3/31/2003

North Korea Test-Fires Missile Days After Japanese Spy Satellite Launch Meanwhile, in other news.
The missile test came just days after Japan launched two satellites into orbit that will help keep watch over North Korea's missile and suspected nuclear arms programs. The launch angered the communist state and it threatened to test-fire a missile. The short-range missile was fired from the northwestern coast of the Korean Peninsula, Defense Agency official Takamasa Iba said. The range of the missile is about 37 miles, Kiyoju Arai, an official at the land and transport ministry said. No other details were immediately available.
Rumsfeld's Design for War Criticized on the Battlefield I guess in Andrew Sullivan's world, this is just a minor issue.
Here today, raw nerves were obvious as officers compared Mr. Rumsfeld to Robert S. McNamara, an architect of the Vietnam War who failed to grasp the political and military realities of Vietnam. One colonel, who spoke on the condition that his name be withheld, was among the officers criticizing decisions to limit initial deployments of troops to the region. "He wanted to fight this war on the cheap," the colonel said. "He got what he wanted."
A Red-Blue Terror Alert 'Natch.
Why adopt such a strange formula? Well, maybe it's not that strange: what it most resembles is the Electoral College, which also gives disproportionate weight (though not that disproportionate) to states with small populations. And with a few exceptions, small-population states are red states — indeed, the small-state bias of the Electoral College is what allowed Mr. Bush to claim the White House despite losing the popular vote. It's hard not to suspect that the formula — which makes absolutely no sense in terms of national security — was adopted precisely because it caters to that same constituency. (To be fair, there's one big "red state" loser from the formula: Texas. But one of these days, sooner than most people think, Texas may well turn blue.) In other words, the allocation of money confirms Mr. Chait's point: even in a time of war — a war that seems oddly unrelated to the terrorist threat — the Bush administration isn't serious about protecting the homeland. Instead, it continues to subordinate U.S. security needs to its unchanged political agenda.
I don't think we'll be hearing from the Krugman Truth Squad.
Intelligence: No Sign Saddam Is Alive Good news if true. But then again, why are they still fighting if he's dead? Another prediction not coming true? Scramble to the next plan?
"There's no evidence of coordinated actions on the battlefield by these units," Pace said. "They're being destroyed in place without much leadership from above."
So it's like Sudan?
US draws up secret plan to impose new regime on Iraq Bet this is going to go over like a lead zeppelin.
A senior INC official said last night that Mr Chalabi would not countenance a purely advisory position. The official added: "It is certainly not the INC's intention to advise any US ministers in Iraq. Our position is that no Americans should run Iraqi ministries. The US is talking about an interim Iraqi authority taking over, but we are calling for a provisional government." The revelation about direct rule is likely to cause intense political discomfort for Tony Blair, who has been pressing for UN and international involvement in Iraq's reconstruction to overcome opposition in Britain as well as heal divisions across Europe. The Foreign Office said last night that a "relatively fluid" number of British officials had been seconded to the planning team.

Worst Case Scenario

Another point about Andrew's excreted thoughts. Andrew simply doesn't seem to comprehend that not only was this a failure to achieve the "shock and awe" scenario, the back up plan is entirely shit as well. The mass surrendering haven't happened, and they're fighting. It doesn't matter what the reason is that they are fighting - i.e. death squads - the only first order military care that matters is that they are fighting. The army isn't just changing tactics. The whole plan - primary and secondary - has gone down the drain. That's a military blunder because we don't have backup there now. Sure, we're the biggest, baddest military on earth, so we can recover. But there was no need to be in this position as it was entirely predictable. Things should have been in place for this contingency. It's a bona fide military blunder, even if we do win in 8 weeks. But the real reason that the White House is in a "meltdown," a state "of pandemonium and implosion" is that Karl Rove's entire strategy relied on "Shock and Awe" working. There was a lot riding not only on winning the war, but winning the war in a particular way. Common wisdom, as has been detailed elsewhere, was simply that the war would be over quickly. How quickly is quickly? Well, Richard Perle - a man certainly with a security clearance high enough to know - predicted 3 weeks and likely shorter in a briefing with Goldman Sachs. And let's not forget how much the economy was betting on a "short" war. I think it's fair to say that the bet was less than a month. Certainly the repeated mantra of "Weeks, not Months" implied this. Yes, two months is technically 8 weeks. But this is multiple months. So "weeks, not months" leaves 7 weeks on an outside, and the implication is, as Richard Perle predicated to a major economic player, less than a month. Then there's the political and diplomatic reality (not that this seems to matter to Andrew). Things are not going as planned - quite a bit messier than planned, in fact. Combined with a real fight being put up by a panty waisted third world country, the aftermath of this whole war is looking real bad to a lot of people - the whole problem with overselling. If the United States essentially inherits the Iraqi equivalent of Palestine, then life is going to suck for a long time - not just 8 weeks. Granted, the Iraqis all can finally let their hair down without the death squads around and finally greet us in liberation. But what if they don't? Certainly Andrew has read Josh Marshall's Practice To Deceive which provides a great roadmap and taxonomy of how badly things can go wrong. The point being a quick, surgical regime change would have completely obviated a lot of this stuff real people will have to deal with in the aftermath of the war. Everyone on earth would be scared shitless from the "shock and awe", and there wouldn't have been any time for the Arab street to organize around a messy, bloody war. Now things are much different. The diplomatic and political plan seems to be completely destroyed. So the back up plan needs to be implemented not only in the military realm, but the political and diplomatic realm as well. Considering that this Administration and all you Zombies have completely isolated the US diplomatically, that doesn't really leave a lot of good options does it? So anyone with a soul will look at this poor planning with some dismay and much trepidation. Apparently Andrew is just clueless as to all these realities and scenarios now put in motion because of an 8 week war. Not everyone has drunk the Neocon Kool-Aid, so there's going to be a lot of political hay - meaning political assassinations and coups - fired up by this military/political/diplomatic/economic blunder. And it is not as if there's no divisions in this Administration. Certainly Colin Powell's faction, although he's currently on board, won't be much pleased with this turn of events. Even if his faction is small, the people who see the shitty outcomes other than just an 8 week war instead of a 3 week war are going to gravitate to his faction. And then there are the other factions in the larger Republican party, with their very own special interests... John McCain? Karl Rove isn't going to be pleased dealing with all that fallout, even if he can expertly spin and control everything. But even putting all that melodrama aside - i.e., assuming this is all irrelevant as the Zombies want us to believe - Rumsfeld & company have blown Karl Rove's evil plan. And I don't think that many people blow Karl Rove's evil plan in a really bad way and survive. Politically speaking, of course. If the economic projections for 2004 are messed up by an 8 week rather than 3 week war (and I think they're going to be, that's a given) then political heads will certainly roll - that's a major election issue, Andrew. That's one poll they technically have to pay attention to... If Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz pull off another Hail Mary in the next few weeks, then we'll have a 100 year dynasty. If they don't...
Honey, I Shrunk the Profits
The FORTUNE 500
YearRevenueRevenue % changeProfitProfit % change
1999$6.3 trillion10.2%$409.6 billion28.7%
2000$7.2 trillion13.5%$443.9 billion8.4%
2001$7.4 trillion3.3%$206.2 billion-53.5%
2002$7.0 trillion-6.3%$69.6 billion-66.3%
Brad DeLong has a nice little rebuttal to the stinky loaf that Andrew Sullivan just squeezed out.
The point is clear. Even if, as Mr. Yglesias says elsewhere, it might be that "the cakewalk scenario, though wrong in retrospect, was the best reading of the available evidence," Rumsfeld's force planning was still lousy. It's not his job to plan for the most likely case, or for the best case, or for a good case. It's his job to plan for all cases: so that there is not just a path that leads to victory, but all (or almost all) paths lead to (rapid, nearly bloodless, and decisive) victory.
Of course, Josh Marshall's latest is also a nice clarification on Andrew's clueless position. Ever notice how Andrew really picks and chooses from his sources and completely ignores things that either contradict his premise, or put the context around the issue so it's clear that he's really just a tool?
“'All we have now is front-line positions,' the former intelligence official told me. 'Everything else is missing.'
Granted, if we win in eight weeks, I'll be pleased as punch that at least this nightmare is over. But Andrew seems to be a person with a vision "horizon" of only a few light nanoseconds. For him, it's enough to get to the next point in the game. All the rosy scenarios are lost at this point, but if we win, we're okay according to Andrew. He's right that an eight week victory would be still an amazing accomplishment. What he doesn't seem to realize, or care to point out, is that an eight week victory is only going to be possible with a lot more ugly fighting. Given the way the Arabs are acting now, imagine what it'll be after eight weeks with a lot of really nasty urban warfare. But that's something Andrew can't seem to comprehend happening, or at least he doesn't admit to it. Andrew doesn't seem to understand the concept of a Pyrrhic victory.
Alternative Accounting Doubles Deficit Again, it's completely obvious that this Administration cooks the books just like they did the Millenium Games. Enron style accounting at its finest!
The federal government, if it used an accounting method preferred by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, would have turned in a deficit of $365 billion in 2002. That's twice as big as the figure recognized as the official budget deficit number for last year: $158 billion. The larger figure, included in a Treasury report Monday, is based on a method of accounting in which expenses are booked when they are incurred — not when payments are made. "An accrual system would allow us to keep better track of the government's overall accrued obligations and deferred assets," Greenspan told Congress in February. "Accrual-based accounts would lay out more clearly the true costs and benefits of changes to various taxes and outlay programs and facilitate the development of a broad budget strategy," Greenspan said. "In doing so, these accounts should help shift the national dialogue and consensus toward a more realistic view of the limits of our national resources," Greenspan added.
Wake Up Call Too bad we hit the snooze button. Another blast from the past, this time in September 2002.
If the US and Iraq do go to war, there can only be one winner, can't there? Maybe not. This summer, in a huge rehearsal of just such a conflict - and with retired Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper playing Saddam - the US lost.
A Russian view of the war My favorite source of hard facts gets a nod from the UPI - likely after Josh Marshall posted about this on his site.
While the factual reports based on these claimed intercepts cannot be independently verified, and may possibly contain deliberate disinformation, the analytical assessments the performance of U.S. forces and the opposition facing them is based on much material also clearly reported by U.S. and other sources and verified by the Pentagon. And it is shrewd and of a high -- and thought-provoking -- order.
Well, it seems to be a heck of a lot more accurate than Fox - or anything else here in America. Disinformation? Why the need? There's plenty of real information that shows how stupid we are. No need to make up the facts... The facts are damning enough on their own, which is why Andrew Sullivan doesn't want them known, of course.
What is striking about this Russian assessment is that it confirms the assessments of the handful of Western journalists who covered the highly successful Iraqi defensive operations against vastly numerically superior Iranian forces during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. In other words, the Iraqis were not suddenly showing some supernatural capabilities they had never been capable of before. The tactical skills that have been taking U.S. war planners and troops by surprise over the past two weeks have been a documented characteristic of the ordinary Iraqi army -- and not just its elite Republican Guard units -- for the past 20 years.
OFFENSE AND DEFENSE The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon The man is toast - or should be.
As the ground campaign against Saddam Hussein faltered last week, with attenuated supply lines and a lack of immediate reinforcements, there was anger in the Pentagon. Several senior war planners complained to me in interviews that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers, who had been chiefly responsible for persuading President Bush to lead the country into war, had insisted on micromanaging the war’s operational details. Rumsfeld’s team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day logistical planning—traditionally, an area in which the uniformed military excels—and Rumsfeld repeatedly overruled the senior Pentagon planners on the Joint Staff, the operating arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “He thought he knew better,” one senior planner said. “He was the decision-maker at every turn.”
Wouldn't it be nice to see such investigative reporting in the Administration's economic policies? Guess we're going to have to wait for a disaster in that area before any intrepid reporter actually starts sniffing the wind...
Outside View: Supply Side Insanity Maybe a sign our valiant press corps are finally waking up to the fact that the Iraqi war games aren't the only scripted models out there.
"This looks like a rerun of a bad movie." So says President George W. Bush when it comes to the failures and limitations of Iraq weapons inspections. He should of, however, been using this phrase to discuss another left-over policy failure of his father's and of Ronald Reagan's administrations: Supply-side economics. When will it finally sink in, that if insanity is repeating the same inanity ad nauseam, and expecting a different result, Bush's current economic stimulus plan is the Howard Hughes of fiscal policy. All this because some ideologue named Arthur Laffer was bored one night in a bar and drew some farcical design on a napkin, which then came to be called Reagonomics. Here are the facts, plain and simple. President Reagan did not cut spending during the 80's as is so often claimed, but increased it overall with his huge defense budgets, and even through restructuring Social Security to add federal workers into its universe. He cut marginal tax rates by historic amounts, but then raised payroll taxes, closed corporate loopholes -- Read: raised corporate taxes -- and even raised the gas tax. Still, he managed to quadruple our national debt while enacting this "conservative" program. Two presidencies later, Bill Clinton, that "economic liberal" that he was, with the help of Hamiltonian treasury secretary and former chairman of Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, did much the opposite. "Rubinomics" as it is derisively called by captivated tax-cutting conservatives, put a premium on balancing the federal budget and bringing down long-term interest rates in the process, giving us a decade of historic prosperity. I don't need to go through all the figures here. Well, how about just a few. Twenty-three million new jobs created under the Clinton Administration. Unemployment at 4 percent. An explosion in technological innovation. Ahh, remember those days. Now splash some cold water on your face and come back to the dreary present.
Let's hope they keep adding calcium to their spinal region and stop falling prey to the Zombie mind tricks.
Rising Oil Prices Slow Flow to U.S. Refineries Stockpiles of Fuel At Historic Lows Another ripening crisis caused by rosy predictions of a short, surgical war. A "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario.
The uncertain course of the war and the accompanying gyrations in oil prices are making U.S. energy companies wary about rebuilding depleted fuel inventories with high-priced crude. The companies also are worried that a sudden favorable turn in the war could caused oil prices to plummet. "If we ever get past this crisis, crude prices will drop like a rock," said Mary Rose Brown, vice president and spokesman of Valero Energy Corp. in San Antonio, one of the largest U.S. refiners. "Does it make you more cautious? Yes. Any barrel you buy today that would have been be cheaper next month -- that would be a stupid move."
David Frum is a Moron Toady. Bootlicker. Ass kisser.

The NeoDotCom Bubble

Another great way of describing what's happening to your mother! Everyone knows about the irrational exuberence that led to the Dot Com bubble bursting...
This wasn't actually supposed to be a war, you see; the Suits were planning a media event, complete with television cameras, celebrities and babes - the most thoroughly-hyped product rollout since Windows95. For Jagger's "Start Me Up" just dub in "Shock and Awe" and, presto! From BushCo, it's all-new, compatible, reliable and user-friendly. Introducing Iraq2.0! But the Suits' InvasionLite™ Regime Installer turned out to be vaporware. And despite the special delivery, it seems clear that Saddam didn't get the script. And if those dinosaurs in uniform hadn't shipped, as backup, their legacy of tracks and boots? Plan Chickenhawk would have led, inarguably, to military disaster. Right now, CNN and Al Jazeera would be showing week after grim week of American POWs, downed helicopters and grinning Iraqi troops. Joy on the Arab street. Panic on Wall Street. And America, under this CEO President, would be hemorrhaging a great deal more than cash.
KILLING THE PIG! The great people over at the Daily Howler illustrate exactly how stupid the Zombie press is at Day 12 of the Iraqi war. Andrew Sullivan, if he had an analytical bone in his body, should be reading this stuff. But he loses interest after seeing the domain of the link. Self deception == Self Defeat

"My President Went On A Crusade, And All I Got Was This Lousy Police State"

(c)2003 V
Plans Under Way for Christianizing the Enemy Ann Coulter was right.
Two leading evangelical Christian missionary organizations said Tuesday that they have teams of workers poised to enter Iraq to address the physical and spiritual needs of a large Muslim population. The Southern Baptist Convention, the country's largest Protestant denomination, and the Rev. Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse said workers are near the Iraq border in Jordan and are ready to go in as soon as it is safe. The relief and missionary work is certain to be closely watched because both Graham and the Southern Baptist Convention have been at the heart of controversial evangelical denunciations of Islam, the world's second largest religion. Both organizations said their priority will be to provide food, shelter and other needs to Iraqis ravaged by recent war and years of neglect. But if the situation presents itself, they will also share their Christian faith in a country that's estimated to be 98 percent Muslim and about 1 percent Christian. "We go where we have the opportunity to meet needs," said Ken Isaacs,international director of projects for Samaritan's Purse, located in Boone, N.C. "We do not deny the name of Christ. We believe in sharing him in deed and in word. We'll be who we are."
Wonder if they war gamed the outcome of this scenario...
NBC, National Geographic Fire Journalist Peter Arnett Suprise.
``My stupid misjudgment was to spend 15 minutes in an impromptu interview with Iraqi television that has been received with anger, surprise and, clearly, unhappily in the United States and for that I am sorry,'' Arnett said in an interview this morning with NBC's ``Today'' show. NBC is owned by General Electric Co.
Mystery Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread, Quarantine Issued Meanwhile, the real entity with the biological weapons would like some attention.
Health officials announced a sharp rise Monday in cases of a flu-like disease at a Hong Kong apartment complex and slapped a 10-day quarantine on one building as they scrambled to contain the illness that has killed nearly 60 people worldwide. The 92 new cases at Amoy Gardens apartments brought the total number infected in the 19-building complex to 213. The surge in cases led some health officials to fear severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, could be more contagious than initially expected. There is still no known treatment for SARS, which has killed nearly 60 people with the majority of cases in Hong Kong and China. Three new deaths were reported Sunday, one each in Hong Kong, Toronto and Singapore. More than 1,600 people have been infected worldwide. A World Health Organization official said Monday that experts believe they can soon identify the virus causing SARS, though finding a cure could take longer.
I can't wait for Andrew Sullivan to start blaming the disease and the battle to contain it on the liberal media.

3/30/2003

Peter Arnett to State-Run Iraqi TV: American War Plan Has Failed Not that this exact same thing hasn't been said all over the American media, but he's still going to get gored for this. It's not as if Saddam isn't getting Fox, you know. But the Zombies are going to rip him to shreds.
Has anyone else noticed the similarity of the shenanigans in the Millennium Games and the notion of Dynamic Scoring that this Administration is using for it's overly rosy Economic Projections? I know, I'm speaking to the wind, but I think the comparison is identical (same self-deception belief model required). Economic projections are used to guide our economic policy making. They are the mathematical simulations that model whatever the government is thinking of implementing in the economic realm. Just like a war game, it isn't a perfect simulation. Once the shooting starts, all you can really hope is that you've simulated well. So when you have an Administration willing to cook the books when it comes to military war games, I think everyone should also be asking if they are doing the same thing with economic policy. They've shown consistent brow beating of their own economists into switching their published positions on economic modeling, such as whether long term Debt is a bad thing or not. I mean, if you have several high profile economic theorists flip their previously published record, maybe you should be wondering if they are doing the economic model equivalent of re-floating two Naval Boats sunk by Suicide Bombers in a war game. Since the people hired to replace the Administration's economic team - remember that? - are essentially doing the same flip, one has to wonder about their rosy conclusions for our economy. And the media Zombies have been using their megaphones to drive everyone into voting for it - making it not just a decision to be made carefully, but something that has to be done FAST so you don't have much time to think about their goof ball Zombie mind tricks. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to go through the Millennium Games experience that the Red team did and not think these guys weren't cooking the books? And the common theme throughout all this is essentially the Wizard of Oz effect of this Administration. After all, they hold their cards very close to their chest and bite the hand off of anyone who tries to pull the curtain aside. Their big smoky hologram floating head with great special effects keeps the other Zombies transfixed. The loud, booming, angry voice with the pointing finger keeps the rest of the rubes in line. Basically, we could have the economic equivalent of Iraq already in progress - or a sagging economy about to be made much, much worse. Cool!
Josh Marshall seems to be drinking a whole gallon of the Kool-Aid
In any case, the attribution is what makes this such a big story. The White House is in such a state of pandemonium and implosion that they are discarding the policy -- indeed, they are positively undermining it -- in the hopes of insulating the president from the immense fall-out that they can see barreling down the track. Consider also that, saying the president was "out of the loop" -- seemingly a family failing -- on the central policy of his administration is a devastating admission of incompetence on its own. So that tells you what they think of the consequences of remaining attached to the policy. If you need some evidence that our country is in some trouble, there it is.
This is going to get really ugly really fast.
War game was fixed to ensure American victory, claims general Here's a nice blast from the past dated August 21, 2002
The games were designed to test experimental new tactics and doctrines advocated by the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and were referred to in Pentagon-speak as "military transformation". The transformation is aimed at making US forces more mobile and daring, but Gen Van Riper said that the "concepts" the game were supposed to test, with names such as "effects-based operations" and "rapid, decisive operations", were little more than "slogans", which had not been properly put to the test by the exercise.
I'd only like to point out that this is precisely the exact same pattern that we see from the Administration regarding their economic plan. Let's see if our crack reporters will salvage some of their reputation by flushing that out BEFORE the next round of idiocy is fully implemented.
A Budget of Dire Consequences Meanwhile, back in another self-delusionary scenario the current Administration has proposed, David Broder drinks the Kool-Aid and finally sees the class warfare inherent in the war games of this Administration's budget predictions.
Rather than throw a lifeline to the states and these people, the House budget would cut federal funding for Medicaid by $92 billion and also reduce other vital programs. Veterans' benefits are slated to take a $14 billion hit. A similar cut is required for the earned-income tax credit, a subsidy for the working poor. Food stamps would be reduced by $13 billion, school lunch and other child nutrition programs by $6 billion. There are also multibillion-dollar reductions in store for such programs as foster care and adoption assistance and child support enforcement. And what is driving all this? Room must be made, the House Republicans insist, for the full $726 billion tax cut that President Bush wants to add this year to the massive cut he pushed through Congress -- in a time of supposed surpluses -- in 2001. The Senate voted to limit the new tax cut to $350 billion, still an extravagance but not one so large as to force these reductions in low-income programs. The trade-off involves Bush's proposal to eliminate taxes on most dividends -- an additional benefit that, it is estimated, will help bring the promised tax cuts for millionaires to the nice round sum of $90,000 a year. What kind of values would say it's more important to help the rich?
What kind indeed.
Bush reportedly shielded from dire forecast
Richard Perle, an influential former Pentagon official who is close to Rumsfeld, reportedly gave a briefing to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs 10 days ago in which he predicted that the war would last no longer than three weeks. "And there is a good chance that it will be less than that," he said. U.S. intelligence agencies insist that they warned policymakers and war planners about the risks of Iraqi unconventional warfare. A Feb. 3 CIA report predicted that Iraqi irregulars might employ hit-and-run tactics and dress in civilian garb, a U.S. official said. It suggested that militias could pose the greatest threat to coalition forces, said the official.
It'll be interesting to see who takes the fall.
They eat their young. Bob Novak, who was one of the early paleocons who was against this war, is personally delivering the chickenhawks to the wolves.
India FIle: Oh! What a lovely war Real or not, the sharks smell blood in the water.
The Anglo-American-Aussies have reached the Gates of Baghdad. A tremendous military achievement, say Rummy and his acolytes at the Qatar headquarters of the invading forces. I am intrigued. One of my jobs as deputy chief of mission in Baghdad all those years ago was to drive out from Baghdad to meet the large number of Shias of Indian origin who thronged Karbala and Najaf. We would set out in the morning after a leisurely breakfast, reach Karbala in time for elevenses, eat an enormous lunch at an Indian divine's home in Najaf a stone's throw from Ayatollah Ruhoollah Khomeini's home-in-exile at the time and drive back via the bridgehead over the Euphrates which the Americans have, they claim, "secured" at An Nasiriyah, to be in Baghdad by dinner time. The Americans drive twice that distance every weekend. Driving unopposed over scrubland along Western-built motorways which bypass all habitations, and slowed only by traffic jams caused by your own convoys, is, frankly, no great shakes. It is the angry towns and anguished villages left to the rear which contain the Iraqi irregulars raring to hit the enemy when his back is turned and his attention distracted. It is Stalingrad in the making. Once the enemy is past the gates, that will be the day of reckoning. The arrogance of techno-power will reach the end of its usefulness. Goliath will meet the sling-shot of David. Gen. William Wallace, or whomever else Gen. Tommy Franks details to the task brings to mind Gen. Friedrich von Paulus of the Thousand-Year Reich poised with supreme techno-confidence on the banks of the River Volga fringing the besieged city of Stalingrad. The skirmishes are over. The war is about to begin. I ready myself for it by switching between TV channels and glancing at William Craig's 1973 masterpiece on the Battle of Stalingrad 1942-43: "Enemy at the Gates". My edition was published many years ago by Penguin Classical History -- gift it to President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
U.S. Warning on Respiratory Disease This seems to be very serious. Let's hope our health officials have done far better at their simulations and "flu-gaming" than our millitary has done.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned yesterday that a mysterious respiratory disease, which has infected hundreds of people worldwide, could be spread very efficiently through close contact and expressed deep concern that it might also be spread through the air or on contaminated objects. "The potential for infecting large numbers of people is very great," said the director, Dr. Julie L. Gerberding. "We may be in the very early stages of a much larger" epidemic of a disease for which there is no specific treatment beyond standard supportive nursing and respiratory care, Dr. Gerberding added.
Ugh. Once the damn starts to leak badly, you know that you're going to soon be seeing it burst. Right now, the nexus of undeniable facts on the ground in Iraq seemed to have provided enough pressure to force some major leaks in the damn holding back all the crap of the last two years. It's anybody's guess when it's actually going to burst, and some professional damn builders and engineers are giving some good estimates, but there isn't anyone predicting that it's not going to burst open and burst big. Read Josh Marshall's post which contains the text of a very interesting email he received...
After Option 3 goes into play, Bush will need to deflect blame in order to try and save his political skin. He will let Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz know that he wants their resignations. The finger pointing around town will be staggering. Career military officers and CIA/DIA analysts will continue to leak damaging stories of how their concerns were suppressed at "the political level." A number of military officers will resign/retire because the honor of their service and the lives of their men/women were needlessly squandered by an arrogant and deaf political leadership. There will be calls from the talking heads that if Bush wants to be re-elected, he should start to focus on the economy and replace the disgraced Cheney on the ticket in 2004 with Colin Powell. The Democrats will be as ineffectual as ever in taking advantage of all this.
Franks Says He Did Not Request More Troops Before Invasion
The commander of the U.S. war in Iraq denied Sunday that he had asked the Pentagon for more troops before invading the country but sidestepped a question about whether the war might last into the summer.

3/29/2003

Report: Rumseld Ignored Pentagon Advice on Iraq Guess we know who's in charge of self deception in this Administration.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon (news - web sites) planners that substantially more troops and armor would be needed to fight a war in Iraq (news - web sites), New Yorker Magazine reported. In an article for its April 7 edition, which goes on sale on Monday, the weekly said Rumsfeld insisted at least six times in the run-up to the conflict that the proposed number of ground troops be sharply reduced and got his way. "He thought he knew better. He was the decision-maker at every turn," the article quoted an unidentified senior Pentagon planner as saying. "This is the mess Rummy put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground." It also said Rumsfeld had overruled advice from war commander Gen. Tommy Franks to delay the invasion until troops denied access through Turkey could be brought in by another route and miscalculated the level of Iraqi resistance. "They've got no resources. He was so focused on proving his point -- that the Iraqis were going to fall apart," the article, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, cited an unnamed former high-level intelligence official as saying.
michael moore planning 9/11 documentary, will cover bush-bin laden connection Bet this will go over well with this Administration.
Cook calls for UK troop withdrawal
He attacked Mr Bush for "sitting pretty in the comfort of Camp David" while Allied forces risked death in an "unnecessary and badly planned" war. "It is easy to show you are resolute when you are not one of the guys in a sandstorm peering around for snipers," he said. "Nobody should start a war on the assumption that the enemy's army will co-operate. But that is exactly what President Bush has done. "And now his marines have reached the outskirts of Baghdad, he does not seem to know what to do next."
I guess that's because we didn't war game this.
"Shortly before I resigned, a cabinet colleague told me not to worry about the political fallout - the war would be finished long before polling day for the May local elections," he said. "I just hope those who expected a quick victory are proved right."
Amen.

Giving aid and comfort to the enemy

Again, the constant refrain on the Right is that THE WAR ISN'T GOING WELL BECAUSE OF THE MEDIA. Great, isn't it? Michael Savage is on the tube now literally ranting, frothing at the mouth, begging for MEDIA CONTROL. Every media in America gets the same feed! One source of news all the time. One problem with all the media critics is that merely controlling American media just won't work. They would have to force ALL THE WORLD'S MEDIA to get their news from the same feed. There would have to be only one official source of reality, and that would be this Administration. And it still won't change the facts of the war. All it will do is guarantee self deception in everyone. So it was a nice coincidence that I just read a great article on MSNBC's web site about the war games run in preparation for this war with Iraq, War games vs. war reality. What is striking is the theme of what happened during the war gaming of this war we are witnessing in Iraq. In particular, it's actually an attitude and belief structure that is dominate in the people shrilly screaming at both the anti-war people and the "liberal" media. Let's call them, for lack of a better name, Zombies. The common theme of these Zombies is that they want to delude not only themselves, but us as well. They want to eat your brain. On the media side, the Zombies include everyone who is implying - or coming right out and saying it - that any negative reporting of our troops is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. As Michael Savage said, "All media should get their news from a single feed". Andrew Sullivan, another fine Zombie, doesn't come quite out and say things like that, but he sure implies it. The Zombie bloggers are questioning the motives of any reporting that is critical of our war effort in Iraq, or any facts which portray the condition our troops in a bad light. And I'm not excluding a lot of opinion here, this is a very large and vocal group. For example, it has been reported that some of our troops are almost out of spare parts. Given the worst sandstorm seen in Iraq in a while (predicted), and given our sensitive high tech stuff (like night vision devices and IR targeting) as well as our sensitive turbine driven machinery that doesn't like the heat, this shouldn't be surprising. Given that our supply line, which is hundreds of miles long, is under constant attack and uncertainty, one would be literally surprised to find out otherwise. If you come down on the side of the meme that says the media shouldn't report this information on principle, or that there's too much of this kind of reporting in the media and we need to change the message, then you fall into the group of people I'm calling Zombies. The reason why is that these facts are obvious to the entire world, including Iraq. The problem is that anyone who is even wondering why we are even reporting these facts - facts already widely known - can really have only one and only one motive for doing so. Self deception. Michael Savage just came right out and said it, bless his soul. "The war on the ground is going well, but we're losing the propaganda war". Most of the more honest individuals propagating this Zombie viewpoint will even opine that the "real" problem with the (liberal or not) press is that they are choosing to report and give air time to only the bad news. The implication is that the liberal leanings of the press are trying to sway public opinion away from the war in an effort to undermine it. The erroneous assumption is that if we just simply stopped being negative about everything, we'd be winning this war. If we can just deceive ourselves a bit, everything will work out fine. Of course, the problem with this is all the rosy predictions of how the war would go from everyone who was for this insanity. Andrew Sullivan, for example, will smirk while he's pointing out that Bill Clinton predicted a rosy scenario for this war. Many others who fall into this large group of like minded individuals are already working overtime digging up similar quotes from every democrat on the planet for posting tomorrow (Sunday). The obvious response to Herr Sullivan is that neither Bill Clinton nor any other Democrat was in on the planning and prosecution for this little war y'all are having. They were the ones who bought the nostrom you were peddling before the war. In any event, most of these people are Zombies too. Just look at the wooden Indian, Smoking Joe Lieberman. He's even a real, live Democratic candidate hoping to unseat Bush in 2004. How Liberal and Zombie can you get? Pulling a Trent Lott debate on the anti-war side is just a clever Zombie mind trick. It's similar to the Jedi mind trick, but only works if your stupid enough to believe it's working. All one can really do is shake one's head and wonder in disbelief at someone arguing that because liberals are idiots as well, it's okay for Andrew Sullivan to be an idiot, too. Fair and balanced Zombies.

“You don’t come to a conclusion beforehand and then work your way to that conclusion. You see how the thing plays out."

This the real problem with the Zombies. When they are running the military, they determine what the reality should be, and then war game accordingly. If the war doesn't go as planned, then you just change reality, backup time, and make the enemy do the right thing this time. Right? Now, I don't have to imagine that this is the case. As Lt. Gen. William Wallace, the commander of Army V Corps said, "The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war gamed against. We knew they were here, but we did not know how they would fight." The war gaming that Wallace was referring to in that quote was the Millennium Challenge, a war game over three weeks during July and August of 2002. This was the war gaming that simulated the war we're currently fighting.
“Instead of a free-play, two-sided game … it simply became a scripted exercise.” The conduct of the game did not allow “for the concepts of rapid decisive operations, effects-based operations, or operational net assessment to be properly assessed. … It was in actuality an exercise that was almost entirely scripted to ensure a Blue ‘win.’ ”
What I claim all the Zombies are doing with their media and anti-war bashing is simply trying to fix the script - the media script. Their war "games" are not going as planned, and they want to float the sunk boats and make sure the "game" continues as they predicted. Many of the Zombies want to go as far as just controlling the media's information sources entirely, so no one will have to re-edit history. It's simply messy and irritating. It also gives those damn liberal conspiracy theorists something to write and whine about. If we never let anyone know the mistakes, then they simply didn't happen. Right? Then we would be able to really get the war done without having to play by the panty waisted girly boy rules of engagement that are costing American lives. Drop a MOAB on their ass. Now, in my kinder moments, I completely understand and agree with the issue of morale at home. But one just has to consider that perhaps the biggest morale buster a military person can have is to lose faith in their commanders and the strategy they are following. And it doesn't take the liberal media to have the troops find this out. They experience it in real time, with real bullets and real bombs. Michael Savage can sing and dance all he wants, but they're out there actually in the shit hole and he can't change that fact. It's claimed that reporting the truth of the self deception of the people in charge of this war only gives aid and comfort to Saddam. I claim that scripting the war game for this war and then doing it despite all the evidence to the contrary it would work is giving aid and comfort to Saddam. The military position Saddam is now in, 10 days after the start of the war, is the direct result of scripting the Millennium Challenge. It isn't because of France. It isn't because of the UN security council. It certainly isn't because of the anti-war protestors. The clear and undeniable fact is that we should be in a far better position than we are now in. We don't have enough troops to do the job, and the vast bulk of the reserves won't be there for another three to four weeks. We have a supply line hundreds of kilometers long under constant attack. Again, this is a direct result of the self deception required to script the Millennium Challenge instead of really playing the game and just looking at the facts. It is the direct result of self deception at the highest planning levels in this Administration. So all of you Zombies out there who already know the answer about everything, let me just point out that you don't seem to actually have the power to change reality. We're in a shit hole now, and it's because of the way you think. The way you self-deceive. The way you will not allow any criticism. Our troops have thrown away the game plan you came up with, and two years of military planning has gone completely down the drain. This is not something to be glossed over lightly. As all you Zombies consistently point out, these are American troops - our men and women. Ours. And because you scripted the answer and the Iraqis aren't following the script, they are in a bad position. We don't have the initiative and we should. We're the most powerful nation on the earth and you severely weakened it by systemic self deception. Normally, people lose their jobs for such blatant mistakes. But the Zombie crowd thinks that doing this would lead to even lower morale. So now the media Zombies want to replicate this error on the scale of the entire American population. They want scripted and controlled reporting of the war. They don't want anyone to know what's going on, rather only report official results. We have already seen the devastating results of such a strategy, and our troops are paying for it dearly. Are all you Zombies really proposing that we compound one stupendous mistake with yet another of precisely the same kind? Except on a national scale? A global scale? I guess you are. And quite frankly that would seem to be the greatest aid and comfort you can give to the enemy at this point.
SpinSanity goes after Ann Coulter and Adrew Sullivan. Good read, but of course it falls on deaf ears.

3/28/2003

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In a Jan. 7 Knight Ridder/Princeton Research poll, 44% of respondents said they thought "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers were Iraqi citizens. Only 17% of those polled offered the correct answer: none. This was remarkable in light of the fact that, in the weeks after 9/11, few Americans identified Iraqis among the culprits. So the level of awareness on this issue actually plunged as time passed. Is it possible the media failed to give this appropriate attention? In the same sample, 41% said that Iraq already possessed nuclear weapons, which not even the Bush administration claimed. Despite being far off base in crucial areas, 66% of respondents claimed to have a "good understanding" of the arguments for and against going to war with Iraq. Then, a Pew Research Center/Council on Foreign Relations survey released Feb. 20 found that nearly two-thirds of those polled believed that U.N. weapons inspectors had "found proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction." Neither Hans Blix nor Mohamed ElBaradei ever said they found proof of this. The same survey found that 57% of those polled believed Saddam Hussein helped terrorists involved with the 9/11 attacks, a claim the Bush team had abandoned. A March 7-9 New York Times/CBS News Poll showed that 45% of interviewees agreed that "Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," and a March 14-15 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found this apparently mistaken notion holding firm at 51%. The significance of this is suggested by the finding, in the same survey, that 32% of those supporting an attack cited Saddam's alleged involvement in supporting terrorists as the "main reason" for endorsing invasion. Another 43% said it was "one reason." Knowing this was a crucial element of his support -- even though he could not prove the 9/11 connection -- the president nevertheless tried to bolster the link. Bush mentioned 9/11 eight times during his March 6 prime-time news conference, linking it with Saddam Hussein "often in the same breath," Linda Feldmann of The Christian Science Monitor observed last week. "Bush never pinned the blame for the [9/11] attacks directly on the Iraqi president," Feldmann wrote. "Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public." Carroll Doherty, editor of the Pew Research Center, told me last week: "It's very rare to find a perception that's been so disputed by experts yet firmly held by the public. There's almost nothing the public doesn't believe about Saddam Hussein." The question, again, is: Did the press do a solid enough job in informing the public about the key contested issues? "If the U.S. war against Iraq goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war," Feldmann conceded. "But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire." Newspapers could be, too..
Again, I just have to ask. If the American public is completely misinformed as to the basic facts of this war and the facts of 9/11, how on earth can anyone say with a straight face that the press has done their job? I mean, really? I don't care which side of the Bush you find yourself on, you have to look at these results in stunned disbelief. I mean only 17% of the American public correctly knew that none of the 9/11 terrorists were Iraqi. 17%!!!!
Now that the prewar march is behind us, let's hope the press does a better job of informing Americans in a post-Saddam world
I just want to point out that again we see the incredible insanity of believing the meme "people who have done everything wrong up until this point will somehow miraculously start doing everything right". I mean, considering what we've seen so far, I have absolutely no hope at all that the press is going to inform anyone about anything - much less host a serious debate about the galactic sized cow pie we just stepped in. Stunned. Simply stunned.
Okay Glenn, let's say that in the next few days that the Iraqi's start using chemical or biological weapons when the coalition crosses the red line around Baghdad. Are you going to be giddy with barely contained irrational exuberance at being proven right about Iraqi's WMD? Certainly, there's going to be a hell of a lot of "I told you so's" from those who believed this all along. I'm sure you'd be barely able to contain yourself in posting your own. However, I doubt anyone will actually be pleased to see chemical or biological weapons used on our troops. Even if their use confirms your beliefs about Saddam's regime and makes the nay sayers look like fools. So perhaps you can understand the dilemma that those of us on the Left side of the Bush have when the dire predictions about the Iraq war seem to be coming true. Yes, there's a lot of qualified "I told you so's". But absolutely no one is pleased to see our worst nightmares come true. I know it's hard for you to believe but maybe if you reversed the positions as I suggest above, you can perhaps understand better what those of us on the Left are feeling at this point. It's not a giddy joy you're seeing. Not giddy joy at all. It's not our hubris that got us here.

Purity of Essence

Instapundit pisses me off with
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: Roscoe Shrewsbury emails:
On the one hand, the Anti-American Class has been saying all along that Iraq is no threat to anyone; on the other, they are now crowing with trembling, barely-suppressed glee, that Iraq is far more formidable than anyone had supposed.
Yes, I've noticed that myself.
Okay Glenn, so the people who never wanted war, who are pacifists, are the trembling with barely suppressed glee at seeing our troops put into the shit hole that the Neocons dug with their own hands? The giddiness is the same giddiness shown by Peter Seller's character in Dr. Strangelove when he realizes that the entire world is going to be destroyed in nuclear holocaust by the insane sequence of events caused by a man obsessed with "Purity of Essence". I mean, can you guys be any more dense? Yes, I'm sure that we'll continue to see even deeper levels of cognitive dissonance to come. Watch the Cain Mutiny Glenn. And then tell me about more about the Strawberries. Or are those WMDs? Yea, we're all giddy with unbridled joy over our worst nightmares becoming reality. Just giddy as hell.
They were all disloyal. I tried to run the ship properly by the book, but they fought me at every turn. If the crew wanted to walk around with their shirttails hanging out, that's all right, let them! Take the towline - defective equipment, no more, no less. But they encouraged the crew to go around, scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about steaming in circles and then 'Old Yellowstain.' I was to blame for Lieutenant Maryk's incompetence and poor seamanship. Lieutenant Maryk was the perfect officer, but not Captain Queeg. Ah, but the strawberries! That's, that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with, with geometric logic, that, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist. And I would have produced that key if they hadn't pulled the Caine out of action. I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer. (He pauses - looks at all the questioning faces that stare back at him, and realizes that he has been ranting and raving.) Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory...
Best quote of the day comes from Charles Pierce
If the Democrats were an actual political party, they’d make mighty hay out of the notion that Dick Cheney’s old company now has a sweet no-bid deal to rebuild whatever we blow up in Iraq. (This is the kind of naked grab-it-all that would embarrass a county commissioner.) Of course, this also is the party that takes seriously Weepin’ Joe Lieberman, now working his night job as the Indian who stands outside the Neocon Cigar Store. Remember, if you will, that 2000 vice-presidential debate, when Cheney actually said the Halliburton’s success under his stewardship had nothing to do with government work. Lieberman’s response to this bare-faced non-fact was audible only to dogs. To hell with the ticket. I’m prepared to propose that we stop Weepin’ Joe at the Connecticut border and refuse to allow him into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until the 2004 convention in Boston ends.

Gotterdammerung of ridiculousness

Josh Marshall drinks the Kool-Aid Finally committed to the "This is absolutely insane and getting worse by the millisecond" world view. To all those on the Right side of the Bush, I'd like an answer to the question Josh asks
Let's assume Bill Clinton had launched the country on a major war on the other side of the globe. Clinton's top military advisors had told him and his Sec Def that he was sending them to war gravely under-gunned, without all they needed to get the job done and protect the lives of American troops. Then let's assume that Clinton and his Sec Def ignored their advice. He and the Sec Def told the generals they didn't understand how modern wars were fought and sent them out anyway. And then let's assume that the generals and admirals warnings were rapidly confirmed on the battlefield with a bogged down offensive and an escalating number of American casualties. Do you think Clinton and his Sec Def might be in some hot water? Yeah, me too.
He is almost starting to sound giddy with disbelief of the world around him, though.
Finally, is it time -- strictly for humanitarian reasons -- to set up a journalistic no-fly-zone to give some sanctuary for the hawks who've been telling us for months that a few good SWAT Teams could take down Saddam's regime. I mean, think about Ken Adelman, who last month said that Iraq would be a cakewalk. (Okay, what did he really say? Ummm, well "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." I think that counts as calling it a cakewalk.) Now he's been driven to the hills by reportorial fedayeen. He's exposed to the elements and short on food. Or what about Richard Perle who said Saddam's regime was "a house of cards [which would] collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder." Sure, AEI would like to send out a relief mission. But most of their troops are up in the hills with those makeshift tarp-and-cardboard tents like Adelman and Perle. And well -- how to put this? -- let's just say they're just not in much of a position to beg relief from the UNHCR. Can't we at least protect these war-hawk worthies from fixed-wing aircraft, if nothing else? Toss 'em some MREs from the spare C-130? I mean, just for humanitarian purposes.
I think that Josh must be pretty sure that things really are turning to shit so fast that there's no hope of a quick victory to be saying things like that. He does, of course, give a very prudent warning of irrational predictions on the course of war in a previous post.
And I think it's still to soon to fully evaluate Rumsfeld's plan. Perhaps Saddam's regime will collapse spectacularly in the coming days. But at the moment the results of Rumsfeld's gamble are not looking very good.
This could all turn on a dime and a week from now we could all be citizens of the new empire. But it really does look very bad from what I can gather. As I said, the fact that Josh has drank the insanity Kool-Aid and is currently assimilating in stunned disbelief
I have a simple request: Is it possible for the Bush administration to go one day without fulfilling its critics' direst predictions about its war aims and operational abilities?.
Turning to Russian analysts, we can see how perhaps grim the situation really is
March 28, 2003, 1448hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - According to the latest intercepted radio communications, the command of the coalition group of forces near Karabela requested at least 12 more hours to get ready to storm the town. This delay is due to the much heavier losses sustained by the coalition troops during the sand storms then was originally believed. Just the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division sustained more than 200 disabled combat vehicles of various types. The 101st Airborne Division reported some 70 helicopters as being disabled. Additionally, the recently delivered reinforcements require rest and time to prepare for combat.
I hope the military is as pissed as I am about all this. I really hope everyone remembers this "bold roll of the dice" (to quote Friedman) and the resulting snake eyes on the table. This sucks. Read the rest of the post for some really interesting "end of the week" lessons learned, myths destroyed and other fun analysis of the worst military blunder for quite some time. One thing that I think is getting lost in all the apoplectic shock reverberating throughout the world today is that there are many ways to severely weaken the United States. The one we heard so much about before the war dice were rolled was the danger of just pulling our troops out of the region. The (correct) belief that we would severely weaken our position in the world and everyone would see that we were just panty waisted girly boys if we didn't follow through with military force, seeing as how we went to all the trouble to ship the troops there and all. If we didn't fight this war, every tin cup dictator in the world would see that we had no resolve - that America was weak and didn't mean what it said. I think now we can safely say that there is also the severe damage one can do to the United States by showing the entire world what absolute fools we can be when the neocons are rolling the dice. One saying comes quickly to mind which may help illustrate the point
Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, rather than to speak and remove all doubt
Now, obviously this quote is aptly aimed at people like me, but the same can be said for the military. There were a lot of people going to school on this whole theatre of the surreal. A lot of myths we've been telling ourselves - well, some people have been telling themselves - have been shattered on the hard rock of Iraq.
The worst is yet to come The US is losing the propaganda war, and it could get a lot worse at the gates of the capital This is from our friends down under, part of the coalition of the willing.
And this week a military intelligence officer said: "The intelligence we gathered before the war accurately reflected what the troops are seeing out there now. The question is whether the war planners and policymakers took adequate notice of it in preparing the plan." US complaints about the nature of the fighting suggest it anticipated the Iraqis would work from West Point and Sandhurst military manuals.
Pass the vegemite and throw me another beer, mate.
Scientists Warn on Bush Bioweapons Push Okay, read this and think about it for a second. And then remember that we still haven't found the Anthrax Terrorist. Remember that episode? Remember all the speculation that this was one of our own? Remember?
Many believe the anthrax attacks that killed five people and briefly paralyzed Capitol Hill in 2001 were launched by a scientist with access to one of the government's high-security facilities — called Biosafety Level 4 labs, or BSL-4 for short.
Does anyone really want to gamble this heavily on the hubris of believing that we don't have any evil people or corporations working for America? So are we creating the enemy in order to defeat the enemy?
Government officials insist that the labs will be secure and serve only defensive purposes. But the U.S. military has a history of dabbling in biological agent programs that push up against a 30-year-old international treaty banning them.
U.S. Says Syrian Shipments to Iraq Are `Hostile Acts' I guess we can now fight three wars with Afghanistan tied behind our back, right Mr. Rumsfeld?
Asked if he was threatening military action against Syria for allowing shipments of night-vision goggles and other equipment, Rumsfeld replied that his statement was ``carefully phrased.''
Which would be a much welcomed change from the author of the "Old Europe" fiasco.
As Eyes of the World Focus on Iraq, The Rest of the World's Hotspots Get Hotter Meanwhile, in other apocalyptic news
Indian-Pakistani relations deteriorated to a dangerous level yesterday after New Delhi blamed Islamabad for a massacre in Kashmir earlier this week. Early yesterday India test-fired a nuclear-capable missile and, a few hours later, Pakistan followed suit. The confrontation between the neighbors, both nuclear powers, is the most serious of a number of troublespots bubbling up while the focus of Washington and Europe is fixed on the war in Iraq. North Korea, another nuclear power, also took a series of provocative steps yesterday aimed at antagonizing Washington, including ending one of the few vehicles for contact left open with the US. It also announced a rise in defense spending. The war in Iraq has disrupted US-Russian strategic arms reduction talks. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict hovers on the brink of a new catastrophe. Nancy Soderberg, a member of the Clinton administration's national security council and a former US ambassador to the UN, said yesterday that there was a problem of focus with the Bush administration. "I think it is a one-crisis administration," she said. Victor Bulmer-Thomas, director of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, speaking about the India-Pakistan confrontation and the standoff with North Korea, said yesterday: "War creates certain latitude for testing enemy responses."
Conservatives Tailor Tone to Fit Course of the War
Many of those commentators who argued for the doctrine of a United States-enforced world order, including Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol and Andrew Sullivan, said Iraqis would welcome allied troops as liberators. Others predicted a swift victory against a grossly outmatched and disloyal Iraqi military. Now, with televised images of Iraqis chanting anti-American slogans, and with Saddam Hussein's troops fighting back hard, the pundits have returned to the offensive, echoing President Bush's optimism and denouncing what they see as pessimism in the news media. There is a range of views among the so-called hawks. Some simply urge patience. Some agree that they may have added to the perception that victory would come easily.
Only in America can the process of Covering Your Ass be seen as a news worthy event.
Mr. Limbaugh said he blamed the nature of the news business for what he considered to be overly negative coverage. "Four thousand safe plane landings a day doesn't make news," he said. "It's the same thing here. I don't think on balance this is any ideological expression on the part of most press people. They're oriented toward finding things that go wrong." Mr. Kristol said he did not think current perceptions would matter at the end of the war. "All the media stuff doesn't matter," he said. "In the end, reality matters. No one remembers Day 3 was a good day, Day 4 was bad. Have we been successful in helping create a decent government in Iraq? Reality trumps everything."
Except here in America.
Ari Fleischer Fan Club A critical reminder of what exactly the prospect of rational debate is up against in America.
People don't understand how a hot, blonde, 24 year old NYC girl could have such a major crush on Ari Fliescher - But I DO!! I think it is so cool the way he can walk into a room full of vicious press sharks and completely control the room and never ever flinch. He's the sharpest guy out there. Hmmm...I wonder if he would like to go on a date with me? Could you give him my phone number? -LM
To control climate change, alternative energy technologies must be developed While we're speaking of hubris and the underestimation of our enemy, we might want to think back on some other things that the neocons are so sure of. Except in this case, they are certain that it is uncertain. Perhaps they are just idiots.
Uncertainty in the climate sensitivity to growing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been a stumbling block to policy makers addressing the climate change issue. A study published in the March 28 issue of the journal Science, however, concludes that huge reductions in fossil-fuel carbon emissions will be required by the middle of this century -- regardless of the likely climate sensitivity. "To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we must switch to alternative, carbon-free energy sources," said Atul Jain, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a co-author of the study.
Hubris. Yea, I'm glad that a chink in the neocon's Teflon armor has been opened up, but I'm not for a moment believing they're even worried about this. They own the debate. They own the government (all three branches) and what media they don't own is too scared to say anything or question them. If the war starts going well, then all talk of hubris will evaporate like a morning fog... And since I sincerely hope the war goes much better than it has been, there's no way I can justify wishing otherwise - no matter what the cost. Think well, Kristoff. Think well. Situations can flip on a dime, and by Sunday morning, everything will be back on track and this last week will be but a dream quickly forgotten.
The danger, Israel, is to the West Israel is getting pretty worried.
The allies aim to wrest Iraq away from the Butcher of Baghdad and his terrorizing Ba'ath Party. Simultaneously, Britain is leading the charge to ensure that, as soon as that objective has been met, the international community will move to remove the ancient land of Israel from Jewish control and hand it to the father of terrorism and his blood-soaked PLO. The noble goal of liberating Iraq has long been linked in the British mind with the ignoble one of creating "Palestine" on Jewish lands.
Also see this, on Snow's remarks and their interpretation by Israel.
Use a Firewall, Go to Jail Yea, the DMCA really was such a great idea
The states of Massachusetts and Texas are preparing to consider bills that apparently are intended to extend the national Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (TX bill; MA bill) The bills are obviously related to each other somehow, since they are textually similar. Here is one example of the far-reaching harmful effects of these bills. Both bills would flatly ban the possession, sale, or use of technologies that "conceal from a communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication". Your ISP is a communication service provider, so anything that concealed the origin or destination of any communication from your ISP would be illegal -- with no exceptions. If you send or receive your email via an encrypted connection, you're in violation, because the "To" and "From" lines of the emails are concealed from your ISP by encryption. (The encryption conceals the destinations of outgoing messages, and the sources of incoming messages.) Worse yet, Network Address Translation (NAT), a technology widely used for enterprise security, operates by translating the "from" and "to" fields of Internet packets, thereby concealing the source or destination of each packet, and hence violating these bills. Most security "firewalls" use NAT, so if you use a firewall, you're in violation. If you have a home DSL router, or if you use the "Internet Connection Sharing" feature of your favorite operating system product, you're in violation because these connection sharing technologies use NAT. Most operating system products (including every version of Windows introduced in the last five years, and virtually all versions of Linux) would also apparently be banned, because they support connection sharing via NAT. And this is just one example of the problems with these bills. Yikes
Wow. Another gem via Atrios. Aaron Brown has his ass handed to him on a silver platter
BROWN: Well I hope that soldiers in the field aren't looking at CNN but I think, it strikes me, Dr. Ellsberg, that we veered a little there. Let me try and re-frame the question. If the Iraqi political strategy is to use the anti-war movement to put pressure on the coalition to cease fire, don't - whether that's the case or not - ELLSBERG: That implies a rather delusional aspect of Saddam Hussein that I don't have any confidence in. If you really think that Saddam Hussein is relying on reading newspaper accounts or seeing media accounts of people, handfuls of people or thousands of people, lying in the streets, and relying on that to influence, shall we say, President Bush? I didn't see it happening in getting into this war, and I don't think Saddam is so foolish as to think that his own safety, as a tyrant in that country, depends on us. So I really think that's an irrelevant question. BROWN: Do you not think that the anti-war movement - ELLSBERG: In fact I think that's very naive. I think that one who thinks - that goes back - I think that's just a way, really, of the administration trying to quell dissent in this country. Such theories - and really, they're theories of Saddam Hussein - are not very good. That's a great part of the crisis this country is in, right now BROWN: Do you think the anti-war movement of this time will be, in any way shape or form successful in the way that ultimately the anti-war movement was in encouraging an end to the Vietnam War? ELLSBERG: Well really the anti-war movement had it's effect primarily after months and years of body bags had come home and I pray, I hope that that is not going to be the basis for success - of any kind of - I hope that doesn't happen, in a word, and I don't know anyone, in the movement opposing this war, who wants that. I would be very happy, by the way, to see Saddam leave, dead or alive at this moment, to see all of his troops defect, to se his generals defect as apparently was confidently predicted - that confidence was very foolish - and I think by the way, should undermine Bush's confidence in the judgment of the people who have been advising Rumsfeld, and think of replacing them, very quickly. I would like to see that but it doesn't seem to be happening at all. I never was confident that that would happen. Really I don't think many people on those streets have very much confidence at all that they will influence President Bush. He doesn't seem to listen to a majority even, let alone a minority of the people, after all, a majority did not vote for him. I don't think they expect to be very move - or to move, either Saddam Hussein or George Bush. But I do think that they are speaking to each other, and to the country, and to the world and I think that's for the good of this country to hear, the world hear, that there are many Americans who feel this war is deeply wrong, and we're in a crisis.
I know, I know. Useless. Insignificant, and perhaps a little spiteful. But at least it was broadcast.
Krauthammer, then and now. I love the internet
Wow. Looks like Dr Krauthammer has more personalities than Sybil. Maybe he could write himself a prescription for either Hypocaway or Denyitall. Better double the dosage, Dr.
Atrios writes that he's wondering about Rummy and Cheney's obsession about doing war on the cheap. So does CalPundit... The answer is simple. Calling up 350,000 troops is a once in a decade thing. You can't do that often. But calling up 60,000 troops is something - if you could get away with it once successfully - that you could easily start getting away with. Once people got used to it, and you showed you could win doing it, it would become as simple as turning on the light switch. You walk over, flip the switch and change regimes. Thank god they weren't successful in this part of their plan - the uniformed military vetoed that, thank "Bob". As I said, this is a well thought out plan - and a pattern. Not an aberration.
Bush Administration Frustrated by War Doubts Let's be clear. I'm not giggling with joy that things are not going well. I am horrified that this is happening. Horrified that this was entirely predictable and yet it still happened. There is no joy in being proven correct. Only deep sadness that despite all our best efforts, we failed in stopping this insanity from taking place at all. But to hear the administration, I just have to stand in awe at their complete disconnect with reality. And this is the real tragedy, after all. How this situation came about is not purely the fault of this Administration. They had an awful lot of help from the media. Rather than have a real debate in America, we had mouth pieces for the worldview of the neocons. And this has extended to every aspect of political life here in America, not just foreign policy. The entire issue of the presidential election, the tax cuts, energy policy, welfare, medicaid, education, abortion, religion and everything else has been treated the same way. The press has been on bended knee, worshiping at the tid bits thrown to them by the official leaks from this Administration. We have a president who has given only 8 press conferences in 25 months. The press doesn't seem to care, as they are now so covetous of being granted access to these rare events and asking scripted questions during them. We have a concentrated media focused exclusively on entertainment - not information. After all, it's what the people want. So when the radical Right starts dominating the reporting - well, that's just capitalism at work. If the left had anything to say that people wanted to hear, they would "vote" for it with their dollars. The illusion is that somehow information is a commodity like oil or steel that companies can compete to provide. The unfortunate reality is that information is not a commodity, but an essential part of our decision making process. Getting the wrong information, or not getting all the information isn't just a matter of which grade of oil we have or what kind of steel is in the beams. It directly affects how we decide what to do. The debate in America has been completely controlled by the Right. All criticism is quickly marginalized and shunted off to obscurity and discredited channels. No one listens to them. As religious capitalists, we confuse the fact that what people want to buy is what they need to hear. The plain and simple fact is that there are plenty of things we need to know which we would much rather ignore. If we buy into the notion of an entertainment based information market, then the obvious result is that no one will pay to get information they don't want to hear. This results in self-delusion and incredible miscalculations. It also means that people are trivially led around by the nose by who ever is in control of these infotainment corporations. So there's plenty of blame to go around here, and I'd like to start seeing some of it start being owned up to. The way out of this mess is to start having very real and very serious discussions. True criticism (not shrill "debate"). Unfortunately, we're in a big pickle. We've let this Administration do everything it could to plug up all sources of information. This Administration has drastically scaled back any freedom of information sources we used to have. They have the most tightly controlled executive branch in history. We have cowed reporters who are so afraid of losing access that they cannot fathom rocking the boat. And then there's the neocons on the Right with the megaphones - like Ann Coulter and just about every political talk show host in the media today. There are no voices of opposition, except in caricature. There are no liberal voices with a microphone - much less a megaphone - that isn't laughed off the stage in a barrage of tomatoes today. In order to get out of this mess and have the serious kind of discussions that Kristoff rightly believes we should have, we will have to fundamentally change the way political debate happens in this country. And since the Administration is planning on spending 500 MILLION dollars in the 2004 election, I just can't believe this fundamental change will happen. Given the way Gore was treated in 2000, I think we're just going to see more of the same derision, scorn and suppression of whatever democratic candidate emerges from the crowded pack. Already we've seen the incredibly laughable "debate" about John Kerry's mysterious genetic heritage and the comical assertions that this somehow disqualifies him from holding the office of President. And let's not forget the hounding that Bill Clinton had. At this point, I couldn't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut whether Bill Clinton is the most evil man on earth and deserved every bit of hounding that he got. Fine. You won. You had your fun. What I do care about at the moment is that we currently have an Administration that is doing far, far more serious things and the media is simply rolling over and ignoring the issue. Worse, they're actively scorning anyone suggesting that we should actually look into this stuff and investigate what the hell is going on. Fine. You flayed Bill in a righteous crusade. Point is, we have a serious problem here. And everyone is on bended knee, giving wide deference to the people who are the source of the problem. A double standard that has now caused the very disconnect with reality that led us to the miscalculations in Iraq. Oh well. It was a good rant. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If a liberal rants in a forest and no one listens, did he really rant?
"Cakewalk" Bush administration officials and their hawkish supporters now say they never promised an easy war -- but the record shows otherwise. Not that this will make any difference to the neocon wannabes in the slightest, but it is nice to have something that clearly shows these guys just squeezed out a stinky loaf the consequences of which our troops are now dealing with. It is their hubris. Their responsibility. And we should never let them forget this.
Ken Adelman, former U.N. ambassador, in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2002: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.
Richard Perle, recently resigned chairman of the Defense Policy Board, in a PBS interview July 11, 2002: "Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991." "But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.
Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair writer, in a debate Jan. 28, 2003: "This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention. "The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling ... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on.
Hearts and Minds There are times when I see clearly why the Left is a disorganized, ineffective mess. Reading Kristoff is almost always one of those cases. He truly is an intelligent, caring man with great insight. He is always on the side of compromise and inclusion. His advice this time is
We doves simply have to let go of the dispute about getting into this war. It's now a historical question, and the relevant issue, for hawks and doves alike, is how we get out of this war (and how we avoid the next pre-emptive war). Americans should be able to find common ground, for all sides dream of an Iraq that is democratic and an America that is again admired around the world. Creating a postwar Iraq that is free and flourishing is also the one way to recoup the damage this war has already done to America's image and interests.
My reply to Kristoff is simply "he who forgets the past is condemned to repeat it". We simply cannot relegate how we got into this war to the dustbin of history. That does not mean that it has to be treated like captain Queeg's Strawberries - i.e. an obsession that we psychotically cling to. What it does mean, as Josh Marshall clearly illustrates, is that how we got into this war is clearly the long term strategy of the people in charge of this insanity. Finding common ground with this viewpoint is not an option. And that is their position, not mine. As his fellow columnist Paul Krugman has pointed out in his column today
In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again — on energy, on the economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes — and the mistakes keep getting bigger.
They are working a plan here, Kristoff. The events leading up to this war are not just an aberration, but something carefully thought out by the neocons in charge. They may have misjudged the enemy and they consider that a set back, but the overall plan is still in place. It's dangerous to assume that just because this turned into a shit-hole that they didn't expect that they now have their political tail between their legs and they're suddenly willing to listen to criticism and adjust their plans accordingly. Again, the mistake being made over and over is belief in the meme "people who've done everything wrong up until this point will suddenly start to do everything right". They have no intention of changing their minds on this. Everything we've witnessed about this Administration screams that fact. To assume that they are playing by the rules - as Kristoff wants us to believe - is a very dangerous assumption to make. Just look at where that thinking has gotten us in the military part of this drama. So while I completely agree that this can't become a tick under the skin that irritates the crap out of the Left which causes them to miss the actual goal of mitigating the disaster currently unfolding in Iraq, we cannot forget that the way this happened is a pattern - not an aberration. I would wish nothing better than a truce to be declared between the neocons and the Left regarding this whole situation. It would simply be lovely to be involved in a serious debate about what we're going to do and how we're going to get out of this stinking mess. But that is not what they intend to do. Every indication is that they are just going to step up the heat. Take Fox news' blatant demonstration of just what's going to be in store for everyone who's on the other side of this argument... It will take great strength during these days to not completely blow our collective lids with the rage boiling within us at the disaster this group of radical Right wing thinkers has placed us in. However, that is precisely their clear and consistent strategy: Create facts on the ground which make it impossible not to pursue their policy. This Administration is quite adept at taking and maintaining the initiative. They are not playing by the same rule book. They are playing on the assumption that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission - something that every teenager learns instinctively. So they're going to stick to their playbook and keep creating "facts on the ground" and following Kristoff's strategy will always lead to the Left grudgingly forgiving them. Look. They already have a blank check signed by Congress for this whole affair. At issue is whether anyone has woken up and looked clearly at not only the current situation, but what they are planning for the future.. If this can be done by finding common ground with the neocons, that would be lovely. But I just do not believe that there is any common ground. They wanted this war, they have followed their plan for the buildup to this war, and I have no illusions that they will follow their plan after this war. Playing catch up and trying to compromise with them will only play into their hands. They will always have facts on the ground that you'll have to acquiesce to. Always. At issue is whether we can gain the initiative and create new facts on the ground that they have to deal with.
Delusions of Power Go Krugman Truth Squad, GO! The Sodium Pentathol kid should be able to carve this one up pretty quickly, right? After all, we know that Paul Krugman is just a liberal twit who's facts don't stand the light of day... Right? So have at him Luskin. Make us proud.
What liberal media? Found this via the always on the edge Atrios. Apparently
Fox News had its own response to the demonstrators. The news ticker rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them.
It's hilarious. Fox was putting the worst display of pro-war media bias on that I've ever heard about.
"War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned. "Protesters or soldiers?"
As usual, what I love about the liberal media myth is that those promulgating the myth are always picayune in their proof - choice of a single word. Inflection of voice in a statement. Particular quote that is used. And on the other hand, the blatant bias of Fox isn't picayune at all. It's just in your face yellow journalism. Bias that can't be ignored. But in that neocon fashion, somehow this is used to support the case of liberal bias itself, and excused as just a response to the multitude of trivial biases rampant in the rest of the press.
Media experts said what Fox did Thursday morning was not shocking - Fox was openly hawkish about the war long before it began. But, they said, the display - tagged with the Fox News logo — threw journalistic objectivity out the window and also ridiculed the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. "Fox tries to position itself as 'the real American network,'" said Michael Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. "But real Americans believe in democracy and freedom of speech. I think what they did was cynical and bush league." Barbara Reed, an associate professor of journalism at Rutgers University, said she wasn't surprised by Fox's action, given the fact that the network is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media mogul and ardent conservative whose publications have been hawkish. "Fox isn't the only news outlet that has shown bias, but I think Murdoch and Fox are over the top on this one," Reed said.
All I got to say is that if any other news organization was this brazenly liberally biased, the Freepers, Creepers and Reapers would have started massive protests of their own, and the media corporation spewing it would be shutdown within minutes. But then, this double standard is part and parcel of the neocon cognitive dissonance we know all too well at this point.