Saturday, April 05, 2003


A significant portion of the anti-war propaganda has been focused on the claim that a lack of UN approval of the action makes the war illegal under "international law". Others have also made the point that we have no right to tell other nations what kinds of weapons they can possess - "we let the J-E-W-S have the bomb so how can we tell the Arabs that they can't."

Leaving aside the fact that there is no law that binds our actions above the US Constitution, I think it there is another historical example which dismantles this argument.

I'm sure Jeananne Garafalo and Martin Sheen think John Kennedy was a great president. So how would they react to his actions during the Cuban Missle Crisis?

Didn't the Cubans have the right to form an alliance with the Soviets for their defense? After all, the US had just backed (although not fully) an attempt by Cuban exiles to invade the country at the Bay of Pigs. How were Soviet missles in Cuba any different that American missles in Turkey? Or, for that matter, American Polaris submarines off of the Soviet coast?

We were willing to push the world to the brink of thermonuclear war in order to prevent a soverign nation in our hemisphere from implementing a basing and arms agreement with the Soviets. Couldn't this be called "preemptive"? Isn't a naval blockade an act of war?

Don't get me wrong - Kennedy was right to prevent the Soviet missle deployment. But he did in fact dramatically increase the short term risk of war in order to prevent a longer term shift in the strategic situation between the superpowers. In October of 1962 we would have been safer if Kennedy had ignored the deployment. We had not been attacked by the Soviet Union and there was no real immediate threat that we would be.

The US government did not go to the UNSC and ask permission for the blockade. The Cubans were under no treaty obligation to refrain from allowing nuclear weapons to be based on their soil. Still, having identified the action as necessary for long term American security, Kennedy ordered the confrontation with the Soviet shipments.

The concept is the same for the Cuban blocade and the war in Iraq. The United States will not allow other nations to threaten it's security interests with WMD if it is possible for us to prevent it at a reasonable cost/risk. We couldn't confront the Soviets over their WMD programs because the risk was too high. But the threshold of acceptable risk became much lower when they tried to base nukes 90 miles from our shoreline.

This isn't some new and dangerous policy that the Bush Adminstration has developed - preemption. It is a continuation of our past policy taking into account new threats posed by the coaliton of terrorist groups and state WMD possessors who are loosely arrayed against us.

We have always used our military, political and economic power to prevent other countries from developing or deploying weapons that would threaten our security. So has every other great power that ever existed. If history teaches us anything it is that nations who fail to properly identify and deal with major threats to to their military or economic security will be defeated.


The idiots over at Democratic Underground are, of course, gleefully celebrating the death of Michael Kelly.

They seem to think that it is OK because, well, they are on the side of enlightenment:

We have moral authority over Freepers
Though mocking death is not a good quality it's not the same when we do it as opposed to when freepers do it. Remember what they stand for - racism, war and death.

Yeah, you are soooo right. I've been found out! Who told the DU that we Republicans stand for DEATH!

You see, Halliburton makes a lot of money off of Death - they make the bombs, they make the coffins, they run the funeral homes...we even own hospitals both medical and psychiatric to make money off of the victims. We destroy and then we pay ourselves to rebuild! We run the oil fields, we own the farms (having kicked out all of the family farmers with our specially trained shock troops)....do not try to adjust your set - we control the horizontal, we control the vertical.... WE R IN CONTROL!

I can say we because I am a big holder of Halliburton stock. Dick Cheney and I get together and discuss new ways of "deathing" the masses so we can drive up the price. It's really quite fun....I guess its all over now that the DU found out! Those guys are just too smart for us! Dick and Rummy and Dubya and me - they've got us dead to rights!

But Michael Kelly wasn't in on the scam...so maybe we can fool them after all!

If you substitute the "J-E-W-S" for "big business" in the DU conspiracy theory it sounds suspiciously like the Nazis doesn't it...or the Communists, or the Islamofacists. It's suprising how their stories all are built on a worldwide conspiracy of multi-national corporations headed by J-E-W-S! Well, not so suprising really.

Those guys really need to lay off the pot, clear their heads and grow up. Yeah, Halliburton sells the drugs and runs the rehab centers too (we are such sneaky bastards - HA!).

Friday, April 04, 2003

And yes, I know that Dan Blocker wasn't a musician (God rest him). I'm listening to Gurf Morlix The Toad of Titicaca the song was, you guessed it, Dan Blocker.

So, here is a (very partial) list of great artists you never heard of:

Guided by Voices
Game Theory
The Loud Family
Brian Eno
Innocence Mission
Continental Drifters
Galaxie 500
Kevin Salem
The Feelies
Wake Ooloo
Speed the Plough
Son Volt
Uncle Tupelo
Throwing Muses
Camper van Beethoven
The Replacements/Paul Westerberg
Velocity Girl
Liz Phair
The Pixies
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
Steve Reich

Well, maybe you heard of a few. Buy their stuff - they, unlike PJ, deserve a listen.

Good night. Perhaps Baghdad will collapse by morning. We and the Iraqi people can only hope.

And another thing...if life was fair, the hundreds of bands far more talented than Pearl Jam, those hacks, would be making the millions that Eddie Vedder gets. So don't give me any shit about the racist, capitalist, imperialist system - because if I were supreme ruler Scott Miller (Game Theory/The Loud Family) and Glenn Mercer (The Feelies/Wake Ooloo/Speed the Plough/Sunburst), and Dan Blocker (Hoss) would be making all the rest of that money.

And I don't care about their politics. And I hope they'd figure out what the hell is going on in the world before they trashed the president on stage.


I, like everyone else, saw and read about more disturbing images today. A pregnant woman apparently forced into a suicide bombing. Women "jihadis". Saddam kissing a baby in Baghdad. A goose-stepping sycophant kissing the monsterous bastard on the cheek.

Hardly suprising but still disturbing.

I wonder what Eddie Vedder thinks. Or if he thinks at all?

If George Bush was running around Washington kissing babies while the rest of the country was in control of an invader, I wonder what the Dixie Chicks would say?

"Take the skinheads bowling...take them bowling!"

The crushing of dissent here in Amerikkka is incredible! Nicholas DeGenova has been detained - we fear he will be tortured, gang-raped and murdered! Martin Sheen - denied his double latte! The Dixie Chicks have lost market share! Pearl Jam...well, they still suck.

Let us stop this weeping over the loss of first amendment rights. Eddie V. you have the right to do whatever the hell you want from the stage, no matter how stupid or childish. AND your "fans" have the right to "dissent" from your infantile rantings and refuse to buy your products. It's the Amerikkkan way after all, Heir Vedder!

If you are a "popular" music artist and you offend your "public" you lose money. Your right to free speech doesn't guarantee your multi-million dollar income. The consequence of your stupidity and ignorance is that you run the risk of living a middle-class existence - twenty million Iraqis would walk a hundred miles of desert in bare feet without water to have that kind of freedom. You spoiled millionaire child.

You play to foreign audiences by trashing the president. Why not stand on your music? Because you've run out of ideas? How many times will the public stand for rehashes of "Evenflow" afterall? Why not read about the issues and get informed (other than the ANSWER - INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST view)?

Those of us who've spent the time to understand the issues involved can suffer ignorance from your side for awhile - we just can't stand the personal attacks on a president who has tried his dead level best to protect this country in a time of maximum danger. The fact that you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there, moron.

So, stop getting wasted every night; stop the political inbreeding; start reading. Please come at me with an argument other than - "Bush was not elected - I hate him - he doesn't represent me" - the seventy percent of us knuckle-dragging, gun-toting, racist, redneck hillbillies who support this war (good times or bad) are waiting for you to persuade us with your vast intellect. Save us, oh great VEDDER!

You are brain-dead on this issue. Never being one of your fans, this comes as no suprise to me.

Look at the news, asshole. Do you think that a captured Iraqi soldier would have been treated like Jessica Lynch? Slapped and beaten after being captured? Her captors considering amputation of limbs only broken? Hell no. If anyone treated an Iraqi POW that way (not to mention a FEMALE POW) they'd have been crucified here - and rightfully so. Why do you think that Iraqi lawyer who saw her ran to US troops at risk of his own life and that of his family? Because Bush = Hitler? No you fucking idiot, it's because, in spite of your dunder-headed, grandstanding propaganda campaign, he understands that we are, despite all of our faults, a force for good in the world - and knows, from first hand experience, that Saddam is most decididly NOT.

Eddie Vedder is a national disgrace. I support his right to show his ass in public - and I'll fight to my death to oppose his gross stupidity. That is what makes our nation great. Long may our light shine.


But it is free after all - so how can I complain.

The previous post was started at lunch on Tuesday - that's why it says 4/1. But I spent 30 minutes at the airport in San Francisco yesterday completing it (I spent about $8 for the internet time at an airport terminal) and I check my site today and see that the rest of the post is gone. They were having some problems yesterday.

Apparently. Now I understand why everyone hates Blogger so much.

Anyway, I'll reconstruct that line of thinking another time...I'm on a different path now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

One of the most difficult arguments to make is that, by taking a certain course of action, you will prevent something from happening. In business I have to make that argument all the time, "use my company and we will save you money on your building (or allow you to buy more with the same budget) - but my services will cost more than brand "x"." We have many successful case histories but never a comparison against what brand "x" would have done on the same project - it's not possible to anticipate what mistakes they would have made and how much it would have cost the client.

The same thing is true with diplomacy. History tells us what the unsuccessful policies were but it doesn't give us any clue as to the outcomes of alternate approaches. We can only play out "what if" scenarios. But these are important in developing coherent policy even though a lot of assumptions have to be made.

Critics say that Bush's "unilateralist" foreign policy decisions on Kyoto, the ICC and the ABM treaties have soured our relations with the French and Russians thus preventing us from getting their support on Iraq. As I pointed out in a previous post, this is simply untrue. The French and Russians have interests in Iraq which oppose ours and have been working against our policy there since the end of the first Gulf War. Both have opposed continuing sanctions since the mid-nineties - during the Clinton Administration.

What if - we had "multilaterally" agreed to end sanctions in the mid-nineties and Hussein subsequently frustrated the inspectors and caused them to withdraw? He has years to work on uranium enrichment facilities and/or to locate a source for bomb grade material outside Iraq. By now he has one or more nuclear weapons. My guess is that after building a few he would test above grade to make sure we knew he had them.

Once he possesed nuclear weapons

Sunday, March 30, 2003


In the Pentagon's briefing yesterday I saw one of the most disturbing images ever.

They ran a video of a victim of Hussein's chemical attacks. The man (a relative) explained that the woman had been exposed and her face had been itching terribly and she began clawing at it. Then the camera turned to her. No special effects man has ever created a deformity that rivaled the horror that was this woman. She looked as though a huge, sponge-like cancer had overwhelmed her entire face. No eyes, no nose - only this misshapen mass of flesh.

How can this man be defended or supported? How can any rational human being argue against his removal and execution? I don't understand this. Bush = Hitler according to the hysterical protesters. What do they think of Hussein - a real monster? They don't appear to care. Maybe if they opened their eyes they would.


Much has been made of the current administration’s lack of international diplomatic skills – its “unilateralism”. I’ve been reading While America Sleeps – Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today by Donald Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan (written, by the way, in 2000) and found this of particular interest:

In June of 1993 UNSCOM reported to the Security Council that “Iraq has, through its conduct since the last report, consistently demonstrated its desire to limit the Commission’s inspection rights and operational capabilities through seeking to place restrictions on inspectors...Included in this campaign have been attempts by Iraq to dispute the Commission’s instructions on the destruction of equipment intended for the production of banned weapons; to restrict the scope of inspections and information gathering; to restrict access and impose delays on inspections; to restrict the exercise of the Commission’s aerial rights; to impose limits on the duration, size and composition of inspections; to require advance notice of inspection activities; and to limit the right to take photography....”

The Clinton Administration’s response was to warn of “serious” consequences although they indicated that they were not prepared to take immediate action. “Then on June 26, twenty-three Tomahawk cruise missiles struck an intellegence complex in downtown Baghdad. The justification for the strike was the discovery of evidence that Iraq had attempted to assassinate former President Bush during his visit to Kuwait in April. ...The strike, once again, was a unilateral U.S. action with no coalition partners taking part. The French, who had been described as eager to participate in earlier chastisements of Saddam, declared that although they “understood” the strike, they did not “seek either the destabilization or the dismemberment of the Iraqi state.”

“ From the standpoint of fundamental U.S. interests and long-term policy...the raid was a disaster that played into Saddam’s hands.”

The timing was “ particularly inexplicable considering that a trial of the assassination –plot suspects was under way in Kuwait at the time, and had not been completed when the missiles struck.”
Bush had always been careful to act within the confines of multilateralism, however tight they might have been. His unwillingness to risk the collapse of widespread international support for his policy toward Iraq somtimes seemed an unwillingness to take the lead internationally and to push unwilling partners to take necessary actions. It helped lead to his refusal to defeat Saddam completely in war and to the terribly complicated situation in which he was forced to rely on international sanctions to achieve what he had chosen not to achieve by force.

...Clinton was not willing to revisit that fundamental question – for all the application of force during his administration, his policy, at its root, always relied exclusively on the functioning of sanctions. But sanctions require solid and broad international support. Saddam was well aware of that, and had obviously tried in the last days of the Bush administration to find ways of breaking up that support. Nothing would serve Saddams’s turn better in that regard than transforming the conflict between Iraq and the world community into a conflict between Iraq and the United States. The unilateral military strike helped in that transformation.”
Pages 382-384

In October 1994 the Iraqis moved forces towards the Kuwaiti border prompting the administration to begin a military build-up to thwart any invasion plans.

“The Gulf War coalition was splintering ever faster with word that UNSCOM was moving toward monitoring and away from the inspection and destruction of Iraqi proscribed materials. That decision would pave the way for the elimination of sanctions, which France favored for economic and Russia for political reasons. ...Even Turkey appeared to signal that it might not be willing to allow hte United States to use its bases for strikes against Iraq.”

“The crisis of October 1994 revealed yet another, more general, problem in American policy. When the United States capitulated to North Korea earlier in 1994, buying Pyongyang off with the promise of light water reactors. Saddam was watching. In a conversation with Rolf Ekeus, head of UNSCOM, after the crisis had passed, Iraqi foreign minister Saeed Sahhaf raised the issue of Washington’s willingness to strike a deal with North Korea, which has been refusing an international inspection of two suspected nuclear storage sites, while U.S. officials were rejecting any reward to Iraq for its tolerance of similar inspections”
pp 386-387

So, apparently the Clinton administration also acted unilaterally when it felt the necessity even when doing so didn’t turn out to be in the country’s interest. Clinton deserves as much criticism as Bush I for allowing the situation to fester; yet it would not have been possible for either to take the appropriate action “multilaterally” if that is construed to mean with French and Russian approval.

9/11 changed the American political atmosphere to make action against Iraq possible (even though such action was essential ten years prior). It would have taken a president of extraordinary vision and resolve to counter the international tide, and neither Bush I nor Clinton was that man. And neither, pre-9/11, was G.W. Bush.

Circumstances have changed and Bush and Blair have realized the importance of this moment in history for the western democracies. Chirac and Schroeder have failed the test – playing to partisan politics at home and dreaming of a counterweight to American “hegemony”.

We will win this battle - against Iraq - but it remains to be seen if we will win the war. It will require that we prove the critics wrong. When we left Somalia after 18 military deaths (and inflicting 1000 on the opposing forces in Mogadishu) bin Laden, Hussein and the "Arab street" viewed it as weakness. After all, Hussein would kill eighteen of his own citizens in a heartbeat. Why would a military power like the United States, that could crush him like a bug, retreat after such minimal casualties? Vietnam.

We took 3000 deaths on 9/11 - many more will die before our enemies are defeated. Many more of us and many more of them. But if we shrink from the fight because we are unwilling to sacrifice then we will lose. We need not shrink to their level, killing innocents deliberately - in fact, we can't. We must be true to our values or we lose. If we remain strong and resolute we will win.

The argument has to be made and we, who make it must be persuasive. We must prevail - the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

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