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Monthly Archives: February 2003

Cutting Off the Source

February 12th, 2003 - 11:52 am

Here’s another reason to topple Saddam, and quickly: North Korea has an untested missile able to reach the western United States.

How about this. Since we can’t get rid of the vile North Korean regime without losing most of Seoul to NK artillery, why don’t we just dry up their primary sources of cash? I’m talking about their weapons customers, and the list reads like a Who’s Who of Naughty Nations. Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc.

We don’t need a bloody Second Korean War, a blockade, or even help from Beijing. All we need is to fully prosecute the war we’re already stuck in.

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Pakkin’ Hete

February 12th, 2003 - 11:41 am

Diana Hsieh found today’s second silliest story.

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You Don’t Get to Pick Your Enemies

February 12th, 2003 - 11:21 am

I’ve Googled and Googled, but can’t find anything showing that Romania ever declared war on the United States in World War II. And what does that have to do with today’s situation in the Middle East? Plenty, if you’ll bear with me a moment.

Romania and Germany were allied in the war against the Soviet Union. Romania supplied pretty much its entire army, based mostly in sectors of the Eastern Front where the German High Command didn’t expect much fighting. (This helped lead to the disaster at Stalingrad, when Soviet divisions ripped through the Romanian lines on the German flank, leaving the German Sixth Army surrounded in the city.) Great fighters the Romanians weren’t. And being tied up on the Eastern Front (or, more correctly, fenced in at Soviet POW camps), they weren’t any threat to us.

So what did we do? We bombed the hell out of Romania’s oil fields at Ploesti.

We didn’t bother taking recon photos to see if Romanian oil was really being sent to German divisions. We didn’t look for a smoking gun or for irrefutable evidence. We didn’t wait for Romania to declare war on us. We simply did the math: the German war machine ran on oil, and Romania was a friendly source of it.

Does that mean the Army Air Force went off half-cocked, causing a human and environmental disaster without clear reason? Hell, no. We did what was militarily necessary, and lost too many lives in the process.

Now what of Saddam and Osama? They are both our enemies. One, through direct declaration and attack, the other through 12 years of failing to live up to a ceasefire agreement and a series of UN resolutions.

I find the evidence of a direct Iraq/al Qaeda connection to be convincing. Maybe you don’t, and that’s OK. The point is, it doesn’t matter. We’re at war. We have two enemies who could collude against us. Letting Saddam off the hook now would be just as silly as allowing Germany the use of Romanian oil in 1943.

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He’s Dead, Jim

February 12th, 2003 - 10:57 am

Kill NATO? Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe thinks it may already be dead:

The message of the veto by Belgium et al is this: the alliance is now a la carte; it is up to us to decide whether a threatened member shall be protected or not. Indeed, we will veto even the planning for such a contingency under Article 4. This clause of the Nato treaty allows a member state to ask for consultations on what the alliance might do if an impending threat actually does materialise.

Not such a big thing, you might think – all we’re talking about is the little matter of dispatching a handful of Patriot missiles to deter Saddam Hussein from attacking Turkey. Such a move would prejudice nothing; it would merely send a sorely needed message to Baghdad to the effect: “Don’t even go there.”

The implied signal from Brussels now reads: the coalition that so effectively deterred a Soviet attack for 50 years has now become a contingency; we may help each other, and then we may not because we have other fish to fry.

Furthermore, it’s not like Turkey was asking to borrow a Panzer division or two so they could blitzkrieg into Mosul and take all the oil. Nope. All Turkey asked for was some defensive weaopns — anti-aircraft and Patriot anti-missile missiles.

In other words, Turkey asked merely that its NATO allies lend it equipment that has no utility unless Turkey is attacked. In other other words, Turkey was asking that NATO fulfill its promise “that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

An alliance which can’t even consider the possibility of protecting a threatened member isn’t worthy of the name. I’m not yet ready to kill NATO, but my disposition to create a new alliance of real allies is certainly reinforced.

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Map of the Muslim World

February 12th, 2003 - 10:38 am

Found this cute editorial cartoon at Joanne Jacobs.

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Wrong Time to Take a Stand

February 12th, 2003 - 10:24 am

Like any other country, China acts in what it perceives to be its best interests. This story, then, has me wondering:

China on Tuesday joined voices opposing swift military action against Iraq, presenting another obstacle to U.S.-led plans to disarm the regime by force.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin called for a peaceful resolution to the standoff over Baghdad’s alleged biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs. ”Warfare is good for no one,” Jiang said.

Should China (or France or Russia, for that matter) use its veto against any UNSC force authorization veto, it could well spell the end of whatever little relevance the UN still has. That is, if the US-led Coalition goes on ahead with toppling Saddam, and if the coalition then puts forth a strong effort to make Iraq into a more civilized nation

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February 12th, 2003 - 10:03 am

Here’s the Cool Story of the Day. . .

NASA released what it called the most vivid snapshot of the infant universe ever taken, capturing such stunning detail that it may be one of the most significant scientific achievements of recent years.

Evidence that answers long-standing questions about the age, composition and evolution of the universe was gathered by scientists using NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, a satellite orbiting 1 million miles from Earth, during a 12-month observation of the entire sky.

“This picture of the early universe is a gold mine,” Charles Bennett, WMAP principal investigator at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration released the picture Tuesday. “The patterns in the picture tell us all kinds of things about the universe.”

. . .but does anyone have a picture I can post?

UPDATE: Forget the picture. Thanks to Spoons, we have video. (Caution: This is a Quicktime download.)

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Pick a Winner?

February 12th, 2003 - 10:00 am

Phil Bowermaster has his own Oscar predictions — but it’s a list without winners. Here’s one that might interest blogosphere readers:

Irrespective of the war situation, Michael Moore (assuming that he wins) will deliver a speech so incredibly obnoxious that it will be a turn-off even to the ultra-lefty Hollywood crowd.

Hollywood has made billions by never underestimating the bad taste of the American public. But that doesn’t mean we should underestimate their bad taste, Phil. Moore will probably win and almost certainly keep his status as the most-loved court jester of the worst part of the Left.


Anyway, the rest of Phil’s picks are spot-on funny. Check it out.

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Protest, But No Counter-Protest Allowed

February 12th, 2003 - 9:53 am

More tolerance and understanding in our universities:

Texas A&M University has suspended the prestigious Ross Volunteer Honor Corps association, a select honored division of the Texas A&M Corps, for allegedly harassing anti-war protestors at a candlelight vigil on February 3. The vigil held in the center of campus by 30 professors, community activists, and members of the Aggie Democrats was organized to protest the war against Saddam Hussein.

This vigil followed a protest that was held on the campus earlier that day by many of the same activists, which featured signs such as “Bush is a baby killer” and “Death for Oil.” The “vigil” itself resembled the protest, as signs present included “No Children for Oil.”

Without even holding a hearing, the administration of Texas A&M swiftly imposed a temporary suspension on the Corps group, which serves as the honor guard for the Governor of Texas. A&M administrators are now conducting an investigation. However, in the interim, the cadets will be unable to hold activities.

Chuck Simmins has a strongly-worded reply.

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Time for 72 Raisins

February 12th, 2003 - 9:47 am

Peter of PseudoPsalms found a story I hadn’t yet seen anywhere else — Arab News racist cartoonist Mahmoud Kahil died yesterday while undergoing surgery in the UK.

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Upload Fever

February 12th, 2003 - 9:29 am

Michelle Ferguson-Cohen (what a great last name!) sent me this nifty graphic.


Like the Peace Through Strength movement of the ’80s, the message of this button is probably too nuanced for the anti-war types to understand.

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Follow the Money

February 12th, 2003 - 9:09 am

Afghan Campaign Trooper Checklist:

Night vision gear.
Cold weather BDUs
Extra ammo.
GPS designator.
Encrypted radio.
Stack after stack of crisp new hundred dollar bills.

Got everything?

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I Know Nothing! I See Nothing!

February 12th, 2003 - 8:44 am

“Osama bin Laden’s” latest — in which he pledges support for Iraq — hasn’t convinced Germany that he, you know, supports Iraq. From The Washington Post:

“From what is known so far we don’t think we can conclude that there is evidence of an axis or close link between the regime in Baghdad and al Qaeda,” a government spokesman told a news conference.

The spokesman went on to say he also saw no link between gravity and dropping things, 9/11 and the Euro-American rift, or French collaborators and Nazi death camps.

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February 12th, 2003 - 8:19 am

Ed Lambert — Hey, when are you and Mel and the kids gonna come see the new house? — forwarded me this letter from PETA. And it’s anti-Arafat. Sort of. It’s addressed to him, anyway. Read:

Your Excellency:

I am writing from an organization dedicated to fighting animal abuse around the world. We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing in Jerusalem on January 26 in which a donkey, laden with explosives, was intentionally blown up.

All nations behave abominably in many ways when they are fighting their enemies, and animals are always caught in the crossfire. The U.S. Army abandoned thousands of loyal service dogs in Vietnam. Al-Qaeda and the British government have both used animals in hideously cruel biological weaponry tests. We watched on television as stray cats in your own compound fled as best they could from the Israeli bulldozers.

Animals claim no nation. They are in perpetual involuntary servitude to all humankind, and although they pose no threat and own no weapons, human beings always win in the undeclared war against them. For animals, there is no Geneva Convention and no peace treaty

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The German Problem Revisited

February 12th, 2003 - 1:01 am

Yesterday, Steven Den Beste gave us one of his usual gifts

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February 12th, 2003 - 12:51 am

John Hawkins scored an interview with the warblogger’s most bloodthirstily funny favorite, Mark Steyn.

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Required Reading

February 12th, 2003 - 12:49 am

Patrick Ruffini is pitching a new show

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Liberty 1, Pentagon 0

February 12th, 2003 - 12:33 am


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And You Thought VP Was Good at Invective?

February 12th, 2003 - 12:19 am

Sure, I have a problem with Germany. But Michael Kelly has a problem with one particular German, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Speaking directly, Kelly says to Fischer that

for the formative years of your political life, you were no man in a blue government suit. You were a man in a black motorcycle helmet. That is what you were wearing on that day in April 1973 when you were photographed, to quote the New Left historian Paul Berman, “as a young bully in a street battle in Frankfurt.”

In 2001, Stern magazine published five photographs of you in action that day. What these pictures depicted was described by Berman in a deeply informed 25,000-word article, “The Passion of Joschka Fischer” (The New Republic, Sept. 3, 2001). The photos showed you, Mr. Fischer, inflicting a “gruesome beating” on a young policeman named Rainer Marx: “Fischer and other people on the attack, the white-helmeted cop going into a crouch; Fischer’s black-gloved fist raised as if to punch the crouching cop on the back; Fischer’s comrades crowding around; the cop huddled on the ground, Fischer and his comrades appearing to kick him . . .”

As Berman reported, Mr. Fischer, you rose in public life as an important figure in the anti-American, anti-liberal, neo-Marxist, revolution-minded German radical left of the generation of 1968. This was the left that produced and supported the Baader-Meinhof Gang (or Red Army Faction), which, as Berman wrote, “refrained from nothing,” including “kidnappings, bank holdups, murders.” You were not a terrorist yourself, but you were a good and active friend to terrorists, weren’t you, Mr. Fischer?

And it Just Gets Better.

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Preparing for War

February 12th, 2003 - 12:15 am

Lileks has stocked up for the next attack:

Day one, we eat the steaks, because you never know if you

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Do As I Say Not As I Do

February 12th, 2003 - 12:11 am

NZ Bear’s Cross-Blog Debate has begun.

Why is VodkaPundit not participating? Because while working on this blog is usually fun, working on someone else’s blog is more like actual work. Somehow.

Anyway, lots of fine, smart, funny people — on both sides — of the Iraq Debate are taking part, so you don’t want to miss out.

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Just the FAQs

February 12th, 2003 - 12:04 am

David Broder is no warmonger, but he provides a pretty damn fair Q&A on how we got into this mess in Iraq. No name-calling, no left- or right-wing blame-fixing, just a pretty good set of pretty good answers to perfectly reasonable questions.

Check it out, and see if you find anything worth getting worked up about.

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Oh, Pooh

February 12th, 2003 - 12:01 am

Signs of American imperialism already well underway in Iraq.

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New Allies

February 11th, 2003 - 4:21 pm

Has David Warren been reading VodkaPundit?

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That Takes a Lot of. . .

February 11th, 2003 - 3:52 pm

. . .Moxie has Terror War Pick-Up Lines. My favorite: “Let’s roll . . . in the hay.”

(Found — where else? — on ErosBlog.)

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Better Late Than Never

February 11th, 2003 - 3:37 pm

Stephen Silver emailed to add himself to the list of Liberals for Liberation. Also, check out his blog. Good stuff.

OOPS: I inadvertantly left off Brian Scrivani and his Wunderkinder blog. Give him a vist or three while you’re at it.

UPDATE: Judith from Kesher Talk counts herself in, too.

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February 11th, 2003 - 3:19 pm

What makes this site qualified to pick Oscar winners? The very same expertise as the Academy voters

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Go to the Audio Tape

February 11th, 2003 - 2:56 pm

So here’s the important bit from the latest audio tape from “Osama bin Laden”:

We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy, these attacks that have scared Americans and Israelis like never before.

What’s it mean? Probably not a whole lot, really. al Qaeda strikes according to their own schedule; I never got too worked up about Muslim holy days or major events or big anniversaries. That’s part of the beauty, so to speak, of al Qaeda’s terror attacks — they really do come when you least expect them.

Also, they seem to come every two or three years, and the last one isn’t yet even 18 months ago. Their operations take lots of time, training and money, and, as such, are difficult to pull off at any time, much less on dates when everyone is more aware.

Which is why the Afghanistan Campaign of the Terror war — along with good ol’ police work — was so important. We put a dent in their manpower, leadership, structure, sanctuary, and (I hope) finances. What that means is I’ll be much more fearful of another 9/11-scope attack a year or two from now than I am today.

Would al Qaeda like to help Iraq? In the strictest sense, no. No matter how many issues of the Koran that Saddam has printed up in his own blood, he still remains a secular, Ba’athist leader. If al Qaeda were to take over Saudi Arabia, as they dearly wish to do, you can bet Saddam would become a target instead of an ally.

But in the broader sense, anything that whips up Islamic (I was about to say “Arab”) hatred for the West is good for al Qaeda — and currently the best way to do that is to show solidarity with Iraq, the next target in this war. But since we are speaking broadly, it doesn’t make sense for al Qaeda to risk its best people, or much of its money, betting on the Iraqi horse. Saddam is an ally of convenience, for one, and for two, he’s destined to lose.

If al Qaeda offers anything more than words in support of Iraq, I’d expect the attack(s) to be on the shoe-bomber scale rather than something as big as 9/11.

That’s not to say I’m right on all this; I’m simply trying to look at it from Osama’s view, or whoever is in charge of whatever is left of al Qaeda. To them, it might make sense to place a big bet on a weak hand, if only to show they still have lots of black chips left.

If there’s anything to worry about in today’s threat, that’s it.

UPDATE: Also curious is that the rumor we’d see a video of Osama turned out to be false. He’s either dead or very, very sick. If he had simply been wounded by an American bomb, missing an arm or half his face, I’d expect him on camera — “you can hurt me, but you can’t kill me.” Being hooked up to a dialysis machine in the last stages of kidney failure looks less like invincibility than it does a curse from, well, Allah.

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Storm Brewing

February 11th, 2003 - 2:30 pm

Storm Brewing
This is a bit more jingoist than my tastes usually run — but what the hell, there’s a war on.

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Technical Difficulties

February 10th, 2003 - 11:21 pm

Lost posts, lost emails, soon to have a lost mind. I’m calling it quits for the night — see you in the morning.

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