Saturday, December 07, 2002

Apparently Saddam is trying to bury us in paper hoping to delay a US attack. As evidenced by his "apology" to the Kuwaiti people for the invasion of that country that started the Gulf War, he is attempting to drive a wedge between the US and its allies in the area.

"ABC News reports "that UNMOVIC has quietly asked the United States for unofficial help in translation and analysis" of the documents."

At least this is good news. The Administration will know much of what is in the report before it is officially released to the Security Council.

"Analysts expect the document will be designed to misdirect inspectors, confuse with incomplete facts and partial truths, and perhaps convey just enough minor revelations and actionable leads to keep weapons inspectors busy and deflect American invasion talk."

"They will make it a fairly subtle document," Cordesman said. "In some areas there will be a clarification. But the more details they provide, the more that has to be resolved. … You can fulfill all of your strategic goals at once by creating a very long document."

"We've got good intelligence, both unclassified and classified, that the Iraqis have scary and serious programs that are in breach of the [U.N.] resolution," (Rachel) Bronson said."

This should have been anticipated. The Iraqis are trying to guess what we know from defectors and other intelligence sources and reveal enough to stave off invasion while holding onto as much of its WMD program as is judges feasible. While we verify what they have disclosed, they will pursue diplomatic initiatives (with the help of the FRENCH and the Russians) to block UNSC approval of force and to create tension between the US and regional allies.

Of course, any further instability in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will help Iraq diplomatically as long as they are not seen as directly supporting it. So, I would also expect that the Iraqis will accelerate any clandestine efforts to raise tensions by increasing funding for terror attacks, etc.

Time favors Iraq. The longer this draws out, the weaker US support gets in the UN, among regional allies, and domestically.

So far, Hussein has played the situation adeptly. However, his past pattern has been to underestimate US resolve become too aggressive and overreach. The wild card in this game is how much US, British and Israeli intellegence knows about hidden Iraqi WMD programs AND how much they can safely reveal. My guess is that the closer we get to actual armed conflict, the more they will be able to reveal because it will become easier to protect human intellegence sources.

It promises to be a tense end to the year.

In more suprising news, Canadian women are travelling to Iraq to act as "human shields".

"The four Canadians, sponsored by an anti-war organization called Voices in the Wilderness, have volunteered to be human shields in an effort to dissuade American-led forces from attacking Iraq. “I’m not too scared,” Vandas told CBC News Online the day before she left. “I think it will be a powerful experience.' "

Powerful experience...hmm, good choice of words there. Be sure to wear a cap with a big maple leaf on top so the Predators can spot you from the air.

"Jo Wood, a psychology professor at Carleton University, says groups across Canada are raising money to fund a “national peace coalition” against a war on Iraq. As for the Canadians going to Baghdad, Wood says, “…they are prepared to risk their own lives by standing with the Iraqi people and positioning themselves at important public facilities, such as water plants and hospitals, in an effort to protect these against the bombs.”

As for those who condemn Saddam but profess support for the Iraqi people, Wood told CBC News Online that the Iraqi people get hurt either way. “All efforts to hurt Saddam hurt the Iraqi people much more and weaken them so that they cannot find their own resources to make a better world for themselves,” she said."

So Jo, we can't use force to remove Saddam because people will die and we can't use sanctions because it hurts the Iraqi people. I must assume, therefore, that you advocate inaction. Just too bad for those poor souls who get to take an acid bath because they criticize the government and too bad for the little Israeli children that get blown to bits by homicide bombers financed by Saddam's little blood bounty but hey we can't DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE THEN WE'D HAVE BLOOD ON OUR HANDS. But maybe if you went over to Baghdad and spent some time with him, you could heal Saddam's "Inner Child" and we'd all be better off (but then again, maybe he'd just have you tortured, raped and killed like so many others).

I suppose that Jo didn't hear about the reaction of Afghani women, interviewed after the Taliban were deposed. When asked if the war was worth it, they wept saying yes, yes - at least now they could leave their homes. The oppression in Iraq is different, it's not religion based, but ask the ethnic minorities or the political opposition there if they would rather have a) no action taken, b) continue sanctions or c) a war to remove Saddam.

I bet C wins. Big.
via Drudge Report

Nic Robertson reports that the Iraqi government is spinning the release of the WMD report. Saddam made a speech to the Iraqi people "telling them that they faced a test, that they should show their capacity for bearing, telling them that some people would accuse Iraq of producing weapons of mass destruction, fingering America in that regard, but saying the U.N. inspectors should be given a chance to do their job."

Taha Yassin Ramadan, the vice president, had a different story to tell an Egyptian delegation and a group of Arab journalists. He said, according to Robertson's report, " ...that the U.N. inspectors are spies for the United States and Israel, being paid for by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, being paid for by the CIA, all laying groundwork...for a future war."

Is Noam Chomsky writing material for Saddam now? If the Mossad and the CIA had put together the UN inspection teams, I would have expected real inspections to have been conducted by now - not the "hey, we just dropped in to visit and won't be long...don't mind us" variety which appear to be the case.

Of course, this kind of paranoia is typical of the Arab world. I knew a Syrian national in college and I always wondered why he insisted to me that the CIA was behind everything that happened in the region. Now, I know...that's the story they get from the government and media (I suppose that is redundant...in most cases the government controls the media).

It appears that Saddam expects war sooner rather than later. Since he would have nothing to fear if the documents being released today were actually accurate, I have to assume that, despite almost 12,000 pages of information, the WMD report will be an attempt to hide his non-compliance and that he suspects that US and British (and Israeli) intellegence services will know this. He's doing his own coalition building now, trying to convince the other Arab nations to obstruct US efforts at his removal.

This won't work if Bush has laid the proper groundwork and the Egyptians, Kuwaitis, and Saudis know we are serious about Saddam's removal this time. Things are getting interesting now.

CNN.com - Al Qaeda Web site posts new threats - Dec. 6, 2002
"After the two attacks in Kenya and Makalla, has the world Crusader alliance learned the lessons of the mujahedeen?" one article asked.

Paul Eedle, a London-based CNN consultant with expertise on Islamic Web sites, said the "new threat contains some of the strongest threats of mass casualty attacks I've read on a Qaeda source."

How much of this did we hear before 9/11? If they are so confident about their ability to do this then why don't they just do it....a thunderbolt out of the sky....instead of making a big promotion of announcing it beforehand. Maybe they want to rub our noses in it. But maybe they are desperate...headless (with OBL dead) and searching for new converts.

All of the actions of the last year suggest an organization living in the past. They learned lessons from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (and, to a lesser extent, the Gulf War) but have failed to correctly temper that with adequate knowledge of their present adversary.

This war has not been and will not be fought like any other war previous. We didn't roll out the heavy ground equipment and give them the big targets they expected in Afghanistan. They have been attacked in countries all through central and southeast Asia.

So they stopped using their cellphones and started using human language couriers. So what - I bet that car load of al-Qaeda that we blew up in Yemen were't using cell phones...but they're just as dead now.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition reports that "(a)mid a worsening rift between the IDF and United Nations relief workers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the army has issued a new directive restricting the movement of UN vehicles throughout the territories.

The UN has taken sides with the Palestinians against the Israelis. This should come as no suprise considering the propensity of the UN to focus on "Zionism is racism" instead of, say, the continuing practice of slavery in Africa. The Palestinians shamelessly use innocents, both their friends and neighbors and UN officials, as human shields to prevent reprisals from the IDF for their homicide bombings of Israeli civilians. Who else uses ambulances to transport weapons but the Palestinian terrorists? But the UN still doesn't get it.

And people wonder why Americans feel that the UN is irrelevant.

Via Instapundit

Human Rights Activists?

Why do the "human rights" activists have their panties all in a wad over Britain's release of a dossier detailing Saddam's human rights abuses? Because they care more about their anti-US agenda than they do about human rights, that's why. We have to keep the spotlight on what a warmongering, bloodthirsty, unilateralist, imbecile Bush is to avert DOING ANYTHING ABOUT SADDAM BECAUSE THAT WOULD MEAN WAR AND WE CAN'T HAVE THAT NO MATTER WHAT.

Let's compare. Bush: lost the popular vote but won in the electoral college according to the laws of the land; Saddam: has the country so terrified that he received 100% of the vote against ...uh...no competing candidate. Bush: advocates tax cut approved by Congress; Saddam: refuses offer of oil sales-for-humanitarian aid, allows needless deaths of thousands of his own people. Bush: appointed John Ashcroft as Attorney General; Saddam: used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Kurds and Iranians. Bush: ran the al-Qaida out of Afghanistan, defeated the Taliban and freed the women of the country form the brutality of sharia law; Saddam: invaded Iran and then Kuwait without provocation; soldiers sacked Kuwait and raped and tortured the citizens. Bush: refused to sign the Kyoto accord which had previously been unanimously rejected by the Senate; Saddam: set fire to the Kuwaiti oil fields. Bush: demanded that the UN security council enforce resolution on Iraqi disarmament; Saddam: offered cash bounty to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Bush: scrapped the ABM treaty (with notice as allowed by that treaty) then negotiates a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia; Saddam:tries to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons before the Gulf War then lies about the programs after he has agreed to destroy them, blames the lies on his brother-in-law. Bush: nominates politically conservative judges to vacant district court positions; Saddam: executes political opposition upon taking power. Bush: brother is Governor of Florida; Saddam: executes brother-in-law for exposing Iraq's WMD program. Bush: tee-totalling Christian; Saddam: has mistress' husband jailed, son, Uday, rapes her daughter.

OK. It's easy to see why the left wants to focus on Bush as the real threat to world peace.

I've always been interested in the emphasis given on abuses in some countries (and against some groups) versus the relative silence about others.

Charles Jacobs, president of the American Anti-Slavery Group, had this to say in an October 5, 2002 story in the Boston Globe:
"It is hard to explain why victims of slavery and slaughter are virtually ignored by American progressives. How can it be that there is no storm of indignation at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which, though they rushed to Jenin to investigate false reports of Jews massacring Arabs, care so much less about Arab-occupied Juba, South Sudan's black capital? How can it be that they have not raised the roof about Khartoum's black slaves? Neither has there been a concerted effort by the press to pressure American administrations to intervene. Nor has the socialist left spoken of liberating the slaves or protecting black villages from pogroms, even though Wall Street helps bankroll Khartoum's oil business, which finances the slaughter.

What is this silence about? Surely it is not because we don't care about blacks. Progressives champion oppressed black peoples daily. My hypothesis is this: to predict what the human rights community (and the media) focus on, look not at the oppressed; look instead at the party seen as the oppressor. Imagine the media coverage and the rights groups' reaction if it were ''whites'' enslaving blacks in Sudan. Having the ''right'' oppressor would change everything.

Alternatively, imagine the ''wrong'' oppressor: Suppose that Arabs, not Jews, shot Palestinians in revolt. In 1970 (''Black September''), Jordan murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians in two days, yet we saw no divestment campaigns, and we wouldn't today. This selectivity (at least in the United States, does not come from the hatred of Jews. It is '' a human rights complex '' - and is not hard to understand. The human rights community, composed mostly of compassionate white people, feels a special duty to protest evil done by those who are like ''us.''

''Not in my name'' is the worthy response of moral people. South African whites could not be allowed to represent ''us.'' But when we see evil done by ''others,'' we tend to shy away. Though we claim to have a single standard for all human conduct, we don't. We fear the charge of hypocrisy: We Westerners after all, had slaves. We napalmed Vietnam. We live on Native American land. Who are we to judge ''others?'' And so we don't stand for all of humanity.

The biggest victims of this complex are not the Jews who are obsessively criticized but the victims of genocide, enslavement, religious persecution, and ethnic cleansing who are murderously ignored: the Christian slaves of Sudan, the Muslim slaves of Mauritania, the Tibetans, the Kurds, the Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt.

Seeking expiation instead of universal justice means ignoring the sufferings of these victims of non-Western aggression and making relatively more of the suffering of those caught in confrontation with people like ''us.'' If the Israelis are being ''profiled'' because they are like ''us,'' the slaves of Sudan are ignored because their masters' behavior has nothing to do with us.

In the United States it is not predominantly anti-Semitism that causes the human rights community to single Israel out for criticism. It is rather our failure to apply to all nations the standards to which we hold ourselves. The effect, as Summers correctly said, is anti-Semitic. But it is also the abandonment of those around the world in the worst of circumstances whose oppressions we find beside the point."

I personally wish that we'd spend more time trying to end the persecution of Christians in Africa and Asia and a little less time worrying about the treatment of prisoners of war in Gitmo. Just a thought.

Robert Fisk finds a source to state the obvious.

"We didn't catch whom we were supposed to catch," the officer told me. "There was an over-expectation by us that technology could do more than it did. Al-Qa'ida are very smart. They basically found out how we track them. They realised that if they communicated electronically, our Rangers would swoop on them. So they started using couriers to hand-carry notes on paper or to repeat messages from their memory and this confused our system. Our intelligence is hi-tech – they went back to primitive methods that the Americans cannot adapt to."

Pardon, me. Americans can "adapt to" intercepting person to person communications (i.e., capturing the couriers). It's just not as easy as electronic surveillance.

"The American officer said there were originally "a lot of high-profile arrests". But the al-Qa'ida cells didn't know what other members were doing. "They were very adaptive and became much more decentralised. We caught a couple of really high-profile, serious al-Qa'ida leaders but they couldn't tell us what specific operations were going to take place. They would know that something big was being planned but they would have no idea what it was.""

Is this news? We've known all along that various cells have limited knowledge of each other. It is the traditional structure of terrorist groups. It's why they're called "cells"

"We would go with the Pakistanis to a location but there would be no one there because once the middle level of the Pakistani military knew of our plans, they would leak the information. In the North-West Frontier province, the frontier corps is a second-rate army – they are a lot more anti-Western in sentiment than the main Pakistani army. In the end we had to co-ordinate everything through Islamabad."

The Pakistanis had better be careful. After Iraq is under a new government, the US will have less and less tolerance for the obstruction of our efforts to track terrorists in their country. They wouldn't want to push us over to full support of India.

Of the prisoners, his source said, "There was non- co-operation at the beginning. But they had a misconception that ey were going to be treated the way they treated each other. When they're not tortured, I think this has a lot to do with changing their opinion."

Must have disappointed poor Bobby, no tales of torturing prisoners.

The students at New School University are attempting to pressure Bob Kerrey into resigning as president over his support of the liberation of Iraq.

The Omaha World Herald reports that "(o)n the Free NSU Web site, the objecting students describe Kerrey, a Democrat, as part of a "small group of influential right-wingers with close ties to the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney."

The group also objects to Kerrey's fund-raising efforts among defense contractors. "Funding our education through blood money is unacceptable," said Solomon, a junior from Ithaca, N.Y."

Excuse me. Kerrey a "right winger"? And exactly how would you like your education funded Ms. Solomon? Perhaps donations from the big pharmaceutical companies would be more to your liking? No. Maybe McDonalds? How about AOL Time/Warner?

What do you bet that if he were heading up a group calling for the military liberation of Palestine that there would have been nary a voice raised in protest? So much for their history of pacifism.

via Instapundit

The Miami Herald reports that "(a) small plane crashed into Federal Reserve Bank Building in Miami Thursday night and one body was recovered from the wreckage..."

I hear that the "authorities" are calling it an "accident". "The aircraft, manufactured in July, was flying north at 5,500 feet when it suddenly made a sharp turn to the southeast and crashed, said Alan Yurman, spokesman for the NTSB"....yeah, flying at an altitude of one mile it suddenly made a sharp turn and, coincidentally of course, headed DIRECTLY INTO THE FEDERAL RESERVE BUILDING.

What is it in the water down there in Florida?
via Instapundit

A test post to see if I could do it this way.

Update: Yes I can.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Greg Sheridan, My Hero
From The Australian

This is a great article and I suggest you read it.

"Where the de facto alliance does come into play is the shared view of the Left and al-Qa'ida of the nature of the West, and the role of the US and Australia. Travelling recently in South-East Asia I was struck by how often, in the offices of Islamist activists and fellow travellers, I saw the works of Noam Chomsky, and somewhat less often our own John Pilger, two of the iconic figures of mad Left denunication of their own societies.

Chomsky and Pilger provide the Islamists with much of their interpretive narrative of the West.

Many Islamic activists believe the CIA was responsible for the Bali bombing. Why wouldn't they believe this madness if they've been consuming a high-octane diet of Pilgerist Chomskyism with its endless conspiracy theories about the unregenerate evil and secret wickedness of the US? Both Chomsky and Pilger cast Australia as a lieutenant evil-doer of the US.

Pilger, whose loopy extremism is more or less beyond satire, has written: "There is no war on terrorism. It is the great game speeded up. The difference is the rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all."

Pilger, interviewed on the ABC's Lateline recently, gave a wonderful exhibition of how the ideologue doesn't let facts intrude. He was explaining how Australia was a target of al-Qa'ida not because we are a free and democratic country which represents everything al-Qa'ida hates, but because we are an ally of the US.

But, asked Tony Jones, bin Laden himself said we're the enemy because of our role helping East Timor achieve independence.

"We can't believe that," replied Pilger.

"We can't believe all these things we're being told." An almost perfect example of not letting the facts interfere with the ideology."

"(T)he rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all."??????????????????????? Yes. Whoever feels in danger of a US attack on them (except for you Saddam - you just sit down and SHUT THE FUCK UP) raise your hand. OK, well...its true, we may attack the FRENCH soon (because we just can't stand the fact that you guys don't use deodorant and THEREFORE STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN) but other than that..........anyone? I didn't think so.....Pilger, jeeeeez what a fucking embarassment.

Watch out ye great unwashed. We can't believe what we read. We must rely on Chomsky and Pilger and Kingston and Fisk and Streisand, etc. to filter the news for us....to free us from the bonds of capitalist imperialism! For HEAVEN'S SAKE what is wrong with these morons on the left.

Get the theme here? The radical islamo-fascists hate us because our society is tolerant of the OTHERS. The Pilgers and Fisks of the world hate us because we don't enforce equality of outcome on all; we allow the exceptional (or the lucky) to prosper and we allow the unexceptional, the dullards, the lazy (and yes, sometimes the just plain unlucky) to fail. Both would like a flattened society, OBL would have one where the equalizer would be the enforcement of sharia (equal for men anyway); the others would game the system to insure more or less equal economic outcomes. The theory, I guess, is that if we are all poor at least there won't be any envy, therefore poor Fisk doesn't have to feel guilty about being from the upper class. Only one problem, poor Bobby - how will you ever get over being a WHITE MALE (maybe Michael Jackson can help, he seems to have some experience in changing skin color).

What's amazing is that college kids believe this drivel at face value. In a setting where they are supposed to be taught to critically evaluate information, they are actually being taught to accept historically discredited concepts (socialism) and fabricated American history (Chomsky) without testing the assumptions and checking the sources. It feels good to be anti-(insert institution here) so it must be the right thing. Like Pilger, they don't let those pesky facts get in the way. If the facts don't support the "feelings" then they must have been manipulated by the Office of State Propaganda. Those of us who oppose these idiots are either brainwashed or have "sold out to the Man".

It's hard to argue with such massive ignorance. But then again, that's what I'm here for isn't it?

Clinton and Gore

I watched a little of a speech by Clinton to the Democratic Leadership Council tonight on CSPAN. Damn, I hate to admit it, but he sure is a silver tounged "debil".

Several things struck me about his speech. First, he really is a lot closer to the political "center" than his party. He spoke at length about the need for economic stimulus - and it made some sense. He always takes credit for a lot of fiscal responsibilty that he was forced into by a Republican congress and never mentions the disastrously bloated health care propsal that he let Hillary float before letting her get crucified for it, but he makes a good case for suspending the tax cuts for the very highest income levels because of changed economic circumstances.

Unfortunately, it is the same old class warfare rhetoric with a sugary coating. Sure, it wouldn't hurt me to see people earning over $200,000 per year pay more taxes - but wait a minute....they already pay more taxes than I do (damn, you now you know I make less than that). The question is how best to get the economy going forward...not how to make the "rich" pay more taxes.

But what really struck me was how Clinton could make the Democratic agenda seem reasonable...how he could map out a vision - a skill that Gore is TOTALLY lacking (he shares with Clinton the lack of any real character or commitment to principal). It's not just that Clinton has a charm that Gore lacks...he also can explain policy so that it doesn't sound like it comes from the text of "THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!". Clinton actually discusses policy in a way that doesn't cast the other side as "the debil". Gorebot never learned this...and never will.

The last thing that I noticed about this speech was the amount of time Clinton spent talking about foreign aid and its relationship to national security. He talked about the fact that we spend a smaller percentage of our GDP on foreign aid than other industrial nations. First, I don't think that the picture is the same if you include PRIVATE aid contributions (churches, etc.). Second, it is easier for FRANCE or Germany or Japan to commit a greater percentage of their GDP to foreign aid when their NATIONAL DEFENCE is provided for by the United States. It's hard for us taxpayers over here to do both (those Stealth Bombers and nuclear AIRCRAFT CARRIERS sure do cost a lot these days).

The idea that "golly, if we'd just give these guys more money then they'd like us a whole lot and maybe, you know, not fly big airplanes into the White House and stuff"" sounds like protection money to me. I'm a big proponent of foreign aid to PEOPLE who need it (not to governments) and to FRIENDS, BUT I REFUSE TO PAY PEOPLE NOT TO ATTACK ME. I am not going to give money to the campus bully not to beat me up...I'm going to get in the weight room and get stronger so I can KICK HIS ASS.

What Clinton doesn't say is that, despite the fact that he put the full weight of his administration behind an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, Arafat betrayed him and created the state of war that exists today. He suggested in his speach that the Democrats oppose Bush's harder line towards the problems in the Middle East (his solution: bribery). His way failed miserably. Maybe the exhibition of a little more strength during his term would have averted this problem...maybe not - we'll never know.

Gore and Clinton aren't that far apart in the policies they espouse. Clinton just candy coats everything while Gorebot drones "THE TRUTH" through a computer generated voice...designed to be new and spontaneous!

This post rambled a bit. A couple of extra drinks after an evening with a wonderful woman can do that to you.

From CNN.com and MEMRI 12/05/02

Hugs and Kisses from OBL an Friends:

"You did not understand the reasons for the raids of Washington and New York," said the al Qaeda statement, according to a translation of the message, which was posted on several Web sites that have carried al Qaeda messages in the past.

"Oh American people, you are the victim of your leaders, but you are also a partner in the war on us. The gift for the holiday is on its way," the statement continued. The translation was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based service that translates and distributes articles from Arabic newspapers.

Uhh, I'm sorry but I'm afraid I do understand the reasons for the cowardly attacks on New York and Washington you bunch of women and children murdering maniacs. You attacked us because you believe that we are evil...that Allah doesn't smile upon free will...people must me made to submit to Him at the point of a sword. Our sick and decadent society (oh, what a great sin it is to allow women an equal place to men!) allows a voice not only to the devout but also the atheistic. And lest we not forget, Americans also support a homeland for the J-E-W-S, those vile sub-human villans who created a thriving democratic society in the desert...those unbelievers, the usurpers. Allah commands that you exterminate the J-E-W-S and convert the rest of us heathens. Doesn't that about sum it up? Oh, and we have troops in Saudi Arabia! Uhhhhh, to keep Saddam Hussein from visiting even more vile perversions on Saudis than the monarchy ever dreamed.

Sorry, Osama I think we Americans know exactly why you and your kind hate us. We are not pawns or passive supporters of the President. We support our government's policy toward you and have only four words in response........BRING IT ON ASSHOLES!

We are ready. We will do all that is necessary to end your miserable life and bring your supporters to their knees. Don't think for a minute that this amateurish propaganda will sway anyone here but the idiotic Chomskyites, the lunatic fringe among us. Come visit us in Texas...we got a great big southern welcome for you big boy!

While away, I followed the course of the "inspections" in Iraq with some interest. I was not pleased.

It's not as though I expected anything more from Hans Blix; after all, Blix, as the head of the International Atomic Energy Commision gave Iraq glowing marks for their adherence to the non-proliferation treaty AT THE SAME TIME as they were on a crash program to build a nuclear weapon (with passive FRENCH assistance, of course).

How can you go to a site as large as one of Hussein's palaces (with links to multiple buildings and who knows what else within the compound) spend an hour and a half there and make ANY CONCLUSIONS ABOUT ANYTHING? What was the purpose? To show the Iraqis that "we mean business this time"? If so, these initial forays by the inspectors could only be characterized as huge failures. If I were Hussein, what I'd read into it is that the Blix has no intention of seriously implementing an inspection regime that would uncover anything that I didn't want discovered. Saddam must be thinking that the stalling is going to pay off now, because he is going to get cover from the inspectors and from Kofi "the Iraqis are cooperatin'" Annan (and the FRENCH and the Russians).

I guess what has suprised me is that there hasn't been more resistance from Hussein. I was hoping he'd dig his heels in and then the game would be up. That still may happen on December 7 (interesting that they are releasing their report on Pearl Harbor Day) but I'm starting to get worried that the delaying tactics are going to really string out any action. Bush keeps up the pressure on the stump, but will he really go it alone (well almost alone) if the UN keeps claiming that this violation (firing at our planes in the "no-fly zones") or that one (denying the existance of any WMD programs) is not a "material breach"? I am probably worried about nothing - I hope so. I hope Bush proves to be as good to his word as he has been to this point.

It is not that I want war for its own sake (or that I want it at all). I just don't see any other alternative to accomplish what I believe is a foreign policy imperative for the US - the immediate removal of Saddam Hussein (and his upper level leadership) and the reform of the government of Iraq to a representative form (over time). As I've written earlier, simply replacing Saddam with another dicator more friendly to US interests would be a major mistake.

Oh, and another thing (maybe a hopefull sign after all) - what is this crap (Iraqi claims) about inspectors gathering intellegence for a US attack on Iraq? Spies? No shit Sherlock - the whole purpose of the inspections is to gather intelligence...and if they find WMD facilities, it will be cause for military action....and you better believe that once the shooting starts, the US will have the information about the locations of the offending sites and will target them. LIVE WITH IT! YOU LOST A WAR TO THE US AFTER HAVING INVADED KUWAIT - IN EXCHANGE FOR REMAINING IN POWER, YOU CONSENTED TO DISARM AND TO HAVE INSPECTORS (I.E., INTELLEGENCE GATHERING OPERATIVES....I.E., SPIES) VERIFY YOUR DISARMAMENT.

On second thought, maybe Hussein can't help himself and will impede the inspectors and lie in official statements about the WMD program, making it impossible for his allies (Annan, Blix, FRANCE, and Russia) to aid him.

Back from a relaxing extended Thanksgiving vacation.

First, I would like to announce my first LINK! Courtesy of Emperor Misha, The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. Of course, anyone reading this probably came from there since he's the only one I've alerted to my existence so far. Thanks for the kind mention and link Rottie (and the addition to the "Mark Steyn Fiskers' Brigades"). I'll try to live up to my duties as "citizen".

Second, you'll have to forgive the blandness of the page, the lack of links, no bold text or italics for quotes, etc. I'm not much on the technical aspect of this and haven't asked for any local help (yet). I wanted to get up and running (and see if I would stick with it) first before spending the time.

Lastly, hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

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