January 2, 2006

Update to "There's No Way Out of Here"

I thought of just updating the original post, but it's already a lengthy one. Let me address some of the questions and objections here, instead:

1. What were Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu Hakim doing in Afghanistan in the first place?

I haven't found a definite answer to this, but Hubris kindly offered this visual aid as a starting point:

the scientific term for this is 'geography'

As the Uyghurs* occupy the northwest part of China known as East Turkistan (commonly) or the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (by the Chinese officially) it wouldn't be much of a detour for them to cross into Afghanistan on occasion, perhaps accidentally, or indeed they may have had good reasons to do so intentionally:

Many Uyghurs have fled East Turkistan to neighboring countries in order to escape persecution and in the hope of exercising fundamental human rights denied to them under Chinese rule, including freedom of religious belief and freedom of expression. However, since September 11, 2001, the Chinese authorities increasingly brand anyone fleeing East Turkistan as likely to be either a “terrorist” or “separatist”, or a religious “extremist”.

For more background on the Uyghurs and their treatment by the Chinese, the Uyghur Human Rights Project is a good resource.

Not that any of this is the point, as the government's already declared these men "No Longer Enemy Combatants." Still, for you wild-eyed kids out there just dying for a conspiracy theory . . . .

2. Why would they be tortured or killed in Afghanistan?

Um, I'm not sure they would be? But Afghanistan doesn't want them, and Afghanistan's not where they're from. China, now, China would definitely like them back:

The Chinese authorities have applied increasing pressure on neighboring governments to return these refugees to China, where they face imprisonment, torture, and even execution following trials which fall far short of international fair trial standards.

3. Why should these guys get special treatment? Also, isn't it true you're just a big ol' bleeding heart liberal?

I'll let Adel's attorney cover the issue of "special treatment:"

The military people reached this conclusion [that Adel was not an enemy combatant], and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.

Only habeas corpus got Adel a chance to tell a federal judge what had happened. Only habeas corpus revealed that it wasn't just Adel who was innocent -- it was Abu Bakker and Ahmet and Ayoub and Zakerjain and Sadiq -- all Guantanamo "terrorists" whom the military has found innocent.

Habeas corpus is older than even our Constitution. It is the right to compel the executive to justify itself when it imprisons people. But the Senate voted to abolish it for Adel, in favor of the same "combatant status review tribunal" that has already exonerated him. That secret tribunal didn't have much impact on his life, but Graham says it is good enough.

As for the bleeding heart liberal bit: If, when weighing the consequences of unlawful imprisonment versus more paperwork for federal judges, I conclude, "Damn the paperwork," and that is your definition of a bleeding heart liberal, then certainly you are right.

It's news to me, but then, I did have this little idea that judiciously limiting the power and reach of the federal government was rather a hallmark of conservatism. Forgive me.

4. When does Ith get back?

Soon, I hope. Real, real soon.

*In the first post I spelled this "Uighurs," but "Uyghurs" seems to be the preferred and "Uighurs" the variant spelling. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Posted by at 10:19 AM | Comments (10)

There's No Way Out of Here

". . . when you come in, you're in for good." That's a lyric that about covers what's happened to Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu Hakim, two detainees now in their fourth year at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

"So what, Ilyka?" Well, so they're not enemy combatants.

"Says who?" Well, we do: Our military does. Our government does. U.S. District Judge James Robertson does.

Judge Robertson also says there's nothing he can do about it.

Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu Hakim are Uighurs originally from western China; they were picked up by the U.S. in Afghanistan four years ago. They can't go "back home," for they will likely be tortured or killed there. They can't be allowed into the United States, or at least, no judge appears to have the authority to order it; it'd be like giving them free green cards. They can't be allowed to wander free around the Guantanamo facility, because that's a military installation, and obviously we don't allow foreign nationals to hang out at those. And no other country will grant them asylum, for fear of angering China.

They're stuck.

Occasionally people on the political right will get a little chest-thumpy about Guantanamo Bay and the rights, or lack thereof, of its detainees. "Screw 'em, the lousy terrorists," is about the attitude you'll see some places. This case, however, is a textbook example of the importance of habeas corpus.

It's a black mark on us every day that these men remain wrongfully imprisoned, and we ought to work on getting them freed with just as much speed and passion as we've brought to our other efforts in the war on terror.

I do not support removing the right of Guantanamo detainees to file habeas corpus petitions. That doesn't make me unpatriotic or weak on terror; that makes me a believer in protecting the innocent in the course of trying to punish the guilty. Unfortunately, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thinks it's more important to cut down on paperwork and reduce "frivolous" petitions:

An amendment sponsored by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) eliminates detainees' ability to challenge the condition of their detentions through habeas corpus petitions. Graham, asserting that U.S. courts have become clogged by "frivolous" claims on behalf of nearly 300 detainees in Cuba, favored denying foreign terrorism suspects the same rights in federal court that are afforded to U.S. citizens.

Instead, he proposed allowing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the Combatant Status Review Tribunal decisions, in which detainees are ruled "enemy combatants" or "no longer enemy combatants."

Those who are considered enemy combatants can be held indefinitely. Detainees convicted by military commissions -- of which there have been none completed in the four years the Guantanamo Bay prison has operated -- are afforded federal court review.

Got that? Instead of being able to petition the courts, prisoners must now wait for the U.S. Court of Appeals to review the decisions made by the military commissions, who aren't making very speedy decisions, and in fact have yet to make even one.

It's not a position I'd like to find myself in. Would you?

(Via Right Side of the Rainbow, who has a link to the .PDF of Judge Robertson's decision, for you legal types.)

Posted by at 5:41 AM | Comments (5)

January 1, 2006

Write This Down

Have you got a pen? Go get a pen. Or start up a Notepad file.

Are you ready? Good. Copy the following sentence:

I solemnly promise that I will do my best not to get kidnapped with Ilyka.

Because, if you get kidnapped with me, and I get set free, but you're still a captive?--I'm not doing this for you.

Sorry. It's all about me with the kidnapping, I'm afraid.

Posted by at 11:43 PM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2005

Moussaoui Pleading Guilty

I know Ith likes to keep up with the War on Terrorism. She'll appreciate the news that Zacarias Moussaoui plans to plead guilty on Friday.

Posted by Jen at 5:51 PM

August 25, 2004

We Need A New Word

"Hypocrisy" is nowhere near strong enough. Where's that thesaurus when we need it?

A caller on Rush pointed this out. I do not claim the credit for myself--but I wish I'd thought of it!

John Kerry admitted to war crimes, but assures us he is qualified to be president of the United States.

Now he's calling for Donald Rumsfeld to resign, on the grounds of the panties-on-the-head fraternity pranks at Abu Ghraib.

I submit that anyone who cannot see the [choose any word you like from the thesaurus] in this is suffering from cognitive dissonance.

In my not so humble opinion.

Posted by CrankyBeach at 10:22 AM | Comments (14)

August 19, 2004

Disturbing

This article at NRO, "Losing the Shia", says that, 'Iraqi Shia see a U.S. betrayal, and frankly, they should.'

Posted by Ithildin at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)

June 9, 2004

Rudyard Kipling

A friend just passed along this poem -- written many, many years ago.

I don't know if it's reassuring or depressing that things haven't changed much.

We report, you decide.

;)

UPDATE: I did further research, and found that the poem was written in 1892.

Posted by CrankyBeach at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)

June 7, 2004

From Okinawa To Hokkaido?

U.S. proposes moving some troops to Hokkaido

The United States has sounded Japan out on a plan to relocate some of its 16,000 marines stationed in Okinawa to a Ground Self-Defense Force training range in Hokkaido, Japanese officials said Monday.

The move forms part of a planned U.S. global military transformation, the officials said.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:20 PM

June 1, 2004

Be Careful What You Wish For

Shock waves in Seoul as U.S. to shift 12,000 more troops to Iraq

Posted by Ithildin at 1:07 PM | Comments (3)

April 18, 2004

History Variety Pack

I've been totally absorbed with watching Band of Brothers on the History channel the last week. This is a series that has actually lived up to all the hype. I'll pretty much watch anything set during WWII, but this is a stellar production and I wish I could go buy the DVDs and watch what's left in one sitting. The episode "Bastogne" really got to me. My visit there was one of the things I most remember from my trip to Europe, and at the end of the day, we went to the American Military Cemetary in Luxembourg. A group of veterans were gathered around the grave of one of their fallen comrades and a bugler was playing Taps. I'll never, ever forget that scene. Watching BoB brought all those memories back in a big way. And I've always been interested in the Battle of the Bulge. A while back I read a book called, A Time for Trumpets : The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge which was huge, detailed, and fascinating. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the battle.

Later on, there was a show that dealt with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of WWI. It focused on the men who planned and carried out the killing. I'd never really considered the historical parallels between those men and the 9/11 terrorists. Both groups were young, and disaffected, willing to die for their cause -- in the case of the Black Hand group in Sarajevo, they took cyanide after, but it didn't work -- and fixated on perceived wrongs from centuries before, determined to bring back their long lost power/empire/prestige.

Some light before bed viewing, let me tell you.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:27 PM | Comments (7)

April 13, 2004

Getting His Back

If only there could be more of this: Cardinal backs Carey on Muslims

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has joined criticism of Muslims for not doing enough to denounce terrorism.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey sparked anger when he said not enough moderates condemned the radical activists who carried out attacks "in the name of Allah".

And Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said he sympathised with Dr Carey's remarks.

"He had highlighted something that needed to be highlighted," he said.

The Cardinal said Lord Carey was "very bravely" criticising Muslim leaders for not saying more to combat those who might be attracted to terrorism.

He said the former Archbishop had contributed a lot of his life to building bridges between Christians and Muslims. "I think what he said was fundamentally true."

Next?

Posted by Ithildin at 4:50 PM

The 9/11 Commission & WWII

What a frickin joke the 9/11 commission is! I had to turn it off this morning for the sake of my blood pressure. Last night, I was ranting to Nin on the same subject just before I went to bed and she warned me I'd never get to sleep if I got that riled up before bedtime. Politicians just can't be in front of a camera without striking a pose for the TV, they just can't. They don't ask questions, they pontificate. They're supposed to be learning how to build a better mousetrap and what they're actually doing is participating in a massive group ego stroke.

What specifically got me steaming this morning was "the other Kerrey" droning on about how it shouldn't have mattered if airport security measures were unpopular, the President should have instituted them anyway. For Pete's sake, people gripe about airport security now, after 9/11. And he wanted to know why the 9/11 hijackers had even been let in the country. Gee, I don't know, maybe because profiling is something libs like you, Mr. Kerrey think is the ultimate evil. We're not supposed to do it after 9/11, but somehow, the government was supposed to justify doing it before 9/11. This is what makes me crazy. The very things the Dems make the most fuss about now, are the things they think we should have been doing before. Stuff that's in the freakin Patriot Act!! [bangs head against desk] The same Patriot Act that is Satan's tool according to those on the left.

Last night, after Band of Brothers, there was a documentary on the search for a German U Boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. In that documentary, they explained how the Germans were taking out hundreds of ships in the Gulf, and were attempting to lay mines at the mouth of the Mississippi. When the press tried to report on the U Boat activity, Pres. Roosevelt censored the newspaper reports. Yes, you read that right, a President who was a Democrat, censored the press in America. Because we were at war. We're at war now, and we have the 9/11 commission demanding classified documents be unclassified all to score political points.

The other bit of information in the show, that does relate to this in a round about sort of way, is that cities on the Gulf Coast refused to follow blackout regulations because they were inconvenient and would hurt tourism. Whole cities were lit like Christmas trees, and after the war, the logs of the U Boat Captains expressed absolute amazement over it. They were able to navigate our coastline with ease. So pre 9/11, the few times the government did institute heightened security, there was much complaining from the public and the airlines -- it was inconvenient, it hurt business. And Kerrey can sit there this morning and say that with no actionable intelligence the President should have instituted post 9/11 security pre 9/11.

I'm probably going to read this later today, and wonder what the heck my brain was doing. I'm still in slightly altered state from yesterday. (I don't do well with novocaine.) so bear that in mind if you made your way to the very end.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:27 AM | Comments (9)

March 31, 2004

A Prerequisite Of Warfare?

Interesting Op/Ed from USA Today: Presidential hopefuls' ability to lead trumps combat skills

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry released a TV commercial last week that highlighted his impressive military service in Vietnam.

Film of a younger Kerry in fatigues and with a rifle might lead viewers to conclude that his combat experience somehow makes him better qualified to be president of the United States.

But since when has warfare been a prerequisite for the presidency? The answer is that it never has been.

[....]

So if military experience is not a requirement for strategic leadership, what is?

German war theorist Carl von Clausewitz said in his book On War that a battle leader must have two qualities: "First, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it might lead."

Put another way, we need a leader who can set political and strategic objectives for military leaders to follow and who has the determination to see these objectives through to completion.

Small-unit tactical leadership in battle, for all of its martial virtues and potential glories, does not qualify a leader for this strategic-level role. For at the end of the day, the military is a means to a political end, and that end must be set by the politician.

As a U.S. Army officer who has parachuted into combat with the Rangers and who later led a Special Forces company in Albania and Kosovo during Gen. Wesley Clark's war in the Balkans, I respect Kerry for his brave military service.

But as a strategist, I also respect Bush for having the attributes of a successful wartime leader: strong character, good judgment and the will to win.

Sometimes leading a war is different from fighting it.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:04 PM | Comments (3)

March 18, 2004

I Didn't Know That

I saw Colin Powell for just a bit last night, and he said that three million Afghani refugees have returned home. That's just amazing, and it makes me wonder why we don't hear good news like that more often. And why does the media pretty much ignore Afghanistan? We have troops there, we're rebuilding the country people are going home. But we wouldn't know it from the media.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:00 AM | Comments (1)

March 17, 2004

A Study In Contrasts

Howard Dean: Bush to blame for Spain

Tony Blair: ... world is facing 'war on our freedom'

What sort of drugs are the Dems on anyway?? I didn't think they could lower themselves anymore, but I was wrong. Disgusting.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:58 AM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2004

The Sky Is Falling? Uh Huh

A rather comprehensive study/poll on attitudes towards America and the war on terror both from the U.S. POV, and the world's. The bit that jumped out at me was this one:

A growing number in Western Europe also think that the United States is overreacting to the threat of terrorism. Only in Great Britain and Russia do large majorities believe that the U.S. is right to be so concerned about terrorism. Many people in France (57%) and Germany (49%) have come to agree with the widespread view in the Muslim countries surveyed that the America is exaggerating the terrorist threat. [emphasis mine]
Posted by Ithildin at 5:12 PM | Comments (2)

All The News That's Not Fit To Print

(by the standards of big media at least)

If you'd like to know what we're not supposed to be interested in, you can read all about it here. Though I must say that I'm devastated that Michele doesn't think Prince's views on spirituality merit a mention. I mean, geeez, that's important stuff.

(and no, the hypno toad did not influnece my link in any way whatsoever)

(mmmm....juicy fly!)

Posted by Ithildin at 5:02 PM

February 29, 2004

Deerfield

Found this bit of history on The Corner:

Today is the 300th anniversary of the Deerfield Massacre--an atrocity from one of the French and Indian Wars in which 300 marauders from New France targeted a small Massachusetts village, killed dozens of its inhabitants, and hauled away more for captivity and ransom. A striking number of the murders involved women and children, including babies. It was one of the most brutal events in our national history--and it has a lot to do with why my forthcoming book on Franco-American history (co-authored with Mark Molesky) is called Our Oldest Enemy.
Posted by Ithildin at 2:23 PM | Comments (2)

February 24, 2004

I Don't Get It

Watching H&C and they're talking to Dick Morris about new poll numbers. As an important voting issue, terrorism is a distant third behind the economy and health care. I do not get it. Is it head in the sand syndrome? What does it take for Americans to see the danger? Another 9/11? Worse? Do people not want to acknowledge that there's something to fear, so they push it into the back of their minds and rationalize it away? All the economics in the world won't matter if there's another major terror attack on our soil. We're at war, whether the average voter wants to accept that fact or not. And that fact is not going to go away with wishful thinking!

God help us all if Kerry is elected.

I'm typing in caps in my head, let me tell you!

(yeah, that's that worry thing I have going again)

Posted by Ithildin at 6:30 PM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2003

Reaction

A snippet from an article on U.S. reaction to the capture of Saddam that I thought was worth sharing:

The news was particularly sweet for Iraqi Americans.

"You know what they should do? Put a statue of Bush," said Habib Iradily, a 37-year-old truck driver from Detroit who fled Iraq to Saudi Arabia in 1991.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:58 AM

December 13, 2003

Couldn't Have Said It Better

John Hawkins' take on not letting those that didn't help in Iraq play in the sandbox:

...The WAPO just doesn't get it. These nations didn't give us any "substantial support" and there was none coming. France and Germany weren't "just about to help us out". Russia wasn't planning on doing us any favors. Canada wasn't itching at the bit to send a couple of divisions over. They're don't share our goals, they're not with us, they're not on the same page, they're not our "important allies" when it comes to Iraq, and they're not going to be.

That's why it's so important to reward nations that are really our "important allies," like Britain, Australia, Poland, Spain, & Italy. Since they helped us out, they DESERVE to be given perks that the nations that told us to take a hike aren't eligible for. That's how you keep "important allies" and convince nations that weren't our "important allies" this time that they should get on board the next time we do something like this. That's not a tough concept to get....well unless you're an anti-war liberal or work for the WAPO.

Posted by Ithildin at 4:32 PM | Comments (2)

December 11, 2003

Paying The Piper

Debbye has a great roundup of opinion on the Iraqi contracts story. Check it out.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:29 PM

December 9, 2003

What I Like To Hear

U.S. Shuts Out France, Germany for Iraq Work

We won't pay if you don't play.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:37 PM | Comments (2)

Not A Sexy Story

Iraq behind the cameras: a different reality

It's a little-known footnote in postwar Iraq that an unassuming Army Civil Affairs captain named Kent Lindner has a bevy of blushing female fans.

Every time Lindner checks in on the group of young, deaf Iraqi seamstresses at their factory here, the women swarm him with admiration. "I love you!" one of them writes in the dust on Lindner's SUV.

Such small-time adoration is not the stuff of headlines against the backdrop of a country painfully and often violently evolving from war. So on this day, when Lindner and his fellow soldiers are cheered as they fire the deaf workers' boss, a woman who has been locking the seamstresses in closets, holding their pay and beating them, the lack of TV cameras on hand is no surprise.

But later that night, mortars hit nearby. Cameras are rolling, and 15 minutes later folks back home instead see another news clip of Baghdad's latest violence. It's a soda-straw view that frustrates soldiers, like those in Lindner's Civil Affairs unit, who are slowly trying to stitch together the peace while the final stages of the war play out on television.

"We've got a lot of good things going on, but when I went home (on leave), people were just like 'We never hear that stuff,' " said Civil Affairs Pvt. Amy Schroeder. "That's what makes the families worry."

What Iraq looks like on TV, and what Iraq is like for the 130,000 troops living here, sometimes feels like two different realities.

That's especially true for the Army's Civil Affairs soldiers, reservists who often serve as civil engineers in their "real life" jobs, and who are here working in Iraq's schools, hospitals and factories. There are thousands of Civil Affairs soldiers in Iraq, and their daily missions take them into all regions of the country, from the water plants in Basra to the south, to canning factories up north in Irbil.

"Our stories aren't the sexiest," says the 432nd Civil Affairs Brigade commander, Gary Beard. "But what we do will build the success of this country."

Read it all.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:34 PM

September 24, 2003

More Serious

Cheif Wiggles is conducting a toy drive for the kids in Iraq. All the info is here.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:38 AM

July 30, 2003

Until The Battle Is Resolved

Delay to the Knesset via The Corner

I come to you--in the midst a great global conflict against evil--with a simple message: "Be Not Afraid." I do not say this as a foreigner, cavalier in my estimation of the dangers that surround you. Instead, I say it as an ally, in spite of the terrifying predators who threaten all free nations, especially Israel. My country is not ignorant, nor are we indifferent to your struggle. We know our victory in the war on terror depends on Israel's survival. And we know Israel's survival depends on the willingness of free nations--especially our own--to stand by all endangered democracies in their time of need. We hear your voice cry out in the desert, and we will never leave your side. Because freedom and terrorism cannot coexist. Terrorism cannot be negotiated away or pacified. Terrorism will either destroy free nations, or free nations will destroy it. Freedom and terrorism will struggle--good and evil--until the battle is resolved. These are the terms Providence has put before the United States, Israel, and the rest of the civilized world. They are stark, and they are final.

The whole speech is here. (haven't had a chance to read it yet)

Posted by Ithildin at 7:04 AM

July 23, 2003

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Bill Clinton actually acted Presidential last night on Larry King (I'm sure it wasn't out of the goodness of his heart, but whatever the reasons, I'm glad he said it)

KING: President, maybe I can get an area where you may disagree. Do you join, President Clinton, your fellow Democrats, in complaining about the portion of the State of the Union address that dealt with nuclear weaponry in Africa?

CLINTON: Well, I have a little different take on it, I think, than either side.

First of all, the White House said -- Mr. Fleischer said -- that on balance they probably shouldn't have put that comment in the speech. What happened, often happens. There was a disagreement between British intelligence and American intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence that said it. And then they said, well, maybe they shouldn't have put it in.

Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.

I mean, we're all more sensitive to any possible stocks of chemical and biological weapons. So there's a difference between British -- British intelligence still maintains that they think the nuclear story was true. I don't know what was true, what was false. I thought the White House did the right thing in just saying, Well, we probably shouldn't have said that. And I think we ought to focus on where we are and what the right thing to do for Iraq is now. That's what I think.

Quite a difference from the nutball performance of Charlie Rangel last night on H&C. More on that later though.

For the rest of what Clinton said, click "MORE"...

KING: What do you do, Mr. President, with what's put in front of you?

CLINTON: Well, here's what happens: every day the president gets a daily brief from the CIA. And then, if it's some important issue -- and believe me, you know, anything having to do with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons became much more important to everybody in the White House after September the 11 -- then they probably told the president, certainly Condoleezza Rice, that this is what the British intelligence thought. They maybe have a difference of opinion, but on balance, they decided they should leave that line in the speech.

I think the main thing I want to say to you is, people can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks...

... of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in '98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn't know it because we never got to go back in there….

And what I think -- again, I would say the most important thing is we should focus on what's the best way to build Iraq as a democracy? How is the president going to do that and deal with continuing problems in Afghanistan and North Korea?

We should be pulling for America on this. We should be pulling for the people of Iraq. We can have honest disagreements about where we go from here, and we have space now to discuss that in what I hope will be a nonpartisan and open way. But this State of the Union deal they decided to use the British intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence. Then they said on balance they shouldn't have done it. You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:44 AM | Comments (2)

July 1, 2003

Maybe The Dept. Of Peace Could Deal With This?

From Stanley Kurtz on The Corner:

Reports that North Korea has been trying to miniaturize nuclear devices so as to mount them on its missiles are deeply disturbing. And as best we can tell, the North Koreans are already reprocessing the spent fuel rods from the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, although perhaps at a relatively slow rate. Our intelligence is unable to tell us with exactitude what is happening. Best estimates are that the North Koreans could have missile-ready nukes in as little as one year, although it could take longer. Far from denying their nuclear intentions, the North Koreans have threatened to wipe out our cities with their missiles. Are there any Democrats out there who think we have nothing to worry about? Instead of predicting that the Bush administration will lack credibility on the WMD issue in the future, why don’t Democrats straightforwardly say whether they believe that the North Korean nuclear program is a threat? The truth is, the North Korean situation is a profound threat. The possibility of nuclear terror wiping out an American city with a weapon purchased from the North Koreans is all too real. For all our efforts, we could still lose the war on terror. What is to be done? To a significant degree, we are trapped. I continue to believe that war with North Korea, whether before or after a nuclear blast here in the United States, is a looming possibility. There is very little we can do, short of a disastrous war, to solve the North Korean problem. And that is the real story. Thank goodness we acted to prevent Iraq from turning into another font of nuclear blackmail. We may someday need to do the same in Iran. And yet, a North Korean nuke in the hands of a terrorist might still destroy Washington, decapitate our government, and change our nation forever. That is the world we are now living in. Does the public still understand this?
Posted by Ithildin at 7:30 AM

June 13, 2003

Wow, that's quite the effort there, boys...

EU Says Congo Force Cannot Intervene Beyond Bunia

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuters) - The French commander of a European Union peacekeeping force in Congo conceded Friday that it would not be able to stop ethnic bloodshed outside its limited area of operation.

[...]

Asked if the force could intervene and stop massacres outside Bunia, French General Bruno Neveux, operation commander of the force, said: "At this point in time, that is not within our mandate, the mission which has been set for us."

He told reporters in Brussels that the mission "is clearly confined to Bunia city and airport and the two refugee camps near the airport,"

So as long as you do your killing outside of Bunia cit, Bunia International Airport, and the two refugee camps, you're all set.

Thank you, UN, for providing the peacekeepers with such a ridiculously limited mandate.

Posted by at 9:55 AM | Comments (1)

June 12, 2003

You're not fooling anyone...

Canadian Forces close to eliminating "sustainability gap:" defence chief

OTTAWA, June 10 (AFP) - 22:25 GMT - Canada's military, often derided by Canadians and its allies for being under-staffed and under-equipped, is close to eliminating its "sustainability gap," the country's top soldier said Tuesday.

Sure it is, and have I told you that I'm running for Pope as soon as John Paul II shuffles off his mortal coil?

This was a reference to the government's decision to increase defence spending by 800 million dollars (590 million US) for fiscal 2003.

"With this increase in funding," the general said, "our sustainability gap can be nearly eliminated and we are now in a position to stabilize the Forces."

I suppose that this means that we won't have to throw the fifth guy out of the jeep then...

Of course, I'm curious why he made no mention of the fact that, according to his declarations that were aired on last night's CTV News, due to our deployment of (one thousand eight hundred) troops to Afghanistan, the CF (whose idea was it for the Armed Forces to end up with the same initials as Cystic Fibrosis?) will be unable to undertake any major missions of any kind without being severely stretched for at least a year.

If that's not a sustainability gap, what is it? A credibility gap, perhaps?

Sic transit gloria mundi...

Posted by at 10:16 AM

June 9, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction

According to the news: U.S. Report to UN: 'High Probability' al-Qaida Will Attempt WMD Attack.

Apparently the war on terrorism is now affecting the enemy. We would seem to be anticipating an attack from al-Quaida. This is probably to 'punish' us for the U.S. led attack on Iraq. Most of the Iraqis don't seem to mind that Maddas ( pronounced 'Mad-Ass") is gone/dead/out of commission, but of course they don't count, at least to the fanatics of this so-called jihad.

I wonder if it has occured to any one of these extremists that by killing innocent people, that you have the tendency to PISS OFF the country as a whole? Americans have a distinct behaviour when threatened, they come together. We are not the kind of nation to have as an enemy, only a fool would want that, or perhaps someone who has a death wish.

But terrorists are not afraid to die, you say? I submit to you that they are afraid to live and face the consequences of their actions. Murder is wrong, no matter what your beliefs are. I submit to you that it does NOT MATTER,what nationality you are, what race you are, or where you come from. Innocent is innocent, and the mass killing of innocent people is a cowardly act committed by a bunch of cowards!

Not only are they cowards, but they are non-thinking cowards. Just because some cleric says "do this to the infidel americans", they go off and do it!
Does the term shmuck ring a bell? Meanwhile, said cleric is off enjoying himself probably doing things that the 'infidels' are accused of doing! This has the archdiocese scandal beat on several orders of magnitude!

So much for the shmucks, what is of concern is our response to said schmucks. Should a WMD be used against us, on our soil, the response of this country would be....overwhelming. Our response would also be swift, very swift indeed, not to mention justified. It seems to me that these "terrorists" are putting a country (their own country, or the one that harbors them) on the line without realizing it.

To sum up: We may be attacked, or we may not be. Rest assured that whatever they throw at us will be returned a thousand fold! To be afraid of these cowards is what they want, which I ( and I hope the reader ) will not give them.

Not exactly the kind of post I had in mind tonight, but it will serve....

Posted by at 10:24 PM | Comments (2)

It's Just Beyond Me...

Westerners flee Liberian capital

Military helicopters have evacuated some 500 Europeans, Lebanese and United States citizens from the Liberian capital, which is surrounded by rebel forces.

Taking into account that Liberia seems to go to Hell every year or so, and the Westerners are always evacuated by helicopter, why the Hell is it that these people keep on moving back there?

Bloody bunch of adrenaline junkies...

Posted by at 6:14 PM | Comments (2)

June 8, 2003

The USAF, a Haven of Enlightenment

Air Force Begins Witch Hunt For A-10 Warthog Defenders

The same day a May 27, 2003 op-ed piece ran in the New York Times exposing a secret attempt to mothball one of the U.S. Air Force's most successful workhorse aircraft, the A-10 Warthog, an Air Force general began a search for whistleblowers who assisted the article's author.

Lt. General Bruce L. Wright, Vice Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, sent out what has now become known as the "witch hunt" memo telling his fellow Air Force officers to "look your staffs in the eyes" and instruct them to "look hard at themselves, their individual professionalism, and their personal commitment to telling the complete story."

[...]

"For more than 20 years, the Warthog has been a hero to the soldiers whose lives depend on effective air support," said POGO Senior Defense Investigator Eric Miller. "The A-10 works, and it's cheap. But for some reason, that's not good enough for the Air Force."

Thankfully, some decent news seems to have come out of all this for those of us that think that the A-10 is one of the best things since sliced bread:

Apparently Coram's op-ed has at least temporarily halted the effort to eliminate the A-10 from the Air Force inventory. A June 3, 2003 letter to the editor of the New York Times written by General Hal M. Hornburg noted that the A-10 did a "superb job in Iraq" and that the Air Force "intends to keep the A-10 in its inventory for many years to come."

Here's to hoping that the USAF stops trying to fool itself into believing that the Thunderbolt II can be replaced with F-16s and F-35s.

Posted by at 1:35 PM | Comments (3)

So Much For All That Wailing & Gnashing Of Teeth

Iraq Museum to Reopen Displaying Lost Treasure

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Baghdad's famed antiquities museum, ransacked by looters as Saddam Hussein's rule crumbled, will reopen next month after many of the treasures feared lost forever were found stashed in secret vaults around the city.

Museum research director Donny George said Sunday that among the items on show would be the Treasure of Nimrud, a priceless set of gem-studded gold Assyrian jewelry that has been displayed only once, briefly, in the last 3,000 years.

The treasure was recovered Thursday from flooded vaults below the gutted shell of the looted central bank.

[...]

Besides the Nimrud artifacts, U.S. investigators also recovered thousands of items from the museum's main exhibition collection last week when employees led them to a secret vault somewhere in Baghdad. The items had been taken there for safekeeping ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"It's a secret place where we still have the whole collection of the museum that was displayed and it's safe," said George, standing among debris in the wrecked museum.

Asked by Reuters where the secret vault was, he said: "If I tell you, it will not be a secret."

Heh, go read.

Posted by at 10:45 AM

The Words "Tough Sh*t" Come To Mind

Shiite group opposes 'puppet' government

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A spokesman for a former Iraqi opposition group said Friday that he would not accept any interim government appointed by the U.S.-led coalition.

"We think an appointment of any administration would be against U.N. resolutions," Hamed Bayati, spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), told CNN.

Hmmmm, you wouldn't happen to be related to the Ayatollocracy next door by any chance, would you? If so, I choose to think that you're probably representing the interests of the turban-wearers in Tehran, rather than the broader interests of your people.

"It won't be accepted by the Iraqi people, and the whole region will say, 'This is a puppet government or a puppet administration appointed by the Americans to achieve their interests.' "

They'll get used to it, and so will you. Here's a tip for you: when you liberate your country yourself, you get to have some control over the way things are managed afterwards. When other people sacrifice their blood and treasure for your sake, you get to sit down, shut up, and wait for things to improve.

Who the Hell do you people think you are? France?

Posted by at 10:35 AM

June 4, 2003

Friedman, At Least, Seems Honest

In his Op/Ed today, Thomas Friedman makes some good points, from as far as I can tell, the 'center-left liberal hawk' perspective. Friedman, while at times (pun retroactively intended) clearly influenced by his environment, has heavy doses of classic liberalism. In today's article, he points out that while WMDs may be required for Bush credibility, it doesn't matter if we find them or not if Iraq doesn't end up a liberal, democratic state, in the finest traditions of our Founding decades.

Of course, we do need to find them - but not for Bush's credibility. No, instead, we need to find them because otherwise, Iran and/or Syria will get ahold of them.

And use them.

That, by the way, would explain the 'sudden influx of new search teams' that some lefties are trying to use to claim that WMDs are still the overriding causus belli.

Only lefties claim that rational thought is a strong suit of lefties.


To steal a train of thought from several folks in the blogosphere... the onus isn't on us to find them to prove they were there.

The onus is on us to find them so that they can't be used against us.

But you know what? Even if WMDs are used against us, unless they say 'made by Saddam Hussein Manufacturing Corp and are dated to March 24, 2003, there's no way we'd know if they came from Iraq or not.


I wouldn't put it past Iran or Syria to make WMDs and ship them INTO Iraq to be used against us... they're crazy enough not to realize that we'd use that to show that Saddam had WMDs.

Honestly, even if tomorrow we stumble over everything on our lists of what he had...

There's no guarantee we got everything.

Which is why we're trying so hard to find what we can - cut down on what's available to the terrorists.

Posted by at 6:55 PM | Comments (2)

May 28, 2003

So That's What It Was About

In this piece (WSJ OpionionJournal, free registration required), SecDef Big Dog writes about the point by point problems that we have to realize are part and parcel of a change from tyranny to representative democracy.

In this article about it in the GOPUSA Newsletter, one thing that struck me was this:

tens of thousands of criminals released from their prisons

All of a sudden, I'm thinking: "Of course! That's why Saddam opened all those jails back in the first part of the year!" At the time, I'd thought it was just a miserable attempt to improve world opinion of himself, but it suddenly makes a deeper sense.

Afraid you'll lose the war you know is coming? Release thousands of hard-core criminals, use the release of political prisoners as cover, and watch in glee as they sabotage power junctions, etc, etc.

If you win, you get to use your gestapo to re-capture them all. Heck, you might even hire some of the hard-cores as new members of your gestapo.

Posted by at 8:16 AM | Comments (2)

May 9, 2003

And In Local News...

Apparently, an Egyptian woman told the FBI that there was a terror cell operating here and that they planned to blow up DLI (Defense Language Institute). Now it turns out it was a hoax designed to keep her and her family in the country. You have to understand that this is big news here on the Central Coast -- living in the boonies, we don't get a lot of excitement!

Now something that happened last year makes a lot more sense. My mum works at a local inn and had an unsettling experience with an Arab sounding man on the phone. She almost didn't say anything because she thought maybe she was overreacting and it was nothing. I got my father to pass on what happened to one of she sheriffs he sees every day as part of his job. He was told that my mum was definitely not overreacting and it was absolutely the right thing to notify the authorities. He said it would be taken very seriously. Now we know they had an ongoing terror investigation here due to this woman's claims, no wonder they took my mum's report so seriously! now I don't know any of this for sure, just putting bits and pieces together in my head. But it makes sense.

Just a little local news from here in the sticks!

Posted by Ithildin at 7:55 AM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2003

Violin

Yes, another post with "violin" in it.

All the talk from the "Left" that seems to expect Iraq (and Afghanastan) to be instantly "better". Like you can flip a switch and give them everything without even trying. Now here comes the violin part! It reminded me of that old joke. You know, the one where the man is going to have surgery and he asks his doctor if after the operation, he'll be able to play the violin. The doctor tells him, of course! And the patient replies, "That's great, because I was never able to play before!"

There's a moral in there somewhere, I'm sure!

(I gotta go to work now, so you're safe from any more posts that have violins or old jokes)

Posted by Ithildin at 7:55 AM | Comments (2)

April 14, 2003

Just an observation...

Kept meaning to post this, but just now remembered.

A local 'indie' coffee shop has a flag pole up top.

The shop isn't flying a state flag, or an American flag...

They're flying the UN flag.

Just had to share.

Posted by Ninjababe at 7:08 PM | Comments (7)

April 11, 2003

Looting???

I agree with Rummy... the press spotlight on the looting is getting out of hand.

And, personally, I don't think it's looting. The word 'looting' makes me think of the LA riots.

To me, this is salvaging.

Posted by Ninjababe at 12:27 PM | Comments (6)

April 9, 2003

"I See Happy"

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from today:

"I'm 49, but I never lived a single day," said Yusuf Abed Kazim, a Baghdad imam who was pounding the statue's pedestal. "Only now will I start living. That Saddam Hussein is a murderer and a criminal."


One Iraqi was asked by Sky News reporter David Chater what the coalition presence means for him.

"It's safety for me ... they don't hurt anyone," he said. "All the people
here is happy -- I see happy."

Posted by Ithildin at 5:45 PM

A Good Day

This was a great morning, wasn't it? I was even late to work because I just had to see that statue come down! It's going to be one of those images we see through the years, I'm sure of it. There's still lots to be done, but this morning, I rejoice with the Iraqis, and am as proud as can be of our troops who made this all possible. You guys rock!

040903saddam_statue.jpg


canoeiraq.jpg
AP Photo ~ Iraqi civilians cheer the arrival of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment in downtown Bagdad

Posted by Ithildin at 8:38 AM | Comments (1)

April 6, 2003

How We've "Abandoned Afghanistan"

Wonderful photo essay of what's happening in Afghanistan these days.

A great link to trot out when your lefty friends moan about how we've "abandoned Afghanistan".

Posted by Ithildin at 2:59 PM

April 3, 2003

grrrrrr

French PM: U.S. Made Triple Mistake with War

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Thursday the United States made a moral, political and strategic mistake by starting war in Iraq.

"The Americans made a triple mistake: First of all a moral mistake, I think ... there was an alternative to war. We could have disarmed Iraq differently," Raffarin said in an interview on France 3 television.

My first, 'knee-jerk' response: Bite me!

The U.N.'s disarment procedure sure the hell wasn't working...

Posted by Ninjababe at 12:34 PM

March 31, 2003

Well, what do you know?

Now, this is interesting...

So, the US is responsible for the weapons in Iraq, huh? Not according to the Stockholm International Peach Research Institute... We supplied 1%! USSR, France, and China are the ones who supplied the majority of the weapons. And, guess what? They didn't want a military action in Iraq. [gasp of shock!]

Yes... I'm wasting time at work on The Command Post. I have unofficial approval though. Everyone wants to hear the updates...

Posted by Ninjababe at 1:44 PM

March 29, 2003

In Hindsight

Interesting observation from The Corner

The British paratroopers shown here were among the first to fly from England to France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Despite careful planning, the D-Day jumps turned out to be chaotic due to fog: most of the men did not land where they expected to, and many lost their weapons in the drop.

These few lines made me pausing and reflecting. First of all, it seems to me that what prevents us from labelling D-Day as a complete military disaster is the heroism and the bravery of those guys: their most important day begun with fear, confusion and death, but ended in victory. When we look at the faded pictures taken by Robert Capa (brave father of all embedded!), we know it was a really bad day, a day with an unbearable human toll, but we can feel proud of, and thankful for what those guys accomplished.

And then, comparing this glorious past with the attitude most of the media are showing regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom, a question hit me: what would have they said were they present at D-Day? Would have they called it a big mistake, the proof of the incompetence of Eisenhower and the evidence of the weakness of the Allied forces? Imagine the long list of armchair generals, questioning each detail and assuring us all about incoming disasters...

Posted by Ithildin at 1:38 PM

March 28, 2003

Grrrr...

After reading this, I was very pissed.

The German architect of one of Saddam Hussein's main bunkers in Baghdad said on Friday the Iraqi leader can survive anything short of a direct hit with a nuclear bomb if he stays within its four-feet-thick walls...

But, then my sense of humor showed up.

I was putting eye drops in my eyes, and of course, some got on my cheeks. I looked like I was sobbing. I turn to my manager and say, in a teary voice, "I just am so saddened that we haven't been able to blow up Saddam!"

More here
Via The Command Post

Posted by Ninjababe at 4:16 PM

March 26, 2003

Myths

Via Instapundit come the top ten myths of the Iraq war.

Take a look at number four: The United States armed Saddam. This one grew over time, but when Iraq was on its weapons spending spree from 1972 (when its oil revenue quadrupled) to 1990, the purchases were quite public and listed over $40 billion worth of arms sales. Russia was the largest supplier, with $25 billion. The US was the smallest, with $200,000. A similar myth, that the U.S. provided Iraq with chemical and biological weapons is equally off base. Iraq requested Anthrax samples from the US government, as do nations the world over, for the purpose of developing animal and human vaccines for local versions of Anthrax. Nerve gas doesn't require technical help, it's a variant of common insecticides. European nations sold Iraq the equipment to make poison gas.

And number seven: The U.S. created Saddam. Arab nationalism created Saddam. He neither asked, needed nor got any help from the United States as he rose to power in the Baath party. When he took over in 1979, he promptly went to war with Iran a year later. Even before that, public opinion, and public policy, regarding Saddam (the bloody minded head of the secret police) was negative. You can go read it in the contemporary papers. Despite most Americans feeling OK about Iran getting hammered by Iraq (because Iran had held our embassy staff hostage for over a year), there was no move to provide Iraq with weapons. When the Iraqis looked like they might fold, and Iran's then fearsome Islamic Jihad (against less observant Moslems, and mostly against America, the Great Satan) might spread, the U.S. provided Iraq with satellite photos of Iranian military positions. After that war ended in a draw in 1988, the U.S. believed Saddam's pronouncements that he had seen the light and would rein in his aggressive impulses.

The other eight can be found here.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:16 PM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2003

Pfffft!

So, on the way home, I passed a peace protest.

I was so tempted to flick them off, but I resisted by gripping the steering wheel very tightly.

Posted by Ninjababe at 7:48 PM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2003

From M-W.Com

Oligarchy--Main Entry: ol·i·gar·chy
Pronunciation: 'ä-l&-"gär-kE, 'O-
Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural -chies Date: 1542
1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control
3 : an organization under oligarchic control

Why shucky darn and slop the chickens, folks! That's a really nifty word that has some meaning, given the news events of this day and age--namely since we've got our troops trying to fix the mess of the idiot oligarchist.

I think that's going to be the new word for the day! Shall we have a new thing with this? *g*

Kel, who's thinking that Vcoke is the only way to go now cuz the regular stuff now tastes ick

Posted by at 4:49 PM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2003

Countdown

So, 48 hours. Or sooner, if Saddam strikes first. And, according to this, he is arming his troops with chemical weapons. But wait! How many times have I heard from the UN, Old Europe, the peaceniks, that he has no WMDs???

So he has them. What will we do if he uses them? Hopefully make the price so high that anyone else thinkiing about it will think twice.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:28 PM

Two Faces

The two faces of the Democratic Party (via Drudge) :

DASCHLE: 'This president [has] failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war...'

LIEBERMAN: 'It's time to come together and support our great American men and women in uniform and their commander-in-chief...'

Posted by Ithildin at 3:54 PM

A Little Levity...

With everything going on, I figure we could all use a little laugh. So, here is today's Foxtrot:

fox031703.gif

Posted by Ninjababe at 11:09 AM

Iraq & Al-Qaeda

I meant to post this on Friday, but forgot.

The link will take you to satellite pics that show an airliner fuselage that they're saying was used by Al-Qaeda terrorists to train hijackers in Salman Pak, Iraq.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:00 AM

March 14, 2003

For Lack Of A Cue Card

I heard a bunch of clips on the radio this morning from a CNN show last night where Bill Maher and Ron Silver debated war with Iraq. Ron Silver just stomped all over Maher. Not with cliches or sound bites, but with articulate facts and reasoning. I was very impressed. He's a fine example of a Democratic celebrity who is principled and not merely political. As bad as Maher came off, I'm amazed he actually had his own show for as long as he did. I guess all his talking points were pre-scripted [shrug] But trying to have a debate with no cue cards to back him up, forget it!

Posted by Ithildin at 5:58 PM | Comments (4)

March 12, 2003

No Turning Back

Is this finally it? I feel like a seesaw! And I know I'm not alone in that feeling.

You know, the person who has amazed me most through all this has been Tony Blair. It goes to show that you can always tell who your real friends are in a crisis. Before all this, I thought of him as a "Friend of Bill" who would probably put his political beliefs above all else. I've never been happier to be wrong.

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. You make me proud of my heritage and grateful for your friendship.

War looms as Prime Minister prepares to bypass United Nations

TONY BLAIR prepared his party and country for war without further approval from the United Nations yesterday.

He served notice that he would defy scores of Labour MPs and millions of voters as he dismissed the idea that America could go it alone.

He said for the first time that Britain and America already had legal authority for attacking Iraq. And he implied that if the UN could not bring itself to enforce its will, others would have to do so.

Within hours of Mr Blair’s remarks, there were strong indications that Britain’s struggle to win a majority in the Security Council for authorising war is close to failure — leaving war likely within days.

Frantic attempts to persuade wavering countries were continuing last night and an American diplomat said that as many as seven Security Council members were backing the new resolution — two fewer than required. But it was clear that the battle could end with Britain, America and Spain walking away from the process rather than face humiliation if the resolution were put to a vote.

As the word from New York became gloomier, the government machine braced the nation for diplomatic failure — and blamed the French.

Mr Blair told a private meeting of Labour’s parliamentary committee that he was working flat out to win a Security Council majority, but that the signs were not good. President Chirac’s promise to veto the second resolution whatever the circumstances had made the task of America and Britain at the UN hugely difficult.

He said it was hard to persuade the “swing” countries that they should come on board when the French had said they were going to veto the resolution in any case and he said that it was illogical for France, having backed the original UN Resolution 1441, to veto its implementation.

The arithmetic in New York appeared to be going against Mr Blair and President Bush. A senior British diplomat told The Times: “I fear that we’re not going to make it.” There were signs, however, that the mood in the Parliamentary Labour Party was beginning to shift in Mr Blair’s favour after an impassioned meeting at which the behaviour of hardline rebels calling for his removal was condemned.

Mr Blair still faces the prospect of a rebellion even bigger than that of two weeks ago. In a Commons debate, probably on Monday, he will argue that he has worked as hard as humanly possible to secure a second resolution but was in the end thwarted by the “unreasonable” behaviour of the French.

The rest of the article is here.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:22 PM | Comments (1)

The Moral Argument Against Containment

In today's Washington Post: Deadlier Than War

But containment enables the slaughter. Containment kills.

The slaughter of innocents is the worst cost of containment, but it is not the only cost of containment.

Containment allows Saddam Hussein to control the political climate of the Middle East. If it serves his interest to provoke a crisis, he can shoot at U.S. planes. He can mobilize his troops near Kuwait. He can support terrorists and destabilize his neighbors. The United States must respond to these provocations.

Worse, containment forces the United States to keep large conventional forces in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the region. That costs much more than money.

The existence of al Qaeda, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are part of the price the United States has paid to contain Saddam Hussein.

The link is clear and direct. Since 1991 the United States has had forces in Saudi Arabia. Those forces are there for one purpose only: to defend the kingdom (and its neighbors) from Iraqi attack. If Saddam Hussein had either fallen from power in 1991 or fulfilled the terms of his cease-fire agreement and disarmed, U.S. forces would have left Saudi Arabia.

But Iraqi defiance forced the United States to stay, and one consequence was dire and direct. Osama bin Laden founded al Qaeda because U.S. forces stayed in Saudi Arabia.

This is the link between Saddam Hussein's defiance of international law and the events of Sept. 11; it is clear and compelling. No Iraqi violations, no Sept. 11.

So that is our cost.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:45 AM

March 11, 2003

U.S. Military Restricts E-Mail

Concerned that sensitive information might leak out, some units of the United States military are starting to clamp down on e-mail communication from their soldiers and sailors, who have been using it from ships, major bases and even desert outposts around Iraq to stay in touch with family and friends.

The uncertainty underscores the double-edged nature of a technology that is giving an unprecedented opportunity for instantaneous interaction from the most remote locations, a development the Pentagon believes is helping to improve the morale in the field and at home. At the moment, much of the electronic communication is going unmonitored by the military, providing an opportunity for what some fear could be inadvertent leaks from the potential battlefield.

The air force warned last week that it might limit or start blocking electronic messages because some people had sent home sensitive information, including digital images that might have compromised unit safety. The navy has said that on submarines, it is monitoring all e-mail traffic. And the army, while generally maintaining open access to e-mail, is restricting some Internet connections from certain bases.

The rest of the article.

Posted by Ithildin at 10:56 PM

Growth Industry

From Amiland, this post about Germany's busness dealings with Iraq.

The German newspaper Die Welt has a damning story in Wednesday's edition about Germany's recent and quite extensive business connections with terrorist supporting states.

Yes, we all know that the US government supported the regime of Saddam Hussein in the 70s and 80s.

But that was before Iraq invaded Kuwait, before the Gulf War in 1991, before sanctions were imposed by the all-powerful and all-knowing United Nations.

What has Germany done since then?

Well, in addition to the two men convicted in January for selling industrial drilling machinery to Iraq -- one was sentenced to fewer than ten years less than Mounir Motassadeq -- it appears that Germany's internationally renowned engineers have been quite busy.

As has already been extensively reported, nearly 100 German firms were named in the Iraqi report submitted to the UN as part of Saddam's final chance to declare its WMDs. But this information came from Iraq, so can we really trust it?

Now, according to Die Welt, the German Customs Office [Zollkriminalamt] has compiled its own catalogue summary of Germany's proliferating companies.

With regard to Iraq, 137 people are currently under investigation or have been accused. They come from 65 German companies where preliminary investigative proceedings are underway.

There's much more here.

Link via Daily Pundit

Posted by Ithildin at 10:32 PM

Frustration

I've come to the conclusion that the UN could find nukes, smallpox, and nerve gas, and it still wouldn't matter. 18 resolutions against Iraq, and this one meant as little as the first 17, and 19 will be worth just as little. This isn't about disarming Saddam, this is about doing everything they can to screw us. We should have never gone back to the UN, and we certainly shouldn't be going again in the next few days. The President's job is to defend the American people and our Constitution, and not to pander to our enemies and our late allies. I'm frustrated and I'm worried. What is it going to take? Iraq threatened our U2's today on top of everything else, and Blix buries evidence of Saddam's non-compliance in his reports, evidence that was supposed to be the trigger for going into Iraq. . It's obvious that he and the UN never intended to actually live up to the last resolution or to enforce it. This is a farce!

They're playing us, and I think it's time we tell them that the game is over. Long past time. They want to call us cowboys? Then let's give it to them!

Posted by Ithildin at 7:48 AM | Comments (8)

March 9, 2003

Surrender

SADDAM'S SOLDIERS SURRENDER

TERRIFIED Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces - because they thought the war had already started.

The motley band of a dozen troops waved the white flag as British paratroopers tested their weapons during a routine exercise.

The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:42 PM

March 8, 2003

See?

Almost a month ago, I wrote this post -- The Agneda Factor -- where I aksed, "How do we know they'd actually admit they found anything that could potentially become a "smoking gun"? Everyone has an agenda and I'd like to know who the inspectors are loyal to. Because those loyalties could have everything to do with finding what France, Germany, and their UN cronies want, and absolutely nothing to do with what's right. "

So maybe I wasn't so paranoid after all. I read today, in the comments of this post on "Daily Pundit", that Hans Blix has been burying important information in his reports about weapons violations found in Iraq. His objectivity is now being questioned.

Hah!

Posted by Ithildin at 11:45 AM

March 7, 2003

A Change Of Heart

I heard this on the radio yesterday, and while blog browsing, I found a wonderful post on the subject by Iain Murray. It tells the story of Anne Clywd, a dyed in the wool left-winger, who appears to have had a change of heart after visiting Kurdistan and seeing what Saddam has wrought -- and what they have accomplished under US and British protection.

"I'd seen museums in Rwanda, Cambodia and on the Holocaust, but nothing prepared me for this," she says.

"The museum has been set up in the old torture centre, where thousands died. They've kept the cells with the bullet holes, and pictures drawn by children imprisoned there - images of birds and aeroplanes scratched into the walls with blood. The guards said they didn't imprison anyone younger than 11 but they forged their birth certificates."

Former prisoners showed her around. On the walls were hundreds of photographs of piles of clothing, mass graves and skulls. "Saddam's regime is like the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis; they are obsessed by documenting everything they've done. There are lots of photographs of prisoners just before they were executed, grinning at the cameras. The guards tickled them before they died to make them laugh."

The day she opened the museum it was snowing, grey and icy. "Hundreds of relatives of the dead and the victims queued up to watch and to tell me their stories. An old Kurdish woman shoved a piece of plastic at me; inside were two photographs of her husband and two missing sons. She wanted to know how they died. One old man showed me a photograph of 15 of his family. He was the only survivor. 'Why was I meant to survive?' he said."

Mrs Clwyd was asked to cut the ribbon. "I could feel my voice breaking. I've given thousands of speeches but I couldn't speak. I started walking round the room, trying to compose myself, but when a Kurdish TV cameraman asked me how I felt, I burst into tears. As I stood in that museum, I just thought: 'Why didn't we carry on to Baghdad? Why did we let this keep happening for another 12 years?' "

There's much more to read here. There are no permalinks, so you'll have to scroll down a bit to "The Last Compromise".

Posted by Ithildin at 5:47 PM | Comments (2)

Pearl Harbour?

I get these email newsletters from the Federalist on a fairly regular basis (though I rarely seem to get the time to read them!). The latest one had this in it, and it's something I hadn't heard about, so I'm putting it out here for comment.

On the day after 9-11, we noted the uncanny comparisons between Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and Jihadistan's attacks on 9-11. Now, intelligence sources tell us that al-Qa'ida Jihadis are, ironically, targeting Pearl Harbor's military facilities for their "symbolic value" -- spectacular attacks that would rival 9-11.

I'm not too sure what to think of this. It would seem logistically more complicated to try to commit a terror act on an island, wouldn't it? Not to mention at a military base. I'm no expert, but those are the first thoughts that I had.

Then the rest of the article deals with other related issues:

And, as The Federalist has maintained since 9-11, other Jihadis are, indeed, waiting for their orders, which is precisely why the Bush doctrine of preemption against asymmetric threats created by state sponsors of terrorism like Iraq, rather than the old "MADD" doctrine of containment of symmetric threats, is so critical to U.S. national security.

To begin to grasp the potential number of Jihadis slumbering in U.S. suburbs, last year the INS deported only 13% of illegal aliens not in custody but facing deportation orders, and, significantly, the INS deported only 6% of those illegals from nations on the State Department's list of seven state sponsors of terrorism. At last count, more than 350,000 non-detained aliens under deportation orders remain at large -- and that accounts only for those known illegals.

And a footnote on surprise attacks: Isoroku Yamamoto, who plotted the attack on Pearl Harbor received his "higher education" in the U.S. (Harvard). Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we now know, also received his "higher education" in the U.S.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:37 PM

March 4, 2003

An Untitled "Paul Post"

So, how happy is everyone over the capture of this "number three" Al Qaeda leader? I'm *very* happy about it.

Now, as I hear, some people are raising fears that we might torture this guy. I haven't heard these fears voiced, myself, but I've heard them reported.

Okay, it's a given that torture is bad. We should avoid that if at all possible (and I assume it's possible in the vast majority of cases). That said, I'm perplexed that some people would immediately worry about us torturing him. Yeah, the tempation is there; not only to get information out of him, but to exact revenge. But why assume that we'll clamp jumper cables to his nether regions and dip his nose in acid at the first opportunity? Why do some people assume such negative things about our security and intelligence operatives?

This whole "anti war" phenomenon has me flummoxed. Not that people would be opposed to war, but the tactics they employ against it. The most common arguments aren't about how it might not achieve the objective at hand, or serious suggestions of alternative targets. Instead, they're things about blood for oil, cowboys, doing things in people's names, etc., that seem, to me at least, to completely ignore the issues at hand.

It's not like a simple difference of opinion or policy, or even outlook. I can understand why people think affirmative action is a needed thing, or why they think Celine Dion makes great music, or why they choose a different form of worship than I do, though I disagree with them. And I often sympathize with those choices, and can easily imagine myself doing same if my life, learning and experiences had been different. But when I hear "anti war" slogans like "These Colors Don't Run The World," it's not as if I'm hearing someone say "I think 'Lord of the Rings' was overrated," (blasphemous as that is) but more like they're saying "cats are made of peanut butter." It just does not compute.

Posted by at 10:25 AM

February 26, 2003

Interviews...

So, there was an interview by Dan Rather with Saddam Hussein.

Well, the White House wants to rebut the interview.

But he [White House spokesman Ari Fleischer] said CBS replied it was interested only if President Bush made the response himself -- which he said the White House would not accept on the grounds that there was no "moral equivalence" between the two leaders. -- Reuters

CBS is denying that they want Bush only...

It was a three-hour interview. And, we all know that the questions had to have been handed to one of Hussein's henchmen so that the questions could be vetted and the pat answers memorized.

(My spell check wanted to change Saddam to Soda... [snorfle])

Posted by Ninjababe at 1:03 PM

The Great Divide

As I suspected, it turns out that the divide in Canada that exists along language lines, is present when the numbers are broken down in regards to support of the United States.

According to David Frum:

Americans may be tempted to inscribe Canada into the Axis of Weasels, but think again: In yesterday’s Globe and Mail, columnist Lysiane Gagnon reports on a new study of Canadian public opinion that shows that Canada – like the Western Alliance – is divided on war by linguistic lines. Sixty percent of Canadians outside the French-speaking province of Quebec approve of the use of force by the United States in Iraq – only 44% of Quebeckers do. Nearly half of Canadians outside Quebec (48.5%) want Canada to support the U.S. in war. Only 30% of Quebeckers do.

I'm glad to see some sort of information on this. I know I've commented before that I'm not seeing the same rampant anti-Americanism being reported in the "East" with my friends and family in the "West". Figures that Quebec would be the fly in the pie yet again.

“Practically all opinion leaders [in Quebec] are either squarely against the use of force in Iraq or insist on the necessity of United Nations approval. I don’t know a single columnist, radio talk-show host or politician who would argue in favor of a unilateral U.S. military operation against Iraq.”

And this is par for the course in Quebec:

As Gagnon recalls, French-speaking Quebec also opposed Canada’s participation in the two world wars – and that indeed many French-speakers strongly sympathized with the Axis in the second. (A footnote here: Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been hobbled throughout his career by his relative unpopularity in his native province – and one important reason for that unpopularity was his father’s active support for the Allied war effort back in 1939-1945.)

And this is the antitheses of English speaking Canada:

By contrast, the other Canada, English-speaking Canada it bore arms in the English-speaking world’s great battles of the last century and despite four decades of bilingual social engineering, English Canadians cannot avoid feeling an obligation to enter the great battles of the next. That obligation expresses itself not just in the polls, but in the dozens of emails I receive every week from Canadians looking for a sympathetic ear for their rage and shame at the Chretien government’s weak-willed fence-sitting.

When I was a kid, during the time we lived in British Columbia, and all the summers spent at my grandparents, I'm not sure I ever heard a positive word about Quebec. Eastern Canada in general was considered close to a foreign land! My family had a proud tradition of service to King and Country, and I'm sure my great-grandfathers would be horrified at the turn of events in their country since their deaths. I know my parents aren't too happy.

So when the newspapers report on the divide between America and its traditional allies over Iraq, remember: The divide within those allies is at least as wide.
Posted by Ithildin at 7:33 AM

February 24, 2003

As History Turns

Check out this post at LGF, and the accompanying link, on Arab Nazism. Fascinating, if repugnant, stuff.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:51 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2003

What Is Peace?

I found this thoughtful post from Peeve Farm, on the meaning of peace, over at Insomnomaniac. I've excerpted part of it here, because I found it did a good job expressing some of what I've been thinking these last months.

Peace isn't the absence of war. Peace is the willingness to accept certain risks in the world landscape, on the understanding that other people won't take advantage of us-- because they're taking on those same risks for the same reason. Peace is a mutual understanding reached by a unanimous community of similarly-minded peoples, with an absence of hatred and resentment, with common goals and an inherent incentive toward cooperation and friendship. Peace isn't something you get if you just lie down and cover your head with your hands while the other kids hurl rocks at it. That's called surrender, not peace. And it's what comes about when your vision of "peace" is simply "not fighting anymore", even if that includes self-defense.

"America isn't under attack", some say. But one has only to look at the desires of our enemies, expressed in so many press statements and propaganda videos and sermons, to realize that the only reason we're not suffering more attacks right now is because they lack the means, not because they aren't really our enemies. They are. They say so every week. And sooner or later, 9/11 will happen again, or something worse. To disagree with that possibility is to ascribe to them immense fecklessness and unwillingness to follow through on their own threats. I don't think that's a tenable logical position. these are human beings we're talking about, but human beings deeply and thoroughly convinced that it's their duty to do whatever is in their power to destroy us. They've already declared war on us, and they're dead serious about it. For us to march for peace under such conditions is to proclaim that we can bend spoons with our minds.

The problem still exists; the threat is still real, because the hatred is still real. The hatred is of what we are, not of what we do; and so short of changing fundamentally what we are, there is no solution to that hatred other than to remove the immediate threat by whatever expedient force is necessary, and then work on defusing whatever cultural and religious schisms divide us from that part of the world that currently wants us dead.

This is only part of a much longer post, and I encourage you to go read all of it.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:52 PM | Comments (2)

February 19, 2003

Chrétien Finally Gets Off The Fence

But the side he came down on won't come as a surprise.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien says Canada will not be part of the American-led "coalition of the willing" in a war against Iraq unless the United Nations authorizes military action.

After weeks of dodging questions from opposition leaders about Canada's position, Mr. Chrétien ended the fence-sitting and told MPs yesterday that if the Security Council refuses to authorize a war, the United States will have to do without the help of its closest ally and largest trading partner if it decides to pursue a military campaign to remove Saddam Hussein.

"We have not been asked and we do not intend to participate in a group of the willing," he said in reply to a question from Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:25 PM

To Lost Friends

A timely article on losing friends due to our beliefs.

In all my 38 years, I have never before felt such a sense of personal shock. I am shocked that so many of my friends would rather a brutal dictator remained in power — for that would be the direct consequence if their views won out — than support military action by the United States. I am ashamed that they would rather believe the words of President Saddam Hussein than those of their own Prime Minister. I am nauseated that they would rather give succour to evil than think through the implications of their gut feelings.

It is a shocking experience to realise that your friends are either mindless, deluded or malevolent.

I used to think that 9/11 was the most important day of my life. It was indeed a day which transformed the world; its influence will be felt for decades, if not centuries. But however foul the “America had it coming” refrain, that came mainly from the usual suspects. This is different. This time the words come from friends.

I have many friends with whom I disagree politically; it would be a small-minded person who could not say that. But this goes beyond mere politics. This is about fundamentals. And what makes it truly shocking is how many normal, apolitical, otherwise decent people are so deeply wrong, so stridently misguided.


I know there's a lot of stress these days, and a lot of change. I've read on other blogs that people have lost friends due to their stand on Iraq and supporting the President in this fight for our future and our past. We, and this country, are being remade right before our eyes. What will we remember of these days a decade from now? I'm not sure, to tell the truth. I remember growing up in the sixties and seventies, and feeling sure that nothing could be worse than the constant threat of the USSR and couldn't imagine a world without that threat. Boy, was I wrong!

Here's to the future and in praying that the friends we lose are only to ideas and not death at the hands of madmen and terror.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:50 AM | Comments (10)

Mystery

Three mystery ships are tracked over suspected 'weapons' cargo

Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Each with a deadweight of 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes, the ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law, say authoritative shipping industry sources.

The vessels left port in late November, just a few days after UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix began their search for the alleged Iraqi arsenal on their return to the country.

Uncovering such a deadly cargo on board would give George Bush and Tony Blair the much sought-after "smoking gun" needed to justify an attack on Saddam Hussein's regime, in the face of massive public opposition to war.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:30 AM

February 17, 2003

The Agenda Factor

From the random thought department comes this post.

After listening to, and reading about, yet more UN machinations, I began to wonder just how do we know we can trust the inspectors? I mean, they have an agenda, right? Or they seem to to me. How do we know they'd actually admit they found anything that could potentially become a "smoking gun"? Everyone has an agenda and I'd like to know who the inspectors are loyal to. Because those loyalties could have everything to do with finding what France, Germany, and their UN cronies want, and absolutely nothing to do with what's right.

I'm just thinking out loud here. Just because your're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you, you know!

Posted by Ithildin at 3:51 PM

European Union...

From Reuters:

The hastily arranged Brussels summit may be a defining test of whether the EU can speak with one voice when it counts. The EU leaders meet at 6 p.m.

"The future of Europe lies not only in the euro (currency) but having a European defense policy," Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said.

Germany has stated that they will not participate with any war with Iraq. Chirac states while there are UN weapons inspections, there's no need for other resolutions.

So, I'm wondering if the conflict with Iraq will destroy the European Union...

Damn, there goes my cheap trip to Europe :-)

Posted by Ninjababe at 10:59 AM

February 14, 2003

Here Boy, Have A Snausage!

Chrétien begs U.S. not to act without UN

In a speech likely to be perceived by some in the Bush administration as a lecture, Mr. Chrétien noted that the U.S. was the primary force in the formation of the UN and hinted that much of the world doubts its motives as it barrels towards war with Iraq.

"The price of being the world's only superpower is that its motives are sometimes questioned by others," he said. "Great strength is not always perceived by others as benign. Not everyone around the world is prepared to take the word of the United States on faith."

He immediately clarified that Canada supports the U.S., saying it is "essential that the United States can count on support from around the world."

Will he shake an admonishing finger at us too?

Posted by Ithildin at 1:34 PM

February 13, 2003

Hezbollah Scores

Hezbollah got 'diverse material' in Canada for its armed struggle

According to a secret CSIS report, Hezbollah procured equipment for use in its terrorist activities, and trained its operatives, in Canada.

CSIS warned as long as six years ago that Hezbollah had established a base in Canada that can "assist and support terrorists" seeking safe haven in North America.

However, the federal cabinet was divided last year on whether to label the group a terrorist organization because of the charitable works done by its political and social arms.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:57 AM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2003

A Little Repeating Going On?

A majority of the German populace thinks we're warmongers. Thing is, they've said similar things before.

Interesting, no?

Posted by Ithildin at 6:00 PM

February 9, 2003

Something To Ponder

There's a post over on Small Victory that deals with the similarities of two assassinations carried out by terrorists. One just before 9/11, and one that just happened.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:36 PM

February 8, 2003

Total Opposites

My friend Ealasaid has a blog, and she recently did a post on this article. I was reading her post, and thought it sounded awfully familiar. I thought back, and realized I'd read a post on the very same article at Michele's place. But a post about the same article is where the similarities end. If you were looking for two totally opposite viewpoints, this is it. I've known Ealasaid for quite a few years and I consider her a friend, but when it comes to our outlooks and beliefs, we're probably polar opposites! And even though I know her, I'm not quite able to wrap my mind around some of what she believes. (that's probably a mutual feeling). Michele, I don't know, other than through her blog, but her POV on war & peace is pretty much the same as mine.

A lot of times. those we disagree with have no real "face". They're guests on TV news shows, or they're in pictures taken at peace protests. You can't really talk to them and try to understand the journey they made to get to where they are today. The opposite is true as well, and it's easy for them to write off people like me as bloodthirsty warmongers, because they don't know me. In RL, you have to deal with people face to face, so maybe it's easier to make allowances for differing opinions. And, a lot of the time, politics -- like religion -- isn't a subject that many of us discuss due to "social conditioning". But on the internet, we get to express things we might not normally express, and it can be to an audience of next to no one, to thousands. I try and remind myself that those "unknowns" may be just like people I know, and that even if they make me insane, if I knew them in RL, we might even be friends. If Ealasaid and I can be friends, anything is possible!

So that's my 'thoughtful' post for the month :)

Posted by Ithildin at 4:22 PM | Comments (6)

February 5, 2003

My Nightmare

"Useful Fools" has some nightmarish information on Iraq and a "Doomsday" bug.

But something that might help, there's a project, much like SETI, that utilizes home and work PCs to crunch data to identify candidates for developing new drugs that, for the first time, would combat the smallpox virus post-infection.

Both links via "The Tocquevillian"

Posted by Ithildin at 5:27 PM

Iraqi Assassination Squads

Opposition: Saddam sent squads to assassinate opposition leaders in Europe

The Dutch secret service called a group of the Iraqi opposition leaders residing in Holland and alerted them against assassination operations that might target them by Iraqi regime groups, Al Bawaba.com was told Tuesday.

The name of the Iraqi military council member and secretary general of the Iraqi Center for Democratic Studies, Dr. Musaddaq Al Janabi, comes at the top of the hit list. He told Albawaba.com that the Dutch Intelligence obtained a document from the office of the Iraqi Ambassador to Algeria, Awad Fakhri, with the names of the Iraqi opposition prominent leaders in Europe to be assassinated.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:59 AM

January 30, 2003

Fence Sitting & Card Holding

Europeans to Canada: Get off the fence

But which side of the fence will Canada end up on?

German Ambassador Christian Pauls says Canada has yet to clearly explain what it intends to do if the United States goes to war against Iraq with or without United Nations approval.

Mr. Pauls said he believes Canada shares many of the same concerns that Germany has about a war, but has not gone as far as Berlin in explicitly expressing its opposition to military action and declaring what course it plans to take.

Then again, according to this article, Canada is prepared to go to war...

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham says he has not given up on peace, but at the same time, he's prepared to go to war to force Saddam Hussein to disarm.

...but not so fast!

Graham's speech opening a special parliamentary debate yesterday on the Iraq crisis did little to clarify the government's position on what action it is planning in the event of a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.

While reiterating that Canada fully supports UN Security Council resolution 1441, calling for "serious consequences" should Iraq fail to comply fully with UN demands, Graham frustrated opposition MPs from both left and right who wanted to know what the government plans to do if the United States opts for unilateral action along with a coalition of the willing.

I sure hope that fence is comfy, because Chretien seems to want to sit there for a bit longer.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien also refused to tip his hand over whether he would be willing to break with the United Nations and support a U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

Chrétien has good reason to hold his cards: A new poll indicates a majority of Canadians don't want to go to war, and many MPs in his own caucus don't favour war either.

"We are waiting to see what is that proof," Chrétien told the House of Commons. "If they have it, good. It will be good for people to know."

Posted by Ithildin at 5:12 PM | Comments (9)

January 29, 2003

Europe Isn't Just France & Germany

On Jan. 28th, I made this post, wondering why the support of European countries other than France and Germany seemed to be discounted.

On a related note, eight European countries have signed a declaration urging the Continent to unite with the United States to force Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to give up his weapons of mass destruction. It was not signed by France and Germany (not any surprise there)

Eight European leaders on Thursday sought to rally an uncertain continent behind a possible US-led attack on Iraq with a joint public appeal for unity. Advertisement

The declaration, initiated by José-Mara Aznar of Spain and also signed by Tony Blair of Britain and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, urges Europeans to unite with the US to force Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to give up his weapons of mass destruction.

The move also highlights growing divisions in Europe over Iraq. France and Germany, the two European states to have expressed the strongest reservations about US policy, have not signed the appeal.

The other leaders backing the declaration, which is published in 12 European newspapers, are Portugal's José Manuel Durão Barroso, Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, Poland's Leszek Miller, Peter Medgyessy of Hungary and Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic.

I guess "unilateral" means something else to the Left than it does to me.

The declaration urges Europeans to stand by the US at a time of great danger to international peace. It says Europe and the US have common values of democracy and freedom.

"We in Europe have a relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time . . . The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime's persistent attempts to threaten world security," it says.

In an emotional effort to confront scepticism in Europe about Washington's motives, the statement notes that the US helped free Europe from the two tyrannies of Nazism and communism.

Nice someone remembers.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:03 PM | Comments (4)

January 28, 2003

Words From A Democrat

Watching FOX News still (this is what I do when I'm home sick) and they just finished up with Senator Evan Bayh the Democrat from Indiana.

Major paraphrasing, (because I'm the slowest typist in the world!)

"The French and Germans weren't very resolute in dealing with ethnic cleansing in their own back yard, and while it would be god if they were on board, I don't think we should be giving them a veto over us taking out a homicidal maniac."

I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised at the Senator's words.

Posted by Ithildin at 2:15 PM

January 27, 2003

What Will We Hear?

Peggy Noonan, in a column today, discusses the upcoming SOTU address.

This bit stands out:

An example. I'm going to refer to a private conversation about another conversation, I hope in a good cause. Four months ago a friend who had recently met with the president on other business reported to me that in conversation the president had said that he has been having some trouble sleeping, and that when he awakes in the morning the first thing he often thinks is: I wonder if this is the day Saddam will do it.

"Do what exactly?" I asked my friend. He told me he understood the president to be saying that he wonders if this will be the day Saddam launches a terror attack here, on American soil.

I was surprised. We know of the arguments that Saddam is a supporter and encourager of America's terrorist enemies. We know the information that has been made available. But the president has not to my knowledge said in public that he fears Saddam himself will hit us hard on the ground in America, and soon.

Maybe my friend misheard, maybe something was misunderstood. But my friend is a careful man, and I suspect he heard exactly right. Which begs the question, what does Mr. Bush know that he hasn't said about Saddam's intentions and ability to strike America?

One hopes more information will come to the public. Presidents are always bound by the need not to compromise sources or operations, and rightly so. But at this moment, on the brink of war, an immediate and situational new flexibility would seem to be helpful. If you lose a source or an operation and gain more of the understanding of the people of the world and the people of your country--well, that would seem to be a reasonable deal.

There's been a lot of talk in the past about Saddam and smallpox. There's been conjecture that maybe the reason we've been holding off is because Iraq may have agents here with smallpox, or some other biological weapon. Or maybe a dirty nuke. It could be anything. Every single one of those possibilities came to mind after reading the above.

And as I'm typing this, I'm listening to FOX news and they're talking about the worry that now it isn't just Saddam who has biological and chemical weapons, but that he's now passed the recipes off to terror cells all over the world. He sites the latest arrests in London, amongst others, as a sign that that may have happened.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:08 PM

January 25, 2003

Getting Tough?

According to Colin Powell:

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday that the world must use force if necessary to disarm Iraq, and warned "the going is getting tough."

I hope so.

After reading about the craven and cowardly UN inspectors that turned over those poor Iraqis, that had tried to get help, to the authorities, I wonder what else the UN has to fail at before we set the pedal to the metal? Why would any Iraqi scientist risk his life, and that of his family, by cooperating with the inspectors? This is an organization that has Libya running the human rights commission for Pete's sake!

The UN is a farce and I don't know why we still pay lip service to some long dead ideal of it making the world a better place. The only people the UN is making the world a better place for is dictators and murderers. And that isn't something we should be a part of any longer.

Update: For some really good takes on those Iraqis that the UN turned over check out this and this, and this.

Posted by Ithildin at 3:44 PM | Comments (2)

January 24, 2003

Is This It?

According to the Guardian, we're within weeks of going to war. In this article, they lay out the possible scenario. It seems plausible to me. I've long thought that the State of the Union address would play a significant part in setting the stage.

And as for the constant bleating from the Left that we can't be unilateral, that we'll be "going it alone", do they actually pay attention to what's going on?

But both sides of the divide are making it increasingly clear that the end result will be military action, with or without UN backing.

The chief White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, yesterday brushed off mounting anti-war feeling across Europe, led by France. It was "entirely possible that France won't be on the line", he said, adding that Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain and "virtually all of the eastern European countries" would provide support.

Mr Powell echoed this, saying: "I don't think we will have to worry about going it alone."

Are the countries named not worthy in their eyes? France and Germany somehow have more value than all of Eastern Europe, not to mention Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain?

Whatever.

I'll gladly accept the support of every single one of those countries! And I'd like to thank them for standing up and being counted when the going gets tough. They are what is meant by "allies". Germany and France need to take a long look at themselves and realize that their behavior, lack of support, and general nastiness, is going to be remembered for a long time to come. I think it's a memory they're going to regret creating.

~~~~~~

Update: Some recommended related reading. Head on over and read the conclusions of Steve Den Beste, who wonders if there's something in the water, or if Europe has gone collectively insane. One of my (many) favorite bits is the excerpt from a European columnist who asserts the inspiration for our Constitution was the French Revolution. (and they say Americans suck at history!)

Posted by Ithildin at 7:42 AM

January 22, 2003

Just Give Peace A Chance!

Take a look at this picture and tell me again how we should be more tolerant and loving, and if we just understood the pain of Western Imperialism experienced by these poor guys, that everything would be all better.

nukesfornuts.jpg



This is the kind of thing that every single person in this country needs to see. Sadly, I know that many of the purported "peace activists" wouldn't care one iota. No doubt many, as evidenced in this post at Right Wing News, would throw a party.

Now you've looked at the picture, read the words that go along with it:

In the name of Allah the most merciful.

Thus, you are not mistaken in reading this text. This is the only way to kill the greatest possible number of Americans. The Americans have never experienced a threat like this one. During World War II, America used this [nuclear] weapon twice in three days following the successful Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, the United States uses the most powerful and advanced weapons of destruction against peaceful citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan, and it proudly supports the war that Russia is waging against Chechniya, not out of affection for Russia, but rather from its hatred of Moslems.

America has bombed Iraq with weaponry that will pollute the soil and underground water with radiation for thousands of years. It also enhances its bombs with spent uranium to cause even greater harm to the people and the environment. This, so that no one should think that after they leave the island of [the Prophet] Mohammed [the Arabian Peninsula], which they have transformed into a restricted area, just to return to the same place [because of the pollution perpetrated by them]. It seems, in fact, that the wild beasts in the White House have forgotten or have tried to forget one very important thing, which is, in all pride - the Al-Qaeda organization. This organization, which strikes fear in the hearts of the infidel West, turns youth into people who have nothing in this world but their devotion to Allah and to His Prophet Mohammed, and who are the tormentors of the sons of whores [i.e. - the West], and who are shining examples of estrangement from the sins of this world . . . and of selling their souls to Allah.

Therefore, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Even though the Americans have bombs possessing enormous power, Al-Qaeda is even more powerful than they, and it has in its possession bombs which are called "dirty bombs", and bombs with deadly viruses, which will spread fatal diseases throughout American cities . . . The coming days will prove that Kaedat el-Jihad [the Al-Qaeda organization] is capable of turning America into a sea of deadly radiation, and this will prove to the world that the end is at hand . . . Yes, we will destroy America and its allies, because they have used their power for evil against the weak. And now, the end approaches at the hand of the enlightened [Islamic] youth astride their horses [fighting the war against the infidels]; they will dismount either as victors or vanquished [i.e. - fall in holy war for Allah] . . .

Abu Shihab El-Kandahari
26 December 2002

They're talking about you! And me, and our families, and our friends.

So how does that "give peace a chance" thing go again?

*Via Cold Fury & Little Green Footballs.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:31 PM | Comments (4)

January 19, 2003

Our Own Worst Enemy

I keep saying we're becoming our own worst enemy. Here's another example from Andrew Stuttaford in The Corner:

The long, slow suicide of the West continues: a former fighter for the Taliban has arrived in the UK. As is only to be expected in a culture now gone completely insane, he has (the Sunday Telegraph reports) been given asylum in Britain on the grounds that he could face ‘persecution’ at the hands of the new regime in Kabul.

Persecution?

The word is justice. The Taliban thug should be returned to face it.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:33 AM

November 8, 2002

Just Desserts

So the terrorist scumball the CIA blew up really was an American. Like I said yesterday, "good riddance!"

A Yemeni-American killed in a CIA airstrike in Yemen has links to alleged members of the Al Qaeda cell in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., that was raided by U.S. authorities in September, a U.S. government official said Friday.
Posted by Ithildin at 5:51 PM

October 30, 2002

You Have No Idea!

There are days when I am so glad I chose not to be a Canadian citizen! And this is one of them.

Get a load of this latest from Government Canada:

Canada, in a highly unusual warning, was on Wednesday urging Canadian citizens born in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Iraq to think carefully before entering the United States, which has introduced tough new anti-terrorism rules.

The Foreign Ministry said it issued the advisory after the introduction of new U.S. rules stipulating that anyone born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, or Syria needed to be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival in the United States.

Thoguh, after yesterday's news, maybe we should thank the Canadians for keeping their potential terrorosts at home!

UPDATE 11.01.02: We caved! Damn it!

Posted by Ithildin at 11:07 AM

October 29, 2002

Worrisome, But Not Surprising

Canadian Link to 9/11 Pilots Alleged

In what may be the strongest Canadian connection yet to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a Mauritanian who was questioned but released by Canadian authorities three years ago has been identified as having recruited two of the key suicide hijackers.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who calls himself the imam of a Montreal mosque, was investigated by Canadian intelligence agents after he arrived in Montreal from Germany in 1999, but officials lacked evidence for an arrest and let him go.

He subsequently fled Canada.

Yesterday, a German magazine reported that a captured al-Qaeda operative had admitted that Mr. Slahi, who lived at the Montreal mosque in 1999 and 2000, was responsible for recruiting Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah

Posted by Ithildin at 11:20 AM

October 28, 2002

Why Would We?

From the AP The White House refused to criticize Russian special forces for pumping a mysterious sleeping gas into a theater to end a hostage siege, killing 116 hostages.

Why should we criticize the Russians for doing what had to be done? Would it have been better to storm the place with troops and give the terrorists an opportunity to blow everyone to kingdom come?

It's terrible that so many people died, but preferable to them all being killed. Does anyone really doubt that the intentions of the terrorists were to kill themselves and every single one of their victims? In the end, the Russian government was left with a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:37 PM

Terror group Targets North Australia

Terror group targeted north Australia: report - theage.com.au

Northern Australia has been targeted by the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) to form part of an Asian Islamic superstate, according to a secret intelligence report.

The report, to be detailed on tonight's ABC Four Corners program, comes from the Philippines, chosen by al-Qaeda as its first base in South-East Asia in 1988.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:49 AM

Al Qaeda Nukes are Reality, Intelligence Says

Not entirely surprising, just one more thing to add to the list. And one more reason we need to shoot first, ask questions later (in a manner of speaking)

The entire story here.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:15 AM