Saturday, March 29, 2003

Then and now:

3 August 2000
From Bush's acceptance speech:
"Our military is low on parts, pay and morale.

If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report: Not ready for duty, sir."
32 months later...29 March 2003
From the (London) Times Online:
What was supposed to be a ten-day sprint towards Baghdad ended yesterday when the US Marines 11th regiment came to rest. The force had all but exhausted its supplies of fuel, food rations, ammunition and water, and morale was at an all-time low.


Some units were down to just one day's supply of food. Many of the vehicles' fuel gauges were close to the red.


All hail Dear Leader!

For a completely irreverent look at Bush and (hero) worship, take a look at the weblog: The Temple of George W. Bush

We recommend starting at the bottom of the page (hit "End" on your keyboard) and scrolling up. Contains hilarious PhotoShop-like work.

UPDATE: This is not a joke: US soldiers in Iraq asked to pray for Bush (link from Counterspin) Excerpts:
"I have committed to pray for you, your family, your staff and our troops during this time of uncertainty and tumult. May God's peace be your guide," says the pledge, according to a journalist embedded with coalition forces.

The pamphlet, produced by a group called In Touch Ministries, offers a daily prayer to be made for the US president ...

Sunday's is "Pray that the President and his advisers will seek God and his wisdom daily and not rely on their own understanding".
Yes, don't rely on "understanding", which is bothersome rational thinking.



We normally try to limit our (and uggabugga's readers) exposure to Rush Limbaugh, but this item calls out for attention:

In a New York Times story about conservative pundits, we read: (emphasis added)
An article in The Washington Post, in which defense officials were quoted yesterday as saying that the war could grind on for months, has become a rallying point for the conservatives' indignation.


Mr. Limbaugh began his radio program with a harsh critique of the article. "If you read that, you conclude we're losing this war, that we've got no way out, that we are hemmed in and we are hopelessly lost," he said. "Now, I have to say that even I thought it would take the mainstream media more than a week to attempt to undermine the war effort. I didn't think it would happen this soon."
Got that?

Limbaugh isn't saying that the "mainstream media" is inadvertently undermining the war effort - which is unbelievable considering all the stories about "our gallant guys and gals in uniform". No. Limbaugh is saying that the mainstream media is attempting to undermine the war effort. That it's their goal.

This is not too different from Joe McCarthy accusing the U.S. Army of harboring communists. When the right is swinging wildly at every thing in sight, it's a sign that they've become completely unhinged - and perhaps about to lose the public debate. We can only hope so.


Friday, March 28, 2003

Are you ready for this?

Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard: (selected quotes, emphasis added)
  • WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH set aside the Pentagon's strategy for war with Iraq and ordered an attack on Saddam Hussein and his inner circle ... the president behaved, without much ado, as a commander in chief who intends to make the major war decisions himself and not reflexively defer to the expertise of military brass.

  • Bush relied on his own judgment and instincts ...

  • Bush has wisely read and imbibed the advice of military strategist Eliot Cohen in "Supreme Command," a study of successful wartime leaders from Lincoln to Churchill. The common thread among those leaders was their insistence on taking charge, personally and aggressively, and not leaving decisions to the military.

  • The president should be as active in making decisions on postwar Iraq as he has been in the war itself. No doubt the State Department, the United Nations, the European Union, and God knows who else will want to impose their thinking. Rather than defer, Bush should again trust his own judgment.


Did you know?

From The Straights Times:
According to historians, Britain used poison gas to quell a 1920 tribal uprising in the northern Kurdish town of Kirkuk.

Arguing strongly for the use of mustard gas in 1919, Winston Churchill -- then a secretary of state in Britain's War Office -- said he did not understand the 'squeamishness about the use of gas'.

'I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes,' the former British prime minister was quoted in Iraq: From Sumer To Saddam, by Iraqi expert Geoff Simons.


Wednesday, March 26, 2003

The situation so far:

NOTE: These relationships are fluid and some tensions have abated (e.g. Blair vs British public). We've tried to indicate those "divisions" that were of significant intensity and duration over the last several months.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

What about these items?

With all the action in Iraq, we thought we'd list some stories we haven't been reading about. They are:
  • The British budget. If everybody is excited about what it's costing the U.S., what's the impact over in Britain? They normally spend less on defense than the French (~$31 bil vs ~$46 bil), and this war isn't cheap. Will it become an issue? When will it be brought up in Parliament?

  • North Korea.     Hello?     Anybody home?

  • What about those three mysterious visits to the White House by Greenspan recently?   Are we facing a currency crisis?

  • Isn't it about time for another tape from bin Laden?   ... especially considering the circumstances. Osama talks big, but when there's a war on, he clams up. We're not impressed.

  • For all the speculation about the Iraqi war being congruent with Christian apocalyptic prophecy, how come nobody is making hay on the topic? Our quick review of religious broadcasters comes up empty. Or maybe we need a massive dust storm before the countdown begins.

  • The "Arab street" hasn't been especially volatile. What's up with that?


Recommended reading:

SullyWatch has an excellent posting about the National Review, paleo- vs neo-conservatives, the history of the right over the last couple of decades, and more.

We agree with pretty much all that's there. However, as part of this discussion, some observers (not SullyWatch) have proclaimed the Weekly Standard to be a reasonably decent conservative magazine - at least in comparison to the National Review. We beg to disagree. Back in the late 90's, the Weekly Standard was one of the fiercest advocates of impeaching Bill Clinton (and we've got the old magazines to prove it!). They've engaged in some pretty wild stuff over the years (e.g. Fred Barnes predicting that when the Panama Canal reverts to local control, the locks will jam, all hell breaks loose, the U.S. will have to step in), and show no signs of moderation. Sorry to say it, but there aren't any reasonable conservative publications out there. At least there are none that reject the crackpot economic theories of Steve Forbes and Larry Kudlow, the coercive social policies of Marvin Olasky, the pre-Enlightenment world view of Antonin Scalia, the "progress goes against Nature" perspective of Leon Kass, and the Napoleonic geopolitics of any number of prominent administration figures.


Monday, March 24, 2003

Sullivan tells Britain the truth?

In the Sunday Times, Andrew Sullivan writes:
... one thing I can relay from Washington. The closer you get to people who actually know [president Bush], who deal with him, who observe him, the greater the respect you hear. In a cabinet of heavy-weights, you'd expect in these tense circumstances a certain amount of grandstanding, of leaks to the press about who is really running the country, a buzz of rivalry and condescension and personal spin that is actually the norm in most administrations. But instead, you hear something rather different: that Bush really is in charge, that he has earned the deepest respect of those with far more experience than he has, that he is as steady as he is calm, as determined as he is pragmatic.
For a different perspective on who's in charge and who respects whom, see this revealing portrait as reported at busybusybusy.


Sunday, March 23, 2003

Are we having fun yet?

This is our guess of what Andrew Sullivan is doing right this moment: