Today's Blogs

WMD? Really?

The significance of the purported discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq has observers debating about what exactly constitutes a WMD. But if bloggers sound distracted today, it’s because there’s an in-crowd scandal brewing. Plus, the United States is out of the running for the World Cup.

WMD? Really? Sen. Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who is facing a serious threat in the upcoming elections, and Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra on Wednesday uttered the magical, long-awaited words, “We have found weapons of mass destruction”—specifically, 500 chemical weapons discovered since 2003. Bloggers who favor the Iraq war are championing the discovery.

Though he admits that 500 weapons don’t amount to much, Iraq war veteran Austin Bay opines hopefully on Austin Bay’s Blog: “If this pans out the categorical statements that ‘Iraq did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction’ will be political millstones and albatrosses.” At group blog Conservababes: The New Fallujah, contributor Sage is angry that mainstream publications aren’t carrying the news with enough oomph.

Conservative AJStrata of The Strata-Sphere is pleased, but isn’t missing an opportunity to spank  the Republicans on immigration issues. “What worries me is the fact these kinds of weapons material are the things we do not want drifting across the Atlantic Ocean and finding their way across our borders,” he argues.

But on The Corner, the blog of the conservative National Review, James S. Robbins notes that similar discoveries have been made before and criticizes the White House for their “failure to publish the discoveries we have made since the fall of Saddam’s regime in a systematic fashion and originating at high levels.” Chester of The Adventures of Chester, a foreign affairs blog, thinks that there could be some good reasons for not publicizing the findings.But Andy McCarthy, another Corner contributor, disagrees, dismissing the find as “paltry compared to what was predicted in the run-up to the war on the basis of the then-existing intelligence.”

FBIHOP’s LP, a liberal Arizona resident, points out that a Washington Post article that claims, “Neither the military nor the White House nor the CIA considered the shells to be evidence of what was alleged by the Bush administration to be a current Iraqi program to make chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.”

Read more about the announcement. Slate’s Fred Kaplan examined Bush’s shift in Iraq-related rhetoric in November.

The blogging in-crowd: Not long after the success of YearlyKos, leading liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas is coming under scrutiny. Last week, Chris Suellentrop wrote on The Opinionator, his New York Times blog, about allegations (TimesSelect paid membership required) that Kos will hype the clients of political consultant Jerome Armstrong, such as former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. RedState contributing editor Dan McLaughlin, a New York lawyer who posts as Crank, has more on the allegations here.

But what’s really riled the blogosphere now are allegations of a conspiracy to keep the whole thing hugh-hush. Jason Zengerle of The Plank, the blog of the New Republic, writes that Kos himself begged others on “Townhouse,” an e-mail list called for elite liberal bloggers, to ignore the story. “You might even call Kos and company’s behavior in this whole affair just another case of politics as usual. So much for crashing the gates,” he sighs.

But Outside Report’s Chris thinks Zengerle went too far. “To say that this email list is akin to a ‘smoke-filled backroom’ is just silly and to say that Kos is some sort of evil mastermind or godfather of liberal blogging is even more ridiculous,” he scoffs. Pandagon’s jedmunds, a frequent Kos critic and fellow liberal, also thinks the e-mail list is harmless.

At Protein Wisdom, conservative Jeff Goldstein writes that the e-mail list is a symbol of what he dislikes about the progressive movement. Glenn Reynolds of the prominent libertarian blog InstaPundit is patting conservatives on the back for largely staying above the fray. “I can’t help noting that if something like this were going on on the right, the bloggers of the ‘Townhouse’ list would probably be somewhat less charitable,” he says.

Kos has booted the New Republic from the “growing Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.” He also comes out strongly against the allegations of wrongdoing. “I deny that charge completely,” he writes.

Read more about the e-mail kerfuffle. Chris Suellentrop first reported on the Armstrong-Kos connection for Slate in 2005. Right Wing News has a Kos-related roundup here.

Not this year: The American men’s soccer team lost to Ghana Thursday, eliminating them from the World Cup.

World Cup USA 2006, a blog covering the tournament, has one sad contributor in Kartik, a Florida political consultant. He worries that “[t]he regression in positive World Cup results for United States soccer since 2002 has many foundations and many questions loom for the future of US Soccer.” Dennis’ Daily Rant’s Dennis Cook shares the sentiment.

After noting that a controversial call may have impacted the outcome of the game, Dangerous Wonder’s Josh is pragmatic: “[E]ven if the [US} team had advanced, it would have been to face powerhouse Brazil in the next round.”

Chris Apex’s blog, Solipistic, is even less complimentary to the team. “They didn’t deserve to advance, considering they managed to score one goal on their own in three games. They had two goals total, but Italy gave them one out of sheer pity,” he hisses.

Read more about the loss.