Friday, May 30, 2003

University has policy to arrest students who exercise free-speech on campus.

This is a federally funded institution. Where is the Justice Department ? Where is the Department of Education ? Where are the House and Senate Appropriation Committees ? If movement conservatives can let socialist totalitarians use public money to intimidate and indoctrinate what is the point of running for office ?

" Our Constitution is color-blind "
- Justice John Marshall Harlan

For all the worshippers of diversity as a religion.
Go here. For scholars, students, lawyers and laymen.
Thursday, May 29, 2003

From Reuters.

AWASSA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Live Aid founder Bob Geldof shocked the international aid community on Wednesday by praising President Bush's administration as one of Africa's best friends in their fight against AIDS and famine.

Bush on Tuesday signed into law a $15 billion plan to help fund the fight against AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, a move which aid agencies welcomed.

"That is extremely radical and welcoming...and will take the fight against AIDS to new heights," Geldof told reporters.

The Irish musician and activist said Bush's predecessor Bill Clinton talked passionately about Africa, but had done little, while the European Union had provided a "pathetic and appalling" response to the continent's humanitarian crisis.

Geldof, who staged the world's biggest rock concert to help Africa's starving in 1985, made his comments after visiting drought-affected people in several child-feeding centers in Awassa, southern Ethiopia.

Aid agencies estimate 14 million Ethiopians are at risk of starvation after the worst drought in nearly two decades. HIV/AIDS has made the country's plight even worse.

In Ethiopia on a five-day trip, Geldof urged international donors to respond before the situation becomes catastrophic.

"The situation is worse than I expected," he said, grabbing an emaciated child from the arms its mother.

"We are condemning the drought-affected people to death."

Aid agencies say international donors had been slow in responding to an appeal for food aid for Ethiopia.

The Rome-based World Food Program (WFP), the world's biggest food aid agency, said on Wednesday it faced a "substantial shortfall" of some 230,000 tons toward its requirements for Ethiopia of 619,000 tons in 2003.


Go here.

Taking a shot at NYT Paul Krugman's rather idiotic praise of the Japanese kereitsu system of interlocking directorates between banks and major corporations under the " administrative guidance " of the Ministry of Finance. Given a choice between economic growth and government control, Krugman opts for control.


Has an interesting post on Iran and Hezbollah
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Some sound advice on building democracy in Iraq from Reason Magazine

Is epitomized by this story . Nothing excuses this atrocity, certainly not dogmatic assertions about " colonial oppression" - it is unadulterated barbarism.

Central Africa is hurtling to the same fate that West Africa suffered several years ago as civil war spun out of control in Sierra Leone and Liberia to engulf neighboring states. The result was an eerie Apocalypse Now style anarchy with militias of glassy eyed murderers led by nude commanders and units that went into battle dressed like drag queens. The Congo is in such a state already, Hutu and Tutsi conflict remains active in Rwanda and Burundi, Robert Mugabe is clearly going mad as he clings to power in a Zimbabwe that he is starving and AIDS strikes roughly one person in four. We are looking at a continent that may, in a decade be composed mainly of failed states en route to becoming geographic expressions.

First, let me quote a very sensible comment on al Qaida from Riting on the Wall

"so let's shatter the reification and actually fight this war and not the last one. to subvert the ideological movement, more akin to right totalitarianism without a state than the left totalitarianism manifest in the soviet union, we have to first determine its nature and internal movement (if not "logic" per se). while this doesn't mean that military action is unnecessary, it should be used as needed and in conjunction with other avenues. alone, it won't work any more than it did during the cold war."

He's correct. A while ago, Frontpagemag.com had a symposium on the nature of Islamist terrorism and the consensus was that their invited experts fit that movement into the familiar paradigm of the Communist front/Cold War challenge. I thought that was off the mark notwithstanding the support Islamism has gained from unreconstructed Marxist fringe groups like ANSWER and crackpot leftist academics like Nicholas DeGenova or front group tactics to build " respectable " public apologists for Islamist terror like CAIR.

A better parallel is the prewar spread of Fascism and National Socialism across the western world during the 1920's and 1930's. If you have seen photographs of Argentine philo-Nazi rallies with enormous banners of swastikas within a sprocket or delved into the origin of Romania's gruesome Iron Guard you can understand the analogy with Islamofascism, which likewise spreads memetically, by example and by word. It is no accident that audiocassettes are a more potent weapon for al Qaida than car bombs - the radical idea attracts alienated intellectuals and the Islamic equivalent of what Konrad Heiden termed " armed bohemians " - young men eager for action and true belief to psychologically galvanize themselves. The West has to counter that message with attractive memes of our own - democracy, individualism, secularism, capitalism - in short - freedom. Not every Arab longs to live under a mullah''s sandal but to speak out at present, to criticize the Islamists is to risk a charge of apostasy and a violent death. Ideas are things to fight for as well as against


" A people used to living under a prince maintains its freedom with difficulty, if by accident it becomes free "


Has had some superb posts this week on the media and on Soviet Gulags. They are excellent - go read them

Grading student exams was one of the punishments with which God afflicted Job. Or perhaps it was one of the plagues Moses brought down upon the Egyptians. At the moment I'd rather have the frogs and a river of blood than read another poorly thought out essay on the relative merits of the Federalist and Antifederalist positions
Monday, May 19, 2003

China has agreed to send peacekeepers to the hellish warzone of the Eastern Congo where the rebels have added cannibalism to a repetoire that includes rape and mutilation to better terrorize civilians. From the AP via the Washington Post:

BEIJING, Feb. 11 -- China is poised to dispatch a detachment of troops on a U.N. peacekeeping mission for the first time in a decade, a sign of the country's increasing interest in extending its influence overseas.

A company of 175 soldiers from an engineering battalion and 43 soldiers from a medical unit will be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The deployment will mark the first U.N. mission with Chinese troop participation since 800 engineering soldiers went to Cambodia from 1992 to 1994. On Monday, the People's Liberation Army allowed two busloads of foreign journalists rare access to a military base 60 miles north of the capital, greeting them with a marching band, chanting soldiers and a briefing from smiling officers.

"China has joined the World Trade Organization, we're uniting with all global institutions," said Col. Huang Wenfeng, one of the officers preparing for the mission, "so it's only natural that the People's Liberation Army should also open to the outside world."

The deployment is unusual because it will test the army's logistical capacity. From Beijing, it takes almost two days to reach Bukavu, along the border with Rwanda in eastern Congo, where troops will be based.

The deployment represents a victory of sorts for the Foreign Affairs Ministry and more progressive elements within the army that have been pushing for more peacekeeping operations overseas. Other than the Cambodian deployment, China has restricted its participation in U.N. exercises to dispatching about 650 military intelligence officers to serve as military observers and two groups of police officers to serve in East Timor and Bosnia. China rejected requests to send troops to Afghanistan following the defeat of the Taliban, saying that the operation was not under a U.N. command.

"Deployments such as these will help with the professionalization of the police and the army, so I always support this process," said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Beijing University. "China's participation in peacekeeping operations will change how China understands international problems."

China is showcasing its desire to play a bigger role in U.N. peacekeeping operations as the United States is perceived to be challenging the United Nations in Iraq. Senior Col. Dai Shaoan, the deputy director of the newly constituted Peacekeeping Department at the National Defense Ministry, said China late last year informed the United Nations that it was placing an engineering battalion, two transport companies and a medical unit on standby for U.N. operations. However, Dai said China is still reticent about sending armed units abroad for peacekeeping.

For the last several years, Britain, Australia, France, Canada and Germany have pressured China to increase its peacekeeping participation. Britain trained some Chinese police for international duty but had to ban them from British roads because their driving was "problematic," one Western diplomat said.

"The more China is involved in the real world and recognizes the complexity of it, the better idea they will have of how the real world works," said one Western military attaché whose government has pressured China to dispatch more troops abroad. "We're almost trying to embarrass them. We say, there are five permanent members of the Security Council. Everyone else deploys lots of peacekeepers, where are you?"

China's attitude toward peacekeeping wasn't always so positive. When China rejoined the Security Council, in the 1970s, it refused to pay peacekeeping dues; it didn't start to pay them until 1989. At the time, China vowed it would never send its troops overseas.

But as Dai explained, "the international situation is changing all the time and each country is changing as well."


Has caused the blogosphere 's heavyweights - even Andrew Sullivan - to blast the Bush administration for incompetence, underestimating the difficulties of democratizing Iraq or just plain lying. Well, here's my two cents:

My observation so far is that the Bushies need to stop worrying about how they are being perceived in Iraq and start enforcing martial law because this hands-off, PC charade of civilian administrators is getting people killed and creating a dangerous situation for American troops. Appoint a no-nonsense, somewhat scary looking, military governor with complete proconsular powers over all American troops and Iraqi civilian administration. A top State department advisor, fluent in Arabic can be his advisor playing Robert Murphy to the military governor's Eisenhower. After security and basic services are restored and humanitarian agencies are distributing food and medicine we can focus on democratic governance and constitutions for Iraq. This will take at least 3 to six months minimum.

My second observation is that most of the critics need to go read up on how disorderly, dangerous, cold and hungry liberated Europe was after WWII for years ( or for a real nightmare, read about the Red Army's " liberation " behavior in Eastern Europe) after Nazi Germany was occupied. Iraq has been free for about a month so the trendy impatience with the situation borders upon the ridiculous in comparison.

Blogging has been light and I apologize. Some of this has been due to my current one-handed typing limitations which might soon improve. My incredibly cumbersome splint has been replaced by a an equally formidible but far more comfortable hinged arm brace that has freed up my left hand at least. The arm still hurts and the surgery cost close to 6k which - allegedly - will be covered mostly by insurance. Basically, when I have been online I've been commenting over at Calpundit, generally irritating some of Kevin's more partisan readers. I'll try to work a bit more on my own blog now that I'm feeling a little better.
Friday, May 16, 2003

Juan Cole has reported the following today on his blog:

"*The Sunni clerics of al-Azhar Seminary in Cairo have issued a new fatwa requiring Muslim states to seek nuclear weapons. The ruling says that for Muslim states to renounce such weapons while non-Muslim governments have them would be a horrible mistake. Muslims, the clerics said, have a duty to strive to be as powerful as their enemies. –Az-Zaman "

Quite simply, radical Islamist regimes that attempt to develop nuclear weapons will either be forced to give up such programs under international pressure or the United States will dismantle those programs using military force by invading and forcing a change of regime. This includes Iran. Is this fair in an abstract sense ? No but it is a matter of survival as the Islamists are both impervious to reason and fanatical enemies of the United States they need to be relegated to the same level as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Their avowed hatred will be treated seriously for what it is - a desperate wish for our destruction.


One of the more interesting threads on H-Diplo that I was involved with was a debate with Tom Nichols and Judith Klinghoffer over whether Stalin's use of Terror qualified as genocide. Class-based Communist terror, like Stalin's De-Kulakization and Collectivization campaigns are not included under the Genocide Convention definition of genocide because in the aftermath of WWII Soviet diplomats were very well not going to agree to any language that implicated their supreme leader in the ultimate crime against humanity. Nevertheless, the convention represented a significant improvement over the international response to the Armenian Genocide after WWI when nothing much was done or even acknowledged. Hitler in fact, is known to have remarked " Who remembers the Armenians ? " which demonstrates the impact on future monsters when the internatational community fails to react to such atrocities.

All of this has been a preface to an interesting website on Democide by RJ Rummel. Check it out.


China is still continuing their missile build-up against Taiwan that began in the mid-1990'a. This to me says several things. First, China does not have any serious plan to invade and conquer Taiwan in the near future regardless of how Chinese Communist Party leaders or PLA generals periodicaly bluster whenever some prominent Taiwanese politician gets a tourist visa to the U.S. If they had such an intent their investment would be far better spent in acquiring some kind of airlift and sealift capacity. The Chinese have not done so because their boats and planes would get shot to pieces by the more technologically advanced Taiwanese air force. Secondly, it indicates that while China does not intend to conquer Taiwan, war remains a serious card to play because the missiles could inflict devastating losses on Taiwan's economy and civilian infrastructure without Taiwan being able to retaliate in-kind on a similar scale. Third, it may be China's attempt to acquire the ability to destroy any nuclear facilities should Taiwan resume the quest to build nuclear weapons, a program abandoned under U.S. pressure back in the days of the Nationalist dictatorship.

This is a backburner issue but one where the Bush administration may have to review upgrading arms sales to Taiwan with all the complications that would arise from such an action.

Oh yeah. She also didn't bother to teach her course material because it took too much time away from her political propagandizing for Saddam Hussein. The university owes these students an apology and a refund of their tuition. From Frontpagemag
Thursday, May 15, 2003

From Caerdroia and it is good !

I think that most non-Americans - and more than a few Americans - miss the essential nature of America, particularly in their behavior towards other nations. Here is the quick and dirty guide to understanding American foreign policy:

If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone. Heck, we'll even give you money if we think you need it more than we do. Mind if we send some tourists your way?

If you trade with us, we will trade with you. The more barriers and annoyances you put in place, the more we will do so as well, and eventually we will trade less with you for it. On the other hand, the more open you are, the more open we will be. We would just as soon eliminate tarriffs and the like: we have the income tax now and don't really need them. Please, let us open branch offices and fast food joints.

If you are our faithful ally, trustworthy and honest, we will shower you with every benefit we can give. We will defend you against all threats. We will send our young men and women, if necessary to die, by the millions to aid you. We will spend our blood and our treasure freely on your behalf. All that we will ask of you is a plot of land to bury our dead.

If you pose an existential threat to us, we are the most ruthless bastards on the face of the Earth, and we will bend you to our wills, or we will kill you. Witness, if you will, the American Civil War, the way we fought against Japan in WWII, Dresden and so forth.

If you interfere with our interests abroad, we will be annoyed with you, and will attempt to marginalize and contain you, even to destroy your economy and culture if necessary. I'm looking at you, Fidel Castro.

If you threaten us (empty or not) and act to develop means to hurt us, see the point about posing an existential threat. After September 11, we are not going to put up with that crap any more. I'm looking at you, Kim Jong-Il.

If you think we are a pawn to play in your regional games, and in the process decide to interfere with our attempts to maintain our security, we will work to thwart your ambitions. I'm looking at you, Jacques Chirac.

We are large, rich, powerful and diverse. What other nations see as major acts of war (bombing our embassies, for example), we frequently see as annoyances and part of the price for being in the world. Eventually, we will notice if you keep it up. I'm looking at what's left of you, Osama bin Laden.

We are not always wise, but we are always intelligent. We are always kind and generous and loyal to our friends, ruthless and implacable to our enemies, and we generally ignore those who don't fall into either of the above categories as best we can. We make mistakes, but we correct them. We are repentant, but we are not guilt-ridden. We are religious, but we are not fanatics.

Amen brother.


Robert Novak celebrates 40 years as an investigative reporter, TV pundit and highly paid consultant. People who hate Novak's views or laugh at his analysis never miss his column because he digs deep, criticizes anybody and has the biggest rolodex of contacts in Washington. Congratz Bob !

JB at Riting on the Wall ( after graciously wishing me well on my current one-armed status -TY) noted what I wrote the other day on the Saudi regime:

The network of Islamists in Saudi Arabia have grown in power to the point where the house of Saud is effectively sharing power or at least ruling while sitting on a powder keg with Islamist imams always ready to strike a match and engage in political blackmail.

JB responded:
very true. i happen to disagree with his historical analysis, referring instead to the rise of the house of saud during the time of ibn 'abd al-wahhab and the coevolution of the saudi regime and religious conservatism-turned-radical revisionism. but the end result is the same: today, the saudis need a little leaning on and friendly advice about liberal democracy before something horrible happens

JB's point about the interrelationship between Wahabism and the House of Saud being a coevolution stretching back to the 18th century was apt and I am pretty much in agreement. Daniel Pipes, noted scholar and presidential appointee is too brings up Abdul Aziz's crushing of the old Ikhwan brotherhood ( beating me to the punch) but illustrating that there is just a secondary aspect to Saudi politics involving patron-client ties of kinship, marriage and tribe that are also at work. This worldly aspect complicates and strengthens the religious zealots position in the Saudi world even if it is meaningless to them compared to adherence to Islamist purity - they benefit from the protection of less fanatical relatives and patrons higher up on the scale. Where Abdul Aziz acted, Fahd and Abdullah fear to tread, reluctant to disturb the delicate network of elite alliances and relationships that form the Saudi equivalent of the social contract. Moving against a 22 year old al Qaida supporting prince is not to arrest a misguided young man but to offend his grand uncle in the ministry of Defence whose cousin wedded your brother's second daughter. That is how in part the senior princes in the Saudi oligarchy view their terrorist crisis. The key terrorist supporters in Riyadh are a discontented minority in their own regime, not dissenters standing outside the palace or leaning against a wall in the casbah as in Algeria.

Dan Drezner takes on what frankly has to be called an updated " Jewish Conspiracy " theory centering on the so-called, dreaded, and allegedly sinister " neoconservative cabal " in The New Republic Online. Drezner names names but he doesn't go back far enough in time to trace the pedigree of this drivel. Neocons as a Jewish clique argument was percolating on H-Diplo last fall where I and historian Eric Bergerud aptly pointed out to Juan Cole, David Kaiser and Eric Alterman that neoconservatism was rooted in anticommunism, not zionism and still less in the Likud Party. Prior to that, as I have blogged before, this was being peddled by Jude Wanniski of Polyconomics back in 1998 as part of his longstanding feud with Richard Perle and the supply-side guru's more recent role as an apologist for Islamist radicals, Saddam Hussein and Louis Farrakhan. Since then the neocon-Jewish cabal has become standard propaganda of the antiwar Left and Right at magazines like the Nation and the American Conservative. Drezner however, has taken some solid shots and brought in the late historian Richard Hofstadter into the debate.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Central Tech Station has a nice analysis of French perfidy. Or stupidity in this case.

Fromm Reason magazine:

"A Mistake a Free People Get to Make Only Once"

Last week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear a case in which a three-judge panel decided that the word "people" in the Second Amendment does not mean, well, actual individuals. But six judges from the circuit have written a blistering dissent to their brethrens unwillingness to reconsider the case. An excerpt from a Washington Times account:
A barbed postscript by Judge Alex Kozinski, writing alone, said history would be vastly different had American slaves or Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto been able to arm themselves.
"The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for re-election and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees," wrote Judge Kozinski, a native of Romania appointed by President Reagan.
"However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once," he wrote.


From the UPI:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 13 (UPI) -- Iraqis have uncovered what is thought to be one of the largest mass graves found since the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a report published Tuesday.

The grave was unearthed was found in the small village of al-Mahawil, located near the city of Hilla, about 56 miles south of Baghdad. "

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The terror bombing-firefight-guerilla operation in Saudi Arabia said several things about the War on Terror and our " good friends " the Saudis.

The good news is that the US-led, high pressure tactics on the Islamist network has drastically reduced their field of operations. Where once al Qaida plotted in London and ran safe houses in Germany and controlled a de facto state in Afghanistan the Islamofascists are now reduced to moving covertly either through failed states like Somalia or states-in-denial like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The regimes in Riyadh and Islamabad grabbed a tiger by the tail decades ago when they tried to bolster their internal support by indulging religious maniacs in their fantastical mythologizing.

It may surprise many of you but Saudi legitimacy was based upon the right of conquest, not religious piety when Abdul Aziz bin Saud created Saudi Arabia by defeating the Hashemites of Mecca ( who now rule Jordan) and the Rashidi clan and coming to diplomatic terms with the other British client states on the Arabian peninsula. King Abdul Aziz was a " macho " Arab figure who liked his concubines and was relatively easy-going in his practice of Islam. Aziz was not a xenophobe either, having befriended for decades a British expatriate St. John Philby, a Nazi sympathizer ( and father of Communist spymaster Kim Philby). Alcohol was sold in the Kingdom into the 1960's. All the nonsense about the " holy soil " of Saudi Arabia is pure invention of Islamist fanatics like bin Laden, the only holy soil in Islam is in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and the Shiite shrines.

Saudi Arabia ran into a legitimacy crisis after the death of Abdul Aziz who's mastery was undisputed because his martial prowesss and personal reputation had justified his monarchy. The Saudis were confronted with the decidedly non-monarchical popularity of Arab nationalism personified by Nasser and the Syrian-Iraqi Baath parties. After a near disaster with the erratic King Saud, the family dynasty cemented its hold on power through King Faisal, widely respected by his subjects for his sincere religious piety. It was Faisal himself who was determined to counter the spread of Pan-Arabism ideology by fostering radical Islamism and anti-Zionism, a policy that meshed well with the dynasty's traditional close alliance and association with the Wahabi ulema. Faisal's brothers Fahd and Abdullah, do not command similar religious respect and when criticized for Westernization and love of luxury, they have appeased the religious radicals by buying them off with subsidies for their schools and ever stricter interpretation of the Sharia in Saudi courts. The network of Islamists in Saudi Arabia have grown in power to the point where the house of Saud is effectively sharing power or at least ruling while sitting on a powder keg with Islamist imams always ready to strike a match and engage in political blackmail.

The Saudis need a covert push from Washington to save their own regime because they are so paralyzed by fear as to be worse than useless to the United States as an ally. If they do not act they will be overthrown anyway within months or just a few years and the US would have to intervene to secure the oil fields in order tokeep them out of the hands of a revolutionary Islamist regime.

Calls for pressure to be put on Iran

The debate on America as an empire is heating up again. In an article here, two Brookings scholars weigh in, calling for a United States contained by its allies in multilateral structures similar to those built during the Truman- Eisenhower years of the Cold War.

The United States is not an empire. What we have here is a debate over whether American values, particularly the conservative interpretation that favors free markets, individualism and limited government - is a good thing for the world. People who have a bias toward collectivism, statism, social democracy and fear change and modernity will line up to create measures to retard America's freedom of action because the further Bush can push the world order in favor of market rules, the less sustainable the collectivist-social democratic model is in practice both economically and politically.

Well, I'm back after a fairly painful bout of bicep surgery to repair a ruptured tendon. The surgery went well but the post-operative pain was a fairly draining experience. I surfed a little, posted a few times on Calpundit, wrote a little for H-Diplo but mainly I lazed around in a vicodin induced stupor and read books. I just started Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, an underappreciated influence on the Founding Fathers for whom usually Locke and Montesquieu are often listed as important sources of Constitutional ideas. They are of course, but so were Polybius and Machiavelli.
Thursday, May 08, 2003

The Campus Left, from academics to administration to campus activists are a good guide to how they would like to run the larger society if they could. Yet another attempt to suppress students who disagree with the prevailing liberal dogma. As an added bonus, the story involves ex-Clintonite and longtime campus censor Donna Shalala who brought into being an infamous " speech code " at Madison in her previous stint as an academic.

People like Shalala believe the Constitution need only be honored if some student's lawyer might cost them some money or adverse publicity.
DEFENSETECH.ORG has an update on the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.
The ex-Nixon hatchet man turned Reaganite turned Religious Right turned Reform Party fringe candidate turned " anti-zionist " taunts the President about Iraqi WMD's and asks where they are. A charge widely echoed on Leftist blogs by bloggers and those who comment on their boards.

Here you go Pat.

KARBALA, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. troops have found 11 mobile laboratories buried south of Baghdad that are capable of biological and chemical uses, a U.S. general said Monday.

There were no chemical or biological weapons with the containerized labs, which measure 20 feet square. But soldiers recovered "about 1,000 pounds" of documents from inside the labs, and the United States will examine those papers further, said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Freakley of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.

"Initial reports indicate that this is clearly a case of denial and deception on the part of the Iraqi government," Freakley told CNN's Ryan Chilcote. "These chemical labs are present, and now we just have to determine what in fact they were really being used for."

Troops found the mobile laboratories near a weapons plant outside Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. Though buried, they appeared to contain about $1 million worth of equipment and were "clearly marked so they could be found again," Freakley said.

During the buildup to the war in Iraq, the United States repeatedly accused Iraq of using mobile laboratories to produce banned weapons. A U.S.-led force invaded Iraq March 20 after accusing Iraq of violating U.N. resolutions requiring it to give up chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

In February, U.N. weapons inspectors "found nothing untoward" at an ammunition filling plant close to where the troops have found the mobile labs, a U.N. inspection team spokesman said Monday.

Inspectors visited the site -- referred to as the Karbala Ammunition Filling Plant -- on February 23.

"There was no hint by anybody, no special tip that led us there," one U.N. official said. No banned weapons or related materials were found there.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in February told the United Nations Security Council that U.S. intelligence indicated Iraq had production facilities for biological weapons "on wheels and on rails," and on at least 18 flatbed trucks.

He insisted the labs existed and called them "most worrisome."

"The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors," Powell said. "In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War."

Powell said the evidence included firsthand accounts from four sources -- among them, an Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised one of the facilities and an Iraqi civil engineer "in a position to know the details of the program."

U.N. weapons inspection chief Hans Blix said his inspectors never found evidence of such labs.

On March 7, Blix told the U.N. Security Council, "Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities. Food-testing mobile laboratories and mobile workshops have been seen, as well as large containers with seed-processing equipment. No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found."

Iraqi officials repeatedly denied having weapons of mass destruction and have not used them against U.S. or British troops.

Last week, troops from the 101st Airborne found a stash of chemicals, which was investigated as possible nerve agents, but the material turned out to be pesticides, Freakly said. The United States will further examine the latest find, he said.

Another core Antiwar charge down the drain with the former " Saddam has no ties to Bin Laden " refrain conspicuously absent since the Telegraph published Iraqi intel documents. Let's see, what is the purpose of a WMD concealment program and a systematic destruction of evidence ( something Pat should recall from his years in the Nixon White House) unless there is a program to conceal ? How hard did team Blix at UNMOVIC actually bother to look ? Given Blix's sorry track record at the IAEA when he overlooked North orean, Iraqi and Iranian nuclear weapons proliferation activities, I'd say not very to not at all.

I have been felled by a ruptured bicep tendon - which when it happens, feels a lot like being hit in the arm with a baseball bat accompanied by a tearing sensation. Surgery is indicated in the near future which means that there might be an initial interruption of postings followed by heavier than usual blogging as I will have some time on my hands to fill intellectually instead of physically.

" Remember...thou art mortal ! "

" He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it "

Jinghao Zhouwriting on the In The National Interest websitehas Four Observations on how the market is transforming Communist China.

This is a key change. The shift from a totalitarian society in fact under Mao ZeDong to a nominal totalitarian but in practice merely authoritarian society under Deng Xiaoping has brought China to a crossroads. To go backward is to risk the economic growth that keeps both social peace and legitimizes the rule of the CCP in the eyes of the populace; to go forward much further is to build a middle-class that will eventually, as in South Korea and Taiwan, demand and win multiparty democracy and overthrow the system erected in 1949.
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
JUDITH KLINGHOFFER a noted historian who blogs on HNN sent me an intriguing email regarding history education and the Holocaust. It seems that in Austria students are learning about the Holocaust by having each student research the fate of a particular Austrian Jew who fell victim to the Nazis.

Totalitarians who plan genocidal programs require a period of demhumanization and alienation where through political programming, their intended victims are transformed psychologically into an inimical " other" in the eyes of the loyal followers. Hitler began speaking of Jews in eliminationist terms in 1919. Pol Pot outlined his class-based genocide decades earlier. Austria's history program, reverses that legacy and for the students, changes the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from a collective abstraction to real human beings with whom identication and empathy comes more readily.
CAERDROIA has a provocative post on " cultural marxism " - the bastardized, quasi-religious movement infecting our institutions of higher learning so that they produce thoughtless and time-wasting exercises in nihilism like " whiteness studies " ( an incoherent brew of anti-white racism and hate-America polemics). Some of the more radical Women's Studies programs are equally goofy, overtly political and without educational merit.

Here's a money quote from Caerdroia:

"In any evangelistic movement, there are only two ways to end the movement. Either a competing axiom set must arise, which makes a better fit with the needs of the people exposed to it, or the evangelists must be killed. It is in the nature of evangelism to be persistent and coercive. Otherwise, an evangelist is unlikely to convert anyone to his belief system. It is also in the nature of evangelistic movements to be based on logically-shaky foundations, because if the foundations were logically formed, evangelism would be unnecessary; reason would be sufficient to convince people of the utility of the belief system. "

JANE GALT has an interesting post on the validity of polling. Go here

Our adversary and purely nominal " ally " France aided the escape of high officials of the Iraqi regime with passports and presumably other intelligence assistance -perhaps laundering the $ 1 billion Saddam and Qusay looted from Iraq's central bank. How much would you care to wager that the Iraqis who received French help are precisely the ones most likely to provide damning testimony about personal and financial relationships that leading French politicians had with Saddam's regime ? Or could map out to the extent that France and Baghdad worked out a joint strategy to undermine UN sanctions ?

Treat the French for what they are - the friends of our enemies.


My historical hat is off to Professor Ferenc M. Szasz . I will use many of these shamelessly Go here

" The March of the Human Mind is slow "

Edmund Burke

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Samizdata posted the following which is a useful illustration why we can't just allow our friends left of center to wave away the whole Soviet experience in that casually dismissive, determined not to acknowlege unpleasant realities, manner they have perfected into an art form during political discussions.

"The Road of Bones
I submit that it is a therapeutic, every so often, to remind ourselves about the horrors of communism.

A living testament to that horror can still be found today in Siberia. It is the road that runs from Magadan to Yakutsk, otherwise known as the 'Road of Bones'.

It was built by political prisoners and slaves, countless numbers of whom were worked, frozen and starved to death in the process. Because the perma-frost makes the ground too hard to effect any burials, the bones of the cadavers were broken up and used as ballast upon which to build the road.

We will never know for sure how many lives were sacrificed to this 'glorious people's project', but by repute, every metre of the road cost one human life. The road is 2000 kilometres long.

There are still many people in the world today who subscribe to this terrible, anti-human, homicidal psychosis.

Never forget. Never forgive. Remain vigilant and, above all, never ever, ever apologise for fighting back."

If you think that was appalling, the DOE has identified at least 40 nuclear sites in Russia without adequate security for weapons grade nuclear fuel back in 1998. Here is a link ( Adobe Acrobat req. )

" Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are yours"

Marcus Aurelius

Generally, critics of the Bush administration focus on the ideological influence of neocons, notably Richard Perle, on the shaping of Bush administration foreign policy or to a lesser extent, the influence of the Reagan years. One of the underreported aspects of the Bush administration however is the number of high officials who had their political start with the administration of Richard Nixon, a list that includes Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Vice-President Dick Cheney and of course the former President Bush. It is also noteworthy that Cheney had been a Rumsfeld protege and Condi Rice was once Cheney's. The Bush circle is far more closed than the leaky Reagan administration where figures like Caspar Weinberger and George Schultz may have spent long years in politics and business at Bechtel working together but distrusted and disliked each other at the end of the day.

Nixon's administrative culture was one of " tough " and hardheaded realism, particularly in the area of foreign policy where the military was used to send signals to the Soviets by taking action against third parties in other theaters ( putting American nuclear forces on alert over the Mideast crisis was one example, bombing the hell out of Hanoi prior to a summit meeting with the Soviets was another). The Bush administration takes a number of cues from the Nixon playbook including a penchant for secrecy, a rationing of presidential contact with the relentlessly negative, cynical and leftwing White House Press corps and an emphasis on brains and loyalty in political appointees. The Bush administration has in fact achieved the iron self-discipline that Nixon longed for when he used Haldeman and Ehrlichman as a " Prussian guard " - the difference being that George W. Bush is a far more personable and likable figure than Nixon who inspired admiration but scant affection or emotional connection in his subordinates. Bush commands loyalty through personal ties as well as deference or fear unlike Richard Nixon.

To an extent, if you want to try to figure out where the administration desires to go in the world with its foreign policy you have to ask yourself what Nixon might have done - the administration is far more flexible behind the scenes than the shrill critics of neoconservatism would have you believe. Neocons provide part of the value system in setting American objectives in Bush's foreign policy but the mechanics of implementing policy can be found in the history Nixon and Reagan years.

Evidently some of the diplomatic corps in Manhattan would boost TV's from a smashed storefront window given the opportunity. From TIME magazine:

"Hunger pains can apparently turn even the most upstanding diplomat into a looter. At noon on Friday, food workers at the U.N. headquarters walked off their jobs, calling a wildcat strike. The result: none of the U.N.'s five restaurants and bars was staffed. The walkout left thousands of U.N. employees scrounging for lunch — eventually, the masses stripped the cafeterias of everything, including the silverware. "
Saturday, May 03, 2003

Bill Gertz has the story here. Remember how Tom Spencer and Atrios and all the liberal bloggers were repeating how there was no evidence tying Saddam to al Qaida or proof of WMD programs ? Well, Tom has been mighty quiet on that topic lately on his blog since the Telegraph broke the story on the Iraqi documents and after having accused everyone to the right of George McGovern of " lying " about Iraq he might have found the time to say a few words. Well, now the WMD issue will go down a similar liberal memory hole.

Nat Hentoff on Robert Mugabe's descent into madness and unchecked tyranny.

And where is the moral voice of Bishop Desmond Tutu ? Nelson Mandela, overly preoccupied with anti-semitic conspiracy theories and cheering brutal dictators like Gaddafi and Saddam, is also silent. Jacques Chirac ? No, the French president loves Mugabe like he once loved Saddam's oilfields. Randall Robinson of TransAfrica ? Paul Krugman ? Ted Kennedy ? Bill Clinton ? Jesse Jackson ?Where are the calls for UN inspectors to be sent to Zimbabwe to prevent an artificial famine and democide ?

Perhaps if we can tie Mugabe to Enron or Halliburton......


Ann Coulter on the Iraqi Museum, Liberals and the French:

"At least we finally got liberals on the record against looting. It seems the looting in Iraq compared unfavorably with the "rebellion" in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict. When "rebels" in Los Angeles began looting, liberals said it was a sign of frustration – they were poor and hungry. As someone noted at the time, apparently they were thirsty as well, since they hit a lot of liquor stores. Meanwhile, the Iraqis were pretty careful about targeting the precise source of their oppression. Their looting concentrated on Saddam's palace, official government buildings – and the French cultural center.

However many precious pots were stolen, it has to be said: The Iraqi people behaved considerably better than the French did after Americans liberated Paris. Thousands of Frenchmen were killed by other Frenchmen on allegations of collaboration with the Nazis. Subsequent scholarship has shown that charges of "collaboration" were often nothing more than a settling of personal grudges and family feuds. This was made simple by the fact that so many Frenchmen really did collaborate with the Nazis. The French didn't seem to resent the Nazi occupation very much. Nazi occupation is their default position. They began squirming only after Americans came in and imposed democracy on them. "

The odious, incumbent protection law misnamed " Campaign Finance Reform " is struck down

Good riddance. While we are at it roll back most of the inane and counterproductive post-Watergate reforms as well and let candidates raise however much they like from whomever they like subject only to full public disclosure and American citizenship of the donors. With the current system, only a billionaire is free to break with particular special interests, PACs and rain-makers who totally dominate the Democratic and Republican parties. McCain-Feingold was an authoritarian, anti-democratic law that prohibited the unwashed masses from contributing to the public debate during election times -i.e. the time it matters most. It was an attempt to reserve national politics as the province of the self-appointed elite and shut the rest of us up under the guise of populist rhetoric about " cleaning up the system " ( a " system " created by previous reform laws that enshrined lawyer-lobbyists as the gatekeepers to electoral competitiveness - in the old days, a candidate had so few financial backers that we at least knew who was buying him and if he stayed bought after the election)

It wasn't the gambling habit but the fact that he could plunk down 8 mill and not miss it. In our lifetime political discussion have become entertainment and celebrity and with it comes all the riches formerly due - or perhaps in excess of - a medium grade Hollywood movie star. It's hard to imagine Walter Lippmann, despite having been America's only big league pundit for half a century, earning enough from his political commentary to afford the gambling habit of a Turkish pasha.

I don't begrudge Mr. Bennett a cent of what he spent. He earned it, it didn't come out of my or anybody else's pocket unless they were willing to buy his books or pay for his time and he's free to spend it any way he chooses. If instead of gambling in Vegas Bennett gambled on -say - the value of a Monet bought at auction going up - no one would have a second thought about it but fundamentally the operating principle of speculation is the same. It's also nice to see someone reaping the rewards of being smart and well educated instead of for ball-handling skills and 40 yard dash times.

He may take a hit on the virtues thing however.

I just wanted to say that I am tremendously impressed with the quality of discussion on his site having just watched a dialogue on mathematics unfold. It's a far cry from the ad hominem gibberish and endless recycling of the 2000 election that you see elsewhere. An intelligent audience indicates superior content - you don't see MENSA meetings at monster truck rallies or roller derby championships - perhaps Kevin Drum is on the way to becoming The Economist magazine of the blogosphere
Friday, May 02, 2003

In the wake of a crackdown on the Varela 78 - Castro's jailing of democracy and human-rights activists - U.S. celebrities are flocking to defend the Communist tyrant
Reuters reports:

" U.S. singer Harry Belafonte and U.S. actor Danny Glover are also among the personalities who have signed the two-paragraph declaration "To the Conscience of the World" so far, Gonzalez announced to a May Day rally in Havana.

"A single power is inflicting grave damage to the norms of understanding, debate and mediation among countries," the declaration says, referring to the United States and the war in Iraq.

"At this very moment, a strong campaign of destabilization against a Latin American nation has been unleashed. The harassment against Cuba could serve as a pretext for an invasion," it continues.

These celebrity morons are the honorary jailers and torturers of the Cuban people and they deserve contempt.
INSTAPUNDIT reports that the two British Islamofascists who committed the suicide bombings in Israel were former " human shields " and peace activists.

Not that there is much difference ;o)

International law does not take into account such niceties as free elections in determining which regimes are regarded as " Legitimate " in terms of having the right to exercise sovereignty over a terrotory. In a legal sense then, Switzerland's government is no more " Legitimate" than that of Oman, an absolute monarchy or Burma's which is ruled by a repressive military-socialist dictatorship.

Nevertheless, various dictatorial regimes like Iraq under Saddam feel compelled to go through the charade of staged elections where the dictator gets 99.9 % of the vote or sometimes more than 100 % in order to demonstrate the regme's bona fides to the international community. Why ? No one believes these elections are anything less than a complete farce and they more often invite ridicule and contempt from foreign observers.

The answer lies in the creeping acceptance of the Lockean social contract and Jeffersonian principle of " just consent of the governed " as the only true source of " Legitimate " governmental authority. All but the hardest-core leftists and Bush-haters acknowledged that the U.S. establishing democracy in Iraq was preferable to Saddam's rule. As a principle of international law, democratic rule has yet to be enshrined as a bestower of legitimacy but psychologically democracy has made such inroads among the Western world's population this outcome is all but inevitable.

Let tyrants fear.

In a rare gesture of graciousness seldom seen among Democratic leaders in recent years - or in Washington in general for that matter - Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Dasche had this to say:

"Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said Bush deserved "great credit" for his leadership during the war and praised the work of the military. Days before the war began, Daschle had blamed Bush's failed diplomacy for making the fighting necessary and was criticized for his remarks.

"In 21 days, we eliminated somebody who for 20 years has repressed and tortured his own people and posed a serious security risk," Daschle said."
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Had the following cogent comment about Iraqi Shiites in response to the Tom Friedman column:

Friedman wrote: "This is the most important power struggle in the Middle East today. For now, the Iraqi Shiite clergy in Najaf are weak. They don't have many senior clerics. I kept it that way. But you can't just install your own Iraqi Shiite leaders. They will have to emerge on their own. You need to create the conditions in Najaf whereby students can come back and the natural Iraqi-Arab Shiite traditions can flower again to counter the Iranians."

RITING responded:

easier said than done, mind you, but he's right. the seminaries need to be up and running even faster than the government. this will serve a dual purpose: first, laying the groundwork for a new generation of shi'a clerics not trained in qom that follow afghani more closely than, say, khomeini and, second, it will distract those pesky clerics who apparently do want to run things right now. they'll have to play academic politics. and god knows that takes enough time and energy that you can't possibly run a country simultaneous to it.


David Horowitz assails the post-Cold War, post-9/11 Hard Left.
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