Monday, March 12, 2007

It's a family affair

Political marriages and familial alliances among the Roman ruling class bordered on the absurd. Just look at this family tree of the Gracchi and the Scipiones. Not only did Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus have a son who was later adopted by the Scipiones and became Scipio Aemilianus, but Macedonicus' sister Aemilia married Scipio Africanus Major whose son was the very Scipio who adopted Aemilianus. And Aemilianus married Sempronia, daughter of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Cornelia Africana, daughter of Africanus. So try to figure out who was whose son-in-law/nephew/grandson simultaneously and get back to me. Although this marrying free-for-all seems to us a bit excessive and inbred, it was a powerful political tool; indeed, that was the main reason for its continuance.

I say this because I keep seeing a certain surname concerning anything having to do with our glorious surge plan: Kagan. As in Frederick Kagan, chief architect of the plan. And then there's Kimberly Kagan, his wife, who has begun a lovely little propaganda exercise called (rather boringly) "The Iraq Report" in the Weekly Standard. She was also a contributor to the plan itself. The Standard being the lover of truth and transparency it is, it has neglected to point out this connection. And finally, there's Robert Kagan, Fred's brother, whom I have blogged about before, who has a rosy assessment in today's Washington Post entitled "The 'Surge' is Succeeding." Again, the Post must not think much of the whole blood ties thing, because it also keeps mum about Fred 'n' Bobby havin' the same daddy and all. This silence about the Kagan connection has the conspicuous characteristic of being silent over and over again.

Not only is this whole nepotistic enterprise shabbily concealed, in (R) Kagan's case its just badly argued. In his piece, in which he fails to quote even the lowliest, least reliable, anonymous military source or to cite one bit of statistical data, he relies almost entirely on the writings of the brothers Omar and Mohammed Fadhil, of the blog "Iraq the Model." Don't look now, but the blogs are revolutionizing the MSM! It just so happens that the bloggers in question are resolutely pro-war, have written for the Wall Street Journal (again using only assertions, not evidence), and have met personally with President Bush. Kagan's other source is NBC news anchor Brian Williams, definitely the most reliable barometer about the success of our military strategy. This, as we say in highly technical journalistic language, is a goddamn joke.

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