March 9, 2003
HMM. SOUNDING MORE LIKE A WARBLOGGER ALL THE TIME and in an unlikely setting.
HMM. SOUNDING MORE LIKE A WARBLOGGER ALL THE TIME and in an unlikely setting.
I GOT A NEW MONITOR for my main computer, and now I can read Pejman’s page again.
HANS BLIX is going to be asked some pointed questions about the drones that he omitted from his report to the Security Council:
The British and US ambassadors plan to demand that Hans Blix reveals more details of a huge undeclared Iraqi unmanned aircraft, the discovery of which he failed to mention in his oral report to Security Council foreign ministers on Friday. Its existence was only disclosed in a declassified 173-page document circulated by the inspectors at the end of the meeting — an apparent attempt by Dr Blix to hide the revelation to avoid triggering a war.
I think that Blix’s credibility took a bit of a hit with that discovery. He’s now in a tough spot. If he lies, the United States and Britain can — rightly — call the inspection process a sham, and Blix partisan. If he tells the truth, it will become apparent that Saddam hasn’t been complying at all, and that the inspection process has been, well, a sham.
If someone were trying to demonstrate the bogus nature of the inspection process they could hardly have done better than Blix himself has done.
UPDATE: Reader Michael Crane observes:
“If someone were trying to demonstrate the bogus nature of the inspection process they could hardly have done better than Blix himself has done.”
Surely Blix knew this would not be overlooked. He must have known hiding it would make an even stronger case…..hmmmm.
Perhaps Blix is not the ally of the Franco-German coalition we think he is. I can’t think of a more eloquent way for him to say everything by saying nothing. Disinterested to the end.
Hmm. I’ve certainly known bureaucrats that subtle. Is Blix one? We’ll probably never know.
All I can say is, that (1) the French did it a lot in Algeria; and (2) they still lost; and (3) it’s wrong. Even if you can explain away (1) & (2) by noting that, well, we’re talking about The French here, that doesn’t work for (3).
Yeah, the torture of Al Qaeda guys concerns me less than the torture of, I don’t know, innocent people — but it’s still wrong, and if the practice goes into general use a lot of innocent people, perhaps named by torture victims who just want to name someone to make it stop, will suffer. And so will the people who do the torturing, and so, indirectly, will the rest of us.
UPDATE: Boy, I was behind the curve on this. I should’ve checked Radley’s main page. He’s got posts here and here responding to critics, though not changing his position. I didn’t find another post by Oliver, though I notice that he’s calling Bush soft on homeland security. Well, certainly by these standards.
UPDATE: Now Oliver has responded.
DALE AMON thinks he’s identified Bush’s long-term foreign relations strategy. And it doesn’t have much to do with establishing a new empire. Rather the reverse, actually.
BILL HERBERT IS DEBUNKING BOGUS CLAIMS that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed isn’t really a big fish after all. He’s got evidence.
MICHAEL BARONE WRITES on the next stage of war:
It is important to act fast. There have been benefits from going through the United Nations on Iraq, but there have also been costs. One of those is time–time enough for North Korea to make trouble while we are preparing for major military action thousands of miles away. Now North Korea is threatening to manufacture and spread nuclear weapons. Quick success in Iraq, followed by success as soon as possible in Syria and Iran, will help us deal with that threat too, as soon we must.
HERE’S MORE on Milwaukee’s pro-liberation rally.
FIFTH COLUMN ALERT: Andrew Sullivan writes:
What, after all, is the difference between this and the 1990s? Nothing. But somehow we all knew it would come to this, didn’t we? The Times has been campaigning for appeasement of Saddam for over a year. The hawkish pirouettes in between were diversions. What this editorial is really about is the first shot in the coming domestic war – to undermine this military campaign once it begins, to bring down this administration, and to advocate the long-term delegation of American power to an internationalist contraption whose record has been to facilitate inaction and tyranny. The Times, in campaigning against war, has actually fired the opening shot in the coming domestic war. Hostilities have begun.
I guess this would matter more, if the editorial positions of the Times mattered more.
UPDATE: I guess it wasn’t clear, but the post above was supposed to be archly indicating that I think Andrew is a bit over the top with this point. “Domestic war?” And against the Times? I guess it was a little too arch, though, since neither Josh Chafetz nor Arthur Silber read it that way.
I think we’re quite a ways from “domestic war.” I do think that there are people in positions of influence who would rather see us lose this war. Some are honest about it, like Chrissie Hynde, and some aren’t. And some are just positioning themselves to take advantage if things go badly, but don’t otherwise care. Is that a “fifth column?” It’s enough of one that I think Andrew has won that point over the people who said he was over the top when he originally used the term.
But it’s not “domestic war.” And I don’t know whether the editors of The New York Times fall into this category. While they clearly have an irrational dislike for President Bush, my sense is that they want what’s best for America — however misguided their views on that subject might be — and aren’t calling, after the fashion of Chrissie Hynde, for America to be given “what it deserves.”
With regard to the latter group, though, I tend to agree with Susanna Cornett.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew responds, noting that:
By domestic war, I simply mean a deep domestic fight over the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. That’s a wrenching experience I hope won’t happen. But in many ways, it already has. To take one simple example: has there ever been a case when a former president has actually publicly undermined a sitting president at a critical time in U.N. diplomacy, essentially advising critical foreign governments to balk at America’s requests on the eve of a war? If someone knows of a precedent for Jimmy Carter’s op-ed, please let me know.
Good point. Imagine if Gerald Ford had been writing op-eds criticizing Carter’s handling of the hostage crisis, even as the negotiations were going on.
Then again, it could hardly have turned out worse. In fact, much of our problem with radical Islamism today is because of Carter’s weakness and ineptitude nearly twenty-five years ago.
HERE’S ANOTHER ARTICLE ON WEBLOGS. It’s worth reading just for this phrase: “the eBayization of media.” Heh.
DAMIAN PENNY is running a caption contest.
UPDATE: Reader Bill Adams points out that Damian’s new site design lacks an email address. D’oh! Put one up, Damian! Meanhile, Adams’ suggested caption is “Also sprach Bud Bundy.”
HERE’S A STORY ABOUT A BIG DEMONSTRATION IN PARIS — and it’s not about the war. Well, not exactly:
PARIS, March 8 — Ten thousand people took to the streets in Paris on Saturday to denounce violence suffered by women in high-rise housing estates around France’s major towns. . . .
Home to many immigrants from the Maghreb, such suburbs have seen a rise in radical Islam that has turned attitudes towards women even harsher. Pressure is mounting for Muslim women to wear veils and forced marriages that snatch girls from college and a career are now commonplace. . . .
Young women who live on some estates have adopted a dress code of baggy pants and puffy jackets, saying that girls who wear short skirts are branded sluts and considered ”fair game.”
Reports of gang rapes have made headlines but statistics do not indicate whether such attacks are on the rise.
Meanwhile, similar protests are going on in Iran:
Hundreds of Iranian women marked International Women’s Day on Saturday with a demonstration demanding equal social and political rights to men, a first in this conservative male-dominated country since the 1979 Islamic revolution. . . .
“How can we celebrate this day when our women are not entitled to choose their husbands, are not allowed to demand divorce and get just half the blood money a man gets?” protest organizer Noushin Ahmadi asked, referring to the practice of giving the family of a female murder victim about half the average compensation paid to a male victim’s relatives.
A DAMNING ASSESSMENT of the United Nations — and from the New York Times!
Even ardent internationalists worry that the institution finds itself in a lose-lose situation — ridiculed as a puppet if American pressure forces a reluctant Security Council majority to support a war against Saddam Hussein, or reduced once more to a self-absorbed cipher if France, Russia and Germany lead the Security Council to thumb its nose at the world’s superpower. . . .
For James S. Sutterlin, a former United Nations executive and the author of “The United Nations and the Maintenance of International Security,” the question is not the institution’s relevance, but its competence.”The centrality of the Security Council was evident in its very failure,” in Rwanda and Bosnia, he said. “There was the very serious problem that the central organization responsible for security couldn’t do it.”
For American conservatives, the past three months have been galvanizing. “The notion that the U.N. is really a problem,” William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, said this week, “was a fringe notion until about three months ago. Now serious people, who are not unilateralists, are much more open to alternatives to the U.N.”
Yes. The U.N. has made a lot of new enemies, and appalled a lot of its old friends. If its chief role is to serve as a forum for French efforts to feel important, then the U.N. will be no more important than France itself.
PUNDITWATCH is up! My favorite bit:
On Capital Gang, speaking of Bill Clinton’s deal to debate Bob Dole on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Bob Novak uttered one of the most telling self-assessments ever: “Never before has a former president of the United States descended to my level.”
THE BENEFITS of a free press.
ANOTHER GERMAN OFFICIAL HAS called Bush a dictator.
Those cowboy Europeans, always popping off at the mouth with some ill-considered, undiplomatic statement. When will they acquire some subtlety?
PEACE TRAIN’S getting louder. Well, sort of.
TO THE SINGLE WOMEN OF THE BLOGOSPHERE: How can you pass up an offer like this?
I have a good job, plenty of money and I own my own home. I am a talented musician, a great conversationalist and I give wonderful back-rubs, complete with aromatic lotions applied by my stong but gentle fingers. I do front-rubs, too. I am an excellent cook and I am not bald. I like candlelight dinners, long walks on the beach and blah, blah, blah.
Well, okay, there are a couple of minor catches to this deal. . . .
THE MOTHER OF ALL SURRENDERS:
TERRIFIED Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces – because they thought the war had already started.
The motley band of a dozen troops waved the white flag as British paratroopers tested their weapons during a routine exercise.
The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender.
“Not today, old chap — but do keep next week free. . . .”
HERE’S SOME ADVICE ON DEALING WITH TECH SUPPORT that’s worth reading.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD examines French anti-Americanism in this essay from Foreign Affairs.
SENATOR TED STEVENS IS DEMANDING AN INVESTIGATION OF French spare parts sales to Iraq:
“There is no need for France to sell equipment to Saddam Hussein,” said Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. “It is international treason. … It is in violation of a U.N. resolution, and there should be no question — no question — about French officials. They should come forward quickly to deal with the story.”
WARBLOGGING: Here’s a blog by a reservist who’s on his way to war. Check it out.
THE VICTIMS OF THE GREAT WHITE CLUB FIRE deserved to die, and weren’t good people, according to a rather unpleasant religious site.
To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, I think every good Christian ought to kick their ass. In a figurative sense, anyway.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
While I think the advert was wrong, I think you may be misinterpreting what they said (or meant – but what do I know of what they meant). The orthodox Christian position is that deserving death *is part of the human condition* (that is to say, it applies equally to the authors of the advert). The fundies would argue Mother Theresa was not good enough, in herself, to deserve salvation – and no monster has sunk so low that, after repentance, and trusting in the saving work of Christ, they are beyond salvation. They would argue that, since you must get right with God (which is not something you acheive yourself, ask God to do on your behalf) before you die, and you don’t know the day or the hour of your death, then act now – or a tragedy like the fire, awful as it is, will be infinitely more awful. Again, from the Christian perspective, death is far from the biggest deal in eternity. Being separated from God is the ultimate tragedy.
As a Christian, I’m inclined to be very careful how one draws spiritual conclusions from current events – even if your perspective is right (and how often is that the case), when emotions are running high, who is going to be in a position to respond to what you are actually saying (as opposed to what they though they heard). Especially if you are going to misspeak as grossly as some did right after 911.
Yes, well, I’m familiar with the doctrine — the whole tiniest-leak-can-sink-the-greatest-ship rule (which, by the way, is actually wrong as applied to ships, or none of them would float) — but I’m not prepared to cut them much slack. Sure, you can explain this away, just as you can explain away Marcy Kaptur’s recent idiocy. But you can explain away anything. They said this the way they said it in order to attract attention. Well, they’ve got it.
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: HERE’S AN A.P. PHOTOGRAPH of an antiwar protester assaulting a pro-liberation protester at UCLA.
This was reported earlier at The Volokh Conspiracy, which advises people to take video cameras to protests to document this sort of thing.
Good advice. Video cameras are cheap, and compact nowadays, and you can’t count on there being an A.P. photographer around all the time. I suspect, too, that the mere presence of cameras encourages better behavior.
JIMMY CARTER HAS AN OPED IN TOMORROW’S NEW YORK TIMES — and it’s already been Fisked by Josh Chafetz.
I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE showed up for this pro-liberation rally in Milwaukee (the report estimates 600-700, but that’s just an amateur eyeball estimate) but it was a lot more than showed up at Knoxville’s anti-war rally today. Here are some pictures.
UPDATE: And a crowd estimated at between 2,000 (authorities) and 5,000 (organizers) assembled in “>Omaha as well:
People waving flags and singing “God Bless America” covered a downtown Omaha hillside Saturday afternoon in a show of support for the U.S. military and President Bush.
Talk show host Gary Sadlemyer and other organizers from Omaha radio station KFAB stressed the rally was “pro-America,” not pro-war. But signs in the crowd and interviews with participants indicated strong support for using force if Bush deems it necessary. . . .
Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and former U.S. senator from Nebraska, spoke at the event. So did Omahan Charles Lane, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.
Kerrey, now president of the New School University in New York City, said war is likely, unless “dictator Saddam Hussein” does in the next 12 days what he has refused to do in the last 12 years – disarm.
If war becomes necessary, America will come together to support its troops, Kerrey said.
“It is not for oil,” he said. “It is not for property. It is not for glory. It is for the freedom of others who have suffered mightily.”
You don’t see a lot of university presidents taking that kind of position. My wife, an alumna of the New School, is proud of him.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s more rally information, including plans for rallies in Atlanta and Philadelphia next weekend. Talk radio definitely seems to be providing the organizational infrastructure for these.
MY EARLIER POST ABOUT THE RETURN OF “THE SPONGE” produced this email from Dr. Wendy Kroi:
Dear Professor Reynolds,
In response to your comment “Somebody needs to work on that.”–oh, but I am!
I have put together a book listing ALL the contraceptive options available. At the very least, American women deserve to know how few methods they have access to. Here is a link to the Table of Contents (Link. ) For more background on the lack of options see (Link).
Here are just a few of the facts:
1) the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where women don’t have access to hormonal implants or combination injections
2) the only hormonal Intrauterine device (IUD) available in the U.S. is Mirena, an older type of IUD (more prone to causing side effects)
3) although a step in the right direction, the Today sponge is the only brand which contains the highest amount of the spermicide Nonoxynol 9 (N-9). N-9 has been clearly linked to an increased risk of HIV transmission (relevant articles: http://www.g-h-o.co.uk/id49.htm)
4) between 2000 and 2002 only 3 birth control books aimed at a general audience have been published in the U.S. None cover all the available contraceptive options. Any book published before 2000 is obsolete because new methods have become available and because of the N-9 research.
And just one quick example to personalize all the statistics: there are 199,613 active duty women in the military. For these women, avoiding an unintended pregnancy and maintaining top physical form are essential work requirements. However, a survey* of 158 female freshman cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, found that 60% of respondents experienced premenstrual and menstrual symptoms (various birth control methods can be used to control these symptoms) that interfered with their activities–physical more than academic. If the West Point cadets experience these problems, imagine what those brave women soldiers have to put up with in the middle of the desert!
*Schneider MB, Fisher M, Friedman SB, et al. Menstrual and premenstrual issues in female military cadets: a unique population with significant concerns. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol.1999;12:195-201.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I am quite passionate about this subject. And, after all, you did bring it up :-).
Once the book is published, I plan to use blog ads. . . . Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure: I am an Ob/Gyn, I am the medical advisor for the Global Health Options site ( http://www.g-h-o.co.uk/index.htm) and I have no connections (financial or otherwise) with any of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture contraceptives.
Well, it really is a problem, and I’m glad somebody’s addressing it. I suspect, however, that the fallout from the Dalkon Shield litigation, coupled with political opposition from “social” conservatives, has chilled pharmaceutical companies’ interest in investing in this area, which is unfortunate.
UPDATE: Dr. Mark Littlehale emails:
I too am an OB/gyn. Here are a couple of points worth adding about birth control.
1) Norplant an implantable contraceptive is primarily off the market because of a large number of lawsuits associated with its use….too hard to get out too many side effects etc. It is widely available around the world but here we are too lawsuit happy…
2) Lunelle, a monthly injectable combination hormone, is available in the U.S.
3) Mirena is actually associated with fewer side effects than the Copper T IUD. Less bleeding, less cramping and less pelvic pain particularly in people with endometriosis
4) “Contraceptive technology” by Dr. Robert Hatcher (Emory U) is updated every couple of years and is available to the general public.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Medpundit Sydney Smith has further observations and corrections.
SPEAKING OF MALLS AND PROTESTS, there was another one at my local mall. I drove by about noon, and was stuck at a traffic light long enough to count the protesters. They were arranged around the corner of Kingston Pike and Morrell Road. I counted 32 on the Kingston Pike side. There looked to be roughly the same number on the Morrell road side (I couldn’t count them precisely because of the angle), plus a few scattered on the hillside. Call it more than 50, but fewer than a hundred. The weather was gorgeous — sunny and in the 60s.
They claimed 500 last time when it was cold and rainy, and probably actually got 200. This was less than half that, despite better weather. No obvious sign of growing momentum here.
GUESS WHO GOT FIRED OVER THE CROSSGATES MALL INCIDENT:
The security officer at Crossgates Mall who signed a trespassing complaint against a war protester was fired Friday.
Robert Williams said he was called into the mall security office about four hours into his shift and told he was fired because of Monday’s incident and for signing the complaint against Steve Downs, 60, of Selkirk.
Downs’ arrest brought Crossgates national notoriety and sparked a protest march against the facility’s policies. He was arrested for trespassing when mall officials told him to leave or remove an anti-war T-shirt he had purchased there.
Williams, who has worked in security at the mall for more than nine years, said he signed the complaint on the orders of his boss, assistant director of security Fred Tallman. Those orders came after Tallman told the Guilderland police officer working the case that he (Tallman) was too busy to come to the police station and that Williams represented the company and should sign.
“I just followed directions of management of that mall to the letter,” Williams said Friday evening. “And I get fired for doing my job.”
I don’t think this makes Crossgates Mall look any better.
DEAN ESMAY says that Bush’s critics (especially those on the right) aren’t giving him enough credit:
As for offending people, alienating people, losing public support: I frankly am not sure that any of that has happened, or will happen.
A year ago, support for invading Iraq among Americans was varying from about 50% to about 70%. It’s now pretty consistently on the high end of that range. Despite the anti-war protests, the polling still shows that a majority are still basically on board with the President if we invade.
Further, Bush was able to strongarm the Congress into giving him the authority he wanted over six months ago. Which means the domestic debate is essentially over, no matter what the protesters do. Furthermore, there’s even evidence that the peace protests are helping President Bush domestically far more than they’re hurting him. And that the only thing that’s really hurting him is that people are sick of waiting for him to decide.
On the other hand, despite widespread anti-war sentiment in Germany, Schroeder is being punished regularly by voters, which tells me that many Germans may disagree with war but don’t feel all that strongly about it–and possibly value their relationship with America more than they value avoiding war. France is increasingly a laughingstock. With every report, Hans Blix says nice things but admits openly that the Iraqis are still not complying with the non-negotiable demands. More Americans than at any time in history view the U.N. with suspicion and wonder why we even bother with the organization.
Meanwhile, in the last year, literally dozens of nations have stepped forward to offer their support. In the last six months, that number has grown substantially. We have, inarguably, far more allies today than we did in March 2002. Most remarkably, Arab countries are spending most of their time bickering with each other, and doing their best to talk Saddam into leaving the country.
Hmm. That may be the answer to the question I asked below, about why Bush took this route.
THE NEW YORK TIMES has angered the Australian Street. Tim Blair notes:
THE NEW YORK TIMES describes America’s allies as “powerless” and “motley and ad hoc”.
That’s Australia and Great Britain the Times is talking about, among others. Remember when the Times was worried about George W. Bush insulting and alienating friendly nations? Now the Times is doing the same.
It’s interesting to contrast Bush’s careful courtesy toward nations who don’t deserve it, with the language that the antiwar folks — who are supposedly the internationalists — use to describe the rather large coalition that Bush has put together. Remind me again — who is supposed to be blundering and insensitive here?
WILLIAM SALETAN WRITES that France and Germany are running a “con game:”
In Friday’s council debate, they made two arguments against a U.S. invasion of Iraq. First, they said it was unnecessary because Iraq has begun to comply with U.N. inspections. Second, they warned that an attack on Iraq without U.N. approval would ruin the credibility of the United Nations, on which the security of every nation, including ours, depends.
Are inspections more effective than force? Is the United Nations a better guarantor of U.S. security than American power is? Both questions are fraudulent. Inspections depend on force, and the United Nations depends on the United States. The French and Germans are telling us not to mess with the status quo, when the status quo is us. . . .
Should the United States yield to the United Nations? The question makes no sense. The United States practically invented the United Nations. Franklin D. Roosevelt coined its name. The U.N. charter was drafted and debated here. We host the organization’s headquarters and fund the lion’s share of its budget. Other members are important, but the United Nations needs us a lot more than we need it. Fischer is asking us not to put our national interests ahead of an organization we built to advance our national interests.
Nice try, Joschka and Dominique. We aren’t fooled. We’re touched by your pleas for relevance. And we’re flattered that the only rival you can put up against us is ourselves.
I really don’t think that these guys realize how much damage they’re doing, mostly to themselves and to institutions that they need.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) — The president of a California college is sending a letter to President Bush apologizing for an instructor who gave students extra credit for writing anti-war missives to the White House.
Citrus College President Louis E. Zellers wrote that Professor Rosalyn Kahn “did abuse her authority” in assigning students in her Speech 106 class to write letters to Bush protesting the possible war with Iraq.
“Students were clear in their understanding that they would only receive credit if they wrote ‘protest’ letters,” Zellers said in a letter of thanks to FIRE — the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — a Philadelphia-based campus watchdog group.
FIRE’s Chief Executive Officer, Thor L. Halvorssen, praised the school. “When fully informed of a frightening violation of freedom of conscience, the college administration responded swiftly and boldly to restore liberty and to undo the harm already done,” he said.
An apology to Bush? How about an apology to the academic community, for making it look like a bunch of politically-driven weasels?
PERSPECTIVE, from Walter Russell Mead:
The sad truth is, the Security Council doesn’t count for much when nations contemplate war. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, since 1945 there have been 26 international wars, with total deaths estimated at 3.5 million. Only three of those wars had Security Council authorization, including the recent conflict in Afghanistan; the largest, the 1950-53 Korean conflict, was only a U.N. operation because Josef Stalin was in a snit and had ordered his Soviet representative to boycott council meetings. . . .
The United States may be a diplomatic cowboy, but we aren’t riding the only horse on the range. Every permanent member of the U.N. Security Council has
undertaken at least one war without the council’s permission or endorsement. . . .
The plain if slightly sad fact is that from the day the U.N. Security Council first met in 1946, no great power has ever stayed out of a war because the council voted against it, and no great military power ever got into a war because the Security Council ordered it to.
Read the whole thing.
ELAINE WILL BE HAPPY: The Sponge is back! And here’s a sad-but-true comment:
“You can get affordable, safe contraceptives better in Bangladesh than you can in New York City,” Ms. Bell said, “and that’s wrong.”
Somebody needs to work on that.
SADDAM IS LOSING POPULARITY among the Arab masses:
Saddam once was applauded as a hero who stood up to the United States when no other Arab leader would. Today, Arabs increasingly portray him as a reckless despot who is not doing enough to save his people or his neighbors from a conflagration, and who has taken the region to war twice before.
Sadly, it’s not really because of stories like this:
As she stepped up to the Iraqi checkpoint, a military policeman suddenly pulled a knife, slashed open the flimsy plastic containers and splashed petrol all over her.
Then the head of the Iraqi border guard casually walked up to her, pulled a lighter from his pocket and set her ablaze. Soaked in fuel, she began to burn like a torch. That was on Monday afternoon. Yesterday Nazif lay in Sulaimania emergency hospital, on the Iraqi side, whimpering with pain. She had third degree burns and doctors said she was lucky to be alive. . . .
In a faltering voice, she said: “They said absolutely nothing, just looked at me with hatred. Then they set me alight. My whole body was in flames. I can’t describe the pain.
“If it wasn’t for an old man who smothered me with his coat I would have burnt alive.
“The border guards just stood and watched. Even after the flames were out they refused to let me return to the hospital in Kirkuk.”
Get their names.
MICHAEL MORAN writes that France is seeking paybacks for Suez.
I think that Eisenhower was wrong to do what he did then, though I regret it a lot less when I reflect on the consistent pattern of French fecklessness over the past century. But France’s efforts here — which have everything to do with parochial concerns and nothing to do with promoting “world peace” — merely serve to demonstrate even more clearly that the United Nations is a purely political body with no moral component whatsoever.
JACK VALENTI’S NIGHTMARE: Except that the movies they’re making these days mostly aren’t worth stealing anyway.
ARAB LIBERALS seem supportive of a U.S. invasion, which might create a “window of opportunity” for democratizing the region.
NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME — the FBI is in trouble for dishonesty in search warrant applications. But meanwhile it seems to be covering up failures in anti-terror investigations.
And nobody’s being fired for either lapse. But then, nobody ever is. Except, sometimes, the people who call attention to the lapses.
FRANCE IS ARMING IRAQ:
A French company has been selling spare parts to Iraq for its fighter jets and military helicopters during the past several months, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The unidentified company sold the parts to a trading company in the United Arab Emirates, which then shipped the parts through a third country into Iraq by truck.
The spare parts included goods for Iraq’s French-made Mirage F-1 jets and Gazelle attack helicopters. . . .
Other intelligence reports indicate that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring French weaponry illegally for years, the official said. . . .
An administration official said the French parts transfers to Iraq may be one reason France has so vehemently opposed U.S. plans for military action against Iraq. “No wonder the French are opposing us,” this official said. . . .
France has been Iraq’s best friend in the West. French arms sales to Baghdad were boosted in the 1970s under Premier Jacques Chirac, the current president. Mr. Chirac once called Saddam Hussein a “personal friend.”
More support for the Den Beste theory that the French and Germans are blocking the war to conceal evidence that they’ve been violating sanctions. Of course, the French government may not have known about this — but even if that’s true, it’s going to make it rather hard for them to credibly claim that the current “containment” regime is working.
UPDATE: “Treachery of the lowest order.”
THE PAK TRIBUNE IS REPORTING THE ARREST OF OSAMA BIN LADEN (“or his son”) — and I have no idea how much credence to give this. I’ve been of the opinion that he’s dead; I could be wrong, though, of course.
The problem is that this report could be wrong, or it could be disinformation. Or it could be true, and the government could want it kept quiet for all sorts of fairly obvious reasons. We’ll know soon enough, I imagine, if it’s true.
UPDATE: It’s two of his sons, according to a Pakistani official. But U.S. officials say it’s not true. Well, kind of.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin Bay emails:
Our offensive action in the MIddle East –the build up to strike Saddam– intentionally provokes Al Qaeda. They stir and we watch for the stir. A terrorist’s ace is surprise. AQ is now operating on our timeline, the one we create by action against Iraq. I see you hit that point again in a post. It’s an important one.
A LOT OF PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK that Bush’s comments last night about Iraq being a threat to the United States and its neighbors were merely policy justifications.
But they’re also laying the groundwork for justifying an attack on Iraq, even without Security Council approval, as self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. Many among the international-law professoriate will opine that this isn’t enough — but that’s only one opinion, and one that has little credibility given that the organizing principle of the international-law professoriate and commentariat sometimes seems to be “whatever the United States wants to do is against the law.”
Bush seems to be trying very hard — harder, I think, than I would in his place — to preserve the viability of the United Nations. I’m not sure why, but I am sure that he will get scant credit for it.
Iraq, unlike Germany, is sitting on several trillion dollars worth of oil and will be largely intact after a war. But like post-World War II Germany, Iraq has been governed for a long time (over 30 years) by the Baath party. Moreover, the nazi and Baath parties have a lot in common. Nazi is short for “National Socialist” and that certainly describes the Baath party. But, unlike Germany, the Baath party largely serves one group, the Sunni Arabs (about 20 percent of the population.) The Nazi party only excluded Jews (as does Baath.) Because most Baath party members are Sunni Arabs, it will be easier to expel them from the government bureaucracy.
Read the whole thing.
RACINE RAVE UPDATE: Lawsuits are being filed, and rightly so.
THE FBI “RECKLESSLY MISLED” JUDGES to get search warrants in a kiddie-porn investigation. (“[T]here was more than a mere failure to investigate or an innocent or negligent mistake.” )
Will anyone be sacked, or charged? Don’t hold your breath.
This is why the FBI is not up to its homeland security duties. It’s not even up to its regular job.
EVAN COYNE MALONEY, who made the compelling interview video at the antiwar protests a couple of weeks ago, has answered some questions about it, and about what he plans to work on next. Drop by, and hit his new PayPal button if you think that’s worth supporting.
Alas, it’s pretty clear by now that the French, Germans and Russians simply don’t care if Saddam is flouting the U.N. They just don’t want American military power exercized in the region – ever again. I doubt if they had videotape of Saddam making anthrax in his bathrobe that they’d agree to enforce their own resolution. I still think forcing a vote is the right thing to do, even if we lose badly. After these past few weeks, watching the extraordinary duplicity and blindness of several Security Council members, I’ve reluctantly come to the verge of hoping that this crisis helps destroy the United Nations as a credible international body. And I don’t think it would harm Bush badly on the home front.
I agree, except that I think France, et al., have already destroyed the U.N. as a credible international body, to the limited extent that it ever was one.
Read this post by Steven Den Beste, too.
TRAFFIC: Just broke 135,000 pageviews. I’m not sure what the previous record was, but this beats it.
Does this make me a “war profiteer?” Only if pageviews count as “profits.” I think they did for a while, back in the nineties. . . .
NOW I’M WATCHING GARY HART: He’s not doing any better than Bush. He seems tired, and confused, and sounds like he has a cold.
Biggest weak point: saying that Korea is a bigger threat than Iraq, but not saying what we should be doing about it, when it seems that his objections to moving against Iraq (retaliation, etc.) would apply there, too. (The “retaliation” point sounded distressingly like this antiwar graffiti — “Leave Terrorists Alone — They Might Strike Back!”).
I’ve seen Hart absolutely tear up hostile interviewers — his on-air Fisking of Ted Koppel on Nightline was a thing to behold. This was nothing like that.
UPDATE: Hart should read this post on Korea by Eugene Volokh. So should everyone else.
“WHEN IT COMES TO OUR SECURITY, we really don’t need anybody’s permission.” The most significant statement so far in Bush’s news conference.
UPDATE: Not much of a performance, razzle-dazzle-wise, even for Bush.
Downside: He looked tired, distracted, and not especially interested in being there, even for Bush.
Upside: He looked very sincere, deeply concerned (showing a very real desire to avoid war and a real sensitivity to civilian casualties), while the questioners, as always, looked smug and irritating and superficial, making Bush look better by contrast.
He made some very simple points: Saddam was supposed to disarm, and hasn’t. He’s a threat to the United States, and the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of doing something. And the United States will play out the UN game, and won’t let France, Russia, et al., off the hook, but will ultimately act in its own self-defense regardless.
I don’t think he changed any minds. People who saw him, though, will find it hard to see him as a thoughtless warmonger.
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg thinks this was for foreign consumption.
ANOTHER UPDATE: David Hogberg comments. And Nelson Ascher emails from Zurich:
I’ve just seen Bush’s performance on TV. Whoever expected something in the Churchillian vein must have been disappointed. And I’d say that was quite intelligent. Why? Because the Churchillian style works well once you’re already in the midst of total war. Otherwise it may sound demagogic and, for those who disagree, as pure warmongering. What seemed to be Bush’s goal was not only to disarm his national and foreign critics but to show the non-bellicist face of a country that only goes into war reluctantly
The point is: day by day the so called pacifists look more agressive, more filled with hate. Indeed, it is as if they were those who were at war: against America. Bush has chosen exactly not to answer them in kind, stressing the protesters’ right to protest, the allies’ right to disagree and, of course, his own right to think differently. He didn’t threaten France, Germany, Russia and so on: and that is very good. Many questions were about those countries’ attitudes and he managed not to answer them without ever giving the impression he was running away from an argument: on the contrary, he spoke as a grown-up underlining that we shouldn’t be too tough on the kids because, well, they’re nothing but kids.
I don’t know if this will work in Europe, although it won’t be easy to use his performance to portray the president as a bloodthirsty imperialistic murderer. But I think that it reassures the domestic audience that the decision to go to war is being taken in a serious, sober, dispassionate way.
Well, that supports the “it’s aimed abroad” theory. Meanwhile Stephen Pollard writes in The Telegraph that the U.S. (and Britain?) may stage a U.N. walkout if the obstructionists carry the day at the Security Council:
Well-connected advisers tell me that if, as now seems likely, the UN refuses to back action against terror, Mr Bush will announce a “temporary” suspension of America’s membership, to be accompanied by an offer: if the UN gets its act together and carries out long-overdue reforms, America (and its money) will return. But if there is no reform, the temporary withdrawal will, de facto, become permanent.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Nathan Traxler emails:
You obviously watched it on TV, and drew much of President Bush’s comments based upon his appearance. I was running at 5pm today, and listened to it during Hugh Hewitt’s daily broadcast on the radio. Therefore, I couldn’t see him, only hear him. I had no clue where the following statement came from:
“He looked tired, distracted, and not especially interested in being there, even for Bush.” -pjmedia.com/instapundit
He did not come off tired or distracted on the radio. In fact, he came off pensive and genuine, in the face of some really tough questions. I feel that the real George Bush came through quite well through the radio, and felt that the contrast from his normal speeches was actually refreshing. He responded to every reporter consistantly, and stuck to his guns no matter how offensive the premise of the question. He sounded different than he usually does in the media, and to my ears, much better.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Zach Barbera wasn’t impressed. On the other hand, I got this email:
I am an American who has lived in Japan since 1984. I’ve been watching presidential speeches for a while (I saw JFK’s inaugural speech live as a 6th grader; we were off from school because it was a snow day).
I know that I do not see many speeches by American politicians lately. Perhaps your opinion is due to the frequency with which you see speeches from Bush and others. But–
I do not think I have seen a more direct, plain-spoken, and eloquent speech by a US president in my life. Richard Nixon used to say, “let me be perfectly clear…”. Well, George W. Bush actually _was_ perfectly clear, and seemed perfectly sincere. I was very impressed, and also very moved.
And he wasn’t listening on the radio.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus explains Bush’s manner.
Now I don’t know what the hell is up with the Europeans, but I can’t help but compare them to International Ice Skating Judges. They try to give the appearance of straight-laced professionals interested in fair play and sportsmanship, but you know they’re just a bunch of hucksters on the take. And why are European bureaucrats the worst liars? I don’t know if any Europeans read this thing, but do they sound as fake to you as they do to me? It’s like they’re not even trying and that’s the most insulting part of it.
UPDATE: Well, this sounds pretty honest:
“This is not about Saddam Hussein, and this is not even about regime change in Iraq or even the million people killed by Saddam Hussein or missiles or chemical weapons,” Pierre Lellouche, a legislator who is close to Chirac, said in an interview. . . .
“It’s about whether the United States is allowed to run world affairs and battle terrorism and weapons proliferation essentially with a small group of trusted allies,” or whether many nations should have a say, he said.
France is also described as “a middle-size power whose military has been allowed to atrophy for lack of funding in the past decade.” That’s true, too — but it’s not the French talking.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I wonder if Sgt. Stryker is really Pascal Bruckner:
I see today in France a kind of destructive other-worldliness. Certain Europeans imagine they can escape History’s difficulties by making a show of their finer feelings, as if they can create a progressive ideology out of demonizing the United States. They compare Bush with Hitler while accommodating the Islamists. There hasn’t been much [European] intellectual progress since the fall of communism. Rather, things have gotten worse.
You never see them photographed together. . . .
ARTHUR SILBER is fact-checking Jim Henley — or, more accurately, an article about our allies that Henley relies on.
GERMAN WEAPONS INSPECTOR SAYS IRAQ NOT COOPERATING: Here’s a report from Tagesschau.de (Google translation here) saying that Iraq isn’t cooperating. He compares the inspection process to politely asking a criminal to turn himself in. (Tagesschau is a nightly news program in Germany; this is its website. It’s rather well-respected.)
THE VOLOKH EMPIRE has a report from a pro-war protester at Wisconsin-Madison. Excerpt:
The anti-anti-war protest wasn’t necessary, though, as the anti-war organizers whom we had here yesterday alienated a good portion of their listenership straightaway. Instead of focusing on what I believe are legitimate arguments against the war (I recognize that the proper arguments against the war can’t be made into good soundbites, but longer speeches, as we had here, can focus on legitimate foreign policy and morality concerns), speakers yesterday intimated firstly that the war against Iraq was a ploy by our president to rid the world of Arabs, as he cares only for Caucasians, and, further, that the war was an additional ploy by which to rid the nation of African-Americans, who presumably would be more likely per capita to die in a war (which the statistics no longer bear out), or at the very least to keep them out of higher education, inasmuch as, being statistically poorer than Caucasians, they must enlist in the army after high school.
The predominant chant was, “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! This racist war has got to go!”, after which probably one-third to one-half of the crowd was lost. Groups such as “Veterans against the War”, whom I’m sure proffer up legitimate arguments, were ostensibly turned off as well and left forthwith.
TRAFFIC: over 100,000 pageviews by 5:30? Jeez.
HERE’S A LIST OF PEACE RALLIES scheduled for next week.
RICHARD BUTLER SAYS the Security Council is irrelevant now.
THUGS FOR PEACE: Pretty lame:
An anti-war march against the U.S. policy on Iraq by about 500 Canoga Park High School students turned ugly Wednesday when some in the crowd started looting a gas station convenience store and disrupting traffic. . . .
Store owner Masood Behroozi said his clerk saw several students knocking over racks, breaking glasses and swiping snack foods. The whole incident was recorded on a surveillance tape that was turned over to police, he said. “They were just joking and laughing and doing this for fun.”
Protesting for imaginary Arabs, while robbing real ones. Yep. (Later: Or maybe not — Behroozi appears to be an Iranian name.)
UPDATE: Arabs, Jews — these “peace” demonstrators will rough up anyone who gets in their way:
A protest at York University over a possible war in Iraq ended in violence yesterday when opposing groups crossed paths.
Miriam Levin, a Jewish student, said she was intimidated and roughed up by the protesters. And a group that had a U.S. flag at its booth said members were attacked by demonstrators who marched through the university. . . .
She said she could not understand why the man was shouting anti-Semitic remarks at her until her friend, Hannah Wortsman, observed she was wearing earrings with a Star of David design. . . .
Levin pulled out her camera to take photographs of the scene and the group tried to take it away from her, she said, adding a security guard did nothing when she and Wortsman called for help. “I asked why he didn’t do anything and he said, ‘Well you shouldn’t have been there,’ ” Levin said.
A MORAL DILEMMA FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: Jay Zilber wants your input.
THE FRENCH EMBASSY PROTEST, and Asparagirl’s views on the Lysistrata project, made Best of the Web today.
POLLS ARE ALWAYS SUSPECT, but this one reports a “huge shift” in British sentiment in favor of war.
If it’s true, then it’s terrible news for Saddam. And, I suspect, just as bad for Chirac.
UPDATE: Well, here’s the meat of it from the pollsters’ site:
Three quarters (75%) of people in Britain would now be prepared to support British troops joining any American-led military action against Iraq. However, this support is conditional both on UN inspectors finding proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, and on the UN Security Council voting in favour of military action.
In the absence of these two conditions, only a quarter (24%) would support British involvement, and opposition rises from 18% to 67%. But opposition falls to two in five (41%) if the inspectors do find evidence that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction – even if the UN still does not vote in favour of action.
Not as dramatic as The Sun makes it sound (no!), but “there has been almost a 10% swing in his favour since mid-January.” So if delays in the war were designed to let Blair shore up his position, well, I guess they’ve worked.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I guess they have — Blair now says the UK will go ahead even in the face of a Security Council veto.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: I don’t know how I missed it, but here’s a piece by Iain Murray from NRO on the topic.
(RADIO) FRANCE SURRENDERS! Franco-blogger Emmanuelle Richard organized a worldwide strike and won a swift victory. It’s all because of the Internet, too, she reports:
The 56 strikers of Spartacus (I’m among them), from Bangkok to Rio to Athens, are very excited they could gather by e-mail and launch a strike that is paving the way for a better treatment of the correspondents in this great public service radio station.
You go, girl.
ABC NEWS is reporting that Crossgates Mall plans to drop trespassing charges in the t-shirt case.
(Via Naked Writing).
Meanwhile I’ve got some discussion of the First Amendment issues — and more — involved over at GlennReynolds.com.
UPDATE: Bill Hobbs calls this a success story for “collaborative peer-reviewed journalism” aka the blogosphere.
EUGENE VOLOKH has a report from the pro-war demonstration at UCLA.
Meanwhile, here’s the perfect job for Layne — serving as Jesse Ventura’s foil on MSNBC. The article suggests that Jesse needs a Stephanopoulos type, but I think that he needs someone a bit, well, more rough-and-ready. Layne’s perfect.
I’M NOT VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about UCITA. Neither is John Dvorak.
TIM BLAIR is Fisking Fidel.
IS OSAMA NEXT? Here’s a story suggesting that he may be in Baluchistan, and on the verge of capture. I’m somewhat skeptical, since I still think he’s probably dead, but some other folks seem to think that this story may be true. Could it be that the interminable delays on the war have been caused by efforts to round up top Al Qaeda leaders first? Could it even be that, as Austin Bay suggests, the war buildup has been, in part, designed to smoke out Al Qaeda?
UPDATE: Hmm. I wonder if this means we’ve got him?
ANOTHER UPDATE: &c rounds up the evidence pro and con. I remain skeptical, but we’ll know soon enough.
KARL ROVE’S AGENTS PROVOCATEURS have apparently been earning their money.
ON BEING GEEK — an essay that’s worth reading.
Geeks have a lot more status than they (“They?” — Ed. Okay, okay: we — now get back to Kaus’s page where you belong!) used to, but not as much as is deserved. The modern world and economy would stop running without geeks. In fact, they would come damn close to stopping if geeks just quit giving away their time and expertise for free.
A READER SENDS THIS LINK and opines that Marcy Kaptur hasn’t learned from Patty Murray:
When America “cast off monarchical Britain” in 1776, it involved the help of many religious people who had fled repression in other countries, the 11-term Toledo congressman said. Among the nontraditional American revolutionaries were the Green Mountain Boys, a patriot militia organized in 1770 in Bennington, Vt., to confront British forces, she said.
“One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown,” Miss Kaptur said.
Yes, I remember Ethan Allen and Johnny Stark blowing up buildings full of civilians as their key tactic. Jeez, how pathetic. But then, we heard Mao and Ho Chi Minh compared to America’s founders once, too.
But there were two rather crucial differences, then and now: their tactics, and their goals. The tactical difference is obvious. But you’re not a freedom fighter unless you’re actually fighting for freedom, a distinction that appears to elude many on the left. Bin Laden, like Mao and Ho, wanted to create a variety of strongman theocracy with himself at the head. That was hardly the goal of America’s founders. Those who can’t tell the difference don’t belong in politics. Neither do those who can tell the difference, but who choose to ignore it.
UPDATE: Clayton Cramer offers a rather more extensive historical critique of Kaptur’s statement. It’s worth reading.
JEFF JARVIS has done a vlog on what he’d say to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
THE GOVERNMENT’S NEW ANTI-COUNTERFEITING STRATEGY seems to involve making the money so damn ugly that people will be embarrassed to make copies.
JOE KATZMAN HAS A ROUNDUP on the case of Maine teachers harrassing the kids of military folks — and some similar incidents elsewhere.
AUSTIN BAY LOOKS AT THE NEAR FUTURE. He’s got some good observations.
STILL MORE ON WHY Gerhard Schroeder is trying to focus on war and America instead of the German economy. Germany is called an economic “dead weight.”
THERE WAS ANOTHER PROTEST AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON today. Report:
Oddly enough, local Georgetown residents didn’t seem too receptive to our message. On the other hand, truck drivers and construction workers passing by exhibited a decidedly more positive response. Whoda thunk it?
Yeah, go figure. There’s a photo gallery with lots of pictures here.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Emmanuelle Richard has brought Radio France to its knees! No, really. Even the French bloggers are giving the French fits. . . .
VIDEO BLOGS AND TOOLS THAT WORK: They’re discussed over at GlennReynolds.com today.
IT OUGHT TO BE ABOUT OIL, writes Duke University’s Professor Joseph Grieco:
Oil resources located in the Middle East are vital not just to the prosperity of rich countries, but for the prospects of growth in developing nations. According to the IEA, future increases in demand for oil will come largely not from the world’s rich countries, but from fast-growing developing countries, especially China.
This trend highlights a link between oil access and world peace. According to the IEA, China over the next 30 years will become a “strategic buyer” in international energy markets. If those markets are periodically thrown into turmoil because of supply disruptions in the Middle East, China might decide to take control of the oil reserves thought to be under the South China Sea. That would bring it into serious conflict with such neighbors as Vietnam and Indonesia, and ultimately with the United States.
War: It’s for the children!
AMERICAN TROOPS are honoring Martin Sheen.
ANIMATED OPINIONS is a political cartoon site that’s worth checking out.
ASPARAGIRL ain’t Lysistrata.
DON WILLIAMS writes that the Army’s Center for Military History needs to be saved. The Army wants to contract it out to academics; Williams fears that they’ll be Bellesilesean academics.
OKAY, ON THE TORTURE QUESTION, this certainly seems like a good approach. . . .