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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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From the same transcript:
Wolfowitz: Wohlstetter is a much more relevant figure and it's interesting too, by the way, that the same fellow who, or one of the same fellows who discovered the Straussian Conspiracy kind of throws Wohlstetter in as a Straussian when Wohlstetter was actually philosophically a student of Quine.
Q: The analytical --
Wolfowitz: Exactly. If there was anything anathema to Leo Strauss it was analytical philosophy.

For the Europeans who suggest that the American establishment are a bunch of ignorant gunslingers. I rather agree with the remark from a professor at, I think, Yale who said "We don't hire Leninists or Straussians." but the quality of discourse the hard school of Strauss produces suggests a fearsome intellectual competence underlying America's defence and foreign policy.

Wolfowitz on Terror

The transcript of the interview in Vanity Fair is up at the Defence Department. A lot of the spin has focused on a grotesque misreading of Paul Wolfowitz's comments on WMDs as the reason to invade Iraq - like it matters. But I think this is far more interesting:

Wolfowitz: I know my thinking at that point was that the old approach to terrorism was not acceptable any longer. The old approach being you treat it as a law enforcement problem rather than a national security problem. You pursue terrorists after they've done things and bring them to justice, and to the extent states are perhaps involved, you retaliate against them but you don't really expect to get them out of the business of supporting terrorism completely.
To me what September 11th meant was that we just couldn't live with terrorism any longer.
Throughout the '80s and '90s it was sort of, I've never found quite the right words because necessary evil doesn't describe it, but a sort of an evil that you could manage but you couldn't eliminate. And I think what September 11th to me said was this is just the beginning of what these bastards can do if they start getting access to so-called modern weapons, and that it's not something you can live with any longer. So there needs to be a campaign, a strategy, a long-term effort, to root out these networks and to get governments out of the business of supporting them. But that wasn't something that was going to happen overnight.

As a matter of doctrine this statement is critical. Once the law enforcement model is discarded the whole nature of the fight shifts and the posture of the United States goes from reactive to proactive. The Europeans and the nitwits making Canadian policy, such as it is, have to recognize that shift. While people may disagree, no one can say that there is anything covert about the American's commitement to eliminate terrorism by whatever means are required.


21st Century Pet Rock

A perfect e-commerce enabled web page.....

Origami Boulder

9/11 Lesson Learned

A former member of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry helped foil the hijacking of a domestic Australian airliner yesterday.
Derek Finlay, 30, originally from Fort McMurray, but now living in the state of Tasmania, said his training from seven years in the Canadian army came in handy when he launched himself at the hijacker.
link edmonton sun

The world changed. So have airline passengers.

Dvorak blings blogs

Writing in PC Mag asserts that blogs are "the next big thing" in the same sense that CD Roms and .coms were.

The odd thing about the column is that Dvorak, who is usually pretty clear about what he thinks, seems fuzzy on blogs. What he seems to be objecting to is the possiblity of hype about blogs, of which there is already plenty.

he unanswered question at this point is what direction the blog scene will go in. What will blogging be like in five years? You also have to wonder if the current blog scene is part of a series of individual changes in the computer landscape or a precursor to something new. One could argue, for example, that the CD-ROM scene was a
precursor to the dot-com trend. There were a lot of connections. Did dot-coms lead to blogging? They had to, since Web logs are all about the Web. But is blogging just a jumping-off point for something even bigger? After all, the CD-ROM business generated a lot of new and VC-funded start-ups, but not as many as came out of the dot-com scene. Is blogging a stepping stone to something else? If so, what?

While I don't pretend to know the full answer, I can suggest that the biggest change blog tech will make is in already existing websites. By adding a blog a very static website, updated, painfully, every couple of weeks and then just left sitting for months at a time, can be updated on the fly.

With tools like w.bloggar text, images and now audio files to a blog and that blog can be embedded in a website. Dynamic content for even the least nerdy!

What blogging also allows is absolutely up to the minute sales and catalogue information, specials and assorted other information which can make e-commerce websites more responsive. Instant web publishing without a lot of code monkeying is a real shift.

Finally, blogs are the first real internet media application. To date, everything which has appeared on the net has had its roots in print or electronic media. On-line magazines are second, hyperlinked, cousins of print magazines. Blogs have no analog world equivalent. They simply could not exist without the web.

The diary blogs and the 'my cat blogs" and the "my take on the world blogs" are all stepping stones to something else. That something is an electronic agora which has the potential to leave the old media far behind.

Buying the News

I wonder what Noam Chomsky will say. Let's face it, when it comes to Manufacturing Consent, Saddam was the past master. None of the rubbish about spin; he either herded the journos or he paid 'em.

The director general of Al-Jazeera has been sacked, Qatari sources said, amid allegations that he worked with Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.
Mohammed Jassem al-Ali had held the top job at the controversial Doha-based Arab satellite television station since it launched in 1996.
link the times

This via Andrew Sullivan. The wonderful thing about it is that it opens up the whole can of worms as to the objectivity of the Arab media. You may remember the poor chap in Cario who, at the end of the shooting war, announced "They lied to us, Al-Jazeera lied to us." (I may not have the quote exactly right but it is in my archives.)

In fact, the Arab world has been lied to consistently for the last twenty five years. State sponsored media tells a particular and not very accurate story in which the Jews flee the day before 9/11, Israel slaughters Palestinians at random - cf Jenin - and America is both weak and an aggressor depending on which day of the week it is. At some point the Arab street will surely say, "Cut the crap and let us hear something true." Which will, of course, be the beginning of the Islamic Enlightenment and the end of the Islamofascists. Hurry the day.

Drive by Bombing

Tossed a couple of light grenades. First at the weblog of Vancouver's ISM chapter - which has not been updated since March but what the hell - suggesting that Rachel Corrie died protecting a tunnel through which arms were flowing to terrorists. Second, at Vancouver Indymedia, as a comment on an article going after the absence of WMDs in Iraq and suggesting that getting rid of the Saddam regime was a good in itself.

I suspect flames to follow...but I also have the feeling that the Indy media folk are pretty tired and pretty old.


Martin the Mexican

Jeffrey Simpson suggests that the coming coronation of Paul Martin combines the long distance run of an American Presidential campaign with the old style of Mexico's Party of Perpetual Revolution's single candidate politics. He is right of course; but he misses the unique Canadian spin.

While the one man race - with whines off from Ms. Copps - is a foregone conclusion, the willingness of Canadians outside the Toronto calling area to embrace the anointed one is still uncertain. Martin's work at the moment is to rack up the support out here in the hinterlands so as to avoid the possibility of a Western revolt or Quebec disaffection. Likely, assuming that the economy does not tank between now and next Spring, Martin will romp to electoral victory in an entirely unnecessary election. But he remembers the lesson of the last anointed leader, golden boy John Turner. A few dumb legacy appointments, a smart opposition leader and his Divine right to rule is eroded.

Martin's campaign inside the Liberal Party is in the nature of a triumph. He may even chase a few of the dimmer lefties into well deserved retirement. But in the country as a whole he still has to prove himself. A fact which Mr. Turner's troubles will underscore. (Not that Martin is likely to come up against as polished a performer as Brian Mulroney - but Peter McKay and Steve Harper could double team him to great effect.)

Am I too cynical?

The Israeli announcement today of the release of two PLO prisoners strikes me as part of a rather transparent move on the part of Israel to set the terms of the failure of the road map. Essentially, Sharon is giving Abbas all he can and then waiting. He is waiting for the sound of the next homicide bomber, and the next, and the next....Because that will mean that the Palestinians have not kept their end of the Oslo deal or the roadmap.

Then, I suspect, Abbas will have to have it out with the troll of Ramallah. Which will lead to what one hopes will be a very short civil war in Palestine. Sharon will suspend the roadmap pending the settlement of who, exactly, is in charge in Palestine and to what degree they can actually deliver on the promises necessary for the implementation of the roadmap. More in sorrow than in anger and all that.

Terrorism is in Arafat's blood. It has worked for him in the past and is likely to work for him now. The only question is whether or not he will be able to continue to deceive the EU. The rest of the world has long since given up on him.

In a related story, Sharon has agreed to withdraw IDF forces from various West Bank Ccity centers. Bloomberg reports that sharon coupled the withdrawal with the demand that there be a "100% effort" against violence from the handed over areas....As if.

Arafat's thugs say no

However, in a statement faxed to AP in Gaza, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, linked to the mainstream Fatah movement, said it would continue attacks "in any time and in any place while the occupiers are taking our land, our prisoners are still in prison and our refugees are living outside their homeland."
link abc news

Yasser is none too pleased being out of the roadmap loop. While Hamas and Islamic Jihad seem willing to at least talk about a ceasefire, Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which are more or less under Arafat's direct control, are not.

The quicker the Palestinians arrange a regime change of their own, the better for everyone....a quick, nasty little civil war aimed at the troll of Ramallah would make the road map a rather more plausible document.


Change over

I am working away at setting up this blog at I expect it will be up overnight although there are alway weird things which happen with change. Just a heads up for now.

The Jordanian Option

One way out of the impasse would be for Jordan to annex the West Bank and Gaza with the full support of the Israelis. While this is a bit far fetched it would solve the problem of the collapsed semi-state presided over by Arafat. The majority of Jordanians are Palestinian but only a tiny minority have been infected with the radical bomber bug.

Jordan has a fairly sophisticated security system, good relations with America, legitimacy as a relatively benign Arab monarchy and it is more or less next door.

The biggest advantage would be the elimination of the systematic corruption of Arafat and his cronies whose security/terror system is run on skimming international aid payments. If those payments were run through Jordan there would be a realistic possiblity that they would be delivered to the Palestinian people without a lot of political fiddling.

Hamas puts up a roadblock

Hardly a surprise:

Palestinian militant group Hamas says the two Middle East summits to be held next week by US President George W Bush will fail unless Palestinians are given their full rights.
Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said Israel's acceptance of the US-backed road map to peace was "a trick".
His skepticism runs counter to the public stance of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who has called on militant groups such as Hamas to end the armed struggle against Israel, to fulfil one of the plan's key conditions.
link channelnewsasia

What are those full rights....If it includes a right of return to the whole of Israel then the Israelis cannot accept such rights. And I note that Yassin has not been reported as promising an end to the homicide bombings which, realistically, is the only basis upon which Israel will be will to seriously negotiate.

Between Yassin and Yasser Bush's projected visit is unlikely to make much progress.

Actual progress will probably have to wait until the necessary Palestinian civil war has been fought.

Iran in a nutshell

"The problem is that the people we talk to -- President (Mohammad) Khatami and Foreign Minister (Kamal) Kharrazi -- don't really run the country. Their powers are limited," the EU official said.
Hardline Muslim clerics headed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei control most of the levers of power, including the judiciary, the security forces and an un-elected council that can veto legislation on Islamic grounds.
link reuters

The religious conservatives extra-parliamentary regime is the one which needs changing. The difficulty being how? The argument for engagement is all very well; but as the EU chap says, engagement takes place with the reformers who are, in fact, powerless or very nearly so, with respect to actual change in Iran.

Worse, the clerics are well aware that the population has grown tired of the rigors of a fully Islamic state. As they are acting directly on behalf of God, their reaction is to repress what, in their medieval world view, is heresy.

Thus political opposition is treated as a religious rather than a political issue. To oppose the rule of God is clearly heresy and no heritic can be allowed to flourish in an Islamic state. Which would be a matter of some indifference were it not for the fact Iran is chasing atomic technology and, factionally, lending aid to al-Qaeda.

Violence Disagreement

This brings us to the second reason why violence is now so central to our conflict. Most Palestinians apparently refuse to distinguish between the violence of suicide bombings and other attacks carried out by Palestinian civilians that deliberately target Israeli civilians, and the violence of Israeli military responses that target Palestinian perpetrators of violence and all too frequently inadvertently injure innocent Palestinian civilians, or even the violence attributed to acts of occupation. In those instances where Palestinians agree that Israeli civilians should not be targeted, they generally refuse to view Israeli settlers, including women, children and the aged (who do not bear arms) as civilians. Moreover, many of those Palestinians who criticize the use of violence against Israeli civilians express their reservations at the level of utility--costs and benefits--rather than morality.

Israelis not only insist upon these moral distinctions, but since the events of 9/11 in New York we are in good company: the issue of the right to deliberately target civilians with violence is today on the cutting edge of a clash of civilizations between the Islamic radical movements and their supporters on the one hand, and Israel, the United States and much of the rest of the world, on the other. One additional key aspect of this clash touches on the readiness to do violence to oneself, i.e., to commit suicide, in order to injure enemy civilians. Here we appear to be confronting significant differences in current religious and cultural attitudes toward life and death between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand, and some adherents of Islam, on the other.
link bitter lemons

Two paragraphs which contain the essence of the difference between the Islamofascist view of the world and the post Enlightenment Western view. In crude terms, radical Islam is prepared to treat all non-Muslims as Infidel and thus unworthy of consideration as fellow humans. The West has spent four hundred years exorcising the notion of Infidel/heathen/lesser races.

The old barbarism last surfaced on a major scale during the Holocaust when Germans managed to convincethemselves they were the materrace and proved their mastery by exterminating assorted mongrels and deviants. There was a flare up in the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia...but the overall trend in the West has been towards the elimination of killing based on race or religion.

No such Enlightenment has occured in Islam. There is sufficient Koranic authority to allow the murder of however many Infidels a radical Islamist can kill by whatever means.

There is no argument which will, by going to so called root causes or justice, however defined, reconcile the two positions or make them morally equivilant. The Western position, with all its bumps and hypocracies, is still on the side of life; the radical Islamist postion is embraces death as a spirtual tool

Colby Nails Indian Affairs

Now, it must be admitted that Canada's Department of Indian Affairs manages to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year without, apparently, improving the lot of its charges. And it may be argued that, to the contrary, the lot of the Indians has actually become worse with time. But Colby gets to the heart of the matter writing about the 152 million dollar suburb for vandals which the feds are building for the Innu in Davis Inlet.

He quotes a National Post article in which "overcrowding" is blamed for some of the Davis Inlet woes.
"Our calculation [for new housing needs at Natuashish] was inadequate," said Ian Gray, director of INAC's secretariat for Newfoundland and Labrador. "It was based on population numbers from years ago."

Comments Colby.

I mean, where the hell do they find these people to run Indian Affairs? You start shifting an entire town from one place to another without counting the people who fucking live there?

Sanctions Against Israel?

U.S. government and congressional sources said the list was prepared by the
State Department and relayed to the National Security Council in April amid
the administration's effort to press Israel to agree to the so-called
roadmap. The roadmap, drafted by Washington as well as the European Union,
United Nations and Russia, calls for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian war
and the establishment of an interim state in 2003.

Sanctions have been used before to try to force the Israelis to capitulate on key points. And they explain the existence of the remarkably effective Israeli arms industry.

The extrodinary thing here is that there is no mention of sanctions against the Palestinians for failing to live up to their end of Oslo or, for that matter, the requirement to take action on terror which is the first requirement of the roadmap. Partly this is because there is so little leverage with the Palestinians - cutting off their funding would merely let lose an even worse human rights disaster than Arafat and his thugs are already inflicting. But it also reflects the fact there is only a very limited official command and control structure within the Palestinian Authority.

Finally there are the politics of the thing. Bush wants a start on the roadmap. Blair needs a start. The only party which has shown any flexibility or ability to actually live up to its obligations is Israel which, in turn, means it is the only party against whom sanctions make even a limited sort of sense.

Of course there is also Bush's domestic spin:

"It's hard to overestimate the anger within the administration toward Israel
regarding the delays in the roadmap," a congressional source close to the
administration said. "The White House doesn't regard the roadmap merely as
foreign policy. It sees the roadmap as a major element toward the reelection
of the president."

No, Really, We mean it

In a sign that U.S. complaints are being taken seriously, Russia asked Iran yesterday to provide guarantees that it is not using its atomic energy program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Russia is helping build a nuclear reactor in the city of Bushehr. Russia's Foreign Ministry said Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov met with Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Shafei and expressed concern about the existence of "serious, unresolved questions in connection with Iran's nuclear research."
link wapo

I suspect the idea of the itchy trigger fingers in Washington will be enough to bring Iran to heel on al Qaeda. But it is helpful on the nuclear side to have the Russians going after issues of non-proliferation.


Oh, that al Qaeda

The Iranians have rounded up the usual suspects under pressure from Washington and announced:

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran has several al Qaeda suspects in custody "but we don't know who these people are to be able to say whether they are senior or not.
link wapo

It is likely that the faction fighting which is going on behind the scenes in Iran allows one bunch of Revolutionary guards to aid al-Qaeda as fellow warriors against the great satan while other factions want to cut a deal with that same satan and still others want to reform the first group out of existence.


Limited Posting

The part of Blogger which is used by w.bloggar is down and so, adict that I am I will be doing bery limited posting.

Go over to Authentic Liberal for the scoop on the further decline of the National Post.

My own sense, lost to the Blogger issues, is that the Post is going to turn away from its national ambitions and its dead aim at the Globe and Mail. Likely it will become a right Liberal organ economically and leftish enough to aim at the Toronto Star circulation. Which is a bigger prize after all.

If authentic Liberal is right about Andrew Coyne being dropped down to two columns a month then the new management is definately going after the dumbing down strategy in a big way. It is difficult to believe they will ever manage to match the Star for sheer idiocy; but they should be able to give her a run for her money.

The Spector of Peace

Dr. Spook as he was known when he was running the British Columbia Civil Service is one of the best and most balanced commentators on Israeli/Palestinian issues. A former Canadian ambassador to Israel and ex-publisher of the Jerusalam Post, Norman Spector calls them as he sees them. His take on the roadmap:

Like Mr. Arafat — who denies the Jewish people's link to their ancestral homeland and demands that millions of refugees and their descendants should have the right to live in Israel — Mr. Sharon does not truly endorse the U.S. President's vision. Instead of one Jewish and one "viable" Palestinian state living peacefully side by side by 2005, Mr. Sharon favours a very long "interim solution," arguing that it will take many years for the two to learn to live together. Indeed, the Israeli leader only says he's "prepared to accept the steps set out in the road map," not the plan itself.
link gobe and mail

Spector understands Sharon's hedges perfectly. The Israelis have to see real action by the so-called Palestinian Authority before they take another step on the road.

The ball now is in the Palestinian court — where it belongs. The violence over the past 32 months has largely been of their making, the Israeli violence mainly defensive. (If you doubt this, ask yourself what would have happened if one side or the other had laid down its arms unilaterally — would the violence have continued?) Mr. Bush has given the Palestinians their long-demanded "political horizon" — a Palestinian state — and a process that demands reciprocal concessions by Israel as the Palestinians curtail terrorism.
link gobe and mail

The unilateral question is exactly the question the Left, pace Naomi Klein, ISM and Svend Robinson, should ask themselves. If the Israeli Army ceased fire and went home would the violence end? Not with an unrestrained Hamas in possession of even a single homicide vest.

Whether Mr. Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan can effectively end the terror in the face of Arafat's willing support of the terrorists is a question which could provoke outright Palestinian civil war.

Sharon, I suspect, would not be adverse to a spot of civil war. In fact, the failure to exile the troll of Ramallah suggests that the deeper minds of the Israelis are expecting just that.

CBC bows to BBC

A friend of mine sent me the following announcement:

Some stories are just too good to be true. The BBC's Correspondent program examines the United States' propaganda machine during the Iraq war and questions its version of the daring rescue of Private Jessica Lynch who lay trapped behind enemy lines. THE PASSIONATE EYE, hosted by Michaëlle Jean, features the North American television première of the documentary War Spin: The Truth About Jessica, Sunday, May 25 at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on CBC Newsworld. [Repeated at 10 PM Pacific Time]
Private Jessica Lynch became an icon of the war, and the story of her capture by the Iraqis and her rescue by US Special Forces became one of the great patriotic moments of the conflict. But her story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived.
BBC reporter John Kampfner exposes inconsistencies in the official version of the rescue in Iraq of Private Lynch. War Spin: The Truth About Jessica challenges the Pentagon's version of a story that boosted American morale during a sticky point in the Iraq War as part of its investigation into allied propaganda.

Apparently the CBC are the last organization on Earth not to have heard that Kampfner's program and reporting have been throughly discredited. The only spin here is Kampfner's Drabblesque anti-Americanism.

Why the CBC would broadcast this tissue of lies is not at all mysterious: they want the Americans to have faked the rescue.


Coming Soon

I have finally reserved the inevidable It will be a week or two before it is up and running but it is well past time. Much as I like Blogger and Blogspot I am not at all wild about the outages and the slowness to load. And before I really start promoting the site I want a site worth promoting. 40 sec downloads are just too slow.

Window Dressing on the Road Map

"The moment has arrived to divide this tract of land between us and the Palestinians."
link new york times

Well, maybe. I suspect that Sharon's actual agenda is in these lines:

"I think the document is not a good one, but we have to choose when we battle the U.S., and now is not the time," Ehud Olmert, a minister from Likud who voted for the plan, told Israel Radio.
link new york times

For the moment it makes sense for Israel to accept the roadmap and say to the Palestinians....OK, now you stop Hamas and Arafat's thugs. If Abbas is able to deliver on controlling terrorists then the real negotiations begin. This would be win-win for Israel. Land for Peace has always made sense. But the only chance for Peace is if the Palestinians take the commitment to the elimination of their terrorist problem seriously. By agreeing, with reservations, to the roadmap, Likud is essentially saying "put up or shut up." And they are saying it to the Americans as well.



A senior administration official who is skeptical of the Pentagon's arguments said most of the al Qaeda members -- fewer than a dozen -- appear to be located in an isolated area of northeastern Iran, near the border with Afghanistan. He described the area as a drug-smuggling terrorist haven that is tolerated by key members of the Revolutionary Guards in part because they skim money off some of the activities there. It is not clear how much control the central Iranian government has over this area, he said.
link wapo

There are a number of places on the planet - the Bekka Valley, Chechnya, the Pakistani tribal areas and bit os Iran where the law is unknown. Al-Qaeda, drug runners, assorted militias and mad mullahs take advantage of these zones to do their business.

It seems sensible for the Americans, rather than cutting off relations with the nations whose borders are fluid, to engage in the attempt to bring order to those areas. At a certain point the power of America runs up against the harsh facts of issolated failure by states to control their territories. This is not a reason to punish the state, rather it is an opportunity to help those states bring the rule of their law to bear on the whole of their territory.

No Bad Behavior


The godly town of Virgina Beach, home of Pat Robertson, has launched a campaign for public decency. They have happy, happy squads of folks who, in Islamofascist countries are called "Committies for the Supression of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue" but in Virgininia Beach are tactfully named "Youth Intervention Squads" asking vacationers to "refrain from cursing, sexually explicit behavior or "any behavior which is likely to intimidate, harass or disrupt the peaceful enjoyment of others.""

Best of all, when accused of violating the inherent civil right to paaaaaarty the mayor said,
she didn't quash anybody's rights but simply took a public moral stand against the event. "That's the beauty of living in America," Oberndorf said. "You have the freedom to choose where you can live or vacation. If you like a more -- " she paused delicately " -- 'robust' vacation, you're free to choose another destination." link wapo

It certainly seems to be working,

"It has worked really well," Fuller said, as he walked up Atlantic Avenue. "Most of the time, if we stop somebody to give a warning, people will say, 'Thank you.' "
Some tourists aren't even aware of the city's myriad regulations, Fuller said, such as the one prohibiting loud car stereos or Ordinance 22-10, otherwise known as the Thong Law, which prohibits exposure of "buttocks, with less than a fully opaque covering."
He recalls one patrol when he stopped to speak to a young woman wearing a fishnet tank top and no undergarments.
"I said, 'Excuse me, miss, do you know that you're breaking the law?' " Fuller recalled. "She said, 'What law?' " After he told her, she folded her arms across her chest and fled to her hotel room, he said, to change the offending garment.

I think the Thong Law is the icing. Public decency triumphs.