Main | October 2002 »

September 27, 2002

Col. Hackworth Speaks Out

...and loses some of my respect

I went to a Hackworth book-signing in Austin to get his John Hancock on his latest book for my father's birthday. He seemed like a very sensible man, a decorated war hero, and fairly interesting commentator. Initial impression was that I liked the guy and what he stood for. Not that I agree with him all the time, and boy does this count.

History has repeatedly shown that the military solution is the least-desirable way to resolve conflict. Smart leaders know that "supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting" – as Sun Tzu wrote years ago – and exhaust all other options before they unleash the dogs of war.

Instead, our president seems single-mindedly obsessed with attacking Iraq.

[...]

Now it looks as though Congress is about to give Bush the green light for his shootout with Saddam rather than standing tall and insisting that U.N. weapons inspectors get another go at defanging the monster.


A decade of asking Hussein's essentially voluntary cooperation has dramatically failed, Col. Hackworth. We might as well be at the end of our acceptable options. Punishment is reserved for the time when you've given someone more than enough chances to correct a problem on their own. It is time to enforce what has been endlessly talked about for years: Saddam's compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions.
Almost 40 years ago, Congress kowtowed to another president from Texas and approved the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – based on the repeated lies of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that Red patrol boats had attacked U.S. warships on a supposedly routine mission off North Vietnam, which the senior admiral in the Pacific had predicted months before would provoke exactly this type of response and result in an escalation of the Vietnam War.

Hackworth then goes on into a semi-weepy solemn memory exercise through the shittiness that was Vietnam and attempts to connect that previous fuckup with a possible campaign in Iraq. However, Vietnam and Iraq are not comparable in terms of military difficulty or strategy.
Last week, I visited four states, and all of the hundreds of average Joes and Janes I spoke with were for U.N. inspectors returning and our tightening the choke leash on Iraq enough that nothing gets in or out without going through a U.S.-manned checkpoint.

As if this would change anything. Saddam would still be in power. He would still be able to delay, misdirect, and lie to the inspectors and preserve himself and his weapons. And anyone who advocates this solution should take a long and hard look at the nationalistic rhetoric pouring out of the Arab and Islamic world right now so they can see just how happily that world would accept a total US border embargo. It would inflame the situation more, I believe, because it would present an entirely uglier situation for the Arabs to digest: the US, for all intents and purposes, acting as the literal puppetmaster for an entire Arab country at gunpoint. Why put ourselves in that terribly precipitious situation rather than simply going in there and getting rid of the jerk and letting the people choose freedom over slavery?
A Vietnam combat Marine told me: "Certainly Saddam is a tyrant and a threat to his neighbors. But so are the leaders of Syria, Iran, North Korea and, for that matter, Pakistan."

...so what? Did Bush or anyone else EVER say that Iraq is the only troublesome spot on the planet? Was it implied anywhere that Iraq is the only source of danger and we wouldn't do anything else about any other country once we were through with Saddam? Those other countries will see the result of our military actions and understand that there is an option to religious and political totalitarianism and those people living under their thumbs will want that choice. This is a non-arguement. You don't advocate a position by stating the next obvious targets of your opposition and asking "what about them?"
"Who'll pay for it?" asks another citizen. "We all know it'll be our kids. They're the ones who will pay, as it has been since the Revolutionary War. Those who reap the rewards are of a different category."

Lives are lost in war, deliberately and accidentally. This is unavoidable. However, the military lies under civilian control and is staffed by people who do their job voluntarily. They are aware of the risks they face as a soldier.

I'll ignore the citizen's class-warfare comment.

Immoral Irrelevancy

The Anti-Capitalist Convergence

This group has been prominently mentioned in the news lately in connection to the demonstrations in Washington, D.C. during which several hundred people were arrested. As you can see from the article, today's result was relatively minor compared to some of the more raucous protesting done at other anti-Capitalist anti-globalisation rallies.

Back to the ACC. Some quotes from their website and my subesquent comments.

We are disheartened by the violence which was perpetrated today by the police.

The police had to use force to keep the peace, which YOUR demonstration stirred up. Chaining yourselves together, blocking traffic, and interefering with D.C.'s daily happenings means you garner the watchful and reactive eyes of the police. And let's be honest here: anti-globalisation/anti-Capitalist demonstrations in the past have not provided a trustworthily peaceful track record to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Hundreds of people were arrested for doing nothing more than expressing their political beliefs using legal, nonviolent forms of protest and civil disobedience.
I agree that the laws that have accumulated over the years which restrict public protest, disenchantment, and dissent are not worth keeping around. But you are a liar if you say everyone in the rallies today was peaceful.
We cannot let our freedom to dissent be taken away, and we will not stop speaking out until we live in a world where everyone is free from exploitation and oppression, a world where one's survival and access to human needs isn't determined by one's economic means.
I'm beginning to believe these demonstrations are enormous trolls, dragging around people and pumping them up to confront law-enforcement authorities to the point where action must be taken against them. The evening news can then show scenes of "innocent" protestors being "oppressed" when all they want is "freedom."

Let me get you in on a little secret. Your entire political position is antithetical to freedom. Here's why.

We are opposed to capitalism. We fundamentally reject a social and economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and exchange. We reject a system driven by an exploitative logic that sees human beings as human capital, ecosystems as natural resources, and culture as simply a commodity. We reject the idea that the world is only valuable in terms of profit, competition and efficiency.

You are opposed to the only political system in the world that respects individual rights. This is because Capitalism only works when individuals are unshackled from the force government imposes upon them under collectivism. Capitalism works when force and fraud are eliminated in all relationships. This requires the respect of individual rights.

You are ignorant of economics if you reject Capitalist principles.

You explicitly desire a system where you wouldn't own your website. How would you control what you want to say if you didn't own your website? You'd petition a politician, take to the streets and yell about it? You'd give up your freedom to work where you want, how you want, and doing what you want? Are you insane enough to believe that Socialism provides a better life than Capitalism?

Granted, the US is not a truely Capitalist system and a theoretical battle between your system (Socialism) verses Capitalism cannot be conducted over the grounds of the US. Keep that in mind at all times.

We are anti-imperialist, opposed to patriarchy, and denounces all forms of exploitation and oppression. We assert a worldview based on the respect of our differences and the autonomy of groups, individuals and peoples. Our objective is to globalize our networks of resistance to corporate rule.

Imperialism is the situation where a country takes over another in order to extend it's political rule and create an additional state. Twisting the definition to mean removing dictators from power and aiding a democratic transition or allowing people to trade with each other voluntarily across political lines is a non-arguement.

Patriarchy, or the deliberate dominance of males in a society against the wishes of females, is something to be against, I agree.

It's funny how you denounce exploitation and oppression, when the system you advocate is the embodiment of both those words. Socialism oppresses the rights of the individual and it exploits the individual's ability and life in order to distribute wealth to others. You'd take x amount of my money (if not all of it) without my consent in order to subsidize the weak, the unable, and the politically connected.

You respect the differences among other cultures and nations? Does that mean you respect what they do to their citizens within those cultures? Does that mean you tolerate illiberal and anti-human practices? I do not respect cultures I disagree with, particularly when they are responsible for nurturing, creating, and aiding mindless criminals who wish for the deaths of others.

Corporate rule? Under an economy which is partially or fully controlled by the government, politicians have the power to support or destroy businesses. Businesses, therefore, have a strong incentive to influence the way the politicans work. Therefore, you have corruption. In order to take away the political power business can wield over us, you must remove the political meddling in the economy. Don't give business any reason to interfere and they won't. No private corporation has the power to force me to do things I don't want to do. Only the government has a monopoly on force. And you want to unleash that monopoly on us all in ever-increasing amounts.

Respecting a diversity of tactics, we support the use of a variety of creative initiatives, ranging between popular education to direct action.

This is cleverly worded. It's nice to see you are "diverse" enough to endorse public speech such as leaflets or paintings all the way to "direct action" which I must assume means violence against people and property. There's a word for people who believe they are above the law when it comes to violence against people and property: criminals.

Mandelic Idiocy, Part II

From The Volokh Conspiracy

Was Mandela beaten in jail while he was a political prisoner? If true, it must have affected his ability to reason. It's so disappointing to hear these things come from a guy who was lionized and deified during my years in school. He was an Untouchable, one who was firmly against racism and the oppressive state. And here he is, slowly eroding my respect, so uncontestable only a few years ago.

Drudge Hits It On The Head

FEDS: LENO, LETTERMAN CAN STILL JOKE DURING ELECTION

In case of link rot, there's more here, here, and for a response along the lines of my beliefs, here.

I hope the lawsuits filed by the NRA, AFL-CIO, and the US Chamber of Commerce get this bullshit law overturned and neutered. Since the Christian Coalition backed out of their lawsuit, I have even less reason to agree with them as a whole. Pity.

Jordan Returns Again, Redux?

Somebody stop this human machine

You're crazy, Mike. You are going on 40. You've achieved practically everything a basketball player could want to achieve. You are the highest personification of the NBA in the 1990's.

It must feel awesome to have that much love for your work. I wish more people could experience it.

Anti-Capitalists in D.C.

Let the irrational march on!

I'm going to do a more thourough post on this "Anti-Capitalist Convergence" group over the weekend. I'm just building my steam, getting ready for it. It's not likely The Boss would take too kindly to me spending three hours whipping up a pro-Capitalist rant. She'd rather I do something productive...like do something about the pounds of dead trees strewn about my desk.

September 24, 2002

P.J. O'Rourke's "Letter From Egypt"

Set some time aside and read this

Hatred between Palestinians and Israelis abides. Arab-led Islamic fundamentalism destabilizes nations from Algeria to the Philippines. The threat of terrorist attacks by al Qaeda continues. Also, our car needs gas. It is important to understand Arab culture.

Egypt seems a good place to start.


Long, interesting, funny, and grim.

C'mon, Kuwait!

I hope this isn't true

Kuwait, of all nations, should understand the importance of quick US action if it is needed. I really hope this report is incorrect or is merely a local "calming" piece intended to placate their opposition. The report clashes with the implications of this article, but supports the statements made in this one.

Teutonic Reversal?

Schroeder Apologizes

My previous post was about the remarks made by his Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin. Looks like German Chancellor is attempting to mend the transatlantic fence he and his government have seemingly done their best to kick over. His opposition to a war in Iraq (no matter even if the UN endorses it) hasn't changed, which really is the fundamental issue right now. Off-handed comparisons of Bush and Hitler are to be expected from the Flailing Left.

Hypocritical "unlateralism" from Germany

The chancellor closed his campaign in the city of Rostock, telling a cheering crowd of 5,000: "The Middle East and Iraq need a lot of new peace, but they don't need a new war." Refusing to bow to the pressure from Washington, Schroeder said, "Fundamental issues of German policy will be decided in Berlin and nowhere else."
against a justifiable war in Iraq only demonstrates how messed up we've allowed this world to become. I'm seriously disappointed Bush and his fellows can't dig the real issues out of things like this; at the very least, they don't have to follow the expected indignant method of acting "hurt" after being insulted. It would be far more important to point out the hypocrisy and the electioneering (which, I admit, they've been hinting at). Even more impressive would be to stick to that higher moral stance themselves.

September 19, 2002

And Gerhard Schroeder Can Go Rot

Bush == Hitler?


The regional Schwaebisches Tagblatt newspaper quoted German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's justice minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, as saying "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used."

What is truely pathetic is that he's doing this for political gain since he expressed support for the US after September 11th. Also, since it's obvious Schroeder is in a tight election, it's hypocritical of him to decry alleged attention-diverting when he failed on his promise to reduce unemployment to a certain level...or he wouldn't run for reelection.

Nelson Mandela has Become a Fucking Idiot

How far can he fall?

Coming from other quarters, such criticisms would have been dismissed by both the White House and Downing Street as the words of appeasement, anti-Americanism or leftwing extremism. But Mandela is not just anyone. Towering like a moral colossus over the late 20th century, his voice carries an ethical weight like no other. He rode to power on a global wave of goodwill, left office when his five years were up and settled down to a life of elder statesmanship. So the belligerent tone he has adopted of late suggests one of two things; either that some thing is very wrong with the world, or that something is very wrong with Mandela.

The latter.
"What right has Bush to say that Iraq's offer is not genuine?" he asked on Monday. "We must condemn that very strongly. No country, however strong, is entitled to comment adversely in the way the US has done."

Holy crap, has he lost his rational faculty? Is he even aware of the decade of lies and deception Saddam and his government have engaged in since the end of the Gulf War? Is he now saying, in all his moral Collossisity, that the US has no right to speak the truth about how dangerous Iraq is? Is he suggesting, with a straight face, that it is wrong for one country to bluntly criticise another and present the undesirable threat of physical retaliation if that country does not cease it's long history UN Resolution-breaking activity? I guess he expects countries to follow the edicts of the UN voluntarily after being calmly lectured. You idiot, you cannot negotiate with an unwilling and dishonest party. Your only other option besides negotiate is force. It is time the threat of real force appears loudly and clearly. Bush and his supporters are doing this because it's morally right to challenge the lies and threats Saddam presents, not to mention the distressing level of oppression he lays upon his population...but Mandela wouldn't know anything about being repressed, would he?
Accusations of discrimination do not fall often or easily from Mandela's lips, but when they do, the world is forced to sit up and listen. So far, he has fallen short of accusing the west of racism in its dealings with the developing world, but he has implied sympathy with those who do. "When there were white secretary generals, you didn't find this question of the US and Britain going out of the UN. But now that you've had black secretary generals, such as Boutros Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan, they do not respect the UN. This is not my view, but that is what is being said by many people."

Bullshit.

What a flimsy paper-thin dodge. "It is not my view" but I'll lay it out for you anyway, because it sounds reasonable enough to air in public.

I take it Mandela has decided to ignore the increasing level of intellectual dissent coming from the Right in regards to the UN, it's role, and it's activities. He'd rather ignore the opposition to it and choose arbitrarily that the UK and the US governments are motivated by racism when they criticise the UN. He'd rather not look at the chronology of events that lead up to this criticism. And he completely disregards our explicit stance that you don't need a consensus to be correct, which is possibly our core arguement. He'd rather we deliberate, talk, discuss, hold meetings, level statements of annoyance, and generally dance in front of the troublemakers of the world rather than stand in front of them, kick'em square in the nuts, and then walk past them and fix the actual problem.

No, he'd rather ignore the UK's and US's legitimate complaints and claim them racist.

Fuck Nelson Mandela.

September 18, 2002

Wa-Po, USA Today, NY Times Comparison

Washington Post
9/11 Report Says Agencies Received Credible Clues

The U.S. intelligence community received a surprising number of credible reports of a likely terrorist attack prior to Sept. 11, including some threats to domestic targets, according to a congressional report to be unveiled today.
[...]
After reading and analyzing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other government agencies, "you start thinking: Did anyone really explain to the public how serious this stuff was? . . . Did the American people really realize the strength of the threat out there?"
[...]
...while the committee staff found no information that revealed the exact date, time and place of the attack, the official said there were numerous credible reports of possible domestic attacks and suggested that some may have been played down because the intelligence agencies were too focused on threats to U.S. interests overseas.

USA Today
Congress explores what agencies knew before Sept. 11 attacks
An intelligence briefing two months before the Sept. 11 attack warned that Osama bin Laden would launch a spectacular terrorist attack against U.S. or Israeli interests, congressional investigators said Wednesday.

The briefing, for senior government officials, was part of "a modest, but relatively steady stream of intelligence information indicating the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the United States," said the 30-page statement by Eleanor Hill, staff director for the House and Senate intelligence inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks.

But Hill said the credibility of the sources was sometimes questionable and no specific details about the attacks were available.

"They generally did not contain specific information as to where, when and how a terrorist attack might occur and generally are not corroborated by further information," her statement said.


New York Times
Foreign Threat Was Focus Before 9/11, Panel Finds
United States intelligence officials focused so much attention on the potential for attacks by Al Qaeda overseas that they underestimated reports before last Sept. 11 warning of a domestic attack, the joint Congressional committee investigating the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks has found.

The committee has also determined that there were intelligence reports warning that Al Qaeda hoped to use aircraft as weapons against the United States, and the panel plans to raise questions about whether those reports should have been taken more seriously prior to Sept. 11, a Congressional official close to the committee said today.
[...]
American intelligence officials have said that during the spring and summer of 2001, they picked up disturbing reports showing that Al Qaeda was planning a major attack. But the most specific reports suggested that the strike would come overseas.

That fit with Qaeda's earlier pattern of behavior. Prior to Sept. 11, Al Qaeda had repeatedly attacked American targets, but almost all of those operations had been abroad. The only operation known to be aimed at a domestic target was a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, which was broken up before it could be carried out.

USA Today on Spirited Away

Hopefully the movie'll do better than previous Disney attempts.


Animé is still a foreign word to most U.S. moviegoers, even cartoon- crazy grown-ups who head off to Lilo & Stitch with nary a kid in tow. Not that we haven't been exposed to the style of Japanese animation. The first Pokémon movie collected $43.7 million in 2000, but no one confuses it with art.

That last line's explicit snobbery pisses me off. Not to mention that we've been exposed to anime for quite some time beyond the reach of Pokémon's merchandising. Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll were all huge video hits and have been for years. The enormous success in broadcasting Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, and Cowboy Bebop on Cartoon Network also belies the implied in the sentence. It must be too much to expect reporters to dig a little deeper to get more information and context for their readers.


Robert Bucksbaum of Reel Source says, "This isn't a typical happy-go- lucky Disney movie. The key is to hide the fact that it is a foreign film, like they did with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and slowly broaden its appeal."

I disagree that this is important at all. The exotic and the unknown appeal to children (and adults). When the term "foreign film" is used, it conjures up images of taboo images and "This Movie Has Not Been Rated" warnings. It's a double shame that people assume these things and that those films have given the people reason to assume. However, children don't have that bias when they go see movies. They could care less where the movie was made, where it's setting is, or what nationality the director, producer, and actors are. As long as they can understand the dialogue and the movie appeals to them (as most Hayao Miyazaki films tend to do), what's the problem with it being "foreign"?

Why isn't the Texas BASF Explosion Getting More Coverage?

This makes no sense.

Searching Yahoo gets a handful of articles from the 13th and 16th. FoxNews has nothing at all. The LA Times has a recent hit, but you have to register for it while the NY Times nets many hits, but none of them relevant. A Washington Post search turns up nothing beyond the now-familiar September 13th reports. CNN's got nothing besides that first article on the 13th. Searching UPI gets one article and it's also from the 13th. Ditto for the Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Houston Press, and so on and so forth. A decent round-up can be found at local TV station KHOU's website, but, of course, the articles are all days old. Click2Houston.com has the only fresh reporting I've seen on this and it is also from the 16th.

Is this just not important anymore? When does a story permanently pass from national news to local? What elements of a story give it reason to be in the national press? Normally, I'd understand how this process works...but the near-absolute silence on this is odd.

UK's Independent Cautious Towards Iraq

Article here.

I was expecting the standard lift-liberal anti-war rejection when browsing through this, but I was pleasantly surprised by the end. It seems reason may be creeping back into some corners of the world. The most important passages:

The Iraqi dictator has acted with typical tactical shrewdness in buying this extra time and avoiding an immediate threat of war; but strategically he has embarked on a very hazardous path.

Either he will have to abandon his attempts to acquire more and better weapons of mass destruction, in which case those of us fortunate enough not to live under his rule may rest easier in our beds; or Saddam repeats his past pattern of behaviour and makes it impossible for the weapons inspectors to do their work. If this happens, he will have lost the last shreds of any defence he might have had against military action by the international community. Indeed, such a turn of events may test the patience of those most sympathetic to him, to the extent that the ultimate American goal of regime change becomes tacitly accepted by nations that refuse to consider it now.

and

The Iraqi letter to the UN contains a weasel phase – "the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections" – and refers at some length to "the commitment of all members of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq". It all suggests that, as so often in the past, Saddam's officials will be up to their old tricks, harassing inspectors up to a point, but not so badly that they provoke an immediate confrontation with the UN.

September 17, 2002

Preemption Doctrine vs. the Precautionary Principle

I can see this as being a potential sticking point for a clever lefty to try and exploit. Of course, I am disappointed to find out Reason Online has fired the (to the best of my knowledge) first shot. I'll take a swing at it anyway, as much as I respect that publication.

The Precautionary Principle states essentially that if we are about to undertake an action that has the potential to threaten the quality of the environment and human health -even if the risks are not scientifically proven or tenable- then precautionary, restrictive, and regulatory measures should be taken.

Bush's West Point speech addressed a principle called preemption, which essentially states that if a nation, group, or person poses a significant enough threat to the safety, security, and well-being of Americans -even if those threats are not fully realized- then it is our duty to preempt those people and go after them first.

The Precautionary Principle is used these days mostly to delay, slow down, and prevent economic development seen as threatening to the environment and human health. The "Preemption Doctrine" is only now being wielded, but towards corrupt totalitarian governments and terroristic groups who pose security dangers. These two modes of thought have already collided and are guaranteed to do it in the future.

Capitalists stridently oppose the Precautionary Principle because it is a non-arguement and the inevitable conclusion of it's followers (that we need government interference) goes against everything we stand for. So, since it's introduction, those on the Right have been opposing it's use. The trouble, as I see it, is that someone will see the superficial connection between the two and attempt to make a case of right-wing hypocrisy out of it.

However, the two principles are not as alike as some may think.

The Precautionary Principle states that:

  • There only need to be the chance that environmental damage or a negative impact on human health could occur
  • These risks do not have to be backed up by reason or science
  • No appreciable concern is given to the unintended consequences of such action in response to the above

    For example, the PP was being used to block shipments of genetically-modified grain to Zimbabwe (one of the reasons being Europe hasn't imported it for four years...another application of the PP), where it's racist thug dictator, Robert Mugabe, is starving the population by killing off and stealing the land of the most productive farmers. Another wide-scale application of the PP is the infamous Kyoto Protocol which is a response to the assumption that the global climate temperature is measurably affected by human actions and the extension of that assumption which is the believe in an irreversible (unless government steps in) warming trend which will destroy life as we know it in a hundred years.

    The Preemption Doctrine states that:

  • There must be a current and credible risk to our security
  • There must be a growing trend of dangerous behavior
  • It is our right to prevent a tragedy once the above two are linked

    For example, given the more than ample evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, the capability to create more, the will to use them, and the connections to groups who have the desire to use them. Not to mention the belligerent positions Iraq is capable of. Therefore, Iraq is a credible and current threat and qualifies for preemption.

    The difference between the two principles is crucial. One relies on the assumption of damage and the desire to maintain the status quo while the other relies on proof of previous damage and the desire to improve the status quo. The Precautionary Principle can be used in nearly any situation and has no basis in logic to support it (the unsubstantiated chance something may happen is no grounds for sitting still). The Preemption Doctrine is specific and logical (there is a demonstrated threat and it must be dealt with before a likely greater harm comes to us or our allies). We act with precaution towards unknown and unproven problems...we act with preemption towards a known and proven problem. One approach denies liberty by placing restrictions on economic development and rational freedom, the other upholds it by removing a violent danger to peace and well-being.

  • Update on the BASF Explosion

    More information is out

    Only minor injuries reported. Looks like an accident.

    An Anti-War Dialogue

    For those who aren't aware, I am an Animeboards Moderator. One of the reasons why Magnifisyncopathological exists is because I found myself argueing often in the Members Only area with other ABers. These arguements were almost always of a political nature. I wasn't aware bloggers did this kind of point-by-point refutation style of discussion until late last year when we had the infamous Robert Fisk incident, giving birth to the term, "Fisking."

    What I'll do occasionally is take the debate's text off AB and transplant it here. The folks I'm argueing against won't be identified unless they ask me to. I'll keep the discussions off the main body for now since they'd monopolize the whole screen. Understand that these arguements grow long, with some posts approaching 22,000 characters. This first discussion totals over 9,000 words and is 25 pages long when pasted into Word. You may want to get comfortable. *laugh*

    I apologize for any sloppy HTML...I'm viewing the source of the thread and copying only the text of the conversation and it's internal formatting, not how the tables and CSS around it looks. I may make a mistake here and there. Please let me know if something looks off.

    So...here is my debate in a Members Only thread regarding a war in Iraq. This took place over the last few days, starting on the September 11th anniversary. it is ongoing as of 1AM central Texas time on 9/17. I'll post a followup if anything warrants it.

    My Opening Statement

    Read this.
    I fully support invading Iraq. If you believe that government should be democratic and that citizens should have inalienable rights such as freedom of speech, press, religion, and economic prosperity, then you should support invading Iraq as well.
    Bush said from the very beginning that he wanted to halt global terrorism in it's tracks and that the battle would be long and would reach many countries if they didn't change their totalitarian and repressive ways. Iraq is a convienent target. I believe we shouldn't stop their and put just as much pressure on North Korea and Iran. In Iran's case, things are falling apart for it's rulers that a democratic revolution is very likely to happen if we show our resolve and put a stop to the Iraqi government.
    I don't care whether Bush & Co. are doing this to avenge the previous two administration's failures, whether they are doing this to open up more energy markets, or whether they're doing it to divert attention from the economy (which hardly needs more government meddling!). What matters is that when we kick that bastard out of there, we fix the system and give the Iraqis a chance to choose freedom and enjoy it.
    Protecting our (and the world's) asses from weapons of mass destruction is a great idea and I think it's absolutely worth doing. But the real goal should be to free those people.

    First Response to Others

    Please bear with me. This will be a long post.

    quote:
    Says H.: i am against it for the moment, and the reason is this, the proof they released isnt substantial enough to warrent trying to blow up Iraq.
    This may be pedantic, but we aren't trying to blow up Iraq. We want to remove the government from power.
    White House HTML file containing the basics of the American case against Iraq. And it's even done from a you-broke-the-UN-rules-repeatedly viewpoint.
    quote:
    Says N.: To be quite honest, I don't think Iraq will use any kind of weapon even if they do have it. Maybe I give Saddam too much credit, but merely having the parts to construct a weapon is enough make America trip all over itself. The man isn't stupid enough to use it, yet he can't be trusted with it.
    That's the thing, however. The whole reason why we had the Cold War was due to what was called MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. The Soviet Union knew that if they launched against us, we had the firepower to wipe them as easily off the Earth as they did us. There is no point in hastening your own death. Since neither side wanted that to happen, we were stuck with a nuclear stalemate and fought our battles through intermediaries and satellites.
    So what happens if Saddam gets a nuke? He suddenly gains nuclear bargaining power. The rest of the world now has to step lightly around him and not offend his sensibilities. He now has considerable leverage in regional affairs, from Palestine to Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia to Iran. Is it desireable in any way to give him those chances? Not only that, but he now has a way to strike other countries he has a gruge against through more-than-willing terrorists. He can simply hand over the bomb (which need not be larger than a simple moving truck and would likely be small enough to fit in a car trunk) to a terrorist outfit and let them do their worst with it. He wins on all fronts since it would probably be very difficult to trace the bomb back to him.
    No, the danger is that he is both smart enough and crazy enough to own a nuke.

    However, no one messes with the OPEC. They have the world by the balls and they know it.
    OPEC has less power these days than people think. Russia is now a monstrous threat to them in terms of oil production. I doubt Bush would let OPEC get away with screwing with world oil prices and they know that. He's an oilman and so is a portion of his cabinet. They know that side of the business well. Not only that, but basic economics dictates that when prices rise, demand decreases. OPEC would be shooting themselves in the foot if they forced oil prices higher than the market set. And they know this as well. They can't afford to piss off their customers, who can just as easily get more oil from Russia or Canada.

    The only way America would be able to 'win back' oil, if they were cut off, is by occupying one or more of the oil producing countries. Thus becoming a terrorist state itself.
    No, we wouldn't do that. We'd allow the oil nations to elect their own governments in a freer society with open markets. Then it's simply a factor of businesses moving in with plans to develop capacity. We wouldn't nationalize the oil fields or occupy the countries for any long period of time. It doesn't make any sense to do so.

    The motive, the what and the how IS important.
    Why? Don't just state it. Explain.

    We need to realise WHAT we are doing before we commit to something.
    We know what we're doing.
    quote:
    Says E.: The problem with the U.S. is our attempt to send the image of ourselves as philanthropists out to the rest of the world, while we're really just arrogant and concerned with ourselves.
    I agree. Bush should be more honest about this and be frank, as he bluntly was during his UN speech today.
    quote:
    Says A.: Of course Bush father did not want to put Saddam down because of the problem it would generate. He probably hoped for someone else to solve the problem later. Now we have the Monkey trying to finish up everything his father didn't. But say, didn't your parents (and I mean all of you) tell you not to smoke or light matches near to flammable substances? Seems like no one told this to George Bush. He seems not to know what would happen if he lit up the scene a little. THE WHOLE GODDAM MIDDLE EAST WILL EXPLODE. That means the end of Saudi Royal family to give place to some extremists. That also mean Israel to be surrounded by ferocious and enhardened enemies like the old times.
    You assume all these negative things, but what is your reasoning behind them? I, too, believe the Middle East would become chaos if we went in and took Saddam and his government out. I think that's a good thing since those other governments are some of the worst on the planet. The people they keep under their heels (i.e., the whole population) are sick of it and want more freedom and prosperity. They want the old glory of the Arabic and Islamic geopolitical days of yore. Those days are impossible when you have these totalitarian theocracies in charge. Iran, which started the whole Hardcore Muslim Nation bandwagon, is falling apart at the seams and invading Iraq would be the next best thing we could do for them short of directly working on Iran itself.
    It's the same for Syria and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia.

    I don't know anything about nuclear weapons, but I REALLY do know about bacteriological weapons in Iraq. The only bacteriological program they finished is bothulism (spell?), BUT first of all this is one of the less dangerous bacteriological weapons, secondly they don't have the correct vectors to spread it.
    Wrong, wrong, and double-wrong. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction NOW and has the ability to make them NOW.
    quote:
    Says this report from the time of Desert Storm: IRAQ MAINTAINS THE MOST EXTENSIVE CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE (CW AND BW) CAPABILITY IN THE THIRD WORLD. BAGHDAD'S FORCES HAVE A RANGE OF CHEMICAL AGENTS AND DELIVERY MEANS, AS WELL AS THE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING NEEDED TO USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS EFFECTIVELY.
    quote:
    Says this report covering a UN report in 1994: (four years before Saddam kicked out the inspectors, giving him four-plus years of secrecy to rebuild) Destroyed were "over 480,000 liters of chemical warfare agents (including mustard agent and the nerve agents sarin and tabun); over 28,000 chemical munitions (involving eight types of munitions ranging from rockets to artillery shells to bombs and ballistic missile warheads); and...over 1,040,000 kilograms and 648 barrels of some 45 different precursor chemicals for the production of chemical warfare agents," UNSCOM said.[italic emphasis mine]
    You are way off base to say Iraq's chemical and biological capability is nothing to be worked up about.
    By the way, in case you've read about Scott Ritter's statements that Iraq is not a credible threat, read this and this. Ritter is a fraud.

    So an attack will only mean inocent people dying (cuz america is going to leave Iraq ground flat after the attack they're preparing) for no reason at all. But nobody seems to think about Iraquis who have nothing to do with Saddam, probably many of you think killing em isn't terrorism.
    This is simply stupid. Name one good reason why the US Military would roll in and "flatten" Iraq or Baghdad. Tell me, with a straight face and complete sincerity, that the US Military would kill mostly civilians uninvolved with fighting the war. Explain to me why you believe our military (and any other respectible countrys who move with us) would be so inept, reckless, and undisciplined.
    You can't, because this is a bullsh*t line of arguement.

    Seems like Bush is trying to divert attention because of his failure to disable Al Qaeda.
    This is possible. Politicans have done this before in the past and will do it in the future. However, even if he was doing this JUST to divert attention away from his failings, the outcome is still a desireable one, yes? Or do you want the Iraqi people to be plagued with this prick, his ruinious family, and his repressive government for the rest of his life?

    It seems he never learnt the Viet Nam Lesson, wich was, no matter how strong you are, if the enemy isn't conventional, only wits count, and well, Bush ain't well known for his wits.
    Bush doesn't micro-manage. He has a whole team of experienced people to handle the details. Bush isn't going to be leading any charges, won't be pouring over tactical maps, and won't be selecting targets to hit. Again, our military doesn't work like that.

    We still have to remember who supported Saddam in the Iraq-Iran war. T'was the US, but no one seems to remember now. Seems also frequent how many monsters the US supported to eliminate problems, only to find this monsters turn against the feeding hand, good example of this is Bin Laden.
    Which makes it all the more sensible that it is OUR responsibility to fix the problem, yes?

    Of course he's backing up Al Qaeda and many extremists (still the relations aren't quite good considering Saddams regime isn't based on religious belief but it's an laic one), but just because of the infamous "enemies of my enemies are my friends".
    So you admit Iraq has direct international terrorist connections? Good. That saves my fingers from a lot of unnecessary typing. *laugh*

    If Saddam lets inspectors in he might shut Bushs blabbing mouth, but still will mean more Western influence in Iraq, wich means less control of the population by Saddam, wich will probably mean Americans inciting opposing factions in Iraq to arise the people against him. We still have to remember that Saddam, as the devil, isn't wise because of evil, but because of old.
    Is it OK with you that he's in control over there? Or am I missing something in this quote?

    The UN inspectors aren't dumb.
    The UN inspectors aren't there, and Iraq has been blocking their access for years. They haven't had the chance to put their investigative skills to work since getting expelled.

    Clinton didn't make no cowboy movie about his attack to Bin Laden.
    WTF? Huh? Who made a "cowboy movie" about attacking bin Laden?

    sometimes it seems like American leaders becoming very prepotent, almost fascist.
    quote:
    Dictionary.com: 1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
    2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.

    Nope. US leaders do not qualify, not even close. You want to condemn fascism, aim your tongue towards the Middle East.

    I can only feel worried about Israelis, because the first strike Saddam will make if attacked, is going to be Israel.
    Very true. Israel is directly threatened by Iraq and was attacked during the Gulf War. The US managed to contain them when they were hit by Scud missiles, but this time Israel will not sit by and suck those casulaties in. They'll fight back, and everyone knows how bad-ass the Israeli military is. They'd carve a path from Jerusalem to Saddam's house.

    Then, why Iraq? That's the question.... WHY???, if there are worse ones???
    You have to start somewhere. Iraq is a good place.

    Yes, that seems to be Americas excuse for everything. But not when dealing with other countries like when they put Pinochet into power.
    An "excuse"? Are they not a worthy goals? Again, I ask you if you'd rather the Iraqis just sit under the thumb of Hussein and his cronies until he dies...and then his psycho family takes over.

    Don't you think this black substance called oil has much to do in it?
    Yes, it has a lot to do with it. Do you want a nuclear-wielding dictator with his track record free to do what he wants in that region? It's a direct threat to the largest available supply of oil in the world. You're damn right it has something to do with oil. That spigot has to remain open so every modern economy can remain active.

    Much MUCH more than terrorism.
    Yes, like what I posted the first time.

    And, what do you call terrorism?
    The deliberate use of violence against a civilian population in order to acheive political or social goals. Terrorists cannot directly confront their enemy so they avoid that confontation altogether and go for easier targets, putting the population in their sights. This works for them on many levels--but only superficially, as long as their enemy decides not to fight back.

    *morally-relativistic rant*
    Stick to the subject, A. We are talking about fighting Iraq, not the past sins of the US government.

    But in Iraq, the way they're planning it, with air strikes and urban battle, there won't be much left after the storm
    Bollocks. Keep making this stuff up, it gets better every time.

    Yes, perhaps next threat will be this higly empoverished North Korea, right? Well, I've been talkin with North Koreans yesterday, they ran from their country, who is ultra empoverished and starving since the Russia fell. Perhaps they'll be the threat next. Yes I know they have long range missiles. Like if they're going to use them, you know, if you are strong and have those missiles you ARE a threat, but if you only have this missiles, but by no means can support a war, what will be the use of this? YEs, go on, attack them too, and force them to do business with REAL TERRORIST in order to economically survive. If you corner a cat, it's predictable it's going to strike desperately.
    Yeah, we should just let those people die. We all know diplomacy solves just about everthing these days. Yep, I'm glad the UN's record of stopping opression in it's tracks, preventing terrorism, and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destructiong is so shiny.
    Like chrome on a fresh turd.

    After 9/11 there are 2 ways to take. The first one is the ways of war and conquer, as they seem to be taking now. This one will only lead for destruction, not only for the arabs, but for the americans as well, fracture for this war-on-terror coalition perhaps. The second one, is a deep reflection on WHY DID THIS HAPPEN, and perhaps finding the routs for it you may be able to find a peaceful solution, like instead of striking, helping. This is the way wich seems more sensate to me.
    I want you and every other person who thinks like you to come up with the right words to stop people like Saddam. JUST WORDS. I want you to show how "understanding" these psycho f*cks can stop them from hurting us. I want you to show how "reflecting" on our problems will make them go away. I want you to explain how any of this will make a f*cking difference when none of the people we want dead give two sh*ts about your feelings, your words, and our love for freedom.
    Try telling a murderer to stop what he's doing with just your language.

    *New York Times article*
    Horrible non-arguement. You don't assume the worse case scenario and then denouce the action based off it.
    quote:
    Says my favorite B.: Once the US deals with Iraq, who's next?
    China, Korea, or maybe the territory of Colombia held by the FARC?

    Man, I'd never expect to see you in here. *laugh*
    Seriously though. China is not worth attacking militarily. North Korea, however, would greatly benefit from some direct forceful intervention. So would Columbia, but that is a problem best left to the Columbians, who have elected a new leader who seems less likely to give in or show weakness to the terrorists and extremists causing all the trouble in his country.

    They should at least have a plan to help the people of Iraq after the war is over
    We aren't stupid. We won't leave them alone after beating their military. They've got a lot of work to be done in their country. It is only logical that we help them fix it and get them on their feet.

    Anyway, I'm stopping here, I haven't talked about this political stuff in ages, and I'm in no real mood to start up again...
    I'm a lover not fighter.

    Until next time, then.

    Interjection Before Second Response

    Oh man! Who woulda thunk it!?

    quote:
    From this Yahoo! article: A top Iraqi official said Baghdad opposes the return of U.N. weapons inspectors and President Bush's speech to the United Nations was "full of lies."
    "We do not accept Bush's conditions," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said in an interview in Baghdad that was broadcast Friday.
    "The unconditional return of the inspectors will not solve the problem," Aziz said in the interview with the Saudi-owned MBC television network. The interview was conducted Thursday.

    What jack-asses. Bush gives them a chance to save themselves, and they reject it outright. Of course, Bush knew this was going to happen, since Iraq is a country lead by irrational men. I say we're in there by November.

    Second Response

    quote:
    Says A.: Please Drizzten, America has no right of attacking someone only because this country broke UN regulations.
    If you had taken more care to read my post, you would understand that breaking UN "regulations" (ha!, they're more like suggestions) is not the "only" reason why Iraq needs to undergo a regime change.

    Yes I know, from those satellites and intermediares Bin Laden and Saddam where born, not countring many others. Many died because of this, innocents I mean, and what, who cares now?
    Irrelevant to the discussion. I refer you to the comment I made saying it is our responsibility to fix the problems we create.

    You say Saddam handing a nuke to terrorists? Like if they where pals. Do you think he would be so dumb to give an ENEMY of him the power to do that famous "regime change" America so badly wants?
    You think terrorists are part of Saddam's enemies? I'm laughing out loud right now. Especially since he pays the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, which immediately endears him to nearly every other radical Islamic terrorist group, including Al Qaeda. Not to mention other links which include harboring Abu Nidal...who has been kicked out and sentanced to death in so many countries that only Iraq would take him in.

    If he had it he would use it as a negotiation tool with the West for sure (as South Korea tried to do when fired that long range missile that flew over Tokyo a few years ago). He doesn't want a war that may destroy his country (him) or the world either. Of course I don't know what he wants
    Then how do you know he doesn't want a war that may destroy his country? Saddam's made so much noise aboout standing up to the "imperialist Western dogs" that he must stand up to us as long as possible. He's got the support of all manner of radical Islamicists by thumbing his nose at us. He's doing this out of stupidity and ego.

    Now, how can the world trust the US would do that? More with the background it has. Builded and Unbuilded governments on other countries as they liked. Open markets you say? That's just another Do As I Say Not As I Do, as if Bush applied free markets policy.
    Yes, Bush has compromised his free trade ideology for politics (steel tariffs and the farm bill). However, he is far more free market-oriented than nearly any other leader in the world at the moment. Besides, any trade liberalization would be a huge improvement in Iraq.

    Well, seems like only America knows what they're doing, not the rest of the world. Look at the lack of confidence by Europe. Do they know what America's doing or where it's heading?
    Frankly, who cares about what Europe thinks? They don't have to be involved if they don't want to. They can sit from the sidelines and jeer and blow hot air at us all they want. I'm constantly amazed by this line of complaint...why does it matter? The fact that someone disagrees with you does not mean you are wrong.

    Well, Bush proved to be one of the worst orators in modern history.
    Depends what you want the speaker to do. Do you want someone to weave and duck, not saying anything really substantive, go into how much he or she really cares for someone else and some other people/culture, laboring on how "unique" and "important" that other culture is...or do you want someone to speak honestly and straight to the point? I want honesty above all, and great orators aren't limited to flowery words and clever sentences. Great orators drive home their point.

    You know what's the worst thing with Bush's bully attitude towards Hussein? That it's making Saddam public image rise a lot for Iraqui people.
    Prove this and get back to me.

    Now Iraquis have a definite enemy, always the excuse of a common enemy to join them all. Yes he's sadic and brutal, but the masses will only think he's a martir of the 'oppressing imperialists', and probably will forget everything he has done to them.
    Typical. You assume "the masses" are sheep, unaware of the nature of the fight being brought to them. I consider them far more intelligent than that, since a human's desire to be free is universal. You can't forget the horrors someone imposes upon you when you have to deal with those horros every day.

    There's one thing you're missing here. We cannot impose our western view of life to everyone, because, well not everyone sees life as we do.
    While I believe the Western view of life is superior, I agree we have no right to impose it on everyone. However, there are leaders of countries out there that have nothing to do with preserving their culture. They want to preserve their power structure. Whether they do it through religious law or violence, it doesn't matter. If a country becomes bad enough and then aquires ways of causing widespread harm, then I believe it is the duty of the rest of the world to stop that country. Unfortunately, the only world bodies capable of peforming that action are too chickensh*t to do anything about it. They'd rather persue "roundtable discussion" or "peace talks" or "understanding" over and over again when it becomes painfully obvious to anyone with a working mind that those methods don't work when one side is there in bad faith or is simply unwilling to listen.

    Examples of this are Pakistan. Before Musharraf they had somewhat of a democracy, wich didn't leave them with good memories, and that's proven when he made this referrendum to stay in power for 5 more years. The people AGREED with that.
    Musharraf rigged that election. It is a comment on the people's willingness to deal with the responsibility of a democratic nation and their willingness to get rid of the corruption in the government that they let Musharraf take and hold power.

    Same as this poor Nigerian woman who was condemned to die by stone throwing (dilapidation I think it's the correct name) because she had a child after being widow. I see it wrong, the west see it brutal and wrong. But they don't. They lived with those rules for hundreds of years and they like them, and we as freedom supporters have to accept it, like it or not.
    If you truely support freedom, you would never say such a thing. Freedom isn't conditional depending if there's a legacy of it not being embraced. I refuse to accept that kind of barbarism. I refuse to think that it's fine for some people to think that kind of behavior is OK. It's f*cking wrong, man. By the way, do you think those women believe it's OK for their men to do this the women in their family? Why do you believe they should continue it? It is inhuman and it has to stop.

    Same as this kids who where taken to prision in Iran because they made a party where they listened to Rock music, dran alcohol, wore jeans and short skirts. I think that's a stupidity. But Iranians support that, not only the government, because as general rule THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT WHO LASTS WITHOUT PEOPLES SUPPORT (not even Iraq). We have to accept it.
    No, I won't accept it, and neither should anyone else. If the government rules by fear, then it becomes increasingly harder to initiate change from within. Starving people who are unable to exercise free speech tend to focus on their immediate problems instead of turning to the source. They'll either set up black markets to supply them with what they need or bribe officials into leaving them alone. And while eventually the people will depose of their leaders when sick of them, it's obvious that takes too long. The suffering they go through for the years it takes to peacefully get rid of these jerks is unnecessary.

    With an explosion in middle east, you won't see the actual governments fall for more western friendly governments. You'll probably see more extremists gaining power, taking advantage of the chaos, wich will mean MORE terrorist attacks on US targets, more threats to Israel, etc.
    This is why we don't simply destroy the Iraqi army and Saddam and then leave. We (and the UN, if they choose to actually do something) stay behind, helping them keep the extremists out of the picture until they have solid enough institutions to reject the threat. Also, know that being "Western friendly" isn't necessarily the goal here. The goal is to give the citizens' freedom back and show them this is the best way to live. Once that occurs, being friendly towards the West is a natural next step.

    If Saudi Royal Family where to fall, they would be replaced by the most hard core muslim government ever.
    I have my doubts about this, mostly because it is so hard to know what the people think in these theocracies. Since most of the media is state-owned, we can't reliably base our opinions off reports and polls from those outlets. I'll concede this point to you for now because I don't have enough information to emphatically state otherwise. Saudi Arabia is a special case since it has so many important symbols and materials Muslims revere and since it is probably the single largest exporter of extreme Islamicism in the world. It would be harder to keep the radicals out of power there, I agree.

    Sources, Sources and more Sources mister. How do you expect me to trust sources such as WASHINGTON or the Iranians, historical Iraq enemies. Yes, they used those weapons.
    Unbelieveable. You totally missed my point, which was that Iraq's WMD program is far beyond what you credited it as. If you are going to question my sources (and those were just the first few that came up), you'd better give better reasons why. Otherwise you sound like a conspiracy theorist.

    Yes they have those weapons, they have chemicals and they have bothulism. They have some missiles too. But what, even my OWN country has them. I repeat, the only program they finished, and their main biological weapon is Bothulism, wich can't be accounted as the fiercest of them all, more considering the ones America has.
    You question my sources and then admit to them being right. Until I see a reason to believe botulism is the main biological weapon Iraq wishes to use, I won't believe it. It is a sucky bio-weapon, which is reason enough for Saddam to want something better.

    The rest are under development, as in many other countries. Then why is Iraq the exception for all this? Why is Iraq SUCH AN IMMEDIATE THREAT as Mr B preaches?
    This may be a language barrier to overcome [FYI: A. is South American]. Bush is not stating that Saddam poses a threat tomorrow or in the next month. It's a longer-term threat he presents, but not one worth waiting five years or thirty-six months for. And why do I have to repeat myself? The Hussein government's practices in the past and in the present are the exception which demands action.

    And of course, what do you think biological weapons are? Well, by definition they are weapons wich uses bacterias or patogen entities. They exist since the times of the ROMAN EMPIRE, when they threw dead bodies into their enemies water supplies.
    Don't mince words here. We all know what biological weapons mean today. No one is worried about the disease possible from drinking water polluted by dead bodies. We worry about weaponized and mass-deliverable biological agents that are engineered to be as deadly and effective as possible.

    They where even used in my own country in the famous 'desert conquer', a nice name for a truth called 'extermination of natives', in wich they gave the aborigins who where fighting by the government side, clothes taken from viruela (spell?) and sarampion (spell?) deseased people from hospitals. So not only this allied aborigins would die, but also the enemies, other aborigins who had contact with them would die too. So this shows how easy is to use diseases as weapons.
    All the more reason to keep the worse capabilities out of the hands of people who are irrational and unstable.

    What the world needs is evidence that Saddam is an IMMEDIATE THREAT!!
    This pisses me off so much.
    Yes, this is a great idea. Let's wait until we get satellite photos of Saddam prepping his rockets with bio, chem, and nuke warheads. Let's wait until they are pointed at Israel or sea ports where American ships are docked. Let's wait until he's ready to use them before we do anything about it. Let's wait until he tells the world he's ready to "negotiate" the Israeli withdrawl of Palestine.
    When you see a dangerously poisonous insect in your house, do you wait until it gets near to your eyes to do something about it or do you kill it on sight?
    I kill them on sight. I don't like getting stung.

    I can't?? Take this, for ex. like 'how would be the US soooo stupid and inept as to burn thousands of villagers by indiscriminate use of NAPALM???'. Well that happened.
    You've heard of the phrase, "learning from your mistakes," right?

    And what I fear is this: Iraqi forces will use, same as Talibans did, civilians as shelters.
    Iraq has done it before. It's one of the reasons we had to have such a prolonged aerial bombing campaign during the Gulf War.

    Nobody will give a damn. They will bomb them either way. There will be lots of civilian casualties because of this.
    The kind of war we'll be fighting won't be so based off aerial bombing. Since we're talking about urban combat with a dug-in enemy, there will be no other option but to send in ground forces. There will be civilian casualties. This is inevitable, through mistake and by the civilians-as-shields concern you have above. However, we cannot let them simply hide behind their citizens. Otherwise they can get off scot-free. We should be furious with the people who use their civilians as shields. Yet another reason why the Iraqi government is not worth keeping around.

    More when there's street combat. You know that most people who die in this kind of combats are civilians stucked in the city? You mortar shell enemy positions, those mortars may fall over someones roof killing a whole family.
    I doubt that any intelligent family would stay in a city one it becomes obvious it's under attack. Our technology is advanced enough so that we can choose and hit targets in a matter of minutes...we can discriminate between military and non-military targets. Accidents will happen and so will malicious acts by the Iraqi military. It's something we'll have to deal with. It will not be the civilian apocalypse you speak of.

    Tank shells too, more (I don't mean they will do it on purpose, but it happens) because of scared civilians running away in the line of fire, or just errors made by soldiers who will shoot, not wanting it, civilians. Armed forces aren't perfect, less when ground troops are involved. More if you take in consideration the people who loses everything because they have to leave the city in fear of being killed in the confrontation. Many starve, you know?
    I know. It's a fact of war that there are unintended deaths. All the better to have some now and get them out of the way rather than prolong them and have those people suffer in a longer run. Harsh? Yes. Worth doing for the future of the country? Absolutely.

    Let me tell you a little story about a guy my pops met in Brazil. He was an Iraqi businessman. He told my pops he used to love travelling to the states. But by the times of the gulf war, he was on Baghdad. Well during the bombings, he heard a strong noise coming from the lower floor of his house. What did he find when he got there? A missile lying in the couch having a cup of coffee. He never went to the states again. Now what can you tell me?
    That guy is smart for staying away from his country. He'll be even smarter for returning after we kick out the government. He, however, is an idiot for prefering to return home over the US, where he'd be free to practice his religion and enjoy his life to the extent of our Constitution.

    Depends on what you call desireable. Saddam out of power? Yes of course. More fighting of rival factions? No, of course not. Many 'casualties of war'? Of course not. A nuclear f*cking war? r u kidddin me?. A stepping stone for attacking other countries? Of course not.
    The rival factions are being united as we speak. They know part of our reason for going in is because we know there are Iraqi freedom fighters willing to take up the cause and do some of the work. By disintegrating into a mess, they'd do themselves more harm than good, and you can be sure the US won't allow it. No, that isn't desireable.
    A nuclear war? Where did you get that from? Iraq is not supposed to have those ready yet. Pakistan has them and so does Israel. You can be sure that the US won't allow Israel to escalate the war with nukes. Pakistan has no reason to butt in. This is a waste of time to worry about.
    I've explained why the downfall of other countries is desireable.

    There are OTHER means to get Saddam out of power that don't mean slaughter.
    I'm waiting to hear them.

    Wonder how it worked during Viet Nam war.
    This isn't Vietnam. That, in case you've forgotten, was a different situation in a totally different time.

    And also consider that the president holds the ultimate desicion on some hard subjects, as throwing a nuke or some extreme measure
    Of course. This doesn't change anything. Bush does not direct the detailed military objectives. He has a staff (like all Presidents) for that.

    Yes, but not with more slaughtering, and not taking the whole world in this crusade, and I don't mean not respecting the UN on this too. Now it's a responsabilty shared with the world, and the world doesn't need no more war. T'was enough the damage done by your little creations. And what will keep America from creating many more of this monsters?
    No...it's our responsibility. The only way I could see this as anyone else's is if you consider the complete failure of the UN to accomplish it's goals in Iraq.
    Yes, it's worth killing people over. Those people will mostly be Iraqi combatants. It won't be a slaughter, unless you are talking about how badly we'll stomp their military into the ground. It isn't going to be that hard to do this, you know. Iraq's military is a ghost of what it once was twelve years ago. It's one of the reasons why they've spent so much time on WMD--to make up for that weakness.
    The only thing that will stop us from pissing someone off in the world is to kill ourselves. Our actions anger people all over the world. That alone is no reason to do nothing. It is the choice of the individual to decide to target and kill civilians out of anger.

    But you better not think that Saddam and Qaeda are something like 'best friends'. Cuz they're not.
    I don't think that is the case, no.

    I said: If Saddam lets inspectors in he might shut Bushs blabbing mouth, but still will mean more Western influence in Iraq, wich means less control of the population by Saddam, wich will probably mean Americans inciting opposing factions in Iraq to arise the people against him.
    You've admitted that Saddam needs to go, you've admitted he has control over a stock of biological and chemical weapons, and you've admitted he's a repressive bastard. So why does it sound like, in that last sentence of yours, that it would be a bad thing if the people get sick of him and do something about it?

    I meant that Saddam doesn't want to be toppled. That's one of the reasons he's so reluctant in letting inspectors come in.
    Then they must go in by force.

    So I said "Inspectors aren't dumb", they'll know if Saddam's hiding something.
    Yes, and my comment said that it is pointless to argue this because the inspectors aren't in the country and he won't let them in. Not only that, but unless they have the power of force behind them, Saddam can simply bob and weave and lie to them about paperwork and where the sites are. He did it for years, which was one of the reasons why it took so long in the first place. The inspectors are not dumb. But they can't do their jobs unless they have complete access to everything. Saddam won't give them that. He must be forced. Case closed.

    Well yes, middle east is almost like the reincarnation of Franco, but Bush ain't no saint himself.
    We should save this for another thread. We'd get off-topic in this one.

    Nowadays it's so much different. You have brutals by both sides.
    And which one is less brutal? The free societies of the West or the unfree societies of the Middle East?
    Continued, next post.

    Third Response

    quote:
    Says A.: Wich worries me even more because on thing is America fighting arabs, and another thing is ISRAEL fighting arabs. I don't want to imagine how the arab world will react to that.
    It would be ugly if they reacted with military force, I agree. I can't offer any hope in this senario, because very little can be assumed about it. It is the single worst possible thing that could happen beyond a biological, chemical, or nuclear attack exchange.

    First, there are other countries making their people suffer and violating human rights, and does the US want to wage war desperately on them?
    US policy is not consistent. I wish to everything that it was. We have to take one step at a time. Correct this glaring error, and then move on to the other things we've screwed up.

    What will happen with a so much debilited little empire as Iraq is. The strong head falls, I don't think it can be replaced, not even by his psycho family. Because, well, Saddam formed himself starting in minor leagues. That gave him much knowledge his successors will lack.
    If you think my opinions are flimsy on some things, you have no idea how flimsy I think this one is. I have no idea how healthy Saddam is. He's in his 60's right now. He could end up like Castro, hanging on until the very end, forcing his country through unneeded suffering. Wouldn't you rather a democratic government be ready to step in immediately after he's gone, rather than wait for it to evolve on it's own, and possibly get stuck like many other "democratic experiments"? I don't want to take that chance. I think we shoulc be pro-active in this.

    Reminds me of tacticts used in some southeast asian country....
    Vietnam was a military disaster, not terrorism. The crimes commited then do not equate to terrorism. Again, a topic for another thread.

    If Saddam or Bin Laden aren't a past sin of the US government, then what are they?
    They are. So there is no need to try to smear the US with accusations about things we've done in the past that don't deal with bin Laden and Saddam.

    I don't know, but seems like you believe that speech about 'quick and costless war'. I wonder how quick and costless it would be to the civilian side.
    It will not be costless. It will be pretty quick, as long as no other nations intervene and Iraq doesn't attack a retaliatory Israel. I find it interesting you are so deathly worried about the Iraqi civilians when you'd simply leave them to Saddam's whims for however many years he's still in power. If a strip of strong tape is stuck to a hairy leg, do you pull it off slowly (prolonging the pain) or do you tear it off all at once and deal with it temporarily?

    Let those people die? Well, in change you will be KILLING that people. If that's Americas view on diplomacy, I should be scared, very scared.
    If you are unable to understand that we don't target civilians and would prefer they not die, then there's no point in talking to you. The other side does these things, yet protests the loudest whenever someone threatens them. It's complete hypocrisy.
    By the way, that part you quoted was sarcasm. I was mocking what your position advocates.

    I wonder then why did they use diplomacy with all other countries having Biological, Chemical and Nuclear weapon if they have such a disbelief in diplomacy.
    Diplomacy is only useful when both sides compromise. Iraq will not.

    Well, Russia was far more powerfu (and fucked up *) than a simple Saddam or Bin Laden. And what did America do with it?
    A history lesson:
    The Soviet Union had an arsenal of nuclear weapons that rivaled ours. They also had a land army more than capable of flooding Europe. They were truely a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, we silently agreed to not attack each other head-on. This is what I was describing when I talked about MAD. There are many ways to handle situations...but only a few are effective. You cannot apply one method to all situations and expect it to work effectively. So, instead of a Real War with the USSR, we had the Cold War, which is largely responsible for most of the nasty hotspots we've got now.
    If you think we should engage Iraq with the same tools we used for the USSR, you are out of your mind. The two situations could not be more different.

    Put in example you're the principal of a school. You have the knowledge that you have some junkies on your school. There are 2 ways from here.
    Way 1: You expell all of them: Then you free yourself and your school from the drug problem, but those kids are now on the streets, probably beated up by their parents, with a fuc*ed up future in front. Now you have socially inadapted persons, and probably you'll have to face the drug problem again
    Way 2: Try to help them: You may fail, probably you will, but if you DO help them and get them straight again, you free yourself from the drug problem, and you give society less problems. And if you have to face the drug problem again you would have the experience to do it better, and more effectively.
    Is there anything wrong with this reasoning?

    This is a bad analogy, but I agree that helping drug addicts is important. It should be done before force is applied. But, if reasoning with them and helping them fails, then you kick them out. Which is precisely what we've been doing with Iraq for the last few years. It isn't as if the demands were impossible to comply with.

    Youmay say this has nothing to do with the subject, but I just wanted to show how the use of force screws everything most of the times.
    Yeah, when it is used in the wrong situations. A counter-example:
    Suppose you've got someone in your house who is raping your mother. Do you ask him to stop, or do you grab the nearest thing and proceed to beat the hell out of him?
    Different situations, different responses. Your assumption that we would rather use force because it's the only option is incorrect. We've been dealing with Saddam for over decade. It is sheer stupidity to keep trying methods that do not work. Talking with Iraq does not work.

    I didn't assume it? Because, well, perhaps you meant by the worst case scenario another attack on the US. I mean by it a 3rd world war, wich will not only affect America, but everyone else too (including people who has nothing to do neither with America nor the extremists nor Saddam).
    My point was, it is not logical to present the worst-case senario for some action and then condemn that action on the basis of the fear that worst-case senario presents.

    Benefit? I wonder how's that? Do you really know the situation North Korea's been going since Russia fell? They're starving.
    Yes. I know this. I said that North Korea's situation is so bad that a regime change would be a great idea to have them go through.

    Korea doesn't want to deal with terrorists, They don't want those long range missiles to attack nor Japan nor South Korea. The're just screaming for attention.
    I know this as well. But since their government is Communistic, they can't do anything about it without putting their lives in danger. To be honest, North Korea deserves the world's attention next in the This Government Sucks department. It's right up there with the worst of the worst.

    I read that article yesterday. Bush ain't that rational either, he's falling in Bin Ladens plan. That's sad, you know?
    Huh? Post a link to bin Laden's plan. I'd love to read it.

    Bin Ladens masterplan (as I see it)
    Oh. This is what you think it is. That's just as good, I guess.

    Well, I bet he's hoping for the US to attack Iraq. Why? First, he would get rid of an agnostic regime in middle east. Secondly, well, it's like a domino effect. Bush attacks Iraq. The only think Iraq can do is to attack Israel. Israel gets attacked, and we all know how much Sharon likes to fight, so Israel sends troops and fights with Iraq, probably massacring more than the Americans. But what happens next? As I said before, one thing is Americans attacking arabs (and idea wich makes arabs angry), but something really different is Israelis attacking arabs (wich they find unacceptable). What happens? Arabs start to revolt against governments who backed the US and Israel. Saudi Royal family will be in danger, because that will be high time for fundamentalists there to revolt the people and take power. Will the US be able to stop it while still fighting in Iraq?
    As I said earlier, this is one of the worst-case senarios. I cannot offer comforting words about this. All I can say is that it if it comes to this, it will come down to whoever's influence is the greatest. I believe it won't come to this because we'll strike fast enough to prevent Iraq from attacking Israel. That hypothetical attack is the lynchpin in the entire doomsday senario. And if Iraq attacked Israel first, the Arabs would have no legitimate grounds for complaint if Israel retaliated, which would mean more of our allies would step in and help prevent an Arab military push.

    DO YOU REALLY THINK EXTREMISTS HOPED TO GET NUKES FROM SADDAM?
    I have no idea what the extremists want. I figure that if they knew Saddam had the weapons and they had harder ways to get them, they'd find some way to get them from him...either by asking for a deal or by stealing them. It is a statement of opinion.

    All the pieces have been set. Everything Osama needs is the first push, and Bush is the man for it.
    You're missing a crucial part of this plan. What is bin Laden supposed to accomplish besides killing millions of people, rendering vast tracks of the area unliveable, and horrifying the rest of the world? There's no way the governments in power would let him go through with such an ambitious plan for such complete chaos and destruction, since they'd be part of it.

    One thing that Bush lacks for an attack to be seen by the whole world as imperative, or at least to be done now and why it hasn't done before, is evidence that Saddam represents an IMMEDIATE THREAT. We all have to remeber that infamouse Cuban missile crisis thing. When US ambassador to the UN said Cuba had missiles pointed towards the States, both Russians and Cubans said it was a lie, so he brought pictures about it. Has Bush done the same?
    The situations are not comparable. Saddam is working towards nuclear weapons (Cuba and the USSR already had them), and we can't even be certain he doesn't already have them (Saddam cannot reach our country with the missiles he has now, either). Therefore, in order to prevent him from using them (and his other WMD) in the future, we go in now. For Christ's sake, you read the speech Bush gave to the UN. Saddam hasn't complied with those UN resolutions. It's time to enforce them. Otherwise, what good are they?

    Why can't Saddam be contained as they contained Stalin?
    Because containment means nothing for the people who are stuck living in that country. Because Saddam won't allow inspectors in his country to make sure he hasn't gotten any further with his WMD program. Because Saddam has the guts, the means, and the irrationality to use those weapons.
    Because Stalin and the USSR would have been the worst possible foe to fight against toe-to-toe. We choose diplomacy over overt war because that kind of war would leave nothing useful behind. The risks of that total devastation were far greater than the risks you've posted about an Arab-American war.

    Before waging war Bush has to prove that deferrance will not contain Saddam anymore. When Bush proves this, then I may approve what he's planning to do.
    Look up the UN Security Council resolutions yourself. They aren't doing anything except ruining his country and forcing his operations underground. Once we get rid of Saddam, we can stop the trade embargo.

    Then, why do you all lose hope in peace so easily?
    Because idealism in the face of reality is a losing game. You assume I've lost hope in peace. You are wrong. Peace is pointless if the people aren't enjoying it's fruits. Believing in peace as the solution for all these problems is blind stupidity. Asking someone to be nice and get along is the worst idea of "containment" I've ever heard.

    Please think that WAR NEVER SOLVES A DAMN THING.
    You really need some history classes.

    But then why do you feel so fine about having more people experiencing this again???
    How many times do I have to say this? This war will be a temporarily painful solution to a very bad problem. The suffering we will inflict is nothing compared to the suffering they will go through until Saddam dies or leaves his post. It doesn't get any simpler than that.
    Continued, next post.

    Fourth Response

    quote:
    Says A.: Sources such as WASHINGTON or the Iranians are no good to me. As if I trust what AP or Reuters say about the people in Afghanistan. I have my serious doubts that they're telling the whole truth. Official quotes? Official quotes like the Russians "It's a lie, we don't have missiles in Cuba" or Nixon "I have done nothing in watergate". Sure Sure.
    And with this, I'm done with talking to you. You'll never believe what I say because the evilcorporateAmericangreedygovernment-runmedia will never tell the truth. Begone, troll.

    Second Interjection

    It's too bad A. doesn't trust the major corporate news services. Otherwise, he'd know about the White House's rejection of the Iraqi acceptance of unconditional weapons inspectors.
    And to think that this would be worth talking about.

    September 13, 2002

    Explosion at BASF Plant in Texas

    Railcar explosion heard and felt 50 miles away.

    Drudge, Instapundit, and the Austin-American Statesman are carrying this as well. Further info here -- some injuries are reported as well as a fire. Here's hoping that this is just an accident.

    Terrorists are best advised to Not Mess With Texas.

    UPDATED 3/24/2005 8:49am
    BASF Freeport Explosion Update

    US Pilots Face Criminal Charges

    Ya hurt our Northerly Neighbors, ya get punished.

    Maj. Harry Schmidt and Maj. William Umbach both were charged with four counts of manslaughter and eight counts of aggravated assault as well as deleriction of duty.

    For those of short memory, this is in response to the terrible accident in which four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight were wounded after the pilots thought they were bombing hostile targets on April 17 in Afghanistan. No word yet on whether pilots are still taking amphetamines to prolong their work schedules.

    Santa Cruz, CA to Hand Out Medical Pot

    Far out, man.

    Richard Meyer, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said he was "appalled" by the plan but declined to detail whether federal agents would be at the event to make arrests.

    "We are in shock, we are appalled and dismayed that elected
    officials would flaunt a federal law that way," Meyer said.

    Mr. Meyer, do you expect the population of America who wants to use pot for personal reasons to give in to the force of the federal government? The law is wrong, the ideas behind it are outdated, and the shock you display is a flagrant reminder that the government is a self-perpetuating power-grabber who views it's laws as absolute. I applaud the city leaders who are taking part in this. The only way to get these laws changed is through direct action and moral confrontation.

    Not that these idiots would go down without a "DRUG ARE SO VERY BAD, M'KAY? LET US DECIDE WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU, M'KAY?" lecture-spree. Sorry, Mr. Walters, but your reach is waning, the intellectually-bankrupt "RAVE Act" notwithstanding.

    CENTCOM Moving to Qatar

    Finally living up to its name.

    U.S. Central Command is moving closer to the action. I'm reminded of a military proverb:

    Amateurs study tactics,
    Professionals study logistics.

    Maybe now that CENTCOM is drastically reducing the "tail" of the military machine, they can acheive a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness. It does give our enemies a wonderful target to attack, but considering how the U.S.S. Cole suffered, I don't think the response would be very welcome.

    "Wary" Approval of Bush Speech

    Poor guys just don't know what to feel.

    It really is amazing how diplomats respond to directness. They bitch and moan about all manner of things to keep their faces and names in the press, they voice their grave opinions of matters far and wide, and yet when it comes down to actually being concrete towards something or responding to someone who is, they wilt and say things like

    "We have to make sure that we don't add to the crisis, add to the instability, to create, which we risk creating, new sources of frustration and imbalances."
    -French Foreign Minister Dominiqueee de Villepin

    I mean, what the hell does that say? It means nothing. It strikes the same cautious tone that everyone else seems to take. When confronted by an immovable wall, they react the same way their intellectual brethern -lawyers- act: by delaying and nit-picking over details and semantics. Can't offend anyone, regardless of their actions. By offering a bystander's viewpoint, the Democrats in this country are no better.

    In Washington, the foreign minister of Qatar warned that countries in the Middle East oppose a war with Iraq. ''Any military action will destabilize the area,'' Sheik Hamad al-Thani said.

    Mind you, the people that parrot this beaten-to-death line don't consider that the people who are stuck with these "stable" Middle East regimes might want their goverments to crumble so they can regain some of the freedom taken away from them. Take Iran, for example.

    September 11, 2002

    9/11

    [Updates below.]

    Austin is an hour behind NYC, so when I got in to work (five minutes late, as usual) it was 9am there.

    It has always been my "system" to get into work and spend the first thirty or forty-five minutes surfing news sites and generally forcing myself awake. Right around the time the first plane hit, I noticed the Net was getting laggy--way more than usual. I checked the Drudge Report one last time, saw nothing out of the ordinary, and then bent down to check on some recently-delivered division mail. Just another Tuesday morning, one that I wished I was spending asleep in bed rather than in the office.

    A few minutes later, I heard someone walking down the hallway from the section next to ours, saying something about New York, the Trade Center, and an explosion. I leaned over to listen, but that's all she was saying. Curious, I refreshed Drudge's site and got...nothing. Server error. Hrm. I checked CNN and it was down as well. Oookay... I browsed to all the major newsmedia's websites only to have the same thing happen. Really annoyed (and beginning to get worried), I checked Slashdot. And then there they were, two articles in a row, both stuffed with hundreds posts, far above and beyond what the typical article gets.

    About this time, CNN had put up a super stripped-down version of it's home page, just a blank white background and text. I began to wonder about my cousin who lived in Manhattan.

    As people began to leave their cubes and talk about what was happening, I realized we had a TV with an antenna. I ran over to a supervisor's room, grabbed the set, plugged it in, and tuned the "rabbit ears" in order to pick up a local signal.

    My co-workers and I gathered around the TV just after the second plane hit.
    The complete confusion of the situation was enormous. No one knew what was happening, not anyone on the scene, not anyone in the air, not anyone around me. An employee kept repeating, "This is war. You know this is. Someone did this to us...this is no accident. It's a war."

    Everyone watched the towers go down in shocked horror. People began to hit their cell phones, ringing friends and family. I simply sat there, unable to put myself in the places of the hundreds (thousands?) of people who had just fell 90 stories in a firey concete maelstrom.

    By now, no one was working anywhere in the building I was in. It seemed the whole floor was crowded around the TV, asking the same unanswerable questions.

    I suddenly remembered how hungry I was, so I drove hell-bent to a Schlotzsky's which had a cable TV connection, ordered my food, and sat at the table nearest to it, turning up the volume. The lunch crowd grew fast, a tension I've never felt in the air. Not a single person said anything while we ate. I don't think anyone knew what to say. We just listened to the announcers and occasionally turned up the volume more for the expanding crowd.

    After lunch, I drove back to work, unable to expell the mental-engraved video of the planes ramming the buildings.

    The rest of the day was spent in front of the TV, switching channels in order to find something new to hear about. The Net recovered, albeit slowly, and I would walk between PC and TV in order to reconcile what I had learned.
    I remember watching the news at home that night, talking to my family about the safey of my cousin (who was alright), and thinking how much this was going to change the world.. I remember that day pretty f*cking well.

    UPDATED 9/11/2006 10:54pm
    Rethinking September 11, 2001

    September 10, 2002

    Future Intel CPUs to support "Palladium" DRM system

    Slashdot article informing us of a Boston Globe report stating that

    Bracing itself for another potential fight with computer privacy advocates, Intel Corp. said yesterday that its next generation of microchips, due next year, would include anti-piracy features that will protect computers against hackers and viruses while giving digital publishers powerful new tools to control the use of their products.

    Expect an ever-increasing migration away from wintel-based PCs. Once consumers realize that Microsoft and it's major vendors are restricting your access to your media, they'll have to decide whether or not to jump ship. PC's are first and foremost multi-media platforms these days. Once that capability is restricted, users whose patience has worn thin from poor-quality MS software will look into alternatives.

    This is called "shooting yourself in the foot."

    Drill a hole in your head

    A time-honored tradition of trephination.

    I can think of a few people this would actually benefit. Take out their little-used grey matter and replace it with experiemental Intel and AMD processors and bleeding-edge (punny!) human-interface technology. Then jack in some wetware, a convienient cell phone, and maybe a satellite Net connection. For extra fun, hardwire in Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and some William Gibson into the BIOS and set it free into the world.

    "Star Wars" & Imax

    A deal to send the "Attack of the Clones" film to approximately 50 Imax theaters in North America.

    Some friends and I have been exchanging e-mails regarding what we think would be awesome Imax conversions.

    My picks:
    Abyss, Dark City, Tron, Being John Malkovich, the Alien series, Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, E.T. (not the "cleaned-up" new version), Waterworld, The Princess Bride, Princess Mononoke, Fantasia (the old one), The Matrix, Se7en, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 2001: A Space Odyessy, and Saving Private Ryan.

    Theirs:
    Lost Highway, Silence of the Lambs, Titus, The Shining, The Sixth Sense, the Indiana Jones series, The Neverending Story, Apocalypse Now, PI, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Dark Crystal.

    O'Reilly vs WSJ Editor

    TV transcript here, editor's opinion here, original Fox News story transcript here, and a whole lotta context in between.

    Personally, I have to side with Bill McGurn. O'Reilly's style lends itself to some pretty powerful confrontations, but it just as often lends to rude interruptions and emotional name-calling. I haven't watched the Factor in months (no cable), but I can picture how it went.

    Precisely

    Micheal Gove, writing for the UK The Times Online puts it perfectly. What the world faces today isn't a reaction to Westernism, but rather a different face upon past dangers. Via Instapundit.

    September 06, 2002

    Piddling around

    CSS version 0.3 is up. Tweaking this is like going out on a date with someone who has multiple personality disorder.

    tweak
    switch to IE
    switch to Opera
    switch to FrontPage
    tweak
    switch to IE...

    Estimated time of final CSS draft is this weekend. Then the Real Shit™ can start.

    September 04, 2002

    Sweet.

    Got the stylesheet working. Pretty damn nice. Nothin' special. Need to dig around in the CSS code to decide what to tweak and how.

    Testing the link tag and design.

    Testing the unvisited link design.

    Testing the P tag.

    Testing the H1 tag.

    Testing the H2 tag.

    Testing the H3 tag.

    Be back later.

    cout << "Hello world!\n";

    Entry number one. AustinDate 9/4/2002. The time is ten minutes until sleep is mandatory.

    Testing is good. Testing is fun. Testing is good fun for everyone.

    UPDATE:
    I actually may be close to figuring 1/1,000th of this out.