Saturday, March 15, 2003  

Killing Little Stalins

The NRO has a great piece on how Stalin's legacy is still affecting Russia in horrible ways. The author comments that due to their ongoing destructiveness (Stalin died in 1953), present-day Stalins have to be stopped before they start.

I agree with that totally, but I think the point needs to be put into the context of our present situation. Have you ever noticed how much Saddam and Stalin look alike? Their mustaches are the same, their hair is slicked back in the same manner. Their builds are even similar. That's no mistake. Saddam is a bit of a Stalinophile (if that's a word) and has styled himself to look like the Russian dictator. Worse, he has also used tactics developed by Stalin to keep Iraq in his firm grasp, including regular purges of his army and secret police.

So why follow Stalin? Why doesn't Saddam have a Hitler mustache or a Mussolini fedora? The ideologies of all three have been thoroughly defeated and discredited, so why choose one over the others? I think the answer is simply that while European fascism was defeated through warfare, Russian communism was defeated through negotiation and its own lack of inertia. There was no final, bloody battle; their were no humiliating deaths for its leaders. It simply faded into history. Because Stalin and his communist agenda were never 'beaten' in by any method that Saddam respects, he sees Stalin as the victor and a role model.

That is why, even if Saddam could be broken by sanctions and inspections, he should not be. To do so would ensure his place in Arab history and also ensure that little Saddams will crop up sooner or later. Many liberals mocked Bush's speech before the American Enterprise Institute because they claimed he presented too grand a vision for the Middle East when he stated that Saddam's demise could be a first step in the democratization of that region. I think history proves that Bush is at least partly correct - while doing away with Saddam does not ensure that another dictator will not rise again, it will ensure that Saddam is never emulated.

While the average Arab will not look at America's overthrow of Saddam and death and say, "Of course! Jeffersonian democracy was the way to go all along!", he will realize that the type of lawless thugocracy that Saddam and so many other Arab rulers represent is either dead, or quickly going out of fashion.

posted by Josh | 6:23 PM

All Too Easy...

I'd almost pity the French, if they weren't such a bunch of weasels.

When even lower life forms like cats (and cartoonists) can get in shots at you, you're in trouble.

(Thanks: Get Fuzzy)

posted by Josh | 12:44 PM

Friday, March 14, 2003  

Worth a Thousand Words

I know I've been harping on this, but for all of you who have to use the picture menus at Burger King, I just came across a good illustration of not just why we will fight and will win, but why we should fight and should win. On the left, Iraqis servicing a statue of Saddam; on the right, Americans erecting the Statue of Liberty. I'll just shut up and let you figure it out.


posted by Josh | 12:36 PM

He Still Doesn't Get It

As we've noted before, former (thankfully) President Clinton is in the process of running around the country in a vain attempt to build a legacy that he couldn't build during eight years in the White House. Today, he dropped this gem on us:

"We need to be creating a world that we would like to live in when we're not the biggest power on the block."

First, let me get out the easy responses to this:

1) "If you had any class, you'd keep your mouth shut; how many times did Bush 41 comment on the Lewinsky mess?"
2) "As long as we never have another president like you, we won't have to worry about not being the biggest power on the block."

OK, now that that's out of my system, I have a bigger point. The reason Bush 43 will go down in history as a great president and why Clinton will be remembered as Hoover part II is that Bush understands what Clinton never did: the inherent greatness of the American system. It's not just random luck that we've been one of the (if not the) most powerful nations on earth for the last century or so. It's been that way because the way we do things is just better than the way other countries do things.

We're one of few nations that actually fought a war to become a representative democracy with a capitalist economy. We did this because we were led by some true forward-thinkers who saw that the only way to have freedom was to be strong so you could protect that freedom with force - offensive force if necessary. Can you imagine someone like Clinton coming up with or endorsing an idea like Manifest Destiny? No, that would step on too many people's toes. Can you imagine Clinton coming up with or enforcing a Monroe Doctrine? No, too risky - might make us some enemies. Can you imagine Clinton sending the Navy around the world as a show of force, like Teddy Roosevelt did? No, wouldn't want to be perceived as a bully.

Point being, the thinking exposed by Clinton's quote is exactly why we're in the international mess we're in - because for eight years we had a president who doubted that the American way was the best way. Because he had this doubt, he allowed other countries to impose their incorrect or corrupt mindsets on world policy. Bush doesn't worry about planning for a time when the U.S. isn't a superpower, because he believes (or hopefully knows) that the American system is bulletproof. The only times in recent memory when America has slipped have been when she had leaders who doubted her innate superiority. As long as America's leaders believe in her, they will not have to plan for a time when she is not a superpower, because they will not allow that time to occur.

As the philosopher Charlie Daniels once opined, "This lady may have stumbled, but she ain't never fell. And if the Russians don't believe that they can all go straight to Hell." To make it more timely, just replace 'Russians' with 'French', 'Arabs', San Franciscans', etc.

posted by Josh | 11:04 AM

Warmongering With Google (or Googling with Warmonger)

If you've read everything on this page and still can't go to sleep, go to the Google search and type in:

French Military Victories

and hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky Button". It's funny because it's true.

(hat tip: Pete)

posted by Josh | 9:28 AM

Dixie Chick (the Fat One) Speaks Out Against War During London Concert

[The Dixie Chicks] performed a live show in London on Monday (March 10th) night, and Natalie Maines told the crowd, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."

What really disturbs me is the transparency of her attempt to suck up to the crowd. "Just so you know..."

Natalie Maines now explains her statement on the group's website:

"The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding.

So why not pile on, right?

While we support our troops,

Spare me, please.

there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq

That's where you're wrong, my tubby little friend. The notion of Saddam Hussein with a nuclear arsenal is much more frightening than going to war with Iraq.

and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."

While the accidental deaths of innocent Iraqis during the impending war would certainly be tragic, an Iraqi-sponsored mushroom cloud over New York or DC would be even worse.

Maines also says, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S.

That's why we have elections. Feel free to register your opinion in November 2004. I'm sure the Sharpton/Mosely-Braun ticket will appreciate your vote.

and alienating the rest of the world.

If the rest of the world is wrong (which it most certainly is when it comes to Iraq) then so what?

My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask all stupid celebrities to refrain from employing the "freedom of speech" defense. Nobody's saying that you shouldn't be allowed to criticize the government. Nobody's coming to take you away for spouting your anti-war crap. That's what the First Amendment protects against. It does not, however, protect you from criticism -- or boycotts. So yes, it's your right to say whatever you want, but invoking the First Amendment is neither an explanation of your position nor a rebuttal to substantive criticism thereof.

The Dixie Chicks will perform another live show in Munich, Germany on March 19th.

The Axis of Appeasement Tour rolls on...

posted by Geraldine | 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2003  

Fact Checking Rep. Kucinich

Anti-war congressman and presidential candidate (stifle your laughs) Dennis Kucinich wrote a predictably anti-war op-ed awhile back that I just recently stumbled across. Check out this excerpt:

During the Administration of Ronald Reagan, sixty helicopters were sold to Iraq. Later reports said Iraq used U.S.-made helicopters to spray Kurds with chemical weapons. According to The Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA.

Iraq's punishment? The United States reestablished full diplomatic ties around Thanksgiving of 1984.

Hmmm. So he's saying that in 1984 the U.S. failed to respond to Iraq's use of chemical weapons. Well, technically that's true, but only because Iraq didn't use those chemical weapons until 1988.

The only problem with him running for president is that I won't be able to decide between him and Sharpton.

posted by Josh | 11:05 PM

Bush Delays on Iraq; Two Warmongers Have Cerebral Hemorrages

Today the Administration decided to delay a vote at the U.N., which of course also means a delay in the start of the inevitable war in Iraq. Secretary Powell said the reason was to gain more support from the council.

Why? Ari Fleischer today:

"France also looked at the British proposal, and they rejected it before Iraq rejected it."

You see what this shows? At this point, the Iraqis are being slightly more reasonable than the French! Yet, we are still waiting to see if we can win in the Security Council, which France can control through its veto power. This is a waste of time and resources - we will not get a 'Yes' vote on any resolution that even resembles one authorizing war. And even if such a vote could make France look like the unilateralist country (which it always has been anyway), is that small victory worth risking American lives over?

Every day that the U.S. waits - for no good reason - is another day that Saddam has to dig in or to convince his generals and troops in the field that using chemical weapons on Americans isn't such a bad idea.

While I am no military strategist, I cannot imagine a scenario where every day of delay does not heighten the chances that more American troops will be killed. Of course, it is possible that Bush realizes this, because he is considering abandoning his push for U.N. support. I surely hope he does. Because of their delaying tactics, France and the U.N. may soon have their hands covered with American blood (to go along with the blood of Jews, Kosovars, and Rwandans, to name a few). If it finally decides to act, the Bush adminstration can avoid the same fate.

posted by Josh | 3:46 PM

Wednesday, March 12, 2003  

Just in case you were wondering, Bill Walton is still a 7-foot, pseudo-intellectual goof.

I had the privilege of spending an emotional weekend in Tucson with my family as we celebrated Senior Day at the University of Arizona. I love college campuses. As I was walking through the student union -- a magnificent complex -- I was reminded how much I enjoy the lively discussions and exchanges of ideas. I met a person who was lamenting the job market. While pondering his dismal future, he was noting that in the last two years alone more than 2 million Americans have lost their jobs in this country. He wondered how many more people were dependant on those incomes. Someone else said not to worry -- it would all be fine. All we had to do was destroy the environment, waste all of our natural resources, give massive tax breaks to people who already have all the money anyway and to start a war. He then said that if anyone objected all that needed to be done was to call the whiner a traitor and all would be fine. I staggered on ... more than a little concerned.

Hey Bill, maybe you should show a little less concern about whether President Bush wants to "destroy the environment" and give tax cuts to people who have "all the money" and show a little more concern for your son Luke's behavior. Apparently, despite being a college senior and an S.O.B. ("Son of Bill") he still hasn't learned that stealing is wrong.

posted by Geraldine | 10:55 PM

Bill Bennett on Why We Must Fight

I've excerpted the concluding paragraph, but it's well worth a full read:

In Iraq as in other contemporary situations, the responsibility to act has been ours because the ability has been ours. The responsibility has been ours because oppressed people look to us for their deliverance. There is a duty in being the nation that Abraham Lincoln, speaking of our Declaration of Independence, called "a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression." That is who we happen to be. And it is an honor.

posted by Geraldine | 9:50 PM

Sure Helen Thomas, All We Want To Do Is Murder Iraqis...

"How do you tell them, 'You're safe now'?"

- a U.S. Marine in Kuwait, during instruction on how to communicate with Iraqi POWs;
from Time, 3/3/03

posted by Josh | 1:52 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003  

Please Read This Essay: Tech Central Station's Lee Harris on Our World-Historical Gamble (hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

Unless we are prepared to look seriously at the true stakes involved in the Bush administration's coming world-historical gamble, we will grossly distort the significance of what is occurring by trying to make it fit into our own pre-fabricated and often grotesquely obsolete set of concepts. We will be like children trying to understand the world of adults with our own childish ideas, and we will miss the point of everything we see. This means that we must take a hard look at even our most basic vocabulary - and think twice before we rush to apply words like "empire" or "national self-interest" or "multi-lateralism" or "sovereignty" to a world in which they are no longer relevant. The only rule of thumb that can be unfailingly applied to world-historical transformations is this: None of our currently existing ideas and principles, concepts and categories, will fit the new historical state of affairs that will emerge out of the crisis. We can only be certain of our uncertainty.

posted by Geraldine | 10:49 PM

Fun With the CIA World Factbook

Josh's post (see "The Fate of the Nation" below) inspired me to look at the Security Council nations' demographics. Specifically, I wanted to see how the people of the world judge these countries when they really have something important at stake, namely, when they decide to emigrate. I have long entertained the notion that the simplest way to tell whether a country is "good" or "bad" is to look at whether people are trying to get in or get out. For some countries, like Cuba, East Germany, and the former Soviet Union, the answer is obvious: if you have to build a wall or shoot people to keep them from leaving, you are a bad country. For many others, it might be a little more ambiguous, so I thought I'd take a look at the data for each of the current Security Council member nations. The following figures represent the net migration rates for each country (positive figures indicate net immigration, negative indicate net emigration).

France: 0.64 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Germany: 3.99 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Guinea: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop. (not counting 150,000 refugees from wars in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone)
Mexico: -2.71 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Pakistan: -0.79 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Russia: 0.94 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Spain: 0.87 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Syria: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
UK: 1.06 immigrants/1,000 pop.
US: 3.5 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Angola: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Bulgaria: -4.74 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Cameroon: n/a
China: -0.38 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Chile: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.

So there you have it folks, out of the 15 member nations, 5 (Chile, Cameroon, Angola, Syria, and Guinea) are such lovely, well-run places that, on balance, no one's trying to move there. Additionally, 4 (China, Bulgaria, Pakistan, and Mexico) are such toilets that they're actually losing people to emigration. Why should we listen to these countries when even the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses don't?

Just for kicks, I thought I'd look at the data for some other noteworthy countries:

Australia: 4.12 immigrants/1,000 pop.
New Zealand: 4.48 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Canada: 6.07 immigrants/1,000 pop.

Geez, it seems like the English-speaking nations are pretty popular immigration destinations.

Saudi Arabia: 1.28 immigrants/1,000 pop. (but almost 20% of the population are non-nationals)
Iraq: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Yemen: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Egypt: -0.24 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Libya: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Morrocco: -1.24 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Tunisia: -0.63 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Algeria: -0.42 immigrants/1,000 pop.
United Arab Emirates: 1.41 immigrants/1,000 pop. (but more than half of the population is made up of non-nationals)
Qatar: 18.75 immigrants/1,000 pop. (looks like hosting a huge US military base makes you popular in the Arab world)
Bahrain: 1.09 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Lebanon: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Jordan: 6.78 immigrants/1,000 pop. (wha?? One has to wonder how many of these are Iraqis)
Sudan: -0.07 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Iran: -4.46 immigrants/1,000 pop.

With the exception of the Gulf States' hired help, it looks like very few people are interested in moving to the Middle East, unless, of course, you're talking about the Middle East controlled by Israel:

Israel: 2.11 immigrants/1,000 pop.
Gaza Strip: 1.73 immigrants/1,000 pop. (this is actually mind-boggling -- guess some folks figure living under "Israeli oppression" ain't that bad after all)
West Bank: 3.18 immigrants/1,000 pop. (see above)

(Full disclosure: I'm not sure whether the Occupied Territories numbers include Israeli settlers, the Factbook seems to treat them separately.)

And then there's Afghanistan, which seems to be attracting big numbers of immigrants now that the Taliban is gone:

Afghanistan: 10.97 immigrants/1,000 pop. (remember, these numbers are for 2002 -- looks like Afghans don't mind US "occupation" all that much )

But what about the workers' paradise of the People's Republic of Korea? Surely the proletariat is arriving there in droves, demanding to be resettled:

North Korea: 0 immigrants/1,000 pop. (they don't count people who tried to leave but were shot in the process)

And finally, I thought I'd check out UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Ghana:

Ghana: -0.74 immigrants/1,000 pop. (Nice place you got there Mr. Secretary General. Over the average Ghanian's 57 years of life, he or she could expect to earn a grand total of $114,000. Try not to spend it all in one place.)

posted by Geraldine | 10:12 PM

Prescient Thinking from the Best Writer Alive Today A War for Civilization: Mark Steyn's National Post column from September 12th, 2001

There was a grim symmetry in the way this act of war interrupted the President at a grade-school photo-op. The Federal Government has no constitutional responsibility for education: it is a state affair, delegated mostly to tiny municipal school boards. But one of Bill Clinton’s forlorn legacies is that the head of state and the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on earth must now fill his day with inconsequential initiatives designed to soothe the piffling discontents of soccer moms and other preferred demographics of the most pampered generation in history: programs to connect elementary schools to the Internet, prescription drug benefits for seniors, government “lock-boxes” for any big-ticket entitlement the focus groups decide they can’t live without, and a thousand and one other woeful trivialities.

And so the President was reminded of his most awesome responsibility at a time when he was discharging his most footling. If you drive around Vermont and Massachusetts and California, you spend a lot of time behind cars with smug bumper stickers calling for more funds to be diverted from defence to education, because this would prove what a caring society we are. Tuesday was a rebuke to those fatuities: the first charge of any government is the defence of its borders – and, without that, it makes no difference how much you spend on prescription drug plans for seniors. From the moment Colin Powell advised against marching on Baghdad and ended the Gulf War, the world’s only superpower has been on a ten-year long weekend off. It loaded up the SUV, went to the mall, enjoyed the good times and deluded itself that in the new world politics could be confined to feelgood initiatives – big government disguised as lots and lots of teensy-weensy bits of small government. Yesterday’s atrocities were a rude awakening from the indulgences of the last decade, with some awful stories to remind us of our illusions – disabled employees in wheelchairs, whom the Americans with Disabilities Act and the various lobby groups insist can do anything able-bodied people can, found themselves trapped on the 80th floor, unable to get downstairs, unable even to do as others did and hurl themselves from the windows rather than be burned alive.

On Tuesday, the post-Cold War era ended and a new one began.

So true, and yet 18 months later, so many people still don't get it.

posted by Geraldine | 9:01 PM

Ahead of His Time

George Will notes a few relevant quotes from the president:

"We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security."

But President Bush didn't say it - it was President Kennedy, in 1962. It's amazing that so many people still don't understand what Kennedy told us 41 years ago. But if that didn't blow your mind, check out this:

"Do not let us split hairs. Let us not say, 'We will only defend ourselves if the torpedo succeeds in getting home, or if the crew and the passengers are drowned.' This is the time for prevention of attack."

Again, not Bush. Franklin Roosevelt said that on September 11, 1941 (a little eerie, huh?). Again, shocking that six decade old wisdom (along with all the horrible events that soon followed it) can be so lightly brushed off by those ignoring the threat from Iraq. Oh well, we've saved the French from themselves a couple of times before, why not do it again - for old times sake?

posted by Josh | 8:49 PM

The Fate of the Nation in the Hands of These Guys

As we lobby and bribe different members of the U.N. Security Council to persuade them to do the right thing, I thought it important to review the vital stats of the countries controlling whether an American president sends American soldiers into battle. The six undecideds are:

Angola: The most remarkable thing about this country is that it even exists, as a continual civil war has killed more than 1.5 million people since 1975. Knowing this, you won't be surprised to know that Angola's infant mortality rate is 191 deaths per 1000 live births and the average life expectancy is 38. But don't think everything's all bad: the inflation rate is a mere 110%.

Cameroon: Both the French and the British owned this one, so who knows how it'll vote. It has 69 infant deaths per 1000 live births and a life expectancy of 54 years. Longer life than I would have thought, considering 1 in 12 Cameroonians has AIDS.

Chile: Probably the best of the bunch, with low infant mortality and high literacy. However, one quarter of the population is still below the poverty line. Oh, and in 1970 the Chileans elected a Marxist, so the CIA replaced him with a fascist who ruled until 1990. We'll hope they've forgotten about that little oversight.

Guinea: Slogan "If you can find us on a map, you win a free Coke." A former French colony (read: bad news for us), Guinea has an astounding infant mortality rate of 127 deaths per 100 live births. But even if you make it out of the womb, the average life expectancy is 46 years, so don't get too excited. Only one in three Guineans can read, so as you would expect 40% live below the poverty line.

Mexico: Our funny little friend to the south. Sunny Mehico has an infant mortality rate of 25 per 1000. Of course, living ain't so great when 40% of your population is below the poverty line. Not surprisingly, three people leave Mexico for every one that shows up.

Pakistan: The exception to the rule that democracy is always a good thing. For the group they're in, the have an almosy acceptable infant mortality rate of 78 deaths out of 1000 births, a 42% literacy rate, and 35% of the population below the poverty line. But don't be too hard on the Pakis, we usually get along OK.

Let's compare the above to the land of the free, home of the brave:

United States: Lower infant mortality than any of the above, with a longer life expectancy. Compared to above countries, has highest per capita GDP, the lowest percent of the population below the poverty line, and the highest literacy rate.

So basically, by any important objective standard, the United States is a better country than those who, for practical purposes, are right now calling the shots on the Security Council. I am not arguing that those countries should never have any say on any international issue. I am simply arguing that while all men are created equal, all nations clearly are not. So when issues as important as the one before the council today come to a vote, the outcome should not be determined by nations who cannot even govern their own territory effectively, much less decide the fate of those is other countries.

To put a point on it, this is why the U.N. is, was, and always shall be illegitimate. Any approval that we might (but probably won't) get for military action means nothing, because it is approval by a council full of governors who are at best incompetent and at worst actively corrupt. We would have as much reason to feel horror at winning the vote as we would to feel joy.

posted by Josh | 3:30 PM

Berkeley on the Nile "Scholars" at Egypt's Leading University Call for Jihad Against U.S.

Islamic scholars at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the preeminent seat of Sunni Muslim learning in the Arab world, have declared a U.S. attack on Iraq would threaten all Arabs and Muslims and urged a jihad to defend their interests....

"According to Islamic law, if the enemy steps on Muslims' land, jihad becomes a duty on every male and female Muslim," said the statement by the Islamic Research Academy, the center of religious scholarship at the 1,000-year-old university.

1,000 years, huh? Hasn't it been about that long since the Islamic world produced anything of intellectual note?

It calls upon "Arabs and Muslims throughout the world to be ready to defend themselves and their faith."

Now for the PC Jihad Disclaimer:

Although commonly translated as "holy war," jihad has a far broader meaning in Islamic law. While it can serve as a call to arms, and is often articulated that way, it is also commonly used to invoke a more spiritual, inward-looking devotion. In that light, some scholars said the statement was not necessarily advocating violence.

So, if an enemy steps on Muslims' land, it becomes the duty of every male and female Muslim to engage in "spiritual, inward-looking devotion." Hmm, that makes sense. I just hope that the Army has plenty of "spritual, inward-looking devotion"-masks on hand.

"The meaning of jihad means a lot of things, not just fighting," said Abbas Ahmed, a spokesman for Al-Azhar. "It's not necessarily war." But he added that any attack on Iraq would, in fact, "be a strike on Islam."

Whatever the interpretation, the statement seemed likely to reverberate across the Arab world given Al-Azhar's prestige as a source of spiritual guidance and Egypt's role as a U.S. ally.

Ah, Egypt, that great ally of ours. For only $2 billion a year, they agreed to stop getting their asses kicked by the Israelis. Isn't that what friends are for?

Fears have arisen throughout the region that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could unleash tumult, and from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, the expected war is increasingly framed as targeting Islam. The statement by scholars at Al-Azhar, seen as a beacon by many orthodox Sunni Muslims, joined a chorus of Islamic voices urging resistance to a U.S. attack....

But how could it be a beacon of Islam, the Religion of Peace, if it advocates holy war, uh, I mean "spiritual, inward-looking devotion"?

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, which has participated in elections through its mainstream political arm, the Islamic Action Front, called on the government last week to expel U.S. troops, saying an attack on Iraq would be aggression against Jordan.

This is like quoting David Duke -- he is, after all, the "mainstream political arm" of the KKK. And the Nazi Party was the "mainstream political arm" of the Waffen SS. Gimme a break.

That call was echoed in the statement today by the Al-Azhar scholars. "Our Arab and Islamic nation, and even our faith, are a main target for all these military build-ups," it said.

That's right, we're gonna bomb the Islam right out of them. Unfortunately, they don't make a bomb that smart...

"The demand now is to stop the violence, to stop the war," said Tariq Bishri, a leading Islamic intellectual in Cairo. "But if the violence begins, nobody can tell how it will end. We will see and the United States will see."

Wow, that's the kind of trenchant, multi-faceted analysis one expects from a leading Islamic intellectual in Cairo.

...Some analysts have argued that by taking a hard line on certain issues, the university has kept itself within an Islamic mainstream that has become increasingly radicalized.

No kidding.

posted by Geraldine | 9:12 AM

Diplomatic Deserters Another U.S. Diplomat Quits Over Iraq Policy

"A U.S. diplomat resigned yesterday in protest against President Bush's preparations to attack Iraq, the second to do so in less than a month. John H. Brown, who joined the U.S. diplomatic corps in 1981 and served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that was made available to the media: 'I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq. Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century,' the diplomat added."

Oh no!!! No, no, no, no, no!!!! How we will ever win the war without these vitally important diplomats?

Good riddance douchebags. Incidentally, isn't it funny that of all of Mr. Brown's previous postings, only Russia (the same country which continues to conduct a brutal and unilateral war in Chechnya) opposes the war of Iraqi liberation?

posted by Geraldine | 8:44 AM

Our New Favorite Senator -- James Inhofe of Oklahoma

From his March 10, 2003, appearance on CNN's Crossfire:

Robert Novak: Senator Inhofe, let's be realistic. We are going to war against Iraq, whether or not the United Nations passes a resolution or not. If we go to war without a U.N. resolution or with the resolution being defeated, this would be a blow to the United Nations. From your standpoint, sir, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Sen. James Inhofe (R) Okla.: Well, you know, I told a crowd last weekend, I'm not a United Nations senator, I'm a United States senator. I wonder what happened to sovereignty in this country. I think of our forefathers rolling over in their graves thinking before a president can defend America, he has to get permission from some multinational organization.

posted by Geraldine | 8:31 AM

Monday, March 10, 2003  

Does Christopher Hitchens Read WMI? We post, you decide:

"A peace envoy of Pope John Paul flew to Washington on Monday to urge U.S. President George W. Bush to step back from the brink of war against Iraq."

"Cardinal Pio Laghi, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, is due to meet the president later this week and will hand him a letter from the pope appealing for a peaceful solution to the crisis."

In response, President Bush dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Vatican to urge the pontiff to restrain his troops from launching preemptive strikes on altar boys' buttholes.
--- WMI, Mar. 3, 2003.

One wonders what it would take for the Vatican to condemn Saddam's regime. Baathism consecrates an entire country to the worship of a single human being. Its dictator has mosques named after himself. I'm not the expert on piety, but isn't there something blasphemous about this from an Islamic as well as a Christian viewpoint? I suppose if Saddam came out for partial-birth abortions or the ordination of women or the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle he might be hit with a condemnation of some sort. (Until recently, one might have argued that his abuse of children would get him in hot water with the Vatican, too. But even that expectation now seems vain.) --- Christopher Hitchens, Mar. 10, 2003

posted by Geraldine | 11:31 PM

From the "If Mike Were President" File: What President Bush Needs to Tell the Country

My fellow Americans, we are at war. We've been at war with radical Islamic terrorism since 9/11, and we should have been at war with it earlier. Because we are at war, Americans will be asked to sacrifice both material comforts and, in some cases, their lives. People will say that they cannot and will not make these sacrifices, but the former underestimate the spirit of American perseverance and the latter fail to see that the choice is not theirs to make, but that it has already been made for us by the enemy. We have sacrificed for the good of our nation in the past, and we must do so again. No matter what atrocities our enemies commit against us and our allies, we will remain firm. We will fight for freedom and against tyranny, murder, and oppression. We have no other choice. We have been attacked at home and we have nowhere else to go.

We are going to invade Iraq as but one battle in the war to protect American civilization. Iraq is a proper target for two reasons: (1) we cannot allow madmen to develop and possess biological and nuclear weapons. The risk that they will use them, or sell/give them to somebody who will use them, on Americans is simply too great to bear; and (2) we also must address the root cause of Islamic terrorism, the lack of liberty and democracy in the Islamic world. But why is Iraq the prime candidate for democracy? There are many reasons -- it is a fairly secular and modern country, it has natural resources that would prevent it from becoming an economic basket case -- but it really comes down to this: just as a corporation can lose its charter if its owners abuse the privileges of incorporation, Saddam Hussein has used the country of Iraq as a cover for so many crimes against humanity that he has forfeited its sovereignty.

After Iraq, we are going to begin pressuring the other Arab/Islamic countries to democratize and liberalize their societies in much the same way that Ronald Reagan took on the evils of communism. The oil-wealthy nations of the Persian Gulf, notably Saudi Arabia, are facing tremendous demographic pressures -- their populations are growing, but the amount of oil they can pump stays pretty much the same. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happens when the perks of being a Saudi citizen (free health care and do-nothing government jobs) become increasingly divided among a rapidly growing population, and yet the downside (no freedom, no fun, no prospects) remains the same size -- people become dissatisfied and look for alternative leadership. This is where Al Qaeda and Wahhabism comes in. Currently the House of Saud has chosen to keep its grip on power by buying off these terrorists and fundamentalists. We must convince them that the proper, and only, way forward is to liberalize their societies, because, if they don't, they will be left in an even worse position as Iraqi oil fields are developed over the next several years.

In sum, it's not about oil, it's not about France, it's about the future of Western Civilization. It's about draining the swamps that are the Arab Islamic nations and making them fertile for freedom, progress, and our mutual security. These are important and worthy goals, and we have no choice but to achieve them if we are going to continue being the most free, prosperous, and just nation on Earth.

posted by Geraldine | 10:54 PM

Backhanded Compliment of the Day: Virginia Democrat Says Jews Are Pushing War on Iraq

The WaPo reports that Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), while addressing an antiwar forum in a Reston, VA, church, made the following remarks:

"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.... The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."

Hey Congressman Moran, next time you're doling out credit for the impending liberation of Iraq, would you mind including Warmongering Illustrated too? We like being on the right side of history, it just feels nice.

posted by Geraldine | 9:09 PM

Everything's Falling Into Place - Chirac Says France Will Use Veto

Head weasel President Jacques Chirac of France just said is a televised news conference that France will use its U.N. veto against any resolution that would lead to war in Iraq "no matter what the circumstances."

So the die is cast. France's playtime just ended and they no longer get to pretend that they're a superpower anymore. In a month or so, the American military will have demonstrated its might, will have taken Baghdad alone, and the world will see the futility in opposing an unstoppable force. America will stand alone as the world's only superpower, and the U.N. will be rendered irrelevant (again). So much the better. Entrusting the world's freedom and security to a pack of weak-kneed, hypocritical bureaucrats at the U.N. was always a rotten idea - it's just too bad that it's taken all of us this long to realize it.

posted by Josh | 12:43 PM

Sunday, March 09, 2003  

Good Triumphs Over Evil: UNC 82, Dook 79


Matt Doherty: Nice pimp suit, bitch.

Dook Assistant Coach Chris(tine) Collins: Thanks, my daddy bought it for me.

posted by Geraldine | 6:35 PM

He Built a Few Houses, So Now Everyone Thinks He's Great

Jimmy Carter, the second worst president of the 20th century (guess who's #1) has an anti-war op-ed in today's NY Times. With the possible exception of every column Ted Rall has ever written, I have never been more shocked by the absurdity of arguments made by an apparently intelligent human being (I mean, you don't become president with a double-digit IQ). His thesis is that any war by America on Iraq would not meet the requirements for a just war which are:

"predicated on basic religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise decisions and mutual restraint."

Hmmm, basic religious principles - like when God said, "Allow tyrannical madmen to threaten their neighbors, torture their citizens, and commit genocide against their minority populations." Oh wait, He didn't say that. Respect for international law - like upholding Resolution 1441, which was supported by every last member of the U.N. Security Council. Alliances - like NATO, which overwhelmingly backs American action in Iraq. But maybe he meant the U.N., which ignored genocide in Rwanda and Kosovo, the latter of which was stopped by NATO over U.N. objection. Full of wise decisions, that body. He then goes on to say that a just war must meet several criteria and allows that U.S. action in Iraq would meet none of those criteria. Let's have a look:

The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted.

I agree with this statement, but disagree with Carter's conclusion. I would argue that 12 years of attempts (mainly unilateral U.S. attempts) to disarm Iraq have failed. Inspectors have been there for four months and have been met with nothing but lies and deception and have found only a fraction of the weapons that Iraq has not accounted for. And while they destroy old al-Samoud missiles, new ones are being manufactured across town. Nonviolent means of disarmament have failed and it is time for us all to be adults and realize that. Clearly, U.S. action in Iraq meets this criteria.

The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants.

While I agree with this on principle (it's always bad to kill civilians), if you adhered to this ridiculous criteria you could never fight any war. You would need missiles that could go up to Iraqis and say, "Excuse me, are you a combatant?" and explode only if the answer was "Yes." I'd like to ask Carter how many smart bomb programs were initiated under his administration as compared to later presidents. While a weapon that can truly discriminate between combatants and non-combatants will probably never exist, the fact that the U.S. has weapons more precise than any other country in the world demonstrates that we are also the country most concerned with sparing noncombatants the horrors of war. This is unprecendented in the history of the world. While we may not totally meet this 'criteria,' we meet it more than any other country could or ever has.

On this point, it should also be noted that these precision weapons are needed mainly because Saddam has chosen to fight this battle in the middle of a huge city. If he would have any honor and fight it out in the desert, noncombatant casualties would be severely reduced if not eliminated.

Its violence must be proportional to the injury we have suffered.

This is probably the best point he makes...which is not saying all that much. While admittedly, Saddam has dealt us not grave blows as of yet, I believe this line of thought is short-sighted in the extreme. If followed, a just war could never be fought unless citizens of a country fighting a just war had first been massacred. It's like if Bush had been told of the impending terror attacks on September 10 and said, "No, we can't go into Afghanistan until we've suffered an injury. Since that won't happen until the planes hit the buildings, we have no cause for war." So basically, under this criteria, the U.S. can never declare war unless Americans are first slaughtered. In an age where even tinpot dictatots can get their hands on WMDs, this is just too dangerous a course to take.

The attackers must have legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to represent.

I agree, and we do. Congress has given the president the authority to use all necessary means to disarm Iraq. The Congress and the president represent the people of the United States. There you go. Oh, but since he couldn't get his way via a democratically elected government, I guess Carter means we should have been sanctioned by the U.N. Well last time I checked, we are. Resolution 1441 tells Saddam that this is his last chance to disarm and warns of serious consequences if he does not. As I've discussed before ("A Case Against a New Resolution", below), if war cannot be interpreted as a part of 1441, the resolution loses all meaning. Bush has authority from Congress and the U.N. (whether or not they'll admit it). Action in Iraq meets this Carter criteria for a just war.

The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists.

This is the one that really made my stomach turn. This is the guy who won the Nobel Peace Prize and goes around building houses for poor people and with a straight face he can make the argument that things are better now than they would be with Saddam gone. Maybe he should tell that to the families (if there are any left) of the hundred thousand Kurds that Saddam gassed. Maybe he should tell that to the Muslims in southern Iraq, whose 1991 rebellion Saddam crushed with brutal force. This argument is so ridiculous it's a waste of time to address - anything, no matter how rotten, would be better than what is happening in Iraq right now. That's all there is to it.

But these arguments are no surprise coming from Carter, who did more than any president in history to put the fate of the nation in jeopardy. Reagan spent eight years cleaning up the foreign policy mess that Carter made, and Bush will probably spend as long cleaning up after Clinton. Both Carter and Clinton have spent the years after their presidencies desperately trying to establish historical names for themselves. Well guess what? When you shirk your responsibilities while in office, two things happen: (1) you are forgotten, and (2) you successor is virtually guaranteed god-like status in the annals of history, because he will acheive greatness by being forced to deal with all the problems you caused. You blew your chance, Jimmy; now stop being so sore about it.

posted by Josh | 4:37 PM

Please, Just Give Us an Excuse

Defense Departments analysts are saying that the recent North Korean fly-by of a U.S. spy plane was actually an attempt to take the crew hostage. Oh, how I hope that is true. In a month or so, we'll be done with Iraq, but we'll have plenty of scores left to settle, one of the the biggest of which is with that pointy-headed troll who runs that sorry excuse for a country, North Korea. And thirty or so American hostages would be just what we would need to give us the leverage to do basically whatever we want.

The North Koreans are like a chihuahua biting at a pitbull's tail. They do it because they think they can get away with it (because we're so heavily invested in Iraq), but sooner or later they will overplay their hand and get their head bitten off. As George Will noted in a recent column:

[The] three of the greatest strategic errors of modern times--Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the Soviet refusal of postwar U.S. aid in exchange for liberality in Eastern Europe--involved underestimating the dangers of provoking America.

Rumsfeld said awhile back that we still have the capability to fight two wars at once. I'm sure he's right, but I hope we don't have to use that capability. Unless the North Koreans do something extreme, like fire a nuke at Japan or invade the South, we should just let them keep nipping at our tail until the whole Iraq thing is over. Then we concentrate all of our energy of them and show them what a real military looks like.

posted by Josh | 11:02 AM
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