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Monthly Archives: April 2003

Still Not Getting It Department

April 11th, 2003 - 12:29 am

I have serious issues with the Bush Administration. Patriot Acts I, II, and — I pray not, but proabably other bad sequels. John Ashcroft’s Justice Department. Unrealistic budgeting. The list goes on. One problem I don’t have is difficulty believing the President says what he means about the Terror War.

Bush presented an ultimatum to the Taliban. They balked, and now they’re gone from power.

He told us he’d go to the UN before going to war against Saddam. He did.

We were promised a “good plan” for the war, and we got one.

Bush claimed he’d do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. By any historical standard, civilian casualties were way off the scale — on the low end.

The world heard from Bush that the Iraqis would choose their own government, and already — with fighting still going on in the north — locals are taking on some of their own governance.

Bush said that Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people. And the editors of the New York Times say:

Iraq is no longer a republic of fear, but it is still a republic of oil. Some 112 billion barrels lie beneath its soil, more than a tenth of the world’s known reserves. How the Bush administration handles the management of that resource as it gains control of the country will go a long way toward determining not just the future of Iraq but also America’s worldwide reputation. Any effort to manipulate Iraq’s oil for the benefit of the United States and American oil companies rather than the benefit of the Iraqi people will squander whatever political gains Washington has won in the war.

I say, “It’s all about OILLLLLLL.” Sigh.

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We’ll Get Right On That

April 11th, 2003 - 12:18 am

Nick Kristof, Master of the Obvious:

Iraq today is at once exuberant and upset

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April 11th, 2003 - 12:15 am

Now that the campaign is all but over, CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan feels free to tell what could not be told before:

I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.

Last December, when I told Information Minister Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf that we intended to send reporters to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, he warned me they would “suffer the severest possible consequences.” CNN went ahead, and in March, Kurdish officials presented us with evidence that they had thwarted an armed attack on our quarters in Erbil. This included videotaped confessions of two men identifying themselves as Iraqi intelligence agents who said their bosses in Baghdad told them the hotel actually housed C.I.A. and Israeli agents. The Kurds offered to let us interview the suspects on camera, but we refused, for fear of endangering our staff in Baghdad.

Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for “crimes,” one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family’s home.

There’s more, some of it worse and all of it bad. Was stopping this madness worth 150 Coalition lives? I certainly think so.

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11. “I’m not wearing pants.”

April 10th, 2003 - 3:42 pm

From last night’s Letterman:

Top Ten Things Iraq’s Information Minister Has To Say About The War

10. “We’re pulling down the statues of Saddam to have them cleaned”

9. “Don’t believe that stuff you see on CNN…or NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox or MSNBC”

8. “If you ask me who the winner is, it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”

7. “Iraqi television is off the air because we didn’t want you to have to sit through ‘Becker’”

6. “Do you know of any job openings for a lying weasel?”

5. “Wolf Blitzer and I are engaged”

4. “Iraqis are in the streets celebrating Cher’s 40 fabulous years in show business”

3. “Incoming!”

2. “Saddam’s not dead — he’s just out with a case of the shingles”

1. “War? What war?”

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It’s What You Wanted

April 10th, 2003 - 10:44 am

I dare any protestor to sign this.

UPDATE: Andy’s petition is a smashing success. Sort of. The usual fools are making the usual noises — “well what about Sudan,” and “Afghanistan isn’t perfect yet,” and “it’s all about OILLLLLL!”

Curiously though, not one has actually, you know, signed the damn petition.

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Apology Accepted

April 10th, 2003 - 8:58 am

Yeah, but they’re loud.

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Delay of Game

April 10th, 2003 - 1:06 am

It’s past 2am on the East Coast, but the New York Times still hasn’t updated their op-ed page.

They still smarting from the locally-sponsored victory parade in Baghdad on Wednesday?

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Tough Chicks by the Planeful

April 10th, 2003 - 1:00 am

Hey, Saddam — here’s who helped kick your butt.


Or as reader Mark Cridland, who sent this pic to me, wrote: “We did this with TEENAGE GIRLS.”

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Is That All?

April 10th, 2003 - 12:34 am

The easy part is over. Austin Bay details what’s left to be done:

With a peaceful and more just 21st century the grand strategic goals, US and allied forces liberating Iraq must

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It’s OK to Gloat a Little, Ken

April 10th, 2003 - 12:29 am

Ken Adleman produced this morning’s Required Reading.

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April 10th, 2003 - 12:15 am

Our very own Hitler, George W. Bush, has just conquered his very first foriegn nation. But Hitler didn’t just occupy countries, he remade them. So let’s look at Poland in 1940 to see what Bush has planned next for Iraq.

First off, we’re going to have to annex all the choice bits. Umm Qasr will come under direct Federal authority, as will all the Iraqi oil fields. Anything else of value, such as factories and munitions plants, will be placed on trains, then on ships, for relocation to American states with lots of electoral votes.

Good farmland — and there’s a lot of it in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, will be appropriated from it rightful owners. Unemployed US citizens of good breeding stock will be moved to the Middle East to work the farms. To keep them on the farm, literally, cash bonuses will be paid over and above market rates, along with money and medals for each baby produced.

National treasures are to be seized and granted as booty to the military commanders of Operation Iraqi “Freedom,” along with large, personal fiefdoms. Similar benefits are to be enjoyed by those politically connected to the current Washington regime. Tommy Franks and David Frum are about to become two of the largest landowners in all of Iraq.

Kurds shall be moved out of the mountains and into the cities. Specifically, into walled ghettos. They will be allowed outside the walls only for forced labor, and for eventual train rides to death camps, soon to be established in the more remote provinces.

If anything above subsistence is produced by the remaining Iraqi people, it is to be forcibly taken and placed in American shopping malls. Islam won’t be forbidden, but it will be officially discouraged. Mosques are to be looted, and prayers shall henceforth be addressed to the Leader, George Bush.

These are the things Hitler did to Poland, so we must expect our own Hitler to do exactly the same to Iraq.

And anyone who believes any of this is cordially invited to kiss my ass.

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I like Kate and always will, but she has this one exactly wrong.

And that’s all I have to say — now or ever — about Sean-Paul’s agonies.

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Shoulda Let the Machine Get It

April 9th, 2003 - 5:00 pm

Here’s the latest declassified Iraqi communication intercepted by the NSA.

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. . .Like It’s 1999 II

April 9th, 2003 - 1:53 pm

Bloodthirsty oppressor Tim Blair is happy, too.

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Watch Your Backs

April 9th, 2003 - 1:09 pm

Meanwhile, some bad news on the home front:

Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today.

The move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress who believe that the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the attacks is known, has already given the government too much power to spy on Americans.

The campaign in Iraq is all but over, but the battles here at home are just beginning.

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. . .Like It’s 1999

April 9th, 2003 - 1:02 pm

“OK, so that happened.” -David Mamet.

Really, that’s about all I feel right now. Maybe when they find Saddam’s entombed corpse in some bunker, or his torso splattered Ceausescu-style against a wall. . .maybe then I

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Too Funny

April 9th, 2003 - 11:49 am

Joe Bob says, check it out.

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The Law of the West

April 9th, 2003 - 11:28 am

Montana has the real Patriot Act.

Thanks to Ed Lambert for the heads up. Ready for dinner next week, buddy?

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Victory Party

April 9th, 2003 - 11:19 am

Kids, don’t forget that the Second Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash is Friday night at Wyncoop Brewery in Denver.

Good company, good talk, and plenty to drink. I hear there might even be some pool. Lefties, righties, bloggers, readers, and the catfight girls from that Superbowl beer commercial are all invited.

Be there.

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It Depends

April 9th, 2003 - 12:47 am

Jane Galt on the aging hipsters who dominate what’s left of the peace movement:

If you can’t get the kids into your movement, who’s going to march ten years from now if your neo-imperialist nightmare comes true? You can’t keep a movement going on Centrum Silver.

Megan, before long the only movements those folks will be able to muster will be courtesy of Metamusil.

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The French Claim It’s “Urban Cowboy”

April 9th, 2003 - 12:43 am

How are we taking all the fight out of Baghdad without, you know, actually, really, fully taking Baghdad? Austin Bay says the answer is “urban judo.”

Read the whole thing — it’s required.

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April 9th, 2003 - 12:10 am

Gulf War II is all but over. Er, Gulf War III, if you include the original Gulf War between Iraq and Iran. Or Gulf War Million and Six, once you realize that various tribes have been fighting over Mesopotamia since there were first various tribes.

What do we call this one?

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April 8th, 2003 - 10:11 pm

So one of the things you do when you haven’t been able to sleep in a day and a half is open a book you’ve already read four times. Repitition, you hope, will knock you out. Then you come across a forgotten line like this one:

The French smoke all the time because it’s their last competitive skill.

The book is Traitor by Ralph Peters. If you’ve never read it, pick up a copy.

Anyway, I finally got a few hours of sleep late this morning/early this afternoon. That oughta hold me for a while.

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Insomnia Strikes Again

April 8th, 2003 - 4:16 pm

Almost back. Long story, and one probably not worth telling.

Bear with me just a little longer.

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April 6th, 2003 - 9:29 pm

Light blogging tomorrow, at least until after lunchtime. Lots going on, lots to say, but little time until then.

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April 4th, 2003 - 10:37 am

Here’s the Washington Post’s full obituary of Mike Kelly.

Damn, it’s a real kidney punch, losing him.

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This Picture Is Worth Eleven Words

April 4th, 2003 - 10:32 am

Click for the full-size image.

Do not fuck with us — this is how carefully we park.

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All Over But the Terrorism?

April 4th, 2003 - 10:04 am

A “tipping point” is where, after a lot of effort, everything starts to cascade your way and becomes much, much easier.

Think of pushing a bolder up a big hill, with a cliff on the other side. Or if you’re more warlike, remember the Afghan Campaign in the Fall of ’01.

For three weeks we bombed and bombed and nothing much seemed to happen. Then a single city fell, and within days the Taliban was on the run everywhere.

There are signs we might be reaching a tipping point in the Iraq War. From VOA News:

U.S. military officials say they now control Baghdad’s international airport but caution that more fighting lies ahead in the battle for the Iraqi capital.

U.S. armored units backed by air power have now consolidated control of Baghdad’s international airport less than 20 kilometers from the city’s center. U.S. officials say more than 300 Iraqi soldiers were killed in fighting in and around the airport.

And then this from the Washington Post:

U.S. Marines said Friday that the Nida division of the Iraqi Republican Guard had been defeated by U.S.-led forces pushing toward Baghdad from the southeast.

The division “has ceased to exist as an effective fighting force,” a U.S. military officer told Reuters correspondent Sean Maguire, traveling with the Marines.

Everywhere the Iraqis stand and fight, they are defeated — brutally, quickly, and without mercy. How much longer will their troops continue to follow orders, when they know that doing so means certain death?

Yes, Baath Party loyalists can keep taking hostages to “inspire” their troops to fight, but each day there are fewer loyalists needing more and more hostages. Each day there are fewer and fewer soldiers to “inspire.”

Tipping points come suddenly and, to our eyes, often unexpectedly. Keep your eyes open; there could be one coming quite soon.

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There Was An Old Woman from DC. . .

April 4th, 2003 - 9:47 am

Read this.

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Silver Lining

April 4th, 2003 - 9:45 am

Here’s the good news on Coalition casualties:

So far, U.S. losses have been 41 troops killed in combat, 13 from accidents, seven captured, 16 missing and 160 wounded. The casualty rate per day has been declining as the war went on. The vast differences in training, leadership and equipment quality between coalition and Iraqi troops has not only kept friendly losses low, but made the losses lower as the fighting went on. This is because the coalition was able to improve their tactics quickly, in reaction to Iraqi tactics or unexpected conditions.

More troops, fighting more battles, closer to the enemy capital — with declining casualty rates.

The armies and Marine Corps that went into Iraq were the fiercest ever. The ones that come out will be fiercer still.

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