Sunday, March 30, 2003

From UPI " Comments by Secretary of State Colin Powell to a Congressional panel Wednesday indicated that the Bush administration is unwilling to completely cede control of the post-war reconstruction effort to the United Nations. But Powell did say that the United Nations should play some role, especially in funding the rebuilding of Iraq.

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the liberal Institute for Policy Studies, said Powell's testimony made it clear that the White House has no intention of sharing power with the United Nations except in an attempt to gain some international credibility for its military occupation of Iraq.

"The administration's view is to use the United Nations as support cover, a political fig leaf to allow other governments to give money to the reconstruction effort and not have it look like America is going it alone," said Bennis. "That is a serious problem."

Bennis said the United Nations should be a central part of the effort to rebuild war-torn Iraq, but also indicated that she was worried that United Nations participation would ultimately legitimize the type of U.S. policies that lead to the invasion.

"There will have to be new government agencies and institutions, and I think the United Nations is well suited to helping Iraqis plan that out," she said. "That can't be imposed by U.S. tanks if it is going to have any legitimacy to it."

Actually Ms. Bennis, it can. " Legitimacy " is vested in sovereign governments and the UN is not a world legislature however much the Social Democratic left has tried to stretch the UN charter during the last ten years. The UN does not grant legitimacy and often recognizes as " legitimate " powerless phantom governments of psuedo- nations that are hardly more than geographic expressions. The UN is a political forum, a handy umbrella for a variety of humanitarian agencies and a useful rubber stamp on the rare occasions a consensus exists among all the Security Council members. That and no more. Iraq will have a legitimate government when Saddam Hussein is dead and a democratically elected government replaces his clique of murdering thugs. If matters were left to the UN, Saddam would be torturing his people until the day he dies of old age.


UPI Wire reports "-- U.S. Marines were reported by MSNBC to have stumbled upon a huge arms cache in western Iraq, so large it will take demolition crews a week to destroy it. "

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Accuses Milosevic of Ordering Ex-President's Killing
By Jovana Gec Associated Press Writer
Published: Mar 30, 2003

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Serbia's deputy prime minister linked Slobodan Milosevic and his wife to the slaying of a former Serbian president Sunday, days after police ordered her detained for questioning.
Ivan Stambolic - a political foe of the former Yugoslav leader - was killed months before Milosevic was ousted from power in October 2000. Milosevic is currently on trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

"It is logical to assume that the direct order (for the murder) came from the Milosevic family," Zarko Korac told private BK television, two days after police discovered the remains of Stambolic.

No one has been charged with the crime.

Serbian authorities said Saturday that they have "credible suspicions" that Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic, was involved in the murder and threatened to issue an international arrest warrant unless she returns immediately from Russia to talk with investigators.

On Sunday, Milosevic's daughter, Marija, told the Montenegrin daily, Publika, that her mother called from Russia, where she has been since February, and said "let them issue the warrant."

Police say Stambolic was executed by five members of the Unit for Special Operations, who received the equivalent of about $50,000 from the unit's commander, Milorad Lukovic - a Milosevic loyalist.

At the time, Stambolic, Serbia's president from 1986 until 1987, was considering challenging Milosevic in presidential elections.

Lukovic is also wanted by police as a suspected organizer of the March 12 assassination of Serbia's reformist prime minister, Zoran Djindjic - the investigation of which resulted in the discovery of Stambolic's remains.

The prime minister's assassination triggered a major crackdown on organized crime figures and Milosevic loyalists believed to be linked to Djindjic's slaying. Thousands of crime figures, war veterans, former police chiefs and judges have been detained.

On Sunday, police said another key member of the so-called Zemun Clan of drug traffickers, Miladin Suvajdzic, had been arrested

" Few discoveries are more irritating than those that expose the pedigree of ideas "
~ Lord Acton
AS I PREDICTED the first horrors of Baathist Iraq are coming to light

REFLECTIONS UPON PAST WARS leads me to wonder how distorting 24 hour a day news coverage is on both the reality of the war in Iraq and the decision making process of CENTCOM and the administration. Rumsfeld today was jousting with Stephanopolous this morning and trying, with obvious frustration, to communicate how truly bizarre media commentary on a 9 day old war was in a historical sense and how enormously impressive military gains by the Coalition have been virtually dismissed.

By any military standard the campaign in Iraq so far has been a success though it is plagued by the same logistical errors and unanticipated problems that are inherent in any war. A standard of no allied casualties and complete mass surrender of the enemy and no civilian deaths is a yardstick no military operation, no matter how well-planned or high-tech, can possibly match. How would MSNBC, CNN and the networks have cast Operation Torch in WWII or the string of defeats suffered by the Union Army in the first few years of the Civil War ? Or Wellington's Penninsular campaign ? Or any battle short of miraculously one-sided victory ?

The danger here, and Rumsfeld has apparently taken it upon himself to try and neutralize it in high-profile appearances - is this that a political pressure will build to make military decisions designed to satisfy the surreal expectations of 24 hour news coverage rather than win the war. This may already have happened in terms of " Shock and Awe " being transformed into " Probe and Assess " at the last minute in an effort to further minimize civilian casualties or simply to ease the concerns of Arab governments and anti-war critics. This may not be the case, there might have been overriding military considerations including psychological warfare that were built into the pre-war noise about " Shock and Awe " but the Coalition has been fighting a very surgical campaign without much of the anticipated drama designed to intimidate Iraqi untits into surrendering.

Historians will be sorting through this for years.

Friday, March 28, 2003
RUMSFELD has just specifically threatened Saddam's " death squads " with justice after the war is over.

" If the Coalition does not remove the regime, half of us will die. We will all be killed just for talking to you. Saddam's eyes and ears are all over here "
-Jasser, an Iraqi in Az-Zubayr to The Chicago Tribune

Let's hear again from Stanley Kutler, Tom Spencer, Jimmy Carter, Robert Byrd, Micheal Moore, the Bush-is-Hitler celebrity morons in Hollywood- on how this war is immoral.

" Nothing but unconditional surrender "
General Ulysses Grant

1) The regime is monstrous - systemically and in terms of its top leadership

2) The United States has not attempted serious enforcement of its Geneva rights in over fifty years

The Iraqi government has ominously announced that American POW's will be treated in accord with the laws of Islam instead of adhering to the Geneva Convention. An admission in effect, of an intent to commit war crimes.

Iraq feels free to mistreat American prisoners in part because it knows the United States government has a history after WWII of ignoring abuses of American POWs and that doing so involves no serious consequences. Saddam Hussein's direct experience from the first Gulf war was that American soldiers could be tortured with impunity and not receive so much as a public reprimand; indeed, American politicians are more concerned with enforcing highly restrictive rules of engagement on the U.S. military than in taking actions that would deter enemy forces from mistreating our prisoners.

In WWII the Nazis were restrained from executing captured Allied airmen or using poison gas on the battlefield because the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe generals impressed upon Hitler that if he followed the advice of Nazi radicals, the Allies would certainly retaliate in kind. We in fact did. After the infamous Malmedy Massacre by the SS of American captives, American GI's simply refused to accept surrender from Waffen-SS forces for several weeks. In response to the reprisals, SS atrocities against Allied POW's ceased and generally honoring the Geneva Convention was resumed. Likewise, German soldiers caught violating Geneva prohibitions on fighting out of uniform as in the Ex Parte Quirin case or Skorzeny's paratroopers in the Battle of the Bulge, were swiftly tried and executed.

Without the surety of such a severe response it is unlikely that the sorts of enemies the United States faces - Islamist radicals and ghoulish totalitarian dictatorships like Saddam's Iraq - will be highly unlikely to respect what in their view is a mere scrap of paper. The world has watched the U.S. incarcerate al Qaida members but be too afraid to mete out justice to those who have violated Geneva by targeting civilians, executing prisoners and fighting out of uniform. By backing away from the perfectly legitimate use under international law of military tribunals we have encouraged our enemies to commit further crimes. Correctly, al Qaida, Saddam and European states supporting Iraq like France, interpret such a decision as weakness and an area to pressure America for concessions that would delay victory or compromise our security.

It's time to stop worrying about criticism from Chirac, EU High Commissioners, the " Arab Street ", Ramsey Clark and his Communist misfits and other peripheral political concerns and begin exercising our rights to justice under Geneva. First of all, we have an obligation to our soldiers. Secondly, it's the right thing to do. Third, if we do, we might just find more nations respecting the Convention down the road.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

With all the diplomatic surefootedness and sophistication that anti-war critics see lacking in the Bush Administration. Compare this to the furor over Rumsfeld's brief " Old Europe " comment. From the Telegraph.

Villepin refuses to say which side he supports
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: 28/03/2003)

France's attempt to repair relations with America and Britain over Iraq backfired yesterday when Dominique de Villepin, their foreign minister, refused to say which side he supported.

During a speech in London, M de Villepin said he hoped for "a swift conclusion with the minimum possible number of casualties".

But asked by The Telegraph whether he hoped American and British forces would win the military campaign to remove Saddam Hussein, he replied angrily: "I'm not going to answer. You have not been listening carefully to what I said before. You already have the answer."

M de Villepin had come to London to mend fences after the bitter disputes over the failed attempt to secure a UN resolution authorising war, saying: "We must rebuild the world order shattered by the Iraq crisis."

But his apparent reluctance to choose sides will have done serious damage to his charm offensive. Senior British officials said they were "stunned".

Embarrassed French officials tried to salvage the situation by pointing out that, on French television on Monday, M de Villepin said: "Clearly, we hope the US will win this war quickly."

One diplomat said: "We have no hesitation about where we stand."

But M de Villepin's faux pas is likely to harden suspicion in America and Britain of his demands that the UN take over the administration and rebuilding of Iraq after the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

Michael Ancram, shadow foreign affairs spokesman, said: "It is beyond belief that the French foreign minister was unable to bring himself to look forward to a coalition victory and the liberation of the people of Iraq from the tyranny and oppression.

"France appears to be backing herself into a corner from which she cannot get out." M de Villepin, who speaks fluent English, did not meet any British ministers when he came to London to deliver a lecture to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

However he briefly met Sir Michael Jay, former ambassador to Paris and now head of the Diplomatic Service.

The Foreign Office said no snub was intended as the Foreign Secretary was with the Prime Minister at Camp David. "Jack Straw said he would have been happy to meet M de Villepin had he been in London," said a spokesman.

In his address, M de Villepin said France was ready to re-establish a "close and trusting relationship with the United States".

But his comments made clear that the rift is far from being bridged.

Moreover M de Villepin did himself few favours with Washington when, recalling the "bleakest time in our history" during the Second World War, he extolled Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle but left out Franklin D Roosevelt's role in the liberation of France.

M de Villepin argued that the use of force should be subordinated to "law, justice and legitimacy" if it was not to provoke a "clash of civilisations".

He seemed more concerned with the need to constrain America's doctrine of "pre-emptive" action than removing the danger posed by Saddam.

He spoke more about the "destabilising" effect of America's resort to force than the destabilising impact of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states.

M de Villepin derided American hawks for believing that "democracy can be imposed from the outside" and that "international legal tools become constraints more than safeguards of international security".

He said: "We do not oppose the use of force. We are only warning against the risk of pre-emptive strikes as a doctrine. In endorsing this doctrine, we risk introducing the principle of constant instability and uncertainty." Despite the disagreements over Iraq, M de Villepin said there were many areas where united international action needed to intensify.

He said there should be greater intelligence sharing in the campaign against terrorism, and co-operation to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Highlighting the looming crisis in North Korea, he proposed a permanent group of UN weapons inspectors. Having threatened to veto UN approval for military action, M de Villepin insisted: "The UN must be at the heart of the reconstruction and administration of Iraq. The legitimacy of our action depends on it."

M de Villepin's central message was that a world dominated by a supremely powerful America was dangerously unstable. Instead, there should be "a number of regional poles" that co-operate with each other.

One of those would be the European Union and M de Villepin was keen to draw the British Government into a common foreign and security policy that would be dominated by France and Britain

Very impressive analysis for those caught in a strange loop - the first in a series of awards for prescient commentary.

Al-Qaeda fighting with Iraqis, British claim
March 28 2003, 9:41 AM

Near Basra, Iraq: British military interrogators claim captured Iraqi soldiers have told them that al-Qaeda terrorists are fighting on the side of Saddam Hussein's forces against allied troops near Basra.

At least a dozen members of Osama bin Laden's network are in the town of Az Zubayr where they are coordinating grenade and gun attacks on coalition positions, according to the Iraqi prisoners of war.

It was believed that last night (Thursday) British forces were preparing a military strike on the base where the al-Qaeda unit was understood to be holed up.

A senior British military source inside Iraq said: "The information we have received from PoWs today is that an al-Qaeda cell may be operating in Az Zubayr. There are possibly around a dozen of them and that is obviously a matter of concern to us."

If terrorists are found, it would be the first proof of a direct link between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

The connection would give credibility to the argument that Tony Blair used to justify war against Saddam - a "nightmare scenario" in which he might eventually pass weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

On Wednesday Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said the coalition had solid evidence that senior al-Qaeda operatives have visited Baghdad in the past.

Rumsfeld said Saddam had an "evolving" relationship with the terror network.

The presence of fanatical al-Qaeda terrorists would go some way to explaining the continued resistance to US and British forces in southern Iraq, an area dominated by Shi'ite Muslims traditionally hostile to

Saddam's regime.
CAERDROIA - A STRANGE LOOP has a good post on the Fedayeen Saddam's transformation from what Kenneth Pollack called a " goon squad " into a passable group of ersatz guerrillas. Caerdroia has also graciously linked to Zenpundit earning my thanks and an eventual place of honor here once I get around to setting up my links.


"Please examine the relative behavior of the British and the Americans and the Iraqis. Any suggestion of moral equivalence between the coalition and the Iraqis on this occasion, I totally reject."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard
From the Boston Globe, courtesy of Drudge.

Also yesterday, US military officials reported that two Iraqi rockets, seized by American troops Tuesday southeast of Najaf, were suspected of containing chemical munitions. It was unlear whether they had been fired or where they were found. The rockets were undergoing testing in a military lab, said Lieutenant Christopher Pike, an intelligence officer with the Third Infantry Division.

In Washington, a spokesman said the Pentagon could offer no immediate comment on the suspected chemical munitions.
SLATE'S TAKE ON " SHOCK AND AWE " go here . I think we need to be careful about second guessing the effectiveness because the media is missing much of the integrated picture available to the generals that we observers will not hear about until after the conflict is resolved, sometimes until years later. Saddam has been reduced to the Mayor of Baghdad but allowing Iraqi TV to function has kept potential fence-sitting units loyal to him the way the Waffen SS kept fighting so long as Hitler was alive in his Fuhrerbunker ( Hitler even made a radio broadcast a few days prior to his death to condemn Goering ). There will be no more easy surrenders unless Saddam's loyalists believe him to be dead or finished. As a historian I'm curious to know if we backed away from our own plan out of fear that " Shock and Awe " would be too devastating on the region politically if implemented as designed because the apparent image of the American invasion of Iraq presented is one of piecemeal rather than simultaneous action.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

EMPIREWATCH: I found Fareed Zakaria's critique of the Bush administration diplomacy on Iraq - " Arrogant Empire " - to be more or less a venture in hairsplitting. No amount of sweet charm or handholding by Colin Powell will get another nation to react positively to an American challenge to it's national interests though such finesse is helpful with tertiary and marginal disagreements.

France has staked all its chips upon becoming the leader of an anti-American adversarial bloc and Chirac sees forcing America to accept continuing and accelerated nuclear proliferation as key to a strategy of containing the hyperpowerful hegemon. Bush is bent upon rolling back the coming nuclear anarchy in the Third World starting with Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Nations that profit from proliferation - Russia and China- will be unhappy at their unsavory business dealings being revealed to the world. Diplomatic friction and Euro-pouting is a small price for securing major security objectives. It is also inevitable.
SUPPORTING INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN ACADEMIA The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has guides to protect Constitutional rights on college campuses. No tax-payer supported PC fascism on the quad allowed, boys.
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION plans to get things right in Iraq prior to letting in the UN bureaucrats who might undermine security or attempt to block necessary reforms of Iraq's political system and delay the prosecution of war crimes until a cumbersome and dilatory Rwanda-style UN tribunal can be set up.

U.S. Is Assembling a Civilian Team to Run Iraq

ASHINGTON, March 24 — The United States is preparing to establish immediate sole control of postwar Iraq, initially without recourse to the United Nations, with a civilian administration under the direct command of the military, according to senior administration officials.

Even before American troops reach Baghdad, administration officials are assembling a team of civilian officials, largely retired American diplomats, to run Iraq as soon as the fighting is over.

The administration has decided that helping the country and its people recover after the war will require a civilian corps in place working with the military as it tries to establish security throughout the country.

European and Asian diplomats, while offering to help rebuild Iraq, raised questions last week about American plans to administer postwar Iraq without a central role for the United Nations.

While the issue is debated at the United Nations and the European Union, the administration is going ahead with its plans for a civil peacekeeping operation under the direction of Jay Garner, the retired general who directs the Pentagon's new Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.


" Practical politics consists in ignoring the facts "
Henry Adams
THE HIGH COST OF UN DIPLOMACY may end up being measured in the loss of American lives as sandstorms complicate the advance into Baghdad, affect delicate equipment and provide additional cover for movement of the Feydayeen Saddam. Advocates of the UN approach in the punditocracy like Tom Friedman who is e-mail debating Andrew Sullivan on the topic need to explain how the UN provides any kind of moral sanction when key members of the Security Council - France, Russia and China - have negotiated in bad faith from the inception. The recent revelations of direct Russian and French military aid to the Iraqis via corporations and dummy companies demonstrates clearly the flaw in using the UN for any problem where there does not already exist a strong consensus among the great powers. The UN is a tool to pursue national interests and house international aid organizations and little else. To view the UN as a repository of inherent moral authority not possessed by its member states that comprise it is foolish romanticism - a myth that now could fill body bags.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Antiwar Left momentarily confused and await talking points on how to blame this on Bush.

" You may enforce a devastation more or less relentless "
General William Tecumseh Sherman
Saturday, March 22, 2003
ANTI-ANTI-ANTI-SEMITES ? Joe Sobran discusses " obsession " with Israel. Joe has drifted from the realm of National Review to neo-Confederate Monarchist Anarchy to name a few of the kookier political groupings of which he writes positively. I'm glad that he and Pat Buchanan no longer call themselves Republicans - the GOP doesn't need anyone playing the equivalent to the Democrat's Al Sharpton in 2004.

DEALING WITH HARDCORE RESISTANCE IN IRAQ: As is becoming obvious from the periodic mass surrenders punctuated by ominous bursts of American firepower and racing advances of Coalition armored formations there is a constant stream of parleying between coalition and Iraqi forces. Working on a strategy to encourage surrender the Bush administration has some big legal guns in terms of international law precedents to wield against Iraqi units and leaders who elect to fight it out rather than surrendering.

President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair could opt to declare Saddam's key power bases - the Baath, the SRG, the RG, the Amn, the Mukhabbarat, the Fedayeen Saddam, certain " presidential bodyguard " formations to be " criminal organizations " as was done by the WWII Allies in the case of the Nazi Party, the SS, SD and Gestapo. Mere membership in this elite groups would subject members to a postwar trial or hearing before a court-martial or military tribunal along the lines of De-Nazification and Nuremburg.

Moreover, Iraqi leaders and high army officers are complicit in a litany of major crimes against humanity not least of which is genocide against the Kurds but a plausible case could be made under the Genocide Convention to include charges of genocide against the Iraqi Shiites and Marsh Arabs as well. As a Convention signatory, the United States is within its rights to punish these crimes against humanity without any additional authority from the UN. The Iraqis have also violated the Geneva Convention and American Occupation authorities could decide to extradite war criminals to face justice in Kuwait and Iran for actions taken during the Gulf War and the Iran-Iraq war.

I'm expecting hints along these lines from Secretary Rumsfeld or Secretary Powell any day now.

Friday, March 21, 2003
GEITNER SIMMONS has an important post today regarding the use of satellites and the impact of commercial technology on warfare and the extent to which our own devices may be used against us. Go to Regions of Mind and check it out.

WE OWE A DEBT OF THANKS to American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Go say " Thank You " here. It's not enough but it's something.
PREDICTION: if the war in Iraq continues to go as well as it has in the coming days the antiwar Left, the Bush-is-Hitler crowd bloggers, Howell Raines, The Congressional Progressive caucus, the frustrated star pundits like Paul Krugman will become ever more hyperbolic, vicious, hateful and irrational as their months-long campaign for America's defeat comes to an inglorious but well-deserved end. This time around let's not graciously let the Lefties off of the hook when we start opening the Iraqi archives, torture chambers, presidential palaces and weapons labs and mass graves. Let's trace the money that flowed out of Iraqi coffers through third parties to organizations and perhaps individuals in the West and reveal Saddam's shills for what they were.

The defenders of freedom erred in 1991 when the Soviet archives briefly opened to reveal all sorts of folks in the West had been in the pay of the KGB but little was made of it, allowing the admirers of dictatorship to regroup by the late 1990's to defend Saddam, Milosevic and Kim Jong il and attack free trade agreements with a measure of political respectibility. Not this time.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
were not found and discovered by UNSCOM and UNMOVIC inspectors ? Yet intelligent people are assuring themselves that inspections completely rooted out Iraq's nuclear bomb program and talk about Iraq's " alleged " WMD.
Governor Howard Dean of Vermont. Next up, Carol Mosley Braun.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE ? CBS and DRUDGE are reporting that senior American officials suspect Saddam is incapacitated or dead from the decapitation attack.
INSIDE IRAQ'S NUCLEAR BOMB PROGRAM: From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Link helpfully supplied by H-Diplo contributor Larry Grant (a CDR, U.S. Navy, I believe ).
GREAT WAR BLOG FOR MILITARY BUFFS Defensetech.org - Bookmark it !
DECAPITATION ATTACK: The nature of last night's missile and smart bomb attack to kill Saddam Hussein testifies to the nature of the regime. Formerly, as during WWII, " decapitation " attacks were specifically avoided because removing a country's high leadership would eliminate the only legitimate authority that could negotiate a surrender or a peace agreement. The war machine, in other words, might not be able to be " turned off " and the enemy nation, it was presumed, would continue fighting blindly. This was why the Allies targeted neither Hitler nor Emperor Hirohito during WWII despite the strategic and symbolic value in killing those two Axis leaders. Today, the assumption is that absent the horrific terror Saddam wields, few Iraqis would be willing to fight and die for him.

Regimes like Iraq are inherently illegitimate regardless of the conventions of international law that treat them as lawful and sovereign states. These states are rogues both externally and internally staying in power by criminal methods of mass terror that indicates they lack even the minimal consent of the governed or representation of national interests of past totalitarian dictatorships. Part of the upcoming revision of international law will be a gradual change to dempnstrate greater democratic accountability if states wish to claim sovereign legitimacy and have it be respected.

"Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said: "I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country." Mostly, the Democrats were saddened that America was about to win a war. "
- Ann Coulter
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
NON-IRAQ DEPARTMENT Nat Hentoff discusses the Asian-American perspective on U. of Michigan's affirmative action program.

From the AP "....Before Annan closed the three-hour meeting, the world's staunchest opponents of invading Iraq told the Security Council there was no proof Saddam Hussein posed a threat.

"If today, we really had indisputable facts demonstrating that from the territory of Iraq there was a direct threat to the United States," Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Wednesday, his country would use "any means" to help.

But no proof has been produced, Ivanov said, and the Security Council had been brushed aside.

His determined remarks were coordinated with the foreign ministers of France and Germany, who also addressed the council in a symbolic protest that was highly unlikely to affect Washington's resolve to topple the Iraqi president.

"Germany emphatically rejects the impending war," Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said. Iraqi was slow and misleading during the inspection process, but can such tactics "seriously be regarded as grounds for war?" he asked.

Courstesy of Andrewsullivan.com

Mass desertions weaken Iraqi defences
From David Sharrock in Northern Kuwait

Masses of Iraqi soldiers are deserting and senior members of President Saddam Hussein's ruling family circle are defecting as the countdown to a British and US invasion reaches its final hours.

In northern Iraq, on the border with Kurdistan, up to three-quarters of some Iraqi regiments have already fled.

In the mainly Shia Muslim south, Kuwaiti border guards are having to turn Iraqi soldiers back - telling them that they must wait until an attack begins before they can surrender.

And in a highly significant development in Baghdad a half-brother of President Saddam, who is regarded as the dictator's closest adviser, has fled in the past week to Syria.

Sab'awi Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti, who is regarded in the United States as a possible war criminal, has sought refuge in Damascus. His flight from Baghdad suggests "fractures developing within the regime", according to a secret-level intelligence report which The Times has seen.

The reports, which are updated at least four times daily and distributed among senior British and US officers paint a picture of the dying hours of Saddam's 30-year iron grip on Iraq as it finally and dramatically falls apart, even before the British and US invasion gets underway.

"We are looking at wholesale desertions in some areas," said an intelligence officer.

Drudge reports units are engaged in fighting near Basra. FOXnews reported at 12:05 EST that Iraq denies rumors that Tariq Aziz has been shot or defected to the Allied coalition. No confirmation of either story elsewhere.
SAUDIS PRESS EXILE OPTION ON BAGHDAD Saddam's only viable long-term option. North Korea has already offered Saddam " a mountain " in which to build a sanctuary.

Saudi Arabia Proposes Exile for Saddam to Stop War
By Fahd al-Frayyan

RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has proposed for the first time that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should go into exile as a last-ditch effort to avert war, a Saudi diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

"The kingdom, and other parties, are exerting maximum effort to prevent a devastating war and they have proposed the idea of exile for Saddam and securing a safe haven for him and his family," the source told Reuters.

The United States has issued Saddam with an ultimatum to quit Iraq with his two sons by early Thursday Baghdad time or face an invasion by some 280,000 U.S. and British troops.

Saddam and his son Qusay have rejected the demand.

Saudi Arabia is the second Gulf Arab state to call for Saddam to step down, but the diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the kingdom was not planning to offer the Iraqi president refuge.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Saudi Arabia had already offered sanctuary to "enough people" including Pakistan's former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and former Ugandan President Idi Amin.

The United Arab Emirates proposed earlier this month that the Iraqi leadership should go into exile, but Arab and Islamic summits refused to discuss the initative.

Saudi Arabia fears a war on its neighbor could carve Iraq up along potentially destabilizing ethnic and religious lines. The kingdom, ruled by Sunni Muslims, is especially worried about a Shi'ite Muslim power center emerging along its border.

Saudi Arabia is home to some 5,000 U.S. troops but the kingdom, fearing a backlash from a population already enraged at the United States for its support for Israel, has repeatedly said it would not take any part in a war on its neighbor.

It was not immediately clear if the Saudi exile proposal was intended for domestic consumption or was a serious attempt at persuading Saddam to leave.


" Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will "
- Frederick Douglass
THE INTERLOCKING DIRECTORATE BETWEEN " PEACE " AND TERROR GROUPS: Partly aimed to hurt the U.S., partly a scam to get funds for Marxist revolutionaries, Micheal Tremoglie has uncovered the real sponsors of Not In Our Name.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003
A POLL FOR TOM SPENCER: I read Tom's liberal blog daily and Tom is an avid poll watcher, generally trumpeting those with bad news for W. Personally, I treat polls as transient data to be regarded as suspect unless the methodology is transparent so I will very seldom quote them to you here. But I can't resist this one because we might not see it on Tom's blog.
BIZARRE BLOGGING DIFFICULTIES plague Zenpundit today. LInks will be established with the Hyperpower segment as technical ( and human incompetence ) allows.
Much thanks to Regions of Mind for today's plug on the topic of " Is America a Hyperpower " currently a thread on the excellent scholarly listserv H-Diplo. This is a debate that has been simmering on the intellectual backburner since the end of the Cold War and is present whenever the phrase " unipolar moment" is tossed around. Jude Wanniski, the former WSJ editor and highly influential behind the scenes GOP advisor unsuccessfully attempted to fire up a public debate on this topic several years ago but the issue had little traction prior to 9-11. Wanniski, a brilliant contrarian thinker by nature is the intellectual eminence grise behind the recent far right/right-far left attack on the Neocon foreign policy position represented by Max Boot, Donald Kagan, Wiliam Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and above all Richard Perle, who Wanniski considers " evil " and one of the "world's ten most dangerous men ". It is a testimony to the reach of Wanniski that the former policy architecht behind the Reagan Tax cuts can see his arguments echoed in both The Nation and The American Conservative magazines and recycled in the mainstream press. Paul Schroeder, the highly respected historian has picked up Wanniski's critique to an extent and expanded upon it, terming America at the crossroads between empire and a benign hegemony.

It is to my mind, a dangerous and foolish argument to regard America as any kind of "Empire", even if speaking in support of Bush administration policy or a broader Neoconservative view of the world ( which is anchored intellectually in Anti-Communism and resistance to the USSR, not in Zionism as Pat Buchanan, the Nation and Wanniski would have us believe). Empires are by their nature autarkies, America lives on free markets. Even Great Britain's brief and exceptional 19th century adherence to Free Trade between the repeal of the Corn Laws and the imposition of Imperial Preference does not change the historic effect that empire means a closed sphere, economically even more than politically. And in the political realm Empires are centripetal forces. America's effect on genuine empires - Spain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, even Great Britain - has been ruinously centrifugal for the imperialists and beneficial to the peoples they lorded over. To allow conventional wisdom to lapse into regarding modern America as an empire is to encourage in the long term the adoption of bad policies or justify not implementing vital ones - like disarming power-mad dictators before they use nuclear weapons.
From CNN.com today:

France's ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, said Tuesday that his country might re-think its position on war with Iraq if Saddam were to use biological or chemical weapons against coalition forces.

"If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical and biological weapons, this would change the situation completely and immediately for the French government," Jean-David Levitte said.

Well gee, better than a poke in the eye I guess. France spares no sacrifice for an ally

Saturday, March 08, 2003
REGIME CHANGE GETS DOWN TO THE ISSUE OF VARIABLES AND PROBABILITY: There are a few rogue state regimes but there are a zillion ways for them to kill large numbers of people, often by misusing objects and substances with legitimate purposes ( see for example Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction ). Rocket science is * not* required unless your aim is constructing a thermonuclear device small enough to fit into a cruise missile or car trunk; all that is needed to wreck immense amounts of havoc is the equivalent of a good High School level knowledge of physics and an undergraduate level education in microbiology. It is far easier to deal with a handful of regimes than to attempt to police all the goods and knowledge that could potentially cross their frontiers.

" ...Cast away vain hopes; and if you have any regard at all for self, see to your own security while you still may "

- Marcus Aurelius
RAM TOUGH ! The Revolution in Military Affairs is not only coming, it's half-way here. This analysis explains why Rumsfeld can snub " Old Europe " instead of swallowing Chirac's anti-American policies and why he can contemplate pulling the troops out of Germany and South Korea.

Charles Duelfer
Deputy Chairman of UNSCOM

In Congressional testimony back in 2000. Reprinted in the critically acclaimed The Gathering Storm by Kenneth Pollack on page 173. I don't recall this as front page news in the New York Times. I don't recall the Clinton administration stalwarts, currently engaged kibbitzing on North Korean policy, reacting with alacrity or even a public comment. If there was at any time in the last 100 years an administration more careless with national security, more obtuse to America's national interests and contemptuous of messengers bearing bad news I am hard pressed to think of it. The Clinton crowd made Jimmy Carter and Cyrus Vance look like Dwight Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles.
" HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TAKING GERMAN MONEY ?" Was a question asked of vociferous isolationists in the 1930's and as it turned out, quite a few of them had cozy business relationships with the Reich in addition to admiration for the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. And so it goes with nations today with Saddam's Baathist Iraq; his most ardent defenders on the UN Security council feed deep at the Iraqi trough
Friday, March 07, 2003

" All men's gains are the fruits of venturing "
- Herodotus
NO HE ISN'T !!!! Sigh :o(

March 7 — A Pakistani official’s report that two of Osama bin Laden’s sons had been arrested in Afghanistan is “not true,” a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Friday. The police official who triggered the worldwide media frenzy also backtracked on his initial statement, saying, “Our information may not be 100 percent true.”

SAAD bin LADEN CAPTURED !!! Today in Afghanistan. Pretty good for an administration too distracted by Iraq to focus on the War on Terror. Think what America could do if we really concentrated.
PEACE DEMONSTRATORS ATTACK JEWS: Sounds about right for a movement led by ANSWER, the Revolutionary Communist Party and a sorry collection of Saudi-funded Islamist front groups. I thought Canada was big into stopping " hate speech ".
Actually I'm testing a referral counter placed by the helpful Lefties of Warblogger Watch, a site with which I disagree but I can appreciate their sense of humor and technical ability. Let's see if things improve in 6 months or so.

Thursday, March 06, 2003
President Bush punctured many balloons tonight in his press conference- French pretensions to being a diplomatic superpower; the decade-long campaign by the intellectual Left to create new international law to govern the use of American military power; the pretense that the members of the Security Council give a rusty damn whether Saddam actually has weaponized anthrax, VX gas or plutonium. Amidst all the posturing Bush said essentially," this is what America will do, tell the rest of the world where you stand ".

Chirac faces a painful choice. To use the French veto is to cross the rubicon and create a fundamental rift in relations with the United States for a generation. The reaction of the Bush administration to a Security Council veto by France would go far beyond cutting the French out of their Iraqi oil concession -the U.S. would begin to more actively involve itself in EU affairs to the detriment of Paris and Berlin. The United States would begin engaging in economic and diplomatic agreements with the states of " New Europe " in earnest and push hard against French interests in Africa, NATO and in international bodies. Russia and China could very well abstain on the next Iraq vote at the last minute, leaving France as the sole target of American wrath.

Chirac made his bed when he put France in the role of Saddam's accomplice in proliferation, lets see how he enjoys lying in it when nations are forced to vote their interests rather than their rhetoric.

" Statistics are no substitute for judgement "

- Henry Clay
MUST BE MADE OF BRASS DEPARTMENT: The Chicago Tribune reports today that Clinton foreign policy team members Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and William Perry gathered on Capitol Hill to blast the Bush administration's handling of North Korea. As the former National Security Advisor and close Clinton confidant, Berger more than anyone bears responsibility for the current mess ( excepting the North Koreans and Clinton himself) because the 1994 nuclear deal brokered by Jimmy Carter was Berger's baby. Since North Korean cheating on the arms deal was immediate and was reported openly in the Washington Post in the late 1990's and was deliberately ignored by the Clinton administration as a matter of policy why should anyone in the Bush administration listen to this irresponsible entourage ?

Perhaps next Daschle can trot out Warren Christopher to tell us what to do when a horrific genocide breaks out in a small African country.
EMPIREWATCH ! GEORGE SOROS: Says that George Bush is an imperialist with an exaggerated view of his own righteousness. Recall this is the billionaire who has set up a foundation in order to meddle in the political affairs of foreign countries. Soros has good objectives in doing so, spreading liberal democratic reforms. Kind of like.... George W. Bush's policy on Iraq.

Imperialism is in the eye of the beholder.
THE COMING OF THE GLOBAL HYPERECONOMY: Economic doldrums of the moment aside, the most advanced first world economies are going to be transformed economically, socially and politically in the next twenty to thirty years. Genetic engineering is one transformative field, Quantum Computing is another and the first nation-state to assemble an array will have a locked in comparative advantage over all of the others ( the new Quantum computers can immediately be put to solving previously intractable math problems thus creating proprietary breakthroughs in other fields). The speed of information and economic exchanges will reach a " light " standard of transmission and the hypothetical, instantaneously reacting free market will exist, at least in the U.S., Japan and a few other states. We may in fact, have to install artifical " break " periods because human beings and their societies are not wired for 24/7/365 markets. For a quick tutorial on all things Quantum go to Newscientist.com
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