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The WeatherPixie
Weather Conditions, Wish we were there...

Odd things and such things, as I feel appropriate, possibly relating to the war.
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Look below for links to good sites, ebooks and such.

Jerry Lawson, Proprietor

Comments by: YACCS

Tuesday, September 30
A new feature! Or is that a bug?

(The WeatherPixie's taking a vacation.)


J. - More news from Iraq.


Johann Hari - Archive - The Iraqi Homecoming
My Iraqi exile friends return to their country.
"There has been a boom industry in Iraq of videos showing real footage of Saddam's crimes. They include horrifying scenes of his acts of torture. 'People watch it compulsively because they feel they need to know what happened,' Sama told me. 'Here in Britain, people know more about what happened during the Saddam years than Iraqis do, because they had no way of finding out the truth.'

Yasser says quietly: 'The day after the liberation, my aunt put out a black banner [an Arab mourning ritual] with the names of all her relatives who had been murdered by the regime on it. And she looked down her street, and there were black banners on almost every house. On some houses it looks like a long shopping list. She said to her neighbour, `You too?' Under Saddam it was a crime to mourn people killed by the regime - it made you seem suspicious too. Everyone was suffering terribly, but they were suffering alone. They just didn't know that everyone else was hating it too.'"
Yet some say we should have left Saddam alone... Read the whole thing. It's optimistic, it's hopeful, and that's something you won't see on the news at all.


Monday, September 29
Viewers aren’t rushing back to shows:
"NEW YORK, Sept. 29 — Television viewers didn’t exactly rush to their sets to catch up on old favorites during the first week of the new season. The audience for NBC’s “Friends” season premiere was down by 28 percent from last year’s season opener. For CBS’ “CSI: Miami,” it was down 25 percent. “Frasier”: down 31 percent. “NYPD Blue”: down 22 percent. “ER”: down 13 percent."
Gee. Wonder why? Couldn't have been because it's the same old pap warmed over and stuffed back into the glass teat, could it?

Or that viewers are tired of the stuff they've been seeing the last decade or so? The tired formulas, the lame jokes, the eternal sameness? Heck, even Enterprise and the Star Trek world is having problems.

Time for something new, something intriguing. Good luck in finding it...


The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase:

"1063) MilBlog 11 visits/day (2408)"


I AM somebody! I EXIST! People READ me! Whee!

Hey, you find your excitement where you can...


McGraw-Hill Construction | ENR - Reconstruction in Iraq

If you're looking to see what's really going on with the rebuilding of Iraq, you could do a lot worse than look at this site.



I may have been career Air Force, but that doesn't mean I can't laugh at another service's jokes!

Military Jokes - Military Humor - Military Satire - Military Witticisms: Murphy’s Laws of Armor

1. Just after you report “Redcon 1” (Readiness Condition 1 - ready to move out right "now") for your qualification run, you will realize that you desperately need to take a leak.

2. The fuel truck will run out of fuel just before he gets to your tank.

2a. You will run out of fuel before he returns.

3. Tanks don’t float.

4. If a supply sergeant is given a choice between death and going to the field with his unit, he will ask for a few minutes to “Think it over.”

5. Attempting to help recover a mired tank will only result in your tank becoming mired also.

6. The primary purpose of an operations order is to ensure that all blame falls on the line units.

6a. For this reason, the staff will not publish an operations order until after the exercise is completed.

7. Night vision devices will only fail at night.

7a. They will function perfectly once the sun rises.

8. The dirtier and more tired you are, the less appreciative you become of “constructive criticism” from somebody in a pristine uniform.

9. The heater on your tank will fail in October. The part to repair it will arrive in April.

10. No matter how minor the ailment, a visit to the medics will result in an I.V.

10a. Arguing with the medics about this will result in your being evacuated in a neck brace and back board (in addition to the I.V.).

11. When loading the main gun, remember: “pointy end first.”

12. The only times you will throw a track (that flexible band of metal and rubber the tank travels on) are: a. At night, b. in the rain, c. during the movement back to garrison, or d. one hour after you installed the new ones.

13. Your vehicle will go NMC (Not Mission Capable - deadlined ) right after the contact team leaves the AO (Area of Operations).

14. All infantry fighting vehicles don’t look alike.

15. Shaking trees to your front mean that you are being hunted by helicopters.

16. When you are told your engineer support was needed elsewhere, the bridge will be out.

17. The exercise will finish and you’ll get back to garrison just after the wash rack (where tanks are cleaned) closes.

18. If all else fails, shoot at the muzzle flashes — the larger ones are the dangerous ones, the smaller ones are infantry.

18a. The infantry muzzle flashes you ignore are covering an anti-tank team setting up.

19. “Rebel yells” are not proper FM radio procedure after a successful Table VIII (The tank crew qualification test a 10 engagement run on a tank range which tank crews must successfully complete in order to be a qualified crew. Like going to the rifle range for a qualification of expert) shoot.

20. XO math: 3 pacs on the ground + no fueler + 2 deadlines = 100% FMC (Fully Mission Capable).

21. Close air support is safest from far away.

22. Proving that three feet of frontal armor protection will defend against any threat is probably best demonstrated on someone else’s track.

23. Hearing an “Aw, shit” soon after an “on-the-waaay!” means you’re probably not getting that promotion.

24. Tanks are very easy to see unless you’re dismounted and they’re backing up.

25. The one time you skip the firing circuit test is when you have the misfire.

26. “GUNNER, SABOT, SNIPER” (firing an anti-tank shell at a sniper) is not an appropriate use of ammunition.

27. It is cruel to tell NBC types “Damn, that Fox (NATO chemical/biological/nuclear weapons detection vehicle) looks like a BMP (Russian made armored vehicle used by many countries, like Iraq)!” — particularly when live rounds are being issued.

28. Blackout drive + autobahn + 0345 = polizei.

29. Unsecured turrets will only swing freely mid-way through a rail tunnel.

30. When doing a gunnery, the tank is always operational until you get to the ready line.

31. If you are promised “downtime,” what they really mean is: You will be breaking track.

32. First sergeant math: Buy Gatorade for $1.49 each and sell for $1.00 each — with the profits going to the unit fund.

Sunday, September 28
'One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.'
-President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

'If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program.'
-President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

'Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.'
-Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

'He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.'
-Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

'[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.' Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
-Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

'Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.'
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D! , CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
-Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
-Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them."
-Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
-Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
-Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
-Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
-Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..."
-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

Isn't it interesting what difference a few years can make? And, who's in the White House?

Would someone PLEASE tell these idiots (and don't think I haven't already sent off letters) that the sort of crap they've been thinking of as "Politics As Usual" IS A BAD IDEA AT THIS TIME? And that it REALLY looks like they're putting partisan politicial considerations (such as getting a DEMOCRAT back into the Presidency, no matter the cost) ahead of the good of the country?

Do I really know what the 'good of the country' is? Beats me - but I've got serious doubts that labeling the President of the country a liar for acting on the intelligence that OTHERS (IE Democrats...) said were very important is what I'd consider 'good for the country'. For some reason it makes me think that you don't have anything resembling integrity, honesty, or a sense of what's really important - and that makes me even LESS likely to vote for any candidate you puke up.


Saturday, September 27
Impoverished Nigeria joins the space age:
"“IT MAKES ME proud to be a Nigerian,” said Prosper Sunday, a 27-year-old security guard in Lagos. “It shows our nation is progressing. We’ve joined the space age.”
The government plans to use the $13 million satellite to monitor water resources, soil erosion, deforestation and disasters, space agency spokesman Solomon Olaniyi told The Associated Press.
It will be used to watch military facilities and the country’s oil pipelines and infrastructure. Nigeria is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, but thieves siphon off hundreds of thousands of barrels everyday.
“It’s a great feat for Nigeria,” said Joseph Akinyede of the National Space Research and Development Agency, based in the capital, Abuja. “We have a footprint in space.”"
Well, yay for them! Here's hoping for a long life for that sat!


Mary Carey for Governor of California - Official Campaign Site:
"7. I will coordinate the state’s unemployment and jury systems, so that anyone who applies for unemployment will instantly be called for jury duty. This will save California state and local governments millions of dollars, because we won’t have to pay for jury duty. It will also relieve those with jobs from the stress of serving on lengthy juries. "
The rest of her platform seems... well... odd. But this one bit makes a lot of sense. I don't think I'd vote for her - but it's something that might be useable by others.

J. - Top Stories - Arafat's Fatah Dumps U.S.-Backed Security Chief:
"RAMALLAH, West Bank — Yasser Arafat's (search) Fatah party on Saturday put together a new Palestinian Cabinet (search), replacing a U.S.-backed security chief with an Arafat loyalist and bringing in nearly a dozen new faces from Fatah and smaller factions.

With the ouster of security chief Mohammed Dahlan (search), it appears even less likely that the Palestinian security forces will begin dismantling militant groups, as required by the U.S.-backed 'road map' peace plan. Israel has said it will not move on the plan unless such action is taken. "
Yeah, replacing the security chief will really help, right? And even then, we won't see any 'progress' on the road map. There's a significant disconnect here from the people who WANT peace, and the people who want Israel destroyed. We keep assuming that the second group is the first, and treat them accordingly.

And they're most emphatically not.

J. - Top Stories - U.S. Soldiers Uncover Huge Weapons Stash in Iraq:
"U.S. forces unearthed the weapons during a raid on a farm outside the village of Uja (search), which is close to the volatile city of Fallujah. It was the second raid in as many days on the farm.

Soldiers dug through the soft earth near a riverbank to uncover the stash, which was protected by a covering of reeds and straw. The weapons included 23 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles; four rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 115 rockets; a mortar and 40 mortar rounds; 1,300 blasting caps and 423 grenades."
Soldiers dug through the soft earth near a riverbank...

Well, looks like a lot of burying was going on - and it's going to take a long time to get everything uncovered.


Okay - I'm posting the whole thing because I'm sure that the major media outlets aren't going to. Why? Because it doesn't present Iraq as a failure, a catastrophe, and a quagmire. (Well, it was a catastrophe, at least for Saddam and others who wanted ME dictators to stay untouched.)

Beyond 'Nation-Building'

By Donald H. Rumsfeld

Thursday, September 25, 2003; Page A33

Two weeks into Operation Iraqi Freedom, a number of newspapers and many airwaves were filled with prognosticators declaring the war plan a failure. The United States, they said, did not do enough to build international support, did not properly anticipate the level of resistance by Iraqis, and failed to send enough forces to do the job.

Then coalition forces took Baghdad in 21 days. Today Gen. Tom Franks's innovative and flexible war plan, which so many dismissed as a failure, is being studied by military historians and taught in war colleges.

Today in Iraq, an innovative plan is also being implemented in our effort to win the peace. And it should come as no surprise that we are again hearing suggestions as to why the postwar effort is on the brink of failure.

It will take longer than 21 days, but I believe that the plan to win the peace in Iraq will succeed -- just as the plan to win the war succeeded.

Why did some predict failure in the first weeks of the war? One reason, I suspect, is that Gen. Franks's plan was different and unfamiliar -- in short, not what was expected. And because it didn't fit into the template of general expectations, many assumed at the first setback that the underlying strategy had to be flawed. It wasn't. Setbacks were expected, and the plan was designed to be flexible so our forces could deal with surprise. The coalition forces did so exceedingly well.

I believe the same will be true of the effort in Iraq today. Once again, what the coalition is doing is unfamiliar and different from many past "nation-building" efforts. So, when the coalition faces the inevitable surprises and setbacks, the assumption is that the underlying strategy is failing. I do not believe that is the case. To the contrary, despite real dangers, I believe that the new approach being taken by Gen. John Abizaid and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer will succeed and that success will have an important impact, not just on the future of Iraq but also on future international efforts to help struggling nations recover from war and regain self-reliance.

Today in Iraq we are operating on the same guiding principle that has brought success to our effort in Afghanistan: Iraq and Afghanistan belong to the Iraqi and Afghan peoples -- the United States does not aspire to own or run those countries.

During the war in Afghanistan, this philosophy helped shape the military campaign. Instead of sending a massive invasion force, we kept the coalition footprint modest and adopted a strategy of teaming with local Afghan forces that opposed the Taliban. The use of precision-guided weapons and the immediate delivery of humanitarian relief sent the message that we were coming as a force of liberation. And after the major fighting ended, we did not flood Afghanistan with Americans but rather worked with Afghans to establish an interim government and an Afghan national army. In Iraq the military challenge was notably different. No force of Iraqi fighters could have toppled the Saddam Hussein regime without significant numbers of coalition forces -- though in the north, Special Operations forces and Kurdish pesh merga fighters did tie down Hussein's northern units and liberate Mosul. Even so, we did not flood the country with a half-million U.S. troops. We kept our footprint modest, liberating Iraq with a little more than 100,000 U.S. troops on the ground. The use of precision weapons allowed us to save innocent lives and make clear that this was a war against a regime, not a people. And when major combat operations ended, we began working immediately to enlist Iraqis to take responsibility for governance and security.

We have made solid progress: Within two months, all major Iraqi cities and most towns had municipal councils -- something that took eight months in postwar Germany. Within four months the Iraqi Governing Council had appointed a cabinet -- something that took 14 months in Germany. An independent Iraqi Central Bank was established and a new currency announced in just two months -- accomplishments that took three years in postwar Germany. Within two months a new Iraqi police force was conducting joint patrols with coalition forces. Within three months, we had begun training a new Iraqi army -- and today some 56,000 are participating in the defense of their country. By contrast, it took 14 months to establish a police force in Germany and 10 years to begin training a new German army.

Why is enlisting Iraqis in security and governance so important?

Because it is their country. We are not in Iraq to engage in nation-building -- our mission is to help Iraqis so that they can build their own nation. That is an important distinction.

A foreign presence in any country is unnatural. It is much like a broken bone. If it's not set properly at the outset, the muscles and tendons will grow around the break, and eventually the body will adjust to the abnormal condition. This is what has happened in some past nation-building exercises. Well-intentioned foreigners arrive on the scene, look at the problems, and say, "Let's go fix it for them." Despite the good intentions and efforts of the international workers, there can be unintended adverse side effects. Because when foreigners come in with solutions to local problems, it can create dependency. Economies can remain unreformed, distorted and dependent. In some instances, educated young people make more money as drivers for international workers than as doctors or civil servants.

For example, East Timor is one of the poorest countries in Asia, yet the capital is now one of the most expensive cities in Asia. Local restaurants are out of reach for most Timorese and cater to international workers, who are paid 200 times the average local wage. At the city's main supermarket, prices are reportedly on par with those in London and New York.

Or take Kosovo. A driver shuttling international workers around the capital earns 10 times the salary of a university professor, and the U.N. administration pays its local staff between four and 10 times the salary of doctors and nurses. Four years after the war, the United Nations still runs Kosovo by executive fiat, issuing postage stamps, passports and driver's licenses. Decisions made by the local elected parliament are invalid without the signature of the U.N. administrator. And still, to this day, Kosovar ministers have U.N. overseers with the power to approve or disapprove their decisions.

Our objective is not to create dependency but to encourage Iraqi independence, by giving Iraqis increasing responsibility, over time, for the security and governance of their country. Because long-term stability comes not from the presence of foreign forces but from the development of functioning local institutions. The sooner Iraqis can take responsibility for their own affairs the sooner U.S. forces can come home.

That is why the coalition has been recruiting Iraqis to help defend Iraq, why municipal councils have been formed in 90 percent of the country and why the Iraqi Governing Council is taking charge of developing the 2004 budget and creating a process for the drafting of a new constitution, written by Iraqis, so that the Iraqi people can eventually choose their leaders in free elections -- and we can achieve an orderly transfer of full sovereignty.

Coalition efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan are bearing fruit.

Afghanistan is on the path to stability and self-government -- transformed from a safe haven for terrorism to an important U.S. ally, not just in the war against terror but also in the larger struggle for freedom and moderation in the Muslim world.

In Iraq the regime is gone, and Iraqis are stepping forward to take responsibility for their country. They are serving local, regional and national governing institutions, signing up to serve as police, border guards, soldiers and civil defense forces, starting businesses, creating jobs and building a new nation from the rubble of Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

This is not to underestimate the challenges in Iraq today. Terrorists and regime remnants want to roll back our successes and stop the Iraqi people's transition to democracy and self-government. We can expect they will continue to attack our successes, and the brave Iraqis who work with us, for some time. But coalition forces are dealing with the threat. And the security situation is improving.

Indeed, we may find that the biggest threat in Iraq comes not from terrorists and regime remnants but from the physical and psychological effects of three decades of Stalinist oppression. But Iraq also has a number of advantages -- oil wealth, water and an elaborate system of irrigation canals, vast wheat and barley fields, biblical sites and the potential for tourism, and an educated, urban population.

But to help Iraqis succeed, we must proceed with some humility. American forces can do many remarkable things, but they cannot provide permanent stability or create an Iraqi democracy. That will be up to the Iraqi people.

The work in Iraq is difficult, costly and dangerous. But it is worth the risks and the costs, because if the coalition succeeds, Iraqis will take hold of their country, develop the institutions of self-government and reclaim their nation's place as a responsible member of the international community. If we succeed, we will deal terrorism a powerful blow, because a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a defeat for the ideology of terror that is seeking to take control of that area of the world.

It will take patience, but if we are steadfast, Iraq can become a model for a successful transition from tyranny to democracy and self-reliance, and a friend and ally of the United States and the world's free and peace-loving nations. A few months ago, that statement would have seemed fanciful to many. Today, it is a goal within reach. But only if we help Iraqis build their nation, instead of trying to do it for them -- and have the wisdom to know the difference.
Which is why I think any suggestion that we let the UN 'manage' this should be completely rejected. The Iraqis are doing a whole lot better under us than they'd be allowed to do under the UN. We believe that they can form an autonomous, democratic government - the UN sees them as poor benighted heathens who need to be show by their betters how to be civilized.

Which view would you think the Iraqis prefer?


Iraq bishop says media distorts coverage to discredit US-led war
An Iraqi Catholic bishop has accused Western media of lying about the postwar state of his country.

Auxiliary Bishop Andraos Abouna of Baghdad said he believed media were running a propaganda campaign to discredit the American-led coalition that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and now runs Iraq.
And you've got to wonder - why? Why do the media want to see things collapse (or give the impression of collapse) in Iraq?

Two words - ratings and laziness. It'd be far better to have a massive source of bad news (or news that can be spun as bad) because BAD NEWS SELLS. Bad news gets headlines. Bad news gets air time on CNN. Bad news gets bylines. Bad news gets attention. Good news doesn't get attention - bad news does.

Let's face it. Which headline's more likely to get you to read the article? "Electrical System in Iraq Fails" or "Electrical Service in Iraq 99% Functional" ? Both headlines could be accurate descriptions of the same event - but which one holds more interest for the casual reader?

And which one would lead you to think of Iraq as a country where things are getting worse?


Friday, September 26
Charles Krauthammer: From Partisanship to Pathology

A rather interesting look at what Kennedy's trying to do -

``There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.'' --Sen. Edward Kennedy on Iraq, Sept. 18, 2003

WASHINGTON-- The Democrats have long been unhinged by this president. They could bear his (Florida-induced) illegitimacy as long as he was weak and seemingly transitional. But when post-9/11 he became a consequential president -- reinventing American foreign policy and dominating the political scene -- they lost it.

Kennedy's statement marks a new stage in losing it: transition to derangement. ....

Then follows analysis of what Kennedy said, and the actuality of what's been going on. He closes with this...

A year ago, Bush was riding high. He decided nonetheless to put at risk the great political advantage he had gained as a successful post-9/11 leader -- an advantage made obvious by the Republican gains in last year's elections -- to go after Saddam.

Politically, the war promised nothing but downside. There was no great popular pressure to go to war. Indeed, millions took to the streets to demonstrate against it both at home and abroad. Bush launched the war nonetheless, in spite of the political jeopardy it exposed him to, for the simple reason that he believed, as did Tony Blair, that it had to be done.

You can say he made a misjudgment. You can say he picked the wrong enemy. You can say almost anything about this war, but to say that he fought it for political advantage is absurd. The possibilities for disaster were real and many: house-to-house combat in Baghdad, thousands of possible casualties, a chemical attack on our troops (which is why they were ordered into those dangerously bulky and hot protective suits on the road to Baghdad). We were expecting oil fires, terrorist attacks and all manner of calamities. This is a way to boost political ratings?

Whatever your (and history's) verdict about the war, it is undeniable that it was an act of singular presidential leadership. And more than that, it was an act of political courage. George Bush wagered his presidency on a war he thought necessary for national security -- a war that could very obviously and very easily have been his political undoing. It might yet be.

To accuse Bush of perpetrating a ``fraud'' to go to war for political advantage is not just disgraceful. It so flies in the face of the facts that it can only be said to be unhinged from reality. Kennedy's rant reflects the Democrats' blinding Bush-hatred, and marks its passage from partisanship to pathology.
As I said - delusional thinking. I have no doubt that Kennedy BELIEVES this - at least enough to deliver it convincingly to like-minded Democrats who will EAGERLY believe what he says. After all, he's a Kennedy, and a Kennedy wouldn't LIE, would he? (Cough, cough, Chappaquidic, cough...) But I'm looking at his statements and going "Why does Massachusetts seem to have a collective lobotomy when it comes to re-electing this man?" I can't fathom it, myself. Water? Weather? What does it?

Perhaps he comes from an alternate universe where the Republicans are actually as 'evil' as he's trying to portray. Or maybe he's just acting, playing to the faithful. HOWEVER - he's got to be thinking that people are going to take his pronouncements seriously... and he's just flat-out lying on this crap.

Is this how he's trying to get the Democratic party built back up again? Trying to appeal to folks who have ANY doubt at all about Bush, to feed their insecurities? It could work, I guess - but not with me. My Democratic leanings were pretty well scoured out during the Clinton years.


What Democrats Believe - by Rich Lowry

He's got some interesting observations, gleaned from the news over the last year or so...

This credo is often nonsensical and hypocritical, but it is clearly discernible. The Democrats of '04 believe:...
That wars should be authorized, but never fought.

That the United Nations is the world's last, best hope, and every jot of its writ should always be respected, unless it inconveniences Saddam Hussein.

That nation-building is always a humanitarian and just cause, unless it is undertaken in Iraq.

That anyone who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war was lying, unless his or her name is Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, John Kerry or Joe Lieberman, or the person ever served in the Clinton cabinet or as a Democratic senator.

That French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is always right.

That President Bush isn't devoting enough resources to the reconstruction of Iraq, and that -- in light of his $87 billion aid proposal -- he is devoting far too many resources to the reconstruction of Iraq.

That George Bush maneuvering the United States into war is an act of manipulative genius, and also is very stupid.

That (fill in blank with latest conflict here) is another Vietnam.

That the U.S. military is overextended -- and should be... smaller.

That unilateral U.S. diplomatic pressure is always wrong, unless it is brought to bear on Israel.

That it is absolutely necessary for the cause of clean government for candidates to abide by the limits set by the presidential public-financing system, unless they -- like Kerry and Howard Dean -- have enough money not to.

That big money corrupts politics, unless it is big money raised by California Gov. Gray Davis.

That punch-card ballots are a travesty of justice, unless they elect a Democrat (as they did in California just one year ago).

That Bush is bankrupting the federal government, but is a tightfisted ogre for countenancing only a $400 billion new prescription-drug benefit.

That Bush is fiscally profligate, but isn't spending enough on education, "first responders," health care or anything else not called "defense."

That the nation cannot afford the pending retirement of the baby boomers, but the baby boomers should get more benefits for their pending retirements.

That Bush is responsible for an economic downturn that began before he was elected and that Clinton is responsible for an economic recovery that began before he was elected (here at last -- a kind of consistency!).

That small-business owners are the heart of the economy unless they succeed, at which point they become "the rich."

That it is evil to be rich, unless you got that way by marrying Teresa Heinz.

That it is wrong to be a millionaire, unless you got that way by suing people.

That the sons of the upper-crust Northeastern elite are always and everywhere out-of-touch, unless they are named Howard Dean.

That it is unseemly to mix military matters with politics, but you should vote for FORMER GENERAL Wesley Clark, and salute when you do so.

That a deranged candidate should not be elected president, unless he is named Bob Graham.

That no child should be left behind, unless it is in an urban public-school system.

That no child should be left behind, unless it is in the womb.

That the Patriot Act is denying Americans their liberties, and John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards or Bob Graham should be elected president after having voted for it.

That deposing John Ashcroft would be preferable to deposing Mullah Omar.

That library records are sacred, but the Constitution -- a "living document" subject to manipulation by judges -- is not.
Hmmm. You know something - it's hard to argue this guy's wrong in what he's observing. There's a definite democratic dichotomy going on, and it's bizzare to watch.

It'd be entertaining, if it weren't so dangerous right now. Simply put, delusional thinking is fine when there's no crisis going on. But a crisis started on 9/11 - and it's not going to be able to be put on hold for 'politics as usual' for a year or two. And I don't think the Democrats really realize this. When you've got a house fire, you don't argue vociferously with the fire chief about what color the fire engines are before you let the firemen on the property, and then INSIST that the fire department both replace the fire chief and get some trucks with less chrome because it offends your sensibilities.

Unless you're a Democrat, I guess.


Wednesday, September 24
Charge sheet for Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi - PDF format

I don't like thinking I'm wrong about something. I don't like thinking I'm wrong about members of a religion, or subgroup within a religion. I'm really uneasy thinking that I'm wrong about Islam being a religion of peace, that it's against terrorism, that it's just a few radicals who are perverting Islamic traditions and principles.

And then we have things like this. The espionage cases in Gitmo are disturbing - because it means that very soon, instead of taking someone at their word that they're loyal to the ideas of the US, that they'll uphold the Constitution, and obey the lawful orders of those above them - we will be forced to think that their religion means more to them than their enlistment or commissioning oath or loyalty to the United States.

The last time we saw something like this - Communism was the meme of the day. For the followers of it, anything could be justified if it advanced the cause. And look how THAT turned out.

A lot's been said over the last couple of years about how we shouldn't racially profile anyone. How we shouldn't use their ethnicity to look at them closer - about how we shouldn't single anyone out because of their religion for closer scrutiny in the war on terrorism.

And frankly, at this point it looks and smells a lot like bullshit to me. If the hijackers on 9/11 were an ethically diverse, religiously diverse group of people, I could see it. If they were ANY other group than Islamic Arabs - it wouldn't be an issue. But they weren't.

If some good Nordic Methodists from Minnesota had hijacked a plane, you can bet that there'd be leftists screaming about the hidden agendas inside the Methodist church and in the Nordic regions of the world, because obviously they'd be wanting to spread their religion around the world. Profiling? You can imagine it. "If you've got blond hair please step over here so we can cavity search you before you pass security. Drop your pants, bend over, and say "Ahhhhhhh...""

But they weren't.

Yet we've got Arabic extremists telling us EXACTLY what they want to do to us - and we ignore them. Worse, we have people saying it's UNFAIR to even consider they might be possible terrorists. That they might actually mean what they say. That they're serious about imposing their theology on the world. The threat is discounted, even AFTER 9/11.

Okay, how many Swedes are currently incarcerated in Gitmo? Hmmm. How about... anything other than folks of Arabic heritage? Hmmm. Looks like the vast majority are... ARABS! And the overwhelming majority of them ... are ISLAMIC!

I see a trend here. But then, I have to spot trends in my job.

Let's look at things another way. Imagine you've got a pile of 1000 system boards to test. It takes an hour each to test them properly, and your orders are to get it done as fast as possible with the highest confidence you've got all the bad boards.

After doing ten of them, three have failed and seven haven't. You notice that the three that failed have a green dot next to the part number sticker, and none of the ones that passed had that dot. The ones that failed were made in North Wherever, the ones that passed all came from the factory in West Whatsit.

You do another batch, and 4 failed with green dots and 6 dotless ones passed.

20 system boards, 7 failed, and all the failed ones have an identical set of characteristics. They all came from North Wherever, and all have green dots.

You start testing just the green-dotted boards, and out of the remaining 160 dotted ones, 159 fail. You do a random sampling of the remainder of the boards - 1 in ten, and find none bad.

Have you found an identifiying characteristic of the failed boards? Looks like. Of course, you'd have to check ALL the other boards to be 100% sure - but 159 out of 160 sure looks like a definite trend to me - and so is zero out of 82 (820 system boards, 1 in 10 sampling.)

So why aren't we examining people the same way?

Aside from political correctness, that is...


Landlord Loves All Creatures Great and Small
When bridal shop owner Nancy Owen found ants in her store, she had two choices: relocate the critters or relocate her shop. Extermination was not an option.

That's because the landlord of the Austin shopping center where her store was located is a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The landlord imposed strict rules on tenants requiring that no meat or animal product be sold in their stores, and that no animals – including ants – be harmed.

"If you don't have to cause animals to suffer – even the animals we don't understand so well like ants or mice or chickens – why not choose to be kind rather than to be cruel?” asked PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich.

But the shoe shop has to keep leather laces hidden behind the counter, the liquor store can’t sell beef jerky and all of this adds up to what some call militant behavior by the landlord. Owen decided she'd rather spend $10,000 in moving expenses to relocate rather than abide by those rules.
Okay - how would HE suggest she get the ants to relocate?

No, I'm sorry - we understand ants pretty well at this point. They eat. They breed. The nests reproduce by spawing off queens, who set up more nests.

I think this landlord's gonna find that in the long run, his 'kinder' stance towards vermin is going to mean his mall is going to lose tenants. And without tenants, unless you can get the 'ants' to pay rent, he's going to need to rethink things.

But if he comes up with a way to get ant nests to relocate, short of chemical warfare, I'm all for him.


Monday, September 22
Why does the world hate us?
Why do they hate us?
>>>>Oh, why oh why do I ever read or speak anything politcally related? I was "fairly" happy before if informed. I'm afraid of learning the US has been playing the bully and everthing that's been happening lately is our own fault.<<<<

The US has been a bully on occasion. But, guess what, so has every other nation on earth. That is how nation states, even now, even in Europe, settle their differences. If you don't believe it, look at Chirac's comment about the Vilnius Eight and the development of the Frankenrein.

But the main reason that people (notably people in positions of power) throughout the world hate us has nothing to do with how our tourists are perceived or us "bullying" other countries, it is how our culture is perceived, primarily by the powerless. America is a beacon of hope throughout the world and our culture spreads itself like a virus. Why? I don't really know. Perhaps because we put so little fetter upon it and it expresses desires that are universal. Perhaps it is created by such a cultural polyglot that it's essentially catholic. Perhaps because we have the best marketing guys. I really don't know.

But look at the recent "op-ed" by one of the top Al-Qaeda guys. His description of why "America is the greatest threat to Islam of all time" makes you go want to go "YEAH! WHOOEEE! GO US!" (That is "Go us!") According to this guy, who is the senior Al Qaeda known to exist, we're a threat because we make life better on this earth so that people don't long to leave it. We're a threat because our women are free. We're a threat because our culture is so alluring. Because living the American way of life means always knowing when to say "I think somebody needs a hug." Or, for that matter, "somebody needs a brain transplant." And we don't care if we're talking about Joe Schmoe or President Bush or Osama Bin Laden.

Oh, and for some reason our military kicks ass. Saladin might have defeated the Crusaders, but ain't a field army in the middle east can do so much as slow down one of our brigades for more than a day.

Even to the elite of Europe, which is still run by an elite don't kid yourself, we are a threat. We are not run by an "elite" else we'd have Al Gore as a president (the choice of all the "right" people from the European perspective.) Because we are not run by an elite, our actions make no sense to them. They call us "cowboys."

(Digression follows... back to main theme...)

But I've digressed, badly. The reason that we are hated throughout the world can be found in that letter from probably the senior surviving Al Qaeda. Because we are a breath of goodness and freedom in a world that is run by little power elites. And by the spreading of our meme, our culture, our beliefs, we threaten the very fundamentals that they require to survive. That is why French academics hate us, because we have the audacity to ask them why none of their logic works. That is why German politicians hate us, because we point to the huge cracks appearing in their economy and culture and ask pointed questions they cannot answer because none of _their_ logic works. That is why Muslim extremists hate us, because we ask if their women really _need_ to wear burkas. And then we send a competent and hard as rock female general over to run our military police force. We send women Marines to SAUDI ARABIA, the very HEART AND SOUL OF ISLAM and when some jackass with a stick goes to beat them for showing their face in public, the female Marine takes the stick away and publicly beats them nearly to death. (True story.)

Because, in so many chaotic little ways, we threaten their beliefs, their faith, their power that is founded on belief and faith.

Because we are a deadly enemy to all they treasure. They sent us their poor, their tired, their huddled masses, and after a generation to feed back up they are coming back with blood in their fucking eyes.

And they have not yet found a way to even slow us down, much less stop us.

We're a virus. And we're killing them.
You know something? I'm rapidly getting to the point where I don't much care if we are liked - or even hated overseas. We tried being the sugar daddy, and we ended up with a bunch of spoiled brats demanding more and more. We tried being the nice guys - and got kicked in the nuts for it. The overall reason why they hate us is because our system WORKS.

And theirs doesn't.

And they KNOW this.

Mention is made of the armies in the ME. Arguably, Iraq was the model - the strongest, the best equipped, best trained (heh) and best motivated. (Hey, if a machine gun pointed at your back doesn't motivate you, what would?)

In Gulf War 1, they lasted barely 100 hours when the ground combat started. With a smaller force, we went further in Gulf War 2 and turned them into so many speedbumps. Slow us down? A bit. Stop us? Who you trying to kid?

They depend heavily on conscripts. Our force is an all-volunteer one. There isn't a single bit of war material that's made in the ME, except for AK-74 knockoffs. Tanks? None. Persionnel Carriers? None - even their pickups are imported. Aircraft? None. Missiles? Imported. Munitions? Maybe bullets are local - but even most of that is soviet surplus.

They're at the bottom of the military food chain, and they strut and preen like a 5-year old playing dressup. While we look on and smile and say, "That's nice. Yeah, you're scary." they take it to mean they can play with the grownups, both militarily and economically.

European armies aren't much better. They've depended so long on the US picking up the slack in a US-USSR confrontation that they're WAY behind on military spending and feilding the technology they've developed in useful amounts. Their spending went to social programs - and now those have become something they CANNOT cut back, and like a cancer they consume more and more of the state's resources. Things may have tipped too far, in fact - and they may never be able to get out of the spiral they've gotten themselves into.

So - if they want to hate us, that's fine with me. There doesn't seem anything we can do to prevent it. They'll hate us if we're weak and don't do anything, they'll hate us if we're strong and actually work to change the course of world events.

What the hell. Let's go for what WE think is better.


Thursday, September 18
On hallowed ground

You associate Dave Barry with touching humor.

This column's touching - but there's no humor to it at all.


From Lilek's Bleat today...

"Look. I'm a big-tent kinda guy. I’m willing to embrace all sorts of folk whose agendas may differ from mine, as long as we share the realization that there are many many millions out there who want us stone-cold bleached-bones dead. It’s the Andre the Giant philosophy, expressed in “Princess Bride”:

I hope we win.

That’s all. If you can agree with that without doing a Horshack twitch, intent on adding conditions - oh! oh! what about genetically modified soy? - then we understand each other. We know that we have many disagreements, but we agree: I hope we win. Oh, we can argue about every word in that four-syllable statement. But when it comes down to it all, we’re on the same page.

I hope we win.

Now let’s pick it apart. Who’s we? And what does win mean?

Every day I read a piece like the Strib edit. They all have an inescapable conclusion: Saddam should have been left in power. No, they don’t say that. Yes, the writers would surely insist that Saddam was a wretched tyrant, and the world is better off without him in power, BUT, Baghdad’s electricity service is now undependable. No, but. Yes, but. Perhaps, however. Perfection has not been achieved; the depredations of a three-decade nightmare have not been banished in six months, and that really is the issue, isn’t it. Sorry, what was your question again?

I went back to the editorial archives today, to see what was said around the time of the Dec 1998 “Desert Fox” campaign. (And let us just imagine the panic if the current administration started naming military operations after famous Nazi nicks.) As I trolled back and forth in the microfiche looking for the relevant piece, I was struck by the other things the chattering classes brayed five years ago. "Lift the sanctions" was a popular item. And why? Because it would show Saddam the world was serious about giving him one last chance. Okay, here’s your gun back. But if you shoot us we’re going to take it away. The naivety nearly makes you weep. These people didn’t want Saddam’s body bobbing ass-up in the Tigris. They wanted a world in which the fascist clique that ruled Iraq curtseyed and bowed in the lovely gavotte of international diplomacy. However many people died in Saddam’s gulags was irrelevant; what mattered was that the UN was Concerned, and that the Iraqi Ambassador - clad in a nice Western suit, skilled in many tongues, daubed with a Macy’s cologne - agreed to facilitate the process of calibrating the precise nature of the consquences of failing to live up to the spirit of the letter of the penumbra of the -

Ah, it’s noon; shalll we have lunch sent in, or have our drivers take us to the Village? I understand there is an excellent Tibetan restaurant that’s just opened.

The best case scenario in all the syndicated lift-the-sanction editorials left Saddam in power. Repeat: the best case scenario kept Saddam in power. Nevermind the misery he would wreak on his own people - and they were in the absolute sense of the world his people, his pawns, his possessions. Nevermind that this meant the continuation of the Ba’athist rule to the next generation - Dad kicks the bucket ten years later, and the sons take over. Twenty more years of rape camps and mass graves. More than enough time for the world to weary of peering through the keyhole and guessing what the shadows might be up to. They’d have nukes, eventually. Best case scenario.

Read the whole thing. And fer cryin' out loud - if you're of the bent that we shouldn't have intervened, try to kickstart those neurons in your head that have sat dormant for the last few years and think about this last bit...

In short: the same people who chide America for its short-attention span think we should have stopped military operations after the Taliban was routed. (And they quite probably opposed that, for the usual reasons.) The people who think it’s all about oil like to snark that we should go after Saudi Arabia. The people who complain that the current administration is unable to act with nuance and diplomacy cannot admit that we have completely different approaches for Iraq, for Iran, for North Korea. The same people who insist we need the UN deride the Administration when it gives the UN a chance to do something other than throw rotten fruit.

The same people who accuse America of coddling dictators are sputtering with bilious fury because we actually deposed one.
It's exceedingly easy to sit in an academic environment and try to make sense out of the real world. And making sense out of what you see on the internet - it's a game of averages. There's no absolutes, there's no 'right' answers for every sitiation. To think that the 'right' thing to do would be to leave Saddam alone ignores a lot of the facts brought up in Lileks' column today.

There comes a time when acting morally requires risks. There comes a time when undoing the mistakes of the past require significant effort. If, as some complain, we 'made' Saddam, then it was our responsibility and moral duty to 'unmake' him.

And we followed our duty, after 12 years of letting the UN show how ineffective it was.

Hey, the UN was a good idea. Could have worked, if it had been something more than a toothless debating society. In the end, the participants boiled down their participation in the UN to "What's best for me?" - not what was best for the world at large.


Thursday, September 11
And for something a bit lighter -

Napster's Back.



For a differing view on 9/11 - take a look at this little bit from...

Never Forgive...Never Forget...Never Again
On the second anniversary of 9-11, As-Sabeel Agency have released a flash movie exposing the true victims of terrorist attacks. Not for one day, not in just one country, but across the Ummah our children are being targetted in the War on Islaam. From East to West, their innocent bodies lie broken and for the most part, forgotten. Today many Muslims will be glued to their television sets, manipulated by the mass media to shed tears and perhaps partake in the obligatory "one minute's silence" for the September 11 attacks. However, this ummah has been silent for far more than a minute, and for far more victims than a few thousand. This Ummah has turned a blind eye and a cold heart to MILLIONS of children killed by America and her allies. From India, to Russia, to Britain, to Israel. Their religions and cultures may differ, but their aim is one: to destroy Islaam and its followers.
Take a look at the little movie that's linked there. You'll be impressed at how they're pushing child casualties as being DELIBERATE.

Pre 9/11 - the worst the Western World could be accused of regarding Islam was indifference. We really didn't care. Want to blow up statues? Well, it's your country. Want to kill women for not wearing a burqua? Oh, that's not nice, but it's your country. We'll accommodate a lot here in this country - and we didn't really care.

Hell. I didn't really care.

9/11 changed that. I'm looking at your religion now - I'm looking at Islam - and I'm not liking what I see.

You accuse us of intolerance. Yet your religion is so intolerant that you'd attempt to force everyone under shari'a law. We don't want it? You'll kill us - because YOU won't co-exist.

You accuse us of targeting children. Yet in the Palestinian idiocy, you give them rocks and tell them to throw them at Israeli soldiers. You love your children? In the West, we protect our children, not send them out to die.

You say you're stronger than us because you don't fear death. You fear, instead, being weak or being seen as weak. To avoid seeming weak, you bluster and boast and try to tear down that which makes you afraid.

You are weaklings, trying to hamstring the man who says you can be strong too - all you have to do is change what you're doing. Instead of sitting and complaining about your weakness, we say you can be strong too - and teach your children science and technology in our schools. You reject that, though. It's not your way. You hate us for saying that your weakness in the modern world is your own fault.

But you know it.

You feel it, like sand between your teeth. You breathe it. You smell it on you like the stench of defeat. You cheered the destruction of buildings taller than ANYTHING you could make, brought down by thieves stealing something else you couldn't produce on your own. You have parades of badly trained amd badly led soldiers - and they're armed with weapons and machinery you couldn't produce in a hundred years.

You have nothing we haven't sold you. Yet think yourselves strong.

You want to terrorize us - to bring us down to your sorry-ass third-world level. You want us to be destroyed - yet you don't realize that by trying to destroy us you sow the seeds of your complete destruction. At the least, you get no more technology from the west - and you can't replace what you have. At the worst - it's war to the knife, to the death of your culture or ours. And you don't have the resources to win that battle.

Do we have the heart to fight a battle like that? I don't know. But it's pretty clear from our history - when we've got to do an unpleasant job, we'll harden our hearts and do the job regardless of the cost - when the need is there, when the threat is there. And we're seeing in your own words what you're saying - and we believe you now when you say you hate us and wish to destroy the West. Dare we disbelieve your own words?

Viet-Nam didn't provoke the battle for survival. Neither has any other little skirmish since WW2. But look at what we did then - and think whether you're willing to go into that sort of war. We rolled over Saddam's army. We invaded with

We're pretty damn patient - but our patience is reaching it's limits and when that limit is reached you'll see the destruction you crave. But I'll give you fair warning - if you nuke LA or Washington, you can figure that Mecca and Medina will soon be destroyed.

For two years now, I've been looking for moderate Muslim voices. There's been a very, very few. A miniscule amount, compared to the noise coming from the immoderate ones. I WANT to believe there's a way to compromise. I WANT to believe that peace is possible.

And then I see shit like the above site. And I despair, because I believe in peace. You blame us for your own failures. You refuse to look at the governments in the ME, in the Arabic/Muslim theocracies, at the idiocy of your own rulers, at your own refusal to accept anything resembling responsibility for your own fates.

Fate, you think, is simply the hand of Allah.

If so - you might want to wonder why Allah has done what he has to you.


Wednesday, September 10
Tomorrow's September 11th.

Two years ago, the world was still 'normal'. Or as normal as it got. The Palestinians were seething and attacking Israel, and Israel was still trying to figure out some way to make a peace process work.

Two years ago, people didn't figure a hijacker would destroy himself and the plane. You cooperated with the hijacker, and waited for help. You were valuable to the hijacker, because he needed you alive to get what he wanted.

We know better now.

Two years ago, the Taliban had pretty well finished destroying Bhuddist statues carved into a mountain. Their regime was widely known as a hell for women. And the left didn't really care. Afghanistan? Who gave a shit about that pesthole? It wasn't important, they didn't have anything really worth trading for, so why pay attention to it?

Al Quaeda was making noises. We discounted them. After all, they were alway making noises, and this Osama Bin Laden character had been close to capture by Clinton - and let go. They weren't really important...

Two years ago, Saddam was still playing his games. And the left didn't really care, they were too busy painting George Bush as a bumbling idiot who couldn't walk and breathe at the same time.

Then 9/11 hit - and it all changed.

Saddam's dead or in deep cover. The Taliban are essentially broken - little more than a gang with AK-47s, being chased by the police and on the run, and a new government's emerging in Afghanistan.. Al Quaeda's a lot of talk and little action - occasionally claiming a bombing, then running like hell. GWB's proven to be a hell of a lot more capable than his detractors feared he might be - in fact, it might not be far wrong to say he's the best strategic mind we've had in the White House for some time.

And the world turned upside down.

We're seeing now in the ME the birth of two nations - a free Iraq and an Afghanistan that's finding out just what they want to be. That birth is accompanied (like many births) by a lot of blood and pain, and more than a little yelling.

We're seeing the Democratic Party, imo, dissolve into a pile of rubble. We don't need a party who's entrenched and battling for the status quo of 9/10 - the status quo changed on 9/11 and the Democrats haven't realized it. The majority of American people have, however, which makes the posturing by the current crop of candidates for the 2004 election look frantic and futile as they try to convince people that weakness is strength, the war was wrong, and that appeasing the dictators of this world is a way to get the US liked. They keep hammering on issues expecting reflexive agreement, like they could on 9/10. The hard core faithful still believe, like Pavlovian conditioned dogs - but the rest of us are looking at them and going "Ummm, okay - got anything relevant? Anything, oh, resembling an idea or plan? Or is 'GWB's a bumbling idiot' going to continue as the theme song?"

I fear we won't see much that they haven't had on display for the last two years.

The world has changed. And there's interesting, hopeful times ahead.

On this September 11th, remember back two years ago. And keep watching. The first breaths of a better world born in blood and pain are being taken, and we'll see what it grows up to be.


Tuesday, September 9

In Israel, suicide bombers target people waiting for busses, and a restaraunt.

Now - I realize that I'm terribly uncultured, and by some thought to be parochial - but I've got a REAL hard time figuring out how how this is supposed to increase my sympathy for the Palestinian cause. I'd have a hell of a lot more respect for them if they heaved out Arafat (who, if you look at his record, has been REAL bad for the Palestinians ever since their days in Jordan) and STOPPED Hamas from bombing the people that they have to get the land from in order to establish a Palestinian state.

And while we're at it, why won't Egypt or Syria or Saudi offer them land?

This is a rhetorical question - all you've got to do is look at the Palestinian record in Jordan and Lebanon and you'll see why. It's the equivalent of inviting a family of pathological arsonists to live in your neighborhood. They KNOW what sort of trouble they'll get if they invite the Palestinians in. And they don't want any of it.

And I can't say I blame them.


Thursday, September 4
Found this through Instapundit -
Of Marines, an urn and a thoughtful deed - San Diego Union-Tribune

For those without relatives in the military, war news can become a blur of daily press briefings and TV news reports. For Teri Merickel, the conflict got up close and personal during a flight from Chicago. She walked aboard her United plane to San Diego behind a Marine captain who was with a young woman. The officer was carrying what appeared to Merickel to be a beautiful trophy in his arms. The two passengers were seated directly across the aisle from her. Merickel admired the "trophy" but didn't have a chance to ask what it was because another passenger quickly came back from the first-class cabin and invited them to come up to that section. After they moved, the passenger returned and took one of the empty seats. He started sobbing.

After a few moments he composed himself, apologized to Merickel and explained: He, too, was a Marine en route home from Iraq. He informed her that the beautiful "trophy" she had seen was actually carrying the remains of a fallen Marine. The wife of the deceased and the urn were being escorted home by the officer.

The story doesn't end there. Merickel soon learned that the fellow who had done this good deed was returning home to San Diego on a brief 26-hour turnaround for the first time in nearly a year.

His 9-year-old daughter had saved all her money to help buy a first-class ticket for her dad. But when he saw the grief-stricken widow and her Marine escort sitting in coach seats, he asked a flight attendant if he could give his seat to the woman, and if the captain could take the empty seat next to it.

When the plane touched down, the pilot announced that a fallen Marine was aboard. Everyone was silent and the passengers remained in their places while the widow and her escort disembarked. As Merickel said goodbye, she asked the Marine passenger next to her if he was going to tell his daughter he gave up his first-class seat.

He thought and then softly replied, "Maybe someday."
And you contrast that with a self-centered twit of a high-school demoted cheerleader suing her school for 'irreparable harm'.

She has no idea.


Tuesday, September 2
Wow. Who'd think this article would be so popular? It's generated a lot of hits here - I appreciate the traffic! Would you like some nude cheerleader photos with that also? (Hey, I'll run hits up any way I can.) I don't have any of those, however. - News - Demoted Cheerleader Sues High School:
"A Westmoreland County cheerleader is taking her school to court, claiming a demotion has irreparably harmed her.

Southmoreland High senior Felicia Huffine (pictured, left) was named an alternate on the school cheerleading squad, prompting her mother to file a lawsuit on her behalf in county court.
The suit says Huffine was given permission to skip a cheerleading camp but was then demoted for missing it. The suit also seeks to have Huffine reinstated to her earlier status as a cheerleader.

The school's solicitor said that Huffine was not excused from camp. The solicitor also said the school plans to fight the lawsuit in court next week. "
Well, well, well. Irreparable harm for being demoted to an alternate cheerleader...

That girl (or her mother, it's hard to say whether the girl would have done this without the urging of the mom) is going to have a hard time dealing with what life tosses at her, imo. Will she sue if she gets fired or laid off from a job? Will she sue boyfriends when she gets dumped? What about when she gets out of high school and people won't really care whether she was a cheerleader or not?>
I predict a long and litigious life for this girl and her parents - at least, litigious until they find someone with deep pockets who'll countersue and take their assets to the cleaners.

Irreparable harm. Heh. That's a good one.


Thinking about sat radio?

Take a look at this link - Consumer's Guide to Sat Radio Choice.

You may have been wondering what referred to. I was just storing that for a bit till I could do a proper post.


Monday, September 1 - Israel vows 'all-out war' on Hamas - Sep. 1, 2003:
"Israel on Monday declared an 'all-out war' against Hamas and said it is freezing diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority unless the Palestinian leadership takes 'tangible steps to deal with infrastructures of terror.' "
It's about time, I think.

It's been pretty clear that Hamas and the PA have had no incentive to really crack down on terrorism. And it's not like they've really got a reason to. The day the Palestinians get a state, that's the day the authority of the PA, Hamas, and Araftat gets severely curtailed, if not eliminated completely.

And they know this.

So, when it comes time to crack down on the terrorists, they look the other way as long as they can. They think the more the terrorists work, the easier it'll be for them to get a state. They don't realize that their statehood chances walked out when Arafat walked out of the negotiations years back.

Let's see if they've realized that Israel's not playing around any more, and the 'cult of the victim' they've been pushing for years as the lot of the Palestinian has pretty well worn out it's welcome in the real world.

J. - Jesse Jackson Arrested in Labor Day March on Yale Campus:Jesse's getting desperate, it would seem. Supporting service and clerical workers? At YALE?

Man, he's pushing for relevance, isn't he?
"NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Rev. Jesse Jackson (search) and 13 other people were arrested Monday after they blocked traffic on the Yale University campus in support of striking university service and clerical workers.

Jackson led more than 1,000 people on a Labor Day march and rally in support of the striking workers before he was arrested.

'This is the site of national Labor Day outrage,' Jackson said. 'This is going to be for economic justice what Selma was for the right to vote.'"
Okay, Jesse - define "economic justice". It's a good catchphrase, but what does it MEAN? What are these poor workers getting paid? $15 an hour or so?

Look, Jesse - you've got to get it clear here. There's relevance, and then there's relevance. Sure, "economic justice" sounds good, but sounding good doesn't mean ANYTHING.

Oh, wait... "Yale officials say their latest eight-year contract offer is generous, with pay raises of 3 percent to 5 percent, pension benefit increases and signing bonuses worth 50 percent of pay raises they would have received dating back to January 2002, when the last contract expired."

Oh, the horror. How unfair. How distressing. So, Jessie, what's 'Economic Justice" here? Caving to the unions?



On occasion, I rather despair when I look at what seems to be a lit bomb in the Islamic world, with the fuses of the fundamentalist mullahs seeming to get shorter and shorter.

Then I get a look at a blog like User's, and believe there's hope - that the mullahs will be restrained by the reasonable folks in Islam. His blog's a good read - I recommend it.


Regarding Method dish soap - I got a bottle, tried it...

Eh. I'm going back to Palmolive. Neat bottle, doesn't smell too bad, but it doesn't do as good a job, IMO.