3/22/2003

Explain again why we're supposed to be a neutral party in this dispute?
An anti-war protester who's husband is liberating Iraq says she's offering him moral support. Yeah, teaming up with these people is a great way to support the troops.
Very nice map of the Iraqi theater.
There's some concern over what Turkey is doing and why. Honestly I'm not too worried. In the short run, they could certainly prove a headache, but in the long run I really can't believe that American pressure won't prevent serious Turkish incursions into Kurdistan.

3/21/2003

Democrats issue official response to their support of McCain-Feingold:

"Oops"

In January and February, the Republican national, senatorial and House campaign committees raised a combined $38.5 million, according to disclosure reports. The Democratic committees raised $9 million.
Does anyone out there have a collection of stories from Iraqi exiles or soldiers now in Iraq of Saddam's regime? It would be good to have a collection of them all in one place to show the Left what they were/are supporting.
Vodkapundit points out this cartoon from the University of Maryland Diamondback that calls useful idiot Rachel Corrie "stupid."

Most interesting are the outraged responses from university officials, particularly Journalism school Associate Dean Chris Callahan who said:

"It was cruel, hurtful, racist and not something I would want in my publication"

Racist? Huh? How is calling people who blow up children in cafes "terrorists" racist? Uber-PCism at its finest.
Israel troops have arrested Hamas leader Raed Hutri.

The left only seems to have the ability to be outraged by one action at a time, so it's good to see Israel taking advantage of this window of opportunity.
It's funny - one of the rallying cries of the anti-war movement has been "jobs not bombs," yet the protestors think nothing of forcing a city to spend thousands to baby sit them. The conservative estimates I've heard is that yesterday cost the city of San Francisco over $500,000. Therefore with the average Bay Area teacher's salary around $42,000, the anti-war idiots costs our kids 11 new teachers.

Books not Bums!

Teach don't Preach!

Anti-war is Anti-education!
The BBC has a great war reporter blog. Definitely worth reading.
At work today at my admittedly (relatively) conservative San Francisco financial services firm, even I was shocked at the extent to which yesterday's rush hour protest ticked off even the most liberal of my co-workers.

The best arguments for conservatism are made by simply listening to liberals.
Some of the better theories on who that really was on the opening night Saddam video:

Dame Edna
Harry Caray
Yasser Arafat
Helen Thomas

3/20/2003

I'm probably being paranoid, but the lack of any significant resistance so far scares me. Saddam has chemical weapons. Saddam knows he is going down. Why hasn't he launched them? Either he doesn't have control of them, or he is drawing us into a trap. I am confident that we will win, but I would hate to see a large number of Americans die in an Iraqi counter-attack. Battle of the Bulge.
Honestly, this real-time video from our troops inside Iraq is really amazing.
"Hey Steve! How do I get the latest updates on the war?"

Good question!

Check out the Command Post where a number of bloggers - myself included - with be posting the absolute latest on the liberation of Iraq.
Oxblog shows how to send a message of support to Tony Blair.
A warning for left-wing Democrats:

This comment was logged by Mike Overs the BBC's "Have Your Say" section:

As a lifelong Socialist, I cannot believe that a Labour Prime Minister can have become so distant from the views of his supporters. I always had a question mark over Mr Blair, but the events of recent weeks have confirmed in my mind that this man is neither a Socialist, or even a Democrat. I am totally devastated that, approaching my sixtieth birthday, I feel deeply ashamed to be British.

Very right, Mr. Overs, Tony Blair is not a Socialist, and that's why he was able to bring Labour back from the dead after the Thatcher revolution.

Why is this a warning for the left? Remember what wins. Not your Socialist, anti-war, Vietnam era liberalism, but Clinton/Blair centrism. If the Dean wing succeeds in hijacking the Democratic party, it could be a very abrupt sunset for the party.
The Times is reporting that we just missed Hussein:

Tomahawk cruise missiles twice came within minutes of taking out Saddam Hussein in surgical strikes on Baghdad. US intelligence pinpointed the dictator at a private house just outside the Iraqi capital. President Bush ordered a bombardment of the property, hoping he could topple Saddam in the first wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom strikes. But Saddam escaped just 30 minutes before the rockets, which were launched in a pre-dawn attack, smashed into the hideout.
Once again, Tony Blair shows why he's the world's finest spokesman for liberty:

Some say if we act, we become a target. The truth is, all nations are targets. Bali was never in the front line of action against terrorism. America didn't attack Al Qaida. They attacked America.
Britain has never been a nation to hide at the back. But even if we were, it wouldn't avail us.
Should terrorists obtain these weapons now being manufactured and traded round the world, the carnage they could inflict to our economies, our security, to world peace, would be beyond our most vivid imagination.


Read the whole speech.
Adrianne Truett points to this Photoshop fun on Daghtator of terrorists hitting the Eiffel Tower and Bush telling Chirac to forget about American help.

The reason America is America and France is France is that, unlike the French, when free people of the world need America's assistance, we step up. As disgusted as we are with the French we would never leave them defenseless. The problem is they know that, and that's why they play politics when we request aid - they know we'll never do to them what they're doing to us.
FoxNews is reporting that our "unilateral" coalition is now at 40 declared nations in support (compared to 36 in Gulf War) and 15 nations still providing support on a "secret" basis. Still haven't found any links on line to confirm this, as soon as I do, will update with that evidence.
More evidence of the moral bankruptcy of liberal thought:

The BBC has an analysis of Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins' stirring speech to the Royal Irish Regiment. Military historian Gary Sheffield says of the oration:

"This sounds quite odd and curiously old fashioned in the ears of early 21st Century Brits. But it brings out the fact that the military's values today are still those of an older generation - loyalty, respect and, up to a point, deference, are needed if you are to believe in these words."

Loyalty and respect are values no longer understood by the post-modern residents of Europe? Simply amazing. This is why our current split with Europe is not a debate over tactics, but a fundamental disconnect over how we view the world.
I generally liked Fox News' coverage last night, especially considering the lack of new information throughout the evening. I did find it funny, though, when Shepard Smith referred to Iraqi TV as a station that occasionally "plays the national anthem" and "praises the country's current leadership."

Mmm . . . irony . . .
Our "diplomatic failure" and "unilateralism" continue. Today the Turkish Parliament has signed on to our coalition of the willing. Also, Rumsefled today announced that we have 35 publicly committed themselves to the coalition (versus 36 in the gulf war) and 15 countries have also given private assurances of support. This total is larger than the Gulf War coalition of 1991.

3/19/2003

God bless our troops and our nation. May our troops return to us safely and as swiftly as their job permits. May our nation remain strong and united in support of our troops and in support of the freedom that is inevitably coming to Iraqi's. I believe this is something on which we can all agree.
It’s become amazing the degree to which the left is totally ignoring pro-war arguments on Iraq. During other contentious debates – HillaryCare, for example – at least the two sides generally, if somewhat disingenuously, addressed the other side’s points. Now the anti-war crowd has decided to simply ignore counterarguments. Consider this Michael Klare article in today’s USA Today. The key section:

This week President Bush asserted that he had given diplomacy adequate opportunity. But many Americans and a large segment of the international community, including the United Nations Security Council, believe that diplomacy has not run its course — arguing that containment coupled with U.N. weapons inspectors was working.
President Bush also argued that the U.S. must go to war now before Saddam has a chance to augment his arsenal of forbidden weapons or deliver them to terrorists. But there is no way Iraq can produce weapons of mass destruction while U.N. inspectors are patrolling the country, and Saddam has no incentive to give such munitions to terrorists while the U.N. is still debating his fate.
Equally unpersuasive is President Bush's assessment of the costs and benefits of war. Ending Saddam's dictatorship and destroying Iraq's remaining caches of illegal weapons would be desirable outcomes. But this must be balanced against the cost in human lives and the potential harm to America's security interests — and it is here that the president's calculus falls short.


I was going to have a nice evening Fisk, but then I realized what’s striking about this piece is not how wrong Klare is but how he rehashes arguments that have been thoroughly discredited time and time again. If he doesn’t agree with the right’s responses to the arguments he puts forth, fine, but tell us why. He instead seems to pretend that his analysis hasn’t been repeatedly answered by the right. It has, and I wish the left had the courage to address the right’s real arguments as opposed to straw-men set up for the purpose of avoiding real debate.
The Evening Standard is reporting a firefight in southern Iraq.

The war has begun.
Interesting comment sited in today's NRO by uber-Democrat Donna Brazile:

"Democrats want to talk about education, the economy. They want to talk about local issues. . . . It's hard to conceive of a Democrat running a national campaign on national security because it just doesn't resonate with our voters."

If you want a one-sentence reason why I'm a Republican, this is it. National Security doesn't resonate with Democratic voters? How sad is it that Democrats not only don't see the President's most important job as defending our country, but actually don't think it's important at all?

Amazing.
Lots of great stuff on Virginia Postrel's site, but I do disagree with one of her comments:

It's common on the left and even more common among isolationist libertarians to charge that the United States is, or is becoming, an "empire" because of interventions abroad. Hearing it the other day, I was struck by how utterly absurd the term is. If this is an empire, where's the emperor? Where's the territorial control? Where's the tribute flowing from overseas possessions? Saying the word empire is the wrong one doesn't imply that U.S. foreign policy is correct, merely that another term is needed. A 21st-century representative democracy with a large regulatory bureaucracy and many overseas involvements may be problematic. But it isn't an "empire" unless that term just means "a government I don't like."

Now I'm not saying that America is becoming an empire - arguments that we're attacking Iraq over oil or out of some Zionist inspired desire to conquer Arabs are plainly absurd - but if one does believe this attack is motivated by such desires, it is correct to call the action imperial. While normally associated with emperors and territory, the word’s etymologically derived from the Latin imperium, to rule or command. This does not always mean direct annexation over the subjugated state. Consider, for example, Napoleon's France - by anyone's definition an empire. Throughout Europe he established puppet regimes as a means of indirect control over the continent. This is how, in their bizarre reality, the Left sees our designs on the Middle East and thus the cry of imperialism. They may be wrong factually, historically, and morally - but at least they're not wrong grammatically.

3/18/2003

Just on American Idol:

Simon Cowell told one of the singers (who had a country voice): "I think you should replace the girl in the Dixie Chicks."
"Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.


... as do people who argue that a man who does this and this should remain in power another day.


My conscience does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you? ...now tell me true.
More evidence of State's incompetence:

Responding to a raucous pro-American rally in the Ivory Coast:

American diplomats thought the feelings were a fluke -- faux adoration, if you will. They didn't even come out to talk to the protesters.
"All this American gaga will end," says a U.S. diplomat who asked not to be named. "They have French on their brains. They will come back to the French soon. They will forget about us."

The last piece of the puzzle is now in place. Parliament just voted 412 to 149 for a resolution stating that it:

believes that the United Kingdom must uphold the authority of the United Nations as set out in Resolution 1441 and many Resolutions proceeding it, and therefore supports the decision of Her Majesty's Government that the United Kingdom should use all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Nice work Tony.
I think it's pretty cool that, in a war to bring freedom to the Iraqi people, our troops are led by a general named William Wallace.
Special thanks to reader Terrence Coyle for pointing us to the recent polls inside of Britain (you have to scroll about 3/4 the way down the article). Seems like FoxNews was doing a bit of spinning when it claimed a majority of the UK was in favor of war. However, there is a shifting tide, and more and more Britons do appear to be coming around to the pro-war side.
So it looks like the "unilateral" actions of the United States will include at least 30 public and 15 private other nations acting unilaterally as well. Among those acting "unliaterally" along with the United States are the following nations (bold ours):


Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.


The 18 nations in Bold are all European Nations. Can someone explain to me why the anti-war movement continues to claim that Europe is opposed to military action?

Last night I was talking with a friend who claimed that the Dixie Chicks issue was a violation of their freedom of speech. I've heard this argument several times before and its so disturbing to me because I believe the media has created a situation where people feel everyone is ENTITLED to a soap box.


The first amendment guarantees only that the GOVERNMENT will not infringe on people's speech. In the Dixie Chicks situation the goverment hasn't said peep. The radio stations (who are a business) have responded to their customers (listeners) and have decided to pull the Dixie Chicks due to their comments. This is precisely the way the first amendment is meant to work. EVERYONE has a right to speak (as the Chicks did), but if people don't like what you are saying then they can act (within the law and certainly in our economy the most effective act people can take is through their pocketbooks) against you.


The only thing the first amendment guarantees is that people can stand on a soap box and tell us their point of view. It doesn't mean that every person MUST be given free airtime. Every person can publish their own paper and try to sell it or give it away, but not everyone is entitled to publish an editorial in an established paper.


It isn't censorship if the WSJ doesn't want to publish a letter from an anti-war group. It may be a bad business decision to not have a fair and balanced debate, but they are not OBLIGATED to do so.


Until people understand the purpose and the implications of the first amendment I fear we will continue to focus on IF people are being treated fairly and not on WHAT the person is saying.

I'm sure everyone is aware of the shifting public opinion. I recently heard on FoxNews that British opinion was shifting as well. Checked BBCNews for information but couldn't find any. Is FoxNews serious? They didn't give numbers just said it had "shifted" and a "majority" support Blair. I'd like to see the poll.
I'd add to Steve's comment about the French that we certainly do not want their help. It is predicated on the fact that biological weapons would be used. So basically the French are saying is that if Iraq manages to kill American troops (not in regular combat but in chemical combat) then they would consider helping us. Let us hope the French never help us! For if they do a far greater evil will have been unleashed.
French-backed tyrant watch:

Most factories and shops in Zimbabwe's main cities have closed in response to an opposition-called strike.
The BBC's Lewis Machipisa in Harare says that the army has been deployed following some violence in the Harare suburb of Epworth.
Correspondents say this is the most successful anti-government strike since President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election a year ago.


Hopefully the west can offer some support to the people in their fight against Mugabe.

Here’s the money quote from a government police inspector:

"The police will meet them head-on. We will be very ruthless with them, but within the limits of the law."

Charming government, isn’t it?
Very, very interesting. . .

More evidence that the French know they really screwed up:

France's ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, said Tuesday that his country might re-think its position on war with Iraq if Saddam were to use biological or chemical weapons against coalition forces.
"If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical and biological weapons, this would change the situation completely and immediately for the French government," Jean-David Levitte said.


This is why there isn't going to be a fundamental shift in transatlantic relations following an attack on Iraq. France is desperate to see the UN remain relevant and has already started to position itself as an ally during the rebuilding of Iraq. While Bush can certainly reject offers of aid, as many on the right would love to see, he won't and, frankly, he'd be stupid to.

3/17/2003

Brit Hume posed the question tonight of what would be the reaction if Saddam, instead of stepping down, announced a major new "discovery" of WMD. I agree with the Fox News panelists that to the US and our allies, this would be irrelevant.
Let me pose the opposite question though. What if, instead of trying to make concession to stave off an attack, Saddam says "you know what, America is right, I do have nuclear weapons and if an attack is launched against Iraq Tel Aviv (or London or even Paris) will be eliminated"? What would the American reaction be? I'd guess we'd call his bluff, but couldn't this scenario make life even more difficult for Blair? If I were Saddam, this is the gamble I'd try.
I agreed with most of the comments on Bush's speech from the right half of the blogosphere. I did think it was too long though. As I said this morning, no one's going to be convinced who already wasn't, so why belabor the arguments? At half the length, this would have been a more effective presentation. Overall, though, good speech.
The best response to the death of Rachel Corrie is in today's Best of the Web:

"It's a shame that Rachel Corrie died the way she did. It's shameful that she lived the way she did."
Kathy Shaidle points to this fascinating piece by Tom Bethell critical of the Church's opposition to the liberation of Iraq. In an argument that I hadn't seen advanced before, Bethell essentially argues that it's a "manifestation of the longing for ecumenical unity that has been the enduring keynote of his papacy." He notes:

Three conditions were listed as justifications for a war: Evidence of an imminent attack on the United States; evidence of Saddam’s complicity in the events of September 11; or United Nations approval of an attack on Iraq.
The first two conditions are sensible; and I agree that they have not been met. But the final point about U.N. approval makes nonsense of the moral groundwork laid by the first two. If a military action is morally wrong, then surely it remains wrong no matter how many other nations vote otherwise. Maybe their votes can be bought by American dollars? The Vatican’s repeated reliance on the U.N. suggests that the organization’s appeal to senior officials in the Vatican is that of a war-stopper, rather than as an embodiment of Catholic principles.


Exactly. What is inherent in "world opinion" that automatically bestows upon its decisions moral legitimacy? How does the mere fact that “everyone’s doing it” confer legitimacy on an otherwise immoral action? Bethell’s postulation that the UN is more of a “war-stopper” than anything else, is a theory that can certainly be extended to virtually the entire anti-war crowd.

This is why the French refuse to enforce its own resolutions. The UN was simply a tool for stopping American action and, once that tool was proven useless, they had no trouble in discarding it. Unfortunately, during the next crisis, we’re going to let the French use the Security Council in exactly the same way it has with Iraq.
Don't know why this is such a big deal:

A 72-hour ultimatum "is in the right ballpark," the administration official said.

First off, this is not an official statement or timeline. My guess is this is an intentional leak. Tonight Bush won't say anything about a definite timeline but instead will use "immediately" or something to that effect. It will then be incorrectly assumed that Saddam's deadline is in 72 hours. Bush might choose to wait that long, or we can go in 24 hours to regain the element of surprise. Either way, the 72 hour comment really changes nothing.
Glen Reynolds has an interesting piece on France's diplomatic failure over at his non-Instapundit blog. I think he is correct in his primary assertion:

It’s worth thinking about what Jacques Chirac has accomplished with his anti-American diplomatic offensive, which even France’s foreign minister is said to have called the equivalent of shooting the United States in the back. I think the answer is “nothing good for France.”

He slightly misses the point, however, on one crucial issue:

It seems pretty clear what Chirac wants a decline in American influence around the world, and particularly in and around Europe. (Chirac is even said, in terms unattractively redolent of Milosevic, to favor a kind of “cultural cleansing” to eliminate American intellectual and aesthetic influences.)
So will he get what he wants? Likely, the reverse. Had France kept its promises of the fall, and not tried to impede an American invasion, it would likely have retained a good deal of influence in Iraq. The Bush Administration would probably have wanted to encourage French involvement, in order to avoid the appearance of American imperialism and unilateralism. Given France’s historical ties to the region, and demands on American attention elsewhere, France might have wound up with more power in the world than it possessed before.


Reynolds, it seems, misses the extent to which these two points are truly independent. His assertion that French power would likely grow if they had teamed up with America from the get-go is correct. However geopolitical power is a zero-sum game. Who would this new French power have come from? Our two best friends, the Spanish and the British, most likely, but also the Germans and New Europe. Everyone but the Americans, thus doing nothing to accomplish France's primary goal. We can certainly question the wisdom of this goal, but, if it had to be Chirac's primary objective, going along with the United States was simply not an option.
Sad weekend for conservative beer-lovers everywhere:

Joseph Coors, who used his brewing fortune to support President Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, has died at age 85.
Coors, whose grandfather founded Golden-based Adolph Coors Co. in 1873, died Saturday in Rancho Mirage, California, after a three-month battle with lymphatic cancer.
In the 1970s, Coors began providing money and his famous name to start the Heritage Foundation, the influential think tank in Washington, D.C.

My take on what President Bush should say tonight:

1) Be concise. We know all the arguments. We know France sucks. We know Saddam is a horrible dictator that kills his own people. Anyone who isn't already convinced isn't ever going to be convinced.

2) Along that same line, don't get into legalities. Beyond the underlying idiocy of the concept of international law, it's an argument you cannot win. Don't get bogged down by tangential arguments.

3) You've gotten this far by putting your head down and plowing forward. Has it been diplomatically pretty? No, not always. But we're here - and I'd argue you've been basically successful in the first phase of the liberation of Iraq. Stick with what works. Keep plowing ahead.

4) So what to actually say? "Material breech" and that it has become clear that Hussein, despite months of intense diplomatic effort, has no desire to ever comply with the treaties he made agreeing to dismantle his WMD. Put the emphasis on him and his agreements, not so much on UN resolutions. Therefore the only hope for full disarmament can come with the removal of Hussein from power.

5) The timetable for abdication should be "immediately." Don't give dates but certainly don't leave ambiguity about the imminence of an attack.

Then all there is to do is wait 24 hours or so and order the attack.
Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, French ambassador to the UN, said that a "huge majority" of the council was against a second resolution. I hate belaboring obvious points about France's credibility in this whole issue, but saying a huge majority was against action is stupid to the point of absurdity.

3/16/2003

Hey Jacques: is it wise, when arguing against taking action to affect the disarmament of Saddam Hussein, to say "we should pursue [diplomacy] until we've come to a dead end"? Isn't a "dead end" what America and Britain are actually trying to avoid?
Well the positive news out of Portugal this weekend's pushed the war start over/under up for the first time in the Grille Line's long and distinguished history. I've lowered the odds on a second resolution slightly because despite the BBC's impression that Bush has "given up" on the UN, mellowing rhetoric out of Paris keeps the possibility alive.
No Good! Notre Dame wins it!

ESPN Classic is running several of the Irish's greatest victories today in honor of St. Patrick. ND just beat Michigan in 88, now they're off to play Miami that same year.

Gonna be a great day.
I wanted to add one last comment to the blogosphere assault on the Dixie Chicks. I find it interesting that while Natalie was so ashamed about being from the same state as the President, she has no problem playing shows where the Confederate Flag on prominent display. The only time I've seen them live, at the George Strait festival in Foxboro, there were a number of battle flags for sale, including ones saying "if the South woulda won we'da had it made. While I have no problem with the rebel flag and I personally love Hank Jr., I do think there's something interesting in the Dixie Chicks objecting to the liberation of Iraq while at least implicitly supporting what to many people is a symbol of racism and rebellion.