Yeah, I’m tired — but still have the energy for at least a little blogging tonight. Something new this way comes in just a bit.
Light blogging tonight and Tuesday — I have a room’s worth of chair rail to stain and mount, crown molding to measure, cut, paint, and mount, and a pneumatic nail gun to rent from Home Depot.
That last part makes all the rest worthwhile.
Chilling stuff reported by the TimesOnline:
PRESIDENT BUSH yesterday accused Syria of having chemical weapons. In the clearest sign yet that Washington is turning its sights on DamascusComments Off
There are only one or two new details in this StrategyPage item regarding that radioactive site in Iraq, but it’s worth reading:
Despite all the focus on chemical, nuclear and biological weapons during the coalition advance, there was a week between when the Republican Guard abandoned the Al-Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center (30 kilometers south of Baghdad) and American marines showed up. Meanwhile, looters went over the place. It does not appear that the looters got into the “Location C” portion of the research center. Here is stored the 500 tons of unprocessed uranium and uranium dioxide, plus 1.8 tons of low-enriched uranium and radioactive isotopes that could be used for “dirty bombs.” It turned out that there was a complex system of tunnels under the center that arms inspectors, after many visits, were unaware of.
This one is going to take a while to play out, but if it is what it seems, then the howling hasn’t even started.
John Lucaks isn’t happy with the recent tradition of American presidents returning salutes from uniformed military personel:
This unnecessary and unseemly habit was adopted by Mr. Reagan’s successors, including Bill Clinton and especially George W. Bush, who steps off his plane and cocks a jaunty salute.
This gesture is of course quite wrong: such a salute has always required the wearing of a uniform. But there is more to this than a decline in military manners. There is something puerile in the Reagan (and now Bush) salute. It is the joyful gesture of someone who likes playing soldier. It also represents an exaggeration of the president’s military role.
I agree almost completely with Lucaks. The President wears no uniform, is Constitutionally a civilian, and has no business returning offered salutes. A nod of the head in return suffices and is quite proper.
But to accuse Reagan and Bush 43 of being puerile, while giving Clinton a pass?
Bill Safire explains why war with Iraq makes war less likely elsewhere:
Kim Jong Il may be crazy but he’s not stupid. With one end of the axis down, his father’s many heroic statues look a little shaky. His South Korean counterpart, Roh Moo Hyun, whose own attitude toward the U.S. has undergone an after-Saddam epiphany, says that Kim was “petrified” by the speedy U.S. victory.
Yesterday, a Washington Post headline read “North Korea Drops Its Demand for One-on-One Talks With U.S.” Although derided as bellicose by Democrats, President Bush’s insistence on Kim’s dealing with a coalition of those concerned may be working out peacefully. Different strokes for different dictators.
Thus may the credible threat of pre-emptive war obviate its carrying-out. Bush officials say that Syria has chemical weapons, has been warehousing Iraqi weapons andComments Off
By now most everyone knew we
Hope everyone had fun at the Blogger Bash on Friday — I know I did. If memory serves, Chuck brought a camera.
But I’m not making any promises.
Oh, and let’s not wait 11 months again before we do the next one, OK?
Read this and smile.
Here’s a snippet from Mike Krempasky to whet your appetite:
About 10 minutes ago, a resolution was introduced by Tom Cole (R-OK). “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that France, Germany and Russia can initially best contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq by the forgiveness of outstanding debt between both Iraq and France, Iraq and Germany, and Iraq and Russia.”
Please oh please oh please oh please oh please let it pass.
My bride forwarded this Army email to me, regarding an anti-war protest planned this weekend here in Colorado Springs:
The Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission/Southern Colorado Coalition Against War are holding a permitted rally/march at Memorial Park located at the intersection of N. Union Blvd. and E. Pikes Peak. This rally/march is scheduled to take place at 1200 on Sunday, 13 April 03. However, other intelligence sources have indicated this protest may be held on 12 April 03. Previous MO of this group indicates the possibility 500 to 2000 protestors may gather at their initial rally point. It is unknown if they are expected to show up at local military installations. Furthermore, it is possible that participants in the gathering could be associated with known extremist group that have thrown rocks and disrupted traffic in the past. Avoiding this area or any groups that might show up elsewhere is the safest course of action.
Read that last line again. “Avoiding this area or any groups that might show up elsewhere is the safest course of action.”
In Amerikkka, shouldn’t the Army be rounding up those protestors and putting them in camps, rather than simply avoiding them?
I’ve seen a bunch of takes on this joke, but this one is by far the cleverest and best done.
Victor Davis Hanson on the war:
It is nearly impossible to recall a similar advance that has traveled so far, so fast, with so few losses, without major shortages of fuel, ammunition, and foodComments Off
I can’t find a single word to disagree with in this Goldberg File. Jonah argues that Bush should apologize for America taking so long to finish the work left undone in ’91:
An apology from Bush would have huge a huge impact. The quickest way to prove your sincerity is to make it clear that you are acting out of contrition for something you did wrong in the past. Obviously, we aren’t in Iraq merely to atone for a past wrong, but there’s nothing wrong with telling this to the Iraqi people, since it is in effect one reason why we are there. Moreover, a properly phrased apology could make this war less of a blow to the pride of the Iraqis. The stunning humiliation of the Iraqi army is already a majorComments Off
Russia is going to simulate a voyage to Mars by confining six cosmonauts for 500 days in a simulated space craft. They will be accompanied by three tons of water and five tons of food, and all the life support equipment they would have on such a voyage. The simulated spacecraft will contain 4500 square feet. Russian officials feel that, if the Russian economy keeps growing, it might be possible to launch a crew to Mars in 2018. Russia is willing to accept a foreign (probably American) crew member for this test.
Now let’s stap some nuclear-powered rockets to that baby and go.
Lest anyone think we forgot about that other little problem:
…U.S. military forces were working to cut off traffic between Iraq and Syria, which Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused repeatedly of helping Saddam’s regime.
American special operations forces have set up roadblocks along routes to Syria and are searching for fleeing members of the Iraqi regime or fighters and equipment coming in from Syria, a military official said. U.S. aircraft were also watching the routes, and they attacked Iraqi positions near the Syrian border Thursday.
Syria is in a bind. With the best of Israeli armor in the Golan Heights, and the US firmly ensconsed in Iraq, they face their two worst (self made) enemies on two fronts.
I’d expect better behavior to come soon, except I’m not sure the nature of Syrian politics could stand the strain.
I’ll let you take on this Tom Harkin statement in the comments section, because I just don’t have the stomach for it. Here goes:
The relatively quick fall of Baghdad shows that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a “paper tiger” rather than a major threat to world peace, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said Thursday.
“What we were told and what you saw in the press last fall and earlier this year is that he had a massive war machine,” said Harkin, the most outspoken critic of the war in Iraq among members of the Iowa congressional delegation.
“It looks now like this was just a Third World country – there were people fighting with tennis shoes on, on the Iraqi side,” Harkin told reporters. “I don’t know what else we’re going to find, but they didn’t fly even one airplane in the air. They had almost nothing.
“So if they were that weak, where we could just roll over them like that, tell me again how he was such a big threat in the past?” the senator added.
Who is still fighting us in Iraq? Well, it ain’t the Iraqis. Read Jim Dunnigan:
The resistance to coalition forces remains to be largely foreigners, the “mujahadeen” (“holy warriors”) who have come to Iraq to “oppose the Christian crusaders who are making war on Islam.” Many of these clueless kids have wised up after talking with Iraqis, but a lot of them are beyond any reason and determined to die for the cause. American troops are accommodating them, but this also causes coalition casualties as well. These losses are still running about eight casualties per division per day, as they have throughout the three week war. Suicide attacks will continue, but the people doing this are largely freelancers. Lacking the support teams that make suicide attacks so devastating elsewhere in the Middle East (especially Israel), the Iraqi suicide operations will continue to be much less effective.
So two groups of foriegners are fighting each other in Iraq. One group represents the kind of Islamist fanaticism which never did take root in Iraq. The other group just toppled the despised dictator. Wonder which side the Iraqi people will support?
Iraq ain’t gonna become the West Bank, kids.
Yes, the Friday Recipe is back from War Hiatus. And now that we have Daylight Savings and some warmer weather, it’s time to take the cover off the grill and buy some charcoal — if you don’t, then the Terrorists Will Have Won
From the Beeb:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited an air force base and told pilots he believed they were ready to “beat back the enemy any time,” the state news agency reports.
The visit came as a senior North Korean diplomat said the outcome of the war in Iraq had made his country determined to defend itself against a possible United States attack.
“The result of the Iraq war gives the DPRK [North Korea] a kind of determination and the will to take assured measures to defend its territory against possible US attacks,” Han Song-ryol told a seminar in Cambridge, in the US.
It was believed to be the first time North Korea had commented on the outcome of the war in Iraq, which like the Stalinist state, also falls into Washington’s “axis of evil”.
Song-ryol added that “victory will be swift and certain, assuming our troops are fed and our tanks have diesel. So please keep sending all that grain and oil, m’kay?”
The new guy likes vodka and has a pretty darn fine blog. On the other hand, he wears a hat.
Check out Roger L. Simon.
I’m still waiting for a link to the story, but here’s the teaser from above-the-mast at Drudge:
DEM HOUSE LEADER PELOSI TOLD REPORTERS THURSDAY: ‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REGRET ABOUT MY VOTE [AGAINST] THIS WAR. THE SAME QUESTIONS REMAIN. THE COST IN HUMAN LIVES, THE COST TO OUR BUDGET, PROBABLY 100 BILLION. WE COULD HAVE PROBABLY BROUGHT DOWN THAT STATUE FOR A LOT LESS’…
As of now, the tally of Coalition casaulties (that’s dead and injured) is under 600 — although that will go up as the fighting continues and the steam continues out of the Iraqi pressure cooker. Thirty years of totalitarian pressure doesn’t release all pretty-like.
Iraqi civilian deaths due to Coalition actios are thought to be in the 900-1,100 range. (Even the top-end number at the much-discredited Iraq Body Count is merely 1,411 as I write this.)
Iraqi military deaths? Frankly, that’s not our concern. We went there to remove a totalitarian regime, enforce 18 UNSC resolutions, find and destroy weapons of mass destruction, end support and sponsorship of terror, and liberate an oppressed people. Anyone shooting at an army with those goals gets what’s coming to them.
Anyway. If Nancy Pelosi thinks she could have come up with a plan better and cheaper (in dollars and lives) than the one Tommy Franks used, I’d dearly love to see it.
UPDATE: Here’s the link.
Will Saletan is as cranky as ever today, falling this short (put your thumb and index finger nanoscopically close for visual effect) of calling Bush and Blair racists:
No wonder Bush gave the Iraqis a pep talk. They’re underprivileged, at-risk, and challenged. They lack self-esteem. They need to be told that they’re capable, despite what others may say. Even Tony Blair is patting them on the back. “You are an inventive, creative people,” he told them in a televised message accompanying Bush’s remarks.
Read the whole thing for Saletan’s full point; I can’t do it justice in an extract. But anyone who thinks that Iraqis haven’t been “underprivileged, at-risk, and challanged,” must have spent the last few years, um, writing for Slate.
NOTE: Saletan’s blog-type thingy doesn’t have permalinks, so scroll down to “The Soft Bigotry of Loose Adulation” if needed.
The latest situation map of the Operation Iraqi Freedom is up at Strategy Page.
From the New York Times:
American forces hunting Saddam Hussein attacked a mosque here today and later bombed it, but appear to have missed an opportunity to kill or capture members of the Iraqi leadership.
Army and Marine officials said they believed that Mr. Hussein may have been inside the Imam al-Adham mosque at the time of today’s battle, which left one marine dead and more than 20 wounded.
Pretty slippery for a corpse.
Seriously, I have no clue if the guy is alive or not. But if he is, this act of showing up everywhere, seemingly uncatchable and invincible, is pretty smart propaganda.
If anyone were listening, that is.
Today’s Required Reading? Jim Hoagland.
Fox, I think, scored the story first, but here’s a less-boosterish version from ABC News:
Reports from several sources indicate that US Marines may have found possible evidence of Iraqi nuclear weapons at an abandoned complex south of Baghdad.
According to an article in today’s Washington Post, Marines have discovered high levels of radiation at the Tuwaitha nuclear site. Marines have held the site since Sunday, and have found high levels of radiation inside, according to embedded journalists.
The discovery of radiation has prompted speculation that the site, Iraq’s only internationally sanctioned site for nuclear material, may have been used to develop weapons grade uranium.
We’ll see how the story pans out, but right now it seems to be a good time for Chirac, Schroeder, Annan & Co. to start blushing.
Assuming, of course, they know how.