Month: September 2004

A Profile of the Past

Drew Barrymore, in the first photo below, is a granddaughter of screen legend John Barrymore (1882-1942), shown in the second photo. She’s also a great-niece of another screen legend, Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959), shown in the third and fourth photos. Look at Drew’s profile, then at John’s and Ethel’s. Genetic inheritance at work.

Back to Baseball — Hyping the Heros

The big news of the moment: Ichiro is within one hit of George Sisler’s all-time, single-season record. Ichiro has 256 hits this season; Sisler had 257 in 1920. The difference is that Ichiro is batting .371, whereas Sisler batted .407 when he made his record. And he did it in 154 games, not the 159-plus it will take Ichiro to make the same number.

Remember when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record by hitting his 715th? Well, Ruth hit 714 in 8,399 official at-bats. By the time Aaron got to 714 home runs he already had more than 11,000 official at-bats.

Then there was Pete Rose eclipsing Ty Cobb’s all-time record for base hits. Rose surpassed Cobb’s record (4,191 hits) but it took him about 2,400 additional at-bats in which to do the trick. That’s why Rose’s lifetime batting average is only .303 to Cobb’s .367.

Wake me up when someone is about to break a real record, like Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average. It’ll never happen. I’d better set my alarm clock.

Speaking of the New Washington Baseball Team…

…as I have been in recent posts, “Best of the Web Today” at OpinionJournal.com notes the latest D.C. mania — naming the new team:

…WTOP radio is inviting listeners to suggest a new name for the Washington team. Among the “most popular” suggestions are Senators, Nationals and Monuments; the “most interesting” include Gridlocks, Filibusters and Ex-Expos.

We got to thinking: There’s been a trend recently toward the use of abstract singular nouns as team names: Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Colorado Avalanche. This has mostly been a basketball and hockey phenomenon, though baseball does have the Tampa Bay Devilry. Why not click through to this link and cast your vote for calling the team the Washington Kerfuffle?

Not me. I’ll vote for the Washington Spend-and-Tax, and nothing less.

Subsidizing Multi-millionaires

I recently expressed some realism about the return of major league baseball to D.C.:

…To succeed financially, the new Washington team must draw well from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Attendance will be high for a few years, because the closeness of major-league baseball will be a novelty to fans who’ve had to trek to Baltimore to see the increasingly hapless Orioles. But suburbanites’ allegiance to the new Washington team won’t survive more than a few losing seasons — and more than a few seem likely, given the Expos’ track record. As the crowds wane, suburbanites will become increasingly reluctant to journey into the city. And, so, the taxpayers of D.C. (and perhaps the taxpayers of the nation) are likely to be stuck with an expensive memento of false civic pride.

Now, here’s Michelle Malkin:

THE MOTHER OF ALL STADIUM BOONDOGGLES

By Michelle Malkin · September 30, 2004 11:10 AM

The media cheerleading here in the D.C. area over the Expos deal is nauseating. I have nothing against baseball. I have everything against taxpayer-funded sports statism. (A commendable exception to the media slavering over this government rip-off is the Washington Times, whose scathing editorial today is dead-on.)….

And what did the WashTimes have to say? Among other things, this:

…To finance the $440 million project, the District would issue 30-year bonds. Annual debt-service costs would total more than $40 million. Those annual costs would be financed by $21 million to $24 million from a gross-receipts tax imposed on businesses with more than $3 million in annual revenues; $11 million to $14 million from taxes on tickets and stadium concessions; and $5.5 million in rent payments from the ballclub.

The team’s owners will receive all the income from ballpark naming rights, which can be quite substantial. The Redskins, whose stadium was privately financed, will receive more than $200 million over 27 years from Federal Express. It is outrageous for taxpayers to be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 30 years while the taxpayer-subsidized owners pocket perhaps hundreds of millions more for the naming rights of a ballpark they received as a gift. Should such a travesty come to pass, it would be the real legacy of Mayor Williams.

And just wait until fans start staying away in droves and the team’s owners lobby for better terms. Won’t the taxpayers of D.C. be happy then?

"Sick" Isn’t the Right Word…

…for the sub-species of the lowest form of life responsible for this:

Pair of Car Bombs in Iraq Kill Dozens, Including Many Children

By DEXTER FILKINS

Published: September 30, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 30 — In one of the most horrific attacks here since the fall of Saddam Hussein, a pair of car bombs tore through a street celebration today at the opening of a new government-built sewer plant, killing 41 Iraqi civilians, at least 34 of them children, and wounding 139 people.

The bombs exploded seconds apart, creating a chaotic scene of dying children and grieving parents, some of them holding up the blood-soaked clothes of their young, and howling in lament. Arms and legs lay amid pools of blood, with some survivors pointing to the walls of the sewer plant, now spattered with flesh….

Does anyone think there would be less of this if the U.S. were to cut and run from Iraq? Well, there might eventually be less of it if the Ba’athists who are behind it were to retake power. Then the atrocities would go on as before — behind the scenes, where the squeamish of the world could pretend that nothing is amiss.

To paraphrase President Bush: You’re either for decency or you’re against it. And if you’re for it you sometimes have to fight for it. And the fight often is unpleasant. But the alternative is surrender to the forces of evil. And I do mean evil — of the sort that was unleashed against the children of Baghdad today.

Thinking Ahead to ’08

UPDATED BELOW

Here’s a scenario: Bush is re-elected. Iraq slowly progresses economically and politically. Other rogue nations (Syria, Iran, N. Korea) are tamed by military action or the fear of it. The economic recovery looks like a replay of the 1990s (if not better). Deficits are no longer an issue because tax revenues rise with the recovery. Social Security reform is underway, and there are good prospects for Medicare reform.

Upon Bush’s re-election, Edwards and Clinton (of the female gender) instantly become the leading contenders to head the Democrat ticket in ’08. By ’08 they will have spent almost four years exposing their left-wing positions to the country and bashing each other. Out of that wreckage a less compelling nominee might crawl.

Thus, given my scenario, Republicans should be able to hold onto the White House simply by putting up someone — not named Bush — whose politics are to the right of the Democrat nominee’s.

Hold that thought.

UPDATE:

What about Barack Obama? Too young and inexperienced to be a candidate in ’08. But if Repubs hold the White House in ’08, look for Obama in ’12.

Dribble from Drabble

Margaret Drabble remains a favorite author, in spite of dribble like this:

My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness.

Unlike John the Square, Drabble has kept her anti-Americanism out of her fiction — except in mild, typically Brit-snob doses. My tolerance has limits, however. She goes off my list of favorite authors when her novels become hysterically anti-American, like John the Square’s Absolute Friends. So presposterous I couldn’t finish it. Nor will I link to it.

Kerry’s Slave-Labor Plan and Shell Game

Kerry’s website used to carry a statement about his position on national service. The statement was taken off the site, but intrepid (no doubt pajama-clad) bloggers have found a cached version. Here’s a bit of it, courtesy Say Anything:

As President, John Kerry will ensure that every high school student in America performs community service as a requirement for graduation. This service will be a rite of passage for our nation’s youth and will help foster a lifetime of service. States would design service programs that meet their community and educational needs. However, John Kerry does not believe in unfunded mandates. No state would be obligated to implement a service requirement if the federal government does not live up to its obligation to fund the program.

So, Kerry would make slave laborers of high-school students. But he wouldn’t make the States fund the slave-labor program. No, he’d simply ship the money to the States from Washington, D.C., where money grows on trees. Oops, no, that’s not it; Washington’s money comes from the citizens of the very States that he’d ship the money to. Nice try, John, but we’ve seen that move before.

I Demand a Recount

According to a story at news.telegraph.co.uk, everyone now alive on Earth — all six billion of us — is descended from a person who lived only 3,500 years ago:

We are all related to man who lived in Asia in 1,415BC

By David Derbyshire, Science Correspondent

(Filed: 30/09/2004)

Everyone in the world is descended from a single person who lived around 3,500 years ago, according to a new study.

Scientists have worked out the most recent common ancestor of all six billion people alive today probably dwelt in eastern Asia around 1,415BC.

Although the date may seem relatively recent, researchers say the findings should not come as a surprise.

Anyone trying to trace their family tree soon discovers that the number of direct ancestors doubles every 20 to 30 years. It takes only a few centuries to clock up thousands of direct ancestors.

Using a computer model, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attempted to trace back the most recent common ancestor using estimated patterns of migration throughout history.

They calculated that the ancestor’s location in eastern Asia allowed his or her descendants to spread to Europe, Asia, remote Pacific Islands and the Americas. Going back a few thousand years more, the researchers found a time when a large fraction of people in the world were the common ancestors of everybody alive today – while the rest were ancestors of no one alive. That date was 5,353BC, the team reports in Nature….

Got that? Here’s what I take from it: There was a guy living 3,500 years ago who’s the common ancestor of everyone now living. (His mate should be our common ancestress, but maybe he had more than one mate.) Anyway, that guy was descended from a bunch of people who are, therefore, our common ancestors, too. But a big bunch of people — everyone else living 3,500 years ago, and all their ancestors — don’t have any living descendants. I guess you could say their genes faded.

(Thanks to Captain Ed for the tip.)

Reveries

Sleep rarely eludes me, but when it does I take a mental trip to the past…to the golden past of boyhood, where all the days are sunny and summery, or Christmas-y.

I stand on the sidewalk in front of the first house I lived in. There it is, a cream-colored, clapboard, two-story house with a small detached garage to the right. It sits on a corner lot of some size on a tree-lined street. An alley runs behind it. The street at the front and to the left side of the house are unpaved, as were many streets in that small city where I was a boy in the 1940s.

The porch runs the width of the house. I walk up the steps to the porch and enter the front door, which opens into the living room. With sunlight streaming through the windows, I wander through the living room to the dining room and kitchen. I go out the back door to the enclosed back porch, from which I can see the garage and the back yard.

I return to the house and venture to the basement, with its huge, coal-fired furnace, coal bin, and my father’s work shop. I go back up — and then up again, climbing the stairs to the second story — the stairs with a wrought-iron railing. I reach the upper hallway and visit, in turn, the three sunny bedrooms and the black-and-white tiled bathroom.

Yes, it was a modest house. But it was the first place I thought of as home, and it’s a place that still seems golden in my memories. By the time my mental tour is complete, I am ready for sleep.

At other times I remember my grandmother’s house in a small, lakeside village about 90 miles north of where I grew up. Her modest, two-story bungalow sat on a deep lot that backed up to open fields where doves cooed as I awoke on sunny, summer mornings to the smell of bacon frying. My favorite room was the kitchen, with its massive woodstove and huge, round, oak table, around which my grandmother, parents, and various aunts and uncles would sit after a meal, retelling and embellishing tales from the past.

We often visited my grandmother at Christmas, and I like to relive the Christmas eve when we made the 90-mile trip as feathery snow slowly piled deeper on the deserted, lakeside highway we traversed through quiet villages: Lexington, Port Sanilac, Forester, Richmondville, Forestville, White Rock, Harbor Beach, Port Hope, Huron City, and — at last — Port Austin. Many of the those villages were tiny: a scattering of houses, perhaps a church and a gas station, but not even a traffic light. The more substantial villages — those that had 1,000 or even 2,000 residents and a traffic light — boasted rows of well-kept and sometimes stately homes on shady streets, along with prosperous brick and white-frame churches, a few blocks of tidy stores and restaurants, and perhaps a lighthouse:

Light house, Port Sanilac

The lakeside highway (before it was “improved”) rode atop high bluffs overlooking the vastness of Lake Huron:

Looking down at the beach and the lake, Forestville

Many of the stately homes along the way have become inns:

Raymond House Inn, Port Sanilac

The State Street Inn, Harbor Beach

A short detour through the old part of Huron City would yield a view of the summer home of William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943; a professor of English literature at Yale and a popular lecturer and writer in the early decades of the 20th century):

Seven Gables, Huron City

The village of Port Austin didn’t have a quaint main street (seen here probably in the 1970s), but it was a place where a young boy could wander safely:

The rest of the village had more to offer. An elegant old inn . . .

The Garfield Inn, Port Austin

. . . these sights along the shoreline . . .


. . . and this view of the harbor at sunset:

Golden days, golden nights. Gone forever — but still alive in my reveries.

Reveries

Sleep rarely eludes me, but when it does I take a mental trip to the past…to the golden past of boyhood, where all the days are sunny and summery, or Christmas-y.

I stand on the sidewalk in front of the first house I lived in. There it is, a cream-colored, clapboard, two-story house with a small detached garage to the right. It sits on a corner lot of some size on a tree-lined street. An alley runs behind it. The street at the front and to the left side of the house are unpaved, as were many streets in that small city where I was a boy in the 1940s.

The porch runs the width of the house. I walk up the steps to the porch and enter the front door, which opens into the living room. With sunlight streaming through the windows, I wander through the living room to the dining room and kitchen. I go out the back door to the enclosed back porch, from which I can see the garage and the back yard.

I return to the house and venture to the basement, with its huge, coal-fired furnace, coal bin, and my father’s work shop. I go back up — and then up again, climbing the stairs to the second story — the stairs with a wrought-iron railing. I reach the upper hallway and visit, in turn, the three sunny bedrooms and the black-and-white tiled bathroom.

Yes, it was a modest house. But it was the first place I thought of as home, and it’s a place that still seems golden in my memories. By the time my mental tour is complete, I am ready for sleep.

At other times I remember my grandmother’s house in a small, lakeside village about 90 miles north of where I grew up. Her modest, two-story bungalow sat on a deep lot that backed up to open fields where doves cooed as I awoke on sunny, summer mornings to the smell of bacon frying. My favorite room was the kitchen, with its massive woodstove and huge, round, oak table, around which my grandmother, parents, and various aunts and uncles would sit after a meal, retelling and embellishing tales from the past.

Click here to read the full post.

What’s Wrong with Canada?

The New York Times asks — and fails to answer — that question in “Canada’s Prophets of Pessimism (Is It the Weather?).” The article hints at the problem by noting that

The country…has seemingly come to define greatness by how much money it sinks into health care or day care. Even so, education budgets are shrinking and there is brain drain of doctors and other professionals to the United States.

And why? Because Canada has become something of a socialist paradise, along the lines of East Germany. Then, there’s rampant suppression of speech. And a lot more.

How to Write a Headline about Iraq

The New York Times loves to editorialize in its headlines. Here’s one from this morning: “Iraq Study Sees Rebels’ Attacks as Widespread.” I think the message we’re supposed to take from that selective bit of information is this:

Nyah-nyah-na-nyah-nyah.

Or this:

Cut and run.

Actually, the article goes on to attain a degree of balance:

…The number of attacks has risen and fallen over the months….[T]he highest numbers were in April, when there was major fighting in Falluja, with attacks averaging 120 a day. The average is now about 80 a day….

But it is a measure of both the fog of war and the fact that different analysts can look at the same numbers and come to opposite conclusions, that others see a nation in which most people are perfectly safe and elections can be held with clear legitimacy….

Indeed, no raw compilation of statistics on numbers of attacks can measure what is perhaps the most important political equation facing Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and the American military: how much of Iraq is under the firm control of the interim government. That will determine the likelihood – and quality – of elections in January.

For example, the number of attacks is not an accurate measure of control in Falluja; attacks have recently dropped there, but the town is controlled by insurgents and is a “no go” zone for the American military and Iraqi security forces. It is a place where elections could not be held without dramatic political or military intervention.

The statistics show that there have been just under 1,000 attacks in Baghdad during the past month; in fact, an American military spokesman said this week that since April, insurgents have fired nearly 3,000 mortar rounds in Baghdad alone. But those figures do not necessarily preclude having elections in the Iraqi capital.

Pentagon officials and military officers like to point to a separate list of statistics to counter the tally of attacks, including the number of schools and clinics opened. They cite statistics indicating that a growing number of Iraqi security forces are trained and fully equipped, and they note that applicants continue to line up at recruiting stations despite bombings of them.

But most of all, military officers argue that despite the rise in bloody attacks during the past 30 days, the insurgents have yet to win a single battle.

“We have had zero tactical losses; we have lost no battles,” said one senior American military officer. “The insurgency has had zero tactical victories. But that is not what this is about.

“We are at a very critical time,” the officer added. “The only way we can lose this battle is if the American people decide we don’t want to fight anymore.”…

It will be a Vietnam if we decide to make it a Vietnam. But not otherwise.

Think of the headline the Times might have run: “Iraq Progressing Despite Insurgency; Fate Hinges on Americans’ Resolve.” Now that is editorializing in a headline.

Baseball in the Nation’s Capital

The original Senators stuck it out from 1901 through 1960. (Washington: first in war, first in peace, last in the American League.) That team moved to Minnesota, where there was a long tradition of high-grade minor league baseball to sustain it. A pennant in 1965 also helped get the team off to a good start with local fans.

The expansion Senators started up in 1961 and lasted through the 1971 season. That team moved to Arlington, Texas, smack in the middle of the hugely populated Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The size of the fan base helped to sustain the Rangers until the team finally got into post-season play in 1996.

Now the failed Montreal Expos seem to be headed to D.C. The transplanted Expos will spend a few years in old D.C. Stadium, due east of the Capitol building (but far from the gentrified precincts of Capitol Hill). The team will then move to a new park on the Anacostia River in southeast D.C.

To succeed financially, the new Washington team must draw well from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Attendance will be high for a few years, because the closeness of major-league baseball will be a novelty to fans who’ve had to trek to Baltimore to see the increasingly hapless Orioles. But suburbanites’ allegiance to the new Washington team won’t survive more than a few losing seasons — and more than a few seem likely, given the Expos’ track record. As the crowds wane, suburbanites will become increasingly reluctant to journey into the city. And, so, the taxpayers of D.C. (and perhaps the taxpayers of the nation) are likely to be stuck with an expensive memento of false civic pride.

P.S. Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos has to be bought off. He doesn’t want a National League team 40 miles from his American League team. Mmmm…remember when Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis had a team in each league? In fact, New York had two National League teams — one in Manhattan (the Giants) and one in Brooklyn (the Dodgers). Not only that, but for many years the teams in Philadelphia and St. Louis shared stadiums.

Junk-Food Addict

Bruce Springsteen: “I am a dedicated Times reader, and I’ve found enormous sustenance from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd on the op-ed page.”

I’ve always found his music boring. Now I know why. His idea of intellectual fulfillment is the equivalent of a quarter-pounder with greasy fries.

Democracy vs. Liberty

A point worth pondering, from a review by John B. Judis of Fareed Zakaria’s The Future of Freedom:

…Zakaria argues that the United States suffers from an excess of democracy, which is threatening liberty. The analysis appears to come full circle — liberty leads to democracy and democracy ends up undermining liberty, prompting him to call for “a restoration of balance” between them….

A return to constitutional principles would do the trick. But how to get there?

Fear of Corporate Power

Arnold Kling, writing at Tech Central Station, spells out the right way to deal with “corporate power”:

…One of the differences between Sweetwater and Saltwater economists concerns monopoly. On the left, saltwater economists tend to share [the] view that government is the logical check on corporate power. On the right, sweetwater economists believe that government naturally allies with large interests, so that more government involvement tends to strengthen the hand of the corporate giants and weaken the position of consumers and small businesses.

My own reading of history is that it supports the Sweetwater point of view. Once an industry becomes regulated, economic competition dries up, to be replaced by lobbyist infighting. The profit center moves from the market to Washington, and resources shift accordingly.

Corporate power is a bad thing. I like to see big corporations humbled by innovation and competition.

But fear of corporate power can be a worse thing. Politicians play up that fear, because they are eager to intervene. However, it seems to me that government interventions do not wind up reining in corporations, and the net result is to leave ordinary individuals less powerful than in a less-regulated environment….

No form of legislation has done more to harm consumers — and to shackle the economy — than anti-trust legislation.

Libertarians and Individualism

Tom G. Palmer of the Cato Institute — neither being at the top of my libertarian hit parade — actually says something I can endorse:

…Libertarians recognize the inevitable pluralism of the modern world and for that reason assert that individual liberty is at least part of the common good. They also understand the absolute necessity of cooperation for the attainment of one’s ends; a solitary individual could never actually be “self-sufficient,” which is precisely why we must have rules–governing property and contracts, for example–to make peaceful cooperation possible and we institute government to enforce those rules. The common good is a system of justice that allows all to live together in harmony and peace; a common good more extensive than that tends to be, not a common good for “all of us,” but a common good for some of us at the expense of others of us….

The issue of the common good is related to the beliefs of communitarians regarding the personality or the separate existence of groups. Both are part and parcel of a fundamentally unscientific and irrational view of politics that tends to personalize institutions and groups, such as the state or nation or society….

Group personification obscures, rather than illuminates, important political questions. Those questions, centering mostly around the explanation of complex political phenomena and moral responsibility, simply cannot be addressed within the confines of group personification, which drapes a cloak of mysticism around the actions of policymakers, thus allowing some to use “philosophy”–and mystical philosophy, at that–to harm others.

Libertarians are separated from communitarians by differences on important issues, notably whether coercion is necessary to maintain community, solidarity, friendship, love, and the other things that make life worth living and that can be enjoyed only in common with others. Those differences cannot be swept away a priori; their resolution is not furthered by shameless distortion, absurd characterizations, or petty name-calling.

Perfect Understanding

Melana Zyla Vickers writes “About That National Intelligence Estimate…” at Tech Central Station:

The important thing about the now infamous National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is not so much what it says, but rather what it reveals about how different politicians might use it.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell told TV watchers that the estimate that appeared in the press almost two weeks ago “wasn’t a terribly shocking assessment. It was something that I could have written myself.” …

Here’s a reminder of how the New York Times first described it:

The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.

The ‘one hand, other hand’ analysis is what one would expect from an institution that has been pilloried lately for drawing firm but incorrect conclusions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And from an institution that was pilloried in the past for other errors in judgment: The CIA got the size of the Soviet economy wrong. It got the fall of the Shah of Iran wrong. It failed to predict India’s detonation of a nuclear weapon.

Indeed, intelligence analysis more often than not has a heavy quotient of C-Y-A. The ambivalence isn’t motivated only by analysts’ self-preservation instincts. It’s also motivated by the fact that predicting world events with certainty is impossibly hard.

As I said, here, “The CIA is…trying to lower expectations about the future of Iraq. Thus its new — “pessimistic” — intelligence estimate.” Vickers continues:

Which is why it’s not enough for a president to make foreign policy based on “hard evidence,” to quote John Kerry’s Democratic convention speech. Rather, a president has to make foreign policy based on his convictions, his judgment, and his will.

Kerry doesn’t agree with that: “As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system — so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation’s time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.”

To complete Kerry’s thought, the U.S. would “have to” go to war if and only if the president had “hard evidence” of such a need.

Kind of like the hard evidence Kerry’s foreign-policy brains trust — Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen — wanted to have before going after Osama bin Laden. In their 9/11 Commission testimony, those officials regularly cited the lack of actionable intelligence as their reason for doing nothing.

Consider that the Clinton administration never launched a military attack against the terrorist group after it bombed the U.S.S. Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors. CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks presented the administration with 14 military options, according to the commission staff report. But Clinton’s SecDef Cohen said that “we did not have specific information that this was bin Laden” (attacking the Cole) and that military retaliation against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan “would not have been effective.” The administration also resisted sending special forces to Afghanistan.

In another instance, Clinton administration NSC Adviser Samuel Berger and counterterrorism group chair Richard Clarke decided in 1996 not to bring Bin Laden to the U.S. from his hideout in Sudan. There was no legal basis for bringing him to the U.S. nor holding him here, Berger told the commission. Berger, a lawyer, said he was not aware of any intelligence that bin Laden was responsible for any act against a U.S. citizen, and consequently bin Laden could not be indicted.

There’s no reason to believe that John Kerry — ambivalent about his own personal likes and dislikes, let alone questions of war — would be any less paralyzed than these pols were.

The Iraq National Intelligence Estimate gives Americans a pretty good illustration of the limits of intelligence. And Kerry’s foreign-policy philosophy gives Americans a pretty good illustration of how, armed with such intelligence, he and his advisors would do absolutely nothing.

I discussed Kerry’s analysis paralysis recently. It’s pathological.