Bloggers mainly approve of Zalmay Khalilzad’s likely appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Conservatives snigger at the protest that disrupted the congressional Democratic press conference yesterday, but eat crow (sort of) about the existence of an Iraqi official sourced by the Associated Press.
1st Avenue Pashtun: President Bush will likely nominate the current ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to be the new American envoy to the United Nations, according to multiple reports. Khalilzad is a Muslim born in Afghanistan, which concerns some bloggers only slightly less than his neoconservative bona fides.
At the Washington Note, Steven Clemons, a senior fellow and the director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, lauds the Khalilzad appointment: “Khalilzad, who has been both Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, may have signed a number of PNAC letters, but he is a realist. The situation has deteriorated around him in Iraq—but he knows how to deal in the region. And a Muslim reprepesenting us at the United Nations is good—and long overdue given our current Middle East mess.”
Bridget Johnson at GOP Vixen touches upon the common cyberspace theme of Khalilzad’s ethnicity and religion and writes: “The appointment could curry favor with Muslim nations. Detractors are already bitching that Khalilzad is a Cheney protege, cut from the same cloth as Bolton (as if there’s anything wrong with that) and left-wing bloggers also claim he was a CIA operative. Partisan and pragmatic are the terms used to describe him.”
“Southern Democrat” at Bored Young Professionals takes the opportunity to tweak Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., who protested when Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who is Muslim, announced that he would take his oath of office on the Koran: “[Y]ou can bet your bottom dollar that reporters from near and far will be banging down Goode’s door to see if he supports the President’s decision. … Does Virgil stand by the President or does he stand by his previous statements?”
Liberal Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction isn’t sure Khalilzad can make much of a difference in Iraq now: “True, the U.S. needs a real diplomat at the U.N—someone who can work with the international community, not alienate and irritate it—and Khalilzad thankfully is no Bolton, but I do wonder what this means for Iraq. Bush’s “new” strategy involves a troop surge, a military option motivated by politics. Perhaps it has no room for serious diplomacy.”
Read more about Khalilzad’s forthcoming appointment.
Cindy of 1,000 media lives: Iraq war protesters—including “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan—disrupted a press conference for House Democrats yesterday, chanting, “de-escalate, investigate, troops now home.” A frustrated Rep. Rahm Emanuel gave up trying to speak and retired to caucus chambers. Conservative opinion about the event ranges from piqued to nyah-nyah. (Here’s a video of the protest.)
GOP stalwart Sistah Toldjah snipes: “Emanuel … was nicer than he should have been in the face of the disruption. … Of course he probably realizes that crowd, as part of the Nutroots faction, helped get his party elected to the majority, so showing a little ‘respect’ for Sheehan and Co. appeared to be what he chose to do in response. Taking sort of a ‘don’t bite hand that feeds’ approach.”
“Freedom Fighter” at righty Joshua Pundit noticed the cuddliness amidst the indignation: “Significantly, Sheehan received a hug from rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the prospective head of the House Judiciary Committee … and another prominent figure present in the group was ex-congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a long-time Conyers ally and friend. I think we’re in for some interesting investigations and proceedings very soon.”
Conservative former radio talk-show host Greg Alan at To Be Announced… remarks: “You may also be thinking what I’m thinking—’how quickly they turn on you’—and you’d be right. … If I were a left wing dork stuck in a MoveOn.org chat room right now, I’d start thinking it might have been planned to happen like that on purpose. But the video tells me it wasn’t.”
Read more about the protesters at the Democratic press conference.
Jive talk about Jamil: The Associated Press has defended itself from accusations from conservative bloggers that Jamil Hussein, a source the news organization quoted in a November story about an alleged attack on a Sunni mosque, doesn’t exist. He does, says the AP, and he works for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, as originally reported.
Lefty Kathy at Liberty Street is “looking for it, but … cannot find it anywhere. … I’m talking about the apology from Michelle Malkin, Curt at Flopping Aces, and all the other bloggers on the right who have been skewering AP for well over a month. … Not only does Jamil Hussein exist, not only did he indeed work at the Interior Ministry at the time of the AP article (and still does, it appears), but he has now been arrested for speaking to the press!”
Nevertheless, righty Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters notes, “Neither the AP nor any other news source has independently verified the story of the November burning and shooting death of six in the mosque. In fact, no one can confirm that a fire occurred at a mosque that day, other than the elusive Captain Hussein.” He also wonders why Hussein was arrested simply for talking to the press: “[I]f he acted as a disseminator of disinformation for the purpose of undermining the Iraqi government and the American alliance, then they may have grounds for an arrest.”
more about Jamil Hussein.