September 07, 2002


That's Condi Rice's assessment of when it makes the most sense to attack Iraq. She also speculates that maybe the next terror target isn't New York or Washington, but perhaps London or Berlin.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: Great piece of 9-11 analysis from UPI, demonstrating that the Bush administration's core people get it:

"When the Europeans demand some sort of veto over American actions, or want us to subordinate our national interest to a UN mandate, they forget that we do not think their track record is too good," a senior U.S. diplomat said recently in private. "The Europeans told us they could win the Balkans wars all on their own. Wrong. They told us that the Russians would never accept National Missile Defense. Wrong. They said the Russians would never swallow NATO enlargement. Wrong. They told us 20 years ago that détente was the way to deal with what we foolishly called the Evil Empire. Wrong again. They complain about our Farm Bill when they are the world's biggest subsidizers of their agriculture. The Europeans are not just wrong; they are also hypocrites. They are wrong on Kyoto, wrong on Arafat, wrong on Iraq -- so why should we take seriously a single word they say?"

Posted by B. Preston at 03:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


is gathering steam, thanks in part to that Wall Street Journal piece that came out a couple of days ago. In it, former CIA Director James Woolsey said:

"when the full stories of these two incidents are finally told, those who permitted the investigations to stop short will owe big explanations" to two women. He was referring specifically to former Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis and Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie, who have independently unearthed evidence of a Baghdad connection to domestic terrorism prior to Sept. 11, 2001.

Woolsey served from 1993 to 1995. Davis and Mylroie have independently interviewed witnesses and gathered evidence into Oklahoma City and the 1993 WTC attack, respectively. Woolsey is, to date, the highest-profile and most interesting person to lend credence to theories that both attacks were the work of Iraqi agents, with suggestions that both attacks also included al Qaeda. Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform committee, has twice dispatched his senior counsel to Oklahoma City in recent months to investigate. On the Senate side, Sen. Arlen Specter, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has requested files from Davis regarding Oklahoma City.

Not to make too partisan an issue of this, but I find it striking that both Burton and Specter are Republicans. I can't imagine that, if the House and Senate both end up in Democrat hands after the mid-term elections, any investigations of Oklahoma City will proceed. I'd like to be proven wrong, but the Dems have repeatedly proven themselves unable to objectively examine anything that occurred on Bill Clinton's watch. The suggestion that Oklahoma City was the work of Iraqi agents in coordination with McVeigh and Nichols leads to thoughts that Clinton may have covered up the international trail to score political points at home, and ultimately to salvage his then moribund presidency--the Dems will have none of that. So if you want to get at the truth about Oklahoma City and the roots of "domestic" terrorism, vote Republican. It's not just a matter of tax policy or judicial restraint anymore--it's literally a matter of life and death as we contemplate war with Iraq.

(thanks to Dave for the link)
Posted by B. Preston at 03:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


: One of my readers sends this graphic in as a proposed bumper sticker for the anniversary of 9-11:

I kinda like this one too:

Posted by B. Preston at 01:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


is getting louder as we get closer to 9-11 +1.

-- A senior U.S. official confirms that, as the September 11 anniversary nears, there is "an uptick on the threat level noise meter," that "planning is going on" and there is "an ongoing effort by bad guys" to pull something off.

However, the official stresses the same could have been said multiple times in the past year. He said the last time the threat level was the same was when a similar "uptick" was noticed around the Fourth of July.

"I don't want to seem to be overly dismissive -- or overly alarmist," the official said, "but are we concerned? Sure."
Posted by B. Preston at 01:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 06, 2002


: 100 US and British jets have apparently punched out a few radar lights in Iraq, in a raid that seems designed to make it easier to get troops and helos in from neighboring countries to perform a variety of missions. This mission included fighters, electronic warfare planes that blind enemy radar, tankers, the works. It seems to bear some resemblance to that Special Forces raid on the al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan before the war there got up and running--a dress rehearsal for the real fight, in other words, and a confidence-builder for allied personnel learning to work together. We've also started moving the heavy armor pre-positioned in Qatar after the first Gulf War into Kuwait. That's the stuff we know is going on; there's a 100% certainty that there's much more taking place that the Bush and Blair governments are keeping out of the public view for now.

Speaking of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, he also promised to be right there with us "when the shooting starts." Not if--when. Given the fact that his own Labour Party is turning increasingly against the war, and that some 71% of the British public is against the war to some extent right now, that's a bold statement from Blair. He obviously doesn't fear a no-confidence vote, at least in part because there's no one in Labour who could possibly challenge him, and the Tories are too weak to matter. His dossier against Saddam, due out in a matter of weeks, may also be putting wind in his sails, which indicates that it contains a smoking gun. So he's with us. We're not alone; the rest of Europe can go to h*ll if they don't like it. And take Berkeley with them.

(thanks to Chris and Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 05, 2002


: Mark Steyn does it again:

The most significant development of 11 September is that it marks the day America began to fight back: 9/11 is not just Pearl Harbor but also the Doolittle Raid, all wrapped up in 90 minutes. No one will ever again hijack an American airliner with boxcutters, or, I’ll bet, with anything else — not because of predictably idiotic new Federal regulations, but because of the example of Todd Beamer’s ad hoc platoon. Faced with a novel and unprecedented form of terror, American technology (cellphones) combined with the oldest American virtue (self-reliance) to stop it cold in little more than an hour.

We're in real danger of losing the "Let's Roll" brigades, especially if we allow the media (and ourselves) to Dianify 9-11. We were attacked, savagely, by ruthless maniacs intent on establishing tyranny in their own lands and fear in ours. I personally don't know what I'll do on 9-11-02, other than go on about my life as I always have. But I will stew about 9-11-01 in the same way I have for a solid year, still angry and still wanting to break the back of Islamism just like I did when the towers fell. If we turn 9-11-02 into a Berkeley-esque charade devoid of politics, or into some kind of made-for-TV sob special that Lifetime would be proud to air, we're in real danger of creating a world like this.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


may not have been the 20th hijacker on 9-11. If the French can be believed (a big if even on a good day), he was actually slated for a second wave of attacks that was planned for sometime this year. French authorities claim they briefed US anti-terrorism officials about Moussaoui on Sept. 5, 2001.

If it's true, it may mean two things. In linking Moussaoui to 9-11, the Justice Department may be blowing the case against him. Yes, he probably knew 9-11 was coming whether he was to be a participant or not. Well, he knew something was coming--most of the 9-11 hijackers didn't even know the full extent of the attack, or that they were on a suicide mission. Moussaoui wouldn't likely have known much more than most of those hijackers did. Regardless, if Justice charges him with complicity in 9-11 and it turns out he was supposed to be part of another attack, he could get off, at least until Justice then turns around and charges him for plotting in the second attack. If that happens, he's not likely to get the death penalty (which may be the reason the French are piping up about the Sept. 5 briefing). The second thing that all this may mean is that, somehow, the FBI, CIA, NSA and so forth seem to have foiled, or at least delayed, that second attack, which was supposed to be as big as 9-11.

We don't say or hear it often enough, but it is astonishing that there have been no attacks on US soil since 9-11. Looking back on this past year, I think we all expected at least a couple more major attacks. The Bush administration is obviously doing something right, and with its decision to at least consider arming the airline pilots, it seems to be figuring out how to turn the airport system for annoying people into an actual security system. But Underperformin' Norman Mineta still has to go.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: Here's a very interesting look at Iraq's bio-chem weapon delivery systems. In 1998 a British missile peeled the top off a hangar in southern Iraq, exposing a fleet of drone aircraft inside that were fitted to deliver liquid anthrax, cropduster-style. It's not clear how effective such weapons would be, but it's also not clear what Iraq actually has on hand now, four years after the last weapons inspection.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Go read this post on Insignificant Thoughts. Then read this USA Today story. Angry? Good. That's how we should feel as we get ready for 9-11-02, and toward all the "blame America" crowd.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


: As Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up: No American flags, no national anthem, no "God Bless America," nothing that could offend anyone at UC Berkeley's 9-11 commemoration. Except, omitting the usual national symbols offends just about everyone.

Of course there's an agenda here, and it isn't about trying not offend. It's about making a political point:

Jessica Quindel, president of the Graduate Assembly, a key player in the planning [and an uptight prig--ed.], said the day's events are about more than just grieving [they're about rewriting history from a left-handed point of view]. She said the day is, in fact, about politics. And it's not just about Sept. 11, but also the aftermath, including President Bush's response to the terrorist attacks.

"We are trying to stay away from supporting Bush," [likely Nader voter] Quindel said. "We don't want to isolate people on this campus who disagree with the reaction to Sept. 11." [We just want to irritate and deeply offend everyone else, which is the vast majority. Think of it as modern art, created only to offend as opposed to enlighten.]

Might Ms. Quindel be orchestrating this event in such a way because she's one of those people who disagrees with the reaction to Sept 11? Ummm...seems likely:

Quindel, a self avowed hater of the American Flag, the federal government, and the "Star Spangled Banner," said she is still patriotic. "It depends on your definition of patriotism. Everyone has a different definition," she said.

I've met a few women like Ms Quindel, and what most of them really need is....well, something that's not really likely to interest them anyway. One thing students can look forward to on 9-11-02 will be intolerance of what you might call conventional patriotism:

Scheduled speakers at the Memorial Glade assembly include Chancellor Robert Berdahl, ASUC President Jesse Gabriel, and Quindel. They will likely speak, according to Wong, about peace.

Those who aren't selected to speak by Quindel and her undergraduate counterpart, Gabriel, will have an opportunity to speak at an open microphone assembly in the evening. But if last year's open microphone assembly on the night the attacks occurred is any guide, there will likely not be an opportunity for patriotic speech Wednesday. At last Sept. 11's vigil, members of the Berkeley College Republicans were shouted down while speaking of patriotism.

I guess Collin Powell isn't the only one who's met the "tolerant" left face-to-face.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: This WSJ article sums up the Iraqi suspicions concerning the 1993 WTC attack, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9-11 nicely. Much of the information about Oklahoma City can also be found in Stephen Jones' Others Unknown, which is his inside story of the McVeigh trial (Jones was McVeigh's defense attorney). I read that book in the wake of the Padilla arrest a couple of months ago, and found it gripping as well as convincing in at least one regard--that Iraq was likely involved in terrorism on American soil, on at least two occasions.

One thing that's new here is the credence given to Iraqi theories by people in power:

Both cases are closed, of course--in the public mind if not quite officially. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder in the Oklahoma City bombing and executed in June 2001; Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy and manslaughter, and faces a further trial on murder charges. In the World Trade Center bombing, prosecutors convicted six men of Middle Eastern origin on the theory that they operated in a "loose network." One suspect remains at large, but the apparent ringleader, known as Ramzi Yousef, was captured in Pakistan and is now in federal prison in the U.S.

The prosecutors in both episodes believe they got their men, and of course conspiracy theories have shadowed many prominent cases. Still, the long investigative work by Ms. Davis and Ms. Mylroie, coming to parallel conclusions though working largely independently of each other, has gained some prominent supporters. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, for example, recently told the Journal that "when the full stories of these two incidents are finally told, those who permitted the investigations to stop short will owe big explanations to these two brave women. And the nation will owe them a debt of gratitude."

Woolsey hints at a great deal in that statement. Will we ever know what he's getting at?

(thanks to Chris R. and Steve Y.)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Israeli authorities intercepted a man with a 1,350 pound bomb in his car. The man got away after a chase. Suicide bombers typically carry about 20 to 40 pounds of explosive.

In Afghanistan, a double explosion rocked Kabul, killing several. And an assassin attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai has left at least three dead, but Karzai is reportedly safe. According to some reports, US Special Forces who were Karzai's bodyguards killed the attackers, which according to another report included at least one of Karzai's own local bodyguards.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


in airline security: Bush has approved a small-scale program to test arming commercial airline pilots.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 04, 2002


, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The suit, which names Usama bin Laden, al Qaeda and Iraq as defendants, alleges that Iraqi intelligence has been sponsoring bin Laden's terrorists since 1992, the year Ramzi Youssef arrived in New York with an Iraqi passport to begin planning the first WTC attack. The suit also alleges that a captured Taliban fighter has corroborated reports that Iraqi intel agents met with al Qaeda terrorist leaders numerous times, and Youssef is in fact an Iraqi intel agent.

Worth keeping an eye on.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Dec 7, 1942

America commemorated the tragedy of Pearl Harbor today, one year after the terrible day that changed the nation forever. In San Francisco, closest US-held territory to the site of the incident that the National Education Association has said should not be blamed on any group or nation, sailors rowed by a mockup of the sunken wreck of the USS Arizona in lifeboats, dropping wreaths and handwritten poems dedicated to their fallen comrades. It was a moving, tearful scene, as thousands of sailors hugged one another, then dedicated themselves in speeches and songs that “We Shall Overcome.” Admiral Chester Nimitz unveiled a memorial that will be erected on the site, and will be portable "just in case." The memorial’s centerpiece, a bronze statue, depicts a black, white and Hispanic sailor raising an American flag on the bow of a sinking ship.

In Washington, Congress observed a moment of silence. Then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt mustered all of his courage to denounce those among us who would harbor anger toward Japan, which, in his words, “had its reasons to do what it did. They were probably angry at the way we treated the Indians, who are after all probably descendants of Asiatic peoples. Or they might not have appreciated our support for China in its war against Japan, currently being waged in mainland China. Whatever. We had it coming.” He then pledged to seek out the root causes of Japan’s apparent hostility toward the US, vowing to “make things right,” adding that he would probably review our relationship with China’s beleaguered military with an eye toward ending it. An apparently confused Roosevelt added that he'd been obsessed with "getting Tojo for years," though late this evening a White House spokesman admitted that the president had actually intended to say "mojo," adding that he had no idea what the president meant.

The US media, careful not to stir up hurtful memories, decided against publishing any photographs of the events of a year ago. The NY Times’ lead editorial urged the nation to “just move on,” to attain “closure,” and to “search for the reasons that Hirohito hates us.” Prime Minister Tojo, rumored to have been the mastermind behind Japan’s actions, is probably “misunderstood, a liberator rather than a warmonger,” according to the paper’s editor, Howell Raines I. NBC radio focused on the children of Pearl Harbor, even though most of the sailors killed had been unmarried. CBS radio, meanwhile, played somber music most of the day, mixing it with tearful testimonials from those who lost loved ones, pausing only for a moment of silence. This was followed by a brief newscast detailing events in Europe, which look grim for the increasingly bellicose English and their shrill, portly leader, Winston Churchill.

Polls show that, while support for a US war with Japan reached a high of 99.9% on Dec. 8 of last year, the time since has been a period of healing and understanding. Support to topple the Tojo regime has dipped to a new low of 38%, as most Americans seem satisfied that they’ve risen above the cycle of violence, and no longer see the Japanese Empire as a threat to the American way of life. Most no longer even see Pearl Harbor as an attack; rather, 65% now say it was "a misunderstanding."

In Europe, amphibious German units stormed the English coast, reducing the formerly majestic cliffs of Dover to a smoking rockpile before capturing the quaint seaside town. Hitler vowed that the citizens of England can expect treatment similar those of Germany's other newly-gained lebensraum, making special note of his eagerness to seek out Britain's Jews for “special care.” The rumor is that he plans to send them off to summer camp somewhere in Europe. In Honolulu, Admiral Isoroku Yamatoto prepared to celebrate his first full year as Japan's military governor of the Pacific District, an oceanic empire that now stretches from the Australian outback to Anchorage, Alaska.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


that cheers murderous dictator Robert Mugabe and boos Secretary of State Collin Powell has said all it needs to say. From the UN-sponsored Jo'burg sustainable growth conference:

The South African foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was chairing the meeting, asked hecklers to stop. She said the outbursts were "totally unacceptable". Dissent filled the hall when Mr Powell criticised the government of Zimbabwe for exacerbating the food crisis in that country and pushing "millions of people to the brink of starvation".

For Mr. Powell, being jeered by such a group should be a great badge of honor.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



"Dear Mr. Speaker:

"America and the civilized world face a critical decision in the months ahead. The decision is how to disarm an outlaw regime that continues to possess and develop weapons of mass destruction, despite its own promises over the last decade and despite the condemnation of the world. Since September 11, we have been tragically reminded that we are vulnerable to evil people. And this vulnerability increases dramatically when evil people have access to weapons of mass destruction.

"I know Members of Congress agree that Saddam Hussein's regime is still a threat to peace, as it was when you passed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. I also know members of the United Nations are angry that this regime continues to thumb its nose at the world, defying at least 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted between 1990 and 1999 that require Iraq to disarm and give up weapons of mass destruction, to stop threatening its neighbors, and to stop oppressing the Iraqi people. America intends to lead the way to make certain that the Saddam Hussein regime is not able to threaten anyone in the world with the world's most devastating weapons.

"I am in the process of deciding how to proceed. This is an important decision that must be made with great thought and care. Therefore, I welcome and encourage discussion and debate. The Congress will hold hearings on Iraq this month, and I have asked members of my Administration to participate fully.

"Doing nothing in the face of a grave threat to the world is not an option. At an appropriate time and after consultations with the leadership, I will seek congressional support for U.S. action to do whatever is necessary to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. The Congress can play an important role in building a national consensus for action.

"The international community must also be involved. I have asked Prime Minister Blair to visit America this week to discuss Iraq. I will also reach out to President Chirac of France, President Putin of Russia, President Jiang of China, and other world leaders. I will have these discussions in advance of next week's meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. At that meeting, I will discuss the challenge that the current Iraqi regime represents to the United Nations and the entire international community. My Administration remains committed to the regime change policy enshrined in the Iraq Liberation Act. The world must address how the Iraqi people can be liberated from the bondage in which the regime holds them and realize a better future for their children.

"We must not allow an outlaw regime that incites and uses terror at home and abroad to threaten the world by developing the ultimate weapons of terror. The months ahead will be important ones and the civilized world must come together to deal with the threat posed by the Iraqi regime.


"George W. Bush"

Anyone out there still think he's gone wobbly?
Posted by B. Preston at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: The UK's Times Online fires a few torpedoes at the US Navy, but Ipse Dixit turns the fish around and sinks the Times. Score another kill for the blogosphere.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Think that "Beverly Hillbillies" reality tv show is bad? The Brits have already outdone it--they're holding auditions for a reality show in which contestants will try to get the most diseases.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


: The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the third most sacred site in Islam. Called the Dome of the Rock, in Islamic belief it houses the stone from which Mohammed ascended to heaven. In Jewish tradition, that same rock was once the cradle for the Ark of the Covenant. The mosque occupies the spot where the Jewish Temple once stood, and has for centuries. And now it's in danger of collapsing, due to age, wear and tear and the apparent refusal of the waqf in charge of it to actually see a problem.

If it collapses, down goes one of the most sacred sites in all Islam. Ramadan comes in November--Muslims will gather en masse in and around the Dome for prayers and celebration. The potentially fatal collapse of the mosque at that time could make a giant mess of things in the Middle East.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


...The FBI is now, finally, treating the July 4 LAX shooting spree as an act of terror.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 03, 2002


Steven Hatfill, has been fired from his job at LSU. I have to say, up to this point Hatfill is the victim of government abuse. The FBI has 30 such "persons of interest," but do we know the names of any of the other 29? I certainly don't. The mistreatment of him to date looks like classic CYA--the FBI is trying to make it look like the anthrax investigation is giong somewhere, when in reality it's just going around in circles.

If there's enough evidence against the guy, charge him. Otherwise, he should be left alone and out of statements to the press.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Iranian President Mohammed Khatami is under fire from the mullahs who actually run things over there. They're obviously desperate--they're accusing Khatami of being a CIA shill.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: He plans to publish a dossier of the evidence detailing Saddam's WMD programs in the next few weeks. That could be the global turning point--if the British government publishes definitive proof that Iraq has what we all suspect it has, the world will have little choice but to support the Gulf War ceasefire sanctions. Iraq will refuse to play along, and regime change will be shortly underway.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


access to large chunks of cash, and apparently a sizeable store of gold as well. They've recently shipped it via Pakistan and Iran to Sudan, which could be the prelude to a sort of homecoming. Usama bin Laden lived there from 1991-96 and still has lots of support to draw from. Well, al Qaeda can draw on that support.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: At Sylvain's suggestion, I've added Vincent Ferrari's Insignificant Thoughts to the enormous blogroll on the left. And if you haven't been there lately, you should drop by. Vincent takes apart one of his critics, pseudonym by pseudonym. Behold the power of Google.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


: Prime Minister Tony Blair, on Iraqi intransigence:

"Either the regime starts to function in a completely different way...or the regime has to change."

There's more, and it's all good. Blair sounds like Dick Cheney in this piece. Let's hope his Labour Party doesn't get him in a no-confidence vote any time soon.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Mark Steyn on "sustainable growth".
Posted by B. Preston at 03:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


: A professor Gary Leupp of Tufts University isn't happy with Bruce Springsteen. Why? The Boss approved of the destruction of the Taliban, the routing of al Qaeda, and the liberation of Kabul, and said so in this Time review of his newest work, The Rising. In fact, if the lyrics of his new work is any guide, Springsteen is right along side most Americans:

On "Empty Sky," his protagonist looks at the space where the towers used to be and seethes, "I want a kiss from your lips/ I want an eye for an eye."

Leupp doesn't see things the way Bruce does, and tries in an open letter to use all the old idiotarian tricks to persuade him:

It re-empowered the Northern Alliance thugs. It produced massive disorder, which continues, and will get worse. It has probably killed over 4000 civilians, destabilized the region, and created more hatred for the U.S. than existed a year ago. Response to Sept. 11 was handled like the Bush administration handles most things: with extreme crudity, and total lack of interest in human life (your own trademark being precisely that interest, Bruce!) It pains me that you'd lend your good name to support any of that shit. Excuse my language.

Point by point, routing the Taliban may have brought in the first chance at stable government Afghanistan has had in a couple of generations, and didn't empower any Northern Alliance "thugs." What it did do was destroy the most repressive government on earth, and give Afghans the first reason to celebrate in decades. The 4000 casualty number has long been discredited, but for lefties the lie bears repeating in the hopes that it will some day overtake the truth. More hatred for the US than existed a year ago--when terrorists came here, used our freedoms and technolgy against us and murdered 3000 of us? If punching out the guys that did that creates more hatred, maybe we need more hatred if it's accompanied by good old fear. In any case, it's hard to see how the Usama bin Ladenites and their sycophants could hate us anymore than they did a year ago. Total lack of interest in human life--that accurately describes our enemies, and even lefty policies like seeking to ban genetically modified crops (which leave millions in Africa undernourished), but not the Bush administration's tactics in Afghanistan. To date it's been the model of how to minimize civilian deaths. And as for the last bit, it's not your language that needs excusing, Mr. Leupp, it's your thinking, and there is no excuse.

Something else that needs excusing is the poor quality of Mr. Leupp's writing. Until I reached the end of his letter, I thought I was reading the work of a Justin Raimondo clone--sloppy logic, poorly constructed phrases, an emotional intensity that gets in the way of sense. It's sad to think that students at Tufts are actually paying lots of money thinking they can learn something from this guy. I'm sure a week in his classes disabuses them of that notion. They should start asking for refunds.

(link via, which endorses Leupp's letter)

Posted by B. Preston at 03:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: UPI has an interesting article examining how the US policy toward the Middle Eastern states will have to change. No longer will we be able to use Iran and Iraq as counterweights--both are charter members of the "axis of evil," both support the most dangerous forms of terrorism, and the regimes ruling both are among the worst in the world. The good news is we may not have to have balance of power politics in the ME much longer. With Russian oil supplies, and supplies throughout the old Soviet Union, coming on line, the hope is that the medieval and despotic Middle East will eventually become less and less relevant. Like I said, it's a hope, though not yet a reality.

Until that day and as long as he remains in office, President Bush has a task facing him that I don't think has much precedent for an American leader. Much of the world is against him, but his obligations aren't to much of the world, they're to the American people, a majority of whom understand the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and want him gone. It's possible that one or two of Iraq's neighbors--Kuwait and Qatar, Israel and Turkey, and perhaps Jordan, will join the US should we go ahead with plans to topple Saddam, but the first shot in that war will really be heard around the world: The old doctrine of purely defensive use of military force will give way to pre-emption of threats before they fully materialize. Though it's a choice that largely being forced on us, it will bring about chages around the world, some of which we may not like.

But that's not the unprecedented part. Unprecedented will be the revolution that President Bush will be trying to ignite in the Gulf states. Toppling Saddam is probably just the first step here. While the US won't be invading and conquering Iraq as a springboard for further conquest in the Gulf, the mere effect of crushing the Iraqi regime will probably start a wave of fairly unpredictable regime changes through the Gulf. Some will fall our way, and some will not: After the end of Saddam, the map of the Middle East will begin to change dramatically.

To that end, I'm starting to see a little bit less of Churchill in President Bush's coming campaign, and little bit more of the last international revolutionary personality to take the stage. It may sound a bit crazy now, and it's certainly no reflection on George W. Bush personally, but the coming Gulf War seems to me to be a little bit less like World War II and little bit more like the Napoleonic wars of the 19th Century. Before you think I'm losing it (and it may be the 2 hours of sleep I had last night talking here), hear me out. Though he ended up a despot in many ways, Napoleon Bonaparte's stated aim in Europe was less about empire and more about spreading the French anti-royal revolution across Europe. True, Napoleon ended up installing brothers and cousins on thrones he'd taken, which surely won't, can't, happen in the Gulf, but the beginning of the Napoleonic wars was about the end of European monarchy. Though the purpose of Gulf War II is about regime change in Iraq, it may result in the end of Middle Eastern monarchy.

One other similarity, and it may be stretch, centers on the question of boldness. Napoleon won most of his battles chiefly by being more daring than his opponent. In bucking world opinion, in essentially ignoring our "allies" in Europe and elsewhere, President Bush will have to display a boldness that America probably hasn't seen in a President. Should he kick off Gulf War II, the Reagan airstrikes on Tripoli, the US invasions of Grenada and Panama, and prior interventions in trouble spots around the globe, will seem like child's play by comparison. Gulf War II won't so much require an exit strategy as it requires an overarching vision of what we, the civilized world, want the Gulf to look like a decade hence.

We're also going to have to think about our global force structure, but I'll leave that topic for another sleepless night. Suffice it to say that once Saddam is defeated, some of our European theatre forces will probably have to relocate to Iraq for an extended occupation. Germany is therefore likely the big loser should the US decide to destroy Saddam: A couple of army divisions and an entire air force may end up leaving Germany for occupied Iraq.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 02, 2002


is probably the most ambitious magazine I've ever seen. The latest issue, which I've been devouring since I received it about a week ago, contains an essay about the connection between mathematics and God, an interview with the former Poet Laureate of the United States, several well-written short stories, poetry, and music and movie reviews. It's actually a tough magazine to describe because there's so much in it, yet it doesn't come across as a scattershot approach at all. Its theme, which is finding the transcendant God in the modern age, permeates the works contained without ever getting preachy. I mean, how preachy can it get when it has an article entitled "Ass-Kicking for Jesus"? Not very.

Mars Hill Review is a great magazine to check out if you're a Christian who's not satisfied with the pablum-esque publications that tend to dominate the Christian market, or if you're someone who wants to find proof that there is such a thing as Christian intellectual thought. If you follow the link, you can see a sample of what MHR has to offer.

And no, they're not paying me to say any of this. I just think they're running an excellent magazine that more people should read.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Iraq and Iran seem to be playing the Middle Eastern version of Hatfields vs McCoys again.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


has been talking to his source in the Algore 2004 campaign, and is the first to report who Gore's running mate will be. It ain't poutin' Joe Lieberman....
Posted by B. Preston at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


, the Swede (with Tunisian parents) accused of trying to carry a gun on a plane to hijack it and crash it into a US embassy in Europe, apparently has ties to al Qeada. I bet you're as shocked as I am to hear that.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Kuwait says the US can count on it when it comes time to rid the world of Saddam.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 01, 2002


: One of the reasons that I never thought India and Pakistan would end up in an all-out nuclear war was that it just wasn't in either side's interest to go to war and risk annihilation. What hadn't occured to me is that both countries have a neighbor whose interests are served by tensions in the subcontinent. According to this article, China is probably very happy with Pakistan's first-strike threats:

The fact is that investment into India began to increase, from $1 billion five years ago to nearly $4 billion now. This is still far below China's huge totals, collectively estimated at $300 billion.

Were India to get even a fifth of such foreign investment, the country would generate tens of millions of new jobs and emerge as another regional powerhouse, together with Japan and China.

Enter the military regime in Pakistan, which has thus far not been accused of a bias in favor of India.

The generals there have, for the past six years at least, been threatening India with a nuclear attack. This has understandably generated headlines internationally and energized a slew of "peacemakers" ranging from Secretary of State Colin Powell to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Each visit by such do-gooders resulted in fresh attention being drawn to the "imminence" of nuclear conflict."

As a result, the country's inherent advantages for foreign investment have been blown away and billions of dollars have been lost.

That such an outcome does no harm to Pakistan -- an economy into which there is hardly any rush to invest -- perhaps is seen as encouraging by the generals in Pakistan. It certainly does nothing to dissuade them from fresh war rhetoric whenever the atmosphere calms down.

In this way, Pakistan ensures that China faces no competition from India in attracting foreign investment.

Interesting. It might be worth mentioning that Pakistan got its nuclear capability from China.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


, and am convinced Saddam Hussein is a dead man walking. Just go read this, and note the third paragraph from the end.

He ain't perfect for sure, But George W. Bush more closely resembles Ronald Reagan than George H. W. Bush. Thank God.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: Germany says it may withhold evidence it says it has against Zacharias Moussaoui unless we assure them that he won't get the death penalty (France has been saying similar things since Moussaoui's arrest). These loons are more worried about the rights of a guy who allegedly wanted to board a plane and kill thousands of innocents than they are about the innocents he would've killed. Like Germany should have a say in how the United States of America applies its laws. We rebuilt Germany and protected it from the Soviet Union for half a century, and they're pestering us over a two-bit hijacker. Just hand over the evidence, and let America's justice system take care of the rest, 'kay?

Maybe I was wrong about the Bush administration failing in its diplomatic efforts to get the "allies" on board. Maybe Europe really is just too dense to understand the world we live in now. Maybe going it alone from here on out is the only choice we have, if our "allies" are going to behave like this. Maybe our "allies" aren't "allies" at all--maybe their relativistic moral universe makes us just as dangerous to them as a bunch of fanatical terrorists with dynamite strapped to their chest chanting "Allah akhbar" and mowing down civilians with AK-47s. Maybe Europe should just shut up and let the only remaining adult nation handle things from now on.

Well, I feel better now. But those #$$$%##$#%#$@#$$ better hand over that evidence.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:08 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack