Tuesday, March 04, 2003

We're Movin': This weblog is now here.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Gun Control Stuff: Here's a post on the subject that I should have linked to some time ago, written by someone who's taken a fresh look at the issue and refined his views some.

I helped. 8-)
"Anti-War" Protestors Aim At Prevention, not of Saddam, but of those that oppose him. That article should be paired with this, naturally.

It can also be paired (or, more appropriately, contrasted) with this as well, but for different, more positive reasons.
Of Course They Don't Have Any of These Things, but they're going to use them on the Kurds.
If war comes to Iraq, the Kurds of Kifri will be right in the line of fire. Iraqi officials have threatened that the moment the first American bomb lands, they will reply with a chemical assault on the town.

But in the entire place, there is not a single gas mask to be had, and no detection posts, decontamination centres or safe houses.
This is one reason why we're willing to put up with a lot in order to have a "northern front" that will form a barrier between Saddam's forces and the Kurds.

This is also why I'm reluctant to join those who are joyous over the Turkish refusal because it means we won't have to cut deals with them that might be against Kurdish interests. Frankly, if the price of getting in there in a way that can prevent or at least minimize Iraqi efforts at gassing them to death as soon as the first shot is fired is cutting a deal with Turkey that reduces Kurdish autonomy after the war, I'll accept the deal. I'd rather have the Kurds alive and part of an Iraqi federation than dead but autonomous.

Yes, people are going to die during war. But if we can get our guys in place, fewer will die. Thats why it's been worth it to try and get permission from Turkey even at a fairly steep price and even with all the chain-yanking delays. Though, as I said below, I'm not that patient nor am I keen on re-voting. But I don't think Turkey's refusal is a cause for celebration.
The Turkey Vote is more annoying than anything else. They're talking about re-voting on Tuesday, and they'd only schedule another vote if it's gonna pass. Of course, they (the Turkish government) thought the last vote would give approval. But some of the MPs clearly were voting to play to the crowd last time and will vote "yes" this time.

I have to say, though, that I'm not to keen on a re-vote (though I guess it is part of the game in some of these Parliamentary systems). But then I'd have swung the ships south through the Suez Canal about a week ago and said "fine, play with yourselves all you want, deal is off". But then I'm not that patient after all.
Signs of the Apocalypse: No, not the unexpected, if slight drop in consumer spending. An entry from a landlocked country won what was formerly the America's Cup. Meanwhile, Madonna is hired to write books for children.

If that's not a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what is.

What's next? Michael Jackson inking a deal to write guides to child care and parenting?
I Was Wrong I admit it. I said I didn't think the "human shield travelling carnival" would get to Iraq before the war started. I said they'd go slow enough and time things so they'd get "stuck" on the other side of the border (and have to protest the war from someplace like Jordan).

Well, I was wrong. But in my defense I don't think they thought it would take so long for the war to start, either. They got to Iraq and, well, realized this human shield stuff might be, um, dangerous, or something (uh-huh-huh-huh). Many of them, when they realized their lives might actually be on the line, decided to go home. Others were molified by the offer of video games (this championing world peace stuff is serious business).

I wonder if any of the games they're playing have violence and stuff in it. Those teach the wrong values, you know. They should be playing "peace games", not war games.

Friday, February 28, 2003

I Should Have Linked to This before now, but here it is:
In the second week of January, Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park cancelled its tour of a specially commissioned new play by Glyn O’Malley called Paradise. The subject of the work was the suicide bombing in March last year by an 18-year-old Palestinian girl, Ayat al-Akhras. You may remember our old friend, the then Saudi ambassador in London, Ghazi Algosaibi, wrote a poem in praise of Miss al-Akhras. O’Malley’s approach was a little subtler. His starting point was a Newsweek cover story contrasting young Ayat with one of the Jews she killed, another teenage girl, a 17-year-old Israeli, Rachel Levy. To some of us, this is already obscene — the idea that murdered and murderer are both ‘victims’. They’re linked only because Ayat couldn’t care less whom she slaughtered as long as they were Jews.

But there wouldn’t be much of a play in that. So O’Malley did the decent liberal thing and bent over backwards to be ‘balanced’. In his play, ‘Fatima’ gets all the best lines, raging at the Israelis because they should know better: ‘How can you do this? You! You who know camps and humiliation and hate and death.’ ‘Sarah’, by comparison, is just a California airhead who’s come to Israel for the guys and can’t really get a handle on the Holy Land: ‘It’s, like, old.’

But O’Malley didn’t stop there: he moved the scene of the bombing from within Israel proper to one of those ‘illegal’ West Bank settlements. He even managed to remove any kind of religious component: to dear old Ghazi, Ayat was acting as a good Muslim; in O’Malley’s play, ‘Fatima’ insists, ‘This is not about Allah!’ This is not some crude Muslim-Jew thing, but instead arises from complex socio-economic issues unconnected to one’s faith.

And what was the upshot? At a read-through before invited members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, the latter denounced the work as ‘Zionist propaganda’. A few days later, the Jewish director was removed from the production. A few days after that, the play was cancelled entirely.

What normally happens with ‘controversial’ art? I’m thinking of such cultural landmarks of recent years as Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’ — a crucifix sunk in the artist’s urine — or Terrence McNally’s Broadway play Corpus Christi, in which a gay Jesus rhapsodises about the joys of anal sex with Judas. When, say, Catholic groups complain about these abominations, the arts world says you squares need to get with the beat: a healthy society has to have ‘artists’ with the ‘courage’ to ‘explore’ ‘transgressive’ ‘ideas’, etc. Yet with this play, faced with Muslim objections, the big, courageous, transgressive arts guys fold like a Bedouin tent. And, unlike your Piss Christs, where every liberal commentator wants to chip in his two bits on artistic freedom, pretty much everyone’s given a wide berth to this one, except for Christopher Caldwell, whom the Weekly Standard sent to Cincinnati to interview the various figures involved. What was interesting from Caldwell’s account was that the Muslim community figures didn’t really care in the end whether the play was pro- or anti-Islam: for them, it was beyond discussion. When you soak a crucifix in urine, you may get a few cranky Catholics handing out leaflets on the sidewalk. When you do a play about suicide bombers, who knows what the offended might do? The arts world seems happy to confine its trangressive courage to flipping the finger at Christians.
You're not going to hear any of the usual suspects who generally denounce "censorship of the arts" (when it comes to such things as saying, say, "well, do what you want, but not on our dime") getting worked up at this.
French Unilateralism Colin May on one standard for France, a different standard for everyone else.
Now We Know Where all that EU Aid to the Palestinian Authority went.

Arafat has $300 million.
U.S. GDP Growth in the fourth quarter of 2002 was 1.4%. Hardly anything to celebrate, but far from a "recession", and almost three times the growth of Germany in the same period.
The Real Fischer Here's a interesting article about Germany's Foreign Minister.

When you read it, remember that compared to Schroeder, Fischer is positively pro-American. So what does that say about Schroeder?
Great Juxtapositioning of Quotes over at dissident Frogman.
Well, the Snow is at "Dog Level" out there. By "dog level" I mean it is as deep as my dog is tall (she's medium, not huge). But we have a ton of stuff to ship at work (a usual end-of-the-month-panic-rush on the part of the sales beings, who get $$ based on how much goes out the door in a given month). I'm going to have to try and get there.
Preliminary Report from Blix circulating through the offices of the BBC, apparently, describes Iraqi cooperation for what it is (limited at best).

The rest of the FT article concentrates on the glorious decision of Saddam to agree to perhaps someday destroy the al-Samoud missiles. Dominique de Villepin, speaking for the French, is willing to buy whatever Saddam is selling. No longer content to merely speak for all of Europe, the French are now claiming to speak for the entire world. But of course it is the U.S. that is presumptuous. Meanwhile, Blair and Aznar are more cynical about the Iraqi move, refusing to accept this as a sign that inspections are working.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

America's Future Ally: not the Frankenreich, but India.
Night: Truer words have never been spoken than Elie Wiesel speaking today outside the White House:
"If Europe were to apply as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as (it) does on the United States and Britain, I think we could prevent war,"
It's too bad neither they, nor the "anti-war" protestors took that route.
Washington Post Goes to War on inane readers.

Salvo #1:
For our part, we might begin with that phrase "rush to war." In fact there is nothing sudden or precipitous about our view that Saddam Hussein poses a grave danger. In 1990 and 1991 we supported many months of diplomacy and pressure to persuade the Iraqi dictator to withdraw his troops from Kuwait, the neighboring country he had invaded. When he failed to do so, we supported the use of force to restore Kuwait's independence.
Salvo #2:
In 1997 and 1998, we strongly backed President Clinton when he vowed that Iraq must finally honor its commitments to the United Nations to give up its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons -- and we strongly criticized him when he retreated from those vows. Mr. Clinton understood the stakes. Iraq, he said, was a "rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed."

When we cite Mr. Clinton's perceptive but ultimately empty comments, it is in part to chide him and other Democrats who take a different view now that a Republican is in charge.
Salvo #3:
The right question, though, is not "Is war risky?" but "Is inaction less so?"
Salvo #4:
War in fact has rarely been the last resort for the United States. In very recent times, the nation could have allowed Saddam Hussein to swallow Kuwait. It could have allowed Slobodan Milosevic to expel 1 million refugees from Kosovo. In each case, the nation and its allies fought wars of choice. Even the 2001 campaign against Afghanistan was not a "last resort," though it is now remembered as an inevitable war of self-defense. Many Americans argued that the Taliban had not attacked the United States and should not be attacked; that what was needed was a police action against Osama bin Laden. We believed they were wrong and Mr. Bush was right, though he will be vindicated in history only if the United States and its allies stay focused on Afghanistan and its reconstruction.
Salvo #5:
The Security Council agreed unanimously in early November that Iraq was a danger; that inspectors could do no more than verify a voluntary disarmament; and that a failure to disarm would be considered a "material breach." Now all agree that Saddam Hussein has not cooperated, and yet some countries balk at the consequences -- as they have, time and again, since 1991. We have seen no evidence that an additional three months would be helpful. Nor does it strike us as serious to argue that the war should be fought if Mr. Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder agree, but not if they do not.
And here's this:
In 1998 Mr. Clinton explained to the nation why U.S. national security was, in fact, in danger. "What if he fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? . . . Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal."
Clinton is now saying quite the opposite of what he said then, but that's partisan sour grapes on his part.
I Should Have Noticed this Friedman piece yesterday, but I didn't.
There is only one group of Arabs for whom Europeans have consistently spoken out in favor of their liberation — and that is those Arabs living under Israeli occupation, the Palestinians. Those Arabs who have been living under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein or other Arab dictators are of no concern to President Jacques Chirac of France and his fellow travelers.
The same can be said of our friends, the anti-"war" protestors that fill (or half-fill) the streets on some weekends.
France is not interested in promoting égalité, fraternité and liberté in the Middle East. It is primarily interested today in managing American power. It is primarily interested in positioning France to become the world's next great "Uncola," the leader of the alternative coalition to American power.
Now, I know I'm trying to de-emphasize the France-related posts. But here I can say "see, I told you so". Terry Hoagland says the same thing:
The French temptation now is to become the spokesman for a global constituency alarmed by America's military might and ambitions. This stems from frustration in Paris over Chirac's inability to influence the Bush administration on a wide array of issues and to dominate Europe. The temptation, put simply, is to lead the weak rather than be ignored by the strong.
Friedman goes on:
You still have not seen any serious democratization effort being directed at Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Kuwait. For America, government of the people, by the people and for the people is only for our enemies, not our friends.
See below. See also here.
You can see it in the lack of Arab support for Saddam. There is a much deeper awareness that leaders like Saddam are what have retarded Arab development.
That should give us reason for optimism, rather than pessimism.
Reader Appreciation Link: follow me.
Ok, But Why Are the Gulf States More Sanguine?: Steven Den Beste has a good post examining the strategic goals we have in this conflict.

While it's true that the Bush Administration hasn't trumpeted these goals, they haven't exactly kept them secret. Bush's speech of last night was the most explicit outlining of this vision (which goes hand in glove with his repeated statements that this will not be a short thing, but will extend over future administrations as well. As the HIndustan Times article he links to puts it, it's a task roughly comparable to knocking the Soviet bloc).

But though the speech of last night was the most explicit formulation of this strategic vision so far, it's far from the first mention. The Saudis have been. . .troubled. . .all along for this very reason. But that begs the question: why are the Gulf Emirates less reticent to help? They are monarchies and presumably will have to open up to democratic reforms as well.

It's, in my opinion, a matter of a different evaluation of the danger they face combined with a different ruling mentality on their part. Firstly, there's a reason why these states are in Arabia but are independent from "Saudi" Arabia. They also see the danger from Iraq as being more of a threat to them than perhaps the Saudis do (though the Saudis do not dismiss the threat Saddam poises).

The Gulf States also are not, by and large, really of the same "denomination" (for lack of a better word) of Islam as their neighbors in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis may have used Wahhabist dogma to attain and keep power, but the Emirates are closer, really, to the type of leaders the Saudis displaced than they are to the Saudis. They are thus, in many ways, the walnut in a nutcracker. Even while the House of Saud is no longer able to control the wild horse of Wahhabism that they rode to power on, so too are they menaced by the ambitions of Ba'athism (the unholy alliance between the terror network and Iraqi agents further enhances the menace for them).

Also, while some may refuse to see any distinction, the fact is that Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar have more enlightened monarchies than Saudi Arabia does (note: this doesn't mean they are utopias of benevolence, but it is rather indisputable that they are not as repressive and reactionary as the Saudis are). They are less afraid of making a transition to Constitutional Monarchy than the Saudis are. They have already made some reforms, after all. The distinction here isn't that they necessarily love the idea - they are simply less afraid of it (and are perhaps already half-convinced that it's necessary for their survival, where the Saudis are convinced that the iron hand is their only means to survival).

That is why they are more open to letting us pursue our goals than the Saudis are, even though the rulers of these states are hardly less aware of what those goals entail than the House of Saud is. The House of Saud is "deeply worried" (to use Steven's phrase) over our aims, but the smaller gulf states have stronger worries. The spread of Wahhabism may be something the Saudis have used but are losing control of, but it's always been a danger to the Emirs, whether or not the Saudis ride it or are unhorsed. They have more to gain from our success than they fear they will lose, while it is reversed for the House of Saud: they have every reason to worry.
Liberating Iraq: An article worth reading on the justness of our cause, by Andrew Sullivan. This has been one of my points every time I've discussed this with someone who's against war as such:
no sane person, after all, is opposed to peace as such. The question is: Peace at what risk? Peace on whose terms? Peace for how long?
Peace is always possible on someone else's terms. If you just let them have their way (with you, with your sister, whatever) then you don't have to fight. Internationally, one can get peace by letting the other guy get his way. Then when he comes back for more, give in on that. Then he learns the positive, peace-loving lesson that if it is a choice between making concessions or going to war, you'll give concessions every time and he can ask for the moon. This is called "positive reinforcement".

War is, admittedly, "negative reinforcement". It's harsh and mean. It doesn't involve giving and sharing and cooperation. But sometimes - more often than anyone with a conscience wants - it's necessary.
That case holds powerfully today. First off, we are not initiating a war. We are not the aggressor. We are still in a long process of defense. It's hard to remember now but this war is not a new one. It's merely the continuation of one begun in 1990 by Saddam whe[n] he invaded Kuwait. Recall that when that war was won twelve years ago, no peace treaty was signed. Instead, a truce was arranged on clear and unequivocal conditions
I made the same point here. It really is time to drive that point home. We're not starting war, we're not engaging in preemption (this time). The cease-fire terms were broken, immediately, by Saddam. We have been rather patient, really (far from a "rush to war").
Have we exhausted every single alternative to war? Well, we've spent the last twelve years trying to find peaceful ways to get Saddam to live up to his promises. Waves of inspections; countless resolutions; occasional use of targeted force under the Clinton administration; crippling economic sanctions; and finally a last attempt under U.N. Resolution 1441 to give Saddam a last, last chance to disarm. He was told three months ago by unanimous U.N. agreement that he had to disarm immediately and completely. He still hasn't. I can't think of any recent war that tried so hard for so long to give peace a chance.
All of which is undeniable, so the other side prefers to ignore it.
Never Let it Be Said, however, that we're hostile to all Germans. There are quite a few that we're rather fond of.
Overkill Central: I know I've done too many posts on the French and Chirac lately (all justified, but in cumulation it's been an over-emphasis). Part of it is we're in kind of a holding pattern at the moment (by the by, Turkey is still right where we left off last time, poised on the virge of the brink of granting permission. Well, this has long become a case where "maybe" is worse than "no."

Economy remains mixed (see, even the FT has noticed). As I said, it will remain mixed until they get the show on the road. The fact that they didn't go when they should have only puts things off. Like I also have been saying, that "Year in Preview" was not a "prediction", it was how things should have been done, and those who aren't doing things that way are making it worse for themselves (I've mentioned that one of those making it worse for themselves is France, right?).

South African minions of Nelson Mandela (guy who thinks the problem here is Western racism, not Saddam) claim Iraq is disarming as fast as possible. Yep, took S.A. 12+ years to do so, to. I guess that makes Hans Blix just another white racist neo-NAZI.

Eeeeeevil Whit-ey is going to build a large erect phallus in NYC. The womyn of Harvard will be vexed over this imposition of the patriarchy, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I Can't Stop Laughing Hahahahahaha!

Yes, the Grand Master of the CAP Preservation Society is the champion of third-world farmers seeking the elimination of farm subsidies. He doesn't really mean it, though:
the French president dashed hopes at the weekend that France was softening its opposition to rapid CAP reform, accusing Franz Fischler, agriculture commissioner, of "obstinacy" in pressing for phased reductions in production- related EU subsidies.
I suppose this means his position is as the French position always is: others should do what we say, while we exempt ourselves.

No wonder American Liberals so love the French. They have a similar attitude about things.
The Shapers of Conventional Wisdom (the ones who, you know, have the self-image of being "independent voices" but are really just people reflecting received views back and forth among themselves) are spending their time claiming that it is America that is dividing world opinion, causing a rift in the Atlantic alliance, that the Bush Administration lacks credibility (while apparently France in the voice of Chirac is the embodiment of virtuous honesty and credibility), etc. They are living in cloud cuckoo land it is clear to anyone who is paying attention to actual facts rather than letting themselves get blinded by preconceived notions that it is actually the French who are behaving most apallingly. I'm tempted to post this entire article by André Glucksmann right here, but instead I'll just encourage however many readers happen to pass through my humble blog to follow the link and read it.
Ivory Coast defies Chirac, France.

I guess that means they're a American sattelite.
You Think America's Economy Has Woes? It grew much faster than this economy, supposedly the engine of European dynamism.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

*In My Best Vince McMahon Impersonation*

Phil Donahue. . .YOU'RE FIIIIRRREEED!!
Council For the Advancement of Arab - British Understanding: a letter to Blair worth reading.

That and 114 countries urge Iraq to disarm.

War for Peace, Liberation, and Democracy? It worked in East Timor. And Panama. And Grenada.

Meanwhile, Richard Cohen has had enough of Dennis Kucinich's lies and untruths. He doesn't think much of Howard Dean, either. Any time Cohen tires of the lies of a Democrat, that guy has really gone out of bounds.
Consumer Confidence down.

Hey, guys, will be until we get this show on the road. I'm trying to maintain patience. . .
Kofi Annan Says "Time Is Running Out":
Mr Annan has arrived in Athens on the latest stage of a diplomatic push to get a deal before the current deadline of Friday.

"Decision time has arrived," he said. "The parties should adhere to the goal of reaching agreement on 28 February."
What a hard ass! He's sounding as tough as Bush and Blair!

Oh, he means for Cyprus, not Iraq.

Now, I'm among those most desirous of seeing Cyprus reunified. But its. . .nice to see these guys have their priorities in order of urgency.

Most urgent: Cypriot parties must, absolutely, meet with the deadline set by the UN and EU. They might be given a few extra days at the most.

Less urgent: Saddam should be given however much time he wants, multiple (16 and counting, after the first deadline of 12 days; it's been twelve years and counting) deadline extensions with no end in sight. Got that straight?

Update: By the by, here's a list of all the UN Resolutions passed regarding Saddam since his invasion of Kuwait. There are 18, and the current Anglo-American-Spanish proposal will be the 19th if it isn't scuttled by the Franenreich. (Link via death).
Turkey Remains Poised on the Brink of admitting allied forces.

The same "poised on the brink of granting permission" status they've been in for the last couple weeks.
Everything's Comming Up Diamonds and Daffodils: Blair uses new proposal as a foil to round on domestic opponents, and calls Russo-Frankish proposal "absurd".

U.S. officials say UN and French relations with U.S. at stake. They're free to vote how they want, and we're free to take that for what it is and react to it as such.
The World's Moral Guideposts speak out.

Comming next, an interview taking Saddam at face value and failing to confront him with questions about how his regime behaves and what it does to those who disagree.

Naaaahh. That would be absurd. No credible news organization would do such a thing. I did say "no credible news organization" would.

Of course the BBC and CBS stick together in self-congratulation over treating the world's worst dictators with the respect they believe they're owed.
Check It Out: My friend Solmyr has several interesting and/or amusing tidbits today, and the Skeptician has a photo of American troops massing in France and some comments on Saddam authorizing the use of weapons the Restored Carolingian Empire wants us to pretend he doesn't have.
See, I Told You So In my post from yesterday I forgot to mention that all last fall I kept saying that if we gave those (like France) what they wanted in the Security Council, it wouldn't change a thing later. That we'd pass a Resolution with all kinds of deadlines and last chance rhetoric, but when Saddam didn't comply (that was a given) and we went back after his failure to comply, they would still be making the same arguments, unchanged, as before and calling for more time, another chance, etc.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Bazzar of the Bizarre: So, not much to say about this I suppose, except that it follows naturally from Resolution 1441, which called on Iraq to do certain things. This points out that Iraq failed to comply with any of them, and thus is in "Materiel Breach" as everyone, including France and Russia, defined it in Resolution 1441 last fall.

I'll also point out, however reluctantly but sincerely that whatever military action is taken against Iraq is not, legally speaking "preemption". It is continuation of hostilities initiated by Iraq in 1990. They then submitted to cease fire terms which they have not adhered to. This point is largely neglected by both sides of the debate. But it is, as they say, a "true fact". Preemption is something that can be argued in another context. But in point of international law, this isn't an example of preemptive initiation of hostilities. This is, legally speaking, resumption of hostilities initiated by Iraq following Iraq's breach of the cease-fire (not peace treaty) terms that suspended (did not terminate) hostilities.

To proceed with the rest of this post I'll need to point out that Resolution 1441 called for Iraq to comply immediately and fully. Not gradually, grudgingly, reluctantly, and with deception rather than cooperation. France, Russia, and the like all voted for this - it passed unanimously. So then, what to make of this?
To render possible a peaceful solution, inspections should be given the necessary time and resources. However, they cannot continue indefinitely. Iraq must disarm. Its full and active cooperation is necessary.
  • "To render possible a peaceful solution" Resolution 1441 was passed, giving Saddam a(nother) last chance to comply and cooperate fully to resolve the matter peacefully. He did not.

  • "inspections should be given the necessary time and resources." Inspections had all the time and resources necessary under conditions set by Resolution 1441, which predicated Iraqi cooperation. Iraq instead responded with the usual gamesmanship, deception, and subterfuge - which were defined as a "breach" under the terms of Resolution 1441 (which both France and Russia voted for; I know mentioning that gets repetitious, but apparently it's needed).

  • "However, they cannot continue indefinitely." Resolution 1441 set deadlines. Iraq did not meet them. As Iraq failed to meet previous deadlines under 16 previous Resolutions. Are we to take it that those proposing this "memorandum" (France, Russia, and Germany) weren't sincere about the deadlines they set last time (Resolution 1441) but we're to believe they mean it this time? More to the point, do they expect Saddam to believe it? (Obviously, in my opinion, they don't expect Saddam to believe they are any more sincere about saying "inspections cannot continue indefinitely" this time than they were in the past. Unless they mean in the 1998 sense: inspectors won't continue indefinitely, but nothing will be done when they're stopped).

  • "Iraq must disarm. Its full and active cooperation is necessary." Again, Resolution 1441 said the same thing. Iraq had the chance, the supposed "last chance" to provide full and active cooperation and to disarm. That manifestly has not occurred. Even the Russo-Frankenreich Alliance cannot avoid that fact.

  • Resolution 1441 were not about inspectors. It was about Iraqi compliance. "Giving inspectors more time" was not what Resolution 1441 was about. It was about giving Iraq one last chance to comply fully, demanding active cooperation. That did not happen. Iraq is manifestly in "material breach" as a consequence.

  • "a realistic means to reunite the Security Council and to exert maximum pressure on Iraq." Maximum pressure is obviously not generated by telling Saddam he has one last chance (Resolution 1441), we're serious this time (Resolution 1441), we really mean it, buster (Resolution 1441), if you don't do it this time, serious consequences will follow (Resolution 1441) and then responding with the "serious consequences" of re-enforced inspectors and obviously insincere Russo-Frankenreich mutterings about more of the same.

  • "a realistic means to reunite the Security Council" Resolution 1441 was passed unanimously last year, with very clear terms for what would constitute Iraqi compliance and what would follow if they didn't comply. The Security Council was united in passing it, united in including "serious consequences" for non-compliance. Who's dividing the Council? Those still adhering to what was passed unanimously last November? Or those proposing yet another in a series of apparently endless "last chances" (which include among their members one country - Germany - that has said they will take no part in supporting anything along the lines of "serious consequences" regardless, and two others that manifestly will not be participating either).
So, there you have it, folks. These are the sides. Choose yours.

As for mine, I'm with Dan at HFP.

Pointless Aside: The text of the Anglo-American-Spanish Resolution ends as UN Resolutions typically do, with the phrase "decides to remain seized of the matter". The text of the Russo-Frankenreich Memorandum may as well end with "decides to remain aloof from the matter".

Update: Meanwhile I think Steven's gone a little melodramatic on us. It's all over. Put the troops back on the ships and bring 'em home. Why bother waiting to see if Turkey will finally give her nod to landing the 4th Infantry waiting offshore?

I don't think it's as catastrophic as all that. (Note that this is in reply to Steven's initial reaction to the new proposals, not his subsequent post).

The "watered down" Anglo-American-Spanish Resolution is designed to say "this is what you guys voted for last fall, carry through with your commitment" to the rest of the UNSC. It's precisely what Steven has been arguing for, in the sense that this "piss or get off the pot" 18th Resolution will serve to discredit the U.N. to those who are paying attention (if the members of the UNSC don't vote for this Resolution, they're not taking their commitments seriously). This is what Blair needs; if they pass it, he gets what he needs at home. If it's voted down, he also gets what he needs at home - a rather iron-clad argument that everything that could be done, was done, but it was "unreasonably vetoed". "Unreasonable" is a key, because his promise to his party and his voters was that Britain would only go to war in the absence of a "second" (18th) Resolution if it was vetoed unreasonably. This Resolution is founded on indisputable facts; rather than a "self-inflicted defeat", "watering it down" (writing it as it is written, consisting of reference to what Res. 1441 said and what Iraq has failed to do), will demonstrate to any reasonable observer, if it is vetoed, that the SC Council members opposed to it are unserious.

Steven wants a more "in your face" type Resolution. That would be emotionally satisfying for me, too. But it would provide fodder to the opposition ("this is too harsh. This sort of challenge puts the French in a position where they cannot support it without being humiliated, so they won't. This is a self-inflicted diplomatic defeat") and would hurt the person this is intended to help - Blair - because it would be seized upon by his domestic opponents (within his own party) and they would say it was not unreasonable for it to be vetoed.

There are reasons why UN Resolutions are written as they are (including all the "recalls" flourishes, btw). This one gives Blair what he needs. That's what matters here.
That Which Happens Outside the Camera's Eye: I'm highly doubting that any of my readers will have seen a single news report on this. But it's worth reporting. I came by it by way of my Uncle (who was U.S.A. SF himself, now retired), via e-mail (so the images mentioned at the end are not here):
President Bush Visits Wounded SF Soldiers

17 January 2003

Below is an attempt to capture a truly memorable event that took place at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC. The President came to visit five soldiers that were wounded in Afghanistan. SSG Jerry Cortinas was one of those soldiers and the reason I, MSG Samuel Rodriguez, was present for this event.

As the President entered the room he spoke Spanish to the family. He said hello to everyone and positioned himself on the left side of SSG Cortinas' bed. Mrs. Celina Cortinas was standing next to him. I was standing on the opposite side of the bed with SSG Cortinas' mother, Nancy Cortinas, and his two aunts. He said hello to Celina and then to SSG Cortinas. He then looked at me and reached across SSG Cortinas to shake my hand and ask me where I was from. I told him that I was originally from New York, but I re-entered the military while living in Texas. He replied, "Texas," with a little laugh. I then told the President that Jerry and his family are from Texas. The whole room started to laugh. Mr. Bush told the Cortinas family in Spanish, to say hello to his mother the next time they are in Texas. He hadn't seen her in a while.

The President then turned his attention to SSG Cortinas, the person he had come to see. SSG Cortinas instructed his wife to hand the President a sterling silver 7th SFG coin as a gift for coming to see him and the other wounded soldiers. After thanking him he told Jerry that he had something for him as well. At that point MG Kiley, the Commander of Walter Reed Medical Center, published the order for SSG Cortinas' Bronze Star. The President pinned the award to Jerry's hospital gown. SSG Cortinas thanked The President and extended his amputated left arm to the President to shake. The President grabbed his amputated limb with both hands and shook it. He then did something that took everyone in the room by surprise. He reached down and kissed SSG Cortinas on the forehead. The way a father would kiss his child before putting him to bed. As he rose from the bed you could see the emotion welling up in his eyes. He told SSG Cortinas that he was strong and he was going to be OK. He turned to Celina and thanked her with a hug for her husband's selfless service to our country. SSG Cortinas told the President that he wanted to stand up for him. The President told him that it was OK, he was standing for him both of them. Jerry told the President that, after he was completely healed, he wanted to go back overseas to fight the war. Mr. Bush told him and everyone in the room that we needed more men like SSG Cortinas. The President then came around the bed and thanked Jerry's mother and aunts for Jerry's service to our country. Mrs. Nancy Cortinas requested the President take a picture with the family. Mrs. Laura Bush approached me and shook my hand. I thanked her for coming to see our soldier. She said that it wasn't a problem. As The President turned to leave the room he told the Cortinas family "Dios de Bendiga".

On the way out of the room the President turned to me, shook my hand again, and told me that I was doing a fine job. Outside the room the President took pictures with Mrs. Bush, Dion Cortinas (2yr old child), Mrs. Celina Cortinas. Mrs. Nancy Cortinas, Jerry's mother, grabbed my arm and told the President that she wanted a picture of the two of us. She told The President that I had been like one of her sons since Jerry's accident. As I was standing next to the President he commented that I seemed like the kind of friend that someone like SSG Cortinas needed during a time like this. I told the President "Sir, I know that if it was me laying in that bed, Jerry would be there for me, just like any other soldier would, in 7th SFG". With that the President shook my hand again, looked me in the eye, and told me I was a good man. To say the least, I was extremely flattered by The President's kind words. In my heart I know that it could have been anyone from 7th SFG here, and he would have told him the same thing. That was one of the reasons I came to SF, because we take care of our own. I'm very thankful to still have that feeling after 22 years of military service.

I leave you with some images of the Commander in Chief expressing his thanks and gratitude to a warrior for his selfless service to his country. Remember that Special Forces Medics and his teammates saved this warrior's life. Without their efforts and commitment SSG Cortinas would never have lived to reflect on this memorable day. His medical care has truly been a success story. I can't say enough about all the medical personnel involved in saving SSG Cortinas' life. SSG Cortinas has made tremendous progress since he was injured, but still has a long way to go. Please keep the Cortinas family in your prayers.

MSG Samuel R. Rodriguez
7th SFG(A) Surgeon
On the Future of Iraq and those rumors of renewed autocracy, Paul Wolfowitz, on the record, says they're bovine fecal matter.

My worry is still more along the lines of the "Karzai Sollution, because it would be two steps forward and is the tempting way to do things but IMO would be deeply unsatisfying with respect to Iraq. It may have been the best available option for Afghanistan. It might end up being that for Iraq, too (but I'm dubious). I for one expect more this time around (though not necessarily all at once, immediately).
Airing All Points of View, here are some anti-war perspectives over at Peace in Our Time.
Lets Make a Deal: Russia, unlike the Frankenreich, is taking a pragmatic approach to the Iraq crisis.
Some Thoughts on the Costs of anti-Americanism, by Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Policy magazine:
Those who partake and spread light anti-Americanism even while sharing the principles and values that the US stands for undermine its ability to defend such principles abroad. After all, international influence requires power but it also depends on legitimacy. Such legitimacy flows from the acceptance of others that not only consent to but even welcome the use of that influence.

US legitimacy abroad was undermined by George W. Bush's propensity to talk tough and threaten to act alone and impose the will of his administration on others. But such actions were interpreted by much of the world through the lens of deep suspicions about the US that existed well before the Bush presidency. Ultimately, the automatic rejection of US international actions rooted in light anti- Americanism may be as bad for the world as granting the US a blank cheque to exert its power without the constraints imposed by the inter- national community.

For example, the instinctive reactions stoked by light anti-Americanism surely had some role in undermining and perhaps permanently altering the Nato alliance. The relevance and effectiveness of many UN agencies are also eroded by their subtle and sometimes not so subtle anti-Americanism. Moreover, the stridency of this global anti-American chorus also undermines the support of the US public for their country's international engagement.
Once again, the whole thing is worth a read.
More Signs that that Iraqis look forward not to invasion, but to liberation:
Today in the U.S., as I watch soldiers shipping off, I see protesters chanting against American ambition and greed. Having lived through wars that were all about one man's ambition and greed, I am pained to see how these protesters have missed the mark. On behalf of Iraqis who cannot speak openly with reporters or who have given their lives trying to free Iraq from Hussein's brutal rule, let me say clearly: American, British and other allied soldiers are a sign of hope and liberation.

War is terrible. I never want my American children to experience what I lived through in Iraq. So as my fellow Americans leave for battle today as I remember Iraqi soldiers going off to fight two decades ago, I am again moved to flash the victory sign, but this time to people who are proud to stand up for freedom at home and around the world.

I recently participated in an interfaith event at a synagogue in Boston to discuss building bridges between Muslims and Jews in these tense times. Afterward, a woman approached me with tears in her eyes. "My teenage son is an American soldier who recently shipped out to the Persian Gulf," she said. "I just want to know, is my son going there to do the right thing?"

Even though I had never met this woman before, I immediately recognized her pain. "I am so proud of your son," I told her. "You should be too."
I'm proud of her son, too. Unlike these people.
Postcards from the Edge: Our Little Girl writes about her experiences.
This Guy Makes A Lot of Good Points in arguing against Jihadist Islam and in favor of a more moderate Islam. But he makes one mistake in telling Osama to go to hell.

That dude is dead already.

Some excerpts:
I am writing this to make clear there are Muslims in America and in the world who despise and condemn extremists and have nothing to do with you, and those like you, for whom killing constitutes worship.

Islam was sent as mercy to humanity and not as an ideology of terror or hatred. It advocates plurality and moral equality of all faiths (Koran 2:62, 5:69). To use Islam to justify declaring Armageddon against all non-Muslims is inherently un-Islamic - it is a despicable distortion of a faith of peace.
He goes on:
You and those like you are dedicated to killing and bringing misery to people wherever they are. God blessed you with the capacity to lead and also endowed you with enormous resources. You could have used your influence in Afghanistan to develop it, to bring it out of poverty and show the world what Islam can do for those who believe in it. You chose to provoke and bring war to a people who had already been devastated by wars.
Huh? What's that all about? Hasn't this guy heard what Patty Murray had to say about all the wonderful schools, roads, day care facilities, and hospitals (just like Fidel! The man's a hero, I tell you!) that Osama's built?

He hasn't built that stuff? Those things don't exist?

I'm so disillusioned. Well, there's more:
Yes, many innocent people lost their lives in America's war on Afghanistan and many more might lose their lives in Iraq. This is indeed regrettable. But we must never forget that the West is divided and agonising over this decision to go to war in Iraq. While many Americans and Europeans oppose the war, Muslim nations have already agreed to co-operate in this war.

No Muslim leader has tried to play the role of a statesman on this issue. It is a tragedy that there is not a single Jimmy Carter or Nelson Mandela in the entire Muslim world who would stand up and speak for justice.

Before we rush to condemn America we must remember that even today, millions of poor and miserable people all across the world are lining up outside US embassies eager to go to America, not just to live there, but to become Americans. No Muslim country today can claim that people of other nations and faiths see in it the promise of hope, equality, dignity and prosperity.
Well said, all. Check out the entire piece. There's stuff in it for the anti-war croud, too.
"We Don't Support the War, But We Support the Troops" is a mantra that always struck me more as an attempt to dodge criticism than one that was really sincerely felt by most (not all) of those who mouth that phrase. Especially since I remember the context in which it got invoked during the last Gulf War, and how hollow it was then - as anyone who happened by wearing the uniform can attest.

Still, it's considered outre' to question their sincerity. Or at least it was. But I can say it's a crock now.