Sine Qua Non Pundit
And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Remember that really clever idea I had about calling other bloggers during our blogfest? Well, actually, it worked pretty well. We got Susanna, and Dodd, and Tim and probably quite a few more folks I'm leaving out, since my mid-term memory is even worse than my short term memory, to chat with us from afar and blog us while we had a great time. And Matt and Vicky and Ryan drove a long way to get here. Anyway, the bill just arrived for the call to Tim Blair. $84. Mr. Bowen said he was going to set up MBBV. When he does, I think I should drink for free.
The Command Post has been up since this morning. I've posted more there today than here. It's a vastly better source than any major media outlet ... including Drudge!
Two Suppositions and an Assumption
While Shock and Awe™ are scheduled for this evening, it seems to me we are taking our time unleashing it in the hope that we get lucky and take Saddam and the fruit of his loins out (if we haven’t already!), or that someone there will just shoot the bastards before we have to do serious damage to so many buildings and the infrastructure of Iraq with untold unintended casualties.
The handful of oil wells that have apparently been torched could be a trap. I assume that they want us to try and rush in to stop them and put them out so they could launch propositioned rockets or mortars against those positions. Or perhaps they are booby-trapped. A few oil wells on fire does not sound like a scorched earth policy. Of course, there may be rogue elements acting here or perhaps even someone trying to accelerate the attack. Who knows?
If we do not suffer any terrorist attacks over the next week, then I believe a big pat on the back is due to the much maligned Tom Ridge, John Ashcroft, and George Tenet. These folks do seem to be doing an excellent job. The very nature of their task requires that they be like an umpire or referee -- they are only noticed when something goes badly.
My, Hasn't Warfare Changed
Red Cross Confirms 1 Death in Iraq War
Sure, As Soon As China Leaves Tibet
A directive from the moral low ground:
China demanded Thursday that military action against Iraq stop immediately and said the initial attack was "violating the norms of international behavior."
Well, they certainly have a lot of practice when it comes to recognizing a violation of the norms of international behavior.
Smell the Desperation
Dana Milbank acts as the mouthpiece for the DNC today:
Former White House aide Karen P. Hughes, now a $15,000-a-month consultant to the Republican National Committee, has been playing a key role in advising President Bush and the administration on a communications strategy for the Iraq war.
Ok, but what's wrong with that?
The arrangement has prompted accusations from Democrats and government watchdog groups that the role of Hughes improperly blends politics and government business.
Oh, my. Who could have imagined that politics would play a role in government business? To be fair, Republicans were just as shocked during the Clinton administration:
A decade ago, a similar White House consulting arrangement caused an uproar among congressional Republicans, who were infuriated that Democratic National Committee consultants were given access to the 1993 deliberations on President Bill Clinton's first budget and economic plan. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) attempted to pass legislation requiring the consultants to file the same financial disclosure statements as White House aides did. The legislation failed, but the White House directed the four consultants -- James Carville, Paul Begala, Mandy Grunwald and Stan Greenberg -- to make the disclosures.
What I wonder about is why anyone thinks this is news.
The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LXXXI
(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)
Time is short, so I shall be as well.
There is no better demonstration of what is wrong with the mainstream left than what flows from the keyboard of Richard Cohen. Whether it is Evil Isn't a Dream or We Still Need Allies, Richard clearly states that President George W. Bush is doing the right thing for the right reasons, and yet he cannot bring himself to be happy about it, because it’s being led by President George W. Bush. Mr. Cohen just can’t help himself when it comes to repeating the tired mantra of increasingly silly complaints, whether he is conveniently passing over the perfidious bad faith of the French to accuse the Bush administration of failing at diplomacy, dropping flaming bags of dog feces accusing the Bush administration of fudging the truth, or just claiming over and over and over that President George W. Bush is stupid and malicious.
The mainstream left is always happy to accuse everyone on the right of having a rabid hatred of Bill Clinton that causes them to see everything he did through dung-colored glasses. The truth is that it’s a small percentage of the right that sees Bill Clinton as evil incarnate. Bill Clinton isn’t evil incarnate. He is a smart, talented, narcissistic man who was very, very good at all the things people say makes them hate politicians. Because he was so good at it and because the mainstream left adopted the Machiavellian attitudes and approaches of the far left, he got away with a lot -- for a while. Since he left office, history has already not been very kind to him. My guess is that it’s going to get a lot worse.
The best example of the lack of seriousness of the mainstream left is the change of heart they've had regarding "unilateral" action in general and "Iraq" in particular between 1998 and 2003, when the only significant difference between those two dates is who was president. Unless and until the mainstream left drops the idea that President George W. Bush isn’t at least as competent as, say, Al Gore, it becomes increasingly difficult to take them as serious people. That is our loss, as well as theirs. The sooner we can get back to substantial arguments about political philosophies and how best to implement them instead of juvenile name-calling and the automatic opposition to absolutely every position taken by those elected to lead, the better.
Which of the conspiracy nuts will be the first to cite James Lileks today as evidence that our government is controlled by the J-E-W-S.
Pathetic, Utterly Pathetic
That giant sucking sound you hear is Michael Moore. Don't click it. Really, don't. You have been warned.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
I'm Not Worthy
Every time Tim Blair commits a full frontal fisking, this time on Peter FitzSimons, I feel as though I am Salieri to his Amadeus.
You Can't Handle the Truth
If it's posted on BlogSpot, which seems to be choking on the traffic. Or maybe Saddam's unleashed his hackers. Who knows? But it is hard to get around right now.
I Knew This Was Inevitable
War is bad for the environment:
Experts warned this week that a war in Iraq will cause "massive and possibly irreversible" environmental damage to the Persian Gulf region and significantly add to the problem of global warming.
Experts. Right. Gosh, if President Bush had signed on to the Kyoto Accords, I guess we could never have liberated Iraq.
As about 250,000 U.S. and British troops prepared to move against President Saddam Hussein's forces, international environmental leaders said the ensuing damage to Iraq's ecosystem and food and water supplies may eclipse the destruction to that region during the 1990-1991 Gulf war.
"I think it will be comprehensive damage and I don't think it will be localized to the area of Iraq, regardless of how precise and surgical our bombing campaign will be," said Ross Mirkarimi, a San Francisco-based environmental analyst who made two trips to Iraq shortly after U.S.-led forces drove the Iraqis from Kuwait. "The pollution will travel in areas that will compound the damage that still remains from the 1991 military campaign."
On the other hand, I don't remember the usual suspects bitching all that much at all the oil wasted when Saddam Hussein torched Kuwait.
During the Gulf war, retreating Iraqi forces set fire to more than 600 Kuwaiti oil wells, creating thick, toxic smoke that choked the atmosphere and blocked out the sun. The Iraqis dumped four million barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf, tarring beaches, killing more than 25,000 birds and driving millions more away, according to data compiled by the World Resources Institute and other organizations that monitor the environment. Spills of 60 million barrels of oil in the desert formed huge oil lakes and percolated into underground aquifers.
More than 80 percent of Kuwait's livestock perished during the war, while fisheries were heavily polluted, according to the monitoring groups. The burning oil fields released nearly a half billion tons of carbon dioxide--a staggering amount of greenhouse gas that many scientists say is the leading cause of the Earth's rising temperature.
Notice the relative absence of noting who's responsible?
Environmental groups and experts say a new war in Iraq could do even more harm to the region's environment and precious water resources and kill off dozens of endangered species of birds and animals--especially given the sophistication and fierce power of a new generation of U.S. weaponry.
Environmental groups and experts! Right. But how will better and more accurate weapons do more harm?
"The first Gulf war was the biggest environmental disaster in recent history," said Gar Smith, former editor of Earth Island Journal and a spokesman for Environmentalists Against War. "Unfortunately, with advances in military technology, a new Gulf war has the potential to be even worse."
Gar Smith doesn't know what he's talking about. The advances in military technology will have exactly the opposite effect.
Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, said in a recent interview with MTV that "to me the question of the environment is more ominous than that of peace and war."
Yes, well, we already know about Hans.
Environmentalists say that state-of-the art U.S. fighter jets, tanks, armor-piercing shells and ground-shattering Massive Ordnance Air-Burst bombs (MOABs) likely will destroy or seriously damage Iraqi water and sewage treatment plants and dams; ruin ancient archeological sites and harm what little remains of the Mesopotamian Marshlands, Iraq's primary source of freshwater in the south that was systematically destroyed by government engineers during the past 30 years.
Are they suggesting we should go back to saturation bombing? Jeez. And note once again, who's really responsible for the environmental atrocities committed in Iraq, even if they won't say his name.
Environmentalists are particularly concerned about the use of armor-piercing munitions that are tipped with depleted uranium--a heavy metal that can penetrate tanks but also spreads radioactive dust to soil and water. During the 1991 conflict, U.S. forces fired 320 tons of depleted uranium, most of it from cannons mounted on Air Force A-1- Thunderbolt IIs, or Warthogs. Much of that radioactive material was spread across Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, often in the form of tiny fragments that some civilians picked up as souvenirs.
Of course they are concerned, that's what they do for a living. Now, if they had any actual evidence of harm...
Defense Department officials last week said there is little evidence that depleted uranium poses a serious threat to public health or the environment, while stressing the metal's extraordinary capability of penetrating enemy armor. "Nobody goes into a war and wants to be even with the enemy," Army Col. James Naughton of the U.S. Army Materiel Command told reporters.
How the heck did that piece of common sense slip in here?
If oil wells are set ablaze again, they could do far more environmental damage than was inflicted in 1991, experts said. The Kuwaiti oil wells burned for up to nine months, generating soot, sulfur and acid rain that covered croplands up to 1,200 miles away in all directions.
Then again, maybe they won't.
"Over the last few decades, we've come to recognize that war has not only a tragic human cost, but a tragic environmental cost as well," said Carroll Muffett, director of international programs for Defenders of Wildlife. "Fragile habitats are destroyed; wildlife degraded beyond use."
The only thing we have to fear are environmental fear-mongers themselves.
Earlier this week, nearly 200 lawyers, scholars and environmentalists from 51 countries protested the looming war and urged leaders of the United States, Great Britain, Turkey and Iraq to pull back.
Their letter highlighted international rules of law for governments that impose a "solemn responsibility to avoid destruction of or serious or widespread damage to the natural environment and cultural heritage of Iraq and the Persian Gulf region."
Then again, let's not forget who;s responsible for anything and everything that happens.
And the Day You're Gone From the Senate, I'll Throw a Party
The people of West Virginia must be so proud. At least the ones not working on the federal payroll in a building named after Senator Byrd:
"Today I weep for my country," said West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd. "No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. ... Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned."
In other words, around the globe there are idiots or people who willfully delude themselves about America. That's not my problem, it's theirs. Save your crocodile tears.
Mr. Peanut's Track Record in International Affairs Remains Perfect
At some point, this self-serving, self-promoting nonsense has to stop:
Former President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday said he had been working quietly with the United Nations to find a peaceful solution to the standoff between the United States and Iraq, but vowed to support U.S. troops if war did break out.
Carter, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, said he and other officials from his nonprofit Carter Center had spent several months trying to bolster U.N. efforts to disarm Iraq and prevent a war in the Middle East.
"That effort has not been successful," the Democrat told participants at a forum in Atlanta to discuss campaign finance reform in the Americas.
What a surprise.
8:00:01 PM EST
Is this the time of our choosing? I cannot imagine President George W. Bush giving Saddam an extra second after all we've been through the last six months. I pity the French fool who suggests giving Saddam another 24 hours right now.
I don't relish the thought of all the death and destruction that is about to be dealt out, nor do I shirk from it. Saddam must be disarmed. It is important for some to ask themselves how many more people will have been injured or killed when this is over because of the pernicious duplicity of France since UNSC resolution 1441. Maybe if France had sided with us, Saddam could have been deposed without a war. Maybe if Bill Clinton hadn't led the world to believe the United States Presidents don't really mean what they say this wouldn't have happened either. Now we'll never know. But we do know that in a very short period of time Saddam will no longer be causing anyone any further grief.
Godspeed to our troops and all our allies. Here's hoping the Iraqi's have the good sense not to fight back or do anything dreadfully stupid.
The Democrats True Nightmare Scenario
Not only does the war go well, but the economy gets back on track:
Crude prices closed under $30 a barrel Wednesday for the first time in two months with a rise in last week's oil stocks and expectations for a quick U.S. and allied victory over Iraq easing concerns over tight supplies. ... "I don't think there's any more 'war premium.' Now we're building a 'peace premium,'"
Nothing will make the economic numbers improve like a 30% decrease in oil prices virtually overnight.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Sheryl Crow's Forlorn Search For A Clue
DOWNDATE: Help! Sheryl Crow is suppressing dissent! The popular, talented cowardess has apparently deleted her rambling, incoherent screed. Fortunately the bits that aren't captured below can be found here. Thanks to Peppermint Patty and Andrea Harris. And Rachel Lucas points us to the Google cache version in Andrea's comments. To paraphrase Sheryl, maybe it's best not to have intelligent enemies. There's nowhere to hide Sheryl.
DOWNDATE II: It looks like the Google cache version has been updated with Sheryl's suppression of her own dissent. Better stick to Peppermint Patty's version above.
Or as she calls it, Sheryl's Humble Opinion and Search for The Truth. Here's some highlights:
I consider myself a citizen of the world as well as a proud American.
Don't forget to pay your world taxes Sheryl! But remember, a woman cannot serve two masters.
It is my belief that the dialogue is as important as the side being defended.
Style over substance.
I believe history has brought us to this point and that the matter at hand is that we be armed with truth.
Are we a nation that was founded on imperialistic ideals?
Uh, no. Didn't Sheryl used to be a teacher? Don't you have to read any history to be a teacher?
Or are we a nation that is part of a fabric made up of all other countries existing on the same planet, respecting this organism that sustains our lives?
What kind of colorful, life-sustaining fabric can Sheryl make out of Hussein, Mugabe, Amin, Castro, Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler?
Do we ignore the relationships we have worked hard to build with our allies and do we try everything in our power to rid the planet of evil using nonaggression, or are we a country that will use force and in the meantime, be responsible for the loss of innocent lives in the name of freeing oppressed people and insuring our own security, when this war is not solely based on those ideals but on the ideals of controlling the oil industry and our interests in Israel.
So that's what Sheryl has been reading.
We did not go in to Rwanda, Sierra Leone, or Angola when these countries were suffering catastrophic genocide and human rights infractions beyond our understanding.
Hard to believe we pass up opportunities to be labelled imperialist aggressors every chance we get, isn't it. Or was it because it was beyond our understanding? Or is Sheryl arguing that we shouldn't ever do anything because we haven't always been able to do everything since time immemorial, or at least since Sheryl developed a social conscience?
It is conceivable that in the long view, the outcome, whatever that may be, could heal a wound that has been festering between Muslims and Christians for centuries, because history would lead us in that direction.
I've read a lot of history, but this is an entirely new concept for me. History as a leader. Deep.
There will be a price to pay..environmentally and financially. The question of recovery is one that no one can speculate.... and more than likely, the bill we be paid by generations to come.
Please God. Take me now. Don't make me finish this.
It is my concern and my hope that the citizens of this country will think for themselves, educate themselves, find out all there is to know about why we are considering attacking Saddam now without the support of our allies.
I look forward to the release of Sheryl's next unilateral duet.
It is my belief that there is an abundance of information that is public record that actually addresses these issues....the issues of preemptive strikes, preventive strikes, our philosophy on creating and ruling a world empire, our necessity to have a military unchallengable by any other military, our plan to keep a military operation in Iraq to protect our interests in Israel.
Where to start? It's a good thing Sheryl believes this. I mean, it's not like she could actually use the Internet or a library to find this information. Call me an atheist or an agnostic, but please Sheryl, point me to the reference on our philosophy for creating and ruling a world empire. In all my reading, I've missed that one, and I'm not one to just take an important issue like this on faith. And what is it with "our interests in Israel" that keeps popping up in this nonsense?
It is my desire that we be an awake nation that investigates what it stands for and that as people, we define what we stand for.
Did you know that Sheryl is regarded as one of our better lyricists in pop music?
It is my dream that the arrogance that represents us as a nation can be changed in the eyes of the world and that we will rise up as a nation of peaceful people who will work at finding other ways of eliminating enemies...
"The arrogance that represents us." That's good. Can I use that? And trust me Sheryl, we are always working on finding new ways of eliminating our enemies.
...perhaps by consciously not creating enemies in the first place, after all, we have distinct ties to Saddam in his becoming leader of Iraq.
This is a slightly less nonsensical variant on an earlier theme of Sheryl (Storm) Crow's. But no, I'm sorry Sheryl, but we had nothing to do with Saddam becoming leader of Iraq.
There are many questions that beg to be asked.
And many arrogance that wish to represent us.
Some are being asked rhetorically by many journalists, including a great writer at the New York Times by the name of Daniel Friedman.
I enjoyed Daniel's book, "The Acura and the Orange Tree." He has won three Nobel prizes for Literature, you know. I think he's really blossomed under the tutelage of Thomas Raines.
For example-if we are claiming that we are going into Iraq to save it's people from such an oppressive regime and such heinous human rights infractions, then why are we not addressing these situations in other Middle Eastern countries that are our allies?
Um, because they are allies?
Is there a way to justify the human loss that we can expect from this war....our own as well as innocent Iraqis?
If this is a war not based on our own interests in oil, then why is it that our government is offering tax cuts to businesses who purchase SUVs as company cars?
Jeez, you really got me there Sheryl. But wasn't the government offering these tax breaks before SUVs existed?
(I would challenge all those who support this war, which is over three-fourths of this country, to trade in your gas guzzlers and buy a small car or a hybrid or at least a more economical car, that way we ensure that we are never reliant on overseas oil supplies. That is the least we can do to support our soldiers who are fighting on our behalf for the freedoms we enjoy. I own a hybrid and although it is not the fanciest, most powerful car, it gets us around. I am currently selling my BMW SUV).
Will you sell it to me for $100, Sheryl? After all, you don't want to profit on an SUV that's putting our soldiers lives at risk, do you? And hopefully, we'll never have an accident with me in the BMW SUV and you in the hybrid, because, well, people will miss you. But if we just trade in our gas guzzlers, that just means that someone else is going to buy them and drive them. This real world stuff is more complicated than you thought.
I would also encourage all of you to look up the PAX Americana.
This is the doctrine which has been adopted, in part, by our Security Council and is public record as the National Security Strategy, a document in which each administration outlines its approach to defending the country.
It was drawn up by Paul Wolfowitz, under George Bush, Sr., who is now serving under George Bush, Jr. The doctrine was leaked in 1992 but was considered to be so ridiculous and inscrutable by those who got wind of it that Pres Bush Sr. was forced to publicly repudiate it. It has since been approved and adopted by the current Bush administration, which is made up of many of the same names who served under Bush, Sr. and who have been called "Iraq hawks."
And since it already had "Bush" printed on the cover, there was no need to generate a new one for the current administration. I see that Sheryl's seen Frontline. Too bad she didn't understand it.
The doctrine states that America will allow no military more powerful than it's own.
Works for me. Thank God it's not France with the world's stongest military.
It states that we reserve the right to not only strike preemptively but preventively....in other words, we reserve the right to strike a country to prevent it from striking us first, even without the aid or support of our allies.
Believe it or not, not everyone just wants to soak up the sun, Sheryl.
This basically means that the World Community we have worked so hard since World War II to establish will no longer exist under any rules of fairness.
But if we worked so hard to establish it, doesn't that mean it's ours? And who gets to decide fair? Jacque Chirac? Hugo Chavez? Bashir Assad?
The doctrine is based on the desire of a few to establish America as the sole World Leader, the head of an Empire, the Czar of the World, which is entitled to attack if anyone steps out of line.
Czar of the World. Cool. Misha will be so jealous. And speaking of being out of line, you'd better be careful Sheryl. The Masters of the Universe can like, read this, you know.
As I've said, this is all public information.
I feel I must address the issue of my visit to Bosnia in 1996 for it seems to have many people criticizing my intentions. I went to Bosnia to entertain the American troops who had been stationed there for quite some time in our military effort to keep a presence there.
The early stages in the building of our empire. But, hold on, that was a Bill Clinton thing. Well, sure, but he didn't get UN approval. Sigh. The mouth moves, but Ms. Brain departed long ago.
Before traveling to Bosnia, I was briefed of the low morale the troops were experiencing because of the open-ended campaign there. The soldiers, men and women, were hoping to be able to return to the States in time for Christmas but instead had learned that their stay would be indefinite.
That's the trouble with empires.
I learned more about war from my trip than I had ever known of it through history books and films.
But, let's be honest, the bar was set kind of low here.
The country side, which we helicoptered over, was destroyed, smoking and war-torn, leaving very little to salvage.
The city side was also pretty badly damaged.
There were landmines 3 layers deep with much looting still going on even with the presence of stray bullets and unexploded bombs.
Laying that 3rd layer of mines gets to be pretty tricky I bet. But at least it gives them more to loot that way when they've stolen all the unexploded bombs.
I was honored and glad to play for the American troops, as well as NATO troops, not out of my support for war but for my support for my country and the good people who protect the freedoms we enjoy.
Sheryl really doesn't know why our troops were in Bosnia, does she?
The truth is not always clear cut.
I found the needle in this haystack.
It is my belief that what we are entering into is bigger than our President and his staff and Saddam Hussein.
I don't believe it. I know it.
And in the long view, as I have said, the strife that we may be entering is an age old one, based on the disagreements of religious peoples and the desire to control monetary interests.
This is partially true. Some religious peoples do believe that we must convert to their unique sect within their religion or be subjected to abject slavery or put to the sword as infidels. I disagree with these religious peoples.
It is very possible that out of this strife, generations from now, that healing may begin between Christians and Muslims.
Isn't this an argument for the war?
Our attacking Iraq, in an attempt at making America a safer place, has not been connected to 9-11 or to the Al Qaeda, as some want to believe.
Correct, sort of. It's about making sure there isn't an 8/11 or a 6/15 in our future that dwarfs 9/11.
However, many believe we will see more terrorism than ever, under the guise of Jihad, if we attack the Muslim world.
Just curious Sheryl, but if your record company screws you out of 25% of your royalties, do you just pretend it didn't happen out of concern that next time they might get mad and take 50%?
Align yourselves with truth. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our enemies and for our troops and their families. Pray for the generations who come after us who will have to pay the bill for what we are about to enter. And lastly, pray for our ailing planet. She will suffer like never before if this disagreement turns nuclear.
Pssst, Sheryl, that some serious Gaia bullshit you're trying to lay on us. Even if we explode every nuclear device on the planet in the next 48 hours, Mother Earth will do just fine. The people will be royally screwed, but Mother Earth will be ok. In 10,000,000 years, no one would even be able to figure out what happened.
I respect your opinion and as I've said, these are the opinions of one person....famous or not.
Sheryl, I respect your right to have an opinion. But it's awfully hard to respect your opinion when it is so woefully misinformed, so laden with nonsensical conspiracies, so sadly influenced by newage (that's New Age, but it rhymes with sewage), and so utterly devoid of reason. Other than that, have a nice life.
And Vice Versa
World's view of America worsens
Randy Newman nailed this a long time ago:
No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens
We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them
Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us
We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too
Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now
And Let's Not Forget Our Good Friends Down Under
Tim Blair helpfully provides this address for anyone that wants to send a note of thanks or encouragement to Australian PM John Howard, whose been threatened with prosecution as a war criminal for supporting this "illegal" war. Mr. Blair's post also contains a number of other relevant thoughts and addresses. Here's my short message to Australian Prime Minister John Howard:
I wish to express my heartfelt thanks for Australia's support and participation in the war on terrorism. I applaud your courage for choosing what is right over what is popular. In the struggles and difficult times that lie ahead, I rejoice that Australia has joined the US and the UK in a firm and forceful manner to defend freedom and true tolerance in the world.
Your friend, Charles Austin
Blix Nix Iraqi ABC Fix
He sees nothing! He knows nothing!
Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said on Tuesday he doubted Iraq would use chemical or biological weapons in a war with a U.S.-led coalition...
As if Hans would know. But why is he so sure? Because:
... world opinion would turn against Baghdad.
Yes. Saddam risks being thought of as badly as President George W. Bush.
But he said, "I think it is unlikely they will do that because I think world public opinion, which they study quite a lot, is in large measure feeling that going to war is too early."
Can anybody figure out what that sentence means?
"So there is a fair amount of skepticism about armed action," Blix said. "That skepticism would turn immediately around, if they used chemical weapons or biological weapons," he said. "My guess is they would not."
Well, fortunately, we won't be relying on Hans' guesses any more now than we did before.
Asked if the government of President Saddam Hussein would care if it were about to be abolished, he said, "Some people care about their reputation even after death."
But not cowboys, apparently.
Blix expressed disappointment that his inspection process was cut short. "I don't think it is reasonable to close the door to inspections after three and a half months," he said, adding that he doubted resolution 1441, adopted on Nov. 8, foresaw such a short inspection period.
Could it be that he didn't actually read 1441?
But he said while Iraq had been cooperating, he could not say there had been any breakthroughs in the thousands of pages of documents submitted.
So, while the pen may be mightier than the sword, it doesn't stand a chance against the asymmetrical threat of weapons of mass destruction.
Maybe the French Could Help After All
Thousands of Iraqi Troops Appear Ready to Surrender
As I was saying...
FRENCH QUIT IN EMBASSY PANIC
I'm no theologian, but when did the mother church decide that God should take his cues on morality from the UN?
The Vatican said on Tuesday countries that decide to wage war on Iraq without a global consensus must take responsibility before God and history -- making clear the Pope would not endorse their actions.
Oh, the title is the acronym for What Would St. Augustine Do? As for me, I'm sorely tempted to suggest something quite blasphemous regarding a final destination for the church hierarchy. I'm not a Roman Catholic, but up until now I've had a great respect for this pope. I can only assume that he's too infirm to be well informed about what is transpiring now.
Well Done Tony!
Remember when scary old Robin Cook was going to lead a parliamentary revolt against the PM?
Tony Blair has won Commons backing to send UK forces into battle with Saddam Hussein - but also suffered another major backbench rebellion. Amid dramatic scenes in the Commons on Tuesday night, 217 MPs - as many as 139 of them Labour backbenchers - backed a rebel amendment opposing the government's stance on Iraq, with 396 opposing the motion. A motion backing the government's position was passed by 412 vote to 149.
Oooo, the appeasement faction picked up an extra 17 votes from the disgruntled loony left since the last vote. Not even close.
No Thanks, You've Done Quite Enough Already
Now, France wants to help the US if Saddam Hussein uses the biological or chemical weapons he says he doesn't have against us:
France has announced it could assist any US-led military coalition if Iraq uses chemical and biological weapons. The turnaround comes after strong French opposition to a war in Iraq, including threats to veto a UN Security Council resolution paving the way for armed conflict. French ambassador Jean-David Levitte said: "If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical and biological weapons, this would change the situation completely and immediately for the French government."
Presumably the situation would change because the public exhibition of their lies would stretch their noses to a length that would dwarf Cyrano de Bergerac's.
Hubba Hubba Hubba
Is it just me, or did the Speaker of the House stop just short of accusing the Minority Leader of the Senate of treason?
"I was disappointed to see Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's comments regarding the upcoming military action in Iraq. Those comments may not undermine the President as he leads us into war, and they may not give comfort to our adversaries, but they come mighty close."
US Constitution Article 3, Section 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort...
Damn. And I though the blogosphere was out there at times.
Nature vs. Nurture
Susan Sarandon apparently didn't inherit her looniness:
Guests at Mark and Ali Russell's annual St. Patrick's Day house party were charmed Sunday by 79-year-old Lenora Tomalin, a feisty supporter of President Bush and his take-no-prisoners stance toward Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
But they were shocked when Tomalin identified herself -- to the likes of Tim Russert and Maureen Orth, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, and Joe diGenovan and Victoria Toensing -- as the mother of Susan Sarandon.
That Susan Sarandon -- who has been leading the charge of the Hollywood left against Bush and the pending military action (claiming it will simply further American imperial designs and appropriate Iraqi oil) and who shares three of Tomalin's 19 grandchildren with actor Tim Robbins.
"I am a conservative. I voted for George W. Bush and I simply agree with most everything he has said," Tomalin told us yesterday from the Northern Virginia home of keyboardist John Carroll, her son-in-law, and daughter Meredith Carroll, one of Sarandon's eight siblings. "It's not that I'm pro-war. It's just that I think that I trust my government more than I would empathize with the government of Iraq."
Of Sarandon's anti-Bush activism, Tomalin said: "That's a given. That's the way she thinks. That's what Hollywood thinks. We don't agree, but I respect her -- more than she does me." But surely, we suggested, Tomalin's 56-year-old eldest child respects her mother's opinions. "Wanna bet?" Tomalin scoffed. Sarandon's office didn't respond yesterday to our detailed message and fax.
"When I visit Susan, I tread on eggs," Tomalin said. "The most difficult time was during the election of 2000. I live in Florida, and I was a Republican poll-watcher in Polk County. Afterward, I was sitting at the breakfast table with Jack Henry, my then-13-year-old grandson, and he looked over at me, with the sweetest little smile on his face, and said, 'I hear you voted for Bush.' I looked up at Susan, who's standing at the sink, and she says, 'All he wants to know is: How could you have voted for Bush?' And I thought, 'I'm not going to discuss my politics with a 13-year-old who has been brainwashed!' But I just let it go -- even though I have never been as rabid as I have been during the past few years."
Yep, no doubt about it. Illiberalism is nurture over nature.
Monday, March 17, 2003
President George W. Bush started slowly and abruptly, but after the first couple of paragraphs he warmed to his task and it flowed smoothly. Nothing we haven't heard before, but it seems that it takes repeating 30-35 times to get into the skulls of those we have their fingers permanently lodged in their ears.
What I heard between the lines is that North Korea is next. And we won't be seeking any UN Security Council resolutions to ask for their permission. Oh, and expect some new allies for that battle. The UN will survive, but the Security Council no longer matters.
There's another speech coming, but acting first is about the only option left to Saddam Husein, so I expect to hear the President speak again before Thursday.
Welcome to the Real World
Time to cleanse the gene pool:
Security forces at Vandenberg Air Force Base may use ``deadly force'' against protesters if they infiltrate the military complex if a war starts, officials said. Some anti-war activists plan to trespass onto base grounds in hopes of disturbing Vandenberg's mission and to vandalize sensitive equipment they contend helps guide the war effort. Vandenberg officials revealed Friday that military security police may shoot to kill, if necessary, to protect base residents and machinery. The directive has always been in existence, but a base spokeswoman said it is more critical now that people understand its severity.
And if they happen to survive, try them for treason.
Bounder, Liar, and Cad
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a very small man, Democrat Minority Leader, Senator Tom Daschle:
"I'm saddened," Daschle, D-South Dakota, said in a speech to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "Saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country. But we will work, and we will do all we can to get through this crisis like we've gotten through so many."
Do you think the title for this post was a bit strong? Well how about Rat Bastard. Is that better?
Blame Canada, Shame On Canada!
Matt and Trey were on to something. From our fiends (non sic) at Reuters:
Prime Minister Jean Chretien said on Monday that Canada's armed forces would play no role in any attack launched by the United States on Iraq.
As if it were up to Jean le cretin at this point.
In the last two weeks Canada has tried hard to bridge the splits at the U.N. Security Council over Iraq but its attempts came to nothing. The United States and Britain now look set to attack Iraq without U.N. authorization.
Apparently, Orwellian doublespeak has taken over at Reuters. Either that or they have completely forgotten about the 15-0 vote in UNSC Resolution 1441 which clearly states "serious consequences" if Iraq did not immediatley disarm.
"If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate," Chretien told Parliament to storms of applause.
Well, this is clearer, and more honest, than the last paragraph.
Canada has around 30 armed forces personnel serving with the U.S. and British contingents in the Gulf and has contributed two warships to a naval force currently stationed in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf.
It's not the quantity of troops committed, it's the quality of the troops. Right Jean le cretin? Style over substance remains the order of the day on the left.
Anybody know where I can get bumper stickers made up to read (of course, some of these might be adopted by the DNC):
It's foreign policy, stupid!
Friends don't let Democratic friends control foreign policy.
Liberate Iraq! And Iran! And North Korea!
The Axis of Evil. One down, two to go.
It could be worse, you could be in France.
Starve the UN, feed the world.
Dissension Crushing Brigade, Local #457
If you want peace, work for freedom.
Well read, and I vote!
Vaguely interested, and I vote!
I want what you have, and I vote!
I don't like you, and I vote!
I Hereby Offer My Services
Watching Janeane Garafolo has become painful because she is so woefully misinformed and unable to reason properly from the limited information she does have. Presumably, she keeps making appearances on television because she is famous. Rumor has it that she is famous for being funny, but I must have missed her best bits, or perhaps she is famous for something else. Anyway, to save the networks, cable or broadcast, some aggravation and to enhance their credibility, I am making myself available to argue for or against any position they name. I have little doubt concerning my ability to argue substantially and substantively better than Janeane, whatever position I am asked to defend. Naturally, I would prefer to argue in favor of positions I actually agree with, but why be picky. If it helps elevate the discussion, I'll argue against what I believe just to help push the level of discourse ever onward and upward.
My e-mail address is on the right if there are any takers. Serious enquiries only, please.
I heard that someone has threatened to have Australian PM John Howard prosecuted as a war criminal if Australia supports the US in the liberation of Iraq. Bring it on. To wit, I hope the president announces that we will be turning over to the UK all material we find in Iraq documenting violations of past UN resolutions regarding the export of prohibited material to Iraq. Since the UK is a signatory to the ICC, they can work with the ICC to have arrest warrants issued for all the companies and individuals who have been selling prohibited materiel to Iraq since 1991.
Anybody seen Sorcerer? Imagining Jacque Chirac and Dominique De Villepin sweating blood in the jungles of South America for ooooiiiillll has a certain appeal to me.
This Explains Everything
France is seriously confused. The old adage was garbled in translation and come out in French as:
If you want war, prepare for peace.
And that is just what has happened.
Sunday, March 16, 2003
Fareed Wets His Pants
This is pathetic:
America’s unprecedented power scares the world...
Might I suggest that the rest of the world stop treating us so disrespectfully if they are so afraid of us? Just imagine what happens if we no longer allow the world to trade off our sense of propriety. Imagine if we started acting like, say, France!
... and the Bush administration has only made it worse.
Uh huh. IT is all President George W. Bush's fault. I blame Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And John Kerrey and Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle.
If you want to know what's wrong with the center-left's view of the world read the whole thing. Here's some more highlights:
It is true that the United States has some allies in its efforts to topple Saddam.
Of course, one could say that the appeasement camp has some allies as well, though certainly not universal support. But then it wouldn't all be Bush's fault.
It is also true that some of the governments opposing action in Iraq do so not for love of peace and international harmony but for more cynical reasons.
But Bush is a cowboy, so it's all his fault.
To support America today in much of the world is politically dangerous.
Thanks to Newsweek magazine, amongst others.
Look at the few countries that do publicly support us.
The few, the proud, the sane. As if having all the unelected tyrants on France's side makes them right.
Some in Washington have pointed out that whenever the United States has taken strong military action—for example, the deployment of Pershing nuclear missiles in Europe in the early 1980s—there was popular opposition in Europe. True, but this time it’s different.
Yes, this time former Democratic presidents are actively undermining the foreign policy of the sitting president.
A war with Iraq, even if successful, might solve the Iraq problem. It doesn’t solve the America problem.
Yes, the "American problem." It's all our fault.
It is now clear that the current era can really have only one name, the unipolar world—an age with only one global power. America’s position today is unprecedented.
And apparently that makes America bad.
With 5 percent of the world’s population, this one country accounts for 43 percent of the world’s economic production, 40 percent of its high-technology production and 50 percent of its research and development.
So just maybe, the rest of the world should start listening to the US and following our way of doing things. Note that I didn't say follow us, but adopt our ideas of freedom, a bill of rights, open democracy and capitalism. It's gotta be better than just sitting back and bitching about us being successful.
Given this situation, perhaps what is most surprising is that the world has not ganged up on America already.
Well, that would have meant ganging up on Bill Clinton, and we all know that Newsweek would never allow that to happen.
Has American power made its rightful cause turn into wrong? Will America simply have to learn to live in splendid isolation from the resentments of the world? This is certainly how some Americans see things. And it’s true that some of the opposition to the United States is thinly veiled envy.
PART III: WHERE BUSH WENT WRONG
George W. Bush came into office with few developed ideas about foreign policy. He didn’t seem much interested in the world.
No point in going on at this point, is there? But wasn't it Bill Clinton who ignored foreign policy because, quote, "It's the economy stupid!" But check out this conclusion!
There are many specific ways for the United States to rebuild its relations with the world. It can match its military buildup with diplomatic efforts that demonstrate its interest and engagement in the world’s problems. It can stop oversubsidizing American steelworkers, farmers and textile-mill owners, and open its borders to goods from poorer countries. But above all, it must make the world comfortable with its power by leading through consensus.
So, Fareed thinks we should compromise what made us great just to appease the unelected, the failing, and the envious. We should give up our freedom of speech, forego our right to govern and protect ourselves, and destroy the economic engine that powers our greatness so we can all, in the words of Rodney King, "just get along." No thanks.
This deserves a real fisking, but this is all I have time for now. Sorry. Bottom line, the anti-Americanism we see today is the natural consequence of the unbridled, postmodern nonsense that has run unchecked for so many years in Europe and the third world -- and, of course, here as well. Folks, we're in for a long, long war.
How 'Bout Those Illini!!!
Big 10 Conference Tournament Champs! A #2 seed in the NCAA tournament? If I put my coastal media bias hat on for a moment (are you feelin' me Eric?), where would Illinois be ranked right now if they had started the preseason rated #4 instead of not rated at all and picked for the lower half of the Big 10? It's only this week that Joe Lunardi even had Illinois above a #5 seed in his Bracketology on ESPN.
Get ready. The most exciting weekend of the year is coming up. And I'm not talking about Iraq! Some other time, I'll tell you about my long weekend watching all the games in the Southeast Region a few years ago, where I got to witness one of the biggest upsets ever in the tournament -- Austin Peay beating Illinois when they were a #2 seed. Since I was there live, I didn't get to see Dick Vitale stand on his head. But I also got to see Southwest Missouri State upset Clemson in the first round that year, before losing in OT in the next game to the team that went to the Final Four from that region.
CBS just showed a Pontiac commercial with NC State winning the National Championship. Of course, even though it's a great story NC State never should have been in the tournament that year, but I digress. Was there ever a better college team than Houston that year that didn't win the National Championship?
Oh God no! Illinois has to meet Arizona again to get to the Final Four. Life isn't fair.
Hey, it's a #4 seed. Yea, that's fair. Arizona, Kansas, Duke, and Illinois. Jeez, did all the good teams have to go here? The best #1 seed, the best #2 seed, the best #3 seed and the best #4 seed. Jeez. Is the NCAA still mad at Illinois? They had to go West to get a #4 seed?
Which of the usual suspects (Pilger, Fisk, Alterman, et al) will be the first to claim that we are to blame for Saddam's use of chemical or biological weapons because we forced him into it?
Sunday Morning Coming Down
A few thoughts reading the paper and watching the political shows this morning...
Vice President Cheney is smooth. We should see him a lot more than we do.
Whenever you read someone saying that the liberation of Iraq will breed more terrorist attacks against us, keep in mind that this is the same argument used against Israel every time they do something to protect themselves.
When Jacques Chirac says that war is not the answer under any circumstances, keep in mind that one of those circumstances is abject surrender.
Next time you hear someone in a foreign land ask, "America, why are you so hated?", ask them what they are going to do if America gets fed up and starts hating them back.
If we can pinpoint all of the French WMD's, would it be possible to take them all out without warning in a first strike?
My local paper has this story today above the fold: Analysts say dipolmacy (sic) is on its last legs. But here's the print version headline for this story: A blunder in January has left diplomacy on its last legs. If the U.S. acts alone, it will pay a price of friction with old friends. No quotes here. Unfair and unbalanced, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch never disappoints, and they can't spell either. And I certainly hope that our "friends" pay a price for the friction they are creating with an old friend.
The leading lights of the Democratic Party seem to have decided that the US can no longer govern itself. We must now submit to not only the UN on the matter of our security, but to the anti-US, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom left in the matter of the Kyoto Accords, and the ICC for international law. From this point forth, we must submit to the will of the governments (not the people, incidentally) of France, China, Russia, and the UK. (Yes, the UK fits here too, unless you are ready to give up your right to bear arms, the right to trial by a jury of your peers, and the right to remain silent -- none of which exist in the UK.) This is what transnational progressivism means and why it must be resisted at all costs if the world is to maintain an ideal of freedom.
As someone else noted today, many people seem to think Europe has the right idea in how to organize and govern the world based upon how the EU has developed since WW II. But they conveniently forget that Europe was able to do this because the US was providing an umbrella of security so they didn't have to face the consequences of leaving themselves effectively undefended in the face of a hostile foe. You want to know why the UK is with us? Because they haven't forgotten this and they can envision a future where they would need our help once again, and they definitely want us to be there when that happens.
Was Bill Clinton really our president for eight years? He talks as though he expects the decline and fall of the US in his lifetime. I liked Bill Kristol's comment this morning, "Bill Clinton never ceases to appall." Even Juan Williams concurred. The ex-co-President has been awfully silent lately. Maybe she's wising up.
And finally, doesn't this make Douglas Adams prophetic:
An obscure Jewish sect in New York has been gripped in awe by what it believes to be a mystical visitation by a 20lb carp that was heard shouting in Hebrew, in what many Jews worldwide are hailing as a modern miracle.