Sunday, January 30, 2005

OK, I can't be the only one who's wondering...

...why it is that Iraq and Afghanistan, with zero years combined experience with democracy (not to mention people shooting at them), managed to successfully institute an effective system to prevent people from voting more than once, but we still haven't even after two and a quarter centuries of relatively peaceful elections.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Maybe I should be an emailer instead of a blogger

My comments mentioned again on another major blog, this time TKS.

These guys bring up some good arguments. But Dave thinks there's nothing wrong with letting people know the Coalition depature is getting closer:

"I think the administration has been very good at not being pushed into making predictions on troop withdrawal, but along the way they've developed a bit of paranoia on the issue. With 40 Iraqi battallions online and 40 more on the way this year, it's not premature to say there's some light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. forces, and we shouldn't be afraid to say so.

Kristol is certainly correct in one regard though: this must be a victory strategy, not an exit strategy."

And naturally I misspelled "battalion." Bah.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Triangulation, Iraqi-style

NYT reports that Sunni political parties who have denounced the vote now say they will join in writing the constitution after the elections.

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 24 - Sunni Arab leaders who have been the most vocal in calling for a boycott or postponement of the coming elections say they intend to get involved in politics after the vote, including taking part in writing a permanent constitution.

There is too much at stake, with the constitution to be drafted by August 2005 and full-term elections held by year's end, for Sunni groups to reject the political process, the leaders say, even if they are sticking to their denunciation of the elections."

This strikes me "triangulation," Iraqi-style, by cunning and pragmatic Sunni politicans. First, they get on the ballot as a Sunni party. In the face of widespread Sunni insurgent violence, they do an about-face and denounce the elections to survive, conveniently leaving their party on the ballot. After the elections, they can about-face again to be involved in the constitional debates, using any votes they do receive as a mandate for inclusion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fox News is Hitler!

If anyone was wondering whether having his beloved CNN crushed by Fox News has driven Ted Turner insane, well, judge for yourself.

It's a beautiful thing

Iraqi election advertisements.

I was surprised by how poignant they are. If you have a heart, you can't watch these and come away unaffected.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Thanks to Instapundit for recommending "Singularity Sky"

Read it this weekend. Of course, being a huge fan of physicist Brian Greene’s Fabric of the Cosmos and The Elegant Universe, I was hooked by the first mention of quantum entanglement and causality violations. I also read the suthor described as a “leftist” in an Amazon book review, which gives me great hope for the future as it seemed to endorse a lot free-market libertarian ideals. If this is the kernel of a someday-to-emerge neoleftism, who knows: I might even vote Democrat some day.

UPDATE: Instapundit mentions my email! This is a mixed bag; on the one hand it's a nice sop to my narcissism to be noticed by hundreds of thousands of people, but on the other hand I probably should have sent a link to my blog and my email has so many typos and half-articulated points that it appears to be written by someone semi-literate (I cleaned it up a bit here).

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Iraqi terrorists vainly hoping for civil war

(from Wizbang)

Well, duh. Sure, they'd LIKE a civil war, but they ain't getting one.

The "insurgents" not only can't field an army, they can't field a Boy Scout troop. They not only can't hold any territory for any significant period of time, they can't even hold a convenience store overnight. And they not only don't offer a competing ideology to better Iraqi lives, they want to kill anyone who does.

This is not a war, or even an occupation. This is an operation to remove the mentally ill from Iraqi society.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Moore or Less Accurate

It doesn’t matter whether the bodyguard was employed by Moore indirectly or directly. Either way the central irony of the story is valid.

Michael Moore, who says people shouldn't have guns, employs people with guns to protect him.

That's the story here. If Moore REALLY believed in what he was saying, he would demand that those guarding him carry only batons, mace, and/or tasers. Of course, he wouldn't be as safe without the guns, but neither is the single mother living in the Cabrini Green housing projects.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

New Media beats up on Old Media again

If this were a softball game, they'd have invoked the slaughter rule by now.

Joseph Newcomer, the typeface expert who posted the first authoritative study of the forged Bush TANG memos, utterly annihilates the CJR article by Corey Pein point-by-point.

This is a perfect example of how media has changed. Corey Pein makes some dismissive comments about Newcomer and his analysis. In the old days, people would read the journalist's comments and that would be the end of it. But in the new media, anyone can voice an opinion, and Newcomer does -- with a vengeance. One suspects Pein is quite surprised to find himself in a public argument (which he is losing, badly) as opposed to the more customary Old Media monologue from on high for the public to simply read and accept without response.

First Mapes, now Pein, who's next? From their behavior so far, it's evident Old Media hasn't quite woken up to how much the game has changed.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Go away cowards. We will go to visit our beloved box!"

Iraq The Model has some truly amazing comments from Iraqis about the upcoming elections.

If you think about what the world looked like 5 years ago, we should be boggling over the fact we are even talking about free elections in, of all places, Iraq and Afghanistan. That alone is a huge accomplishment. Anyone who suggested 5 years ago that such a thing was even remotely possible under any circumstances would have been laughed at.

What's good for the goose...

apparently doesn't apply to the gander.

Powerline notes Louis Boccardi is saying "bias is difficult to prove."

I know I'm not the only one who has noticed the evidence for Mapes having a bias a heck of a lot stronger than the evidence for the documents being genuine.

I am struck by the irony of the panel not wanting to say "We accuse you, Mary Mapes, of having a political bias and we can prove it" after Mapes said "We accuse you, George W Bush, of shirking your National Guard duties and we can prove it" on much weaker (in fact, wrong) evidence.

Monday, January 10, 2005



This one will be tough to beat.

"I am very concerned that his actions are motivated by corporate and political considerations -- ratings rather than journalism." -- Mary Mapes, Jan 10, remarking on the 243 page report that found she violated basic journalist standards in Memogate

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Michael Moore wins People's Choice Award

And I couldn't be happier. F911 helped re-elect Bush by showing just how nutty and dishonest the left is. Sitting him next to Jimmy Carter at the DNC was wonderfully ironic unintended symbolism.

The icing was when Moore was sued by an Illinois newpaper for photoshopping a fake headline onto their pages in the movie. That was after F911 was thoroughly sliced and diced for the numerous deceits and video editing so incredibly disingenuous it was reminiscent of late night comedy skits.

I hope he makes 100 more just like it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Tucker Carlson Leaves CNN

I've always thought Tucker Carlson was just a strawman. The diction, the clothes, the hair, the bowtie, even the name, "Tucker." It all just screams pretentious overprivileged blueblood WASP. It almost seems like Tucker Carlson was created by a focus group of liberals who were asked what they thought a conservative should look and act like.

Come to think of it, isn't that more or less what heppened? He was hired by CNN after all. And that was back when CNN was the only cable channel, long before the dawn of Fox News, when U.S. viewers were pleased to learn there are actually some telegenic, red-blooded, America-loving conservatives too.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Joshua Micah Marshall: Reality-Based Columnist

Joshua not only says the war was a mistake, but also says we were insufficiently careful in being absolutely sure Iraq and al-Qaeda were conspiring to attack us before invading Iraq to prevent such a collaborative attack, and frsnkly I totally agree.

A much better approach (rather than rushing to war just because Saddam wouldn't explain where his WMD were, every intelligence agency on earth said he had stockpiles of them, there were numerous ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, Russian intelligence was telling us Saddam planned to attack the U.S., and we recently lost 3000 Americans on 9/11 and wanted to prevent another even worse attack) would have been to wait until the sanctions regime had collapsed, Saddam's vast network of WMD labs were up and running again and possibly supplying al-Qaeda, and then wait and see whether tens of thousands more Americans were killed in the resulting terror attacks. The important issue is not whether Saddam would have a nuclear deterrent by then, making it impossible for us to respond militarily. The important point is that after a couple months of sifting through the charred and disfigured corpses of our friends and families, we would (maybe) have proof of WMD plus a collaborative al-Qaeda connection, and the French would have to be on our side (assuming they would disregard their billions in Iraqi oil deals). Plus, dead Americans would generate worldwide sympathy (it works for Israel, right? oops, scratch that) which is much more important than whether we are actually doing worthwhile and noble things like freeing 50 million from brutal, tyrannical police states and creating consensual democratic governments in their place.

All this pre-emption talk is just nutty.

Monday, January 03, 2005

There's only one poll we really need to win

I keep hearing how the U.S. is "losing the public opinion battle," with one major pundit going as far to say the war was now unwinnable because of the problem. Baloney! There's only one poll we really need to win, plus one we'd really like to win.

Thanks to Haider Ajina for this translation of poll results that appeared in the Iraqi Arabic newspaper Alsabaah this morning (also on Powerline). The poll was of 4,974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad:

Will the security problems cause you to?
Not come out and vote the day of elections 18.3%
Come out and vote the day of elections 78.3%
No opinion 3.4%

Do you support military action against the terrorists?
Yes 87.7%
No 11.1%
Don’t Know 1.2%

The importance of the second poll cannot be overstated. Insurgents don't win when 88% of the population in the area of their greatest support publicly supports having them shot dead. Getting people to vote is also important, and I'd say 80% is a pretty healthy number for the most violent area of the country.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The vanishing state of statelessness

I think Sharon and Bush are smarter than people realize.

Once Palestine is officially a state, with UN representatives and etc, behind a wall from Israel, they are not going to be able to just excuse away terrorist acts against Israel as "negotiation." A state can be held responsible for acts of violence in ways a perceived "society of refugees" cannot. They will suffer the same strictures as the other official Arab states do against taking military action against Israel, and lose their unique ability to carry out the Arab states' proxy war against Israel from within a stateless society. As a sovereign state, they will no longer enjoy the protective veneer of perpetual victimhood, and their attacks will be exposed for what they are: acts of war.