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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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3/29/2003

Outbreak?



"Hong Kong health officials said tonight that 78 people had fallen sick with a mysterious respiratory illness in a single apartment complex over the last three days, and warned that the disease might be more easily transmitted than previously believed.

The new warning came as the World Health Organization announced in Geneva that the doctor who first identified the fast-spreading disease has himself died of it. The doctor, Carlo Urbani, 46, identified the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, in an American businessman admitted to hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam, where Mr. Urbani was based." >link new york times


Yes, war is serious. But the SARS epidemic is potentially far worse. For the moment the infection seems to be moving very quickly, infecting hundreds and killing dozens. To a degree SARS seems to kill opportunistically - the old and the frail; but there is no reason to believe that will continue.

It is encouraging that the Ontario Government has treated the disease so seriously. Quarantine is radical but it has the possibility of stopping the disease from spreading. But the entire epidemic bears watching.

Good bye Herb



"For the good of Canada, Dhaliwal should resign his portfolio.

The Canadian government has a credible case for withholding support for the invasion, but does not have a credible case for the gratuitous personal comments that have been made by various members of the government, from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's former chief spokesperson to various, admittedly inconsequential, Liberal MPs, who might lose their positions as Liberal candidates in the next federal election. Most recently, Dhaliwal's comments were the most serious because he is a member of the cabinet." >link toronto star

David Crane goes on:

"But Dhaliwal's comments, as the federal minister responsible for energy policy, are the most serious because he can no longer effectively represent Canada in mutually critical energy negotiations with the United States.

At the same time, he no longer has credibility in Alberta, the centre of Canada's oil and gas industry, where the Ralph Klein government has been forced to take its own position in support of the American-led war against Iraq."


If this column was in the Globe and Mail of the National Post I wouldn't even mention it. But the Toronto Star is the largest circulation paper in Canada, rabidly anti-American and well wired in the Liberal Party. When one of its columnist looks for a Liberal cabinet member's resignation there is every chance it is a trial balloon being floated from one or another wing of the Governing party.

Herb falling on his sword seems unlikely as he is making the rounds giving interviews in which he is trying to say calling the American president unstatesmanlike was not actually anti-American...good luck. But giving Herb a gentle shove as a means of appeasing the really irritated Americans and the growing majority of Canadians who are appalled at the government's utter lack of intelligence or principle in dealing with the Iraq war, might be a live option.

On Rallies



Rallies are a good way of letting people come together to make their views known; but they tend not to be taken too seriously politically.

The anti-war organizers understand that the greatest impact is made by numbers so they cobble together Handicapped Rights Organizations with Lesbian Vegans for Costa Rica with kindergarten Teachers against Burma and then leaven the loonies with a good, hard core group of trade union activists. For peace demos they can usually count on a few crazed clergymen and a substantial turnout of child crusaders who have heard that War is a bummer.

The pro-American side have a rather harder row to hoe. They do not have the radical rent-a-crowds nor are business associations likely to get out and march. For many of the organizers the pro-American rally will be the first they have ever created. Nothing wrong with that, but the activist coalitions on the left have been organizing since Amchitka (point to anyone who remembers what that was a demo against.)

Part of the asymmetry is that the anti-war/anti-American demonstrators are sufficiently marginalized that the streets are their only forum. Whereas the pro-war activists are already integrated into the social and political structure of our society - they don't own the streets because they have never had the slightest difficulty having their voices heard.

Each pro-American rally in Canada is heartfelt and an important proof of the beginning of resistance to the Chretien government's cowardly and shortsighted refusal to support our American and British Allies. That resistance, however, will triumph when it leaves the streets for its natural habitat in the corridors of power. And that is happening too.



Red Deer Rally



"It was a larger crowd in the central Alberta city of Red Deer where more than 600 people rallied outside City Hall.

The demonstators also carried American flags and placards with slogans such as Peace Is For Pussies and We Love Our American Cousins.

The crowd sang the U.S. national anthem before listening to speeches criticizing Chretien and his Liberal government for staying out of the war.

"We support their (U.S.) righteous cause to bring freedom to the people of Iraq," rally organizer Don Munro told the cheering crowd.

"Since our government in Ottawa will not support our American friends, we, the free people of Canada, will show our support to our American friends." link canada.com


Getting 600 people out in Red Deer is also quite an accomplishment. Red Dear has a population of around 70,000 whereas Ottawa/Hull is Just over a million. Good for the organizers!

Rally in Ottawa


On short notice to get 4000 - 6000 people out on a rainy, cold day in Ottawa is quite an accompishment. To do it in a pro-American cause in a civil service town is amazing.
link globe and mail


So that's what they were thinking



"Now (here I go, commenting when I promised myself I wouldn't), that's not to say that, one, I do not regard Saddam Hussein as a monster; two, I do not think war is ever an appropriate course; or, three, I do not think George W. Bush could be right. On the contrary. In my first book, Unholy Alliances, I wrote at some considerable length about how nations like Iraq, Iran and Libya posed a significant threat to the West, and how they were intent upon bringing jihad to our doorsteps. And the second World War, to cite just a single example, was a just and overdue response to the murderous, expansionist ideology of National Socialism. And, finally, George Bush was, in one sense, correct - the United Nations was diminishing itself the longer it permitted Iraq to defy the world's demands for disarmament.

So the rationale for military action, to me, was the right one. But, as Prime Minister Chrétien pointed out repeatedly, the Bush administration had yet to make out a convincing case for military action at this time. What was the rush, with Afghanistan unfinished, and North Korea (an outlaw nation that actually boasted it possessed weapons of mass destruction, and hoped to make use them) unresolved? Why wage war now, when the chosen remedy would prove far worse than the disease, for all concerned? Why not take a few more weeks, to build a proper allied force?" link warren kinsella

Kinsella is one of the smartest Liberals writing at the moment and knows how the spin works. This is taken from his blog of March 24. The idea of delay was very appealing a week ago and, in hindsight, may be even more appealing now. What Kinsella does not answer is why, once the decision had been taken, the Canadian government felt it should step back from supporting our allies.

Back at the beginning of World War II, if I recall correctly, the Canadian government waited several days before declaring war on Germany. This was symbolic. To prove that while we supported England we were independent. Perhaps sufficient time has elapsed for the current Canadian government to conclude its independence of American and British foreign policy is well and truly established and to send in our snipers....

3/28/2003

A human Shield recants



Via Andrew Sullivan:

"But what of their feelings towards the United States and Britain? Those feelings are clearly mixed. They have no love for the British or the Americans but they trust them.

`We are not afraid of the American bombing. They will bomb carefully and not purposely target the people. What we are afraid of is Saddam Hussein and what he and the Baath Party will do when the war begins. But even then we want the war. It is the only way to escape our hell. Please tell them to hurry. We have been through war so many times,but this time it will give us hope`."link assyrianchristians.com

If there has ever been any doubt about the barbarism of Saddam or the sheer fear Iraq is in the grip of this Assyrian Christian Minister's article should dispell it.




Colby Explains it all



I'll just steal the whole post...

"A lot of Canadians right now are asking hey, is Canada at war with Iraq or not? Hey, what part of "Yesno" don't you people understand? It's very simple: Canada is not supporting the invasion of Iraq, it's merely sending troops and ships to act in logistical support of the invasion of Iraq. We're participating in the war effort without cooperating in it, or vice versa, if you prefer, but definitely not both. If these are distinctions you don't understand, then maybe you're just not very Canadian." link colby cosh

But what is even better is that for political reasons and because Chretien and Our Lady Peace have no idea what the @#$#%# they are doing, we are not getting any credit for the contribution. In fact, we are lumped in with the Axis of Weasels.

All it would have taken is for Chretien to have stood up in the Commons and said we are dispatching our snipers and "redeploying" our naval vessels in support of our Allies." Instant hero, friend of America, able to exercise influence to bring the UN into the reconstruction.

Now Canada has no influence, is just above diplomatic enemy on the White House list and we can't even articulate the "principle" we might be defending. What a country.

Viewer Mail



Along with the amazing among of supportive email for the Canadian Friends of America website, there is a trickle of rather rabid, poorly spelt drive by ranting which is amusing and shows the sheer bankruptcy of some of the opposition to the war.

The really obscene get my one line "Sit on a tack"

But I like spending a moment with the merely incoherent. For example, Ms. Jennifer Hasenknopf writes in reponse to an earlier letter of mine:

"Jay

YOu are a terror lover then...Congrats to you....This is not a war against Iraq,,this is terrorism...At least Canada is not hypocritical like your beloved USA is...

I'm sure you are really an American pretending to be Canadian with this stupid website, trying to gain more sympathy about 9/11....

If you support this war, then you love violations of International Laws..as well as terrorism..nothing more nothing less...and NO i dont support Saddam Hussein..but it is NOT up to the greedy, lying British and American governments to get him OUT. Iraqi people DO NOT WANT WESTERNERS in their countries taking over...."

Her spleen runs out here.

I replied,


Born in Toronto.

Acting in support of UN Resolution 1441 can hardly be called terrorism.

Which International laws are you referring to....try to be specific.

The effect of your position is, as you well know, to support Saddam with his rape rooms, people shredders and the horrors outlined in this 1999 Amnesty Report http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engMDE140082001?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES%5CIRAQ?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES%5CIRAQ Read and learn.

I do agree with you that it should not be up to the British, American and Australians to get Saddam out. Had the Security Council of the United Nations acted in support of its own Resolutions this would be a United Nations directed war. Largely due to the French the Council did not act. Thus it fell to a coalition of the willing.

I shan't bother asking how you have divined the will of the Iraqi People; but it is not obvious that they a) do not want Western help in removing Saddam, b) will pay for that help with the forfeiture of their country. Nor do you provide any sources to back up your rather odd assertions.

You can do better,

Cheers,


Jay

The left is spitting mad about Iraq. They are not sure quite why, but they are sure that the war "is not a good thing". They are also certain that it is "illegal". Based on what I am not sure.

Most of all they are furious that they can only castigate Bush by putting themselves into the invidious position of accepting Saddam. That would make me furious too if I felt the sudden urge to castigate Bush.

My sense with Ms Hasenknopf is that she will either calm down a bit and realize just how silly her position is or her head will explode unable to withstand the logical pressure of supporting a murderous thug in the name of Peace.


3/27/2003

Jamais, jamais, jamais



France's attempt to repair relations with America and Britain over Iraq backfired yesterday when Dominique de Villepin, their foreign minister, refused to say which side he supported.

During a speech in London, M de Villepin said he hoped for "a swift conclusion with the minimum possible number of casualties".

But asked by The Telegraph whether he hoped American and British forces would win the military campaign to remove Saddam Hussein, he replied angrily: "I'm not going to answer. You have not been listening carefully to what I said before. You already have the answer." link daily telegraph via >i should be doing my homework

M de Villepin has said and done some loony things before now but this takes the prize. It appears that the French foreign policy consists of hoping that Saddam will manage a quagmire into which the Anglo-Americans will stumble and out of which the gallant French with full UN backing will rescue the chastened superpower.

In his dreams. Whether it takes another couple of weeks or a couple of years, the Anglo-Americans will turf Saddam and hold the cards in Iraq. Long after M de Villepin has been laughed out of office the allies will still never again remotely trust the French.

So what to make of this?

M de Villepin insisted: "The UN must be at the heart of the reconstruction and administration of Iraq. The legitimacy of our action depends on it."

Well, unintentionally de Villepin has managed to get something right: the legitimacy of the French refusal to support the United Nations, its threat of veto over any action to enforce 1441, hinges on putting the UN at the heart of the reconstruction of Iraq...Which ain't going to happen.

A dishonest Government

Pandering to the peaceniks and pretending our refusal to join the war in Iraq is a matter of our identity as a soverign nation is stupid enough, but as the Ottawa Citizen points out in this editorial


"The most frustrating aspect of Canada's Iraq policy is its dishonesty. Despite the government's public statements opposing the war, Canada is actually providing more support to the U.S.-led coalition than most of the nations publicly backing the war. We have warships in the Persian Gulf. U.S. military planes use Newfoundland as a refuelling stop en route to the Middle East. More than 30 Canadian military personnel are serving as exchange officers with units involved in the war.

But far more important to the U.S. than our military support would have been our political support. So in one swoop the Liberals have lost credibility with the United States, which feels betrayed, and lost credibility domestically as word spreads that, despite their anti-war rhetoric, they are discreetly helping with the war effort."

This is asinine - we publically blow our relationship with America and privately help them out. Only the Liberals could manage to put us into this fix.


Real War

"The enemy that we're fighting is different from the one we'd war gamed," U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace told Washington Post correspondent Rick Atkinson. Wallace is commander of the Army V Corps, which was tested by an Iraqi ground probe overnight. "We knew they were there-the paramilitaries-but we didn't know they'd fight like this," he said. Asked if this signaled a longer war than projected, he replied, "It's beginning to look that way." link washington post

It would be rather surprising if the Iraqis fought the way the war games went. At this point, for several thousand of what Rumsfeld has described as the "deadenders" the fight is for survival and then, a viable exit strategy. If you have been running a Baathist torture facility there is only a bullet for you from a new regime. So you fight hard and dirty. As there is no one at the top telling you not to fight dirty you have no restraints at all.

On the Anglo-American side the worry about collateral damage - aka civilian deaths - as well as the falacious notion that mosques and other religious buildings should not be targets even if they house snipers and the like - means our guys fight extra clean. Which will prolong the war and rasie the butcher's bill.

It is a tragedy which has been directly caused by the utter failure of the Security Council to be tough and united when there was still a chance this might have been avoided. When Iraq is taken a serious look should be taken at stripping the French of their veto. Chirac played poltics and now whould reap the whirlwind.


From a Canadian Diplomat

"Dear President Bush:

"I wish to express my strong support for the courage and leadership you have shown in launching the military effort in Iraq as part of your ongoing efforts to eradicate terrorism and make the world a safer place. My thoughts are with you, your colleagues and all those personnel from the allied forces who have made and will continue to make sacrifices so that we can live in peace.

"I am also deeply disappointed and distressed at the position adopted by my Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, in refusing to support our most trusted ally and friend. This position is inconsistent with the long standing, important relationship that exists between our two countries. Please know that many Canadians do not support the current position of the Canadian government.

"While I appreciate that Prime Minister Chretien's policy will no doubt affect the relationship, I hope and trust that, in due course, fences can be mended upon new leaders assuming the governance of our country. We hope that new political leaders will soon be elected who understand and appreciate the importance of supporting friends and allies; and moreover, maintaining a foreign policy that is consistent with long held positions, and that supports the fundamental values that we share with our American friends.

"Yours sincerely,
"Mark S. Anshan"

via link david frum

Cellucci's message

"Despite Liberal government assurances that the Bush administration had accepted the Canadian decision gracefully, U.S. officials say Mr. Bush and his advisers are furious, not only with the decision to stay out of the battle but also with what they say is the anti-American rhetoric that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has tolerated.

Sources said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice consulted Mr. Cellucci about the message he was to deliver at a speech on Tuesday in Toronto.

"This came right from the top," one U.S. official said. "link globe and mail

Not that there was the slightest doubt. Ambassadors don't just wing it.

What the Liberals are finding out and will find out in the days to come is that the Americans are mightily displeased with our utter lack of policy or principle. The cheap shots coming from Ottawa aimed at a nation whose kids are being killed by Saddam's thugs are well past the normal give and take of a relationship entre amis.

I suspect that the erosion of the anti-American position has begun. The rallies in Vancouver and a week from tomorrow in Toronto may trigger more erosion. But the real trigger will be the continuing despicable behaviour of Saddam's paramilitary thugs. Involuntary human sheilds, soldiers forced to fight as Baathist thugs threaten their families, kids sent out to meet marines with old rifles and the shooting and raping of UK and US POWs will, eventually, sicken Canadians. And they will begin to ask why we are not there helping.

At that point Chretien will no longer have the cover of Chirac's long skirts. The calls for his immediate resignation will grow. Regime change may be accomplished.

And it is time for Paul Martin to show what he is made of....

For those who want more inspections

"Chief weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix says the coalition forces are at an advantage compared to weapons inspectors in Iraq:

"The Americans have one advantage over UNMOVIC, in discovering things and that is as they go around the country and more areas are under their control it seems likely that people scientists engineers military will be more ready to speak to the Americans, than they were to us because when we were there they still had the formidable police apparatus that would scare them from saying the truth, if the truth was any different from what the government said."
link radio australia


If Blix had said just this at the early Security Council meetings it is just possible that what we are seeing now would have been unnecessary.

What the UN brought on itself

This is the first of many consequences of the United Nations failure to enforce its own resolutions.

"The United States would oppose any United Nations effort to lay out a road map for postwar Iraq that would remove decision-making and control from the coalition forces, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says. "

After all, why should the US allow an entity in which the French have a veto to become involved in any reconstruction of Iraq.

3/26/2003

Pathetic

Apparently, things ar pretty cheery out on the Arab Street. Hani Shukrallah writing in tomorrows Guardian


"Perhaps the most enthusiastically greeted piece of news has been the shooting down of an American attack helicopter south of Baghdad. "Did you see the old man who downed the Apache helicopter?" I've been continually asked, the rhetorical question uttered always in tones of glowing pride. Very few, if any, are under any illusion that Iraq could win the war, though many will dutifully mumble "may God grant us victory", as they discuss the latest reports of Iraqi resistance. All are outraged and grief-stricken at the death and destruction being wreaked on the Iraqi people, and most people realise that much more lies ahead. Yet none can help but feel a certain pride, a sense of dignity restored. We are not, after all, mice. "

In a war where the ratio of Iraqi combat deaths to alliance combat deaths is looking like 100:1 and where the iraqi regular army has to be persuaded to fight through intimidation by the Saddam militias, this sort of street talk is the murmer of desperation.

Shukrallah gets the past decades of bitter Arab defeat down pat; what he does not understand is that the reasons for these defeats lie precisely in the sorts of conversations he is writing about. if the Arab world is ever to cease to be merely the chatter in the street it has to be prepared to deal with thugs like Saddam and Arafat itself rather than waiting for the Marines and then pretending Iraqis are scoring victories.



Gotlieb nails it

Allan Gotlieb nails the tawdry performance of the Liberals in this article in the Post.


He delightfully exposes the Chretien doctorine:

"We justify this inaction by "the Chrétien Doctrine -- no UN sanction, no Canadian involvement." But the Chrétien Doctrine is based on the flimsiest of foundations. Sometimes the Chrétien government agrees to go to war without UN blessing, as we did in Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing."

Well worth reading.

More Friends of America

Christie Blantchford mentions a great sounding outfit in Toronto called "Friends of America" in her column in the National Post this morning - they are just getting up and running link national post

What goes flip, flop, flip

Yes, Our Lady Peace is at it again. Just when you think you have finally figured out what Canada's official policy on the war in Iraq is, Graham and Chretien throw a bit more dust in your eyes. It is one of those rare instances where the government's total lack of principle is exposed for the nation to see.

"Prime Minister Jean Chrétien disavowed Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham's remarks on Monday that Canada wants to see regime change in Baghdad.

"The question of changing of regime is not a policy that is acceptable under the United Nations charter," Mr. Chrétien said."link globe and mail






3/25/2003

Yeah, right

Some French are concerned that a U.S.-led administration in Iraq will favor companies from the United States and other pro-war countries while penalizing companies from France and other war opponents.link seattle post intelligencer

Ya think? I don't know, I mean the fact the French seemed to be stuck on the word, what was it again, oh yes...VETO!

Or would it be the 75 billion dollar hit the Americans are taking to pay for the War...

"Munier criticized French companies for negotiating with American companies for a piece of their businesses in Iraq, saying that such "collaboration" would damage the image of French business among Iraqis."

M. Munier, who, when not smoking really high grade kif, is the head of an outfit called French-Iraq Association for Economic Cooperation, takes the heralded French arrogance to new levels. Imagine a Frenchman accusing anybody of collaboration. No sense of history, or irony, at all some of them.


Majority of Canadians back US

Hello....this is a Liberal poll being reported in the National Post (link

"The fact is that Canadians expected that we would be standing beside the Americans. The majority of Canadians were willing to accept that to happen," Mr. Marzolini told the National Post. "We had a small majority [who say] that it was acceptable to go in."

Something apparently lost on Our Lady Peace. But my sense is that Our Lady has slipped a little something into her coffee judging from this quote:

"I don't believe we have abandoned our ally, the United States. We have stood side by side with them, urging them to take a path different from our own," Mr. Graham said.

What could she have possibly have meant? there we are standing beside them one minute and telling them to take a different route the next. Were we urging them to invade Iraq while we took the path to Belgium through Germany and France?

Normally Our Lady puts me through mental contortions trying to figure out which side she is on that particular quarter of an hour. This is the first time I have felt physically rent asunder.

Keep those calls and letter going

Never thought I would be rooting for Don Cherry but it's outrageous that the busies at the CBC are jumping on him for saying what a lot of Canadian feel about the crazy refusal of the Canadian government to support our allies.

Here, via Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic
is the Globe and Mail article


The part that is galling is the CBC reporting 60% of the calls and emails were anti-Grapes. Well of course they were - all the people who agreed with him did not feel they had to rush to his defence. So lets turn those numbers around. Email the cbc.

sportsonline@cbc.ca

and send a copy to ombudsman@cbc.ca

Our Prime Minister

"I don't want Saddam Hussein to win," Chretien said after his weekly cabinet meeting. "We always said that Saddam Hussein was doing a lot of things that we were not in agreement with. "We oppose this intervention but now that it is on, we hope that it will be short with a minimum of victims." Before the U.S.-led attack began last week, Chretien consistently opposed the concept of forcing regime change in Iraq, saying UN Security Council Resolution 1441 only addressed disarmament. "

Well I am reassured now. Canada is not actually on Saddam's side. Excellent. A real bit of support for our English,Australian and American friends.

Of course when you have advice from a Minister of External Affairs with the wisdom of Our Lady Peace:

"On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said his government is "supportive of the United States' desire to get rid of Saddam Hussein."

Graham said Tuesday that Canada has never favoured regime change without UN authorization.

"Our position has always been strongly that of staying within the multilateral system, which we worked so hard on," he said. "

you can never be sure what exactly you support. Who knows, when the boffins at External spin the wheel of fortune Jean might have to say that he does so support Saddam. Oh God.




US Ambassador gets the disconnect in Canadian Politics

"He said recent displays of anti-Americanism had not helped the Canada-U.S. relationship. The labelling of Americans as "bastards" by Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, the booing of the U.S. national anthem at a hockey game in Montreal, and the suggestion by Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal that U.S. President George W. Bush is a failed statesman have all received much press south of the border.

"When (Alberta Premier Ralph) Klein issues strong support for the United States, the Canadian government comes down hard on him. When Mr. Dhaliwal makes totally inappropriate remarks about the President of the United States, they kind of ignore it," Mr. Celluci said. link the golobe and mail

All pretty obvious unless, apparently, you live in Ottawa.


Consequences

For non-supporters of the Anglo-American Alliance in Iraq there will be consequences. Here's why (via Instapundit

"Besides rewarding the British, we could also fight our free rider problem by punishing our ungrateful allies. Some have tried punishing France by renaming French fries, but nomenclaturic assaults are unlikely to cause the French lasting harm. If we really want to provide incentives for allies not to forsake us in future conflicts, we should take more drastic actions and perhaps follow Nick Denton's suggestions to free Africa of France's influence. Congress could also assist U.S. consumers who wish to punish France by requiring her to prominently label all her exports to America. "link tech central

3/24/2003

Putting the boot into Chirac

Tom Utley writing in today's Telegraph:

At first sight, Mr Chirac's reaction to the war in Iraq seems to fit into the glorious, defiant, independent, bloody-minded French tradition established by de Gaulle. But there is this enormous difference: during and immediately after the Second World War, de Gaulle had a feeble hand of cards, which he played with consummate skill. In the space of a few years, he restored France from its place below the salt, as a defeated and occupied country dependent for its liberation on British and American military power, to its old seat at the top table of world affairs.

Mr Chirac has achieved almost precisely the opposite. Before he weighed into the Iraqi crisis, with his threat to veto any new UN resolution that countenanced war, France was a great power whose standpoint really mattered. No longer. Mr Chirac has waived his country's claim to be taken seriously in the reshaping of the world after the attack on the World Trade Centre. He has done his country a grave disservice."

Chirac could not be further out of the loop. About the last person anyone is going to consult about international issues is Mr. Non. Not because of the veto; rather because France cynically, and for no reason other than her self-importance, refused to even negotiate. Which means that sensible, now wiser people, will avoid direct discussions with France or deciding anything in an environment where France has any power at all.


Islamic POW policy

An interesting article in light of the Iraqi foreign ministers statement earlier today that prisoners would be treated according to the laws of Islam first and only then the Geneva convention:

"The article under reference is titled "A Guide to the Perplexed Regarding the Permissibility of Killing Prisoners," which appeared in the column "Jihad News from the Land of the Caucasus". In this the author suggests that the Islamic religious scholars present five different alternatives, drawn from the various interpretations of the Koran:

1) A polytheist prisoner must be killed. No amnesty may be granted to him, nor can he be ransomed.
2) All infidel polytheists and the People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians) are to be killed. They may not be granted amnesty, nor can they be ransomed.
3) Amnesty and ransom are the only two ways to deal with prisoners.
4) Amnesty and ransom are possible only after the killing of a large number of prisoners.
5) The Imam, or someone acting on his behalf, can choose between killing, amnesty, ransom or enslaving the prisoner.

The above two are diagonally opposite views of Islam about the treatment of prisoners.

How is one to arrive at a rational opinion regarding what Islam really says on this issue?"

The author Vinod Kumar takes a whack at it:

"Beside this the Muslim conquest of India is full of Hindu prisoners being made slaves and sold in the markets of Ghazni and beyond, forced to convert to Islam at the point of sword and killed for refusing to do so. Timur Lang's killing of 100,000 Hindu prisoners in one day is unparalleled in history.

Yes, there were times when the Prophet spared the lives of the prisoners but generally it was on one of the two conditions - either they converted to Islam or accepted the status of dhimmies and paid the jiziya. Muslim conquerors of India have followed this practice also.

In its posting, www.memri.org summarizes the article saying the author prefers the position that "the Prophet Muhammad had dealt with the prisoners in different ways to maximize the benefits to Muslims."

The position that "the Koran offers only two alternatives regarding the captives - free dismissal or ransoming - without referring to enslavement" does not have much basis. The underlying message that one gathers is whatever is good for the Muslims and serves the interests of Islam is valid." [link via Ghost of a Flea


The point being that the foreign minister, professing his love of Islam is effectively giving Iraq carte blanche to do with its prisoners what ever will serve the cause of Islam. And that is not at all good.


Lieberman is not going to be invited to Paris

"The United States shouldn't feel obligated to allow U.N. forces to play a role in stabilizing a postwar Iraq, presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said in Tucson yesterday.
"The U.N. truly lost its will in refusing to implement or enforce the resolution that it adopted," Lieberman said, referring to the measure that required Iraq to disarm weapons of mass destruction.
"They can help us achieve what we want and share the costs, but I wouldn't feel obligated to bring them in."[ link tucson citizen] via Instapundit

Along with the Axis of Weasels and Canada the United Nations is going to take a huge hit when the war is over. After all, how can anyone actually believe what the UN, in conclave assembled, says?


It's mean...no really it is

Via Kathy Sahidle at Relapsed Catholic


No really too mean....Epate this Jacques

Moral Chasm

"EVENTS of the past 48 hours have reinforced the moral chasm separating the two parties to the conflict in the Gulf.

Those events include the pictures flashed around the world of US, and Iraqi, prisoners of war. A stunning image on the front of The Weekend Australian on Saturday showed two US Marines giving an exhausted Iraqi soldier a drink after capturing him near the Kuwait border. A day later, however, came much more disturbing images of PoWs. Five US soldiers were seen being interrogated on Iraqi television; one of them, seriously wounded, was mistreated by his interrogators, being dragged into a sitting position to answer questions. But worse was to come, with images of dead US soldiers, some of them appearing to have been executed, being dragged across the floor, shown with their trousers down, and otherwise mistreated by grinning Iraqi officials.

The contrast between these images, and the utterly different treatment of PoWs that they reveal, should serve as a corrective to any drift towards moral relativism regarding the allies in this war, and the regime that they are fighting to disarm. In another incident, US Central Command revealed that Iraqi troops dressed in civilian clothes appeared to welcome US troops, but then ambushed them. And journalists with army units in southern Iraq reported seeing Iraqi troops gathering civilians for possible use as human shields." [link The Australian]

This from Tim Blair

If fighting within a set of rules is naive, then I want to be on the side which is the most naive. One of the biggest difficulties which will face the allies at the end of the war is the fact there are several tens of thousands of Iraqis who operated Saddam's security apparatus with its plastic shredders and rape rooms. With luck most will die on the battle field; but there will be plenty of these state sanctioned criminals who will have to be contained, tried and imprisoned for there to be any chance for a civil Iraqi society.

Once Iraq is done or, another suggestion

"The Zwakwana human rights monitoring group said Harare emergency wards have treated at least 250 people since Thursday for broken bones, bruising and sexual assault.

Zwakwana said people were beaten with wire whips, iron bars, electrical cords and rifle butts by ruling party militias, uniformed soldiers and police reservists.

Witnesses said they saw police and ruling party youth militias taking part in assaults. Staff members at one private clinic said its emergency services treated 200 people.

The police had no comment on allegations they had a role in the attacks, but the military denied any involvement through the state media.

President Robert Mugabe on Friday threatened retribution against his government's opponents, saying the strike action was used by the opposition to incite violence. "

One of the canards thrown at the Anglo-American alliance is that it failed to deal with Rwanda and a set of other African outrages. While Rwanda, as Canada knows to her sadness, was a UN run operation, the fact is there are any number of regimes which could use changing.

Zimbabwe could certainly do with a fresh broom. The violence there is simply escalating and this latest round of revenge attacks is only the dainty tip of a very dangerous iceberg. Mugabe is withholding food aid to the Southern part of the country and, combined with his disastrous land re-distribution policies, there is every chance of regime induced starvation. If ever there was a good place for the West to intervene, Zimbabwe is it.

Here is the suggestion. As Canada seems to be sitting Iraq out, why don't we put a motion before the Security Council calling for the installation of UN mandated Peace keepers to protect the integrity of the food distibution programs in the South. Put it before the Security Council where France may veto or may decide to actually support a humanitarian effort. Invite a coalition of the unwilling - France, Germany, brave little Belgium (a master colonial power in its day (kidding, it was, perhaps, the most barbarous of all the colonialists) and Russia to send support for a Canadian led mission to restore food aid. Demand that Mugabe stay out of the fray and get on with saving lives.


Sister in law of all battles

"Before we move forward, these people have got to capitulate or be destroyed," said one military source. "This is the start of the push towards Baghdad."

B-52 bombers using guided JDAM 2,000lb bombs, along with Tomahawk cruise missiles, AH-64 Longbow Apache attack helicopters, Harrier GR7 close-support attack jets and A-10 Warthog anti-tank aircraft began the intensive assault overnight on Sunday." [ link Financial times
]

Blair sees this as the battle. It will certainly be critical in the sense that if it is quickly won there will be very little between the Anglo Americans and Baghdad. But it may be more important to win this one decisively, drawing as many Republican Guards and specials out of the city as possible.

Now here is where the prefidity of the Turks begins to wear. Had the Turks leapt into the 21st century and allowed the Americans to launch a Northern front, the Iraqis would have trouble front and back of Baghdad. Which would have, as the Americans said at the time, significantly shortened the war. It was an expensive and foolish decision by the Turks.

Those missiles again

Gosh, it makes you wonder what Hans and the boys were actually doing in Iraq for three months:

"The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, was in Cairo to appeal for Arab support in resisting the American-led invasion.

He said the Americans would be forced to withdraw with their tails between their legs.

"We are beating the enemy and the enemy will be beaten and will be buried in the deserts of Iraq," he said, adding that Iraq would continue to aim missiles at US military bases in Kuwait. " [link bbc]


Give and Take at Andrew Sullivan

Tom Friedman and Andrew Sullivan have been discussing Friedman's use of the word unilateral in a recent column. For details go to Andrew's site
. My point is that this is an actual exchange of cogently argued views.

One of the elements which has been missing from a good deal of the pro and anti war rhetoric is an idea of civil discourse. "No blood for oil" is not an argument, nor is it even a slogan which captures the essence of an argument: it is just an angry exclaimation. And calling everyone who does not support the war anti-American is nothing more than a reather cheap and transparent form of slander.

As I read the blogs and the pundits one of the touchstones I use is the civility and liberality of the minds engaged. Yes it is fun to call the French cheese eating surrender monkeys; but if that is as far as your thinking on the subject goes there is no actual contribution to the debate being made.

Last night's remarks by the Stupid Fat Guy as he received an Oscar for a work of fiction dressed up as a documentary, is the perfect example of content free invective. They should have cued the music as Moore waddled on.

Clear feed

If you are like me you probably don't have the patience to listen to the nitwit commentators filling in time between video clips. Reuters
is providing raw video feeds. One shows the damage in Basera. What is fascinating are the boys playing in the ruins. Smiling, delighted at this rearrangement of reality. Some of the material is pretty grim but all of it is unedited.

Islam's rules

"We are committed first of all to the teachings of Islam, and second we are committed to the conventions of Geneva in dealing with the prisoners of war," he said."link

This is not good news. I'd have to look it up but the basic idea in the Koran is that a Muslim prisoner is to be treated with respect and infidels given the choice between conversion and death.




Islam's rules

"We are committed first of all to the teachings of Islam, and second we are committed to the conventions of Geneva in dealing with the prisoners of war," he said."link

This is not good news. I'd have to look it up but the basic idea in the Koran is that a Muslim prisoner is to be treated with respect and infidels given the choice between conversion and death.




Should be in bed...but

From The Corner at the National Review on Saddam's speech this morning:

"I disagree with your Corner posting. There was no way to enter Iraq from
Kuwait without taking Umm Qasr, he would have easily known it would be a
priority. Basra is not occupied, only surrounded, as is Mosul. If they had been occupied as he probably assumed they would be, he would say to be patient, as he did. However since they are still offering resistance, he should have said, "keep up the fight". As well, he praised a commander of the 11th brigade. They were one of the first units to fall apart, they were gone in the first 24 hours.

Other readers have pointed out another brigade that Saddam saluted, one that has already surrendered. That being the case, then it seems clear that Saddam taped this speech before the war, and making his best guess as to where battles would be underway by this point in the war. And if he did record this speech before the war, and the Iraqi government is having to air this tinned tape instead of the real Saddam, then he must be dead, or seriously wounded."

We can but hope

And So to Bed

It looks like there will be some heavy fighting as the 3d Infantry Division comes down into the Euphrates Valley. Saddam's speech on television early Monday morning amounted to little more than the standard "Kill the Infidel" routine. The reports of unconventional warfare, while disappointing, were surely to be expected. The question will be how fanatical Saddam's supporters are and whether they have chemical or biological weapons.

The weekend has been grand for Canadian Friends of America. Just on 2400 hits. 170 emails. And, delightfully, we have been named Mark Steyn's website of the week. I have no idea what that will mean in terms of hits; but it is great that someone I have a lot of time for sees merit in the idea of CFA.


3/23/2003

Stupid White Man

I find the Oscars dreary and Michael Moore's predictable performance did nothing to liven them up...

"We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents," he said referring to Bush's 2000 disputed election victory as he picked up the award for best documentary.

"We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.

"We are against this war Mr Bush. Shame on you. Shame on you!," he said in front of a loudly booing audience of 3,500 people including most of Hollywood's top stars."

It is surely time to get over the chad fest. More to the point, in a civilized world eliminating Saddam would be all the reason a President needed to take down Iraq. Moore makes far too much money not "getting it" to suddenly realize Saddam really is a monster. Too bad....


Blix needed thicker glasses

"BRITISH troops mopping up Iraqi opposition outside Basra have discovered a large cache of weapons, including Russian-made cruise missiles and warheads, hidden inside fortified bunkers at a massive arsenal abandoned by Saddam Hussein’s disintegrating southern army. " link The Scotsman

Pretty much by definition cruise missiles go further than 150km. So, so far, Blix missed Scuds and heretofore unmentioned cruise missiles and, it what may be a chemical weapons factory. The entire concept of the efficacy of the inspectors was destroyed by the Black Watch finding missiles which had not been declared in the first place.

Popdex

Amazingly enough Canadian Friends of America is listed at #46 of 50 on Popdex's iraq war site most popular websites. link popdex

The power of Instapundit is amazing.

The Arab Street

"We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, "Oh my God" as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war.

The driver's most emphatic statement was: "All Iraqi people want this war." He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later he asked me: "Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?" link Guardian [via christopher drew]

The human shields really are getting an education. Interesting that the Guardian has run this story. My sense is that the Guardian and some of the other, more respectable, left wing outfits have realized that Saddam really is not the sort of guy who the Left should be supporting. So, balancing anti-warism against the stark reality of the delight of the Iraqi's at the defeat of Uncle Cuddles, they are shifting position. Somehow the Left is going to have to deal with the delight of the Iraqis when Saddam is gone. Shitting in the streets of San Francisco isn't cutting it, nor are processions of has beens in world capitals. Nor does the fact that a night of bombing has produced three deaths and 250 injuries on an Iraqi count.

Thus the willingness to publish anti-Saddam pieces in a desperate attempt to have some sort of position when the American flag is, briefly, unfurled in Baghdad. It will be a very doubtful one, shot through with the reality that they were marching in support of a horrible little man; but it will keep the aspidistra flying as Orwell might have put it.




The Arab Street

"We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, "Oh my God" as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war.

The driver's most emphatic statement was: "All Iraqi people want this war." He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later he asked me: "Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?" link Guardian [via christopher drew]

The human shields really are getting an education. Interesting that the Guardian has run this story. My sense is that the Guardian and some of the other, more respectable, left wing outfits have realized that Saddam really is not the sort of guy who the Left should be supporting. So, balancing anti-warism against the stark reality of the delight of the Iraqi's at the defeat of Uncle Cuddles, they are shifting position. Somehow the Left is going to have to deal with the delight of the Iraqis when Saddam is gone. Shitting in the streets of San Francisco isn't cutting it, nor are processions of has beens in world capitals. Nor does the fact that a night of bombing has produced three deaths and 250 injuries on an Iraqi count.

Thus the willingness to publish anti-Saddam pieces in a desperate attempt to have some sort of position when the American flag is, briefly, unfurled in Baghdad. It will be a very doubtful one, shot through with the reality that they were marching in support of a horrible little man; but it will keep the aspidistra flying as Orwell might have put it.




The Arab Street

"We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, "Oh my God" as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war.

The driver's most emphatic statement was: "All Iraqi people want this war." He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later he asked me: "Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?" link Guardian [via christopher drew]

The human shields really are getting an education. Interesting that the Guardian has run this story. My sense is that the Guardian and some of the other, more respectable, left wing outfits have realized that Saddam really is not the sort of guy who the Left should be supporting. So, balancing anti-warism against the stark reality of the delight of the Iraqi's at the defeat of Uncle Cuddles, they are shifting position. Somehow the Left is going to have to deal with the delight of the Iraqis when Saddam is gone. Shitting in the streets of San Francisco isn't cutting it, nor are processions of has beens in world capitals. Nor does the fact that a night of bombing has produced three deaths and 250 injuries on an Iraqi count.

Thus the willingness to publish anti-Saddam pieces in a desperate attempt to have some sort of position when the American flag is, briefly, unfurled in Baghdad. It will be a very doubtful one, shot through with the reality that they were marching in support of a horrible little man; but it will keep the aspidistra flying as Orwell might have put it.




What we have lost

Since we went up on Instapundit I have got over 100 emails, mostly from Americans, thanking us for putting up the site.

There will be a selection of them up tomorrow but this just in:

Sir,
I very much appreciate your website in favor of
Canadian/US friendship. It is unfortunate that the
ignorant people always seem to draw the most attention
on important issues.
I was grateful to Canadians when your airports and
communities helped out air traffic of ours that was
diverted from NY on 09/11/01. Your people were
terrific.
And I am old enough to remember that Canadians
helped bring some of our people to safety during the
Iranian revolution.
Thanks again,

Rick D
Kennewick, Washington

The short sightedness of the Canadian Government in hiding behind the legalism and faintheatedness of the UN has cost us the reserve of good will in America we have so easily won.

The Americans will remember....the French? Well as a delightful French Canadian politician once said, "Jamais, jamais, jamais." Never, never, never."

France Redux

The historian's gimlet eye picks out truths which seemingly elude "les merdes d'San Francisco:

"Now we understand why France pledged to block any Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force to disarm Saddam Hussein. The French were, in fact, fine with Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction. They were happy to keep American forces on standby in the Persian Gulf while the inspectors played missile tag. Saddam Hussein, quite frankly, could keep his chemical and biological weapons. So long as he didn't use them.

The French have adopted this approach in the past, let's not forget. During the 1930's, for example, they watched inertly as Nazi Germany systematically rearmed, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. When Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland in March 1936 ? in breach of the Treaty of Locarno of 1925 ? they again did nothing. Their strategy was to defend France behind the enormously expensive and, as it turned out, useless Maginot Line, so they reasoned that attacking Hitler would be futile. In other words, it was O.K. for Hitler to build a formidable army and march it to the French border. So long as he didn't use it "

Niall Ferguson's article rings to bear the intelligence of an unconventional historian on what Bush should do next. A trip to Beijing. You bet. But also to Toyko, Warsaw and, for flavor, India. The emerging powers of the world need to know that their emergence has been noted.


Intoxicated

"Messrs. Chirac and de Villepin continue to insist that theirs was a principled opposition that will be vindicated. But some voices within the French foreign policy elite and the business community ? which depends heavily on the U.S. for trade and investment ? are now saying that Messrs. Chirac and de Villepin did indeed go too far. The term you hear most often is "intoxicated." These two became so intoxicated by how popular their anti-U.S., antiwar stand became across Europe, and in the whole world, that they went from legitimately demanding U.N. endorsement for any use of force in Iraq to blocking any U.N.-approved use of force ? effectively making France Saddam's lawyer and protector." link New York Times

In effect, the French have proven a level of risk aversion and delight in the status quo which will doom them to the status of a third rate power. Which, economically, militarily and culturally they actually are. As the world's center of gravity shifts away from Europe - an inevitable shift given the aging populations of Germany and France - not to mention Italy - the new world will reward innovation and an ability to see the current reality.

Rumsfeld and the policy intellectuals who surround him are hard core pragmatists. they lack the essential prejudice which drives the French to continue to occupy former colonies as of right. They see the world changing and are prepared to change US policy to meet that new world. France is not. She is capable of saying "Non", but incapable of saying yes. Rumsfeld can and does say yes. And when he does the French are left speechless.