I guess it wouldnt


I guess it wouldn’t be Talking Points if I didn’t have readers writing in with various mixtures of surprise, bewilderment and scorn for the attention I give to the seemingly endless saga of Chandra Levy, the bouncy twenty-four-year-old Bureau of Prisons intern whose life was tragically cut short a bit more than a year ago by a person or persons unknown.

It bewilders me a bit too, I guess. I’ve never had much interest in or patience with this sort of story. And my path to preoccupation with it began in what I suspect was an uncommon manner.

You certainly wouldn’t know it today. But back before a year ago, Gary Condit was the sort of pol that right-thinking Washington — the supercilious center — just loved. He decried partisanship. He decried Bill Clinton. He pretty much always said what your standard talking head wanted to hear.

So when a woman in DC went missing and it was pretty obvious that she was Condit’s girlfriend it pissed me off that pretty much everyone in town was giving the guy a pass — give a pass, that is, to someone who was always happy to dish a little cheap moralism for the usual suspects in the Washington press corps. Of course, later, for many the whole Condit thing got conflated with the Clinton thing, which I never really understood. And it’s sort of hard to think back now to a time when anybody was cutting Condit any slack. But that’s what sparked my original interest.

Last summer I had a decent number of readers write in and say that it was either disgusting or bizarre that I was giving the issue so much attention in these virtual pages. Or, at least as often, I’d hear that it was terrible that I was paying so much attention to something so trivial and meaningless when President Bush was running the country into the ditch.

I got a number of those today, actually. And I guess those comments just make me wonder why some people don’t seem to think there’s enough time in the day to think critically about national politics, the war on terrorism, and the still-baffling murder mystery which took place in one’s own town. Or the history of the Dutch Republic, for that matter, which is likely more intrinsically interesting than all of them wrapped together. But that’s another matter.

I guess the point is that this site is not only about politics or how bad the Bush administration is. It’s about a lot of things.

Anyway, one other point on Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui is now telling the court that he was not involved in the 9/11 plot and that he can prove it. Now, I don’t know what Moussaoui can prove or not prove. Frankly, the guy seems a bit, as my grandmother used to say, ‘touched in the head.’ That aside though what’s really weird is that there’s a decent chance Moussaoui is telling the truth.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Moussaoui is just some innocent. I have no doubt that he was here training for just the sort of mission the 9/11 guys pulled off. But was he part of that operation? There are actually a lot of intelligence and law enforcement types (a minority perhaps, but quite a few) who don’t think so.

What’s sort of chilling is that he might actually have been training for the next mission. And his associates — the ones who weren’t quite so obvious — might still be out there milling about.