Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Risks of War

This piece from theWashington Post while emphasizing the difficulty and the complications of the upcoming war against Iraq, is quite good. Many things can go wrong, and some will, almost certainly. Yet it can be done. Note the last paragraph of the story:

"But perhaps the riskiest aspect of the current plan is the character and aims of the war itself, said retired Air Force Col. John Warden, an architect of the air campaign in the Gulf War.

The plan is probably one of the most risky in our history as it launches us off into terra incognita for the U.S.: our first preemptive or preventive war; our first attempt to democratize an Islamic state; and establishment of a very narrow beachhead in the midst of a billion undefeated Muslims,’ he said."

Al Qaeda Primed to Fall?

The Washington Post reports that government officials are very optimistic that the AQ leadership is being dismantled. Among other things, the information we got from Khalid Sheik Mohammed is leading to "geometric progress." A newstory worth reading. I hope that it is true.  

Sabotage in Iraq

The Telegraph reports on a number of incidents in Iraq, both of sabotage and demonstrations, and, predictably, some harsh Saddam reactions.

The Death of Europe?

Mark Steyn thinks so, with typical flourish. He may be off the mark, but not by much.  

Death of Marx

I. Boone notes, not in a mournful way, that Karl Marx died on this day 120 years ago. It is Dante’s Ninth Circle, no question.

China Blocks UN Discussion on North Korea

In another act that shows the irrelevance of the United Nations, China is blocking the UN Security Council from discussing the North Korea issue, it is instead pushing for a direct dialogue between North Korea and Washington.

Pentagon’s New Map

This is an article that was originally published in Esquire (March 2003) and available on line from the Naval War College. The author, Thomas P.M. Barnett, is a professor there, a war strategist. Although written in more of a bureaucratic mode than I like, it is worth reading and arguing over, if anyone is interested. In brief, it is an attempt to establish a new security paradigm that the author thinks defines this age: "disconnectedness defines danger," and tries to show where the hot spots are in the world and the likelihood of war in each of those places. The following three paragraphs give you the flavor of his purposes:

"Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and—most important—the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap."

"Globalization’s ’ozone hole’ may have been out of sight and out of mind prior to September 11, 2001, but it has been hard to miss ever since. And measuring the reach of globalization is not an academic exercise to an eighteen-year-old marine sinking tent poles on its far side. So where do we schedule the U.S. military’s next round of away games? The pattern that has emerged since the end of the cold war suggests a simple answer: in the Gap."

"The reason I support going to war in Iraq is not simply that Saddam is a cutthroat Stalinist willing to kill anyone to stay in power, nor because that regime has clearly supported terrorist networks over the years. The real reason I support a war like this is that the resulting long-term military commitment will finally force America to deal with the entire Gap as a strategic threat environment."

Message to French President Chirac

In case you want to write an e-mail to President Chirac here is his e-mail and how to do it, very simple. Either send him your kindest regards, you know, something like, Dear Sir, I remain your most humble and obedient servant, etc., or, just tell him what you really think about his policy on Iraq. (Thanks to Buzzmachine via InstaPundit)

Priscilla Owen Nomination

Chris Flannery has a good piece at NRO on Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen’s second appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is being attacked--surprise!--because she is "out of step" (that’s the way the liberals like to put it, you know, like "blood for oil" is supposed to be an argument against war) with the view that they think everyone ought to have on abortion. It is really an issue of parental notification. Good article.  

Ending the Stalemate

With the judicial confirmation stalemate reaching the point where few see resolution, John Eastman offers a possible solution. He argues on The Claremont Institute web site that while art. II, sec. 2 of the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justices, it nonetheless permits Congress as a whole to vest the appointment of inferior officers in the President. Thus, he argues, Congress could pass a law which would give the President the power to appoint district and circuit court judges after say, six months of inaction by the Senate.

Such a bill would no doubt die in the Senate, which would be none too thrilled about giving up this power. But the more interesting quesion is whether art. III judges are "inferior" officers pursuant, say, to their designation as "inferior" courts in art. III.

Patriotic Country

". . . arrant, rascally, beggarly, lousy knave. . . ." Whew, that’s a relief. I was afraid that Schramm might take offense at my comments. I should clarify one thing: I don’t paint all of country music with the political brush of the Dixie Chicks. Indeed, if country music has one virtue, it is that the singers seem to genuinely love this country. The problem is that as best I can tell, the performers’ patriotism is perhaps the music’s only virtue. Maybe it is because I am originally from Los Angeles, and therefore songs about pickup trucks don’t speak to me. Maybe it is because sounds resembling injured cats are not what I call "soothing." But whatever the reason, I have never been enamored by country music, which best I can tell these days is little different from watered-down pop music.

Racial Preferences

James McWhorter is a serious guy, and has written many interesting things. He has, over the last few years, become rightly known as a serious person making serious arguments about race, racism, and affirmative action. Here is his latest essay from The American Enterprise arguing that preference by skin color should be relegated to the dustbin of history. A very good read.  

One Kind Word for Country Music

Alt is correct, the Dixie Chicks are a sign of the decline of Country and Western music.

The true and patriotic spirit of country music, however, is found here in Charlie Daniels’

open letter to Hollywood.

The Devil went down to Georgia and met his match in Charlie Daniels.

Real Country Music Needs No Defense

I am sorry that Alt has attacked the country music bushel just because because there is a bad apple in it. I know nothing about the Dixie Chicks, but I do know something about Merle Haggard, George Jones, and George Strait, and I can’t believe that anyone of them would say anything like that. The Dixie Chicks is a punk-rock group, as far as I’m concerned. I will prevent Emily from listening to them ever again! Alt might want to listen to a few minutes of Merle’s "Okie from Muskogee" (at the bottom). Alt is too young to remember, but it was with this song that Merle stood up alone against the tides of America-hatred in the late sixties. There is plenty more such Country songs Alt; study your country’s history, you arrant, rascally, beggarly, lousy knave!

Victor Davis Hanson Profile

U.S. News & World Report runs a short profile of Victor Davis Hanson. "Fundamentalists despise the United States for its culture and envy it for its power," he wrote in his first column for National Review. "These terrorists hate us for who we are, not what we have done." Hanson will be speaking at the Ashbrook Center on March 28th. If you can’t attend, you can listen to him live by going

A Third Way . . . to War

Jim Wallis argues in today’s Washington Post that rather than go to war, the world should pursue a "third way." What he fails to realize is that the third way is one which leads us inevitably to where we are. First, he would have the feckless security counsel set up an international tribunal to indict Hussein for war crimes. And how, may I ask, is this going to lead to the removal of Hussein? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he won’t accede to demands of this gerry-rigged international body any more than he has acceded to the demands of UN. Second, he suggests that there should be unrestricted inspections, more flyovers, and expanded no-fly and no-drive zones. If history is any guide, Hussein has responded to the current no fly zones by firing on our planes. The only way to get the sort of results from inspections that Wallis is seeking is to have the cooperation of the regime, and Hussein has amply demonstrated that there is only one way to procure cooperation. Thus, his third way takes us to the same place--war--it just gives Hussein more time to entrench and develop weapons and retaliatory strategies.

Another Reason to Despise Country Music

As if being forced to hear their remake of "Landslide" every time I turn on the radio isn’t bad enough, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks told a London crowd, "Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Imus this morning took no prisoners: "This from someone who I guarantee couldn’t spell ’Hussein’ or find Iraq on a map." I believe it was his sidekick Charles McCord who chimed in that she should have chosen to say that in Dallas, rather than London.

Second Cloture Vote Down . . . More to Come

The Senate voted 55-42 for cloture on Miguel Estrada. The magic number is 60, so the filibuster continues. You can access the vote tally here. The only major change in the vote is that Senator Graham (D-FL), who did not participate last time, voted in favor of continuing the filibuster.

The Republicans have vowed to bring more votes to end the filibuster, with the next cloture vote tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 18. Of course, world events may dictate otherwise.

French Products

My mother called me the other day to ask me a couple of specific questions about French products. I was surprised at what she was doing: She was angry at the French and she was looking for anything made in France in her home, or anything made by a company that was mostly owned by France. She was going to throw all French products out and make sure to never buy any more. Well, the truth is I could only come up with Perrier, Michelin, and Rocquefort cheese. While she had nothing French in her house, she is determined not to buy anything French. So I sent her the enclosed list. Some of the items on it may surprise you, e.g., Car and Driver Magazine, Motel 6, Glenlivet, Wild Turkey Bourbon, and Jerry Springer. Worth a look.

Senate Passes Partial Birth Abortion Bill

The Senate has just passed a ban on late term abortion procedures by a vote of 64-33 (with the Catholics Kennedy, Kerry, and Biden abstaining). It will now go to the House where passage is expected. Bush will sign it.

Shock and Awe with MOAB

Mac Owens has a good piece on this big bomb we tested in the Florida panhadle a few days ago. It is an impressive 21,000 pound bomb that makes a lot of noise.

Blair Prepares to Drop UN

The London Times is reporting that Prime Minister Tony Blair is moving towards bypassing the UN and is willing to go to war without another resolution from the Security Council. He is now arguing that the U.S. and U.K. already have the legal authority to attack Iraq. This may move things along very quickly.

New Iraqi Missile?

Bill Safire has one of his more interesting columns out this morning in The New York Times in which he connects some dots between France-China-Syria-Iraq on the collaboration of some of their nationals in supplying Iraq with the necessities for a long range surface to surface missile. Good read. 

An Iraqi Blogger

Raed is an Iraqi blogger living in Iraq. Although sometimes a bit confusing, it makes for some interesting reading, especially on day to day development, how people tape their windows, what they are buying in preparing for the war, what some of the Iraqi troops are doing, how oil is being poured in trenches, etc. Worth a few minutes of meandering.

Democratization in the Middle East

Daniel Drezner has a thoughtful piece in the current TNR that argues that it is not as unlikely as some think that we can establish something like democratic states in the region. Here is his concluding paragraph:

"The area specialists aren’t necessarily wrong; democratizing Iraq won’t be easy. But the conditions aren’t nearly as barren as these experts suggest, and the potential upside is enormous. If a democratic transition were to succeed in Iraq, then Syria, suddenly surrounded by established democracies (Israel and Turkey) and emerging democracies (Iraq and Jordan), might start to feel nervous as well. Combine democratization in the Fertile Crescent with the continued liberalization of Morocco, Bahrain, and Qatar, and suddenly the neocon vision of a fourth wave of democratization spreading across the Middle East begins to look plausible."

You might also want to glance at Michael Barone’s good column on the same theme.

The U.N. and Geopolitics

If you don’t yet see why the poker game at the U.N. is a sideshow please take note of what French President Chirac said Monday: "No matter what the circumstances, we will vote No." By saying this Chirac has emboldened Iraq and has made war more possible, as George Will says. I mention in passing that U.N. approval was already given in Resolution 1441 of last Fall (even Clinton has said this) and that is sufficient; no new resolution is needed. So there are only two reasons why Bush wants another resolution voted on (even if it fails). First, he thinks this will help Blair out politically. (The fact that he is in some political difficulty shows the inferiority of the Parliamentary system; there are too many and too powerful "passions and interests" placed on the Prime Minister that he either has to kow-tow to, or he can be removed in the middle of a crisis.) Second, Bush wants the French and the others to show their cards; and he wants this noted publicly for long range geo-political reasons, rather than the immediate issue of Iraq. Because this is the first serious international issue since the collapse of the USSR and since 9/11--the first since, in other words, America has become the dominant world power--the U.S. wants to see how the lesser powers (France, Russia, Germany) will begin to line up to try to "balance" American power. Note that the Chinese are out of this picture. They can afford to sit this one out; they have not yet given up on being a great power, as the Russians and the French have. Also note that the impression being given by the Russians that they are in an alliance with the French against America, will only drive the New Europe more into the American camp and this will make the work of the French and Germans in EU (and to dominate the EU) much more difficult, which should be fine by us.

There is a good chance that we will get the nine votes in the Security Council, and that will force a French veto. And there is still a remote chance that the French will not veto. Either way, even with the possible delay of a few days as is being discuissed today, Iraq will be under a new regime by the end the month.

Pre-emptive War and Just War

George Weigel has a good essay in a recent issue of First Things summarizing and applying the just war tradition. It’s worth reading the whole, but especially his argument in response to those who argue that just war theory censures pre-emptive wars because war can only be the last resort:

The charge that U.S. military action after September 11 was morally dubious because all other possible means of redress had not been tried and found wanting misreads the nature of terrorist organizations and networks. The “last” in last resort can mean “only,” in circumstances where there is plausible reason to believe that nonmilitary actions are unavailable or unavailing.

Pre-emptive War Justified

Clifford Orwin has a very good article in Canada’sNational Journal explaining why the upcoming U.S. pre-emptive strike against Iraq is justified. Excellent. Two strong coffees.  

Germany’s Illegal Trade with Iraq

Amiland points to an article in the German paper Die Welt (in German) that outlines the extraordinary (and illegal) trade between Germany and Iraq since the Gulf War. Amiland’s comments are good and the whole is worth reading (and do follow the links), but his best line is this: "Illegal exports constitute perhaps the only region where Germany’s economy has actually grown in the past ten years." (Via InstaPundit).

European Union Threat

Chris Patten, the European Union’s commissioner for external relations, has said that without UN authority for a war against Iraq, the EU will find it difficult to release funds for the rebuilding of Iraq after the war. Among other things he said the following:

"As a general rule, are wars not more likely to recruit terrorists than to deter them? It is hard to build democracy at the barrel of a gun, when history suggests it is more usually the product of long internal development in a society."

Germany is also a member of the European Union.

Second Cloture Vote on Estrada Thursday

Majority Leader Frist filed a second cloture petition on Mr. Estrada’s nomination yesterday afternoon. I have been told to expect the vote on Thursday. As always, we’ll keep you posted as more details become known.

More Evidence That Hussein Is Not a Threat

The AP reports that Saddam Hussein has opened a training camp for volunteers willing to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. forces.

Shield This

The New York Times reports that there is "friction" between human shields and Iraqi officials over the choice of sites. You see, the idealistic human shields would like to stand in front of hospitals and schools, while the Iraqis are directing them to stand in front of key strategic targets, like oil refineries. Which raises the question: do you think that the human shields so misunderstand the U.S. that they believe we will be targetting schools (assuming that Hussein isn’t acting as he has in the past, and placing key strategic targets in or near such facilities), or are they choosing such targets specifically because they understand that the U.S. will not target them. It is far easier to face down a bullet that you believe will not come. Thanks to Orin Kerr from The Volokh Conspiracy for bringing this to my attention.

Serbian PM Assassinated

MSNBC just reported that Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who played a major role in the popular revolt that toppled Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, died this morning from gunshot wounds. Here is an AP story which provides details about the assassination attempt, which was written before the PM died.

Chemical Ali

The Washington Times reports that Saddam Hussein is poised to kill his own people, and to blame the slaughter on U.S. forces. Hussein has placed a general whose role in gassing the Kurds earned him the nickname "Chemical Ali" in charge of Southern Iraq, to quell civilian uprisings.

The Right War

Senator McCain has a fine piece in today’s New York Times entitled The Right War for the Right Reasons. In his article, McCain thoroughly decimates the argument that America is "rushing to war" or that this is somehow an unjust action. Here are a couple of worthy excerpts:

After 12 years of economic sanctions, two different arms-inspection forces, several Security Council resolutions and, now, with more than 200,000 American and British troops at his doorstep, Saddam Hussein still refuses to give up his weapons of mass destruction. Only an obdurate refusal to face unpleasant facts — in this case, that a tyrant who survives only by the constant use of violence is not going to be coerced into good behavior by nonviolent means — could allow one to believe that we have rushed to war. . . .

Our armed forces will fight for peace in Iraq — a peace built on more secure foundations than are found today in the Middle East. Even more important, they will fight for the two human conditions of even greater value than peace: liberty and justice. Some of them will perish in this just cause. May God bless them and may humanity honor their sacrifice.

For the anti-war coalition, this is the height of heresy: something more important than peace! McCain speaks well, and with a moral clarity and certainty that is missing from the anti-war movement. Worth two cups, sipped with firm resolve.   

Size Matters

AP reports that the United States tested a 21,000 pound bomb yesterday called a "Massive Ordnance Air Blast" or "MOAB." Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, in his traditionally understated way, said "[t]his is not small." To put the size of this bomb into perspective, the massive "Daisy Cutters" which we used in the Tora Bora area carry a mere 15,000 pound payload, and cruise missiles cap out at 2000-3000 pound payloads.

Estrada Straddle Strategy

Once again the Republicans demonstrate why they may well lose to the more political Dems, who are utterly ruthless. They are making legalistic arguments, a la the Bork fiasco. Needed is well-timed high-tech lynching rhetoric. Maybe Dr. Frist is too much enamoured of "surgical strikes" for this job.

When Republicans want to emphasize the absolute impropriety of releasing internal legal memos, they should talk about exposing our legal processes and defenses to criminals and terrorists. It’s about denying ourselves the ability to defend ourselves and the rule of law against the enemies of the United States. That’s what it really is about, isn’t it? If Republicans want to die on the hill of internal memoranda, let the hill be piled high with Dem corpses. Estrada should not be one of them.

P.S.-- fans of LATimes cartoonist Michael Ramirez can meet the great artist at the Claremont Institute’s President’s Club meeting, May 3, in Orange County, where he will be the luncheon speaker. See the Claremont Institute’s website-- for more details.

An Assessment of the War on Terrorism

From the recent testimony of Vice ADmiral Lowell Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Al Qaida retains a presence on six continents, with key senior leaders still at large. It has a corps of seasoned operatives and draws support from an array of legitimate and illegitimate entities. The network is adaptive, flexible, and arguably, more agile than we are. Eager to prove its capabilities in the wake of significant network losses, al-Qaida had its most active year in 2002 – killing hundreds in Bali, striking a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, attacking Marines and civilians in Kuwait, murdering a U.S. diplomat in Jordan, bombing a hotel popular with foreign tourists in Mombassa, attacking a synagogue in Tunisia, and attempting to down an Israeli airliner.

The full testimony is available at testimony.

You Heard It Here First

The AP reports that the Democrats led by Senator Reid’s (D-NV) rejected the Senate Majority Leader’s proposed compromise on Mr. Estrada a full 35 minutes after you read about it here. Reid reportedly stated: "Until he supplies the memorandum from the solicitor’s office, it is not going to change the position of the people on this side of the aisle."

The Democrats in the Senate have complained that Mr. Estrada was not forthcoming enough in answering questions. He has now answered all their questions, made himself available for private meetings and more written questions, and opened himself up for something too cruel for most mortal men to imagine--another hearing before the gauntlet that is the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Democrats still cling to the claim that Mr. Estrada hasn’t "filled out his application," for the judiciary, but this argument will only satisfy those who don’t know the facts, or who have the deliberative functions of Paul Begala.

This leaves them with one argument, which Reid reiterated today: turn over the memos. This is ludicrous. They are asking for them precisely because they know that the Justice Department should not turn them over--after all, every living Solicitor General has told them this. Second, they can find out whether these memos displayed bias as they fear by talking to Mr. Estrada’s previous employers--several of whom are Democrats. And finally, the Democrats know as well as anyone that these kinds of memos show about as much political "leg" as a Saudi Arabian fashion show. Quite simply, unless you twist and distort them (which seems to be the American way), the memos are almost certainly bland statements on what the law is and what arguments should be made in light of the government’s position on the questions (which would have been dictated to Mr. Estrada). But you see, they don’t want to see the memos--they want the release of the memos to be an issue. Similarly, they didn’t want Mr. Estrada to answer more questions (as demonstrated by the almost complete lack of follow-up written questions)--they wanted to make an issue of supposedly unanswered questions. Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that the Democrats were just making up excuses to keep a qualified Hispanic off the bench.

Frist Offers a Deal; The Democrats Reject It

Majority Leader Frist just offered to have another formal Judiciary Committee hearing in which Mr. Estrada would appear in exchange for a date certain vote. The Democrats suggested that this would not be sufficient unless Estrada’s memos from the SG’s office are turned over as well. This emphasis on the internal memos (the release of which has been called inappropriate by all seven living Solicitors General) seems to be necessitated as a strategic move by the fact that Mr. Estrada recently provided answers to a series of written questions by Senator Blanche Lincoln, which questions included all the questions that the Democratic Senators claimed that Mr. Estrada did not adequately answer during his original committee hearing. You can see the questions and answers here via Howard Bashman’s "How Appealing" Extra.

Gary Hart is Inching Toward Nomination

As this Reuters dispatch makes clear, Gary Hart is moving closer toward declaring his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s starting to raise money.

Elie Wiesel on Iraq

The media’s (especially network television) extraordinarily biased and un-analytical reporting on the Iraq crisis and the diplomacy taking place at the U.N. is fully revealed when you note that Elie Wiesel’s opinions on the war have not been reported on. Why? Surprise, because he is in favor of Bush’s policy and no left winger can gainsay his opinions on the nature of evil. Here is his op ed in today’s Los Angeles Times (free registration required). 

Flying Sheep’s Head Hurts Man

There was a concert in Oslo by a band called Mayhem, part of what is being called Norway’s death metal band scene. Part of the act was to cut up a sheep and as the head was sliced off, it went flying through the air and hit a fan, giving him a headache. He says his relationship to sheep is ambivalent now. Charges have been filed.

No More French Fries

In this eatery in Grand Rapids French Fries are now Freedom Fries. And the politics gets more bitter with one guy trying to explain why French’s mustard is yellow, and a certain kind of kiss is now being questioned. I’m afraid this will get worse.

Bobby Knight Returns Salary

Bobby Knight is so dissatisfied with his own performance that he told the administration of Texas Tech that he will not accept his salary of $250,000 for this season. This is a bad precedent for those of us who see ourselves as underperformers. I wonder what Vicki would say if I turned noble.

Junk Mail Cripples Dog

A retired couple (I guess they have nothing better to do) is suing Safeway for damages to their dog which hurt itself trying to grab a store leaflet posted through the door. The dog hurt itself when he leapt up to try to catch the leaflet, teeth marks were found on the junk mail. Muffin dislocated a disc and had to have surgery.

New Berlin Wall

Staying with Hayward’s humor mode this morning I bring a couple of interesting things to your attention. The first is that that a new wall is being built in Berlin at a cost of almost a half million dollars (despite the fact that other more essential services are being cut) to give protection to frogs that want to cross the road. There is some outrage.

Only in America

Only in America would a brothel be shut down for "safety code" violations that have nothing to do with what activities take place in the building:

Feds to Demolish Infamous Nevada Brothel

MUSTANG, Nev. (AP) - Three years after seizing Nevada’s most celebrated brothel, the federal government announced plans to demolish the Mustang Ranch. The pink stucco main building and a smaller unit will be destroyed rather than renovated, said Mark Struble, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management. The buildings are in violation of safety codes, he said.

Blix and U.N. Wrap Up

James Taranto in The Best of the Web has an excellent wrap-up of the latest Blix flap: why he didn’t report the Iraqi drone they found, why he didn’t report on the new variety of rocket found that could deliver chemical or biological agents, or why he didn’t report on the "credible information" that Iraq still has tens of thousands of bilogical agents. Taranto does a nice job pulling all of it together (also follow his links) and then adding a Stephen Pollard report from The Daily Telegraph that claims that the U.S. is prepared to announce a "temporary" suspension of America’s membership if the U.N. doesn’t do its duty. Very clear and very good stuff.  

African Lost Tribe to America

The New York Times runs this story about how the Somali Bantu (about 12,000 strong, now refugees in Kenya) originally stolen from Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania and sold into slavery in Somalia are now without a place to live because of Somalia’s civil war. They have been allowed refugee status and will arrive in the United States. Although it is a heart-rending story wherein "the refugees tell each other, the Bantu will be considered human beings, not slaves, for the first time," the Times still is able to cast an anti-American prejudice in the story by asking how these folks will be able to put up with racial prejudice and poverty.
Ignore that idiocy, and enjoy the pleasure this story brings of the move toward freedom. Fatuma Abdekadir, a twenty year old Bantu, said this: "I don’t think Somalia is my country because we Somali Bantus have seen our people treated like donkeys there, I think my country is where I am going.

There, there is peace. Nobody can treat you badly. Nobody can come into your house and beat you."

May the Bantu prosper, may they demean themselves as good citizens and enjoy and merit the good will of our other inhabitants. None here shall make them afraid.

More on Cheney on the Hill

The Senate Whip has issued an alert regarding VP Cheney exercising his VP prerogative to preside over the Senate tomorrow between the hours of 11:00am and 12:30pm: "Vice President Cheney will be the Presiding Officer and a special message from the President will be delivered during this time."

Clinton and Bush on Iraq

Andrew Sullivan writes in the London Times that the policy Clinton pursued on Iraq is no different than what Bush has pursued. Sullivan explains the difference that does exist in terms of style and that Bush is trying to do some very ambitious things (which Clinton avoided on all fronts). A good read. Guess who said this in 1998?

"What if [Saddam] fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? ... Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he’ll use the arsenal."

The Upcoming French-German Split

As this op-ed from the London Telegraph makes clear the French and Germans, although erstwhile allies in the current U.N. poker game, are about to break over the differing economic conditions in each country. As interesting as any article can get having to do with economic affairs.

Shades of 1963

This excellent editorial cartoon was produced by Michael Ramirez in the Los Angeles Times. This may be the first cartoon to earn a cup.  

Cheney Takes the Hill

Vice-President Cheney will be presiding over the Senate from 11:00 am till 12:30 p.m. tomorrow in a special session on Miguel Estrada. Readers of this page are no doubt familiar with the filibuster and obstruction, but a relatively small percentage of Americans poll that they are familiar with Mr. Estrada’s plight. Cheney’s appearance certainly raises the profile of the delay, and should serve to alert the American public to the shameless arguments being proffered against Mr. Estrada.

French anti-Americanism

Walter Russell Mead has a short review of two recently published French volumes that try to explain and understand why the French dislike America. The review is a good read and essentially makes the point that as the French disliked Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the many wounds that that liberal and dynamic country inflicted upon them, so they dislike America for its economic dynamism and its political power. The root cause of the French dislike of America is not our shortcomings and failures. The roots cause of their dislike is rather American power and American success. This dislike "is likely to flourish as as its causes exist." And may that be a very long time. 

Does Iraq have an Army?

About a dozen Iraqi soldiers crossed over and surrendered to British troops. The Brits had been practicing a live fire exercise and the Iraqis, apparently, thought that the war had started. The Brits sent them back and told them that they will have to wait to surrender, the war hadn’t started yet. Although amusing, this gives us some information on what kind of army Iraq has. Amir Taheri has a thoughtful piece on the state of the Iraqi army and explains why it exists mostly on paper. This is a thoughtful piece with some easily digestable information in it. (I note in passing that Taheri mentions that Iraq is the second-biggest importer of French Cognac, after Japan.) A good read.  

Howard Dean is Breaking Out of the Pack

I saw Howard Dean this morning on Face the Nation and I was impressed. He looked presidential and serious (that’s not to say I agreed with him, of course). Here is Stanley Kurtz’s comment at The Corner. You will see that he nails it and shows why the Democrats are in trouble. I quote in full:

"I just saw Vermont Governor Howard Dean on Face the Nation, and he was superb. Was his position on the war incoherent? Sure. Dean won’t attack Saddam until Iraq’s at the point where North Korea is now. That’s absurd. And Dean thinks deterrence will work on Saddam in the way that it worked with the Soviet Union. That’s ignorant. (Read Kenneth Pollack.) And Dean wants to build up the U.N., even as its refusal to implement its own resolutions turns the institution into a joke. Nonetheless, Dean gave a masterful performance. He parried Russert’s jabs expertly. He came through as a real person, not an artificial persona. And he looked an acted presidential. Dean is breaking out, and that means the Democrats are in big trouble. The face of their party may soon be the dovish man who signed a civil unions bill in a state more liberal than Massachusetts."

Jimmy Carter the Tedious Fool

Here is Jimmy Carter’s Sunday New York Times op-ed in which he reveals himself--as he understands himself--to be a philosopher and a statesman, manifesting Solomonic wisdom and Aristotelian prudence. He not only understands the sweep of American history, the nature of international diplomacy, but also the theory of just war and international law. And he has a very clear understanding of what is in the interest of the United States.

A former president of the United States should not pontificate so in public, it is not only against American interests, it is embarrasing. At best, he ought to give advice to the current chief executive in private (as Nixon did with him and with Clinton, and as the older Bush did with Clinton). It is embarrasing that one of the most ignorant and least effective presidents in our history pontificates so barba tenus sapientes. Do we need to be reminded that this was the president who said we have an inordinate fear of communism and then admitted that he had been taught something about the nature of Soviet tyranny when they invaded Afghanistan under his watch? Do we have to be reminded that he thought any ruler following the Shah of Iran would be better? Do we have to be reminded that he was unable to get the American hostages out of Iran? Do we have to be reminded that this is the ex-president who in 1999 warned us not to send troops against Milosevic because we would end up in a "quagmire"?

Mr. Carter is a tedious fool, his ignorance is not an accident, it is his trade. He really ought to stop talking, stop putting pen to paper, and get himself a few tutors; ones who could show him that the projection of American power is generally for the good, ones who could explain to him that we don’t need U.N. approval to pursue our national interests, and ones who could show him that there is a difference between regimes, and some are called tyrannies and that the U.S.A. is not one of those. And, in passing, maybe they could explain to him the meaning of the French word malaise and why it doesn’t have a home here.

Bush is a Dictator

Not according to me, of course, but according to the German Under Secretary of Defense, Walter Kolbow (a member of Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party). Here is the Reuter’s dispatch, in German. (Thanks to InstPundit for the link.)

"Bush positioniert sich wirtschaftlich und politisch absolut einseitig, ohne auf irgend jemanden Rücksicht zu nehmen. Das ist kein Partner, sondern ein Diktator."

Here is my rough translation: "Bush positions himself, both economically and politically, in a one sided way without respecting anyone else. That is not a partner, it is a dictator."

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