Saturday, February 22, 2003



A rather loopy blogger has started something called "Campaign for Democracy and Human Rights in Iraq." Fair enough, who wouldn't agree? Certainly not I. But you scroll down the post and just before the comments section you read and I am not making this up:

A tiny handful of people -- four, so far -- have been attempting to use the comments section of this article to try to attack the campaign or engage in debate. All such comments will be deleted without further notice.


MoDo's On the Money, Again

Nobody in America makes me feel more insecure than Tom Ridge.

Well, actually there's someone who makes me even feel more insecure, but I know what exactly what you mean, Mo.

Here (registration required).

By the way, don't bother reading Tom Friedman. He just woke up and realized that maybe we've been overreacting. Never crossed my mind



Uh, oh. A very friendly and thoughtful blogger, CalPundit, has stirred up the whole Bell Curve nonsense again. I actually have a copy of the book which my wife bought off the street 'cause I didn't want any royalty to go to those bozos.

Tristero's Review of The Bell Curve

Pros: It is typeset extremely well. The graphs look very pretty. Also, the paper in the hardback edition is of very fine, heavy stock.
Cons: Too numerous to mention.

Just for the heck of it, I contributed the following to the discussion on Atrios' comments board:

Many years ago, circa '75, I came across a Chomsky article that discussed race and iq. Here's the gist of it: it made quite an impression:

If a correlation between race and iq is found it would really not be that surprising. Likewise, a correlation between, say, height and iq, or eye color and iq, or ear size and iq wouldn't be that shocking a find.

Chomsky draws the obvious conclusion. Only because a society feels that a certain correlation between a group feature and iq is important does it actually become important as a field of study.

If a social scientist found a correlation between ear size and iq, it is doubtful that s/he would extrapolate from something so trivial to propose sweeping changes in social policy.

Likewise, a correlation between race and iq implies nothing in terms of social policy. It is the importance placed on race/ethnicity within a society that makes this trivial statistic a hot button issue. But the social importance of race does not elevate an uninteresting correlation into a profound finding of fact.

Ultimately, the way in which a culture decides to treat its citizens is based upon the values that the culture holds regarding freedom, altruism, empathy, and the like. To find justification in statistics is as foolish as finding justification in any other "holy" text. Ultimately, what matters more is the consensus of the culture, which can be changed, but not by spurious invocation of scientific minutiae.

It follows from this that morality is in some sense existential, in that it is rooted not in Darwin, not in iq, but in the shared lives of the people who make the community.

Anyway, I don't know if the above accurately reflects Chomsky's view but that is how I've understood it. It is certainly something that seems self-evident to me and makes Murray/Herrnstein irrelevant scientifically and cruelly misbegotten.

It also enables me to find an inherent amazement in science (I love statistics and charts!). And it also enables me to construct an ethical system based upon my nature, the way I was nurtured, and my current experience and thoughts.


Here's why libraries are important

Jeb Bush is proposing to destroy evidence from the 2000 presidential election by cutting all funding to Florida?s libraries. The 6 million ballots from the election were placed under the control of the Florida Division of Library and Information Services with the intent of giving people who want to study the public election process the opportunity to do primary research. Jeb Bush, governor of Florida and brother of Amerikkka?s dictator, George Bush, has responded to people wanting to study the actions he and his brother took in regard to the election by proposing a 2004 budget that cuts funding to the Florida Division of Library and Information Services to zero.


Friday, February 21, 2003



The ho'has it exactly right.:

Howard Dean would make an excellent president
John Kerry would make an excellent president
John Edwards would make an excellent president
Bob Graham would make an excellent president
Wesley Clark would make an excellent president
Gary Hart would make an excellent president

Joe Lieberman would make a far better president than Bush
Dick Gephardt would make a far better president than Bush
Christopher Dodd would make a far better president than Bush
Joe Biden would make a far better president than Bush
Dennis Kucinich would make a far better president than Bush
Al Sharpton would make a far better president than Bush
Carol Moseley-Braun Would make a far better president than Bush



"Whether we agree with those demonstrations or whether we believe they were out of line or wrong headed, these were huge events that are helping to shape what is happening in the United Nations and whether we go to war," he said. "Yet on television those demonstrations . . . were treated dismissively, condescendingly and patronizingly as if they were not important news."

here via The Horse



A Government-backed course is encouraging pupils under 16 to experiment with oral sex, as part of a drive to cut rates of teenage pregnancy.

It should work rather well, I would imagine.

Here via CalPundit.



Get a reality check.

Duct tape and plastic sheets? To protect us from what? How is a terrorist going to bring VX gas to my door?

from a professor of medicine at NYU.

I've been saying the same thing since the anthrax days. It's plain commonsense.


WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED? : Feds Exaggerated Success in Terror Cases

Overall, almost half of 288 convictions deemed "terrorism-related" were found by investigators to have been wrongly classified as such for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the General Accounting Office found.



Deals for allies' war support are likely to cost U.S. billions

go here

via cursor.



Did Bush go awol from the National Guard. I blog it. You decide.

Thank you, uggabugga who has a wonderful table of Bush's service of his own.



If you're a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal, you might want to check out this interesting article.

Saddam's bankroll notwithstanding, there are numerous American foundations that have traditionally funded these [anti-war] activities...

Now I know this sounds like boiler plate Wall Street Journal paranoia. Saddam funding the peace movement?? Puhleeeze... And since the Wall Street Journal says nothing further and offers no evidence, one might plausibly conclude that someone's been soaking in the sun too long in their tinfoil hat. Let's call the big strong boys with the nice white suits and the nice big net...

But, hold the thorazine, fellas. It's all true. Saddam has indeed underwritten the peace marchers. Here's how he did it.

Prior to the ascension of the Bush administration, Dick Cheney was president of Halliburton, which, as has been widely reported, did quite a bit of business with Saddam. A recent re-audit of the books during Cheney's tenure disclosed the existence of a Saddam-funded slush fund of nearly $1 billion. This had been buried with some very complex financial derring-do by Arthur Anderson, who, you will remember, was the Halliburton accounting firm that Cheney praised on a promotional video tape.

Saddam's secret fund with Halliburton was for one purpose: in the chance that the US would go to war, Halliburton, whose business interest it was to maintain peace between US and Iraq, would secretly distribute the money to US peace groups to undermine support for a US war.

Is it true? Let's put it this way. You better believe it's true or the terrorists will have won!


Advice to Angola, Guinea, Cameroon, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan:
Get it in writing, folks. And get the cash upfront.


Pollack has a frightening article about Saddam's nuke dreams.

He makes a compelling argument that Saddam may be far ahead in developing nukes than we know about. I'm pretty convinced.

Therefore, we should quadruple the number of inspections and, to use his phrase, tear the country apart looking for the stuff. If they meet objections, either ignore them or back it up with swift, localized attacks until they do comply.

There is still no case for preemptive war, tho, especially led by the incompetents in the Bush administration. If war with Saddam is inevitable, then harassment of Iraq by the inspectors (with swift military force if necessary) can surely slow down his nuke development long enough for the US to elect a decent government to devise a sensible plan.

That's far less risky than a war led by Bush.



...postwar reconstruction in Europe and Japan wasn't just a matter of money; America can also be proud of the way it built democratic institutions. Alas, the Bush administration's postwar political plans are even more alarming than its economic nonchalance.
Turkey has reportedly been offered the right to occupy much of Iraqi Kurdistan. Yes, that's right: as we move to liberate the Iraqis, our first step may be to deliver people who have been effectively independent since 1991 into the hands of a hated foreign overlord. Moral clarity!

Notice: it's not "the US government." It's "the Bush administration."

Also, I'd like to propose an abbreviation for Coalition Of the Willing. Let's call them COWs.

Which has one added benefit. As Bush bribes more countries, we can say they've been COW'ed into submission.

Thursday, February 20, 2003


Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'

via Atrios.

I can't believe it. They're either incompetent or being as obstructionist as Saddam. And our neighbors and children will be fighting and dying for them.



What, George, Two Wars Not Enough?

The United States will send about 3,000 troops to Philippines in the next few weeks to fight Muslim extremists in the southern part of the country, Pentagon officials said today.

North Korea is really gonna feel left out now.

UPDATE: Now they're saying "1700." That makes it ok. For a moment I thought we were getting overly involved in too many places.

UPDATE 2: Oh, now it's only 350 troops. What gives? Did the Army get wet on the way over and shrink?


contains this amazing gem:

[Bush/Iraq I was] "The best covered war ever," Cheney told the Forum interviewer. "The American people saw up close with their own eyes through the magic of television what the U.S. military was capable of doing."

Get it? They covered it up. Literally. Go read the story and find out how human interest will distract us from uncomfortable realities, like why are doing this war in the first place?


Yup he's nuts/

...when our born-again president describes the nation's foreign-policy objective in theological terms as a global struggle against "evildoers," and when, in his recent State of the Union address, he casts Saddam Hussein as a demonic, quasi-supernatural figure who could unleash "a day of horror like none we have ever known," he is not only playing upon our still-raw memories of 9/11. He is also invoking a powerful and ancient apocalyptic vocabulary that for millions of prophecy believers conveys a specific and thrilling message of an approaching end ? not just of Saddam, but of human history as we know it.

Don't get me wrong. People have the right to believe whatever they want. But when their screwy beliefs are used to justify and shape the policies of the most powerful country that ever was, my religious tolerance reaches its limit.


Brilliant, angry article by Robert Fisk.Read it now.

This war is about oil and regional control. It is being cheer-led by a draft-dodger who is treacherously telling us that this is part of an eternal war against "terror". And the British and most Europeans don't believe him. It's not that Britons wouldn't fight for America. They just don't want to fight for Bush or his friends. And if that includes the Prime Minister, they don't want to fight for Blair either.

You got the mojo, Robert. Blair is not England. Bush is not America.


AP Wire | 02/20/2003 | Turkey rebuffs Bush; vote postponed

Many analysts say the U.S.-Turkish talks are part of a delaying strategy by a Turkish government that feels trapped between the desires of its strongest ally and the wishes of the Turkish public, which is overwhelmingly against war.

Analysts have said that in the end, Turkey is almost certain to agree to at least some U.S. demands to preserve its friendship with the United States, whose support for Turkey in the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been critical for Ankara.

But Erdogan appeared to bring that into question. Although not a member of parliament, Erdogan is regarded as the power behind the scenes in Turkey's ruling party.

Hmm... Better read this book quickly, boys.


Exactly right, Robert Kuttner.

The Middle East has too many distant memories of Christian crusades and too many recent memories of American alliances with dictators. In free, democratic elections, much of the region would elect radical Islamists.


I'd say that's a bit of a problem.

"Basically, the biggest problem is that 94 percent of the Turks are opposed to war," said Morton Abramowitz, who nurtured America's military cooperation with Turkey as a Pentagon planner during the cold war and later served as United States ambassador to Turkey.

Thanks, Tom Tomorrow, for bringing this little nugget to my attention.


A plucking bad idea.

U.S. marines and soldiers will drive into battle across the dusty plains of Iraq with caged chickens atop their Hum-Vees.

The idea is that they'll detect chem/bio weapons in the air.
via cursor


Someone agrees with me that a bio/chem attack by al Qaeda is very unlikely.

via cursor


For the history of the "thinking" behind our Iraq adventure to come, go read “Dick Cheney’s Song of America”

Thanks cursor for the heads up.



Go here for the complete skinny.

I have come to the view that military action is justified with great hesitancy because plausible chains of events following even what appears to be a military, diplomatic, and political success include frightening and catastrophic outcomes—but so too does inaction.

No one's talking about inaction. They're talking about tough inspections.

Colin Powell was not convincing on al-Qaida/Iraq connections, but he was persuasive on Iraq's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. We cannot afford to wait until Iraq obtains such weapons and blackmails the region—as North Korea is doing now.

With tough inspections and sanctions, who is waiting?

War is always a leap in the dark, but even the chance of greater regional democracy—and thus less of the displaced anger that fuels terrorism—makes the risks worth taking.

There is no, zero, zip, nada, chance of regional democracy and there is even less (g) if Bush, of all people tried to impose it. This is a Perle-induced fantasy.

I would favor an invasion for a larger purpose, though, which is this: to begin a roll-back of the several tendencies and political movements that add up to Muslim totalitarianism. I would favor an invasion whose purpose was to foment a liberal revolution in the Middle East.

See above. And let's add that there is no evidence that an invasion would foment any kind of revolt except against Bush, as opposed to, say Saddam's containment plus hearts and minds policies.

Let's also add that, of all governments, Bush's is the least prepared to understand what is going on in Middle East and wouldn't know a liberal revolution if it came up and bit them. Vide Afghanistan. I followed the loya jirga. It was a joke, totally undermined by the Bush admin's rigging of the results.

Others want to believe that after a decade of defiance, Saddam has suddenly, secretly, complied with U.N. demands that he destroy his arsenals.

No one does, not even Ritter. He believes that by now the chem/bio agents Saddam had are now too old to be dangerous. I have no idea if Ritter is right, but no one believes that Saddam secretly complied.

Ultimately it's all a big gut call.

This nonsense is from Peggy Noonan. The unmitigated gall, that the sons and daughters of Americans should die because of her "gut call."

Peggy Noonan's guts don't mean, eh, spit. Nor does anyone else's. Soberly presented reasons are needed for war, and they are woefully lacking.


Hoo boy.

The Saudis are proposing that after Saddam Hussein's fall, Saudi Arabia should lead a coalition of Islamic nations to occupy Iraq while a transitional Iraqi government is established. According to the Saudis, the Turks would play the leading role in the Islamic force SNIP

The Saudis would then be free to crack down on the extremist Jihadis in the Kingdom who are allied with al Qaeda or are sympathetic to Osama bin Laden.

Right now, Saudis feel a full scale crackdown would look like the kingdom is doing American bidding, at a time when President Bush is very unpopular there.

Translated: You give us Iraq's oil, we'll take care of obl. Pretty good negotiators, those Saudis, especially when they see a sucker.


This scrapes the bottom of the barrel.

As thousands of sailors and Marines are sent abroad for a possible war with Iraq, the Bush administration is proposing to cut education funding for many children of military families.

I'll be writing my reps about this. Our soldiers deserve much better treatment than the Bush administration is prepared to give them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Arianna Huffington asks the question of the year.

At a time of war, at what point does subverting our national security in the name of profitability turn from ugly business into high treason?

UPDATE She's talking about the repellent Dick Cheney. Check it out.


They don't miss a trick, do they?

Democratic sources maintain the administration has decided to automatically fulfill requests only from GOP committee and subcommittee chairmen, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

The White House vigorously denied the accusation. "We respond to all congressional inquiries in the appropriate manner," a White House spokesman said. While some Democrats may not be pleased with the response time for their requests, they are not being ignored, the spokesman said.


Talk about non-denial denials! I'm sure what's appropriate for a Republican request is not appropriate for a Democrat request. And no, the Dems are not being ignored, the WH notices and actively delays.

Incredible. - Anti-Bush T-shirt banned at Michigan school - Feb. 19, 2003

School officials ordered a 16-year-old student to either take off a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "International Terrorist" and a picture of President Bush and or go home, saying they worried it would inflame passions at the school where a majority of students are Arab-American.

The student, Bretton Barber, chose to go home. He said he wore the shirt Monday to express his anti-war position and for a class assignment in which he wrote a compare-contrast essay on Bush and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Schools spokesman Dave Mustonen said students have the right to freedom of expression, but educators are sensitive to tensions caused by the conflict with Iraq.

I'm sure if the t-shirt said "Bush Is God's Emissary on Earth" he wouldn't be sent home.


Turkey and U.S. Fail to Agree on Aid Package

This brings up the whole question of support for the troops who will be fighting in Bush's war.

I am opposed to this war and will be opposed to it should Bush be dumb enough actually to start it. The fact that Turkey and many others are throwing up obstacles to Bush is wonderful news.

However, anyone that could possibly put American troops in harm's way cannot be countenanced.

Obviously, the most egregious offender in this regard is George W. Bush himself. Those of us who are against this war don't want to see Americans or Iraqis die for Bush's fantasies and ambitions. We therefore must support the troops by ensuring that they are out of harm's way and the best way of ensuring that is to do everything possible to make sure Bush's war never happens.

Should the war starts, I also cannot in conscience support any action that could lead to death or injury of Americans or Iraqis. Therefore, I must be certain that any antiwar action that I support does not contribute to the awful danger the troops are in.

But exactly how to do this remains difficult to quantify a priori for many situations. I retain the right to doubt and to change my mind. But my opposition to this war will always remain firm. It sickens me to imagine the pointless deaths that will surely result from Bush's nutty, nutty ideas.


Black woman joins US presidential race

It's thrilling to see the moniker PU for the Bush doctrine has almost made it into the mainstream:

"Rather than fritter that goodwill away in a rush to pre-emptory, unilateral military action, and in the process isolate us in a country on perpetual alert, we would do well to foster co-operation, to freeze the very ground in which extremism and terrorism festers," she said.

This is great stuff. Also, Mosley-Braun will neutralize Sharpton to the extent that people in the primary will vote for an African-American based on their African-Americanism. But if Bush ditches Cheney, which will probably happen, and picks Rice as a running mate, it doesn't matter who the Dems choose, unless they have a specific plan to neutralize the impact of a Rice candidacy. If I were Bush (heaven forfend!), that's what I would do in '04.


Just because youknow what you're talking about doesn't mean Bush has to listen to you.

Islamist propaganda has already identified the United States as the main enemy and sensitized Muslims in their Middle East and Asian heartlands, as well as Muslim migrant communities in North America, Europe and Australasia. An invasion of Iraq would give a new lease on life to existing and emerging terrorist groups.

The writer is author of "Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror."

Thanks, again cursor.


Line of the day.

Haven't we abandoned American ideals the moment we attempt to impose them by force?
Thanks, cursor.


Art Spiegelman says he resigned from the New Yorker in protest over their pro-Bush editorial policy.

Yes, it's terrible to see the New Yorker - yes! the New Yorker! - supporting the moronic policies of the Bush administration. Although I loved it when Hendrik Hertzberg found a way to write "Bush doesn't know Dick" .


I never would have guessed.

I knew there had to be pressure on the GAO to drop Cheney, but being this blatant about it is incredible.

Thanks, again atrios. You're the best.


Americans Abroad Find Anger at U.S. Brings Discomfort and Risk

Not true! If you read the article, the actual incidents support a headline like "Anger At Bush Does Not Reflect On Americans Abroad"

To quote Apocalypse Now, the bs is so thick you need wings to fly above it.


Oh, great.

Leaked document details Pentagon planning process for developing and building new nuclear weapons for “small strikes.”

Bush is no longer a joke to me.


Thomas Friedman once again tortures the English language.

'Taking him out is a war of choice — but it's a legitimate choice. It's because he is undermining the U.N., '


Tom, have you actually read what Bush's advisers have said about the UN? Should the US go to war with the Federalist Society?

' it's because if left alone he will seek weapons that will threaten all his neighbors,'

STRAW MAN ALERT! Who on earth is talking about leaving Saddam alone?

' it's because you believe the people of Iraq deserve to be liberated from his tyranny,'

Of course they do. But not at the price of creating thousands of spanking new al Qaedians. Which is precisely what an invasion and occupation of a Middle East country will do.

' and it's because you intend to help Iraqis create a progressive state that could stimulate reform in the Arab/Muslim world, so that this region won't keep churning out angry young people who are attracted to radical Islam and are the real weapons of mass destruction.'

You're joking, right Tom? Can you spell Afghanistan? Y'know, some of us actually bothered to follow the Loya Jirga, which Bush undermined so shamelessly it made the Supreme Court decision that appointed him look like democracy. And the Afghans, to their everlasting if self-destructive credit, have apparently refused to recognize Karzai's legitimacy. (STRAW MAN DESTROYER No, the Taliban were no better. But only a cynic would assert that human rights have improved today, except inside the circle of Karzai's American bodyguards).

Folks, democracy can not be imposed. It can be nurtured but never, ever imposed. Get it? Democracy is about freedom. Not coercion. An imposed democracy is both a logical, and practical, contradiction.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003



"Some in the world don't view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace. I respectfully disagree." George W. Bush Feb 18, 2003

No one has ever said that, George. No one in the world has a nice word to say about Saddam. Everyone thinks he's a menace.

But millions in the world view George W. bush as a risk to peace. Please respectfully disagree with us, George, by not starting a war.


The left has a lot of work to do to reach the people

'as long as America's anti-war movement talks to itself rather than to others, it is going to go on being surprised when the Gregg Aykinses emerge from the darkness with their hatred and venom intact to support George Bush's forthcoming war in Iraq. '


I've always agreed with the thrust of this argument. However, as the protests proved, there is very broad support against the war in the US and elsewhere. As to whether that will translate into popular support for lefty causes, I dunno. In the past, it has seemed puzzling to many people I know to link the incarceration of Mumia with the struggle against the Bush/Iraq war, but some on the left think it's important always to do so.

I have to admit I don't know. But I lean this way: we are on the brink of a major, perhaps global war, which will be started by the Bush government. It seems to me that the overarching concern should be to focus on stopping the war. The next step should be an all-out effort to remove Bush from office and replace him with a Democrat. Even the least attractive Democratic candidate (and, for the record, I am registered as Independent) would represent a major improvement over Bush.

Regarding third parties, I too would like to see a real alternative to the awful Democratic lineup (the Republicans, as long as they are sops to the religious and political right wing nuts, are beyond even cursory consideration). But that will have to wait until Bush is back in Texas and can no longer lead the world to war.

Again, it is imperative that we stop the war and not elect Bush in '04. All other issues fade in importance, as I see it.


Hey. Hey! Look at me, look at me! Whadda I gotta do to get your attention????

N. Korea Threatens to Withdraw From '53 Armistice


The Kurds tell it like it is.

'The US is abandoning plans to introduce democracy in Iraq after a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, according to Kurdish leaders who recently met American officials.

Well, hey, it worked for Bush here.

link via tom tomorrow


Did I miss something or did the NY Times manage to miss writing an editorial about the 6 to 10 million people that marched last Saturday?

Monday, February 17, 2003


Hacker accesses 2.2 million credit cards

'None of the Visa accounts has been used fraudulently, Visa spokesman John Abrams said. '



Quote for our times

"So let everyone recognise what has happened here today: that Britain does not support this war for oil. The British people will not tolerate being used to prop up the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years."
Mayor of London 15 February, 2003


Protests work.

'Washington has, however, been forced to review most of its tactical considerations in the light of the weekend?s huge anti-war demonstrations and the progress made by inspectors that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, reported on Friday.'

We have to keep holding their feet to the fire, though. I dunno how many people want to make preventing the Bush administration from starting a war a full time job. I hope it's a lot.


Yes, the protests worked.

'Washington has, however, been forced to review most of its tactical considerations in the light of the weekend’s huge anti-war demonstrations and the progress made by inspectors that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, reported on Friday. '

The real issue, of course, is the week after this, and the week after that, and week after that. Those of us who don't want war may find that preventing it is simply


I had dinner with a very loquacious friend the other night and it helped crystallize my thoughts about the terrorism alerts and the menace of terrorism. Here they are:

Please keep in mind that I know full well that it is a very, very dangerous world, and there are people out there who mean to inflict upon the citizens of the US great harm.

Let me say it another way. The threat from terrorism is very, very real.

But the real threat is not what Bush and co are addressing. As a result, their entire policy - war, security, intelligence - is dangerously misguided. Their threat is a right wing fantasy that has existed at least since the early 60's when Lemay was trying egg Kennedy on into a preemptive attack on the Soviet Union. The color-coded alerts, the duct tape, the Bush/Iraqi war, even the Bush/Afghan war, all of these are responses to a delusion.

How to address the real threat of terrorism? First of all, we need genuine, unbiased intelligence again. We did indeed have it under Clinton (albeit quite imperfectly) for, as we all know, the millenium plots were foiled. During the first nine months of Bush, we also know that such lamebrains as Ashcroft were literally backing off the surveillance of al Qaeda, apparently for no other reason than that since Clinton thought it was important, it couldn't possibly be.

With decent, not great, intelligence in place, there is virtually no likelihood of a spectacular event like the Sept 11 attacks happening again. Why? Because

1. It is very difficult to set up, fund, coordinate, and implement something that complicated.

2. While dedicated full time to killing US citizens, the terrorists are neither that smart nor that educated.

3. It is nearly impossible to keep something that involves as many people as 9/11 secret (indeed there was plenty of information in the pipeline for those attacks to be predicted had we not backed from processing al Qaeda-related material).

4. Biochem attacks are neither easy to develop, easy to store, easy to "weaponize", or easy to deploy.

5. Nuclear, despite the "misplacement" of an alarming number of suitcase bombs, is also not easy to work with.

The important thing to remember is that while al Qaeda is certainly wily, they have a serious brain problem. There simply aren't that many people who are dedicated religious fanatics who are stable enough and know enough about chemistry to put together a bomb. The "manual of jihad" is all well and good, but if you don't know how to read or, if you don't know how to follow instructions exactly, you will blow yourself up long before you're a danger to others. And, for all we know the manual could very well be filled with contradictory or even erroneous information.

That's one of the reasons why 911 succeeded. It was low tech because it's too hard for them to go high tech.

Good intelligence services, which includes more translators (the lack of translators pre-9/11 is a scandal of breathtaking proportions), experts on Islam and Islamism, more experts on secular Arab regimes and more informants are essential before any constructive attempt to combat terrorism can be taken. While it's safe to say that bin Laden is being paid attention to, the intelligence we have in place still appears to be woefully short of "decent" let alone excellent.

After intelligence comes security for American citizens. Our response so far has been underfunded to the point of idiocy. Another post will hazard a reason for this. While yes, you can't plan for everything, commonsense stuff, like upping the amount of freight checks has not been done. And there's plenty more.

With the country's citizenry and government reasonably informed and secure, the next step becomes obvious. The US must distance itself as much as possible from odious regimes like the Saudis and stop being a very convenient target for what is essentially an intra-Arab conflict (more in a later post). First step towards this? Fuel conservation, of course. And exploring reasonable alternative energy sources (not the bogus hydrogen plan Bush is yakking about).

With these steps taken taken in a competent and reasoned manner, will we still have terrorism? Probably, but it will be impossible for the kind of concerted campaign that bin Laden created to coalesce again.

However, as long as we remain proud of our ignorance of Islamism, neglectful of our security, and unconcerned with the horrors of life under the dreadful regimes we support, we are in trouble. Military action will only make matters far, far worse, creating more converts to the view that a violent response to US aggression is the only conceivable solution.

So, let's worry about the real terrorist threat and confront that dispassionately, without exaggeration or underestimation. But let's dismiss as fantasy the foolish hysteria of the Bush administration (again, I'm tabling detailed discussion of the delusions Bush is operating under as well as the history of such paranoid rightwing thought to a later time). We've heard this stuff for 40 years or more and it bears no relation to reality. Neither does their vision for a safe world which is so preposterous that they must either take us for fools or, if they really believe it, they need to have their medications adjusted.

[UPDATE] This was originally posted by accident without paragraph breaks inserted. That, and the tense of a single word have been changed. I did not think it necessary to repost for such minor edits.


Thank goodness that at least the chattering classes will be safe!

But heavens to Betsy, where's the NY Times prep for the Times building in NY? After all, it was specifically targeted by Ann Coulter for blowing up. I tried to contact TIPS about it, to turn her in, but the program was already terminated. Dang! I was really looking forward to having one of those junior fbi badges...


Turkey Signals Delay in Decision on U.S. Troop Deployments

Oops. Gonna cost Bush more, like a lot more.


An interesting compilation of who served in the military and who didn't.

"Chickenhawk" is far too kind a word for these people.


Blair shaken after peace march - The Times of India

Here's the money grafs:

'Blair's decision to quote a pro-war letter from a 19-year-old Iraqi student at Cambridge, Rania Kashi, has also come in for criticism.
Sunday morning saw Kashi touring TV studios admitting she had never been to Iraq, was born in Kuwait of Iraqi refugee parents and had arrived in Britain at the age of three months.

Once again link thanks to Atrios who linked to Tom Spencer. Thanks, folks.



'A group of wealthy Democratic donors is planning to start a liberal radio network to counterbalance the conservative tenor of radio programs like "The Rush Limbaugh Show." '


It looks like all the research into Japanese WW II internment by the blogosphere is paying off.

' A Japanese-American congressman wants Republican leaders to condemn comments made by Rep. Howard Coble that suggest Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II for their own protection.

' Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-San Jose, compared the statements made by Coble with those made by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who was forced to resign in December as Senate majority leader after praising a 1948 presidential campaign that promoted racial segregation.

' Honda said Saturday he was "outraged" that GOP leaders have made no move, despite requests from Japanese-Americans, to persuade Coble to step down as chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing homeland security. '

Sunday, February 16, 2003


Blair may be in a spot of trouble if there isn't a new resolution:

' "Without a second resolution, much of Mr. Blair's (Labour) Party will revolt, many of his MPs will mutiny, and some of his ministers will resign," The Observer newspaper's political columnist Andrew Rawnsley wrote. '

Yeah, I know, grasping at straws, but one has to hold on to some hope, somehow.


It looks like the protests may be working.

" The United States and Britain considered giving diplomacy more time on Sunday in the face of resistance at the United Nations to their plans for war to disarm Iraq and vast weekend peace protests around the world. "

Let's hope so.


Jeanne d'Arc gives us the numbers, culled from Atrios'' comments:

500,000 - New York, United States

25,000 - Vancouver, Canada

5,000 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

1,300,000 - Barcelona, Spain

660,000 - Madrid, Spain

2,000,000 - Rome, Italy

50,000 - Athens, Greece

1,000,000 - London, England

100,000 - Paris, France

500,000 - Berlin, Germany

10,000 - Toulouse, France

60,000 - Oslo, Norway

50,000 - Brussels, Belgium

100,000 - Montreal, Canada

35,000 - Stockholm, Sweden

10,000 - Toronto, Canada

3,000 - Quebec City, Canada

100,000 - Dublin, Ireland

70,000 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

60,000 - Seville, Spain

40,000 - Bern, Switzerland

12,000 - Edmonton, Canada

1,000 - Moscow, Russia

30,000 - Glasgow, Scotland

25,000 - Copenhagen, Denmark

100,000 - Seattle, United States

15,000 - Vienna, Austria

20,000 - Montreal, Canada

15,000 - Toronto, Canada

5,000 - Cape Town, South Africa

4,000 - Johannesburg, South Africa

30,000 - Los Angeles, United States

5,000 - Tokyo, Japan

2,000 - Dhaka, Bangladesh

10,000 - Mexico City, Mexico

500 - Prague, Czech Republic

25,000 - Baghdad, Iraq

200,000 - Damascus, Syria

2,000 - Tel Aviv, Israel

5,000 - Havana, Cuba

10,000 - Beirut, Lebanon

3,000 - Chicago, United States

2,000 - Kiev, Ukraine

10,000 - Philadelphia, United States

100 - Mostar, Bosnia

10,000 - Calcutta, India

5,000 - Amman, Jordan

1,000 - Puerto Rico, United States

150,000 - Melbourne, Australia

5,000 - Auckland, New Zealand

2,000 - Sao Paulo, Brazil

20,000 - Belfast, Northern Ireland

2,000 - Dhaka, Bangladesh

100,000 - Sydney, Australia

1,000 - Hong Kong, China

5,000 - Canberra, Australia

1,500 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


I can't believe it, via the indispensible Atrios.

The Bush administration actively blocked , repeat ACTIVELY BLOCKED, the march in New York City.


Alternet reports:

AlterNet: Report From New York There were probably well over one million people demonstrating in New York City on Saturday.

I dunno if it was that many, but I must admit I thought it was when I was there. The police estimate of 100,000 of course was ludicrous.


Sorry about the technical snafus :-) Still getting used to how to post quickly.


Now the NY Times is ignoring US protestors:

Antiwar Marches Reveal Gulf Between Leaders and People


Now the Times is avoiding any talk about US protests!

permanent link to this entry 12:49 PM


Now the Times is avoiding any talk about US protests!

permanent link to this entry 12:48 PM


Now the Times is avoiding any talk about US protests!

permanent link to this entry 12:47 PM


This Week With George Stephanopolous didn't mention the US protest marches once. Here is what I wrote to them:

Dear Mr. Stephanopoulos, Today (2.16) you mentioned protests in Europe and you mentioned protests "around the world." What are the 1 million plus patriotic Americans who marched yesterday: chopped liver?

How dare you and your show ignore the apparently inconvenient fact that the majority American people oppose a preemptive, unilateral war and are willing to demonstrate that through their protests?

Furthermore, George Will told an outrageous whopper. There HAS been at least one successful US terrorist attack since 9/11. As of this September, the attack on LAX on July 4, 2002 has been classified as terrorism, something which was obvious to the entire world when it happened but was denied by the Bush administration at that time.

Both the reality of signficant American antiwar sentiment and post 911 terrorism are facts. Your show will have more "credibility" if you choose to concentrate on facts than the delusional fantasies that the Bush administration insists upon.

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