March 2, 2003
SARAH EVE KELLY is feeling old already.
SARAH EVE KELLY is feeling old already.
WAR BY NEXT THURSDAY? If so, let’s hope that this part turns out to be true: “American forces will go in hard and fast and we expect minimal resistance from the Iraqi military.”
But I expect that the disinformation is flying fast and furious enough that reports like this should be treated with considerable skepticism.
UPDATE: Well, we’re certainly bombing more all of a sudden.
Meanwhile here’s a report from Baghdad about trenches being filled with oil to create a smokescreen.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tacitus agrees about the date.
ROSS NORDEEN has a page of photos from a pro-liberation rally in Melbourne, Florida.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more pictures from Cleveland! Looking at these pics, I can’t swear that there weren’t 10,000 people there, but the number looks maybe a shade optimistic to me. But, as I noted in an earlier post, organizers tend to overestimate.
But hey, if it was really just 6,500 people, that’s one-tenth as many as turned out for the huge-huge-huge rally in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. And this was Cleveland, in the winter. And without the undisputed organizational talents of Stalinists. But as I wrote last week, the pro-liberation protest movement is just getting off the ground. The antis have 40 years worth of cadre, experience, and infrastructure to draw on.
OKAY, ONE MORE: Cinderella says that calling ‘em “Stalinists” is letting them off the hook.
LAST ONE: Blogger Jack Burton, whose pictures are linked above, says that I’m wrong to be skeptical of the Cleveland attendance estimates:
Thanks for the link to jackburton.blogspot.com – just wanted to let you know that the Cleveland rally was at least 10,000 – some of those pictures were taken early. About 30 minutes after the rally started, the people were still trying to get to it, the Cleveland flats area where the rally was had only two-lane streets for access. The people had spilled over into the parking lot and all the way up to the river (you can’t see it in the pics). The ‘center’ area held 5,000 – which was packed. I’d say there was at least 10,000 – if not more.
Well, he was there, and I wasn’t — but crowd estimates are notoriously tricky. Still, it was obviously a large turnout. And — as another reader suggests — it was all on one issue, without a bunch of “Free Mumia,” “Legalize Hemp,” etc., etc., hangers-on.
A KLAN RALLY IN FULTON, TEXAS turned out badly — for the Klansmen:
Donning robes and carrying a Confederate flag and an American flag, six Ku Klux Klan members paraded outside the entrance to the 24th annual Oysterfest on Saturday in Fulton.
“People were yelling at them, and others at Oysterfest were getting really upset,” said Aransas County Sheriff Mark Gilliam. “I was worried about a riot.” . . .
“The crowd was definitely offended,” Gilliam said. “There weren’t many takers for their fliers. I was really more worried about the safety of the Klansmen.”
DANIEL DREZNER is offering some advice for liberal hawks.
THE BLOGOSPHERE ECOSYSTEM IS BACK! Drop by and thank the Bear.
AT LONG LAST, BLOGCRITICS.ORG is once again at BlogCritics.org and not at some godforsaken, tilde-laden hard-IP address. Check ‘em out.
THERE WAS A HUGE PRO-AMERICAN RALLY in South Korea:
A large-scale pro-U.S. rally opposing the withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed here was held last Saturday in front of City Hall, downtown Seoul.
Some 100,000 members from the 114 conservative civic bodies, such as the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union and the National Council for Freedom and Democracy, gathered to protest against the North Korean nuclear plans and against Kim Jong-il on the occasion of the 84th anniversary of March 1 Independence Day.
You can see a picture here.
UPDATE: Here’s another.
THERE’S GOING TO BE A NEW BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINISERIES PRODUCED, starting this month, for broadcast in late 2003. The Starbuck character will be a woman this time, played by Katee Sackhoff.
IT’S COLD AGAIN. Yesterday it was sunny, and warm enough that the InstaWife — notoriously averse to cold — was happy outdoors in no more than jeans and a stylish InstaPundit babydoll t-shirt.
Today it’s gray, cold, drizzly, and miserable. I won’t miss this winter. I’m already planning beach trips, scuba-diving trips, and other expeditions to tropical locations.
Of course, if I had any sense, I’d be on one of those expeditions now. But nooo. . . .
SWEDES AGAINST RECYCLING: They say that it’s actually bad for the environment:
Throw away the green and blue bags and forget those trips to the bottle bank: recycling household waste is a load of, well, rubbish, according to leading environmentalists and waste campaigners.
In a reversal of decades-old wisdom, they argue that burning cardboard, plastics and food leftovers is better for the environment and the economy than recycling.
They dismiss the time-consuming practice – urged on householders by the Government and “green” councils – of separating rubbish for the refuse collectors as a waste of time and money.
The claims, which will horrify many British environmentalists, are made by five campaigners from Sweden, a country renowned for its concern for the environment and advanced approach to waste.
PAUL JOHNSON offers five lessons from Iraq. The first: “France is not to be trusted at any time, on any issue. . . . French support always has to be bought.” He goes on to note:
What the Americans and British now have to decide is whether formal alliances that include France as a major partner are worth anything at all, or if they are an actual encumbrance in times of danger.
We also have to decide whether France should be allowed to remain as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, with veto power, or whether it should be replaced by a more suitable power, such as India. Linked to this is the question of whether France can be trusted as a nuclear power. The French have certainly sold nuclear technology to rogue states in the past, Iraq among them.
And that’s just in lesson one! I agree with Steven Den Beste that French obstructionism is likely motivated in no small part by the fear of what will come out after an American victory in Iraq. I also think that, if Saddam remains in power — even if he is “disarmed” — he will wind up buying more weapons, from the French.
JUAN PAXETY REPORTS that International A.N.S.W.E.R. is planning an aggressive war.
I thought they were supposed to be against that sort of thing.
JIM BENNETT ANALYZES TONY BLAIR’S SITUATION and observes:
Blair is in the ironic position of being opposed by so many who once adored, or at least supported him: the BBC, the radical bishops of the Church of England and many members of his own party in Parliament. . . .
Although Blair triumphed over Clause Four in domestic policy, he had never seriously challenged its foreign-policy equivalent: the rampant anti-American sentiment of Labor’s “looney left”. They are the same sort of people, and often the same people, who marched in previous decades against NATO missile deployments in Britain and [in] other dubious causes.
One might call them transnationalists, but their actions make no sense even from the perspective of one who sincerely believes in building the power of transnational institutions.
That’s why they’re called the “loony” left, Jim.
PUNDITWATCH is up! I especially like the “surreal” section.
DR PEPPER is trying to use weblogs to promote a new product. I don’t think it’ll work, though, and the reason isn’t weblogs, but the drink, “Raging Cow,” which is described as a “milk-based product with an attitude.”
The last time I had a milk-based product develop an “attitude,” it was because of insufficient refrigeration.
SOME READERS HAVE CHALLENGED my statement below about increasing anti-semitism from the Vatican. But the Vatican has consistently taken the side of Palestinians, and Arab Muslims generally, against Israel and Jews, to the point where I can’t really believe any excuses that it’s not about antisemitism. (I think that there have been a few minor condemnations of the increasing anti-semitism in Europe, though I looked and couldn’t find any.) Then there’s this damning picture. (Yeah, he’s French, but he’s also a Cardinal.)
Sorry — readers can defend this sort of thing if they like. But to me it’s just another sign that the Vatican — whose retreat from antisemitism was at any rate recent and shallow — has no moral ground to stand on.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers have emailed. Reader Peter Hanna emails from New York:
Hey Glenn, long time reader, law student in NYC. I’ll be brief – I’m a Coptic Christian (Egyptian), and I can readily attest to the existence of virulent anti-semitism not just among Arab Muslims, but Christians as well. It’s very bizarre, but an unnaturally high number of Christians are complete bigots- the things I’ve heard at my church (of all places) would make your head spin. I’ve been trying to explain this to myself for a while, and I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of it, or at least one facet of it. The Coptic Pope (Pope Shenouda, aka the Patriarch of Alexandria) has adopted a very, very hardline pro-Palestine stance. Needless to say, this stance has trickled down to the lesser clergy and been adopted by the Coptic community en masse. Furthermore, the way it’s trickled down – without debate, discussion, etc – has obviated the possibility of any real dialogue on the ‘question of Israel’ entirely.
It’s really quite striking (and to me, annoying) hearing my fellow Christians go to such extraordinary lengths to defend not just Palestinians, but any Islamic endeavor at all (e.g., Saddam in Iraq, Taliban in Afghanistan). A number of family members (still in Egypt) have contacted my immediate family (over here) specifically to berate us as if we were responsible for the “American Crusade.” It’s funny (but sad), cuz there’s a well-known saying in Arabic: “In aharda il Yahoud, bokra il Massihian” -which means “Today the Jews, tomorrow the Christians” – and it’s just oddly amusing seeing Christians side with, almost adopt, an ideology bent on their destruction as well as the Jews.
Indeed. Reader John Cross emails:
Being a good Catholic, I have tried to reason the Church’s anti-war stance, but I am afraid that the similarity between its stance now, and the stand it took having to do with the Nazis and Fascists, is too strong to ignore. I won’t renounce my Catholic beliefs, but I renounce the stand the Catholic Church has taken on this matter. If that breaks me with the Church, or I am under excommunication (official or not) then fine. Me and St. Peter can discuss it later.
Reader Joel Merriam adds this:
I am a Roman Catholic and have been for all of my 45 years.I am very active in my church and belong to a lay ministry that takes communion to hospitals and shut ins.
Last year our parish priest came out very strongly against the pedophile priests and received a standing ovation in the church. Recently he has been giving anti war sermons and several of us walked out during a recent service. I have not been back in the last couple of months. Our diocese got into bed with ANSWER for the protests. Now the Vatican is saying the war is unjust and allows the murderer Aziz to visit with the pope. This is the equivalent of Gobbels having a papal visit in mid 1939.
25 years ago a much younger pope helped liberate eastern Europe. Today he wants to keep another area of the world enslaved while lecturing the democracies around the world while my church is repeating the same antisemitic behavior the pope apologized for a couple of years ago.
I am seriously considering a complete break from my church and that pains me a great deal.
Yes, I can imagine that it would. But the Church has disgraced itself immensely over the past year, on a number of fronts, so I sympathize.
Justin Katz, meanwhile, sends this:
I, for one, had only written to see if you had come across something
more recent than that picture with Arafat from last spring. You’re
right, though, that picture is shameful and caused many an angry word among Catholics. As I’ve noted (link), that grinning bishop is the very same Etchegaray who recently met with Hussein (that link also suggests that some French bishops are acting more French than Catholic).
To offset the implication of “readers [who might] defend this sort of
thing,” I thought I’d point out that many Catholics are agonizing over
the issue: Link.
As the tone of that link will convey, it’s a painful situation for Catholics, and I’ve found that many in the blogosphere, big names and small, seem more than willing assume the worst of the Vatican and to condemn the Church and all its followers for the quotations of a few.
At any rate, I found this picture from a couple of weeks ago that might be relevant to questions of the Vatican and hatred of Jews: Link.
Well, I thought that my comments were pretty clearly aimed at the Vatican, not at catholics in general, and I am — obviously — aware that it’s causing a lot of people pain. I’m sorry about the pain, but I am not its author. The Vatican has, in fact, been consistently supportive of Arab tyrants, for reasons best known to itself, as they mystify me. The final photo, of the Pope meeting with a rabbi, is not, to me, enough to offset the photo shown above, or the rest of the Vatican’s shameful record in this area.
Finally, to the one guy who emailed with the old “Arabs can’t be anti-semitic because they’re semites themselves,” — grow up and get a clue.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Took down the big picture — some people with dialup connections were complaining it was slowing the page down too much — but you can still see it by following the link.
HERE’S ANOTHER REPORT FROM THE GROWING PRO-WAR MOVEMENT:
Cheering, chanting and waving flags, thousands jammed shoulder-to-shoulder into downtown Houston’s Jones Plaza on Saturday to hear politicians, soldiers and entertainers praise God, America and President Bush’s firm stand against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. . . .
The only speaker who was opposed to military intervention in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, was greeted with some boos as she stepped onto the stage midway through the two-hour rally. She and her party later were led from the plaza under protective police guard.
KPRC spokeswoman Melissa Brezner said 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the event. . . .
Michael Hambright, an ex-Marine and one of few blacks in the crowd, said he believed the rally achieved its goal by demonstrating public support for the troops.
He likened Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler in pre-World War II Europe, and said the United States has “given peace a chance.”
“Now,” he said, “I think it’s time for a different method.”
No Stalinists were involved in the event’s organization, so far as I can tell.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dave Schipani emails:
>From the newspaper article:
“Michael Hambright, an ex-Marine and one of few blacks in the crowd”
Hmm. I don’t recall any mainstream-media news reports pointing out the lily-white composition of the antiwar protests.
Well, to be fair, they didn’t really point out that they were organized by Stalinists, either. . . .
THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT IS rushing to repair ties with the United States after the vote to refuse support.
A couple of readers suggest that the actual bone of contention between the U.S. and Turkey had to do with how much autonomy the Iraqi Kurds would have. I hope that’s true, but I don’t know. At any rate, it’s certainly a reason to adopt a more expansive view on the subject than we would if the Turks were, you know, cooperating.
UPDATE: Dave Kopel suggests that we use the money that was going to go to Turkey to build another aircraft carrier. Heh.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Lynxx Pherrett is less optimistic.
BUSH JUST CAN’T WIN: The old rap was that Iraq was a “distraction” from the war on Al Qaeda. But now the problem seems to be that the war on Al Qaeda is going too well, leading Nick Gillespie to ask:
Mohammed’s detention raises an interesting possibility regarding Iraq: If the US effectively destroys Al Qaeda before any shooting on Baghdad begins, what effect will that have on the question of war with Iraq?
There’s just no pleasing some people. . . .
HUMAN SHIELDS (WELL, SOME OF THEM) ARE WAKING UP TO THE FACT that there’s a war on, and that they’re being shamelessly used by Saddam for evil purposes.
Well, duh. Welcome to reality, guys — I just hope we don’t have to send the rest of the “peace” movement to Iraq for them to get the message. Though as the story indicates, some are beyond hope.
A GOOD REASON TO SHOP AT SEARS: Reportedly, they’re paying their reservist-employees the difference between their military salaries and what they would be making on the job at Sears.
Good for them.
MORE BLOOD-BLOGGING, from Yashar Yamin.
PROLIFIC BLOG-COMMENTER (and emailer) Howard Veit has finally started his own blog. About time!
SUSPECTED AL QAEDA LEADER Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan.
That’s excellent news, and another nail in the coffin of the “Iraq is distracting from the war on Al Qaeda” theory.
UPDATE: Burbank reader Jerric Tam sends a link to this long article about Mohammed from the Los Angeles Times.
LOOKS LIKE AN INDEPENDENT KURDISH REPUBLIC just got a bit more likely:
ANKARA, Turkey — In a serious blow to U.S. plans for a possible war with Iraq, Turkey’s parliament speaker nullified the legisature’s vote Saturday to allow deployment of 62,000 U.S. combat troops to open a northern front against Iraq.
An independent Kurdish republic is okay with me. If the Turks don’t like it, well, then they’re playing a dangerous game.
DAMIAN PENNY REPORTS ON religious antisemitism among Anglican clergy.
This is absolutely pathetic, but no great surprise given the antisemitism we’ve already seen emanating from the Vatican lately. The “it’s not antisemitism, it’s antizionism” argument just won’t wash anymore.
WHEN CROSS-BRANDING BECOMES SURREAL: Okay, I’ve got nothing against Barbie. And I like SpongeBob. But, somehow, the “SpongeBob Squarepants Barbie” just seems, well, weird.
You can imagine the marketing meeting: “It’s synergy! Barbie’s a classic, and SpongeBob’s a hot new star!”
I don’t have anything against this at all. It doesn’t bother me. It just seems, well, weird enough to make me whip out the camera while on my regular weekend trip to the toy store.
And yet, it’s sort of fitting. “Rugrats Barbie” doesn’t work. “Jimmy Neutron Barbie” is almost inconceivable. “Rocket Power Barbie” is imaginable, though the main female character on Rocket Power, Reggie, doesn’t seem much like the Barbie type.
But SpongeBob’s wacky genre-busting appeal somehow does kind of work.
I’m not sure if this is a work of genius, or of transcendent weirdness. I’m not even sure that, in this case, there’s a difference. But it seems to be some sort of major cultural event, and I thought it shouldn’t go unnoted.
UPDATE: This, on the other hand, is just plain weird.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mary O’Boyle emails:
I showed the picture of Spongebob Barbie to my 9 year old twin girls thinking they would laugh hysterically. NO! They started screaming: ” I want that! I want a Spongebob Barbie!” Then as they walked away, one mused: ” I wonder if there is a Spongebob Ken too?”
Obviously, it’s another stroke of marketing genius.
POLITICAL BLOG PIONEER FRANK CAGLE is making the leap to talk radio. His show starts Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and will be available over the Web.
Even better — WNOX in Knoxville is bumping Dr. Laura, whom I can’t stand, to make room for him. Win/win!
THIS ARTICLE BY EUGENE VOLOKH on the real-world implications of “slippery slope” reasoning is worth reading. And it’s a lot shorter than his Harvard Law Review article on the same topic!
GIZMODO had its millionth page view last night. Not bad!
I LIKE THE GUCCI AD: Wired Tales is offering a worldwide survey of prudery and prurience.
BLEGGING: IT’S PLEDGE WEEK over at Bill Quick’s.
HERE’S A LINK to Fred Thompson’s pro-war commercial in which he asks “What had the 9/11 hijackers done to us — before 9/11?”
SELF-PROMOTION ALERT: Eric Alterman emails: “C-SPan II will broadcast my talk at the LA Bookstore, Skylights on Saturday, March 1 at 4:30 pm and Monday, March 3 at 7:00 am.”
If you want to see Alterman in moving, talking pictures, here’s your chance.
THE ORACLE OF STARBUCKS is never wrong. It says so right on the page!
IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DO SOMETHING SURREALISTIC:
More than 100 Nashvillians turned out this afternoon to hit a French car with a sledgehammer in support of America’s troops and to protest French anti-American sentiments.
The ”Bash A Peugeot For Peace” event at the Beaman Automotive Group on Broadway was sponsored by WWTN radio talk-show host Steve Gill. All proceeds are going to charities that send supplies to troops overseas and their families, who have remained at home.
Futile gesture? But of course! But that’s the point:
”What does bashing a Peugeot have to do with peace?” said Steve Gill, rhetorically. ”Nothing. But most of the peace rallies have nothing to do with peace either. They’re just attacking America. By calling our rally this, we just wanted to underline that point.”
Tremble, O postmodern Frenchman. Steve Gill has your number.
THERE WAS AN ANTIWAR PROTEST, OF SORTS, across the street from the law school as I left work this afternoon. As you can see, it wasn’t very big. You may not be able to tell from this photo, but if you look at this close-up or this full-size version you can see that these aren’t students. Many of them look to be Vietnam-era protest alumni. There were signs that said “honk if you want peace.” People were honking, but some of the honkers were yelling “war now!”
I don’t claim any special representative quality for this assemblage — though the absence of undergraduates was certainly noticeable — but I had the digital camera on me, so there you are.
UPDATE: Sharp-eyed reader Bart Hall emails:
I could not help but notice the *unused* placards on the ground at left in your photo of the A-Peace-ment demonstration there at UT. There seem to be at least half a dozen of them. My interpretation is that they didn’t get more than about half the people they expected. The demo at UT is barely bigger than the standard Sunday ‘Honk if you’re for Hemp’ demos in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
Hmm. Good point (it’s clearer in the full-size picture). It wasn’t the weather — by recent standards, yesterday wasn’t bad.
OVER AT GLENNREYNOLDS.COM I’m announcing that I’m proudly pro-sodomy! As, apparently, are the readers of Redbook.
IS IT THE 1930s ALL OVER AGAIN?
Western Europe has almost gone the way of Weimar. Amoral, disarmed, and socialist, it seeks ephemeral peace at all costs, never long-term security, much less justice. Furious that history has not ended in perpetual peace and leisure, it has woken up angry that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair disturbed its fanciful slumber with chatter about germs and genocide.
In recompense, cranky Western elites, terrified of trouble, indict on the cheap the democratically elected Mr. Sharon, while the masses in the millions go to the street to protest a war against a monster like Saddam Hussein and pay fealty to the terrorist Arafat. As in the past we see ideals in the militarily weak but spiritually strong leaders of Eastern Europe, as the Czechs and Poles once more reveal themselves to be far more moral men and women than any in Germany and France — the historic duet that so often either started or lost wars. . . .
The world, not America, has gone off the deep end — just as it did some 70 years ago when faced with similar choices between cheap rhetoric and real sacrifice. And so just as the tragedy of Pearl Harbor for Americans put an end to all the nonsense of the 1930s, let us hope that the memory of September 11 and the looming showdown with Iraq will do the same for the present farce as well.
As I mention below, for multilateralism to work, you need — well, you need nations more honest, more capable, and more responsible than France and Germany.
LEE HARRIS WRITES on the idea of evil — and those who are embarrassed by it.
HERE’S MORE FROM CHARLES MURTAUGH on biology and politics.
MICHAEL WALZER WRITES:
It would have been much better if the US threat had not been necessary —if the threat had come, say, from France and Russia, Iraq’s chief trading partners, whose unwillingness to confront Saddam and give some muscle to the UN project was an important cause of the collapse of inspections in the 1990s. This is what internationalism requires: that other states, besides the US, take responsibility for the global rule of law and that they be prepared to act, politically and militarily, with that end in view. American internationalists—there are a good number of us though not enough—need to criticize the Bush administration’s unilateralist impulses and its refusal to cooperate with other states on a whole range of issues from global warming to the International Criminal Court.
But multilateralism requires help from outside the US. It would be easier to make our case if it were clear that there were other agents in international society capable of acting independently and, if necessary, forcefully, and ready to answer for what they do, in places like Bosnia, or Rwanda, or Iraq. When we campaign against a second Gulf War, we should also be campaigning for that kind of multilateral responsibility. And this means that we have demands to make not only on Bush and Co. but also on the leaders of France and Germany, Russia and China, who, although they have recently been supporting continued and expanded inspections, have also been ready, at different times in the past, to appease Saddam. If this preventable war is fought, all of them will share responsibility with the US. When the war is over, they should all be held to account.
The trouble with multilateralism is that it requires other nations who are both morally responsible and militarily capable. There’s a shortage of both.
THE NINTH CIRCUIT has denied a rehearing en banc in the Pledge of Allegiance case, clearing the way for it to go to the Supreme Court. Howard Bashman has the scoop, naturally.
CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: TalkLeft is siding with Ashcroft — on a gun-privacy issue.
BLOOD-BLOGGING: Gabriel Mendel writes that donating blood is a good way to help the war effort.
Meanwhile Maj. John Heslin emails: “Blogging’s emergence as the Rugby of Opinion Peddling is crystallizing.”
IF UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES make public statements about the inherent evil of male genitalia, and those statements accompany acts of anti-male vandalism, is that a “hostile environment” that would support a lawsuit for sex discrimination?
INTERESTING STORY ON SADDAM’S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: From Iran.
WELL, I GUESS I CALLED THIS ONE, DIDN’T I? Russia ready to veto U.S.-British resolution on Iraq to protect `international stability’ — or at least contracts. As I suspected below, French efforts at a rapprochement with the United States are premised on Russia doing the dirty work.
ERIC MULLER THINKS that human shields may be prosecuted for treason — and that they may deserve it.
JOHN COUMARIANOS has some thoughts on the Administration’s ongoing — and major — foreign policy realignment.
KRAUTHAMMER IS RIGHT:
France is not doing this to contain Iraq — France spent the entire 1990s weakening sanctions and eviscerating the inspections regime as a way to end the containment of Iraq. France is doing this to contain the United States. As I wrote last week, France sees the opportunity to position itself as the leader of a bloc of former great powers challenging American supremacy.
That is a serious challenge. It requires a serious response. We need to demonstrate that there is a price to be paid for undermining the United States on a matter of supreme national interest.
First, as soon as the dust settles in Iraq, we should push for an expansion of the Security Council — with India and Japan as new permanent members — to dilute France’s disproportionate and anachronistic influence.
Second, there should be no role for France in Iraq, either during the war, should France change its mind, or after it. No peacekeeping. No oil contracts. And France should be last in line for loan repayment, after Russia. Russia, after all, simply has opposed our policy. It did not try to mobilize the world against us.
It should be expensive to cross the United States on an important matter. And this is an important matter.
BIGWIG IS PROPOSING AN EXPERIMENT and reports that preliminary results look promising.
MATTHEW YGLESIAS has more on blood donation, and says that the ever-stiffening requirements for blood donation are largely unfounded. I’m not so sure, though, that the motivation is to drive up the price of blood. That’s a suggestion I was skeptical of when I posted on this last year, and I still regard it as unlikely, though not impossible. More likely, I think, they’re just overreacting to their ball-dropping over HIV.
DOES THE NEW WTC REPLACEMENT DESIGN look like the Fortress of Solitude? That seems a common reaction.
HEY, THERE’S AN ANTIPUNDIT: If the two of us ever met, would we cancel out? Or suffer mutual annihilation and explode?
I hope not. He seems like a pretty nice guy.
CHARLES MURTAUGH DELIVERS A RIGHTEOUS FISKING to anti-cloning legislation — and politicians.
UPDATE: Dipnut emails that Murtaugh’s treatment isn’t a Fisking. “That’s a calm, rational refutation of Sam Brownback.”
“This,” he writes, “is a righteous Fisking.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Justin Katz has replied to Murtaugh.
Some folks might have been surprised to see absolute proof that an attorney’s blood is in fact the same familiar red color found in humans and other mammals.
He also suggests that bloggers might want to get behind blood-donation efforts in general, and he’s created a nice little button, visible to the right.
MORE REPORTAGE from antiwar protests.
SALAM PAX has a lot of nice photos from Baghdad on his site.
SHANTI MANGALA has moved. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
IT’S A BATTLE OF THE FICTIONAL POLS! Fred Thompson wants to run against Josiah Bartlett. Well, sort of.
THE RUSH TO WAR: Michael Ramirez nails it.
THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH has a very unfavorable editorial regarding John Lott.
UPDATE: Prof. Dan Polsby emails:
“Nevertheless, [wrote the Times-Dispatch] serious supporters of gun ownership would be wise not to cite Lott’s work in the future.”
Good luck! Numerous of Lott’s opponents (John Donohue, Ian Ayres, Phil Cook, Jens Ludwig, and many others) use the Lott-Mustard numbers, subsequently updated by Lott, in their work because they have to; there is nothing else out there.
Cast your mind back to what things were like pre-1997. Remember that (in retrospect hilarious) study by David McDowell and collaborators, that the New York Times made so much of, that looked at murder rates in five (!) counties for a few years? Stuff like that could be done (and touted in the newspapers as “science”) because nobody had the sitzfleisch to clean up the boxes and boxes of panel data, that were just sitting there waiting to be analyzed, until Lott and Mustard did it — and shared it, freely and immediately, with the whole world. Now there is a minor industry of free riders dining out on that work. There’s just plain no chance that it wouldn’t be cited in the future, no matter how how ludicrous Lott’s displays of personal vanity might be.
STEVEN DEN BESTE on the reasons for war from an expert:
The second front was about the long-term eradication of the root causes of Al-Qaeda-type terrorism. All the terrorist-wallahs and Arabists the Bush administration tapped said the same thing: the reason educated Arabs sign up with bin Laden is a lack of democracy in their homelands. The antidote: open up the Arab world.
What’s funny is that the Bush Administration has endorsed “root causes” — but in a serious way. “Root causes” was supposed to be a slogan that would justify not acting, not a rationale for action. Dumb cowboys — don’t they understand anything?
MICHELE at A Small Victory is sending CDs to American soldiers and wouldn’t mind some help.
SO ARE THE FRENCH COMING TO THEIR SENSES?
The UMP’s president, Alain Juppe, the party’s parliamentary head, Jacques Barrot, and Edouard Balladur, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs commission, have also all warned that a veto risks a complete breakdown in relations with the United States and some European countries.
France has “avoided committing a mistake, which some are pushing for, that would have left it isolated: wrongly brandishing its right of veto,” Juppe told a debate on the Iraq crisis in parliament on Wednesday.
“A veto is unimaginable,” Claude Goasguen, another UMP lawmaker, told the daily Le Monde in its Thursday edition. “We are not going to break the United Nations and Europe just to save a tyrant,” he said, referring to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Or has France just cut a deal to get Russia or China to cast the veto and take the heat?
NOBEL LAUREATE URGES EUROPE TO CONFRONT SADDAM: It’s Elie Weisel.
“I believe it is the moral duty to intervene when evil has power and uses it,” Wiesel said.
“If Europe were to apply as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as (it) does on the United States and Britain, I think we could prevent war,” he said.
Yes, but Europe is more horrified by U.S. and British power than by Saddam’s.
ERIC ALTERMAN won’t miss Donahue, whose show he calls “crappy.”
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah openly regretted that in “the greatest Muslim demonstration, the reunion of 2 million Muslims in Mecca”, there were no calls against war.
Two million Muslims, the most religious of the bunch, get together in Mecca and there aren’t any “calls against war.”
UPDATE: On the other hand, there’s this.
WHEN DIGICAMS ATTACK: Love the title.
WALTER OLSON is profiled in an interesting article. Via email, however, I learn that Olson has a minivan, not an SUV as the article states.
HUMAN SHIELDS, ICY ROADS, CLONING AND BUFFY: It’s another issue of Virginia Postrel Magazine.
Also, she has this fascinating article on “Neuroeconomics” in The New York Times. If it interests you, I recommend Robert Frank’s Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions, which I think is far and away Frank’s best book, though hardly his most famous.
I GAVE BLOOD at the law school blood drive right before my Constitutional Law class. I’m not sure how good an idea that was. Giving blood never makes me dizzy or faint, but I was just a touch lightheaded — it was sort of like having downed a shot right before class. For all I know, it was an improvement. . . .
Aside from my secretary (who had donated just before me, and who kindly snapped this picture) and one male student, the crowd donating and waiting was entirely female. I don’t know if that’s representative or not, but it seems as if every time I donate on campus it’s that way.
Anyhow, there’s apparently a non-trivial blood shortage in most of the nation, and even those places with plenty on hand are having to send some of theirs elsewhere to make up the difference.
Part of the reason may be (as I blogged here and here back when InstaPundit was young) that they’re getting more and more picky about who they’ll take blood from. In particular, they seem extraordinarily worried about mad cow disease, with ever-more-stringent limits on blood donation by people who have spent time in the UK. Perhaps the reasons for that are better than I realize (which is a bit worrisome, if so), but I wonder how many lives it’s saving, versus lives potentially lost because of blood shortages. Has anyone looked into that lately?
In the meantime, I guess the rest of us in the ever-dwindling group of approved donors should roll up our sleeves. It’s virtually painless, and no big deal. Plus, I got a free cookie!
NATHAN NEWMAN has discovered something rather A.N.S.W.E.R.-like in the affirmative action protest organization. He has lots of links, too.
I SUSPECT THAT THIS JONAH GOLDBERG PIECE on McCarthyism will generate a lot of, er, discussion.
Kevin Drum has already responded.
UPDATE: Apparently, by linking this piece I’ve produced a flood of hatemail to Jonah Goldberg. I guess more of my readers are civil libertarian types.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve Verdon says that now Kevin Drum is subjecting me to neo-McCarthyism. Or something like that.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I read Kevin Drum’s post again and — though it really didn’t register with me the first time — I think it is kind of a cheap shot.
But I want to be clear where I stand here. I don’t hold any brief for McCarthy. He was a buffoon and a thug. But if McCarthyism was bad, it was because he accused innocent people, not because he pursued Communists. Communists were — and are — comparable to Nazis. Being one is as bad as being a Nazi. Supporting Communism is as bad as supporting Nazism. And calling Communists Communists isn’t McCarthyism — as Kevin Drum himself agrees.
And if you disagree, and think that Communists aren’t as bad as Nazis, well, that’s your opinion. But don’t expect me to be impressed, or to think that you hold any sort of moral high ground. So what part of my position is different from this passage in Kevin’s post?
I can’t pretend to speak for the entire liberal community, and certainly not for liberals of a generation before me, but I’m not sure anyone really denies that there were indeed communist spies in the United States back in the 50s. The problem with McCarthy — and McCarthyism — wasn’t that he uncovered lots of communist spies, but that he didn’t uncover many communist spies. While other, more careful investigators had some success, McCarthy himself was extraordinarily unproductive.
What McCarthy did do was accuse everyone under the sun of being a communist. If you had belonged to the communist party as a student in the 30s, you were a communist. If you belonged to the ACLU, you were a communist. If, like Fred Fischer, you belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild for a few months after you graduated from law school, you were tarred as a communist on national TV.
It’s not McCarthyism to accuse a communist of being a communist. It is McCarthyism to accuse someone of being a communist who has only a vague association with communist friends, groups, or ideas.
As I said in this post about A.N.S.W.E.R. that Kevin links disapprovingly:
It’s not McCarthyism to call people who are communists, communists. Communists, as devoted followers of murderous totalitarianism, deserve to be called to account every bit as much as their Nazi colleagues. And in the 21st century, they can hardly pretend to be ignorant of their ideology’s true nature.
Sounds to me like Kevin and I are on the same page — except that, somehow, he’s accusing me of McCarthyism. I guess it’s not McCarthyism to accurately charge 1950s Communists with Communism. It’s just McCarthyism to accurately charge 2003 Communists, like A.N.S.W.E.R., with Communism. That doesn’t make much sense to me.
SADDAM HUSSEIN: Media lord!
THERE’S MORE ON LOS ALAMOS SECURITY (OR THE LACK THEREOF) over at DefenseTech.
I SHOULD HAVE LINKED TO THE DIXIE FLATLINE BLOG before, but I kept forgetting to. But I think you’ll like it. Here’s an excerpt from his close reading of the G.I. Joe cartoon show:
This base, as befits America’s premier, top-secret military force, is amazing, and has a truly gigantic laser cannon mounted in the center of the main building. Extremely impressive, the cannon must be at least two hundred meters long, and can only move on a vertical axis. This illustrates one of the greatest problems with the Joe force. Formed and equipped under Reagan, it never wanted for funds, and accordingly it never had to be cost effective. Rather than use or modify existing weapons platforms and systems, the Joes were forever relying on custom designs, often introducing next-generation systems that, while quite novel and impressive, never quite justified the cost.
This Super Cannon is an excellent example of this problem. No other military organization in the world, then or now, has the ability to make a laser cannon that, to judge by its size, was capable of vaporizing entire city blocks. The Joes could, because money was truly no object, and the prestige of working in Joe R&D attracted the finest creative minds in the military world. But rather than place the weapon in a traversing mount, they chose a static position. All Cobra would need to do is move likely targets out of the Super-Cannon’s firing line. Perhaps there were technical limitations of which we are unaware that required the static position, but on the face of it, it seems a terrible design decision.
There’s more in a similar vein.
CONDI RICE AS A CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR in California? Interesting.
The demonstrations are thereby making war more — not less — likely.
All this should be no great surprise, considering the ignominious history of peace protests over the last century. The record is fairly clear: When the demands of protesters have been met, more bloodshed has resulted; when strong leaders have resisted the lure of appeasement, peace has usually broken out.
If you want peace too much, or too visibly, prepare for war.
HERE’S AN ARTICLE ON LAW-BLOGGING from the ABA Journal. Howard Bashman is prominently featured, with a picture. Funny, he looks nothing like I’d imagined.
BLOGS AT HARVARD: Here’s an interview with Dave Winer about his new role as Blogger-in-Residence.
SCOTT GANZ has an idea for a “pledge drive across warbloggerdom.” Sounds good to me.
RUSSELL WORKING is reporting from Turkey via blog. Lots of interesting stuff, but this passage really grabbed my eye:
There is a reason for the intensity of reaction to an American in Europe. It can be summed up in a cartoon that ran in Greek paper To Ethnos. A befuddled chairman of the board—he is Greece’s prime minister and EU president Costas Simitis—sits before a company board reading from a report: “Dear Shareholders: It’s my impression you still have reservations about the prospects of the company.”
Meanwhile, his board members are scurrying about, finding ways to kill themselves: rigging up nooses, leaping out of windows, firing guns through their heads. On the wall is the name of the corporation, which Greece happens to head during this six-month period: The European Union.
My advice: sell.
DONALD SENSING WRITES THAT Afghanistan was a Southerners’ war. Iraq, on the other hand, will be a Northerners’ war.
He’s also got a transcript of Bush’s speech.
ROGER BOURNIVAL reports that bogus-casualty-figure purveyer Marc Herold has a book coming out — and promotional literature has inflated the death toll again!
AN INSIGHTFUL COMMENT on the demise of Salon and many other dot-coms:
The biggest thing that killed the dot-com boom was the exorbitant cost structure the companies put in place, especially in real estate.
Let’s look at the major epicenters of dot-com activity: Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco, and Seattle. What do those cities have in common? Some of the highest rents in the country (as well as inflated costs of living, which required higher salaries).
The great benefit the Internet was supposed to bring was the complete de-emphasis of physical location. Salon could have found a home in, say, Springfield, Mass., where rents are cheap, there’s a strong supply of intellectuals (the Five Colleges in Hampshire County), New York and Boston are close at hand, and the cost-of-living is lower.
The fact that sites which avoided getting the priciest digs (I’m looking at you, Kuro5hin) have survived and maybe even thrived is a testament to the folly of Salon, Inside, Slate, and all the other online media startups.
InstaPundit, of course, survives largely via low overhead.
AGAINST THE AXIS OF EVIL, AND THE AXIS OF WEASELS: The Axis of Hygiene.
I’M INTERVIEWED (right next to William Gibson!) over on the SuicideGirls site.
PRESIDENT BUSH IS PUSHING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ:
Bringing stability and unity to a free Iraq will not be easy. Yet that is no excuse to leave the Iraqi regime’s torture chambers and poison labs in operation. Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them. . . .
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before — in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.
Of course, as this article notes,
The U.S. president’s words also could send a chill down the spines of some of the nondemocratic leaders in the region.
The answer is, I don’t know, because I’m not sure what he was convicted of. Solicitation of murder usually means (in the United States, anyway) trying to have a specific person killed — that’s how I read the story when I commented, earlier, on the striking fact that the judge decided to exclude Hindus and Jews from the jury. (I thought it was something like this solicitation of murder prosecution).
Kleiman seems to think that this is purely a “hate speech” prosecution. I’m against those. Is that what this case is about? I don’t know; the story’s certainly consistent with Kleiman’s reading, but it’s not clear.
This story from the Times, however, says:
In his lectures, which included titles such as No Peace with the Jews and Them versus Us, the cleric exhorted audiences to take up acts of terrorism, including the use of chemical and nuclear weapons. He also tried to recruit British schoolboys to terrorist training camps.
In the United States, under the First Amendment, you could only convict if you could convince a court that these statements were intended to produce, and were likely to produce, imminent unlawful activity. From these facts, it’s entirely possible that these statements would meet the test. Indeed, recruiting schoolboys to terrorist training camps would seem to fall outside any reasonable zone of free speech, wouldn’t it? That’s not just speech, it’s illegal activity in itself. After all, “your money or your life” is speech, but it’s not protected by the First Amendment. Neither is recruiting terrorists. (As distinct from abstract advocacy of terrorism.)
And, as Kleiman surely knows, the First Amendment doesn’t apply in Britain. But, leaving the Constitution aside, do I think that it’s wrong, morally or (in a more general, common-law-ish sense) legally, to punish someone for that kind of conduct? Uh, no. Recruiting schoolboys as terrorists seems to me to be classic criminal conspiracy.
It’s possible, of course, that these stories give the wrong idea of the facts, but Kleiman didn’t state what facts he thought made this case particularly troubling, so I can’t say more than I have.
UPDATE: British solicitor Martin Pratt emails:
El-Faisal was convicted of three counts of Soliciting to Commit Murder under The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and three counts of Incitement to Racial Hatred under The Public Order Act 1986.
From your explanation, it seems that in order to obtain a conviction for solicitation to commit murder the requisite elements are pretty similar to those in the United States.
Incitement to Racial hatred on the other hand, as you say, is a hate speech crime and I am pretty sure would not be compatible with the First Amendment. Under the 1986 Act if a person -
* Uses words or behaviour /displays written material, which are
* threatening/abusive/insulting, with
* intent/likely to stir up racial hatred
Then upon indictment he may receive a prison sentence not exceeding 2 years.
For the purposes of the Act, racial hatred is defined as -
“Racial hatred means that hatred against a group of persons in Great Britain defined by reference to colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins”.
The Tory legacy to the criminal justice system is not glorious, and this is one example of their over attention to headline pleasing sentencing guidelines and under attention to properly defining what exactly an offence consists of. Prosecutions under this offence are rare as no-one (so far as I am aware, I have not practiced criminal law since my articles, this all comes from half remembered law school lectures) has yet managed to define “hatred” which is pretty fundamental to the offence.
However, offences under the 1861 Act are far more serious and Solicitation to Commit Murder can carry a life sentence which I would imagine the judge will be considering. Of course in England and Wales, once the jury has convicted, it is for the judge to determine sentence.
So there you are.
YES, I KNOW: Another day of limited posting. I’ve had seemingly endless faculty meetings, committee meetings, etc. — as well as my regular classes. More later, but this whole week may be on the light side. That’s frustrating, because I’ve got a big back burner of posts I’d like to get to, but that I don’t have time to write. But hey — this is a blog. It’s not like it’s my actual job.
HERE’S A BLOG that you really ought to be reading.
REPORT FROM AFGHANISTAN: Things aren’t so bad:
Many of those perceived troubles are real and worrisome, and nobody would mistake Kabul for a prosperous and peaceful city. Sections are still in ruins, and many of the 600,000 returning refugees who have flooded the city live precariously on the margins. Islamic militants remain determined to destabilize and oust the Karzai government through violence, and periodic attacks continue. There is also concern that the flashier developments could offend conservative Afghan attitudes and create a dangerously wide divide between the relatively rich and the very poor.
But whatever the risks, the Kabul of today is almost unrecognizable as the austere city ruled not long ago by the Taliban — or as the place where warring Islamic militias demolished neighborhood after neighborhood, or where Soviets presided over a rebellious socialist state. . . .
In a city that had a handful of shopworn eating places two years ago, a new Chinese or Italian or American hamburger restaurant opens almost weekly, as well as kebab shops by the score. Small hotels have sprung up, and a $40 million Hyatt is on the way. The food bazaars are bustling and there are downtown blocks filled almost entirely with bridal shops. Rebuilt homes are rising from the ruins, and every little storefront seems to be stuffed with bathtubs or fans or with men building and carving things to be sold.
There’s a lot that should still be done — but remember, we didn’t start the Marshall Plan until after World War II was thoroughly over. This war is still underway.