Saturday, March 01, 2003

I Can't Think Of One, And I've Been Trying To  

A fellow with a blog called D-squared Digest write:
give me one single example of something with the following three characteristics:

1. It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration
2. It was significant enough in scale that I'd have heard of it (at a pinch, that I should have heard of it)
3. It wasn't in some important way completely fucked up during the execution.

via calpundit

The Lessons of Anaconda  

The Lessons of Anaconda You remember Anaconda, right? That was a little battle that took place, oh about a year plus ago, in a place called Somethingstan, you know, near Manchuria or Manitoba.

Friedman Says War Is Football By Other Means  

If this were not about my own country, my own kids and my own planet, I'd pop some popcorn, pull up a chair and pay good money just to see how this drama unfolds. Because what you are about to see is the greatest shake of the dice any president has voluntarily engaged in since Harry Truman dropped the bomb on Japan.

It takes a special kind of moron to write something like that. Note the extraordinary grandiosity and the extensive use of first person.

On the Capture of The Mastermind  

It is of course great news that they got this bastard, the one who planned wtc 1 and 2 and a host of other atrocities. Now, they need to give him a fair, public trial.

I am assuming, of course, that he's guilty. I don't know obviously. That is why the world needs a public trial.

And, as a cia member (ret'd) said tonight on cbs news, the world is now a lot safer because of his capture. So can the troops come home now before someone's kid is killed for no reason whatsoever?

Spin Alert: "More a Critical Issue for Turkey Than US"  

First heard on CBS Evening News 3.01.03 by military analyst. Let's see how far it goes. It's off to google now!

In Turkey, Majority Rules. The US Should Try It.  

Turkish Parliament Refuses to Accept G.I.'s in Blow to Bush The defeat of the resolution was a stunning political blow as well. Turkey, one of the America's closest allies and a member of NATO, is a secular Muslim democracy whose support in the region the Bush administration has craved. Indeed, American officials have called Turkey a model for the type of system they are hoping that an invasion of Iraq would help bring about elsewhere in the Middle East.

It is indeed a model system, folks. A very robust democracy. Of course, they may be holding out for more money. But if it delays the war a day, that's one more day of life for a child in Baghdad. All of us who care about peace owe them thanks.

[UPDATE] Well, it's a bit more complicated than "majority rules." Although 94% of the people in Turkey are against supporting the Bush war, in fact only a plurality of the Parliament voted against it, with 19 abstentions. According to Turkish law, without a real majority the law could not pass. Now, check out how the W Post spins it: Turkish Speaker Nullifies U.S. Troop Vote ( In other words, "we wuz robbed." I wonder if the headline for the final chapter in Bush v. Gore read "Supreme Court Nullifies US National Vote." I somehow doubt it, because back then the Post was pretending to be objective.

[UPDATE] Joshua Marshall has interesting things to say in this piece.

Friday, February 28, 2003


We're Screwed

Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said today that the President Bush was hopeful that war could be averted, but that to escape military action, Iraq must "completely and totally" disarm or Mr. Hussein and his top leaders must agree to "go into exile."

That combination of events, he said, looked highly unlikely.

Pressed on the point, Mr. Fleischer said both would be necessary conditions because disarmament was the United Nations' goal and changing Iraq's government was the president's.

Yup, we're screwed. Bush, of course, just added more conditions, namely his exile. If Saddam agrees to that, he'll just add seppuku or something else. Here, the Times analyses the situation.

I can't believe it. I just can't believe it.

Experts See High Risk of Strife in Iraq if Hussein Is Deposed


President Bush has failed the true test of character. Handed the American presidency, Bush has abused the power bestowed upon him. A man with character uses power discreetly. A moral man chooses patience over war. A man with ethical strength favors the needs of the many over the wants of the rich. A man of character is competent and dependable. Bush fails every one of these tests.

I'd been thinking of writing something about Bush's character. This fellow beat me to it.

Wolfowitz: "Dang. I Didn't Think That Could Happen."  

"Now remind, what are the Kurds again?" Is that what Little Miss Muffett was eating?

"Oh just shut up, George."

via Tom Spencer.

What Do We Care? He's Not American, Y'know  

Tony Blair may be America's closest ally over Iraq, but his political problems did not rate very highly in the American news media despite the big revolt by Labour MPs in Parliament.

Mr Blair's troubles with his party over Iraq may be front-page news in Britain, the debate was buried deep in coverage in the United States - if it was included at all.

The vote did not merit a mention on any of the main network news programmes on Wednesday...

If it was on the news, why, people would get the preposterous idea that no one in the world wants to go to war except George and Tony...

permanent link to this entry 8:56 PM

No, Not 2 Out Of 5 Dentists, George  

The bottom line is that roughly four in five Americans would favor war if the United Nations approved it, but only two in five, roughly, would favor war no matter what.

via back to iraq.

'We will disarm him now,' Bush says  

Oh, grow up, you moron.

The Real Reason the US Is Going To War In Iraq  

because we can. No more, no less

Tapped Tries On the Tin Foiled Hat  

Anyone who's read Tom Friedman's column figures out rather quickly that he's overdue for one of Dr. Watson's DNA IQ boosters. So it came as rather a surprise to find the usually smart as a tack folks who run the TAPPED blog agreeing with him:
too few have actually said yes to any policies that might bring about real democracy in the Arab world. Thomas Friedman got to the heart of the matter earlier this week when he observed that while thousands of left-wingers have carried signs at demonstrations advocating democracy for Palestinians, how many protesters do you see chanting for democracy in Iraq?

How can liberals -- whatever their feelings on Bush's war -- care about one and not the other?

This is beyond a doubt a very strange and peculiar time, when one has to dignify any of Paul Wolfowitz's screwball ideas with a point by point rebuttal. The Bushies' plans for this entire Iraq "adventure" are unworkable, dangerous fantasies from beginning to end.

If there is a war, there are are no effective policies that will bring democracy to Iraq quickly. This is one of Bush's weirdest delusions and many responsible people have rebutted it (e.g. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Bush's "strategists" make Ronald Reagan's fortune teller look like Richard Feynman.

Of course, everyone at the peace march, except a few wackos, wants Saddam out and democracy in. The point is that war will not achieve that and in fact will possibly delay Iraq's adoption of democracy for years.

The last point is a pure canard: There are no liberals who could care about democracy for Palestinians and not care to see the same for Iraqis. The entire free world wants to see freedom and justice for both peoples.

Apparently, even some liberal Americans still don't get what most the world has always understood about Wolfowitz's vision of the Middle East since they first heard about it. It's screaming-yellow-bonkers nuts.

[Update] I came across this a few hours after I posted the above. Same idea.

No. Don't Worry. Not Al-Qaeda. Of course not.  

At least two policemen have been killed in a gun attack outside the US consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

A number of policemen were also injured.

Police have arrested the suspected attacker. [SNIP]

"The suspect is not linked to al-Qaeda, but connected to some local Pakistani extremist group," a senior police official told Reuters news agency.

An intelligence official told the AFP news agency: "The policemen were hate-targets because they were protecting Americans."

The beeb.

Just As Long As She Doesn't Become a VP Candidate in '04  

Security adviser Rice weighs run for governor / Former Stanford provost rules out Senate bid against Boxer in '04

Saletan Hits A Homer  

Read the whole thing.


Bush Admin Distorted WMD Claims of Iraq Defector

Another must read:
The above quotes from President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and Secretary Powell refer to material produced by Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War. The administration has cited various quantities of chemical and biological weapons on many other occasions -- weapons that Iraq produced but which remain unaccounted for. All of these claims refer to weapons produced before 1991. According to Kamel's transcript, Iraq destroyed all of these weapons in 1991.

Kamel's statement casts into new light the claims made by the Iraqi government that it destroyed its non-conventional weapons in the period immediately after the end of the Gulf War. This topic remains highly potent, with Hans Blix declaring that "[o]ne of three important questions before us today is how much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991" ( statement of 27 January 2003 to the Security Council). If Kamel is to be taken as seriously as the UK and US administrations have previously held him to be, then his claim that "[a]ll weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed" should be taken seriously.
Most important link is here, from the same fellow who exposed the plagiarized Blair intelligence report that Powell plugged at the UN.

[UPDATE] Another article. And another which asks the question why this "bombshell" isn't front page news around the world.


Arabs Listen To America...Not!

"If you start telling me that to avoid war you have to start changing leaders, that certainly would be an innovation in international law that I am not aware of," Egyptian Minister Ahmed Maher said.

Buy Vodka! Buy Blinis! Buy Tolstoy!  

Russia 'prepared to use veto' - Feb. 28, 2003

An alternate headline: Pooty-Poot Party Pooper

It's Dawning in America - Support for Bush's re-election falls below 50 percent - Feb. 27, 2003

The Businessmen Are In Charge? Right...  

Estimating how much a war with Iraq would cost is impossible, Rumsfeld said...

Times .

Hey, has anyone seen Don Rumsfeld and Michael Cimino in the same room?

Is Nicky a Total Fool or Just An Idiot?  

Today's op-ed masterpiece by Nicholas Kristof details a set of secret plans the Pentagon is drawing up for sticking it to the North Koreans. Nick's opinion?
There's nothing wrong with planning, or with brandishing a stick to get Kim Jong Il's attention.

Hmm...Nicky, are you by any chance talking about the same Kim Jong Il who's attention has been riveted on the US since he was made a member of the Axis of Evil by George Bush?
Nah, couldn't be. Nobody with at job at the Times could be that flaky as to suggest that the head of NoKo is not paying attention to US very carefully...

Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Diplomat's Letter of Resignation to Powell  

This is magnificent. This is what real American statesmanship is like.

It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.


via Atrios.

More Good  

Iraq Agrees in Principle to Destroy Missiles, U.N. Official Says

Not a good day for Bush. Ask me if I care... Thanks for asking. Oh, yes do I care!!

Bushies Keep On Making Friends  

Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao ignited a furor today among labor leaders, including the administration's strongest friend in labor, the teamster president James P. Hoffa, when she cited repeated examples of union corruption while addressing the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s winter meeting.

Mr. Hoffa criticized Secretary Chao and said labor should back a presidential candidate who understands working people, causing many union leaders to say Mr. Hoffa was distancing himself from the president.


Lookin' Good!!!!  

Support for Bush's re-election falls below 50 percent

One of Only Two Saudi FBI Agents Has Been Placed On Leave  

And the terror alert went down a color?? Turns out this fellow refused to tape that professor in Florida that they just arrested. That means that, as we being a war, the FBI has exactly one, as in uno, agent in Saudi Arabia. Feel safer?

From the Very Un-Liberal Charley Reese  

I do know that the only leader threatening the world with nuclear weapons and pre-emptive attack is George W. Bush. It gives me no pleasure to point that out. But it is not the role of an American citizen to be a sheep. It has become apparent that those of us who supported Bush made a mistake. I'm beginning to believe that a philanderer and a liar is less dangerous than an upright but ignorant man who thinks God has appointed him to rule the world.

The best way to support our troops is to try to prevent the Bush administration from sacrificing their lives for the hidden agenda of the crazy neoconservatives in his administration. Young Americans should not die because a bunch of chicken hawks have a cockamamie idea that they can bring liberal democracy to the Middle East by making war. That's like trying to sell pork barbecue in Mecca. What the president is intent on doing is committing a crime against humanity.

The pork barbecue reminds of Bush's Afghan war (which, btw, we lost, or at best, have yet to have won) and when they were making such a big to do about dropping peanut butter in mine fields for the starving refugees. Peanut butter being an all American food that most of the world either loathes or has never seen.

Full article here.
via the the horse.

Magnificent Szymborska Poem  

You know who she is, right? She won the Nobel Prize for Poetry a few years ago. One of the greatest living poets in any language. She's Polish.

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

read the rest here. Thank you very much, jeanne d'arc.

Afghan Watch  

The Americans say they still feel welcome here. After all they were the 'liberators'.

But they have not been speaking to the folk who live nearby in the province of Konar.

The beeb.

Bush: A Man of Character. As In Shady.  


via cursor.

'Really Weird'  

Brendan o'Neill
The idea that the coming war will accidentally liberate Iraqis betrays a breathtaking naivety about the consequences of Western intervention. Outside interference in Iraq has already exacerbated local tensions, and military intervention can only further unravel the fragile Iraqi state. The internationalisation of Iraq's local conflicts threatens to divide Iraqis further and store up conflict for the future, rather than herald anything like a new era of freedom.

By turning Iraq into an international issue, America and Britain have paved the way for a carve-up. Local players like Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia all want a piece of postwar Iraq, while the big powers - including the supposedly anti-war French and Germans - have their own plans for postwar occupation. And if you think such intervention will bring democracy to Iraq, then you're really weird.

From the Wadda I Gotta Do 2 Get Yr Attention Department  

N. Korea Restarts Reactor, U.S. Reports

U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'  

U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'

Any Comparisons to Orwell Are Pure Coincidence : Bush: Iraq War Can Bring Mideast Peace

Bush Expresses Hope for Postwar Peace, Democracy (

Bush Says War Will Pave the Way for Peace

Bush says war is key to Middle East peace

Bush: War To Stabilize Region


Bush: Iraq War Will Build Mideast Peace

Bush Looks Past War to Peace in Middle East

War will bring peace, Bush vows

Bush sees postwar gain in peace, security

Bush sees war as a key to peace

Charlotte Observer | 02/27/2003 | Bush: War could aid peace in Mideast

Bush says Iraq war will aid Mideast peace search

Column: Civilian and military sacrifice unavoidable for world peace

[UPDATE] Liberal Oasis has an excellent summary of the importance of this speech.
[UPDATE] Alternet with another analysis, focusing a bit on the importance of the venue.

It Really Does Have Many Uses  

Judge duct tapes defendant's mouth

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Is the War Moral  

Eric Alterman writes
[The war to come] is wildly, almost insanely unwise and likely counter-productive, but liberating the Iraqi people from a murderous dictator is not, any way you slice it, immoral.

I agree, without a doubt, that the liberation of the Iraqi people is a moral good by any standard. But I imagine Alterman would agree that there certainly are immoral ways of accomplishing that desirable goal, for example, by obliterating Baghdad with a large thermonucelar bomb.

If immoral means can serve to produce moral ends, then it follows that an immoral war, including even one that forgoes the certain madness of nuclear weapons, could, in fact lead to the "liberation" of the Iraqi people.

In my book, a "wildly, almost insanely unwise and likely counter-productive" war is nearly a perfect definition of an immoral war. I'm curious what Alterman would add to such a conflict to make such a war "immoral."

But I will go even further and say that the notion that through a US-led war the Iraqi people will be liberated in the sense of being able to grow their own democracy is a delusion. Sure, it might happen just as there might really be a huge flying saucer behind the Hale-Bopp comet. But most of us know better than to bet on such improbable "mights."

And all of us, except Bush and his buddies, are moral enough never to start a war with such flimsy pretexts as the ones they've offered us.

One moral way to liberate the Iraqi people, and it surely is possible to do so, is via a vastly expanded inspection regime backed by force. This is outlined beautifully in a paper entitled "Iraq: What's Next?" that is available at this site.

I suggest, if any of you haven't done so, that you read it as that is how the moral deal with the immorality of Saddam Hussein.

[UPDATE] It looks from the above that Alterman never claimed that the war was a moral endeavor. But I think if you look at a fuller context it is clear that that is precisely what he is saying:
There is a letter going round signed by many of my favorite intellectuals and friends against the war that I considered signing but did not. I declined for two reasons. In the first place, it refers to this war as “immoral.” I beg to differ. It is wildly, almost insanely unwise and likely counter-productive, but liberating the Iraqi people from a murderous dictator is not, any way you slice it, immoral

March 25 Likely Start for War Now?  

Yes, it seems that way according to this article :
First, there is time for anti-war movements to develop further across Europe and possibly even in the United States. They have been remarkable in their recent speed of development and have come together before a war has even started. At the very least they will put further pressure on governments, with Britain and Spain being particularly significant. In both countries a palpable unease about the march to war is now being reflected in opinion polls showing a loss of support for the governing parties.

So that means there's plenty of time to continue to protest, Turkey's just holding out for a bigger bribe and the whole world knows it, as is Mexico, as are a few other countries, but with every day that goes by, Bush gets weaker, the antiwar movement gets stronger and more mainstream, and Saddam cooperates more.
This is all to the good.

Virtual March  

I tried, heavens knows I tried to get through. I was assinged 4:12 pm through 4:17 and I put my phone on redial and tried every 15 seconds or so. No luck, but it's up to 359,250 calls as I write this. Not too shabby.
Y'know, I really, really think Bush, Clinton and Schumer need to hear my thoughts on the war. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow...

[UPDATE] I think the anti-war stuff might actually be getting to the Bush administration after all. Looks like he's trying to steal the media spotlight away from the march by giving the nation the wisdom of his thoughts tonight. Shades of Coleen Rowley and the announcement of Homeland Security!!!

Clinton Heads UN? Oh, Please!  

Well, the writer of the article disagrees but that's a splendid idea.
I'm curious, what is it about prosperity, peace and freedom that frightens so many rightwingers?
[UPDATE] via CalPundit.

The Incredible Shrinking Protests  

On Feb. 15, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets in cities across the United States, Europe and Asia, protesting the Bush administration's threatened invasion of Iraq.

The Times today. This weekend, they were reporting over two million. But we know they were closer to 10 million.

WTF is going on??? Yes, I know it's overwhelming keeping up with all the lies and garbage the Busheviks throw out, but this shouldn't slip through the cracks. Damn, I'm gonna write the Times again.

Hamid What? Who? Oh Yeah, the Guy With the Cool Clothes
We have a great deal of work left to do in Afghanistan," Biden said, adding that security outside of Kabul, the capital, was a problem. He said warlords were again in control of certain regions and that "murder, rape and torture" were "instruments of policy" in some places.

Karzai acknowledged that problems remain in Afghanistan, but he gave a generally positive assessment of progress in the country.

"It's a much brighter picture than what you read in the newspapers," he said.

But several senators cautioned Karzai to give a blunt and realistic assessment in his private discussions with President Bush and administration figures, saying it would be a mistake not to fully acknowledge all of the problems and challenges the country faces.
"If you leave an impression that everything is going well...the next time you come back, your credibility will be in question," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska.


The Exterminator Squeaks Up  

I guess the Times couldn't find someone with a brain to rebut Dr. Dean. I have to say everything I've seen of him has been very impressive.

Rebuttal to Pollack's Case for War  

Kenneth Pollack's article in the New York Times was quite well argued and convincing. However the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace refutes some of his most important points.

I think that Pollack is right that Saddam is a very nasty threat. But there is no case for war based on what has been made public.


The diplomatic motorcade pulled up to the White House yesterday with great fanfare. The two Marine guards at the door of the colonnaded West Wing saluted smartly. TV cameras pressed close to get pictures of the vital American ally alighting from the black sedan for his one-on-one with President Bush.

It was a summit of the two great strategic partners, America and Bulgaria.


Very funny, MoDo, but Bulgaria after you hear this you won't be so quick to ridicule the country's culture.


There are rumors floating around that Putin has secretly offered Saddam a deal which in principle is acceptable to Blair. It is hard to figure out if it is real but the gist is that Saddam would retire to a country palace on a lake. Now what makes this interesting is that Saddam said last night in the Rather interview that he would not go into exile but would "die in Iraq." I wonder if he was signaling acceptance of the deal.

It would be the best thing that could happen for everyone. He would retire and avert total destruction. From the US standpoint, the main advantage is that Bush would be further isolated if Blair abandoned him. And if he doesn't go to war, which he probably wouldn't if Blair accepted it, he would be humiliated.

Most importantly, people won't die with bullets I paid for and Iraq has the potential to transition into something less odious than Saddamism (although democracy won't happen for a long,long, time).

I am hoping against hope that these rumors are true.

There's another one going on that war is now being pushed back a little bit from Ides of March due to delays from Turkey (thanks, guys!) and other factors (apparently the Pentagon has decided to invoke the McClennan Doctrine: ask for more and more troops and never attack). This is all to the good as it will probably work to create impatience and tension in the COWed (those who were forced and bribed into the Coalition Of the Willing) and the economy will continue to tank, putting pressure on Bush from his biz backers to stand back.

Again, all this is closer to wisps in the wind, but I'll cling to hope 'til the last possible moment.

[UPDATE] Here's the source for Saddam's comment "I will die in Iraq."

"Americans are antagonizing their friends"  

"Believe me and write this," he added. "Nobody hates America. America used to be a great example, it was not a colonial power in the region. Our sons and brothers work with American businesses. I am very sorry that American policy is threatening the human relations between the nations. The Americans are antagonizing their friends."

In Washington Post via CalPundit.

Ho Ho Ho, That George! Wadda Sense of Humor!  

Bush urges UN to 'honour word'

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


The Entire World Is Opposed To War: A Stunning Map

You have to see this. Sometimes a picture is truly worth billions of words.



The United States has "serious concerns" about Egypt's extension of emergency laws which allow it to detain suspects without charge and try civilians in military courts.

The Beeb with thanks to Atrios and Kos.


Big Bombs

The MOAB's massive explosive punch, sources say, is similar to a small nuclear weapon.

It is intended to obliterate a command center hidden in tunnels and bunkers or a concentration of Iraqi tanks.

Whatever the target, it must be far from cities where civilians might be hurt.

Yeah, right. Check back here after they start falling.

ABC news.


Class Warfare

One of the most common tricks that Bush uses to attack and disarm his opponents is to accuse them of doing what he is about to do. Remember "class warfare?"

"I'm not into that," says Bush, "I don't think that way."

But that is exactly the way he thinks, as the The New York Times points out:

No one disputes the size of the average tax reduction, and the jobs figure is based on the estimate of a prominent private economic forecasting firm.

But this is what the president did not say: Half of all income-tax payers would have their taxes cut by less than $100; 78 percent would get reductions of less than $1,000. And the firm that the White House relied on to predict the initial job growth also forecast that the plan could hurt the economy over the long run.

Try it. It works just about every single time. Listen to when Bush says "I'm not going to" or "I don't think the way they do" or whenever he blames an enemy. He does exactly what he says he won't.


WMD's Are Dangerous, But Danger Overhyped

According to a retired Army Sergeant here.


Bongs Today, Politics Tomorrow

Mr. Ashcroft says customers who want to visit some of their favorite drug paraphernalia websites are in for a big surprise in the days ahead. They will be automatically redirected to the website for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Ok, let's get one thing straight. I don't do recreational drugs because I just don't like them. The last time I smoked pot was well over 15 years ago and it was much too strong.

So in some ways this isn't my issue, right? Wrong. This is not about smoking pot. This is about entrapment. This is a colossal waste of time and money as well as an egregious example of the way Ashcroft imposes his deranged agenda on the rest of the country.

No, I don't like pot for myself. But so what? I don't see any reason why anything as innocuous as marijuana should be the focus of a large-scale entrapment bust. That's just plain idiotic.

From via Atrios.


To Save His Butt, Saddam Should Act like Kim Jong-Il

...any ruler who wants to be treated politely and deferentially by the United States should build nuclear weapons and test ballistic missiles immediately, without restraint. Apparently it is also better to expel inspectors rather than to admit them, and to fire missiles rather than to declare them.

And best of all, be sure to fire one off whenever the Secretary of State drops by.
Joe Conason


Bongs Today, Politics Tomorrow

Mr. Ashcroft says customers who want to visit some of their favorite drug paraphernalia websites are in for a big surprise in the days ahead. They will be automatically redirected to the website for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Ok, let's get one thing straight. I don't do recreational drugs because I just don't like them. The last time I smoked pot was well over 15 years ago and it was much too strong.
So in some ways this isn't my issue, right? Wrong. This is not about smoking pot. This is about entrapment. This is a colossal waste of time and money as well as an egregious example of the way Ashcroft imposes his deranged agenda on the rest of the country.
No, I don't like pot for myself. But so what? I don't see any reason why anything as innocuous as marijuana should be the focus of a large-scale entrapment bust. That's just plain idiotic.


North Korea Is Not a Naughty Child

Press Secretary Ari Fleischer characterized the missile firing as an attempt by North Korea to get attention as South Korea inaugurated its new president.

Fleischer said some nations "send flowers or a bouquet or visiting dignitaries" to mark such an event, but North Korea "sent a short-range cruise missile. This is why North Korea finds itself so isolated among the nations of the world."

He went on to call it "North Korea's way of saying 'please pay me'" and said Bush would not reward what he considers bad behavior by offering the Pyongyang regime money.

It is an endless source of amazement, the level of rhetoric from these characters. This isn't bad behavior on a playground. This is a dangerously isolated dictator who is telling the US that he is just as ready as Bush to start a war.
Story here.


Afghanistan, Iraq, Phillipines, Colombia...France?? But Not North Korea???

The United States fired a warning shot Tuesday across the bows of France, the leading critic of its Iraq policy, saying it would view any French veto of a new U.N. resolution authorizing force as "very unfriendly."

From Reuters via cursor.


Primakov To the Rescue?

Saddam told Primakov he would cooperate completely with U.N. inspectors tasked with verifying that Iraq has rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Story here.

And there's a brilliant analysis of the possible outcome here.


Hey, George, Look At Me! Over Here!

SEOUL North Korea, in a provocative reminder of the tense security situation on the Korean Peninsula, on Monday conducted its first missile launching test in three years, South Korea's Yonyap news agency said today.

The move by North Korea appeared to be an attention-getting measure as a new South Korean president, who has vowed to be aggressive in reshaping his country's relationship with the United States, prepares to take office today.

I don't get it, how the hell did Bush ever get elected? Oh, oh yeah. Forgot. Full story here.

Monday, February 24, 2003


Good Golly Miss Molly!

Look, the rest of the world is deeply worried about the possibility that this war could set off a holocaust. That is not a concern that should be treated with contemptuous dismissal.

Or as the French say, this is not a game, and it is not over.

Link here.


Coalition of the Coerced

Senior Turkish officials have made no secret of their distaste for the American plans for Iraq. Public opinion polls show that most Turks oppose their country's involvement.

Once Turkey caves in, war is 99% inevitable. Awful. From NY Times. See also What If Turkey Agrees?

Update: sent by a friend.


Italian Civil Disobedience

The [Italian] labour union that represents almost 90 percent of dock workers said it would boycott the loading and unloading of all shipments of U.S. arms coming in and out of Italian ports.

Article here via Body and Soul


The Busheviks: I Like That

...daily life has taken on the quality of nightmare. We look on at horror after horror; protest en masse, and watch the world protest, to no avail; see utter mediocrity exalted, moral idiocy flaunted, fraud and thievery rewarded; hear black called white and white called black. No one in power says anything that makes a lick of sense. And then you flip on CNN, where everybody's acting like it's normal. Well, it isn't normal. And I think the majority of people in this country know it. They're the majority that voted against Bush -- some 53%. So it's very strange, and painful, to be made to think that you're alone in your perceptions.

That's Mark Crispin Miller, Author of The Bush Dyslexicon in an interview.


Fair Balanced - Not

One of the more dangerous aspects of the current countdown to war with Iraq is the role of the US media.

With rare exceptions, American television has taken upon itself the task of selling president George W Bush’s war against Saddam Hussein.

In this propaganda effort for the White House, it does not offer readers any adequate choice of views or news. It openly dismisses those who speak up against the coming conflict even on the few occasions when they are called to appear on television screens. It long ago gave up the pretence that as a free media, it was offering viewers enough balance and variety so that they could independently make up their minds on the question of overthrowing Saddam Hussein through an invasion.

From Calcutta via cursor.


Iraq Wont Be Ruled By Infidels

Iraqis will violently resist any bid by the United States to govern a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq with its "infidel" military administration, a powerful Islamic cleric has warned.

Article via cursor.


Bush Is The Biggest Enemy of Peace, Sez World

The messages from U.S. embassies around the globe have become urgent and disturbing: Many people in the world increasingly think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein...
"It is rather astonishing," said a senior U.S. official who has access to the reports. "There is an absence of any recognition that Hussein is the problem."

What?!! Read that again:

"It is rather astonishing," said a senior U.S. official who has access to the reports. "There is an absence of any recognition that Hussein is the problem."

They really have a problem processing information in the US government, don't they? Hussein IS a problem, a serious problem. The world knows that. But the BIGGER problem, and the reason everyone's so het up about it, is that Hussein is not threatening the imminent disruption of one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Bush is. Worse, there is no evidence that Bush has even the slightest understanding of what he is stirring up.

Please understand, "senior administration official." It's not Saddam or Bush. It's both Saddam AND Bush that frightens the world and right now, Bush is far scarier.

Article here


Of Course It Exists. They're Just Hiding It.

There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.

Article here via Tom Tomorrow.


So What? At Least He Wasn't a Liberal

The Florida professor indicted last week on terrorism charges was granted entry to the White House complex and briefed by a senior administration official as part of a 160-person group in June 2001, according to a White House official.

Officials would not release the name of the senior administration official who briefed the group. A member of the president's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives also briefed them, according to the White House.

via CNN.
There's no need to point out, once again, how utterly clueless and uninterested the Bush administration was in the Middle East in the run-up to 9.11.01 But I'll point it out anyway.

As those of us who follow this know, the Hart-Rudman report was published in February, 2001. If Sami Al-Arian is the terrorist coordinator they say, the Bush security apparatus should never have approved him to enter the White House.

Sunday, February 23, 2003


Gov't For The People

59 percent think a war will lead to more terrorism in the U.S., and just 12 percent think it will lower that threat -- quite the opposite of the war's supposed payoff.

CBS News Poll


Get It In Writing, Folks

The Beeb covers a speech Wolfowitz made to Iraqi-Americans to get their support.

"If the president decides it is necessary to use force, let me assure you once again that the United States will be committed to liberating the people of Iraq, not becoming an occupation force," he said.

Mr Wolfowitz also promised humanitarian and economic aid and he asked his audience of Iraqi Americans for help.

Just before leaving, he also offered to sell them shares in a bridge up here in NYC.


Put That Duct Tape To Good Use

A schoolteacher in the US state of Missouri is facing a lawsuit that alleges she taped a kindergarten child to a chair as a punishment.

Courtesy of our friends at the Beeb.


Afghanistan: Template for Iraq

Jeanne d'arc has a roundup of some recent news about Afghanistan (scroll to Sunday February 23, 2003). It's really not pretty: Islamists groups are increasing in power, young girls are being sold as brides, and humanitarian workers are coming under increasing attack.

And that's for starters. I've always been amazed that Afghanistan has been portrayed as a victory in the press. It wasn't.



John Major says:
``It is a possibility that on this occasion [Saddam] may use all his arsenal and he has many targets that he could use them on,'' Major told the British Broadcasting Corp. ``I think it is quite likely that he will try to create Armageddon.''

Looks like Reagan was right after all:

"We may be the generation that sees Armageddon."



Finding Saddam Hussein may become a very difficult mission for the United States if it invades Iraq.

In other words, don't blame Bush if he slips into a comfy exile somwhere.

From ABC news.


And a Tip Of The Iceberg to You

It's official! The Cliche of the Week is "tip of the iceberg." Bush used it to dismiss any suggestion that Saddam was coooperating if he destroyed the sahmoud missiles. And sure enough, it popped up all over This Week With George Stephanopolous the very next day.

(The first place I saw it, oddly enough, was in an anti-war article early this week in The New York Review of Books: Home (article not posted online when this was written). The author predicted that Bush would use it because he cannot accept yes for an answer. Who knew they read such a brainy pub at the White House?)

A rather dicey choice of metaphor, frankly. After all, the unstoppable, indestructible Titanic struck an iceberg and sank rapidly. The number of casualties was horrific.


What Else Can You Do When You're Brother Isn't Governor?

Bev Harris has e-mailed to news organizations a series of reports that detail alarming problems in the high-tech voting machinery currently sweeping its way through American democracy. But almost no one is paying attention.

According to Salon, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel owns a 2% share in one of these voting machine companies. In the last election, he won 400,00 votes, his opponent 70,000. Thanks to an anonymous friend for the tip.


The Incredible Shrinking Protests

...more than 800,000 people turned out in 150 rallies in the United States last weekend, from 100 in Davenport, Iowa, to an estimated 350,000 in New York City. In Europe, more than 1.5 million protested.

Well yes. And it's also true that more than 10 people marched in the US and more than 13 in Europe.

Sorry, Times , you can try to rewrite history but it ain't gonna work anymore.

I was there in New York and there were a lot more than 350,000. And I saw the footage from all over the world, and I heard from friends all over the world. I know how large the protests were.

And so do the 10 million other people who participated.


You Saw It Here First

A few weeks ago, I suggested in a letter to a friend that should war come, I'd bet dollars to donuts that the papers would write "Now that war has finally started, it come as a relief from the suspense of the past months." Well, it looks like the NY Times has beat everyone to it. Today, they write
Many people now think an American invasion is inevitable; many more are desperate just to get whatever happens over.

Which is pretty close. But mark my words, there will be plenty of jerks who will rush to tell us that war is a welcome relief.



During the interviews, the former Iraqi air force technician described several different methods for distributing chemical agents that he said the Iraqi military still possessed. In a notebook, he drew diagrams, maps of bases and test sites and at one point used an empty mineral water bottle as a stand-in for a particular type of distribution system.

Actually, 2 people are interviewed, an Iraqi military fellow who fled to a different middle east country, and a Yugoslav business man who was screwed in some deal. Some interesting details, which seem pretty convincing.

But the issue still remains. There is plenty of reason to disarm Iraq. But without provocation or specific evidence of intention to harm US interests, there is no cause for war.

Go here.

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