Monday, February 19, 2007

Pondering Iran

I always think I'm going to blog heavily during the weekend, and then somehow I don't get around to it. Even if we don't go anywhere there's always yardwork and projects around the house. This weekend we went out to visit my wife, Jen's, brother Joe in Desert Hot Springs. They spent their time making a prototype of a new product they think will take the biker world by storm, while I watched UCLA demolish Arizona in the second half and looking up names and product categories on the government's trademark and patent Web site.

Yesterday we picked up the grandchildren, Jaedon, 7, and Griffin, 2, at the San Diego airport. Justin will have them for a week and I've taken a week off work to maximize time together. We'll see if that means that I blog more or don't get around to it at all.

At any rate, I wanted to call attention to this piece in the Atlantic by James Fallows. Written before last week's rather desultory congressional "debates" and House resolution on the way forward/backward/out/whatever in Iraq, it suggests something genuinely useful Congress could do. Iraq, after all, is a conundrum, a predicament (as those of us who opposed the war at the outset predicted, though we couldn't have anticipated the specific details) with no obvious clean way out.

"By comparison," Fallows writes, "Iran is easy: on the merits, in the politics. War with Iran would be a catastrophe that would make us look back fondly on the minor inconveniences of being bogged down in Iraq." So Fallows recommends that Congress "can do something useful, while it still matters, in mnaking clear that it will authorize no money and provide no endorsement for military action against Iran."

I made similar points in a piece I did about the same time for the Register.

I met Jim Fallows some 15 years ago when he was researching a book on American journalism and wanted to spend a few hours with some Register people. I don't think we made it into the book, but I was favorably impressed. Though he has the moderate's disinclination to declare fixed principles, he is intelligent, open-minded and I think grudgingly admiring of those who do declare such fixed principles. And he is a terrific writer.

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