Sean LaFreniere

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Sean's Political Dictionary
So that YOU know what SEAN is talking about when he opens his big mouth:



Date: 1831. From Latin conservare, for "to keep", "guard", or "observe". A Conservative relies upon family traditions and figures of authority to establish and maintain values. 

A Conservative puts group security above personal freedoms. 

A Conservative believes that successful use and maintenance of power proves God's favor for the government. 

A Conservative believes that social values, religious rules, and forms of governments may only be altered gradually. 

Stability and continuity are the goals of government.



Date: 1820. From Latin liberalis for "free". A Liberal uses reason and logic to set personal, social, and religious values. 

A Liberal places personal freedom above group security. 

A Liberal believes that governments rule by the consent of the governed. 

A liberal believes that governments may be changed or removed at the will of the people.  

A Liberal supports rapid change in the pursuit of progress and reform.

Freedom and Justice are the goals of government.


Note: a nation, and an individual, may move back and forth between these positions often. They rarely sum up a personality completely. And they should never be permanent blinders for anyone to view the world.

When a people succeed in a Liberal revolution, for instance, they often find themselves in the Conservative position protecting these gains. Similarly a person might have a Liberal view on public financial assistance and then move into a conservative position once these demands are met.

One might say that Affirmative Action is a prime example. At one point instituting Affirmative Action was a Liberal position, it was needed to reverse decades of discrimination following the end of Slavery. However, today the Liberal position might well be the ending of Affirmative Action, as it has largely completed its task and now stands as a stumbling block to truly moving the nation beyond race as a discriminatory trait. Meanwhile, the position of defending AA is now actually a Conservative stance (whether its so-called "liberal" defenders realize it or not).

Another way to think about this is that these terms describe a way of thinking about issues, not the positions on those issues. That is a Conservative might support a war because politicians they respect urge it, because the enemy scares them, and ultimately because it just "feels right". A Liberal might also come to support the war in spite of the position of authority figures and celebrities, not because it feels right, but because hours of research and consideration support the cause.

Neither is a "better way" of coming to a position, necessarily. Sometimes too much thinking interferes with a solid moral judgment, such as on the Abortion issue. And then other times only rational examination can skip over the emotional baggage and come to the most reasonable decision, as we see in the Abortion issue.

I realize this might be difficult for some people to accept after a long time of hearing party dogma on the issue. Personally I find value in BOTH positions. On some issues I am myself rather Conservative and on others I am quite Liberal. The same with the terms Radical and Reactionary, noted below. I found that stepping beyond these labels opened up my thoughts and cleared my head of a lot of bs.



Date: 1840. From Latin reagere for "to act". A Reactionary uses government pressure as a means of containing and responding to changes in society.



Date: 14th century. From Latin radicalis from radix for "root". A Radical supports social movements and political pressure groups as a means of affecting change in government.


The Right:

Date: early modern. The term comes from  English Parliamentary Rules; which place the party in power on the right of the Speaker. As the Conservatives held sway for a long time, the term Right came to be associated with the "Establishment" and thus with Conservative politics.


The Left:

Date: early modern. The party in Opposition sits on the Speaker's left. The Left came to be associated with labor movements, the lower classes, and socialist politics. It has also come to be associated with Liberalism. This was useful for Conservative politicians, and Socialists as well, during the 60's. But I find this to be a big intellectual and political mistake.


Capitol Goods:

Date: circa 1639. From the French from Latin capitalis for "top", used in French for "principal" or "chief". (1) : a stock of accumulated goods; especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income



Date: 1877. An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market



Date: 1837. From Latin socialis for "friend" or "companion" or "associate". Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; usually there is no private property; in Marxist theory this is also considered just a transitional stage between capitalism and communism and it is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.



Date: 1840. From French communisme, from Latin communis for "common". A doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. It is the final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably. In its only examples of practical application, in the USSR, China, and Cuba it became a totalitarian system where a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production and the people are enslaved in production geared to support the power of this party.


Note: in Marxist theory these three systems represent a sliding scale, with Capitalism on the Right, Socialism in the middle, and Communism on the Left. A nation was supposed to move from one to the other over time. However, in practice few systems in the world have ever been purely one or the other. Most national economic models employ some of all three.

While the US and Europe are considered the paragons of Capitalism, they both retain many Socialist elements. Both the US and Europe offer state sanctioned monopolies of public utilities. The American Postal Service is a state owned enterprise, as are the European aerospace entities. Europe offers state run healthcare, as do many American states, and both regulate the health industry heavily.

Through out history Europe and the US have also held some Communist elements. The common grazing lands of town centers and the great unfenced Western plains were both representative of these traditions. One might say that Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Dole are also holdovers from our more communal days.

On the other hand, while China has long been a paragon of Socialism / Communism, it still has many elements of free enterprise. They allow small farmers and craftsmen to sell excess production on the open market, they have private telecoms and industrial companies, and now they have a stock market, the ultimate symbol and apparatus of Capitalism.

When one system or the other fails to serve a nation, many proponents argue that actually the system simply was not implemented purely enough. However, attempts to purify these systems require a heavy hand in government, education, and economic practice. And this has led to oppressive regimes and brutalized citizens.



Date: 1576. From Greek dEmokrati, from demos "people" + kracy "rule". A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections; usually accompanied by the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges.



Date: 1604. From Latin respublica; from res "thing" + publica "of the people". A government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who is elected by popular vote.


Note: that the root of the word Democracy is Greek, while the root of the word Republic is Latin. These terms are NOT antithetical, they do not even derive from the same language.

In common use they both have come to describe types of Liberal governments, specifically the one is a type of the other. It is possible for a nation to be a Democracy, but NOT also a Republic. However, a nation that is a Republic is ALWAYS also a Democracy. A Republic is a TYPE of Democracy.

The UK is a Democracy, but not a Republic, because of the Queen. Ireland became a Republic only after it dropped from the Commonwealth and replaced the Queen with an elected President



Date: 1921 From Latin fascis for "bundle" or group. Last, but not least, is this term, which actually combines the economic system and the political system entirely. In this system the state and large corporations merge, the rights of the individual are subordinated to the glory of the State, and all dissent is suppressed. It often utilizes a racial or religious cause to motivate the people into giving up their rights in the first place. These states usually rise out of an economic collapse or hardship with high inflation and unemployment.

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Monday, March 31, 2003

How Many Rich Communists Does It Take To... fail in a protest?

Buenos Aires, Argentina

This month we have seen the advent of a new form of peace protest . It involves the citizens of relatively wealthy democracies taking full advantage of their civil rights to protest the Allied effort to bring these rights to others.

The protest method is called a "die in". Under this model a bunch of Lefties put on their most worn out pair of Guess jeans and Banana Republic t-shirts and spread soy based ketchup on their shirtfronts and lie down pretending to be dead. Idealy they would "play dead" in the middle of Broadway in NY City, mere blocks from Ground Zero.

The idea is to stop business as usual in an attempt to wake up the public. Ostensibly this message will be heard by frustrated commuters and stymied shoppers. These upset citizens will turn to their elected representatives and demand that we bring our troops home. And Peace and Justice will have been served, in the American Way.

A recent article reposted by Common Dreams explains these new protests.

Aaron Unger, one of the coordinators of the protest for a group calling itself the M-27
Coalition, said demonstrators broke the law to drive home a point.

"We believe the war against Iraq is a violation of international law," Unger said.

"And the media is not telling people the whole story. I know people see what we're doing as a nuisance. But what's happening to the people of Iraq is much more than a nuisance."

"We believe extraordinary measures are required," said Kim Flynn, a spokeswoman for the M-27 Coalition. "We feel compelled to act out of conscience."

I want to make it clear that I support the exercise of Free Speech. After 9-11 I paid a visit to my local Army recruiter. Later I was at a party and one of my good friends complained about protestors against the Afghan campaign. I reminded him that I was willing to fight, and die, and kill to protect the right of those people to complain about the mission.

Making a nuisance seems fine to me, so long as these people are willing to accept responsibility for "civil disobedience", by that I mean going to jail and paying fines. But I would suggest that annoying people usually drives them AWAY from your position. So, I have to wonder why they choose this method of communication.

An article from the Green Left gives us insight into the motivations of the protestors.

United for Peace and Justice [is] the coalition responsible for calling the massive February [protests].

San Francisco was the site of the largest demonstrations, with activists blockading streets and buildings. The intense emotions of protesters... led [them to confrontations with police and] literally thousands of activists being arrested.

Many activists chose sites representing the government or staged sit-ins to disrupt traffic in major cities. "I like the idea of shutting down commerce and the city to counteract Bush's economic motives for this war", said Eric Anholt, 19, of Portland.

And in Detroit, one woman stated her reasons for demonstrating were to protest the existence of an economic draft, citing the disproportionate numbers of minorities who enlist in the armed forces as the only means of supporting themselves and their family.

"We're outraged", said San Diego resident Steven Skoczen. "We have a government that is making a war on Iraq against the will of the United Nations, people worldwide and the people of this country. It's unjust. It's immoral."

Jennifer Abu-Awad expressed her frustration at the lack of attention from the Bush administration to the mass of people taking to the streets: "Bush may not consider us important enough to pay attention to, but the rest of the world will."

"People are just upset. They don't want this war and Bush won't listen", protester Margaret Jackson said.

Eric has accepted the common wisdom of his clique that a war conducted by Bush has economic motives, automatically. But events as major as a war usually have great numbers of motivating factors. Any one of these does not necessarily overrule the others. Let us accept that there IS an economic motivation. This doesnt change the fact that Saddam Hussein is a monster and that the Iraqi people are his slaves. I think playing political football with war is dispicable. Hoping to harm the US economy as a way of "getting back" at Bush is a disgusting abuse of the people who are impacted by both sides of the issue.

The unnamed woman from Detroit cites issues of social justice for her protest. She claims that minorities enlist in a disproportionate number and are thus being sent to war unfairly. However, the recent surveys have found that poor whites are much more represented in the Army. Not to mention it appears that black enlistees are much more likely to pursue vocational training and to utilize military service as a steppingstone to economic and social achievement after service. Black soldiers become officers at a greater rate than whites. When it comes to war, black soldiers are far more likely to serve in highly trained rear echelon, command, and support roles while white soldiers make up far more of the front lines.

Steven claims that the war is "against the will of the United Nations, people world wide, and the people of this country". Steven has overlooked the fact that the UN authorized the first Gulf War, set the terms of the cease fire, and passed dozens of resolutions over the last 12 years in an attempt to bring Saddam into compliance with these rules. Meanwhile, it is a fact that the majority of nations represented in the UN are not liberal democracies and do not elect their governments or their UN representatives. On the other hand, we DO have open elections in the US, and frequent private pollings, and it is a fact that the President enjoys over 60% approval ratings covering this war. Steven also overlooks a point that he makes himself... marching in the streets, attacking police officers, and destroying public property is widely held by Americans to be immoral, illegal, and just plain wrong; but this didn't stop Steven.

Meanwhile, Jennifer must not be aware that the majority of Earth's residents do not have free and open access to media, news, and information. Only the citizens of other Liberal Democracies might notice her protests and a majoprity of these people disagree with her. Poor Margaret puts her finger directly on the issue: some people dont want this war, indeed, but polls show that a majority of other people do. What really bothers Margaret, and others, is that Bush didn't listen to her group.

If the peace movement was not able to influence enough people to stop the war before it started, then what is the aim of their protests now? Why do they protest the Allied effort to remove dictator Saddam Hussien, but have largely been silent for the last 30 years of his rule? Why is it a moral duty to protest against the removal of tyrants and the furtherence of Democracy?

These activists are being marshaled by shadowy umbrella organizations. They cite tired rhetorical arguments and engage in antisocial behavior. The arguments are bogus and the tactics are counter productive. So, just what are the umbrella organizations up to?

New Mexico

An article by David Horrowitz on Front Page Magazine gives us some clues.

[At a recent Colombia University peace rally Professor] De Genova [asserted]: "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

This was a reference to the ambush of U.S. forces by an al-Qaeda warlord in Somalia in 1993. The Americans were there on a humanitarian mission to feed starving Somali Muslims. The al-Qaeda warlord was stealing the food and selling it on the black market. His forces killed 18 American soldiers and dragged their bodies through the streets in an act designed to humiliate their country.

The same professor said, "If we really [believe] that this war is criminal ... then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine." [this echoes the rhetoric of David's own days of protest during the 60's and 70's]. John F. Kennedy was President and had been invited to speak on the campus. We picketed his appearance. Our slogan was, "Kennedy s Three R s: Radiation, Reaction and Repression." [But] We didn't want peace in Vietnam. We wanted a revolution in America.

We realized we couldn t attract large numbers of people by revealing our deranged fantasies about America (although that of course is not how we would have looked at them). We realized that we needed the support of a lot of Americans who would never agree with our real agendas if we were going to influence the course of the war. So we changed our slogan to "Bring the Troops Home." That seemed to express care for Americans while accomplishing the same goal. If America brought her troops home in the middle of the war, the Communists would win. Which is exactly what happened.

Until now, the largest organization behind this movement has been "International ANSWER," which thanks in part to the efforts of the War Room and has been revealed as front for a Marxist-Leninist party with ties to the Communist regime in North Korea. According to a comprehensive (but partisan and sympathetic) report in The New York Times, some factions of the left became disturbed that the overtly radical slogans of the International ANSWER protests were "counter-productive." Last fall, they met in the offices of People For The American Way to create a new umbrella organization called United for Peace and Justice that would present a more palatable face to the American public.

According to the Times, since that meeting, the left has been hiring Madison Avenue firms to shape its messages and has been putting up billboards with the slogan "Peace Is Patriotic" to make its point. The war in America's streets is not about "peace" or "more time for inspections." It is about which side should lose the war we are now in. The left has made crystal clear its desire that the loser should be us.

Even if the left had not made this explicit, a "peace" movement directed at one side makes sense only as an effort to force that side to retreat from the battle and lose the war. Which is exactly what the Columbia professor said. If this is patriotism, what is treason?

New York

What really bothers me about the "Die In" protests is that these protests mock the suffering of their supposed benefactors. These protestors are well dressed, well fed, and well educated. They are being guarded and ultimately arrested by police who answer to elected governments. The authorities in the cities they disrupt would never think of shooting them on the spot, raping them back at the police station, or threatening their children. But that is exactly what the Iraqi people have faced for 30 years and what they would surely face if the protestors aims were reached and the US suddenly recalled its soldiers. Furthermore, the lands that play host to these protestors have not always been so tolerant. Especially in Latin America and in Asia, just one generation back no one would have dared to block a city street in a mockery of slaughter. These people have the right to make these protests because someone else faught and died to gain their freedom.

Sean: Monday, March 31, 2003 [+] |
Saturday, March 29, 2003
Why They Didn’t Fight

Anyone wondering why the US and the UK couldn’t get the backing of China, Russia, France, Germany, or Syria for the Battle For Baghdad has had their answer from the evening news of late.

A missile that just flew through a Kuwaiti mall and splashed into the sea yesterday was a Soviet/Chinese made Seersucker, a "ship killer', designed to fly under the Phalanx systems on a US Aircraft carrier. We know how specialized this missile is since it went THROUGH the mall parallel to the ground wiht out stopping or detonating, it was expecting the steel hull of a great ship. This missile has only one purpose or use, to sink the USS Roosevelt.

Night vision goggles found in Iraqi command bunkers were of Soviet make with Syrian stamps. Rummy warns them that US will consider this a "hostile act". Can we say "with us, or against us"? Can we say "Taliban"? Come on Assad, you got a death wish?

The GPS guidance jammers came from Russia.

The sophisticated, wire guided,Coronet II missiles that recently took out a few M1-Abramhs tanks came from France.

The fiber optic system connecting Iraq's air defense was from China. Also note that China was selling Iraq chemicals that could be used in EITHER chemical weapons OR missile fuel systems.

ALL of this military hardware is new within the last 10 years. And ALL are barred by UN resolutions.

The nations that wouldn’t vote to enforce those resolutions have been breaking them for years!

What good does it do the world to pretend that all nations are equal, that they belong to a "family" of nations, that there is such a thing as "International Law"?

Even Indonesia has come to realize what a farce the UN is; for not stopping America!? They have called for Kofi Anan to resign. They claim to be against "all forms of Imperialism". But they urge the Muslim World to follow the calls for Jihad and ship out several thousand miles to make sure that Democracy doesn’t come to Iraq.

I will agree with the sentiment, however, the UN is indeed a joke. Any institution that would have Iraq and Iran CO-CHAIR the UN Disarmament Commission next year is a joke. Any institution that passes calls for military intervention through the approval of Russia (Chechnya), France (Sierra Leon), China (Tibet), Syria (Lebanon), and Germany (do I have to mention?) is in deed a joke.

Any nation that has violated UN resolutions (that they themselves passed) should be removed from the UN Perm 5 and the Security Council altogether. This would remove ALL members, the US included, with the exception of MAYBE the UK, but I am sure that I must be overlooking something.

Any nation with out multiple parties, a free press, freedom of religion, and open elections verified by alien observers should be removed from any UN commission, committee, or voting body.

Any organization that accedes, abets, or merely "watches" ethnic cleansing, genocide, and racial or religious violence should have any US properties confiscated -that includes some prime real estate in NY City.

There, I think that about kills off the UN for good. No?

Sean: Saturday, March 29, 2003 [+] |
Friday, March 28, 2003
Saddam Continues To Bomb His Own People

This week Saddam's men have moved to a new tactic. For a second time a Baghdad market has been hit by ordinance. Saddam's men of course claim coalition bombing. However, the Pentagon has repeatedly noted that they can account for all ordinance dropped by coalition planes. Last night two communication towers were hit and this morning a Ministry of Information (Propaganda) building was struck. But these were the only targets even aimed at and both were hit. The Pentagon noted that the crater at the market place shown by Iraqi TV today was only 1 foot deep and noted that coalition bombs pack a MUCH greater punch. VOA and others have noted that the market places hit were both in Shia neighborhoods. Shias are traditional enemies of Saddam and those most likely to welcome coalition forces. There is little likelihood of the coalition hitting two markets one day apart. On the other hand... Saddam obviously knows marketplaces will give him the highest civilian casualties... and he knows right where they are... and he can make sure they are Shia. I think this mystery is rather easily solved, and has a horrible conclusion, Saddam is a monster, duh!

Sean: Friday, March 28, 2003 [+] |
I Got Your Peace March Right Here...

For everyone who attends a rally calling for the end of the current US war in Iraq, here is your gomjabar...

Pick five of these children to be brutally executed in front of their families.

Serious folks. If US forces pull out tomorrow these children will ALL be dead. How can I say this? It happened in '91 and it has ALREADY begun again. The woman quoted complaining about Saddam's brutality in this story was later found hung from a lamp post by Baathist enforcers after US Marines moved out of the city on their way to Baghdad. How do you think Saddam stays in power? How do you think he keeps most of the Iraqi people from welcoming our troops even now? If we continue with the war this man and his thugs will be dealt with, if we give up and go home, it will the civilians who get dealt with by Saddam's thugs. Do you really want this on your conscience? Protesting the war BEFORE it commenced was one thing, but now there is only one thing you can do and remain on the moral high ground, root for a quick coalition victory. Anything else is murder.

Come on, make the hard choice that every Iraqi civilians must make today. Pick five smiling faces.

Maybe not one of the children, maybe one of these mothers?

Sean: Friday, March 28, 2003 [+] |
Knowing Who Your Friends Are, Part One

From the NY Times:

Speaking at the war headquarters of the U.S.-led invasion forces in Qatar, McCourt said British forces were trying to help evacuate casualties from the incidents north and west of Basra.

Another British military spokesman said two groups of civilians had tried to flee. ``The first group made it. When the second group came out, paramilitaries came out and mortared them and machine gunned them and drove them back into town,'' he said.

Al Lockwood, the main spokesman for British forces in Qatar, said the British Black Watch 1st Batallion tried to intervene once the paramilitaries launched their attack.

``This was witnessed by elements of the Black Watch...who placed themselves between the fleeing civilians and the paramilitaries and commenced firing,'' Lockwood said.

``The paramilitaries are attempting to keep people in the bounds of Basra,'' he said. ``There is a great deal of coercion particularly among the young male population by the Baath party and these paramilitaries to make them fight for the regime.''

``Once we have isolated these forces, located them, we will strike, we will take them out and return Basra to the people.''

Sean: Friday, March 28, 2003 [+] |
Yale Speach

Follow this link to a bit of intelligent pro-Americanism, via Yale University.

Sean: Friday, March 28, 2003 [+] |
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Herald Sun War Photos

US Marines on their way to Baghdad, helpful sings on Hwy 6.

US Army outside Karbala

173rd in northern Iraq.

"Hey, Srgt Franks, what's for dinner? "
"I dunno Corporal, Goat Stew?"

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
Looks Like Gulf Nations Have A Better Handle On What NATO-like Pacts Mean Than France

Stars & Stripes reports that six Arab nations have sent 10,000 troops to help defend the Kuwait Border. They are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These nations formed their own NATO like defense pack called Peninsula Shield in the wake of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The current crisis is its first wartime deployment.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
Saddam Is Ready To Use WMD That He Said He Didn’t Have

A briefing from V Corp relates Iraqi POW's report that Saddam has issued chemical weapons to his Medina Division dug in south of Baghdad. This might well explain the protective suits and atropine injectors found stashed in schools and hospitals being used as Baathist military posts through out southern Iraq.

And from the Command Post: Iraqi Troops Seen Unloading Chemical Weapons

Fox's Rick Leventhal, embedded in 1st Marine - 3rd LAR, reports from his unit's briefing that Iraqi troops, wearing full chemical gear, have been seen on more than one recent occasion unloading drums and other objects - presumably related to chemical weapons.

The unit is taking the gas threat extremely seriously, and had two gas warnings (false) during last night.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
The 173rd Airborne Is Dropping Into Northern Iraq this is no small thing.

This image is from INSIDE one of the 173rd's giant transport planes, it is INSIDE!!! "" (sorry, its too big for this website)

Check out their website.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
Of Power And Weakness Or, "What Makes the French Tick"

This article by Robert Kagan appeared in Policy Review in June of last year. It is RIGHT ON THE MONEY. Some critics have argued with Kagan, Policy Review kindly reprints many of them, but they are all wrong. Kagan has his finger on the vein and if you read this article, a year later, after France's resent tantrums, you will see how accurate he was. This journal is excellent, by the way, and I highly recommend it.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
The Death of the Old World Order

The UN, NATO, and the EU are dead.

Strike up a dirge boys, Chirac shot more than just Turkey this month. As this article underscores, the old internationalist order is defunct, killed off by the nation that needed it the most.

The cold hard truth of the matter is that the UN and NATO were designed by the US, for the US. The primary utility of these organizations was as a tonic to tie the US, unwillingly, to the defense of the world. The UN was meant to keep the US from slipping back into isolationism and to keep the attention of America on world power games -this is one good reason that the UN was housed in NY. After WWII, NATO was designed to keep US attention on Europe and to make its defense of the West automatic -regardless of the short attention span and argumentative nature of the US voter ship.

In the end, one of the primary benefactors of these organizations refused to acknowledge its debt and refused to play nicely with the team. Early in the 60's France's Charles DeGaul pulled France out of the military command structure of NATO (and evidently began a long term practice of selling arms to the enemies of the Alliance). With Jacque Chirac the rift with NATO has moved beyond questions of military authority to the realm of political reality.

Today France has finally struck out against the UN. By refusing to authorize backing its own resolutions with force (clearly called for in the preamble to the UN Charter "to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security... and to ensure that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest") the petulant ambassador De Villian(sic) pulled the heart out of the UN.

As if these murders were not enough, Chirac has cracked the whip against the Eastern European aspirants and against Turkey. By attempting to drive a wedge between these nations and their primary military and financial benefactor, Chirac is hastening the day when they might, in fact, turn on France. Especially given the divide between France and the UK now, the future of "Europe ala Frances et Allemande" is in serious question.

And what will the New World Order look like? Kinda like the Azores Summit, I assume. The US has been taught the French lesson; the UN and NATO are no longer useful to the US. The US will have to resort to geopolitical REALITY, with trilateral, bilateral, and yes, even UNILATERAL action in defense of democracy in the world. Sadly, one of Frances' primary resentments against "les Anglo-Saxons" is that the world treats them as the fonts of democracy and forgets Frances' on and off again contributions to the experiment. Well, in the future people may NEVER identify France with world Democracy. The unilateralists will have won the war.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
France Shot the Turkey

Many people are scratching their collective heads and wondering why Turkey, a NATO ally and no friend of Saddam, refused the US access to their own pre-landed equipment and entry by land into Northern Iraq. What kind of naked self interest made them say no? Who could be behind this stab the back?

The Muslim party in the Turkish Parliament? No, they voted FOR giving access to the US. Who voted no then?

The Turkish secular opposition party!? But they are supposed to be in the Allied camp. Who put the screws on their thumbs?

Why, the French, of course.

Turns out the Franco-German Axis of Weasels did more then just yell at the dissenters, they outright threatened Turkey with ex-communication from Europe if they were nice to the Anglos.

This is more then just an inconvenience, however. The lack of a northern front directly aides the Saddamites in Baghdad. This stretches out their inevitable defeat. And THAT costs lives, on all sides. France just murdered thousands and thousands of people.

Thanks a lot France. Next time you need your capitol liberated don't be surprised if no one answers the phone. Call Germany, Russia, or China next time you need assistance. The Anglos no longer speak French.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
Why They Fight

Victor Davis Hansen has a whole series of books and articles on the methods and motives that have brought the world's democracies to the point of world military domination. The basic theme is "why Democracies fight" and "how".

The Why is very, very important. As VDH notes, the soldiers of a democracy fight for their own freedom. While the soldiers of a tyrant fight for the tyrant's freedom.

The How is also important. The soldiers of a democracy are all freemen, nominally equal, and deserving of the very best equipment, and consideration for their lives, possible. The soldiers of a despotic regime are largely conscripts, poorly armed and equipped, and though of as cannon fodder.

Invariably the democracy will triumph, eventually, no matter how long the struggle and no matter how many defeats. A great example given by VDH is the wars between the Persians and the Greeks. No matter how many battles the Persians won, the Greeks won the war.

The NY Times has an article that uncovers the motivations of all that "fierce resistance" the press makes so much of. "Why do they fight so hard?" the Press asks. Well, the Times will tell you:

The aftermath of the firefight was a tableau of twisted Iraqi bodies, tins of unopened food and the dirty mattresses where they had spent their final hours.

But the Iraqi private with a bullet wound in the back of his head suggested something unusually grim. Up and down the 200-mile stretch of desert where the American and British forces have advanced, one Iraqi prisoner after another has told captors a similar tale: that many Iraqi soldiers were fighting at gunpoint, threatened with death by tough loyalists of President Saddam Hussein.

"The officers threatened to shoot us unless we fought," said a wounded Iraqi from his bed in the American field hospital here. "They took out their guns and pointed them and told us to fight."

As the American medics patched up the wounds of three other Iraqi soldiers, they said there was little they could do for the one who had been shot in the head. Much of his skull had come apart, and the medics labeled him "expectant," which meant he was expected to die. They gave him morphine, wrapped him in a green blanket and put him on a stretcher outside their tent.

Scattered through the Iraqi trenches was an arsenal hardly up to the task of slowing the American advance: a few hand grenades, some rocket launchers, three dozen magazines for Kalashnikov rifles. A pair of filthy mattresses and moldy blankets were thrown together in a pile. A dozen corpses lay splayed about in the ditch. Perhaps the only ominous articles were Iraqi gas masks strewn about the trench line.

On the roadside, the Iraqi prisoners huddled together. Only a few had uniforms; most wore tattered clothing and battered shoes. They did not seem like men who lusted for battle. American marines guarding the prisoners said they had complained that their own officers had shot at them during the battle. "I have four children at home, and they threatened to hurt them if I did not fight," another one of the wounded Iraqis said. "I had no choice."

Perhaps because of those accusations, the Americans had taken the group's leader, an Iraqi brigadier general, and sat him on the ground away from the others.

This passage echoes VDH exactly. The Iraqi soldiers are conscripts, poorly armed and nearly naked, and forced to fight for the freedom and security of one man, Saddam Hussein. While the Americans are wearing body armor, night vision goggles, and carrying the very latest weapons. The Americans are all well paid and cared for, their safety is primary in the minds of their commanders. The Americans are in this war to remove a threat, no matter how removed, to their homeland. The Americans are also there to bring some measure of their own freedom to others. Only one side seems truly prepared and committed to this war. Only one side shows any promise of victory, ask Victor.

Sean: Thursday, March 27, 2003 [+] |
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
War Images

From the Herald-Sun:

(images rotted quickly)

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
US Bombs An Apartment Building?
In stark contrast to how the Iraqi government works... the US actually leaves open the possibility that it accidentally hit an apartment building in Baghdad. The Pentagon says that it did not target the neighborhood. Other military commentators note that pilots have been given the authority to hit "targets of opportunity" and they say there may have been a missile battery nearby.

On The Other Hand
The Command Post notes that the attack may have been an inside job. VOA notes that the area hit was largely Shia, a minority that Saddam wouldn’t mind killing off on a good day, but is especially concerned about because they hate him and are the first to welcome Americans.

And In Another Example of Saddamism
Sky News notes that Iraqis Fire On Aid Queue "The distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians in the southern Iraqi town of Al Zubayr has been halted after Iraqi forces fired mortar rounds into crowds."

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
Missing Your Own Point Part Two

One page back in the print edition of WW "The Nose" reports on his half hearted participation in peace protests. The Nose agrees that Saddam is bad and must go, go, go. But he still wishes for a diplomatic solution, some how.

The Nose quotes a protestor's sign "Bush: pull out, like your father should have".

Umm, ignoring the sexual reference... Bush Sr. DID pull out of Iraq. That is the problem. I will quote Mr. Said from the WW again:

Twelve years ago, Said was still living in Iraq's capital city with his parents and siblings--six sisters and one brother--when he heard the elder President Bush's call to rise up against Saddam Hussein. Like many who had suffered under the dictator's tyrannical regime, Said joined the rebellion. And like many others, he was left high and dry when the promised American military aid never arrived. "Bush told us to fight Saddam," the 39-year-old Muslim says with more sadness than bitterness, "but the Americans did not come. Many people died."

So, this protestor would like Bush Jr. to repeat Sr.'s mistake, to let the Iraqi people who want to rise up, who are rising up behind our troops, who will rise up as soon as Saddam is gone to be hung, to be jailed, or to be forced out of the country like Mr. Said?

The Nose finds another sign in the crowd: "Who Brokers Pease, when the peace brokers go to war?"

Umm. I think that is the point Mr. Nose. If the US of A has to fly half way around the world to smoke a camel(sic) there must be something very stinky in that desert, and its not oil, bub. Jeez, you'd think a man who calls himself Mr. Nose would be better able to smell his own BS.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
Missing Your Own Point, Part One

In Willamette Week, the free weekly from Portland, OR, an interview with confused war journalist, Joel Preston Smith.

Joel traveled to Iraq this year and was overcome by the irony of a warm greeting for him, as an American, and his foreboding for all the coming Iraqi civilian war deaths. Joel is obviously a sensitive guy. I am sure his mother, his wife, and his dog love him. I wish him no real insult. But I have to say, the man has driven right past the billboard on the highway of his life marked "Clue, come and get one".

Joel describe his experiences:

When I would tell people I was from the United States, they -with out exception- would say, "Welcome."

The three things Iraqi people seem to love best about American culture are American music (Britney Spears and Michael Jackson in particular, but don’t hold this against them), American action movies, and blue jeans.

I rarely told anyone that I was against the war. To know that I was an American was enough to give me a ticket to nearly anywhere I anted to go. To even be spoken to by an American is something that many Iraqis seem to treasure."

So far, so good, sounds like Joel Preston Smith had a nice stay in Iraq. The people were friendly to him even though he told them he was an American and even though he did NOT tell them that he was against the war. Ok. But, here is where Mr. Smith seems to drive head long into a brick wall of his own making:

This [warm welcome] was maddening to try to understand. I wanted to grab someone by the lapels and shake them and scream in their face “Cant you see that we are killing you? Doesn’t it bother you that we are going to massacre you?” I was so shamed, so humiliated by their kindness in the face of who I was and what I represented. One day I simply broke down in public [and cried].

I cant believe how thick the shell is around some peaceniks?!

Why does Joel think that Iraqis love Britney Spears, a woman who has shown more skin in one video than the entire Muslim womanhood over the last 30 years? Why do they like American action movies, with the jingoistic heroics? Why do they love blue jeans, that symbol of cowboys and rock and roll? Why did they love him as an American even while facing an American war? Are the Iraqi people as stupid as Joel unwittingly suggests? Or is Joel too self absorbed in his White Man’s guilt?

It seems rather obvious that the reason Arabs tend to love sexy American pop singers is because Spears represents a pure, hedonistic freedom that has some appeal to them. The reason they like American action films is because there is a good guy, who always wins, unlike in their own experience. Blue jeans represent a rejection of strict fashion rules, and thereby strict social rules, this is why they are associated with the Rebel in the West, and I think the Arab people get this.

So why does Joel miss the boat? Because he wants too. Joel worked as a US Army photojournalist, (in Vietnam?), and now works for the Portland VA Hospital. Apparently his tour soured him on the entire service. He says that the greatest threat to the values of the United States is the US military!? Joel searches out people who agree with him and who offer abject proof.

He spends a great deal of time touring with Palestinians and Iraqis and eagerly accepts the nearly government issue line he quote here: “We don’t hate you, we hate the American government. You are not doing this, your government is.” Joel notes that Arabs do not hold individuals responsible for the actions of leaders. “They live at the whim of the government they don’t effect changes, they are affected, they don’t participate in government, they cope with it.”

In another interview in the same publication an Iraqi answers Joel much better. In this interview an Iraqi who fled to Canada in the 9-‘s and has now moved to Portland tells the journal:

"Their polls say that 99 percent of Iraqi people support him? Bullshit!" Said fumes, his normally smiling countenance abruptly slashed with a scowl. "Iraqi people hate Saddam."

Last time, it was a game," Said says of the first Gulf War. "This Bush is serious, though. I want to tell Bush the Iraqis support his war. But please do not hurt the Iraqi people. They do not support Saddam."
Said won't be leaving anytime soon, either. Even if Iraq is released from the claws of Saddam Hussein and made into a democracy--something Said claims the Iraqi people want desperately--he will remain here in the United States, working on cars in his garage.
"This is my home now," he says, his smile returning. "Here, I am free."

If only Mr. Preston agreed.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
We Didnt Bring Enough Troops

Dont get me wrong. We will win.

We have a strategy that directs us to "by-pass" most major Iraqi cities. This is tacticaly sound. We will arrive at the capitol in top strength and once Saddam is gone the rest of the country will fall. So, as far as the technicality of victory goes, we did bring enough.

The problem here is that we do not have enough troops to make our victory comfortable for the locals.

Listen, the people want to dance in the streets, they do. But when we drive past Saddam's goons merely hide, when we are gone they come out and murder anyone who showed us a welcome. Similarly, Iraqi SSO troops are dressing in US uniforms and shooting Iraqi troops that surrender. In other cases Saddam's goons threaten troops that surrendered and that we let go until they go back to their posts.

We need more troops. Enough to man real POW camps. And enough to leave at least a small peace keeing contingent in each city we pass on our way to Baghdad.

Well, more are on their way, in the Suez Canal now, and soon to arrive in Kuwait. Good. More please.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
The Suicide of Iraq

"The 3rd Regiment, 7th Cavalry, moving north from Samawah, captured a bridge south of the city late Tuesday, while the 1st Brigade seized another bridge north early today, effectively completing the encirclement.

Despite the American foothold on the eastern side of the Euphrates, Iraqi forces continued to attack in what soldiers described as futile, almost fanatical assaults against M1-A1 tanks and Bradley armored fighting vehicles.

Cpl. Benjamin R. Richardson, who was among the engineers who went to the bridge, said he saw two civilian vehicles with armed Iraqis drive straight toward Americans. A tank drove simply over one of the vehicles without firing a shot, while a Bradley raked the other vehicle with gunfire."

We may not find a better metaphor for the war than this passage.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
More Russian Back Stabbing

From the NY Times:

One soldier with the 3rd Infantry Division, a loader on a tank, was killed on Monday. Also two tanks and one Bradley fighting vehicle with the division's 3rd Regiment, 7th Cavalry Squadron were destroyed by anti-armored missiles. Officers here believe the missile may be a new Russian variant, known as a Cornet, purchased despite United Nations sanctions on arms sales to Iraq.

Hows that soul looking these days Bush? Russia has been selling arms to any and all commers since the fall of the Soviet Union. We know this. Frankly the only successfull industrial sector in the old USSR was the defence industry. Since the fall of the Soviet Empire these arms dealers have been desperate for buyers. So... they sell to the Iraqis, who are desperate for arms. Well, I guess we know now why they joined the French and the Chinese in trying to block UN approval for the war, they have been found out.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
What is the Fundamental difference between the Mid East and the West?

The main difference is that the West lived through the Enlightenment and the Age Of Revolution. The Enlightenment was a philosophic movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism. The Age of Revolution was the time period that saw the American and French revolutions. These epoch shaping events were made possible in the West, but denied to the Middle East, largely due to religious differences.

Christ only lived to his early 30's and he only preached for about 5 years before he was killed. And there was already an existing civil order in the region, Roman rule. Therefore Christ's teachings remain above and divorced from civil society. The Christian saying "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s" assumes that there are some things which are not Caesar’s and accepts that there are some things that do not belong to the Church. This idea allowed the West to develop an implicit division of Church and State, which became explicit in the United States.

On the other hand, Mohammed lived to be about 60 years old and he taught for some 40 years. And Mohammed's world had no civil society, no Empire, no moorings. Therefore Islam had to provide ALL, from business law to military organization, from agricultural rules to rules on marriage. And the Caliph was both head of state and head of the church, EVERYTHING belonged to the Caliph.

Another major difference between East and West was the way religion shaped the idea of political power. In the West a King could lose the blessing of the Pope by breaking a Church rule (or simply not getting along with the Pontif). This led to the idea that rulers receive their power as a temprary gift of god, one based upon their good behavior. This led directly to the Liberal idea that kings ruled not by an inherent devine right, but by earning the consent of the people to be governed. And this led directly into the Age of Revolution.

In the Arab world the ruler is the hand of God and their power is permenent. The only issue is, who has this right? The Muslim world was spli upon the Persian ideal of hereditary rule and the Arab one of tribal elder votes, this led to the Sunni and Shai split. The only way to determine who has the right to rule is by the power they display. Thus a powerful ruler is unquestionable, and this is backed by the Koran's injunction against civil unrest and revolution, called "fitna". This pemanent temporal and spiritual power blocked any move towards a modern society.

The focus on rational thought, on personal freedoms, and on democratic government enabled the West to question past beliefs and assumptions, strive for individual achievment, and to seperate economic development from political and religious concerns. While the Middle East is still trying to force the modern world into its ancient religous rules on society, politics, and economics.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
A Failure of Faith

While the West underwent the fundamental change of the Enlightenment, the Mid East, West Asia, and N Africa were treated as the private sandboxes of the first the Ottoman Empire, the French, the British, Italy, Russia, Germany, and Spain. After WWI and WWII Europe simply carved the Mid East like a pizza pie.

One result of the failure of the Arab states and dominance by the West is naturally resentment. This resentment is particularly aimed at the more successful Christians and Jews. Both groups underscore the failure of Islam to deliver its very explicit promise to the Arabs that THEY are the chosen of God and that the Christians and Jews had been forsaken. If the Koran is the true word of God, why do the Arabs lag so far behind the old chosen ones?

Thus, the failure of Arab secular society is a crisis of faith, one that can only be solved by their defeating the West once and for all. Ossama has stated this explicitly in many of his communiqués. The Arabs want to beat us in order to right their toppled society and to prove their religion correct. Every failure to do this, the six Israeli wars, and the Gulf War, only makes their frustration greater.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
Rejection of the West

In the 1930's an Egyptian named Sayyed Qtub traveled to America... where the ultra modern, secular, and individualist society shocked and horrified him. America contrasted directly with his ages old, conservative, traditional, and communal society based around religion and "learning" rather than earth moving and stock markets. He wrote influentially to his Arab fellows that the West was fundamentally incompatible with Arab society and should be rejected wholesale.

When the region fell to infidel powers, that is not the Turks but the Christian Euros, the behavior of these regimes in the area was brutal and proved everything that Q'tub had written. The West has been alternately ignoring and abusing the region ever since. And Q'tub's writings became the basis of severe brands of Islam, like Wahhabism, which has swept Saudi Arabia and gave us Osama bin Laden.

To this extent... some of the Lefties are correct in that these people DO have a beef with the West. As the major Western Power their anger will be focus on us, even though the real blame lies with Europe. Whether this blame is fair or not, and whether we accept the blame or not, unless we remove their repressive regimes, and rebuild their civil and economic society, we will continue to face terrorism from these people... because they see no other options available to them.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
In the Arab world it is not “all about the oil”, it is all about the turkey.

All nations look out for their own self-interest, they horse trade, bargain, and bluster. Turkey wanted more than $37b just to live up to its billing as our NATO ally. North Korea kicked the UN out and threatened to start making nuclear weapons all in an effort to secure a peace pact, food, and fuel aide from the US. But when it comes to the US looking after its own interests...everyone protests. Again, it is probably simply resentment, since we do so well looking after our own interests.

Everyone hates the guy on top. Period. "Oderint dum metuant" is a famous Roman saying. It means: "Let them hate us, so long as they fear us." The reason that Osama attacked the World Trade Center and the reason that Saddam refused to step down when threatened by the US was because they lost their fear. When Al Qaeda got away with the Khobar Towers attack, the African embassy bombings, and the attack on the USS Cole we did not strike back. And the quick pull back from Somalia after only a few casualties sealed the deal.

A famous story in the Middle East, as related by Thomas Friedman, and others, goes like this:

An old man, the head of a large family, has begun to feel his strength ebb. People in the village have begun to talk about his flagging health. And he is very worried.

The old man visits the town market and seeks out a dealer of charms and potions. The dealer sells him a large red turkey and instructs the man to eat it on the next full moon, his manhood will be restored.

The old man returns home, locks the turkey in a coop outside, and goes to bed.

The next morning the family finds the turkey coop empty. He immediately suspects their nosy and pushy neighbor. He calls his three sons to him and tells them to visit the neighbors and retrieve the turkey.

The sons go to the neighbor's house. But they see the seven brothers sharpening swords and axes. And they feel fear. Instead of arguing with the neighbor's sons, the boys go to the market and buy another turkey.

When the brothers get home with the new turkey the father is very upset. "All is lost now" he says. The sons do not understand.

In the morning the family awakes to find their camel is now missing too. The father calls his sons to him and tells them to "go and get the turkey". "What about the camel?" ask the boys. "Never mind about the camel, go and get my turkey and all will be restored" replies the father. The boys are confused but obey.

Next door they find the neighbor boys are beating the camel with large sticks. They appear to be very ferocious men and the boys are scared. Once again they return to the market and buy a new camel.

When the brothers get home their father sees the new camel. Upset beyond words, he retires to bed immidiatly. The sons stay up for a few hours, dicussing thir father's peculiar behavior, and then they to go to bed.

In the morning the boys awake to cries and tears. Their mother tells them that the neighbors have kidnapped the oldest daughter. The boys rush to their father and ask what they should do. "GO AND GET THE TURKEY!" he tells them.

The boys finaly tell the father that they do not understand. What about the Camel and their sister, why this obsession with the turkey? The father finaly sits the boys down and explains. "When you let them steal the turkey with out resistance they knew that we were weak and that they could take anything and everything. You must get the turkey back or all is lost."

In the Mid East it is ALWAYS about the turkey.

We allowed Arabs to steal our turkey in the Khobar Towers bombing, in the USS Cole, and when we pulled out of Somalia. This is what moved terrorism from a few airplane hijackings to bombing attempts on the World Trade Center. Before we let them take our turkey Arabs basically would not DARE to hit the US directly.

When Al Jazeera, and other Arab propaganda mouths, get footage of even ONE downed apache in Iraq they parade it on TV and tell their fellows, "See, we have their turkey". The response is Arabs sneaking into Iraq from Jordan, Syria, and Iran to join in the fighting.

Bush, and his crew, understand this fight better than any TV anchor, Tom Daschle, et all. Rummy understands that the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and soon in Iran and North Korea, has nothing to do with oil, or colonialism, or even democracy... it is about getting our turkey back.

But we must also keep in mind that we can only help them out so much. The Arab world will still have to have its own Enlightenment and its own Age of Revolution. On the other hand, America borrowed much of its Enlightenment philosophy from the English and received military and financial aide for its revolution from the French.

And in that sense, the war in Iraq is certainly about Terrorism and is certainly defensive, as well as being a war of liberation.

Sean: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 [+] |
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
... and so, I steal

Some perspective
Pieter of Peaktalk writes:

Was anyone surprised to see fierce resistance from Iraqi forces over the past 48 hours? Is the Baath regime not collapsing and if that is the case why are so many willing to fight the overpowering US coalition forces? One of the reasons is no doubt the incredible levels of fear instilled in Iraqi forces. Here’s a parallel. During World War II it was evident by January 1945 that Hitler’s Germany was near defeat yet it took another 4 months to finally trounce Nazi Germany and Allied forces very often met incredibly forceful resistance during their march to Berlin. The remnants of the German forces were not only extremely loyal; they were also terrorized by SS units that actively tracked down deserters and others that were unwilling to fight. Executions of German forces by these SS units were common. Whatever happened to Saddam and sons, as long as there is a semblance that they are alive and governing Iraq, there is fear among Iraqis and that fear in turn will continue to fuel the will to fight on the battlefield. Even after Hitler’s suicide it took another 7 full days for Germany to surrender. The days and maybe weeks ahead will be very difficult as we are not up against a poorly organized and ill-equipped army; we’re up against 25 years of instilled fear and terror.
I certainly don't think this will be another Berlin '45, but a lot of it rings true anyway. Some soldiers just might risk fighting on a bit longer instead of being shot on the spot for disobeying orders.

The question is exactly how many loyal and brainwashed fanatics are willing to offer their life for Saddam, the Ba'ath or their Arab honour. I guess only time will tell.

Anyway, Peaktalk is a great blog with lots of other interesting comments. Now, go visit it - it's an order!

PS. Calling the scattered fighting so far for "fierce resistance" is... Well, I don't think it pays tribute to what tough resistance REAL soldiers have put up during the course of history.

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
The World gone crazy

"You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, France is accusing the US of arrogance and Germany doesn't want to go to war."

haha ahahahaha! He said "France". Hahahahahahh!

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
The Professional Defenders of Democracy at Work

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |

Best War Photo To Date

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003
[+] |

The French Are Now Part Of The Middle East

This blog catches some other blogosphere comments in a wonderfully lucid manner.

Our Enemies the French
Bill of Merde in France reports:

The pro-Saddam press coverage in France has gone way over the top. Televised news on TF1 and France2 (state TV) are all but openly rooting for Iraqi victory. A GI resting on a roadside is depicted as being 'in despair'. An imam being escorted by US soldiers is 'being used as a human shield'. Absence of slaughter by American troops is interpreted as a sign of weakness. Iraqi atrocities are depicted as acts of heroic resistance. Rejigging war plans is depicted as lack of preparation. Make no mistake about this, the US will come out of this victorious and battle hardened with full knowledge of who its true frends are. Chiraq and Villepin, take note.
Conrad of the excellent Gweilo Diaries has also been following the incidents taking place in France. Don't miss his round-up: France Roots for Iraq, Attacks Jews.

"From now on, I'll consider France a part of the Middle East, placed somewhere between Saudi Arabia and Egypt."

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
From Andrew Sullivan's Blog

EMAIL OF THE DAY: "The UN confers political authority, not moral authority. It accomplishes virtually nothing else.

Would flushing Saddam be moral if the French had approved of the exercise? (We'd almost certainly have had UN approval in that event.) Nope. It would still be whatever it is today.

The UN is amoral by its very nature and composition. A pluralistic body comprising good and evil states that actively struggle against one another is necessarily morally neutral.

That's the why the UN is worse than useless. Much worse. Moral neutrality that masquerades as good is affirmatively destructive: It obscures the line between good and evil.
The political approval the UN offers helps to mute criticism, which many -- Tom Friedman included, to my surprise -- confuse with the good. (Of course, the desire to withhold that kind of approval from the U.S. and the U.K. is precisely why the French refused to go along, isn't it?)

The UN is institutionalized postmodernism. It isn't bad because it doesn't operate in the interests of the US. It's bad because it is fundamentally incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.

I do not believe that individual men are morally neutral. It follows that states that protect individual liberty and freedom are not morally neutral. The UN should draw its authority from those resources, not from mere pluralism, and if it doesn't, we need to oppose it, not work within it." - more sharp comments on the Letters Page.

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
Remeber, this is the kind of Peace that the Peacenicks want

This is the way a Greek peacenick responds to mere civil peace keeping.

Maybe, maybe, maybe, FINALY the Turkey issue appears solved

Now the Turks say they will only move in 12 km from their border and ONLY if there is a "humanitarian crisis".

Ok, I can accept that. The Turks ARE supposed to be good guys, after all, and our allies, after all.

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
Saddam Orders Troops To Use Chemical Weapons which they denied to Blix and the UN that they had!

Disturbingly, in Iraqi infantry and artillary positions that were overun by Marines last week they found Iraqi issued gas masks and chemical warfare suits... but Allied forces do not use chemical weapons... mmm.... why then issue the masks?

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
The Tipping Point Of Fear... Iraqis in Basra "liberate" themselves and welcome US Troops

You wont find this in the news for awhile, its fresh...

We have been frustrated that our troops have not been as welcomed by locals as they might have been... oh, sure, there have been hugs and flowers and candies in many places, but the large scale turn out has been muted.

The main reason, locals have told us, was that they were STILL afraid of Saddam. This has allowed Baathist hardlineers to carry out geurilla war from within civilians areas for the last 5 days. And THIS has made the Arab Media, and the BBC and NPR, gleefull for a week, playing images of continuued streetfighting in the south as some sort of proof that the US is not welcome and this war was a big mistake.

Well, it looks like the locals have finaly had enough of these villians and are finaly emobldened by our presence. In Basra, the second largest Iraqi city, the local population rose up today and captured their local Baathist comanders.

Then Saddam's thugs turned their mortars from firing on us to firing on the people in the city center!? The British unit, the Desert Rats, took readings of the mortar fire trajectory, plotted their source, and then called in air and artilary strikes on the guns. No more thugs.

The British say they will likily move into the city in the morning, at first light. Lets hope that the locals finaly feel brave enough to welcomed Allied soldiers the way we all hoped they would, if only to silence the naysayers.

Oh, and reports today are that the water in Basra was cut by Saddam's secret police, in an attempt to CREATE a humanitarian disaster to blame on the Coalition forces. The British report that they have managed to restore about 40% of the water supply and are still working on the problem.

Finaly, has the true liberation of Iraq begun!?

Cheers, cheers, cheers!

Sean: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 [+] |
Monday, March 24, 2003
From Michael Totten and the NYPost...

Nothing could bring home the rightness of this campaign in Iraq - and the deluded wrongness of the peace movement - like the sight that greeted the 54th Engineer Battalion (and this writer) yesterday morning in a string of small towns on Route 8 near the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

In village after dusty village, the people - most presumably Shiites - rushed out to greet the troops. They lined the highway: portly older men, teenage boys, little girls in brightly colored pajamas, waving, giving the thumbs-up sign and smiling.

Bravo Company's Sgt. Roy Lee Brown III (32) of Hackensack, N.J., said, "This gives me a real good feeling. It's the first time I've ever been deployed that I've seen people so happy that we're here." (Bravo Company just returned from a tour of duty in Kosovo.)

Sitting next to him on the M113 APC, Lt. Kevin Hallstrom ,25, of Albuquerqe, N.M., observed: "They look so beat down, the people here."

But they also looked elated.

And I never felt more proud of being an American or of America's armed forces.


Yes, America has indeed made terrible mistakes in the past, including the support provided to vicious Latin American tyrannies like the Argentine junta (though its record of torture and murder is dwarfed by that of the Saddam regime). But the liberation of Iraq is a chance to make belated good on those mistakes and more.

And if the government had listened to the naysayers and not come here and liberated these people, that would have been a real crime.

Sean: Monday, March 24, 2003 [+] |

Images of a Just War

(images rotted quickly)

Sean: Monday, March 24, 2003 [+] |
The American Reputation

Great, we are both the Great Satan and the hated Globalization machine AND too nice for our own good. Our restrain comes accross as cowardice and a week stomach. Palestinians make this comment about the video footage of Iraqis breaking the Geneva Convention and executing our soliders on tv...

"This is a big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslims," says a mustachioed Palestinian policeman in green uniform at Yasser Arafat's battered headquarters in the city.

"Everyone here was happy when to see pictures of American soldiers in Iraqi custody. This is a big blow for Bush and Blair. I don't believe they will be able to continue with the war now that many of their soldiers are being killed or taken prisoner."

People asked after 9-11 "why did they do this?"... well, because they thought they could.

Steel resolve, please, ye Americans, Australians, Poles, and Brits... steel resolve boys!

This also proved how dilusional and lied to most Arabs really are:

He adds: "Saddam has once again proven that he is a great leader, a defender of Arab rights. His men are brave. They have been able to teach the American and British dogs an unforgettable lesson. The Iraqis are much better at war because they have more experience. The American and British soldiers are cowards and spoiled kids."

What is this guy talking about. Saddam has done more killing of Muslims than all "colonial powers" combined. Are men who sneak into the rear of a baggage train and capture mechanics to draq onto TV and shoot in the forehead "brave"? Are men who wave a white flag and then shoot the soldiers who come to accept their surrender "brave"? Are men who abandon their posts, change into civilians clothes, and then take pot shots from the cover of a crowd of women and children "brave". And how exactly does an army that fought a losing war with one neighbor right next door (Iran) compare to a nation that has won two World Wars? Nuts!

At the Manarah Square in the center of Ramallah, the mood was one of euphoria. "They have just shot down two Apache helicopters," an excited merchant shouted hysterically as he ran out of his shop. "This is unbelievable. The Americans are losing the war. Iraq is going to be Bush's Vietnam."

Just because the Iraqi popragand minister says something, this doesnt make it a lie, oh, wait, it does. We have seen footage of only ONE Apache. It had not one scratch of bullet hole on it. It looked like the pilots parked it in a field to take a piss and then forgot where they parked. Ha, I only wish their story is as benign. Most likily they had engine trouble and had to land and hoof it home. I wish them luck. Meanwhile, come on people, it is only one helicopter, even if there are two down, we have hundreds over their. And no one ever expected them to be invincible. And, sorry, but when the enemy drives 800 miles into your country in five days, largely unapposed, losing only a couple of choppers isnt losing the war. These people are nuts!

Sean: Monday, March 24, 2003 [+] |
Wartime Reality Check

The campaign against Saddam is going fine; don’t let Iraqi TV, or the BBC, convince you otherwise. The war is only at day five. It simply has to be somewhat slow because the US forces are trying to leave most Iraqi infrastructure intact and avoid killing large numbers of either Iraqi civilians or soldiers (this contrasts with how the Russians, Chinese, French, and Germans have handled their wars). But the 7th and 3rd Cavalry has now crossed some 800 miles in less than a week; it is the fastest armored advance in world history.

Yes, there has been some harrying of our rear. US troops have purposely bypassed towns in order to protect the civilians and in order to get to Saddam in Baghdad sooner. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, when a few pockets of resistance show up in the South. But they don’t last long and they haven’t done much damage. “Allied” forces have lost more men to driving accidents in the last year than they have to hostile action in Iraq this last week. But, for every US, UK, Australian, or Polish soldier killed in these skirmishes, perhaps hundreds of Iraqi civilians were spared carpet bombings, heavy artillery, and indiscriminate machine gun fire. I realize that losing a few landmark buildings in Baghdad is distressing and seeing houses with blown out windows points to the civilian danger that remains, despite all precautions. But it could be MUCH WORSE. The 12 US casualties we have taken so far are a direct result of our caution and restraint, we know full well that those lives could have been spared if we didn’t mind killing more Iraqis. I only wish that Saddam’s troops were as concerned for the Iraqi people.

Other units have engaged our columns in the front. These were expected all along. They are, in fact, the other side of our dance card, they are the troops we are racing to fight. So, it makes no sense to point to their eventual engagement as some sort of failure or problem for our side. Quite the contrary, every unit that stands in front of us and fights is a unit that could possibly cause trouble for our forces or liberated Iraqi civilians later if we missed them. So, its nice that they are identifying themselves now, so that we can eliminate them. And with the kind of firepower that Americans have, both on the ground and from the air, these skirmishes last only as long as we let them (in the interests of not flattening Um Qasar the US marines removed the Iraqis one at a time with small arms, a few tanks, and one small air strike). I do hope that when reports of these few engagements reach the captive audience in Baghdad that it occurs to them that the only reason there are any delays, any firefights, any armed resistance at all from Saddam’s units is because we choose not to carpet bomb and napalm Iraqi cities and farms, but we COULD, and Saddam WOULD (and he has).

One thing to note, when you hear the stories of heroic Iraqi units “resisting”, there is another story there. What some are doing is pretending to surrender and then shooting our soldiers when they approach. Others have changed into civilians clothes and then sneak into our rear column, the maintenance and supply kids -one poor lady cook- who are not really combatants, and shooting them or taking them captive and executing them on TV. These are violations of international norms on war. Their actions support arguments in the US that we should be killing more Iraqi soldiers instead of leaving them unharmed. Thus, their behavior is not heroic resistance. It is underhanded and dishonorable. Worse, it putts their lives, those of other Iraqi soldiers, and the civilians they hide amongst, at risk.

Contrary to what you might have heard lately, large numbers of Iraqi troops have been surrendering, an entire division (the 51st) at once in fact (some 8,000 men). True, the numbers are much less than in the first Gulf War, but that is largely because US troops have not engaged many Iraqi units head on, nor bombed them flat, but are heading for the capitol, and concentrating bombing on military hardware around the city. Also, US forces have not even asked for the surrender of many Iraqi units (they don’t have enough twist ties and food and water to go around). Iraqi units have instead been directed to simply stand aside or even go home. And many have done just that. US forces have come across many abandoned positions, with artillery, guns, ammo, and uniforms left behind (which US forces then destroy).

On another point, there have indeed been many civilians welcoming our troops. However, by their own accounts they are still waiting to a) see Saddam’s dead body and b) see that we are sticking around for a while before they do much dancing in the streets. They don’t want to face regime ”pay back” if America isn’t serious about liberation this time. And, since the media is “embedded” with the troops they moved on towards Baghdad instead of sticking around to interview villagers for TV. But, again, this is only day five and there will be plenty of time for these kinds of “human interest” stories later.

Don’t be too impressed with Saddam’s footage trying to convince you that he is doing just fine. He has not given a live broadcast, or referenced any current affairs in any of his last taped messages. Truly, I am convinced that he has lost his grip and the “defense” is running largely on autopilot. Most of the country has significant Allied troops present, while most of his troops have fled their posts. The pockets of Baathist resistance from his special units only last for an hour before they are taken care of. Meanwhile the US is certainly trying to spare pain and suffering for the Iraqi people… that is why you still have internet access, water, and power. So, I hope people there can sense who will be their better friend in the future and I hope they have faith that Saddam will be finished quite soon.

Re-reading my own posts I realize that I might come across like a US government propaganda officer. For that I apologize. It is just that I truly believe in democracy and human rights. I also believe that nations that have “made it” have a duty to help the next guy on the ladder. I also truly believe that Saddam is a violent and mentally unstable man and I don’t want him any better armed than he is now. I also don’t want to see sanctions continuing to strangle the Iraqi people. And I don’t want to read any more about Saddam’s torture methods (the thing with the plastic recycler was just too much). And the two sentiments don’t co-exist well. The UN has proved itself to be critically wounded by having non-democratic nations (for instance, every Arab country) in a voting position and France on the Security Council. NATO is a joke, as Turkey proves when it asks for more money to uphold its obligations. And the Iraqi people are self-declared unable to free themselves. So, honestly, I haven’t been able to think up a solution other than this war. Truly, I don’t much like GW. But I will hold my nose if he can do this one thing and free the Iraqi people.

No one wants this war. Do you hear about the vocal anti-war minority in the US? But please keep in mind as well that if Saddam had kept to the terms of the cease-fire that ended the last Gulf War, we wouldn’t be at war with him now. We can’t tolerate Saddam getting any more weapons or becoming any more wacko. When we see footage of Saddam standing on a balcony dressed like Al Capone, smoking a cigar, and firing a shotgun into the air this contrasts directly with America’s cartoon image of a “nice guy” President. Saddam scares the heck out of sensible people in the West. Meanwhile, defectors who escape Iraq tell us horror stories and beg us to intervene. We are trying to get rid of him and to bring the Iraqi people a better future. I would like to think that every Iraqi understands this and is willing to sacrifice rubble in the streets and the few “collateral damage” (I agree that term sucks) casualties to end 20 plus years of Saddam and the millions of Iraqis dead or fled because of him.

Sean: Monday, March 24, 2003 [+] |
Great Saddam Cartoons here

Sean: Monday, March 24, 2003 [+] |
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Baghdad Broadcasting Company/National aPeacenick Radio

I just spent a disgusting hour listening to the BBC coverage of the war as recast via NPR.

I noted that they quoted the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s ridiculous bluster against the Allied war efforts no less than 7 times, while they only referenced Bush and Blair once each in that same time period.

The BBC invited a woman from King’s College to comment on the war efforts, even though she described herself as “no military expert”. They discussed how the US marines had admitted to meeting “the stiffest resistance thus far” and how this was a ”significant problem” for the Allies. The “announcer” and the “commentator” made every effort to spin the latest news into some sort of evidence for an impending doom for Allied forces.


The fact that the Marines have met their “stiffest resistance thus far” does not mean that the resistance is at all significant, dangerous, or a problem. It merely means that in the beginning there was largely NO resistance, now their is SOME light and insignificant resistance. But this minor fighting is still the most thus far. Two is significantly more than one, it is twice as much in fact, but one a scale of one to ten, two is still not significant.

Consider, an armored column of 20,000 of the best armed and most professional soldiers on the planet has met pockets of a view hundred bedraggled conscripts Baathist "SS" men. The American column then paused for a few hours, called up some artillery pieces from the rear of the column, and ANHILATED the Iraqi resistance, which then surrendered, what was left of it. The column then moved on towards Baghdad. This column has now covered 700 miles in three days, 10 times the speed and distance of the first Gulf War's armored advance, which, at the time, was the fastest in world history, being twice the speed of any German Panzer advance in WWII.

How, exactly, then, is the Americans meeting a few pockets of light resistance, pausing to wipe them out, and continuing on in the world’s fastest tank column advance in anyway a sign of impending doom? The BBC is off their rocker, or a tool of the Arab tyrant, it is one or the other.

The BBC and NPR have a combined weighted impact of minus 5 with me right now.

Oh, and all this ignores the fact that the ONLY reason that this "resistance" exists is because the US soliders care more about Iraqi civilian deaths than the forces of Saddam. We are all dancing around the issue that the US is quite capable of exterminating all life along its chosen path to Baghdad. There is only resistance because we choose to let there be resinstance in the interests of protecting the civilians.

Sean: Sunday, March 23, 2003 [+] |
US Armored Column Six Miles Wide Reaches Outskirts Of Baghdad And Dig In For The Night

Advancing in a six-mile wide column, speeding at 40 mph and trailing plumes of sand, the tanks, trucks and troop raced 700 miles across rough desert in a bold flanking movement.

The 2nd Brigade, nicknamed the Spartans, covered the last 228 miles in less than 40 hours and took up fighting positions about 100 miles from the Iraqi capital.

In this determined off-road march, the brigade's fighting vehicles covered more distance than during the entire 100 hours of ground fighting in the 1991 Gulf War.

The commander of the 2nd Brigade, Col. David Perkins, compared its advance to another massive military undertaking — that of a Carthaginian general who surprised the Romans in 218 B.C.

"I'm using the analogy of Hannibal taking elephants over the Alps," Perkins said. "But instead of the Alps, there are big wadis (gulches) out there and the elephants are the tanks."

The battalion moved forward and captured ground near Najaf with little resistance early Sunday. Najaf is on the western bank of the Euphrates River, along one of the main highways less than a day's drive from Baghdad.

Sean: Sunday, March 23, 2003 [+] |
Saturday, March 22, 2003
Thank's For The Uplifting Melody

I have been TRYING to listen to NPR coverage of the war with out slamming my fist into the window whilst I drive (being in the car is the only reason not to tune in to cable news). Every time they resume news coverage they play this HORRIBLE little "war theme" tune. I told my wife it was the musical equivilent of "we are at war, and we are soooo sorry about it".

I have been wondering for a while if NPR's Leftist Bias is as obvious to others as it is to me? I mean, I dont by the canard that the "Media", capitaql M, or the Press, capital P has a "Liberal Bias". For one, this confused Liberal with Left. As I have argued for a while now... Liberals support freedom, the freedom of others as much as their own, Liberals use reason, rather than emotion, to determine personal values. Liberals support the right of people to choose their leadership and government, and support even violent revolution if mere talk doesnt work. THAT is a "Liberal". A "Leftist", on the other hand, is merely someone who opposes the government... period. The term comes from England's Parliament, where the "opposition" (whomever that is) sits of the Left hand of the Speaker and the government party (whomever that is) sits on the Right. Commonly, in Europe and America about WWII era, people came to associate the Right with repressive, authoritarian, and religious government and the Left with socialists, Communists, and pacifists. Whether these modern labels should be or should be discarded is open to question. But if we accept them... then it is simply dumb to claim that the US commercial media has either a Liberal or a Leftist bias... the mainstream media lives off the advertising revenue of major corporate sponsors... that makes it an inherently cautious, even Conservative, corporate biased entity. On the other hand... NPR, being largley funded off government freebies and the contributions of the "Tweed Wearing Set", certainly has a Left leaning bias. Their coverage of this war has brought this bias to hang off their collective sleaves.

Well, others have noticed...

NPR is running . . . the BBC. It's interesting, listening to these guys - I'm unsure how it's possible to sneer the entire time you're speaking. I fear the announcer's face will stay that way. Perhaps you can recognize an old Beeb hand by the permanently curled lip. I've tuned in twice in half an hour; both times they were talking about the FAILURE to get Saddam, and what this FAILURE means for the war which might be hindered by this initial FAILURE. And then the reporter - a female one, with a sneerier sneer - says the question now is when the attack will come, and whether the President will give his generals permission to act with a free hand.
Um . . . haven't we already settled that question? I know it conflicts with the Beeb's view of Bush as a vulture with a bloody globe clutched in one claw, the other holding the leashes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but I heard hours ago that theater decisions had been left to the folks who do this for a living.
Unbelievable: NPR's top of the hour theme is somber, downbeat, with a few disconsolate snare drums - music to lose by! Is it too much to ask of these people to play something that doesn't sound like the music you'd use for the sinking of a f--king aircraft carrier? *$#%*(#$%$#5

Sean: Saturday, March 22, 2003 [+] |
Friday, March 21, 2003
Iraqis Capture Maintenance Crew Outside Nasariyah....

The Iraqi forced attacked our real guard (against the rules of war) and executed some of these poor mechanics (against the Geneva Convention) and showed others on TV (also against the Geneva Convention).

In other accounts, Iraqi soldiers who surrendered in the south were wearing civilians clothes (also against the Geneva Convention). Iraqi elite republican Guard in the mid secion of Iraq were seen using women and children as "human shields", herding them into the streets and firing at US soldiers from behind these civilians (WAAYYY against the GC).

This contrasts directly with our own forces... which would never follow an illegal order to capture rear echelon, baggage crew, and maintenance, people (against the traditional rules of war). Our forces do not mistreat POW’s, does not beat them, does not film them, and does not HARM them! Our forces have given medical treatment to Iraqis who were just shooting at them minutes ago! Our soldiers offer food and water and send Iraqi troops, disarmed, home to their families! Our soldiers would NEVER execute a POW and would probably arrest any US officer giving such an order.

Any Iraqi watching footage of their troops acting like gangsters, thugs, and godless heathens should hang their heads, this is much worse than merely watching conscripts surrendering….

Sean: Friday, March 21, 2003 [+] |
Bagdad Lights:

A wave of steel heading for Saddam...

Getting down to business...

Our military tending the wounded enemy... who else does THIS?

Giving aide and comfort...

This article details an amazing story of great might and power being used so carefully. And people in Iraq are COUNTING on the essential "goodness" of the US, more so even than many protestors in the US, these people CHOSE to stay in the houses because they BELIEVE that they will not be targeted. I only hope our machines live up to our hopes and these peoople remain safe.

This article details the common feelings of liberated Iraqi's so far...
""You just arrived," he said. "You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave."

Sean: Friday, March 21, 2003 [+] |
Iraqi Soldiers Doing the Right Thing

Small groups of dishevelled Iraqis were standing up all around us with their hands in the air, or with a dirty white T-shirt tied to a stick waving above them. Every time you turned around, a new trickle of silhouettes emerged from the horizon walking slowly towards us. One Marine joked: “Oh no. They’re surrendering at us from all sides.”

Saddly, some Iraqis soldiers had to shoot their way free to surrender... eliminating their own officers... before you feel to sorry for the officers read here and note the two officers with a gymbag of cash trying to flee from their starving and half naked troops... sad, truly.

I'll tell ya, I wouldnt mind surrendering to this lass!

Sean: Friday, March 21, 2003 [+] |
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Wave To The Friendly Iraqi Soldiers On Your Way Into Baghdad...

So far the Iraqi forces have yet to fill their side of the dance card in this war. Wonderful. Hopefully we can pull into the capitol with out a fight, arrest Saddam, and begin the resurection of the country. But, we shall see, something desperate, stupid, and horrid may still happen.

So far I only worry that we dont have enough troops to accept all the surrenders and still do their jobs. Did we bring enough nylon ties? Did we bring enough food and water for our new "guests"?

Reports come from both the north and south that Iraqis are surrendering, only one wacko tried to shoot at our inbound troops, he died with his finger on the trigger. Suicide? Did his wife leave him? WTF?

So far the worst news for our side have been bad driving, or flying, of helicopters... ok, it could have been mechanical failures as there was a sand storm last night, three choppers have had "hard landings", the last one killed 4 Americans and 8 British soldiers. Crap!

Everything should be silent for the next 12 hrs or so... Friday is the 'sabath' for Iraqis, we will try to be polite, but the 7th Cav does still have to get to Baghdad by the week end...

Sean: Thursday, March 20, 2003 [+] |
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
In Case You Are Worried About The Nightmare Of This Iraq War... here is a piece on the nightmare of inaction.

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
Mass Defections of Iraqis Have Begun...

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
The War Has Started

US attempts to take out Saddam before anyone else has to die... Saddam condems the attact as "criminal". Mmm.... no Iraqi leader has ever left office in one peace... save for the man Saddam took over from... he lived, and dozens of Iraqi congressmen died instead. Saddam ordered current members of his parliament to swear to die themselves before handing him over. Saddam is big on the mass suicide thing, not so keen on going out alone. I hope his cell in Hell is next to that guy from the Jonestown massacre.

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
A Peace Activist Meets Her Gomjabar... and fails

The issues of the day cannot better be put under glaring light than to listen to this radio exchange, the whole segment, both sides of the war issue, the "victim" AND the "agressor", put her thuroughly in her place. Oooch!

French Egg Soufle On Their Face

Britain's trade secretary releases info on trade with Iraq in 2003... keep in mind that trade with Iraq is barred by the UN, under resolution 661, other nations may only trade "oil for food", limited sales designed to maintain Iraq only, untill they comply with other UN resolutions and disarm. The Brits have obeyed, but, shockingly, I am sure, Germany and France have had a fire sale and done a brisk business witht he outlaw regime of Saddam Hussien... say it aint so! ;p

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
Thanks to Salam, our Baghdad Blogger, for these rumors:

"It is being said that Barazan (Saddam’s brother) has suggested to him tat he should do the decent thing and surrender, he got himself under house arrest in one of the presidential palaces which is probably going to be one of the first to be hit. Families of big wigs and “his” own family are being armed to the teeth. More from fear of Iraqis seeking retribution than Americans."

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
NPR the Obvious

On tonights "The World" with Lisa Mullins... they tried a 'not so subtle trick' to attempt to tie the current "anti-war movement" to the anti-aparthied movement.

Lisa announced: "In light of the recent anti-war protests we turn to another era of protest during the anti-aparthied protests..."

Well, I caught it, so it didnt work to well with me!

They shouldnt have bothered... because this comparison points out all that is WRONG with the current "anti-war movement". You see, it goes something like this...

The entire reason why the largely peacefull anti-apartheid movement worked was because the white government was, for all its ills, made up of civilized enlightenment-affected Westerners. As such, they could be guilted into stepping down. Simply holding hands and singing Africa flavoured Cumbiyahs actually worked! Thus no war was needed. Also, it helped that France played along with the boycotts and embargos.

However, Saddam is no De Clerk. And the French keep trading nonchalantly with Iraq. So there is no way those people will be free, and we will all be safe, simply by reworking the lyrics to some 60's folk songs and getting into a drum circle.

This entire piece made NPR and the appeasenicks look rather silly.

Sean: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 [+] |
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
French Promise to Fight Alongside US if Saddam Uses the WMD that France Claims The Iraqis Dont Have...

I am SO confused...

Well, as one "farker" put it..."How do you say "cover your ass" in French?" and another: "I'm sure France knows quite well how to defend against the biological and chemical weapons that they sold to Saddam." and another "...instead of waving white flags, now iraqi soldiers can just use the french flag, we know they surrendered." And: "Didn't someone do a parody a while back about the French sending forces to Iraq to teach them how to surrender? Or was that a real news story on CNN? [Its getting] hard to tell anymore." and "France announces: "We will try to keep our oil contracts no matter what!""

This Fark thread is growing exponentially, soon even Google wont be able to contain it!

Sean: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 [+] |
Apparently Bush and Blair Have Finally Won Over the Public...

Sean: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 [+] |
The Rules of War Debate

I hear so many people talking about the upcoming war in Iraq repeating the same old, tired rhetoric –from both sides. Let me please express some basic rules for making an intelligent, and useful, comment on the war, one way or the other.

1. Don’t talk about war damaging the opinion of our “allies”, the “Arab Street”, or the “international community”. China, Russia, and France have not been our allies since the end of the Second World War. And Germany was ‘merely‘ a client. I do not intend to denigrate the friendliness of Germany in years past. But Germany was a client state, and as such we have d very little unbiased activity, one way or the other, by which to judge them as an ally. Whether Germany is friend or foe will be spelled out post-reunification and post-withdrawal of US troops, and we aren’t there yet. Syria? Do I even need to respond? Please note, also, that these nations have been run by iron fists for most of their existence and are collectively responsible for the deaths of nearly 200 million souls. The Arab Street is not a street, nor is it entirely Arab. The phrase “Arab Street” has been used to collectively describe public opinion from the Barbary Coast to Indonesia. It has included in its numbers Arabs, Africans, Persians, Afghans, Indians, and Asians. These people do not live in an environment similar to your average American or European “street”. They live in undemocratic nations, ruled by despots, with media that gets its script directly from their governments. Their opinion is not based on free information and rational discourse (please understand, of COURSE there are those privileged few who live in these parts of the world who DO have access to free information and do use their intellect to come to conclusions… but these people are never part of this “Arab Street”, even if or when they agree). The views of the captive public in this part of the world is shaped by the biased info allowed in by the government and tempered by the rhetoric from the pulpit. They would have plenty of cause to hate us if we pulled out every soldier from the region and paid a monthly stipend to their governments (which, of course, is EXACTLY what the Koran proposes for our infidel selfs). We cannot move the opinion of the Arab Street one way or the other, therefore arguing our national security and state policy based upon appeasing this viewpoint is worthless. There is no such thing as the “international community”. Or rather it is everything and it is nothing. People who wish to portray our policy as “unilateral” will point to the contrary views of four or five nations and call it “world opinion” while ignoring over two dozen prominent nations that agree with us. It is a meaningless chit played by either side. References to state actions as either “legal” or “illegal” is also worthless. There is not world political body, don’t kid yourself about the UN any longer. There is no political and military power exercising sovereignty over the planet, therefore discussions of the “legality” of an action are obviously with out factual merit. The discussion of a state action in this light is merely cover for the preformed views of the person invoking the term for intellectual cover. One should argue state actions in the pragmatic, or in the moral, not in the legal. Tell me if an action will harm the state or tell me if you find it unconscionable, but until I elect a President of Earth I don’t want to hear talk of “illegality” one way or the other.

2. Don’t talk about the “Zionists” in the White House. This is racist and stupid. The US government is far to cumbersome and far to exposed to public scrutiny to stomach any conspiracy more complicated than one party gaining or staying in power. We live in a nation where everyone is interested in what the government is up to, no one trusts them, and everyone has an economic angle on exposing what they are up to. Don’t try to seriously argue that some minority has enough power to direct the nation either towards or away from something as large as a war. Meanwhile, once again, this is a disgusting racist point of view, you cant argue it, and it will only make you look absurd in the attempt.

3. Don’t bring up “bush’s Credibility”. This points out that your opposition is political. Playing politics with the lives of US servicepeople and with the political fate of our potential beneficiaries is beneath us all. Argue the merits of the case. Do you think Saddam is harmless? Do you think the war will harm American interests? Do you think that more harm then good will come to the Iraqi people, or neighbors, as a result of war or inaction? Too many people concede that they agree with the Bush Administration that Saddam is a monster and his people would suffer less with this removal, but then fall back on “but I don’t trust Bush”. So what? I don’t trust the CEO of my company to put our interests above his pocket book, but I still go to work every day. Obviously the 50% of Americans who didn’t elect Bush “don’t trust him”. So what? The 50% of people who didn’t elect Clinton didn’t trust him either, and with much more reason it seems. Trusting your political opponent is simply to much to ask. But one can always ask Americans to trust our political machinery. The government of this nation was DESIGNED by people who didn’t trust government, and for good reason. They made our government inherently ill suited to obfuscation and manipulation. And no, I don’t consider a political party pursuing its agenda whilst in power as manipulation, or putting political spin on how it describes its decisions as obfuscation. That is simply politics and both sides of the isle do it to the same degree while in power. Leave off with the invectives against your political enemies and argue the merits of the case itself.

4. Don’t claim that Arabs can’t move to democracy. This is racist, and patently not true. Many Arab nations have had, or are experimenting with various forms of democracy or civilian government reform. Meanwhile, many people said the same thing about all people, even Europeans, in the 18th century, yet most European states, with the exception of maybe France, have successfully transitioned to democracy since then.

5. Don’t assert that casualties are “unacceptable to the American people”. Asserting your own cowardice, selfishness, or cynical nature isn’t going to bring anyone over to your side. Even if it is true that the Gallup response to casualties is a plummet of “support”, so what? National security and state policy should never be decided by a poll of the TV audience. Of COURSE as soon as the going gets tough public “support” declines. We don’t elect our political leaders to follow polls, oh they do, but they should not. It could be argued that our Congressional representatives are indeed in D.C. to merely vote reflective of the public that elected them. But the office of the president is quite different. Senators and the President have a duty to SHAPE public onion, not to follow it. It is the job of the Executive Branch, and the senior statesmen on the Hill, to push Americans to take on the difficult tasks, to meet challenges, and to make sacrifices in our bests interests no matter the ugly reality and the lack of popularity. War is no different.

6. Don’t talk about “instability in the region”. The neighborhood of Iraq is replete with despotic and repressive regimes. It is these governments themselves who create a population that that marinates in misery and learns to hate. Maintaining stability in this region means maintaining monsters in power and people in suffering. There is NO OTHER WAY to put this. So leave this argument in the trash where it belongs.

7. Don’t talk about the economic costs of the war. This is fine for a company accountant, but unbecoming to a moral person trying to make their argument. One cannot put a price on human dignity and individual freedom, nor on the national equivalents thereof. The costs of the upcoming war in Iraq will be between $40 billion and $90 billion, and a 10-year occupation and rebuilding could be about $100 billion. By comparison, the state of Texas makes $4billion on the lottery, Illinois spends $7billion a year on welfare, and Florida makes $15billion and Texas makes $30billion from sales taxes alone. The entire war and rebuilding would not top 2% of the entire US GDP for just one year.

8. Don’t claim that not finding WMD is a failure, but so is Saddam’s using them in the war… these are mutually exclusive.

Sean: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 [+] |

Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Sean LaFreniere


Copyright 2003-2009 by Sean LaFreniere