Saturday, September 21, 2002

Hyenas vs. Old Lions: The Norwegian Blogger discusses geopolitics and the tragic nature of international affairs.
Oh, The Humiliation. Oh, The Ignominy!: Skippy the Bush Kangaroo notes that France has overtaken California as the 5th largest economy in the world.

Of course, California has only about half the population of France. But still!

Well, it is true that in a competition between California and France it's a tad hard to care who wins.
(Link via posted by Porphyrogenitus at

ALLIES SUPPORT STRONG STANCE TOWARDS IRAQ: I considered breaking this into several different posts, because many different countries are involved. But ultimately I decided to keep it all together. Consider this a "special German Selections edition" of Ranting Screeds.

We've heard a lot of how unsupportive Jean Chretien has been. What are some of his statement's about Iraq?
Prime Minister Chretien told Parliament on February 9 that, "If we do not act, if we do not stand up to Saddam, that will encourage him to commit other atrocities." He continued that "the choice is clear (for Canada). It is a choice dictated by the responsibilities of international citizenship, by the demands of international security and an understanding of the history of the world in this century."
Pretty strong words. What about Chirac of France? He has a reputation for treating this issue with a lack of urgency. But what has he said?
"France repeats that Iraq must scrupulously respect all the UN Security Council resolutions. This is the only route that could enable Iraq to be readmitted, when the time comes, into the international community.

The President of the Republic made this clear to the Iraqi Foreign Minister. He stressed "the extremely grave risks that will result from a refusal by Iraq to accept the inspection of the 'presidential sites.' Now time is running out."
Of course, "extremely grave risks" are diplomatic code-words for war. Then there's Germany, a country that has become notorious for its apparent refusal to condone any sort of action aimed at Iraq, even if authorized by the UN. But Mr. Rudolf Scharping, Chairman of the SPD Bundestag Group, voicing the German government's policy on the issue, said
I would like to state the central issues once again. First, there is only one individual who bears the responsibility for the current confrontation with the United Nations, and that is Saddam Hussein.
Wow, he's not blaming Cowboy Americans for the crisis or comparing America's President to Hitler. He goes on:
That is why Iraq should stop refusing to cooperate, and if all the political efforts that are being made do not result in success, a military operation cannot and should not be ruled out in this case. The United States and Great Britain can absolutely count on German solidarity."
Strong words of support. Germany's Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel went further:
Incidentally, I believe that we Germans in particular have good reason to work toward preventing a dictator from causing something terrible yet again. There was one dictator who was stopped too late.This one has to be stopped in good time.
He concludes his strong remarks thusly:
We are maintaining intensive contact with the United States and with our partners and friends in the EU. However, our experience of Saddam Hussein to date, and I believe that this is also of key importance, shows that, unfortunately, he is only prepared to observe UN Security Council resolution when he is under pressure. The international community cannot simply accept always being made a fool of. That is why the military option must remain available. He who wants a peaceful solution in particular cannot waver in this regard.
These things were all said in early '98. If anything, the crisis has grown more severe. Iraq threw out the inspectors and is now playing games, and as you read in their remarks, everyone focused on the fact that time was running out for Iraq (that was four and half years ago. It has run out now) and that the "international community" couldn't be made a fool of. Just the tone Bush took, which many of these people have disdained him for.

The German SDP party stands exposed as especially hypocritical and partisan on this issue. What, if anything, has changed since February of '98? Other than the fact that Iraq did make a farce out of the inspection efforts and then threw out the inspectors, and the situation has grown even more dire? Nothing has happened that would warrant a more relaxed attitude towards Iraq. Quite the contrary. Even then, Iraq claimed to be willing to cooperate, but these people didn't buy it, then. What has changed now? Or was it just the case that they weren't serious in '98? After all, they all dithered when Iraq subsequently threw out the inspectors. But if that is the case, then why should we be guided by their sanctimonious lecturing now? The only one of the "Big" NATO allies (France, Germany, Britain) who has remained consistently principled, among those quoted in that rundown, is Blair. We'll have to see if the SDP returns to the policy they enunciated in '98, as some hope, or keep going down the path they've apparently chosen now, as I expect. After all, they've been very clear with their electorate. Comparing a supposed ally to Hitler is a big hurdle to try and overcome. I have my doubts that they'll even make the effort. Some may be tempted to conclude that for Social Democracies in Continental Europe, especially in the case of parties like the SDP, a lot depends on which party is in the White House - a sort of international partisanship.

Like Charlie Brown with the football, everyone eventually claimed victory in that crisis and it blew over, then when the heat had subsided, Saddam went back to normal. Is there any reason to trust him now? Or is it the case that it is Saddam's regime, not lack of inspections, that is the problem? Some folks are happy to make another run at the football. Others would be happier to dispense with Saddam "Lucy" Hussein.

Btw, one can find lots more, including the words of Clinton, Madeline Albright, Strobe Talbot, et al, on the subject in a vast repository of links.

Friday, September 20, 2002

The Four Feathers Pre-Review: So how could they remake this movie? If they did, would "today's audience" connect with it? Look, I've seen the '39 version several times. Along with movies like Zulu (music), The Man Who Would Be King and The Wind and the Lion, it's one of those Un-PC Films set in the Colonial era, a rousing tale - but also a morality tale. (I must have watched Zulu four times in 2001. From the pacifistic priest who wants the soldiers to unilaterally embrace their enemies, to the inexperienced officers expected to fight a unusual foe, to the rogue and reluctant soldier, Hook, it was just something that struck a cord).

So would they make this film again today? No, I don't think so. Today's filmgoing audience couldn't possibly relate - or so the producers would think. So they made this film instead. It looks the same superficially, but it's different. Or I expect so. I've seen enough promos to have the sneaking suspicion that this is a Pod Person of a movie. I think, from what I've seen, that they've made a Four Feathers for August 2001. The original would actually speak to our era. Like Zulu does. But I'm one that thinks very little changed on Sept. 11th. So I'm planning on seeing it (it opens today, but it's not here where I live yet). Perhaps it's good, I doubt it has what the old film did. But perhaps I'm wrong. I'll let you know. Or you can see for yourself (you might beat me to it. It'll probably be at least another week before it gets out here to Yokledom's Motherland).

But since it's not here yet, and it touches a film genera I like, I'm stuck with this pre-review for now. Just an open-letter mutter.
I Was Wrong Again: Perhaps Stoiber isn't any better. Monopoly of action lies with the UN? Well, there are reasons why German politicians are talking like this. It has little to do with principle.
America's Foreign Policy Under Bush is unveiled. I'll have more to say about this later, after I've read it, but in the meantime here's this story that mentions that
The paper stresses the president's interest in securing peace in the developing world by economic means by insisting the US will exploit its military and economic power to encourage "free and open societies," rather than to seek "unilateral advantage". It defines this mix of values and national interest as "a distinctly American internationalism".
About Oil: More of our oil comes from Africa than the Middle East, and we're working to develop it more, so as to eliminate any dependency on the Middle East.
Axis of Evil Back when I was at the UW, one of the many outrages of the hard Left (I was, at the time, a Liberal Democrat) was when the two Student Co-Presidents took a junket to North Korea, which they paid for out of the treasury using student funds and tax dollars. In North Korea they genuflected to the "Great Leader" (who was still alive at the time), praised North Korea's policies, economic and social, and condemned capitalist democracies that didn't embrace such ideology. This was so notorious across campus that the next year, the successor-party of the Left was defeated (permanent parties were not allowed, nor were people allowed to run for re-election, but it was always understood which new party represented this or that party of the previous year).

Thankfully, I was among those who were appalled, not those who were apologists for either the junket or North Korea (or Cuba, for that matter). These are people who's lives were devastated by North Korea's inhumanity, at the same time when my Student Co-Presidents were, with the support and encouragement of many faculty, praising North Korea, Chomsky-style, for providing an "example of an alternative to Capitalism" (Marxists all claim to have been anti-Stalinist all along now). These people likewise have suffered. As have so many North Korean people as well.

Some say we need to normalize ties with North Korea and provide the regime with aid, and some say Bush's rhetoric towards North Korea was too harsh and not nuanced enough.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Clash of Civilizations or Conflict With Forces Within Them?: For those who believe that the war represents a "Clash of Civilizations", I recommend this Michael Novak piece that appeared in NRO today. Especially the parts where he quotes moderate Moslems who reject radical Islamist regimes:
But how do you argue," another says, a former professor who came home from a Western country to become a brigadier in the field, "when they quote a text from the Koran on amputation according to sharia law, and ask if you believe in that text? We accept the Koran. We are Muslims. But we do not accept an eleventh-century interpretation of Islam. We are twenty-first century people. We are Muslims, in a country with eleven different major tendencies among Muslims, and we are accustomed to tolerance of one another."
The article goes on:
One delegate pointed out that the Taliban were vastly unpopular in Afghanistan, and that the ayatollahs in Iran have more than worn out their welcome, are already witnessing protest marches by hundreds of thousands of the young, and will not be much grieved when they sometime soon are removed from the scene. These do not speak for Islam, he said, and nearly all the heads in the room nodded emphatically.
I cleave to the idea that this is a War Against Bad Philosophy, as Armed Liberal termed it. We have had (and continue to have) expressions of it in our own civilization, which need to be fought (intellectually through argument, not coersion or violence; so long as they themselves eschew violence - which wasn't always the case. See Bill Ayers, among numerous others). But we're not against the people in, for example, Arabic and Islamic Civilization, we're fighting against the radicals infected by Cultural Marxism and Franz Fanon (often as joined with and intertwined with the radical theology of the Moslem Brotherhood and Wahhabism; Iraq's regime is secular but others among the foes are theistic). But in that conflict we have allies - the many, many people, Arab and Moslem, that are opposed to the forces we fight (be they totalitarian Islamist states or secular, National Socialist Ba'athist despotisms) that live within those societies and seek to reform and modernize, and dispense with despotic rule. We help ourselves by helping them, and vice versa. But we only hurt ourselves by making entire civilizations out as enemies.

One thing is true. We need a good term with which to describe the forces we're fighting. No one has the perfect term yet

Update: Ba'athism can be properly called "national socialist" because it combines socialist ideology with Arabic nationalism.
GERMANY LOSES DEBATE: Ari Fleicsher and Glenn Reynolds highlight German violation of Godwin's Law.
Anglosphere Continues to show it's true colors in these images (link via Instapundit).
NATO Transformation: Rumsefeld is to present yet another U.S. proposal to try and get NATO allies, beyond Britain, to bear some of the burden.

The article mentions the EU's own "rapid-reaction force", which was formed by the EU members after the last round of such attempts, during the Clinton Administration, were scuttled by countries like France and Germany, which prefer to emulate the long-lasting de Gaullist approach to NATO: non-cooperation. So expect little to come from this effort, either.
Trade Deficit Shrunk Some in July. I'm not sure the article's conclusions - that this could help boost growth - are justified. Growing trade deficits haven't been a sign of a shrinking economy, nor have shrinking trade deficits necessarily led to spurts of growth.

Btw, yes, the CPI jumped unexpectedly in August, so my fears of deflation may have been premature. But we'll see. That was one month. Previous indicators supported that thesis. We'll see what happens in the next few months.
Huh, I'd've Never Guessed That: in another headline packed with stunning, counter-intuitive insight, the Washington Post actually says that The more troops we array against Iraq, the less resistance we will face. Wow. I never would have figured that. Washington Post readers really learn a lot, don't they?
Special Operations Command is assuming more control over the War on Terror as measures focus on covert ops, as they were expected to inevitably do. We may not hear about every success, and the lack of information will cause some to wet their pants and say we're making no progress. Those people can be ignored.
Old Washington Monthly Article discusses the Daschle Family's lobbying loot.
Yah, What I Said: George Will disses the UN's so-called authority:
It is perverse, and profoundly dangerous, that the U.N. is being encouraged to place upon its own brow a garland of laurels it has woven for itself as the sole legitimizer of force in international affairs. Even NATO, an alliance of democracies, is said to be morally bound to defer. The U.N.'s overweening vanity is made possible by the acquiescence of formerly formidable European nations. They now are eager to disguise decadence as a moral gesture, that of sloughing off sovereignty - and with it, responsibilities.
Now where did I read that kind if thing before?
German Unilateralism condemned today in the Torygraph:"Chancellor Schröder and his challenger, Edmund Stoiber, are both canny provincial politicians, but there is nothing statesmanlike about either."

The article goes further:
It may be that Mr Schröder, if he is re-elected, will abandon his "German path" and tiptoe back into the Western camp. Even so, the damage has been done. Trust in Germany as a reliable ally has been shattered. . .After Mr Schröder's open contempt for UN resolutions on Iraq, there can now be no question of Britain, France and America allowing Germany to become one of the permanent members of the Security Council. The immaturity of the ageing student radicals who now rule Germany will cost their countrymen dear.
Hmmmn. . .I seem to recall reading on some blog that it was Schroeder who has done lasting damage to the alliance.

Update: Yes, Stoiber is better on this. Schroeder will probably win, though, and then we'll have to deal with the consiquences. But so will Germany, and Europe as a whole if they continue to foster politicians with this sort of attitude.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Sorry about the length of some of my recent posts. I know they're verbose and at times even repetitious. In those I tried several ways to explain a position because I felt perhaps I was unclear before (because some seemed to misunderstand what I had meant. I don't necessarily expect agreement, but some of Britishspin's responses made me think perhaps I hadn't been clear in my position). Anyhow, I often write long posts but these were a bit over the top in length. I'll try to keep them within reason in the future.
One Last Blast at Schroeder: I've had some good exchanges with Britishspin on the topic of Schroeder &tc, both in e-mail and on the web (btw, I didn't say we shouldn't take European leaders at their word. I said I think that when they say things about organizing the EU in opposition to the U.S., call Americans cretins and deplore American society, it has come time to believe that's what they really mean, not their vague references to friendship and alliance which are, again Britain excepted, very obviously no longer heartfelt. Likewise, I didn't say that Qatar was a great ally - just a better place to put bases because the Saud's were being obstreperous and we needed an alternative, and analogized that with other options than Germany in Europe. As for liberty and democracy, Qatar is probably marginally better than Saudi on that score, though that's not really relivant to my reasoning. Britain might have a good track record on liberty and democracy, but the EU certainly is no great shakes on either, and is obviously moving in the wrong direction - and, unfortunately, dragging Britain with it, along with the rest of the countries. See here and especially here. Likewise, the Czech Republic may join the EU, but Britain is in the EU and so far - so far - that hasn't stopped them from being an effective ally. Of course, as the EU develops, it will try to insist that Britain desist. But that, far from disproving my argument, helps prove it; obviously, if Britishspin can write that the Czech Republic will cease being a an ally of the U.S. when it joins the EU, then the EU members, at least those driving EU integration, are already de facto not allies. They just don't want us to notice quite yet. But I digress again. Another post where the majority of it is a parenthetical remark. Back to Schroeder). The Times suggests that, just perhaps, Schroeder's campaign tactic has - as it were - gone a bit too far (or, as with Monty's Market-Garden, a bridge too far. Schroeder might call it "90% successful". The Prince of Holland said, when Monty made a similar comment about Market-Garden, that Holland couldn't afford another Monty "success").

In any case, getting back to Britishspin's original argument Schroeder is still a smeghead. I never said the U.S. didn't need allies (which is why I value those countries that are actual allies, such as Britain, Canada - Chretien notwithstanding, Australia, and the like), but the last thing it needs is people who insincerely pose as allies without having any intention of contributing substantively. Further on that, too: it should be pointed out that if such a NATO rapid-reaction force was formed, it wouldn't be ready in time to help on Iraq even if the European allies agreed to go along with that. So using Iraq as an excuse against it was just that - an excuse for inaction and lack of intent to contribute anything as a general policy, not just now, not just over this particular issue, but ever. Fine, but then the point remains: pretending that these people are sincere allies does not make them so. Whether it would be positive to have them as real allies, willing and able to help bear burdens, is irrelevant at best and wishful thinking at worst. Dealing with the world as it is, not as we might want it to be, means recognizing that is reality as we find it today and we'll have to make our plans and pursue our interests based on the real resources available, not speculation over how it would be nice if so many Continental European leaders weren't smegheads, but actually were willing to insure that they were able to contribute something in the future beyond criticism and condescion and appeals to multilateral action when they're unprepared to do anything beyond sending token prestige contingents. There's also no reason why Britishspin should expect that such people be treated as if they were sincere allies willing to pay the price to insure they're able to bear up their end of any burden when so many of them clearly are not and have no intention of so doing.

Update: I searched my own archives. I found no endorsement of Norquist's position on alliances.

As for "partnership" with Continental Europe: efforts have and are being made to try and persuade them to bear more of the burden (see that FT story I linked to, below). They're fruitless. Again. As always. This is why so many Americans, when they see claims of "partnership", ask "what partnership?" If it just consists of them having a say on what is to be done with our forces, without any intention of contributing anything (is Schroeder running on increasing Germany's military significantly? Roosevelt had, in '40 and '41), then what American critics of European "partnership" are doing is saying that their Emperors wear no cloths.

Similarly, one of the reasons that British forces are able to make a real contribution is that their military, however small compared to the U.S., is better able to fight a modern war than European style conscript armies are. IIRC, some of our NATO allies have conscription periods of as little as six months or a year. One can't really train troops for the type of activity we're talking about in modern, technological warfare in six months, much less well train them. Are Continental countries prepared to transform their militaries? I doubt it. If not, they simply aren't going to be able to operate with U.S. forces, the incompatibilities are too large. Britain and other "Anglosphere" countries are able to because they have maintained a tradition of professional militaries.

Tony Blair gets a ton of credit over here, even (perhaps especially) from conservatives because he understands that there is a mutual obligation in an alliance. Hell, I'm not even sure that many American political leaders understand so well what Blair expressed when he said that part of maintaining the alliance was a willingness to pay a "blood price" for the ally. Many American political leaders aren't willing to risk a "blood price" even for ourselves. Would we pay it again for Britain? I hope so. But it's pretty clear that the Continentals do not have that perspective on the alliance. They aren't willing to pay a monetary price to update their militaries, much less do more. When "partnership" just comes to mean "we get included in on deciding how to use your resources, without contributing anything substantive ourselves", then there's reason for resentment.

Britishspin is worried that American "rebuffing" Europe on, for example, Kyoto and the ICC, is causing problem. But he seems less worried that in crafting such things in such a way that Europe gets off rather lightly (Kyoto starts its emissions levels at 1990 for the good reason, from the perspective of Europe, is that was the last year in which "dirty coal" plants of East Germany operated in Europe - thus they get emissions credits for turning off something that was going to turn off anyhow. There are tons of little details inside the Kyoto protocols that cushion things for countries except the U.S.; things like that are not infrequent). Again, calls for "partnership and multilateralism" are implied to mean that Europe will get to decide what is good for America and what policies America should adopt (even while, like on agricultural issues, they - with their CAP - exempt themselves, like Clinton exempted himself from the Sexual Harassment policies he applied to everyone else) - and they resent us when we don't submit to that. Well, no wonder the response of so many Americans is "whatever". Europe has managed to define things in such a way that whatever the EU decides is by definition "multilateral", while even when the United States has the agreement of several countries (Britain, the Czech's, Australia, etc), they are automatically "unilateral" if France and Germany are not onboard, and have designated unilateralism as bad

As I have said before, both on this webpage and in e-mail to Britishspin, it would be one thing if the attitude was that we would work together in areas of agreement and each do what we think is best for us when we don't come to an agreement, without having disagreement affect our alliance, that would be one thing. Germany and France can decide to not participate on Iraq, for example, if they don't want to. But the resentment in Europe that Britishspin speaks of shows that they aren't happy - even when we don't try to stop them from doing what they think is right on Kyoto, for example - or on Iraq now. So Schroeder gets to say that a friend can disagree and still be a good friend - but that clearly applies only to himself and Germany. When America disagrees, that's supposed to be a reasonable and understandable source of resentment. This is why many Americans have come to feel this has devolved into a manipulative relationship, something far less than a partnership. When they disagree with America and design institutions so that they'll be able to pursue their interests contrary to America, that they consider perfectly acceptable (and, indeed, so do we; we have had a policy, over continual administrations of both parties, of encouraging EU integration and giving no support to "Euroskeptics"). But when we do what they consider acceptable for themselves, and follow what we think is best for us even if they disagree, that is simply an outrage and cause for political leaders across the continent to sternly lecture us on our misbehavior and stir up resentment among their populace. Again, signs of manipulation, not of partnership. Interdependence is fine, and it's real, but not everything is a matter for groupthink, and not everything needs to be decided by consensus. That's one problem, btw, with the EU. They have a reducto ad absurdum attitude: since things are interdependent, that means we must regulate the quantities of beer sold in British pubs and the acceptable shape of vegetables, contents of sausages, etc, on a EU-wide level. That's absurdism, and they're carrying it into international affairs.

This is what already exists. The people Britishspin is directing his criticisms at did not cause that. We're simply recognizing that is what has already come to pass, and deploring it (and btw, I for one spoke ill of steel tarriffs at the time and several times since. Economically stupid, destroys more jobs than it "saves", and pisses off the allies. Same with that turd of a Farm Bill).
Europe's Willful Irrelivancy In a Financial Times story that relates to this post, the EU is at odds with the U.S. over creating a real reaction force (something beyond that phantasm created by the EU). Look, it's nothing that will affect either America's capabilities or Britain's - those two can already send forces quickly around the world. It's the rest of the NATO "allies". Just more evidence that they demand a say, without being willing to make a real, significant contribution.
Even the New York Times knows that the inspections on offer are unworkable. If they're willing to admit that much, then it's pretty obvious that the whole thing is a propagandistic way to run down the clock. Duh.
Our Closest Ally in Continental Europe is the Czech Republic. I think we should consider moving our bases out of Germany and into the Czech Republic. The bases provide an economic boost because of the spending involved, and the Czech's deserve it more than the Germans. The Russians won't like the idea at first. But when they realize that we're not doing it to spite them, but because of Germany's attitudes towards the U.S., they may be happier. Russians understand not getting along with Germans.
Unilateralism = Bad: Since no one who believes that is able to give any cogent reasons as to why, it's left to others to analyze this mindset. So we have Lawrence Auster writing that:
Unilateral action by a state can be good or bad, moral or immoral, successful or unsuccessful, just like any other type of action. . .

Liberals are against unilateralism for the same reason they are against fundamental individual freedoms such as the private ownership of guns. Since liberals believe in equality, they are against power, because different people inevitably possess different amounts of it and so oppress each other. So liberals oppose private gun ownership, because it suggests differentials of power among individuals, which suggests inequality and oppression. For the same reason, liberals want to restrict the freedom of political organizations to buy political advertising because some candidates and groups will be able to buy more advertising than others, which suggests differentials of power, which suggests inequality and oppression (the recent campaign finance law is to free elections what gun control is to self-defense). And for the same reason, liberals oppose independent action by nation-states because such action suggests differentials of power and thus inequality and oppression. Since freedom of action by persons or polities and the resulting inequalities of power and influence are built into the very structure of existence, what liberals are ultimately aiming for is nothing less than the total repression of the natural order of things. The attempt to eliminate all power must lead to the concentration of all power in a global totalitarian state.
Now, I think he's right in many ways. But wrong in others (first, he used the recent U.S. intervention in Haiti as an example of "unilateral action". Wasn't it Liberals who did that, while many of us conservatives were opposed and remain skeptical that did any real good)? More likely it's the usual suspects: the Left (as opposed to Liberals) and Transnational Progressive types that he is talking about.

Secondly, they are not opposed to "power" as such. They like power just fine. But Auster hits it when he writes that they're against the individual use of and possession of power. Power is to be held by groups (Corporatism, properly understood), not individuals. Thus groups need representation, both within a nation (the right proportion of significant groups must be hired, promoted, elected, etc. and any failure to do that is a bad thing) and internationally (international bodies guided not only by a committee of several nations, but with the input of those "NGOs" that are deemed significant). No nation should excecise power outside of a warrant from the "international community", just as no individual should have a gun without community (government) approval, etc. Corporatism is quite often a font of Bad Philosophy - Fascism was Corporatist in nature, the Islamist Radicals are pursuing a religious Corporatism, etc. It's a sort of ideological nexus or "tree trunk" from which the branches produce poisoned fruit.

The reason he misses it and identifies "Liberals" as those who believe this is because, even though the article on Corporatism I linked to yesterday appeared in the same publication (Frontpagemag), Corporatism isn't widely understood (even by most of its practitioners. People can have a belief-system without knowing it's name). Even that article seemed to slightly miss the mark (almost conflating "Corporatism" with "business corporations". The two are not identical, though. Corporations can be a represented entity in a corporatist system. But what distinguishes Corporatism, properly understood, is that it it is a political system that focuses on providing representation based on groups, institutions, and collective entitites, rather than individuals ("one man, one vote"). Or, as this article puts it:
Corporatism is defined by Webster as “the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising some control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction.” Corporatism means that we participate in society as members of groups, which not only represent us but also exert control over us. Corporatism means that we participate in the economy, not as individuals but as members of organizations – as workers, owners, or managers of corporations. Corporatism means that we participate in the political process, not as individuals but as members of organizations – as members of labor unions, corporate business organizations, political action committees, or other special interest groups. Corporatism means that we let someone else make our economic and political decisions for us.
We can add that it means that we let the "international community" decide what our interests are and how we are allowed to pursue those interests. Transnational Progressivism is just one branch of Corporatism (and, btw, Socialism). It is naturally hostile to Classical Liberalism (Hayekian Liberalism), which focuses on the rights of the individual.
Coercive Inspections Backed By Military Force as an alternative to war aimed at "regime change" was one of the options the anti-war crowd put forward. Many of them allowed that the old inspection regime was ineffectual. Several suggested that inspections be backed by a force of 50,000 troops so they could push their way in wherever and whenever they wanted, without obstruction. But one letter from Iraq later and virtually all of them have dropped that - it appears that those among the "warbloggers" who thought that this option that they claimed to favor was simply a rhetorical device, not sincerely believed, but simply an excuse to object to more serious methods, were right all along. They have now taken, once again, to repeating Tarik Aziz's line.

There may be a few principled anti-warbloggers who have stuck with this option, and insist that the inspections, if there are to be any, must be coercive and backed by force in order to be effective. But I'm not aware of them. The rest have covered themselves in ignominy and disgrace - especially those who claim it is the warbloggers which are morally blind.

And no, I'm not in the mood to link to any of them at the moment.

Update Glenn Reynolds says this is a bit of an overstatement. Perhaps. But after so many in the anti-war crowd have prattled about the "moral bankruptcy" of people who disagree with them, I'm not in much of a mood to be generous at this time.

Likewise, they can spare me any sophisttries rationalizing this change in theme on their part. (For them, if any of you are reading this, "now go away, or I will taunt you a second time").

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

"Mr. Wilson bores me with his Fourteen Points; why, God Almighty has only ten": Georges Clemenceau spoke those words out of irritation with Woodrow Wilson. That is only the most famous reaction to Wilson's "lecturing and hectoring". Why do I bring that up? Because Britishspin has continued his campaign of instructing Americans that they're wrong to have a poor reaction to Schroeder's campaigning and, in general, remarks of European leaders indicating their attitudes towards America are not quite those of an ally.

I bring that up first because one of Britishspin's points is directly related to Wilson, and we discussed him little in our e-mail exchanges (which mostly focused on Roosevelt's dissembling. More on that in a bit). Notice that the leaders of Europe had a quite exasperated reaction to Wilson, and openly so. Britishspin is upset the exasperated reaction of many Americans to the remarks of various so-called allies. He doesn't think we should take these fellows at their word. Note, also, that just because Schroeder is saying these things in a tight campaign it doesn't mean he will stop saying the same sort of things afterwards. Britishspin thinks he will. I think he won't - I think this represents his real mindset. Britishspin suggests that this is just a campaign tactic needed to retain power, and it will end after the campaign, with Schroeder being far more supportive of the U.S. in general, and on Iraq in particular.

Well, I look at Chirac, of France. Even after he won, decisively so, his election race, he continued to have a tone rather similar to that which Schroeder is taking now. He only changed tack when he realized (and said as much) that such rhetoric was damaging France's relationship with the U.S. He finally understood there was reciprocal responsibility for sustaining the alliance, not just one-sided responsibility. That shows he can learn. Britishspin, in his e-mails to me, said that Germany and Germans have the right to speak out. I never said they didn't: what I was insisting upon was our own right, as Americans, to speak out and react to the remarks of those who claim alliance with America. The analogy that would seem to apply here is with those anti-war critics (during the Afghanistan stage of things) who claimed that dissent was being stifled and freedom of speech was suffering a "chilling effect", because people who disagreed with them dared to criticize what they said. Britishspin is worried that the Atlantic alliance will fall apart, but he seems to put the onus entirely upon Americans to maintain it by biting our tongues, while Europeans are allowed to openly campaign in opposition to the U.S., and indeed openly say that one of their goals (outside of Britain, at least) in constructing the EU is to counterballance and oppose America. Well, that indicates their mindset - not just on economic matters, either, but on a whole range of foreign policy issues. The rupture has already taken place, Continental European politicians just don't want Americans (or Brits) to notice. But we Americans have as much right to speak as any German. Indeed, we have stronger Constitutional protections. So if Schroeder isn't out of line, then we aren't either, and if Schroeder's words about disagreement apply to him, they apply to the people Britishspin is admonishing as well.

In any case, back to the degree to which this rhetoric exists even outside the sphere of a tight political campaign and the desire of politicians to gain some votes by playing on what Tony Blair, in a different context, rightly called anti-American sentiments, we have our good friend Chretien, the most recent example. I know, I know - he's not European, he's Canadian. But his attitudes and remarks show shared sentiments and outlooks. Until then, what most Americans like myself thought, when we thought of Canada's involvement, was their support (far more materiel than even the larger European allies, such as France, for example) in Afghanistan, the Princess Patricia's battalion, and our remorse over the "friendly-fire" incident (that and things like this). That was until Chretien spoke what he really thought. Why can I know that's what he really thinks? Chretien is politically finished in Canada. He's participated in his last national election and has already agreed to step down as PM in less than eighteen months. He isn't whoring for votes anymore.

As for Schroeder, he has said far more than just those few words that Britishspin quotes approvingly in his point #2. As for Roosevelt's remarks about his hope for a peaceful settlement at Munich, I dealt with that in e-mail: that was before war had broken out. Roosevelt's tone in '40 and '41 when Britain was "unilaterally" ("unilateralism" being now considered so grave a crime that no one even has to try to explain why it's so wrong) fighting Germany, Roosevelt's tone was quite different (this being the campaign season that Britishspin had focused on earlier. So notice a temporal switch here. Likewise, when Roosevelt made those remarks that Britishspin had quoted in his earlier post, it was because he was under question because it was clear he wanted the U.S. to be as supportive of Britain's fight against fascism as was possible. With Schroeder, again as I pointed out in e-mail but as Britishspin took out of context, it's clear that the opposite is the case. Schroeder is campaigning on opposition to, not politically maximal support of, the U.S. Roosevelt's rhetoric that Britishspin leaves out was of the Atlantic Charter and his push for Lend-Lease, among other things. That's why he was pushed into making that pledge - because people were suspicious that he planned to get into the war. No one would realistically have that suspicion of Schroeder (though one might of Stoiber, and Schroeder has pounded him relentlessly on it. If there's an analog to Roosevelt in this race, it is Stoiber, not Schroeder, which was one of my points. He is also campaigning as "reluctant" to engage Germany in the proposed war, but his general attitude suggests otherwise, which is precisely why Schroeder is trying to corner him on the issue).

As with Eurocrats who continually and openly scheme about sticking it to the U.S., for a long time we just grinned like idiots and continued to express our support for continuing the growth of EU institutions. But eventually there comes a time to take these people at their word, and believe them when they express open hostility to American elected officials, America's role in the world, American culture, etc etc ad nausium. I think it's time we say we believe them when they say those things - because their actions typically support that rhetoric, wheras their actions manifestly have stopped backing up whatever pro-forma mouthings they make about alliance and friendship (the political reality being that those are generally rhetorical tools invoked to try and get us to hang our heads and agree to what they want, and accept their criticism expressed in the first part of this paragraph).

So, speaking of blunt political realities and exposing and recognizing them for what they are, as Britishspin points out, his site is more about political realities than what "should" be, why people are behaving as they are, what's in it for them. So lets cut to the political realities (I could talk more on the above, with more examples, but that part is already over-long). What value is there in the alliance, from an American point of view? Except for Britain, what do the Europeans add to the alliance? That is, what sort of support do they provide that we couldn't do ourselves? Bases? We could have a new treaty with the Czech Republic, among other countries, tomorrow for basing rights. They'd love the economic boost (while Germany, with Schroeder's problem being on the economy, can just stuff it when it comes to the billions of dollars that the presence of U.S. troops provides his country). Or with Turkey (which is closer to the main crisis point anyhow). We're building bases in Bahrain and Quatar, don't think that Europe is immune.

What other support does Europe provide (again, as usual, exempting Britain)? Half-empty aircraft-carriers that were built and operate mainly for prestige, but which refuse to follow through on commitments that they explicitly said they would in the heat of battle? Nothing we can't do for ourselves, anyhow. As I mentioned above, even small Canada provided more substantive support so far than large European countries. There doesn't seem to be any real constituency inside Europe, aside from the U.K., for significantly increasing their capabilities so that they could actually provide a meaningful operational contribution (the "European force" being a farce - a purely political move, taking already existing units and declaring them such, that is about the same as the Charles de Gaulle in substance. Once one takes out the British contingent, the rest is militarily insignificant. So again we see that only Britain has the means and intent to do anything substantive).

From the Continental Europeans, the only thing the alliance provides is an opportunity to kvetch and kibbitz, and to claim that they need to be included on any decision because, after all, we're allies (note that there is an appeal to alliance when it comes to that expectation, but the alliance is irrelevant on Iraq and doesn't apply to it when it comes to supporting an ally). They don't even seem to be willing to provide even the minimal support of offering to relieve American and British peacekeepers in the Balkans (which the Continental Europeans are certainly large enough to manage), freeing up forces for use in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Sure, again taking a hard, cold, realistic look at the political situation, Schroeder could refuse permission to the U.S. for using bases in Germany, and he has "generously" left the door slightly ajar when it comes to deigning to allow us this great boon. But, like I mentioned above, that's more out of expediency than anything else. Schroeder is not a complete imbecile. Denying the use of those bases, like Germany did when it came to our strike of Libya in the '80s, would hurt Germany more in the long run than it would us. Because he knows we can move, and he knows that, unlike '86, when the Soviet Union was still a going concern, there is little to keep us in Germany if he does that. Germany's economy is already struggling - so even if what America spends there maintaining forces and bases in Germany is economically small beer, it's nothing to sneeze at. Plenty of places will jump at the chance (and will benefit more from) to base American troops in their country. The Eastern European allies, for one (which are clearly and obviously better allies right now anyhow). Just as, when the Philippines thought that they would pull a fast one on Uncle Sucker over Subic Bay and (shoot, I forget the name of the Airfield now. Was it Clark Field? I want to say that, but I'm not sure), expecting that we'd agree to pay them large sums for their continuing to allow us to use the bases when they made it clear that they were "serious" that they wanted us to leave, we said "fine", Singapore (and some other places) quickly offered basing rights, and the Philippines were left holding the bag. So Schroeder isn't going to go that far. But it's clear where his heart is.

That heart is in opposition to Germany's supposed ally. The country that did the most to help Germany unify, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on favorable terms - even when most other countries were skeptical at best and in opposition at worst, and we had no obligation to do so (and no real self-interest involved; sure, keeping Germany in NATO rather than agreeing to Austrianizing it, was a factor. But with the Warsaw Pact crumbling and, ultimately, the Soviet Union as well, even that wasn't as big a deal as all that. A divided Germany would probably see West Germany electing a more friendly government today).

Like I told Britishspin in the mail, I'd be happy to be proven wrong. But at this point it would take a lot of kind words from Schroeder - backed up by action - to change my opinion. Until then, political reality holds in the U.S. as much as in Europe, and we have every right to take our own interests into account, and if we see our so-called allies talking and behaving as other than allies, we can and should let it affect our behavior, and deal with things as they are, not as how we might wish them to be. That means saying that the alliance is effectively dead. If Britishspin wants otherwise, then he needs to make sure he's not just telling Americans about the damage that American reaction to European rhetoric and deed is doing to the Atlantic alliance, but also have at least as great a emphasis upon what Europeans are doing to undermine those bonds.

Note, likewise, that this goes far beyond any dispute over how to handle Iraq, and is just a spike in something that has been building for years - again, mostly from the European side. If a major American candidate ran as virtually all major European candidates seem to (ok, not all. But it does seem to be the case that at least one of the two major candidates runs on a platform, vis a vi America, similar to that of Schroeder; we had, for example, Jospin and Chirac both, in the French elections, sounding pretty much a similar line in Spring), then there would be all sorts of hand-wringing and disturbed reaction. The closest we've come in the post-War period (the period of the Atlantic alliance) to a major candidate running on a rhetorical platform similar to that of all too many major European candidates is Patrick Buchannan, who got all of half a percent of the vote in our last Election and was widely condemned in the mainstream media as an isolationist. Pat Buchannan is political marginalia. In Europe, the only people who seem to be concerned over the political rhetoric of European politicians when it comes to their American allies are a few (mostly conservative) commentators. The rest? They spew this sort of stuff themselves. The BBC, for example, is far from a fringe element when it comes to European media. I listen to the BBC World Newshour on the radio every morning on the way into work, and their conventional wisdom world-view is in line with the tone of Schroeder, Jospin, etc (and not just when it comes to attitude towards the U.S., mind, but that's what we're talking about here).

Addendum: Note that the Clemenceau quote at the beginning of this screed is not the most extreme reaction to Wilson, but only the most famous (because it's pithy and just so. Of course, the irony is that now the Europeans are more likely to be Wilsonian than Americans).

Likewise, if Schroeder is going to be allowed to invoke the technicality that Iraq hasn't attacked any NATO ally as a rationale for his campaign rhetoric, then it should be equally noted that technically this is not true. Iraq violates the cease-fire terms it agreed to after the Gulf War on a frequent basis, shooting at American and British planes. This is an attack, regardless of it's effectiveness. The fact that American and British countermeasures prevent the attacks from scoring hits and kills does not vitiate them.

Also, Porphy isn't "my" abbreviation (much less the lower-case "porphy"); it's the abbreviation that people have commonly used for Porphyrogenitus in e-mails, message boards, etc, since I started using that handle. I have nothing against it and I commonly recommend it to the few people who don't "naturally" use it as a nick and ask what they could call me in lieu of writing the whole word out each time, or in self-reference from time to time. But I didn't invent it. Just thought I'd clear that up.
The Conditions Emerge The conditions that Iraq has placed on unconditional inspections are beginning to emerge. The London Evening Standard has a report on them:
But today it emerged that the offer only applied to military bases - which could let Saddam hide chemical and biological arms stockpiles elsewhere.

That was not good enough for Downing Street, which insisted: "Inspectors must be allowed to go anywhere, anytime."
Well, this was obvious from the start. It's all part of a strategy to divide the emerging "coalition" and to play for time. Only the willfully blind would have believed that it would be different. The article goes on:

Ali Muhsen Hamid claimed Iraq was being sincere, but he stipulated that civilian sites would not be available to the inspectors. "We support anywhere, any military site (for inspections), but not as some people have suggested for inspections against hospitals, against schools."

Hospitals are among key sites for inspections because of evidence that Saddam uses health laboratories to manufacture viruses for biological weapons.

An Arab League spokesman said only military sites were covered because it would take 10 years for inspectors to examine civilian buildings. . .
Of course, the last part only proves that any inspection regime would be a farce, designed not to accomplish anything, but simply delay.
Deflationary Spiral: I'm also going to have to say some more about deflation. Oh, sure, you've heard a lot about inflation. You've heard a lot about the CPI. But what problems can deflation cause? Well, how can consumer spending keep going up, month after month, while industrial production declines?

When you hear consumer spending is tied to bargains, rebates, and price cutting, that's an aspect of deflation (put that way, it sounds like a good thing. But deflation is not). Many readers will have heard at some time in the last several years that the method of calculating the CPI overstates inflation by anywhere from 0.5% to 1% annually. This has been going on since the early '70s (when, and this is not accidental, increases in many Federal programs - including Social Security - were tied to the CPI). It's more of a problem now. Why? Because when the CPI reports come out and state that "inflation is negligible", and then one takes into account that the CPI is overstating the level of inflation, then what we're really experiencing is a deflationary spiral. To turn Positively Page's saying on its head, that's not a good thing, that's a bad thing. Some people need to be reminded because we haven't experienced real deflation in a long time and folks might be tempted to think that if inflation is a bad thing, deflation must be a good thing, or at least a good counter to past inflation. But real life doesn't work that way.

*Al Davis Voice* We needed an interest rate cut last month. But we didn't get it. It was an honest mistake. I guess it was an honest mistake. *end Al Davis Voice*. We need one now, and a capital gains cut, and ending double taxation on dividends.
Corporatism: I've been meaning to say something about this Robert Locke piece, but I haven't gotten around to it. It's a very incisive piece. If anyone's ever wondered why Democrats can run against "the powerful" in business but still receive large campaign donations from major corporations, there's an answer here. Likewise, if people wonder why Republicans can run against government hand-outs, and then compete with the likes of Tom Daschle in an effort to see who can put the most special benefits for specific companies into legislation, this is it.

In addition, when you hear people talk of "the Black community" or "the Gay community" and the "leaders" (as in "no one can pick our leaders for us" - not that any of these communities have ever had the chance to elect "community" leaders in the first place), remember Corporatism. One of the aspects of Corporatist ideology is that groups are the primary entities that are considered in representation, as are institutions and organizations that are designated as "socially significant", not individuals (yes, Transnational Progressivism is a Corporatist creed). I'll come back to this later, I'm sure.
Not So Fast: It seems that the contents of the letter from Saddam Hussein is being demagogically spun by much of the "international community" in the press (one example: though the BBC's web account gets it right, the BBC World News Radio report kept misquoting the French position as "we must take him at his word", when it was actually "we must hold him to his word". I could forgive one mistatement, but they made the same misquote three times within an hour). Steven Den Beste has put up the full text of the letter in question, which reads in part:
To this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections.
That's not "without conditions". In a practical sense, is little different from Iraq's position over the last several months. These discussions over practical arrangements will, no doubt, include prior conditions raised by Iraq.

Monday, September 16, 2002

The Worm Turns: So, Blogger has a new bug, which happens to re-direct people to random blogs. Dawn Olsen declared a revolution against the blogosphere hierarchy, seeking to spread attention wider. Coincidence? Or did someone introduce a worm into Pyra's code? Infecting it with the Dawn Olsen Bug?

Of course I'm not serious, but I'm still going to call it the Dawn Olsen Bug.
Peace In Our Time: Kofi Annan returns to the airways, waving a letter from Mr. Saddam Hussein saying that they will allow inspectors back in.

Note that this wasn't nearly the whole of what is expected of Iraq. But that hardly matters to the UN crowd.

Look, I said monkeying around with the UN was a corrupting process. Also, this isn't about inspectors or resuming an ineffectual charade of an inspection regime (much less "discussions" over one) (that link via Instapundit). There's far more to it than that. This letter from Iraq is just the usual spinning out of the clock and diversion.

Update: Steven Den Beste has a theory: "Either he'll make some sort of half-way offer which will be refused immediately, or he'll actually agree to permit the inspectors to return with only slight conditions. If it's the latter, then I will be afraid, for it will mean he thinks he's within a few months of success."

Additional: The White House, at least, is keeping its powder dry, and has "called the Iraqi offer a tactic aimed at giving 'false hope to the international community that he (Saddam) means business this time. Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.'" (Also a more detailed UPI report.)
Huh. I Never Made the Connection: So sometimes I'm just a tad slow. I say that because someone else might have made this observation before I have. If you read enough stuff written by people who are "skeptical" of action against Iraq, and who were also "skeptical" of action in Afghanistan, you'll run across these two arguments.

This one was made regarding Afghanistan: One of the reasons people there don't like us is because last time, after we helped them defeat the Soviets, we left and didn't stay involved. This is a big problem because they feel we abandoned them to their problems, and we have to make sure to not repeat it. What's our strategy for nation building?

This one is made regarding Iraq: One of the reasons people there don't like us is because last time, after we helped liberate Kuwait, we stayed involved and didn't leave. This is a big problem because they feel we're meddling in their affairs, and we have to make sure to not repeat it. What's our exit strategy?

Does anyone else detect cognitive dissonance here? Kind of along the same lines as when the same people demanded a debate and that Bush go to Congress, the American people, and the U.N. to get their support before acting, but now they're all sullen and surly because he did what they kept clamoring for, but they don't like the timing (they'd rather have a lame duck Congress deal with it, I guess, and I suppose they were full of bovine fecal matter when they said the American people should be involved in the debate, because they sure as heck don't want them involved in any meaningful way - like having a grave matter such as war be a subject of the election ("No, Bush, you dolt, I didn't mean that! When I said we need a full debate, and criticized you for not involving Congress I meant a "full debate" where I get to talk down to you! Not something that would actually affect anything!)
A Blogglossory is being compiled by Samizdata.
Ron Paul Gets Firmly Fisked by the Vodkapundit. I'd add: Isn't it true that Ron Paul normally has little or no use for the U.N., but based much of his "questions" on appeals to the U.N.s authority, almost as if he were a Green Party jackanape sticking up for the "supreme decision making authority of the Security Council"?
Multiculturalist Sensitivity Kills: This Mark Steyn (link via Instapundit) really needs more attention. Especially these parts, buried in the bottom half of the column:
Among the more interesting Muslim items this past year was a story that appeared last October 11 in the Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper. It concerned a student in a Brooklyn high school, who, on September 6, 2001, stared out of the window and told his teacher: "See those two buildings? They won't be standing there next week."

Many of us heard similar stories - supposedly "urban legends" - in the weeks after September 11, but only one reporter did anything about them. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro interviewed the teacher, Antoinette DiLorenzo, and the boy's brother - they're Palestinian immigrants. The Journal News ran the piece on page seven, lest it provoke - all together now - "a backlash". The story held up, which is more than Shapiro's career did. By the end of the day, he was no longer the Journal News crime reporter.

On September 10, 2001, a sixth-grade student of Middle Eastern origin at a Jersey City school warned his teacher to stay away from Lower Manhattan because "something bad was going to happen". Teachers at schools within sight of the World Trade Centre report that, as the towers burned, a lot of Muslim pupils were taking pictures: it seemed odd that so many of them happened to have brought their cameras to school on that particular day.

But don't worry. In the interests of "sensitivity", no one's covering any of these curious tales and their alarming implications. NBC News had known about the Brooklyn schoolboy before Shapiro did. "No one wanted to follow up on it," a producer said. "They figured it either wasn't true or it would be too hard." Too hard? Dan Rather's right in a way: the longer this war goes on, the more it's about him and his media pals, and their curious priorities.
It starts off, and is disguised as, a column on media self-absorption. But these are the striking parts of the column. It really shows how what we see in the news is shaped, and in a way that is dangerous. I hadn't heard any of these stories until I read it in this piece, and I pay fairly good attention to this kind of thing.

At least as disturbing: Apparently a reporter was fired for reporting inconvenient news. If this is how that happened, this is an appalling suppression of information, by our supposed watchdogs in the press. If anyone's views are being suppressed post-9/11, it's certainly not the perspective of the multiculturalist Left. It seems to be more likely that those with information that runs against the mindset of the multiculturalist ideology will be punished.
One Face of the Anti-War Left: Notice I said one - not the only. But in the War on Bad Philosophy it's important to remember just how many of those who oppose the same things Saddam opposes are largely the same crowd that has always aligned themselves against free market democratic societies, and acted as the propaganda arm of totalitarian dictatorships.

It's also notable that these people, who often masquerade under the banner of "human rights" and concern for "civil rights" throughout the world, are not only standing up to prevent the toppling of a repressive dictatorship that tortures dissidents, but claiming that freedom of speech for people who oppose U.S. policy is being suppressed. That is, claiming publicly and openly - their very accusation refuting their claim. This always happens. Radical polemicists paid large speaking fees to get up on stage and claim that their views are being suppressed, while those who hold conservative views are shouted down or have their newspapers destroyed. What is this? Why, it's nothing but our old friend Marcuse's Radical Tolerance (toleration for movements of the Left, intolerance for those of the Right) rearing its ugly, cultural-Marxist, intellectually totalitarian head again. With a mindset like that, it's no wonder that so many of those who have had their views shaped by '60s New Left ideology seem to always find themselves aligned with totalitarian movements around the world in opposition to free societies whenever there is a crisis. (Links in this paragraph via Damian Penny.)

How are their views being suppressed? They're being criticized, and aren't getting what they want. That's "suppression of dissent", from the perspective of the New Left as influenced by the Frankfurt School. That's why, when Hanan Ashrawi is confronted by people who disagree! (how appalling!), Leftist conventional wisdom detects incipient Fascism, but when Benjamin Netanyahu is prevented from speaking by mob action bordering on the violent, that's just Correct Action in the face of "hate speech".

I expect the usual disclamers "we don't support Saddam, we just oppose U.S. foreign policy". Yah, right. That's why there's a certain pattern, and that's why so many of the guys noted in the Radosh article have made pilgrimages to kiss Castro's ring, and before that were kissing Daniel Ortega's, etc etc ad nausium. When you judge (there's a hate-word!) the pattern by its objective intent, it's clear that more than just "opposition to U.S. foreign policy" is involved here, at least when it comes to the round-up of usual suspects.

Update: For some proof, I give you Tom Hayden, who's never met a murderous, totalitarian regime he hasn't stood up for in the face of U.S. "bullying", and founded the "Red Family" Commune as well as inclining towards starting a Communist Party before he decided he could accomplish his goals more effectively by infiltrating California's Democratic Party.

Saddam and al-Queda: Anyone who believes that there is no connection between al-Queda and Iraq has been fooling themselves. After all, lets look at Osama bin Laden's list of demands:

1) End sanctions on Iraq. That's also something Saddam wants.

2) No more infringements on Iraqi sovereignty (no more inspections, no fly zones, limits on their importation of weapons, etc). That's something Saddam wants badly.

3) U.S. forces out of the Gulf region and Arabia. Likewise, something that Saddam wants. This is where they thwart his ambitions.

4) Palestinian control over "historic Palestine" (all of Israel). Not a direct goal of Saddam. But note that this was added by bin Laden later - it wasn't one of his early fixations. Note also that Iraq is the only Arab country that continues to say they'd be ready to invade Israel tomorrow. In addition, clearly Saddam knows how to use the Israel-Palestinian conflict himself: thus all the bounties paid to the families of suicide bombers, etc.

Saddam was in up to his elbows in planning the first WTC attack. Lo and behold, there's another one. Lo and behold, there's a 707 training simulator sitting on the tarmac of an Iraqi airport. Lo and behold, the leader of the 9/11 terrorists met with an Iraqi official in the Czech Republic. But none of that convinces some people. They want "more evidence", more concrete evidence. Well, many of the same people insisted that Bush go to the U.N. Now that he has, they hate that, too (I dislike it for other reasons; they think it will corrupt the U.N. to have it put to good uses. I think the U.N. will corrupt anything attached to it). So I can predict the response of many when this comes out But surely there are some people with open minds on the other side, for which their request for more evidence is sincere, and not just a cover for intransigent opposition. Right?

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Ugly: What else can you call tonight's Steelers-Raiders game? Unless you're a Raider fan, I mean.

Ok, so my Pack got drilled in Naw'lens. I'm unhappy, but not that surprised. I shouldn't be surprised that the Steelers are losing. But it's sad. My sister went to CU at the same time Kordell did, and met him a couple times. Nice guy. He's not really "to blame", more than anyone else, for tonight (fumblrooskies, balls carrening off receivers, etc. Ok, that happened to Brett, too. He practically nailed one of his own receivers on a short out pass, though, gotta figure that's gonna happen). Not that Kordell had a good game. No Steeler did. He'll get the blame. Why?

He's the QB.
I Love Collecting Possible Mottos. Of course, I only ever use a few. But I was reading this More Than Zero Sum post (via Instapundit), which was perfect overall (I've had that experience. With a aunt who will go nameless - she married my sister's brother - who sent us drivel written by a mindless author {Kingslover}, this after complaining herself that she didn't want us to send stuff written by other people. It got Fisked all around - not just by me, but one of my uncles who she also included on the "send" list, my mother, etc. This was in e-mail, years before there even was a term for "Fisking". Her reaction was to declare us all evil people who she didn't wish to know and to cross us off her list of family members. This from someone who outwardly displays Christian piety and looks down her nose at those who aren't Christian enough - she really is an example of the convergence between right-wing and left-wing Idiotarianism. She ignored us for years, and I was happy. Then just two weeks ago, out of the blue, she forwards a chain letter - one of those things that closes with the line "to show your support for X Cause, send this to ten or more of your friends". That kind of crap. I sent a terse but polite reply telling her that sending such a thing to people you don't care to know isn't really substantive support and to please never send me chain letters of any kind again. Haven't heard from her since, so I'm back to happy).

But I digress. Anyhow, when I got to this line in the More Than Zero Sum post, oh, it's so good it should be a motto:

"People don't like being ignored, and I don't like pretending I agree with pablum."

That's a fact, jack. And two-thirds of this post consists of a parenthetical remark.

Oh, Those Politicians Al Barger finds a lying Republican. I'm shocked, shocked! Of course, that's because I'm not a Objectivist. Anyone who's read a lot of Ayn Rand shouldn't be shocked that politicians are untrustworthy, no matter their political affiliation.

But actually, I wouldn't call it lying. I would call this dissembling and distorting. Some might call that a distinction without a difference. In any case, I'm not defending it. However, Dreier may have been more true than false here, though skipping too many steps in presenting things.

Why? Because even though it's the no fly zone, and Saddam is not in control there, some Kurds in the region do have ties to him. Why? Is it because they love him? No, because of factional and clan differences among the Kurds (there are Kurds on "our side", Kurds on "Iran's side", and Kurds on "Saddam's side", because they're opposed by the Kurds on "our side"). When war breaks out, if war breaks out, and the Kurds become an important component in that war, people will find out a lot more about internal Kurdish politics, just as we found out a lot more about internal Afgani politics. All those "warlords" and factions inside Afganistan didn't just spring into being when we showed up. It's been like that for years (forever, really). Most of the Kurds in the region are on our side, but the ones that have lost out in internal political struggles oppose them. Note likewise that Saddam didn't gas every Kurdish clan, and - well things get complicated because of old vendettas and blood feuds. So the region is not cut and dried in the least.

The al-Queda guys aren't being succored by "our" Kurds, they're being given sanctuary by "his" Kurds. Likewise, this is the area where Saddam has set up his terrorist training camps. Why? Because it gives him cover. Whatever else he may be, he's crafty. He can always say, and people like Sanchez can be deluded and repeat, that these camps are in the area of Iraq that he has little control of. Sigh, if only Saddam had more control over these areas, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. This statement, in isolation, also leads well-meaning people to conclude that al-Queda is there fighting against Iraq. So it's as distortive a dissemble as anything Dreier said (note that I do not think Sanchez was aware of the full facts here, she wasn't deliberately distorting or dissembling, just like I don't think Al Barger was deliberately misleading anyone. He was misled himself, from partial information, just as Sanchez took partial information but a closer look at the details leads one to a different conclusion. Most people would come to similar conclusions, because few are aware of the internal factionalization among the Kurds). Thus it's a key part of Saddam's propaganda campaign.

But there are also other people who bombed the World Trade Center. I'm talking about those who conducted the first attack, in '93. Some of the people who've been credibly linked to participating in the planning of the first WTC attack have found sanctuary in Iraq.