The third anniversary of the Iraq war

The third anniversary of the Iraq war

The third anniversary of the Iraq war

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 20 2006 4:55 PM

Rumsfeld's Defense

Bloggers are battling over Donald Rumsfeld's Washington Post column marking the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. They're also following the riots of French students and wondering if pregnancy is a disability.

Rumsfeld's defense: Sunday marked three years since the start of the Iraq invasion, prompting politicos of all stripes to weigh in. While retired Army Gen. Paul D. Eaton, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., all called for Donald Rumsfeld to resign, Rumsfeld himself penned an opinion piece in the Post that's stirring controversy. "Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," Rumsfeld wrote. (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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Bloggers opposed to the war are, unsurprisingly, pooh-poohing Rumsfeld's effort. At Hub Blog, Jay Fitzgerald, a reporter with the Boston Herald, scolds Rumsfeld for being myopic. "[T]oday he comes across as a full-fledged democratic nation builder arguing against early withdrawal -- when only three years ago he was undermining attempts to plan for post-invastion democratic nation building and pushing for an early withdrawal. That's the bigger picture of Rumsfeld," Fitzgerald writes.

Harris, a "schmolitician" from the group blog Politics Schmolitics, is critical of the tone of the article, which he calls "extremely arrogant and condescending … chiding and patronizing …. It's as if he's saying, 'don't you worry your pretty little head. Let the smart people worry about this stuff. You just go back to your Sudoku puzzle.' "

Rumsfeld's "bad historical analogies" comparing terrorists to Nazis and Soviets especially irk the liberal academic who runs Hiram Hover. He calls it "the old 'history will vindicate me—so shut up!' line." In a more serious vein, he points out a dire possibility. "[I]f US military fatalities in Iraq continue for another year at their pace so far in 2006, they will equal—roughly on the fourth anniversary of the war's start—the number of deaths the US suffered in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  And that's a historical comparison Rummy can expect plenty of people to make."

But on Elephants in Academia, conservative professor AcademicElephant admires Rumsfeld's writings and scolds Murtha for calling Rumsfeld "misleading or misguided" on Meet the Press. "I must say I don't see it," he says. Right off the Shore's Jenna, a "far-right" student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, proclaims the article "amazing," but her fellow conservative Duane Lester is less optimistic on Neocon Mindset. Lester calls the article "average," adding that "Overall, I think he could have done a better job to inspire belief that success is not only possible, but probable."

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Read more about Rumsfeld's op-ed. Fred Kaplan wrote about the Iraqi insurgency for Slate in February. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens says the international community could have done more to help the United States back in 2002.

Students say non: French students are protesting new laws, referred to as the CPE, that make it easier for employers to fire workers younger than 26.

Conservative bloggers are mocking the students for what they see as another case of French laziness. At the opposite-of-Francophile Libertyblog, the editor scoffs that the students are "defend[ing] their right to be half-assed workers." On The Inebriated Arsonist, the blogger, a "semi-employed Pennsylvanian Libertarian Republican" is confused about the fuss. He believes that the new laws are necessary. "I don't understand how the CPE could be a barrier to employment. If anything, the CPE will reduce potential liability costs for buying unnecessary labor and encourage employers to risk hiring new workers," he conjectures.

But in a lengthy post on Chiaroscouro, Australian blogger Richard Horvath dismisses the English-speaking bloggers who are trying to tell the French what do do. He goes on to suggest that a change to France labor policy is likely necessary. "Perhaps France just has to get a bit sicker before getting better but the rioters demands that the state owes them a living suggests a major paradigm shift is needed for any clarity of purpose."

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Clementine Gallot, a French student who writes the blog Franco American Views, accuses police of allowing students to damage property so the protesters will appear violent and irresponsible, thus making them lose credibility.

Read more about the student protests.

Pregnancy disability: A New Jersey legislator who proposed allowing pregnant women to park in handicapped spaces has set off an angry debate between New Jersey's National Organization for Women, disability-rights advocates, and bloggers.

"Absolutely ridiculous. Since when is being pregnant a handicap?" a NOW spokeswoman huffed after learning about the proposal, according to New York Times article now buried behind the TimesSelect wall. "Well, when putting on socks, for one," Amy responds on Mother Talkers. She expresses skepticism that legislation is necessary, though, suggesting that "the informal but universally recognized policy of crowded bus seat deference should apply here," which encourages people to give their seats to the elderly, the disabled, and the very pregnant.

On Daily Kos, Kos himself chides NOW for "freaking out." He adds, "[I]t's not about the label 'handicap', it's about allowing women with limited mobility and lots and lots of pains some measure of comfort."

Read more about parking for pregnant women.