Today's Blogs

Papa Cries “Uncle”

Bloggers discuss William F. Buckley’s latest thumbs-down on Iraq and reflect on the 50-year milestone of Nikita Khrushchev’s “secret speech.” They also admire Iranian pop star Deeyah’s brand of girl power.

Papa cries “uncle”: Last Friday, William F. Buckley, Jr., the “father” of modern conservatism, caused a minor hiccup with a National Review editorial, “It Didn’t Work“—the “it” referring to the “American objective in Iraq.” Buckley’s proclamation of failure has bloggers commenting on the mounting fractiousness within the Republican foreign-policy establishment.

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters underscores a distinction with a major difference between the Wilsonian idealism of neoconservatism and the more traditional school of conservative statecraft: “Buckley isn’t reversing course; he’s expounding an argument that conservatives (paleoconservatives, if you will) have always made in terms of foreign engagement. His argument appears sound on a superficial level because it only addresses the actions of the moment. The insurgents won an important but momentary victory when they successfully collapsed the shrine of Askariya, but what Buckley wants to do is to grant them the war by default.” Stephen Green at the pro-war Vodkapundit also tilts Wolfowitzian and stints on love for one of the guiding lights of realpolitik: “I’d say it’s strange that Buckley is willing to call Iraq a failure after such a short time, except that he was opposed to the invasion in the first place. What it strange is that Buckley seems so ignorant on how long it takes to create an army.”

But Canadian Robert Pavlacic at Blast Furnace Canada Blog is a little more impressed with the essay: “For Buckley to now go all the way and say, ‘Let’s just give up’ is signficiant. It may not mean much to someone like Dubya who has rarely admitted that he’s wrong. To the progressive movement, getting an unlikely ally like the columnist is a huge moral victory. It certainly should give the Democrats some badly needed ammunition in the run-up to the mid-terms in November.” Citing the simultaneous obit on the Bush Doctrine offered by Fukuyama last week, Robert Parry at the anti-Bush A Call to Action writes, “While those Americans who always opposed the Iraq War may see this unseemly scramble of Bush’s former allies as a classic case of rats deserting a sinking ship, the loss of these two prominent thinkers of the Right mark a turning point in the political battle over the U.S. occupation of Iraq.”

Dale Franks at the free-market QandO Blog sees the merit of Buckley’s argument as amounting to the idea that an implosive aftermath of intervention does not necessarily negate the worth of the intervention itself: “We tried to build a moderate, more-or-less democratic Iraq. Maybe Buckley is right and we failed. That doesn’t mean the attempt wasn’t worth the candle. But, if he is right, and we did fail, then the lesson to learn isn’t that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, but rather that it was wrong to expect that we could build a decent, multicultural society in its wake.”

Read more about Buckley’s piece.

Undoing the folded lie. Friday marked the 50-year anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s earth-shaking “secret speech” delivered in closed session of the 20th Party Congress, wherein the Soviet premier exposed and reprehended the “cult of personality” as well as the occluded history of terror that characterized national life under Stalin. Bloggers commemorate what many view as the beginning of the end of Russian Communism.

Then again, maybe not. Chelman at the right-leaning blog Slanderous places Khruschev’s revelations in the category of Machiavellian intrigue over counterrevolution from above: “Make no mistake, his speech was not a mark of benevolence! It was a cold and calculated measure followed by a set of policies whose goal was to lighten the burden of human rights violations. By doing so he decreased the chances of an organised revolt.”

LASunsett at the centrist Political Yen/Yang wonders about Khruschev’s legacy after this silver anniversary of his bravest hour: “Maybe as time goes on, Mr. Khrushchev will come to be remembered for more than just the man who pounded his shoe on the table in the UN., the man behind the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the infamous phrase, ‘We will bury you!’ … What he started was finally culminated with Gorbachev and had to go through a long hard process to get to that point.”

Read more about Khrushchev’s speech. Also, Arts & Letters Daily has a convenient compendium of op-eds about it.

The Persion version: Iranian pop singer Deeyah is being hailed as either the “Muslim Madonna” or the “Asian J-Lo,” for her risqué “What Will It Be?” video, which has engendered death threats from outraged Islamists. Deeyah’s lyrics of Middle Eastern reform and women’s rights bring weight to the typical Billboard fare, and bloggers are quick to note that, for once, the midriff is the message. 

Insider at the California-centric Independent Sources questions whether the signposting of Deeyah’s death threats is a PR scheme to boost record sales: “Possibly but the fanaticism of the people she is criticizing it’s easy to imagine the death threats are real. Think of how many people have been killed in demonstrations concerning a few Danish cartoons—and those didn’t even show navels as Deeyah’s videos do.” Lawyer Jeff T. Rexler at The Blingdom of God gets behind the music and into the sensual materialism of the Iranian Material Girl: “Western dress, exposed flesh, a woman smoking a hookah in public—the images in this video break conservative taboos in a way that has far more cultural significance than transgression-for-transgression’s sake in the liberal West.”

Read more about Deeyah.

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