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Monthly Archives: February 2003

Separated at Birth?

February 28th, 2003 - 10:28 am

Has Krauthammer been reading VodkaPundit? Says Charles:

…We should begin laying the foundation for a new alliance to replace the now obsolete Cold War alliances. Its nucleus should be the “coalition of the willing” now forming around us. No need to abolish NATO. The grotesque performance of France, Germany and Belgium in blocking aid to Turkey marks the end of NATO’s useful life. Like the United Nations, it will simply wither of its own irrelevance.

We should be thinking now about building the new alliance structure around the United States, Britain, Australia, Turkey, such willing and supportive Old Europe countries as Spain and Italy, and the New Europe of deeply pro-American ex-communist states. Add perhaps India and Japan and you have the makings of a new post-9/11 structure.

From this site, on February 10:

It seems somehow unfair to our better NATO allies to leave the alliance, but there is an alternative: A new alliance that would officially sit alongside NATO, but in practice would render NATO as useful as a buggy whip for a hydrogen car.

Sign up Italy and Spain and Lithuania and the rest of the Gangs of Eight and Ten. Hell, get Israel, Australia, and India on board, too. The new threat is global — not the simple, parochial interest of protecting Germany from. . . um, from whom are we protecting Germany?

Exactly. Don’t withdraw from NATO, don’t give Germany and France the satisfaction of having forced us to bolt “their” alliance. Just let it — and them –wither on the vine.

That’s about all I can manage right now — Benadryl not only shrinks the sinuses, it also shrinks the brain.

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February 27th, 2003 - 10:13 am

There’s nothing quite like waking up and coughing up sponges.

UPDATE: I’ll have something on Bush’s speech just as soon as the cough syrup hangover has cleared. Beleive me, that stuff is only fun the first time you take it. Gets old in a hurry.

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February 26th, 2003 - 10:35 am

This is one nasty cold. Thankfully, my lovely bride had some very funky cough syrup left from her bout with it a couple months ago. While it’s helping my lungs, it’s keeping me pretty well doped up.

Fun fun fun.

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Dumber and Dumber and Dumbest

February 25th, 2003 - 12:00 am

Nick Kristof on the noble history of containment:

So it’s useful to conjure a conservative war hero like Dwight Eisenhower and consider what he would do if he were president today. After his experience with Hitler, Ike would stand up to the lily-livered pussy-footing peaceniks and squish Saddam Hussein like a bug, right?

No, probably not.

Eisenhower, who led the European Allies to victory in World War II and was president from 1953 to 1961, faced a crisis in Egypt similar to today’s and effectively chose containment rather than invasion. Likewise, even when faced with the threat of weapons of mass destruction, President John F. Kennedy chose to contain Cuba rather than invade it, and President Ronald Reagan chose to contain Libya rather than invade it. I hope we have the courage and discipline to emulate such restraint by Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan today and choose containment over war for Iraq.

Eqypt was “effectively contained” by Eisenhower?!? The same Eqypt whose same leader, Nasser, went on to launch two wars of aggression against Israel? If anyone kept Egypt contained, it was defeat at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces in ’67 and ’73 — and the 1973 war was a very close call.

Kennedy chose to contain Cuba? The same Kennedy who gave the go-ahead to the Bay of Pigs invasion? The same Kennedy who plotted with his brother, the attorney general, the kill Castro? The same Kennedy who threatened to land Marines on Cuban beaches?

Reagan chose to contain Libya? Libya finally cut down on the mischief-making when Reagan very nearly and very personally killed Khadaffy’s very own person in a 1986 bombing raid.

Nick might want to read a newspaper now and then. I hear he works for one — just not very hard.

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Wish Them Well

February 24th, 2003 - 2:57 pm

They finally did it.

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Friday Recipe

February 21st, 2003 - 12:01 am

I stole this one from Gourmet magazine. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual steak and lamb recipes here — although it’s still plenty meaty. One word of caution here. Use the best balsamic vinegar you can find, and be prepared for something really, really tangy. This sauce isn’t for weak tastebuds.

Swordfish Steaks with Shallot, Caper, and Balsamic Sauce

You’ll need:

two 1-inch-thick swordfish steaks, each about 6 ounces.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter.
1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
3 shallots, sliced thin.
1/4 cup dry white wine.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped.
1 tablespoon water.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (wash and dry before

Dry the swordfish steaks with a paper towel, then sprinkle on a little salt and a bunch of pepper. Do not, this once, use fresh cracked pepper, or you’ll drown the delicate flavor of the fish. In a non-stick skillet (I’m a fan of Calphalon’s non-stick line), heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Throw in the shallots and saut

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February 19th, 2003 - 11:16 pm

So what

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Quiet, Please

February 18th, 2003 - 10:59 pm

Shhhhh. I’m fiddling while Rome burns.

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Real Estate

February 17th, 2003 - 12:03 am

Taking some personal time today — time to finish cleaning out the old VodkaCondo before we close on it Tuesday morning.

Best part? Once it sells, it’s time to start buying furniture for the new hourse. Please put any war plans on hold for a bit; we’ve got an economy to go and stimulate.

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Anyone Have a Link for This?

February 14th, 2003 - 5:31 pm

An open letter to America from one European
Americans kept Europeans free to disagree

Thursday February 13, 2003; 10:00 AM

Dear America, you quirky mix of 280 million misfits that have somehow blended into the strongest nation in the world, I write to offer you four apologies and two vows.

I, James Black, a European passport holder whose parents are Scottish, whose wife is English, and whose four children are free to be whatever they may want to be (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation), am ashamed for pointing out to a colleague while visiting your country a few days ago that Winston Churchill was wrong when he said the biggest difference between Britain and the United States was the fact we both spoke the same language — and instead, telling him that the real difference between our peoples was actually about 100 pounds per person.

I, who work as a journalist with the Daily Mail, one of Britain’s national newspapers, and (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) is able to say exactly what he wants whenever he wants without fear of death or imprisonment, would also like to apologise for saying to the same colleague that many of the Americans I met were far less sophisticated and worldly than Europeans.

I, James Black, a man born free of social or physical shackles and chains, who is able to travel around the world and visit other countries and who (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) is able to converse, discuss, even argue with people from other nations, would like to apologise for mocking your president and your political system.

Your president may not be the sharpest knife in the cutlery set, but I now understand he and the good people of the United States operate not just from a high intellectual stance, but also from the heart — a heart that knows the difference between good and evil. And importantly, your president was smart enough to have picked the best to sit with him at the world table.

I, whose friends, family and colleagues are allowed to set up home, take a job, even run for politician, in any part of the European Union (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) without being rounded up because of their religion or shot on the spot for their place of birth would finally like to apologise for the biggest mistake the people of my continent have ever made — their total lack of respect for the greatest friend they will ever have — the United States of America.

My anger at some of my fellow Europeans is more than palpable.

I hear the self-centered, cowardly, and just plain annoying words thrown out by old-minded — old world — so-called leaders of the Free World.

I may have made fun of America and Americans, but deep down I know this is only friendly banter between the greatest of friends — and friends who should give their all to each other when called upon to do so.

So I, whose grandfather fought in both World Wars and had the good humour to suggest the Americans were late for both events, but the sense to point out they ensured victory when they finally did show up, make my first vow:
I will never forget or dishonour the amazing and courageous sacrifice of the people of the United States in coming to the aid of the world over the past ten decades. The men and women who left peace and prosperity in a land of plenty to face bullet and shrapnel on the beaches of Normandy and around the World.
I will honour the debt my small island nation owes for your unswerving devotion to aiding our continued freedom. Your help when we stood small and alone against the plague of Nazi aggression. Your assistance in making us strong when the battle was finished and the peace began, and your protection from a colder enemy in the decades that followed.

I have stood, and I will stand again, with my own family, in places such as the cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, an eternal resting place for over 10,000 teen and twenty-something Americans who gave over ALL their future so that I and my children could have a future today, and I will again pledge my eternal gratitude.

I, James Black, a man who simply wants his children to live in a future where all good and constructive things are possible, a future where we can discover, invent, enjoy, without fear of fanatics or madmen or the weapons and pain they may wreak, pledge my assistance to the United States in its fight against evil.

This pledge is not some brainwashed verse, but based on the honourable history and proven friendship the United States has with Europe.

Further, it is based on the fact that the people and leaders of the United States have the foresight to see the world, even life itself, is futile without someone to love, things to build and create, and things to look forward to — and none of these things are possible in a world awash with nuclear, chemical and biological arms controlled by those who despise the life we lead.

I am one person, but there are millions like me who thank the USA and wish your nation and your people all the best over the next few months — and will be there by your side when the times get tough.

Yours with all my gratitude,

James Black

Wychwood Park,
Cheshire, England

P.S.: It is said that today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.
You should be proud as a nation that you have something to do with the fact it didn’t turn out so badly after all — nor should it again.

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The NYC Single-Finger Salute

February 14th, 2003 - 9:27 am

Jane Galt gets the last word on pre-emptive action

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Insults from Ponch

February 14th, 2003 - 12:13 am

Juan Gato has a tiny quiz to help you tell if you’re Clue Impaired.

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Friday Recipe

February 14th, 2003 - 12:05 am


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Another Liberal for Liberation

February 13th, 2003 - 2:28 pm

Blogger Laura Antoniou writes:

Is it too late to sign up for the “liberal, but pro-war” party? I can bring my own cocktail shaker, and my girlfriend makes a mean Cosmopolitan.

Laura, anyone with a taste for hard liquor and just war is always welcome to the party. C’mon in, the water is fine — and served on the side.

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This Is a Fine Fisk She’s Gotten Us Into

February 13th, 2003 - 2:17 pm

Diana Moon gives us today’s second Fisk, this one on the “suppressed” peace protesters in New York.

Originally I sided with Eugene Volokh on the issue, but Diana has me convinced otherwise.

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Today’s Doonesbury

February 13th, 2003 - 12:41 pm


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Pyongyang Harbor?

February 13th, 2003 - 12:37 pm

This ought to get the Chinese to put pressure on Pyongyang to disarm:

Japan has warned it would launch a pre-emptive military action against North Korea if it had firm evidence Pyongyang was planning a missile attack.

Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba said it would be “a self-defence measure” if North Korea was going to “resort to arms against Japan”.

Mr Ishiba said it would be too late if a North Korean missile was already on its way.

Almost sixty years later, Japanese militarism remains the great bugaboo of East Asian politics. China would welcome Japanese forces (even if only planes and missiles) into the Korean Peninsula with about as much worry and disgust as a Vegan served a bloody rare steak.

What’s most interesting here is Ishiba’s formulation of a North Korean “threat” as a justification for a pre-emptive strike. First, he wisely echoes the policy of our current Administration to taking out the bad guys before they take out another office block. Or a city, as Pyongyang can do, or will soon be able to do. Second, the phrase “self-defence measure” is even more telling, as it is not-so-secret code to the Japanese people and leaders around the world.

By Article Nine of its constitution, Japan is forbidden to posses military forces, and forever forswore war as a means to achieve anything. However, Japan does have quite a lethal army, air force, and navy. Only instead of calling them by the typical names, they’re all under the banner of “Self-Defense Forces,” and have never been used outside Japan’s Home Islands. (Although Japan has recently and somewhat timidly entered the UN peacekeeping business.)

Now it seems Tokyo is willing to call a pre-emptive strike on forieng soil a self-defensive action. I’m not saying they’re wrong to do so — I am, in fact quite supportive of the idea. The new policy, should it stand, not only reinforces the American doctrine of pre-emptive war, but also takes some of the pressure off our forces in the North Pacific.

The Chinese won’t like this one bit. Tens of millions of Chinese died in the ’30s and ’40 under Japanese occupation, and thier memories are long, vivid, and perfectly reasonable. So, given the stark choice between a muscular Japan or a neutered North Korea, it’s a good guess China would go for the latter.

Problem is, the choice probably won’t be so stark. Consider it likely (although far from certain) that public pressure at home and abroad will force Ishiba to back down from his threat. And it will be a shame if he does.

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Barely Altercating the Text

February 13th, 2003 - 12:18 pm

Eric Alterman: Plagarist? Perhaps. And if true, the victim is a blogger.

NOTE: Can’t remember where I found the link, but it’s a goody. Thanks, whoever you are.

UPDATE: Tim Cavanaugh made the catch at Hit & Run.

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Tom Clancy Drool Fest

February 13th, 2003 - 12:55 am

StrategyPage has video of the Army’s latest anti-tank missile in action. Here’s a vidcap.

5000 Meters Per Second

Now go watch the video already.

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February 13th, 2003 - 12:40 am

Krauthammer lays down the stakes:

This planet has been around for 4 billion years, intelligent life for perhaps 200,000, weapons of mass destruction for less than 100. A hundred–in the eye of the universe, less than a blink. And yet we already find ourselves on the brink. What are the odds that our species will manage to contain this awful knowledge without self-destruction–not for a billion years or a million or even a thousand, but just through the lifetime of our children?

That is why we’re at war. Not imperialism, not glory, not conquest, not oil. Everything decent about humanity is threatened by everything wrong with us. We can’t afford to lose, we can’t afford not to fight.

(Found by Moe Freedman.)

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Your Wish Is Our GPS-Guided 2000-Pound Bomb

February 13th, 2003 - 12:35 am

Yeah, sure, we’d be happy to accommodate you.

NOTE: Can you think of a better excuse for al Qaeda to quit making faked tapes of their dead leader?

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A Fisking

February 13th, 2003 - 12:16 am

Some folks weren

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Check Back Soon

February 12th, 2003 - 9:59 pm

Can you hear it?

Listen closely and you might.

A soft whisper in the distance, soon to turn into a snarky and most mean-spirited roar.

That’s right, kids. We’re just an hour away from a full frontal Fisking.

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The British Art of Understatement

February 12th, 2003 - 4:31 pm

Reader Comment of the Day, from John Farren:

Call me a selfish Brit, but I like (liked?) having US Army divisions and BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) in Germany. Saves all that tedious Channel crossing stuff.

‘Nuff said.

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Going, Going, Gone?

February 12th, 2003 - 3:04 pm

Is this the last nail in NATO’s coffin?

For a third day, France, Germany and Belgium refused to accept a scaled-back U.S. proposal on supporting Turkey, worsening the military alliance

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A Military Historian On Recent Military Events

February 12th, 2003 - 2:56 pm

John Keegan, defence editor of the Telegraph and author of my favorite history of the First World War, weighs in on the Berlin-Paris-Brussels Axis:

The American offer to Turkey of missile and early-warning defence can in no way be seen as warmongering. The French and Germans, not to mention the insignificant Belgians, seem simply, like tiresome neighbours, to be demanding attention. In so doing, they are inflicting damage on the organisation that secured their safety during the Cold War, and affronting the ally that guaranteed it, to a degree that cannot easily be forgotten or forgiven.

Might the United States have contingency plans, perhaps so. It has been through one Nato crisis already in 1966, when France withdrew from the military structure. Then, although the Nato headquarters had to be withdrawn from a French location, and numbers of American bases extensively built on French soil had to be abandoned, it bit the bullet and reconstructed the alliance. It might, if provocation continues, do so again.

Keegan goes on to make the case that NATO can well survive without Germany, just as it has made do without France for nearly 40 years. Check it out.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned I found the story on Michael Totten‘s blog. Thanks, Mike.

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Kick’em Right in the Wallet

February 12th, 2003 - 2:38 pm

This might be the sweetest news of the day:

The Bush administration yesterday held out the possibility that it would reduce U.S. military presence in South Korea and Germany, both of whom have expressed increasing displeasure over the basing and use of U.S. troops there.

“There is a school of thought to rethink the numbers and types of forces we have in different locations as events warrant,” Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said. “Our objectives would be to maintain our military presence, to assure our friends and allies, while deterring, if necessary, and defeating adversaries.”

Although the administration said troop reductions have nothing to do with recent diplomatic rifts between the United States and the two nations, a senior official said the sudden action contains a not-so-subtle message.

“Let’s just say that if they take it as a slight, they’re paying attention,” the official said.

No number of US troops — many desperately needed elsewhere — can save the Germans or the South Koreans from themselves.

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Real World Test

February 12th, 2003 - 1:43 pm

Jay Manifold does the math, and figures that a twenty-year occupation/restructuring of Iraq will cost a small fraction of our similar effort in West Germany.

Of course, there’s only one real way to check Jay’s figures…

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An Offer He Can’t Refuse

February 12th, 2003 - 1:33 pm

If Saudi Arabia’s offer of asylum isn’t enough to get Saddam to enter exile, Ian Wood says Saddam can always crash at his place.

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What Rhymes with “Asking for It”?

February 12th, 2003 - 12:33 pm

Found on today’s Best of the Web:

There once was a writer named Fisk
Who opined at “great personal risk”
Till a teed off Afghani
With the strength of my granny
Kicked his “what used to be kissed”


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