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Friday, February 28, 2003
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For those who have no

By Steven Taylor @ 9:30 pm

For those who have no clue who theWiggles are. Although I will admit that they are less obscure than Rep. Kucinich.

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When Worlds Collide

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 pm

(This is the kind of thing one notices when one is both a political junkie and the father of three small boys 6 and under)

Is Dennis Kucinich really Jeff, the purple Wiggle?

I Report, You Decide:








If he is, then he’s in trouble, since Australians can’t run for President.

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Stop the Presses

By Steven Taylor @ 8:43 am

: U.S. Is Skeptical; Blix Calls Baghdad’s Cooperation ‘Very Limited’

How does WaPo manage to be so insightful?

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It would appear that Russert

By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 am

It would appear that Russert is King.

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With friends like these…

By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

With friends like these…

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Dan Rather has a column

By Steven Taylor @ 6:56 am

Dan Rather has a column in the WSJ about his encounter with Saddam. The piece itself really doesn’t say much, but it clearly proffers the thesis that Saddam’s main motivator is survival. I would reject this notion and suggest that his main motivation is survival with power, and on his terms. He could survive by going into exile, or he could easily have survived with power, but sans WMD’s if he would cooperate with the inspection regime.

No, Saddam’s actions clearly demonstrate that he is hoping to push this situation to brink, and that the US will back down or be stopped (because its a bluff, because of the French, because of the protestors, etc.). He has outwitted the international community for twelve years, so he has some cause to believe he will do so know. Cleary he wants to survive and maintain the status quo ante.

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Thursday, February 27, 2003
Interesting, although not all that

By Steven Taylor @ 9:57 pm

Interesting, although not all that surprising, given the current uncertainty: CNN.com - Support for Bush’s re-election falls below 50 percent

I maintain that a successful war with Iraq (which I think to be likley) will bolster both the President’s political capital, and the economy. Further, polls like this with a lack of an actual known opponent are notoriously unhelpful. Still, the numbers are indicative of difficulties for the President, to be sure. Although my “reverse 1992″ scenario is playing out: Forty-Three looks vulnerable about 2 years out, and the Dems are flocking to the primaries, which is the direct opposite of Forty-One’s fortunes.

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Intriguing: The SF Chronicle is

By Steven Taylor @ 7:36 pm

Intriguing: The SF Chronicle is reporting thatCondoleeza Rice is considering a run for CA governor in ‘06. This will feed speculation that Dr. Rice has presidential aspirations. (Thanks to Daily Pundit, where I first saw the link).

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Um, has anyone told Martin

By Steven Taylor @ 7:26 pm

Um, has anyone told Martin Sheen, that he really isn’t the President?

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Who knew the Aussies were

By Steven Taylor @ 6:48 pm

Who knew the Aussies were such sticklers for rules?

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And the Dance Continues…

By Steven Taylor @ 5:01 pm

:

Iraq agreed “in principle” Thursday to destroy its Al Samoud 2 missiles, as the chief U.N. weapons inspector had ordered, a U.N. diplomat told The Associated Press.
I wonder whose “principles” will be applied?

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James Tarranto at OpinionJournal -

By Steven Taylor @ 4:06 pm

James Tarranto at OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Todayalso noticed the odd way the House of Common’s vote was covered (as did I here):

Parliament Isn’t Revolting

Belying claims that Prime Minister Tony Blair is in trouble, Britain’s House of Commons yesterday gave his Iraq policy a strong vote of support. “Lawmakers by a vote of 434-124 approved a government-sponsored motion which backed the prime minister’s efforts to resolve the crisis through the United Nations and called on Iraq ‘to recognize this as its final opportunity’ to disarm,” the Associated Press reports from London. Another motion, stating that “the case for military action against Iraq [is] as yet unproven,” was voted down, 393-199.

Blair won these votes with the support of 77.8% and 66.4% of parliamentarians, respectively. That’s a pretty convincing margin, but look how the left-wing media spin the story:

“Britain’s Blair Suffers Parliament Revolt Over Iraq"-Reuters

“Blair Suffers Huge Revolt on Iraq"-CNN

“Revolt of the Backbenchers: Blair suffers biggest rebellion as 121 Labour MPs vote against war"-ndependent

“Rebel Vote Stuns Blair"-Guardian

When Congress passed the Iraq war resolution in October, 77% of senators and 69% of House members voted “yes"-very close to the margins by which Blair prevailed in the Commons. We don’t remember reading a lot of stories back then about the “huge revolt” against President Bush.

I will note that Tarranto does seem to miss one point, which is that there were a lot of Labourites who voted against Blair, which is an unusual event, hense all the “revolt” talk-but that is about party politics-legislatively, Blair clearly won, which is what matters at this point.

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Novak’s column on the same

By Steven Taylor @ 3:48 pm

Novak’s column on the same topic is instructive as well. The politics of this situation are both remarkable and potentially quite significant. The Dems damaged this process with the Bork nomination back in the 1980s, and they are looking to further damage it with this filibuster.

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George Will’s current column on

By Steven Taylor @ 3:36 pm

George Will’s current column on the Estrada nomination is worth a read.

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Another Democrat is poised to entered the fray.

By Steven Taylor @ 3:21 pm

Florida Senator Bob Graham has filed papers to allow him to start down the road for a bid for the Dems’ nomination in ‘04. Graham is an interesting candidate, due to the Florida connection (you all remember Florida, right?) and the fact that on some levels he is more hawkish than even Bush (he argues we should go after Hamas and friends, although precisely how he wants to do this is unclear to me). His entry continues a trend I commented on here

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Larry Elder provides a cavalcade

By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

Larry Elder provides a cavalcade of the utterances of political geniuses today. The winner (and it is hard to choose):

Janeane Garofalo: “The world would be better off with multiple superpowers.” When asked if that means our enemies should be more powerful Garofalo said, “Sure . . . when Communist U.S.S.R. was a superpower, the world was better off. . . . The right-wing media is trying to marginalize the peace movement.”
Really, I can understand that some have moral objections to war, but arguing that having the USSR back would be a good thing utterly vitiates the intellectual integrity of Ms. Garofalo and her ilk. I know I long for the days when total nuclear war was a real possibility and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Europe were under the thumb of authoritarian dictators. I especially love the implication that having the USSR in place was a good thing mainly because they were a counter-balance to the US. Remarkable.

And, indeed:

Dustin Hoffman: “I believe - though I may be wrong, because I’m no expert

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My thanks to Marstonalia for

By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

My thanks to Marstonalia for Blogrolling PoliBlog.

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STOP THE PRESSES!: “Israel, Palestinians

By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 am

STOP THE PRESSES!: “Israel, Palestinians Differ on Bush Mideast Views” (Reuters)

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More on the powerful logic

By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 am

More on the powerful logic of Dennis Kucinich, who decided that he is now pro-choice-but it has nothing to do with the fact that he is running for the Democratic nomination for president. And please ignore his anti-abortion voting record, if you please.

Kucinich’s view on the war were detailed here.

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May He Rest in Peace:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:39 am

TV’s Mr. Rogers Dead of Cancer at 74

Key Events in the Life of Fred Rogers

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Slate has a fascinating piece

By Steven Taylor @ 7:47 pm

Slate has a fascinating piece about who watches news in a story whose headline is about Donahue’s demise on MSNBC. Turns out, that based on a Pew Research Center study, the plurality of viewer of TV news are self-identified conservatives (even those who watch CNN). This has interesting implications for the talk radio discussion that has been going on here, elsewhere in the Blogosphere, and in the mainline press.

A basic summary of the data:

The Pew poll found that 46.4 percent of regular Fox News Channel viewers self-identified to the pollsters as “conservative” or “very conservative,” and only 17.7 percent self-identified as “liberal” or “very liberal,” which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who’s viewed Fox. But the regular CNN watcher tilts right in almost the same proportions: 39.7 percent right versus 16.1 percent left. Similarly, at MSNBC, 40.4 percent of regular viewers self-identify on the right and only 15.8 percent on the left. (For those keeping score at home, here are the percentages of moderate viewers: Fox, 31.7; CNN, 37.7; and MSNBC, 37.9. Don’t know/refused to answer accounted for 6.5 percent.)
and in regards to broadcast news:
Regular evening-news viewers self-identify as conservatives, moderates, and liberals in numbers very close to those of cable network viewers (CBS: 40.7/37.1/12.9; NBC: 43.2/33.5/15.5; ABC: 41.9/36.7/15.8).
All very interesting. And, no doubt, will cause much debate as to the why.

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Thanks to JustMyOpEd - Thoughts

By Steven Taylor @ 7:33 pm

Thanks to JustMyOpEd - Thoughts and Opinions for the link.

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The coverage of the vote

By Steven Taylor @ 4:22 pm

The coverage of the vote in the British Parliament is fascinating. First off: Blair won the support he wanted from the Commons (indeed, by a three-to-one margin), but also faced a rebellion by his members of his own party via an attempted anti-war amendment (which failed).

Legislators voted 434-124 in favor of a government-sponsored motion that expresses support for working through the United Nations and urges Saddam Hussein to seize a “final opportunity” to comply fully with the Security Council’s demands.

They rejected by a tally of 393-199 an amendment to the motion which said “the case for military action against Iraq (is) as yet unproven.”

via Sfgate.com

The amazing thing is that if one looks at a list of headlines via Google News one find a most remarkable phenomenon: the US sources note that Blair won a victory, but the European sources note that he suffered a �rebellion� or a �revolt� or that �MP�s voted against the use of force.�

This is a rather remarkable illustration how just headline writing can be a significant way to spin a story. Further analysis of the headline is warranted.

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Shocker of the day! Blix

By Steven Taylor @ 2:31 pm

Shocker of the day! Blix says, “Iraq could do more” to cooperate with inspectors

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Some info on the Abu

By Steven Taylor @ 1:56 pm

Some info on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) from the State Department via the Naval Postgraduate School.

Also noteworthy, a CNN.com story identifies the ASG as an al qaeda-linked organization.

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Here’s a happy story from

By Steven Taylor @ 1:28 pm

Here’s a happy story from the CSM: Iraq to ‘outsource’ counterattacks

Now, I thought that the Iraqis had no ties to terrorists, and, in fact, Islamic terrorists wouldn’t work with Saddam, because he’s an “infidel".

The Philippines government, which deported an Iraqi diplomat earlier this month, says the Iraqi embassy in Manila was building contacts with Abu Sayyaf, a kidnap-for-ransom group in the southern Philippines that US soldiers have been helping to fight for the past year.
and
The clearest evidence is the case of the Iraqi diplomat Hisham Z Hussein, who also went under the alias of Hisham Al Hidith and Abu Geith, according to Philippines intelligence officials.

He was expelled from Manila on Feb. 13, after he was linked by Filipino police to two bombings, including one that killed a US soldier and two Filipinos. The potential threat has security officials in the US and abroad increasing their surveillance of potential Iraqi agents, particularly the country’s diplomatic missions.

There is quite a bit more in the article. Worth the read.

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My thanks to Common Sense

By Steven Taylor @ 11:30 am

My thanks to Common Sense and Wonder for Blogrolling PoliBlog.

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More on the same topic

By Steven Taylor @ 9:59 am

More on the same topic from Brent Bozell

THis echoes a point I have made in some comments on Daily Pundit and Hit and Run:

It’s got to be one of the dumbest $10 million investments ever. How off the wall is this business proposition? Start with the notion that a network, liberal or conservative, can somehow be just imposed on the populace. Rush didn’t just appear on the scene and - shazam! - attract 20 million listeners. He toiled in the radio vineyards for years, went national in 1988, and didn’t really reach national distribution until 1991. Even then, while conservatives were latching on to him in droves, he didn’t truly become a nightmare in liberal heads until Bill Clinton arrived to corrupt the nation in 1993.
And, indeed
Conservative talk radio was never planned in a corporate boardroom (or at our VRWC meetings). It was an unintended consequence of arrogantly liberal national media outlets, who, over time, have insulted every Republican/conservative voter as a racist, a sexist, and a believer in heinous imaginary causes like starving all the poor people and killing all the innocent Iraqi civilians to get their oil. Big Media’s utter dismissal of a conservative perspective meant utter dismissal of a conservative audience. When offered an alternative in a talk-show host that spoke their language, they pounced to embrace Rush Limbaugh.

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More on the lib’s RushQuest,

By Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

More on the lib’s RushQuest, from Jonah Goldberg.

And the fact that Franken didn’t see the irony in making this statement where he made it may indicate why the libs will fail in their quest for a dominant talk raiod vioce:

Meanwhile, Franken, author of “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” thinks there’s another reason for not trying to ape Rush. “I think the audience isn’t there for a liberal Rush,” he said on the “Donahue” show, “Because I think liberals don’t want to hear that kind of demagoguery.”

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Shocking News

By Steven Taylor @ 9:01 am

: “A CBS News poll finds most Americans are convinced that the Bush Administration has already made its mind up to take military action against Iraq.”

Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the President keeps saying “Saddam’s time is running out” and “there must be regime change in Iraq"?

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Who knew?I ampEveryone loves pi_what

By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 am

Who knew?



I am
p

Everyone loves pi
_


what number are you?

this quiz by orsa

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Tuesday, February 25, 2003
An amusing (and spot on)

By Steven Taylor @ 7:35 pm

An amusing (and spot on) piece from the Weekly Standard

And it contains the Line of the Day

“I know facts don’t matter to people whose favorite hobby is shouting…”
-Larry MIller in the Weekly Standard, 02/25/2003

And, indeed:

In fact, if there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that the best thing that can ever happen to a country is to go to war with us and lose. This was so obvious after the Second World War that a wonderful satire was made, “The Mouse That Roared,” about a little, impoverished country that decides to declare war on the United States for the express purpose of immediately surrendering and being rebuilt afterwards with foreign aid.

The movie’s worth watching, btw. It stars Peter Sellers.

(Thanks to Neophyte Pundit for pointing out the story.)

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Gee, I’m shocked: MSNBC Dumps

By Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

Gee, I’m shocked: MSNBC Dumps Donahue Talk Show Due to Weak Ratings. I suppose this is part of the conservative dominance of the media, too? Or maybe it is because no one wanted to watch Phil rant.

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Excuse me? sending a half

By Steven Taylor @ 2:30 pm

Excuse me? sending a half dozen letters about their weapons programs is “new cooperation"? But, meanwhile, they won’t destroy the missiles? Hello, Dr. Blix?

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Maybe it is all about

By Steven Taylor @ 11:10 am

Maybe it is all about the oil, as this story in the CSM details.

But France also has economic interests that would be more lucrative if Saddam Hussein stays in power. Iraq France’s TotalFinaElf has contracts with Iraq to develop the Majnoon and Bin Umar fields, once sanctions are lifted. In addition, Iraq owes France billions in foreign debt accrued from arms sales in the 1970s and ’80s, which experts say could be virtually uncollectible in the case of war.

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Richard Cohen’s WaPo column is

By Steven Taylor @ 10:59 am

Richard Cohen’s WaPo column is worth a read. If anything, it will introduce you to the stellar logic of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and this impressive feat of reasoning:

to maintain that the coming war with Iraq will be fought to control that nation’s oil. Kucinich, a presidential candidate, has made this charge before, and when Tim Russert asked him on “Meet the Press” to back it up, here is what he said:

“I base that on the fact that there is $5 trillion worth of oil above and in the ground in Iraq, that individuals involved in the administration have been involved in the oil industry, that the oil industry would certainly benefit from having the administration control Iraq, and that the fact is that, since no other case has been made to go to war against Iraq, . . . oil represents the strongest incentive.”

OK, because Bush and Cheney worked in the oil industtry it is ipso facto the case the war with Iraq is about oil?

I think Mr. Kuninich needs to read the Hitchens piece I referernced earlier, as well as this piece on France’s interest in the region (raising the question about to whom it is that oil is the issue). An excerpt of interest:

Last year, Chirac’s France made more money out of the UN’s oil for food program than any other nation, and has consistently lobbied for reduced sanctions.

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Christopher Hitchens has an excellent

By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

Christopher Hitchens has an excellent piece in Slate that argues that Bush has hardly been rushing to war, and indeed that “Washington has been too patient with Saddam Hussein and for far too long.”

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I must say, I just

By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

I must say, I just don’t get this.

And surely, Saddam wouldn’t do this:

And some of the activists have expressed concern that they could be forcibly relocated to other sites of greater military or political value at the last minute.

“If that happens, I wouldn’t be happy, but there are some things that are beyond our control,” said Evans, the stagehand. “That’s a risk we’re willing to take to prevent this war.”

.

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Do people have nothing better

By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

Do people have nothing better to do? (and I refer to the complainers, not the sculptress).

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A good one from ScrappleFace.

By Steven Taylor @ 8:09 am

A good one from ScrappleFace.

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Monday, February 24, 2003
D�j� vu Three: Gee, This

By Steven Taylor @ 7:12 pm

D�j� vu Three: Gee, This Doesn�t Sound Familiar at All!

(From an ongoing series)

THE DEAL ON IRAQ: THE IMPLICATIONS; Buying a Deal as Hussein Buys Time, The New York Times, Feb. 23, 1998,
Section A; Page 1; Column 3, By R. W. APPLE Jr.

The overriding issue, Mr. Clinton declared only last week, was whether the Iraqi President would “allow the U.N. inspectors to complete their mission with full and free access to any site they suspect may be hiding materials or information related to Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.”

[�]

Nor is it clear that Iraq will soon be even reasonably free of weapons of mass destruction.

[�]

Once again, the Iraqi leader has retreated, but he has bought time to move war materiel and perhaps to hide it more effectively. Few in Washington believe tonight that the last chapter of the story has been written.

Although Mr. Hussein has promised for the first time since the Persian Gulf war in 1991 to permit full access to all suspected sites, there is no assurance than he will ultimately permit it.

Unless he has undergone a conversion almost as dramatic as Saul’s on the road to Damascus, he will try to preserve his arsenal. He may revert to his long-established pattern of stalling, obstructing and redefining terms. But on the other hand, he may adopt new tactics in pursuit of an old strategy.

“He clearly hasn’t undergone a conversion,” said Richard Haass of the Brookings Institution, who dealt with the Middle East at the National Security Council in the Bush Administration. “He will almost certainly continue to try to cheat and keep his weapons. But this time he may not try to obstruct the weapons inspectors. He may not be able to, and he may not have to.

“My guess is that during this four-month stalemate he will have dug deeper holes and found other ways to hide the stuff from inspection.”

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I see-a “Fair and Independent”

By Steven Taylor @ 6:18 pm

I see-a “Fair and Independent” judiciary means a “liberal” judiciary

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A classic from The Skeptician

By Steven Taylor @ 4:59 pm

A classic from The Skeptician

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Gee, and I really thought

By Steven Taylor @ 4:49 pm

Gee, and I really thought that the suit had merit: Judge Rejects Suit to Block War on Iraq

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D�j� vu: Iraq.

By Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

Last week I was inspired by a James Tarranto �Best of the Web� e-mail to do some research on past �last chances� regarding Iraq, and James of OTB promised I would be forthcoming with some more examples. I haven�t finished my research, but here are a couple of d�j� vu-esque stories for your reading pleasure:

D�j� vu One: Where Have I Heard this Before?

But American officials and representatives of the special commission said the report was irrelevant because the real issue was unfettered access to all sites in Iraq that might harbor weapons of mass destruction. The report came just hours after the arrival here of Secretary General Kofi Annan for talks with the Iraqis that are seen as the last chance to avoid an American military strike. Talks begin on Saturday and are expected to extend into Monday.

[�]

By manipulating the sites in a shell game, a United Nations official said today, Iraq is trying to drive a wedge between the special commission and the United Nations.

Date: Feb 21, 1998

The New York TimesSECTION: Section A; Page 4; Column 1; Foreign Desk
HEADLINE: STANDOFF WITH IRAQ: IN BAGHDAD; U.N. Team Calls Iraq Sites Smaller Than Thought
BYLINE: By BARBARA CROSSETTE
DATELINE: BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 21, 1998

D�j� vu Two: At Least the French are Consistent: Paper Trumps Force
European allies warmly hailed the accord brought back from Baghdad tonight by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Even before President Clinton had given his view on the agreement, President Jacques Chirac of France approved of it. In a 35-minute telephone call, the two leaders agreed that it was all right, said Mr. Chirac’s spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna. “According to the information now in their possession, the accord which was signed appears to comply entirely with the United Nations resolutions and abides by the recommendations made by the five permanent members of the Security Council,” she said.

Date: Feb 23, 1998

The New York Times

HEADLINE: THE DEAL ON IRAQ: THE ALLIES;Europeans Offer Praise For Accord With Iraq
SECTION: Section A; Page 11; Column 2; Foreign Desk
BYLINE: By CRAIG R. WHITNEY
DATELINE: PARIS, Feb. 23, 1998

Well, at least the work of the Secretary General was worthwhile, and that four years later Saddam disarmed�

The first in an ongoing series…

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Poor Pete Rose, he just

By Steven Taylor @ 3:13 pm

Poor Pete Rose, he just can’t get any respect.

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This is utterly hylarious. A

By Steven Taylor @ 7:07 am

This is utterly hylarious. A sample:

I tell Burrows that if he is willing to submit to an interview, I am willing to review his book at length in The Washington Post. The only catch, I said, is that I am going to say that it is, in my professional judgment, the worst novel ever published in the English language.

Silence.

“My review will reach 2 million people,” I said.

“Okay,” he said.


And yes, the book is real.

My thanks to Sara of Reason Hit and Run.

A quick Google of the title indicates that the book is the rage of the Blogosphere.

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Sunday, February 23, 2003
Sabbath Punditry Moment of the Week

By Steven Taylor @ 3:45 pm

Fox News Sunday ended their panel section with a clip of Carol Mosely Braun at a press conference. The question came up (I am not sure why) as to what her major was in college. She stated she couldn’t remember, but thought it might have been political science (this site says that indeed, it was).

Not an auspicious start to her presidential bid.

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Friedman’s column in today’s NYT

By Steven Taylor @ 9:42 am

Friedman’s column in today’s NYT is worth a read. Two good excerpts:

In an open society, there are simply too many threats, too many openings and too many interactions that are built on trust. You can’t even begin to secure them all without also choking that open society. Which is why the right response, after a point, is not to demand more and more security � but to learn to live with more and more anxiety.
and
[T]he only survival purchase I’ve made since Code Orange is a new set of Ben Hogan Apex irons, and why my all-American survival kit would include: a movie guide, a concert schedule, Rollerblades, a bicycle � plus a reminder to attend your local PTA meetings, Little League games, neighborhood block parties and your book club and to get plenty of tickets for your favorite sports team.

Leave the cave-dwelling to Osama.

Indeed.

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The argument that if we

By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 am

The argument that if we don’t consult the allies now, that they won’t be involved in the rebuilding of Iraq misses a fundamental point: Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world (second to the Saudis). While the war isn’t about oil, much of the rebuilding will be.

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I am watching Dick Gephardt

By Steven Taylor @ 8:45 am

I am watching Dick Gephardt on Meet the Press and he is currently criticizing the economy and blaming the President for the economic problems of the last several years. Without getting into the fact the recession started at the end of the Clinton administration (a fact, not a criticism of Clinton), I have to ask a question: are politicians (Reps and Dems) really so dense as to believe that as soon as a given president takes office, that he is responsible in all ways for the economy? Do they really think that a law here, a budget there, and one can either fix or break the complex nexus that is the US economy? Either they really don’t understand, or are banking on the fact that most Americans don’t understand. Neither option is all that flattering.

I am not arguing that policy makes no difference, but rather that 1) there is a substantial lag time for any policy to do good or ill to the economy, and that 2) for the most part, policy only affects the economy at the margins. If it were easy to create jobs and growth, we’d always have jobs and growth. Indeed, if a more vigorous government was all that was needed for economy largesse, then the Japanese and Europeans ought to be kicking our tails. However, that is hardly the case, see the Will column I noted below for some stats.

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Indeed (via George Will):In Europe,

By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

Indeed (via George Will):

In Europe, anti-Semitism has been called the socialism of fools, which is confusing, because socialism is the socialism of fools.

The whole column is worth reading. I am not fully comfortable with the linking of European anti-Semitism and European anti-Americanism (although I take his point), but I accept the broader thesis, which I have argued myself (and noted to some degree here and here), that the obstructionism vis-a-vis America’s Iraq policy is more about America than it is about Iraq.

Even more significant is his discussion of Europe’s “semi-suicide” at the hands of socialistic policies.

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I continue to be amazed

By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

I continue to be amazed that the Dems seem not to have a message aside from the fact that they don’t like the way that Dubya is doing things and that they would like the Dow to be higher. This is the same message that they had in the 2002 elections, and look where that got them. The closest thing to a policy alternative that I keep hearing is the age-old “we need to spend more money” argument, and that hardly qualifies as a) anything new, and b) a true alternative in substance.

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Saturday, February 22, 2003
A good piece on the

By Steven Taylor @ 4:52 pm

A good piece on the lib’s quest for their Limbaugh in Slate. The point about shock jocks is intriguing, and not something I have heard before. I think there is something to it. I do think that Fisher downplays the importance of content, but he is right-the bottom line is presentation and the skills of the host (something Limbaugh freely admits, if the libs would just listen).

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This seals it: call the

By Steven Taylor @ 4:34 pm

This seals it: call the war off.

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This is something to pay

By Steven Taylor @ 4:15 pm

This is something to pay attention to:

An extra 150 United States troops are expected to arrive shortly in Colombia to bolster a rescue mission for three Americans being held hostage by FARC rebels.
The US has been slowly increasing its presence in Colombia for some time, especially since the Pastrana-initiated (the Colombian president from 1998-2002) “Plan Colombia.” The combination of the narcotics problem, the stated policy of the Uribe administration to pursue a policy of confrontation, and the recent evidence of IRA-linkages to the FARC are all likely to continue to increase direct US military involvement in Colombia.

I study Colombia for a living (amongst other areas of interest) and actually find this current move to be somewhat surprising. The US troops currently in Colombia are there to train the Colombian military, and are not allowed to engage in combat. I am not suggesting that this will lead to direct engagement, but even the use of US troops for search-and-rescue is a fairly significant event.

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See! there are people in

By Steven Taylor @ 2:45 pm

See! there are people in Europe who like us.

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For those who claim that

By Steven Taylor @ 12:05 pm

For those who claim that the US is overly fond of itself, it is worth noting that we clearly have a superior sense of freedom of the press than do some of our allies. I noted the French’s 1881 Press Law yesterday (here, here, and here), and now I find (via the Daily Pundit) that the Russian have issues as well (although I guess that is less surprising than the French).

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Friday, February 21, 2003
Gee, really?President Saddam Hussein’s government,

By Steven Taylor @ 2:44 pm

Gee, really?

President Saddam Hussein’s government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.

and I’m shocked!
One U.N. official here said that since Friday’s Security Council meeting, “we have not seen any positive moves on the part of Iraq.” Another charged, “They are not fulfilling their promises.”

All from Thursday’s WaPo

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I came across this site:

By Steven Taylor @ 2:08 pm

I came across this site: Web Pages That Suck learn usability and good Web design by looking at bad design, which appears to be both amusing and useful (a nice combo).

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A further update on the

By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 pm

A further update on the French and the Sun’s prank: Sacre Bleu: Sun’s French stunt is ‘disgusting’ and ‘very disagreeable’

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Proving, as I noted the

By Steven Taylor @ 1:11 pm

Proving, as I noted the other day, that it is never too early to talk about the 2004 elections, here’s a column on that topic.

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Wow, only five months late

By Steven Taylor @ 1:05 pm

Wow, only five months late and the government didn’t collapse or anything. Who says we have to increase spending every year or face ruin?

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Here’s some info on France’s

By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

Here’s some info on France’s “insult law” from a 1997 column in Oak Ridge Tennessee’s local paper, of all places.

The legal source is the French press law of 1881, which hasn’t applied in some time, but still…

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You have got to be

By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

You have got to be kidding me:

the Sun risked a $48,000 fine by publishing a special French edition, which blasted Chirac as a “worm” on its front cover. France’s “insult laws” make it a criminal offense to disparage the president (from Slate).

Although come to think of it, if we passed such a law in the US, then the anti-war protestors, who have been piling on Dubya, could easy foot the bill for the deficit.

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I’m shocked: Iraq has resorted

By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

I’m shocked: Iraq has resorted to illegally sending large shipments of oil through a port called Khor al Amaya in recent days, U.N. diplomats and oil-industry officials told The Wall Street Journal.

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Yummy. And you’ve got to

By Steven Taylor @ 8:54 am

Yummy. And you’ve got to love the menus. These aren’t your father’s k-rations.

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Thomas Sowell’s column makes an

By Steven Taylor @ 7:11 am

Thomas Sowell’s column makes an excellent point concerning the current quest for a liberal Rush Limbaugh: their solution is (in classical liberal fashion): to throw money at the problem. Those who want insta-Rush seem not to understand that Limbaugh got where he is today by hard work and talent (any objective evaluation of Limbaugh has to conlcude that his popularity is more than his message, but rather is because he is extremely good at what he does-indeed, he single-handedly revived AM radio).

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Thursday, February 20, 2003
What??! It’s NOT true love?[UPDATE:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:10 pm

What??! It’s NOT true love?

[UPDATE: Shockingly, Dave Barry found this funny as well.]

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William Safire’s column in today’s

By Steven Taylor @ 10:22 am

William Safire’s column in today’s NYT is worth reading, and encapsulates some of my frustrations with the critics of the administration’s Iraq policy: the argument not over the basic goals and objectives, but rather a gaggle of hand-wringing over what might go wrong. I agree that we have to account for contingencies, and that there are potentially serious pitfalls to be associated with a war with Iraq, but the fact that something might go wrong is not, in and of itself, a valid argument against action.

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The fame of PoliBlog spreadeth:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:18 am

The fame of PoliBlog spreadeth: I’ve been Blogrolled by ScrappleFace.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003
The entry of Richard Gephardt

By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 pm

The entry of Richard Gephardt into the Democrats’ presidential explor-o-rama got me to thinking about comparisons between 1991 and 2003. There are of course the superficial, although in some ways remarkable, parallels: the whole Bush/Iraq business, but there is also a very different response from the Democratic Party�s presidential hopefuls.

In 1991 there was a clear race not to be the guy to lose to a popular incumbent, as Forty-One was in the stratosphere popularity-wise in early 1991. The exit (indeed, the lack of entrance) of any of the Dems’ first string let then B-team player Governor William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas find his way into the nomination (lest we forget, in 1991 Clinton was considered an up-and-comer for the Dems, but he was by no means considered a heavy hitter). Of course, many of the Democrats had to be cursing themselves by mid-1992, when it became clear that they had given up the chance, perhaps the best chance of their careers, to become President. None predicted (nor could they have), Forty-One�s precipitous tumble in the polls, or the Perot factor.

So, it is not surprising that in 2003, the response is quite different. Rather than be swayed by Forty-Three�s high popularity numbers late last year/into this year, or even the possibility that a successful war will be to his benefit, the strategic decision has clearly been made not to make the mistake of 1991. Better to start a run now, and pull out later, than to never run and find out an opportunity was lost. As a result, there is already a remarkably crowded field, and it looks like it may get even more crowded (Wesley Clark? Bob Graham? Christopher Dodd? The entire cast of River Dance?).

At any rate, the 2004 electoral cycle is therefore playing out as an inversion of the 1992 cycle. I will go on to predict that the outcome will also be the reverse, as at this point I believe that Forty-Three will outdo Forty-One and win re-election.

I believe that the most likely scenario over the next year or so runs like this: we have a successful engagement with Iraq. As a result of said action, gas prices will start to come down, as the newly freed Iraqis will be allowed to sell their oil on open markets (plus, the Venezuela situation will likely have calmed down some more by then). The removal of the unease associated with the uncertainty over the war will have a positive effect on the stock market, which will have commensurate effects (some real, some psychological) on the rest of the economy. Indeed, Greenspan pointed out last week that there is a good deal of pent-up potential in this economy that is waiting for a good reason to bust forth.

As a result, the President will be in excellent shape going into 2004, and the first string Dems will find themselves in the same position as in 1992: sitting at home after election day, but this time will have had to pay for the privilege by actually running.

It will be interesting to see (if the war is successful) how many of the Hopefuls decide that the result of their Exploratory Committees will be a decision not to run, as the basic result should be known in a few months.

Indeed, the sad truth for the Dems is that their best shot at winning in 2004 is that if something bad (indeed, something really bad) happens: disaster in Iraq, the deterioration of the economy, or another massive terror attack. Their current lack of a positive message is a serious problem for their party. I don’t see this as beyond their control (in that they have no choice but to be negative), but as an indictment of the current state of the policy. They are lost.

Well, that�s my analysis, and I�m stickin� to it (at least until I have new data!)

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Kewl: I have been Blogrolled

By Steven Taylor @ 3:28 pm

Kewl: I have been Blogrolled by The Skeptician.

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James Taranto’s “Best of the

By Steven Taylor @ 2:40 pm

James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” e-mail (via the WSJ) has this rather telling (and, I am certain, far from exhaustive) list of “last chances” for Monsieur Saddam:

“Hussein will be given ‘a last chance to comply before he gets clobbered,’ The New York Times on Monday quoted an unidentified U.S. official as saying."-CNN.com, Jan. 27, 1998

“Annan Admits Iraq Trip Could Be Last Chance for Peace"-CNN.com, Feb. 18, 1998

“Clinton: Iraq Has Abused Its Last Chance"-CNN.com, Dec. 16, 1998

“The White House suggested Wednesday that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has missed his ‘last chance’ to disarm."-CNN.com, Dec. 18, 2002

“Future European Union members endorsed a joint declaration Tuesday warning Saddam Hussein he has one last chance to disarm."-Associated Press, Feb. 18, 2003

Really-how can anyone take seriously the charge that more time is needed for this process to work? If one is oppossed to war in principle (i.e., war is bad), then say so.

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A good’un from The Onion

By Steven Taylor @ 8:43 am

A good’un from The Onion (worth it just for the picture).

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Some interesting responses to the

By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

Some interesting responses to the Chirac speech mentioned yesterday:

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said in a retort to Mr Chirac: “We are not joining the EU so we can sit and shut up.”
and
“In the European family there are no mummies, no daddies and no kids - it is a family of equals,” said Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2003
I found this rather amusing

By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 pm

I found this rather amusing toon bloghoping. It is worth a look. (Thanks to Daily Pundit).

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I’m with Ed Bark: give

By Steven Taylor @ 2:18 pm

I’m with Ed Bark: give CBS an emmy for being the only network to be showing something other than Joe Millionaire or Michael Jackson shows last night.

Speaking of Joe M.-how depressing is it that the finale of the series was one of the most-watched shows of all time (according to Drudge’s current headline)?

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Chirac has been reading the

By Steven Taylor @ 10:21 am

Chirac has been reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, as this story attests.

Clearly, the French believe that the best way to counter the United States is to alienate everyone.

And you have to love this: Chirac called the letters “infantile” and “dangerous,” adding: “They missed a great opportunity to shut up.”

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Monday, February 17, 2003
I’m annoyed with the French,

By Steven Taylor @ 4:07 pm

I’m annoyed with the French, too, but this is plain silly.

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There is empirical evidence for

By Steven Taylor @ 3:25 pm

There is empirical evidence for the contention (discussed on Sunday) that France’s main motivation is simply to impede the US. A Reuters poll indicated that:

Offered a choice of three reasons to best explain why they opposed going to war, 76 percent of the anti-war camp said they “dislike they way the United States is behaving in the crisis".

Just nine percent said the were mainly against military action because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not a threat to international security and 13 percent chose to explain their view by saying the crisis did not affect France’s interests.

.

Utterly remarkable-nothing like using spite to make foreign policy. (Thanks to ScrappleFace for bringing the poll to my attention).

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The excerpt of Tony Blair’s

By Steven Taylor @ 1:35 pm

The excerpt of Tony Blair’s speech in today’s WSJ is worth a read.

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Who says TV execs aren’t

By Steven Taylor @ 1:22 pm

Who says TV execs aren’t full of original ideas?

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Sunday, February 16, 2003
Whilst speaking of the French,

By Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm

Whilst speaking of the French, I was engaged in a discussion of Montesquieu�s Spirit of the Laws (an important work that had profound influence on the US Constitution�s system of separation of powers and checks and balances) where the author discusses why we have society, and he notes:

Fear, I have observed, would induce men to shun one another; but the marks of this fear being reciprocal, would soon engage them to associate.
In other words, peace and human relations arise, at least partially, out of the mutual fear humans feel for one another. This particular philosophical point of view (which differs radically from Hobbes) struck me as amusing in the current conversation of French diplomacy, and their historical propensities to surrender and appease.

I am not acussing Montesquieu of being the Father of French Diplomacy, but nonetheless thought the passage ironic and highly entertaining.

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I find it rather ironic

By Steven Taylor @ 2:25 pm

I find it rather ironic that if the French game is to try and be a check to US power (a thesis I am finding increasingly persuasive), that they are vitiating (or is that Vichy-ating?) their one source of power vis-�-vis the US: the UN Security Council. The only serious power the French wield on the world stage is the veto that derives from their permanent seat on that Council and it appears to me that the ongoing diplomatic conflict is going to result in a diminution of the Council�s sway on the US. If that happens, the French will have been the chief cause of their own loss of influence.

Their actions in NATO mirror this behavior and consequence.

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I ended up catching part

By Steven Taylor @ 10:42 am

I ended up catching part of Face the Nation today-and it just confirmed what I have always thought: Bob Schieffer is the driest and most boring of all the Sunday Morning hosts. I’d rather watch Stephy, and that’s saying something.

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Just sad, Larry: Single supporter

By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

Just sad, Larry: Single supporter braves snow to hear Moseley-Braun speech. (And somewhat hylarious).

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Woody Hochswender’s column in today’s

By Steven Taylor @ 10:10 am

Woody Hochswender’s column in today’s NYT’s criticizes the anti-SUV crowd and those who argue that US consumption of oil and US presence in the Middle East is somehow the reason for terrorism. It occurs to me: has anyone considered all the good that the billions of dollars that the US has sent to buy oil from the Middle East has done? Were it not for Western concumption, what little infrastructure that exists in many Middle Eastern countries simply wouldn’t be there. Indeed, if the regimes in place were a bit more democratic, the people of the oil rich states would be exceptionally well off-especially if US citizens were to continue gassing up their SUVs.

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As a researcher, I must

By Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

As a researcher, I must admit that I don’t like the idea of ever destroying information, but one does wonder if it is worthwhile to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the 2000 ballots in Florida. It makes sense to donate documents of relevance to a museum or research institution, but as Florida’s acting Secretary of State has noted, the value of the actual ballots is slim, given the number of time they have been handled.

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Saturday, February 15, 2003
Slate is full of UN

By Steven Taylor @ 7:28 pm

Slate is full of UN failure stories today. Here’s another good piece.

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Maureen Dowd doesn�t really get

By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 pm

Maureen Dowd doesn�t really get it. The issue is not that the testosterone-laden Bushies need to �save face.� But, rather, that there is a legitimate problem with Saddam, that has resulted in the US (and the UN, for that matter) threatening consequences if certain conditions aren�t met. In the face of continued defiance, there are only two alternatives, whether the French like it or not: Iraq must comply, or they must be forced to comply. There really is no middle ground.

Further, there will be damage done, far greater than embarrassing the US administration, if Saddam wins this confrontation�something that Chatterbox noted in a recent Slate column.

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Friedman�s Sunday column in the

By Steven Taylor @ 6:58 pm

Friedman�s Sunday column in the NYT�s makes a key point that many academics, pundits, and politicians seem to be missing: the fact that we have entered into a specific new era in world affairs that is as profound as the Cold War Era (although we still have no nifty name for it, as the �Era of Terror� sounds too much like a Don King-hyped boxing match). All levity aside, the newest �new world order� is currently being shaped by the behavior of key state actors, and the actions within multilateral organizations, many of whom seem oblivious to the consequences of their actions.

To quote Friedman:

Friends, with every great world war has come a new security system. World War I gave birth to the League of Nations and an attempt to recreate a balance of power in Europe, which proved unstable. World War II gave birth to the U.N., NATO, the I.M.F. and the bipolar American-Soviet power structure, which proved to be quite stable until the end of the cold war. Now, 9/11 has set off World War III, and it, too, is defining a new international order.

Indeed, his argument about a bipolar World of Order v. a World of Disorder has been an underlying theme in many recent columns, and is an accurate assessment of current circumstances.

His admonitions of the Chinese (the main point of his column) are well taken also.

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I am, of course, shocked

By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 am

I am, of course, shocked to hear that that members of al Queda have been spotted in Iran. Of course, one can now expect that some will now use this to disingenuously suggest that Iran is the bigger threat al Queda-wise, and opine that we are focusing on the wrong country (sort of a new twist on the North Korea argument that many of the Democrats have made of late).

Also, I guess that if I were bin Laden’s son, I’d be Sad, too…

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