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Thursday, February 27, 2003

For perspective, here's a quote from Ann Coulter's latest commentary:
Hillary did not object to precipitous action against Iraq when her husband bombed it on the day of his scheduled impeachment. President Clinton attacked Saddam Hussein without first asking approval from the United Nations, the U.S. Congress or even France. But now we have a president who wants to attack Iraq for purposes of national security rather than his own personal interests, and Hillary thinks he's being rash. President Bush has gotten a war resolution from Congress, yet another U.N. Security Council resolution, and we've been talking about this war for 14 months. But he's being precipitous.

Others have been noting that Sheryl Crowe, who had the "No War" guitar strap at the Grammys, was performing for the troops in the (non-UN-sanctioned, non-Congress-sanctioned, non-France-sanctioned) incursion into Bosnia. No sign of her guitar strap there (unless she thought the troops she was entertaining were just there on holiday).

A large percentage of the anti-war crowd (and likely the vast majority of those from the Hollywood left) are not so much anti-war as they are anti-Bush, in a knee-jerk reaction of Cecil B. DeMille proportions. This isn't an expression of principle for them as much as it is not liking it when their guy's not in office. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

So what are those 18 UN resolutions that have been passed against Iraq? Juan Paxety lists them all, with links to the texts. He notes that CNN is calling the one introduced yesterday the "second" resolution, when it's actually the 19th.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Did you hear a story about Iraqi-Americans petitioning the Bush administration to topple Saddam Hussein?

Yeah, neither did I. Wonder why.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Some of the volunteer "human shields" are shocked--SHOCKED--to discover the targets they're being asked to protect are rather closely situated to Iraqi army bases. Imagine that. An article in the London Telegraph (free registration required) informs us that, in one case...
Fifteen volunteers from the first 200 shields are moving into a bunker at the South Baghdad Electricity Plant in an effort to deter attack by America and its allies. However some of the shields yesterday questioned Iraq's selection of the power plant, after discovering that it is situated next to an army base.

Since the shields' first visit to examine their new quarters, sandbags and unmanned check points had been erected around the plant. Asked about the neighbouring Rasheed military base, an Iraqi official said: "Don't worry, it is a small army camp."

Heh no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Steven Den Beste has an amazingly in-depth piece on why the French & Germans are acting the way they are, all given with the backdrop of a short history of the last few hundred years. It may appear that Chirac's statements to the eastern Europe nations (that they missed an opportunity to shut up) is merely pompous. But the socialism that continues to creep into European politics has roots in immediate post-World-War-II American benevolence, and that has it's roots in the errors of post-World-War-I reparations, and that has its roots...

Well, take the time to read the whole thing. Once again, a good understanding of history trumps "No War" placards. And Den Beste understands it.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

We can now thank anti-war protestors for directly contributing to the possibility of war.
President Saddam Hussein's government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.

The lack of anti-Saddam rhetoric from the anti-war crowd, and the presence of exclusively anti-American chants and signs, continues to indicate that it's not war they're protesting, it's America.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I mentioned earlier about the EU giving Hussein his last last last chance. Well Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" for February 19th, goes even further than that, giving us a good history lesson on "last" chances.
This Is Your Last Last Last Last Last Chance

"Hussein will be given 'a last chance to comply before he gets clobbered,' The New York Times on Monday quoted an unidentified U.S. official as saying.", Jan. 27, 1998

"Annan Admits Iraq Trip Could Be Last Chance for Peace", Feb. 18, 1998

"Clinton: Iraq Has Abused Its Last Chance", Dec. 16, 1998

"The White House suggested Wednesday that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has missed his 'last chance' to disarm.", Dec. 18, 2002

"Future European Union members endorsed a joint declaration Tuesday warning Saddam Hussein he has one last chance to disarm."--Associated Press, Feb. 18, 2003

Aren't five years worth of "last chances" enough? It's time to cut the nonsense and rush to war.

In the aftermath of the record-setting blizzard in the northeast US, who are the big heros, getting hospital workers to work and bringing family members of dying patients to the bedside? SUV drivers. Not exactly fitting the "self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities" picture that Keith Bradsher's book attempted to paint them as.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Tony Blair delivered a speech to the Labor Party's Spring Conference in Glasgow on February 15. The Observer exerpted his speech, titled "The Price of My Conviction". Best part:
If there are 500,000 on the [Stop the War] march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for. If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started. So if the result of peace is Saddam staying in power, not disarmed, then I tell you there are consequences paid in blood for that decision too. But these victims will never be seen, never feature on our TV screens or inspire millions to take to the streets. But they will exist none the less.

I heard a comment on the radio yesterday in a similar vein. Where were all these protestors when Saddam was killing his people and others, but the UN did nothing about it? If they really aren't anti-American, they're at least not anti-Saddam. And of course it's a matter of record that ANSWER and groups like them who have organized the anti-war protests have communists at their foundation who have absolutely nothing good to say about America (in spite of their freedom to express those ideas in this country without reprisal).

At some point, this is anti-American. If you don't know or don't care whether it is, it ought to be your business to know.

Monday, February 17, 2003

The EU has given Hussein his last last last chance today. >yawn< Wonder if they mean it this time. The good news is that the EU is suggesting that the buildup of troops in the area has forced Saddam to cooperate with inspectors, but the question then is, why did it take troops to do that? If Iraq was fully cooperating...oh, you know the drill.

Birth of the "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy": The NY Times is reporting (free registration required to read) that a group called "AnShell Media L.L.C." and subsidized by big Democrat supporters Sheldon and Anita Drobny, is planning on creating a whole slate of liberal radio shows to combat the likes of Rush Limbaugh and FOX News Channel. Well, there are so many angles to this story, it's hard to decide where to begin.

The obvious point is that it's amazing how over-the-top liberals react when confronted with even the smallest of opposition. FOX News Channel is one of a number of TV news outlets, the vast majority of which ignore or underreport the conservative view. Liberal bias is considered "balance" by those on the left, of course, and no dissenting voices will be tolerated (which, coming from the allegedly "tolerant" left is a telling response).

Listen to how they plan to counter Rush Limbaugh:
"This side has failed by going at Rush, and trying to be Rush ? you're not going to beat him at his game," Mr. [Jon] Sinton [CEO of AnShell & radio executive] said. "What really makes this work is tapping into Hollywood and New York and having a huge entertainment component, where political sarcasm is every bit as effective as Rush Limbaugh is at bashing you over the head."
Do you see the difference here? Rush combats ideas with ideas. His show certainly does have its entertainment aspect, no doubt, but his main thrust is the triumph of ideas, not comedy, over other ideas. The liberal answer to him will be comedy and entertainment, where typically complex ideas are oversimplified and errant thinking is lost among the laughter. Liberals continue to prove that they must appeal to your emotions rather than your intellect in order to make a case. When they try the latter, they get failure (e.g. the article mentions Jim Hightower and Mario Cuomo as aborted attempts).

Al Franken, who is being considered as one of the satirists for the group, explained how his approach would differ from Limbaugh's. "I think the audience isn't there for a liberal Rush, because I think liberals don't want to hear that kind of demagoguery." This from a man who titled a book "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot".

The main reason I think people tune in to conservative talk radio is because they're finally hearing ideas that they already believe in but aren't being equally reflected in news and opinion in the mainstream media. I think that if the TV networks and the newspapers were actually fair and balanced, Rush wouldn't be as big a hit as he is. I think the reason FOX News Channel is beating CNN is because it does, in fact, present both sides far more fairly than any other network. (I do have to say that I believe the folks on FNC are more conservative than liberal, on the whole, although Rivera and van Susteren certainly are no right-wingers. Sometimes I wish Sheppard Smith wouldn't let his leanings spill over so much in his interviews, but FNC's other personalities do far better keeping their personal beliefs in check than on your random major broadcast network, and asking questions that challenge both sides.)

The rise of so-called "conservative media" is not because it's packaged better or is more combative or more outrageous. It's because it provides something the mainstream media has been ignoring. In that sense, it's the exception that proves the rule of liberal bias everywhere else.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

"You've been blogging since April, where are you going now?"

"I'm going to Disney World!"

See you later, I'll be back Monday.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Jonah Goldberg has responded to Mary McGrory's change of heart. Actually, he seems convinced that it's more a change of heart than head.
This is a woman who writes a regular column for The Washington Post, and not one of her reasons has anything to do with the actual facts at issue. She doesn't like Bush. She doesn't like his advisers. Comments about Bush's intelligence seem to be the lynchpins of her opposition to war. When she says that "among the people" she knows, "nobody was for the war," she sounds like Pauline Kael, the New Yorker writer who famously said in 1972 that Nixon couldn't have won because, "I don't know a single person who voted for him!" Ultimately, McGrory says she's convinced because Powell's on board with a war and she likes Powell. She deserves credit for publicly changing her mind, but that is what's so damning about the knee-jerk opposition of so many anti-war liberals -it's based in animus, not logic.

He's got a point, one that I've made for a long time: liberal arguments for so many things are based on emotion and feelings rather than facts or reality. The points in McGrory's article that I excerpted earlier weren't really all that new. We've known that Hussein has had chemical and biological weapons for years. But when Colin Powell says the same words, suddenly it all makes sense.

As Goldberg says later on, it's nice to have her on board, but we wish it was because she realized it's the right position to take rather than because she feels better about it now. That kind of support dries up and blows away with a change of wind.

I've always heard the adage that Hollywood makes R-rated movies and throws in all the sex it can get away with because that's what sells. But that's not true according to the box office numbers.

WorldNetDaily has been covering this story for years, and each year the results are the same; the vast majority of top-grossing movies don't have an R-rating, sex or excessive violence. In fact, the top 29 grossing movies of all time are rated G, PG or PG-13.

Worth considering.

Looks like Mary McGrory, columnist for the Washington Post, is one of those whom I described yesterday as viewing Colin Powell as a "light in the darkness" of the Bush administration. In yesterday's column she offers her credentials as one who was "clinging tightly to the toga of Colin Powell", wishing he would oppose the war outright rather than just advise against it.

But she has seen his transformation, and the reasons for it. And now, after his presentation of evidence to the UN, she's starting to see the truth.
I wasn't so sure about the al Qaeda connection. But I had heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought. I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason.

The minds, they are a'changin'.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Hal Lindsay provides another instructional history lesson. When you hear people comparing the UN to the League of Nations, this is why.

Basically, Colin Powell tipped our hand (slightly) to the world yesterday. Hussein's going to plug whatever intelligence leaks he can, now that he knows what some of them are. So the Bush administration was putting quite a bit on the line in revealing what they knew, and that's one thing that should speak in their favor when it comes to who to believe; Powell's pictures or Iraq's denials.

But a guest on "Fox & Friends" this morning (don't recall his name) added an angle to the presentation I'd not thought of (nor had Steve, E.D. and Brian). Given what we know about Iraq's weapons programs, other regimes in the region must now be wondering what we know about their programs. He said that the video of the MIG with spray tanks attached was probably the one thing that got other ambassadors thinking, "If the US knows that much about Iraq, what do they know about us?" Saudi Arabia is already showing signs that they understand that, having submitted a new proposal to the UN Security Council for one more "last chance" to have Hussein leave or be overthrown. When you hear the blustering from Mideast government officials, just consider that.

The thing that interests me the most is that Powell, whom the left has embraced as some sort of lone voice in the darkness in the midst of a Republican administration, is thoroughly convinced that we must proactively work to remove Saddam Hussein, rather than wait for some sort of attrition to occur. (I wonder if some in the UN plan on just passing resolutions until he's dead.) And what convinced him was the very evidence he presented. But those on the left that have considered Powell their political soul mate now conveniently doubt him (or at least ignore him) when he starts making a convincing case for "the other side".

Case in point: The Daily Kos has been utterly unconvinced by the evidence (which is not surprising; he reflexively disagrees with anything that comes from the Bush administration). But just recently, on January 16th, he was confused as to why Colin Powell is a Republican given his position on a number of issues and his actions as a member of Bush's cabinet. The obvious question is; what does Kos think of Powell now?

When a Republican senator votes against the party line, he's called "principled" by the left. Now let's see what happens when this "lone voice in the darkness" realizes he's been in the light this whole time.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I haven't been able to get to the Goldberg piece today. Hopefully tommorrow.

Did you see this headline in your morning paper: "Discretionary federal spending to rise in 2004 by more than double the rate of inflation"? Funny, neither did David Frum.

France is now proposing that we, essentially, turn the inspectors into detectives, possibly "doubling or tripling the number of inspectors". If they Iraq doesn't comply, we'll just...keep inspecting. They claimed that the inspections are working, although since we know there are weapons unaccounted for and the inspectors haven't uncovered them, what do they mean by "working"?

Was he listening?

Bill Kristol on Fox News Channel: What kind of world will we wind up in if we say to dictators, "If you make nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, we're too scared to do anything about it"?

(Answer: Extremely dangerous.)

Just a thought...

UN 1441 said that Iraq would face serious consequences if they did not comply. Given France's & Germany's position, do they intend to say that passing another resolution would constitute "serious" consequences? What do they really mean by "serious" consequences?

The best visual aid presented by Powell was the one showing which countries are in the strike area of Iraqi weapons, given that Iraq has not limited the range of their missiles. Kinda brought the point home, I hope.

The best idea presented was that Iraq had changed not one iota since before UN resolution 1441 (indeed for the past 12 years and 17 resolutions). How will one more resolution or more time make things any different?

For perspective, Scott Ott has a list of items that Colin Powell did (or really, should have) added to his UN presentation that would really get Democrats on board. Too funny, yet too true. (Found the link via InstaPundit.)

Powell's showing amazing photographic evidence of how Iraq bulldozed chemical weapons plants so that they wouldn't be found by inspectors. He's enumerated so many instances where evidence about Iraq's current weapons (never mind the programs) had to first be dragged out of them, and then a lot of it has never been accounted for. Thus, as the administration said, meant that Iraq was in "material breach" of UN resolution 1441 immediately upon release of their documentation supposedly detailing their weapons and the destruction of WMDs.

I'm going to be really interested to find out how the anti-war folks hand-wave this away.

Colin Powell is, as I type, making the case against Iraq to the UN. What I appreciate is that the audio he's played so far is recent, as recent as last week, all during the inspections.

And he's properly asserted (to the surprise, apparently, of many in the anti-war crowd) that Blix and company are "inspectors", not "detectives". They shouldn't have to find a smoking gun, it should be presented to them (in a non-smoking state) for destruction.

During the day today, I'm going to try to get through a (rather lengthy) piece by The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg titled "The Unknown". Ostensibly, it's a report on the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but it goes much more in-depth than that. It begins in 1998, when we assumed that India was telling us the truth about not intending to test nukes and found out how wrong we were, and why. I won't hit it all in one session, but as I find interesting points, I'll mention them here.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

UN Weapons Inspections: Day 70: Chemical warhead #17 was discovered by Blix and company today. Meanwhile, Hans is telling Iraq that the time on the countdown clock is "5 minutes to midnight". He's still pleading with Iraq to provide evidence of its weapons programs.

According to the UN resolution, the responsibility is on Iraq to produce the evidence, not the inspectors to hunt it down. Listen to what Blix is saying; he's asking Hussein to demonstrate his cooperation by providing the evidence. The assumption is that it's quite well-known in the intelligence community that Iraq does have weapons programs, and thus lack of evidence does not mean absence of programs. It means absence of cooperation. That's a key point to consider.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I thought it interesting that the Iraqis credited Allah for the destruction of the Columbia; visiting retribution on the US for the war there, as well as revenge on astronaut Ilan Ramon, the Israeli who took out an Iraqi nuclear plant during his time in the Israeli military.

But that sword cuts both ways. I wonder if we can they'll consider it Allah's revenge for something or other if we go to war with them and summarily defeat them.

Probably not, eh?

UN Weapons Inspections: Day 69: Looks like things are breaking down around Saddam Hussein. A (former) senior bodyguard of his has fled to Israel with details of weapons caches, bunkers and assembly areas.

If this information turns out to be true, then weapons inspections should immediately cease and Saddam should be immediately removed from power. There would be no possible way for the anti-war crowd to press for "further inspections", since that process would obviously be unreliable, relying solely on defectors to do what weapons inspectors can't. If inspections themselves are proved pointless, there is no reason to push for more of the same. Of course, this is thus something the UN is likely to suggest, even if they find smoking guns, bomb and missiles, because that's what all bureaucracies do; if something isn't working, spend more time and money on it.

If these reports pan out, it should be over for Hussein. Anyone who would wish to give him more time at that point wouldn't have a leg to stand on in trying to defend themselves against accusations of being pro-Hussein.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

"Turn on channel 2."

That was my first clue that something was happening this morning. I got a call from a family member, and from that point on I was either watching TV or roaming web sites to find out more about the shuttle Columbia disaster. A little over a year ago, there was another morning that sparked commercial-free full-court-press news coverage. While the events of September 11, 2001 were a couple of orders of magnitude worse than the events of February 1, 2003, and while the non-stop coverage lasted longer then, the tragedy is the same; the loss of human life in an unforeseen, instantaneous event that touches all Americans.

I don't think I'll necessarily be remembering where I was when I heard the news of the Columbia crash, like I did for 9/11 and the Challenger explosion. That may be a sign of the times, that we're getting steeled a bit to this sort of tragedy. I may be mistaken, but during my lifetime I don't recall 2 days within 17 months of each other that, had there been CNN or Fox News Channel back then, would have sparked the kind of coverage we saw today and on 9/11. Yes, we have had our share of historic loss and mourning, but they seem to be coming at a quicker pace now, much like the general pace of life in the 21st century. I hope this is not indicative of the years to come.

But if it is, America can weather it if they stand with the God that George W. Bush spoke of. Some are asking, "Was this God's will?" "I Am Not A Theologian" (IANAT) but I believe that the only reliable answer to that would be, "You'll have to leave that with Him." For those wondering how a loving God could let this happen, you only have to remember that God's will isn't always done. Peter told us that God is "...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9b) Not all do, so God's will doesn't always happen.

So how can we put our faith in a God that can't always get His way? The answer is threefold. First, God never forces His will on anyone. He's still soverign over everything, but free will is still part of the mix. Secondly, we need to put our faith in Him, and not in our circumstances or events, whether they're happy or sad. God never promises complete freedom from tragedy. He does promise His presence in those circumstances. And in those circumstances that we can't seem to understand, His strength will get us through, not our own. Thirdly, we can pray that His will gets done and then leave it in His hands.

Paul said, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) He didn't say "all good things work together for good", he said "all things", regardless of what they are. The key is that they do so for those who love God.

That's where the rubber meets the road. That's where the strength of this nation in it's infancy came from. Hopefully, it still does. If so, that is how we will meet the tragedies yet to come.