Not sure what’s going on with the weird entries. Movable Type & NetNewsWire seem to be having some sort of spat. I’ll see if I can’t straighten that out here…


Over at Daily Kos there’s a bit about Dubya’s tendency to personalize things:

What’s depressing is this infuriating penchant for Bush to villify individuals, as though our battles can be won by exterminating a few well-placed leaders. We have seen this with al Qaida and OBL, we have seen it with Saddam Hussein, and now with our two latest boogeymen — Sadr and Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The enemies we face are bigger than one person. Killing Sadr would be as effective in ending Shiite opposition as capturing Saddam was in ending Sunni opposition (or killing his sons, for that matter). Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden would make us all feel good (especially killing him), but it wouldn’t have any real effect on Al Qaida operations.

Yet the administration insists on creating the fiction that killing or capturing any one man can help us win our various wars. It’s understandable, in a way — a relatively easy way to prove progress to a domestic audience.

This is one case where I don’t think Bush is really to blame. The tendency to focus on individuals is actually fairly common in American diplomacy. I don’t remember the details, but this is something Kissinger covered in his book, Diplomacy. The point Kos makes is perfectly valid in terms of how focusing on individual personalities can be the wrong approach, but it’s not necessarily a flaw of Bush’s particularly (although I’ll grant that his lack of attention probably exacerbates the problem).

Bullets over Baghdad

You know, I get tired of posting this graphic, but there’s “supporting the troops”, and there’s supporting the troops:

“Countering the insurgency, [Cpl. Richard] Stayskal [, a 22-year-old Marine from San Jose, Calif.] said, has been difficult for Marines on the ground. In his case, his unit was chronically short of ammunition, and his support unit got pinned down at the same time across town. The two units couldn’t help each other.

“They weren’t giving us nearly enough ammunition for the situations out there. Everyone was running out. Everyone was grabbing each other’s ammunition.”

This is a test

Sometimes you just have to test things, that’s all.

Free Speech

Now this is what free speech is all about:

According to ACLU legal papers, local police, acting at the direction of the Secret Service, violated the rights of protesters in two ways: people expressing views critical of the government were moved further away from public officials while those with pro-government views were allowed to remain closer; or everyone expressing a view was herded into what is commonly known as a “protest zone,” leaving those who merely observe, but express no view, to remain closer.

. . . .

In one example, retired steelworker Bill Neel, 66, was handcuffed and detained by local officials at a rally in western Pennsylvania last year after he refused to be herded into a remote “designated free speech zone” located behind a six-foot chain-link fence.


Here’s a tip: if it’s behind a fence, it’s not free.

When is a former Iraqi minister like a Beanie Baby

Just heard that another former Iraqi official has been rounded up. That brings the total up to 39 collected from the infamous deck of cards. At this point, however, I have to say “who cares?” I find it hard to believe that these captures will have any impact on security in Iraq, and I doubt any of them will have information to help yank Dubya’s cojones out of the fire as far as WMD’s go. I can’t help thinking that this is kind of like the Beanie Baby collector who keeps buying the latest toys even after the collecting craze is gone and folks have moved on to the next hot thing.

New business plan

As some readers may be aware, in addition to writing in this fine blog, I also have a small business. Income has been sporadic of late, and there is a chance that I may have to seriously look for a “real job” in the near future.

However, I have hit upon a sure-fire new business plan. I just came across an item at The Agonist that gave me some hard numbers to work with. Turns out they’re working on a legal system in Iraq, and the company selected to head this up is one of Bush’s big campaign donors. They “donated” a total of $41,350 to the Bush campaign. I say “donated,” because a better term would probably be “invested,” as you’ll see. This same company has received a contract “worth up to $79.6 million.” So, I did a little math:

$79,600,000 contract / $41,350 “investment” = 1925.03

So, I figure that if I donate $2000 to the Bush campaign for the 2004 election, I should be entitled to a contract of, let’s see…

$2000 “donation” x 1925.03 = $3,850,060

Of course, given the ballooning budget deficit I can probably realistically only expect a contract worth about $3 million, but I can live with that. Hey Dubya– the check’s in the mail!

Practical joke on le chef de Bush

Some French dudes played a practical joke on Bush’s chef, offering him a job working for Chirac.

M Chirac, [a look-alike for Mme Chirac] said, was sick of French food. He had once mentioned that he liked calves’ head and he had been eating snouts and lips at official dinners ever since. What he longed for was some good American cooking, hamburgers and barbecue. Would Mr Scheib agree to leave Mr Bush and come to work at the Elysee?

Something seriously wrong

not able to post suddenly—testing