A Set-Up? -- While you read this week's cover story on Ahmed Chalabi, keep this in mind (but take it with a big chunk of salt): Some people think the whole thing might be an elaborate hoax. That's right, some unnamed sources being quoted about the raid on Chalabi's home and office think it may have been staged as a way to improve the former Iraqi exile's standing in his country. Chalabi himself has already been quoted saying the raids did wonders for his image among Iraqis suspicious of his ties to the United States. Could it be that those who really want Chalabi to rule the country are attempting to strengthen his hand? We're just passing it on as you consider Iraq's tangled web.
1,100 -- That's a number worth remembering this Memorial Day weekend; it's how many World War II veterans are dying every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. To remember all of them -- living and dead -- the nation will dedicate the newest shrine in Washington, D.C., this weekend -- the National World War II Memorial.
Interesting Observation -- After President Bush's speech about Iraq on Tuesday night, the usual punditry was on display. But we did like one perspective offered on the president's never-fire-anybody, never-admit-a-mistake approach. "As ever," opined Sean Wilentz, a history prof at Princeton, "this White House can't even bring itself to utter the perennial mealy-mouthed evasion, 'Mistakes were made.' This White House never makes any mistakes, active or passive; it simply suffers from the unintended consequences of its triumphs. If Abraham Lincoln had thought that way, he never would have fired Gen. George McClellan, and the Confederacy would have won the Civil War."
Kerry's Catholic Problem -- There was a time when Catholics were excited that one of their own was running for president. John Kennedy was the first Catholic ever to run and became the only Catholic ever to hold the job. But now that Irish-Catholic John Kerry is running, some prominent Catholics are instead talking about how he shouldn't be allowed to receive communion because of his pro-choice beliefs. The ramifications of such a move are enormous: Would they quiz every parishioner on a range of social issues? Since that won't happen, some Catholics, like noted author Fr. Andrew Greeley, think it's more a case of GOP-leaning priests playing politics. After all, nobody's calling on a similar ban on politicians who support the death penalty or the war in Iraq, both of which have been condemned by the Vatican.
You'd think an outfit reeling from bad publicity over the ongoing child sex abuse scandal would try to avoid digging itself into a deeper hole.