Subscribe: ZoNotes
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade C rated
Language: English
american  baghdad  brazil  buffy  coalition  country  fighter  force  forces  iraq  president  season  time  war  wordplay 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: ZoNotes


An Arsenal of Rhetorical Weaponry.

Updated: 2012-04-15T22:01:04.393-04:00



ZoNotes Arsenal Of Technocracy It has been a very busy 3 weeks at work, a whirlwind of activity covering the weapons and tactics of coalition forces from here in DC. I wish our publication had made a decision to embed with one of the aviation bases out in SW Asia, but ironically staying in Washington kept me abreast about the use of some of the most interesting weapons in our inventory -- such as the dual-guided GPS/laser-guided EGBU-272,000-pound Enhanced Paveway III bombs we used last month to open the strikes on Baghdad and the Brits' exquisite new Storm Shadow cruise missile. That said, the one true asset of the coalition successes in this conflict was the American and Brit fighting soldier/sailor/Marine/airman. The 3rd Infantry Division and I Marine Expeditionary Force's sweep through Iraq to Baghdad was the sum of all hopes for military futurists -- combining the ingenuity of on-the-ground battlefield commanders and combatants with the most advanced collection of weapons and accompanying systems the world has ever seen. And all of this occurred without the presence of our most technologically endowed formation, the 4th Infantry Division, largely sitting out the majority of the fighting given the collapse of diplomatic traction with the Turks. It is the fighting man and woman, who came from all points from the Republic, that constituted the awesome power of this force. They made the Longbow Apaches lethal weapons. They flew A-10s so low over Baghdad they were cutting grass. The men of the 7th Cavalry made their forefathers proud, dashing against the choking, swirling winds and excruciating heat of the Iraqi desert to reach Baghdad. As the massive Abrams tanks and Bradley IFVs scoured the desert, the 101st Airborne hopped all over the desert in their Black Hawk helicopters. The Marines of I MEF moved swiftly as well. And what of the Russian "consultants" and Syrian guns and suicide bombers shipped over to frustrate coalition battlefield efforts? There is something fundamental about the nature of the Brit-American-Aussie-Polish fighting force that separates them from potential competitors. In a general sense, our fighting systems allow for creativity and adaptability on the battlefield. The patient British approach on Basra successfully combined one of the world's most capable amphibious commando forces -- the Royal Marines, with the impsosing Challenger 2 tanks of the 7th Armoured Regiment, the "Desert Rats." British commanders showed the coaliton's dexterity and imaginativeness against the stubborn Fedayeen Saddam irregulars. Conversely, 3ID made some daring command decisions. As the U.S. Army goes, 3ID is one of our heaviest units, but showed some agility and sheer gutsiness riding Abrams tanks into downtown Baghdad. Urbanized terrain is a tank's worst operating environment, but the presence of a tank -- such as the intimidating M1A1 Abrams, can also provide its own shock value. The immense sight of hurling 70 tons of armor at an enemy position so quickly multiplies the Abrams' lethality. Iraq did not fight with entirely inadequate weaponry. Our adversaries had the tools of maneuver warfare -- Russian-built T-72 tanks, BMP fighting vehicles, perhaps even the lethal Kornet anti-tank missile. Conversely, they got terrible, self-defeating advice from their alleged Russian aides. The Soviet generals of WWII understood maneuver warfare, planning for offensives hundreds of miles in depth against Nazi Panzer units. Massive force met forceful planning. However, in the post-Soviet era, the Russians seem increasingly one-dimensional. They razed Grozny during the Chechen conflict but sent their own soldiers into a meat-grinder. The Iraqi armed forces entered this war with sufficient weaponry, more troops, but less imagination. The coalition military success is the product of not only democracy, but of an educated, intelligent and thorough one. Its soldiers -- from the tankmen of the Desert Rats to the cook serving in 3ID, all come frome free-thinking, imaginative technocracies that produced the fighting machines for [...]


Where Were You?
It has been a very busy and eventful couple of days, starting with the bolt out of the blue strike on Baghdad Wednesday night to the nasty fighting at Umm Qasr and other Iraqi cities. Coalition troops and accompanying forces can now strike to within 60 miles of Baghdad. This is where the war gets very, very hard.

Ernesto Cortes recounts his experiences from Texas A&M Kingsville:
"Wednesday March 19th may not be a “day of infamy” but it sure was a day that will be remembered by all Americans, and people from other countries. President Bush addressed on Monday the 17th that he was giving Saddam Hussein 48-hours for him and his family to get out of Iraq or military action would take place to get him out. As we went to our classes on Tuesday the talk of the campus was on the deadline Bush had put on Hussein. Would we go to war? Or would Hussein leave under his own will? These are just some of the questions that students, faculty and friends asked me.
Wednesday rolled around and the talk was about Hussein. Would this be the day that we declared war on Iraq? Or was Bush going to give him another deadline? As I watched the evening news that night all I could think about was what the President was going to tell the American public. Good or bad I was anxious to know what action was going to take place. Eight o’clock struck, the deadline was up! As soon as the clock turned eight my eyes were glued to the news stations waiting to find out the latest and hopefully to hear from the president. With the news stations broadcasting a live picture of Baghdad, Iraq and U.S. troops on the ground in Kuwait I knew what I was going to hear. “Nine fifteen the president will be addressing the nation” said the commentator on NBC Dateline. Again I waited for the time to come. “Raise the volume” I said “this is going to be important.” Well Bush announced that Saddam had done his last act of defiance and that we were going in to destroy his regime and make Iraq a better place…….we began the war! Wednesday night there was not too much action that we could see. Thursday morning was the day that we started to attack Iraq where it hurts. The U. S. first started by trying to take out Saddam and members of his government with the first barrage of missiles and bombs. Now all I do is watch the news and see what is going on in Baghdad. Hopefully we will win this war with the least amount of casualties."



Arrows In the Quiver
I'm writing at 2324 hours Tuesday night, slightly under the 48-hour umbrella President Bush offered to Iraqi dicator Saddam Hussein and his two sons to leave Iraq or face direct military action. I say "umbrella" and not "deadline" because like an umbrella, the time frame could fold inward if Iraq A) prepares to sabotage the country's own material wealth or B) launch a preemptive strike on Israel or coalition ground forces with chemical warheads delivered by mobile artillery pieces or SCUD-series ballistic missiles.

Coalition units have been "at war", so to speak, for at least a month. Couple the reports of American and allied special forces operators already in Iraq with the accelerated air campaign under the no-fly zones administered as part of Operations Northern and Southern Watch, and you get a better understanding of Allied efforts to prepare the battlefield for the likely hostilities.

There exists a narrow, distant opportunity that coalition forces will be engaged in combat by the time you read this. Of course, it is also possible that there could be a full day after the expiration of the 2-day umbrella before any coalition forces begin their attack. As the television pundits have noted, in a strategic vein allied planning is clear. There is no "surprise" as such. However, at the operational and tactical level, allied units still maintain a degree of unpredictability to the point where "shock and awe" can be utilized to the utmost.



Nashville Goes To War?
While the media fawns over stridently anti-American actors and other celebrities in the Hollywood axis of banal, country star Darryl Worley is steadily climbing the country charts with his "Have You Forgotten?", a song that reminds us of the horrors of 9.11. I wonder how much Nashville expects to go to the well on this, because that's what I think is happening.

In my opinion, the best song in the post-9.11, pre-Iraq era is Toby Keith's "The Angry American," which captured the anger and the fury of the average American. Keith said what we thought in our minds. Country music seems to be the last refuge of pro-American sentiment, however, country is also a venue for reflection and pause for the consequences of war. For example, the Dixie Chicks' "Travellin' Soldier" echoes the past -- specifically Vietnam. And, the Chicks don't sound quite as shrill as others when recalling that war. Theirs is a reflective, forlorn piece of music.

"When you're a historian you get to make up words like 'orphanhood' and 'indigenists.' " --- Victoria Vergara



Should U.S. and assembled coalition forces begin military action in the coming weeks against Iraq, the most important players won't necessarily be the fighter aircraft armed with a variety of smart weapons and precision-guided munitions. The most important single group of weapons systems will be the coalition special operations forces, the Israeli Arrow ballistic missile defense network, and the batteries of Patriot missile launchers that would back up the Arrow should it fail.

In my opinion, Saddam Hussein's likely first target for his arsenal of SCUD and evolved SCUD missiles will be Israel, perhaps within the first 18 hours or so of the first full-out coalition airstrikes. The importance of the Arrow missile system is on a paramount level, because it ensures that Tel Aviv can defend itself without having to literally enter the theater with its own combat aircraft. Hopefully our SOF professionals can destroy as many launchers before the Iraqis can juice up their weapons and fire them. Should the Arrows miss, and Iraq is lucky enough to get weapons off into the air, then the Patriots are the last line of defense.

In 1991, the SCUD hunt was considered a strategic liability vice kicking the Iraqis out of Kuwait. On the other hand, this time around, the SCUDs are part of the reason the coalition is going after Iraq in the first place.

Should conflict become a reality -- try to keep focus on western Iraq and the level of activity down there.

Wordplay Dump!
"Does Afghanistan = Hellmouth?" ZoMom Victoria Vergara
" We're dealing not with isolated terrorism...but with a broader movement to reject freedom, democracy and modernity itself." -- Robert Bartley, Wall Street Journal
"Being in the Marine Corps is like being in the Boy Scouts...except the Boy Scouts have adult supervision."--Overheard at a defense procurement conference in Virginia.



Chai To Ashes
Today is Ash Wednesday, beginning the Lent season. As a Catholic, I gave up chai tea and bagels with cream cheese, one of my favorite breakfast combinations. Nothing can beat the sugar rush of a grande vanilla chai from St. Elmo's down on Mt. Vernon Ave. in Alexandria.

Korean Posturing
The situation of the Korean peninsula has triggered a variety of the usual diplomatic-military moves. Earlier this week, an Air Force RC-135 recon plane was intercepted and shadowed by a quartet of North Korean MiGs. Conversely, in a pre-planned deployment, B-1 and B-52H bombers were sent to Guam. Now, this isn't exactly a "direct" response to the North Koreans' harassment of the RC-135. Indeed, if the U.S. wanted to send a clear message to the mercurial N. Korean despot Kim Jong Il, it could have added fighter escorts to the recon missions that operate in international waters.

The N. Koreans' action reminds me of the EP-3 incident in the Pacific two years ago, when a Chinese J-8 fighter collided with a Navy EP-3E maritime intelligence patrol aircraft, forcing the EP-3 crew to land on the Chinese island of Hainan and resulting in President Bush's first diplomatic test. The N. Koreans are certainly a problem, but we have a ways to go before we're talking major, war-like crisis. Granted, we can travel down that road rather quickly, but we aren't there yet.

Instead of bombers in Guam, I would have been more keen on actually providing protection for the RC-135s and other planes conducting intel missions. That would force the issue with the N. Koreans to see if they were actually serious about shooting down the aircraft. Four F-15s or F/A-18s flying escort for the recon jets would serve as a pretty durable deterrent, ensuring there won't be a "next time" for N. Korean MiGs to play chicken with unarmed aircraft.

The point here is that the N. Koreans want favorable terms for whatever constitutes an eventual "negotiating table." Kim wants the U.S. alone in bilateral talks. The U.S. is forcing the other countries in the region to deal with the Korean problem by pushing for a multilateral framework.

We were closer to a peninsula war in 1994, when the U.S. considered airstrikes to deprive the North of its nuclear reactors. Like I said earlier, the situation could deteriorate quickly, but other things have to happen -- such as N. Korean troop movements along the frontier, and if the MiGs actually fire one of their missiles.



Diplomat Games
The primary reason President Bush and the U.S. went to the UN Security Council for a "second" resolution authorizing force against Iraq was to offer political cover to Spain, Italy, and Britain. However, if that proposed resolution falls to a French, Chinese or Russian veto, the U.S. will proceed to act alone anyway. I think it was good sense to go to the UN insofar as that the interlude allowed the U.S. and the Brits to field major ground forces in the region.

As I said previously, Tony Blair can sustain a leftist insurrection, and successfully beaten back his own Labour party when it rebelled last week. Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar, given recent electoral success, can ignore the antiwar leftist agitators that protest.

From a purely mechanical standpoint, this is interesting diplomacy. The French-German-Russo-Sino "axis" is organized on one common principle -- diminishing the power of the United States. This is really the first time such an axis has really taken the field. French President Chirac is risking his own country's standing. Usually, after France leaves the NATO flock, America forgives it. Whether or not the current Administration does after France's chicanery is at this juncture an open question.



I Didn't Do It, He Had It Coming
I saw Chicago on Saturday night, quite curious as to what the movie was about being that I have never seen the musical on stage before. Holy jumping Jesuits, it was a great movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones does a tremendous job, and Queen Latifah steals the show as "Mama."

Plus, I loved the way the overall production mocks the media. Working as a reporter, I can appreciate some of the dynamics that the movie exploits. Indeed, even though this movie is "set" in the past, it hits with a nail on the head the great media circuses of the 1990s -- the OJ trial, Impeachment, Election smackdown 2000, etc.

The humor is witty and sharp and the dance sequences some of the most energetic and demanding -- especially the "Cell Block Tango" scene.

Earlier in the weekend, I also had a chance to watch the hilarious Old School with fellow alumnus Sean Mullaney (F'00). In a way, it is basically "Animal House Lite", but it's still a gut-buster of a movie. Vince Vaughn in particular lends the movie a bit of attitude to make it great. And with various homages to other films, Old School is definitely a winner.


Echoes Of Oran
The recent European Union meeting in Brussels should have been friendly territory for EU power brokers France and Germany. The EU is certainly more amenable to the French and German way, and traditionally Britain has always courted a disadvantage versus the continentals. It was France, even more than the Germans, which walked into a hornets’ nest.

However, the emergence of the former Soviet satellites from the East and British PM Tony Blair’s brave stand against the Franco-German bloc resulted in a tougher EU stand on the Iraq than I had even considered possible. French President Jacques Chirac and his country’s diplomatic corps overplayed its hand in trying to assert its will over eastern European states Romania and Bulgaria, offering up naked threats to those countries’ bids for EU membership.

And, for once, let me challenge the conventional wisdom on the status of Blair’s leadership in Britain. Ignore the poll numbers, and ignore the hotheaded know-nothings that comprise the far left of Britain’s Labour Party. Blair’s position as PM allows him more strength in quelling a political insurrection and no one, no one, in the Labour stable could effectively govern the country.

Indeed, given the total disarray of the opposing Tories, Blair is the only viable politician in all of Britain. In terms of Europe, Blair towers over the scrupulous, oily Chirac and the weak-willed Schroeder of Germany. He serves as a bulwark, supporting pro-U.S. leaders such as Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar. Blair occupies a sort of mainstream left-center-mainstream right zone. And he is hawkish in a way that I didn’t think Labour PMs could be hawkish. Here sits the advocate of using ground forces in Kosovo. Here sits the man who unflinchingly offered his backing of the U.S. after 9.11.
Even though his poll numbers are slipping hard, Blair scored a hard-fought victory at the EU meetings in Brussels. The Brits won’t appreciate Blair’s gustiness during the Saddam winter until long after it is over.



For the next couple of days I will be in sunny Orlando, Fla., for the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium. I have not had time to blog as much as I would ordinarily like to have done, given the work schedule and certain places I needed to be early in the morning.

That said, I've got alot on my mind. The current dust-up in NATO over whether or not to extend formal protection to fellow ally Turkey is indicative of many, many things. The European Union has always been wary of Turkey, given the latter's economic position and uncertain alignment in the overall European picture. The direct conflict with Greece over Cyprus is also an agitating factor, as is Turkey's status as Europe's Muslim state. However, Turkey is the alliance's historical lynchpin in the south, and is a bulwark against the rise of a direct, established military threat emanating from Southwest Asia. The Turks' army is one of NATO's largest.

The Axis of Detriment -- France and Germany -- have in the life of NATO been able to eat from two troughs. The first is the well of protection that Turkey provides for NATO in the southern flank. The second is the deep well of cynical anti-Americanism that the leadership of both countries draws from in times of domestic unrest. Since the U.S. is trying to shore up Turkey in the event of war with Iraq, the Franco-German bloc, with the Belgians on for good measure, vetoed efforts to provide alliance-wide support.

This is of course providing a serious crisis for the alliance. An out-of-area contingency is aggravating the erstwhile dormant NATO structure. But this is serious stuff.

Turkey will likely be attacked by Iraq in the event of open hostilities -- triggering an automatic Article V contingency in NATO's North Atlantic Charter -- put basically, an attack on one is an attack on all.



Alas, Columbia
I was laced up on a variety of painkillers and drugs when I awoke Saturday morning watching the disintegrating ball of fire that was Shuttle Columbia barrel towards Earth in its final descent. In the subsequent days, as I recovered from my ailment, I thought about what I would say about the destroyed shuttle and its brave crewmembers, who represented the best the country -- indeed, the world -- had to offer to mankind.

On February 1, the morning sky over my beloved Texas cried. A streak of brilliance burned into one of horror and despair.

We are a peculiar species. We have split the atom, cloned the sheep, taken to the air, traveled to the depths of our great oceans, cracked the sound barrier, walked the moon, defeated microbes, and have done so with such frequency that we deem it routine. Yet, for all the familiarity -- we do not choose when God comes to call us back.

In this world of irony, the high science of sending a shuttle to space, powered by what is essentially a controlled explosion of a variety of powerful materials, requires a high degree of faith in the Lord Almighty.

The space shuttle was, is, and will continue to be an imperfect means of sending our astronauts to space to conduct research. Yet, at the same time, no other country has the resources or the willpower to design an alternative, or even a competing design. Shuttles is what America does. It is an extension of will, of hope, and determination. It is one of the vessels that continues the long horizon of President John F. Kennedy's vision for the United States and space.

Space used to be the exclusive domain of the warfighters -- Cold Warriors and their wares. It was the realm of Sputnik, of the ballistic missile, the Moons Race, of SDI. And to a large extent it still is, with communications satellites, GPS, and other systems. Yet, the shuttle in its present manifestation is a laboratory in space. The seven brave souls who stood on station for 16 days did so with no hostile intent.

Their untimely, shocking deaths should not overshadow how they lived their lives. There will be a time, perhaps not now, perhaps not for months, where the shuttle will return to space, with all the requisite repairs.

Yet we must ask ourselves, and our leaders -- what next? What comes after Columbia? The Shuttle will in the coming decades fall victim to the things all machines suffer from, age, corrosion, fatigue. And couple this with the 1986 Challenger disaster over Florida. Two disasters in less than 20 years, unrelated as they may be, should have us the greater public asking more questions.

We owe it to the seven astronauts not only to fly again, but to ride the heavens in a different chariot.

"The true measure of a leader is his use of the word 'I'" -- Sean W. Mullaney (B'00)



ZoNotes was inactive the past couple of days because I was suffering tremendous pain triggered by illness. Which illness? I'll spare you the details.


ZoNotes: Don't be fooled by this blog that I got, I'm just Zo from the block, used to have a little now I have a lot, you know where I came from...

Forests, Trees
Those of us in the Beltway dome tend to put too much importance in the most trivial things. A mere 24 hours after the President's State of the Union, and we probably cannot recount every domestic program he proposed without a handy copy to help us out. However, the second part of the speech, the pre-declaration declaration of war with Iraq, is what I shall call the prologue of history.

I think American forces will soon take the field against Iraq. And it may come sooner than even I had anticipated. The SOTU was a precursor, a musing. The first chapter of the second war will begin when the President goes on television again to explain why the U.S. attacked Iraq.

For all of the prognosticating that takes place here in the Beltway, the punditocracy nibbles on the forgettable afterthoughts -- a spending program here, a campaign promise there -- but out there, Joe America is watching his sons and daughters -- indeed, our sons and daughters -- off to Southwest Asia.

Perphaps I am biased. I take no real interest in domestic policy wonking. My academic and professional grounding leads me to think and deal with other things. But this --Iraq-- is the bull in the china shop.

Decisions have likely been already made regarding what will happen. I hope that they are the right ones.



It was a chilly 12 degrees outside this morning. How I am able to function in this weather is a singular achievement, given that 7 years ago I thought Laredo would give us the day off from school because it dipped below 32 degrees one night.

I think I'm fighting off a fever or some potentially nasty head cold. I'm drinking lots of orange juice in the interim to head off any unsavory microbes invading my person.

Barbarians At the Healy Gate
MSNBC gabfest HARDBALL!! and host Chris Matthews continued its weekly tour of College, USA by visiting our alma mater, Georgetown University. In the stately Gaston Hall of the venerable Healy Building, Georgetown's fine undergraduate community congregated to talk about Iraq, the war on terror, and the prospects for a new draft.

God Bless Gaston Hall.

The show had its predictable moments -- the antiwar crowd was present, as was its hawkish opposite. Sitting behind one of the generals on the Gaston stage was Joe Hoya with an appropriately peppy blue sweatshirt with "GEORGETOWN" embroidered in gray letters. One snarky student in particular made the obligatory tirade against Israel, and the camera caught him in a "word to your mother" pose. And then, another student came up and gave the obligatory pro-Israel answer. I was kind of hoping we'd show a little originality in that regard, but I'm happy with the nice face time the lovely daughter of the currently life-depriving cold swift Potomac got last night.

"The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius." -- Sid Caesar


ZoNotes: Definitely fresher than an old rerun movie. Plus, we don't have to verify anything for the inspectors.

Apparently yesterday's ZoNotes did not generate. I have re-posted the data originally sent yesterday morning.

I've got to be at a seminar at 8 this morning so the Buffy recap will have to wait. Other than that, I need some Super Bowl XXXVIII predictions from the congregation so I can post on Pride of the Fall.

"It is easier to get forgiveness than permission," -- Stewart's Law of Retraction



Money for Nothing and the DVDs For Free
The DVD player onboard my computer has finally failed me, lacking the memory to adequately play my Season 2 Buffy DVDs. My favorite season of the show, mind you.

Needless to say, I am now in the DVD player market. Any suggestions?

Stupid People With Bombs
I hope you all saw the simulated footage over the long weekend detailing what might have happend had shoe-bomber Richard Reid had actually followed through with his attempt to blow up the airliner last December. This proves alot about what we think our enemies are capable of versus what they can actually do.So often, we choose to believe the former based on what the consequences are of believing the latter. The results of those miscalculations were made clear at Kasserine Pass, the Ardennes, the Yalu River, the Tet Offensive, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Khobar Towers, the 1998 embassy bombings, and 9.11.

"I was once told I was a boring history teacher. But all I do is teach government!" -- ZoMom, Victoria Vergara



Passing Go
Illinois Gov. George Ryan's decision to offer a blanket commutation of the entire slate of state death row inmates, in my opinion, is a terrible example of ego rampaging recklessly over justice. Gov. Ryan, perhaps trying to distance himself from the impending federal investigation into the potentially illegal shenanigans of his administration, decided to issue a blanket commutation in order to improve his notoriously uninspiring record in the state house.

Essentially, Ryan is trying to get to Heaven on the back of the victims of some of these criminals and their families. I supported then, and do now, an individual case-by-case analysis in order to determine the merits of each case. Maybe Ryan thought that would take too much time, and by then wouldn't be governor anymore, thus depriving him of the craven need for applause and good commentary from the media.

Sean Mullaney (B'00) writes: "Gov. Ryan really is, as the Washington Times calls him, disgraceful. It would be one thing if he reduced the sentences of just those criminals where the guilt was not slam dunk. But he reduced the sentences of some incredibly brutal murders who were obviously guilty of sin. He showed no regard for the victims or their families. To former Gov. Ryan, their pain is a small sacrifice for glorifying himself in the media. Good to hear the new governor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, has called the decision a "big mistake.""

Suicide in Village C
For those of you not aware, GU freshman Jeremy Dorfman (C'06) was found dead after an apparent suicide in his dorm room on the 4th floor of Village C-West's Y Wing. The details surrounding his death are so far not forthcoming via any official sources, but as the days progress the University might issue some sort of statement.

This is a phone call no parent should have to answer. It is a sad day for the family, for his friends, and for Georgetown.

The incidents of suidide on the Georgetown campus are rare, and the class of 2000 luckily avoided that tragedy. The last case I know of was about 8 years ago, if I'm not mistaken.



Timing Patterns
With U.S. troops and equipment moving en masse to the Persian Gulf, the UN inspection teams say they want more time to complete their inspections -- say, a few more months. The inspectors so far have been a useless distraction that is meriting alot more coverage than warranted. A smoking gun was never going to appear, in my opinion.

My take on this is that the inspectors, timid and prone to manipulation as they are, are providing an offsetting benefit for coalition forces. The fact was that even with about four brigade sets' worth of weapons and material prepositioned in the Gulf, we still lack the adequate firepower and manpower strength to invade Iraq and "roll" into Baghdad.

The deployment of the remainder of II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and the move of the entire Army 3rd Infantry Division are crucial pieces of what is looking like a 150,000-200,000-man force that will likely strike Iraq sometime in the spring or summer. Of course, it may be mid-April before anything really happens.

The next key will be if one of our NATO-based divisions in Germany, 1st Armored and 1st Infantry, pick up stakes and make their way towards the Gulf. We are still a long way from Desert Storm 2.0. Plus, with a precedent that former President Clinton established in Kosovo and Bosnia, UN "approval" isn't necessary.

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." -- President John F. Kennedy


ZoNotes Buffy Recap: The War of Buffy’s Succession Tuesday’s episode did a good job explaining why the First Evil (FE) decided to strike the Slayer line. Evidently, Buffy’s death-resurrection-death-resurrection has “disrupted” the slayer lineage. This is a bit of a tangled web, but if you follow me, I can guide us through it: For the uninitiated – In the finale of Season 1, the Master vamp bit Buffy and drowned her in the sewer. Xander, however, resuscitates her using CPR. However… ….Buffy had “died”, thus activating a second Slayer, the Jamaican sensation Kendra. Kendra appeared in a few episodes in Season 2 but then was killed by the mostly insane and completely homicidal vampire Drusilla. Slayer line corrected, right? Well… …the show’s creative team created a nice exception. The next slayer to be called was Faith, played by the fair lady Eliza Dushku. But Faith was called to replace Kendra, not Buffy. Faith’s gradual descent into evil led her to serve as the right hand of the Big Bad of Season 3, the Mayor. Buffy, as fans of the show may remember, tried to kill Faith after the latter had nearly killed Angel, Buffy’s then-beau and currently the star of his own show on the WB, the aptly-titled Angel. But Faith got away and was rendered unconscious for what in the Buffy timeline constituted nearly a year (note: when politicians do this, it’s called spending more time with your family. In actor-speak, Eliza went off to pursue a career in the movies). Faith awoke (movies done!), caused a lot of trouble for Buffy in a two-episode arc of Season 4 (there’s an involved explanation I’ll spare you here), and escaped to Los Angeles, where she ended up causing a lot of trouble for Angel on his show (again, details shmetails). Faith is still alive in the two shows’ continuity, serving a prison term at a facility outside LA. Eliza is scheduled to renew her role as Faith in both shows this season (which requires a tangential, separate, and at this moment unnecessary explanation that binds the two shows, which appear on different networks, this season). Plus, Buffy died again at the end of Season 5, sacrificing herself to save her sister (and the world, too. Hey, big responsibility). Season 5 was the last one on the WB network, so I suppose the creative team wanted to end in a blaze of glory. Well, poof, in 2001 Buffy is on UPN, and it’s not Buffy without the heroine, so she is again resurrected… …which is why Anya, the former-current-former vengeance demon, felt so guilty about resurrecting Buffy from the dead after her and Giles’ visit with the really gross-looking eye-studded blob who explains the problem It is not that Buffy kept dying, it is that she kept coming back. SO, when the new slayers-in-training in the latest episode talked about there being more than two slayers, it’s technically true. There’s Buffy, fighting the FE and the ghastly Turok-Han (TH) ubersupervamp, and there’s Faith, who’s lounging in prison. All that said, the final fight with the TH helped put this episode as one of the 15 best in the history of the 6-plus-this-season run. Buffy’s mocking of the TH, calling the construction site where they fight “Thunderdome”, reminds us of the numerous times the show’s characters play off popular culture. Buffy’s victory over a creature which had nearly killed her in the chapter before the Christmas break “showed” the potential slayers that they could defeat what the FE offered, but also admitted it would take a terrible toll. Buff[...]


The Zos:
Event of theYear (TIE):
ZoBro Ernesto Cortes' graduation from JB Alexander High School in Laredo, TX takes top honors along with the wedding of Livy Keithley (C'98) and Sharlene Sidhu (C'00).

The Game Changer of the Year (ZoNotes' Person Of The Year):
President Bush risked his "political capital" to lead the GOP to the big win in the 2002 midterm elections. If the Dems had been so bold, perhaps they still might have the Senate.

Sporting Moment of the Year
The New England Patriots' win over the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl is the runaway winner here. The Anaheim Angels' World Series win would have made it if it weren't for that rally monkey.

Political Breakthrough of the Year
Actually, two here. First and foremost -- the GOP's stunning election day showing in the midterms is the clear first choice. The GOP now controls every segment of the government for the first time in the modern communications era. The second is the democratic transition of power to a leftist government in Brazil, with the election of Luiz Lula. For a country with a long history of military involvement in politics, this was a big deal.

The "He Said WHAT?" Award
Clearly, Sen. Trent Lott's (R-Miss.) laudatory commentary about Strom Thrumond's 1948 segregationist candidacy for President is the winner. But the far leftists also threw in their lot when Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) hailed Osama bin Laden's alleged charitable acts.

Wordplay of the Year
No votes received.

Song of the Year
Averil Lavigne's "Complicated." I sing it in the shower, in the gym, and at breakfast. You do too.

Album of the Year
The Dixie Chicks -- "Home". The Chicks' third big album is a musical triumph, a decisive score.

The Popcorn Butter Award: Best Movie (TIE)
"Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring," and "Spider-Man". Yes, I am a geek. Live with it.
"Episode II"

The "I'm Reading it Too," Book of the Year
Robert Caro's "Master of the Senate," about LBJ's time as Senate Majority Leader.

The "Fire Him -- NOW!" Award
Trent Lott was in line for this one when he was driven out as Majority Leader. And then Cowboys head coach Dave Campo was in line for it until Jerry Jones did the deed before the year completed. So, no real winner here, but there really isn't one when you get to this category anyway, is there?



Tomorrow, the Zo Awards!!

Taking a Rain Check
One of the first major decisions Brazil's new leftist president Luiz Lula made when taking office last week was to postpone by a year the Brazilian air force's F-X fighter requirement. At a hefty price tag of $700 million for 12 to 24 aircraft, the F-X simply didn't fit in this year's budgetary plan. Brazil had been considering:

>Lockheed Martin's F-16C/D Block 50+
>Russia's MiG-29
>Russia's Su-35 Super Flanker
>Dassault Aviation/EMBRAER Mirage 2000BR

The combined Dassault/EMBRAER offering would have been the most likely "national" solution, given the promise of manufacturing fighters and their sensitive onboard systems technology in Brazil. In the interim, Brazil is considering a variety of leasing options in order to replace the aging Mirage IIID/E BR fighters currently in service. Now, why would a S. American country want to opt for high-performance fighter aircraft in the first place? Brazil has an expansive airspace and would need aircraft with sustainable patrol range to perform the air defense role appropriately.

On a basic level, the acquisition of high-level technology (and the ability to produce it indigenously) represents a step forward for rising countries like Brazil. Transcending that, a Brazilian-marketed fighter on the regional market could offer competition to American products such as the highly successful F-16, which recently scored a huge win,with Poland chosing it over Mirage 2000-5 and the Gripen.

The F-16 win was bundled inside an exotic loan and financing package from the U.S. government. As Brazil contemplates an interim fighter requirement, the U.S. could gain some traction with a similar arrangement for Brazil. Of course, as Brazil is not a NATO ally, it is perhaps too ambitious to expect a Polish-like solution.

If you go to the Pride of the Fall blog, you realize that Sean Mullaney (B'00) scored some eerily prescient predictions regarding playoff teams earlier in the season.

"Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself."



Tomorrow, the Zo Awards!!

Taking a Rain Check
One of the first major decisions Brazil's new leftist president Luiz Lula made when taking office last week was to postpone by a year the Brazilian air force's F-X fighter requirement. At a hefty price tag of $700 million for 12 to 24 aircraft, the F-X simply didn't fit in this year's budgetary plan. Brazil had been considering:

>Lockheed Martin's F-16C/D Block 50+
>Russia's MiG-29
>Russia's Su-35 Super Flanker
>Dassault Aviation/EMBRAER Mirage 2000BR

The combined Dassault/EMBRAER offering would have been the most likely "national" solution, given the promise of manufacturing fighters and their sensitive onboard systems technology in Brazil. In the interim, Brazil is considering a variety of leasing options in order to replace the aging Mirage IIID/E BR fighters currently in service. Now, why would a S. American country want to opt for high-performance fighter aircraft in the first place? Brazil has an expansive airspace and would need aircraft with sustainable patrol range to perform the air defense role appropriately.

On a basic level, the acquisition of high-level technology (and the ability to produce it indigenously) represents a step forward for rising countries like Brazil. Transcending that, a Brazilian-marketed fighter on the regional market could offer competition to American products such as the highly successful F-16, which recently scored a huge win,with Poland chosing it over Mirage 2000-5 and the Gripen.

The F-16 win was bundled inside an exotic loan and financing package from the U.S. government. As Brazil contemplates an interim fighter requirement, the U.S. could gain some traction with a similar arrangement for Brazil. Of course, as Brazil is not a NATO ally, it is perhaps too ambitious to expect a Polish-like solution.

If you go to the Pride of the Fall blog, you realize that Sean Mullaney (B'00) scored some eerily prescient predictions regarding playoff teams earlier in the season.

"Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself."



Borrowing a quote from new Cowboys headman Bill Parcells -- I am Energized.

If there's one thing I learned during my 21 December-1 January trip to Laredo, TX, it is that you can always come home -- just remember that the furniture is in a different place. But it's still your furniture. Take that as you will. It was refreshing to eat the food I love and rest up in my hometown. Who was that Greek god, Antaeus, who would absorb energy from the very earth on which he stood? I had my Antaeus moment in Laredo.

He have a Central Hockey League team -- the Laredo Bucks -- which has come as a fountainhead for the local community.

But now, I'm back, and this is great hitting weather.


ZoNotes: Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind? What about Laredo?

Plagues of Saddam
The urgent, serious sounding media tell us about the possibility -- indeed, the certainty -- that Iraq will torch the land once the coalition forces led by the U.S. move against Saddam Hussein. We've seen a bit of this back in 1991 when Saddam, his forces routed, resorted to ecoterrorism by torching the Kuwaiti oil fields, triggering an "environomic" calamity.

Granted, this could alter the state of international public opinion in favor of Baghdad, but is the sympathy of Mexico and Syria on the UN Security Council worth the total dismemberment of Iraq as a whole? Saddam knows what nodes to attack in the minds of the antiwar, anti-American Left. Show it starving children (never mind that they starve to build presidential palaces), bring sycophantic American actors to the country (and show them nothing), speak forbiddingly of destruction (as antiaircraft weaponry violate the no-fly zone), and the more appeasement-minded sophisticates will turn and denounce the West for its inhumane mistreatment of Iraq.

Plus, if "world opinion" in Berlin and Paris is so amenable to Iraqi manipulation, is it worth having on our side in the first place? Charles Krauthammer has an excellent piece in the latest The National Interest about the consequences of the unipolar era. I recommend you read it to understand the unprecedented nature and duration of American unipolarity.

"Love is the crocodile on the river of desire."-- Bhartrhari, 625


Archive test...