February 22, 2003


Today the collapse of the Cold War international order, the rise of global terrorism and the backlash to globalization have among them raised the specter of a shrinkage, or even collapse, of globalization -- one perhaps even more catastrophic than the reversal of globalization from 1914 through 1945. Such a collapse, greatly limiting the international flow of goods, capital, and people, would have a number of consequences.

One repercussion would be a global depression probably surpassing the severity and breadth of the 1930s. The second would probably be the return of empire as a strategy for securing resources and security. These two are familiar from history.

The third would be the elevation of weapons of mass destruction, but particularly nuclear weapons, to an effective requirement of sovereignty, and to create an arms race to develop countermeasure, such as ballistic missile defense, and new, hard-to-counter weapons of mass destruction.

Gee, that's something to look forward to. Another reason to end this quickly.


Thousands rallied Saturday in support of President Bush and U.S. troops in a possible war against Iraq, turning their criticism to anti-war protesters and France's opposition to military force.

About 2,000 people turned out at an Orlando rally that featured a reading of the Gettysburg Address, while another 1,000 prayed and marched in Pensacola.

"I was so saddened to see so many in our nation not supporting our troops and our country," said Naval Warrant Officer David Wolff, a Desert Storm veteran who arrived at the Pensacola rally in uniform. "This is very uplifting."

Rallies were also held in Indianapolis and Washington state, where more than 2,000 people gathered for a pro-war rally in Bremerton, home to a naval station where the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson departed last month.

And somehow they managed to organize them without enlisting A.N.S.W.E.R.

UPDATE: Here's more:

The Pensacola rally was a grass-roots effort coordinated by Milton resident Sam Mullins, while the Orlando event was put on by the talk-radio station WFLA-AM.

"There's a silent majority out there that really hasn't had a vehicle yet to get their voices heard, and that's what this is all about," radio host Shannon Burke said. "These are people who love their country, and they're just here to share that."

No reports of any stilts or giant puppets, though. Don't these people know how to run a protest?

TOM LANTOS is arguing against appeasement, and criticizing the Germans and French.


I was holding out for Pestilence, but I'll take whatever.

Considering the source, it's an honor indeed.

UPDATE: Andrea Harris is savaging Sawicky for sexism!

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the comments thread here:

The Weasel-Riders of the Apocalypse!

Sophistry, Petulance, Derision, and Angst!


ANOTHER DICTATOR FOR SADDAM: Chirac's got quite a coalition going here.

Meanwhile others are saying:

"America speaks with passion for democracy which is something that you miss in Europe," said Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania's foreign minister, whose office decor includes a blue baseball cap with "Mr Nato" emblazoned above its peak.

"You cannot find the passionate defence of democratic values that you get from George W Bush and the likes of John McCain in Europe. There is a sense of welcome and understanding in America while Europe makes clear that it cannot be bothered with smaller nations."

Except Mugabe's, of course.

UPDATE: Meanwhile Der Spiegel is reporting that Schroeder has been covering up knowledge of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, to which there is a German connection.

FORGET THE GRAMMY AWARDS! BlogCritics has the Critiquees! Much, much cooler -- and without a lifetime achievement award for Michael Jackson.


So thanks to the Online Journalism Review for striking one more blow toward granting anti-Semitism some badly needed credibility. It's this kind of careful vetting of sources that has made the OJR into the power that it is today.

Hey, antisemitism is in style this year.

UPDATE: Trent Telenko has some thoughts on the growing fashionability of anti-Semitism, and what to do about it.

JIM HENLEY POINTS to an Institute for Justice suit over business subsidies. It's an excellent post. In reply, Eve Tushnet comments on:

a pattern you could see regularly in New Haven--taxes very high (and, in NH, so was union agitation). Major employer or potential employer threatens to leave/not come. City negotiates special tax incentive deal, a.k.a. taxpayers are basically paying for this particular business to stay/come. Big business stays/comes. Big business is happy! Small business, lacking special deal, closes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Yes, this is the "skybox liberalism" (though plenty of big-business conservatives like it, too) that someone was pointing out earlier.

MATT WELCH writes that newspapers are abandoning their non-rich readers:

In 2003, publishers are far more concerned with making sure their readers are rich. The New York Times, for example, boasts to advertisers its readership "is almost three times as likely as the average U.S. adult to have a college or post-graduate degree, more than twice as likely to be professional/managerial and almost three times as likely to have a household income exceeding [US]$100,000." Those robust demographics are nurtured by a series of discriminating editorial choices -- special issues devoted to food, money, design, "The Sophisticated Traveller ... Lives Well Lived," and so on.

The skew is even more pronounced outside New York, where most daily newspapers are local monopolies that don't share the Times' journalistic aspirations. Sunday magazines, especially, are open-handed insults to the have-nots, with their landscape architecture spreads and write-ups of US$200 brunches. Internet sections come and go based on the tech-sector marketing climate of the moment (as opposed to the amount of online activity, which continues to boom). Murder victims in the ghetto are lucky to merit single paragraphs on B5, while affluent college kids struck by stray bullets are memorialized above the fold. . . .

"Daily newspapers have effectively dropped the bottom quintile or perhaps a third of the population," wrote communications professor Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a chapter of the 2002 book Into the Buzzsaw.

It's worse than the Digital Divide -- it's the Newsprint Divide!

ISAAC NEWTON PREDICTS the end of the world in 2060. But I'll be too young to die!

HERE'S A NICE ARTICLE on Ashley Cleveland, whom I've liked ever since I heard her first CD, Big Town, which is just great.

SOME PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY with my earlier linkage of a Mark Steyn quotation about the left and East Timor. (Here's one post, and here's another). But I have to say that those Australians worrying that Osama will make them targets because of Iraq do seem uninterested in mentioning that one of his big complaints was the liberation of East Timor.

If the complaint is that Steyn paints the entire antiwar left as stupid and dishonest, well, that's a pretty broad brush, and I'm certainly willing to agree that there are plenty of exceptions. That's why I've been offering those parts of the movement advice. I have to say, though, that a brief dip into the hatemail (accusing me of getting money from Exxon and -- this is rich -- Shell) that it's produced has convinced me that the "stupid" part is large indeed. Or at least vocal.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Max Sawicky has managed to draft a response that doesn't contain the terms "instacrap" or "instacracker," so I guess I should be pleased.

ANOTHER UPDATE: You can see what Steyn was talking about here and here. I was too lazy to run down these posts, but reader Michael Levy wasn't.

OFF TO TAKE MY DAUGHTER for a haircut. Back later. I'll even try to attack the built-up email.


Instead, last night, the Slavi Show (a ridiculously popular, super-cool, totally mainstream, late-night show here: like David Letterman, but with an 80% viewing audience), spent half the night making fun of Jaques Chirac. Slavi (who looks like the Mr. Clean guy), dressed as Napoleon, looked up and read the Bulgarian definition of "infantile." He's been doing it all week.

Keep it up, Slavi!

HOWARD MORTMAN WRITES that SUV drivers are "America's newest heroes."

Don't tell Arianna Huffington.

UPDATE: And don't tell her about these shirts either.

ANOTHER L.A. BLOGOSPHERE PANEL, this one featuring "Cathy Seipp and the Seven Blog Dwarfs," in Matt Welch's felicitous phrase. It's tonight, so if you're in L.A. check it out. What else are you gonna do on a Saturday night?

RAVENWOLF BLOGS about becoming an American citizen. Drop by and offer your congratulations!

JOSH MARSHALL has an extensive interview with Ken Pollack on Iraq. It's well worth reading.

YEAH, blogging's been lighter than usual for the last couple of days. I'm not in Stephen Green's rest-up-for-the-war mode, but my real job has kept me busier than usual, and I've had family stuff going on too. It happens.

February 21, 2003

WENT OUT TO DINNER AFTER THE CONFERENCE, with the lovely InstaWife coming along. Just got home. Now to bed.

Blogging, and email, will be dealt with tomorrow. Good night!

THE CONFERENCE IS BACK UNDERWAY -- that's Mark Tushnet to the right, who's talking now about constitutional enforcement without judicial review. Well, sort of. The whole thing will be webcast later, which reduces the need for real-time blogging -- and it seems a bit rude to do too much typing while people are talking. That also means that I'm not replying much to email, so it may back up. Sorry.

(Mark Tushnet, though a very eminent legal academic, is probably best known in the blogosphere as Eve Tushnet's father. Take a look at this picture of Eve and see if you can spot a resemblance.)

More later, as time permits.

If you're bored in the interim, there's a new post up over at -- involving some friendly advice for antiwar protesters. And it really is friendly advice.

LUNCH IS OVER and the program hasn't started yet, so here's an amusing link to the George W. Bush LibertyMeter over at Radley Balko's site. It's a graphic illustrating how Bush's policies contribute to liberty, or not, and it's based on Radley's opinion entirely objective!

Here's a link to Radley's explanation of how it works. I like it!

OKAY, HERE'S A QUICK ONE during the break -- a report that anti-American Arab countries like Libya and Iraq, plus Iran, are coordinating with Hugo Chavez in an oil-based counterplot.

I don't know if it's true, but it's plausible (it's the kind of thing I'd do if I were them). I think that Chavez's dictatorial nature is reason enough to want him out of power. But if he's collaborating with America's enemies, then there's another reason, now isn't there?

I'M BLOGGING from the Marbury v. Madison symposium here at the University of Tennessee law school. Right now William Nelson (pictured at right, courtesy of my digicam) is speaking, and he's talking about juries, and the way in which jury supremacy came under attack in the 1790s as the "elites" found that juries were insufficiently deferential, something he connects to the Sedition Act. Very interesting stuff.

Sadly, Bill Van Alstyne fell ill and won't be here. That also means that my talk has been extended, which may limit my conference-blogging this morning. More later. (You can always read Lileks if there's not enough for you here).

You can find a summary of the Marbury decision and why it's important here; and you can find a link to the full text of the opinion here.


“We need more time for diplomacy,” said a key member of the Middle-Earth Security Council, Saruman the White. “I am not convinced by the evidence presented by my esteemed colleague, Gandalf the Grey, or that the Dark Lord Sauron presents an imminent danger to the peoples of the West.”


SORRY FOR THE LIGHT BLOGGING yesterday. I was a bit under the weather. I'm better today, but it's the Marbury symposium. I plan on blogging from the conference, though.

MORE SOPHISTICATED MEASUREMENT = smaller crowd size estimates. No doubt there will be much dispute over this.

UPDATE: Told you so. And here's more.

JOSH CHAFETZ points out that American foreign policy is playing well with Iranian students. Now there's a switch.

NEW EUROPE: Geitner Simmons writes:

Just was 9/11 has proven to be a clarifying event for Americans (awakening most of us to a better appreciation of national security matters), so the show of Gallic arrogance toward the Eastern Europeans has been a clarifying moment for Europe. The differences in vision for “Old Europe” and “New Europe” have been thrown into high relief.


February 20, 2003

JAY MANIFOLD HAS POSTED A REPLY to my TechCentralStation column from yesterday.


THE SAMI AL-ARIAN CASE: Eugene Volokh says it well.

HEH. I'd read about this, but here's the picture.

HAS THE LEFT SPLIT IN TWO? Very interesting post.


If we're seeking lessons from the past to help us deal with Saddam Hussein, then the way we dealt with Mussolini's conquest of Abyssinia in 1935 is - as the Prime Minister understands - the place to look. I was particularly reminded of my own Abyssinia moment when I read about Saturday's anti-war march - hauntingly matched by the Peace Ballot of 1935, the national referendum in which millions voted for peace at almost any price, thus unwittingly persuading Hitler and Mussolini that bold predators had not much to fear.

Then, as now, the authority of what was then the League of Nations and is now the United Nations was at stake. Then, as now, many felt reluctant to take action against a dangerous dictator, even with the authority of a body like the League or the UN, lest it lead to war. Then, as now, our difficulties were compounded by the duplicitous behaviour of the French.

In 1935, after many brave words and much wriggling, we fudged it. So Mussolini took all he wanted in Abyssinia, without hindrance. He and others drew conclusions from this display of impotence.

Vegetius' famous statement, "if you want peace, prepare for war," is usually read as evidence that preparation for war promotes peace. But it's also true that too visible a wanting of peace tends to bring on war.

ADAM YOSHIDA is offering a Virtual March for Victory in response to the "virtual march for peace."

EVELYN SAYS that antiwar feminists are betraying women.

SUSANNA CORNETT has taken my advice and signed up with She's also sending pro-war faxes via

Make your voice heard!

DAVE TROWBRIDGE IS asking for your help.

JACOB T. LEVY notes the bright side of Turkish intransigence: It opens the way to freeing the Kurds!

DICK GEPHARDT HYDROGEN CAR UPDATE: As I mentioned yesterday morning I emailed Gephardt's campaign to ask where the hydrogen for the hydrogen cars would come from. No reply. I called yesterday afternoon and got referred to his Congressional office. No answer there, but today I called and spoke with a PR person who promised that someone else would call me back.

I'll let you know when I hear something, but it's sounding less and less like a carefully crafted plan.

UPDATE: If I don't hear from Gephardt's folks soon, I'm going to start doubting this story.


UPDATE: I don't know if these charges regarding Chavez and Al Qaeda are true, and I'm inclined to be pretty skeptical. But someone should look into them.

MOVEON.ORG has made it easy for you to express your support for the war. Just go here and register. There's also some advice here.

UPDATE: Yes, I know that MoveOn is an antiwar group. But you don't have to be antiwar to use their site. . . .

Nukevet has more advice.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stefan Sharkansky is organizing a Virtual March on Hollywood!



BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 19 -- President Saddam Hussein's government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.

No Iraqi scientist involved in biological, chemical or missile technology has consented to a private interview with the inspectors since Feb. 7, the day before the two chief U.N. inspectors arrived here for talks with Iraqi officials. The United Nations also has not received additional documents about past weapons programs, despite the government's pledge to set up a commission to scour the country for evidence sought by the inspectors, U.N. officials said.

Useful idiots? Looks that way to me.

ASSASSINATIONS AND ARRESTS OF OPPOSITION FIGURES: All in Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez is making it more obvious that he's a dictator.

If it were "all about oil," we'd have invaded there already. If it's about human rights, then the time is coming. . . . And where are the "human rights" groups? Not making the kind of noise they'd make if a U.S. ally were involved, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Here's more. Also here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Randy Paul points out that human rights groups have complained. But, as I say, it's not the kind of noise they'd make in other circumstances. Compare the attention to this with the attention that Guantanamo got, for example, or the complaints about Israel.

But here, via Randy, is a link to Human Rights watch's comments. Not bad -- but after the way the various human rights groups postured prior to the Afghanistan invasion and over Gitmo, it's going to take a lot to impress me with their evenhandedness.

ROBERT PRATHER HAS MOVED. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

Also, I note that he's plugging Oliver Willis's new novel, Valley Girl. The first two chapters are available for free download at this link, so check it out.

I WAS ALWAYS A FAN OF WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS. Perhaps I was wrong to be.

UPDATE: Here's a partial defense of one of Douglas's claims.

AMERICAN DIPLOMACY -- not so simplistic:

Compared to Parisian diplomatic contempt, American efforts begin to look remarkably deft. No sooner had France and Germany established their common opposition to American aims, for example, than the U.S. characterized them as "Old Europe" even as it worked to bring a "New Europe" into plain view. Now that Chirac has made his countermove—telling upstart Europe it should be seen and not heard—the American and British governments look like a pair of pretty smooth operators. . . .

France's problem isn't the upstart applicant counties and their supposed "allegiance" to Washington; major EU member states with successful economies also stand with the U.S. France's problem is French global pretension: Chirac wants applicant nations to kiss his ring. The applicant nations see the EU as being about a democratic Europe of which they are a part, while France perceives the EU as being an instrument of French global stature. Currently, it can boast primarily of maintaining a neo-colonial presence in Africa, and of suppressing the struggle for independence in Corsica. Running Europe would considerably brighten its resume.

Well, I can't entirely blame them for wanting to keep Corsica. After all, it's the home of Laetitia Casta. (LATER: Iain Murray emails that Laetitia Casta is now a tax exile living in London. Seems fitting, somehow.)

UPDATE: Here's a summary of angry reactions from the New Europe courtesy of the BBC. And as proof that the French are on their way out, Molly Ivins is defending them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dwight Green emails:

Thanks for posting the Molly Ivins link where she defends France. While I hate the phrase, she constantly proves that she just doesn't get it. Repeatedly. Yes, many wonderful French people died in World War I and World War II. But she fails to ask the question "why?"

The folly of French leaders this century has been the single-most reductive thing to the population (and stature) of France. The beef that Americans have with "the French" isn't with your average French person... it's with the iincompetence of their leadership. Since the average American isn't immersed in French culture (contrast that to the bombardment of American 'culture'), the view here is shaped by the posturing and silliness that is their lleaders.

He's right, of course. Meanwhile reader Gautam Mukunda emails:

I just wanted to mention to you that Ivins is (as usual) factually inaccurate, not just inane. France had more (and better) tanks than Germany. What it did not have was any sort of doctrine of how to use them. It wasn't poor equipment, but an inability to think through the consequences of the equipment that they did have, that doomed France in 1940.

De Gaulle, interestingly enough, actually made a decent stab at inventing the first effective anti-blitzkrieg doctrine during the German assault. He was (IIRC) an armored regiment commander in the French Army. It was just too little, too late.

Yes, the French military defeat was -- like so many of the diasters of the 20th Century -- not the fault of circumstances so much as it was the result of the arrogant ineptitude and shortsightedness of French leaders.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ross Douthat at The American Scene writes that Ivins' is the worst column ever. Oh, I don't think she's accomplished quite that much.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on Molly: "She said one thing accurately, but it was by mistake."


In a world governed by reason and leadership, one would expect world leaders to immediately denounce such racist calls before they become an epidemic. However, President Bush was the only world leader to acknowledge the connection between Danny's murder and the rise of anti-Semitism: "We reject the ancient evil of anti-Semitism whether it is practiced by the killers of Daniel Pearl or by those who burn synagogues in France." No European head of state rose to John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" with the morally equivalent statement "Today, I am a Jew."

Not surprisingly, our unguided world has seen an alarming rise of anti-Semitic activity in the past year. Tens of millions of Muslims have become unshakably convinced that Jews were responsible for the Sept. 11 attack. Egypt's state-controlled television aired a 30-part program based on the notorious anti-Semitic book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and Egyptians were fed another fantasy, that Jews are plotting to take over the world. Syria's defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, released the eighth edition of his book, "The Matzah of Zion," in which he accuses Jews of using the blood of Christians to bake matzah for Passover. And on the sideline, while these flames of hatred were consuming sizable chunks of the world's population, traditionally vocal champions of antiracism remained silent.

Silent, and increasingly discredited.

UPDATE: Here, courtesy of reader Gregory S. Taylor, is a link to the Daniel Pearl foundation.

HOMELAND SECURITY CONCERNS may be destroying model rocketry.

That seems idiotic to me -- like most things being done under the "homeland security" umbrella.

February 19, 2003

MSNBC. MARGO KINGSTON. INDYMEDIA. And now my Shermanesque march through the lefty media continues, with an oped column in -- yes -- The Guardian.

Or maybe I'm just a lefty after all. An Abbie Hoffmanesque one. I blog, you decide.

PUT MY DAUGHTER TO BED tonight. No news there, but it reminded me how fast she's growing up. We used to read together -- we went through the Harry Potter books and the Narnia books and so on many many times. But now she reads to herself. She just finished a book about Molly, a plucky little girl who made it through life on the home front during World War Two. Tonight, she read to me from a book about Emily, a plucky little girl who made her life in the Jamestown Colony.

Then she got out her old "Arthur's Bedtime Stories" book and had me read the (Arthurized) Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood, and The Princess and the Pea, complete with all the voices and sound effects I used to do every night. She knows she's growing up, too, and she's not quite ready to leave that behind. Yet.

HERE'S A REPORT that NASA really is going ahead with plans for the Orbital Space Plane as a replacement for the Shuttle. Rand Simberg will be thrilled.

SNEAK PREVIEW: Other people won't be able to read this for a few hours, but subscribers to InstaPundit Premium (tm) -- which is, er, everyone -- can read this story on InstaPundit from my local alt-weekly now. It says I sometimes come across "as an Abbie Hoffmanesque cyber-Yippie for the information age."

Yeah, that's me!


A soothing letter by the British prime minister, Tony Blair, to leaders of the East European countries lined up to join the Union has been widely interpreted as an attempt by Britain to cement friendships among the EU’s future members. . . .

France’s Le Figaro newspaper described Blair’s letter as a ‘‘affront’’ to Chirac.

Blair sent his letter to the 10 countries set to join the Union next year as well as the three other official candidates, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

In it he said he regretted that future members of the Union were not invited to a special EU summit meeting Monday dedicated to the question of Iraq.

‘‘As you know, I had argued that you should be present and able to contribute fully to the debate,’’ Blair said. . . .

Chirac’s harsh words were reported verbatim in newspapers in Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and other eastern capitals.

In Hungary reports of Chirac’s outburst were especially ill-timed, coinciding with the start of an official government campaign to convince voters to say ‘‘yes’’ to joining the European Union in a referendum April 16.

And Bulgaria showed its displeasure by summoning France’s ambassador Wednesday in protest. President Georgi Parvanov told the ambassador that he was concerned about Chirac’s ‘‘emotional statement,’’ according to the Associated Press. . . .

‘‘There’s definitely a feeling in Europe that Chirac disastrously shot himself in the foot with his outburst,’’ said Everts of the Center for European Reform in London. ‘‘France was on a roll and Britain was on the defensive. But Chirac threw it all away.’’

Chirac’s comments were not a slip of the tongue, some diplomats said, but part of a concerted campaign by France to weaken ties between East European countries and the United States — and by extension Britain.


I JUST NOTICED that InstaPundit got a favorable mention from Margo Kingston, who calls it a "prominent U.S. website."

IF YOU'VE GOT A BROADBAND CONNECTION, be sure you watch Evan Coyne Maloney's antiwar protest vlog.

I think web video journalism is the wave of the future. This is proof.

AUSTRALIAN WINEMAKERS are poised to clobber the French. Or they will be, after they read this column by Tim Blair.

UPDATE: Nick Schulz emails:

On two separate occasions in two different wine shops I overheard people saying to each other they would avoid the French wine selections - Italian and Australian were fine with them. We dined one night with a woman of French ancestry who said she was ashamed of her heritage, wouldn't drink French wines anymore, won't eat French cheeses either.

I thought this was all a little much after a while - a bit juvenile, perhaps. But something changed that. After overhearing one older gentlemen in a Publix - a big grocery store in Florida - say to his wife he wouldn't buy French wines, I said to him "I understand your sentiment". He tracked me down five minutes later in another part of the store to explain himself. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne. He had stormed the beaches in France and he and some of his buddies marched all the way to Berlin. The attitude of the French at this time - when the United States was asking for help - was simply incomprehensible to this guy. He understood it may not mean much, buying Barolo instead of Bordeaux. But the little gestures can sometimes mean a lot, especially when made by a stooped, withered old man who'd not only served his own country but served Europe as well. As for me, no more Beaujolais at Thanksgiving. I'll bet a lot of other American feel similarly.

With so many excellent Argentinean, Chilean, Australian -- and Bulgarian! -- wines available, it's not much of a sacrifice.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Chirac, et al., are underestimating the depth of hostility they're creating, and I think they expect it to blow over a lot faster than it, in fact, will.


SAN ANTONIO -- A teenage girl, shot and killed by federal drug agents, was a victim of excessive force from law officers who were investigating her father, relatives and friends say.

Ashley Villarreal, 14, died on Tuesday evening after family members requested that she be taken off life support at Wilford Hall Medical Center.

Those old SNL "X-Police" skits seem rather prophetic, these days.

UPDATE: A reader notes that Mark Kleiman thinks that it's too early to criticize the agents here. Well, maybe. But if we didn't have a Drug War -- which is a dreadful waste of time, money, liberty and lives -- this wouldn't have happened at all. When you decide that federal drug agents will run around with drawn guns, you decide that a certain number of innocent lives will be lost. Is that worth it? Sometimes -- but not in the case of the Drug War.

UPDATE: Another reader points out that I'm agreeing with Atrios. Well, we lefty bloggers tend to agree! Sorry Pejman.

I VOTED FOR WHAT? Jacob Sullum points to outraged reactions from members of Congress who didn't realize what the McCain-Feingold bill actually did. I love this.

INSTALAWYER REVIEWS the latest John Grisham novel, The King of Torts. Does he like it? Well, that would be telling.

SOUTH KOREAN LEGISLATORS are asking the United States not to leave.

HMM. I'm not so sure that this is a good idea. But maybe Chirac has been softened up enough to let it work.

"ONE MILLION U.S. TROOPS COULD DIE:" Reader James McKenzie-Smith sends the link to this story and notes:

Apparently, Iraqi anthrax is so powerful that it can kill every last one of the US troops in the Persian Gulf area not once but nine times each!

Maybe the US Army should send cats?

Heh. Who writes these stories? Oh, right, never mind. . . .


Jones, a former Army officer, drew perhaps the biggest round of applause after the subject turned to America's showdown with Iraq. He said that war is sometimes necessary.

"All people have to be prepared," Jones said. "If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time."

Amen. (Follow the link for streaming audio).

IT'S BOLLYWOOD VS. THE TALIBAN: And I'm betting on Bollywood, even without the wet-burka scenes. And then there's the rapidly-growing Nigerian film industry, whose themes aren't exactly friendly to radical Islam.

These are two reasons why I think that those who seem, like Jim Pinkerton, to think that Islam is an insurgent force overcoming a decadent Christianity on its way to global domination are totally wrong. The Islamic world is, in fact, intellectually and spiritually impoverished (Iran has some good filmmakers, but they're largely crushed by the mullahocracy, and beyond that, the Islamic world has very little to offer). The violence of radical Islam is a sign of decline, not a sign of vigor. For vigor, look to Lagos, Bollywood, or the global home of vigor: America.

THE RICE STUFF: Some interesing background on Condi Rice, who I still think should be on the ticket in 2004.

IT'S A LITTLE LATE (some of the pixels were caught in snowdrifts, I guess) but my TechCentralStation column is up. It's about asteroids and ignorance.


Diplomats and commentators likened Mr Chirac's comments to Soviet-era edicts to Warsaw Pact countries and warned they would have a lasting impact on France's standing and authority in Europe.

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said in a retort to Mr Chirac: "We are not joining the EU so we can sit and shut up." . . .

Romanian President Ion Iliescu led the attack on France, describing the President's "outdated" views as an affront to democracy and free speech.

"Such reproaches are totally unjustified, unwise and undemocratic," he told reporters in Brussels, after a meeting for candidate nations on Iraq. . . .

"In the European family there are no mummies, no daddies and no kids - it is a family of equals," said Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.

Hmm. I guess Chirac needs to stop that "who's your Daddy?" talk. . . .

DICK GEPHARDT, SPACE VISIONARY: Just watched Dick Gephardt's campaign announcement, via C-SPAN. Good, solid speech -- but why the Tina Turner shlock-rock afterward? -- but with one passing comment worth blogging.

Gephardt said the usual stuff about dependence on foreign oil, yadda yadda, and then endorsed hydrogen cars. Hydrogen cars are fine but -- as many pointed out after Bush endorsed them -- the hydrogen has to come from somewhere. To make it, you need electricity, which either comes from burning oil (D'oh!) or from some other source, like nuclear plants.

Or it can come from space. Gephardt, in fact, called for an "Apollo program for energy independence." That may have been a throwaway line (there's nothing beyond it on his website), but space enthusiasts have been pushing solar power satellites, as a way of getting clean solar energy (it's beamed to earth via microwave) that can be used to support a hydrogen-fuel economy, for years. (You can read more on the subject here, here, and here.)

Could this be what Gephardt had in mind? If so, he didn't give any more hints. But if it's not what he had in mind, then someone needs to ask him where the electricity for all that hydrogen is going to come from.

If it is what he had in mind, it's a pretty good idea. In particular, a project like this -- done right, anyway -- would jump-start launcher development. The problem, as Rand Simberg has pointed out repeatedly, is that we've got a double-bind: launch systems need lots of launches to be economical, and to move up the learning and reliability curves. But when launches aren't economical and reliable, it's hard to come up with enough payloads.

Were Gephardt's words part of a very thoughtful plan, or just meaningless pap? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Gephardt looks even better now -- it's switched to Dennis Kucinich, who by all appearances should be Karl Rove's favorite Democratic candidate. Jeez. "Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction! Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction! Poor health care is a weapon of mass destruction! Peace will protect the rights of workers!" And he's delivering it in a half-shouting singsong that doesn't go over very well.

Of course, Kucinich's space platform -- which involves a ban on "orbital mind-control weapons" -- isn't very impressive, either.

UPDATE: A reader suggests that I direct Kucinich to this page. Uh, okay, but I'm pretty sure he's not an InstaPundit reader. I have, however, emailed Gephardt's campaign to ask about his proposal.

FRIDAY'S THE MARBURY V. MADISON SYMPOSIUM at my law school, the University of Tennessee. I'll be speaking, as will a lot of bigger shots. It will be available (though not in realtime) as streaming video, but I may try blogging from the conference.

PHILIPPE DE CROY has an interesting dialogue on the Estrada nomination, in which both sides come off badly, but in which it's the Republicans who seem worse off.

I haven't blogged much on this because -- as I said a while back -- I find it hard to take the whole judicial-confirmation battle scene seriously anymore. It's a stylized combat that's ultimately almost all politics. The discipline that was once provided by tradition, decorum, and propriety is now just about gone, for better or worse.

CONTINUING TO THUMB HIS NOSE AT THE EUROPEAN UNION, Jacques Chirac is entertaining Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe despite European sanctions that are supposed to bar such visits. But there's a twist:

Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, has formally launched a bid to put Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, on trial in Paris for torture. . . .

Mr Tatchell filed his formal complaint with the French authorities just as Mr Mugabe arrived in Paris to attend a Franco-Africa summit. The two men are old adversaries. The last time they met Mr Tatchell was beaten up and left in a Brussels gutter after trying to intercept the president in a hotel lobby.

That's our Jacques -- soft on dictators, but tough on people who don't like dictators. At least, he's soft on dictators who might enter into lucrative oil deals, or lease French airplanes!

UPDATE: Here's more on Chirac. Reader Chris Fountain emails that he's disappointed with Chirac's simplistic unilateralism.

JUST SENT OUT THANK-YOU EMAILS to people who have donated via PayPal over the past couple of months. I should have done it sooner, but I'm not very well set up for that kind of thing here. The Amazon donations, which used to be almost all I got, are anonymous unless someone affirmatively chooses to let me know, so I don't get many emails from those. And until I took off the $2.50 cap on the PayPal donations, I hardly got any of those, either. I just wasn't prepared and hadn't even thought about how I'd handle the comparative flood of donations that came in when I made that change.

Anyway, I sent a nice thank you email to each donor -- not a bulk mailing, but one at a time -- which was inefficient but nice. What with the hatemail flood of recent weeks, it was very pleasant to sit down with a list of people who like the site enough to actually send money.

Thanks to reader Robert Liss for gently suggesting that I should do that. And thanks again to everyone who donated.


As an otherwise impeccably “pro-European” Czech diplomat puts it, “One thing we learned from the 1930s—no more security guarantees from France.”


MATTHEW HOY HAS A TABLE showing the various members of the United Nations Security Council in terms of ratings from various human rights organizations.

It's pretty obvious why they don't call it the "Freedom Council."

GARY HART AND VIETNAMESE MANICURISTS: Drop by Virginia Postrel's page for lots of interesting observations.

JONATHAN FREEDLAND, in The Guardian, is not afraid to tackle the tough question:

No, we need an answer to the argument which has become Tony Blair's favourite in recent days: that war is needed to topple a cruel tyrant who has drowned his people in misery. In this view, the coming conflict is a war of liberation which will cost some Iraqi lives at first, to be sure, but which will save many more. It will be a moral war to remove an immoral regime. To oppose it is to keep Saddam in power.

This is a much harder case for the anti-war movement to swat aside. We have to take it seriously, if only because no slogan will sink the peace cause faster than "anti-war equals pro-Saddam". And the anti-war movement has made itself vulnerable to that charge. Tony Benn's patsy interview with the dictator was a terrible error, while aspects of Saturday's rally hardly helped. Few speakers paid more than lip service to Saddam's crimes; indeed, most seemed to regard George Bush as by far the more evil despot. Tariq Ali suggested regime change was needed in Britain more than it was in Iraq, while the official banners told their own story. "Don't Attack Iraq," they shouted, above a second line, "Freedom for Palestine." Why was that not "Freedom for Iraqis"?

Why, indeed? Read the whole thing -- it's the sort of sharp self-criticism that the antiwar movement will need if it is to be taken seriously. Well, it's a start, anyway.

UPDATE: William Sjostrom is less impressed. I guess it depends on your expectations.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, look who's agreeing with Freedland.

ANTIWAR PROTESTS = "KANGAROO JACK" -- Ken Layne's cold equations.


Even the leftist Libйration's editorial is criticizing Chirac today. Here's the link and my translation of the first paragraph.


Who has just missed an opportunity to shut up? Answer: Jacques Chirac, who rebuked Monday evening the governments of the countries about to adhere to the European Union because of their instinctive backing of George W Bush's warmongering . Scolding publicly their standpoint, Chirac repeated the American leaders's mistake when they picked at "old Europe" and asked their partners to be either "with or against them " when attacking Iraq. Arrogance is never a good policy. The worst is that this does not seem to be a slip of the tongue, since Michele Alliot-Marie, turning herself into a Jeanne d' Arc, threatened to expel the pro-Americans from the sacred lands of the EU through the non-ratification of the Adherence Treaties , while Villepin opened fire talking about "bad manners".

It's a coordinated effort at self-destruction. And it's working!

February 18, 2003

TWO NEW BLOGS: WebKafe and The Lofty. Check 'em out.


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A resolution opposing an attack on Iraq failed to pass in the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday after spirited public testimony that included statements from celebrities and the ejection of an elderly woman from the council chambers. . . .

Asner railed against the "failed" Bush administration and ventured that the Iraq crisis and the war against terrorism were "aimed at keeping the (American) people intimidated."

The testimony was largely orderly, although two police officers escorted a white-haired woman in a "Green Power" T-shirt out of the packed council chambers after she was declared out of order.

It's always bothered me to hear the dumb political stuff that Ed Asner says. Lou Grant is Asner's only claim to fame. I liked Lou Grant. And Lou Grant would never have said any of the dumb stuff that Ed Asner says.

I guess that proves that Asner can act, anyway.

WE'VE HAD FLOODS here in Knoxville, but apparently things have been a lot worse in Newfoundland. Damian Penny emails this link to a Canadian Red Cross site where you can donate if you like.

I HADN'T VISITED BJORN STAERK'S BLOG in a while, so I just dropped by. It's still good.

JAMES LILEKS: Marital Aid. Well, sort of.

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES and a report from yesterday's demonstration in Denver.

EVEN THE ARAB NEWS is unhappy with Jacques Chirac's diplomatic gaffes:

President Jacques Chirac’s outburst at central and eastern European governments such as Poland and the Czech Republic for daring to take the US point of view is astounding. To threaten doing so might endanger their applications to join the EU could undermine the very policy that Chirac champions.

To ridicule them publicly, saying that they have not behaved properly and have missed an historic opportunity to keep quiet, is hardly the way to make friends and influence people. This is the same blustering, steamroller approach that the White House has used to such damaging effect on the world stage. President Bush’s “either you’re with us or against us” statement, his arrogant assumption that Washington knows best and that everyone else has to fall into line behind it have done more to alienate international public opinion than the evident bellicosity of his Iraqi policy; other governments are not going to be told what to do by Washington. It is incredible then that Chirac should try to do the same on a European stage. All Chirac has done is to exacerbate anti-French feeling in Europe. The result will not be European governments falling into line behind France on Iraq, but the opposite. Indeed, from the furor it has created in Eastern Europe, that is already happening.

Heh. Comparing Chirac to Bush is really rubbing salt in the wound. "Me, compared to that cowboy? Incroyable!"

SALAM PAX REPORTS that the Guardian is wrong. He says that the story (reported here) saying that Saddam had placed his Defense Minister under house arrest isn't true -- or at least that an awful lot of the facts in it are wrong.

FACT-CHECKERS FACT-CHECKED: Claims that Jeff Jacoby lied about John Kerry turn out to be, well, totally wrong. Plus, free tips on how to use NEXIS!

HERE'S A CZECH OPED arguing that France and Germany are positioning themselves to head a new Warsaw Pact, waging a new Cold War against the United States -- and using the same "peace movement" in the same way the Soviets did.

I guess it's not surprising that the New Europe doesn't like that idea all that much.

UPDATE: And check out this editorial from a Romanian paper making a similar point.

Communism wrung our neck while the honourable democracies issued communiquйs. And now they are surprised that all the countries in the former communist bloc do not give a damn about obsolete stratagems of France and Germany.

You can't get much plainer than that.

NICK DENTON DISCOVERS that women like porn.

He also has advice for "Bloogle," as he's calling the new Blogger/Google hybrid.

I wonder if that name will stick? It's certainly better than "Glogger."


How far are the "peace" crowd prepared to go? Well, they've stopped talking about their little pet cause of the Nineties, East Timor, ever since the guys who blew up that Bali nightclub and whoever's putting together those "Osama" audio tapes started listing support for East Timor's independence as one of the Islamist grievances against the West. But why be surprised? In fall 2001, being pro-gay and pro-feminist didn't stop the left defending an Afghan regime that disenfranchised women and executed homosexuals. Yet these are the same fellows who insist that a secular regime like Iraq's would never make common cause with Islamic fundamentalists, apparently requiring a higher degree of intellectual coherence of Saddam than of themselves.

Read it all.

UPDATE: A couple of people have emailed me to point out that the left opposed the Taliban in the 1990s. But -- as I think the paragraph above makes clear -- that's not Steyn's point. His point is that the left largely stopped being exercised about the Taliban once it looked as if the United States was going to war against them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Todd Morman sends this link as evidence that Steyn is wrong. But I don't think it supports his thesis. The title, "Feminists agonize over war in Afghanistan," kind of makes my point. Yes, Eleanor Smeal is quoted as saying the Taliban deserve what they get. But the thesis of the article is that "many women are unwilling to translate their opposition to the Taliban into support for war." And that's Steyn's point. Kvetching and condemning from the sidelines is one thing -- but supporting the United States in a war is just too much. For everyone? No. But for most of the self-described "progressive left?" Oh, yeah. Way too much. (And note the split between the "progressives" and actual Afghan women.)


I don't think the assertion that "the left largely stopped being exercised about the Taliban once it looked as if the United States was going to war against them" is entirely accurate.

I was 100% on board. My flag flew over my mailbox every day of the operations (like that helped, but enlistment probably isn't an option for an old fart like me, especially given the shape I'm in).

My only complaints were that we waited as long as we did and that we didn't drop some tactial nukes on a couple of their caveman hideouts. That would have sent a very large message without causing too much damage to civilized people. Not to mention that we might have gotten OBL.

If SKBubba represented the Left, I'd be a lot happier with the Left. But his suggestion that there are "civilized people" on the one hand, and people who deserve to be nuked on the other, pretty clearly puts him beyond that particular Pale. Which is the problem.

I THINK THAT BRIAN MICKLETHWAIT has this about right. Bush and Blair can't come right out and say this, for a variety of political and diplomatic reasons. But Brian can.


President Jacques Chirac's warning to the new Europeans of EU and NATO enlargement that they cannot side too much with America and fit his definition of membership in the family of Europe has exposed, with an outburst of pure rage, a profound, long-term contradiction that could tear the EU apart. . . .

The violence of the remarks acknowledged openly for the first time one of the basic reasons that Iraq has become such an existential issue for France, and in its manner, Germany.

Confronting the United States, and marking out a line where European-Atlantic coalescence must stop, involves an attempt to re-establish their leadership in a Europe whose institutional future points toward the French and Germans being submerged by a new wave of entrants refusing to define Europe's raison d'кtre in a foreign and security policy automatically opposed to the United States. . . .

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder referred, a trace obliquely, last week to the conflict, saying that the Iraq question really meant protecting "European sovereignty," and that the actions taken now would determine the development of Europe over the next 10 to 15 years. But with its shared borders and history of savaging Eastern Europe, the Germans are in no position to use the menacing and near-condescending language that came from the French president.

Basically, Chirac told the candidates: You must think as France and Germany do. With near total support for his positions in France, Chirac, thought-police style, set up as an obligation for the emerging half of the continent the unanimity at home that Liberation, the left-wing newspaper said over the weekend, "has something suffocating about it."

Indeed. Open up that thing and let in some air.

UPDATE: Now Chirac is offering "The Freedom to be Silent."


134 bodies have been found in a subway train in South Korea following an arson attack today, a television station reported, quoting police. . . .

Another 135 people were injured in the attack which took place at a subway stop in the centre of Daegu, and attempts to rescue passengers trapped underground were hampered by thick smoke and toxic fumes.

Police said a man who appeared to be deranged sprayed flammable liquid in a subway carriage then used a cigarette lighter to ignite a blaze that spread swiftly.

Many of the victims died from smoke inhalation, said medical authorities in Daegu, the country's fourth largest city some 200km south-east of Seoul.

A 57-year-old man, who was suspected of setting the fire, was taken into custody for questioning, a police officer at Jungbu police station in central Daegu told AFP.

Daegu Police station chief Suh Hyon-Soo said that the suspect was believed to be mentally ill.

Okay, so maybe it's small-t terror rather than large-T Terror, though one wonders if someone put him up to it. On the other hand there's this guy who was caught boarding an airplane with gasoline and matches. Probably just a coincidence, as it doesn't sound very terroristic.

UPDATE: Hmm. When you read this account of the Miami arrest you find this, which makes terrorism seem a bit more likely:

Authorities became more suspicious after examining Ishiguro's passport which included stamps from Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Double hmm. (Via Clay Hackney).

ERIC MULLER NOTES that tomorrow is the 61st anniversary of FDR's Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two. You can read the order here -- note that it doesn't actually make clear that's what it's about.

Charles Black observed that one of the bad things about this action that gets little attention is that no one actually took responsibility. Congress passed vague legislation, FDR issued a vague Executive Order, and then the military officials who actually locked people up claimed that they were just following orders. When nobody takes responsibility, it usually means that nobody wants the blame -- which is a pretty fair guide in determining whether something is blameworthy it seems to me.

CHIRAC'S BLUSTER -- and what we should do to take advantage of it -- is the subject of today's item.


REPORT FROM THE PARIS BUREAU: InstaPundit Paris Correspondent Nelson Ascher emails:

I think we're all basically misreading Chirac's recent anti-New Europe declarations in a way that, though not wrong, is not particularly relevant. What is really, really relevant is how angry he still is weeks after all those pro-American letters. His anger is blinding him to his own "gaffes" and that's as serious as it gets here, right? You can forgive perfidy or backstabbing, but "gaffes" are quite another thing: they're unforgivable. What does this mean?That the other countries' revolt against FRANCO-german dirigisme was, for Chirac, his government and our Quai d'Orsay friends, a huge setback, huger than I thought. His anger is its clearest admission. Now is the time to say: hey, Jacques, calm down, here's some Valium, don't be angry, don't lose your class, we still love you.

I think this is right, and I'll have more on it up over at shortly. As I say in that item, though, I don't think that it's time to calm Jacques down quite yet. For him, this has always been as much about the future state of Europe as it is about Iraq. I think he's just waking up to the fact that at some level the "simplistic" Bush Administration may be playing the same game, and that he's lost.

Meanwhile, InstaPundit's other Paris Correspondent, Claire Berlinski, emails:

When Judith and I spoke on the phone last night, we were both trying to put find the right way to describe a particularly unnerving aspect of the anti-American protests: There appears to be something quasi-religious and messianic, even orgiastic, about this latest spasm of anti-modernism and anti-Semitism. . . . I'd like to try to document this aspect of the anti-American movement: Has anyone read interviews with anti-American activists who describe themselves or their cause in a way that suggests that they conceive of their program as an essentially mystical or spiritual one? Would you please forward them my way?

If you've got anything especially good, send it to me and I'll forward it on along.

UPDATE: Hmm. This doesn't exactly answer Claire's question, but it's revealing nonetheless.

JACK BALKIN WONDERS what game Bush is playing. Of course, for it to be successful, it has to be impossible for anyone to tell.

Here are some thoughts from Matt Welch.

THIS LATEST FROM NORTH KOREA goes beyond "saber-rattling." Fred Pruitt thinks Japan may go nuclear itself in response.

That's assuming it hasn't already, of course.


Last weekend at the Southern Regional BLSA Conference, UT's chapter received the Southern Region Chapter of the Year Award. UT's chapter received the award based on its campus and community activism, its high school programs (mock trial and Jr. Barristers), its social events and its sponsorship of voter and blood drives. The UT BLSA Chapter is now in contention for the National Chapter of the Year Award which will be determined at the National Convention in about a month.

I was their faculty adviser some years ago, and I'm still proud of them.


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac sparked outrage on Tuesday after a tirade against east European candidates who took a pro-American stance on Iraq marred an EU summit which united to send a final warning to Baghdad. . . .

Many were seething at Chirac's charges at a closing news conference on Monday night that their joint statements siding with Washington were "childish and irresponsible" and could damage their prospects of joining the bloc. . . .

Liberal Democrat leader Graham Watson called it "gratuitous and condescending." Hans-Georg Poettering, leader of the center-right European People's Party, the largest grouping, warned against pitting eastern against western Europe, or the EU against the United States.

"Were we to define our relationship in such a way that European integration is seen as something running counter to our relations with the United States, then we would be jeopardizing the future of the European Union," he said.

"We would be forcing the candidate countries to side always with the United States. Because of their historical experiences, they always feel that they can get more support and succor from the American side in an emergency," Poettering added.

Yes, no one wants to have to rely on France in a crisis. Perhaps Chirac should think about why that's so. And he should know that you don't pull the "it's me or him!" trick unless you're absolutely sure the answer won't be "him."

I thought the French were supposed to be sophisticated about these things.

UPDATE: And Sylvain Galineau has polling data suggesting things aren't as good for Chirac, or as bad for Blair, as some seem to think.

And here's a proposal to replace France with Japan on the Security Council.

HERE'S AN INTERESTING COMPARISON of antiwar marches with the anti-Chavez marches in Venezuela.

STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY: Here's more on the new wave of campus activism.

ROBERT FISK IS UNHAPPY because Arabs don't seem to mind a U.S. liberation of Iraq all that much. Why can't they share the fierce anti-Americanism of people who don't live under dictators?

(Via Fisk's biggest fan.)

February 17, 2003

ALEX KNAPP THINKS that Oliver Willis would kick Al Franken's ass as the new liberal radio talk show host.

I agree, but I still think that Oliver is made for TV. I think he should replace Phil Donahue. In fact, I just saw Donahue "debating" Pat Buchanan on war, so I think that Oliver should replace Phil Donahue right now.


SMELL THE BLOG? Obviously a Spinal Tap fan.

TRAFFIC COPS for outer space. This is actually a very good thing. The space debris problem is very real. These "engineering" rules, as they're called, reduce the production of debris substantially. I think that ultimately, we're going to need liability rules that punish the creation of space debris, and something much like maritime salvage law that will encourage people to clean it up. But this is a good start.

ANDREA SEE has gone over 250 days without smoking. Congratulations!

HOW STUPID IS JACQUES CHIRAC? That's the question.

UPDATE: More evidence for the "pretty dumb" side -- he seems to be losing it:

At Mr Annan's hawkish stance, Mr Chirac stood up and, with Gallic passion, began a defence of the French position.

Flinging his arms up and down, he declared that war was a terrible thing and that thousands of innocent people would lose their lives in a second Gulf war. "It is a question of life and death," he said.

It was suggested that, at this point, the most dramatic moment of the evening occurred. Silvio Berlusconi, the diminutive Italian premier, eyeballed Mr Chirac and insisted: "I'm just as concerned about life and death as you are."

He asked the French president to consider what happened to innocent people in Bali and in New York's twin towers.

Then, the normally mild-mannered Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, interjected and pointed out that the only person getting away with defying the will of the international community was Saddam.

He added that the weapons inspectors could not go on indefinitely.

By this time, Mr Chirac was positively steaming at the pro-American forces reigned against him. But there was more.

Jan Peter Balkenende, the new Dutch prime minister, underscored the hawkish line, saying the issue was Iraq's full compliance and that it was now just a matter of weeks, not months, before the matter had to be resolved. "We have to reinforce the pressure on Iraq," he said.

Spain's Jose Maria Aznar also called for international cohesion, pointing out that the UN had only got so far with the Iraqi dictator by threatening force.

Then, Tony Blair said his piece, deriding the 12 years of deceit by Saddam and stressing he had to come into compliance "100%".

Looking at his colleagues one by one, he told them bluntly: "There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Jacob Golbitz writes:

By scolding the leadership of these countries for daring not to toe the E.U. line and indicating that this display of independence may jeopardize their pending E.U. membership, the President of France is merely calling attention to the fact that when looking at E.U./U.S. conflict over Iraq, his eastern neighbors recognize the stronger horse.

It's beginning to seem like an emerging theme of 2003 is a race to irrelevance between the United Nations and the European Union. Right now it looks a little close to call.



Saddam Hussein was last night reported to have placed his defence minister and close relative under house arrest in an extraordinary move apparently designed to prevent a coup.

Iraqi opposition newspapers, citing sources in Baghdad, yesterday claimed that the head of the Iraqi military, Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai, was now effectively a prisoner in his home in the capital.

The minister's apparent detention, also reported by Cairo-based al-Ahram newspaper, is surprising. He is not only a member of President Saddam's inner circle, but also a close relative by marriage. His daughter is married to Qusay Hussein, the dictator's 36-year-old younger son - considered by many as his heir apparent.

Reports of the general's arrest came amid signs of growing apprehension in Baghdad that the Iraqi army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of an attack on Iraq.

Apparently, the psychological-warfare efforts are working.

PARAPUNDIT WRITES: "The problem for classical liberalism today is that technological advances are making it easier to create conditions in Western societies that are outside the range of allowable conditions needed for a liberal society to survive."

Not proven, but troubling -- even before you get to the asteroid-weapons stuff.

ASTEROIDS AS WEAPONS: Just in case you didn't have enough to worry about.

BIGWIG thinks Saddam is using an outdated playbook.


I've noticed that I -- and other people across the spectrum -- am getting more hatemail lately. I've also noticed that the blogosphere seems more polarized.

I get so much email that I'm losing the battle to keep up with it; I seem to have crossed some critical threshold a couple of weeks ago. But I've always tried to make a special effort to read the critical email, so as to avoid becoming isolated. As it gets nastier (and believe me, it has) it gets harder to do that.

Surely people can't think that nasty, name-calling email is going to persuade anyone. Is the purpose to drive people off the Web? (It worked with Megan McArdle, but I suspect not for long). Or is it just that the emailers are such pathetic losers that they can't help themselves? I suspect the latter.

They probably kick cats, too.

UPDATE: Matt Johnson has a suggestion:

I think you should create an adjunct website to (probably under a different URL altogether) and allow all email to go directly to that site. The site would be viewable by all -- email addresses would not be hidden. You should also have a search engine that encourages people to search by name and email address. Next time they decide to send you a hateful email, they'll have to make a simple calculation: is it worth it to have that email seen by friends, family, and employers?

Additionally, you could also provide the same functionality to other bloggers who are also beseiged by hate email. Naturally your search engine would detect emails and names of individuals who are repeat offenders across multiple sites -- frankly I think you should rank them as well...the top 100 hate emailers across the entire blogosphere. :)

Instead of BlogStreet, we could call it BlogGutter!

UPDATE: Now here are some folks who are setting a good example.

ANOTHER PEACEBLOG DEBUTS with much fanfare. (Well, if an email begging for a link counts as "fanfare.") Personally, I don't find it very persuasive, but you can decide for yourself.

UPDATE: If you like that one, you'll probably like Thomas Paine, too.

THE AXIS OF WEASELS MUST BE UNRAVELING, because Jacques Chirac is responding with his trademark bluster and whining:

BRUSSELS, Belgium - French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union (news - web sites).

"It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

Don't they understand that the European Union is supposed to be led by France? Heh.

UPDATE: Related developments?

DIPNUT SAYS HE'S IDENTIFIED THE NEXT ROBERT FISK. I'm not sure whether that entitles him to a medal, or a sound thrashing, but he does go on to demonstrate that Fisk is a verb as well as a noun, these days.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, John Pilger has identified the enemy.

OVER AT GLENNREYNOLDS.COM, I've got more on the Union County, Tennessee religious-discrimination case.

UPDATE: A local reader emails:

This case you mention today -- the one Margaret Held is handling --I know this little girl well and also her parents. She endured literal hell at school. And this family is one of the finest I know. They are salt of the earth and Union County is lucky to have them living there. Too bad their neighbors don't realize that. I hope Margaret does indeed clean their clock (Union County schools, I mean).

Meanwhile fellow Rocky Top Brigade bloggers Last Home and LeanLeft have more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: So does Knoxville blogger InstaLawyer.

XENI JARDIN REPORTS on Saturday's "live from the Blogosphere" conference in L.A., at which the Pyra/Google deal was unveiled.

UPDATE: And here's a page of photos from the event, by Mark Frauenfelder.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And here are more photos from Susannah Breslin.

THE CROSS-BLOG DEBATE on war is rounded up here and (promised for later today) here.

PROTESTS: One of my less-nasty but overly-prolific lefty emailers (note -- it's not more persuasive when you email me four times) keeps demanding to know why I don't write about the protest numbers.

The answer: because I don't believe them. The issue of estimating protest numbers was done to death in the blogosphere last time around, and I don't see any reason to revisit it. I did mention the estimate of 500 protesters in Knoxville here even though when I went by at the protest's scheduled starting time there were only 30 or 40. But the News-Sentinel number was an "organizer's estimate" and reader Elizabeth Hill says it's bogus:

My daughter and I were traveling up Kingston Pike on Saturday about 1:30 and there were no where near 500 people. Like you said , they were spread out around that corner but it couldn't have been more than 200. When we left the Kohl's shopping center around 2:00Pm they were all gone. Something I thought was interesting, besides the historically dubious slogans and lame clichй ridden signs, was that no cars were honking in response to some of the protestors waves and signs saying "Honk for peace."

However, when we came by and the anti-war people were gone, there were a few Pro-war people and all you could hear were drivers honking in support.

Was the Knoxville News-Sentinel report of the "organizer's estimate" wrong? Who knows? 500 is a lot of people -- Knoxville sometimes gets more than that for pro-life demonstrations, but that's about the only thing that turns out crowds that big besides football -- and there's no way to settle it. The same holds true with all of these things. (It's not very good, but here's a photo from 11 of the corner that allegedly had 500 protesters a bit later. Could they have shown up later? Sure. Is it likely that they showed up, were counted, and then vanished before Ms. Hill drove by? Not very.)

What impressed me about the Knoxville protest was that -- when I went by, at least -- it seemed free of the nastiness that marked protests elsewhere.

UPDATE: InstaLawyer Doug Weinstein was there at 11:30 and says he saw about 150 people, but certainly not 500.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a pretty good article on estimations of crowd size, from the Seattle Times. "In this murky field, one thing is fairly clear: Organizers often overestimate, McPhail said."

HOWARD COBLE UPDATE: I kind of fell behind on this story, but here's a column from the News & Record about Coble's run-in with "Weblog Nation."

Meanwhile, the debate between CPO Sparkey of Sgt. Stryker and Eric Muller continues.

OUR PANEL ON THE PATRIOT ACT HAS BEEN CANCELLED, because the speakers are snowed in in DC. It'll be rescheduled, I'm told. That's a bummer, but on the other hand, I'm already snowed under -- with work, not snow, we've had floods but not a blizzard -- and can use the extra time.

AZIZ POONAWALLA IS CLAIMING CREDIT for the Google/Pyra buy. Well, sort of.

Now that Google has seen the value of tapping into the blogosphere, I think that a lot of other folks will want to, too. One good way would be via Henry Copeland's BlogAds program, which lets advertisers reach select audiences with highly desirable demographics for next to nothing. (No, I don't get anything for touting BlogAds, I just think it's cool.)

If you're an advertiser, or might be, check it out.

OKAY, THIS NEW REALITY SHOW strikes me as even dumber than its predecessors, if that's possible:

"American Candidate," which debuts in January on Rupert Murdoch's FX network, rides the reality-TV bandwagon by staging a competition to pick a faux presidential candidate. The wannabes -- with no official announcement, 5,000 people have already written in -- will be whittled down to 18 finalists, all but one of whom will be voted off the political island through phone and Internet polls.

Of course, there's this:

"A reporter said to me, 'Do you mean to tell me our next president is going to be selected by television?' " Cutler recalls. But that, arguably, is what happens now. In other words, a process filled with fake media events and ginned-up publicity might illuminate how the real thing works -- especially if it's more interesting than watching Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards, Lieberman et al. trudge through Iowa cornfields.

Hmm. They'll need a Simon Cowell type for the show. . . .

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis thinks the show is brilliant. He also thinks I'll be "gleefully quoting" its candidates. Well, you know, I said it was dumber than previous reality TV shows. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will also be dumber than the real campaign. . . .

NATO has pulled an end-run on France. The Axis of Weasels seems to be unraveling.

JONATHAN GEWIRTZ REPORTS that the Internet routes around bad customer service.

Well, sometimes.


I want to ask those who support the anti - "war" movement (apart from pacifists - that is a totally different situation) their motives and reasoning behind such support. You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq. I must ask you to consider the following questions:

Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?

Out of a population of 20 million, 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their country during Saddam's reign. Are you willing to ignore the real and present danger that caused so many people to leave their homes and families?

Saddam rules Iraq using fear - he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever - this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard pressed to find a family in Iraq who have not had a son/father/brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or "disappeared" due to Saddam's regime. What has been stopping you from taking to the streets to protest against such blatant crimes against humanity in the past?

Saddam gassed thousands of political prisoners in one of his campaigns to "cleanse" prisons - why are you not protesting against this barbaric act?

An example of the dictator's policy you are trying to save - Saddam has made a law to give excuse to any man to rape a female relative and then murder her in the name of adultery. Do you still want to march to keep him in power? . . . .

Of course it would be ideal if an invasion could be undertaken, not by the Americans, but by, say, the Nelson Mandela International Peace Force. That's not on offer. The Iraqi people cannot wait until such a force materialises; they have been forced to take what they're given. That such a force does not exist - cannot exist - in today's world is a failing of the very people who do not want America to invade Iraq, yet are willing to let thousands of Iraqis to die in order to gain the higher moral ground. Do not continue to punish the Iraqi people because you are "unhappy" with the amount of power the world is at fault for allowing America to wield. Do not use the Iraqi people as a pawn in your game for moral superiority - one loses that right when one allows a monster like Saddam to rule for 30 years without so much as protesting against his rule.

(emphasis added) What has happened to the Left that it has made preservation of Saddam Hussein its top priority? Nothing good.

IT APPEARS THAT MEGAN MCARDLE has gotten the same blizzard of hatemail that I've gotten these past few days, but she seems to be taking it more personally.

Don't quit blogging, Megan. That's what they want, sour, jealous losers that they are. It's easier to send hatemail than it is to persuade people, I guess. I'll bet it was anonymous, or pseudonymous, too.

UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus comments. The antiwar folks are losing the argument on this one, and they know it. So they're turning up the volume on invective instead.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader says he went and hit Megan's tipjar in an effort to make her feel better. Couldn't hurt!

Note to hatemailers: If you attach your hatemail to a $100 paypal donation, I promise to read it carefully.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Re hatemail, Oliver Willis emails:

FYI, I've been receiving my fair share of it from the right (someone thought I was a treasonous leftist for not supporting Patriot II). Jesse of got an email blizzard this past week that almost killed his email, and Atrios has gotten slammed too. So it isn't some vast left-wing conspiracy.

Hey, I guess I'm a "treasonous leftist" too!

February 16, 2003

TIRED OF BLOGGING ABOUT WAR. If you want to read about it tonight, go to Vinod Valopillil's for some interesting observations on Europe, and to Donald Sensing for some more. There's also some interesting discussion over at Jerry Pournelle's, including the observation -- with which I heartily agree -- that we could have spared ourself a lot of trouble if we had gotten things right back in, say, 1988 or even 1990. But I also agree that that's water under the bridge, now.

This Gregg Easterbrook piece on homeland security is good too. Back later.


But there are also consequences of "stop the war".

If I took that advice, and did not insist on disarmament, yes, there would be no war. But there would still be Saddam. Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is that he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people. A country that in 1978, the year before he seized power, was richer than Malaysia or Portugal. A country where today, 135 out of every 1000 Iraqi children die before the age of five - 70% of these deaths are from diarrhoea and respiratory infections that are easily preventable. Where almost a third of children born in the centre and south of Iraq have chronic malnutrition.

Where 60% of the people depend on Food Aid.

Where half the population of rural areas have no safe water.

Where every year and now, as we speak, tens of thousands of political prisoners languish in appalling conditions in Saddam's jails and are routinely executed.

Where in the past 15 years over 150,000 Shia Moslems in Southern Iraq and Moslem Kurds in Northern Iraq have been butchered; with up to four million Iraqis in exile round the world, including 350,000 now in Britain.

This isn't a regime with Weapons of Mass Destruction that is otherwise benign. This is a regime that contravenes every single principle or value anyone of our politics believes in.

There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which if he is left in power, will be left in being.

I rejoice that we live in a country where peaceful protest is a natural part of our democratic process.

But I ask the marchers to understand this.

I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership. And the cost of conviction.

But as you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this:

If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for.

If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.

I'd like to see the "peace" movement take some responsibility for the likely consequences of its views, and the deaths that may come from doing nothing. But those don't count, you see, because the United States isn't involved.

(Emphasis added. Via Andrew Sullivan). Meanwhile David Pryce-Jones writes that the protesters' lack of concern for Arab lives and freedom is, well, racist. "Behind the demonstrators' slogans lies the assumption that Arabs should be left alone: they don't mind being brutalised, tortured and murdered by a fascist thug like Saddam. Where they come from, it is the natural order of things."

You'd think that they could manage a few hundred folks to march to the Iraqi mission and demand that Saddam step down, at least. And they could -- if they cared.

UPDATE: Here's more about that from another chap named Blair.

And there's this, with photos.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's what Iraqis think of the protests. Short answer: not much.

AMILAND reports that Gerhard Schroeder may be facing what amounts to a no-confidence vote. Meanwhile The Observer has a report (though it's largely based on anonymous sources) that the United States is planning to withdraw troops, bases, and industrial cooperation from Germany.

BURYING THE LEDE: This story is about Iraq rejecting the French peace plan, but here's the real news:

As 3,000 Iraqis took part in a protest against the war in Baghdad, the inspectors visited nine sites, including a Baghdad facility that produces rocket parts, as their hunt for chemical, biological or nuclear weapons continued.

They could only get 3,000 Iraqis to turn out against the war -- in Baghdad? Then there's this line:

Mr. Sabri claimed that any peace initiative that did not have Washington's backing was doomed to fail.

Here's your headline: Iraqi Diplomat Tells Truth! But wait, as Ron Popeil says -- there's more! Apparently, the Axis of Weasel is in danger of fragmenting, as Germany and Belgium are wavering. And the New Europe is standing up to the French:

In the meantime, Bulgaria has vowed to resist French attempts to bully it into withdrawing support for America's plans to disarm Iraq. Last week the French ambassador to Sofia warned Bulgaria that its pro-American stance could jeopardise its efforts to join the European Union.

"Bulgaria has to consider carefully where its long-term interests lie," Jean Loup Kuhn-Delforge said last week. "When people live in Europe they should express solidarity and think European-style."

Solomon Pasi, Bulgaria's foreign minister, condemned the French as neo-appeasers. "We all remember the hesitancy of the Allies, who weren't sure whether to attack Hitler. They could have prevented so much," he said.

"We're in a situation where we have a moral imperative to act and act now."

Perhaps Bulgaria has considered where its long-term interests lie. Because, ultimately, the French don't bring that much to the table.

GOOGLE BUYS PYRA: Hey, maybe Blog*Spot will start working now.

A RENEWED TALIBAN WEB PRESENCE? Stephen Aquila does some cyber-sleuthing.

READER BERNARD YOMTOV sends this link to a story from my own hometown -- er, well, not far away, anyway. (Yeah, I get the Saturday paper, but I didn't even open it yesterday.)

You can count on Union County to embarrass itself this way every few years, sadly. But my former student Margaret Held is on the case, and I expect she'll clean their clocks.

However, if the facts are as this story indicates, this case may be ripe for a Justice Department civil rights investigation. How about it, General Ashcroft?

MERDE IN FRANCE reports that fewer French demonstrated against war than were marching over retirement benefits just a couple of weeks ago, in worse weather. Meanwhile Martin Lindeskog reports from Gothenburg. "Make Tea, Not War?" What kind of slogan is that?

UNILATERALISM: Here's a history of the Rainbow Warrior bombing.