History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Monday, January 31, 2005

    Athena or Ares

    Greyhawk over at the Mudville Gazette explains the significance of the two:

    "Both that, and technological cunning. From time to time there is a battle that is out-and-out won by new technology - like longbows at Crecy. For most of history those battles happen only every few centuries - you have the chariot, the compound bow, gunpowder, ironclad ships, and so on. But something happens around , say, the time that the Monitor, which the Northerners believe to be the only ironclad warship on earth, just happens to run into the Merrimack, of which the Southerners believe exactly the same thing, and they pound the hell out of each other for hours and hours. That's as good a point as any to identify as the moment when a spectacular rise in military technology takes off - it's the elbow in the exponential curve. Now it takes the world's essentially conservative military establishments a few decades to really comprehend what has happened, but by the time we're in the thick of the Second World War, it's accepted by everyone who doesn't have his head completely up his ass that the war’s going to be won by whichever side has the best technology. So on the German side alone we've got rockets, jet aircraft, nerve gas, wire-guided missiles. And on the Allied side we've got three vast efforts that put basically every top-level hacker, nerd, and geek to work; the code-breaking thing, which as you know gave rise to the digital computer; the Manhattan Project, which gave us nuclear weapons; and the Radiation Lab, which gave us the modern electronics industry. Do you know why we won the Second World War?"

    "I think you just told me."

    "Because we built better stuff than the Germans?"

    "Isn't that what you just said?"

    "But why did we build better stuff?

    "I guess I'm not competent to answer. I haven't studied that period well enough."

    Well, the short answer is that we won because the Germans worshipped Ares and we worshipped Athena."

    To understand what he is talking about, read it all.


    One Hell of a Big Bang

    The Guardian, for once, suprises everyone and has a good article, in this case an interview with Studs Terkel, the pilot of the Enola Gay:

    PT: One day [in September 1944] I'm running a test on a B-29, I land, a man meets me. He says he just got a call from General Uzal Ent [commander of the second air force] at Colorado Springs, he wants me in his office the next morning at nine o'clock. He said, "Bring your clothing - your B4 bag - because you're not coming back." Well, I didn't know what it was and didn't pay any attention to it - it was just another assignment.

    I got to Colorado Springs the next morning perfectly on time. A man named Lansdale met me, walked me to General Ent's office and closed the door behind me. With him was a man wearing a blue suit, a US Navy captain - that was William Parsons, who flew with me to Hiroshima - and Dr Norman Ramsey, Columbia University professor in nuclear physics. And Norman said: "OK, we've got what we call the Manhattan Project. What we're doing is trying to develop an atomic bomb. We've gotten to the point now where we can't go much further till we have airplanes to work with."

    He gave me an explanation which probably lasted 45, 50 minutes, and they left. General Ent looked at me and said, "The other day, General Arnold [commander general of the army air corps] offered me three names." Both of the others were full colonels; I was lieutenant-colonel. He said that when General Arnold asked which of them could do this atomic weapons deal, he replied without hesitation, "Paul Tibbets is the man to do it." I said, "Well, thank you, sir." Then he laid out what was going on and it was up to me now to put together an organisation and train them to drop atomic weapons on both Europe and the Pacific - Tokyo.

    ST: Interesting that they would have dropped it on Europe as well. We didn't know that.

    PT: My edict was as clear as could be. Drop simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific because of the secrecy problem - you couldn't drop it in one part of the world without dropping it in the other. And so he said, "I don't know what to tell you, but I know you happen to have B-29s to start with. I've got a squadron in training in Nebraska - they have the best record so far of anybody we've got. I want you to go visit them, look at them, talk to them, do whatever you want. If they don't suit you, we'll get you some more." He said: "There's nobody could tell you what you have to do because nobody knows. If we can do anything to help you, ask me." I said thank you very much. He said, "Paul, be careful how you treat this responsibility, because if you're successful you'll probably be called a hero. And if you're unsuccessful, you might wind up in prison."

    ST: Did you know the power of an atomic bomb? Were you told about that?

    PT: No, I didn't know anything at that time. But I knew how to put an organisation together. He said, "Go take a look at the bases, and call me back and tell me which one you want." I wanted to get back to Grand Island Nebraska, that's where my wife and two kids were, where my laundry was done and all that stuff. But I thought, "Well, I'll go to Wendover [army airfield, in Utah] first and see what they've got." As I came in over the hills I saw it was a beautiful spot. It had been a final staging place for units that were going through combat crew training, and the guys ahead of me were the last P-47 fighter outfit. This lieutenant-colonel in charge said, "We've just been advised to stop here and I don't know what you want to do... but if it has anything to do with this base it's the most perfect base I've ever been on. You've got full machine shops, everybody's qualified, they know what they want to do. It's a good place."


    ST: Did Oppenheimer tell you about the destructive nature of the bomb?

    PT: No.

    ST: How did you know about that?

    PT: From Dr Ramsey. He said the only thing we can tell you about it is, it's going to explode with the force of 20,000 tons of TNT. I'd never seen 1lb of TNT blow up. I'd never heard of anybody who'd seen 100lbs of TNT blow up. All I felt was that this was gonna be one hell of a big bang.

    The whole thing is a fascninating interview, but the most important part is this:

    ST: Why did they drop the second one, the Bockscar [bomb] on Nagasaki?

    PT: Unknown to anybody else - I knew it, but nobody else knew - there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second bomb was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yessir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yessir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Trinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over.

    ST: What did General LeMay have in mind with the third one?

    PT: Nobody knows.


    Liberty Marches On...

    ...through Iraq, and all the world.

    What has been started can never be undone.


    Sunday, January 30, 2005

    Welcome C-SPAN Viewers!

    Since my name was mentioned by Michael, I suppose some people could show up here wondering who was this "Final Historian." If you are here, you are at the right place. Feel free to look around and read some of my work. I must admit that I have been too busy to do any top-notch stuff recently, but there are plenty of good links to check out, and be sure to visit some of the sites on my blogroll.

    Update: Figures. Only 1 likely hit from a C-SPAN viewer. Ah, C'est la vie.


    Good sites to check out

    Instapundit, the Corner, Powerline, Roger, a-sdf, and many others I have forgotten, but will remember to add to the list later on.


    But Spotted

    Over at CNN:

    President Bush today called Iraq's historic election a "resounding success" as Iraqis "take rightful control of their country's destiny." With polls now closed, counting begun as Iraqi officials reported a higher turnout than expected. But at least 25 people were killed and more than 70 wounded in a string of stop-the-vote attacks.
    They just can't help themselves, I guess.


    Showing Solidarity

    A number of sites, including NRO, are talking about how Americans should stain their fingers to show solidarity with the people of Iraq. That sounds like a fine idea to me, taking a page from wearing Orange to support the people of Ukraine. Give the Terrorists the finger!



    Lifted from the Corner:

    The Iraq elections are Teddy Kennedy's Vietnam.


    I Have Never Seen so Many Iraqis Smiling...

    So says Omar from Baghdad. I am watching the forum set up by Friends of Democracy over at C-SPAN, and I suggest you watch it as well.


    Saturday, January 29, 2005

    Questions for Readers

    Michael J Totten, who is current running the show behind the scenes for Friends of Democracy, has alerted me to a post on that site which is asking questions of the readers, for use on the C-SPAN discussion panel tomorrow. Go check it out, and ask questions for use by the panel.


    And so it Begins...

    The Elections have started in Iraq, and Roger is liveblogging it. For those of you who are in any ways religious, a prayer or two would be appropriate right about now.


    Some Iraq bloggers have already voted.


    Friday, January 28, 2005

    Power Geyser

    That name doesn't really make sense, so I have to wonder why they chose it. Perhaps to confuse, or perhaps its merely an inside joke. Either way, the name itself refers to a new Special Forces unit charged with protecting the US Government. From StrategyPage:
    It was recently revealed that SOCOM (Special Operations Command) had established yet another commando unit. This one, under the code word Power Geyser, is for protecting the U.S. president and government in the event of a terrorist attack. Why another commando outfit? We already have Delta Force, the SEALs and Special Forces.. Well, since the war on terror began, the work available for Delta Force, and other SOCOM units, has greatly expanded. Not only does this create a higher work load, but also demands that Delta Force be ready to take on more different types of jobs. Commandos are effective because they are highly trained, but they cannot know everything, and be ready for anything. Traditionally, commandos would use their excellent basic military skills, and ability to quickly plan for an operation, to prepare for different types of missions. Someone in SOCOM, or the government, concluded that a terrorist attack on the White House, or other parts of the federal government, would not leave a lot of time for planning.
    There is a lot more to this than meets the eye, of course. I think that the mission Geyser will be charged primarily with is protecting Congress and the Supreme Court from a commando style terror operation. The White House is pretty easily defended, with a fairly open field of fire for at least a hundred meters around, and its off limits to most of the public. Any commando attack would give plenty of time for warning, and the Secret Service has excellent training and a fair amount of fire-power. They could probably hold their own against any attack that could be pulled off. Congress and the Supreme Court is another matter. The Capitol building is fairly open, and there are a number of roads close by. A large terrorist group, say 20 or more people, could use brute force to go through the Capitol security force and assault the building. Same with the Supreme Court. The Capitol Security would put up a fight, without a doubt, but they would not have a lot of time to react, and they don't have the firepower or training of the Secret Service. A determined foe could storm the building and get inside within a few minutes. Once inside they could do a lot of damage before serious help arrives. I suspect that Power Geyser would be situated to lead a massive response to any attack. They probably have a team on 24 hr standby , ready to go within a minutes notice. If they had a helo to take them there, it could be less than 10 minutes before they were able to counter-assault the building, assuming they are located somewhere nearby. If they have a contingent inside the Capitol, or close by, they could be there in minutes. The real problem, and the reason why Power Geyser is needed, is that the terrorists would be on a bezerker strategy. They would be looking to do as much damage as possible before they are taken out. Speed is of the essence. Also, you need a good enough team to do it quickly and properly. Hence the need for SOCOM troops.


    Bad Data

    I have been suspicious of GDP numbers from China for a while now, especially after learning of the problems of China's Central Banking System. Evariste also has his doubts. Foreign investment in China is way over the top, the amount of money being thrown in isn't worth the probable return. India, with a transparent democratic system, is a much safter place to invest. I don;t trust Chinese officials to release accurate numbers, unlike India.


    Iraqi-Al Qaeda links

    a-sdf has a good round-up of links to various articles discussing connections between Saddam's Iraq and Al Qeada. It can be found here.


    Meet the New Boss...

    Not the same as the Old Boss...

    Good luck Condi, you are going to need it!


    Election Projection: Iraq Style

    Debka has their own projection of the results of the Iraqi election up, and its a fascinating read. The key part:

    • Altogether 111 political entities – parties, individuals or coalitions – are running for the 275 National Assembly seats.

    • A total of 7,785 candidates are registered on the national ballot

    • Eligible voters in Iraq: 14.27 million

    • Eligible voters outside Iraq: 1.2 – 2 million (only one-quarter of whom registered).

    • More than 130 lists were submitted by the December 15, 2004 deadline for registration. Nine were multi-party coalition blocs while 102 were lists presented by single Iraqi parties.

    • There are two major political blocs – Shiite and Kurdish:

    The Shiite Unified Iraqi Alliance list submitted 228 candidates representing 16 Iraqi political groups including the dominant Shiite factions. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq – SCIRI, heads this list, followed by Ibrahim Al-Jafari, head of the al-Dawa Party.

    • The two Kurdish parties headed by Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani decided to run together on the Kurdish list.

    • Both the Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi and Iraqi president Ghazi al-Yawar submitted their own lists of candidates. Allawi’s party, the Iraqi National Accord – INC, submitted a 240-candidate coalition, while al-Yawar leads an 80-member slate representing the Iraqi Grouping.

    Projected Results

    For elections held now, Hooker projects the following figures:

    The Shiite Unified Iraqi Alliance list – 43.8% = 120 national assembly seats.

    The Kurdish list – a surprising 36.4% (more than twice their 16-18% proportion of the general population) = 100 seats.

    The Iraqi National Accord – 8.1% = 22 seats. (A formula is being actively sought to retain him as premier even if his showing is low.)

    The Iraqi Communist party (the best organized) – 1.6% = 5 seats.

    All the Assyrian, Turkomen and Yazdi minorities together – 4 seats.

    All the rest – 5 seats.

    I don't have any personal way of checking to see how accurate those numbers are, but I think that the Shiite Unified List and the Kurdish list are both too high. Also, the numbers for Allawi's list appear too low as well. I have heard though, that some non-Kurds are voting for the Kurdish list, either because they like/trust the Kurdish leadership, or perhaps they like the Federalist principles of the Kurdish list. My suspicion is that before too long the Kurdish list will eventually morph into an Iraqi Federalist Party, centered less on ethnic background but solid federalist political principle.


    Thursday, January 27, 2005

    60 Years

    It has been that long. But if it was 600 or 6000, it wouldn't matter. Some things should never be forgotten.


    Venting the Spleen

    Over at American Future, Marc Schulman covers an article by Tom Friedman in the New York Times.

    There is nothing that the Europeans want to hear from George Bush, there is nothing that they will listen to from George Bush that will change their minds about him or the Iraq war or U.S. foreign policy.

    The same could be said about a lot of Americans who voted for Kerry. But I digress . . .

    But, if Bush just listened,

    . . . none of the European pundits would be able to pick apart his speeches here and mock the contradictions between his words and deeds. None of them would comment on his delivery and what he failed to mention. Instead, all the European commentators, politicians and demonstrators would start fighting with one another over what to say to the president. It might even force the Europeans to get out of their bad habit of just saying, "George Bush," and everybody laughing or sneering as if that ends the conversation, and Europe doesn't have to declare what it stands for. [My emphasis]

    The rest is also worth reading, though I would like to throw a few of my own thoughts into the fray.

    The European reaction against Bush is just that, a reaction. It is an entirely negative action, there is nothing positive or promotive to it. If Bush actually went to the Europeans and listened to what they said, he would hear a dozen different messages. The fact of the matter is the Europeans are in the sway of the Transnational Progressive movement to a slight degree, and that movement is as much an Opposition movement as it is anything else. It originated in response to the victory of liberal democracy, and thus doesn't really have a unified ideology it seeks to promote. The cleverness here on Friedman's part is that he wants Bush to expose the Europeans for what they are: critics, and not much else. Talk and diplomacy is all they have, and listening to them talk about talking would show, to a degree, what shams they really are. The problem with all of this, however, is that Bushatred is so deep seated in the Euro psyche that I don't think they can let it go. Their hatred has consumed them, and they can't let go of it without parting with some of their soul. I just don't see them having the strength of will to do such a thing. So I would expect them to whine, to complain, and to accuse Bush of being a poor listener. He is already Hitler after all, being a poor listener isn't too hard to throw into the package.


    The Revolution Has Just Begun

    For those of you who have stopped paying attention to what is happening in Ukraine now that the election is over, you are making a huge mistake. The Orange Revolution has just begun. Yushenko, now that he is in power, must reform Ukraine's economy and government, and that task is likely to be even harder than the toils that have come before. As always, for up-to-date information on what is happening in Orange Ukraine, check out Le Sabot Post-Moderne.


    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    The Syrian Route?

    Evariste of Discarded Lies has linked to a piece in MEED which talks about Syrian-Russian relations. The post in question can be found here. Upon reading this I am left with many questions, and I don't like the possible answers. It appears that Russia has decided to cause even more problems for the US, by interfering directly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I can only surmise that the US has seriously mulled plans for a strike against Syria, and Russian has decided to make it clear that it won't tolerate such an action by the US. I suspect that the US is being blackmailed by Russia into not attacking Syria, saying that any US strike against Syria would push Russia into supporting Syrian moves to destabilize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even further, most likely through Hizb'allah.


    Stop B----ing, Start a Revolution

    Evan Coyne Maloney has a new video about the anti-Bush protests during the Inauguration. You can check it out here.

    My thoughts? I am not too worried. Hearing people like that talk about starting a revolution doesn't really worry me. None of them really seemed to know what they were talking about, and I doubt they would know what to do with a revolution if one was gift-wrapped and presented to them. I doubt any of them had any real first-hand knowledge of anything military, and I suspect they were unaccustomed to violence as well. Any revolution they tried would be short lived, and then some. I bet a Boy Scout troop would be capable of handling the lot.

    Hat Tip: Glenn


    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Warzone: Latin America?

    Professor Bainbridge links to an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, examining the issue of Venezuelan military expansion.

    A Latin American war could possibly break out in the next few years. Unlike what happened in the 20th century when all confrontations were caused by border disputes, this time the war could be a bloody, multinational conflict triggered by ideological reasons.

    All symptoms indicate that behind that likely disaster will be the irresponsible behavior of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a quixotic firebrand who is intent in reconstructing the continent according to his revolutionary fantasies.


    Simultaneously, Chávez uses the river of petrodollars that is pouring into the country, as a result of rising fuel prices, to strengthen his army's offensive capability. Pending is the purchase of 50 MiG-29 warplanes from Russia, along with a large number of tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles.

    The purpose of so much materiel is easy to guess: an eventual confrontation with Colombia, intended not only to liquidate Uribe's ''oligarchic and pro-United States'' government but also to initiate the reconstruction of the Greater Colombia (including Ecuador), the grand homeland sought unsuccessfully by Simón Bolívar in the first half of the 19th century.

    But this dangerous imperial Bolivarian dream has another, even more-dangerous detour: a war against Chile, intended to destroy that bastion of ``neoliberalism.''

    Whether governed by the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats (as it is led today by Ricardo Lagos), Chile is seen as a threat by the left because of its defense of free markets, democracy and free international commerce.

    I must admit, like Professor Bainbridge, to pay less attention to what is happening in this hemisphere as to what is happening in the other. However, if some of these reports are true, then I will need to watch more carefully what is happening closer to home. A war in South America, especially one involving oil rich Venezuela, could impact the whole world.


    The Phony War...

    ...between Evolution and Faith, courtesy of Austin Bay. A brief excerpt from the article:

    Ken Miller is an interesting guy. He is co-author of the nation's best-selling biology textbook. It was on his book, "Biology," that schools in Cobb County, Ga., slapped a sticker casting doubt on its discussion of evolution theory. And it was this sticker that a federal judge recently ordered removed because it endorsed religion. Miller, who testified against the label, gets a lot of hate mail these days.

    But Miller is also a practicing Roman Catholic. "I attend Mass every Sunday morning," he said, "and I'm tired of being called an atheist."

    There is a lot more to it, and if you have any interest in the subject I suggest you check it out.

    Update: A good site is linked in the article, that of the ASA.


    Last Stand of the Left

    Robert over at The Blue State Conservatives argues that The Left Must be Right, or it Will be Gone.

    Let's step back a moment from the actual strategy of Iraq, or the elections, or any of that stuff that really matters, and look at why the left is so dead set on, well (sadly), losing this war.

    The left has its whole philosophy at stake, coming down to this crucial moment in Iraq. We need to review the past defeats of the left, to realize why Iraq is the final battleground not only for Islamofascist thugs, but also for the theoretical underpinnings of the left.
    To understand what Rob is talking about, read the rest.

    As for me, I can't help but agree. If Iraq does manage to come out of this as a Democracy, the blow to the Left might very well be "fatal." The movement has staked a lot on a US failure, and a US success would leave it vulnerable. I can't really predict what will happen, because there are simply too many variables at stake, but I can guess that there will be some major shakeups following a US success. It will start small at first, because most people will refuse to acknowledge reality in the beginning. But there is no denying it forever, and Leftism will have to adapt in order to survive. I suspect that Transnational Progressivism (pdf) is ultimately where it will end up.

    Update: Part 2 can be found here.


    Just Another Redneck Flag Waver

    JARFW, or Just Another Redneck Flag Waver, is essentially what Leftists call anyone whom they deem "over-patriotic." Question: does Mr. Berisha count?


    Yushenko Blog

    President Yushenko of Ukraine has a blog now, which I discovered courtesy of NRO's "The Corner." Alas, I cannot read Ukranian. Still, its a first for a major leader, and hopefully a good sign for reform in Ukraine.

    Update: Apparently, it can be translated into English, there is a tab in the upper left-hand corner to do so. Very neat.


    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Mars Theory

    Mars Theory Posted by Hello

    Via Glenn


    Syrian Perfidy?

    Mr Pol, a frequent commenter at LGF, has directed me to a website reporting possible Syrian hijinks in Israel and Iraq. The site is in French, so if you are not fluent in le francais, I recommend using BabelFish to translate. Apparently, Hizb'allah has been active again, but this hasn't been reported for over a week. The Israeli government is keeping a lid on this, again apparently because of US pressure not to strike back. Or at least, that is what I got out of it. Either way, Syria is definitely causing problems, and is asking for trouble in turn. Hopefully Assad and his minions get their just dessert soon.


    I would trust Iran more than the neo cons sitting in Washington.

    That lead off comes from this post on LGF, which displays to the world the appalling ignorance and/or anti-Americanism that pervades the world. It is maddening to read.

    Given a choice I would trust Iran more than the neo cons sitting in Washington. Iran has never in the past given any indication that it had any aggressive intent towards any of its neighbouring countries. And it has reasons to be worried about its security with neighbours like Israel and Iraq where more than a 100,000 US troops are based.
    R. Venugopal, Delhi, India

    The Iranians would be crazy to abandon their nuclear programme. In the end the world would be a safer place and there would be greater justice, if powers are balanced in the Middle East. I personally hope they get their nukes.
    Jose R. Pardinas, Miami, USA

    Iran has every right to defend itself. The USA has already hinted that it has plans to invade so what option does Iran have other than to develop the weapons necessary for its defence against an unprovoked attack by superpower?
    Peter, Welwyn, England

    Future generations, if there are any, will ask how people could have believed such nonsense. I do not think they will find an answer to their liking. The rest can be found here.


    Sunday, January 23, 2005

    President Yushenko

    Le Sabot Post-Moderne has more.


    Waiting on Iran

    Marc Schulman over at the blog American Future provides us a possible timeline for US involvement in Iran. Citing a US-Anglo split, he points out that the US would have to wait until after the British elections in a few months to take any action against Iran.
    What happens from here? I would be extraordinarily surprised if the US were to take overt military action of any kind against Iran before the expected British elections in May. Above and beyond the fact that no one believes that the situation is that urgent, doing so would almost certainly result in a nasty, public split between Bush and Blair -- which is the last thing that Bush wants. Given British public opinion, Blair would have to distance himself from Bush to be reelected.
    The rest of the piece isn't long, you can find it here.


    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    The Information Age and The Insurgency

    The Core is currently engrossed with what I have long deemed to be the "Information Age", because Information Technology has advanced at a rapid pace for the last twenty or so years. The last big jump of this magnitude came about with the invention of the Telegraph. That was the first time in history when humanity had the ability to communicate nearly instantaneously with each other at distances greater than line of sight. That caused a considerable revolution in communications, the third, the first coming about with the invention of writing, and the second arising from movable type. If TV was the fourth revolution, than we are in the fifth, the most profound of all. Communication has never been easier, and breakthroughs are non-stop. The Internet was only the beginning. Everything, and I mean everything, has and will change because of this revolution. We are only just beginning to understand the consequences of what we have unleashed. It will take decades more before we start to truly understand them.

    Nearly all human endeavors have been affected by this Information Revolution, and warfare is no exception. Indeed, it has perhaps changed the most of all, and was in part responsible for the Information Age itself. The nature of insurgencies has also changed because of this, and while they have benefited from it, they now also lose power because of it. Jack of TigerHawk explains.



    Rumors abound that Zarqawi has been captured in Iraq. Roger L. Simon has more.


    Friday, January 21, 2005

    America the Bodyguard

    Jimmie over at Blue State Conservatives has a post up explaining the US role in Iraq, which he likens to a Bodyguard:

    Right now in Iraq, we're playing a role that's different from what a lot of folks think we are. We're not there to "hold up" the Iraqi government, or even to make the Iraqis get a government set up. It's quite clear from the bulk of Iraq that they want a democratic government and are setting it up just as fast as they can.

    Our role in Iraq right now is that of bodyguard.

    Iraqis want democracy, but they don't know quite yet how to make it happen. We can give them guidance and even tell them how to make it start, but they have to be the ones to get it running. There's no other way to do it and have it last more than the lifespan of the average fruitfly. Until it takes hold, though, the country is vulnerable. Lots of people want to see the Iraqis fail, both inside and outside the country. So they're throwing everything but the kitchen sink at themto make sure democracy doesn't start with the elections in a couple weeks.

    The rest is worth reading, so go check it out.


    Exit Strategy

    Gerard Vanderleun has a plan for getting our troops out of Iran. The North-West route to the sea would also work as well. Why not take both?


    Iran, Europe and the US

    Callimachus over at Done with Mirrors has created an excellent essai on the European and American reaction to the Iran situation. It goes very well with the rest of my work on the subject, and I hope to get the time to respond fully to his points. Go check it out now.


    Some thoughts:

    I agree with Callimachus that Europeans don't mind Iran going nuclear.
    I've come to realize that many Europeans think it would be a good thing if Iran got a nuclear arsenal, because, as my friend puts it, "Israel wouldn't be happy to have to deal with Iran on equal terms, but frankly this might even benefit the region." He thinks it would make the Mideast, and the world, more stable.
    I suspect that the Euro-elite wants Iran to go nuclear, because they view a nuclear Iran as a counter to US and Israeli actions in the Middle East. They figure that they are so far down on the target list that they don't have to worry about the Iranian bomb. The fools, they don't realize the noose they are letting the Iranians have is wide enough for America, Israel and them. Iran wants nukes for many reasons, which I have outlined in greater detail earlier.

    1) Nuclear Weapons help protect Iran from overt regime change
    2) Nuclear Weapons provide Iran with extra cover and protection, enabling it to interfere more openly and actively with its neighbors.

    The idiotic Euro-elite have no long term vision, all they care about is the short term future, a future where they pocketbooks and egos can be padded. They will gladly bring the Romans into Greece, blind to the fact that the Romans have no intention of leaving (Kudos to whoever can get that).

    If I have to, I can accept these ultimate weapons in the hands of the Soviet Union, the U.S., Britain, India, modern China, France: more or less stable, conservative, secular, self-interested states. The dreadful balance of power implied in "mutually assured destruction" was sufficient to restrain the Cold War powers when simple human sanity was not. Even without the threat of retaliation, they operate with sufficient restraint. In 1982, a nuclear power, Great Britain, went to war. Nobody worried that Thatcher would nuke Buenos Aires.

    But we're talking about Iran. We're talking about a nation whose leadership class considers suicide attacks not just an acceptable tactic but a religious duty. A country whose quasi-independent military openly recruits its citizens to be car-bombers to kill foreign construction workers building sewage plants in Iraq, or blow up Israeli buses full of school children.
    Counting on the sanity and rationality of religious radicals is a dangerous risk at best, and inevitable catastrophe at worst. While I don't think that Iran intends to openly nuke Israel now, that may change, and ensuring that Iran doesn't have nukes precludes from having to worry about that problem.


    Blogger Problems

    I am having trouble posting. Blogging may be delayed or non-existent for a while.


    Deserved Attention

    Evan Coyn Maloney gets some deserved attention from the New York Sun. Considering the quality of his past work, it is about time. Alas, Evan was Drudged, so it may be some time before you can check his site out. Worth the effort though.


    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Nooo! It can't be!! This can't be happening!!

    Those words describe this post by Wretchard, yet another superb work by one of the blogosphere's best. A short excerpt:
    What Moisi should have said was 'in fact, due to unstoppable trends the World may be moving away from us. We don't share the same values.' Friedman's celebration of Europe as the world's largest 'Blue State' avoids mention that it might become the world's only Blue State. Certainly in the matter of religion, the differential growth in populations between the Europe on the one hand, and the Third World and even the United States on the other, is dooming 'Western' secular atheism, and perhaps much else, to demographic extinction. Nor, with India on track to surpass the French and German economies in size by the 2020s is there any realistic hope of re-imposing 'Western' European values on the benighted Red States of the world by aid packages which will by then be regarded as chump change. It is perhaps the subconscious realization that it has awakened to a nightmare new world that drives the the Left's incredulous reaction to George Bush. A story on the Kerry Spot describing a Leftist assault on conservative protesters is provided by Glenn Reynolds, who describes it in terms of 'crushing free speech'. But the real caption should be 'Nooo! It can't be!! This can't be happening!!"
    Yes, it is good, so go over there and read it.


    Works in Progress

    I am somewhat busy now, but I should be able to get some posts up tomorrow. I plan on addressing the Iran issue again, and perhaps a couple of other points of interest as well.


    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Back to the Wall

    A post by zorkmidden over at Discarded Lies ( which was a copyover of my Nuclear Wall post here) generated some comments and questions about my assertions. I made a quick response, which I will re-post in full here:

    I suppose I will need to respond to the points raised in length. But I do have two points I want to make right away.

    1) Iran has to know than any nuclear attack, in any form, on Israel, will result in near total annihilation. The Arab states must also know that. I have pointed out before, and no one refuted, my simple assertion that open war can't destroy Israel anymore, not without ensuring your own destruction. The Islamic world has taken a different strategy to destroying Israel, namely internally. That is the whole point of the Intifada: To destroy Israel from the inside. Any ruler or group of rulers who were considered crazy enough to actually lob nukes at Israel would be removed domestically by anyone with any sense.

    2) If Iran acquires Nuclear Weapons, it can become an open terrorist state. Once it has nukes, the steps you can take against it are minimal. It is already heavily restricted when it comes to trade, it can't be hurt much more. The Mullahs will be able to become much more aggressive once they have nukes. I think that their first step will be an attempted takeover of Lebnanon. This will be followed by attempts aimed at getting the Saudi Shi'ites to revolt. Iran doesn't just want to destroy Israel, it has larger strategic goals as well.

    A quick repeat and extension of my remarks above:

    1) Pretty much everyone is either abetting, or at least turning a blind eye, to the Iranian push for nuclear weapons. Only the US, Israel and perhaps some of Iran's northern neighbors are opposed to it. This to me seems a pretty big indication that no one thinks that Iran will use its nukes offensively against either Israel or the US. Remember, any nuclear conflict in the ME would hurt Europe more than us, as they are more dependent on ME oil than we are.

    2) Israel will almost certainly use nuclear weapons against its neighbors in the event it is attacked with nukes. Depending on the severity of the attack, this might be limited to targeting a capital and military bases, or total annihilation of the major cities of one or more neighbors. I suspect that Israel, if it decides to launch, will not hold back. After all, it gains nothing by holding back, once it has launched the fallout (politically) will be enormous. You might as well get as much bang for your buck.

    3) Iran has long term strategic goals that go beyond just destroying Israel. In order to understand Iran's behavior, you must understand what it wants to do. More than destroying Israel, Iran wants to alter the dynamic of power within the Islamic world. The Shia minority encompasses less than 20% of Muslims, and is only in power in Iran, though it likely will have considerable influence in Iraq as well. However, the Mullahs want to change this. They will use their Nuclear Wall to help Shi'ite factions across the Muslim world in opposition to secular or Sunni leadership. I suspect that Lebanon will be the first major contention point. After that Pakistan perhaps, and maybe even the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia. Going out in a blaze of glory isn't what they want, though they do want to give the appearance of being willing to do so.


    Mini-break over

    I decided to take a short vacation from bloggin on MLK day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Blogging should resume soon.


    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Just When I Began to Feel it was Safe to Fly Again...

    ...news comes that I may have been pre-mature in my thoughts. Via the Corner, here is a story by Michele Malkin:

    It's hard to imagine, in a post-9/11 world, that terrorists would attempt another attack with box cutters. Also, Dr. Bob's patient did not disclose specifics--airport, airline, destination, etc.--that would facilitate confirmation. If anyone can provide more information, drop me a line.

    Whether or not the story is true, it highlights at least two important policy questions:

    1. What kind of security measures are being undertaken with regard to clean-up crews and other ground personnel with access to airplanes?

    2. Why does FAMS director Tom Quinn continue to enforce idiotic pre-boarding policies that expose marshals' identities to observant passengers?

    Be sure to check the rest out to understand what this was about. As for me, I am deeply worried. Upon discovering those razor blades, the crew responsible for servicing the plane should have been immediately detained, and questioned. Detailed background checks should have been undergone, and when those 5 passengers didn't come back, an immediate arrest warrant should have been issued for them. The only acceptable reason for them not to be arrested right away is if the FBI was shadowing them in order to grab other members of the cell, or if this was a test case and they were Federal employees.


    Target: Iran

    Lifted off of Drudge, here is a report by Seymour Hersh, hardly the world's most trusted reporter, but with a nose for dirt unlikely any other.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday.

    The article, by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh, said the secret missions have been going on at least since last summer with the goal of identifying target information for three dozen or more suspected sites.

    Hersh quotes one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon as saying, "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."

    One former high-level intelligence official told The New Yorker, "This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign."

    I must admit that this comforts me greatly, as it no doubt makes it harder for the Iranian Mullahs to sleep at night knowing we are watching them. The reports of US commando missions also makes me feel more secure. I have worried that the US is just going to let Iran go nuclear. Now it appear that, at the very least, we are truly taking them seriously.


    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Blogs that I Read, Part IV

    I the next part of this series I will talk about another one of my favorite blogs, or rather, bloggers: Roger L. Simon. I first ran into Roger over on LGF, where he was an occasional commenter. Roger is another example of a former left-of-center American who has reconsidered his political views following 9/11. In many ways he is the quintessential neo-conservative, a former (Jewish) liberal who feels that the Left has betrayed itself. While he has kept many of his social views of the past, he is now firmly supportive of the WoT, and has written many eloquent posts on the subject. The issue of Iran is one of his many causes. However, it is considerable knowledge of Hollywood that makes him truly unique, few other bloggers even come close to his familiarity with the world of Hollywood. Roger offers thoughtful commentary on many fields, and is another blogger whom I consider a "must-read."


    More Iranian Meddling

    Discarded Lies links to an interesting article which alleges Iranian collaberation with Zarqawi in Iraq. Check it out. More evidence of how the Mullahs will need to be dealt with, or at the very least, neutralized, in order to secure Iraq.


    Friday, January 14, 2005

    Discovering Yourself

    If you want to try and understand your religious beliefs, I reccomend you check this out. Courtesy of Frank IBC over at Discarded Lies. My stats:

    1. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
    2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (88%)
    3. Eastern Orthodox (87%)
    4. Roman Catholic (87%)
    5. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (85%)
    6. Seventh Day Adventist (75%)
    7. Liberal Quakers (68%)
    8. Orthodox Judaism (65%)
    9. Islam (61%)
    10. Bah�'� Faith (60%)
    11. Sikhism (58%)
    12. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (56%)
    13. Reform Judaism (55%)
    14. Unitarian Universalism (54%)
    15. Hinduism (46%)
    16. Neo-Pagan (36%)
    17. Mahayana Buddhism (32%)
    18. Jainism (32%)
    19. Theravada Buddhism (32%)
    20. Jehovah's Witness (31%)
    21. Taoism (31%)
    22. Secular Humanism (30%)
    23. New Age (29%)
    24. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (23%)
    25. New Thought (22%)
    26. Scientology (22%)
    27. Nontheist (21%)

    Not exactly a perfect match, I must admit. I am not a pacifist, which means I am no Quaker. And I don't think that I share a lot of the beliefs of 7th Day Adventists. Still, an interesting self-examination. Be sure to check out the comments where this orginated right here.


    Blogs that I Read, Part III

    I almost forgot about this series, but not quite

    I had heard of Powerline before Rathergate, but I never paid as much attention to them as I should have. That mistake has been rectified, of course. Without a doubt Powerline is one of the best group blogs out there, and is a must read for political and legal information. Three very sound minds help provide an "amateur" perspective on politics that is almost always better than any self described expert you find talking on the TV. They are on my list of "must-read" blogs, and should be on yours as well.


    Getting Serious

    Sharon has order Israel to suspend all contact with the PA government until Abbas gets serious about fighting terror, reports the Jerusalem Post:

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered all contact cut with newly elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas until Abbas reins in terrorists, a Sharon spokesman said Friday.

    The report comes following a deadly attack Thursday night at the Karni terminal crossing in the Gaza Strip, in which six Israelis were killed and five civilians wounded.

    In response, Israel has announced that it will not negotiate with the PA until the attack is investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

    We have heard this before, but under Arafat, not Abbas. I doubt things will turn out any differently, but that is probably not what Sharon wants. Most likely the plan is to show Abbas to be an ineffective leader, thereby allowing Israel to disregard him. Will it work? Probably not. Abbas is too weak right now to go after the terror groups, and even if he had the strength, doesn't have the will. I can't believe it, but things appear to be no different than they were under Arafat.


    The Sick Man of Europe

    That term used to be used to describe the Ottoman Empire, which was finally put down following the First World War. Now, however, that term is used by Nicholas Eberstadt to described Russia.

    The Russian Federation today is in the grip of a steadily tightening mesh of serious demographic problems, for which the term "crisis" is no overstatement. This crisis is altering the realm of the possible for the country and its people—continuously, directly, and adversely. Russian social conditions, economic potential, military power, and international influence are today all subject to negative demographic constraints—and these constraints stand only to worsen over the years immediately ahead.

    Russia is now at the brink of a steep population decline—a peacetime hemorrhage framed by a collapse of the birth rate and a catastrophic surge in the death rate. The forces that have shaped this path of depopulation and debilitation are powerful ones, and they are by now deeply rooted in Russian soil. Altering Russia's demographic trajectory would be a formidable task under any circumstances. As yet, unfortunately, neither Russia's political leadership nor the voting public that sustains it have even begun to face up to the enormous magnitude of the country's demographic challenges.

    I have written before on the Russian Dilemma. Its a major problem, and is something that the US needs to plan for. Russia isn't going to die tomorrow, but the vacuum left by its fall will be huge, and plans should be laid for the day when it comes.


    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    The Nuclear Wall

    Welcome Discarded Lies visitors! Be sure to check out some of my other work...

    For the past few years the subject of nuclear proliferation has increased in tempo, especially since September 11th, and the revelations that North Korea has a functioning nuclear arsenal(composed of more than just 2-4 weapons, I should add). With Iraq no longer a problem when nuclear ambitions are concerned, and with Libya disarming (pdf), the nation with the most focus upon it at the moment is the Iran. A large number of bloggers have been keeping track of the issue, with yours truly as one of them. Sites like LGF, Discarded Lies, Eurabian Times, Roger L. Simon, NRO, and others have kept attention to the issue of the Iranian bomb. Charles especially has focused on the issue, and there are many posts on LGF about it.

    The "Right" side of the blogosphere has many members who support military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, before we address the issue of what to do with Iran, we should first determine why Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons. After all, potential Iranian behavior should help guide us on what to do with Iran. Many have speculated that Iran wants to acquire nukes to attack Israel, citing statements by the former president of Iran. However, I think that this is not the case. I do not believe that Iran wants nukes in order to use them against Israel, and several different factors make me think so.

    First, many nations are supporting or at least turning a blind eye to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. Now, Israel has nukes of its own, and we can assume that if attacked with nukes it will respond in kind. Since it may not be sure which nation attacked it, Israel will probably respond by retaliating against all of its hostile neighbors. Now, the Iranian Mullahs may be mad, but the leaders of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others aren't. If they even thought that Iran was going to use its nukes to attack Israel, they would do their damnedest to stop the Mullah's quest for nuclear weapons. Since they have not done so, I think we can safely assume that they believe the Mullahs don't intend to use nuclear weapons in an offensive role.

    Secondly, nuclear weapons have actually turned out to be defensive, not offensive in their use. As in, they are used in a defensive manner, to protect one's sovereignty and power, not used to attack other states. The last use of a nuclear weapon in anger was 1945. That is 60 years where no nuclear bomb was used as a nuclear weapon. Accident? Coincidence? I think not. Nuclear Weapons have become the Great Wall of China for the modern world. They provide the perfect wall, the perfect defense. It is an extremely risky endeavor to try and conquer a nation with nuclear weapons, because if they feel that their national survival is no longer guaranteed, then there is no logical reason for them not to use nuclear weapons. Why have the Arab states stopped openly attacking Israel? They haven't done it since '73. Why has it been over 30 years since an open general war between Israel and its neighbors? Since that last war it was learned that Israel had a nuclear arsenal. Details of that arsenal are still sketchy, but the Arab states realized they could no longer accomplish their longheld dream, the destruction of the Jewish State. Now they knew that if they attempted to destroy Israel, and the Israelis knew the end was near, then there was every reason for the Israelis to use nuclear weapons. With Israel nuclear, the Arab/Muslim states have to use other means to destroy it, else face nuclear annihilation themselves.

    Iran wants to become a nuclear power. But not so that it can launch nuclear missiles at Israel, or to try and sneak them in. None of the Arab states would allow this to be, they fully realize the consequences. Iran wants nuclear weapons so that it can have its own "impenetrable wall. " The Mullahs have long supported terrorist groups in the Middle East, particularly the notorious Hizb'allah. These groups help carry out the political aims of the Mullahs, which often revolve around increasing the power of the Shi'ite Muslim minority. However, the actions of such groups are limited by international pressure, and the knowledge that if they push too far they may incur the wrath of Israel or the US. However, a nuclear armed Iran suddenly becomes much less likely to be attacked by other states. They gain a lot of extra room to maneuver when they possess nuclear tipped missiles.

    Nuclear Weapons would also protect the Mullahs from foreign intervention. After Saddam Hussein was removed from power, they quickly realized the only means of protecting themselves from the US was to acquire weapons of mass destruction, with nuclear weapons being the most effective for the job. A nuclear Iran will be protected from regime change, and the Mullahs will thus be nearly immune to outside influence. The only real problems they would face would be domestic, and they could be far harsher and more oppressive once a nuclear power. After all, what is the international order going to do about it?

    Iran is going nuclear. The Mullahs want their wall, and will have it within a few year. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Are we going to let the Mullahs build their Nuclear Wall?


    Working on Something Big

    I am going to be working on a rather large post today, and hope to get it up this night. If not then, then probably the morning. I am still unsure of its final look, but I will say this: it touches on the issue of Iranian nukes.

    Update: Its done, although I thought about re-working it somewhat. I eventually decided to post as is, and let reader feedback help me decide on any changes to make.


    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Work Slam

    I will try and blog a bit later, but won't have the time for much.


    Oh My, Debka at it Again

    Now Debka is reporting that:
    DEBKAfile’s Military and US sources reveal: Bush has ordered US Iraq commander Gen. Casey to prepare February attack on Syria. Assad sends Syria’s chief of staff Gen. Habib to establish command post on Iraqi border. Israel braces for Hizballah backlash.

    For the record I find this to be nonsense. I don't see the US going after Syria in a big way. Rather, I expect possible use of Special Forces against terrorist camps across the border. Although, it should be noted, I did predict earlier that any US actions against Iran would come after the US election, and probably after an early Iraqi election as well. Time will tell.

    Edit: I spoke too soon, I guess. More info to be found here. I will analyze later when I have more time.

    Update: Welcome Discarded Lies visitors! To clarify some of my earlier thoughts:

    I think that this information was meant as a final warning to Syria. The US has had enough when it comes to Syrian support for Iraqi terrorists, and has sent this message as a warning to Syria that enough is enough. I think that Bush wants to make it clear that the next warning we send to Syria will involve us telling them to duck and cover. With the election over I suspected that the US would turn its eye on Iran, and prevent the Mullahs from going nuclear. However, I now think that with the recent revelations about Iran's nuclear program, the US has more time than I thought. I figured we only had until the summer at best. Now it appears we have 2 years or so. This means the US can deal with Syria first, and help stabilize Iraq some more before finally dealing with the Mullahs.


    Monday, January 10, 2005

    A Glimpse of the Future

    Sometimes we can get an idea of what lies ahead on the road before us, though we seldom recognize the clues when we see them. Here is a hint of the future to come.
    Time Magazine named it "one of the most amazing inventions of 2004," but to terrorists in Iraq it may be the scariest. By April, GIs in Iraq will be deploying 18 robots so small they could almost crawl between your legs. But don't let size fool you; these motorized midgets pack a powerful punch. They can fire anything from a light machine gun to a six-barreled 40 millimeter grenade launcher or multiple rocket systems.
    Robots are the future of warfare, and the US military is leading the charge. Right now these robots cost about 25k, but that number will drop considerably in 10 years. Soon the battlefield will be littered with robots, some on the ground like Sword, others in the air like Predator, and some on the water, and others under it.
    Military robotics may be a long way from Isaac Asimov's vision of evolved, synthetic intelligence in I, Robot, but thinking machines already have become familiar sights, flying above or rolling through today's battle spaces. And now the U.S. Navy is ready to unveil a master plan that charts the course for new generations of warrior robots to help dominate the seas as well.

    The last Navy unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) master plan was approved in 2000. That plan charted a 50-year course for UUV development, including their roles and missions -- intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); mine countermeasures; oceanography; communication and navigation; and antisubmarine warfare.
    The war of the future is going to be a war of robots, no doubt about it. The Terminator may very well come to be in the wars of tomorrow.


    Einstein, Quantum Theory, G-d, and D&D

    If you thought it would be impossible to have all of those things together in one cogent example, you were wrong. To understand what I am talking about, go here.


    Blog Roll additions

    I haven't changed my blogroll in a while, I will try and get to it by later today.

    Update: Blog Roll changes done now. I added a few, and also replaced a few. One replaced was Rob's old site, Crushing Dissent (now inactive), which I replaced with his new group blog, Blue State Conservatives. Go check it out.


    Electoral Politics...

    come to Iraq. This should prove interesting, as Iraqis try and establish some kind of standard of behavior for politics.

    Hat Tip: The Corner


    The CBS Report Finally Sees the Light of Day

    I suspect everyone has already seen it by now, but I would like to add a few comments about it. First, check out this post over at Discarded Lies, where Charles is currently until LGF is up and running again.

    CBS realized that it couldn't do a slap on the wrist. Not this time. Too much pressure existed on them for that. So they sacrificed several lower executives to sate the blogosphere. Mapes, of course, was history, I suspect that they wanted her gone no matter what. But the other three executives "fired" were probably told it was a "necessary evil." I suspect that they managed to take with them some generous compensation packages before they left. Of course they cover up any issue of bias, and instead use the canard of "rush to print" as the excuse for the problems. Also, the never definitively address the issue of whether or not the documents were fake, just that they rushed them, without proper verification. Without admitting full error, they can avoid talking about why someone like Dan Rather would push fake documents as real ones. This would, of necessity, require them to address Rather's biases, and the biases of CBS news as a whole. Hence they avoided that like the plague. Those are my thoughts for now, perhaps more later.

    Update: Powerline finally comments on the report.


    On a Lighter Note...

    Here is something good for a few laughs. If any of you know D&D players(who come in nearly all age groups, believe it or not), then this doesn't sound so farfetched as at first glance...


    The Warzone Election

    The election in Iraq is coming ever closer, and insurgents are stepping up attacks in anticipation of that event, hoping to cause enough disruption to either cancel it, or render it ineffective somehow. This is not the first warzone election ever held, however, and a parallel lies only two decades in the past. Courtesy of the Iraq Election Diatribes:
    Conditions were horrible when Salvadorans went to the polls on March 28, 1982. The country was in the midst of a civil war that would take 75,000 lives. An insurgent army controlled about a third of the nation's territory. Just before election day, the insurgents stepped up their terror campaign. They attacked the National Palace, staged highway assaults that cut the nation in two and blew up schools that were to be polling places.

    Yet voters came out in the hundreds of thousands. In some towns, they had to duck beneath sniper fire to get to the polls. In San Salvador, a bomb went off near a line of people waiting outside a polling station. The people scattered, then the line reformed. "This nation may be falling apart," one voter told The Christian Science Monitor, "but by voting we may help to hold it together."

    This is an excerpt from a longer NYT piece, which manages to hold some wisdom for us, a surprise considering the source. I have no doubt that there will be serious problems with the elections in Iraq. Many will die. But they will happen, and Iraq will move forward, no matter how hard the terrorists try to halt this progress.


    They are Coming to take me away...

    Remember when you ran away
    And I got on my knees
    And begged you not to leave
    Because I'd go berserk?
    Well. . .

    You left me anyhow
    And then the days got worse and worse
    And now you see I've gone
    Completely out of my mind
    And. . .

    They're coming to take me away, HA HA
    They're coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA
    To the funny farm
    Where life is beautiful all the time
    And I'll be happy to see
    Those nice, young men
    In their clean, white coats
    And they're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

    by Napolean XIV

    Who is me in this case? Gerard Vanderleun explains.


    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    Senator Boxer the Cheerleader

    I am sure any who reads History's End (all 7 of you) have heard by now of Senator Boxer's stunt a few days ago where she challenged Ohio's electoral college votes for Bush in a joint session in Congress. I recently became involved in a debate over in the comments section of Lucas Sayre's blog, Daily Contentions. The post dealt with, among other things, Senator Boxer's actions. My comment was this:
    What Boxer did was simply throw some red meat to the wolves, and keep Leftist partisans happy and active for a while. The Democrats realize that a depression has sunk in, and they will need to counter it by '06
    You see, the Democrats are having a problem. A lot of people were depressed over the results of the 2004 election, and this time they couldn't claim the election was stolen, no matter how much they tried. This depression was called by some PEST, or Post Election Stress Trauma, and in some cases people actually consulted pyschologists for help. Believe me, this has sunk in with the Democratic leadership. They realize that depression could really hurt their chances for a change in Congress in the '06 elections. A depressed base is a non-active base, and they need that base to be active in order to win the mid-terms. So the Democrats decide to fan the flames somewhat, and generate some controversy over the results in order to try and motivate democratic core supporters. Expect the Democrats to do similar stunts every couple of months up until the election in '06, in order to keep the base alive. If they should lose in '06, which I would qualify as no real change in either house, or a serious gang in many states, then they will be in real trouble in '08. The Democrats know how important '08 is, and must be intensely worrying about its outcome. Keeping the base alive is essential for a turnaround. But this all begs a question, how many more elections can the Democrat's afford to lose?


    Time to deal with North Korea?

    That is what a peacenik appears to argue. To understand what I am talking about, go here. Sometimes the stupidity/ignorance of people is staggering.


    Manatee Blogging

    Not many people blog about Manatees, so when I saw Jack over at TigerHawk doing so, I thought "why not link to it, its not something you see every day..." So why don't you go and check it out.

    Hint: Its more than just a "Manatees are cute in an odd kind of way" post.


    Saturday, January 08, 2005


    I have mentioned earlier that it is difficult to get an accurate picture of how things are going in Iraq, as there is a deficiency of metrics by which we can measure success or failure. However, one measure that has worked thus far is changes in policy. Generally speaking, changes in policy tend to be a negative measurement, as they indicate things are either going poorly, or that current policy isn't enough. Hence, this story, if true, indicates that things may in fact not be going well at all in Iraq. Such a proposal is rather dangerous, in that it carries much political risk, and thus is a sign that there is a lot of worry. I think that what it indicates is that while the Shi'ite and Kurdish areas of Iraq are being dealt with properly, the US is having some serious problems with the Sunni areas, as well as the Sunni population in general. Such tactics seem to me to be an effort to deal with, as in, suppress, the Sunni population for a while, giving the Shia and Kurds time to build a functioning government up, and have it earn legitimacy in the eyes of their respective populations. It is possible that large sections of the Sunni Iraqi population may not accept the new system operating in Iraq for a long time, if ever. Hence the "insurgency", which really isn't but is rather a civil war, may continue for a long time. It may take a decade or more before the Sunnis eventually come to accept that the "good old days" are not ever coming back.


    Some People Just don't Know when to Quit

    Like this guy, for instance.


    Why Call Her the Grey Lady?

    Because she is dying.


    Blogs that I Read, Part II

    In the second part of this series, I will detail another blog which I frequently read, The Belmont Club. Its creator and author, Wretchard the Cat, has become one of the great minds of the blogosphere. I started reading the Belmont Club a month or two after its inception, learning about it from Tim Blair. I haven't stopped reading since. Wretchard's wit and knowledge are deeper than pretty much anyone else in the blogosphere, and it shows in his work, which is always top notch. He manages to integrate humanism, irony and a keen eye for analysis into a seamless work of art. With Steven Den Beste's retirement from blogging, Wretchard has taken his place as one of the four horsemen of the ablogalypse. There are many other things that I can say about the Belmont Club, but I think that I would be beating a dead horse. Trust me on this, if you aren't already a Wretchard reader, become one.

    What I consider to be his most important post to date, check here.


    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Required Reading

    Callimachus over at Done With Mirrors links to a review in Commentary Magazine of a book by Jason DeParle, called American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare. Check it out. Its quite fascinating, and I plan on commenting more later.


    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Possible Pali Civil War?

    We can only hope. Although I do worry that Hamas might win, that actually might be better for all involved, as it would allow Israel to deal more forcibily in the territories, as the Europeans would be more hesitant to defend Hamas, as, say, compared to Abbas.

    Hat Tip: Colt


    Blogs that I Read, Part I

    I have decided to do a daily series, which will everyday give a blog that I read daily, why I read it, and why you should too. I These aren't all the blogs I read, but a good sampling of the ones I pay more attention to. Some of them are well known, while others are lesser known bloggers who still produce quality work.

    The first blog that I will profile in BTIR, is Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs. LGF is on my "must read" list of blogs, as in blogs I will always read at least once a day, if at all possible. In fact I often check up on LGF several times a day, to see if Charles has posted anything new. Why do I read the site religiously? Because there is no better blog around when it comes to info on the War on Terror. The Command Post is the only real competition in that regard. Every day he seems to have over a half dozen posts, and many days he exceeds a dozen. Almost all of them are important, and many can be found only there. He has accumulated a large number of link contributors, helping to ensure that he is the King of the Linkers, when it comes to the W0T at least.

    I have read LGF ever since late 2002, and wish that I had found it sooner. Charles's blog has a fascinating history, and his story in many ways mirrors those of others who were Gore supporters in 2000 who have, for a while at least, changed their support. Like many, he was greatly moved by the events of 9/11, and his blog is a reflection on how that event changed the lives of many. I never really got into the comments section at LGF, though for a while I was an occasional participant. However, that was mostly in late 2003, and early 2004. Recently the comments have become the grounds for a new type of commenter, unfamiliar with the LGF of the past. I used to enjoy the comment section, but for many months it has gotten worse and worse, attracting racists, head nodders and generic Bush supporters/Liberal bashers who really add nothing to the comments. Many of the old timers, the original LGF commentators, have either left or stopped participating as much, which has greatly saddened me. It was a great group for a while. Hopefully things will improve over time, though I am not entirely hopeful of this.

    Despite any recent problems with its comments, LGF is a still a great blog, and a must read for me. I am sure most History's End readers knew that, but it never hurts to reiterate greatness.


    Short Term Victory, Long Term Defeat?

    Jack over at TigerHawk has a post up describing the latest Geopolitical Intelligence Report by Stratfor founder George Friedman. Its too long to cite entirely, and requires a subscription, so go over to the post itself. A short excerpt:

    We ... do not agree with the view that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. It had a clear strategic purpose that it achieved: reshaping the behavior of surrounding regimes, particularly of the Saudis. This helped disrupt the al Qaeda network sufficiently that it has been unable to mount follow-on attacks in the United States and has shifted its attention to the Islamic world, primarily to the Saudis. None of this would have happened without the invasion of Iraq.
    That is the victory part. Here is the defeat part:
    As frequently happens in warfare, the primary strategic purpose of the war has been forgotten by the Bush administration. Mission creep, the nightmare of all military planners, has taken place. The United States has shifted its focus from coercing neighboring countries into collaborating with the United States against al Qaeda, to building democracy in Iraq. As we put it in May: "The United States must recall its original mission, which was to occupy Iraq in order to prosecute the war against al Qaeda. If that mission is remembered, and the mission creep of reshaping Iraq forgotten, some obvious strategic solutions re-emerge. The first, and most important, is that the United States has no national interest in the nature of Iraqi government or society. Except for not supporting al Qaeda, Iraq's government does not matter."
    The rest is to be checked out as well.

    My own thoughts are that it is too early to tell how the long term victory (or defeat) in Iraq is turning out. However, we are fast approaching a transparency point, a period of time where we can observe more accurately than most times just how well things are going. That period concerns the elections in Iraq. If the elections turn out well, especially in the Shi'ite areas, with few fundamentalist/ pro-Iran types in the government, than I would say things are going well. The Sunnis will be a problem, of course, we simply have to accept that. But if the rest of the country turns out well than I would count that as a victory. Not a total victory, but certainly not a defeat.

    Friedman is quite wrong, by the way, in his statement that Iraq's government makes no difference. It makes all the difference in the world. Islamism can only be defeated through democracy, there is no other cure than political and economic freedom over time. Its not going to be sudden, but it does need to happen, and it needs to start in Iraq.

    Addendum: The third comment of that post is also worth reading as well.


    Wednesday, January 05, 2005

    Victory vs Defeat

    Thanks to Curtis, I have come across a book, which can be found online here, concerning the book of Revelation. Its a quite fascinating read, irrespective of which sect of Christianity you belong to. I plan to comment on it more later.



    No other way to explain it.

    Hat Tip: Curtis



    Debka is reporting that a drone crashed near one of Iran's nuclear facilities. This could be quite interesting, if it proves true.

    DEBKAfile Exclusive: Unidentified drone crashes at Arak nuclear site in central Iran, according to sources close to Iranian Revolutionary Guards ex-commander Rezai.

    Evidence in wreckage of intelligence-gathering at presumed uranium enrichment site. Last week, Iranian air force commander said mystery aircraft reported by witnesses over sensitive sites would be shot down.

    We should hear more in a day or two, if this story has any meat to it.


    Those Merry North Koreans

    Once again, the NorKors are raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. This time, they are warning their people to prepare for war with the US:

    The manual urged the military to build restaurants, wells, restrooms and air purifiers in underground bunkers, which government offices and military units will move into if war breaks out.

    When North Koreans evacuate to underground facilities, they should make sure that they take the portraits, plaster busts and bronze statues of Kim and his parents so that they can ``protect'' them in a special room, the guidelines say.

    The Kim family has ruled North Korea for more than a half century, creating a powerful personality cult. Portraits of Kim and his father hang side-by-side on the walls of every house.
    Such lovely people. By beating the war drums at home, they are sending a message to the US and South Korea, much less all of East Asia, that they are not to be forgotten. They will continue to blackmail us until the very end. Once again, Clinton/Carter diplomacy at its finest.


    On Torture

    Callimachus, from Done With Mirrors, has in interesting post up concerning the issue of torture. The topic is being re-discussed now, and he offers some links to other sites discussing the issue. Go check it out.

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