The Corner

Free Fall

Another day, another explosive classified leak published in the New York Times.

This time, it’s a November memo from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to the White House, urging a complete rethinking of military strategy in Iraq.  The Times today publishes the classified memo in conjunction with its page-one story.

The memo itself is extraordinarily interesting, even to us non-military types, especially given (a) how little regard Sec’y Rumsfeld seems to have for a lot of the strategy either currently being employed or likely to be proposed by the Iraq Study Group; and (b) how Rumsfeld seems a lot more interested in quick strike capability against al Qaeda and Iran elements than having U.S. forces enmeshed in Iraq’s sectarian infighting.  It will be a lot more interesting to get analysis from people like Mac Owens, Jim Robbins and Fred Kagan — who actually know what they’re talking about in this regard — than from me.

My strictly non-military observation, based on many years in government, is:  We appear to be in for two years of increasing dysfunction. 

If high officials — in wartime, no less – figure they better not give their best, most candid advice on sensitive, publicly-charged issues because opposing policy factions are going to leak each other’s memos to the press, the initiative and creativity of the smart people we want in government is stifled.  And the leaks will be used to portray the administration as disintegrating into rancorous chaos, which avalanche feeds on itself.

Like watching a train-wreck in slow motion.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
Immigration

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More
NR Webathon

Socialism Is about Taking, Not Giving

The snakiest of snake-oil pitches goes like this: Give us some of your freedom and we’ll take care of you. Socialists have been making similar claims back as far as Plato. The end result doesn’t have to be Venezuela. It can just be . . . Europe. What’s wrong with Europe? Despite a turn away from ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More