April 14, 2003

Kucinich wants a DOPe in the White House

Got this in an e-mail from Dennis Kucinich. Seems he wants a DOPe in the White House, and I don't just mean him.

They're running a DOPe campaign:

Today, we redoubled our efforts to promote peace at the national level. Forty-seven of my fellow Members of Congress and I introduced H.R. 2459, a bill to establish the Department of Peace at the Cabinet level. The Members of Congress who joined with me were: [trimmed out list of usual suspects -ed].

Please read more about our bill here: www.dopcampaign.org/read_bill.htm.

The co-sponsors and I encourage you to get involved in this campaign. The Department of Peace website offers you ways to do this. We have found that just talking about the Department of Peace with your friends and family is an excellent and effective way to introduce a discussion on the issue of peace.

I can see it now, uniformed volunteers fanning out across the world, singing Kumbiya... I'm getting all misty.

Posted by campbell at 04:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Today's Philosophy Lesson

"The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."
— Hegel

I will have to spend the day pondering the significance to philosophy of the reported jailbreak in London of a pet owl.

Police appealed to residents to report sightings of Jazz, described as dark brown and 20 inches tall, with a 6-foot wingspan. The European eagle owl is the world's largest species of owl, and has been known to hunt foxes and small deer.

Police said hunger might drive Jazz to hunt rabbits, cats "or even small dogs."

"It is unlikely that he would attempt to catch small children as he lives with children at home," police said.

That last is comforting, I think.

Posted by campbell at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saddam and the Jihadists

Ah, yes, I endlessly heard how Saddam was secular and Al-Qaeda was religious and they hated each other and they could never work together. and yadda yadda.

Whoa. Here's news, Saddam was best buddies with the jihadists, you know, like the guys that kill innocent Israelis and blew up the World Trade Center.

Another peace movement meme destroyed by truth.

PRESIDENT Saddam Hussein imported hundreds of well-trained Islamic guerrillas before the war to spearhead his fight against American and British forces, The Times has learnt.

Documents and captives seized by British troops in Basra reveal that the recruits were arriving in Baghdad from Muslim countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as little as ten days before the war began.

They came to wage jihad against the Western military, and provided some of the fiercest resistance as the coalition advanced northwards. Survivors are still mounting occasional attacks in Baghdad and other cities.

US officials are seizing on the guerrillas' presence as evidence of links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist organisation - links that the Bush Administration has long cited as a justification for the war.

The foreign fighters provide a 'direct tie between Saddam Hussein and terrorist organisations', a Pentagon spokeswoman said last night.
[ ... ]
The foreign fighters were given money, and operated alongside Fedayin units rather than Baath party militias, and never the regular army. What is now apparent is that it was these foreign fighters who led the resistance inside Iraq's second city.

Weaponry found shows they were well-supplied with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns, and that the tactics they employed proved that they knew how to use such hardware to attempt to disable tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Okay, so who trained them? Al-Qaeda, probably.

The extended battle for Basra was seized on by the antiwar side as proving how Iraqis would fight for their land. Obviously, it just shows the close ties of Islamic Fascism and Islamic Fundamentalism and their common cause.

Posted by campbell at 01:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Hunt for WMD

The last holding action for the much-battered antiwar forces is the whine "But they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction..."

Well, leave aside all those chem suits and atropine capsules found around Iraq, leave aside the fact that the military has been very busy pacifying the area around Baghdad for just 1 week, leave aside that there is still a war going on, let's just look at the scale of the task. Here's General Tommy Franks on the hunt as the US starts the real search for WMD.

"But you're talking about 2,000, 3,000 perhaps, places in this country where we know we're going to go and investigate each one of them. We may have ... somewhere between five and 10 and 15 site exploitations ongoing in a 24-hour period of time."

So, if they get to 10 site inspections a day (on average) it could take 7 to 10 months to visit all the already-suspected sites. If in the course of interrogation of Baathists and scientists, they uncover another 1,000 sites to visit, that's 4 more months. So 11 to 14 months just to inspect.

The UN had two, maybe three teams with much reduced leverage, zero control of the country, virtually no access to interviewing scientists and very poor operational and intelligence security than is now the case. So a rough guess is that it would have taken 5 years to even approach a fraction of the effectiveness we will now see. With the Iraqis scurrying around covering tracks, moving sites.

Looks like UN inspections had zero chance of actually working.

Posted by campbell at 01:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Trying to Get the Left on Track

A nice summation of the current schism in the left between those who support tyrannical murderous regimes and those who oppose them. This is an extract from a letter sent by John Lloyd, a New Statesman columnist resigning his post:

France and Germany, the two leading anti-war states in Europe, baulked at acting against murderous tyrannies or collapsed states throughout the 1990s - in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, as well as Iraq. Where action to overthrow dictatorial regimes has been taken in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and now Iraq, it has been taken either with US prompting, or with the US military in the lead. In the first three cases, the result was a lifting of tyranny and the chance of a better life for the peoples of those countries.

European states are far more active and efficient in providing development assistance and peacekeeping forces than is the US. But there are times when peace must be made before it can be kept; and Europe as a whole has seen such moments as none of its business, relying on the US, and then usually blaming it for carrying the can.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN leaders have spread the message that their organisation could now enter into its own - as a protector of the downtrodden who, most often, are trodden on by their own rulers. This movement culminated, less than two years ago, in a Canadian-sponsored report, A Responsibility to Protect -- a brilliant summation of the arguments for stripping tyrants of sovereign inviolability. Of the major government leaders, only Blair has embraced the report, as the logical extension of the ethical dimension in foreign policy that Labour promulgated when it came to office.

Most of the left refused to follow this line. For some, it has been enough to declare all ethical dimensions phoney, since states such as Britain continued to shake hands with tyrants. For others, state sovereignty seems a necessary protection against what they see as the largest threat to the world: US imperialism.

US imperialism, in this view of a now resurgent part of the left, is composed of a mixture of things: efforts to control energy resources, principally oil; the repression of the Palestinians to ensure the security of the US "client state" Israel; a US refusal to tolerate any power that counterbalances its own; a hatred of all cultures other than its own, and a determination to destroy such cultures to make the world passively receptive to American values and merchandise.

Will the end of the war and the effort to rebuild decent government in Iraq change the view of the left? It would seem unlikely: the anti-US reflex is too ingrained, the dislike of Blair too great.

Yet the left's programme now should be to argue in favour of committing resources to those multilateral agencies that work, and to seek agreement from those forces everywhere in the world that are committed to democratic (or at least more responsive) government and to an observation of human and civil rights. The aim, as the US political scientist Michael Walzer has put it, should be a "strong international system, organised and designed to defeat aggression, to stop massacres and ethnic cleansing, to control weapons of mass destruction and to guarantee the physical security of all the world's peoples".

Posted by campbell at 01:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack