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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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4/23/2004

Too sick to blog

Guppy tummy deluxe...back tomorrow I hope.

One Way out of Iraq

While I disagree with a lot of what Jim Henley is saying in his Grand Strategy piece I think this idea has a certain intuitive appeal:
What about Iraq? Bring the major players together in one room - anyone with a constituency. Tell them, "fellas, we're out of here in time for Christmas. Start talking. You've got a chance to make your country something much better than you could have imagined. Or you can turn it into hell on earth. It'll be your doing one way or another." Stop paying non-Iraqis to do work Iraqis can do.
unqualified offerings
Ultimately, unless the Americans turn imperialist overnight, the Iraqis are going to have to deal with their country their own way. The heavy lifting, getting rid of Uncle Cuddles has been done. Now the question is whether or not the Iraqis will be able to work it out for themselves. How soon? Pretty damn quick would seem like a good idea and part of that good idea may well be the partition of the country. After all, the Kurds had it worked out even before Uncle Cuddles was sent to the spider hole. As for the Shi'ites there is no particular reason why they should not be given control of the south of Iraq. The fact they might, or might not, turn it into a theocratic hell hole is really up to them. As for the Sunnis in the middle, they have to come to terms with the fact they are not at the top of the heap any longer. Which might take a while. But it will not go any faster because the Americans or the UN or whomever is still in Iraq past Christmas.

The neo-con notion of shaking the Middle East up does not imply outcomes. It is the shaking rather than a particular result which is transforming the region.

It is foolish to expect that Iraq will suddenly be transformed into a suburb of Des Moines. Nor is it necessary. What is necessary is for the Americans, having demonstrated that they are able to topple a nasty regime at will, look to the Iraqis to solve the problem of the peace. After all, unless America was really in this for the oil, that was what the fight was about. The right of the average Iraqi to make his own choices without fear.

But, and it is a huge but, America and her allies would have to reserve the right to pre-emptively strike at any concentration of force, broadly defined, which might now or in the future, pose a threat to the West or other states in the region. Otherwise the fragile state of Iraq, or parts of it, could easily become a seedbed for terrorism which would defeat the puropose of the invasion.

4/22/2004

On Influence

I just spent an hour watching first the CBC and then CTV's coverage of Cowboy Chuck. The thick, damp fog swirled as various MPs demonstrated that they had not the first clue about how to ask a direct question and then follow up. (Peter McKay being a notable exception.) Chuck's story is that he broke no rules, refused to allow Ministers to interfere, took political direction but baulked at political interference, kept perfect records which were lost (perhaps eaten by a whistleblower who worked late but left sensitive files lying on his desk to be found in the morning) and met with Ministers rather more often than they cared to remember. He took a run at the heaviliy tweeded Ms. Fraser and he pissed in Martin's beer by bringing up a 1995 no bid contract.

The bright lights of Canada's media noted the fact the Opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee believed nothing Chuck said until he slagged Martin. The media brights were more or less silent on the Liberals' performance as it was not clear - other than Dennis Mills stab at fatuous question of the year glory with "Did you break any rules Mr. Guite?" - what position would be politically advantageous for the Liberal members to take.

Cowboy Chuck may well believe he didn't break any rules. Which suggests the depth of the rot. What Chuck knew was which ad agencies in Quebec were bleu and which rouge. And, at a guess, as the returns came in, Chuck was alreay mentally substituting one agency for another so as to be able to correctly brief the incoming Minister.

Influence? There was no need. Chuck would brief and would retain without the slightest need for political direction and with no serious need for competitive bidding. After all, at a certain level one ad agency can execute as well as another. Beyond that it was pure politics and lots of lovely money. I supect Chuck ate quite well.


A Canadian foreign policy

One suspects Currie would cheer if Bush shipped Martin to Guant?namo. Or even if he launched the 82nd Airborne against Ottawa. Tell me, Currie, is Canada allowed to have an independent foreign policy? If not, why not?
kevin michael grace
Independent of whom? The conduct of the Chretien gang and its Foreign Affairs minister in the run up to GWII was more an attempt to become Chirac's bitch than to set an independent course.

At the time it might well have been possible to a) have an independent foreign policy, b) avert the war. But it would have required Canada to use whatever influence she has toward the end of removing Saddam from office.

That influence could have been substantial. For example, Canada could have sought to create a genuine - rather than afraid that their bribes would show - coalition which set out a distinct timetable for Iraq to fully comply with all UN resolutions and for Saddam to resign. But to do this Canada would also have had to say that it was prepared to go to war to support the United Nations and its two allies the United States and England.

KMG goes on to quote an earlier piece he wrote for the CBC:
Canada remains a sovereign country. And every sovereign country has unique interests. Canadian interests will usually coincide with American interests. But not always. Liberal MP Bonnie Brown had it exactly right when she asked what the "payoff" was for Canada's involvement in the American-led war on terror. Canadian foreign policy is supposed to pay off for Canadians. We do not want to go so far in antagonizing the Americans as to invite reprisals, but we must always insist on our independence.
kmg
I would agree with him that Canada as a soverign nation has its own, unique, interests. Those interests include defending Canada and the West from the onslaught of Islamofascist terrorists and the states which, directly or indirectly, support them.

Canada also, I would hope, has an interest in helping to depose ruthless dictators who murder their own citizens and invade their neighbours. I would hope we would hold this interest whether or not it happened to co-incide with American interests.

The tragedy of the forty years from 1960 to 2000 was that successive Canadian governments removed the funding and, more importantly, the proud Canadian military traditions which had allowed us to fight above our weight in WWI and II. Regiments were disbanded, the forces "unified", the equipment allowed to rust. Canada's capacity to have an independent foreign policy was squandered by politicians eager to shovel money into the endless sink pits of regional development and national unity.

So now we are left with this choice - we can support our American friends, perhaps send a sniper or two - or we can rage from the sidelines. We don't even have the consolation of really big Saddam era bribes.

Soverignty, as KMG well knows, diminishes the instant a nation cannot defend itself. Pretending to have an "independent foreign policy" while militarily bankrupt is a luxury we can no longer afford. If we want the independence we have to make the investment to pay for it.

In the matter of the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq I believe that Canada has got the first about right and has been utterly mistaken on the second. And our mistake on Iraq, tragically, has been that we were so busy sucking up to the French that we failed to realize just how important for the West and for Canada removing Saddam actually was. Our national foreign policy was not a mistake because it did not support America (although that was remarkably dumb); rather it was a mistake because it was inconsistent with a commitment to the defence of the West and of human rights.


Corrupt!

In a comment below James Bow asks why I am so negative about the United Nations. This piece from the CBC pretty much explains it:
Saddam Hussein, senior UN staff members and companies from Security Council member-countries are accused of conspiring together to skim billions from the program.

Russia and France wanted a discreet internal probe, thinking it was better to keep the corruption charges in-house at the UN rather than have outside investigators poking into the alleged links between Saddam, top UN staffers and Russian and French companies.
cbc
Now, do you think this Franco Russian desire for discretion might have had anything to do with their veto threats in the leadup to the war? And, for a moment consider whether there would have been a war at all if France and Russia had lined up with the United States and England during that run up.

Part of the tragedy of Iraq is that Saddam might have been removed with no more than a gentle push from a United Nations. But the corrupt practices of some very venal men stood in the way.

Business as Usual

"You won't rat on them, you won't rat on us," Dingwall said, according to the retired bureaucrat.
cbc
Nice to see Cowboy Chuck was willing to employ the code of silence with the corrupt Conservatives as well as the corrupt Liberals.

4/21/2004

Steyn on Instability as a Good Thing

They've since managed to change Spain's. So why should the traffic be all one way? About two weeks after 9/11, I came to the conclusion that almost anything was better than Moussa's much-vaunted "stability." The fetishization of stability was a big part of the problem. Falling for the Moussa line would give us another 25 years of the ayatollahs, another 35 years of the PLO and Hamas, another 40 of the Ba'athists in Syria and Iraq, another 70 of Saudi Wahhabism. Even another 20 years of Mubarak doesn't have anything to commend it. All stability means is that the most malign Middle Eastern tyranny – Saudi Arabia – has wound up being the wealthiest and thus is able to export its toxins around the world, via the madrassas it has built in Pakistan, South Asia, the Balkans, and North America.
jerusalem post

Interesting

Looking over at the ads I note that the Ottawa Citizen is using online advertising to try and flog the stuff behind the wall. Strangely this is way smarter than putting the wall up in the first place...You know, if the Citizen took down the wall and put up AdSense I just have to bet they would be making more money than doing it ass backwards.

I also note that the Citizen blogged game seven as the Sens lost...Not behind the wall either. Hmmm.

The end of the UN

Well, not quite yet but it could be...go read Friends of Saddam a single issue blog about the "Oil for everything but food" scam at the United Nations. No wonder no one wanted the Coalition to invade.

Shooters

Weapons change, but the goal of the sniper remains the same: harass and intimidate the enemy, make him afraid to venture into the open, deny him the chance to rest and regroup.

The Marines believe their snipers have killed hundreds of insurgents, though that figure alone does not accurately portray the significance of sniping. A sign on the wall of sniper school at Camp Pendleton displays a Chinese proverb: "Kill One Man, Terrorize a Thousand."

"Sometimes a guy will go down, and I'll let him scream a bit to destroy the morale of his buddies," said the Marine corporal. "Then I'll use a second shot."

In negotiations aimed at ending the standoff in the city, the insurgents have demanded the Marines pull back their snipers.
la times registration required
Nasty, you bet. But infinitely more humane than some homicidal jackass driving a car into the midst of civilians. The Americans in Iraq need to ensure that the thugs and terrorists are actually scared to be armed in the streets. Snipers help.

Outstanding

I suspect the Government of PolSpy will be getting a sharp letter from the humour challenged folks at the nominal Government of Canada. Thanks Deb!

And speaking of desperate

al Qaeda blew up the Saudi National Security Headquarters earlier today.
Crown Prince Abdullah and the interior minister, Prince Nayef, visited the wounded, news agencies reported, with Prince Nayef pledging that the "hand of justice" will punish the attackers, Reuters said.

"It pains us that these people call themselves Muslims and citizens of this nation," Prince Nayef was quoted as saying.
new york times
The Saudis have known for some time that they had a huge al Qaeda problem right at home. And they have, to a degree, been working to stamp it out. However, given their track record and their unwillingness to step on the Wahabbi clergy's toes, the Saudis seem divided on how to solve the problem.

A good start would be to tell the assorted government paid Imam's to cool it with their Friday sermons. A small thing; but it would tend to reduce the level of tension and the level of support the terrorists enjoy in Saudi.

Martin Surrenders, Pandering wins the day

Mr. Martin told the MPs that he is proud of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's legacy of refusing to join the war, and criticized Mr. Harper for going to the United States to appear on a Fox News program and criticize the Liberal government for refusing to have Canada join the war.
globe and mail
Is there anything so vile as a politician in trouble depositing his principles at the door. Martin is going to Washington next week where he will meet President Bush - maybe. Frankly, if I were Bush I would suddenly find a reason to be out of town.

This sort of knee jerk anti-Americanism is right in line with Martin's other pathetic strategy of trying to convince us that the Conservative Party has been taken over by evangelical Christians. A charge which is as inflamatory as it is nasty. Martin and the Herle seem to think they are running the last election. I don't think too many Canadians will be distracted from the AdScam fiasco by this sort of thing. But, sadly, people within reach of the Toronto Star do the weirdest things.

Oil for Me!!

Those beastly sanctions, thousands of dead Iraqi babies because the poor, oppressed regime of Uncle Cuddles had no money for medicine....well, you had to be a bit of a lefty moron to believe that in the first place. But it is turning out to be much worse. That sanctuary of all that is good in the world, the United Nations, looks if this is possible, even a little scumier than usual with the revelation that at least three of its senior officials are suspected of taking bribes from Saddam.

I am once again shocked, shocked I say.

4/20/2004

Sue the insolent kitty


Bad Kitty

Khadrs

I find it extraordinary that Canada has been as accommodating to Mrs. Khadr and her son. Part of me wants to say that this is exactly what is wrong with Canada - we welcome our enemies to our bosom and bend over backwards to make them feel at home. But, as Thomas Walkom points out in this Toronto Star article, so far the Khadrs have not violated any Canadian laws.

Coyne gets it right:
No one doubts the family's loathsomeness, not to say their gall. Maybe they should never have been given citizenship in the first place: certainly the father should not have. But having been granted it, you can't take it away purely on the basis of their views. Neither can they be denied access to what is supposed to be a universal health care system: the government cannot, in a free society, be in the business of punishing people whose opinions it doesn't like. (And yes, I would repeal existing legislation to that effect, including the hate laws. The ban on incitement to violence is quite sufficient to keep the peace.)
andrew coyne
Which pretty much nails it. But Andrew's commenters were all over him. Some want to compare the Khadrs to the Japanese and the Germans in World War II, some are irritated at Walkom for pointing out the fact that Mrs. Khadr's views on homosexuality and drugs are indistinguishable from Stockwell Day's.

The comments suggest that there is a lot of bitterness in Canada about our perceived - and very real - failure to stand up with the rest of the Anglosphere and confront terrorism. But most of that bitterness is rather misguided in the case of the Khadrs.

My own frequent commenter KevinG gets it just right in a comment he makes at Coyne:
Bullseye Andrew.

Yeah it stinks. Their views are loathsome. But, there is only one kind of citizenship.

I don't want to go down the path of deciding on what basis you get some of the rights of citizenship and sometimes not.

The only basis on which the citizenship can be revoked is if they lied when applying for it eg: Zundel. If they received it through fraud then they were granted the citizenship wrongly.
And, Kevin, when are you going to get a blog of your own?

Homeopathy and all that jazz

Catherine Seipp writing in the National Review Online quotes physicist Robert Park:
Park meticulously deconstructs the absurdity of homeopathy with his explanation that standard homeopathic dilution formulas of 30C — one part medicine to one-followed-by-60-zeroes parts water — are based on an assumption of "more molecules than there are in the entire solar system." Homeopathic solutions contain not one molecule of active ingredient.
nro
via Instapundit

Cookie Jar meets Hand

The release of internal government memos dashed any hope Martin had finally escaped the sponsorship scandal, with opponents leaping on two 1995 memos to drag the prime minister deeper into the fiasco.

Senior government officials dismissed the documents Tuesday as a distortion of reality and the subject of a decade-old dispute within government now being resurrected to damage Martin in the sponsorship scandal.

In 1994-95, the Finance Department then led by Martin awarded seven communications contracts worth $525,900 to two Martin-friendly firms without following appropriate guidelines, according to the memos.

Those allegations were made in letters exchanged between a key figure in the sponsorship scandal - Public Works bureaucrat Chuck Guite - and Warren Kinsella, an assistant to then-Public Works minister David Dingwall.

They agreed that the contracting practices in Martin's department had to be stopped.
cnews
Meanwhile, over at Warren Kinsella's blog (sort of) Kinsella links to a CP story in which:
"None of these procurements were conducted through (Public Works) contrary to cabinet-approved guidelines. This is simply unacceptable,'' said the July 24, 1995, memo from Warren Kinsella, an aide to then-public works minister David Dingwall.

"I require an immediate explanation as to how the department in question (Finance) was permitted to breach the guidelines in this way, and what is being done to remedy the situation.''
warren kinsella
If ever there was a torpedo shot at the waterline of the good ship Martin this is it.

The golden rule

Whenever I go to a blog with those clever text ads - think James Bow, Blogs Canada, Andrew Coyne - I make it a point to whack at least one. Helps cover the costs and buys the blogger a beer....

4/19/2004

Spain, France, England

British police foiled a series of suicide bomb attacks at a Manchester United soccer match with the arrest of 10 people in anti-terror raids on Monday, the Sun newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The paper quoted an unnamed police source as saying the suspects had bought tickets for seats around the club's 67,000-capacity stadium for their premier league match against Liverpool on Saturday.

"The plot involved several individual bombers in separate parts of the stadium," the source told the paper. "If successful, any such attack would have caused absolute carnage."

Ten people were held under anti-terror laws in a series of dawn raids involving 400 police across northern England on Monday.
reuters
Yes, it is the Sun. But the raids are real and so is the threat.

The Bag Carrier

The Apprentice is, thankfully, over. Now is it just me or were the two final tasks - run a golf tournament, escort a rock starlet - the sort of thing which may not have needed a Harvard MBA or significant startup experience. It is not as if Bill had to recruit the celebrities or find the promo gifts - his whole job was to make sure a couple of signs and a car were somewhere on a golf course. The worst which could have happened was that the dinner tent would catch on fire or the Donald's hair would fall off on the fifth tee.

Kuame? Get rock star from airport to hotel. Now, if this was a real rock star, say Keith Richards, that might be a challenge; but this was Jessica Simpson who, until The Apprentice I thought was the soother sucking baby on The Simpsons. But Jessica is a big girl and she has "people". There was no issue here other than Osama-rosa opening her mouth and lying.

Both of the tasks were one or two person gigs. Bill should have kept Amy for decorative and Donald value and fired the rest. Kuame should have kept Troy just for the fun of it and fired the rest.

But the teaser for next year promises shorter deadlines and Fortune 500 companies. And now everyone knows that you can fire really lame team members....should be fun.

Next Up

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal on Monday called for an Arab and Muslim alliance to defeat the United States and Israel.

"Our battle is with two sides, one of them is the strongest power in the world, the United States, and the second is the strongest power in the region (Israel)," he told hundreds of people at the al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus.
reuters
The odd thing about Hamas, and many of the rest of the Palestinian terrorists, is how detached from any sort of reality they are. After having two of your top people blown away in less than a month it would be reasonable to ask whether or not you really needed more enemies. But not Hamas. No, for Hamas it is always about continuing the fight. Sending more, poor, ignorant people into Israel to scatter body parts.

The Palestinians need real leadership and that leadership has to have a firm grasp on reality. Terrorist dreamers are simply ensuring that Israel will not negotiate and that the United States has no basis to suggest that negotiation is the best solution.

Ultimately, Hamas is not the problem. The Palestinian Authority (sic) is. And, until the Troll of Ramallah (TM) has been sent to his reward there is next to no chance that a realist leadership will emerge. Which simply means more years of misery for the Palestinians.

Herling: Spin with attitude

Campaign co-chair David Herle explained how Liberals will paint their election platform as a positive one, compared with what he described as Harper's anti-Canadian agenda.

Canada's soldiers would be fighting in Iraq today against public will if it were up to Harper, and the country's social programs and medicare would be gutted by the major tax cuts he has proposed, Herle argued.

"They actually don't like Canada the way it is," Herle told reporters after delivering a presentation to about 400 Liberals at an Ontario meeting. The longtime Martin adviser delivered a similar talk later Saturday to a Quebec audience.

"They do think it's some socialist backwater that's in decline and they do think that it needs to be fundamentally changed. Stephen Harper says, 'If we get into office, you won't recognize this country.' Well that scares Canadians. That's not what they're looking for."
cnews
What's amazing about Herle is his ability to conclude that if you take issue with the Liberal agenda in Canada you are anti-Canadian.

Usually, when a political party sees its agenda and performance as synonymous with the nation it is well past time for that party to spend some time in Opposition. The last thing Martin needs is a senior party operator telling people that Canada and the Liberal Party are, well, the same thing.

Skim

Wonkette's publisher in the New York Times:
The rules of the blogosphere demand displaying corrections quickly and prominently, said Mr. Denton (and sarcastically, in Ms. Cox's case), but he has no hesitation about running an item with paper-thin sourcing. "I think it's implicit in the way that a Web site is produced that our standards of accuracy are lower," he said. "Besides, immediacy is more important than accuracy, and humor is more important than accuracy."
Denton is a very smart guy and I think he understands that in a media world in which The Apprentice is taken as an acccurate portraryal of business, Wonkette will be way more interesting than Bob Woodward's latest book. Which likely means we are all going straight to Hell. But in the most entertaining way.

4/18/2004

Sunday Delight

Go read this week's dissection of the Globe and Mail's Chomsky cheerleader, Heather Mallick. Bob at Let it Bleed takes out the Mallick trash with malicious humour which means I don't have to read the silly woman. I still think they keep her around simply to ensure no one says Leah McLaren is the dumbest person on the paper.