Today's Blogs

More From the Cedar Revolution

Bloggers discuss the resounding anti-Syrian victory in Sunday’s Lebanese elections, consider the merits of military withdrawal from Iraq, and puzzle over the possibility of time travel.

More from the Cedar Revolution: An anti-Syrian coalition led by the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri won a Parliamentary majority Sunday in the final leg of Lebanon’s monthlong election. The New York Times details the late rally that carried Saad Hariri’s ticket to victory.

Noting that Hariri’s alliance swept the 28 seats in the north of Lebanon, Georgia conservative Considerettes writes, “The Syrian army may have been occupying Lebanon all this time at the invitation of the Lebanese government, but certainly not the Lebanese people. The Syrians overplayed their hand with the assassination of PM Hariri, and the people have finally spoken.”

At Captain’s Quarters, Ed Morrissey is similarly impressed by the reversal of fortune. “The course of the next four years appears to be set, as the Hariri-led government will pursue policies which pull away from Syrian influence – and Lebanon has its own elected government for the first time in decades,” he writes. “It’s an amazing and dramatic result for a country who appeared to be prostrate under the Syrian thumb.” Morrissey is one of many praising the effectiveness of President Bush’s Middle East policy. “Domino Down,” pronounces John-Paul Pagano at Fightin’ With Grabes.

Web designer and consultant Jay Reding takes his optimism with a dose of pragmatism. “Hariri has much work ahead of him to keep the factitious Lebanese people together and reach out to Lebanon’s Christian population,” he says. “However, the Cedar Revolution has been one which has crossed ethnic lines, and Lebanon is tired of years of war and occupation. Beirut was once considered the Paris of the Middle East, and after years of being synonymous with violence and destruction, it has a chance to return to its more glorious reputation.”

Read more about the elections in Lebanon.

Symptoms of withdrawal:With growing debate about the resiliency of the Iraqi insurgency, some leading political bloggers have begun to discuss the plausibility of, and necessary conditions for, a military withdrawal. 

A continued military presence emboldens the insurgency, argues Mathew Yglesias at TPM Cafe. He thinks that withdrawal would be a step toward fulfilling long-term goals for Iraq, not a neglectful betrayal or an admission of failure. “Obviously, there can be no guarantee that a post-withdrawal Iraqi government would steer through the shoals successfully,” he admits. “Doing so, however, essentially requires sound and moral political judgment on the part of Iraqi leaders, something we can’t provide no matter how many troops we put in the field.”

Slate contributor Phillip Carter thinks withdrawal is a logistical inevitability. “I believe that the U.S. military will preserve itself rather than let the war tear it apart,” he writes at INTEL DUMP. “Over the next year or two, you are going to see an increasing amount of effort being applied to ‘Iraqification’. We are going to devote more and more troops to getting their security forces ‘trained and ready’, such that we can draw down our forces and hand over the country.”

“Phil doesn’t seem very sure that ‘Iraqification’ is a winning strategy rather than just a convenient excuse for something we have to do anyway,” says the liberal Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal.“After all, it bears more than a faint resemblance to ’Vietnamization,’ Richard Nixon’s identical — and ill-fated — idea for reducing our presence in Vietnam. … If history isn’t repeating itself here, it sure is rhyming nicely. But cynical or not, maybe this is the right formula. We should make the argument that (a) it’s only the fear that we plan to stay in Iraq permanently that keeps the insurgency alive, (b) we can eliminate that fear by publicly announcing a timetable for withdrawal, and (c) with the wind taken out of the insurgents’ sails, Iraqi forces will be adequate to keep control.”

Read more about withdrawal in Iraq.

Great Scott: A team of physicists says time travel is possible, but that the laws of quantum mechanics prevent any traveler from meddling with the course of history. The new model solves the “grandfather paradox” by regarding historical phenomena as probabilities like those at play in the famous example of Schrödinger’s Cat: Once a possible state or event has been observed, they say, nothing can alter it—even Marty McFly.

“The new solution however raises a number of uncertain questions,” warns Australian academic Steven R. Livingstone. “While known future events cannot be changed, it is possible to influence uncertain events to encourage desired outcomes. What macro-effects this could have would require a lot more thought.”

“This interpretation strongly supports the idea of a forward-pointing arrow of time, but ironically it relies on waves going backwards in time to do so… I’ll leave that one for the philosophers,” says Mushika at Wither in the Light. “So the moral of the story, is never do anything you regret because you can never can go back and change it,” concludes The Voice of Weird Events.

Read more about the new time travel theory.

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