Saturday, December 17, 2005

Short takes


Iraq -- I've prefaced past elections in Iraq with a "wait, see -- don't write off the possibility that this will work" admonition. This time, I waited and saw without comment. And the winner is ... Iran. Again. To friends like webloafer, who writes "It's really sad to watch the Liberals of America in such a Hate Mode. They are heavily invested in the defeat of freedom and liberty in Iraq ..." I have to pose the question: Why is "democracy" bad when it elects fundamentalist Shiite governments in Iran, and good when it elects fundamentalist Shiite governments in Iraq? More to the point, why is it worth more than 2,000 American lives to bring the same kind of elections to Iraq which some claim produce anti-freedom (and anti-America) results in Iran?

O How the Mighty Have Fallen -- Doug Bandow is in the doghouse. Resigned from Cato. Syndicated column contract suspended for investigation. The problem? He took money from a lobbyist (who happens to be under indictment now) to write some of his op-eds. There's been considerable clucking, not all of it entirely off-point. But I'm going to take the contrary view: If Bandow's agreements with Cato or Copley required some kind of disclosure or abstention from enterprise, that's between Bandow, Cato and Copley. If not, well, his op-ed arguments stood or fell as arguments, regardless of who was paying him to write them. His pieces were usually pretty damn solid, and although I haven't reviewed his stuff from beginning to end, I never noticed any large change in the convictions he expressed. As a working writer (and yes, sometimes a ghost writer), I don't see Bandow's actions as an especially big deal. Matter of fact, if someone offered me $2K a pop for op-eds -- and still left me free to sell them! -- I'd jump on the deal, provided I didn't have to make arguments I didn't believe.

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