Mark Steyn:

"Damn, Mark," I keep saying as I read his stuff. If there is a more insightful man than Mark Steyn writing today, I haven't run across him. Cross-cultures are no problem for him: he gets it.
Sartorially, Jordanian politics seems to be the opposite of American: in the New Hampshire primary, smooth, bespoke, Beltway types who�ve been wearing suits and wingtips since they were in second grade suddenly clamber into the old plaid and blue jeans and work boots, and start passing themselves off as stump-toothed inbred mountain men who like nothing better than a jigger of moonshine and a bunk-up with their sister. Evidently, in rural Jordan the voters are savvy enough not to fall for such pathetically obvious pandering.

Or so I thought. But when the campaign aides pressed an 8x10 glossy of their man on me and I asked them where he stood on the issues, they hadn�t a clue. In rural Jordan, a candidate runs on his Rolodex. He�s the guy with high-level contacts in Amman who can use �em to bring home the bacon, or the pork, or whatever the Muslim equivalent is. That�s the message of the suit. If the plaid in a New Hampshire primary is supposed to signal that the guy�s one of us, the Savile Row get-up in Azraq is supposed to send the opposite message: this guy�s one of them � in a suit like that, there�s no reason why you couldn�t find him sitting across the banqueting table from Queen Rania. That�s the man your tribe or village needs in Amman.
Straight talk on WMD and Iraq:

Here it is, courtesy of the good lads at the Star Tribune:
Does the failure to find WMD mean we were handed a sack of lies?

Nope. The administration was clear from the get-go: Iraq was part of the Axis, and the Axis had to go down. Each part would be sundered as circumstances permitted. The destruction of the fascist regime in Baghdad would be the object lesson for the region, the proof that America had a new mission: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them.

Of course, that was not how the war was sold. Because the administration sought U.N. approval, the issue became enforcement of U.N. resolutions -- and those had to do with disarmament. Because the Bush team sought a greater moral legitimacy, it also phrased the war in terms of liberation, and removing a government with ties to terrorism. . . .

In the long run, it's not what we don't find in Iraq. It's what doesn't happen.

No more mass executions. No new prisons for children. No bonus checks for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. No Terrorism 101 classes at Salman Pak. No electrodes applied to the daughter of a man who talked to CNN. No daily potshots at allied aircraft. No sudden sluice of fear in the hearts of the Kurds when the government trucks appear on the horizon. No miserable thuggish satrapy in the middle of the Middle East, thumbing its nose at the United Nations and the United States.

Come election time 2004, the Iraqi oil proceeds will not be going to secret Swiss accounts named Chick Daney and Ronald Dumsfeld. They'll be going to the people of Iraq. We won't be arguing about losing the peace in Iraq.

We'll be arguing about losing the peace in Iran. But that's another story. For another presidential term.

Revolutionary Ideal:

Democracy according to the classical liberal tradition is the last true revolutionary ideology in the world. It is also the only one that has worked: predating and surviving Marxism, Fascism, and managing to erect free societies while the ideologies of unfreedom drew darkness over their lands.