Friday, October 25, 2002

William Quick fingers Jimmy Carter as the source of all the trouble:
Prior to 9/11, the single most grevious stroke Islam managed against the United States was the embassy hostage taking in Tehran. The cravenness shown by the American President, Jimmy Carter, first implanted the notion in the Islamofascist mind that the US was a paper tiger, unable or unwilling to protect its own interests, and afraid to shed even a single life in its own defense.

What we should have done then was deliver an ultimatum to the mad mullah in charge of Iran at that time: Release the hostages immediately or we will reduce Tehran to smoking rubble. But we did not, and I think that much of the grief that has followed can be traced directly to that terrible mistake on Jimmy Carter's part.

The Russians could not let a similar fiasco unfold in the heart of Moscow.
Carter was given the "Nobel 'Peace' Prize" in 2002 by a group of Scandanavian satirists.
Moscow Hostage Situation: explosions and gunfire, Interfax also reports Terrorists have murdered at least two hostages.

Update: Fox News has a fuller report. Weapon firing seems to have stopped for the time being and Russian officials are saying they have the situation under control and have defeated the terrorists. About twenty bodies being taken out. A number of the terrorists have been captured.

Additional: UPI report on the end of the seizure.

Ongoing Search for terrorists who may have changed cloths and be attempting to intermingle out with the hostages. I figure this won't work too well - after all, the hostages could simply point them out.

Apparently about 36 of the terrorists were killed (the guy on CNN called this "disturbing news". I think his reaction is disturbing. I'd rather have the terrorists killed than the hostages, thank you very much). Some of the terrorists apparently did escape, though how is unknown.
Senator Paul Wellstone Dies In Plane Crash, along with his wife, one of his daughters, and five other people (three staff members and two pilots). May God keep their souls and comfort their family and friends.

I'm not going to pretend Sen. Wellstone was my kind of Senator. But he was always forthright in what he believed, he never tried to dissemble about it or shade the difference as so many politicians do. I remember observing his first campaign from Wisconsin - it was low-budget, funny (with self-deprecating aspects), and winsome. It was easy to see why the people of Minnesota liked him.

For all that I didn't agree with his ideology, he did seem like a genuinely nice guy. It's hard to tell from just watching someone from afar - I never met him once. But he didn't engage in the kind of rhetoric that makes a Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt so loathsome. The disagreements he had with others on policy were always sharp, but were open.

Seven other people died in the crash. Other than saying that this is a huge loss for the Welstone family as a whole, which lost three people in the crash, unfortunately there is little I can say about everyone except Paul. I wish I could, but they are entirely unknown to me - even from a distance. I can only say that my thoughts and prayers are will their loved ones as well.

Now's not the time for my usual comments and sarcastic humor about Dems & elections and what they will do. This website will be waiting a decent interval, which is done not so much to pat myself on the back for decency but because, from all I understand, Wellstone was a decent man who deserves that much respect, at least.
Media Bias Test-Case update Not only no mention of the NOI angle, but as long as it's not an angry white male neo-NAZI militia member, then it's "color blind". See also this appraisal of the NYT's coverage.
Consumer Confidence is dropping like a stone.

In Britain, the economy is growing very slowly. Of course, this work action by people who are "in the top five percent of wage earners" (to use a bit of DemProp lingo hurled back at 'em) isn't helping things.
On Resolutions and the Debt Owed to Russia and France Steven Den Beste analyzes what's going on at the UN. He then returns with this post on Iraq's debt owed to France & Russia, and the contracts those countries have with Iraq.

I think the debt they owe to Russia and France won't be officially repudiated. I just think there will be delays in paying it (after all, much of the debt owed to Russia, at least, dates back to the early '80s. Saddam hasn't been paying it down, either). They'll say "oh, yah, we recognize that, but we need to get our house in order. We'll get back to you on that, sure we will. But we need to get Iraq back on it's feet first. I'm sure you understand".

Likewise, the contracts won't simply be torn up. They'll say "we're reviewing all past agreements and are willing to enter discussions on these contracts". Then they'll play a game rather similar to that which France and Russia are playing in the UN - it'll be kind of ironic. Endlessly drawn out discussions over the status of those contracts and just when Russian and French companies will be allowed in to start working, etc. No official announcement that they're moot. Russia will get some covered, but things like the contract signed just this summer probably won't fly. France will get the stovepipe. But no one will come out and say "these agreements are nul and void". They'll simply be moribund. It'll be fun to watch that play out.
A Few Words About the historical Napoleon and modern French attitudes. (Link via Glenn Reynolds).
Mughabe's Thugs are bloodthirsty. Literally.
Protesting the Hostage Situation: Protesters have gathered outside the theatre in Moscow where Chechen terrorists are holding several hundred people hostage. The leader of this band has a history of violence.

The protestors, of course, are not protesting against them. They are protesting on their behalf (scroll down to picture). Protestors are carrying banners saying "stop the war in Chechnya" (aligning themselves with the terrorists) and "force is not the answer" (unless you're a terrorist holding people hostage and promising to blow them up if you don't get your way).

The terrorists have promised to start shooting hostages on saturday if the protestors don't get their way.

Now, I'm far from someone who would defend how Russia has conducted itself in Chechnya. But this just shows that "anti-war protestors" are pretty much the same no matter where they are - they come out on behalf of the cause of those who threaten unarmed civilians, want us to give into armed bands while saying "force is not the answer" (but, in behaving as they do, making it a fine answer for terrorists using force).

Anyhow, just so people don't think
A Test-Case of Media Bias: Thank God they caught that angry white male white supremacist neo-NAZI militia-group member that was murdering people in the D.C. area.

But anyhow, many people deny that media bias exists or think that, if it does, it's a pro-right-wing bias. So here's a "test case". Lets see if the main-stream media will cover the Nation of Islam angle the same way they covered the dangers of the militia movement in the McVey case.

Now, we can all have our theories as to whether that will happen or not. But lets just wait and see. . .

Thursday, October 24, 2002

The Most Interesting - or, rather, perhaps the most disturbing thing about this story is that it's possible that every incumbent Congressbeing not facing another incumbent Congressbeing (because of conjoined districts) could be re-elected. Only about a dozen even seem at risk. That's less than 3%, folks.
Plot To Steal The Election, Wisconsin Cabal:
A prosecutor said Wednesday he is investigating allegations that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Doyle's campaign used soft drinks, food and quarters to secure votes at a home for people with mental illness and disabilities.
Reminds me of what the Democrats did in Milwaukee in 2000, in that bribes-for-votes scandal.
Bigger, Sure Better? We'll have to see. It may just be that Eastern Europe will be exchanging one malign Union of Socialist Republics for a much less murderous version of the same liberty-styfling theory. The new Union of European Social-Democratic Republics lacks some of the more odious aspects of the old (and this is not a minor point), but is tied to the same ideological roots: bureaucratic centralism, planning and regulation down to the minutest detail, the group over the individual, and insulation from the will of the governed.
Oh, No! Whatever Will We Do!, Russia has rejected our resolution.

Oh, on second thought, who cares?
Why They Hate Us, the Non-Civ post:
why do so many on the left hate America? In the final chapter, Flynn argues that the leftists hate America because America refutes every pet theory that the left has ever held. America’s status as the world’s richest nation demonstrates that Capitalism is not a failed economic system. America’s appeal to immigrants from a variety of backgrounds shows that America is not a racist nation. The fact that American women fare better than men in many statistical categories shows that America is not a patriarchy. Finally, the fact that Americans enjoy freedom of religion demonstrates that Christianity is not an intolerant religion.
Michael New, writing in this book review.
Man Refuses Sensitivity Re-Education Camp and is fired.

Maybe you don't like this dude's views. I don't care. He wasn't imposing them on others. But others insisted on imposing theirs on him. But notice how "impose your beliefs on others" isn't a concern when it comes to imposing PC views via Maoist methods.
It's Like "Scarlett" all over again.
Demonstrating the Seriousnes with which the EU takes sanctions. Bravo! That'll teach 'em!
Richard Cohen found in contempt of public discourse by Orrin Judd. (Link via Instapundit).

It's certainly true that as the elections approach, the usual suspects try harder and harder to whip their crowd into a fervor, using propaganda disguised as "insightful and thoughtful analysis". It isn't just the TNR gang (Dana Milbank, your phone is ringing) that does that. At this point, columns like these aren't so much about convincing the "undecided" as they are re-enforcing the preconceptions and inclinations of the Democrat "base" so they don't start to question their allegiance and defect to the Evil side. These are the op-ed equivalents of radio ads saying "if you don't vote, another black church will be burned by John Ashcroft". It'll get worse until election day (especially if the polls are troubling for Democrat candidates), as the Lefts hysteria to cling to power rises. Just keep repeating to yourself:
These are the good people. Feel their goodness wash over you in a wave.
The Waddabout Crowd is taken down by Gerald Baker:
It has been a good month for the "Whatabout?" crowd. This all-purpose rhetorical interrogative is the favoured mantra of critics of Washington's apparent obsession with disarming Saddam Hussein.

"Why is Iraq such an urgent problem?" goes the introductory antiphon. "Why is this the most pressing issue we have to confront now?" Then follows the Whatabout? chant: "What about the war on terrorism? What about al-Qaeda? What about Iran? What about Syria?"

For most of the critics, of course, heaven forbid that the US should actually do anything to tackle these issues soon. That would be unacceptable unilateralism. Instead, the unanswered question serves well enough to expose the simplicity and foolhardiness of the Bush administration's singleminded approach. But in the past month, a series of startling events has given some impetus to the Whatabout? case. . .

Challenging as they are, though, it is hard to see why any of these should deflect the US from its course of confronting Mr Hussein. Anti-terrorist operations will need to be stepped up, and North Korea will have to be dealt with diplomatically. On the domestic front, whatever the outcome of the sniper's grisly odyssey, there will have to be further security measures. But none of this makes Iraq any less of a challenge to be confronted quickly. If you believed that Mr Hussein was a serious menace before Bali and Pyongyang, you cannot seriously believe he is not a menace now. . .

This search for the real reason for the Bush administration's Iraq policy ignores the obvious. Mr Hussein has proved himself a menace to regional and global security on numerous occasions. September 11 fundamentally altered the way Americans perceive threats to their security in a way that, even post-Bali, many other countries simply cannot fully appreciate. The premium on action to pre-empt such threats is higher than it has ever been in US foreign policy deliberations.
Extensive quotes because I'm too lazy at the moment to add much of my own "flavor". I can, anyhow, simply direct readers to my previous posts. . .
Brussels Brief: a heated summit. giant dick aimed straight at Denmark (see accompanying graphic):
On Wednesday the Danes, who hold the rotating EU presidency, appealed for the leaders to have “a sense of proportion”
Certainly there is reason for concern.

Here I thought they were all Eunuchs (of course, perhaps that's the reason why this development is such a cause for alarm; a Eunuch's penis fear). Which reminds me of the story of the EUnuchs of Al-Gardhiyan.
South Korea's electorate may be deciding to chose someone who supports a firmer stance against North Korea.
More Civ Last night I got a very insightful mail on the subject from Alert Reader Ryan Waxx. He made a couple points I was thinking of myself (but with far more concision than I would have). His point #4 was exactly what I was thinking of when, at the end of this post I mentioned "Civilization and Why They Hate Us", but he went further with other good points, too:
Odd, but I'd been thinking of that very subject (Civilization-style nation building games and their diplomacy models) for a few days previous to your post. In fact there are a lot more parallels with the real world (intentionally or for gameplay reasons?).

In these games (master of Orion, the Civ series, several others):

1. If you want peace, you MUST build a visible and viable military. You can avoid wars a lot better if the AI sees the consequences of an attack.

2. If the AI is bombing a city/planet of yours or an ally's, and you try to threaten it 'with consequences' if it does not stop, it will always laugh in your face if you do not have a serious military. Lets call this the 'France Rule'.

3. If the AI decides that it wants a war, it is going to get one. Appeasing it with gifts will delay war for a few turns, but NEVER stops it. That is because either it 'wants' something you have, or just hates your guts. And once you run out of a better and bigger gift than the last, out come the knives.

4. If you become overwhelmingly powerful, nearly all other nations become inherently hostile. It does not matter one bit if you have never invaded another country, nor if you only wage defensive wars. The other nations will condemn even your defensive acts.

5. The more nations that have NBC weapons, the better chance that one of them makes one of your cities disappear under a mushroom cloud. NEVER allow a fundamentalist AI access to nukes if you can at all help it.

6. Once the AI declares war, the only way to get it to stop is to utterly crush its military. If you stop halfway and agree to a cease-fire or other paper agreement, then the AI will use that time to prepare for the next attack.

Its embarrassing when a computer program 'gets it right' more than a lot of humans do. Fisk/Chomsky/Streisand should be required to test their diplomacy models out on CIV before unleashing them on us in the real world.
I'll probably still make a post on my musings about Civ this weekend, just for kicks.
Violators of International Law David Frum (not "From" as I wrote the other day) says America isn't so bad as its accusers in Europe are:
What really irks many Europeans is not that America violates treaties it has ratified, but that it refuses to obey agreements that it has not ratified - such as Kyoto or the international conventions on land mines and the international criminal court.

But who is the real threat to the international rule of law: America, for acting on the ancient and universal sovereign right not to adopt a treaty that does not serve its interests? Or those European countries that claim that the agreement on the international criminal court binds America, whether America adopts the treaty or not?

International law is an idea with a powerful hold on the European mind; maybe too powerful, since Europeans often pronounce things "unlawful" when they merely mean that they disapprove of them.
Sounds about right as I see it. The column also quotes from Right Wing News.
Chechen Terrorists Seized control of a Moscow theatre yesterday, and hold hundreds of hostages. According to Putin, Russia has information that these terrorists are linked to al-Queda. The terrorists have murdered at least one hostage.
Iraq Linked to OK Bombing according to this report in This Is London:
Senior aides to US Attorney-General John Ashcroft have been given compelling evidence that former Iraqi soldiers were directly involved in the 1995 bombing that killed 185 people.

The methodically assembled dossier from Jayna Davis, a former investigative TV reporter, could destroy the official version that white supremacists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were solely responsible for what, at the time, was the worst act of terrorism on American soil.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Fed Says U.S. Economy is still sluggish. Well, are they going to fish or cut rates? They should have cut rates again in August (but didn't) or September (but didn't). Will they do so now?

Elsewhere, the latest attempt to solve the Japanese banking crisis is fizzling amid political infighting and investors prove there is still a sucker born every minute.
Steven Den Beste calls on the Nobel Peace Prize committee (the one I just learned about lthe other week. The mind boggles. Who could have figured anyone paid these jokers so much attention? Next someone will be telling me that there's a committe that hands out awards named after yellow-journalist publisher Joseph Pulitzer to plagarists and people who write "news" in a way that is usually described as "fiction") to recognize the accomplishments of a Mr. Saddam Hussein, of Iraq:
a Nobel Peace Prize for Saddam? (Actually, given recent precedent, that isn't all that farfetched.)
Civilization Redux Alert reader Dr. Manhattan sends a link to this American Prospect article by Garrett Epps with his musings on the game and the real world. It even has that over-used canard from Gandhi, the one loved by people who don't think much of free market democratic republics (aka "Western Civilization") that a certain sort people never tire of quoting (Osama would almost certainly agree with that quote, by the by).

Anyhow, trust me to fixate on that one quote (it's a quote for ignorant philistines and I despise it, there is no reason it gets so much celebratory praise. Imagine a Leftist, or even most Liberals, quoting anyone saying anything similar about any civilization other than the West - one cannot - and you understand why I know that many of these people have a hostility and enmity for our society), but there's much else in the article beyond what I'm quibbling about.

I admit I haven't played the version he's describing. I've only played the original Civ and Civ II. He describes this:
And there's also a kind of American-style victory -- the "cultural victory," in which the other cultures fall in love with yours until they either join it or become its satellites.
Well, perhaps that's how things go in Civ III. In Civ II, things usually go another way - but more on that in a separate post to follow in a couple days, on "Civilization and Why They Hate Us". I might use the article as a further foil on a couple points, too. It'll be fun.
Robert Fisk has an actual news story. No, really. Stop laughing. I know it's hard to believe. Of course, even in this story, Fisk cannot bring himself to admit what has been proven - he says bin Laden is "blamed" for the Sept. 11th attack, for example. But it's still interesting.
Some Now Claiming that winter isn't our only option for conducting a military campaign in Iraq:
"We would prefer to get it done by May for lots of reasons, strategic as well as weather, but there's less constraint" than during the '91 war, said Michael Vickers, a former Green Beret and CIA operations officer now with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank in Washington. "Even if Saddam manages to delay this until, say, May, it doesn't necessarily preclude conflict until next November. We might be willing to launch the campaign in the summer."
Check Out This Instapundit post on international law and who invokes it but doesn't follow it themselves.
Our Allies, the French are a favorite whipping-boy of this blog. Here's a New York Sun editorial that reminds one of why:
One of our favorite newspaper columns was issued back in 1986 on the eve of America’s attack on Libya. The attack was ordered by President Reagan after the bombing of the LaBelle nightclub in Berlin. President Mitterrand had just announced that American warplanes flying the mission out of Britain would not be allowed to cross French air space, with the result that our pilots would have to take the long way around to their targets and arrive there lower on fuel and energy. This is when R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. issued his famous dispatch proposing that our pilots cross France anyhow, following a route that would take them over all the American war cemeteries where our GIs lie facing the sky under which they died for French and American freedom.
Bush is saying the UN needs to lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Article Says McCall May Finish Third in New York, as Clintons do to the Democratic Party of New York what they did to the national Democratic Party.

I don't think McCall will finish third, though. I figure he'll bounce back into second by election day.
At Last we finally know what Clinton's legacy is.
Iraq's Population demonstrates it's 100% support for Big Brother:
The details that stuttered out as the women told their tales were like episodes from the nightmares of Soviet Russia.
Flogging the Milbank Thing: If there's one thing this site is good at, it's repeatedly pounding the same subjects. So, to that end, with respect to the Dana Milbank article I posted about yesterday, I'd like to mention this post which picks away at Milbank's article rather effectively, making some points I made but also has some considerations I didn't try.
Charm City Sniper: So I was a big fan of Homicide: Life on the Street, the cop show set in Baltimore, MD. Not apropos to anything, but when they were talking about the D.C. area sniper on the radio, it all the sudden reminded me of a plotline that was on the show, involving a sniper terrorizing Baltimore.

I'm not suggesting the sniper got his inspiration from the show - much less suggesting that the show "caused" the sniper. Far from it. I just found it an interesting thought. After all, with the sniper now asking for ten million dollars, it's more likely that this man is his inspiration, if he has one.

That last part is tongue-in-cheek, too. Unfortunately I have to point that out lest anyone think I'm blaming Mike Meyers. It would be more apt to say I'm calling the sniper evil.
NORTH KOREA AGREES TO AGREE!!! to discuss an agreement! Peace in our time! Bring the troops home! More talks like that of '94 offered by North Korea - only the American warmonger Bush Administration's recalcitrance stands in the way of a negotiated settlement allowing everyone to be lulled back into somnolence.

Even James A. Baker, who was in part responsible for the first George Bush's infamous "chicken Kiev" remarks and his preference for managing everything diplomatically, is unimpressed.
"Lord Robertson" is, I suppose, the proper designation. But, frankly, my reaction is like that of the Wife in the Monty Python bit, "Constitutional Peasant": "well I didn't vote for you".

Yes, yes. You don't vote for King. But we do have some differences from our British friends. Dukes, Earls, Baronesses (well, ok, I would probably go with a "Lady Thatcher" for her. An exception), all that is right out in our Constitution. So he's Robertson, to me (If George Bush just gets a Bush here, Robertson doesn't rate any better). I'm rambling, I know, but I do have at least one Monarchist reader (greetings, Solmyr. Too bad about EBR III).
Why America's Universities are Hostile to American Society: according to Dan Flynn, at root it is because:
The most uniformly left-wing institution in society-higher education-is also the most virulently anti-American. This is no coincidence. The Left hates America.

That leftists dominate academia to the exclusion of thinkers of different stripes, there can be no doubt. A now famous survey conducted by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and the American Enterprise found a startling lack of intellectual diversity in higher education. Liberals outnumbered conservatives in selected departments by 18 to 1 at Brown and 72 to 1 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This extreme slant is not uncommon at many other schools included in the study.

It should come as no shock that the preponderance of leftists results in a noxiously anti-American environment, where American heroes are denigrated, the Stars and Stripes are debased, and the military is despised.
It used to be that the Left at least liked Lincoln (remember the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" organized by the Communist Party to fight in Spain?) but even that is no longer really true.

See also this article.
Since I Don't usually post anything significant at night, I thought I'd point out this post that I did make late yesterday, on the latest offering from our most wonderful and cooperative allies.

About a month back someone (sorry, I forget who. My bad) made a post on what we can learn from the game Civilization. This is another one of those things. If anyone has had an "ally" in Civ2, the ally will frequently demand that you give them technologies if you want to keep the alliance. The ally is often fairly useless, militarily (they demand that you give them technologies, demand you declare war on their enemies, but they make peace with your enemies). You give them the technology, in the interest of keeping the alliance. The next turn they trade that technology to your enemy.

Update: It was Brad DeLong and it was more like two months ago.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The World's Free Riders: The world is full of free riders, and the Left loves them all. On the one hand, at the UN, we have one side making all the effort to reach a compromise, but receiving all the blame for lack of compromise, while those who have nothing to contribute but their criticisms are presented as the worthys in the disagreement. Check out the article and the tone it takes: boundless indulgence for some (the French, the Russians) and inflexible disdain for others (the "Anglo-Americans").

But that's not what this post is about. All of Europe wants to be put on the Defense Dole and have their whims paid for by the Americans, and of course the usual suspects cheer them on. It's not that Europe doesn't have money - we're not talking about Burkina Faso here. They just believe, like an indolent ex spouse, that they should be maintained in the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed, at the expense of others. In this case, Uncle Sucker. And the lifestyle to which Europe has become accustomed is that of a Great Power. Great Powers need effective militaries able to project force abroad, militaries compatible with the best in the world. They tried that bureaucratically, with the European "rapid reaction force", but while that made them feel good about themselves it didn't make them feel good enough, because it has no real capability. They lack the means to make it more than a paper force, and they lack both the will and desire to invest what is needed in military development programs to create the means. But of course, it must be America's Fault.

Check out this other article in the same issue of the Financial Times.

For decades various American administrations, both Republican and Democrat, all but begged the Europeans to share more of the defense burden, to spend more on R&D to keep up with our efforts. They warned that if the Europeans didn't, a huge gap in capabilities would develop, one that would threaten to fracture the alliance. The Europeans said "oh, that's nice, we understand your point, but we have other budget priorities, I'm sure you understand. This is not so great a worry".

Now the U.S. has spent billions to develop new technologies, improving it's armed forces. The Europeans did not want to contribute. The Europeans could have - as Britain did (aside: note that when I speak of "the Europeans", it almost invariably means the Continentals and excludes Britain, which did contribute to joint development projects). They didn't want to spend the money. They could also contract to buy the equipment from the American manufacturers that took the financial risks to research and develop these new technologies.

But they don't want to do that, either. They insist upon buying only from European defense industries.

So they want America to give them the technologies. In the article it is also clear who is being blamed for the capabilities gap. It's not just implied, it's made explicit: the U.S. is responsible and the burden is on the U.S. alone to close the gap by giving the Europeans the technologies they didn't want to participate in developing and didn't want to pay for. Then we're to hope that the very "budget priorities" that prevented them from keeping up in the first place will vanish, they will upgrade their militaries significantly. . .and not use our generosity to (again) compete against us in foreign markets by exporting products derived from the transferred technologies abroad (reeks of Airbus, after a fashion. Speaking of companies, while Robertson is making this demand and the French are thumbing their noses at us in the UN, French business incompetence is helping ruin renowned American companies. Of course, ultimately I blame the management of Seagrams, which foolishly thought that merging their assets with a French water utility would be a good idea. It was rather sad watching the guy responsible that trying to defend the situation on Maria Bartiromo's show last night. He trusted a French management team and got the stovepipe, and he's trusting the new, but still French, management team. Some people are impervious to experience. Yes, I'm feeling very ungenerous towards the French at the moment).

It is also not as if nations like France and Germany have proven they're so helpful that they deserve the gift they expect us to give them, either. While Robertson is making this demand, the French are obstructing the U.S. on Iraq and Germany has said that under no circumstances will they support our military efforts in Iraq. Some NATO allies. Does that sound like we'll get anything out of the deal?

Meanwhile, back to the article, Robertson
specifically singled out precision guided munitions and ground surveillance equipment as technologies European militaries needed in order to better assist the US in NATO operations.
If they want that equipment, they need to first demonstrate that they remain actual allies (rather than making claims of "alliance" so they can insist we do what they want, while insuring they are unable to contribute nothing). Then, they can buy the equipment from the manufacturers that produce them - the American manufacturers that developed the equipment, with money paid by American (not European) taxpayers.

Robertson pontificated:
"We can deal with concerns about onward proliferation and industrial competition," he said. "We cannot deal with soldiers unable to communicate with each other, aircraft unable to use precision weapons, commanders unable to see the battlefield."
Translation: don't trouble your little American heads about the fact that the European countries who's interests I represent will sell the equipment we build with the technology you give us to others. We need it, and it's your fault we don't have it.

Listen, bub; you all were repeatedly warned of what would happen if you didn't pay the price necessary to keep up. You made your choice. We couldn't force Europe to spend what it needed to (all the talk about "American bullying" to the contrary notwithstanding. Now see which jackanapes are trying to bully whom - "give us what we demand, or we'll call you the bully" being the usual European method of negotiation). But of course Europe, the Free Rider, is blameless:
"If the US wants Europe to share the responsibilities and risks of dealing with today's threats, it must be prepared to transfer the technology needed to modernise European armed forces,"
The idea that perhaps, if you all want the equal say in what to do that you seem to think is yours by Divine Right, you could spend what is needed to develop the technology to modernise your own militaries. Frankly, we don't need you tagging along and about the only thing your masses of half-trained conscript armies are good for is directing traffic in peacekeeping missions anyhow.

But notice that the idea that they spend the money and effort to develop the technology themselves doesn't enter their empty European minds. Neither does the idea of simply buying what they need for effective cooperation from American defense contractors. No, they demand (again) that all compromise be made by the U.S., with nothing expected from Europe. We're supposed to spend what is needed to develop the technologies (and since not every program is successful, entirely eat the cost of failed experiments and research efforts), then transfer the technology to Europe, licensing it for production by European countries. Concerns about industrial competition is, of course, a very secondary matter to the Europeans in this case, because they would be the beneficiaries. Of course they don't worry about that issue or consider it a big deal that the European arms industry that competes for contracts with America's would get a major benefit, while we would have to hope that European Honor (a risible oxymoron) would prevent them taking advantage of Uncle Sucker. Think the same French and German companies cutting deals with Saddam in violation of sanctions would honor an agreement not to transfer the technologies we give them or compete against the American developers of said technologies in other markets? Puh-leeze: this whole charade, this whole farcical demand, is by it's very nature competition with American companies that would otherwise provide the equipment to the militaries of, say, Italy or Britain or Portugal. Oh, yes - Portugal may be an odd country to throw into the mix here, being a smaller country in Europe. But want to know the dirty little secret behind Robertson's demand? About a month ago Portugal announced that they would, in the future, procure from the best available provider, and not restrict themselves to European defense contractors. Now we have Robertson making this demand on behalf of Europe, that we upgrade Europe's defense industry for them, since they don't feel that people of their cultured refinement and sophistication should have to pay and take the research risks that simplistic Americans did.

That will never happen. Ever. So here's a big Fuck You in response to their unctuous demand, along with their blame they put on us for their failure to make the investment necessary to keep up, which is what created the capability gap in the first place.

This weblog doesn't swear a lot in a crude fashion. Normally I prefer more finely crafted invective. I apologize to anyone who's offended. But under the circumstances, I felt it was warranted.

Update: See also this post by Steven Den Beste on the same subject, though he's more bemused by Europe's latest contemptible demand, where I am pissed off.

Additional: I more than half expect some joker to write me saying "hey didn't you write about how you wanted Europe to increase their share of the defense burden?" So let me answer that before it happens: Yah, that's true. But what is it about "free rider" that you don't understand? Them making demands of us and explicitly blaming America for the defense capability gap that their lack of effort over the last two decades - and the last decade especially - is not them increasing their capabilities. It is just more of the same: them making demands of America and looking down their noses at us when we don't click our heels and hop to complying. Meanwhile, again, they are always claiming we are the recalcitrant party.

As that article mentions but disparages, we have compromised on this, too; we have loosened our technology transfer regulations. We just haven't given Europe the moon. In exchange, they've done te-te - very little. Except, of course, direct their ire at us.

If they want to have militaries compatible with ours, then they need to pony up. I'd have been willing to meet them half-way if they had shown any inclination to be actual allies. I have, for example, no problem cooperating on military technology with Britain. But with France and Germany? Gimmie a break!
So I Heard in a Local News report on the radio an interesting snippet, within another story (on upcoming elections for the Navajo government). The Navajo tribe has a better credit rating than Canada.

That doesn't really surprise me, though. The Navajo's have a pretty effective government and Canada. . .well, lets just say less so.
Not Blood For Oil according to David From:
Isn't it odd for people who oppose "wars for oil" to rally to the defence of a dictator who launched two of them - one to conquer the oil fields of Iran, the second to annex neighbouring Kuwait? . . .

Although it is apparently wrong for hawks to be swayed by oil, it seems to be perfectly OK for doves. Here, for example, is a leader from the anti-war Guardian: "Would Saddam launch missiles against Kuwaiti and Saudi oil fields? Would an attack on Baghdad foment strife in Riyadh? To different degrees, both would be a shock to oil supplies . . . [During the Iranian revolution,] Iranian oil production fell from six million barrels a day to three million and never recovered. If the same happened in Saudi Arabia, the world would see oil prices spurt upwards. The consequences would be rising inflation and consumers deprived of spending power." So, while war for oil is condemned, appeasement for oil is quite all right.
Yes. Quite. The column goes on:
[Wyche] Fowler's is the authentic voice of the oil lobby, the people who ran America's Middle East policy more or less unchallenged until September 11: pro-Palestinian statehood, sceptical of Arab democracy and concerned above all with the "stability" of the Middle East - meaning the preservation of the Saudi royal family. . .The remarkable thing about America's post-September 11 Middle Eastern policy is that, for the first time in a generation, oil has been bumped to second place in the country's concerns.
Worth reading in full.
Deflation Watch quoted in the Telegraph:
In an allusion to the Great Depression of the 1930s, [Prodi] said: "This downturn is so marked that a good part of the global economy could be at risk of the kind of deflation that we thought we had put behind us."
Ok, Great, Fine this is just swell. I'm happy for them (really). Now can we ditch those Steel Tarrifs Bush imposed? Sounds like America's steel industry is doing just fine.
Briton's "Smart" according to this Guardian headline. Even the average Frenchman is sensible:
Only French have less faith in their rulers, survey shows
Sniper Theories: Lots of folks have speculated that the sniper (and his accomplice; I think there are two people) is a member of a terrorist organization. I wondered, myself. But I no longer think that the sniper is involved with a terrorist organization. I think he's a serial killer of the "usual" sort.
Hmmmn. . . Blogspot seems to be having another one of it's periodic fits.
Milbank's Article So it seems that one of the items-of-the-day will be Milbank's article in the Washington Post.

As Andrew Sullivan says, he scores a few points. I have to wonder, though, whether Milbank would be as harsh on Gore, if that man were in the White House making similar statements. Not that this is an excuse for Bush (c'mon, you were elected because we expected you to hold yourself to a higher standard than Gore. For the most part, you have).

Still, lets check out the point that is most disputable:
President Bush, speaking to the nation this month about the need to challenge Saddam Hussein, warned that Iraq has a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used "for missions targeting the United States." . .Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States. . .
True, but as the Australians discovered a couple weeks ago, you can be attacked even outside your home territory. Both sides in the debate ("hawks" vs "doves", "pro" vs "anti") have, in their articles and commentary on the Bali attack, considered it as least as much an attack on Australia as an attack on Indonesia.

Similarly, the United States, for better or worse, has interests and people all over the world. To name just one way in which Bush's statement is technically true, we have embassies that are within range of the Iraqi aircraft. To bring that up, however, involves a certain level of Clintonian word-parsing. Never the less, we have had ships attacked (was the USS Cole and its sailors any less American for being in Yemen?) and embassies as well.

But, yes, to the extent to which a listener could conclude that Bush meant that Iraq could attack American soil, they would have been misled by this remark. I have to say that I listened to the speech, live, and did not come to that conclusion (I did not think he was saying Iraq's aircraft could reach the shores of the United States directly), and apparently few others did, either (the speech was several weeks ago. I'd be interested to see an article or blog post where someone wrote under the assumption that Iraq's aircraft could reach, say, New York or even Hawai'i. I haven't seen such).

The IAEA thing is more serious and it's hard to see an excuse for Bush here (even a lame one like the above word-parsing). However, for the sake of example, if a report from the IAEA came out in, say, January saying "Iraq could have a nuke in a year" and one was speaking of such a report six or more months later - well, half that year has gone by. But it is completely unacceptable to then automatically conclude (and assert) "they could have one in six months, according to this report issued six months ago saying they could have one in a year".

As I wrote yesterday taking Joseph Nye to task for the opposite (his assertion that delay wouldn't cause us more danger), intelligence agencies (and this would include the IAEA, even though it's increasingly obvious that connecting "intelligence" with the IAEA is more of an oxymoron than that old joke about "military intelligence") cannot narrow such things down that easily. One of the reasons is that in reports like these, an important word is could - "will have" is never used. We never know for sure until someone's arms program actually succeeds. Bush was right, on other occasions, to speak in terms of whether we're willing to keep taking the risk. It is true that as time passes and Iraq's efforts continue, the chance they'll succeed increases. However, it is not true that if a report comes out saying they could have one in a year to three years (there's usually, almost always, a range) that we can get out the calendar and start counting down the days and when 365 have passed, Iraq will have one.

In any case, Bush's assertion had nothing to do with that: he was claiming to rely on a report issued by the IAEA in '98, and misconstrued (or misrepresented) the report's findings. What is true is that since then Iraq has been able to reconstitute it's program, and it's not clear at all that whatever setbacks the inspections may have managed to impose on their program haven't been recovered from by now (especially since any success the inspectors had were by their very nature partial, incomplete, and impossible to pin down, because they were never able to get a full accounting and go everywhere that they needed to). Iraq has had, since then, a even better chance to hide facilities (it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn, for example, if we ever get into the "presidential sites", that there isn't anything important there - and that these sites are effectively being used by Saddam as decoys. This is not to say I don't want to see them inspected - I just wouldn't be surprised if there is nothing to be found in them, and the facilities that are actually used are much better hidden and disguised). Bush should have stuck to saying that, and not misrepresented the contents of an IAEA report. Now, do I believe that Iraq's nuclear program is at least as functional as it was in '91? You bet. But that's a far cry from saying there's an IAEA report that confirms my belief (remember also that the IAEA is the organization that had no clue whatsoever that North Korea had a nuclear program).

On this, though:
In the case of the al Qaeda leader receiving medical treatment, U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged that the terrorist, Abu Musab Zarqawi, was no longer in Iraq and that there was no hard evidence Hussein's government knew he was there or had contact with him.
We're talking here about a totalitarian socialist regime where health care is rationed. We hear all the time (usually from the anti-war crowd) about how the common Iraqi's cannot get their basic health needs attended to ("because of sanctions"). But we're supposed to believe that Abu Musab Zarqawi got health treatment without Iraq's government even knowing, much less approving it? Puh-leeze.

Similarly, it's interesting to see certain people citing the CIA as an infallible source all the sudden. To be blunt, George Tenent is a frigging joke as DCI. We already know the extent to which Saddam and Iraq are tied up in attacks on the US (an Iraqi intelligence officer planned the first WTC attack, for example. I for one don't believe they had no connection to the Sept. 11th attack for one instance).

As for the customs thing, I don't have anything to say on that one. Similarly, on the construction thing. Well, I will say something on that one: Democrats often use figures from interest groups in making their points, and don't always rely on government figures, and Milbank doesn't take them to task for it, and frequently extrapolate figures in the way Bush did in the job loss potential. I consider this one a bogus partisan quibble on Milbank's part (like I said in my earlier commentary on Milbank: TNR guys very often become less reliable as an election nears).

Alert Reader Dave Roberts wrote me regarding the Milbank article and connecting it with Cohen's article on the "secrecy bug" afflicting the White House. Now, nothing new about a "secrecy bug" in the White House (correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember Cohen being all that concerned when the Clinton White House didn't want to release documents and information. As I say, I don't remember him being concerned, but my memory isn't perfect anymore). Having said that snarky thing about Cohen, I understand the implication Dave is making: the Bush White House has cultivated a reputation for being more forthright than the previous administration, and to a certain extent we have to trust that when they say something in the war on terrorism, we have to trust that they have the information (much of it will be classified, so we won't get to see the report). But if Bush is going to embellish (to use the benign word to describe what Milbank says he did), then it becomes harder to trust what they're saying.

Well, to be frank, I've always relied at least on my own judgement as I have on reports from anyone (CIA, IAEA, anti-war groups, whatever). As in the Zarqawi thing, above: I don't need the CIA to tell me they bugged the room and can prove that he had contact with Iraqi officials to know that he wasn't there without their knowledge and support, just like I don't need absolute substantiation of the meeting between Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague to believe that likely did occur (one puts things within the context of what we already know about things, and our knowledge that intelligence agencies only "confirm" what they can prove - either with photos, tape recordings, or numerous reliable sources - meaning honest citizens. And on things like this, that level of certainty in intelligence reports is rare). Or, to take a different example, I never once believed that North Korea would honor the deal it made, and cease it's nuclear weapons program. Thus it didn't surprise me when it was confirmed that they had one. Likewise, I don't believe Iraq spent the effort and resources modifying aircraft so they could fly unmanned to dispense chemical weapons because they don't intend to use them, nor do I think Saddam suffered the losses sanctions have imposed upon his government's income (published estimates I've seen surmise that, in spite of smuggling, it's cost him 40 billion dollars) for no reason - he's aggressively pursuing nukes and it's worth a lot to him.

Likewise, I do not believe that the recent spate of terrorist attacks are unconnected to Iraq. I don't need a report for me to surmise that they are serving the same purpose as the Palestinian attacks on Israel did last spring - to try and keep us distracted and pre-occupied (and notice all the people saying that this wave of terrorism somehow undercuts the argument for moving against Iraq, which shows just how much success they're having in doing that). I think there's a reason why Osama disliked the House of Saud but never had an ill word to say about Saddam - and, indeed, couched his demands in such a way that it would help Iraq if they were achieved. Yes, I know that Osama was a theocrat and Saddam a secularist, but that doesn't mean they cannot cooperate against common foes (lots of people have cooperated against common foes, planning to turn on the other when they succeed). My point is: my support for action didn't rely on any of the statements by Bush that Milbank points out. It makes me disappointed in Bush, but doesn't change anything for me (similarly, people who oppose action will seize upon these things, and not without reason, but it won't change their mind, either. Setting aside the moral question of distorting things, this is a practical argument against doing so: "we can fact check your ass" does, sometimes, apply even in the major media, and when the truth comes out, you undercut your argument, even if it has other merits). Bush doesn't help himself - or the argument for taking action against Iraq - by stretching and distorting the facts, and Milbank is right to call him on some of this.

The Milbank article is good. But luckily I don't support Bush because I think he's perfect (there are things he's done that I don't like one bit). I support him because I think he's better than the alternatives would be, and my support for action against Iraq is unconnected from my support for Bush.

Update: Meanwhile, the same issue of the Washington Post containing Milbank's op-ed has this article, titled "Post Ran Two Stories That AP Cannot Verify". Perhaps the WaPo can run an article titled:

For Post, Facts Are Malleable

Monday, October 21, 2002

"Dead Body Democrats": Speaking of which, I've been thinking. I know, always dangerous. But you know that tired old phrase, "yellow dog Democrat"? Now, it's shopworn, of rather dubious origin (when the phrase was invented, there was a reason why southerners would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican), and few people are yellow dog Democrats anymore. So they need a new way to describe their constituency. How about "dead body Democrat?" That one has a double-meaning: not only are a number of the candidates that Democrats are asking voters to elect from the cadaver community (Carnahan last time, Mink and Lautenberg this time), but so many of their voters come from the corpse community as well.
More on Latest Effort to Steal Election in Broad Daylight, South Dakota Cabal. Widespread voter registration fraud. All this, of course, is part of the Democrat's "Victory 2002" strategy.
Arms Inspection Self-Parody published in the Washington Post, written by Mohamed El Baradei. Most humorous section:
Inspections by an impartial, credible third party have been a cornerstone of international nuclear arms control agreements for decades. Where the intent exists to develop a clandestine nuclear weapons program, inspections serve effectively as a means of both detection and deterrence.
Which begs the question of why Mohamed El Bardei was on BBC World Newshour this morning explaining why the IAEA inspectors that he is in charge of didn't know North Korea's nuclear program was still in operation, continuing in spite of the presence of El Bardei's inspectors within North Korea.

His op-ed doesn't mention the failure of the inspectors he praises in North Korea once. What is he smoking? (and no, this blogger does not want any).

It's clear that the minions of these "multilateral institutions" so praised by many are living in a bureaucratic fantasy-land where failure is to be emulated and empirical experience play no role whatsoever in their mental processes. No wonder these guys and French politicians are such kindred spirits.
By the By the next mail I get titled "how to keep your cat happy" better be humorous satire. Damn catspam.
Why The Left Hates America is discussed by Dan Flynn, who at least in this piece is more acurate in describing how they express their hostility to America than the reasons why they have such animus:
Clearly, the Left’s reflexive anti-Americanism doesn’t withstand even mild scrutiny. This is why, perhaps, so many on the anti-American Left are quick to resort to violence, censorship, and other tactics to stifle debate.

The Left, a group that has excused totalitarianism abroad and resorted to fascistic tactics in the institutions they control at home, hates America. Americans should be glad to be despised by such people.
Yes, Dan, all too true. But it still doesn't get at why they have such a hatred for the most successful country in world history and the civilization it is a part of.
So Long, Fellow Travelers writes Christopher Hitchens, calling them what they are. In it, he has a unintentional argument against Joseph Nye, who says there is no drawback in delay. Hitchens writes:
Actually, the best case for a regime change in Iraq is that it is the lesser evil: better on balance than the alternatives, which are to confront Saddam later and at a time of his choosing, trust him to make a full disclosure to inspectors or essentially leave him alone.
But of course, Hitchens' main beef is with his former comrades on the Left (he remains on the Left, but no longer considers them comrades):
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam. . .

The Left has employed arguments as contemptible as those on whose behalf they have been trotted out. It maintained that any resistance to ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo would lead to a wider war, chaos and/or the rallying of the Serbs to Milosevic. It forecast massive quagmires and intolerable civilian casualties. If this sounds familiar, it may be because you are hearing it again now and heard it last year from those who thought the Taliban-al Qaeda base in Afghanistan was not worth fighting about.

But the element of bad faith in the argument is far worse than the feeble-minded hysteria of its logic. In the Balkans, those on the Left and Right who favored intervention could not live with the idea that Europe would permit the extermination of its oldest Muslim minority. At that point, the sensibilities of Islam did not seem to matter to the Ramsey Clarks and Noam Chomskys, who thought and wrote of national-socialist and Orthodox Serbia as if it were mounting a gallant resistance to globalization. (Saddam, of course, took Milosevic's side even though the Serb leader was destroying mosques and murdering Muslims.)

Now, however, the same people are all frenzied about an American-led "attack on the Muslim world." Are the Kurds not Muslims? Is the new Afghan government not Muslim? Will not the next Iraqi government be Muslim also? This meaningless demagogy among the peaceniks can only be explained by a masochistic refusal to admit that our own civil society has any merit, or by a nostalgia for Stalinism that I can sometimes actually taste as well as smell. . .

In this moral universe, the views of the corrupt and conservative Jacques Chirac -- who built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor, knowing what he wanted it for -- carry more weight than those of persecuted Iraqi democrats. In this moral universe, the figure of Jimmy Carter -- who incited Saddam to attack Iran in 1980, without any U.N. or congressional consultation that I can remember -- is considered axiomatically more statesmanlike than Bush.
I overuse the quote in this post because I've already made similar arguments before, so there's little need for me to repeat them in support of Hitchens' argument.
In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who became a Hero of the Left when he ordered his armed thugs to fire into a crowd of protestors, killing several, faces a general strike.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the usual suspects are warning that actually doing anything about terrorism will lead to a "backlash". Hmmmn. . .sounds like Joseph Nye's argument writ small.
Vegard Valberg MST3Ks some more cranks. People who think they are much more clever than they really are were always easy meat for Mike and the 'Bots, so this is pretty on target.
Speaking of the EU's Goal of a "Common Foreign Policy", am I the only one who thinks that, if it ever comes to pass, it will be the international relations version of the "Common Agricultural Policy"?
More Multi vs Uni using Joseph Nye's article in the FT as a foil. Nye calls his position that of the "owls", and uses it to characterize the "multilateral supra omnes" approach. Nye is well-respected in the study of international relations, and I encountered his work in college, specifically his arguments against the "Imperial Overstretch" thesis that was popular at the time. Nye turned out to be right on that one.

Unfortunately, his article sets up a series of assertions and false premises. Right from the start:
The debate over whether the US should go to war with Iraq is often cast as one between hawks who urge the prompt use of force and doves who oppose it. But a third position - let us call it that of owls - makes more sense.
This is the old canard of setting up two extremes and claiming to be arguing for a smarter, wiser "middle course". However, what Nye doesn't point out is that the debate between the "hawks" and "doves", at least in congress (and in many of the op-eds published as part of the wider debate), the very points he raises were issues for both sides. Many in the so-called "dove" camp (the more intelligent ones who were not just knee-jerk opponents of US leadership) claimed they would be more supportive if there was a stronger multilateral coalition, while the "hawks" pointed to the support that America does have, and the example of past occasions, such as Bosnia and Kosovo, where efforts to round up a coalition via the method Nye's "owls" prefer, endless talk and pleading, were futile and only a decision by the U.S. to act caused people to come around.

Note that Nye also argues around the central point. According to Nye:
Impatient hawks who ask why the US should let other countries decide what is in the national interest miss the point.
Which has been precisely my point. The key difference between those who say, as Jack Straw did last week, that we'll work through multilateral institutions insofar as possible, but ultimately, if they don't come around, we'll do what's in our interest regardless, and "owls" those such as Nye who believe we should only move if France and Germany give their nod, is a matter of what is seen of primary importance. For the "hawks", action needs to be taken regardless of whether countries that do not have our best interests at heart will let us or not. For the "owls" coalition-building and multilateralism ultimately trumps national interest, as we see in Nye's unfolding argument.
A patient, multilateral approach to Iraq is in the country's best interest. . .Indeed, owls could accept a move to unilateral pre-emption if Mr Hussein were planning a terrorist attack, or just about to obtain nuclear weapons. But in the current situation, multilateralism is essential.
Nye should know better in both instances: first, it is generally impossible to predict down to the month when someone will acquire nuclear weapons (indeed, the best guess our intelligence agencies have been able to manage is to "narrow it down" to a range), and Saddam Hussein's terror efforts work through intermediaries and, again, it is usually impossible to predict an attack is imminent until very shortly before it. That does not leave enough time to put troops in place for action, buildups take months and cannot be maintained indefinitely. Likewise, Nye completely ignores military realities: as a practical matter, we are only able to conduct a major military campaign in Iraq in the winter.

I have to ask a rhetorical question. The MOPP suit is the gear worn to protect against chemical weapons. It consists of tunic and pants lined with a rubber-like material, rubber gloves, rubber "galoshes" worn over the boots, and a gas mask with a rubber hood that covers the head. Has Professor Nye ever worn this gear? In summer?

I have. Only it was in a Wisconsin summer (in June, not July) up at Ft. McCoy, not an Iraq summer, and for no more than two hours at a time, much less six (or 'round the clock). We weren't expected to do any strenuous activity (like fighting) while wearing the gear, either. In fact, we mostly sat on our asses for the allotted time and then went through the decontamination exercise. The odd thing, for such a knowledgeable man as Nye, is that these kinds of practical issues are simply ignored in his article. Indeed, to deal with one of a different kind, lets skip ahead a bit:
Hawks say that the country cannot afford to wait for slow, cumbersome, multilateral diplomacy that could take many months. But the benefits of delay are higher than the costs. As Mr Bush has himself said, Mr Hussein is at least a year away from achieving nuclear capability.
However, given the above, Professor Nye is effectively asking us to wait a year before acting - by which point it may be too late. Now, the delay is a gamble that may pay off - Professor Nye wants to make that bet (which is also based on betting that given just some more time for talk, other countries will come around and be convinced. However, he offers no reason for why, after months of debate and "consultation", France, for example, will change its mind if we promise to hold off for more multilateral discussion). Me, I'm not willing to make that bet.

Look at it this way: as I mentioned above, the best our intelligence agencies have ever been able to manage in predicting when a country will acquire nuclear weapons is a range of years. They didn't know that either India or Pakistan, for example, were on the verge of success until those countries announced success. Thus, when Nye sanguinely asserts that
The threat that he poses to the US will not be changed by delaying
he is clearly mistaken. Delay works for Saddam (why does Nye think Saddam has been playing for time while we have been trying to push things? Both Saddam and the U.S. realize that delay is to his benefit).

The question isn't whether "multilateral support" would be nice to have, but what sort of risks one is willing to take in an effort to get it, and whether one thinks the calculations of other countries will change given more time to wrangle about it. Nye never once addresses just why he thinks that countries like France and Russia will become more supportive if given just more time. He doesn't because to look at them in that fashion would mean to consider their reasoning and behavior: to note their lack of concern when Iraq obstructed inspectors, their willingness to enter into business relationships with Saddam and to circumvent (read = violate) sanctions, and indeed their concerns that those business relationships would be lost if Saddam was out of power. None of this shows any concern for our interests. Nor should we expect that other countries will put America's interests foremost in their mind. Not now, and not months from now. Likewise, when Nye asserts that his position is supported by polls:
Recent polls show that two-thirds of the American public are willing to use force if Mr Hussein presents an immediate threat but support for action without the support of America's allies falls to well below half the public.
he is possibly ignoring the fact that for many of the people who would like support from America's allies, it is because of the practical matter of wanting all the help we can get. However, the countries that can actually provide any real contribution are already onboard.

But, at bottom, the flaws of Nye's position are evident in this comment, which is the basis of his argument. The exhortation that we:
build a multinational coalition for the time when it may have to move against Mr Hussein.
Why, after twelve years, do we have to "build a coalition"? Isn't there already a coalition? Why did the coalition against Iraq dissipate after the Gulf War until it boiled down to the U.S. and Britain (the only coalition members enforcing the no-fly zone and having more than a token force in the region "containing" Iraq)?

It has been said that if there were an Al Gore administration, Joseph Nye would have been one of his foreign policy advisors. Ok, so why, given eight years of Clinton-Gore in office, is there no coalition already? Why, when Iraq obstructed inspectors in '98, was it the international community that ultimately backed down, and not Saddam? Is it was because Clinton & Gore were not interested in building a coalition to compel Iraq to live up to the cease-fire agreements it made? I don't think Nye believes that.

The reason they couldn't, in the two plus years they were in office after '98, was because there was no such coalition to get. Why are we supposed to believe things would be different now? Nye further asserts:
That is why multilateral action does not simply amount to letting others determine the interests of the US. It is instead the best way to pursue the country's interests.
Nye never shows why that is the case - especially in instances where it may not be possible to get a coalition without watering down things to the lowest possible denominator, to the point where it is useless for achieving our goals (we could get, tomorrow if not today, a strong coalition supporting sending a "letter of concern" to Iraq, if we wanted. But it would be pointless, an empty gesture). We could, likewise, easily get a coalition for getting the inspectors back in under the same terms as '98, playing the same futile game. This would have the advantage of making some people feel good about themselves and allow people to pretend they were accomplishing something, but without any real impact on the situation (which is why Saddam favors this, too. He'll live with it, like he did in early '98, until the attentions of "coalition" members that aren't all that interested and for which this isn't that big a priority wanders again). Anything is possible as long as you're willing to make the need for multilateral support the priority.

As for Nye's arguments that attacking Iraq under these circumstances is likely to make it into a "conflict of civilizations", he never deals with the fact that it would seem more like a "conflict of civilizations" if a broad coalition of Western powers was participating. The possible response to this is that we get, like in the last Gulf War, Syria to sign on and send troops, too. But that then would completely undercut the mission (Syria was one of the powers that was happy to join so long as we left Saddam in power). Similarly, we could get Saudi support by limiting our goals - Saudi Arabia, however, being one of the sources of trouble, and if Nye is lumping it into the "moderate" category in the conflict within Islam that he writes of, then he hasn't been paying attention.

We have the support of the Gulf States we need, and compromising our aims in order to get the House of Saud's assent would be counterproductive.

Ultimately, the difference between those who make multilateral support the priority as opposed to those of us who do not boils down to an assumption contained within this sentence. See if you can spot it:
So owls argue that the best way to reduce the risks is to gain the legitimacy of multilateral approval and assistance, both when going in and after getting there.
The "legitimacy of multilateral approval" is odd. Nothing in international law prevents a nation from acting "unilaterally" in its interests. Past resolutions and the terms of the cease fire (which was in effect only so long as Iraq followed its terms) give us all the "approval" that is really needed. If other countries are balking, the fault is theirs - and it shows how different their interests are. But the case with the Multi-side, as I showed in the debate with Eric Tam, which invests, of their own accord, these institutions with authority, and then demands that this invented authority be obeyed, and simply assumes that other countries will evaluate a case on the merits rather than with respect to interests that may very well be inimical to ours. This is an underlying but unstated assumption in Nye's article: if we don't have "multilateral" support yet, it appears he thinks it is because we have not made our case convincingly enough, and taking more time to lay things out will result in the agreement of France, Russia, China, and others. The fact that they may be reluctant because their interests are opposed to ours doesn't seem to be one of his considerations. (Let me make one thing clear if I haven't been so far: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with countries pursuing interests different from ours. But that doesn't mean they should be an obstacle to our pursuit of our interests). He certainly doesn't mention, much less deal with, this situation. But, with respect to the "legitimacy" of multilateral institutions over our actions, as I pointed out in that discussion, the U.S., unlike EU members, has not signed an agreement consenting to a "common foreign policy" with other nations (and the EU nations that have made this a goal haven't been very successful in achieving it in the real world, either).

Likewise, Nye among others makes these demands more-or-less unilaterally, imposing an expectation on the United States that is not imposed upon other countries (did Spain need to get a broad coalition for taking action against Morocco this summer, when the Parsley War hardly threatened anyone's interest in the near term and certainly if "patience" was as important as Nye makes it with respect to Iraq, it could have been exercised on that occasion?)

This assertion is indeed a form of begging the question. Nye is effectively saying we need multilateral support because it confers legitimacy. But why impute such legitimization over our actions to a council of foreign powers? His argument boils down to saying it would be bad P.R. to not do so - people in other countries would get upset over the U.S. acting on its interests without multilateral support, not because it's goals are wrong (Nye more than implies that the effort would be worthy), but because it would look bad. But the only reason it would "look bad" to anyone is due to the impression created by people like Nye and their assertions of the phantasmagorical authority of multilateral "legitimacy". So his argument is based on the circular reasoning: because there are people like Nye out there arguing for the authority of multilateral institutions over our behavior, we must submit to the authority of multilateral institutions. So when Nye says:
Unilateralism and multilateralism are not religions, but tactics, and can sometimes reinforce each other
there is nothing in that sentence that I would disagree with. However, other than the "it looks bad" argument, he doesn't show why it is in our interest, this time, to get the support of countries that have nothing to contribute except their criticisms and their demands that we give up our goals (water down, reduce, modify, &tc) in exchange for their support.

Nye never adresses the question of: what should we do if it proves impossible to get the support of France, Russia, and/or Germany on an issue we consider of national importance? Should we compromise away our goals? Or pursue them even without "multilateral" support? The people he characterizes as "hawks" would do the latter. What would Nye do? He doesn't say. None of them ever do.
EU Got the Proles of Ireland to vote the "right" way this time, so no additional do-overs will be needed, but the CAP is still the elephant at the party. Meanwhile, the President of one of the prospective new Provinces is calls for an end to Agricultural subsidies around the world.