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Monday, March 31, 2003
Too Long in the Field?
Has anybody seen a picture of John F. Burns from the New York Times in Baghdad? He has been featured on Charlie Rose (hey, don't laugh, I don't have cable) since the war began. Now tell me that this guy doesn't look absolutely stark raving mad. He looks like the unibomber for God's sake. Here is the link. He is the guy on the far left.

Holding the Press Accountable
I'm happy that NBC sacked Peter Arnett. I don't know why I should be happy, since one would think it would be a no-brainer to fire a guy who made those comments in his situation. NBC actually tried to back Arnett for a day before distancing themselves. I've heard that his interview is being broadcast numerous times in the Arab world to rally opposition momentum. It doesn't rise to the level of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, but what he did is inexcuseable. And then there's Geraldo. At this point, the rumour is that Geraldo drew a map on live TV of where the unit he's with is headed. If true, Fox should fire him in a New York second.

Sunday, March 30, 2003
Why I love Fox
For the past two nights, they have been following up the story on the Columbia professor by giving out his office phone number. No commentary, just: "If you want to share your thoughts on this incident, you can reach the professor at the following office number." Classic.

Media Lexicon
I thought I would share with you a few items from the media lexicon used by reporters covering Operation Iraqi Freedom. Please feel free to add some of your own.

Vaunted (Adj.); widely praised; in the case of a military reference, refers to a unit of soldiers that have earned respect as fierce and effective fighters. Example: "US forces have yet to test themselves against Saddam's vaunted Republican Guard". In the current conflict, the phrase "Republican Guard" cannot appear without this adjective preceeding it. Webster's defines as "widely praised," usually used in reference to its military capacity. Despite the fact that US forces decimated Republican Guard units in the first gulf war, this phrase should never be used to describe American or British units. It would not, for example, be appropriate to say "the vaunted 101st Airborne Division".

Quagmire (Noun); A difficult, precarious or entrapping position; modern usage refers to a military situation that is unwinnable and costly for American forces, despite their superiority on the battlefield, usually used in conjunction with comparisons to America's defeat in Vietnam. As used by media today, the word applies to any use of US forces that does not result in total victory within 5 working days. Hence, the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was dubbed a "quagmire" only a few weeks into the war, and hours before the fall of the Taliban.

Nationalism (Noun) Loyalty to nation, sense of nationhood; A complicated word requiring contextual understanding. When used to refer to Americans, it has a negative connotation, and is frequently preceeded by adjectives like "unthinking." When used to refer to America's enemies, it is used in a positive sense or as a virtue, as in "People in Baghdad are not viewing American troops as liberators, but are instead reacting with a mixture of nationalism and anger that their country has been invaded." Note: nationalism is such a strong force in other countries that some people will kill, rape and torture those who don't express it strongly enough. This is, of course, only further proof of how strong the feeling is among the people.

Patriotic (Adjective/Adverb) Possessing love for Country or Nation;in modern usage, applies equally to many groups of people, used in a positive sense to refer to political agitators who intentionally disrupt traffic and divert police resources from anti-terrorism activities during time of war, burn their country's flag, and wish for the defeat of their military in a "million Mogadishus". As in, "Today's protestors were acting in the spirit of a long and patriotic tradition of respectful dissent to their government's policies." Note, when used in reference to those supporting Republican causes, this word can take on negative attributes, as in "Critics contend that Bush is attempting to create a patriotic fervor in order to boost his political fortunes."

Peace (Noun) A period of time characterized by the absence of civil disturbance, war or conflict. In modern usage, refers to any period marked by the refusal of United States forces to act in response to threats or attacks. Example: "Despite the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the destruction of several US embassies and the attack on the USS Cole, Bill Clinton presided over a time of peace." When used in reference to organizations or groups, "peace" is often a synonym for communist, as in "The recent protests were put together by A.N.S.W.E.R. and other organizations affiliated with the peace movement."

Ralph Peters' Latest. Dead on as always. Linked first from the corner.

Saturday, March 29, 2003
The Left Wing
The West Wing episode was based on the "fact" that there has been a 7 degree increase in average temperature in Alaska over the last thirty years. The data came from a NYTimes article that, as usual, misstated the facts. Here is an interesting rebuttal, based on information from the Alaska Climate Research Center, that appeared on

The article "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn, and Sag" written by Timothy Egan, stated that the average temperature has risen seven degrees in the last 30 years. This statement was repeated in an editorial by Bob Herbert of 24 June 2002. This statement is incorrect. The correct warming for Alaska is about 1/3 of the quoted amount for the last climatological mean 1971 to 2000 (see table below). It should be pointed out that the table presents data from first class weather stations, which are professionally maintained and generate high quality data. The three stations, Barrow, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, represent a cross section of Alaska from north to south. Further, Barrow, situated in Northern Alaska, which gave the largest temperature increase, is the only long-term first class meteorological weather station in Northern Alaska. All changes are based upon the time period 1971 to 2000 and are compiled from a linear trend.

As Jason rightly points out, these temperature variations appear to be cyclical. It is difficult to know for sure, of course, since we only have reliable temperature records for a couple hundred years, if that.

As for the "gag rule" on abortion, the reality is that the clinics that perform abortions and those that merely "counsel" women on abortions are often one and the same. It takes little effort for the abortion providers to create a shell clinic for counseling within the very walls of the clinic doing the aborting. No matter how you cut it, it is impossible to convince Americans that their tax dollars should go to fund abortions (or even encourage them) abroad.

What bothers me about the episode (and I did, unfortunately watch it) is that there was absolutely no attempt to find balance on these issues. On the Alaska issue, they failed to acknowledge that there is a debate on this issue, not only with regard to whether global warming is occuring, but whether it is cyclical and the extent that human activity is responsible for increases in temperature (rather than, say, Mt. St. Helens). On the abortion issue, they failed to present any alternative view. The argument that this is a free speech issue is ludicrous. First, the first amendment doesn't guarantee you a right to federal funding. Second, this was a foreign aid bill. The first amendment doesn't apply outside of the United States (although we may be making some progress in getting it going in Iraq). If the Bill of Rights does apply overseas, the law abiding citizens of Britain should be pretty angry that they took away their guns.

The corporate polluter issue was a cartoon. They have no sense that these issues are complicated - - or they lack the imagination to do it. Instead of setting up an evil corporate polluter intentionally pouring carcinogens into the environment, why not consider a more realistic case, where a modern company purchased the assets of a bankrupt company that dumped pollutants like crazy twenty or thirty years before the modern company even existed. Should the new company be responsible for cleanup or damages? Something like that is more typically the case. The 1950s and 1960s model of dumping pollutants into the environment is simply not good business today.

The amazing thing is that the West Wing apparently has some big name Republicans on board to provide "balance." Either they have hired Chris Shays and Sherry Boehlert - their idea of Republicans - or the Republicans they have on staff are just there for show. The show is usually interesting, if maddening, but this week's show was just pointless.

Friday, March 28, 2003

So in what I hope will be a weekly feature here on SCG, I will rebut, at least a portion of, this weeks episode of "The West Wing" (or The Left Wing). I ran this by Tom first, and indicated that I would volunteer to write the weekly rebuttal and then noted that I would probably have too because I know that most of you have wisely chosen not to suffer through this show. This week’s episode was very much the standard hour-long propogandamercial that it has been since its inception. In this episode we were treated to 14 Alaskans killed by global warming, three years of intentional cancer causing pollution by the ever evil big American chemical companies, and crotchety old Republicans trying to “limit free speech” by attempting to exclude tax dollars from clinics that council women on abortions. I’d like to say it was a particularly squishy episode, but frankly it was quite typical of the heavy-handed leftist slant of the show. So where does one begin? I don’t have the energy or the inclination to take on each one of these topics, and certainly I don’t have the pretty package with which to deliver it. So I’ll just take, in my humble opinion, the most absurd of the episodes assertions.

At some point during the show, we learn that an “earthen dam” in northern Alaska has broken, sending a 3 mile wide wall of water and ice cascading down a river bed and wiping out a small town along the rivers banks, killing 14 people. Of course the immediate concern is for the townspeople, and search and rescue plans are immediately put into place (including the requisite help from our Canadian friends). It doesn’t take long though, for the “geological team” to be summoned to the Whitehouse, where the senior staff is informed that reckless disregard for the environment, the massive increase in greenhouse gasses, and corresponding increase in average temperatures was directly responsible for the melting of the glacial ice that raised the water level that caused this dam to burst. “So you’re telling me these 14 people are the first casualties of Global Warming?” The chief of staff asks. “Well they were certainly casualties of it,” the young female geologist states incredulously, “though I wouldn’t call them the first casualties.” She is visibly angry.

I couldn’t even really get my dander up over this one at first, especially when the real problems of the world, being tackled by the real west wing, are so vivid and prominent in ones mind. I thought, no one could possibly take this seriously. Global warming was directly responsible for killing 14 people? Even the most strident and fringe environmentalist lefties must find this as unbelievable as it obviously is. But then again…

So the bottom line of “the rebuttal” is this, and remember these five little things for your next argument with the global warming police: (1) greenhouse gasses, most notably CO2 are not increasing at an alarming rate, CO2 concentration levels are cyclical and have, in fact, leveled off over the past decade and are likely to begin a gradual decline by most accepted scientific models; (2) human beings just don’t have a major impact on the global carbon cycle, less than 3% is related to man and man made technology, there is no getting around that fact; (3) there is no hard scientific evidence of a link between increasing CO2 emissions and increases in global temperature, there are too many well-documented cases where just the opposite has occurred, over periods ranging from months to millennia, reminding us that correlation does not prove causation and that cause must precede effect; (4) global climate trends during the past century are very much like those of the past, the highly-heralded falsehood that the opposite is true is refuted by a host of scientific studies that demonstrate the warming of the past century is but the most recent phase of a natural climatic oscillation; and (5) there is just no hard scientific evidence that “global warming” will produce a rise in sea level, there has been no acceleration in long-term sea level rise over the past century, and many scientists suggest that warming could actually result in greater snowfall over the polar ice caps, transferring large amounts of water from the oceans to the ice sheets and possibly halting sea level rise. (Note: You can find a heck of a lot more information on these issues from a number of sources, including The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change – sounds squishy doesn’t it - at

Remember, the primary strategy of someone trying to make a scientific point that is unsupported by science, is to repeat the same argument enough times that people begin to mistake it for “common knowledge.” This is particularly true when they are trying to make their point in order to advance a specific political agenda. "The West Wing" is, of course, fiction. In fact it’s more "fiction” than most fiction, but the liberal assertion that global warming could directly cause such a terrible environmental disaster is beyond ludicrous, and in a program so heavily steeped in “reality,” perhaps it is best that we occasionally keep that reality in check. The more that the left is allowed to say that of course there is global warming, of course it is caused by the reckless acts of man, and that of course those actions will necessarily have measurable and destructive consequences for the planet and it’s inhabitants, the more they repeat it and drum it home, the less work they’ll have to do to prove it, and the more punishing, restrictive demands they can put on economic and technological advancement. SO DON'T LET ‘EM, CALL THEM ON IT.

I am just appalled at the media. They are commenting on things way over their heads in their Monday morning quarterback role of military analysis. They can't figure out why this war isn't over, even though the weather hasn't cooperated, Iraqi soldiers are wearing U.S. uniforms, children are now armed, etc. Some of the sensationalism, analysis, and field reporting has been disingenuous. Additionally, while the U.S. needs to minimize civilian casualties, they need to be a little more forthright in bombing military targets where civilians can get killed. The TV station is a good example.....just get on with it. Also, Bush & Co did a good job explaining to the people that this war won't be over quickly; however, they need to somehow stick it to the media for their all-over-the-board reporting.

Send a box of "I'm with stupid" t- shirts
With the possible exception of the human shields, can anyone think of a stupider move than that taken by the Iraqi exiles in Jordan who are leaving the relative safety of their current dictatorship to fight our soldiers in Iraq? They should stop watching Al Jazeera - - it is going to cost them dearly.

Shock and Awe
The media has made it a point to ridicule the "Shock and Awe" campaign, saying that it doesn't look like it is as effective as we thought it would be. That's easy to say if you aren't part of the regime or the Republican guard that are being targeted. Recent developments tell me just the opposite is the case. The Iraqis' in the North - who have been digging in there for 12 years - gave up their dug in positions in the North within 1 week of the bombing and have fallen back 11 miles to the South. In Basra, the Iraqi "militia" that allegedly had us on the ropes is now essentially trapped. Every time they try to move tanks and other vehicles out of the city, we rip them apart. If our air power isn't effective, why are they leaving (or trying to leave).

The decision to move quickly to the gates of Baghdad makes a lot of sense to me. They have drastically limited the enemy's ability to move their personnel and material around the Country. When we had trouble in Basra, they had no ability to reinforce or resupply. We have bottled up the vast majority of their forces around the capital and in the coming week or two, we will methodically clean out the remaining areas while we are pounding the Republican Guard positions and knocking off what remains of their command and control capability.

James Woods on Leno
Called MIchael Moore "a sympathetic, treacherous, chicken-shit tub of guts" and added that he "didn't expect much from him and he delivered." Woods seems to have been changed dramatically by his run-in with the September 11 hijackers in one of their "practice runs" a few months before. I heard him on Hannity a few weeks ago taking on some loser from "The Agency" and made a very articulate case for pre-emptive action against those who would do us harm.

Thursday, March 27, 2003
Feeling Down About Our Progress Be sure to read Ralph Peters columns in the New York Post over the past few days (they are usually linked from the Corner). He has really helped put everything in perspective the past few weeks. Also, if you get a chance, check out - - Bob is a local reporter/talk show host, is a solid conservative and is a terrific writer. If you get a chance, check out the comments because he usually slams people in them.

Hitting a bullet with a bullet? For all those who say that missile defense can't work, I want to point out that the Patriot batteries we have in place have proved extremely effective in preventing missiles from reaching Kuwait City. Not to say one won't slip through, but the engineers who helped improve them deserve some recognition.

Where is everyone??
Man, it's a ghost town in here....

Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Very cool....The shirts are great and would love to get one! I'm hoping that the Washington Times and a few other outlets pick up the site and the movement. Its worth a mention.

Wow. Those guys are my heros.

This is great.
From NRO.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Don't take it off on my account (again, I am posting the F word). I don't disagree with the statement - - it is funny as hell. Just not sure if that is the image that people should see when they first visit the site (like other people actually visit!). Plus, I think the stream of urine actually makes it more than suggestive. I am not sure why I am comfortable with the F word and not that image. Maybe I have a hangup about bodily functions ever since I got in trouble for peeing on my neighbors tree when I was 7. Of course, the tree was in the front yard and my neighbors were on their front porch, but that is a story for another day.

Is it a Trick? There is apparently a convoy of 300 Iraqi military vehicles heading out south of Baghdad. This is either the stupidest miltary blunder of all time, or it is a trick to attract US forces and hit them with chemical weapons. Now we will see how that "vaunted" Republican guard holds up against US air power and the US Marine Corps. God have mercy on their souls.

Vulgar Picture?
Don't know that it's vulgar. It seems to me that the guy is suggesting the act. I think that fact alone mitigates any vulgar charge. And it's not an image of the Virgin Mary, it's a mass murderer who just had 4 Americans executed and shelled his own people. I think the picture is a perfect statement. But I can see how others would not. I have removed it.

ABC is now comparing the FBI interviewing Iraqis living in the United States with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. As the "expert' put it - - history has shown that measures implemented during war time are often extended into peace time. This, of course, is why we still have all those Japanese prison camps dotting the country. The ABC piece ended with an ominous warning: "The FBI could soon be knocking on your door."

I don't know about you, but if it were third generation Italian Americans who killed 3000 Americans and Italian Americans who were plotting to kill more Americans, and Italian Americans who killed American soldiers in cold blood and held others as POWs, I would be very happy to see the FBI at my door. I would tell them all I know about Marino, Paulie, etc... I am very disappointed in the Islamic community (or as Lieberman or Daschle would say, deeply saddened) here in the US because they seem to think this is all about how their feelings are hurt. The best way for the Islamic community to win my support is for them to stop complaining, stop using their soapbox to oppose US action, and join the fight (both literally and figuratively) against America's enemies. Of course, when they do join the fight, it would be better if they did not try to kill their fellow soldiers.

One last complaint. Tom Friedman, who is actually not terrible on the war, is on ABC talking about how people in other parts of the world see America. One young Islamic girl used her time to say that "Muslims are afraid of America, because we are against Islam." and "We can't prove Bin Laden did that. Papers have said that Americans did that themselves". And finally, "We didn't want Al Gore to win because he was Jewish"!!! Friedman's conclusion: there is a lot of affinity between our cultures! If by that, he means that Americans live in denial about reality and are filled with anti-semetic venom, then I guess he is right. How do you watch a person say that without addressing it?

OK - I am done giving you a rundown of everything I hate about TV tonight. Except to say that the new weapon that sends up a shell that drops 80 grenades on a concentrated enemy location is way cool.

OK - coming from the guy who posted the F*CK Germany and France photo, I don't have any high ground here. But I am opposed to the photo of the guy peeing as one of the banners on our site. For one reason or another, the F*CK sign doesn't bother me, but the guy urinating seems a bit vulgar. It could also just be one too many of that nature.. Mind you, I think the link from Jason was appropriate and appreciated. What are your thoughts?

DID WE KNOCK OUT SAADAM TV OR DID THEY TAKE OVER OURS? I don't have cable, so maybe I am not seeing it all, but the three major networks are giving the strong impression that we are losing this war. Leslie Stahl: "Is this De Ja Vu? VietNam all over again?" "Do we have enough troops on the ground?" ABC: American troops are blinded, bogged down, Iraqi's are preparing to defend their homeland, if not Saadam.

Stahl again, this time to Powell: "How did we get to a place where much of the world thinks George Bush is more evil than Saadam Hussein." "I am looking at a poll that shows America hated. It makes you feel terrible." Powell knocked it out of the park.

Think about the spin on these stories - Americans are facing much fiercer fighting than expected (by who?), the Iraqis are using new tactics that we aren't prepared for, we don't have enough troops, the Iraqis are nationalistic and will defend their homeland, Iraqis haven't greeted our troops with flowers and cheers". This all comes as the US has made it to the doors of Baghdad in less than a work week and killed 300-500 of the vaunted Republican Guards in a sandstorm attack without the benefit of air power. As far as we know, the score on the battlefield was 500 to ZERO. Maybe more American casualties will become apparent. Even if it is 50, without air power, that is pretty damn impressive.

I have always been distrustful of our media, and frequently disappointed and angry. Tonight, I am just ashamed.

Dem Spin on Homeland Security
As I sit here and listen to yet another Dem (in this case Sen. Corzine on Hannity & Colmes) talk about how the Admin. is not spending enough money on "the front line 'troops'" here at home -- meaning firemen, police, port security, railroads, etc. -- I'm worried that the Dems are positioning themselves to shamelessly take advantage of the next attack on U.S. soil. The talking point will be that Dems have been begging the President to spend more money on and pay more attention to these issues, but the Republicans were more concerned about tax cuts for the rich. This is of course all nonsense, but I haven't seen any concerted effort on the part of the GOP to counter the Democratic drumbeat on these points.

Methinks it's time to address it in a public way.


Click here for the link.

Nordlinger on NRO is reporting that Asan Akbar's other name is "Mark Fidel Kools" - note the middle name. It tells us something about how he was raised to view America.

Blaming the Victim.
Robin Roberts today had a classic interview with the stepfather of Akbar the treasonous Marine. No questions about whether radical Islam played a role in his actions. Instead, she lobbed him questions about whether discrimination (against blacks, muslims) was responsible. She then asked whether "misunderstanding" of Islam played a role. Excuse me, but who misunderstands who? Can you imagine these sorts of questions if a Southern Baptist had lobbed a grenade into a tent full of Islamic marines?

Monday, March 24, 2003
Putting it in Perspective
By focusing on these individual POWs or the individual firefights from the point of view of the embedded reporters, we risk missing the forest for the trees. If you think we had a bad day, consider how bad it went for the Iraqis. We lost 20 guys and about 10 POWs. These are tragedies. But at the same time, we have moved within 50 miles of the Iraqi capital, decimated their soldiers, military infrastructure, and begun the process of identifying sites where chemical weapons were produced. Saadam may be dead or incapacitated. Saadam's best hope - - the UN security counsel - - has actually lost ground in its effort to block the US campaign. Bush wouldn't blink, of course, but the fact that the Russians are now on the defensive for selling arms to Iraq has got to be received as bad news among the butchers of Baghdad. That is where we stand. In 4 days, we are now poised for a final battle. If you are the Iraqis, what options do you have? Out in the open we will be tearing apart the "vaunted Republican guard". We sent up a whole bunch of helicopters today to go right over the bastards and verify their position. We lost one copter (and now they have 2 more POWs). But we now have had a very good look at the battlefield. If they stay, we will pick them apart. The battle for Baghdad may well be bloody - but it will be tougher on them. They will fight like dogs because they have no future. They are dead men. Let's hope a few of them realize that by delivering our POWs safe, they may just save themselves from what is otherwise their inevitable fate.

BBC reporter: "It is clear to me that this was the Iraqi leader" - - referring to the tape. No mention of the fact that it may have been pre-taped. The reporter also said that the Iraqis in Baghdad are excited, knowing that if the Americans come into Baghdad, the Iraqis will be "on home ground". Followed by pictures of civilian "casualties". Some of them looked like they weren't really hurt... kind of like the guy on the fourth of july who marches with the drum and the bloody bandage on his head.

re: Sadaam's Strategy
I'm of two minds on the POW pictures/video. On the one hand, the anquish of military families has to be of great concern. However, the American people deserve to know how evil this regime is to parade this captured soldiers, let alone to apparently execute our boys in cold blood. I don't know what the right answer is. It's kind of like the pictures from 9-11 of people jumping to their death in order to escape the hell-on-earth that must have been the inferno in the twin towers. No one wants to see those pictures, but I can't think of anything that captures the reason why we have to successfully prosecute this war on terror than those images. Rod Dreher had a link on NRO to a site that simultaneously makes you cry and solidifies your resolve to prevail.

Saadam's Strategy seems to be to use American POW's and deaths to win a PR battle. It is the Vietnam/Somalia strategy and with the help of the American media, it may just work over the long term. Why do we have to see pictures of American POWs or dead American soldiers? I have to say, I don't think I have seen a single dead Iraqi soldier in our media. That is fine with me, but why the double standard? Why show the pictures (still or otherwise) of dead American soldiers. It has to be devastating to military families all around the country. They have no way of knowing if it is their son or husband or father in those pictures. It does serve the media's purpose (ratings), and Saadam's. We should expel Al Jazeera - - immediately - - from areas we control. Does anyone know if we have them imbedded? How can we possibly trust them? Can anyone imagine the US military bringing reporters from Nazi Germany or Japan with American soldiers to report from the front in WWII? Of course not. For what it is worth, I think it will backfire. In the short term - and these bastards don't have a long term future - this will have the effect of hardening public opinion against them, showing they are barbarians and providing yet another example of why they need to be removed.

My take on the war so far
Our strategy seems to be to move as quickly as possible to Baghdad and get on with the main event. Probably the right strategy, given that a prolongued and lengthy fight will leave us vulnerable to a chemical weapons attack. Our strategy seems to be to leave most of the basic infrastructure in Baghdad untouched. OK - we don't want to harm the Iraqi people. But I don't understand why Baghdad TV is still broadcasting. I would think that taking out Saadam's propaganda organ would be an important step. As long as he is on TV, no Iraqi in their right mind is going to do anything other than Saadam's bidding. Of course, it could also be that our strategy changed after we hit the "target of opportunity". By leaving Iraqi TV in place, after a few days it might become apparent that he hasn't said anything new or relevant. I think the tape shown today doesn't provide us with any evidence he is OK - - why no mention of the POWs? Why praise a division that surrendered? Why do Iraqi officials react so defensively to questions about his health? If that is the strategy, I am not sure I agree with it. Why don't we use that "e-bomb" that everyone talked about - - knock out all their electronic equipment so they can't communicate via e-mail, etc...

Playing with the site
Spent a little time playing with the site design. Change at will.

Still Secure
Never ordered anything like that at a bar.....but Scott and I did drink the entire frozen drink list at Fat Tuesday's in Union Station. Lots of colorful frozen drinks...


re: Swirlee Lover
"...I'm comfortable enough as a person..." Notice he didn't say that he's comfortable as a man -- because as we all know, real men don't drink anything called a swirlee...

Please tell me you've never ordered a Zima with Grenadine at a bar...

Swirlee Lover
I've had swirlees every time I've been to the Austin Grill, and probably will continue to do so, as I'm comfortable enough as a person to drink swirlees in any group. At least it had alcohol in it.....unlike the Shirley Temple that Scott had during a Rally-in-the-Alley weekend. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I've been thinking about the swirlee issue, and it seems to me that it gives us plausible deniability with the squishes, i.e.:

"Some of our best friends drink swirlees." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam
By Daniel Pepper
(Filed: 23/03/2003 - from the London Sunday Telegraph)

I wanted to join the human shields in Baghdad because it was direct action which had a chance of bringing the anti-war movement to the forefront of world attention. It was inspiring: the human shield volunteers were making a sacrifice for their political views - much more of a personal investment than going to a demonstration in Washington or London. It was simple - you get on the bus and you represent yourself.

So that is exactly what I did on the morning of Saturday, January 25. I am a 23-year-old Jewish-American photographer living in Islington, north London. I had travelled in the Middle East before: as a student, I went to the Palestinian West Bank during the intifada. I also went to Afghanistan as a photographer for Newsweek.

The human shields appealed to my anti-war stance, but by the time I had left Baghdad five weeks later my views had changed drastically. I wouldn't say that I was exactly pro-war - no, I am ambivalent - but I have a strong desire to see Saddam removed.

We on the bus felt that we were sympathetic to the views of the Iraqi civilians, even though we didn't actually know any. The group was less interested in standing up for their rights than protesting against the US and UK governments.

I was shocked when I first met a pro-war Iraqi in Baghdad - a taxi driver taking me back to my hotel late at night. I explained that I was American and said, as we shields always did, "Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good". He looked at me with an expression of incredulity.

As he realised I was serious, he slowed down and started to speak in broken English about the evils of Saddam's regime. Until then I had only heard the President spoken of with respect, but now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq's oil money went into Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family.

It scared the hell out of me. First I was thinking that maybe it was the secret police trying to trick me but later I got the impression that he wanted me to help him escape. I felt so bad. I told him: "Listen, I am just a schmuck from the United States, I am not with the UN, I'm not with the CIA - I just can't help you."

Of course I had read reports that Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein, but this was the real thing. Someone had explained it to me face to face. I told a few journalists who I knew. They said that this sort of thing often happened - spontaneous, emotional, and secretive outbursts imploring visitors to free them from Saddam's tyrannical Iraq.

I became increasingly concerned about the way the Iraqi regime was restricting the movement of the shields, so a few days later I left Baghdad for Jordan by taxi with five others. Once over the border we felt comfortable enough to ask our driver what he felt about the regime and the threat of an aerial bombardment.

"Don't you listen to Powell on Voice of America radio?" he said. "Of course the Americans don't want to bomb civilians. They want to bomb government and Saddam's palaces. We want America to bomb Saddam."

We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, "Oh my God" as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war.

The driver's most emphatic statement was: "All Iraqi people want this war." He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later he asked me: "Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?"

It hit me on visceral and emotional levels: this was a real portrayal of Iraq life. After the first conversation, I completely rethought my view of the Iraqi situation. My understanding changed on intellectual, emotional, psychological levels. I remembered the experience of seeing Saddam's egomaniacal portraits everywhere for the past two weeks and tried to place myself in the shoes of someone who had been subjected to seeing them every day for the last 20 or so years.

Last Thursday night I went to photograph the anti-war rally in Parliament Square. Thousands of people were shouting "No war" but without thinking about the implications for Iraqis. Some of them were drinking, dancing to Samba music and sparring with the police. It was as if the protesters were talking about a different country where the ruling government is perfectly acceptable. It really upset me.

Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out. It is extraordinarily ironic that the anti-war protesters are marching to defend a government which stops its people exercising that freedom.

Ok. I would agree that it shouldn't be a law to wear a bike helmet. But there should definitely be a law against grown men drinking swirlees. I tried to post the picture right to the site, but lack the ability to do it!

Sunday, March 23, 2003 DC Road Trip Pictures
I scanned in a few of the pictures from DC tonight.

re: Mack the big government lover ( hehehehehe)
Should it be a law? What, did you vote for McCain? :>)

Seriously though, I make my kids wear helmets too -- most of the time, but I think it's insane to regulate such things. I'm waiting for DHS to show up at my door because I force my kids to kneel at church. Next thing you know they'll throw people in jail for cutting the tag off of a mattress....

So Matt, are you saying that we should let our kids hitchike, ride without helmets and ride in the back of open pickups? I don't know about you guys, but I was all fired up against the idea of bike helmets at first. Hell, when I was a kid, wearing a bike helmet was like sending out an invitation to the neighborhood kids asking for a beating. But after I saw my kid fall off his bike once, I was 100% behind the helmet. Should it be a law? I don't know. But I know my kid is wearing one... especially when he is riding in the back of my open pick-up.

MICHAEL MOORE... Is it me, or did the crowd at the Oscars do a 180 degree turn about 10 seconds into his diatribe? I thought there was a huge amount of applause from the crowd when he talked about the fictional president, but then a few people in the crowd turned on him, leading to the diminishment of applause to only a few sporadic claps (and approving nods and smiles) amidst the nos and boos. I would be very interested to know who was leading the charge on the "nos" -- I think they are probably producers who have a lot of weight and realize that Moore was going way too far and putting their fat pocketbooks in jeopardy by revealing Hollywood to be as it is, filled with anti-American pinkos.

CBS Radio today was looking for an expert to talk about the chemical weapons factory hidden under the sand and the only one they apparently could find was the alleged attempted kidtoucher and American turncoat Scott Ritter. They failed to mention that he has served as an apologist for the Iraqi regime for the past two years. Interesting.

The item below was recently sent to me. While divergent from the recent topics of discussion, I think that it is an excellent statement....

I Can't Believe We Made It!

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's or 70's, probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking).

As kids we would be carted around in cars with no seat belts or air bags and riding in the back of a truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on and no one was able to reach us because
cell phones hadn't been invented.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us... Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We ate cakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar cordial but we were hardly ever overweight...
because we were always outside playing and although we shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, no one actually died.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, video games at all, 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, Internet chat rooms ..... we had friends. We went outside and found them. We rode bikes, roller skated, or walked to their homes and stood in front and yelled for them to come out to play, or knocked on the door, rang the bell or just walked in to visit them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world!

How did we do it? We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the it. And the next time they usually passed.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected and there was no one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law.

And despite ... or, perhaps, because of all this... this generation has produced some of the most outstanding risk-takers, problem solvers, innovators and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has seen an explosion of advancement and new ideas.

Why? Because we were given freedom and responsibility: the chance to succeed and to fail. And we learned how to make the most of what we were given.

(This is great!!) The following week has been amazing to watch - even the Post had the President with 73% approval for his actions in their poll.

And I love how the media and the liberals were all duped into thinking all we were going to do was carpet bomb and slaughter thousands of innocents - the precision in all aspects and the restraint has been amazing.

Also interesting was how the media just couldn't wait for the sensational "Shock and Awe". WIll that next be the name of a.) a dance b.) a drink at Spring Break c.) a defensive set in football d.) a WCW tag team duo or e.) or two strippers in an act at Jay's favorite club?

Let's remember to say a prayer for our guys over there.

I am extremely angry. I think it is important that everyone take a step back and remember that the President has been warning us that this is not going to be easy. The Hussein regime (i.e., his henchmen, toadies, professional torturerers, etc...) have to fight to the end. Failure to repel the Americans means death for them. Not from us - - but from their own people. This is going to be Italy, 1944 all over again. The people who have been on the receiving end of brutality are going to see justice done. I think that the Australian General from CENCOM put it best when he said that these men "have no future". He meant that literally. We should expect a lot of fighting. Once we get through the war, the rebuilding process will be much easier since the vast majority of the bad guys will be dead. If they are lucky enough to survive the war, and lucky enough to avoid being hanged in the street, they will face military tribunals. Say a prayer for the soldiers and their families. The quicker we get this thing over with the less likely this stuff will happen. On another note, I am kind of annoyed that the media is asking the military guys if this is a lot harder than they thought it would be. Only the analysts thought it would be painless and quick. The president and the military have been saying this is going to be very difficult, but in the end worth doing. Does anyone in the media pay attention?

The Executions
A couple points on the apparent executions:
1. While we feed, clothe and render medical aid to Iraqi prisoners of war, these bastards -- and by these bastards I mean the Iraqis and the whole lot of radical Islamic terrorists -- torture and execute our guys. Somebody tell me again why the West isn't superior in every way?

2.Our brave soldiers are fighting and in some cases dying so that we can remain fat, happy and free; meanwhile the pathetic neo-peaceniks are officially providing aid and comfort to our enemies. Bastards.

Anybody see the Hamas leader on TV yesterday calling on Muslims everywhere to kill Americans? Do we have to wait until someone actually takes him up on that offer before we treat Hamas and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade as the equivalent of Al Queda? That is a declaration of war as far as I am concerned.

The British have taken a disproportionate amount of casualties, so far. I am concerned that if this drags on for a few weeks things may get sticky for Blair.

Saturday, March 22, 2003
re: conservative ice cream

mmmm, smaller governmint....

Friday, March 21, 2003
Woh! Fox just showed a picture of the President, Rummy, Gen. Meyers, et. al. in the WH Situation Room! It's very, very nice. And we were just almost there!


While the protesters worldwide go into overdrive, the Canadians boo our national anthem, etc, I believe it's important that the world recognize that the U.S. has engaged in a targeted, methodical, restrained war thus far. The heavens have not opened up (yet) with the full force of the U.S. military, and those for as well as those against the war should be satisfied in the way that it has been carried out thus far. I believe we're sticking it to them exactly where we should at this point - going for the top brass, intimidating the hell out of the republican guard, etc. This can't last, though, as things will undoubtedly escalate as the coalition forces get closer to Baghdad. And if Iraq uses chemical/biological weapons against coalition forces, those protesting the war won't have a leg to stand on.

NEWS FLASH: I just spoke to my brother Adam and he has it on good authority that Congress is now considering a bill to rename comedian French Stewart (of "Third Rock from the Sun" fame) "Freedom" Stewart. Yet another reason to purchase Inspector Gadget 2, now available on Disney DVD and Video.

NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON - Ok, I gotta go to bed. I did actually get a lot of work done tonight, but it was hard because I had one eye on the news. It isn't a shock that I don't have a great deal of love for the anti-war (or more specifically, anti-Bush) protestors. I witnessed the protestors in action at my office a few months ago and this past weekend in Washington and I don't have much good to say. But hey, this is America, it is their right to do it. I don't even buy the idea that they should not be demonstrating with troops on the ground - - again, this is America. I do have one big problem: the demonstrations that were organized today were intentionally designed to disrupt - - blocking streets, office buildings, bridges, etc... Here locally, they blocked up the streets in front of the federal building and walked down main street during rush hour. Let me make it very clear, I don't think it is necessarily unpatriotic to demonstrate during a war (that is not to say I think this bunch is patriotic, they are not, just that it doesn't automatically follow. Yet, the nature of these demonstrations is very troubling. It is clear that these demonstrations, which are well organized, were intended to disrupt. Given that we know (a) there are terrorists out there who are plotting to kill Americans and (b) Saadam and radical Islamic clerics have called on muslims to launch attacks to coincide with the start of hostilities, these planned and organized disruptions go too far. I don't think we can afford to take hundreds of cops off the street right now, particularly in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco, which are prime targets. These cops should be protecting train stations and subways, not clearing protestors who are blocking traffic and engaging in sit-ins. Hey, hold up your signs, sing your songs, mock our President even. But make the demonstrations lawful so we don't have to waste critical resources so you can relive the sixties.

Thursday, March 20, 2003
Hey - - a big hello to what may be our only viewers, my brothers Todd and Adam and my Dad. Thanks for visiting the site. It will get better.

Saw a PBS interview of a French scientist participating in some sort of anti-American rally in Paris. She claimed that it has been more difficult for her to be published in US journals because she is French. Unbelievable because (a) it isn't really worth reporting and (b) it cannot possibly be true. First, although I have no idea what kind of scientist she is, the idea that academics of any stripe in America could be considered so "pro-war" as to blackball French scientists is not credible. Ironically, the only example of this type of blackballing I have heard of is in Europe, where in at least one case an Israeli was told their work was not welcome (because they were Israeli). Secondly, submissions to peer-reviewed journals take, at minimum, several months. There just hasn't been enough time for her to submit her work and have it rejected by multiple journals. Another strike against her: she wasn't hot at all, even with the accent.

MCCAIN - Sure, he has been all over the place on taxes and guns. I would be the first to say that I am disappointed with his move to the left. Anytime you see a Republican standing next to Ted Kennedy (D-Jack Daniels) you know something is going terribly, terribly wrong. His position on the war, and his support of the president, have been steller, though. Can you name two better rhetorical moments the past 4 months than McCain's speech to Byrd and his speech at Annapolis where he talked about "The American Street"? My only point is that every once in a while he reminds me why I once thought he would make a great President.

Let me start a list of my least favorite Democrats now, for a whole new set of trading cards - - Byrd gets top of the list for a thousand reasons. I always had a strong dislike for Henry Waxman, too, just because he is such a meddling zealot. Lieberman would have been on my most liked list, but he sold out too much to get the VP nod.

Has anyone seen Evan Bayh speaking about the war, President Bush's stance throughout this mess, the French position, etc.? I'm considering getting his trading card and adding it to Zell Miller's and Ben Nelson's as "my favorite Democrats."

Unfortunately Mack, the McCain you voted for was at the time pushing a (hopefully) unconstitutional campaign finance bill that might restrict the very freedom of political speech that we are engaging in here. I agree that it's nice to have McCain back on the reservation, but the guy's all over the place lately on everything from taxes to guns. Perhaps the potential primary challenge from his right flank has something to do with the new (old) John McCain????

GOOD TO SEE THE MCCAIN I VOTED FOR: John McCain's response to Byrd was dead on. Every once in a while, typically on issues of national defense, he nails it like no-one else. Here is, as they say, the money quote: "contrary to the assertion of the senator from West Virginia, when the people of Iraq are liberated, we will again have written another chapter in the glorious history of the United States of America, that we will fight for the freedom of other citizens of the world, and we again assert the most glorious phrase, in my view, ever written in the English language; and that is: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The people of Iraq , for the first time, will be able to realize those inalienable rights. I am proud of the United States of America. I am proud of the leadership of the president of the United States."

I've tried posting a bunch of stuff, but it never shows up. Hmmm, let's try this one.

The most telling part of last night (in my opinion) is when Bush said the word 'Final' during his speech. He said (paraphrasing), 'Saddam placed his military assets in civilian areas, jeopradizing innocent men, women, and children, thereby inflicting a final atrocity on his own people.' (I may not have it entirely correct, but that was the meaning). He left no doubt that Saddam would not live to see the end of the war, and I couldn't find any commentator who picked up on that. I also thought about our trip to the WH a few days ago. It was a peaceful setting on a nice day.....quite the contrast to how it must be now. We got in just under the wire, and seeing the WW, the rooms where the decisions are made, the President take off on Marine One, etc, sharpens the gravity of this conflict (for me) and the sobering decisions that must be made by Bush and his team. Thank God for this President and Cabinet.

A telling quote from John Burns, as appeared on Andrew Sullivan's site:
"Iraqis have suffered beyond, I think, the common understanding of the United States from the repression of the past 30 years here. And many, many Iraqis are telling us now, not always in the whispers he have heard in the past but now in quite candid conversations, that they are waiting for America to come and bring them liberty. It's very hard though for anybody to understand this. It can only be understood in terms of the depth of the repression here. It has to be said that this not universal of course... All I can tell you is that as every reporter who has come over here will attest to this, there is the most extraordinary experience of the last few days has been a sudden breaking of the ice here, with people in every corner of life coming forward to tell us that they understand what America is about in this. They are very, very fearful of course of the bombing, of damage to Iraq's infrastructure. They are very concerned about the kind of governance, the American military governance, that they will come under afterward. Can I just say that there is also no doubt - no doubt - that there are many, many Iraqis who see what is about to happen here as the moment of liberation."

My favorite moment was the near indignation early on by Peter Jennings, "we were assured that this wasn't going to happen tonight."

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. I like it. NBC news is reporting that there may have been a "target of opportunity" that presented itself. I am hopeful that the target of opportunity was Saadam. Perhaps we are cutting off the head of the snake - - that will make things a lot cleaner for everyone involved.

British intelligence is apparently "Stunned". I imagine that goes double for the Iraqi intelligence.

Anybody there? Anyone surprised that we started so soon?
I just want to point out that we were standing right where Ari made his announcement just four short days ago.
Seeing the anti-aircraft fire really makes you think about what is like up there for our guys. We have the high-tech advantage, but if you throw enough ordinance up there you might just hit something.
Lets hope they know where the MIA pilot is (SPECHTER?) and make that a first priority (among many first priorities).
By the way, it looks like our site may be up and running. We are LIVE as they say.

Hey - you guys all have been given administrative privileges... so feel free to go in and play around with the site. I still can't figure out how to make nicknames come up rather than full names. I also can't figure out how to actually post this thing on the web.

I purchased two .com sites for us - - and - - through blogger. There is supposed to be a way to point them to the blog site ( but I haven't been able to figure that out either. I did send an e-mail to the support people at blogger, but haven't received a response.

You will also notice that I purchased the upgraded blogplus service - - there are a lot of things we can do with that, so take a look at the blogger site when you get a chance. The most immediate thing you will notice is that you can post pictures (upload file icon now appears on the blog editor). Let's see some pictures, Tom!

I will definitely try to listen to Jonah's aircheck file later today. Have to do it outside work.

Have you guys listened tyo the KVI aircheck audio file that Jonah Goldberg posted on the corner on NRO? Painfully long, but great stuff.

In my house, it's the 'Let's get it over with' mentality. While Mindy and I don't want to see innocent people killed, either, we moreso don't want to see Americans killed. The atrocities inflicted by Saddam haven't really made it into the mainstream media.....Mindy would speak up if they did. They've reported (with an amused tone) about how Saddam will watch VCR tapes of executions for kicks, that he had actually built a machine to decaptiate the heads of several people at a time, etc, but the media have not really probed into the continued viciousness of Hussein. Mindy wants Saddam gone (quickly), but hasn't felt a lot of empathy with the innocent Iraqi people (yet). Maybe when a few get killed, which will happen, and the press will jump on it. What's funny is that during WWII, if a bombing took out its target and three square blocks around it, it's considered a direct hit. Today, if you hit your target and even a few innocent people get killed, the press will focus on the innocent people, and make the US the bad guys. And yes, I do believe it is partly a M/F thing.....a lot of the mothers across America will start feeling badly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Talking to Jean today about the prospect of war and she is upset about it because of the potential impact on innocent civilians. Fair enough. But one of the points she makes is that when she imagines herself (and our kids) in that same position, she would be fearful of the coming invasion. While I certainly agree there is good reason to fear. Who knows what will happen as the war unfolds . I believe that average Iraqis would welcome the coming conflict as an end to the terror that the current regime has imposed on them. I believe the Iraqis are a captive people, not unlike the French under German occupation, who would welcome the conflict despite the uncertainty and risks. I put myself in that position and I think I would want my kids to grow up under a better system and not have to worry about being carried away in the middle of the night to be tortured or killed.

I am trying to understand why we think differently on this. I don't want to put it down to a man/woman thing. I suspect the media plays a role here. My thinking on this is shaped by the dozens of stories I have read over the past few months on the atrocities committed by the Iraqi regime. Torture, rape, tossing people into shredders, cutting out their tongues, and so on. Jean asked how I know these stories aren't just propaganda and, if they aren't, why it hasn't been reported to any great degree in the mainstream media (our local papers, the networks, and NPR).

How are things breaking down in your households? Do you think the media plays a role in any different attitudes, or is this a gender thing?

CREEPY. According to a piece is the WSJ today, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's birthday may be April 19th, a high holy day in the militia calendar and the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR. Hussein has apparently rejected the ultimatum. I see no reason to wait 48 hours if we have already received a negative response. Why give them an additional 30 hours to prepare? Let the liberation commence.

Mack, your deference is noted (and wise). Yes, all true portos are from Portugal. Sip, here here.

Oh. And I forgot to mention....three cheers for Tony Blair!

I defer to your expertise on both alcoholic beverages and Portugal. Is that why they call them "ports"?

"a fine British port" That I'd like to see. All "fine British ports" are from Portugal my son.

If we are worried about importers, wholesalers, retailers... couldn't you simply buy a different foreign product rather than the French product.
Sip, you can buy Australian wine - - which I personally like. Or a fine British port.

Personally, I usually buy American dairy products, but I share your general uneasiness about boycotts and strongly support free trade. At the same time, boycotts can send a strong message - - think Boston Tea Party.

Sip, I thought the same exact thing. I was waiting for the examples (Normandy), but I think that the point was certainly clear, and the speech in general was excellent. As for the boycott, I just have a general distaste for boycotts. There are too many uninvolved people who end up taking a much harder hit then the intended target. It's not just French workers that could suffer, but American importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers, and all of their employees. I think this is true regardless of the "cause" or the intended boycottee, whether it's the French, the Germans, oil companies, or South Africa. I sure do understand the sentiment though.

During Bush’s speech last night, he said (paraphrasing) ‘Americans have borne the burden of conflict before’ and I immediately thought he would follow up with a couple key examples, the first one being Normandy. I was disappointed when he didn’t, but hopefully, when the group of countries jump on the rebuilding bandwagon after the conflict is over, as they undoubtedly will, I hope that France doesn’t get a large role. Yes, we need to keep them as an ally. But they are not a key ally - - on the world stage, what, specifically, do we need them for?

I hope that as much as Europe, collectively, opposes military action in Iraq, they are wondering why France is trying to position itself as Europe’s leader in the UN. I don’t know the influence that France has in the EU, but they seem to like their role in the UN spotlight.

Jason made a good point that boycotts hurt the average workers long before governments, and I agree with it. I, personally, couldn’t do much in a boycott, since the only things I can think of that I have purchased from France in the last year is wine and cheese (no kidding and stop laughing). But if the average French worker gets hurt due to his government policies, I hope that he blames his government, and not the U.S. Cause this American will NOT purchase anything from France for a long, long time, and I’m sure there’s many others like me.

OK - here is my first substantive post.

I was very pleased with Bush's address last night. I think we have been far too apologetic about the "American Idea". The driving principles of the American Idea are laid out in the Declaration of Independence first and foremost. When the Declaration says that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" - - I read that to mean all men, not just Americans, not just Anglo Saxons, but Arabs, Iraqis, North Koreans, everybody. In the early days following the revolution, we had an expansionsist view of the American Idea - that this is an ideology that we should be exporting so everyone can enjoy the fruits of liberty and self-government. This was discussed at length in Gordon Wood's "The Radicalism of the American Revolution" if you are looking to get some background on it (admittedly Wood, a Brown professor, would in all likelihood oppose the war). We took a step back from this due to the disastrous impact of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" in the French Revolution, and due to the general precariousness of our own position here at home (which is why Washington thought it best to "avoid foreign entanglements").

What Bush is laying out, in a series of speeches, I think, is a new committment to exporting the American idea abroad. Instead engaging in the typical cultural relativism that pretends that all cultures and political systems are equal (the who are we to judge phenomenon), we are are being much more forthright in our commitment to expand systems of economic and political freedom to other people. That doesn't mean that we are going to impose the American system on everyone. But given the dangers of terrorism and WMD in rogue regimes (like Afghanistan and Iraq), we need more than simple containment or a change of dictator. Sometimes, we will need a change in the culture that breeds terrorists. Basically, Bush has figured out that exporting the American idea, creating a cultural change in rogue regimes, makes us safer. As Dick Armey used to say, "Freedom Works". The expansion of prosperity and freedom to all the people of Iraq will give them a sense that life is going to get better, for both themselves and their children. That gives everyone in that area a strong incentive to police themselves - - plus more resources to do it with. Yes, Skip, I understand we can't do that everywhere. We don't have the resources to do it everywhere and in some places (N. Korea) the price may be too great to pay (Jonah made this point the other day). But where it can be done, I think it should be done. It is the right thing for the people who are currently in chains, and it is the right thing for us because it makes the world a safer place.

My guess is that the people of Iraq, after years of systematic torture, rape, murder and oppression, will welcome this change. Along with the food and medicine, there is one other thing the Iraqi people will need: a whole lot of American flags.

Good morning SGC boyz. Here's a little ditty by Ted Rall to get us started:

It's called "Don't Support Our Troops." Marvelous stuff, note how he likens himself and his fellow peacemongers to "good Germans" during WWII. So in this scenario, our President would be Hitler and our troops would be the Nazi's, right?

I've asked the question before, will there be any embarrassment? Any humility? When the caches of chemical weapons are found, when the mass graves are found, when true stories of rape and torture are retold by the thousands, when the Iraqi's are dancing in the streets and at long last setting fire to the posters of their oppressor? Will there be any embarrassment from guys like this? I know, silly question and we all know the answer.

Also not sure why it is posting our full names instead of our nicknames. That will have to change.

Once we upgrade, this will get much better. We will be able to e-mail our posts and receive all posts via e-mail. Plus post pictures, etc...
I think this takes 24 hours or so to actually get onto the web.

I am not sure what the deal is with the post times. Perhaps I have it on pacific time or something like that.

Swirlee guy is here. Thanks Mack for beginning this venture....NRO is nervous now. Tom - you posted at 2:05 pm??? A man before his time.

Way to go Mack! But why were you up and posted at 4:39??

Monday, March 17, 2003
A new era is just beginning...

Pay no attention to the man sipping the swirlee looking girl drink.

Six conservative guys are in business.