Saturday, April 05, 2003

The English need the protection provided by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and more prisons. An unarmed populace and a pampered criminal class breeds crime. A lesson for those who think a disarmed people lives in greater safety.
The situation for Jews in France continues to worsen. Chirac and his henchmen have sparked a new wave of anti-Semitism.
It's apparent from the French Foreign Minister's recent comments that Israel is still that "shitty little country"

The fears of increased anti-Semitism come only a month after the French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin allegedly told a group of centre-Right MPs that "the hawks in the US administration are in the hands of [Ariel] Sharon".

European anti-Semitism flourishes without Hitler's help.
Mark Steyn in the Telegraph:

This war is over. The only question now is whether a new provisional government is installed before the BBC and The New York Times have finished running their exhaustive series on What Went Wrong with the Pentagon's Failed War Plan and while The Independent's Saddamite buffoon Robert Fisk is still panting his orgasmic paeans to the impenetrability of Baghdad's defences and huffily insisting there are no Americans at the airport even as the Saddam International signs are being torn down and replaced with Rumsfeld International.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Bravo wine writer Robert Parker.
[I]f you use uranium sulfide, US, or boron-uranium sulfhydryl, BUSH, please make sure never ever to mix it with aqueous iridium, Ir(aq), since this mixture is highly xplosive !!!
(This is for my wife who is a chemist)
(via BizarreScience)
Michael Kelly, editor at large of the Atlantic Monthly, died today in a humvee accident in Iraq. He will be sorely missed.
Reports of airport assault premature
"So where are the Americans? I prowled the empty departure lounges, mooched through the abandoned customs department, chatted to the seven armed militia guards, met the airport director and stood beside the runways where two dust-covered Iraqi Airways passenger jets -- an old 727 and an even more elderly Antonov -- stood forlornly on the runway not far from an equally decrepit military helicopter.

And all I could hear was the distant whisper of high-flying jets and the chatter of the flocks of birds which have nested near the airport car park on this, the first day of real summer in Baghdad."
-- Robert Fisk 04-04-03, 8:00am

Allies 'seize most of Baghdad airport'
By Robert Fisk in Baghdad 04-04-03 (I would guess sometime after 8:00am)

US 'secures' Baghdad airport
The United States military says its forces have secured Baghdad's international airport, after soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division fought their way in overnight.
BBC News 4 April, 2003, 15:35 GMT

(hat tip Daimation)
Iraq Vows Retaliation

NEAR BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops seized Baghdad international airport on Friday in their biggest victory of the war to oust Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), drawing a bitter Iraqi threat to hit back with "non-conventional" means.

Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, admitting that an "isolated island" of U.S. forces was at the gates of the capital, said Iraq (news - web sites) would strike back, perhaps on Friday night.

"We will commit a non-conventional act on them, not necessarily military," he told a news conference.
...
Despite the loss of the airport, Saddam was shown on Iraqi television on Friday evening urging Iraqis to defend Baghdad.


Do the Iraqi responses remind anyone else of the Black Knight scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail?




ARTHUR:
You fight with the strength of many men, Sir Knight.

[pause]

I am Arthur, King of the Britons.

[pause]

I seek the finest and the bravest knights in the land to join me in my court at
Camelot.

[pause]

You have proved yourself worthy. Will you join me?

[pause]

You make me sad. So be it. Come, Patsy.

BLACK KNIGHT:
None shall pass.

ARTHUR:
What?

BLACK KNIGHT:
None shall pass.

ARTHUR:
I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight, but I must cross this
bridge.

BLACK KNIGHT:
Then you shall die.

ARTHUR:
I command you, as King of the Britons, to stand aside!

BLACK KNIGHT:
I move for no man.

ARTHUR:
So be it!

ARTHUR and BLACK KNIGHT:
Aaah!, hiyaah!, etc.

[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's left arm off]

ARTHUR:
Now stand aside, worthy adversary.

BLACK KNIGHT:
'Tis but a scratch.

ARTHUR:
A scratch? Your arm's off!

BLACK KNIGHT:
No, it isn't.

ARTHUR:
Well, what's that, then?

BLACK KNIGHT:
I've had worse.

ARTHUR:
You liar!

BLACK KNIGHT:
Come on, you pansy!

[clang]

Huyah!

[clang]

Hiyaah!

[clang]

Aaaaaaaah!

[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right arm off]

ARTHUR:
Victory is mine!

[kneeling]

We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--

BLACK KNIGHT:
Hah!

[kick]

Come on, then.

ARTHUR:
What?

BLACK KNIGHT:
Have at you!

[kick]

ARTHUR:
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.

BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh, had enough, eh?

ARTHUR:
Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.

BLACK KNIGHT:
Yes, I have.

ARTHUR:
Look!

BLACK KNIGHT:
Just a flesh wound.

[kick]

ARTHUR:
Look, stop that.

BLACK KNIGHT:
Chicken!

[kick]

Chickennn!

ARTHUR:
Look, I'll have your leg.

[kick]

Right!

[whop]

[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right leg off]

BLACK KNIGHT:
Right. I'll do you for that!

ARTHUR:
You'll what?

BLACK KNIGHT:
Come here!

ARTHUR:
What are you going to do, bleed on me?

BLACK KNIGHT:
I'm invincible!

ARTHUR:
You're a looney.

BLACK KNIGHT:
The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at
you! Come on, then.

[whop]

[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's last leg off]

BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.

ARTHUR:
Come, Patsy.

BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You
yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your
legs off!

Saddam has apparently just appeared on Iraqi TV to urge on the troops and made one topical reference to evidence that it wasn't old and prerecorded. It could still be one of his numerous doubles, however.
Patrick Crozier has a little salute to America at Libertarian Samizdata.

America is a free country. More than just about anywhere in the world American citizens are free from arbitrary arrest, torture and arbitrary punishment. The right to free speech is even enshrined in the constitution. And then, unlike most places, honoured. In America you can hold on to more of the property you have worked for than just about anywhere else and once the government has taken its cut you are more or less free to do whatever you like with it.

America is not without fault but even there many of America's alleged faults are not faults at all. It is often accused of racism and racism certainly exists but racism exists everywhere. The Russians hate the Chechens, the Romanians hate the Hungarians and the Japanese hate everyone. What is remarkable about America is how little racism there is and how deeply its governing classes want to do something about it. The fact that so many Hollywood movies nowadays have a black in a leading or main supporting role speaks volumes for this desire.
Unlike the French government, the German government has publicly stated they are hoping for a speedy US victory in Iraq. You are all alone now Jacques.
Looks like the homicide bomber who blew himself up at a terror checkpoint may have been using a pregnant woman as a human shield. Apparently she was screaming in fear before the car blew up. Saddam and his allies are truly animals.
Paul Krugman has turned into a warped frustrated old man. Now he is saying the sky is falling because of SARS:

Even if SARS doesn't become widespread here — and that's not a safe bet — it can do a lot of damage to our own economy because the world has grown so interdependent. Consider this: the most likely engine of a vigorous U.S. recovery would be a renewed surge in technology spending, and Guangdong is now the workshop of the information technology world, the place where a lot of the equipment that we would expect businesses to buy if there was an investment boom — for example, components for wireless computer networks — is assembled. The virus is already hampering production, not so much because workers have become sick as because Taiwan-based managers and engineers are afraid to visit their plants. The result may be to stall an investment recovery before it starts.

The war has monopolized everyone's attention, including mine. But other things are happening, and you shouldn't be shocked if the economic news turns awful.

(via Lileks)
Fun with the French

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says,
"I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up,
everything inside is numbered,"

The second responds,
"Yeah, but you should try electricians.
Everything inside them is color-coded,"

The third surgeon says,
"No, I really think librarians are the best;
everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in:
"You know, I like construction workers. They
always understand when you have a few parts
left over at the end and when the job takes longer
than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon, Dr. Morris Fishbein,
shuts them all up when he observes:
"The French are the easiest to operate on.
There's no guts, no heart, no balls and no spine.
Plus the head and ass are interchangeable."

Thursday, April 03, 2003

The government run school system will never be efficient at educating children as long as these thuggish unions hold sway over how the system works. The NYC school system is a prime example of why socialism doesn't work. There is no capacity for creative destruction. No ability to react and change...only layers and layers of workers all protecting their own turf from change. At least in the world of the market when a company becomes so laden with vice presidents, first vice presidents, second vice presidents and so on they are forced to change on go out of business. However in the government monopoly system all you get is the plea for more tax money "for the children." A pox on these unions who provide little service to anyone but their members.
A chart from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows exactly who has been arming Iraq for the last three decades...and it hasn't been the U.S.
(link courtesy Andrew Sullivan)
Nat Hentoff explains why he is not marching with the antiwar protesters.
John Derbyshire is wondering where Kim Jong-Il is:

Kim Jong Il has not been seen in public since February. Has missed meetings he normally attends. The Washington Times says he's probably channel-surfing the War. I bet that "leadership strike" against Saddam on March 19th has given him nightmares.

Update: He may not be appearing in public, but he is keeping up a blog.
Outside the Beltway has moved here.
And while we're talking about idiotic government schemes, key Senate Republicans, yes the ones who are supposed to cut gubmint spending, are preparing yet another airline subsidy package to the tune of 3 billion dollars. Here is a very short economics lesson: One of the main problems of the airline industry is massive over-capacity. The best thing that could happen to the airline industry is to have United (and American) go out of business, liquidate. Spending another 3 billion of US taxpayer money to prop them up is a senseless waste of taxpayer money, that aside from the fact that I do not know what section of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to give taxpayer funds to private businesses. The airline industry is fast on it's way to becoming the next Amtrak. (and as Arthur Silber points out the US is fast on it's way toward becoming another EU).
Heat seeking cluster bombs are cool.
Matt Welch has a report on the horrible Patriot Act II which has been proposed. I can't see how any of it's proposals would pass constitutional muster, but then the SCOTUS has been highly selective in the past and present about which portions of the constitution they think are worth preserving. The thing that comes to mind as I look over the provisions of this and the (not quite as egregious but highly questionable Patriot Act I) is the quote by Benjamin Franklin we have at the top of the blog:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

(via Heretical Ideas)
Carnival of the Vanities is up at Go Fish this week.
If Saddam is not dead, perhaps he's in disguise to escape detection. Have a look at the Saddam photoshop contest so you can spot him no matter what he looks like.
Neil Cavuto responds to a journalism professor who called him a 'disgrace to his profession'.

You might have a problem thanking troops defending your right to be the obnoxious, pontificating jerk that you are, but I don't.

You might have reservations about calling this country great, but I don't.

And you might have doubts about showing your partiality to the flag, but I don't.

There's nothing wrong with taking sides here, professor. But there's everything wrong with you not even making the distinction. I can love my country and my job at the same time. It is possible, you know.

You see no difference between a government that oppresses people and one that does not, but I do.

You see no difference between soldiers who use women and children as shields, but I do.

And you see no difference between forces trying to liberate a country and those keeping it in the Stone Age, but I do.


Please go read the whole thing. (via C&S)
Columbia University professor Nicholas De Genova who publicly wished for 18,000,000 dead U.S. serviceman and almost a Billion dead Somalis (yes, I know there aren't that many, I was just extrapolating the death toll from 'a million Mogadishus), has apparently skipped class because of threats he's received. He is not, it seems, as cavalier about his own safety as he is about millions of others. (via Emperor Misha)
Michelle is holding a Helen Thomas limerick contest.

My favorite:

Helen Thomas is sure she is right.
Thinks her questions have quite a sharp bite.
But she just makes no sense
She looks silly and dense
We all wish she'd just go fly a kite.
Austrian leader Joerg Haider offered asylum to Iraq's foreign minister in an interview.

"There is always room in my home for a friend," Haider told the Austrian magazine News. The two have been friends since Sabri was ambassador in Vienna in the 1990s.

Haider last month praised Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as an Arab visionary. He was forced to quit national politics last year amid uproar after he met Saddam in Baghdad and expressed support for the Iraqi leader.


Isn't that special. I bet they have a grand old time recounting past Jew killings.
I'm an uncle!!! My sister just had a baby girl, Emma. I can't wait to spoil her and turn her against her mother. Muahahahahahahahaha.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

"There's no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth."
--British soldier's response to British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon's comment that "Umm Qasr is a town similar to Southampton."
Halliburton won't bid for construction contracts in Iraq.

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's former company has decided not to enter a controversial bidding process open only to a few experienced and well-connected firms for major Iraq reconstruction projects. Instead, Halliburton Co. will focus on becoming a secondary contractor.
Here is a tear jerker from Best of the Web (originally from L.T. Smash):

Martin Savidge of CNN, embedded with the 1st Marine battalion, was talking with 4 young Marines near his foxhole this morning live on CNN. He had been telling the story of how well the Marines had been looking out for and taking care of him since the war started. He went on to tell about the many hardships the Marines had endured since the war began and how they all look after one another.

He turned to the four and said he had cleared it with their commanders and they could use his video phone to call home.

The 19 year old Marine next to him asked Martin if he would allow his platoon sergeant to use his call to call his pregnant wife back home whom he had not been able to talk to in three months. A stunned Savidge who was visibly moved by the request shook his head and the young Marine ran off to get the sergeant.

Savidge recovered after a few seconds and turned back to the three young Marines still sitting with him and asked which one of them would like to call home first, the Marine closest to him responded with out a moments hesitation "Sir, if is all the same to you we would like to call the parents of a buddy of ours, Lance Cpl Brian Buesing of Cedar Key, Florida who was killed on 3-23-03 near Nasiriya to see how they are doing."

At that Martin Savidge totally broke down and was unable to speak. All he could get out before signing off was "Where do they get young men like this?"
A grisly look at an Iraqi torture house, er, police station. (via Joanne Jacobs)
Tom Friedman has an interesting piece in the NYT today about slowing changing Arab perceptions about U.S. intent.

While they may not be able to describe it, many Arabs intuit that this U.S. invasion of Iraq is something they've never seen before — the revolutionary side of U.S. power. Let me explain: for Arabs, American culture has always been revolutionary — from blue jeans to "Baywatch" — but American power, since the cold war, has only been used to preserve the status quo here, keeping in place friendly Arab kings and autocrats.
...
To begin with, there is the shock of Arab liberals, still a tiny minority, who can't believe that America has finally used its revolutionary power in the Arab world. They are desperate for America to succeed because they think Iraq is too big to ignore, and therefore a real election there would shake the whole Arab region.
Will the invasion get bogged down? One of the scarier places in Iraq is a tiny hamlet, Umm Qasr, just over the border from Kuwait. A smuggler's haven with docks, low buildings and just 4,000 people, it was secured in the first hours of the invasion, military officials announced. Only it wasn't."
-- Nick Kristof, NY Times Mar 25, 2003

Children tend to reflect the mood of the place in which they find themselves. They're great barometers that way; perhaps the most honest indicator of how this war in Iraq is progressing.

The children of Safwan, Iraq, where a humanitarian mission unloaded cargo last week, mostly had faces filled with expressions somewhere between desperation and hopelessness.

The children of Umm Qasr are a different story. In a phrase, these are happy kids.
...
Just one week ago, these children were living in a field of combat, with American and British troops fighting Iraqi soldiers for this critical piece of land.

Today, the fathers of 100 of these children have paying jobs rebuilding the gigantic port. More fathers are being hired every day, all receiving the prevailing wage, courtesy of the same taxpayers who paid the coalition soldiers to win the battle of Umm Qasr.

The electricity is back on in three-quarters of the homes in Umm Qasr after government officials in Basra cut it off. The electricity means water is flowing again. In the desert, this means nothing less than life.


War Journal by Scott Hogenson, 17:40 1 April, 2003 (via Electric Venom)
This is an interesting tidbit from Best of the Web.

All political parties are required to report publicly the identities of their financial contributers--except one. The party that isn't subject to the law? The Socialist Workers Party, which, the Associated Press explains, "advocates a Marxist revolution to overthrow the U.S. government" and takes "the Russian and Cuban revolutions of the 20th century as models." A court granted the SWP the exemption in 1979 on the ground that its contributors might face "harassment," and the Federal Election Commission is recommending that it be renewed.

Some animals are more equal than others it seems.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

From Scrappleface:

Hell Opens New Wing to House Iraqi Leaders

(2003-03-30) -- The department of physical plant in Hell announced today the addition of a new wing on the eternal damnation complex to house President Saddam Hussein, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and other top government officials.

"We've been big admirers of the Iraqi leadership all along, but now they've really outdone themselves," said an unnamed spokesman, referring to the regime's use of civilians as military shields, and suicide bombers to take advantage of the "weakness of mercy" displayed by U.S. and British troops.

"When Saddam and his boys get here," said the spokesman, "I think they'll find familiar surroundings. It will be a lot like Iraq under their regime, only more intense...and of course, everlasting."
Images of the war are upsetting to some older Germans. It is bringing back memories of the 1945 siege of Berlin led by those imperialist allied forces.

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) - Images of Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed by a dominant invader have revived a nightmare for Germans who put up pointless resistance during the final World War II battle in Berlin.

The U.S.-led war against Iraq has stirred emotions around the world, yet the television pictures of dead Iraqi soldiers and civilians have touched an especially sensitive nerve in Berlin, where the horrific 1945 siege has left lasting scars.

"My heart goes out to the poor suffering people in Baghdad," said 76-year-old Gerhard Peters, who deserted the army in Berlin just days before the war ended in 1945. "I'm sure they didn't want this war just like we didn't want our war. And now they're dying for it. I can imagine they are just as miserable as we were."


Hmmm...deserted just days before the war ended, from the war you didn't want. How convenient. It's just us warmongering Americans and Brits again, disturbing all the poor murdering, dictators in the world. Gerhard may be suffering from a little old-age induced memory loss. Do you think, Gerhard, that the war had something to do with the invasion of the Rhineland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Stalingrad...mass killings of entire populations of Jews, Gypsys, Gays, Catholics. Were you carrying any signs in Berlin in 1936 to protest the invasion of the Rhineland (No, well maybe you believed it was a rightful German provence). How about in 1938 to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia, did you carry signs saying : Hitler=Hitler, No Blut for Crazy Racial Theories, Down with the German Military Industrial Complex? No? How about in 1939 when Poland was invaded? or 1940 when Belgium, Netherlands and France were invaded? No? When exactly did you decide you didn't want the war? Could it have been a couple of days before the war ended in 1945? I'll bet you had a nicely pressed and starched uniform before that and did your Heil Hitlers with a proud snap. I'm sorry I can't muster more sympathy for your bad feelings Gerhard, there's not much left over from the sympathy I have for the millions of people your cohorts murdered in concentration camps. Rant over, I feel better now. (via Agitprop)
Mark Steyn on the media quagmire.

After little more than a week, is this war coverage in trouble? Already questions are being raised about whether the media's plan was fatally flawed. Several analysts are surprised that, despite overwhelming dominance of the air, television and radio divisions have so quickly repeated the mistakes of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, on the ground, rapidly advancing columns become stalled in Vietnam-style quagmires around the second paragraph.

Speaking live from his armchair, General George S. Patton says, "Look, I'm just an armchair general, but, when I lean forward, pick up the remote and switch on the TV, it seems clear these media sonsofbitches pushed ahead too fast in the first 48 hours and then found their supply lines stretched far too thin. The supply of lines just wasn't getting through. OK, it's fun to write 'embedded' the first half-dozen times, and 'shock and awe', but then what? So the bastards got bogged down, then panicked and went into a complete reverse in a desperate manoeuvre to protect their rear.''
If you're getting tired of all the political blogging, go take a look at Raising Hell, a parenting blog.

You won't find any advice at Raising Hell, we're as lost as you are. Raising Hell is about bad parenting, good parenting and the gray area in between. As one reviewer said, "the writers present new twists on parenting with liberal doses of wry humor that even singletons will enjoy." Or as Douglas Coupland said, "All families are psychotic."
Carthaginian Peace has a funny NY Times parody posted. And another here (or just scroll up).
It's April and it's freezing out. If you see a global warming protester, throw them in the east river.
Another peace activist describes his conversion after spending time in Iraq.

Following a beautiful 'Peace' to welcome the Peace Activists in which even the children participated, we moved to the next room to have a simple meal.

Sitting next to me was an older man who carefully began to sound me out. Apparently feeling the freedom to talk in the midst of the mingling crowd he suddenly turned to me and said `There is something you should know.` `What` I asked surprised at the sudden comment.

`We didn't want to be here tonight`. he continued. `When the Priest asked us to gather for a Peace Service we said we didn't want to come`. He said.

`What do you mean` I inquired, confused. `We didn't want to come because we don't want peace` he replied.

`What in the world do you mean?` I asked. `How could you not want peace?` `We don't want peace. We want the war to come` he continued.
What in the world are you talking about? I blurted back.

That was the beginning of a strange odyssey that deeply shattered my convictions and moral base but at the same time gave me hope for my people and, in fact, hope for the world.
...
On the final day for the first time I saw the signs of war. For the first time sandbags began appearing at various government buildings but the solders putting them up and then later standing within the small circle they created gave a clear message they could not dare speak.

They hated it. They despised it. It was their job and they made clear in the way they worked to the common people watching that they were on their side and would not fight.
Near the end of my time a family member brought the word that guns had just been provided to the members of the Baath Party and for the first time we saw the small but growing signs of war.

But what of their feelings towards the United States and Britain? Those feelings are clearly mixed. They have no love for the British or the Americans but they trust them.
`We are not afraid of the American bombing. They will bomb carefully and not purposely target the people. What we are afraid of is Saddam Hussein and what he and the Baath Party will do when the war begins. But even then we want the war. It is the only way to escape our hell. Please tell them to hurry. We have been through war so many times,but this time it will give us hope`.
Dennis Prager suggests a way to get Saddam out of Iraq, offer him a professorship at a U.S. University.

As president of our university, I am proud to announce that we have extended a formal invitation to Iraq's President, the Honorable Saddam Hussein, to occupy the newly endowed Jimmy Carter Chair in Appeasement Studies.

We believe that President Hussein will feel quite at home at our school. Most of our liberal arts professors share Professor Hussein's views of America, and very few, if any, support America's racist, imperialist, hegemonic, capitalist, non-U.N.-sanctioned attack on his country.

Moreover, initial inquiries have ensured widespread support for a Saddam Hussein professorship. CNN, for example, has agreed in principle to offer Professor Hussein his own cable show. While such a show will be similar in tone and outlook to CNN's reporting from Iraq, CNN told us that they feel that it is always helpful to have another voice with particular appeal to their European viewers.
...
I am also pleased to note that our women's studies professors and the many others concerned with women's equality are particularly pleased to welcome President Hussein. Though we are aware of reports of widespread rape and torture of women by the officials of the Iraqi government, our university affirms, as do all other great American universities, multi-culturalism. And as multi-culturalists, we believe that judging other cultures is a reactionary anachronism, again emanating from America's outdated Judeo-Christian perspective. Our feminist scholars have reminded me that what matters is that Saddam Hussein is pro-choice, and the university can surely use another pro-choice voice at a time when a woman's unfettered right to a third-trimester abortion is under attack by a sexist American government.
...
Indeed, the only obstacle is that President Hussein smokes cigars, and perhaps even cigarettes. Needless to say, our university cannot offer its students a professorial model who publicly smokes. While our professors and students have long defended Communist, Arab, and other anti-American dictators, the university community draws a firm line at smokers. Negotiations with President Hussein's staff concerning this matter are taking place at this very moment.
James S. Robbins presents some additional info and theories on the current health and mortality status of Saddam.

That being said there is little public evidence that Saddam is even alive. There has been no recent live video or audio, no recorded video or audio that make reference to known facts since he was last seen, no public sightings, little evidence of command and control in his armed forces, no strategic counterattacks against Israel or targets in the U.S. (the fedayeen ops require no particular command guidance other than “kill,” so they are not proof). Of course, Saddam would be a fool to allow any electronic signal to connect himself with the outside world. He cannot know Coalition capabilities to trace live signals back to their source, and cannot know if the couriers used to transfer tapes to the outside are trustworthy, even if ten degrees removed. The edited footage that has been released is strangely unconvincing. One recently aired meeting showed Saddam and company in a small conference room with a clearly visible round passageway directly to his left, looking very much like an escape tube, the kind any evil genius bent on world domination would have in his secret underground lair. Another such video ran on March 29, showing Saddam and some chief leaders, including Ahmed. Both reports were voiced over, and there was nothing to prove that the videos were shot on any particular date. You would think Saddam would want to make the fact of his survival unambiguous. Osama bin Laden had indisputably genuine tapes out immediately when battle was joined in Afghanistan, though they stopped in December 2001.
The Investors Business Daily asks "What Will U.S. Troops Do If Faced By Child Soldiers?" Well I'm assuming they will do exactly what they did in Mogadishu. Shoot them.
Looks like Syria wants to be next. I wonder if this is really the start of World War III.
Victor Davis Hanson on the 'American Way of War'.

(2) It is as difficult to provoke the United States as it is to survive its eventual and tardy response. We will take months, years, even decades of slurs, random murdering of our own, terrorism, and general hostility before acting — and then in some primordial rage at last unleash firepower undreamed of to remove the odious regime.

(3) The American media and its punditry follow a predictable wartime volatility — as Gulf War I, Serbia, Afghanistan, and the present conflict attest: day-one euphoria; followed by week two of dejection and recrimination; followed by days of false knowledge; culminating in mild “I told you sos” as peace seems nearer. Confidence in victory is never as strong as despair on rumors of quagmire. The stronger our military, the more likely grow the doubts of our elites.
...
(5) The enemy will usually have killed more of its own civilians than we will kill its soldiers trying to kill us. Examples: Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein.
No Sign Saddam Is Alive

WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence sources have been unable to confirm that Saddam Hussein survived the March 19 strike on a bunker where he was believed to be staying, a top Pentagon general said Monday.

That information comes from the same intelligence sources that pinpointed Saddam's location before the airstrike, said Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"That doesn't mean he's dead, but he's not visible publicly and he's not been seen or reported to have been seen by anybody," Pace said on PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
...
Iraqi military units, including those of Saddam's elite Republican Guard, are showing no signs they are getting orders from top Iraqi leaders, Pace said, echoing what other U.S. military officials have been saying for days.

"There's no evidence of coordinated actions on the battlefield by these units," Pace said. "They're being destroyed in place without much leadership from above."
Here is the New York Times on the Van incident:

Yesterday in southern Iraq, American soldiers fired into a van filled with women and children, killing seven. The van was approaching a military checkpoint near an area where a car bomb had recently exploded, killing four soldiers.

The authorities said that the van had ignored all the soldiers' attempts to bring it to a halt, and that the shooting had been justified. They promised to investigate.

Those reassurances are important to Americans but will mean very little in the Arab world, particularly if such scenes become routine. If that happens, the political war for Iraq could be lost even before the military one is won.


I'm not exactly sure what the New York Times wants. Are the US soldiers simply supposed to be nice to all Iraqis all the time and let themselves be blown up by car bombs for the sake of public relations? Screw that.
It looks like US soldiers killed seven women and children who were in a van which failed to stop at a checkpoint, even after a warning shot was fired into the air and another into the radiator. I wonder if this was done on purpose by the Iraqis. It is possible that these civilians were put into the van and then driven aggressively through a checkpoint in order to get the US soldiers to open fire. This would have two effects. First, it would make the US look bad to the world. Second, it would make it that much easier to get another suicide bombing off as soldiers would be more likely to hesitate. Does this sound paranoid? Well then tell me why the driver didn't stop.

Monday, March 31, 2003

After a long hiatus, Bill Whittle has another great essay up at Eject!Eject!Eject!.

This war is an abject and utter failure. What everyone thought would be a quick, decisive victory has turned into an embarrassing series of reversals. The enemy, -- a ragtag, badly-fed collection of hotheads and fanatics – has failed to be shocked and awed by the most magnificent military machine ever fielded. Their dogged resistance has shown us the futility of the idea that a nation of millions could ever be subjugated and administered, no matter what obscene price we are willing to pay in blood and money.

The President of the United States is a buffoon, an idiot, a man barely able to speak the English language. His vice president is a little-seen, widely despised enigma and his chief military advisor a wild-eyed warmonger. Only his Secretary of State offers any hope of redemption, for he at least is a reasonable, well-educated man, a man most thought would have made a far, far better choice for Chief Executive.

We must face the fact that we had no business forcing this unjust war on a people who simply want to be left alone. It has damaged our international relationships beyond any measure, and has proven to be illegal, immoral and nothing less than a monumental mistake that will take generations to rectify. We can never hope to subdue and remake an entire nation of millions. All we will do is alienate them further. So we must bring this war to an immediate end, and make a solemn promise to history that we will never launch another war of aggression and preemption again, so help us God.


So spoke the American press. The time was the summer of 1864.
...
After three interminable and unbelievably bloody years of conflict, many in the Northern press had long ago become convinced that there was no hope of winning the far, and far less of winning the peace that followed. After nearly forty months of battle and maneuver, after seeing endless hopes dashed in spectacular failure, after watching the magnificent Army of the Potomac again and again whipped and humiliated by a far smaller, under-fed, under-equipped force, the New York newspapers and many, many others were calling for an immediate end to this parade of failures.

It took them forty months and hundreds of thousands killed to reach that point. Today, many news outlets have reached a similar conclusion after ten days and less than fifty combat fatalities.

Ahhh. Progress.

[follow the link and read the rest]
For those who think Iraqi resistance indicates a surge in Iraqi nationalism. this from ArabNews:

When we finally made it to Safwan, Iraq, what we saw was utter chaos. Iraqi men, women and children were playing it up for the TV cameras, chanting: "With our blood, with our souls, we will die for you Saddam."

I took a young Iraqi man, 19, away from the cameras and asked him why they were all chanting that particular slogan, especially when humanitarian aid trucks marked with the insignia of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, were distributing some much-needed food.

His answer shouldn't have surprised me, but it did.

He said: "There are people from Baath here reporting everything that goes on. There are cameras here recording our faces. If the Americans were to withdraw and everything were to return to the way it was before, we want to make sure that we survive the massacre that would follow as Baath go house to house killing anyone who voiced opposition to Saddam. In public, we always pledge our allegiance to Saddam, but in our hearts we feel something else."

Different versions of that very quote, but with a common theme, I would come to hear several times over the next three days I spent in Iraq.
(via Best of the Web)
Tom Donnelly has some advice for the armchair generals in the media.

IT SEEMS TO COME as a surprise to some in Washington that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has had a hand in planning Operation Iraqi Freedom. Field Marshal Maureen Dowd declared her shock and awe in her Sunday column, declaring that U.S. ground forces were dangerously "exposed" in their positions less than 50 miles from Baghdad.

Poor Rumsfeld. In checking with Tommy Franks, JCS Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, the National Security Council, and a few other civilians--like President Bush, the commander in chief--he neglected to run his war plan past either the New York Times or New Yorker editorial boards. The attack orders were never even fully briefed to the staffs of television rent-a-generals. My goodness, as the secretary might say, even the international neoconservative conspiracy was left somewhat in the dark.

You have two choices when you're in the dark. One is to get angry and lash out. If you've been opposed to the Bush administration's Iraq policy, that's already a habit that's hard to break. If you're a military officer used to intimidating Clinton administration civilians, you've got some other scores to settle, too.
(via Judicious Asininity)
Quote of the Day

"You are the army of the last semi-free country left on earth, yet you are accused of being a tool of imperialism -- and 'imperialism' is the name given to the foreign policy of this country, which has never engaged in military conquest.... Something called 'the military-industrial complex' -- which is a myth or worse -- is being blamed for all of this country's troubles...it is urgently important for you to understand the nature of the enemy. You are attacked, not for any errors or flaws, but for your virtues.... You are penalized for being the protectors of the United States. Those who seek to destroy this country, seek to disarm it--intellectually and physically.... The motive of the destroyers is...hatred of America."

--Ayn Rand to West Point graduates of 1974.
Patrick at the Observation Deck posts a copy of a letter from a WWII & Korean War veteran he received.

"I'm not going to get into a lengthy history lesson. The short, short version is that the League of Nations (established after WW I to prevent wars) failed to stop Mussolini's Italy from invading and conquering Ethiopia. It failed to stop Japan from invading and conquering Manchuria and much of China. Their committees wrung their hands spoke in platitudes but did absolutely nothing to stop war.

At France's coaxing Britain's prime minister Nevil Chamberlain met with Adolph Hitler in Munich and surrendered the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in the interest of "peace in our time." The French and British watched as Germany took Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. They all had committee meetings and wrung their hands and talked of peace.

World War II erupted when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Britain had a mutual defense treaty with Poland so they couldn't escape. They declared war on Germany. Germany had a mutual defense treaty with Japan so Japan declared war on Britain. France wet their pants and surrendered to Germany as fast as they could and gleefully shipped all the Jews they could find to death camps in Germany to prove to Adolph that they really were on the side of Germany.

Japan attacked the United States and, because of Japan's mutual defense treaty with Germany, Germany declared war on the United States.

Up until December 7th and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a large number of our people were wringing their hands and saying, "Appease Hitler. He is really a good guy who just needed a little more land for his expanding population. The dear man just wants peace. And World War II was in full swing leaving better than 50,000,000 people dead including about 450,000 American soldiers and sailors.

Three cheers for the League of Nations!


Follow the link and read the rest.
It would appear that the missles that hit the Baghdad markets were Iraqi and not ours.
A Canadian friend of mine, who is both gay and skeptical of much of the sentiment posted on this blog, included this pict in an e-mail today with the caption, "Here is a top secret snap shot of the French Army!" Thanks for the giggles, Dougie.


Someone spinning on command-post.org suggested this as documentation for denial as a component of Arab war strategy.
The art and history of the dildo, in the Village Voice.
C.D. Harris, jealous of Dean Esmay's interview from a few weeks ago, has his own interview with Chris Muir of Day by Day up at IpseDixit.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson scolds the media about the level of hysteria in war reporting during the Iraq conflict.

But rather than trying to digest and analyze the tempo of battle, our vulture pundits instead regurgitate rumor and buzz — which are usually refuted by the next minute’s events. The subtext throughout seems to be disappointment that the war so far has lasted seven rather than two days.

Reporters at the beginning of the week were hysterically railing that Basra — cut off and surrounded — was not yet taken. A voice on NPR told us that after three days there would be “no food or water” — as if we had not cut off the power, water, and bridges at Baghdad in 1991 for 44 days, as if Marines getting shot at had electricity in the field. Things happen in war. Surely a temporary interruption in service is not so high a price to pay for lasting freedom.

I flipped the channel. Another pundit was lamenting that we were outnumbered by the Republican Guard; 1,000 planes with the best pilots in the world apparently don’t compute in his strategic calculus. Yet another philosopher worried that we “were angering the Arab street” — as if anger does not naturally rise in war. He should have asked why a German public that hated us in 1941 did not do so in 1945. Not to be outdone, another expert — wrong in the past on everything in Afghanistan — smugly announced that in five days of war “everything has gone wrong!”

Have these people any intelligence or shame?
...
All these people need to calm down, take a deep breath, and read their history — computing the logistics of fighting 7,000 miles away and considering the hurdles of vast space, unpredictable weather, and enemies without uniforms. And? In just a week, the United States military has surrounded one of history’s most sadistic and nasty regimes. It has overrun 80 percent of the countryside and has daily pulverized the Republican Guard, achieving more in five days than the Iranians did in eight years.

Twenty-four hours a day, thousands of tankers and supply trucks barrel down long, vulnerable supply lines, quickly and efficiently. There is no bridge too far for these long columns. One-hundred percent air superiority is ours. There is not a single Iraqi airplane in the sky. Enemy tanks either stay put or are bombed. Kurds and Shiites really will soon start to be heard. Seven oil wells are on fire (with firefighters on the scene) — no oil slicks, no attacks on Israel. Kuwait City is not aflame. “Millions” of refugees fleeing into Syria and Jordan have not materialized. Even Peter Arnett is no longer parroting the Iraqi government claims of ten million starving and has moved on to explain why the Iraqis were equipped with chemical suits — to protect Saddam’s killers from our WMDs!