Wednesday, April 30, 2003


America and Europe in the New World Order
By Robert Kagan

This book is a short read (103 pages), so for someone with ADD (yours truly) it was an easy one to blow through in one airplane ride to California.

I wish I'd read this when it was first published, just a couple of months ago. Why? Because Kagan lays out in very plain English why there is a growing chasm between the US and EU; why the concept of "the West" is something you may (probably should) hear less and less about over time, since the members of the club known as "the West" are, shall we say, not playing well with each other. And why there in fact may be no need for that concept anymore.

It brought into focus for me why the Europeans act as they do and why they see us as they do. I don't like their behavior any more for having read the book. I maybe detest some of their behaviors even more. But, somewhat like hearing that a career criminal was seriously abused as a child, you can understand why the behavior exists, whether you approve or not.

It also raises the serious questions about NATO, the UN and other world bodies which appear to be suffering from age and bureaucracy and, perhaps, irrelevance.

I give it four stars (out of five). Defintely worth the $10.80 (


I'm traveling on business in California (this week) and the upper midwest (next), so won't have a lot of time to blog at 56K (I'm way too impatient for dial-up connections).

Friday, April 25, 2003


You couldn't possibly make this up. The Economist treats us to a disgusting, disquieting look inside the mess that is ironically called Liberia.

(For those, like me, who didn't get a full plate of this in high school or college, Liberia is/was the African country carved out and founded by slaves who had escaped/emigrated from America to "make a better life for themselves". Good job, guys.)


In his most recent article, he details the current state of the Mid East and stresses that the change we all want can come without another war of liberation.

Let's hope he's right


1. Terrorists with a "briefcase nuke".

2. North Korea with a "nuclear arsenal".

Not an easy question.

Thursday, April 24, 2003


If you want a little light-hearted humor in your day, check out this website. OK - sometimes it not quite so lighthearted, but it is funny.


I thought the above banner (currently hyping Draft Gore and Sharpton For President junk) was a joke. Sadly it isn't.

Not my doing -- it's the price I pay for a "free" website.


I thought Jonah Goldberg had saved his "April Fool's" story for now, but if you read his idea, it's not as crazy as it first seems. I bit idealistic, maybe, but not crazy.


Here's a great (long) article from Steven Den Beste, whose website I would recommend.

Steve's thesis is simple -- the enemy wasn't Saddam or the Taliban, and it isn't bin Laden. It's the complete failure (primarily economically, but also politically) of Arab Muslim society which has persisted for perhaps the past 200 years, maybe longer.


If you enjoy reading well-reasoned insights into what is happening in the world, check out David Warren's website. Excellent!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Death-Defying Dog Recovering From Wounds
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

CLEARLAKE, Calif. — An 8-month-old puppy is miraculously recovering Wednesday after being hit by a car, shot by a police officer and stuck in a freezer for two hours.

Officer Bob MacDonald shot Dosha, apparently to put her out of her pain, after being run over. She was then placed in an animal control freezer for two hours before someone realized she was still alive.

Veterinarians immediately snapped into action to save Dosha and warm her up after her ordeal.

The cute caramel-colored pup is now being treated with antibiotics for her injuries, and her doctors say she is expected to fully recover.

Bob Chalk, the police chief in Clearlake, Calif., is defending officer MacDonald saying he did nothing wrong when he shot Dosha because the four-legged friend was in pain after her accident.

Dosha's owner, Louetta Mallard, may be cited by police for allowing her dog to run free.

The case remains under investigation by police and Animal Control.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


(Or should it be French Diplomacy Inaction?)

Did you hear about Jacques Chirac calling Bush last week - completely out of the blue? I fantasize that it went something like this:

Scene: Oval Office, The White House. The President is by himself, jacket off, tie loosened, shoes off, feet on desk, watching the war on Fox News Channel.

The phone rings once, twice, three times, ...

He turns the volume down on the TV and picks up the phone.


Secretary: Mr. President, it's the French President on your private line.

W: No shit? You sure it's not another one of those Los Angeles radio stations?

Secretary: Uh, no sir, it's definitely him. I already had the NSA do a voice analysis, so he's been waiting about 10 minutes.

W: Christ, OK, I'll take it ...

(Stands up and picks up the phone)

This is the President.

JC: George, is that you?

W: Who the hell else do you expect to get when you call this number.

JC: Well, it used to be Ms. Lewinsky, but excuse me, Mr. President, this is President Chirac. How are you this evening?

(Uncomfortable silence)

JC: Mr. President, I would like to talk about Iraq.

W: You're about a month late, Jack.

JC: Yes, yes, I realize how you feel, but the most important part of the War is yet to come.

W: Oh, you mean the putting a couple hundred thousand of your best warriors in harms way part? Or the seeing them tortured and abused on al Jazeera part? Or the bringing the body bags back home part? Or the having to listen to sniveling weasels like you part? What the hell part are you talking about?

JC: I'm sorry you feel that way, but I still believe further inspections and diplomacy could've worked, if we'd only ...

W: (Interrupting) What part, Jack?

JC: Sorry, sorry, I keep having these flashbacks.

I believe that now is truly the time for diplomacy and we French have a tradition of hundreds of years of finely crafted skills in the diplomatic arts. Never forget that all diplomats used to speak French - it was the language of diplomacy.

W: Sure, and the first language in Haiti, a handful of African nations and a bunch of other places you turds fucked up over the past two hundred years.

Get to the point, Jack or I'm outta here.

JC: Mr. President, you must admit that, of all the countries in the World, France has the most experience in dealing with Iraq. We have done business with them from day one. And we know where many bodies are buried, if you know what I mean.

W: I don't, but go ahead.

JC: George, we know who did what, and to whom, and we have pictures - literally.

W: Let's get to Monty Hall time, Jack.

JC: Monty who?

W: Like I said before, get to the point. You obviously want something and you've wasted almost two minutes of my time without telling me what's in it for you.

(Impatiently) WHAT DO YOU WANT?

JC: George, why do you insist on getting to the point! You will never learn. Diplomacy is about discussion.

W: (Screaming) TEN SECONDS, JACK!

JC: OK, OK. As you would say, here's the deal.

France has had on its payroll every prostitute (male and female) in the country of Iraq for many years. Every liason was recorded, most on videotape. You could use these to identify who really knows what because they all liked to talk and brag. You could use them in negotiations with those you've now arrested.

You could (and I can assure you of this) use them to find weapons of mass destruction.

And all I require is that France receive a fair allocation, say 35% of all contracts being awarded for the rebuilding of Iraq. We'd prefer that they be related to the oilfields, but ...

W: STOP! Who gives a rat's ass! I know about your tapes. You think we've been asleep over here, Jack? I've got a tape of just about everything louder than a fart that anyone of any importance in Iraq has ever said to anyone else in the past 15 years. You think we just rely on satellites, you dumb shit.

And let me bring this a little closer to home. You remember what you did on January 22nd this year, a little after 2.00 in the afternoon?

JC: George, I do not know what you mean. I don't remember anything out of the ordinary on January 22nd!

W: Maybe not out of the ordinary for you, but it's been a long time since I jumped into bed with a guy who's the feature performer in Cirque du Soleil ...

JC: Mon dieu! How could you, when, ... why?

W: ... especially in a three-way with John Cretin. Christ, how does he get off claiming he's Canadian? He acts more French than you do. Aw, never mind. You're both road kill, anyway.

Look, Jack, no offense old buddy, but your nickel just ran out and if I were you, I'd be negotiating a good severance package.

All I know is if France wants to supply someone to clean all the friggin' porta-potties in the oilfields in Iraq, you might have a shot at it. Other than that, you'll pardon the pun, you won't get "Jacques shit".

And lose this number.

(Loud sound of phone being hung up.)

JC: Merde!

(Sound of toilet being flushed.)


I find this article compelling.

Compelling for two reasons:

1. The thesis is correct -- there is no society on the face of the earth that has accomplished what America has accomplished with so few "dead bodies" in its wake. Surely no one can logically argue the opposite side of that thesis. The power that we possess is motivated by the will to deliver, protect and preserve freedom.

2. I now see very clearly that those currently on the left do not agree with point #1. They firmly believe we (America) are the personification of evil. Worse, their virulent hatred of the President precludes them from supporting anything he approves of since they see him as the personification of the "ugly American".

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


It seems that Bush and the Pope were in a boat when the Pope's hat flew off.

One of the Secret Service agents was getting ready to dive into the water to retrieve the hat when Bush stopped him.

Bush calmly got out of the boat, walked on the water and retrieved the Pope's hat. The Pope was impressed.

The next day's headline in the (insert favorite liberal newspaper name here) was "Bush Can't Swim".


Don't know about you, but I feel less secure knowing that we're spending a lot of time and effort taking plastic knives away from first graders, all in the name of a more secure society. Think I'm kidding, read this article and my guess is your first reaction will be to laugh, and then you'll get angry.

Kuwaiti Paper Criticizes Syria: "Assad's Regime More Criminal than Saddam's Regime"

Now it's getting interesting, with a neighbor criticizing Syria. This is a translation of an ariticle which ran a couple of days ago in Kuwait.

The Collapse of the Dream Palaces

This is a terrific article from The Weekly Standard.

Monday, April 21, 2003


Mike Silverman, a self-described liberal, offered up his assessment of the current "2004 Dem Pres" candidates.

2004, just around the corner?

The first televised debate among the nine candidates seeking the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination will be on Saturday, May 3rd, at the University of South Carolina. The debate, hosted by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, will air on C-SPAN from 830p-10p Eastern. Unless you are a lame loser like me, you probably have something much better to do on Saturday night then watch Dick Gephardt and Al Sharpton trade limp bon mots, so let TiVo do the watching for you.

The candidates are:

Gov. Howard Dean -- My personal favorite. He's the Democratic John McCain, plain-spoken, honest. His courageous support of civil unions was true leadership, and he supports gun rights and health care reform, so you can shoot yourself in the foot, and then get it treated promptly!

Sen. Carol Moseley Braun -- The first of the "joke" candidates. I could run for President and get more votes then her.

Sen. Jonathan Edwards -- The anointed one. He's been raising the most money and has much of Gore's 2000 team working for him (and they did sooooo well last time around). I have no idea what he stands for or why anyone should vote for him, but I hear he has a nice smile and loves to kiss babies and pose for photographs.

Rep. Dick Gephardt -- Old ironsides, a paleo-Democrat from the days when Ted Kennedy was a serious Presidential contender and Tip O'Neil ruled the House like a King. If he were running for "President Emeritus" maybe I would vote for him, but this is a guy who can't even win the House back for his party. He should quit this silly Presidential campaign and get a job selling Viagra with Bob Dole.

Sen. Bob Graham -- I don't know a damn thing about this guy, which is probably a good thing.

Sen. John Kerry -- Yeah, he's a war vet, but his "regime change begins at home" shtick is a steaming pile of you know what. I'd rather hear his ideas for what he would do about terrorism rather then just hearing him bag on Bush.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich -- He's contending strongly with Al Sharpton in the "who is the biggest lunatic" challenge. Kucinich is so far to the Left that he might be on the far right, I don't know. He's never met a dictator he didn't fall in love with, and he's to the starboard of Bashir Assad on the Israel issue. He is the only candidate who is pro-life on abortion, and pro-communist on the economy, so at least he's entertaining.

Sen. Joe Lieberman -- A good guy. Matches up well with me on many issues, although he is way too moralizing on things like popular entertainment. Best foreign policy of all the Democratic candidates. He is good on gay rights also. He's probably my second choice after Dean.

Rev. Al Sharpton -- Insert your favorite "Saturday Night Live" skit memory here.


No, it isn't what you might be thinking. It isn't Uday's coin collection, or the antiquities stolen from the National Museum. It's the culture which existed prior to the regime of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

Eric Davis wrote an informative op-ed piece in The New York Times describing life before Saddam. The British understand this, they were there. They created Iraq. And they know what happened afterwards. It's time we all understand it.


"For whatever reasons, too many prominent Americans wish for America’s failure — and claim to find evidence of it everywhere they look."

Good article debunking some of the "noise" coming from many quarters from nitwits who just won't sit down and shut up.


"If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain." - Winston Churchill

Haven't seen a poll since Baghdad fell. What's your guess as to the public support for the War in Iraq now that it's pretty much over? 80%? 90%? 95%?

And though Bush was elected in a squeaker, his approval ratings are about as high as anyone's has ever been. America, in general, appears pleased with a more conservative view of our place in the world. Washington, and politics in general, have become less radical. There are no major policital movements afoot to make sweeping changes in the way America works.

So how do you think that this "era" is going to be treated by history? How do you think it will be taught to our sons and daughters in another 10 years? 25 years? 50 years? Will it be taught matter of factly, or will it be skewed? And who writes history, anyway?

As Robert & Molly are getting older, helping them with homework is getting more interesting as they are studying stuff that's a little more complicated than "2+2=4". Now, they're studying history, the social sciences and other topics, which can be very open (with the passage of time) to "coloring". I must say, however, that I have not detected any significant bias in their textbooks -- you know, Hitler's still a bad guy and "war is hell".

So, what am I concerned about?

When I think back to my college days (spanned 1964-1972), the more radical elements in the schools I attended were generally a small group of students. The demonstrations were small, though often raucous. And I think I remember seeing, maybe, one faculty member get up and make an anti-war speech (or whatever it was they were protesting).

Fast forward 30 years. The news reporting of current demonstrations on campuses seem like they are being orchestrated by both faculty members and non-student groups external to the institution. I've highlighted some news stories that address the fact that funding and organization activities behind many of the recent anti-war demonstrations have had support from organizations that would relish American failure on any level.

The key is it doesn't seem like the students are running things anymore. They used to, but what happened? For one thing, I'm thinking that some of the kids who were protesting when I was in school are now running the school, or are on the faculty.

I've read a lot in the past few months about something which I've thought about and believe should be addressed, but by whom and how? The issue is the extreme bias which is now extant in virtually every major college and university, often in public institutions, supported mostly by tax dollars. And the degree to which thought (other than the political thought subscribed to by the faculty and adminstration) is suppressed is astounding. It was lovely to hear a couple of weeks ago that Cal Berkeley banned the display of American flags as it was viewed solely as a "political" symbol? What? Or, as someone said who reported on it, you could probably whip out an American flag and burn it in a protest (protected everywhere as "free speech"), but please don't just wave one or the campus police will arrest you!

Please read David Horowitz's scary article about this profound change which has occurred on campus and ask yourself if you shouldn't be concerned, too.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that every child should only be taught by teachers who are conservative. I would be just as concerned if I heard that 99% of all academics were neocon Republicans. I do think there's a lot to be said for Churchill's view, but as it is now, it seems that most students (at the college level) will only be taught by teachers who are liberal Democrats. And, thanks to the concept of tenure, these teachers almost always dictate what the textbooks will be. And if you've seen some of the stories about how history is now being written, sorry, re-written to fit the writer's viewpoint, you have to be concerned.

Am I nuts or aren't the inmates now running the asylum?


As time goes on there will be more and more stories like this.

At what point do the "we had no justification for entering Iraq" crowd just stop talking about it?

Friday, April 18, 2003


I caught Dennis' latest on HBO last night ("Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed"). Well worth it.

Maybe the funniest line was him describing his faith (Catholicism), and that when he enters a confessional these days he sits down, turns to the priest and says, "you first".

Great commentary on the war, though this was taped before the war started.


Jean Chretien and Jacques Chirac, separated only by an ocean.

And while the US is burying its dead and Iraq is struggling with its future, Chretien and Bill Clinton are playing golf.

Excuse me!?

Thursday, April 17, 2003


In the preceding post -- my comment about curing cancer. Did you think that was a little extreeeeme?

Look at the numbers …

Over the past 12 years, something like 7 million Americans have died of cancer, or about 2.7% of the average population over that time.

Over the past 12 years, depending on your source, between 500,000 and 1 million Iraqis and Kurds were killed by Saddam’s regime, or about 2.2% to 4.4% of the average population.

So, it’s highly probable that taking out Saddam was more important to Iraq than curing cancer would be to the US.

Was it worth it???

No, not a great name for a garage band, it's our ex-pres and the dwarfs who're running for the "Dem Pres 2004" nomination.

I've been monitoring what Slick Willie has said the past few weeks. He's horribly conflicted. Being a Southern Democrat, he is by nature more militaristic than say, Teddy Kennedy. And he's occasionally been saying he "supports the President and the troops". Yeah, motherhood, apple pie, yada yada.

Truth is, he's just suffering a hideous case of "testicle envy". Bush has two big ones, he doesn't. Bush did what Willie's "southern" side said he should've done (kick ass, take names), but probably got talked out of it by Hillary and the northern lib's on his staff.

But Bill isn't the one who has me pissed off. Not by a long shot. The governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, said last week "(w)e've gotten rid of [Saddam Hussein] and I suppose that's a good thing".

I SUPPOSE THAT'S A GOOD THING????? What the hell?! Like if we cured cancer, would he suppose that was a good thing? If he winds up as the Dem Pres 2004 candidate next year, that speech, played over and over again, should be the only commercial the Republicans have to use.

Celebrating liberation with eggs and matzo balls

How is this week different from all other weeks?

How about the ability to celebrate all religious beliefs in Iraq, a country that payed plenty of regional lip service to Islam, but virtually prohibited all religious activities that weren't also political.

The US would be better off if we could separate politics from religion as well.


Great little story about Chirac's discovery that he was not invited to the post-game party. Someone should tell him to dial 1-800-STAY-HOME.

France left out of Iraq stability force
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Paris
(Filed: 17/04/2003)

The rift in Europe over Iraq reopened last night after America's friends began to assemble a stabilisation force to back coalition troops, but left out France.

Asked about the plan at the European Union summit in Athens, Jacques Chirac, the French president, expressed surprise.

"I do not know anything about this proposal," he said, adding that he did not think such a force would be "an essential part of the solution of the problem" in Iraq.

He was speaking a day after he had a 20-minute conversation with President George W Bush to try to repair relations with Washington.

Denmark's staunchly pro-American prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that Washington had asked him to put together a 3,000-strong stabilisation force as quickly as possible to patrol Iraqi cities.

Mr Rasmussen said that Spain, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were ready to help and that others were coming around. Italy has approved the dispatch of 1,000 paramilitary policemen.

"Everyone realises that the international community and also the EU states have to make contributions across the board, both on stabilising the situation in the short term, but also on reconstruction in the long term."

The move coincided with a call by Mr Bush to the United Nations Security Council to lift the 12-year sanctions regime on Iraq.

He said: "Iraq should be able to trade freely and we need to transition from the oil-for-food programme as soon as possible and help restore a normal trading relationship with the global economy."

The move increased pressure on the anti-war powers to turn their declarations of support for a post-war government into reality.

Before the EU summit, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, warned France, Germany and Russia that the United Nations would be sidelined again if they refused to co-operate with the coalition.

Fogh Rasmussen said: "I would be surprised if we run into a negative approach, because what we are talking about is making it easier for the Iraqis themselves to have a democratic government."

Gathering at their first EU summit since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the anti-war bloc faces the fresh dilemma of whether to help restore Europe's shattered unity and heal the rift with Washington, or reinforce an obstructionist role that is becoming more costly by the day in political terms.

Russia and Germany started to distance themselves from the anti-war coalition over the weekend. There were signs yesterday that M Chirac was also at last looking for a way out of the impasse.

In his first face-to-face meeting with Tony Blair since the war began, he turned on the charm in a 20-minute chat, promising to support the Anglo-American forces in their goal of handing over a pacified Iraq to an interim authority led by Iraqis.

M Chirac's spokesman, Catherine Colonna, said it had been a very positive meeting.

She said: "Issue by issue, we have to find the right balance between the role of the UN, which must be the essential role, and the American and British forces on the ground."

As a first gesture, M Chirac floated the idea of an EU airlift to evacuate wounded children for medical treatment in Europe.

As the two men met, thousands of Greek leftists clashed with riot police in nearby Syntagma Square, leaving the air filled with the tear gas so familiar to EU summits.

Up to 100 people also took over the British Airways office to protest at Mr Blair's presence in the city. Others hurled petrol bombs at the British, Spanish and Italian embassies.

Asked what he felt about provoking demonstrations said to be the worst in Greece for 30 years, Mr Blair said: "It is an important democratic right that people have in Europe that they can take to the streets.

"It is a right the people in Iraq have today but did not have for 30 years."

The Prime Minister repeated that there should be "an important role for the UN" both in humanitarian relief and the reconstruction of Iraq. But the real priority was for the Iraqi people to take charge of their destiny.

At a brain-storming session on the new European constitution, most of the leaders backed the creation of a "foreign minister" to prevent a repetition of the humiliating cacophony over Iraq.

But there was less support for plans pushed by Mr Blair for a full-time president in Brussels who could give "strategic direction" and provide a negotiating partner for the American president.

"We need someone the White House can call," a British official said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


An interesting story about how we won so quickly, with some kernels of truth. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. You decide.


The 13-point statement agreed at the end of the Ur meeting said:

1. Iraq must be democratic.

2. A future government should not be based on communal identity.

3. A future government should be organised as a democratic federal system, but on the basis of countrywide consultation.

4. The rule of law must be paramount.

5. Iraq must be built on respect for diversity, including respect for the role of women.

6. The meeting discussed the role of religion in state and society.

7. The meeting discussed the principle that Iraqis must choose their leaders, not have them imposed from outside.

8. That political violence must be rejected and that Iraqis must immediately organise themselves for the task of reconstruction at both local and national levels.

9. That Iraqis and the coalition must work together to tackle the immediate issues of restoring security and basic services.

10. That the Ba'ath party must be dissolved and its effect on society must be eliminated.

11. That there should be an open dialogue with all national political groups to bring them into the process.

12. That the meeting condemned the looting which had taken place and the destruction of documents.

13. That the Nasiriyah meeting voted to hold another meeting in 10 days in a location to be determined with additional Iraqi participants to discuss procedures for developing an Iraqi interim authority.

In a word, ambitious.


They haven't gotten more than a few drops of ink in American news stories and very little air time, but the Australians were there to support us all the way.

Their PM stuck his neck out big time and the folks "down there" are happy they did.

It's a long way away, but I'd encourage you to take the time to travel to Australia and say thanks to them in person. It's a great country with some of the friendliest people on earth.


Abu Abbas, the sick creep who engineered many terrorist acts, including the death of a wheelchair-bound American tourist, was captured by US forces in Baghdad on Monday. The Palestinians want him released. I have the answer ...

We should put him on a boat about a mile offshore from the Gaza Strip. We duct tape him to a wheelchair and kick him over the side. If he can make it to shore, God bless.


Read this article at your peril. It will make you sick, no matter how you feel about the War.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003


OK -- the voting is in. OK, I was the only one who voted, so shoot me.

The weapon of the war had to be the "concrete bomb".

For those who missed it, someone came up with one of those "American-only" type of ideas. It was an answer to the question, how do we keep from killing someone who's standing next to a tank (or airplane) if all we want to do is kill the tank (or airplane)?

Answer: take a normal bomb casing, fill it with concrete, clamp control fins and a GPS or laser unit on the puppy and 'presto' -- a 1,000 pound, targetable bullet. And it has to cost thousands less than one with high-tech explosives in it, and it's way less dangerous to handle on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

Think about how big of a hole a 1,000 pound bullet going about 1,500 feet per second (they're suppopsed to reach about Mach 1.4 just before impact) could make in just about anything.

Of course, if we hadn't talked about it, CNN would be reporting about the "unexploded" bombs all over the place and how dangerous they were to Iraqi civilians.


Who said that? Jack Dempsey.

Also William Safire in an op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times.


If you didn't get irritated by the piece about CNN's duplicity in setting up their Baghdad bureau from yesterday's New York Times, check out this one and then wonder about what you hear when you hear "the news".

Muslims save Baghdad's Jewish community centre from looters

OK, Somebody tell me why I have to read this on an Australian website?

I wouldn't expect to see it on CNN, but I would hope that someone else picks up the story.


Don't know about you, but of the hundred or more individuals I've seen interviewed on TV by the "embeds" and others, they've all seemed like they were nice people. In this piece, the author states his belief they're our best ambassadors. Given that all our "real" ambassadors are politicians first, I'd have to agree.


One down, how many to go?

Interesting cover story from The Spectator.

"A Tale of Two Wars"
Posted by Jeremy Robb

The past, present, and future media coverage of the military action in Iraq was, is, and will be at odds with reality. The media has thus far been completely unapologetic in their inaccurate war coverage that has presented a viewpoint that is quite different from what is actually happening. While the military has gone to war against Iraq, the media has gone to war against the Bush Administration and our soldiers fighting for freedom. Here are some highlights of how Operation Iraqi Freedom was, is, and will be reported by the media. It makes you wonder which war they are actually covering.

Before the Start of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Media: We don’t have enough troops in the region. Not having a northern front through Turkey will be a serious blow to operations. Attacking Iraq will set off violence and war throughout an already unstable Middle East. Be prepared for massive terrorist attacks in the United States.

Reality: No one knew the military plan except top officials in the administration, and the number of troops was perfectly adequate. Not having a northern front through Turkey turned out to be irrelevant. Even with stray bombs landing in Iran and Syria, nothing beyond protests materialized. There was not a single terrorist attack in the United States.

Week One of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Media: The opening days of military action are a failure. We’re short on supplies, troops, and protection for our supply lines. Saddam isn’t dead yet. We’re not in Baghdad. We’re losing too many troops and killing too many innocent civilians. Contrary to popular media predictions, the entire Iraqi army has yet to lay down its arms and surrender. The ''quagmire'' terminology begins rearing its ugly head.

Reality: The Coalition accomplished more in one week of Operation Iraqi Freedom than forty days of bombing accomplished during Desert Storm in 1991. Any shortages of supplies were short-term and isolated. While we were not occupying Baghdad yet, we had moved 200+ miles in less than a week and were knocking on Baghdad’s door already. Compare this with 1991 when we never even made it to Baghdad after forty days. We had fewer troop casualties and civilian casualties than in 1991. And did anyone really expect soldiers to surrender immediately when they were threatened with the execution of their entire family should they choose not to fight? Yet thousands of troops still surrendered without a fight. The ''quagmire'' terminology turned out to be just as wrong as when it was used during operations in Afghanistan.

Week Two of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Media: Although no one is willing to admit the error, the media can no longer ignore the fact that the military action is a monumental success. Now the focus is on why some of the Iraqis have yet to welcome soldiers with open arms. Questions are asked about whether the Iraqi people actually believe liberation by the Americans might actually be worse than living with Saddam. And where is the humanitarian aid? The armies are arriving in town, but they don’t have food, water, medicine, or The New York Times to hand out to the Iraqi people. And now doubt is also cast about whether or not Baghdad can be taken without thousands of Coalition and civilian casualties. Visions of Mogadishu, Somalia, the inspiration for Black Hawk Down, were discussed as severe warnings of what was to come. Reporters at Al-Jazeera and the Palestine Hotel are killed by Coalition forces during a firefight, and the actions are portrayed as possibly intentional.

Reality: Once Iraqis were confident that Saddam was no longer a threat, they were very welcoming to our troops. Murals, monuments and statues were defaced and destroyed. Humanitarian aid was on the way, but it would probably make sense to secure a port to ensure no humanitarian workers were killed by hostile fire before delivering the aid. Had humanitarian workers been killed while delivering aid, there is no doubt that these same critical media outlets would have excoriated the military for being careless enough to allow humanitarian workers into harm’s way. And what about Baghdad? The predictions about Baghdad turned out to be completely wrong. The door-to-door fighting and thousands of casualties never happened. Instead the Iraqis welcomed us with open arms and were celebrating in the streets. Baghdad fell almost overnight. And while it certainly could be argued that the media was an enemy of the Coalition during this war, it is absurd and irresponsible to insinuate that they were made intentional targets.

Operation Iraqi Freedom Today

Media: The predictions of a quagmire, no humanitarian aid, Iraqis not welcoming us, and a horrific battle for Baghdad have all gone up in smoke, so now the media is looking for other critical angles. Looting has become the criticism of the day. The Iraqis are screaming mad that we’re allowing people to loot the cities. Our military is criticized for not being prepared to handle the looting and lawlessness that has happened since the Saddam regime has fallen. It is unconscionable that we are allowing this looting and violence to occur.

Reality: Fighting still isn’t over yet, but the expectation is that the military should already have a police force in place. During the Los Angeles riots, the media made excuses for the African-American community looting and rioting due to past oppression, hopelessness, and feelings of powerlessness. But it’s different for the Iraqi people for some reason. While looting and fires are happening, the vast majority is focused on locations that are symbols of the Saddam regime. The anger and frustration are certainly to be understood, and things will be brought under better control once our soldiers can safely change their role to police officer.

Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Future

Media: Once the looting is brought under control over the next few days, the media will need to find another area to criticize. While 90%+ of the Iraqis are probably thrilled that we have liberated them, the media will desperately seek to interview the 10% who think we are there as occupiers and not liberators. Questions will be raised about why a new Iraqi government has not yet been established. Concerns about true American intentions will dominate the stories, and we will be portrayed as incompetent in setting up a self-governing Iraq. Then the questions will be raised about weapons of mass destruction. We’re not finding them, and the media will become critical of our justification for invading Iraq.

Reality: The Administration has already publicly stated that a new Iraqi government will take a minimum of 12 to 18 months to establish once fighting is over. Probably longer. Just like the war was considered a failure after only three days, the ability to set up a government for an entire country will be incorrectly called a failure after only three months. The timeline for finding well-hidden weapons of mass destruction has also been set out at a year or more. There are over 3,000 sites that must be carefully searched in a country the size of California. The weapons will be found, but it won’t be done overnight. Again, the media will criticize the searches as failing after only a few weeks of looking, but the expectation is not valid.

So I’m not quite sure which war is actually being reported in the news, but it’s quite different than the one being fought in reality.

Jeremy is a freelance writer who lives in San Francisco (occupied territory) and has declared a jihad on liberalism.


Or, better said, aren't Iraqis justified in taking what had previously been looted by Saddam?

Is there a time when "law & order" doesn't apply? Here's an argument for that position.


Read this piece and you'll probably hate it even more.


Turns out, compared to a lot of things we do worry about (and spend a LOT of money to control), worrying about SARS is probably not a waste of time. This article points out how clueless we would be in preventing a truly fast-spreading disease.
Where's My Face Mask?
William Baldwin, 04.28.03, 12:00 AM ET

It's a shame. We tie ourselves in knots worrying about things like nuclear power and wood preservatives, and then are ill-equipped to combat really deadly things like Asian viruses.

If you want to be like the germophobic journalist Bensinger in The Front Page, go ahead and wipe down the doorknobs with bleach. Your neurosis may be justified.

In all likelihood the Asian pneumonia will stop short of epidemic proportions in the U.S. (see p. 44). Even if the virus cannot be contained, it will probably have a death rate here well below the 4% seen abroad. But who can say for sure? If your life is worth $2 million and you figure wearing a face mask will reduce your likelihood of dying by 1 in a million, a $2 mask is a good investment.

At least, in making such a calculation, you would be applying more rationality than your fellow citizens do in matters of health and safety. Start with the budget of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The agency has $184 million for combating industrial diseases but only $424 million for combating natural epidemics. The ratio is not even 3-to-1 in favor of defending ourselves from contagious natural diseases. It should be 30-to-1. If we weren't so preoccupied worrying about nuclear power, we would be better equipped to fight influenza.

Research by University of Oregon psychologist Paul Slovic and others has shown how people's assessments of risk are warped by emotional factors. We are instinctively more fearful of things beyond our control (like airplanes) than things within our control (cars), even though statistics say that the car is the riskier vehicle. We also fear artificial things more than natural things: DDT more than malaria, the hormones in beef rather than the fat, the wacko with anthrax rather than the next-door neighbor sneezing coronavirus.

These visceral responses have infected our policymaking. W. Kip Viscusi, an economist at Harvard Law School, has documented the lopsided payoffs from different kinds of government regulations. Some car safety rules (like mandatory seat belt use) cost a tiny amount and save lots of lives. Contrast the 1989 asbestos ban: It is saving lives at a cost (translated into today's dollars) of $19 million per year of life saved. A tough regulation on landfills comes in at $3.3 billion per year of life. A rule treating wood preservatives as hazardous waste runs $1.2 trillion per year of life saved. At work here is a populist myth that business causes most cases of cancer.

The truth is that Mother Nature is a much bigger enemy.



I saw a news story that NBC and at least one other network (CBS?) are already shopping a made-for-TV movie about the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch -- without her involvement or approval, of course. No word on a working title. No word on who might star.

Given the total wrong-headedness of most of Hollywood's elite over the War, this could be a real opportunity for them (and a couple of politicians and media types, too) to save at least an ounce of credibility, so here are some recommendations:

Working Title: Can't be "Saving Private Jessi". That'd piss off Spielberg and Hanks, though it would probably be a good choice. And it really shouldn't be too commercial, so it's doubtful that anything close to "Charlie's Newest Angel" will fly either.

Your guess? I can't think of anything dignified enough. Maybe it should just be "PFC Jessica Lynch: Her Story."

Location: no better place than where it actually happened - in Iraq. Will save some major bucks. The unions aren't there, yet.

Casting: the easy part. My recommendations and prognostications for what happens after the movie is aired:

Martin Sheen plays the President (he's been practicing for the past couple of years). Sheen really gets it together. He even looks like Bush - truly inspired, he wins an Emmy for Best Actor. Ironically, "The West Wing" is cancelled the week the movie airs due to a salary dispute with Sheen. Marty then shocks Hollywood by renouncing his wealth, abandoning his family, and becomes a priest, moves to Basra and opens a health clinic for the poor.

Ed Asner plays the Vice President. But Eddy plays it from the "bunker", so we never see him on screen. And after the movie's aired, we never see him again, except for the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" re-runs, of course.

Tim Robbins plays Rumsfeld, but requires a lot of coaching because it's discovered Robbins can't pronounce any word with three or more syllables. But with flawless editing, he pulls it off. A real trooper, our Timmy. He gets an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He and Susan S. drift apart after the movie is aired. He permanently retires from acting, becomes a documentary filmmaker and wins an Oscar for his first film - "Saddam Hussein: A Profile in Terror."

Michael Moore plays Gen. Tommy Franks, but not until he gets a spine implant. Then he goes through Basic Training, Advanced Infantry School and Ranger School. He wanted to go through Special Ops training, but he just didn't have enough time. He lost 85 pounds, has washboard abs, and actually learned to like his M16. After the film was wrapped, he campaigns to become the President of the National Rifle Association. He loses, but gives a remarkable concession speech, apologizing for Bowling for Columbine, blaming an addiction to psychotropic drugs. He hugs Charlton Heston and promises his next documentary will be a piece on the Branch Davidians and how Janet Reno should've nuked their Waco compound on day one.

Susan Sarandon plays an embedded reporter for Fox News. In the movie, she is the reporter who discovers the first WMD cache. After reporting on the large cache of Sarin gas containers they stumbled upon, she mistakes a vial of Ricin for honey, which she puts in her tea. She wins the Pulitzer Prize, posthumously, for her reporting. Sarandon, due to the continuing vast right-wing conspiracy, isn't nominated for anything. After she and Robbins split, she becomes a nun (she saved her habit from "Dead Man Walking"), and now works in Marty Sheen's clinic.

Sean Penn plays the head of the SEAL team who rescues PFC Lynch. Though never known by any name other than "Commander Solo", it's rumored later he won a Silver Star for his actions. Penn, however, is arrested in a bar in Dubai during a break in shooting the film. It costs NBC $100,000 and two Mercedes to bail him out. It is later rumored that he and Madonna have gotten back together since Sean got tired of being married to Mrs. Forest Gump. He stays in the SF Bay area, and starts a web-based porno business in his Marin County house. Too early to tell whether it will be a success, but Madonna is the Creative Director, so it's got promise.

Bill Clinton plays Martin Sheen, delivering a protest speech that PFC Lynch sees on CNN while recuperating in Germany. Jessi's a little groggy when she sees the piece and it still it takes six SEALs to calm her down. (She thought Clinton had become President again!) Luckily for them, only one of the SEALs is seriously injured. Part of Clinton's scene was cut for "family" viewing - it was a close-up reverse angle shot showing Monica Lewinsky (playing herself) hiding under the lectern, operating the "tele-prompter" (that's what Bill calls it, don't yell at me!). Thanks to the producers, you can find it on the "Director's Cut" version of the DVD. Bill, always in character, is still doing what he does best, whatever that is. Oh yeah, the "Point-Counterpoint" thing with Dole on "60 Minutes"? It lasted one season, they both claimed victory, but "60 Minutes" ratings fell and they lost 2 share points in the Nielsens.

Janeane Garofalo plays a woman dressed in a burka on the road to Nasariyah holding up a sign that says "Yankee, si! Saddam, no!" No one has a clue what she means. (Kind of an easy role for her to play?) In fact, the only time we know it was her is when the movie is re-aired six months later on VH1 as the "Pop Up Video" of the week. They even freeze-framed it so you could read the sign, which you couldn't do at normal speed since the camera was on an M1A1 going about 40 miles an hour. Funny, no one has seen her since the movie was aired. Vague rumor in one Internet chat room that she'd met a Lebanese refugee called Ali in a bar in Basra, fell in love, and bought the bar. Purportedly, she sings while he tends bar. Sweet story - hope it's true.

Jacques Chirac plays Saddam Hussein. A born natural, he wins a special Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in Drama, gets a 5 minute standing "o" at the awards and parties into the night at Wolfgang Puck's with Courtney Love. They later head off in the limo to the John Belushi Memorial Bungalow at Chateau Marmont and do major quantities of cognac and cocaine until they pass out. When he comes to his senses, he resigns as French President and spends a year on Elba getting clean, both physically and mentally. He re-appears to great fanfare, and starts a new career as the international spokesperson for the new Iraqi Oil Corporation. He hires the same agent as Tony Robbins and Bill Clinton and gets $100,000 a pop for speaking engagements, where he presents a very well-scripted speech - "Bush Was Right, I Was Wrong." Jacques proves he was a pragmatist after all. It wasn't about the oil ... it was about the money!

Jean Chretien plays Uday Hussein. It's rumored that he was very disappointed that he didn't get to fully explore the nuances of his character. Since he had no spoken lines, it's a mystery as to what the hell Jean-boy was complaining about, but I guess most Canadians are already asking that question. He's truly rewarded a few years later when Quebec separates from Canada and he is designated Quebec's Ambassador to Iraq. His family and Chirac's buy a ski chalet in Gstaad where they spend most summers together.

Gerhard Schroeder plays Qusay Hussein. He kept screwing up his only line, which was "I'll have the veggie burger" (this was just before the first GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" hit the restaurant).When the director said "action!", Shroeder kept running into the street saying, "I was just following orders! I surrender!" They kept telling him that no one was actually going to bomb the place, and after a few beers and 23 takes, he finally pulled it off. Unfortunately, the sound was a bit off, so they had Arnold Schwarzenegger do a voiceover. Schroeder liked the finished product - so much so that he wished he'd thought of the voiceover thing about 20 years ago. He left public office when he wasn't re-elected Chancellor and it is rumored that he opened a Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires, with "a few local investors who were friends of his father."

John Kerry plays Mohammed, the guy who tipped us off as to PFC Lynch's location. Though he didn't have a lot of screen time and only spoke ten words, he really clicked with the camera. John leaves the Senate the next day, disbands his effort to win the Democratic nomination for President, replaces Chris Matthews on MSNBC, and insists he isn't a Democrat but is a "moderate" neo-Conservative. He now has the highest-rated news show not on Fox News Channel. Oh yeah, the Massachusetts Democrats don't actually designate anyone to replace him, saying Teddy Kennedy's ass has gotten so big he needs two seats. But Teddy's sent back to a "coach-sized" seat the next year when Mitt Romney slam-dunks it in the special election.

Tom Daschle plays the guy who owns the restaurant that got bombed because the CIA thought the Husseins were in the house. He gets very little time on screen and you don't understand a word he says (another "art immitates life" performance.) Since he always looks like he's pulled an all-nighter, he is really convincing as the weary, haggard restranteur. So convincing that they ask him to star in a new HBO "original" about an aging, aimless hippy whose father dies and leaves him an investment banking firm to run (sort of a "Jerry Garcia Goes to Wall Street"). Not a very exciting idea on paper, but he goes for it anyway and resigns from the Senate. The Republicans get the Constitution amended so South Dakota only gets one Senate seat (jeez, there are only a couple of thousand people in South Dakota, isn't one enough?), so he doesn't get replaced. First season, the numbers on his show are better than "The Sopranos" and they ace out "Six Feet Under" for Best Drama at the Emmys.

Peter Arnett plays Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, a/k/a "Baghdad Bob." Seeing Peter in action, ABC re-starts "Politically Incorrect" and hires Arnett after they discover how really talented he is (compared to Bill Maher.) All the newspapers and wire services he'd just signed contracts with sue him and he claims the contracts aren't binding "because I had my fingers crossed behind my back." Petey, you rascal! He's second in his time slot, and that was good enough to get renewed after the first year.

Teddy Kennedy was the first Director, but got fired after the first month (had something to do with alcohol or young women - go figure!) and was replaced by Tim Robbins. Gotta' give him his props -- Timmy was great. He was nominated for Best Director, and he won it. Kennedy (thinking he deserved the award) showed up drunk at the awards ceremony and actually made it to the stage just as Robbins was about to deliver his acceptance speech. Oliver North (he was a winner that night, too, for his reporting as an "embed") took out Kennedy with a humanely delivered kick to the left testicle. That's what I call precision bombing, Ollie! Hoo-rah.

Al Gore, who was originally rumored to play The President (talk about dodging the same bullet twice!), did a cameo as a taxi driver in Baghdad. Al didn't want screen credit even though he had a spoken line. Funny, his line was: "You know, I used to be an agent for the Iraqi government." He was so convincing! Made you wonder. He supposedly moved to Florida and is testing the waters to see if he should run for mayor of Miami. He divorced Tipper and became Jennifer Lopez's sixth husband, thinking that would help with the vote in Miami. It was only at the wedding reception that P. Diddy told him she wasn't Cuban. He depressed.

I could do on, but you get the idea. Doing this will be cathartic for these guys. They'll feel better, we'll all feel better ...... wait ......oops, sorry, forgot the most important one ...

Hillary Clinton will play PFC Lynch. Given the remarkable difference in age ... and ... well ... size, Hill only agreed to do it after the producers agreed to pay for a facelift, breast augmentation, world-class liposuction, ankle transplant (she donated one and the other was enough to make two nice ones), many nips and tucks ... and a charisma bypass.

And she was great! Really convincing. She claimed it was her destiny to play this role since it could've just as easily have been her story. Sure. Right.

The funniest part happened on the set. Bill, having not heard about her transformation, walked up, pinched her on the ass and said something like "damn, woman, I know that ass, but what're you doin' here instead of South Beach." That wasn't the funny part. Hillary turns around and he does a perfect Mike Myers triple-take just as the reality hit him between the eyes that it was her. A nanosecond later, Janeane Garofalo jumped on top of him and beat the crap out of him, yelling things like "my bitch" ... "saw her first". PFC Lynch, on the set as a paid consultant (the producers felt bad and finally signed a contract paying her $250,000), had all three of them in restraints in about 15 seconds. But Bill couldn't take his eyes off the "new Hill" - poor guy, he sure didn't marry her for her looks, but now that she's got em, he can't have 'em. Life's a bitch.

Hillary didn't run in 2006 so she could devote full time to her movie career. She said she had been so wrong for 50 years about how just being smart was "enough." Now that she's got a couple of 36C's, and a booty to match, it looks like she's a lock to replace Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in "X-Men 3". And she left Bill, finally, formally, divorce decree and all. The only time they see each other is at class reunions in New Haven. He still hits on her; she still laughs and walks away.

Oh, yeah, PFC Lynch. What happens to her? She heals well - good immune system and a lotta' good home cookin' gets her back on her feet in no time. She buys her mom and dad a new house with her consulting fee from the movie, and she earns a million bucks for her book deal.

But then the big surprise -- not since World War II has it happened, but the Army gives her a battlefield commission, promoting her to 2nd Lieutenant. She then decides to make the Army her career, and not only does she complete her college education (night classes), she becomes a Special Ops helicopter pilot and participates in 25 highly-classified rescue operations throughout the World over the next five years. She makes it to Brigadier General, and her last job is as Deputy to the Commander In Chief, Central Command. She's the one giving the briefings during the occasional war of liberation. A few of the reporters remember her as a "teenage kid" who had a strong heart, a stronger will, and a great smile. She was "America's Soldier" in the "Three Week War," the only soldier that everyone, everyone knew by name.

Anyway, what d'ya think? I like it. I'd watch it. I'd even buy the DVD and put it right next to "Patton".

Monday, April 14, 2003


If this is true (and there's no reason to believe it's not), the previous post ("Red Menace"), is all the more believable.

Thanks Joe.


I really wonder how many folks hear a rally is going to happen, go there, participate, and never really know who organized it or why.

Maybe it's not as simple as they think. Maybe there's an agenda they might not buy into, but why let them in on the little secret?

I'd only ask they read articles like this first before they put their idealism on the line. If they still want to go, God bless 'em.


No kidding, seems like the Iraqis were willing to die if you insulted their manhood. Could it have been that easy? Read this lead article from Newsweek.


In case you missed it over the weekend, here's the mea culpa from the head of news at CNN regarding their "keeping quiet" about atrocities being committed in Iraq, all in the name of being able to keep their office in Baghdad open for business.


A lot of reporting of the atrocities discovered to have been committed in Iraq during the past three decades are not news. Yet, where was the outrage from groups who are in the business of expressing outrage? Groups like Amnesty International, in particular. They have plenty of funds to protest every instance when a prisoner found guilty of multiple torture murders is executed in the US, but what about the torture and murder of people in other countries for reasons no more serious than trying to exercise free speech?

A lot of reporters are now asking the question, where were they (the "human rights" groups)? and why are they "warning" the US and UK to respect rule of law, the Geneva Convention, etc, etc, in Iraq when they have never seemed to have been too concerned about Iraqi citizens in the past?

I think the answer is pretty simple.

These organizations function in a very opportunistic fashion. First, they tend to be funded by foundations and private donations from those who are well meaning, but who are basically guilty that they have a lot of money. So they are susceptible to groups who prey on that guilt by talking about abuse of "innocent" people by governments. But what do you get for your money?

Generally, they spend the biggest chunk of what they take in on efforts to raise money, so you might argue they are primarily a fund-raising organization. Secondly, they spend a lot of money on advertising and promotion. Not just print advertising and PR efforts to get their story heard in the media, but a lot of money spent on highly-paid consultants who treat these issues like they treat a new product. A story is crafted which will have the maximum effect on people who feel the guiltiest and to some degree feel like their contribution might actually make a difference.

OK, so if you were a wealthy person who was in that position, would you give money to an organization who spent all their time pointing out atrocities in countries ruled by savage, totalitarian dictators -- who could give a rat's ass about you and your opinion? Or would you give your money to an organization that went after "atrocities" being committed in or by governments in industrialized, democratic countries? You know, countries where the people in power are actually elected to office and are sensitive to "public opinion."


Amnesty International is not about to waste a quarter of its benefactors' money carping about Saddam Hussein. To what end? They knew that it would've resulted in them spending a ton of money and getting no "results." Because Saddam (or any other despotic ruler) didn't lie awake at night worrying about what a few western dilettantes say about him. And no one outside Iraq would've done anything about it. either. And these groups knew that. So they stayed quiet. And they went after "softer" targets, while thousands in Iraq perished.

Shame on them.

Was Berlin a nicer place in 1939 or 1946?

Not a rhetorical question ... but, as Victor Davis Hanson says, it depends on who you were.

Friday, April 11, 2003


I great send up by Canadian journalist Mark Steyn.

But with a remarkable fact embedded in the story, which I quote here: "The Western oil company with the closest ties to the late Saddam is France's TotalFinaElf. That's not the curious fact, that's just business as usual in the Fifth Republic. This is the curious fact: As Diane wrote in February and again last week, "Total's biggest shareholder is Montreal's Paul Desmarais, whose youngest son is married to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's daughter."

So this is about oil after all???


John is a journalist and has worked for (up until today) the New Statesman , an extreme left-wing British rag.

His resignation was published, just below yet another diatribe about how the War was "a crime against humanity" perpetrated by the US.


Poor Jacques, he "just can't get no respect." Even French papers are making fun of him. Of course, not in English. Gotta read it in the British press.


Correspondents reported that Washington's war plan had failed and remembered that this president knew nothing of military affairs. Critics who had admired him the day before remembered his gawky manner, his ungainly language, and that he had never really been part of the savvy establishment. Panic swept the capital, which had been ready to celebrate victory only a few days before.

And so it was, those first few days after the first battle of Bull Run.

This and more in a great piece by Paul Greenberg.


This description of the home of Tariq Aziz, the formerly omnipresent deputy PM of Iraq, seems surreal. Aside from where it was located, it could've been a house in Greenwich or Beverly Hills or Palm Beach, given what they found inside.

It still never ceases to amaze me that, though they profess profound hatred for America, western culture and all it stands for, when you visit their houses, what do you find? Danielle Steel novels, Britney Spears posters and Godfather DVD's. Go figure ...


So says Ann Coulter. I'm not sure I agree, but one can only hope.


Another terrific article from Victor Davis Hanson.

It's probably hard to put into perspective today, but we just witnessed an event which will be written about in excruciating detail for decades to come.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


... and how we were going to get drawn into Vietnam after Vietnam if we took the War to the turf of the state sponsors (Iran, Iraq, Syria, et. al.).

His comments from a few months ago show how completely, utterly wrong he was on this subject.

He understands all the backstage politics which occur in Washington -- he was a key player there for years. But he is clueless beyond the Beltway.


"We are now free, so everybody has an opinion."

"I'm 49, but I never lived a single day. Only now will I start living."

Says it all, but if you want to read the whole story



What has been the second most deadly war in history (WW Two was #1)?

Hint: It's still going on!
Second hint: No, it's not in the Middle East.

For the answer, read this.


The story which hit me most last night was a comment from a reporter based in Jordan. He said that the "man on the street" comments in Aaman were those of Jordanians who were shocked. Not that the US had toppled Saddam. Not that it happened so quickly. Not that the vaunted Republican Guards went AWOL.

No, they were shocked that the Iraqis on the street in Baghdad and Basra were cheering the US and stomping on the face of Saddam. They were incredulous. They didn't understand. They saw that the smiles on the faces were real emotion, not the kind of forced smile you see when someone has an AK-47 (just off camera) to their head.

They just didn't get it. Saddam was a hero to them. Saddam was viewed as the most potent, powerful leader in that part of the world. But how could the Iraqi people have hated him?

They just didn't get it.

Let's hope that as the full story comes out, spoken by Iraqis, not media talking heads, and hope that those stories will be on al Jazeera, and hope that many in the Arab world begin to question the leadership in the country they live in, that they question the rallying cry of the militant Islamists to join the jihad against the US.

Let's hope.


APR. 9, 2003: LATAKIA

There is too much to report, and most of it will have to wait for the morning. But now, as I write this, many of the most senior of Saddam's henchmen are confirmed to be in Syria. The resort city of Latakia, with its beautiful beaches, now hosts them. And Syrian banks hold many millions that were looted from Iraq. Intelligence sources--the best of them--report that the Saddam regime's top people and their families are now in Syria. It may be the top five or the top ten, but the traffic into Latakia from Baghdad over the past week or two has been very heavy. Beach? Someone needs to dial 1-800-SEALS and 011-44-207-SBS.

All are not smiling in Baghdad. Especially those who were members of the Baath party. At least one of them is dead, hanged by an angry mob. There is some popular revenge, and we may not be able to stop it. Our guys only hold about twenty-five percent of Baghdad securely.

Consider one fact: Oliver North confirms that of the "Saddam fedayeen" encountered so far, none--zero--have been identified as Iraqis. Among the ones who engaged the Marines, which means among the dead, there are Jordanians, Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Sudanese, Afghanis, and some from the UAE. But no Iraqis. Imported terrorists, not home grown. More tomorrow morning.


You've heard the words.

The only question is, was the symbolic fall of Saddam's statue in downtown Baghdad the Middle East equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall?


The Jerusalem Post
Analysis, By Barry Rubin: The old Middle East comes crashing down

Apr. 10, 2003

Much of the old Middle East not all, but a considerable part lies today as ruined as Saddam Hussein's statues. Once again, the main claims and ideas by which the region is explained and governed have crashed down with surprising ease.

The American army is in Baghdad, cheered by Iraq's people at the same moment as it is booed by so many of the Arabs who never suffered under Saddam's lash.

Do not forget this day too soon.

Of course, this is the Middle East and things will go wrong, victories will tarnish, new lies and rationalizations will soon appear.

And yet, let it be clear: Everything the supporters of this war predicted has come true; everything their critics said has been shown to be false.

Everything the advocates of an alternative way of understanding the region has proven true, while everything the champions of the Old Middle East have asserted is dead wrong. As dead as hundreds of thousands of victims of Iraq's dictatorship who have been ignored in the theories, complaints, and even the reports of those daring to call themselves "friends" of the Arab people.

In the short run, the Arab world did not rise to Saddam's aid. There have been no significant terrorist attacks. The mythical Arab street has remained reasonably quiet.

The Iraqi armed forces did collapse quickly. The people did not love their dictator nor did they fight to keep on their chains. The terrorist training camps and torture chambers stand revealed to the world, just as the unconventional weapons will be in the days to come. The masses did greet the British and American forces. The stories of US plans gone wrong, heavy resistance, American defeats, deliberate Western brutality, nationalist devotion to the tyrant, and far more were wrong, wrong, wrong.

The European governments and demonstrators who demanded that Saddam be allowed to misrule and oppress for many more years have been shown to be mistaken.

Will those who misunderstood and misrepresented acknowledge their mistakes?

A French friend told me some weeks ago that when the children's prisons of the regime were opened up to show its total degradation, the people of France 33 percent of whom advocated Saddam's victory in a recent poll would demand their government explain how it protected such an evil dictatorship. Will that happen now?

Yet no less important are the long-term myths that have been exposed for the falsehoods that they are: That the Arab world stands always and everywhere united against the West in some practical way. Wrong.

That the words of Arab newspapers and television networks reflect some powerful force that will be unleashed in the real political world. Wrong.
That anti-Western sentiment, pan-Arab nationalism, and hatred of Israel will determine Arab behavior on every significant issue. Wrong.

That the Arab-Israeli conflict is the only issue of any importance and it shapes all other considerations in the region. Wrong.
What could be more ironic than the fact that the Iraqi Baath party gave out membership certificates whose main message was to fight to "liberate" Palestine, a tireless effort to distract its people from liberating themselves?

That the only way for the West to deal with Middle Eastern dictators is to appease them. Wrong.
That nothing can be done to fight the sponsors of terrorism, aggression, and dictatorship because of the nature of the Arab world. Wrong.

This does not mean, of course, that everything will go smoothly now. The Iraqis want a better life and they want to govern themselves.

Eventually, they will object to long-term governance by the West. A transfer of power must take place in a reasonable time. Yet this problem can be handled if US policy is handled with as much sense as it has been up until now.
As important as the specific issue of Iraq is going to be, there is a genuine question as to whether and to what extent this marks a new era.

Will the thudding crash of Saddam's statues have anywhere near the wider effect the fall of Communist statues in the USSR and Eastern Europe had a decade ago?

In a sense, this could be just one more partial disappointment, as so many great days in modern Middle East history have been. From the 1967 Arab-Israeli war to the 1991 victory in Kuwait, the forces of reaction have been defeated again and again.

Yet no single demonstration or even the cumulative proof of decades on the need for deep and thorough-going change in the region's thinking and institutions has succeeded in bringing down the psychological and political iron curtain of the Middle East.

Still, the hefty weight of reality has again and again sought to pound the lesson home. Will this time be the decisive blow?

One must doubt, but one can hope.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


This is a classic. If you’re annoyed by Daschle, look at this.

How do you say “your other right, dumbass!”



But would like to see them do this one on TV.



Read this article.



Quoting from a recent wire service article: “The palace had been stripped of most personal items, but the building boasted a sophisticated audio-video system. Troops looking in one cabinet found a collection of pirated movies, ‘Les Miserables’ among them.”

At last!!! The Hollywood crowd will find something to be indignant about!

Torture and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent (and not so innocent) Iraqs – well, that’s not our concern.

Illegally copy one of my movies – I’ll sue your ass!!!


Gotta read P.J. O’Rourke’s stinging article about Billy Boy.



A thoughtful, somewhat scary piece by UPI’s Chief International Correspondent that asks the question, could democracy in Iraq be a bad thing?


Fascinating, revolting, perverse, disgusting, and long (22 pages), but you should read this article from the Atlantic Monthly.


Check out the DoD website where they spell out the mission, and detail the accomplishments.


While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
- Lenin

We cannot be free men if this is, by our national crisis, to be a land of slavery. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
- Lincoln, Abraham


Our good friends, the Japanese, have committed $100 million towards humanitarian aid in Iraq. They didn't send troops to Iraq because they can't -- their constitution (which we drafted) forbids it.

Our other good friends, the French, who could've committed at least a couple of divisions and maybe some of their Foreign Legion fanatics, have committed $1 million euros (about $1,074,300 at current exchange rates) to Iraqi humanitarian aid.

Priceless ...


They should be required to read it aloud, word-for-word, before every protest. Otherwise, they wouldn't get a license to protest. Good idea?

Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs
Tue Apr 8,12:30 PM ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.

Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.

"Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

"There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

"The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."

The children, who were wearing threadbare clothes and looked under-nourished, walked on the streets crossing their hands as if to mimic handcuffs, before giving the thumbs up sign and shouting their thanks.

It was not clear who had opened the doors of the prison.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003


Baghdad - 82°F Clear. Pleasantly warm.


This is a great article describing the problems in Europe that the Europeans just won't admit exist.

April 7, 2003 2:00 p.m.
Steady as We Go
By Victor Davis Hanson
Do not take counsel of your fears.

1. Shouldn't we be afraid of unending terrorism in the streets of Baghdad after our victory?

Not really. The model of occupation need not be Stalingrad, Beirut, or Mogadishu. In fact, usually there is not prolonged terrorism following the fall of most cities, whether Constantinople, Richmond, or even Saigon. The key is either the use of overwhelming force or proof of liberation — or, as in our case, preferably both. In street-to-street fighting so far Americans, not Iraqis, have turned out to be the real scary fighters — and Baghdad is more an open suburban environment without high-rises and the winding streets of medieval cities. The resistance is not grassroots, but made up of desperate Saddamites who have nowhere to go, fearing their own oppressed more than they do us.

2. But why aren't the Iraqis all coming out en masse to support us?

Many are. But given our recent history in not backing the Shiites and Kurds, Saddam's oppressed, like Germans on the Rhine in 1945, gauge how long they are going to keep their dictator's pictures on the wall by the ebb and flow of battle. Who in the first few days would be so reckless to profess affinity for us as we race by, only to deal with Baathist holdouts behind? Remember that professed support for Saddam will not draw reprisals from us while proof of revolt means death from him.

3. But what about the jihadists from Syria, Egypt, or Jordan? Won't we be swarmed by thousands from the Arab Street?

They may meet the same fate as those who left Pakistan to join the Taliban in Afghanistan. Jihadists are much more vulnerable in transit in the desert than terrorists traversing the Khyber Pass. News of their fate in Iraq when they met U.S. Marines will be a powerful argument for others to stay put. And a small, non-nuclear Syria or Jordan is far more receptive to American pressure to keep its citizens out than was Pakistan.

4. Shouldn't we worry about suicide bombers?

Of course. Yet there are only a limited number of people willing to kill themselves for a dictator. The present cohort of self-professed killers so far lacks the zeal of the West Bank murderers and the state infrastructure of the Kamikazes. If anything, their sporadic presence only cements the case that Iraq was a terrorist state and was seen as such by fellow terrorists.

5. But won't the Baathists retreat to strongholds and wage war for years?

They said that about Hitler's National Redoubt. Some Union generals feared fanatics like Nathan Bedford Forrest would wage guerrilla war for generations. In fact, it is rare for the defeated to press on in a hopeless cause against a democratic victor. Remember that noisy Iraqi Baathist elites who have experienced little pain in the war but greatly fear the peace are rarely accurate barometers of what their soldiers who have suffered will do.

6. Shouldn't we worry about the torching of the northern oil wells or some such last final nightmare?

So far the speed of the American advance and its skill, not just Baathist restraint, has saved the bridges, damns, and oil fields. We essentially overran the country in ten days; and while that seemed slow (!) to Americans, it may well have caught the Iraqi demolition units off guard. The wonder was not that bridges and wells were mined, but that they were not exploded. Iraqis may not profess love for Americans, but that does not mean they will blow up their own treasures on orders from an impotent tyrant. The very fact that we spared infrastructure in a strange way proved a restraining force on Saddam's own henchmen, who in worry over public outcry or eventual moral accounting feared that they should not do what we would not.

7. Aren't we losing the propaganda war?

Anytime we bomb, of course, we will be criticized. But the looming end of the war will begin to the reverse the dynamic of the coverage — as reports emerge of mass graves, torture chambers, weapons of mass destruction, interviews with Saddam's victims, tons of American food and aid, and the birth of reform government. And it could shift quite radically once shocked Iraqis accept that Saddam is gone, and that the buildings and homes of their oppressors are in shambles and their own are mostly spared — a gradual improvement in public opinion will allow us a year or so to establish a legitimate government. The worry should not be about Arab public opinion but rather about the American Street — which is slowly simmering and may, if we are not careful, wish to tire of the Middle East and its current insanity altogether.

8. But didn't all the hard fighting and destruction of Saddam's forces ensure years of bitterness?

The opposite is more likely. Don't assume that Baathists, Republican Guardsmen, and terrorist gangs were remotely popular. In fact, tragic as it is given the human costs, the ruin of most of these groups will make the reconstruction easier than had they just given up or escaped. The problem in Afghanistan was that too many Taliban simply surrendered or fled rather than fought and perished — and so are reconfiguring as we let down our guard. We may not wish to accept the brutal nature of man, but the very fact that American troops have fought so well and proved so deadly will have a positive effect in discouraging resistance — the opposite, in other words, of being blowing up in Beirut and then retreating from Lebanon.

9. Don't we have too few ground troops to finish off Saddam and occupy the country?

Probably not. And unlike Saddam's forces our numbers are growing, not shrinking. No one yet has calibrated the force multiplying effect of precision-guided bombs dropped in tactical situations against individual tanks, guns, and trucks. But obviously 1,000 planes streaking over Iraq seems to be worth an armored division at least and maybe much more. The very sight of American aircraft in the sky and the knowledge of the accuracy of their bombs have had a frightening psychological effect upon thousands of Iraqi soldiers. The current diplomatic wrangling is over various groups abroad wanting to rush in and establish a presence in postwar Iraq, not their isolationism.

10. How can we restore order with casual shooting?

As the methodical British approach suggests, by containing hostile pockets, restoring civil society and being almost disdainful of the presence of remnant enemies, we in fact further isolate resistance. Critics allege that we are moving too fast with humanitarian aid before the shooting stops; but as Afghanistan teaches us, the key is to move faster than slower both as a way of winning hearts and minds and isolating and discrediting enemy holdouts. In this regard, don't believe simplistic allegations that we are insensitive cowboys unlike the more experienced British; at times British troops are forced to storm into private homes while Americans emerge from tanks to wade in amid children — and vice versa.

These are difficult times of jarring, instantaneously broadcast images of friendly fire, civilian casualties, the tragic deaths of brave journalists, accidents, and wrongheaded analyses of discredited politicians and pundits. But if we keep our heads, stay true to our values, and persevere in our military mission, we will get through this final stage fine — and have done a great and rare good both for us and millions abroad.


April 8, 2003 -- THE war is won.
The war is not over, but the war is won.

The shooting has not ended. It is still a dangerous time for the 125,000 coalition troops, for Iraqi soldiers unfortunate or stupid enough to be engaging the coalition in battle and for Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire. "There is much more work to be done, and some of it will be very, very difficult," Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers said yesterday.

But Myers also said the Iraqi army retains only a few dozen tanks. The Iraqis can't send a plane up into the air without our taking it down. That leaves military resistance of the tragically pathetic sort the coalition faced over the weekend, with Republican Guardsmen and Fedayeen pointlessly charging high-tech U.S. tanks and other armored vehicles and losing their lives by the thousands in the process.

The war is won.

Politically, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath regime doesn't really exist. "He no longer runs much of Iraq," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "Soon all that will be left [of Saddam's regime] are the war criminals." There is no sign of a governing authority. There is no sign of an overarching military authority. Coalition forces are moving in and out of the nation's two largest cities - and if they're not moving at will through Baghdad, it appears they will be soon.

The war is won.

It is possible that Iraqi generals and Republican Guard forces have secretly positioned themselves to do something horrendously devastating to U.S. forces - or to Kuwait or Israel. There is still resistance from snipers and others, who may possibly remain a threat to coalition troops for years to come.

But such actions, awful though they would be, won't change the correlation of forces inside Iraq. They won't allow Saddam to take Basra and Karbala back, or to push our forces out of Baghdad.

Saddam Hussein will also remain a threat as long as he is not captured or killed, but a fugitive Hussein is still a fugitive, not a ruler.

The war is won.

Over the weekend, coalition forces made multiple discoveries of possible chemical-warfare smoking guns in various parts of Iraq. Of particular interest were the medium-range missiles that might be loaded with mixed chemical agents. Former chief weapons inspector David Kay said yesterday that the act of mixing chemical agents is something very specific to the Iraqis.

If these discoveries turn out to be what they appear to be, then in terms of justifying the necessity for war, the war is won.

The war has been won in 19 days. It has been won by means of a battle plan that will be studied by military historians and generals for hundreds of years - the same battle plan that was subjected to some startlingly hard-edged criticism these past 21/2 weeks.

It has been won because the American people spent a good deal of their hard-earned money over the past 20 years on advanced military equipment that has proved itself capable of doing immense damage to armies and military materiel and amazingly limited damage to civilians. That military spending, beginning in Ronald Reagan's time, was also subjected to fierce criticism for being wasteful, stupid, incompetent, corrupting, pointless and unhelpful to securing the nation's objectives.

It would be delightful if the critics of both the war plan and of our decades of military spending were willing to acknowledge their errors in judgment. Delightful, but unnecessary. What matters is that the Pentagon did its work.

What matters is that the American people understand, when circumstances call upon them to understand, what needs to be done to protect America and the world at a time of profound world insecurity.

The war is won. But just as George W. Bush announced that the war with Iraq would begin at "a time of our choosing," the war will end when the president chooses to announce its end. The date of the war's conclusion will come when the president or Tony Blair makes a formal announcement that hostilities have ceased, that the Iraqi regime has been destroyed and that the nation of Iraq has been liberated.

But Vice President Dick Cheney was right when he said the war would take weeks, not months. The naysayers were wrong. When it comes to the U.S. military, the naysayers usually are.

Maybe soon we'll stop paying attention to them.