Friday, August 16, 2002

Expelling Arafat: The IDF wants to use a helicopter. I, on the other hand, prefer a Pumpkin Gun.
I'm looking forward to doing a mass fisking this weekend. It looks like Brent Scowcroft is now the media's favorite republican. Chris Matthews got feminine vapors again on MSNBC, the New York Times editorial board has got their bloomers in a gather, and Michael and Cokie engage in a yuppie liberal lovefest. I figure by tomorrow, they'll be more blather about how the great strategist Scowcroft is saying now he don't wanna fight war no more. Ugh.
Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent article on NRO today about how well the US has conducted the war so far. He also says the right is too willing to push forward with too few troops in favor of military action immediately. The chief worry is not that we won't invade immediately, but that the addled asses of appeasement will try and stop Bush from cranially ventilating that mustachioed son of a bitch.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

From the Titanic Deck Chairs department: Saddam has ordered Iraqis not to leave Baghdad.
I went for a ride on the boat today, and I have these private messages for people I encountered out there. 1)To the man who let his 15 year old daughter dangle her feet over the bow of the boat while it was moving: She is going to get a Darwin Award, but you are the one who deserves it. 2)To the white(and I mean WHITE!) guy in the fishing boat: Please put a shirt on. Aircraft are going to see the reflection off of your back, and think those are the lights for the airport. 3)To the guy in the 32 foot twin engined yacht: The lake is only 10 miles long. Your boat throws up a Poseidon Adventure size wake, and everyone who sees you in that thing thinks you are making up for some sort of er, "shortcoming". Other than that, it was a beautiful day.
Cato is piling onto the Scowcroft fisking as well. I'll update this as more fiskings occur(which hopefully will happen). Update:Patrick Ruffini weighs in as well.
This is horrible. First, I had to do a fisking on behalf of the media, now, I have to fisk a Republican. Brent Scowcroft, one of the people who were responsible for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the Gulf War, now wants us to leave Saddam alone. Thank the lord that this man is out of the loop. OK, now let's lock and load:
It is beyond dispute that Saddam Hussein is a menace. He terrorizes and brutalizes his own people. He has launched war on two of his neighbors. He devotes enormous effort to rebuilding his military forces and equipping them with weapons of mass destruction. We will all be better off when he is gone.
Like a clock, Scowcroft is right twice a day.
Saddam's strategic objective appears to be to dominate the Persian Gulf, to control oil from the region, or both. That clearly poses a real threat to key U.S. interests. But there is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.
Scant evidence, except for the 707 that was used to train terrorists, a meeting with Iraqis in Prague, and the twenty five large he pays to the families of suicide bombers. Nope. He has no connection to terrorists at all, he's just a cute cuddly bear of Pan-Arabism.
Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals for his aggression.
Yes. He is familiar. He reminds me of Hitler.
There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression.
"Ignore the assassination attempt behind the curtain!"
Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities.
Thank you for that wisdom Neville. Ever think that by removing him from power, that his regional ambitions will be dead, his ruthlessness vanquished, and his unpredictability consigned to the dustbin of history?
Our pre-eminent security priority--underscored repeatedly by the president--is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.
By killing him, we are just doing what he wants.
The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk.
Yes. I remember the horror stories I heard from Gulf War vets of the tenacity of Iraqi defenders. The murderous gunfire as they crossed the beach, the wanton carnage that they witnessed, our valiant Marines as they climbed to the top of Mount Saddamabatchi. Oh wait. I'm sorry. Wrong war.
In fact, Saddam would be likely to conclude he had nothing left to lose, leading him to unleash whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses.
Seeing as how he gassed the Kurds with no provocation at all, why would you expect him to hold back? Again Neville, your reasoning is thorough, and complete, and utterly wrong.
Finally, if we are to achieve our strategic objectives in Iraq, a military campaign very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.
If you had done your job back in 1991, that occupation would have been over by now, Iraq would be a democracy, and 3000 Americans would not have been turned to dust. So save your crap about "long-term military occupation" for people who give a damn.
But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time.
In 1936, everyone in the world thought Hitler could be dealt with. Everyone but one man: Winston Churchill. Churchill was right, and everyone else was wrong. Today we are right, and the rest of the world is wrong.
So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive.
Jordan is on board, even if they won't admit it. Turkey has even committed troops. The Omanis have given us a big base. That is all we need to make this work. And in reality, we don't even need that.
The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism.
Here is a clue, Brent: without rogue states to provide terrorists cover, they disappear. Afghanistan was a terrorist state. So is Iraq. So is Iran. So is "Saudi" Arabia. The war won't be over until those governments change their tune on terrorism.
Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We followed that script, remember? Oslo, Camp David, etc? What did it get us? More suicide bombers and Palestinians dancing in the streets at dead Americans. To put it bluntly, the Palestinians can go f*ck themselves.
If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict--which the region, rightly or wrongly, perceives to be clearly within our power to resolve--in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us.
Oh no! It is the dreaded "Arab Street" again! What will we do?!? Yawn.
Even without Israeli involvement, the results could well destabilize Arab regimes in the region,
And your point is?
ironically facilitating one of Saddam's strategic objectives.
Too bad he won't be alive to see it.
Conversely, the more progress we make in the war on terrorism, and the more we are seen to be committed to resolving the Israel-Palestinian issue, the greater will be the international support for going after Saddam.
Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt.
In any event, we should be pressing the United Nations Security Council to insist on an effective no-notice inspection regime for Iraq--any time, anywhere, no permission required. On this point, senior administration officials have opined that Saddam Hussein would never agree to such an inspection regime. But if he did, inspections would serve to keep him off balance and under close observation, even if all his weapons of mass destruction capabilities were not uncovered. And if he refused, his rejection could provide the persuasive casus belli which many claim we do not now have. Compelling evidence that Saddam had acquired nuclear-weapons capability could have a similar effect.
Yes. Let's do inspections. They've worked so well for us in the past.
In sum, if we will act in full awareness of the intimate interrelationship of the key issues in the region, keeping counterterrorism as our foremost priority, there is much potential for success across the entire range of our security interests--including Iraq.If we reject a comprehensive perspective, however, we put at risk our campaign against terrorism as well as stability and security in a vital region of the world.
Just do what the unelected autocrats and tyrants of the middle east want, and everything will be fine. Sorry Brent, but we took that advice during the Gulf War, and it got us nothing but 11 years of misery. It is time to force the tyrants of the middle east to live according to our rules, because we will no longer tolerate with dealing with them under their own. I have to say this really does suck. I started the blog to bash the left, expose anti-american pacifists, and nail the media to the wall. Now I've started off defending the media, and rhetorically bitchslapping a republican. I think I need a beer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I just have to say I love Richard Perle. In a manly, heterosexual way, of course..
Hidden in today's New York Sun editorial is a mention that one of Saddam's sons was attacked by a gunman in an Oldsmobile. I guess that means the saying is true: It wasn't his father's Oldsmobile. Ok, I admit it. That was bad. Update: Found more detail on it here. Unfortunately, the Baathists caught the good guys. More unfortunately, they didn't kill the little psychopath.
Steven Den Beste has a good article on military history today. I have some criticisms of it, of it, some of it on the periphery, some of it on point. Due to the length of it, I am going to split my response up into a multiple parts. Steven says that Philip of Macedon revolutionized the military by creating the Phalanx, and the disciplined army. While Philip did change the face of ancient warfare, it wasn't by introducing the concept of soldiers in ranks to create a phalanx. That concept had been created by the Greek city states at least a century beforehand. The Greek citizen soldiers used a phalanx with a number of well armored soldiers arrayed in ranks with shields and shorter spears than the Macedonian version. The Greek phalanx would use the shield wall to batter their opponent with corresponding spear thrusts. The Greeks routinely defeated Persian armies who did not use the greek method of warfare, even when heavily outnumbered. The Three Hundred Spartans were able to hold off a Persian army of thousands at Thermopylae for quite a while before being overwhelmed(and that only due to another Greek's treason), and in turn gave the Greeks the time to raise an army and throughouly defeat the Persian army. This defeat would be repeated ad infinitum--disciplined Greeks going up against undisciplined Persians, and driving the Persians from the battlefield with comparative ease. Philips major improvement was in changing the phalanx and integrating cavalry and archers into the army. The Persians had used these arms of battle against the Greeks as well, but did not use them with any efficacy. The Greeks disdained missileers and cavalry in general. Philip integrated cavalry and missileers into his army using the same ideas of discipline that applied to the phalanx. He also changed the phalanx from relying primarily on shields as its key component to one relying primarily on the long spear. This gave the Macedonians a critical advantage over the Greeks, which allowed them to conquer Greece, and then allowed Alexander to conquer Persia. Update: OK, this isn't really an update. Actually, it is part of my learning experience as to the limitations of Blogger software. Anyway, to continue: The model of the Macedonian phalanx returns a number of times over history, not ending for good until the 17th century. Swiss Pikemen operated very similar to the Macedonian phalanx, though the Swiss model was I believe a bit more flexible and faster on the battlefield than the Macedonian phalanx. Later on in his post, Steven writes:
Instead of emphasizing initiative on the part of the individual soldier, the new tactics required the soldier to dutifully follow orders without thinking. Obedience was the great virtue. The ideal soldier listened well and did what he was told; if the men of the phalanx didn't all obey orders the same way then the cohesion of the phalanx was destroyed and its combat power was greatly reduced. The next two and a half thousand years of war continued this trend, and the most successful armies were those whose men were the most obedient and disciplined. The Roman Legions gained their strength from the coordinated use of their shields and swords, and you find the same thing right up until the Napoleonic era, by which point this had become extremely elaborate.
While discipline and obedience were important, individual initiative was as well, even in antiquity. In Greek combat, veteran soldiers were placed in the rear of the Phalanx, so they could spur on the more green soldiers in front and prevent them from breaking. In Roman combat, legionnaries had to exercise individual initiative by necessity. In open combat each legionary was responsible for defending approximately 2 meters of frontage of the century to which he was assigned. He was to use the shield to bludgeon his opponent and the short sword to stab and chop at his opponents weak points continually. Against barbarian opponents, who carried large swords or axes, this gave the Roman an enormous advantage over his opponent, since in close combat the short sword could stab at the armpit of his opponent, or chop at the arm of an opponent who has missed. This was extraordinarily exhausting, and it was expected for a legionnary to break off combat and retire to the rear to recuperate as his comrades would move in to take his place. This gave the Legion a massive increase in flexibility over the phalanx, which did not have that provision. This does not seem like much individual initiative, but it was. Soldiers in the rear ranks had to pay attention to the physical condition of their comrades in the front rank, and be prepared to take his place should he falter. Also, it shows that individual initiative, discipline, and unit cohesion are not mutually exclusive. Commanders of smaller formations had the ability to issue orders on their own initiative, which was part and parcel of the entire army. Barbarian(non-western) armies would try to break the line of Roman armies and almost invariably fail, because Centurions had that capability to react on their own. Barbarians did not have that capability, and once the line broke, the army fled. It wasn't until the Germanic tribes had adapted and improved upon Roman tactics(plus some help from the stirrup) would Rome fall. As weapons improved, and the ability of the individual infantryman to kill at ranges developed, individual initiative became more, rather than less important. Skirmishing tactics became more important with the advent of the musket, and could have a devastating effect on soldiers in ranks, as was demonstrated at Fort Duquesne in the French and Indian war, Lexingon & Concord in the Revolutionary war, and the Spanish insurrection in Napoleon's time. Also, the initiative of individual soldiers did matter even in conventional set-piece battles. As a result of the Revolutionary War experience, British soldiers at the time of Napoleon were probably the best in the world. There were required as much to act as skirmishers as well as regular soldiers. They were trained to act on their own initiative when necessary. They could form a line of two soldiers deep who could fire as quickly as continental armies could with three. They could act either as light infantry or heavy infantry based on the situation. Non-coms would be relied on to lead to an extent not seen in other western armies, and completely absent from non-western ones. What Steven is observing is not a revolution, but an evolution. Obedience and discipline are as much a part of the modern army as it was in antiquity. In Barbarian armies, obedience was there, but discipline and individual initiative generally were not. In almost every conflict in recorded history, Western armies have shown more individual initiative than their non-western counterparts, and this initiative has paid off in handsome dividends on the field of battle. It has been expected for a soldier in a western army to take the place of his commander, whether it be private->sargeant, sargeant->lieutenant, lieutenant->captain etc. This also explains why targetting an enemy commander is so brutally effective a tactic with non-western armies, while it is generally less so with western ones. If a captain falls on the field of battle, a senior lieutenant will take his place, the lieutenant's platoon sargeant will take over the lieutenant's platoon, the senior squad leader will take over the platoon sargeant position, and a PFC might take over the squad. This can be best shown by the difference in how the British army behaved after the death of Braddock at Fort Duquesne, where Washington was able to rally his troops and organize a retreat, and the Incas at Cajamarca, where the capture of the Inca king Atahualpa caused the entire Incan army to flee, and allowed Pizzaro to rule the city with only 150 troops. In military affairs, individual initiative has always matterd. The difference is that now with information technology and instantaneous communications, commanders can explort that initiative in ways that were unimaginable as recently as 50 years ago.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

This is a post I made on a news forum a few months back. It is just as relevant now as it was then in fact, even moreso, now that the EU has created the world's most incompetent superhero: Having heard and read so much about the EU these days, I tried to figure out exactly what sort of government the EU was. First, I thought the EU was a democracy. But with the rotating president du jour(tomorrow, I think either Luxembourg or San Marino gets a turn), a strange and enormous bureaucratic institutions built even before the first election, the insistence on the metric system, and a currency that has the pictures of non-existent buildings, I thought to myself, surely the EU isn't a democracy, but a bureaucracy. And indeed, the EU does have the requisite attributes of a bureaucracy: pie in the sky policies with no grounding in reality, strange and arcane rules covering every aspect of human behavior, and a real fond desire of regulations that seem to have been created by the combined LSD induced bad trips of Grateful Dead followers. (such as the regulations on leek sizing) Finally, it struck me. The EU isn't a democracy, and it isn't a bureaucracy. The EU is a new form of government, the Twerpocracy. What other form of government than a twerpocracy would insist on forcing the metric systen down everyone's throat. "No, you can't order a pint here, you have to order approximately .49 litres of beer." Who else but a twerp would make such a law? What else but a twerpocracy would be composed entirely of limp-wristed nancy-boys who kiss the butt of any tinhorn dictator or mad mullah that crosses their path, and place more importance on the weighty issues of leek sizing than on their own defense? Then take a look at what happens to the EU government when they encounter a non-twerp like Donald Rumsfeld. The entire EU establishment gets a case of the feminine vapors upon even seeing the image of Rummy, let alone hearing him speak. The entire EU establishment then goes running to Colin Powell, thinking he is a fellow twerp(because he's been nice to all the twerpocrats), and now are in a complete tizzy because, horror of horrors, they found out that Colin wasn't a twerp, but only plays one on TV. Like all true Twerps, the twerpocrats in the EU complain endlessly about George Bush, and consider Donald Rumsfeld "simplistic", as opposed to their black turtleneck wearing sophistication. However, anyone who has seen a twerp in action know that this is standard operating procedure for the Twerp, who envies the captain of the football team for dating the hottest cheerleader. As a defense mechanism, he proclaims loudly that the captain of the team is a "simpleton", even though the "sophisticated" twerp still ain't gettin' any. Let's face it, while Rummy is well on his way to being People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive as well as making the cover of Tiger Beat, Chris Patten and Javier Solana would have a tough time getting action in a women's prison. Finally, the EU seems to have that incredible twerpy knack for sympathizing with anyone who kicks sand in their faces at the beach. I would call them more twerpy than the 98 pound weakling in a Charles Atlas ad, but that would be doing a disservice to the 98 pound weakling.(Oops, I'm sorry, make that 44.46 kilo weakling). At least the 98 lb(44.46kg) weakling *gets mad* that sand was just kicked in his face. To the EU twerpocrat, it just means that he hasn't taken the time to find the "root causes" of why the beach bully has kicked sand in his face and taken his girlfriend, much in the same way Robert Fisk believes he was being mugged to express islamofascist frustration. So I salute the EU. Just when one would have thought that all the major forms of government had been invented. Totalitarianism, Fascism, Communism, Autocracy, Democracy, Republic, the EU has come up with something new and revolutionary, the Twerpocacy. Congratulations, EU!
Well, today my boat sh*t the bed. I got my boat from my dad a few years ago when he no longer had the energy to maintain it. The hull is about 17 years old, and the motor(an Evinrude 115) is 28 years old, so it doesn't have a lot of resale value. The slip I rent each year is probably just a hair cheaper than the boat itself, and now that I own it, I understand on a deep level the saying that a boat is a hole in the water into which money is poured... Nonetheless, the boat does normally run fine, the lights, horn, etc work, and it is still able to run at a good 45 mph. Today, though, when I got into the boat, and turned the key, hoping for another day of watery bliss, it cranked real s-l-o-w-l-y, then just died. I could tell the battery was dead, so I unhooked it and took it home and it is now sitting in the charger. Now I have to figure out if I have a short somewhere in the electrical system, or if the alternator is bad on the motor. A short would be hard to diagnose, but perhaps easier to fix. An Alternator problem will mean that I will have to pay close attention to the battery charge, and I will have to wait until the end of summer to fix it. If I try to get it fixed--good bye summer. So, I am going to spend the next few weeks being really paranoid and charging my battery every few days. Yuck.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Combustible Boy is trying to make the case to the left(more accurately the far left) that there are good, strong reasons to go to war in Iraq. He states:
I've decided to go back through old blogs and other information sources I've saved in an effort to try to get together what you might call The Bleeding Heart's Guide to Combating Islamism -- a relatively small online tract or pamphlet of writings that would make the arguments in favor of fighting that ideology, but do so in language that is sensitive to the tendency of of liberal-leaning sorts to look at these things in terms of multiculturalism and postcolonialism[More accurately anticolonialism--JB].
In a just and right world, he should have no problem making his case, because Islamofascists are wildly monocultural, and fervently believe in colonialism. The problem is that to the far left, such terms as multiculturalism and anticolonialism only apply to the first world, aka white people. To demand of Islamofascists that they respect the wishes of religious minorities in their own countries is only forcing our Western values upon an oppressed people in the eyes of the left. To demand that the Saudis give equal rights to women is being judgemental towards Moslems. Finally, there is a knee-jerk absolutist anti-Americanism among the left. This creates a giant Jersey Barrier between what they should believe if they took their own views seriously, and what they really believe. The left will not under no circumstances can one support a cause endorsed by the United States Government because by definition, the United States is a prime example of the white power structure engaging in imperial oppression of indigenous peoples around the world. The sad part is that the United States is probably the single most diverse society in the world, both genetically and culturally, and the United States also is unique among all the great powers in history in that the United States has had virtually no colonial possessions, the only exception being the Phillippines and has played an instrumental anti-colonial role(Suez being the prime example). Sadly, I think Combustible Boy is sending himself on a fool's errand. That doesn't mean I don't wish him luck in making the endeavor.
Now the Links should be here.
Trying it again, let's see what happens.
This a test, w.bloggar is acting funky.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Well, for every aspiring blogger, there is a threshold that needs to be crossed, and today I cross that threshold into being a real blogger. With pride and some trepidation, today I deliver my first fisking. If I don't do the fisking just right, be gentle with me. What is amazing here is that the somewhat esteemed Mr. Preston is commenting on the media, and I'm being forced to defend a bunch of left wing bubble heads that don't check their facts, couldn't pass a high school algebra class, and will take any loony statistic from any politically motivated group as complete gospel. Next thing you know some Guardian writer is going to make me defend Bill Clinton, and I'll know I've fallen into the deepest pit of hell. Peter Preston finds the US press sadly lacking in serious war analysis. Peter Preston finds that the US press almost entirely disagrees with him. Can you have a free press, in the land of the free, which freely settles for ideological stultification? "Can you believe it? These bloody yanks don't think that Karl Marx was actually a nice bloke!" Come with me to America this summer for the great non-debate about invading Iraq. "My Lord, they think invading Iraq is a good idea! Those poor fools!" On the one hand, there's a war coming, with George W Bush beating his drum. On the other hand, there's only shrugging, snoring silence. And, fascinatingly, the boredom is structural. It is rooted not only in the tidal emotions which followed 11 September, but in a pattern of news provision which shrinks from this controversy. The press hasn't had its freedoms ripped away. Rather, for the moment at least, it has given up the ghost. No. It is because even the press can't come up with an argument against attack Iraq that doesn't fall flat on its face. Maybe Euroleftist editorial writers like engaging in sophistry. American ones, however, do not have the time to do so. Sweeping generalisation? Of course. The New York Times can justly point to a series of Pentagon invasion plan leaks. The Washington Post can muster much grey newsprint in its defence. Individual columnists and reporters will wish, with reason, to be excused boots. Of course you like the New York Times. They make the Guardian look balanced. Nevertheless: the sheer lack of steam, the muted mood of inevitability, is striking - especially, and crucially, when you wander away from Manhattan and the District of Columbia, into the heartlands. They don't even think Donald Rumsfeld isn't a focus of evil in the modern world. What heathens. What, only a few hundred miles from New York City, interests the tens of thousands who buy papers such as the Corning Leader or Poughkeepsie Journal? What, a similar stretch from Washington, moves the audience for the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star or Lynchburg News & Advance ? Remember, you can buy the big city papers here only with difficulty, if at all. I live in a little town in Connecticut, I've been to Poughkeepsie, and Peekskill, and Worcester, and Gloucester, and a zillion other towns in every remote corner of southern New England and New York. I have always been able to get the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and either the New York Times or the Boston Globe, and often both. That is in addition to very good regional papers like the Hartford Courant, and local daily and weekly papers. Perhaps it bothered Mr. Preston that noone subscribes to the Guardian in Poughkeepsie. The message of the Leader or the News & Advance, and the message of hundreds more such papers across the States, is intrinsically local. Foreign news, such as it is, comes via the Associated Press. Washington opinion arrives syndicated. The stories that matter are hometown murders or traffic schemes or development blueprints. National stories mostly involve mine rescues in Pennsylvania or Wall Street wobbles. The killing of 'little Samantha Runnion' - abducted from outside her Californian home and raped - can make it to the top of page one, with a lot of help from TV. The nuances of Washington politics aren't part of the mix. What a lack of journalististic integrity! Papers like the Newtown Bee and the Poughkeepsie Journal are doing their readers a disservice by not having reporters in Washington, Baghdad, Kabul, Ramallah, and the UN. They should hire a crack staff of op-ed writers from Ivy League colleges and Oxford. Better yet, they should hire the same quality of talent in that bastion of Journalistic Integritytm, the Guardian. Who cares if the newspaper would go bankrupt in a week by sending reporters all over the world, we are talking about Journalistic Integritytm here! Who cares that readers of the Newtown Bee buy it specifically for news about Newtown--print out a 20 page section on steel tariffs, and if the coverage of the zoning board decision to allow Zeke's Porn Palace to build next to a school gets bumped off of the paper, that is too damn bad! Every press conference by the assistant undersecretary of state for Umbogo affairs must be covered in excruciating detail, or we are failing in our duty to inform the public! Again, generalisations are dangerous. But since I haven't let it stop me before, I won't stop now. Some of these town journals are feisty and excellent. But, in the main, local papers leave big national issues and even bigger international ones to network TV news. And, in a dismaying turn, those networks have reduced their foreign coverage to a bare minimum. Why (with viewing figures down as much as 60 per cent over a couple of decades) silt your newscasts with stuff that guarantees audience rejection? Little Samantha or the Pennsylvania Nine are much bigger draws than Saddam. Leave him to the 24-hour news channels. Mr. Preston means they don't cover Europe enough. This may bother the esteemed Mr. Preston, but Europe is quickly running down the highway to irrelevance. How else can you describe an organization that kisses up to any tin horn dictator and actually has a policy on leek sizing? So the buck passes to CNN and Fox and MSNBC, all primed with a tickertape speeding across the bottom of the screen and formulae filling the space above. The formula that counts, however, is simple. Never linger long; never risk tedium by unravelling complexity. Discussion is ubiquitously described as 'Hardtalk', because it is calculatingly adversarial and ferociously condensed. 'Expert opinion' amounts to little more than an obscure (to me) British foreign affairs commentator interviewed by Pat Buchanan on MSNBC, maintaining that European doubts about an Iraq attack are fuelled by liberal editorials in papers such as Le Monde and 'the Times of London'. One, as much as I dislike CNN, they don't use my tax dollars to pay for pedantic marxist commentators to spew ideological bloviation, unlike the Beeb. They pay for their own leftist views, which is why Fox is bitch slapping CNN in ratings. Two, this might come as a shock to you, but there are papers with the word "Times" in them all over the world, and all over the United States. There is the Times-Picayune, The Suffolk Times, The Times of India, The Washington Times, and maybe a little paper called the New York Times. Perhaps Mr. Preston should get out more. And if Mr Murdoch gags at that, he can always unleash his own Fox News attack dogs. They wear their prejudices on their sleeves. . As opposed to the unbiased, nonideological coverage found in the Guardian. There is, in sum, a built-in bias against understanding. "These Americans don't agree with me." More troublingly still, because the two-party system produces minimal debate if both parties huddle on centre ground, even the 'hardest' talking produces scant examination of the rationale for invasion or the prospects for a new Baghdad after the fall. While the Democrats simper, duck and weave, there's no stretch to the argument. It is because both parties fundamentally agree. Gephardt is in favor of attacking Iraq. Daschle is in favor. Joe Biden wants to debate attacking Iraq so he can let everyone know he is in favor. I hate to burst your bubble, Mr. Preston, but it is a bit hard to have much of a debate when both sides agree. Maybe you and Cynthia McKinney can have a "stop the war rally". That already applies, in spades, to the Middle East. The suicide bombers have become the lowliest of unquestioned terrorists. What would you have us do, give them a medal? Maybe Mr. Preston should ask the Queen to award them the Victoria Cross. European leaders and papers who make the Palestinian case are 'highbrow bigots' (in the revered opinion of an associate dean at Columbia School of Journalism, no less). No. It is because European leaders and papers seem to forget that the Palestinian cause is the whiping from existence of a certain "shitty little country." But, for the moment, the necessity for action rates an unquestioned 70 per cent and up on the polls; and most of the newspapers in most of the states have deemed themselves irrelevant. No. It is because they fundamentally agree. Outside of the New York Times, the need for action in Iraq is generally agreed upon. The main debate now is over what sort of action, and what government will replace Saddam, and even in the latter case, there is broad agreement. A bizarre dichotomy. In Britain, already, battle is joined (and General Yelland of the Sun is cancelling staff holidays). In Bush's America, the editorials do not thunder and the buck is swiftly passed. I think you have it backwards. In Britain, leftist journalists who feel a deep compulsion to kiss the butt of any tinhorn dictator that opposes the United States are self-conflicted with the fact that Saddam is too much of a brutal evil thug even for them. Therefore, Leftist journalists must come up with some plausible reason for opposing the United States without making us look like craven appeasers. Hardtalk? More mushy chat, traipsing in the wake of a public opinion where 58 per cent, on the latest Pew Centre figures, now thinks the media 'gets in the way' of solving society's problems. Mainly because the American people know that too many of the media share left and far left views that are wildly out of step with the American electorate. Views that correspond quite neatly with your own, Mr. Preston. Maybe, after all, you can't patronise or delude all of the people, all of the time. But in the case of Guardian editorial writers, self-delusion is sadly a daily occurrence.
If Ronald Reagan had known we would have to deal with Euroleftists like this, he would have told Gorbachev to leave the wall up.
September 11, 2002 is going to be a very important day. Not because it will be the first anniversary of the atrocity, but because it will be the day that President Bush makes the case in detail to the American people to justify attacking Iraq. While dozens of pundits and congresscritters are banging down his door to "start the debate" on Iraq, Bush will not do so during the Congressional recess. There are valid domestic, diplomatic, and military reasons to wait until September 11 to start the debate in earnest. The first reason is that by forcing the issue on Congress during prime campaign season, Bush will be able to amplify the differences between Republicans and Democrats in foreign policy, and make it the issue this election. Terry McAuliffe can bring up Enron, Haliburton, and the rest all he wants. The press will ignore him, as war talk will be a far juicier story than the accounting scandals by that time. Also, Bush does not need to go to war to get the beneficial effects of a war debate. He only needs to make national security the most talked about issue going into the election, and preferably force a war vote on a reluctant Democratic party in mid to late October. The loony left candidates may then wind up having to defend against pro-war republicans who will make strong inroads on the vote. This is something the loony left hasn't had to worry about before. This will force the Democratic party to spend money and time defending hard left democrats in their own districts, thus taking money and support away from truly embattled Democrat candidates that support the war. Basically, candidates like Jim Maloney(D-CT) will wind up paying the price for crackpots like Maxine Waters(D-CA). September 11 is also the perfect day to make the case on the international front. The top story for that day, barring another atrocity, will be the first anniversary of the attack, and the aftermath. The same pictures that horrified us one year ago will be on the Beeb and CNN over and over again that day. Amid the pictures of the smoking ruin, Bush will draw the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, and will make the case to the world for Saddam's removal. Juxtaposition of the emotional howitzers of the towers crumbling with Bush talking about the dangers Iraq has posed and continues to pose to the free world will have a devastating impact on the ranks of the appeasers in Europe(The Middle East is a lost cause). Finally, there are the military aspects. While even September will probably be a bit warm for offensive operations, October and November will be less so. Bush will not want to wait until mid January, because if the weather during the Gulf War is any guide, winter weather is lousy in Iraq. Lots of clouds make recon more difficult. The military will not want to be forced to only use all weather capable aircraft, nor will they want to lose satellite imagery because of cloud cover. Finally, war in November means an extra month where our troops can wear their NBC(Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) gear without dealing with the Summer heat. While the timing is not as vital as the first two points but it is still has some value. Despite all the clamoring you hear on the Sunday morning talk shows don't expect to hear anything definitive from the President for another month. After that, the deluge. Update: Photodude weighs in on this. He says that Bush will start making the case in October, with a vote right before Congress' recess. I believe he is close, but I think he will use the bully pulpit on 9/11 to start the debate in earnest. He can use the atrocity to act as an exclamation point to his speech. Update: David Hogberg has a similar idea, but he starts after Labor Day. Update: I wasn't 100% right, but I was awful close.