Al-Qaeda's relevance in an age of reform: al-Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a video in mid-June, before the London attack. Here's how an al-Jazeera talk show covered it. "Rather than just air or report Zawahiri's remarks, the program presents short excerpts and then gives the guests a chance to comment and respond to each of Zawahiri's points in turn. .. [the] topic: is al-Qaeda relevant in the context of the current push for reform? "
Cole on Knowing his Own History; and Isaiah Berlin: I'm catching up on a few months of Juan Cole. Good note on the runup to Iraq: " Berlin made the key point that most ethical and social philosophers had assumed that a person could simultaneously pursue two virtues [but] in the real world, there are situations in which you can only have the one or the other. ..
Up until early March of 2003, I was not forced to choose between Justice and the Rule of Law because it appeared entirely plausible that the UNSC would pass a resolution authorizing the war, or that a majority, at least, would vote for it. It was during that period that I said I could not bring myself to protest the building war. It was because I knew Saddam's mass murders, and thought there was still a chance that he could be removed within the framework of international law. When the UNSC declined to do either, very late in the game, it became apparent that I could have either justice or the rule of law. At that point I chose the rule of law. I did not see the invasion, the war, or the subsequent occupation as legitimate.
Just because I chose the rule of law over justice, however, does not mean that justice as a consideration had evaporated. The US troops who gave their lives to depose Saddam and free Iraqis from his yoke were helping achieve justice, which any Kurd or Shiite in Iraq will tell you. I stand by that, and I assure every grieving parent who has lost a child in the Iraq war that it was a meaningful sacrifice, because the Baath system was monstrous. But this achievement was deeply flawed (and may yet be undone) because it was done illegally.
Bush's turn to illegal aggression contained the seeds of the failure of his Iraq policy. If he had remained within international law, he would have either had to give up the invasion or he would have gone in with the full support the international community, which would have given him the kind of troop strength and administrative expertise that might have made a success of it all.
The Neocons cannot for the most part imagine such a thing as a fraught internal debate over ethics on the part of the individual. This because they are mostly, quite frankly, sleazeballs.
Isaiah Berlin knew that we often cannot have it all. We have to choose among virtues. We have to decide which one trumps the other. These can be fraught decisions. And that is why I do not fault those who chose justice over the rule of law among the liberal hawks like Ignatieff and Friedman." 9:35:46 AM