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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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2/01/2003

Colby Cosh on self-promotion

"The issue to be decided is whether a CBC3 mention will bring more hits than a BlogAd on Matt Welch's site. I think you'll find the BlogAd is slightly more effective, Jay, but how come you had to pay money for me to find out about you? If you'd just thrown up some links to other Canadian weblogs, we'd have noticed you in our referrer logs and started sending traffic your way a long time ago. That's how this works! Jeez, and I thought my instinct for self-promotion was inhibited... (I know, I know. Please don't e-mail me to tell me I've overcome those inhibitions magnificently.)"

Of course Colby has a point. I have not been doing the link to others thing on my blog simply because I have been feeling my way along in the blog world.

The deal at Matt Welch's site, $10.00 USD for two weeks, was too good to pass up.

My little experiment proceeds but with one critical difficulty: it appears that the CBCR3 website reports back "unkown" on the referrer log. So do lots of other places on the web. So, to give the Mothercorp a fair chance I am counting all the unknowns as CBC driven. Right now they are neck and neck.

I'll start putting up some links tomorrow...Thx Colby

Allied troops on the ground in Iraq

The headline writer on the front page of the Vancouver Sun gets it right...The rest of the article makes no mention at all of the possibility of the troops being on the ground. It is really just a rehash of the wire reports of the Blair/Bush meeting.

At a bet the story may have been written and then pulled...I'll check the print edition.

A Small Victory: here come the conspiracy theories

Along with the odious conspiracy theories, Newsworld's pet idiot, whose name I do not yet know, is now bounding through the blogosphere.

Blogs have not yet made it big in Canada so our friends at the Mothercorp probably have no idea how damaging the idiot's question is; but in a matter of hours this will be a good reason, worldwide, to dismiss and dislike the sheer stupidity of the people we put on our national, government funded, television network.


WHAT!

I didn't see this but, if the CBC reporter really this say this it should be the very last thing she is allowed to say on television....

"I am watching coverage on different networks. CBC Newsworld just interviewed writer Robert Sawyer for his reflections on the shuttle program and potential causes of the disaster. The Newsworld interviewer asked Sawyer whether the cause was "arrogance" on the part of the U.S. government. (Sawyer said no.) This is one of the most odious questions I can imagine. It took minutes for the CBC to twist a tragedy into a politically motivated theatre of hate. Talk about manufacturing consent.

Furthermore... the interviewer linked American "arrogance" explicitly to current potential conflict in the Middle East. My only surprise is the CBC did not manage to sneer at the death of Israel's first astronaut in the same breath.

High Flight

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surely bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sunsplit clouds- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence; hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. RAF
KIA, 1940

Iraq already invaded

If you have been reading DebkaFiles the large presence of US Special Forces in Northern Iraq is not news.

The fact is that the invasion of Iraq began well before Christmas with Special Forces and CIA folks working with Kurds, the Turkish army and assorted other players to establish control in the north of Iraq.

When it looked as if there might be problems using Jordanian airbases the obvious solution was to look for bases in Iraq itself. Apparently this has proceeded apace and there are reports of American engineers extending runways at a number of nominally Iraqi airports.

This is the salami slicer approach to invasion and it may very well ensure that the elimination of Saddam is much, much quicker than major media currently anticipates.

NATIONAL POST

"Canada is presumably prepared to subordinate its decision on Iraq to a Security Council that wouldn't provide enough muscle to stop the civil wars in Yugoslavia; abandoned Somalia; ignored Rwanda in spite of the pleas from 800,000 victims for mercy; needed a predictable disaster to occur before reacting in East Timor; dithered while people were mutilated and slaughtered in Sierra Leone and gave false hope to the innocents in the Congo when it knew all along that tough military intervention would not be approved. All of that in a mere 10 years. Canada, having provided modest military support to all of the foregoing missions, should understand better than anyone the limitations inherent in the Security Council's ability to do the right thing."

General MacKenzie has the United Nations about right. He should having served as a commander in the Bosnian civil war.

Rightly he suggests that pre-positioning Canadian troops for the assault on IIraq is critical if Canada is to be taken seriously as an American ally.

Such a pre-positioning does not mean we would have to fight under any circumstance; but it would mean that our troops would be in place in the event that war became necessary.

It would also be the strongest possible signal of our support for the goal of disarming Saddam. A goal which has already been endorsed by the UN.

Bush bends

I don't think Bush is bending a bit. What he is doing is giving the international community the chance to get on board.

A second resolution is more for the United Nations' benefit than America's. What it would do is allow the UN to make a finding of material breach and then re-authorize "serious consequences". Something of a waste of time but, officially, the Americans are not quite ready to go so there is no harm there.

I can't help but think that the entire process may be a ruse to either a)find an opportunity to grab Saddam by unconventional means, b) allow a coup to take place.

Columbia Destroyed During Re-Entry, Crew Lost

Great adventures create huge risks. Daring to go into space, daring to expand humanity's horizon is the greatest adventure of all.

Our best hopes rode with the Columbia and with her international crew.

For now all we can do is mourn their loss.

Their dreams and ours will carry on and humanity will conquer the high frontier.

Ad is up

So now we see how having an ad on a busy blog works...

An Experiment

For the fun of it I put up a Blog ad on Matt Welch's site. As I write it has not yet been accepted but I suspect it will be.

Now, here is the question. Today my blog went up on CBC3 which is the CBC's attempt to make an internet radio station and magazine. Very cool. So far three hits.

The race is to see whether Matt or our Nation's voice will drive more hits....

1/31/2003

Blair's Power II

While I think the terms of UN 1441 are more than sufficient to allow the invasion of Iraq, Blair's desire to have a second resolution will make the point very clear indeed.

At the moment the nose count on the Security Council suggests a second resolution would not pass. Which leaves swinging the votes up to Blair, Bush and General Powell.

What will be interesting to see is if the French, fresh from their Ivory Coast triumph, will fall in with such a resolution, abstain or veto. If the last then France is pretty much finished as even a pretend world power.


1/30/2003

A Position??
"We believe that Iraq has to know from the world community that it must disarm ... We all agree that if it fails to disarm the United Nations will have to take its responsibility to make sure that Resolution 1441 is enforced."

This quote is in a Toronto Star interview with Chretien. Unfortunately it is not clear whether Jean or Our Lady Peace said it.

The key part is the idea that the UN has to take responsibility to enforce 1441. If the Libs had said this a week ago they would have had an out front, pro-UN, position early. A week later it looks very much as if an hour with the General left Our Lady Peace so shocked that he told the PM to get on the wagon before it left the corral. Not quite a diplomatic coup...but better than I expected.

TheStar.com - Case for a `just war' has not been made


As a social Anglican I try to pay some attention to what our Bishops say. Our Primate has sent a letter suggesting that, on Augustinian criteria, the proposed war in Iraq is not a just war. Our Primate is wrong. Here is why point by point:

Here is his position, I have added numbers to make the points easier to read.

It is precisely because of evil's capacity to surprise us in the confidence of our own goodness that Augustine developed a set of principles known as the ``just war theory.'' Submitting the justness of a cause to a set of principles allows us to see our intentions through lenses other than our anger, frustration or fear.

1) A just war can only be waged as a last resort.
(Congregation) Defying the Security Council of the United Nations when told to disclose all prohibited weapons programs leaves the UN and its supporters without resort save war.

2) A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority.
(Congregation) The Security Council of the United Nations has passed, with no dissenting votes, Resolution 1441 which directly contemplated "serious consequences" where Iraq did not comply. The Inspectors report has provided evidence of multiple material breaches. Member nations of the UN are acting in support of Resolution 1441. In so far as they act within the framework of that resolution they have all the authority required.

3) A just war can only be waged to redress a wrong suffered.
(Congregation) The Iraqi regime has gassed its own people. It has repeatedly violated the terms it agreed to to end the war which resulted from its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait. It has defied and ignored the United Nations' attempts to enforce the truce terms which it agreed to. It has continued to develop biological, chemical and, possibly, nuclear munitions in defiance of its promises.

4) A war is just only if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success.
(Congregation) At best the invasion of Iraq and the destruction of its current ruling regime is a week long, intense, war - at worst it will be a number of months or years of fighting and mopping up. But there is not a doubt in the world that the American led coalition will be successful militarily.

5) Deaths and injuries incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
(Congregation) There is nothing at all hopeless about this cause. Iraq's defiance is another question and one which is, on its face immoral.

6) A war is just only if its goal is to re-establish peace.
(Congregation) The present situation in Iraq is a threat to the region and the world. The elimination of that threat will lead to Peace.

7) Moreover, that peace must be an improvement over the circumstances that would have prevailed had the war not been waged.
(Congregation) the present situation in Iraq is brutally oppressive and regime change will improve the lot of Iraqis in general and minority Iraqis in particular.

8) A war is just only if the violence used is proportional to the harm suffered.
(Congregation) The harm, both actual and potential, suffered by Iraqis as the result of the regime's failure to honour the commitments it made in order to end its defeat in its invasion of Kuwait is huge. The harm suffered by the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs at the hands of the regime is huge. The potential regional and world wide harm suffered if Iraq uses infectious biological agents is incalculable. The use of violence to disarm a knife wielding mad man is not a moral question; rather it is a question of what violence is unavoidable to protect the innocent from the knife.


Archbishop Peers goes on to say:

"It is abundantly clear that the intention of the United States to invade Iraq fails to satisfy these conditions.

Peace will not come as a result of ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein; it will come by ridding ourselves of our perverse habit of imagining that only the other, only the enemy, can provide a vehicle for the advancement of evil."

The intentions of the United States, Great Britain and their allies fulfil the conditions for just war. But they do so precisely because the leaders of those nations are not looking to embody evil in the other - rather because the other has already demonstrated, by its acts, that evil has already made its nest in Iraq. it will take courage, faith and prayer to overwhelm this evil while sparing the millions of innocent Iraqis who are this evil's victims.


Not all Liberals are Idiots - just a majority

"Obviously, we all hope that Iraq will do what is required to keep
the peace, but in all likelihood just a few weeks from now I think
our closest allies will be at war with a murderous regime that gases its own people and has weapons that threaten North
American security. We are going to have to make a choice. Are we going to support our closest allies or are we going to give Iraq a vote of confidence by remaining neutral?" -- Albina Guarnieri

This, combined with support of the plain meaning of Resolution 1441 - consequences and all, could actually be a serious foreign policy for Canada.


Colleen Beaumier, a Liberal MP who just returned from Baghdad,
where she lauded the Iraqi regime, said Mr. Bush had not changed her mind about Canada joining a U.S.-led attack.

"This is a war against children. No matter how you slice it, there is more to this war than the Bush regime and the Saddam Hussein regime. How many children are we going to kill to replace that regime?" she said.

Of course the Post implies there is a mind to change.

M. Beaumier might wish to ask the Kurds or the Marsh Arabs or the Iranians or the Kuwaitis about Saddam's fondness for children. She might want to ask what look to be missing Iraqi scientists how their kids are.

Last time I looked the Bush "regime" had not used gas on its own population, kids and all.

M. Beaumier is an idiot and the Post has been mean enough to quote her directly...nasty but effective.

Naomi Grows Up (?)

While her column today is pretty opaque she seems to be focussed on this:

"When this global rabble came together under the slogan "Another world is possible," it was clear to all but the most rigidly nostalgic that getting to this other world wouldn't be a matter of resuscitating the flawed models of the past, but imagining new movements."

Socialist campfire girl that she is, Naomi is no fool. She is well aware that the "Battle in Seattle" was the high water mark of the new, new left and she is equally aware that street rage does not become political power. So what next for the antis?

While opposing the Iraq war has kept the pot boiling there is the discomforting aspect that this implies tacit approval of one of the most disgusting dictators operating in the world today. Suggesting that 9/11 was the Americans' own fault was fun but wore a bit thin after the first several hundred thousand repetitions.

So Naomi has hitched her Volvo to the quaint, diffuse and wonderfully impractical idea of "participatory democracy". This is perfect. After all what else do impovrished 3rd Worlders have to do with their time but sit around in postive vibe circles passing resolutions?

Let's hope Naomi rushes out and organizes a few in her neighbourhood and then, well, how about in Iraq? Nothing Saddam likes more than his folks sitting down to have a good chat and govern their little part of the country. Just ask the Kurds.

Our Lady Peace Goes to Washington

They let Our Lady enter the sacred groves of the State Department and there, having extracted his oath not to upstage General Powell, let him glimpse the mysteries.

Our Lady, speaking of the United Nations, gave the General these words of wisdom "We understand that you intend to keep to that path. We would encourage you to keep to that path."

No word yet as to what the General might have said to Our Lady or if he had the slightest idea who Mr. Graham actually was.

There is no truth to the rumour that the General was heard asking an aide as Our Lady left, "Who let that Frenchman in?"

Chretien's Position

"Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish said the religious angle to Mr. Bush's speech was frightening, but she added that she felt reassured by Mr. Chrétien's comments in caucus expressing full support for the UN.

"He looked us straight in the eye and told us that his position hasn't changed since he convinced [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair to ask for a UN resolution," she said."

While Our Lady Peace was doing the tough/smooth two step and ensuring that the most sacred principle of Canadian Foreign Policy "Foreign Minister Bill Graham said Canada will not be stampeded into war with Iraq by the United States, or by critics here who feel the Chrétien government is too timid." - namely no kowtowing to the Americans, the real action was in the Liberal caucus.

The invaluable Ms. Parrish - along with suggesting that she was uncomfortable with Bush's references to, well, God - seems to have missed the point of the UN's Resolution 1441.

It said "disarm now and we will send inspectors to see that you do. If you don't there will be serious consequences. Iraq, as the inspectors have reported, has not disarmed. So now come the consequences.

Hello, Ms. Parrish, the best way to support the UN is to support the plain words of the resolution Mr. Chretien claims to have convinced Tony Blair to ask for. To do that you might have to do what Stephen Harper suggests,

"Alliance Leader Stephen Harper said Canada should be positioning its forces with U.S. and British troops on Iraq's borders.

"Only with a credible threat of force ... does the world stand a chance of avoiding war," Mr. Harper said in a speech Wednesday night as part of a special debate on Iraq."





Honourary Frenchman



Eight on Board

"The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime's persistent attempts to threaten world security," the eight leaders wrote. "Our strength lies in unity.

"The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security," the premiers wrote in a thinly-veiled appeal to doubters French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to join up."

I suspect that Jean and Our Lady Peace at External were not even invited to sign onto this clearheaded, tough and timely statement.

The point is to present Saddam with an entirely united, no nonsense front. That front whould have troops present on the start line in the Middle East and should base its actions on UN 1441.

If the UN can be ignored, as Saddam is ignoring it, then it will be nothing but a rump of tired Old Europeans and toothless 3rd world countries yammering at each other about what a big bad and, frankly, scary country the United States is.

Canada's choice is whether to join the rump or build on our success in Afghanistan and support a strict interpretation of the UN's resolution.




1/29/2003

Ivory Coasters show their appreciation for France's Old Europe touch



via Andrew Sullivan







Conviction of France's Ex-Foreign Minister Upheld

Of course the French do have style....

"Mr. Dumas, 80, silver-haired and sharp-tongued, had been sentenced in May 2001 to six months in jail and fined $130,000 for taking illegal gifts from his mistress, Christine Deviers-Joncour, a former lingerie model and lobbyist for the oil group Elf Aquitaine, now part of TotalFinaElf. The case linked politicians and business executives in a vast kickback scheme in which company slush funds were used to buy influence."

By the way, that is the dumbest headline I have seen in a long while...His appeal was granted and his conviction quashed....

BuzzMachine ... by Jeff Jarvis COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
"It's mine, I tell you, mine! All mine! You can't have it because it's mine! You can read it (please); you can quote it (thanks); but I still own it because it's mine! I own it and you don't. Nya-nya-nya. So there.
COPYRIGHT 2001-2003-20?? by Jeff Jarvis"

By far the best copyright notice I have ever read...Ace blog too

Anti-gravity and us - smh.com.au

Unlikely; but there have been rumblings about anti-gravity for some time in the specialist defence and aeronautics press.

How wonderful if it turns out to be true....though articles written by people who feel compelled to declare "I am not a crank." always have to be viewed with caution.

Bush Officials Debate Release of Iraq Secrets



"Mr. Powell has said he wants to be armed with a brief containing a few select, vivid items of solid evidence, not a mosaic of murky material that could be discounted by skeptical allies and critics of the Bush administration. He plans, officials said, to catalog discrepancies between Iraq's recent weapons declaration and previous findings of biological and chemical weapons and agents during past inspections, and to offer more details of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

Oddly enough this is dumbing down intelligence so even the French will have to officially understand it. (Unofficially the French know just as much as the Americans but have a different set of internal policy constraints...Plus they still have to figure out how to celebrate the triumph of French arms united with the subtlety of her diplomacy in the Ivory Coast . Perhaps they might condecend to give Mr. Powell a few pointers.)

Saddam's laugh of the day | cartoon


Chris Patten gets it...sort of

UPI: Attention shifts to Powell report



EU Foreign Policy Commissioner Chris Patten echoed those sentiments.

"Any sensible person should want this crisis to be ended peacefully if it is humanly possible to do so," he said.

However, the former Hong Kong governor warned the Iraqi regime that the international community's patience was wearing thin.

"Let us not forget that at the heart of this crisis is how Saddam Hussein treats the rest of the world, not how the rest of the world treats Saddam Hussein."

He added: "If the inspectors make it clear that this is mission impossible we cannot avoid the consequences. The alternative would be the sort of humiliation that would make it more difficult to assert the authority of the U.N. in future cases."

This is a position which Our Lady of Peace in External Affairs and the PM might want to take a look at. The inspectors are saying Iraq is not co-operating, if that continues the credibility of the UN is at stake. While Canadians might not go to war to support our ally, we might be willing to fight to save the UN.

Why Canada gets no respect in Washington



As usual Jeffrey Simpson gets the politics of Canada's gormless foreign policy wonderfully right.

There is, however, a deeper question: what would a policy actually look like. You'll never hear it from Our Lady Peace in External and the PM is not going to say a word; but it is possible to have an independent, principled foreign policy.

Here are some suggestions.

1. Build a very powerful, very smart and very small military. Build it to be the pointy end of ground combat. Look elite, be elite. Our snipers in Afghanistan show the way. Be prepared to deploy on very short notice.

2. Take human rights more seriously than the rights of governments. This means actively imposing sanctions where ever human rights are threatened or abused. Whther it is China or Zimbabwe.

3. Oppose and punish genocide. The liberal reason to want to see the back of Saddam is not the WMDs, it is the fact he has used them against his own people. For this he should be hauled before the International Court and punished. If it takes a full scale war to accomplish this, so be it.

4. Support the Americans when they are right and oppose them when they are wrong. The essence of a bad foreign policy is to oppose or support a nation because of who you think they are rather than what they are in fact doing.

5. Work to create a third, middle power, force in world politics. If we do not want the Americans to be the world's policeman we need to be willing to create a security service which can be as effective.


Wrong again
Indonesians Seem Unconvinced by Bush Arguments on Iraq

For some reason this NYT story has been at the top of Google all morning. It gives this asinine quotation which actually illuminates much of what is wrong with the anti-American position.

"I want to remind you the world is not only America," said Rien Kuntari, a well-traveled foreign correspondent with the biggest circulation daily, Kompas. "I think it is against human rights to topple a government."

The notion of unlimited soverignty, the inviolability of the nation state, leads to the Serbias, the Zimbabwaes and the Rwandas. It is also a patent excuse for the destruction of human rights.

For the widely travelled Ms. Kuntari to suggest that deposing the bogusly elected Saddam is somehow contrary to human rights is absurd. So why bother quoting her in the Times?

Likely because the Times is running out of reasons to oppose the war. It is running out of ways of suggesting that Bush is wrong. Trotting out a real live 3rd world, Muslim, female journalist to utter nonesense is the last gasp of an editorial policy which is being mugged by reality.

Weasel alert
The Globe and Mail: Breaking News

""I think it was fairly unanimous on our position that we need to have a UN resolution," MP Carolyn Parrish said.

Ms. Parrish said that the Liberal government's position has been consistent with the resolution.

"As far as Iraq is concerned, I'm absolutely confident the Prime Minister's not dragging us into any wars on a whim. In fact, we have to have a strong UN resolution," she said."

Bless Ms. Parrish. She, apparently, has not read the text of Resolution 1441. Or perhaps she - and the Prime Minister - think that the serious consequences of non-compliance should be a stern lecture and another six months to bury, hide and lend out weapons of mass destruction.

Ms. Parrish is bucking for the honourary "European" of the week award.

Blair's Power
link

If ever there was a demonstration of the wit of the Englsih as compared to the posturing of Old Europe and Canada it is right here:

"All of this now is about waiting for Tony Blair," said one administration official. "The meeting at Camp David is incredibly important for what happens next."

A senior State Department official noted that U.S. officials spent a week negotiating with British officials on the Security Council resolution authorizing the weapons inspections in November before attempting to win support from other council members. "We know if we don't have the Brits, we don't have anybody," he said."

This has been achieved with a relatively modest troop commitment and a willingness to talk tough to a vile dictator. It puts Blair in the position of being able to exercise a de facto veto on American action.

The anti-American rhetoric of Old Europe merely antagonizes Americans. They don't need the mighty forces of France or Germany and they certainly don't need the impotent scolding these nations pass off as foreign policy.

Canada's poor, muddled external affairs folks should watch and learn from Blair and Jack Straw's masterful diplomacy. But I doubt they will.

1/28/2003

The skinny...link

A State of the Union Address is not the place to present hard intelligence. Bush knows this. So he is making the promise to detail the links between Iraq and Islamofascism. Or, at least, some of them.

Here is where we find out if the Americans have the intelligence capacity we suspect they might. Either they can prove out links or not. We'll see.

Not that it should make the slightest difference to the liberal argument for the elimination of Saddam. He is an odious, murderous man and Iraq will be much better off without him.

Of course, Old Europe may not quite get this. And they may not like the fact the Americans have intelligence they are willing to make public which will likely cut the ground out of the idea we should all wait for a few more months for more inspections. Well, tough.

Fatuous Anti-Americanism
link

"Most Europeans are quite upset by what looks like an aggressive, unilateral push by the United States for war, at a time when everyone else wants time for further discussion and more reflection," added Swift.

Oh good, the poets want to chat...

Anything to avoid upsetting the Europeans. And what better than a book of poetry containing the soon to be on every lip line:

"That the violence we have witnessed

was not random while the kindness was,
how insulting to our attempts at existentialism!"

I have always thought that existentialism needed an exclamation point.

Gratuitous Anti-Americanism Watch link

Earlier in the House, Mr. Chrétien took a jab at what he said was the Alliance's eagerness to follow the lead of the U.S. administration. "If the other side receives a telephone call from the Americans, it says, 'Yes, hello.' "

Atta boy Jean...Your polling is showing.

Simpson gets the liberal war

Well, actually Michael Ignatieff:

Michael Ignatieff, the brilliant expatriate Canadian at Harvard, wrote recently that "the disagreeable reality for those who believe in human rights is that there are some occasions -- and Iraq may be one of them -- when war is the only real remedy for regimes that live by terror. . . . The choice is one between two evils, between containing and leaving a tyrant in place and the target use of force, which will kill people but free a nation from the tyrant's grip."

It is possible for a war to have a set of benefits. This one will disarm Iraq, let the Iraqi people create their own government in a state or states, sever another base of support from the Islamofascists and bulk up the UN - if Old Europe and creaky Canada can get it together to support the UN.

Simpson is dead accurate in suggesting that the NoLogoists whould be marching in front of the Iraqi Embassies. But, of course, anti-Americanism trumps the defeat of a man willing to invade his neighbours and use chemical weapons for internal ethnic cleansing.

Cafes Burning

This is one of those instances where the law catches up with technology two days late and a dollar short.

How, exactly, is an internet cafe suposed to police a no burning rule? And why should it? After all, the internet cafe customer can download music, programs and video from the net at home and there is no one the wiser - how does doing it in a shared facility make a difference.

Now, if the cafe in question did the burning on behalf of the customer I suppose there may be an argument. Sort of piracy by proxy.

The point, however, is that downloading and burning cds is a reality for anyone with a computer and an internet connection. A burner costs $100.00. About the same price as five CDs.

The music biz is finished as we have known it...no bad thing either...no more Mariah Carey, no more Celine Dion...

Listen Up link

It is not a great surprise that Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary has concluded that Iraq is in material breach of UN 1441.

What is much more interesting is this:

In the Middle East, the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, warned Iraq not to make any mistakes in its dealings with UN inspectors if it wanted to avoid war.

"I warn the Iraqi president that the strike will come after any incident that would obstruct the inspection teams and prevent them from entering any site, even if they were presidential palaces," Mr Mubarak said in an interview with the United Arab Emirates newspaper al-Itihad.

"If they are not searched, they will be destroyed. There will be grave consequences and [any incident] will be used as a pretext to wage a military strike."

Mubarak's voice matters in the Middle East. He is also on the "B" list of leaders who see selected American, British and Israeli intelligence product. Most of all, he has a degree of credibility on the Arab avenue if not the street. For moderate Muslims, Mubarak represents a strong secular alternative.

It is also encouraging to see Putin put the case for the United Nations so strongly. Russia seems to be creeping back into the tent.

Now it will be interesting to see if the Americans are willing to share some of the satellite photography which show the Iraqis moving equipment ahead of UN inspectors who are being delayed on their way to a site.

1/27/2003

War if Necessary, but not necessarily war

To paraphrase MacKenzie King on Conscription.

Chretien is all for more time, maybe a new resolution and following the UN process. He does not seem to be able to quite grasp that 1441 actually was a UN process and that it contained serious consequences in precisely the situation Blix has outlined.

Perhaps Chretien has made the cardinal error of speaking with both his Minister of Defence and his Minister of External Affairs within a two hour period...this would explain the confusion.

Keith Maillard

So much for warblogging...The last but one major American war sent us Keith Maillard. Teaching at the University of British columbia's vaulted Creative Writing Program, Maillard was kind enough to spend an hour and a half with me today discussing his most recent book, The Clairinet Polka. I'll be writing the piece up for the Ottawa Citizen and will post it to my website.

What a nice, interesting guy. He listened to the questions I was pulling out of thin air and gave considered but often very funny answers. Most of all he seemed pleased as hell with his success but more than a little surprised. Most of the big name authors I talk to seem to be like that. And most of them, like Maillard, long since stopped trying to please anyone but themselves with their writing.

It feels a bit like 1935

In 1935 Germany set the stage to re-occupy the Rhur, Japan invaded Shanghai and Italy invaded Ethiopia. The League of Nations did nothing.

The evidence of Iraqi non-cooperation presented to the Security Council in Blix’s report is more than sufficient to trigger the “serious consequences” envisioned by UN. And there is very little doubt that those consequence will be visited upon Saddam and, unfortunately his people, in a very few weeks.

There is really only one question left: will the United Nations damn itself to years, or even decades of total irrelevance by sitting on the sidelines as its resolution is ignored or will it join the coalition of the willing.

Regardless of the French, German, Russian and others misgivings the Americans and the English are almost certainly going to go into Iraq. They are going to say, not without justification, that they are enforcing the terms of Resolution 1441.

If they do go in more or less on their own it will reduce the UN to a talking shop. After all, who – and I am thinking North Korea, Israel, the Palestinians, Pakistan and India, Zimbabwe – would pay the slightest attention to the bleating of a body which cannot even enforce its own resolutions. The Security Council would be the little powers’ rump.

The invasion and pacification of Iraq by and Anglo American force would mean the end of the UN, the end of multi-lateralism and the end of the international system. “Old Europe” would be free to wave its cane at the cowboys and the ex-colonialist but impotent to do anything about it.

By far the better alternative is for the French, the Germans, the Russians and the Chinese, as well as we wavering Canadians, to demand instant and complete compliance with every jot and tittle of 1441. Now, this minute. And to back up that demand with, say a division each from each of these countries. (OK, Canada can send a ship, some of our amazing snipers and – if we really want to destroy the Iraqi will to fight – Sheila Copps as a human shield.)

If the nations of the United Nations have the gumption to stand up for the resolution they have passed there is every possibility that Saddam will go the exile route. It may be possible to achieve Iraq’s disarmament without a shot fired.

World Peace arrives the day the powerful stand together demanding that the will of the United Nations be respected. If that doesn’t happen, if Old Europe wants more time, then the authority of the United Nations is destroyed.

The League of Nations floundered on the unwillingness of the Great Powers of the day to stand up to Mussolini’s invasion of Ethopia. Once the Powers had proven their collective cowardice, it was only a matter of time before Hitler re-occupied the Ruhr and the Germans and the Russians were fighting proxy battles in the air over Spain.

To save Iraqi, American, British lives is a goal best achieved by risking German, French, Russian and other nations’ militaries. Simply by saying, “Enough, obey the United Nations.” These nations will ensure lives are saved and the hope of Peace the United Nations embodies will continue.

1/26/2003

TheStar.com - Firebrand Layton wins a landslide

Good for the NDP! Layton is, at least, interesting. Of course the Liberals must be elated. Layton is far enough to the left to leave lots of room. Plus he is just the slightest bit off the wall which is always handy in case he begins to make any inroads.

It will be interesting to see if Layton can actually give the kiss of life to a party which has all but lost its reason to exist in Canada...No one expects or very much wants a socialist utopia in the Great White North. A little kinder, a little gentler...sure. And can Layton calm the Labour/feminist/immigrant waters of the NDP? And will anyone care if he does?

They are already in Iraq

From Debkafiles,

"Engineers of US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 have begun extending runways at three northern Iraqi airports for C-130 transport landings with troops and equipment"

There are also reports of US, British and Jordanian special forces in the Western Desert tracking the Scuds as they are shuffled from place to place.

Long before the formal war begins I suspect the Americans will have largely neutralized the two no-fly zones and a large swath of the Western Desert, possibly including H2 and H3, the large Iraqi airbases.

If the Americans want to they can simply bypass the who diplomatic nuttiness and drop troops, equipment and supplies directly on Iraqi soil. It is just possible that the Iraqis may put up a stout resistance; but I cannot imagine they will be foolhardy enough to actually attack pre-positioned US Forces.

The war started well before Christmas. Let's hope it over by Spring.

Virus Overwhelms Global Internet Systems


So we really are this vunerable. When the bank machines go down people begin to panic.

The net has been slow all day - no news there - but there has been no real speculation as to where this came from.

On one hand it could have been my 12 year old playing around...but this was a bit more sophisticated than that. So where, and why?

While I think the Bushies are over the top on a lot of their homeland security ideas I have no doubt this sort of virus attack is a potential terrorist weapon. For the moment this is just a very large denial of service attack; what happens when you add Avril to this sort of attack?

It gets ugly fast.