micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Friday, January 31, 2003
I have added perm links. The low tech way I put them on this page should not be spoken of. Also, please note, that I have more blogs to add. I talk in the third person for the joy of it.

Next on the slow moving agenda is ending the shame of looking like Ben Shapiro.

How Dare Saddam

"U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring Iraq's military forces and the ruling Ba'ath party in Baghdad. Spy agencies are looking carefully for signs that Saddam Hussein will start a pre-emptive attack before U.S. military forces can complete their buildup in the region," write Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times.

Tim Dunlop has asked one the great questions of this age:
Here's a little question though: who is a bigger menace to intelligent political debate, and therefore democracy, Rush Limbaugh or Ari Fleischer?
I can see both sides.

The Bush Administration regularly shifts how much time it says United Nations weapons inspectors should have in Iraq, writes Tim Dunlop.

He's right and, as I explained in "Bush's Charade", the fact that the White House is in no real hurry to deal with what it says is Iraq's immediate threat does not speak well of the Bush Administration.

It is Chinese New Year's eve.

Lisa English's RuminateThis appears to be up and running again.

"A classified document signed by President Bush specifically allows for the use of nuclear weapons in response to biological or chemical attacks, apparently changing a decades-old U.S. policy of deliberate ambiguity," writes Nicholas Kralev of The Washington Times.

(Thanks to antiwar.com for the link.)

"British officials have presented evidence which they claim shows that al-Qaeda had been trying to assemble radioactive material to build a so-called dirty bomb," writes Frank Gardner of BBC News.

This of course furthers the need to attack Iraq. I'm not sure why but I'm sure it does.

If al Qaeda is responsible for this, the group seems to have lost all sense of purpose.

Navy Captain T.L. McCreary said on Tuesday that the U.S. military now regards terrorism as an act of war, reports Gerry J. Gilmore of the American Forces Press Service.

U.S. District Judge William Young apparently disagrees as yesterday he told Richard Reid:

You are not an enemy combatant - you are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war - you are a terrorist. To call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. You are a terrorist and we do not negotiate with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
It seems to me that the U.S. shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways. If this is a war than the "enemy" -however broadly defined- should be treated as soldiers. If it isn't, then it seems a bit strange that the U.S. is waging war on other countries.

"Setting strict TV rules about what children can and cannot watch at home may actually encourage them to watch the forbidden programs elsewhere, according to new research," writes Jennifer Warner in the opener of interesting story produced by WebMD.

It is because of news like this that I don't understand why anybody would ever want to raise children. It is healthy for kids to rebel on some level and so you would want to make some rules you would expect your kids to break but the very process of doing that is an exercise in cynicism that is anything but healthy.

As for me, my parents didn't want me to watch pro wrestling. It is revealing that to this day I consider Ric Flair one of the more interesting characters in popular culture.

Some senators aren't buying Bush's case for war, reports Steve Schifferes of BBC News.


Thursday, January 30, 2003
k-logs sound somewhat interesting.

More on "shock and awe" by Scott Peterson of The Christian Science Monitor.

I'm glad to see the Bush Adminstration isn't giving subversive poets an opportunity to weaken the country's resolve to defend itself against Iraq.

Over at The New York Times, Steven R. Weisman and Julia Preston write that yesterday "Russia appeared ready to change position and support an eventual attack" on Iraq.

Evaluating my "State of the Union Speech Predictions"

Tuesday morning I made some predictions about President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech, which he delivered that evening as planned. With the transcript on screen, I thought it would be fun to evaluate my predictions.

I won't watch but will read the transcript.
I didn't watch but did read the transcript.
President George W. Bush will talk about terrorism, Iraq and the economy.
He did.
It will be unclear if he understands that these are different issues.
I was certainly wrong about this one.
Bush will not explain why he is taking so much time to escalate the war with Iraq even though he says Iraq is an immediate threat.
It wasn't exactly rocket science, or even brain surgery to make this prediction since this is the largest logical flaw in Bush's justification war, but I was right. On a related note I listened to a bit of The Rush Limbaugh Show yesterday and I was struck by how many idiots good patriotic Americans are convinced the U.S. Congress is out to prevent Bush from going to war with Iraq. The fact that Republicans control both houses was never brought up and neither was the fact that it is Bush who appears to be in no real hurry to go after Iraq. Seriously, Afghanistan has supposedly been "over" for more than a year and talk about war with Iraq has been going on for at least that long and yet Bush is still waiting. This is particularly bothersome since, "we don't know how close he is to a nuclear weapon right now." (If you don't know who "he" is, you haven't been paying attention.)
No new "evidence" will come out, if only because there probably isn't any.
Nailed the first part, although it is not known for certain if the second part is the explanation.
There will be more clapping than appears on all other t.v. shows combined during the year.
This can not be determined yet but there was certainly more clapping than he deserved.
Opinion polls will show many people liked the speech and now support escalating the war with Iraq.
It appears that I was right.
David Horowitz and Andrew Sullivan will praise the speech.
Yep and yep.

You know I was named after a prophet.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Iras is such a dangerous threat to the U.S. that the U.S. is buying oil from Iraq.

Nothing says "Everybody has worth" like a war by the United States to prevent another country from doing something the U.S. does every day

I just got done reading President Bush's State of the Union speech and when combined with Bush's remarks today in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I have to say that old Dubya seems to be saying that war without end probably isn't good politics. I still think that is his intention but Bush doesn't seem to want to make as big of a deal out of it as he did a year ago. This will likely end up as good politics and end up causing diminished opposition to his imperial plans.

I can't help but marvel at this statement from today:

We know that there is still an enemy which lurks -- and there is; there is. And they're nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers, by the way. You know, they just don't value life like we do. The great thing about America is we say every life is precious, everybody counts. Everybody has worth. And they just don't view it that way. They kill in a name of a false ideology based upon hatred.
Funny how, save for when Bush is talking about America, this would serve as a very good description of the Bush Administration.

Then there is this soon to be a classic bit:

We will free people. This great, powerful nation is motivated not by power for power's sake, but because of our values. If everybody matters, if every life counts, then we should hope everybody has the great God's gift of freedom. We go into Iraq to disarm the country. We will also go in to make sure that those who are hungry are fed, those who need health care will have health care, those youngsters who need education will get education. But most of all, we will uphold our values. And the biggest value we hold dear is the value of freedom.
First of all, freedom is a concept with no concrete meaning. It is because of comments like this that Bush should be regarded as an idiot. More importantly, it is absurd to think that giving "freedom" to the Iraqis is as much of a motivating factor as preventing Iraq from developing and possessing weapons of mass destruction. If Bush actually cared as much about making others "free" as Bush says he does he might want to stop some of the draconian law enforcement measures that his administration engages in. Seriously, if he doesn't care about "freedom" in the country you have been elected in, is there any doubt that Bush doesn't care about "freedom" in Iraq?

This quiz on "time management" is perhaps the definition of irony.

My cable modem connection went out last night and has only recently been restored, which is nice even if I don't have much time to spend on the web right now.

Why don't they play all their games at the Breslin Center?

MSU beat Indiana, 61-54, in a game played last night in East Lansing. It was a close game that MSU won in the final few minutes. The team is now 11-8 and 3-4 in the Big Ten. They play Illinois next in a home game on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
This might not be something that Andrew Sullivan can understand but I hate George W. Bush because, like every president I can remember, he is a war mongering liar. That fact that he is good at this occupation only makes things worse.

Over at Salon, in a generally useful piece entitled "War games about Han Blix's report," Eric Boehlert writes:
Blix is scheduled to return to the U.N. in mid-February to deliver another update, but by then it will probably be even more obvious that war is imminent, with the U.S. moving toward an invasion in spite of resistance from France, Germany and Russia, among others.

In a series of recent interviews, experts in global diplomacy worried that such an approach by the Bush administration could do damage to the U.N. and to U.S. global credibility, with effects that may felt long after the battles in Iraq have ended.

Waging a war without U.N. authorization "would do real damage to the United Nations," says Mitchell Reiss, dean of international relations at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Maybe, but my argument -which I have articulated here and here- is that U.N. support for this operation will discredit the U.N. as it will make it appear that if the Security Council only enforces its resolutions whent he U.S. tells it to.

I can't help but love Russell Mokhiber grilling White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer:
Q Two things. Actually, a follow-up to the Iraq-U.S. alliance. The San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that a number of major American corporations -- including Hewlett-Packard and Bechtel -- helped Saddam Hussein beef up its military in the '80s. And also the Washington Post last month in a front-page article by Michael Dobbs said the United States during the '80s supplied Iraq with cluster bombs, intelligence and chemical and biological agents.

In that same article they reported that Donald Rumsfeld, now Secretary of Defense, went to Baghdad in December '83 and met with Saddam Hussein, and this was at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons almost on a daily basis in defiance of international conventions.

So there are some specifics, and the question is, if Iraq is part of the axis of evil, why isn't the United States and these American corporations part of the axis of evil for helping him out during his time of need?

MR. FLEISCHER: Russell, as I indicated, I think that you have to make a distinction between chemical and biological. And, clearly, in a previous era, following the fall of the Sha of Iran, when there was a focus on the risks that were underway in the region as a result of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, different administrations, beginning with President Carter, reached different conclusions about the level of military cooperation vis-a-vis Iraq.

Obviously, Saddam Hussein since that time has used whatever material he had for the purpose therefore of attacking Kuwait, attacking Saudia Arabia, attacking Israel. And, obviously, as circumstances warrant, we have an approach that requires now the world to focus on the threat that Saddam Hussein presents and that he presents this threat because of his desire to continue to acquire weapons and his willingness to use those weapons against others.

Q So was it a mistake for the U.S. to support Saddam?

MR. FLEISCHER: Russell. Russell.
The sad part is that a compliant media prevents these questions from becoming part of mainstream discourse.

Afghanistan is just so much fun these days.

State of the Union Speech Predictions

I won't watch but will read the transcript. President George W. Bush will talk about terrorism, Iraq and the economy. It will be unclear if he understands that these are different issues. Bush will not explain why he is taking so much time to escalate the war with Iraq even though he says Iraq is an immediate threat. No new "evidence" will come out, if only because there probably isn't any. There will be more clapping than appears on all other t.v. shows combined during the year. Opinion polls will show many people liked the speech and now support escalating the war with Iraq. David Horowitz and Andrew Sullivan will praise the speech.

Monday, January 27, 2003
Head United Nation Weapons Inspector Hans Blix has delivered his report on Iraq. Here is the BBC's summary:
  • Baghdad has complied only reluctantly with the UN inspectors
  • Iraq might still have stocks of anthrax
  • The country has failed to account for up to 300 rocket engines
  • Its weapons declaration last month contained no new material
  • Predictable responses like "Bomb [Cruise Missile?] Now!" and "Give the Inspectors More Time!" have no doubt already begun.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says a bioterror attack is inevitable, reports Brian Groom of The Financial Times.

    I've said it before and I will probably say it again, but I would take criticism of celebs speaking out on issues a lot more seriously if the public wasn't so star struck as to care what products the stars of stage, screen and fields of play were paid to endorse.

    From the useful shooting fish in a barrel department

    Curtiss Leung has taken National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice to task for recent comments about Iraq.

    Sunday, January 26, 2003
    The cruise missiles in Uncle Sam's quiver

    The current plan in the Pentagon is to attack Iraq in March by having the Air Force and Navy launch 300-400 cruise missiles one day one of the escalated war and then drop 300-400 more the next, CBS News reported yesterday. The goal is to discourage the Iraqi military from wanting to fight. In the story, CBS News quotes an unnamed “Pentagon official” as saying, "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad.”

    This strategy is known as “Shock and Awe,” and was described by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade as a means of instituting “Rapid Dominance” in a 1996 report for the The Command and Control Research Program, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. “The aim of Rapid Dominance,” write Ullman and Wade, "is to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe."

    Cruise missiles, at least the “Tomahawks” used by the U.S. (create your own joke), are a quintessential high tech weapon as they move on their own propulsion and contain software so that the missile can react to the terrain around it. “At the heart of the cruise missile is TERCOM - Terrain Contour Matching - software that allows the weapon to ‘read’ the ground it flies over,” writes the BBC. “It is not infallible. Firstly, the software demands that the missile flies from one reference point to the next so that it can work out where it is. Secondly, it is only as good as the maps it carries.”

    As the missile gets close to its target, the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation guidance system “compares what it can see on the ground with a digital rendition of its target,” the BBC further reports, in order to strike its intended target with as much accuracy as possible.

    Tomahawks have a better than 85% success rate, writes The Federation of American Scientists.

    (I can’t help but wonder why such accuracy is needed if the goal really is to make all of Baghdad a dangerous place to be.)

    Tomahawk cruise missiles were first used in the Gulf War and are produced by Raytheon. Each missile has a 1,000 pound payload and have an average unit cost of 1.4 million, according to globalsecurity.org.

    The “Tactical Tomahawk” –a new and improved version of the missile- is expected to be available for use soon. “Tactical Tomahawk, which will be introduced in 2003, will incorporate new technologies to provide new operational capabilities while fundamentally reducing acquisition and life cycle costs,” writes Raytheon.

    In contrast, The U.S. Navy says, in a web page said to have been last updated on December 17, that the new Tomahawk “is projected to enter service in 2004.”

    Another road game. Another loss

    Michigan State lost to Michigan, 60-58, in a game in Ann Arbor that ended moments ago. The team is now 10-8 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten. Next up is home game on Tuesday against Indiana. At this point the Spartans would be ill-served to lost any game in East Lansing.,

    As for the Michigan Game, one could complain about the officiating. O.K. I am going to do that. WOULD IT REALL HAVE HURT THE OFFICIALS ALL THAT MUCH TO CALL ONE OF THE DOZEN OR SO FOULS BY MICHIGAN IN REBOUNDING SITUATIONS DURING THE SECOND HALF AND/OR TO NOT CALL A FOUL ON MSU FOR A LITTLE BUMP?!? The calls would be laughable if this were a topic I could laugh at. That said, the Spartans had a 5 point lead with six and half remaining and waited over six minutes between scoring again and were their usual selves on the free throw line. In other words, they could have easily one the game despite the officiating.

    The team is in a very tough situation right now as they aren't that far from being a very good team but they need to make the necessary improvements soon before the season slips away from the them.

    Saturday, January 25, 2003
    In a January 23 story ABC News writes:
    The Air Force is preparing to fly as many as 1,500 sorties a day if there is war with Iraq and is seriously concerned about the public relations backlash from an expected high level of collateral damage, according to a 104-page report, portions of which were obtained by ABCNEWS.
    If a real war happens, civilain deaths, or, to use the official term, "collateral damage," are likely to be high. That said, my guess is that a "public relations backlash from an expected high level of collateral damage" is unlikely. Once -there is no longer seems to be a need to say, "if"- the escalation of the war starts, flags will start flying and it will probably be considered "anti-American" to oppose the war effort as "our boys" and girls will be over there fighting to protect us from Saddam or whatever else the rationale of the moment is by then.

    Nuking Iraq makes sense to me!

    Thanks to Douglas Anders for the link.)

    The Bush Administration has released "What Does Disarmament Look Like?" It is a fine document detailing what the lesser countries of the world should do with their weapons.

    Friday, January 24, 2003
    Moral authority

    This comment by Curtiss Leung in response to today's first post inspired me to do a bit of reading about the VX nerve agent. It is interesting to note that it appears the United States traded with Great Britain, where it was invented, for this weapon and manufactures, possesses and even tested the VX nerve agent on U.S. soldiers in the 1960s. Oh yeah, the U.S. Army says the VX nerve agent is known to cause:

    miosis (constriction of pupils) and visual effects, headaches and pressure sensation, runny nose and nasal congestion, salivation, tightness in the chest, nausea, vomiting, giddiness, anxiety, difficulty in thinking, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, muscle twitches, tremors, weakness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, involuntary urination and defecation. Severe exposure symptoms progress to convulsions and respiratory failure.
    The Center for Nonproliferation Studies says, "The median lethal dose for most male adults is about 10 milligrams on the skin."

    Click here to see who has been doing business with the Department of Defense.

    Questions to drive you crazy courtesy of Glovefox.

    Thursday, January 23, 2003
    More brillance from Andrew Sullivan:
    THE WAR CONTINUES: But for us, it's important to remember why we're fighting Saddam. The answer is September 11. Those who want to find some specific evidentiary link between al Qaeda and Saddam don't begin to fathom what war is. It is not the pursuit of one distinct goal after another, depending on the exigencies of international law or diplomacy. That's called foreign policy. War, in contrast, is the attempt to destroy an enemy. The enemy is Islamist terrorism and its state sponsors. Strategically, the overthrow of the Saddam regime is absolutely central to this objective. It will deal another psychological blow to the reactionaries who want to ratchet Islam back a few more centuries and wage war on the free societies of the West. It will remove one huge and obvious source of weapons of mass destruction potentially available to the enemy. It will provide a military base from which to continue the war against al Qaeda and its enablers across the Middle East, specifically in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. And it will reassert the global hegemony of the United States and its Anglosphere allies. That's why we fight. It isn't a pre-emptive war. It's a reactive war - against what was done to this country throughout the 1990s, culminating on that awful September day. We are fighting to honor the memory of the dead and to defeat a brutal enemy that would inflict even more carnage if they possibly could. And we fight to defend the principles of a liberal international order, principles that the United States and the United States alone has long been responsible for upholding. Our loneliness in this struggle should not therefore be a cause for concern. It is, in fact, a sign, once again, that we are on the right path.
    Translation: If Bush says America should attack country X, America should attack country X. If other countries don't agree with America on attacking country X, it is obviously because they are not as good as America.

    I find it interesting that Andrew Sullivan has endorsed a piece appearing in The New York Times without commenting on its origin. Now admitedly the piece, "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying," is by Condoleezza Rice in addition and not above Sullivan's intellectual level but that only begs the question, why is the most notorious anti-American publication on the face of the Earth printing such good material? If a man as brillant as Sullivan can't explain this, what hope do the rest of us have?

    "What would be enough?"

    miniluv has recently asked antiwar bloggers to explain, "What would be enough?" for them to justify war with Iraq. (I assume by this he means what I would consider the escalation of the war with Iraq.) I figure I might as well take a shot at the answer.

    I would support U.S. military action against Iraq for the sole purpose of preventing Iraq from attacking the U.S. or some other country in a manner that is designed to kill civilians. And after such action has been completed, I would not favor a broader war with Iraq. I would not favor retaliation to a an attack by Iraq on the U.S., U.S. interests or U.S. allies because quite frankly I feel that what the U.S. has been doing since 1990 is waging war on Iraq and that such actions just provoke Iraq to, rightly or wrongly, want to strike back. The U.S. appears to me to be a serious threat to Iraq while Iraq doesn't look like much of a threat to the U.S. I don't believe the U.S. should be attempting to control countries in the Middle East, or anywhere else, because it can and so I think the U.S. should be getting out of the area as soon as possible and let Iraq have all the weapons of mass destruction it wants unless the U.S. decides, or is forced, to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction.

    I disagree with people like Eric Tamm who believe "Evidence of currently ongoing and widespread human rights violations that are grievous enough so that we can be confident that the human cost suffered by the Iraqi civilian population (as well as the poor bastards involuntarily conscripted into Saddam's army) as a result of a war would be LESS than the human rights violations that we would be stopping" is enough of a reason to go to war. But I do respect them so long as they:

    -clearly state what constitutes crossing the quantitative and/or qualitative line of abusing human rights to the point that other countries have the right to overthrow that country’s government.

    -have drawn up a list of all countries that have crossed that line and favor U.S. military action against all such countries so long as war is not expected to cause more suffering than the ongoing human rights violations.

    -fully accept that being a force for freedom in the world means that lots of really evil and mean people are going to hate you and perhaps attack you but right of those risks as nothing more than the cost of bringing justice to the world.

    -believe that country that abolished slavery before the U.S. abolished slavery would, after having abolished slavery, justified in taking over the U.S. prior to at least September 22, 1862 in order to get rid of slavery in also that in all likelihood it is unfortunate that the Great Britain lost the American Revolutionary War as Great Britain would allow slavery in all of the Crown’s land well before slavery was abolished in the U.S. and slavery was a far greater injustice that anything suffered by the colonists.

    Funny I have never ran into anybody who met these criteria.

    What happened when the U.S. invaded Panama? (Be sure to read the comments.)

    Rashi Johnson looked good in last night's game.

    Wednesday, January 22, 2003
    The U.S. shouldn’t be preventing Iraq from possessing or developing weapons of mass destruction

    Thursday’s announcement that United Nations inspectors in Iraq had found warheads designed to carry chemical weapons that the Iraqi government had not declaredwas welcome news for those who want the escalation of the United States’ war with Iraq. "It's troubling and it's serious," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer on Friday.

    Andrew Sullivan was more to the point. "If verified, and if not accounted for in Iraq's declaration," the prominent commentator said shortly after the announcement, "case for war closed."

    A more recent report by The Telegraph saying that U.N. weapons inspectors also found a blueprint for an Iraqi nuclear weapons program on Thursday is likely to further the arguments for war.

    Any observers unfamiliar with recent political discourse would be excused for wondering why this news bolsters the case for war and does not demonstrate that weapons inspectors are working. Quite simply, the administration of President George W. Bush has been very successful over the last 12 or so months in putting forth the idea that the very possibility of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction amounts to an immediate threat to the U.S. This message came across most clearly in an October 7 speech by Bush in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” the President said about Iraq just days before Congress gave him approval for escalating the war.

    The message was clear – the administration should not have to prove that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, let alone intending to use them, and that the mere possibility that Iraq was developing such weapons was cause for a war of “self-defense.” If there is any possibility that Iraq could acquire weapons of mass destruction or is even trying to get them, and deceit by Iraq on this matter is assumed to imply guilt, then a war to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is necessary according to this argument, which I deem to be the Bush Doctrine on Iraq. It is important to note that this doctrine assumes that the U.S. is morally superior to Iraq to the point that the U.S. has the right to prevent Iraq from doing something –possessing weapons of mass destruction- that the U.S. does every single day.

    Of course, the fact that a country could be developing weapons is not itself a threat in any meaningful sense. Rather, the weapons themselves, when functional, are what could reasonably constitute a threat. With this in mind, many critics of the administration’s war aims hung their hat on the argument that there was no proof Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to develop or obtain them. For instance, one of the main points of Milan Rai’s recent, and largely useful, book War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against a War on Iraq was that there was no hard evidence that Iraq had any useable weapons of mass destruction or was trying to acquire such weapons. So long as there was no such evidence, it was easy and fun to ridicule figures in Bush Administration such as Fleischer when they claimed it was a known fact that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction but did not provide any evidence to back up their claim.

    This argument was a significant critique of the Bush Doctrine on Iraq in that is said the U.S. should not go to all out war with a country just because the president said the country was an enemy. But it also left open the possibility that the mere possession or development of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq would be enough for escalating war and, in light of recent developments, is therefore no longer an effective critique of the drive to escalating the war with Iraq. Many who demanded proof didn’t think that mere proof was enough –I put myself in that category- but undoubtedly there was also many who used this argument and agree with the sentiments of the popular musician Moby, who pined for peace in a January 5 weblog entry but also said, “…iraq should not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction.”

    Because it now appears likely that Iraq has and/or is developing weapons of mass destruction, or at least that new evidence might be coming forward which indicates this, any arguments against the escalating the war with Iraq have to dispute that Iraq is a threat to the U.S. and/or argue that there is a larger reason to oppose U.S. escalation of war. In the next few paragraphs I will lay out the case for both of these arguments.

    Undoubtedly the greatest stated reason for escalating the war with Iraq is the idea that if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein stays in power and possesses weapons of mass destruction that he will use them. “As the President has said many times, the problem with Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction is that he has used them,” Fleischer said in a press briefing yesterday. “He has used them before to attack his neighbors, to attack his own people, and history shows that if Saddam Hussein has a weapon, he will use it.”

    Unfortunately no reporter asked Fleischer why or how President Harry Truman –the first world leader to ever use weapons of mass destruction- had avoided further use of these weapons in the over seven years he was in the Oval Office after dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In short, the Administration appears to be living a fantasy land where the fact that one government leader they don’t like has used weapons of mass destruction in the past means that the same leader is bound to use them in the future.

    The best argument I have seen suggesting that Saddam is bound to use weapons of mass destruction again unless stopped comes from Benjamin Kepple. In a December 31 weblog post, Kepple argued that since Saddam has used weapons of mass destruction in the past that he can be expected to use them in the future in the future and that fear of retaliation from the U.S. will have no effect on him. “Iraq has shown a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction in an era when those weapons are universally condemned. Saddam Hussein has used chemical agents against both Iran and Iraq's Kurdish minority with an almost inhuman ruthlessness. There is nothing to suggest he would not use atomic weapons if he had them,” Kepple writes. “That alone makes disarming him not merely a moral imperative, but a practical military necessity.” [Bold text in original.]

    Kepple overlooks that when Saddam used weapons of mass destruction in the late 1980s, he did so without any fear that there would be retaliation. The U.S. knew about his use of these weapons and continued to give his government support and assistance, according to a New York Times report from this past August, and there was no other power –not the Soviet Union and certainly not the U.N.- that could be expected to stand up to Iraq’s use of weapons of mass destruction with a response in kind. The situation is much different now. If Iraq were to use or even attempt to use chemical or biological weapons tomorrow anywhere in the world, an embarrassed Bush Administration would reply by pulverizing the Iraqi military and overthrowing Saddam. The U.S. military would kick ass and take names. Mercy would be in short supply.

    People who believe that Saddam is itching to use weapons of mass destruction, such as Kepple and the Bush Administration, never seem to explain why Saddam has not used such weapons over the last 149 months (that is, since August 1990 and Operation Desert Shield). During that period that U.S. has always been at war with Iraq in one form or another. It would seem that a ruthless dictator eager to use weapons of mass destruction would have at least tried to do so. And if it is only because of U.S. policy towards Iraq that Saddam has not used weapons of mass destruction over this period, as one could argue, the question becomes, why is any change in policy needed? There is also the unanswered question that I raised in December 10’s “Bush’s Charade” about how the president doesn’t seem to be treating Iraq as the immediate threat he says it is.

    None of this is meant to suggest that there is no possible threat coming from Iraq. In fact, it seems beyond arrogant to me for the Americans to think that they can wage war against Iraq for over a decade without Iraq responding with force of some kind. And yet motive for an attack is hardly proof that an attack is coming. Absent a reason to think that Iraq is about attack the U.S., U.S. interests or some other country, it is ridiculous to treat Iraq as if it is a threat.

    Two minor arguments about saving face have come up in support of furthering the war. The first, which Bush expressed in a September 12 speech, is that the U.N. will lose credibility if it does not stop Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs since the organization has passed numerous resolutions prohibiting Iraq from developing and possessing such weapons. As I pointed out in my September 12 entry “Was the United States post September 11 just a Dress Rehearsal?," there are several flaws with this argument. Bush has been anything but a consistent been a supporter of international institutions, so self-interest not principle appears to be the motivating the factor. Furthermore, the U.N. can hardly be viewed as a fair international institution as it has never been a force to counterbalance the misdeeds of the U.S. If the U.N. does end up supporting an escalation of the war with Iraq, the organization will not appear credible so much as easily manipulated by the bellicose desires of the U.S.

    Then there is the argument that the U.S. needs to war if it is to keep its own credibility. Sean Penn -hardly the most pro-war of fellows- made this point in an interview for the January 11 edition of Larry King Live. “[I]f you're not committed to the game of chicken -- which in this case I don't believe Saddam Hussein is going to roll over -- if you're committed to the game of chicken and you back out of it,” Penn said, “then you're the paper tiger that Osama bin Laden says you are.”

    There might be some merit to this if it wasn’t for the little matter of how taking over Iraq is just one step in the Bush Administration’s plans to take over a lot of countries and basically dominate the world in any way it sees as possible and advantageous. In other words, they aren’t going to be backing away after a little war with Iraq. Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia appear to be next on the agenda.

    Whether you oppose or support this ambitious agenda, it is worth keeping in mind that there are likely to be costs to taking over Iraq and other countries. Resentment against the U.S. certainly isn’t going to diminish because of the operation and the growth of anti-American terrorist groups is likely to follow. Governments that fear being toppled will likely respond by stepping up efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction to serve as a deterrent to the U.S. If you truly believe that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of countries that don’t like the U.S. equals weapons of mass destruction being used, then you should want to avoid this scenario.

    There is also a moral argument for escalating the war with Iraq, and in fact for deescalating the war. All countries with any lengthy history have been less than what could reasonably be called democratic and debatably abuse human rights in some manner in the present. By interfering with Iraq merely because its government is deemed to be unacceptable, the U.S. is doing something that most Americans would find abhorrent if done to their country by another. This is unjust in the most basic definition of the word.

    The brillant Andrew Sullivan is doing some pondering about those critical of the uses of U.S. power:
    I wonder one thing: do they understand that America actually has self-respect? And that America's power can actually fight back against its enemies?
    Just so you know, Andrew, most people who oppose the Bush's "war on terror" without end believe Americans have no self-respect and do not believe that the U.S. military is very powerful.

    A win

    The Michigan State men's basketball team ended a three game losing streak by defeating Penn State, 70-36, in a game at the Breslin Center that ended moments ago. Penn State isn't the best team but any type of win is good news at this point. (I seem to have said something very similar back in September. Must not think history repeats itself.)

    The Spartans are now 10-7 on the season and 2-3 in the Big Ten. Next up is Michigan on Sunday in Ann Arbor. Michigan hasn't beaten MSU since 1998. Of course this is the first good team they've had since 98.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2003
    Bad news and good news? for MSU basketball. The thing to keep in mind is that tides can change quickly for better as well as worse.

    When I lived in Chicago it was something of a major issue that some pedestrians were complaining that bicyclists had no respect for people walking. The assumption was that automobiles had a right to use whatever amount of space they had been assigned and those using “lesser” forms of transportation should adjust. Now it appears that Segway Human Transporters are just being added to the bicyclist/pedestrian/in-line skater/skateboard mix as San Francisco has banned Segways on the sidewalks where you can find Tony Bennett's heart. So long as the government is in the business of encouraging and discouraging certain types of behavior –and let’s face it, the amount of space allotted in a tight urban area for bicycling, driving cars, riding public transportation, riding Segways and walking does encourage or discourage people from engaging in each activity-, it seems to me that discouraging automobile use and encouraging other forms of transportation would make the most sense. I doubt there is a single town in the U.S. that would benefit in terms of the flow of people if there were more automobiles on the road and plenty that would benefit if more people used other forms of getting where they are going.

    Speaking of San Francisco and non-automobile forms of transportation, Rebecca Solnit's book Wanderlust : A History of Walking is well-worth reading. It is a philosophical and poltical history of walking combined with some of Solnit's own personal experiences of walking in many places, including San Francisco.

    So true.

    I have long enjoyed fine Rubik's products as a means of keeping one of the many channels in my brain. Now I see a cool site called Titoonic has a game an online game based on the same principles. It isn't as cool as having something to hold in your hands, such as a the head of the great Homer J., but it is much cheaper and still engrossing.

    I don't want to sound like I am an expert on these games or anything but IMHO the key to solving them, and then resolving them, is to come up a with a deliberate pattern for alternating the pieces that you repeat and repeat and repeat...

    Monday, January 20, 2003
    It might not work rhythmically but I want my NPTV!

    From the War is Peace Department

    1) An January 19 image from Jane Galt:

    2) A January 13 thought from Howard Owens:
    Peace is what the Bush Administration is working vigorously to obtain. That's the only reason to rattle sabres and send troops to the Gulf threatening invasion if Sad dam does not comply with long-standing and newer U.N. resolutions.
    3) A January 18 thought from Howard Owens:
    ...if Saddam has no intention of using WMD, why develop them?
    If you should ever find yourself doubting the veracity of these truisms, just remember that no country has ever used weapons of mass destruction before possessing weapons of mass destruction.

    Sunday, January 19, 2003
    Over at Slate, Patrick Cockburn's "Frozen Out: The Kurds, Saddam, and Washington" is worth reading.

    Saturday, January 18, 2003
    United Nations weapons inspectors have found documents indicating that Iraq is trying to develop nuclear weapons, report Con Coughlin and Julian Coman of The Telegraph.

    I plan to write some more about this but right now I think the important point is what I wrote Thursday:

    I think it is now safe to say that if you believe Uncle Sam should be in the business of preventing Iraq from having chemical weapons through the use of force, that there is now more than enough evidence to justify a war.
    Yep. Of course there is an argument to make that...

    "'Besides, Afghanistan is much better off now than it was under the Taliban!'" is worth reading, and I'm not just saying that because Curtiss links to me in it.

    You know it is pretty hard to create a parody of the hawks when the real ones write stuff like this:
    Here is one for all of the defeatmongers that are protesting against America's right of self defense...
    Because Iraqi planes regularly bomb the U.S.

    And I don't want to even bother with this bit of wisdom.


    For the third straight game the MSU men’s basketball team fell behind by more than 10 points on the road and made something of a comeback, only to come up short. Today they lost to Minnesota, 77-68.

    The loss is explained by a period in the first half when the Spartans scored two points compared to 21 by Minnesota, turnovers and horrendous shooting, rebounding and officiating.

    The team is now 9-7 on the season and 1-3 in the Big Ten. They have lost 5 of their last six games. Next up is a home game against Penn State on Wednesday. It appears to be gut-check time for the players.

    Friday, January 17, 2003
    "U.S. military commanders will likely rule Iraq for at least several months in the aftermath of a U.S.-led ouster of President Saddam Hussein, according to Bush administration blueprints for Iraq's future that outline a broad and protracted American role in managing the reconstruction of the country," write Peter Slevin and Bradley Graham in today's Washington Post.

    Happy Afghanistan!

    Just over 13 months ago a friend and I were enjoying a find carb heavy breakfast at the Original Pancake House in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and discussing how shameless patriotism in the U.S. would get before the "war on terror" was over. We concluded the end point would be a Rambo movie where the character Sylvester Stallone made famous would, while still being played by Stallone, go after the terrorists. We were joking mind you and didn't really think that such a film was even a possibility. How wrong we were.

    One of the voices in my head says White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer reacted to the news of United Nations weapons inspectors finding some warheads designed for chemical weapons in Iraq by yapping, "I will never doubt you again boss."

    What I love about this news is that U.N. spokesperson Hiro Ueki has said, "The warheads were... similar to ones imported by Iraq during the late 1980s." Now we know why the Bush Administration has been so confident Iraq would have these weapons.

    Thursday, January 16, 2003
    "United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq say they have found a dozen empty chemical warheads while searching an ammunition storage depot," writes BBC News.

    I think it is now safe to say that if you believe Uncle Sam should be in the business of preventing Iraq from having chemical weapons through the use of force, that there is now more than enough evidence to justify a war.

    But then again, maybe the evil Sauds will prevent that from happening.

    Does anybody know for sure what is going on?

    The White House is promising proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, reports Toby Harnden of The Telegraph.

    The Bush administration is pressing United Nations weapons inspectors to do more invesigating, report Colum Lynch and Tom Allard of They Sydney Morning Herald.

    "The Bush administration resisted calls by other nations today that it secure the explicit blessing of the United Nations Security Council before going to war with Iraq. The White House further suggested that it could decide in favor of military action even if weapons inspectors do not turn up concrete new evidence against Saddam Hussein," write Richard W. Stevenson and David E. Sanger in a January 16 New York Times report.

    "ON THE DAY SHE DIED: The Passing of Marlene Dietrich -- And of Richard Silbert" is a touching read from James M. Capozzola.

    Wednesday, January 15, 2003
    A note about "Yeah for war!" and Max Standard

    I was hoping for a bigger response to "Yeah for war!" but it is good to know that at least two people enjoyed it. Max Standard is an obviously fictional and satirical character that I have created to make some points about U.S. foreign policy. He isn't intended to mock any one person or be a composite and I don't know anybody who has his exact politics. My intention for him is that he be an intelligent guy with inclinations to war, who wants to believe George W. Bush and who spends a lot of time thinking about what Bush says.

    Huey is my hero! If he every wants to start a blog and needs any help, he should just drop me a line.

    U.N. weapons inspectors have apparently found banned materials in Iraq.. If the Bush Administration plays its cards right, this should probably be enough for the U.S. is going to escalate its current war with Iraq.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003
    I don't have anything positve to say about this

    Purdue defeated my beloved Spartans, 72-60, in a game that just ended in West Lafayette. MSU is now 9-6 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten. Next up is a road game against Minnesota on Saturday.

    Over at Online Journalism Review, Robert Abele has interviewed the great Matt Groening. Does this paragraph mean Groening reads blogs?:
    One of the neat things about the Web right now is you can get into it as an entertainment medium. You can go online and play games and interact with kids. I think it’s going to be a generational thing. It will take over kid culture, and people over a certain age will be completely baffled by it. My kids are very excited about online gaming, and I’m fascinated with it as a new form of storytelling. But I’m more old-fashioned and I’m more interested in the printed word, so I like going online and reading people’s personal opinions about the things they come across. However, I don’t want anyone to e-mail them to me. (Laughs) Let me find them on my own.
    Sounds like it to me.

    It looks to me like Jim Henley needs to leave the room.

    Seriously, the reason the misdeeds of the United States get talked about more in the U.S. is that, for better or worse, people in the U.S. usually talk more about the U.S. in general. In fact, it seems as if things that make other countries look worse than the U.S. are the most likely to prompt Americans to start talking about foreign news.

    There is no reason to worry about the loss of civil liberties.

    Click here for a look into Tom Izzo's state of mind at this juncture.

    War continues.

    More than 350,000 troops may be used for the escalation of the war with Iraq and the occupation that would follow, reports John McWethy of ABC News. (Thanks to antiwar.com for the link.)

    A nice quiz has told me:
    You are Spaceman Spiff!
    Zounds! You are the intrepid Spaceman Spiff, the engaging explorer ensconsed in an unending universe of exotic and evil extraterrestrials! You're brave, but you should give that dictionary a rest.
    Take the What Calvin are You? Quiz by contessina_2000@yahoo.com!
    (Thanks to Cosmopolitan Tang for the link.)

    "Israeli geologists said Monday they have examined a stone tablet detailing repair plans for the Jewish Temple of King Solomon that, if authenticated, would be a rare piece of physical evidence confirming biblical narrative. The find — whose origin is murky — is about the size of a legal pad, with a 15-line inscription in ancient Hebrew that strongly resembles descriptions in the Bible’s Book of Kings," writes the AP.

    I never liked the moon anyway.

    Click here for some somewhat interesting poll results about what Americans feel about Iraq. (Thanks to Cursor for the link.)

    Curtiss Leung has decided to spam back!

    Monday, January 13, 2003
    Yeah for war!
    By Max Standard

    (In this essay I speak only to Americans who are not in the military. Servicemen and women should read further to see how much I appreciate you while non-Americans should read this as a warning. You might next! And yes Brits, that includes you.)

    Fellow Americans, don’t be fooled by the naysayers of both good and evil. The fix is in, we are going to war with Iraq. We are doing this because “We know for a fact that there are weapons there” and also because the “war on terror” isn’t worthy of the first word unless we get some more warfare going on.

    Don’t worry about American soldiers being put in harm’s way. Yes it is true, as Miguel Llanos of MSNBC has reported, that many war planners believe Saddam might use biological or chemical weapons against us –by which I mean U.S. soldiers and not actually you- but we don’t have a draft. Every soldier in an American uniform signed up on their own accord and so if they die it is their own fault. By having a job that put more restrictions on them they are not celebrating freedom, which of course is the thing Axis of Evil members hate most about us, so their lives are actually letting the terrorists win. If any of them die, I say good riddance.

    And don’t worry about the economic costs. Reportedly we are going to tap Iraqi oil for the foreseeable future to pay for our war in the sand and the occupation that follows, which not only helps pay for the effort but forces the Iraqis to modify their economy to our needs. Perhaps they can compete with China in making Simpsons stuff for the enjoyment of people like Micah Holmquist.

    And most certainly do not worry about a United Nations report saying that war could be a humanitarian disaster and cause as many as 900,000 people to become refugees, create a situation where the “nutritional status of some 3.03m people countrywide will be dire” to the point where “they will require therapeutic feeding” and harm electricity and sanitation services and water supplies. Those things may happen. In fact, I pray four times a day –take that you irreverent Muslims- to both my Lord and Savior, President George W. “The Prince of War” Bush, and His Lord and Savior, Jesus “The Prince of Peace” Christ, that these things happen. It is fun to know Iraqis are suffering! You see they aren’t like you and me. They are Iraqis and not Americans so obviously there can be no comparison.

    So take an advance on the President Bush’s tax cut plan and buy a comfortable chair and a new television –only losers won’t benefit enough to be able to both with what they would have otherwise paid-, sit back, eat a steak and watch the sand niggers suffer in our glorious war. If news of the Middle East being destabilized isn’t giving you enough entertainment, just pop in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and recall we are the good guys automatically.

    Always remember that we are doing this because, in the remarkable words of President Bush, "we don't know how close he is to a nuclear weapon right now" and "we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." We are going in for God and Country, Truth and Freedom, Liberty and Justice, Democracy and Not Letting the Terrorists Win, Mom, Apple Pie and Baseball as well as anything else you want to believe. “War at Last! War at Last,” I plan to scream! “Thank Bush Almighty, we are at war at last!"

    Max Standard is an important intellectual who never hesitates to say the pro-American truth. Due to liberal bureaucratic incompetence he was not credited with his December 14 essay “The ‘I believe Bush’ Blues.” Micah Holmquist’s Irregular Thoughts and Links regrets the error.

    Oil imperialism

    Oil and Gas International has an interesting editorial up today by Managing Editor Dev George entitled "Pocketing the spoils of war." George argues that the likelihood of attacks on "American petroleum industry personnel and those who could be mistaken for Americans" would increase if the United States invades and takes over Iraq and then uses Iraqi oil to pay for the military occupation.

    On Friday I noted a news story that suggested that the Bush Administration did intend to pay for the invasion and occupation of Iraq with money generated by Iraqi oil. I didn't comment on the story but the more I think about it, the more bothersome the proposal becomes. Treating Iraqi oil as the possession of U.S. government is denying Iraq the most obvious and immediate source of income the country has. Now logically Iraq would be better off if it diversified its economy but if President George W. Bush was being honest on January 3 when he said the U.S. military in Iraq “will be fighting not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people,” then it is up to the people of Iraq if they want to try to diversify their economy or not. Furthermore diversification would be a lot easier if you already have one industry that is working well.

    Taking this oil as the "spoils of war" is effectively denying quite a bit of self-determination to Iraqis. Now you could say that they already lack that under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein but this discussion is assuming that his rule will soon be over. It doesn't say anything positive about the U.S. if the Uncle Sam still tries to control Iraq after "liberating" the country,

    Speaking of Julia, her "Moral authority" is very much worth reading.

    snotglass speaks is a hillarious send-up of Bushism. (Thanks to Julia for the link.)

    Neal Pollack is back and as entertaining as ever.

    Today's Washington Post features and excellent article by Glenn Kessler on how the Bush Administration came to want to escalate the war with Iraq. Basically, according to Kessler, hawks in and around the administration used the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as the justification for waging a broader war and the administration formulated the policy in a manner that "circumvented traditional policymaking channels" and which left little in the way of records as to how decisions were reached.

    Robert McNamara caused a stir in the mid-1990s with the book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, which basically said the Kennedy and Johnson Adminstrations -both of which McNamara served in- had no plan for "winning" in Vietnam. My guess is that sooner or later we are going to see a similar revelation come out about the current administration's plans for war with Iraq. The message I believe will be that Team Bush didn't really believe Iraq was a threat but went ahead with saying it was in order to justify a broader agenda of creating a world where the United States can take out any government it doesn't like.

    Actually I think most of the evidence needed to support this thesis is already available.

    Sunday, January 12, 2003
    The current issue of The Village Voice features Greg Tate's highly critical review of Audioslave's self-titled debut cd. Not having heard anything by Audioslave save for "Cochise" -a song that hardly impressed me-, I'm not going to argue with Tate's overall argument but there is a problem with his assertion that:
    Unlike funk, rock is not its own reward. Unlike hiphop, it lacks a built-in sociocultural-tribal context to lend even mediocre acts meaning. Rock matters when it matters because folk are driven to create their own context, and their own engaging forms of exorcism, catharsis, confession, and martyrdom.
    Actually it seems that every time I hear a mediocre rock –which I am defining in a broad sense so as to include those who, for example, imitate Bad Brains as much as those who want to be Tom Petty- band live, which admittedly isn’t a weekly event, I am struck by how the music works as part of a social experience that has only little to do with the actual music. (If the music is less than mediocre, the whole effect is lost so the content does play a role.) Appreciating such performance does require the creation of a context but no more than appreciating mediocre hip-hop requires a context that Tate may see as a given but which is every bit as much the product of creation since all contexts are effectively the product of the intellectual exercise of connecting events, movements and static products.

    And of course there are many people who think seeing a group of gals and/or guys “rock out” is “its own reward.”

    Observation about The Simpsons

    It seems awfully odd that Ned Flanders has a bar in his basement as we see in "Dead Putting Society" and is eager to make mix up alcoholic beverages in "War of the Simpsons." The guy is an "absotively posilutely" goody two shoes in every thing else. We find out in "Hurricane Neddy" that he won't even get insurance because it views it as gambling and yet we are supposed to believe that he is a drinker? It just doesn't make sense to me.

    Jim Henley has lost 16 pounds since Thanksgiving Day. Good for him!

    Maybe it isn't particularly impressive but I just realized that I am wearing size 40 pants right now and have been wearing this size for over a year. It has been a long time since I have gone such a span without gaining enough weight to move up a size or two. My "secret" has been to exercise, not worry about my weight and stay disciplined about what I eat -lots of bananas, carrots and no meat but plenty of protein through cheese, nuts and tofu- more than how much I eat. (I ate six bananas yesterday while watching a basketball game, for instance.)

    The January 13 issue of The Nation features Jeff Chang's excellent piece "'Stakes Is High': Conscious Rap, Neosoul and the Hip-Hop Generation."

    Saturday, January 11, 2003
    Jim Henley has explained why he thinks escalation of the war with Iraq is more likely than not:
    The domestic political consequences to Bush of not conquering Iraq are substantial. The domestic benefits of not conquering Iraq are far less certain. Therefore: war.
    I would emphasize that Bush will have little credibility if he doesn’t go to war. What is he supposed to say, “You know all those bad things I”ve been saying for the last year Iraq would do if we didn’t stop them, well I was wrong”?

    If he were to say that, people at least shouldn’t take Bush seriously.

    "One of six men alleged to be part of an al Qaeda sleeper cell in Lackawanna, N.Y., pleaded guilty to a reduced charge yesterday in exchange for an agreement to testify against his fellow defendants, marking what prosecutors described as an important breakthrough in the case," writes Dan Eggen in today's Washington Post

    The story goes on to say that Faysal Galab "pleaded guilty... to a charge of providing 'funds and services' to al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, by attending a terrorism training camp in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001."

    "The military force the Pentagon is massing in the Persian Gulf could be well positioned to attack Iraq on President Bush's order in mid- to late February, and it could exceed 150,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, military officials said today," writes Eric Schmitt of The New York Times.

    I am oppposed to commutatiosn and pardons on principle but, so long as they exist, commuting death sentences is fine by me.

    Amidst a discussion of signs and slogans, Jim Henley writes:
    ...It's the difference between "The fact that I am for peace means I am a patriot" (and if that were automatically true, Micah Holmquist would feel compelled to join AVOT . . . )...
    Well you know William Bennett has never said anything bad about me that I know of.

    [insert joke]

    Former MSU head coach Bobby Williams is the new running backs coach of the Detroit Lions.

    Back to not good

    The Michigan State men's basketball team lost a tough road game to Iowa, 68-64, this afternoon. They trailed most of the game, including by as many as 12 points in the first half, and made a run of it, including getting a 1 point lead late in the game, but couldn't pull it out. When a team gets behind by a lot, there usually is little room for error.

    The bad news is that the team wasn't particularly good in any area and rather lousy in some such as free throw shooting. The good news is that with a few improvements, it looks like they *might* be pretty tough to beat.

    The Spartans are now 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. Next up is a Tuesday road game against Purdue.

    Friday, January 10, 2003
    A note about Ari Fleischer

    Earlier today White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said:

    North Korea has been condemned by France, by England. They have drawn the statements of very serious concern from Australia, from Japan, from Russia. And North Korea continues to take steps in the wrong direction, steps that only hurt their own cause and the cause of the North Korean people.
    That's what Fleischer said in public but when he first heard about these countries comdemning North Korea he screamed:
    OHMIGOD! Why the fuck is France criticizing an member of the Axis of Evil? What the hell is going on here? Rummy, Rummy I have a question about something that makes no sense. Why are these countries coming down on a country we don't like. I mean they won't support us against Iraq so why now? I just don't get it. We haven't had this much support since September the eleventh. Something must be wrong here. Maybe North Korea isn't so bad.
    Just thought you should know.

    Actual dj prattle I heard about an hour ago

    "We're WKLT! The classic rock station that rocks!"

    "Bush administration officials are seriously considering proposals that the United States tap Iraq's oil to help pay the cost of a military occupation, a move that likely would prove highly inflammatory in an Arab world already suspicious of U.S. motives in Iraq," writes Knut Royce in today's Newsday

    Why do I have to live in a world with so much idiocy?

    Entertainment Weekly seriously asks, "Which mainstream stars embody punk?"


    Maybe some of those in power would be that honest if reporters were as critical as they are in the cartoon.

    Polar Bears are cool!

    "We know for a fact that there are weapons [of mass destruction] there [Iraq]," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer yesterday. Fleischer would not answer how the U.S. knows this. It is also unknown why the U.S. isn't sharing this information with Hans Blix.

    Tom Izzo likes what the play he saw from Alan Anderson in the point guard position, reports Jack Ebling of The Lansing State Journal.

    Suspended Spartan quarterback Jeff Smoker might get a chance to rejoin the team, reports Todd Schulz of The Lansing State Journal.

    Over at the Telegraph, Toby Harnden writes:
    America will not delay a war with Iraq until the autumn and is prepared to launch military action against Saddam Hussein without further United Nations authorisation, a senior Bush administration adviser said yesterday.

    Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board and a hawk whose views carry considerable weight, rejected suggestions from British ministers and senior Foreign Office officials that plans for an early war should be put on hold.

    I think there can be little doubt that it is going to happen.

    Thursday, January 09, 2003
    Cool! More Enemies!

    One day people in the U.S. should realize that it is perfectly logical for other countries to want nuclear weapons and other WMDs.

    It may not be popular to say it but it is true that "All Americans will die!"

    It warms my heart to read that Gabe had a good Christmas.

    Gabe's dad makes and interesting suggestion about Bush's economic plan.

    That's more like it

    The MSU men's basketball team got back on the winning track -which takes off from the same station as the losing track in case you were wondering- tonight with a 66-55 victiory over Ohio State. MSU is 9-4 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten. They play Iowa this Saturday in Iowa City.

    Iraq is a threat... honest it is a threat

    "Britain is pressing for war against Iraq to be delayed for several months, possibly until the autumn, to give weapons inspectors more time to provide clear evidence of new violations by Saddam Hussein," write Anton La Guardia and George Jones in today's Telegraph. (Thanks to Jim Henley for the link.)

    If this is true, and not an example of disinformation or the "fog of war" then the government of Great Britain doesn't agree with U.S. President George W. Bush who has said "we don't know how close he [Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein] is to a nuclear weapon right now" and that "we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." If the closest ally of the U.S. in the "war on terror" doesn't believe Bush, shouldn't the rest of us have doubts?

    Even if the Telegraph report is disinformation or inaccurate for some other reason, there still is the issue of whether or not the Bush Administration is acting like it believes Iraq is an immediate threat. An invasion of Iraq has been talked about as coming soon for about a year now and yet it has at least not formally begun. This doesn't make it seem like Iraq is as much of a threat as Bush wants us to believe.

    Could the administration's talk of the Iraqi threat really be fraudulent campaign be to further a never-ending war? I think you can guess how I'd answer the question.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled yesterday that an American citizen declared by the military to be an "enemy combatant" do not have the right to counsel and can be detained indefinitely if they are captured overseas. The specific case in question involves Yaser Esam Hamdi who was captured with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

    Click here to read the actual decision in PDF. UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh has written a useful summary of what the decision does and doesn't cover.

    It is important to note that this decision is that it doesn't not cover American citizens captured in the United States.

    Tom Izzo reamins optimistic.

    Wednesday, January 08, 2003
    Mark W. Anderson dropped me a kind note yesterday so I'm plugging his fine blog, The American Sentimentalist.

    I also want to thank Curtiss Leung for adding a permalink to mth.blogspot.com on his excellent blog, Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log.

    Who is supposed to get the message?

    Today I noticed a bumper sticker with a picture of Old Glory and the following text:

    The vehicle was parked and nobody was inside it so I went about my day but I really wanted to wait for the driver to return in order to ask him or her, "How long have you displayed this bumper sticker on your vehicle and during that time how many members of Al Qaeda and Axis of Evil operatives do you estimate have seen it?"

    Perhaps the greatest cliche in sports

    "We've got a lot of work to do," says new Spartan football coach John L. Smith in an interview with Dave Dye for The Lansing State Journal.

    President George W. Bush's economic stimilus plan may have a smaller impact on the economy than an escalation of the war with Iraq would, reports Jonathan Weisman in today's Washington Post

    "Iraq: Nuclear Capabilities" by Curtiss Leung is a very useful read.

    "The Bush administration said yesterday that it would agree to direct talks with North Korea on how the isolated state could meet its nuclear obligations, a subtle shift in position designed to give both sides a face-saving way to resolve the standoff over North Korea's weapons programs," writes Glenn Kessler in today's Washington Post.

    Tuesday, January 07, 2003
    I guess this shouldn't shock me after what I read yesterday, but Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder have come out in favor of removing Palestinians from the land that Israel controls as has Ben Shapiro, who wants to remove all Arabs from Israel even if they are Israeli. (This par for the course for Shapiro who back in July wrote, "One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian.")

    Perhaps they should talk to Dick Armey.

    It is always nice to see an unexpected link thrown my way and this one from Ken Layne is no exception:
    And here's Micah Holmquist's site on Blogspot. I've read the Diaryland version, but not this one.
    I'm surprised he was familar with micahth.diaryland.com.

    For some amusing reading check out Layne's parody of The New York Times and self-important journalists.

    Self-censorship in the United States resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks appears to have come to an end, writes Duncan Campbell in a story for today's Guardian that makes little sense. Campbell bases this claim on a recent book and the airing of a t.v. movie based on that book that paint the suits at Enron as greedy and corrupt as well as the upcoming big screen movie The Quiet American, which like the Graham Greene novel it is based on don't paint a rosy picture of the C.I.A.

    Campbell might have an argument if it hasn't been considered perfectly acceptable to criticize Enron as an example of corporate greed for over a year now and Hollywood hadn't released Ali, a movie that about a boxer who more than also happens to be a Muslim and a draft dodger, in December of 2001.

    IMHO, it isn't that critical voices have been silence post 911 so much as it is that not all that many have a critical take on the Bush Administration and corporate affairs to express. And that seems to me to be at least as discomforting as censorship would be.

    Some no doubt feel this is good news.

    North Korea says sanctions would mean war, reports BBC NEWS.

    Of course what that means isn't exactly clear.

    "Iraqi military forces are setting up a two-layer defense ring around Baghdad in preparation for U.S. military action, according to U.S. intelligence officials," writes Bill Gertz in today's Washington Times.

    Yesterday I noted some disturbing comments about Palestinians from Misha and Spoons. I find it equally bothersome that Blogdex seems to indicate that no other bloggers treated their comments on their blogs as anything but acceptable.

    "If the Saudi regime stays in power in Arabia, we won't be able to win this war. Does the Bush Administration realize that?" Glenn Reynolds wrote yesterday.

    The solution is for "factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda" to take over of course.

    The Michigan State men's basketball team dropped from 14th to 25th in the AP poll after losses to Toledo and Oklahoma.

    I didn't think they would be ranked at all.

    Do I even need to say what team this involves?

    Tom Izzo is going to have Alan Anderson and Chris Hill share the point guard position, reports Jeff Karzen of The Lansing State Journal.

    Monday, January 06, 2003
    Nothing in this entry should remind you of anything

    "...to be honest, I don't think there's anything the Israelis could do to the Palestinian Arabs that I'd find morally objectionable at this point," writes Spoons in a discussion of the military options that Israel should take against the Palestinians.

    Misha doesn't think the Palestinians should be considered human. Despite having the URL of nicedoggie.net, my guess is that Misha isn't an animal rights activist.

    Bush's further war plans are why an escalation of the war with Iraq is inevitable

    Is war with Iraq inevitable?” is the current MSNBC question of the day.

    The problem with this question is that it ignores a little fact about how a war between Iraq and the United States is currently going on. The Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines war as “armed fighting between two or more countries or groups.” A quick look at U.S. Bombing Watch shows that a fair amount of that has been going on in this not yet week old year.

    What the question is really asking if whether or not the escalation of this war is inevitable. And on that matter, recent reports such as those saying that somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 U.S. personal are already in Iraq preparing for further warfare and that the U.S. military has begun to get the necessary troops in place for a ground invasion of Iraq seem to suggest that the answer is yes, an escalation of the war is inevitable.

    But the real question is, why is all of this happening? The “Iraq is a threat” justification may have some merit to it but it should be noted that, as I argued on December 10, the Bush Administration doesn’t act like Iraq is a serious threat. There are also arguments about oil and/or bringing democracy to an Arab country but I tend to think the real reason is that if U.S. President George W. Bush can’t get his war on with Iraq after over 12 years of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein being demonized, then he has no chance does he have in putting together unprovoked wars against countries like Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Bush needs this war so he can have more wars.