Monday, March 29, 2004

Blogger, I take it back

I guess it didn't eat the post afterall. Phew.

Damn blogger

I had just gone back and gotten the quote from 60 Minutes regarding Iraq not supporting al Qaeda, ever, and his quote from 1999's Washington Post saying Iraqi nerve agent experts helped bin Laden and al Qaeda make nerve gas in Sudan.

But Blooger ate my post. I'll have to redo it for you tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I'm not forcing you to believe anything. I'm posting Clarke's positions and you're saying you don't believe them. I don't blame you. Believe me, I'd never force you to believe anything he said. That's your call.


From 60 Minutes last Sunday: "Clarke went on to add, 'There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever.'"

Clarke in the Washington Post in 1999:

"Clarke said that the U.S. government is "sure" that Iraqi nerve gas experts actually produced a powdered VX-like substance at the plant that, when mixed with bleach and water, would have become fully active VX nerve gas.

Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance was produced at El Shifa or what happened to it. But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan."


Still not buying it

You will have to show my the Clarke quotes which forces me to believe the things you say.

Clarke in 2002

The following are quotes from a transcript of Clarke's background briefing in 2002:

First sentence: Richard Clarke:
Actually, I've got about seven points, let me just go through them quickly. Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.
So there may have been a plan presented as Clarke said on Meet the Press. But that's not what he said in 2002.

Next paragraphs:
Second point is that the Clinton administration had a strategy in place, effectively dating from 1998. And there were a number of issues on the table since 1998. And they remained on the table when that administration went out of office — issues like aiding the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, changing our Pakistan policy -- uh, changing our policy toward Uzbekistan. And in January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. They were also briefed on these series of issues that had not been decided on in a couple of years.

And the third point is the Bush administration decided then, you know, in late January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we've now made public to some extent.

And the point is, while this big review was going on, there were still in effect, the lethal findings were still in effect. The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.
The Bush Administration decided in late January, when they came in, to continue the Clinton policy and to begin to make decisions that Clinton had failed to make in recent years.
So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.
Clarke then spends a couple of paragraphs on the timeline of the spring and summer, noting that Bush's appointees were delayed until late spring and so forth. He finishes his prepared remarks with this:
And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.
So according to Clarke, Clinton was planning a five-year rollback. Five years from 2000 is 2005.

Then comes the Q&A:
JIM ANGLE: You're saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that's correct.
Skipping ahead, though I recommend you read it all, this Q&A:
ANGLE: What was the problem? Why was it so difficult for the Clinton administration to make decisions on those issues?

CLARKE: Because they were tough issues. You know, take, for example, aiding the Northern Alliance. Um, people in the Northern Alliance had a, sort of bad track record. There were questions about the government, there were questions about drug-running, there was questions about whether or not in fact they would use the additional aid to go after Al Qaeda or not. Uh, and how would you stage a major new push in Uzbekistan or somebody else or Pakistan to cooperate?

One of the big problems was that Pakistan at the time was aiding the other side, was aiding the Taliban. And so, this would put, if we started aiding the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, this would have put us directly in opposition to the Pakistani government. These are not easy decisions.

ANGLE: And none of that really changed until we were attacked and then it was ...

CLARKE: No, that's not true. In the spring, the Bush administration changed — began to change Pakistani policy, um, by a dialogue that said we would be willing to lift sanctions. So we began to offer carrots, which made it possible for the Pakistanis, I think, to begin to realize that they could go down another path, which was to join us and to break away from the Taliban. So that's really how it started.

With the exception about some speculation about what would have happened had 9/11 not happened, here's how the Q&A ends:
ANGLE: So, just to finish up if we could then, so what you're saying is that there was no — one, there was no plan; two, there was no delay; and that actually the first changes since October of '98 were made in the spring months just after the administration came into office?

CLARKE: You got it. That's right.

QUESTION: It was not put into an action plan until September 4, signed off by the principals?

CLARKE: That's right.

QUESTION: I want to add though, that NSPD — the actual work on it began in early April.

CLARKE: There was a lot of in the first three NSPDs that were being worked in parallel.

ANGLE: Now the five-fold increase for the money in covert operations against Al Qaeda — did that actually go into effect when it was decided or was that a decision that happened in the next budget year or something?

CLARKE: Well, it was gonna go into effect in October, which was the next budget year, so it was a month away.

QUESTION: That actually got into the intelligence budget?

CLARKE: Yes it did.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, did that come up in April or later?

CLARKE: No, it came up in April and it was approved in principle and then went through the summer. And you know, the other thing to bear in mind is the shift from the rollback strategy to the elimination strategy. When President Bush told us in March to stop swatting at flies and just solve this problem, then that was the strategic direction that changed the NSPD from one of rollback to one of elimination.

QUESTION: Well can you clarify something? I've been told that he gave that direction at the end of May. Is that not correct?

CLARKE: No, it was March.

Clarke vs. Clarke

You don't follow because believing contradictions is tough even for a Princeton man. Clarke is on record saying the things I said you must believe if you believe Clarke. Since you say you don't believe them, then you don't believe Clarke. Well done.

Dang it

You got the Niwot Baseball link up before I did. Dang it.

Hmmm. I don't follow

Bob, you said:
To believe Richard Clarke is to believe that the Clinton Administration had no higher priority than al Qaeda, and that Clinton couldn't bomb al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan because he was engaged in other important things, like bombing Yugoslavia. To believe Richard Clarke is to believe that Iraq had no ties to al Qaeda, ever, and that Iraqi experts were working with bin Laden and al Qaeda to manufacture nerve gas in Sudan. To believe Clarke is to believe that Bush was fixated on Iraq right after 9/11 and sent the troops to Afghanistan. Believe him if you choose.

Clarke's assertions boil down to "Clinton listened to me and Bush didn't listen to me." Let's see if a guy in a garden apartment can figure out why Bush wouldn't have listened to him.

Clarke said that attacking Iraq in response to 9/11 was like bombing Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor.

Well, I believe Dick Clarke, but I don't believe that the Clinton administration had no higher priority than al Qaeda, or pretty much any of the other things you say I must believe if I believe Dick Clarke.

What I do believe is that Dick Clarke thought that al Qaeda was a very big threat to the United States for many years, and that when he tried to tell the current administration that, they ignored him. The previous administration apparently gave some credence to his thoughts, but the current one did not. Please show me some evidence that I am wrong. I also do NOT believe that Mr. Clarke is blaming the Bush Administration for 9/11. If anything, he is blaming himself - perhaps he wishes he had yelled louder at the administration. I also do NOT believe that the administration thought too much about terrorism pre-9/11. Clarke did, he knew who the enemies were, he tried to tell them, they blew him off, and his pissed. He should be.

When Dick Clarke says that they didn't listen to him, he is talking mostly about the time from Jan, 2001 to Sep 11, 2001, annd he has good documentation to back up this claim. He is talking much less about how they didn't listen to him after 9/11.

He was also NOT "demoted" so that seems to be a bad line of attack. And I don't happen to believe that he is being self-serving. If he is, he is certainly doing it to a much lesser extent than the President and the Vice-President. I mean, the VP is personally profiting from the war, for crying out loud. That doesn't mean he wanted the war for personal gain, but it sure doesn't help the way things look....

OK, I am off to find some information that I remember seeing, but don't remember where. You would like us to believe that all Arabs were dancing in the streets after 9/11. I believe that some were, but not nearly the number you think. I think it was a very very small number.

Lies, damn lies

The Nation is or was home to a stable of writers who take presidents to task for lying. Here's Christopher Hitchens' entry on Bill Clinton, No One Left to Lie To.

Hitchens on Clarke

Former writer for The Nation, Christopher Hitchens, examines the Clarke affair in Slate.


The Boulder Public Library has the Corn book. It's due in a couple weeks. I look forward to reading it.

Boiling Clarke down.

To believe Richard Clarke is to believe that the Clinton Administration had no higher priority than al Qaeda, and that Clinton couldn't bomb al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan because he was engaged in other important things, like bombing Yugoslavia. To believe Richard Clarke is to believe that Iraq had no ties to al Qaeda, ever, and that Iraqi experts were working with bin Laden and al Qaeda to manufacture nerve gas in Sudan. To believe Clarke is to believe that Bush was fixated on Iraq right after 9/11 and sent the troops to Afghanistan. Believe him if you choose.

Clarke's assertions boil down to "Clinton listened to me and Bush didn't listen to me." Let's see if a guy in a garden apartment can figure out why Bush wouldn't have listened to him.

Clarke said that attacking Iraq in response to 9/11 was like bombing Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor. Ironically, while demonstrating his foolishness Clarke suggests an analogy that highlights the difference of opinion that likely got him left out of the loop. History buffs will know that in response to Pearl Harbor, the U.S. deployed troops, but not to Mexico and not to Japan. We didn't send planes on bombing raids to Mexico City, Tokyo, or Berlin. Nope. We sent troops to Morrocco. Morrocco. In Africa. A long way from Japan and Pearl Harbor. We didn't try to track down the pilots and planners in Tokyo who killed our soldiers in Hawaii. We didn't go to heightened alert while special forces deployed to the Pacific to track down Japanese enemies. We sent troops to Morrocco because we knew that the attack on Pearl Harbor, like the attacks on NYC and DC on 9/11, signaled our entry into a war that had already been going on for years and that would ultimately be a fight to the death for our country and our freedom. Simply going after the killers or their immediate supporters was not the way to win that war.

It's reasonable to debate that strategy. According to at least some of Clarke's rambling assertions, Bush and his staff, though far from urgently committed to fighting terrorism before 9/11, followed the Clinton "plan" for several months, before beefing things up. However, Bush & Co appear to have been leaning to a strategy that differed from Clinton's in that Bush & Co planned to target the states that support terrorists. After 9/11 that was the course they took. Clarke appears to differ with that policy. That's reasonable. To lay the blame for 9/11 at the feet of the Bush Administration is not. Especially not when you served in counter terror under an administration that served for the eight previous years while terrorists trained and disbursed throughout the world. I don't happen to think, short of preemptive invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, or somewhere else, that the Clinton Administration could have stopped 9/11, either. Even then they may not have been able to stop it. Who knows.

The InContext piece did not try to go over Clarke's interview in detail. That post was lost apparently. Instead InContext highlighted a complete fabrication by Clarke, that after 9/11 the Islamic world expressed some sense that they'd gone too far. Dancing in the streets and saying death to the U.S. is a funny way to express that emotion.

Is everything Clarke has to say wrong? No chance. Is everything the Bush Administration has said to discredit him correct? No chance. Does Clarke come off as a self-contradictory former bureaucrat? He does, because he is.

Oh, and I don't HATE George W. Bush

You posted earlier a sentence which began "Since I don't hate them" where "them" refers to the Bush Administration. I inferred from that clause that you think I do hate the Bush Administration. Let me go on the record as saying once and for all that I don't hate the Administration. I am sure they are all very pleasant and I would love to have a beer or coke with them. It might even be fun to talk politics with them, although as you know I would be in way over my head.

However, I think that they (this includes President Bush and VP Cheney in particular) have not done a good job of running the country. I think they have lied to us from the beginning ("I am a uniter, not a divider"). I gave them the benefit of the doubt with respect to the need to attack Iraq, and I think they have betrayed my trust in that regard and I am not happy about it. That's my opinon. But I really really don't hate him. I don't have that particular emotion toward anyone at the moment. Sorry to disappoint you.

Read the Meet The Press Interview

Sorry, Bob, but Dick Clarke refutes many of the assertions in the Daily Camera editorial in the Meet the Press interview. Go read it again. He asked the Clinton Administration many times to go on alert because of Al Qaeda, and they did. We can't really know how successful those alerts were, because we didn't have a massive 9/11 style attack during that time.

But Clarke also maintains that he can prove that he submitted a plan to the Bush Adminstration on Jan 25 which was basically ignored until May, and then ignored some more (at least at the very top levels) until Sep 4. I don't think that is "no plan."

Even though they're lefties, they get this one right

Shocking wisdom on the Clarke nonsense from a very, very unlikely source, the editors of the Boulder Daily Camera. I'm shocked and uncomfortable, but I agree with their house editorial today. Here's the last paragraph:
The American public and the White House turned their heads from the threat of terrorism for a long time. The extent to which George W. Bush shared in that failure will be a legitimate subject for debate in this election. But no one has argued persuasively that Bush could have undone in eight months the failures of eight previous years.
I might have added another eight years of failure before that. But I'd never blame any of the prior U.S. administrations for 9/11 or any other previous terrorist act. I blame the terrorists.

Thanks for the Meet the Press link

Thanks for the link to the Dick Clarke interview with Tim Russert, Bob. Now that was good information! The link to the InContext blog was entertaining, but totally ridiculous. It completely misses the main meat of Richard Clarke's story, which I had not really heard in depth before, which is essentially this: President Bush did not pay enough attention to the threat posed by Al Qaeda before September 11, even though he had top advisors telling him that he should be. Mr. Clarke's assertion that our attacking of Iraq actually hurt the war on terrorism is certainly arguable, but should not be dismissed out of hand like the InContext piece suggests.

The more I see and hear about Dick Clarke, the more I think he is telling the truth, and the more silly the White House looks as they try to assassinate his character. Now at least they are admitting that at least part of what Mr. Clarke said about the president speaking with him on Sep 12 is really true. And it is beginning to look like Vice-President Cheney's remark that Dick Clarke was "out of the loop" is indeed accurate as well, which is the whole problem!!!They kept the one guy who SHOULD have been in the loop OUT of the loop, and now they have to cover up for it.

Anyway, I don't really have enough time to respond to the vast amount of posting that I have apparently spurred you on to, but suffice it to say that I am doing my research on just how much our president lies to us. Some of it is to be expected of course. All politicians lie, except that it is politely called "spin" in those circles. However, in reading the book The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception by David Corn, I am getting a good feel for just how deep this thing goes. I highly recommend it to you. It is way more serious than Al Franken's book.

Long war, early victories

Taliban in Afghanistan: Out. Saddam in Iraq: Out. Libya: Voluntarily disarming its nuclear program. Hamas: Claims it has no plans to murder Americans, others mind you, but not Americans. Syria: Talking to Australia in an effort to rid themselves of the label as a terrorist harboring state.

Syria is the latest in a voluntary trend that started after the Taliban and Saddam were violently dispatched. The Syrians somehow recently got the notion that the U.S. doesn't look too kindly on states that harbor terrorists. Imagine them thinking that.

Note that Syria approached our ally Australia (so we got bilateralism going for us at least). Why didn't Syria talk to the French? Um, that didn't work too well for Saddam. They could have followed Libya's lead and talked with the British (make that trilateralism). Maybe Syria is just trying to spread the wealth a bit among our allies.

I've heard the charge that the world doesn't like us since we didn't bow to France, et. al., and leave Saddam alone. It is possible that except for a few civilized countries, the world doesn't love us. That's OK. I don't think the love of corrupt regimes is worth courting. Countries of the world don't have to love us or even like us. They have to stop killing innocent people and funding and harboring those who do.

Another bad day for al Qaeda

Another one bites the dust. According to this Reuters story an al Qaeda chief spy has been killed. This time the Pakistani Army gets the credit. Keep up the good work, men.

Challenging Richard Clarke

InContext takes issue with the soft-ball interview Tim Russert conducted with Richard Clarke yesterday. Read the whole thing, of course, but here's the penultimate paragraph from InContext's post, reacting to a questionable Clarke propositon that we had a window of opportunity in the Islamic world after 9/11:
In what universe were "people in the Islamic world" saying maybe they had gone too far after 9-11? When, exactly, was this "window of opportunity?" Go to MEMRI or Arab News or Al-Ahram and read what was being said in the Arab Press after 9-11. There was sympathy, there was gloating, there were denials, there were accusations against everyone from President Bush to the Mossad, but there was no "wait a minute." There was no "maybe we've gone too far." Clarke's just making that up.
Now why would Clarke make that up? Maybe because he voted for McCain in the primary and Gore in the general election (no permalinks, but go here and scroll down). Perhaps he never liked Bush and then really didn't like him when Bush's team demoted him after deciding the Clinton policy on terror was inadequate. Perhaps.

Response on the issues

Robert Tagorda has some comments on and provides a link to Richard Perle's substantive criticism of Richard Clarke's charges against the Bush Administrations counter-terrorism policies.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

It's the lying that bothers me

I've heard that Bush lied. I haven't seen any evidence. The same people griping about Bush's lying didn't seem so worked up when his predecessor lied. The stakes are much higher in Bush's case, but in Clinton's case, his lying isn't a matter of opinion. It's a matter of legal record.

Goodbye to the Left

In a great essay from October of 2002, Ron Rosenbaum bids farwell to the left of The Nation, a magazine you'll find over to the left under Rhoads' favorites.

Money quote, "Remind me again was it John Ashcroft or Fidel Castro who put H.I.V. sufferers in concentration camps?"

Bob and Rhoads or Penn and Teller?

Teller speaks more than Rhoads does on this blog. Maybe I've been too prolific and overwhelmed Rhoads on Coffee With Rhoads. I hope that's the case and his silence doesn't reflect an inability to articulate or link to defenses of his point of view.

It sure is easy to make wisecracks like "Bush lied." It's a lot harder to articulate serious alternatives to the anti-terror policies of the Bush Administration. Like all intelligent people, I have my doubts and reservations about the course of action chosen by the Bush Administration. Since I don't hate them, I bet even they have doubts and reservations. Fighting terrorism ain't easy. The Clarke/Clinton Administration had eight years to do something about it, and terror against the U.S. increased. In fact throughout those eight years terrorists with ties to al Qaeda trained in Afghanistan and disbursed throughout the world. Now its Bush's turn to try to stem this deadly tide. He's chosen to go after the states that fund and harbor terrorists. Fair enough. Let's hear the alternative.

Here's Rhoads' contribution:
And Bob, please don't forget that I think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a good thing for the entire world. And he is just the first of many world leaders that the world would be better off without. I am opposed to the method used. Declaring war and selling people on the fact that getting rid of Saddam would help prevent future 9/11 style attacks - or that this was retaliation for that very event, when I have seen scant evidence that such was really the case.

As Bush's State of the Union speach made perfectly clear in 2003, the invasion of Iraq was not a retalliation for 9/11. Bush did lay out the case that deposing Saddam would reduce the probability of future 9/11-style attacks. Since Rhoads is "opposed to the method used" it would be nice of him to offer an alternative. He's a smart guy, surely he can come up with something, somewhere, by someone that lays out a different course of action, or something other than waiting and hoping we can persuade people to embrace nonviolence.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Steyn reviews Clarke's "work of fiction"

If debunking Dick Clarke weren't so entertaining it might get old pretty quickly.

The always entertaining Mark Steyn writing in The Daily Telegraph discusses the many faces of Richard Clarke:
The reality is that there is a Richard Clarke for everyone. If you are like me and reckon there was an Islamist angle to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, then Clarke's your guy: he supports the theory that al-Qa'eda operatives in the Philippines "taught Terry Nichols how to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building".

On the other hand, if you're one of those Michael Moore-type conspirazoids who wants to know why Bush let his cronies in the House of Saud and the bin Laden family sneak out of America on September 11, then Clarke's also your guy: he is the official who gave the go-ahead for the bigshot Saudis with the embarrassing surnames to be hustled out of the country before they could be questioned.
Read the whole thing, including Steyn's refutation of Clarke's assertion that Condi Rice had never heard of al Qaeda before she met him.

Oh and why describe Clarke's book as a work of fiction? Edward Jay Epstein answers that one for a reader in his Question of the Week.

(Links courtesy of Instapundit)

Mining the State of the Union for Bush's lies

I decided to dedicate a few minutes today to reviewing George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech from January 28, 2003. I’ve heard that President Bush betrayed the nation (Al Gore) and took the nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses. Since Bush's State of the Union speech was less than two months before the invasion of Iraq it seemed a good place to start.

Bush first mentions “the man-made evil of international terrorism” in paragraph 42. The next couple paragraphs introduce the topic of the war on terror and the progress made against al Qaeda. Paragraph 51 begins the meat of the argument regarding rogue states. Let’s begin some detailed reading there.

Here’s paragraph 51:
Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.
Well you could debate this, but I don’t see anything here that’s not true or meant to be deceptive. It’s pretty clear and straightforward.

Bush first uses the word Iraq in paragraph 54. Here’s the full paragraph:

America is making a broad and determined effort to confront these dangers. We have called on the United Nations to fulfill its charter and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm. We're strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and control nuclear materials around the world. We're working with other governments to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, and to strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies and weapons of mass destruction.
No lies here. Bush says we’ve “called on the UN to fulfull its charter and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm.” Seems correct to me.

Bush then says America’s purpose is to achieve goals, he talks about Iran, North Korea and discussions with South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia in the next few paragraphs.

Bush returns to the specific topic of Iraq in paragraph 59:
Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States.
Nothing in that paragraph that is known to be false or decptive. Bush says we must learn a lesson from Korea and not let Saddam dominate his region or threaten the U.S. Fine. Let’s move on to the next paragraph:
Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons -- not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.
Anything in there known to be not true and deceptive? Moving on:
Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world. The 108 U.N. inspectors were sent to conduct -- were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.
Looks like Bush got it right in that paragraph, too. Unless there weren’t 108 inspectors. Is that number wrong, a lie deceptive? I don’t feel like checking.

The next paragraphs concern WMD, specifically biological and chemical weapons. Surely there are whoppers in here. I can’t wait. Here they are:
The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

Shoot. None of this is known to be false and deceptive either. I haven’t gone and checked all the sources, but it’s my understanding from the Clinton years that what Bush says was the case was in fact the case in the 1990s. No lies, but Bush has presented the case that the potential costs of a Type I Error (not acting if the threat is real) could be in the millions of innocent lives. That’s a very high potential cost to consider.

Now on to WMD of the nuclear kind:
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.
We’ve finally come to something Bush’s critics have seized upon. Bush said that the British government learned that Saddam sought uranium from Africa. Our own intelligence community didn’t think he should include that, or so I hear. But he did. Was that a lie? Nope. The British intelligence did point to Saddam’s attempt to acquire uranium. Hussein did purchase aluminum tubes. There was considerable debate about the uses for those tubes. I don’t see anything in this paragraph that shows Bush to be lying or deceiving anyone. He states his sources and states the obvious. Hussein didn’t explain any of these activities and he did appear to have much to hide. Maybe he didn’t have as much to hide as Hussein, Bush or anyone else thought. But that wasn’t obvious in January of 2003. As Bush explained before and explains below, Saddam was being deceptive and to assume behind the deception he was failing to develop could have been very costly. To conclude, as the evidence and Iraq’s actions surely suggested, that Saddam had or was trying to acquire WMD was reasonable. That may have been wrong. But being wrong is not lying.

Moving on. Next two paragraphs:
The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.

Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations. Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say. Intelligence sources indicate that Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with U.N. inspectors in disarming Iraq will be killed, along with their families.

Iraq was blocking U-2 surveillance flights? I hadn’t known that. Makes it tougher to keep an eye on what’s going on in Iraq, doesn’t it? Otherwise nothing new, false, or deceptive in those two paragraphs.
With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region. And this Congress and the America people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.
Intelligence sources say Hussein aids and protects terrorists (not controversial), “including members of al Qaeda.” Hmm. A connection between Iraq and al Qaeda? How could Bush think that? Oh, yeah. Bill Clinton bombed a Sudanese aspirin factory because Iraqi experts were helping bin Laden manufacture nerve agents there, or so said Richard Clarke and Janet Reno’s Justice Department. Looks like if Bush was wrong, he wasn’t alone. Any evidence he knew this to be untrue and used this to deceive?

Again the previous paragraph illustrates the potentially very high costs of a Type I Error, this time an error resulting in Iraq providing nuclear weapons to terrorist groups. Potentially very costly error.

Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes.
Here Bush acknowledges again the very high cost of a Type I Error regarding Saddam. We’ve seen the ability of terrorists to hijack airplanes. Those were their only weapons and they killed thousands of innocent people. With Saddam’s weapons, should he have them, they could kill many more. High cost.

Was Saddam an imminent threat? The left say that Bush claimed Saddam had WMD and was therefore an imminent threat. That was Bush's main justification for war, they say. Since we haven’t found stores of WMD, then Saddam wasn’t an imminent threat. Therefore, Bush lied. Let’s have a look:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
Bush expressly rejects the idea that Saddam is an imminent threat. He rejects the idea that we should wait until he is. You can debate the wisdom of that decision, the wisdom of preemptive strikes and so forth, but you can’t say that Bush said Saddam was an imminent threat. At least he didn’t say anything of the sort in this paragraph of the most important speech he gave before the Iraq invasion. Again the evidence for a Bush lie is missing.
The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages -- leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.
Well here we go. The first sentence in that paragraph was quite possibly an error, or so we now think. In January of 2003, Saddam was probably not assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons. But what evidence do we have that Bush knew that? None. The rest of the paragraph has been found to be gruesomely true upon further investigation. But allowing that to continue would have been the morally superior course of action since we haven’t found caches of WMD. Make that case in November and count the electoral college votes you win, John F. Kerry. I dare ya. I know, I know. The result was good, but the means don't justify the ends. Even though the result was good, we were lied to, deceived and fooled into going into Iraq by the Bush Administration. The evidence is just so elusive.
And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. (Applause.) And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation
The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, and our friends and our allies. The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups.

We will consult. But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.
Yep. We will and we did. No lies there.

That leaves just nine more paragraphs containing no specifics. I’ll leave the rest to the enterprising reader to examine.

I’m still waiting for evidence that George W. Bush lied or sent our troops to war under false pretenses.

You can disagree with Bush’s decision, but to call Bush a liar, absent evidence that he lied, doesn’t contribute to civic debate.

Remind me again of the real-time alternative that dealt with threats posed by terrorism and the plight of the Iraqi people under the thumb of their UN snubbing dictator? All I remember is No War for Oil. But the French stole that play from the peacenik playbook.

Oh, I remember, let the inspections continue. Good one. No positive byproduct of free Iraqis and no further threat of Saddam and his potential WMDs in the future. Anything I'm missing?

Don't dodge the tough questions

As I noted in my update to my response to Rhoads' linked article, Professor DuVall does acknowledge that "suppressing [terrorists] may take military action in some cases.” He gives no such examples. I don't find that helpful. It's hard to disagree with Prof. DuVall that in civilized, democratic societies non-violence is the way to get things done. Use your freedom of speech to persuade others that your cause is right and that the course of action you desire is preferable to other alternative courses of action. However, that does not cover the case of the many countries in the world where freedom of speech and other basic human rights are not respected.

I'd like to hear more from Rhoads about those situations where military action is justified to suppress terrorists. Need we get French approval? UN approval? Does any two-bit dictator who successfully seizes power in a sovereign nation forevermore get the protection of the UN and International Law, a protection behind which he can rape, torture and murder with impunity? Must he step outside his borders in order to incur military rebuke, or is even that not quite sufficient to use military force? If some international body is to sanction the use of force against sovereign nations, should there be some minimum standard of qualification for admission to that international body? And what if members, or a single member, of that body has veto power and uses that to protect brutal dictators? Do nation states that fund, support, and provide safe havens to terrorists deserve to be left alone behind their sovereign borders?

These are the sorts of difficult questions that need reasoned debate.

Good article on war

After reading my post titled Error below, Professor Ken Hammond recommended a paper he and Philip Dunwoody just finished writing. The manuscript is available in pdf format on Professor Dunwoody's website. Click on the last writing sample titled "The new criterion for war and its consequences" by Dunwoody and Hammond.

Thanks to Ken for the kind words about my analysis and for the pointer to the paper he co-authored.

Friday, March 26, 2004


Emotion is a wonderful spur to action. I went a week without posting to this blog. Hopefully Rhoads can be spurred to respond with some credible criticism of President Bush. As I said, the Republicans need an opposition party. But not one who's prescription is...hope "most" people will renounce violence.


It's SAT time, so let's work on our vocabulary.


First word: prejudice
prej·u·dice  n. 1. a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. b. A preconceived preference or idea.

Everyone has an opinion. An opinion not based upon an examination of the facts (even if the excuse is a reasonable lack of time to do so) is called prejudice.

Second word: lie
lie  n.
1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

So intent is crucial. Something that is not true is not good enough for the term "lie" to apply. The person must know a statement to be not true and intend to deceive with the statement.

I don't like lying politicians. That means I don't like politicians. But please provide me with links showing that George W. Bush lied regarding his intentions about Iraq.

All politicians lie. George W. Bush is a politician. George W. Bush lies.

I might accept this. But regarding the War on Terror and Iraq in particular, I'd like specifics. Specific evidence that George W. Bush said something with the intent to deceive that he knew at the time to be untrue.


Make yourself a little two-by-two matrix. Label the columns "Iraqi Threat True" and "Iraqi Threat False". Label the rows "Do Not Act" and "Act". Now fill in the matrix.

The upper right and lower left squares of the matrix are "Correct". The Iraqi Threat is False and we Do Not Act, and the Iraqi Threat is True, and we do Act.

The upper left is a Type I error. The threat is True but we Do Not Act.
The lower right is a Type II error. The threat is False but we Do Act.

Here's the filled in matrix:

Iraq Threat TrueIraq Threat False
Do Not ActType I ErrorCorrect
ActCorrectType II Error

You cannot simultaneously reduce the probability of both Type I and Type II errors. Which error probability would you rather your leaders minimize? The tradeoff is a higher probability of the other type of error.

Regarding WMD in Iraq, President Bush may have made a Type II error. While such an error is costly, I think that the reasons for invading Iraq outweigh the cost of that error, especially given the potentially much higher cost of a Type I error that the invasion eliminated.

If a person chooses a course of action based upon the best available evidence and that decision turns out to be an error, is it right to call that person a liar?

If a person is said to mislead or to lie, evidence of knowledge of the intent to deceive is fundamental to that charge. Even conceding that Bush himself or people in his Administration have long wanted to "get Saddam," where is the evidence that Bush presented information that he knew to be false? When searching for that evidence, remember that an error is not a lie.

That wasn't too hard

Here's Powell's speech before the UN.

I'm reading it now. He begins with Iraq being in breach of 1441. Which nobody denies. More later.

Powell follows with Iraqi deception, the opposite of the cooperation mandated by 1441.

Maybe this is what Rhoads says is Powell pointing to WMD:

"Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, poring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate, to our imagery specialists.

"Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji. This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the additional four chemical weapons shells.

"Here you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers.

"How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at the top that says "security" points to a facility that is a signature item for this kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special guards and special equipment to monitor any leakage that might come out of the bunker. The truck you also see is a signature item. It's a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong. This is characteristic of those four bunkers. The special security facility and the decontamination vehicle will be in the area, if not at any one of them or one of the other, it is moving around those four and it moves as needed to move as people are working in the different bunkers.

"Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are gone. It's been cleaned up. And it was done on the 22nd of December as the UN inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture on the right.

"The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They found nothing."

Powell made this speach four months before the invasion of Iraq. Some possibilities:
1) the intelligence was wrong,
2) just like the case above, the Iraqis cleaned up the sites before inspectors got there over four months later,
3) Powell misrepresented the evidence.
Is the last one the most likely possibility?

Dang this seems like a reasonable case Powell's laying out.

Perhaps it was based on mistaken intelligence. Just like Clinton's bombing of the aspirin factory was claimed to be based upon solid intelligence, so was Powell's speach to the UN.

But now the man (Clarke) who told of the evidence of intelligence linking Iraq and nerve gas production to the factory in Sudan is saying no such link existed. Ever. And he's called a boring, reasonable, credible critic of President Bush. Sure he is.

President Bush, for citing the sort of intelligence Clarke and Clinton did to bomb an aspirin factory in Sudan, is a liar. Sure he is.

Bush concentrated on Iraq, huh?

Not according to Dick Clarke:

"So..., that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda...."
That's Dick Clarke talking about the first year of the Bush Administration. Add to the Clinton strategy and increase resources five fold to go after Al Qaeda. Is that what Clarke's saying on TV now?

More here.

Princeton should require reading and comprehenshion in the engineering curriculum.

Drop the crap and step up, Democrats

So let me see if I understand this. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed. At least one of the bombers fled to Iraq. Counter terrorism expert (snicker) Richard "Dick" Clarke suggests a link between al Qaeda and the Oklahoma City bombing. Given his, uh, credibility issues, it should be noted that he's not the first to suggest such a connection. Islamofascist terrorists blew up the Khobar Towers and bombed the USS Cole. Years before that terrorists blew up Pan Am Flight 103 and hijacked the Achille Lauro.

On 9/11 al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and killed over 3,000 civilians in the U.S. George W. Bush declared then and there that enough was enough. He vowed we would not fail to respond. He declared a War on Terror. He explicitly said that the U.S. would not just track down bin Laden and al Qaeda. He explicitly said that this was a war that would involve states that sponsor and harbor terrorists. He explicitly stated that the war would be a very, very long and costly one, but that it was a war we would fight. And win.

It's fair to debate the strategy and tactics of that war. But to suggest that deposing Saddam and freeing Iraq wasn't a reasonable option, and a reasonable early option, in that war is pure partisan politics. The connection between Iraq and terrorism is undeniable. Furthermore, to now deny the 1990s conclusion of the UN and the consensus of all western intelligence agencies that Saddam had possessed WMD, had used WMD, and desired to acquire and use WMD in the future is disingenuous. To claim that Bush lied because he relied on that intelligence as one justification for invading Iraq is absurd. In the words of the now fashionable Dick Clarke, there is no evidence, none, that George W. Bush lied to the world or to the American public about his motives and intentions regarding the war on terror.

Regardless of whether or not President Bush or people in his administration had desires or plans to oust Saddam as far back as the 1970s is irrelevant. Bush said Iraq was on his list. He said why Iraq was on his list. He followed through on his vow to oust Saddam and liberate Iraq. He didn't get the approval of the French to invade Iraq. He didn't get the approval of the Germans to invade Iraq. He didn't get the approval of the Russians or Chinese to invade Iraq. He did get some 30 or 40 countries, including Britain and Australia, to provide aid or manpower. Orwell predicted someday people would rename this a "unilateral" action. But that won't cut it. It's silly.

I know why the peace protesters keep spewing venom. But I expect more from Democrats. Democrats should stop with the political nonsense and present reasoned criticism and constructive suggestions for how best to wage this very important war. The U.S. needs a sensible opposition party to the Republicans. Too bad the Democrats don't appear up to the task.

Nope, no connection

Deroy Merdock lays out the evidence for the link between Saddam, Iraq, al Qaeda, bin Laden, and terrorists in general.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Why'd Clinton bomb an aspirin factory in Sudan?

Because Richard Clarke "said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan"."

Iraq, al Qaeda, and bin Laden? No link. Nope. None. Trust me on that. I'm telling the truth now.

Case Closed

That's the title of this piece by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard. No evidence of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda, huh?

Iraq and bin Laden

Looks like the Reno Justice Department disagrees with Dick Clarke's assertion that there was no link between Iraq and al Qaeda. Here's a USIA release from November 1998 on the matter. I guess Dick missed this quote:

"In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq," the indictment said.

No link between Iraq and al Qaeda? Iraq is not a nation that supports terrorism? Nonsense. And we have the Clinton Administration to thank for making that clear years ago.

As I said, the Clinton Administration policy and statements look pretty darn similar to that of the Bush Administration. Maybe that's why Bill has been so quiet on this whole issue.

No War for Oil

According to this piece by Nick Shultz, that had become official French policy. For oil, the French were willing to oppose war in Iraq. Too bad for Saddam his allies the French couldn't convince the U.S. to leave him alone. Khadaffi knew better than to make the same mistake Saddam did. Dictators know you can't count on the French. Too bad some U.S. politicians haven't gotten the message. Somebody call John Kerry and tell him the French are not on our side.

Another Clarke questioner

Robert Tagorda has some observations about Richard "Dick" Clarke.

What a Dick

Representative government needs reasoned criticism. Too bad the most recent critic of the Bush Administration can't get his story straight. Head on over to Instapundit. Scroll around and follow the links. Clarke's credibility is dying from self-inflicted wounds. Like Glenn says, either Karl Rove is orchestrating this, or he's unbelievably lucky when it comes to the character of the Bush Administration's critics.

Leno would be proud

You've gotta check out this Evan Coyne Maloney video, courtesy of Instapundit.

The Utopian Pacifist Party nominee is ...

Thanks for the link, Rhoads. I highly recommend it to anyone who stops by Coffee With Rhoads. Here are my reactions to Professor DuVall’s essay.

He sounds like he just might be a libertarian, though I’d have to read more of his writing to know. Wouldn’t a nonviolent world with natural peace be wonderful? Heaven on earth.

Except we don’t live in heaven on earth and there is no such thing as natural worldwide peace that DuVall hopes for. Never has been. How many generations of people will be oppressed and killed by tyrannical regimes before everyone in the world has the respect for freedom, liberty and nonviolence that DuVall does?

Let me go to a couple of specifics from the piece that highlight the weakness of DuVall’s reasoning. He says that terrorists think power comes from killing, but that “most people” are more interested in winning than in killing or being killed. As such those people “will listen to proof that violence is less effective than other methods of struggle.”

Notice he says “most people” rather than all people. That’s important. Most people in the U. S. don’t commit violent crimes, but we still have police and prisons for those who do.

DuVall says the logic of his argument begins this way: “Those who threaten violence want something from those being threatened.” Indeed. But then he goes on to discuss this in terms of transactions. He should study the work of Ronald Coase and the Chicago School of Economics. But if he wants to discuss the current Islamofascist terrorism he needn’t bother. Here’s what they want: They want us dead. Now how’s that transaction going to work, again? Let’s see, kill the Jews and the Christians for starters. Oh and kill all those who don’t believe in the same nutty version of Islam that bin Laden does.

I think Prof. DuVall also needs to come to grips with the nature of government. At root, government is based on violence or its threat. That’s what distinguishes government from voluntary, peaceful organizations. If you don’t believe me, try not paying your taxes, or setting up in a compound somewhere in Montana or Texas and pretending that you’re not subject to the laws of the U.S. governement. Refuse to listen to negotiators and see if the U. S. governement ultimately chooses a nonviolent solution to the problem you pose to their rule.

Imagining a world without governments, or a world without violence is simple utopianism. I’m not sure how promoting utopia stops those who’ve sworn to kill us (and proved they mean it) from killing us.

Specifically regarding Iraq, DuVall says that other means of overthrow were possible, and that “the regime likely would have collapsed almost as quickly as it did in the heat of war.” Well it didn’t happen for decades. How many dead before it “would have happened?”

Duvall also says that on September 11, “civilians in North America were killed in the name of liberating civilians from certain rulers in the Middle East.” That was one of the stated reasons. Another is that al Qaeda has a stated goal of killing all infidels.

DuVall would prefer education and embargoes and so forth against regimes that don’t respect fundamental, God-given freedoms. He really may be a hard-core libertarian. Trouble is that those blockades (see Cuba, Iraq) don’t seem to help the people or change regimes from dictatorships to democracies. His cohorts on the left claim that the embargoes kill children. Which is it? Do trade sanctions put world pressure on thugs and make it costly for them to kill and enslave, or do trade sanctions kill? In the case of Iraq, we know that the embargo didn’t work too well because too many of our “allies” in the UN allowed the Food for Oil program to line Saddam’s pockets.

I guess I’d love to live in a world like the one DuVall would like to live in. For too many reasons than I can go into here, that won’t be happening.

Thanks for the link, Rhoads. Please provide more if you get time so I can keep up with what the left (in this case the pacifist left) proposes we do to stop people from killing innocent people.

Is DuVall’s prescription the one endorsed by any candidates for president in 2004? No candidate offering such a prescription has ever won an electoral vote in the nation’s history. Surely the Democratic Party won’t be signing on to this, but maybe some other party will.

UPDATE: DuVall did mention that “suppressing [terrorists] may take military action in some cases.” Would have been nice if he’d have gone into those cases. Maybe he’s not as dreamy as this piece indicated.

Liberation Without War

Sure Bob. I would be glad to give you one such link. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to find lots of them, and I am sure they exist, but here is one from Sojourners Magazine entitled "Liberation Without War".

And Bob, please don't forget that I think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a good thing for the entire world. And he is just the first of many world leaders that the world would be better off without. I am opposed to the method used. Declaring war and selling people on the fact that getting rid of Saddam would help prevent future 9/11 style attacks - or that this was retaliation for that very event, when I have seen scant evidence that such was really the case.

What's your prescription?

Hey Rhoads, maybe if you get some time you could either write something yourself or post a link to someone who offers a policy prescription that you agree with for what the U. S. should do regarding the threat posed (and demonstrated on 9/11 in NYC, in Bali, in Spain, etc) to the civilized world by Islamofascist terrorists and the states that harbor and fund them. Maybe in my reading circles I've missed the policies advocated by the left to deal with these problems. The peace rallies last Saturday seemed a bit too much of the Bush is Hitler, hatred of Jews variety to provide much insight (click here for photos). I guess a sign isn't the place to set out a foreign policy. Maybe you can do it (or link to it) here.

I'm struck by the similarity between the Clinton Administration and Bush Administration policies on this issue. The difference seems to be that the Bush Administration, spurred by their own desire to "get Saddam" (a policy that the Clinton Administration subscribed to all through the 1990s) or by the events of 9/11, actually acted upon those policies in a significant way -- first to expel the Taliban from Afghanistan, then to expel Saddam from Iraq. The disarming of Libya, the quick response by Hamas that they had no intention of attacking U.S. targets, the democratic rumblings in other Middle East states all look to be significant benefits of that action. Oh, not to mention the freeing of millions of Iraqis from Saddam's rule and millions of Afghanis from Taliban rule.

From those who were silent during the Clinton years, opposition to the Bush policy toward terrorism and Iraq looks like pure partisanship to me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Go Tigers

The Denver pod in the first two rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament should be called the Princeton Pod. Starting at 5:20 PM on Thursday, Princeton will take on Texas followed immediately by Air Force against North Carolina. For true die-hard fans (that would be me), Princeton's Wednesday practice will be free and open to the public beginning at 7:10 PM at Pepsi Center. The Tigers will give way to Princeton grad Joe Scott's Air Force Falcons whose practice will begin at 8:10 PM.

See you at Pepsi Center!

Unless you have to go to Farmington, NM to watch high school baseball. Ouch.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Libertarian Test

I got a 16. I guess that means I did beat you, Bob.

Test of libertarian purity

As we await the fate of our Tigers, Buffs, Falcons, and Wolfpack on Selection Sunday, here is some political fun. Take this online test of libertarian purity and see where you rank. I scored 59. That's good enough for a medium-core libertarian label. Maybe Rhoads can beat my score.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The secret to successful hoops, Air Force style

Here's Joe Scott, Air Force basketball coach, describing his "Princeton" system:

"We give [the players] a lot of responsibility. We never call plays. The first pass dictates things and sort of teaches them how to play. Our defense is the same way. I don't tell them who they're guarding. They've got to figure things out on their own."

I love that idea. I'm often annoyed by what I perceive as over coaching in college basketball. It's refreshing to know that my beloved Princeton System relies on the decision making of the players themselves. In my opinion it's an entertaining brand of basketball. For players who accept responsibility for their own learning, it's also probably very fun to play. Especially when you're winning!