March 15, 2003

"WHEN" AMERICA IS BROUGHT DOWN LOW

Looks like our Presidential mistake is dreaming out loud.

The U.S. should be strengthening the UN and other "mechanisms of cooperation," Clinton said. "We need to be creating a world that we would like to live in when we're not the biggest power on the block."

Thanks to people like him who are constantly pushing for "that glorious day" to come, we should take his statement as a threat. But what is he talking about, anyway? The entire focus of our collective national interest is currently geared toward making the world a decent place for all mankind to live and prosper, in freedom without fear. Those values make the U.S. the only saving grace of the UN. We don't seek to take over the world, or even impose our will after we're forced into a war. After war, we generally give defeated nations a big kiss of cash, the gift of democracy, extend our hand in friendship and ask them to forgive us for liberating them from their death cult leader. Now we just want to defend the world from another aggressive genocidal murderer and his terrorist proxies, and we even (mistakenly) offered the U.N. a starring role in the process so it can restore it's image. They turned it down. Think Rwanda, Mr Clinton.

This inane Clinton guy was our President,and still doesn't know the American we all know? As with Jimmy Carter, it seems that Constitutional principles have failed to penetrate his ideological shell even after being President. You'd think the gravitas of the the job would change a person who lacked respect for this nation. Perversely, he instead sees our post-Clinton sobriety as a threat to his vision for America. It's the one he implemented during his presidency, where potential threats to our supremacy are ignored -- or even given a leg up with the crown jewels of our military technology. This, while slashing our own military and refusing to develop a missile defense. Sounds like a man attempting to hand over the reins to a new superpower, or at the very least trying to make the world a "superpower-free zone." So now President Bush, after righting the ship, and trying in vain to give the UN an Iraqi disarmament victory they've been "fighting for" for 12 years, is supposed to cooperate by bowing down to Iraq's stubborn allies? Folks, that's not a world anyone wants to live in.

UPDATE: A Clinton military aide wrote in the new book Dereliction of Duty that, among many other outrageous things, a major attack on Iraq was scrubbed because Clinton refused to stop watching golf.


"Sir, he is watching the golf tournament with several friends. I've approached him twice with your request. I've communicated your concerns about the window of opportunity and about the pilots being prepared and ready to go.

"I'm an Air Force pilot myself, sir." Patterson told Berger. "I understand the ramifications. I'll try again."

For the third time in an hour, the military aide desperately tried to get Clinton to focus on the mission - hoping he would appreciate that further delay could jeopardize the lives of U.S. pilots now waiting for his order.

But Clinton remained oblivious. "Tell Berger that I'll give him a call on my way back to the White House," he said

I think we can safely assume he was busy hitting on the girlfriends and wives of the golfers.
Posted by Chris Regan at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2003

MATT WELCH IS WRONG

I like Matt Welch. I read him when I can--he's funny and sharp and nice to people he thinks are silly and wrong (unlike most bloggers, including me a good part of the time). But he's dangerously wrong in this post, which I've just found.

Oh, he's probably right on the Walter Mead Russell stuff. I wouldn't trust UNICEF's numbers on anything or for anything. UNICEF is just a creature of those first two letters in its name, and as such is every bit as trustworthy as the most malignant member of the group it serves (a position currently held by France, but will soon rotate to Iran or Syria or some other sinkhole). Here's where Matt misses the facts. In describing Saddam Hussein, Matt says

He is a broke and isolated and desperate totalitarian.


Saddam Hussein is none of those three things. He is not broke--he's been able to finagle the oil-for-weapons of mass destruction-food game to the point where he's selling scads of oil, almost as much as he could pump before the Gulf War. He is not isolated. Sure, the Kuwaitis don't like him, but he objectively has France very much in his corner. How about China? The Red Chinese have been selling Saddam rocket fuel and fibre-optics enabled radar systems and who knows what else. He's also got Russia and Germany going to bat for him, and even Russians volunteering to go to Iraq to fight against us. And he has a global network of agitators trying to slam the brakes on disarmament in any form. He isn't well liked, but that's not the same thing as being isolated. Heck, Kim Jong Il offered him a Kato Keilin-style deal if things get too hot in Baghdad. As for desperate, not from where I'm sitting. He's trying to move as fast as he can to keep ahead of the inspectors and to get his nukes online and to set traps for our troops should we actually invade, but he ain't desperate, at least not yet. Every day he acts a little more comfortable with the way things are going. When he let those human shields leave instead of forcing them to stay on and cover his assets on his terms, he did not act like a desperate man. He doesn't think we'll invade--he thinks France will win in the end. And he may be right.

Saddam is a totalitarian, though, so I'll give Matt half a point there.

Of course, all of the above points to the impotence of "containment." Saddam Hussein has been in a box for a dozen years. Yet he's still there, still building illegal stuff, and still able to marshall enough of an alliance at the UN to keep justice at bay. Try and contain him another year or two, and pretty soon he'll be kicking the inspectors out again and trying to get the sanctions lifted again (without complying with the legalese that left him in power in the first place) and the Iraqi children will just keep dying in whatever numbers we all can agree is the truth.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GOOD FOR THE DEMS

Rep. Jim Moran has been ousted from his regional leadership post in the party over his remarks linking the Iraq crisis to Jewish influence on the Bush administration.

The Dems have had their Trent Lott moment, and much to my surprise seem to have passed it. I didn't think they had it in them.

Now, about that Senator from West Virginia, and the Congresswoman from Ohio, and the Congresswoman from Washington State, and the guy in Georgia who literally centered his campaign on the Confederate flag....
Posted by B. Preston at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MILITANTLY ANTI-WAR

Think about that phrase for a second--militantly anti-war. That's what some splinter activists want to see today's peacenik brigades become. It boggles the mind:

The next major anti-war protest is scheduled for Saturday in San Francisco. And so is the next so-called breakaway march.

The anonymous call for a splinter protest has gone out on the same independent media, anarchist Web sites and flyers as advertised the breakaway march that led to 45 arrests after a peaceful demonstration Feb. 16 in San Francisco.
---
Splinter activists are frustrated with conventional peace events and are calling for another breakaway march to "bring some militancy to the (anti-war movement)," said one breakaway organizer who asked not to be identified.

"What does (the main march) threaten? It can just be ignored like any other position people are taking," said the organizer, who would identify himself only as "August Spies," the anarchist writer and labor activist executed in connection with the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886.


To describe these folks as delusional is to be kind to them:

"Spies," an organizer who has been involved in coordinating three breakaway demonstrations, said many of the participants support Saturday's main march. In fact, many breakaway marchers will first take part in "an anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian contingent" in the main march. The contingent is being billed as nonconfrontational.

"We want to create a presence at the demonstration for people who are authentically against capitalism," said Kevin Keating, the driving force behind the anti-gentrification Mission Yuppie Eradication Project. He did not say whether he would march in the breakaway.


Mission Yuppie Eradication Project? That sounds rather warlike, coming from anti-war protesters. I guess they're not so much against all war in principle, just this particular war. As to the war they want--anti-capitalist, anti-gentification, yuppie eradication. Sounds awfully red to me. Like something Pol Pot would approve. Or Fidel Castro. Or Saddam Hussein.

Another group is planning to take its militant anti-military stance directly to the US military. I'm not making this up [quit borrowing Dave Barry's schtick--ed. And quit borrowing Kaus' schtick while you're at it--ed.]: They want to take over Vandenberg Air Force Base once the shooting starts. Good luck to 'em. Vandenberg ain't exactly Los Alamos--it has actual security protecting all its secret stuff, and that security is in the form of actual military police units. If I'm not mistaken, deadly force is authorized across much of that base. They're taking on the best trained military in world history. Like I said, good luck to 'em.

Today's anti-war movement is principled and it is dangerous, to the extent that it increasingly promotes violence. In exercising its freedom of speech and political dissent, it often crosses over into abuse of those rights. These "splinter groups" (or should we call them "spliter cells"?) are as misguided as the human shields who thought they could dictate to a dictator the terms of their assistance. That our nation and its government continue to tolerate them testifies against everything they allege. Empire? What empire would brook this kind of action? Bush is a dictator, or a terrorist, or both? Then where's the bloody crackdown a la Beijing, 1989?

There shouldn't be one, there won't be one, and that fact alone exposes the anti-war movement for the fact-free delusion that it is.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NO RETRACTIONS

Lots of liberal bloggers made hay of Bush 41's apparent criticism of his own son's Iraq policy during a recent speech at Tufts University. That story has been shown to be full of holes and as preposterous as it sounds. Yet none of the liberals who promoted the skewed story have retracted or updated their posts about it.

Why?

I have to say, it's that kind of dishonesty on the part of the anti-Bush and therefore anti-war left that keeps me in the game on Bush's team. To be honest I'm not entirely happy with where Bush 43 has taken us to date (he hasn't taken us nearly far enough, in my view), but when his opposition is so obviously bent on twisting all events and the actions of all players on the world stage in such a way as to make Bush look bad and wrong in every case, I can't countenance the substance of their arguments. They wreck their own credibility every single chance they get, and never backtrack when exposed.

UPDATE: CalPundit (a liberal) never bought the Bush-vs-Bush line.
UPDATE AGAIN: I guess more than just libs got suckered in by the Bush-vs-Bush bit. Bill, think before you link.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

REBELLION IN IRAQ?

Japan's Asahi Shimbun is reporting (according to a Freeper post) that Kurds in northern Iraq have clashed with Saddamite troops.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THOSE POWERFUL JEWS

If the Jewish lobby is so all-powerful that it can direct a war using a Republican administration, then why is it having such a hard time getting the Democrats--normally aligned closely with most Jewish groups--to criticize Rep. Jim Moran's objectively anti-Semitic remarks?

(via Hanks)
Posted by B. Preston at 08:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2003

WHO'S THE UNILATERAL, UNDIPLOMATIC ONE HERE ANYWAY?

Idiots keep calling President Bush a unilateralist, and undiplomatic, and so forth, but UK Prime Minister Tony Blair Jacques Ch-iraq is out to get him:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair called in Ian Duncan-Smith, head of the Conservative party and thus leader of the opposition, to inform him Thursday that French President Jacques Chirac was "completely intransigent...(and) that second resolution is now probably less likely than at any time before." More than that, Blair now believes this has become so personal that Chirac is out to destroy his political career. The two men have never got on, and had a furious exchange late last year with Chirac spluttering "I have never been spoken to like that." But the feud has now become white hot.


And I think Blair's right--Ch-iraq is out to get him, because it serves his larger strategic interests. Contrary to what the Josh Marshalls of the world think, it's France's Ch-iraq who is in the long run doing the most damage to his country. As others have noted, Ch-iraq has managed to split NATO, alienate the new democracies in the former east bloc, fracture the EU and start up a blood feud with the world's most powerful state and its closest ally. In the end, Ch-iraq may yet destroy the UN, the one source of international influence that France has left. Why don't Bush critics here in the US at least recognize that France is doing itself some serious harm?

Because it serves their larger strategic (political) interests to deny it.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NEW BLOG IN THE YARD

And I do mean "new"--he's only put up a handful of posts. Yet he's already taken on Duke's Coach K, whom I also loathe for the simple reason that he coaches Duke while I'm a fan of North Carolina and live in Maryland. The site is Curveball. As March Madness gets cranked up, Curveball seems like a good place to look in on.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

IDIOTS

I've exhausted every metaphor, every nice phrase, every word I can use to describe the peaceniks, so the simple yet descriptive "idiots" will have to do. "Hypochrites" might also work, given this story about the ongoing tussle around a 9-11 memorial in La Hambra, CA. It's been rebuilt after some idiots destroyed it, decrying its warlike use of American flags and flowers and such. But one idiot decided that defacing the memorial wasn't enough--so she, a peace protestor who doesn't believe in war, assaulted Tracey Chandler, the memorial's creator.

Police early Wednesday arrested a 19-year-old woman who witnesses said showed up at the memorial late Tuesday, claimed responsibility for burning some of the flags and pushed Chandler while saying the memorial endorsed the looming war in Iraq.

Jennifer Quintana, whom police identified only as an Orange County resident, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and released.

Quintana, who identified herself as a Fullerton College student, argued over the memorial with a crowd of about 25 people when she showed up at the site.

"It's an American flag, obviously it has everything to do with the war," she told the crowd. "There should be no war, just peace and togetherness."


"I assault you in the name of peace and togetherness. If you don't immediately become peaceful and accept everything I say as inarguable fact, I will assault you again." Sheesh. I think just about everyone agrees that there should be no war in a abstract sort of way, but any realistic appraisal of human nature shows that sometimes war is necessary. Humans can be foul creatures, and sometimes good people have to rise up and put the whoop on bad people before the bad people get out of hand. War is just pushing people who don't agree with you, albeit pushing with a little more sternness. Miss Quintana obviously believes violence does solve some things, she just wants to be the one to decide for everyone else which things get the violent treatment.

Meanwhile, half a world away the former human shields are explaining why they beat a hasty retreat from Iraq. Saddam's government didn't play nice. Well, duh. The guy's a dictator. He's not used to taking stock of anyone's opinion but his own. It would come as no surprise to anyone with a clue that, if one submits to entering his country for any reason, one must play by his rules. For some reason, the idiots who went off to Iraq to get in the way of the war didn't see any of this coming:

They had chosen locations "essential to the civilian population," such as food storage warehouses and water and electricity facilities, said Ken O'Keefe, of Haleiwa, Hawaii.

But the Iraqi government wanted the shields in more sensitive locations, he said. He did not elaborate, but some earlier activists have also left Iraq, reportedly after being told they would be posted at potentially strategic targets, such as oil refineries and power plants.

"They removed us from the sites we had chosen because we were critical of the integrity and the autonomy of the Iraqi authorities," said O'Keefe, 33. "I was escorted by Iraqi intelligence officers to the border, because I say what I believe and the Iraqi government wants submissive easy robots."

The other four deported with O'Keefe were American John Ross, Eva Mern from Slovenia, Gordan Sloan from Australia, and Tolga Temugi from Turkey.

"The Iraqi government was acting absolutely very stupid," O'Keefe said, dressed in a long Arabic dishdasha robes while talking to The Associated Press at a small hotel in downtown Amman. "If they had only cooperated and let us do part of what we wanted to do, we could have worked with them also to protect these sites and we would have brought in more people to stay."


Does this guy have more than a couple of brain cells online? The integrity and autonomy of Iraqi officials? In a police state? When Saddam rose to power in 1979, he infamously and immediately purged his Ba'ath Party of anyone he suspected wasn't 100% loyal to him personally. A couple of scores of Iraqi government officials were rounded up and shot while Saddam laughed and smoked a big (probably Cuban) cigar. He forced some to prove their loyalty by commanding them to shoot their best friends dead. To expect that after more than 20 years of maintaining his rule with yet more blood that Saddam would listen to a bunch of western weasels is beyond reason, to say the very least. How stupid must one be to not expect Saddam to dictate what kind of sites the human shields would shield? Apparently, pretty stupid:

"I certainly have no great admiration for Saddam Hussein, I was only going to help the people," he said, blaming the plight of the Iraqis on the previous American governments that supported Saddam.


If you want to help the people in the long term, suppor the war, since it's the fastest way to get rid of Saddam and give them something better. And isn't it interesting whom O'Keefe blames for the plight of the Iraqi people? Not the French, who did more to arm Saddam than anyone else, nor the Germans who run a close second in that department, not the Soviets or Cubans who occassionally lent him a helping hand, not the Chinese who arm him today, and not even Saddam himself. It's America's fault. Tell me how that doesn't represent blatant anti-Americanism. These idiots get mad when you challenge their patriotism, and get mad when you connect them to Communists, and get mad when you say they're anti-American. Yet, objectively, by their own statements they prove that they are anti-American and that they therefore aren't patriots by any reasonable definition of the term. And some of them are actual Communists to boot.

Anyway, I won't go around calling them names, other than "idiots." It'll do.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THAT'S ONE HECK OF A WATER HAZARD



Aviation Ordnance Airman Mike Nash of Vidor, Texas, takes a swing at a golf ball during a Steel Beach picnic on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Persian Gulf, Saturday, March 8. The ship had been at sea 45 days and the crew was given the day off to have a "beer day." The limit is two beers per sailor.

STEVE HELBER/AP


Check out more photos from the front here.

(thanks to Lloyd)
Posted by B. Preston at 01:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FRENCH HOTEL CHAIN SURRENDERS

I know this company is just a victim of Chirac, but it still struck me as funny that the French flag came down and the guest/enemy flag was raised as a "peace offering."

French flags no longer are flying high and proud outside the Sofitel Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The French-owned hotel chain, part of the French hotel company Accor whose units include U.S. motel chains Red Roof Inn and Motel 6, replaced the flags with the Stars and Stripes as a peace offering to its American guests.

"The move is temporary and we just wanted to be safe."

More on the French later...
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

LUNCHTIME BLOG

I've got a few minutes and Blogger seems to have come back to life, so here goes a little finger-limbering.

So why am I still on Blogger, and blogspot, anyway? All the cool kids moved out of this neighborhood long ago. But I'm still here, in the blogosphere's equivalent of those old geocities addresses, putting up with the vagaries that seem to have survived Blogger's Google rescue.

I actually do have a reason for staying: I don't want to have to pay (much) for the privilege of writing my own stuff. And there may be unintended consequences down the road. I get paid to write now, I make a living at it, and I have this silly notion that one day I might get paid even more to write stuff that's closer to my heart--faith, world affairs, that sort of thing. Suppose I'm in that gig and I decide to ask for a raise. The boss sizes me up, then pulls up my URL--www.junkyardblog.com or whatever, and says "Why should I pay you more to write for me when you're obviously willing to shell out X$ a month to write for yourself, for free?" Paying more than I already do to write when I get paid to write, and would like to get paid more to write, seems counterproductive to the grand scheme to me. I know, it's idiotic. So for now, Blogger is still my home.

Big day in the news. These are the days of miracle and wonder, aren't they. Elizabeth Smart is home 9 months (!) after she was kidnapped. From the one photo I've seen she looks remarkably healthy. I've no doubt her family is overjoyed beyond words to have her back, and while she probably does have some difficult times ahead she does have the proverbial rest of her life in front of her. She's 15. May she live to be 115 and be happy every single day of it.

The New York Post tells a tale of assassination that's a real hummer--al Qaeda wanted to kill off President Clinton. If true, it shows just how clueless our enemy really is. They had no better operational friend than Bill Clinton during his eight years of malfeasance. They killed Americans when and where they pleased, and all Clinton did in response was mouth off about declaring war and send up a few cruise missiles. Empty tents and pill factories. Clinton was impotent against them. If al Qaeda really had killed him, just imagine the war that would've started. Today's peaceniks would probably have led the calls for terrorist blood.

The other New York paper has a Bill Safire piece demonstrating at least part of the reason Jacques Ch-iraq is being such a backbreaker: France has been brokering the sale of Chinese rocket propellants to Saddam's Iraq. Nice. With France, you can deal with two of America's mortal enemies for the price of one! But you must act fast, because the regime change sale will be over soon.

So when do we get the Iraq crap overwith and start bombing France already?

Here at home, how did the anti-war forces honor passing 18 months since 9-11? By setting up an anti-war web site to coordinate "Day X." That's what they're calling the date when the war in Iraq starts in earnest. They're getting organized, and like the terror groups they're enabling, the CAN can'ts have a list of demands:

CAN stands firmly opposed to the coming war against Iraq and the racist
crackdown on civil liberties here at home.

Furthermore, CAN calls for an end to the U.N. sanctions - which have led to
the deaths of millions of innocent Iraqis over the past decade - and demands
money for education, jobs, and health care ­ not war.


Ah, yes--make a socialist workers' paradise, not war! These people don't even believe in containment, much less war, to disarm Saddam. They just want more block grants to study fruit flies and have people with real jobs pony up for everyone else's health insurance. They've positioned themselves to the left of Mikhail Gorbachev--even he thinks Saddam should go. And as a dictator who resigned to make his own country liveable, he should know. Sometimes I wish I could live in Disneyland every day like these people do, but the trouble is even there Mickey would eventually say the wrong thing to Minnie and then the lawyers would step in and before you know it they've torn the Magic Kingdom asunder. The real world intrudes wherever it's welcome, and especially where it isn't.

CAN will be staging walkouts and protests and die-ins (without the real death that accompanies the average Iraqi who defies his government) and generally making nuisances of themselves. They're free to be idiots, and we're free to win the argument on the merits, win the war, establish the peace--and ignore the peaceniks at every step. Days of miracle and wonder. Shut off the TV and fire up a Maduro--it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:35 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 12, 2003

AN AFTERNOON WITH SADDAM

Our enemy is a delusional madman who thinks he's Saladin reborn, and pouts that other Arabs don't share his ambition to establish a pan-Arab state--ruled by himself, naturally. This and more from Cuba's former ambassador to the UN (now living in the US).

(via Baghdad blogger Salam)
Posted by B. Preston at 03:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

FIBER OPTICS AND DOWNED PILOTS

Now that our suppression of Iraqi air defenses and artillery is heating up, and Iraqi troops are already trying to surrender, I thought I'd take a look at the first target in the war.

Thanks to investigative reporter Charles R. Smith and the FOIA, we know the most deadly threat to our pilots in Iraq is a modified encrypted command and control network that William J. Clinton, Ron Brown, Adlai E. Stevenson III and William Perry helped Stanford professor John Lewis secure for the Chinese military in 1994. China then upgraded the system with additional French parts, and resold the technology to our current enemy, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban (too late to be effective for them). The compromised Administration’s CIA just overlooked the fact that both the Chinese Army and U.S. SecDef William Perry curiously had Dr. Lewis on their payroll at the same time. The Clinton Administration made sure they had a plausible cover story for the deal. That is, if you call paperwork where Chinese military titles like Lt. Gen. and Lt. Col. are simply changed to Madam and Mr. a good cover for a “civilian” company. It gives a whole new meaning to the term company officers. Seriously, don't laugh. You might remember that Janet Reno bought into the scam even after the facts were known, and refused to investigate the Hua Mei deal.

If we have to fight to defend S. Korea or Taiwan it would not be surprising to hear about our pilots facing the same system in both conflicts. What is it exactly? It's now an advanced fiber optic air defense system called Tiger Song:

Today, using the Tiger Song fiber optic communications system, Iraqi air defense missile sites are spread out, mobile and difficult to detect. Missile launchers, radars and command centers can be placed anywhere as long as they can hook up to the fiber-optic network. Radars, computers, and missiles now share the whole picture carried live over the Tiger Song network.

Allied war fighters have already had a difficult time with Tiger Song. The system allows radars that were previously associated with a specific missile or gun system to trade information. Radar sites for anti-aircraft guns that could not reach high-flying allied planes can now pass target information to large missile launchers, which can reach altitudes over 80,000 feet.

In addition, the Chinese network allows Iraqi missile batteries to move quickly. The network has many hidden prepared positions, ready to be hooked up to a waiting radar, command center or missile launcher. The units are then able to move from position to position, hooking up to the network when necessary.

It's the network we're now bombing nearly every day in Iraq, and the one we’re warning Iraqi soldiers with leaflets not to repair. It was credited with enabling Iraq to shoot down our Predator drones, and it soon may bring down our manned aircraft, leading to tortured and dead pilots. Trading the safety of American pilots for cold hard cash (or should I say soft money?) is not something the average American would feel comfortable doing. To Saddam Hussein, the Chinese and others, it was obviously worth it.

This is something far more unscrupulous than the over-reported story of Stinger missiles given to Afghanis fighting to defend American interests at the time. But, will CBS now make this Clinton deal the subject of a Point-Counterpoint on 60 Minutes? Yep, right after Dan Rather discovers patriotism and asks Saddam about our missing pilot, Scott Speicher, and Saddam's torture methods.

Even though the Iraqi air defenses are improved, the outlook for pilots is better than the last war. We've spent many months seriously chipping away at this air defense network, and we'll likely send in ground forces within 24-48 hours of the full-scale air war. The current plan of attack should prevent any long-term captives, but not all torture or death if a pilot is shot down. So, if people are going to blame America's pot smokers and SUV buyers for being accomplices to the maiming and murder of Americans, shouldn’t we also take a renewed look at which Democrat kingpins negotiated the deals that helped arm our enemies with the latest and greatest technology? If you hate war and live in Hollywood, you might want to start thinking about that now, before those Chinese ICBMs with American technology for campaign cash, or the North Korean "Agreed Framework" nukes, take out L.A. as promised.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DOWN WITH DOWD

It's a shame--really, I'm not just saying that--a shame that the NY Times continues to publish the unending train of nonsense that is the opining career of Maureen Dowd. Such august journalistic real estate, wasted on such a lack of depth or talent. Her latest is probably not the worst. column. ever. But it's close. She yammers on about how our "coalition of the willing" is imaginary, as though she can't seem to remember than such obscure countries as the UK, Australia, Spain, Italy, and the entire former east bloc are with us on the war. In the same breath she accuses the Bush team of fantasizing about this imaginary coalition, and using the war in Iraq to diplay "raw, naked American power" as an end in itself. Ramesh Ponnuru ably deconstructs her arguments in today's NRO.

I promise you if I could line up a random sampling of any 100 bloggers and their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, cousins and pets and just tossed a rock in the general direction of that group, it would hit someone who'd make better use of the Times' editorial page than does Maureen Dowd. No question about it.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

AL QAEDA LINKED TO IRAQI INTELLIGENCE...AGAIN

I know this connection is old news for some, but it bears repeating here with the news that Osama's henchmen are looking to destroy oil wells that Saddam can't reach. Of course, it would never have occured to Saddam that there are buildings in the U.S. that...nevermind.

Here's more details on their connectitions from the former Green Beret, Jack Idema, main subject of the book The Hunt for Bin Laden. He's been making the interview rounds and appeared on Nachman's MSNBC show with Mike Barnicle on March 5th :


BARNICLE: Jack, on the ground in Afghanistan, for the months that you were there, fighting alongside the Northern Alliance, picking up all sorts of intelligence, engaged in all sorts of firefights, did you ever come across any link that you could establish, in your own mind, between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network?
IDEMA: Oh, absolutely. That was like such common knowledge, it was unbelievable, not only common knowledge for us, but common knowledge for the Afghan intelligence agencies.
There was one thing that was clear, that our friends, like Pakistan, were not our friends, that they were helping al Qaeda, but even more importantly, that our enemies were clearly helping al Qaeda: Iranian weapons, Iranian documents, Iraqi weapons, Iraqi documents, Iraqi false passports, Iraqi money, letters and contacts and information, computer programs and computers that would link them to Iraq and to the Iraqi intelligence agencies.

Click here to listen to an amazing interview with Idema on WNYC:

I also linked this MSNBC transcript and the David Rose (Vanity Fair) report below in a re-edited version of the post right below this on sovereignty. For those who already read that post this morning before this one went up, you may want to check it out again -- really just the last two paragraphs.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"IT'S THE SOVEREIGNTY, STUPID"

The current diplomatic difficulties of the U.S. vis-à-vis the U.N. has become a dead serious farce -- and with an oxymoron like that, you know something has to give. People should know by now that we can't serve two masters. The U.S. Constitution and the U.N. Charter are fundamentally opposed under normal circumstances. When national survival is at stake though, the U.N. we fund can be a hostile Lilliputian force, intent on bringing us to our knees to spite and control the giant.

There are now daily reports that the Iraqi dictator has booby-trapped oil wells, dispersed his mobile poison labs or placed agents among Iraqi civilians. Yesterday's AP dispatch had him opening "a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces." Every day of delay also gives him, or al Qaeda, more time to plant or mobilize agents to attack the U.S. homeland.

There are other growing costs of delay. One is the economic damage from uncertainty--which is small compared with life and limb but seems large if you lose your job. Another is the lesson to other thugs, such as North Korea's Kim Jong Il, that they can also use the U.N. to stymie and wait out American resolve. And then there is the cost to President Bush's own political standing and credibility as he lets the world's pygmies tie him down like Gulliver...

...As each day passes, the evidence mounts that the U.N. inspections regime is not about containing Saddam; it is about containing America. Messrs. Bush and Blair went to the U.N. in good faith to build international support, and perhaps in the process to rescue the U.N. from irrelevance. The U.N. is proving daily that is in fact another League of Nations. Mr. Bush's obligation is not to the reputation of the U.N. but to the safety of American soldiers and citizens.

This is a major turning point in both U.S. and world history, and on a minor note, the political careers of Bush, Powell, and Tony Blair are hanging in the balance. Hillary Clinton is also lurking silently in eager anticipation of any Bush-Powell failure. The danger, if something does go haywire here, is that the U.N. in many minds and newspapers will be "proven right," while America will be seen as the world's problem. That's ripe ground for a Hillary 2004 campaign. No matter what, the U.N. will also now be likely to modify the Charter to allow for a stronger leader from one of the big five permanent member nations who can balance future competing U.S.-U.N. interests. Enter Bill Clinton, U.N. Secretary General. OK, sorry for that last part, but you need to see how things can theoretically fall the wrong way, snowball, and head strait to hell where we have no chance.

My instincts, though, tell me things will fall in America's favor, but it will be messy. I think Saddam will use what WMDs he still has, terrorize, poison and destroy everything in sight, and generally just show what an evil madman he still is -- to the utter shock and amazement of Dan Rather and the Human Shields. Kim Jong-il will probably make another crazy move toward the brink in Korea. Bush will do whatever he has to do, and be a hero in the end. After dodging the bullets, he'll swear never again to follow Colin Powell into battle. Then he'll take steps to distance the United States from the U.N. It's an old dream of conservatives, but the influential neocon, William Kristol, now sees things going in this direction as well. His new book with a Democrat co-author, Lawrence Kaplan, The War Over Iraq appears to be dead on target.

“A humane future,” they write, “will require an American foreign policy that is unapologetic, idealistic, assertive and well-funded. America must not only be the world’s policeman or its sheriff, it must be its beacon and guide.”

That declaration is certainly controversial with partisan Democrats and others on the left. Even some conservatives who back President Bush’s Iraq policies believe there is a happy medium between Kristol’s outlook and that of Pat Buchanan, whose writings have argued that such globalism is a recipe for disaster.

Outlining their case in careful, methodical tones, Kristol and Kaplan argue that millions of lives could hang in the balance.

As long as it's not U.N.-style globalism, I'm all for it. We have no choice but to act boldly now. It looks like their book is an evolution of Paul Wolfowitz' ideas from 1992, as is the Bush Doctrine, and it seems to fit nicely together with a more recent paper by military strategist Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map:

...in which he maps out America's recent military encounters and predicts future ones based on patterns of global economic development. "We're at a time period not unlike after World War II," says Barnett, who is also a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. "We're trying to ask the same great questions, like: How can a superpower today influence history for the better? We established this overarching ideology for so long that allowed us to justify anything, and that ideology was containment. In some ways, what I'm trying to argue is a new sort of containment—a containment of the new bad places and the desire to shrink them."

So where are we now? Well, Bush trusted Powell's assurances as he led us down the wrong diplomatic path in the name of multilateralism and world peace, just as Bush's father trusted Democrats who talked him into raising taxes, against his better judgment, in the name of bipartisanship and unity. Both mistakes happened the year before their respective wars with Iraq. Bush-41 failed to persuasively talk and reason his way out of the vain attempt to please everyone, and the campaign against him in the end became simply, "It's the economy, stupid." The message for Bush-43 now comes early: "It's the sovereignty, stupid." It will be a litmus test for future presidential candidates. Unlike his father, he hears it loud and clear. He's attempting to persuade everyone that it's always been his main concern, but he just wanted to give Powell, the UN and peace a chance while he was getting troops in place. He's struggling with his weak speechwriters though, and is just going with his heart it seems. We trust him and his heart, but the unconvinced among us need a bit more logic to follow the dots to danger. The speechwriters seem to have no clue how to deal with the pro-Saddam agitprop. I know that repetitive lies can be mind-warping, but come on. Iraq is a terrorist state with WMD, and every nation with an intelligence unit knows it as fact. All nations that matter know Iraq and Al Qaeda work together. It was even common knowledge among our Special Forces in Afghanistan. We're talking literally hundreds of connections to Al Qaeda by now. Coincidentally, Saddam now says he's "found terrorism" and released videos of his "new" terrorist training camp to prove it. Hello?? Someone needs get their act together and wrap things up for Bush's final speech before the war, and pile on the classified WMD details that will be moot the moment the war starts.

Meanwhile, Powell is now digging a deeper hole to accommodate Tony Blair. Bush is standing by him, silently furious, yet having no choice but to hold the ladder as the beaten Blair climbs down into the "Yet Another Resolution" bunker trying to weather the political storm. Bush has way too many things on his plate as Commander in Chief right now, and he expected Powell to take this international diplomacy on and succeed. Resolution 1441 was, it appears, a single battle won without an end-game strategy. Bush demands accountability for the tasks he delegates, and Powell is punting back to Bush after being double-crossed by our "allies." He's been let down, but ultimately Bush has to stand alone and take responsibility. So it's all up to him now to save himself, Powell, Blair, the shell of the U.N., the Iraqis, the South Koreans, the Bush-haters and all the rest of us with his leadership. If anyone can do it, he can. So far, he's been a brilliant politician, inspiring leader and as Afghanistan has shown, a great Commander in Chief, He's never anybody's fool, except by calculated or forced choice. Another day, another handful of major challenges he faces head on and overcomes. If Clinton was a weak pussycat with nine lives, Bush is a lion. Lions avoid launching an attack on prey under a full moon at night, and avoid sapping their strength with attacks under the hot sun. Unfortunately, Bush now may have to choose one or the other to some extent, and he's leaning now toward the full moon of the 18th. Pygmies beware.
Posted by Chris Regan at 08:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 11, 2003

SURPRISED BY THE NEWSBOYS

They're probably the best band you've never heard of. Five guys from Australia, the Newsboys sport a sound that ranges from ballads to edgy riff-driven modern rock. They've been around a good while, put out over half a dozen cds and have become legendary among those who know them for being simultaneously funny, dead-on culture critics and serious musicians with a cause. But don't fret--that cause doesn't include saving whales and seals and anything that's cute and squeals. It's a spiritual cause. The Newsboys are a Christian band.

And with that line I probably lost more than half my readers. So let's pretend for a moment the C-word isn't there. They're just a band, and a very good one. In fact, they're the second coming of Steve Taylor.

Who?

Steve Taylor.

Who?

Oh, still not with me. A little background, then. From about 1982 until roughly 1996, Steve Taylor carved out a niche as the wittiest, grittiest, slyest, most irreverant and most relevant Christian artist around (there's that C-word again--pretend it's not there). The son of a preacher (pretend that's not there too), Steve Taylor never had what you'd call a good singing voice. Not at all smooth like Frank Sinatra, and not at all distinct like a Neil Young or Bob Dylan, and lacking even the basic skill of playing "Chopsticks" on the piano, Steve Taylor rode his pen to the top of the Christian music world, even getting rave reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone once or twice. And as for relevance, Taylor had it by the ton. Long before Bill Cosby and Little Stephen (remember him? That weird guy in the "Sun City" video?) took on the evils of South Africa's appartheid, Steve Taylor took on Bob Jones University's, um, racially divisive policies. As pro-life Christians, of which Taylor is one, began to grapple with and ultimately reject the violent tactics of abortion clinic bombers, Taylor satirized them in "I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good." That song got him in so much trouble he left Christian music for a while, actually (because so many people missed the satire, not because they didn't like him mocking the bombers). He eventually came back, cut an album with a band called Chagall Guevarra (terrific disk, actually), cut another solo effort and then founded his own record label, Squint Entertainment, where he worked at discovering and promoting the pop band Sixpence None the Richer. So Steve's been around awhile, long enough to engineer a second coming of himself without having to die or anything.

And that second coming came in the form of Thrive, the Newsboys' 2002 effort. It's simply one of the best disks I've ever heard, Christian or otherwise. Here's a real published review of it. They like it too.

I picked it up over the weekend, on a whim. I'd listened to the Newsboys back in the mid 90s, and liked them but never really got into them. They hadn't quite found a sound yet, and though Steve Taylor was producing for them even then, they hadn't quite found their voice. And I never did like their name. Newsboys. What kind of name is that for a band? But on Saturday I'd been talking with a friend of mine about Steve Taylor, and how great he was back when he was still recording his own stuff. So into the store I went, and saw Thrive sitting there, with the line "Produced by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler" on the back. Not expecting much but hoping for something, I bought it. And I haven't stopped listening to it since. You know how some disks have one or two cuts that sort of get into your brain and keep you humming all day? Thrive has about half a dozen of them. One of them's playing in my head right now, which does help save the batteries in my MP3 player.

The opening track, "Giving It Over," is an athem to anti-angst:

I was a teen flat-liner on the joy screen
Dead in the water of life as we knew
You offered me drink, I wanted more than a sip
But I couldn't let go of the straws I was clinging to

Giving it over...You put my head in the clouds and my feet in good dirt


From there, Thrive skips along a couple of nice tracks and lands at the title cut. Again, the theme is redemption from depression, anger and pain.

Down here in the valley
Every shadow you see
Has its own story
Down here in the valley
Every puddle of mud
Comes from tears and blood
And it's so hard just to get warm
That the chill turns into despair

Will You lift me up with Your tender care?
Will You wash me clean in the palm of Your hand?
Will You hold me close so I can thrive?
When You touch me, that's when I know I'm alive


Thrive has the obligatory praise number, "It Is You," but this track is about as fresh as praise tunes can get. Though the lyrics are simple, the tune takes on a tone of a love found, spurned, then rediscovered to have been right there all along. It reminds me, strangely enough, of the scene on Friends when Ross and Rachel finally decide to become a couple for the first time. I know how idiotic that sounds, but hear me out. Ross had secretly loved Rachel for years, and at the exact moment she decides to return his love, Ross goes off and finds himself a serious girlfriend. The situation finally resolves when Rachel tells Ross how she feels, and Ross decides to break up with the new girlfriend. His reason: "It's always been you, Rachel." "It Is You" is written with some of that kind of persistent love in mind, only in this case the love is of a higher order, and far more durable. It's eternal. The song manages to capture that, while throwing in a nasty guitar lick toward the end that's sure to knock off a few blue wigs if you try to sing it in your local church.

Thrive then careens off into some of the best modern rock around, and manages some serious social comment along the way. "The Fad of the Land" deplores the excesses of our disposable consumer culture with a guitar riff that's equal parts Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Smashmouth, while "John Woo" just grooves on about, well I haven't quite figured out what it's about yet, but I will. And it will be interesting. It wraps with "Lord (I Don't Know)," which sounds like one person's grapple with the realities of terror wars and 9-11 and the shaking of history we're witnessing. Not anti-war, nor pro-war, just worried but trusting in God to see things through.

And that brings me back to Steve Taylor, and why Thrive represents his second coming. Taylor wrote all but one or two of Thrive's songs. Taylor produced it, even though it's released on his old home and nemesis, Sparrow Records. And like no disk since Taylor's very controversial (but dynamite) I Predict 1990 (which is where the "Clinic" song appeared), Thrive captures everything that made Steve Taylor great--wit, grit, the occassional sly backhanded one-liner that's liable to make you laugh out loud, and through it all hope and happiness. Thrive manages to sound dark while offering joy. It's a rare gift Taylor has for writing songs that say so much with so few words, that manage to express anger and laughter at the same time, and on Thrive that gift is on abundant display. The Newsboys take that gift and wrap it in some tight tracks that rival anything in modern rock today.

If you think Christian music consists of second-rate players coughing up third-rate material, you owe it to yourself to give Thrive a chance to change your mind. It will.

And there...that little break from warblogging is done. No, I'm not trying to be a music critic. I just like the disk and thought I'd tell you about it.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

THE NEXT CANARD

Having utterly failed to sway the American public that disarming Saddam by force if necessary is the right way to go, it seems the anti-war forces are about to latch on to a new tactic. They'll blame the hawks and penalize them for their prescience. Pat Buchanan seems to be running toward that line at full speed in the next issue of The American Conservative (surely a misnamed magazine if there ever was one). The new line goes like this: The war hawks in and around the Bush administration, from Rumsfeld and Cheney and Rice to Richards Perle and Armitage, have been conspiring for years to topple Saddam and are using 9-11 as a convenient pretext for invasion. The end game, to Buchanan, is either constructing an American empire or stealing Iraq's oil--either will work for a motive, so it's not really that important which one you think is the prime mover. Blaming the hawks is a simple idea, and since there is ample record that the hawks have been hawkish for a few years, it's attractive. It's also wrong.

The hawks have long been hawkish on Saddam for the simple fact that Saddam has long been a scofflaw and a threat. The new world lives by a devilish equation: Rogue states + proxy terrorists + weapons of mass destruction=death and mayhem anywhere and anytime, but mostly death here in the US whenever the terrorists and their masters think it's opportune. The hawks have understood this equation since the early to mid 90s, and they have understood that Saddam has the potential and the will to stand himself in the first slot on that equation. In fact, because Iraq is so rich in oil Saddam can fill out the other two slots given time and a free hand. The disarment requirements stemming from the Gulf War cease-fire were in fact an effort to prevent Saddam from doing just that--and those requirements were placed on Saddam way back in 1991. Does that mean the Bush 41 administration is also part of Buchanan's anti-Saddam cabal? He doesn't say, probably because he hadn't thought of that. If he does think that, then he needs to answer a simple question: Why didn't the Bush 41 administration establish the empire or steal the oil when it had half a million troops in a position to do so? If Buchanan doesn't think the Bush 41 team was out to build an empire or steal the oil, then Buchanan should answer the following question: Why are so many of the same players now, just a decade later, so intent on building that empire or stealing that oil? What's changed?

Blaming the hawks for seeing the threat earlier than most of their countrymen is tantamount to blaming Winston Churchill for warning Europe that Hitler was a threat long before he gobbled up Czechoslovakia. Or blaming hawks like astronomer Edwin Hubble for advocating war with Japan as early as 1939. In that place and time, Churchill and Hubble recognized the world threats for what they were and tried to warn the western allies--to no avail. Today's hawks have been in a similar role, sounding the alarm on a real threat long before most of us recognized it. Of course, in Buchanan's alternate reality even Hitler wasn't truly a threat to America, and thus shouldn't have met our wrath. So it's really no surprise that today Buchanan blames the hawks for Saddam's lawbreaking and for Saddam's enablers allowing it. Blame everyone but the actual perpetrator and his accomplices--that seems to be how much of the world works these days.

UPDATE: Here's Buchanan's article. It begins with this bit:
The War Party may have gotten its war. But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: “Can you assure American viewers ... that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?”


At least Buchanan is open about his anti-Semitic tendencies. He denies them, but the denial rings hollow to me. That is at the root of his objection to war with Iraq--it might help Israel (and incidentally, it might also in the short run hurt Israel), so it must necessarily stem from secret Jewish cabal and its conspiracies. We've heard this tripe before, and it's a very tired tactic. And unless by "War Party" he means Iraq's Baath Party, I think his credibility takes a fatal dive in his first sentence. So long, Pat. It was nice knowing you.

Oh, and as Chris Regan (the other half of the JYB as of a few days ago) pointed out to me in an email, Buchanan's argument follows reasoning similar the godfather of terrorism himself.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NIGHTHAWKS OVER NORTH KOREA

The Air Force is sending a bunch of F-117 stealth fighters to South Korea, to participate in joint exercises with the ROK's military. It's a common thing and has been done before, so it's probably not related to Pyongyang's increasingly crazy-like-a-fox activities. Not directly related, anyway. But it probably is an opportune moment to remind Kim Jong Il that what we can throw at him, he'll never see coming.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE PEACENIKS' NEW LOW

It's one thing to conscientiously oppose war. Thought I believe the anti-war movement to be misguided and in the end destructive, I do support people's right of dissent. But that tolerance has a limit, and some La Hambra, California peaceniks have crossed it:

Antiwar protesters burned and ripped up flags, flowers and patriotic signs at a Sept. 11 memorial that residents erected on a fence along Whittier Boulevard days after the terrorist attacks in 2001 and have maintained ever since.


How'd the cops respond?

However, although officers witnessed the vandalism Saturday afternoon, police did not arrest three people seen damaging the display because they were "exercising the same freedom of speech that the people who put up the flags were,' La Habra Police Capt. John Rees said Monday.

"For this to be vandalism, there had to be an ill-will intent,' he said.

Rees said in order for police to take any action, the owner of the fence would have to file a complaint.


So...you personally see people destroying private propert, yet do nothing about it. The gun rights lobbies just got a boost. Arm yourselves, folks, because the cops in California won't do squat to save you. By the way, the owner isn't amused, and is pressing charges:

Jeff Collison, owner of The RV Center in La Habra, who has allowed residents to add patriotic symbols to the fence on his property, said he just might do that.

"Their free speech stops at destruction of private property. If they are allowed to come on my property and burn flags, does that mean I can go to City Hall or the police station and light their flags on fire because that is freedom of speech? To me, this is vandalism,' Collison said.


This was a memorial to the dead of 9-11, and said nothing about the looming war in Iraq. Not good enough for the peaceniks. It had American flags, and deserved defacing:

Tracey Chandler, a Whittier mother of four who has maintained the spontaneous memorial since it was created by other area residents soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said she was shocked by the destruction.

"They trashed 87 flags, ripped 11 memorial tiles made by myself and my children out of the ground and glued the Bob Dylan song to a sign that said, 'America, land of the brave, home of the free,' ' she said.

The Bob Dylan song she referred to is "With God on Our Side,' an antiwar anthem of the 1960s.

"It's unbelievable, because there were absolutely no political messages on this fence. It was all about supporting our troops, which could mean bringing them home, and about remembering 9-11.'


She's rebuilding the memorial bigger and brighter than ever. And like all things beautiful, the peaceniks will probably destroy it again. That's what they do--destroy, desecrate, deny--never build, repair, heal or admit. In this war on terrorism we're fighting more than just a tactic of war chosen by a few fanatics and their masters. We're fighting against a true heart of darkness, and these peaceniks wear it on their sleeves.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 01:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TREMBLE, SADDAM

MOAB is coming. I bet one or two already have your name painted on them.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THE EDGE OF FOREVER

E.L. Core masterfully lays out the case for war. Yes, it will be horrible. Yes, innocents will die. But horror will come whether we choose to fight in Iraq or let the rogues of the world choose to fight here. We must wage war, because as Mr. Core says, it's necessary.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THE OLD EUROPEAN

It seems Hans Blix isn't being terribly forthcoming about Iraq's banned weapons. He forgot to mention that drone aircraft, the chemical cluster bombs, and now a modified fuel tank the Iraqis have developed that can spray nasty toxins.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2003

YIKES

Is former President Bush publicly criticizing current President Bush--over the war? I need to see the text of this speech...

Or maybe I don't. Maybe the Times of London's Roland Watson is just spinning things to suit his own purposes. From Watson's story on Bush 41's recent speech at Tufts University:

He said that the key question of how many weapons of mass destruction Iraq held “could be debated”. The case against Saddam was “less clear” than in 1991, when Mr Bush Sr led an international coalition to expel invading Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Objectives were “a little fuzzier today”, he added.


From the Boston Globe, covering the same speech:

The former president later drew a distinction between the importance of multilateral action in the Gulf War and today, saying that coalition-building is harder now, when the evidence that Hussein has weapons of mass destruction is ''a little fuzzier'' than when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

''Another ingredient we didn't have [during the Gulf War] was 9/11,'' Bush said. ''The United States must do what it can to protect itself and its friends against the use of weapons of mass destruction.''


Sounds reasonable to me. Those opposing the war remain as patriotic and classy as ever:

During Bush's speech, five young people near the front of the audience stood up and began chanting, ''We don't want your bloody war.'' One woman held a banner depicting an upside-down American flag with an antiwar message with an obscenity.


I wonder why the Times' story never mentions this. It does mention the Madrid Conference, though. What's the Madrid Conference, you ask?:

After the Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr steered Israel and its Arab neighbours to the Madrid conference, a stepping stone to the historic Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords, in much the same way that the present President has talked about the removal of Saddam as opening the way to a wider peace in the region.

In an ominous warning for his son, Mr Bush Sr said that he would have been able to achieve nothing if he had jeopardised future relations by ignoring the UN. “The Madrid conference would never have happened if the international coalition that fought together in Desert Storm had exceeded the UN mandate and gone on its own into Baghdad after Saddam and his forces.”


"...ominous warning..." That's a bit over the top. Want more overwrought editorializing? Watson obliges:

The former President’s comments reflect unease among the Bush family and its entourage at the way that George W. Bush is ignoring international opinion and overriding the institutions that his father sought to uphold. Mr Bush Sr is a former US Ambassador to the UN and comes from a family steeped in multi-lateralist traditions.


Pardon me, but Mr. Watson, how the $#%%^ do you know anything about the Bush family and its take on the war? Have they had you over for lunch at the presidential library? Have they let you wrestle with Millie the dog at W's ranch in Crawford? Do you really have the kind of access that lets you in on the Bush family's inner workings, or are you just making things up?

And if you'd been paying attention you might have noticed that Bush 43 has spent the past few months trying to save the UN from voting itself into irrelevance. Surely Bush 41, former ambassador to the UN, approves of his son saving that worthless parliament of tyrants. D'ya think?

And oh yeah, remind me again why the Madrid Conference is so friggin' important. You'd think that it actually brought about peace in Israel, from Watson's tone. All it did was delay the killing a little. Invading Iraq may help do what couldn't be done at conference table--win the peace.

Back to the Globe's account to finish up, Bush 41 seems as nice as always, even to the undeserving:

Referring to the woman with the flag, he said, ''We've now found another real good reason to use duct tape.''


Supposing Bush 41 did have reservations about Bush 43's Iraq policy, do you really think he'd air them at Tufts University? When he could just call him up and chat him down from the war? Not bloody likely.

Roland Watson, consider your a$$ fact-checked.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DICTATOR MAKES

Clare Short, the British MP recently enamored of Saddam and angered to the point of resignation at Tony Blair, wasn't always so dovish. Back in 1999, she was going great guns to take out that global menace, Slobodan Milosevich. She opened up a few cans of rant on the guy:

UK International Development Minister Clare Short says the West must remain "steady" in its determination to defeat Serbia's "fascist regime".

The minister, who has a reputation for being outspoken, also took a swipe at BBC journalist John Simpson.

Ms Short criticised the "doom and gloom" merchants who had criticised the air campaign from the start.

She said: "The truth is this is a war. Wars are vile.

Clare Short: "This is an evil, monstrous regime...but this evil will be reversed"
"It's against an evil, monstrous regime that has caused a terrible war and displacement, raping and killing people in Bosnia. Now it is doing it again.


She who once criticised the doom and gloom merchants has become one herself. What a difference a different dicator makes.

(thanks to the omnipresent Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ZERO SUM

In the wake of 9-11, maybe it was a day or two after, President Bush offered up a formulation for how the United States would look upon the world as it went about the business of combating terrorism: You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists. It was the correct way to assess the situation, for in a world where a few angry young men could turn short knives, civilian airliners and skyscrapers into instruments of mass murder, there is no middle ground. The nations around the world that support and harbor terrorists, the pundits and intellectuals who give terrorists the mental armor to conduct their savagery, and the so-called charities that fund the training and coordination of terror activities were thus put on notice to cease and desist or face the consequences. The United States would bring all the force it has to bear, military, economic, moral and otherwise, to end terrorism as a viable weapon. The time to choose had drawn nigh--you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists.

I remember in the days and weeks immediately following 9-11, before the Afghan campaign got started, visiting chat boards in sites as far-flung as San Francisco and London, hoping to find a world reeling and shocked as I was. I remember the shock of what I saw there. It didn't match the horror of watching 3,000 innocents murdered on live TV--nothing can match that, and it's seared on my mind forever. But it was a real shock. My own countrymen, and people around the world, reacted with anger and hatred, not toward the killers and those who led and supported them, but toward President Bush for dileneating the world so simply: You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists. I remember wandering into one English chat board and reading the conclusion reached by one man. He decided that though the terrorists were probably wrong, that the US may have sort of deserved it, but that in the end the either/or formulation just couldn't be right. But since that was all Mr. Bush offered, and he just couldn't side with America no matter what, then he said, and I'll never forget reading this, "Well then, I guess I'm with the terrorists." Simple as that, no muss, no fuss. What faith I had in humanity evaporated.

I think that either/or formulation is driving much of the world's problem with the US-led war against the terror masters, and has been from the beginning. Not that it's the wrong formulation, or that President Bush shouldn't have said. It's right, and he was right to lay it out, to "show his cards" so early. Real leadership in a time of crisis demands clarity. It keeps us focused on the mission, the big picture. But for much of the world, apparently a majority, laying things out so starkly is unnerving. They can't deal with it. It seems too simple, too direct, without the wiggle room we're all used to using in our everyday lives. You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists. For those who had never before thought about the larger ramifications of their ideas, this formulation caused a kind of mental short-circuit, an invalid instruction, and kicked them out of the mental and moral sequence that allows rational thought and reasoned discussion. Thus, the leader of the attacked nation became the world's worst terrorist only 9 months into office and before he had ever fired a shot to avenge the dead. He made the either/or zero sum calculation and laid it out, so it must be his fault that all this menace now surrounds us.

The zero sum formula is correct, for classically liberal societies cannot long survive such a direct threat without challenging and overcoming it. As that threat cannot survive long without states and finances in support, no distinction should be made between the actual perpetrators and planners of mayhem and the states that use them as proxies. In truth, no distinction should have ever been made between terrorists and their state backers. The 9-11 atrocity simply forced President Bush to destroy that distinction for all time.

As has become apparent in the past few months, there's another zero sum conflict raging right now. It's entirely diplomatic for the moment, but is no less threatening. Former American allies France and Germany, two countries the US has had to save from themselves and each other over the years, are vying to become a legitimate counterweight to American power. That effort necessarily entails defeating the US in some measure and on some battlefield, and as neither France nor Germany can field a military force capable of making a dent in ours, and as neither can on its own wage any kind of economic or direct political attack that has any hope of success, the two have banded together to stop the US from defending itself and the integrity of international law and collective security. If the Franco-German alliance wins, Saddam Hussein lives to flout the law for a while longer, and to build his precious weapons which he will some day wield against one of his neighbors, or Israel, or against his own people or against ours. If the American alliance wins, Saddam dies, and with his end the threat of weapons proliferation recedes in the Middle East for a short time. But the back story is this--American victory in the UN Security Council and over Iraq renders the Franco-German alliance impotent, immoral and corrupt, exposed for its mad desire for power and dominance in the European Union. A Franco-German win curbs America's ability to defend itself, and basically ends our effort to destroy global terrorism. It's that simple--a zero sum. Both sides can't win.

There is a third zero sum, either/or contest underway. Its scope is just beginning to manifest itself. It's entirely political, and taking place right here in America. On one side, those who remember 9-11 and want to make sure it never happens again, and on the other, those who will use 9-11 or indeed anything else to score political points and hopefully regain the levers of power as soon as possible. That second side is composed entirely of the American left, and range from the true radicals such as ANSWER to those who still maintain the appearance of responsible comment and thought. Some on that side have publicly supported the war while it was far off, only to drop that support once actual combat has neared. It is a very good thing that nearly none of these people have ever been in the military--they've shown themselves utterly untrustworthy when things get tough. That side finds itself threatened to its very core by a US victory--if President Bush has been right all along, that a zero sum approach to terrorism is the only way to win the war, the left will stand discredited. During its most recent eight years in power, and flashing back to the four short years it spent in power a few years earlier, America suffered a series of terrorist outrages and those in power at the time did nothing to stop it or prevent more. Hostages taken in Tehran and held for 444 days, and the response ranged from public hand-wringing to a fatally pathetic desert rescue attempt. The World Trade Center, attacked by a truck bomb, and there was no response. Military men and women murdered in their barracks, and aboard a US warship, and American embassies blown apart, and there was no meaningful response. While the forces of murder raged jihad, the American left which held power muddled through hoping that it could just go along, get along and leave the clean-up to some future date.

It's now clean-up time. If President Bush, who more than anyone else represents the part of America that still believes in the right of self-defense and in the necessity of justice, cleans up hellholes like Afghanistan and Iraq, and then perhaps North Korea and Iran, and then perhaps Syria and others, the go-along left will stand discredited for all time. The zero sum world we now live in brooks no compromise. We must either stamp out al Qaeda and its backers or it will over time and in little increments stamp out us. It's that simple, and it is that very simplicity that explains much of the world's turmoil. You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists. It's a dangerously simple world we now inhabit. Doubly dangerous if you've chosen to stand on the wrong side of history.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

FROM PEACEFUL PROTESTS TO VIOLENT RIOTS

Having lost the national debate on war with Iraq, the "peace protest" movement says it wants to "bring the war home" to America's and Britian's streets. Yes, that may mean what it sounds like:

"We want people to walk out of their offices, strike, sit down, occupy buildings, demonstrate, take direct action and do whatever they think fit the moment war starts," said Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition. "We want to completely close down Whitehall and prevent the Ministry of Defense going to work."

"We think the next phase will see an escalation of tactics," said Bill Hackwell, an organizer with International Answer, an umbrella organization dominated by the Communist Workers World Party. "We're not saying [the next phase] will be violent at all," Hackwell said. "But you'll see more people doing sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent civil disobedience." (emphasis mine)


Obviously that last bit is boilerplate to keep these leaders out of jail for inciting others to violence. It's the "whatever they think fit" part that troubles me. These are the same people that spike trees in efforts to maim and kill loggers, that commit arson against organizations they don't like, and generally exist on the fringe in the best of times. These aren't the best of times.

UPDATE: As a former leftist radical, David Horowitz knows what he's talking about when it comes to discussing that today's radicals are capable of inflicting on the rest of us. He has been checking up on his former fellow travelers, some of whom are cited above. These people aren't above lying to score points, that's for sure. Here's an example:

Press Statement by Rayan El-Amine (Arab American community and Anti-Capitalist Cluster member)

As a member of the Arab-American community, I want to fully support the "day after" actions against the war in Iraq. Arab Americans have been targeted by an administration that has used racism, fear and the events of September 11th, to attack our community abroad and at home. We feel that we share a historical role with other immigrant communities like Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans who came before us in fighting racism at home and unjust wars abroad.

We intend to show that despite the attacks on our civil liberties and a government that refuses to represent us in the halls of Congress or in the White House - our opposition to this war will be heard. Arab-Americans, South Asians, and other targeted community members will join thousands of others who are against the war and we will represent ourselves in the streets.


Apparently this guy either missed all that "Islam means peace" stuff that President Bush was so fond of saying, and he missed the imam who prayed at the National Cathedral ceremony back in '01, and he missed the fact that numerous hate-spouting jihadis still roam the country freely while Ascroft goes after bong users--or he's just a liar. You make the call.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

WAR SUPPORT

The latest Zogby poll show support for war at 57%, with 40% opposed. Predictably, most anti-war sentiment comes from the Dems, 61% of whom oppose war. Republicans support it 84-12.

If you're in the 40% and wonder what drives the 57%, go here.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack