Canadian Friends of America just went up on Glenn Renyolds Instapundit. Hits are surging.
This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
One Damn Thing After Another
Specs: This blog is currently built to work with Mozilla Firefox.
Time to go and get a modern browser... Get Firefox here.
Canadian Friends of America just went up on Glenn Renyolds Instapundit. Hits are surging.
Footage from Baghdad...All Arabic commentary.
The fact is that the footage can be horrific. Which is, of course, in the nature of war. But it is what the Arab world is watching and responding to. link
CBC does Iraq
I finally have a chance to look at the real video clip CBC has on its web site. The first thing is that there is a huge banner taking up the bottom 1/5th of the screen.
Mansbridge: "hard to know what to say when you watch something like this." Fortunately he doesn't say much.
Seems like balanced coverage so far. Mansbridge suggested it reminded him of carpet bombing: one of the military commentators handed his head.
You've Seen the Movie, now read the book
Shock and Awe is not just the happy idea of letting off all the fireworks at once. Rather it is a well thought out notion of how best to leverage massive tactical superiority into a political/strategic victory.
"The basis for Rapid Dominance rests in the ability to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary through imposing sufficient Shock and Awe to achieve the necessary political, strategic, and operational goals of the conflict or crisis that led to the use of force. War, of course, in the broadest sense has been characterized by Clausewitz to include substantial elements of "fog, friction, and fear." In the Clausewitzian view, "shock and awe" were necessary effects arising from application of military power and were aimed at destroying the will of an adversary to resist. Earlier and similar observations had been made by the great Chinese military writer Sun Tzu around 500 B.C. Sun Tzu observed that disarming an adversary before battle was joined was the most effective outcome a commander could achieve. Sun Tzu was well aware of the crucial importance of achieving Shock and Awe prior to, during, and in ending battle. He also observed that "war is deception," implying that Shock and Awe were greatly leveraged through clever, if not brilliant, employment of force." link globalsecurity.org
Read the whole thing when the movie is over.
"There are a number of individuals in countries around the world who have been conveying the message to the Iraqi regime that it is now inevitable that there will be a change," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday.
"In order to prevent any loss of life beyond that which may have occurred already, it would be wise for Iraqi leaders to recognize that their day is over and that this is going to happen."
Which is the diplomatic way of putting it.
Contrasted with this Administration official quoted in the same CNN story"The Iraqi [military] can die or live. It's a simple choice," the official said.
Shock, Awe and the total erosion of the Iraqi military in the 12 years since Gulf War I are all combining to create the conditions for surrender. If Saddam is dead or seriously wounded there is next to no reason why total capitulation cannot be achieved quickly.
It is interesting to note that the up to 1000 cruise missiles fired last night a) cost 1 billion dollars, b) were aimed at symbolic, low casualty targets, c) apparently wounded 250 people (according to the Iraqi Minister of Information) with no actual deaths.
My sense is that the Allies are providing the "cover" - as we got fed up with hearing about UN resolutions - for surrender. A surrender which they are pretty certain will be coming quickly. You don't blow up symbols for a billion dollars when you could be gutting the actual forces which you will have to get through to take Baghdad unless you are putting on a show.
Uncle Cuddles bites it?
"U.S. officials have told Fox News late Friday that the government is confident that Saddam Hussein was seen being rushed into an ambulance on a stretcher after the missile strikes on March 19 -- the first strike of the Iraq war. The government is in possession of images that show what is described as "panicked digging" immediately after the initial strikes on Wednesday night, with bodies seen being removed from the impact zone. "[link Fox News]
Would that this be true. For Iraq and her people first of all. For the Allies second. For President Bush for taking the shot.
We're not all wimps
"Your time's up, Saddam. History will judge you for exactly what you are. As for how history judges Canada -- well, I'm ashamed to think about that."Margaret Wente - Globe and Mail
Wente is clear sighted and hard headed. She understands the idea of evil. And, hell, she's agin' it.
She also shows it is possible to criticize American actions and policy without being anti-American. It is not a great trick. All you need to do is comment on actual facts.
Shocked back to Reality
"A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
link UPI via Tim Blair
The human shields were the naive of the naive and they will bear eloquent witness to the necessity of removing Saddam and his thugs.
Could Chirac get any dumber?
"French President Jacques Chirac has warned he will not accept any UN resolution allowing the United States and Britain to administer post-war Iraq.
Speaking at the end of a European Union summit in Brussels, Mr Chirac said France would reject any moves that "would legitimise the military intervention and would give the belligerents the powers to administer Iraq".
"That would justify the war after the event," he said, describing the US-led invasion of Iraq as a tragic moment that would be likely to have unforeseen consequences."[link BBC]
Chirac has left Earth orbit and is now vetoing resolutions which are unwritten in circumstances which have not yet arisen.
Any second now Chirac will command the tides to cease.
From the New York Times:
"The commander of Iraq's 51st division and his top deputy surrendered to United States Marine forces today, according to American military officials.
It was the first time that the commander of an Iraqi division has surrendered to allied forces. The 51st is a Regular Army unit that was deployed in southern Iraq directly in the path of the allied invasion."
In a perfect war this will happen all the way to Baghdad. There is no reason to kill Iraqi soldiers. the point of Shock and Awe is to make surrender the best, and only, alternative to death for the Regular Army and
the Republican Guard. There has to be a sense of inevitability created.
Debka Files, to be taken with the usual tablespoon of salt, reports 40% of Iraq in Allied hands.
The idea of driving straight on to Baghdad only makes sense with the total air command the Allies enjoy. At a guess, as Shock and Awe proceeds, there will be special forces being put into position in Baghdad and they will clear the path for the armour racing up the Euphrates. The shock part of the program will be the Iraqis waking up to the fact Baghdad has been captured.
The post war line up is beginning to take shape:
"But Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of Washington, criticized France's threatened use of its veto.
"I believe (the veto) is an obsolete mechanism that does not correspond any more to the post-(World War II) situation that set up the organization of the United Nations," he said."[link washington post]
The Axis of Weasels - France, Germany and brave little Belguim - are getting ready to hold a military integration summit pointedly excluding England. These are huge shifts and Rumsfeld's notion of "Old Europe" vs "New Europe" seems to be coming to pass.
"Troops seized two airfield complexes in far western Iraq, known as H-2 and H-3, without much resistance from Iraqi troops, defense officials said. But they called control of the installations "tentative."
They are important partly because Saddam Hussein is believed to have Scud missiles there. The H-3 airfield has been one of Iraq's primary air-defense installations. "
They are also important because these bases can rapidly be converted into full scale bases from which the allies can conduct the war without having to worry about the Turks or anyone else denying flyover rights.
Off for a beer
The @#$#@% doamin is still not here so I am off for a beer. My sense is that support for the Canadian Friends of America is building and will continue to grow as more people hear about it. The net works that way.
Support rolling in for CFA
It is really encouraging to see a good idea get noticed. (Gosh I wish it had actually been my idea...)
Smug Canadian says:
"The Canadian Friends of America exists to make sure reasonable viewpoints that many journalists dislike will also be heard. Most Canadians love Americans, and all of us are dependent on America for the continued existence of our nation on many levels."
Ghost of a Flea gives us a mention.
stud_lee says this:
"Never in my life have I been as embarrassed and ashamed as I am to have Canadian citizenship and this only drives home the lack of regret I have for leaving that country.
Still, there seems to be a silver lining in the clouds. I came across this website from Colby Cosh which gives me a glimmer of hope that there still are some sane people remaining in the land where I grew up and that this knee-jerk, ignorant, arrogant and irrational anti-Americanism is not as pervasive as the Canadian Government extols. Unfortunately, these voices do not have much influence and they are quickly quieted down by the arrogant, unrepentant Left that has a foothold on the politics.
Still, where there is a voice, there is always hope..."
For those who think Rumsfeld is bloodthirsty
""We have broad and deep evidence that suggests that there are people going through that decision-making process throughout that country today, and that is a good thing," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing.
But the officials say the so-called "shock and awe" phase of the U.S. war plan could be ordered at any time, including as soon as Thursday night, if turns out Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is alive and in control of his military. "link CNN
The willingness to give the remaining leadership of Iraq a day or so to consider their position suggests to me at least that Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush administration is not looking to inflict maximum damage on Iraq. They are willing to stay their hands until the situation clarifies.
This is smart and it is humane....It is far more than Saddam would ever do for his own people.
Now he tells us
"At this point I think there is no use debating the reasons why some people think war is necessary and some people think it is not. We should not say anything that would comfort Saddam Hussein," he told reporters. A government official said Chretien was "asking people to cool down the rhetoric". link
Chretien might have said this before Herb Dhaliwal took it upon himself to attack Bush's "statesmanship". As with most things the Liberals have done vis a vis Iraq this is far too little far too late.
That would be elite Republican Guard
"Pentagon officials said large numbers of senior Republican Guard members are signalling that they would like to surrender.
"There are significant indications that the Iraqi military is breaking from within," a Defense official told Fox News. "So far, so very good." Fox News
If true this would be very good news indeed.
There is no particular reason why the Republican guard should be significantly different from the Regular Army when it comes to calculating which way their interests fall. If the man they are loyal to is to be driven out of office does it make any sense to fight and die trying to protect him?
Colby Cosh kisses CFA
Colby Cosh gets the point of Canadian Friends of America.
"a site for Canadian Friends of America which contains news and resources for combating kneejerk anti-Americanism here at home. A capital idea!"
Still waiting on the new domain but it should be ready to set up this afternoon.
Off his meds?
No, this is what Svend Robinson sounds like most of the time:
""If this war proceeds it's an illegal war and it's an immoral war and it may very well be that many of us consider Bush a war criminal," Mr. Robinson said."link National Post
The meanest thing you can do to Svend is quote him directly.
I'm liking Svend for Anti-American of the day over at Canadian Friends of America
via Kathy at Relapsed Catholic
"Several dozen protesters stood across from the U.S. consulate in Toronto, singing and chanting. Police kept demonstrators on the other side of University Avenue, Toronto's widest boulevard, due to a three-metre construction barrier surrounding the building.
Protesters alternated between singing John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance and chanting anti-U.S. slogans, while others stood in a circle, praying for peace."link
God it would be annoying to have to listen to this motley crew singing a very old and very simplistic song.
But a few dozen is hardly going to stop the war. A handful in Vancouver. Nothing. You can get a handful of protesters in Vancouver if you change the granola mix at the Naam.
"Intelligence reports indicated Iraq's forces were in disarray following a strike aimed at killing President Saddam Hussein, U.S. officials said Thursday. There was no evidence that Saddam, or anyone else, was in overall command of Iraq's security or military operations, they said.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no definitive word whether Saddam was caught in the pre-dawn attack, nor were they certain whether he was alive or dead. " link
Hard to say whether or not Saddam was even there. But the process of taking out command and control seems to be going well early on. The faster Saddam is taken out of the loop the better.
At the front
While I find the BBC coverage of the war biased to the point of absurdity, the reporters warblog is interesting:
BBC war blog
Here is a sample:
Kuwaiti - Iraqi border :: Gavin Hewitt :: 2037GMT
We are paused here at the moment but within the last half hour off to our right there was a sound, like rolling thunder, it was missiles being launched into Iraq.
This salvo went on for at least twenty minutes, I counted at least 20 missiles being launched.
We have had no incoming or return fire from the Iraqi's
We did hear some Arabic voices coming through the night, cheering and shouting, some suggestion it might be Iraqis surrendering but we have not been allowed to go and see, we have to stay with the column.
It's very quiet here now - the only sound is of me talking. All lights are extinguished, it is dark. As I'm talking now I hear a fantastic rumble again, the attacks are starting again.
I can hear black hawk helicopters with no lights on are overhead heading into Iraq. The sounds of missiles are increasing.
A large number of helicopters are now heading overhead into Iraq.
The initial stages of the invasion of Iraq are taking place right now.
Quiet for a little while
For the moment things seem fairly quiet in the war zone. It will give me a chance to get some work done and to set up the main Canadian Friends of America site. The domain is reserved and I am just waiting for the confirmation material before uploading and getting to work with mailing lists and forums.
Right now it's time to earn a crust and write about Ming era Chinese erotica. (Which is about as titillating as week old rice cakes.)
Right, for the first shot: Herb Dhaliwal
"The world expects someone who is the president of a superpower to be a statesman," Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal told reporters, describing war with Iraq as premature.
"I think he has let not only Americans but the world down by not being a statesman as people expect of someone who is president of a superpower."
Dhaliwal's comments may boost tensions with a U.S. administration that is already disappointed with Canada's refusal to commit troops to an attack on Iraq. link
Mr. Dhaliwal has gone out of his way to make a personal and anti-American attack on Bush's handling of the Iraq crisis. This is not what we expect from a member of Canada's Cabinet. To paraphase M. Chirac, this would be a very good time to shut up."
So he gets to go up as the first poster boy for the anti-American gallery of shame at Canadian Friends of America
Non-existant missile shot down
A Scud missile, illegal under the terms of the cease fire and unfound by Blix and his Merry men has just been shot down over Kuwait. link yahoo news
But this must not be true...Uncle Cuddles and the boys told Hans that they had no missiles which would fly that far...
Law Profs dance on head of International pin
International law is one of those lovely legal concepts which works so long as their is force to back it up. 31 toothless law professors, learned men and women all, have cobbled together a letter which, inter alia as they say in the biz announces:
"Security Council members "have the legal right to ensure that force is not used unless all other avenues of peaceful resolution have been tried and failed," the professors say in their letter." link
So, as one blogger whose link I forget, pointed out "there is still time for the French to drop para-troopers in for the defence of Baghdad". She would be well within her rights to do so and we can all hardly wait.
The loopy lawyers also set us straight on what constitutes self defence
"The UN Charter forbids countries to wage war except in self-defence or when authorized by the UN Security Council to preserve or restore international peace.
Mr. Cotler says the United States cannot say it is acting in self-defence unless it is clear it is about to be attacked by Iraq.
"That armed attack has to be at least imminent. There has to be evidence of a clear and present danger of such an armed attack. And to the present time such evidence has not be adduced," Mr. Cotler said."
This is a happy concept in criminal law where the guy with the knife really does have to be in the same room screaming he is going to kill you before you have a self defence argument for shooting him between the eyes; but it makes no sense at all in an international arena where Saddam may provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists who pass them along to other terrorists who blow up Baltimore.
A better legal concept was more or less invented on the spot by Pierre Trudeau when he invoked the War Measures act on the basis of "an apprehended insurrection". Where there is an apprehension of potential mass murder the state has the right to protect itself - (international lawyers tend to have read their Hobbes and will understand that this is merely the extension of the Hobbesian rule that a man's right to self protection cannot be alienated.)
The evidentiary issue is not clear and present danger; rather it is appreciable danger of massive loss of life. If the state has evidence of such danger and cannot persuade the Security Council to act it has no choice but to act itself. This would be especially true if, as certainly was the case with the French veto, a veto wielding member of the Security Council is acting in bad faith.
"but the crucial matter was whether Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard would fight."
This is the tag line to a SkyNews story on the likelihood various formations of Iraq's regular Army will immediately surrender.
For twelve years every time we have heard of the Republican Guard it is prefaced with the word "elite". Is it? It's loyalty is understood to be greater than the Regular Army - who apparently surrender as soon as they are given half a chance - but doe that mean they will fight to the death or will wait an extra couple of days before tossing in the towel.
In the American and British formations, elite soldiers are the best of the best, not the loyalist of the loyal. Delta Force, the SAS, the Special Boast Service, Rangers and on through the rest of the West's highly trained, professional, all volunteer forces loyalty is presumed and exists. Loyalty to the nation rather than a tribe or chieftain.
In Iraq, the definition of elite is first a matter of loyalty and only then a question of competence. In Gulf War I we really did not see the fighting capacity of the Republican Guards. To a large degree they were the muscle which kept the poor conscript of the regular Army from retreating all the way to Baghdad. That is not elite soldiering, it is, at best, military policing and at worst street tough bullying.
I guess we'll see; but I wish the Western media would stop tagging the Republican Guard as elite - at least until they have earned that distinction in battle.
The Niceness Question
"Some might say it is no worse for Iraq or North Korea to have nuclear weapons than it is for Britain, France, the United States and several others to have them. It is. It may go against egalitarian principles to say so, but not all countries are as nice as each other. Sweden is nicer than Saudi Arabia, for example. And while I am certainly no fan of the Bush Administration, it is plain silly to say the US is just as bad as the regime in Iraq.
John Howard's politics are not my politics. The last time I voted Liberal was when I was 21, and that was only to defy my father. But a truth does not cease to be true just because John Howard says it. I can feel no confidence in George Bush. However, I do see reason to trust Tony Blair - because ever since coming to power he's been pushing at international conferences for more foreign aid, debt forgiveness and other ways of lifting poor countries out of poverty."
It sounds rather silly and it is far from coherent, but Pamela Bone makes sense. It is not the rightwing, no nonsense sort of sense, it is that intuitive, feminine, sharing and caring sort of sense which tends to exasperate me. But it brings her to the realistic position that Saddam must go. link
Last Post for a while
My sweetie, who is the astute political brain in the family, notes that the war has been launched without comment from either the Prime Minister or Our Lady Peace at External. Hmmmm.
"In a top-secret adjunct to an openly reported diplomatic initiative, U.S. and allied intelligence services summoned scores of Iraqi operatives in foreign capitals to present a stark choice. They were told "they could either 'turn,' " said one official, using an expression for switching sides, or be expelled back to Iraq "to enjoy your very short stay in Baghdad."
Another official with access to written accounts of the conversations said the Iraqis were told that when the United States sorts friends and enemies after toppling President Saddam Hussein, "they'll be putting themselves and their families at the mercy of the new Iraqi government." Washington Post
This to get information on WMD's. Good for the Americans!
Shoot for the Top
"If you're going to take a shot like this, you're going to take a shot at the top guy," said a government official with knowledge of the sequence of events. "It was a fairly singular strike."
Aboard Navy warships waiting in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, operations officers reprogrammed Tomahawk cruise missiles on the fly with digital target data transmitted from CIA headquarters at Langley. A squadron of stealthy F-117A strike fighters pulled pilots from their ready rooms and gave them new mission briefs. The aircraft and missiles each carried satellite-guided warheads. The bombs aboard the F-117s were 2,000-pound "bunker busters" designed to penetrate layers of stone and steel."
The CIA, according to the Washington Post were gunning for Saddam himself.
For the moment the most boring webcam on the Planet
This is the link to the AP video of the Baghdad skyline Baghdad Skyline.
At the moment nothing is going on. I rather suspect that will change. I take back what I said below...the 'net can take you right there.
The French are covering surrenders
THOUSANDS of Iraqi troops in southeastern Iraq could be on the point of surrendering to US forces, a US military source said in Kuwait today.
He said members of Iraq's 51st mechanised division and the 11th infantry "appear ready to capitulate."
Simon Crean, who the Australians are blessed with as the leader of the Left opposition had this to day tomorrow (ain't the net great);
"The decision to go to war is wrong, it's reckless and it's unnecessary," Mr Crean said.
"Australian troops can be brought home, even at this late stage."
Mr Crean said the federal Government acted illegally when it committed troops to Iraq.
But the troops themselves were not at risk of prosecution, he said.
"The government is acting illegally, our troops are not," he said.
He will look a prize fool if the war is won quickly, and little short of a traitor if it drags on. However the Aussis have lots of willing anti Crean folks lead by Tim Blair.
Reuters Free Video Feed
About as much of the action as you see on TV without annoying commercials or commentators
The real story
We are still a while away from the true promise of the Internet which will be to make it possible to have second by second accounts from the battlefields and the skies over Baghdad on the Net.
So now we have to rely on the reports of media organizations. Which is where the blogosphere is so useful. Why not put your favorite blog source in my comments section. I will harvest a few and put them up as links.
Quicker than we think
From Debka, large grain of salt advised.
"IST 06:25 Two Iraqi divisions in Basra area of southeastern Iraq in process of capitulating to advancing US-UK force. They are the forces charged with defending the oil fields of region."
And Saddam, or a reasonable video tape thereof, is due to address the Iraqi nation...shortly.
It would be very interesting politically if the Iraqi really didn't put up much of a fight. Let us hope.
"The first job of the Delta Force commandos will be to isolate Saddam from his military commanders. As soon as they arrive, they plan to hack into and shut down Iraq’s communications and power facilities using laptop computers. "
link Times online
Hard, fast and very smart men...And, if we were wondering what the early air raid was about I have to bet it was the diversion to let the Delta Force folks hit the ground.
First reactions to Canadian Friends of America
From Little Green Footballs:
Jay: Thanks for your efforts on this. I am an expatriate Canadian, and I am deeply ashamed of the spineless antics of the Cretien government.
There was a time when Canada stood for something. Those days, it seems, have passed.
The soldiers who gave thier lives for freedom in WW I, WW II, and Korea must be spinning in their graves.
A great way to start it up...
From our Norwegian instigator
I still have not had time to actually write Fredrik Norman a thank you note.
Here is his site.
I wonder if there will be a French or a German Friends of America site set up. Lets hope.
headline from the Ottawa Citizen
"Saddam's obstinacy signals start of war
Now the Iraqi president's only hope is a long shot: that protesters will force Bush to sue for peace"
Which protestors would those be...the people tying up traffic in LA link. for a little while, say a month, the protesters are going to look pretty damn foolish. This is now war and best over quickly.
(The rest of the article is excellent...headline writers have their way with even the best stuff.)
Robin Cook on the realstate of play in British politics - on Larry King of all places.
"I don't think his own standing and status is damaged," Mr Cook told CNN's Larry King.
"There's nobody who can credibly challenge him for leadership of the Labour party."
Note to our own Canadian PM: when are you leaving again??
Aussies do not much care for the French
"Federal parliamentary secretary Warren Entsch called the French international vultures, despite strong backing for Paris from China, Russia and Germany.
"When you start to compare (permanent security council members), America is the eagle, China is the tiger, Russia is the bear, and in my view France is the vulture," he said.
"It circles around and does nothing for itself, waiting for the opportunity to go and pick the benefits of other peoples' hard work." link news.com.au
The French are emerging as the biggest losers in the Iraq mess. I wonder where that leaves us in Canada...we have adopted their position unable to come up with one of our own....
The Germans still don't get it
"Our task now is to do everything we possibly can to avert a humanitarian disaster,? German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said at the meeting, which was boycotted by his British and US counterparts."link Arab News
Had Joschka thought just a little harder about Germany's stand on the enforcement of Resolution 1441 he might have realized that the alternative to a united front was the possibility of very humanitarian disaster he is trying to avert.
Canadian Friends of America Up - Domain coming
Right. So the Page is up and now I will start adding things like guest books, Mailing list sign up and a couple of buttons you can put on your own blog or site.
Just a few errors fixed...If you spot more let me know...
Canadian Friends of America WebPage
The War Against America
I am spending the afternoon setting up the Canadian Friends of America website and getting the various logo types and other materials ready for a quick launch.
However, via Little Green Footballs this excellent article by former Australian Cabinet Minister Andrew Thomsom.
"Behind the bitter diplomacy lies an unspeakable truth: A great many people who live in wealthy countries are hostile to the United States and secretly believe that America deserves to suffer these attacks. True, they believe this in the abstract. They don't believe Americans as individuals deserve to be murdered. But what they believe--in ferocious, mindless hostility towards "America"--results in the regular slaughter of ordinary people just like themselves and their families, who happen to be citizens of the United States. "
I will be adding it to the archives of the CFA site but read it here right now.
Canadian Friends of America
I built the basic web page for this very good idea - stolen from here.
Still a few bugs and I have to figure out how to finance another domain...Details.
Write me and tell me what you think of the page and the idea.
More attuned bloggers than I keep track of the strange antics of the New York Times but this sentence seems convoluted even for the Times,
"Two new polls today showed Britons supporting a war with Iraq, though those against military action still outnumbered those in favor."
I think they mean that support for war in Iraq is rising though is not yet a majority; but who knows?
It's not much but it might make sense for Canadians who disagree with the Liberals, Chretien and Our lady Peace at External to set up a Friends of America Site.
Just so that our American Friends know that there are more than a few Canadians who are ashamed of their government and supportive of the hard decisions President Bush, and Prime Ministers Blair and Howard have had the courage to make.
Email me if you're interested.
Maintiens le Droit
That is the Mounties motto: Maintain the Right.
It is not a motto which is about legalism or politics or lame excuses for inaction. It is a simple expression of a very basic idea that Canada has just abandoned as she hides behind the skirts of the United Nations Security Council's failure.
So,instead of making our contribution to riding the world of Saddam we are going to pretend that we support the United Nations by assisting it in doing nothing.
Of course no Canadian Cabinet Minister would think of resigning over this abdication of essential Canadian values. Nor will we hear an end of the criticism of our friends to the South and the English for actually going in and getting their hands dirty cleaning up the vile mess in Iraq.
Instead Chretien and Our Lady Peace will join in the chorus of two bit nations which lack the courage to stop a murderous tyrant who has made a mockery of the United Nations.
The CBC today was filled with the barely concealled glee of anti-warriors praising the Liberals for their principled stand. That stand would, were it not for the 45 nations willing to take on Saddam, leave a great tyrant in charge of the fates of millions of his own people. And armed with WMDs.
It is not the principle which has driven the Mounties, it is not the principle which has made Canada a beacon to other multi-cultural and multi-racial nations. It is craven, embarrassing and almost certain to ensure Canada will suffer "serious consequences" in the aftermath of the Iraq war.
Shame on the Liberals and the weasels of their Cabinet who lack the guts to resign and demand that we stand together with the rest of the Anglosphere.
The last revolt had, if memory serves, 129 votes from the Labour backbench. Tonight's vote saw 140 Labourites vote against the government. link
Given the predictions of 200 this is a victory for Blair. More to the point, it is a defeat for the knee jerk anti-Americans in the Labour Party.
"Times columnist Peter Riddell said: "Tony Blair has strengthened his authority as a national leader despite the record Commons revolt by Labour MPs... His personal position is not remotely in danger."
Now, on to war.
News from tomorrow - Denmark goes to war
"DENMARK is to send a submarine, a corvette and crack troops to participate in any war against Iraq, opposition leaders said after talks with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen." link
Wouldn't it be nice to substitute Canada for Denmark. We are, after all, America's biggest trading partner and, were, her closest friend.
And wouldn't it have been better if Chretien and our Lady Peace had managed to follow the logic of Prime Minister Rasmussen,
"The time has come to take a stance," Rasmussen said separately, in a statement released after US President George W Bush gave Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein until Thursday to leave the country or face war.
"The international community has demanded for 12 years that Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam Hussein has not cooperated (in this respect)," he said.
"It is unacceptable to make a mockery of the international community's authority," he said.
In Canada we are perfectly content to let anyone make whatever mockery they wish. Shame on us.
Blix: French for optimist
In answer to questions at a news conference, Blix said Iraq had the know-how to produce and deliver chemical weapons, although they had never utilized germ warfare.
"I think it is unlikely they will do that because I think world public opinion, which they study quite a lot, is in large measure feeling that going to war is too early, Blix said. "So there is a fair amount of skepticism about armed action."
"That skepticism would turn immediately around, if they used chemical weapons or biological weapons," he said. "My guess is they would not." link
How much do we think Saddam is going to care about world opinion or the terrifying prospect of the French intervening after two days of awe and fury, the desertion of most of his regular army and the dawning realization that there are no deals left.
If he's got'em, and he does, he is gonna use'em. Or at least try. The question is whether or not, as the end appears rather closer, his own people are going to risk American wraith by following orders.
Is it just Me?
I have been looking at the various media outlets for reports on the sizes of the demos which happened over the weekend. There seems to be very little in the way of reporting. I know there were demos, there were people coming back on the bus from the one in Vancouver when I was riding up from downtown. But where are the numbers....
Of course the fact is that the demos were way smaller than the ones a month ago. But I cannot find confirmation of that in the mainstream media. Not looking hard enough I suspect.
Clinton points the finger in the right direction
"I wish that Russia and France had supported Blair's resolution. Then, Hans Blix and his inspectors would have been given more time and support for their work. But that's not where we are. Blair is in a position not of his own making, because Iraq and other nations were unwilling to follow the logic of 1441." link
Writing in the Guardian, Bill Clinton puts the blame for the Iraq War exactly where it should lie: with Iraq, France and Russia. He leaves out Germany.
The antis are never going to accept the idea that a united Security Council would have made war less likely; but that is an intelligence test rather than a position.
Turkey In (?)
Debka Files reports that the deal has been done with Turkey.
"DEBKAfile’s Washington and Ankara sources reveal that after a series of vacillations ? some for show ? Turkey has jumped aboard the US Iraq War effort. Tuesday, a Turkish-American accord was signed extending full Turkish cooperation for the immediate opening of a northern warfront.
Large-scale American forces were granted permission to move through Turkey by land and air as well as using its territorial waters, for the offensive against Iraq. This places the United States in position for striking at Iraqi divisions from three directions, south, west and North. More details later. "
If nothing else this should shorten the war.
Lucky blair, He's still got Clare
You have to wonder at UK politics.
Robin Cook and a few middle weight ministers resign but Clare short stays on for the reconstruction.
What the French might call a second thought
"If the war starts and if (President) Saddam Hussein uses chemical or biological weapons, it would change completely the situation for the French president and for the French government, and President (Jacques) Chirac will have to decide what we will do to help the American troops to confront this new situation.
"But I confirm it would change completely the perception and the situation for us," said Jean-David Levitte, who told CNN he hoped that biological and chemical weapons would not be used."
If Saddam uses chemical or biological weapons one of the nations who will bear responsibility for ever letting things come to that is France. Had Chirac stood with the West in demanding that Saddam disarm - that is to say get rid of the chemical weapons he claimed not to have - there would have been the possibility of achieving disarmament without war.
France's loony position of endless inspections and no teeth has simply ensured that there is the possibility that chemical weapons will be used against Allied troops and Iraqi civilians.
(I wonder if our Lady Peace here in Canada will echo the Axis of Weasels.)
The Americans and British - as well as Australians, good on them - are hardly going to welcome the French after a gas attack which will have proven that the Allies were right and the French recklessly wrong.
Why War? A Labour MP writes in the Times
At a certain point, regardless of weapons of mass destruction, a regime must go. That point is reached when it becomes a threat to its own people. If those people cannot defend themselves against genocide, judicial murder and ethnic cleansing, then it is up to the rest of us to help.
The anti-war folks, including our own shameful Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs, bleat on about the United Nations. A second resolution. More time for inspections.
They ignore the United Nations record of sublime indifference to genocide: Rwanda, Kosovo, Cambodia, Uganda, and the long litany of lesser acts of states' terrorism against their own people. Standing aside and allowing, in the name of the sovereign right of nations to do as they want to their own people, the horrendous torture, murder and genocide which have become the norm in many of the third world tyrannies is the United Nations way.
The other way is to say this,
"Another witness told us about practices of the security services towards women: Women were suspended by their hair as their families watched; men were forced to watch as their wives were raped... women were suspended by their legs while they were menstruating until their periods were over, a procedure designed to cause humiliation.
is wrong and to back it up with whatever force is necessary.
Read Ann Clwyd's article in the Time of London and ask whether, on humanitarian grounds alone, the coming war is justified.
In a sense a tyrant is like a man who beats his wife and terrorizes his children. At some point it is no longer just a "family matter". At some point the neighbourhood, the community, steps in to protect people who are too weak to protect themselves.
Our Lady Peace Weighs in
"Mr. Graham said there are varied opinions on the legality of the war, but that Canada's decision is based on the view that, politically, an invasion requires clear UN authorization.
"This is not at this time a question for a debate amongst lawyers as to what the legal intent of 1441 is," Mr. Graham said. "It is for countries to make decisions as to what is appropriate under the circumstances to take a stand in respect of armed conflict."
Now that we have that straight we can see the Canadian position in all its tawdry splendor.
The Liberal Party having conducted its polling realizes that the Canadian people want the UN to run the war. The UN, being held hostage by the French, is incapable of doing this. So, in order to ensure that the will of the Canadian people is upheld, we will make the decision not to fight. Not now and not ever.
Welcome to the sidelines Mr. Graham.
for something Completely Different
I just added Diary of a Courtesan to my links. Evelyn is smart, sassy and easy on my eyes at least. I expect in the next few days and weeks that will be a welcome relief. Not that she is anything other than a hard core war blogger....
This is the sort of footage which the Colonels and majors of the Iraqi military need to see - quickly.
ac 130 gunship video
It is not at all pleasant.
What Chretien Should have said
""It was always my view that if everybody said the same thing to Iraq, that might just bring about a change of heart of political heart in Baghdad.
"That hasn't happened but, as far as the legality is concerned, military action to enforce existing resolutions, has adequate legal authority and is entirely consistent with international law, according to the advice we have received." link
Australia gets it.
From the Arab News
"Sometimes we find ourselves confused about how things are so mixed up. It is inconceivable to call ?black white? or ?white black? but such confusion these days is all too common. The reason is not the lack of color perception but rather a result of our being unnecessarily contentious and allowing our arrogance and desire for prestige to lead us into error. How otherwise could we confuse protecting a land which is one of the glories of Islamic civilization with protecting a war criminal and an enemy of mankind? How could we have allowed someone like Saddam Hussein to become a symbol for pan-Arabism and Arab dignity? We are talking of a man obsessed with waging war against his neighbors. The obsession was first seen in the war with Iran ? lasting for eight years, resulting in over 1.5 million people killed and hundreds of thousands taken prisoner and ending in Kuwait where a brutal Iraqi invasion unleashed a wave of murder, plunder and rape. It is tragic indeed that we have failed to make a distinction between Iraq the country and Saddam Hussein the ruler. If we honestly want to preserve Iraq as an entity and protect its people, we must admit Saddam’s crimes against his own people ? one of which involved killing them with chemical weapons. We must ask who else but Saddam violated the sovereignty and sanctity of neighbor and kinship? Who else but Saddam has brought the armies of the world into our region? Is there any hope for us to learn the obvious lesson?"
Ok, so Arabs get it....What's wrong with Chretien, Cook and Clare?
No surprise here - But have psychops worked
"In free Iraq there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms.
The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraq military to act with honor and protect your country, by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attack and destroyed.
I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services: If war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life. "
The ideal outcome is for the Iraqi people to rise up and take Saddam and his henchmen down before the Americans actually do it for them. Will they? And will the Iraqi military put down its weapons?
I doubt there will be a popular uprising - too many years of fear. But the military may simply stay home. At this point there is an unlimited amount of money to be distributed to the Colonels and Majors to take a couple of days off. If Saddam phones let the machine get it and there could be a million USD in your PayPal account. It is an offer which would be very hard to refuse. Especially if going in to work means almost certain death from above.
The hardmen around Saddam. Republican Guards and Special Republican Guards are more likely to fight - after all, they were running the torture chambers and rape rooms and would have to answer for it when Saddam is defeated. But even here there will be room for bribes and amnesties - ugly, but better than many of the alternatives.
It could all be very quick...Over before Clare short has a chance to make up her mind about her principles.
"The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me as commander of chief by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.
Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. "
This is the only authority that Bush needs. The UN's authority would be icing on the cake; but the Congress of the United States, for better or worse, is now the arbiter of the world's fortunes.
Word from the Arab Street - Baghdad
"People also besieged currency exchange dealers with the same goal, lugging in satchels of worn Iraqi dinars and leaving with small wads of $100 bills. Fears about a war sent the dinar sinking, from about 2,500 to the dollar to more than 2,700.
"It's much easier to keep your money in dollars," said a man who heaved a burlap sack stuffed with 4 million dinars into the Beneficial Exchange office. He left with 15 $100 bills, neatly folded and tucked into the front pocket of his pants.
In the future, he said, "dollars will be very useful." link
The Arab street, which grows very silent indeed when the prospect of actual war comes up, is nothing if not shrewd.
Our own shame
"If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate," Chretien told Parliament to storms of applause" link
What this means is that we are hiding behind the prefidity of the French and covering ourselves with the absence of a UN second resolution. I am sure the United States and the United Kingdom will be very grateful.
The worst moment of Chretien's premiership.
The inside scoop on Robin Cook
Cook's resignation, which was expected, will likely be made rather more of in the North American media than it is actually worth. This from The Independent
"Robin Cook is a brilliant parliamentary debater, but comes across dreadfully on television. He believes in an "ethical dimension" for foreign policy, but cheated repeatedly on his wife. His soft-left views are in tune with many Labour MPs, but he has few real friends on the back benches."
I suspect Blair is sad to see him go - but not heartbroken. Now if Clare Short would just have the courage of her wobbly convictions...
This just in via ICQ from my sweetie:
"Sadam will high tail it tonight and the Americans will go in and take over with out firing a single shot"
I sure hope so....
Robin Cook's Real Beef
"War is only now contemplated "because Iraq's forces are so weak," Mr Cook continued, saying that "Iraq probably had no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly-used sense of the term" - a device that could be exploded in a western city.
Mr Cook also asked why Britain and America were so impatient with Iraq when it "is over 30 years since the UN called on Israel to quit the occupied territories".
He attacked George Bush's administration for greeting evidence of disarmament with "consternation", because it undermines the case for war. In reference to Mr Bush's controversial election victory, Mr Cook claimed that Britain was only now going to war "because of some hanging chads in Florida". link
Mr. Cook is not so much against the war as against the Americans, particularly the Bush Americans. Which makes sense given his Old Europe accomplishments. The question will be whether the war is won quickly - in which case Cook looks like a dork - or if it a slog in which case Cook looks like a contender.
Except, of course, where French interests Lie
The sheer effrontery of the French never ceases to amaze me.
"True to its convictions, France reaffirms that in any case, the United Nations, the only bearer of international legitimacy, must play a central role in the settlement of the Iraqi crisis," he said. link
Oh please. This is the nation which has said, flatly, that it would veto any
second resolution which called for force at any point.
When the United Nations recovers, if it recovers, from the blows French shortsightedness have been raining down on it, a very good idea would be to vote France off the Security Council and replace her with, say, India. (Second largest Muslim nation in the world.)
After Saddam warmly shook his hand, the American said: ?It’s been a long time since I last saw you, but you seem to be in great shape. You are a great soldier and I looking forward to facing you on the battlefield.?
?When do you intend to attack and try to kill me?? Saddam asked.
?Basically, after the March 19 deadline passes,? came the reply.
?You managed to get me to destroy my missiles,? the Iraqi leader said, pausing for effect. ?Is the 19th the date of the attack or just the day when you want me to leave Iraq? After all, that’s what you came for.?
The US colonel answered: ?According to our orders, that’s the date when we are supposed to head out and get you. And we’ve already been told, ‘Don’t come back with him left in place.’?
Saddam was not pleased. ?You are the sons of Satan. Go to hell. I’m not afraid of you.?
?We may not even wait until the 19th now,? the colonel shot back.
?Well then,? Saddam said. ?What’s the offer and where do you want me to go??
?Egypt, Sudan, Syria ? there’s a long list of offers. Even Iran made an offer.?
A defiant Saddam answered in English: ?I will die before I surrender.?
Tempers flared as the colonel told the Iraqi leader: ?If you don’t leave, we will target you.?
A fuming Saddam began talking gibberish, before finally calming down and whispering something to the interpreter, who said: ?The president believes he is going to send you back to your leaders in a box as a message.?
The American officer was unfazed.
?In that case, the war would start today,? he replied. ?We know where you are every day.?
?I have no fear of death,? Saddam said.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources, the conversation then turned to the underground bunkers where Saddam and his family planned to seek shelter from US bombs.
?How long do you think you can hold out there? Maybe four to six weeks, tops,? the colonel said.
?Don’t worry, when I have to get out, I will,? Saddam said.
?We all know that if you leave your shelter after the war begins, the people on the street and Iraqi troops will tear you to shreds,? the officer said.
Saddam replied with a dismissive wave of the hand. "
With the usual grain of salt or two...But it would be delightful if true...
Two days, tops, to Kaboom.