Calling Coyotes by Cross-Country Communication in all Counties

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Quote of Note:

“This is the first war in history which has ended with the victors suing for peace and the vanquished calling for unconditional surrender.”

-deceased Israeli politician Abba Eban, on the aftermath of the 1967 war.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Fortunes from fortune cookies currently in my wallet:

"You are smart, for you do things smartly."

"People in your background will be more co-operative than usual."

Monday, March 17, 2003

One for the History Books

In my opinion, that of someone who thinks that Bush generally fails to do well, tonights speech was the best I have ever heard him give. Period. With the sole exception of claiming links between Iraq and Al-Quaida on the basis of inconclusive evidence, he laid out a very logical and compelling case for war. Excluding possible terrorist ties, the case for action against Saddam Hussein is still strong. Personally, I would like to emphasize that one of our main reason for war should be to give the Iraqi people a rest from the 12 years of hell Saddam has put them through.

Bush hit all the right notes in his speech, including going over Saddam's refusal to disarm and obstruction of disarmament for 12 years and over a dozen resolutions before tonight. Saddam has had 12 years to disarm. The U.S., eventually, gave him several more months and one and a half more resolutions as a last chance to merely continue his brutal fascist regime. In the end he decided not to. Bush may have not been very diplomatic in seeking to eliminate Saddam's weapons. He has not always been forthright in his intentions. He may have been inconsistent and contradictory in his position on Saddam Hussein. But it should be obvious that Saddam Hussein had many opportunities to avert a war and maintain power, and took none of them. The only person who has full implicit responsibility for this conflict occuring is Saddam Hussein, a man who epitomizes all that is evil in dictatorships.

Good luck to all the troops in Iraq, and please come back home alive. And to the Iraqi people: I hope that the deposing of Saddam will quickly lead to a free, safe, and prosperous society, and that the world will do much to help you make that transition. May our future shine brighter than the present.

As a side note, I stand by my designation of midnight, March 18, Baghdad Time, as the end of diplomatic action. I think that no diplomatic action other than an act of a higher being will avert either exile for Saddam or war.
Let's hear it for diplomacy.
Everyone must read this, and listen to this.
A Doonesbury cartoon by Garry Trudeau from Gulf War I:

"And as the drive to war enters its 400th day..."

Its T -30 minutes to midnight in Baghdad. If Saddam doesn't start heading for the airport soon, U.S. troops will get the green light. To which I say that I am so sick of debating the pros and cons of taking out a petty third-world dictator that my opinion has become, "Bring on the US hegemony." Honestly, that so many people could spend so much time debating whether or not to take out a dictator with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, is completely absurd.

I do not really care about the problem of war from a long-term view, but have issues with how a war on Iraq will affect us in the short-term. There are too many unknowns about any possible retaliation from Saddam Hussein in a last ditch attempt for revenge, which I outlined here. I would like to add that I would not put it past Saddam Hussein to begin indiscriminately wiping out his own cities to leave Iraq in as bad a mess as possible, and I also think that Rumsfeld overstates how easy a war on Iraq will be, as we got bogged down in Iraq just trying to retake Kuwait in Gulf War I.

Time until midnight in Baghdad: 13 minutes

Friday, March 14, 2003

The Bush story on North Korea's enriched uranium program is starting to unravel.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The commemoration of Douglas Adams will be postponed to April 22, exactly 42 days after Douglas Adams birthday. As Douglas Adams would have agreed, it was not important when Douglas Adams was born and when he died, as what did in between.

Deep Thought, supercomputer: "The answer to the Ultimate Question; to Life, the Universe, and Everything, is..."
Descendant of Supercomputer designers: "Yes, go on!"
"You're really not going to like this."
"It doesn't matter if we don't like it, we must know the answer!"
"...You're really, really not going to like this."
"Tell the answer!"
"Oh, all right.
"The answer to the Ultimate Question; to Life, the Universe, and Everything, is...
(long pause)
"We're going to be lynched."

-"Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", radio series

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Unfortunately, the Douglas Adams tribute will be postponed for tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.

"Who would bomb a publishing company?" -Zaphod Beeblebrox
"Another publishing company." -Marvin, the depressed robot

-"Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy," the radio series
Check out this blog later today for commemoration of the birthday of Douglas Adams(1952-2001).

"There's an infinite number of monkeys here asking us to take a look at this script they've worked out for Hamlet."
-Arthur Dent, Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Monday, March 10, 2003

Kurdistan Update:

Turkey's now-Prime Minister has stated that, "Turkey will not remain silent against developments for its security and Iraq’s territorial integrity." First he wanted to follow U.S. troops into Iraq, now he wants to respect Iraq's "territorial security?" Kurdistan will only contribute to Turkey's insecurity by encouraging other Kurdish revolutionaries to act. There has been no Kurdish terrorism coming from northern Iraq, and if there was, the armies they have amassed at the Iraq-Turkey border would stop them from getting through. They would also stop the refugees he complains about.

Kurdistan Update Update: Northern Iraq and Eastern Turkey were actual territory of the country Kurdistan until 1925, when Iraq, Iran, and Turkey invaded it. So when Turkey says it wants to preserve Iraq (and its own) territorial integrity, it is really saying that it conquered the land fair and square. There are also small Turkoman populations(near end of editorial) that want independence from Iraq, which suggests that Turkey will pull a Cyprus. (I also recommend reading this, from the Kurdish National Congress of North America. Also, a report from the front.)

Friday, March 07, 2003

Eugene Volokh Misses the Forest for the Trees:

In answering Michael Kinsley's question, "Why are nuclear weapons in Iraq worth a war but not nuclear weapons in North Korea?" Volokh makes a table comparing the situation of Iraq and North Korea. Go read that.

Back? Okay, he does answer correctly that the reason why has something to do with the fact that North Korea is much more of a military power than Iraq, and in more position to do harm. However, he is wrong in saying that North Korea probably has nuclear weapons. There has been no intelligence indicating that North Korea's nuclear program has already made a nuclear weapon. Self-incriminatingly, Volokh notes "There might well be lots of sound criticisms of the Bush Administration's policies with regard to North Korea." Newsflash: there are lots of sound criticisms of the Bush Administration's policies, notably the lack thereof. From last night's press conference:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. If I can follow on Steve's question, on North Korea. Do you believe it is essential for the security of the United States and its allies that North Korea be prevented from developing nuclear weapons? And are you in any way growing frustrated with the pace of the diplomacy there?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it's -- I think it's an issue. Obviously, I'm concerned about North Korea developing nuclear weapons, not only for their own use, but for -- perhaps they might choose to proliferate them, sell them. They may end up in the hands of dictators, people who are not afraid of using weapons of mass destruction, people who try to impose their will on the world or blackmail free nations. I'm concerned about it.

We are working hard to bring a diplomatic solution. And we've made some progress. After all, the IAEA asked that the Security Council take up the North Korean issue. It's now in the Security Council. Constantly talking with the Chinese and the Russians and the Japanese and the South Koreans. Colin Powell just went overseas and spent some time in China, went to the inauguration of President Roh in South Korea; spent time in China. We're working the issue hard, and I'm optimistic that we'll come up with a diplomatic solution. I certainly hope so.

As a historical note, I would like to flashback to the 2000 election, to an article written by Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor. This article was published in Foreign Affairs.
After consideration of a preemptive strike against North Korea's nuclear facilities in 1994, cooler heads prevailed, and the administration eventually crafted a diplomatic solution. North Korea agreed to cease plutonium production at the Yongbyon research reactor, and the United States, Japan, and South Korea agreed -- under appropriate international safeguards -- to provide North Korea with two light-water reactors for its power needs. Hard-liners have criticized Clinton for rewarding North Korea's defiance of the nonproliferation regime, but they have yet to offer an alternate policy that would have achieved as much with as little.[my emphasis]

It appears that they still don't have an alternative policy for dealing with the same situation. We have been talking to the Chinese, Russians, South Koreans, and Japanese for months now, apparently. Unless there is a breakthrough in the next month that results in North Korea deciding to stop, because of a "diplomatic solution" created by all the other nations in the region except North Korea, the months of constant talk won't do any good at stopping North Korea's program from starting to produce a nuclear bomb a week. Before North Korea gets the bomb, we can probably win a war against North Korea with major damage only to South Korea. If they have several bombs, Seoul will be completely gone, and Japan may lose a few cities. If we're lucky, they don't hit the West Coast with their missiles.

Compare the IAEA bringing the issue to the Security Council, after they were kicked out, to Bush's proactiveness in the UN on Iraq. Bush has started all US action on Iraq in the UN, yet is silent in the UN on North Korea. Can you seriously imagine Bush trying to get a "diplomatic solution" to deal with Iraq, in the face of more flagrant violations of UN orders than have happened? Also from the press conference:
So, therefore, I think the best way to deal with this is in multilateral fashion, by convincing those nations they must stand up to their responsibility, along with the United States, to convince Kim Jong-il that the development of a nuclear arsenal is not in his nation's interest; and that should he want help in easing the suffering of the North Korean people, the best way to achieve that help is to not proceed forward.

Basically, we're for trying to convince other people to deal with a threat that is far more pressing than Iraq, and hoping things work out. Anytime a Democrat advocates that we take this position on Iraq, he or she is derided by conservatives, but when Bush decides to take this policy on North Korea, almost the only person who cares is Joshua Marshall.

This issue cannot be ignored. If North Korea does obtain nuclear weapons, how long will it be before America's inaction in the face of aggression, leads to the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent/threat to keep the US from intervening in an invasion of South Korea? What will Bush do to stop North Korea from trading nuclear weapons once it has them? Bush doesn't seem to be able to answer these questions. If a military strike was a bad idea in 1994, it will be much worse if North Korea actually has a nuclear arsenal and missiles that can hit the US. We have options other than a unilateral war. We can restart diplomatic talks with North Korea, we can advocate for immediate action by the UN, and/or we can go to NATO and persuade them to declare war on North Korea. Bush has refused to do the first one of these, and has shown no sign of taking action on either of the other two. Bush is not solving the problem, he is delaying it. Going to war with North Korea is a bad idea, doing nothing is worse.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Instapundit quote a prediction of an oil market where the Third World demands most of the world's oil, where I think the Middle East could wield even more influence than they currently do by threatening to embargo developing nations if they step out of line. (Personal Internal Thought: This would also be an excellent situation for someone with far less scruples than the US to get tired of dealing with the Middle East and invade and/or bomb it to take some of the oil reserves, and "just because.")
Kurdistan-Turkey relations go from bad to worse.

As I predicted earlier, Kurds announce they will shoot Turkish soldiers on sight.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003 writes about the history of betrayal of the Kurds.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Looks like time is running out for Chancellor Schroeder.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Apocalyptic Nexus of Evil and Ignorance, Part 2

Talking Points Memo beat me to this, but only because I delayed writing it for several days. It seems as if the folks in Washington weren't sure enough of getting mired in a difficult war, so they had to setup the conditions for another Vietnam. Turkey has so far demanded two things in exchange for getting the parliament to vote on letting US troops use Turkey as a staging area. First they demanded that we give them an aid package to compensate for the disruption of the cash flow their getting from Iraq's oil for food program renting Turkey's pipeline. Now they want to send Turkish troops into northern Iraq, to prevent Kurdish revolutionaries from obtaining Iraqi weapon. This is such a blatant falsehood that it is not surprising the Kurds will resist a Turkish occupation. First the obvious.

The Iraqi weapons will probably be closest to these Kurdish revolutionaries when there being fired at them. If there was a real danger of the Kurds obtaining weapons that could be used for terrorist purposes, or for protecting an independent Kurdistan from foreign suppresion, the US forces could easily take care of that problem on their own. The Turks claim that their troops will provide humanitarian aid is hypocritical, given that they are having troops placed on the Turkey-Iraq border to prevent Kurdish refugees from escaping possible slaughter by the Iraqis.

Also, Turkey has not exactly been supportive of Kurdish nationalism. They have banned several Kurdish independence groups in Turkey, imprisoned politicians, such as Leyla Zana, who advocated the peaceful establishment of a Kurdish state. The Kurds are generally treated as second-class citizens in Turkey and Iran, and in Iraq the Mi-24 helicopter was excluded from the ban on military aircrafts in northern Iraq, which made it easy for the Iraqi to continue to slaughter Kurds. (see an Air & Space magazine from a few years ago with a cover story about the Mi-24)

Turkey is sending troops in so many Kurdish leaders can be shot in "defensive actions against Kurdish attacks." They will go in there and do whatever they can get away with against the Kurdish nationalists. But they aren't in it just to suppress the Kurds; they want to protect the oil town of Kirkuk so that the Kurds don't claim it in an independent state and stop paying Turkey to send oil from it through Turkish pipelines. Its very possible the response of the Kurdish nationalists to Turkish troops in the region will be to shoot at any Turkish soldier they see. Then Turkey will complain to the U.S. about unprovoked Kurdish attacks on Turkish troops, request U.S. assistance, and pretty soon we're embroiled in someone else's war to persecute an ethnic group that has been suppressed since the 1800's. The fact that we'll be fighting in desert and not jungle won't make the war winnable, it will make it more horrific.

The Kurds are perhaps the most under-recognized oppressed people in the world. People routinely denounce China for continuing to occupy Tibet, violence against an ethnic group on a litlle Island called Timor on the other side of the world is international news, and rhe Palestinians who aren't even an ethnic group have an observer on the UN and a whole comittee devoted to them. Somehow, when it is Jews "oppresing" an ethnic group the Arabs created, it is the worst crime since the Holocaust (Yes, it is a #$%@$ stupid comparison, but some people actually make it), but when three Arab nations suppress the nationalistic ambitions of an Arab people, it's "okay." And neither the UN nor the US want to make an issue of it. Perhaps a generation from now Kurds will curse not Saddam Hussein, but George W. Bush.