Cindy Sheehan has posted her resignation letter from the antiwar movement over at Daily Kos saying she is weary of trying “to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life.” Hmm, why do images of pots and kettles leap to mind?
Thom Lambert at Truth on the Market feels that the Windy City is becoming a rasping breath of its former self. “The members of the aldermen’s Buildings Committee recently voted to extend the city’s smoking ban to performers in theatrical productions,” Lambert notes:
A ban on portrayals of smoking was the end of the slippery slope in the film Thank You for Smoking, in which an anti-Tobacco senator tried to order Hollywood to doctor old movie star portraits so that the actors’ cigarettes were replaced with innocuous items like candy canes and chopsticks. The notion that the government would try to censor art (and history) as part of its anti-smoking crusade seemed ridiculous enough to evoke a few laughs. Now it’s for real, and it’s bound to create more smoking rebels.
Richard Miniter of Pajamas Media has an interview with Abdullah Rahman al-Shamary, whom he describes as “a possible ‘missing link’ between Saddam and Al Qaeda.” True? Well, as with many things PJM, they purport, you decide.
— Tobin Harshaw
Let’s Talk About Sects
The conservative editorial cartoonist Allen Forkum offers some illustrated commentary, followed by the more literal kind:
It’s bad enough that the Bush Administration actually thinks talking with Iran is going to stop them from killing even more of our troops in Iraq. Worse still, these talks officially end our diplomatic isolation of Iran since 1979 when the Iranians took Americans hostage. But it is flat out obscene that the talks were held on Memorial Day. There are Americans at gravesides today mourning loved ones who were cut down by Iranian-backed militias. Bush further demonstrates that he is more concerned about politics and diplomacy than he is about stopping the enemy using as few American lives as possible.
Ardeshir Arian, an Iran-born filmmaker who blogs out of Los Angeles, sees the talks as less a moral mistake than a strategic one. “In the current talks, America appears the weaker party,” writes Arian. “By requesting these talks through official channels, the US created an excellent opportunity for the mullahs to brag about their strength while illuminating America’s weakness in Iraq. The line being peddled by Iran is that a superpower like the “imperialist government of America” is begging their ‘godly’ Islamic regime to sit down and negotiate.”
Juan Cole, not surprisingly, takes issue with such negativity: “It is not true, as Robert Kagan once alleged to me on the radio, that if something is in Iran’s interest, it will do it anyway, so that talks are useless. It is often the case that countries, like individuals, cut off their noses to spite their faces. Effective diplomacy can often lead a country to see the advantages of cooperation on some issues, so that its leaders stop sulking and actually turn to accomplishing something.”
And, showing that the enterprising mind can always find a way to be dissatisfied, the Pakistani blogger Mohammad Jamal smells a neocon rat, warning that “these negotiations are little more than a diplomatic maneuver in advance of military action. If the talks fail, as their narrow agenda all but guarantees, the President could assert that military strikes are justified.” Hmmm, it gives new meaning to the phrase “diplomatic offensive.”
– Tobin Harshaw