"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Chalabi and Iraq, and then some
Newsday's take on Ahmad Chalabi, that he was (is?) working for part of the Axis of Evil, is a smear being spread by the CIA's George Tenet according to Chalabi and his supporters, like William Safire:
Since 1996, the C.I.A. has hated him with a passion. In that year, our spooks egged on Iraqi officers to overthrow Saddam. Chalabi claims to have warned that the plotters had been penetrated, and when the coup failed and a hundred heads rolled, he dared to blame the C.I.A. for bloody ineptitude. This is at the root of his detestation by Tenet & Company and the agency's subsequent rejection of most Iraqi sources of intelligence offered by Chalabi's group.
The wonderful journalist Ahmed Rashid has a great piece on the CIA's ineptitude in regards to the rise of bin Laden. However, he feels regime change in Iraq was a diversion from the project of nation-building in Afghanistan. (Rashid's two books, Taliban and Jihad are fascinating and well worth the read. Although, he tends to employ the archaic "whilst" a lot in his writing. Maybe he's just being cheeky.)

Rashid is based in Lahore, Pakistan, and must be encouraged by the recent election in neighboring India. India's stock market, though, took a dive on news that a less globalization-friendly government was taking power. (It's Thomas Friedman's "golden straightjacket" in action.) India's poor, rural voters mobilized and tossed out the Hindu nationalist, foreign investment friendly governing coalition. Another theory is that India's voters tend to vote out incumbents on a regular basis, but there is little doubt that the fruits of India's growing economy weren't trickling down to the lower classes. Back here in our own secular, multicultural, gigantic democracy, Thomas Geoghegan suggests ways to mobilize voters. Perhaps India's impressive election overseers can help out the Iraqis with their first election in years.