Thursday, March 20, 2003

I'd like to know what gives with the war protests.

Are they really so opposed to removing a man from power who orders people to be dropped into plastic shredders? Five will get you ten that if the same people who are protesting in the streets of San Francisco against the removal of the butcher of Baghdad from power saw someone about to drop a sweet little puppy into a thrashing machine that they'd beat the guy senseless. But they apparently don't feel the same compassion for a human being.

Then again, perhaps their compassion is directly related to whether a Democrat or Republican is in office. We didn't see such protests when the US intervened in Bosnia.

Someone please offer a moral defense against the war in Iraq - a case why the Iraqi people are better off with Hussein remaining power.


I would like to say that I decided to change the page's look and thus...well, the different template. But...changing the template was the only way I could figure out how to correct the damage that I did while trying to add a link on Tuesday.

As far as I can determine, the Haloscan problems were due to server work and unrelated to my meltdown.

So....that is why the comments and links are gone. I'll add them back when I get a chance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I am continuing to have comments and posting problems. I think it may have something to do with Haloscan. Due to circumstances at work (and the upcoming NCAA tournament - GO TEXAS) I probably won't be able to fix the problem until this weekend.

Also, my furnace is out so I am hoping for continued warm weather.

Monday, March 17, 2003


I've been watching a C-SPAN debate featuring Christopher Hitchens, Michael Ignatieff, Mark Donner and Robert Scheer.

Mark Danner and Robert Scheer were argued that because no gassing of Kurds has occurred in the last 15 years that there is no immediate threat from Iraq. Christopher Hitchens properly pointed out that the people in the crowd who mindlessly applauded their point were essentially non-thinking. He asked why, do you think, that the atrocity in Halabja has not been repeated since? Could it be that this is because Hussein was defeated in the Gulf War twelve years ago? Could it be a result of US and United Kingdom enforcement of the "no-fly zones" over the majority of Iraq? If not under the watchfull eye of the US airforce, might he do it again?

Danner made the appaling assertion that Al-Qaida was on the downward slope befor 9-11 and that our actions since then will only rejuvenate them. No, sorry Mark, Al-Qaida is on the downslope because America decided to hunt them down and Bush made sure that governments around the world understood that if they didn't help us they too would become targets (see Pakistan).

Danner also asked why we couldn't put Hussein on trial for war crimes. I ask in that case, how does that prevent war? Would Hussein give himself up to a subpoena? After defying the UNSC for twelve years we should expect that Saddam will surrender to authorities after being convicted by the ICC? If he refuses to surrender himself, then what? That is clearly a dishonest argument.

Further, Danner claimed that, well, we contained the Soviets so containment works. First, the Soviets had nuclear weapons and disarming them militarily was not a possibility. Furthermore,unlike Iraq, they were victors (and our allies, albeit of convenience) in the Second World War. The Soviets had no agreement with us to disarm. The Soviets were also deterrable - their entire populace, as was the entire US population, were held at nuclear-tipped missle-point to insure that the status quo was maintained. Hussein may or may not be deterrable. As Michael Ingatieff pointed out, this dynamic is not applicable. The question is - "Is Saddam deterrable?" Danner thinks that the notion that Saddam is undeterrable is "rubbish".

Hitchens argued that all of the US oil industry is against the war; the simple thing for the oil industry is to support a client state in Iraq and turn on the spigots. He pointed out that Hussein flooded the Gulf with burning oil, that he doesn't understand deterrance. Containment, Hitchens again states was blood for oil when we supported Hussein against Iran. This is in stark contrast with the current policy of the administration which is to eliminate Hussein and free the Iraqi people. Roughly quoting Hitch, "Wolfowitz has been arguing since 1978 that is in unwise for the US to depend on client states for bases - Kissinger is always on the other side of the argument." He also rebutted Scheer by saying (again roughly) "If im told that "you might say that but I know nine other people that don't - it doesn't impress me"......and "France is unilateralist". He points out (it should be unecessary to but....) that the French supplied the Iraqis with nuclear technology knowing what it was to be used for (see Hamza). Further, he pointed out, Abu Nidal was an extension of the Iraqi government; the Iraqi government has always been a supporter of "international gangsterism".

Scheer doesn't believe that we should intervene - if we could show evidence of some recent genocide it would be OK but we can't do
anything now because nothing horrible has happened recently and we can hope for something better.

Unbelievably Danner rebutted Ignatieff, during his rebuttal (and this gets him the "Disgusting Lie" of the evening award - a stunning upset of Robert Scheer despite his best efforts), by saying that the Serbs removed Milosevec. Yeah, that really would have happened without the American military - right.....consider the source.

Soon the liberation of the Iraqi people will be a reality. We have committed to protecting the rights of the Iraqi people and to establishing a free and democratic government. This will be our test. We must pass it.

The weasels fear the United States because we have decided to be true to our ideals....a force in the world for democracy and freedom. That is a revolutionary idea....and we are a country founded on revolutionary ideas. Bush has articulated a foreign policy that, in opposition to the "status quo" diplomacy of the French, has as its central assumption the right of all people to self-determination and has pledged American power to achieve this. Does this mean that we will declare war on all dictators tomorrow? No. Does it mean that we will stop our reliance on un-democratic client states for our security? I think so.

This frightens the continental Europeans who traditionally believed in the diplomacy of "mutual self-interest" to keep the peace (the rights of the people be damned). That period of history is over. We are engaged in a new struggle of liberal democracies vs. the collectivist/religious fanaticist forces for control of the next millenium. If we believe in the rights of all people regardless of race or nationality we can win, if we fall back to the realpolitik of earlier generations we will lose.

We argue these points. How many people we persuade will determine the outcome.

(via Andrew Sullivan)

NPR : The Ombudsman at National Public Radio writes:

Enough Pro-war Voices on NPR?

Whenever that opinion is heard on NPR as it did when NPR interviewed Secretary of State Colin Powell, NPR receives e-mails by the score, all asking: "NPR! How could you?"

Part of the problem for NPR and for many listeners who look to us to reinforce their opinions is the range of "acceptable" opinion. Radio is a unique and intensely personal medium. People listen, in my opinion, in order to recognize an aural landscape that they know and feel is theirs. When they hear ideas or voices with which they disagree, they can feel a sense of betrayal.

What May be 'Considered' and What May Not?

Journalists at NPR also need to understand that the range of ideas is not there to comfort them either. They need to choose a broader range of opinion and ideas with which they may personally disagree, but which serves and informs the listeners.

Especially, I might add, for an organization that is funded, in part, by my tax dollars.

For that matter, why should any news organization receive public funding? If NPR is funded, why shouldn't organizations with a different political bent also receive grants?

I don't think NPR and public television would vanish without Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds. But it would reduce the number of hours in the year that I spend working for the federal government...and that is a damn good thing.

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