Texsanity

Saturday, August 16, 2003


We are at war. Still. And not because we have troops in Iraq or because “Bush LIED” – we are at war because 19 Saudis and Egyptians hijacked four planes and killed more than 3000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington on September 11, 2001.

Duhhhhhhhhh…you say. Well, apparently the Democratic National Committee and the Green Party, USA don’t exactly agree.

The reason the Democrats have no chance in 2004 is because, as a party, they still haven’t come to grips with that one sentence – “We are at war”. They want to explore the reasons why we are to blame. They want to revisit the reasons why we went into Iraq (even though all their big time candidates – except Dean and Sharpton, who couldn’t and Kucinich (who’s a joke-not that Dean and Sharpton aren’t)- voted FOR it. They want to replay the 2000 election. They want to install judges who’d interpret the law with an eye towards French precedent.

The United States would have been well within its rights to demand the unconditional surrender of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Egypt (and probably Pakistan, Sudan and Syria) on September 12, 2001. And we were in a position to completely destroy those countries if they chose not to comply with our request.

Not a happy thought. The rest of the world was greatly relieved that we didn’t immediately launch a war against the nations that sired, educated, supported and harbored the 9/11 murderers. For a while the French and Germans thought they’d be able to appease us by half measures, hollow resolutions and false declarations of solidarity.

Their initial hopes were dimmed by our demands on the Taliban to give us the mastermind of the attacks. We would have been justified in laying waste to Afghanistan once their government refused to turn over the group that attacked us (this was de facto evidence of their complicity in the attacks). In keeping with our national values, we refused to hold helpless civilians responsible for the act of an extremist, Islamic/Arab Nationalist government that they did not elect. Perhaps we let bin Laden slip through our hands because we refused to take advantage of the full array of military options at our disposal; perhaps we never knew where he was. Without a doubt we could have offed that one-eyed bastard Mullah Omar – we should have in my opinion – but we didn’t.

The United States bound itself to a code of ethics that its enemies had long before abandoned. We risked our troops, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, when there were more expedient options available to achieve our objectives. Because it was the right and moral thing to do. Not because our enemies had treated us with that respect, but because it is what we as a Nation believe. Of course there are other considerations. Blind revenge would have been counterproductive in many ways. We were waging war (as all wars are waged) in both the military and the political worlds. It’s less costly to persuade people to join you in a just cause than to subdue them with force. Nonetheless we exhibited considerable self-control that one would not expect of a mongrel, lowbrow superpower. Did the French or the Germans or the Belgians appreciate our restraint? No. To the European elite, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe that we are and will ever be the unthinking, uncultured barbarians. To them Israel is a “shitty little country”.

We don’t have time for people to stick their heads in the sand anymore. The time when rebellious college students can have their diapers changed by a sympathetic state representative is gone. Nobody has time to give them an engorged nipple when they throw a juvenile fit over the “corporate state” or “globalization” anymore. The struggle we are engaged in is almost 1400 years old. Ever since Mohammed burst onto the scene, Islam has been at war with the West.

I recently saw an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu where he shared a conversation with Jose Asnar (Prime Minister of Spain and loyal ally of the United States in the continuation of the Gulf War). He was a guest of Asnar’s after some state function and at dinner the Prime Minister asked Netanyahu to explain the Israeli claim to their land. Netanyahu replied with a question: Sir, what is your claim to Spain? What he was pointing out was that Spain had been almost completely conquered by the forces of Islam by 750 A.D. and Moslem influence on the Iberian peninsula continued for another seven centuries. In this case, how could Spain discount the claims of native Jews to Palestine when Spanish Christians had been completely conquered by Arab Muslims but eventually repelled the invaders and reclaimed their land? By Netanyahu’s account, Asnar got the point.

I do not raise this point in the defense of Israel (the Israelis need no defending in my opinion) but rather to illustrate a point that is – at some time another ethnic or religious group had a claim to the patch of ground that you now occupy. Why do we give more credence to the claims of Muslims against Jews than Muslims against Christians? The Mexicans had claim to Texas before the United States (and the Spanish before them and the native Indian tribes before the Spanish) – what prevents Mexico from waging a guerilla war against America to reclaim their former possessions? Think about it in Los Angeles and in Dallas and in Miami (French and Spanish and native American claims) and in Manhattan (purchased for beads!) – what if we went to the United Nations and put all these grievances on the table? Who wins?

The control of land has been a history of conflict. Societies are not forever; they disappear (Inca Empire), sometimes reappear (Israel, Finland, Poland), and sometimes are created by treaty (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia). The Kingdom of David and Solomon stretched from the northern Sinai to Damascus to the Euphrates River in the north and well into modern Jordan on the east until it was conquered first by the Assyrians (700 B.C.) and then the Babylonians (600 B.C.). The Romans ruled the Holy Land by 44 B.C. and their empire encircled the Mediterranean by 280 A.D. Islamic conquest grew from the Hejaz conquering the Sassanid Empire (Persia) and Egypt by 661 A.D. eventually conquering the Iberian Peninsula. The thirteen British colonies became a nation and expanded from the Atlantic Coast of North America to the Pacific.

Every nation has had to fight for its survival at some point in its history. People have often relocated either willingly or unwillingly. Some feel that the United States should apologize for conquering its land, for working to create wealth and for maintaining its strength while other nations have not.

I don’t apologize for the actions of the Founders of the United States of America. I glorify their vision and their heroism. I pray that those of us fortunate enough to have inherited the society that they fought and bled and died for will have the wisdom to understand its singular gift and appreciate it enough to sacrifice for it ourselves. No, we have not been perfect but we have created a nation which allows its citizens a greater degree of personal freedom than any other in human history. That’s pretty good in my book.

The leadership of this country was in extremely good hands (in spite of our worst efforts) on the morning of September 11, 2001. Leadership that understood what the capacity of the military and the morality of the country was and guided us along the path to a response appropriate to the conflict that was (and still is) before us. Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, and (yes) Powell fought through the options and at some point they understood – we are at war with a Pan-Arab/Islamic Fundamentalist Nationalist movement that stretches from Africa to the Philippines.

They knew that we couldn’t declare war on every nation involved all at once. Some governments would cooperate either overtly or covertly – they would be assets (Jordan, Pakistan?, Indonesia, Philippines). Some would pretend to cooperate but, for political reasons, could not be immediate targets (Saudi Arabia, Egypt). Some we acknowledged as enemies but had no direct evidence to justify an attack (Libya, Syria, Palestinian Authority, Iran). One allowed the terrorist organization which attacked us to continue to operate becoming target No. 1 (Afghanistan). And one nation, with whom we were technically still at war, continued to attack our aircraft, fail its obligations under a cease-fire agreement, fund international terrorism congratulate the 9/11 murderers (Iraq). That’s only 12 countries – I’m sure we could add a few more to the list: Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and perhaps even non-Muslim North Korea.

To fight this enemy completely from the onset would have require either a) a massive nuclear bombardment that would have horrified not only the world but our own people or b) a massive mobilization of the American economy onto a war footing which would have disrupted the world economy to the point of rupture. So instead, the Bush Administration chose to fight this war incrementally.

The first target of opportunity was Afghanistan. Obvious enough –after all, this is where the leadership that directed the terrorists who did the deed was based.

The second target was Iraq.

On September 12, 2001, we were still technically at war with Iraq. A cease fire was in effect – one that Saddam Hussein had violated hundreds of times over the decade that it had been in effect.

If you don’t think that’s a big deal you should try envisioning yourself in the cockpit of an American fighter over enemy territory. Your job is to protect Iraqi citizens from aerial attack by their own government. While on routine patrol a surface to air missile is fired in your direction. Does this make you nervous? Or is it no big deal?

Three years before, the Iraqis ejected the UN weapons inspectors from the country claiming they were spies. They were. They had to be in order to find the banned weapons being hidden from them; weapons that the Iraqis had agreed, in the terms of the cease fire, to turn over for destruction.

Saddam Hussein continued to harbor terrorists in Iraq and continued to fund terrorism outside of Iraq. Although no connection to the 9/11 attack has been proven, it is indisputable that Hussein funded suicide bombings in Israel by offering rewards to the families of the bombers.

We had a legal case against Iraq. The political climate in America was supportive of action against Hussein. The Kuwaitis still owed us from the first Gulf War and the Saudis had to really soft pedal their opposition because of the involvement of their citizens in 9/11. The UN provided us with temporary cover to mass troops in the area with a new resolution. We had one last chance to invade without the entire Arab world uniting against us. Once the troops were in place the decision to go forward was inevitable barring a complete capitulation by Hussein.

Our successful conquest gives us 1) access to oil, 2) strategic bases from which we can pressure Saudi Arabia and Iran, 3) the chance to establish a democratic government with the resources available to build a prosperous society in the future – an example for other Arabs and a threat to Arab dictators.

Howard Dean thinks that all of this was a bad idea (he is not alone in the Democrat Party). He thinks we should have let the inspectors do their job. Of course, they couldn’t do the job the previous ten years and they would have been ejected again once the US military had left the region but little details like that don’t bother Howie too much. He needs to grow up and smell the coffee.

The Saudi and Egyptian nationals who hijacked those planes weren’t politicians. They didn’t give a shit about being reelected. They weren’t ignorant ideologues either; they spent years living in the society that they hoped their suicide attacks would help bring down. They wanted to change the world. And they did. And if they had hit 100% of their targets instead of 50% they would have changed it a helluva lot more.

They want a worldwide Islamic state . They don’t care about reproductive rights. They don’t give a shit about gay rights. Global warming is not high on their priorit list. Cruel and unusual punishment is fine by them; cut off a hand here, cut out a tongue there – teach those infidels a lesson. Women had better be seen (in a burka) and not heard. Religious freedom means the freedom to worship Allah per their edicts; Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists will see things their way or hit the highway (to Hell).

You have to grant these cretins one thing – they are committed. A lot more committed than the average American is to our values these days. It’s hard to say that, believing in this country as strongly as I do. But way to many sop-headed “intellectuals” believe that Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore and Gwar are right – “America Must Be Destroyed”. To these Brainiacs our success convicts us – guilty of working too hard, guilty of enjoying NASCAR (I personally detest it but to each his own), guilty of rock music, guilty of tattoos and nose rings, guilty of having second jobs, guilty of being religious, guilty of believing in right and wrong…..how base and 20th century we
are.

There is no negotiating with this enemy. They believe we must be converted or destroyed. At least they view the struggle with no illusions. We have to understand their dedication and we must match it. The values we memorialize in our Constitution and our legal and political history are worth dying for. It has become apparent that there are only a few nations in the traditional “West” who believe this anymore. That doesn’t mean that it is any less true. The battle has been forced upon us…now that it has, we must once again prove ourselves worthy of the freedom our forefathers granted us. And now we fight not only for America but for every person in this world who believes in freedom…. to disagree, to worship or not worship, for women, for those who are “different”.

To many (perhaps most) it as a foregone conclusion that we will win. This is nonsense. There are obviously prices that we will not pay in order to “win”. Will our opponents pay more? How much more are they willing to sacrifice? We have a huge advantage in wealth and technology; they have a huge advantage in solidarity and fanatical dedication. Unless we start to match them in the latter, the former won’t be enough.


Thursday, August 14, 2003


NAVEL GAZING FOR DOLLARS WITH JACK GLASER

Either I'm stupid, sick or Hitler, e.g.. Only Chief Jackofficer Glaser knows for sure.


Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material--which included various types of literature and approaces from different countries and groups--yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

Excuse me for being dense but what the fuck is a "meta-analytic calculation"?"

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought--the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

I don't mind uncertainty. War's outcome is uncertain. Going out to do business without guaranteed results is uncertain. Conservatives generally prefer the uncertainty of the free market with the certainty of a planned economy. So what is your point?

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism--an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).


Perhaps you are confusing the views of conservatives with those of Democrats. After all, Strom Thurmond was a Democrat way back when he opposed the civil rights movement. Conservatives support a color-blind society; not one that structurally favors any political or racial group.

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said.  Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form.  Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way.

You do understand that we, the taxpaying public, payed $1.2 million for this "research".

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

Yes, this is readily apparent. Their "higher tolerance" is why they can't tolerate differing opinions on campus; why they shout "Hitler" at everyone with whom they disagree.

They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.

''In many cases, including mass politics, 'liberal' traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty,'' the researchers wrote.


Might I add a couple of other liberal traits that "may be liabilities":

-the inability to accept differing viewpoints
-fear of the unknown
-lack of self-confidence resulting in the desire to use government institutions to implement conformance with views that fail to convince their opponents
-uncontrollable guilt
-envy of the successful
-fear of individuality
-fear of competition

Glaser acknowledged that the team's exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise.  However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

So, we fund studies of things that have a "host of information available" but not of things that don't. What fucking bullshit.

Researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev, or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended.  The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.


Yes, its easy to explain why the "liberal" cause of Communism (despite its record of brutal repression and murder unparalleled in history) went off course - Conservatives in Liberal clothing, OF COURSE!

I suppose that $1.2 million in funding wasn't quite enough for Gentleman Jackass to reseach the attitude of American Conservatives towards Stalin, Krushchev, or Castro? Well, I can enlighten you at no charge asshat - conservatives fought tirelessly against that unholy triad. And they had to fight against a whole lot of communist-simpathizing "liberals" along the way (like, say, Alger Hiss). So how do you classifyi a "liberal" who supports a facist?

This study is really monumentally expensive joke. I don't think it's very funny.


NEWS BROWN-OUT

So far I haven't seen or heard any references to global warming in stories about the blackout.

But then there is CNN.

The terminally congested Aaron Brown once again lags hours behind the rest of the nation in reporting the news. Dressed in an unbuttoned denim shirt with a plain white t-shirt underneath and shot against a dark backdrop that one could only assume was a powerless New York, Brown, the picture of the "serious" journalist, repeatedly pondered the question of whether or not a lightning strike had caused the outage more than an hour after MSNBC and other networks had reported that the Canadian government had retracted the assertion.

This isn't earth shattering (unless you own shares in CNN) but it is interesting. Brown apparently assumes that the rest of the nation is on some sort of time delay - how else to explain his horrible record at keeping himself and his viewers supplied with up-to-date information. Perhaps his staff should monitor the other major outlet news programs so he can at least close the gap from hours to a few minutes.

Between he and Keith Olberman a new journalistic low in news anchoring is achieved on a regular basis. And that's hard to do when you consider their contemporary competition.

How proud they must be.


SWELTERING REDEFINED

CNEWS Canada reports:

TORONTO (CP) - A widespread power outage hit Ontario and the eastern United States in sweltering temperatures at about 4:15 p.m. on Thursday.

I just checked the temperature at weather.com - it's 81 degrees in Toronto and 88 degrees in New York. Sweltering? In Dallas those temperatures would qualify as a cold front.

Let's see how long it takes the media to connect this blackout to GLOBAL WARMING. I'm sure all the SWELTERING going on in Toronto will be presented right next to the thousands dying in France due to "heat related" causes during the major newscasts tonight.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003


ACTUAL REPORTING FROM IRAQ

C-SPAN is airing a series of tours throughout Iraq with USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios through tomorrow night. Tonight's program documented conversations that Natsios and his team had with Iraqi engineers concerning the electrical power situation and a tour of a Baghdad wastewater treatment facility. The special was filmed on June 19th.

It is amazing how hot it gets in Iraq at this time of year. Natsios asked an Iraqi engineer what the maximum summertime temperature would be. He responded that it would get to 49 or 50 degrees C. This translates to 122 degrees farenheit. Now you understand why the military wanted the war to be over before summer; imagine fighting a war with full military loads in armored vehicles in the hottest day of summer in Death Valley, California.

Each degree (C) translates to an additonal 70 megawatts of power demand.

More interesting was the state of the wastewater treatemtent system. Natsios toured the facility with representatives of Bechtel (not the evil spawn of Halliburton, Kellog, Brown and Root). At the time of the filming, none of the 13 wastewater treatment plants in Iraq were functioniong. But it was clear from the video that the plant the officials were touring had not been the target of a military action but rather had been looted. The Bechtel rep pointed out that every motor in the facility had been removed. All of the aeration ponds were run by big motors but no more; they now sit idle and raw sewage bypasses the plant and dumps directly into the river. When asked to estimate how long the plant would take to "reverse engineer", the guide speculated that it would take three to six months to get the parts to rebuild and as long as a year before the plant would be properly functioning (although he did note that the plant they were touring was the worst they had found).

As they continued the tour the came upon a septic tank pump truck that had been looted. All of the tires were gone. The engine had been removed. Anything of value at all had been scavanged.

I had previously heard stories about looting of copper wire and so forth but I couldn't believe that sewage treatment plants had been picked to the bone for electric motors.

Should the administration have anticipated looting of this sort? Wouldn't you have thought that if we managed to take the country while not damaging the water and wastewater infrastructure that the amount of rebuilding would have been minimal?

I suppose that Ralph Nader will soon claim that he would have anticipated that the Iraqi people would destroy their wastewater treatment facilities and thereby contaminate their own water supplies downstream (are these people Republicans?). Sorry Ralphie, you miserable turd, you deserved this.


RECONSTRUCTION

The U.S. Institute of Peace has a good recap of the situation in Iraq by George Ward.

Even the few Democrats who still openly admit to supporting the war, like Joe Lieberman, can't talk about their position without criticizing the reconstruction efforts. On an Imus clip I saw yesterday, Lieberman specifically criticized the administration for not "listening to" the military and providing more troops.

Since the military victory was more swift than anyone predicted, I can only assume that Lieberman assumes that more troops would make the situation on the ground safer so that humanitarian and reconstruction efforts could maintain a faster pace.

Not suprisingly, I question his logic. Would 50,000 or 100,000 more ground troops be more effective in finding small bands of Islamic militants and Saddam loyalists who are carrying out the terrorist attacks on our troops? The addition of more troops would only increase the cost of the operation and the logistics problems without significantly enhancing our ability to find and detain the terrorists. If we were fighting a regular army then it might make sense.

Everyone needs to step back from the situation a bit and consider how long it takes to get things done.

From experience I can tell you that a moderate size manufacturing building will take three to four months to design and then another 12 months to build. Think about how much longer it takes to build a power plant or a highway or a pipeline.

Unfortunately, Iraq doesn't exist in on Cartoon Planet where the Marines can just take a truckload of ACME Instant Building Mix and add water. It's only been about 90 days since we gained partial control of the country. Conditions are a lot better now than the dire predictions of UN agencies and hysterical adminstration critics of just five months ago.

We have to be patient and we have to stay the course.


Monday, August 11, 2003


AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Ralph Nader, in a dazzling display of 20/20 hindsight, believes he would have taken steps that would have stopped the 9/11 attacks from having occured.

What are they? Reinforced cockpit doors and bribing Osama bin Laden's friends to turn him in.

I have one question for you Ralph: Was it you or Al Gore that really invented the internet?

Who remembers Nader ever making an issue of al Qaida or the Clinton Administration's failure to accept a deal to get bin Laden during the 2000 campaign (I searched the 2000 Green Party Platform but failed to find any reference to Al Qaida or bin Laden)? And if Clinton wouldn't accept a deal to get bin Laden in 1996, what makes any reasonable person think that a new Nader Administration would have made this a top priority in it's first eight months in office? Furthermore, what evidence is there that capturing bin Laden a few weeks or months before 9/11/2001 would have stopped the attacks from occuring? Indeed, one could make the case that holding their leader would have made more attacks likely.

As far as reinforcing cockpit doors goes, assuming that Nader is telling the truth here (I know, that's a reaaaaaaal stretch but bear with me) there is still no evidence that this action would have prevented the hijackings. In fact, it is pretty clear that the doors could have been two feet thick and it still wouldn't have mattered because before 9/11 flight crews were instructed to cooperate with the hijackers. No one had ever used an airplane as a missle to attack another target before, so the conventional wisdom was to cooperate, get the plane on the ground and try to save the passengers. Unless Nader has some psychic powers that he has never before displayed, there would have been no reason for him to change the policy on dealing with a hijacking situation (and he hasn't - at least so far - claimed that he would have). So that reinforced cockpit door would have been opened up, in accordance with airline policy, when the hijackers took hostages and threatened to kill them.

But perhaps Nader would have prevented the anger in the Arab street by getting the Senate to approve the Kyoto Protocols. He could have used the same skills that he used to persuade about two percent of the American electorate to vote for him in 2000 to convice 67 of the 95 senators who voted against Kyoto during the Clinton Administration to vote for it now. And, of course, we all remember how many times Al Qaida has bitterly reminded us of our failure to ratify Kyoto don't we.....we'll I can't find any specific mention of it but Democrats and the Europeans constantly bring it up as a reason why "they" hate us so it must be true, right?


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