Via Michael Totten, I’m pointed to this article by Khidir Hamza, a nuclear scientist who worked on Saddam’s nuke program before he defected. I’ve seen him make several news appearances befroe reading this editorial, and he has always been adamant about the fact that 1) Saddam would never disarm (he sees his entire destiny bound up with them) and 2) he is most assuredly still working on a nuclear weapon.
In this most recent WSJ piece, though, Hamza gives what I think is the most credible voice yet to the notion that France and Germany are so steadfast in their opposition to the deposing of Saddam because they are grossly complicit in his illegal weapons programs, and are motivated not only by greed but also by the fear of the revelations of their underhanded deals directly in violation of the UN resolutions they voted for. Hamza focuses mostly on the money issue, but he
Now, when Steven Den Beste first speculated about this, he offered what were worst case scenarios should some kind of treachery by Germany or France show up. At the time, I read it and thought, “Hmmm, quite scary, very unlikely.”
The “unlikely” part is frankly starting to lose out to the “scary” half in my mind. The end of the UN. The end of NATO. The end of the EU. The US withdrawing from Germany. And with what Donald Sensing has written recently…
There were no reporters present, so people spoke pretty freely. During the course of the discussion, Herr Leutnant General said that the only reason Europe had enjoyed its longest period ever of uninterrupted peace was that there were two US Army corps in western Germany, and significant US forces elsewhere in Europe. He didn’t quite say that without American boots on the ground there, Granta Europe would have gone to war with itself again, but we clearly understood that’s what he meant. The British and Italian representatives nodded.
…and combined with the anti-growth, anti-prosperity economic policies of the Weasel axis (encouraging crippling economic stagnation – a wonderful catalyst for national aggressiveness if there ever was one) I’d think anybody would be truly daft to not get significantly worried at the prospect of severe German/French treachery in the immediate future.
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When I read on Drudge that Madonna is planning a “shocking” “anti-war, anti-Bush” “commentary” of a video that will accompany the media blitz for her latest toilet paper roll of sonic idiocy to be digitized and sold for $16.99, I think of the most succinct summation of just what Madonna is, brought to us by the lads of South Park:
Madonna is an old anorexic whore who wore out her welcome years ago and should just go fuck herself.
That’s actually much more kind than anything I would typically have to say about her.
Like lots of bloggers, I spend a good amount of my time making fun of the stupid things celebrities say, but compared to Madonna, people like Sheryl Crow, Janeane Garofalo and Martin Scorsese are intellectual powerhouses. Also, at least with the likes of Scorsese you can respect his artistic product even if you have to suffer through his political opinions now and then.
This has always been impossible to do with Madonna, however, because 1) her political/public self is inextricably bound with her “artistic” (not enough scare quotes in the world to do that howler justice) image, and 2) because both of those entities (if they indeed are even separate at all) are so horribly painful to endure.
Now, one can distinctly discern how much of this “American Life” salvo of hers is an urgent cry of relevance to a world in which she finds herself as culturally outmoded as jokes about Viagra.
Ever notice how we didn’t hear much from her since Bush was elected, and even less after 9/11? No? Yeah, me neither. But then, that’s the very nature of a respite from the likes of high-profile stupidity: blissful unawareness. When an irritating public persona drops down below the signal noise of celebrity culture, the natural impulse is to simply forget that they ever held a coveted spot of public annoyance in the first place. I mean really, that’s the point isn’t it, to not be bothered by them any more? To forget them as soon as the buzzing from their ego has subsided to acceptably unobtrusive levels? And, one is naturally aided in this by the fact that modern celebrities are usually so completely forgettable. Madonna, with her deliberately frenzied mixture of inadvertantly banal poses struck for the purpose of carefully constructed sexual shock-value, is no exception to this rule.
It seems that she perhaps perceived that the world had slipped into a kind of Material Girl lethe of recent and that she simply couldn’t abide by it, with the result being her inflicting a new album and video (more likely a spate of them eventually) on the world, just to be sure and remind everyone that she’s just as vacuous and reflexively outraged by whatever the squares are doing so she can try to once again shock the parents of the 13-year-olds who buy her crap.
Except this, time, she’s trying to make Important! and Serious!-sounding pronouncements about things other than how monogamy is evil and repressive and that pubescent girls should dress and act like the kind of public slut her money and celebrity allows her to be with so little consequence. You have to sort of instantly feel sorry for any effort of hers trying to branch out into becoming an official Concerned Famous Person, something that is pretty much beyond her capabilities (and considering the woefully low standards required for being a card-carrying CFP, the picture becomes doubly pathetic). Immediately, I can’t help but think of a monkey trying to write a novel. It’s possible that with enough attempts he could approach something that remotely resembles one, but only coincidentally and after literally billions of random attempts.
It’s no surprise that Madonna’s profile became significantly lowered post-election 2000. Between then and the September of the following year, she only surfaced rarely to give the odd cheap shot against Bush’s party or the Pope, usually for their perpetual crime of being repressed puritans, or something like that. This reduced public presence after the inauguration of Bush’s America makes perfect sense, for if there was ever a president’s tenure that fit harmoniously with the public phenomenom of Madonna, it was Bill Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »lNo Comments Add Comment
The recent capitualtions by Iraq (allowing U2 flyovers, granting limited access to some scientists, etc) of course are a tactic aimed at stalling the US longer, since they have the possibility of giving more rhetorical ammo to the inspection-hawks on the UNSC. Some might take this as bad news, but I don’t really see it as very useful information about when a war could start. Rather, i think it tells more simply about Saddam’s own perception of the situation.
Firs off, everyone knows that Iraq would do everything possible to make sure that whatever concessions they make are as much for show as possible, such as telling their scientists to be interviewed by the UN: “Look of course we want you to cooperate with the inspectors, but if you divulge any information to them that is vital to Iraqi national security we’re gonna have to torture you and your family to death. And, by the way, anything relating to any WMDs is all considered vital to our national security. But by all means, cooperate with the inspectors, k?”
So really, there isn’t a huge probability that Blix and co. would garner anything truly important from the agreements recently made with Iraq. Yet, Iraq is still taking more of a risk in allowing the inspectors the kind of new access (hedged and dishonest as it may be) than they ever have before. Saddam’s capital in this escapade of his has always been the degree to which he was able to hold back any information from leaking out of Iraq about his weapons programs. These recent moves amount to more spending of that capital than he has done since even before he agreed to 1441.
I think that’s significant, because it seems to reveal something about what the current mindset is for Saddam and for his small band of Tikrit thugs. Basically, I think that they are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, meaning that in some way, this current inspections game isn’t going last much longer. Some possibilities as to just what I think that light could be (from most to least likely): Read the rest of this entry »lNo Comments Add Comment
Well, John Hawkins has thoroughly dashed my hopes of becoming the proud owner of a warblogger award. For his First Annual Warblogger Awards, I begged him -begged him!- to create a category of “Best Weblog Called Mean Mr. Mustard Run By Russell Wardlow.” Otherwise, I figured that my chances were slim to Kate Moss. Hell, I’m barely a warblogger. I’m really more of an libido-blogger. Warbloggers do their bellicose thang for the purpose of rallying the nation for the necessary martial action to protect our lives and freedoms.
Me? I just wanna meet chicks.
And I figured lots of cool chicks read RWN, so it stood to reason that winning me one of them fancy awards would ratchet me up in the blog dating pool from pondscum to shoescum. The only way I saw there being a remote chance of this happening was for Hawkins to create the aforementioned category.
Did he do it?
Does Michael Moore leave anything on a plate of spare ribs?
Yeah, that’s right.
Bah, whatever. Lileks still probably would’ve beat me.
Anyway, I can at least say that I got to be one of the 70 or so voters. And, that sense of inflated self-importance that I would normally take from such a distinction would likely be more pronounced had more of my picks actually won (Go Michele!).No Comments Add Comment
The article reveals that the rhetorical kiddie gloves are off and there’s quite a bit of angry shouting going on across the Atlantic (or at least, what counts as angry shouting in diplomatic circles). Both sides are waxing pissed at the seeming intransigence of the other. I find this to be very reassuring.
At one point Fischer faced the U.S. delegation to the conference and, switching from German to English, pointedly said, “Excuse me, I am not convinced.”
You’re excused. Now kindly get out of the way.
The French defense minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, joined the counterattack, raising her eyebrows at the “combative tone” of Rumsfeld’s comments. “Ad hoc coalitions” are a “precarious” approach that “can’t replace the alliance,” she cautioned.
Good, we don’t want it replaced. We want this “alliance” over and done with. As Mark Steyn has noted, these kinds of outmoded, teetering international bodies tend to destroy wahtever useful qualities there are in diplomacy and magnify all the worst aspects of it, hence the UN. NATO, at this point, with those countries always euphemisically referred to as “certain key allies” infesting it, suffers from much of the same ailments.
At one point, Portuguese Defense Minister Paulo Portas reminded Fischer of the failures of European pacifism, beginning with its inability to counter the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Fischer responded brusquely, “You don’t need to talk to me about that”
One might think so. One might also think we didn’t need to have our secretary of state present reams of evidence to you to you of Saddam’s continued refusal to adhere to the demands of the UN, since, as so many have argued, it was things that everyone already knew. Yet somehow Fischer’s government seems to be remarkably keen on ignoring the mustached elephant in the living room, so it might do well to remind him of the jackbooted one as well.No Comments Add Comment
Clinton you nitwit.
In an exclusive interview Thursday on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” the former president said he sees a good possibility that the international community will unite to force Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disarm.
“I still hope the United Nations can act together on this, and I still think there’s a chance we can, and there’s still a chance that Saddam Hussein will come to his senses and disarm,” Clinton said.
No there isn’t, you blubbering bubba. First of all, assuming that anything remotely approaching sense still lingers in his addled mind of latter-day Saladin fantasies, both Bush (for all his necesarry rhetoric about disarming) and Saddam have both made quite sure that disarmament isn’t really an option.
Saddam has painted himself thoroughly into a corner on this one. He has steadfastly maintained that he has none of the weapons that the US has been accusing him of having. Any admissions now will only be more proof of a “material breach,” and thus invite an American attack. He can also continue to dodge and lie, which also would reveal him to be a material (breach) girl (thanks, Lileks).
At this point, he be breached if he do and breached if he don’t.
Now, one might say that since Powell’s speech already made it quite clear to everyone of basically the same facts that would be revealed were Saddam to make real strides towards disarmament, and that since Powell’s revelations were only greeted by calls for more inspections by the United Nations Idiot Caucus, Saddam coming clean now would only offer more rhetorical ammo to the anti-war robots in the UN, those broken records that respond to any argument for military action with, “War! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” while they flail their arms mechanically.
But I don’t think so.
First of all, I don’t think it’s very likely that at this point the Bush administration would say “Ok, he’s disarmed. No harm, no foul.” At least they’d better damned well not.
What I think is more likely is that any admissions Saddam were to make would only give more Bush more to point to and prove how dangerous Saddam is. Not that it would convince any of the Weasels, but would give us enough plausible deniability to start the war, all to the outraged howls of France, Germany, Russia, Greenpeace, whoever. Read the rest of this entry »lNo Comments Add Comment
That’s it, after this I want to never again hear a call for the US to work through the United Nations or any other ridiculously perverted international body. Ever. Put a fork in it, fellas, that goose is cooked.
It is now impossible to turn a blind eye to the flagrant hypocrisy represented by the “key US allies” on the Security Council, who continue to make it clear that they’re none too interested in upholding the key tenets of the resolution they themselves voted for months ago, to say nothing of the plethora of resolutions they have sternly issued over the last decade.
“Moving the goalposts” is too gentle a characterization to describe the gross, atrocious efforts by certain UNSC members at every kind of stalling rhetoric to halt any US action that would actually enforce what the UN itself requested. With their pathetic calls for further inspections in the face of obvious, acknowledged fact that Saddam has been unshakably aggressive in disobeying every single one of the proscriptions in Resolution 1441, in their ability to repeatedly turn their appeasing faces away from the avalanche of evidence shotgunned right into their eyes by Powell on Wednesday (evidence that, even if you are the most disbelieving, cynical and rabid anti-American, cannot be denied as proving that Saddam has flagrantly ignored ever single request made of him by 1441, to say nothing of the more circumstantial yet nonetheless compelling evidence detailing his links to Al Qeada), in their ready-made and instantaneous rhetoric of “more inspections! more!” that would follow any revelation Powell might have made, without even considering what was actually said, by all these things and more, they have proved themselves unwilling to seriously address the issues presented by that mad fuck in Baghdad. Read the rest of this entry »lNo Comments Add Comment
So now France seems to be suggesting that they might be coming around to supporting a US invasion of Iraq.
The paper chooses to emphasise the fact that Mr de Villepin has publicly offered, for the first time, military support in the form of Mirage 4 planes and said that France did not rule out the use of force.
I suppose we’re supposed to drop to our knees in blubbering gratitude over this?
The best thing we could do now is say “thanks, but no thanks,” to Monsieur de Vellepin. The Mirages wouldn’t add anything to our military capability. Like most of our public allies in an Iraq invasion, they’d be along merely to show solidarity, to demonstrate that we’re in this thing together, even if their pragmatic role is minimal.
And they don’t deserve the benefits in prestige that they would recieve for pretending to play war alongside the US. They shouldn’t be allowed, once the war is over and Iraq is deliriously grateful and the rest of the world begins to recognize in hindsight what an important necessary act it was, to posture and boast about their role as if they had anything to do with it, and to go on acting as if this somehow has extended (or arther, at this point, revived) their tenure in the roster of Nations That Matter. Read the rest of this entry »lNo Comments Add Comment
In the WaPo today (via the AP):
As for U.S. allies, most believe more weapons inspections are necessary before any resort to force in Iraq, although French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, speaking after Powell’s presentation of declassified intelligence, left open the use of force as an option. He also called for more inspections in Iraq.
It looks like the AP needs to stop letting Reuters sneak into its cubicles and workstations and do its hobgoblin-like mischief unchecked.
“Most” US allies believe more weapons inspections are necessary, eh? I suppose that most doesn’t include those 18 NATO countries that have recently expressed vocal solidarity with the US’ intention to now use military force.No Comments Add Comment
The level of sheer willful blindness displayed in the Security Council makes me wonder if the corridors of the UN building are padded so as to alleviate any serious injury from constantly running into walls and tumbling down stairs, which seems as if it would have to be the inevitable result of the stance that 3 out of the 4 permanent international members of the UNSC have taken towards Iraq. Basically, the rhetorical pose that CHina, Russia and France have taken is close their eyes, cover their ears and hum loudly so as to not let any kind of rationality or bare facts slip past their screen against reality.
FOREIGN MINISTER TANG JIAXUAN OF CHINA . . . The inspections have been going on for more than two months now. The two agencies have been working very hard and their work deserves our recognition. It is their view that now they are not in a position to draw conclusions, and they suggested continuing with the inspections. We should respect the views of the two agencies and support the continuation of their work.
Well, there you have it. The situation has been reduced to an urge not to disparage all the hard work by the inspectors who have all been trying their bestest, by golly, and wouldn’t it be just a heartless thing to do to stop them now? They might think we don’t appreciate them!
But don’t worry, China, we’ll explain one by one to all the crestfallen inspector-dears that it’s not their fault we’re cutting things short. They didn’t do anything wrong. Rather, it’s those big mean Iraqis who refused to play fair. I think they’ll understand. We’ll calmly tell them that we would just love to let them poke under every rock and sand dune to their hearts’ content, but it takes two to play INSPECTION, and the Iraqis are being bad playmates. They shouldn’t be hanging around kids like that anyway.No Comments Add Comment