In the Arena In the Arena

Helping Al Qaeda Get Buff

The New York Times piece today about the new generation of Al Qaeda leaders has this quote from Rob Richer, formerly of the CIA:

“The jihadis returning from Iraq are far more capable than the mujahedeen who fought the Soviets ever were,” said Robert Richer, who was associate director of operations in 2004 and 2005 for the C.I.A.

UPDATE: Follow the Money…

Wow. That was fast. Hillary Clinton’s campaign reports she raised $36 million. Important number here is the new money–$26 million–which is about triple the first-quarter record set by Al Gore, but just a tad under the figures her competitors were speculating:



In the Arena In the Arena

Today’s Surge News

This excellent piece by Edward Wong, the story of the casual assasination of a Sunni woman, is heartbreaking. It speaks to the difficulties in stopping the ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods, even though the Shiite militias have gone to ground. Note that the Iraqi troops involved are Kurds, not Arabs. Kurds are not native Arab-speakers, …

By Popular Demand

After so many commenters last week smacked me and professed what is apparently an insatiable demand for coverage of health care policy (you know who you are, Jake Gittes and Brad DeLong), I thought I should provide a link to my story in this week’s dead-tree TIME. There will be a quiz.

P.S. There’s plenty more in the mag this week to …

In the Arena In the Arena

McCain Donkey Dance

Today’s story in the Hill about John McCain’s flirtation with joining the Democratic Party certainly is astonishing, and yet no so. If I remember correctly, John Weaver was in a totally disgusted, party-switching mood himself around that time, and did some work for the DLC. (The presence of Bull Moose Marshall Wittman–who pointedly …

In the Arena In the Arena

Report from the Last Surge

The violence in Tal Afar is all the more depressing because that city was the site of the most recent, pre-Baghdad experiment in counter-insurgency tactics. The estimable scholar-warrior Col H.R. McMaster led the effort, and Bush praised it at the time…and it fell apart as soon as the Americans left.

The point is, as I’ve said before: …

News from the Sampson Hearing


Sen. Charles Schumer then asked about Gonzales also claiming that he saw no documents on this matter.

Sampson replied: “I don’t think it’s entirely accurate.”

Schumer: “There was repeated discussions?”

Sampson : “Yes.”

Schumer: “As many as, say, five.”

Sampson: “Yes.”

Schumer then asked if Gonzales was truthful in saying

Debate Prep–for Me

Well, not debate exactly, but definitely prep, which I can always use…

Commenter Terrapin writes:

Karen – I am thrilled to see that you are scheduled to appear on the Diane Rehm Show tomorrow morning at 10am EST. Although conservative voices consistently outweigh progressive voices on her panel it is still one of the best shows on

Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Last night was the second-biggest cocktail weenie roast of the year: The Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, also known as “Junior Prom.” It’s a lot like the White House correspondents’ dinner, but with fewer fake famous people and worse entertainment. But the wine is free and if you, like me, get a kick out seeing …

Reality Check from Baghdad

I was intrigued by John McCain’s assertion on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show that “there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today.”

As it happens, Brian Bennett, the TIME correspondent who normally sits in the office next to mine, is in Baghdad at the moment. In my continuing …

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