October 25, 2002


says that he's no hero. I respectfully disagree.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 24, 2002


sees the US media through no illusions. It's often a sycophant of foreign tyrants while being ridiculously, stupidly tough on our democratically-elected leaders at home. Peter Arnett's quote is particularly damning.

As for me, I stopped watching CNN on a regular basis when they made up a story about US warcrimes in Vietnam, roughly four years ago (come to think of it, isn't that the story that wrecked Arnett's career?). I confess I do tune in once in a while nowadays though, either to gawk at Paula or laugh at Connie. My wife described Connie tonight as being "like a woman just sitting there chatting." Ms. Chung was intereviewing, exclusively, John Muhammad's cousin and failed to ask a single insightful question.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


have bagged bin Laden's "ambassador" to Europe. One more terrorist off the streets.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


, Igor Ivanov, seems to think that our sniper is part of a wider terrorist offensive. Now, this may be a ploy to make the Chechens currently holding about 800 hostages look like, well, what they are, terrorists emulating if not acting upon al Qaeda tactics. But the linkage to the Muhammad/Malvo shooting rampage is interesting.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


, but it seems that one Mr. John Allen Muhammad got the plates for his 1990 Chevy in Camden, NJ on Septemger 11, 2002. At 8:52 am. Oh, and by the way, there was a bomb scare going on at the time, and in the same the building, where this Mr. Muhammad got his tags. It was apparently the first bomb scare that building had suffered in years.

I'm sure it doesn't mean anything, though.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Tough, but clear-eyed, view of the war from Robert Spencer:

Such is the dilemma of a war against liberal values: how can a society that reveres tolerance and open-mindedness defend itself against an enemy that would destroy those values, without destroying them itself?

The first step is to realize that however important it is to be open-minded, as [UNC student] Maggy Lampley affirmed, this open-mindedness must not be equated with a thoroughgoing relativism that would utterly destroy one's capacity to make moral judgments. It's good that in Western cultures people are free to express any opinion, as David Veness pointed out, but this cherished value has its limits even within the parameters of multiculturalist orthodoxy. If a group of protestors showed up to advocate the legalization of child kidnapping and rape, would Veness look on so benignly? UNC officials saw no need to assign texts about the militia movement after the Oklahoma City bombing; if the North American Man-Boy Love Association bombed the Pentagon, would Maggy Lampley natter to the Times about open-mindedness after reading the assigned pedophilia manual?

Of course, the real terrorists (and the real stoners of adulteresses) are pious Muslims, and there is the heart of the West's dilemma: one may express all sorts of noxious opinions in the West (evidently up to and including advocacy of the destruction of that very freedom and the civilization that gave rise to it) but it's the taboo of taboos to look askance at the core elements of a religion. Multiculturalists would prefer not to face this dilemma - hence the choice of the book Approaching the Qur'an for the UNC freshmen: this translation of the prophet Muhammad's early revelations leaves the reader with little indication that war on unbelievers and the stoning of adulteresses are venerable practices in Islamic tradition, not the flimsy fabrications of modern-day fanatics.

This is the difficulty we face: how to remain a free society while fighting an enemy that uses our freedom against us in so many ways. We can do it, and we will, but thinking it will be easy is just as dangerous as being less than brutally honest about the enemy we fight.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Local writer Michelle Malkin has the low-down on John Lee Malvo's illegal stay in the US.

Lee Malvo is an illegal alien from Jamaica who jumped ship in Miami in June 2001. He was apprehended by the Border Patrol in Bellingham, Wash., in December 2001, but was then let go by the INS district in Seattle in clear violation of federal law and contrary to what the arresting Border Patrol officers intended, according to my law enforcement sources.

According to INS records I obtained, Malvo was arrested by Border Patrol agents in Bellingham, Wash., on December 19, 2001. Local police called the Border Patrol during an incident involving "some sort of custody dispute" between Malvo's mother, Uma Sceon James, and John Mohammed (the ex-Army soldier with black radical Muslim ties now at the center of the sniper investigation). James admitted that six months earlier, "she and her son were passengers on a cargo ship that was filled with 'illegal asians (sic).' They were all off loaded in the Miami, FL area where she immediately located work at the Red Lobster in Ft. Myers, FL."

From there, Malvo and James traveled to Tacoma, Wash., and ended up in Bellingham. At the time of their arrest, INS records indicate, neither Malvo nor his mother had any documents proving their identities or allowing them "to be or remain in the United States legally." The Border Patrol agents concluded that because she had "no roots or close family ties in the United States, James was likely to abscond." The arresting officer noted that the mother-and-son illegal aliens, Malvo and James, would be "detained at the Seattle Detention facility in Seattle, Washington pending deportation charges."

That's not what happened. About a month after their arrest, Malvo and his mother were set free by the Seattle district INS-contrary to what the arresting Border Patrol officers had determined should be done. And in clear violation of federal law regarding the removal of illegal alien stowaways.

It is this type of case that points to the need for some way to turn the INS into a functional organization. They let several of the 9-11 hijackers stay here long past the end of their visas, then issued visas to a couple of them months after 9-11, and now it seems they've allowed one half of a sniper duo to remain here when he should've been kicked out. Ten are dead, another 3 wounded as a result.

Whether the reform of the INS happens within a Department of Homeland Security or by some other means, it needs to happen now. Well, it really needed to happen a year ago.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: First, due to the oddities of Maryland law, the sniper killings aren't eligible for the death penalty at all. According to Baltimore County's state's attorney, whom I just heard interviewed on local radio station WBAL, mass killings are death penalty crimes--mass killings are defined as multiple killings at the same place and at the same time--while serial killings are not. That means that if the killers had killed more than one person in the same location, they would be death penalty eligible, but since all of their crimes occurred in different locations, they will not be tried on capital charges.

Maryland law is an ass, in my opinion. Washington DC is very unlikely to go for capital as well, however its law reads on the subject. But they will undoubtedly be tried in Virginia, which is a death penalty state. There is still some hope that these killers, if they turn out to be such, will die for what they've done.

On another front, John Lee Malvo is, according again to WBAL security expert Rob Douglas, in the US illegally. He's Jamaican, and apparently he and his mother ran afoul of the law and are awaiting deportation. As this shakes out, I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that the INS has somehow fumbled this case too.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


qualified as an "expert marksman" during his Army M-16 training. While that sounds impressive, reality is that it's not that big a deal. When I trained on the M-16 in Air Force basic, I was one shot off the "expert" rating--and I hadn't fired the M-16 before that day. Additionally, we only had one day on the gun. They took us to the range, let us fire a few rounds to get the feel of it, then had us fire at targets. I forget the distance--maybe 75 or 100 yards, maybe even 150--and the target was indeed small, but once you understood how the gun's sights work, hitting the target was simple. At some point in the day, I think it was after the shooting but I could be wrong, they had us take an M-16 apart and reassemble it. It was probably the most interesting day of basic, since most other days consisted of marching around a big asphault square or sitting in a class learning about Global Reach and Global Power.

On the other hand, I did have a BB gun when I was 12 or so and was already a pretty good shot with it, and I'd fired a variety of shotguns and pistols during my upbringing. I was raised in Texas by a law enforcement Dad--whaddya expect?

Still, what Muhammed's "expert" rating does prove is that he was at one point in his life capable of pulling off the shots for which the sniper became infamous. He knew how to use the weapon's sights to hit a target at a decent range, and likely knew how to impart that knowledge to others.

What's more interesting to me is that Mr. Muhammad's resume includes a stint with the Nation of Islam. He worked the Million Hundred Thousand Man March.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


thinks Usama bin Laden is alive, and currenly living in Saudi Arabia. Remind me again why the Saudi entity isn't on the "Axis of Evil" list....
Posted by B. Preston at 07:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


: The DC area sniper may have been caught, thanks to good police work and the sniper's own clue-dropping.

John Muhammad, 41, and his step-son Lee Malvo, 17, were taken into custody early this morning at a Maryland rest stop.

This story has to be the weirdest darn thing I've ever seen, with the sniper team (as it appears now to have been) dropping a series of clues describing a robbery in Alabama that eventually led to Tacoma, WA and finally to themselves. The snipers also asked Montogomery County Police Chief Charles Moose to read "We have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose" on the air last night. That line seems to make reference to an obscure fable.

As for motivation, early reports indicate that Muhammad (aka John Williams) was sympathetic to the 9-11 hijackers, leading to speculation that the attacks may have been freelance terrorism. Like just about everything in this story, that's subject to change as investigators learn more.

Suffice it to say that today's developments appear to be a lot more promising than Monday's arrest of two very unlucky illegal aliens.

UPDATE: This and this make the sniper rampage look a lot more like terrorism.

(update links thanks to Chris)

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Susanna wishes the snipers would've been caught in Virginia. Me too. Thanks to our d#$% fool governnor, Maryland has a moratorium on the death penalty, which it hardly ever used even before the moratorium. Lt Gov Townsend, running to replace the gov, supports the moratorium. So Marylanders, now more than ever it's time to vote Ehrlich. There's no doubt he'll fry these guys if they're convicted.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2002


might have been a huge hoax:

Dissident Iraqis don't quite know what to make of Saddam Hussein's general amnesty and the televised scenes of thousands of prisoners pouring onto the streets. Everyone agrees the amnesty was a ploy -- but what kind of play? Opposition Iraqis were telling reporters in Washington that the freed prisoners were not political dissidents but petty criminals. One story doing the rounds in Washington is that Saddam staged the whole thing. According to this version, Saddam packed the jail with government workers and then bussed in their wives and children to prison gates to greet them with hugs as they were released.

It had occurred to me that if Saddam release real criminals en masse, he's opening himself up for unrest when they revert to their former occupations. And if he released real political prisoners, those newly freed critics would probably be the first to sign up to help us take him down. Either way it seemed to me that he was opening himself up for problems. Maybe the hoax angle makes some sense.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


blasts one over the wall is this remarkably non-self indulgent column. I love it when he takes some saying that college lefties take as axiomatic truth and explains that it actually means.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Friend or foe of America? In the wake of the recent terrorist attack on US Marines stationed there, the country seems to be looking to blame the proper people. You know, like actual terrorists.

"Faylakah [where the attacks on the Marines took place] was a shock for Kuwaitis, and it ended up mobilizing Kuwait against terrorism and the logic of extremism in society," said Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor at Kuwait University and the director of the Center of Strategic and Future Studies. "Faylakah performed the function of an eye opener and a wake-up call for the silent majority of Kuwaitis."

The government has acknowledged it needs to review its educational policy and its policy affecting mosques, according to Ghabra.

"The state has reacted responsibly," he added, "and for the first time, the Council of Ministers said that the issue of Faylakah does have educational and cultural roots that need to be addressed."

They're not totally with us yet--a majority of Kuwaitis still opposes US action against Iraq--but Kuwait is in much better shape than most Arab states when it comes to fighting terrorism on its own soil. The Saudis could learn a few lessons from them.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


, Chechen rebels have seized a theatre in the middle of a stage performance, threatening to kill everyone inside unless Russia lays off Chechnya and lets it become independent. The terrorists have also reportedly laced the theatre with mines and threatened to blow it up if attacked, and have promised to kill ten hostages for each of their own number that gets injured. Oh, and the nice thugs let any Muslims in the house go free. Kind of sorts out what they're all about, doesn't it.

While I don't think these Chechens are necessarily al Qaeda (though the Chechens are certainly allied with bin Laden's minions), one reader points out that what they're doing looks an awful lot like a hypothetical situation, based on real al Qaeda training, that I wrote not too long ago:

In Los Angeles, masked men capture a small office building, killing its security guards before taking more than a dozen hostages. As the day unfolds, the masked men demand time on local television, and use it to rail against American "decadence." Sometime near midnight, the terrorists kill all of their hostages in front of live cameras before setting off a bomb that destroys the building, kills themselves and leaves an indelible impression on the horrified audience.

Think Putin will keep playing footsie with Saddam if this thing drags out? Hows about this, Vlad--you vote with us on Saddam, and we'll go mum on your little internal conflict? Deal? Think it over, and get back to us asap.

UPDATE: This makes the Chechen operation look at lot more like an extension of al Qaeda operations. I wonder, does al Qaeda see an independent Chechnya as its next home base?

(thanks to Dave for the update)
Posted by B. Preston at 06:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


was a key ingredient in the Bali bomb, which was roughly the same size as McVeigh and Nichols' Oklahoma City bomb, which also used nitrate. This would seem at first glance to indicate a strong connection between the two.

Well, it does indicate that terrorism links both, but doesn't necessarily indicate any harder link. Here's why. Terrorists commonly use a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in their larger truck bombs, which are called ANFO bombs for short (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil). The bomb that destroyed the US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1982 was likely an ANFO bomb, as was the 1993 WTC bomb. The Oklahoma City bomb, the African embassy bombs, the Khobar Towers bomb and the Bali bomb were all big bombs that used ANFO to pack their punch.

ANFO bombs are the terrorists' favorite for a few simple reasons. First, they're cheap. A few thousand dollars gets you enough ingredients to fill the back of a Ryder truck, which is enough to take down a sizeable building. Second, it's easy to find the ingredients. McVeigh and Nichols (and others, probably) got their ammonium nitrate for the Oklahoma City bomb from local feed stores. Third, ANFO bombs are easy to build and it doesn't take much more than some serious manual labor to put one together (but since they weigh in at a few thousand pounds, it usually takes more than two men to build one). Fourth, they pack a serious whallop, as all the bombs mentioned above demonstrate. ANFO bombs deliver a lot of terror for the buck, and that's what makes them ideal for terrorists of all persuasions whether they're in cahoots or not.

So what I'm basically saying is that the presence of nitrate and the size of the bombs in Bali and Oklahoma City don't really prove a link any more than the Washington area sniper's use of .223 rounds or his apparent ability to plan his "missions" prove that he's former military. But like the sniper's similarities to military tactics overall, the presence of nitrate does make the Bali bomb and possible links to Oklahoma City worth looking into. Al Qaeda may indeed be behind both, but it will take more than the presence of nitrate to prove it.

(thanks to Dave and Mark)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2002


National Review pieces (well, other than mine) because they really don't need my help to attract readers. But this Mackubin Thomas piece comparing President Bush to Abe Lincoln is a fine read. Personally, I think Bush resembles at least three past presidents--Reagan, in his single-minded determination; Truman, in his lack of pretense; and Lincoln, in his ability to outwit people who think they're his intellectual superiors. That trait been the most frequently displayed of late, as Bush has maneuvered Congressional Dems and the UN closer to his viewpoint than either thought possible.

Thomas doesn't pick up on it in his article, but I also think Bush resembles Lincoln in seeing the moral struggle behind the brutal war. That's why I continue to believe that President Bush will, in the end, find a way to win this war we're in. He doesn't see it as a fight between competing but equal viewpoints as did his predecessor, but rather as an epic clash between civilization and nihilism. Knowing that truth will lead him, and us, to victory.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


is warning the city that bus bombs like those that daily plague Israel will soon kill Americans here at home.

It's a dire prognosis, but I think it's a correct one. I think it's only a matter of time before terrorists start blowing up smaller numbers of Americans more freqently. And the situation points up, again, why we need to reorder the Middle East. Yes, you read that right, reorder the Middle East. I'm convinced that the only way to stop terrorism is to wreck the governments that support and fund it, and believe that it is effective. Thus far, the truth is that terrorism is effective in that it keeps Israel from ever feeling secure and forces concessions from nations that are inclined toward appeasement. To prove once and for all that terrorism is a dead end that delegitimizes all causes to which it is attached, terror states and terrorist groups must be crushed. I don't see any other way around the problem.

To those who say that we should then go after the so-called "low hanging fruit" of smaller terror groups in allied states like the Philippines instead of going after Iraq, I say that Iraq is the low-hanging fruit. We have, today, the legal justification for destroying Saddam's regime. We have much of the needed military strength in position to deal with him, and having fought one war with him already we know the battlefield. And contrary to media myths, we do have allies in the region willing to help out--they just want to make sure we really take him out this time. Taking out Saddam will begin the necessary reordering of the Middle East.

To those who say "Who are we to go messing around with other countries?" I say that we were attacked. We have been provoked by a vicious attack on our own soil, and our enemies have made it clear that surrender isn't an option for them, and they won't stop until we break them. Unless surrender is an option for us, we might as well get on with the dirty but necessary work that's in front of us before the bad guys get the big weapons.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


has written an article about Usama bin Laden that, get this, isn't utterly worshipful of the terrorist madman. I'm sure you're as shocked as I am.

"Fisk" even relates an episode in UBL's life that shows what a vain prissy-pants the guy is:

The book suggests Mr bin Laden may have turned to vanity as his campaign against the Americans continued. When Mr bin Laden's son married an Afghan woman last year, Mr Zeidan was a guest and spent the day with the al-Qa'ida leader. The Syrian journalist recalls how Mr bin Laden recited a poem in front of his fighters and then asked the cameraman to re-film the scene next day in front of the same men. "To me this showed Osama's vanity," Mr Zeidan writes. "Very few people, but usually those who understand the importance of public relations ... ever request re-filming ... He went as far as calling on al-Qa'ida members to sit facing him, to play the role of eulogisers as had happened at the wedding."

It's weird, a "Fisk" article that doesn't deserve a thorough and brutal fisking. What is the world coming to?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


may have been getting the Richard Jewel treatment from the FBI for the role it seems to think he played in the anthrax attacks, but they may have a decent reason to be suspicious of him:

The FBI is using an elite team of specially trained dogs and leads from agents deployed to Africa in its investigation of former government scientist Steven Hatfill and his possible role in the five anthrax deaths.

Authorities say they are building what is described as a "growing circumstantial evidence case." Their secret weapon has been a three-member team of bloodhounds from California: Tinkerbell from the South Pasadena Police Department, Knight from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office and Lucy from the Long Beach Police Department.

These bloodhounds — considered by the FBI to be the best in the country at what they do — were each given the scent extracted from anthrax letters posted last year and each, independently, then led handlers to the Maryland apartment of the same man — Steven Hatfill.

One of the bloodhounds, Lucy, then led handlers directly to Hatfill.

There's more circumstanial evidence--his claim to have fought in Rhodesia's civil war, during a time when an elite unit in that war used anthrax and other bioweapons, the phony "Greendale School" address on the anthrax letters seeming to refer to a school near Hatfill's home in Rhodisia, etc--but I still think the FBI has improperly leaked information regarding Hatfill to the news media. Granted, they don't have enough to charge him and the leaks may be a way to show that the investigation is progressing, but to me that's all the more reason for the FBI to keep from leaking the evidence it does have to the media. In leaking what they know, they're either smearing an innocent man or tipping a guilty man about what they know and how they know it. The former is unfair and wrong in a society based on government of the people, while the latter is tactically bone-headed and could wind up harming any case they may eventually bring against him.

Stop the leaks, get the evidence together and bring charges--or shut up.

(thanks to Mark)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 21, 2002


, free of the personal biases and political pursuasions that plague the rest of modern life.

Yeah, right.

Science is a human pursuit, and is therefore plagued by all the other gunk that gets in the way of rational thought and honest evaluation of the facts. Which isn't to besmirch science in the least--the personalities drive it, and their biases often lead to great discoveries.

But personal bias can also lead a scientist to utter stupid remarks and disregard evidence that's right in front of his face. Case in point: archeologists recently found a stone ossuary burial box with an intriguiging inscription written on its side: James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. Israelites only practiced ossuary burial from about AD 20 to AD 70. Jesus of Nazareth had a father figure named Joseph, about whom we know very little, and a brother named James who became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He is attributed with writing the Epistle of James in about AD 45 or so.

Testing dated the box to about AD 63, just three decades after the crucifixion, and a year after the historian Josephus records James' martydom. Based on the evidence, some scholars think that the unusual inscription--unusual because it names the former occupant's brother as well as his father--points to James, the younger brother of Jesus Christ. But not all scholars think so, which brings me to my point:

[Archaeologist Andre] Lemaire's claim was attacked by Robert Eisenman of California State University, Long Beach, who unlike most scholars thinks that "Jesus' existence is a very shaky thing." Since Eisenman is highly skeptical about New Testament history, he considers the new discovery "just too pat. It's just too perfect."

One wonders how such a "shaky thing" as the existence of Jesus, if it never happened, could result in a faith that pretty much changed the entire world. One might also ask Mr. Eisenman what he expects of a genuine artifact, total imperfection? He's simply living by a hard dogma--that Jesus never lived--and no evidence will move him. He has moved beyond science and into faith, or anti-faith, or, well, superstition at the very least.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: Jerry Falwell may have been on to something. No, not necessarily when he said that Mohammed was a terrorist. Mohammed was a warrior-king, over that there's little debate, but he wasn't a terrorist as we think of terrorists. Mohammed forged an empire; terrorists just forge junkpiles out of useful things like buses and buildings.

But Falwell also said that Islam is a warlike religion, as opposed to a religion of peace. And as George Neumayr notes, something other than peace broke out as a result of the Rev's remarks. Riots in India resulted in a handful of deaths. Iranian cleric Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari called for Falwell's death. Other clerics across the Middle East reacted with similar decorum. And all because a slightly famous guy on the other side of the world said something irritating. If we Christians acted this way, Ted Turner alone would cause riots three or four times a day.

It was such a violent reaction, so utterly out of character for those peaceful folks who keep blowing up party-goers in Bali and issuing fatwahs against novelists. By their fruits ye shall know them, said someone who knows the human heart better than anyone else. The tree of Islam seems to bear a rather high-strung fruit these days, doesn't it.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: Writing in the Japan Times, Victor D. Cha outlines where things stand in Asia:

North Korea's actions constitute a blatant breakout from the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework designed to ensure denuclearization of the North. The implications of this act go beyond merely labeling it as a negotiating ploy. Arguably all of the improvements in North-South relations, including the June 2000 summit, breakthroughs in Japan-North Korea relations in 2001 and the wave of engagement with the reclusive regime that spread across Europe in 2000-2001, were made possible by what was perceived to be the North's good-faith intentions to comply with a major nonproliferation commitment with the U.S. in 1994. The diplomatic advances that came after 1994 would not have been possible without the Agreed Framework. And now the North has proved it all to be a lie. Though U.S. diplomats have been careful not to declare the framework dead, the likelihood that Congress would appropriate funds for its implementation are nil at this point. Suspension of the framework is the de facto result for now.

If Pyongyang seeks to turn lemons into lemonade by turning its violation into a bargaining chip, then it is sorely mistaken. There will be little support in the world community, let alone the U.S., to "pay" for an investigation and a rescinding of the activities in question. The U.S. did this once with regard to a suspected underground nuclear site in 1998-1999; Bush hawks, who are now only more skeptical of the North's intentions, will not engage in such attempted extortion again.

Darn right, and extortion is the proper word, and the ploy that the Clintonistas fell for. Never send Jimmah Carter to do a man's job.

We are not, however, at crisis yet on the Korean Peninsula. Such an outcome awaits one more round of diplomacy in which the U.S. and its allies in Asia and Europe must impress upon Pyongyang in the strongest terms its need to address this violation. The most credible voices in this regard are Japan, as Koizumi must communicate to his recent host in Pyongyang that any hope of normalization and a large Japanese aid package remains otherwise distant; and China, whose interests in a nonnuclear Korean Peninsula are arguably more intense than those of Washington. A nuclear North Korea could potentially mean a nuclear Japan, which is Beijing's worst nightmare.

For Japan to go nuclear would require a sea change in Japanese domestic politics, ending in revising that country's constitution which forbids maintaining any offensive military capability. But it could happen if Kim Jong Il isn't read the riot act and made to believe it soon.

As the writer notes, a nuclear Japan is China's worst nightmare, and a rearmed Japan capable of mounting some offense would make that nightmare all the more terrifying for Beijing. On the other hand, a stronger Japan that remains allied to the US could prove to be a serious stabilizing force in East Asia without needing so much of our direct protection. Since Japan is probably the most likely target of Kim's obsessive aggression, I think pretty much everything is on the table in Tokyo right now.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


to Oklahoma City seems to be gathering steam. Investigative reporter Jayna Davis is assisting a spate of Congressional and higher inquiries into the possible roles Iraqi soldiers and perhaps al Qaeda operatives played in the 1995 bombing. According to the linked story, Attorney General Ashcroft's office is looking into it.

Stay tuned...

(thanks to Mark)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


: If you've tried to email me lately but your note got kicked back, I apologize. Hotmail has a fixed Inbox limit, and I'd been filling it to the brim. I've gone through and pulled out some of the older stuff, so your emails should get through now.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


to Steven Den Beste. TechCentralStation has published him. My question is, how does he get away with writing such a looooong article? Most outlets want writers to stay near the 1000 word level; Steve got away with a 4,400 word epic.

Nice article, but brevity, man--think brevity.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


is a Muslim terrorist or Terry Nichols' long lost cousin, one of my readers offers an interesting thought on the media's coverage of the shooter's "message" on the Tarot card:

In commenting on the tarot card with the mysterious message that
said "Dear Mr. Policeman, I am God", several of the usual experts
have said something like this:

"If this isn't just a red herring, it argues against the sniper being
an Islamic terrorist. Claiming to be God is blasphemy, and no
orthodox Muslim could bring himself to do it."

I wonder if the experts have thought out the consequences of this
logic. They are saying that an orthodox Muslim would never claim to
be God, but would have no hesitation at all about shooting infidels.
Once this statement has been accepted, there's no room for the
oft-repeated mantra that orthodox Islam is a "peaceful religion"!

Oops! I guess this makes the "experts" Muslim-haters, doesn't it.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

No Title

LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS is, of course, not a hate site. MSNBC's Best of the Blogs has shot itself in the foot by jumping into the character assassination of Charles Johnson, who is none other than a great blogger and a solid anti-idiotarian.

Can't say I'm surprised by all this, though. Charles, a lefty himself who has seen fit to adjust his thinking post 9-11, is now subject to the same sort of attacks we on the right have suffered for years. Lefty ideologues don't want debate, they don't like discourse--they only smear, attack, distort and lie.

Anil Dash is nothing more than a parasite blinded by his lefty dogma, and should be ignored.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


: The cagey killer seems desparate, releasing thousands of prisoners from his gulags to shore up, for a while, his personal popularity. But he may be in for a surprise:

Once the prison gates collapsed, the mood changed. Seeing watchtowers abandoned and the prison guards standing passively by or actively supporting them as they charged into the cell blocks, the crowd seemed to realize that they were experiencing, if only briefly, a new Iraq, where the people, not the government, was sovereign. Chants of "Down Bush! Down Sharon!" referring to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, faded. In one cell block, a guard smiled broadly at an American photographer, raised his thumb, and said, "Bush! Bush!" Elsewhere, guards offered an English word almost never heard in Iraq. "Free!" they said. "Free!"

I'm sure the anti-Bush crowd can even find something to criticize in this little episode. Me, I just hope that guard gets out of Iraq asap.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Boeing has been working on a sleek new stealth aircraft, and recently unveiled it. Looks like a jump in aviation technology:

The unconventional configuration of the Bird of Prey suggests it has been designed to be highly agile and stealthy. But even though the aircraft itself has been revealed to the public, the stealth systems designed to suppress acoustic, infra-red, radar and even visual signatures are likely to be as highly classified as ever.

Sources suggest they may include active camouflage systems to reduce visibility by using panels or coatings that change colour or luminosity. This could allow safe combat missions in daylight, rather than being restricted to night flying.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


: Sigh. The worst blogs I've ever stumbled into offer better prose than her latest.

It is not a good thing for our country or our culture that the editors of America's premiere newspaper still think MoDo's columns are worth running.

UPDATE: Let the Blogpile begin! Mark Goldblatt trashes MoDo, Michael Moore and Al Franken:

Dowd, Franken, and Moore, taken together, represent the evolutionary spectrum of a new species of elitists. Elitism, to be sure, is as old as human society. But never in recorded history has a less cerebrally, morally, or spiritually elite Elite looked down their noses at the majority of their countrymen. The minimum requirement for membership in the intelligentsia used to be, well, intelligence. This is no longer the case. Rather, what is now required is the mere sense of your own superiority, the smirky confidence that flows from an undergraduate grasp of history, philosophy, and literature, and which can only be sustained by a maniacal deafness to counterarguments. Listening to your political opponents is deadly under such circumstances; they must therefore be dismissed, a priori, as stupid.

(thanks, Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


bids fellow lefties good-bye:

As someone who has done a good deal of marching and public speaking about Vietnam, Chile, South Africa, Palestine and East Timor in his time (and would do it all again), I can only hint at how much I despise a Left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist. (He actually says he wants to restore the old imperial caliphate and has condemned the Australian-led international rescue of East Timor as a Christian plot against Muslim Indonesia). Or a Left that can think of Milosevic and Saddam as victims.

Instead of internationalism, we find among the Left now a sort of affectless, neutralist, smirking isolationism. In this moral universe, the views of the corrupt and conservative Jacques Chirac -- who built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor, knowing what he wanted it for -- carry more weight than those of persecuted Iraqi democrats. In this moral universe, the figure of Jimmy Carter -- who incited Saddam to attack Iran in 1980, without any U.N. or congressional consultation that I can remember -- is considered axiomatically more statesmanlike than Bush.

Sooner or later, one way or another, the Iraqi and Kurdish peoples will be free of Saddam Hussein. When that day comes, I am booked to have a reunion in Baghdad with several old comrades who have been through hell. We shall not be inviting anyone who spent this precious time urging democratic countries to give Saddam another chance.

It is truly not a good thing, for our country or our culture, that so much of the left is so reflexively anti-American without pausing to consider the alternatives to our imperfect union. It is truly not a good thing that so much of the left is so reflexively anti-war that they no longer understand that some things are still worth fighting for. And it is truly not a good thing that so much of the left is so blinded by its hatred and mistrust of President Bush and his team that it can't see common values in the ongoing war to rid the world of a fanatical tyranny currently burning much of the world to ash. But it is a good thing that Christopher Hitchens understands what's going on and is willing to tell his fellow travellers why they're wrong--he may be the only person they'll listen to.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2002


: Da 'Boys blew an extra point, and lost to the Arizona Cardinals in OT. Going into the game at 3-3, Dallas should've walked out with a winning record for the first (and likely last) time of the season. The Raiders, one of my other favorites, also managed to lose to San Diego. On the bright side though, Denver pulled out a nice comeback to beat KC, while San Francisco and Washington both lost. Steve Spurrier's fun-n-gun has been exposed for the high school offense that it is, and the Skins' defense is just bad. Green Bay's Ahman Green ran for three scores today, knifing his way through Marv Lewis' defense at will. Worst of all seems to be Spurrier himself though. He challenged two on the field calls that were obviously correct, costing the Redskins two second-half timeouts. In the third quarter, with his team down by 8 points but running the ball well, Spurrier decided to abandon the run for a while forcing his rookie QB to throw pass after pass, only to return to the ground when it was too late. The man makes no sense. So I'm glad he's at the Skins' helm.

Unfotunately the Ravens won, beating Jacksonville by a touchdown. I truly hate it when the Ravens are on, because the network rules prevent other local stations from running games opposite them, and the Ravens are still one of the most boring teams to watch. And when the game is over, instead of staying with the network for the late game, our local station heads to the Ravens' locker room to show us coach Brian Billick's weekly rant at the media and the fans. The man really is tiresome, and instead of watching the Broncos' thrilling win the locals ran Billick. I didn't stay with them, opting for what I was sure would be Green Bay's trouncing of Washington, and I wasn't disappointed.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


: A couple of weeks ago I wondered why the Bush team wasn't making more of the Czech Republic's claim that 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official there sometime in 2000 and 2001. Wonder no more:

Czech intelligence officials have knocked down one of the few clear links between al Qaida terrorists and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, UPI has learned.

Senior Czech intelligence officials have told their American counterparts that they now have "no confidence" in their earlier report of direct meetings in Prague between Mohammed Atta, leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers and an Iraqi diplomat stationed in Prague who has since been expelled for "activities inconsistent with his diplomatic status."

"Quite simply, we think the source for this story may have invented the meeting that he reported. We can find no corroborative evidence for the meeting and the source has real credibility problems " a high-ranking source close to Czech intelligence told UPI Sunday.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



White House officials and Democrats on Capitol Hill are so optimistic about winning control of both chambers of Congress in next month's elections that they have begun mapping how they would use their new power, including the possibility of cancelling the tax cuts that were to take effect gradually.

With the elections 16 days away and polls showing many crucial races too close to call, Democrats are drawing up plans that would harm a broad array of industries, after hampering business during the corporate responsibility debate touched off by this year's accounting scandals.

Environmental lobbyists said their wish lists include substantial nationwide limits on the number of barbeque grills a citizen may own, plus a major overhaul of the tax code to increase the burden on corporations. Both measures have been part of Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle's agenda and would have a better chance of becoming law if the Democrats retained control of the Senate and won a House majority in the Nov. 5 elections.

Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund, said the mood among leftist lobbyists and academic liberals is "guarded optimism, bordering on giddiness." She said they are laying plans to take swift advantage if Democrats complete the triple crown of the White House, the House and the Senate. "It's the domestic equivalent of planning for postwar Haiti," Edelman said....

Of course, you'll never read that kind of article in the Post or any other major newspaper, but the Post ran it's mirror image. Here's probably the most obviously biased and at the same time tasteless line:

One administration official said Bush is more likely to take a "rifle-shot" approach that might include simplifying the allowance for depreciation -- the yearly loss in value of machinery and equipment -- and reducing the incentives for corporations to move their headquarters overseas.

Describing Bush's approach as a "rifle-shot"--with a sniper on the loose in the greater DC area! Is the Post trying to match the Times for chutzpah or what?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack