Tuesday, January 27, 2004
I get to say 'meme!'
Not really happy with those last two posts. I'm trying to understand an unstated idea haunting the anti-war/anti-Bush rhetoric these days, something I've been thinking of as the 'War-Bad-No-Fightee' meme (told ya). In essence, prior to the Bush administration the developed world was in the middle of a let's-all-get-along phase, in which we could use diplomacy and negotiation to solve all the world's problems and nobody ever needed to fight anymore. Of course this meant some problems elsewhere - notably places like Bosnia and Rwanda. It also produced Kyoto, about which everybody fell all over themselves saying nice things but nobody really liked. Until Bush ditched it. The heat he took was not so much for doing it as for doing it publicly, but notice that since then Russia has followed suit, Canada suddenly has deep reservations and of the 15 EU countries, only two are going to be in compliance (Britain and Sweden. Hey, where's France?). The EU constitution is another example; the enthusiasm of some members damped the concerns of others for quite a while, then the document turned out to be badly flawed and there was a revolt.
The bottom line, I think, is that we're supposed to use only carrots, never sticks. Resorting to force means you've given up on international institutions and, by association, the peaceful, civilized society they represent. I'm working on it.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Where have I heard this before?
Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson:
“Secretary of State Colin Powell was a huge loser in last week's report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that said Saddam Hussein's weapons program was not an immediate threat to the United States or even his neighbors. The report said Saddam's nuclear program had been dismantled, his large-scale chemical weapons capabilities had been destroyed, and ‘there was no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda.’" (emph. added)
The article goes on to quote Powell describing the evidence of WMDs in Iraq. Mr. Jackson believes that the failure to find said WMD shows that Powell, and of course the President, lied while making a case for invasion.
I think the administration should have been more forthright making its case for war, but still... Once More With Feeling: the 1991 armistice agreement made it Hussein’s responsibility to verifiably disarm. A string of Security Council resolutions reiterated it was up to Hussein to verifiably disarm. It was not our task to prove he had these weapons; it was his task to prove he didn’t. Phrases like ‘no solid/concrete/irrefutable evidence,’ when used by the ‘Bush lied’ crowd, are an attempt to return to Hussein the benefit of the doubt. He forfeited the benefit of the doubt a long time ago. He may have disarmed, but he didn’t prove it.
I am surprised that no WMD has been found, but I am not terribly dismayed. That failure means one of two things: either Hussein hid them prior to the war, or he had in fact disposed of them. If the former, they’ll turn up. There’s a lot of searching to do yet. If the latter, then we’re stuck with the bizarre scenario that Hussein rid himself of WMD but declined to convince the UN that he had done so, thus permitting sanctions to stay in place when he could have had them lifted. Why do you suppose he’d do that? To get rich on illegal oil sales and skimmed humanitarian aid? To continue keeping his people down by funneling resources to his most favored (a la Kim Jong-il)? To keep other Muslims inflamed by making the West out to be the bad guy? Think about it.
As far as the CEIP, I haven’t read the report (it is lengthy) but a summary is available at their website. I’m not going to comment on it now, except it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a group with that kind of name. Oh, and about the highlighted part of the Jackson quote above: the CEIP report actually says, “Iraq’s WMD programs represented a long-term threat that could not be ignored. They did not, however, pose an immediate threat to the United States, to the region, or to global security.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Jack Pritchard writing for the NYT: "...an indictment of United States intelligence as well as a potential epitaph on the Bush administration's failed policy in North Korea."
Mr. Pritchard was one member of the unofficial American delegation that recently visited NK, and discovered that the 8000 nuclear fuel rods were no longer in storage at Yongbyon. This is not a surprise to me, but it apparently is to him. This is odd, since he presumably had access to considerable classified information which I don't get to see. More odd is the 'indictment' of US intelligence; he ought to know how intel works.
The Bush policy on NK is no more, or less, a failure than the policies of any of his predecessors. If anything, it is a natural evolution from that of Pres. Clinton's. Clinton tried to engage them; the result is an intel estimate of at least two nukes in NK hands (note: by 'result' I do not intend a rebuke of Clinton's policy, which I supported at the time. Merely an observation). Bush is also trying to engage them; but he’s holding them to a much higher standard than Clinton did.
Clinton tried to hold the status quo in Korea in the hope that NK would behave. They didn’t. This is the first thing: NK cheated. They started it. Pritchard and people like him seem to want to go back to that position, but it isn’t there anymore. Further, they seem to think that negotiations are some kind of panacea. Note: we are negotiating. We're just not sitting around the same table.
More later. If I can come up with it.
I'm not the only one: From Instapundit: "Nancy Pelosi's unblinking, wide-eyed stare-into-the-camera delivery is just creepy. ("Please meet my captors' demands.")" Ha.
I've been away, so let me catch up on a couple things. First, could somebody lend me $200 million so I can buy the Brewers?
More importantly, the Iowa caucus. John Kerry wins by a voting system that isn't even representative of the participants' views, much less of the whole state. And sure enough, somebody dropped out because of it. Not that I'm a Gephardt fan, but if you are you should be pissed off that something like this gets such a disproportionate influence on the election.
Finally, I didn't see the SOTU speech, but I did see Nancy Pelosi's half of the Dem's rebuttal. Anybody else think her speech was canned? Seemed like it could have been written before the SOTU.
More on that, maybe, after I 'sphere-surf it.
Monday, January 19, 2004
Y'know, out of the last ten plays, only one was a pass, and every play got more than one yard. Go to the line. Try the hard count, try to draw the encroachment, and when the clock counts down to two, or one, snap the ball and run the RB sneak. Davenport and Green slam into the line. Itwas only two feet. Tell me it wouldn't have worked.
whaddaya mean, "get over it?"
Other notes. Here's where the Bears are at: their new head coach says his first priority is to beat the Packers (and what kind of name is Lovie, anyway?).
Also, to the Minnesota (gak) Vikings, everybody enjoying the playoffs on TV? I know, you're going to make some snide remark about our ignominious end, but at least we were there. And you couldn't have gotten past Seattle. See you next year.
The Iowa caucuses will be held today. Read this. There's your first test of the candidates. Read this too.
(you may have to scroll down, it's Kaus)
This is the first test? That sucks.
I just think that the system could work better. If anyone drops out of the race because of the Iowa results, that candidate's supporters got screwed.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Added a new email address.
Last week I was surfing the 'sphere and found a great, and lengthy, essay on the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy and why SETI may not have detected it. Now, I can't remember where it is. I gotta start taking notes.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Okay, so, haven't been on in awhile.
You know, I occasionally find myself shouting at the TV (What are you doing? Just get out of there...no, don't go in there, he's... oh, he got her). Never, however, have I ever shouted at the radio. Until the other day.
Start At The Beginning Department: I didn't get to see the game. I was away, thought I'd at least get home for the second half but was late. Listened to the fourth quarter on the radio. Thus the shouting. Fourth and one! Their forty! Only a few minutes left! Go for it! Aaarrgh!
Sometimes when I miss a game and the Packers lose, I kind of blame myself, like if I'd been watching it might have made the difference. Sorry, guys.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Wondering what PSI is? Probably not. Here it is anyway, more on this soon.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Those silly communists:
I have tried and tried to come up with some meaningful analysis of North Korea for you, oh dear readers. I have written and thought and written some more, then given up, contemplated, and started again. It's intractable.
Sparing you the details, it comes down to a choice between 1) renegotiation the Agreed Framework in hopes of keeping NK docile, even knowing that Jong-Il is certain to cheat and that we're condemning the NK people to further suffering; or 2) cutting NK off from all aid and economic interaction, and hoping for a coup, revolt, or collapse (and risking a devastating war).
The Bush administration seems to favor the latter, South Korea and China (and probably Russia) the former. Japan is just pissed. Rightly. I have no wisdom to share; I can only hope that the synthesis of these views can produce a useful course of action. I am not, however, hopeful.
By the way, I posted earlier about those visitors to Yongbyon and I was hopeful. Forget it. It's window dressing. As is NK's latest "offer." Just a paraphrase of their earlier positions.
Monday, January 05, 2004
Here's something from Instapundit.
I appreciate Tacitus's comments (follow the link; it's a really good piece) but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that communism is a good and noble idea, as long as it stays an idea. It's an idea that should never have become a real thing, because as soon as you try it, you're screwed.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
The ghost of Tony Canadeo
Whew. My Packers give me one more week.
I need to look up the 'tuck rule.' On that second quarter non-fumble by Hasselbeck (and what a fine young man he's turned out to be), his arm was clearly going forward, and yet it's pretty obvious that the ball slipped out of his hand, untouched. My thinking is it should have been a fumble, but apparently the rules are otherwise.
No sour grapes, however.
By the way, is it just me or are our receivers setting the place on fire lately?
Tony Canadeo, for you unwashed, is a Hall of Fame tailback who ran for 1000 yards in 1949 (it was a much bigger deal back then). He died earlier this year, and the Pack have been wearing his #3 on their helmets. FYI.
Friday, January 02, 2004
Just want to note a couple things out of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"Nearly three months after the successful operation, the Bush administration confirmed on Wednesday interception of an illegal shipment of thousands of parts of uranium-enrichment equipment bound for Libya."
I'm thinking this is just one of several stories that'll fully explain Ghaddafi's sudden acquiescence. PSI works!
"The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, told The Associated Press Tuesday he did not want American or British help on the ground in Libya.
'As far as I'm concerned, we have the mandate, and we intend to do it alone,' ElBaradei said."
While we're at it, this.
"North Korea has agreed to allow a U.S. delegation to visit its main nuclear complex next week, the first such inspection since the isolated communist country expelled United Nations monitors more than a year ago.
The visit appeared to be an effort by North Korea to prove that it has built a nuclear bomb - or capable of doing so - and strengthen its negotiating position ahead of planned talks with the United States and four other nations on ending the nuclear standoff."
An attempt at intimidation, an obfuscation or a genuine concession? Stay tuned, Bat-fans (but guess where my money is).
The beat goes on.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
Touchdown pass in 25 games.
65.39% completion percentage.
League-leading 32 TD passes, 4th time, career.
Completed passes to 12 receivers vs. Oakland.
1883 rushing yards in a season.
218 rushing yards in a single game.
98 rushing yards on a single carry.
20 touchdowns in a season.
10 100-yard rushing games.
Four consecutive 100+ yard rushing games.
4.71 yards per carry.
355 rushing attempts.
2250 total yards.
844 points in a season.
182 field goals, career.
Josh Bidwell (okay, kicking and punting stats not sexy, but still):
308 straight punts without a block.
10+ sacks in 3 consecutive seasons.
2558 rushing yards.
5.05 rushing yards per carry.
19 sacks allowed, least in a season since the 16-game schedule began.
3-game streak (Detroit, Arizona, Chicago) with zero sacks allowed.
All Packer records.
And let’s not forget the 191 straight regular-season starts.
Incidentally, the Packers have the highest winning percentage (.669), most playoff games (17), and most playoff victories (10) in the last ten years of any NFL team. They’re tied with San Francisco for most playoff appearances (8). SF is second in every other category.
Aside to the Minnesota Vikings: chew your food.
Terrorist: a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.
(Terrorism: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims)
Guerrilla: a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.
Insurgent: (adj) rising in active revolt; (n) a rebel or revolutionary.
Rebel: a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler.
Courtesy of Oxford American Dictionary, 2001 edition. (Note to you-know-who: I told you I bought two of them, right?)
Why do I bring it up? Because 'rebel' has been occurring with more regularity in AP reports on Iraq. I think it's a good sign.
Of course, I didn't know that 'insurgent' was synonymous, but I bet most people don't either.