Archive for August, 2002

August 27, 2002

FRANK J. WRITES: “The Palestinians seem to be in a never ending war with any feelings of sympathy I may have for them.” Yeah, and they’re doing better in that war than in the one with the Israelis. (Here’s another example of why).

August 27, 2002

JUST FOR THE RECORD: I expect privacy when I enter my passwords. Interfere with that expectation at your peril.

August 27, 2002

TOO RHETORICAL FOR THE NEW YORK SUN? Apparently, this piece by Norah Vincent was, so she’s put it on her blog instead.

Given that the New York Sun has yet to pay me for the piece I wrote for their first issue, Norah may be just as well off. In fact, if anyone who reads her piece hits the tipjar, she’ll be ahead of me.

August 27, 2002

RADLEY BALKO says that studies trying to link abortion and breast cancer are junk science. Excerpt:

As I noted below, epidemiologists rarely give much attention to any study with a risk ratio of less than 3.0 — that is, less than a 300% increase in likelihood of, in this case, breast cancer striking women who have had an abortion. Of the 63 studies on the abortion/breast cancer site, none poses a risk ratio of greater than 3.0. And, in fact, only two of them poses a risk ratio greater than 2.1, which is the risk ratio between pasteurized milk and lung cancer. Sixteen of the 63 represent either no increased risk at all, or actually show a negative risk — that is, women who had had abortions were less likely to get breast cancer. And over half of them — 35 — failed to show a risk ration of greater than 1.3%, what most epidemiologists consider to be the threshold of statistical significance.

So more of these studies showed no statistically significant link between abortion and breast cancer than did. Only two of 63 showed a higher correlation than a common, everday risk posed to us each time we put milk on our cereal. And none of the 63 showed a risk great enough to bump “correlation” into a possible “causation.”

Since Balko is pro-life, he deserves extra points for making this clear.

August 27, 2002

SALON SEXWATCH UPDATE, special nostalgia edition: Still no sex in Salon (“My girlfriend doesn’t banter well?” Puhleez. This is a sex column?) Sadly, Rachael Klein is long gone from the Daily Cal, but her successor, Teresa Chin, has advice on combining food and condoms.

Advantage: Daily Cal. Like that’s news. Hey, maybe Teresa could give helpful advice to the Johannesburg Summit attendees.

August 27, 2002

TUNKU VARADARAJAN says Bush needs to support free elections in Pakistan.

August 27, 2002

“LOBSTERS, CAVIAR AND BRANDY AT SUMMIT ON STARVATION” — No surprise here, but a great headline.

UPDATE: Here’s more, in a similar vein.

August 27, 2002

IS MICKEY KAUS WARPED? You be the judge.

August 27, 2002

THE BOSTON GLOBE IS REPORTING ON Harvard Law School’s opening-up to military recruiters — something InstaPundit covered back on August 23. Well, I guess you can’t expect Legacy Media to be on top of everything the way we official cyberjournalists are. . . .

August 27, 2002

I’VE BEEN TRYING TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO NORTH AFRICA, but it’s hard to get much news out of some places, and the problem seems to have gotten worse of late. The links I usually use for Chad are no longer there, and this is the best I seem to be able to find. If you know of some good news sites, please email me.

August 27, 2002

TENSIONS AMONG MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS IN KADUNA, Nigeria are on the mend for the moment.

August 27, 2002

STOP THE PRESSES: The Arab News is telling the truth. I wonder if heads will roll over this.

And, no, I’m not really speaking figuratively.

August 27, 2002

WHISTLEBLOWER PAUL VAN BUITENEN ADMITS THAT European Union corruption is incurable.

August 27, 2002


Will someone explain to me why America expects European concurrence in any of our affairs militarily or otherwise? Any European history dilettante knows that balancing power between states has been the modus operandi in the foreign affairs of their nation-states dating back to the Middle Ages. One waits in vain if he expects them to walk away from 700 years of habit. Often this old world realpolitik was entirely defensible. America is the world’s sole superpower today, and thus will the Europeans see themselves as the counterweight to our strength. While to us this posture looks absurd, to them it is merely instinct.

August 26, 2002

THE SIXTH CIRCUIT HAS RULED that deportation hearings must be public. Note: The two actual Court of Appeals judges on this panel, Damon Keith and Martha Craig Daughtrey, are among the farthest-left on the Sixth Circuit. (The other is a district judge sitting by designation, about whom I know nothing). This suggests that an en banc rehearing is more likely than otherwise, but I haven’t read the opinion closely enough to base that on substance; I’m just going by the panel.

UPDATE: Here’s a story from today’s (Tuesday’s) Washington Post.

August 26, 2002

PETER BEINART SAYS THE “STARSHIP TROOPERS ARGUMENT” is a bogus attempt to prevent the very dialogue Democrats have been calling for. Excerpt:

In fact, over and over during the ’90s, the generals with firsthand battlefield experience guessed wrong–and the civilians without it guessed it right–about what would happen when the United States went to war. Before the Gulf war, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell–who had spent his life in uniform–said war with Iraq would prove too costly. He was overridden by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who once infamously told a reporter that he “had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.” In 1992 Powell wrote a New York Times op-ed warning against U.S. military intervention in Bosnia–intervention that (in tandem with a Croat ground assault) eventually forced the Serbs into a peace deal. And in 1999 the Joint Chiefs of Staff leaked to the press their opposition to U.S. war in Kosovo–a war that drove Slobodan Milosevic from Kosovo without a single American combat casualty.

Why were the civilians right? Perhaps because they better understood the political context that shaped the war’s outcome. Perhaps because they hadn’t experienced Vietnam, which led ’90s military leaders to repeatedly overestimate the enemy. The point is they had other forms of knowledge at their disposal, knowledge that in these cases turned out to be more salient.

And it is precisely the interaction and competition between those different forms of knowledge that Hagel, Rich, and Pinkerton seek to shut down. If taken seriously, their argument disqualifies anyone who hasn’t, won’t, or can’t see combat from ever advocating American military intervention, including last year against Afghanistan. By that logic, women and the openly gay–both barred from combat–can never be pro-war. (In fact, by that logic, people who haven’t served can’t even legitimately oppose gay exclusion–since they have no experience of the military morale that the prohibition against open homosexuality seeks to preserve.) And authenticity is an infinitely expandable debaters’ trick.

Oh, and by the way, Colby Cosh had the Starship Troopers analogy way back on August 5.

Yeah, I know I just mentioned him below, too. But what can I do? Powered by all that Canadian oil money, he’s unstoppable!

UPDATE: The IndePundit has a withering response to all this “chickenhawk” talk from the antiwar crowd. Be sure you read all the way to the end. And read this, too.

August 26, 2002


August 26, 2002

HERE’S MORE on the Al Qaeda / Asimov connection, in The Guardian. (Via Electrolite.)

August 26, 2002

MAYBE JONATHAN CHAIT IS RIGHT: It looks like Delaware really is the root of all evil. At least, the notion of making people get out of their cars to be photographed because they might someday be criminals strikes me as evil.

August 26, 2002


I’m an agnostic on the merits. Jewell was innocent. Hatfill might be, but he might not be. There certainly seems to be enough evidence to justify interest in him. But why all the leaks? There seem to be just two explanations, both bad:

(1) The folks at Justice are deliberately leaking stuff to try to put pressure on Hatfill. (This seems to be a pattern, though not a very successful one judging by some other recent high-profile cases). Or,

(2) The leaks aren’t deliberate, the Justice Department is just full of people who can’t keep their mouths shut, even on major case with national-security implications.

Note that even if Hatfill turns out to be guilty, these things still reflect badly on Justice. The problem predates Ashcroft, of course, but he certainly hasn’t done anything to make it go away.

UPDATE: Rand Simberg emails with these comments:

There’s a third explanation. It is deliberate, and it’s grandstanding (including by Ashcroft) to make it look like they’ve got a suspect in their sights, to dispel criticism that they aren’t on the case (and the fact that they seem to be going out of their way to avoid coming to the conclusion that it might have middle eastern connections, kind of like the OKC investigation).

This is the same kind of chest-thumping stupidity that caused Waco. I bitched about it yesterday, calling (certainly futilely) for Bush to disband the FBI in its present form, and to can Ashcroft, Tenet, Mueller and Mineta, because it’s totally keystone cops at the agencies that are supposed to be protecting us.

Well, maybe not totally, but their response has been pretty unimpressive overall.

August 26, 2002

HEY, I’M OFFICIALLY A CYBERJOURNALIST! It says so right on CyberJournalist.Net, and I don’t see how you could get more official than that.

August 26, 2002

IT’S AN ALTERMAN VS. COCKBURN SMACKDOWN — and Joe Stalin takes some lumps, too.

August 26, 2002

IT’S NO FUN TO BE AN Arab fashion designer. This sounds like it’s leading to a joke, but it’s not really funny.

August 26, 2002

THE VATICAN IS CRITICIZED for a policy of waffling appeasement. There’s a nice painting by Raphael, too.

August 26, 2002

JUSTIN WEITZ HAS POSTED an open letter to human rights organizations about Ikhlas Khouli, the Palestinian mother who was “executed” for alleged collaboration with Israel.

UPDATE: Look at the pictures here, too.

August 26, 2002

MCAFRICA UPDATE: Al Barger is lobbying McDonald’s to bring the McAfrica to America. And he wants you to help.

August 26, 2002

RON BAILEY says that the road to Johannesburg is paved with good intentions, but I think he’s being too charitable.

August 26, 2002

JUST HAD THE FIRST MEETING of my National Security Law seminar. I’m using this casebook as my main text; the bad news is I just got my copy a week ago, the good news is that it’s very up to date, since it just came out. The first session — which in a seminar is as much about getting acquainted and establishing the chemistry as about substance — featured a nice discussion about distinguishing terrorism from war in general, and about ways in which the law might have to change to accommodate more decentralized approaches to war. (One student, with a special-forces background, is interested in applying letters of marque and reprisal as a model, which should be interesting).

I’ve never taught this course before, though I touch on some of the issues in other courses I teach, and I have some small amount of practical experience in the area. It should be fun.

August 26, 2002


Their hegemony over the Blogosphere is causing EU representatives to mutter about the need for countervailing power in the area of design.

August 26, 2002

MELISSA SCHWARTZ loves the new Wilco movie. Visit her site and she’ll tell you why.

August 26, 2002

LOTS OF PAKISTAN OBSERVATIONS, most of them depressing, at StrategyPage. Excerpt:

Having lost four wars with India, Pakistan shifted to irregular warfare over 20 years ago. Pakistan never admitted this, but the evidence has built up over the years. ISI (Interservice Intelligence, sort of a military CIA) organized and supervised this effort. The US got to know ISI during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. ISI organized the Afghan irregular fighters in northwest Pakistan and got along just fine with the CIA. But ISI already had networks of agents in India, where they inspired and supported several separatist groups (India contains dozens of ethnic groups that would rather not be part of India.) Except for radical Sikhs, and a few other lesser efforts, none of this came to much. The exception was Kashmir, where the local Moslems were eager, but vastly outnumbered by police and soldiers. So ISI took to training non-Kashmiris in camps in Pakistani Kashmir for irregular warfare and terrorism in Indian Kashmir.

I still think that Musharraf is probably acting in good faith. The question is whether he’s really in charge of his own country.

August 26, 2002


August 26, 2002


August 26, 2002


I’m still waiting for someone to write that we need to understand the hopelessness and desperation that lead people to contemplate such horrific acts, though.

August 26, 2002

NEW YORK TIMES- BASHING is becoming an international sport, as Barbara Amiel takes the Times to task over its misrepresentation of Henry Kissinger’s views and its distortions on a wide variety of other subjects. Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus asks if the Times would be facing these embarrassments had Bill Keller gotten the top job in place of the embattled Howell Raines, while TAPPED does a little Times-bashing of its own — all while protesting, Marc Antony-like, its love for the paper.

Well, at least Raines has people talking about the Times!

August 26, 2002

THIS “GLOBAL POLL” on the environment seems pretty lame to me. Not only is it slanted, but there’s no security, meaning that people can vote repeatedly and falsify their origins.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Did you notice that the question near the end, asking the poll-taker’s religion, listed in order:





And most significantly, what is missing? Jewish.

And it’s affiliated with the UN crowd. Go figure.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers write with comments echoing this one:

I agree that the poll is pretty lame — several of the questions asked you to make choices that were each too extreme.

However, your comment on the religion question is misleading. The fifth choice is “other”. Given the small percentage of the global population that is Jewish, I don’t believe that this is an unusual option. Otherwise, why not include Sikhs, which I believe has almost twice as many adherents as Judaism.

Actually the largest group that is left out are those who are secular or have no particular religious affiliation. I wonder what that means?

Fair enough.

August 26, 2002

STATS: Friday’s anticlimax on the Bellesiles affair has slowed the rate of increase, but Jim Lindgren’s article on the errors in Michael Bellesiles’ Arming America has now racked up an impressive 82,843 downloads. That’s up from 74,584 on Friday morning. By way of comparison, the dead-tree circulation of the Yale Law Journal, where Lindgren’s piece appears, is just over 3,300.

August 26, 2002

OKAY, BUT WHAT IF THE FIRST TIME IS FARCE? Cynthia McKinney is now considering a Senate run, according to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire.

August 26, 2002

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD STEED, whose work with such bands as Apelife, Smokin’ Dave and the Premo Dopes, and The Opposable Thumbs hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. (Though he has been mentioned in the same sentence as Chet Atkins, the Everly Brothers, and R.B. Morris.)

Plus, is there a cooler name for a record label than “Disgraceland Records?”

August 26, 2002

SORRY ABOUT THE BRIEF OUTAGE: The server had to go down for a RAM upgrade. In a possibly-unrelated development, this month’s traffic has already surpassed the entire month of July.

August 26, 2002

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GURU RAY KURZWEIL has a review of the movie Simone. He doesn’t like it much, either as cinema or as a foretaste of coming technology (though he found it “enjoyable” on a superficial level).

Since Kurzweil has done more or less what the movie purports to describe, creating a female AI personality, his perspectives are rather interesting. And you have to love the term “synthespian.”

August 26, 2002

SURPRISE: Delegates at the Earth Summit don’t want the Mugabe protests to overshadow its main purpose, which is, apparently, criticizing the United States:

The head of the British delegation, the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, yesterday showed growing frustration with American intransigence, which could derail the summit. . . .

Mrs Beckett also insisted that it would be a disaster if the delegates let the growing row with Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, to overshadow the summit.

Feh. Here’s a more constructive take.

August 26, 2002


August 26, 2002

IF YOU WEREN’T READING INSTAPUNDIT OVER THE WEEKEND — well, shame on you. But don’t miss this post on the “McAfrica” burger, this one on Dave Shiflett’s CD, and this one on the insubstantiality of the “Ashcroft’s prison camp” oped by Jonathan Turley.

August 26, 2002

A MODEST PROPOSAL: Spoons describes the first InstaPundit-related marriage proposal. I’ve been following this development for a while, and I’m glad to see it bear fruit.

August 25, 2002


Insiders at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) say the agency is probing claims that CNN, MSNBC and network news operations routinely hype interviews, reports and talk shows they know are losers, while top executives privately watch reruns on Nickelodeon, or go out to Red Lobster with the family.

“Much like the SEC investigation into corporate execs who made rosy projections while privately selling off millions in stock, this probe seeks to determine if news editors and producers know that some of their on-air material will be a waste of viewers’ time,” according to the unnamed source. “Clearly, for instance, MSNBC knew that the new Donahue show was a dog, but they continued to promote it like it was the next Bill O’Reilly or something. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

They’ve got those guys dead to rights. I hope they throw away the key.

August 25, 2002

THE JURIST, which is a very cool law-related site that I should have plugged earlier, has a list of blogs relating to the law. It leaves out Howard Bashman and Ernie the Attorney, but it’s got some sites on it I didn’t know about. Check out the main site, too, which has all sorts of law-related news.

UPDATE: Oops. It does so include them — I just didn’t scroll down far enough. Don’t you make the same mistake.

August 25, 2002

HEINLEIN UPDATE: It’s scrolled, so you might miss the updates to this post without this pointer.

August 25, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: A reader points out that a piece Bellesiles had written for the Emory academic website on January 22 has apparently been pulled. The piece was entitled “Bellesiles Further Responds to Critics, Says He Has Located Missing San Francisco Records.” Trouble was, those turned out not to be the records after all, and drew a rather testy response from the Contra Costa Historical Society where he said the records were found. (Here’s a news story that quotes Bellesiles’ now-missing piece, and the response from the archivist.)

I’ve gotten a lot of email from readers angrily suggesting that Emory is just trying to sweep the whole matter under the rug. The disappearance of this item might support that — but it certainly suggests that someone at Emory recognizes that there is a problem.

August 25, 2002

TED TURNER NUCLEAR UPDATE: (Gee, using the words “Ted Turner” and “nuclear” in the same sentence is a bit disturbing. . . .) InstaPundit’s consulting nuclear physicist (a former IAEA inspector who prefers to remain nameless here) sends this note regarding an earlier post:

You can find details of what the Serbs had at the IAEA research reactor database – go to Yugoslavia and look up RA-B. Its fuel was 80% enriched UO2 – since this was the enrichment of the Hiroshima bomb uranium you would have to say that it was “weapons grade” even though real modern weapons use material at 93% or better.

Most research reactors were originally designed to use high enriched uranium (HEU – note it is not Highly Enriched Uranium but just High Enriched Uranium). The US, the IAEA and other countries (such as Australia) have a long running program called the RERTR to reduce the enrichment of uranium in research reactors, so most new reactors use fuel at 20% instead.

One minor quibble – you don’t enrich plutonium – no macro scale enrichment program for Pu enrichment has ever worked. You just try to produce it without too many higher isotopes. As to the facility you were referring to – it is more correctly called a critical assembly than a reactor.

Reader Norman Yarvin writes:

The Osirak reactor used 93% enriched uranium.

Yes, that’s right: Iraq was shipped enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb — and the Iraqis still have it, according to Khidir Hamza; they recovered it from the ruins of the reactor. (To be exact, he claims they have twelve kilograms of 93% enriched uranium, and fourteen kilograms of 80%, all from Osirak.)

The source for all this is Hamza’s book “Saddam’s Bombmaker.”

Reader Ian Wood adds:

According to WaPo, the U.S. government paid $2 million for transportation and related costs, Yugoslavia provided 1,200 troops for escort, and The Nuclear Threat Initiative, the nonprofit group co-founded by former Senator Sam Nunn and Ted Turner, pledged $5 million. That money is going to help clean up the area around the reactor site itself (including the removal of two tons of nuclear waste–*not* the enriched uranium), as well as help to pay some of the scientists at the Vinca research reactor facility. Russia will reprocess the enriched uranium slugs at its facility in Dimitrovgrad.

So, us taxpayers paid for the removal and transport of the problematic nuclear material, which I’m happy to kick in for. Private money will clean up the radioactive mess left by the Communists and give impoverished nuclear physicists less incentive to go work for, say, Iraq.

More evidence of the corrupt values instilled by capitalism, I suppose.

No doubt.

August 25, 2002

JUST ABOUT A YEAR AGO, I reported Department of Justice figures showing that one American in 32 was under supervision by the criminal justice system, and remarked:

How many people have to be under direct supervision of law enforcement before you have a police state? Whatever the number is, at the current rate of growth it won’t take us long to get there. According to these DOJ figures one out of 32 American adults — over three percent of the population — is in jail, on parole, or on probation. This represents a whopping forty-nine percent increase over the last ten years. Most of this growth appears to come from nonviolent drug offenses. Another example of how the Drug War is leading — in this case directly, not metaphorically — to the creation of a police state.

Okay, I don’t want to go over the top. But really — prisons are hellholes for the most part. And some people deserve to be in hellholes. But not all that many. Certainly not this many. I think that future historians will look back on this mass imprisonment the way we look on the internment of Japanese-American citizens in World War Two.

That still stands — and it’s a bigger, though far less remarked-upon, injustice than any that are involved in the War on Terrorism.

TalkLeft has this year’s figures, which unsurprisingly aren’t any better. I guess I should be glad they aren’t worse.

August 25, 2002


August 25, 2002

VIA REBECCA BLOOD, I note that there’s a weblog called The Daily Summit set up to cover the Johannesburg sustainability conference. (Kentucky Fried Chicken has a “special World Summit menu!”) TechCentralStation will be providing regular updates, too.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish emails:

By the way, they’re talking about “Sustainable development,” and yet not a word of Mugabe starving his own people. Deliberately. I’m shocked, shocked I say.

Yeah, me too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Robert Prather reports that Mugabe will be speaking at the Summit. Protests are expected.

August 25, 2002

I’M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO A GREAT CD BY FLOOR CREAK, a band featuring Dave Shiflett, best known to most InstaPundit readers for his writing at National Review Online, but a hell of an acoustic guitar player, too. (Dave plays acoustic through a Fender Super Reverb, which is the secret to the Nebraska Guitar Militia’s sound, too — though the Super Reverb used by NGM usually has the tremolo controls set on “11”). Very nice stuff.

August 25, 2002

THIS PALESTINIAN SAYS THAT HE WAS TORTURED UNTIL HE FALSELY IMPLICATED HIS MOTHER as a collaborator, after which she was killed by Palestinian authorities.

And yet it’s Israel that gets nearly all the attention from “human rights” groups.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson has a photo of the murdered woman during her coerced “confession” just before her murder. (Note the mattress as backdrop). He reports that the Reuters caption says she was “testifying.”

August 25, 2002

NORAH VINCENT says that we should look to Pakistan before Iraq. I don’t think I agree (I think we should look to Saudi Arabia before Iraq) but her thoughts are worth reading.

UPDATE: Suman Palit responds.

August 25, 2002

BILL HERBERT REPORTS on the anti-war demonstration on the Mall.

UPDATE: Here’s more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: These guys blame “Anti-Racist Action” for the violence. (This site,, calls itself “Libertarian Socialist,” — whatever that’s supposed to mean — but it’s a lefty anarchist site, basically.) I had a post on ARA earlier. Their chief talent lies in making Nazis look like sympathetic victims. Way to go, guys.

August 25, 2002

BRITAIN: Slouching toward revolution? Well, probably not. On the other hand, the Petrol Protests indicate that there’s more pent-up resentment than is generally acknowledged.

August 25, 2002

MATT WELCH says that former U.S. ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have become corrupt shills for an enemy regime: “If you closed your eyes, you would think the person talking held a Saudi passport.”

August 25, 2002

THE FBI (as long-term InstaPundit readers will know) let an innocent man (actually, several innocent men) languish in prison for 30 years to protect a murderous informant. Now it’s being sued for $300 million.

That’s good, but this demonstrated lack of ethics in law enforcement makes me doubt the FBI is up to its homeland security mission.

August 25, 2002

TIMES ARE TOUGH, but the CNN/Time-Warner folks are exploiting synergy.

August 25, 2002


That leaves the wise old foreign policy owls. When it comes to unsavoury foreigners, Eagleburger, Scowcroft and Kissinger are all famously “realist”, though there’s a fine line between realism and inertia. A decade ago, Brent Scowcroft advised Bush, Sr to stick with Gorbachev and the preservation of the Soviet Union over Yeltsin and a democratic Russia.

Last autumn, he argued in favour of leaving the Taliban in power. Inevitably Scowcroft now supports letting Saddam be because, if we start a war, “We could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron.”

He says that like it’s a bad thing.

August 25, 2002

HERE’S SOMETHING that Bush should be asking our “Saudi friends” about:

KABUL (Reuters) – International peacekeepers said on Sunday Afghan police had found a store of chemicals in a house in Kabul formerly occupied by a Saudi non-governmental organization, and local media reports called it a terrorist laboratory.

But where would they have gotten the money for something like that?

UPDATE: Here’s more.

August 25, 2002

IS THE LEFT CHANNELING ROBERT HEINLEIN? That’s what Andrew Stuttaford is asking over at The Corner:

One of the more peculiar notions to emerge in the last few weeks has been the suggestion by the Left that only those who are – or who have been – in the military have the moral authority to commit the nation to war.

It’s a zany, profoundly undemocratic argument and it also sounds like something out of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (a book liberals often criticize as ‘fascist’ ) a novel in which, if I recall correctly, the only people entitled to full citizenship were those who had completed a period of military service.

What’s next? Will liberals be calling for our rule by a dynasty of warrior kings?

Well said.

UPDATE: Stuttaford’s gotten the same email I have on this one, reminding him that Heinlein’s scheme allowed non-military service, too. He’s even got the relevant passage quoted in an update over at The Corner.

MORE ON HEINLEIN: Here’s a link to a paper on military service/civil service in Starship Troopers, with all the relevant passages from the book excerpted.

STILL MORE: Jeff Cooper sensibly distinguishes between moral authority and military expertise, saving me the trouble of writing a post doing so, which I had planned to get around to sometime.

August 24, 2002

HEY — Asparagirl is off to see The New Deal play live. I just got their CD this week, and I’m jealous.

August 24, 2002


August 24, 2002


August 24, 2002


If candor counted for as much as courtesy, the author note under Brent Scowcroft’s now famous op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week, the one arguing against war with Iraq, might have said something like this: “Mr. Scowcroft, the former national security adviser, now makes his living advising business clients, some of whom would be gravely inconvenienced by a war in the Middle East. And by the way, he thought Saddam Hussein was finished after the gulf war in 1991.”

And it gets better. It’s basically a full-bore Fisking of the antiwar critics, which is pretty remarkable in the Times.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus points out that Keller was the contender beaten out by Howell Raines. The Times, I think it’s safe to say, would be a lot better paper if Keller had gotten the job.

August 24, 2002

MORE on the mideast connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. I’m still filing this in the “not proven, but worth looking into” category. But I’m glad people are looking into it.

August 24, 2002


August 24, 2002

OKAY, CLAIRE BERLINSKI IS TAKING REALPOLITIK a bit farther than I would. But there’s a certain symmetry to it.

August 24, 2002

BOGOSITY ALERT: McDonald’s is allegedly coming under fire for introducing its “McAfrika burger” at a time when Africans are starving:

The concoction of beef, cheese, tomatoes and salad in a pitta-style sandwich is said to be based upon an authentic African recipe and is being sold to Norwegian consumers for about £2.80.

But aid agencies trying to raise funds to stave off a famine in southern Africa say that the timing of the McAfrika marketing campaign is insensitive, crass and ill-considered and have demanded remedial action from McDonald’s.

“It’s inappropriate and distasteful to launch a hamburger called McAfrika when large portions of southern Africa are on the verge of starvation,” Linn Aas-Hansen of Norwegian Church Aid told the newspaper Aftenposten.

My African acquaintances and quasi-relations hate Western stereotyping of Africa as a place where people spend most of their time starving and waiting on Western aid. They regard such stereotyping as, basically, racism. Yet the Norwegian aid community seems unashamed to engage in such behavior.

McDonald’s is treating Africa as if it’s just another part of the world, instead of like a pariah continent distinguished chiefly by disease and helplessness. That’s a good thing, and the Norwegians — who are basically peddling stereotypes in order to get attention and raise money (“trying to raise funds” is the key phrase in the above passage) — should be ashamed. Why aren’t they looking at the real causes of starvation in Africa?

UPDATE: Here, from McDonald’s own Norwegian site, is the McAfrika in all its splendor. Looks yummy.

And for a non-victim example, take a listen to Afrigo, a Ugandan band that my record label does production and distribution for. (We don’t get any money for it; it’s part of our foreign-aid program, which also involves giving computers and music software to Nigerian musicians). They even have a song on the virtues of privatization (“Today for Tomorrow”), which Virginia Postrel liked so much that she bought the CD. (No, really.) These guys have managed to sell a half-million cassettes and CDs in Uganda and surrounding countries, despite everything that’s happened there. And they’ve managed to do it without help from self-promoting Norwegian aid groups who see them only as victims to be sloganized over.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There’s more on this, from Big S Blog, (“McDonald’s burgers I’d like to see:” — list includes the “McFisk,” “McEuro” and “McArafat.”), Steven Chapman, (“I’m looking forward to McDonald’s releasing a ‘McNorway’ burger in Africa (two all-whale patties, special sauce, lettuce, textured soya protein, pickles, onions on a GM-free sesame seed ciabatta), and this being criticised by the Zimbabwean Red Cross as being ‘insensitive…at a time when 12 million Norwegians are facing obesity in southern Oslo.'”), and Bill Quick (“Good thing they have nothing more important to worry about.”). Then there’s this from Bjorn Staerk: “Can you imagine anything worse than having your entire continent trademarked by Norwegian Church Aid?”

August 24, 2002

TALKLEFT RESPONDS to my post below on Ashcroft’s apparently nonexistent prison camps by saying:

What number should it take, 25, 100, 500? Should the number of beds at the first such facility be the determinative factor of whether it is a camp? Could it serve as a model for future facilities? If 50 such facilities were contemplated, would they be camps?

We don’t know if Ashcroft is planning camps or not. But if it looks like a duck…..

Well, at the moment, it doesn’t look like a duck, or even a duckling. It’s bad to imprison American citizens without due process, as I’ve said repeatedly. But that’s a far cry from the Ashcroft-is-planning-camps-for-us-all hysteria that has sprung up in response to Turley’s article, and which Turley’s article seems designed to inflame.

I’d rather live in a country that is too sensitive to such matters than one that is not sensitive enough, of course. But if you cry wolf — or even duck — too often, it won’t be that kind of a nation any more. Turley overstated his case, and the result is that the next time somebody raises the issue it will be harder to get it taken seriously.

For those who are really paranoid, of course, that could be part of the plan. . . .

UPDATE: Dan Perkins puts it well: “Reality is scary enough by itself these days.”

August 24, 2002

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE: I was hard on Ted Turner during the St. Helena Island Gullah-land-grab incident. But it looks like he’s doing something right here — though whether the uranium in question is really “weapons grade” (as the Guardian story states) without further enrichment is doubtful. I’m unaware of any reactor fuel rods that use truly weapons-grade uranium, though I don’t pretend to universal knowledge, and an “research reactor” might be an exception; I know of research reactors that use plutonium at high degrees of enrichment.

Regardless, this is money well spent, and Turner is the one spending it. Bravo.

August 24, 2002

SELF-FISKING: ROBERT FISK WRITES that it’s not his job to provide evidence in war-crimes trials.

Yeah, he’s kept too busy making unfounded accusations. He’s got the part about journalism being a “masquerade” right, though.

UPDATE: Okay, one more thought. Isn’t it odd that national sovereignty, and a whole raft of individual protections under international (and American constitutional) law can go by the wayside in the effort to prosecute war crimes, but that anything that might make a reporter’s life more difficult is obviously beyond the pale?

Okay, it’s not really odd that a reporter would think that. What’s odd is that anyone else would take it seriously. Then again, it’s not at all clear that anyone else does.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader suggests that Fisk may be unwilling to face pejury charges:

Isn’t it rather obvious why Fisk refuses to provide his “evidence” in war-crimes trials? Standards of truth and accuracy are much higher in a courtroom than in a newsroom. Fisk can exaggerate and outright lie about American and Israeli “war crimes” in print; but put him under oath where his statements can be challenged and they’ll crumble like month old soda crackers.


UPDATE: Oh, read this, too.

August 24, 2002

ANOTHER INTERNET RUMOR? John Hawkins investigates Jonathan Turley’s claim (via a Los Angeles Times op-ed) that Ashcroft and the Justice Department were planning prison camps and finds it wanting.

I think Hawkins is right to call this hype. I looked at the Wall Street Journal article that Turley claims (via email) was the basis for his oped and it’s really a bit of a stretch to view it as indicating that plans for massive incarceration are underway. The article appeared on August 8, and is entitled: “White House Seeks to Expand Indefinite Detentions in Military Brigs, Even for U.S. Citizens.” Here’s the key section:

The White House is considering creating a high-level committee to decide which prisoners should be denied access to federal courts. The Goose Creek, S.C., facility that houses Mr. Padilla — mostly empty since it was designated in January to hold foreigners captured in the U.S. and facing military tribunals — now has a special wing that could be used to jail about 20 U.S. citizens if the government were to deem them enemy combatants, a senior administration official said.

A special wing holding 20 people isn’t exactly Manzanar, yet in Turley’s oped it becomes a “proposed camp plan” (there’s nothing in the Wall Street Journal story about any prison “camps,” but the term appears repeatedly in Turley’s piece). There’s a minor disclaimer that Ashcroft isn’t planning anything on the scale of the Japanese-American internments of World War Two, but Turley never makes clear that we’re talking about fewer than two dozen individuals. Perhaps Turley has more information than the Journal article contains, but if so he hasn’t mentioned it.

I’m opposed to the imprisonment of American citizens without trial. Unlike the imprisonment of foreign citizens, it is almost certain to have a deeply corrupting effect on American politics. But Turley’s hype does a disservice.

As I mentioned in my original post on Turley’s piece, bogus rumors of government prison camps have been around for decades. If this stuff is hyped when it’s not true, what will people say if it ever becomes true? I’ll tell you what they’ll say: “There goes Turley, crying wolf again.”

August 23, 2002

JUST FINISHED READING ERIC FLINT’S 1633. (Well, Eric Flint & David Weber’s really.) I went over to Blogcritics and lo and behold, there was this review by Bigwig. The review is spot-on. I, too, was struck by the patriotism in the books. And Eric Flint, a former union organizer, is the kind of lefty that, well, the left needs more of in place of people like Susan Sarandon and Noam Chomsky.

Congratulations to Eric Olsen for getting Blogcritics off the ground so smoothly.

August 23, 2002

MAX SAWICKY GENTLY CHIDES ME (no, really, that’s what he does!) over this post. Sigh. He’s probably right. I just couldn’t help noticing the resemblance between that mail and mail I get from a lot of antiwar folks.

And surely being called a warmonger by Nazis is something to brag about.

August 23, 2002

SKBUBBA is channeling John Prine at the expense of a certain government agency.

August 23, 2002

NICK DENTON has great insight into the difference between Americans and Brits: “American workers think of themselves as middle class; and the English middle class think of themselves as workers.” Scroll down for an interesting post on U.S. / European relations.

August 23, 2002

MITCH WEBBER of the YalePundits is very unhappy with Congressional Black Caucus chair Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) anti-semitic remarks about the McKinney election.

I don’t agree that such statements are too vile for First Amendment protection, but I agree that they’re too vile to let pass.

August 23, 2002

HERE’S A SIDE OF JIHADISM that you don’t see that much about, but probably should:

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) – Four times in the last four years, Bashir Butt tracked down his son at training camps for Islamic extremists in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and begged him to come home.

On Aug. 9, police arrived at the Butts’ modest home here and told them their son Kamran, 21, was dead. He died while attacking Christians leaving a church in Taxila about 30 miles west of Islamabad. Three Christian nurses were killed and a fourth was mortally wounded.

Bashir Butt, however, remembers his son as a shy boy who never caused trouble in the neighborhood and who “had a great respect for his fellow human beings.”

“We never thought that one day he would become a terrorist,” Bashir Butt said. “We never even imagined. … These cruel jihadis made him a terrorist.” . . .

To Kamran’s family, however, his death seems pointless. It has left his family deeply bitter over the extremist groups and what they had done to him.

“I hate these jihadi organizations,” said Bashir Butt, a 48-year-old widower with two other sons and a daughter. “I hate these so-called jihadi leaders. “They are the killers of my son.”

I’ll bet that there are more people who feel this way than get reported.

Of course, if a Palestinian said this, he’d be dead.

August 23, 2002

CHARLES JOHNSON REPORTS that the Hizbollah website has been hacked.

Yeah, but what’s there isn’t that impressive. Remember: disinformation and/or intelligence-gathering are a lot better than lame insults. I appreciate the effort, but nasty remarks about Arabs don’t really do the job.

August 23, 2002

I THINK THAT THIS GUY is working for Homeland Security now. . . .

(Via Blogs4God.Com).

August 23, 2002

EVER WONDER WHY THERE ISN’T A BLOGGING TV SHOW YET? Neither have I. But here’s someone who’s given it some thought.

BTW, I am working on Radio Instapundit. You can see a beta (well, actually it’s more like an alpha) site here.

August 23, 2002

MORE ON MILITARY RECRUITMENT: Ernest Miller writes from Yale, in response to my earlier post about Harvard Law allowing military recruiters back on campus:

I was in the military for nearly 12 years. As a senior (first classman) at USNA in Annapolis, I challenged the SecDef (Cheney at the time) on the policy discriminating against gays. As a midshipman and an officer I always argued against the policy when it came up in discussion. I also quashed homophobic remarks among those under my leadership, just as I quashed racist or sexist remarks.

When military recruiters came to Yale Law I always attended their sessions and made sure that those being recruited were aware that they had the option of speaking out against the policy … that they should not be afraid to be true to their conscience, if they believed the policy to be wrong. I see no reason why students at Harvard should not attend the military recruitment sessions and make the same points.

This makes sense to me.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the memo from Harvard’s Dean Clark.

August 23, 2002

IT’S ALL ABOUT OIL, RIGHT? John Hawkins has the numbers.

Personally, I think that it’s all about crazed murderers who want to kill us, and the loser despots who support them.

August 23, 2002


Washington DC – William Ford Jr., CEO of the Ford Motor Company testified before Congress about the nationwide problem of ride sharing. Ford cited ride swapping as the number one reason for the the company’s declining revenue. “These ‘pool pirates are depriving Ford of rightful income. Three sometimes four people are sharing rides. Less wear and tear on the cars means fewer new car purchases. That’s revenue that’s being robbed from Ford.”

A recent study by the Gartner Group supports Ford’s claims that ride sharing runs rampant across the US. The study showed showed that children under the age of 16 were the biggest offenders. Almost 99% of children in that age group said they had shared a ride in the past week. The study also showed that ride sharing had spread to the Internet in the form of “Car Pool” message boards where the “Road Robbers” set up their swaps.

Many Representatives questioned Ford’s claim that consumers used ride sharing to put off purchases of new cars for 3 or even 4 years. “You’re telling me that people don’t receive new cars as gifts from lobbyists every year? I find that allegation preposterous,” asked a Representative from Virginia.

Satire that’s a bit too close to the truth.

August 23, 2002


August 23, 2002

ROBERT MUGABE says that criticism of his thuggish regime is just a racist effort to undermine Zimbabwe’s independence. Tim Blair replies: “Zimbabwe would be a whole lot more independent if it stopped murdering people who grow food.”

August 23, 2002

WANT A NON-WARBLOG? Here’s one by Jen Hayward, recommended by Aziz Poonawalla. Then there’s Annatopia, which says right at the top that “this is not a war blog!”

August 23, 2002

WOW. I was pretty sure traffic was trending upward, but then I looked at this and it was obvious. You’d think I’d have done that before, wouldn’t you?

August 23, 2002

BLOGOSPHERE FAVE Claire Berlinski emails that I should link to this column — so naturally I have. Excerpt:

The old-time commies at least used to go to a bit of effort to tell the Western leftie intellectuals what they wanted to hear. The Islamists, by contrast, cheerfully piss all over every cherished Western progressive shibboleth. Women? The Taleban didn’t just ‘marginalise’ women, they buried them under sackcloth. But Gloria Steinem still wouldn’t support the Afghan war, and Cornell professor Joan Jacobs Brumberg argues that the ‘beauty dictates’ of American consumer culture exert a far more severe toll on women. Gays? As The New Republic reported this week, the Palestinian Authority tortures homosexuals, makes them stand in sewage up to their necks with faeces-filled sacks on their heads. Yet Canadian MP Svend Robinson, Yasser’s favourite gay infidel, still makes his pilgrimages to Ramallah to pledge solidarity with the people’s ‘struggle’. Animals? CNN is showing videos all this week of al-Qa’eda members testing various hideous poison gases on dogs.

Radical Islamists aren’t tolerant of anybody: they kill Jews, Hindus, Christians, babies, schoolgirls, airline stewardesses, bond traders, journalists. They use snuff videos for recruitment: go on the Internet and a couple of clicks will get you to the decapitation of Daniel Pearl. You can’t negotiate with them because they have no demands — or at least no rational ones. By ‘Islam is peace’, they mean that once the whole world’s converted to Islam there will be peace, but not before. Other than that, they’ve got nothing they want to talk about. It takes up valuable time they’d rather spend killing us.

Yeah, but to a certain set of Western intellectuals that’s just a guarantee of genuineness.

August 23, 2002

JOSH CHAFETZ has responded to TAPPED’s criticism of his Maureen Dowd debunking. Conclusion: “[W]e here at OxBlog know all about irony. But we generally think it should be used in service of a point, not in lieu of one.”

August 23, 2002

READER JASON STRAUSS writes from Harvard Law School to report that the law school has decided to open up to military recruiters. The memorandum from Dean Clark, which he shared, speaks in terms of legal necessities and federal funding, but I can’t help wondering if this is Larry Summers’ influence.

While I’m opposed to the armed services’ discrimination against gays, I’m also opposed to the anti-military policies of Ivy League schools, so I regard this as a good thing.

(I actually tried to call HLS to get a reaction, but spent literally 5 minutes being bounced around by a phone tree that kept sending me back to the main Harvard operator, or to a recording that the number I had selected was no good. How lame.)

August 23, 2002

A MCKINNEY / BELLESILES CONNECTION? Well, only in the most tenuous sense. But Bellesiles is certainly being treated with kid gloves compared to this guy, who does have a McKinney connection of sorts. The link comes from Martin Grace, a professor at Georgia State University, who argues that Emory has a general governance problem:

Emory has a history of making bad decisions about tenured faculty. The decision to fire tenured faculty might the correct one for the institution and they may have legal grounds to do so, but they appear to do it often without even a level of minimal due process. There have been a number of cases of recent note and I have linked an article from the Emory newspaper that talks about a particular case. However, as one reads further we see that Ms. McKinney (and her dad) got involved in the case. She is a lame duck now, but she still fight for the “little guy” if she so desires.

Perhaps the reticence of Emory to “firing” a tenure faculty member and actually contemplating paying him off is because of the lack of understanding about what is permissible faculty behavior and what is not _and_ Emory’s previous attempts at termination were met with litigation and alleged million dollar pay-offs . . . They may think it may be cheaper just to pay Bellesiles off now.

The senior administrators there have always called the shots and they have

done it rather poorly in the past. Why expect anything different today?

PS. I have no connection to Emory other than that I live in the

neighborhood. I know a couple of people who work there now and some who

used to work there.

Interesting. As I said earlier, we’ll just have to see what develops.

August 23, 2002

IT’S PROBABLY UNFAIR, but when I think of the sustainability summit in Johannesburg, I’m reminded of last year’s racism summit in Durban. Let’s hope that this one works out better.

August 23, 2002

HASHEMITE UPDATE: I meant to post on this yesterday, but the press of Bellesiles- and Mineta-related developments (and the fact that classes started) kept me from getting to it. But in yesterday’s National Review Online David Pryce-Jones reflected on the possibility of a Hashemite transitional ruler for Iraq. Today, Claude Salhani disagrees. There’s a passing mention in both pieces of a different Hashemite role, as custodians of Mecca and Medina, too.

August 23, 2002

PART THREE of Armed Liberal’s series on terrorism is up. The whole series is worth reading.

August 23, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that Bellesiles will be gone for a year, not just the Fall semester as reported earlier. (You have to be an online subscriber to read the story, but the headline is on the front page.)

Some readers suggest that they’re just getting him off campus as a prelude to a buyout/severance deal. Well, maybe — though why Emory would want to “buy out” a guy who’s been credibly accused of fraud (and who obviously hasn’t been exonerated by their intensive investigation) is beyond me. I suppose the answer will be forthcoming eventually.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has found the explanation for the whole affair.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader who has an online subscription says that although the headline says a year, the article says he’s on leave for a semester. Uh, okay.