The Late David Rosenbaum on Jack Abramoff
England Is an Island (Japan too)

George Packer on Inept Iraq Viceroy L. Paul Bremer

George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate, on L. Paul Bremer:

The Viceroy : About some things, Bremer was more far-sighted and right than... Washington. He knew... that... Moqtada Sadr... would establish a reign of terror in the Shiite south if they weren't checked by force... Washington, especially the Pentagon... kept losing its nerve.... Bremer understood the importance of the interim constitution known as the Transitional Administrative Law.... [H]e also worried early on that there were not enough U.S. troops.... [But] instead of saying publicly that the troop levels were inadequate, he always parroted an administration line that he knew to be wrong. With American and Iraqi lives at stake... this kind of loyalty was a hollow virtue.

Bremer... passes silently over... problems.... In the memoir, he and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez... are in broad, if laconic, agreement.... In reality, they despised each other.... Bremer resisted almost any encroachment on his decision-making power.... A number of administration officials felt that Bremer's Authority had become... unaccountable... and there were fitful efforts by headquarters to rein [him] in.... None of these struggles comes in for any analysis or acknowledgment....

Bremer does have two antagonists in this book.... Donald Rumsfeld, grew impatient with the U.S. presence in Iraq... never wanted to commit his military... [did] as much as any individual to doom the effort.... Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani... Bremer failed to see... that nothing truly important could be done by the CPA without his consent... an unelected holy man was not going to tell him how to run Iraq; Sistani's stubbornness and hard bargains filled Bremer with impatience and a trace of condescension. In the year-long contest of wills between these two men, Bremer's limitations are on full display....

As I write this in Baghdad, the lights are out across the city, and the Black Hawk helicopters rumble overhead. The sense of possibility in Bremer's subtitle has been largely extinguished.... There is a tragedy in [Bremer's] story that someone else will have to write, for Bremer's failings as a man and writer are also America's failure in Iraq...

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.