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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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12/20/2002

The Invasion of Iraq Has Probably Begun

Debka Files had this story a month ago and Holsinger really adds no more than tactical detail; but my sense is his strategic sense is spot on.

Where he may go a little wrong is in his assumption that covert permission to overfly Saudi was needed. First, there was nothing at all that the Saudis could do to prevent the Americans from overflying. Second, there is no real reason why the Americans need to overfly.

In the Debka Files piece the idea of the salami slice approach to the problem of Iraq was raised. Part of that solution would be to set up forward bases in the Syrian desert within Blackhawk range of Baghdad. As well, forward basing south of Mosul, again within a hundred miles of Baghdad is likely an accomplished fact.

The demonstrated ability of American airpower to casue massive and largely costless casualties among relatively ill trained troops was abundantly demonstrated in Afghanistan. The Iraqis would have virtually no chance of retaking a forward base ringed with Special Forces and B-2s orbiting above.

The Grandmother of all Battles could well be over in an hour if the Americans can preposition with impunity.

12/18/2002

Strike One for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Juries do the strangest things. Like get cases right. The decision in the criminal trial of the Russian company which broke the encoding on Adobe ebooks suggests that the DMCA is wide open to challenge at the criminal level.

This will be a blow to the entertainment and software companies who pushed to make it a crime to even try to break the encoding on their products. While the ruling turned on the offshore status of the company, with the internet that status is almost a given. So the Act has been, to a degree, defanged.

Good for the jury...

Bloggers bring down Republican Majority Leader in the Senate

From a purely American angle the power of the bloggers is amazing. Left and right blogs took Trent Lott to the wall and, if the signals are right, put the majority leadership in the Senate of the United States of America into play.

From the Canadian perspective it is amzing that we have nothing like this in Canada. Where is the Andrew Sullivan or the Instapundit to take on Chretien or gun registry or Paul Martin's donations.

In a quite real sense the only way for the blogging community in Canada to begin to accumulate influence is for there to be some mainstream attention paid to it. But where would that come from? The Southam papers are being globalized and it is far more interesting to read about Pam Anderson or Britany Spears than the utter banality of Bill Graham. The Mope and Flail, as it slowly becomes a newspaper of columns, is actually becoming a blog in print.

The tradition of a free press runs very shallow in the Canadian experience. We have the CBC, the assorted television stations under the grip of Global and the good Moses Naimer who, bless him, actually understands televsion as a medium of entertainment.

Our papers are simply dull. When was the last time a major paper actually exposed, rather than reported, a scandal? The National Post, pre-Asper, were likely onto something vis a vis Mr. Chretien's real estate dealings; but that ended.

The power of the blog in the US was amped up when people like Andrew Sullivan put his web address in his columns in the New York Times Magazine. The mass press became the bully pulpit from which the bloggers sought the faithful and brought them to the promised land of the internet.

It is unlikely that the Canadian mass media will make the same mistake - not out of any superior insight; rather because it is simply too self obsessed to ever pay attention to the coming of the beginning of its own end.

12/15/2002

Clones

I am not sure which makes me more uncomfortable - the prospect of creating human embryos simply to harvest their cell lines or agreeing with William Kristol.

The former on balance; by a nose. Stanford's announcement is not at all a surprise in the sense that as the techniques and technologies which allow human cloning advance there will be tremendous pressure to use them at leading edge institutions. And there is no doubt that human cloning will get underway in the next few years, if not at Stanford then at a hundred other facilities throughout the world.

To maintain its commanding lead in biotechinical science America will have to begin to experiment in this area. If it does not the technologies of life extension and enhancement which will result from the creation of human derived cell lines will be developed by others.

Being staunchly pro-choice I do not want to see little clumps of cells classified as human for research purposes but inhuman for legal abortions.

But the sceintific fact is that the clump of cells which results from a one night stand and the clump which arises from"nuclear transplantation to produce human pluripotent stem cell lines" if nurtured will, eventually, become a baby.

As a society we have decided that up until various points in a pregancy the mother's rights to terminate the pregancy trump the clumps's rights to become a baby. But with the biotechnical creation of that clump it is difficult to see how the scientists can have the same rights to terminate as mum does.