Saturday, October 12, 2002

In the words of James Taranto You Don't Say
Question of the day: Which news story appeared in the Howell Raines Gazette? This one: For Kuwait. Baghdad still the enemy or this one? Saved by U.S., Kuwait Now Shows Mixed Feelings

Friday, October 11, 2002

I was prepared to do a big piece on how the Nobel Committee is a bunch of EUniks, and that the choice of Jimmy Carter was a perfect example of how Europe is filled with a bunch of weenies, yadda yada yada, and I realized that just about everybody else is saying much the same thing(Emporer Misha does the best job). Therefore, I have decided to pretend I'm Jimmy Carter and make the speech he should have made(after first taking my Carter self to the doctor and getting testicles attached):
Good Evening. When I received this award, I wondered if the Nobel Committee was honoring me or cursing me. [laughter] Sadly, I wish I was joking when I say that. When I see those who I share this award with, I wonder whether or not accepting the "Peace Prize" is the appropriate thing to do. I have found that I share this award with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last dictator of the Soviet Empire. The committee felt that Mr. Gorbachev should receive the award for relaxing his grip on power. If this is true, why has the Nobel Committee not given the Nobel prize to Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Galtieri of Argentina, or for that matter, given the award to Francisco Franco for dying at a convenient moment in history? While the Nobel Committee lauded Gorbachev for doing what he should have done the moment he achieved power, they have ignored Ronald Reagan, whose steadfast opposition to communism liberated over 120,000,000 people in Eastern Europe, and Boris Yeltsin, who braved the guns trained on him by troops to call for the Russian people to fight for their freedom, and this man,
who stood in front of tanks sent by the Communist regime in China to brutally suppress the first flickers of the light of freedom and took risks to advance the cause of peace and freedom that Gorbachev never thought of doing. And that is the problem with the prizes given out by this committee. When you choose peace, you choose peace at daggers drawn. You refuse to recognize that true peace can only occur when people are free. When you gave the prize to Le Duc Tho, did you not realize the nature of the Communists? Did you not see that the result of this treaty would be that hundreds of thousands would flee Vietnam in small boats, that Cambodian Communists would slaughter one in seven of their own people, and that the light of freedom in Indochina would be squelched for decades? When you gave the award to Lord Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne Cecil, and his pacifist International Peace Campaign, did you not take into account that such calls for pacifism in the shadow of monsters like Hitler would not cause prevent war, but only delay it, and bring about the deaths of millions in a World War that could have been prevented if only voices like Winston Churchill had been heard instead? When you gave the award to Yasser Arafat, did you not forget the wanton murders that he ordered? Did you not listen to his speeches in Arabic when he said that Oslo was the first step to taking all of Israel? Was the memory of the Munich Games that faded? Now, this winner of the Peace Prize sends the children of his people to kill yet more children. He has used the prestige handed him by this committee to foster a curriculum of hate in the schools under his control, has engaged in murder, torture, and wholesale violations of human rights. Yet this committee has given him the Peace Prize. Last year, the Nobel Committee saw fit to award the prize to the United Nations. Yet the United Nations acts as a bullhorn for countries such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and dozens of other regimes ruled by totalitarian dictators, petty autocrats, or decrepit monarchies, all of whom share the common interest in laying blame on the West while brutally suppressing the legitimate aspirations of their own people to be free. The UN has sponsored abominations like the Durban conference on Racism, which was used as a platform to launch anti-Semitic hatred, and the Johannesburg conference, which was used as a platform to act as an apologist for the continuing brutality and corruption that is endemic to most of the African continent. The United Nations has acted to protect murderous dictators like Saddam Hussein, and provide them with a legitimacy that they would never have been given under other circumstances. Now the committee has seen fit to give me this "prize", tarnished with the grubby fingers of dictators and tyrants, and poorly maintained by "peace activists" who refuse to confront evil, and give it succor and comfort, hoping that evil will just go away. The Nobel Committee has ignored the much more vital contribution to peace and true freedom that has been performed by the members of the American armed forces. Had it not been for the efforts of these valiant soldiers, 25 million people in Afghanistan would still be suffering under the tender mercies of the Taliban. They would be subject to the routine brutality that was the hallmark of that regime. So, in light of the following facts, I must reject this prize. I reject it not because I am not worthy enough to receive it, but because the peace prize has sadly made itself a mockery of its own name.
Update: Fiddled with the grammar a bit.
I put in another counter on an archived page in the blog. I'm trying to find out if I'm turning into Walter Koenig.
OK, here is the list of votes in the Senate, so you can look up how your own Senator voted. Dodd and Lieberman both voted for military action, so they won't get a position up on the front page alongside Saddam's Honorary Tongue Bather. Here is a list of how they voted in the House, so you can find who is in favor of hanging Saddam from a lamppost, and who wishes to be his foot masseuse.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

The Senate Voted, 77-23. I know Lieberman voted Yea, but don't know if Dodd followed suit. I'll find out tomorrow, though.
I've noticed that the Great Glenn has now called his Congressman "Baghdad Jim" Duncan. He might be Baghdad Jim, but he isn't the winner of Honorary Tongue Bather!
This Johnson/Maloney thing got me thinking. It would be a good idea for us bloggers if we used our clout to turn out the appeasers that make up so much of Congress. So, if you run a blog, and your congressman voted against war, you might want to put up a link to their opponent. Just because we won the vote doesn't mean we should let them off the hook.
Remember when I posted yesterday I was in a conundrum? Forget everything. Jim Maloney(D-CT), soon to be ex-Congressman Maloney, voted with the 125 other Neville Chamberlains to appease Saddam Hussein. I have no qualms about voting for Johnson now. Social Security be damned. I am now actively campaigning for Nancy Johnson. I'll live with some of her RINO views, but I'll be damned before I'll let another member of the Addled Asses of Appeasement slide without getting booted out of office.
I've noticed I've gotten a few hits from military sources. Not a lot, but a few, including some folks from a base that is literally in the middle of nowhere(I won't say where in case the brass has got a bug up their ass). So, as my contribution to the war effort, I engaged in a lot of copious research(a LOT) in order to bring you this to boost your morale:
I know what you're thinking, but this is a PG website, you know.
Well the House voted, and the Dems had an opportunity to step up to the plate, and promptly went crying home to daddy. One Hundred Twenty Six Neville Chamberlains in the Democratic party. The majority of the Democratic Party. If they get slaughtered in the election, they deserve it.
What does Saddam Hussein and Ron Jeremy have in common? Well, here we go again. The Independent Commie is reporting again about how Saddam is building a really big gun. Now what is amazing is that the "threat"(scare quotes are warranted) of this gun is trotted out every time someone talks about Iraq. Here is the big problem with the idea that these guns are any sort of threat at all. First of all, they are huge. That means they are easily visible by satellites, and easy to target by aircraft or missiles. Secondly, by their very nature, they are vulnerable. The barrel is very long, easily spotted, and difficult to aim. Finally, they actually use more resources than a ballistic missile, or a fighter bomber, and the latter two have better range and survivability in combat to deliver your payload. Now, I am inevitably going to get comments saying, "But these guns aren't like the guns the Germans used in WWI and WWII. They can shoot much farther than those guns. Big deal. The fact that the gun is nearly as long as a football field, can't be moved, and will have a thermal signature that you can read by every time it is fired all combine to give it a valiant and very short life in time of war.
The Addled Asses of Appeasement in Action I am watching the C-Span coverage of the final House debates, where I witnessed a bunch of idiotarians jump up to protest the speech of the Asmoday of Idiotarianism, Dennis Kucinich(D, Pluto). I believe this is a perfect example of idiotarianism in action. Idiotarianists acting idiotically to interrupt the idiotic speeches of fellow idiotarians.
Go read Cato. He has a very good piece on our role in the world.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Stephen Green of Vodkapundit has an excellent post on why we need to win the war. Basically, the point he is making, and I completely, utterly agree with, is that in order for us to protect our civil liberties here, we need to win the war over there. That is why I believe that the only true error in waging this war that we can commit is not prosecuting the war fervently enough, and not acting with enough ferocity when we find terrorists. In one sense, we are already not acting ferociously enough. When we grab terrorists within the United States, such as the Buffalo six, the cell out in Portland, Jihad Johnny, and Richard Reid, we need to turn them over to the military as unlawful combatants. I would vastly prefer massive response against the few that we have confirmed plan to murder Americans, than to force millions to endure intrusive searches to minimal effect. Better to be a grim hardass against the few that have confirmed terrorist links than infringe on the millions of the completely innocent.
I've run into a conundrum here. The two candidates running for the House seat in my house seat are awful close ideologically. Nancy Johnson is a RINO who opposes privatising social security. Jim Maloney is a Democrat who is hawkish--for a Democrat, and wants to privatise social security. So here is the problem. If I vote for Maloney, and the Dems manage to take the House back, we have crackpots like Conyers, Rangel, and Salman Pak McDermott chairing congressional committees, but I get a candidate marginally more in tune with my beliefs. If I vote for Johnson, I get an Arlen Specter in drag who will vote against a big issue I believe in, but will keep Delay, Hastert, etc. So, if you were me standing in the voting booth, what would you do? Update:Well, my mind is made up now. There are 126 aspiring Neville Chamberlains in the House of Representatives. Sorry Jim. Ask Sheila Jackson-Lee why you lost my vote.
I was going to post this in the comments section for this post, but since it won't fit without cutting it(yet another reason to get away from YACCS/Blogger), and I don't want to cut the post, I'm putting it up as a blog entry. It is another attempt to bring the light of reason to an idiotarian. Alas, I don't expect it will work:
Trolls say inflammatory things for the sole purpose of imflaming.
And of course, ol' Pete wasn't doing any of that, right?
I came here from his blog, so yes, you're getting hits, but not from people who will ever come back again. Your little pictoral commentary offended the hell out of me.
Why? Because I juxtaposed the words of an Anti-American moron who openly sympathises with terrorists with imagery showing precisely why those terrorists are rotting away in Gitmo? Because I am confronting you with the wages of your own moral equivalence?
If you think you can boil a complex and volatile world down to a few emotional images (and they are emotional images -- I'm not made of stone), you are following the path to destruction.
No. But I am unwilling let stand unchallenged someone to spend more energy sympathizing with the murderers of American citizens than with the victims of their evil acts. Remember the guy with the shit-eating grin holding 3 severed hands as trophies? That is who the Mirror is sobbing over. Remember the picture of three people falling to their deaths? The Mirror spent more energy on trying to free those who trained, protected, aided, and abetted their murderers than it ever did on those poor souls doomed to choose between falling to their deaths or being burned alive. And those pictures are a blunt and brutal reminder of precisely who is in Guantanamo. They are evil, and I shall shed no tears over their treatment. If you find that to be "simplistic", too fucking bad.
Did you ever stop to think that the terrorists who did that terrible thing were likely influenced by the same kind of manipulative, one-sided imagery? That their vision of our western culture was likely as simple-minded and one-sided as your vision of theirs?
I have seen the products of Islamism. The kidnapping of Americans in Iran. The bombing of the Marine Barracks on a peacekeeping mission. Pan Am 103. Two Embassies in Kenya. The Bombing of the Cole. The World Trade Center in 1993 and in 2001. And let's not forget the weekly mass murder of Israelis by suicide murderers. It is the same evil as Nazism, Communism, and every other totalitarian ideology. It is evil, it is genocidal, and it is responsible for mass death and suffering. And those who have engaged in these acts weren't a bunch of poor deluded fools. They were intelligent and educated. They understood western civilization, and rejected it out of hand. I shall spend no time sympathising with their murderous cause. I will not spend time trying to understand their ideology of murder beyond that which I need to know to destroy it utterly.
You, sir, are a right and proper fool who is unwittingly leading us into the third world world war. Or does the idea of that suit you fine, because you think we'd win?
No. You are the fool. Even though they declared war on us 20 years ago, and even after the mass death they inflicted on our country in our homeland one year ago, you still do not see us at war. When a mushroom cloud erupts over an American city, or 20 percent of our population is slaughtered in a smallpox or ebola attack, will you be convinced then? How many more Americans need to die before you are convinced we are at war?

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

High-tech royal flush: Japanese betting on 'smart toilets'
Japan's toilet wars started in February, when Matsushita engineers here introduced a toilet seat equipped with electrodes that send a mild electric charge through the user's buttocks, yielding a digital measurement of body-fat ratio.
Tell me if I'm wrong, but do we really nead a toilet that when you sit on it, says "Good morning, fatass?"
Today, in the Detroit Free Press, a group of Idiotarians purged their mid-life crises by engaging in an anti war protest.
Elaine Mardirosian, a veteran of anti-Vietnam War protests when she was a teenager, brought her son Paul and several of his friends from Grosse Pointe South High School to the march. "I thought the crowd would be a lot smaller," Paul Mardirosian said as he watched hundreds of people wave picket signs and sing protest songs. "I'm against the war and I just wanted to see some people who agree with me." Talking with Detroit City Council President Maryann Mahaffey, Paul's mother said, "This brings back memories of Vietnam War protests."
I wonder if she also shared with her son the memories of free-love fuckfests, hash brownies, and gave him trips on bad acid. And wouldn't it be such a nostalgic trip through time if her kids could also join the Symbionese Liberation Army? Maybe her kids could learn the joys of not bathing and join a commune too.
OK, I've got to get on the highway for a little drive. I just heard that Connecticut has opened its first Krispy Kreme.
The Arab Street you won't hear about in the Howell Raines Gazette The Boston Globe today has an excellent article on the prevailing mood in Kuwait.
KUWAIT - In the debate that rages across the Arab world over the possibility of an attack on Iraq, one nation is absolutely certain of the answer. Unprovoked? The regime ''deserves it,'' declares one Islamist lawmaker in Kuwait. Anti-American feelings? ''America will go down in the books as the savior of the Arab world,'' answers a leading Kuwaiti professor. Advice to President Bush? ''You have to finish the job that your father didn't finish,'' counsels a former Kuwaiti oil minister. Forget the drums of war. In Kuwait, a country occupied by Iraq in 1990 and liberated by US forces in 1991, a full-blown orchestra is playing.
When you hear Christine Matthews gets the feminine vapors again over the uprising of the "Arab Street," don't expect him to bring up this article.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Limo with Candidate hits 3 at S.F. Parade OK. Now ponder the following situation. You are a Republican in the most rabidly left wing city in the country. You are running for political office, and your opponent is calling you "a tool for the rich and powerful." The only way you even have a prayer of getting elected is to bypass the liberal establishment and press the flesh with the immigrant communities. Now your limo driver runs down a bunch of Chinese Immigrants. What should be your next step in the campaign? Should you:
  1. Start blowing your campaign money on cheap liquor, or
  2. Issue campaign ads calling for the abolition of the letter "Q", or
  3. Transfer your campaign funds to the "Draft Yassir Arafat" campaign, and make an honest city out of San Francisco?
The London Telegraph is reporting that the British are preparing for war by the end of the month.
Britain's armed forces are expected to be ordered by the end of the month to prepare for war with Iraq, a senior Whitehall source said yesterday.
War is coming, and it is coming soon.
Robert Fisk owns a Time machine! Let's here it for the Independent Communist, who put this editorial on their website at 4:30 pm EDT, three and a half hours before Bush actually gave his speech. I'd fisk it, but they'll use their time machine to change their editorial afterwards. Update: The Great Glenn beat me to it. I knew I should have posted this before dinner. Update: Well, he didn't beat me completely. They not only wrote an editorial about a speech they never could have heard, but actually wrote a news story about it. Do the Baathist sympathizers at the Indy really understand how moronic they look? Update: Scratch that. I beat him to the editorial, he beat me to the news story. I thought it was the other way around.
Cato emailed me an MSNBC article that predicts that an attack will occur as soon as Mid November:
Iraq?s neighbors, at least, are convinced not only that war is inevitable?but that it?s coming soon. Arab intelligence officials in two countries, who spoke on condition they not be identified further, both expected the Americans to attack Saddam as early as mid-November. Some Arab officials privately say they would like Washington to move soon. ?It must be quick, it must be strong and it must be decisive,? as one Arab minister put it.
Debka has a similar analysis(link to a local archive):
Our military sources stress that, notwithstanding the domestic and international importance attached to a formal, authorized declaration of war, battle has already been joined on the ground in Iraq. The question exercising Bush?s war planners is this: How long will Saddam Hussein join Washington in the pretense that international diplomacy, focusing now on the UN Security Council, has the power to prevent the outbreak of war. Until now, the charade suited Baghdad for two reasons: First, although much of northern Iraq has fallen to combined American-Turkish-Iranian forces - and heavy US-UK air raids have blasted most of his air force and air defense commands - Saddam remained firm in the saddle in central and southern Iraq and his army is still holding together. Second, he has watched the Bush administration cross the Rubicon with no way of retreat and looked forward to the moment that America could no longer pursue a covert war without incurring casualties. That moment may now be at hand. Our military sources calculate that Bush finds himself tied down by the constraints of protracted political and diplomatic processes that prevent him from admitting to ongoing combat in the field and force him to keep it low key. He dare not throw into the fray substantial air, sea or land forces, even though it is indicated by every tactical consideration. Last week, Iraq began to exploit this dilemma to military advantage by mounting a counter-attack on the American-led forces outside the strategic H-3 complex of bases in western Iraq. In other words, Saddam started to blunt the edge of the American-led vanguard operation inside the country. Bush, like the proverbial cork stuck in the neck of a bottle, can either push forward or out ? but not stay put.
This is an affirmation of what I said a few days ago, and back on August 11. I think Debka overstates how American forces are tied down. Once the congressional vote comes through, which is very soon, Bush will look forward for an excuse to commence hostilities. Now the big question is precisely when will the attack occur? I believe that three days stand out as the most likely dates to launch an attack(our time, not Iraqi time). The first date is November 6th, the other date is November 28th, Thanksgiving Day, or the 29th, the day after. If we are fully mobilized for war before the election, Bush will postpone action until the day after the election, to avoid a "wag the dog" scenario. If he is being a bit more patient, I can see us waiting until after Thanksgiving. The Armed forces make a point of delivering hot thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings to all soldiers in all theatres in the world. Putting combat operations off until that makes that job a little easier. Engaging in combat operations right after that meal is consumed may catch the Iraqis unawares. Think of Washington's capture of the Hessians and the Tet Offensive as examples in a similar vein.
Scott Ritter, Constitutional Lawyer Scott Ritter must be bummed that Baghdad Bonior and Salman Pak McDermott have taken his spotlight. In today's Guardian of Inaccuracy, he rants yet again about how Bush is acting illegally, unconstitionally, blah blah Saddam is disarmed blah blah blah. Anyway, time to load up the fiskomatic, and take aim:
As a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and as a registered member of the Republican party who voted for George Bush in the last presidential election, I have to admit to a certain trepidation and uncertainty when I was asked by Labour MPs to participate in the massive anti-war rally in London on September 28. In my way of thinking, mass demonstrations, regardless of the righteousness of the cause, were the theatre of the political left, and not something with which I should be associated. I was proven wrong on all counts. The outpouring of democratic will that occurred on that day came not only from the left, but from across the breadth of mainstream British society. It sent a message to a Blair government that had grown increasingly isolated from public opinion: UK support for an American unilateral war on Iraq would not be tolerated. That message met a response a few days later from the Labour party at its annual conference in Blackpool. Democracy in action is a wonderful thing
One would think this was because protesting against the United States from foreign soil. Of course, Scott "Saddam's tongue bath attendant" Ritter is more concerned about being around a bunch of people who don't take regular baths. The fact that they juxtapose the United States with Nazi Germany doesn't seem to have anything to do with it, as evidenced by this picture(look in bottom right corner):
To Benedict Ritter, the above picture is "democracy in action." Then Ritter, in his inimitable crackpot way, declares himself a constitutional lawyer:
To many Americans, myself included, the granting of such powers represents a breach of constitutional responsibility on the part of Congress, which alone under the constitution of the United States is authorised to declare war. There is at least one US senator - Robert Byrd of West Virginia - who recognises this, and has indicated his willingness to launch a filibuster of the debate. Senator Byrd is famous for carrying a copy of the US constitution in his breast pocket, and pulling it out on the floor of the Senate to remind fellow senators what American democracy is founded on.
The "many" in this quote consists of two people: Robert Byrd, and Scott Ritter himself. By any measure, what is being done is eminently constitutional. If you believe that the War Powers Act is constitutional(I don't), then the congressional resolution makes everything kosher. If you believe that the President is authorized by the fact that he is commander in chief, then everything passes constitutional muster, and congressional action is unnecessary. If you believe the ceasefire from the Gulf War is still in effect, then congressional action again isn't necessary. If you believe a declaration of war is necessary, then the Congressional resolution can be easily construed as a de facto declaration. Since it will get the requisite two-thirds vote from both houses. Any way you view it, everything passes constitutional muster. Of course, Ritter's foray into idiocy doesn't end there:
One man fighting in defence of the basic foundation of American society. Where are the large-scale US demonstrations in support of this struggle? Where are the voices of outrage over what amounts to a frontal assault on the constitution of the United States? Democracy silenced is awful.
Here is a point Scott might like to ponder: When everyone votes a different way than you do, that isn't a silencing of democracy. It is democracy in action. The problem is that unlike Scott Ritter, the bulk of congressmen are actually loyal to their country. Imagine that. Then Scott tries to establish his bonafides:
The constitution has always guided me in my actions as an American citizen. It establishes the US as a nation of laws, and sets high standards for the ideals we Americans strive to achieve as a nation. As an officer of Marines, I took an oath to defend the US constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is an oath I take very seriously and I am willing to give my life in defence of this document - something I demonstrated during my time in uniform, including service in Operation Desert Storm.
We saw in Baghdad what he thinks of his oath.
I am no pacifist, but I am opposed to President Bush's rush towards war with Iraq this time around.
Of course he isn't a pacifist. He's a traitor.
As signatories to the UN charter, Americans have agreed to abide by a body of international law that explicitly governs the conditions under which nations may go to war. All require authority of the security council, either through an invocation of article 51 (self defence), or a resolution passed under chapter seven of the charter (collective security).
Bzzzt. Sorry Scott, want to try the home game? The invocation of Article requires absolutely no permission from the Appeasement Council. But then, of course, it would make your entire treasonous train of thought wrong, wouldn't it? And that just can't be allowed to happen.
President Bush's case for war simply has not been demonstrated to meet any of these criteria.
At least to you, Baghdad Bonior, and Salman Pak McDermott. That's who counts most, right?
But now Iraq has agreed to allow the inspectors to return, unconditionally, and to be held accountable to the rule of law as set forth in existing security council resolutions governing Iraq's disarmament. The opportunity finally exists to bring clarity to years of speculation about the potential threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, as well as an opportunity to resolve this ongoing crisis of international law peacefully.
Of course we should. Saddam is such a trustworthy guy, right?
But President Bush refuses to take "yes" for an answer. The Bush administration's actions lay bare the mythology that this war is being fought over any threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. It has made it clear that its objective is the elimination of Saddam Hussein. And this is where I have a fundamental problem.
He makes it sound like that is a bad thing.
The UN charter prohibits regime removal. The US constitution states that international agreements entered into by the United States carry the force of law. The US has signed the UN charter. Regime removal is not only a violation of international law, it is unconstitutional.
The UN charter prohibits regime removal, except in cases of legitimate self defense, or when the Appeasement council says so. And both cases certainly apply. And since Iraq has failed to live up to its treaty obligations, UN resolutions on the matter are still in effect, and anticipatory self-defense applies. And that means another "unconstitutional" argument blows up in Ritter's traitorous face.
There is a way to deal with the need to change a regime deemed to be a risk to international peace and security, and that is through the UN. If President Bush truly wanted to seek regime removal in Baghdad, then he would push for an indictment of Saddam Hussein and his senior leadership in the international court for crimes against humanity, something that should not prove hard to do, given the record of the Butcher of Baghdad (and something other members of the UN would clearly support as an alternative to war). But seeking judgment through the international court requires a recognition by the US of the primacy of international law, something the Bush administration has been loath to do.
Scott's a hoot, isn't he? First he crows about how he took an oath to defend the constitution, and then, in the very same column, slams Bush for maintaining the primacy of the constitution in US law. And let us not forget why he is saying this, because Benedict Ritter wants to keep his paymaster alive, and is willing to subvert any principle to do so.
The fact of the matter is this crisis between Iraq and the US goes beyond even the issue of regime removal. It represents the first case study of the implementation of a new US national security strategy, [...] This strategy is a rejection of multilateralism, a turning away from the concepts of international law.
See? Now that his arguments have fallen flat in the United States, he attracts the love of tinfoil hat leftists by appealing to their need for "multilateralism", and hopes to use that to thwart the exercise of American military power.
This new Bush doctrine of American unilateralism reeks of imperial power, the very power against which Americans fought a revolution more than 200 years ago.
Now he frames himself as Benedict Ritter, anti-imperialist. Anything to prevent Saddam from taking his well deserved dirt nap, and ending Ritter's Baathist pension checks.
The streets of Washington DC are empty of demonstrators protesting at this frontal assault on American democracy.
Here is another clue Benedict, the House Foreign relations committee voted 31-11 in favor of war. The full House will cast over 300 votes in favor of war. Democracy is working pretty well, don't you think?
Will the streets of London be filled again with protesters against this assault on the rule of international law? I certainly hope so, because the people of Britain could lead by example, sending a clear signal to fellow practitioners of democracy in America that when it comes to determining what actions a government takes in the name of the people, the will of the people cannot, and will not, be ignored.
In other words, whether we Americans decide through our institutions that war is necessary is unimportant. If a bunch of tinfoil hat leftists in another country decide we shouldn't go to war, then we mustn't go. In other words, Benedict Ritter is saying that our national security policy should be decided by George Galloway and Robert Fisk.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Love that Torque! I've been trying to find something political to talk about today, but, frankly, I haven't found much out there to talk about. I haven't even found any fisking material that has grabbed my attention to any degree. So right now, I am going to talk a little bit about cars. This might actually get more flames than a politics post, especially if any Honda VTEC guys are reading. There is a saying in the car world, "Horsepower wins reviews, but torque wins races." This saying applies to cars that are involved in drag racing, or the occasional stoplight battle, and it applies to the difference in cars with peaky, high-rpm motors vs. cars with large displacement motors.(Think of the classic V-8 engine vs the DOHC motors so common today). Let me give you an example out of personal experience. My daily driver is a Ford Crown Victoria with the handling and performance package(don't laugh--it's the civilian version of the cop car, with better cornering than the cop version). The car weighs about 3850 lbs, has a 210 horsepower engine(at 4500 rpm), with 270 ft lbs of torque(at 3500 rpm). My mother's car is a 2000 Ford Taurus. It weighs in about 3400 lbs, has a 200 horsepower engine(at 5650 rpm) with 200 ft lbs of torque(at 4500 rpm). For the sake of clarity, the horsepower numbers of both cars are pretty accurate, but the accurate weight could be as much as 120 lbs off, as both cars are pretty heavily optioned, and the Crown vic has a tow bar. One would think, given the Taurus' obvious HP/weight advantage, 17lbs/hp vs 18.3 lbs/hp, that it would beat a Crown vic at a stoplight. However, it is only a couple of tenths faster than the crown victoria(if that), and if both cars are loaded with 3 passengers, the Crown Vic is actually significantly faster. Why is that? Torque. The torque/weight ratio for the taurus is 17lbs/ft-lb, and that number does not reach its peak until 4500 rpm. The Crown Vic has a torque/weight ratio of only 14.3 lbs/ft-lb of torque, and that extra torque comes online at 3500 rpm, 1000 rpm sooner in the powerband than the Taurus. One can easily tell the differences between the two cars at a stoplight. The Crown vic positively "leaps" away when you hit the gas with any gusto. In fact, I have found that even when I am not flooring it, I am rocketing ahead of all the cars at the stoplight. It reaches it's power peak quickly, but then sort of "runs out of breath" as it reaches high revs(or at least, that is how it feels). However, even when fully loaded, that sensation of "leaping" is there, and when the power is needed, it typically is there. The Taurus is different. When you floor it, especially when loaded, it doesn't give the sensation of being kicked in the ass the way the Vic does. However, once the engine hits power peak, it pulls quite well. However, there is one big problem with that. By the time the engine is revving fast enough for you to take advantage of that power, you are moving to fast to take advantage of it. The extra power makes the car a blast to drive, but the opportunities to take advantage of all that top end horsepower are more rare, and the power doesn't feel as easily available. So what does this mean if you are going to buy a car? If you are looking for a performance car, pay attention to that torque number! It is not simple window dressing. A lot of manufacturers now build cars with very high horsepower numbers, but mediocre or even poor torque numbers. Honda is the worst offender in this regard, though they aren't the only one. Someone may buy a car with 200+ horsepower, but if that power isn't available under 6000 rpm, the driver will never be able to use it unless they sneak into Lime Rock for a few laps. When that person takes his girlfriend or coworkers out for a drive, and crows about his sports coupe, he might be in for a very rude shock when he realizes that unless he is willing to rev the engine like a madman everywhere he goes, he is going to get his head handed to him by Grandpa in a fake carriage roof Grand Marquis. If you are shopping for an SUV or pickup, torque isn't just important. It is everything. If you are going to tow a trailer, you are going to want torque. If you are carrying heavy loads, you are going to want torque. You are going to want torque, and a high-hp low-torque engine isn't just "not as good", it is actually a very bad thing. No SUV or pickup needs a high revving engine under any circumstances whatsoever. Low torque when it comes to towing is worse than useless. A high revving low torque engine when towing means burned out clutches, a strained motor, and other bad things. Again, let me use some personal experience to illustrate why. Before I bought the Crown Vic, we would use my brother's Ford Ranger pickup to pull the boat out of the water. The Ranger had a 2.3l motor with 100 hp and 133 ft-lb of torque. The boat & trailer probably weighed between 2500 and 3000 lbs. Every year fall we would engage in the same ritual when it came to pulling the boat out of the water. Put the truck into first gear, rev the engine up to 3500 rpm or so, then let the clutch out and hope the truck doesn't stall in the process. This would be repeated a number of times, and one could smell the asbestos as the clutch would burn off what would normally be about 10,000 miles of wear in an afternoon. One time we were lucky, and a guy with an F-350(probably with either a 351 or a 460 cubic inch motor) pulled both the pickup and the boat trailer up the ramp, with no fuss at all. Now after I used the Crown Vic(which I bought specifically because it makes an excellent tow vehicle), the experience was wildly different, and vastly preferable. I would put the boat on the trailer, and pull the boat and trailer out of the water, with virtually no fuss. I did not need to build up a head of steam to climb a hill with the trailer behind me, and I really didn't notice the trailer was even there. Why was the F-350 able to pull both another pickup and a boat up a ramp? Why did I have so little problem with the trailer when the Ranger could barely accomplish the same task? Again, the answer is torque. Trucks and SUVs need torque almost as much as they need four wheels. They especially need it when towing or carrying a heavy load. My experience at the launch ramp proved it beyond any doubt. So, what it all comes down to is this: When shopping for a car, pay attention to the torque number alongside the HP number. It will make a difference in how the car performs. When buying a truck or SUV, pay attention to the torque number first. Torque is very important component of both automobile and truck performance, and those who ignore it do so at their peril. Now, if you'll excuse, me I saw a Guardian article that urgently needs a strong fisking.