February 15, 2003

HEY -- did I mention I'm on IndyMedia?


SYDNEY, Australia, Feb. 15 — A security alliance with the United States is more important strategically for Australia than an alliance with the United Nations, Australia's prime minister said Sunday.

Can this be true? Looks like it.


And we all know what he does with the oil money -- he uses it to build nukes, missiles to deliver them, etc etc. He is one major asshole, a dangerous one. Why anyone would stand up for him is beyond me. Yet that's what the French, Germans, Russians and Chinese (and others) are doing. This makes no sense. (Unless you consider the possibility that they have conflicts of interest.)

You know, I've been getting email from antiwar folks claiming that they've got the momentum now. But I'm seeing more, not less, skepticism toward their claims from people who have been paying attention. (If you missed it, see Thomas Nephew's lengthy post on how he's reluctantly decided in favor of war).

French obstructionism and guys on stilts don't translate into a moral or intellectual case in favor of leaving Saddam alone.

UPDATE: Reader Allen S. Thorpe emails:

"It's all about oil." is the right answer to the wrong question. The correct question is "Why is France being obstructionist in the U.N. and NATO?"

Indeed. Another reader sends this link, from which we learn:

In recent weeks and months, Iraq reportedly has signed a flurry of deals with companies from Italy (Eni), Spain (Repsol YPF), Russia (Tatneft), France (TotalFinaElf), China, India, Turkey, and others. According to a report in The Economist, Iraq has signed over 30 deals with various oil companies, offering generous rates of return ("on the order of 20%") as part of its "Development and Production Contract" (DPC) model. Iraq introduced the DPC in 2000 to replace the previous "Production Sharing Contract" (PSC) arrangement. . . .

The largest of Iraq's oilfields slated for post-sanctions development is Majnoon, with reserves of 12-20 billion barrels of 28o-35o API oil, and located 30 miles north of Basra on the Iranian border. French company TotalFinaElf reportedly has signed a deal with Iraq on development rights for Majnoon. Majnoon was reportedly brought onstream (under a "national effort" program begun in 1999) in May 2002 at 50,000 bbl/d, with output possibly reaching 100,000 bbl/d by the end of 2002 (according to Oil Minister Rashid). Future development on Majnoon ultimately could lead to production of up to 600,000 bbl/d at an estimated (according to Deutsche Bank) cost of $4 billion. In July 2001, angered by France's perceived support for the U.S. "smart sanctions" plan, Iraq announced that it would no longer give French companies priority in awarding oil contracts, and would reconsider existing contracts as well. Iraq also announced that it was inclined to favor Russia, which has been supporting Iraq at the U.N. Security Council, on awarding rights to Majnoon and another large southern oil field, Nahr Umar.

TotalFinaElf apparently has all but agreed with Iraq on development of the Nahr Umar field. Initial output from Nahr Umar is expected to be around 440,000 bbl/d of 42o API crude, but may reach 500,000 bbl/d with more extensive development. The 2.5-4.6 billion-barrel Halfaya project is the final large field development in southern Iraq. Several companies (BHP, CNPC, Agip) reportedly have shown interest in the field, which ultimately could yield 200,000-300,000 bbl/d in output at a possible cost of $2 billion.

I guess Thorpe's right -- it really is all about oooiiiilll -- but it's a matter of what the meaning of "it" is. . . .


If the United States and Britain propose a resolution before March 14 they would run the risk of a veto by France, Russia and China. It would be a punishing diplomatic setback that Bush may not want to risk.

Nor is there any guarantee of success later on.

Going to war without a fresh resolution would not mean going it alone, however. Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, Turkey, Romania, Greece and Poland are among the nations that have indicated they would support the United States.

"If Saddam Hussein is not disarmed and is allowed to develop his capabilities he could strike Romania and the rest of Europe," Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana said this week as the parliament in Bucharest agreed to provide noncombat troops to a U.S.-led coalition and to permit use of Romania's air space and airports.

Bush in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last September suggested he considered the United Nations (news - web sites) on the edge of irrelevance.

Declare the U.N. irrelevant, go to war, then set up a parallel organization of, you know, legitimate governments. Will Bush have the balls?

It's riskier not to, isn't it?

IF LIFE WERE FAIR, or if the New York Times were a meritocracy, Cathy Seipp would have a regular Times op-ed slot. But it's not. As a consolation prize, though, we get to read her Maureen Dowd deconstruction in The Washingtonian.


BILL WHITTLE has an essay on Columbia, and courage, and love.


A fascinating poll conducted in the United Kingdom suggests that Britons are not as anti-war as normally believed. While only 28% of Britons would strongly or generally support an attack on Iraq if overwhelmingly rejected by the security council and if British troops are asked to take part, if the Security Council approves of the action support climbs to 82% with only 6% strongly opposed. But here is the most interesting thing - if a majority of the council votes in favor of the war yet action is blocked by a French, Russian, or Chinese veto, support for action only drops to 62% and, perhaps more importantly, the strongly opposed number rises to just 11%. Perhaps even more importantly for Blair, while Tories are generally more hawkish than Labor voters, it is not his own party but Liberal Democrats who make us the disproportionate share of doves - Labor voters are still 60% in favor of action given the third scenario with only 12% strongly opposed.

In case of blogspot problems (no, surely not) here's a direct link to the poll story.

A PICTURE worth a thousand words.

Maybe two thousand.

JUSTIN WEITZ reports on anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and anti-war protests in Paris.

THERE'S AN AXISOFWEASELS.COM. Boy, people sure set up new domains fast.

STEVEN DEN BESTE WRITES that the U.N. has rendered itself irrelevant by not following through on its threats of action.

He warns the Bush Administration not to let itself suffer the same fate.

UPDATE: Arthur Silber agrees, and adds some additional observations.

I SAW KNOXVILLE'S ANTIWAR PROTEST, which amusingly was held at the mammoth West Town mall because the protesters realized that if they held it downtown on a Saturday no one would see it. I took a couple of pictures, but I'm not posting them. That's because (1) they suck -- taking pictures from a moving car, in the rain, when you're the one driving tends to produce lousy images; and (2) they give the impression that no one was there. There were actually about 30-40 people when I drove by, but they were spread out enough that it was impossible to get more than a few into any picture.

Notably absent from the Knoxville protest: pictures of Che Guevara, signs proclaiming support for communism, and anti-Bush slogans. Also, there were no guys on stilts.

Sadly, the London protests, which Perry DeHavilland covered and photographed, were a more-representative collection of nastiness and communist-sympathizing. As Perry writes: "All the usual people really. Yawn."

More proof: Bianca Jagger spoke. And -- though this is redundant -- said something heart-stoppingly dumb.

UPDATE: Here's a report from Phoenix, which seems to have fallen somewhere in between. He has pictures, too. So does Howard Owens, from Ventura. Same old, same old: "Bush is a War Monger, No blood for oil, yadda yadda." Here's a report from Houston, and here's Asparagirl's report from NYC, with pictures. Plus she has more pictures on her new photoblog. My favorite: "Defend Iraq's Sovereignty!" from the Young Socialists.

UPDATE: Letter From Gotham reports:

This article compares the down-home normalness of today's protesters with the hippie degeneracy of the Vietnam years. From personal experience I'd say it was the exact opposite, but I didn't get a chance to see the mass of demonstrators near Dag Plaza, I saw the hippie street theater types.

That's it, folks. Anyone who says that the city was shut down is not telling the truth. On the West Side life went on as usual.

Which is weird enough. Meanwhile Anna at Petbunny posts pics from Washington. They seem kind of, well, empty, though. And here's a report from Hollywood, with pics.

Okay, one more -- don't miss this report of the massive protests in Estonia.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on Knoxville antiwar activity:

The first incident took place early Thursday morning when a 26-year-old UT student was arrested for allegedly spray painting anti-war slogans on two UT buildings, police said.

Caleb Eugene Wilson of White Avenue was charged with vandalism of property valued at more than $500, public intoxication and evading arrest, according to UT police officer Ed Cummings.

Meanwhile, Hooter's restaurant has fired back at the protesters who (as reported here earlier) covered a Hooter's billboard with a sign reading "Frodo has failed -- Bush has the Ring."

Employees of the Hooters restaurant at 8050 Kingston Pike responded with their tongues firmly in cheek. They posted a sign out front saying: "Frodo Has Failed - Hooters Has The Wing."

I hear they're spicy.

ONE MORE UPDATE: Today's (Sunday's) Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that there were 500 people there. There sure weren't when I drove by, but that was at 11, which was the official start time for the protest. More folks must have shown up later.

SETTING A SERIOUS TONE FOR DISCUSSIONS OF WAR AND PEACE, these Australian antiwar marchers don the traditional stilts and pointed bras. Here's a link to a gallery of photos illustrating these marchers' deep concern with geopolitics, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the importance of creating a stable world order in which papier-mache puppets can live in harmony with one another. (Note the requisite "Uncle Sam is a terrorist" signs. See, the Americans are fighting terrorists, but when you read Chomsky it turns out that -- get this -- they're the real terrorists! Deep, huh?)

Somehow, I suspect that this will set the tone for the day. But then, these protests have been essentially the same since the nuclear-freeze marches of twenty years ago.

And those guys were wrong, and tools of dictatorial foreign powers, too. Apparently some things never go out of fashion.

UPDATE: Reader Andrew Maizels emails:

Glenn - take a look at the middle picture in the top row. The guy holding the sign that says "Howard Don't Make Us Targets"?

Message to this guy: We (I'm an Aussie too) *are* targets. Have people forgotten the Bali bombing already?

They choose not to remember.

UPDATE: Hey, I'm on IndyMedia!

PANICKED MOBS: Mostly a media conceit, according to researchers:

More than 50 years of research on human behavior in disasters contradict "the panic myth," Dr. Lee Clarke of Rutgers University said in an interview. He is an international authority on community response to disasters and civil-defense preparations.

Research shows that people behave in catastrophes much like they do in ordinary life - helping those nearby first before they help themselves, Dr. Clarke said. The empathy continues in the aftermath, with people connecting with one another to cooperate in rebuilding and recovering emotionally.

"We have five decades of research on all kinds of disasters: earthquakes, tornadoes, and airplane crashes, " he said. "People rarely lose control," he added, noting that human nature tends to shine brightest at such times."

Dr. Clarke spoke at the annual national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, being held here.

Media folks, on the other hand, seem much more prone to hysteria.

February 14, 2003

JOSH CLAYBOURN writes that charges by that other Josh (Marshall) that Bush is ignoring Afghanistan are, well, wrong.



Richard Perle, a former US Assistant Defence Secretary, said the French anti-war stance was driven by economic interests. French oil giant TotalFinaElf has exclusive exploration contracts worth Р‚60bn - Р‚75bn to develop the massive Majnoon and Bin Umar oilfields in southern Iraq, he said.

“What’s distinctive about the Total contract is that it’s not favourable to Iraq, it’s favourable to Total,” Mr Perle, the chairman of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board, said during an address in New York.

“One can suspect that there’s some arbitrage there, that in between the real value of that contract and the cash value of that contract there’s a certain amount of political support.

“It’s entirely possible that Saddam negotiated that deal because that along with the revenues, he could get something else.”

He said oil experts who had analysed the deal described it as “extraordinarily lopsided” in favour of the French company.

Gee, imagine that.

UPDATE: And Juan Gato thinks he's found the explanation for French Mugabe-coddling.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on the French oil connection.

INTERESTING REPORT ON ISLAMISM in the Netherlands. Unsettling, too.


THE FRENCH EMBASSY PROTEST IN WASHINGTON YESTERDAY went well, according to this firsthand report from a Georgetown University student. And he's got quite a few pictures on his blog, too. There were no takers for the free white flags they were passing out, though.

He also has pictures of the pro-French counterdemonstrators. Don't miss the whole thing. (And here's a story on the protest from the Daily Hoya.)


"Something has gone terribly wrong in America," said Jacqueline Rose, a feminist scholar in Britain. "America established a certain tradition of public dissent, with the civil rights and feminist and anti-Vietnam movements. But post-Sept. 11 there is a feeling that the American left has largely gone silent."

I haven't noticed that, though I've noticed that they have less and less to say beyond "Bush is Hitler," and "it's all about ooiiiill!" But maybe part of the difference between Europe and America is explained by this passage from the same article:

Some of the antiwar sentiment goes hand in hand with an outright hatred of all things American, a view that many believe belongs in the category of "stupid anti-Americanism," as the author Peter Schneider, a German, put it in an interview. But stupid or not, such an attitude is on the rise.

What's surprising to many European intellectuals, I think, is that this time Americans, even American intellectuals, are not following their lead.

And the commitment to "dissent" in America on the part of these European intellectuals is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- a huge lie. If twenty million Americans had marched to oppose Bill Clinton's proposed national health insurance, these same intellectuals wouldn't have been cheering them on as "dissenters" -- they'd have been denouncing them as "cowboy individualists." It's only admirable "dissent," you see, when it's in conformity with the views of European intellectuals.

I suspect, for example, that this doesn't count as dissent. But this presumably does. Yet, in fact, the latter is far more typical than the former.

KNOXVILLE BAND JAG STAR will be touring through the 'stans to entertain U.S. troops. Here's the latest, from BlogCritics. Excerpt:

The exact time and place of performances is being kept under wraps for security purposes, but the band will live in "tents and dorms" and visit with military personnel along the way. Knoxville radio station WOKI-FM will correspond regularly with the band by satellite for their morning show, and CNN is scheduled to film at least one of their live performances for a special television broadcast.

Go Jag Star!


SWEDISH BLOGGER MARTIN LINDESKOG will be covering the antiwar protests in Gothenburg tomorrow. He also offers a helpful illustration on how to recognize an "anti-war" protester.

TARIQ AZIZ refused to answer a question because the journalist who asked was Israeli.


On the upside: when he's not answering, he's not lying!


ANOTHER BLOGGER TAKES THE BOEING: More or less literally in this case. Gary Leff's frequent-flier weblog has gone corporate.


I don't want the science to slow down. I want the ethics to catch up.


FRANCE "MAY HAVE DESTROYED THE U.N. as a serious institution."

THE NEW REPUBLIC is unimpressed with Blix, and Villepin.


Yesterday, he was calling me an Iraqi agent.

I guess that means I'm batting .500, huh? And here I thought I was a politically correct tool of International Jewry. The things you learn about yourself when you blog.

UPDATE: Okay, so now I'm a politically-correct, McCarthyite Iraqi agent of the international Jewish conspiracy.

What bothers me is that somewhere out there, a guy is nodding and saying "well, yeah!"

But at least Kleiman likes me. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Actually, it turns out I'm a leftist! No, really, experts agree!

PROTEST AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY: But in a stunning display of political ineptitude, "antiwar" marchers showed up to counterdemonstrate:

Midway through the rally, nearly 15 members of Georgetown Peace Action and College Democrats arrived for a counter-protest, supporting France’s current dissention with a possible U.S.-led coalition to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The peace movement may survive being called objectively pro-Saddam. But subjectively pro-French? Political suicide.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE EVENTS: Monday, I'll be moderating a debate between Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute and Paul Rosenzweig of Heritage regarding the Patriot Act and civil liberties (personally, I'm against the Act and for the liberties, but I'll try to be neutral). It's at the U.T. Law School at 12:15. Then, on Friday the 21st, it'll be the Marbury v. Madison symposium, featuring William Van Alstyne (Duke), Mark Tushnet (Georgetown), and William S. Nelson (NYU). It's the 200th anniversary of Marbury, which is generally regarded as establishing the Supreme Court's power to strike down unconstitutional laws.


I write this to protest against all those people who oppose the war against Saddam Hussein, or as they call it, the "war against Iraq". I am an Iraqi doctor, I worked in the Iraqi army for six years during Iraq-Iran war and four months during Gulf war. All my family still live in Iraq. I am an Arab Sunni, not Kurdish or Shia. I am an ordinary Iraqi not involved with the Iraqi opposition outside Iraq.

I am so frustrated by the appalling views of most of the British people, media and politicians. I want to say to all these people who are against the possible war, that if you think by doing so you are serving the interests of Iraqi people or saving them, you are not. You are effectively saving Saddam. You are depriving the Iraqi people of probably their last real chance get rid of him and to get out of this dark era in their history. . . .

Where were you while Saddam has been killing thousands of Iraqis since the early 70s? And where are you are now, given that every week he executes people through the "court of revolution", a summary secret court run by the secret security office. Most of its sentences are executions which Saddam himself signs.

I could argue one by one against your reasons for opposing this war. But just ask yourselves why, out of about 500,000 Iraqis in Britain, you will not find even 1,000 of them participating tomorrow? Your anti-war campaign has become mass hysteria and you are no longer able to see things properly.

Poor guy. He actually thinks the antiwar movement cares about Iraqis, when, really, it's just an excuse to oppose George Bush and America.

SKBUBBA THINKS HE'S FOUND A MESSAGE that the Democrats can sell.

Yeah, but they'll never pick up on this.

MORE UNSAVORY BACKGROUND ON JOSCHKA FISCHER: What's sad is, Fischer is actually more cooperative than his boss.

HOWARD KURTZ WRITES that the press keeps telling Americans how "terrified" we are:

And yet, most people are going about their daily business. They have lived through so many stretches of media shrillness – abducted women, missing children, killer sharks – that it has become background noise. Repeated warnings about terrorism, and all the false alarms, have diluted their effectiveness. An orange alert becomes like a snow alert, just another fact of life.

Yes. Every time I see some anchor talk about how "frightened" and "jittery" we are, it just reminds me how out of touch Big Media people are.

We're not "jittery." Americans are determined, and angry. Spoiled media bigshots, used to living in a cocoon of bodyguards and obsequious staffers, are the ones who are "jittery." We saw this in the overwrought reaction to the anthrax attacks last year, and we're seeing it again.

The good news is that their shrillness, as Kurtz notes, actually works against the terrorists. They've managed to make terrorism boring.

As James Lileks writes:

The words TERROR ALERT: HIGH on the TV crawl annoy me, because I’m not terrorized. I’m wary and pissed off, but I’m not terrorized.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

IF GARY HART'S REMARKS were regarded by some as crypto-anti-semitism, then what about this comment reported in the Washington Post that the "Likudniks" in the Administration are running American foreign policy?

ABU HAMZA'S SON WAS ARRESTED trying to sneak back into the Finsbury Park mosque, where weapons and chemical-warfare suits were found recently. Zach Barbera wonders what he was sneaking back in for.

GENOCIDE AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT: Some thoughts, with links to the latest scholarship.

SAY, WHO DO YOU THINK THIS is talking about?

Another official circulated an internet page with a picture of M Chirac looking surprised. Captions were invited below. Among the more printable were: "Jacques Chirac works hard on his look of utter disbelief, preparing for the announcement of the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in liberated Iraq."

Whoever could they mean?

UPDATE: In a related development, I certainly hope that today's New York Post is widely distributed at the U.N.

February 13, 2003


UPDATE: Some related observations.

LOTS OF GOOD STUFF OVER AT SILENT RUNNING and Rantburg. Go see. And read this prediction by Steven Den Beste regarding how the war will go.

DIANE E. on Saturday's protests in New York, and the plans of the usual idiots to ensure that they reflect badly on the antiwar movement.


On the one hand the left espouses equal rights for women, minorities and homosexuals; it lauds free speech and a vibrant independent press as essentials of civil society. The left is a guardian of the separation of church and state and a watchdog of the judicial process. So it finds itself in diametrical opposition to the nature of most Arab societies. But in the wake of this opposition, the left simply sticks its head in the sand rather than confront the reality that as globalization integrates the world order ever closer, we are hurtling toward a clash of civilizations unless the world comes to some sort of agreement on universal values. The left has failed to say that it will not stand for the oppression of women, the vicious repression of human rights and suppression of democratic principles. The only thing it can articulate is a naive and dangerous blame-America-first rhetoric as the root of all problems in the world today.

This hypocrisy is at its zenith in the case of Iraq. For years the left criticized the UN sanctions against Iraq. These sanctions left the Iraqi population debased and demoralized, with dismal health care and a falling standard of living. Though this decay of Iraqi society was due explicitly to Saddam Hussein's exploitation of the sanctions to enrich himself on the lucrative oil black market while he ignored the suffering of his own people, the left called the UN's attempts to contain Hussein genocide. Now, as America moves toward confronting Iraq over its failure to disarm, those same voices from the left praise those sanctions, speaking about them with a degree of reverence as the most intrusive and effective sanctions in history.

Read the whole thing. It's all the more impressive because the writer is no Bush fan.

MORE TROUBLE FOR SCHROEDER? Reader Casey Carrow emails from Mainz:

Thought I'd send you a photo panorama that you may be interested in seeing. It is a photo of an estimated 10,000 policemen and firemen in Mainz, Germany (where I live) demonstrating a recent proposal by the beloved Gerhard Schroeder that their retirement age be changed from 60 to 65. Rather than cheer and clap for their succession of speakers, they blew cheap plastic whistles that could be heard over two kilometers away!

Click on the picture for a larger image. Gee, you'd think Schroeder would try to distract people from stuff like this by ginning up some sort of phony foreign relations issue or something, wouldn't you?

UPDATE: It's not working. Heh.

THE EARTH FIRST! PROTEST AGAINST WAR that I reported below drew a spontaneous counterprotest, described by reader John Jenkins who was kind enough to send along a photo:

Thought you'd be interested - it appears that someone decided to "liberate" a half-dozen or so of the Earth First group's NO WAR IN IRAQ signs that they had out today.

A few hours later, they were returned to their original locations, but with a few changes... This was done to the sounds of honking and cheering from many others in vehicles along Kingston Pike and down the ramp to Interstate 40. I saw much of this while driving by, and my friend was quick enough to get a picture of one of the signs.

Ordinarily I would disapprove of such behavior, but as Earth First! was willing to appropriate someone else's sign for its protest, I guess this sort of turnabout counts as fair play.

THOMAS NEPHEW has changed his mind and come out in favor of war with Iraq.

GARY HART UPDATE: Jeralyn Merritt of Talkleft got an exclusive interview with Hart today, and reports on the controversy, and his response.

UPDATE: Here's a rather more critical take, from NRO.

As I said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show last night, I think that the "anti-semitism" issue is entirely bogus. A bigger question is whether Hart will be able to articulate a foreign policy that is different from the Administration's, but not wimpish or overly idealistic. That's possible -- I could do it -- but Hart hasn't done it yet.

COLLIN MAY has advice for European leaders.


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

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

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

Where are the condemnations of "unilateralism" and "preemption"?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS writes that the United Nations is playing Saddam's game.

THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION reports that Shaw University has fired a professor, and evicted a student, for "disloyalty."

WORRIED ABOUT A CHEMICAL ATTACK? Apparently, some people really are. Here's an item that circulated a lot last year.

Meanwhile, here's a column I wrote a while back on what you can do to protect yourself, and others.

UPDATE: Apparently, the story in the first link is bogus:

The reference to the accounting firm giving out survival kits is completely fabricated. You can see my email is at PwC also, and sitting in the office all day, all I got was free coffee.

Of course, this report could be bogus. Maybe the emailer is lying for fear that Tom Daschle will find out about the glowsticks and bottled water, and have 'em prosecuted.

NOW IT'S OLIVER WILLIS WHO'S VLOGGING. The man was made for TV. This is more like radio-with-pictures, though. Somebody buy him a webcam.

HERE'S AN ARTICLE ON WEBLOGS, and here's another.

NICK DENTON'S RESPONSE to the Columbia disaster? Militarize space.

He's such a warmonger, our Nick.

THE SCOURGE OF RICHARD COHEN: No, it's not Charles Austin this time, but Tony Adragna, who writes that Cohen selectively misquotes Osama.

HERE'S A U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT STORY on the John Lott affair, in which Lott comes off fairly well, though he does not emerge unscathed. Jacob Levy reports on an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, too, but it's subscriber-only on their website, and I couldn't find it on Nexis; guess it's not up yet. Meanwhile this somewhat snarky item from the Washington Post has garnered a number of letters (reproduced here) in support of Lott's computer-crash story. Those have some probative value, though they don't actually prove that he did the survey in question, of course -- only that he's telling the truth about the computer crash.

UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive. Quite a few people emailed me copies of the Chronicle article. Nothing really new there, though it's a good summary of the affair so far.

FROM THE MAILBAG (real mail, not email):

An AP-release appeared in today's Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL newspaper entitled "UT's InstaPundit." You apparently are the essence of "political correctness."

Yep, that's me, buddy. PC all the way, and damn proud of it. The letter goes on to explain that I'm a tool of "international Jewry" and suggests that I'm getting rich off that. Alas, no. Sadly, the International Zionist Conspiracy doesn't pay us politically-correct types like it used to.

Here's the article that inspired this epistle.

IS SONY RUNNING ANTI-WAR ADS? That's what EuroGamer reports. They've got a link to the (rather lame) ad, which you can see directly here.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Preface here, I'm in the industry.

Honestly, I don't know but I find it hard to believe that's a real Sony ad. First, it's shoddily produced. Second no fat logo with tag line. And the biggie, it's political. Big companies always stay away from real controversy. (Companies often like trite controversy.)

Possible that it's put out by a distributor. Let us know if you hear from Sony.

I will.

UPDATE: Here's someone else who thinks it's a fake, though also based only on supposition.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Aaron Watson writes:

Another consideration: if the ad is faked, it could be someone at or connected to EuroGamer with an agenda, trying to further popularize the antiwar movement by getting a media source to report a falsehood like that.

Hmm. Well, being of the essence of political correctness myself, I guess I shouldn't mind being used that way. . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Gebert writes:

As someone in the ad biz I can tell you that the boom in PC moviemaking has resulted in lots of fake ads using real product names. Some are done by creatives or production companies that want to show off what they could do on a real assignment, some are just parodies or amateurs screwing around. Lots of things about this spot, such as the deeply unfashionable font used for "No war, please" and the bad kerning (space between letters), suggest that it belongs to the "amateur-screwing-around" category.

Hmm. I took its general lameness as evidence of authenticity -- most Euro-commercials seem that way to me.

A MAN WITH A GRENADE has been arrested at Gatwick airport in London. Official comment:

The home secretary's spokesman said people should not "jump to conclusions" about the significance of the arrest.

"It is not uncommon for people in airports to be discovered with some form of weaponry. It doesn't mean they are all al-Qaeda terrorists," he said.

Well, that's a relief.

UPDATE: Here's another report. Note that both stories also say that two men were arrested at Heathrow in a separate incident. Coincidence? Most likely.

SEVERAL READERS report that they emailed Daimler-Chrysler to express their unhappiness with Gerhard Schroeder's anti-American tilt. Here's the rather unsatisfactory reply they've been getting:

Thank you for providing us with your thoughts on U.S./German relations.

We recognize your concerns, and assure you they are shared by all of us both here in the U.S. and at our headquarters in Germany.

You may be interested to know that during a speech to metalworking companies in Germany last year, Daimler Chrysler Chairman and CEO, Juergen Schrempp, expressed the following sentiments: "The USA and Germany have always been historically closely connected with each other both through trade and capital, as well as through culture and society. And, this I say as chairman of a German-American corporation -- we will do everything to promote and foster this friendship."

We apologize for any distress this situation causes and hope that you continue to look upon your Daimler-Chrysler ownership with pride.

I wonder how much they're paying the PR genius who drafted this reply?

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh writes that this response is appropriately "mealy mouthed." Well, it's also ahistorical. The reference to the close connection between Germany and America omits important stuff like U-boats and B-24s. I don't blame Daimler for not wanting to bring it up, but, well, they've brought up the history so now they look dishonest. In Bogart's phrase, it's "poor salesmanship."

COMING SOON: A positive message from Germany.

ARMED LIBERAL is offering dating advice in observation of Valentine's day. I think it's good.

ANOTHER CHRISTO IMITATOR, but with a wartime theme. . . .

A LOT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY WILL BE UNVEILED in the coming war, but the people behind it are being secretive, as usual. I guess you can't blame them -- they don't want the other side to get an advantage:

In the Gulf war 12 years ago, CNN trumped its rivals with a "four-wire" connection -- a dedicated phone line that bypassed the central phone system, the only one that the Iraqi government permitted -- that gave it audio contact as Baghdad was being bombed and others lost their standard phone lines.

What one network executive calls a "quantum leap" in technology since then has led to portable satellite dishes that promise viewers a closer, clearer, more immediate video look, not just audio, at any place a reporter goes. As recently as the conflict in Afghanistan, networks were largely limited to satellite video phones with jerky images.

The technology promises a different kind of armchair access for viewers at home to follow the conflict, with ramifications for how public opinion gets shaped.

But most network executives won't talk about the developments except in the broadest terms to avoid revealing competitive information to their rivals.

Perhaps at the next Pentagon press conference, Rumsfeld should press them for details, then cry coverup if they won't answer. . . .


COLIN POWELL is getting tough:

"France and Germany are resisting," he said. "They believe that more inspections, more time" should be allowed.

"The question I will put to them is: Why more inspections? And how much more time?" Powell said. "Or are you just delaying for the sake of delaying in order to get Saddam Hussein off the hook and no disarmament? That's a challenge I will put to them."

No more Mr. Nice Guy, apparently.

ERIC ALTERMAN, I should mention, has apologized for his remarks about Rush Limbaugh (scroll down). He also asks me if I "believe in the concept of 'hate speech.'"

I'm tempted to answer, like the man asked about adult baptism, "Believe in it, hell -- I've seen it done!"

I don't believe that "hate speech" deserves special legal punishment, though, if that's the question. I regard "hate speech" as a descriptive term, not a special offense. Wishing for someone's career to be ended by disability is fairly hateful, and "offensive remarks" that are "based on a disability" would be punishable hate speech in most of those places that forbid it. Though they probably would make an exception where the target is a right-wing talk show host. . . .

But anyone can make a thoughtless remark in an interview, and Alterman's prompt apology does him credit.

UPDATE: Not everyone agrees.

THE LOCAL CHAPTER OF EARTH FIRST! has partially covered a billboard for "Hooters" with this sign reading "Frodo Has Failed -- Bush Has The Ring." (A couple of them -- looking very chilly -- are "occupying" the sign, as you may be able to make out on the lower right. And yes, this is actual, firsthand photojournalism here on InstaPundit.)

Interviewed by local radio station WIVK, a spokeswoman for the group said that they were demonstrating true patriotism by putting the First Amendment into practice. Well, by that logic, so were the Nazis at Skokie, but never mind.

It's easy to understand why Earth First! -- which has an all-too-comfortable relationship with terrorism itself -- might oppose a war on terrorism. You'd think, though, that Saddam Hussein's ecological record, which includes firing the Kuwaiti oil fields and wholesale environmental destruction ("ecocide") in the war against the "Marsh Arabs," would be a target that even Earth First! would like to see bullseyed.

But, of course, you'd be wrong about that. Because to them, like so much of what styles itself the "antiwar" movement, it's not really about the war at all. It's all about Bush.

UPDATE: Several readers point out that in exercising their "free speech" rights, the Earth First! folks are covering up Hooters' message, which Hooters is actually paying to present. Yeah. I don't think Earth First! worries about that sort of thing much.

ANOTHER UPDATE: H.D. Miller seems to think I'm calling the Earth Firsters Nazis with the Skokie reference above. I wasn't, but if he's confused others might be, since he's pretty smart. I was reacting to the dumb notion that speech is, in and of itself and independent of its content, patriotic. If it is, then Nazis are patriotic when they march. Got it?

I'VE READ AUSTIN BAY'S NOVEL, The Wrong Side of Brightness, in manuscript. I liked it a lot. You can read the first chapter here. It'll be out soon.

SYLVAIN GALINEAU has some thoughts on American imperialism.


If Osama bin Laden were dead and buried under the rubble in Tora Bora, and you were working in the al Qaeda public affairs shop, you might want to fake a few pungent posthumous proclamations before you had him, conveniently, predict his own demise. ...

Yeah. I could be wrong, I suppose, but I don't believe he's alive. Where's the video? Where -- as someone mentioned -- was the gloating over the loss of a space shuttle with an Israeli astronaut on board?

I've been meaning to do a longer post on this, but I've been busier than usual this week. Maybe later.

SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED to ask if I prefer donations via Amazon, or PayPal. Frankly, I'm just tickled that anyone would ever want to donate, period. All things equal, PayPal is better, as they take less of a cut. But I'm not choosy.

DEMOCRATS THREATEN RACIST FILIBUSTER! That's the message of this commercial on the Estrada nomination, anyway. Hmm. And just as the controversy over Russell Long heats up.

I sense a disturbance in the Force, one that I have not felt since, well, the last time Karl Rove pulled one of these sucker-punch operations.

VIRGINIA POSTREL says that the Hart anti-semitism charges mentioned below are silly.

February 12, 2003

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Here's a link to this week's Carnival of the Vanities.

BELGIAN UNILATERALISM -- and imperialism, too.


For the first time in the build-up to action against Iraq, the newspapers of the Anglosphere are united in a blizzard of abuse against the French. In Paris, Le Monde has finally been obliged to translate Bart Simpson's phrase that is now on everyone's lips.

The French, say the mass-circulation papers in Britain and America, are nothing but "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" (les primates capitulards toujours en quete de fromage), and, you know what, I couldn't agree more. . . .

It does not mean the end of Nato. It does not even mean the end of the attempts to construct a Heath Robinson-style European "Common Foreign and Security Policy". But are we really going to share a single constitution with France and Germany, of a kind now being drawn up by Giscard in Brussels? And will Blair really try to push that through without holding a referendum?

I am told that the Prime Minister is so keen on the euro that he was considering sacking the Chancellor in 2004, and holding it then. Has that ambition survived this week? Is Blair really still asking us to share a currency with this lot? Mangez mes culottes, as they are by now saying in Paris.

Er, only it's Groundskeeper Willie, not Bart Simpson. The man ain't got no culture. But it's all right. . . .

A JACKSONIAN MOMENT? Michael Barone emails:

I was just reading InstaPundit tonight when I remembered one of the great Jacksonian moments in American history. If you listen to the audio tape of Franklin Roosevelt's speech to Congress December 8, 1941, you will notice that the biggest applause--not just applause, but wild raucous cheers--comes after this line.

"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory."

It is, I think a beautiful piece of writing, drafted by Roosevelt himself--more proof that, whatever his faults, he was a great man. "The American people": not the government, not the armed forces, not the leadership, the American people. "In their righteous might": here Roosevelt weaves together by internal rhyme the idea that we are strong and we are good. "Will win through to absolute victory."

The historians debate when the United States and their allies became committed to unconditional surrender. But after these words, how could America have settled for anything else? Roosevelt knew what had followed the ambiguous victory of November 1918, and wanted to make sure that nothing like that ever happened again. And he did so in just a few words.

I wonder if anyone in France called him a "cowboy?"


THE chief United Nations weapons inspector will report tomorrow that Iraq has been developing a ballistic missile that is in clear violation of UN restrictions.
The discovery of a banned weapons system on the eve of Hans Blix’s crucial presentation is tantamount to the inspectors finding a “smoking gun” — even though it was declared by Iraq to the UN as a legal programme.

Diplomats said the announcement would strengthen London and Washington’s case that Iraq was in “material breach” of UN demands and help the two allies to win support within the Security Council for a new resolution authorising the use of force.

The finding is also certain to provoke a confrontation when inspectors ask the Iraqi armed forces to surrender the banned missiles for destruction just as the country is preparing for an American attack. . . .

Before making a final decision on whether the missiles contravened UN rules, Dr Blix convened a meeting of outside missile experts from Britain, China, France, Ukraine, Germany and the US on Monday and Tuesday. Diplomatic sources said that those experts determined that the al-Samoud 2 exceeded the 150km range, but that the capability of the al-Fatah remained an “open question”.

The experts also judged Iraq to be in violation of UN rules for repairing banned casting chambers for making illegal missiles and for building a new test stand that can test missile engines five times above the permitted thrust.

These things just keep turning up.

UPDATE: This Reuters story says that Russia and Iraq are calling this a mere technicality.

It also says that "In connection with the missiles, Iraq had imported 380 rocket engines, chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation and guidance and control instruments -- all forbidden under 12-year-old U.N. sanctions imposed after Baghdad invaded neighboring Kuwait, the U.N. arms experts reported."

The story neglects to mention the source of these illegally imported rocket engines, chemicals, etc. I have a suspicion, though. . . .

DR. MANHATTAN HAS A THEORY about the terror alerts.


GO READ LILEKS. He makes me proud to own a Dell.

MORE FROM THE FRANCO-AMERICAN STREET: This letter in the New York Post:

February 11, 2003 -- As I opened my Post this morning, the anger I've felt over these past few weeks reached a total rage when I read Steve Dunleavy's column from Normandy ("Sacrifice," Feb. 10).
I was born in France, married my wonderful American husband of 41 years in Paris, came to the United States in 1963 and became an American citizen.

France can now disappear into the ocean as far as I'm concerned.
Claudette Davison

I'm also very proud of you folks: I used the word "Franco-American" and didn't get a single email about Spaghetti-O's.

INTERESTING COLUMBIA DISCUSSION here. Scroll down to near the bottom for a plausible conclusion.


If you've got another suggested caption, enter it in the comments, below.

UPDATE: Boy, the comments are rolling in. My favorite so far: "You mean Joe isn't a millionaire!?"

ANOTHER UPDATE: Other people are having fun with this photo here.

Heh. It took me a minute to get this one.


PEOPLE LIKE TO ACCUSE AMERICANS of not knowing much about the rest of the world. But here's a column in The Guardian calling Rep. Peter King "Senator Pete King." It's especially lame as the author, Rod Liddle, purports to have been following King's activities for 15 years.

CRAIG SCHAMP is an unrepentant warmonger.

A BUNCH OF PEOPLE have emailed me about "cryptic anti-semitic remarks" by Gary Hart (here's a blog account with links). Well, maybe. "Cryptic" is key. But that's certainly how they're hitting a lot of people.

Me, I thought he was talking about Zogby. . . .

UPDATE: Bill Quick has a different quote that's more notable for its idiocy than its antisemitism. I'll have to check out the whole speech later, but if Hart's going to run as a Gaullist, he's going to have a short, inglorious race.

JUST OVER 120,000 PAGEVIEWS YESTERDAY. Jeez. In 1999 I would have been ready for an IPO.

It figures that I would get in on the one Internet boom that offers no prospect whatsoever of riches.


SUMAN PALIT COMMENTS on pro-American sentiment among recent immigrants:

I did not spend a greater part of my life working my fingers to the bone to come to America, and then to build a new life for myself and my family, to enjoy and cherish the special freedoms that are the hallmark of this country, only to watch an intellectually effete elite barter it all away to appease the culture-gods of Europe.! A few reminders to the multi-culti "blame-America" crowd. I am unlikely to be swayed by your liberal, upper-middle-class guilt over whatever horrors lie in this country's past. I respect the legacy of those sins. I hope to learn from them, but never at the point of rendering myself impotent. I am not impressed by your oh-so-mendacious comparisons of Bush to Saddam to Hitler. I am disgusted by your preference for "stability" in Iraq over the freedom and ultimate goal of safety and happiness of the Iraqi people. I am also, utterly unconvinced by those who wish to remake America in a hollow image of Europe. If I wanted that I would have immigrated to France.

I feel the same way, and my ancestors (the non-Cherokee ones, anyway)were thrown out of decided to leave Europe centuries ago.

PROFESSOR JEFF COOPER has a new bloghome, and it's a handsome Movable Type-powered site. Drop by, say hello, and adjust your bookmarks.


Name: Chris Wyser-Pratte
Hometown: New Paltz, NY
I'm a naturalized American born in France in 1944 of French parents. I served four years as a US Navy officer. I travel in France frequently. I love the French; it's their government leaders I despise.

It was France's government that surrendered a largely undefeated Army in WWII to Nazi prison camps. (After the Maginot Line was flanked and bypassed, there were no huge battles, no loss of hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen dying for la patrie. The government just waved the white flag and abandoned Britain to its lonely struggle.) It was France's government under Petain that actively collaborated with Germany; it was France's government that turned over that troublesome Jew, the Socialist leader Leon Blum, to Nazi overseers.

It was France's government under deGaulle that pulled out of the NATO military alliance to try to establish a counter-weight to America with its "force de frappe." It was France's government which, during the cold war, played footsie with the Soviet Union so as to tweak the nose of American leadership. And it was France's government that comfortably hid all those years behind the American military umbrella so they could spend all their money on social welfare.

As to the Germans, they don't see the link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Quaeda anymore than their good burghers smelled the burning flesh from the ovens at the concentration camps that were so efficiently carrying out the "final solution."

No more Munich Conferences and umbrella solutions of "peace in our time." No more September 11ths. And no more "Ich bin ein Berliner."

To hell with them.

I really do believe that Chirac, Schroeder, et al. are making a dreadful mistake here, and that they underestimate the depth -- and the longevity -- of the hostility they are creating.

POETS FOR THE WAR "has been created out of pure frustration at seeing a bunch of bad poets get publicity for being whiney wimps who do not understand human nature."

Proof of Inspector Dupin's observation that although all fools are poets, it does not follow that all poets are fools.

UPDATE: Justin Katz has some thoughts on poets and war.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There's lots more pro-war poetry over at Best of the Web today.

IT'S NOT DEAD YET -- but I think somebody may be about to hit it in the head with a hammer. I refer to the "Total Information Awareness" program, which looks likely to be blocked by legislation.


I'VE POSTED SOME MORE THOUGHTS ON THE "AMERICAN STREET" -- and some email therefrom -- over at but it occurs to me that I left out one interesting point in that post: a disproportionate (probably even a hugely disproportionate) share of the pro-American email that I got was from recent immigrants. There was also a lot from serving members of the military. I probably should have mentioned that, but, well, that's the good thing about having InstaPundit.


In spite of his predictable hyperbole, Nader aptly criticized U.S. foreign policy, stating that we should stop our support for "oligarchs who brutalize their people." I agree with him completely. Yet presently, Saddam Hussein has no greater friends in the United States than the anti-war movement. While hawks urge Saddam's removal, it is the anti-war movement whose efforts aim to keep the tyrant in power. True, the United States has a questionable history with regard to propping up dictators around the world. But in the case of Iraq, Nader and the anti-war movement state that this policy should remain unchanged -- for the sake of consistency I guess.

Read the whole thing, as they say.


That would be me, on both counts.

PORPHYROGENITUS writes that the breaking of the old Atlantic Alliance is sad, but that it was also inevitable. I think he's right about that. Josh Marshall is trying to spin this as a failure of American (i.e., Bush) diplomacy, but I think that this response is enough to undo the spin:

For all that people like to claim that this is a "Bush problem" and "we didn't have this when Clinton was in office", that's not quite true. Sure, everyone was more jovial. But (again as I've mentioned before) while there was more good cheer and bonhomie on the surface when Clinton was in office, that didn't stop them from designing treaties (rather deliberately) stacked against the United States. Clinton would say "hey, buddies. You know, if we could just get a clause in that treaty on land mines allowing us to have them along the Korean DMZ, I could get the Senate to pass it" and they would refuse to compromise. Clinton would say "you know I want a good Green record. I'd love to have this Kyoto pact ratified. Any chance we could negotiate for America some of the cozy deals you stuck in for yourselves?" and they would say "no". They liked Clinton just fine as a person. But they weren't about to do America any favors, and even during that period were (openly among themselves, reported in the European press if not given much notice in the American press) talking about building the EU so as to oppose the United States. So this isn't really out of the blue, all the sudden.

It's just that the disagreement over Iraq has precipitated a breach that is so public it cannot be ignored or minimized with the usual platitudes. It was bound to happen sometime, over something, and this is it, now.

I think, in fact, that it's unfortunate that these problems were papered over during the Clinton years. Because if the rift had come then, the Franco-German behavior today wouldn't be perceived as a betrayal -- just as the less-than-supportive behavior of Russia isn't perceived as a betrayal.

RUMOR-MONGERING: A former student reports that hospitals and other facilities in the DC area were told last night that terror alerts will be moved to Code Red later today in fear of a bio, chem, or radiological attack. Can't find any confirmation on that, so make of it what you will. There's certainly plenty of evidence that the authorities are worried about this scenario.

I hope that they're wrong -- or that, if they're right, they catch 'em before anything happens.

UPDATE: Another reader emails:

I work in a congressional office in Washington, and we have a Secret Service detailee on our staff. I asked him about the plausibility of the Code Red rumor, and it doesn't seem to hold up. According to our detailee, we would only go to Code Red if officials had specific knowledge of an imminent attack, such as "the bomb is in the trunk and on its way" or "the airplane has been hijacked." What DC hospitals were probably told is to make certain preparations in case of Code Red, but to say "we're going to Code Red" in the absence of an emergency doesn't seem to be how the system works.

Hmm. Well, this makes sense. We'll see. I suppose another possibility is that we do, in fact, know of an attack plan timed to coincide with the onset of war -- and we expect the onset of war very soon. But that's purest speculation, and should be treated as such.


The most painful thing has been watching other antiwar groups make unprincipled compromises with A.N.S.W.E.R. As a result, there is support on the left for self-determination for every group in the world except the Jewish people. Fellow progressive Jews, some anxious to speak at these rallies, have urged me to keep quiet about anti-Semitism on the left. After all, they say, stopping the war against Iraq is so much more important.

Why should we have to choose? Tikkun will be bringing thousands of our supporters to the demonstration Sunday. But just as we fought against the sexism and homophobia that once infected the left, we will challenge anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing on the left, even as we say "no" to a war with Iraq.

I'm glad to see this issue getting more attention. Howard Kurtz also mentions the issue, quoting David Corn's piece from yesterday.

UPDATE: Here is, er, A.N.S.W.E.R.'s answer. I'm not impressed, but you may feel differently. And here's a story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Academics and leftist intellectuals have worried aloud for months about the primary-organization role of International Answer in the movement, given that its roots are in the Workers World Party, a socialist organization with a small constituency in the United States.

Marc Cooper, a contributing editor for the Nation magazine who has written about peace activism for 30 years, fears that the movement's efforts to woo mainstream supporters will be marginalized by having International Answer participate in the leadership.

"To the degree that (Answer) controls the direction of the coalition, it's not a good thing," said Cooper, who is circulating an e-mail petition protesting Lerner's absence from Sunday's program.

I can't help but feel that the decision to blackball speakers who had criticized coalition members was primarily designed to protect A.N.S.W.E.R.'s position by muting criticism of its positions.

A PACK, NOT A HERD -- CONT'D: My TechCentralStation column is up. NASA is involved.

JOHN HAWKINS has an interview with Mark Steyn on his page. It's a must-read. Excerpt:

The next step should be to quarantine the Saudis. The US has a moral distaste for imperialism, which is fair enough, but, on the other hand, when it scuppered the British and French over Suez in 1956, all it did was deliver the Middle East out of western influence and into the hands of what it thought were pliable strongmen. That's no more morally superior than western imperialism and in practical terms it's been a lot worse. We need to reform the entire region. To those cynical Europeans who say, "Oh, it's absurd to think Arabs can ever be functioning members of a democratic state", I'd say, in that case why are you allowing virtually unrestricted Muslim immigration into your own countries? So I'd say: after Iraq, Iran won't be far behind; we then quarantine Saudi Arabia and explain the realities of life to Egypt and Syria.


AMILAND reports that Gerhard Schroeder is now setting things up to blame a war in Iraq if his economy doesn't recover.

Maybe he should just blame those emerging American boycotts of German products. . . .

Meanwhile, Michael Kelly is examining Joschka Fischer's terrorist past. And some Germans are calling on Schroeder to resign as it appears he's the source of the leak concerning the Franco-German plan.

February 11, 2003

LAST REMINDER: The L.A. blogosphere event is Saturday, February 15.

I wish I had the money -- and even more, the time -- to just jet around from one blog event to another.

I MAKE A STINK, THEREFORE I AM: Michael Moran writes that Old Europe's greatest fear isn't American imperialism, or Islamic terrorism, but its own growing irrelevance.

CRICKET -- SPORT OF HEROES? It was yesterday.

THE NEW YORK TIMES is being savaged by Donald Luskin, Mickey Kaus, and Robert Musil for getting the Ken Lay story seriously wrong.


IS ERIC ALTERMAN GUILTY OF HATE SPEECH? You were right the first time, Eric -- you shouldn't have said that.

UPDATE: Alterman agrees, and he'll be posting a handsome apology for a thoughtless remark. Anyway, let James Lileks demonstrate how to put down Limbaugh without wishing that he be disabled for life:

I don’t listen to Limbaugh - a bomb could go off in New York on Sunday morning and come Monday, he’d talk about the last golf tournament he was in.

There you have it. Devastating, but not hateful.

HERE'S A WEBLOG by a professional courtesan. And she doesn't like the French, either.

I tell you, their reputation is really taking a beating here.

THE AMERICAN STREET SPEAKS: Reader Jim Hogue emails:

I heard the “American street” speak today in a supermarket in Dayton, Ohio and it said “F**K the French!”

I stop by the store after work to get a bottle of wine. While reaching for my usual Australian bottle of red plonk when I noticed that “Georges Duboeuf” “produced and bottled in France” has a Syrah and it was on sale. Not even thinking about anything in particular, I reached for the bottle when a black gentleman standing next to me, looking at the same wine said, “F**k the French, I wouldn’t drink it if it were free!” and picked up another bottle of wine, Aussie I think, glared at me and walked away.

I thought to myself, “yep, me too pal, with barbed wire” and grabbed an Aussie bottle myself.

I have never put much faith in boycotts, they don’t seem to work in this global world economy; you know the old question, what’s more American? A Chevy built in Canada or a Toyota built in Kentucky? But this experience tonight was thought provoking and “yeah”, I muttered to myself as I walked from the store, “F**k the French!” French (and German) anything is off my list.

I suspect a lot of people are starting to think this way.

A P.R. CAMPAIGN SO VAST: Just checked my mailbox and found not one, but two sample copies of Eric Alterman's book in my afternoon mail -- one with a return address from HarperCollins, and one from Perseus. Weird.

Is this proof of a vast, interconnected liberal-publishing conspiracy? I report, you decide.

Note to Alterman: hope they're not charging these against your royalties. . . .

SOFIA SIDESHOW says that the antiwar movement is performing a valuable service.

MORE ON PRINCE CHARLES, from the Middle East Quarterly.

I guess this would matter more if, you know, Prince Charles did, but it's here for those who are interested. Note, however, the article's larger point.

ANOTHER TRIUMPH FOR FRANCO-GERMAN DIPLOMACY: They've managed to get the Greeks to endorse Turkish self-defense!

(Via email from John Bono, who also blogged it here. Hey -- if you blog stuff that you email me, include the link. I don't always think to check.)

A READER ASKS: "Is it me? Or is this guy Saruman?"

It's not you.

SMALLPOX SNIVELERS AND LINGUISTIC REBELS: Virginia Postrel has a lot of new stuff up at her blog weekly webzine.

SPINSANITY is disappointed with Michael Moore's Oscar nomination.

UPDATE: John Scalzi offers Oscar analysis and predicts (scroll to near the end):

* Bowling for Columbine will win Best Documentary, because it's the only documentary most of the Academy is aware of, and because Mike Moore loathes George Bush and so does Hollywood.

Makes sense to me.

BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET: The Politburo critiques The Guardian's assessment of American politics.

DANIEL PIPES WRITES that the real debate is no longer over war:

For insiders, the main issue is the extent of U.S. ambition in the Arabic-speaking countries after that's all done. This foreshadows the debate likely to dominate foreign-policy circles for decades: What should be America's role in the world?

I think that French (not so much German) efforts to play spoiler here have as much to do with poisoning the well on this front as they do with the matter ostensibly at hand -- though I agree with the increasing number of people in and out of the blogosphere who believe that the chief motivation may be covering up evidence of French (and German) collaboration with Saddam.

HOW CONVENIENT. Personally, I think this is evidence that Osama is dead, and that the CIA is supplying these tapes for purposes of its own. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

But now that he's admitting a "partnership" with Iraq, it's going to be tough for people who've been saying "you can't even catch Osama" to deny this evidence. Heh.

LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, GET UP WITH FLEAS: David Corn reports on the banning of Rabbi Michael Lerner from an antiwar protest at A.N.S.W.E.R.'s behest. Now, I think that Lerner is a deeply silly man, but that's not the point here. What's most troubling is that he was banned on "anti-zionist" grounds, and that two of the "alternative" antiwar groups, supposedly cleaner than A.N.S.W.E.R., went along.

As best I can tell, this means either that (1) the "alternative" groups don't have enough oomph to put together a rally without A.N.S.W.E.R., meaning that the Stalinists of A.N.S.W.E.R. really are the core of what passes for an antiwar movement in this country; or (2) they just don't give a damn. Corn concludes:

Lerner was not the source of the problem; ANSWER was. This distracting episode shows what can happen when sincere do-gooders enter into deals with the ANSWER gang. If the reasonable and responsible foes of war are fortunate enough to have further opportunity to rally opposition to the conflict before it occurs, they ought to reconsider their alliance with the censors of ANSWER.

I'd call this episode more "revealing" than "distracting."

SCOTT WRIGHTSON says that Morton Halperin isn't making sense.

SHANTI MANGALA is praising unilateralism.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT (it was posted later than usual yesterday) here's my thought experiment on how America would be acting if it really were an imperialist bully, over at

THIS POST BY MATTHEW YGLESIAS leads Aziz Poonawalla to send the following:

I did NOT mean to imply that YOU had accused Charles of anything, but rather that News of the World did. I am worried that others may also draw the same conclusion. Could you post the following clarification on your post?

"News of the World is whom I am defending Charles against. Their article insinuates that that Charles' anti-war opinions (which reflects the general public opinion in Britain) are caused by his secret Arab (implied: Wahabi) sympathies. They took a photo from a cultural visit to a peaceful Muslim community (mine, BTW) that is fiercely loyal to the UK, and used it out of context to imply its exact opposite."

It greatly bothers me that your generous favor of linking to my post could open you to unfounded criticism of something you did not do (and which apparently I was not careful enough to make clear in my own post). I apologise.

No apology needed. I didn't misunderstand. (I didn't think linking to Aziz's interesting post was a "generous favor" -- except maybe to my readers -- either). I didn't think my post said very much at all (it's here) since it was pretty much a pure link, but whatever.

MICKEY KAUS'S JOHN-KERRY-IS-TWO-FACED MEME appears to be catching on. On the other hand, he bears a surprising resemblance to George Clooney in this photo.

[Isn't that just another way of being "two-faced?" -- Ed. Go away! Back to Kaus's page!]

UPDATE: Some amusing George Clooney comments can be found here.

CHARLES WATSON (of Shouting Across the Pacific blog fame) has set up a page where you can view commercial satellite imagery of key strategic targets in Iraq.


INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE on U.S./German difficulties from Wax Tadpole, Eamonn Fitzgerald, AmiLand and PapaScott. Apparently, screwing the U.S. at the U.N. is all in good fun, but many German editorialists are genuinely horrified at the damage Schroeder is doing to NATO. Trouble is, it may be too late to fix it. In a political alliance, problems like this can be forgotten or papered over -- but what good is a military alliance where you don't trust your allies to make good in the clutches?

And forget the relationship with America. How must the Turks feel about the unwillingness of NATO to defend them?

Perhaps we should offer them NAFTA membership and a bilateral alliance.

February 10, 2003


CHICAGO -- The head of a Muslim charity accused of funneling money to Osama bin Laden's terror network pleaded guilty Monday to illegally buying boots and uniforms for fighting forces in Bosnia and Chechnya.

As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped charges that Enaam Arnaout aided bin Laden. But they insisted he committed the offense, and said they agreed to the plea bargain to secure a conviction and Arnaout's cooperation while sparing the government the expense of a trial.

"We are prepared to prove that he did support al-Qaida when that issue is addressed at sentencing," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in Washington.

Possibilities: (1) the Al Qaeda link was too weak to take to trial; (2) this was in exchange for cooperation; (3) proving the Al Qaeda link would have exposed sources; (4) something else not immediately apparent.

UPDATE: InstaPundit's Chicago legal correspondent, Jacob Corre, emails:

There is a simple legal answer to the "why the cheap plea bargain?" question, which is a particular version of your first scenario, with a possible element of the third. The government lost a major motion on Friay. It had made a "Santiago proffer" claiming that Aranaout was a coconspirator with Al Qaeda, and a prima facie showing whould have made the al Fahdl testimony "Al Qaeda link" evidence admissible against Aranaout at trial under the coconspirator exception to the hearsay rule. The district judge (I believe it was judge Susan Conlon) said the government had not yet made an adequate showing, though she gave them a chance to renew the motion at trial. Hence the plea bargain. It will be interesting to see whether the Al Qaeda stuff comes in through the back door at sentencing. (That is something that would concern me, on principled grounds. I don't like using the sentencing phase to convict of uncharged offenses by means of enhancements to base offense levels.)

Yes, that makes sense.

JOAN SMITH WRITES that it's about time the United States "got over" 9/11.

I guess, then, it's time for the Palestinians to get over 1948, eh?

I won't hold my breath waiting to hear that one, though. Not from her or her ilk, anyway.

ORCHID has resurfaced. Drop by her page and tell her to keep it up!

THANKS to the folks who hit the Paypal and Amazon buttons today! Much appreciated.

MERYL YOURISH ANSWERS: "More than once a day." She also opines on France and Germany.


A PRO-WAR DEMONSTRATION at the University of Oregon.

AZIZ POONAWALLA is defending Prince Charles.

GERHARD SCHROEDER'S COALITION IS "NEAR COLLAPSE" as a result of the leaked Franco-German plan to send bodyguards for Saddam more inspectors to Iraq.

ONE OF THE BLOGOSPHERE'S FAR-FLUNG LEGION OF MOLES has uncovered and posted the current text of the proposed Franco-German resolution on Iraq. Looks about right to me.

IF AMERICA REALLY WERE AN IMPERIALIST BULLY, how would it act? A thought experiment, along with some warnings about the "American Street," takes place over at I hope someone forwards a copy to Schroeder, Chirac, and Annan.

JOHN MCCAIN IS INVOKING THE "AMERICAN STREET" in a speech in Munich. My MSNBC piece for today -- which was delayed for technical reasons -- is about the same topic. It should be up shortly.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the text of McCain's speech. Read it. It's terrific. Here's an excerpt:

Foreign Minister Fischer recently warned against "primitive anti-Americanism." I thank and commend him for his statement. But I am concerned, we should all be concerned, not only with the "primitive" anti-Americanism of the street that resents America's successes, exults in our misfortunes, and ascribes to us motives that one must be a fool or delusional to believe. We should also be concerned with the "sophisticated" anti-Americanism, or perhaps more aptly, the "cynical" anti-Americanism of political leaders who exploit for their own ends the disinformed, "primitive" hostility to America voiced in some quarters of their societies; to further their ambitions to govern or to inflate perceptions of their international influence.

Just as some Arab governments fuel anti-American sentiment among their people to divert them from problems at home, so a distinct minority of Western European leaders appears to engage in America- bashing to rally their people and other European elites to the call of European unity. Some European politicians speak of pressure from their "street" for peaceful solutions to international conflict and for resisting American power regardless of its purpose. But statements emanating from Europe that seem to endorse pacifism in the face of evil, and anti-Semitic recidivism in some quarters, provoke an equal and opposite reaction in America.

There is an American "street," too, and it strongly supports disarming Iraq, accepts the necessity of an expansive American role in the world to ensure we never wake up to another September 11th, is perplexed that nations with whom we have long enjoyed common cause do not share our urgency and sense of threat in time of war, and that considers reflexive hostility toward Israel as the root of all problems in the Middle East as irrational as it is morally offensive.

The legacy of the German election campaign last fall has complicated and harmed U.S.-German relations.

There's much more. Bravo.

D.C.'S HANDGUN BAN IS BEING CHALLENGED as violative of the Second Amendment. Here's a link to a press release, and here's a link to the complaint.

I hope, of course, that the Justice Department -- already on record as believing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms -- will simply admit that the law in question is indefensible. This will be a real test of Ashcroft's commitment to a civil liberty that he (along with President Bush) has endorsed, and I imagine the gun-rights community will be paying very close attention.

UPDATE: A reader sends a link to this story on a proposal to arm D.C. cabbies. Dumbest quote:

"There is no question in the universe that can be answered with more guns," said Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3), head of the D.C. Council's Committee on the Judiciary. "The District of Columbia is clear on this: We oppose guns."

Who knows -- maybe one day the District of Columbia will decide to oppose crime, instead. But what's notable about this proposal isn't that the usual gang is opposing it, but rather that it's getting some serious support.

I'M HAVING TROUBLE reaching quite a few sites on the Web today. (I went to Slashdot to see if something was up, but I can't reach it, either!). I wonder what's going on? I guess when Kevin Mitnick is being hacked, all bets are off. . . .

I DON'T USUALLY SHOW FILMS IN CLASS, but in light of the Trent Lott affair, I decided this year to show the film Separate But Equal, about the Brown decision, in my Constitutional Law class. (Here's a link to the Amazon page with reviews.) I've only shown the first installment, but it seems to have worked well -- as a film should, it has far more impact in a room full of people than when watched solo.

Unlike most legal docudramas, it pays a lot of attention to actual lawyering, and to the strategic and tactical decisions that lawyers have to make. If you haven't ever seen it, you may want to check it out. It's rather long, but it's worth your time.

DONALD SENSING offers a firsthand account explaining the real purpose of American troops in Europe:

There were no reporters present, so people spoke pretty freely. During the course of the discussion, Herr Leutnant General said that the only reason Europe had enjoyed its longest period ever of uninterrupted peace was that there were two US Army corps in western Germany, and significant US forces elsewhere in Europe. He didn't quite say that without American boots on the ground there, Europe would have gone to war with itself again, but we clearly understood that's what he meant. The British and Italian representatives nodded.

What will happen if NATO dies? Nothing good, I'm afraid.

Meanwhile, reader Jaikumar Ramaswamy emails:

I am an avid instapundit reader and usually agree with you, but it seems to me that you draw the wrong conclusion from the BBC article that you link to--a mistake that I think many other commentators are also making.

I think that what we are witnessing is the UN-ification of NATO that has resulted from the admission of France in the 90's. At the time I feared that this was a huge mistake, and those fears are only now being realized (although arguably French intransigieance during the Balkan campaign was a harbinger of what we are now seeing).

As you probably already know, De Gaulle unilaterally withdrew France from the Nato command structure in 1965 (I think this is the right year). During that time France always saw itself as an independent actor and often worked to frustrate US policy. I think what we are now seeing is how lucky we were that France was not part of NATO for most of the cold war, and how much our foreign policy would have suffered if it had been.

The article points out how none of the other supporters of French policy who are long-standing Nato members are being as intransigeant as the French. (In addition it seems that the Dutch government sees how damaging French behavior is to the alliance.) The problem is only made worse by France's self professed national interest--to contain American "hyperpower"--that has developed in response to the end of the cold war. Of course, in pursuing its interests France (not America) is willing to do great damage to the Western alliance.

I think that our policy makers do in fact realize this and that this was the strategic reason for Richard Perle's suggestion last week for developing a parallel command structure within NATO that exclude's the French. (I assume the talk was meant to tests the waters from someone not officially in the administration). It would essentially return us to the pre-1990's status quo. If this is not done, then, NATO might die.

And another reader quotes Churchill: "The hardest cross to bear is the cross of Lorraine." Heh. Hadn't heard that one.

UPDATE: Several readers email to note that I haven't heard the Churchill quote because it's bogus. That is, it's a real quote -- but not from Churchill.


Powell's fury and determination is not because he has doubts about the United Nations, but because he believes in it. He wants the body to work. He's not naive enough to believe that a body that can place Libya as the chair of a human rights commission has a moral center. And he's not stupid enough to hold that power-politics don't play a critical role in making the U.N. effective. But he does believe that the U.N. is the worst way of organizing international relations - except for all the others. He sees a real value in having world affairs channeled through a genuinely international prism. And he sees universal values - peace, human rights, disarmament, the prevention of genocide - as best enforced through collective rather than unilateral endeavors.

And that's why Powell is now pro-war.

I don't think that this French proposal is going to be enough. . . .

READER NIRAJ AGARWALLA EMAILS: "Perhaps the time has come that we start boycotting French and German products and services. Nothing will show more displeasure than hitting them where it hurts most-- in the pocketbook."

Yes. We own two German cars, but I don't think my next one will be German. (And it was never going to be French. I drove a Peugeot briefly -- which is the main way anyone drives a Peugeot -- and that was enough!)

I've already started buying Australian, Argentine and Chilean wines in preference to the French wines. They're better, and cheaper, anyway.

Here's a contact page for Volkswagen, and here's one for Mercedes. And here's one for Siemens. Just in case you want to let them know how you feel.

"THE CONSTITUTION WAS WRITTEN ON HEMP!" One of the few bizarre notes in an otherwise orderly pro-America demonstration reported by Sasha Castel. And she's got pictures!

JOHN BONO is dissing "60 Minutes."

IS NATO DEAD? Could be. Its original reason for existence is over.

I wonder, though, whether other European nations -- even France -- would trust Germany nearly as much in the absence of large numbers of American troops? We may be about to find out.

COULD THIS BE A PARALLEL TO THE MASSOUD ASSASSINATION that was the signal for the September 11 attacks?

Kurdish military officials in northern Iraq say one of their senior commanders has been killed by a militant Islamic group suspected of links to the al-Qaeda network.

A commander for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Sherkh Jafar said gunmen posing as defectors from the militant Islamic group, Ansar al-Islam, killed Shawkat Haji Mushir, along with five other people in an ambush on Saturday.

Probably not, but still. . . .

PATRICK RUFFINI has found the poster boy for the "Axis of Weasels."

I ALWAYS WONDERED where Hollywood stars got all those ideas about foreign policy. Now I know. Maybe I should subscribe. . . .

Maybe not. (Via Flashbunny.)

WE'RE NUMBER ONE! Actually, InstaPundit is both the "best blog overall" and the "most overrated blog."

I guess, technically, it's possible to be both, right? Anyway, on the "most overrated" front, I just spent some time trying to convince a reporter (well, actually a producer) to turn a story about me into a story about some other, more interesting, bloggers. We'll see if it works.

But it's a big Blogosphere out there folks. Use InstaPundit as your jumping-off place, if you like, but don't think that it's all there is.

TIFFANY BAXENDELL has some observations about Prince Charles' Arabophilia.

FRANCE TO NEW YORK: DROP DEAD! And see this cover image.

The "American Street" is unhappy.

A PRO-DEMOCRACY STUDENT MOVEMENT is sweeping the world. The link is to a Yale Daily News article. Here's a link to a statement of principles.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING ENGLISH: Arnold Kling thinks it's very, very great, though as he notes not everyone agrees.

This will be an interesting test of network effects and path-dependency over the next ten years.

VIRGINIA POSTREL told me a while back that I need to mention the tip jar more often. Well, consider it mentioned -- Amazon and PayPal buttons are over there on the left. I thought about adding a .wav file of a tin cup rattling, but . . .

INTERESTING ARTICLE on nanotechnology and interdisciplinary convergence, from the New York Times.

THE AMERICAN STREET: American opinion toward France and Germany has grown drastically more unfavorable over the past year according to Gallup.


I think Kerry's problem isn't simple, run-of-the-mill calculating opportunism. It's more comically transparent calculating opportunism, of which his Jewish "epiphany" is a good illustration. In other words, his opportunistic zig-zagging is so instantaneous and shameless -- changing week-to-week in the case of Iraq -- that it becomes counterproductive, losing Kerry the benefit the opportunism is supposed to gain. Why suddenly turn Jewish just when half the press core is ready to pounce on any indication of convenient chameleonism? How dumb is that? It's calculation, but also incompetent calculation -- not what you look for in a president. ... Now the press has three recent examples of Kerry flip-flops. And every reporter knows if you have three examples you have a trend. ...

Look for more of this as the campaign continues.

February 09, 2003

OUR GERMANS ARE better than their Germans.

But then, turning on relatives who displease the state is a tradition of sorts there, isn't it?

UPDATE: Reader Fred Boness emails:

Our Germans ARE better than their Germans and that's always been true. During WWII who was the best German general?

The best German general of WWII was Eisenhower.

Heh. We had some others, too.

SADDAM DEFEATS FRENCH, GERMANS: At least, that's probably the upshot of this report:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 9 -- The top U.N. arms experts said tonight that they were unable to reach agreement with Saddam Hussein's government on several key weapons issues they had traveled here to resolve in a bid to build support for continuing inspections.

The two chief U.N. inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, failed to come away with the top three items on their wish list during meetings with high-level Iraqi officials on Saturday and today: significant amounts of new evidence about Iraq's past weapons programs, safety guarantees from Iraq for reconnaissance aircraft they want to fly over the country; and a high-level declaration criminalizing the production of nuclear, chemical or biological arms.

Stay tuned. I guess Saddam figured out that the whole thing was really just a campaign to sneak an invasion force in under U.N. cover.


BARBECUE BLOGGING: Randy Paul writes about barbecue with a Brazilian flavor. I know some Brazilian folks who cook this, but I've never actually had any. I've had its Nigerian near-equivalent, though.

Good, but not as good as Calhoun's -- or, of course, the barbecue that I make, which is fit for a god. A damned lucky god.

CPO SPARKEY IS TAKING ME, and more particularly Eric Muller, to task for criticizing the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. (He has updated posts here and here.) He says that MAGIC decryptions gave the authorities reason to suspect a lot of Japanese spies and saboteurs, and provides some excerpts.

This is news to me, but of course the last time I paid close attention to this subject, the MAGIC decryptions weren't public. (MAGIC was, but not its results). It's interesting, but I'm not sure how this supports Rep. Howard Coble's statement that the purpose of the internments was to protect Japanese-Americans from mob violence.

HERE'S A LINK TO STREAMING VIDEO OF AN ANTIWAR PROTEST IN ANN ARBOR: The repeated chant: "We are not like President G. Bush."

That seems to be the key message of the whole antiwar movement, doesn't it? "We aren't like him!"

Protest as solidarity good. The streaming video is cool, though.

LETTER FROM GOTHAM SAYS THAT EVERYONE HAS IT ALL WRONG about the New York City peace march planned by United for Peace and Justice. She reports that New York City is, in fact, willing to allow a "rally," but not a "march." (One stays still; the other moves.) And the reasons have to do with safety, not the message.

UPDATE: Jim Henley has responded.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And Gotham has responded to Henley.

JUST SAW AN ENORMOUSLY DISHONEST "60 MINUTES" PIECE on ballistic fingerprinting. It somehow neglected this report indicating that the technology isn't good enough even to satisfy anti-gun California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Instead, it made it appear as if a few mere technical quibbles on the part of the NRA were the problem, though in fact this report, dated last week, precisely echoes what the NRA representative was saying on "Sixty Minutes."


RAND SIMBERG REPORTS ON THE 21ST CENTURY CHILDREN'S CRUSADE: Also, his one-man psychological-warfare campaign appears to be bearing fruit.

Of course, I think he's telling the truth, and the psychological-warfare talk is just disinformation. . . .

A REVIEW OF RADAR DATA suggests that something broke off of Columbia on Day 2 of its mission, perhaps as a consequence of a debris or meteor impact.

THOUSANDS OF SOUTH KOREANS attended a pro-U.S. rally earlier today. Meanwhile here's a report that I can't confirm, about U.S. threats to withdraw troops from South Korea and the reaction thereto. And here's an article about the generational divide among South Koreans on the subject of North Korea's dangerousness.

UPDATE: E. Nough has some comments.

INSTALAWYER has an lengthy email from a former juror regarding a medical malpractice case. Having served on a jury myself in a tort case (one far less complex than this one) it rings true. Best part, though, is InstaLawyer's observation at the end:

By the way, the first thing I thought when I read the facts of the case was: How can this lady not know she's pregnant, regardless of what the doctor's office said. An obvious tragedy -- losing a child -- but what did she think that moving lump in her belly was? Too many burgers? I would have turned the case down on that point alone.

While there are lawyers out there who'll take anything that walks in the door, my own observation on contingent fees has been that they make many plaintiffs' lawyers reluctant to take cases that are far from frivolous. Many of the frivolous cases (e.g., the McDonald's fat case) are really brought on grounds of ideology rather than profit.

THE AAAS HAS A PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS of the Bush 2004 science budget. The Department of Homeland Security becomes a major science funding center. I'm not convinced that's a good thing. I mean, it's not impossible for it to be a good thing, but. . . .

BILL HERBERT SAYS BUSH SHOULD CALL THEIR BLUFF ON IRAQ. And scroll down for his comments on the "irreplaceable" Harvey Pitt.

KIERAN HEALY HAS MOVED to a new bloghome. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.


UPDATE: Here's more on Charles.

MATT WELCH SUGGESTS THAT BUSH IS BETTER AT THIS DIPLOMACY THING than many -- including many on his side -- believe:

Last February, if UN resolutions were being discussed in public at all, odds were high that the debate was over the number of child deaths attributable to economic sanctions, not the exploits of Hans Blix and Co.

Colin Powell was muddling through a process of developing more targeted "smart sanctions," aimed to ease some of the economic chokehold in deference to the French and Russians, who had long ago lost interest in enforcing the program. Weapons inspectors had been absent since 1998, and almost no one was talking about bringing them back.

Now, fast-forward a year. Instead of throwing up obstacles to economic sanctions, the French and Russians have become overnight converts to the idea of intrusive weapons inspections. Saddam Hussein himself, clearly spooked by the idea of being pulverized, has invited the inspectors back in, allowed one-on-one interviews with Iraqi scientists, and may soon cave on U2 surveillance flights.

With each new U.S. "compromise" comes an audible tightening of the noose, and a frantic new round of Arab diplomacy to persuade Saddam to walk away before the Stealth Bombers take off. Rarely before has bluster yielded so many results.

Is Bush bluffing? "We may never know," observes Welch.

OLD AND NEW EUROPE: Jim Bennett has some thoughts.

POWER LAWS, POPULARITY, AND THE VANISHING MIDDLE: Clay Shirky has some interesting observations on weblogs.

TOM FRIEDMAN IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT: India should replace France on the Security Council:

Why replace France with India? Because India is the world's biggest democracy, the world's largest Hindu nation and the world's second-largest Muslim nation, and, quite frankly, India is just so much more serious than France these days. France is so caught up with its need to differentiate itself from America to feel important, it's become silly. India has grown out of that game. India may be ambivalent about war in Iraq, but it comes to its ambivalence honestly. Also, France can't see how the world has changed since the end of the cold war. India can.


As I've said, the French/German diplomatic initiative is merely isolating those nations.

SUMAN PALIT IS UNFAZED by the French/German diplomatic counteroffensive. I think he's right here.

Just now I caught a bit of an NPR program in which an expert was solemnly warning that Europe would become a "rival superpower" and asserting, as evidence, the "growing pacifism" among Germans.

I'm willing to run the risk of a pacifistic rival. In truth, Europe can't become a rival superpower without structural change that would completely undermine the current meaning of "Europe" -- a shift away from socialist welfare-state economics that would allow investments in military capacity, for example.

That could happen, but it's not likely, and it's not the kind of thing that happens gradually, or by accident.

Personally, I think that the French/German behavior here is further support for Steven Den Beste's theory that they have something dreadful to hide regarding their relations with Saddam.

UPDATE: Reader Chuck Herrick emails:

Clearly, this is a credible alternative to democracy forced by war. Certainly not preferable, but definitely credible, meaning a butt-load of folks are going to believe in it.

So, why wait until it's too late (so late)?

I think the point the Euro's are trying to accomplish is the destruction of George W Bush, and the muscular, politically conservative agenda of America. Because, even if Bush takes us to war (I pray for this) and wins (I pray for this) and wins easily (I pray for this) and transforms the middle east into a domino-phenomenon that beings a democratic ripple throughout the region (I pray for this), the anti-war, America-haters are going forever to be able to brand America as "The Big Cowboy".

For the Euros, this is not about presenting viable alternatives. This is about neutering America. This is about international competition of the most venal sort. Because if there were a shred of interest in presenting alternatives, this alternative would not have been presented so late in the game.

Look at the play-by-play, in slo-mo if you like. The Euros have played this brilliantly. This is going to be very difficult for the US to bat down in time before we go to war, and that I think is the whole point. The Euros want us to go to war with this proposal sitting on the table.

In other words, since this is not an honest proposal (serious, yes, honest no), they win big chips in the court of world opinion.

It's poker baby, and the Euros have just called our hand. They suck, but play very well.

Yeah, but it's a bluff, and it's not going to work. First, this assumes that it's bad to be thought of as the "Cowboy of the World."

A year or two ago I might have agreed with this. But looking around the world I see a degree of cravenness and an appetite for appeasement that makes me wonder whether it's worth it to play nice.

And my question for the French and Germans is this: If the Security Council fails to constrain Saddam Hussein, what makes you think that it will constrain America?

And how long can you demonize America as an imperialist power that doesn't give a damn what other people think before it comes true?

And do you want to live in that world?

As I said below, of course, it would serve these guys right if Bush said: "We've mobilized the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, and we'll transport 50,000 of your toops to Iraq starting on Thursday. But if you're not ready to send them, we'll dismiss you as a bunch of unserious kibitzers and go on as planned."

I predict a different outcome, however, because this is, in fact, a transparent ploy.


Don't know if you watch Saturday Night Live (I doubt it) but the theme of tonight's show seemed to be "Europeans are morons."

The opening sketch featured the UN Security Council. After Colin Powell finishes his statements on Iraq, the German foreign minister says "and now, I think we should do nothing." Then the French minister says "actually, I think we should all go to lunch at the most expensive restaurant in town, and make the UN pay the tab." For the next five minutes the ministers all discuss how they can find the most expensive restaurant, take the highest number of stretch limos, and block the largest amount of New York traffic. The minister from Syria suggests they use their UN immunity to shoplift at Cartier. At the end the camera turns to Powell, who is dumbfounded.

A later sketch featured an anti-war protest. The lead protester kept trying to discuss the war while the rest of the protesters kept interrupting him by screaming out other causes, including gay rights, legalizing drugs, saving the whales, and stopping smoking. Clearly a parody of ANSWER.

Later on, they ran a parody of a European pop music program, as the two hosts traded criticisms of the United States war on Iraq with horrible banalities about pop music, including a great spot-on parody of horrible European "rappers." Later on they went into the "audience" of kids to get video requests, each kid said how much they hated America and then requested some American video. "Yeah, I want to say to George Bush, get your troops out of Turkey... and my favorite song is Jenny From the Block!!!"

Bet nobody ever thought they would see the day when Saturday Night Live had such a clear pro-war stance.

Well, SNL at its best is about satire, and satire is about puncturing pretentious empty twaddle. And we all know who has the market on that cornered.

UPDATE: Reader Devereaux Cannon emails:

I was struck by the concept of a pacifist superpower. Can such a thing exist?

In an old Death Valley Days episode, I think titled "No Gun Behind The Badge," Ronald Reagan played the roll of a town marshal who tried to enforce the law without using a firearm. He was, of course, shot dead by a bad guy. This strikes me as being analogous to a pacifist superpower.

Well, it worked for Andy Griffith. But the world is not just a big version of Mayberry. Or even Munich.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Hollenbaugh emails:

I watched that show a lot growing up and it's everywhere in reruns. Sheriff Andy Taylor never carried a gun when he didn't need one, but in a number of episodes, when it appeared that the bad guys might be capable of violence, he showed no reluctance to strap on his own .38, or grab a rifle from the rack in his office. I think that might actually make a better point about a pacifist superpower - even the supremely gentle Andy knew that there are times that call for the availability of, and willingness to use, lethal force.

Good point. I'll bet he knows the license number of the bankrobbers' car that Barney ticketed, too. . . .