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Monthly Archives: January 2003

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January 31st, 2003 - 10:33 am

Fun with Photoshop!

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On the Other Hand…

January 31st, 2003 - 12:57 am

Krauthammer thinks the UN’s days of significance are nearly over:

Under Resolution 1441, that is a material breach. It is a casus belli. The French got around this inconvenience by changing the meaning of the very resolution they had negotiated just 90 days ago. Things are going swimmingly, they say, because with Blix in country, Iraq is contained. But the resolution says nothing about containment. It demands disarmament.

After the Blix report, France has nowhere to hide. It is the moment of truth for France, and, in a larger sense, for the United Nations. The United Nations is on the verge of demonstrating finally and fatally its moral bankruptcy and its strategic irrelevance: moral bankruptcy, because it will have made a mockery of the very resolution on whose sanctity it insists; strategic irrelevance, because the United States is going to disarm Iraq anyway.

Having proved itself impotent in the Balkan crisis and now again in the Iraq crisis, the United Nations will sink once again into irrelevance. This time it will not recover. And the world will be better off for it.

Of course, there’s no reason Krauthammer and Suellentrop can’t both be right. Just because the UNSC (and France) eventually joins in, doesn’t mean it still matters a hoot.

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Kneeling on Principle

January 31st, 2003 - 12:53 am

Slate’s Chris Suellentrop thinks France will eventually join the coalition:

History is at the core of the tensions between France and America. Donald Rumsfeld’s comment last week about “old Europe” was telling: Americans see France as akin to Portugal, a once-great power now in decline. But as part of its own “special relationship” with the United States, France refuses to cede the world stage to the Americans. French identity is similar to American identity

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What’s News?

January 31st, 2003 - 12:39 am

The New York Times editorial and op-ed pages read as though the events of the last three days simply didn’t happen.

From the editorial page:

President Bush used artful misdirection in his State of the Union address to get around the question of environmental protection.

That’s the lede editorial. Environmental problems are long-term. We’re going to war within weeks. Although you wouldn’t even know that reading their front page.

And:

Why Today’s Europeans Object to America’s Worldview

No mention of the Old/New Europe rift, or of the ten European governments already pledged to our support.

Nick Kristof on the op-ed side:

The macho notion that we’ll do what we choose and if the world doesn’t like it, it can go [insert expletive here] is both ludicrous and dangerous.

41 nations and counting, Nick. What’s with the fixation on France?

And from Stephen Pelletiere:


Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein’s supposed atrocities, we shouldn’t be picking on Iraq on human rights grounds.

How many raped daughters, de-tounged fathers, kidnapped sons, and grieving mothers finally constitute proof?

Healthcare nonsense from Ted Halstead:


Mandatory health coverage will drive down health care costs, and its universalist dimension and market-based orientation should appeal to the left as well as the right.

Yeah, and that mandatory Ponzi scheme — er, pension plan — has been a real cost-saver, too.

Somebody ought to buy Howell Raines a subscription to a decent newspaper, or at least get him to watch Fox News from time to time.

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Still Crazy After All This Year

January 31st, 2003 - 12:12 am

Juan Gato is one year old today. Go over and give him a big, wet sloppy kiss on the mouth.

If you’re wondering, Juan, we keep coming back for the free beer.

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Might and Right

January 31st, 2003 - 12:00 am

All the landmass of earth, bar Antarctica, is governed by, or at least claimed by, a nation-state. And nation-states come in all kinds. There

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Wait’ll He Gets to Bush

January 30th, 2003 - 11:20 pm

Isntapundit doesn’t like anybody — and he’s damn funny about it, too.

Take Daschle. I always thought he was kind of a tough guy. He has that deeply-lined face, he’s from one of the godforsaken states where they have “northers”. And he was the Senate Majority Leader, fer cryin’ out loud. It should take some kind of toughness to get there. Then you hear his voice, and you realize you could snap his neck between your thumb and forefinger. That is, if it would even snap, and not just squish like an overripe banana. If this guy is in a position of power, it’s not because he swatted the opposition like flies, or burned holes in their brains with his steely gaze. He just found a path to power that didn’t go too close to any drains, and oozed there.

I’ve seen Pelosi on the news, too. Her neck wouldn’t even squish; it’s just a tether for that ditzy helium-balloon head of hers. Where do they find these people?

Read it all.

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Please Don’t Stand By

January 30th, 2003 - 11:04 pm

Problem solved. More of the usual coming soon.

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Please Stand By

January 30th, 2003 - 1:53 pm

Internet connection difficulties here. One longish and two short posts already went bye-bye, so I’d rather not post anything more until I know Sprint has the issue settled.

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What, no more puppies?

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Fun from Down Under

January 29th, 2003 - 9:26 am

Tim Blair has Osama’s State of the Union Address in today’s Australian.

We have faced the mildest, most measured attack our enemies could throw at us, and we have been rapidly defeated at almost every turn. The Muslim people have not risen as one to join my lunatic quest, the West has not been intimidated (well, except for the French) and every prediction about a Vietnam-style quagmire in Afghanistan proved false. Why, only this week US and Afghan troops easily put down a small al-Qa’ida uprising.

From this we can draw strength. For is it not written in the Koran that he who is pulped by US Army ordnance and buried beneath tonnes of Tora Bora dirt shall not later rise up and do more cool stuff with jets and buildings? You know, I bet it is.

It just gets better.

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Off to Bed

January 29th, 2003 - 1:15 am

If you want to read last night’s play-by-play, along with lots of fun and interesting reader’s comments, then start here and read up.

Can you imagine that, reading a blog in chronological order?

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SOTU Roundup: Den Beste

January 29th, 2003 - 1:06 am

The captain of the good ship Clueless isn’t at all happy with Bush’s promise of a February 5 meeting at the UN:

That’s it? Consultation with allies? More horseshit in the UN building? That’s the grand plan?

I’ve given up trying to guess what the hell is going on. I don’t have a clue as to what that new UNSC resolution will actually say.

I know what I want it to be. I know what I hope happens next. I hope that more supporting evidence is released, and not simply more rehashing of information from open sources. We need at least one shock revelation. And then I want to see a request for an authorization for war. And a refusal to negotiate on the terms, a refusal to water it down, a refusal to delay, a refusal to “give more time for the inspections to work”.

Steven, the way I read the speech (and I’m looking at the transcript right now), that UN conference sounds a lot more like a presentation of the take-it-or-leave-it sort than it does more useless UN bickering. From the text:

The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq’s ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi’s–Iraq’s illegal weapons programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups.

We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

We already have a coalition; Bush made that clear earlier in his remarks. The UN, it sounds to me, can choose either to be a part of the existing coalition, or it can go get screwed — perhaps at their new HQ in Geneva. (OK, so I read some wishful thinking in there at the end.)

In any case, I’m more reassured now than I was a week ago, not less.

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SOTU Roundup: Reason Online

January 29th, 2003 - 12:58 am

Yeah, yeah — I know Reason is cooler and hipper and way more fun now that Nick Gillespie and Tim Cavanaugh are running the show, so why am I thinking I’ll let my ten-year subscription lapse? Probably because now I read a lot less heard-headed sense there, like this from Charles Paul Freund:

The off-lede in the SOTU story is that the Democratic Party made a specific decision to go into hiding. With foreign policy the president’s main topic — and the material everybody was anticipating — the Dems responded through a small-state governor. Whatever else he has going for him, Gary Locke has nothing to say about the Mideast or about war (that anybody wants to hear), and that seems to have been the point of using him. It allowed the Democrats to duck the issue. Of course, it was really the evening’s only issue. Are Dems still debating why they blew the last election?

Anyone suppose there’s any chance at all of getting Virginia Postrel back at the helm?

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SOTU Roundup: Lileks

January 29th, 2003 - 12:50 am

You’ll read the whole thing anyway, but here’s the bit that stuck in my brain:

Then came the Foreign Affairs portion. Obligatory command to North Korea: down. Sit. Stay. (Pity we can

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Personal Note

January 29th, 2003 - 12:41 am

Pejman, I am not in the bag. I escaped the bag (a wet one, natch), so that I might refill my brandy snifter.

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Wither Europe?

January 29th, 2003 - 12:37 am

The New Republic‘s Robert Lane Greene argues that much of the EU’s reflexive anti-Americanism may be born of a confusion over just what the hell Europe is:

How should power be balanced between big countries and small ones? Which powers should be given to the Union, which ones to the member states? Should there be a European army? A bill of rights? Should there be a strong, directly elected president of the commission, guiding the Union’s future? Or a bulked-up rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers, keeping power with individual members?

But the harder the Europeans try to answer these questions, the less satisfied they become. When Schroeder and French president Jacques Chirac attempted to hammer out the contours of the European presidency over dinner in early January–deciding that both the commission and the council should have strong executives–critics quickly complained of a sloppy back-room deal. But if back-room deals between two men are sloppy, the EU’s more formal way of resolving these problems is often even worse. After the 2001 Treaty of Nice made the EU’s already bewildering institutional framework even more so to prepare the Union for enlargement, Irish voters promptly stunned the rest of the continent by rejecting the treaty in a referendum. (One would have expected the Irish, of all people, to be ardently pro-EU, given that they’ve benefited enormously from the subsidies they’ve received since joining the Union in 1973.) It took a second referendum, identical to the first but with a vigorous “yes” campaign by the government, to get the “right” result.

Europe is as confused on its so-called collective policies as it is about its own design.

And when in doubt, blame the Americans. Why, it’s as European as anti-Semitism!

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Sarge Strikes

January 29th, 2003 - 12:32 am

Revealed at last: The real Al Gore!

Sarge, I voted against Gore in naught-naught, myself. But if he follows through on the second half of last night’s speech, I’ll be voting for Bush in naught-four.

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It Might Be Painful, But At Least It Itches

January 29th, 2003 - 12:25 am

Also at the WP, Michael Kelly spent part of Tuesday morning speaking with a SAO. (Senior Administration Official — that’s a cabinet officer, kids.)

If it comes down to “head on” against Iraq, he said, there will be no backing off. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, almost fiercely. “There will be strong resolution. We put one American in harm’s way, I can assure you that . . . the determination will be the full might of the United States military to accomplish the objective.” He added, jabbing the air once with his right hand: “We will achieve our objective.”

For those who still harbor some fear (or even my occassional quaver) that Bush might follow another strong speech with another year of phony war, those words should put some starch in your shorts.

NOTE: Whoever came up with that tired expression never lived anywhere with any season other than winter. I mean, starch in your shorts?

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SOTU Roundup: The New York Times

January 29th, 2003 - 12:12 am

Nothing here worth reading. I expected to find some fine, loopy nonsense, but instead we get cold porridge.

The closer we get to war, the more the NYT editorial page reminds me of Michael Dukakis in 1988 — a little geeky guy with little charisma and little sense of the American people’s mood.

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SOTU Roundup: The Washington Post

January 29th, 2003 - 12:10 am

The editors of WP still aren’t completely sold on the necessity of war against Iraq’s Ba’athist regime, but save their big guns for what was really missing. They say that Bush

reprised the administration’s case against Saddam Hussein but did not expand on it, instead saying that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell would brief the United Nations Security Council next week on Iraq’s weapons programs and connections with terrorist groups. Along the way, he blithely ignored a connection that ought to be obvious: that there is, or should be, a tradeoff between the huge continuing costs of the war on terrorism and the ability of the government to offer both expensive new social programs and tax cuts for the wealthy.

I can’t quibble with the social spending — especially since any new budget items almost always become both permanent and growing. But accelerated tax relief is needed and just.

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SOTU Roundup: The Wall Street Journal

January 29th, 2003 - 12:01 am

Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol explain how Bush II is different Bush I and Clinton:

The first Bush administration brought to Iraq a set of beliefs that prompted it to act aggressively in defense of America’s vital interest in Kuwait, but also left it wary of toppling Saddam Hussein and indifferent to the fate of his victims. The men who decided on the aims of the Gulf War were self-declared “realists,” who believed that foreign policy should be grounded in vital interests–oil wells, strategic chokepoints, and, most of all, regional stability. Their preference for order over liberty extended even to the Soviet Union, where national security advisor Brent Scowcroft found it “painful to watch Yeltsin rip the Soviet Union brick by brick away from Gorbachev.” In China, the Bush team reacted to the massacre in Tiananmen Square by excusing the communist regime in Beijing. And in the former Yugoslavia, the president justified American inaction by likening the bloodshed to a “hiccup.”

It was in Iraq, however, that the Bush team’s foreign policy philosophy manifested itself most clearly. Once Kuwait was liberated, the Bush team redirected its energies toward ensuring Iraqi “stability”–even if it had to be enforced by Saddam Hussein. He proceeded to slaughter thousands of Iraqi civilians who Mr. Bush had exhorted to revolt, but to whom the U.S. now turned a blind eye. Twelve years later, we are still living with the consequences of such “realism.”

Partisan Republican complaints aside, Clinton’s strategy was little more than an extension of that of George H W Bush, Brent Scowcroft, and James Baker III, a point made clear by Kaplan & Kristol. You could argue that Clinton was more feckless, and I’d agree — but “containment” and “stability” were buzzwords in the first Bush Administration no less than in Clinton’s.

And what does W have to say about those buzzwords? Read on:

Realists and liberals approach the world from different directions, but when it comes to Iraq, both ended up in the same place: generating excuses for inaction. President Bush, by contrast, does not speak of merely containing or disarming Iraq. He intends to liberate Iraq by force, and create democracy in a land that for decades has known only dictatorship. Moreover, he insists that these principles apply to American foreign policy more broadly. A century of fighting dictators has finally alerted U.S. policy makers to the fact that the character of regimes determines their conduct abroad–their willingness to resort to aggression, their determination to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and their relationships with terrorist groups.

Hence, the Bush strategy enshrines “regime change”–the insistence that when it comes to dealing with tyrannical regimes like Iraq, Iran, and, yes, North Korea, the U.S. should seek transformation, not coexistence, as a primary aim of U.S. foreign policy. As such, it commits the U.S. to the task of maintaining and enforcing a decent world order. Just as it was with the Bush team’s predecessors, Iraq will be the first major test of this administration’s strategy.

And, they conclude, it won’t be the last.

Allow me to conclude with an Instapundit “indeed.”

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Update

January 28th, 2003 - 11:01 pm

Like myself, the national papers are all late getting put to bed tonight — no doubt they’re busy cutting & pasting pre-written lede editorial snippets into coherent columns.

But I’ll stay up as late as they do.

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How Tired Was He?

January 28th, 2003 - 10:47 pm

Asparagirl likes Bush’s new (or at least more open) compassion, but she’s worried it’s taking a toll.

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BMF

January 28th, 2003 - 10:42 pm

Jules and Verne — yeah, from Pulp Fiction — discuss weapons of mass distruction over at Happy Fun Pundit.

Funniest thing I’ve read since the last time they posted over there.

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Better Than My Crap

January 28th, 2003 - 9:52 pm

If you haven’t already, read through Patrick Ruffini’s SOTU round-up.

Patrick, ever thought of renaming your site “The Practical Pol?”

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What’s Left?

January 28th, 2003 - 9:45 pm

I’m not the only one wondering what has happened to the Left. new-to-me blogger Dennis Rogers sees a bad case of tunnel vision.

It’s a good read.

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For Sale

January 28th, 2003 - 9:42 pm

Hey, Gary Williams has cool Axis of Weasels swag for sale at Cafe Press. There’s even a teddy bear that’s so cute and useless you’ll have hours of fun smashing its face to the tune of brutally patriotic American grunts.

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The Lesser Evil

January 28th, 2003 - 9:17 pm

Laurence Simon noticed a pretty big — and damn funny — mistake tonight on CNN.

Still, I’d rather have a Demoral-laced Norm Mineta over John Ashcroft…

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Proud Moment

January 28th, 2003 - 8:50 pm

This site is Lyco’s Sidesearch number one result when queried for “sacreligious gifts.”

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