John Lemon is now a proud member of Command Post. A place where you can get all your war blog breaking news. I'm still going to Disneyland, despite this post, and despite being all over the blogosphere leaving my mark on everybody else's blog.
Loyal readers and newcomers! Just as I get mentioned on "What's New on Yahoo: Social Science," and may get a few more hits, I must leave you all for a week to go on vacation in So. Cal with my family, which includes a spunky 3-year old. As such, I will not be posting for about a week. Scroll down and check out the archives for some great thoughts, not all related to the war. And for you new folks, check out "Regime Change in South Dakota" and "Ironton Little League" -- two entries influenced by ScrappleFace.
While I will have my laptop, I doubt that I will be posting during my vacation. Why? I repeat, I'm going to Disneyland with a 3-year old.
Check back March 30 for new postings and musings on my trip. In the meantime, check out my Blogging Buddies in the Blogroll.
I don't know if anyone was listening to Ari Fleischer's March 20th news conference, but I must give him great credit for being the world's most patient man. Some of the questions were so unbelievably stupid and most obviously aimed at discrediting the president.
After Ari mentioned that Pres. Bush will be in Camp David this weekend, one reporter asked if he would be able to stay in touch! She must have assumed that the president doesn't have access to phones, etc. Another reporter (though it may have been the same one) asked if Bush was watching the bombing of Baghdad on TV. The obvious subtext of this question was whether he was horrified by the destruction like the "rest of us." Fleischer was at his best answering this, noting that Bush doesn't watch much TV. Good. He's our president. He has other things to do now.
The other unbelievable question was whether President Bush was trying to distance himself from the war. Unreal! Yes, yes he is. Ssssshhhh, don't anybody tell; maybe the "Arab street" will think that all those soldiers were ordered in by Chiraq.
Many reports at various news sites on the web about protesters blocking traffic and being a nuisance in general. Intereseting to note their numbers are way down (with the most likely factor being that it is a weekday, not a weekend...apparently some of those former hippies and aarchist malcontents have jobs). I don't think they realize how much damage they are doing to their own cause in the long term with this juvenile behavior. Indeed, they may only be rallying the undecided around Bush and the GOP. Good.
Any students out there, that would be an interesting study to conduct.
OTB gets a big mention at InstaPundit and his ratings spike, easily surpassing MSNBC's Hardball and Aaron Brown Tonight. It is well deserved. James at OTB has a very well written bit on what it was like being a soldier during the first Gulf War. Much, much, much more informative than anything you will ever get from Nick Robertson in the field with his satellite phone (at least to this point).
I'm not sure which adjective is correct, but I found the "live from the field" reporting on all the major new channels last night to be highly annoying. It was humorous that each news outlet had "EXCLUSIVE" blazing across the screen. Yeah, each was exclusive from a different site, but nobody was bringing anything interesting to the table.
As someone who is a TV news junke, especially a "crisis news" junkie (i.e., news that repeats the same info ad nauseum without commercial breaks -- such as during earthquakes), I admit that I turned off the tube and went to bed early.
My biggest annoyance, though, is that I just kept thinking about how much the reporters were in the way. If the going gets tough, do you jettison the MRE supply first, or the reporter? My vote is with the reporter.
The ONLY conservative columnist at the UC-Davis student newspaper, The California Aggie, has been fired. Why?
[Editor-in-chief Fitzgerald] Vo cited several reasons for [coumnist Igor] Birman’s unexpected dismissal in his termination notice, including “increasingly tighter spaces in the Aggie” and the “dryness in your column’s tone.” “I have told you several times that I would like to hear more of your voice in your columns, but that seems to be muddled in a lot of similarly versed right-wing rhetoric that I have heard before,” Vo wrote to Birman. “Again, I would like a unique perspective, and you don’t seem to provide it.”
Let me repeat. Birman was the ONLY conservative columnist at the paper, but was fired for not being unique. John Lemon will put the Aggie under the microscope to see how "unique" the left-wing columnists are.
He demanded an apology when he thought Bush questioned his patriotism. Now, with Iraq firing SCUDS, which they aren't supposed to have, it seems as if Bush was right about the course of diplomacy. Those SCUDS were not going to be destroyed under Blix. Iraq officials knew where they were (how else would they know to fire them) and weren't declaring them. Diplomacy was not gonna cut it.
I'm waiting, Tom.
P.S. While I've contributed a great deal to the GOP in my home state, I think John Thune might just get a check from me.
Loyal reader Richard Nieporent had the following comment on the phone call exchange on KVI Radio -- noted below.
If anyone still has the slightest doubt about the bankruptcy and the duplicity of the Left, they must listen to that exchange. You could feel the righteous indignation emanating from the voice of the Iraqi man. You could also hear the confusion and fear in the voice of that "little girl" whose lies were exposed for all to see.
Oh, that poor little Leftist. She did not expect to be confronted by someone who personally experienced the evil of Saddam Hussein and who knew that it must be ended by any means possible. She had memorized her lines well, "we are for peace and justice", but they no longer had any power to influence anyone. There were no gullible fools around to believe these lies. There were no useful idiots to unquestioningly accept them without examining the motives of the person spouting them.
You could almost feel sorry for her, hearing her nervous laugh. You could almost see the flop sweat appearing on her brow. Her mind is racing. She is trying to think of something to say that can save her. The words she was taught to parrot are no longer working. What do I say, what do I do? This is not supposed to happen. The fools are supposed to believe me.
I was actually cheering when I heard that tape. Maybe, just maybe, a few of the useful idiots will open their eyes and see that the anti-American Left has nothing to offer other than lies and deception.
Great comment Richard. And my apologies on any problems with Backblog.
Let's say I have 1 apple in a barrel (no fish). Now let's say I add 34 apples to that one apple. Feelings aside, how many apples are now in the barrel?
B) Thirty five, but really only one since the first apple was kinda big.
C) Thirty five, but really only one since the first apple will swallow the other apples.
D) Thirty five.
If you answered D, you are correct. If you answered either A, B, or C, then you are a reporter for CNN. Christiane Amanpour -- objective reporter, husband of Clinton appointee Jamie Rubin and outspoken critic of President Bush -- had to keep making the point that the US has not overseas suppport for its war while broadcasting from Kuwait today. Apparently, she still hasn't looked up "unilateral" in the dictionary.
Joseph Biden -- Democratic Senator from Delaware and noted plagiarist -- was interviewed by Peter Jennings today. Biden had the usual blah, blah to say about supporting the president and the troops, etc. But Jennings then tossed him what seemed to be a hanging curve right in Biden's strike zone. Jennings asked about the cost of the war. Biden, of course, launched into a canned response about "massive tax cuts" and used that term at least three times.
Joseph, if you are listening, let me remind you: Even with the Bush tax cut, which will likely spur economic growth (even after controlling for the effects of the end of the Iraq war), the projected deficit will still be under the 3% of GDP threshhold necessary for entrance into the EU. That means that we can meet EU standards for deficits with lower tax rates! How many times do I have to say this!! You should be on board with this given your affinity for Neil Kinnock.
I am officially coining a new term -- Rumsmanship -- to define a new, brash and honest way of dealing with the news media. Today's news conference was brilliant, as usual. Here are my two favorite moments:
Teaching a reporter how to count (remember, reporters tend to think unilateral = 35):
Q: Mr. Secretary, two quick ones, if I may. Did you have information --
Rumsfeld: With all this crowd, why don't we just try one?
Q: All right. You said a leadership compound was struck. Did you have information Saddam might have been there?
And quickly, there are also reports from southern Iraq that oil fires have begun. Is there any information that the Iraqis might have begun setting their oil fields on fire?
Rumsfeld: I thought we agreed on just one.
Q: All right, let's go with the oil one.
And reminding reporters they are not as informed as they think they are:
Q: Mr. Secretary, at the White House last night, a senior White House official after the president spoke said that the decision to make the strike was made some time between 6:30 and 7:00 Eastern time. It's apparent that that decision to strike was not in line with what we have been led to believe about the war plan. Was the intelligence you got fragile enough where you felt you had to go at that moment and not start with, say, shock and awe or some other phase of the war?
Rumsfeld: Well, Dick, calibrate me, but the first thing I'd say is I don't believe you have the war plan -- (laughter) -- a fact which does not make me unhappy. (Laughter.)
There was one more exchange that was classic, but it is much better in audio than in print because of Rummy's quick and sharp-witted answers:
Q: Mr. Secretary, what evidence do you have that it's actually working, that there are actually Iraqis who are heeding this call to --
Rumsfeld: We have evidence.
Q: And what sort of evidence is that?
Rumsfeld: Good evidence.
A tip o' the hat in thanks to OTB for linking to this post.
Could there be any more irrelevant person on the face of the planet now than Kofi Annan? Even Chiraq and Blixed-up are more relevant, if not interesting to watch for their own self-immolation. But Annan showed absolutely no, none, zero, zippo, nada leadership in the UN over the past several months. Even John Lemon is more relevant than Kofi Annan.
But CNN seems to think he is still important. Indeed, it appears as if they were the only major news station to feature his little speech where he said the UN would do all to help the Iraqi people -- a little late now, Kofi, we're doing it for you. Oh, I know, you want your little blue helmets to deliver humanitarian relief so you can get the warm fuzzies about helping, but that ain't gonna cut the mustard anymore. While the Iraqis will need food and medicine, they need freedom more and we just sent them a great big care package.
CNN also followed this speech up with "negative" world reaction. Maybe CNN can hire Kofi as a correspondent or anchor when he gets laid off. I can see him signing off, "This is Kofi Annanymous reporting for CNN-imosity."
"You're so vain, I bet you think this war is about you. You're so vain, I bet you think this war is about you, don't you, don't you?"
Wasn't it odd that Saddam (?) read his speech off of a note pad, and it was mostly just "God is Great, etc." (I guess there are no atheists in foxholes. That's Pascal's Wager for you.) It would seem that the kind of rhetoric we saw could be done extemporaneously. Methinks that wasn't Saddam. Methinks Saddam is not doing well right now.
Also interesting how "Saddam's" last words were "Long live jihad. Long live Palestine." Granted, he mentioned much about the glory of Iraq, but for a non-devout Iraqi leader, these words sounded more like "Hey, I'm going down with the ship now. Could all of you folks in lifeboats out there cause some turmoil in my name."
This just in from UPI. A National Security Council staffer supposedly resigned because the Iraq war is hindering efforts in the war on terror. This after only two weeks ago we captured the #2 guy in al Qaeda and he is apparently singing like a bird.
The US isn't losing the war on terror. The newspapers are losing their war against the war on terror.
[Now of course I'm not a military strategist, but my miniscule presence in the blogosphere does give me the right to spew all sorts of fancy theories. Tom Daschle does the same and he's only a Senator.]
Imagine this is how it was planned.
The US was able to get through to a Republican Guard (RG) leader via cell phone. (I have it on good source that we have been calling them on their cell phones for the past 2-3 weeks asking them to surrender and telling them we know how to get to them.)
The RG reported to us the location of Saddam, Uday and the rest of the top Ba'ath Party leadership (plus any uncooperative RGs).
Bush lets the Tomahawks fly killing the top leaders (Fox News is reporting the top 5 leaders, which would include Saddam, were being tracked).
Within hours, key members of the RG surrender and tell all Iraqi troops to stand down. US troops roll in with only the lightest resistance.
The war ends with maybe 100 - 150 Iraqi casualties, and just a few US casualties.
Tom Daschle, Pete Stark, Marcy Kaptur and Jim McDermott resign their posts.
The anti-war movement fizzles. People stop falling off of bridges and chaining themselves to agricultural lobbies.
During the Oscars, Susan Sarandon can only ask why no one ever sees her movies anymore.
And next month, President Bartlett loses his election.
Oh, wouldn't it be nice...baaa ba ba ba oh, baby! Sleep tight, oh baby!
My fellow citizens, events in South Dakota have now reached the final days of decision. For more than twenty-four months, the White House and other branches of government have pursued patient and honorable efforts to pass legislation and nominate federal judges. The South Dakotan regime pledged to work in bipartisan cooperation as a result of the 2000 election.
Since then, the South Dakota regime has engaged in 12 months of obstructionism. We have nominated more than a dozen judges in the United States Senate. We have sent hundreds of inspectors to oversee the November 2002 elections in Pierre. Our good faith has not been returned.
The South Dakotan regime has used politics as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied logic and consistency in all facets of policy. Over the past few months, radio talk show hosts have been slandered by South Dakotan officials, bugged the US population, and systematically deceived gullible New York Times’ reporters. Peaceful efforts to shut up the South Dakotan regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with a rational man.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the South Dakotan regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most annoying weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass deception against South Dakota’s neighbors and against South Dakota’s people.
The other 49 United States did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.
Another troubling story, this from Sky News -- Britain's answer to CNN. It claims that the French will back the US if Saddam uses chemical and biological weapons. This is obviously an attempt for France to get out of the corner it painted itself in.
Now this may be an attempt to deter Saddam from using CBWs, but that would imply that he already has them. But weren't the French just arguing that the threat posed by Iraq's CBWs is nonexistent, or at least minimal. If the French are trying to deter CBWs, they are implicitly undercutting their previous arguments.
And how do the French know that Saddam might have CBWs? Is it perhaps because they sold such weapons to them?
Most troubling is that if Chiraq is trying to save face after having botched his diplomacy (pay attention Tom), he would want to be involved in the military operation, which would also mean that he would be hoping for exactly this kind of trigger. In other words, to save himself, Chiraq is likely hoping that Saddam does use CBWs. Now that is just plain sick. Pass the Freedom Fries, won't you?
The Vatican said on Tuesday countries that decide to wage war on Iraq without a global consensus must take responsibility before God and history -- making clear the Pope would not endorse their actions.
So let's get this straight. If world opinion was for going to war, including nations that are devoutly opposed to religion (e.g., China) then God would give the green light. However, if world opinion is against the war, then God will sit in judgement of President Bush.
Notice that this completely leaves the actions of Saddam Hussein out of the equation. Just War Theory takes into account the actions of people/governments that perpetrate morally reprehensible acts against humanity. Just war theory does not ask for a vote. The Vatican's statement is not Just War Theory, it is just theoretically stupid.
In anticipation that millions of people will be rushing to the Barrel of Fish for my thoughts about Mr. Bush's speech, all I can say is that it was brilliant and bold. Highlights:
* I loved the "there will be no 'I was just following orders' excuse."
* I loved the slamming of France, both recently and for its (and others') appeasement in the 20th century.
* I loved the wake-up call to dictators in the Middle East (Iraq will be an example).
* I did not like the 48 hours, but can see how it was necessary. We said we were entering either peacefully after Saddam leaves, or forcefully if he doesn't. (My question, though, is where will Saddam go and with his millions if not billions of dollars, do we want him anywhere but 6 feet under?)
* Why did we just expel people associated with Iraqi intelligence. Why didn't we put them under a bulldozer?
An interesting essay brought to my attention by Right Wing News. To give you a teaser, the title of the essay is, "An Excopolitical Perspective on the Preemptive War against Iraq." Exopolitics refers to extraterrestial influence in political affairs. Seriously.
Responding to reports that Stephen Daldry, director of "The Hours," would deliver an anti-war speech if he wins an Oscar, President Bush's closest advisors have urged the president to adopt a similar strategy in the conflict with Iraq.
"We at the White House realize how important and influential the arts community is," Ari Fleischer said at a hastily called press conference Sunday. "Since these folks are portraying people in difficults situations on screen, and since most of these situations get resolved well, we figured they must have some expertise in foreign policy. However, we are still committed to toppling Saddam Hussein."
Fleischer continued, "With this in mind, President Bush has asked me to tell all of you that he is going to invade Iraq if he is not given an Oscar by the end of the month."
French minister Dominique de Villepinhead, a man by his own admission, immediately condemned Mr. Bush and promised a veto, based upon advice from Roman Polanski. It was not clear when pressed by questions what the French were planning to veto, but Mr. Villepinhead was insistent that this was the only way to preserve international peace.
True and funny story. At a recent academic conference, I was sitting in the hotel restaurant enjoying the buffet (I love hotel breakfast buffets). Next to me were a group of 3 scholars. Being alone , I couldn't help but listen in. Here are the highlights of what was said. Realize that what they were saying was sincere; this wasn't a joke. And these scholars were in their late 40s at least, so they should know better.
* One of the scholars did not know she would be charged for making long-distance calls from her hotel room. [Hmmmm...get a cell phone, eh?]
* A direct quote in reference to a discussion about how culture affect us: "People don't choose words, their words choose them." [Bonus prize for anyone who can tell me what that actually means in a manner that is rational and coherent.]
* They asked if they could split an "all-you-can-eat" buffet. Seriously. The waitress had to explain that it doesn't quite work that way, and they seemed surprised.
* In reference to how well a class was going, one professor said "the non-feminists won't do well." [Now there's a class I would like to teach; one where I can turn in the grades without having to do any grading.]
* They didn't leave a tip, in cash or on the bill. [Power to the People!]
A rather reliable source has revealed that Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, is regretting off-the-cuff remarks he made about Jim Sensenbrenner and the national Amber alert bill winding through Congress and likely to be passed in just a few days (if it hasn't already.