Friday, September 20, 2002
Ewwwww!!! Someone arrived at my blog by searching for "Big testicular pics" on Google. I want to get more hits, but not those hits. Ick!
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Examine this photo:
This picture was taken of a meeting between MacArthur and Hirohito right after Japan surrendered. Steven Den Beste has made a lengthy post about the nature of our enemy. His thesis is that Arab culture has become morass of cultural stagnation and decline, prone to blaming everything that is wrong with Arab Society on Jews, Christians, and the West(specifically the U.S.). This applies both to the islamism of bin Laden and to the Baathists, pan-Arabists, etc. They all share the same basic goal, and have generally similar pathologies under the surface, even if they appear at cross purposes. Den Beste, along with Cato, myself, and others have this view. Now back to the picture. This picture was taken in the days immediately after Japan's surrender to the Allies. This picture became public, and spread alarm throughout the Japanese. Why? Because it showed that Japan had been defeated. There was an obvious difference in the stature and demeanor of MacArthur v. Hirohito. MacArthur is relaxed, wearing a relatively casual khakis. Hirohito is stiff, in very formal attire, and looking a bit worse for wear. The picture created an impetus among the Japanese to engage in self examination for the first time, and with the active help of the MacArthur, truly changed Japanese society forever. Now why do I bring up this picture? Because this is exactly the point that Steven is trying to make. We need to inflict a serious, undeniable defeat on the both Islamism and Pan-Arabism. Saddam is a perfect example of low hanging fruit. if we defeat, and hopefully kill him, preferably in some sort of public manner, we will create a reaction in the Arab world something akin to what that picture did to the Japanese. If you listen closely to what is happening in the Arab press now, you will notice that the process of self-examination is beginning, with vague fits and starts. The commonly accepted wisdom is being questioned, and talk of democracy is no longer being pooh-poohed. Our defeating Saddam, and either putting him in irons(publicly) or him dying(preferably in public) will strengthen and enhance that process. The questions from the Islamists about Bin Laden and the pan-Arabists about Saddam will be the same, "This was our hero, he was supposed to be able to fight the Americans, and instead, he was beaten and destroyed in a matter of weeks. Why?" When that happens, we will be able to change the pathology of Arab culture today, and that will make the world a far safer place. Update: I found an article in Newsweek that is a pretty strong confirmation of the point that myself and others have made regarding Iraq. Update: OK, not really an update. However, a lot(and I do mean a lot!Wow!) of you are coming here from The Great Glenn, and all the hits are probably maxing out my free webspace on earthlink, which I'm using to host all the pictures here. So, since you are here, please scroll down a bit and read A Silent Fisking, which is a response to a terrorist-sympathising sob story in the UK Daily Mirror. Since you are already here, the bandwidth has already been used for this story, and I'd hate to see it go to waste.
I just realized something while watching the news. Tom Daschle, Trent Lot, Denny Hastert, and Richard Gephardt are probably 4 of the 8 most influential people on the planet, outside of the President, and the rest of Congress are probably 535 of the 700 most influential people on the planet. For all the talk of the UN, and sanctions, and the Indy's bleating that we poor Yanks will have to wait a year while inspections get underway, the congressional authorization of force will have a stronger international effect than anything the UNSC does. For all the blathering of Kofi Annan, and assorted EUroleftist ranting, the UN will have nowhere near the influence on the conduct of the war as these four people, and their 531 brethren. The congressional resolution will sail through in a week, and when it does, the UN is going to look like a completely failed organization if they don't authorize a resolution that isn't functionally identical in wording. In any event, the sound you hear in the next two weeks or so will be the collective gasp of dozens of EUroleftist journalists and minor government functionaries as they watch a war resolution sail through congress with the requisite 2/3rds votes that would qualify it as being a DoW.
I just read the President's proposed Congressional authorization of force in regards to Iraq. If this gets passed, the UN can do what it likes. It won't matter whether the inspections are tomorrow, a week, or a year away. Saddam is toast.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
We're losing him! Give me 4ccs of D5W and lidocane, STAT! Donahue Death Watch update: Well, Donahue is on his way into ratings oblivion. On tonight's show Donahue has to bring in Katie Couric("the affable Eva Braun of Daytime TV") and Matt Lauer in an attempt to rescue his ratings. I am certain that there was an appropriately large announcement regarding this "coup" on the Today show this morning. I guess bringing George Galloway on didn't quite bring the ratings bonanza Donahue had hoped, and now they are mining NBC's prime time to try to keep this headless turkey alive.
Rhetorical question of the day: Which column made the front cover of USA Today? This one? World support for war recedes Bush: Iraq's reversal should not deter U.N. Or this one? President gains support for military action Majority say Saddam poses threat to USA
Bad day for the Saudis: A pipeline carrying oil from the Caspian through Turkey to the Mediterranean is complete. Yet another step towards the day when we can tell the Saudis to f*ck off.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Tom Friedman talked to all his friends, and found out noone wants to invade Iraq. Of course, all of his friends voted for Mondale too.
I knew that when the scientists cloned sheep they were up to no good:
Scientists have identified a mutation that gives some sheep huge, hard bottoms. Understanding how the mutation works could give rise to leaner, meatier sheep and provide insights into inheritance.I could say something here, but it is just too easy.
I've put in yet another counter. I'll probably remove one of the others when I've settled on which ones I like best.
I've put in yet another counter. I'll probably remove one of the others when I've settled on which ones I like best.
Dawn Olsen(and probably others, truth be told) complain that Andrew Sullivan, Bill Quick, Steven Den Beste, the Great Glenn, N.Z. Bear, and others don't link to her and have formed a sort of exclusive blogger club. For Steve, this made him wax nostalgic back to the days when he was a blogging nobody, and got less hits than websites offering pictures of a nude Janet Reno. And that got me thinking. I don't want to complain about them not linking to me. That signifies a form of defeatism, and whininess. (Think about Noam Chomsky discussing blogs). I want their spot on the blogosphere. I want their hits. I want whiny notes from bloggers on a daily basis complaining about how I ignore them. I want my own TCS column, and a column on Fox News, and an occasional guest spot on the O'Reilly factor. I want people mentioning me as "The Great John". Well, maybe not "The Great John", because that makes it sound like I'm a real high quality commode, but something like that. Now here's the hard part. The only way I am going to get their job is if I'm good. Not just sorta good, but the best. I'm only going to get the hits, and the repeat visitors, and that lovely tipjar that pays for my laptop, if my writing is better, my ideas stronger and more interesting than any of them. I'm not going to get it by being a link-whiner, or writing something about blogs guaranteed to produce a shitstorm. My hits might spike for an afternoon or two, then I would fall back into the dregs, and more importantly, I don't want to be known as the sort of guy who throws a bomb just to get a few random hits. When I write, it is going to be what I believe to be right and true at the time. If you like it, read it. If you don't like it, too bad. Either way I don't much care. What will be the end result of this? One of two things. If I suck, I'll get virtually no hits, and I'll start seriously thinking about putting up nude pics of Janet Reno to increase traffic. If I'm good, in a few months or years, I will write about the good ol' days, when I was just starting to write this blog, and talking about how Steven Den Beste, Glenn Reynolds, and Bill Quick used to ignore everything I wrote, never linked to me, and basically treated me like dirt. At which point, some other prospective blogger will read that retrospective, and say "Glenn Reynolds? Who the fuck is Glenn Reynolds?"
Iberian Notes puts a whole new spin on the term unilateral. I won't ruin the joke for them. You have to read it for yourself.
I've been trying to dig up the little statement by Kofi Annan about how Iraq has allowed inspectors and about how it will being about peace in our time, but I haven't been able to find either a video copy or a hardcopy of it. From what I heard of it, it would have made great fisking material, but alas, 'twas not to be. Kofi Annan burst out with joyous rapture about how how Iraq would allow "uncondtional" inspections, once Iraq had finished negotiating the mechanics of inspections. If this sounds like Iraq is putting conditions on their unconditional acceptance, that is because that is exactly what Iraq is doing. Kofi, after breathlessly trumpeting this valiant multilateral non-success, then proceeded to thank the Arabs, and all sorts of lovely and completely useless institutions for bringing this about, making Annan look, sound, and act precisely like Neville Chamberlain. What is amazing to me is after the end of the Cold War, is that we even give the Secretary General the smallest fig leaf of credibility. During the Cold War, the Sec General was some guy that everyone knew was some figurehead, and all the *real* action took place between the British, American, and Soviet missions, with occasional input from the French and Chinese. Since the Cold War, and Clinton's multilateral fetish, the Euroweenies talks about the Sec General as some sort of world savior from the ravages of starvation, oppression, and tyranny. This of course, is ludicrous. When was the last time the UN knocked a dictator out of power? When was the last time the UN stood up for any of the Four Freedoms outlined by FDR? The reality is that the UN stands for none of these, and unless the United States makes demands upon the UN, the institution doesn't expand the cause the of freedom, but acts as an apologist for dictatorships, and gives them a figleaf of legitimacy. And, this, of course, is exactly what Kofi Annan tried to do yesterday--give Saddam Hussein a figleaf of legitimacy.
Monday, September 16, 2002
A Silent Fisking INSIDE THE NEW CAMP X-RAY Here 598 al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects from 38 countries - including seven Britons - are held without charge, without legal rights and for some, without hope.Each time they are required to leave their cell they are shackled at the hands, waist and feet and escorted by at least two guards who tightly grip either arm.
For 167 of the 168 hours in a week their world is a cramped 8ft x 6ft 8in cell.
Their day-to-day existence in a remote corner of the US Naval Base on the south-east of the island is pitiful.
The strain of living in such conditions - condemned by human rights groups again last week - has taken a severe toll. The Daily Mirror has learned that more than 30 of the men have attempted suicide. Occupying five dusty acres on a clifftop half a mile from the old Camp X-Ray, the new facility is no temporary jail. Camp Delta is designed as a permanent prison - a grim monument of rigid metal, steel and razor wire to President Bush's determination to continue offending basic human rights. As the weeks and months crawl by, more and more unidentified prisoners arrive.
Guantanamo's business is banging up suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda. And business is clearly good for the Americans. But the mental health of the detainees is cause for concern. One of the 30 who attempted suicide tried to slash his wrists with a plastic razor while three others tried to hang themselves. US officials also confirmed to us that 37 other detainees are being treated for severe mental health problems. And 18 of those psychiatric cases are so severely traumatised that they are receiving daily treatment and powerful drugs to stave off a variety of symptoms.
The psychiatric problems include major depression, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, psychotic attacks and suicidal tendencies. A new Amnesty International report says the detainees are in legal limbo and face a serious breach of their human rights. They are routinely denied the right to see lawyers, although they could face trial by special US military courts with power to pass death sentences.
The Mirror quizzed guards, doctors, nurses and military officials during a heavily-escorted three-day visit. Our every move was monitored. And it was difficult to get any information, either on or off the record. But despite the tight restrictions the Mirror has pieced together the most accurate picture yet of life for the detainees. And it's not pretty.
The cramped cells, cut from steel shipping containers and even smaller than X-Ray's notorious cages, are collected in 10 blocks. Delta, surrounded by thick green netting to keep out prying eyes, is brightly lit by powerful arc lights 24 hours a day and the camp is ringed with seven wooden guard towers manned by sharpshooters. There are regular incidents when some prisoners go stir crazy, shouting and screaming as they climb and claw their cell walls in despair.
The 30 who have tried to end their lives have taken desperate and pathetic measures. A few have used the plastic utensilExtraordinarily, the military insist none of men's mental health has degenerated since being incarcerated in either camp and that all 37 had their psychiatric problems s issued with their meals to try and slash their wrists.
Some repeatedly banged their heads against the metal wall in their cells or punched the walls in frustration. Other men suffer from insomnia which in turn makes them anxious and then depressed. A few pace their cells manically or pass the time doing endless press-ups.
The rear section of the cell has a 4ft x 4ft mesh window which allows - in theory - the breeze from the Caribbean to blow through the prison. But the desert heat which sends temperatures soaring into the high 90s by 8am, coupled with intense humidity, means there's little fresh air, let alone wind, to cool off in.
Food is served on plastic plates and passed through a slot in the wire cell door. Each week they receive just two opportunities to exercise for a strict 15-minute period. That's it. They exercise in a purpose-built yard shielded from the rest of the population. Most run around in circles and it is no wonder the detainees have all gained an average of a stone locked up in their cells for such long stretches. Disgracefully, yet just within the guidelines of the Geneva Convention, they are allowed only two 15-minute showers a week when they are also given a freshly laundered orange two-piece prison suit.
Detainees needing medical help - one in three has dormant tuberculosis - are strapped to a trolley to be taken to hospital and are also restrained and manacled by their ankle to hospital beds during treatment.
It is camp policy that inmates use a normal speaking voice. Any shouting or attempts to communicate with other prisoners over distance are punished severely. The ultimate punishment is The Cooler, a metal box which is air-conditioned and lit, with just enough room for the offender to move around in.
For the detainees each day is the same. They all ask what's going to happen to them. They all ask for lawyers. They all ask for some glimmer of hope.
To each question the guards have only one answer: "We don't know". And it seems that at this time nobody knows, not even the President of the United States himself.