the middle of the night. The state of Mississippi is about to add a perverse twist to that violation by executing Maye for daring to defend himself.
Bush may yet rebound, at least in terms of popularity, if not in terms of actual achievement -- and certainly not in terms of the kind of actual achievement that I and his other critics would like to see -- what we would call positive achievement.
But "the record so far suggests that Bush is not likely to change in any fundamental way in the three years that remain in his term".
And that means, poll numbers and approval ratings notwithstanding, that we're stuck with Bush's faith-based mismanagement of the affairs of state.