2/15/2003

NATO Replacement I just had an idea and I thought I would share it. Given the current state of Europe the United States should dissolve NATO, pull its bases out of Germany and site them in, say, Poland and sign a new treaty with our European Allies. They might like to consider calling the new grouping.... The Warsaw Pact.
AN APPROPRIATE CARTOON FOR TODAY From "Black & White World" via Little Green Footballs.
A VERY BRITISH POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT By Andrew Ian Dodge (additional material by "Tom Paine") [This is an unusual experiment - a jointly written post, put up simultaneously on two different blogs. Yeah, we both need to get out more...] We now go to Andrew Marr outside of Parliament. ”It has been an extraordinary day here in Westminster. We have not seen scenes like this for a rather long time. In an unprecedented step to end the British support for the war over half of the Parliamentary Labour Party have formed a new grouping in Parliament”. “They no longer support the Prime Minister after he was unable to secure a second UN resolution on Iraq. Led by veteran MPs John Prescott and Glenda Jackson , the group intends to cause a new election”. The Prime Minister’s reaction has been swift. He immediately approached Tory Leader Iain Duncan Smith in order to form a government of national unity with the Tories and Ulster Unionists. Iain Duncan Smith has found himself in the position of Deputy Prime Minister”. “When Parliament reconvenes tomorrow for Prime Ministers’ question time you will see the Tory Party and the UUP sitting on the government benches along with the loyal Labour Party members who remained with their leader”. ”In retaliation for the call for a vote of no confidence, Prime Minister Tony Blair has instructed his whips to withdraw the whip from any rebel Labour MP”. In a terse statement Downing Street said “In a time of war it is disgraceful to see some Labour Party members trying to pursue their own agenda. Under the current level of threat it is unconscionable for colleagues to undermine this government”. Dennis Skinner scowled “We always knew he was a closet Tory. We now see his true colours”. Mr Skinner went on to called for fresh elections as well as investigation into the constitutional legality of the move. This crisis was of course caused by the refusal of the French to support the new resolution on Iraq. The French with the Russians have waged a campaign against the stance of the PM and US President George W Bush towards Iraq. Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, interviewed a few minutes ago outside Downing Street had this to say. “I was very happy to accept the Prime Minister’s invitation to be his deputy. As you well known the Conservative Party has stood behind the Prime Minister’s efforts to free Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. We support his efforts to protect the UK from terrorist attacks. The tanks on the streets may seem extreme but I am confident the measures are necessary”. When asked about the reasons for the crisis, Mr Duncan Smith answered “My concern is not the inner turmoil of the Parliamentary Labour Party but what is best for the nation. It is unfortunate that colleagues felt unable to support their leader but we most move on. This situation demonstrates the flexibility of our Parliament and shows its strength not its weakness”. As you can imagine, Tories cannot not believe their luck. There have been a few rogue voices among some of the Tory Grandees though. Former Prime Minster Edward Heath has issued a terse statement condemning the move and lamenting the lack of unity on this issue in Europe. It was signed by fellow Europhiles Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd. Tony Blair tonight is confident that he has seen off the threat to his leadership and claims he is not worried by the current situation. Our parliamentary correspondent reports that Prime Minister’s Question time tomorrow is likely to be a very lively affair. For more on the crisis, join Jeremy Paxman on BBC2 in a few moments when his guests will include John Prescott, David Davis and Harold Pinter. After that, we will be screening “Islam: Empire of Faith”, followed by “A Very British Coup”, a re-run of Terry Jones’ series on the impact of the Crusades on the Middle East, and then the seventh repeat this month of “Palestine is Still the Question” by John Pilger. In an unrelated development, the BBC would like to announce that “Stars on Sunday” is to be revived, however it will be broadening its appeal to the public, by dumping it’s usual array of elderly singing stars and Welsh choirs, and instead will be bringing you the best Friday sermons from the Arab world, Q’ran recitations from Bradford, and instructions on how to make nerve gas in your kitchen, courtesy of the BBC’s new religious affairs advisor, Abu Hamza, formerly of the Finsbury Park Mosque. And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow morning, when we’ll be crossing live to Smithfield for the first public stonings ordered by Britain’s brand new Sharia Court, funded by the Multi-Cultural Outreach Centre of the Greater London Council. Next week we’re off to Oxford for the burning at the stake of the Chief Rabbi and the last Anglican priest who claims to believe in God. BBC2 would like to wish our viewers a happy Eid, and we’ll see you again after the break, inshallah. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, that’s the end of the news.
HERE'S A NEW BUTTON FOR YOUR SITE
Animated GIF: Free Iraq
Get it at Crazy Joe Katzman's International House of Good Causes!
Nelson looked outside his window in Paris, and took some pictures:



OK, problem solved: it turns out Belgium is a hoax! Thanks, Leo.
DISTURBING NEWS FROM THE FRONT Lt Smash has a guy in his reserves unit current stationed somewhere hot and sandy who, to be honest, might be better off strapped down on a bed in a secure ward somewhere a long way away from anything that might conceiveably go "bang".

As it turns out, Tom has a whole menu of personal issues, including a recent painful divorce, a run-in with law enforcement, and a diagnosed case of clinical depression. Tom was acting strangely, and was displaying a little bit of a short temper that surfaced under stressful conditions. I asked a few of his fellow augmentees if they had any insights into his behavior, and that's when the stories started to emerge. (Memo to the personnel folks back in the rear: please don't send me anyone who will create more work for me than he actually performs). Tom had stopped taking his medication, because he "ran out and couldn't get a refill." I sent him to a doc for a psych eval. The doc said to "keep him away from the weapons" until he has "stabilized" and could be "re-evaluated." Needless to say, this somewhat limits his usefulness in a potential war zone.

Well, yes, quite. And they say the English are the masters of understatement.
FISKING JONI MITCHELL It's a slow news day over at Bleeding Brain, where they're ripping into 1960s pop-sociology with a vengance. And the emphasis is definitely on the Pop.

Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Late last night I heard the screen door slam. And a big yellow taxi took away my old man. Don't it always seem to go A cryptic non-sequitur but wait...... she has a door? Didn't that door come from 'paradise'? Was that door not a majestic old growth tree hosting a myriad of endangered species at one time? What about the taxi? A carbon-burning taxi covered in yellow toxic surface coating providing transportation for her family members? Maybe the ‘taxi’ had red and blue lights on the roof. Maybe the old man had some ‘trees’ in his ‘museum’ in the basement. Maybe you had to pay $1.50 just to smoke 'em.

I think we'll be seeing Laurence Simon dissecting "Saturday Night Fever" for anti-capitalist bias, and Chris Textor whacking "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" next. If you haven't worked it out already, we're all just sitting here WAITING FOR GEORGE TO GET THE LEAD OUT! Any more delays, and I'll be tempted to launch a fisking of The Epic of Gilgamesh the likes of which the world has never seen....
I WASN'T EVEN IN ISRAEL DURING GULF WAR I BUT THIS STILL FREAKS ME OUT Gil Shterzer provides this link to an utterly chilling recording of a missile attack warning on Israeli radio in 1991. Be warned, if suddenly hearing "Nahash Tzeffa" and a deeply unsettling siren is likely to give you an unpleasant flashback, don't listen to this. A translation is available here.

2/14/2003

People of New Zealand, your attention please. Some of you have elected to let the John Minto's & Keith Lockes of the world do your thinking for you. Again I express my opposition the health cuts leading to the release of the mentally ill into the community. I wish to give you all a small reminder. . The scroll reads: IF YOU EVER NEED A FRIEND YOU HAVE ONE It is located on the Wellington water front next to the Wahine Memorial, you can't miss it unless you make the effort to look the other way. Pity some of you don't seem to think its a reciprocal arrangement. Just out of interest, more than a few of you are actually descended from these very same Marines even if you don't know it. That's all, you can get back to your latte' now.
FYI I am under the impression that many in the blogosphere and the larger media are missing an important point, so I'd like to make sure it is clarified. The latest decision of the Belgian court is not only about Sharon. In fact, Sharon is off the hook now, since he enjoys diplomatic immunity. The truly problematic part of that decision is about Amos Yaron, who commanded the IDF forces in Beirut at the time of the Sabra and Chattila massacre, and who is now facing the possibility of being prosecuted. He does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, as do not any IDF soldiers who may become targets of similar prosecutions in the future. And I have no doubt that the Belgians would not miss an opportunity to apply this to American soldiers as well, should it arise.
Not sure if you need a clue?
Take this simple test and find out! (via VodkaPundit)
Last ditch manuevering Saddam Decrees Ban of WMD
Saddam ordered his ministers to take all necessary measures to implement the decree and the Iraqi parliament was scheduled to meet shortly to rubberstamp approve the latest subterfuge legislation The Iraqi News Agency (INA) earlier said Saddam had chaired a meeting of stooges top officials to lie again and say the country had no biological, chemical or nuclear arms that they haven't hidden -- but would be more than willing to sacrifice lots of unwilling draftees as potential cannon fodder fight anyone who attacked. "Those meeting...wanted to confuse the issue assure those whom are useful idiots and will help save our butts it may concern in our captive pool of victims great people, nation and gullible loonbats humanity that Iraq is free of the so-called weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and we should all now re-focusing on helping OJ find the 'real killers'" INA said. "They are desperately hoping totally confident that this fig leaf of a lie distracts from the issue of cover (banned weapons) is over and the aggressors can't use it as a damn good reason pretext or an imperative an excuse in front of the weasels Security Council to make it a cover for kicking our asses like we deserve aggression," INA said.
WMDs banned? Fine. Pull them all out of storage, line them up, point them out to the inspectors, and lets start destroying them. You have 24 hours.
Nelson writes: Hello. A friend of mine who happens to be an excellent poet and an excellent person sent me a text against the war written by Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia, and asked me to move it further if I agreed with it. After following closely all the posturing of so many of my most mediocre colleagues in the Anglo-Saxon world and elsewhere, I have to confess that his mail, by an admirable poet, left me pretty saddened. I deplore the standpoint taken by almost all poets I admire, but I will continue to admire their work as far as it continues to deserve literary, poetic and esthetic admiration. I'm under no illusion, however, that the professional differentiation I will go on making between the other poets' works and their politics will be neither reciprocated nor extended to poets like me who, because they see the political landscape of the world in other terms, are, I'm in no doubt about it, in the absolute minority in the literary community. On the other hand, it is also true that I couldn't care less about it. Here is the answer I sent him today. All best Nelson Ascher Paris " Having lived in a military dictatorship myself and knowing through my parents about their experience with much worse dictatorships (fascist and communist Hungary, Nazi Germany), having seen innocent people murdered by religious fanatics in NY, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Indonesia etc., having visited synagogues burned down recently in Europe, and after having seen below my own Parisian window people marching with openly anti-Semitic slogans, I think you'll understand me if I'll ask you a small favor. It is the following: please direct me to sites where I can find poets fighting against tyranny, dictatorship, Muslim fundamentalism, fascistic Arab nationalism, against people who praise and/or promote the intentional murder of civilians because, for instance, they are Americans, Australians, Brits, Jews. I'd like to know if there is any site with poets fighting for justice for the Kurds and the punishment of those guilty for their massacre. I'd also like to know if there's any site where poets write and fight against the bizarre and sadistic North Korean dictatorship. Once I had dinner with script writer Jean Claude Carriere and a friend of his, an exiled Iranian writer with whom he translated medieval Persian poetry into French. They both explained to me that the only way to imagine the Iranian parliament would be to think of an European one where there'd be places only for bishops and cardinals. Surely, thus, in the US there must also be sites with poets fighting against such a regime. Am I wrong? I'd also like to know if there's any site with poets writing about the crimes of the Belgians, older ones like Congo, more recent ones, like the murder of Patrice Lumumba, and pretty new ones, like their guilt in the genocide in Rwanda. By the way, any chance of finding a web site with poets protesting against Russian crimes in Chechnya, Chinese ones in Tibet, French ones all over Africa, the French backing of military dictatorship in Algeria, the Rwandan genocide, and their military intervention in the Ivory Coast? A country with so many excellent poets like the US surely has poets worrying about all these things, doesn't it? Humbly, I myself, in Brazil, had time to write in my newspaper against so many tyrants, from Pinochet to Castro, I had also time to write about all the massacres perpetrated in the Arab world besides Sabra and Chattila. So, I believe, there must be lots of poets writing and protesting against all of this. I cannot imagine that thousands of poets are obsessed only with writing about Bush or trying to save one more tyrant's skin. Coming to think of it, I can remember many great poets who wrote in praise of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Mao, for god's sake, even Enver Hodja. But I find it not only hard to remember any who wrote against any of the above without in the same breath praising some of the others, but I don't remember any great poet who wrote consistently good odes in praise of good old bourgeois democracy. But maybe I'll find the site for which they've been writing. As a Trotskyite since my teens I cannot but fight fascism, be it black, red or green. Oh yes, I do know about things that are worse than war: my two grandfathers and my paternal grandmother, I'm sure, would have loved the chance to die fighting in a war instead of being killed in the way they were. "
So True
(Via Instapundit)
Arafat to select Puppet Prime Minister
Speaking to the only group that still talks to him, reporters, Arafat announced he's decided to name a Prime Minister.
"I have decided to appoint a prime minister," Arafat told reporters. "I will call for an immediate meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council ... to discuss this decision and to take the needed measures." It was not clear how long it might take for the new position to be created and filled.
Take as long as you'd like, guys. Once you settle on a name, get him to work on that stack of papers on Arafat's desk. LGF readers, nay the world, have waited far too long for some movement from that damned red binder. In the midst of the PR frenzy, mouthpiece Saeb Erakat mentioned
"President Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have proven their real intention to resume the peace process."
Which in a sense they have, every time a bus or pizza parlor is attacked, or settler's children are shot up during bedtime story hour. Aside from highlighting another name for Reuter's to suck up to for 'breaking drivel', again, Arafat and the PA avoid the one action most likely to aid in bringing a negotiated settlement and an end to the violence. Its a complicated, difficult concept, but I'll try to make it simple enough even for an EUnuch to understand - Stop killing Israelis.
THE FIRST RAT JUMPS SHIP? Is this the first swallow of spring? Admittedly this is from Debka, which has a rather mixed record, but they seem fairly sure about this, and it's certainly well within the realm of possibility. Lets see if other senior Baathists take the hint and get out of Dodge before the Marshal arrives with his posse.

Adib Shaaban, the right hand of Saddam Hussein’s powerful son Uday, has defected. DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports exclusively that this key member of Saddam Hussein’s administration, who was charged with his son’s most sensitive missions, traveled to Jeddah at the beginning of this week, saying he needed to put through some gold transactions ahead of the war. From Jeddah, he flew to Beirut and… disappeared. US intelligence sources report that Shaaban never really went to Beirut. He made his way under cover to Damascus Monday and was picked up by an unmarked plane for an unknown destination.

He's in a deep hole near Quantico, Virginia, where's he's helping several teams of burly men with their enquiries, if I'm any judge.
FOR AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE... ...here are some young people who aren't getting sucked in by the hype: Students For War.
SLOGANS R US There is a BIG anti-war demonstration going on two blocks from me here in the centre of Melbourne, and I paused on my way home from work to watch the crowd march down to Federation Square from the State Library. I took a few notes on some of the less sensible protest slogans, and here they are.

No war = No terrorism

Which is funny, because I rather got the impression war had been declared on us. Perhaps it's only a war if we decide to fight back. What's it called when there's a war and one side refuses to fight? That's right - a massacre.

Subsonic Sonar is a weapon of mass destruction

Actually it's an experimental system designed to detect submarines at long range, but thanks for trying anyway.

There is a better way - we must find it

So you admit you have no clue what it is then? It exists because you believe it ought to? That's your best shot?

Read some facts [with a picture of John Pilger's book "New Rulers Of The World"

I'd love to read some facts, but as Tim Blair has pointed out at some length, you won't find any in THAT piece of dreck!

USA paid Taliban $74 million in July 2001. Original Bush plan - "Terror Attacks" Sept 2001. ???

???

I bet the collective were up all night working on that killingly satirical flag. Wow, it's like Australia is being run by the US! Just goes to show you what fifteen Sociology majors can achieve if they put their heads together. And take enough bong hits.

Do You Think We're Fucking Stupid?

Based on the evidence so far, I'd go with "Yes".

War With Iraq is Hypocracy

Handy Hints #264: A dictionary is a book containing words in alphabetical order - including their correct spellings!

Axis of Evil = Suckhole Howard, Wanker Shrub, Phony Tony

Oh weak you guys...seriously weak. Verging on lame.

Disarm America

Ok. Off you go then.

"Don't worry about American pressure, we control America - Ariel Sharon

And it was at this point my sense of humour nipped out the back for a long walk. And when, with sinking heart, I saw "Jews For a Just Peace" heave into view, I left. I signed up for the Australian Jewish Democratic Society as soon as I got to Melbourne, and have been on their mailing list ever since. If you'll excuse me, I have a resignation letter to write.

2/13/2003

Welcome Instapundit readers. Please feel free to make yourselves at home and join in with the comments. Also note our shop is open featuring our famous "No Tree Huggers" logo. Go on buy a mug and help keep me off the street. Seriously, say something, having 5,000 people come through and not say anything freaks us out.
Mon Dieu! Some of them actually GET IT!?!?!
Samizdata has the story. Lactose intolerance, or functioning brain cells, tough call. Great cartoon.
Cross Platform OS Level Input Interface
One direction only, so far. Tired of using a Keyboard and Mouse? Slow typist? A solution is emerging. A solution likely to scare the bejeebus out of a lot of people. And potentially make GHR even faster... The proposed initial applications are extremely crude, but the potential is quite intriguing. Just to get it over with, I'll go ahead and use the phrase/label now - Borg.
Today in History, Diggers. On this day (Feb 14th) in 1915 Te Hokowhitu a Tu, the 1st N.Z. Maori contingent embarked for service overseas. Of the 509 that boarded the SS. Warrimoo 477 are listed in the Marching in State at Anzac 3.7.15. Of those 477 the Marching out State, Evacuation Anzac shows 2 Officers, 132 Rank & File. Many requests were made for the contingent to be a fighting unit, however under Imperial command they were classified as the N.Z. (Maori) Pioneer Battalion. Due the high casualties in Gallipoli this classification meant little and the contingent played a more than active roll in the fighting. During the Suvla landings in August the contingent, mixed in with the mounted rifles preceded the New Zealand advance on the heights. The progress being measured by the cry of “kamate kamate” as Te Rauparahas haka became a battle call. After Gallipoli the Battalion saw service in France where; The New Zealander Pioneers’ work in building the communication trenches – first ‘Turk Lane’ and then its companion ‘Fish Alley’ – would earn them the sobriquet the ‘Diggers’. The British units they served coined the term on account of the pioneers’ exploits as the ‘Digging Battalion’. ‘Digger’ was adopted by the rest of the New Zealand Division in 1916. By 1917 the name had spread from the New Zealand Division to the Australian Divisions in the two ANZAC Corps (somewhat ironically, it might be said, for the Australians never set great store by the pick and shovel, and this was always a cause of complaint when the Pioneers’ took over from an Australian unit!). From: Te Hokowhitu A Tu by Christopher Pugsley ISBN 0 7900 0398 8 At the end of the war in November 1918, the colours of the Maori Pioneer Battalion replaced the German Imperial Eagle over the captured town of Le Quesnoy. 2,227 Maori and 458 Pacific Islanders fought during WW1, 336 died on active service and 734 were wounded. Decorations: DSO 3 MC 9 DCM 4 MM 38 MSM 9 MHS 1 CdG(French) 4 CdG(Belgim) 5 BM(Italian) 1 CoK 2nd Class (Serbian) 1 OotWE 5th class (Serbian) 2

2/12/2003

Welcome Imperial Subjects
Our compliments, and thanks, to His Imperial Highness.
Briefing Items
Today's briefing items consists of two topics, and are not in standard Powerpoint format:First item is for information only. Second item hopefully will not be testable, but should be reviewed for applicable information. No duty roster changes from last published version. PT previously scheduled has been cancelled for lack of interest, members should exercise at their own discretion. Consult your local command for current threat levels at your installation, if not visibly posted. Have a nice day.
Tantrum in progress
It is if they are itching for a fight, any fight, that they can win. If there isn't a legitimate one, then make one up. This seems to be the syndrome afflicting the Democratic Party, particularly in the Senate. Today, they begin a filibuster in opposition to the nomination of Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. For those readers unfamiliar with US Senatorial procedure, a filibuster is basically one Senator claiming the floor to speak, and then speaking as long as possible, about anything and everything if he chooses, to delay action on a measure he or she opposes. If there is a genuine difference of opinion on an issue, this is at least one way of bringing attention to it, and possibly allowing the 'debate' to swing to one's position. In this case, however, the only attention this move will garner is to highlight their growing detachment from reality, via the thinly disguised political mud wrestling that has been the hallmark of Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Charles Shumer, as encouraged by Senate minority leader Tom Daschle in their handling of selected Bush judicial appointments. People seemed shocked that President Bush immediately re-submitted two candidates rejected by the Democratically controlled Judicial Committee under the chairmanship of Leahy. They shouldn't be. Examination of the objections raised by the Democrats in either voting those nominations down, or holding them up from a full vote in the Senate show them to be straight party line tussles, with the objections based on innuendo, speculation, and various other manufactured issues. Bush had nothing to lose in re-visiting those confrontations, and allowing the Democrats to come out in full stridency with their half baked attacks. The current situation is a bonus. Who knew they'd be so irrational as to go into full tantrum mode over the first nominee out of the chute? And against this particular nominee! Nothing but praise, with the exception of some wishy-washy assertions by a former supervisor, who incidentally wrote glowing performance evaluations of his charge during the time period in question. By all other bipartisan accounts, given readily in his support, Estrada not only walks on water, he invented the concept of putting oxygen and hydrogen together. No allegations of off color remarks about hairs on soda cans. No 'guilt by association' because his early professional career was spent in a Southern State, so he 'must be' a closet racist deep in the dark recesses of his heart. Nope. Their gripe is voiced in public as his lack of response to questions they didn't ask, and the release of internal DOJ correspondence that have not only never before been requested, but the release of which is opposed by every living former US Solicitor General, four Democrats, and three Republicans. Sure to be dismissed out of hand as 'biased', White House Counsel Albert Gonzales pretty well points out how ridiculous the stated opposition is, in this response found via The Corner, as posted here by Howard Bashman. The only hope that the Democrats have of not taking a serious beating over this is that six of their members will join in a vote of cloture, to stop the circus, before this drags on long enough for every news organization in the country to begin focusing on them showing off their case of the ass in public. These guys are pathetic, and its a damn good thing they aren't in charge of anything more complicated or important than putting on matching socks in the morning, because they probably have problems doing that, too.
SENATUS POPULUS QUE ROMANUS Should we all just take a 'lude, toke on a bit fat doobie and relax on the beach with a six-pack and "Jenny From The Block" pumping through the headphones? With the European Union shattering before our eyes, the UN going hurtling down the gurgler live on CNN, and the start of what could be some sort of Western Civil Cold War, not to mention that whole war in Iraq thing, should we perhaps just take things less seriously. Should we, in fact, try to just get over it? "I lost my squadron over Macho Grande." "Over Macho Grande?" "Oh, I don't think I'll ever be over Macho Grande". There's a fascinating bit of speculation going on at USS Clueless about how we all got to this point. Stephen DenBeste is wondering if this is partly some sort of cross-cultural miscalculation. Perhaps America and "old Europe" are simply talking at cross purposes, and no-one actually meant for things to have spiralled out of control like this. Well tough titties, because they have and it's WAY too late for any apologies. Apparently there's some delusional school of thought in Paris which believes that a last-minute change of stance and the offer of the Charles DeGaulle carrier battle group in the war will be greeted with a fanfare, streamers and a bit wet sloppy kiss. To be honest, I won't be in the least bit surprised if Rumsfeld instead announces that if the Charles DeGaulle enters the Gulf, it will be instantly sunk as a presumed enemy asset. Would YOU want a French unit on your flank? Ever? It seems it's all America's fault, and what's needed is for someone to loan George Bush a dime so he can call someone wqith a sense of perspective. Here's what we all ought to do, according to some pathetic slag from London.

If anyone had told me, in the autumn of 2001, that we were less than 18 months away from what might become the world's first nuclear war, I would have thought they were insane. In the half century since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no one has been that reckless or indeed that stupid – even, or so I thought, the Bush White House. Then came the twin towers and everything changed overnight, to the point where we find ourselves apparently on the threshold of a terrifying conflict in the Middle East. So the question I am going to ask, at the risk of causing great offence, is this: when is the US going to get over the events of 11 September?

I can't answer for the United States, I'm not an American, But I am a Westerner, a Jew, a citizen of a democratic state and a free man, and here's my estimate of when I'll be over September 11th. Never. September 11th saw Western civilisation the victim of a sneak attack by barbarians with absolutely no sense of honour. They targeted innocent civillians. All they deserve from us is a swift death. There will be no discussions, no negotiations, no bargains. And absolutely no Danegeld. This, I think, is what the oh-so sophisticated European political/media/academic elites fail to understand. They have been buying off terrorists for years, strengthening an enemy which holds them in utter contempt and intends to destroy them as soon as it has taken care of Israel and the United States. It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation, but as Kipling observes, it doesn't work!

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation, For fear they should succumb and go astray, So when you are requested to pay up or be molested, You will find it better policy to says:— “We never pay any one Dane-geld, No matter how trifling the cost, For the end of that game is oppression and shame, And the nation that plays it is lost!”

Not immediately perhaps, but in the long run. As far as France is concerned, that long run has come to a sickening end. Here. Now. This is a fight for the survival of civilisation against barbarism, and anyone who is not prepared to defend civilisation is objectively allying with its enemies.No nuances, no polished phrases, no diplomatic initiatives, and no concessions. Here are some new words to try. War. Victory. In the First Century, Varus led three Roman legions into an ambush in the Teutoburger Forest, where the Germanic tribes under Arminius destroyed them utterly. Civilised troops cut to pieces by barbarians. Augustus never entirely recovered from the shock, and Rome never again seriously attempted to occupy Germania. It was a mistake. A few hundred years later, German tribes destroyed a cynical, sophisticated, complacent Rome, which never seriously thought such a fate could befall her. More was lost in the Teutoburger Wald than three Eagles though. What Arminius did was to take the Germanic tribes out of history. Roman learning, culture and the benefits of a burgeoning world civilisation were never available to the barbarians, and so they remained sunk in darkness, ignorance and superstition. Civilisation suffered a double setback, in losing three Legions, and in the loss of a potential Roman province. Who knows what the energy of the Germanic tribes might have achieved if it had been harnessed to better goals than useless slaughter? What if German children had learned Latin and Greek, read Homer and Ovid, and taken their place in the community of peoples? We will never know. What did happen was that the descendants of the tribes destroyed Rome and ushered in the Dark Ages. Today, the world is smaller. But there is a group of barbarians who defy the right of civilisation to exist, and intend to destroy that which they will not understand. The Islamofascists realise that Western culture, values and habits are attractive. Left to it's own devices, Western culture will simply continue to spread. Already, they can feel it colonising the minds of their own people, and this they cannot tolerate. Their world view is narrow, and cannot countenance the possibility of defeat, or even change, in the Islamic world. So from their perspective, they MUST attack, because they know we are attacking them where they are most vulnerable - the minds of their children. We should not misunderstand their determination. They believe they have God on their side, a God who has promised them ultimate victory. When I was in the United States last year, I toured the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia. I saw row upon row of grim, grey battlewagons, aircraft carriers, marine landing ships, frigates...more firepower than Satan and greater influence than God was compressed into a very small place. And that was just one base on the East Coast. I haven't been to San Diego or Pearl Harbour or any of the other naval bases, but there's a lot more where that came from. I saw F-15s on the flight line at the nearby air base, and stood under a B-52 mounted on a BIG stand. No Judean princeling on an educational visit to Rome could have been more impressed by the glittering pilums and discipline of the Praetorian Guard than I was that day at Norfolk. Good god, there was more potential firepower on the mothballed USS Wisconsin that my country's entire Navy posesses! Where does that power come from? Did America steal it? It it the result of global opression? No - it is the result of freedom, democracy, rule of law and a lot of hard work. If there's a magic formula, that's it. Not really a secret. Essentially, the source of America's power is civilisation itself. There is no limit to what free citizens can achieve. And THAT'S what's at stake here! THAT'S what the Europeans don't get! America isn't under attack because of what it's done wrong, but for what it's done right. This IS a war for the survival of civilisation itself. Any compromise, any negotiation, any danegeld at all would mean civilisation retreating in the face of a relentless, ruthless, and savage enemy. This time, let's not let the Eagles rot in a German forest. Let's lead the Legions across the Rhine and destroy barbarianism itself! The great-grandchildren of the barbarians will thank us, and we will have made ourselves safer. There was a time when Roman mothers would urge their sons to return from military service either with their sheilds or on them. In time, this practice declined. So did the Empire.
Oppressor! Squashing my dissent!
By doing just what I've been doing! The bastages! Oh please. An International programming note, coming soon, the hit new reality-TV show 'Spittle Fest', starring Simon Crean and Tom Daschle, in an all out no flecks barred tantrum-mania. Or will they be upset by impetulent no-name two year old contestants denied a candy bar? Stay tuned....

2/11/2003

Dead Poet Understands Current Events! The Revolt of Islam Canto IV; Stanza XXV `There is a plain beneath the City's wall, Bounded by misty mountains, wide and vast; Millions there lift at Freedom's thrilling call Ten thousand standards wide; they load the blast Which bears one sound of many voices past, And startles on his throne their sceptred foe; He sits amid his idle pomp aghast, And that his power hath passed away, doth know— Why pause the victor swords to seal his overthrow? By Percy Bysshe Shelley - 1818
Ms. Yourish, PETA on line 3
Something about inducing emotional stress in defenseless small birds. Cat Food? Indeed.
Schroeder's trip home is Germany's way forward
Hey kids, everybody loves Gerhard! So much so that they're sending him a 9 foot by 18 foot One-Way Train Ticket Home. Seems another 10,000 sent in a 'last shirt for Scroeder' due to his perceived wish to tear the shirts off their backs with taxes. Is this guy on a roll or what? Tanking the German Economy, and pissing off the European and American neighbors. Can't be said that his administration isn't accomplishing something, but likewise, it can't be said that anything it has accomplished is good.
“All Indonesians should be proud of what we achieved here” These are the words of the second man arrested for the Bali bombings. What they achieved was the wholesale slaughter of innocent people. Some of you have praised Indonesia for its efforts in bringing terrorists to trial, you are fools, they are numbered among the most dangerous of our enemies. From the time they invaded East Timor and began sicking reign of terror included the hunting down and murdering of Australian and New Zealand journalists to the not so covert attempts to influence the independence vote in East Timor with more terror and murder. This nation has shown it self to be among the worst in the world. They are showing their true colours again. The quote came from the televised presentation by the second man accused of the Bali bombing in which he was presented as a celebrity. With hand shakes all round and free reign to say what he liked. Which was to tell all listening that the United States and her allies were the true terrorists. Because we came and took your guns away from you and rammed democracy down your throats? He went on to give a full demonstration of how to assemble both a personal bomb and a remote device like the ones he assembled for Bali. He gave full attention to how the wiring should be run through the vest and how to set up the switches. An excellent training video. My thanks to the Indonesian authorities for giving this class in terrorism with its accompanying “word from our sponsor”. You haven’t escaped our attention. East Timor is free now, the concept will spread, be sure of it.
THIS JUST IN Exclusive pictures of the proposed French, German & Russian inspectors from FreeRublic.

There are many more but you get the idea. Go add your own.

I vant to suck your... Oi, who pinched my bloody statue? You can just see the poor Romanian police rolling their eyes during this interview over the disappearance of a 13th century statue from Castle DRACULA!!! (insert dramatic chords). BWAAA HA HA!! But Mr Sindrilau says, despite superstitious talk, he believes the disappearance had more to do with its estimated value of £750,000 than the supernatural. He said: "Evil forces or not we have alerted border guards and officers across the country to be on the alert for any signs of the statue stolen from the castle." Yeah, good thinking that man.
Do they realize the more that they yap, the better they make the case to invade?
Sometimes its a real question as to whether or not people making the case against invasion of Iraq really listen to what they're saying. On NPR's Morning Edition (transcript unavailable so far), guest commentator Russell Martin, author of "Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica and The Masterpiece That Changed the World," made his case using his area of study to illustrate his point, and highlight his lack of ability to extrapolate the lessons of history. Martin's premise was basically that war is a horrible endeavor, as the slaughter of the city of Guernica by the Luftwaffe supporting Franco, and the aftermath as depicted by Picasso, are surely evidence. If he'd stopped there, he'd have had a nice solid appeal for not assaulting a civic center, such as Baghdad. Pity, according to Martin, that Picasso's painting, now hanging in the UN, was obscured behind a backdrop used for filming the 'sound bites' of the attendees of last weeks UNSC activities, and that the painting itself, with its graphic depictions of the horrors of war, did not serve as the backdrop to the discussions. To further emphasize his points however, Martin 'pulled back' and began drawing larger analogies, and dropping thought provoking rhetorical questions. Then he went and stepped right in it, using the fact that no one had intervened and stopped Hitler based on Nazi involvement in Spain as being a good reason not to intervene in Iraq. This was strengthened by the point that the obvious Nazi acceleration of military production and advanced research was insufficient justification for the formation of an alliance to intervene and stop them. Then, going back to the horror of Guernica, he likened the current level of military operational capability and probable speed that activities will unfold with the German Blitzkrieg of World War II, and rhetorically asks 'is it really necessary?' Well, yes, actually, and Mr. Martin laid out the logic for it, even if he steadfastly failed to grasp or absolutely refuses to acknowledge the lesson his area of interest reveals to us today. Both Germany of the late 30's and Iraq of the present share some disturbing similarities of situation. Countries in the thrall or clutches of a dictator, with aspirations of greatness, and dreams of conquest. Both seeking weapons and means to extend their influence and power. Both willing to use terror, blackmail, and intimidation to further their aims. Both willing to bluff, bluster, and bully their neighbors for what they want. Would Hitler have backed down if confronted early on? Evidence points to the probability he would have. Would he have abandoned his dreams of conquest and rule? Who knows. Did Saddam back down when confronted over his occupation of Kuwait? Actually, no. Did he abandon his dreams of power, conquest, and domination? Hardly. The evidence is clear that Saddam was pursuing development of weapons that would allow him to blackmail the entire Middle East even while UNMOVIC inspectors were in country 'disarming' him. So, don't do it because of the horror that might occur, based upon a false analogy comparing indiscriminate area bombardment with unguided munitions and the pinpoint targeting of specific parts of buildings or structures available today. Also ignoring the philosophical difference of purposely decimating a civilian center specifically to terrorize or demoralize, as opposed to specific, discrete targeting of specific items. So, don't do it, because when the world was faced with the same choice of intervening or appeasing, they chose to appease and talk about it. Ignore the similarities between the regimes, and the known outcome of appeasement and coddling in the first case, and ignore the fact that even the limited intervention that has been visited upon Saddam to date has not deterred him one bit. Given that by Hitler's own statements, he probably would have been forced to withdraw, and possibly would have fallen from power, if confronted over his entry into the Sudetenland, but that we have seen no such dissuasion occur yet with Saddam, is that not even more chilling as to his potential for the future? Yes. We shouldn't invade because when faced with the situation before, the world decided not to invade and put a stop to it. And that all turned out alright, now didn't it? For you sky watchers out there, remember, have your telescopes and binoculars ready, next New Moon is March 2d/3d. Hopefully there will be some outstanding views to be had, good enough to even be on TV.

2/10/2003

OK THAT’S IT, I’M CALLING IT, TIME OF DEATH NOW: The UN is going to be held to ransom by a couple of waffling, whining wieners? I think not. The UN never worked and most of you haven’t a. pulled your weight or b. paid your bill in damn long time. Why the US tolerates you hanging about one of their cities cluttering up the place while bagging them escapes me. You’re fired, get out. Don't bother to clean up, just fuck off. OK it was a good idea but it didn’t work so lets try again, same concept, different approach. Of course we’ll need a flag… This seems popular and will do for a start, we'll work on it.
Turkey invokes Article Four
Seems the old NATO treaty is getting another workout, another 'first', such as the invocation of Article Five following September 11. The Alliance seemed to be holding well with the invocation and implementation of the provisions of Article Five, seeming to draw, at least temporarily, the member nations together in common cause. The invocation of Article Four, in this instance, is unfortunately symptomatic of exactly the opposite - a widening schism amongst the principals. And as Dave pointed out so eloquently below, the necessity for Turkey to invoke it, and the tepid reception of same by France, Germany and Belgium do not reflect well upon the state of the Alliance. Its one thing to have a spirited debate based upon honest disagreement of principle, it is quite another to be obstructionistic to the point of paralysis, thus causing grave concern for a member nation. The German/French refusal to even plan contingent upon the possibility of hostilities, which daily appear to be an ever growing probability, goes beyond the scope of wishful thinking, and pretty far towards willful negligence. It does not set a glowing example that one of the Alliance's members could be held to possible peril solely based upon making a point of principle. Even worse when there is ample reason to suspect that the 'principle' involved is narrowly focused national self interests. No blood for oil? Are Turkish lives, territory or treasure acceptable losses to desperately defend those Elf/Fina contracts? Much more of this, and the relevant Articles for discussion will more likely be numbers 13 and 14.
EUnuchs Set Course to Scupper NATO
Belgium, France, and Germany, as principal members of NATO, don't want to help the United States in the prosecution of the war against Baghdad nor help Turkey maintain the integrity of its borders in the possibility of such a war. NATO, until now, is a protectorate of any member country. Now, three members of the group have decided that Turkey, the only moderate Muslim country, isn't needful of such security, because they have a peace plan for Iraq. What they have proffered is appeasement. Germany, a country that started two world wars, and France, which is so insecure about its own machismo, and Belgium, the seat of the new EU, are splintering NATO and making the U.N.'s various resolutions upon Iraq irrelevant. What kind of "friends" are these that won't come to the defense of member nations? Not only Turkey, but also the U.S? This unfortunate state of affairs resembles Britain's Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Hitler's Germany back in the 1930s. The whole matter resolves around Iraq's compliance with Rule 1441 and the sixteen rules that preceded it; the Rules require that Iraq demonstrate it has destroyed all weapons of mass destruction. Despite these numerous resolutions and rules, Iraq has only shown contempt for the U.N., and Belgium, France, and Germany have collectively done their best to thwart the enforcement of the many resolutions over the period of twelve years. Could it be that Germany and France are reluctant to go forward with any kind of insistence that Iraq disarm, because both have provided Iraq with the very materiel that are proscribed under the U.N.'s rules and resolutions? Iraq and Germany and France are trading parties, who have skirted the rules by providing weapons for Iraqi oil. So, this isn't so much a war for oil, but appeasement for oil -- and for discovery that Belgium, France, and Germany have skirted the embargo against Iraq and sold weapons for oil. Belgium, France, and Germany stand alone against sixteen other NATO countries that want to provide assistance to Turkey and support the prosecution of war against Iraq given its recalcitrance in complying with international rules and resolutions. Because any one of these members can veto the other seventeen, Belgium, France, and Germany are making NATO as irrelevant as the U.N.. So, while the majority of NATO and the majority of Europe, save Belgium, France, and Germany, support the U.S. and NATO, Belgium, France, and Germany peculiarly stand apart. Where will Belgium, France, and Germany get its oil if a war, initiated and won by the U.S. and its other European allies, reveals their complicity in undermining the sake of International peace? Belgium, France, and Germany are no better to the U.S. as allies than Cuba or North Korea are. It's one thing to have honest differences of opinion, but Iraq has made those differences academic -- and merely political for Belgium, France, and Germany. Obviously, Belgium, France, and Germany have decided that the exploitation of its independence from the U.N. and NATO make both of these larger and older institutions irrelevant. Iraq could have -- indeed should have -- disarmed 12 years ago. But Belgium, France, and Germany now think the European Union is more important, and worthy of the risks of devaluing NATO and the U.N. for its own political sake. I hope we will remember our friends, and avoid our enemies, whatever the outcome of Iraq. Belgium, France, and Germany have been tested, and they have failed.
Acceptance of overflights
Unconditional? If you stuck with the Reuter's version you might think so. But hey, wait a second...no, they wouldn't alter the deal after they got their attention grabbing headline, would they? Lets see, they want the U2 driver to play sitting duck, and now they want all the Allied pilots to play sitting duck. For what? So we can take lots of happy snaps that will be as 'unconvincing' as the photos we already have? Quack this, arseholes. Astronomical observation update - The next New Moon will be March 2/3d. Just a note for the astronomically minded, mind you.
OKAY MO - YOU GO FIRST Fresh from her triumphal reign as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, where, as you will no doubt recall, she won worldwide acclaim as the person who brought peace, tranquility and reconciliation to the formerly blood-soaked Emerald Isle, the almost preternaturally wise Mo Mowlam has devised a strategy by which this whole terrorism thing can be nipped in the bud. That odd sound you can hear is thousands of diplomats around the globe all smacking themselves in the forehead as one, and saying "Why didn't we see it! Of course!"

"You don't beat terrorists by bombing them. All you do is act as a very good recruiting agent for them because more young people then turn towards the terrorists, and you alienate the complete civil population because you bomb them. Do you expect them to like us any more than they do now, which is not very much. "You beat terrorists by talking to them.

Well yes. Here is what you should say. "Hello? Anyone left alive in this cave? Osama? Omar? Anyone survive that thermobaric bomb? No? Oh well..." NZPundit comments: Yes, Mo. The talking cure was such a success during her tenure as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Sounds like the traditional howls of derisive laughter all round. That's for the suggestion Mo, don't let the door hit you in the arse on the...oops, too late. We really need to get that fixed.
I NEED A SHOWER Philip Adams can't be anti-semitic. All he said was that Israel might conduct ethnic cleansing. That's all. What's the problem? What? WHAT?

I am, still besotted with Jews. Whilst I'm not mad about the food, I am lost in admiration for Jewish courage, Jewish creativity, Jewish philanthropy, Jewish idealism and Jewish humour. And, yes, some of my best friends are Jews.

Adams just doesn't think they shouldn't be allowed to have their own country or any means of self-defence. No biggie. And he's not completely insane, I'm no fan of the food either. As punishment for his sins, Adams can have my gefilte fish at Passover, I can certainly live without it. It'd be an interesting experiement to see if he could live with it. And while you digest that thought (which is certainly impossible with genuine Pale of Settlement-style gefilte fish), chew on Professor Bunyip's languid yet efficient new-bunghole-tearing exercise. It's a hoot.
YARR...WARBLOGGERS! That's my favourite line, from Corsair, the Rational Pirate. Anyhoo, we are proud to announce the results of The First Annual Warblogger Awards. It was a clever initiative by Right Wing News, and good on them for it. We here at Silent Running were voted third-equal best group blog, behind the excellent Samizdata and The Volokh Conspiracy. I can't believe we got the same number of votes as The Corner though. NRO are, like, personal household GODS as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps next year we ought to have a special category for best Left/Liberal Warblog, and also for Best Left/Liberal Blog Containing Actual Arguments, Facts and Which Apparently Emanates From This Universe, Not Some Bizzaro Alternate Reality In Which Noam Chomsky Makes Sense And John Pilger Is Regarded As A Journalist. By the way - a happy anniversary to Corsair!

Corsair the Rational Pirate has been raising the IQ level of the world for 365 days now. Notice the diference? Neither did I... Back to work I suppose.

2/09/2003

Patriotism, flag waving, where I am I? Wellington had a rush of blood to the head today and the streets of the capital were lined with cheering, applauding and flag waving people. This is not a usual thing around here, in fact the last time it happened was to welcome home the 2nd NZEF from service in the Balkans, Crete, North Africa & Italy. That was in 1945. We don’t do that sort of thing these days, or do we. Representing the nearly 6000 personnel who helped create the newest member of the UN, 1500 members of the three armed services, the police* and other government representatives who were in East Timor paraded with the tri service colours in the grounds of Parliament and marched through Wellington to the Te Papa, the National Museum. Service people were out from 8 in the morning giving out all these cool glossy little NZ flags, now at least a few people will know what their flag looks like. It was clear that many people had made the trip in especially for the parade and many former servicemen were present taking advantage of an opportunity outside ANZAC day to wear their medals in public. Yes I know I went hunting for protesters, a few others there were on the hunt for them too, but they were keeping a profile lower that worm poo. The Greens were there though, waving a placard to welcome the troops… yeah right, could have used some of that at the other end of the operation. No sale, we fixed em, we sneered at them with obvious cynicism. On the down side, lost the bet that the first one to drop would be a sailor. It was one of the army, couldn’t see the belt but it wasn’t a grunt. The infantry don’t fall down on parade do they guys… guys? And yes Virginia, there is a New Zealand Air force. There was a flypast consisting of two herc’s in formation with one of the VIP jets and four woca woca’s (that’s the technical military term for helicopter). Photos will be up on Wednesday and before you ask, the woman in orange is Wellington’s mayor who is apparently dressed by her mummy. *The police are actually one of the armed forces having been created as the Armed Constabulary Field Force but they don’t have colour.
Putin to Reuter's - hey, I didn't order the Kung Pao Schnitzel!
Latest in creative journalism from Reuter's. They seem to attribute a lot to Putin, but his direct quotes sound somewhat less than supportive of the claims made in the rest of the article. The blatant appeasing seems to come from Schroeder (surprise!), and Putin isn't quoted mentioning China once. Wonder what he really had to say. CNN doesn't mention the Chinese, and Vlad's quoted statements seem like generalized 'war bad, peace good' sort of 'read whatever into this you want to, cause I can always plausibly say you were mistaken' statements that will be about as easy to nail down as jello a few months from now. I suspect a possible surprise for Jacque and Hans.
Airbridge
Being established. Primary use will be to move the men to the pre-positioned equipment. Reminder. New Moon, 2/3d March.
New old kid on the blog
E.Nough, frequent commenter on LGF, and the author of the hilarious Illegal Zionist Occupation of Space article that Ha'aretz swallowed as real has finally taken everyone's advice, and started his own blog - Thinking Meat. E. goes in the blogroll, hasta la pronto, baby. Good things to come, I'm certain.
47 Hours, 59 Minutes, 58 Seconds too long
US and Britain give Saddam just 48 hours to leave Iraq This depends upon the inspector twins to come to NY on Friday, screw up and let the truth out of the bag. Quite likely they've just about deluded themselves that they might be able to set up an inspector's pension plan arrangement once everyone starts agreeing with them that years of unproductive 'inspections' activity is the ticket. The only people that'll probably exit the country during the 48 hours will be the inspectors. Guess this answers that particular 'but what about...' question. (spotted at VodkaPundit)
Hear no Evil, See no Evil -or-
Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee's Big Adventure Chapter II - Return to Inspector's Paradise

Actively ignoring the fact that his relevant role in the crisis on Iraq pretty much ended with his initial report back to the UNSC, and Secretary Powell's address to same, our favorite zany Swede is back on the road with his sidekick ElBaradei. In this episode, the boys wax philisophical.
UN weapons inspector Hans Blix pondered on the possibility of discovering only a few banned weapons after all the death and destruction of a war. "It would be paradoxical," the Swedish disarmament specialist said.
It would be if it came to past that way, but seeing as the Iraqis themselves have admitted possession of such weapons, and there is more than just speculation as to what else they've been working on, this is an interesting indicator of where Blix's speculation is being applied, or how misguided it may truly be.
A war also would come at a cost of upheaval in an unstable region that can little afford it. We think in our hearts, we believe that we need to avoid war, not only to prove that inspections can work, but because war is a sign of failure," ElBaradei said.
The two root causes of the region's instability are being dealt with. Radical Islamism and secular megalomania in the form of Saddam. There is a high probability that he also is referring to the diversionary side-show of the Palestinians, which is symptomatic, versus being a root cause. The only failure that war in Iraq will symbolize is that of Saddam and his fig leaf wearing European apologistas to continue the charade of the past decade. ElBaradei continues, as apparently Blix does also, to operate under the misconception that the inspectors role under 1441 was to engage in a great game of scavenger hunt in Iraq. A patently false interpretation of the inspector's role and mission.
They spoke of both the short term - of "inching" ahead in the weekend talks - and of the longer term, looking ahead to months of work for their inspectors in ensuring that Iraq no longer has chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs.
The epitome of cluelessness. 'Inching ahead'?' 'months of work for their inspectors?' What kind of an idiot talks about playing hide the Saddam in Iraq in terms that sound like job security? Its reminiscent of the Saturday Night Live segment about the 'Change Bank of New York' - not making any profit on any of their transactions, but making up for it in volume!
Of the weekend talks, Blix said Iraqi officials in the past had "belittled" the unanswered questions remaining from the 1990s about whether Iraq could prove it had destroyed such doomsday weapons as anthrax and VX nerve gas. But this weekend, he said, "for the first time I think they were focusing upon these issues. ... I think that is hopeful. "What we see is the beginning of Iraq taking these issues very seriously or very much at heart," ElBaradei said, "and try to come up with creative ways to solve these issues".
This must be Mr. Hearnoevil and Mr. Seenoevil's way of saying that the light bulb above some of the Iraqi noggins briefly flickered with the idea to come up with some sort of outlandish explanation about what happened to the chem/bio materials they admitted to having. Doubt if it will be worth holding our breath for the Iraqi version of 'the dog ate it'.
Baghdad turned documents over to them this weekend that the Iraqis said should help answer some questions. The Iraqis also said they would establish national commissions to search for proscribed weapons and relevant documents.
I'm just as relieved as the first time I heard that the foxes were anxious to get to the bottom of that ruckus out in the henhouse. Glad they haven't gotten cold feet.
Blix and ElBaradei were reminded of recent statements by high-level US officials that the "game is over" in the Iraq crisis, and that war is close at hand.
Yes, sometimes the obvious must be spelled out for those in denial
"We should not - in our impatience to make sure Iraq is disarmed - denigrate the inspections ... To expect a country to completely disarm and verify that disarmament in eight weeks is again oversimplification. People have to understand that inspections do take time. But if they work, it's a much better alternative to war, where you could have ramifications for decades."
I'd be very seriously interested in seeing an example of the inspection process outlined in 1441 being denigrated. On the other hand, expecting guys that either failed to get the point of the entire exercise, or are willfully disregarding the mission they were given, doing instead what they themselves would rather do, is wishful thinking. Completely disarming a country that has been actively seeking and producing mass destruction weapons will probably take more than eight weeks, but that was not the point, now was it? The point was to give the Iraqis an opportunity to become forthright about their activities, to renounce them, and to lend any and all assistance requested or required to eliminate the prohibited items. This was an attitude check. and they failed. Miserably. This set of inspections has gone on long enough to determine that Iraqi attitudes and activities have not changed, one iota. So in that respect, yes, the inspections did work, although Blix and ElBaradei are so far behind on grasping that fact, that they believe themselves to be in the lead.
Blix, whose work in disarmament began over 40 years ago, reflected on the historic turning point the world faces in Iraq. "The paradoxical thing is we don't really know whether there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," he said. "Some people seem to think there may be some, very little. It would be in my view very paradoxical if Iraq were to pull on itself a war and destruction for some limited quantity. It would also be paradoxical, I think, if the rest of the world were waging the war at a tremendous cost, and in the end find there was very little."
Ramblings from the edge of unreality, with debate to continue about the definition of 'very little' weapons of mass destruction. Having the capability to cause the horrendous deaths of only a few hundred thousand instead of a few million, well, now that IS something to quibble about.
He said the UN inspections were costing $US80 million on an annual basis, with a staff of some 200. He noted estimates that a US war against Iraq might cost over $US100 billion and involve some 200,000 troops.
Jeebus! Although Blix can't tell when the Iraqis are leading him by the nose around the primrose path, he sure has a firm handle on DoD budgetary and staffing issues at a macro level! Might be more plausible if he didn't let Ben or Jerry explain DoD funding levels to him, and believe it. And is this figure correct? These clowns are burning through cash at an $80 million a year clip? What the hell are they spending it on? Is anybody inspecting them? If it comes to light that Arthur Anderson does their books... At any rate, hopefully that's some of Ted Turner's money. The only way that we might hit the 100 Billion magical anti-war hysteria magic number is by adopting the Weasel plan to put blue helmeted French and German troops in country, while the amassed US forces stay in theater cooling their heels waiting for the French portion of the contingent to confront a surrender situation.
"And the political, economic and social ramifications," ElBaradei interjected, "in an area that's already a hotbed of instability". "So there is some stark difference between the options," said Blix.
Some political, economic, and especially social ramifications are sorely called for, simply because the current screwed up dysfunctional status quo is the prime reason for the area being a hotbed of instability. Keep talking, the case gets better all the time. Yes there are some stark differences between the options. Keep mucking about until a few thousand more humans end up dead, or go in and stop it, now.
The man who would be King?
Bloody Hell! If this report is anything close to being accurate, then God Save The Queen! Her son is a friggin barking moonbat! Its one thing for him to jaunt about criticising English architecture for lacking flair and style, but this reads almost like he's taken it upon himself to ensure that Mum is the last legitimate and respected Monarch of Great Britain. By the by, nice hat, Chuck. Is this a wannabe kinda thing? Or just making the term English twit your own, and hoping that's the mugshot they'll use next to the definition?
I’m Just Steeping Outside For A Moment… I may be some time. Well it’s a fabulous day for a parade here in Wellington, not a cloud in the sky with a high of 24c expected. Already 18 at 8:30. As luck would have it there is a parade to acknowledge the East Timor operation. So I’m off for a game of “Bait the Protester”. Harmless fun that can always get interesting. For me I’m used to being stuck in a line and reaching out and smacking one of them was verboten. Not today. I’m all geared up, got my camera, two rolls of film, cap, sun block (burn time is about 8 min today) and of course my NZ/US flag pin which is bound to get someone asking, “What are you, some kind of fascist?” Why yes, yes I am, the large, aggressive government trained kind. Thanks for asking. Pictures at 11. If I don’t make bail someone please feed my cats.
Sideshow geeks and freaks still advertising for attention
U.N. Arms Chief Opens Talks With Baghdad Blix and ElBaradei apparently have taken to watching their language - trimming back on statements that clearly show they're being bamboozled by their Iraqi buds. Those observing this theater of the macabre and absurd grasp hopefully at the slim wisps of possibility, in a continuing blatant disregard of the obvious. Describing their latest series of meetings, what they seem to live for, B and ElB called them 'useful' and 'very substantial'. What would be useful would be the Iraqi production of its weapons for destruction. What would be very substantial would be the Iraqis turning over all documents detailing their research and development, and complete, full, and unfettered access to the more than 2000 personnel previously identified by UNMOVIC. A sheaf of distracting and incomplete paperwork, and five individuals ready for interviews is not only wholly inadequate, it is insulting in its arrogance. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, grandma is still beating off the Indians. The surprise proposal by the French and the Germans to send in blue helmeted peacekeepers to safeguard, enforce, and oversee the thoroughness of the inspections is downright treacherous. Presumably, these 'peacekeeper forces' would be composed primarily of French and German troops - two countries that have many known contacts and cordial dealings with the dictator; countries that many suspect have plenty to hide from those contacts and cordial dealings. Countries that are facing the prospect of severe economic setbacks for some of their major industrial entities should there be a US invasion. The statements of the past few days are accurate - France and Germany, on this current path, under this current leadership, are no friends to the United States, nor champions of reducing the dangers of the world at large. These French and German hypocrites clearly pursue their own narrow national self-interests, as they lead a charge to decry our own, which also happen to overlap and compliment the interests of so many other nations. Many bemoan the possible outcome of the alienation of affections towards these 'core' nations of the European Union and NATO. Let it happen. Both being democracies, when such alienation occurs, as it should as reward for the damage inflicted by the occupants of their governmental seats of power, the mechanisms are in place to remove those responsible, and instill leadership capable of changing those policies. It has been noted by many that major conflict often radically alters the geopolitical landscape. Although most speculation has focused on the upheavals to the Middle Eastern status quo likely as a result of the liberation of Iraq, the sweeping of some of the cobwebs mucking up Europe seems to be possible as well. Combine that with a long overdue 'reality check' for the dismal swamp known as the UN, and it look like a lot of good things on the horizon. Good things? Yes, unless one relies on irrational feel good 'what if' lines of logic, twisted to describe a utopian 'should be' end state. As history is repeat with examples, such delusional hypothesizing is as easy for the devious to hijack for evil than four airliners on a clear September morning Just a reminder. The new moon is on March the 2d/3d.
IMPERIAL SEAL OF APPROVAL Hear Ye! Hear Ye! This is an official announcement from Emperor Misha I.

Silent Running has the only Imperially Approved Anti-Tree Hugger Logo in the Blogosphere and I urge you all to go buy merchandise emblazoned with this proud Anti-Idiotarian Logo. Don't accept substitutes. Oh, and while you're at it, they also have the only Imperially Approved™ Columbia Memorial Merchandise on sale. And it's cheap too.

Well? You heard the man - buy something!
DONALD RUMSFELD VS JOSHKA FISCHER I say Rummy in the third by a TKO. Fischer always manages to get inside him, and he jabs away like nobody's business, but it wears him out, and all Rummy needs is to land just one of those roundhouse lefts to the jaw and it's goodnight nurse. I saw the pair of them at that conference in Germany on the TV news today and I honestly thought Rummy was going to actually pop the German foriegn minister right there on the spot. He was giving him the ol' stink-eye from the corner of the room he was sitting in, that's for sure. We're seeing the unravelling of the Western Alliance right in front of us. I blame the bucketheads myself. Blaming the sausage-eaters is always a good bet. They've been no-goodniks ever since they ambushed three entire Legions in the Teutoburger Wald. Asswipes. Don't think we've forgotten about Arminus! Where are those three Eagles! We want them back! Isn't history an amazing thing? Usually it takes new centuries a while to get properly started, to assume their new shape and feel. The 18th century only took on it's new 19th century form with the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, finally ending all those annoying wars (ha ha!). And the 20th century similarly had to wait around 15 years for some bloody Serb nationalist to do something violently stupid in Sarajevo, sparking WWI and ensuring the 20th century arrived with a characteristic bang and a spot of mass death. Looks like the 21st century didn't dawdle though. The 20th may have ended at midnight on the 9th of November 1989 when some confused East German border guards shrugged and raised the barrier arms on on of the main checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, but the 21st arrived with extreme promptness at exactly 8:46am September 11th 2001. It's a century you can set your watch to, at least so far. I'm afraid the lacksadaisical interregnum between the collapse of Communism (Excellent!) and the attack of Islamism (Bogus!) seems to have had such a powerful sophorific effect that many people (like Mr Fischer) don't seem to want to acknowledge that tempus has fugited right past them and is presently pulling away at a rate of knots. Politicians like him are like Neville Chamberlin, still wearing formal frock coats and top hats and completely unaware of how totally unprepared for the new world they are. Maybe Rummy should have smacked him right in the face. Might have woken him up to the fact that this is not some theoretical discussion in some academic common room, but a real and present danger, and not one we can negotiate away or ignore. If we don't fight this war, we'll lose it. Don't think we're ten feet tall and bulletproof. Those bastards are coming after us with everything they've got, and we've already shown them that they can rely on there being plenty of cowardice and muddled thinking on this side. The only people capable of defeating us is...well, us! And it may yet happen. Weirder things have happened. Read history. It's most edifying and not entirely comforting.
I'D NEED A LOT MORE THAN AN IRON CAGE, A WHIP AND A CHAIR... Hi Meryl! Beresheit Chapter 4, verse 9, last half of the verse. Further, deponent saith not.