20030327

Well, it seems almost silly and pointless to bash Michael Moore, given that he got booed quite forcefully by HOLLYWOOD.

Still, though, I can't resist when I come across something like this. David Edelstein says:
"Nothing has ever shaken my faith in my own politics like having Michael Moore in the same camp."


Everyone should take note of this background article about the Kurds, by one of my personal heros Robert Kaplan. Keep in mind this was written in 1987, before OUR first Gulf War.
Perched on isolated slopes, amid oak and mountain ash, Kurdish guerrillas known as pesh mergas ("those who are prepared to die") have in recent years wiped out whole units of Turkish and Iraqi soldiers and Iranian revolutionary guards.

As the first row of domed, yellowy hills appeared on the horizon, rippling upward from the desert floor in northeastern Iraq, my Kurdish driver glanced back at the desert, sucked his tongue in disdain, and said, "Arabistan." Then, looking toward the hills, he murmured, "Kurdistan," and his eyes lit up.

The article provides some key insight into the very special land nad people there, and why this is a unique problem that has never been solved by state lines and governments before.

20030321

Found this via Instapundit. William Saletan of Slate on today's UN SEcurity Council meetings:
Fischer and de Villepin have declared passionately for months that war would be wrong and that their governments wouldn't stand for it. So what are they doing about it, now that it's started? The same thing they did about Saddam Hussein's rearmament: nothing. Sloth and cowardice, it turns out, are as agreeable to American aggression as to Iraqi aggression.
"The Security Council has not failed," Fischer told fellow council members. "The Security Council has made available the instruments to disarm Iraq peacefully. The Security Council is not responsible for what is happening outside the U.N."
Wait, let's hear that again. The Security Council is not responsible for what is happening outside the U.N.
And to think some people said the United Nations was useless.
If the peace movement had sounded more like Michael Kinsley, some people might have listened. He's witty, reasonable-sounding, and most importantly, focused on a few strong points with sound arguments.
FROG!

Orson Scott Card has my new favorite acronym:
And not one word from France, Russia, or Germany (FROG) suggests....


20030318

You simply must listen to this radio interview. An Iraqi caller has questions for a peace activist...

about 2.5 MB, 6min, mp3
France, Germany, Iraq dismiss British compromise

nothing else to say, really.

pointed out by Steven Den Beste
The Speech Last Night

I thought it was, well, frankly, pretty good. Not his best, but OK.

I liked his direct appeal to the Iraqi people. I don't think there'd been enough public stress on that.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.


Also interesting to note that he demanded that Saddam and his sons leave dodge, not the whole regime.
War and Politics

Clausewitz: "War is politics pursued by other means."

But is Saddam sane enough to to be pursuing politics anymore?

Certianly, he has manipulated the world quite successfully into prolonging the pre-war setup practically indefinitely, and partyl responsible for changing the rules of the gmae of who needs to prove what...

Even better was Saddam's relentless launching of SCUD missiles into Israel during the 1991 war. His goal: Piss off the Israelis enough to retaliate and the whole region explodes, with Saddam as it's leader, despite the fact that he attacked first...

But then again, he gassed Iran. He gassed the Kurds. OK, OK, I know, everyone hates the Kurds anyways, but gassing Iran has no political benefits whatsoever that I can see.

Does this mean that Saddam has a certain snapping point, a moment where political reason, albeit through war, fails altogether?
What is this war about?

A war in Iraq isn't about vengeance.

A war in Iraq will not yield UBL.

A war in Iraq for the love of god isn't about oil.

A war in Iraq isn't about taking out a man that has killed 10 million
Iranians with Chemical Weapons.

A war in Iraq isn't about taking out a man that has killed hundreds of
thousands of his own people with Chemical Weapons.

A war in Iraq isn't about freedom for the people of Baghdad

A war in Iraq isn't about freedom for the Kurds. No one likes the Kurds
anyways.

A war in Iraq isn't even about righting the previous wrongs of America,
the wrongs that kept SH in power and gave him arms during the 1980s.

A war in Iraq is about fixing a fundamental instability that thrives
throughout the Middle East. It's about taking advantage of a morally
justified opportunity to straighten out one central and historically
powerful land area in the heart of the Arab world, presenting
opportunities to rectify the rampant political systems that oppresses
people, breeds hate, allows or encourages terrorism not just in the US but
throughout the world.

That's right. A war in Iraq is about fixing the fucking Israel-Palestine
issue. It's about letting women out in public and letting them drive in
Saudi Arabia. It's about freeing Jordan from threats from it's neighbors
so it can continue to modernize. It's about a regional political and
economic modernization.

Why?

Because rich free happy people don't bomb other people.

Because rich free happy people make the rest of the world richer, freer,
and happier.

Because it's the right thing to do.

20030313

WRT last post.... And I even went to Jefferson's school, too.

anyways, i'm in a silly mood now.


What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Scorched Earth Tank.I am a Scorched Earth Tank.


When I have a mission, it consumes me; I will not be satisfied until the job is done. I have a strong sense of duty, and a strong sense of direction. Changes in the tide don't phase me - I always know which way the wind blows, and I know how to compensate for it. I get on poorly with people like myself. What Video Game Character Are You?

Jefferson
Libertarian - You believe that the main use for
government is for some people to lord it over
others at their expense. You maintain that the
government should be as small as possible, and
that civil liberties, "victimless
crimes", and gun ownership should be basic
rights. You probably are OK with capitalism.
Your historical role model is Thomas Jefferson.


Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Was browsing through Samizdata and got to a bit of ranting in reference of Dale Amon's posting:
According to a poll taken in the last few days, 71% of Americans just want to get the damn thing done and over with.


And what about the rest of the world? Similar sentiment? I'm stuck here in DC, and apart from the occasional Taxi driver, I don't get too much exposure to people actually living in various other countries (as opposed to being from other countries).

And what's with the polls in GBR? I see variations upwards of 30% sometimes, e.g., if Bush gets the backing of the UN, some say 45%, some say 75% of Brits would support the war on Iraq... +/- 4% margin, of course.

Heck, while I'm ranting.... I'm sick and tired of the term "War On Iraq."

Propose a change: "War In Iraq."

We're not fighting the Iraqi people. We're not really liberating them either. We're fighting some dude who happens to live in, control, authoratize, and hide within Iraq.

20030312

I don't even know what to say (for once)

The Guardian reports that the illegal Iraqi drone:

appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.


Someone's delusional here. Technically, it could be the US, but I suspect it's the Guardian.

Note also that the Guardian thinks Blix is on the wrong side of the debate, a view commonly held by the hawk crowd:

Blix mentioned the drone in a 173-page written list of outstanding questions about Iraq's weapons programs last week. While small, Blix said, drones can be used to spray biological warfare agents such as anthrax. He said the drone hadn't been declared by Iraq to inspectors.



20030307

Steven Den Beste responds to Walt Pohl's open letter to him, and ends up with a very well-written article addressing the fact that no, the impending war with Iraq is NOT about retaliation.

Germany had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, but American involvement in WWII had nothing to do with revenge. Yes, many individual citizens were motivated by revenge, and on a political level that is what made war possible. But the US government got involved in the war to remove the danger we faced, and the primary danger was Nazi Germany.


and also:

But that's not the real reason. We are taking Iraq for the same reason we took Morocco: to use it as a staging ground for further operations in the overall war.


and my last quote:

That doesn't mean "Kill! Kill! Kill!" It doesn't mean we solve our problem with Arab failure by killing all the Arabs. If that was what we wanted to do, the war would have ended about a week after the September 11 attack, after which most of the Arab world would have been converted to radioactive glass.


Read the whole thing. Recall my earlier ranting about how this is really about the Whole Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Iran, followed by Israel and Palestine. This is the direction we're heading towards.