Going on hiatus

I'm not doing that, but some of my favorite web writers seem to be: Billmon and Salam Pax, both of them needing some time to collect themselves after things have gotten so shaken up this week. Billmon closes this episode by saying:

A friend of mine likes to call the Israeli-Palestinian issue the "Death Valley" of American progressives -- a hellish, blasted wasteland that sucks the life out of anyone who tries to cross it. Better not to go there, and instead work the land that can be watered and tilled: health care, the environment, econoimc policy, etc. And for a long time I thought that was good advice.

But since 9/11, I've come to think that the desert has to be crossed, otherwise the gradual descent into an endless war in the Middle East is going to doom whatever slim hopes there may be for a revival of progressive domestic policies in this country -- much as the coming of the Cold War did after World War II
It doesn't look like this crash can stopped, either. I guess that's one of the essential elements of tragedy -- the disaster can be seen but not avoided. Maybe it's the same feeling that John O'Neill had as he ran back into the South Tower that day, knowing what he had feared most had come to pass. I don't know. When the next major attack hits America, and the pressure to retaliate with genocidal force becomes impossible for our rotten political system to resist, maybe then I'll know.

I'm left at a bit of a loss here. What is to be done? The Popular Front isn't looking like a very viable proposition at the moment. Maybe it's just time to sit back and see whether the metaphorical truck breaks through the Middle Eastern telephone poll -- or wraps itself around it, turning the passengers into jelly. "Oh well."

I'm feeling pretty beat right now -- in several senses of the word. So I'm going to shut down the bar for awhile and think things over. I mean, if the leader of the free world can take a week off in the middle of an intifada, I figure I'm entitled to kick back for a few days, too.

I also strongly recommend Billmon's second-to-last writing 'End of the road:'

Bush's statement marks the effective end of any realistic chance that the United States will play a constructive role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Washington truly is Likud-occupied territory now, and resistance is almost certainly futile. For all intents and purposes, the world's only superpower has been bound and gagged.

I looked at Ayatollah Sistani's website today, including the Fiqh--questions and answers from the religious authoritay. They are entertaining, especially the oral sex questions. He also knows what's what with the lottery.

"While Bush vacationed, warnings went unheard." It seems that George Tenet is ducking responsibility for informing the president about terror threats at the ranch in August 2001, but then whose responsibility was it?? Aw snap–they must have forgotten to bring some brains to the Crawford picnic.

Sidney Blumenthal, Clintonista Extraordinamente, talks about how the military is increasingly pissed with Bush, and of course how ignorant he was in that press conference. This Slate digestion of the press conference is about as brave an interpretation as any sane person could tolerare.

Bin Laden offered a truce to Europe. How bizarre, I thought as it came over on the CNN breaking news early this morning.

They are trying to discredit the 9/11 commission, surprise surprise.

Updates from riverbend in Iraq as well as Iraq at a Glance.

Muslim WakeUp is a nifty very pro-modernization of Islam sort of site.

TurningTables is printing interesting things that he couldn't publish when he was still in the military. A proud army parent speaks out about how bad the leaders are.

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