ANDREW SULLIVAN, TRxc9S FRENCH

Like a Parisian civil servant, this websitex92s eponymous editor and author has vacated town for the month of August. Apparently, it took the mugginess of Dupont Circle summer to finally kick his blogging addiction. In this regard, dear reader, I can assure you that I am a better man, or at least a more hearty soul. It takes more than a little mugginess to dislodge me from my work. In fact, the Rothkoesque saddlebags of sweat on my sides only makes me stronger and more inclined to accept the challenge of temporarily filling Andrewx92s chair. (To my credit, I had the guts to turn down his request to temporarily tend to the beagle, boyfriend, and dry cleaning.)

My friends will be slightly surprised at my presence here. Despite my admiration for specific sites, like this one, Ix92m not the biggest fan of the blogospherex97especially not itx92s smugness, triumphalism, and general degradation of the life of the mind. Fortunately, Judge Posner has provided us with a jumping off point for a debate on this topic. As Josh Marshall might put it, more on this later.

posted by Frank.

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PTOWN MOMENT

Here are the two wonderful kids who have been hanging with their uncle and his partner for the week. I’ve had a blast, but I’m exhausted. How do parents do it?

Many, many thanks to Judith for pitching in and doing such a bang-up job. Next up on Monday: Frank Foer, senior editor at The New Republic, reguylar contributor to New York magazine, and author of “How Soccer Explains The World.” See you next weekend.

RAUCH ON SCOTUS: More sanity from the usual quarters on the post-Rehnquist court. Money quote:

Legally, incremental change seems more likely than revolution, continuity more likely than reversal. Politically, conservatives may be in for a surprise: The more conservative the Court, the more divided the conservatives.

That goes for politics more generally, I think. With liberalism so intellectually inert, all the most interesting discussions and debates are within conservatism itself.

GENERAL MILLER: We now have direct evidence that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller ordered the use of illegal interrogation tactics at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, was given permission by Donald Rumsfeld to break military law, and also lied about it. Money quote from the Washington Post:

On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 to review the handling and interrogation of prisoners. On Tuesday, a military interrogator testified that he had been trained in using dogs by a team sent to Iraq by Gen. Miller.

In statements to investigators and in sworn testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Miller denied that he recommended the use of dogs for interrogation, or that they had been used at Guantanamo. “No methods contrary to the Geneva Convention were presented at any time by the assistance team that I took to [Iraq],” he said under oath on May 19, 2004. Yet Army investigators reported to Congress this month that, under Gen. Miller’s supervision at Guantanamo, an al Qaeda suspect named Mohamed Qahtani was threatened with snarling dogs, forced to wear women’s underwear on his head and led by a leash attached to his chains — the very abuse documented in the Abu Ghraib photographs.

The court evidence strongly suggests that Gen. Miller lied about his actions, and it merits further investigation by prosecutors and Congress.

We need investigations into the actions not just of Miller but also of Rumsfeld, and indeed all those who sanctioned the breaking of U.S. and military law that led to the debacle of Abu Ghraib. The JAG memos show a deliberate conspiracy to break the laws of the land under the specious argument that the president is above the law in times of war. The response of the government was to scapegoat a handful of grunts who were just doing what they were authorized to do – from the very top.

BUSH SUCK-UP WATCH: “It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.” – John Hinderaker, Powerline.

THE FIRST TRANS-BLOGGER? A blogger goes from M to F in real time.

– posted by Andrew.

FARE THE WELL, ANDREW’S READERS

My eyes are blurry and my shoulders knotted. Yet, it was just one of those thing, just one of those crazy thing. A trip to the mass blog-world on borrowed wings. Just one of those things.

Thank you one and all and do keep in touch.

posted by Judith

MORE ON UNMENTIONABLES IN BEIJING

I mean the North Korean human rights violations . The name Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Deputy Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, brought to my mind the only time I met him. It was in Beijing at the opening of the first ever holocaust exhibit in China. It was a very festive affair filled with Chinese, American and Israeli diplomats.

My husband and I were teaching at the time at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing. We were mingling when approached by a Chinese diplomat. “Could you do me a favor,” he asked. “Could you tell me if this quote is supposed to be good or bad?” We went to look for the quote. It turned out to be one by Himmler to the effect that Jews were superior, able people. “Bad”, we said in unison before proceeding to give the confused Chinese a lesson in modern anti-Semitism.
posted by Judith

TOM FRIEDMAN HAS A MAJOR BLIND SPOT

He fails to understand the differences between democracies and tyrannies and, therefore, between Israel and the PA. In democracies, at election time, it’s always the economy, stupid. So, economic well being has always been important to Israeli governments, be they Labor or Likud. In fact, as Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters yesterday,

“We are in the midst of a big revolution, and Israel is becoming well-known in the international economy. We are growing faster than most developing economies in the world.”

The countries to compare Israel with is not the PA but Ireland and India. Not only are the three former British colonies engaged in a lengthy territorial conflict but they are also in the midst of a politically controversial but economically successful transformation from socialist to liberal economic systems.

Innovation is also the product of liberal democracies. Israel is a leading innovator and so is India. Indeed, the Israeli-Indian rapprochement is based in a large part on technological cooperation. China has to steal technology.

Democracies are messy but they work. I know that when one watches “Jaywalking,” one cannot but wonder. I believe the electorate is engaged in a mass exercise of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

In other words, democracies are not only moral, they are practical.
posted by Judith

THERE MUST BE LIMITS

Yesterday Michael Graham wrote in his column:

“I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization.”

He was suspended without pay pending investigation within hours, apparently, at the instigation of CAIR, a large organization with a mixed record at best.

Still, I am glad, as I explained in an old blog entitled We are engaged in a game of Go (Othello), not Chess.” we are either going to become like the enemy or the enemy is going to become like us. Graham extremist language is an example of us becoming more like the enemy, i.e., losing.

By the way, I also oppose applying the Geneva convention to terrorists. That convention, like the adoption of uniforms, was specifically designed to draw bright lines between governments, soldiers and civilians. If we are all soldiers, none of us are innocent civilians. By erasing the distinction, we erase the protection the distinction was designed to provide. Applying the convention to terrorists undermines the very purpose of the convention and would be a major victory for the religiously based mass murderers we are battling.
posted by Judith

BELIEVE IT

Jerusalem Post reprots:

One Palestinian was seriously injured in an explosion in the city of Tulkarm, Judea and Samaria police reported Thursday afternoon.

The explosion appeared to have been caused by a “work accident” when a bomb being manufactured or transported exploded prematurely, police assessed.

The man was brought in critical condition to the Shavei Shomron intersection to be taken for medical treatment, police said.

posted by Judith