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Preview: Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Dish

Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Dish



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Last Build Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 06:12:57 GMT

 



A FLEXIBLE PLAN:
I've been floating a few counter-factuals about this war in my head. In particular, I'm thinking about what the Josh Marshalls and Joe Conasons (although Josh is in a different league of seriousness than Conason, of course) would have had the administration say just before the war. What if Cheney had gone on television and said: "Look, this is going to take months. Saddam's hardcore is highly trained, ruthless and will fight to the death." Wouldn't that have largely removed the chance - even if it were an outside one - of psyching out the Ba'ath leadership and possibly cracking the Saddamite machine at the outset? Part of what the administration was trying to achieve, it seems to me, was a psychological coup against the Baghdad leadership. If they could out-psyche the Ba'athists, convince them they were doomed, we'd have had much higher chances of winning this quickly and well. The problem, of course, was that the message designed for Saddam was also one heard by the domestic audience, and so was a set-up for disappointment. The further problem was that if the leadership survived, they might also feel more confidence for making it through the first couple of weeks. But, again, that's only a problem if the British and American publics aren't grown-ups and can't deal with the uncertainties of war, and if we don't have the firepower to win anyway. But the publics are grown up - certainly more so than many of my colleagues in the media - and we do have the firepower to carry on. The other obvious advantage of the rolling approach to the war is what Jim Hoagland points out this morning:
They were determined to avoid giving Hussein time to launch missiles with chemical warheads against Israel and its Arab neighbors, torch Iraq's oil fields or launch new massacres that would send waves of Iraqi refugees fleeing into Turkey and elsewhere. They have been largely successful in these objectives so far.
Those are big successes, but because they are negative ones, they don't please the critics. From the broadest perspective, I'd say that the negative verdict on the war plan is still unproven.




AND HOW:
Here's general Peter Pace on the flexibility of the Rumsfeld-Franks plan, making a similar point to Hoagland's. He persuades me:
I think it's a very, very good plan, and I have given my opinions many, many times to the civilian leadership. I support this plan. It's a brilliant plan in both its simplicity and its flexibility. And Gen. Franks had a plan that would allow us, if there was early capitulation on the part of the Iraqis, would have allowed us to not have to destroy a large portion of that country. It is flexible enough to handle everything up to the most devastating attacks that we may have to conduct.
But the scope of the operations is all within the original plan, and the flexibility has been demonstrated right from the beginning. When Gen. Franks saw that the oil fields down South might be destroyed as the oil fields were in Kuwait, he quickly sent the ground forces in there and was able to secure over 1,000 oil wells, maybe 80 percent of the Iraqi people's wealth that's in the ground he was able to secure for them for their future. And there's many, many other examples of the plan being set in motion and then circumstances on the ground providing opportunities, like the night that we got the great intelligence on where we thought Saddam was and the very, very specific precise attack.
Of course, Pace has a vested interest in saying this. But he also makes sense. And the critics have a vested interest as well. Why else would jilted former Bush adviser, Brent Scowcroft, the man who helped get us into this mess in the first place, be carping on background to the Washington Post?
- 1:42:18 AM
 



A LIBERAL WAR:
This piece by Christopher's high Tory brother, Peter Hitchens, is illuminating for several reasons, not least of which is that it's quite persuasive. There is an important conservative argument against this war - an argument that it is destroying the status quo, that dictators should be dealt with, not challenged, that the developing world should be written off for democracy, and so on. That's why so many Tories opposed what they saw at the time as "Churchill's war" in the 1930s. It's why Patrick Buchanan is against this war. And the hard left against this war is also, strictly speaking, reactionary - they loathe the disturbing, transformative power of free trade, free markets and American military power. For my part, I think that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists make this a war that should be fought for national interests alone. That's the conservative argument. But it is also a progressive endeavor, fueled by the American hope for progress in the Middle East and for democracy, of all things. Hitchens digs up the Tory roots of the anti-war impulse nicely. No chance it will embarrass the anti-war left, though. They seem, for the most part, unembarrassable.
- 1:41:06 AM
 



DID BLAIR LIE?
"I noticed that you picked up on the BBC's story about the controversy over whether two British soldiers were "executed" by the Iraqis, as Blair alleged in a press conference. You draw hostile attention to the BBC's "profound scepticism" about the truth of Blair's claim, and their reprinting of the Iraqi denial 'without comment'. You may not have been following this closely in the British press, where it is an issue about the accuracy of Coalition information. There appear to be two completely inconsistent stories here. Blair claimed that the two soldiers had been executed. The family of one of the soldiers claims that they had been told by both the sergeant and the colonel responsible for this soldier that he had been killed in action, with an implication that there were eye-witnesses, and have accused Blair of lying..." - more reader skepticism and comment, on the Letters Page.




THE BEEB FAILS:
British opinion is now more optimistic than American opinion about when this war will end. More interestingly, both Americans and Britons still expect a long campaign - months and months. In that sense, maybe the BBC has had an effect in portraying the costs and difficulties - but it will only redound to Bush's and Blair's advantage if the war picks up pace. I have a feeling the expectations game has gone far too dramatically in the direction of pessimism.
- 1:39:44 AM
 



DASCHLE'S HOLE:
Why does he keep digging? Jake Tapper has a little scoop.




SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE:
"The United States has also become a pathocracy, that is, a regime that is neurotic in essence, the leaders of which are, quite simply, psychopaths.  I offer the hypothesis that the American president is personally suffering from a paranoid psychosis and that the quartet he has formed with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld constitutes a government that is both theocratic and pathocratic ..." - Francois de Bernard, Liberation, translated by Salon.




QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat." - Teddy Roosevelt on the back-seat drivers in this war, "The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses."
- 1:38:20 AM

Monday, March 31, 2003
 



MARSHALL'S HYPERBOLE:
Josh Marshall is indeed on fire at the thought of his nemeses - the dreaded, evil, incompetent neocons - getting their comeuppance in Iraq. The rhetoric he's using, however, seems to me a little overwrought. The White House is in a "meltdown," a state "of pandemonium and implosion." Huh? Don't get your hopes up, Josh. Marshall has staked a certain amount of cred on being just, well, so much smarter than anyone in the administration, but a hawk as well. But his hyperbole strikes me as somewhat undermining of his case. Let's concede for a moment that his premises are right (I don't actually concede that, but let that go for a moment). Let's say that the light, Rumsfeldian strategy didn't pull off the immediate victory the White House hoped for. Why is that such a disaster, prompting "pandemonium and implosion"? It would be a disaster if there was no back-up. But it seems quite clear that the Iraq invasion was based on a plan that was flexible enough to shoot for the stars at first, but prepared for the earth if needs be. Yes, part of the motive for "shock and awe" was also presumably a global deterrent - a signal to Syria, Iran and NoKo that we could do it elsewhere. (Why is that such a bad idea?) But that's still not essential for victory. Fighting ambitiously is no sin. Fighting ambitiously without a back-up is. What I don't understand is why a two-month campaign that ends up with major forces in Iraq, the liberation of Baghdad, and the end of Saddam isn't still a huge success. Just because it isn't an amazing, sudden victory doesn't mean it isn't a victory. Josh thinks our bombing of Baghdad is turning civilians against us. I don't know how he knows this. As far as I can tell, we have the power to be patient, and the resources still to win. It seems crazy to me to panic and point fingers at this point, although I don't begrudge people with axes to grind from doing so (old Pentagon officials who believe in the old methods, neolibs trying to be hawks without being neocons, et al.) The Mickster unearths a useful quote from Kenneth Pollack, the acceptable face of hawkery for the liberal elites, about a future war against Saddam:
Probably the most likely scenario would be about one third of Iraq's armed forces fighting hard, limited use of tactical WMD, and some extensive combat in a few cities. In this most likely case, the campaign would probably last four to eight weeks and result in roughly 500 to 1,000 American combat deaths.
If that's your standard, instead of Marshall's irrational exuberance, then the war is going better than predicted. I may still be proven wrong. Wars are unpredictable. But Marshall's statement that the entire enterprise is now doomed to military and/or diplomatic and/or political failure strikes me as something that may come back to haunt him.
- 4:56:57 PM
 



THE MULTI-STAGE WAR:
The media's, that is. Jack Shafer nails it. Somewhat cruel to Johnny Apple: "he's a large, slow target that bleeds profusely when hit." But Apple's piece was such a hilarious piece of self-parody he deserves all he gets.
- 4:29:52 PM
 



ONE OUT OF FOUR FRENCH:
Want Saddam to prevail against the U.S. and the U.K. As I've said before: not an ally.
- 4:21:54 PM
 



DE GENOVA AND THE JEWS:
What a surprise that the Stanford and Columbia professor, Nicholas de Genova, is also on the record about other matters:
Once before in his time at Columbia has De Genova incited critics by making political statements that he says were taken out of context. During a pro-Palestinian sit-in in the April of last year, he stated at an open microphone, "The heritage of the victims of the Holocaust belongs to the Palestinian people. The state of Israel has no legitimate claim to the heritage of the Holocaust. The heritage of the oppressed belongs to the oppressed--not the oppressor."
Yes, it all comes down to the Jews, doesn't it? But notice de Genova's impeccable Ivy League credentials. These are the far left extremists who now dominate many humanities departments in many top-notch schools. And notice also from this piece de Genova's explanation: these remarks were taken "out of context." In what context would they be ok?
- 2:44:00 PM
 



SEE NO EVIL:
What caption would you write for a photograph that shows an anti-war protestor with a head-scarf emblazoned with the slogan "Kill Jews." The Times of London went for: "A university student protests against the war in Iraq."
- 2:28:28 PM
 



ARNETT, HISTORY:
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, could it? Good for NBC.




ANTI-WAR = ANTI-ISRAEL:
One thing to remember in the somewhat hysterical anti-war mood in France: this was a country that gave unprecedented support to a neo-fascist only last year. At least part of the French anti-war movement is really about the Jews. And as the movement has grown apace, so too has the phenomenon of anti-Semitic violence:
In its annual report on racism in France, the National Consultative Committee on Human Rights said there had been a sixfold increase over 2001 in acts of violence against Jewish property and persons. Of 313 acts of racist violence documented in 2002, 193 were anti-Semitic, it said. In a second category of racist acts — threats, graffiti and insults — more than 70 percent of the nearly 1,000 incidents were aimed at the Jewish community, while most of the rest were aimed at the North African immigrant community, the report said.
That's today's France: the home of Euro-enlightenment, sophistication, nuanced objectivity and Jew-hating.
- 2:22:54 PM
 



ARNETT, STOOGE:
A long, long time ago, I voiced an offhand fear that some parts of the left (and far right) in this country were so disenchanted with America, so contemptuous of president Bush, so full of misplaced attraction to the thugs and despots of the developing world, that they could mount what amounts to a fifth column in the event of serious conflict. For the new class especially, the journalists and academics and chatterers, some of whose loyalties extend only to their latest publicist, the notion of simple loyalty to country is and was, as Orwell, noted a contemptible emotion. I was denounced for such a thought - even though it was an aside in an essay devoted to celebrating America. But it turns out I was right. My piece opposite deals with the fulminations of a Columbia University professor, Nicholas de Genova, who blurted out what some of his fellow leftwing academics truly feel: that they want the United States to lose this war, and if that means that Saddam wins, so be it. There is no question in my mind that that is also a simmering sentiment among several important media institutions, like the BBC and, to a lesser extent, the New York Times. (Reading the Sunday New York Times yesterday was to read a paper whose editors have already assumed - or can barely conceal the conjecture - that the war is lost.) And now we have Peter Arnett, mouthing Ba'ath Party propaganda, lying about declining support for the war in the U.S., sucking up to the Stalinists who control the Iraqi police state, and generally making a huge ass of himself. This interview is disgusting. It is propaganda. It could demoralize Iraqi resistance to Saddam; it could therefore increase the likelihood of a longer war and cost American lives. This after barely two weeks of warfare. Two weeks.




THE AMERICAN PRIME MINISTER:
Blair has an approval rating in the U.S. of 72 percent - five points higher than the president. Here's why.
- 2:17:16 AM
 



SADDAM'S TERRORISM:
Here's what I'm beating myself up about. I long believed that Saddam was a Stalinist; that he ran a brutal police state; that totalitarian regimes - again, as Orwell noted - are often extremely successful at what they do. (Remember Orwell's fear was that totalitarianism would work.) So why did I believe that Saddam's shock troops would not put up that fierce a battle? In retrospect, of course they would. They've been terrified into obedience; and the higher up you go the more that terror is manifested by terrorizing others in turn. It's one big police state. The experience of the collapse of the Soviet Union perhaps lulled us into over-confidence. But Saddam's terror-state is younger, more Stalinist than end-of-empire USSR, and is allied with some of the most fanatical barbarians in the world. I should have thought of that. Not that it changes much now. After the initial adolescent disappointment that we didn't have insta-victory, the longer this goes on, the more confident I'm becoming. Above all, observing the methods of this police state confirms my feeling that this was always the right thing to do. There was no alternative to war, it is now transparently clear, except leaving Saddam entrenched and getting more dangerous. Now to finish the job.




THE NYT ON THE BBC:
The Axis of Bias now exists. But check out the simply glorious Times' description of the BBC's coverage of the war: "nuanced objectivity." I think I'm going to rename our regular media bias updates as "Nuanced Objectivity Watch."
- 2:16:27 AM
 



A FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT:
A friend was actually at the Columbia meeting where far left professor de Genova called for the murder and mutilation of American troops. My account was based on Newsday's story. Here's an alternative version:
You're right that no one objected to the Mogadishu line: I sat there astonished he was even saying that. But it's bullshit to say the final line of his speech drew "loud cheers from an Ivy League audience." A significant portion of the room (I'd guess a quarter) did start clapping, but I heard no cheers, much less loud cheers. Of course, I was in shock, hissing, shaking my head that ANYONE was clapping rather than booing. All I can tell you is that I paid close attention to see if further speakers over the next few hours would repudiate those comments. And when two speakers did disagree with him (including Foner), the applause was louder. It says something that Columbia students are not willing to stand up en masse and disagree with such disgusting comments, but it does not say that most of them agree with what was said. He certainly was not representative of the other professor's thoughts. On the contrary, the speaker was a last minute addition replacing someone who was sick, and he was alone in the type of comments he made.
I'm glad Foner objected at the time.




THE MARKETPLACE BOMB:
I don't know what to believe about the explosion in the Baghdad market place that the BBC is touting as more American criminality. In general, my rule of thumb is to find out what Robert Fisk is saying and believe the opposite. But this story in the Daily Telegraph was interesting. It will probably take the allied occupation of Baghdad to get to the truth.
- 2:15:32 AM
 



NUANCED OBJECTIVITY WATCH:
Here's a very insightful piece by Stephen Glover in the London Spectator. It deals with some of the emotional and ideological reasons behind some reporters' and pundits' eagerness to portray the dark lining of every silver cloud in Iraq. Money graf:
There were lots of reasons for opposing the war against Iraq. But even anti-war people would always admit that Saddam Hussein is a dictator who has tortured and killed many people, and impoverished his nation. They worried about legality and fretted about whether it was right to invade a country which had not made a declaration of war. I shared these anxieties. The anti-war brigade has also been sustained by anti-Americanism. Now that the allies have embarked on war, it is natural that many of the opponents in the media should want to be proven right. This helps to explain why the BBC and the anti-war press have seized on every small setback as potentially a vast misfortune. There is the war between the allies and Saddam Hussein, and there is the other, hidden war between the opponents of war in the media and those in the field who seem to be prosecuting it with remarkable success.
And yes, Glover is right to point out the success. What has struck me forcibly so far is not so much the "Simpsons"-like backseat-driving of the media ("Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No." "Are we there yet?" "No.") than the absolute refusal of the military brass or the administration to concede even an inch. Like you, I don't know what's really going on. The press could be being babyish; the military could be putting on a brave face. One day, we'll know. But if I had to believe someone, it would probably not be the BBC.




FIGURE THIS ONE OUT:
Check out this story in the Washington Post. It's about Bush's advisers "splitting." I can't tell who they're talking about, except the vague description of "former senior Republican government officials and party leaders"; what the split is precisely about; who may be leaking; and much else. Whoever was the source for this piece is so deeply on background he or she or they are completely invisible. Scowcroft? Baker? Eagleburger?
- 2:14:21 AM
 



ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY:
An email worth sharing:
I am a retired US Army officer.
The de facto policy in the military has always been that you never run a "witch hunt" after a really good soldier who keeps it out of the barracks. "Witch hunts' went after the women for the most part because lesbians for some reason were much more likely to be in the barracks than male homosexuals, who would take it off-post.
When I was a kid sergeant in the 101st Airborne, working on air movement, one of the most important people around was the division air-movement NCO. This guy knew more about loading US Army equipment on US Air Force aircraft than anyone. If he said if was rigged right, it was right - even the Air Force called him for rulings. But if he said it was wrong - no arguing, no appeal - your stuff wouldn't get on the airplane.
The first time I had to take paperwork to him, my platoon sergeant called me aside and said, "DeeTee, this guy is the biggest fag you've ever seen. But you better make him a happy fag." Platoon Daddy was right - the guy was a mincing flamer - but he knew everything. I watched him chew out officers and senior NCOs right and left who had their paperwork examined ahead of me. And I was really proud when it was my turn and he praised me and my unit in a very loud voice for knowing what the real deal was.
Several years later, as a young lieutenant, the company command and I had our best clerk come into the office and say that he wanted a discharge because he was queer. We told him, bullshit, we've seen your hippie chick girlfriend.  He fell back on, well, I'm bisexual.  We told him no you aren't - you just want to get out of the Army, go to college, screw, and smoke dope. We made him a deal - stay on through the summer (while we prepared for our annual general inspection), and then when college classes start in the fall, we'll give you a homosexual discharge if that's what you still want. He said OK.
Two weeks later, our worst clerk got busted for driving under the influence. His lawyer called us saying that his client was just being prosecuted because he was black, and that he'd told him that we had a notorious queer we were protecting. We were, of course, shocked, shocked, to get this news. On his own confession, we discharged our best clerk in 48 hours. It took over three months, and repeated incidents of misbehavior to get rid of our worst.

- 2:12:31 AM

Saturday, March 29, 2003
 



EMAIL OF THE DAY:
Some political predictions:
Once again the media -which is almost genetically anti-Bush- has whipped itself into hysteria fueled by the hope that he will fail. I believe their hatred of him is the motivator and they are indulging in a kind of optimism that this will be his Waterloo. The most obvious comparison is of course Modo and Afghanistan.

But my point is that the more they screech that we are losing, the GREATER the glory of victory.
 
They are walking into a political trap of their own making. I believe they are about to make utter fools of themselves one more time.  On some level, a substantial portion of the public senses this, "gets it" and in the end, this will only enhance Bush. They will be doing him a political favor.

Any politician's career is hardly an important thing compared to the outcome of a war. Bush knows this. He does not care that he is risking all on this. His ultimate goal is life is not political, that is secondary.   He has a deeper aspect to him that Clinton -a more "intelligent" president- never had. For Clinton, political victory is the epicenter of the universe.   For Bush in this particular, protecting the country is.
 
Once again, the second guessers have underestimated Bush, this time by underestimating temporarily our military. I believe they shall,  little by little,  destroy the Republican Guard and like a well oiled machine,  crush the enemy. I believe that inside of the enemy's universe right now,  there is mostly fear and a growing despair. They have seen the casualties on their side. They can do the math, comparing our twenty something deaths with their hundreds, perhaps already thousands.
   
Our strategy will work and all  that will be lost, is time. Not more lives, not more infrastructure,  just some time. This may not be a happy fact for the Nasdaq nor Helen Thomas, but for the rest of us, we are content.
  
The media has once again given an opportunity to Bush in the longer run. I think he knows this. I think they will rue their hysteria in the not so distant future.
I think it's too soon to predict the course of this war. But there's a pretty good chance this emailer could be right.
- 2:57:31 PM
 



AL JAZEERA VERSUS FOX:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune thinks Al Jazeera is less biased than the Fox News Network:
But the Al Jazeera reporters and anchors themselves generally avoid commentary. And Al Jazeera also provides its Arabic audience with many pro-war, pro-U.S. perspectives, including those from top U.S. military and Bush administration officials. On Wednesday, Al Jazeera carried the U.S. military briefing and the beginning of a Bush speech in Florida, then it left the speech early for a live, exclusive interview with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Fox, despite its slogan of "fair and balanced," doesn't disguise its pro-war and pro-American sentiments.
I'm not making this up.
- 2:52:56 PM
 



BAGHDAD BROADCASTING CORPORATION:
Check out this story. Notice the profound skepticism toward Tony Blair's assertion that two British POW's were executed. Now notice how the Saddam spokesman's comments are simply reprinted without comment. The BBC trusts Baghdad more than London. But then they would, wouldn't they?
- 2:44:04 PM
 



THE ME GENERATION'S PROTEST:
Julie Burchill does her best Camille Paglia impression today (before Camille went soft on the war). Man, does she nail it:
I've just heard a snippet of the most disgustingly me-me-me anti-war advert by Susan Sarandon, in which she intones, "Before our kids start coming home from Iraq in body bags, and women and children start dying in Baghdad, I need to know - what did Iraq do to us?" Well, if you mean what did Saddam do to America The Beautiful, not an awful lot - but to millions of his own people, torture and murder for a start. Don't they count?
Surely this is the most self-obsessed anti-war protest ever. NOT IN MY NAME! That's the giveaway. Who gives a stuff about their wet, white, western names? See how they write them so solemnly in a list on the bottom of the letters they send to the papers. And the ones that add their brats' names are the worst - a grotesque spin on Baby On Board, except they think that this gives them extra humanity points not just on the motorway, but in the whole wide weeping, striving, yearning world. We don't know the precious names of the countless numbers Saddam has killed. We're talking about a people - lots of them parents - subjected to an endless vista of death and torture, a country in which freedom can never be won without help from outside.
Amen, sister. The day of reckoning is not just coming for Saddam Hussein. It's coming for the anti-war movement.
- 2:39:43 PM
 



IT'S A QUAGMIRE!
Johnny Apple, fresh from a couple of bottles of the best Chardonnay, uncorks a memorable vintage of his: the "This-War-Is-Vietnam" thumbsucker, brought to the table in every conflict, undeterred by its catastrophic record in the past. Actually, there's something vaguely comforting about this kind of piece. Like a rite of spring, it blossoms early in every recent conflict, a slightly different exhausted metaphor each time - in 2003, in the desert, it's "quicksand" - a gentle reassurance that the people who have always got it wrong are saying the same thing yet again. Well, we'll see.




"A MILLION MOGADISHUS":
While the New York Times hails the anti-war movement's new-found moderation, a Columbia University professor calls for U.S. military defeat. He hopes to se a "million Mogadishus," a million U.S. soldiers, captured, murdered and paraded through the streets. What the anti-war movement must do now if it is to regain credibility. My take in Salon.
- 2:34:01 PM

Friday, March 28, 2003
 



ANOTHER EPIPHANY:
Another peace campaigner - also an Assyrian Christian - comes home from Iraq and recants his opposition to war:
I wept with family members as I shared their pain and with great difficulty and deep soul searching began little by little to understand their desire for war to finally rid them of the nightmare they were living in.

The terrible price paid in simple, down to earth ways - the family member with a son who just screams all the time, the family member who lost his wife who left unable to cope anymore, the family member going to a daily job with nothing to do, the family member with a son lost to the war, a husband lost to alcoholism, the daily, difficult to perceive slow death of people for whom all hope is lost.

The pictures of Sadaam Hussein whom people hailed in the beginning with great hope everywhere. Sadaam Hussein with his hand outstretched. Sadaam Hussein firing his rifle. Sadaam Hussein in his Arab Headdress. Sadaam Hussein in his classic 30 year old picture - one or more of these four pictures seemed to be everywhere on walls, in the middle of the road, in homes, as statues - he was everywhere!

All seeing, all knowing, all encompassing.

"Life is hell. We have no hope. But everything will be ok once the war is over." The bizarre desire for a war that would rid them of the hopelessness was at best hard to understand.

"Look at it this way. No matter how bad it is we will not all die. We have hoped for some other way but nothing has worked. 12 years ago it went almost all the way but failed. We cannot wait anymore. We want the war and we want it now."
Eventually, fair-minded people will see the truth about this war and its profound moral justification. Read the whole thing.
- 6:01:43 PM
 



THOSE PREDICTIONS:
Salon has a summary of the worst that can be leveled against the hawks for predicting a "cakewalk." I think they have a small point with Perle and Adelman, although I suspect that when this war is over, their stock will rise again. But the Wolfowitz and Cheney quotes don't pass muster at all. When waving at a British soldier can get you hanged, I don't think we know yet what the real feelings of the Iraqis are. Wolfowitz's predictions of joy at liberation have yet to be validated either way - because much of Iraq's population is still not liberated. But none of the quotes match those accredited to Bill Clinton. Here's another one:
But the former president quickly got serious when Letterman mentioned Saddam Hussein. Letterman asked, "Are we going into Iraq? Should we go into Iraq? I'd like to go in. I'd like to get the guy. I don't like the way the guy looks." "He is a threat. He's a murderer and a thug," said Mr. Clinton. "There's no doubt we can do this. We're stronger; he's weaker. You're looking at a couple weeks of bombing and then I'd be astonished if this campaign took more than a week. Astonished."
I think Clinton was genuine. I don't buy the argument that this was a brilliant campaign to heighten expectations to make life harder for Bush. Clinton is slippery, but not that slippery. Still, I wonder if any reporter will ask the former president if indeed he is now astonished. Although, to be fair, he still has two weeks to go to be proven completely wrong.
- 5:44:52 PM
 



FROM THE ONION:
"Sheryl Crow Unsuccessful; War On Iraq Begins WASHINGTON, DC-In spite of recording artist Sheryl Crow's strong protestations, including the wearing of a "No War" guitar strap, the U.S. went to war with Iraq last week. "Making the decision to go to war is never easy, but it's that much harder when you know Sheryl Crow disapproves," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said at a press conference Monday. "It is this administration's sincerest hope that it can one day regain the support and trust of the woman behind such hits as 'All I Wanna Do' and 'Soak Up The Sun.'" Fleischer issued similar apologies to Martin Sheen, Janeane Garofalo, and Nelly." Good one.
- 11:58:57 AM
 



INSIDE THE COCOON:
The BBC boss responds to criticisms that his organization is biased - in favor of the allies! One thing you have to understand about some of these left-liberal top media honchoes - Howell Raines, Patrick Tyler et al - is that their actual social circle is pressuring them to go even further to the left. Their concern is seeming to be too conservative!