Wednesday, April 30, 2003

What hath MSNBC wrought?

Michael Savage was given a television show on MSNBC not too long ago, and it was immediately denounced by critics as a step down in quality and taste. Savage was also recently in the news because of MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield's response to comments he made about her ("a slut", likened her to a porno star). What kind of commentator is this guy? If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to his radio program or watch him on television, here is a typical segment (from his radio show of 29 April 2003):

On Friday, 25 April 2003, The New York Times printed a story about opponents of Saddam Hussein who were executed, which included a picture of a skull.


I have a new thing I want to do. The New York Times picture of the skull. I want to reproduce it, and the next time I see "No war in Iraq" car parked somewhere while I'm bicycling by, I want to slip it in their car if they're not in it. You see, inside me there's a soul dying to get out who's very, very violent. And fortunately to this day I've kept it under control. I know you think that I'm making this up, but we all have that. See, there's a rational and irrational man in all of us. And let me start with the benign side of this, you all know you have violent urges every day, you all know you have things you want to do every day, whether it's cut someone off, give them the finger, say things you shouldn't say. And in a civilized society we don't cut people off, we don't give them the finger, we don't say things we shouldn't say. And so we don't. But never the less, we think them. And we repress them for good reason. But the fact is inside me is a man who has a glue pot, a brush, and he wants to ride around and stick this picture to the windshields of the self-righteous liberal phonies who say no war in Iraq to this day. They should have had the decency to take it off their bumper sticker. They're hateful souls most of them. Bigoted, self-righteous, thinking they're better than everybody. Thinking that they're above everybody. You know, sanctimonious phonies. It'd like to stick it to their windshields. Now it's illegal and I wouldn't do it. But I think I could slip it in their door, couldn't I? Or put it under their windshield like a flier. Not that it would matter. You know the truth doesn't matter to these left-wingers. You understand how the Politburo worked. You understand how commissars operate. You understand what communism and socialism is. And so, without further ado, all I've got do is play the tape of this thing called Katrina Heuvel, editor of the radical communist The Nation, criticizing President Bush. Listen to this human being on clip 1 on the Savage Nation.


Look at what's going on in Iraq. The occupation - America - Pentagon is trying to install its people, the administration is farming out contracts to corporations close to it, talking about setting up bases. There you have President Bush in Michigan, basically like it's Operation Elect Bush, talking about freedom and democracy at the same time his Secretary of Defense said yesterday that we will not allow the Iraqis to elect a religious government. Now, is that democracy as it is understood? And the arrogance of that I think is going to backfire. Finally, I might say ...


Turn off, turn off, turn the witch off. That's all. Yea, it's democracy. Yea, we don't want a fanatic religious government. First of all, you lying S.O.B., you oppose religion in this country, you from The Nation. All you left-wing slime bags. You try to break the crosses off war memorials. You try to break down the Ten Commandments. Now suddenly you're supporting religion in Iraq? "Who the hell do you think you're fooling?", is what I would have said to her. I don't know why they let this witch get away with it. Second, you want to talk about contracts Katrina? Talk about the contract for 600 million dollars just given to Diane Feinstein's husband to rebuild over there. He's a, she's a Democrat case you don't know it, Heuvel! I'll be right back.


Tuesday, April 29, 2003

A lot of people got hurt:

In the wake of yesterday's announcement that several Wall Street firms were fined a total of $1.4 billion for misleading investors (and worse), new visitors to this weblog may not be aware that we created a diagram of the various relationships involved. It was posted on 20 December 2002. The link is here.

Essentially, the stock market was rigged, millions of investors lost hundreds of billions of dollars, those responsible will pay fines that will still leave them rich, and there won't be proper restitution. This is your lightly regulated free market at work.

References: Washington Post story. SEC statement.


Saturday, April 26, 2003


In the wake of the furor over Sen. Rick Santorum's remarks, we decided to visit the website for the National Organization for Women. There, they have an entry on the issue, calling for him to resign his leadership position. NOW complains about Santorum's remarks about feminists, liberals, and gays. But incredibly, they don't have a word about Santorum's belief that:
  • There is no constitutional right to privacy.

  • Griswold vs. Connecticut - which struck down prohibitions on contraceptive use by married couples - was a bad Supreme Court ruling.
Yes, they've missed an opportunity to challenge Santorum (and his defenders) on one of the most basic rights people think should exist.


Up, not down:

Bush wants to accelerate tax cuts for the rich and eliminate taxes on dividends (which pretty much only helps the wealthy). This has traditionally been known as "trickle down" economics. But Bush is promoting a different notion. From his radio address of 26 April 2003:
I believe we should enact more tax relief, so that we can create more jobs, and more Americans can find work and provide for their families.

Americans understand the need for action. This week in Ohio, I met Mike Kovach, whose business is in Youngstown, Ohio. Mike started and runs a growing company, wants to hire new people, and would benefit from lower taxes. Mike says, "Anytime you can improve the bottom line of mainstream business, it's good for the city, it's good for the state, and it's great for the nation. It all trickles up, instead of trickling down."

I urge Congress to listen to the common sense of people like Mike Kovach."



Army Secretary Thomas White forced out by Rumsfeld. One person named as a possible replacement is former Rep. Tillie K. Fowler (R - Fla.), who is a member of the Defense Policy Board - Richard Perle's outfit.

NOTE: Newt Gingrich is also on the board.


This is not satire:

Newt Gingrich recently issued scathing remarks about the State Department's handling of diplomacy in the period leading up to the Iraq war. In response, a top official, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Elizabeth Jones said:
"Newt Gingrich does not speak in the name of the Pentagon and what he said is garbage."

"What Gingrich says does not interest me. He is an idiot and you can publish that."
But did you know this?

At the Gingrich Group website, they note an editorial in Forbes magazine by Steve Forbes:
Forbes pays tribute to Gingrich

In the latest issue of Forbes Magazine (March 31, 2003), Steve Forbes contends that Gingrich Group CEO Newt Gingrich would be the ideal candidate to oversee the re-structuring of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. In making the assertion, Forbes pays tribute to Gingrich's political skill and nimbleness, knowledge of history and "absorbent mind".
(Crackpots of a feather, gather together.)


Thursday, April 24, 2003

Well, we couldn't resist:

Bush Regime Playing Cards


! Wanted !


  • Looting Social Security trust funds
  • Taking the country to war under false pretenses
  • Ripping up the safety net
  • Eviscerating democracy
  • Strangling civil rights
  • Assaulting the New Deal
  • Being a partisan hack
  • Peddling economic snake oil
  • Perverting the Fourth Estate
We thought Bush should be the lowest ranking Ace.
Believe what we say, or Johnnie will get the Feds after you.
Smooth, poised, and vicious.
Knaves, the lot of them.
Powerful, but largely unknown.
Never met an activist conservative judge he didn't like.
Smooth talkers.
The moral/religious brigade.
Turn the television off if you see these folks.
We will dazzle you with our eloquence.
Their goal: Defund the federal government.
Attack dogs.
The bottom of the barrel

NOTE: A special thanks to the research department at busybusybusy who helped us with this project.


Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Don't blow it!

While we sympathize with gays and others on issues of privacy, we think the most potent aspect of Santorum’s comments were the attack on married couples.

Santorum believes:
  • The government should have the ability to regulate contraceptive use by married couples.

  • Certain sexual practices should be outlawed even for married couples.
The left will be foolish to concentrate on the gay issue (meritorious though it might be). But comments disparaging gays are issued on a near-regular basis by Republicans. So it's nothing new. And also, from a political point of view, gays are easy to dismiss by the right. But here we have the 3rd ranking Senate Republican saying that the government has a role in the bedroom of married couples. That's a huge demographic. Don't lose sight of it.

UPDATE: As expected Rush Limbaugh is framing the issue as one of gay outrage towards Santorum.


Tuesday, April 22, 2003

It's not just homosexual acts:

From the Santorum AP interview:
SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual.
SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out.

This is how conservatives defend Santorum. From Ramesh Ponnuru's posting in the National Review's The Corner:
... I don’t see where Santorum came out for the active, or even not-so-active, enforcement of anti-sodomy laws. Second, Santorum is not saying that governments should show no restraint in policing sexual morality. He is denying the existence of two particular restraints: a constitutional right to sexual freedom and a valid moral principle that prohibits the governmental policing of consensual sexual behavior. There may be all kinds of other reasons, both prudential and principled, for state governments to show restraint.
See? Even though Santorum said sodomy laws are "there for a purpose", and uphold "the basic tenets of society", he didn't say the words, "the laws should be enforced". That's a misdirect. There are millions of phrases that Santorum didn't utter in the interview. Come up with one that sounds nasty ("enforce sodomy laws") and then celebrate the fact that Sen. Santorum didn't say it (even though the concept is consistent with the Senator's beliefs). Brilliant!

The second approach is to write that "Santorum is not saying that governments should show no restraint in policing sexual morality", which is true, because he didn't say anything about showing no restraint or some restraint or a teeny bit of restraint. Santorum didn't say anything about restraint at all. Maybe he does believe governments should show no restraint. Who knows? But that doesn't stop Ponnuru from bringing in the topic of restraint and brushing off any concerns about enforcement by vague references to "prudential and principled" reasons for governments not to enforce the law. Not to enforce the law?   What kind of conservatives inhabit the National Review?

Unprincipled ones.


Monday, April 21, 2003

Of interest:

From the Guardian:
Sugar industry threatens to scupper WHO

The sugar industry in the US is threatening to bring the World Health Organisation to its knees by demanding that Congress end its funding unless the WHO scraps guidelines on healthy eating, due to be published on Wednesday.

The industry is furious at the guidelines, which say that sugar should account for no more than 10% of a healthy diet. It claims that the review by international experts which decided on the 10% limit is scientifically flawed, insisting that other evidence indicates that a quarter of our food and drink intake can safely consist of sugar.

The sugar lobby's strong-arm tactics are nothing new, according to Professor Phillip James, the British chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce who wrote the WHO's previous report on diet and nutrition in 1990. The day after his expert committee had decided on a 10% limit, the World Sugar Organisation "went into overdrive", he said. "Forty ambassadors wrote to the WHO insisting our report should be removed, on the grounds that it would do irreparable damage to countries in the developing world."

The industry does not accept the WHO report's conclusion that sweetened soft drinks contribute to the obesity pandemic. The Washington-based National Soft Drink Association said the report's "recommendation on added sugars is too restrictive". The association backs a 25% limit.

In the letter to [US health secretary] Mr Thompson, the sugar lobby relies heavily on a recent report from the Institute of Medicine for its claim that a 25% sugar intake is acceptable. But last week, Harvey Fineberg, president of the institute, wrote to Mr Thompson to warn that the report was being misinterpreted. He says it does not make a recommendation on sugar intake.


Sunday, April 20, 2003

First cut:

A provisional diagram. Look for updates.

Some somewhat related thoughts by Brad DeLong are here.


Republican crossing the Alps:


Saturday, April 19, 2003

Two week delay:

American Airlines is on the ropes. Management convinces the unions to give up 15% (or more) in pay. Then comes the news that top executives secured for themselves generous bonuses and a stronger pension plan. The unions are outraged and the agreements are in jeopardy. Management has now retreated (a bit, they gave up the bonuses but are keeping the pension). But did you know this? (from Congressman James Oberstar's [D - Minn] letter)
It is especially disturbing that the new executive benefits wefe not disclosed until the employees had agreed to reductions in their pay and benefits, and that the non-disclosure was made possible by the company obtaining a two week delay in its obligation to report the new ex:ecutive benefits to the SEC on April 1.


Friday, April 18, 2003

Holy week (part 2):

As promised, we follow our diagram of the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament) with one for key elements found in the Gospel according to St. Mark. This is mainly an exercise in presenting information in a compact format. Our interest in religion is strictly academic; we don't believe in any of this stuff. But we do think it helps to understand what millions of other people believe in, and thought it was appropriate to present it the week of Passover / Easter.


It's simply a matter of time:


Just a reminder:

On 10 April 2003, the first day the Baghdad Museum was looted, President Bush said this in his message to the Iraqi people:
Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that Iraqis can live in security. We will respect your great religious traditions ...
The next day, looting continued at the museum, and three days after that, the Iraq National Library and Archives was burned along with the Islamic Library of Qur'ans.

So much for respecting religious traditions.


Thursday, April 17, 2003

It's about time for this historical reference, don't you think?

Source: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William Shirer (page 532)



From the White House Fact Sheet about taxes and their proposals we read:
A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 under the President's plan.
Is this ($45 income tax) something to be proud of?

Let's do a little back-of-the-envelope figuring.
$45 is 0.1% of $40,000 - down from the 3% the family currently pays. A reduction of 96%. If that's applied to all taxpayers (and remember, people at the Cato Institute think they should be abolished entirely), the total revenues from income taxes falls from $869 billion dollars to $33 billion - reducing the total revenues from $1.891 trillion to $989 billion - but there is $1.332 trillion of mandatory spending + interest on the debt, which means that even if all discretionary spending was eliminated, there would be an annual deficit of $343 billion.
What's discretionary spending, you ask? Well, just about everything other than Social Security and Medicare. It's:
National defense
International affairs
General science space and technology
Natural resources and environment
Commerce and housing credit
Transportation Community and regional development
Education training reemployment and social services
Health Medicare (Administrative costs)
Income security Social Security (Administrative costs)
Veterans benefits and services
Administration of Justice
General government
NOTE: While processing the data from the CBO, our spell-check highlighted the following:
Natural resources and envirnoment
Eduction, traning, remployment, and social services
Looks like something George Bush might have typed!


Dear Leader:

We are pleased to note that the hard-working scribes at The Temple of George W. Bush have penned additional Holy Writ. (First time pilgrims are advised to begin at the bottom of the cyber-vellum.)


Food for thought:

Michal Lind writes How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War

Excerpt: (+emphasis)
The neocons took advantage of Bush's ignorance and inexperience. Unlike his father, a Second World War veteran who had been ambassador to China, director of the CIA, and vice president, George W was a thinly educated playboy who had failed repeatedly in business before becoming the governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial position (the state's lieutenant governor has more power). His father is essentially a northeastern moderate Republican; George W, raised in west Texas, absorbed the Texan cultural combination of machismo, anti-intellectualism and overt religiosity. The son of upper-class Episcopalian parents, he converted to Southern fundamentalism in a midlife crisis. Fervent Christian Zionism, along with an admiration for macho Israeli soldiers that sometimes coexists with hostility to liberal Jewish-American intellectuals, is a feature of the Southern culture.

The younger Bush was tilting away from Powell and toward Wolfowitz ("Wolfie," as he calls him) even before 9/11 gave him something he had lacked: a mission in life other than following in his dad's footsteps. There are signs of estrangement between the cautious father and the crusading son: Last year, veterans of the first Bush administration, including Baker, Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, warned publicly against an invasion of Iraq without authorization from Congress and the U.N.

It is not clear that George W fully understands the grand strategy that Wolfowitz and other aides are unfolding. He seems genuinely to believe that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. from Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," something the leading neocons say in public but are far too intelligent to believe themselves. The Project for the New American Century urged an invasion of Iraq throughout the Clinton years, for reasons that had nothing to do with possible links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Public letters signed by Wolfowitz and others called on the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq, to bomb Hezbollah bases in Lebanon, and to threaten states such as Syria and Iran with U.S. attacks if they continued to sponsor terrorism. Claims that the purpose is not to protect the American people but to make the Middle East safe for Israel are dismissed by the neocons as vicious anti-Semitism.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003


While campaigning in 2002, President Bush said the following:
1   OCT 14 Michigan September the 11th changed the equation, changed our thinking. It also changed our thinking when we began to realize that one of the most dangerous things that can happen in the modern era is for a deceiving dictator who has gassed his own people, who has weapons of mass destruction to team up with an organization like al Qaeda.
2   OCT 28 Colorado [Saddam is] a person who claims he has no weapons of mass destruction, in order to escape the dictums of the U.N. Security Council and the United Nations -- but he's got them
3   OCT 28 New Mexico He's got weapons of mass destruction.
4   OCT 31 South Dakota There is a threat in Iraq. And the threat exists because a leader there not only has denied and deceived the world about whether or not he's got weapons of mass destruction, but this is a guy who's used weapons of mass destruction. He not only has them, he's used them.
5   NOV 01 New Hampshire We know he's got chemical weapons, probably has biological weapons.
6   NOV 02 Tennessee We know that this is a man who has chemical weapons, and we know he's used them.
7   NOV 02 Atlanta, Georgia He's a man who has said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them.
8   NOV 02 Florida He's a man who has said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them. ... You know, not only does he have weapons of mass destruction, but, incredibly enough, he has used weapons of mass destruction.
9   NOV 03 Minnesota This is a man who not only has got chemical weapons, I want you to remind your friends and neighbors, that he has used chemical weapons.
10   NOV 03 Illinois I see the world the way it is. Saddam Hussein is a threat to America. He's a threat to our friends. He's a man who said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, yet he has them.
11   NOV 03 South Dakota Saddam Hussein is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them.
12   NOV 04 Texas He said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction -- he has weapons of mass destruction. ... Not only has he got chemical weapons, but I want you to remember, he's used chemical weapons.
13   NOV 04 Arkansas This is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, promised he wouldn't have them. He's got them. ... He said he wouldn't have chemical weapons, he's got them.
14   NOV 04 Missouri He said he wouldn't have chemical weapons; he's got them.
And from the "leave within 48 hours" address of 17 March 2003:
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
And while we're at it, Bush also made claims for an Iraqi - al Qaeda connection at least 11 times on the campaign trail last year.


We've reached the tipping point here at uggabugga:

Only a criminal mind-set ...
  • Would allow utility companies to rig markets in order to extort billions from consumers.

  • Would bring back into government former officials who lied to Congress.

  • Would sit back and do nothing while thieves loot and pillage museums and libraries.

  • Would promote a crook to be the new leader of Iraq.


Baghdad Museum destruction round-up:

Here are some editorials about it: (excerpts + emphasis)

The Hartford Courant
This is a public relations disaster for the United States as well as a cultural one for the Iraqis. American troops apparently were nearby during the looting. Why they did not secure the Baghdad museum until it was too late remains unanswered.

Safeguarding Iraq's museums and its archaeological sites is a U.S. obligation, especially while anarchy reigns and until a new government is in place. It is at least as important as protecting the oil fields that fuel Iraq's economy.
Boston Globe
And the awful truth is that the US government bears a shameful responsibility for not preventing this crime against history. Archaeologists and art historians made strenuous efforts before the war to warn the Department of Defense that there had been looting after the 1991 Gulf War, that looting could be expected again, and that the one site above all which had to be protected from looters was the National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was indulging in misleading public relations when he said on ''Meet the Press'' Sunday, ''We didn't allow it. It happened. . . . We don't allow bad things to happen. Bad things happen in life, and people do loot.''
Korea Herald
American and British forces, their commanders and ultimately George W. Bush and Tony Blair, cannot avoid the blame for their negligence in protecting cultural assets of the nation they invaded. If some of the effort that they expended in winning control of Iraq's many oil fields had been allocated to protecting cultural assets, they would have successfully guarded the precious contents of the Baghdad museum.

In their extreme frustration, critics charge that the coalition forces would have done better if these were Christian sites, comparing the damage with what the crusades did a millennium ago. We also cannot but suspect that ignorance, and possibly cultural disdain, among commanders and troops may have kept them from being more proactive in protecting the antiquities of Iraq, which they also own as members of humanity.
North Jersey Herald News
What is inexcusable about the looting and the destruction of museums and libraries is the lack of visible concern by the Bush administration. Clearly, there was a plan for rebuilding oil fields long before the first precision-guided bomb was dropped. What resources were and are more valuable to the administration: Oil or the Iraqi culture?

What the bombs did not destroy, a lawless populace has. Looting is only abating because there is little left to loot. The administration cannot take cover under platitudes, that free people also are free to break the law. The Iraqi revolution is not homegrown. Saddam was overthrown by the order of the president of the United States. The commitment to change regimes came with a complex price. It is not enough to remove the dictator and his minions; an effective form of law and order must take its place simultaneously.

The loss of priceless works of antiquity could have been prevented. The loss of property and damage to Baghdad's infrastructure could have been prevented. U.S. taxpayers will bear the brunt of paying for rebuilding Baghdad and other large Iraqi cities.
History News Network
The looting of the museum is all the more tragic because so many of the objects were still unpublished. Almost everything that was officially excavated in Iraq since the twenties of the last century was deposited there.

... it is the duty of an invading army to preserve not only the lives of civilians, but also their cultural heritage. With this in mind, archaeologists had supplied our military and civilian authorities with a ranked list of cultural sites that were to be protected once the war broke out and it was our understanding that the authorities agreed to guard these sites once they were under their control. It is both a tragedy and a disgrace that our forces were not prepared to control Iraqi cities once they had abolished local power, and hence did not fulfill that promise.

The public reaction of our government officials has been shameful, to say the least. Rather than express remorse and horror to the looting of hospitals and cultural treasures, our secretary of defense has made merry at the site of looters carrying pottery and excused the plunder as "untidiness." In our democracy administrations come and go, with a shelf life or four or eight years, but the consequence of their actions in the name of us all sometimes last forever. Such callousness is unworthy of our country, and no matter what opinions one holds on the justification and legality of this war, one should expect more from out public servants. There is little shame in admitting miscalculations and mistakes; the whole world is watching us and unless we want to be viewed as the great barbarians of the twenty-first century, we must demand that our elected government take responsibility for what has happened and pledge to do its best to repair the damage and prevent any reoccurrence of these horrific events. The fact that this looting took place on our watch is bad enough, but such statements reveal an utter disregard for other peoples' achievements and for our common global cultural patrimony.
Sacramento Bee
American archeologists warned the Pentagon before the war that some of the world's oldest treasures would be at risk, either from U.S. bombing or the kind of collapse of order that ensued. And Iraqi curators said they had been assured by U.S. officials that their antiquities would be protected as soon as U.S. forces were able to do so.
John Nichols / Madison Newspapers
... when rioters were tearing up the U.S.-controlled city of Baghdad last week, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld responded by saying, "Stuff happens." Echoing statements by other Bush administration apparatchiks, Rumsfeld described the looting of the city as an "untidy" display of freedom.

Marble carvings, stone tablets, clay pots and tablets containing some of the earliest known examples of writing were destroyed or stolen. The pillaging of the Baghdad museum represented far more than an Iraqi loss. John Russell, an archeologist at the Massachusetts College of Art, described the destruction as a blow to "the world's human history." Noting that the museum's collection included some of the earliest examples of mathematics and some of the first legal codes ever written, the British Museum's Dominique Collon described the damage in Baghdad as "truly a world heritage loss."

Thousands of the finest soldiers in the world were in and around Baghdad. They could have protected government buildings, hospitals and the world's great archeological and historical treasures. ... But the troops were busy elsewhere - pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein for the TV cameras and defending the building that houses the Iraqi ministry of, you guessed it, oil.

When U.S. and allied troops took charge of the great cities of Europe during World War II, they proudly defended museums and other cultural institutions. They could have done the same in Baghdad. And they would have, had a signal come from the Pentagon.

But the boss at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, who had promised to teach the Iraqi people how to live in freedom, was too busy explaining that rioting and looting are what free people are free to do.


Of interest:

Tim Robbins address to National Press Club.


Evil Mr. Rogers:

Background story and interview here. pdf of the poster is here (we shrunk it down as much as possible while trying to maintain readability on our page).


Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Simmer down:

For a more civil discussion on the destruction of museums and libraries in Iraq, we recommend Body and Soul*. We, on the other hand, are outraged at what appears to be one of the most significant destructive acts of history. Up there with the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria (642) and the sack of Constantinople (1204). Thus, our harsh tone this week.

* permalinks broken at present

ALSO CHECK OUT: This extensive and scholarly review of the damage (via



Inspired by


For the record:

  • Iraq Museum of Archaeology (National Museum)

  • Iraq National Library and Archives

  • Islamic Library of Qur'ans (at the Iraq Ministry of Religious Endowment)
Question 1: Does President Bush - bachelor's degree in history in 1968 from Yale University - give a damn?

Question 2: How bad do things have to get before Ralph Nader admits that his presidential run was a big mistake?


Can you believe it?

After the international uproar over the looting and destruction of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad on Friday - which got plenty of press by Sunday - we now learn this:

Dateline Tuesday 15 April:
Ancient archive lost in Baghdad library blaze

As flames engulfed Baghdad's National Library [Monday], destroying manuscripts many centuries old, the Pentagon admitted that it had been caught unprepared by the widespread looting of antiquities, despite months of warnings from American archaeologists.

But defence department officials denied accusations by British archaeologists that the US government was succumbing to pressure from private collectors in America to allow plundered Iraqi treasures to be traded on the open market.

Almost nothing remains of the library's archive of tens of thousands of manuscripts, books, and Iraqi newspapers, according to reports from the scene.

It joins a list that already includes the capital's National Museum, one of the world's most important troves of artefacts from the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilisations.
Rumsfeld is a goddamn motherfucker.

An eye-witness account by Robert Fisk is here. And the associated FreeRepublic thread is here. Comments we noted:
  • Tsk, tsk, Fisk. Robert, you just don't seem to grasp the historic nature of this operation, it has often been said to destroy a country you must first destroy it's history. I call this a good start.

  • You mean that 1400 years of the records of one oppresive, murderous regime after another has gone up in smoke? That sounds liberating to me as if the burden of centuries of repression is lifted from one's shoulders. Too bad it couldn't have been done symbolically, but maybe this is the only way to do it.

  • You know... I didn't think there was anything in the world that could cause me to rationalize the burning of a library.

    But the image of Fisk silhouetted against the flames, howling dismally like a kicked dog over the loss of the sacred written treasures of his beloved Islam, is delectable enough to make me think it *might* be something for which it *would* be worth burning a library...
Oh, and while we're on the subject of wanton destruction, here are some thoughts from Rush Limbaugh (specifically about the museum looting):
  • If anything, the Iraqis have engaged in "targeted looting," taking back what the Baath Party and other Saddam thugs have stolen from them in the past three decades.

  • [Soldiers are] not there to "arrest" people. They're there to kill people and break things.

  • I don't buy this "great treasures of Iraqi culture," anyway. Saddam ruined their culture.

  • It's also possible that the media simply seeks to find fault in anything the government does - that is, when Republicans are in power.

  • As I told many of you e-mailers who objected to my statement that Iraq has no culture: it was looted and destroyed by Saddam these past 30 years.
Every statement by Limbaugh is False.

This is the ultimate triumph of anti-intellectualism.

Richard Hofstadter wrote about this phenomenon 40 years ago, but surely he didn't think it would get this bad.

ADDENDUM: Not to be outdone, Jonathan Foreman writes this in the New York Post: (excerpt, emphasis added)
Yes, even the most benign and directed looting can quickly turn ugly - and some of it is indeed quite awful (obviously, the looting of the National Museum and Library is a tragedy). Still, you can surely forgive the people of Baghdad for taking advantage of the disappearance of a brutal and oppressive state to (in the words of Col. Willie Williams) "take back some of what had been stolen from them."

For the first time in three decades, they are breathing the fresh air of freedom. They may take their new liberty too far. But there's definitely something creepy and cruel about the cry for order. And it's to the credit of the U.S. Army that it's not leaping to defend the possessions and privileges of the old regime.
The commentary above was linked to by Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review over at The Corner, who agreed with the "creepy and cruel" characterization and thought the fuss was the result of the "media's hysterical looting coverage".


Monday, April 14, 2003

Thief of Baghdad?

From Salon and the Guardian, we learn the following about Ahmad Chalabi - the man favored by the Pentagon to succeed Saddam Hussein:


Fred "know nothing" Barnes:

In an editorial in The Weekly Standard mostly devoted to encouraging Bush to continue a hard-line foreign policy, The Tempting of the President, Fred Barnes has this to say: (emphasis added)
The United States has allowed France to exert influence that far exceeds its economic or military strength. One source of this power, France's U.N. veto, will be curtailed quite naturally as Bush turns away from the U.N. as a vehicle for American foreign policy. But it will take boldness to dash French power in another arena, the G8 summit of industrialized democracies. The G8 is antiquated. Neither France nor Canada has an economy that warrants membership. What's needed is a new organization that includes representatives of the dollar (U.S.), yen (Japan), pound (Great Britain), and euro (Germany), plus Italy and nations with rising economies (India, China, Russia).
We are amazed that so many people consider France to be some sort of extremely minor country. It's not. Here, for example, are the military and economic figures for the countries mentioned by Barnes: (source CIA World Factbook, except for Russia military)
by GDP
country GDP
$ trillions
$ billions
United States $10.08 $300.0
China $6.00 $55.0
Japan $3.55 $40.7
India $2.66 $12.0
Germany $2.18 $38.8
France $1.54 $46.5
United Kingdom $1.52 $31.7
Italy $1.43 $20.2
Russia $1.27 $50.0
Canada $0.92 $7.8
Since when did 6th place disqualify a country for membership in the G8?


Sunday, April 13, 2003


Friday 21 March: British and American troops pushed northward Friday into Iraq as amphibious Marine units spread out over the southern tip of the country, securing oil-pumping stations and pipelines - and suffering the first casualties of the war.
Tuesday 1 April: US Marines sent on mission to secure oil wells

Washington has said a top priority is to protect Iraq's oil wealth for its people.
Monday 7 April: U.S. forces in tanks and armored vehicles stormed into the center of Baghdad on Monday, seizing one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in a bold daylight raid aimed at demonstrating the Americans can come and go as they please.

In the heart of Baghdad, American soldiers who reached the gold-and-blue-domed New Presidential Palace used the toilets, rifled through documents in the bombed-out compound, and helped themselves to ashtrays, pillows, gold-painted Arab glassware and other souvenirs. The Americans also blew up a statue of Saddam on horseback in the center of the city.

"I do believe this city is freakin' ours," boasted Capt. Chris Carter of Watkinsville Ga
Wednesday 9 April: At first Iraqis, armed with only rope and a sledge hammer, attempted to bring down the statue - erected less than a year ago to mark Saddam's birthday. But it proved to be too tough for them.

The US army then sent in an M 88 tank recovery vehicle which, once a chain was placed around Saddam's neck, made short work of pulling down the statue.
Wednesday (cont.) Abdul Rehman Mugeer, a senior guard, was shaking with anger ... at the destruction. He praised the US for at least parking four tanks in front of the museum when they took control of Baghdad ... Wednesday. But they were later removed, leaving the museum to the mercy of rampaging Iraqis.
Thursday 10 April: An Iraqi archaeologist who has taken part in the excavation of some of the country's 10,000 sites, Raid Abdul Ridhar Muhammad, said he went into the street in the Karkh district, a short distance from the eastern bank of the Tigris, about 1 p.m. on Thursday to find American troops to quell the looting. By that time, he and other museum officials said, the several acres of museum grounds were overrun by thousands of men, women and children, many of them armed with rifles, pistols, axes, knives and clubs, as well as pieces of metal torn from the suspensions of wrecked cars. The crowd was storming out of the complex carrying antiquities on hand carts, bicycles and wheelbarrows and in boxes. Looters stuffed their pockets with smaller items.

Mr. Muhammad said that he had found an American Abrams tank in Museum Square, about 300 yards away, and that five marines had followed him back into the museum and opened fire above the looters' heads. That drove several thousand of the marauders out of the museum complex in minutes, he said, but when the tank crewmen left about 30 minutes later, the looters returned.

"I asked them to bring their tank inside the museum grounds," he said. "But they refused and left. About half an hour later, the looters were back...
Thursday (cont.) Much of the looting occurred Thursday, according to a security guard who stood by helplessly as hoards broke into the museum with wheelbarrows and carts and stole priceless jewelry, clay tablets and manuscripts.
Thursday (cont.) U.S. troops occupied the Oil Ministry. But the nine-story Ministry of Transport building was gutted by fire, as was the Iraqi Olympic headquarters, while the Ministry of Education was partially burned. Near the Interior Ministry, the office building of Saddam Hussein's son Odai stood damaged, its upper floors blackened.
Friday 11 April: ... 48-hour rampage at the museum ...
Sunday 13 April: U.S. Army troops and armor blocked access to the main palace grounds. The Oil Ministry also appeared intact with a heavy U.S. military presence inside. Also intact were some of the power installations, power stations and power grids.

And over at FreeRepublic, these comments:

This was not "their civilization" - it was rather the common heritage of humanity. No doubt there's more in the ground to be dug up.
This experience demonstrates why antiquities should never be left in just the home country - as discovered they need to be spread around so that a single event can't destroy all of the materials.
The looters will probably take as good care of the antiquities as did the museum keepers - maybe better! All we have here is a change of ownership - not the destruction of the materials, and appropriate funding plus information from the catalogs will enable the exhibits to be put back together (in time).
I'm of the opinion that if it was in that Museam and Saddam left it had zero value to anyone.
"Pillagers"- at last the reporters are referring to the Baath Party accurately.
Or perhaps the reporters have never heard of a planned museum robbery.
Ancient history museums are by definition traffickers in stolen property. Now somebody else has stolen the stuff. Turnabout is fair play. Life will go on, the sun will come up tomorrow.
When did it become a job description of our military to protect Iraqi property?
"This stuff is all plunder, many times over."
I second that
All that great stuff isn't worth the life on one soldier who might have died to protect it. Fini
Yup. Its our fault. The whole thing. < /sarcasm>
If the damned museum was so concerned, they could have moved the stuff someplace else. I am sure everybody there saw what was coming
CNN had a WINER on TV a few minutes ago talking about the loss of thousands of years of historical Items.
Please Liberal Whiners GIVE US A BREAK!
LIBERAL WHINERS DESPERATE to find something wrong.
Ever since Gulf War 1, the totalitarian-left dominated Cultural Anthropology establishment in the United States has cited possible damage to antiquities as a reason for avoiding any kind of decisive action against the Saddam regime. This has been a regular and very shrill theme in Archeology magazine and many others. Given that background, and with Al Reuters as the source, I think a healthy dose of skepticism is called for here.
The loss of the antiquities collection will be Saddam's one lasting legacy
The museum director and top staff should be prosecuted for failure to protect such national treasures.
More like Baghdads Iniquities museum
8 million pictures statues plaques and autobiographies of Saddam Hussein...
Shove it up your arse... our troops have more important things to do.
We must have our reasons to allow this lawlessness for awhile. When it ceases to serve our purposes, we'll stop it.
I'd guess we can find most of these treasures resting at the museum director's villas in Syria and France.
After most wars the troops of the victorious side would have looted the museum and returned the treasure to their home country and put a bullet hole in the head of the museum director.
This woman should count her blessings.
The treasures remain in country and will help to jump-start the economy when they are sold. ;-)
In any event I'm not particularly bothered by this.
This article makes it sound obvious that stories of all 170,000 items being looted or smashed are total BS. Should have been obvious from the get go.
I still think the Museum Directors are probably guilty.
But no worries, these artifacts were stolen to be sold and they will slowly make it back to collections, galleries and museums of the world.
Besides, not very many archaeology professors vote Republican ANYWAYS, so we're safe.
Yes, it will reverberate for 1000 years that we failed to act. The reason won't matter. It did not take a rocket scientist to anticipate the looting of this museum and prepare for it. Rummy and Myers have lost some of their luster in my mind and it grieves me to say that because I have been in total support of this war. I don't want to see Rummy's face for a while. This is bad.
>>>>>The Americans and British didn't raid the Museum, the Iraqi people did<<<<
True. But it is also true that occupying force is responsible to establish order and prevent exactly such events. From the article it seems that it was provided for 30 minutes and it did have effect.

1907 Hague Convention
Article 43
The authority of the legitimate power having actually passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all steps in his power to re-establish and insure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

Article 56
The property of the communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State property, shall be treated as private property. All seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
Rummy and Myers have lost some of their luster in my mind and it grieves me to say that because I have been in total support of this war. I don't want to see Rummy's face for a while. This is bad.
I agree.
Priceless? They are rocks. Whoever took them isn't interested in having a "priceless" rock sit on his kitchen table. He's going to sell 'em on the black market, and they will eventually make their way back to a museum, where they can continue to collect dust.
There was far more than just "rocks" at that museum. Did you see the destruction in the pics?
Why do you think we preserve the original Declaration of Independence in Washington DC? Heck there is a picture of it in every civics book. Those artifacts dated back to the very beginning of civilization. In my book, this is a true disaster for all of us.


Angry man:

Before reading this Op-Ed about Conservative Crybabies, know this word:
flense; flensed; flensing
transitive verb
Etymology: Dutch flensen or Danish & Norwegian flense
Date: 1820
to strip (as a whale) of blubber or skin


Holy week:

This is off-topic for uggabugga, but considering that Passover begins on Wednesday, and Easter Sunday is next week, we thought this might be of interest to some of our readers. Partly as an exercise in the visual display of information, partly as an exercise in rationalizing the Bible, and partly to get a quick overview of the material, we decided to diagram the Hebrew Bible (aka "Old Testament"). We're new to this subject, being atheists and all, but figured that it would be useful to understand something that influenced (and continues to influence) history and social trends. One thing that bothered us when tacking this project was the organization of the books of the Bible. We were quickly confused. Since the Hebrew Bible is largely a historical narrative, we decided to present the key elements within a time-and-space context. We are not making any judgments about the material. We are working strictly from the text - especially in the early period - and only letting scholarly views (which would relegate anything prior to Samuel as myth) influence some book dating.

That said, here is an overview of the Hebrew Bible:

Next week: some of the New Testament.

ADDENDUM: While we're on the subject of history and heritage, we can only express our disgust at this story of the looting of the Baghdad museum. (And also reported here in the LATimes)

And if that wasn't enough, consider this story from Thursday, 10 April: (excerpts)
Apparent lobbying by American art dealers to dismantle Iraq's strict export laws has heightened fears about the looting of the country's antiquities as order breaks down in the last stages of the war.

For poor Iraqis the temptation to sell stolen antiquities will be greatly increased if it is known there is a ready market in the west.

Dominque Collon, assistant keeper in the department of the ancient near east at the British Museum, said today that alarm bells had been set ringing by reports of a meeting between a coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), with US defence and state department officials before the start of the war. The group offered help in preserving Iraq's invaluable archaeological collections, but archaeologists fear there is a hidden agenda to ease the way for exports post-Saddam.

The ACCP's treasurer, William Pearlstein, has described Iraq's laws as "retentionist", and the group includes influential dealers who favour a relaxation of the current tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities.

Dr Collon said: "This is just the sort of thing that will encourage looting. Once there is American blessing they have got a market for these antiquities and it becomes open season. The last thing we want is condoned looting."

The ACCP denied accusations of wanting to change Iraq's treatment of antiquities and said at the January meeting they offered post-war technical and financial assistance and conservation support.
And more. This remarkable exchange on Meet The Press:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the situation, the non-military situation, if you will, in Iraq and that is the whole issue of looting. This was the scene with the Museum of Antiquities, which housed treasures dating back thousands and thousands of years from the beginning of civilization. And it was ransacked and destroyed, about 170,000 items. The head of the museum said, "Our heritage is finished." What happened there? How did we allow that museum to be looted?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: "How did we allow?" Now, that's really a wonderful, amazing statement. No, let me...

MR. RUSSERT: But, how are we...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: ...just say a word, here.

MR. RUSSERT: No, no. Wait, wait.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

MR. RUSSERT: No, let me be precise, 'cause it's an important point.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: But we didn't allow it. It happened. And that's what happens when you go from a dictatorship with repressed order, police state, to something that is going to be different. There's a transition period, and no one is in control. There are periods where-there was still fighting in Baghdad. We don't allow bad things to happen. Bad things do happen in life and people do loot. We've seen that in the United States. It's happened in every country. It's a shame when it happens. I'll bet you anything that if they - when order is restored, and we have a more permissive environment, that there will be opportunities to ask people to return some of those things that were taken. We've already found people returning supplies to hospitals.

MR. RUSSERT: What the heads of the museum will say is that they actually asked for the U.S. to help protect it, and that the U.S. declined. Is that accurate?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness. Look, I have no idea. We've got troops on the ground, and who do you know who he asked, and whether his assignment that moment was to guard a hospital instead? Those kinds of things are so anecdotal. And it always breaks your heart to see destruction of things. But...

MR. RUSSERT: The Red Cross said hospitals were also looted. Does that surprise you? I mean, it's one thing for the Iraqis to ransack, loot Saddam's palaces, and steal his faucets, it's quite another to loot their own museum and their own hospitals. Did that surprise you?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Surprise me? I don't know. Disorder happens every time there's a transition. We saw it in Eastern European countries when they moved from the Communist system to a free system. We've seen it in Los Angeles, here in our own country, we've seen it in Detroit, we've seen it in city after city when there was a difficulty. And it always breaks your heart. You're always sorry to see it.

And it isn't something that someone allows or doesn't allow. It's something that happens.

We know that people - there are people who do bad things. There are people who steal from hospitals in the United States. So does it surprise me that people went into a hospital and did something? I guess it doesn't surprise me. It's a shame. It's too bad. And we're trying to get medical supplies in to the hospitals that were robbed, and we're doing it, and we're having good success at it.


Saturday, April 12, 2003

Channeling Peggy:

Tony Snow has a "Noonan moment". From his comments on 6 April 2003: (emphasis added)
No religion has a simple or satisfactory answer to the question: How can a loving God let good people die young?


Who would not wish that war were avoidable, that evil would submit meekly to the counsel of the good? But the world doesn't work that way and so the young march off.

Many of us watch the proceedings with hushed awe, wondering why daily affairs don't conjure such heroism from willing hearts and marveling at the way in which the young become instantly wise; at the fact that searing flashes of danger can make the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, seem more present, compelling and real than a thousand eloquent sermons.


By and large, they were better and braver than we are.



Friday, April 11, 2003

The Empire continues to grow:

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation will purchase DirecTV.


Thursday, April 10, 2003

A star is born:     Site appears to be very busy at the moment.

And a story about his celebrity.


The first 100 days (of 2003):

We couldn't help but notice that Andrew Sullivan has been tossing awards (or award nominations) around quite a lot recently. So we decided to examine his archives and count the number of times he's done it so far this year. Turns out April 10 is the 100th day of the year, so it's easy to get a feel for the statistics. Here is a table of all AWARD entries by Clever Andy:

when what
Thursday, April 10, 2003 VON HOFFMAN AWARD I

"Von Hoffman Awards - The Sequel"
Monday, April 07, 2003 VON HOFFMAN AWARD NOMINEE
Thursday, April 03, 2003 VON HOFFMAN AWARD NOMINEE
Wednesday, April 02, 2003 VON HOFFMAN AWARD NOMINEE
Tuesday, April 01, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Monday, March 24, 2003 RAINES AWARD NOMINEE
Tuesday, March 11, 2003 DERBYSHIRE AWARD NOMINEE
Wednesday, March 05, 2003 BEGALA AWARD NOMINEE
Tuesday, March 04, 2003 VON HOFFMAN AWARD NOMINEE
Monday, February 24, 2003 RAINES AWARD NOMINEE
Saturday, February 22, 2003 BEGALA AWARD NOMINEE
Friday, February 21, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE I
Sunday, February 16, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Friday, February 07, 2003 DERBYSHIRE AWARD NOMINEE
Wednesday, February 05, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Monday, February 03, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Saturday, February 01, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Wednesday, January 29, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Friday, January 17, 2003 BEGALA AWARD NOMINEE
Saturday, January 11, 2003 RAINES AWARD NOMINEE
Friday, January 10, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Tuesday, January 07, 2003 BEGALA AWARD NOMINEE
Sunday, January 05, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Saturday, January 04, 2003 SONTAG AWARD NOMINEE
Friday, January 03, 2003 BEGALA AWARD NOMINEE
Thursday, January 02, 2003 DERBYSHIRE AWARD NOMINEE

Total number of AWARD entries is 51 - or about one every other day. That Sullivan is compelled to bestow a critical "award" so often tells you something about his character.

UPDATE: We originally posted this table early on April 10 - when the total number of awards was 43. Sometime later that day Sullivan handed out an additional 8 VON HOFFMAN AWARDS ("The Sequel"). The table has been updated to reflect the change.


November 2004?

NOTE: Statue constructed by the firm Noonan & Sullivan LLC.


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

You can only err on the side of toughness:

Talk Left discusses Tom Feeney's Amendment to the Child Abduction Prevention Act - the one that limits judges' ability to reduce sentences. We took a look at the Congressman's website, where he has this to say: [emphasis added]
On April 4, 2003 the soft on crime editorial board of the Washington Post commented on Congressman Tom Feeney's Amendment to the Child Abduction Prevention Act. The amendment that was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives, by a vote of 357 to 58, on March 27th was also opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Criminal Defense Lawyers.
[then he posts a Washington Post editorial, which we excerpt]

The Feeney amendment would ban nearly all downward departures not requested by the government while leaving in place judges' power to make sentences harsher. .... To make matters worse, it would require the Justice Department to report to Congress each time a judge makes a downward departure -- so that judges everywhere could expect congressional scrutiny whenever they showed mercy.


This just in:

Attorney General
who believes the
sale of vibrators
should remain
has been
by the
White House
to be a United
States Circuit
Judge for the
Eleventh Circuit


We object!

From Reuters:
The White House urged congressional negotiators on Tuesday to limit any aid to struggling airlines to losses related to the Iraq war, and did not support extending jobless benefits for unemployed industry workers. ...

Big airlines have eliminated 10,000 jobs and thousands of flights since the start of the war. That came on top of the 100,000 jobs and wholesale schedule and fleet cuts the industry imposed after the 2001 hijack attacks on New York and Washington. Two big carriers have also declared bankruptcy. ...

What the White House said it would not support was a proposed 26-week extension of jobless benefits that would cost $225 million. Daniels said the government has already done this nationwide and to now single out a specific industry for extra help would be wrong.

"The conferees are urged to drop this objectionable provision," Daniels said.
Wait a minute. 10,000 jobs have been lost since the start of the war. The White House only wants aid for losses related to the war. But it doesn't want aid for airline workers who have lost jobs because of the war.


Peggy Noonan's world view:

  • What's "sophistication" doing on the right?

  • Which America is logical, rational, and educated?

  • Which America would you go to if you needed medical attention?

  • Which America is anchored in the past?

  • Which America do you inhabit?


Even the liberal New Republic:

Heard on the Charlie Rose show of 8 April 2003:
David Brooks: If you go to The New Republic website, you read this fantastic diary the Iraqi intellectual Makiya is writing. One of the things he talks about are the wounds that psychologically these people have suffered. They've suffered incredible deprivation ...

Tony Judt: I hate to agree with you David. This is going to undermine your reputation at the Weekly Standard and elsewhere. But I do agree. However ...

Charlie Rose: He's already done that by quoting The New Republic.

Tony Judt: That's true.   [pause]   Well, not so much these days.


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Long term plan?

The Christian Science Monitor has an article called Tracing the roots of America's war in Iraq. Much will be familiar, but we didn't know about this item:
Within days of the [September 11] attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crisscrossed official Washington with a broad plan to deal with terrorism: "There is no international terrorism without the support of sovereign states," he said, referring to a position paper drafted for him in 1996 by Mssers. Perle and Feith. The attacks, he said, present a historic opportunity for the US to dismantle the regimes that support terrorism, including those in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and the leadership of the Palestinian territories.


Saturday, April 05, 2003

Fire the scoundrels!

Andrew Sullivan writes on 3 April 2003: (our emphasis)

RAINES WATCH I: A jaw-dropping correction in the New York Times today:
A front-page article on Tuesday about criticism voiced by American military officers in Iraq over war plans omitted two words from an earlier comment by Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, commander of V Corps. General Wallace had said (with the omission indicated by uppercasing), "The enemy we're fighting is A BIT different from the one we war-gamed against."
One simple question: why are the reporters who used that critical quote to exaggerate the difficulties of the allies still working for the NYT? The reporters in question are Bernard Weinraub, formerly of the Hollywood beat, and Thom Shanker.

Let's see who used the "critical quote", and in what way:

Correctly quoted Wallace Should not "still be working" according to Sullivan
"The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against." "The enemy we're fighting is different than the one we war-gamed against."
Boston Globe FOX News
Maureen Dowd (30 March) St. Petersburg Times
The Nation BBC
. Malay Mail
. United Press International
. The Hindu, India
. Dallas Morning News (subscription), TX
. Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia
. San Francisco Chronicle
. CBS MarketWatch
. CNN International
. Cleveland Plain Dealer
. The Age, Australia
. Daily Times, Pakistan
. Sunday Mirror, UK
. Guardian, UK
. Sunday Times, Australia
. Independent, UK
. Dallas Morning News
. Rediff, India
. Tacoma News Tribune
. Knoxville News Sentinel
. Financial Times (subscription), UK
. Scripps Howard News Service
. ABC Online, Australia
. New Vision, Uganda
. Straits Times, Singapore
. The Globe and Mail, Canada
. Chicago Tribune (subscription), IL
. Bru Direct, Brunei
. Belfast Telegraph, UK
. London Times, UK

  • The initial misquote came from the Washington Post.

  • On the day the story broke (28 March 2003), many newspapers misquoted Wallace, but did say that it was "reported by The Washington Post". Newspapers that identified the quote as being "reported by the Washington Post" are not included in the right hand column above.
Sullivan sure has his work cut out for him. Imagine - getting all those reporters fired.