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Between the Lines

March 19, 2004

Zawahiri no longer surrounded

We knew Japanese cars were tough, but doesn’t this seem just a bit absurd? Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 al-Qaida, appears to have escaped the Pakistani army by breaking out in a bullet-proof Toyota. Yesterday, the Pakistanis were said to have had helicopter gunships in the area. I wonder what happened to them.

Across the border in Afghanistan, a spokesman for the Taliban claims both Zawahiri and his boss, Osama bin Laden are safe on the Afghan side of the border.

In another tidbit, about 100 British special forces, apparently from the Secret Air Service, have been dispatched to the Afghan hinterlands to help U.S. forces that are sweeping mountainous redoubts in search of Bin Laden.

Posted by tbrown at 01:41 PM

Don’t get mad …

Just get John McCain to get even for you.

McCain was thoroughly slimed by the Bush campaign in 2000, when the senator from Arizona was, for a time, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. He must still be pretty steamed about it.

Last week, he said he’d entertain the idea of being Democrat John Kerry’s vice-presidential candidate if asked.

"John Kerry is a close friend of mine," McCain said in an ABC interview. "We have been friends for years."

McCain quickly said he was joking, but it was a poke in the eye anyway for an administration that already has a plate full of problems.

Then yesterday McCain defended Kerry’s record on national defense, in response to a harsh attack on the Democrat by Vice President Dick Cheney. "I don't think that. I think that John Kerry is a good and decent man. . . . I think he has different points of view on different issues, and he will have to explain his voting record. But this kind of rhetoric, I think, is not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice.''


Democrats can only hope this continues.

Posted by tbrown at 01:39 PM

Flashback – 1: Expectations and reality

The war with Iraq began a year ago today.

The Washington Post takes us back to those stirring days of March 2003, when the war was going to be quick and inexpensive, leading promptly to the spread of peace and democracy in the Middle East.

Things have not worked out that way, for the most part,” the Washington Post reports (free site regisration may be required). “There is evidence that the economic lives of Iraqis are improving, thanks to an infusion of U.S. and foreign capital. But the administration badly underestimated the financial cost of the occupation and seriously overstated the ease of pacifying Iraq and the warmth of the reception Iraqis would give the U.S. invaders. And while peace and democracy may yet spread through the region, some early signs are that the U.S. action has had the opposite effect.”

Posted by tbrown at 10:54 AM

Flashback – II: Bush’s speech on why war was necessary

Here’s the text of President Bush’s speech last March 19 as the assault on Iraq began.

My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.”

Posted by tbrown at 10:48 AM

Flashback III: Here’s what I wrote then

My first blog, Battle Lines, which later morphed into this one, began the week before the war, on March 10. From my first post:

“The waiting is about over. President Bush says Saddam Hussein has missed his final opportunity to disarm. So perhaps as early as next week we can expect Bush to act on his pledge to disarm Iraq by force.

“That makes me nervous. Not about the military outcome -- that's preordained.

“No, I'm nervous about how our pre-war diplomatic failures will affect our standing in the world. About the new wave of terrorism this war could unleash. About the reconstruction of Iraq and the stabilizing of whatever government winds up running it. And about what will happen when the administration gets around to focusing on the far greater potential menace of North Korea. That one makes the back of my neck prickle. …”

Posted by tbrown at 10:47 AM

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Zawahiri no longer surrounded
Don’t get mad …
Flashback – 1: Expectations and reality
Flashback – II: Bush’s speech on why war was necessary
Flashback III: Here’s what I wrote then


Blogs to watch

Abu Ardvark
Andrew Sullivan
Atrios Eschaton
Best of the Web
Drudge Report
Joe Conason (subscription required)
Josh Marshall
Kaus files
No More Mr. Nice Blog
Real Clear Politics
The Corner
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Whiskey Bar

Mideast blogs

Salam Pax (Iraq)
G. in Baghdad
L.T. Smash (U.S. military in Iraq)
Lady Sun (Iran)

City blogs

L.A. Examiner

Africa blogs

Cathy Buckle

Media blogs

Dan Gillmor's eJournal
Media Whores Online


Newspapers online (guide to papers on the web)
International Herald Tribune
The Guardian U.K.
New York Times (free registration required)

Economy blogs

Brad DeLong

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