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6/30/2003

TBM: A few shots over the horizon.

First - a good analysis of the WMD controversy. (Courtesy VenOmous Kate)

Secondly, the blood-boiling travesty of "whiteness" studies. It's kind of like going to the Leni Riefenstahl reception with Goebbles and Himmler after the premier screening of "Triumph of the Will" - except in reverse and much dumber. Foul and vicious slander. Sorry - I'm just too irate and tired to give this the vigorous response it deserves. On another note, however, the author of the critique has submitted to the New Blog Showcase, and I think deserves a link.

Wow. And just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, I found this lovely tidbit by Crimen Falsi. The racist backlash that seems to have gripped parts of the nation in light of the recent affirmative action decision is by no means dead and gone.

But before you steam off into the distance, fed up with idiocy, read this letter at the Volkh Conspiracy. It revived my faith in the notion that all men are created equal.

On a less divisive note, Mr. Esmay favors us with his "man on the street" analysis of the gift economy and blogging.

And a big linky smooch to a whole raft of neglected people including:

The lovely Serenity, who has seen fit to put me on her list of people who she has put on a list,

The perpetually witty Collinization, who does more for explaining medical science than the AMA,

The unfailingly erudite Crimen Falsi, who is brilliant legal mind, masquerading as a legal professional.

If any of all y'all been neglected from proper addition to the Retaliatory Strike list, drop me a line and I'll put on my targeting list pronto.

EBS: How to scroll...

The observant observer may have noticed that this particular blog is a bit buggy W/R/T the ability to scroll down and read an article. Kevin at WizbangBlog has been so very kind and generous as to explain to your humble author a work-around. Real simple. Just resize the browser window. Even a little tiny bit. Elsewise, the bug in the CSS sets the scroll based on the left-hand column, rather than the main body of the text. So just resize, read and enjoy!

TBM: Tidings from the Blogosphere

You know how Japanese pop culture generates some absolutely astonishing stuff from time to time? Well this is one of those times. I honestly don't know what to think about it. (Courtesy IMAO)

Frank J. o' IMAO interviews Democratic hopefuls.

A whole raft of articles about America's Imperial Legions. The first. A response by Jerry Pournelle. Then Winds Of Change take. (These three, courtesy Winds of Change) These all tie in to the Den Beste article about air power. Also ties into Luttwak's book on Strategy (an excellent read). I hope to crank out a bit o' screed on this soon, but it may take a while as it touches on a whole raft of issues. But keep yer eyes peeled for mini-screeds about this stuff, like Effects Based Operations and the like.

Hmm... alright kids. See ya soon!

6/29/2003

EBS: Still trooping on...

Still wrestling with the demonic offspring of HTML and BlogSpot. HTML, I'm told, is a piece of cake. Unfortunately, being hosted by BlogSpot has given that piece of proverbial cake the taste of ass. I'm off to see if the fine folks at Wizbang Blog can cast about with their arcane and ancient magiks and turn my page into the work of beauty it truly is.

6/28/2003

EBS: Got jacked by ferrets

Sorry I didn't post today, but as I was walking along, I was attacked (again) by a group of low-income (and not even from my demographic group), inner-city ferrets, and as a sresult, have not posted today. Tomorrow, however, I'll be posting about why Steven Den Beste is only half-right about North Korea. And if I feel really ambitious, I might even yammer on about transformation and armored warfare.

Until then, enjoy the evening. Get drunk, hit on chicks and then go home alone. Just like last weekend.

6/26/2003

TBM: Quick hits from the 'sphere

Last night I tried yet again to post something that evaporated. I'll put a coupla those up and a few other links worth checking out.

Serenity engages in America 's other favorite pastime - mocking hippies.

Although I am loath to link to the National Review, here is an excellent counter to the "Bush Lief" frenzy.

And a big, wet smooch to Eward Said for his anti-war 'Those wacky mass-murdering dictators, at least the trains ran on time.' (Courtesy James Taranto)

However else one blames Saddam Hussein as a vicious tyrant, which he was, he had provided the people of Iraq with the best infrastructure of services like water, electricity, health, and education of any Arab country. None of this is any longer in place. SOURCE

Lean night tonight , kids. But I hope to get off my tukhus soon and write some North Korea stuff.

TBM: Missing Angolan 727

For those of you getting up to speed here are three ABC stories (in chronological order) about the mysterious missing airliner.

Here are the interesting bits: The airliner is reputedly converted to be a fuel carrier with some 8,000 lbs of diesel, which gets pretty messy when mixed ammonium nitrate (see also Oklahoma City bombings). The powers that be have checked a lot of runways with satellite imagery, but in a pinch you might be able to get the thing to land on a non-prepared, non-tarmac surface, such as a dry riverbed. Moreover, if it had crashed you would a) see a big debris field and/or b) a lot of locals selling scrap aluminum.

Here and here are two threads on the professional pilot's rumor network. I'm not going to go through and sort all of the raw intel out for y'all any further, but the conversations make an interesting read, including info on who might have repo'd the plane. Well, OK, I'll give you the punchline. It is possible that this could be kitted out for another 9/11 but it is generally thought to be quite unlikely and this is more likely a repo job and/or insurance scam and/or stealing the 727 for parts and/or smuggling drugs and guns.

6/25/2003

TBM: Wm. Gibson meets Geo. Orwell

A bit of Gibson meets Orwell Op-Ed goodness (even if it is in the NYT) ;) (Courtesy, Winds of Change, meta-courtesy Vodkapundit)

SRBM: Moral Equivalence and Economics

Winds of Change nicely ties together a few good articles, including this one by Orson Scott Card, about Moral Equivalence and its role in modern political debate vis a vis the Palestinian Issue. The only thing that I might add is that partial equivalence is a useful tool, when used as a rational tool.

This whole line of reasoning ties into the leftist view of wealth being a zero sum game versus a non-zero sum game. Some folks on the left seem to think that if everyone in a community is given a million dollars and then one person is given a billion, then the resulting skew in local income distribution means that the folks who only get a million are somehow now poor. This is the zero-sum interpretation of wealth. In other words, if 10 people have equal wealth ($10 or 10% each) and then you do something like increase one person's share to $100, then they have 57% of the wealth, while everyone else gets 5.3% of the wealth. Thus, the rich fella increases his wealth by 570% and the poor guys loose 47% of their wealth. This is true, I suppose, if you really buy in to the Marxist labor model of economics - but is unfortunately really, really stupid.

If the amount of wealth in the world is fixed (i.e. zero-sum) and unchanging, then the entire wealth of the world today must be the same as it was yesterday, last week, last month and last year. All the way back to the dawn of time. So that means when the entire population of mankind was 6.2 million people, they split the same amount of wealth among themselves, making each person, on average, 1,000 times wealthier than people are today. Which then means that increasing the amount of wealth seems to have a positive correlation with things like infant deaths, illiteracy, abuse of women and much shorter lifespans. Granted, correlation is not causation, but I would start getting a might bit edgy about anything that's going to make me wealthier if that's the price that goes with it.

So they seem to view a 50% drop in A as being equivalent to a 50% drop in B. Which, proportionately, they are. What this completely, totally, utterly fails to ignore that A does not necessarily have a damn thing to do with B. Increasing my wealth by $5 (which reminds me - I need to set up a PayPal button) means you're out $5. However, the marginal utility of what you're getting (existentially, psychically or otherwise) exceeds the value of $5 in your pocket. Otherwise it would have never made sense for you to give me your cash in exchange for whatever it is I'm giving you. So, in an accounts balance sense, yes, we've exchanged $5. What it means in a more purist economic sense is that you've gained (otherwise you would have never transacted) and I've gained (otherwise I would have sold at a higher price). Voila! Non-zero sum.

Now, if you've been deeply steeped in the zero-sum view, you'll end up with even stranger things. If a 25% decrease in A is equal to a 25% decrease in B economically, and scientific/economic can be applied systematically to politics/sociology (another lovely Marxist idea) then it would make sense to try to map this zero-sum kind of thinking on to moral and political calculations. So if we have an extraordinarily free society in which personal freedoms are reduced, let's say, 10%, then we look for another society in which freedoms have been reduced by 10% for a comparison. Where can one most easily find societies that have had their freedoms whittled away and reduced? Yep. You guessed. (Godwin's Law taking effect in 3, 2, 1) Nazis. Yep. That's where you get the (detention of Muslims as enemy combatants=Auschwitz) kind of reasoning. In both, there has been a change over time in the amount of personal freedom available to the subject groups. In both cases, the amount of personal freedom has decreased. Ergo, they are analogous.

Unfortunately, freedom is no more zero-sum than economics. Why? Freedom is bounded - there is a maximum and minimum amount of person freedom available to an individual. There is a maximum amount utmost personal liberty available to a person - let's say a sociopath in utopian anarchic Somalia. Do anything you want, as long as you obey the laws of Physics - heck, you're not even constrained by any sense of morality, learned or native. Conversely, there is a minimum amount of personal freedom - that's called death. Once you're dead, you can't even control what you think - you're brain dead (and heart dead and turned into mulch, eventually).

What this means is that if you have two different countries, A and B, they cannot neither increase nor decrease the amount of personal freedom available beyond certain limits. Let's say, that on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being death, 10 being utmost liberty) we graph countries A and B. For sake of argument A has a score of 5, while B is a much more repressive regime and gets a 2. Now country B can increase it's amount of personal freedom by 400% to 8 and still be OK. Meanwhile, country A cannot - simply because their upper limit is a 200% increase - 10. So that means that country A tops out at 200% increase while country B can go all the way up to a 500% increase before they top out. They both top out at the same point, which would then imply that 200% = 500% which just ain't true.

On a more fundamental level, however, the idea of zero-sum economics is that one person must lose for another to gain - very much of a robbing Peter to pay Paul setup (damned opiate of the masses). I can't get 5$ unless you (or someone else) forks out. Far as personal freedom goes, however, beyond a very limited point, one persons freedom doesn't have to mean someone else’s restriction. While at the far end, your right to punch me in the face will impinge on my right not to have an arbitrarily broken nose; this trade-off doesn't extend throughout the full range of human freedoms. For instance, the freedom of religion doesn't, by itself have a damned thing to do with you, me or anyone else. Similarly, freedom of expression, such as the right to acting like a barking moonbat, doesn't directly infringe on my right to get the steady drone of bullshit out of my ears - because I can exercise that right (by ignoring you) without cutting back into your right to yammer incessantly.

At the end of it all, however, there is a limited fashion in which this moral equivalence is useful. It is that we should, as non-rock wielding, child-eating barbarians, remind ourselves from time to time that we can and should hold ourselves to higher moral standards. I'm not sure that this particular sentiment underlies any of thoughts of the folks who are so enamored with Moral Equivalence, but that doesn't really have to matter. What does matter is that a minor loss of civil liberties in such a free country is as shocking, in its own way, as an increase in the amount of depredations and maltreatment the North Koreans suffer at the hands of their government. Why? Because Kim Jung Il is a jackass no matter what you do - so he's just living up to that standard. We stand for so much more and are so much better that we can't whittle away at our freedoms until we have nobody left to compare ourselves favorably to. Just as long as we don't get so caught up in the idealistic, Pollyana-ish mission of purity that we forget this world is still a creature of Hobbes, not of Kant.

TBM: At war with Hamas.

Looks like Bush may have declared war on Hamas.
"We will work together to help the people of Iraq build a future of security, prosperity and freedom. We'll work together to confront global poverty, disease and oppression. And Europe and America will stand together for a Middle East so -- that will have a just and comprehensive peace. We'll work together to achieve the two-state solution endorsed by the parties earlier this month at the Red Sea Summit. Progress toward this goal will only be possible if all sides do all in their power to defeat the determined enemies of peace, such as Hamas and other terrorist groups. Nearly every hopeful moment in the region, nearly every sign of progress toward peace is followed by more murders in the guise of martyrdom, as those who oppose peace do all they can to destroy the hopes and aspirations of those who desire to live in peace.

I urge the leaders in Europe and around the world to take swift, decisive action against terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding, and to support -- cut funding and support, as the United States has done.


So quoth President Bush.
More to come as developments warrant.

TBM: News about town

Crimen Falsi posts a nice summary of post Michigan decision punditry here and here. As well as a link to the ohmigawd slow-motion train wreck of morbid fascination that is the Tard Blog. (Metacourtesy to Andrea Harris)

EBS

Cool - blogger is taking a dump on my blog again.
Cool - blogger is taking an extra large dump on my blog yet again.
Cool - blogger is leaving a monumental hot, steaming mound all over my blog yet again and has eaten my comments section.

EBS

All my love to Collinization - the newest on the Retaliatory Strike targeting list.

AR has also been blessed by a bit of linky love from the folks at Random Nuclear Strikes - who were also kind enough to point out this unusual fellow: the Right Wing Arab.

SRBM: Neural Mechanics and Warfighting

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Quite a mouthful and a dubious sounding mouthful at that. Normally this kind of thing would be the sort of topic I would dismiss as crank science, but this article seems to suggest that there may be something of some interest going on here. (Courtesy Dean Esmay, Meta-courtesy to Jerry Kindall)

Definitely food for thought, so to speak. In reading I would like to draw your attention to this quote:

"Last year, the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina received a $2 million government grant to develop a smaller TMS device that sleep-deprived soldiers could wear to keep them alert."


While there some of the folks interviewed in the article seemed to express the notion that TMS wouldn't be of much help in stimulating complex thoughts, you have to wonder if complex thought operations are really what's needed for some warfighting tasks. Some, like flying a plane, might not be super amenable to this kind of stimulation, while others, such as recon might be well suited indeed to these kinds of boosts.

Interestingly enough, the super long-range planners at the Pentagon have, by and large, have moved away from information technology and networks. That stuff is already old hat. Some of the next big things include the explosion of electric power in propulsion and weapons as well as the return of speed - in both munitions and delivery vehicles. A smidge beyond that, the next next things, so to speak, include nanotechnology (which we're starting to see in the development of infantry technology) as well as advanced biotechnology. This fascinating interview with Andrew Marshall in Wired discusses some of the shape of things to come in the far off future. Specifically note:

"People who are connected with neural pharmacology tell me that new classes of drugs will be available relatively shortly, certainly within the decade. These drugs are just like natural chemicals inside people, only with behavior-modifying and performance-enhancing characteristics. One of the people I talk to jokes that a future intelligence problem is going to be knowing what drugs the other guys are on."


Now before anyone starts running off with visions of combat drugs in their eyes, the drugs - at first - won't be necessarily that spectacular. Things that they will do, however, include being able to keep someone awake, alert, coherent and functioning for up to seven days at a stretch. This is a particular advantage when you start thinking about imaging technology and night vision. Which becomes an incredible force multiplier when you toss in the sensor suites that are being discussed for Land Warrior and Objective Force Warrior. While y'all might wonder about why it is that such a big fuss is being made over better drugs, consider that battle fatigue and its closely related cousin good old-fashioned fatigue can account for the majority of combat ineffective men in a unit that has been continuously engaged in combat for more than a few weeks. In addition to this, if you can get a reliable 24 hours per day out of each soldier, you're getting at least one-third more of combat-effective man-hours per soldier. That means you get 1/3 more out of each meal, each training course and each what ever other support a soldier needs. The equivalent effect in getting rid of the sleep problem and the night-fighting problem is that you go from perhaps 12 combat hours per man per day to 24.

Above and beyond the stay-awakes, think about the fact that if professional athletes keep pushing the envelope on performance enhancing drugs, then consider what the great big military R&D complex should be able to do with its massive R&D complex. And how much farther can you go if you can't even be disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs. This article, while spending most of its time railing about the use of amphetamines to keep pilots awake, does touch on some of the broader uses of combat drugs in future.

Now when you start adding things like TMS to the mix, you start to notice that this "transformation" of the military that's gotten some press over the last few months is a whole lot bigger and further along than anyone had really noticed. By the time we get to 2025 or so, fielding the military equipment we see in use today will be like the Polish cavalry against German panzers.

What does this all mean, other than big defense budgets? Well, industrial warfare had become increasingly "democratic". Every tinpot dictator could steal enough money to buy some T-72 tanks, a few MiGs, the odd SCUD or two and a few hundred crates of RPGs. This was a threat to anyone who wanted to go to war anywhere. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that we didn't exactly win in Vietnam and Korea was tough going - even though we weren't playing against the varsity team in either war. However, it looks like during a good portion of the 21st century, the technological mismatch between the US and other industrialized powers is going to be a lot more like British mowing down Zulus at Rourke's Drift.

The reason that is significant is that the demographic shift in Europe is going to place an ever increasing strain on budgets - which combined with low birthrates, makes the outlook for European military dominance very bleak indeed. While on the other side of the globe, the number two spender China is looking for ways to asymmetrically match US military might. This, and the never ending pissing-match over Kashmir, keeps India on its toes as well. Now neither of them will be a contender for decades yet to come, but it is worthwhile noting that military strength will accompany Indian and Chinese economic growth while all the economic growth that the EU may have in store may not end up saving its bacon in the very long run. Strange things are afoot my friends.

UPDATE: Unruled discusses the above and explores why it is that changing sleep requirements will have, in some cases, a much larger impact than just being awake for a few extra hours.

EBS

OK, blogger has taken a crap on my blog again and consequently eaten half my page. Whatever. I'll go glue the lost half of this increasingly leperous log tomorrow. In the meantime, a smidge of posting goodness.

6/21/2003

SRBM: North Korea and Nukes

The US has now offically unofficially told the Japanese that the North Koreans have nukes. It seems that as long as Pyongyang keeps rattling sabers, there is an outside chance that the sunshine folks will hush. (Courtesy The Gweilo Diaries)

One thing that seems to have been forgotten in all this rush is that the US that North Korea knows is not the US of today. Previously the impossible task of negotiating with the North Koreans was made a bit simpler by virtue of the fact that changes in fundamental American attitudes were relatively incremental and evolutionary. Following the change in administration rhetoric after 9/11, the South Koreans sent an envoy who spent quite a large amount of time explaining to the North Koreans that we really were serious, we really did have blood in our eyes and were no longer in the mood for the same dissembling style of discussion and discourse. Unfortunately, that may have proven to be a bit more than we bargained for. Once Bush made his Axis of Evil speech and then promptly proceeded to whack Iraq (with what some would claim was scanty evidence and the opprobrium of the international community), North Korea connected the dots and decided their days were indeed numbered. Sadly, their ideological worldview didn't fully allow for the possibility that we are effectively deterred from starting a war on the Korean peninsula - even without North Korean nukes - by two main factors. First, Seoul is within artillery range of the DMZ. North Korea is reported to be able to drop between 300,000 and 500,000 shells per hour on downtown Seoul. Some (unsubstantiated) casualty estimates predict millions of civilian dead. The second fly in the ointment is the fact that the Chinese have said they'll support North Korea in the event of a US invasion.

China has also stated that they will not back North Korea if they go over the line first. So, with the China card effectively locks this into the Mother of All Mexican Standoffs. If we take out North Korean nuclear capabilities, then there is a significant chance the Chinese will throw in favor of North Korea. Above and beyond that, if the US is fully engaged in a Second Korean War, the risk of Chinese opportunism in Taiwan also rises significantly. On the other hand, the best case scenario for a North Korean start to a war looks mighty grim for North Korea. For starters, the existing Operations Plan for a Korean War ends with regime change. They know the US is loaded for bear in any potential conflict. Furthermore, North Korean aggression could very well pull in the Japanese or even the Taiwanese - not to mention anyone else who fought in the original UN-backed war, prior to the armistice.

About the only war scenario I can envision is a US landing from the sea, with absolutely no use of South Korean or Japanese airspace, facilities or bases for the duration of the conflict. Then the only way for North Korea to attack our base of support will inevitably escalate the conflict in a very unfavorable direction for them. And the chance of such a strategy working out falls solidly between slim and none.

Finally, there are more than a few Chinese theorists who think that the US might not be able to beat North Korea. Can't say I agree with their reasoning - but it is interesting to note that a lot of folks have drawn very different lessons from Gulf I and II than we have. All that we know is things are starting to get very tricky indeed.

6/20/2003

TBM

One of the finer newspaper articles I've run across in dog's years. (Courtesy Setting the World To Rights)

TBM

Sumnabitch - the Iraqis really don't hate us and astonishingly enough are happier to see us over there than I suspect many of the anti-war protesters are. (Courtesy The Greatest Jeneration)

EBS

Still remodling, don't mind me. I'm trying to install comments with only the basest knowledge of HTML.

EBS

Blooger is trying to be partiularly spiteful today largely because I moved most of my link management out of its insidious little clutches. Nonetheless, I plunge onward with my remodling. Any commentary would be welcome.

6/19/2003

TBM

The dumbest thing I've heard today - Bush and the fall off the Segway? Yep, you guessed it: conspiracy theory! (Courtesy Random Nuclear Strikes)

Also note a couple of updates to posts below.

EBS

I have, after a fashion, gotten all the way back to my status on Tuesday before Blogger used its sub-launched nukes to smack the beejezus out of my site. I'll keep rolling with the updates and changes in the hopes of getting things together for this weekend. I've read elsewhere that "... once your blog has existed for 2 weeks, you have to fisk someone." Well, considering the non-posting days and whatnot, I should be coming up on two weeks fairly soon and am getting ready to fisk once the next round of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery is done. In the event that you were/weren't linked and wish to change your status to aren't/are linked, respectively, drop me a line and I'll go changify ya.

TBM

Arab News once again posts an article by the esteemed Dr. Mohammad T. Al-Rasheed in which he discusses truth and lies in the Arab media and its role in the interaction of the western and arab worlds. He closes with a point that many on the more radical sites would do well to remember:
"But since Sept. 11 we have been trying to make the point that, as a people, we are not all terrorists. It is hardly sane or just to go around practicing what we preach against."

TBM

Orson Scott Card discusses various things, among them the use of the RQ-4 Global Hawk in SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses). The totals he reckons for Global Hawk participation in successful sensor-to-shooter cycles include: "13 full SAM (surface-to-air missile) batteries, 50 SAM launchers, 70 SAM transporters, and ... 300 tanks." He also goes on to claim that 300 tanks was a third of their total - which doesn't jive with my numbers for total Iraqi armor holdings - but hey, it's still a lot of performance out of four recce platforms.

TBM

Here's a spooky from Angola: they're missing an entire frikkin' airliner. Whole lotta folks worrying about the notion of that plane being packed chock full of explosives for a sequel to 9/11.

UPDATE: Rantburg has a fleshed-out account of the erstwhile plane.

SRBM

I had hoped to hold off on posting until I got my site straightened out, but being me - nothing goes quite according to plan. Still in the throes of something or another, I did run across this NYT article as well as another couple of posts about the relationship between France and the US that needed some mention. For starters, the relationship between the increasingly centralized EU and the US is a most effective place to start.

Samizdata links to a couple of excellent articles about the EU. Checking out Samizdata's "European Union" category is well worth the read, even if only for a glance. Unfortunately, I can't find the other ones I'm looking for - but this one is worth a peek.

Andrew Sullivan notes that much of what is problematic in the US-France relationship and the US-EU relationship shares the same root. The EU, particularly post-constitution, is geared towards a Paris-Berlin axis of power.

The French force compelling EU unity is problematic for a variety of reasons. Most significantly, the fights and snits that we have with France now will simply be writ large one the EU is a going monolithic concern. I personally don't think that the majority of Europeans understand that the American skepticism about the EU that has been fed so well by recent disputes with France is not a trivial exercise, nor is it necessarily likely to evaporate any time soon. As much as anti-Americanism lives a happy productive life in France, fed by a disparity in power and influence between the two countries, anti-EU sentiment will continue to flourish as a counter-response to EU aspirations to be a deadweight. (First four links in this paragraph, courtesy Steven Den Beste, last goes to the New York Times)

So, on the bright side, we can count on the US-France relationship being a barometer of the trans-Atlantic relationship. On the downside, it looks as if it might be a barometer of the relationship between the US and the incipient European superpower.

UPDATE: Rantburg has, as close as I can figure, a story about French courts blocking publication of a book with material exposing French corruption.

6/17/2003

I now am officially a Blogger veteran: I've had my first Blogger meltdown. Right now I'm busy trying to reconstruct all my side-of-page goodness, but it won't be finished until tomorrow. As a consequence, I may hold off on posting until I take care of my infrastructure details. Additionally, there may be some formatting changes in the offing, but I'll have to think about that. In the meantime, if a link to your site has gone missing, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll get you back on there ASAP.
Ok, this might just be 0 for 3 in the blogger not being a gigantic piece of crap contest. Testing, check, check, testing.
Fantastic, I'm now a double veteran of Blogger. Not only did it just eat my last post in which I was explaining the state of the universe, it also ate all my side-of-page goodness. As a result, I'll be working on taking care of some of my structural details. Until then I'll probably be posting fairly infrequently until I can get this infernal program (the new verson, no less!) to cooperate. If your link has gone missing, please feel free to e-mail me a reminder and I'll get you on there ASAP. Heck, for that matter, if you've any suggestions for layout and formatting, send me commentary, since I'll be wrenching on this thing for a while anyways. Beyond that, I'm considering a signifcant format change in the near future and will be posting more on that later.
Help!! Blogspot has eaten my links, counters, contact info and all that other good stuff!! What do I do? (e-mail to BravoRomeoDelta at Yahoo dot com).
Cheers to Ms. Venomous Kate for her invaluable help and assistance in getting RSS-ified.

6/16/2003

Occasionally, don't you just wish that when Chirac gets Bush on the phone next time, Bush'll just tell him to "kiss my ass" -- ("my ass" being the presidential hienie, not my own personal tukhus). Not that I wouldn't like to tell Chirac to kiss my (the author's - not the president's) derriere, I just don't imagine Bush telling Chirac to kiss my (being mine the author, not mine, the president's) ass. Although it would tickle me pink - and probably do wonders for my blog - if the head of state of a superpower suggested that the head of state of another nuclear-armed power kiss my (again, the author's not the presidential) ass. But, just to be fair, if I ever speak to Chirac, and it comes up, I'll suggest that he kiss both asses (no, no, no - Not Arafat and Hussein's respective asses - mine and the presidential buttocks, if you please). It would only be fair, since while I am perfectly aware that the president does exist, and presumably has an ass, he may not be entirely aware that I exist - but you gotta do what you gotta do. Me? That means I'll go moon the embassy. Heck, because I’m not a spiteful guy, I’ll even pour a bottle of Chardonnay on my backside and give ‘em a taste of home.
Hmmm.... an essay on that certain something near and dear to everyone's heart. Starts of well, for the first four paragraphs or so, then turns to crap (get rid?!? or nuclear weapons) and then manages, sort of, to pull out in the end and be interesting, after a fashion.
US News and World Report puts out a reasonable article on the high-stakes game that is diplomacy with North Korea.
Rumsfeld to Roh Moo Hyun, Kim Jong Il, "You been Punk'd, baby!"


Discussion of US pull-back from DMZ is one of those few win-win situations: it makes both North Korea and the Sunshine policy-apologists in the South uneasy. Good article, even if it is from the NYT.
Zogby Blog brings up this cogent argument about WMD in Iraq, which neatly summarizes much of what's been eating at me w/r/t WMDs.
Blog-Irish follows up on the trail of the Guardian Wolfowitz story and its subsequent recincarnation in the Irish media.

A little Father's Day gem from Lileks, in which he starts off with a nice little Father's Day blurb and then proceeds to deflate, destroy and demolish some incredible stupid, scandalous bit of screed from someone who can only be said to qualify as the Grand Duke of Asshats.
Ok, its slanted, but its a pretty telling catalogue of the editorial abuses of the media during the conduct of the war. The article is part of an issue on the theme of media conduct and is worth a glance - even if you don't agree with their arguments, it appears to be a pretty canonical representation of one school of media critique. (Courtesy Giles Ward).

David Warren engages in a bit of self-examination, examining his 9/11 to Iraq War track record, as well as taking a look at the long view in journalism.
In keeping with our loosely described theme ("Why some members of the media are irresponsible fucktards") this morning, we have CONINTELPRO Tool's sluething about selective memory and questionable editing of quotes.

The Belgravia Dispatch has unearthed this twisted bit of screed from the bowels of the "I Hate America" school of journalism. Additionally, the Dispatch discusses at some length the Wolfowitz story and the Dispatch's subsquent mention in a Sunday Times article about the debacle. Kudos to the Dispatch!

Michael J. Totten delivers a double-barreled WTF with a shot to the NYT and their deep and profound insistence on being idiots and another blast to the duo of love and light, Harold Pinter and Fidel Castro, with their timely and oh-so-profound violations of Godwin's Law.
Super-duper news blitz:

The Bunyip addresses the WMD pissing-match directly in this discussion of editiorial bias and with this link to an Economist piece.

Tim Blair picks up the ball on the editorial bias issue with his post about the Guardian (and the comments are worth a read on this one as well.) Elsewhere Mr. Blair scores another two direct hits with his post about a "protest for peace" turned vapid and runny as well as an article by a complete asshat who is so far removed from facts that he makes Jayson Blair look like Edward R. Murrow.

6/15/2003

Ok folks, since I was abducted by rodents on Tuesday, I am going to do a special Saturday news dump for y'all.

Venomous Kate shares her true feelings on the latest bit of daft activism.

Policy review put out an interesting article on Private Military Contractors in this month's issue. It would seem that there are other options in the Congo that do not involve either the French making asses of themselves or the world hemming and hawing while genocide is underway.

Heretical Ideas has an article regarding some daft reporter from the Guardian who evidently can definitively answer the question about WMDs in Iraq: right under her goofy little nose. I wonder why the Guardian hasn't figured her reports in their own stories about where the WMDs are.

Charles Murtaugh discusses demographic shifts in Europe, citing this BBC article. I hope to revist the issue of Global aging, particularly in reference to the demographic shifts in an increasingly youthful Middle East, before too awful long.

The Economist has an interesting article on the relationship between Iran and America. Keep an eye on Iran for the next month or so - remember that the 1979 revolution essentially came out of nowhere. AR will definitely be keeping an eye on this one for the duration.

Finally, a couple of offerings by Arab News. The first article would seem to indicate that the War of Terror is finally beginning to sink in Saudi. Essentially, the article starts to touch on the notion that in the absence of any real sense of direction, the Saudis have ceeded control of their society to a bunch of whackjobs hanging out in Tora Bora. The second item goes to show that even foolish people can say intelligent things for the wrong reasons. Whether or not the reasoning given in the aritcle is anything that makes any sense to you, they do make a couple of cogent points with respect to the Palestinians as well as suggesting a rationale (that runs counter to quite a bit of conventional wisdom) that would, if followed, yield some truly beneficial results.

Enjoy Father's Day, and for those of you who don't know who your daddies are, just drink one for me.

6/14/2003

Whoo-hoo 100 and/or 99 visits, depending on who's counting!!

Have a happy weekend!

6/13/2003

Good article on the spread of Democracy (Courtesy Jane Galt of Asymmetrical Information).
Finally, welcome to Unruled, who feels that my blog is at least suitable for occasional consumption (which is more than can be said for my cooking).
Here lies an article by Fred Kaplan that really does deserve a properly brutal fisking, for his laudable efforts at being both generally and specifically wrong without having actually misunderstood any of the specifc facts he quotes. I apologize for posting it so late, but I've been trying to get my bile ducts into proper shape to digest this particularly ill-informed, fuckwitted article. Still not quite there, but I wanted to float it up for digestion next week.
Elsewhere, coolest real estate anywhere. Old missile silos for sale. (Courtesy jng2058)

China and the Asian Space Race


First, an update on the Chinese space program, which confirms long-circulating reports that China will put a taikonaut in orbit before 2004.

The interesting bit being that India is now talking about a lunar orbiter by 2005 and a manned moon mission by 2015. This is widely speculated to be a response to Chinese intentions to go to the moon - while there was a formal mention of this in passing some months ago, Japanese and American observers think that China may land a man on the moon in as few as 3 to 4 years - although more conservative observers think that the Chinese time frame may mirror the Indian plans. This report mentions (without citing a reference) that China anticipates a moon landing by 2010 and lunar mining by 2015. However, mismatched information being the Gold Standard of China watching (and mismatched information being the hallmark of the BBC) the timeframe for unmanned, manned and mining missions to the moon is still unclear. The only notable thing to pay attention to is that if the sooner rather than later figure is correct, then India will only get runner-up props for landing a man on the moon. However, if the later figures are correct then we may have a genuine moon race on our hands by the middle of next decade.

More immediately, we can darned well be sure that they'll have a guy in orbit by 2005 which might, along with their aggressive pursuit of other space technologies, such as mini- and micro-satellites, that they intend to match the US on the "high-ground" of space for a Taiwan conflict post-2005. This article does a fairly good job of illuminating the links between the aggressive growth of the Chinese space program and the potential for military use of space. So kids, keep your eyes peeled for another space race somwhere.

6/12/2003

Rumours are circulating that Abu Mazen (the Palestinian PM) may quit.
US to add biometrics to immigration checks in October 2004, according to Jane's.
Interestingly enough, there a number of good Islamic theological reasons that Sultanna Freeman (the woman who is suing to get a Florida Driver's License, but doesn't want to take off her veil for the photo) is flat out goofy. This editorial from Dr. Mohammed T. Al-Rasheed explains in this Arab News editorial. Considering that Arab News is at least a a Saudi government condoned publication, this kind of editorial might signal the idea that the Magic Kingdom and The Home of the Brave aren't as far apart as we might think we are.
And a quick doff of the cap to Thimbelful of Thorns and Venomous Kate, the newest additions to the reciprocal links list.

New News From The World Of Armored Warfare



Some of those pointy-headed gentlemen who mill around secret government labs in white coats have developed the newest of new fangled things: electric armor.

Traditionally, armored vehicles use reactive armor to defeat incoming rounds using shape-charged warheads. These kinds of systems are passable but weigh from 10 to 20 tons and generally only protect the front and sides of the tank turret. Additionally, these kinds of systems are hell on close-by supporting infantry.

Now add to this the incredible ease with which RPGs are obtained as well as the possible destruction of three M-1A1 tanks by AT-14 Kornet missiles, the army has a problem to which we have no particularly good solutions (keeping in mind that American vehicles generally don't use reactive armor anyways.)

All this spells a big problem for the Stryker and future light armored vehicles which are supposed to package the lethality and survivability of a main battle tank in an easy-to-transport 20 ton package (v. 70 tons for the M-1A1). As can easily be imagined, providing the same survivability in a 20 ton vehicle is difficult when reactive armor weighs almost that much alone.

Well, a bunch of really enterprising fellows have noticed that if one discharges a super intense electric current through the incoming jet of plasma, the plasma jet can be disrupted such that the RPG only leaves scratches and dents on the armor - all for 1 to 2 tons of equipment. Essentially, the copper jet forms closes a circuit between a highly charged inner plate and a grounded outer plate, vaporizing the jet like a current blows a fuze. Keep in mind that this isn't a "force field" in any way, shape or form and is useless against modern armor-piercing rounds fired from a tank or bombs dropped from a plane, but it will work against the vast majority of anti-tank missiles, rockets and submunitions. This kind of system becomes particularly advantageous if the entire vehicle makes use of things such as electric motors, electro-thermal-chemical guns (like a railgun without the huge power requirement). A couple of good articles on it can be found here and here (both articles courtesy Kuro5hin)

In terms of further impact, note that the ability to defeat shaped-charge warheads will allow vehicles such as humvees and APCs as well as tanks to potentially immunize themselves against shaped charge warheads. If successful, it would make obsolescent all current anti-tank explosive warheads, thus effectively making attack helicopters, anti-tank missiles and anti-tank cluster submunitions useless against equipped vehicles.
The ineffable Greg Packer. Evidently this gentleman has made a career out of being the "man in the street" and has been quoted in more than a hundred stories. Commented upon by Coultier, thence to Mickey Kaus, all courtesy the Peking Duck.
OK, a funny (Courtesy Amygdala). Mamet does 2001.

6/11/2003

Lt. Smash shares with us instructions on the care and feeding of diplomatic relations with America. Accurate? Maybe. Touches on some of the essential points of American exceptionalism? Yep. Cute and worth a quick scan.
Very briefly, a hat tip to WalterInDenver at Colorado Blogspot for the incoming link, as well as a double nod to Zogby Blog for not only an incoming link, but also as the first listing on my reciprocal blogroll. And finally, acknowledgments to Airstrip One for giving me the idea.

The Future of Infantry Warfare

Someone seems to have gotten very excited about Heinlien's Starship Troopers. First, we had Land Warrior, one of three "Team Soldier" battle suit systems integrated into computer networks, which is a first generation "integrated soldier system" and started development in 1991. The other two, Calvary Warrior (for vehicle operating troops) and Something-or-another Warrior for pilots, IIRC, were cancelled. Currently, the initial use date for Land Warrior is something like 2003, although I've not heard any recent news on operational capability.

Well, in an astonishing move, the Army has kicked off with its second generation program, Objective Force Warrior, which already started development before Land Warrior was even deployed, and is expected to be ready by 2010-2012. This system is supposed to be much more badass, with a helmet HUD, room-temperature infrared displays, map displays and, of course, lots of computer networking, as well as numerous other goodies.

Well, here's the stunner (courtesy NOSI). The Army has invested 50$ million into nanotechnology to take integrated soldier systems all the way up to officially badass. They're starting fundamental R&D for third-generation system before anyone in the world, including the US has even deployed a first generation system. Well, OK it's not currently touted as a third generation system, they are trying to claim that the tech is being developed to support Objective Force Warrior, but the chances of seeing much of this stuff put into play for deployment by 2012 is slim to none. Methinks that this is essentially R&D for Gen 3 systems, just without a formal Gen 3 proposal. Related articles in Reuters, Seattle Post Intelligencer and Wired.

While this may seem to be of only middling interest, consider this, by way of analogy. The F-22 fighter has been in development since the 1981 and is the world's first supercruise (cruises faster than the speed of sound), stealthy interceptor. It should start full operational use during 2004. Nobody has even sneezed once about a follow-on to the F-22, and with good reason. The F-22 will be the replacement to what is already the gold standard of interceptors the F-15 C. The F-22 will probably fly well through 2040 (note: the F-15 will be more than 40 years old by retirement) and may very well be the last manned interceptor the US makes. Now the development of the F-15 began essentially in 1967 (first deployed in 1982) and was more or less a replacement for the F-4 in air-to-air, as well as the F-102, F-104 and F-106 interceptors. Using the venerable F-4 as a reference point, development in that program started in 1953 and first deployment was in 1961.

Let's take the last three generations of fighter, the F-22, F-15 and F-4 and compare their development to the three generations of Modern Infantry Kit and Equipment; Scorpion, Objective Force Warrior and Land Warrior. In the chart below, we start the first year of development in each respective arena as Year 0 and then start looking at development times and lead times for creation of and deployment of subsequent systems.

1st Generation 2nd Generation 3rd Generation
Development Deployment Development Deployment Development Deployment
0 12 9 21 12 ??
0 8 14 29 28 51


As you can see, the pace of Integrated Soldier Systems is much, much faster than our fighter plane development, an area in which we arguably are the most advanced in the world. To look at this another way, its kind of like trying to start development of the F-22 (3rd generation fighter) in 1965, two years before the we actually started the F-15 (a second generation fighter). In other words, somebody is so excited about this axis of development that we're actually moving almost twice as fast as we did in our Cold War fighter development.

That's saying something. By way of contrast, the British and the French are the only other folks to have really even experimented with the technology, but are still a ways from usable units. This brings up the question of why we think this matters. Well, ultimately the question of infantry development in the face of the new revolution in military affairs is an interesting one. Certainly it does speak to the fact that we want the same edge in man to man combat that we currently possess in fighter combat, but more significantly, it is an implicit acknowledgment that airpower will not be the end all, be all of American wars in the foreseeable future. We're getting prepared for the proverbial million Mogadishus and future Fallujahs and Baghdads around the world for generations yet to come.

And that's spooky.

(Note: I know that the F-22, F-15 and F-4 are not properly 3rd, 2nd and 1st generation fighters in the greater hierarchical nomenclature, but I wanted to use something a little less cumbersome than current, one less than current and two less than current and still preserve the same essential sense of evolutionary enhancement.)

UPDATE (11/04/03): The Scorpion Program is part of Objective Force Warrior, so no Virginia, there is no third-generation system coming down the pike right this instant.
Extended length remix of Mr. Whittle's Magic - a good, but not altogether too brief, read.
Dissident Frogman nails a couple of worthwhile points on WMD in Iraq here and here. Once again, the Frogman proves that some French are still heirs to a noble and worthwhile tradition of honor and integrity. Thank God there are at least a few, otherwise I would still have targeted 500 kT for the Eiffel Tower.

Elsewhere, Sgt. Stryker makes a very cogent point on revisionism and WMD. A good read for those on both sides of the current WMD fence.
Hitchens does stand-up comedy of a sort:

"Each day they dig up dead bodies in personal death camps run by a Caligula dictator," Hitchens shouted, "and I'm being asked to worry about these fucking fat slags - do me a favour!"


(Courtesy Ken Layne, meta-hat tip to Tim Blair)

Halloo!! Got attacked by a bunch of crack-smoking ferrets yesterday and was unable to post. Busy today, so I won't post much, but here it goes:

The Bunyip uses his powerful foreclaws to dig on the Australian media (naturally the blogspot archives won't work, so I can't link directly to his article, but here is his website - look for his June 10th entry).

6/09/2003

Why, oh why does it really matter if some folks got their pretzels bent out of shape because the they are laboring under the horrific misapprehension that the administration "lied" to them about WMD's? Why, I ask? Because willful reinvention and revision of history simply feeds future misconceptions and misunderstandings that fuel future conflict (howsoever described). Mutual comprehension goes a long way to avoiding future strife, and the kind of violent misunderstanding of basic issues that I see on the fringes of the anti-war movement provides a fertile breeding ground for the kind of activism that will needlessly introduce wayward youth to pepper spray for generations to come.

First, we have the allegations that the administration just magically decided that Iraq had WMD, and the entire rest of the world just decided to believe us (because Bush, of course, is gifted with such a silver toungue.) I would post links to the allegations, but I leave that as an exercise to the reader (and due to the fact that the allegations are uninteresting, tedious and fatuous, and I'm afraid my mouse will rebel on me if I try to post such links.)

Secondly, we have the rebuttals to and commentaries on both the WMD deception argument, as well as various discussions about the related charge that the war was about OOIIILLLL!!!!! Never mind the fact that I have yet to hear a single, solitary explanation of how that was supposed to work mechanically or economically. Presumably the president was supposed to hide several million barrels of oil per day underneath his hat or something and sidle through the diplomatic channels at customs in Houston, where he would drop off the oil at Haliburton on his commute to the White House. Or something. Seriously, if there's a soul alive who can supposedly "explain" how Bush is personally taking advantage of the oil for him and his "buddies" (without using some discredited dependency theory/world systems gibberish) I would most certainly welcome and explanation.

All that nattering aside, Mean Mr. Mustard hits on one of the more subtle, but much more significant elements of the debate regarding the Iraq War. Namely that some of the most compelling arguments for the war are essentially unrelated to the misunderstanding of the WMD issue. When the US was busy crafting it's war policy, (see links related to Wolfowitz's Vanity Fair interview and quote manipulation), the decision was made to let WMDs headline the show, since it was believed that the US public were too damn dense to support the idea of putting paid to clearly recognizable evil. Now that we've noticed things like mass graves with 15,000 Iraqis, we've started to take a bit different view on the moral use of force in US foreign policy. We've now started (for the first time in decades) to view the US military as a force for good in a world that's become all too Hobbesean with the current conflict in the Congo, or the junta that's doing to human rights in Burma what the Romans did to the Christian in the coliseum with lions.

Now the easy thing to do would be to duly note that conflict has become globalized and we are presented with a unique situation in which all likely foes are also, by odd coincidence, regimes that are both morally beyond defense and isolated economically and politically from the world community. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the regimes that are the most problematic are also the ones which now demand regime change. There are now cries from those who opposed the war in Iraq asking that we now send troops and money to fight in the Congo. Sadly, though, the military cutbacks have cut deep enough that we really don't have the military wherewithal to go be a global peacekeeper. Some have suggested the use of Private Military Companies (PMCs), given their successful use in places like Sierra Leone.

Predictably, there are those who are opposed to the use of PMC's, because they are just so darned capitalist:
"Although, an op-ed in today's Washington Post promotes the godawful idea of using a for-profit army (I suppose you could call the piece an ad rather than an op-ed, since it was written by the president of "an organization founded to promote greater use of private firms in international peacekeeping," which "is funded by companies involved in peace operations.") -- as if profit hadn't already caused enough problems in the Congo." SOURCE

I think it would be safe to suppose that the folks who still don't think that globalization itself is inevitable and must be harnessed successfully still probably cling to the notion that money and corporations are icky and any attempt to use armies, private or otherwise, in the places like the Congo will simply be an attempt for Big Corporations to go exploit the poor, noble brown people of the world. Never mind that there are 3.5 million dead Congolese who might argue that they've managed to be pretty terrible to each other without the help of Evil Corporate America, thankyouverymuch.

Notably, they can be predicted to reject the notion out of hand - not because their rejection has merit, but rather that they labor under the same, discredited apprehensions that encourage people today to clamor over inordinately insane notions that Bush somehow managed to convince the entire world that Iraq had WMD, years before he was even in office. So, in the end it doesn't hurt me if the nut-jobs with the oh-so clever placards and drum circles for peace continue to wallow in self-delusion. It does, however, matter to the people in the gulags, being chopped to death, or killed and eaten by the hundreds, because the vehemently anti-war folks (the mouthbreathing fuckwits who can't seem to post without throwing in a gratuitous "AmeriKKKa" and "U$") will raise a great cry and hue which will ultimately prevent (or at the very least delay) the deployment of the most effective, cheapest and possibly only realistic means of stopping the ongoing slaughter that characterizes so much of the disconnected third world.

It may be that the greatest good and strongest argument for invading Iraq did happen to be the fact that it stopped the ongoing bloodbath that may have claimed a million victims. But that simple fact, in and of itself, isn't sufficient to recast future debates on use of force in terms that at least permit the use of force (nationally or otherwise) for the greater moral good. In order to at allow the largest possible freedom of action, the thinking that has driven so much anti-war sentiment must, itself, be attacked, undermined and defeated. Without this freedom of action, the very people the anti-war protestors were supposedly protesting on behalf of will do untold and unimaginable harm to those very same poor, benighted masses they held all those teach-ins to protect.

UPDATE: Glen Reynolds puts together a rather good collection of excerpts and links on the whole "Bush Lied on WMD" and responses.

6/06/2003

Den Beste gives a new take on Iraqi WMD. All things considred, I don't know whether I buy it in whole, but some of the secondary points (whether or not Saddam would have ever admitted disarming), combined with points made in other articles (about being unwilling to tell the boss-man bad news), might have some bearing. Still, I'm not too sure about the whole thing - I'll have to read the last UNMOVIC report, before I actually throw down on this one.



I also promised I would compose screed today. I will, just as long as "today" means early next week. It's Friday. Whaddya expect? Toodles, kids. Have a good weekend.
Lileks eviscerates one of those poor SOBs who can't distinguish between journalism and the truth. Kind of nice seeing an actual writer take a pretend-journalist-activist-social conscience of the poor doomed, retarded masses to task. Well, it at least warmed me to the cockles of my heart.

Perhaps even the sub-cockular region.

Another neat bit by Daimnation applying the Dowd-o-matic quote generator to Daimnation's own posts. Funny and worth a quick glance. (Courtesy Tim Blair)

6/05/2003

Ok, I lied. A coupla more things and then I promise I'll run off.


Talking about whether or not the war was for oil (via Calpundit). Link 1 (you'll have to go down to the comments to about number 50 or 60, but someone quotes Pollack's oil argument quite effectively. That and an a December article about the "It's alll about oooiiiillll!" bellyaching that has infected political discourse.

Cheers.
Ok, kids, a quick potpourri of neat stuff and I'll leave screed-scribbling until the morrow.


First, a pacifist columnist in the People's Republic of Boulder goes to an NRA gun course. Interesting read, particularly in light of how preconceptions precondition cognition (ok, I admit, unnecessarily verbose, but it just flowed from my fingers). Courtesy Walter in Denver, meta hat-tip to the current Carnival of the Vanities.


A few of good links from Winds of Change. First, a human shield returns to Iraq and gives his reconstruction critique. Second a link to a pretty good Friedman op-ed re the Iraq War and WMD controversy. Third (which I haven't read yet, but intend to tackle tomorrow) is a piece on intelligence analysis from our buddies over at the Christians In Action.


What else? Hmmm .... Max Boot, author of "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power," as well as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations gives this observation on the whole WMD debate.


Sorry for the lean offerings today, but it's been a strange one. Tomorrow, I hope to offer more meat for my wonderful readers. And don't think I don't appreciate all 19 of the visits (even if many of them are mine). :)
OK a final,final yammer. Sometimes bad people do good things for mysterious and unenlightening reasons. Nazis made great leaps in rocketry that were essential to the US space program decades later. Nazis=bad. Going to the moon=pretty neato. Just because bad people did a lot of the basic development doesn't make going to the moon bad.

Nowadays, people are pissing and moaning up a storm because, evidently, we didn't get to see enough US soldiers and Iraqi civilians gassed or something while we were ending a 25 year long Iraqi national nightmare. Fine. Whatever.

Fact is now that a bloodthirsty, brutal, savage dictator has been deep-sixed. That's a good thing. Regardless of whether or not the administration is evil or the war was a lie or what-the-heck-ever floats your goddamn sampan of misery. Next time we whack a bastard dictator, I think we should stand right up and say "Mr. Mugabe (or who-the-heck-ever), the biggest ref in the universe has given you the red card, thrown the flag, sent you to the penalty box and is ejecting you from the game, courtesy the 101st Airborne. 'Why?' you ask, because, Mr. Mugabe (or who-the-heck-ever) you're a prick." We need to start with a worthless tinpot or two (like Zimbabwe) to show that it's not all oil all the time. It puts the French (or who-the-heck-ever) in the position of saying, "Well, sure he's a bloodthirsty kleptocrat bent on destroying his country. But ... um ... but ... hmm ... yeah. Well, while you're at it - do you want to talk Cote d'Ivoir?"

But no, the unbelievable fascination of self-sacrafice on the altar of moral indignation sings the same siren song to the left that Clinton's-intern-boinking-habits did to the right. Yeah, fine, life sucks. Hooray. Cope with it and do something useful. Maybe you could start challenging the US (or the UN for that matter) to do something about despotism around the world. Maybe you could spend all that money that used to go to vomit-ins, marches and various other organized whines on doing something to help the frikkin' Iraqis you supposedly care so damn much about. Ooops, sorry. Forgot about that whole moral martyr and self sacrafice thing that goes so darned well with moral indignation.

Forgive me if I just can't bring myself to give even one half of rat's ass if the only suggestion I hear for the future is a bitch about the past.

6/04/2003

Ok, ok, final yammer for the day. Recent article in the Guardian citing a English translation of a German publication of a translation from English said by Wolfowitz. Credits to Instapundit, Calpundit and Calpundit as well as a good analysis by The Belgravia Dispatch. I know this is nowhere near complete, but hey, these are some of the better links.

While I'm at it, you might want to read Belgravia's post about the Wolfowitz misquote in Vanity Fair. I'll post links if I get a clamor for that one. Elsewise, off to see the wizard.
A tour of the impending disaster in Iraq by Mark Steyn - which goes to show that not all Canadians act like Chretien. Article also gets a fascinating comparison of post-war Iraq and the G8 summit. Even if you don't read the main article, the anti-globalization riot comparison is striking. (Both courtesy Sgt. Stryker)
On the persistent and niggling issue of WMD in Iraq: we now go to an ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) interview with Anthony Cordesman. Courtesy Tim Blair, be sure to check out his "taunt the Times by dissecting Dowd" game as well, load of fun and a good way to start reading Op-Eds.
Ok, an interesting take on anti-Americanism and extremism in France by the Dissident Frogman. It suggests the more interesting general proposition that when the right and left wing extremists start to coalesce, then they have the ability to create a new extremism that runs counter to traditional right/left dichotomies.


This is in some contrast to Steven den Beste's post(coincidentally a response to Michael Tottens piece mentioned here yesterday.


Both of these, as well as a number of other issues have gotten me to revive an idea that's been percolating around a long time in this fragile little head of mine relating politics to mathematical toposgraphy. However, having been blessed with only the gift of blather, rather than the gift of gab, I'll have to think about how to tackle that formidable beast. So, it'll have to wait.
OK, folks, still learning the ropes to quick and easy blogging. Read a whole bunch of interesting articles and then susequently lost them. Drat.



At any rate, here's an interesting one that I can, in some ways sympathize with. Talks more about the flavor of political discourse than the discourse itself, but it mirrors feelings that I've had and others have probably encountered as well (although, perhaps, in radically different contexts - such as being accused of being anti-American.)



At any rate, I'll just do this as I go along. Hope the results aren't too awful.