View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
I finally found out what all the buzz was about in the Pacers-Celtics series. It took 4 minutes for anyone to score in overtime. Nothing until then. No baskets, no foul shots, nothin'. Indiana finally got a free throw at that point, and it's a shame that they went on to get 4 more points, since 5-0 in overtime doesn't do the story justice. I was kind of hoping for a scoreless overtime, maybe two of them, and then the teams could agree to go to sudden-death, maybe a free-throw shooting contest. The winner of this game should just get a pass as the Eastern Conference representative, just on the basis of being the most representative.

As part of our Management Information Systems course, we had to take a look at a "webinar," basically a narrated Powerpoint presentation, on data mining and its uses. The case study was Harrah's hotels and casinos. While it was essentially 5 minutes of content packed into 30 minutes of talk, what really stood out is the galloping corporate debasement of the English language.

One term I particularly liked was "marketing intervention," basically meaning marketing to existing customers based on their behaviors. But the term sounds like a SWAT team from Harrah's marketing department that storms into a guest's hotel room as he finishes taking of his jacket, turning on the TV and splashing a little water on his face. They lock the door, express sincere, heartfelt concern over this destructive affinity he has for the fountains over at the Bellagio, and demand and destroy his Caeser's Player's card. Then, they give him a voucher for some free drinks at the bar and escort him down to Harrah's roulette wheel.

The Colorado Campaign for Israeli Surrender, er, Middle East Peace (they'd re-make a desert and call it peace) is planning to picket a synagogue(!) over an Israeli Independence Day choral concert May 7th.

Look again at that sentence.

They've gone to picketing a Jewish house of worship - protesting against Jews for being Jewish, in effect. So much for being anti-Israel without being anti-Semitic.

Did I mention this is happening two blocks from my house?

We are planning a counter-demo, mostly to give the police a reason for moving them across the street to the school parking lot, and allowing concert-goers to enter the shul without being harassed and called Nazis.

But this is ridiculous. How long is it before they find out that some rabbis - gasp! - give sermons supporting Israel, and decide to picket, or disrupt, Shabbat services? My feeling is that they've crossed a red line here, significantly ratcheting up the temperature, and that this represents a further mainstreaming of anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Well, I'm back, after a long detour for Passover. It's actually an 8-day holiday, with two non-work days both at the begining and the end. This year, because of the calendar, it meant a Thursday-Saturday off, and then Wednesday-Thursday, and then Saturday again. Makes it difficult to get a rhythm. At the Passover program I was at, I gave a speech about anti-Semitism from the Left, its connection to the Cold War and the radical left, and radical Islam as a replacement for Communism. It went well, covered academia and politics, and got both good questions and a friendly reception.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
E.J. Dionne's column (here in the Houston Chronicle, but sadly given wide distribution) is a straw man arguing past his opponent. Dionne's basic assertion is that government taxes us in order to preserve our basic rights, and that people who argue we're overtaxed forget this - just look at the looting in Baghdad.


First of all, conservatives have always argued that maintaining law and order is one of the few, most elemental roles of government. So much for Baghdad-on-the-Potomac. We don't want that, either.

A little more serious, but not much, is his claim that high taxes preserve property rights. Now, how a confiscatory government can respect anyone's property rights is beyond me. But the claim is more subtle than that: by redistributing wealth, we're preserving an order that disproportionately benefits the wealthy, therefore, the wealthy should be happy to fork over, say 50 or 60% of their money to the government that protects them. And here is a fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. Liberals see the pie as fixed, people's place in it also fixed. Maybe you can improve your lot, but probably not. So the only way to keep this static society from imploding, and the masses from rebelling, is to buy them off with ever-increasing amounts of Soma, or whatever.

Conservatives see a much different picture. We see a society where improvement is possible, not easily, but definitely possible, and for the majority of people. We see a fluid society where the wealthy can fall, and the poor can rise. And the opportunity to rise is what gives real hope, faith in the system, and therefore stability. Hope doesn't come from expecting that this week's Government Basket of Goodies will be larger than last week's. It comes from the expectation that you have control over your own destiny, something reistribution does nothing to promote. So conservatives are in favor of whatever increases that opportunity.

Dionne's too clever by half. By conflating basic government services, like making sure your TV is there when you get home, with extras like midnight basketball, he tries to make the case for virtually any activity the government chooses to fund. But it doesn't work. Because protecting my freedom means increasing my choices, not making them for me.

Nicholas Kristof is at it again. Today's column cuts the US a little slack about handing out ricebags, and then goes on to get the rebuilding process exactly wrong. Kristof raises four points:
  • How much do we involve the UN?
  • Who from the US oversees Iraq?
  • What Iraqis do we hand power over to?
  • How long do we stay?
    Only on the last question - arguing for staying long enough to make sure democratic changes have real roots - does Kristof come even remotely close. On the other three he whiffs so badly you can feel the breeze from Baghdad.

    Kristof argues that the US military should be in charge of the physical reconstruction, while handing over the job of designing the political structure to the UN. This is exactly backwards. The last thing we need is international bureaucrats in charge of designing a government, which we rebuild bridges. No, the UN is marginally competent at handing outfood aid, and a political system we design and nourish should be able to kick them out when it's ready to.

    Kristof argues that the State Department guys, despite all their flaws, and best-suited to run the show over there. But the State Department is technically competent without vision. Putting diplomatic retreads over there is almost the same thing as asking in the UN.

    Finally, Kristof conflates the short-term political design with the long-term one. In the short-term, there's nothing the matter with making it clear that we have certain favorites. In fact, it's probably essential to making sure that democratic reforms take root, and that democratic institutions get a chance to develop. This is an entirely different matter from who wins the first Iraqi election for president. Nobody is talking about appointing a President-for-Life, and the best way to avoid getting one is to let the exiles, who've absorbed democracy from within, help set the tone and teach the country how to make them work.

  • Over at Powerline, the Big Trunk has been chronicling the debate between his daughter and a professor there, James Sleeper. It seems Mr. Sleeper has taken exception to an article by the young Miss Johnson, published in FrontPageMag, critical of the hateful anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism on display at a recent Yale "teach-in" on the war. As nearly as I can make out, Mr. Sleeper objects to Miss Johnson naming names in an off-campus publication, at least that's about all I can get out his somewhat incoherent complaints. So, some questions for Mr. Sleeper:

    1. Are the rules different for a public university vs. a private one? Do taxpayers have a right to know what kind of "excesses" their taxes support? Be very careful answering this question on April 15. You might provoke an "uncivil" reaction. In any case, don't the parents of private school students have the same right to know where their tuition goes?
    2. Since the arguments presented we not ad hominem, but idea-driven, can we assume than any debate outside the university that refers to any individuals in out of bounds? Or are the rules, outside the classroom, different for students and professors? Would this mean that a student article in, say, Talking Points Memo, taking Bernard Lewis to task for something or other, would be equally inappropriate?
    3. If anything arguing ideas, along with the names of those on the other side, is out of bounds, then musn't all university professors refrain from publishing op-eds, persuasive pieces in journals such as The New Republic, television appearances with Bill Moyers, and radio appearances on NPR? Wouldn't this retreat from public debate severely hamper the University's attempt to educate the public?
    4. Why is your complaint not with FrontPageMag, rather than with the student? If FPM is fair, surely you or Prof. Gutas would be allowed to respond in its pages, assuming your response made more sense than your email to Miss Trunk. FPM is conservative, and you claim its readership is almost entirely "the converted," meaning conservatives. Doesn't this suggest a rather closed collective (whoops, there's that Marxism again) mind on the left? Should they not read FPM themselves, either for the broadening effect it might have on their opinions, or if only for opposition research, or the adrenaline rush?
    5. If we are to take you at your word, your opposition is to debate happening outside the grounds of the University, at a University where people of like mind to you control the, er, means of production. So, while our complaints may have a Marxist component after all, they resort to a perfectly "civil," very capitalist solution. The real Stalinists would just burn down the YDN offices, right?

    It looks as though Abu Abbas, wanted for the Achille Lauro hijacking,has been arrested.

    1 - Don't look for him in the Hague any time soon

    2 - Terrorism? What terrorism? We have no terrorism here!

    I wonder whether the anti-Semitism of the Left really may have something to do with the neoconservative movement. While that movement was never solely Jewish, many of the early neocons were Jewish refugees from the anti-Communist left, driven out of respectable liberalism by the Stalinists. The Stalinists ended up on the wrong side of history, but have never really been called to account for it. Still, in their hearts, they know they're wrong. The neocons, without compromising their integrity, placed themselves on the right side of history. So the radicals, still in power, are feeling the twin stings of being very publicly very wrong, and having had this fact pointed out by former friends who they feel betrayed them. Since many of these early neocons were Jewish...

    Monday, April 14, 2003
    Fox News notes that one Iraqi scientist who surrendered is named Jafar Jafar, apparently not only unable to afford a second name, but needing to borrow even his first from Disney.

    I've been reading Hilton Kramer's Twilight of the Intellectuals, about the liberal intellectual set during the Cold War. While he starts with a discussion of the Hiss case, he rapidly moves on to the more general problem of Stalinism, and the difficulty the left had in confronting it. There were two blacklists, one by people who didn't like Communists, and one by Communists, who didn't like liberals pointing out they were communists. The whole history of Stalinism among the left, and those who were willing defenders and obfuscators of it, is a seamy and revolting one, the white-washing of which has allowed the Left, by and large, to escape the intellectual cleansing it needs.

    I just came from an appearance at Metro State College of Denver by Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-Large of the National Review Online. And I have to admit I was simulatenously pleased and disappointed. Since it's easier to damn than to praise, I'll get the praise out of the way early. Apparently, he arrived expecting to speak about the Iraq War, and ended up being greeted by a title "Liberal Media Bias." Given that, he did a nice job of ad-libbing about that topic, although I suspect he's addressed it a number of times in the past.

    Still, while he was entertaining (one guy brought up a recent, obscure topic in NRO's blog site, The Corner, and rather than set up details nobody else cared about, he dismissed it as "inside Parcheesi"), most of the jokes had already appeared either in the Corner or in his column. He started out trying to gloat about the war, but never really got back to it later. His talking style isn't the best, either, interrupted by frequent ums and uhs, and at times he did a fair impression of a windmill with his arms.

    But these are styilistic quibbles. My main objections are that 1) he spent a fair amount of time on Fox News, but appealed more to its ratings as proof that the public, even liberals, acknowledge the truth of LMB. This is true, but the saving virtue isn't that Fox winks when it claims fairness and balance, but that it presents ideas and context that's not presented anywhere else, and 2) that's valuable, because the public debate, the terms, contexts, and assumptions, are frequently defined by the media. Listen to NPR long enough, and you'll forget all sorts of basic assumptions about political discourse.

    I'm sure all these points were in there somewhere, but I don't think he did a very good job of tying them together.

    Thursday, April 10, 2003
    Looks like the Colorado Campaign for Israeli Surrender, er, Middle East Peace, is willing to fight longer that Saddam himself. They're planning a rally here in Denver on Saturday, and Americans Against Terrorism is planning a counter-demo just to remind them who's right and in the majority. (Funny how they're willing to quote poll numbers when it's a matter of City Council resolutions, but make their minority status a mark of martyrdom when their support drops below 20%.) They've set up a new organization for the event, called, Patriots for Peace, which is neither peaceful nor patriotic. Their main spokemen are, respectively, and Arab PR professional and a self-proclaimed Marxist professor. CCMEP has organized disruptive and violent rallies at the local Air Force Base and down in Colorado Springs.

    Next Week: protests against the invasion of Panama.

    One of the Marines talking to Rick Leventhal on Fox News just confirmed that public support is tremendously important to the guys in the field. Now, most of us knew this already. Someone should get the word to Tim Robbins, who gave one of the least gracious performances possible on ESPN's Dan Patrick Show earlier today. Given the chance to admit that, gee, maybe the mission hadn't been a complete disaster, after all, launched another broadside into the Bush Administration.

    Another Marine, this one a reservist, just turned down a chance to say that he'd rather be home, saying that "the bullets flying is a lot more exciting." Gotta love these guys. Hope he comes home safely.

    Evidently, the ICRC is worried about the looting, as it now seems to be affecting hospitals. Given that, according to the Jerusalem Post, the Iraqi National Congress wants close relations with Israel, I'm sure the Magen David Adom would be happy to help the ICRC restock...oh, wait, never mind.

    For those of you who don't know, the Magen David Adom is Israel's Red Cross, only using a Jewish Star as its symbol. The ICRC refuses to admit it to its membership, on the grounds that the Jewish star is a religious symbol. What they think a cross is, I don't know.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2003
    Jack Kelly incorrectly states in today's Washington Times that the last time an Arab army defeated a Western one was when Saladin "liberated" (to use the current French Prime Minister's word) Jerusalem. Well, if you don't count the Ottomans, who were Turks, but whose army contained a fair number of Arabs. They were at the gates of Vienna as recentlyas 1683. By the way, when Idid the Google search to refresh my memory about the date, the only sponsored websites to pop up on the right were for furniture coverings and footstools. Really.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003
    Where are the MPs? This is what MPs are for. For the British soldiers to say that they're not responsible for law and order may be technically true - those soldiers aren't. But divisions carry with them MPs, whose job it is exactly to establish law and order in captured areas. I don't agree with the ICRC on much, especially their disdain for 6-pointed stars as uniquely religious symbols, but they're right on this. When we go into an area, we're responsible for keeping this sort of chaos from erupting.

    As for the man whose family was lost, that's a terrible, terrible thing, but a sad side-effect of war, soon to be over, we hope. It's disingenuous of the paper to fold the two together. Collateral civilian casualties are something we've tried mightily to avoid, probably resulting in our own dead, and the writer is correct that the man's grief is exaggerating his bitterness. That story doesn't belong anywhere in the same article as a story about the lack of MPs.

    The Post has been running columns for the last three weeks about how we're not welcome, people don't put any hope in us, and civilians are getting clobbered. Anthony Shadid has written a couple of dozen articles, all on one of themes or the other. It's part of the whole effort to gauge how well the "hearts and minds"campaign is coming. Every time I hear that phrase, I think of Chuck Colson.

    The guys at NRO will love this one. A Denver jury has convicted three nuns after they waltzed into a restricted military area housing nuclear missiles, and made a somewhat, um, brash display of disapproval.

    A couple of things worth noting. First, the defense attorney was Walter Gerash, Denver's own version of Johnny Cochran. Not necessarily know for race-baiting, he's certainly a tireless self-promoter with a penchant for high-profile, left-wing cases. The jury foreman said that while they all agreed with the nuns' politics (noting somewhat over-broadly that "nobody in America wants nuclear weapons;" I want nuclear weapons), they still voted to convict. No doubt Mr. Gerash used the well-honed techniques for exploiting our deeply flawed jury-selection rules to find a liberal jury, one that can't even conceive of alternate political opinions. But they still showed tremendous maturity, and the wisdom of the jury system, in putting aside those politics and voting to convict anyway.

    Of course, Mr. Gerash calls it a "casualty of war," but this sort of showboating is really a casualty of seriousness. Judaism doesn't have nuns, or even monks, but there's something unseemly about women using their status as nuns for this sort of thing. It's not quite the same thing as pastors screeching anti-war hysteria from the pulpit of the National Cathedral, but it's pretty close.

    One of the reasons that Wellington Webb has been such a popular mayor - elected for three terms despite a pledge not to run again in 1999 - is that he knows how to get things done, and has supported business without selling out to them. He's certainly had his share of problems; getting a hotel for the new convention center comes to mind. By putting the city in charge of running the thing, he's opened up virtually unlimited opportunities for graft.

    But right now, with United sinking under its own weight, he's smartly opened negotiations with other airlines to step into an void that might open up. The city has already given United a bunch of breaks, like Concourse B, and if United can't deliver, it's time to start looking for others who may be able to. Call it regime change at DIA.

    The Denver Post reports today about last year's compensation for a local company, First Data. In a city that has seen Qwest implode under misconduct by over-compensated executives, and United failing to make takeoff speed because of overcompensated everyone else, the context is bad. But First Data is prospering, everyone I know who works there likes the place and is happy with compensation and the work environment. So why the focus on the Chairman, rather than the company as a whole? There's no company context given, no sense that his package, which certainly doesn't seem opulent compared to what Nacchio walked off with, is out of proportion to the company's success.

    Some CEOs rob their shareholders with accounting tricks and false promises. Others actually build successful companies. Those guys should get good publicity, rather than Daschle-like "questions" and "concerns."

    Monday, April 07, 2003
    A couple of more Up Front quotes, warnings about our prisoners and even some of the civilians we're liberating. The mission is noble, but remember that people are people...

    The Germans prefer to surrender to Americans rather than to some Europeans, because they know they will be treated fairly. Being Germans they take advantage of this sometimes. I watched a crippled FFI man working the hell out of a detail of German prisoners at the docks of Marseilles. He was not abusing theml he was simply making certain their hands got calloused. He had been crippled by the Germans and they had wrecked the docks, so his heart was in his work. Then an American sergeant, who had the air of a man freshly arrived in Europe, strolled past and stared at the prisoners. Immediately they began groaning and limping and looking sick, weary, and picked-on. The sergeant stopped the work and gave each man a cigarette. The Frenchman stood and watched him do it and then limped away disgustedly. The American turned his back for a moment, and the entire detail of krauts grinned at each other.


    Most people in Italy and Sicily gave us a rousing welcome in all their towns and cities, but nowhere was there such excitement as in Rome. We got awful cynical about it, because the enthusiasm seemed to stop, and the complaints seemed to start, 24 hours after everybody was kissing everybody else.

    Look, as I said people are people, and I'm not being racist, since these are stories about Europeans. But there's euphoria, and then there's waiting in line for the military governor of your district to get around to issuing you a pass to go see family in another district, or get you water for a hot shower, or serve meals to replace the crops the tanks ran over on the way to liberate you. I think the military is probably better-equipped than just about any other organization to get this stuff done on a temporary basis, and yes, we train for this, too. Just remember that life has to go on, and we've promised them that it'll go on better than before.

    Jed Babbin over on NRO quoted a conversation he had with Ollie North about the front-line medical crews. As a reminder that some things never change, here's a quote from Bill Mauldin's 1944 classic, Up Front:

    But the dogface's real hero is the litter-bearer and aid man who goes into all combat situations right along with the infantryman, shares his hardships and dangers, and isn't able to fight back. When the infantryman is down, the medic must get up and help him. That's not pleasant sometimes when there's shooting.

    The aid men and litter bearers know that their work is often far more important than that of the surgeon at the operating table; because if it were not for the aid man the casualty would not live to reach the surgeon's table.
    Put yourself in the wounded guy's shoes when he sees the medic appear over him, and the pain is dulled by morphine, his bleeding is stopped, and his is lifted out and carried back to safety and good surgery. Sure, he's going to love that medic. And after a few dozen men owe their lives to one man, that little pill roller is going to be very well liked indeed.

    Friday, April 04, 2003
    Michael Kelly's death is tragic. NRO and Powerline call him a conservative, but he was truly a rarity, a principled liberal. He despised Clinton & Gore for their betrayal of liberalism, and was contemptuous of the hollowing-out of the morals and ethics of the Democratic Party. He admired Bush for his principles. Read his pre-9/11 stuff to see this. On a political level, a man like Michael Kelly showed how radical the Democratic party had become. Journalistically, we've lost someone we can point to as the embodiment of loyal opposition.

    Some favorite columns:

  • February 2002, The Atlantic
  • May 23, 2001 Washington Post
  • May 30, 2001 Washington Post
    This wasn't the first time Powell let himself get blindsided by our "allies."
  • April 18, 2001 Washington Post
  • November 7, 2001 Washington Post
    Wishing for a responsible Left.
  • September 5, 2001 Washington Post
    Kelly's outstanding characteristic was his integrity. It allowed him to see phonies like the Clintons and Gore for what they are, to wish the best for a President (Bush) whom he might not have seen eye-to-eye on, and to write what he thought even though it cost him his job, and not to complain about faux "censorship," when it happened. The courage to criticize your own is hard to come by, especially when the country keeps electing presidents with less than 50% of the vote. But it was the kind of courage that wins and keeps readers, and keeps administrations honest.

  • The Denver Post reports this morning on Iraqi immigrants to the US who are now back in Iraq, serving with the Armed Forces as translators, and gathering intelligence on the ground. Try not to cry.

    Peter Singer from the Brookings Institution just said on Fox News that we should wait until military victory to put the new government into place in Iraq. Evidently, we're talking about putting a provisional civilian government into place within the next week. As long as we get the right kind of government - one that doesn't draw on the Ba'ath party for anything - this seems to me to be a good idea. It gives the Iraqi populace something to rally to, and can only hasten the fall of the government. His example was that we didn't declare victory in WWII until Hitler was dead and the German high command had surrendered. True enough. But there was a Free French government-in-waiting, ready to take over as soon as we had Paris, even without the rest of France.

    Thursday, April 03, 2003
    The St. Petersburg Times has a column today describing the differences between war coverage on Western and Arab TV. While the differences are striking, moreso is this paragraph tucked down in the middle:

    "At the start of the war, I used to watch Fox News every day and I'd get frustrated and angry," said Iyad Kayyali, a Jordanian factory owner who attended college in Texas. "They give just one side of the story and are very prejudiced. It's like they are supporting the Jewish people and all Arabs are terrorists."

    Here, in a nutshell, is everything that's wrong with the liberal way of looking at the Middle East. This is a middle-to-upper-class Jordanian (not prey to despair or hopelessness), educated in the United States (where he had ample opportunity to learn about us and from us) who still thinks this war is about Jews. I watched Fox News for the first 48 hours or so nonstop, and while they had a corspondent in Tel Aviv, they went to her a couple of times a day, mostly to see if any Scud-enhanced gassings had taken place. That's it. I don't even think the word "Jews" crossed the lips of any anchor or reporter that I can remember.

    The most that can be said about Fox News is that they're rooting for US to win. Well, why not? In fact, the question should be why the Texas-educated Mr. Kayyali isn't rooting for us to win. I realize that once you've been to what Harlem was it's hard to go home to what Harlem is. But you don't make things better for yourself by lionizing the street thugs and alienating the one neighbor who has something to offer you besides blood, toil, sweat, and tears.

    Of course, Mrs. Martin is oblivious to all this. In her eyes, it's perfectly natural that the Arabs, including their television, should root for the Arabs, and that we, well, maybe not her, but we, the unwashed masses, the kind who watch Fox News, should root for the US. (I'm not surprised, by the way, that military analysis by retired Egyptian generals would focus on American losses. Losses by attempted invasion with overwhelming numbers are what they know best. But I'm not surprised they don't mention the 1967 war in connection with the current efficiency of the Iraqi Air Force, batting average 0 of 0.)

    There was another article in the Washington Post about Palestinian youth looking at the Iraq War and seeing the West Bank. People killed (by "overanxious troops") at checkpoints, destroyed neighborhoods, suicide bombings. Naturally, they conclude that the Americans are just like the Israelis, without bringing up the obvious corollary that that's because Saddam is a hell of a lot like Arafat's twin brother, only with a better barber. Leaving aside the obvious tendency for one bombed-out building to closely resemble another, they've got a point. But they don't talk about the other ways that the Americans resemble the Israelis - placing their own soldiers at risk to avoid killing civilians, democracy, freedom of religion (even for Muslims).

    Look, war stinks, and Palestinian students are as immature and unformed as the Bozos from Berkeley screaming about "Blood for Oil." That's why they repeat the al-Jazeera line about our showing Iraqi POWs etc., etc. But there's a reason that we focus on the big picture, rather than on the civilians. We're trying to focus on the good we intend to do, and the restraint we're showing in doing it. We're trying to appeal to the best in people, hoping to build something valuable ver there. Al-Jazeera is just trying to whip up emotion and is appealing to the worst in people. Which is the surest way to make the Iraqis look a lot more like the Palestinians.

    Since it's not too soon to begin worrying about post-war Iraq, let's do that. This administration is tremendous when it comes to planning. If anything, they sometimes rely too heavily on their plans, and not enough on their wits. This is all right when, as in this war, you hold all the cards that count. As one Marine put it just before they pushed off, Saddam has a lot that could make their lives miserable, but nothing that could stop them. But the administration has a tendency to get sidetracked and surprised when it comes to politics and diplomacy. They had policy plans ready to roll out during the transition after the 2000 elections, only to almost lose the election by losing focus, and costing themselves large parts of that transition. They similarly let themselves get caught up in the Security Council Tango, shortening our own timelines, the diplomatic results of which are still undetermined.

    Jed Babbin has a piece on his blog from yesterday suggesting that many senior Iraqis are headed out of the country, taking or burning valuable archives along the way. If we know about it now, it would be a damn shame, unforgivable really, to let them avoid us. The WMDs were our main reason for waging this war, benefits to the Iraqi people notwithstanding, and it would be nice to actually get the goods on them and their European and Russian patrons.

    Secondly, the sooner the new Iraqi provisional government makes its appearance, the better. It will need to gain international recognition. This means recognition from a large number of countries, but it also provides another chance to drag this whole mess back into the UN with the French/US equivalent of a political convention's credentials fight. We can't let that happen, but it might be worthwhile researching a similar problem with the Chinese Security Council seat.

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