Saturday, March 22

Holy Fashion Flop, Batman

Since when did Mrs. TwoFace work for the Pentagon?

Seriously, this is what you grab out of the closet when you are going to be on global TV? (Hat to to the Agonist).

Some Great Photography: This Would Inspire Some Awe


Smoke billows during a US strike on a presidential palace in Baghdad(AFP/Karim Sahib)

An explosion rocks Baghdad during air strikes March 21, 2003. Large explosions shook Baghdad during a night of blistering air strikes, as U.S. and British ground forces advancing across southern Iraq battled for hours for control of a strategic airfield. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

I'm not so sure they are in any position to make threats:
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri on Sunday warned neighboring Turkey against supporting a U.S.-led war against Baghdad, vowing "multiple harm" for Iraq's enemies.

Source: Iraq's Sabri Warns Turkey Against War Moves

Were I Saddam, I am not sure I would want to take credit for the defense of Iraq to date: Iraqi TV Declares Saddam in Control

When dictatorships under duress start shouting how everything is under control to the population, one can pretty much be assured that things aren't under control. He has got to be either dead, or seriously injured. Or maybe he is so scared that he is is a deep, deep hidey-hole. Any of those are good options for us. Dead is my favorite, however.

War! What's it Good For?: "War was our top search term today, taking over from perennial favorites -- sex, Britney [Spears] and travel," Source: CNN.com-War ousts sex, music in Web searches
How anyone can see the pictures of a largely intact Baghdad, with the lights still on and argue that we are bombing the Iraqi people is beyond me. There is a reason why there has yet to be the expected waves of refugees: we are working very hard not to blow people's home up, so they don't have to leave.

Although, I have a question: who are those people I occassionally see driving around Baghdad? Methinks I would just stay home.

Chock full o' Awe

A building shows damage in Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palace compound March 22, 2003, after being hit by an air strike the previous night, in Baghdad. Fresh afternoon explosions rocked Baghdad on Saturday and smoke was seen rising from several locations across the Iraqi capital, a Reuters witness said. 'There are six columns of thick black smoke rising from six different bombed positions,' correspondent Nadim Ladki said. RETUERS/Goran Tomasevic

Line of the Day 2: "I believe command and control is not exactly as advertised on Baghdad television" --General Tommy Franks, 3/22/03

Source: East Anglian Daily Times news

More Good Economic News: Oil Prices Ease on Supply Assurances.

Also, this is good evidence against those who argue that recent price hikes were part of collusion by "Big Oil." If there was ever a time that it would be relatively easy to artificially inflate prices, now would be the time. Rather, it would appear that the market more or less works.

Hopefully this will translate into noticeable gas prices drops soon--my daily commute is 45 minutes of highway driving one-way, and these gas prices aren't much fun.

WMD's: I cannnot believe that people are already saying "where are the weapons of mass destruction?" We just started the war on Wednesday night, fer cryin' out loud. Indeed, the only way we would have found them at this early a stage is if the Iraqis had used them against us. Given that fact, I am quite pleased we haven't found any yet.

It will take months after the shooting is done before we find out all there is to know about the WMDs and such. If they were all just sitting out in the open, even Hans Blix would have found them. Yeesh.

I find it hard to get upset about this: US checking Iran strike reports, at least as long as no one was hurt. No need to spark an international incident with Iran at this point, but "violating" their airspace doesn't exactly cause me great angst.
On War as a Legitimate Tool of Policy

Brace yourselves for the fact that even if the war continues to go well, there will be plenty on the left who will not be willing to acquiesce to the idea that the policy was sound. They will continue to bemoan the loss of the inspections regime, they will continue to rue the loss of "the institutions of collective security" (the UN, NATO, etc.--you know, the institutions which have prevented all war and bloodshed until George W. Bush became President), and they will, undoubtedly, continually point to civilian deaths even if the numbers are far smaller than they predicted, and even if the basic response of the Iraqi people is positive (I can hear it now, "But at what cost, Peter?").

Part of what makes me consider this issue (aside from the simple fact that it is true) is that I have an anti-war colleagues who will be unlikely to fully admit that war can accomplish just goals. I was struck by a comment made in one conversation that I had where reference was made to seeing the bombings on TV and noting how "horrible" it was. And with the follow-up comment: "but I guess that's how war is." The thing that struck me about the comment was not that war isn't horrible, it is, but rather the seeming lack of acknowledgment that while bombings are bad, living under a totalitarian dictator is far worse. In other words, the comments in question, and much of the anti-warites criticisms in general, seem to begin from the premise that ignores the horrors of pre-war Iraq for the common citizen.

I am not arguing that liberation is the main goal of the Bush administration, as this is primarily a national security operation. However, the anti-warites tend to start their arguments from the basis that the war itself will inflict great damage on the Iraqi civilian population. If the predicates for their arguments are based on issues of civilian well-being, then it would seem that an honest argument would have to take into consider pre-war, during war, and post-war conditions to make a cogent and rational argument about the rightness or wrongness of the bombing. However, this appears not to be the case with many of the war's critics.

In summary, those on the left who really had the interests of the Iraqi people in mind as the basis of their anti-warism will have to change their minds ex post, if the war goes well. Otherwise they will be exposed as being intellectually dishonest.

How Nice: France Sends Chemical Detection Unit to Qatar
France, a staunch opponent of war in Iraq, said on Saturday it would send personnel and chemical, bacteriological and nuclear detection equipment to Qatar, fulfilling a defense pact with the emirate.
Neil Cavuto and guests are currently bolstering my argument that the global economic outlook is positive as a result of the war so far. As Cavuto just said, it has been "Stocks and Awe" so far.
Quite the Contrast: The best the Iraqis can do against our tech is moats full of gasoline and sabotaging oil wells. In other words: their main weapon fire. Not exactly 21st century warfare.
But Will She Retract if She is Wrong? This piece by Linda Heard (Oh What a Dreadful, Manipulated War) in the Palestine Chronicle is typical left-originating criticism of the war, and the use of force in general. It is remarkable in its ability to
  • Believe that the inspections regime was actually working, and about to bear key fruit,

  • Ignore the evil being visited on the Iraqis by the regime--as if the deaths under "containment" were all the result of evil sanctions, and had nothing to do with the way Saddam governed the country,

  • Believe all the worst case scenarios about the war, and

  • To assume that any positive footage will be an attempt to manipulate, rather than report.

The piece's dateline is 3/19, so it was written before the conflict started. One wonders if after seeing what has been done thusfar that she will at least partially acknowledge that the massive bombardments, and indeed the military actions in general, have been carefully aimed at the regime. I will acknowledge that there will be civilian deaths and the much dreaded collateral damage. However, as Rusmfeld pointed out yesterday, this is a very different kind of war and a bombing campaign unlike any in history. And if it turns out that we needlessly killed civilians, or that the "smart" bombs weren't so smart, I will admit that I was wrong and seek a re-examination of these types of policies. However, I suspect that the anti-warites will not retract their positions, or attempt to correct their thinking, if the war goes well and is as advertised. Even if we do inflict more daamge than advertised, one still has to wonder if the Iraqi people still won;t be better off than they were under Saddam.

Also, can she truly believe with the plethora of press on the ground, that only good stories will be written and that there won't be reports of civilian deaths? The military has taken a gamble (a good gamble, I think, but a gamble nonetheless) in "embedding" the press in various military units. They will see more than has ever been seen before. And we all know that there are enough anti-force/anti-administration/anti-Rumsfeld/anti-stuff types in the press, not to mention simple drama-seeking editors and reporters, that they will find the negative stories.

The Good News Continues: 8,000 Iraqi soldiers in 'mass surrender'


Source: BBC
Line of the Day: "[T]he regime is history." --SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, 3/21/03
Good Stuff


Source: NYT
I Begin to Allow Myself Some Optimism. Something ain't right with Saddam. He is dead or wounded. This strikes me as an obviously pre-taped message: Saddam Says Will Respect Rights of POWs - Iraq TV

I Mean what POWs? Michael Scott Speicher from GWI?

And I am most interested in the "images" we supposedly have of him being put on a stretcher after the initial attack Wednesday night.

You Don't Say?: War Can Send Shares Higher or Lower
Broadly speaking, United States stocks rise during wartime when traders think events have turned in the country's favor.

This has got to be one of the most obvious bits of "analysis" I have seen in some time. It also strikes me that the headline is a backhanded way of noting that war success is thusfar helping the markets. One guesses that many at the NYT were anti-war, and that puts one in the unfortunate position that to be right by being anti-war, bad things have to happen. If good things happen (stocks go up, Iraqis rejoice at their liberation, other tyrannts and terrorists learn to fear the military and technological might of the US), then what's an anti-warite to do?

In this case it seems to point out that it could have been really bad.

Friday, March 21

An interesting piece on warblogging/the blog phenom in general: Online commentators are seizing the moment (Hat tip to Kausfiles).
Another Big Day on Wall Street: +235.37 (+2.84%)

I am now part of The Command Post, a consortium of bloggers dedicated to war news. Check it out.
Gee, I though the war was going cause regional unrest Of course, some kinds of unrest can be a very good thing: Hopes and Fears: While Iran's political and religious leaders have condemned Washington's move against Iraq, much of the country will be celebrating if Saddam Hussein's regime is overthrown, writes Dan De Luce
"It will be a good thing to have American troops in Iraq. Perhaps that will bring change to Iran," said Namin, a lanky engineering student strolling to class.

"Maybe that will put more pressure on the regime here." Unlike fellow Muslims in the Middle East or their predecessors 23 years ago who seized the United States embassy, students today are not seething with anger against America and are unmoved by the government's daily references to "the enemy" in Washington.

"I think only about the consequences of a war. If the war has good consequences, let it be," said another student, Mohammad. "We're not protesting like European students. We don't have a democratic government like they do. We're not acting like them because we're not in European shoes."

Politically incorrect attitudes on campus are not helping calm the nerves of the country's conservative leadership, which appears genuinely concerned at the implications of "regime change" next door.


Speaking of the Saddam Speech: U.S. Says Video Was of Hussein but Is Unsure When It Was Made
The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Saddam Hussein himself was indeed on the videotape shown on Iraqi television hours after opening attack of the United States-led war against Iraq, the White House said today.
Clearly, Baghdad doesn't have a Lenscrafters. Those are some ugly glasses:

The story that goes with the picture is worth a read: Did the Real Saddam Just Stand Up?.

Well, then, no big deal:: Paris: Ricin find 'non lethal'. And especially no big deal if this is case:
He also said France may not have been the intended target of those who had left the deadly ricin in two small bottles at Gare de Lyon station Monday.

Instead it may have been destined to be used by Chechen rebels.

Just goes to show: be nice to terrorists and they'll be nice to you.

Bombs Away? ABC news, via KOGO in San Diego, is reporting anti-aircraft fire and explosions in Baghdad. It is just after noon eastern.
Excellent!: From FOXNews.com
SAWFAN, Iraq — U.S. Marines hauled down giant street portraits of Saddam Hussein in a screeching pop of metal and bolts Friday, telling nervous residents of this southern Iraqi town that "Saddam is done."

[...]

"Americans very good," Ali Khemy said. "Iraq wants to be free."

Some chanted, "Ameriki! Ameriki!"

Many others in the starving town just patted their stomachs and raised their hands, begging for food.

A man identifying himself only as Abdullah welcomed the arrival of the U.S. troops: "Saddam Hussein is no good. Saddam Hussein a butcher."

An old woman shrouded in black -- one of the very few women outside -- knelt toward the feet of Americans, embracing an American woman. A younger man with her pulled her away, giving her a warning sign by sliding his finger across his throat.

But, of course, going the UN route would have been more humanitarian and "nice".

One of the Horsemen Speaks: Congrats to James of OTB for getting a well-deserved plug at Instapundit.com:
A great image:



A Marine of the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit Fox Company "Raiders" replaces the Iraqi flag at the entrance to Iraq's main port of Umm Qasr Friday. The U.S. flag was later reportedly removed from the terminal building.
Source: MSNBC

ABC News Online Despite launching, prior to the war, an online-only version of their newscast (sort of a newschannel online), they clearly did not prepare for the circumstances where people would actually want> such a thing, i.e., during a big news event. I have tried two days in a row to use their service, with no luck. I can't even get on their site this morning. MSNBC online has been better, but only slightly.
Irrational or not, evidence on economy-war linkage continues. I have argued in the past that a successful war would unlease some of the pent-up economic energy that the country has been sitting on due to war jitters. And while it is still a looong way to go, it is clear that success is breeding more confidence, as the eight-straight days of the Dow heading upwards demonstrates: U.S. stocks rise, pushing Dow toward eighth up day
A Brief History of the Evolution of War Coverage

WWII: Sanitized Newsreels and old news in the paper.

Vietnam: Waiting for Uncle Walter and the nightly news. Hey look, color moving pictures, and from the same day!

Gulf War I: This is CNN! (We thought we were in info-heaven with one 24 hour news channel and news in the newspaper that was only 8 hours old.)

Gulf War II: Live footage of the exact moment the war starts, info on intel operations within 24 hours, live footage of troops crossing into enemy territory, four cable news networks, newspapers updated constantly on the web, and the Blogosphere.

My, how times have changed.

Today's Winner of the "No Duh!" Award: BLIX: SCUDS A "VIOLATION" (Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg at The Corner). And now he admits this:
Even though he wanted more time for inspections, Blix said yesterday that he didn't know if he could ever be sure that Iraq wasn't hiding the illegal missiles. (emphasis mine)

Thursday, March 20

May it be so From an interview of John Burns of the NYT's by PBS's Gwen Ifill
JOHN BURNS: But there is absolutely... can I just say there is absolutely no doubt, no doubt that there are many, many Iraqis who see what is about to happen here as the moment of liberation.

Read the whole thing--most interesting.

(Hat tip to Eugene Volokh)

I Can Hardly Wait I had better go set my VCR now! Monica Lands Job as Reality Show Host
Intriguing: Hussein's Fate Still Uncertain
Officials said they were not surprised by the broadcast because they had information that the Iraqi leader had recorded several statements earlier in the week in anticipation of a military strike shortly after the expiration of a U.S. deadline for Hussein and his sons to leave the country.

According to a WaPo reporter on MSNBC (I think it was Dana Priest, who co-wrote the story linked above) there is evidence that Saddam taped several messages with different dates to show in case he was unable to be present himself on TV. I look forward to the book a few years from now that gives the scoop on on out intel ops in Baghdad if really do have this kind of info.

A good one from the Skeptician: Iraq Destroys Prohibited Scud Missile
Get a New Term: What is this new word: shockandawe? Perhaps it is is German: zochundau. Or American Indian: Choqanaw?

Has a term hit the level of cliche any faster than "shock and awe?" Anybody got a Thesaurus?

Send Hans Blix to Paris!: Ricin found in Paris
Boots on the Ground: Fox is reporting US troops on the ground in Northern, Southern and Western Iraq.
Jeffrey Collins of joyfulchristian may have discovered a new sociological law.
War Blog Poll: Forbes.com is running a poll on the Best War Blogs. Clearly the poll hasn't hit the Blogosphere hard yet, as there aren't all that many votes. Also, I wonder where they got their nominations.

It is intriguing that the Blogosphere is getting more and more references of late in the mainstream press.

(Hat tip to Jonah Golddberg at The Coner at NRO)

Scuds: Well, I have finally heard several references to the fact that Scuds violate UN resolutions. My previous discussion of Scuds can be found here (with a map and everything!).
John Lemon at John Lemon's Barrel of Fish has coined a new term: "Rumsmanship" which I think will live on for some time. Read about it here. The quotes from Rummy's news conference are worth the trip by themselves.
You know you live the modern era where you come out of a meeting three hours later and find that there is already more news about the war than you can absorb.
Lights with the Action Interesting, Peter Arnett (sorry to have use him as a source, but all I can get online right now is MSBC), is reporting (and showing via video) that the electricity is still on in Baghdad, unlike Gulf War I, where the US took out the electrical grid. Part of the pro-civilian part of the war, I am guessing.
On Failed Diplomacy

On this “failed diplomacy” issue, it strikes me that there is a fundamental flaw in the logic of those who argue that the President messed up, squandered political capital, threw his weight around, etc. The flaw is the assumption that when all this started that all was well in the world, everyone loved the United States and its goals, and therefore when the President started his diplomatic campaign back in September, that the world was “his to lose,” so to speak. If one believes that, then I suppose I can see the “failed diplomacy” argument.

However, the truth is that the current crisis over Iraq, which, yes, was forced by the US, has not created the rifts as much as exposed existing ones.

The constant references to the way the world reacted to 911 (the whole “today we are all Americans” stuff) misses a fundamental point. I will say that at the time, I was touched by the world’s response, but I knew then what I know now: it was based on emotion. And given that fact, I knew it would dissipate. Many seem to think that emotions such as those would have continued, if President Bush had simply been more “diplomatic.” However, that is pie in the sky, not reality. States function based on perceived self-interest, not on sustained good feeling.

Intriguing, although I shan't hold my breath: Bush Administration Questions Hussein Video. I figure that even if we missed him, it provided a little personal "shock and awe" to go along with his morning coffee. It has to be somewhat disconcerting for him to know that the US knew where he was enough to deliver laser-guided bombs on his location. It seems to me that we must have CIA on the ground in Baghdad, which is a very good thing, and should give "Uncle Saddam" something to think about.

Wednesday, March 19

And so it begins...Hopefully they struck a very opportune, "target of opportunity"--at a minimum I am guessing they surprised some folks in Baghdad! I am wondering if "shock and awe" won't begin sometime around noon our time tomorrow.

The President's statement was on-target and well delivered.

A Discussion of Strange Bedfellows

I know that the topic of Iraqi connections with al Qaeda is a relatively "old" topic, but it came up again in a conversation today and so it drove me to write down some thoughts I have had for a while now. There is an argument that is favored mostly by many who are opposed to the war that there is absolutely, positively no connection between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda, or even radical Muslim terrorism in general, nor could there be.

Now, I find this difficult to swallow given the Abu Sayyaf connection (which I have discussed before), the poison factory in the North that is linked to al Qaeda, the whole Abu Nidal thing and so forth. The argument is that Saddam is a secular socialist type and bin Laden has called him an "infidel" and therefore with such incompatible worldviews they would never, could never work together (not even in a box with a fox or on a train in the rain...).

Ok, we can agree, methinks, that both do harbor, shall we say, anti-American sentiment, and that indeed, the major enemy for both is the United States, correct? So, is it reasonable that people with different ideological perspectives and different long-terms goals, but common enemies and immediate goals, might work together? Consider the following:

  • Nazi Germany, under Adolph Hitler, signed two major agreements with Imperial Japan, the Tripartite Pact and the Anti-Comintern Pact. These agreement served mutual interests in the short and medium range. However, if anyone has read any significant excerpts from Mein Kampf on Hitler's views on race, it is impossible to conclude that his long-term goal was to befriend the Japanese.

  • Also speaking of Nazi Germany, the infamous Hitler-Stalin Pact is a good example of ideological opposites working together, at least for a time. Again, if you know anything about National Socialism, you know that it was virulently anti-Bolshevik (i.e., Soviet Communist). For that matter, Soviet Communism was not exactly an ideological fit with National Socialism.

  • Carrying on the WWII theme, the US alliance with Stalin's Soviet Union was hardly an alliance between ideological soul mates who would be friends forevermore after the war.

  • And certainly the US has engaged in strategic partnerships with governments that were otherwise antithetical to our values, but served a specific national security purpose (just look at a lot of out dealings in twentieth century Latin America, or our current alliances with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for that matter..)

So the argument that groups with different, even radically different, goals cannot work together for a time for a common cause strikes me as a non-starter.

Ok, that's off my chest now, back to your regularly scheduled blogomania.

Cool Maybe he'll invent the sucessor to the internet:Al Gore joins Apple Computer board (or, if he is as smart as he thinks he is, help Apple actually compete with Windows-based machines).
You know, in my (granted, somewhat twisted) fantasy, Dubya will come on TV in about 5 minutes with a stop watch. And at the appropriate moment call "Time! Here we come!"

I know I oughtn't be so flippant about war, but nonetheless, I felt the need to share.

In case you weren't paying attention, or have been living under a rock, or have been cryogenically frozen and recently defrosted or something like that: White House Tells Americans to Prepare for War
The Senate voted down drilling in ANWR again today. The vote was 52-48. I must say I just don't get it. We need the oil, it would be good for the economy, create jobs and affect only a small portion of a very large piece of real estate. This has always struck me as a symbolism over rationality issue. People are so hip on "protecting the environement" that they throw the facts out of the window.

Here's the vote breakdown: US Senate vote on Arctic drilling detailed

Check out John Lemon's Barrel of Fish for a speech by the President concerning Senator Daschle. (The links within the speech are useful as well).
Hy-larious: Protester picks wrong spot to lock himself
A man spent hours chained to the wrong building Tuesday in an ill-planned effort to protest war with Iraq, police said.

Jody Mason padlocked himself to an entrance of the Washington State Grange building at 924 Capitol Way S., thinking it was a sub-office of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Grange employees found him about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and asked what he was doing.

He told employees he'd chained himself to the building in civil disobedience Monday night after listening to President Bush's televised ultimatum to Saddam Hussein.

[...]

Grange employees explained that he was at the wrong building. The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advocates for residents in rural areas.

(Hat tip to the Michael Medved show)

A shame: Tariq Aziz defection claim. Although to be honest, I don't really want him.
Interesting: Mubarak blames Iraq; Arab countries try final
peace push
Speaking in a nationally televised address Wednesday, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak blamed Iraq for the impending war. "My hope is that the Iraqi government will realize the seriousness of the situation in which it put itself in - and us in - and that the different international forces will realize the dangerous repercussions of any military action on the safety and stability of the Middle East region as well as on the safety and stability of the world as a whole," Mubarak said.
I know that it isn't very egalitarian or diplomatic of me to think this, but this headline cracks me up: It's not too late for peace, says Namibia. Because as we all know, the words of the Namibian government fall heavily upon the hearts and minds of the international community.
Now they want to start being cooperative? French explain Iraq viewpoint

Tuesday, March 18

Utterly Remarkable

This leaves me nigh on to speechless:

From Punditwatch: Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal, on Capital Gang: "I still think this administration's ineptitude over the last couple months has been stunning. Somehow around the world there's a moral equivalency with this murderous thug Saddam Hussein."

And just think, he has been touted as the moderate on that show.

Another Brief Digression from Politics

I think it is a truism that all children must, at some point, come to great (but shallow) trauma over a balloon. It is basically guarantee, as they will either pop, fly away, or wilt by morning.

I remember distinctly getting a balloon at a pizza parlor when I was around five years of age and coming home with it, and then accidentally letting go of it and watching it fly way, way, away. It is one of those childhood memories that you can replay in your head with remarkable clarity. Similarly I recall the time last summer when one of the kids' balloon hit the hot van, popped, and to quell the tearful distress that ensued, I had to go back into the restaurant and get another balloon.

This comes up because we went out for dinner tonight and the waiter brought the kids balloons. I knew that the six and three year-olds would enjoy them, and figure the one year-old would too, as he really likes balls. But I had no idea how much that child was going to enjoy that balloon. He kept chattering about it and playing with it.

Then we got home, and it flew into the light in the kitchen and popped. He never quite got the concept, despite my attempts at "balloon went bye-bye." He kept looking for the darn thing and went to bed crying over the balloon, although, thankfully he calmed down pretty quickly.

The joy-agony cycle of balloons is pretty remarkable, which of course is linked to that sweet, although sometimes difficult, joy-agony capacity of little ones.

I must say, I am most impressed with Tony Blair. For quite some time I thought he was run-of-the-mill "Third Way" politician, but he has shown himself to be a man of great character and conviction. Blair faces down parliamentary rebels over Iraq
Line of the Day: "Who will celebrate and who will weep if we take our troops back from the Gulf now?" -British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 3/18/03, to the Commons in response to critics of his Iraq policy.

Source: ThisisLondon)

Ask again later: Fed says view cloudy
And this would concern me because? Long-term Americans in Paris against war in Iraq
You know, one of the things I hate most in life is unnecessary meetings: Foreign ministers to meet Wednesday at UN on Iraq
To continue the semi-dialog between this site and James at Outside the Beltway, I think that partly why President Bush's sound bites are better than his speeches has to do with his physical demeanor when he speaks in these events sans an audience. Whenever he is trying to be somber, he tends to have a look on his face that has a somewhat stunned quality. His face can be evocative, but normally is such in less controlled situations. When he speaks in impromptu settings he tends to be more vivacious and emotive. There is also something, I think, to the fact that when he goes out to deliver a very specific message that he is overly self-conscious to do as little of the "West Texas" thing as possible. Plus he (and his advisors) have to be somewhat self-conscious about his propensity to malapropisms.

My original post on the subject is here and James' first reference on OTB is here.

Thanks to Rantburg for linking to PoliBlog.
Quite honestly, I will be pleased when the use of forces puts a stop to the things described in this piece from the London Times
Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno speaks at Brown:
After watching President Bush's address, Reno said, ''We will not solve the world's problems by might.''

She's right--force never solves anything. Except, of course, fascism. Nothing but that. Oh, and of course, it took a war to stop slavery in the United States. Ok, two exceptions. Wait--women in Afghanistan can now live free, go to school, work, etc. I think there was some violence used there as well. No rule is perfect--violence never solves anything. Wait a minute--didn't I just read that al Qaeda is collapsing? I guess we killed 'em with kindness. Oh, of course, there was that whole ethnic-cleansing thing that was stopped in Kosovo. And didn't violence remove some dictator from Kuwait a while back?

Of course, I must admit, some incidences where force was used poorly do come to mind...something about a fire outside of Waco, Texas, but the memory is vague. I do remember a nifty photo of an assualt rifle in the face of a little boy in Miami.

Gee, I wish Janet was Prez.

Um, he voted for the resolution, right? Daschle says Bush has failed `miserably'' in diplomacy, forcing America to war
"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war," Daschle said in a speech to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."

What did he think was the likely outcome when he voted to authorize the use of force? It was pretty clear then that the likely outcome was going to be armed conflict. Further, in this case "good diplomacy" would have meant going to war with UN approval, not a peaceful solution to the Iraq situation. We didn't "fail" in our diplomacy with Iraq, as Saddam apparently wasn't in a diplomatic mood, and hasn't been for some time.

Monday, March 17

Thanks to On The Third Hand for Blogrolling PoliBlog.
Speech Reaction

While the President is best in front of a live audience, he did a good job delivering the speech tonight, and I think that it said the right things. The delivery, and content, tonight was far superior to the recent press conference, and better than the Azores statement of yesterday.

I was pleased with the warnings and instructions to the Iraqi military--hopefully some of them heard it. I also thought that the statement directed at Iraqi civilians were on target. I have already cited the Line of the Day from the speech a few minutes ago, but here are some further highlights:

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

[...]

In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

Terrorists and terrorist states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations. And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self defense. It is suicide.

The suicide line is quite correct--waiting for the proverbial "smoking gun" is hardly sound national security doctrine at this point (not to mention a metaphor that needs to be retired!).

Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty, and when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

There's that classical liberalism I blogged about the other day. May the Iraqi people be free soon, and I pray that this conflict goes smoothly, quickly and with as little bloodshed as possible.

Line of the Day: “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities so we will rise to ours.” --President George W. Bush, 3/17/03.
Crud! I was hoping he'd only have until nigh noon tomorrow: Bush to Tell Saddam: You Have Two Days to Leave
Ryan’s comment to the Blix posting inspired a longer response, but since backblog is rather limited, I figured I’d just post it on the main blog. He notes that there are many who might argue that inspections are working. I will grant that reasonable people can disagree on this issue, I would strongly assert that inspections are not working. There are numerous reasons why I would state this. The main problem is what one believes the main task of the inspectors to be. Some believe that the inspectors really are detectives, and their job is to find WMDs and related items. If one thinks that is case, then I can see why some think that inspections are working. However, 1441 really doesn’t call for inspectors, but rather auditors—people who could verify that Saddam was cooperating and actively and completely disarming as originally required by 687 in 1991. They were supposed to go to Baghdad, and the regime was supposed to demonstrate compliance with the parade of resolutions. They were sent to verify, not seek out.

On one level, I think they have been successful—I think that they have verified that Saddam isn’t cooperating, and therefore armed disarmament is necessary. Others might claim that they have been successful because they have found some weapons, such as the al-Samoud 2 missiles (see my posting from Saturday on that one), or the drones. Hence, the pro-inspectors would argue that given enough time, the inspectors will find everything. First, I am not convinced they will find everything, (indeed, I am convinced they will not). Second, the peaceful sounding “containment” option is actually quite deadly—see Walter Russell Mead’s piece”Deadlier Than War in last Wednesday’s WaPo.

Indeed: BLIX'S WEIRD WORLD
It is clear, now, that Blix does not live in the real world. He is a resident of U.N. World.

It's a happy place, where nobody has to pay a parking ticket, where a genocide in Rwanda is ignored and where the opinions of Guinea and Angola are given real weight.

An excellent piece by an Iraqi-American in favor of the war: 'They Don't Speak for Me'
When Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Barbra Streisand speak about the Iraqi people, they are not speaking about people like me, who are Shiite Muslims -- the largest religious group in Iraq that is nonetheless forced to live as second-class citizens under the Sunni regime of Hussein and his Baath Party.

[...]

I am an American now, and I have been educated to respect the right to free expression by any citizen, a right no member of my family enjoyed when we lived in Iraq. I know from personal experience that the Hollywood actors who decry action against Hussein are really opposing the liberation of the Iraqi people. I wish they would praise the American troops in the field or just stay silent.

Political (and maybe military) movement Down Under: Howard waiting on Bush to summon Australian troops
And so it begins...: Inspectors urged to leave Iraq
My thanks to Greg Goelzhauser for adding PoliBlog to his list of links.

Sunday, March 16

Line of the Day: "Tomorrow's the day that we will determine whether or not diplomacy can work," --President George W. Bush at the Azores Summit, 3/16/03.
Classic: A different kind of French kiss by Dave Barry.

(A tip of the hat to On the Third Hand)

Hey Look!: A Dick Cheney sighting! Cheney Says the U.S. Is Nearing End of Diplomatic Efforts Is it just me, or has anyone else been surprised at the Veep's low profile of late?
Worth a Read: The Kansas City Star has an excellent piece that compares 1991 and 2003: Despite some similarities, more things have changed since '91 war
A nice vocab lesson from LisaS at Boycott Hollywood