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Wednesday, April 30, 2003
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Football Trumps Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 7:43 pm

When there is a breaking story concerning the head footbal coach of the University of Alabama, assistant professors get bumped from radio shows :)

My interview has been rescheduled.

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Al Qaeda Operative in Custody

By Steven Taylor @ 7:21 pm


Pakistani police have captured the al-Qaeda operative who masterminded the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.”

Source: Al-Qaeda mastermind held in Pakistan

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State of Terror

By Steven Taylor @ 7:18 pm


In its annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report, the State Department said attacks by “international terrorists” dropped sharply to 199 in 2002 from 355 a year earlier and the number of deaths fell to 725 from 3,295 in 2001, a year that included the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The dramatic decrease in the number of attacks is heartening, and speaks of success in the War on Terror. However, the death toll is troubling-because if you take out the 9-11 deaths from the 3,295 (the AP estimates a total of 3,023 9-11 deaths from the WT Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania) then the 2001 non-9-11 death toll from terrorism was only 272. The 725 for 2002, therefore, is a hefty number, given that 9-11 was an extraordinary, and catastrophic, event.

Source: U.S. Says Libya, Syria Reduce Support for Terrorism

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  • Mindless Banter linked with U.S. Government cares little about civil liberties

By Steven Taylor @ 4:11 pm

Thanks to SpaztiPundits for blogrolling PoliBlog.

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:46 pm

Thanks to Henry Farrell of Farrellblogger for linking to PoliBlog. Henry is yet another blogging political scientist.

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Maybe I Should Run for State Senate

By Steven Taylor @ 10:42 am

“The Alabama Senate had another short work day Tuesday: one hour and 48 minutes.”

Source: NewsFlash

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Up the Long Ladder

By Steven Taylor @ 10:23 am

PoliBlog has made it to “Crawly Amphibian” status at The Truth Laid Bear’s Blogosphere Ecosystem up from “Flippery Fish".

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By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

One guesses that terrorist organizations have to be watching the SARS situation with great interest. The panicked response, and hyper-coverage have got to encourage them to develop bio-weapons. Clearly a successful bio-attack would be far move devastating than even the 911 events.

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Cal Tries to Re-Fold the Road Map

By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 am

Cal Thomas writes that

President Bush may declare as early as this week an end to the Iraq war, but he appears ready to press ahead with the “road map” to establish a Palestinian state that can only jeopardize the continued existence of Israel.

I will admit that I am not fully-versed in the “road map” to this point. However, I think it is pragmatic reality that Palestinian state is going to have to be declared if there is to be any hope of approaching even a semi-solution to this ongoing problem.

The perfect is the enemy of the good in many cases, and clearly there is never going to be perfection in this situation, so incremental steps are going to have to be taken. And while I support Israel’s right to exist, and do see them as the injured party in many ways, they have been far from guilt-free in this situation.

Further, I do not see a Palestinian state as threatening the actual existence of Israel-indeed, it would seem that having a state-to-state relationship would be easier to manage than the current morass.

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Judicial Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 8:44 am

While on the one hand, I understand that 1) these nominations are incredibly significant, and 2) that the Democrats are within their rights to do what they are doing (in terms of the rules), on the other hand the President has the right to nominate whomever he wishes, and the Republicans are in the majority. Further, if this is to the new standard, i.e., that 60 votes is needed to confirm a judge, then this represents a substantial alteration in the process-one that over time may come back to bite the Democrats.

Senate Democrats said Tuesday that they will block the judicial nomination of Priscilla Owen, marking the second time this year they’ve employed filibuster tactics to thwart President Bush’s efforts to name conservatives to the federal bench.

Further, the rationale behind these moves flies in the face of what one of the Democratic front-runners (Kerry) has stated publicly-which is that he would have a test for nominees: they would have to be pro-choice. Surely establishing that clear-cut a standard violates the spirit of the current push by Senate Democrats for “moderates” who won’t use “personal views” in their adjudicating.

Source: Senate Democrats plan new filibuster - this time for Texas justice / But they allow approval of another Bush nominee

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Indeed Not

By Steven Taylor @ 7:00 am

U.S. Exit Is No Sure Cure for Saudi Royals’ Troubles

No, the Saudis regime has problems far more endemic and difficult than the presence of a US military base. The traditionalistic authoritarian nature of their government is one such problem. Another is, that despite their oil wealth, there has been precious little effort at using that wealth to modernize the society. Their aren’t sufficient jobs, and the human rights record of the regime is atrocious. Not to mention that a remarkably high percentage of students go to college to study “Islamic Studies"-which is problematic for building a vibrant economy. I am not criticizing Islam, but the situation is Saudi Arabia would be analogous to a large percentage of US students going to the Baptist seminary, or majoring in philosophy-what are they all going to do when they gradaute? And more fundamentally, where do the doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, mechanics, etc. come from?

This is not a recipe for long-term success, US bases or no US bases.

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Fair Enough

By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 am

“We do not ignore the sufferings of the Jews throughout history. And in exchange, we hope the Israelis will not turn their backs on the sufferings of the Palestinians.”
MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian prime minister.

Source: NYT

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Tuesday, April 29, 2003
But I Thought Saddam and al Qaeda Hated One Another…

By Steven Taylor @ 6:40 pm

Whaddya know: Al Qaeda-tied terrorist nabbed in Iraq

Sources said the individual is a member of a group operating in western Baghdad under the leadership of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian believed by the United States to have been the mastermind behind the assassination of American diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman last October.

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Hey Look: I am in the Axis of Weevils…

By Steven Taylor @ 4:45 pm

(i.e., a blogger in Alabama).

Check out the cleverly written Possumblog

I would link directly to my “induction ceremony” but Possumblog is a blog*spot site, and, hence, the permalinks ain’t workin’. Of course, as James at OTB likes to say, Blogspot is the AOL of Blogging-and I can make fun, cuz the original PoliBlog was a blog*spot site).

If anything, I pleased to in an Axis of something, as long as it has nothing to do with weasels.

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The Column that Keeps on Giving

By Steven Taylor @ 4:24 pm

Well, not all of the reponse to my most recent column has been negative. I have been invited to appear on a Birmingham radio show tomorrow night to discuss it. If you are in the Birmingham, Alabama area, you can hear me live on 101.1 FM, WYDE ("The Source") on Lee Davis’ radio show sometime after 7:30pm. (It is the same station that airs the Triple A Birmingham Baron’s baseball games-this is problem the closest I will ever get to meeting Michael Jordan :)

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The Counter-Bork Stratagem

By Steven Taylor @ 1:52 pm

Randy Barnett, in NRO, has an amusing suggestion: if the Dems in the Senate want to continue holding up Bush’s judicial nominations, then the President should use recess appointment to place the likes of Robert Bork on the bench. Like an issue of Marvel Comic’s old “What If?” series, this would be great fun, but ain’t gonna happen.

Source: Randy E. Barnett on Judges & Recess Appointments on National Review Online

(Hat Tip: Rush Limbaugh)

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Mostly I Just Like the Headline…

By Steven Taylor @ 10:39 am

“Palestinian Love Affair with Saddam Sours”

Source: Yahoo! News

Aside from the amusing intro, the article itself has some useful and intriguing info:

Saddam Hussein has gone from hero to zero among Palestinians angry that the man they deemed their only true Arab champion was removed so easily by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“It has become clear that we all were deceived by Saddam’s words,” said Gaza taxi driver Ahmad Yahya. “Where is Saddam now? Why did the Iraqis not fight (more)? It is a shame!”

For Palestinians, the Iraqi president was the sole Arab leader to offer more than rhetoric against the United States and its perceived pro-Israel bias in their long conflict with the Jewish state over its grip on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Saddam’s disappearance and the impression that his army put up little fight against U.S.-led forces, making a mockery of his vows of heroic resistance, plunged many Palestinians into dismay and confusion.

Most of the 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the two territories they seek for an independent state, as well as millions of refugees abroad saw Saddam as “the symbol of Arab honor” and the “hero leader.”

Of course, the fact that Saddam was the best that they could do for a hero does underscore their downtrodden status (not to mention the utter failure of Palestinian leadership to, well, lead). Although it also bolstered the argument that I have been making that perceptions of power are important.

Hat tip: The World Wide Rant

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What?!? An Osbourne in Rehab?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:21 am

I am shocked, shocked!

The 17-year-old son of rock wildman Ozzy Osbourne is in a rehab clinic.

London’s The Sun newspaper yesterday revealed Jack Osbourne is being treated at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, California.

The private clinic specialises in drug addiction and psychiatric care.

A shame, really, that people do this to themselves…

Source: Jack follows father’s footsteps into rehab

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Googlin’ Along

By Steven Taylor @ 5:43 am

I was reviewing my referrals and noted that someone found PoliBlog with the search string “nude Russians"-somehow a combo of a reference to the Dixie Chicks ET cover and to Russia vis-a-vis Iraq brought someone over to the blog. My guess is that he was rather disappointed when he got here.

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Monday, April 28, 2003
The Weird Economy Continues

By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 pm

Good news on Wall Street today:

Stocks rallied at midday on Monday as solid results from leading companies like McDonald’s Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. bolstered hopes that corporate profits are poised for a rebound.

This is positive after the first quarter GDP numbers and the poor job news last week. This economy has been weird for some time-it is never uniformly good news nor bad news.

Source: U.S. Stocks Rise; Earnings Provide Hope

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Political State Report

By Steven Taylor @ 5:20 pm

Check out the Political State Report: straight from the trenches-a collective blog on the topic of state-level politics with contributions from around the country. I have taken up residence as one of the contributors on Alabama.

James at OTB is one of the DC contributors.

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Fear of Fear

By Steven Taylor @ 3:48 pm

It’s funny-I have received a number of e-mails from readers of the Birmingham News concering my column (post on PoliBlog here). The common theme has been recoiling at my suggestion that having certain people fear us (such as the regimes in Iran, Syria, and North Korea) was a horrendous suggestion-most have a visceral reaction to this idea that we were throwing our weight around and being bullies.

Clearly I am not arguing that fear, and fear alone, is what we ought to be promoting, but by the same token, the strategic use of fear is key to international relations (indeed, to governing). Is not the reason we have a military in the first place to instill some substanial amount of fear in the hearts of those who might attack us or our interests? Don’t we slow down when we see a police officer on the freeway because we fear a ticket? Didn’t we often behave as children because we feared getting into trouble?

There is no doubt that it would be better if everyone did what they did out of love, altruism and perfect motives, but that isn’t the world we live in.

It is as if people wish to 1) deny a basic fact of human behavior-fear motivates, and 2) sometimes to only way to change the behavior of certain types of people (e.g., thugs, dictators and terrorists) is instilling some healthy fear.

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By Steven Taylor @ 9:42 am

Thanks to Confessions of a G33k for linking to PoliBlog.

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Good Move

By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

This is probably the start of some substantial re-allocation of military assets across the Middle East and Europe. And, I think, a prudent move:

The United States is shifting its major air operations center for the Middle East from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, the first step in what is likely to be a significant reduction of American forces in Saudi Arabia and a realignment of American military presence in the region, senior military officials said today.

Source: U.S. Will Move Air Operations to Qatar

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Good for Slate

By Steven Taylor @ 7:55 am

“In the first quarter of this year, Slate took in more money than it spent.

Of course, given $20 million in investment and all of the traffic-generating muscle of the MSN Network behind it, it is tough to call that fiscal state of affairs profitability - indeed, company officials are specifically prohibited from doing so because Slate’s financials are not broken out in Microsoft’s filings. But it is still a milestone for a general-interest magazine that publishes only on the Web.

So after almost seven years, Slate could be the exception that ends up disproving the rule that held that content sites generally serve as a trapdoor for good intentions and prodigious amounts of money. These days, Slate is enjoying a combination of growing ad revenue and, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, traffic that has doubled in the last year, to six million unique visitors a month.”

Source: Slate Sets a Web Magazine First: Making Money

Hat Tip: Drudge

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Sunday, April 27, 2003
Gotta Love the French

By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 pm

Fox News, via the London Times is reporting that the French were keeping the Iraqis directly informed as to the ongoing diplomacy. Amazing.

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Progress, Hopefully.

By Steven Taylor @ 3:00 pm

Good deal on the capture. I shall reserve judgement on the chemicals, as we have heard this before:

The Iraqi chief liaison to U.N. weapons inspectors surrendered to U.S. forces Sunday, even as one officer said his troops may have found what the inspectors never could: a drum containing chemicals used to disable and kill.

Source:U.S. Said to Find Iraq Nerve Gas Evidence

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Export-Led Growth?

By Steven Taylor @ 7:51 am

Who knew?

India exports human hair worth $33m every year to 10 countries including China, Hong Kong and the United States, a minister told parliament on Friday.

For me, it is my own hair, or no hair.


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A New PoliColumn

By Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

I have a new column in today’s Birmingham News (online here)

Iraq war may give U.S. needed fear factor

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in 1513 that “it is much safer to be feared than loved if one of the two has to be wanting.” Such is the proposition currently being put to the test in the post-Gulf War II world. In short: Will the demonstration of power in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military lead to greater or lesser security for the United States? Will terrorists and the states that sponsor them fear U.S. retaliation and, therefore, change their behavior?

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  • The Command Post Op-Ed Page linked with The Value of Fear in International Relations
Saturday, April 26, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 7:49 pm

Thanks to Chris Lawrence for linking PoliBlog to his blog, Signifying Nothing. Chris is yet another blogging political scientist. Give the site a look!

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A Comment on Iraqi WMDs

By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

While I remain quite confident that we are going to find the WMDs in Iraq (or find out what happened to them), it strikes me that if Saddam didn’t have them, he is dumbest dictator ever to have walked the Earth. If he didn’t have the weapons, why go through all the obfuscation with the UN? Why not cooperate? Either he was looking for a extra-fancy way to commit suicide, or he had stuff he didn’t want to give up. Even if we assume that he was nuts and was hallucinating the existence of the weapons, one would think that some of his cronies would have put a bullet in his head to stop the war.

This topic comes to mind today, as the lack of a huge WMD cache is currently the main criticism left to the anti-warites (that along with the fact that life in Iraq is currently difficult (as if it was happy under Saddam), and the Shi’ite problem).

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Friday, April 25, 2003
Galloway in Hot Water

By Steven Taylor @ 7:55 pm

When the news was only from the British press, I must admit I was skeptical. However, there does seem to be something to all of this:

A fresh set of documents uncovered in a Baghdad house used by Saddam Hussein’s son Qusay to hide top-secret files detail multimillion dollar payments to an outspoken British member of parliament, George Galloway.


The payments point to a concerted effort by the regime to use its oil wealth to win friends in the Western world who could promote Iraqi interests first by lifting sanctions against Iraq and later in blocking war plans.

The leadership of Hussein’s special security section and accountants of the President’s secretive Republican Guard signed the papers and authorized payments totaling more than $10 million.

The three most recent payment authorizations, beginning on April 4, 2000, and ending on January 14, 2003 are for $3 million each. All three authorizations include statements that show the Iraqi leadership’s strong political motivation in paying Galloway for his vociferous opposition to US and British plans to invade Iraq.

The Jan. 14, 2003, document, written on Republican Guard stationary with its Iraqi eagle and “Trust in Allah,” calls for the “Manager of the security department, in the name of President Saddam Hussein, to order a gratuity to be issued to Mr. George Galloway of British nationality in the amount of three million dollars only.”

The document states that the money is in return for “his courageous and daring stands against the enemies of Iraq, like Blair, the British Prime Minister, and for his opposition in the House of Commons and Lords against all outrageous lies against our patient people….”


Utterly remarkable…

Source: Newly found Iraqi files raise heat on British MP

(Hat Tip to Fox News and to Marstonalia )

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By Steven Taylor @ 7:33 pm

The following was published on Thursday, April 24th, 2003 in the Birmingham Post-Herald. I am not sure what title they assigned it, as I have not yet received a hard copy and it was inadvertently left off their web site:

Pop Quiz on Dictatorship

Steven L. Taylor, Ph.D.

As a university professor it is my job to try and get students to think, which is, as we all know, at times a trying task. As I survey the land of the opinionated, whether they be professional pontificators, or practitioners of practical politics, I find that there is some seriously flawed thinking going on in regards to defining a relatively simply political science term: �dictator.� Further, as is often the case when concepts are ill-defined, sloppy thinking is arising in regards to the significance of the ideas (my students hate it when I ask �what�s the significance of x�).

As such, there is clearly a great deal of confusion as to whom the big bad dictator is in the currently unfolding story that is Gulf War II. There is, of course, the anti-war protestors who carry �Bush=Hitler� signs, and the, shall we say creative, coverage of the war by the Arabic and Europeans press, but the problem I have identified is much closer to home.

There are many who appear to be quite confused as the �dictatorness� of George W. Bush and the now-deposed Saddam Hussein. For example, earlier this month former presidential candidate George McGovern wrote in The Nation that President �George W. Bush has set the nation on a course for one-man rule,� a sentiment echoed by another former, and even less successful, presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, when he stated recently that President Bush was acting �in effect as a selected dictator.� And, of course, there was the careless rhetoric of Senator John Kerry who recently called for �regime change� in D.C., not that he meant to draw any parallels with that turn of phrase. Even as early as last week (during a speech on April 15th), actor Tim Robbins decried the �fear and hatred� being spread by President Bush, stating that �[b]asic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear.�

Certainly there are some confused politicos running around out there. However, it gets worse. Not only are many likening the President of the United States to a dictator, others aren�t too sure about exactly how bad Saddam Hussein was during his (thankfully now over) time as President of Iraq. For example, current presidential hopeful Howard Dean opined that �I suppose that’s a good thing� that Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, but clearly he wasn�t too sure. Indeed, the general silence by the majority of the candidates for the Democratic Party�s nomination for president at the Children�s Defense Fund event on April 9th was most telling. As is well known, that was the day that Saddam�s statue fell in Baghdad, and the Iraqi ambassador to the UN stated that the game was �over� and that he had �no relationship with Saddam.� Yet, even in the context of such good news the majority of the Democratic contenders weren�t exactly jubilant.

Even worse, syndicated columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall noted in a recent column that �patriotic Iraqis prefer to bear the yoke of Saddam’s brutal and corrupt dictatorship than to suffer the humiliation of living in a conquered nation, subjugated by Allied military governors.� I wonder what Mr. Rall thought about the events of April 9th and 10th. I suspect he didn�t think much of them, but again, he appears to suffer from that lack of understanding about what a dictatorship really is that I noted above.

It is my experience that examinations and quizzes often focus the minds of students, and so I propose the following brief quiz to help those who are having trouble defining the term �dictator� and dealing with its significance. In each case the answer is either �Bush or Hussein�. Please don�t copy from your neighbor:

  • Which President built for himself dozens of opulent palaces while the infant mortality rate in his country doubled from 1991 to 1999?
  • Which President had a jail for children?
  • Which President encourages his own citizens to blow themselves up?
  • Which president used torture and terror to force his citizens to behave?
  • Which President had to send out thugs to force his own citizens to fight to defend his regime?
  • Which President created a cult of personality around himself and built statues to his own glory and covered the walls of his nation with photos and murals of himself?
  • Which president spent millions on weapons while many of his people lacked food and basic utilities?
  • Which President actually cares about the fate of the Iraqi people?

Then, there�s the essay portion of the exam: are Iraqis better off now or were they better off during Saddam�s reign? Time�s up, so make that part a take-home test.

If you are having trouble answering any of these, it may be time to go polish your �Dean for President� button and head off to watch The West Wing. Of course, even when the answers are obvious, it would seem many in the realms of punditry, politics, and entertainment just don�t get it. And in that way, they aren�t too unlike many of my students.

Steven L. Taylor, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Troy State University

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By Steven Taylor @ 2:19 pm

Judge: File-swapping tools are legal

“Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends,” Wilson wrote in his opinion, released Friday. “Grokster and Streamcast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights.”

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Brother Aziz?

By Steven Taylor @ 9:54 am

Is it just me, or is there something inherently contradictory between being a Christian and being part of the ruling Baath Party?

The only Christian in the top hierarchy of Baghdad, Aziz was also a dyed-in-the-wool member of the ruling Baath party.

I don’t recall Christ endorsing torture or random imprisonment of citizens, for example. The usage here is almost as if “Christian” was an ethnic category the way “Jewish” can denote religion or ethnicity. Although I do realize that in terms of public professions, Aziz claimed Christianity. And, he did meet with the Pope, so who am I to judge?

Source: Aziz the ‘eight of spades’

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

Some info needs no commentary:

Kucinich hasn’t lined up any congressional endorsements for his presidential bid.

Source:Brown Backs Gephardt; Kucinich Still Looking For Endorsements

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He Clearly Ain’t From the Planet Vulcan

By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

I figured that if I put “Kucinich” into a Google News search, I would find something blogworthy. I was right:

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich said the collapse of resistance in Iraq and the potential of a relatively quick end to the war bolsters his hard-line opposition to the conflict.

It makes it more compelling,” said Kucinich, a Democrat who is vying for his party’s presidential nomination. “That has enormous implications for the American people and is going to cost this nation heavily.”

So, if the war had gone poorly would that have bolstered the pro-war argument?

Source:Kucinich sees regime collapse bolstering anti-war case

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Violating the Dukakis Rule

By Steven Taylor @ 8:27 am

Which states: “Never make a campaign appearance in a funny looking helmet, especially if you a New England liberal democrat who used to be a governor”

(Hat Tip: Drudge)

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Thursday, April 24, 2003
An Amusing Toon

By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 pm

Check out the whole site: Day by Day

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A Fool and His Cell Phone are Soon Parted…

By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 pm

The main thing I don’t get about this is that the darn things can be quite expensive. Not to mention that once you’ve thrown it away, it is rather hard to check your voicemail.

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A Man and his Chicken

By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 pm

What’s the world coming to when a man can’t take his pet chicken for a walk in a foreign country?

An Italian tourist cried foul after being arrested for taking his pet chicken for a walk in the Netherlands, which is grappling with a bird flu outbreak.

Source:Tourist with Pet Chicken Falls Foul of the Law

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Ridiculous Headline of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 7:42 pm

“Beasties Question U.S., Chinese Regimes”

I am not even going to go into the moral equivalency problems here, and just note that why would anybody give a rat’s rear end what the Beastie Boys think? I shall now laugh to myself. You may join in as you see fit.

Source:Beasties Question U.S., Chinese Regimes

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Dixie Nudes Redux

By Steven Taylor @ 7:17 pm

Does this make any sense?

“We don’t want people to think that we are trying to be provocative. It’s not about the nakedness,” band member Martie Maguire said in an accompanying interview with the magazine. “It’s about clothes getting in the way of labels.”

And to paraphrase a famous quip: when they say it isn’t about the nakedness, its about the nakedness.

Source:Dixie Chicks Pose Nude in Answer to Critics

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Aziz in Custody

By Steven Taylor @ 7:14 pm

He may only be 43rd on the list, but aside from Saddam and sons, he is the most visible fugitive out there, and therefore I think his capture is of some significance. Plus, having been one of Saddam’s main cronies, he must know stuff of use.

For more info: U.S. Forces in Iraq Capture Tariq Aziz

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Again, the Economy Airlines Lead the Way

By Steven Taylor @ 2:20 pm

Like Southwest, JetBlue is bucking the overall industry trends: JetBlue Beats Expectation, Orders 65 Airbus Planes

JetBlue reported a $17.6 million quarterly profit, a rarity in an industry that has already posted $2 billion in losses for the first quarter.

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Troops to Chicago?

By Steven Taylor @ 1:18 pm

I am fairly sure that this column by Mary Mitchell (Urban war zones in U.S. also could use troops) is serious:

Now that the Iraqi people have been delivered from Saddam Hussein, can the troops come home and help the oppressed people on the South Side of Chicago?

I’d think to think that she is doing the ol’ tongue-in-cheek routine, but I think she’s serious.

If you want my opinion, militarizing the South Side of Chicago strikes me as a bad idea.

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Dixie Damage Control?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:53 am

Somehow, I am not so sure that the all-nude protest cover was the way to win back the conservative pro-Bush fans: Dixie Chicks’ nude protest

Not to mention that the cover in question does nothing to dispell their flighty image.

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Cynicism and the UN

By Steven Taylor @ 10:30 am

If anyone has any doubts as to the intentions of the French and Russians in regards to the �sanctity� and significance of the UN, the current sanctions-fest should put them to rest. This cynical manipulation of the process (i.e., now they want to play games with the sanctions�the Russians want them enforced, when they tried to get them lifted in the past, and France is trying to make nice so that they can get contract in post-war Iraq) is remarkable. No one seemed all that anxious to worry about the importance of UN Resolutions prior to the war (at least not 1441), and now they are sacrosanct? Plus, while I understand the so-called legal situation, it seems to me that the radical change in the status quo in Iraq justifies an immediate cancellation of the sanctions. At this point keeping the sanctions in place only hurts the Iraqis. Of course, the UN hasn�t really seemed all that concerned with the Iraqis, to be honest.

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Will on Democratizing Iraq

By Steven Taylor @ 10:25 am

George Will’s column on democratizing Iraq (Four players from contention) is worth a read. He is correct in his evaluation of the difficulties ahead, and the parallels to South Korea are noteworthy.

The piece reinforces my own view that we need to stay as long as it takes-while a swift exit may have certain short-term political advantages, it would be disastrous in the long-term, in my view.

I also agree (in a column I have written, and is currently under consideration) that federalism and judicial review are key elements needed for democracy in Iraq (to that list I added proportional representation and bicameralism).

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Speaking of Santorum

By Steven Taylor @ 9:13 pm

I must admit, while I am thinking about it, I can see no compelling reason for the state to ban consensual sex acts of a homosexual nature that are committed in the privacy of one’s home. Not only do I fail to see the right of the state to make such a law, I see it as unenforceable anyway.

This position may be surprising to some of you, if you noted my evangelically-oriented statements recently posted, but I really believe that the state has no business in our bedrooms. This isn’t to say that I don’t have moral objections, but I have objections to adultery as well, but don’t see the state’s compelling interest there, either.

However, I am too tired to get into the Santorum comments themsevles tonight!

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Blame William Saletan…

By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 pm

Sometimes you find out things you wish you didn’t know, and, of course, when you blog, you’re first impulse is to share! I ws reading William Saletan’s Slate piece on Santorum’s comments, and he linked to this site. While I knew that, at least in theory, some cousins got married in the US, but who knew that they had an organization and a web site?

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Powell Comments on France

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 pm

I don’t think Secretary Powell is all that happy with the French:

And in an interview on America’s PBS television Wednesday, Powell responded with a “yes,” when asked whether France would suffer consequences for having opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Source: Paris-Washington differences continues

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Can You Say: “Excessive Government?” I Bet You Can

By Steven Taylor @ 7:13 pm

First: how can you not like the smell of coffee? Second: you have got to be kidding me:

The Gillies Coffee Co. says it may be time to pack its beans and go.

The 163-year-old Brooklyn business has been ordered to pay a $400 fine for polluting the air with the smell of roasted coffee - and that has the owners steaming mad.

“There is nothing I can do to stop the smell of coffee,” said Hy Chabbott, a co-owner of the roasting and distribution warehouse. “If the [city] continues to find these smells offensive, we’re going to have to find another place to roast our coffee.”

Source: Coffee biz: Odor fine stinks

(Hat Tip: NPR)

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Saddam Wasn’t a Nice Guy

By Steven Taylor @ 2:33 pm

Newsweek has ann interesting story (The Saddam Files) on some of the evils of the regime. It is worth a read.

One semi-amusing bit:

Throughout the pleasure palace were signs of Uday’s physical ailments and addictions. Uday had been badly wounded in a 1996 assassination attempt. Iraqis commonly believe Uday lost his manhood in the shooting; on the street, he was jokingly referred to (though not too loudly) as the new head of the “Iraqi women’s union.”

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
I Guess My Sons Will Be Running For President Some Day

By Steven Taylor @ 9:39 pm

Because we have done the same thing.

Check out this devastating childhood incident from Senator John Edwards:

A childhood incident galvanized his political thinking at an early age — much as, he suspects, similar slights and setbacks have shaped the politics of the entire South for generations.

“Our family went to a fancy restaurant one Sunday after church. I was still looking at the menu, when my father announced that we had to leave. Everything cost too much. At the time, I was young and embarrassed. But it shaped the way I look at the world. Why does somebody who works in a mill 40 hours a week get less respect than someone who was born into a rich family? That’s an outrage. And it’s a lot of what drove me after that. Growing up, whenever I felt in over my head, which I felt a lot, being from a small town, I would think, ‘Wait a minute. We can compete with anybody, if we just get the chance.’ “

Remarkable. If this is the best he can do in terms of explaining his interest in politics and justice, he might as well quit the race now. He expects to take tales like this up against an incumbent President who has overseen victory in two wars in the last year? I think not.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Democrat Edwards’ Southern strategy? Respect

(Hat Tip: the Michael Medved Show)

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US Intelligence ROCKS

By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

Read the following NSA intercept of the Saddam family at Happy Fun Pundit

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Who Says There’s Nothing on TV?

By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

Man, is our culture doomed, or what?

On Monday night, Monica Lewinsky began a new career as host of a seven-part “reality TV” series on Fox called “Mr. Personality.”


In “Mr. Personality,” a female contestant is courted by masked males, whose looks are kept hidden from her but not the studio audience. The contestant has to choose one based entirely on personality. Lewinsky serves as the moderator and host.


In its time period, “Mr. Personality” placed second, with 12.2 million viewers, to CBS’ back-to-back “Everybody Loves Raymond” episodes, which averaged 13.8 million viewers. In the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, “Mr. Personality” decisively won.

So, we can confirm that at least 12.2 million people really need to get a life.

Source: Lewinsky Dating Show Scores Second

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By Steven Taylor @ 6:48 pm

Thanks to Neophyte Pundit for blogrolling PoliBlog.

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Newt: Master Diplomat?

By Steven Taylor @ 6:29 pm

According to this story, former Speaker Newt Gingrich was quite critical of Secretary Powell and the State Department for their handling of pre-war diplomacy concerning Iraq in a speech at AEI today. In some ways I agree with him, but is it just me, or is there something profoundly ironic about Newt Gringich criticizing someone else’s diplomatic skills?

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Colombian Conflict

By Steven Taylor @ 11:30 am

Interesting: Colombia Rebel Leader Wants Peace Talks

The top rebel commander has asked Colombia’s government to renew peace talks, the third such request in a month.

Manuel Marulanda, commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, also urged the government to grant a new demilitarized zone in a statement posted on the group’s Web site late Sunday night.

This is interesting for several reasons. First, as the article somewhat notes, the current Colombian administration is likely to see this as a sign of success, as President Alvaro Uribe has taken a very hard line against the guerrillas. Signs that the FARC wants to talk will be interpreted as weakness. Second, the FARC already had a demilitarized zone under its control during the Pastrana-led (the 1998-2002 administration) peace initiative, and they blew it by kidnapping some major politicos.

I expect that all this may lead to greater short-term escalation.

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Give Kristoff Credit…

By Steven Taylor @ 11:11 am

Give NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof credit, in his latest column he does what a lot of other critics haven’t done: admit their doomsaying about the war was incorrect:

Since I complained vigorously about this war before it started, it’s only fair for me to look back and acknowledge that many of the things that I — along with other doves — worried about didn’t happen. So let’s look back, examine the record and offer some preliminary accountability.

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By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 am

Thanks to for blogrolling PoliBlog

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Yes, Virginia, There Are Dumb Questions

By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

This vapid story (Reality dating TV:
Can this be love?) on MSN asks:

Yet how real can any of these shows be when there’s a camera honing in from every angle, not to mention a pot of money at the end? What are the contestants’ ultimate goals? Is it really true love they’re after, or does every star of reality TV have ulterior motives?

What?!? They aren’t in it for the love? I am crushed.

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Monday, April 21, 2003
Can Someone Say “Good Business Model"?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:39 pm

Could it be that focusing on low costs and at least a semi-logical fare structure an airline can actually make money?

Southwest Airlines, despite reporting softer bookings in the runup to the Iraq war, boosted net profit 14.3 percent in the quarter.

Net profit rose to 24 million dollars or three cents a share in the quarter from 21 million dollars or three cents a share a year earlier.

It was the airline’s 48th consecutive quarterly profit.

Source: Southwest Airlines boosts profits, defying US crisis

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Dowd Misses the Point

By Steven Taylor @ 5:05 pm

And what, pray tell, does Maureen Dowd (A Tale of Two Fridays) expect an orthodox Christian evangelist to say? Especially during the Easter season?

After Kenna West, a Christian singer, crooned, “There is one God and one faith,” Mr. Graham told an auditorium of soldiers in camouflage, civilian staffers and his son, a West Point cadet: “There’s no other way to God except through Christ. . . . Jesus Christ is alive because he is risen, and friends, he’s coming back, and I believe he’s coming back soon.”

Indeed, many non-Christians seem to misunderstand the importance of Easter to the Christian faith. Christmas may appear to be the “Big One", but without Easter Christmas isn’t worth much, theologically speaking.

And I know that that isn’t her main issue, but the fact that she is surprised in any way that Franklin Graham is anti-Islam from a doctrinal point of view is amazing. Clearly Christians believe that there is only one God, and He isn’t Allah. Similarly, the Muslims deny the deity of Christ. It isn’t like I would be surprised if an Imam decried protestant theology.

Also, she wholly misses the overall point for Graham’s POV:

Treating Operation Iraqi Freedom as a lucky break for Jesus, Mr. Graham told the religious Web site Beliefnet: “We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian I do this in the name of Jesus Christ.”

To Graham and other evangelicals, this isn’t a contest between Islam and Christianity, but to those who believe, the most compassionate thing that one can do is present the Gospel. This isn’t a football game where a final score is going to be tallied.

Plus, calling it “Bad Friday” in Iraq (a dubious appellation, given the regime that was reigning about 4 or 5 Fridays ago) misses the long-term situation that the Iraqis have before them.

I am not sure that the proper response to Muslim suspicion is to not do anything Christian (like it or not, the religious tradition that most informs our values and infuses our culture is Christianity). I must admit, I was mildly surprised that there was a Good Friday event at the Pentagon, although I have found out it was through the Chaplain’s office. I am unclear as to how big an event it was.

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Money to Burn

By Steven Taylor @ 3:59 pm

Here’s a interesting little story from National Review on a contribution made by the Torricelli campaign to Gephardt’s presidential coffers.

Torricelli for U.S. Senate Inc., supposedly still headquartered in downtown Washington, has started doling out some of the funds. On March 13, the campaign committee cut a $2,000 check to Dick Gephardt’s presidential campaign, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

It is worth a quick read.

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Nothing Like a Nice Holy Week Attack

By Steven Taylor @ 3:35 pm

How a group can claim to be “for the people” and do stuff lke this is beyond me:

Suspected guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, have attacked a religious procession in a central province, killing three people and wounding two others.

Source: Easter carnage in Colombia

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And I Declare Myself the Sultan of Brunei

By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 am

Nice work, if you can get it:

“We don’t really know much about him except that he’s declared himself mayor,” said Bodine, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen. “We don’t recognize him. There hasn’t been a process of selection. Once there’s a process, then whomever.”

Source: U.S. Says Does Not Recognize Baghdad ‘Governor’ (

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  • Outside the Beltway linked with Some Call Me the Space Cowboy
I’m in Charge Here…

By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 am

Mildly amusing/indicative of the problems of transition:

Confusion reigns over who will represent Iraq at this week’s emergency meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), after a former Iraqi general declared he would attend.

The US said it does not recognise Jawdat Obeidi, who claims he is deputy governor of post-war Baghdad and leader of an Iraqi delegation to Vienna on Wednesday.

“He can’t,” said Barbara Bodine, the Pentagon’s civil coordinator for the reconstruction of central Iraq.

Source: Confusion over Iraqi ‘oil minister’

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Family Ties

By Steven Taylor @ 6:45 am

It is always nice to have the support of family during difficult times:

“Let them arrest him,” Selma Dawood said dismissively. “It’s not important to me. What can I do with Tariq Aziz?”


But Ms. Dawood, a striking woman with broad shoulders, a thick gray braid and a wizened face, offered few words of charity toward her nephew. It was unclear whether it was bad blood, crotchetiness or fear of arousing suspicion that fueled her attitude.

Asked if her nephew had done anything to aid Christians, she tartly replied: “Zero. Zero. He’s very, very bad.” She added that he was part of a “criminal regime.”

Source: ‘Let Them Arrest Him,’ Tariq Aziz’s Aunt Says

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Sunday, April 20, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 10:52 pm

Thanks to Teekay’s Coffeeshop for linking to PoliBlog!

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Another Blog Move

By Steven Taylor @ 10:46 pm

Like OTB and myself, Judicious Asininity has made the move to its own domain as well. Give it a looksee.

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Sibling Rivalry?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:39 pm

I knew that the Hitchens brothers were ideologically distinct, but I get the impression that they really don’t get along. At least, that is what this line from a letter from Christopher Hitchens to Commentary magazine suggests:

It is not my fault if my brother is a fanatic and a fool

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Maybe OJ Has a Point…

By Steven Taylor @ 7:29 pm

Apparently killers do hang out at golf courses: Peterson Had $10K, Brother’s ID When Arrested In San Diego

When Scott Peterson was arrested last week near a San Diego’s Torrey Pines golf course for the murder of his wife, $10,000 in cash and his brother’s ID were found in the trunk of his car, authorities said.

Should I add “alleged"? Hmmm…., I am guessing not.

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55-Card Pick-up Continues…

By Steven Taylor @ 5:45 pm

Saddam’s Science Minister, Son-In-Law Detained

U.S.-led forces in Iraq said on Sunday they seized Saddam Hussein’s science minister and a leading Iraqi opposition group said Saddam’s sole surviving son-in-law had surrendered to them, bringing to seven the number of “most wanted” Iraqis in U.S. and opposition hands.

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By Steven Taylor @ 2:48 pm

Take the “Which Marvel Comics Hero are you” quiz!

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Military Moves

By Steven Taylor @ 7:24 am

I expected that this would be part of the goal in our relationship with post-Saddam Iraq, and I think it a good idea: Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq

The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say.

Of course, many critics will argue that this will inflame the passions of the Arab street, etc, etc., but I have two questions: 1) will the Arab Street love us if we don’t base our military there? and 2) where do we have a greater need for a military presence?

Indeed, there should be some interesting moves basing-wise over the next several years, including a diminution of our forces in Saudi Arabia (As the article mentions) and a significant reconfiguration of our deployments in Europe.

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Happy Easter!

By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 am

May everyone have a blessed Easter on this most signifcant of days.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Back to Normal Tomorrow

By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

And I should be back to my politicking ways tomorrow. I have the car and I am now learning how to reformat the template to my liking, so my attention won’t be so divided.

And, Happy Easter to everyone!

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Car Update

By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

BTW, I ended up buying a Toyota Corolla.

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Great CSS Site

By Steven Taylor @ 8:44 pm

I am trying to learn how to code and use style sheets and came across this great reference page: CSS Structure and Rules

My basic HTML is pretty good, but I have never had cause or need to learn any of the more advanced stuff and for anyone out there who might be interested, this is a very helpful page.

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Gee, Ya Think?

By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

Hart Candidacy Could Revive Bad Memories

Personally, I can’t imagine he would have a snowball’s chance in Hades.

Gary Hart first ran for president in 1984. It was the year the country first heard about stonewashed jeans, scientists identified the AIDS virus and Michael Jordan began his rookie season in the National Basketball Association.

Nearly two decades later, the former Colorado senator is considering another run for the White House, a move likely to revive memories that some Democrats would just as soon forget � the 1972 presidential candidacy of Democrat George McGovern and the marital infidelities of former President Clinton.

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Ah, the Irony

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

One wonders if the participants get the irony of this. Or, if their fellow citizens (and the world) are really seeing that freeodm has come to Iraq:

Thousands of Sunni Muslims, uneasy at the prospect of losing their position in Iraqi society to the Shiite majority, staged their first show of force today since the fall of President Saddam Hussein’s government, marching through the streets of Baghdad to protest the U.S. military occupation and to demand a Muslim state without distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

The impassioned demonstration would have been unthinkable under Hussein, who banned unsanctioned rallies.

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Friday, April 18, 2003
MT Hint

By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 pm

A Movable Type hint: if for some reason you need to reinstall MT make sure to reset the database on your web site (e.g., MySQL), otherwise you will be most frustrated tryign to figure out why MT won’t re-initialize, even if you have deleted everything and seemingly have started from scratch!

BTW, I am loving MT, and I have barely had any try to mess with it yet.

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Car Shopping

By Steven Taylor @ 10:10 pm

Shopping for a car on short notice when you weren’t planning on buying a car soon, and therefore don’t really have it budgeted really sucks.

Thank goodness interest rates are low (or at some dealerships, non-existent!)

Regular blogging should resume shortly! I don’t really even know what in the world is going on the news today-how pathetic is that?

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The Progress Continues

By Steven Taylor @ 6:35 am

Another Senior Baath Official Captured

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said Samir Abd al-Aziz al-Najim was handed over the U.S. troops by Iraqi Kurds near the northern city of Mosul overnight.

Al-Najim was the Baath Party Regional Command Chairman for east Baghdad and was the four of clubs on the 55-card deck U.S. military officials handed out to American forces to help in identifying wanted Iraqi officials.

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Thursday, April 17, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 10:57 pm

Welcome to the new home of PoliBlog. I had both time-related and technical difficulties over the last couple of days, but things are finally at least in the workable stage. I will be editing and changing the look of the blog over the next couple of weeks and I learn how to code style sheets (it took me a while just to figure out how to get the text fixed on the MT default template!!).

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MT Help

By Steven Taylor @ 6:52 am

Does anyone who uses Movable Type know how to get the default template to wrap the text to the screen?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Yes, I’m Still Alive

By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

Haven’t had much free time the last day or so, and have spent what little I have had trying to get the move to MT going. Am having some minor difficulties, but hopefully will get it squared away tonight.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 7:40 pm

Achille Lauro Mastermind Abu Abbas Captured in Iraq

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By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

Sorry about the dearth of posts the last several days-not only has life been especially busy, but I have been working on making the transition to my own domain and to Movable Type. Like James at OTB, I have tired of fooling with BlogSpot and other issues that the current blog requires me to fool with. Look for an announcement soon on the move. This blog will remain active, however, until the actual move.

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Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Paycheck?

By Steven Taylor @ 2:51 pm

I have never fully understood this kind of behavior:

American Airlines Inc.’s flight attendants voted to turn down their financial concession agreements with the Fort Worth-based company, following the approval announced by pilots and transport workers earlier in the day, according a report by Dow Jones Newswires.

The rejection by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants could lead to a bankruptcy filing from the world’s largest airline.

If your compnay goes bankrupt, you aren’t going to get the deal you want anyway, and indeed, you are likely to lose your job.


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Money for Moose?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

While I have mixed feelings on this, I have to admit, there is a point to be made here:

“Even criminals have a right to publish books about their crimes,” said Washington College of Law Professor Jamin Raskin, a member of Moose’s legal team. “If hitmen for the mob and mass murderers have a First Amendment right to write and publish books about crime, why don’t police chiefs?”

Source:Chief Moose appeals ruling on sniper spree book

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On to Phase Two.

By Steven Taylor @ 5:45 am

Let the rebuilding begin:Pentagon Asserts the Main Fighting Is Finished in Iraq. ” The Pentagon declared today that major combat operations in Iraq were over after United States forces took control of Tikrit, the last bastion of the old government.”

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Monday, April 14, 2003
High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

By Steven Taylor @ 7:43 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I see no cause to simply head over to Syria and start breaking heads. They may well deserve it, but such a course of action hardly seems prudent, to put it mildly. So what in the world is former Secretary of State Eagleburger ranting about here?

Mr Eagleburger, who accused Syria of having an outrageous record on terror, said an extension of the war was unthinkable.

“You saw the furore that went on before the President got sufficient support to do this,” he said. “This is still a democracy and public opinion rules. If George Bush decided he was going to turn troops on Syria now and then Iran he’d be in office about 15 minutes.

“If President Bush were to try it now, even I would feel he should be impeached. You can’t get away with that sort off thing in a democracy.”

This strikes me as a very odd thing to say-I concur that the political will to do such a thing is not present, and it is pretty much unthinkable that the President would willy-nilly send troops hither and yon. However, impeachable? I think not.

I also recall Mr. Eagleburger was initially quite agains the war with Iraq, although he did eventually change his tune. At any rate, I think Syria can be dealt with via diplomacy at this point, although I wouldn’t rule out speacial ops actions if they harbor Iraqi Baathists or are holding Iraqi WMDs.


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One Big Happy Family

By Steven Taylor @ 8:26 am

I suspect he knows things of use: Saddam’s Half Brother Caught Near Mosul. And family gatherings had to be a hoot:

Hassan had fallen out of favor with Saddam in 1995 and was dismissed as Iraq’s interior minister, head of the regime’s secret police and other domestic security agencies.

Saddam viewed Hassan as a threat and kept a close watch on him, the official said. Saddam’s son Odai is reported to have shot Hassan around the time of his dismissal as interior minister.

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Weapons, What Weapons?:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

Iraqis Point to Possible Weapons Sites “U.S. forces have a list of 2,000 to 3,000 sites in Iraq that need to be checked, and weapons teams are checking up to 20 sites a day, said the war’s commander, Gen. Tommy Franks. Iraqis ranging from common citizens to high-ranking officials have suggested other possible hiding places to be searched, Franks and other military officials said.”

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And the Alternative Would Be?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

Hundreds protest global lending:

Hundreds of activists peacefully demonstrated yesterday against alleged abuses by large American corporations and international lending agencies, saying their policies are harmful to poor people in Latin America and elsewhere.


‘’For the last 50 years we’ve been attacked by the International Monetary Fund'’ because its lending policies funnel money away from social programs in Argentina, said Graciela Monteagudo, a member of the Argentina Autonomist Project.

While I am no giant booster of everything that the IMF and World Bank have done policy-wise during their existence, these kinds of protests beg some key questions, amongst them: if the WB and IMF didn’t lend the monies in question, where would these economies be at this point in time? The protestors seems to think that the money would be there no matter what, which is hardly an accurate assessment.

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Sunday, April 13, 2003
More Evidence:

By Steven Taylor @ 2:20 pm

This piece bolsters part of the argument I make in my column: A War Waged With a Sword At His Throat:

Settling nervously into a car, he recounted his story as a soldier in Saddam’s Fedayeen.

“I was sure I was going to die,” he said.

Struggling against hopelessness and fear, he prepared for battle under the scrutiny of the militia’s swordsmen, appointed to decapitate any deserters. Clad in black fatigues, he weathered bombing and boredom. Then he plotted his escape to the safety of relatives on the Iranian border.

“For what was I going to fight?” he asked.


“I was forced to go. If I refused, I would be considered a traitor and they would execute me,” he said.

The article is also interesting as it contains detailed on the Fedayeen Saddam, its origins and operations. It also makes them sound less fearsome and organized than we all thought about two weeks ago.

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WONDERFUL NEWS: Seven U.S. troops

By Steven Taylor @ 10:52 am

WONDERFUL NEWS: Seven U.S. troops freed in Iraq - Apr. 13, 2003

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Saturday, April 12, 2003
Blogrolled: Thanks to The American

By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 pm

Blogrolled: Thanks to The American Mind for blogrolling PoliBlog.

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Syndication Deal?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:10 pm

Not quite, but I do have a new column in the Birmingham News. It is available here

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Iranian Overtures? Hmm, and I

By Steven Taylor @ 7:21 pm

Iranian Overtures? Hmm, and I thought the war was guaranteed to distablize the region and result in the US having worse relations in the region. However, Reuters via Yahoo reports:

Iran’s influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has suggested a referendum could be held on resuming ties with the United States, Iran’s arch-foe, the official IRNA news agency said on Saturday.


Rafsanjani’s comments seemed to reflect concern in Iran’s conservative clerical establishment that the U.S. government, fresh from its success in overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq, could intensify pressure for change in Iran, which is on its list of rogue countries sponsoring terrorism.

“Iranian officials have adopted a softer approach after the fall of Saddam because they are concerned about U.S. intentions,” political analyst Saeed Leylaz told Reuters.

Source:Iran’s Rafsanjani Suggests U.S. Ties Be Put to Vote

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By Steven Taylor @ 4:36 pm

CBBC Newsround | TV FILM | Tony Blair to star in Simpsons Tony Blair to star in Simpsons

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May it be so:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:35 am

“Republican Guard and other Iraqi troops regrouping in Saddam Hussein’s hometown, Tikrit, have been battered by U.S. airstrikes and don’t present an effective fighting force, U.S. Central Command said Friday.”


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More Education, Saddam Style:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:34 am

” Scores of black leather vests stuffed with explosives and ball-bearings were found by U.S. Marines at a Baghdad school, along with empty hangers hinting that suicide attackers might be wearing them in the chaotic city.”


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Putin Speaks:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:32 am

“The goal of war - to disarm Iraq - has not been achieved. … We must never mix notions. No one liked the Iraqi regime apart from Saddam Hussein, but this is not the point.”

I dunno-they looked pretty disarmed to me. However, in all seriousness, it is bit early for anyone to say that the WMD issues has been settled, one way or the other.


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Friday, April 11, 2003
Oh, Brother:

By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

People can find fault with almost anything. And quite frankly, Saletan’s bit of decoding of the President’s use of adjectives is a strech, to say the least: The Soft Bigotry of Loose Adulation By William�Saletan

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The Baath Party and Iraqi Politics:

By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 am

UPI has an interesting news analysis of the Baath party that is worth a read (it isn’t very long). Some highlights:

Dictatorship came into full expression in Iraq with the Baathist coup led by Gen. Hassan el-Bakr and Saddam in 1968. During 10 transitional years the modern Iraqi state was steadily transformed from a constitutional monarchy with parliament, political parties and free press from 1930 to 1958, ultimately ending in fascist military rule.


Baathism was based on the tyrannical Nazi ideology imported in 1947 by Syrian politician Michel Aflaq. When it took power for the second time in Iraq in 1968, the Baath Party sought to eliminate all possible real dangers that threatened the regime. In fact, Saddam pointed the way when he launched his notorious slogan, “We came to stay.” Following a bloody campaign that claimed the lives of half the Baath leadership, he placed the party under the control of trusted members of his Tikrit tribe.

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By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 am

“Tourism officials in Hong Kong are regretting running an ad campaign that features the slogan, Hong Kong: It will take your breath away.

SARS makes Hong Kong regret campaign slogan (Hat Tip: NPR’s Morning Edition)

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By the Way�

By Steven Taylor @ 8:09 am

Is it just me, or is there something galling about the fact that one has to mail one�s taxes to the IRS �Service Center�? (Yes, I put my taxes in the mail this morning…)

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A City a Day:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:36 am

Not bad for a flawed battle plan, eh? Imagine what we could have done if the armchair generals had been allowed to use the good plan.

The northern Iraqi oil city of Mosul fell today without a fight as the last of Saddam Hussein’s loyalists vanished during the night.

Source: Capture of Northern City Leaves Tikrit as Last Target for U.S.

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Hope and Questions:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:32 am

The following column, My First Day of Freedom, by Iraqi ex-patriot Hussain Abdul-Hussain is worth a read. The first two paragraphs are telling regarding the terror that the regime had instilled:

The downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, metaphorically incarnate in the toppling of his statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad, filled me with hope.

If the regime were still in power, I would not have had the courage to contribute even these few lines under my name to The New York Times. Although I am a self-exiled Iraqi who has lived in Beirut for the past two decades, I have family and friends in Iraq � and I had every Iraqi’s dread that Saddam Hussein’s security apparatus could sweep down on them at any moment.

The main thurst of the paragraph contains some distrsut of the US and its ability to do what it says it is going to do. I hope that the administration is able to follow through on its goals and actually create an example for the region. An example not only of good governance, but an example of the US keeping its word so that we might could start building some trust in the region as well.

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Thursday, April 10, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 10:26 pm

The Baghdad zoo welcomes visitors

Inside the compound was a small, private zoo, where lions, cheetahs, a bear and German shepherds were starving. The soldiers opened their MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and pushed pound cake through the bars for the bear. They tossed chicken meals to young lions and two lion cubs.

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Dean Campaign: RIP.

By Steven Taylor @ 5:37 pm

Dean’s main issue, being the anti-war candidate means he is already in a precarious position politically. And if he keeps saying things like this, he might as well just quit now:

“We’ve gotten rid of him � I suppose that’s a good thing,” Howard Dean, whose campaign has been lifted on his image as the antiwar candidate, said of Mr. Hussein. “But there’s going to be a long period when the United States is going to be maintaining Iraq, and that’s going to cost this country’s taxpayers a lot of money that could be spent on schools and kids.”

Source:Democrats Seek to Focus on Domestic Issues

(Hat Tip: The “Grape Vine” on Special Report with Brit Hume)

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Fineman on Bush:

By Steven Taylor @ 2:06 pm

(With apologies to John Lemon, known anti-Howard Finemanite). Fineman starts his current piece on the President as follows:

The guy doesn�t play small ball; he goes for the Big Inning�and doesn�t waver. Bush is what I�d call a disciplined radical, pursuing sweeping aims with an almost blinkered determination. At least for now�since September 11, 2001�it�s working. A month ago I wrote in this space that never had so much blood and treasure been risked on the hope that people would smile. Well, watch MSNBC. There they are.

And despite the requisite caveats at the end of the piece, it does well-describe a solid, if not remarkable, leader in the current occupant of the White House. Although I am sure that many of the left still see a cowboy with a simpleton’s view of the world. It never ceases to amaze me how empirical evidence can be utterly ignored by people who don’t want to see the truth.

Indeed, despite the critics (who continue to underestimate him), Bush really is a visionary, and has been remarkably successful at bold, but well crafted, policies.

Anyway, read the piece.

Source:A Big Win for Bush

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Hmm, Rings a Bit Hollow, Doesn’t it?

By Steven Taylor @ 1:18 pm

French President Jacques Chirac says his country is “rejoicing” in the apparent collapse of the Iraqi dictatorship.


His foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, added: “With the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a dark page has been turned.”


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We Have Humanity in Common:

By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

James at OTB pointed out this piece in the Independent by Robert Fisk which mocks the liberation of Iraq. In his rant against the people dancing in the streets in Baghdad, he notes the following:

Forgetting, too, that the “liberators” were a new and alien and all-powerful occupying force with neither culture nor language nor race nor religion to unite them with Iraq.
In other words, because the Americans and British aren’t Arabs, or because they might be Christians, or their skin is not the same hue, then that makes the Americans and Iraqis “aliens” to one another. To which I say: nonsense. Our humanity is sufficient to unite us, as is the natural longing of the human spirit for freedom. I think he needs to read my March 23rd piece from the Birmingham News (yes, self-promotion, but heck, its a blog for crying out loud!).

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The Success Continues:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 am

Thousands Cheer Kirkuk Fall as Iraqi Soldiers Flee

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Wednesday, April 9, 2003
We Can But Hope:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 pm

“We discovered that all what the [Iraqi] information minister was saying was all lies,” said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. “Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore.” Source:

(Hat Tip: K-Lo at The Corner)

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Utterly Remarkable:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:02 pm

Iran endorses U.S. claim on Iraqi shrines

Iran has made a rare conciliatory gesture towards the United States by endorsing the U.S. statement that coalition forces had not damaged the Shiite religion’s two holiest shrines in Iraq.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency carried a telephone interview on Tuesday with a prominent Shiite cleric who said the shrines were “untouched.”

(Hat Tip: Romulus Remus at Judicious Asininity)

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More Rumscraft:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 pm

From today’s briefing, in discussing the humanitarian situation (I have noted some key passages with italics):

Q: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned the momentous pictures and what’s going on in Baghdad and parts of Iraq now. You also mentioned the need to set up an interim authority. It seems as the shooting wanes in coming days, that the humanitarian need will grow drastically. When do you plan to send General Garner and his civil affairs team in from Kuwait to begin doing this?

RUMSFELD: I can’t see why the humanitarian situation would grow drastically. Quite the contrary. The humanitarian -

Q: (Off mike.)

RUMSFELD: The humanitarian problem occurred under the Saddam Hussein regime for a decade. The circumstance of those people has been terrible. They had been denied all kinds of things because he was unwilling to cooperate with the United Nations.

Now, what’s happening now is that humanitarian assistance is coming in. That doesn’t mean the situation is worse, it means that it’s better. And it is better.

And let me just give you an example. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen is, the more people who go into that country and see how serious the situation is, the needs of those people, and they’re real needs, they’re going to report there’s a humanitarian crisis, the implication that it just occurred. It didn’t just occur. When they say some city’s been - one-third of the city doesn’t have sufficient water, compare that with six months ago when maybe half of the city didn’t have sufficient water.

Here’s just one, in Umm Qasr. It’s generally a permissive environment, flourishing somewhat due to the increase of aid and border activity. The population has increased from 15,000 to 40,000, due to the availability of supplies and employment. Water supply is above prewar levels - combination of U.K. pipeline and trucking. Electricity has been restored by U.K. engineers. Sufficient food is readily available. Medical facilities are sufficient and operating. UNICEF is providing supplies. The port’s cleared of mines and open to limited operations. The channel needs dredging. Railway station is cleared by explosive ordnance detachment. Rail line is intact from there to Nasiriyah and they intend to open a line within seven days, which will allow movement of bulk water up the Euphrates Valley.

So, I mean, there’s just one city. I could say the same thing on Basra or Nasiriyah. So the assumption in your question is false.

Gots ta luv Rummy.

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Gee, What Have They Got

By Steven Taylor @ 7:43 pm

Gee, What Have They Got to Hide? Iraqi Embassy in Brazil Burns Documents (Hat Tip: Drudge)

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Game Really Over

By Steven Taylor @ 7:31 pm

A rather remarkable statement from UN envoy Mohammed Aldouri was made today after he noted that the game was “over":

“I have no relationship with Saddam so I can’t tell you. I have no communication with Iraq. I am here so I know nothing about what is going on there,” Aldouri said.

I find this statement especially remarkable for two reasons: 1) he is clearly no longer afraid of Saddam, or the Baath Party eiltes, and 2) he must believe the regime truly finished to want to distance himself from it.

Source: ITV

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Oh, Please:

By Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

Fred Kaplan’s response in Slate to the toppling of the Saddam statue is both counter to most I have read, and overly angst-ridden. (Not to mention, I think, wrong). The Final paragraph:

Is this scene a sad symbol of the Iraqi people’s helplessness, after 30 years of brutal dictatorship, to master their own fate? Is this an equally sad symbol of America’s inability to liberate without conquering? Will the Iraqis need outside forces to oust not merely Saddam but the figments of his rule? Will the Americans help them without too strong a stench of arrogance?

Excuse me?

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By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

The US administration on Wednesday warned other countries intent on developing weapons of mass destruction - such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea - to “draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq".

Source: Financial Times

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Some People Amaze Me:

By Steven Taylor @ 1:49 pm

And Ted Rall tops the list for the moment. Check out the following excerpt from his April 1st column (and no, it isn’t an April Fools’ joke, although that might be his out…):

Regardless of their political affiliations, patriotic Iraqis prefer to bear the yoke of Saddam’s brutal and corrupt dictatorship than to suffer the humiliation of living in a conquered nation, subjugated by Allied military governors and ruled by a Hamid Karzai-style puppet whose strings stretch across the Atlantic. As much as they may loathe Saddam, they’re proud of their country, culture and rich history. The thought of infidel troops marching through their cities, past their mosques, patting them down, ordering them around, disgusts them even more than Saddam’s torture chambers.

May I say for the record, if a totalitarian dictator ever takes control of the US, I hope some other government comes to our rescue, even if it means that some US citizens will die. I really am utterly amazed that anyone could say that the Iraqi people would prefer the “yoke of Saddam’s brutal and corrupt dictatorship” to the US invasion. Utterly breathtaking.

Well, while a correction column ought to be forthcoming, after the events in Baghdad today, I shan’t hold my breath…

(Hat Tips to first John Hudock Common Sense and Wonder and then to Right Wing News)

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I Thought “Litmus Tests” for Nominees Were Bad

By Steven Taylor @ 12:51 pm

Kerry vows court picks to be abortion-rights supporters (Hat Tip: Drudge)

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Expect a Lot of This in Days to Come:

By Steven Taylor @ 12:50 pm

Iraqis tour half-demolished jail ‘of evil’ ” Iraqis showed journalists a white stone jail where they claim Saddam Hussein’s secret police for decades tortured inmates with beatings, mutilations, electric shocks and chemical baths.”

(Hat Tip: Drudge)

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By Steven Taylor @ 12:43 pm

: Michelle reports that the Command Post will be part of the Library of Congress’ project to archive web coverage of the war.

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Andrew Sullivan Gets it Right

By Steven Taylor @ 12:33 pm

Read this entry at his blog regarding the victory in Baghdad. He is on target.

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Great Pic at OTB:

By Steven Taylor @ 12:27 pm

Outside The Beltway: ANOTHER PIC

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Ok, It Didn’t Take Three Days…

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

But three weeks is pretty darn impressive.

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Where’s Waldo?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:12 am

I find it rather amusing that (mis)Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf did not make an appearance today, and that the media handlers from the now ex-regime did not show up to mind the foreign press today.

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But I Though the Plan Was All Wrong?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 am

Regime collapses: Jubilant Iraqis fill Baghdad streets as Saddam reign ends

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OK, Cute Title, But…

By Steven Taylor @ 6:55 am

While I find the title (Dances With Wolfowitz) of Dowd’s column amusing, the argument within the text really misses the boat, as least on two counts:

  • First, like many critics of the war/the administration, she engages in static analysis, which looks only at the death and destruction since March 19th, without taking into consideration the death and destruction that will now be avoided because Saddam and his Baathist thugs are no longer in power.
  • Second, she seems to think that Wolfowitz, Cheney, and company think war is great just for the sake of breaking things and looking tough. Not so. The point of the Hanson quote she sites, and the analysis of James Woolsey she refers to, is not that war is something we go instead of persuason because at times we just feel like it. No, the point is that we engage in war because sometimes persuasion and diplomacy won’t work and that to maintain national secuirty, force must be applied.
I would remind Ms. Dowd and all other who decry the evils of warfare-we didn’t start this. The Islamoterrorists have been attacking US interests with impunity for over a decade (the Twin Towers twice, the Cole, the Khobar Towers, the embassies in Africa, etc.)-we did not first declare war on them, but they on us.

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May it Be So:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

Signs of Iraqi Leadership Vanish in Baghdad

Residents swarmed out onto the streets today, suddenly sensing that the regime of Saddam Hussein was crumbling, and celebrating the arrival of United States forces.

Throngs of men milled about, looting, blaring horns, dancing and tearing up pictures of Saddam Hussein. Baath party offices were trashed.

Occasional sniper fire continued, but Iraqi resistance largely faded away. The American military hesitated to say the war was over, warning instead that more fighting could break out, both inside and outside Baghdad.

Maybe he is dead, or, at least, as good as dead…

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He’s Right:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:41 am

Friedman, in his latest column makes the following observations:

It’s hard to smile when there’s no water. It’s hard to applaud when you’re frightened. It’s hard to say, “Thank you for liberating me,” when liberation has meant that looters have ransacked everything from the grain silos to the local school, where they even took away the blackboard.


America broke Iraq; now America owns Iraq, and it owns the primary responsibility for normalizing it. If the water doesn’t flow, if the food doesn’t arrive, if the rains don’t come and if the sun doesn’t shine, it’s now America’s fault.

Hopefully we are getting to this, and soon. The looting in Basra and the lack of a police authority is another example of this problem. We owe it to the Iraqi people to make sure the food, water, and security flows. Not only do we owe it to them, if we want to foment democracy in Iraq, we need to start instilling trust of us in the population.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 2:03 pm

It would seem that the public-opinion rift with our allies may not be as bad as some have indicated: 72% believe Canada should have backed war:

A large majority of Canadians - 72% - believe Canada should have supported the U.S. at the start of the war against Iraq, according to an exclusive National Post/Global News poll.

The COMPAS survey shows 41% of people believe Canada should have given verbal support to the United States two weeks ago while 31% said the backing should have come in the form of both words and troops.

Still, only a slim majority, 56%, agreed with the U.S. decision to launch an invasion to bring down Saddam Hussein, while 34% opposed the attack.

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:16 pm

Children were freed from prison today by the U.S. Marines. From the UPI:

The crescendo of welcome increased as an Iraqi woman led the Marines to a children’s prison where than more than 160 youngsters were freed.

“It was really something, the children just streamed out of the gates and their parents just started to embrace us,” said Lt. Col. Fred Padilla, commander of the 1st Battalion.

And from SpaceWar:

“The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party,” he alleged. “Some of these kids had been in there for five years.”

Sources: United Press International: 5th Marines enter Baghdad suburbs and Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs

(Hat Tip: Rush Limbaugh Show).

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Inside the Numbers:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:11 am

Michel Martin (of ABC News, and part of the This Week roundtable) needs a lesson in analyzing data. On Sunday she lamented the high-percentage of friendly fire casualties in the current war, and noted similar numbers from the first Gulf War. The number cited was something like 25% deaths from friendly fire. I do not know if that number is accurate, although it sounds about right based on the overall numbers which have been reported.

The problem, of course, is that the reason that in prior wars that friendly fire deaths were a lower percentage of conflict-related deaths is because the absolute numbers of deaths due to the enemy were so high. The ratio of troops on the ground to battle deaths in this war has got to be one of the lowest in history. Further, there is simply a small �N� (i.e., sample size) problem here. With (as of the last report I heard) less than 100 deaths, any category in that number may seem over-represented, due to the low number of absolute deaths reported. For example, let�s say that 30% of the deaths were from grenades, where in the past the number of grenade-related deaths was only 10%. That doesn�t mean that we have become three-times more vulnerable to grenades (indeed, it could many things, or just be a statistical anomaly). Similarly, a high percentage of friendly fire deaths out of a relatively small number of overall deaths, means nothing.

I am not making light of the deaths in question, just making light of Ms. Martin�s analytical skills in this case. It is as if in the face of overwhelming success in the campaign, she had to find something negative to say.

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Apple Fritters:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 am

Jack Shafer at Slate excoriates the war “analysis” of NYT’s R. W. “Johnny” Apple, Jr. Read it here.

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CNN: Behind the Curve:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:16 am

Did anyone else notice that last night when the news was breaking on Fox and MSNBC concerning the new bombing of Saddam and friends, that CNN was airing a series of commercials and seemed utterly out of synch? The best they could do at first was show pictures of Saddam, Uday and Qusay (while the other two networks had some video (some of which turned out to be the wrong video), and experts in the studio and reporters at various locations of relevance), and talk to their reporter in Belfast (and it was over the phone), rather than at the Pentagon, etc. Further, they seemed to press LAT�s report Robin Wright into service on the fly (she had been Larry King�s guest in the previous hour)�one got the impression that she was leaving the building and they grabbed her in the hall and stuck her back on TV.

At any rate, it was interesting that they seemed to be caught out of the loop.

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It’s Called Leadership

By Steven Taylor @ 5:46 am

Blair’s approval rating on rise. His numbers are now about where they were last summer, pre-Iraq. It goes to show that sometimes one has to lead and let public opinion follow.

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Monday, April 7, 2003
What? Is He Supposed to Leave His Gun at Home?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 pm

Pistol-Packing Gen. Franks Visits Troops in Iraq

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Understatement of the Day: “we

By Steven Taylor @ 2:40 pm

Understatement of the Day: “we do know [Saddam] no longer runs much of Iraq” (SecDef Rumsfeld).

Source: AP/Yahoo!

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By Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

Is war a joke to late-night comedians?

“But you know there’s some confusion now whether Saddam Hussein is actually alive or dead,” David Letterman joked on CBS’ “The Late Show.” “They had videotape on Iraqi television earlier today, and it’s so confusing. It’s Saddam Hussein … and he’s speaking at his own funeral.”


“Today the U.S. Army kicked Geraldo Rivera out of Iraq,” Craig Kilborn said on CBS’ “The Late Late Show.” “Why didn’t someone tell us you can kick out Geraldo?”


“There was another war-related casualty today,” Leno joked in Thursday’s broadcast. “The French were injured when they tried to jump on our bandwagon.”

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I Love It!

By Steven Taylor @ 1:42 pm

ABC News Radio is reporting that some of our troops camped out in one of Saddam’s palaces last night.

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I Know I Shouldn’t Find This Funny…

By Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

And in real terms, I don;t really, but still… Convoy of Russians Attacked in Baghdad

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Change on the Ground:

By Steven Taylor @ 11:43 am

U.S. Airlifts Iraqi Exile Force For Duties Near Nasiriyah “In a surprise move, the United States has begun airlifting hundreds of members of an Iraqi exile group into southern Iraq, vanguard elements of what a high-ranking Pentagon officer said would form the basis of a new Iraqi army.”

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Hmm, More Delusional Statements?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am

Annan: U.N. to Play Major Role in Rebuilding Iraq

“I do expect the U.N. to play an important role, and the U.N. has had good experience in this area,” Annan told reporters ahead of a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that he had called to discuss the issue.

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  • bLogicus linked with 60-Minutes Interviews Knox, Rather Speaks Out
Whaddaya Know, Part II:

By Steven Taylor @ 11:22 am

U.S. Finds Drums That May Contain Chemical Arms

American soldiers in Iraq’s Karbala area, raiding an empty training camp for Palestinians and others seeking to join Iraqis in the war, have discovered several large oil drums that may contain chemical weapons, officers said today.

Col. Tim Madere, the V Corps chemical officer, said that a preliminary test by a military chemical unit at the scene, indicated the presence of nerve gas, which is potentially lethal, as well as mustard gas. But Colonel Madere said he would await final judgment until a squad of the 51st Chemical Company, which was rushed to the scene, took samples and returned them to an American base in Iraq where more conclusive tests can be made.

Blix had better hurry, the soldiers are doing his work for him…

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Well, whaddya know:

By Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

Report: U.S. Finds Missiles with Chemical Weapons

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Delusional Statements of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am


Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf insisted that there was “no presence of the American villains in the city of Baghdad at all. They tried to come in from Dora on a small number of tanks and personnel carriers, but we treated this problem by capturing most of them and killing the rest.”


Al-Sahhaf told reporters in Baghdad that the U.S. forces “learned a lesson last night they will never forget. We slaughtered them and will continue to slaughter them.”

Source: U.S. forces ‘destroyed’ in Baghdad

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Thanks to Dain Brammage of

By Steven Taylor @ 11:09 am

Thanks to Dain Brammage of My Brain Hurts! for blogrolling PoliBlog!

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May it be so:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 am

Hoon says strong indications “Chemical Ali” dead

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Sunday, April 6, 2003
Multi-Layer Irony:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:45 am

Does anyone else find this as amusing as I do? Iraqi Government Announces Travel Ban in Baghdad: “Iraqi television says authorities will impose a travel ban at the Baghdad city limits starting Sunday night.”

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Not Good:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:30 am

‘Friendly fire’ hits Kurdish convoy. We are almost more dangerous to ourselves at times than are the Iraqis.

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It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:16 am

“On Saturday, U.S.-led coalition aircraft destroyed the home of Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majeed, known as “Chemical Ali,” one of Saddam’s cousins.” Source: - British battle groups push toward central Basra

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Saturday, April 5, 2003
Plain Silly:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:54 pm

Not to mention helping to further stereotypes of the south: Lincoln Statue Heightens Old Pains

“Hitler/Paris 1940. Lincoln/Richmond 1865. Any questions?” one sign read. Another, held by a young boy, read: “Lincoln wasn’t worth a cent - then or now.” And a wanted poster with Lincoln’s face read: “WANTED: For War Crimes.”

Several hours before the afternoon dedication, about 100 members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their families gathered at the nearby grave of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, to protest the Lincoln statue.

“As long as I’m commander in chief, we will never accept it,” vowed Ron Wilson, national commander of the group. “We are going to fight these people everywhere they raise their head.”

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Truer than he knows:

By Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

Iraqi Information Minister Sahaf reads Saddam message: “The criminals will be humiliated … ”

Source: Reuters

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All the News that’s Fit to Correct:

By Steven Taylor @ 9:39 am

From the “Correction” Section of the NYT’s

Corrections: A front-page news analysis article on Sunday about the political perils faced by President Bush over the war with Iraq misattributed a comment about Saddam Hussein’s government being “a house of cards.” While some American officials had used the phrase to predict a shorter conflict and a quick collapse of the Iraqi leadership, Vice President Dick Cheney was not among them.

A rather intriguing error and correction, given that all last weekend, and talking heads all week, have attributed that quote to Cheney as though it was proof-positive that the administration’s plan was flawed. Also, this indicates some pretty sloppy research by someone at the Times.

(Hat tip to Bill Kristol, appearing on Fox News Network.)

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 am

The evidence continues to mount that this regime was exactly what the Bush administration described it as: evil. The moral element of this war is clear to me, and those who attempt any form of moral equivalency between the coalition forces and the Iraqis is wearing willful blinders.

Hundreds of bundles of bone in strips of military uniform have been found by British soldiers at an abandoned Iraqi military base on the outskirts of the town of al-Zubayr.


Outside, in a courtyard, a brick wall riddled with bullets stands behind a foot-high tiled platform, with a drainage ditch running in-between.

It looks like “a purpose-built shooting gallery” says one British soldier.

Next to the courtyard, a building contains what look like cells with metal hooks hanging from racks on the ceiling - and a picture of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Source: BBC NEWS | UK | ‘These are all executions’

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The Iraqi Version of “No Child Left Behind”

By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

U.S. Marines were digging up a suspected chemical weapons hiding place in the courtyard of an Iraqi school southeast of Baghdad on Saturday.

The Marines said that a man who described himself as a former member of the Iraqi special forces told them that groups of Iraqi men had knocked down a wall of the girls’ school two months ago, hidden something in the courtyard and then concreted it over again during the course of three nights.

Source: Reuters AlertNet - US Marines digging up suspected chemical arms site

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More on Saddam:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 am

Watching that footage of “Saddam” in the streets yesterday reminds me of going to theme parks or events for kids where Mickey Mouse (or Sir Topham Hat-I took my two eldest boys to Thomas the Tank Engine yesterday) comes out for an appearance and everyone mobs him, takes pictures, shakes his hand, etc. The scene yesterday was like some perverse, Dante-esque theme park, and the stuffed Saddam mascot came out to greet the crowd.

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By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 am

: I didn’t expect this move, but, I guess, neither did the Iraqis. I wonder if Saddam and his doppelganger buddies are smiling now?

An armored force of 50 American tanks and other vehicles wheeled suddenly into the center of Baghdad today, taking the city�s defenders by surprise and triggering a rolling firefight along boulevards lined with some people waving and others shooting.


“We do have troops in the city of Baghdad,'’ Capt. Frank Thorp told reporters, “They’re in the middle of the city.'’

Source: Armored Force Comes Under Fire During Three-Hour Incursion

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By Steven Taylor @ 7:45 am

If the happy, laughing man on TV yesterday was Saddam-he is either honestly believing his own disinformation, not being told the truth, or is utterly delusional. I still think something is odd about the whole thing. Why would he risk going into public like that? And what was the deal with the rather small crowd?

Source: Iraqi TV Presents a Relaxed Hussein

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Getting All the Plum Jobs Now:

By Steven Taylor @ 7:36 am

First the Daily Mirror, then Greek TV, now: Peter Arnett now reporting for Arab channel Al-Arabiya. I am sure he will redeem himself with so many opportunities to demonstrate his journalistic skills.

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Friday, April 4, 2003
As John Lemon Predicted:

By Steven Taylor @ 12:28 pm

In feedback yesterday, JL called it: Hollywood eyes Jessica Lynch

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More Progress:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:51 am

Elite Iraqi Guard Division Defeated -US Marines “U.S. Marines said Friday that the Nida division of the Iraqi Republican Guard had been defeated by U.S.-led forces pushing toward Baghdad from the southeast.”

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Thursday, April 3, 2003
More Warm Welcomes.

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 pm

Despite some of the doom and gloom, it does appear that there are a good number of common Iraqis who are glad we are there. I still think that once the country is secured, and Saddam and his Baathist buddies are gone, the overwhelming majority of the country will be thankful for their liberation.

In the giddy spirit of the day, nothing could quite top the wish list bellowed out by one man in the throng of people greeting American troops from the 101st Airborne Division who marched into town today.

What, the man was asked, did he hope to see now that the Baath Party had been driven from power in his town? What would the Americans bring?

“Democracy,” the man said, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence. “Whiskey. And sexy!”


Again and again, people pointed to the sky, tilted their heads back and pointed to their open mouths. A boy, age about 6 or 7, approached an American reporter and said the two words that were uttered over and over: “America. Good.” Then he kissed the reporter on the cheek, shook his hand and pointed to the sky, pleading for water.

The Shiites seemed mildly to wildly grateful for the presence of the Americans, but were curious about what it will amount to.

And we are going to have to stay long enough to get things moving in the right direction. I think that is best not only from a moral perspective (if we are going to blow everything up, we ought help pick up), and for our national security-a stable, secular, democratic Iraq is the best thing that could happen to us in the region. And I pray we don’t let the UN or the Euroweenies mess things up.

Source: Exuberant Crowd’s Most Urgent Request: Water

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Insde the NYT’s Editorial Page:Lawrence

By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 pm

Insde the NYT’s Editorial Page:

Lawrence Eagleburger, secretary of state during the first Bush administration, gave some fascinating insight into the process Wednesday night on the Fox News show Hannity & Colmes. Responding to a Hannity query, Eagleburger said: “About ten days ago, I was approached from the New York Times to write an op-ed piece. To make it very short, when I talked to them about it, I was told what we want is criticism of the administration…Needless to say, I did not write the op-ed piece.”

Now, I read the Times, but it is always useful to know where editorial page editors are coming from (not that we couldn’t tell…)

Source: The Times Indecent Proposal - April 3, 2003

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I Should Hope Not:

By Steven Taylor @ 4:12 pm

Rumsfeld: ‘Not a Chance’ of Any Deal to Free Saddam

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:13 pm

ABC radio is reporting that the US military has taken the Saddam International Airport, and that resistance was light. Further, there have been reports of Iraqi civilians cheering on the US troops. This comports with the mass surrenders and bus caravans that I reported earlier today.

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OTB Move:

By Steven Taylor @ 1:11 pm

James has moved Outside the Beltway off of BlogSpot onto its own domain. Give the new site a look.

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More Encouraging News:

By Steven Taylor @ 11:04 am

U.S. - Najaf Cleric Urges Iraqis Not to Hinder Troops Thursday, Apr 03, 2003; 8:06 AM

AS SAYLIYA CAMP, Qatar - A U.S. commander in the Gulf said on Thursday that a prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric in the holy city of Najaf had issued an edict urging Iraqis to remain calm and not to hinder U.S. invading forces. “A prominent cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who had been placed under house arrest by the regime for a considerable period of time, issued a fatwa,” Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told a news conference in Qatar.

“And it was done this morning, instructing the population to remain calm and to not interfere with coalition actions. We believe this is a very significant turning point and another indicator that the Iraqi regime is approaching its end.”

A Reuters correspondent in Baghdad just one week ago saw a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani still pinned to the door of a main Shi’ite mosque in the capital saying Iraqis would “stand together against any invasion.”

Source: Dispatches

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The Money Primary: According to

By Steven Taylor @ 10:31 am

The Money Primary: According to WaPo John Edwards is the early leader, by about $400k over John Kerry (who isn’t helping himself calling for “regime change” in DC and playing the UN card-that might all fly in Paris, but not so much ’round here these days). The article correctly notes that “frontrunner” status (which Kerry covets) is going to be determined at this point largely by money.

Of course, I still maintain that any Democrat is going to have an uphill battle against Bush, unless the war effort takes a disastrous turn, which seems unlikely to me.

And, indeed:

But another Democratic strategist noted that Dean trails Edwards, Kerry, Lieberman and probably Gephardt. “Dean doesn’t get extra points [merely] because he said he was going to raise $1.5 million and got $2.6 million,” the strategist said. “He’s still behind. . . . You can’t buy ads with ‘beating expectations.’ “

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Eye-Witness to the Surrenders:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:26 am

Eye-Witness to the Surrenders: : ABCNEWS Journalists Report From Gulf: Mike Cerre, with the 1st Marine Division north of the Tigris river 11:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. Iraq

At dawn, buses filled with military-age men coming from Baghdad started approaching our lines asking to surrender. It’s been going on for the past two hours now. It started with a bus and a van. There’s now several buses. As I look down the road behind me, people are streaming out of the city just to our north and approaching our lines, asking to surrender.

Most are military-age young men who say they are civilians but you can see they have military boots. Some of them have military belts and they all have short haircuts, presuming that they are military who’ve been fleeing Baghdad. We were able to talk to one of the translators who said they left Baghdad last night. They got weekend passes from their officers who knew they would probably be deserting.

They’re trying to make it to American lines where they feel they are safer, because if they stop at one of these towns, they’ll be pressed back into service by the local political parties. The Marines are trying to process as many as they possibly can.

Another Hat Tip to Blogs of War

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But, I Thought They All Hated Us:

By Steven Taylor @ 10:20 am

Report: Buses of Iraqis Fleeing Baghdad

Iraqi deserters and civilians are flooding out of Baghdad by the busload on Thursday and surrendering to U.S. forces advancing on the Iraqi capital, said a U.S. television reporter traveling with Marines.

Hat Tip to: Blogs of War

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The Iraqi Regime: Lovers of Truth:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 am

Why al-Jazeera’s man in Baghdad was kicked out

Al-Jazeera reporter Tayseer Allouni may have been ordered out of Baghdad by the Iraqi government because he tried to interview people without an official minder present, according to a senior executive at the Arabic TV news channel.


[T]he chief of al-Jazeera’s Washington bureau, Hafez al-Mirazi, told CNN Allouni had angered Iraqi information ministry officials when he tried to conduct interviews without a government minder present.

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Just Imagine What Special Forces Can Do

By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

Private First Class Lynch (a nineteen year-old female supply clerk) put up a fight before she was captured:

Rescued U.S. soldier Jessica Lynch shot several Iraqi soldiers prior to her capture, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing U.S. officials.
The 19-year-old private first class continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her, one official told the newspaper.

Source: (Reuters) Report: Captured Woman Put Up Fierce Fight

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Weighing Bad News:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

I was struck last night, while listening to the news, of the substantial difference between bad news for the Iraqi military and bad news for coalition forces. Yesterday, bad news for the Iraqis was that two divisions of the Republican Guard were degraded to the point that had lost most, if not all, of their military significance. Bad news for the US forces around Baghdad was the loss of a Blackhawk and and an F-18.

In no way do I mean to diminish the loss of those who died in the helicopter crash, nor the importance of the missing Navy pilot, but in macro terms, this comparison is a glaring example of the lop-sideness of this war.

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Too Much Real Estate:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:48 am

You know you have too many palaces when describing one as “the one by the airport” isn’t specific enough:

Lead units of the multi-pronged U.S. assault force were about four miles from the edge of Baghdad, and some soldiers made a brief foray into a presidential palace near Saddam International Airport.

Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, did not specify which of two palaces near the airport was entered.

Source: AP/Yahoo

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By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

U.S. Forces Enter Presidential Palace. And may it be so: “A U.S. spokesman said Iraqi forces appeared on the verge of collapse.”

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Making our Move:

By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

(Reuters) U.S. Infantry Vanguard 6 Miles from S. Baghdad “Advance armored units of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division were just six miles from the southern edge of Baghdad on Thursday, U.S. military sources in the area told Reuters correspondent Luke Baker.”

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Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Interesting: Saddam’s suicidal deployment of

By Steven Taylor @ 8:50 pm

Interesting: Saddam’s suicidal deployment of elite troops could be gift to coalition

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The 24-7 Effect:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 pm

It is interesting to see how the constant coverage, especially given the live and direct nature of it, has distorted time. One would think (and indeed, it does kind of feel this way) that the war had been going on for months, not two weeks (indeed, as I write this we are still an hour shy of the two-week mark). The examples of this are rampant in the press. The headlines over the weekend, for example, that made comparisons to the quagmire of Vietnam, are illustrative. How can a quagmire develop in 10 days?

A key example tonight was Howard Fineman reporting on MSNBC about the president and how “burdened” (referencing this USA Today story) and �isolated� he has been, and talking about how the President was going to have to get out and be seen. Now, I know for a fact that the President gave a public speech last Wednesday, and I thought made at least one other public appearance since. But even if the last time was the Florida speech, it has only been a week! How can one be “isolated” after a week? The time dilation and distortion here is really remarkable.

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Thanks to The Invisible Hand

By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 pm

Thanks to The Invisible Hand for Blogrolling PoliBlog.

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:57 pm

Mort Zuckerman column in US News states, quite correctly, the following:

Sooner, rather than later, the treacherous will get what they deserve. So it must be for the others who have betrayed our restraint and practiced a lethal deceit: What Saddam’s thugs are doing on the field of battle is what France, under the leadership of President Chirac, did on the field of diplomacy.

The whole thing in worth a read. It is noteworthy its praise for both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

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Who do you tust?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

Hmm, while US forces claim Iraqi rout, “Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahaf has said the progress which US troops claimed to be making was erroneous.” It is a tough call as to whom I should listen…

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

U.S. ‘Destroys’ Baghdad Republican Guard Division

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Tuesday, April 1, 2003
More Fun From France:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 pm

One in three French backs Saddam
(Hat tip to Drudge)

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Today’s DoD News Briefing had

By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 pm

Today’s DoD News Briefing had an interesting response from General Myers. It is a bit lengthy, but worth the read, given all the criticism that has been leveled at the SecDef and the war plan in general.

Q: Secretary, I want to ask you once again about criticism from current and former officers about the flow of forces to the region and also whether there are sufficient forces in Iraq. Someone said that there should have been at least two heavy divisions before you started to fight, and there are others who criticize you for delaying signing deployment orders - they point to the 3rd Armored Cav[alry] Regiment - and also delaying calling up Guard and Reserve forces, that that added to some of the problems we’re seeing now with lack of forces on the ground. And there are those that say that you’re too enamored with air power over ground forces. I wonder if you could just comment on -

Rumsfeld: Well, why don’t I -

Myers: Can I comment?

Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) Sure.

Myers: I would love to comment. My view of those reports - and since I don’t know who you’re quoting, who the individuals are - is that they’re bogus. There is - I don’t know how they get started, and I don’t know how they’ve been perpetuated, but it’s not been by responsible members of the team that put this all together. They either weren’t there, or they don’t know, or they’re working another agenda , and I don’t know what that agenda might be. It is not helpful to have those kind of comments come out when we’ve got troops in combat, because first of all, they’re false, they’re absolutely wrong, they bear no resemblance to the truth, and it’s just - it’s just - harmful to our troops that are out there fighting very bravely, very courageously.

I’ve been in this process every step of the way as well. There is not one thing that General Franks has asked for that he hasn’t gotten on the time line that we could get it to him. And it wasn’t because of a late finding. It might be because we didn’t have a, you know, a ship or something. But, I mean, it’s not - it’s been for mechanical reasons, not because of administrative reasons, I can guarantee you that. Every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed up to this plan and the way it was executed from the first day, and they’ll be signed up to the last day, because we still think it’s a good plan. Every member of General Franks’ component commanders signed up to this plan as it was changed over time, and as it finally came down to be the one we went to war with. And they all stood up, and they gave a thumbs up to the plan.

So there may be others that have other ideas of how we should have done it. And I - and, you know, God bless them, that’s a great sport here inside the beltway. And I suppose if I - when I retire, I’ll probably have my comments, too: Gee, they ought to have more air power. (Laughter.) I wish the secretary would say we ought to be more air power-centric, perhaps. But I’ve never heard him say that -

Q: (Off mike.)

Myers: No. He hasn’t said it. And that’s not what he - that’s not - I’m not going to speak for the secretary, but that’s not the kind of comments that he’s been making in this whole process. So that’s - it’s been interesting, but it’s not very useful to this discussion.

You know, we went in there with some very sophisticated objectives. We had diplomacy underway at the United Nations. We wanted to deploy a sufficient force, but not the kind of force that would make it look like diplomacy didn’t have a chance to work. So we had to work that piece. General Franks - and for the benefit of our troops - wanted to protect tactical surprise. How do you protect tactical surprise when you have 250,000 troops surrounding Iraq on D-day? How do you do that? Well, you do it by the method he did it: by having the types of forces - you do it by starting the ground war first, air war second. Do you think there was tactical surprise? I think there was. Do we have the oil fields in the south? About 60 percent of the oil wealth has been preserved for the Iraqi people. You bet. Have we had a Scud fired against Jordan or Israel yet? No. Why? Because we went in very early, even before the ground war, to secure those places. Do we have humanitarian supplies flowing into Umm Qasr now? Yes. Why? Because we put the ground forces in there early. Were we 200 miles inside Iraq in 36 hours? Yes.


Myers: General Franks is not criticizing the plan and he’s the one that gets the rows for executing it. And I would only say this: that there is - there could be a big difference in perceptions. And I’ll go from the field - and none of the perceptions are wrong, but it was like this seminar I was in at Harvard after the Gulf War. The comment was thrown out at this seminar, “Gee, the Army division commanders weren’t happy with the air support they got.” And I was surprised. So I called my good friend General - at the break. I went out, put my quarter in the machine, called General Horner. And he was down - I think commander of Space Command. I said, “General Horner, why would they say this?”

Rumsfeld: I think also it’s useful to put it into some historical perspective. I don’t think there’s ever been a war where there haven’t been people opining about this or speculating about that or second-guessing on something else. As I say, we’re 10 or 11 days into this, and these things have kind of a rhythm to them, and right now we’re hearing all of the complaints and concerns and questions. One of the ways you can get a sense of how knowledgeable people are is if somebody says that they were sent with half of their forces, which I read in one paper - fact is, that’s just not true. So if the person believes that, you can think, gosh, if he thinks he was sent with half his forces - there hasn’t been delays in any major thing.

Before this started, the president sat down in a secure video with General Franks and each of the component commanders before he made a decision to go forward, and he asked them a couple of questions. He said, “is this war plan a good one and will it win?” And each single person, every component commander, they said directly to the president of the United States on secure video, “absolutely.”

Q: Well was -

Rumsfeld: Shh. Just listen. (Laughter.)

Then he said, “Do you have everything you need?” Simple question. These are adults. They’re all four-stars. And they sat there, and they looked at the president in the eye and said “absolutely, we’ve got everything we need.”

Now, is it, as General Myers says, perfectly possible that some person five layers down is short a meal for a day, or he his communications mixed up with somebody else’s? You bet. This is an enormous process. There’s something like - what? - 260,000 - 300,000 people involved in this activity, and it is a monstrous task that they’ve performed, and they’ve done it brilliantly.

Myers’ willingness (and zeal, I might add, as I heard this live) to answer the question and defend Rumsfeld was rather striking. Further, the litany of successes that he details is noteworthy, as are the remarks about diplomacy and the build-up.

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Excellent News:

By Steven Taylor @ 8:00 pm

U.S. forces rescue prisoner of war held in Iraq

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Democrat & Chronicle: Moore explains

By Steven Taylor @ 1:20 pm

Democrat & Chronicle: Moore explains Oscar speech. And this kind of talk, strikes me as either fantasy, or a total non sequitur: �Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator,� he added, �and I hope he�s removed as soon as possible. But nonviolently.� (As James at OTB notes, it is like being anti-abortion, but pro-choice).

And, boy, I can hardly wait:

His next project is guaranteed to be controversial. �I�m making a film called Fahrenheit 911, the temperature at which freedom burns. It�ll be about how Bush is using 9/11 and those 3,000 lost lives as an excuse to move along his own conservative agenda.�

For example?

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By Steven Taylor @ 10:30 am

Sarin Gas Documents Seized in Iraq

Special Forces teams operating in northern Iraq have seized manuals on the production of deadly poison gases, chemical masks and other documentation in raids on the camps of Islamic militants with alleged links to the al Qaeda terror organization.

And from the same story:

As fighting raged from Basra to Baghdad, members of the 101st Airborne Division involved in street clashes in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf were given new rules of engagement, ABCNEWS has learned.

A high-ranking military source told ABCNEWS that they were now permitted to fire upon all buildings, including residences and buildings of religious or historical value.

The change in orders came about after U.S. military officials say they learned that Iraqi forces were using religious landmarks as shields and hiding anti-aircraft artillery next to mosques.

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 am

“That Arnett took his star turn on Iraqi state television and spoke seriously to a uniformed member of the Iraqi military indicates that he possesses the credulousness of a child, not the judgment of a seasoned reporter.”

The piece itself is worth a read, and probably ought to be entitled “Why Arnett Shouldn’t Have Been Hired in the First Place,” rather than “Sacking Arnett for the Wrong Reason”

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By Steven Taylor @ 5:49 am

Pilots rescued after plane slips off aircraft carrier

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War Summary

By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

Noteworthy stuff:

  • The Republican Guard’s Medina division, massed south of Baghdad, and the Hammurabi division, north of the city, have been targeted by “tremendous sorties,” McChrystal said at a Pentagon briefing. He said two other divisions have also been targeted, and that initial assessments show that the Medina division’s strength might have been cut in half.
  • The Kurdish militia, the Peshmerga, said about 1,000 Iraqi soldiers have surrendered along the northern front line separating Kurdish areas from those controlled by the Iraqi regime.
  • Elements of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division seized an airfield on the outskirts of Najaf. The strip will be used by military transport planes once it is cleared of mines, military officials said.
  • Fighting also continued around Nasiriya and Samawa, where U.S. officials said 50 Iraqi soldiers and 100 members of a paramilitary group were captured.
  • British forces said they’ve secured the western part of Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city
  • Clean water began flowing Monday from Kuwait to the southern Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr through a pipeline that will provide about 600,000 gallons of fresh water a day, Brooks said. Iraqi forces had cut off water supplies to the city.


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